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.
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.
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…
House to myself all day most days for like two months, a home work out dream.
So what I’m doing for work outs is I write down ten movements and a number of reps for each. Estimating the weight of something based on the reps.
Then I’ll go through all ten movements in a circuit twice. And for the rest of the hour I’ll do whatever movements and body parts I’d realized I’d miss. Like if I noticed during the work out that I didn’t include anything rotational so I’ll do thirty Russian Twists or something.
And then I can eat, stretch, meditate, hot bath, cold shower, whatever recovery stuff then relax as much or as little as I want the rest of the day. Like I said, the dream.
The great thing about writing a work out down before hand is you’ll bite off a bit more than you can chew. Everybody’s brave on paper, right?
Now one thing that’s a downer is I only have a light mini-band. For running I need to do tons of hip exercises like Clamshells but with such a light band it’s boring as fuck doing things like 5 sets of 20 for each leg. So in a light bulb moment I said I’ll just do sets of 100, that’s guaranteed to make me feel something.
And so occasionally I’d do sets of 100 clamshells, each leg btw, and that put the number 100 in my head.
Cut to a Friday work out where I know I’m taking the weekend off running and training so I might as well make it a big one and I thought I’ll do a combo of very low rep, very heavy with some very high rep, very light stuff. And this work out was born.
I thought the heavy stuff would be the challenge and the light stuff would represent a break. And the first thing I learned is that lifting truly heavy is great cardio. If you’re only doing 3 of something you basically go as heavy as you can and when you lift something as heavy as you can you’re heart seems to think you’re being attacked.
But what was really interesting trying to come up with things to do a hundred of. And putting Flutter Kicks after Mountain Climbers turned out to be a huge mistake. I thought the climbers would be hard and then kicks would be a break but really they work the same muscle so I fried myself doing the climbers in one hard, unbroken set then couldn’t string together 20 kicks.
The calf raises were the most desperate move, I just couldn’t think of anything else and 100 calf raises sounded like a doable challenge. And they were. It is not hard to do a hundred calf raises.
Nothing else on that work out gave me any soreness but the next day my legs were like stilts. And anyone who’s had DOMS knows that day 2 or 3 is the peak so I was not stoked for what was to come.
Sure enough, I was crippled the whole weekend and even now – the following Wednesday – my calves hurt to the touch.
I did the heaviest over head press, the heaviest dumb bell bench press, the hardest weighted chin ups, I’ve ever done and what laid me out was body weight calf raises.
Just goes to show the challenge is where ever you find it.
Starting with a sad one. I’ve watched Buff Dudes for a while and I saw the surgery and the recovery and now he’s all clear to start working out again. But it’s so clear he’s emotionally struggling, he mentions depression several times and the pep talk he’s giving the audience is really him talking to himself. It can be so much easier to be positive when giving advice to someone else than when we’re alone in our heads.
Tom Delauer of course, he does 3 or 4 videos a week I’m bound to like one. And this one it’s just ’cause he acknowledges that keto is trendy and talks about where to go from here. That’s practical non-optimism right there. Keto isn’t going to take over the world but it’s popularity will have done some good.
This chap I just found likeable. He’s clearly already very athletic if his first training run is 8 miles and he’s skiing all the time so his first marathon time is a good 3:30. There’s a recklessness that I like in the way he signs up and trains that takes the looming fear out of the marathon.
and of course of course What I Learned, the best videos on the Tube. Watch anything of his I swear.