Last weekend I invited several other coaches and trainers from the San Diego area to meet with me in a park by the bay to eat pulled pork sandwiches, lift stuff, play on monkey bars, and talk shop. Despite not needing all 14 pounds of pulled pork and a whole gallon of dill pickles I had brought I felt it was a successful endeavor and hopefully the first of many to come. I'll recap a few points I took from a day of BBQ, comradery, and lifting stuff.
The small crew consisted of myself, Erik Blekeberg, Ryan Burgess, Matt Brown, and Doug Balzarini. That being said I think its fair to say we had a strong showing from athletics, strength, and general fitness backgrounds among us.
I brought two barbells and some bumpers and plates and Erik brought a 200 pound sandbag and some 32kg kettlebells. We were set for stuff to lift and the nearby monkey bars and trees were a nice addition to climb around on. Between eating and lifting (or watching the others lift due to a pulled rhomboid I have) I felt there were some interesting points to take away.
Big Men Can Squat Deep
When big men can't squat it's often related to the hip flexors and the ability to recruit deep muscles in the hip, groin and abdomen. We were able to get the big Ryan "Bird" Burgess to squat nearly ass to grass with a goblet squat in about 5 minutes. He's probably not ready to quit box squatting for strength, but the movement should complement his other work. It was noted that in order to hold the upright position and balance in the bottom position, we need to think about activating the hip flexors as we would the lats in an overhead press. Instead of packing the shoulder we are packing the femur into the hip. These were broken thoughts that were nice to talk out loud with other people, and it was cool to see it work so well.
People Make Great Weights
Watching a 230 pound man fireman carry and squat a 300 pound man is not only impressive, but hilarious. I'll try to get video soon. Erik is probably somewhat correct that "Squatting makes you better at life." Especially if you are a fireman carrying big people.
Strong Doesn't Require Fatness
Matt Brown looks somewhat more like a bodybuilder than a powerlifter, but he consistently trains heavy and focuses on the 3 main lifts. He is proof that strength and physique work can go hand in hand for some people.
Don't Forget About Gymnastics
Seeing Doug perform a human flagpole made me realize that I still find relative bodyweight strength and gymnastics very impressive. I hope to make this something I improve as I begin working more with MovNat as an instructor. Doug's ability perform like a gymnast on the playground and then manhandle the sandbag, demonstrate yet another set of complimentary skills.
Sandbags Don't Need Handles
We all seemed to feel that sand bag training works best when there are no handles. No matter how durable the claim they always seem to rip or tear and kinda defeat the purpose of having an odd shifty implement you can't easily hold on to. IronMind bags are simple, tough, and awesome.
More to Come
In the future we may add a little more structure to the gathering. We may not. It was pretty nice as was, to get outside, lift things and play, eat meat, and chat with friends. More on the next one, and more pictures as well. Happy lifting!