General fitness

Jan Libourel

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This afternoon I visited the little gym where I have a fortnightly private training session with the proprietor. He had acquired some new equipment, to wit, an Indian gada mace (about which I had inquired in an earlier post in this thread) and also a couple of Bulgarian bags, a device very new to me. I tried both. While they may have their merits for certain exercises, I don't believe I shall acquire either for my home gym.
 

Rambo

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This afternoon I visited the little gym where I have a fortnightly private training session with the proprietor. He had acquired some new equipment, to wit, an Indian gada mace (about which I had inquired in an earlier post in this thread) and also a couple of Bulgarian bags, a device very new to me. I tried both. While they may have their merits for certain exercises, I don't believe I shall acquire either for my home gym.
why didn't you like the mace?
 

Jan Libourel

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It's not a question of "disliking" the mace. It's good for tire pounding, but that can already be done with sledgehammers, which I have. You can twirl it around your head, but I can do kettlebell "haloes" with more weight. Most of the other mace exercises--"spear thrust," "gravedigger," sundry presses, squats and curls all strike me as sort of makeshift, things that can be performed about as well or better with free weights, kettlebells or a sledgehammer, for that matter. If I had no other exercise equipment, I could no doubt derive some benefit from the gada, but that is hardly my situation. Much the same is true of the Bulgarian bag: The primary exercises I can duplicate pretty well with my heaviest Indian clubs.
 

Jan Libourel

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For some simple, basic exercises, you might check out the video on The Art of Manliness website. There are jillion Indian club exercises and workouts on the net, but I suggest you don't try anything too fancy at first, and the referenced video is a good starting point.

For the actual clubs, I recommend those offered by Richard "Army" Maguire at agelesstrength.com. They seem to offer an excellent quality/price/value ratio. All my clubs come from him. Since it sounds as if you are already working out, I suggest starting with a pair of 2-pound clubs.

There are a number of 19th century books available on Indian club swinging, but I find most of the diagrams in them horribly complex. I'm damned if I can make much sense of most of them, and at least at one time I was accounted a fairly bright guy.
 
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For some simple, basic exercises, you might check out the video on The Art of Manliness website. There are jillion Indian club exercises and workouts on the net, but I suggest you don't try anything too fancy at first, and the referenced video is a good starting point.

For the actual clubs, I recommend those offered by Richard "Army" Maguire at agelesstrength.com. They seem to offer an excellent quality/price/value ratio. All my clubs come from him. Since it sounds as if you are already working out, I suggest starting with a pair of 2-pound clubs.

There are a number of 19th century books available on Indian club swinging, but I find most of the diagrams in them horribly complex. I'm damned if I can make much sense of most of them, and at least at one time I was accounted a fairly bright guy.
Excellent, thank you! I did find a couple of books, but I couldn't make head nor tail of them.
 

Jan Libourel

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Visited the gym where I train after a hiatus of three weeks. The proprietor had gotten two additional gada maces, raising his total to three in seven, 10 and 15-pound weights. I pounded a tire with the 15-pounder and also with my 16-pound sledgehammer, which I had stored for use at the gym. Curiously, the 15-pound gada seemed much more dynamic handling than the sledgehammer, more than the one-pound difference would indicate. I believe the difference comes from the fact that weight of the sledgehammer is concentrated more in the head, while the gada has a thick steel handle that distributes the weight more evenly. Aside from pounding, I still find the gada to be of very finite utility.

Additionally, I did some swinging with a pair of 10-pound clubbells. I was left feeling they didn't offer much that I didn't get from my heaviest Indian clubs. They also had a sort of "dead" feeling--much less dynamic than the wooden clubs.

I also used slamballs for the first time. I picked up a 90-pounder and carried it around the gym several times. It was challenging and fun and practically a workout in itself. I also had fun picking up a 50-pounder overhead and slamming it across the gym floor. I might be tempted to acquire a few, but for the fact they are fairly pricey, and I know the tyrannical termagant would give me hell over the space they took up!
 
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Jan Libourel

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Functional Strength? Can anyone here give me a good, succinct definition of "functional strength"? I heard it and the term "functional strength movement," tried to find online definitions, but I remain unclear.

On another note, I have just resumed tire bashing with a sledgehammer. After having used one, I do find the gada mace a slightly preferable tool for the job--better balanced, more dynamic handling. Since a gada costs very little more than a sledgehammer of equivalent weight, I now think it may be the better choice. (On reflection, you can get a sledgehammer at your local hardware store, whereas shipping costs on the gada may run up costs more.) For some reason, the sledgehammer just somehow seems more "manly" to me. Why John Henry should seem more manly than an ancient Hindustani warrior, I can't really explain. As I have previously mentioned, I have been unimpressed by the exercises suggested for the gada or sledgehammer other than pounding.

I have been using a large SUV tire that my stepson gave me for a target. This is somewhat smaller than optimal according to most authorities. I have been thinking of sawing it in half and using a raised half (resting on the sawed-off ends) for a target--lighter and handier, considerably broader target area and less damage to the lawn. I know some people do this, Has anybody here tried this?
 

Rambo

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Jan Libourel Jan Libourel the short version would be a distinction between how much weight you could lift vs. what you could lift in real life. For instance, if you have big bulging biceps and shoulders but couldnt haul sacks of wheat because your forearm and grip strength kept giving out.
 

Jan Libourel

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^But realistically, wouldn't any man who had developed "big bulging biceps and shoulders" have also gained a reasonable amount of forearm and grip strength in doing so, even though such an individual might have less strength in these areas than a less imposing man who had been hauling the hypothetical sacks of wheat?
 

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^But realistically, wouldn't any man who had developed "big bulging biceps and shoulders" have also gained a reasonable amount of forearm and grip strength in doing so, even though such an individual might have less strength in these areas than a less imposing man who had been hauling the hypothetical sacks of wheat?
yes in theory but especially with the "bodybuilder" types, you find a lot of guy who have huge muscles but aren't built for physical labor. one of the reasons the powerlifters don't care about how they look is because they only care about how much weight they can move. you see a lot of those guys with big bellies but those bellies are generally pretty solid and they've got forearms the size of tree trunks.
 

Jan Libourel

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Oh, don't get me started on bodybuilding, especially in recent years. With its emphasis on "pump" and the extensive use of steroids, it was nothing I'd have wanted to get involved with, even if I'd had more potential, years back. At least in my younger days, most of the top men like Reg Park or Bill Pearl looked like strong, healthy men, and except when they had trained down for competition, they didn't look like living anatomy charts. None of them had "bubble guts" either. I can recall Bill Pearl saying that if you go to a bodybuilding competition, very probably the least healthy man in the whole auditorium will be the guy standing on the winner's dais, and that was many years ago. These days, the top men all look grotesque and monstrous, not at all aesthetically pleasing, and a lot of them, I gather, go down to early graves.

With all that out of the way, I still believe that any man who can develop a competition-quality physique is going to be vastly stronger than the vast majority of untrained men. However, size can be very deceiving, nor is there by any means a direct correlation between size and strength. I can recall going to a powerlifting competition as a spectator. I was training hard in those days and weighed about 230 at a height of 6'3", so I didn't feel particularly overawed among that host of massive men. Among all these burly brutes I espied a tiny, skinny little man who looked very out of place. "What the hell is he doing here," thought I. Then I realized who he was: the flyweight powerlifting champion of the world. At half my weight, he was about my equal in strength! It was a good lesson in humility for me.

I saw on one website the other day that Steve Reeves in his prime only trained six hours a week--three two-hour total body workouts. Joe Weider once observed that Reeves never came close to realizing his potential. I still would have liked to have looked more like Reeves than most later physique stars. An interesting fact about Reeves is that shortly before he retired from acting, he turned down two roles: James Bond in Dr. No and The Man with No Name in A Fistful of Dollars. I have to wonder how he felt about that afterward. However, he seems to have enjoyed a long, comfortable retirement and had a good life.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Among all these burly brutes I espied a tiny, skinny little man who looked very out of place. "What the hell is he doing here," thought I. Then I realized who he was: the flyweight powerlifting champion of the world. At half my weight, he was about my equal in strength! It was a good lesson in humility for me.
The same can be said for flyweight and bantamweight boxers.

I saw on one website the other day that Steve Reeves in his prime only trained six hours a week--three two-hour total body workouts.
Sounds about right to me. The overtrained steroid heads are muscle bound and pumping themselves up to an early grave.
 

Dropbear

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After working on upper body muscle and definition for the last few years, I’m transitioning to cardio and a more balanced routine - less heavy weight muscle building and more rowing and stair climbing. With the exception of a focus on abs building. Time to admit I’m pushing 50 and think more about general health then just looking ripped.
 

Jan Libourel

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We had dinner Friday night with my wife's brother and his spouse. He and his wife do yoga and a bit of walking but not much else in the way of exercise. I was mentioning my regimen with Indian clubs, kettlebells, sledgehammers and medicine balls. My brother in law made the sagacious observation that it all sounded like what you might find in a 1920s gym. I suppose he's right. Truly, "that which was old has become new again."

On the subject old-time methods, I decided to go ahead and take advantage of Black Friday to order two gada maces from Onnit--a 10- and a 15-pounder. After I've trained with them for awhile, I'll discuss their merits, real or fancied, here.
 

Rambo

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We had dinner Friday night with my wife's brother and his spouse. He and his wife do yoga and a bit of walking but not much else in the way of exercise. I was mentioning my regimen with Indian clubs, kettlebells, sledgehammers and medicine balls. My brother in law made the sagacious observation that it all sounded like what you might find in a 1920s gym. I suppose he's right. Truly, "that which was old has become new again."

On the subject old-time methods, I decided to go ahead and take advantage of Black Friday to order two gada maces from Onnit--a 10- and a 15-pounder. After I've trained with them for awhile, I'll discuss their merits, real or fancied, here.
Looking forward to your review
 

Dropbear

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I keep reading that sit-ups are bad and I should be doing something other than the steep incline sit up bench for abs. But every alternative suggestion is some low resistance planking nonsense. I get that from rowing and swimming. I want something for ab muscle bulking if I’m going to ditch sit-ups!!
 
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I sprained my knee hiking in the summer and now I'm having a really difficult time getting motivated after taking some time to recover. I'm swimming at the Y, little bit of weightlifting and rowing, but just can't seem to get back into a good routine. Quite depressing.
 

Jan Libourel

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I've heard that business about sit-ups being bad, but I did an awful lot of them in my day. At one point I could do about a dozen reps with a 70-pound dumbbell behind my head and three or four reps with an 85-pounder. Never had any injury or other ill effects that I can remember. These days I incorporate sit-ups in my abs workouts. I am using an 18-pound medicine ball held at arm's length behind my head as I lie supine and go all the way over.
 

Rambo

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I sprained my knee hiking in the summer and now I'm having a really difficult time getting motivated after taking some time to recover. I'm swimming at the Y, little bit of weightlifting and rowing, but just can't seem to get back into a good routine. Quite depressing.
you set any goals for yourself? try changing up your routine?

I've heard that business about sit-ups being bad, but I did an awful lot of them in my day. At one point I could do about a dozen reps with a 70-pound dumbbell behind my head and three or four reps with an 85-pounder. Never had any injury or other ill effects that I can remember. These days I incorporate sit-ups in my abs workouts. I am using an 18-pound medicine ball held at arm's length behind my head as I lie supine and go all the way over.
most of the warning comes from people fucking up their necks and backs with improper form. if you do them properly then its really not the end of the world.
 
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I am starting on Madcow 5x5, previously doing 5/3/1. Previously on my off days I would row or run, now I swim.
I currently have no well-defined goal. Just being a bit of a pussy, really. Lots of excuses, little backbone.
 

Rambo

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I am starting on Madcow 5x5, previously doing 5/3/1. Previously on my off days I would row or run, now I swim.
I currently have no well-defined goal. Just being a bit of a pussy, really. Lots of excuses, little backbone.
We've all been there. Set some lifting goals. Theyre easy targets to try and hit
 

Dropbear

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most of the warning comes from people fucking up their necks and backs with improper form. if you do them properly then its really not the end of the world.
My gym took away all the sit-up equipment - I really liked the incline bench. I'm trying to adapt to The Captain's Chair, but I'm still looking for something to match the resistance of incline sit-ups. What ab equipment do you recommend?
 
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Well, I decided I've had enough slacking. I set up my Concept2 in the studio near my computer and have started a good program using Row Pro, which brings a nice interaction to the workout. I'm also going back to a Madcow 5x5 weightlifting program.

I row (boats) during the warm seasons and swim indoors in the cold, so this is not a stretch. 8k today, feels great! I don't know why I would let myself stop. I'm a much nicer person when fit.
 
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