Monday, April 23, 2012

How important is rest and recovery?

Before I start my next round of Jump Manual training, I decided it would probably do my body good to take some time off. So that's exactly what I did this past week!

I didn't do any workouts. I didn't stretch. I didn't eat good. In fact, I ate horribly. I did play basketball three times so I wasn't completely inactive. But, compared to what I typically do during a normal week of training -- this week was equivalent to me sitting on the couch and eating bon bons.

Yesterday, the "party" continued with loads of junk food and staying up until almost 2:00 am. Right before going to bed, I ate two chocolate chip cookies. Go big or go home! I then slept for about 4 hours and got up at 6:00 am to play hoops. Yes, I'm a basketball addict.

But to my surprise, my legs felt really good today. I was jumping higher than I have in a while and I threw down the best dunk I've had in a really long time. And, it felt so GOOD!!! I didn't even take my video camera this morning as this was completely unexpected.

So the lesson here is...don't forget to take a break once in a while! Despite doing so many things wrong this week (bad diet, not enough sleep, and no stretching), giving my body some rest still resulted in jumping higher than I have in quite some time.

Here is a great article on the importance of recovery and avoiding overtraining that you might be interested in. Check it out!

Tomorrow, we leave for Disneyland so I'm sticking with this new workout program of not working out! Here's to hoping another week of junk food and avoiding exercise will result in jumping even higher next week! I'll let you know on Monday!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Are You Getting Stronger?

The other day Jacob Hiller (creator of Jump Manual) asked me, "are you getting stronger?" I couldn't confidently answer yes or no because I hadn't tested my max on lifts in a really long time.

So, yesterday I decided to max out on squats, deadlifts, hang cleans, bench press, and pullups. I'll repeat this test again following my next round of training to see how much I've improved.

Here were the results: 
  • Squat: 275 lbs 
    I'm going to count this as my new PR even though I probably should have gotten a little lower for it to be a true squat. I've been working on my flexibility and technique and it's helping but getting low is really challenging for me. Even when I do much lighter weight I have a hard time getting down to parallel. Here's a video if you want to check it out.

    • Deadlift: 273 lbs
    I'm pretty sure this is a new PR for me as I don't remember lifting more than this and looking back at my tracking sheets, I couldn't find anything higher. Here's the video:

    • Hang Cleans: 165 lbs
    This is not a PR for me. I've done 170 lbs for 4 reps before. My right wrist was hurting and I was probably a little fatigued from doing squats and deadlifts so I still feel pretty good about getting 165 lbs. I don't have a video for this one.

    • Bench Press: 185 lbs
    This is really embarrassing! I don't bench anymore so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I know about 12 years ago my best ever on bench press was 225 lbs x 3 reps. I've clearly lost a lot of upper body strength since then and I've definitely got to hit my upper body harder. This is why you need to evaluate your strength and see where you need work. I don't have a video of this and wouldn't show it to you if I did! :-)

    • Pullups: 1 rep with 50 lb weight
    I thought about testing how many total pullups I could do but figured that has more to do with endurance and I was already pretty tired by this point. I thought a better test would be to see how much extra weight I could do for 1 rep. I started with a 30 lb dumbbell between my knees and did it easy. Went up to a 40 lb dumbbell and was still able to complete. I then went for 50 lbs and barely got 1 full rep so that will be my new PR. I have never maxed out on this before. Very curious to see how high I can go on this in the future. No video for this one either.

    So since Jacob asked I will ask you! Are you getting stronger? How do you know? Can you prove it? What are your 1 rep max lifts? If you don't know, time to get in the gym and find out. Tracking is critical to your success!

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Jump Manual - Week 12 Recap of "40 at 40"

    I have finished another 12 weeks of Jump Manual training. Time has gone by so quickly. In fact, today (April 11) marks one year since I started my training and began chasing the dream to dunk at age 39.

    I set some big goals to reach by today. And, unfortunately I didn't reach them. My gains have slowed down and I have not made much progress in a while. The easy thing to do at this point would be to give up on my goal to dunk two hands. But, there is no way I'm going to do that! I'm just going to make some adjustments to my training, set some new goals, and get back to work.

    One thing I should start doing again is making videos. Those seemed to provide some extra motivation and it was fun to see all the comments from people even from the "haters" out there.

    So...I hope you will continue to follow along as I continue to chase my dunking dreams. Post some comments and let me know how things are going with your training. What is working for you? What isn't working?

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    Jump Manual - Week 11 Recap of "40 at 40"

    Week 11 of this phase of Jump Manual training went pretty well. I got in all my workouts and am starting to see some progress again particularly with plyometrics. I can tell because I track how high I'm touching for depth jumps and did better than the previous couple of weeks.

    Improving my vertical jump during this basketball season proved to be much harder than I anticipated and believe I fell for one of the most common vertical jump training mistakes -- overtraining! I'm always trying to push myself ("no pain, no gain") and yet that is not the best approach for vertical jump training. The body has to rest and your muscles actually get stronger during recovery. No recovery = no additional strength!

    Had I not played on 2 city league teams, I think I would have seen more increase with my vertical jump during these last few months. But, basketball is the reason I do this! I want to continue to compete at a high level and this training has made that possible. So, no regrets!

    Basketball season is over and now I'm going to train smarter. Not harder! And, for me I think it will make a huge difference.

    Thanks for reading and I hope your training is going well!