A Middle Aged Adolescent  (who cannot possibly be the only one) A Middle Aged Adolescent (who cannot possibly be the only one) - Page 20

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  1. #191
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    • phoenix arizona seminar date
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    I can see why writers are lured into fiction. Too often in the real world, situations don’t work out the way they should; the principles at stake do not prevail. Life’s infinite complexities too often dull the shine that should brighten our days.
    Creating an imaginary world, however, gives an author the freedom to explore a certain idea and bring things, even after the rockiest of roads, to a just and satisfying conclusion. Having read the story of Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei, I find myself compelled to conjure a better ending.

    This past week, at the World Judo Championships in Tokyo, Mollaei, the defending champion in the 81-kilogram weight class, was forced to flee to Berlin, leaving his family in Tehran. Mollaei was advancing through the tournament, but so was Israeli Sagi Muki. When it appeared that these two were headed for a title showdown, Mollaei was instructed to lose his remaining matches - so he would have no contact with Muki. The first notice came by way of his cell phone in the tournament hall, in a call from the deputy sports minister. Soon after, Mollaei was informed by the Iranian Olympic Committee president that state security forces had arrived at his parents’ home. Finally, on the sidelines as he warmed up, he was confronted by an Iranian embassy official who had pretended to be a coach to get into the restricted area.
    Mollaei complied, deliberately losing to a competitor from Belgium in the semi-finals.

    Similar moments have happened before. In 2017, the coach of Iranian wrestler Alireza Karimi was captured on video yelling that Karimi ‘must lose!’ to avoid facing an Israeli opponent. Karimi and his coach were suspended from international competition. Through the years, Muslim countries have boycotted Israeli athletes in swimming, fencing, tennis, badminton, karate, and even chess. When I was in Guam years ago, one of the other judokas was a former member of the Egyptian world team, and he had stories about matches with the Israelis fought with particular vengeance.
    In Tokyo last week, Mollaei elected to expose the pressure placed on him by his government. He appealed to the International Judo Federation to intervene, specifically sanctioning Iranian Judo and drawing attention to the safety of his family. He then quickly made his way to Germany.

    This story won’t resolve itself easily. Mollaei congratulated Muki on his world title on Instagram; Muki responded by calling Mollaei an ‘inspiration as a human being and an athlete.’ Mollaei has been invited to an upcoming tournament in Israel, and the IJF has pledged to help him reach next year’s Tokyo Olympics in one fashion or another.

    Damn. I hope it works out - though this might have been better:
    (The championships are over. Earlier in the day, an hour after Mollaei lost his semi-final and Muki won his, Muki went on to win the final match. Mollaei has not yet made his protest.)
    At 1:30 A.M, a sharp. fast knock was followed by a flash of light as Mollaei’s hotel door opened and closed. His coach stood in the darkness. ‘Are you awake?’
    ‘What is it?’
    ‘Do not turn on the light. Take your gi out of your competition bag and put it in that pillowcase.’
    Mollaei scrambled out of bed and felt along the floor beside the closet.
    ‘No one else in our delegation must know about this,’ the coach whispered. ‘Put on only a T-shirt and shorts. In the hallway, walk quickly and do not speak.’
    They did not turn for the elevators. Rather, as Mollaei blinked in the bright light, his coach led him to the far end of the hall. As they approached, the metal staircase door suddenly swung open. For the first time, Mollaei was scared. He didn’t even see the man holding the door until he was in the stairwell, and he wondered if this was it, the security police were taking him away. Still, he followed his coach without speaking, their feet moving quickly and quietly down the concrete steps. A few flights down, another man in the stairwell made brief eye contact with the coach and nodded slightly.
    He doesn’t look Iranian, Mollaei thought as they passed, and briefly he caught glimpses of an earpiece and, inside the man’s jacket, a leather strap. That guy has a machine gun, he realized, but he didn’t dare look back.
    His coach walked quickly, looking straight ahead. They were in the hotel basement by this point, moving down a long hallway. Large pipes and clusters of wiring ran overhead, veering or splitting off at various junctions. The coach suddenly turned down a side passage. At its end another man stood, the shoulder strap and the weapon at waist level plainly visible.
    These guys are Mossad, Mollaei said to himself.
    As he and his coach drew near, the man knocked against a door quickly and then pulled it open for them. A cluster of four men just inside turned and stepped aside to let them enter. Two of them held weapons. A man with graying hair shook the Iranian coach’s hand. The last man was Japanese, a hotel manager.
    To Mollaei’s great surprise, standing in the center of the room on an old blue mat, in a t-shirt and white Judo gi pants, was Sagi Muki.
    ‘I’m glad you came,’ said Muki.
    ‘Congratulations, champion,’ said Mollaei.
    Muki shrugged. ‘Without you, it’s an empty honor.’ He glanced at the two coaches and looked back. ‘I thought you might like a shot at the world title.’
    ‘You bet I would.’
    Mollaei’s coach clapped his hands and made a circular motion with one finger raised, as if to say, Run laps. ‘Ten minutes. Warm up,’ he commanded, though under his breath.
    They were on an old, blue gymnastics mat, long abandoned until pulled out of storage somewhere, in a room that measured 15 by 20 feet. On one side. the mat butted up against a cement wall; on the other were metal lockers. They were in an employees’ changing room, which afforded far less space and illumination than a typical beginners’ club dojo, let alone an international arena. The mat, still curling at the edges, was filthy and a far cry from the fast, firm, one meter-by-two tatami’s they were used to.
    Mollaei and Muki ran around the mat together a few times but gravitated wordlessly to opposite sides. The two agents, having put down their weapons and emptied their pockets, each put on a white gi jacket. One walked toward Muki; the other crossed to Mollaei. From there, the warm ups were uchikomi’s, fast repetitions in which each athlete practiced the onset of a throw, moving into position and loading his opponent. After a few minutes, a loud -thwack!- sounded. Muki had thrown his partner.
    Mollaei looked at his and raised his eyebrows. The man nodded.
    After a number of throws, the Israeli coach whispered, ‘Okay, Okay,’ and beckoned the two to the center of the mat, where he and Mollaei’s coach stood in stocking feet.
    Six feet apart, Muki and Mollaei bowed formally. They then dropped into crouches, one leg forward, and at the same moment, their right hands swung out and as low as knee level to connect in one last loud slap.

    When all was said and done, there was laughter and embracing between coaches and athletes - but little time to waste. ‘Our men will escort you back to your floor,’ the Israeli coach said.
    Mollaei turned at the door and faced Muki. ‘Thank you,’ he said once again.
    Muki nodded. ’See you at the Olympics.’


    The truth of the matter is that Mollaei made the right decision in revealing his government’s coercion. This simply can’t continue, he knew. If being a world champion has taught him anything, it’s honor, and silently throwing that semi-final match would have proven soul-destroying. He had to register his outrage and strike a blow against those who made him do it, even at the risk of retribution against him and his family. That’s a very tough call to make.
    The problem with my little fantasy is that it doesn’t address the real problem. It just postpones it a year: ‘See you at the Olympics.’
    Fiction is too easy, to the point that it’s irresponsible. God, it’s fun, though: As night fell across the Caspian Sea, an old freighter eased into the port of Noshahr. 200 kilometers away, in Tehran, a truck loaded with wooden crates and marked with the name of a hot water heater company was parked in the alley behind the Mollaei family’s apartment building . . .

    4-Day Split (8&3, 5&2, 2&1 rotation)
    Week of: 9/16/19 2&1 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat (3x2*) Tom 427.5 JC 175
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 3 sets of 8 reps Tom 357.5 chains JC 160
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485 - 535
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Bench press: Work up to a heavy set of 1* rep Tom 307.5 JC 140
    2. Bench press - back off sets 5 sets of 5 with 257.5 JC 115
    3. Dips: 4 sets of 8 with red bands (16.5)
    4. Hanging Rows: 5x5 vest, 25 lb db
    5. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 1* rep Tom 507.5 JC 247.5
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 457.5 chains JC 225
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 3x2* reps Tom 385 bands JC 160 bands
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Speed bench press [8-12 sets of 2-3 reps @ 40-60% with mini bands or chains;
    with 90 seconds’ rest between sets] Tom 12x3 - 187.5 JC 85
    1.5 Dead bench: OFF
    2. Barbell or kettlebell shoulder press (5x8) kb Tom Tom 62, 72 JC 30
    3. Pull ups (5x10) 8.75
    4. 4 sets 10 triceps work - ROTATING week to week
    -Overhead Extensions, Lying Tricep Extensions, and Band Press downs
    5. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    6. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    row 6000 meters

  2. #192
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    I’ve stumbled on yet another compelling line of scientific inquiry: Massage is a great thing, instrumental in recovery, but can it have a negative effect on maximal strength?

    I took the plunge last week and ordered a massage gun, a model stronger (and louder) than most - and to cut right to the chase, it works madly, instantly making sore body parts feel better. We all know the feeling of triceps that seem like they’re coming off the bone or your whole body creaking around at the end of the day after heavy squats. It’s the price of strength training. However, when my knees still hurt coming down the stairs a few days after squats or I’m stiffer getting out of bed than going in, I know my recovery isn’t happening the way it should.
    Soon after the gun was delivered Sunday, I was blasting myself all over and having a great time. My quads and calves felt great, and my chest and triceps were looser than ever. I walked up and down the steps, marveling at the sense of feeling . . . nothing, for a change.

    So far as I know, two things are happening in massage. One is that tight muscle fibers are stretched slightly, like guitar strings pressed down to a fretboard, and triggered to lengthen and relax. The second is that circulation is stimulated. Muscles after a workout must exchange chemicals that are molecularly ‘spent’ for those that are fresh, a process that can be gummed up in a traffic jam among the fibers. The vibrations of a massage, or the vacuums or pressure waves, physically plow the waste products that are adhering to things into the circulatory system, where they are carried off and disposed of. The pain and swelling are reduced, and the blood bearing the ‘groceries’ can get in, now that the ‘garbage’ is out of the way. The muscles are fortified for the next training session - more than they would have been without the intervention.

    This feeling nothing in my muscles is where trouble begins. Monday morning, after a second full body blast Sunday evening, I headed out for my squat session. I couldn’t tell where I was in my first few warm ups, with 135, 225, and 275. Am I forward? Am I deep enough, I was asking myself. If Sunday I had rendered myself into merely a sprit in the material world, then on Monday, I was still as loose as a vegan after hot yoga and a juice cleanse. Monday was a heavy day featuring 2’s with 427.5, and I was so loose that I couldn’t feel my position until I got to the 365 and 405-pound warm ups.
    I got the sets, so I didn’t worry.
    Monday night, tightening up like an old offensive lineman once more after squats, Romanians, and shrugs, I blasted my lower half and posterior chain, with my wife’s help, and felt like a million bucks. ‘Hey, get my triceps, too,’ I said to her as I was face down on the floor, ‘especially up at the top, right at the shoulder.’ I wanted to be ready for bench presses Tuesday, so I also gave my pecs a good beating.
    The next day as I worked through 135, 185, and 225-pound warm ups, I realized, ‘I can’t feel these.’ Usually I can tell where the bar is by the stretch through my chest, but that was gone. The bar speed was the only indication of how challenging each weight was.

    Now, here I should stop. Which is right? Should I feel some amount of tension in my muscles, or have I grown used to adhesions and incomplete recovery?
    Beyond the loss of kinesthetic awareness is a decrease in strength, which is the real problem.

    I got 255, 275, and 295, but missed 307.5, the heavy single planned for this cycle. That was surprising and disappointing, but I moved on to 5 sets of 5 with 257.5, which was where I realized something was wrong. The first set was brutally hard.
    That should not be happening, I fumed. I hit 275 for 3’s a week ago, so 257 should friggin’ fly up. I couldn’t believe I’d be losing both the single and the sets in this cycle. If I wanted to get this, I knew, I’d have to be damned fast and aggressive. I made the second set, though rep 5 was a fight. The third set was better - and then the fourth and fifth were perfectly fine.
    I had to have some battle damage to my muscles to be back at the top of my game. Not feeling things is not good. I would have had that 307 if I hadn’t screwed myself up.
    My wife, who also partook of the pounding to the pecs and triceps Monday night, reported an atrocious bench press workout Tuesday.

    Google searches reveal mainly that every website in the world copies the same NCBI articles stating that massage is just great. It provides increased muscle activation and proprioceptive acuity in the joints, as well as reduces swelling, ‘while having no effect on muscle function.’
    Really, you have to be careful to delineate between its effects on recovery and the effects on performance. Research on the effects of massage just prior to exercise is limited, it turns out, and most references to ‘performance’ take the long view of training over a period of weeks or months. That said, I did see one mention of a study indicating that massages immediately prior to sprints adversely affected times.

    In SUPERTRAINING, Yuri Verkoshansky tells the story of an Olympic Games in the 60’s or 70’s, where Soviet athletes exchanged knowing smiles as their competitors stretched before events. The Soviets, by contrast, jumped to warm up. Stretching, they were the first to discover, reduces contractile potential.
    That’s what we must have done, gotten things to let go to the point that we couldn’t recall them fully.
    So, what’s the plan? Full blast for the sake of recovery - but don’t touch a body part for 24 hours before using it.

    4-Day Split (8&3, 5&2, 2&1 rotation)
    Week of: 9/16/19 8&3 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat (3x8*) Tom 357.5 JC : 147.5
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 3 sets of 8 reps Tom 357. 5, 360, 357.5 chains JC 160
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) 75 - 95 JC
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485 - 535
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Bench press: Work up to a heavy set of 3* reps Tom 282.5 JC 120
    2. Bench press - back off sets [5 sets of 4, 75-85%] Tom 265 JC 110
    3. Dips: 4 sets of 8 with red bands (16.5)
    4. Hanging Rows: 5x5 vest, 20 lb db
    5. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5

    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 3* reps Tom 460 JC 235
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 415 JC 205
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 3x8* reps Tom 322.5 JC 130 BANDS
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Speed bench press [8-12 sets of 2-3 reps @ 40-60% with mini bands;
    with 90 seconds’ rest between sets] Tom 190 JC 87.5
    2. Dead bench: 3 sets of 1 rep: 80, 84, 86%: 247.5, 260, 267.5
    3. Barbell or kettlebell shoulder press (5x8) kb Tom 62, 72 JC 30’s
    4. Pull ups (5 sets of 10 reps) 8.75
    5. 4 sets 10 triceps work - ROTATING week to week
    -Overhead Extensions, Lying Tricep Extensions, and Band Press downs
    6. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    7. 4 sets band flies
    8. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile

  3. #193
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    For those of us whose high school years were set to the soundtrack they provided, the deaths of rock stars Ric Ocasek and Eddie Money were a double blow. That they were only 15 or 20 years older than we are is alarming enough, but worse is the feeling that we lost track of them and never had a chance to appreciate all that they meant.
    Ocasek’s Cars were a technically precise band who paved the way for the guitar and synth pop of the 80’s, and ultimately the New Wave and alternative genres. Eddie Money’s brand of music was simpler, a raspy, working class rock delivered in unabashed bar-band style. Still, he produced one true masterpiece that in all this week’s remembrances is not getting its due.
    ‘I Wanna Go Back’ is an homage to high school, first recorded by Billy Satellite in 1984. Money’s 1986 version, with the added saxophone and Money’s melancholy vocal, blows it out of the water. I don’t recommend the video. Instead, listen to it as you’re driving by yourself some night, and you’ll come up with all the imagery you need.
    “I was listening to the radio
    I heard a song reminded me of long ago
    Back then I thought that things were never gonna change
    It used to be that I never had to feel the pain
    I know that things will never be the same now

    I want to go back
    And do it all over again
    But I can't go back I know
    I want to go back
    Cause I'm feeling so much older
    But I can't go back I know”

    I just saw a Facebook post full of pictures of the kids I was coaching back in Cleveland last year. They were all at a regatta, having the time of their lives. Some of the old storylines are still in play: there was (J) always edging close to whichever girl he was pining for, another (J) who was a fierce little competitor who either had no time for romance or was trying to impress the ladies by winning every event. (G) - polite and shy to a fault, she has steadily gained confidence. This is a group of kids from a number of high schools who train together and get along incredibly well - and this is that time in their lives when their experiences build the foundations of their psyches.
    No adults are in these pictures, which is perfect. We are (were) plenty involved, coaching weight lifting for example, but high expectations, hard work, and adults making things happen are just part of what makes their world a perfect, safe little universe in which to grow up. Out on the water, I’d be in a center-console Boston Whaler 100 yards beyond them, riding shotgun, talking to all the freighters on Channel 16, making sure no one was in anyone’s way.

    My old weight lifting coach has described our prep school as ‘Camelot,’ that one shining spot where the faculty considered one another family as they poured their hearts and souls into teaching the young knights of the Round Table. Years after retiring, he and other teachers still attend reunions to see how their students have turned out.

    I once heard a psychologist describe adolescence as similar to a young swimmer’s gaining confidence in the water. They’ll clutch at the side of the pool, be that their parents or teachers, and suddenly push off to try a few strokes. Just as unpredictably, they’ll return or clutch at some other landmark to rest. Over time, they swim further and faster, and come back less often.
    The world was a simpler place as we played out all those moments in and out of school, at dances, on the playing field, or in the gym. As we think of all those who made it so - or our own responsibility to do the same - we should also consider stars like Ric Ocasek and Eddie Money as islands in the stream, where we could grab hold and push off as we swam.

    September (quarterly) break
    Week of: 9/23/19
    TUESDAY
    Conditioning
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. SQUAT: work up to one set of 3 reps (next Monday’s 5’s) 395
    2. DEADLIFT: work up to one set of 1 rep (next Thursday’s 2) 485

    FRIDAY
    1. BENCH PRESS: work up to one set of 1 rep (next Tuesday’s 2) 295
    2. work up to semi-respectable single PRESS 185 - 200

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    row 600 meters

  4. #194
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    I’ve written about a high school football player in my Cleveland neighborhood. His parents are friends of ours, and he used to stop by my garage gym for a little coaching once in a while or just to shoot the breeze about football and training. Three months ago, when we moved back to Washington, it was sad to say goodbye to all of them, but one consolation was that they’d be in town in September, when the kid’s football team played another Catholic prep school. Stay with us, we said. We’ll make a weekend of it.
    That’s passed; a good time was had by all - except for the kid’s team, who had their heads handed to them, getting shut out and probably never close to their opponent’s 30-yard line, while the other team scored nearly at will and hung 35 points on them by halftime. The Ohio kids were flung around the field like wet laundry, the defense getting driven 10 yards back on simple dive plays. That straight ahead blocking was often a cruel set up for the play that followed, a criss-cross that blasted holes wide open, like angled axe blows hacking a great gap in a log, after which the ballcarrier would sprint untouched to the end zone. The Ohio quarterback and tight end were each mauled and forced out of the game. (This was the second knee injury for this tight end, who tore an ACL at some sports camp a year or two ago, a story that aroused my suspicions about his coaching when I first heard it.)
    The officials enacted a mercy rule, under which the second half clock never stopped, running despite first downs, penalties, and changes of possession.
    After the game, the Ohio parents headed from the stands to the field’s exit, to greet the kids - or at least those willing to communicate. Our friend was among those who were not. It was a pretty grim procession. ‘Which one’s the strength coach?’ I whispered to the mother.
    ‘That one,’ she said, pointing to a guy in a nylon pullover. ‘He has to wear long sleeves at games because he’s all tatted up.’
    This was not a small team by any means. Some 13 members of the roster were over 225 pounds, most of them 6’2” and more, with five at 6’5” or 6’6”. The more typical looking players, the 185 or 190 pounders, were the perfectly rugged, handsome, and athletic looking lads you’d expect to see at an upscale prep school. The roster was rounded out by a number of 155 or 165-pound underclassmen.

    I’m catching on a little late to this, but the idea of high school football teams traveling around the country for games is a significant and growing trend. I suppose it makes sense for a given prep school that has cornered a region’s talent to get out beyond all the local competition they’re dominating - which teams used to do by merely going further afield in their own states. (Dominating the locals has NOT been the case for my young friend’s school). High schools are ranked nationally, like college programs, and in a glance at the MaxPreps website, you’d see that many teams fly across the country for games against other ranked opponents.
    ‘Well,’ I said to our friends over dinner that evening, ‘if you’re going to start getting involved in games like that, you have to develop a big time program.’
    ‘It is a big time program,’ Dad said.
    No, it’s not - but I couldn’t get into it because I didn’t want to be a bore about weight lifting.

    I just returned Dan Pedersen’s TOPGUN to the library. Pedersen and a number of handpicked chums founded the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School in 1969. Tom Cruise’s 1986 movie made it famous but confused the public into thinking it was two words, ’Top Gun.’ The Navy always called it Topgun. It was born out of necessity - out of emergency - since pilots were being lost at an alarming rate over Vietnam. Pedersen describes the cascade of errors that made this happen: when air to air missile systems were introduced, Pentagon planners concluded that the days of aerial combat were ancient history. Radar would spot an enemy miles away, and a missile would do all the work. Dogfighting, as training doctrine, fell by the wayside - (but read the book and learn about the secret ‘fight club’ off the California coast.)
    In Vietnam, pilots were hamstrung by senseless rules of engagement and restrictions on targeting. In moments of danger, the much vaunted American missiles failed pretty much all the time, and since pilots lacked training in air to air engagements, they were being shot down by Soviet and Chinese trained MiG pilots. Pedersen recounts stories in which he sees buddies parachuting into the jungle. In some cases, American forces mount rescue attempts with helicopters. In others, Pedersen could see it was too late. Enemy forces swarmed the area to capture or kill the Americans, and since their F-4’s didn’t carry guns, American fliers could not swoop in to protect them.
    Not without rocking the establishment, the Navy published The Ault Report, named for the captain who authored it. In his analysis, he recommended creating an Advanced Fighter Weapons School to address numerous deficiencies. Pedersen, trained as a young buck by legends who had cleared the Pacific skies of Japanese, who had also made it out to that fight club as often as possible and then seen action in Vietnam, was sent to Miramar, California and told, not in so many words, to start saving American lives.

    You can see where I’m going with this analogy: a seemingly ‘big time’ program, US naval aviation, was a hollow force, the result of inadequate training. Most importantly, Pedersen and his cadre, hotshots that they might have been, did not assume they had all the answers. They knew that they had to be organized and establish two things:
    - 1, a set of professional standards, namely tactical doctrine and capabilities (whatever they would be)
    and then
    - 2, a feasible, effective curriculum by which they could enable ‘ordinary’ pilots to meet them

    In short order, some of Pedersen’s people were off to visit Raytheon (I think), who made the missiles, to find out what was going wrong, while others were headed to visit the engineers who designed the F-4 itself. As you’ll see, these were critical steps.

    Now, back to our prep school football team: the rugged and handsome lads are taking on MiG’s and getting blown out of the sky. I’ve written over the past year or two about the ridiculous non-regimen that their strength coach has devised. Most of the time when my young friend told me what they’ve been doing, the poor thing just wanted some approval for being able to withstand hardcore sessions. Instead, I’d be largely horrified, and, as time went by, increasingly willing to confront him with facts.
    Let’s consider some of the snippets I can recall as our own ‘Ault Report.’ Players were ‘not allowed’ to perform back squats or deadlifts until they were experienced seniors, and even the amount of bench pressing they did was limited. Instead, front squats were everything, seemingly. Stories include a military-like drill in which lifters were lined up at the numerous racks to do 7 synchronized sets of 7 front squats, each with a 7 second descent.
    ‘What did you use?’ I had to ask. ‘An empty bar?’
    He admitted, ‘Yeah.’
    According to this coach’s Twitter page, the number of players capable of a 1.25 bodyweight front squat is a major measure of progress, with a ‘before’ statistic from January and an ‘after’ in April or May showing the increase. [a 1.25 bodyweight front squat? as in a 200 pound football player front squatting 250, and that’s an accomplishment? OK, class, a HINT: that’s less than the bench press standard I’ll be recommending, but hold that thought . . . ]
    Deadlifts were done with a trap bar, and push presses and power snatches were done in high repetitions. Remember, I met this kid when his parents prevailed on me to look at his form, since he was having back pain and other problems down below, to the point that his doctor had referred him to a specialist for fear of some kind of prolapse. There he would have been, in a waiting room full of elderly patients and women suffering complications from pregnancy. It turned out he was suffering complications from trap bar deadlifts, namely tucking his rear end beneath him like a hyena.
    The coach’s Twitter feed features workout announcements along the lines of sleds, squats, and sprints happening on the same day, and never did I hear of any exercises being repeated from one day to the next, with a few pounds added. I never heard of any big squats, and maybe someone benched 315 - but if he weighed 275, that’s meaningless. At about Thanksgiving last year, when the kid wondered aloud if he’d ever play, I told him his only chance was to show up for summer ball back-squatting at least 315 and benching 200 as a 150 pounder, so when he hit somebody, they’d know it. It was possible, I told him, but since that hadn’t happened in two and a half years of training already, he’d be wasting his time sticking with his present coach. I didn’t see him for some months afterward.
    As I watched that game, I had to remind myself that I’m not a football coach, so I wouldn’t see everything that was going wrong. Our Ault Report for the Boosters’ Club will have to have other folks critique the coaching on the field. However, quarterbacks do not get hammered, offenses are not consistently stymied in their end of the field, and defenses are not shredded by blockers and runners because they’re stronger than the other team.

    OK, class, think about this for next week: The phone has just rung. The strength coach is gone, and you’re in. This school wants to play with the big boys. Hand pick the coaches you want in the gym with you. What are your standards, and how are you going to meet them?

  5. #195
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Washington, DC
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    4-Day Split (8&3, 5&2, 2&1 rotation)
    Week of: 9/30/19 5&2 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat (3x5*) Tom 395 JC 165
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 3 sets of 8 reps Tom 357.5, 360 JC 155
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485 - 535
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Bench press: Work up to a heavy set of 2* reps Tom 295 JC 122.5
    2. Bench press - back off sets (5 sets of 3) Tom 277.5 JC 117.5
    3. Dips: 4 sets of 8 with red bands (16.5)
    4. Hanging Rows: 5x5 vest, 25 lb db
    5. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5

    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 2* reps Tom 485 JC 237.5
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 437.5 JC 210
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 3x5* reps Tom 352.5 bands 5x3 JC 147.5
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Bench press: [≠90% of Tuesday’s reps] mini-bands 5 sets of 3 Tom 227.5 JC 95
    2. Barbell or kettlebell shoulder press (5x8) kb Tom 62, 72 JC 30’s
    3. Close grip bench press 3 sets of 5 Tom 187.5
    4. Pull ups (5x10) 8.75
    5. 4 sets 10 triceps work - ROTATING week to week
    -Overhead Extensions, Lying Tricep Extensions, and Band Press downs
    5.5. (JC) Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    6. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile

  6. #196
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    (following upon last week’s discussion and homework)

    During the week, you and your fellow coaches have had a chance to set up shop in the school’s weight room and see that it ain’t a bad joint by any stretch of the imagination: 16 full sized power racks in an enormous, clean, bright, finished basement painted with the school’s colors and logo. This is why the Dads think it’s a big time program. Each rack is equipped with a bar, bench, dip attachment, safety bars, and plenty of weights. The entire room is floored in a new, solid rubber surface featuring a faux wooden platform design in front of each rack. Luckily, too many dopey machines didn’t have to get carted off, and all those kettlebells can be tastefully arranged where they won’t be a temptation. There’s plenty of room.
    The kid wasn’t joking when he said that 90 people could work out at a time, which is all the more reason that five or six coaches will have to be on the job, and certainly not just one.

    You’re definitely ahead of where Dan Pedersen and his colleagues were as they stood up the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School in 1969. As Pedersen tells in his book TOPGUN, they had to steal a dilapidated trailer for their first workspace at Miramar and then start wondering about what exactly they’d be teaching and what airplanes they’d use.
    The Navy faced a confusing systemic problem, too many aerial combat losses over Vietnam, and it was up to Pedersen and his fellow instructors to reverse these fortunes completely. This story makes for a decent comparison to a high school football team wanting to play on the national stage. They’re both about gigantic campaigns involving a great many people and nearly infinite variables, but the determining factor in each is the quality of the warriors sent into the arena. That takes some careful preparation, which is a far cry from resting on assumptions.

    Pedersen does not bore us with things technical, or, for that matter, excite our enemies with anything too useful. He does, however, illustrate Topgun’s approach to innovation with two related stories. Early on, they sent instructors to the companies that produced the Navy’s air to air missiles and the aircraft themselves. Navy pilots were operating far beyond the capabilities of the missiles, they discovered. The weapons were simply not designed to be fired during high stress flight maneuvers. Pedersen says that doing so was like throwing a knife while in a wild, twisting scrap. The knife will sail off in a straight line somewhere, well away from wherever the fight is going. The aircraft engineers surprised the pilots with the news that they weren’t really using the F-4’s to the full extent of their potential. Yes, the MiG’s were more nimble, but an F-4 could light its afterburners and go vertical like an Apollo moonshot. No MiG could keep up.
    The lads hit upon an idea. In a dogfight, when F-4’s and MiG’s crossed paths, one of the F-4’s would immediately bolt for the sky on a parabolic profile they called ‘The Egg.’ The MiG’s would be chasing one American plane, often unaware that coming straight down at them like the Wrath of God - and within the missiles’ performance profiles - was the other American jet. If the MiG’s turned and tried to run, the F-4 above merely had to twist its orientation.
    In the first years of Topgun’s existence, the air war in Vietnam had been scaled back. In 1972, when peace talks broke down, President Nixon ordered a renewed campaign. Topgun graduates were smoking MiG’s. The Air Force, which declined to act upon the Navy’s findings, continued to lose aircraft and men.

    ‘We’re changing the way we do business,’ you’ll tell the football players and the Father’s Club as they gather for a meeting. ‘We want to optimize your speed and explosiveness on the line of scrimmage, strengthen your blocking and tackling, and protect you as best we can from injury. We’re going to be training the exercises that have the greatest amount of muscle mass moving the greatest amount of weight over the greatest distance - because that’s what has to happen on a football field.’
    You’ll go on to describe the press, bench press, back squat, and deadlift, explaining that a new set of standards is in effect, as is a program proven to make them possible.

    My first set of standards would apply to seniors with two or three years’ lifting experience. They’re based on what I did as a senior eons ago as well as the lifts of that 230 pound friend who later played for Philadelphia and Dallas. These are familiar ratios to many of us on the site:
    - 1.0 (x bodyweight) press, 1.5 bench press, 2.0 squat, and a 2.5 deadlift.
    For a 145 pound kid who’s only 5’6’ and as tall as he’ll get, but hormonally mature, his lifts would be
    -a 145 press, 217.5 bench, 290 squat, 362.5 deadlift.
    A 185 pound kid would have - a 185 pound press, 277.5 bench, 370 squat, and 462.5 deadlift.
    The 230-pounder would have - 230, 345, 460, and 575.
    In Cleveland, I had a 165 pound senior who began with 135, and in only 10 weeks’ time pulled 335 in a dead, with more in the tank. These are definitely feasible ratios, in my view, but if I’m being a little extreme, then for senior year these might be our expectations:

    SENIOR YEAR: simply 0.9 x (1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5)
    which is .9bw press, 1.35 bench, 1.8 squat, 2.25 deadlift
    145 pound kid: 130, 200, 261, 326
    185 pound kid; 166.5, 250, 333, 416.25
    230 pound kid: 207, 310, 414, 517.5

    JUNIOR YEAR: 0.8 x (1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5) = .8bw press, 1.2 bench, 1.6 squat, 2.0 deadlift
    145 pound kid: 116, 174, 232, 290
    185 pound kid : 148, 222, 296, 370
    230 pound kid: 184, 276, 365, 460
    Now, nobody freak out. We won’t be testing maxes on kids running linear progressions, especially sophomore and freshman years. The way to see if we’re on the hunt is to take 80% of these numbers and imagine the kid hitting 5’s with that.
    Can a 145 pounder hit 5’s with 185 in the squat? Of course.
    Can a 185’er hit 5’s with 180 in the bench? Yes, so long as we’re talking about experienced athletes, not new arrivals.
    I’m a little suspicious of anyone who’s 230 pounds at such a young age. We’ve all worked with big and soft kids. As easy as these standards might be for the 145’er and 185’er, they’ll be harder for a fat 230 pounder. 292 pound 5’s in the squat? I hope.

    SOPHOMORE YEAR: 0.7 x (1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5) = .7bw press, 1.05 bench, 1.4 squat, 1.75 deadlift
    145 pound kid: 101.5, 153, 203, 253.75
    185 pound kid: 130, 195, 259, 324
    230 pound kid: 161, 241.5, 322, 402.5
    I’ll believe in rock-solid 185 and 230 pounders at age 15 when I see them. These numbers night be a little steep.
    In Cleveland, I had a sophomore weighing 145 who had never touched a weight, pulling 195 deads for 5’s - again after only 10 weeks, so that 253 max or 202 for 5’s is definitely feasible, especially if the kid is training for more than just two and a half months.
    Here, the hormones are just beginning to kick, but a 145 pound kid pressing 85 for 5’s? The same kid was past that.

    FRESHMAN YEAR: 0.6 x (1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5) = .6bw press, .9 bench, 1.2 squat, 1.5 deadlift
    120 pound kid: 72, 108, 144, 180
    145 pound kid: 87, 130, 174, 217.5
    185 pound kid: 111, 166.5, 222, 277.5
    230 pound kid: if he’s not on a program to alter his body composition - 138, 207, 276, 345; Yeah, I doubt these.
    0.6 as a factor is probably a little low, but these guys, who might even be less than 120 pounds and won’t have many hormones surging, will be starting presses with an empty bar.

    145, 185, and so on are just representative numbers. A 175 pound junior running back, benching 210 and squatting 280 can probably throw a decent block. A senior weighing 195, benching 263, and squatting 350 should do some damage as a linebacker. Compare this strength to the former coach’s 1.25bw front squats for these guys: 218.75 and 243.75.
    A team with 13 guys weighing more than 225 pounds is a team with 13 guys squatting and deadlifting in (or near) the 400’s and 500’s respectively. They should be able to hold their ground.

    Rip’s Novice Linear Progression is the plan. We’ll add some power cleans a few weeks in, as well as rows and pull ups. HOWEVER, younger kids aren’t going to be able to progress five pounds at a time. That’ll be a trick even for juniors and seniors, unless they’re putting on bodyweight. The freshmen and sophomores, especially, might have to push along at 2.5 pounds a day - or a week - depending on the exercise.
    When the linear progressions stall, especially if the kids are topping out on their weight gain, they’ll move into intermediate level HLM’s and assistance work. (I’d save the Texas Method for college athletes.)

    (continued below)

  7. #197
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    (10/4 from above)

    A big time program is presumably a tradition of greatness, a place loaded with top level athletes. When it comes to colleges, we think of big time programs attracting top tier talent, but these are high school kids, and if this football team is going to make any pretense of developmental value, then it’s going to have to nurture the talent it has at its disposal.
    A big time program does not rely on the same handful of eight kids to play both ways in games while the 70 or so other team members watch from the sidelines. This had the parents grumbling in the stands. The eight players are exhausted by the fourth quarter, and they’ve lost games at the last minute as a result.
    Most importantly, the coaches, by their actions, are telling parents that this is not a big time program.
    - By relying on the 10% of the team capable of playing at a varsity level, they are admitting that they have zero faith in the other kids who’ve been gutting it out in practice for months. That doesn’t strike me as the most honest transaction in the world, but maybe the kids knew this going in. I can’t imagine the parents being happy if they stopped to think about the massive resources being poured into a program dedicated primarily to the benefit of, say, 12 kids. 70 players could stage a walkout, which might make a statement, but it wouldn’t make a difference.
    - The off-season program is not producing any - or enough - players of value. Don’t take the word of a critic. The coaches obviously consider it a waste of time. 90% of its trainees are useless.
    That means that the strength coach and his program are useless, responsible for a catastrophic waste of time for the DOZENS of kids who are putting in considerable time and effort eight months out of the year, hoping to play.

    Which comes first, the coaches offering opportunities to more players or more players becoming capable of deserving them?

    Two weeks ago, even as the clock sped downward, the Ohio team was being thrashed by the other school’s second and third strings. The Dad visiting us said his son has a buddy who’s a giant lineman. ‘I can’t believe they’re not putting him in. He’s 6’5,” 270, and he’s never stepped on the field.’
    ‘Yeah,’ I said, ‘but is he strong?’
    ‘No, not for a 270 pounder, but still . . ‘
    Well, there you go, I thought. Poor kid. Send him to Topgun.

    4-Day Split (8&3, 5&2, 2&1 rotation)
    Week of: 10/7/19 2&1 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat (3x2*) Tom 430 JC 170
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 4 sets of 6 reps Tom 357.5, 360x3 chains JC 160
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485 - 535
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Bench press: Work up to a heavy set of 1* rep Tom 307.5 JC 140
    2. Bench press - back off sets 5 sets of 5 with 260 JC 117.5
    3. Dips: 4 sets of 8 with red bands (17.5)
    4. Hanging Rows: 5x5 vest, 25 lb db
    5. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 1* rep Tom 510 JC 245
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 460 chains JC 220
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 3x2* reps Tom 387.5 bands JC 152.5
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Bench press: [≠90% of Tuesday’s reps] mini-bands 5 sets of 3 Tom 230 JC 95
    2. Barbell or kettlebell shoulder press (5x8) bb Tom 155 JC 75
    3. Close grip bench press 3 sets of 5 Tom 190
    3. Pull ups (5x10) 8.75
    4. 4 sets 10 triceps work - ROTATING week to week
    -Overhead Extensions, Lying Tricep Extensions, and Band Press downs
    5. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    6. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    row 6000 meters
    Last edited by Nunedog; 10-04-2019 at 06:26 AM.

  8. #198
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    starting strength nutrition camp
    This Columbus Day marks the 40th anniversary of my greatest - and only - high school football achievement, a tackle that stopped a sweep in a JV football game. Trust me, this was anything but heroic, but it is a fond memory and not unrelated to the things I usually talk about.
    As I’ve described, I was a 120-pound bundle of weakness and inexperience as a high school sophomore, on a JV squad that was really only an offense in the minds of the coaches; the defense during our games were second- and third-teamers sent down from the varsity. Those of us in the ‘miscellaneous’ category were practice fodder during the week, and my role was to approximate a defensive back as best I could.
    Our games were on Mondays. Since my Dad had the day off, he announced that the family would come see us, despite my pointing out there was no way I’d be playing. ‘We have to show the flag,’ was the kind of thing he always said. He had played college ball and I think was mainly interested in a Fall day outdoors.
    Amazingly enough, I got in the game. We were killing the other team, so sending in the scrubs at the end of the fourth quarter presented little risk. So far as I can recall, I was only in for one play, but I remember it vividly: the other team was in white, since we were at home. I was the left side cornerback, which is to say I was out at the far end of things, away from everyone hunkered down at the line of scrimmage. I knew that if a receiver split out to my side, I was supposed to step forward and be ready to stick to him through my zone. However, to my great surprise, three receivers lined up in front of me, two forward and one back, something I had never seen before. All of them were leaning forward, one foot in front of the other, ready to charge. The tight end lined up on that side as well, and the whole engagement was in close quarters, since the ball was on the hashmark on my side of the field. Our defensive scheme was that if a cornerback was facing the offense’s ‘strong’ side, the zone he was responsible for was ‘the flat,’ about a ten-yards-deep and ten-yards-wide corner adjoining the line of scrimmage. Simple as that was, the idea absolutely left my head.
    The ball snapped, and the play turned out to be a massive ‘Student Body Right’ sweep. Two of the receivers took off past me as I stayed rooted. It was a pitch to the one who was set back, the ball coming out as wide as I was. The offensive linemen, all pulling to the right, were probably forming their wall behind me - and I was left completely forgotten in a massive movement of bodies.
    The kid with the ball ran straight at me and made a cut to his right. I lunged and wrapped my left arm around his waist a second before the two of us were crushed in a massive pileup. Much of my defense had also seen the pitch and, driving along a certain number of blockers as collateral damage, buried us.
    I allowed myself a victorious little jump as I emerged from the pile. I also heard my name being called. ‘Where is he?’ It was one of the varsity dudes, who must have thought I held my ground out of bravery. ‘Great Play!’ he screamed, his eyes wide and banging his facemask into mine.
    My Dad, I found out later, had no idea I was in the game. From a distance, the play must have looked completely miscellaneous, as though somebody had tilted a table full of marbles and made them rush to one side. That moment was my entire football career.
    I smile every time I stretch these five seconds into a great saga: first, my mind going utterly blank as I’m vastly outnumbered; then the confusion and comedy of the entire offensive team flying into action without seeming to realize I was there. Now that I think of it, any corner in his right mind would have shot backward to cover the flat since he was up to his ears in receivers. The offense was obviously banking on this so they could set up the sweep; unfortunately they had not considered that the sheer incompetence of a single defender would penetrate the entire operation.
    I can remember the exhilaration of getting the guy, even the instant I put my hands on him, that I was actually tackling somebody good, somebody who’d been carrying the ball all game long. This was cool.
    Even as my friend shouted my name, I knew I was lucky. I had survived despite forgetting everything expected of me. I’ve laughed about it every Columbus Day since. Thank God they didn’t throw a pass.

    4-Day Split (8&3, 5&2, 2&1 rotation)
    Week of: 10/14/19 8&3 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat (3x8*) Tom 360 JC : 147.5
    2. Romanian deadlifts: 3 sets of 8 reps Tom 360 chains JC 160
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) 75 - 95 JC
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485 - 535
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Bench press: Work up to a heavy set of 3* reps Tom 282.5 JC 120
    2. Bench press - back off sets [5 sets of 4, 75-85%] Tom 267.5 JC 110
    3. Dips: 4 sets of 8 with red bands (17.5)
    4. Hanging Rows: 5x5 vest, 20 lb db
    5. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5

    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 3* reps Tom 462.5 JC 235
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 415 JC 205
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 4 sets of 6 Tom 325 JC 130 BANDS
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Bench press: [≠90% of Tuesday’s reps] bands 5 sets of 3 Tom 230 JC 97.5
    2. Barbell or kettlebell shoulder press (5x8) kb Tom 62, 72 JC 30’s
    3. Close grip bench press 3 sets of 5 Tom 190
    4. Pull ups (5 sets of 10 reps) 8.75
    5. 4 sets 10 triceps work - ROTATING week to week
    -Overhead Extensions, Lying Tricep Extensions, and Band Press downs
    5.5. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5 JC
    6. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile
    Last edited by Nunedog; 10-11-2019 at 06:58 AM.

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