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.

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!

On Sleep

Sleep is something which occasionally eludes me. Take last night for instance, I was awake, and anxious about many things, most of which were unfounded.

Historically I’ve never been one to stress about sleep, and for the most part still am not. But a few years ago, which was a few years after Katrina, I had occasion to visit a specialist in sleep, who taught me about Sleep Hygiene. At the Mayo Clinic they talk Cognitive Therapy instead of pills. And in more general cases, offer great and simple sleep tips.

Most of them are common sense, and the rub comes in actually trying to make better habits regarding sleep. A big issue I was having at the time is, that after Katrina one of my physicians offered me mild tranquilizers, which made me drowsy. I offset that drowsiness with caffiene, and as a result ended up chronically caffeine toxic.

Things I remember fairly often are:

  • Most people wake up ten – eleven times per night. And the thing is to just stay in bed and nap, more or less, until sleep arrives again.
  • It’s not necessary to look at your clock or watch during the night to see what time you woke up. Just set an alarm for the last possible moment it needs to be set, and never worry about it again.
  • More than 16oz. of caffeine per day is considered too much.
  • I still break that one, fairly often.
  • Proper bedtimes, proper beds, proper diets, ect., all the usual suspects are rounded up in the Mayo Clinic handouts.

I’ve also been reading through Gray Hair and Black Iron, which is specifically for those over 40, 50, 60, 70, even 80 (I don’t think he mentions those over 90…)

The advice and technique is right up my alley, because it’s more or less what I was doing when I was last training regularly with free weights (as opposed to machines). Keep it simple, use the big lifts, warmup, stretch, cooldown, and allow for plenty of recuperative time. Growing older, this kind of happens naturally, still having it spelled out is always a good thing.) A lot more there, which I’m looking forward to working on regularly.

But recuperative time, of course, comes back down in part, to sleep. Which leads us back to the point and origin of this entire post.

With that…

Splash, out.

Genuine Strength

via Breaking Muscle

Saxon Bent Press
Heavily Photoshopped picture of Myself doing the Arthur Saxon Bent Press Several Years Ago

Here’s a quote from Arthur Saxon’s The Development of Physical Power that regards not just strength, but endurance, and health:

Genuine strength should include not only momentary strength, as proved by the ability to lift a heavy weight once, but also the far more valuable kind of strength known as strength for endurance. This means the ability, if you are a cyclist, to jump on your machine and ride 100 miles at any time without undue fatigue [yes, that is actually what I have been working on]; if a wrestler, to wrestle a hard bout for half an hour with a good man without a rest, yet without becoming exhausted and reaching the limit of your strength. Apart from sports, enduring strength means that the business man shall stand, without a breakdown, business cares and worries, that he shall be capable, when necessary, of working morning, afternoon and night with unflagging energy, holding tightly in his grasp the reins of business, retaining all the while a clear mind and untiring energy, both of body and brain. The man who can miss a night’s rest or miss a meal or two without showing any ill effect or without losing any physical power is better entitled to be considered a strong man than the man who is only apparently strong, being possessed of momentary strength, which is, after all, a muscle test pure and simple.”

Indeed.