Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fit Kids Do Better

Athletes are smart. Ask Angela Medina!

The evidence, not to mention the plain common sense, tells us that fit kids will do better in school than kids who aren't. What's so hard to understand about that?
The dumb jock and the stereotypical nerd are rare anomalies, statistical outliers. the norm is the kid who excels both academically and athletically. Yet politicians and many educational administrators seem to believe that success is finite and if the athletics attains too much then, academics will be deprived of it's share. Cancel physical education and de-emphasize athletics. While your at it, cut band and art too. Keep the kids in their seats with their noses in the books. If they can't read, then make them sit in front of a book for a couple of hours every day.
Below is another article that supports that idea.

Forget the old high school clich├ęs about athletes not doing as well academically as less sporty kids -- a new study shows that children who exercise more do better on mathematics and reading tests.
“There is some truth that athletes may be the brightest,” said Dr. Bob Rauner, author of the survey that compared standardized test scores of fourth- to eighth-grade children in public schools in Lincoln, Neb.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about dumb jocks and out-of-shape nerds,” Rauner said.
His study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics on Thursday, showed that children who are more physically fit tended to do better in the math and reading tests than children who were less active and heavier.
The Journal of Pediatrics portrayed the study partly as a result of U.S. schools dropping gym classes and physical education, ironically to focus more on academics.
“Although the long-term consequences of childhood obesity are well documented, some school districts have reduced physical education classes to devote more time to the three Rs in education — reading, writing, and arithmetic,” the study said. “However, there is new evidence that leaving out an important fourth R -- aerobics -- could actually be counterproductive for increasing test scores.”
Rauner, a family physician for 15 years, who now runs Healthy Lincoln, a non-profit that advocates for childhood health, said his study was prompted by seeing a lot of obese kids. “We found that some of the most obese were in schools which did not even have recess.”
He and colleagues from Lincoln Public Schools and Creighton University in Nebraska analyzed standardized tests for math and reading in 2010-2011, and compared them to students’ aerobic fitness and body mass index (BMI).
The study found that physically fit children had a 2.4 times greater chance of passing math tests and a 2.2 times greater chance of passing reading tests compared with aerobically unfit children.
Among poorer children who received free school lunches – and who tended to be more overweight for socio-economic reasons -- the odds of passing the tests were still greater than those of students who were aerobically-unfit.
The study also found that BMI, although an important indicator for overall general health, did not have a significant effect on academic success.
“Although obesity is a concern for children, this study shows that aerobic fitness can have a greater effect on academic performance than weight,” the Journal said.
It noted that both aerobic fitness and socio-economic status have a similar impact on academic performance, but because aerobic fitness can be easier to improve, it is easy to implement in a school setting.
“Schools should think twice before taking minutes from physical education classes and recess,” it warned.
"Schools sacrificing physical education and physical activity time in search of more seat time for math and reading instruction could potentially be pursuing a counterproductive approach," said Rauner.
He said the study data was passed on to the Lincoln schools superintendent and he said one principal he knows has already re-introduced recess time to allow children to run around.
He said physical education has been treated as optional for U.S. schools in the past few decades, “but I am hopeful we have passed that low point…and can reverse things.”
Other studies, he said, show children are becoming healthier in general and he pointed to physical exercise as significant in the treatment of other conditions, such as older Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
“It’s clear that if you work out this morning and then take the math test, you will do better,” said Rauner.
Rebecca Hashim, a clinical psychologist at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, N.Y., who was not involved in the study, said the results were promising. “There is well-established research showing that physical and mental well-being are connected."
Some programs to treat depression use physical exercise, she said, and studies with children show that exercise can raise self-esteem, “and if they feel better about themselves, perhaps they will do better academically.”
“There is some emerging research that regular physical activity can improve cognition,” Hashim said, noting that the study did not find that weight, or BMI, had any significant effect on test results.
“It makes sense," she said. "There is no known negative effect of exercise, so if it could improve well-being, why not put resources behind it?”
Hashim, who works with obese children in the Bronx, said she encouraged them to move their bodies more. “It’s hard if they are overweight as they avoid it.” She said the findings were positive, but would like to see further studies in different or more racially diverse populations than Lincoln, Nebraska.
Dr. Ari Brown, an Austin, Texas, pediatrician and author of books on child development and behavior, agreed that the study needed to be extended to other regions. “But, if additional research confirms these findings, hopefully there will be more value placed on physical activity for kids."

“It would also be interesting to know why this is the case ... is the brain needing that ‘work out’ to function better (as is the theory with Alzheimer's)? Or maybe kids are more focused and attentive and spend more quality time learning when their time is broken up by having time to exercise,” she said.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Modern football training has changed the nature of the game.

Just a quick article on the state of injuries in American football. While a sound training program can certainly minimize injury risk, there is no way to eliminate risk of injury entirely. Especially in the current state of American football where simple physics tells us that the sheer size and speed of the players is going to generate forces beyond what the human body can be conditioned to withstand. It has been my personal, but unscientific observation, that it is a rare individual who makes it through a high school and collegiate career without some injury serious enough to require surgery of some kind. Those rare specimens who make it to the NFL have to expect to play with pain and live with pain the remainder of their lives. Even though I knew and understood this, the article below still caught my attention. It is my prediction that this is only going to accelerate. The state of football training now is that players work hard in the off season to build as much mass and power as possible and hope to withstand the season so that they can recover, rehab, and start all over again.

Even by NFL standards, last weekend was a milemarker if you’re keeping track of the football carnage. By the time Week 7 ended on Sunday, there was a trail of wounded and battered players.
 Roll call, please.
 Reggie Wayne — Out for the season with a torn ACL.
 Sam Bradford — Out for the season with a torn ACL.
 Brian Cushing — Out for the season with a broken fibula and torn LCL. Almost exactly a year ago he suffered a knee injury that cost him the last 11 games of the season. 
Doug Martin — Out for the season with a torn labrum (shoulder).
 Jermichael Finley — Out indefinitely after being carried off the field on a backboard and taken to a hospital. He reports that he is out of the ICU and was able to walk to the shower.
  Bradford will miss the rest of the season because of a torn knee ligament. The Rams said Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, the extent of the injury to Bradford's left knee was confirmed after an MRI exam. Bradford tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 30-15 loss to the Panthers when he landed on his knee after being shoved out of bounds by Panthers safety Mike Mitchell.  St. Louis Rams' Sam Bradford (8) is taken to the locker room after being injured in the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. Bradford will miss the rest of the season because of a torn knee ligament. The Rams said Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, the extent of the injury to Bradford's left knee was confirmed after an MRI exam. Bradford tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 30-15 loss to the Panthers when he landed on his knee after being shoved out of bounds by Panthers safety Mike Mitchell. 
Jay Cutler — Out four weeks with a groin injury.Nick Foles — Out indefinitely with a concussion. He had replaced the injured Michael Vick as the Eagles’ quarterback. Team officials say Vick will play this week even though he is not “100 percent” healthy.
 Injuries are the great flaw in America's favorite game. What can the NFL do about it? Not much, other than turn it into a flag league, which is pretty much what it has already done, given the many constraints that rules have placed on defensive players, from the types of hits they can make to the 5-yard rule for pass coverage.
 Let’s see, no hitting in the head area, no hitting low in the ankles and knees at certain places on the field, no hits if the player is considered defenseless. The target is getting smaller and smaller, and the rules are actually making it more dangerous for defensive players.
Today’s players: Bigger, stronger, faster and … injured. It’s physics. Bigger players hitting bodies at faster speeds equals more force and more broken bodies. Please, don’t tell me you believe the increase in size during the last two to three decades is natural; it far outstrips the growth of the general population. Players can manufacture pounds of muscle, but they don’t increase the size and strength of the tendons and ligaments that hold them together.
 ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that 181 players were on the injured reserve list BEFORE the season even began — easily a league record. Since then, the broken bodies have piled up.
 Imagine the marketing problem NBA officials would have if they had the NFL’s injury rate and had to play on without their marquee players. In a quarterback-driven league, the Eagles, Bears, Vikings, Texans, Rams, Browns, Jaguars and Bills have all lost their starting quarterback to injuries, sometimes more than one.
 Two of the Packers’ top three receivers are down and all three of their running backs have missed games, as has their superstar linebacker, Clay Matthews. Dallas running back DeMarco Murray was inactive Sunday with a knee injury. Arian Foster, one of the league’s biggest stars, missed most of last week’s game with an injury. The Falcons’ top two receivers, Roddy White and Julio Jones, missed last week’s game (and Jones, a superstar in the making, is done for the year).
 Champ Bailey, the Broncos’ great cornerback, made his first appearance of the season last week after being sidelined with a foot injury; he reinjured the foot and is out again. The Patriots lost to the Jets last week while playing without three of their best defensive players — Aqib Talib, Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo (the latter two are out for the year).
 The injuries are affecting playoff races as the injuries pile up. The Eagles, Bears, Rams and Bills are in big trouble. Among the other players who have missed playing time with injuries: Ahmad Bradshaw, Ray Rice, Stevan Ridley, Danny Amendola, Miles Austin, Percy Harvin, Dennis Pitta, C.J. Spiller, James Jones, David Wilson, Brandon Jacobs, Santonio Holmes, Michael Crabtree, Fred Davis and Shane Vereen.
 There are so many injuries that teams could run out of players. The Bills plucked a player from their practice squad, Thad Lewis, and made him their starting quarterback. But practice squads might not be enough. Forbes magazine writer Monte Burke notes that in 2010, 352 players went on the season-ending Injured Reserve list, missing an average of nine and a half games.
 “The NFL, of course, already has the greatest and cheapest (read: free) farm system in the professional sports world: The college game,” writes Burke. “But those players are obviously not able to join NFL teams in mid-season. A developmental league could help fill that void — and could have other benefits as well.”
 NFL Europe went out of business in 2007, but for 15 years it served as a developmental league, not only providing players to fill in for injuries but giving second chances to players such as Kurt Warner, James Harrison, Fred Jackson, Jake Delhomme and Brad Johnson.
 At the current rate of attrition, NFL teams are going to need help from somewhere.
 Doug Robinson's columns run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Email: drob@deseretnews.com
They start young. 
Watch your back position buddy!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Arnold Schwarzenegger's tips for working out on the road

Arnold Schwarzenegger posted a video of himself working out in a hotel gym on Instagram.

As we've posted before, in our opinion Arnold lacks some of the most important qualities of being a real man and warrior, but he certainly has strengths that all can learn from as well. I don't travel that often myself, but when I do, I don't allow that to be an excuse to vegetate. I love that attitude of improvising and making due with whatever is available.

(CNN) -- Arnold Schwarzenegger is on the road a lot, whether he's filming a movie in Bulgaria or presenting awards to ridiculously fit people in Spain. So who better to offer tips on working out while traveling?
It's obvious the former bodybuilding champ has kept in shape. In a video he posted on Instagram on Thursday, Schwarzenegger barely breaks a sweat as he tackles the elliptical and several weight machines in his hotel gym.
"Someone on Reddit asked what it was like for me to train in hotel gyms or other unfamiliar gyms on the road," Schwarzenegger posted. "The answer is: just like it is for you. There is no waiting to train until you have perfect circumstances. I improvise with whatever is available.
"I walk in and my only rule is to keep moving, for a pump and cardio at the same time. Rest as little as possible. After an hour, you will feel fantastic and your muscles won't know what hit them."
  The actor trains every day for at least an hour to be in shape for movies like "Escape Plan," which releases in theaters tonight.
A Reddit user posted a link to the Instagram video on the site, and Schwarzenegger, a frequent Reddit contributor, jumped on to offer some more advice.
"The point isn't the machines or the exercises," he wrote. "The point is that you can create a workout for your goals anywhere. Even if you just use a chair for dips, a table for rows and the floor for pushups."
Schwarzenegger said he enjoys working out in unfamiliar gyms, even if sometimes he'd prefer to be at home. "I like shocking my system," he wrote, "so I look at the bright side."
You have to wonder if the bodybuilder-turned actor-turned governor-turned-actor ever gets interrupted during his workout. Occasionally, he said, but mostly people keep to themselves.
Fair warning to fans in New Orleans, where Schwarzenegger is filming "Maggie": The actor said he welcomes people who want to say hello to him while he's resting between sets, but "don't slow me down while I'm working."
Maybe it's just us, but we would never bother someone with these biceps mid-grunt.
Of course, staring at him oddly isn't a good idea either.

"Based on the looks I've been getting in the hotel gym, people think something is seriously wrong with donkey raises," Schwarzenegger posted on Reddit earlier this month, referring to calf exercises that involve bending forward and lifting and lowering your heels. "I can't recommend them enough, though."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Apparently these clowns were so proud of what they did that they removed their video!!!

Most of you have probably seen this by now. It's all over the media. These guys are so redneck you'd think they were acting. Most of us love to go out and workout in Mother nature, lifting stones, throwing rocks and logs,finding whatever we can find; but who would think of knocking over a formation that has taken thousands of years to form, in a national park no less, then post it on Youtube? This has got to be one of the bonehead moves of all time! Now the whole world knows they have no respect. They'll probably get a chance to find out what prison workouts are like next.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Discover How Good Your Body is Designed to Feel!

Today, I am giving a shout out to a friend, Wendy Hendry. Wendy is a Health/Nutrition coach and owner of Sweaty Chix’s Fitness (Utah). After battling a lifetime of emotional eating and then giving birth to 8 kids, Wendy saw her weight soar to 185lbs. Now, at 46 years old and a bodyweight of 125lbs, Wendy lives a very active and healthy lifestyle.

Having finally achieved her health and fitness goals, Wendy has made it a personal ambition to help others who are also battling bad health and being overweight. Obesity in America has become a modern day epidemic, affecting over 30% of the US population.

This rising trend has given birth to huge markets promoting the latest diet fads and the newest weight loss pills. But unfortunately, the billions of dollars being pumped into both these industries have resulted in very little change.

Through small lifestyle changes and a balanced approached in both nutrition and exercise, Wendy believes that any individual can achieve their health and fitness goals. Now as a Health/Nutrition coach, Wendy shares her knowledge with clients and those interested in learning more. 

This Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 12:00 p.m. MDT, Wendy is conducting an online webinar for those interested in learning more about how they can take control of their health and weight.

You can register now for Discover How Good Your Body is Designed to Feel! by following the link below:

There is no charge for the webinar, so feel free to sign up if you have even the slightest interest in losing weight and getting healthy!

Machelle Chaffin and Mary Oliveira, both former clients of Wendy and now Health/Nutrition coaches themselves, will also be appearing as guest speakers.

If you do sign up, please be sure to give a shout out to us here at HaskeStrength as your referral.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fired Football Coaches Association

Jon Gruden was as obsessed as can be. Now has a better perspective as a member of the FFCA.

I'm a member of the Fired Football Coaches Association. If you coach long enough, it generally happens at some point. Anyway, I like what Jon Gruden is doing. American Football is a crazy enviroment. College coaches are generally the highest paid employees in their respective universities and often the highest paid public employees in the state. NFL coaches play musical chairs. Usually a firing from one team ends up with the hiring of someone who was fired from another team. It's very inbred. The salaries are astronomical. Most, not all, of the football coaches I know have a very limited perspective and very narrow personalities. Hat off to Jon Gruden for looking outside the box and doing some good.
What does this have to do with training? Maybe nothing. But maybe keeping a balance in your life and thinking about what you can give as well as what you can take is a healthy thing.

Osborne coach Xarvia Smith got a call on his cell phone this week that he still thinks might’ve been a joke.
The caller invited Smith for dinner next week at Hooters in downtown Atlanta to talk football. He identified himself as Jon Gruden, the former NFL coach and now commentator for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”
“He said he knew some friends of mine and heard good things about me and my team and wanted to help me out and talk a little football,” Smith said. “I was in the weight room and told him I couldn’t talk. I probably sounded disrespectful, but I didn’t believe it. Then I called Hooters to ask them if they had something scheduled when he said it was.”
It was no prank.
Gruden will be in town next week ahead of the Monday night game between the Falcons and the Jets. The coach, who won a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers in the 2002 season, also has reached out to local coaches John Diehl of Forest Park, James Holloway of Towers and Dominic Callaway of Therrell, none of whom has ever met Gruden.
Gruden typically identifies a few local high school coaches and teams that are making progress at hard-to-win, underfunded programs. He gets recommendations from local media and coaches that he knows in the area.
“He said he was a high school coach and knew that we needed some help with all the budget cuts and wanted to reach out and help,” Smith said. “I don’t know who he knows that I know, but I’m grateful, blessed and happy. He gave me his personal cell number and said I had a friend for life. That was pretty cool.”
In 2009, Gruden founded the Fired Football Coaches Association, which he calls a think tank for coaches to study football. Its mission is to give back to the game with a specific emphasis on high school football.
After the Buccaneers fired him in 2008, Gruden volunteered as an assistant coach at his son’s school in Tampa. Deuce is now at senior on the football team at LaFayette College. Gruden’s father, Jim, was a high school coach, his mother a school teacher, so helping out his son’s team was something he relished. It also opened his eyes to the challenges.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for what these high school coaches are up against,’’ Gruden said. ‘’(Until) I helped my son’s high school, I never realized you had to figure out creative ways to get anything from a practice ball to a new jersey. Budgets are reduced, and coaches don’t get paid anything, but they’re expected to perform at a high level. I really wanted to find ways to assist some of these schools need help.’’
Gruden began his get-togethers with local coaches last season and held about five of them while on the “Monday Night Football’’ tour. The chosen coaches are allowed to bring a few of their players and guests.
Smith said he was bringing his staff, which is smaller than most, and three of his seniors.
It has already been a pretty good year for Smith’s Osborne team, which hasn’t had a winning season since 1994. The Cardinals are 2-2, winning their first season opener in 10 years and first homecoming game in 19.
Now this.

“I’m going to try to take advantage of every second I have with him,” Smith said. “The coolest thing is he said he’d sit down with a dry erase board and really talk football. I’m really honored. I’m going to have three or four things that I have football-wise and coaching-wise to make my program better and just enjoy the moment. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event that brings a lot of attention to our program.”

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Functional Training

Don't let "functional" training confuse you.

Functional training is certainly a buzzword in the training world. In my opinion it is meaningless. Any sound training is functional. I mean if it's not functional, why do it at all? The most functional training of all is the heavy basic lifts that build the foundation for everything. Strength is the foundation of power, of endurance, and of movement. I can't really think of a physical activity that strength wouldn't improve. Nor can I think of an activity where strength would be a liability. I have never heard a coach say, "He (or she) would be a great (Fill in the blank here, football, volleyball, wrestler, running, jumpinig, throwing, basketball, baseball,....etc.) athlete if he (or she) wasn't so darn strong." Functional training isn't as complex as some like to make it seem. Get stronger and you will improve your function. The most efficient and effective way to get strong is to do some sort of squatting movement, some sort of pulling movement, and some sort of pressing movement. Pick weights up off of the floor and lift them over your head. Carry, push, or drag heavy weights. Go hard and heavy as you can, then recover and repeat. Practice your sport or activity along with lifting.
What could be more functional than that.

Functional training : Making the most of daily movements
Functional training may be the new mantra, but do you know what it is supposed to do?
Functional training is a buzz phrase in the fitness industry and, often, it gets widely interpreted. Many people confuse functional exercises with high-impact movements. Functional fitness is, as the name suggests, all about being fit for everything, through a combination of aerobic, anaerobic, agility, muscular endurance, strength and power training.
Postures that help improve the efficiency of daily movements, such as picking up something from the floor, lifting bags or children, pushing or pulling a sofa, and focus on training and developing your muscles to perform routine activities safely, help improve coordination, balance and stability and form a part of functional training. Most functional exercises tend to be compound movements that involve more than one joint action and two or more different muscle groups. For example a dead lift involves the glutes, hamstrings, calves, core, shoulders and arm muscles. By including a dead lift in your training routine you become more aware about safely picking up things from the floor without compromising the neutral alignment of your back. Functional exercises go beyond increasing the strength and power of the muscles; they work on improving coordination of various muscle groups and the nervous system.
Exercises that isolate joints and muscles are not functional training movements. These result in less functional improvement of the body. For example, squats will have a greater “transfer effect” of improving an individual’s ability to rise from a sofa than knee extensions on a leg extension machine.
In my experience, most faulty mechanics of bending and lifting patterns are due to weak core muscles. Functional exercises contribute to the improvement of the core (deep muscles in the abdominal area and the lower back) and exercises like the plank, side plank, and props like the Swiss ball, kettlebells, etc., should be included in training routines.
An efficient body needs not only strength; it needs the support of all components of training (strength, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and core stability). For example, while lifting an infant you could hurt your spine for various reasons—lack of a strong core, which puts pressure on the lower back in the lifting phase, weak shoulder and cervical muscles could compromise the stability of the upper back. So another reason to include functional training in your workout would be to enhance coordination, agility and flexibility.
While functional training exercises help improve muscle definition, some may even burn more calories than a traditional weightlifting workout because the former rely on body weight as added resistance. This, in my opinion, is a true test of one’s strength. You should be strong enough to lift your own body weight. If you are not able to then either you might want to shed some kilos or build overall body strength. Research has shown that when people include functional exercises in their routine, it reduces the risk of injury.
Functional exercises are not limited to replicating everyday movements; they are also used to train sportspersons. For example, golfers and tennis players greatly benefit by including functional training in their routine. To replicate a good and strong swing, core exercises like the wood chop and dynamic variations of the plank are great, as they stabilize the pelvic- and aid-controlled trunk- rotation. For tennis, agility drills like using the ladder (an exercise prop) and overhead squats strengthen the legs and aid quick start and stop movements.
If you want to improve your overall fitness level, integrate these exercises in your workout.

Sumaya Dalmia is a wellness consultant, fitness expert and owner of Sumaya, a personal training studio in New Delhi.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Big Rocks

No "Big Rocks" here!

A nice article below by Tony Gentilcore which I got off of another site. I totally agree with the approach and I really like his "big rocks" imagery. Put your time and energy into the lifts that really make a difference. Don't waste time waving light dumbells in front of a mirror, load the bar and push and pull. Quite a few years ago I was sitting in a roundtable with some of the strength and conditioning coaches from around the Mountain West. The question came up about how do you prevent shoulder injuries? It was reported that these coaches were having more and more shoulder surgeries. Several coaches replied that they were having their athletes do various rotator cuff "prehab" type stuff with dumbells. Rich McClure, then the head S&C coach at Northern Arizona University and a great advocate of the Olympic style lifts, said "no wonder you are having problems, do you do any heavy overhead work?" A few volunteered that they did some dumbell presses with moderate weights. Rich said he had athletes doing overhead supports and heavy jerks off of the racks with close to 400 lb. and that they had no shoulder surgeries. Heavy basic movements that involve the whole body in multi-joint movements include all of the little muscles as well and keep them balanced in the proper ratios as well. As much as I like the concept that Mr. Gentilcore presents, his sample workout doesn't really measure up to his premise. My programs are centered on 2-3 basic movements. Do them hard and heavy, then go home and get on with your life and/or practice for your sport. Enjoy the journey.

I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to offer my head up as a punching bag when I talk to young athletes about training. They complain that they can't put on weight or get stronger, then proceed to tell me that their previous workout was a biceps and lower ab day.
Walk into Cressey Performance on any given day and you'll see our athletes deadlifting, pushing sleds, cranking out Chin-Ups and using squat racks for their intended purpose—not performing Bicep Curls. They focus on the "big rocks" and don't waste time on what I call "training minutiae." To put it another way: they perform heavy multi-joint movements instead of training their beach muscles.
It's inevitable that many of them sneak in some arm and ab work on their own time. But when they're under my roof, they concentrate on the "big rocks," because that's what makes them bigger, faster and stronger.
The 'Big Rocks Concept'
The story goes like this: A professor asks his students to fill a bucket with rocks, pebbles and sand. He places the big rocks in the bucket, then asks his students how to add the remaining items. Not surprisingly, the students place the pebbles and then the sand in the bucket. In the end, everything fits in the bucket.
The professor then asks his students to fill the bucket in reverse order. After pouring in the sand, the students realize that the  sand alone fills the entire bucket and nothing else can fit.
"It is the same with time," explains the teacher. "Give time slots to the big things before anything else. Otherwise, the inevitable sand will fill up your day."
The Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle (a.k.a. the 80-20 Rule) is named for Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, whose work validates the concept of "big rocks." He demonstrated in the early 1900's that 80 percent of the wealth in Italy was owned by 20 percent of the population.
Since its inception, the Pareto Principle has been studied and applied to every facet of life. More often than not, it proves that a few activities (20 percent) provide the greatest return on investment (80 percent). For example:
20 percent of the crops a farmer plants result in 80 percent of the overall yield.
20 percent of a company's clients account for 80 percent of its profit.
20 percent of the exercises you perform produce 80 percent of the gains.
Training Implications
To get results from your training, you need to embrace the concept of "big rocks" and spend most of your time performing a few exercises that offer the most bang for your clock. If you're good at these movements, there's a good chance you will be one of the biggest and strongest athletes on the field.
I get my athletes into the mindset of movement-specific workouts, rather than body-part specific workouts. For example, they will perform a "Deadlift day" (rocks) rather than a "hip/leg day" (sand), or they'll do a "Chin-Up day" (rocks) instead of an "arm day" (sand).
Here's an example of what a "Big Rocks" workout looks like:
Deadlift Day

Full foam rolling and dynamic warm-up
A. Trap Bar Deadlift - 4x5
B1. Dumbbell Step-Up - 3x8 each leg
B2. Push-Ups - 3x10 (band-resisted if needed)
C1. Pull-Throughs - 3x10
C2. Seated Cable Rows - 3x12
D1. Pallof Press - 3x8 each side
D2. Rotator Cuff Work - 2x10 each arm
E. High-five someone x infinity
I recommend performing two to three additional workouts per week, emphasizing one primary movement each day (think: Deadlift, Bench variation, Chin-Up, Row variation). Follow with accessory work to complement the main movement and address glaring weaknesses or imbalances.
Avoid "fluffy" programs and exercises. Master the basics and good things will happen.

A Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, Tony Gentilcore is a co-founder of Cressey Performance (Hudson, Mass.). He's a regular contributor to sites such as T-Nation.com and Livestrong.com, as well as to Men's Health magazine. For more information, check out his website at www.TonyGentilcore.com.

What really "Big Rocks" looks like!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Native Mascots Again

Image: Cleveland Indians fans in red face (©Jason Miller/Getty Images)
"We are just honoring Native Americans".
You bet. It makes us proud to see white people acting like idiots.
It's ironic that everyone who justifies the Native names usually says something to the effect that it "makes me proud" to represent the Redskins, Indians, Braves,....or whatever. No one ever seems to consider how the Natives feel about being represented by redneck fans or Joe Thiesman. One things for sure. If these guys showed up with faces painted black they would never get away with it. Why is there a double standard?

It's an issue that isn't going away. The Braves still are in the playoffs, and the Redskins controversy has been stirring for some time, with owner Daniel Snyder vowing to never change the name, Joe Theismann defending it by saying he represented Native Americans when he played for the Skins, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell defending the name, then saying the NFL should listen to the protests. Then there was this T-shirt design that combined RG3's face with the Redskins mascot's. And in July, the Mets felt some backlash for cancelling a tribute to Native Americans because it was scheduled before a game against the Braves. To top it off, the Indians lost Wednesday night's game 4-0, ending their season.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Toddler Cross-Fit?

Exercising with kids is one of the best gifts you can give them.

I am not against youngsters, even toddlers getting plenty of exercise. I'm just a little sad that it has come to the point where people are paying for a few hours a week of structured play. Me and even my children enjoyed hours of running and changing direction while playing tag and other games. We climbed trees and jumped up on and down from all kinds of surfaces and objects. We wrestled and swam in creeks and biked all over the countryside. We also pushed lawnmowers and pulled weeds and hoed gardens. We even got to toss bales of hay as we got older. If this is the only alternative to hours in front of the television or computer, then so be it. I guess we have to give some credit to those who are smart enough to recognize a need and make some money off of it. It just seems to me that these are truly poor kids who have parents rich enough to pay for them to play. My own kids were lucky enough to have most of the experiences that I had growing up with the added advantage of being able to follow me to the weight room. As toddlers they loved to climb up and slide down the inclined benches and swing from the bars on the racks. It wasn't long until they were using sticks to imitate the lifts and then using light weights. "Workouts" were always fun and playtime made even more special by spending time together. I never thought of paying someone else to do that for me.

Apparently you're never too young to get your first "WOD Beast" T-shirt. A CrossFit affiliate in Long Island City Queens will start offering classes to toddlers, introducing soon-to-be jacked 3- to 5-year-olds to the world of air squats and bear crawls. CrossFit Gantry is adding the classes as part of their CrossFit Kids program. The kids don't use weights or kettlebells, instead focusing on "colors, counting and … functionality in movement," like learning how to pick up a heavy backpack without hurting themselves. "Children develop and grow stronger by doing no weight and lots of repetition," CrossFit Kids coach Michele Gelbert told DNAinfo New York. "For them, it's just like a huge game."
 But the huge game does come at a price: two toddler classes per week will cost $280 per month. 

Dinisin Whaley at one of his father's strongman meets.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Perfect Program

No, we don't really have a Limo service on the Rez.  But if we did, it would look like this. Not so humorous to us Rez dwellers who see all kinds of creative things rolling across the desert.

Effective training is always a matter of piecing together something as close as possible to the ideal within the parameters of reality. I mean who ever really has enough time, money, and energy to do everything we would like? In spite of the best of intentions or preparations, we always have to have a plan B, and C and.....It never happens exactly like we want it to. If we wait for a perfect situation, we'll never get any where. Here on the Rez (reservation for all you non-rezzites) we have people who are among the most resourceful in the world. Our people are masters of making the best of any situation. They have to be because life here is full of challenges. How many of the rest of you in the United States of America still live without running water or electricity at the end of a 20 mile dirt road? Tough conditions make for tough and creative people. Those same qualities will serve anyone well who wants to make progress over the long haul. Lacking the equipment you "need" to accomplish your goals? Tommy Kono tells us about the time he trained for his the national championships while serving in the Army. He wasn't able to train with any weights for 2 months prior to competition but stayed in great shape with the regular Army calisthenics and body weight resistance exercises. He managed to match his best ever total after getting a 3 day pass to travel to the meet. He did a couple workouts before the meet and wasn't able to eat or drink until after the weigh-in so he could make weight. Your muscles don't have eyes. They don't know what is supplying the resistance, they only know if they are being stressed or not. The stress can be rocks, body weight made harder with gravity enhancing angles or moving someone else's body weight, or pushing or pulling heavy objects or bands. Can't afford the latest and greatest supplements? You will find that hard work covereth a multitude of nutritional shortcomings. There are many from other countries who are beating our athletes for whom a McDonald's meal would be a great improvement over their daily sustenance. So, life isn't perfect? Join the club. Decide what you want to accomplish and find a way to get it done.
I've always loved the Rocky IV training sequence. Of course it's backwards. We know that it would have been Drago training old school and only the U.S. had such technology widely available in it's "health" clubs, worthless as it is. Still it's fun. It's fun to watch and even more fun to actually train "Rocky style" now and then.