Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The whole...

is greater than the sum of its parts. Gestalt theory tries to explain human processes with the concept which states, "what we are is more than what we're made of." For example, when we look at something, our eyes sample the light information, modulating neurons in the visual cortex. Some how, something in our cranial goo breaks down this information and makes sense of it. The output is greater (in information) than the input. But WTF does this have to do with exercise?

The people of a gym are the input, and together create a greater output. No matter the quality of the equipment, the size of the training area, the smell, the temperature, noise, fleas or rodents; the athlete can excel. The individuals at the gym are more important than anything one can buy or build. A dumbbell will not push you. A medicine ball will not praise your success or cheer you up on failure. In fact, failure is an option for a chinup bar, but not for the one holding the timer bitching at how slow you are.

I couldn't get to BJJ/wrestling today due to my work schedule so I called up The Dude and it was game on. As part of the plan each week is 2 minutes added to the workout. Whether we workout or not.

Today's workout was a simple fighters workout.
4 exercises x 2 rounds
2 minutes each + 1 minute break = 23 minutes of heart pounding death and destruction.

1. Jump rope fast
2. Box the bag until your knuckles bleed
3. Squat thrust + pushup, jump to a chinup bar and do a chin up
4. Kick/knee the shit out of the bag

No pics today of the devastation. This workout was seriously cardio intense. Muscle fatigue was not even an option, this was purely the cardiac pump controlling the action. The chest burning reminded me of my first no-gi BJJ tournament 4 years ago. After 5 minutes into a stalemate, we had a 3 minute overtime. During the very short 1 minute break, I distinctly remember the thought that the burning in my chest was due to lava pumping through my aorta. I slammed my mouthpiece onto the mat, and bitched at my coach I was gassed. He just glared at me... I picked it back up off the dirty mats, stuffed it into my even dirtier mouth and went back out for more. He won, only because I jumped guard during his takedown attempt and lost two points... It was at that point I knew fitness was just as important as technique and the first concepts of The Bat Dojo were born. I went home and wrote one thing down, "build some sort of workout, which will make my chest burn like it did today." Today's workout was just that.

I have a BPM chart below. One can clearly see the long mountain peaks of heavy heartrate work. Interestingly both of the jumprope segments exhibited a "U" shaped dip. We believe this was actually due to the screaming of The Dude telling me I was a pussy and to hurry the hell up. Amazingly, it worked.
It's also easy to see in the 2nd round of four exercises, the acceleration rate into the activities was much less aggressive than the prior round. Ideally, I want the leading edge to nearly slam straight up, much like the 1st exercise in the 1st round.

Recovery rates in during the breaks were averaging around 25 BPM +- 10 BPM deviation.

And the protein part of today's dinner :)


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

All great masters...

...are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man had taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I've not been away, I've been secret squirrelling :)

Today I wanted to drill some basic BJJ techniques to:
1. Keep sharp
2. Test my body to see how things go.

I feel tiny bit rusty, but not too bad. I drilled techniques with The Dude and the Nigerian Nightmare today. Just some things I think increase my odds of effectiveness. A triangle setup and some halfguard concepts I researched. I'm building a small rolodex in my mind of a few techniques I want to be my go to moves. My little safe zones to get good at, and expand from there. It's easy to want to build a 10000 technique library yet suck at all of them. I'm focusing on a few things, while ignoring a lot of other things. Actually ignoring isn't quite accurate. It's more of store the technique to be aware of it and come back to it as my arsenal needs to expand.

Ever notice how the superstars in any discipline get typecasted by their technique? Marcelo Garcia's armdrags, Roger Gracie's full mount/x-choke, CroCop's roundhouses and the UFC ring-girls'...eyes. I assume this is a natural progression of finding the answer to one's personal riddle. Right now, I'm all knotted up in this riddle to determine what I'm good at and what works for me (even if I'm not good at it).
My injuries are good. I'm not in any pain, just when I wake up in the morning sometimes I feel like King Arthur is pulling Excalibur out of my gut. Yet, this is happening less and less everyday. Today after drilling and even after about 10 minutes of light rolling with the Nigerian Nightmare I feel pretty good. Although the fat bastard FELL on the back of my head attempting some half retarded guillotine swan dive... Now my neck hurts like hell. We'll see how it goes in the morning....

I'm off to bed!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sleep... the most moronic fraternity in the world, with the heaviest dues and the crudest rituals.  ~Vladimir Nabokov

Holy crap! Check this out! Ran the Garmin all night while I slept. Looks like there were a few moments of no data.... NO DATA! WTF MAN! Did I flatline??? ;)

(click to zoom in)

One can see definite zones such as the mess at 1:55 to 2:25. Plus a bunch of weird spikes. The spikes at the end are the 7 minute intervals between my snooze button! Everytime my alarm goes off my heartrate goes to 80-85 BPM from 55 BPM!!! This cannot be good!

I wonder what those other spikes are? Perhaps rolling around? Or thoughts?? I was originally going to joke and scribble "Angelina Jolie" and arrow to a spike or two LOL

Interesting stuff for sure!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

To fight and conquer... all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. ~Sun Tzu

ok kids, in lieu of photos, I have for you a stop action video of today's workout. First up was me, then The Dude. Today we did Tuesday's workout but backwards and in 2000 degree heat....MUCH tougher! I think I nearly popped my medulla oblongata.

And some heartrate data:

This shows some serious upward stair stepping trends. The bag dragging and ball busting shrimps were whimpy compared to the rest of the crap we did. These two were at the beginning and the middle valley(11:30 min).

My 90 second recovery was about 30 BPM, just like last workout.

See ya!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


...has a flavor of neurosis.

"Crazy!" is often the response of my coworkers to my workouts. Occasionally, at lunch we might chat about nutrition and exercise... Actually it's less than occasionally, it's rare. But when we do, I try to softly lend out a helpful hint, then quickly shut up. No one likes a zealot proselytizing their doctrine!  I prefer to just be a good role model. An extremely overweight individual I know bought a popular prepackaged exercise DVD plan... I'm typically straight forward about these things and told him he'll never use it. Not in a nasty way, but in a brotherly, truthful method with a genuine interest. He obviously wants to change, yet does not want to attack the problem at the source. Diet? Nope. Exercise? Try again. Killer instinct? Yes.

He has no intention of actually doing the work. No predatory demeanor, stalking good health like a lion in the jungle. Humans have a highly evolved and primal instinct to stalk, hunt and kill a prey. Why cannot your well being be the prey in the absence of a tasty wooly mammoth? Use your carnal skills to rip and shred illness, tearing it apart leaving the bloody remains of modern environmental diseases for buzzards. Not that I want buzzards to get sick, I actually like them.

Today I wanted to get a good feel to see if I'm injury free-enough for BJJ. I wanted to see if I could handle grappling takedowns and vertical stress(parallel to the spine). So far so good! We'll see in the morning though. Maybe this week I can get back into BJJ :)

Here's what we did, incrementing by 2 mins per week:
1 minute each - 20 seconds of break x 2 rounds = 18 mins 40 seconds.

1. Texas Triangle - 3 miniballs setup in a big garage sized equilateral triangle. With the Atlas ball in the center. Run from the Atlas ball to one of the mini balls, touch it with your palm. Run your ass back to the Atlas ball and perform one pushup with both hands on the Atlas ball. Repeat this mess to another miniball etc.. etc.. etc...
2. Bearcrawls around the mat edge - Two opposites sides are just normal bearcrawls. The other opposite sides have a kickpad one must hop over during the bearcrawls.
3. Grappling Dummy squats - underarm grab the bag, step back into a reverse lunge. Stand, swing the bag under the other arm, step back with the other leg and repeat.
4. Grab the 10lb sand filled miniball and beat the hell out of the punching bag with it.
5. Double leg takedowns vs the hanging bag. To make things worse, you have to snatch a kettleball under the bag with the rear hand and stand.
6. Shoulder walk shrimp with the 40lb nut crusher on your junk (lower stomach). When your legs are almost straight, bring feet to your ass and bridge fast keeping the ball crusher connected to your belly button. Repeat the mess.
7. Simple. Low crawl and drag the grappling dummy with you. :)

This workout was tough! A quadriceps beatdown with some nice hamstring action as well. I can already feel my hamstrings getting sore three hours later!

MiniBrock busted up the Grappling dummy a few workouts ago, blowing a nice chunk of guts out's it's newly formed A-Hole(yes, again!). Immediately, during the live workout we taped it up, just as MiniBrock used it for his next exercise. For today's craziness, I added another layer of Gorilla Tape...just to be sure :)

Heartrate graph:

Some cool shit in this graph. 5 BPM psychosomatic lump...40 seconds before the beginning. There are 14 peaks matching the 14 exercises. The 1st round BPM were about 10 BPM lower than round 2. The shrimp with the Atlas ball was a huge rest period with a mini spike both times(~9:00/18:00 min) and a quick drop off. This means, it immediately reached it's maximal intensity then the body recovered quickly while keeping up the pace; interesting! All of the other exercises had nice wide peaks (with the exception of the first exercise in the 1st round). I believe this is the goal. Wide, long duration at maximum intensity. Imagine being about to sprint at 100% for hours!

Sixty seconds of recovery from workout end: my heart rate dropped 37BPM. I'd love for this to be about 50. We shall see if this happens :)

Here's some proof of today's insanity:
**Technical note on the photography. No flash today. Batteries were dead. I cranked the ISO up to 3200 running f5.6/24mm. With almost no ambient light, noise and bizarre artifacts crept in. This time I'll just call it art instead of photography.  Enjoy :)

The Dude Ball Bashing

The Dude Ball Grabbing

The Dude Dragging His Bag

The Dude Dragging More of His Bag

Colonoscopy (1st timer newbie!) Bravely Grabbing his Ball

MiniBrock Angrily Bashing His Bag

MiniBrock Banging His Head Against His Bag

Me Attempting my Best Predatory Hawk Impersonation

Me Bashing my Ball Against my Bag


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Triangle of Doom Part 3

hahaha forgot one painful image... :)

Triangle of Doom Part 2

The Dude emailed me at work asking what we were doing today (actually 2 Sep). My simple reply was, "That's classified information." Mostly because I didn't know yet. Although I had an idea...a big fat repeat of last workout because I f'd up by not getting any data! The other part is my theory that states, "Every workout should be unknown and random." It's a little tricky for me as I develop the workouts, but I still do not know the outcomes. I'm uncertain if anyone will survive or whether it will be taxing enough to reap some sort of benefit. A few years ago, The Dude and I literally had a sheet of exercises and we would click on a random number generator on the internet in order to build our task list. Sometimes the internet would be mean and lump a bunch of nasty things together. Pushups, then pullups, then squat thrusts/pushups...etc.. There was no emotional leveling humans do to make the workout fair and reasonable. The cold heart of the computer decided our fate and sometimes it was brutal. We will be back to that intensity in about 4 weeks based on the 2 minute increase per week rule.

Jump back to last week to check out the task list. We executed an exact repeat, with Martian going first  to make it home before the wife poisons his lasagna. Second up is a special guest star Kaveman. He brought up a great idea. Try a different exercise philosophy per week and compare the biometric output. For example, a week of P90x, then Crossfit, Yoga, The 300 etc... This is a fantastic idea and I'll be planning that as soon as possible!

The data this time was fascinating, exhibiting all sorts of crazy shit.

0:30 Psychosomatic lump...repeatable in nearly every workout.
Work out starts at the 1:00 mark and ends at the 15:00 min mark.

The 10 second breaks(in light gray) certainly mark the demarcation between exercises.
The grappling dummy guard exercises were a massive active-rest period. Yet it was taxing as hell. This was almost certainly a strength/anaerobic task. The waveforms were weird, all lumpy and crazy looking. Usually starting with a higher BPM then reducing to a 2nd sub peak. Must be some sort of 2nd wind from the aerobic rest.

The second time through the rings, shows a break due to the prior ToD and general beatdown. A couple ring hops in, then a fatigue induced break kicked in. The funky waveform shows this. The ring hops certainly wore everyone out!

The second time through the bean bag was a train wreck as compared to the first time. Cardio was breaking down, strength was practically gone. At the 30 second mark, I pretty much fell apart.

Both guillotines showed a solid grip for about 30 seconds. Then a BPM breakdown, although...the waveform shows it looks bad, the guillotine hang is really an anaerobic task and heartrate decreases significantly after the first grip failure at the 30 second mark. The successive times clamping on were actually quite solid and long lasting for all of us. BPM vs power output does not always a correlate!

 Martian Whipping the Bean Bag Around

 Martian Ring Hopping

Kaveman Ring Hopping

 Kaveman Grappling Dummy with KettelBall

 The Dude Grappling with the 25lb Plate

 The Dude Grappling with the KettleBalls

Me and the Ring



Triangle of Doom Part 1

No...not Sanakaku Jime/Triangle Choke; the choke using the legs. Rather, the name of one of the tortures we did on the 31 Sep. I know, I'm a few days late... I'll have part 2 done up today and posted.

The problem with some workouts is the motions do not often fully simulate the sport one is training for. Not that exercising is worthless, or that running sprints is going to hurt your baseball pitch. My goal with this workout was to simulate a few things we deal with in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If you're unfamiliar with BJJ, it is a martial art involving grappling. During sparring one is often trying to squeeze the ever-living shit out of their opponent's neck. At other times desperately trying not to have the same done to you. As you can imagine there are times of intense, high-speed scrambling for position or moments of slow, crushing, exhausting fights to escape a pin.  We can enhance our scrambling speed with ladder drills, sprints, box jumps etc... The low-speed, smashing is a bit harder to simulate. Today we'll be addressing squeezing, scrambling and crushing.

Each week I've been incrementing the workout times by 2 minutes. This allows us to increase intensity without dying. It also gives noobs a chance to jump in, without exploding. Even if we get to 30 minutes, the workout is adaptable and can be broken down to smaller time segments for beginners, while leaving the rest to the advanced guys.

Here's what we did(I'll try to explain my madness):
1. Triangle of Doom (ToD) - I set up a triangle shape on the mat with three 10lb miniballs. The triangle is as large as the mat area, with about 12 feet inbetween the balls. As you stand there infront of one of the balls, the 2nd ball is 60 degrees to your front right. If you were to run to that ball, still facing forward, the 3rd ball is 60 degrees to your front left. Basically I made a two angled zig zag.
For this exercise, one keeps their shoulders parallel to the garage door. Squat into a low grappler's stance, palm touching the first ball. Sprint in forward right, JUMPING over an old kick shield on the floor, squat and palm the 2nd ball. Immediately change directions to forward left, JUMPING over another kick shield to squat and palm the 3rd ball. Turn around 180 and go back the opposite direction. The key with this workout is to sprint, jump, squat all the while keeping the shoulders parallel to the garage door. This is a 3D motion, forward, up and diagonal!

2. Ring hops - This is a bitch. Grab the gymnastics ring with both hands. Step back a few feet, straighten arms, squat, then jump! Jump high enough to punch down with both hands until your arms are straight. If you bust your head into the ceiling, you jumped high enough.

3. Grappling dummy guard drill - A surprisingly difficult movement. Lay on your back, and guard(wrap legs around) up the grappling dummy. Hug the dummy and grip a 25lb plate tight to it. Lean left until your are on your side. Right foot underhook the dummy, lean right until upright. Lift the dummy with your right hook, switch to the left hook, right foot guard wrap. Lean to the right, left leg comes over to complete the guard. Repeat, backwards to the left. This was one of those funky ass mental/physical combos which confused the hell out of everyone.

4. Bulgarian Bean Bag Spins - This one sucks. Assume a wide-ish stance; feet about shoulder width apart. Grab the bag with both hands on one end and chuck it into the air rotating it 90 degrees...catch it. Whip it back into the air 90degrees, catch it again and keep going. Every 360 degrees, reverse direction. The exercise attack the grips, the arms, shoulders, legs, butt, pancreas and something else I'm sure.

5. Grappling dummy spins - Guard up the grappling dummy and grab two 15-ish lb kettle balls(preferably homemade). Shoot your arms straight in the air. So far so good. Now, start rotating the grappling dummy 180 degrees. Without using your hands, and without resting your arms on the mat. You may use your elbows and forearms to help manipulate the dummy. After 180 degrees, spin in back the other way. This is an obnoxiously difficult task. My goal was to create the sensation of drowning under a gigantic bag of lard...and that's exactly how it felt to me.

6. Guillotine Choke Hangs - Pure 100% testosterone fueled mental exercise. Get rabid and latch onto the hanging bag with a Guillotine Grip (not Gable!), lift your feet off the mat. DO NOT GIVE UP! when I demonstrated this stuff, the looks were of disbelief and of concern I had forgotten to take my meds. Originally, my poor math skills had me state 2 minutes each, with 30 seconds of rest....TWICE. Yet, my cohorts reason (I call it mutiny) stated that would be 24 minutes and certain death. Woops, I don't want anyone to die, so...ok two rounds of 1 minute each exercise, with 10 seconds of rest was negotiated (14 mins total). Pansies.

So how did it feel after roughly 14 minutes (12 min work + rests) of exercise? It felt like I was steam rolled into the hot pavement! Certainly one of the most intense workouts we've ever had. Mostly in the realm of muscle fatigue. Heart rate was good, but it didn't feel all that horrific.

Here's the heart rate data. Oh wait... I totally screwed up and lost my data... MY FAULT! I think I jabbed the start button on my watch on one of the exercises early on. Sucks. Oh well.

We also had a noob join the ranks for a try. Sucker! We'll call him Martian.

Here's Martian, two seconds into the ToD, all hibbly-bibbly like a cat. He wasn't happy afterwards though...especially since he got home late and had to suffer the wrath of the wife...oops sorry! Next time(if he comes back), we'll get him out the door first.

Martian under the bag.

MiniBrock on the bean bag...taking nap :)

The Dude damn near putting his head through the ceiling.

The Dude fighting off the grappling dummy.

Numbnuts dangling off the bag

The Four Grips of Doom.

At the end...the look of, "Fuck, that sucked!"

Another workout partner. He's doing the Tarantula drag. In record time!