Monday, 28 September 2015

Learning and the Immune System

The Conversation on the immune System:
  • Recent evidence also suggests immune learning is strongly affected by environmental factors, including diet, lifestyle, our surroundings and previous infections.

    Immune responses to the yearly flu vaccine, for example, are impacted more by environmental factors than genetic differences. This suggests we can improve our immune responses by altering life experiences.
 Plasticity is a hallmark of any successful species. Top down control is far from optimal for health.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

In Praise of Climbing

If training could be distilled down to a single word it would be 'specificity'.  Practice makes perfect - or rather, perfect practice makes perfect.

But certain sports have excellent carryover to other athletic endeavour and all-round 'hustle', and perhaps with some modest tweaking, over the long term, will ideally confer favourable health and longevity outcomes.

The stop/start of team ball sports is a good example - short sprints with short recovery time are a feature of rugby, football and basketball whilst bursts of intense multi-dimensional exertion are evident in several combat sports from striking arts like kickboxing and Muay Thai through to the ground and pound of BJJ and/or Judo.

Now in some of the cases above there is impact (rugby) and intentional destruction of joint integrity (Judo and Muay Thai) - which do not auger well for long term health (nor perhaps longevity), but you can certainly 'go light' in these pursuits and they often have less destructive forms (Rugby 7s).

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Steel Fingers 2

My current Steel Fingers program takes 37 minutes to complete (not including warm up), and looks like this:
  1. BLOCK 1 (14 minutes total to complete)
    Set 1: Full-Crimp Grip (7s:3s x 6 sets/60s)
    Two-Handed Hang with arms in deep lock-off.
    Rest 180s/3 minutes.

    Set 2: Open Hang Grip (7s:3s x 6 sets/60s)
    Two-Handed Hang with arms in deep lock-off.
    Rest 180s/3 minutes.

    Set 3: Half-Crimp Grip (7s:3s x 6 sets/60s)
    One-Armed Hang with arm in deep lock-off.
    Rest 300s/5 minutes.

    (Wrist push ups x 10)

  2. BLOCK 2 (14 minutes total to complete)
    Set 4: Full-Crimp Grip (7s:3s x 6 sets/60s)
    Two-Handed Hang with arms in 90 degree lock.
    Rest 180s/3 minutes.

    Set 5: Open Hang Grip (7s:3s x 6 sets/60s)
    Two-Handed Hang with arms in 90 degree lock.
    Rest 180s/3 minutes.

    Set 6: Half-Crimp Grip (7s:3s x 6 sets/60s)
    One-Armed Hang with arm in 90 degree lock.
    Rest 300s/5 minutes.

    (Wrist push ups x 10)

  3. BLOCK 3 (9 minutes total to complete)
    Set 7: Full-Crimp Grip (7s:3s x 6 sets/60s)
    Two-Handed Hang with arms in arms almost straight.
    Rest 180s/3 minutes.

    Set 8: Open Hang Grip (7s:3s x 6 sets/60s)
    Two-Handed Hang with arms in arms almost straight.
    Rest 180s/3 minutes.

    Set 9*: Half-Crimp Grip (7s:3s x 6 sets/60s)
    One-Armed Hang with arm in arms almost straight.
    *There is no allotted rest time after the last set.

Steel Fingers 1

In my bid for fingers of steel, and after a long lay off from climbing, I have formulated the following finger program based upon Encores and Repeaters and Ben Davidson's program.

My digits are weak at the moment so I need to use two handed hangs.  I've been foot-on laddering twice a week for a few weeks in an attempt to condition my fingers, but now is the time to specialise!

A quick word about my warm up prior to the climbing routine.  It is similar to my generic warm up - joint rotations and limb swings.  Then to a bit of rope climbing to work shoulders and elbows, and to give the full hand a shakedown.  Finally I do some light finger work on the campus board - all foot-on, and then with a few foot-off moves.  This takes around 20 minutes.

Terminology & Broad Outline
  • The basic exercise is a HANG which comprises 7s Time Under Load (TUL) with 3s rest for a chosen GRIP.
  • The hang is repeated five times (so six hangs in all) - which means 60s of work.  This is a SET.
  • Three SETS form a BLOCK.
  • Each of the three SETS within a BLOCK uses a different GRIP.
  • The GRIP chosen will be one of:
    - Full crimp,
    - Half crimp, and,
    - Open crimp. 
  • Rest times between each SET within a BLOCK is 180s (3 minutes).
  • Each BLOCK is repeated for a total of three times with
    - Arms almost straight,
    - Arms at 90 degrees, and,
    - Arms in a full lock position.
  • The rest between BLOCKS will be 5 minutes.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

How Am I Lifting?

Thought I'd post up a quick look at my approach to training with an outline of my core routine.  I keep the movements big and basic, and include both barbell and body weight work. 

My set up for the past few years has been largely based around this warm up, and the following routine:
  • Monday
    Deadlift
    Chin Ups

    Wed

    Sprinting
    Front Lever to Back Lever (see Dragon's Door).
    Planche variation

    Friday

    Squats
    Hand Walking

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Paleo Porridge

Is porridge 'paleo'?  Well it was consumed before settled agriculture (not nomadic agriculture).  From New Scientist - Stone-age people were making porridge 32,000 years ago:
  • To see the benefits of a plant-based diet, you only need to know that society has been largely fuelled by processed grains for the last 20,000 years, says archaeologist Matt Pope of University College London. “There is a relationship there to be explored between diet, experimentation with processing plant food and cultural sophistication.”


    This is another example of the advances made by Europe’s Gravettian culture, which produced technology, artwork and elaborate burial systems during the Upper Palaeolithic era, says Erik Trinkaus at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. “These people were described 15 years ago as ‘Hunters of the Golden Age’, and the details of that are still being filled out.”

    Mariotti Lippi’s team hopes to continue studying ancient grinding stones to find out more about the Palaeolithic plant diet. Grinding stones go back a long way, says Trinkaus, and people may well have been pounding and eating various wild grains even earlier than 32,000 years ago.
 Let's not lose sight that such grains would not have been harmongenised, of vastly differing strains to those eaten nowadays, were unlikely to have been processes to such refined, acellular state, nor covered in sweetened substances to the extent that cereals in their modern form are.  We must also consider the seasonal nature of diet and how this affects consumption rates and so forth. 

There is little to say whether such food was a food of last resort or how it was considered against game.  Perspective, people.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Disruption of the Circadian Clock

Another interesting aspect to sleep:
  • The researchers used mice whose body clocks run at about 24 hours - much like our own - and housed them in a shorter 20-hour day. This forced their biological clocks out of sync with the light-dark cycle. After four weeks, the researchers injected the mice with lipopolysaccharide, a molecule found in bacteria that can make an animal sick without being contagious.

    The researchers saw that the disrupted animals had blunted immune responses in some cases or an overactive response in others, suggesting the altered circadian cycle made them potentially less able to fight illness and more likely to get sick.

    "This represents a very clear dysregulation of the system," said Karatsoreos. "The system is not responding in the optimal manner." Over time, he said, this could have serious consequences for an organism's health.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Trolls

Dissociative anonymity. Invisibility. Asynchronicity. Solipsistic introjection. Dissociative imagination. Minimisation of authority.