Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Stretching Sequence

This is the basic stretching sequence I use with my swimmers as a relaxed stretch following dryland work. We do more and take more time with it, but this gives the gist of what we do. To really understand the stretches, you'll need to "shop around" (Dick Hartzell) and explore how breathing and subtle changes of hip/shoulder girdle/foot/hand/etc. positions alter the stretch and promote or inhibit the release of tension.

Give it a shot and let me know what you think.



*Neck Circles, turn left/turn right
*Arm Circles (forward, back)
*Arm across Chest shoulder stretch
*Behind Head Tricep Stretch
*"Skin The Cat"
*Pec Stretch
*Hip Circles
*Good Morning Hamstring Stretch
*IT Band Stretch
*Quad Stretch
*Straddle Stretch
*Lying Butterfly
*Lying Internal Rotation
*Hip Flexor to Hamstring Stretch
*Downward Dog to Calf Stretch
*Kneeling Shoulder Stretches
*Hip Complex
*Tactical Frog

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Key Log


Key log: a truly ancient concept from the days before suspensors when lumbermen sent their fallen timber rushing down rivers to central mill sites. Sometimes the logs jammed up in the river and an expert was brought in to find the one log, the key log, which would free the jam when removed. Teg, she knew, would have an intellectual understanding of the term but she and Taraza could call up actual witness from Other Memories, see the explosion of broken bits of wood and water as a jam was released.
'The Tyrant was a key log,' Taraza said. 'He created the jam and he released it.' 
(pg. 119, Heretics of Dune)

Often there are staples of our training life that have become impediments to progress, but we just can't let them go. We often look for the one thing to add to our training that will make everything jump forward, but sometimes what is needed is a culling of logs... Addition by subtraction.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017

More Often Than Not (Part I)


Training More Often Than Not

I've done my share of minimalist programs over the years, but starting three years ago, nothing was really clicking with me. I had been very busy with coaching, work, and trying to be a good, attentive parent. No matter what I did, the training template or split I was trying would be too restrictive for me to continue during periods of high stress.

I managed to stumble upon a philosophy that works and I try to incorporate it into all areas of life that I consider important. The philosophy has allowed me to get training in regularly and has been adequate for my goals.

The philosophy is this: If it's important, do it more often than not.

I believe that if something is important to you, you need to give it attention more often than not. Every day and all the time might not be realistic expectations for everything in your life, but more often than not is worthy and generally attainable.

In the gym, I call this my "More Often Than Not Training" approach. Here are the basic tenets of the approach:

* Work out more often than not
Making training and exercise a habit means doing it "more often than not". You don't need motivation, you need to make a habit. Missing a day is inevitable, but try not to miss two in a row. Two easily becomes three, becomes four... Missing practice very quickly becomes a habit of its own.

* Have clear goals
Clear goals make it easy to decide where to spend your training efforts. If your goal is to run a marathon, then, generally speaking, the answer to the question 'What am I going to do today?' is going to be apparent.

* Make no single session a time-consuming herculean effort
Training should be sustainable and repeatable. The "Go Hard or Go Home" mantra is fine for the young and gifted, but it will lead to burn out for many. Do things you don't hate, and don't do things you like to the point you start to hate them.

* Do something. Anything is infinitely better than nothing
Don't have time? Then do a couple warm-up sets and one solid work set and call it a day. Long term, making a bunch of minimum payments is going to have greater impact than skipping them all together.

In 2016, following the tenets above, I managed to do some kind of strength training 267 days out of 366. That's averaging a touch more than 5 days a week and that's not bad! I finished the year feeling good overall and did 20 chins for the first time in over 20 years. I will adjust my goals in 2017 to better address areas I want to improve, and I'll share that in my next post.

- Boris

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Birthday Work

Today was my birthday. It was a nice day. Tried to hit 20 chin-ups - something that I have not done in, probably, 20+ years. Didn't quite make it, but it was close and I hope to give it another good try before the end of the year.




Saturday, November 26, 2016

Shoulder Stability - Scapular Mobility Work with Micro-Band

I often have my swimmers do a giant set of "y-pulls", "pull-backs", and "pull-aparts". It is a great combination that, when done properly, is a great promoter of shoulder stability and scapular mobility. A couple of finer points to observe when performing or coaching these:

  • The head should remain in a neutral position - no craning or straining of the neck.
  • The scapulae should be moving throughout these movements. There should be noticeable adduction and abduction.
  • Don't sacrifice movement quality for extra repetitions. If you find yourself mindlessly flopping away at these, rather than do 20+ reps, reduce the number of repetitions to 10 or less and do more sets.
Let me know what you think in the comments below or on YouTube. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

You Don't Need To Stretch?

Generally, I don't like articles and posts that attention grab with anti-stretching titles, but this one is good. Of course, anyone with half a brain understands that effective stretching, may incorporate isolation work, but like any kind of training, takes the interconnected whole into account.


Related Squat Rx Posts:

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Steve Pulcinella's Advice for Newbs

I've always liked Big Steve's rants. Just saw this one recently on a forum and, though it's nothing new, it's always good advice worth hearing again:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

5 Squat Tips

Occasionally I do run across YouTube videos with solid squat advice (of course there's always Squat Rx vids!!) - this one gives five great tips. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Stay Coachable

Me: "Hey Little Johnny, I'd like to see you try to maintain a four-beat kick here. When   you allow your feet to cross over like this..." *demonstrating a cross-over kick with my arms*, it's throwing your hips out of whack. You don't have to kick hard, you don't want to wear yourself out, just maintain..."
Little Johnny: "I think what I'm doing is fine.
Me: *thrown aback*... "Well, okay then! Carry on!
When I was young, I was always looking for a way to improve technically and tactically. Being 5'8" with short arms doesn't leave a lot of room for stroke inefficiency if you want to be a fast swimmer. Recommendations were always welcome, even if they weren't implemented.

Early in my career, my parents sent me to a training camp that did underwater stroke analysis and spent a lot of time and energy on drills to improve technique. I worked with coaches and more experienced swimmers to tweak and adjust form and training. As a teen, leisure reading included Doc Councilman's book "The Complete Book of Swimming", and a first edition of Ernie Maglischo's "Swimming Faster".

It was the combination of being coachable AND having competent coaches that made my modest successes possible.


It's interesting because, now that I'm back in the coaching business, I see so many athletes that take technical feedback as criticism. I've certainly had my share of dud coaches along the way, but I never felt I was above coaching and learning - even the duds had lessons to teach.

Perhaps somewhere along the way, in our quest to raise children capable of independent thought and critical thinking, we've raised defensive, cynical youths incapable of admitting ignorance and gracefully accepting assistance. Maybe I just expect the response to feedback to be a smile and a "Thanks, Coach!". Maybe Little Johnny was just having a bad day. Maybe I'm just all wet. I don't have answers here, just thinking out loud.

Related Squat Rx Posts:

Saturday, February 7, 2015

"Where are you?"

I've gotten a few emails and messages from people wondering where I've been and my plans for the blog. Here is the short version:

2014 was a good year, but autumn was rough and I didn't want to post fluff just to keep the existing trickle of traffic coming to the blog - call me crazy, but that's how I feel about most blogs and fitness sites. If I'm going to post at all, I want the posts to be thoughtful and meaningful.

I'm back in the coaching business these days (competitive swimming) and it has been great to coach a variety of new athletes of all ages and performance levels. I've been blessed with the chance to work, share, and learn with and from very competent coaches, AND get paid a reasonable wage for it - something that's been missing for quite some time. Swim coaching has added another level of busyness to an already very busy schedule, but I'm enjoying the process.

Having added another layer of busyness, I've done my best to keep my own training at an acceptable level. I am not in great shape, but I've been able to manage enough training that, given a few weeks, I could be back in "fighting shape".

In the coming weeks, I'll try to share some of my thoughts and insights about my coaching and maintenance training here on the blog.

Thanks for reading.

- Boris

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Fit Cast

Outstanding content for years that I feel bad I have not mentioned here until now: The Fit Cast

The 300th podcast is with everyone's favorite, Dan John, and it is, of course, great: