From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 6

Like so many great things in life the answer is books, big piles of books.

 

You can train your grip strength by gripping anything really but wider is better because you’re using real squeezing force generated by muscles rather than curling something in your fingers and letting gravity play a part.

Really almost all exercise is about working against gravity as obtrusively as you can, now that I think about it. So be difficult in your battle against gravity, taunt it.

Look at me gravity, I’m doing pull ups, temporarily escaping your hold on my earthly body. Oh gravity you’d like to pull this stack of books from my hand but my mighty forearms prevent you, ha ha.

It’s okay, be a weirdo. It’ll make training better.

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From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 5

Little Monday morning recap for you on the Friday Fitness, last week’s exercises were:

  1. Stay inspired
  2. Take your vitamins
  3. Learn what a Tabata is and do squats
  4. Get your pull up by doing pull-up negatives and dead hangs.

 

Now, I know you’re not done those things – you need to be practicing staying inspired just you’re practicing for pull ups – but at the risk of throwing too much at you too soon I’m going to keep on keepin’ on because this brings me joy.

Full disclosure I filmed everything for this week as the ideas came to me so the order of the prescription doesn’t matter anymore. Meaning if you can’t get an exercise that’s totally fine – don’t worry about linear progress – just dip into ideas as they suit you.

On to today’s video: Kettlebell Snatches

 

Explosive strength and teaching your whole body to work as one. Isolation movements are part of training but they’re not a skill, not for Spartan. The skill that we have to get into you – a skill being something difficult you can reliably do – is getting power from as many muscle sources as possible and turning that power into action on the course.

You should warm up with a few arm circles and a few clean & press but remember the secretly most important part is your legs. Really think about using your feet to drive the ground away from the kettlebell as you snatch.

 

From Couch To Spartan Video Playlist

I’d never climbed a rope or thrown a spear before Spartan and it had been a long time since I jumped a fence.

Rope was my biggest worry because if I miss the rope climb it’s a sign of fitness whereas if I miss the spear throw it’s a little bit of skill and a lot of luck but I didn’t want to biff any obstacle obviously.

So Rope Climb:

I owe it to some exercises I figured out to simulate a rope climb that I’ll show you in the future but also to watching Crossfit all the time. I naturally learned to mimic the foot work and it super helps because it disperses your weight across your whole body not just your hands.

I hadn’t seen this particular video before hand but he shows the way I climbed in the first example.

 

This spear video I had seen and I like a lot of this dude’s videos.

 

This video isn’t the one I watched for wall jumps but I’m selecting it for it’s Crikey, I’m An Australian Bloke, Fellas hosting.

 

And while I successfully muscle’d up the earlier walls here’s a photo of my having failed to muscle up and catching myself with an elbow before getting the leg over. So be ready for that.

You can also see that I was chest deep in water prior to this obstacle.

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[Australian accent] Alright… Happy Friday, Stay Fit, & Leave No Doubt.

From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 3

Tabata Time Bitches

 

The Tabata Protocol, named after the Japanese scientist who did the research showing it’s the most efficient way to do cardio, is a 4 minute work out consisting of 8 rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest.

Doing a tabata of squats comes recommended by Kelly Starrett who’s a physiotherapist and all around strength coach and genius and cool guy.

This homeboy has a good, quick video on beginning the squat.

 

Now for extra credit you can Tabata almost anything. this morning I did a tabata of push ups that was a brutal work out and a tabata jumping lunges that made me look like I was crying.

So you know, you find yourself with a little time on your hands play with tabata ideas see what you come up with…

From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 2

Operation Take Your Vitamins Motherfucker.

So the goal is to get Omega 3s, Glucosamine, and Collagen into your diet to deal with soreness, inflammation, and mobility issues. Healthy joints are safe joints and vice versa.

These micro-nutrients tend to run in a pack, foods with one usually the others, like in eggs and sardines. 3 eggs also has a day’s supply of choline for your brain health as well.

I buy seven cans of sardines in spring water a week (They cost a buck sixty at SuperStore) and everyday drain one, pour on some olive oil and rosemary and eat it out of the can with a spoon. Spartan.

Nuts and seeds are a great healthy choice. I keep roasted pumpkin seeds on hand and have a handful whenever I go through the kitchen. Any grocery store has bulk bins of nuts and seeds so go to town and find what you like, just not peanuts.

Now the thing with Omega 3s in particular is they need to be in a ratio to your Omega 6s. The good ratio is always written up as 1:1 or 1:4, and the common ratio in a typical diet is 1:30 or 1:60 or 1:youregonnafuckingdie. So if you eat a lot of grains and other carbs you may want to supplement your Omega 3 intake or just cut down on those carbs.

Instead get your carbs from cooked vegetables (from raw vegetables you don’t absorb much nutrition) so stir fry is your friend. Whatever oil you use keep it under it’s smoking point because I don’t want you to get cancer.

With all that said you should still expect to be sore at first, there’s no short cut to adaptation, we’re just preventing injury as best we can. Better to put the effort in preventing it than recovering from it. But you’re still going to have aches and pains and the only thing you can do is be mindful of the difference.

Starting out exercise is going to feel uncomfortable and you have learn to recognize what’s the good stress of work being done and what’s the bad stress of an injury creeping in.

Muscle soreness isn’t an injury and even if it’s insanely bad it’ll recover with no intervention and eventually you’ll adapt and it’ll stop happening. Joint pain is bad period. Don’t be a tough guy and fight through the pain, this isn’t about being mentally tough and sacrificing the body, that’s comes later, this is about adapting. We’re boiling a frog here, don’t turn up the heat too fast.

Nate from The Run Experience is always saying you gotta earn your miles. You don’t just step out the door and run 26 miles because you’d wreck yourself for zero benefit. You gotta earn that with smaller, shorter, safer runs.

Well I’m saying you gotta earn your Spartan. And you earn it by doing the truly hard part of putting your ego in check. There’s no epic slow-motion highlight reel of dudes taking collagen and glucosamine every morning for a year before stepping into the ring but they all do it.

From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 1

As you know I ran my first Spartan Sprint race a few days ago and more than just being a great time it is also evidence. Evidence that – since I had a complete success having a great time, completing every obstacle, and doing great on the running – I trained the right way. Or at least the rightest way I could since I never found a rope to climb before hand.

So I want to put the insights I had before and the insights I’ve gained since to use. Right now I’ve got 4 things and I’m sure I’ll come up with more as I go, each post will have a blog and a video for however you like to get down. Here we go, video 1:

 

Exercise 1 is you gotta stoke your flame. What you feel right now is inspiration and inspiration is the most fleeting, least helpful card in the deck, know that, but right now it’s all you’ve got. Right now you have no foundation, no motivation, no habits, so the tiny little flame of inspiration – however you got it – is the muscle that you need to work.

You may think you have a goal – to run a Spartan Race – but you don’t. You have inspiration, you have a desire. Something in you is telling you that running a Spartan will get you to a goal, to a way you want to feel, and you need to start sorting that out so you can turn inspiration into motivation.

How best to do that? Write it out.

Now this isn’t a suggestion, this is exercise 1, if you don’t build this foundation and do these fundamental steps then you’ll just as likely not do the squats and rope climbs later. In lifting everything is about stability and this how you start to find stability.

So write it on a post it note like I say in the video and re-write that post it every week or hell, every day. Post its are cheap and you can take literally one second every morning to write SPARTAN on a note and stick it to your door.

But really you should write it out in longer form to turn inspiration into motivation. You can do it in a column but I actually think doing a web is better. Write SPARTAN in the middle and in bubbles around it write all the things that you think of to do a race.

Camaraderie, revenge, getting in shape, pride, testing a rope climb, whatever you think of no matter how odd.

Afterward you’ll notice that some things wound up in bigger bubbles than others and those things are the one that clearly mean the most to you so that’s what you want to think about when you hit a moment of hesitation in training. And let’s be real you’re probably already having a moment of hesitation! You’re probably not psyched up to do writing exercises, you thought this was going to be all Rocky-style push ups in the mud and you’d feel great and I’m here to tell you you won’t, that’s just mental masturbation. If you bif this exercise you’ll bif them all down the line. Period.

And if you rock this exercise you will rock exercises down the line. Period.

The supplemental stuff you can is find your theme song, get work-out clothes and make them your armour and say when I wear these I cheer myself on and never doubt myself, build your athletic persona, Leave No Doubt.