Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No more blog. AT LEAST, NOT HERE.

I rather liked this blog. Good fun, absolutely. I got emails from all over the world from people who liked it too. That was the best part... random people just dialing in to say hi.

But here's a secret: I'm not much one for self-promotion, link whatsernaming, glad-handing, or generally being social. I don't have much of a blogroll. I'd rather be good at writing than convincing people to read what I'm writing. There's still a ways to go on that, and all I really need is to practice writing.

And as it turns out, I have options. Since I started here, I've started to find that many other websites are good outlets for things I want to write. In fact, work I owe people at other domains is starting to aggregate faster than I can produce it. It's simultaneously gratifying and scary.

Naturally, other websites handle promotional bollox far better than I ever could. Let me put it this way: one of these sites has a hit counter, and the most popular article that I wrote for them has had more hits than this entire blog has had, EVER. So why would I persist here?

I've not gone anywhere. I'm just writing the same stuff on platforms managed by other people.

So it's not goodbye, it's just clickthrough. 

You can find all my stuff now, and all my stuff in future, linked at my personal domain: www.jamesheathers.com

Sunday, April 8, 2012

TIME OUT!

You might have noticed a severe drop in output recently... I can see in the user stats that people who have short attention spans are gently starting to float away... what's going on? Am I "all, like, falling off or whatever"? Is there some kind of problem? Have I lost the will to write?

Nope.

Here's what's going on: this.

I have conceived, and am running, a mighty project on myself. All blogging and activity will be over at the blog in the link above while I attempt the following:

1) 10,000 kettlebell swings in 10 days, while....
2) monitoring my health status, body composition, etc. with an attention to detail usually reserved for neurosurgery

Basically, I'm running an experiment on myself. You can read more about it here, and much will change.

I'll be back here when the whole thing is done. In the meantime, all pain and progress will be documented at the other site.

It's going to be hilarious.

all the best,
J

Friday, April 6, 2012

I Am 30 Today

... I'm looking around in it trying to find some kind of worthy reflection.

There isn't one.

It's a wrinkle of the decimal system, an outcome entirely determined by the number system. It has nothing to do with me.

For instance, in hexadecimal, I am the curious age of 1E. In binary, I am the rather showy 11110.

If you spend your life worrying about how old you are, you won't do anything.

"What should I have done by now?" Bollocks. What are you doing?

That's all.

Now, lunch, then mace training, then party time.

It's an insane world, and I'm proud to be a part of it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wow.

Check this out!

GREAT hack!

ABSOLUTELY AND COMPLETELY pointless. Seriously. Tits on a bull. Windows on a submarine. Tastebuds on a Scotsman's tongue. Pointless.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

New Video!

Had plenty of people come into my house recently, and go WHAT THE HELL IS THAT PSYCHOTHING YOU HAVE THERE. It's an angle grinder attachment for cleaning up rust. This is what it's for:

Har har!

Complexes



Complex sets are a series of movements which are performed back to back, using the same apparatus - usually a barbell. They're hardcore. They give you marvelous anaerobic screaming hate-death in every fiber of your being. Apart from proving you're fantastic, they are excellent for two things.

1) body composition
2) anaerobic conditioning

Thus the point is to safely:

1) use as much muscle mass as possible, and...
2) use this mass as fast as possible


Very simple. However, I think a lot of people don't "get" complexes. I've seen so many 'how to' videos which are horrible. And for some reason, these videos are always people talking about complexes without actually doing them. Silly business. Most people get the basic structure right and use a list of exercises where there's a natural transition between one and the next, allowing them to be continuous. A good start. But there's a long list of dumb things people do in complexes.


Using snatches or cleans

Of course, it is completely legit to use a clean or two to get the bar into the right position between exercises, that's necessary. But a lot of people use these as main exercises in complexes. I sure have in the past. But as I get to choose, I think there's better choices. There's a few reasons why:

1) These lifts have precise mechanics. They require a lot of intramuscular coordination. Don't mess with that. Learn them properly and use them for what they're used for.

2) Explosive movements have a 'catch' phase at the end - something you shouldn't be rushing through like your arse is on fire to get the next rep.

3) The bar isn't lowered under control. Snatches especially are a pain in the ass to do for reps. And you can't use straps because your hands will be moving on the bar through the set... even if you keep them in the same position, 30 or 40 reps of something will slime them all over the place.

If you must throw these into your complexes, do them first before you get so tired you forget how.


Barbell Thrusters

Sweet Lord and Saviour, protector of all that is good and holy, protect us from the barbell thruster - the single dumbest exercise in history. The thruster is a front squat to press hybrid exercise. I loathe barbell thrusters.

Look at Lee Boyce's elbows. Good front squat form.


And here's Martin Rooney pressing overhead (and being silly).


They aren't the same position, are they?

So, how can you smoothly transition between them? Answer - you have to move and reset your hands, arms, shoulders and back into a different position. Oh, what's that? We're trying to move the bar as fast as possible? In that case, something's going to give, and that something is the position on the front squat - the high elbows drop, the upper back rounds, and you end up with the mankiest, wobbliest front squat ever.

This quite literally made my elbows hurt watching it.

And that isn't even a bad example, it's just the first one I found. When you're really going for broke, the movement turns into the most inside-out chicken-winged pile of stupid you could ever see. Thrusters suck. Seriously. The thruster is a great example of something that's OK on paper, and not so bad with an unloaded bar, but the moment you bring even the slightest amount of noise into proceedings it collapses like a wet origami swan. Why people love them so much, I have absolutely no idea.

(Don't think I'm ragging on the KETTLEBELL thruster - a rack squat to press with two KBs. This is a massive improvement on the barbell version, which can really, truly can fuck right off very very far.)




Doing them slowly

What the hell is the point of a slow complex?? You are trying to produce maximal anaerobic work. Sure, you'll get tired towards the end, very tired (one of the first things I put on this blog was a post which had my heart rate during a BBell complex - it peaked at about 199BPM) but you shouldn't be going slowly. Stop. Rest. Then do another one where you move faster than an arthritic turtle.


Going too light

People do this because it makes it easier. Choosing a weight where you blast through the whole thing is pointless.


Going too heavy.

People do this because they're ambitious. Choosing a weight where you stall out, slow down drastically, or can't do another set is pointless.


Using silly little exercises

No big anaerobic stimulus, no interest. Strict curls? No. Wrist curls? NO NO NO. But on the flipside to that...


Using too many deadlifts

Deadlifts are just too damn easy with the weight. If you want an do high rep deadlifts for an anaerobic stimulus, load the bar to your 20RM and pull your 20RM. That's effective. You'll just wish you were never born.


Mucking about with different rep schemes

I read an article once which asserted that as you use the same weight for all sorts of exercises, and the strength on those exercises differs, you should change the rep scheme for each exercise. Couldn't tell you where, it was years ago. It went something like:

"Say you can squat 120kgs and you're doing a complex with 50kgs. You could squat that weight 25 times. However your max jerk is only 90kgs, so you could only jerk it 10 times. Thus, you should use 15 squats but only 6 jerks."

Perhaps this is necessary if you're using curls and deadlifts (but we're not). But I really wouldn't bother. Here's why. First of all, a properly designed complex is all big movements. Hence, there are big sweet spots where a single weight is as effective as any other.

Also, there's already a way to make any given complex harder - go faster! (with good form, of course). You're trying to create an anaerobic stimulus. It doesn't need to be proportional between your limbs, you don't need to maximise each set.... do more sets!

But most important of all: have you ever tried to remember the sequence "17, 14, 5, 5, 6, 12" during the fifth set of complexes? During complexes, I have thrown up on myself. I'm not doing fucking calculus or calculating percentages or in fact anything at all except trying to live. During complexes you will forget how to count to SIX, muck up the exercise order (even though it's the same every time) and want to stop so badly that you'll actually see the devil on your shoulder.

Enough B.S. What about something positive?


The Psychophysiologist Very Quick Guide To Complexes

Great exercises for complexes are fluid, controllable and capable of being done fast back to back:

  • Overhead press
  • Push press
  • Push jerk
  • Clean pulls
  • High pull
  • Bent over rows
  • Upright rows to sternum
  • All forms of squats
  • Lunges
  • Cheat curls (either grip)
  • Stiff legged DLs

etc.

To get them really fast, you can choose exercises that are consecutive which mean you don't even have to take your hands off the bar. If you're using overhead squats, for instance, then make a 'wide grip' complex - perhaps snatch grip high pulls, snatch bar to overhead, overhead squat, wide-grip behind-the-neck press, squat, etc.

The rep selection depends on the weight. There is great value in both heavy complexes (about 3 reps) and light complexes (6-8 reps).

Sets? 3 for the brave, 4 for the wise, 5 for the crazy.

Complexes have a peculiar kind of 'feel' to them, and there is most definitely a point where you 'get' complexes and they feel right. However, as that feeling is accompanied by lots and lots and lots of pain, you might not notice it at the time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Exercise in the Mornings

God almighty.

To me, exercise early in the morning is like all the weird and horrific things people on the internet do to each other: that is, I've seen pictures of it, so it must be going on somewhere, but I'll be damned if I'll put my hand up to have a go.

Personally I can't think of anything worse than coffee and deadlifts. I feel very sanguine in the morning, regardless of energy level. Why you would wreck the only peace of the whole day with a bunch of arsery like that is completely beyond me.