Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Easy as 321

The guys at Beastmaker have some brutal training trips for finger strength.

I like to post stuff like this up here as it means that I can browse these ideas on my phone when wanting to pull down a 'random' training program. I was thinking of 3-5 sets of 3-9 second hangs with rests of one minute in between sets (all on one arm at a time - if possible).

4 finger open hand large hold
4 finger open hand small hold
3 finger open hand - front
3 finger open hand - back
3 finger open hand - front - smaller hold
3 finger open hand - back - smaller hold
4 finger half crimp
4 finger full crimp
2 finger pocket - back
2 finger pocket - front

Although the goal is one armed hanging, it is possible to set up bungies or a pulley system to offset the strain. You could use two arms for some of the hangs, but one arm training is more intense due to the bilateral strength deficit- the difference in maximal or near-maximal force generating capacity of muscles when they are contracted alone and in combination with the contralateral muscles. (i.e. you might be able to perform a pull up with twice your bodyweight, but that does not mean you can do a one arm pull up).

Monday, 28 September 2009

Climbing Workout

Hmmm - a big step backwards on the deadhanging today! My fingers really did not fire. I took it in my stride. No point getting worked up about it. I need to rest. I think Doug at BBS has the answer to my problem!

I was trying a rep scheme of 5/3/1.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (10 mins)
1a) Laddering (5/3/1x15-rung)
1b) L-Sit Muscle Ups to Basic Ring Routine to Lever (3x5/3/1 on MUs)
1c) Ring Scissors (3x5/3/1 scissors)

The last set was done slowly in each case to ensure maximal effort. I finished with a ten-minute deadhanging routine. I think I need a bit more rest after deadhanging! I climbed outdoors on Saturday and suspect that I was not fully recovered.

Statin Article

The energy that Mark puts in to "Mark's Daily Apple" is second to none. Anyone new to paleo should make this one of their top sites to visit.

He recently flagged up this excellent article in The Huffington Post. If you have spent some time following the paleo model, there will be nothing new here regarding statins/cholesterol - but as Mark notes, this is "another major sign conventional wisdom is starting to crack"!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Taubes Interview

Another interview with Gary Taubes in which he succinctly presents his theory on why we get fat! (Hat tip to Don at Primal Wisdom)

Friday, 25 September 2009


The aim was four sets of the main sequence (2a-2f):

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (20 mins)
1a) 15s Sprint to Fig Eights (2x30s, one minute rest between each set)

2a) HSPU (3, 3, 2, 2)
2b) Alternative Leg Pistol (3, 3, 2, 2)
2c) Tuck Planche (4x5s)
2d) Tuck Lever (4x5s)
2e) Alternate One Arm Lock-Off to Lower (3, 3, 2, 2)
2f) Wall Walks (4x3)

All pistols were free and unassisted - which is a bit of progress. Reckon I could have done an extra one on the last set. The negative phase of the exercise was under good control as well.

The HSPUs felt a tad awkward and I was using my heels against the pillar for some assistance, but largely my arms were doing the work and feeling stronger.

This variety and intensity that I am using seems to be really giving me good gains. I intend (!), to post about why I chose to perform sets and reps the way I do - at some point in the future. It certainly beats three sets of ten for gains!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Behind the Headlines

Dr Alicia White has written a useful little guide that is worth consulting when next you come across a big news story regarding health, fitness, illness and medicine. Serious journalism is in short supply. Arm yourself.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Arthur Jones Nautilus Bulletin No.1

I happened across this stuff from Arthur Jones. The 'spirit' of his approach reminds me very much of that in the 5BX book I posted on earlier.

You can't help thinking that these older guys had it largely sussed and that much of what passes for fitness advice now has not only been polluted by the late 70s and early 80s fitness crazes, but now spends to much sweating the detail. Add to that a generous topping of marketing hype premised on the multi million dollar supplement industry and you have a recipe for making some people rich!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Climbing Routine

I did an intense, but not very dense workout tonight. The MUs and Scissors involved four seconds in the positive phase, a hold for four seconds, and then four seconds in the negative phase of the exercise. This figure was adjusted to maintain intensity as appropriate.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (10 mins)
1a) Laddering (3x5-rung)
1b) Three L-Sit Muscle Ups to Basic Ring Routine to Lever (3sets)
1c) Ring Scissors (3x3 scissors)

I finished with a variation of the Moon routine here.

More Deadhanging Routines

The Moon site has a good deadhanging routine:

1. Double armed dead hang on front three fingers open handed.
Hang for 6 seconds, repeat three hangs resting 2 minutes between each.

2. Double armed dead hang on middle two fingers open handed.
Hang for 6 seconds, repeat 2 times resting 1.5 minutes between each.

3. Hang open handed on three fingers on one arm, decrease resistance as required until hang can be completed.
Hang for 6 seconds, repeat 3 sets for each arm, resting one minute between hangs on alternative arms.

Rest 5 minutes.

4. Double armed hang on full crimp position, on a first joint edge.
Hang for 6 seconds, repeat three hangs resting 1.5 minutes between each.

5. Double armed hang on full crimp, this time slightly smaller than the last set, i.e., _ of the finger tip.
Hang for 6 seconds, repeat three hangs resting 1.5 minutes between each.

6. Single arm hang on 1st joint edge, decrease resistance if required until hang can be completed.
Hang for 6 seconds, repeat 3 sets for each arm, resting one minute between hangs on alternative arms.


Sunday, 20 September 2009

Follow the Money

Since I stopped training as advised by the wider fitness business, since I stopped popping post-workout shakes and since I began ignoring government backed nutrition advice, I have had to rely increasingly on my paleo compass. This isn't infallible, but is, I believe, a better option. The physical results I have seen by following the compass have definitely lead to better results - and in a hell of a lot less time.

My compass is not without error. I guess I am guilty at times of a romantic belief about paleo living and eating. But even a stopped clock is correct twice a day and the margin of error would appear to be quite small. Personal results speak volumes.

A few weeks ago I blogged about a story claiming Low Carb Diets Causing Athersclerosis. As I wrote then, this sent my paleo compass a-spinning. Something smelt bad!. Whenever I am faced with such a story I still trust the compass going forwards. But to find the source of the smell you have to go backwards.....following the money.

Thus it is with some comfort that I found this story in yesterday's Guardian:
  • Doctors have been agreeing to be named as authors on studies written by employees of the pharmaceutical industry, giving greater credibility to medical research, according to new evidence.
the most damning sentence related to funding, where one of the doctors whose research was funded by Proctor and Gamble opined:
  • "The only thing that we have to watch all the time is our relationship with P&G. Because … we have the big Sheffield Centre Grant [from P&G] which is a good source of income, we have got to really watch it." .
I do wonder at times if the difference between the direction pointed to by my paleo compass and that advised by 'conventional health/fitness/nutrition/exercise' doesn't push me in to the realms of 'conspiracy theorist' or paleo extremist. But this story does expose a dodgy underbelly to a discipline that really should be above reproach.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Doug McGuff Talk

Body by Science features a very interesting talk from Doug McGuff. This has been split in to seven parts and put on You Tube. The production quality is a bidt dodgy but the content second to none and thought provoking:

PART ONE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULWhuO_tJPs&feature=related
PART TWO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMOCxCesoZs&feature=related
PART THREE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k1g61H3P24&feature=related
PART FOUR: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mu5CTUMAE9Y&feature=related
PART FIVE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqsqTutg_pk&feature=related
PART SIX: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpK2AF6nuAM&feature=related
PART SEVEN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz8guULurEw&feature=related



It was back to another static workout today. I through in a few variations but three cycles through this bad-boy reaches deep in to your strength reserves. The third cycle is hard! I fell slightly short on duration for each of the exercises on the final bout.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (25 mins)
1a) Sprints (15s:60s rest x 3)

2a) Chair Sits (3x60s)
2b) Handstands - Wall Assisted (3x60s)
2c) Tuck Lever (3x30s)
2d) RLLs (2x8)/Deadlift 1x4
2e) Back Bridge (3x15s)
2f) Frog Planche (3x30s)

Again, that last set was a killer - with my arms beginning to shake! By the time I changed in to my clothes I was pretty much recovered and walked out feeling warmed through.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Climbing Workout

I felt a bit subdued today and decided to have a 'suck it and see' finger strength oriented workout. It was a decidedly cut-down affair with up to five minute rests between each successive set.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (20 mins)
1a) Laddering (3x5-rung)
1b) Four L-Sit Muscle Ups to Basic Ring Routine to Lever (3sets)
1c) Ring Scissors (3x5 scissors)

2) 10 minute 'on the minute' hangs.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Road Kill

Just when you think you have this paleo-lark all stitched up, along comes someone who shows you that not only are they some way ahead of you on the paleo-road, they are picking up everything on it as they go. Foraging for berries, seeds, mushrooms and leaves or hunting fish and fowl is all well and good, Fergus goes for scavenging roadkill. This is the single coolest thing I have heard of in some time and has lead to him actually being nominated for a PETA award! I know that Hugh at River Cottage has used roadkill to bait eel traps, but as about 50% of roadkill is edible, Fergus has optimised this opportunity for gaining quality protein in the wild!

I found mention of Fergus the Forager's website in today's papers and simply had to check it out. Fergus also has his own blog. This guy really is living as a hunter gatherer (without the hunter bit), in a modern society. Amongst his site is an excellent diary in which he attempts to live for a month on wild food alone.

We can all cut the refined carbohydrate. We can all ditch the treadmill and the iron-life. We can pick up sprinting and HIT bodyweight exercises - but what Fergus does is something else and a much more genuine flavour of paleo than my attempts.

Now I would be loathe to give up my mode of exercise for his, but on a nutritional basis, this guy has it dialled.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Alone in the Wild

I just have to make you all aware of a fantastic program currently airing on the UK's Channel 4 station. Alone in the Wild is a documentary featuring Ed Wardle who, after some survival training, takes to spending three months in Canada's Yukon, armed with meagre supplies and survival knowledge:

  • "In this opening episode, Ed is flown into the Canadian wilderness. As the plane disappears, he's instantly overwhelmed by the realisation that he is completely alone. He finds it hard to make decisions, but manages to set up camp. He's frightened and nervous of every sound and movement around him. As the days go by, it dawns on Ed that the escapist dream is a lot harder than he ever imagined. "
He argues that this way of life is how our ancestors would have lived. Good man Ed! I am glad you tick the paleo box!

The paleo model is woven deep in to the program's fabric; of hunting and being hunted. What is palpable is the danger of living in isolation in such an exposed way and the specific fear of attack by predators - bears.

The amount of time revolving around the gathering of food is also obvious. After scavenging for some meagre plant food (Indian Potatoes), you get a real sense of the poor returns of vegetarianism - particularly in the wild.

I liked the bit when after a week of living on fish, hunger prompts him to kill a porcupine. Earlier in the week he had declined such a opportunity - but after seven days without meat, his survival mechanism kicked in. On initial tasting of porcupine liver you could see his appreciation of such nutritious fare.

I am hooked. This is real paleo viewing. I just wish they had checked his bloods and other vitals before and after he embarked on this adventure. I dare say that the real story of this program is at the metabolic level!

The accompanying Channel 4 site website allows you to view each episode and gives other details, footage and stories about Ed's preparation and so forth.

You can follow Ed in Alone in the Wild on Twitter: www.twitter.com/aloneinthewild

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

12-8-4 Pyramid

A sunny lunch hour prompted me to don my training gear. Autumn is trying to push through but not without a fight from summer to prolong her stay.

I followed this pyramid, adopting cluster sets as appropriate (where, usually on the last set, I paused for a second or two between each rep). This is a good way of maximising strength output. The lactic burn should be your guide on the first set or two, adding or dropping reps as required.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (25 mins)
1a) Sprints (15s:60s x 4)
2a) Dumbell Press (10kg, 12kg, 14kg)
3a) Seated Rows (Smith Machine and cable rows)
4a) Deadlifts (50% RM - aim for at least BW on last set, if not the sets before)
5a) Kneel Backs (1x60s)
6a) Frog/Tuck Planche (30s, 20s, 5s tuck)

The rest between sets were broadly around ten seconds - but were extended for the deadlifts and planche work as these felt tough. The dumbell press also made me pay!

I have not done any formal training for over a week due to a family vacation to Wales. This involved the usual running around and wild-swimming with the kids. I even managed to get myself turfed out of the sea by the RNLI for swimming in the sea when the red flags were out!

As I hope to do a climbing workout on Friday involving ring-work, I left the levers well alone today as they are part of my basic ring routine.

It is good to be back.

*Update - I managed to squeeze in a ten minute finger strength routine this evening, similar to those shown below.

Ten Minute Finger Strength Workouts

The Metolius site has some useful looking 10 minute workouts aimed at finger strength which I have copied below. They are quite similar in structure to my fingerboard workouts and are great if you are limited for time (and space):

Entry Level:
1st minute 15 second hang, Jug
2nd minute 1 pull-up, Round Sloper
3rd minute 10 second hang, Medium Edge
4th minute 15 second hang w/ 3 shrugs, Pocket
5th minute 20 second hang w/ 2 pull-ups, Large Edge
6th minute 10 second hang, Round Sloper 5 knee raises, Pocket
7th minute 4 pull-ups, Large Edge
8th minute 10 second hang, Medium Edge
9th minute 3 pull-ups, Jug
10th minute Hang as long as you can, Round Sloper

1st minute 15 second hang, 3 pull-ups, Large Edge
2nd minute 2 pull ups, Round Sloper 20 second hang, Medium Edge
3rd minute 20 second hang, Small Edge 15 second 90ยบ bent arm hang, Pocket
4th minute 30 second hang, Round Sloper
5th minute 20 second hang, Large Edge 4 pull-ups, Pocket
6th minute 3 offset pulls each arm (high arm jug, low arm small hold), Jug/Small Edge Change hands and repeat
7th minute 15 knee raises, Jug 15 second hang, Medium Edge
8th minute 25 second hang, Medium Edge
9th minute 15 second hang, Slope 3 pull-ups, Jug
10th minute Hang as long as you can, Round Sloper

1st minute 20 seconds straight arm hang, Large Slope 3 pull-ups, 4-Finger Flat Edge
2nd minute 20 seconds slightly bent arm hang, Large Slope, stay on 20 seconds L-sit or 20 hanging knee curls
3rd minute 5 pull-ups, 3-Finger Pocket, stay on 25 seconds straight arm hang
4th minute Use every hold starting at the 3-Finger Pocket and working up, staying on each for 5 seconds (don’t get off to change holds) Finish on Large Slope with a 20 second hang
5th minute 20 seconds single arm hang, Four-Finger Flat Edge switch hands and repeat
6th minute 5 offset pull ups, Large Slope (top hand) 3-Finger Pocket (bottom hand) change hands and repeat
7th minute 30 seconds 90 degree bent arm hang, Four-Finger Incut Edge 15 seconds straight arm hang, 3 Finger Pocket
8th minute 3 L-sit pull-ups (bend knees if you have to) 5 seconds front lever or 15 seconds straight arm hang, Large Slope
9th minute 20 seconds straight arm hang using only 2 fingers on 3 Finger Pockets 3 power pull-ups (use weights or helper for resistance, should just be able to do 3 pulls)
10th minute maximum slightly bent arm hang, Large Slope (go until failure) no rest maximum straight arm hang - Large Slope

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Vatican Bullshit!

Penn & Teller have a series running in the US which exposes, to quote them, "bullshit". Here they tackle the bullshit surrounding the Vatican, its power, wealth, fear mongering, sabre rattling and its general hypocrisy.

Very much worth the 30 minutes it takes to watch.