Friday, 27 August 2010

Human Flag

A few months back now I managed to finally get to grips the flag.  It's taken a lot of time, patients and practice to get there, but now I can finally hold it for a few seconds at a time.  It's now on to goal two and holding for longer and being able to perform concentric movements while in the flag.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Home-made Equipment: Dip station

I have been out of action for quite some time for a few reasons lately; I know ideally there should be no excuses, but my time is exclusively reserved for decorating until we get our new house in order. In the mean-time, I have been preparing for my return to training by making some equipment using some of the scrap left over from the DIY jobs. After gutting the bathroom, I found it was kitted out with copper 40mm waste pipes. Although copper is usually quite a soft flexible metal, these pips are at least 1.5mm thick (copper didn't used to be as expensive as it is now), thus make for great handles for a dip station. I had some old wood lying around that I constructed into a frame, using the wall as the main anchor for the load.

First get a 42mm hole cutter and cut holes in a 2x6 inch piece of drywall stud. The hole need to be cut as close to the horizontal edge as possible, but not too close to what will be the vertical edges. This will provide plenty of strength for supporting your weight, combined with a 3:2 pivot ratio on the bars. Use some long 6M or 8M screws to secure it to the wall; I have used 3 x 6M 80mm screws, which will be plenty to support my weight plus 50kg of ballast (tested using sandbag).



Next place your 40mm copper tube (use steel tube if you plan on putting a load of more than 130kg on them, I am not sure of their capacity beyond this before they will start to bend). They should sit on a slant with plenty of slack, not too tight.


Next, get your spirit level and mark a line on what will be the supporting ground post for the frame. You want to cut the post so that it is almost level with the top of the 6x4 where it is mounted on the wall. If your floor is even and level, you can just mark it by standing it next to the 6x4. I preferred a level since I didn't trust the level of the floor enough, so held it in place.


Saw the post in two, hopefully you have enough for both posts. I chopped my post roughly in half in the end and used a floor strut to retain and raise the height of the posts slightly. If you have more wood at your disposal, cut them more precisely; I actually found the floor strut makes the structure more rigid, although I fitted it later on so don't have a picture of that, but it essentially mimics what the platform strut does. Cut a 42mm hole in the top of each post as shown; doesn't need to be much material above the hole, just enough to get some screws in for fixing the platform strut.

The platform should be secured to the 6x4 attached to the wall and to the supporting ground posts. This prevents any lateral movement in the frame, keeping it sold. You only need a couple of wood screws, nothing heavy duty since there shouldn't be much lateral stress on it. Conveniently, my platform strut was already cut to this shape and size, left over from building my son a table. Just ensure you have an area cut out between the posts to allow room for your chest should you lean into the dips.

Finally you should be able to neatly insert the pipes into the holes through the posts and into the wall brace. They aren't secured and shouldn't need to be; I like to be able to remove them when it's not in use so it doesn't take up too much space. Just ensure you always check the pipes are fully inserted before putting any load on them!


Here is a quick demo of the dip-station using just my body weight. I have also tested it using my 50kg sandbag held between my legs; seems suitable for heavy loads. I may upgrade the bars to some 40mm steel tubes at some point just for peace of mind.

video

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Dogg Crapp - Week 1 Summary

Okay, been doing DC for just over a week now. I am not fully integrated just yet, since I am trying to find the optimal weight to suit recommended rep ranges. I am currently overshooting on the reps by nearly double, so need to increase weight slightly to compensate next time.

One other thing I found is that the 3 day split routine is too short. I was completing the 3 day split in about 45 minutes, including the stretches at the end. Since this isn't efficient use of my time, I have moved towards a 2 day split as of yesterday, starting with the B phase of the rotation. I have summarised the two splits below so you can see the difference:

3 Day Split

This will land accordingly: Mon A1, Wed A2, Fri A3, Mon B1, Wed B2, Fri B3, Mon C1, Wed C2, Fri C3, Mon A1, and so on...

NameFunction
A1CHEST
DELTS
TRICEPS
A2BACK
TRAPS
BICEPS
A3HAMSTRINGS
CALVES
QUADS
B1CHEST
DELTS
TRICEPS
B2BACK
TRAPS
BICEPS
B3HAMSTRINGS
CALVES
QUADS
C1CHEST
DELTS
TRICEPS
C2BACK
BICEPS
C3HAMSTRINGS
CALVES
QUADS


2 Day Split

NameFunction
A1CHEST
SHOULDERS
TRICEPS
BACK (WIDTH)
BACK (THICK)
A2BICEPS
FOREARMS
CALVES
HAMSTRINGS
QUADS
B1CHEST
SHOULDERS
TRICEPS
BACK (WIDTH)
BACK (THICK)
B2BICEPS
FOREARMS
CALVES
HAMSTRINGS
QUADS
C1CHEST
SHOULDERS
TRICEPS
BACK (WIDTH)
BACK (THICK)
C2BICEPS
FOREARMS
CALVES
HAMSTRINGS
QUADS



Here is the full detail for the 2 day split routine:

NameFunctionExerciseRep MaxRest Pause?X-Reps?Sets
A1CHESTIncline bench press15YesYes1
SHOULDERSFront shoulder press13YesYes1
TRICEPSClose grip bench press15-20YesYes1
BACK (WIDTH)Behind head pull-ups18YesYes1
BACK (THICK)Deadlifts12-20NoNo1
A2BICEPSDumbbell curls20YesYes1
FOREARMSHammer curls15YesYes1
CALVESHack squat style with 20 second negative phase12NoNo1
HAMSTRINGSGlute ham raises15-20YesYes1
QUADSHack squat20NoNo1
B1CHESTFlat hammer press15YesYes1
SHOULDERSSeated Arnold press13YesYes1
TRICEPSRope push downs15-20YesYes1
BACK (WIDTH)Rows18YesYes1
BACK (THICK)Cable rows12-20YesYes1
B2BICEPSPreacher curls20YesYes1
FOREARMSZotterman curls20YesYes1
CALVESLeg press machine - rest stretch on first set12NoNo2
HAMSTRINGSStiff leg deadlifts12-20NoNo1
QUADSSquats20YesYes1
C1CHESTHammer incline15YesYes1
DELTSRear laterals15-20YesYes1
TRAPSShrugs20YesYes1
TRICEPSBodyweight extensions20YesYes1
BACK (WIDTH)Chin-ups18YesYes1
BACK (THICK)Deadlifts12-20NoNo1
C2BICEPSCable curls20YesYes1
FOREARMSInverted EZ curls15YesYes1
CALVESStanding calf raises12StretchNo2
HAMSTRINGSGlute ham raises15-20YesYes1
QUADSLeg curls20YesYes1
ADDUCTORSAdductor machine15YesYes1

Thursday, 28 January 2010

The Rope - Cont.

Just following up about the new digital rope I bought from Tesco.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Rope

I got a new rope from Tesco yesterday; £3.50 gets you a rope with a timer and counter integrated into the handle. It's nice and easy to adjust, just pull the loop tabs through and tighten. For £3.50 this is the best rope I have owned to date. I have had around 5 different ropes now:

  • The first is a leather rope and although heavy and slow has lasted the longest (2 years). £10.99

  • The second just snapped the first time I tried some double unders. £1.99

  • The third lasted the longest, almost 5 months. It had a metal handle and some free metal needles attached to the nylon rope, which prevent wear on the nylon thus preventing the rope from snapping. Unfortunately, it has no bearings so the metal pin wore out and eventually came free from the handle. £14.99

  • The next rope I bought was already broken when I got it out of the packet - bin! £7.50

  • Finally the Tesco counter rope. It has stood up to my fearce round of DU's today with no signs of catching or tangling. Will see how it goes. £3.50


I used the counter to see how fast I could go performing DU's today. I managed to pull 101 turns in 29 seconds out of the bag before my arms lost synch with my feet and my brain melted trying to maintain rhythm. I will get some footage of the rope and how it works soon.

Dogg Crapp

Okay, just over two weeks in and feeling pretty good again. Have managed to get about 85% of the load back I had prior to getting ill, so am heading in the right direction. Since HITT seems to really batter my immune system at the moment (I can litterally feel symptoms of a cold the next day), I am going to just do light cardio while my body gets back on form. So since I will be doing only light cardio work, I have room to stress myself a little more during strength sessions.

I saw a blog about the DC (Dogg Crapp) training methodology from Bjorn Granum. After reading his posts, I decided to do some reading myself and have found some similar variations following the same principles. One approach is to incorporate X-reps immediately after the work set; no rest.

The theory is well documented in the link, but to summarise, it describes how maximal muscular growth is triggered at repetition failure. In most workouts we avoid taking muscles to failure since this requires extended periods of rest to repair the damage. However, working beyond failure by performing micro-reps, extends this period of maximal growth, stimulating the muscle to grow 2.5x as much than normal during the recovery phase. Most that have been sceptical about this technique but have actually tried it, have all said it works just as well in practice. The only negative to this is the recovery phase is extra important and it does put you out of action from participating in any extra activity.

I tried the DC X-rep combo yesterday as a start on a new 10 week strategy I have set for myself; starting with the A1 workout: Chest, Delts and Triceps. On completing the A1, I have never been so muscularly fatigued from a strength workout before (probably due to having avoided taking my muscles to failure and beyond before). I really can vouch that this style of DC really is a killer, not for the faint hearted.

I am fairly sore in places today, but not places I'd expect to be. For one, I was expecting more pain in my pectorals and triceps, but I feel nothing there. My delts feel tender, but not too bad. The weird part is my biceps throb, but bearing in mind I hardly used them yesterday. I will put this down to not stretching them during the stretch phase of the DC workout. I only stretched my chest, back and triceps. I will stretch all upper/lower muscle groups for the A2 workout.

Monday, 11 January 2010

It Begins Here

Not made any entries for a while, so I'll up date you. I got really ill towards the end of October 2009, which put me out of action for ages. I had the odd attempt at returning to the gym when I thought I had recovered, to find it just brought back a relentless wave of the same symptoms again. By the end of December I gave up entirely and just waited for the cold/flu/virus (whatever it was), to finally burn out.

I paid the gym a visit last week, for the first time since December, to see if the same thing would happen again. Safe to say I am still in good health (touch wood), and don't feel any of the symptoms returning. What is obvious is the amount of strength I have lost and overall work capacity. I used to be able to handle a full compact hour, every day, without any problems. Now though, I struggle with just a few test sets and no post workout finisher, leaving me sore for days. Not good. The overall strain of the virus has also meant my losing over 14 lbs of lean mass along with any strength gains I had worked hard to achieve over the past year or so. I now weigh at my lowest, 12 st 6 lbs, so have a massive task to regain the year that I just wrote off.

Consider this the beginning; the reboot. I need to think of this as January 2009 and get back everything I lost through nearly 3 months out. I will start really light to avoid injury and avoid needing days to recover. The bar will be set low, but hopefully the bar can be raised considerably as the weeks go by.