Non-frequetly asked questions.
I seriously doubt any FAQ pages were ever inspired by actual questions. Maybe the first few, but after that I think the majority of them get written because it’s easy to write in a question and answer format. I do get a few questions now and then but not all that frequently.
So every now and then I wind up working out with a typical gym rat or fitness buff. It usually goes something like this:
GR: Augh! What are those!? Socks? Shoes? Foot gloves!?
Me: These are Vibram Fivefingers shoes. They’re designed to let your feet move as if you were walking barefoot. I wear them for running, working out and just walking around.
Me: Yes. Running and walking barefoot keeps you up on the balls of your feet and helps you avoid heel striking. This is the way small children and some great marathoners run. It’s a natural motion that helps your legs absorb impact and keeps you knees and ankles healthier.
GR: Does it hurt?
Me: It takes some getting used to and if you don’t take it easy at first you can hurt your feet.
GR: You run in those?
GR: You’re crazy man.
Me: Let’s move on.
GR: Wait, what the hell are those?
Me: These are Olympic style lifting shoes. I wear them for heavy squats, deadlifts and other standing lifts.
GR: But, didn’t you say the foot gloves were better?
Me: They are better for most things. But when you start lifting heavy, which can double or triple your body weight, your feet need support. Plus they’re more stable and the elevated heel allows you to push through the heels better.
GR: My running shoes have elevated heels.
Me: Yes, but they’re also spongy and unstable. They might help control the motion of your feet and ankles while you run but they can’t support a heavy lift without allowing your ankles to flex. Trust me, rolling your ankle in a heavy power clean or a body weight squat is a bad deal.
GR: Those are just…strange looking.
GR: Wanna work Bi’s and Tri’s today?
Me: No. I’m squatting heavy and working on my power clean form.
GR: Squats hurt my knees. They’re bad for the knees you know.
Me: Not if you squat correctly. All humans are born with an innate understanding of how to squat. If you watch small children and people from undeveloped areas squat, they can perform perfect squats with little to no thought. Our way of life, specifically spending so much time sitting in chairs, trains you to squat wrong. People who injure their knees squatting aren’t really squatting. They’re sitting with weights.
GR: I don’t know, you could blow out your rectum lifting like that.
Me: (heavy sigh) Okay, there’s one story about a competitive lifter suffering a rectal prolapse circulating the internet. I have no clue if it’s true, but even if it is, Power lifting and Olympic Lifting would still be statistically safe. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people perform these lifts daily and one guy has had a rectal prolapse. Just driving down the freeway while texting is millions of times more risky than lifting and yet more people are willing to consider doing that than working out with the Olympic lifts.
GR: (puts away cell phone) Still, jerking all that weight around, seems like it would hurt your back.
Me: That’s why you start light, work on good form and work up to heavy weight slowly. I maintain good posture, chest high, shoulders back, spine and abs tight for every lift. Doesn’t matter its a deadlift, a squat, a clean or tossing the caber in the Higland games. I protect my back and shoulders with good form and posture.
GR: Dunno, I’ve never heard of just doing compound stuff.
Me: That’s because most people base their workouts off of a misunderstanding of bodybuilding workouts. Most of the super-sets of isolation exercises and pure hypertrophy work are done after years of working hard with heavy compound lifting. Many people miss that and time and repetition have re-enforced that omission, like that telephone game you used to play in kindergarten.
GR: You don’t so any isolation stuff?
Me: No. It’s better to work the whole body at once.
GR: When do you work arms?
Me: When I lift weights.
Me: During my weight workouts.
GR: You don’t work like, chest, then?
Me: No. First off I’m not a bodybuilder, I lift for health and to better my performance in the Highland games. Second, compound movements are better for sports performance, strength and cardiovascular health.
GR: Wha? I run for cardio.
Me: So do I, but high intensity weight routines also help boost your cardio, especially when you’re talking about short intense bursts of effort like throwing, sled dragging and sprinting. I try to keep my rest periods between sets to one minute or less and I do a lot of multi-movement drills and complexes, routines where you work several lifts without ever putting the bar down.
GR: You don’t run?
Me: Not as much as most people. I find long runs, anything over 10k, to be more than a little masochistic and not as good for you as some people claim. In my experience high intensity training seems to burn more fat and boosts cardiovascular health with less wear and tear on the joints. Also it doesn’t take all day to complete a workout, which makes it easier to stick with. I do a lot of sprints, interval training and sled dragging.
GR: Sled dragging?
Me: Yes, I hook a harness to a sled, I use an old tire, and drag it. Not only is it good cardio, but some experts think it’s better for sports performance than squats.
GR: That’s crazy man.
GR: What the hell was that?
Me: (panting) That’s a form of interval training called the Tabata Protocol…
GR: Chibatta bread?
Me: Focus. Ta-ba-ta. It’s short duration, high intensity interval training. It’s a great fat burner and excellent for increasing your body’s ability to convert oxygen into work.
GR: Looks like you’re gonna have a heart attack.
Me: Look, unless you start to feel dizzy, light headed or start getting tunnel vision, you’re going to be fine. The key to doing these safely is to stop if that happens, you know, like most intelligent adults would. As long as you’ve worked up to it, these exercises are perfectly safe.
GR: This is what you do instead of running?
Me: No. I use this as part of a balanced training plan. I do quite a bit of running. Short 1.5 mile runs. Sprints. Interval work like the Lintinov workout…
Me: Lintinov was a champion discus thrower from the Soviet Union. One of his most beneficial workouts was to front squat for eight reps and then sprint for 400 meters.
GR: Sounds crazy man.
Me: (heavy sigh)
45 min later…
GR: You working out tomorrow?
Me: Yes, I’ll be out in the park.
GR: The park?
Me: Yes, the park. I like to throw heavy things once in a while and I take some of my home made stuff out to the park to workout after I practice throwing. It’s great for a change of pace and training in varied environments helps keep things fresh.
GR: That’s crazy man.
Me: Yup. But trust me, I’m Crazy Like A Fox.