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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shoulder Strengthening

A little back ground before I tell you about the strengthening.

Ok so back in august 2008 I was competing in a kick boxing tournament when I hyper-extended a jab which kind of threw my shoulder out of position but I continued on after a short stoppage, around 1 minute later just towards the end of the round, as I threw a left hook I managed to put my body all out of shape and caught him on the chin with an awkward shot. Sure enough straight away I felt my shoulder come out of place and screamed in agony! Didn’t feel all too good at the time but after a few weeks I managed to get back up to full health but with a niggling problem in the back of my mind. Turns out I had a subluxation and didn’t tear the capsule, which is good news! Wiki defines it as this:

“A subluxation may have different meanings,
depending on the medical specialty involved.
It implies the presence of an incomplete or partial dislocation of a joint”

I spent around 2-3 months of going through shoulder rehabilitation and yes it definitely felt a lot better than before. Although I didn’t feel comfortable in putting it in some places, my range of movement was poor and I was still feeling weak, even after rehab.

So I did my own. I still do! The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the body if not the most complex of all! Imagine a ball and socket; now imagine that being able to rotate 360 degrees. Now added to all that are tendons, ligaments, muscles, nerves and so much more. It is by far the most complex and most amazing joint in the body but why do we continue to ignore it?

I know a lot of people who say, yeah I have really good strong shoulders. Really? Just because you can shoulder press 45kg on each hand doesn’t mean you have strong shoulders all round. Have you seen those people in the gym who walk like Neanderthals, you know the type, dragging there knuckles along the floor pushing out everything heavy with AWFUL form. Yeah well check out their posture, are their shoulders rounded at the front? I thought so. Strength isn’t about the amount you can lift but what you full shoulder range is capable of, being injury free!

Here are 6 exercises to do that will help shoulder mobility and give you a great foundation to build upon. If you aren’t sure about the exercises I’m talking about, go to YouTube!

• Bent over rows – Simple and great for you. Helps bring back those rounded shoulders, as long as the form is correct! Remember Keep a straight back!
• Shoulder dislocates with Resistance band – This is great for rotor cuff movements.

• Scapular wall slides – Just stand with your back to the wall and keep your shoulders back doing this.

• Scapular push ups – Just like regular push ups but with out using your arms (in a sense)

• External Rotation – Great for building on lateral strength of the shoulder

• Lateral raises – Again another brilliant exercise for building on lateral shoulder strength

If you continue to build on shoulder strength using light resistance then hopefully you will reduce the risk of injury and pain. Let’s face it, no one likes being injured and everyone hates spending time away from the gym if they can help it! Give yourself a break from all the heavy lifting to work on some simpler routines. Who knows you may find improvements in your strength game!

Peace out for now

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Resistance Bands - Are they any good?

Why do we need resistance bands? And why do we need to use them often? These questions that have been bothering me for a while now. I’ve had rehabilitation on my left shoulder due to a kick boxing injury, using the methods of resistance bands. Now at the time I did think that they would be a load of rubbish, I mean all it is, is a big rubber band. Right?

Well in theory yes it is a big rubber band, all different strengths. I think that using the resistance bands has helped me recover a lot faster and I definitely feel stronger. The reason why we need these resistance bands is because they are able to target parts of our bodies that normal weight training won’t be able to get to. For example, the shoulder is a very complicated and complex joint, with a HUGE range of movement it certainly has to have a lot of strength and flexibility.

Using a band will help keep your joints healthy and active. Taking them through full ranges of movement and putting just a little bit of stress on them to build them up. Also they’re amazing for people new to weights and trying to tone up. If you don’t have access to a gym or prefer to workout at home, they are easily stored and require little space to use them in.
A few workouts that are great for you:

• Squats – run a band underneath your feet, which should be shoulder width apart. Then whilst holding the ends of the band, squat down keeping a straight back and sticking your bum out, go till your thighs are parallel with the floor. And repeat!

• Overhead press – Place both feet on the band and grasp the ends. Bringing your hands up just over the shoulders with elbows bent and palms facing in. Press your arms over your head and then lower.

• One arm lateral raise – Stand or sit for this one. Put on foot on the end of the band and grasp hold of the other end. With your arm by your side start to lift it, keeping your elbow slightly bent, and bring up until your hand is up at shoulder level. Swap sides and repeat

• One arm Chest fly – Attach the band to a sturdy object at about shoulder height, it can be either standing or sitting. Hold the handle in the right hand and wrap the loop around the hand to increase tension if needed. Keeping your arm straight, but keeping a slight bend in the elbow, at shoulder level. Contract the chest to bring your arm in towards the middle of your chest, return to the beginning and repeat. Then swap sides.

Now these are only a few samples of the things you can do to use resistance bands. I will put up more articles about strengthening other parts of your body so keep reading my blog! There will be articles on, shoulder strength and mobility, back strengthening exercises, leg strengthening and mobility workouts, amongst other article that I will be talking at length about. Making you injury free and stronger (hopefully).

Peace out for now

Monday, June 14, 2010


This post comes from the guys at CrossFit.  Sounds like a pretty intense workout so I HAD to put it up!

For Time
  • Row 500 meters
  • Body weight Bench press, 30 reps
  • Row 1000 Meters
  • Body weight Bench press, 20 reps
  • Row 2000 Meters
  • Body weight Bench press, 10 reps
Good luck with that one! I'll be trying it out on my day off!

Sunday, June 13, 2010



W.O.D. - Fat Burning

Ok so today I am going to specifically target some fat burning.  For this routine you will need a good place to run (treadmill is fine) and a kettlebell you are comfortable to lift with.  Ok so here goes:
  • 5 minutes light jog to warm up
  • Sprint intervals, jog for 30 seconds sprint for 30 at 75% max power, 5 rounds
  • 3x rounds of 10m lunge to overhead kettlebell press, rest period is 20 push ups
  • 30 seconds kettlebell alternate hand swings, 5 rounds
  • Shuttle run 5m,10m, 15m 5 rounds
  • 50 burpees
If you are feeling good to go another round, start from the sprint intervals all over again!  Good luck!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kettlebell W.O.D

Ok so heres a quick 6 minute (or there abouts) workout for today.  See how many rounds you can complete.  Good luck!
  • 20 seconds kettlebell swings (left arm)
  • 10 second rest
  • 20 seconds kettlebell swings (right arm)
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds kettlebell swings with high pull (left arm)
  • 5 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds kettlebell swings with high pull (right arm)
  • 5 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds snatchs (left arm)
  • 5 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds snatchs (right arm)
  • Repeat!
Ok so that is the full workout and 1 round is that circuit twice.  See how many rounds you can complete!

W.O.D. - Number 2

Yes I know this one is two days late!  Been a little busy so didn't have time to get to my laptop to talk about my last workout.  OK so I left off with the weight session I did on Thursday, it's now Saturday.  So hill sprints with Tom were different, I decided to bring along my new toy, the 20kg kettlebell!  Happy days!

  We went off to the local woods by our house and found a decent steep hill that we could run up.  Although pretty small, the slippery wet mud was leg sapping enough along with the gradient.  While one of us was doing hill sprints, the other was doing a simple kettlebell work out.  Here is the workout we did:

  • 5 hill sprints/alternate arm kettlebell swings
  • 2 rounds of 2 hill sprints/two handed kettlebell lift to chin to burpee
  • Continuous push-ups/alternating kettlebell clean
  • 2 rounds of hillsprints up the BIG HILL
Let me just explain the big hill, this is the hill that runs along side the woods and is an absolute killer!  It takes me about 2-3 minutes to get up it at a fairly steady pace!  So when it came to doing them today, armed along with my vibram five fingers, I decided to go for it.  As fast and hard as I possibly could!  It was fairly difficult and really felt my legs turning to big heavy lumps of meat!  I did however enjoy it and felt much better than I normally do on that...maybe I wasn't pushing as hard as I thought?  Oh well.

Peace out for now

Thursday, June 10, 2010

W.O.D. - Number 1

Today I hit the gym and I hit it pretty hard.  I decided to take a day off yesterday to fit two training sessions in for the next two days.  I decided to go to my local gym and do a small circuit before I go and do hill sprints and a weighted kettlebell effort with my mate Tom (who is trying to get fit for the services!)

So here was my first work out of the day :
  • Clean and jerks (40kg with E-Z bar) 5-5-5-5-5 reps
  • 10x Shoulder press (15kg dumbell) 3 rounds
  • 10x Seated upright rows, good form! (95kg) 3 rounds
  • 2 Rounds of crawls superset with 10x bent over flys (about 40m per round)
  • 5 minute run with 1 minute sprint all out effort
  • 10x bicep curls (12.5kg) 3 rounds
I felt pretty awful after the treadmill sprint and I still have no idea why, (maybe lack of food), although I did go all out and really felt my lungs burning away!  I've recovered sufficiently enough now to go on hill sprints with a kettlebell workout.  I'll let you know how the sprints go!

Peace out for now

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bags and Bags of sand!

Over the next few days I will be constructing my own sandbag to help me train outdoors.  But how effective is a sandbag for training?  Well lets look at what it is a bag.  Very obvious.  But it is an unstanble weight with a lot of uses!

  What benefits does it have?  Tons.  With a 20kg sand bag you are able to do runs with it, all sorts of weighted exercises and some great interval training!  The best thing about constructing your very own sandbag is that its really REALL cheap.  You can do most of the same training you would do in a gym but outside! Ok so here's a list of things I can find that prove they are beneficial:

  • They are cheap and extremely easy to construct.  Consider the cost of a gym membership for 1 Year.  You can pay anywhere in the region of £400+ thats alot of money to be putting into something you may use for 1 hour a day.
  • Portable, easily stored away and very customisable
  • You won't be working in isolation anymore.  The sandbag will work different muscle groups all at the same time the whole body is worked at once!!!
  • It will give you better balance and greater strength gains!  Skiing, snowboarding, running, martial arts, any sport you can think of that engages your muscles for balance this will help!  
  • Ever wanted a 6 pack or better core?  PERFECT for this.  The sandbag is so versitile, you can do most of your workouts using it, squats, cleans, lunges, running and SO much more!
I will be producing my own circuit training along with how I constructed my own sandbag.  You need this in your life!  You can buy them for around £100 but I say make your own.  Perfect for any home gym!  Seriously start training with sandbags today!

My Workout Today

So my first workout in 4 days (yes I know I've been slacking, but I've been working 12 hours for the last 4 days).  I got to my local gym today and decided that I wanted to break my previous, pathetic time for the 1km row at the end of my workout.  So here it is:

  • 10x Squats (70kg) for 3 rounds
  • 8x Inverted ladder rows, 5 steps
  • 5x Inverted ladder rows, 4 steps
  • 10x Dumbell bench press (15kg), slow as possible with good form 2 rounds
  • 10x Dumbell bench press (20kg) slowest with good form
  • 10x Cable body rotations (20kg) 2 rounds
  • 1km Row
So after doing my weighted workout I decided to hit the rowing machine.  Now last time I did this I managed a poor time of 3:49, which I knew could be improved on.  I wanted to hit a 10 second improvement.  So todays time was 3:38!  11 seconds improvement.  Now I want to beat this again next week.

  Felt a little bit shakey from the workout but nothing too serious, feel really good now!  Protein shake has been taken and now time to relax!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Northwest Regional Event 4

Here is todays newest workout from the Northwest Regionals:

For time
  • Row 30 Calories
  • 95 pound Thruster, 30 reps
  • 20 foot rope climb, 3 ascents
  • 30 Kettlebell swings, 1.5 pood
  • Row 20 Calories
  • 115 pound Thruster, 20 reps
  • 20 foot rope climb, 2 ascents
  • 20 kettlebell swings, 1.5 pood
  • Row 10 Calories
  • 135 pound Thruster, 10 reps
  • 20 foot rope climb, 1 ascent
  • 10 Kettlebell swings, 1.5 pood
Good luck with todays effor.  Remember you've got to beat Chris Speallers time of 14:12 if you think you're in with a shout of getting anywhere near qualifying ;)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kettlebell? Yes Please!!!

Well I ordered my first kettlebell yesterday, hoping to build up a little range of them. I got a 20kg kettlebell from Amazon for £50, I'm not sure if this is expensive or if I've got an alright deal.  Either way I've started the collection off. 

  I've done some kettlebell training before in my past and really enjoyed it.  I really can't wait to start my new workouts using this.  Also I've made a sandbag for more fun!  I think I'll have to get an axe next because the woods near mine have a few good fallen trees scattered about so this will make for good wood chops...even if I do look a little crazy running around the woods with an axe and sandbag with me!!!

Peace out for now.

South Central Regional Event 4 - WOD

Todays WOD is from the regional event at South Central Regional

For time :
  • 10 muscle ups
  • 15 Handstand push-ups
  • 155 pound Squat clean, 20 reps
  • Run 550 meter
Deric Maruquin put in a respectible time (4:54) and the winning woman likewise Candice Ruiz (10:41) with a squat clean at 105lb.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cross Fit Games 2010

Cross Fit is being widely popular now and even more so with this years games having several stages to compete in before you even get to the final stage.  But what is CrossFit and what are the CrossFit games?

 The basics are, competitors compete against each other to complete workouts over two days and try to get the best times.  The competition changes each year, therefore you have to train in each catagory and discipline all year round.  This years games seem to be the toughest by far.  With sectional events to get in to the regional events, which there you will again have to qualify to get in to the games themselves.  Past champions are invited back to try to defend their title.

  The games themselves have 5 categorys - mens individual, womens individual, affiliate cup teams, mens masters and womens masters (over 50).  The overall winner in the individual category will be awarded $25,000 cash, there are also other prizes along the way too.

  Now that we have the basics, what happens at a general CrossFit meeting?  Well if you have ever done circuit training think about doing that, only one thousand times worse, we're not talking easy as you like body weight squats.  Full on, heavy squats, followed by lunges with maybe two heavy dumbells in your hand, followed by pull ups to your chest, followed by burpees maybe 50, followed by clean and jerks then finished with a 2km row...repeated 3 times say.  Now THAT is a real circuit! 

  If you're unaware of these such events then you best start looking at them because this is shaping the sports world and producing some of the worlds BEST athletes.  I have been following Blair Morrison for a while now and I can't begin to understand his world.  He is an insanely decdicated and completely crazy enthusiast when it comes to CrossFit.  You only have to take a look at some of his workouts to realise that this guy is someone incredible.  I think if he were to have a tug-of-war with a heard of elephants he'd either win or catapult them into the distance!  I wish him all the luck in the world for this years challenge!

  Don't sit back and watch guys, lets all get involved and get focused on what is essentially the worlds toughest sport.

Peace out for now

Sprint W.O.D.

I really enjoy hill sprinting! Like REALLY enjoy hill sprinting. Nothing better than feeling that burning in your lungs and legs and just about anywhere in your body.

Near my house these is a great road for this, it is 0.6 miles long with two hills either side. One hill has a gentle gradient and the errr...not so gentle! Now I normally spend around half an hour on this workout as it takes me that time to do 4 runs. Basics :

  • Find a good hill that will take about a minute or more to sprint up
  • Take a short 5 minute jog to get into the groove of the run
  • Hit the bottom
  • Run hard, run fast and run as long as you can to get to the top
  • Repeat until you can't
Try adding 20 Burpees for everytime you slow down before your finish marker as punishment. Burpees are hard on tired legs!

Peace out for now

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cross Fit Workouts

Hey guys

In this blog I will be talking mainly about cross fit workouts and giving out my daily cross fit workouts along with some videos that I will be doing.

Currently I consider myself unhealthy, unfit and completely out of the game so this will be a learning curve for myself! Any comments or feed back will be welcome :)

Peace out for now