Results matching “Bird”

Frank and John
Frank DiMeo (left) and John Brookfield.
Now that a few days have elapsed since I was introduced to velocity training, the first step in learning the Battling Ropes system, some things are more clear.

Many people, like myself, might be more familiar with terms like endurance, intervals, intensity, etc, but this is different from all of those.

John Brookfield, the creator of this system, uses the mental picture of a hummingbird flapping its wings so fast they seem to be a blur; but the point is, they can do it for quite a while.

Some large birds, like eagles, spend much of their time with their wings in a fixed position, just gliding along. The hummingbird is at the other end of the spectrum.

I don't claim to be a world-class CrossFit athlete, however, at age 58 I can do a decent job on the "workout of the day". When John gave us each a few simple tests with his ropes, it was borderline humiliation.

It was hard to believe that this could be so difficult; it reminded me of when I first tried CrossFit several years ago. Why could I not handle this very well?

John graciously explained that this was the common experience of many, many people he had tested during their training with him. Developing "pure output" is his main goal with this part of his rope training. After reading many of the testimonials on his website from notable coaches and athletes, I was somewhat relieved. Yet I was also intrigued with the whole idea.

CrossFit has shown me many of my weak points over the years, which I am grateful for; I have been able to work on those areas to develop them into strengths. I can see the process continuing with this. After about two months of training, I am seeing some measureable improvements.

I have introduced the ropes to all my athletes/clients, with incredibly positive feedback (after they get over the shock, of course). Now we use the ropes for all types of purposes, from a great warm-up to an entire workout by themselves. John's in-depth knowledge of training was evident in his program design. He showed how we could scale the rope training to accommodate any fitness level by using various angles, distances, etc.

Monday, 6 Apr 2009 - Issues

Video - Kettlebell Homework

Kettlebells taking over your life? Definitely.


Strengthsport is a regular email sent out by Jim Groen, comprising tips, details for upcoming events and other good stuff. To sign up, just drop Jim a note at : .

Got a site, event or product you'd like to recommend? Drop us a line.

Monday, 30 Mar 2009 - Issues

Video - Finger Strengthening Tools

If tearing's your thing, you'll understand the value of world-class finger strength. Ryan demonstrates three tools for developing exactly that.

FIGHT! Magazine

Ready for a solid dose of combat action? Check out FIGHT! magazine. Superb.

Got a site, event or product you'd like to recommend? Drop us a line.

Monday, 23 Mar 2009 - Issues

Video - 20kg Sledgehammer Challenge

Looking for a challenge? Kettlebell instructor Stepf Dogman is throwing down the virtual gauntlet for a simple sledgehammer test. A 20kg sledge and a tyre - max reps in 10 minutes. Any takers? Point us to the video.

Iron History

Where did it all begin? If you're obsessed about strength history as much as I am, head over to Joe Roark's Iron History forums. Superb.

Got a site, event or product you'd like to recommend? Drop us a line.

Monday, 16 Mar 2009 - Issues

Video - Bending Bar Across Throat

Here's a strength feat you won't see too often - Dave 'Iron Tamer' Whitley bends an iron bar across Mike 'The Machine' Bruce's throat. Yep, he's a freak.

Fortified Iron

For a solid dose of Powerlifting goodness, head over to Fortified Iron. A wealth of training information and interviews, and the forums are superb. Great site.

Got a site, event or product you'd like to recommend? Drop us a line.

Monday, 9 Mar 2009 - Issues

Video - Supersets with Chains

Looking for more chain training goodness? Take them down to the local park. Good fun.

Natural Strength

Looking for a solid dose of strength-training nostalgia? Head over to Bob Whelan's Natural Strength. Great site.

Got a site, event or product you'd like to recommend? Drop us a line.
I am one of those strength coaches that really enjoys interacting and learning from others. There are some seriously powerful (AND FREE) tools out there that can connect you with some of the top trainers. Over the last few months, I have concentrated on a few social mediums that have boosted my knowledge base, added big numbers to my website, and put me in touch with some serious trainers.


When I was in college, I refused to sign up for Facebook. I thought it was one of those things that my friends were wasting their time on, and I didn't see a use for it. However, my friend Jim Smith over at the Diesel Crew mentioned that I should start a Facebook account to network with other trainers. I've been on Facebook now for just over a month. I have met some great people, had some intelligent discussions, and started my own group for Bull Strength (now over 775 members strong). In terms of my website, Synergy Athletics, Facebook has become the #2 referring source and has contributed to my 25% traffic increase this month!

Advice regarding Facebook: Build trust by conducting intelligent discussions. Comment on other people's statuses, make friends, and talk training. There are a lot of worthwhile groups to join. Do not get on there and start pushing your own stuff right away!


Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging site that allows its members to send and receive updates (known as tweets). Tweets are written up to 140 characters in length and posted. It's like a combination of text-messaging and blogging. You can even have an ongoing dialogue with a group of followers. This week I joined Straight to the Bar's Scott Bird (and everyone else who chimed in) for a discussion on "Bull Strength".

Advice regarding Twitter: As with everything else, content is king. Make pertinent and respectful tweets. Also, there are a lot of helpful applications to look into. Mr. Tweet can help you find followers and get followed yourself. Wondering how you are doing? Check out Twitter Grader. All you have to do is put in your twitter name, in my account it is "jhashey," and Twitter Grader will analyze your account and give you a number grade. They also have a website and Facebook grader.

Monday, 2 Mar 2009 - Issues

Video - Most Panes Of Safety Glass Run Through In 1 Minute

Here's footballer Martin Latka setting a rather unusual world record, running through safety glass. Very, very strange.

NB : if you don't speak German, the fun begins about 9 mins in.

Feats of Strength

Over the past few weeks I've been getting quite a few emails along the lines of 'wow! I didn't know you could do that' in relation to various strength feats.

Here's a compilation of a number of popular feats of strength, together with demonstration videos and - in a lot of cases - the exact techniques and training required. As you'll see, if you're prepared to put the work in, they're all within reach. Enjoy.

Got a site, event or product you'd like to recommend? Drop us a line.

Small Victories - SttB Articles

Josh Hanagarne
Josh Hanagarne.
Two things have shaped my thinking for this article: My philosophy of life, and my weird neurological disorder. My philosophy of life: "Don't make anyone's day worse, including your own" is much easier to explain than my strange case of Tourette's Syndrome.

Ask most people what they know about TS and they most likely picture Deuce Bigalow or another film that portrays Tourette's as that disease that makes people shout obscenities uncontrollably. But that's Hollywood TS. Even with cases as severe as mine, this symptom is incredibly rare, less than 1% of what are already considered "extreme" cases.

Some really quick background - TS is a neurological disorder that typically either makes people move involuntarily, or make noises involuntarily. Imagine the worst you've ever needed to sneeze - now pretend that feeling is always there, but it's not trying to make you sneeze, it's...well, it varies wildly and anything goes. My symptoms might remind you of the Tasmanian Devil, which I can live with - much more respectable than Deuce Bigalow. When things are at their worst, I yell, twitch, jerk my limbs around, scratch myself, punch myself, slobber, pant...and on and on and on. My brief fantasies of military service ended when I realized that nobody would want me hiding next to them. I couldn't ever even play hide and seek. One day four years ago I screamed so hard every 2-3 seconds that I got a hernia. I've also bitten through my lips and tongue more than once. A year ago I dislocated my thumb during a movie, just by wiggling it around too hard. Boo-hoo.

It sounds weird. It is weird. With all the amazing functions and limitless potential of the body and brain, there are just as many things that can get screwy along the way. And so I've struggled with this bizarre disorder for the last 10 years. It beat me down more than I'd like to admit. I was often unable to leave my house. I was too disruptive in public and too embarrassed. The years stretched out ahead of me in my mind, and I had little hope that I'd reach any of the goals I'd set for my life.

Then some small things changed. I want to be clear that nothing that follows is meant to be self-congratulatory. It's just the way that things happened. My father set me in motion and in retrospect, the rest seems inevitable.

I got into lifting. No particular reason, other than my dad did it and said it might give me some "small victories". A way to feel like I was in control. I was surprised by how quickly I came to enjoy my brief, modest workouts, and soon felt like something was wrong on days that I couldn't lift. My numbers were nothing special and still aren't, but it was the ritual of progress that mattered.

One thing led to another, and pretty soon I had discovered Dragon Door and the grip world. My house filled up with kettle bells. I began to spend lots of time worrying about how to strengthen my hands, of all things. And a funny thing happened...little by little, my passion for strength training took the place of the misery I'd let my disorder cause me. For ten years I had watched my body do whatever it wanted. And now, like an out-of-body experience, I saw myself putting that body through its paces during some wonderful, brutal workouts. I could suddenly look at myself and say: "You do whatever I tell you to, now shut up and get to it."

These primitive self-help sessions led to a discipline that has crept into everything I do, and much of what I am. By day I'm a humble librarian. My profession is not known for its physical might. If you ever do think of a library, chances are you picture a little old lady shushing the taxpayers in between her bun readjustments.

But in my office you'd see a bunch of kettle bells, some sledge hammers, a mess of chest expander bands, a pinch block from Strongergrip, a bunch of metal objects at various stages of being bent, and of course, stacks and stacks of books. The Diesel Crew bending manual also has a permanent spot on my PC's desktop.

Wrist strength is very important for many sports, especially those that include the use of bats, sticks, rackets, and other implements. If the wrists are weak, the athlete will not be able to project full force with the implement of his or her sport, and will not have 100% control. Weak wrists in baseball could cause the batter to not be able to check the swing when he realizes the pitch is a ball.

Wrist strength is also very important for keeping the wrist joint healthy. In contact sports, injuries of the wrist are all too common and they can be very nagging on the field or court. These injuries can take a very long time to heal, keeping the athlete out of the game for weeks at times. Strong wrists are more resilient against injury, so athletes must properly prepare them for competition forces.

Unfortunately, many sports teams are not strengthening their wrists properly. Often, sports teams' main grip, forearm, and wrist training is built around one single movement: Wrist Curls. While wrist curls are great for a pump, they do very little for the important sports-specific properties already established at the beginning of this article - force generation, bat/stick/racket control, and injury prevention.

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Proper wrist training should be done through all angles, encompassing the many different functions of the wrist including flexion, extension, and ulnar and radial deviation. The images at the left show these four basic movements of the wrist, and in order to prepare for competition, time in the weight room should be dedicated to strengthening all of them. It is plain to see that wrist curls are not going to cut in order to strengthen the wrist in the many angles of movement in which it is designed to perform. So the challenge is before us to find a suitable way to train the wrists.

The sledge hammer is a starting point. An 8-lb sledge hammer costs roughly $25, so it is not an expensive piece of equipment by any means, making it a painless addition to your training collection. The sledge hammer can be used to train the wrist in flexion, extension, and ulnar and radial deviation in a multitude of different ways. What follows is a series of simple exercises you can start off with, using the sledgehammer.

Vertical Lever to the Nose

The first exercise is the Vertical Lever to the Nose. The hammer is brought to the vertical position, lowered under control to the nose or head, and then returned to the vertical position. This exercise trains ulnar deviation.

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Possible variations:

    - Perform the exercise for reps at normal speed
    - Perform the exercise for reps while moving the hammer slowly during the eccentric portion of the exercise
    - Hold the hammer at the lowered position prior to returning the hammer to the upright position
    - Adjust the grip up and down the handle to increase or decrease intensity, remove a finger or two to increase the crushing / dynamic support component of the fingers.

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