Q&A – 35

Heil og sæl!

PR Friday

Post your training PR’s AND updates to the comments. This community can provide a lot if you do. If you don’t post, you’ll never know.

Weekly Challenge

Last week’s challenge consisted of completing these foot drills daily. I highly recommend you make a habit out of doing this, especially if your feet and ankles are all wonky.

Next Week’s Challenge: Keep an honest to gods food log. At least do it for two week days and a day from the weekend. Tell us next week what you learn (not enough protein, too many carbs, etc.).

Week In Review

On Monday, we acknowledged our ENEMY against women lifting weights and learned why the misconceptions are silly. Tuesday we looked at whether or not the Olympic lifts should be included in powerlifting training. Wednesday we analyzed last weekend’s 2012 CrossFit Games and pontificated if they could have been better. Thursday I tried to teach you guys about a man you’ll never know, the legendary Mark Brown.

Read on to find out why this Indian is receiving a back breaker from this centuar


From @btnewgent on Twitter:

@70sbig 3 wks. into TM & going great. Sprained my ankle Sun. walking down f’ing stairs. Any tips for rehabbing fast?

Dear @btnewgent,

Sprained ankles are no fun. I’ve sprained my right ankle pretty bad three times. The last time was the first CrossFit Football seminar and someone mocked me for being a pussy in the comments afterwards. This is a generic way that I would progress back into good ankle health. This assumes you haven’t broken any bones. Also, consult your doctor and sue him or yourself if you make things worse. Don’t listen to me. Ever. These progressions may take several days due to severity; rehab means you do a little bit, see how it responds and heals, then do a little more next time. Do not do too much, but be consistent and progressive with rehab.

Ice it ASAP after the injury. It’s best if you can submerge your foot into a bucket of ice water. They make little rubber toe covers to protect your toes. Just don’t exceed 10 to 15 minutes if your toes aren’t covered.
Ice it some more. You should be icing it, letting it return to normal, and icing it again as much as possible, especially during the first few days.
Ice it. Hey, see the trend?
If it’s bad enough where you can’t put any weight on it, then start doing ROM stuff prior to icing. Ankle circles, plantar flexion/dorsiflexion, inversion/eversion, or whatever you can handle. Note that pain during these movements probably won’t make it worse. You may need several exposures of this over a few days. Ice after ROM work.
Load the ankle lightly. Do this by standing on the good foot, and giving the bad foot a little weight. The progression moves from a little weight, to equal weight, to more weight on the bad side, and finally to full weight on the bad side. Follow this up with ROM work and icing.
Do the same loading with calf raises on a step. Progress from barely any load to full body weight load. Always follow up with ROM work and icing.
Begin walking. Do not limp and do not look down. The neuromuscular connection will be, uh, fucked, and you need to reestablish it. Don’t hamper progress by allowing limp so that people realize that you’re hurt, but a heart-filled warrior. I would quantify the distance of the walking so it can be progressed. Finish with ROM work and icing.
At this point you are fine to do non-explosive lifting and training. You might have been able to do some after the calf raise progression. Do ROM work and icing after training.
The ankle will probably feel good after the walking progression. Do not start doing something idiotic like box jumps. Go through an “extra body weight loading” progression. Start this by pretending like you are going to jump, lowering your body as if you’re about to jump, extending the hips and knees, but do NOT leave the ground. This will probably apply a force 4 to 9 times your body weight on the structures (I’d have to check some data to be more specific). I would quantify reps of this. Eventually you can have short little hops and landings with loading similar to the standing and calf raise loading (more on healthy side, progressing to more on bad side). ROM and icing will obviously follow.
Things are probably pretty good now. I’d jump rope as a warm-up and regularly do the foot drills before I do any lateral activity. Go ahead and ROM and ice it.

At this point, you should have gotten hundreds of ROM reps, which act like rehab in itself. I didn’t even mention using therabands (for resisted inversion/eversion/plantar flexion/dorsiflexion) or compression tack and stretch (“voodoo flossing”, a term I do not like), but those methods would work extremely well. If you followed a progression and didn’t act like a Tommy Tough Guy, then your ankle should be back to normal, and probably even better than before the injury. Icing can be irritating, but if you get an ice bag (at most $5) from any pharmacy or convenience store and wrap it with an ace bandage, it will stay on without effort (plus those ice bags don’t produce condensation or drip water).

Tom H.
Justin, would you program high bar back squats and low bar back squats in the same way (in terms of sets and reps) despite the mechanical differences and subsequent difference in stress upon the musculature?

Dear Tom,

The high and low bar will pretty much be trained the same. The systemic stress isn’t terribly different and it’s still back squatting. The only differences to note is how the rest of the program will change depending on which movement is used and what the goal is. For example, I often like to place RDLs with high bar squats because of the subtle difference in posterior chain work during the high bar. But, then again, I obviously like RDLs for low bar squatters too.


John F.
Is training in a headband and sunglasses considered ‘geared’ lifting?

Dear John,

Headband and sunglasses are essential “lifting gear” much like a good belt and lifting shoes. However, like a belt and shoes, they provide an ergonomic aid to the actual lifts. The specifics are a bit complicated, but the headband essentially increases cranial pressure which resonates down the cerebrospinal fluid into the spine. The fluid swells, ultimately increasing the pressure inside of the spine. This not only improves stability on the spine, but the vertebral segments will exponentially increase in density. It’s possible to receive a back breaker in wrestling and not experience any spinal damage after this type of training (see image below).

This was fun to google.

The sunglasses function in a different way. High levels of retina photon exposure can be debilitating to power output and absolute strength, so it’s only natural that sunglasses would limit this. Polarized sunglasses are preferable as the increase the clarity of the site picture, ultimately making it easier to balance and stabilize with a good point of reference. This assumes that the cervical spine is in neutral alignment — if it’s in extension, then it’ll complicate the cerebrospinal pressure increase and result in your rectum blowing out of your asshole.

Eric R.
I’ve been doing CrossFit for about 2 years now. 6 months ago, these were my numbers: 500lb DL, 380lb HBBS, 175lb SP, 255lb BP. I’ve kind of fallen off a steady workout regimen since returning stateside. I want to get back into it but now I want to focus more on raw strength. Where’s the best place to start? Specifically, any books or websites that spell it out for me? Thanks.

Dear Eric,

I am receiving a lot of these messages lately. Eric is a bit more specific, but they often ask, “Where do I start?” with respect to strength training. First, learn what a linear progression is. Second, try to learn how to program. I try very hard to get this across on this website, but I also spend a lot of time teaching it in my books (solo or with other authors). You shouldn’t be picking a program and following it like a drone. I know that’s what you want, because you don’t want to think about your training and just be told what to do, but that won’t work. You either need to pay someone to do it for you (you can pay me if you want, or attend a gym with a good coach if you’re lucky) or learn how to do it on your own. It basically means you’ll use a programming template and make subtle changes to it when necessary.

I think FIT is a good start on all things programming, because it touches on different components of fitness and training; there are extensive strength and endurance chapters. You won’t believe me, but I’m not just saying that because I helped write it (I don’t get as much money from you buying FIT as I do one of my solo books); I’m saying it because it is a good resource. My goal is to give you tools that you can use to work on your own program. Other guys out there will just give you a program and tell you to do it. The program will probably work, but it’s not specific to what will be optimal for you, because you are an individual.

In reality, all of this shit has been pretty much the same for over 50 years. We call things different names, make some tweaks here and there, but it all focuses on applying an adaptive stress based on your current state of adaptation. Nothing more, nothing less. If that doesn’t make sense, then get reading.

82 thoughts on “Q&A – 35

  1. sad PR of bombing for the first time ever at yesterday’s Oly meet. Guess I got ‘snatch’ and ‘highland games’ confused because I kept throwing the bar over my head.

    But then I went and PR’d my clean: 85kg

  2. Training PR, squatted for the 1st time in 6 weeks yesterday, started with bar only at sets of 5 w/ 10kg increments up to a set of 80kgs. Relatively light weight, but don’t care. Back home in the rack. Knee felt good, wore orthodics in my shoes to help stop ankle roll and keep the knees out, and it worked. Only a little tender afterwards. Booyah.

  3. Pingback: Q&A – 36 | 70's Big

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.