Strength and Conditioning Gym

EXTENSION CORDS & LIFE LESSONS

To get this started, I’m going to tell you a story. It’s not an exciting story. But I think that if you stick with me, you’ll find some value at the end. Hopefully.

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The other day I was blowing out the gym with my trusty electric leaf blower. I finished the job, dropped the doors down and began to wind up the 50’ extension cord like I always do. Normally, as I come closer to the end that is still plugged in to the wall socket, I gently yank on the cord, popping the male end loose from the wall socket and finish the wind job. This time, however, I had a “daymare”, as Jen and I call them. I imagined myself doing what I normally do, but this time - in my daymare - the cord detaches from the male end which remains stuck in the socket. This may not sound terrible, but it would ultimately result in a stupid amount of little “fix-it” projects that would add needless shit to an already busy week.

I know, this is a lame ass story, but stay with me.

Look, every once in a while, in an effort to do something faster or more efficiently, we do things that backfire and actually create a lot more work for us in the long run. Sometimes, however, if we’re lucky AND paying attention, our intuition tells us that this may not be a great idea. The daymare scenario from above was my intuition kicking in and telling me that yanking on the cord to pop it loose was going to screw me over eventually.

Hearing this intuitive plea is one thing.
Actually listening and applying a change of course is another.

I now walk all the way to the outlet, grip the end of the cord and pull the cord loose from the wall, ensuring that the cord itself stays intact and prevents me from having to do silly repairs to something that could’ve been easily avoided in the first place.

See! That story was lame as hell, but we got to the nugget! I hope you can see that there is tremendous crossover to pretty much every aspect of your life. I challenge you to analyze one thing you purposely do in an effort to save time or complete a task faster. Does it really add up to efficiency? Or, does it set you up for some sort of backfire scenario that creates needless stress in the long run?

We often take the path of instant gratification, faster is better, more is better. But, what are we setting ourselves up for in the big picture when we live each moment in this mindset? I don’t have answers. I’m just asking the question.

I LOVE THIS SHIT!!!

Photo by: Dave Re

Photo by: Dave Re

I love being a coach. I love being there when people break through barriers. I love being a part of someone’s life as they work towards growth.
All of those things are magnified when I’m teaching Strongman. Why? I believe in it. I believe it serves my people in a way that nothing else can touch. In my opinion, there is no better way to help someone build true, functional ability in there own life than teaching that person the methods of Strongman.
Although intimidating at first, people quickly realize that they can do it, and even better - they have FUN with Strongman movements. As a coach, I hold Strongman on a pedestal because it fucking delivers the goods - always - and does so in a fraction of the time of other modes. The ROI is massive for coaches, athletes and a gym owners.
If you’re a coach or athlete interested in learning more about Strongman and how to appropriately apply it, reach out to us or follow the link below.

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HYBRID ATHLETICS STRONGMAN COURSE

10/19/19 @ Travis County Strength

Austin, TX

ROWS ≠ SCALED MOVEMENT

How many of you out there have a strict pull-up without the use of assistance bands? I would imagine that the majority of you don’t, and that’s ok. Strict pull-ups take time to develop, but during that process, it’s likely that your coach told you that “we are going to scale the pull-up to a ring row or inverted barbell row”, right? This is common practice and a good modification, but it plants the seed that these row variations are scaled modifications and not on the same level as the pull-up.

THIS IS WRONG.

Rows, when done well, are just as valuable (maybe more, actually.) as pull-ups or chin-ups and should be done often regardless of whether you have a beautiful strict pull-up or not.

There are tons of variations of rows. In fact, I am now going to share my best impression of Bubba from Forrest Gump if he were to discuss the plethora of row varients:

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KB Bent-Over Row
DB Bent-Over Row
BB Bent-Over Row
BB Seal Row
DB Seal Row
DB/KB Single-Arm Bent-Over w/Support
Ring Row
Inverted Barbell Row
Seated Band Row
Seated Cable Row
Landmine Bent-Over Row
T-Bar Row
Chinese DB Bent-Over Row
Pendlay Row
AND MORE!

I hope you get the idea because now I am exhausted and need to take a nap before continuing…

Ok, I’m back and reinvigorated.

Now, the entire row family is extremely valuable, but it’s important to mix it up with different variations, and often. Why? If we stick with one version, two things are most likely going to occur:

  1. You’ll become strong in one and only that one movement pattern - to a certain extent before #2 occurs…

  2. Overuse issues will begin to arise due to the monotonous reps on that specific joint and involved muscle(s) and connective tissue.

In fact, it is my opinion that the reason that there are so many variations is due to the fact that old-school iron movers HAD to continue performing row reps to build big, strong backs, but had to find a way to limit the injuries and downtime away from the weights. So, if we go back up to our list of row options, you’ll notice that a lot of these make a ton of sense. Especially the versions that incorporate a de-loaded spine/supported torso position.

Think about it. You have literally thousands of different variations of strength movements, but we KNOW that the big ones are the deadlift, squat and bench press. Of those 3, 2 are extremely demanding on the low back - even when done well. Now, if we are doing those lifts AND a ton of heavy bent-over barbell rows, how long do you think you’ll see returns before something happens to that low back?

This is simple stuff, but is often overlooked by coaches and athletes because we all like to do the big weight and the cool shit, but that’s an immature, unwise choice. Mix it up and watch the strength AND durability of your athletes spike.

And, Coaches, one more thing. We’ve GOT to stop framing the Ring Row or Inverted BB Row in the context of a scaled pull-up. It is soooo much more valuable than a movement we throw at folks that are not strong enough for strict pull-ups. That’s some bullshit.

We provide these versions of row because they have a massive ROI. They take little, to no time, to teach and provide a profound strength stimulus. Start framing these rows as the foundational movements to building a strong back and pull. That’s what it is! Not a scale.

Now go do some rows and enjoy that shit.