A Middle Aged Adolescent  (who cannot possibly be the only one) A Middle Aged Adolescent (who cannot possibly be the only one) - Page 30

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  1. #291
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    • wichita falls texas february 2021 seminar
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    • starting strength seminar february 2021
    (from above)

    Togo found his way right to the Eskimo sod igloo awaiting them on the northern shore. Siberian Huskies’ whiskers can sense changes in air flow by way of sensors at the bases called trylotich pads. Huskies have more of these than do any other breed.
    This was quite the breeding program the Chukchi had mastered through the generations. Intelligence and playfulness were bred in; aggression was bred out. If you were ever to run into Balto or Togo, you might not be all that impressed at first glance. They were each only about 50 or 60 pounds. Still, they were jet engines. If a Tour de France bicyclist’s V02 Max measures in at 88.2, sled dogs are at 200. Compared to humans they have 70 percent more mitochondria in their cells. Their training increases the size of their hearts by 50 percent.

    The rational explanation for the 1925 miracle does not make it any less awesome. (God, there might even be a rational explanation for the Cleveland Browns’ being 7-3.) We’re getting nothing but slowly unfolding facts, but the vaccines, which will prove to be one of humanity’s greatest feats, are coming. This Thanksgiving, raise a glass to the scientists, and then go outside and stand in the cold night air. Try to hear Balto bringing 'em in.

    (quotes from a BBC Earth article)

    (5, 3, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 11/30/20 5 and 3 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 5, 5, 1, 1; with 80, 90% 380, 442.5
    2. Romanian deadlifts / rack pulls: 2x5 reps; 2x2; 365, 405
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 8 Tom 192.5
    2. Bench press: 2 sets of 5 Tom 202.5 chains; add 30+
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    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 482.5
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 435
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 4 sets of 5 Tom 340 chains
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 2-3) Tom 140, including chains
    2. Press: 2 x 5 reps; 2x2 170; 190
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    6. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile or row 6000 meters
    Last edited by Nunedog; 11-29-2020 at 01:19 PM.

  2. #292
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    On May 29, I wrote a fictional account of my being on the coaching staff of an SEC college football team as we grappled with the prospect of reopening the campus for the summer. This was after my stumbling, in April, onto a physician’s information sharing site, one usually intended for quick diagnostic reference. It even had a way for folks to pick up continuing education credits, but with the onset of the pandemic it had become a clearing house for information on the coronavirus and its treatment.
    The site has been equal parts fascinating and frustrating. I’ve seen doctors from all over the world log in with comments and questions in real time. While I didn’t track all of the organic chemistry involved, I did get the big picture, the way the virus sets oxides loose in endothelial cells, like lit cigarettes tossed into the scrap bin at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.
    I didn’t realize I was in on a secret. In the weeks and months that followed, I’d be stunned by press reports showing how slowly much of the medical community was catching on. ‘Is COVID-19 a Disease of the Blood?’ a headline inquired as recently as November 5.
    Hello? I saw them explaining this to doctors in Pakistan back in mid-May. You mean everybody isn’t up on this? This kind of obliviousness compelled me to write the May 29 piece.
    Here’s the same cast of characters six months later.


    ‘Wednesday,’ Coach decided. ‘Wednesday at 9AM will be the press conference. In the meantime, let ‘em speculate and drum up all the headlines they want. They’ll be dying to hear what we say.’
    It was Saturday night, well past dark after an away game as we all stood tired and hungry in the driveway outside the University President’s fancy brick house. This was after the sudden hub-bub with reporters as the game drew to a close and we jogged off the field, as well as our skipping the post-game interviews. The players had figured out we were in trouble by the time we met in the locker room. The gig is up, we told them. They dressed quietly. Messages from the Boss appeared on our cell phones as we boarded our flight: drive over the minute you get back.
    Eight coaches were present, myself included, standing in a group, some leaning against a car. The president, who had stood around with his hands in his pockets like the rest of us, sat down on the brick steps of his front porch. Beside him was the Dean of the Health and Sciences division, and standing beside us was the General Counsel to the University.
    ‘Are there charges?’ the Head Coach had asked.
    ‘No one’s opened an investigation,’ the counsel said. He picked up a legal pad from the hood of his car. ‘The newspaper has a number of allegations:
    - ignoring and violating coronavirus protocols
    - players being allowed to play despite testing positive
    - faking the results of PCR tests; you have ridiculously too few cases compared to other schools and the University at large
    - Using unauthorized and illegal tests, and distributing unauthorized dietary supplements to players.’
    The local city paper had published a front page investigative report that morning, and news outlets around the country had picked it up. We were in Columbia, South Carolina, up 24-7 at the half when one of the trainers looked at his cell phone and said, ‘You’re not going to believe this . . .’
    Coach was not one to stand around brooding in the darkness. ‘Come on, you guys. We knew this was going to happen. We’re going to tell them everything, which is going to drop like a bomb.’ He looked at all of us. ‘In the meantime, turn off your phones.’
    The president looked up. ‘Sorry about your bowl game.’
    ‘Yeah.’
    ‘The kids know?’
    ‘They knew back in August.’
    We’d likely be meeting some state health inspectors and maybe even FBI folks, we were warned. On Sunday, the story was big enough to be a topic on NFL pre-game and halftime shows. On Monday and Tuesday more articles appeared. The office phones rang off the hook. Then the editorials started. We had displayed pure arrogance, they said, as though we felt the rules didn’t apply to us. What’s more, it was betrayal. We were part of an SEC task force that agreed on stringent procedures to protect athletes on every team in the conference. We had not only failed our peers, we had endangered them.

    ‘Good morning,’ Coach called over the noise of the crowd Wednesday. We were in a large auditorium facing about 25 journalists seated in the first few rows. Behind them were 10 television cameras. We would be live on one of the ESPN channels, we were told. Folks quickly quieted down and faced the front.
    ‘The first thing I’d like to say,’ Coach began, ‘is that you can take your mask off,’ which he did. Arrayed at a long table beside him were nine of us: Coach, the Offensive and Defensive coordinators, the University President, the Dean of Health and Sciences, the team doctor, myself, Jean-Jacques Moulin, our team captain and star running back, and a visiting PhD from Harvard who had been advising the project. At one end was a large screen with a grid full of faces following the discussion on Zoom. At the table, we all took our masks off.
    Most of the journalists didn’t move. They regarded us warily.
    ‘Those paper strip tests you took before coming in are rapid antigen tests,’ Coach said. ‘They’re going to make up a large part of our discussion today. We happen to know they’re very accurate, so had anyone tested positive for contagious proteins, you wouldn’t have been allowed in.’

    We did a reasonable job telling our story in more or less chronological order. Strangely enough, the journalists were pretty quiet, unused to people actually unfolding the truth in detailed fashion. This is pretty much how we spelled it out, but I’ll add a bit of context:
    Players and other students began arriving on campus shortly after that meeting at the end of May, but this was also just days after the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis. Black Lives Matter protests were taking place all over the country. There was awkwardness to the point of tension among the players, so Coach had to call a special meeting. (This was in my tent, which had to become the team’s outdoor meeting room. My weights were moved to a nearby open-sided parking garage.) Coach was addressing everyone but saying to the White players, ‘It’s not just OK; it’s encouraged and it is necessary to reach out to your Black teammates in a private moment and say you’re sad to see what happened. You’re sorry that it took so long for you to understand the world they’re living in, that it’s different from yours.’
    Coach announced that all workouts were cancelled on a day a campus rally was to take place. Our team meetings became like retreats. One day one of the White players gutted out, ‘We can’t pretend to empathize completely with your experience, but we know murder when we see it.’ That’s why so many White people were marching around the country.

    One morning before the Fourth of July, a few of us were summoned to a meeting with the President over at the Health and Sciences building. We arrived at 8AM sharp and were met by the Dean of the department and a handful of upperclassmen and graduate students. Our meeting with the president would begin at 8:30, the dean informed us.
    ‘When you had a meeting in late May, the President came to your office.’ he said. ‘Have you wondered why he did that?’
    We had not, vanity being a dominant characteristic of big time college football coaches. We had assumed, of course, we were the center of gravity on campus.
    ‘You were being checked out. He wanted to see if you could communicate despite your differences. He didn’t know you, Coach. He wanted to be sure there was no iron fist or cult of personality.’
    We were seated at one end of a conference room table. The student assistants were all clustered by the dean at the other. ‘The president was an NIH researcher working on the AIDS crisis in the 80’s. Did you know that?’
    Some of us shook our heads.
    ‘You all arrived in 2016 - which means that you missed the fact that in 2014, he had to take a leave of absence to join the Ebola task force. Another question: what is the strength coach doing here?’
    I had wondered that myself. I was punching way above my weight class, being invited with the head coach and offensive and defensive coordinators.
    The dean said, ‘The president was observing you in your natural habitat, hoping you had some capacity for functioning responsibly, and all of a sudden this guy here starts rattling off knowledge about COVID-19 pathology - like, detailed stuff people don’t know.’
    ‘I got that from a website,’ I said.
    ‘Right, but you were speaking his language. The rest of you seemed to pick up on it - which was good.’ Finally, he added, ‘You guys are about to have a very interesting meeting.’

    (continued below)
    Last edited by Nunedog; 12-04-2020 at 08:13 AM.

  3. #293
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    I would be the one handling the first of two subjects that came up at this meeting. Later that same day, with the players gathered in the tent, I got up to speak. ‘OK, guys, I want you to think about Sweden, which has taken a pretty hands off approach to any coronavirus shutdowns or social distancing. This doesn’t mean they’re not having difficulties - BUT they are studying who’s coming down with this virus and having the worst complications. Sweden has a Somali immigrant community, and these folks are having a rough time. They looked at Somali men who are winding up in the hospital, and they see that these guys have very low Vitamin D levels. Ah-ha, they figure. Black skin produces less Vitamin D than White skin, and Vitamin D is very important to the immune system.
    ‘That was probably too easy, the doctors think. They then look at the Vitamin D levels of Somali women - and that’s even worse, practically zero - and the women in the hospital are suffering badly. Somali women wear headscarves and long dresses, so they have no chance of absorbing sunlight.
    ‘Now, stay with me: one of the things known about African Americans is that their bloodstreams show higher amounts of von Willebrands Factor, which is a stringy substance that binds platelets together. COVID is a blood clotting disease. The worst things happen when the von Willebrands Factor gets out of hand.
    ‘So here we are with two seemingly separate sad facts of life: Black and Brown people - and the evidence is coming in from numerous countries - are deficient in Vitamin D. Number Two, they’re also walking around sporting elevated amounts of von Willebrands factor.’
    This is what one of the grad students told us before the president arrived that morning: ‘It turns out that these two things are related. The less Vitamin D you have, the more von Willebrand - or fibrinogens - you have in your bloodstream. Jack up your Vitamin D, and the fibrinogens decrease.’
    I reached into a box and pulled out a jar of Vitamin D tablets. ‘We’re leveling the playing field. Everyone’s taking Vitamin D: players, coaches, White, Black, Brown . . everyone. Even White people are deficient. When this pandemic is all said and done, Vitamin D levels will be what told the tale.’

    My biggest rival - and closest buddy - on the whole staff is the defensive coordinator. I described him before: in his 70’s with graying blonde hair, Coach Phil is an NFL Hall of Fame linebacker who played in the 1970’s for John Madden’s Oakland Raiders. He’s a wild man through and through, having spent his life drinking, fighting, and whoring when he wasn’t out on the field braining people or getting brained.
    The thing is, and I’ve told him that this is obviously the result of accumulated head trauma, he goes home every night, turns on the TV, and believes every word of what FOX News tells him. He must sit there and pound the arm of the chair shouting back in agreement with Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.
    When he got popped for speeding one day, I said, ‘You’ll like jail. It’s all Trump administration guys.’
    ‘Silence, Bolshevik.’
    ‘Bolshevik? The Russians are on your side nowadays.’ We battled over the impeachment, and the long election tally brought us closer than ever.
    On days that the defense gets a little shaky, he’d yell at them, ‘You Twinkies should be able to handle this - or if you screw the pooch, I’m suiting up and coming in!’ That threat worked until the second week of the season, when Trevor Lawrence and Clemson air-mailed about 40 points overhead by the end of the Third Quarter. Our senior linebacker jogged off the field after a touchdown, took off his helmet, and suggested, ‘OK coach, get in there.’
    ‘All right,’ he growled, motioning them into a close circle and dropping to a knee in the center. ‘You guys SUCK.’ He let fly a furious stream of profanities. ‘Who’s got one?’
    A defensive tackle raised a finger.
    ‘Go for it.’
    The tackle cut loose with a string of expletives.
    ‘Good. Good!’
    A defensive back started with, ‘Your mother . . .’ and got nice and graphic.
    ‘Outstanding.’
    This was on prime time television on a Saturday night, the image of the defense huddled together on our bench. The announcers surmised something profound about our reconfiguring our defensive strategy, but they and the rest of the United States had no idea that these guys were trading descriptions of bizarre sexual practices and increasingly grotesque gastrointestinal events, everyone wearing their masks so no one could tell how hard they were laughing.
    Back in June, we had six players test positive for the virus. This wasn’t any worse than at other schools, but the reality of it spooked Coach Phil. ‘Where the Hell are you guys going at night?’ he asked at a team meeting. ‘This can get out of hand damned fast - and now is the time for you guys to think of your teammates. You’re going to have to sacrifice. Think of the greater good and the responsibility you have to make this program - this season - a success.’
    Afterward, I said to him, ‘Phil, I had no idea.’
    ‘No idea what?’
    ‘You’re a liberal. Think of the greater good? Well done. You were busting out some serious 1973 social consciousness there.’
    ‘Go to Hell.’
    ‘Ted Kennedy called. He said you’re doing a bang up job.’
    ‘Shut up, Tommy.’
    ‘Hillary Clinton just sent you a friend request on Facebook.’

    ‘Gentlemen, I have a proposition for you,’ the university president began as he stood in front of 90 players gathered in the tent near the end of July. Three weeks prior, in the Science building, he had begun our meeting the same way. ‘In that smaller box, next to the Vitamin D, are a few little jars of paper antigen tests.’ He pulled one out, took the top off and passed it to Coach. ‘We’d like your team to test the efficacy of these. They’re saliva tests. People could use them at home and get the results in 15 minutes. We’re pretty sure they’re going to work well, but we have to test whether they can function within the context of a large group. Can a collection of individuals come together and control the spread of the virus using this technology? Theoretically, it’s a slam dunk. Practically, no one has confirmed it on a large scale. The football team would represent a first step in research.’
    The president continued. ‘We understand that the SEC has mandated PCR tests three times a week for you and your athletes. We - ‘ he gestured toward the dean; ‘or, I should say, we researchers think this is a wrongheaded approach. Researchers - ‘ he hit the word with emphasis - ‘think the entire United States testing strategy is wrongheaded.’
    ‘Is this why this is getting a little cloak and dagger?’ Coach asked.
    ‘Those tests you’re passing around are illegal. The Food and Drug Administration will not approve their use or their testing. The politics are a little difficult, as you might imagine. The problem is, lives are at stake.’
    The dean chimed in: ‘We’ll still do the PCR testing, the nose swab, as a matter of form, but the paper tests are going to prove far more valuable. That part has to be kept under wraps.’
    The room was quiet for a second, and suddenly a voice said, ‘You’ll be doing your fellow citizens a great service.’ The president reached for a remote on the table and aimed it at a screen in the wall. A very familiar face with glasses and a white lab coat appeared. He had a scratchy voice and a Brooklyn accent.
    We were thunderstruck for a second. I cut a look at Coach Phil. Mr. FOX News’ jaw had fallen open.
    ‘Who else is doing this?’ Coach asked.
    ‘Certain military units,’ said the person on the screen. ‘No other sports teams.’
    ‘Why us?’
    ‘Football’s a higher risk activity.’

    By the time the president made his pitch to the team, we had a total of 15 cases. More importantly, other things were happening. From a nearby high school, a 14 year old player was in intensive care with myocarditis. A teacher from a player’s old high school was on a ventilator. A football coach in Mississippi collapsed into his wife’s arms and died soon after. The grandmother of one of our walk-on practice squad members died in a nursing home.
    The president gave much the same explanation we got. He said, ‘If this gets out, the NCAA could disqualify your entire season.’
    Team captain JJ Moulin answered, ‘Doesn’t matter. Now, it’s personal.’
    ‘All in favor, say Aye,’ Coach called out. It was unanimous.

    (Continued below)

  4. #294
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    At the press conference, the PhD from Harvard, who was supervising the study, explained the reasoning behind it. Coaches, players, a handful of faculty members, and about 10 pre-Med and Med students would be issued a supply of test strips. (Don’t let your friends or girlfriends find these things, we told the team, and keep your friggin’ mouths shut.)
    Starting on August 1, they would take a test every Monday and Friday. The PCR, or Polymerase Chain Reaction tests, the nose swabs, were mandated by the SEC for Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, anyway. ‘The difference,’ the PhD was saying, ‘is that the paper tests simply have antigens printed on them. They’re ready in 15 minutes. If a player tested positive, he’d know to stay home immediately. He calls to let the team know. If he stays home, he doesn’t unknowingly infect other people.
    ‘Imagine if these were distributed nationally. That would mean on a given day 20 million of these tests could take place - instead of 1.7 million at best - and they could have instant results. In our present model of testing, three to seven days is too long; the information is old by the time people have gone out and infected others.
    He scanned the journalists to see if they were following him. Behind them in the auditorium sat the 10 pre-Med and Med students who would be helping write his final report. ‘We have to define the crux of the issue with coronavirus. It’s not a medical issue - well, yes, it is if you get it. Really, the greater issue is that the virus spreads chiefly through asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic people. They simply don’t know they have it. Instant paper tests change that. They stop a person in his tracks before they spread the virus.
    ‘In a matter of days, you can reduce an epidemic to a fraction of its size. That’s what they did in Slovakia.’

    A journalist challenged him. ‘The PCR tests are more effective.’
    ‘They’re more sensitive. The PCR test is made to look for scraps of disease RNA. The antigen tests simply look for proteins. Proteins are discernible ONLY when someone is contagious, capable of transmitting the virus, which lasts four or five days. It takes you that long to get the PCR test back. That’s not effective, to use your word. The spread of the virus requires a public health intervention, not a medical intervention.’
    Another journalist spoke up. ‘What happened with JJ Moulin?’
    JJ was at the table, but here the team doctor answered, and Coach chimed in now and then. Jean-Jacques Moulin, a slam-bam running back from New Orleans and no doubt soon to be a high NFL draft pick, caught the virus probably on the night of September 26, at a party after a game. Despite not feeling a thing, he takes his paper test, which is positive. Every kit has a set of emergency strips from another manufacturer. Since two false positives from separate companies is statistically pretty much impossible, the second positive means he has it. Don’t move, the office tells him.
    Tuesday’s PCR test ends up confirming it. He sits out the Missouri game the next week, and the week after that the LSU game is cancelled because they have a slew of positive PCR’s. Three weeks have gone by, and JJ is ready to play Vanderbilt. He takes a PCR test Thursday, and we don’t think anything of it. On Monday it comes back positive.
    Usually we get the tests back in time for the game, but since we knew he was fine, we didn’t think anything of it. Now the testing company is informing the SEC, and folks are beginning to wonder if we’re trying to get away with something.
    ‘This is the problem,’ the PhD from Harvard said at the press conference. ‘The PCR test is so sensitive that it can pick up old fragments of the virus long after they were ever active. You know, they say the paper tests only get about 70 percent of what the PCR can pick up. That’s looking at the situation backwards. When the issue is contagion, the PCR test is giving you a massive amount of false positives. Only the antigen test can tell you when the virus is transmissible.’
    It was still a few weeks before Thanksgiving Saturday and the big newspaper story. Coach is calling around the SEC office, and he gets word that the PCR testing lab thinks we’re faking the results - sending them bogus samples. From August 1 to Thanksgiving, we had three kids test positive. Every other school had 30 in that same time frame. JJ’s results were late that weekend because they were retesting all of our samples.
    The Harvard dude explained, ‘That should tell you that these positive flares you see of five or eight players at once are from transmission in the football facility, in meetings or practices. We had three separate cases, each bringing it from the outside somewhere, but we stopped the virus from entering the building.’


    ‘So this is great,’ a reporter allowed. ‘When did this technology become available?’
    ‘It was ready in February.’
    ‘February? Before the pandemic?’
    ‘Where are we now, 275 thousand dead? Think of how much of this could have been avoided.’
    A reporter behind the others stood and asked, ‘How did you get involved with this test? Why were you chosen?’
    We all glanced at one another quickly. Coach looked at the president, who leaned down toward his microphone. ‘Tony? Are you there?’
    On the big screen, one of the grid squares expanded to fill the space. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who had similarly appeared in that July meeting, announced that he’d answer the question. Our University President was an old friend and colleague who agreed to take on the project - which was official - on behalf of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. ‘This was three months, almost four, really surpassing our expectations. The last thing we’ll do is give everyone antibody tests to see if we’ve missed any infections. Some medical students are going to write up the report - and a lot of people are going to want to see this.’
    ’Such as?’
    ‘Well, I can tell you for one thing, the members of President-elect Biden’s Coronavirus Task Force.’
    Coach Phil gave a sudden laugh in spite of himself. He sat up straighter in his chair.
    The reporter puzzled it all out: ’So wait a second. Dr. Fauci, marginalized by the White House, goes rogue?’
    On the screen, Fauci gave a shrug.
    ‘And a college football team . . . ‘ the reporter ran out of words.
    Coach said, ‘College football teams don’t usually involve themselves in other people’s problems.’
    ‘We had to think of the greater good,’ Coach Phil blurted out. He looked down the table and gave me a wink.
    JJ Moulin came quickly after: ‘This has been the Year of Black Lives Matter, the Year of The World Not Working the Way it’s Supposed To. We’re not heroes. We didn’t do anything. We hid tiny little pieces of paper in our shaving kits for three months. It was easy.’
    ‘Will it be worth losing your post-season?’
    ‘I think you’re missing the whole point here.’
    ‘Coach, the allegations in the paper - ‘
    ‘We’re guilty,’ Coach said, ‘of every single one.’
    Beside him, Coach Phil hoisted his two big paws in the air, his hands in upturned fists with his wrists pressed close together, as if to say, Slap the cuffs on. Take me away.
    Cameras clicked, and that image flew across the internet, television screens, and newspapers in the days that followed.

    (5, 3, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 12/7/20 3 and 2 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 4 sets of 3 Tom 410
    2. Romanian deadlifts, rack pulls: 2x5; 2x3+ 365, 425
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 5 Tom 210
    2. Bench press: 4 sets; 2x 5, 200, add 50#: 2 sets of 2 chains
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets, 40’s, 50’s
    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 512.5
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 460
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 2 sets of 5, 350; 2 sets of 3 with chains 370
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Inclined Bench Press: (10 sets of 3) Tom 140 with chains
    2. Press: 4 sets Tom 165-185
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets, 40’s, 50’s
    5. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile or row 6000 meters

  5. #295
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    RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER has sprung to the fore once again, this time by way of a Facebook post by a high school friend, directing people’s attention to an ATLANTIC Magazine article entitled, ‘Don’t Subject Your Kids to Rudolph.’ In it, author Caitlin Flanagan describes the 1964 classic as disturbing and cruel to the point of unbearable. The comments that followed on Facebook got me to thinking about bullies and victims.

    “Of all the disturbing things in RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER, nothing competes with Donner’s rejection of his son. Donner is horrified by the nose, in a “no son of mine” kind of way. One of the numerous readings of the show is that it is a parable about the hardship faced by gay kids in mid-century America, many of whom were rejected by their fathers, their peers, and their teachers.
    This theory is reified back at Santa’s little forced-labor camp. We are supposed to understand that blond, dreamy-eyed Hermey wants to be a dentist, not a toy maker. (What he really wants to do, in my opinion, is join the drama club, but that might have been too much for NBC.) Foreman Elf—who, come the revolution, will not be dealt with kindly—humiliates him repeatedly. When Hermey tells him, tentatively, that he doesn’t want to make toys, Foreman Elf repeats the phrase in the “sissy” voice that has haunted gay boys down through the ages. “Shame on you!” cry the other elves, further demoralizing Hermey. ‘Rudolph’ thinks it teaches children to be themselves, and maybe it does. But it also teaches them how to taunt a boy who seems different. In the time-honored tradition of kids in his situation, Hermey runs away.”
    That is the core of Flanagan’s argument. My initial reaction on the Facebook thread was essentially, True as this might be, the good guys win in the end. The spirit of Christmas prevails, and everyone winds up in their rightful place. This show has taught generations the lesson of hanging in during dark times. Also, when it comes to myths and fairy tales, little kids’ brains deal in absolutes. They don’t consider the full implications of the story’s details.

    The next comment was from another classmate: ‘As someone who was bullied, I hated every minute of this show.’ He’s gay.
    Oh damn, I thought. Whoops. This could be unpleasant. For a moment, a flash of anger took over. I thought, ‘It sure is a sign of the times that those of us who are reasonably fortunate, healthy, and well adjusted find ourselves having to apologize for it. There’s so much more dignity in being wounded.’
    However, the sheer fact that this other guy is a good dude made me think about this. I decided that I’m allowed to have my initial thoughts and all the ideas I hold near and dear. I’m going to embrace them - hard, but I should probably examine them as well. First of all, I was bullied too. I was an undersized non-athlete and an accomplished underachiever, which was why I was sent to that prep school we attended. Long story short, but a few years in that weight room ended any worries about being bullied. They also sorted out my sense of self worth and ethos toward hard work and success. Got problems? Solve them.
    One of the other things I said on Facebook was that as a father reading to my kids, I’ve tossed out many a modern Disney book and tracked down older editions on EBay. Pinocchio and Lampwick go to Tobacco Road and chew bubble gum and eat a high sugar diet? Are you kidding? What happened to the cigars [and whiskey]? Remember, Hansel and Gretel are about to be cooked by a witch, but instead they push her into the oven. Stories have to have impact. When it comes to holiday classics, consider MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS. This was the first time that Mother Goose rhymes had been committed to film; it was very likely the inspiration for Disneyland, and as sickeningly sweet as it all is, it ends in a throw-down. The whole gang is there, the Three Little Pigs, the Old Woman in the Shoe, Little Bo Peep, but a villain, unlucky in love, summons an invasion of beastly bogeymen from the Underworld. Laurel and Hardy play a pair of not-very-sharp knives in Santa’s drawer, who in the workshop mistakenly have hundreds of wooden toy soldiers built to a height of six feet - instead of six inches. When the bogeymen attack, the two of them, scrambling to improvise weapons, happen upon the soldiers and realize they can unleash some serious whup-ass.
    The ensuing bayonet charge and hand-to-hand beatdown are merciless. The bogeymen are instantly scattered, after which they are buttstroked, bayoneted, and then driven off a riverbank to be devoured by waiting crocodiles. This is a pretty nutty movie. It’s either a strange juxtaposition between cloying sentimentality and an epic battle scene, like it was made by two different directors - or there’s a message here. You can’t flounce around and sing your song in the village square? Stomp on a bogeyman’s head.

    These thoughts marking my territory are a little all over the place. It would be more accurate to say that while children’s stories can be surprisingly rough, I don’t think the stories themselves have done anyone too much harm over the years. In fact, the danger appears necessary: through the ages, people’s fears have taken the most frightening forms. Watering them down to bubblegum, cake, and ice cream defeats the purpose. Even kids sense these stories are hypothetical on some level, so we don’t judge the characters morally. Hansel and Gretel stuff the witch into a burning oven? Well, they don’t have much choice; she was about to do the same to them - and we don’t give it a second thought. Still, some stories can draw kids in pretty deeply. If every Thanksgiving I was willing to sit through an hour and some-odd of pure schlock as I waited for the moment those soldiers roll out, then I suppose it’s possible for some kids to key in on the negativity Rudolph and Hermey experience.

    I was wrong. Little kids do consider the implications of a story’s details.

    I’m just lucky that each of their plights flew right over my head. As one of ‘those . . . who are reasonably fortunate,’ as I put it above, I’m damned lucky in a thousand ways. I did not suffer persecution from my parents or peers simply for who I am, which has to shake a kid to their foundations. The most vulnerable are abandoned, made to feel alone, as if we’re presenting them to the proverbial lions lurking in the tall grass: Take this one. They’re not one of us.
    Finding an ally is everything. Laurel had Hardy. Hermey had Rudolph. On Facebook, that gay classmate ended up editing his comment. The bullying part was still there, but then he added a story. Years later, he was with a set of friends, hanging out and watching the show, and just as Santa says, ‘Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?’ one of the group taunts - speaking for Rudolph - ‘On your knees, Kringle!’
    After all the shite he’s been through, now they want Rudolph to save Christmas? My classmate went on to say that line became a running joke: Any time someone had major favor to ask, the response would be a haughty, ‘On your knees, Kringle!’
    Rudolph is happy to help. He’s far more gracious than the rest of us. I spent my senior hockey season obliterating the kids who had once pushed me around the schoolyard, leaving them in quivering heaps after bone splintering checks.

    So be gracious. That might be our message this holiday season: take a long look at your prejudices. There’s probably something you can let slide. In the coming year, you’re likely to run into someone who needs an ally - and for whom Sets of Fahve might go a long way. Help them stomp on some bogeymen.

    (8, 5, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 12/14/20 2 and 1 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 3 sets of 2 or 1: Tom 442.5
    2. Romanians, rack pulls 2 and 2 sets 365, 425
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 2 Tom 232.5
    2. Bench press: 2 sets of 5 Tom 202.5, then add 30+ 2 sets of 1-2 chains
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 1* reps Tom 525
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 472.5
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 2x5 350; 2x2 397.5
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Press 2x5, 2x2 167.5, 185
    2. Pin press 235x2; 185 chains, 185 tempo
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    5. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile or row 6000 meters

  6. #296
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    I was rowing on my Concept 2 erg Saturday morning when a minivan pulled into the driveway. A woman hopped out, came though our little wooden gate, and headed for the porch outside our kitchen, where we had left some of the mail we still get sometimes, after she and her family rented the house during our Cleveland years. This is the wife of a Food and Drug Administration scientist who works at their nearby headquarters. Only hours before, late on Friday evening, the FDA had issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer corporation’s COVID-19 vaccine.
    As I heaved back and forth, I said, “Tell the gang at FDA, ‘Well done.’”
    ‘Thank you. I will.’
    ‘Did you guys celebrate?’
    ‘Oh, yes,’ she assured me. ‘There was much celebrating.’
    ‘Moderna next week, right?’
    ‘I think so.’
    ‘Well, let’s do it again. Work late every night, and slay it the same way. They can take Christmas week off.’
    ‘That’s the plan.’
    ‘Tell everybody we’re much obliged.’

    Awesome people do awesome things everyday, refining the skills and strengths that come into play when suddenly somebody needs a miracle. We’ve seen this with cave divers, for example, as well as Army Rangers, deep sea fishermen, a center for the Steelers, dogsled drivers, a Treasury Secretary, codebreakers, and even an iconic cafe owner in Morocco. As strength athletes, we can relate to the daily grind of trial and error, patience, and high expectations. Even so, we’re amazed that things actually turn out as well as they do in the worst crises. So many things could have gone wrong, but whether it was those divers extracting the kids from deep in that cave, the Rangers pushing 30 miles behind enemy lines, or those Irish fishermen calculating set and drift on paper and then executing those turns out on a gray and rainy ocean, these folks just stayed cool, did their thing, and it all worked out. Was that purely luck? Maybe the real mistake is all the fear and doubt, and reality is far more Zen than we know.
    Today’s heroes are the scientists who brought us the first two COVID-19 vaccines. As told in the WASHINGTON POST and elsewhere, their storyline is familiar: a theory - or a hope - takes shape, followed by the first crude experiments and a long, slow grind of halting progress. Then come a few opportunities to prove the concept in practice - which actually work, prompting a moment of unsure reckoning. ‘Is that it? Are we ready?’ the scientists ask one another, when out of the blue, the phone rings.

    The theory behind these seemingly ‘rapidly developed’ vaccines dates back as far as 1961, when scientists came to understand that Messenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) takes instructions inscribed in the building blocks of DNA - Deoxyribonucleic Acid - and delivers them to the parts of the cell that form new proteins. Scientists surmised - or dreamed, really, at this early stage - that this basic function could be manipulated for medicinal purposes. It wasn’t until 1990 that a University of Wisconsin team demonstrated that they could inject snippets of mRNA into mice and turn their muscle cells into factories that created proteins on demand.
    This was groundbreaking. Holy Cow, a new generation realized. We can ‘encode fragments of virus to teach the immune system to fight against pathogens.’ We can ‘create whole proteins that are missing or damaged in people with devastating genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis.’
    mRNA presented two problems: the molecule was almost too fragile to work with, and when it did stay in one piece, it created massive, often fatal, inflammation in the mice. In 2005, a pair of researchers, one of them a former member of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s laboratory at the National Institute of Health, discovered how to tweak a single component of the RNA code to eliminate the inflammatory response. This particular accomplishment deserves a Nobel Prize, say those in the field.
    In 2016, researchers developed a nanoparticle to deliver messenger RNA to a special cell type that could turn the code into an immune system provoking protein. This was direct and efficient on an unprecedented level, enabling a vaccine to work using only a tiny amount of material. ‘Each dose of mRNA vaccine relies on an amount that’s about a fifth the weight of a penny to stimulate a powerful immune response.’
    Some Americans are wary of a vaccine that appears to have been spun up quickly to the point of recklessly. The truth is that countless tiny improvements over decades transformed an idea into a working technology. “It’s new to you,” a scientist said in an interview. “But for basic researchers, it’s been long enough. . . . Even before covid, everyone was talking: RNA, RNA, RNA.”

    Old fashioned vaccines work by injecting some amount of dead or weakened virus to stimulate the immune system. These newer vaccines use bits of viral surface proteins to make the necessary imprint. The trick, of course, is knowing which bit to use, but there turned out to be another problem: viral proteins change shape when they do their voodoo. They change their ‘conformation,’ say scientists - using a very interesting term that goes back to the old days of horse racing, as breeders and trainers used to talk about the bone lengths and leverages that made for champions. My old Olympic lifting coach, Joe Mills, used the term the same way in assessing whether an athlete should catch their lifts in a squat or a split.
    A coronavirus particle bent on mischief, once it finds the right cell receptor, changes its spike protein to a more advantageous conformation to inject its RNA code into a cell. Beforehand, it’s sort of a squat, globular, roughly conical arrowhead - put your thumb and fingertips together. When it extends, turning inside out, it makes a longer funnel shape, acting like a hypodermic needle.
    In 2013, a scientist by the name of Barney Graham - part of the gang at Fauci’s joint at NIH - discovered it was vital that a vaccine mimics the pre-fusion structure, or the arrowhead. (It makes no sense to attack the funnel after it’s already done its damage. Teaching the body to recognize the wrong structure would blow the entire scheme.) The problem with the experimental vaccines was that the arrowheads were unstable and popped into funnels too easily. Graham and colleagues, using computers to model the structures of these spikes, identified a protein in the arrowhead that was like a spring bent double. It was when this snapped open that the funnel shape was formed. Graham pioneered the ‘2P mutation,’ taking two prolines, the most rigid of 20 amino acids, and clamping the spring shut.
    An immune system that knows what proteins to look for intercepts the arrowheads and caps them off before they can find receptors and morph into funnels.

    Graham was among the scientists making what findings they could as the first Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome emerged in 2003, followed by the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in 2012. These things are going to make the leap into humans every decade, they realized. The phone rang for real in January, 2020. Chinese scientists had just posted the genetic sequence of a troubling new coronavirus. ‘All right,’ colleagues across government, academia, and industry said to one another. ‘We have some ideas.’

    According to the Post, the phone rang again in Barney Graham’s house some time last month. It was the director of the NIH, calling with a heads-up. ‘News is going to break tomorrow morning. The numbers are in on Pfizer.’
    ‘Yeah?’
    ’90 percent effective.’
    In spite of himself, when Graham put down the phone, he let fly a sob so loud that his son and grandchildren ran into the room. That had to be strange for the kids, aged 13 and 5, to see him cry.
    I can only hope that Dad pulled them close and whispered, ‘Always remember tonight. This is when Grandpa found out he helped save the world.’

    Week of: 12/21/20 Christmas De-Load
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: work up to 380x2, 425x1
    2. Deadlift: work up to 485x2; 435 2 sets of 2
    3. reverse hypers (3x10)
    4. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: work up to 195x3
    2. Press: work up to 165x5
    2. Bench press: 2 sets of 4 pin presses 237.5; 2 sets of 4 tempo-Spoto presses 190
    4. Kettlebell pull ups 2 sets of 5, 45 kb

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

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile or row 6000 meters

  7. #297
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    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, one and all! After just a bit of ‘neurological stim’ but otherwise a week off, the action picks back up on Monday.

    (5, 3, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 12/28/20 5 and 3 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 5, 5, 1, 1; with 80, 90% 380, 425, 445
    2. Romanian deadlifts / rack pulls: 2x5 reps; 2x2; 365, 425
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 8 Tom 195
    2. Bench press: 2 sets of 5 Tom 202.5 chains; add 30+
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    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 485
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 435
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 4 sets of 5 Tom 340 chains
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Press: 2 x 5 reps; 2x2 165; 190
    2. Pin bench press, 2 sets of 4, 240; tempo-Spoto press, 2 sets of 4 192.5
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    6. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile or row 6000 meters

  8. #298
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    ‘Here’s one of the most important learning phases for a little kid,’ an old boss of mine was saying. ‘In First Grade, the teacher would read stories out loud, and all the students would draw pictures of what they were imagining.‘
    This was the head of the department when I was teaching British Literature to high school seniors. ‘The problem is,’ she said, ‘not everybody gets this crucial step. You can tell which kids are seeing pictures when they read, and which kids only see words.’
    I had to work around this. To some extent I could nurse that skill along a bit, choosing key words or phrases in a text like ‘The Seafarer’ or BEOWULF. ‘What kind of image is that? Cool. Write that down.’ These would be steps in creating some kind of composite translation of a difficult text. When that got a little slow, I had to be sure that whatever the more talented students could contribute or wherever I led the discussion, the results were on the board and available to everyone. The aim was a full comprehension of what we were studying, whatever the way the kids could cobble it together. Then we could discuss the human experiences we had just unearthed: Lady Macbeth ‘unsexes’ herself? Really, you can do that? Is this supernatural, or is she kidding herself? In PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, Mr. Bennet is trapped in a house with four marriageable daughters and a wife who’s the least emotionally mature of them all. What choice did he have other than to become a comic genius?
    If the kids can develop the skill of grasping the whole story, then they’re in position to make some judgments.

    That’s a skill in short supply these days - not making judgements, but getting the whole story. Unfortunately, this is not the readers’ fault in many cases. Last weekend, THE WASHINGTON POST published an article on Morgan Moses, a Washington Football Team offensive tackle known for his durability. His secret is a custom gym he’s built in his home. Being able to recover from the weekly wear and tear is critical to the job; ‘your best ability is your AVAIL-ability,’ he was told by veteran players years ago. A picture showed a rack, a bunch of bumper plates, and chains.
    This could be good, I thought. Of course, I should have known the Post would have no interest in the nuts and bolts of sets and reps, and there might not be a great deal of that, anyway. In the home he built, Moses added a cold tub, infrared sauna, steam shower, and hyperbaric chamber in addition to the weights and astroturf sled track. It’s all been vital, as the pandemic has limited access to the team facilities, but the theme of the piece seems to be stretching and restoration, and even sleeping in the hyperbaric chamber a few nights a week. This was a long exercise in hinting at generalities, if not telling us nothing.
    John Welbourn, an NFL veteran and founder of Power Athlete training, has said that he knew linemen who could squat 700 pounds and others who couldn’t even manage 400. So, which is the 330-pound Moses? He’s been a steady player for seven seasons, which can’t be from yoga and hot-and-cold immersion therapy. How much conditioning is he doing? I’d imagine that the best way to keep one’s knees intact during the season, work some blood through bruised muscles, and keep one’s strength up would be some squats, probably in the 70-80 percent of max range. That’s the problem, however; that’s my rushing to judgment. Earlier this year, in writing about the injury to Giants running back Saquon Barkley, I cast a wary eye on the training of Alvin Kamara, a back for the New Orleans Saints, which involves all manner of nutty balance - and presumably proprioception - drills. Last weekend, Kamara tied a nearly century old NFL record of six touchdowns in one game, after which he told a reporter he couldn’t have done it this time last year, because he was hurt even as he was still playing. His training had made all the difference.
    It’s pretty weird stuff to those of us who are old school barbell advocates - but, Hey, if you guys know something we don’t, tell us how it works. I’ve looked for the science on modern methodology, but I suppose I should look harder.

    That means we’re left to make up our minds without drawing the full picture the way we did back in First Grade. The result is mistakes in training, or arguing endlessly about it on the internet. In politics, the genius of the Q-Anon movement is partial stories - or not even that: it’s cryptic clues that spur wild speculation. The danger with the coronavirus is that not having enough information means people don’t grasp the consequences of their actions. If television crews were allowed into intensive care units more regularly and were willing to show victims lying like matted roadkill with ventilators taped to their faces, people would take notice.
    By the same token, we’ve heard all Fall long about soaring case numbers and record hospitalization and death rates. OK, but how about some depth of discussion? From a cross section of a thousand people, 800 should get over it pretty quickly. Some number will have a lousy, feverish week; some other set will have a rough two weeks, and in decreasing segments the ordeal will prove increasingly horrible. What is the upshot of this? Some families of the deceased must be stunned at the sudden intrusion of reality. Others must still be in denial over the responsibility they bear.
    What about transmission in various settings, be they homes or businesses? Is anyone collecting data? Without the full story, officials will always embrace worst case scenarios while millions of Americans ignore the problem.

    I suppose this is turning into a New Year’s resolution of sorts. As a writer, I can’t start anything I’m not going to finish. As a lifter, I’ll have to continue learning. It’s insanity to keep doing the same thing in hope of different results, especially in my underachieving upper body lifts. I did some Jim Steel coached bench presses the other day, tucking my elbows ‘into my lats,’ per a YouTube video, and DIDN’T feel any pain in my pec muscle. Holy Cow, Knowledge is Good, as we used to say at Faber College. I just have to get out my crayons and make sure I’ve colored everything in.

    (5, 3, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 1/4/21 3 and 2 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 4 sets of 3 Tom 412.5
    2. Romanian deadlifts, rack pulls: 2x5; 2x4 365, 425
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 5 Tom 212.5
    2. Bench press: 4 sets; 2x 5, 205, add 50#: 2 sets of 2
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets, 40’s, 50’s
    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 515
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 462.5
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 2 sets of 5, 350; 2 sets of 3 with chains 370
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Press: 2 sets 5, 2 sets of 2 160, 180
    2. Bench press pin press, 2x4, 235, tempo spoto presses 2x4, 190
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets, 40’s, 50’s
    5. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile or row 6000 meters

  9. #299
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    I’m going to go off the rails right at the beginning today, taking a simple concept and expressing it in complicated terms. I then have to switch to something related but actually sound sort of a positive note with a pair of eye-opening thoughts.
    With any luck this will provide some context for figuring out how a critically valuable NFL offensive tackle can be struck with a catastrophic knee injury - in practice, of all places - after a season full of grueling games. These guys are supposed to be top of the heap, what we’re aspiring to be, but I’m not sold, especially in view of these surprising examples of fragility.

    We already know that a gradual progression is the best way to foster athletic improvement, whether that involves strength, speed, skill, or all three. Any sudden increases in load or intensity can lead to injury. The best bet is to steer clear of any major changes.
    This common sense has been formalized by Exercise Physiology types into a set of mathematical standards called the Acute to Chronic Workload Ratio. This is a comparison of a specific (or acute) event to the weeks preceding it. If the event in question represents too much of a departure from a rolling average of the weeks preceding, then a heightened risk of injury exists. For example, if a young runner is anticipating the beginning of track practice where the weekly distance will be 30 miles, they should be running pretty close to that in preparation, so the new demand will not represent any great change. Work can be quantified in terms of running, swimming, weights lifted, pitches thrown, and so on. A great many trainers go to great lengths to keep running tallies, using computer spreadsheets to track athletes’ workloads over time. One website told the cautionary tale of a football player, who having rested a calf injury for some time, quickly resumed sprinting, only to injure his knee.

    In looking into proprioceptive training, I knew as I started that I wasn’t going to let sports training websites try to impress me. Fortunately, I blundered right onto an NIH discussion featuring victims of stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, and various other neurological pathologies in addition to people who have suffered injuries to ligaments, joint capsules, and muscles.
    Fact #1.: The stuff friggin’ works. “Overall, proprioceptive training resulted in an average improvement of 52% across all outcome measures. Applying muscle vibration above 30 Hz for longer durations (i.e., min vs. s) induced outcome improvements of up to 60%. Joint position and target reaching training consistently enhanced joint position sense (up to 109%) showing an average improvement of 48%. Cortical stroke was the most studied disease entity but no clear evidence indicated that proprioceptive training is differentially beneficial across the reported diseases.”
    It stands to reason - and I’ll have to look more into this in the weeks ahead - that if seriously debilitated people can show this kind of improvement, then athletes can enhance their abilities in the realms of performance, injury prevention, and rehabilitation. What are tightrope walkers and jugglers if not folks with highly developed proprioceptive abilities?
    Fact #2.: All these bosu balls and core stability drills that have infiltrated the fitness business are just spillover from the physical therapy world.
    I never really thought about this, but my prejudice against all these sports training places raking in the dough has largely been based on my dismissal of bosu balls and planks as a means of serious training. True, a great many trainers are guilty of exaggerating their importance, but they do have their place in certain contexts.

    Up until this past New Year’s Eve, the Green Bay Packers seemed invincible. With the best record in the NFC and quarterback Aaron Rogers on the verge of being named Most Valuable Player, they seem to be the favorite for getting to the Super Bowl. Last year they were in this same position, yet the lingering suspicion that they were a hollow threat was proven when a far more physical San Francisco 49’er team thrashed them in the NFC Championship.
    Not this year, sportswriters have been saying. On the Sunday night after Christmas, Green Bay removed any doubts in a snowy, classic Lambeau Field showdown where they outmuscled a physical Tennessee Titans team.
    Then, suddenly, left offensive tackle David Bakhtiari tore an anterior cruciate ligament the following Thursday, shocking fans and the entire team, and casting doubt on their Super Bowl prospects. [The Packers adjusted pretty well, it would seem, easily handling the Chicago Bears in the final regular season game days later.]
    Not that I’m a Packers fan, but from the standpoint of an interest in strength training and possibly even coaching someday, I can’t help but wonder how a 330 pound giant capable of gladiatorial level violence and brute force suddenly collapses in complete structural failure. To the best of my Googling, no descriptions exist of how it happened that day in practice. Even the coaches and team officials who were there must be taken aback at how fragile Bakhtiari turned out to be.
    My guess is that he was completely wrecked from the Titans game, sore and stiff for days, and probably hadn’t done much all week. Maybe he survived lighter practices Tuesday and Wednesday, but the coaches turned up the intensity on Thursday. Maybe he sat out those two previous days in hopes of recovery.
    I can sympathize. In August 2019, as I’ve described, I was hobbled by the end of a two-day combatives seminar. It was full of cops and special ops guys, run by an instructor with Tier One, boxing, and MMA experience. I caught a knee strike right in the side of my thigh and could barely move by the time I got home Sunday night.
    Still, on Monday, I squatted. This was back in the days of my 8-5-2’s, and I was due for 8’s with 350 or so. I managed 5’s because I was exhausted in addition to being beaten up - but I did them despite my leg turning purple as blood collected on the underside. I didn’t want the muscles to seize up and think they’d be out of business. I had to run some blood through things, and get the fibers to stay on some kind of stress and recovery schedule.

    I was unable to find any information on Bakhtiari or the Packers’ in-season training. However, bearing in mind the concepts above, I can still speculate: Bakhtiari wasn’t squatting on Tuesdays - or at least that last Tuesday. Usually the Acute to Chronic Workload Ratio covers a pretty broad time span, seven days versus the preceding 28, though those figures have recently been revised to three versus 21. Getting wrecked game to game would seem to be a way of having a dangerously high Acute to Chronic ratio (in a very narrow context). He does nothing all week and then goes full tilt on a Sunday. Even if he’s jogging through some run-throughs during the week, that work is not intense enough to be any kind of real preparation. Box squatting - if he’s truly dying - 315 or 405 is a way to spur some recovery and afford some preparation for the forces of the next game.

    Proprioceptively, we know exactly what he did. His foot was turned out, his knee in, and a single step unscrewed the entire knee assembly. The foot of an accomplished, talented athlete didn’t go where he thought he was putting it, either because he was so sore and stiff it didn’t work as intended, or his proprioceptive skills, limited to begin with, were diminished by fatigue or pain. A guy who endures that kind of abuse should probably develop his proprioceptive skills to those of a tightrope walker or a juggler, knowing the risks of having them impaired to some degree.
    Bakhtiari could be a victim of the pandemic if the weight and training rooms, where recovery happens, are closed and the folks who know something about strength or agility work are furloughed. His fragility is the result of neglect in one form or another and will prove one of the losing gambles of the 2020 season. We tend to learn only from our disasters. Players, if not their overseers, will have to grasp the full dimensions of avoiding them in the future.

    (8, 5, & 2 and 3, 2, 1 rotation)
    Week of: 1/11/21 2 and 1 week
    MONDAY
    1. Squat: 3 sets of 2 or 1: Tom 445
    2. Romanians, rack pulls 2 and 2 sets 365, 445
    3. Power Cleans (3x3) light JC 75 - 95
    3. 4 sets of heavy shrugs 485
    4. reverse hypers (3x10)
    5. abs; banded pulldowns

    TUESDAY
    1. Inclined bench press: 3 sets of 2 Tom 235
    2. Bench press: 205, range up to 255, 207.5 reps
    3. 5 sets of 10 Hanging rows
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 8
    Conditioning (second session)
    sled pull 2 miles; 20, 0 (and six 50-yard runs)

    THURSDAY
    1. Deadlift: work up to a set of 1* reps Tom 527.5
    2. Deadlift: back off sets - 90% of top set; 2 sets of same* reps Tom 475
    3. Squats: (90% of Monday’s weight) 2x5 350; 2x2 400
    4. Reverse Hypers (3x10)
    5. abs: hollow rockers

    FRIDAY
    1. Press: range 175-200, 140 reps
    2. Pin press 237.5x2; 2x4 tempo Spoto 192.5
    3. Pull ups (5x10)
    4. Barbell curls: 4 sets of 5
    5. 3 sets kettlebell sit ups

    SATURDAY - Conditioning
    swim 1 mile or row 6000 meters

  10. #300
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    286

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    starting strength coach development program
    Filler post - January 15 content will be together on the next page (I hope)

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