How to make a leak-proof sandbag

 

This is a post I wrote a while back in response to someone on another forum who had sand leaking out of his sandbag. You may have read it before. Thus, I have added further thoughts to this and expanded on it. This is my take on sandbags, and I stand by it.

Now, Leo was complaining that his sandbag was leaking and making a mess in his house. I’ll address that and a whole lot more about sandbag training:

Leo M,

First off, I don’t lift a sandbag inside my home. I do that outside where I keep it. However, I do realize some may lift and store a sandbag in a garage or at a gym. Or maybe you are a gym owner and have shied away from sandbags because of the potential mess. Or maybe you dwell in an apartment and have no place to store your sandbag (perhaps not owning a vehicle where you could store it in the trunk). So, let’s look at what we can do to eliminate leaks.

What materials are you using?

I’m gonna hazard a guess (based on your comment above) and say you are using some sort of duffel bag stuffed with one or several bags of sand all wrapped up with duct tape. And perhaps you are covering the original bags of sand with plastic or something else and then wrapping them with duct tape.

As you lift it, the individual bags within the duffel will bang and rub together. A little leak, and soon the dust will begin to erode away at the duct tape adhesive. A little dust soon passes through the fabric of the duffel.

Personally, I do not like sandbags of this type of construction: duffel bags stuffed with other bags of sand. If this is the type of sandbag you are referring too, make a sand bag like this:

Purchase some used or some new truck inner tubes. Sometimes you can find them used at a tractor trailer shop. They may have old truck inner tubes they will give you.

Cut to the length you want.

Buy a couple of inexpensive hose clamps. (Or you can use heavy duty zip-ties)

Bunch one end of the tube up, wrap with some duct tape (to help prevent the hose clamp from tearing the rubber) place hose clamp over duct-taped rubber and tighten the hose clamp.

Don’t over-tighten it to the point of cutting into the duct tape and rubber. Just snug it up good. The rubber end sticking out will flare out to a degree and help keep the hose clamp on. The next step also helps insure that the zip-tie or hose clamp stays on.

Apply duct tape over the hose clamp or zip-tie, so you don’t get snagged and possibly cut by the hose clamp tail that sticks out a little.

Put two heavy duty garbage bags (one inside the other) into the inner tube.

Begin filling the garbage bags inside the inner tube with sand or pea-gravel. Here’s a little hint:

If you want to eliminate as much dust as possible, use pea gravel and wash it down with a garden hose. It might take a while, but you can flush away a lot of the dust and dirt that is mixed in with the pea gravel. Then let it dry completely. If you can spread it out on a tarp it will dry faster and more thoroughly. Scoop this dried pea gravel up and use it in your sandbag.

Fill up as full as you want. Just be sure to leave enough rubber at the end to grab and form another tail with.

Grab end of garbage bags and twist and duct tape shut, sealing the bags.

Tuck end of garbage bag into inner tube.

Bunch up end of inner tube and wrap with duct tape.

Apply hose clamp or zip-ties over duct tape, tighten and apply more duct tape over hose clamp/zip-ties.

Voila!

This is far more leak proof than some duffel bag with square lumps of duct taped bags in it. There is no zipper to fail and no zipper for dust to leak out of.

And, if you are used to playing around with a duffel sandbag with “blocks” of sand inside, this sand filled inner tube will kick your butt!

Here is another little tip:   If you place the sandbag on a board placed on one of those old-time analog scales, as you fill it with pea gravel or sand, you can observe how much it will weigh. Thus you don’t end up with a 125 pound bag when you wanted to start off with a 50 pound bag.

Or you could take a small can, fill it with sand and weigh it. Then just keep track of how many cans of sand you dump in. Multiply that number by the number the sand filled can weighed and you will have a pretty good estimate of what your bag will weigh before you seal it shut.

So, there is your start to making a good leak-proof sandbag. You could even seal the ends with some sort of glue or silicone before you hose clamp or zip-tie them. Squirt a glob inside the inner tube about where you will squeeze the inner tube into a tail, squeeze it together and then duct tape and hose clamp or zip-tie. The glue or silicone will set up and further plug the tails to help prevent dust from leaking out.

Now, I understand that sandbags made this way do not allow for adjustment of weight. You can’t un-zipper the bag and add or subtract smaller sandbags to vary the weight. But I actually consider this a good thing for several reasons, of which we will talk about in another post.

Stay tuned for more on sandbags.

Walter Dorey

What’s Up?

Well, you might be wondering that, as I haven’t posted here in waaaay too long!

And I apologize for that!

Been distracted by too many other things plus working on other projects, health issues, etc.

For a while I could not get the product I was using to help boost my immune system to fight off Lyme Disease. The company my Dr. purchased the product through had trouble with the FDA. But I finally found it once again , so I am currently back on the herbal stuff from South America that really helped me before. They are based in London across the big blue. I hadn’t been on it for probably a year and my migraine headaches were coming back every week.

Been on the new formula for a month and already I think the migraines are starting to subside. For me, these migraines are triggered by the Lyme Disease.

I also was getting distracted posting on other sites, ha ha! But that is a disservice to those of you who frequent this site here, and so I offer a BIG:

“I’m SORRY!”

So, as I forge ahead with some new things in the wings, please be patient with me. I’m not all that techno oriented.

And so, here ya go:

STILL0036Train hard and keep at it!

Knocking off a few cleans with the 32kg.

 

 

 

 

Here’s a little workout for you to try:

First I will list a nice little warm-up:                                                                                    one set of pushups to comfortable max                                                                             one set of BW squats to a comfortable max                                                                  one set of pumps for about 10-20 reps (taken from Pavel’s “Enter The Kettlebell”)        2-3 sets of 5 windmills alternated with 2-3 sets of 5 one leg deads

This shouldn’t take too long, maybe 10 mins.

Now here’s the fun part:

Grab TWO kettlebells and perform:

1 clean 1 Front squat and 1 press

Without putting the KB’s down: repeat this until you have done 3-5 cycles of this. That is one set.  Just to be clear: you perform one clean and then do one FS and upon coming back upright you do one overhead press then repeat this sequence until you perform a total of 3-5 of these.

You do NOT set the KB’s down at all during this extended set.

After this set go grab a pull-up bar and knock off a comfortable set of pull-ups.

You will alternate between the pull-ups and the C-FS-P until you perform however many circuits of this you desire.

My suggestions:

On the warm-ups if you can do 50 BW squats or 50 push-ups, I would do a harder version so your reps are more around 15-20.

On the pull-ups:  Start off on the first set or two with BW and if you can knock off 10 or more comfortably, add weight to the remaining sets.

On the C-FS-P: IF you are not used to doing these I would start off with 3×3 (that is Clean once Front squat once press once, C once FS once P once, C once FS once and P once, set KB’s down and do your pull-ups then repeat this two more times for a total of 3 circuits.  Don’t rush yourself. Make sure all reps are STRONG and controlled.

Do this two to three times per week. If you find that one of the training sessions is particularly hard, on the next training day (TD), cut the volume down to half of what you did the preceding TD and build back up from there. Gradually build up to 5 x 5 on the C-FS-P.  Then you may jump up to the next heavier size KB’s and start over at 3 x 3  or go to something else.

STILL0003Then go have a nice protein shake, drink some water, take a shower and relax.

Have fun!

 

 

Mixed training for great results

 

Well, this is just me rambling on about some things. Well, many things. Doesn’t mean I am ultimately right or wrong, just my way of looking at things. As with all things, take what helps you and discard the rest.

This:

“Looking to build a rugged body that will withstand any activity I want to throw at it…”

is what I train for.

I don’t sport. Did that as a young buck. I don’t need it now and many will find sports will give you a nice collection of injuries over the years.

That is what I found. Ask any person who has been in and trained for one sport for the past 40 years or so and get your notepad out to record the injuries. Same if you compete in many sports.

Sports are great for creating injuries.

Don’t get me wrong, however, I do like sports.

Part of the problem with Crossfit, is they have taken training for exercise or sport specific training and turned the training/exercises into its own sport with specific parameters people try to achieve and train by, endeavoring to set constant PR’s. Basically, Crossfit IS a sport.

Forget the glory is forever mantra.

Glory fades and is not remembered by others. Pain will be with you the rest of your life.

I can think of only one time I was injured while training and exercising.

I could care diddly-squat about how much somebody dead-lifts. Well, not really, but I am trying to make a point. Dead-lift but don’t chase max efforts.

I do them (dead-lifts) but not to max and not too often.

A real heavy dead-lift won’t do you much good when your body is all twisted up off balance playing some sport or you are all out of whack back-packing sideways up some steep slope and you happen to slip.

Don’t get me wrong, deads do build brute strength, and do have their place in a routine.

But for what you are after, you don’t want to focus on one form of training over all others.

For example, focusing on power-lifting alone (squat, bench, deads) won’t get you what you want. Same with focusing on just Olympic lifting.

Does this mean you shouldn’t power-lift or Olympic lift?

No.

As mentioned by others,  for dead-lifts, drop the reps down to 2-5 reps on your deads. Only a couple of sets.

Try drop deads: deadlift the bar and as soon as it hits near the top of the lift, drop it. You need bumper plates or rubber mats to do this. Or simply do them outside in the dirt. This method saves a lot of wear and tear on the lower back.

Pushing the deads for max reps or max weight as you get older can be done, but:

Can you spare another injury to the lower back?

Could you recover well enough from it to still enjoy what you want to do in life and be able to continue to train?

That risk isn’t worth it to me. How about you?

If not, try the drop deads. Do them once every week or so.

As mentioned, hyper-extensions are good, as are swings for reps or for weight (you can build up to a heavy weight here for a few sets of 10 or so).

The goat bag swing as outlined by Dan John can be a great benefit.

Half-pulls are good but you need to keep the back locked in even more since it is a faster movement, sort of the same as a power-shrug.

Faster movements with heavy weights means the time frame is compressed, so a lapse in attention for even an instant can garner an injury. Whereas a slower grind may (I said may) give time to re-align or add tension to prevent an injury.

The old health lift might be just the ticket, since you pull the weight like a dead-lift, but the bar starts off blocks or pins in a rack and you start pulling the bar from about just above the top of the knee level or slightly higher.

Not having to go as deep with a heavier weight in the health lift is easier on the back even when you pull heavy. Just don’t hyper-extend at the top.

Trap bar deads might really work well for you, again don’t push the weight (or reps) constantly trying for a PR

You can work the top part of the pull with any form of half-pull once/twice per week depending on how you feel.

I like the method of doing several sets of deads at a lighter weight one time per week (it doesn’t take much out of you) and then once per week or so, dead-lift heavier.

Then work the bottom part of your dead-lift movement with things like deep goblet squats, snatch-grip dead-lifts with a lighter weight, bear-hug a rock or keg and lift it from the ground, etc.

I really like the snatch-grip style deads, cause you have to go deep, so you maintain and train deep flexible strength, but I also find it is very conducive to keeping a nice straight back even in the hole.

A few exercises devoted to developing some brute strength done twice a week is good. Something like a dead lift or similar exercise. Some sort of heavy press and a good squat move.

Then the rest of the week I would focus on exposure to other elements. Things like bent presses, windmills, slosh-pipe work. Sled drags and sled pushing. Sledge hammer work and a mixture of KB training and some body-weight stuff.

You’ll want to do imperfection type training, like contra lateral deads (one leg dead-lift but holding weight in opposite hand of leg you are standing on).

Also, things like half-kneeling presses, OH squats, one arm work is good.

I’ve also done dead-lifts with one hand on a barbell while standing on two feet. It is not a suitcase style dead-lift. The bar is dead-lifted in front of you just like a conventional dead-lift, but with one hand.

Various loaded carries come into play here, too. So does limited amounts of rucking with a pack.

And tumbling drills are a great benefit.

Armor building and impact training are a must too.

Sometimes I just take a slosh-pipe to the park and do as many odd-ball movements with it as I can think up. And yes, that slosh-ppe will probably smack into you as you train with it. Good impact training!

I’ll take a KB and do every move I know, non-stop for 30 minutes or more. Just one set of each move.

Sometimes I’ll load up some weight on a pulley and rope and walk back to get the weight off the ground and then perform a bunch of different moves, pushes, pulls from high and low and various angles. It’s almost like wrestling.

The thing is, you are trying to build and maintain strength but also take that strength and be able to express it over a wide variety of conditions, angles, leverages.

To do that you will have to train your body to learn how to leverage your strength by exposing yourself to varying training implements and conditions.

You are trying to condition the body to really work as a unit, as one piece, no matter what circumstances (sport, work, home, camping, hiking, hunting, off-balance, etc) you find yourself in.

For me, this is a fun way to train. You get to focus on a few basic lifts, something like the Southwood Program from Dan John, but you also get to “play” with a lot of differing implements and training methods.

Done correctly, you get the benefits of Crossfit minus the injuries. And you can get pretty strong doing this. If anyone ever messes around with you, they will find wrestling around with you is like trying to hold a slippery eel infused with a gorilla’s strength.

There are many ways to do this:

Twice a week train basic brute strength.Twice a week play with various implements focusing on developing enduring strength or work-capacity in constantly changing parameters.

Or:

Train in two week blocks:

Two weeks focus on strength.

Two weeks focus on a variety of conditioning methods.

Or:

Mix it all up as often as you like:

Train brute strength with one or two exercises 2-4 times per week.

Mix in a variety of other training implements and methods, before, after or with the strength training and on the same or on different days.

There are many things that come into play in traing this way. Too many for me to address in this article.

But, for example, you might try Pavels PTTP for two weeks and then switch to Kb clean and presses, done ladder style mixed in with slosh-pipe and sledge hammer training for the next two weeks. Keep flipping these for 8-12 weeks.

After going through that series for 8 weeks you could switch to Southwood Program for two weeks and then a body-weight program mixed with loaded carries and KB work and sprints for two weeks. After 6-12 weeks, switch to another program.

Make sense?

This doesn’t mean you try to do everything all at once.

It also doesn’t mean you have to do or learn every single exercise you can think off with a particular training implement.

Just learning 5-6 basic exercises with each implement will give you plenty to mix and match.

If you use KB’s body-weight, barbells, slosh-pipe and sledge hammers/tires, that’s about 30 to 36 different exercises you can rotate around.

It also doesn’t mean you cannot acquire new skills. Skills build upon and compliment each other.

Learn to play one instrument well and playing another gets a little easier. Especially if you learn the musical notation or the basic rules behind or underlying music. Then you can apply those notes, chords and scales to any instrument with some practice.

Learn the proper mechanics of throwing a baseball and learning to throw a football, rock or stick is even easier to learn. They all have a similar basic movement pattern.

I don’t buy into the “my bodies too dumb to learn too much” crap.

I can run, jump, throw, swim, carry, weld metal, play guitar, wood work, paint, fix a car, build a fire, shoot a rifle/handgun, make a bow and arrow and shoot it, cook, sew, etc.

What’s this “don’t train too much stuff business”?

Sure it can and will mess up a competing athletes sport specific skills.

But for average non-competing people, I think it’s a rule they can ignore to a certain degree.

I know some of this flies against the current focus on only doing one thing or training one thing at a time, which works very well, particularly if you play one sport and/or compete in a sport.

For sport you have to be goal specific, and sports have rules you play by and certain qualities you need and skills specific to that sport. You train them to perform under the conditions encompassed by the sport.

For this:

“Looking to build a rugged body that will withstand any activity I want to throw at it…”

you must play with a set of specific rules applied non-specifically.

In other words, you have to apply specific rules that work as regards getting stronger. We can’t get stronger lifting pee-wee weights. But we also need to train outside the “sport specific” box. You are not training for one particular thing.

You have to look at your goal as developing toughness in all areas.

And at times, you have to throw some of the rules out. But, you have to know which ones and when.

You also need to be aware that when you are engaging in a lot of other activities, perhaps during a certain time of year when you can engage in them frequently (like skiing or hunting in the mountains) you will have to adjust for the extra activity this brings to your total workload. So, this would be a time when minimal strength routines and even minimal conditioning routines are done just to maintain what you have built.

Thus, you can and should follow something like PTTP by Pavel or the Southwood Program by Dan John or some even more minimalist strength routine. Follow specific training rules that apply to getting stronger. It shouldn’t take too much out of you.

Then, depending on how you structure it (among many other things) you train other qualities you are after.

For the newb to this style of training I say focus on building a good base of strength first.

Then start experimenting with mixing things up a little more. Get some exposure and time under your belt with other things.

Then, eventually, you will be able to still get strong even as you build greater mobility, enduring strength, flexibility, agility, toughness, etc.

You are looking to accumulate an amount of exposure to varying conditions of training. The more experience you get with this, the better you can express your strength and enduring strength under changing conditions.

You won’t be able to compete with and beat someone who focuses on one specific sport and trains for it, though you many times can put in a good showing and surprise them.

But you will no doubt be able to beat them at many other things that they can’t compete with you in, because they are too sport specific in their training.

A person can get to a pretty high level of strength and enduring strength by training different things and implements and mixing things up. They can be way above average. Just because they don’t compete on a professional level does not mean they aren’t capable of expressing strength or endurance or work-capacity to a degree that would surprise many people.

Here’s an example:

Some of my friends only played tennis. Some were always playing basketball. Me, I played around with a lot of different sports and work and training exercises. When they wanted to play against me in tennis or basketball, for example, I couldn’t beat them. It was their game.

You usually can’t beat someone at their own game unless it’s your only game too.

But, I certainly made them sweat and work way harder than they thought they would have to in order to beat me!

They would usually say something like:

“You did way better than I thought! I figured I’d crush you out there!”

But, if I take them into a game they don’t play, like soccer or football or hiking with a back-pack or splitting firewood, I can beat them or outwork them. They are not used to performing under such wide and varying conditions. They don’t have the accumulated training experience of exposure to many things to leverage their strength into something foreign to them. They flounder.

Another example. Years back I wrestled with a college wrestler at work, out in the grass. He couldn’t pin me in the 5 minutes we wrestled around in. I didn’t have the amount of wrestling skills he had, just wrestling around with friends and a little in school. I did not know he had wrestled in college. My co-workers were trying to set me up to get pinned.

But I had played all kinds of sports by that time, hiked, split wood, worked on a farm slinging hay bales, etc, for a number of years. Every day, at that job he wrestled me at, I would hang metal on a movable paint line. Often lifting metal pieces from the floor that weighed 60-100 pounds up to the line to hang them with heavy metal hooks. I’d grab cement mixers big enough to lay in and up-end them by the tongue hitch and push them up a ramp on the back two wheels.

So, although he was better skilled at wrestling, I was able to express speed and strength and agility at a high enough level that his skill did not enable him to pin me in the time frame we wrestled around in. If we kept wrestling, he probably would have pinned me.

Many expressed surprise that he didn’t pin me pretty fast. I was tall and he was pretty stocky. He mentioned it took him by surprise that I could move so fast and was able to break several of his holds. This enabled me to survive the match. On points, he certainly would have won by a wide margin, ha ha! Though I did give him one good throw that knocked the wind out of him. It was sort of a do whatever you can type of wrestling match, but no punches or kicks.

So, this is what I am talking about. You can get rugged and tough enough to surprise a lot of people and survive many things, and you can get this by mixed training.

In sports competition, specificity rules.

But life and the many things you face in life are outside the rules of sport. Life doesn’t come in a box. And life can get pretty rough, pretty  tough physically and mentally..

I train for life, not sport.

So, this might help some in determining where I am coming from when I give out my thoughts on training. I don’t train for weight room numbers and PR’s.

I don’t train for any specific sport.

This doesn’t mean I don’t know how to do these things.

It just means I prefer to train to express myself in whatever activity I find myself doing. I train so I can leverage my strength and endurance into any activity, even new ones.

I train to have a better ability to improvise, adapt and overcome whatever task is at hand. I train to build a higher quality of physical and mental toughness so I can keep going.

This means doing what others will not do. It’s fun, but it can be tough training at times.

I know how to train elite. But I don’t want it. I don’t want elite in one activity. I want a good level of competency in many areas.

This doesn’t mean you can or should train everything all at once. That just does not work.

You do blocks of strength work and blocks of conditioning work. You cycle them.

Various training implements lend themselves to various forms of training. You rotate these in and out of your routines.

Sometimes, you do a cycle where you mix strength training with conditioning training in the same workout.

It’s an art form to train this way. It takes experience earned by doing it gathered over years of training and experimenting.

It’s accumulated exposure to many things, but not all at once.

To the untrained eye, however, it will look like you are doing everything at once.

MMA changed how many view training for martial arts. The thought of just practicing your art and being able to win against anybody was quickly shown to be wrong.

It was proven that a variety of skills and strengths needed to be developed to survive in the MMA world.

I believe the same about training to be rugged, tough  and prepared for anything.

Simply having a skill is not enough. Simply having knowledge is not enough. Simply having strength is not enough. Simply having endurance is not enough. Simply being flexible or being agile is not enough.

You need them all.

Train them all.

Tough Enough…

so…

I recall seeing a video a few years back where some UFC dude was training while wearing a mask (not the type used in WWF- though about as effective for making your face sweat).

Since then, it has sort of become a “secret” training method that some fighter-training sites are sharing more and more.

Of course, tactical operators need to train wearing battle-specific gear so they know they can accomplish objectives under field conditions. This is true of SWAT teams, Police, the various military branches, etc.

But is is also the same with fire fighters, SAR, etc.

It’s good for these men to train with gear so that, under field conditions, the weight and cumbersomeness of equipment doesn’t weigh them down physically and mentally.

Their life and those of others hangs on their ability to operate coolly under extreme duress and use their gear effectively. When subjected to stress, people revert to their training.

Imagine a firefighter donning all his equipment and then after fighting a fire being too out of breath to carry out an unconscious victim and treat them appropriately because he never trained with his equipment while physically tired from exertion.

SO, yeah, you might see such personnel training while wearing a mask and other field equipment specific to their job.

But, sad to say, some people want to be associated (for a variety of reasons) with certain military branches even though they have never engaged in that type of deployment, and are what some call posers.

Yet, I realize some  may want to emulate the strength and conditioning of various tactical personnel and in particular those operating in extreme ops, like Navy Seals, etc .

They look at these men and marvel at their physical and mental toughness and want to have the same strength- stamina and desire the ability to carry on no matter what.

And that may be why some might think training in a gas mask is good. They are looking to build the same mental and physical toughness of these men and probably think it is the equipment they train with that toughens them up. Well, there are a variety of things employed here in toughening these men up that goes beyond the gear they carry. A lot of this is mental training and yes, physical training can be an excellent way to develop mental toughness.

But, unwieldy, heavy tactical gear can be subbed out in this way:

If you don’t want to look like some poser running around wearing a shemagh (this generations version of a tiger striped head cover or boonie hat–VN era-”Look at me, I’m a veteran of Nam”), “Look I’m an Afgan Vet!”

and as a civ you don’t want to own a ghillie suit for training and tote around a Barrett M107 .50 cal and end up scaring the neighbors and answering questions from the local tactical Officers, do this:

Ditch the mil-spec clothing, face camo and AK and just run around in rough terrain wearing normal clothing.

I understand some may be training in remote areas with chance encounters with wild animals a distinct possibility. I myself film and train many times out alone with no one around. So I understand having some firearm or other means of protection with you may be a good thing.

Out here in AZ, there are rattle snakes, cougars and  peccaries (which can and will attack if you surprise them-they are tough little critters and can mess you up, they have killed people and dogs and weigh from 40-90 pounds)).

Peccaries run in packs of about 8-15 and are highly aggressive. You are even more likely to run into them than a cougar. So, if you run or hike in AZ territory out by yourself and are concerned about such things, it is not unwise to go prepared. You may have seen me running around with a Tomahawk and that is why. Figured it would be less menacing than running around with a gun, but maybe not, ha ha!

But, I’m not donning an Indian headdress and wearing deer-skins and sporting a bear claw necklace.

Back to the training: Do some hill sprints, some basic compound barbell and/or KB training, farmers walks and body-weight training mixed with some carries with a slosh pipe.

Add in some hikes and walks with a weighted pack, some tumbling drills or sledge training or heavy bag or even up-downs training for physical impact readiness and you will be good to go physically and mentally when the defecation impacts the rotary oscillator, if that is YOUR idea of being fit.

Short of those thinking there will be a post-nuclear-Ebola-Mad-Max reality, I do know some just want to be strong and what they consider to be tough-self-reliant individuals and being strong and tough mentally and physically is always a good thing, it prepares us for life’s surprises and emergencies.

But the gas mask?

Do some swimming, it will teach you breath control. Just be sure to buddy up so you don’t drown.

So, if you don’t know how to structure this, (there are many ways) here’s a breakdown of what is possible.

Ditch the mask.

Train barbell twice per week (this should only take, at max, about 2 hours total each week and should be tracked, structured and measured):

 

warm up with a set or three of goblet squats and a few TGU’s then:

OH Snatch-style squat  (this will teach you the body is one piece, and carry a high-value impact on the body)

KB clean and press

bent press (get used to expressing strength in an awkward position)

a few sets of heavy swings

farmers walks (this is your slow pull—with no other pull except cleans and swings  with KB you can pull heavier farmers–and mix up the types of FW’s you do)

 

Mornings: (yeah, you should be getting up at 0300 or 0400 if you are an aspiring spec-op wannabe)

(how many days per week is up to you-best to vary it weekly–some weeks nearly every day, next week maybe three times that week, and vary the intensity of this, some times just one easy set, other times push yourself):

keep the body-weight training tight, don’t get sloppy with the form:

 

pushups

tactical pullups

ab wheel

followed by cold water swims or nice mixed runs and cold water dousing>

 

Note: water dousing best built up to with progressively colder water and done every day.

Swims and runs can be swapped out from day to day or even a nice daily walk with the dogs and a weighted pack thrown in here if you have canine companions (hint: walking with your canine pack is a great stress reliever).

Later in the day, two days per week (not on strength training days):

Pick a few of the following and balance them out with how you feel and how hard you train the other things (in time you could mix these all together and do rounds or circuits, etc):

 

Heavy bag

swings

sledge hits on tire

mixed with slosh pipe carries

and tumbling drills

 

Be sure to change the intensity/volume from week to week on all of this stuff, so, for a week or two push the strength training and ease up on the conditioning, just doing the conditioning work as recovery/movement training. And next week or two push the conditioning and ease up on the strength training.

Throw the weighted walks/hikes in on the weekends.

Other than longer swims, runs or hikes and walks, the rest of it shouldn’t really take you more than 4-5 hours total per week, maybe less. The swings, heavy bag and sledge hits, unless just easing up on them for some movement training/recovery, should be done with some intensity, so they won’t be taking all that long to do.

You can do slosh pipe or tumbling drills between sledge hits or heavy bag rounds or swings. The trick is, the hits or swings should be done with intensity and the slosh pipe or tumbling drill is the opportunity to catch your breath somewhat while drilling another skill or movement.

Or you can finish one thing (swings) and finish up with pipe carries.

This entire format is just one way you might possibly follow to train strength and strength endurance. It will give you a good mix of differing abilities and skills.

So, excuse me while I go find my dive mask, snorkel and swim fins and where did I put that ghillie suit?

I think I’m gonna try something new…

Body-weight Movements for Fun

Low crawls, or spider-man’s are a good indicator of general useable strength and mobility. Many people do have a tough time with them. Yes, just because one might be good at push-ups or planks does not mean they can spider-man across the floor. Just because you can dead-lift 900 pounds does not mean you have coordination enough to walk without waddling like a duck. And if you can dead-lift that much, kudo’s to you for training that hard on that lift, but:

At what cost to your body? Later years will tell the story.

And if you can hardly scratch the back of your head and playing a game of fast battle-ball for a half hour against a bunch of teens leaves you doubled over (well, not quite, as the stomach is in the way) and gasping for air, you’re on the losing end of health and general fitness.

Just as a thought, no matter what you train for, adding in some things like spider-man’s can actually help you in your quest for strength.

Here’s a little list of moves I do fairly often (of course, if this is in conflict with your chosen goals you should know what to do and not do, it’s your choice):

standing 4-way stretch
push-ups
prone flutter-kicks
pull-ups
back flutter-kicks
squats
low-crawl (spider-mans)
knee tucks
push-ups
chin-ups
deck squats
straight bridge
squat thrusts
hoz. rows
dips
windmills
bird-dogs
mountain climbers
3-way planks (work up to 90 seconds per hold- I like these after getting winded as you have to learn to control your breathing behind the shield)
on back: 4-way neck moves
tactical lunge
pumps
bridge
alternated grip chins
and then usually 5 mins of tumbling/rolling around on the ground

At times I may change this up somewhat with different moves or less movements, depending on how much time I have from other obligations. It’s a flexible pattern.

Breathe through the nose all the way through. If you can’t catch your breath at some point, take a breather, mouth breathe if you must, but:

I think it better to control the breathing and thus the  feeling of panic or anxiety as you continue breathing through the nose until you feel composed and ready to continue. In time, this gets easier and will benefit you in everyday life when “stuff” happens unexpectedly.

On many of the moves I do a 4 count for 10 but not always. Some days I run through it fast doing only a few reps, other days I take more time as I do more reps. Variety of load, volume, TUT,  (Time Under Tension).  Sometimes fast reps sometimes slower.

It’s just a movement walk-through. You could just set a Gym-boss to beep every 15-30 seconds and run through the movements that way. I think it best just to do the movement and not worry about the time. Get into the flow of the moves. Work on working the body and mind so it feels good, then you know you hit it just right. You shouldn’t feel hammered after something like this unless that is the particular aim of the day.

Most of the time I do not push these moves  until failure, just to a good point of:

“Yeah, I can feel that pretty good”.

I stay in the range of feeling in control by strength. Lose the strength of the movement and you lose the suppleness, fluidity or whatever you want to call it, and set yourself up for injury and cementing in bad form.

Everything is done with body-weight only. Work on fewer reps until you can go through something like this all the way without stopping between movements. Then begin slowly adding reps here and there. You’ll build strength endurance this way.

I use this in the morning and at a later point in the day I hit other forms of training. Sometimes I will do all this and then hit 1-2 moves for strength, like rack-pulls and press or front squat and press or just power curls.

Other days it is my only training for the day. I am gradually adding in this little shake down on more and more days throughout the month until it is nearly a daily habit. A little at a time until my body views it as a normal part of the day, like eating or sleeping.

I am finding as I run through this it is getting easier and easier and getting done quicker and more smoothly and is impacting my other lifting and training less and less from a fatigue point of view. Currently I am doing this about every other day, sometimes two days off in-between.

But I am slowly adding in more and more days until I reach the point where it is performed 6 days out of the week.

It also seems to be helping in easing everyday aches and pains from my Lyme Disease. And other things are getting easier too. I think it has a therapeutic effect.

Those days where I don’t look forward to doing it, i pass it up and take a break from training. It is sort of becoming a litmus test for the day. If it goes good it energizes me and I know I will hit a great training period later in the day. If it goes so-so, I know I need to back off a bit with other training later or even skip the other training.

But it seems that as I continue to do it, it is becoming more and more consistently good.

I am mixing sort of a spec-ops type of training with more traditional strength training. At 50, I don’t care if I can’t dead-lift a house. I’m more interested in moving with fluidity that stems from strength in all movements. Balance, coordination, strength, speed, reaction, power, train it all. They belong together and enhance each other.

I’d rather train to be a tiger than a cape buffalo.

But them’s my goals. You must choose your own.

I think the best thing for children and teenagers is to play (not compete) in as many sports as possible. Get exposed to as many forms of training and playing physically. And Wii does NOT count!

We forget that a kid chasing a ball around while playing battle-ball is still training. He’s learning to run, stop fast, reverse direction, keep an eye out, catch, throw, duck, twist, get hit and endure it and  yell and have fun.

Children and teenagers should become well grounded in moving the body and various sports implements and then as they hit their late teens, early twenties, start doing more traditional weight and strength training to add to the movement strength they already have.

A baby and toddler does not get strong and then learn to crawl and walk, they learn to move first and that builds strength as they learn to move, balance, coordinate and lift their body. Later, as they grow heavier, the added body-weight means more strength is created and expressed through the movement.

I really think, as I get older, that going back to that “playing around with everything” sort of fun mentality is a far better approach for most once they hit mid 40′s or so. Focusing too much on one thing while excluding other things is tough on the body as one gets older.

Those who compete in a particular field as they get older almost always have a list of injuries sustained from their sport. Following one sport only might get you good at it (but does it pay the bills?) but it beats a person up as they continue to try to be or remain competitive.

At least my list of injuries is from many things, ha ha! And doing many things allows me to work around the dragons (injuries that can bite back) and build them back up with WTH effects from indirect training.

You can do a lot of things and still build strength. It’s like food. Macro-nutrients like fat, protein and carbohydrates are good. But you need all the little micro-nutrients also, to get the most out of your food. One without the other is not good. A variety of foods is always best:

Fruits, nuts, berries, leafy greens, vegetables, eggs, organic meats, etc.

Pure strength training is like meat, a macro-nutrient. Put in the time with focused strength training for brief bouts.  Supplement with plenty of micro nutrients or I should say, with micro-shots of variety training worked in and around the strength work. You’ll be golden.

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

You are only limited by what you think you can’t do.

I know I can therefore I do.

Oh, don’t forget to do your spider-man’s!