By Dave Thomas
Annnd we’re back with another edition of Random Thoughts. As always, some are training, some are food and some are good ole’ nonsense. Today’s overall focus is going to be one of moving and feeling better, and today also happens to be the first time we’ve hit the century mark in randomness. So, let’s delay your Monday productivity and get to ’em.
1. Many mobility issues in weightlifting are tied to the T-spine. If you are a reformed couch potato or sit all day long at work, chances are you are hunching and demobilizing your thoracic back. You need to counteract it. Try this as a start.
2. You have not experienced work place adversity until you’ve walked into your restroom and observed a five year old pissing directly up into the air like he’s trying to draw the McDonald’s arches.
3. Kick your own ass if your social media profile lists The School of Hard Knocks as your place of education.
4. If you want to grow muscle, eat white carbs after you train.
5. When you’re in the shower and you can “hear” the water about to turn scalding. You don’t who did it, you don’t where it went down, but someone flushed.
6. I’m a soccer fan in that I care when we’re in the World Cup so I get to wear American flag shorts to a bar…and her.
7. Typically speaking, consistent pain in a joint can often be tied to tight muscles around it as I have learned in my own body. Knee or lower back hurt? Stretch your quads and hamstrings. Ankle sore? Stretch your calves. These are two that I have personally improved by good, old fashioned static stretching each morning. There is always cause and effect within the human body and most injuries occur because we ignore these. While light stretching doesn’t cure all, it’s a start and should be done on your own daily.
8. When I die I want to come back as Hugh Jackman. Nice guy, multi-talented, can sing, has a cool accent, enjoys deadlifts, goes to pubs not clubs. He’s the total package.
9. Ketchup mixed with Chipotle favored tabasco sauce. You’re welcome.
10. It’s like this. If your goals are performance-based, don’t worry so much about what you eat. If your goals are more physique-based, worry about what you eat. If they’re both, worry about what you eat except for after you train.
11. Whomever hypothesized that the bike lane would be a safer alternative to the sidewalk has never biked Mission Boulevard at 8 pm during football season.
12. Be careful not to over arch your back when you are under heavy weight. This creates hyperextension and should be avoided. You simply want the spine neutral and hyperextension can cause as many problems as flexion (rounding). When I visited Dr. Jarrett Welsh locally in San Diego he was fast to point that out to me when examining my form on certain lifts.
13. “Aggressive hip thrust”, “get deeper”, “not too fast, not too slow”. It is simply not possible to do a class walk through without sounding pervy.
14. If I told you I’ve poured egg whites into my coffee and heavy cream into the frying pan before, would you believe me?
15. There is not much better casual TV viewing than 90’s Tom Hanks movies.
16. When swinging a heavy kettlebell, squeeze your ass checks together like you are trying to crack a walnut on the upswing. It’s the best cue for mega glute activation and it also better supports the lumbar. Tight glutes equal a safer lumbar for all exercise so get into the habit of doing so prior to movement.
17. For this installment of social media trends that are irksome.
- If you own a small start-up, you’re not a “CEO”.
- Credit Lee Alcorn for this, but taking a screen shot of the song you are listening to and uploading it. Sick. You did squats to Usher.
- We get it. It’s the same name as a vagina and you’re a hot babe who Oly lifts. While that is awesome, the snatch jokes are tired.
- When you hashtag #liftbigeatbig or #eattogrow and then upload a carbless Paleo meal, you’re doing it wrong.
I feel better.
18. Squeeze your scapulae together before you get underneath the barbell when you squat. This will create a muscular shelf where the barbell will sit and will prevent direct contact with your spine. Also, don’t squat with a wide grip. It leaks tension and dissolves this muscular shelf.
19. Is there a more awkward exchange than asking someone to tell another person, “hi” for you? I’d love to know the percentage of successfully delivered hello’s.
20. PVC pipes are for stretching and mobility, not for learning Olympic lifts.
21. Tension is critical in heavy lifting. In every major movement, we want to be as rigid as a robot prior to movement. You create tension in your trunk and you create a safer, more effective lift.
22. All of a sudden you get that dreaded “Q” next to your player on Thursday when he is seemingly fine all week? Just ain’t right.
23. Ever feel down you might be stuck on a plateau? Just think about the ways in which your life has improved since you started training and where you’ve come since day one. You’ll think of them so fast you’ll lose track. I’ve had conversation with members who looked like a baby giraffe trying to hang clean their first week and now they are frustrated to be temporarily “stuck” on 225#. It’s all perspective, friends. Continue the hustle but appreciate life’s gains.
24. My favorite things about living in San Diego.
- Walking down to the beach with my coffee each morning.
- October and November nights.
- The people here are intrinsically interested in fitness, as well as superficially.
- How you can smell the ocean at all times.
- How Von’s is basically the Playboy Mansion.
25. Try that crap when I am actually awake, mosquito…………………..fucking coward.
26. Society needs to hurry up and invent Extra Medium sized shirts. For those of us 6’0″ and 180, we’re dying in limbo over here.
27. I’m becoming someone that thinks 85 degrees is hot, puts food on Instagram and watches the ghost shows on TV. And I’m okay with all three.
28. If your seating group has not yet been called, please step away from the line. I know you want dibs on the seat that’s actually physically guaranteed for you, but just. Just calm down.
29. I really don’t get how jump ropes are like a thing. I’ve used a $40 Rx rope and a $5 Target rope and double unders were the exact same with both. While I’d love to credit my phenomenal athleticism, I think most people are just drastically over thinking this, and by over thinking, they slow themselves down. Achieving a double under is about learning coordination, not a better rope. Do less. Have patience. Relax. It’s just jumping rope. Shit don’t matter.
30. When you’re eating a meal at a restaurant and someone next to you outdoes your order.
31. Gym owners. Guys. Gals. We know how to use the video trim tool right? I love a good selfie video PR as much as the next but no one needs to see you walk to and from your phone like Rocky heading into the ring, especially when you squat balls first into the screen to shut it off afterwards. Crop that shit.
32. Don’t really prefer isolation exercises but I much less prefer for the person that thinks you’re an idiot if you do them. Sometimes barbell curls just feel awesome and since when is getting babes not functional? I don’t believe for one second we’re not all interested in aesthetics to at least some degree, and sometimes over loading a single weak joint has benefit.
33. Would really love to be able to drive up and down Mission Beach without feeling like this.
34. Ten seconds left until I park and exit the car. Perfect time to still frantically change the radio and find the right song.
35. This…is incredible. My hatred for motivational fitness posters is well documented.
From Bret Contreras’ Strength and Conditioning Research monthly journal.
36. In a 2013 study, Ronnestad and Mujika showed that strength training improves running economy, and that the likely mechanism for improved performance following concurrent training is a change in the muscle fiber type recruitment pattern. They suggest that resistance training increases the maximum strength of type I fibers and postpones their time to exhaustion. (1)
37. One of the most underrated joints in terms of mobility and performance? The ankle. The ankle effects everything and can even set off a chain reaction to cause lower back pain. Papaiakovou concluded that limited dorsiflexion in the ankle will inhibit the mechanics of one’s jump, thus resulting in less than optimal performance (2). Mobilize those ankles! We’ll be soon adding an entry on how to help.
38. In another 2013 study, Serra et all concluded that static stretching prior to training can reduce maximum strength in a 1R max. An additional conclusion was that experience of the lifter was irrelevant, meaning static stretching before a workout is bad no matter what. (3).
39. MacDonald et al concluded that foam rolling post-workout significantly reduced muscle soreness and significantly increased range of motion and vertical jump height (4). We told ya, get on that foam roller!
40. And this might be our favorite from the lot. Sandler at al concluded that using weight training machines may increase the risk of low back pain in comparison to free weights or exercise classes (5). While this was not part of the study, it’s my belief that the reason for that is because machines pre-program your path of movement for you and don’t allow your body’s natural biomechanics to be displayed. No wonder it’s going to cause pain if it has you moving a way in which you shouldn’t.
As always, thanks for the great info, Bret.
41. If we could summarize what makes Performance360 different, I suppose it would be that our passion for proper external shoulder rotation is matched only by our passion for having a successful adult prom.
42. Via Eric Cressey, if you have frequent elbow pain on pulling exercises (pull-ups, rows, etc), try out a thumbless grip.
43. Be well rounded. Possess all capacities of fitness.
44. Don’t mistake our lighter side for a lack of rabid dedication to our craft.
45. If you’re having trouble getting past a PR on cleans or snatches, drop the weight substantially, switch to hang variation and work on nothing but violent speed getting under the bar. Do this for a month. Chances are it’s your second pull and not your first and Olympic lifts are entirely dependent upon mechanics and speed, not brute force.
46. I don’t believe any exercise is the actual cause of the injury. For example, hurt your back deadlifting? I believe it’s because of a mobility limitation that happened to be revealed on that lift, not because of the lift itself. Foot tendonitis from running? Most likely the same thing.
47. A good sign that you may have increased load too quickly on Olympic lifting is the jumping jack catch, where you catch with your feet set up a yard apart. It’s a dreadful habit and means you have not yet taught yourself the one critical component of Oly lifting. Speed. I’d recommend you dial it back for a while and re-train that part of it. Speed vertically, not horizontally.
48. There is one temperature at Outback, and it’s the one you didn’t order.
49. I am currently followed by three cats and a dog on Instagram. #Drake
51. The reason we love our pull-ups strict has as much to do with health as it does with getting the proper benefit from them. Even strict pull-ups can easily be performed improperly. Just little things like tilting your head back to reach the bar and never fully extending your arms at bottom can stress your back and elbows while restricting your gains. Pull-ups are NEVER for speed. Never ever ever ever times infinity. So slow it down and do ’em proper.
52. You know what really grinds my gears? When I’m in an aggressive power stance, playing fake electric guitar at a concert and singing my heart out, and the band alters the song cadence during the live performance. Just play the song like the album, dammit. Exactly. Like. The album.
53. It’s much better to warm up for cleans using a lightly loaded barbell. When you use just a barbell, you don’t create the necessary drag to perform it properly and you need a substantial enough load to teach stiff elbows. Nine times out of time you bend elbows prematurely and establish a shitty motor path for the rest of the workout because the weight is so easy. And again, definitely no PVC pipe.
54. Shin cuts, bruises from box jumps, ripped open hands. Understand that these will never be cool. They happen, it’s unfortunate, but it means you are doing it wrong, doing too many or doing too much. All three are not acceptable so it’s high time we stop glorifying them.
55. How are we still using toilet paper? We’re able to send a message to someone across the world in under a second, heat up ice cold food in one minute and have our phones talk to us, yet we’re still using this bullshit? Ridiculous.
56. Whenever you become impatient with the elderly just think, this man probably served our country in battle.
57. By and large, the barbell should be moved quickly. Speed targets awesome things, such as type II fibers, phosphocreatine and other strengthy things.
58. Proper training will never be for time and speed of completion. Maybe for sport, but not for everyday progress and results.
59. Sprinting is an amazing exercise, just be careful when doing so if you are a beginner. Sprinting, like max lifting requires maximal muscle contraction and you can pull a muscle quite easily if you haven’t performed them a lot. Ease into them like you would anything else.
60. My child is going to do 100 yards of barbell lunges once per week as soon as he is able.
61. I will always prefer the feel of a hard copy book in my hands over a digital screen or eReader.
62. Just when you think our generation couldn’t get any worse, you go and see the dockhand next door carrying two full barrels of gasoline whilst toting a lit cigarette in his mouth. That’s when you remember the world’s slowly ending.
63. Sample sizes are what test the mettle of something, not your personal self. When you’ve implemented it or tried it on hundreds of people, I’ll entertain what you have to say.
64. Your form is everything as you learn any movement. Do not skip the process of learning it properly simply because you want to rush strength and get your name on the board. Strength is as much a skill as it is an ability, and when you jump the process of mapping out motor paths you flip your middle finger to proper training. Learn the movement. Learn it again. Then learn it like twenty more times. Then you have earned the right to think about going heavy.
65. Power lifts (squat, bench, deadlift) are brute strength. Oly lifts (snatch, clean, jerk) are power and speed. Build your foundation of movement with the former before worrying about getting good at the latter. Ultimately, be proficient in them all.
66. Even more annoying than cardio is the person who says all you need to do is lift heavy shit.
67. But lift heavy shit.
68. When I ante up and get a heavy dose of greens in my diet, I’m at my leanest.
69. You don’t know stress in the workplace until you’ve had to book a DJ for your company prom.
70. When doing split jerks, take your lead foot forward with as much aggression as if you were killing a cockroach aiming to crawl up your leg.
71. We just passed our 12th September 11 since the day. Take 10 minutes out of your day and appreciate some of what was left behind.
72. I don’t understand. Does he just think it looks sick when he purposefully slows his walk across the street when an oncoming car is approaching? Because one day, a 19 year old State girl is going to be texting last night’s one night stand and she is going to PULVERIZE you, brah. Pull your pants up and get across the street, son.
73. Have you had Hawaiian Punch lately? Because I had a can the other weekend when in Pennsylvania and I’m pretty sure I got diabetes.
f74. Efficiency > effort. Do less.
75. Successful training is about finding the minimum effective dose, not beating yourself into a bloody, sweaty pulp.
76. There is a textbook way to perform every major lift, but like everything in life, you don’t learn everything from Academia. There are certainly guidelines and rules such as maintaining a neutral spine, speed, power, etc. but there are many stances, variations in grip, footwork, etc. that will be unique to each lifter. Different body types dictate this so toy around with it.
77. I believe that this next generation of youngs kids is growing up soft because they are prancing around listening to Euros “spin” and not Americans shred the axe. No one can convince me otherwise. Put down the Armin Van Buren son, gonna pop in Slash and teach you about an ancient technique, it’s called Power Stance.
78. If f you jog in place during a workout, stop. You don’t need to keep your heart rate up while someone is squatting in front of you prior to your 8 heavy reps. All you accomplish by this is pre-leaking out valuable tension on the movement that will get you the most results.
79. If you’re stuck off the floor on deadlifts, it typically indicates weak hammies. Unfortunately, always trying to go heavier is not going to solve it. You can’t power through it. You need to target them, not thrash them. Try going higher rep at reduced load for a month in the range of 8-12 with complete focus on engaging the hamstrings. If you’re interested in this, just ask before a deadlift workout. We’ll definitely green light it and coach you.
80. If you were to ask what I am most proud of as a coach it would be seeing a woman push the band to the side and perform pull-ups on their own for the first time. Real pull-ups.
81. You know what’s a good time? Finishing up a grueling set of 20 front squats, only to have a kid in the doorway look at you with no emotion like the fucking Terminator and say, “my dad is stronger than you.”
82. If you hear a rattling in your car, do you ignore it? Then why do it to your body?
83. There would be less wars, divorces and fights in the world if Festivus was a real holiday.
84. I believe Will Ferrell is genuinely the funniest person to have ever lived.
85. If you raise the rings and then don’t re-lower them, we reserve the right to give you an Indian rug burn.
86. “Infusion of Relish”. — Pritz
87. Sled sprints should be in PE classes everywhere.
88. Nothing checks your ego quite like seeing your very pregnant member bang out an 8 minute mile.
89. When people refer to Fall as “Autumn”.
90. Usually behind everyone in a workout? Or, maybe always lifting the lightest weight? Guess what? You’re still kicking everyone’s ass playing video games and DVR’ing Tosh.0. Never forget that.
91. If caffeine is actually a pyschoactive drug then color me Hunter S. Thompson because if I roll out of bed and don’t have coffee within ten minutes I am this. Caffeine and barbells, baby!
92. Nothing or no one can take away your mental improvement. That’s yours to savor.
93. I believe that if you spend your days trolling the internet and negatively commenting on things, as a society, we have the right to commission you an ass beating.
94. As much as we love seeing record lifts at the gym, what really gets the blood pumping are the complete beginners who take themselves to a personal best lift with improved form and that smile on his/her face when you know it’s clicked. If you could bottle up ecstasy for meathead coaches, that would be it.
95. There will be days when you doubt your efforts. Don’t.
96. I used to be addicted to sugar in my coffee. Then I finally sacked up and made the “healthy” switch to Splenda. I could never drink sweetener-less coffee. It tasted like burlap. Then, I decreased the Splenda to three times per week. Then, I cut it all out all together. Now, I can’t drink my coffee any other way than without sweetener. I promise, you can do it.
97. It is amazing how much the human body is capable of. Go about your dedication smartly, but do so with a fierce desire to always improve, set goals and shed your former skin.
98. Internally rotate your elbows towards your chest when cleaning or snatching. This will stiffen the levers and reduce the chances of premature elbow flexion.
We’ll end with a couple of quotes.
99. I have always been a huge Richard Pryor fan. He is the OG of stand-up comedy and paved the way for everyone. His comedy and mind were nothing short of Hemingway brilliance, yet he was also plagued by fierce loyalty to his demons as his friend was quoted as saying, “Richard didn’t just do a line. Richard did twenty.” Hell, he got so high once he forget where he was and literally, who he was, and lit himself on fire, almost killing himself. He could then have the ability to go on stage a few months later and deliver his best performance of all time. Man was a genius. Anyways, disguised in the comedy of his act is one of my favorite quotes.
“You sure can’t choose how to leave this motherfucker. You don’t know when you’re going to go, so don’t take this shit seriously now, ya here? When this shit’s over, you can’t ask for a recharge. It’s too late. So you better have some fun and PLENTY of it. All I can say to ya’ is, keep some sunshine on your face.”
100. Saw this the other day and couldn’t have re-worded it any better.
“When a small business owner or entrepreneur thanks you for your support, know how much it truly does mean to them. You aren’t just handing over x dollars. You are validating everything they have ever worked for and believed in along with the sacrifices they have made.”
Thank you. Today and everyday, for validating the belief of two crazy idiots who opened up their own location unaffiliated with any parent brand, completely hidden from any positive exposure with nothing but a tiny bit of knowledge and a stack of flyers. Nothing about what we have done should have worked, and yet, here we all are together. So we thank you.
Let’s keep the good times a rollin’ and have one hell of a prom, shall we?
Dave Thomas is co-owner of Performance360 in Mission Beach, San Diego.