Archive for December, 2010

“You never know What you’re Gonna get…”

Posted in Articles, Athletes on December 30, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

I’m an Olympic girl, I may not have the best Clean and Jerk or the best Snatch, but I love the lifts, I love the technicality that is involved and for some reason, I’m not exactly sure why, but these have become my favorite in the realm of athletics. Being a history major I had in mind a post for the blog relating to the history of women in weight lifting, upon my quest to write such an article I came across my new idol, my inspiration, and my submission for the week’s edition dedicated to Beasts.

Tara Nott

Height: 5’1”

Weight: 105

Country: USA


Ok so if this name isn’t familiar to you, you are probably thinking, “How is this little tiny thing a beast?” It’s ok I’ll forgive you, but for those of you that love the sport and those of you that claim you bleed red, white, and blue, you should probably know a little more about this miniature monster.

Nott started out as a gymnast, as you probably can imagine judging merely on her size. After missing the Olympic gymnastics team, Nott turned to volleyball, basketball, and soccer. She went on to play college soccer, competed in two National Championships, was an All-American, and she played on several national teams, trained for the Olympic team, but she failed to make the team for the 1996 Games.

Tara despite missing the games in the two sports she had put her life into, landed a job on the Atlanta Olympic Committee just so she could be as close to the games as she possibly could. While in Atlanta she asked a coach what she should do to stay in shape. His suggestion? Weightlifting.

Merely 8 months after diving in to the sport of Olympic lifting, Nott won her first National title in 1996; she would win the national title again in 1997, 1999 and 2000. Nott made the Olympic team for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Well I’ll let you watch the video so you can see for yourself the outcome.

Winning the Gold for the USA was the first Gold in the Olympics for the United States weightlifting team since the 1960 Games when Chuck Vinci won the Gold.

Did you do the math when the video showed her numbers? Probably not so here they are for you

Snatch: Olympics 82.5kg= 181.9lbs

Clean and Jerk: 102.5kg=225lbs (That’s 13 lbs over double body weight)

Nott however, initially won the silver medal but after Izabela Dragneva (Bulgaria) tested positive for furosemide. Nott was then awarded the Gold medal.

Tara Nott Cunningham, left, gets boost from friend Cheryl Haworth. Cunningham won gold in 2000, Haworth earned bronze. Photo Credit: Hiroko Masuike For The Washington Post.

Ok so cool she won Gold in the Olympics, why is she a beast? Once again I’ll forgive you. You must have missed the part where she trained at the Olympic training center for 3, yes 3, different sports, the ONLY person in history to do so. Tara ended a 40 year Gold drought for the United States weightlifters.

Oh wait one more thing; Nott won Gold with a torn abdominal muscle. After the games she underwent surgery which involved repairing the tear with a piece of Gortex mesh and 21 titanium screws. With a lot of rehab Nott did come back to compete at the International level, placing 10th in the 2004 Olympics, but retired from the competitive aspect of the sport shortly after .


Olympic Champion 2000

Twice Pan Am Games Champion 1999&2003

Olympic Games Team Member 2004

Seven Time World Championship Team Member  1997-1999, 2001-2004

Seven Time Senior National Champion 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002-2004

Multiple All-Time Sr American Record holder in Snatch, Clean and Jerk, and Total

Spotlight: tara nott, weightlifting. (1999, July 2). Retrieved from

Weightlifting exchange. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Posted by: Roo (8 Seconds)

“A True Force of Nature…”

Posted in Articles, Athletes on December 29, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

This is a repost article from back when we first started. To not repost this of all articles during Beast Week would be a spit in the eye of a living legend. Once again Johnny talks about a man who in his day was as unstoppable as the Siberian winters that forged him, John spins the tale of Karelin. – Z

Ask anybody who was an amateur wrestler “who is the greatest wrestler ever?” and they will probably give you a short list of names.  Dan Gable, John Smith, Bruce Baumgardner, Cael Sanderson, but the name most universally recognized around the world is Alexander Karelin.

Karelin was born in Novobirsk, Siberia, weighing 15lbs at birth Karelin was a beast from the beginning.  As a boy he hunted on skis and developed his strength carrying logs through the forest.  His coach convinced him to wrestle at the age of 13 and Karelin trained by running through thigh deep snow for 2 hours at a clip and rowing a boat on Siberian lakes until his hands bled.

A reporter once asked Karelin about his greatest challenge and he told the story of wrestling a refrigerator.  It was a huge fridge, and Alexander bear hugged the appliance and carried it to his apartment, 8 floors up.  Another reporter talks about Karelin standing in a hotel lobby, lifting his leg straight over his head, and touching a hanging chandelier with his size 15 big toe.  Standing 6′ 3″ and 286 pounds Karelin blended speed, strength, and stamina to compete for an unprecedented 13 years in international competition without losing a match.  He went a full 6 years without surrendering a point.  This is international competition, where some men train their whole life for one Olympics.  Karelin won gold medals in 1988, 1992, 1996 at the Olympics.  He was world champion from 1989 – 1999.

Karelin’s signature move, the reverse body lift, was thought impossible for heavyweights to execute until he started doing it.  In live competition against the best wrestlers in the world Karelin would lock his hands around the waist of his downed opponent, lift them to hip height, and then throw them over his head in a back arch.  All the while the 286lb men were twisting, turning, bucking, pulling on his fingers, anything possible to prevent themselves from being thrown.  His throw was so devastating that some wrestlers would turn their back to the mat and surrender points rather than get thrown.

Karelin owned several nicknames, Alexander The Great, The Russian Bear, Sasha, and The Experiment.  The latter nickname was in regards to wide held belief that Alexander was using steroids, hgh, and any other number of illegal drugs.  When asked about this nickname bestowed on him Karelin answered “I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in theirs.”

Entering the 2000 Olympics Karelin was the hands down favorite to win the gold medal for a 4th time in a row.  The Russian hero came up 1 point short in his bid for a 4th medal.  In the Olympic final Alexander Karelin and Rulon Garnder wrestled for 6 scoreless minutes, neither man able to gain an edge.  In the first period of overtime the wrestlers started in the clinch, a position where both men have a bear hug on the other.  Points are scored from this position via takedown, throw, or if your opponent can not maintain his grip.  After 13 years of undefeated international competition, 6 years of never allowing a point to be scored, and 3 consecutive Olympic gold medals in a row, the Russian Bear’s grip failed him.  Karelin lost his grip for a split second, but that was all it took, the most dominate wrestler ever had finally lost.

Karelin retired from wrestling after the 2000 Olympics to fully dedicate himself to family and politics.  He was elected to the State Duma in 1999, 2003, and 2007, and is serving on the committee for international affairs.  Most know Karelin for his athletic dominance and menacing appearance, but Sasha is much deeper than that.  Alexander loves the ballet, opera, and theater.  He is a voracious reader of Russian history and has written poetry.

On a personal note almost as soon as I started wrestling I was aware of who Karelin was, I was at the same time fascinated, inspired, and motivated.  I wanted to be Karelin and I wanted to beat Karelin.  Maybe it’s fitting that in his final match of competition he was defeated by a pudgy farm boy from Wyoming.  Maybe the rule change that cost Karelin his undefeated streak should never have been made.  What ever the case for those 6 minutes Karelin was equalled and for one second he was bested, but make no mistake about it, athletes like Karelin come around once in a lifetime.  I’m glad he was in my  lifetime.

Posted by: John

“You Broke that Jaw…”

Posted in Guerrilla Lifting on December 28, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Keeping with Beast Week this Guerrilla Lifting picture submission comes from our very own Tim “BeastMode” Preston. Tim is a veteran of our strength program and he didn’t let the fact that he went back to college in Carolina stop him from training.

This was the picture message I received from Tim:

“No rings. So strung up these chains in the gym for dips.”

Guerrilla Lifting…

Speaking of  Beast week, week 4 recap of  our current Caliber Cycle is up and I’m proud of the Stable of Mutants we’re inbreeding here (does that sound bad?). CC Fourth Edition can be found on the OCS Training Log. Wendler Bulgarian splits squats anyones???

Posted By: Z

Check on Guerrilla Lifting submissions in the About section and let us see where you workout.


“Time to rack it.”

Posted in Articles, Athletes on December 27, 2010 by Swole Patrol

The four words spoken by Pat Mendes after he finished a 1 rep back squat of 800lbs with no knee wraps, no belt, so suit, only lifts and neoprene knee sleeves. Mendes is 20 years old and weighs 286lbs, he trains out of Average Broz Gym in Las Vegas under the tutelage of John Broz. At this gym they only perform 6 lifts: Clean and Jerk, Snatch, Power Clean, Power Snatch, Front and Back Squat. The lifters lift 2X per day everyday and once on Sunday, to say they practice a volume training method is an understatement. John Broz is a firm believer in the Bulgarian lifting method and has produced lifters like Pat using this method.

Strongest teenager in the world…

Below is a 20 point summation of Broz’s training philosophy:
1.He doesn’t believe in overtraining, only undertraining. Overtraining is part of the adaptation towards being awesomely strong. He refers to what others call overtraining as the “Dark Time” when your strength goes down and you feel like shit. To him, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and when you start making PRs in a completely fatigued state, you know you’re getting somewhere.
2. He expects his gym to be a highly competitive gym on the world/Olympic level within the next 2-3 years.
3. Back squats are stupid easy, and if you need to do more work without taxing yourself to much, do back squats.
4. Back Squats are generally better than Front Squats. Front squats limiting factor is always the upper back, never the legs.
5. However, front squats carry over to the clean, yay. BS carry over to the snatch more.
6. Squatting heavy should be as easy and natural as walking.
7. Something will hurt. Always. And you’ll never know what it will be until you wake up in the morning.
8. If you’re tired, train. If you hurt, train. If you have free time, train. If you’re injured, go to the ER. If you’re not injured, train.
9. Work up to a max, back of 10-20kg and do 2’s or 3’s to get to 30-50 reps total for the workout. Percents are BS.
10. More volume = more adaptation. Train more.
11. He’s made over 50 attempts in a single workout before hitting a new PR.
12. There will never be a day when you walk in the gym and can’t lift the bar. If it’s one of those days, lift the bar… a lot.
13. Every time you train that’s a +. Every day you don’t train, that’s a -.
14. push press is better than press.
15. His lifters only do light presses, and only if their elbows hurt. Elbows don’t hurt, no more pressing.
16. Start out by training 3 times a week, maxing every workout. Add another day, until you’re up to 7, as soon as possible. Then work up to maxing every workout. Then add 2x/day.
17. Assistance work is overrated, unless you’re training the upper body, particularly with bench presses. In this case, do rows, pull ups, etc to stretch the front of your body and provide balance.
18. Don’t bench more than 3x/week. Limit deadlifting, the lower back recovers poorly.
19. If you get pinned by a snatch, you get laughed out of the gym. Or chained to the squat rack for a month.
20. Once you start training this way, you’re almost never sore.

“I’m so good.” The three words Pat Whispered after snatching 456lbs, the most weight snatched by a American Lifter in training or competition ever.

Time to rack it…

Big deadlift = big cleans…

You gotta clean it before you jerk it…

I’m so good…


Posted by: Johnny

“There’s something out there waiting for us, and it ain’t no man…”

Posted in Articles, Athletes on December 26, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Well another Christmas is in the books… presents, eating, drinking, and morning lifting with friends. How did you wrap up your weekend? If you’re like me then you woke up in the morning, caffeinated, went to the local Russian bathhouse (Banya 5), then wrapped up the whole weekend long event with watching the 2010 MET-rx World’s Strongest Man recap. This is like the World Cup minus the live coverage and more ear high traps than red cards.

I spent a lot of my time growing up watching the greats like Bill Kazmaier and Svend Karlsen in these events. So what better way to relax before kicking the week off than watching the recap with a friend and my parents (Yeah laugh it up). The event this year was held in Sun City, South Africa. And while an awesome showing from the Americans (including a second place finish) swells my chest with patriotic pride, I was most excited to watch my man Mikhail Koklyaev compete in his first World’s Strongest man.

This is usually when I say “if you don’t know the name then you should” (Well you should). But I realize there are still so many monsters in the iron game that get little press. So it hit me, much like the Discovery Channel has Shark Week, we need to celebrate the titans lurking in weight rooms around the globe.  So in OCS fashion we dedicate a special edition.

Old Country Strong Special Edition: BEAST Week…

And why not kick it off with a write up on the man that spawned it,

Mikhail Koklyaev

Height: 6’4

Weight: 350lbs

Country: Russia

Some of his accomplishments included being a 6x Russian weightlifting champion and taking 3rd place at this year World’s Strongest Man. But don’t let his first World’s Strongest Man appearance or that he has podiumed twice at the Arnold Classic in the Strongman event be his tale. Mikhail (or “Misha” as is his Russian nickname) is currently training in hopes of representing his country in Olympic lifting in the Summer Olympics. Instead of rattling off stats for this big behemoth, I’ve taken some highlights from his YouTube Channel for your enjoyment. 

Thumbs over? Thumbs under? Who cares?

Metal or Bumps? Who Cares?

No talent? I think not…

BEAST Week continues tomorrow with a look at up and coming weight lifting sensation Pat Mendes.

Posted by: Z

Check out Guerrilla Lifting in the About section and show us where you lift.

“Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian”

Posted in Articles, Lifestyle on December 23, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday. I love the music, I love the gifts, I love poinsettias, I love Jesus, I love Santa Claus (hell we share the same name), hell I even love the inherent stress associated with Christmas in the Northwest. So in honor of my namesake I thought I should give back to OCS and the OCBC…but this first requires figuring out who has been naughty and who has been nice.

OCS: Interesting articles with good discussion, nice, working on a post in the wee hours of the morn with an angry Filipina next to me, naughty, advice on how to survive the rise of the zombies, nice.
GIFT: Another year of  helping out with the site.

Z: Loving brother, nice, great coach, nice, good friend, nice, terrible counter, naughty, awful speller, naughty.
GIFT: A pair of pants (if you have ever seen Z wear pants raise your hand).

Roo: Makes great videos, nice, good coach, nice, huge BSG fan, nice.
GIFT: A new shoulder to lift with.

Wes: Squats the house, nice, never argues with anyone, nice.
GIFT: A new pair of shorts to replace the ones he ripped front squatting.

Slab: Enthusiasm, nice, encyclopedia on all things meathead, nice.
GIFT: Xplode!.

Carrie: Southern accent, nice, missed week 4 of the current caliber cycle, naughty. VERDICT: Naughty.
GIFT: Wallballs.

Greybeard: In a current state of Awesomeness, nice, old timey, nice, telling off a d-bag in a random NY gym, nice.
GIFT: A new claw hammer.

The Chan Sisters: Helpful, nice, easy targets for jokes, nice.
GIFT: This clip.

Finally pursuant to popular demand it is my honor as the reigning food eating champ of the gym to present the first ever OCS EATING CHALLENGE. I ho-ho-ho hope you’re hungry. This is a milk and cookies challenge. Rules are simple, eat as many cookies and drink as much milk as you can in one hour. List what type of cookies you ate, if they are not a generic brand or home made you may want to take a picture so that accuracy on the amount you consume can be gauged.  I prefer Ms. Safeway cookies personally, she bought the recipe from Mama Filer. Super secret prize awaits the winner.

Posted by: Nickay

“Our only Souvenirs are Bloody Knuckles and Broken Bones…”

Posted in Guerrilla Lifting on December 21, 2010 by oldcountrystrong


This picture submission actually came to me last Christmas.

The story went as such:


Christmas day…


Hey Mom, we still have the rack set up in the garage?”
“The rack?”
“Yeah the squat rack.”
“Yes, we still have those weights in the garage.”
“Cool, I gotta go SQUAT…”
“You have to what? It’s Christm…”
“Yeah Ma, but I gotta go squat…”
This was the story of Roo’s first Christmas while on a Linear Progession, Guerrilla Lifting…

Roo is actually the one behind all of our Old Country Barbell videos. Check out what we’re up to on the OCS Training Log, or just watch this video recap (by Roo) on week 3 of our fourth Caliber Cycle.

Posted by: Z

Don’t forget to check out Guerrilla Lifting in the about section and show us how and where you workout.

“Enough talk!!!”

Posted in Articles, Athletes, Competition on December 16, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

“Yes! Let this be our final battle!” – Skeletor

Well all good things come in 3s, Lord of the Rings novels, Godfather movies, Amigos, Caballeros, Filer brothers, etc. So today we have reached the conclusion of our look into the science behind lifting. In part 1 we have looked into muscles fibers and part 2 we looked at  some of Z and Beastmode’s lift results to see if any of this science really does work. Now let us piece it all together…but lets look at one more lift HIGH REP SQUAT.

Remember the reason behind this article was the epic squat off between Tom Platz and Dr. Squat so lets look at some high rep squat numbers.

Our Guerrillas start with a max rep 335 squat test.

At 335 lbs Beastmode hits 14 reps
While Z digs in again to barely scrape by with 17 reps.

Impressive but the margin seemed to not give the satisfaction of the original squat off. So we turn to our Old Country Squat Combine aka 225 for max reps. There Beastmode throws up 30 reps, Z turns in 45 reps.

Again not quite the amazing result it that we saw from Platz and Dr.Squat. So what are we left with. Z throws down a new max, the Volume difference is set when Z climbs under 245 for 50 reps. This difference is more akin to the difference we saw between our two atheletes on the 1RM back squat. Also this result paired with 1RM is very similar to what occurred between Tom Platz and Dr. Squat.

So we have results in varying lifts from Z and Beastmode, what have can we deduce. Beastmode has the greater 1RM in back squat by a considerable margin. Going off of this result alone it appears that Beastmode has a greater propensity of Type IIb muscle fibers, the fibers used for the greatest explosion. This is not to say that Z does not have Type IIb fibers, just that it seems so far that Beastmode has more or built his up greater so far. This conclusion is strengthened by the next exercise we examined, the 500m row. A very tough sprint like distance on the erg and again Beastmode pulls ahead. The variable of weight does play a factor with this exercise result more so than the 1RM squat,  but still it appears that Beastmode has a greater propensity of Type IIb fibers than Z.

The overhead squat has a large discrepancy between our lab rats in favor of Z but more so than the other exercises done other variables such as shoulder flexibility and coordination could impact our final result. Because I am choosing to put this result to the side as a wild card exercise and maybe not the true indicators of muscle fiber breakdown.

Finally we took into account two more endurance based exercises, the 2k row and the volume squat. The 2k rows times are very close, again similar to the the 500m results. Something to remember also is that Z is the lighter athlete and won this exercise which is specifically impacted by weight. This tells us that Z’s muscles fibers are better accustomed to endurance based exercise than Beastmode. In particular it would appear that Z has a good deal of Type IIa fibers, that mix of fast and slow twitch which works best in intermediate events where power is needed over a period of time. That result is only further supported by looking at the volume squat numbers. This was not air squats they were doing, these were back squats with decent loads. Z came ahead of Beastmode by 3 in the 335 lift, a margin of victory similar to the 2k time trial.  At this time we could hypothesize that Z may have had a slighter greater propensity of Type IIa fibers B U T when you also look at the 225 and 245 rep marks by Z it is fair to say that he HAS more Type IIa fibers (or has trained the shit out of them).

So there it is, using some simple lift results we have gotten a basic framework of two athletes muscle fiber breakdown. I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much I had writing about this interesting topic. Remember, training can help alleviate muscle fibers discrepancies to allow you to reach your goals. If you are that runner who wants a massive squat do not give up. Just remember while slaving away with the iron that if you are having a hard time reaching that power clean goal, don’t blame the weight, blame your parents.

Posted by: Nickay

Dont Forget to check Wednesdays post and start submitting photos for Guerrilla Lifting, Get Some…

“You’ve never heard of Chaos theory???”

Posted in Guerrilla Lifting on December 14, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

“Fight Club was the beginning, now it’s moved out of the basement, it’s called Project Mayhem…”

It’s that simple. It all has to start somewhere. It’s like the idea that a butterfly flaps it’s wings in Hong Kong and it causes a Tornado in Kansas. Where did it all start for you?

For me it’s easy to pinpoint. Tire flips in the drill yard, after that bicep curls were dead to me. My friend Sky once said something similar with his beginning, “I wonder if I can push my van up this alley…”

Where did your path in all of this start?

Was it in a basement power cleaning metal? Are you still in that basement? Have you ever tried to make a kettlebell out of rebar and a bowling ball (true story)? Maybe you’re just the only one in your gym that cares more about squats than muscleups. Here at Old Country we like to think of keeping strength training grass roots. Basements, fields, tracks, gyms  in warehouses with no heaters: it’s all what we like to consider Guerrilla Lifting.

Views on here are up 5 times from where they were a couple months ago and we wanna know where you guys (yes, you) are from. How do you train? Where do you train? Do you travel a lot? Do you have to bootleg workouts at strange gyms or have you ever done tabata rock slams ’cause it was all you had? Show us.

We’re starting a new category here on Old Country. We will be accepting picture submissions from readers from both in and out of the gym to put up on the site. Show us how you do your Guerrilla Lifting. It doesn’t have to be in a garage, it could be anywhere you get your swoll on. We’ll take some artistic liberties with it and post it along with a link to your gym, website, training log, or just give you a shout out.

Here is a teaser in case you were wonder what your picture could end up looking like:

E-mail your photos to

Remember to include your name, location, a link to your gym/blog if you want it to appear with your photo. Feel free to send stories with your photo.

We’ll be regulary posting Guerrilla Lifting pictures of our athletes. This one was taken at our home gym during our third Caliber Cycle.


We’re currently in the third week of our fourth edition. Here is the recap of CC Fourth Edition week 2.
To see our program visit the OCS Training Log.

Posted by: Z

“Iron Man. That’s kind of Catchy. It’s got a Nice Ring to it…”

Posted in Articles on December 12, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

The flood gates have been opened and guest writers keep submitting articles to Old Country. Today’s submission comes from a good friend, our very own Dr. Tri.

I consider myself quite a student of the game. But sometimes your peers have a way with words that leaves iron jockeys like myself speechless. I was going to break the wealth of information that Mike “Dr. Tri” Ross gave me into multiple articles, but instead I allowed our kettlebell hippie Margaux to condense the article down into one post. You can download Dr. Tri’s original article in its entirety by clicking here. It’s quite the read for anyone who takes their endurance training seriously. But for the for our everyday Guerrilla, we have the highlights below:

GogO’s Notes on Dr. Tri’s: “Caliber Cycle is the MOST Important Piece of Ironman Triathlon Training”

Let’s talk fulcrums…
You and I are going on a journey to sophomore year of high school. You are in physics with Mrs. Frackinboring, who’s desk is just close enough to the blackboard that her tweed-clad hinder gets covered in chalk every time she turns around. Like Ebenezer Scrooge and his Christmas ghosts, you’re asking me why I’ve brought you here. It’s because, my dear friends, Fulcrums. Kick. Ass.

Basic Mechanics
Fulcrums and you: they have a lot in common. If a fulcrum could squat, you betchur ass it would squat the house. Not only does a fulcrum have to support its own weight, it has to support the weight of the stuff hanging off of it, particularly its lever(s). When those levers start moving, the fulcrum better be strong and sturdy or shit’s falling apart.

Many of us remember operating our first fulcrum-based mechanical system: the teeter-totter. If you were like me, a peculiarly dense 6 year old, you learned the rules of physics pretty quickly. Lemme tell ya, I could put some serious torque on that fulcrum. Hmmm Torque… anyone? Anyone?
torque = the length of the lever x the weight on the end of it
… roughly.

The further the weight gets from the fulcrum, the more force it exerts on it.

Why is this important? Because we tend to overlook how important this physics stuff is to our training, be it strength/endurance/whathaveyou. Overlooking all to often leads to injury. No likie. So listen up.

Basic Biomechanics
Toss “bio” in front of it and suddenly we’re talking business. Are you ready for this? Your body is a system of fulcrums and levers. I don’t know about you, but my mindhole was just blown. Let’s take a closer look.

Our bodies are a “Functional Fulcrum Group” (FFG for acronym enthusiasts). We’re not just four levers (2 arms and 2 legs) attached to a central fulcrum… we’ve got all kinds of bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments going on. When we create force at the end of one of our levers, we stabilize our FFG and create movement. You still with me? Check this out:

When we take a step, we our hold our FFG (fulcrum) stable and press against the earth (force) with our leg (lever). Your average 180lb non-adult male is cranking out 3-7 times his body weight depending on if he’s walking, jogging, or running from a rabid animal. That’s a lot of force for just one step. While strength, neck girth and ham volume is important, we’ve got to start considering durability… especially for endurance/marathon/Ironman training.

Dr. Tri: “We’re looking at roughly 45,000 to 50,000 steps in a marathon… The ability to withstand this force over a period of 3 to 4 hours becomes paramount in order to just finish the race, let alone excel at that distance.”

Fulcrum vs. Core
Dr. Tri: “We must briefly delineate the difference between the ‘F’ and the ‘C’ word.”

Don’t get it twisted. These aren’t the same. Core training is focused on the abs and obliques, which doesn’t mean you’re pumpin’ power to your fulcrum.

Dr. Tri: “This is akin to preventing injury of your triceps by training your biceps.”

The biceps’ not always gonna be around to make sure the triceps doesn’t get shoved in a locker with a nosebleed and no lunch money. Better to train the triceps to prevent injury on its own.

Myth (1): “Training the abs and obliques will help to tighten the midsection and stabilize the back as a whole.”

Truth by Dr. Tri: “Not only is this NOT supported in research; it is not supported by biomechanics. This is where the distinction between ‘Core’ and ‘Fulcrum,’ or Functional Fulcrum Group (FFG), is very important.  In the human animal, the primary movement of the lower half of the body is forward and the primary FFG muscles that support this movement are the low back, glutes (butt), and hamstrings.  These muscles work primarily to stabilize the trunk while the legs propel us in a forward motion.  Our local Caliber Cycle favorite motion, the squat, is also a primarily ‘forward’ type motion.  It is dependent on the FFG muscles stabilizing the torso (plus 265 or more lb’s), while we lever with the legs into an upright position.  Training any other muscle than the low back, glutes, and hamstrings is not effectively training the FFG.”

Myth (2): “A flexible spine is a healthy spine”.

Truth by Dr. Tri: “This has not resulted in lower occurrences of injury rates and is NOT supported in research. Any excess flexibility of the FFG will increase the risk of injury and decrease performance.  A flexible FFG is not a healthy FFG.  It will ultimately fail under any sort of repetitive load. In fact, the research has shown in numerous cases that increased flexibility is not optimal when levering against the FFG especially in runners who use their levers over extended distances.”

The moral of the story is this: don’t do crunches. Squat.

Methodology of Optimal Endurance Training

Dr. Tri Gettin' Some.

Dr. Tri: “The first step that most people take, and are advised by most endurance coaches, when training for a marathon or Ironman triathlon is to begin building up their ‘base mileage’ to prepare themselves for the long hours of running, biking, and/or swimming that lie ahead.  The rationale is to prepare their legs (or also their arms if triathlon training) for the ultimate race day, as well as increase their ‘cardiovascular’ fitness.  For many reasons, including improper training of the FFG, this is the worst first step they can take.”

ixNay on the aseBay ileageMay…

There are two major pieces of the cardiovascular system:
Uno: Cardiac Output of Heart (get oxygenated blood to the muscles)
Dos: Aerobic Fitness Capacity of Muscles (train muscles to use that oxygen)

Oxygen-rich blood is fuel to our muscles. We gotta make sure our hearts are pumping around more oxygen than our muscles will ever want.

Dr. Tri: “Training should first and foremost start with building up the cardiac output and thereby guaranteeing optimal supply of fuel. Beginning the training with aerobic capacity training of the muscles will only increase their demand for fuel and run the risk of never having an optimal supply from cardiac output.”

The goal should be to train increase your cardiac output BEFORE increasing fitness capacity of the muscles. Why teach your muscles to house entire 15 pound prime ribs when all your heart can pump out is a 4 pack of hot dogs?

Brace yourself for another acronym…
The SAID Principle (Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands)
AKA (oh! there’s another one) “Specificity of Training”

Training Cardiac Output = Training of the FFG
Trainging Aerobic Capacity = Training Levers (arms/legs)

SAID can present a problem in that we get too strong for our own good. Our levers overpower our fulcrum because we can generate more force with our massive quads that we built doing isometric leg presses at the YMCA than our FFG can handle. This is a quick ticket to Dr. Tri’s office repairing an injury. The solution? Train the FFG first.

Training the FFG means working for an iron lower back, ass and hams.

Dr. Tri: “Being able to withstand heavy repeated fast loads on the FFG results in tissues that easily withstand the relatively lower intensity loads that are applied from the lever arms/legs during endurance activities… studies by our favorite Japanese researcher, Dr. Izumi Tabata, have found that high intensity training is most optimal for training cardiac output.”

Dr. Tri: “To summarize, we can see that the first step in Optimal Endurance Training is to train two aspects, the Functional Fulcrum Group of the biomechanical system and cardiac output of the cardiovascular system.  This ensures that later on during training and ultimately on race day, when we need to focus on levering for hours and hours, and are training the aerobic capacity fitness of those lever arms/legs, that the system is durable enough to withstand this levering while also supplying enough oxygen-enriched blood/fuel for the levering muscles.
Once the FFG and cardiac output are trained to a high enough level, then we can transition training over to lever arm/legs and aerobic capacity training.  This will decrease the risk of injury as well as keep the system at its most optimal level of performance capacity.  Any break from this specific training methodology will only result in imbalances in the biomechanical system, as well as, the cardiovascular system.

So, bring on the Caliber Cycle Training in the dark days of this winter, if you plan on running, biking, or swimming, during the relatively sunny days of next summer.”

Article by: Mike “Dr. Tri” Ross
Article writeup by: GogO
Posted by: Z