Monday, August 30, 2010

It is fatal...

... to enter any war without the will to win it. ~MacArthur

The Dude came over...after I picked him up...Yeah, that's right. I had get off my lazy ass and go find someone willing to endure sweating in my hot garage, until blood dribbled out of our eyes. It was about 6:30pm and approximately 6000 degrees hotter than the surface of Mars in the un-airconditioned Bat Dojo. This is purely by choice, for one day I'll be telling my kids and students, in my crustiest old man voice, "Hey! You little bastards! I remember when we trained and didn't have fancy stuff like fusion reactor powered ice makers and fix your own torn-ACL machines!"

For today's workout I reorganized the prior workout's exercises as an experiment to maximize efficiency. Which in English means, sucks more. This new sequence has the maximum deflection exercises grouped together. For example pullups and planks since pullups was a large upward BPM jump and the plank was a large BPM drop. I matched up each exercise in descending order, so the largest swings were first.

This time the pattern was thusly:
Each exercise is 30 seconds, the whole thing ran through twice for a total of 10 minutes.


bicycle kicks/weight situp thingy

F up the bag with punches
1/2 pushup hold

20lb upright row hold
crab plank

pullup hold
leglift situp

For the prior workout, I stated it sucked. This time it was the deep, dark vacuum of space suckage. I could really feel this one! The shitty part was a series of hitting the bag, 1/2 pushup, then the 20lb upright row. That trio pretty much wrecked any chance of me walking on my hands as a circus clown for a week. I'm sore, the day after!

The cool part is my Garmin software allows me to compare multiple dates! Very neat shit and here's the comparison. The blue area is TODAY. The pink was the prior, non optimized workout.

Both workouts have a 1 minute lead in, of just standing there ready to attack. The workout lasts for 10 minutes, ending at the 11 min mark.

Starting at the left, I noticed I started this workout at 10 BPM higher than prior. Unplanned, just the way it happens. This workout there was no real psychosomatic lump, but if one looks carefully, my BPM started ramping up RAPIDLY about 30 seconds before the 1:00 min mark...and I was just standing there! Totally mental for sure.

This workout seems to have had 10 major peaks vs 7 in the prior workout. Although suprisingly, I was expecting greater troughs during the rest periods. Yet now that I think about it, I had matched the lower deflection exercises together so it makes perfect sense especially at the 6 - 8 min and 8 - 10 minute pairs of exercises. These exhibited low troughs in the rest periods. Which I suppose is good, it means there is rest, but just not that much!

Some fascinating ending points are marked. BOTH workouts ended within 1BPM of each other. How cool is that??? For recovery, we also see several dampening waves at about the 12 min, 15 min, 17 min, and 19 min points. I have no clue what's going on here. I pretty much just stop what I'm doing and start walking in circles around the mat, then eventually plop down on to my ass for a few minutes. I'm not sure if this is a physiological harmonic from the prior pattern or some sort of weird coincidence.

Here's some pictorial proof that we even did anything:

Bicycle Kick with Weight

Bruce Lee

Who has the better right hook, The Dude....

or me???

  More bicycle kicking with weight thing of doom.

1/2 Pushup holds pretty much suck. I'm not smiling, I'm about to pop a vein in my head...


Friday, August 27, 2010

The only ones who die...

...are the ones who jump off the rollercoaster.

So I had a back injury and the doc gave me some badass 'roids. Good stuff for sure. Yet the pain meds and anti-spasmotic damn near put me into anaphalactic shock! I told him I didn't need pain meds, but he insisted. I took one of each of the deadly three as prescribed and within two hours I thought I was a goner for sure. I stood at the door of my house at 230 am with my phone in hand. I predialed 911 with my finger over the call button. I hoped they would see me laying there in my driveway. Whatever the meds did, I nearly passed out and croaked. I stayed up late mostly to make sure my cardiac system was still pumping juice to my guts. I lived. I'm dumping those meds, I don't need them. My back feels much better now.

I decided to jump slowly back into some grappling and tried Tuesday's Sambo class. It's a hell of a lot of fun and a great standup game... Lesson learned (again), if one get's paired with a noob, put on every bit of Medieval Armour one can buy. For light sparring; I grab him, he grabs me and immediately knees me straight in the nose. Not necessarily for any apparent reason either. That as we progressed in our light grip fighting match, I throw him with today's Russian tie up throw. A quasi sitting your ass, o-ouchi gari thing. He went over and then DOWN onto my now newly sprained ankle. Thanks noob.

So yesterday's workout did not involve running toward or from anything on fire or rabid. This time we focused on arms and core exercises. I decided we should attempt some sort of rapid movements, interlaced with static positions and see if one of us bleeds internally.

Here's what we did:
10 minutes total, each exercise was given 30 seconds.
Motion exercises are at 100% speed.
Static exercises are at 0% speed ;)


Pullup static hangs (eyes above bar)

Bicycle kick situp thing holding a 25lb plate OFF the mat behind your head like a hard pillow.
Crab plank (like a bridge but body is flat like a table and arms are next to you, not over your head)

Punch the shit out of the heavy bag
Hold a pushup at 1/2 mast

Leglift situp (Straight leg lift, then pump your ass up off the mat to touch the ceiling with your toes)
20 LB each hand static upright row hold


So yeah, it sucks.
I wore my Garmin of course and saw some fascinating trends with this workout.

Pullups, pushups, pullup holds, hitting the bag, upright row holds always increased heartrate.
Plank, bicycle situps, crap plank, 1/2 pushup, leglift situp always decreased heartate.

So now we can apply some statistics:
The biggest increase was from rest to the end of the pushups: 62 bpm
The biggest increase not from the beginning was from hitting the bag(1st round) at: 38 bpm
The smallest increase was the 2nd round of pullups at: 5.9 bpm

The biggest decrease was the plank on the 1st round at: 37.9 bpm
The smallest decrease was the 1st round of leglift situps at: 3.6 bpm

Here's the graph of the data. The workout starts at the 1 minute mark, ending at the 11 minute mark. You can just barely see the tiny, itty-bitty psychsomatic lump trying to appear at the 0:35 second mark.

Interestingly, my final recovery time was long and slow. Much like a long, low intensity cardio workout. I was also able to gain the benefit of quick, high intensity recoveries during most of the static positions. I guess that is a win-win in terms of multimodal, functional exercise. This workout is much like being attacked by mutant Cromagnons. There you are, sleeping...then BAM a war club rushes in and wrecks your cave-wife's new clay pot. You're now pissed and grab your stone axe and beat some brains in. Sometimes you are bashing away, and sometimes you are locked in a static hold while wrestling a weapon away. The abrupt end comes when you kill off the last mutant and clean up the mess. The previous workout was the exact opposite; a long, snowy hike to the enemy homeland for a fight with a rival clan over Net-Neutrality...

My goal with this is to rearrange the exercises to see if I can maximize the effect. What happens if I mix the dynamic with the static exercises so that there is absolute maximum BPM deltas? I believe this would increase the quality of the work out considerably!

p.s. sorry no pics. This workout was more of a study to see if anyone would spontaneously implode like a blackhole into a highly compressed singularity of dark matter. Then rapidly detonate, splattering my expensive camera with chunky human salsa.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Accept that some days you are the pigeon...

...and some days you are the statue. ~Dilbert

Today was interesting. The Dude and I did a 1 mile warmup walk around the neighborhood. Upon returning to The Bat Dojo I noticed something moving on my front lawn. I took a quick look and there was this cool little road runner, who quickly hopped up onto my mailbox and pretty much just sat there looking around. I took a few snaps, one of which one is below after he hopped back down. I've always liked birds, I used to raise them as a kid and even had an unofficial pet crow for a summer. He used to visit our house and hang out. He would hop around our pool area begging for snacks and tease our pet Dachshund..much to my adolescent amusement :)

 Today's workout is a small step up in the long, smooth progression of increasing difficulty. The workout was 10 minutes of exercise with nine 15 second rest intervals.

Here's what we done did:
Each item performed at 100% for 1 minute.
Then 15 seconds of rest.
1 - kick the bag
2 - punch the bag
3 - elbows and knees to the bag
4 - guard jumps - holding blue mini ball not your own hands or the bag--> a bitch
5 - Punch, drop, kick, stands
6 - 3 ball ladders
7 - 4 square:
    - low crawl (under bag/rings), 
    - bear crawl
    - lateral pushup walk
    - crab walk
8 - Lateral ladders(side steps) with 10 lb mini ball. Each ladder end, do 3 around the head rotations each direction.
9 - Mini Ball slams
10 - Turkish get ups with mini ball, arm straight up.
11 - Hurl (just kidding)

Here's the heartrate chart:

As you can see, there is a psychosomatic minijump the seconds before the hard cardio portion. Just like prior workout! There are 9 spikes of heartrate. Yet wasn't there 10 exercises? Yes, the 1st one builds the heartrate up, and it climbed during the 1st rest interval and merged into the 2nd exercise spike. It's an interesting element to note. Heartrates(we'll mine anyways) seem to carry inertia during acceleration. 

The Dude Bag Bashing
The Dude Bag Bashing again
The Dude Ball Grabbing  ;)
My Bag Bashing
My Ball Grabbing
My Ball Grabbing..again

Last post had a PSA recommending one to strip EXIF data from JPG's. EXIF data is bits of data about your image. Cameras and camera phones stuff the EXIF data chock full of crap in which hackers and stalkers love to harvest. In particular, GPS data from phones is a stalkers dream. As you wander around your house taking pics of your lovely petunias, posting them to Facebook or tweeting to the universe, some creep is dragging out the location data.

How does one rip out the EXIF crap? There are plenty of ways. Keep in mind, this change is permanent!

1. If you have Photoshop (Mac or Win), open your image and re-save it using the option "Save for Web". This will strip it all out.

2. If you are on Linux/Ubuntu etc... Install Gimp(also for Windows!) and install this plugin:
It will allow one to "Save for Web", effectively peeling out the EXIF data.

3. If you do not have Photoshop or Gimp try googling for EXIF editors. For Linux they are limited to the command line i.e. jhead, exiftool etc... Not hard to use, just not friendly for noobs. One benefit of commandline tools is, with one command one can peel out all the EXIF data for 10 bazillian images!
On Ubuntu:
$ sudo apt-get install jhead
$ cd /into/the/directory/of/your/files
$ jhead -purejpg filename.jpg
This will rip out that pesky EXIF data for the file "filename.jpg". If you want to rip it out from all the files in that directory:
$ jhead -purejpg *.jpg

4. PhotoMe might be useful for people as well. It's free. It's only for Windows, but Mac/Linux people can run Wine (windows emulator) and it works just fine.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lies, damned lies and statistics...

 I'm good with numbers but bad at math. Does that make sense? One of my all time favorite classes in university was statistics. After I learned the algorithms, I could rip out a Chi-Square in record time. Now I can barely do 6 + 5 - squid = 42. More about statistics in a minute. As of today, this is my first full day on steroids. Yup, I'm now a roid raging freak, unfit to enter the cage for the UFC. My orthopedic surgeon is stuffing me full of Methylprednisolone for the next 6 days. Woohoo! According to the internetwebtubes, birth control pills can doubles it's effectiveness. I'm not going to dig through the purse of some chick at the club for some. Ladies, if you want to test this theory, ask your doc and get you some roids! I'm not responsible if you grow a beard and a set of girl testicles though...

So here's the theory of the day. Have my workouts made me better? Or did a quick stint of roids help?

Here's what I did:

Walked my usual route for a mile, then hit the lap button the moment I returned home. I then stood around, stretched my arms and hung from my chinup bar until my heart rate made it down to 100. Then I hit lap again. This next lap I layed down and started heavy breathing and psyched myself up for my test. I rolled over, set my stopwatch, hit lap and commenced. 100 knuckle pushups. All pushups were atleast until my upper arms were parallel to the floor, nose nearly smacking my timer with a 100% full locked arm extension. The same pushup I've been doing since my dad smacked me at age 10 for doing them wrong.

Here's my Garmin showing the stats. The top graph is my pace, the bottom is my heartrate. You can clearly see when I stopped walking due to the pace reduction. What interests me is the recovery rates. After walking, it took me nearly 7 minutes to recover from a low intensity, relatively long aerobic activity.

Clearly one can see my pushups starting at the blue marker and ending at the red. The recovery rate was nearly 3 minutes! Short anaerobic, bursty, high intensity exercises seem to recover (for me) at twice the rate of aerobic activity. I would not doubt the human body has some efficiencies built in for survival. In a fight, or hunting a cave bear, one needs to blast a huge amount of energy, then recover quickly. As we know from countless UFC fights, schoolyard brawls, hunting with spears and police video cams, the vast majority of engagements are high intensity and short duration. Recovering quickly from each sub-engagement, such as a clinch, handcuffing a scumbag or pulling your spear from the side of a very pissed off wooly mammoth for a second stab is HIGHLY important to your survival!

A few tiny interesting bits:
 - The tiny peak just before I start my pushups is a psychosomatic response to activity. Fight or flight response. It's the same exact peak one gets just before the referee says go!
- At the very end of the graph it spikes to about 120 bpm. That's me getting up off the mat, stretching and cooldown.

On the wall of The Bat Dojo is a big ass piece of 20x30 inch paper. On it I scribble stuff... Today I scribbled this:
Nearly half my original record :)

p.s. Public service announcement. I'm a computer geek hacker guy. I don't break into stuff, I secure thing so people don't do it to others. If you have a blog and you use your cellphone to post images...make sure you view the EXIF data of the jpgs(BEFORE YOU POST). Modern GPS enabled cell phones will add EXIF data to your pics with your coordinate location! There are plenty of EXIF readers out there which will remove this crap. Or you could change it to somewhere in the middle of the Antarctic :)
p.s.s. Also it may be a good idea to remove phone OS, and type from the EXIF if you're extra paranoid.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

To... pleased with one’s limits is a wretched state.
            -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Travel, fun, work, injuries, death, more work....not in that order but life get in the way occasionally. It's ok, I've come through. It reminds me of how the Roman's were ransacked throughout it's existence. In one particularly effective siege of Rome, the population just flat out refused to give in. The concept is this, "You steal the victory from the victor by not admitting defeat." It's like talking shit after tapping or better yet, he lets go because you didn't tap and your arm is hanging there by a chunk of your gi. It pisses off your opponent and you may get beaten again and again, but by not admitting defeat....somehow you win. I do not advocate this behavior in BJJ...yet for some reason, in life, it's what I live by. A big gigantic F U to the world when the sky falls around me. Life will win eventually, but I'm not going to admit it.

Today Mini-Brock txt'd me and asked if it was time. He said he wasn't ready...why? Because he was busy dropping a deuce and didn't know if he would be on time. Dude!

I just bought a new spiffy badass watch. A Garmin Forerunner 305. It tracks heartrate vs GPS! Now CSI can tell the exact moment and location of my heart attack while running from mountain people in the Ozarks.

I fired up my SpaceMan Spiff watch and the three of us walked exactly 1 mile. As you can see from the Garmin diagram below we walked a fast Speed Zone 2, even tapping into Speed Zone 3, woo hoo. Interestingly, my heart rate didn't do shit during the walk. Yet, as you can see, when I stopped walking it spiked to 120! That was because I had to demo the exercises of the day. All 8 of them!
Here's what we did:
One minute of each, no breaks.
1. Lateral pushup walks (about 6 feet), then a pushup at each ends of the walk.
2. Rear somersault rolls to the back of our heads, then roll forward to your feet and jump straight up.
3. Rear crab, arms straight. Legs bent, body flat. Lift one knee to chest then the other. -- fast
4. Lateral jumps over shit
5. Alternating sandbag shoulder presses (from one to the other) -- hop to get the whole body involved
6. Rings, climb, hand over hand, no legs.
7. Back shoulder walk with atlas ball on gut
8. Turkish get ups with sand bag on shoulder

Each exercise is really easy...on their own. Once you hit about the 22 second mark, shit starts to break down and you feel like you have to poop. Not nice poop, but explosive death poop.
From the diagram you can clearly see the 8 minute run I had. Starting at 83.6 bpm and slamming up to 165.2 bpm at the end. It reduces rapidly and nearly back to normal at the 10 minute mark. The goal is to reduce the recovery time. By what I've read, recovery rates are a true measure of performance and now I have a way of testing this. Also, according to theory, 185 is my maximum heart rate for my age. I remember charting my heartrate last year and routinely hitting 188. So maybe theory is correct!

Here's some images(click for bigger versions):
The Chart

The Face

The Weight

The Arm

The Jump

The...uh WTF??

The Pain

The Birth of an Alien Atlas Ball


Monday, August 2, 2010

Ahhhhh home...

Well, I'm home for a moment. I'll be heading out very shortly.

I spent the weekend attending Defcon 18 in Las Vegas. It was pretty much amazing!

The mobile Bat Dojo was in effect. We walked and walked and walked. At the moment I'm managing a old back injury flare up and hardcore stuff will have to wait. This weekend we walked for miles from the Sahara, past the Riviera and onto the expensive end of the Strip. Each night we walked probably 2 miles at Defcon and 5 miles to and from food. Necks were exercised while rubber necking the mountains of scantily clad girls strutting around. There must have been fifty bachelorette parties running around. Each one contained between 5 and 30 girls in pretty much standard stripper wear... It was nuts!

I'll report in some more soon!