Christmas wishlist part one

With christmas just around the corner, I’ve come up with a short lists of possible christmas wishes, since I’ve always had problems finding something to wish for myself.

In the first part of this short series, I’ll focus on reasonably priced training gear, that can make a difference. Small, simple things that’s usable for everyone.

1. Fat Gripz: simple and easy fatbar-in-a-gym-bag solution, this is a great way to work your grip and forearms a bit more during pulling movements. They’re also great for taking some stress off the wrists and elbows for pressing movements.

2. Gymboss Interval Timer: If you’re anything like me, you’ll occasionally end up taking way too long between sets. Using a GymBoss to time your rests will keep you honest and let you compare your training days on an equal basis.

3. The Grid Foam Roller: Really shouldn’t need an introduction by now. The hollow design is great for saving space and transporting booze home from holidays.

4. Thera Cane: The Thera Cane is a great self-massaging tool, just like the foam roller. I’ve written a review of the Thera Cane some months ago.

5. Resistance band loops: Though they appear a bit “fitnessy” at first glance, these are great for working hip abduction, something that’s hard to do. They can be used to warm up for lower body workouts and to strengthen the area in general. A great addition to a gym bag.

So there you have it, five small things that can make a big difference. Best part is – they’re affordable too.

Have a great day. <3

Strength training essentials #3

Third post in this series, and it’s gonna be a bit controversial.

See for years I really didn’t like this piece of equipment at all. I figured it was unnecessary, wimpy, girly and a lot of other things. Then I learned to think. Seriously.

See using straps is a matter of eliminating a limiting part of a chain. No matter how strong your grip is, you’re gonna be able to do more reps in a high-rep set of rows using straps than without. So if you’re training your back primarily, straps is the logical way to go.

Take for example the farmer’s walk. Without straps it’s a great static grip exercise, and a good exercise for the midsection, upper back and lungs. With straps, it becomes a great exercise for the upper back, midsection and lungs, that also challenges the grip a good deal. Though I wouldn’t use straps exclusively, it’s pretty clear that they have their merit.

Ironmind Lifting Straps is a quality pair of straps, that’ll last you a long time.

What about grip strength? Isn’t it important? If you compete in a sport where you have to grip things, it is. For someone training purely to look good, it’s not – you’ll build decent forearms using straps too. If it’s not enough, doing a few sets of towel chins once or twice a week should be plenty.

Now if you compete in a sport, things are obviously different. For me personally, grip isn’t an issue, so I do most of training with straps. I do however do all my heavy deadlifts and all my pullups without straps.

Straps are not gonna make your grip weak, but if it is, you obviously need to fix it. There are two ways to fix the problem:

  1. Train without straps for a couple of months. This should fix the problem.
  2. Add dedicated grip work for a month or two. Towel chins and farmer’s walk should be plenty.

Final note: there’s really no reason to limit your back (or other) training by not using straps. And no, it’s not “manlier” and using straps isn’t “gay”. If using straps will get you bigger and stronger, not using them is just plain silly.

Thera Cane review

Last week, my massage therapist lent me his Thera Cane to work on my groin at home. It’s been a nagging problem for me for a couple of years and while real soft tissue work regularly would be ideal, it’s simply not within my budget. I mean, I do get regular massages, but having him focus on my groin each and every time would a) probably get some funny looks after a while 😀 and b) mean the rest of the body wasn’t getting any attention.

theracane

So I borrowed the Thera Cane last time I went to see him, and I’ve been using it 2-3 or more times a day for about a week now. I gotta say, it’s simply amazing.

Thing is, the groin is a very hard area to target effectively with a la-X ball, a Rumble Roller, a Sprinter Stick or any of my foam rollers (yes, I’ve tried all those). The hook on the Thera Cane makes it easy to target and apply desired amount of pressure to the groin/hamstring area.

The only issue I see with the Cane is that it doesn’t really fit in a training bag. But that’s about it.

It’s also great for the upper back, but my experience is that I can hit those areas very well with my other tools. Where the Cane really shines is for massaging the groin.

I’ll be getting my own soon – I’ll be giving the borrowed one back this week. 🙁

Going on vacation part 2 – packing list

You’re getting ready to go, but you’re wondering what to bring. Have no fear, the famous brother is here!!! 🙂

luggage full and ready to travel

You can relatively easy and without having to bring another suitcase carry a few simple training tools on your vacation. This is what I’d recommend:

  • Lacrosse ball. This will come in handy after sleeping 2 hours in a shitty plane seat.
  • Foam roller. Either something similar to More Mile Beast Foam Roller 33cm, or a homemade PVC version. Doubles as safe storage if you buy anything fragile while away.
  • Gymboss or a similar timer.
  • A light and a medium band.
  • A set of straps – hotel gym bars are usually shit.
  • Jump rope.

One thing you’ll notice is that all of these things are light and don’t take up much space, yet they’ll allow you to get a bit of training and mobility work done.

Next part in this series will go more in-depth with the training itself. Stay tuned!

<3

Oakley M frame review and helpfile

The Oakley M frame. A pair of sunglasses designed to be worn under the most extreme circumstances. They’re about as common in Afghanistan as a superdupermegasized burger meal is in the states. They’ve also helped countless cyclists and runners perform at the highest level. It’s a great pair of sunglasses.

I’m so happy with mine that I haven’t worn my beloved RayBay Aviatiors for more than a month.

matt-damon-oakley-200x240

Matt Damon wears M Frames

Fit:

Mine fit me perfectly and I’ve never heard of anyone who didn’t have the same experience. They’re snug, but rest lightly on the nose and ears. The fit is just perfect and you can run around with them as much as you want to (I wore them for about 20 minutes of jumping last weekend) without any problems.

Style: Let’s face it, the M frame is a function over form type of gadget, but that’s a style in itself isn’t it? It’s like saying “fuck you and your designer shades, my specs are bulletproof NYAH!”. I find them stylish in their own way. I also find my Ray Ban Aviators stylish in an entirely different way.

A few tips on styling: I went with the SI model, which is a matte black, with gunmetal O. I like that alot. I’d suggest you get those or the industrial version since the styling and branding is very discrete and the frames downplayed. A bright neon-yellow frame is nowhere near as versatile. See the thing is, you can change the nosepiece and the rubber sleeves on the frame to mix it up a bit if you want that. You can also switch the lenses which will radically change the look of the glasses. I suggest you go with as discrete a frame as you can find. At least for your first pair of Ms.

Also, the shape and color of the lens really changes the appearance. My basic lens is a hybrid S black iridium, which is the smallest available lens in a mirrored black finish. They’re perfect for medium and bright light, though I find they’re a bit too “cold” if the light is really flat. Switching to a bigger lens with a brighter/more colored finish will definately change the look to something more futuristic. Mix and match. There are also vented options with little holes at the top of the frame. This seems to reduce fogging, which is great if you use them for sport.

The bigger lenses do have the advantage of covering the entire eye area better, which means you’re be completely shut off. 🙂

This is really one of the biggest strengths of the M Frame. The frame itself is pretty cheap, and while the lenses aren’t cheap, you can easily put together a pair of nice shades for about 1000 DKK/ 170$. That’s not at all bad considering the quality. You can also keep adding to your collecting of lenses and nosepieces/earsocks if that floats your boat.

One thing I’d recommend against is getting non-Oakley lenses. They typically use a different nosepiece, so you end up having to carry around several nosepieces. Not cool.

At some point, I’m pretty sure I want the G40 Transition lens – it’s a magical lens that’ll get darker as the sun gets brighter. I hope I get to see it in person though, as the tint of the lens should be experienced.