Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week 11 Day 7

Active Rest Day

Friday, January 29, 2010

Retrograde Performance

As I mentioned earlier in the week I have tapered off in an effort to be fully recovered for the PWA championships tomorrow. Although most of the people who read this blog do not compete regularly outside of daily CF WODs, the concept of tapering (reducing one’s training load) periodically is applicable to every athlete on the planet who is interested in improving athletic performance and achieving his or her goals.

Based upon scientific research in the phenomenon of overtraining, a period of down time within a training regimen is imperative to the success of any athlete. Some coaches recommend a “half-dose” every 4 weeks of training and others suggest that athletes take an entire week off every 12 weeks.

The premise behind a cyclic drop in work output is that an athlete will diminish the degenerative effects of overtraining (aka retrograde performance) and allow the body to fully adapt to the exercise induced stress that one has endured and consequently reap the hard earned benefits of one’s training regimen. A sound diet and lots of sleep are also excellent ways to ward off retrograde performance.

Here is a list of symptoms that commonly correlate with overtraining:

• Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
• Mild leg soreness, general aches and pains
• Pain in muscles and joints
• Sudden drop in performance
• Insomnia
• Headaches
• Decreased immunity (increased number of colds, and sore throats)
• Decrease in training capacity / intensity
• Moodiness and irritability
• Depression
• Loss of enthusiasm for the sport
• Decreased appetite
• Increased incidence of injuries.
• A compulsive need to exercise

If you are currently experiencing a handful of these symptoms consider reducing your training load significantly for a week or two.

Week 11 Day 6

Pacific Weightlifting Association Championships

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Week 11 Day 5

Active Rest Day

Week 11 Day 4


Snatch- 3x1 @70%

Clean and Jerk- 3x1 @70%

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Week 11 Day 3

Active Rest Day

Monday, January 25, 2010

Week 11 Day 2


Snatch- 1x1 @80%

Clean and Jerk- 1x1 @80%

(I'm tapering off this week for the Pacific Weightlifting Championships, which I will be participating in on Saturday.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Routine vs. Superstition

The word routine is defined as “a typical pattern of behavior that somebody adopts.” On the other hand, superstition is defined as “an irrational but usually deep-seated belief in the magical effects of a particular action, especially in the likelihood that good or bad luck will result from performing it.”

In my humble opinion developing consistent and positive routines in conjunction with one’s athletic or non-athletic endeavors is an excellent practice that everyone should utilize. For example, routinely eating breakfast definitely correlates with an uptick in neurological and physical performance throughout the day. The proper utilization of routines in sports comes to fruition in basketball, particularly in the ritualistic behavior that almost every high-level player in the world uses before taking each individual free-throw shot. For example (when I played), I would hold the ball on my right hip take a deep, slow breath, spin the ball to myself, take two dribbles with my right hand, look at the back of the rim and shoot (and hold my follow through). Routines like my pre-free throw routine develop consistency that can be maintained in practice as well as in games and has the potential to instill a profound sense of comfort and ease in a player during extremely tense high pressure scenarios.

Superstitions conversely are more commonly associated with the word “luck” and can have some extremely negative effects on athletic performance. I used to be really superstitious, especially when I played basketball. I needed to touch the right side of the door to my room three times and tap my toe on the doormat before leaving the house. I even went through a period in which I refused to wash my jersey until we lost a game (putting on a sweaty jersey before every game is not a lot of fun). Superstitions like these only add to “game day” stress and almost start appearing like symptoms of OCD. So a couple of years ago I dropped the superstitions and made a vow not to establish any new ones.

Do you have any positive pre-workout/competition routines? Do you have any superstitions?

Week 11 Day 1

Active Rest Day

Week 10 Day 7


Snatch- 1x1 @95%

Clean and Jerk- 1x1 @95%

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Week 10 Day 6

Trainer's Workout:

10 minute AMRAP-


185lb Power Cleans

(Need to complete at least 10 reps of each exercise)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Week 10 Day 5


1. Snatch- single @ 90%

2. Clean and Jerk- single @ 90%

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Week 10 Day 4


7x3 Deadlift

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Have Some Joe Bro! name is Ben....and I am addicted It’s true, I can honestly say that I have had 1-3 cups of coffee everyday for the last two years of my life. It wakes me up in the morning alongside a nice plate of scrambled eggs (and veggies) and lately I have been drinking a big cup before I work out.

Coffee boasts a relatively high caffeine (about 120mg per cup) content. Caffeine functions as an appetite suppressant, boosts dopamine production (makes you feel good), increases systematic blood flow, and enhances alertness. Ok, maybe you already knew about some of the benefits of caffeine. So what else makes coffee an extremely potent addition to one’s daily nutritional routine?

Researchers have found that “every extra cup of coffee consumed in one day was correlated with a 7% decrease in the excess risk of diabetes.”

For male coffee drinkers the likelihood of prostate cancer is reduced significantly.

It is important for me to point out that the caffeine found in coffee was not the only component of the drink that directly correlated with the results found in the two studies above. Coffee is jam-packed with antioxidants and other favorable micronutrients that make the beverage particularly advantageous to one’s health.

So, don’t be afraid to drink another cup of joe bro!

Week 10 Day 3

Rest Day

Week 10 Day 2


1. 1x2 front squat @ 83%

2. 5x1 tennis ball dunks

3. 5x3 Bench Press (first time I have bench pressed in a year)

4. 3x 10 Knees to Elbows+ 30 sec L-sit

2x 1min Plank (front, left, right) + 45 sec hollow hold

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week 10 Day 1


CrossFit Total--

1 rep max Back Squat

1 rep max Shoulder Press

1 rep max Deadlift

Week 9 Day 7

Active Rest Day

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Flexibility and Vertical Leap

Although developing and adhering to a regular flexibility and mobility regimen surrounding one’s workout can be monotonous it has the potential to increase one’s vertical leap enormously. An athlete lacking excellent range of motion in the hips, back, hamstring, and shoulders will fail to reach their genetic potential in all athletic endeavors (this is particularly apparent in one’s ability to jump).

When an athlete jumps, a great amount of kinetic energy is transmitted through the hips. If one’s hips are tight, force will not be translated through the hip musculature properly and acute injuries are inevitable, primarily in the low back and sacroiliac joint.

Utilizing dynamic range of motion drills like stepping over hurdles and duck walks (walking around in a full squat for an extended period of time) in one’s warm-up will engage/“wake-up” the muscles surrounding the hip sockets and carry over to any plyometric (explosive) exercises. Following up a workout with some conventional static stretching (i.e. touching your toes and holding it for 20-60 seconds) will also increase one’s range of motion dramatically.

So, if you are an aspiring dunker like myself it is imperative that dynamic range of motion work and static stretching become permanent parts of your workout regimen.

Week 9 Day 6

Active Rest Day

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Week 9 Day 5


30 Muscle-ups for time

Week 9 Day 4

Active Rest Day

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mirror Neurons

I decided to write a post on something that I actually learned in school for a change.

A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when a human acts and when a human observes an action performed by another person. I learned this in a neuroscience 101 class last year and the second that I learned about it I wanted to study it in conjunction with sports and training.

When it comes to sports or simply movement in general we as humans learn from what we see done by others. When we see someone else perform an action (dunking would be a good example) in essence we neurologically perform the action. What this means is that we can learn a great deal about progressive techniques, new skills, and entirely new modalities of training simply by watching someone else do it. can still be an athlete when sedentary.

As Week 12 of my program becomes more and more imminent I am starting to think that I need to watch more videos of people dunking. What are you trying to get better at? Maybe you just need to see it done perfectly a couple more times.

Week 9 Day 3


1. Snatch- 1x1 @ 94%

2. Clean and Jerk- 1x1 @ 94%

3. 2x 12 Back Extensions+ 12 GHD sit-ups (with a 20lb weight vest)

2x 25 Back Extensions+ 25 GHD sit-ups

Monday, January 11, 2010

Week 9 Day 2


1. Back Squat- 1x2 95% of max

2. Standing 9' Two-handed Grabs- 3x3 no more than 50% of max added load...focusing on speed

3. 9' Dunks- 3x3 (actually dunking a basketball 2 handed over the high bar)

4. Box Jump- 5x1 static jump(no running start)

5. Box Jump- 5x1 with running start

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hands Free Clean

Here is link to a video of Greg Everett from Catalyst Athletics doing a hands free clean...

Week 9 Day 1


1. Strength Couplet--

5-5-3-3-1-1-1 Push Press + Weighted Pull-ups

2. 3x 30 second L-sit, 1 minute Planks, 45 second Hollow Hold (all rest)

The erectors in my lower back are still pretty torn up from the deadlifts that I did on Wednesday and Friday last week. I'm going to give them one more days rest before hitting the plyos and oly lifts.

New Year’s Resolution

First off I want to thank everyone who has become a follower of my blog in the past couple of days. It really means a lot to me and I hope you are enjoying the posts.

My New Years resolution was to not watch TV until I finished my college applications. Over the course of the past week I have been more productive than I have ever been in my life. I have been working on the numerous essays all day for the past seven days with intermittent breaks to coach and work out. Despite the immense amount of time that I have been spending writing I feel as psychologically and physically in tune as I have been in a long time. This alteration in my daily activities has made me more productive at home, sharper at work, and more energetic when working out.

What was your New Year’s resolution? Did you adhere to it throughout this past week?


Here is a link to a sport psychology article on intensity for anyone interested:

Week 8 Day 7

Active Rest Day

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

I’m going to start this off by saying that routines can be an awesome way for one to develop extremely productive circadian habits, or conversely for one to establish some incredibly detrimental life style norms. Lately I have developed the ritual of taking a 10 minute ice bath when I come home after I workout. Sometimes I come home 8 hours after I workout, yet still the first thing that I do when I walk into the house is start running some cold water and fill up a big bowl with ice from the freezer. An example of a detrimental post-workout normality would be demolishing three Big Macs following one’s workout or pounding a 40 of OE as a “recover drink” immediately following a workout (you get the idea).

The reason that I entitled this post “Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable” is because I have been practicing just that when I take my daily ice bathes. I practice visualization and sports meditation while in the frigid bath. What I mean by sports meditation is that I take long, slow, and deep breaths imagining them tracing all the way down to my base of my pelvic floor and then I breath out in an equally relaxed and precise manner. As I am breathing in I say “strong, strong, strong” in my head and as I breathe out I say, “relax, relax, relax.” This relaxing breathing technique can be utilized before and during any type of competition as well. I have found it very beneficial over the course of the last year. The “strong/relax” mantra comes from a sports psychology article that I read in the Performance Menu, which all three of the people who read this blog should subscribe to While breathing and relaxing I visualize myself achieving my goals: dunking a basketball, clean and jerking 115kgs and snatch 85kg.

By relaxing and visualizing strong performance I am not only reiterating the confidence and sense of purpose that I need to possess when attempting to achieve my goals, but also I am getting comfortable being uncomfortable. I am going to be honest... ice bathes suck. They are not fun. In fact last night I was shivering for approximately 8 of the 10 minutes that I spent in the tub. By envisioning psychologically positive imagery and instilling a sense of supreme relaxation in myself I am in essence creating unwavering calm and comfort in a situation, which is ostensibly uncomfortable.

I just realized that I failed to elucidate the many benefits of taking post-workout ice baths. So here we go: (1) subjecting one’s body to very low temperatures beyond about 5 minutes reduces systematic inflammation dramatically, consequently increasing one’s work capacity in the coming days and weeks of training (2) interestingly enough ice baths have been proven to increase insulin sensitivity (A person who is insulin-sensitive needs only a relatively small amount of insulin to keep blood glucose levels in the normal range and to keep the body’s cells supplied with the glucose they need. A person who is insulin-resistant, on the other hand, needs a lot more insulin to get the same blood-glucose-lowering effects) short increased insulin sensitivity counteracts symptoms of type 2 diabetes and is a very good thing (3) it makes you feel like a bad ass just as completing a Crossfit WOD, a weightlifting PR, or backflip makes you feel.

Week 8 Day 6


6 minute AMRAP- 3 20lb weighted Pull-ups
4 Jumping Muscle-ups
20 Double Unders

This was more of recover met-con than an all out effort. I'll be writing a post on recover met-cons in the near future.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Week 8 Day 5


1. Clean and Jerk- 2x1 @92%

2. Clean Pulls- 3x3 105% of max clean and jerk

3. Clean Deadlifts- 3x3 110% of max clean and jerk

4. 2x 30 second L-sit+ 1 minute Planks (front and both sides)+ 45 second Hollow Hold

Sub-Maximal Power Lifting Before Explosive Training

My workout today was a particularly ground-breaking and productive one. I had chosen today—January 7—to be my plyo day this week. Meaning that I would train various types of explosive jumps with the ultimate goal in mind of eventually dunking a basketball. When I was writing up my programming last night for today’s workout, I vaguely remembered reading somewhere, about 4 years ago, that sub- maximal, heavy lifting—specifically squatting—can help engage the necessary fast twitch muscle fibers in the legs and hips that help one perform explosive athletic activities (i.e., sprinting, hurdling, and jumping). So I decided to throw some heavy lifting into my workout today, simply for the sake of somewhat varying my training regimen.

I worked up to a 1x2 Front Squat @ 90% (110kg) of my max before doing three different 5x3 plyometric exercises. The results were amazing. I worked up to a 25lb three rep standing high bar grab and a 3 rep 20lb box squat jump to high bar grab—both of which were massive PRs. Previously I did not feel confident adding any weight to plyos in which I was attempting to grab the high bar. The high bar is about 9’2’’ tall, by the way. Following the indoor weighted plyometric exercises I went to Redwood High School did a 5x3 rim grab/ dunk on one of their outdoor hoops. I dunked a baseball for the first time and felt more explosive than I have ever felt. I wish I could attribute this excellent day of training to super clean diet and good sleep, but in reality, this is not the case. New Yea weekend did nothing for my athletic performance (out late, eating bad, drinking etc.). It actually wrecked me from a performance perspective. After taking Monday off, I attempted to do some heavy snatches on Tuesday and failed miserably (I was having trouble snatching 50kgs). The only thing that I did differently today was that I did the heavy—yet submaximal—front squats before my plyo workout. I think that it is very important to specify that the pre-plyometric lifts be below one’s 1 rep max. Although max effort lifting produces an extremely potent kinesthetic stimulus, a 1 rep max today, before beginning my plyo workout would have been completely counter-intuitive. I did the front squats today with the premise in mind of engaging my fast twitch muscle fibers, not working to failure.

I think that heavy lifting before plyometric training will be a mainstay in “The Holistic, Goal Oriented, Approach to Explosive Training for Athletes”—my book that I am working on right now. Another wrinkle to my explosive training methodology (which is constantly being altered based upon my results) is that I am using a template similar to the Wendler 5-3-1 and the Rut ME Black Box templates, in which I replace heavy lifts with max effort plyometric movements like box jumps, depth jumps, standing high jumps, and other similar movements. Through the course of one of these plyo days I increase the difficulty of the workout progressively by either adding weight to the movements, jumping on to a high box, or grabbing a higher object. At the moment the system is working incredibly well in concert with my version of Rut’s ME Oly lifting template.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Week 8 Day 4


1. Front Squat- 1x2 @90%

2. Standing High Bar Grab- 5x3 weighted

3. Box Squat to High Bar Grab- 5x3 weighted

4. Rim Grab w/ running start- 5x3

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Week 8 Day 3


1. Snatch- 1x2 @ 91% of max

2. Snatch Deadlift- 105% of max snatch 3x3

3. 2x 25 Back Extensions+ 30 GHD Sit-ups

2x 12 Back Extensions+ 15 GHD Sit-ups (w/ 20lb vest)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Week 8 Day 2


1. Snatch Skill Work

Week 8 Day 1

Active Rest Day

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Week 3 Day 7


1. Clean and Jerk

2. Back Squat

3. 2x L-sit (30 seconds), Planks (1 minute front and both sides), and Hollow hold (45 seconds)

Week 7 Day 6


45 secs on/ 15 off x2:

Handstand Shrugs

Week 7 Day 5

Active Rest Day