how come you taste so good?”  (Enter: sax!)

How would I even know you tasted good at all, let alone by comparison, lest I understood relativity?  Now, mind you, I am not a physicist or even a college educated individual, but I do operate with a working understanding of what relativity means.

By comparing one action or object with another, I am able to score both qualities and quantities associated with said object.

Russel Wilson is not as tall as me, but he is taller than both his mother and my mother.

Roger Federer is older than Rafa Nadal, yet not as old as Curt Schilling or Dutch Dalton.

You are reading this on a screen larger than your fingernail, but by how much?

How can one relate without a point of reference?  How would I know that finding a cat who had left this corporeal zone this morning would be quite tough for it’s owner to digest?  Because a few months ago I found my own cat, freshly departed from this mortal coil, on the road in the cold, cold morning.

So, all the love I knew from this cat did not quite slip through my hands once he left us.  I carry his love with me all day every day.  I found him without a pulse but otherwise undamaged, on a twisty road not far from our home.  I brought him home and buried him like a pharaoh, encased in concrete, with his favorite meal and toy (a shoelace), right outside my apartment.

He rests forever at the only home he ever knew.

I tried to ensure a similarly dignified send-off for my neighbor’s orange tabby, but the deal is not quite sealed.

The area I found the cat in was not it’s home, and where I believe the owners live, no one is home yet.  I knocked, etc.  Twice.

So I’m sitting here with my dogs, ‘Stones cranked, drinking in some sunlight through the window pane, and regaling you with tales of sorrow and loss.

Only to turn a corner as quickly as ‘Wild Horses’ turns into ‘Can’t you hear me knocking?’.

What he once told me:

If you want to taste sweet, you have to eat sour.

How would you know what tastes good, if you were not aware of what tastes bad?  

I know what love is because I’ve shared and lost it, in more than one form.  When Mr. Miyagi was around, he created love and form from the void.  He directed me towards form, and cared not for vacant indulgences.

This was one heck of a cat.  

So to you, my neighbors, I will try again to carry some form through this day while celebrating the form your cat gave to your cycle.  

Even if he was the orange tabby who would harass Mr. Miyagi through our kitchen window.

IMG_8758I will never forget you my little man 🙂



handstand half split
It had climbed above 50 degrees in southeastern PA this past weekend.  This upcoming weekend I am gettin’ some outdoors, for sure.  

There are chinning bars in Bryn Mawr, & steps in Malvern or Villanova University stadium.  I have spent years dialing in these excellent outdoor training spots.

Staying healthy and reducing/preventing pain is not easy.  Keeping myself in a position to run frequently involves much thought and notation.  As a result, I have truly faced down some attitude from various parts of my body.  That is to say, i’ve slapped silly much of anything that lives along my spine or pelvis.  Lots of work around the hip rotators and thoraco-lumbar area.

Enter: unilateral training modifications.  

In using single arm and single leg movements, I address the joints closer to the torso.  My shoulder and hip being the real targets. Single arm, single leg, shoulder, hip, and so on.  My specifics will be detailed in this post.  If I may help you address similar tissue reconfiguration, email me: or comment.

Look at your training logs.  Do you have examples of ‘one-arm ______’ or ‘single-leg ______’ at any place in your training?

Do you perform these variations exclusively?   Do you avoid them all together? Where do they appear within the spectrum you view your training through?  Are you training, or simply exercising? What’s the difference? You ask too many questions, American.

I have these movements logged recently, yes. I perform nothing exclusively. Within my spectrum of specificity, these movements are presently being tested and trained through component/contra specific. Yup. If you read and digested the last post, I have benefited from testing and drilling movement from an inverted posture, or “upside down”.  Head below the hips.   Using physio balls, lying on my back, bosu balls, hanging from a pull up bar or Smith machine, I get good feelings and numerical results to certain movements I have recently flipped.

-Single-leg press/Smith machine

-One-arm shoulder flyes and raises from standing/forward fold

-Spinal flexion/abdominal crunches

-DB pullovers

and so it goes


The single-leg extension reared it’s head from behind an English football this past December.  I realized I had to perform this movement, if I wanted to kick footballs and not say “ow!” each time.

In time, I evaluated my own quality of movement for said drill, and soon after noted some quantities of strength as they applied. Where I am employed, there is a seated Cybex leg extension unit.  Top gear, mate.  Nice adjustable upright support, and three adjustments to be made at the hip/knee/ankle.

The movement itself, knee extension, appears in my training most frequently during the below listed movements

-Recumbent cycling

-Footwork for speed

-Running (steps, hills, trails, etc.)

-Leg pressing


-Cleaning barbells

-Snatching DBs

-Various leg-lifting and lowering from supine (ab drills) and so many more life movements as well.

I want my knees to hurt less.  I want to play lots of English football this summer.  I want to learn to kick a rugby football properly.  I want to play basketball when the weather is nice and not hurt my knees and ankles when I land.

I, I, I!  Me, me, me!  I’m so important!

Component specific: the ‘what’ of my ‘how’.

I am focusing on a movement within a motor pattern.  A single joint action as it assists in the orientation and outcome within position, and a change in position.

If I want to kick a soccer ball and run both up and down hills without pain, the actions of the knee must be addressed in my resistance training. I select the movements that lie in opposition to the actions of the knee in the cases I listed. The knee bends, and straightens.  Essential knee function.  The role of the knee, however, changes just as frequently as possession in a sport like basketball or ice hockey.

Are you moving forward or backward?  

Where does your center of mass transfer from, regarding your foot?  

How does your knee conduct on these articulations?

Do you have to jump in order to complete the play?  

Is the knee completely straightening as part of an upward thrust?

When the knee completes a change of direction, might it incur added stress during the flexion that is required to complete a landing, under such force?

These are considerations when training a body part to improve performance. If my primary concern was the visible muscular definition in my thighs, I would NOT care to examine how the knee function in my life dictates training. Since I care to improve the quantities of what I do (run faster, drop-kick a rugby football with more accuracy y), I am sure to verify the quality of the ‘how’. A look into my streamlined process, if you please. In order, I Examine movement indications and contraindications. View movement through specificity model/examine history regarding the movement & me. Test for quality modifications, tools, loads, tempos, and recovery periods. Avoid signals. Engage.

Knee extension & me: Knees hurt from age 10-22.  Knees started hurting when I began to get taller (Osgood Slatter’s condition, anyone?). Knees stopped hurting when I began deep squatting and was not bound up at the ankle anymore (ICBs). Knee, singular, right side, began hurting again 14 months after I blew out my left ankle.  Hurts less these days. Knee, singular, left side, began hurting about two weeks ago when I slid, unexpectedly, on ice in a parking lot and extended my knee as a result.  Still hurts. Knee, right side, hurt so bad at the tibial tuberosity, I had to stop training pistols and step-up/down on that side.  Had a hernia surgery that ruined my right hip, in 2010.  That whole side is just a bummer. Knee, left side, suffering some acute agitation, should be looked after and taken care of soon.  It will be my plant leg when I drop kick my rugby ball.  The left knee extending is part of my orientation, helping me maintain the position i moved into. Which means the right leg will be extending, and not part of the orientation.  Not weight bearing.  It is a part of my outcome, or, the position i transition into after the kicking movement. This is how I view the knee as it applies to the specifics of my chosen movements, in both life and athletics.  “What” and “How” all around. What?  Knee extension. How? In the air, on the ground, single, recycled, under load, against gravity, inverted, etc.  And so it goes. I will table an excerpt from my training log, to show a most recent training session & PR:


 Bent over rows/two DBs

-Head below hips, in a true standing but inverted posture

-Raised up on a step with two risers under each end

-At the ‘bottom’ of the movement, elbows extended, I allow the shoulder to really uncouple from the muscles pf my back

-Leading from the elbow on the upward rowing movement

30lb load
  • 8/115

  • sets/reps
  • 3450lbs volume

  • 07:35

  • 455lbs/minute density

No PR to report.  But upon review of the software record, I missed a desnity PR by a few lbs/minute.

Not sweating that one bit mate.  The movement felt incredible and let my shoudler rock out. Plate Curl [pinch work]

12.5lb load (a 10lb + 2.5lb plate stack) 12/154 sets/reps 1925lbs volume 17:20 111lbs/minute density 175%PR

175% increase at intensity/volume. More reps with heavier weight. Good $#!t. What does your training log indicate?   EW

batman inversion

“Inversion postures testing well, master Wayne?”

Greetings, all.
If you are familiar with Batman in any film media, you may have a favorite Alfred.

Are you a hardcore Dark Knight-er? Did you have an Alfred Pennyworth voice recite that quote for you? I grew up with the TV series from the 1960s, yet it was Michael Gough, an excellent Alfred, whose voice prompts mosts inquiries to one Bruce Wayne. In the Batcave of my conciousness.

I could rock the t-shirt while I invert, but I will not.  Respect first the inverted posture, not the iconic association to a stoic, dark detective.  

Inversion postures are found every day in life, sport, dance, yoga, etc.  They are everywhere you would never think to look.  

Though I do have 5 Batman t-shirts, I lost 90% of my Batman comic collection when my parent’s water heater burst.  1999, some cold day at 7AM. I was out west with C 1/1.  

I respect the posture.  I reflect now upon a period of instruction just prior to the full-on flirtation with the Movement.  One of the final Dragon Door events I attended was their April 2010 Indian Clubs certification with Dr. Ed Thomas.   These two days were sandwiched between two single days of meeting with ‘others’ in St. Paul.  Hooking up with frankie, not done since 2006.  Quite a balanced event that spring, 3 weeks prior to a follow up trip to MN.

Dr. Thomas presented information as did Brett Jones & staff.  The ‘3 uncommon postures’ were detailed as brachiation (hanging from the limbs), spinal extension (forms of standing back bending, or bridging, hip bridging as well), and inversion, defined as having the hips above the heart, in turn above the head.  My lumbar’s ego moaned in ecstastic belief.  ‘Unstack me, you jackass!’ it yelled up to it’s cranial end.

The 3 uncommon postures of the first world economy.  Compare those three postures to the movements involved in your day.  Do these listed positions and movements sound uncommon to you?


Inversion tables.  Inversion Boots.  Deuce Bigalow the male gigolo’s mentor.  Franco Columbo.  Late night TV ads for inversion tables.  GITMO.

These are my off-the-cuff associations to inversion as I type this sodding sermon.

I directly associate inversion postures to a feeling of release in my knees and ankles, as well as a controlled change in the blood pressure in the area superior to my clavicular shelf.


List some ways you could invert, on a piece of paper right now.

I will wait.  Go.

Resume march:  Did any positions involve physio balls?  Bosu balls, smith machines, back extension apparati?  What about from standing?

Yogi and yoga practitioners know the benefit of having the hips above the heart.  Healthy way to massage organs and put pressure on glands that produce that magical juice.

Standing forward fold.  Head aligned roughly to the knee/shin area.  Chest positioned on the thigh, heart still below the hips.  Butt reached up high and everything relaxed through the knees and feet.  You should work on this posture if you have no history of blood pressure or stroke, nor are you fresh from the ophthalmologist.  

‘Standing forward fold’, when practiced well and in the absence of missed signals, could have you talking it up with the same fervor I am now.

When a practice of inversion postures came to record after testing many variations of postures and movements from inverted postures, there were noteworthy ‘life movement’ qualitative increases.

-Less stiffness upon waking

-A clearer head when more ‘sure footed’ in the waking moments of a day

-A reduction in the frequency/intensity/duration [ F.I.D ] of existing damage to the sternoclavicular and acromioclavicular joints of my right side.

-Novel tilts to the mechanics of known movements (also known as changin’ it up).

Examples of beneficial modifications include

-the dumbbell or free weight row from standing forward fold

This movement can be modified frequently and offers unlimited painless work at any range of motion or mini-cycle within the given R.O.M.

No lie, I have continued to stack my upper back with unholy mass while hitting 6-7 reps with a pair of 15LB DBs. Tough stuff for a light training load.

These light DBs had me resting around :45 between.  Low density work.  A great new movement that allows me to operate any load or tempo, R.O.M or hand/shoulder position, by signals which emerge unique, within nearly every lesson with this movement.

The inverted free weight row from standing.  You are like 1999’s ‘Mer de Noms’ or even ‘Paranoid’ on LP.  Over and over again we move these feet forward, irrespective of orientation.

Inversion via adaptive spectrum:

Specific, component specific, contra specific, non specific.

Specificity: bending back from standing.  Life movements-falling, recovering from a fall, tumbling, squatting, jumping, landing, etc.

Components: Spinal and hip extension and flexion, compensatory angle changes form shoulders, knees, elbows/wrsits, ankles

Contra specifications: Loaded hanging spinal flexion, flexion of hip/knee/ankle from standing, fast tucking, or spinal flexion for jumping movements

Are you with me?

The inverted posture, which may occur from standing spinal flexion, can be acheived with a simple supported back bend.  Tools such as physioballs, BOSU, chinning or parallel bars, doorways, poles, adjustable benches in the weight room, all enter as component support.

Specificity: component contra-spec work is where the best stuff is for me, right now.  Or, a part of a movement which is contraspecific to a movement I spent years drilling the same way.  Component/contra specific.  A piece of a movement testing well as a means of undoing some bad learning and unresolved stress.  Stress I input myself, by chosing that ‘how’ for said movement.  Should not have pressed weight from the shoulder that way.

I’m getting the shoulder back, however. 

Current postures & movements from inverted which have tested well in these last 6 weeks.

A) Single leg press

-tri-fold mat stacked and under the bar of a Smith machine

-50lbs loaded, single foot on the bar.  I perform an inverted ‘mock pistol’, does not hurt my right knee

B) Chest press/Smith machine

-On my back, comfy on the tri-fold mat

-legs up with the air or in a split stance,

-supported on the smith machine upright hardware

C) One-arm free weight row

-Stand on a step with one or two risers

-leaning forward with the inversion posture secure (hips above heart, heart above head, shoulder really on it’s own

-beautiful rowing movement sure to have my shoulders ready for #75 Vince Wilfork’s tailor


Why do I believe?

Why this works for me?  Numbers prove it, but I certainly looked into the specificity model enough to have dialed up a nice new, signal-free movement.

It will reduce pain in the shoulder?  Again, the specificity model indicates that an inverted posture, where the shoulder and elbow are the dominant joints involved in a manner where the concentric portion of the lift is against gravity and lies across the spectrum by maybe 170 degrees, as it is contra specific to the Marine Corps pull-up, in so many ways.  In more ways than years I spent in love with the ole palms-forward dead-hang pull up.  But my neck and AC and SC joints are ready for something in between now and soon, not now and way the heck back when. . .