Muscle Up Sequence from December 2008

Here’s a muscle-up sequence from December 2008. Just found it buried in a folder. Thought I did a pretty good job of putting this sequence together. Not entirely sure why I never published it before. Think the music does a nice job of adding an ominous feel. I mean, filming myself doing muscle ups in my ghetto basement gym at night in the middle of December isn’t creepy enough.

WOD Timer v1.1 Now Available

Well, in all truthfulness, WOD Timer v1.1 was actually available several days ago.  It’s true, I finally fixed most of the glaring bugs and added a couple new features.

Some of the new features include vocal audio cues, interval time progress bar, UI updates and changes and additional settings.

For more information, check out the video below.  And please, if (or when) you download the app, leave some feedback in the app store!

Make your own Parallettes

What are parallettes? Parallettes are essentially a pair of bars used to simulate the muck larger parallel bars used in gymnastics.   Parallettes are also a great piece of equipment that can be made easily and very inexpensively.  Parallettes can be used for a variety of bodyweight exercises that are perfect for strengthening the upper body and core and will help develop better balance.  They are similar to pushup bars but generally a little bit longer.

You can, of course, purchase parallettes, but they can easily be made with some PVC pipe and a tiny bit of time.

To start, you will need the following items from the local hardware store (I purchased mine at Home Depot).

  • About 6 feet of PVC pipe about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  I used 1 1/2 for mine and the size is perfect for my grip.
  • 4 x PVC  T joints
  • 4 x PVC  pipe caps
  • 4 x PVC  90 degree joints
  • PVC glue (please use in a well ventilated area as this stuff is really smelly)

Instructions for one parallette:

  1. Cut a section of PVC about 14 to 16 inches
  2. Glue a 90 degree joint to each end of the section
  3. Cut two sections of PVC about 4 to 6 inches
  4. Glue one small section to each of the 90 degree joints
  5. Glue a T joint onto each of the ends
  6. Cut 4 4 inch sections of PVC
  7. Glue one 4 inch section to both sides of each T joint
  8. Glue on caps at each end of the 4 inch section

That’s it!  Here’s a diagram of the sections of the parallette

Parallettes build diagram

And here is one of my parallettes:

Feats of Strength Compilation

Awesome video compilation featuring various feats of strength. Serious lifting going on in this video. Unbelievable stuff. I’m unsure of the original source on this one. If you know, please let us know in the comments!

Low Carb Recipe - Flax Seed Fried Cheese String

Low Carb Recipe - Flax Seed Fried Cheese Strings

Simple - cut some cheese strings in half, dip them in egg, cover them in flax seed (they should be as eggy and flax seedy as possible) and fry them in canola oil (or oil of choice). Don’t let the oil get too hot. Probably best just when it’s about to smoke. Fry them only until the outside is getting a little crispy or the cheese is really starting to ooze. Turn often and keep a close eye on them. Takes only about a minute or two.

BMI Calculator Gadget for your Web Page has just released a Google Gadget for calculating body mass index (BMI). This gadget can super easily be embedded on a web page or your iGoogle site.

Download the BMI Calculator gadget.

Some Exercises are Just a Waste of Time

I try not to let things that bother me get to me.  In fact, for the most part I try to keep completely ambivalent about what other people are doing when those things would otherwise fire me up.  But at the gym, it’s a different story.  I’m not sure if it’s due to a chemical change around my brain from heavy weight lifting or if it’s maybe the confined spaces that the gym often presents, but I get my gitch all in a knot when I see someone exercising in a way that, IMHO, is a waste of time.

I am aware of the consequences, of course, for expressing my frustration to another individual - that he or she is spending their time at the gym wastefully.  Not everyone who does this is a skinny, off the bus freshman.  There are times when I watch an obviously serious muscle-head doing something that baffles my mind.  But let’s just say that I know how to pick my battles.

And I don’t only see in-gym time wasting by members.  Amazingly enough, these things happen quite often with an assumingly well equipped and experienced trainer at their side.  Good grief!  It’s no wonder why so many people get discouraged by their efforts. Yes, ladies and gents - it’s likely because what they are doing at the gym is simply wasting their time.

So which exercises cause my stomach to turn inside out?  Here are three exercises that I commonly see at the gym that are more or less completely worthless.

  1. Wrist Curls.  For the overwhelming majority of people, wrist curls are worthless.  Are you a professional arm wrestler?  Do you need to hold a dozen full beer steins in one hand?  Yes?  I’d first argue that you’d be better off with another exercise anyway, but it’s likely not the case, If you’re focus is in gaining overall mass, losing weight, getting ripped, etc… then spending 10 minutes of your precious hour at the gym on this is foolish.  Pullups, presses, cleans, kettle bell exercises - these are all things that provide a far more effective workout for a larger number of muscles, have significant;y more movement involved and also effect the same muscle groups,   I have never done a wrist curl in my life and when I setup in a false grip for a muscle-up, my forearms explode.
  2. Behind the back… anything.  I see people occasionally doing behind the back wrist curls or what I could possibly compare to deadlifts.  And I’m dumbfounded.  The same reasoning applies as in #1 above, but with the addition of even more criticism.  When holding a barbell behind the back, your body will get into an entirely funkified position - poor posture, inappropriate stress on some joints, and the amount of possible movement for a behind the back exercise is significantly diffused.  For those of you thinking you’re stepping it up a notch by performing your <insert exercise here> behind the back, just a heads up that there are probably some other people at the gym watching you and thinking, WTF?  Is there a substitute for a behind the back exercise?  Yes - and that is virtually anything else, including drinking beer.
  3. Shoulder shrugs.  Again - we’re looking at a very isolated, muscle specific exercise here.  If you’re doing shoulder shrugs, then I’m assuming you are a professional body builder, have completed every other exercise out there, it’s been a solid 4 hour workout and you have some extra time to kill.  If that category does not apply to you then here are some suggested substitutes: high pulls and cleans.  Those two exercises not only work the same muscles as the shoulder shrug, they require huge movement which works your entire body and provide some excellent cardiovascular stress at the same time.

The three above mentioned exercises all have the same thing in common - they are localized exercises and target very specific muscle groups.  The movement involved is minimal and the same muscle groups can be as effectively worked out during more compound exercises.

My take is simple - if an exercise involves a limited movement, constrained by body position or lack of leverage, it likely isn’t an exercise worth your time.  Concentrate on more compound exercises.  Not only will you see better results, but you will cut down the time it requires to get in a good workout.

Sick Upper Body Strength

For those who don’t know, I have a thing for break dancing.  It’s just an incredible display of strength.  This video of Guy Junior is no exception.  Watch and be amazed.

Stick Man Workout 20091123

Here’s my new fav workout.  Hit the exercises one after another any work with a medium to high intensity and not only with you feel great, you will be in and out of the gym in no time (barring waiting for the equipment - something that I had to do this evening).

The description:

  1. warmup: 1 mile run medium to high intensity
  2. combo: skipping (20 double unders) then 20 situps for 3 rounds.  Or could sub in 40 situps + 20 du’s then 30 situps + 40 du’s, then 20 situps + 60 du’s
  3. combo: a take on a Crossfit oldie - body weight bench presses (as many reps as possible for a set - AMRAP) followed by Pullups (dead hangs or kipping, also as many reps as possible for a set - AMRAP) times 5 rounds.
  4. Done.

The Benefits of Interval Training

Going for a 5 or 10 km run is a fantastic aerobic exercise that will burn lots of calories. However, the normal run is generally a moderate intensity exercise.

Long bouts of moderate intensity exercise may actually preferentially burn more muscle tissue than one would like [1]. The goal, after all, is usually to burn calories from carbohydrate storage and maintain muscle.

Some studies have found that brief intervals of high intensity training are more effective at maintaining muscle and building their capacity for lactic acid oxidation [2].

Lactic acid builds up as muscles undergo intense strain. You may recognize this as the burning sensation you might sometimes feel as you’re trying to lift that last rep or trying to sprint the last 100m of a good jog. During the recovery from bout of the high intensity, lactic acid is broken down. This process uses energy from carbohydrate storage or fat [3]. Translation - interval training may be better than a moderate intensity run for losing fat and getting lean.

So next time you’re heading out for your weekly (or monthly or whenever you can get yourself off the couch) run, perhaps head down to the track instead and run 5 or 6 400m sprints, each followed by 2 minutes of rest. It may take less time than a 10k jog, but it may be just as effective.

Paleo Dieting with Turkey Leftovers

Canadian Thanksgiving just passed and along with it, many people likely passed out due to the infamous turkey coma - the indulgence of food to the point of requiring the pants unbuttoned. In the process, I’m also sure that most of us who are keen on keeping our diets fairly well in check likely through it all out the window and took part in the indulgence, joining in quite willingly to the feeding frenzy. Personally there were a couple of times over the course of the long weekend that I let out the sigh - the pre turkey coma sigh - the universal language for “oh my god I’m stuffed”.

But for the lucky few who survive to tell the story, turkey leftovers are dealt around and for days on end, the smell of turkey fills the air at offices around the country as employees microwave tupper wares filled with Thanksgiving’s bird.

Fortunately, Turkey is a great source of protein and skip the bread and mashed potatoes and substitute with veggies to have a great and cheap paleo meal! Even the gravy, assuming no added sugar, is completely paleo friendly.

Remember - meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar, which unfortunately doesn’t include pumpkin pie… although Thanksgiving exceptions are generally overlooked.

Finding the Right Running Surface

Finding the right running surface may be as important as finding the right shoes. But of course, it is a finding that can only be acknowledged subsequently to trying multiple options. However, there are a few key points to keep in mind when determining the best running surface for you.

If you have an urban lifestyle and you cannot go trail running every weekend, you may want to consider the city’s offerings, which includes a generous range of concrete surfaces. This is a plus as you can find them everywhere and you have full access wherever you are. Concrete surfaces are also generally smooth, which is a total plus as even surfaces are the least damaging.

Of course, concrete is not all milk and honey, as it can affect your lower body muscles and joints. Concrete is s hard material. Running on concrete impacts your bones, muscles, tendons and tissue, more than most other surfaces. You may want to take a deep breath before submitting yourself to runs on concrete.

Treadmills are the easiest choice you can make. They are in every gym, and contemporarily speaking, they can be in every home. They are always smooth and cushioned and relatively harmless. They offer you a great variation of speeds and levels and ways of permanent self checking during the running session. The designated programs of treadmills are meant to keep you energetic and willing to reach your daily aims. And of course, running on treadmills will keep you away from the capricious weather, and that is a major advantage. But a disadvantage of treadmills is that they do not keep you competitive with yourself. It can become quite boring as you may get the feeling you are always at the start point. Plus, a gym cannot offer the beauties of nature. It offers straight white clinic walls and no freedom, but what it does offer, and le’s be fair, is the opportunity to keep your body moving even when the cold winter seems to never stop or when it has been pouring for five days.

If you are looking for the lowest impact, then you are looking for a dirt or grass surface. Being natural, it is not a surface that respects lines and measures and angles. It has the infallible capacity of absorption, so the impact will almost not be felt. Trail running also provides the possibility of scenic views and interesting landscapes - terrain that would be very difficult to replicate on a treadmill and can provide a run that is imensley more enjoyable.

But with the varied terrain, you have to keep in your mind that you will likely face an uneven surface, which is usually the culprit for sprained ankles and tendons twisting. Open your eyes widely for what may be hidden under fallen leaves. Do not stumble into an emerging hidden tree root or other little obstacles hard to spot. Yes, you may have to sacrifice your attention so that you do not take any regrettable steps.

This being said, be careful with making the right choice. Experience all the alternatives, but make sure you rapidly decide on the right running surface for you.

This article is a guest post by Miki, writer for, a site where you can read professional treadmills reviews

WOD Timer app for iPhone and iPod Touch

I have’t had a lot of time lately, but I have been trying to squeeze in a few moments here and there to work on my latest project, WOD Timer. This, of course, came about due to my CrossFitting (it is so a word). How does one time their own Tabata? Not easy. Hopefully, the WOD Timer will assist slightly with that once it is releases to the App Store. In the mean time, here’s a sneak peak of what’s to come.

WOD Timer for iPhone and iPod Touch - Sneak Peek from Jamie on Vimeo.

Flying Rings late 60’s Double Double, Full In-Fullout, Qaudruple

Saw this on youtube by way of twitter. Crazy guys doing some crazy ring work sometime in the 60’s. Really insane stuff, given the lack of protection and arguably technique.