Sun, 22 Mar 15

First off, this morning I and several other like-minded meatheads helped Mike Hedlesky reassemble and install his oh-so-gnarly elitefts signature monolift, a.k.a. The Orange Crusher.  Just laying eyes on this beauty is guaranteed to boost your training intensity by 79.8236% and ensure PRs too numerous to count.  It had been in storage for a while until such time as enough manpower and equipment were available to move it into his new house.  Mission accomplished.

After this, I headed over to the Unit to do a little thing that my former roommate, Loyola S&C Coach Nick O'Brien, and I dubbed 'breakfast club' a few years back.  Breakfast Club is most often performed in the early morning hours (though it may also be variously called lunch club, mid-afternoon snack club, dinner club, elevensies club, etc.) and it consists of light to moderate cardiovascular exercise coupled with stretching and mobility work.  The duration and intensity of the cardio work is dictated by current training parameters - i.e. you would most likely not want to go out and do pyramid sprints at 80% intensity or a Raintree Run if you were scheduled to be doing heavy squats or deadlifts later that day.

So the more intense cardio work is saved for off days or easier training days while harder training days in the weight room are either no clubbing or very light recovery work.  For example, on a deadlift day where you are planning to pull 3 heavy triples, you would either have an off day from breakfast club or very light aerobic work such as walking uphill on a treadmill for 15-20 minutes.  The purpose of the light aerobic work is twofold.  When performed properly it serves as active recovery for your CNS and it also allows you to warmup your body generally to facilitate improved benefits from the stretching and mobility work performed after the aerobic work.  Adding in breakfast club to an existing training paradigm should ideally allow for better recovery both short and long term and lead to a reduction in aches, pains, and tweaks, whether minor or more serious.

I have had many athletes, especially football players, who complain frequently about how they think they are getting too old to play because their bodies hurt all the time and they keep adding new injuries and compounding old ones.  These are also almost universally the same athletes who never stretch and tend to want to always do whatever they feel like in the weight room when left to their own devices rather than following the programming laid out by the S&C staff.  When I have been able to get through to these guys though and get them to start implementing just very basic stretching and recovery work on a regular basis (usually over summer break for athletes who stay in town rather than moving back home), every single one has had a reduction in aches, pains, and symptoms of current or previous injury as well as improved mobility and exercise technique.

I have been doing breakfast club on a regular basis for years ever since I realized the benefit to my own training and that it just makes me feel better all day all the time in general.  Plus, the times when I have been forced by changes in my schedule and demands on my time to greatly reduce or cease altogether my recovery work, I start to notice more frequent stupid tweaks while training and more annoying tightness in general that affects my training and daily life.  So the moral of the story is make time to make yourself better.  It may seem like stupid and boring stuff, but it can make a HUGE difference in your training outcomes and overall physical condition.

Breakfast Club for me currently consists of walking on an inclined treadmill for anywhere from 15-30 minutes with variance in speed, incline, and duration depending on my current state of recovery as well as my current training protocol.  Today I wanted to get outside though since the weather is finally starting to get nicer, so I went to the Unit and dragged the prowler for a mile, which took me a little more than 20 minutes.  I had no weight on the prowler and I used my spud straps pulling harness so that I didn't have to hold onto anything to do the dragging.  This was enough to raise my HR and get me sweating a little bit without winding me or excessively fatiguing any muscles.  I followed this up with some general stretching for 20 min or so and proceeded to feel better the rest of the day, as usual.