It was an interesting day at the gym today.
In fact, it was an interesting day in general.
First, I didn't get ANY sleep last night because Q (my son) was up teething – in the words of Lionel Richie – ALL NIGHT LONG. Literally ZERO sleep.
Then at the gym, while training a client, I saw some crazy stuff going on…
-One guy went from bench press, to incline bench press, to decline bench press, back to flat bench press with a Football Bar and then went to a 1/4 range of motion (he was only going from 1/4 down to lockout) shoulder press with the same Football Bar. And then proceeded to take 70lb dumbbells and do various shoulder raises, but the dumbbells were too heavy that he could only raise them a few degrees from his body.
LESSON #1: Don't waste your time trying to hit the same muscle group at every possible angle. My shoulders were in pain just watching him. Instead, get the most bang for your buck by focusing on a single movement and getting better and better at it. Remember, strength is a skill that needs to be practiced.
-Another guy set the pins on the rack as low as he could and then proceeded to load plates on the bar (which was set on the pins). Then he got up on a plyobox and deadlifted the bar (3 plates on each side) with a rounded back…all with no warm-up.
LESSON #2: To prevent potential injury, NEVER start any workout without a proper warm-up AND NEVER pick anything off the floor or do any exercise with a rounded back. You MUST try to maintain a tight arch through the full range of motion. If you start to "lose" your arch, then the weight is too heavy.
-And then another guy did some weird kettlebell swing by keeping his elbows tight to his body and reverse curled the bell up to his chest after his hip thrust. He was using a 36kg bell (which is about 80lbs). He super-setted that exercise with an overhead squat holding a dowel (not too bad), but had a 45lb chain around his neck (wtf?). Towards the last few reps, the chain got so heavy that his head started to tilt forward and he looked like Quasimodo (the Hunchback of Notre Dame).
LESSON #3: Keep things simple. Kettlebell Swings will work your grip and forearms WITHOUT having to make any modifications to the exercise. And overhead squats with a dowel are a great exercise for mobility, so just keep them as that – a mobility exercise. If you want to get stronger, use the front, back or goblet squat. If you want the overhead squat to be more challenging, use an olympic bar. Focus on perfection for each rep and you'll be just fine.
Anyway, the thing that confused me the most was that I got to the gym to train a client just AFTER crazy bench press guy to train a client. I left the gym AFTER my own workout and "crazy bench press guy" was still there working on his "umpteenth" set of shoulder raises.
What a waste of time.
Maybe it's because I have 5 kids that I'm so cognizant of time (every minute wasted for me is a minute that I could have spent reading with one of my daughters or teaching my son how to shoot hoops or riding our bikes).
The days of the long marathon workouts are long gone from my life. And it's my humble suggestion that you eliminate the marathon workouts from your life as well.
After all, isn't time the one thing that we can never get back?
So today, because I didn't get any sleep and because my hands were still recovering from doing 44 sets of VO2 max training with high rep snatches, I did this simple workout…
Warm-up: Turkish Get-Up x 3 per side w/16kg
Workout Circuit: Swing x 25, Military Press x 3/side, Chin-up x 5 – I repeated that circuit 5 times
Finisher: I did 1 set of 25 reps per side of this KB Abdominal exercise…
It's not your "traditional" abdominal exercise, I know, but remember what I said about NOT WASTING TIME?
This exercise is multi-purpose and has more bang-for-your-buck than any crunch, sit-up or twisting exercise.
If I was really ambitious, I would have done some ab wheel roll-outs after or some type of plank. But like I said, NO SLEEP.
-Chris Lopez, RKC
p.s. Don't forget to check out the TT KB Revolution and the different "Finshers" that I use in each workout to help you lose a ton of fat with just a kettlebell and your own bodyweight…