Sunday Metal – Obituary

One more Obituary. This is their 2015 performance at Hellfest.

 

Summertime Safety Prep

Here in Texas, it’s officially summer.

It’s hot.

It’s sunny.

If you’re going to do some training or practice in self-defense, there’s a couple things of utmost importance for preserving your life and well-being:

  1. Sunscreen
  2. Hydration

Sunscreen

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, if it’s taking a day-long class at an outdoor gun range or just spending the day outside enjoying the sun.

Wear sunscreen. This can be a spray/lotion/cream product, or just wearing covering (but cool) clothing, brimmed hats, etc. Protect your skin.

I’d like to think most people understand the need for sunscreen (if you don’t, Google is your friend). But I see it time and time again in classes, where people don’t somehow protect themselves from the sun and by mid-day are turning red, and are nice and burned by the end of the day. If you’ve got a 2-day class, day 2 is going to be miserable.

At KR Training we’ve got sunscreen in the bathroom. Use it, please!

I used to wear my short-sleeve shirt and shorts, which is my normal summertime choice. But all day out on the range, with no shade? It just got to be too much for me, even with sunscreen.

Now I keep myself fairly covered. I wear long pants (and recently picked up a pair of Vertx Phantom Ops AirFlow upon recommendation from Caleb Causey; we’ll see how they go). I used to wear an Under Armour long-sleeve shirt underneath my KR Training shirt, but that got too hot. Now I just wear the KRT shirt with a set of Under Armour “sleeves”; I used to think these looked silly, and I still do, but they are a godsend. They keep me covered, and actually help with cooling. The only exposed skin I have are my hands, face, and neck, and I do put a high-SPF, waterproof (sweat) sunscreen on them. My days on the range are much happier this way. Yes I’m covered, but it’s with cool(ing) cover.

Hydration

As Caleb Causey is famous for saying: Drink water!

But really, it’s more than that.

Eat well. Make sure your body is well-nourished. This nourishment should be every day, but sometimes life gets to us. If you know you’re going to be having a day or two of heavy physical activity out in the heat, make the effort to get your body well-nourished starting a couple days before. Like if it’s a weekend class? Start at least come Thursday morning, all day Thursday, all day Friday – and then all day through the classes. Keep your body well-fed.

If you don’t have a specific medical condition that prevents you, you should also not be afraid of taking in some extra salt, both before and during the activity. You will lose a lot of electrolytes through sweat. One thing I like to do? That “Lite Salt”? It’s actually a mix of sodium and potassium. I put about 1/4 tsp. into drinks; not enough that I truly notice a salty flavor, but enough that I get a little extra electrolyte in me — and it’s cheaper than sports drinks.

Drink more than you need. If you’re used to just taking a few gulps? Take a few more. Drink 8 oz? Drink 16. Just drink more, because you are generally fighting a losing battle.

Pay attention to your pee. It should be pretty close to clear (tho truly clear can actually be over-hydration and be diluting electrolytes). A faint yellow or straw color is good. If it’s darker yellow, if it’s brown, drink (more) water. If you’re seeing other colors, you may need medical attention (seriously).

Take care of yourself

You’re coming to the gun range to learn how to protect and preserve your life.

Preserving your life starts with your health.

Protect yourself from the sun. Protect yourself from dehydration. Protect yourself from heat exhaustion and other heat-related injuries. They are common and pretty easily preventable.

You’ll have a much more enjoyable and productive day on the range if you do.

 

2017-06-09 training log

Today was fun.

First, my biceps/brachialis/brachioradialis are still quite sore from the 100-rep curls on Tuesday. Ha ha ha. It didn’t stop things today, but gah… it hurts. 🙂

Second, to that one thing I have wondered is if my elbow sleeves are causing me some problems. The other day I was ordering a new set of knee sleeves, and while passing over the sizing charts I saw that my current elbow sleeves are actually a little small for my arm size now (whoo hoo! everyone loves bigger arms). So I opted to buy a new set of sleeves, the next size up. The sleeves are Slingshot STrong Elbow Sleeves. I had XL, I bought 2XL. First thing I noticed? They’re actually longer, maybe 1″-1.5″, so there’s more coverage. They still feel snug, but just a hair less constricting. I wore them today and things felt alright. Again, it’s still hard for me to say if the sleeves are helping or hurting, but I’ll give the new ones a ride for a bit and see.

Then there’s the Pressing itself.

I was so focused on just moving along? I skipped over things. I was supposed to go 80/100/115 for 5/5/3 warmup, then 125/145/165 for 5/5/5+. I flat out skipped over the 115 and did the 125 for 3, then 145 for 5, then realized I screwed up. Ha ha. I just kept going, and hit good PR with 165 for 7.

But after that, I was starting to feel out of gas, but I’m not sure. I’m being a little restrictive on my carb intake to keep my weight in check. As well, I’m adding about 20-ish minutes of easy cardio after my workouts. Sometimes I felt just out of gas. But then, some stuff I just kept plowing through and increased reps from last time. I don’t know. I’m chalking it up to being a little depleted. But then, since most the reductions came on pulling motions, it may simply be because my biceps are still so damn sore and worked from Tuesday, they’re not fully recovered, so I lost a bit of ground there. No biggie.

All in all a reasonable day.

  • Press
    • bar x whatever
    • 80 x 5
    • 100 x 5
    • 115 x 0 (brain fart and skipped this weight)
    • 125 x 3
    • 145 x 5
    • 165 x 7 (7 rep PR)
    • 145 x 8
    • 125 x 10
  • Lat Pulldowns (pronated grip, to chest)
    • 110 x 12
    • 120 x 12
    • 130 x 12
    • 130 x 10
    • 130 x 8
  • Front Plate Raises (all the way above head)
    • 25 x 30
    • 25 x 18
    • 25 x 14
  • Skullcrushers
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 8
  • Hammer Curl
    • 45e x 10
    • 45e x 10
    • 45e x 8
    • 45e x 6

2017-06-08 training log

It may be slow progress, but it’s progress.

I use an app called RepCount to help me track my workouts (mostly gym stuff, as I keep a more detailed spreadsheet at home). I paid for the upgrade and get all the stats and graphs, and that’s been really helpful towards tracking progress. Yes there’s waver, yes things come and go on a daily basis, but looking over time it’s really great to see the trend line going upwards. It may not be the steepest slope, but it’s still an upwards trend. If I can keep myself relatively healthy, I expect if I don’t hit my goals by the end of 2017 that I should be close to it.

That is really helpful in terms of picking workout goals. For example, looking at the stats I knew if I made at least 7 reps today on the top set, that would be a good rep PR. So there’s my goal.

I did achieve that goal. What I liked about it was when I compared it to prior (recent) sets/sessions that I had to pass to make the PR, they were done with less volume. That’s something that you can’t see in just a simple set-rep-weight number: the context (another useful thing in using RepCount, even moreso than my spreadsheet). Much more volume and work done prior to the PR, so it makes the PR even better because I did better than before in a few measureable ways.

On top of that, I continue to use the new (improved) setup and technique. It is making a BIG difference. The cue where you expand the chest, not only does that get the whole torso in position, but I’m finding how much it loads the posterior chain and really gets me tight and set to pull. As well, today a refinement happened regarding my breathing, and the pulls were even stronger because everything was so tight. I am considering this a really good change in technique because I did it at this point in my greater cycle and it didn’t set me back; I’m still progressing quite well, and arguably better than if I had stayed at prior technique. Huzzah!

So, a good day.

BTW, one thing I’ll probably start next cycle is adding in one more warm-up set. Since my warm-up now starts at 185, I think I’ll add one in at 135, then next set will be the calculated starting value (40%). I may also switch to Wendler’s other suggested warm-up technique that he speaks about in “Beyond 5/3/1”. We’ll see.

  • Deadlift
    • 185 x 5
    • 225 x 5
    • 270 x 3
    • 295 x 5
    • 340 x 5
    • 385 x 7 (7 rep PR)
    • 340 x 6
    • 295 x 8
  • Hyperextensions
    • BW x 12
    • BW x 12
    • BW x 12
    • BW x 12
  • Leg Curls
    • 55 x 12
    • 55 x 12
    • 55 x 9
  • Crunches
    • 25 x 15
    • 25 x 15
    • 25 x 9

2017-06-06 training log

This was good. Nice rep PRs. Arm pain is minimal. Slight adjustment to continue to see what I can do towards my arms.

So inclines I think continue to be a fair substitute while I deal with the arm pain. Yes intensities are still quite light, given the rep PRs I’m setting, but start light is the way to go. I am switching back to proper 5/3/1 rep schemes now (from the prior Paul Carter-esque 5/4/3/2/1 scheme), all to see how small changes affect things. I didn’t wear elbow sleeves today, but still had a bit of arm irritation. So it’s really tough to call if the sleeves are in fact a help or a hindrance. Will just have to keep experimenting. That said, it’s not like knee sleeves. That is, when I don’t wear knee sleeves I do feel a difference — my knees are much happier with the sleeves on. But without the elbow sleeves? I’m not noticing much of a difference either way, but then, the ache issue gets involved so it’s hard to tell.

I continue to enjoy flies, not so much for the fly itself but the stretch it gives. That’s what I’m trying to really emphasize here more than anything.

To that, I’m also trying to really emphasize the stretch and as full a range of motion as possible on the French Press. Quite enjoying it.

And I called an audible today. Instead of doing 4×15 reverse curls, I opted to just do 100’s of wide-grip EZ bar curls. Doing 100’s right really puts a lot of blood in the area, and if that might help with making things feel better in that area well, I’ll give 100’s a shot for a little while.

Decent day. Happy with it.

  • Incline Bench Press
    • bar x whatever
    • 80 x 5
    • 105 x 5
    • 125 x 3
    • 135 x 5
    • 155 x 5
    • 175 x 11 (11 rep PR)
    • 155 x 11
    • 135 x 11
  • Flies
    • 25e x 10
    • 25e x 10
    • 25e x 10
  • Cable Rows
    • 115 x 12
    • 125 x 12
    • 135 x 12
    • 135 x 12
    • 135 x 9
  • DB Upright Row
    • 45e x 12
    • 45e x 12
    • 45e x 10
  • Seated French Press
    • 60 x 15
    • 60 x 15
    • 60 x 15
    • 60 x 10
  • Wide-grip EZ-bar curl
    • 35 x 100

2017-06-05 training log

So I’m repeating my squat cycle, because I want to work on depth. I noticed I might cut a rep a bit high here and there, and of course that’s not desirable. Thus, I’d prefer to repeat the cycle, hit good depth, build better confidence, and that’s still progress.

Another factor is my descent. I’ve noticed as things get heavier than my descent isn’t solid. I change how I descend depending on what I’m doing: light or heavy. It shouldn’t be that way, but I can see a bit of what it is. With a lighter weight I’m a little more upright, and as I descend the bar path changes because gravity — or it doesn’t, because it’s light enough and I can resist it. But with a heavier weight then, resistance is futile and the weight WILL change to assume its rightful path. That’s not ideal. Ideally the bar should be over the mid-foot to start and go straight up and down, not deviating. So I need to start a little more forward, a little more “bent over” so the bar starts in the right place. Then as I go down everything is tight, rebound out of the hole, etc.. Speed of descent is in play as well, because I don’t want to go super-slow, but too fast doesn’t work either — it’s that proper pace, and I don’t always have it.

So I worked to focus on that today. Descend well, hit depth, come up and out. It was harder, but mostly because it just felt different. That said, I got 6 reps on the top set, which is better than the same time 3 weeks ago. And I know I was down in a hole. I’m weak, but I’m working on it.

  • Squats
    • bar x whatever
    • 145 x 5
    • 180 x 5
    • 215 x 3
    • 235 x 5
    • 270 x 5
    • 305 x 6
  • Pause Squat
    • 235 x 5
    • 235 x 5
    • 235 x 5
  • Bodyweight Squats
    • BW x 15
    • BW x 15
    • BW x 15
    • BW x 15
  • Crunches
    • BW x 20
    • BW x 17
    • BW x 13

Sunday Metal – Obituary

You may have noticed that Obituary’s “Ten Thousand Ways to Die” video seemed to start off like a “part 2”. Here’s the “part 1”.

This is “Violence”. (and again, a hilarious video)

 

ACLDN responds to the NRA

You’ve probably heard the noise about the NRA’s new Carry Guard program.

The roll-out of this program has been controversial, starting a couple months ago when USCCA was suddenly uninvited from the NRA Annual Meeting.

In fact, it’s rather odd when you consider the NRA has long had a training division (see here and here) but that division is sorely absent from their new product. In fact, it appears their new product is a direct competitor with their long-standing product. Huh???

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

Marty Hayes of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network has written an Open Letter to the NRA about this incident.

I agree with Marty.

(Disclosure: I am a member of ACLDN, and have made use of their services; but I am not on their payroll, I receive no compensation or anything from ACLDN other than the services I get by being a paying member).

Marty has also updated his comparison guide, that compares various post-incident suport plans, to include Carry Guard. While the guide certainly promotes ACLDN, I do think it’s a fair and even assessment of the various programs out there because he’s just presenting the simple facts of the programs in a side-by-side comparison article. I think the promotion of ACLDN comes from the fact it’s a top-notch program (which is why I’m a member).

The point here is not to stir up more drama than the NRA has already created, but rather to point out the odd nature of what the NRA is doing. Give Marty’s open letter a read.

2017-06-02 training log

Always nice to end the week with a great PR!

Today’s PR was cool on many fronts. Press has always been my toughest lift to progress. Back at the end of 2016 I worked up to 185 for 1, which was an all-time best. Today? 180 for 3. A nice PR in and of itself, but obviously I’m a good bit stronger than before.

What’s also cool is that the PR was solid all around. Technique rolled well. It’s good for reps and weight. I’m certainly stronger than before. The work-up for the 185 was trying to set a 1RM so volume was quite low, with just a warm-up then singles to the new max. Whereas today was normal workload, almost double the volume on the work-up, and still repping things.

So again, given it’s been my toughest lift to progress, seeing this sort of progress makes me quite happy.

Even the down-sets went well.

As one note, I continue to have weirdness about my breathing. I WANT to hold breath at the bottom, a slight exhale as I lock out, breathe at the top. But that’s actually been bad because at the top I need to be really tight, so breathing doesn’t work well there and has been cause for some problems lately. So I’m working to breathe at the bottom, but that’s really awkward. What I found was working alright for me today was allowing myself a slight exhale at lock-out but no inhale –– basically I’d get 2-3 reps “holding my breath”, but then in the bottom position I could get a slight inhale. That seemed to actually work quite well, tho the rhythm felt quite odd. I’ll work on it.

Pulldowns were pulldowns. While I’m still not supersetting because arm issues, the 1-minute rest and quickly moving through it has been quite a welcome change. But get this. I had my elbow sleeves on and while there was no issue while pressing, I had issue after pulldowns. I am starting to think that the added thickness, the added “bulk” then in my elbow crease as the elbow angle becomes more acute, that is attributing to things. I’m still not 100% sure, but data is leaning that direction. A few more tests…

Plate raises are actually more interesting now. To lean the torso slightly forward makes all the difference. These are just ass-kickers.

Skullcrushers are what they are. And curls are what they are.

All in all, a good day.

No deload next week. Starting next cycle.

  • Press
    • bar x whatever
    • 75 x 5
    • 95 x 5
    • 115 x 3
    • 140 x 5
    • 160 x 3
    • 180 x 3 (3 rep PR)
    • 160 x 6
    • 140 x 9
  • Lat Pulldowns (pronated grip, to chest)
    • 110 x 12
    • 120 x 12
    • 130 x 12
    • 130 x 12
    • 130 x 9
  • Front Plate Raises (all the way above head)
    • 25 x 27
    • 25 x 16
    • 25 x 16
  • Skullcrushers
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 7
  • Hammer Curl
    • 45e x 10
    • 45e x 10
    • 45e x 10
    • 45e x 7

2017-06-01 training log

Today was short and sweet – a “jack shit” day because I got started late and had to be somewhere early.

That said, the work up went well. The new setup (over the 5th eyelet of my shoe; following a more Starting Strength-like setup a la Alan Thrall) is actually working quite well.

First, I am feeling a LOT of loading of the glutes and hams, more than ever. It still feels very strange to me because it feels like I have zero bend in my legs and that my legs (well, quads) aren’t doing much at all — there’s not as much “push with the legs” going on. But that’s just my body, the length of my parts (lower leg, femur, torso, arms, etc.), and how it all comes in.

But it does feel a LOT better. The pull feels better, stronger. Just still unfamiliar since it’s a new approach. But I am truly digging it.

I worked up to 4 reps and that was good. It’s a rep PR. I started on 5 but opted to shut it down and leave it in the tank.

Wished I could have dne the down sets, but I had to get going. I am looking forward to continuing working with this new setup.

  • Deadlift
    • 175 x 5
    • 220 x 5
    • 265 x 3
    • 330 x 5
    • 375 x 3
    • 420 x 4 (4 rep PR)