By Dave Thomas
It’s time for another edition of Random Thoughts. Let’s get started.
1. It’s Tuesday, September 22nd and I still don’t know anyone who uses MetroPCS.
2. I bet it’s been three years since someone used White Out.
3. Astrology is still a thing. How? Why?
4. The older I get, the more I notice the impact of foam rolling my calves. When my calves get tight, it sets off chain reactions that ultimately make its way to my back. I find when I address it from the bottom up, it corrects it instantly.
5. Saw a headline on Facebook the other day that said, “11 On Screen Besties Who Weren’t Besties In Real Life”….I clicked on it.
6. You have to be a real wanker to design a men’s bathroom without urinal dividers.
7. Recently saw a local strength certification advertised for $5,000. Prospective trainers and coaches, spend $200 on the cheapest certification possible. Get your foot in the door, train as many people as possible. Learn by doing. Supplement with an aggressive dedication to reading and experimentation. Please don’t spend five grand on certifications. I promise you can learn most of it in books.
8. Here’s the deal with donuts. They are not good for you. They do not help you lose weight. The reason you see people in the #fitfam just #livelaughloving in their kitchen eating donuts is not because they are #blessed. It works like this. When you follow a #diet based around precise macronutrients like flexible dieting or IIFYM, you are expected to eat a very precise amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates per #day that make up your prescribed caloric intake. Often, at the end of the day, you need to make up calories or “macros” in order to hit those numbers since it’s important the total calories be reached. So, if you are left with say 15g of fat and 25g of carbs, a donut can often fit into plan #because you are within your calorie and macro ranges. It’s not mindless gluttony or magic. The #fitchick you follow on social media is failing to educate you on this, so before you start cramming pastries down your face hole, make sure you understand why.
9. Results are about effort. Just try harder and make less excuses. That’s it.
10. Two stretches that I do everyday are the prisoner stretch to open up the chest, and I lay on my back with my legs straight up against a wall for ten minutes upon waking up.
11. “Lee believed that velocity could also be quantifiable as a calculated progression. An increase in speed — he reasoned, should be a planned part of the training scheme of any serious martial artist. To this end, Lee found it beneficial to occasionally ignore adding repetitions or weight, and concentrate instead on working to reduce the overall performance time of his workout.”(3)
…There. Bruce Lee invented CrossFit.
12. Speaking of Bruce Lee, he was an adamant total body weightlifter, but there were two interesting areas in which he chose to perform training specialization. The forearms, believing that grip power and punching power were imperative for his success, and the neck, believing that, “If a man has a strong neck, he is probably a man of power”.(4)
13. I hate it when myself catches myself in a candid selfie. Ugh. Let myself know when myself is going to take a picture of myself, self.
14. Had a very sore lower back the other day for a variety of reasons all my fault, so the next day I did some kettlebell swings, modified to produce an abundant amount of knee flexion. Typically not advised, I found this fit exactly what I was trying to accomplish for the day. Tough conditioning without any stress on my lumbar. At the end of the day, technique always exists for a reason but if you have a productive reason to deviate, go for it.
15. My favorite coaching fix for speed under the bar on cleans and snatches are block pulls and hip cleans, with little to no stretch shortening cycle into power position. Without the ability to descend the barbell down the leg, we have very little upward momentum with the barbell, thus we must create the speed to get under on our own. In short, we can’t rely on our strong pulls to rack the bar, we must make speed to get under since the bar is not going to travel as far upward.
16. If you have single arm imbalance when performing a two-armed movement, aka a push press, bench press, OH squat and one arm is higher than the other or moves faster, it is likely that the WEAKER arm is the one that is higher or moving faster. That is because when weak, the join wants to get out of deep flexion as fast as possible to be in a more comfortable position of extension. So, if you notice this, train the weaker side.(1)
17. You know what the best movement is? The one that targets your goals.
18. I’ve never been a huge fan of giving an athlete eighteen different options for strengthening something. In most cases, one or two will do just fine. In fact, one is best. People like getting a million options from their coach because it makes them feel comfortable the person they are talking to is smart, but really, intelligent program selection is about simplicity.
19. Partial movements are something I’ve been programming a lot at Performance360. Quarter front squats and back squats in particular. This is to overload the nervous system and perform lockout at weight upwards of 125% of your 1-R max. Most of us can lower and at least move upward weight in excess of our max, but we struggle a few inches past the hole. This addresses that deficiency.
20. The reason why I don’t really care when someone comes in and says they are an “athlete” is because I looked like this back when I was a college athlete. Playing sports doesn’t necessarily lend itself to fitness expertise. In fact, it usually doesn’t. More athletes would be better off understanding this. I find, that of the athletes I have trained, the ones that understand this and submit to outside knowledge are by far the most successful.
21. Imagine being born blind and having no frame of reference for anything. Red? Circle? Humans? Sky? Nothin’.
22. Nearly every champion powerlifter over the last forty years has had a different technique than his predecessor. Learn the textbook way to perform a lift, then do not be afraid to make alterations based on comfort or individuality.
23. Sneezed a booger on my computer monitor. Because my monitor is also a touch screen, I had to save all my work, sign out and shut down just to clean it off. Whole thing derailed me for about ten minutes. Was incredibly irksome.
24. If you’re going to cut your motorcycle to the front to the line, just gimme a quick wave, bro. Just a quick one.
25. “Who’s working at Tony Roma’s tonight?”…..”What time does Sketchers close?”…”Do you know the website for the Antique Coin Cellar?”….”I got it at Radio Shack, actually”…these would be things no one has ever said in PB.
26. If you’re ever having a bad day, just remember. Steve-O actually once walked into a tattoo shop and said, “I want to get a tattoo of myself giving a thumbs up on my back.”
28. Every time people insist on posting their lifts in kilos, I feel the need to remind them that I still do not own an abacus.
29. “Here, light this candle and then stick it in your ear drum and lay on your side. I swear, it will remove wax.”
30. I’ve been using and programming isolation the past three months at the gym and seen huge success out of it. Bodybuilding and isolation based movements have direct transferability to your lifts when done properly. Ultimately, it’s just strengthening and growing global and local movers.
31. There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who put song quotes in their AIM profile, and those who did not.
32. Never ever have I ever hated a word more than I do “bae”.
33. On your squat set-up, drive your elbows down into your lats and pull the barbell into your traps. Your upper body is far more important than your lower body in determining the success of your set.
34. John Bruney recommends The Neuro-Stomp prior to muscle building workouts in his book Neuro-Mass.
“The nerve endings in the feet are constantly sending information to the brain. By stimulating the nerves in our feet, the nervous system is more prepared to handle heavy weights…stomp each foot into the ground one time before your workout and get ready to build smart muscle”.
35. Tapas? Nah. I think I’ll just go eat a whole meal of food, thank you.
36. Couldn’t sleep last night trying to decide if I’d rather spend a day in Middle Earth or Hyrule.
38. To get over the mental hurdle of PR weight, spend some isometric time under the bar without moving. Load up 125% of your max in a given movement and simply unrack it and remain in that position. Maybe get a tiny bit of eccentric flexion bounce going, but not a lot. You’ll provide neural feed that your body will learn and remember, and when you go to pick up 105% of your 1R, it will feel light. I like doing this particularly for jerk drives and partial front squats.
39. I recommend occasionally isolating the obliques. They are very involved in most all performance movements.
40. For some reason, the phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none” is frowned upon when it comes to training. I have never understood this. I think it’s bad ass to walk into a room and be able to do every single possible movement from many different skill sets with high proficiency. I encourage more jack of all trades.
41. Not to mention the many benefits you get out of including a well rounded, multi-plane, multi-instrument, multi-system approach to your body.
42. Trying to figure out starting running backs in fantasy football.
43. Always move from your hips. They are the epicenter. Never back or knees first.
44. Stretch your hip flexors. Tightness in them will sap many, many movements.
45. We recently made a new promo video for Performance360. You should watch it.
46. I’ve never understood the desire to be on a bicycle four inches away from cars moving 45 mph, half of which are watching the latest Pixar movie on their Galaxies, all in the name of cycling to work.
47. I bet rolled up pants to the shin on males is the equivalent to high waisted shorts on girls.
48. What’s the best way to train stabilizers in your deadlift? Train the stabilizers in your deadlift. Here’s the thing. Way too many athletes start out way too heavy. Working stabilizers is not a sexy activity. It’s not going to turn heads or get many likes on Instagram. But it just may keep you healthy and productive for as long as you lift. Without developing our stabilizers, we have zilch. You can muscle through weight for a while, but sooner or later you will need stability, and if you jump the process of developing them, you will get hurt or stalled. Stability is best developed taking the body through a full range of motion at well below maximal percentages.
49. As Jim Wendler says, “Start too light and progress slowly.”
50. Awesomesauce, obvs, and OMG are in the Oxford English Dictionary…(I’m actually kind of excited about obvs.)
51. If you don’t wanna drop a hundred bucks on proper shoes, remove them. Just go barefoot. Anything is better than doing power or Olympic lifts in running shoes. I’d rather see you in a nice set of German clogs than running shoes.
52. Progress is about being uncomfortable. Nothing easier than to fall in a state of easy comfort. If you’re not growing, you’re dying.
53. Resistance bands are an excellent way to improve lockout or the last 25% of the concentric in just about any movement. Because the resistance progressively increases as the weight moves further along, you are simulating lockout level resistance without the CNS frying of having to pick it up off the floor, move it out of the hole, start from a stop, etc.
54. “Every person can become two to three times stronger.” – Ivan Lebedev, Russian Strongman
55. You don’t need to perform sit-ups or planks in between your sets. You just need to lift heavier.
56. I like to supplementspinal extension on deloading or off days. GHD machine holds and superman stretch in particular. Most of those muscles are relatively weak and it can be challenging to isolate them in regular training.
57. Train the pause in the squat from time to time.
58. If you have a goal for a stronger (insert movement here). Train as you normally do, just add in another day of that movement so that you’re training it twice per week. Amazing what a little old school volume can do.
59. Still never received a snap. Still no plans to. I’ll just keep sending text messages to people.
60. An easy way to train grip is to add a towel to your pulling and holds.
61. I love the 1-rep for a number of reasons, but that doesn’t mean you ignore your two, three, four, five and ten rep sets. Get stronger in all of them, in equal parts. They require slightly different systems, demands and muscles and all need love.
62. I’m afraid I can never be close with someone who drinks medium roast coffee.
63. Let’s stop over applying the term “entrepreneur”.
64. I miss making myself thoughtful mix CDs.
65. If your knees invert on squats it can be a sign of weak quads. Isolate them with the aforementioned quarter squats. Or just deload for a bit and really focus on feeling them there.
66. “Cheerleader” is without question the worst song I’ve ever heard. I’m embarrassed for my friend Lee that he likes it so much.
67. I very much appreciate new science and knowledge, but at the same taken, I just don’t think the wheel often needs reinventing. Gimmicks come and go. About ten to fifteen movements performed at variable pace and load, do not.
68. Interesting tip to fall asleep. It takes me forever for my head to settle at night. Maybe this is some hocus pocus bullshit but it worked for me last night. Bonus points if you can get through it without laughing.
69. If I was rich I’d Facebook message Liam Neeson and ask him to follow me around all day narrating my life.
70. As soon as you unrack the barbell, your power is depleting. The very first step back and your clock is ticking, because simply stabilizing the barbell is an energy sucking endeavor. Make haste moving out of the rack and into the movement. Don’t linger with the barbell in rest position for any longer than you need to. This also applies to deadlifts. Don’t hinge and grip the bar for thirty seconds prior to moving. Grip and rip.
71. Performance360 Coach, Julianne Russell, on her transformation through weight lifting.
72. Vladimir Janda describes muscle imbalances as follows,
73. Still gettin’ request for Candy Crush. Still don’t wanna play, folks.
74. I like the Gray Cook philosophy of stability. Train total movements at lighter weight rather than institute a million skill movements that ultimately don’t do very much. Isolated stability is still a fine idea but not at the cost of total movement.
75. I think the barbell lunge is probably the best movement that’s not done enough. I’m extremely guilty of under utilizing it. A laundry list of benefits you can’t get from squats and deads.
76. Kindly request this man play this at my funeral. AJ, if you are reading this, I trust you.
77. If whiffle ball were an Olympic sport I would have been Michelle Wie. Every time I see kids playing whiffle I feel like Uncle Rico. “I could hit that ball over them mountains over there”.
78. Target has Count Chocula available at point of purchase.
79. From Nate Winkler via Juggernaut Training Systems on the female diet: “Diets high in fat, fish, Vitamin D (supplements), zinc, chromium, and magnesium work best. These will improve endocrine function, glucose uptake, and insulin sensitivity while minimizing water retention”.
80. Let’s collectively get rid of the fist bump and bring back the full handshake.
81. Been on a relatively strict low fat diet (<60g) the past three weeks that features high carb (200-300g per day) and high protein. Basically, the exact opposite of everything I have ever done. I started at 12% body fat. I am now at 10%. Will keep you posted on this. I’m actually planning a big article that compares all three major diets I’ve ever been on in my life. Paleo, Intermittent Fasting and Flexibile Dieting.
82. Somebody searched “Chuck Norris workout” and Google directed them to my website. Thank you, Google. Thank you.
That’s it, y’all. Have a great day.
Dave Thomas is owner of Performance360 in San Diego, California.
(1) Hatfield, Frederick. Powerlifting: A Scientific Approach. 1981.
(2) Tsatsouline, Pavel. Enter the Kettlebell. Dragon Door Publications. 2006.
(3), (4) Bruney, Jon. Neuro-Mass. Dragon Door Publications. 2013.