Squat Every Day

Squat Every DayRecently I read the book Squat Every Day.

As a musician, with years of practicing every day for hours on end, the idea of practicing physically everyday makes a lot to sense to me. So I’ve started doing this. Let’s face it, I’m not breaking records with my lifting, and as long as I’m practicing solid technique, it’s entirely sensible. I can’t see how it’s much different than any other physical activity pursued on a regular basis.

Here are some search results for the growing trend of pursuing this practice:

We’ll see how this goes.

Shoulders w/ a Rack

Team Powertec athlete Ian Lauer CSCS talks to you about shoulder development incorporating compound movements for maximum results.

Exercises to Avoid

…but especially for older lifters. via Brooks Kubic

This is a lot of exercises to avoid. #winning

Anything that makes my life a little simpler, I tell you….

  • Barbell or Dumbbell Pullovers
  • potential should wreckers

  • Behind the Neck Pulldowns
  • Shoulder wreckers, use Pulldowns to the Chest instead, and don’t stretch shoulders at top of the movement.

  • Behind the Neck Pull-Ups
  • Use Pull-Ups to the front instead, don’t fully extend arms, or stretch shoulders at beginning of each rep.

  • Press Behind the Neck
  • Bad idea, and too much stress on the shoulders.

  • The Bradford Exercise
  • The military Press is a much better and much safer option.

  • Dumbbell Flyes
  • Lowering the dumbbells to far to the side stresses the shoulder. OFten enough and heavy enough will guarantee shoulder issues.

  • Parallel Dips
  • A deep stretch at the bottom is far to stressful for the shoulders. Don’t go too low if you choose this one. Smae with rings and V-bars.

  • One-Arm Barbell Presses or Barbell Side Presses
  • D’oh.

  • Bench Presses w/ a McDonald Bar
  • Stick to regular bar for Bench Presses, and don’t go too low.

  • Dumbbell Bench Press w/ too much stretch
  • Use the same range of movement as with Barbell Bench Presses.

  • Preacher Bench Curls
  • Tremendous stress on inner elbow in the extended position.Use regular barbell or dumbbell curls instead.

  • Supine Dumbbell Curls
  • Lots of stress on shoulder and elbows. Use standing barbell curls and dumbbell curls, and 45 degree incline dumbbell curls.

  • Elevated Stiff Legged Dead Lifts
  • Elevated Deadlifts
  • Elevated Rowing
  • Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
  • Not everyone is built for this move: To play it safe, stick to bent-legged deadlifts, Trap Bar deadlifts, power cleans, power snatches, and high pulls.

  • T-Bar Rows
  • Usually done with too much weight and a rounded back.

  • Zercher Lift
  • Good Mornings
  • Always risky, so sticking to the same recommendations for Stiff-Legged Deadlifts is the way to go.

  • Seated Good Mornings
  • Triceps Extensions and French Presses
  • Well deserved reputation as elbow wreckers; stick to close-grip bench presses (w/ hands no more than 6 inches apart.) Can also do close-grip bench presses on an incline bench.

  • Straddle Lift
  • Great way to hurt the lower back. Stick to Squats, Front Squats, deadlifts and Trap Bar deadlifts; much more effective and safe.

  • Jump Squats
  • Just No. Build explosive strength with squats, front squats, power cleans, power snatches and high pulls.

  • Box Squats and Bench Squats
  • Not good for older lifters. Do bottom position squats w/ a power rack if you wish this type of training.

  • Decline Barbell of Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Older lifters have been known to have strokes or heart attacks doing these moves!

  • Sprints and Hill Sprints
  • Great for younger, but not older lifters, due to Achilles heel fragility.

  • Plyometrics and Depth Jumps
  • Not great for older lifters.

  • Yoga
  • For the heavily muscled over forty, this can cause severe strain and injury.

  • Leg Presses on a Vertical Leg Press Machine
  • Going too low stresses the lower back and spine.

  • Any sort of Pullover Machine
  • Pec-Dec
  • Useless and bad for shoulders.

  • Round Back Squats
  • Always squat with a flat back.

  • Sit-Ups w/ Straight Legs
  • Always w/ knees bent.

  • Bench Presses w/ Thumbless Grips
  • D’uh…

  • Bench Pressing w/out Safety Racks or Spotters
  • Hello….

  • Quarter Squats w/out a Power Rack
  • Not a good idea…

  • Jogging
  • Bad on back and knees for lifters, seek other cardio or use lifting as cardio.

  • Power Cleans / Snatches if done Wrong
  • Flexibility and joint mobility is key, or it can lead to disappointment. Squats, front squats, military presses, bench presses/incline presses, and bent legged or trap-bar deadlifts are the way to go.

  • Any Exercise that Hurts!

A Culture of Life

March for Life

(A number of people commented and asked for reprints of this bulletin column, so I share it here for future reference.)

“The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.”

These immortal words of Sacred Scripture help to define us as Christians, and should also help to articulate our spirituality amidst a world given over, ever more, to new spiritualities based on the rebirth of ancient pagan ways. Even a few decades ago a ‘new paganism’ was noted. The original paganism awaited the revelation from God, which came in the fullness of time; the new rejects the entirety of Revelation, and almost rabidly rejects Jesus Christ.

Hence, we often find ourselves today amidst those who reject Jesus Christ and his Church. “I don’t have to go to Mass.” “I don’t have to go to Confession, I can go directly to God.” “God loves me, He knows I don’t need to do all of that.” “I don’t believe that the Church is right regarding birth control.” And the famous lines from the 80’s which were always leveled against Pope John Paul II, “Keep that man out of my bedroom!”

Such statements highlight the ignorance which many people have of the Faith, and bring pain to the hearts of those who live it valiantly, witnessing that a light has shown on those who dwelt in the darkness. Many people learn their Faith as children, but then never again engage their intellect as they age, considering that what they learned as 8 year olds is as intelligent as the Faith gets. And as we know that’s entirely wrong; the most brilliant minds in history have been Catholic, have grappled with the Faith at every level, and have come out victoriously witnessing to the Light of Jesus Christ. Many more people of great mind have entered the Faith after setting out to disprove it entirely.

lights in st. matthew

As I write up this bulletin note I’m sitting in my room in Washington D.C., ready to head outside for the March for Life. It’s 11 degrees at the moment outside, and yesterday we had 8 inches of snow. But nothing is deterring the witness of Faith which is happening all over the world in regard to life itself. We live in an era which values the right to death more and more. We’re seeing euthanasia being touted as the new norm for people tired of living, even for adolescents. We’re seeing a growing trend towards sex changes being done at any age, even being ‘recognized’ in children. Abortion has become so commonplace, that many of a liberal mindset consider that the ‘battle is over’, and tell pro-lifers to quiet it down (to put it lightly.)

But, given the great treasure of knowledge and reason which we have in our Faith, we can never pipe down, and we can never quiet down. We may all well end up being martyrs for life at some point, but God calls us to witness to the Truth, and not to witness to a comfortable, unchallenged life.

“And the light shines in darkness, a darkness which was not able to master it.” We read this in the Gospel of John, and it used to be read at the end of every Mass. It’s a reminder that we have a great light in our spirituality, which is the person of Jesus Christ, who will guide us onwards to eternity. Many in our generation are, literally, hell bent. Be courageous and be a witness to the light of Jesus Christ. Learn your Faith more, and drag as many people to Heaven with you as you can.

Fr. Kenneth Allen


the bikeI love cycling, and back in ‘ought 6 (2006), when I was being treated for asthma after inhaling post-Katrina black mold and flood dust, one of my doctors told me that if I didn’t swim or ride a bike regularly I’d be on oxygen by the time I was 70. That was all I needed to hear. I miss being able to do laps in the pool, and even more so collapsing into the hot tub afterwards, but living right along a major bike route cannot pass up the opportunity to ride often.

Today the ride was pretty un-compelling. For lack of any motivation at all, I just got on the bike and rode to the lake and back, so I could chalk it up as done, and to reap whatever benefits I might reap. I’m at the point where I can ride 20 miles without thinking about it, 30 with some prep, and 50 with trepidation but not alarm. The weather was cooler than the thermostats read, gloomy, overcast, with a heaviness in the air, as if the sky might burst open at any moment or, as if rain drops might just materialize directly from the heavy humid air itself. Silently wishing I had never left the comfort of home and simultaneously giving thanks for being in the great outdoors, it eventually did start to rain about 3 blocks from home. Saturday was 10 miles, Sunday was 20, today was 20. Stretch time.

Still, excessive aerobic training without strength training can lead to a high body fat percentage, which is where I am overall. Hence the renewed focus on strength training. But that’s another story, for another time.

The Rev. Kenneth Allen