Friday, May 23, 2014

Running with a bunch of maniacs

One of the more popular obstacle race venues, Rugged Maniac, will be making it's way to Portland next week for an obstacle race event.  Held at the Portland International Raceway, it should ,make for an interesting and "rugged" event.

Rugged Maniac is well know for having the highest number of obstacles per mile, so there won't be much time to get into a running rhythm.   The course is only 5k, but having own several 5k obstacle races, I know that although it;s only 3 miles (I mean 3.1 miles) it will be anything but easy. 

I have been putting in lots of training the past 6 weeks to prepare my body for non-stop demand.  A typical workout will last for 1-1.5 hours with very minimal rest.  This week, for instance, I will be doing 6 sets of four exercises for 1 min. each, followed by only 5 sec of rest.  I will be repeating this sequence with 3 times with four different exercises each time.  I have a strength group, a power group, and a core group.  I use DB and KB mostly for my strength group to help prepare for better grip strength and unilateral movements.  I use the TRX and plyo boxes for most of my power group, and a combination of Swiss ball and TRX for core exercises.

To add an extra challenge, I have been using my weighted vest (15 lbs) while performing the workouts.  The most challenging group is the core group.  Having the extra weight when doing planks or mtn. climbers makes a huge difference and adds quite a bit of difficulty to the exercises.

I am excited to compete in this race and will also have a good friend competing as well.  With a bunch of maniacs running around in an International Raceway who knows what will happen.  One thing is for sure,  we'll all have a big smile on our faces as we fly down their infamous 50 ft. water slide.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

NSCA Oregon State Clinic

Today I had the opportunity to visit the Oregon State University and learn from some of Oregon's best strength coaches and an Olympic weightlifting coach.  NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) offers many State Clinics to strength & conditioning coaches, personal trainers, and coaches on their training philosophies and Oregon's was held on the OSU campus.  Bryan Miller, OSU's head s&c coach was the facilitator for the clinic.

Oregon State's strength and conditioning facility

The day kicked off with the legendary University of Oregon's Jim Radcliffe talking about U of O's training principles.  Lots of his talk was about how to improve hip mobility with athletes and getting their muscles to work in synchronicity to be able to generate power.

 Jim Radcliffe, University of Oregon

Then US Weightlifting coach, Michael Conroy, talked about how to properly teach and perform the snatch and clean exercises.  These two explosive movements that can be very beneficial to athletes but can also be difficult to master.   The most beneficial thing I took from this presentation was how the barbell "should" move during the exercise.  A few great power point slides showed how some of the best Olympic weightlifters lifted the bar; keeping it behind an imaginary vertical line using some video analysis.

We were able to practice both exercises, and since I don't practice the snatch at all, I discovered that I don't have the shoulder mobility to execute it properly.  Some of the University of Oregon's strength coaches demonstrated the exercise with perfect technique and made it look simple.

Next we learned from Partick Ward how to properly collect data and how to utilize it with your athletes.  He has worked with many professional teams and has been able to help coaches get the most out of their athletes.

The University of Portland basketball coach, Brad Scott, shared his training principles and how he and he training staff lay out their off-season programs.

To wrap things up, Kyle Holland, Team EXOS - Special Operations, talked about how he trains his MMA athletes and some of the exercises he uses.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

4 creative ways to "Spring Clean" your workouts

As we roll into the month of May we tend to focus on "spring cleaning"; such things as fertilizing the lawn and laying down some fresh dirt around the flowers, cleaning the garage, dusting the house and washing the windows.  Sound familiar?

The same should be said for your daily strength workout routine.  Have you been doing them same workouts for the past month or two?  If you have, it's time to spring clean your workout and give it a fresh look. Spring cleaning your workout/s can add some motivation that may have been lost, or prevent strength plateaus that may have occurred.  It's time to transform your body so that when summer rolls around you can feel good about participating and performing well in your sporting events, or even feel good about taking your shirt off (if you're a man) or wearing your bikini at the pool (of course if you're a woman).

Now I'm not saying that you have to completely change your workout.  All I am saying is slightly add some new variety to your workout; and that can mean many different things.  An example of this would be something as simple as switching the days up that you do certain workouts on.  For instance, if on Monday's you always do Legs, change it up and do upper body that day instead.  Or, if you normally do your weights routine and then cardio afterwards, change it up and do your cardio before your weights workout.  Now these are very simple changes that can be made, but will make each week feel a little different.


Here are 4 creative ideas to spring clean your workout.

1.  Instead of always using machines or the barbell for your exercises, switch to using Dumbbells or Kettlebells

2.  Instead of performing all bilateral exercises (using both legs or arms during the movement, switch to unilateral movements (using only 1 arm or leg during the execution).  An example of this could be performing a single-leg squat vs. a traditional squat.

3.  Try to incorporate supersets into your routine.  Supersets are 2 exercises performed back to back without rest, followed by a short rest, then repeated for "X" number of sets.  Try this superset pair...
15 KB Swings and 10 Pushups - 3 sets of each (a great push and pull combo)

4.  Perform some cardio/plyometric exercises in between your strength exercises.  This is a great way to keep the HR elevated and reduce rest periods and is a great addition to those who already have good fitness.  Try mixing in Jump Rope, Jumping Jacks, Box Jumps or High Knee Runs for 20-30 sec. in between each exercise.