Strength: noun. the ability to overcome.

Program Minimum 30 Day Experiment: Completed.

by GEOFFN on January 1

As I sit here and write this, it’s New Year’s Day.

So Happy 2010 to everybody reading – I hope 2010 is even better for you than 2009.

I’ve been offline pretty much for the last 2 weeks just getting ready for the New Year. There was a ton of stuff to do and I want to make this year even more successful than last year.

So, I finished up my Program Minimum 30 Day Experiment.

Looking back over the last 2 weeks, my training frequency dropped and so did my the duration. But I was still faithful to work the pieces of the Get Up. My Swings dropped off significantly when I ran into some trouble on the 1H Swing. (I’ll be working on that this year.)

So yesterday I tested myself and had a PR to show for my labor. It wasn’t much weight-wise, but from a quality and pain perspective, it was excellent.

It was simple:

Get Up:

16kg/5,5, then

24kg/1,1, then

32kg/1,1 for 5 sets.

These were the best I’d done probably ever.

My hips were finally under me – strong and aligned. The Lunge/Ascend portion of the lift was better than ever. Shoulders were strong, packed, and fully engaged. And my abs were working the way they were supposed to be. And they were all performed Kalos Sthenos style with the high bridge.

Here are my thoughts about the last 30 days in no particular order:

  1. For as much Z as I have done over the last 4 years, there was still a noticeable difference between my left and right sides regarding strength, mobility, and coordination. This was disappointing.
  2. For as much Z as I have done over the last 4 years, I still had not corrected the dysfunctions and asymmetries that led to the low back injury and resulted from the lower back injury. This too was disappointing.
  3. The Get Up is a great screen – in fact, it might be the perfect screen. It really lets you know what is going on inside your body from front to back and right to left, especially when performed Kalos Sthenos style. Although I spent a month “inside” the Get Up, there is plenty more work to be done here for me.
  4. Everybody, EVERYBODY, needs to perform the Get Up routinely. Whether once or multiple times per week, it needs to be in the program. Perhaps as a warm up, perhaps as a finisher. It needs to be there. It will stay in mine.
  5. The Get Up is a natural movement pattern – or more specifically and better put – a series of natural movement patterns linked together. Lying to sitting. Sitting to [half] kneeling. [Half] kneeling to standing. And back again. And of course there’s also some rolling in there to load the bell onto the body.
  6. The Get Up might well be the best “core” exercise there is. If we agree that the core is at least 27 muscles, including the lats, hamstrings, adductors, and gluts, along with of course the erector spinae and the abs, then it leaves no muscle untouched. It works the posterior chain, the anterior chain, and teaches the body how to stabilize the spine under asymmetrical loading and counteract rotation. What more is there?
  7. The 2H Swing is arguably the best exercise for overall body power and conditioning. Ever. There is a reason it is the foundational exercise in the RKC System. Get this one exercise right and everything else is a piece of cake.
  8. The 2H Swing also provides excellent feedback as to what muscles are working when and how. It is arguably the best exercise for strengthening the posterior chain. Possibly the anterior chain as well.
  9. For best results (I’ll explain best in a minute), the 2H Swing should be performed Hard Style. Many people are experimenting with this and using supposedly efficient techniques with this. Don’t. You’re wasting your time and energy. There will be lots of arguing this point I’m sure and it will upset some, but seriously, let me be your experiment – just do them Hard Style and get on with your life. I have mixed the two systems for the last 4 years (Non HS and HS) and found it incredibly difficult to get my full HS Swing back. Once I did, my hips started feeling connected to my body again. (Important for someone with hip damage.) As I walked, I finally understood what Pavel meant by Russians walk from their hips, unlike Americans who walk falling forward from tight hip flexors.
  10. Stability and Mobility do exist as separate entities. And they exist on a continuum. My Z friends will want to argue with me on this point. That’s fine. We probably mean the same thing but just use different words. If not, that’s OK too. But, I used to believe the same way – that there was no such thing as the Stability-Mobility continuum. Now I don’t. Here’s the deal: I was strong. I was stable. I became too stabile. I lost my mobility. I regained my mobility. I became too mobile. I became unstable. I lost my strength. I will get it back. I’m already on my way. (This will have to be a separate post in the future…)
  11. The Get Up is arguably the perfect exercise to demonstrate the Stability-Mobility continuum. (Think about it – and yes, this will probably be another post.)
  12. While the Nervous System indeed rules the body, we cannot exclude the importance of all the body’s other systems. We must respect them as much as we respect the NS. The musculo-skeletal system is important too. Very important. All systems are vital otherwise they wouldn’t be included in this wonderful machine – our bodies.
  13. Exploration is important. All too often we pay our money (lots of it) and take verbatim what others tell us. This is a big mistake. Yes, we can use others as guides in our journey, but ultimately, our journey is just that – ours. We owe it to ourselves to vet everything that we learn from others and want to apply to ourselves and more importantly, our clients. For example, you cannot learn about strength from someone who is not or has not been strong.
  14. Testing is more important than exploration. Just because I say something with regard to the human body, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true, regardless of how much science I use to back it up. It might be true for others, at least in the particular experiments that confirmed the scientific hypothesis at that time, but it may not be true for me right now. (Adam T. Glass has an excellent series of blog posts on this…) Therefore, test everything, including what I’ve said earlier in this post. Everything I have done this past month has tested well for me and it showed with my PR in the GU.

Well, that about wraps it up for now.

It’s been a great, but fast month. I’ve learned a lot about my body and the body in general and I will share more of that with you in future posts.

As far as what my future holds, I start training today for my beloved sport of Weightlifting. I have some big numbers I need to put up and I have 5 1/2 months to qualify for Nationals.

I’ll keep posting and look forward to seeing what happens to my numbers after my 30 Day Experiment.

If you joined me in my 30 Day Challenge, please drop me a line and let me know how it went for you.

Happy New Year!

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