Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Squat To A Million Update: 36,000lbs To Go

Only 36,000lbs to go. I should be able to finish tonight, but no promises. If I feel good, I'll try to push the intensity up for a few sets, then back it down to a nice and easy weight to pump out the volume.

Please Give.

The American Red Cross

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nearing The End

Yesterday, after my 73rd consecutive day of squatting, I passed the 900,000lb mark. Barring something unforeseen, I will pass the million mark by next weekend.

Today, after seeing how training goes, I will decide if I will still try a run to finish by June 1st, or on day # 80.

We'll keep at the fundraising, even after the squat to a million pounds is over, so please pass along the word of our efforts here. Thanks everyone.

The American Red Cross

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pain Is A Disease

A while back, I wrote about how causes and symptoms can sometimes be a dichotomy with limited usefulness. If you've ever had an injury, you may have had nagging pains that should have gone away with time and physical healing. "I should be better now!" you think to yourself as you descend into the hole of pain again and again. Sometimes, you find your groove again, and sometimes you just hang your belt on the j-hooks in disgust. It can be frustrating.

About three weeks ago, I found myself in a pain-rut without a discernible injury that I was not able to squat around. My lower back would scream on the first rep of every set and be absolutely quiet on successive reps. Normally, I'd be happy that I could work through it, but those first reps were torture and when you are after volume, who wants that? Certainly not me. My solution, my "occupational therapy" so to speak, came in the form of single kettlebell squats and barbell box squats - neither triggered pain and after a few weeks, my lower back is now feeling solid again.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

No One Said It Would Be Easy...

Squat To A Million Update
Training has been better. After hitting the three-quarters mark, work-related stress, lawn care, and illness left me 15 pounds lighter. I don't complain about this weight loss to co-workers, by the way - they'd just give me one of those "Oh yeah, it must suck SOOO bad"-looks. Compounding the whole thing was inadvertently quitting caffeine as I could stomach little more than Gatorade for three days.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were essentially only squats with an empty bar, but I've managed to keep hitting the racks every day and feel reasonably good doing so even when I had to run to the bathroom between sets. Finishing by June 1 is looking less and less likely, but I'll keep at it until it's done.

After 68 consecutive days of squatting = 818,733lbs down, 181,267lbs to go.

What's the point? American Red Cross - please give.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Walk It Out!

Working with high school kids in particular, I notice that a lot of them, after an intense exertion lasting a couple minutes or more, crumple to the ground with looks of absolute agony. Then, after a few minutes of moaning and panting, pick themselves off the floor to prepare for repeat efforts. This is more common with kids who are not serious about athletics, but I see it in sports practice as well.  I'm not a doctor, but there are, as I see it, several things wrong with this approach to "recovery":

1) Blood is not shuttled through fatigued muscles and localized lactic acid build up is not removed as quickly as it might be if light movement were continued during recovery. Without a cool down of some sort, blood is likely to pool in stressed musculature.
Tension is fine when it is appropriate to the context. However, tension fatigues and destroys sensitivity - not something you want in repose.

2) Heart rate and breathing take longer to return to resting levels.
I'm not up on current research in this area, but you'd have a hard time convincing me that light movements to "taper off" a hard exertion were not healthier, even if qualitative research demonstrated no time difference in return to pre-exercise heart and breathing patterns.

3) You cannot practice proper posture, breathing, and "readiness" curled up in the fetal position on the ground.
I've worked with some large linemen and many of them just did not understand how to breath properly while trying to recover from efforts. I don't know why that was the case with these young men in particular, but it was the case that they lost their cookies on hill sprints. Keeping them moving and stressing breaths through the nose and "into the belly" equalled less time moaning on the ground, and less time with Pukie The Clown. "Walk it out!" I'd tell them, usually with some light skipping or arm circles thrown in here and there. In a few sessions, they had acquired greater breath control and were more quickly physically and mentally ready for "NEXT".

Monday, May 16, 2011

Squat To A Million Update: Three-Fourths Done

The longer you train, the clearer you are on the following truth: One session, one set, or one rep will not make you, but one session, one set, or one rep certainly could break you.

With the option of taking days to rest between squat sessions removed, I find myself having to squat through some pretty persistent aches and pains - aches and pains that I don't ignore but, with my mind made up to squat everyday, simply interpret differently than I would otherwise. Whereas normally, I'd listen to the aches and pains and respond with an extra day or two of rest, now I simply respond with more stretching, massage, and icing before bed, and I warm up generously and seek out squat variant options that feel good. Lately, box squats with chains have been nice to me.

The whole purpose of this squat to a million endeavor is awareness and I'm certainly getting new lessons in that. Speaking of awareness, I'm still raising money for disaster relief. Please donate if you can to The American Red Cross, or through this website on the right hand side the page - I will be passing along every dollar to a charity working with disaster victims in Japan.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Skwat! T-Shirt Drawing Results

We drew 6 names this morning from 70 entries (on my son's count). Together, we raised over $300 with our t-shirt drawing. Thank you and congratulations to everyone who donated. It means a lot to me and I'm very proud to be associated with you all.

I'll have those shirts out to you early next week - thanks again everyone!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Secrets Of Success From Richard St. John

CRAP is a unavoidable fact of life. It doesn't matter how awesome your job or outlook is. Here is a short TED video about 8 Secrets of Success. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

T-Shirt Drawing In One Week!

Our T-shirt drawing will be held next Saturday. I'd like to set the deadline for entries at Saturday, May 14th, 7am, CST. I will film and post the drawing early on Saturday Morning.

Thank you to everyone who's donated! Corresponding with you all has been a great pleasure! There's still time to get entries in if you'd like to!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

So Far, So Good... So What?

50 consecutive days of squatting - 639,285lbs down, 360,715lbs to go

Nothing tempers a squat session like knowing that you have to go to the squat racks again tomorrow.

A change of shoes can be a major technical shift.

Same + More of Same  Same

If positioning for low bar squats is a bear, bent-over laterals are great for mobility.

Daily training makes it easier to monitor subtle fluctuations in technique, tension, and sensitivity as they emerge and subside.

Please donate and enter our May 14th drawing, or donate to The American Red Cross.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Squat Rx PSA...

A few "public service announcements" from Squat Rx:

If your technique is lacking, doing as many reps as you can in a limited period of time will NOT sharpen it.

If you can't squat properly with bodyweight, then using a loaded barbell with the movement isn't a good idea.

If you can't rack a barbell for a front squat, then you probably shouldn't be doing cleans... at all.

If you are very overweight and your trainer suggests sprinting and plyos (also known as plyometrics), you need a new trainer.

Chuck needs to learn to rack the weight first...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Long Term Mastery Comes From Mastery Of Now

THIS training session is all-important - understanding that is key. This training session, this set, this one rep may set into motion an ephiphany, a paradigmatic change, a threshold breaking cascade of improvements necessary for future success down the road.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 14th T-Shirt Drawing Update!

Thank you to everyone who has donated and entered the Skwat! T-shirt Drawing that will be held on May 14th!  If you've donated and haven't received at least one email from me, thanking you for your donation - please let me know. If you'd like to donate and enter our drawing, please do and pass it along to anyone you know who might be interested.

So far, including donations gathered at Squat Rx and with my students, we've raised over $2000 dollars total! All money collected has gone to or will go to charities working with tsunami/earthquake victims.

Thank you everyone! ガンバロウ日本!