Just Because

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Last Saturday, prior to our staff lift (which we do around 2:30 PM, after clients are done training for the day), we decided to throw ourselves a little curve ball and do something out of the ordinary. While normally we’re pretty meticulous when following a program that either myself, Eric, or Brian has written, this particular day we decided to throw caution to the wind, and just beat the crap out of ourselves. Why? Just because.

While I’m a firm believer that – and this goes for any fitness professional responsible for writing programs for clients – you should have a rationale for EVERYTHING you program, sometimes you just need to do something for sake of doing it. Just because.

There doesn’t have to be a clear, concrete answer for everything, 100% of the time. More like 99.97% of the time. For instance:

1. For someone with chronic anterior knee pain, why would reverse lunges be a better option than forward lunges?

2. Why would something like the lying knee-to-knee stretch not be such a good idea for the vast majority of female athletes?

3. Is it a good idea to program sit-ups for someone with lower back pain?

4. Is there ever a time where programming front squats is a bad idea?

5. Tony, why did you program like seven different versions of sled pushes today?

Answer Key

1. Forward lunges are more decelerative in nature. Meaning, one must decelerate his or her bodyweight in order to perform the movement. For someone with busted knees, that’s not going to feel so hot. Contrarily, reverse lunges are accelerative in nature, and place much less stress on the joint.

2. Given the fact that female athletes are 6-8 times more likely to have an ACL injury, and given the fact that the mechanisms for ACL injuries are pronation, adduction, and internal rotation, this stretch is a big no-no for most females.

3. Not when you consider that each repetition places roughly 3300 N (730 lbs) of compressive load on the lumbar spine.

4. Normally no, but when you have someone with an AC joint issue, using specialty bars like a giant cambered bar or a safety squat bar (which doesn’t place the load directly over joint) are a better option.

5. Because I hate you.

See, it’s that simple. In any case, getting back to last Saturday, it was an ass-kicker to say the least.

A1. Speed Bench Press vs Bands 5×3

A2. Reverse Prowler Drags 4×1 trip (35 ish Yds)

** Mind you, we were dragging the sled on rubber matting, which makes it about as much fun as a prostate exam. The first two sets we did were with 180 lbs of additional load. The third set, we decided a Deb DiRocco on board (I know better than to divulge her weight). The fourth trip I don’t even remember because I think I passed out and/or destroyed the back of my pants.

B1. Seated Cable Rows – Supinated Grip 3×10

B2. DB Suitcase Deadlifts 3×8/side

C1. Glute Ham Raise vs. Band 3×8 (last set, as many reps as possible w/o the band)

C2. Stick of Death – don’t ask

D. Finisher: Farmer Carries (80 yds), 25 Push-ups, Overhead Sledgehammer Hits (10/side), Kettlebell Swings (x15)

E. Hate life for the next three hours.

Honestly, there was really no rhyme or reason to that training session other than to beat the piss out of ourselves for an hour. Mission accomplished. I think, at times, we get so bogged down with sets/reps, time under tension, tempo, rest times, percent of 1 rep max, blah blah blah, that we often forget that you need to have fun, too. And, of course, just because.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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