Miscelleaneous Miscellany Monday: Surprise B-day Party Edition
1. I’ve had to keep my lips sealed for far too long on this one, but this past weekend I flew home for the day for a surprise 60th b-day party for both my mom and step-dad. My sister and sister-in-law have been in cohoots for quite some time, and they did an amazing job at pulling off an epic party.
Now, rather than spend ten hours in a car driving to and from NY, I elected – reluctantly – to fly instead.
Five hours in the car vs. a 60 minute flight: easy choice, right?
Upon arriving at the airport early Saturday morning, I looked at my plane and it had freakin propellers. PROPELLERS!!!!!
Anyone who knows me, knows I HATE flying. And, as you can probably surmise, up untll that point I had never flown in such a small plane before. Packed in like sardines, we took off, and I pretty much destroyed the back of my pants.
Long story short, both my parents were caught off guard, and it was awesome to see their reactions when they walked through the door to see all of us standing there.
Mom [deer in headlights look]: Oh…….oh my gosh, what in tha………OMG, Tony! Where’s Lisa?
Me: Hi Mom, I love you.
Mom: Where’s Lisa?
Me: Happy Birthday!!
Mom: Where’s Lisa?
Needless to say, my Mom really likes my girlfriend…….haha.
2. While away this weekend, I was able to get a quick lift in at my alma mater, SUNY Cortland. I hadn’t been there in like eight years, and it was really surreal to be walking around campus again.
A quick aside: for those that don’t know, Cortland has played host to the NY Jets for the past few seasons during their training camps, and was featured this past season on HBO’s Hard Knocks.
Of course, as expected, I was surrounded by a bunch of dudes with wife-beaters on, doing every bicep curl variation known to man – not to mention the obligatory guy who puts waaaaaaaay too much weight on his back, only to squat down maybe four inches.
It comes with the territory, I suppose; kinda what I expected.
I was didn’t expect, however, was how the facility itself has really improved since I left. While most college (student) gyms are lucky to have one squat rack, this one had three – as well as an olympic platform, various different bars (thick bars, trap bars, etc), a glute ham raise, battle ropes, kettlebells, and a host of other goodies that made me feel like a kid in a candy store.
I kept it pretty simple: worked up to a few heavy singles on the deadlift, followed by some bulgarian split squats, then glute ham raises, and then finished off with some KB windmills and swings. Okay, okay…..I also sneaked in some curls, too. Jesus! But it was only two sets. Okay, three. I mean four.
3. Someone sent me this quote from strength coach Nick Horton, and asked for my response:
But, personally, I’m in favor of dumping box squats all together (we never do them), as the idea of spinal compression from BOTH ends is scary to say the least. You should never sit down when heavy weight is on your back, IMO (powerlifters start throwing stones at me … now). The potential benefits do NOT outweigh the risks.
Still, he’s dead right about Oly squats kicking the butt of box squats. And, that you should squat if you have any interest in not being wimpy.
My Response: We use box squats quite a bit at CP – as we feel it’s a great tool to teach proper depth in the squat. Likewise, we don’t teach our athletes the traditional “powerlifting” box squat (rocking off the box); instead, we teach more of a tap-n-go approach, and to stay tight in the bottom. Additionally – and this is an important point – the spine does a fairly good job at handling compressive loads – it’s sheer loads (rounding of the back) that you have to be careful of.
To that end, we also use Olympic style squats a lot, too. It just depends.
Either way, this is no jab at Coach Horton – the guy trains a ton of athletes and he’s doing things the right way. Besides, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and who am I to say that he’s wrong and I’m right? We may have different thoughts on certain things, but so long as our athletes are getting better, that’s all that really matters.
4. I will say, though, if we’re going to talk about how NOT to perform box squats, this video pretty much hits the nail on the head. Seriously, if you can make it past the whole “you don’t want to squat to parallel – you should keep your knees below the hips” comment without wanting to jam a pen through your eye, you win!
Since you’re not going to parallel, the key to this exercise is to load it up as heavy as possible, so that the body gets used to handling a lot of weight.
Says the guy with 15 lbs on his back.
A small part of me is thinking this has to be fake – but them again, it probably isn’t. Excuse me while I go jump into a live volcano.