Monthly Archives: August 2010

Cool Stuff I’ve Seen/Read This Week

I surf the internet way beyond the boundaries of what is acceptable for the average human being. The problem is there is just so much damned information out there! Granted, a lot of it is crap and many is the time I have wasted hours reading ridiculously pointless pissing matches on forums. Nonetheless, there are gems out there waiting to be uncovered.

Here are a few of the highlights that I came across this week. 

Werner Günthör

I have developed a serious man crush on 80’s Swiss shot putter, Werner Günthör, primarily due to the training video below. At 2.00m tall and 130 kgs, Werner was an absolute beast of an athlete.  He was a three-time world champion and one-time European champion, as well as possessing an awesome mullet and classic 80’s style German porn moustache.

The video below is a in-depth look at Werner’s training. As a shot putter, strength and power were his primary goals as can be seen from his focus on heavy squats, cleans and plyometrics. For a guy 2.00m tall and 130 kgs, Werner is fast, explosive and flexible (check out the hurdle jumps). Great stuff!

Christian Holm

I may have posted this video before, but it never fails to astound me so here it is again. Christian Holm was an Olympic champion in the high jump in 2004 and is one of only two jumpers to clear 2.40m indoors since the great Javier Sotomayor. Standing just 1.81m (short for a high jumper – Sotomayor is 1.95m), Holm holds an unofficial record of the highest jump above his own height – 59cm. This is a short video of Holm training and is very cool.

San Fransisco 49ers Training

Here is another video, a tour of the San Fransisco 49ers weight room by head strength and conditioning coach Duane Carlisle. I’ve come across some interesting stories about NFL players’ training programs. Many of them are genetically so ridicoulously strong and powerful, that they can do whatever they want in the gym and it doesn’t make any difference. That means that they may not be the best people to learn from. Nonetheless, this is a pretty cool insight into the 49ers facility and training.

Shock Scientific Study shows exercise is beneficial!

This is a scientific study that show the benefits of exercise in the workplace. Basically they took two groups of 32 people working in a call centre for an airline in Sao Paolo. The experimental group did 10 minutes of exercise during the day, the control group took 10 minutes rest. Each group was then given some tests to guage their levels of mental fatigue.

Exercise for the experimental group consisted of joint mobilisation and static stretching drills, holding each stretch for 10 seconds. The test subjects were an average of 34 years old in the experimental group, with a body mass index of 22.8. The control group were an average of 31 years old with a body mass index of 22.9, so all the test subjects were young and healthy.

Overall both groups reported decreased muscle and joint pain and the experimental group showed increased mental acuity.

Now all this stuff seems pretty self-explanatory to me. Taking breaks and performing some light stretching or movement of any kind during work will make you feel better – duh! However, a lot of us lose sight of this. It is easy to sit at your desk, tapping away on the keyboard for eight hours straight. It doesn’t take a scientist to tell you that this will create postural problems as well as mental fatigue.

Everyone should be taking 5-10 minute breaks at least twice per day to do some stretching or just walking. I have a couple of strategies to help me with this. The first is that I drink loads of water during the day, at least 4 litres. This means I have to get up at least every 30 minutes and walk to the bathroom, which prevents me sitting for too long.

I also keep a hockey ball and exercise band next to my desk to do some foam rolling and stretching. I try to do this twice per day. Yes, my colleagues think I’m a complete loon, but I’m the only one in the office who can actually climb the stairs without having a cardiac arrest (we are on the 5th floor), and am therefore way cooler. High five!

Movnat

I wrote a piece a while ago about the Methode Naturelle, or Movnat. Just to recap, Movnat focuses on primal movements such as running, jumping, throwing etc, but also in a natural environment, rather than the confines of a commerical gym.

I’ve been meaning to try more of this, especially considering that here in the French Romande we are blessed with wonderful topographical features such as the lake and mountains. But of course, in reality, I have done nothing.

I guess it is possible to practice the Movnat methods indoors, and I came across this video the other day showing some cool looking drills. 

Beware the lure of the “sexy metcon”!

I love the principles of CrossFit, the constantly varied functional movements peformed at high intensity make for challenging, fun and rewarding workouts. Nonetheless, it is sometimes a bit too easy to fall in love with the challenge side of things which can lead to the mentality that “a good workout must leave you absolutely destroyed, otherwise it is a waste of time”.

I believe the goal of training should be to consistently progress, and goal setting and planning should be a part of that. Constantly trying monster chipper workouts which take 30 mins and leave you in a puddle of your own juices for 30 mins afterwards are probably not the best way to progress your fitness.

Here is a very interesting article on programming and the dangers of the “sexy metcon”.

Advertisements