Monday, December 31, 2012

Hip Hinge

Having been training regularly for the better part of 5 years, I have formed the opinion that the hip hinge is the single most crucial movement that you should learn how to do properly. It is the mother of all movements.  The key to good form.  The secret to constantly new PRs.

You get the idea.

And you will never, ever learn proper hip hinge movement if all you do is use the machines at your typical commercial gym.  Failure to learn the hip hinge means failure to do deadlifts, squats, kettlebell swings, snatches... a whole plethora of crucial exercises.

Heck, I only learned the existence of my hips only after a year of going to the gym regularly.  And surprise, surprise... I didn't learn about the hip hinge movement in the gym.  Okay, so how does a proper hip hinge look like?

Most people's forms are like the one on the left.  You tend to bend your back instead of pushing your glorious butt out for all the world to see.  One of the better coaching ques I've encountered is when the trainer tells the trainee to "push your butt out so that it touches the wall".  Just like the lady does in the pic below:

For a better explanation, just watch the video below:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Big Bad Wolf Mayhem and some training updates

I have officially gone book bonkers.  Went to the Big Bad Wolf sale three times over the past 1.5 weeks and have bought more than 50 books.  That's enough books to tide me over until next year.   Anyway, I just find it compelling how my interests have evolved over the past year or so.

My book rack has filled up completely.
These babies will keep me busy for a while.
Last year, I was reading a lot of strength training related stuff:  Starting Strength, 5/3/1, Power to the People, Enter the Kettlebell... you got the idea.  Recently, my interests have shifted towards health and wellness.  I may not have shifted  my interest so soon had it not been for a few things that had happened to me personally and to the people around me.

So yeah, another phase in my never-ending pursuit of knowledge has begun.  It's a good time to be a nerd.

Training wise, everything's been going peachy.  Am starting to go through a low volume phase and will kick off a brand new training programme next year.

An observation I made when watching people train:  There are guys who still have to do kneeling pushups.  What does this have to do with anything? Many years ago when I was practicing Taekwondo, we were trained in such a way that we focus on conditioning, then technique.  But hardly ever on strength.

I now firmly believe that strength should be the foundation of any sport.  As Rippetoe wrote in his book Starting Strength:  get strong to play sport, not play sport to get strong. When you are strong first, the rest comes easier.  You have better control, better movement, you learn and progress faster in your chosen physical discipline.

Okay folks.  That's my rambling for today.

P/S:  I have a bunch of books on network marketing that I would like to give away.  If you're interested, please let me know.  I will give it away for free.  Just promise to take good care of the books.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Musings on being knowledge-ready

Have you ever read a book more than once and find out that every time you re-read it you discover something new that you didn't notice the last time you read it?  It happens to me often.  Heck, there is one children's story book that I read five times and every time I re-read the book I discover a new 'hidden' lesson.

But when you think about it, the lessons aren't actually hidden.  It is there in plain sight.  It was me who wasn't ready to learn that lesson yet.  I hadn't gone through enough life experiences to actually understand the deeper meaning of the words written.  As I grew older and a bit wiser, the lessons became more obvious and I derive deeper meaning from the book.

The same goes with my journey as a fitness junkie wannabe.  There are many things that I have read or skimmed through a couple of years back which I didn't grasp the importance of.  Only until I have reached a certain level of understanding through my readings and experience do I comprehend how vital they are.

So I guess I shouldn't be frustrated, sad, or disappointed when people don't really take what I preach seriously.  To remain positive, I shouldn't just blatantly label them as ignorant.  Like me, they simply aren't ready to take in the new information.

But oh, how I wish I saw the light many years ago.  But it's better late than never.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Krav Maga - Lesson 1

So last night I went to a (paid) class in a gym for the first time in a while.  I was a nervous wreck and came way early for my inaugural Krav Maga class at Muay Fit, Puchong.

Pic taken from MuayFit's website
When the instructor, Master Mike came in I became even more nervous.  But Master Mike is a friendly chap and made me feel more comfortable.  I think he can sense I'm the high-strung type and told me to smile. Hahaha...

Anyway, the lesson is two hours long with the first hour more for conditioning than anything else.  We did a lot of sprints and some basic attacking drills.  The second half of the class was to hone our motor skills so that our body knows what to do when we are in a dangerous situation.

The beauty of Krav Maga is that the things they teach you are so simple yet brutally effective.  You don't need a lot strength to be honest.  What you must have is a fighting spirit (as Master Mike said to me, "I can teach you the techniques, but I can't give you fighting spirit), and presence of mind.

"Presence of Mind" to me is pretty much heightened motor skills in this case.  You don't really have time to think how to block an attack, how to counter-attack when you are in danger.  Your body just needs to react quickly in order for you to survive the ordeal.

That is what the second half of the class is all about.  Constant practice and drills.

At the end of the class, Master Mike gets you to close your eyes.  He would then "attack" you in several ways and you have to quickly react to the attack.  Very practical stuff.  I like.  Can't wait to get to my second lesson next week.

On a side note, the class wasn't physically taxing.  I am not in pain as I type this.  In fact, tonight I plan to weight train.  There is a possibility that weekends could be spent going to a class in the morning, and weight training in the afternoon or vice versa.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rejoining a Gym. Somewhat.

I have been weight training almost exclusively for five years now.  And for five years I felt that there was something missing.  That my journey as a junkie is not yet complete.  The absence of playing a sport makes me feel somewhat inadequate.

Some might argue that weight training is a sport.  And no doubt it is.  But I still feel the need for some additional physical activity.  And I keep on gravitating to martial arts e.g. taekwondo, kickboxing, boxing...

When I was schooling taekwondo was part of my life.  In fact, in some ways it has shaped how I look like physically.  So yeah, martial arts is something ingrained in me.

So I joined Muay Fit in Puchong.  They offer various martial arts including Jeet Kune Do, Boxing, and Krav Maga.  But the whole reason I joined them was the availability of Krav Maga classes which are held on Tuesday nights.

My friend said I looked like a kid on Christmas day when I entered the gym and observed the class.  Hahaha... well it came as no surprise that I signed up right then and there.

So now my challenge is to fit in the class while maintaining my weight training regime.  I will need to do some tweaking but I am pretty sure I can make it work.