Friday, June 27, 2008

VCU Judo Blog

If you're local, please visit the VCU Judo blog site.

click here

This will hopefully be a more user-friendly method of conveying information about club activities.
PS: Revolution, MMA come on over and work out with us on Sundays!


Sorry I haven't made too many posts lately...

I've got 11 credits this summer, which is kind of a lot for 8 weeks! 8-12 every day is gross anatomy and 3-6 is exercise physiology, which are actually probably two of the tougher classes in my undergrad program. But I'll be around soon!

I am hoping to set up a 'intro to crossfit' sort of short term training thing; something for newbies to learn the basics of the harder stuff (Olympic lifts, kipping pull ups and other stuff).

I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

VCU Judo Fall Season

Attention current VCU Judo members;

VCU will be competing as a team at several events this Fall. Here's the proposed schedule for the fall season;

Aug 31st - Eastern Open

Oct 25th - Ken Tamai Memorial

Nov 8th - Shufu Senior Promotional

We are currently seeking athletes in every weight class and of both sexes!

Opener is 8/31! If you're interested, contact Athletic Director Jason Struck immediately.

mail me


Jason Struck

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New World Record

On may 31st,
Usain Bolt of Jamaica, the World Junior Champion in the 200m (and a self declared 200m specialist) broke the World Record in the 100m.

9.72 seconds.

He's still not sure if he'll run the 100m in the Olympics, or if he'll stick to 200/400m.

I know Americans like Eurofa Cups more 'n all... but did you even hear about this? The World has a new fastest man, and he's 21 years old.

Friday, June 13, 2008

3000 hits


Well, my blog and this video reached the 3000 hits mark in the same week. Thought I'd celebrate.

Check it out

Thanks for checking us out!
And don't hesitate to check out some of my other videos here; my youtube

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Weights, Strength Equipment

If you are in the Richmond, VA area you may be able to help me!

Do you have some exercise equipment you no longer use? I am looking to outfit the garage gym, and I am coming up short on a few things.

Here's some of the things that I am especially looking for;

Weight Plates (Olympic, not standard)
Strongman relevant things (Kegs, Tires, Hammers, Sleds etc)
Rubber mats of just about any kind
Organizational equipment (plate holders, dumbbell racks etc)
Bench/rack equipment (squat racks, stands, benches etc)
Rope (thick/large diameter)
Rower! Concept 2 preferred

If the equipment in question is of decent quality/condition, I'd be perfectly happy to pay you for your 'junk'.


Drop me a line here: mail me

Sunday, June 8, 2008


What's all the fuss about Front Squats and Push Presses?

I remember the first time that I ever saw these two combined, in Mark Verstegen's brilliant Core Performance (2004). Obviously, the Crossfit guys had been waxing poetic about Fran already by that time, but I was blissfully ignorant up until this encounter from the renowned strength coach of Olympian Mia Hamm amongst others.
They performed the 'squat and push press' with a pair of dumbbells, and so did all of my clients, starting in 2005. Anyone that ever worked with me in a commercial gym setting, such as Gold's Gym (lovely experience that was), was always first introduced to the squat. Then the press. Then the push press. And then, off we went. A pair of dumbbells. 10+ feet of open space. How we must have appeared to almost anyone still satisfied with their combination of bodybuilding on machines and endless steady-state cardio, as we lunged around the room, performing single leg RDLs and 'pressing with our legs'. Cheating, as it were, until we almost puked.

It is with this in mind, that I must know, that you too know the 'Thruster'. The humble squat AND push press. Both worlds unto themselves, but when combined... otherworldly.

When people tell me they don't have time to work out, I tell them they're lying. If they somehow convince me that they indeed don't have much time, they are introduced to pukie*, by way of thruster.

So, here's some takes on a staple, not only of Crossfit, but of intuitive performance minded training the world over.

Here's one from Crossfit Victoria; Featuring KBs.

I would have liked a better rack position with the KBs, but most Crossfitters tend to support the barbell, DBs or KBs in a 'press ready' position, rather than the more traditional Front Squat 'rack' which is also ideal for the jerk. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. With speed, making the transition over and over again from the rack to launch might be a little awkward. I guess it depends on what you learn first/what you are more comfortable with. I learned to jerk long before any of this other stuff came up, so for me it's 'the rack' all the way!

I hope you see, after examining their constituents in isolation, that when combining the two to create the 'thruster' you may experience an exercise greater than the sum of its parts.
With the sheer volume of work done, the metabolic and cardiovascular potential of the thruster should become obvious to anyone that attempts a moderate weight for anything more than 5 reps.
For further research, consult Catalyst Athletics' Physics Department.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Front Squat

The Front Squat

The Front Squat fulfills several roles in a variety of training regimes. In and of itself, it is a variation of the more wide-spread 'back' squat, however the front squat requires more midline stabilization and more flexibility. It forces a more upright posture (by way of bar position) that more closely mimics many athletic skills. An easy example for me is judo; if you are interested you can review an article I wrote a few years ago here.

Shockingly, I can't find a single force diagram on the internet comparing squat styles, so I will urge you to refer to Greg Glassman's lecture here. In it he focuses on Overhead Squats, but you get the picture. In a continuum of load displacement, back then front then overhead describes the progression of sequentially longer or further displaced (from COG) moment arms, and hence greater potential loads on the core, while reducing the actual compression on the spine.

It is this greater training demand while at the same time lessened forces on the spine that make the front and overhead squat variations such powerful training tools. Hence, it is my opinion that with mastery of the most fundamental bodyweight squat, there's no reason why a trainee primarily interested in health or performance shouldn't dive right into the front squat.

That being said, the front squat is also a tool of choice for several communities. Mike Boyle time and again has made a wonderful argument for why he has replaced the back squat in his training programs with the front variation. If you don't know Mike, he's an amazing coach that has found great success training hockey and baseball players, as well as mentoring other coaches.

Pavel Tsatsouline places heavy emphasis on this exercise within the RKC system, perhaps out of necessity, perhaps to balance the posterior demands of the swing and snatch in KB lifting.

Olympic Style Weightlifters can't live without the front squat. It is commonly understood that you can't clean what you can't front squat, and Greg Glassman has suggested that most lifters' clean numbers will be a reflection of a combination of their front squat and deadlift. Not only is the bottom of the front squat the receiving position for a full or 'squat' clean, but the ability to then reascend with that load will dictate success or failure in the lift. For an example, here's a training hall video of former World and European champion Vencelas DABAYA:

He's front squatting 200kg, at a weight of about 70kg. Ie, just shy of 3 times bodyweight. So, don't try that at home folks.

I'd also like to introduce you to the Crossfit approach. Here's a few chicks working on a new PR. Observe the form notes.

My intent is for this to serve as a thorough introduction. As such, I hope this helps to reinvigorate your Front squat practice. If you've never fronted before, I strongly urge you to get a coach. Barring that, find a similarly inclined lifting partner, and start light. Really light. And get as good as you can as fast as you can, because heavy is the only way to lift!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Ohkawa Clinic Rad

Daniel and I returned yesterday from the Ohkawa clinic a little charged with new ideas on how to practice a variety of foot sweeps as well as O Soto Gari.
As always, sensei Chuck Wall of Fredericksburg Judo was a gracious host, and a lot of people from all around central Virginia had a great workout.

I will hopefully be able post more pictures later as others submit theirs to the webpage;