Blog

This is sandbox of things I’m thinking, reading, and doing. It reads like a self-indulgent Tumblr or Twitter feed. If you want the “srs” articley essayish stuff, click here.

Also, at the end of my weekly column, I give you a recap of what I posted on the blog + exclusive project updates, inspiration and other personal musings.

The old redneck on Duck Dynasty. That dude got in trouble. The owner of the Clippers got in trouble. And I’m not sayin’ what these people did wasn’t offensive. I’m not sayin’ that shit. I’m just…what pissed me off was at no point during all these stories did anybody address their age.

You know? They’re fucking old. You know? What did you think they thought?

You never talked to a grandparent and asked the wrong question and all the sudden you went down this crazy road? Woah! Woah! Woah! Woah! Let’s get back to the cookies, grandma. Let’s leave that shit over here, what the fuck.

Yeah. They’re old. What did you think they thought? I mean…

[…]

The guy is 80 years old. Do the math. This dude was born in 1934. That’s thirteen years before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. For twelve and a half years of this guy’s life he watched all white baseball. And it was fine.

– Bill Burr, I’m Sorry You Feel That Way

Two things…

First, understanding context. Or always trying to zoom out and gain the right context.

Second, absurd obviousness to a situation that the masses are somehow oblivious to.

“Oh my goodness, I gained ten pounds my freshman year of college. How did this happen?”

What did you think they thought?

I was on the phone with James Clear last month. Just as we were about to hang up, he asked me how my training was going.

CAN ‘O WORMS, JAMES. CAN O’ WORMS.

Needless to say, we talked for another half hour.

I told him about the back injury I had in October, and how I rehabbed myself to functional in less than one week.

I mentioned something during the call that I wanted to jot down, maybe expand upon later.

The importance of daily training when you’re injured. 

And, often times, more than “daily.”

Multiple times per day.

As long as we’re talking about an acute injury.

Why?

When you train the injury often, you’re getting frequent feedback on the recovery process. It’s a lot easier to know and respect your boundaries.

Imagine you hurt my back. You rest for an entire week. You go back and try to deadlift. How much do you lift? What if the empty bar feels okay, but the normal jump to 135 isn’t okay?

So what I did, first, was get my body back to functioning without load. A bunch of static and slow stretching that I slowly transitioned into mobility work.

NOTE:

  • MOBILITY = ABILITY TO ACTIVELY CONTROL RANGES OF MOTION.
  • FLEXIBILITY = ABILITY TO PASSIVELY ACHIEVE RANGES OF MOTION.

I regained what flexibility and mobility I had through my entire spine by “training” obsessively for four days.

A lot of people want to know what exercises I did, but that’s backwards logic. I focused on the movements that were uncomfortable for me. Lumbar spinal flexion was my death. Your injury might be different.

I knew my max comfortable range of motion post-injury. So every day, I’d probe that boundary. What I found was that, almost every time I probed, I was able to go just a tiny bit further.

I would push my limits of comfort, but I wouldn’t push my limits of pain.

So…

8AM – Hit my comfortable max range, move into a slightly discomforting range.

9AM – Hit my comfortable max range, which just so happened to be 8AM’s slight discomfort range. Then move again into slightly discomforting range.

I couldn’t even do a bodyweight good morning. As soon as bent over at the waist, the torque simple gravity imposed destroyed my lower back. This was my marker for healing.

I would always return to, “Okay, well, how is my bodyweight good morning feeling/doing?”

I started with a lot of drills on the ground. And I found out, immediately after those ground drills, I could do bodyweight good mornings with mild discomfort (read: without sharp pain).

So I got up and did some bodyweight good morning after the ground drills. Always respecting my limits. Never pushing to sharp pain. Discomfort and dull ache, yes. But never sharp pain.

Following this, I was able to return to my old levels of flexibility in about four days. Mobility during the range of motion I was injured in was still…eh…but it was returning slowly.

I still had a lot of work to do to achieve complete health, but for every day movements (like bending down to get a pot out of the bottom drawer for cooking — something you take advantage of unless you have crippling back pain), I was good to go.

The next question was, how can I handle added weight in a simple movement pattern?

So now as I was working on the more extreme range of motion from a mobility standpoint, I was simultaneously working on the simpler movements and smaller ranges of motion with load.

Instead of bodyweight good mornings, it was bodyweight good mornings with a five pound plate hugged to my chest. And romaniad deadlifts with a standard barbell (weighs 20 pounds).

And I’d do a bunch of repetitions. Twenty at minimum. And I’d do 1-5 sets, pending how I felt.

A bunch of repetitions is key for two reasons:

1. Blood flow. Blood heals. High reps flush the area with blood.

2. Your input tells the body how to heal. Let me say that again. YOU TELL YOUR BODY HOW TO HEAL. When you rest while you heal, your body heals assuming you’re going to be resting.

You have to tell your body

  • This range of motion is important
  • Producing force from this range of motion is important

And I’d do these higher rep sets every day. Sometimes multiple times per day.

If you’re doing things right and respecting the injury curve, the pain will DECREASE as the reps (and blood flow) increases.

This is sort of the beacon of rehab.

If the pain is gradually decreasing during the work you’re doing, you’re doing things right. If the pain increases, hold the phone.

 

The high frequency and high repetitions are invigorating because, you’re CONSTANTLY improving. You’re gaining range of motion, you’re lowering your pain.

But it’s important to note:

As the blood flow goes away, if you go back down and sit for a while, YOU WILL REGRESS. THIS IS NORMAL.

You’re working on two different levels…

The “COLD” level and the “HOT level.

As you progress through rehab, your “COLD” level should improve alongside your “HOT” level. But the two will never match.

Say you rate your sedentary pain at an 8.

You train and get blood flowing, you might improve to a 5.

But when you stop training, you go back to sitting in your chair, you go back to your shortened and fixed ranges of motion, you go back to a 7.7.

Then you train again, get blood flowing, you improve to a 4.5.

Et cetera…

It’s a slow process, but you almost always feel better. Meaning you won’t be at a “COLD” 9 in the morning and then a “COLD” 10 at night…unless something is wrong.

Back to the weight work…

Once the high repetitions feel good with the empty bar, you slap on some weight, maybe 5-10 pounds, and you do them again. If you feel no discomfort, maybe a little more.

The key is to always feel a little uncomfortable. Never sharp pain. Just uncomfortable. And, when you do this, your discomfort will decrease as the reps increase. You’ll unlock new ranges of motion when the discomfort decreases…

With this system rolling, you can then tinker with lifting heavier things once or twice per week using exercises you’d normally do.

Don’t stop the current system. Keep working weird ranges of motion for mobility purposes, keep your high repetition lower weight work.

But then go in and hit slow and controlled singles or doubles, slowly working up in weight. I like stopping at every new 25-45 increment and calling it a day.

I’m now using conventional deadlifts…

So the first day, I might go 2×45, 2×65, 2×75, 2×85, 2×95 and then quit. Then the next time, work to 135. This, of course, assumes you have a decent amount of strength. I’ve deadlifted 555 pounds before, so use that as a frame of reference and adjust.

I keep the reps low to avoid technical breakdown. This phase is all about getting used to the intensity. Kicking your nervous system in gear. Because when you lift heavier things, your technique changes in subtle ways.

Then once you work back up to your old weight levels, you can add the volume you’d normally do.

Now…

Every injury is different.

This isn’t a prescription. Just what I did to rehab my back quickly. And, in general, this is my initial approach to ANY injury.

But I’m not afraid to adjust if something feels…off.

So don’t be an idiot. Avoid sharp pain. Embrace a tiny bit of discomfort. And, most importantly, if you can, TELL YOUR BODY HOW TO HEAL.

Ott has always been my favorite trickster. He’s such a chill guy. His tricks are insane. But what sucked me in more than anything else: the way he makes his samplers.

A lot of tricksters (my prior self included) use upbeat metal or techno. Ott, more often than not, uses music that would lull a baby to sleep. The audio is such a contrast to the craziness going on visually. The dichotomy is powerful and mesmerizing. Check out his YouTube channel for more of his videos.

I will meet you one day, Rasmus Ott. And when I do, we’ll drink a beer. I’ll try my best to not be a fan girl, but I’m not making any promises.

Stephen Hawking knows why we’re fat. We eat too much and move too little. And, to fix the problem, all we have to do is eat less and move move.

It’s not rocket science, he says.

But let’s see…

Is human behavior simple or complex?

Complex.

Still don’t fully understand human behavior. The brain is a mysterious place. Perhaps even more so than the field of rocket science.

Changing diet and exercise habits. Hmmm. Isn’t that changing human behavior?

Not to mention: the human body makes adjustments when you eat less and move more to close the energy balance gap.

Not so simple, Mr. Hawking.

Also…irony?

Well played, Smith & Forge. Well played.

Guy writes to me about his knee pain. Said he went to a physio. Physio told him to avoid the deadlift because he has hypermobile hips.

Physio recommended he do jiu jitsu instead.

So the physio said…

Don’t bend over and lift a static weight, one that you’re in complete control over, one that’s insanely predictable.

Instead, bend over and lift a flailing human being, one you have no control over, one that’s not predictable in the slightest.

Makes sense.

That’s a You thing, not a True thing.

– Todd Herman

Some kids in my kid’s class, I like some of those kids. Some of those kids are cool. They come over to my house and they play with my – I like them.

Other kids I don’t like, especially the little boys. Little boys in my kid’s class, I hate them. I hate little boys.

I’m like the opposite of a pedophile. I just hate –

There’s one kid in my daughter’s class who I hate so much, and it’s really fucked up because I’m 44 and I hate a six year old. I mean, I hate him with a grown-up, pre-occupying hate.

I’ve thought about him three times since I came out here. That’s how much I really hate this kid.

I’m going to tell you about him and I have to make up a name because he’s a real child who lives in this city, so I have to make up a name in order to tell this story about him.

His name is just, Jezanthepuss. Let’s just call him Jezanthepuss. Jezanthepuss. Fine. Okay.

He’s in my daughter’s class. They’re in first grade. When we take our kids to class, there’s a little procedure.

You bring your kid to school and they have their backpack and their jacket and they go to their cubby and take it all off and they put it in the cubby. Then they take their homework folder and their lunchbox and put them in the bins.

Those are their little responsibilities. You help them do it so they’ll, blah blah blah.

But, Jezanthepuss –

When he comes in he doesn’t do none of that shit. He just walks in and just sheds it all. And his mom, his weak, piece of shit mom picks it all up.

I hate his mother because you hate a weak parent, when you’re a parent. Because it’s like you’re raising Hitler, motherfucker. Do your job! Get in there.

If our parent group and our class were a platoon of soldiers, she’d be the one that we’d put soap bars in socks and –

We’d frag that bitch in her sleep. She would wash right the fuck out. She wouldn’t make it.

When Jezanthepuss drops his shit, this bitch picks it up.

She just goes, “He just… I’ll get…”

“I’ll get it…”

“And then I’ll put it in the bins for him.”

And she puts it all away for him, which frees him up to punch other kids in the face because he’s a shitty, horrible, violent child.

– Louis CK, Live at the Beacon Theater

Beyond being hilarious, here’s something to think about.

Everyone is both Adult and Child. Everyone.

When you indulge in desires you don’t really want to indulge in, you’re being the Child. You’re all instant gratification.

  • You eat the cake instead of broccoli
  • You watch Netflix instead of train

The Adult inside of you isn’t in control of the Child when you do these things you don’t really want to do. You’re letting Jezanthepuss run amok.

And guess what?

No one likes an Adult that can’t control their Child.

So whenever you feel yourself being pulled in the Child direction, remind yourself: there’s an Adult inside. Bring the Adult to the forefront. You’re in control.

Let the Adult make the decisions.

If you don’t do this consciously, the Child will always win.

Don’t judge your insides by someone else’s outsides.

– Rob Lowe

It’s only a small preview of their conversation, but this quote comes from here. Worth your three minutes.