Some time ago now a new type of bodybuilding drug hit the market. This family of drugs quickly became popular because of dramatic improvements in athletic ability, healing and muscle mass.
Initial reports were that there were zero or very few side effects with these drugs so pretty much everybody that could get hold of them began using them.
The drugs I am talking about are Anabolic Steroids in the middle of the 20th century.
Now some years later people began dying young. Heart attacks, cancer mainly.
Well today we see the same initial optimism surrounding SARM’s. They do indeed seem safer than the old Anabolic Steroids but I dont think you should be using this stuff in your pre middle age years.
If you do opt to use them use only the second generation stuff from a medically approved research lab.
I personally do intend to use SARM’s carefully & selectively but thats because I am just shy of 50. When I get to 70 I may even take Anabolic Steroids if there is nothing better going by then. Of course there will be.
So forget about SARM’s in your teens, 20s & 30’s. Even early 40’s. What happens if 20 years from now users start dropping of cancer?
If you are already old the risk is worth it. Us oldies are in mortal combat against impending death. We can take a margin of risk.
Jerry Brainum explains it all:
I like to get my supplements in bulk powder form as I can get them way cheaper. Like two years worth for the same price as a months retail.
Now normally I will either stomach the supplements from a spoon which is pretty yuck but quick & easy or I stick them in my tea.
Some supps are just too gross to put in tea but others are just fine. Gelatin, pine pollen, creatine for example seem OK in tea.
I don’t drink regular tea I am talking green tea, ginseng tea etc.
OK so sitting at the bottom of my tea cup today was the remains of my gelatin infused with the supplements. I scraped it out & ate it – yum.
So you can make your own yum vitamin & supplement enriched chews out of gelatin. You can sweeten with whatever or not at all.
My gelatin I normally just drink in my tea. You can barely taste it & its fully liquid not viscous. Gelatin needs to sit for a while to harden & you need a fair amount in ratio to the liquid.
With my tea I have a flat tablespoon approximately. I don’t bother to measure it but I do know you should have 1/3 of your daily protein in collagen form.
However take too much & it accumulates in your kidneys where it forms scar tissue.
So do not use collagen as your number one protein source
Glad to say I finally have full range of motion back in my left shoulder. It clicks a lot and I am not lifting overhead yet but I can see that at the current rate it will be healed by May.
I am planning to move overseas so have sold most of my crossfit gear. If I cant sell my weight vests they are going to the NZARMY.
I also joined a regular gym across the street which is great as its 24/7 and I can literally go from my bedroom door to the gym in under 5 minutes.
I am training most days, cardio on my bike, shoulder rehab & bodybuilding at the gym.
What are you training for?
I would hope the answer to that question is long term health & physical well being.
Well no thats why people should train & its why I train but many people get side tracked. Even I get side tracked too.
Some people train to improve sports skills, to get or stay in a job, to score the opposite sex etc.
So this in turn turns any sports advice upside down. For example I just saw a twitter tweet that got my goat. it was quoting a study showing greater gains from whole body training 3x per week than split training.
Now most people will see that and think wow – thats me I’ll train just 3x per week whole body and get better gains
The study was for 3 months. This is the maximum length that a whole body routine is recommended for beginers.
Its only after that you are meant to begin split training. But people will misinterpret the research because of the way it was presented.
OK lets chuck in a couple more of these paradigms – backed by research papers.
Lets say they also choose to train just with sandbags because another paper or trainer said it is better.
Lets say they choose to follow a high fat diet because some other guy says cholesterol doesnt matter.
Now if you combine enough of these half assed half researched idea’s together & you will end up with a pretty FUBAR athlete.
They may shine like a star briefly or even for a few years. Then kaput.
Enough people have trained with weights & enough research has been done that the standard principles are well defined.
Long term whole body training leads to increased injury & burnout & stagnation of gains. Its common knowlege.
Cholesterol is linked to heart disease – its a fact – accept it.
On and on. Its no good to look at a 3 month study and base your training fully upon than. Or a limited study in a specific population with a genetic disposition.
There are basic training principles that work. If you dont follow them you will get injured & ill more frequently.
If you train for a sport or career your training will be out of skew with whats best long term for your body.
The myth of “functional” training
The word functional has a dual meaning. It can mean functional as opposed to dysfunctional or it can mean functional as in serving a narrow defined function.
The function of the organism may be compromised by a narrowly defined function.
So when these guys say they are into “functional training” do they mean they are into training you as a functional organism?
Or are they training you to perform a specific function?
Two totally different things with different outcomes.
Most of these functional training programs are in fact to train people for a specific job or to repair an injury.
They are not an over all training program for a fully functional human being. They can not and never will be.
So if you want a long term program to make you the best functional organism – thats traditional bodybuilding.
If you want to become a tactical operator, repair a leg injury, be good at football etc – take up some form of “functional” training.
But just be aware that its functional in name only & in the long term is dysfunctional.
There are some really decent special forces fitness programs floating around on the net these days.
A couple of very simple effective programs are here for you to download.
Selected: Selected Ebook
How to use this course.
A very successful Olympic running coach once said that the better prepared athlete would always beat
the faster athlete. We think he’s right. In the US Army Special Forces selection and assessment course
you may be competing for selection against faster or stronger servicemen. But, if you have completed
this course, done the workouts and absorbed the educational material – and put into practice what you
have learned – you will be one of the best prepared applicants and more likely to succeed.
SFAS Training Manual: Training for the tactical athlete
SFAS 14 week strength :SFAS 14 Week Strength
SFAS 6 week strength: SFAS 6 Week Strength
SFAS 14 week prep: 14 week prep
SFAS 10 week prep: 10 week prep
Four months since rotator cuff injury occured.
Two months back I wrote that I expected to be pain & inflammation free by now.
When I first got injured I thought the whole thing would be gone by now.
Well I am pain & inflammation free so long as I dont aggravate it. My ROM is 90% where as for 3 months it was 50%.
I can now gently stretch on a pullup bar some what restrained without pain. Certainly I can not free hang yet.
I would place that as two months away.
I can do restrained pressups and kettlebell rows. I can even rack the 16kg kettlebell on the injured side but only a few reps & wont be doing any ballistic stuff for weeks if not months.
I did put all of my gear up for auction & it didnt sell so I will keep it all for time being. I am only training shoulders once per week from now on for strength or muscle mass.
Obviously shoulder rehab is daily in some form.
I have found a new physio that does Active Release Therapy so I will start seeing the new one. Old physio was good but not specialized for the next phase.
I will join the closest gym. 3 minutes from my door & train there daily. No need to train shoulders at the gym as I have all of the gear at home.
My training will be rehab, bodybuilding & cardio focused.
Hopefully in May or June I will be healed up. I still intend to get a platlete shot too. Possibly into both shoulders if ultrasound reveals damage in the right too. Certainly the left will be getting an injection.
How will I split my training?
Well maybe variations of the following
Upper Arm day
Cardio & rehab on most days
I also need to get back into a proper stretching / yoga routine
As many sauna’s as I can fit in
When I say heavy I mean upwards of 50 lbs. Prior to my shoulder injury I was training with 80lbs for an hour at a time minimum.
So there are two ways a weight vest will injure you:
1. Excessive Occlusion
This is when the circulation cuts off in your arms because of the pressure on your shoulders. You will have totally numb arms. Even a 40 lb vest will do this after 3-5 hours.
2. Putting it on & off
This is how I tore my rotator cuff. 50, 60 80 lbs is not very heavy for a dumbell or kettlebell. This is a floppy uncontrollable odd shaped object.
There are a couple of videos online for technique to put a vest on – yeah sure if its 20 lbs & of the design shown.
The fact is once you are up to 50 lbs even with a good vest & proper form these techniques will kill your shoulder joints.
1. Shoulder pads
MIR now has shoulder pads
OK awesome a must have
2. A Weight Vest Rack
Yet to be built – heres what you need to do. See those shoulder pads above. Imagine if they were a little more robust at the top where the velcro attaches them. Imagine if they were robust enough to support the full weight of the vest held on two protruding bars.
These two bars could be sticking out of a wall or on a rack.
You would simply walk forward duck under the vest & slip your head inside. Then step back moving the vest off the bars. Your vest would be on with zero dangerous shoulder movement.
Taking it off would be just as easy.
Once my rotator cuff heals up I will build this setup. Using a heavy vest any other way is like trying to squat but always lifting the bar from the ground & onto your back. That is madness.
Here are the two methods of putting your vest on that WILL NOT WORK with a heavy vest EG: 50lbs+
Same with the super hanger – useless with a real heavy vest
Whats needed is a Weight Vest Rack
A search online reveals the complete wrong design weight vest rack
This is retarded. Totally the wrong design & pointless. You need the vest to be suspended from two bars at a right angle to the shoulders. Then you just slip up and under & the vest is on. Taking it off would be even easier as you would simply walk forward & slide the vest shoulder pads onto the two bars.
OK I had an evenings sleep & came up with a quick simple solution. First up you need a squat rack. These are cheap. You also need a dipping attachment for the rack. Cheapest I can find are pictured below:
I can pick those up for under $200 brand new locally
OK so you will need a cross bar to attach the dip bars to. Thats just square steel tube which will need to be secured to the rack.
The rack incedentaly extends to shoulder height – its for squating.
OK so next you want to get a pair of the mir shoulder pads. I did look into backpack shoulder strap pads but these seem less heavy duty & are the wrong shape. Go with the MIR ones.
Looking at the MIR pads they may not actually be long enough. If so use a Tactical Waist Padded Belt.
Now you want some gorilla glue or liquid nails. See how the MIR pads connect with velcro? You are gunna glue them together glued on forever.
DO NOT glue them to the vest straps. Just glue them shut. before you do make sure the two dip bar prongs will slide in with the vest on your shouders.
OK finally get some duct tape & tape around the whole shoulder pad until you are confident its strong enough to hold 100+ lbs on the rack for months at a time.
Thats it man !!! You now have the safest possible setup for weight vest training.
One caveat is that the duct tape may detract from the padding. You can carefully duct tape just the top part of the padding looping it around. Good luck.
The padding is OK if its loose at the top & you will of course still want it to be comfortable. Better get some real good glue.
Had I done this two years ago I would not now have a torn rotator cuff.
I took up Kettlebells when my favorite gym closed. I had trained there for 25 years. So over the course of 5 years I built up to owning 8 KB’s.
Ranging from 40kg down to 16 kg. I also got the best weight vest on the market. The MIR 140 & a lighter chinese vest.
This was after 27 years of regular bodybuilding style training using split routines & all of the bodybuilding principles.
So I kind of got into crossfit / functional training & neglected many of those bodybuilding principles which had served me so well.
So whats wrong with the kettlebell based approach ?
Over Training of the Shoulders
The shoulders really only need one specialized workout per week. Chest, back & arm days will also hit the shoulders to a great extent.
I found that with kettlebells & weight vests I was training anything from 3 to 6 days per week & hitting the shoulders hard every single workout.
Finally after five years of this I have blown my tendons in the left shoulder.
All Kettlebell focused guys are guilty of this. Many dont use weight vests but are hanging bar or dip or ring fanatics.
So the shoulders get hammered – its over training.
I currently have all of my equipment up for auction. Kettlebells, vests & clubbells.
I actually only should be using this gear once per week on shoulder day. But for some blind dumb reason I slipped from my proven good bodybuilding habits and trained the hell out of my shoulders.
So if the auction doesnt close thats it – I will use KB’s or the vest once per week only.
Other days are spent at the gym doing legs, chest, back, arms etc. Now the only three body parts you cant really train with his gear are back, chest and legs.
I think with bands & dumbells you can hit the arms just fine. KB’s & hanging bar certaily hit the shoulders. Mid section there is plenty of home gear same for grip.
But back & legs probably constitute most of your muscle mass. Sorry but pullups, pressups & hindu squats dont cut it.
You need to bench press, squat or leg press & do lat pulldowns –> all of it heavy.
So the kettlebell fanatics have things out of focus & so do crossfit. The injury rate for crossfit is way way higher than conventional bodybuilding.
Olympic lifting also has a higher injury rate.
There is nothing wrong with kettlebells or crossfit but they should not be your only training regime. So you may do them on one day per week. Not two or three – ONE DAY.
You may also do a binge. A two week program of KB or crossfit style training 3 times per year is fine.
But I just did this crap day in & day out for five years. Now I have paid the price with a tendon injury.
Dont be like me. Honour your body & the bodybuilding principles. Balance you training correctly.
My training has been Kettlebell & weight vest based for about five years. Now I have torn my tendons in my shoulder I am strongly urged to return to conventional bodybuilding.
This will mean selling my vests, kettlebells and clubbells and returning to the gym.
Back to dumbells, barbells and machines for 2017. I’m going to do it & my focus for cardio will be indoor rowing & outdoor cycling.
It will mean isolation training and a four or five day split routine. No more functional training. No more full body workouts. No more crossfit style workouts.
Call it periodization if you want but I am going to totally change how I train this coming new year.
Kettlebell based training is overtraining for the shoulders. Weight vests just make it worse. It was fun but its time for me to return to that which is best.
Healthy bodybuilding and cardio.
…But I’m about four months into healing this injury now. In another 2 months I will be able to comfortably rack & press the KB’s again with light weight. I can rack the 16kg now with my injured shoulder without pain.
Its a difficult decision that would be much easier if there was a nearby gym I really like. But there is not.
If I do continue with the KB’s and vests there will be some big changes safety wise. This will mean adding shoulder braces, slowly building up to greater weights and much more attention to joint health. There does not seem to be any safe way to put a heavy and awkward vest on or off.
Time will tell & this injury is so inconvenient that a repeat is definitely not acceptable.
As you know from the last couple of posts I am half way through recovery from a rotator cuff tendon tear.
As a consequence of this injury my upper body strength training has decreased in volume substantially.
For 3 months I did not raise my left arm above shoulder height at all. I now have a 15% decrease in range of motion when extending the arm over head.
I expect that to mend fast once I am able to do bar hangs and pull ups again but that is 3-4 months away.
So its time to refocus my training so I can remain very fit & active but not aggravate my shoulder.
My plan is to greatly increase my cardio training while I have the opportunity. This will be a 4-5 month program after which I should be back to my normal routine.
Of course if I reinjure the shoulder I am screwed.
So I want to do 90 minutes cardio per day. I want to do 80% light easy cardio & 20% intense HIIT per week.
Thats 4 days easy cardio & 2 days HIIT & strength style.
I also want to ramp up my sauna time.
Cardio will be in the form of skipping (if I can do it – have not tested the shoulder yet), cycling, KB swings and rebounder.
I may do some easy barefoot grass runs too.
HIIT will largely be Kettlebell and Clubbell work & other calisthenics stuff.
OK thats fairly standard training with a cardio focus. I will also ramp up my flexibility training. Isometrics etc.
Now what will be different is an introduction of preventative rehabilitation training.
I touted this in a post many months ago. Using medical & physiotherapy rehabilitaion research & programs to take your body to a whole new level of fitness.
Well I posted but did not do – now months later have two torn tendons.
Now I must take my own advice.
I have done rehab on the shoulders for 3 months now with a physiotherapists guidance.
Here are the main area’s I want to focus on:
1. Detoxification – This is the first step & I did my major detox a year back. I simply need to make long duration sauna more frequent.
2. Joint specific preventative rehabilitation.
– Hip / Pelvis
– core / lower back
These are the main points of joint failure. I simply intend to train using the full rehabilitation protocols for people that have injured these joints.
Hence avoiding future injury. This will include an over all strategy for tendon strengthening most probably involving isometrics.
3. Cardio pulmonary rehabilitation
4. Grip training – I already have a good grip & train it regularly but it should be included by everybody.
So what I am planning to do here is pre-empt & prevent injury by giving my body a conditioning buffer.
I’m 48.5 years old not the 28 year old infantryman I once was. Not the 35 year old stallion any more. But in my psyche I still am young & virile.
I also know how to supplement & self medicate to rev up my hormone levels & that should definitely be done with the above regimen.
So for a senior athlete these extra injury prevention measures are required if you want to retain stallion status.
Lets face it most of us are negligent and wont take the required safety measures.
I say alter your training and fit in the rehab protocols BEFORE you get injured. Because a 9 month lay off with a torn tendon really does suck.
One warning about isometrics & joint strength. Isometrics really hit the tendons & are magnificent for strengthening the tendon structure. BUT if you do your isometrics in positions that compromise your joints you will suffer joint & tendon failure.
For some time I was doing isometrics in an overhead press position. This is actually contradictory to rotator cuff anatomy as it is an impingement position. Did this contribute to my injury? I think it probably did & I had no idea what I was doing at the time.
This means isometrics must not simply mimic positions held in certain exercises.
Isometrics must be designed around the functional anatomy of the joint & copied from physiotherapy rehabilitation programs. Then you are safe.
Do not do haphazard, random isometric holds. Do not simply copy muscle building exercises to determine your isometrics positions.