Archive for July, 2013

Remote Queerfitting



photo (3)The magic carpet ride of queerfit happens for one hour, twice a week. That, alas, leaves 166 hours a week of not-queerfit. How sad is that?! And sadder still, what about those poor souls who don’t live in Atlanta or who have conflicting schedules and can’t get to a queerfit workout at all?

I’m on the road for the next few weeks, and will be having to queerfit remotely. This got me thinking about what makes a workout a queerfit workout.  After long study and deep thought, here’s the distillation…

One point for incorporating any of the following elements into a workout. When you get up to 4 points, then you’ve turned your workout into a queerfit workout:

Use odd objects.  The real world is not a shoulder press machine with safety stops and padded seats. The real world is not a rigid, perfectly straight barbell. The real world is odd, as in asymmetrical, unbalanced, awkward. It’s queer as hell. Trees, for example. Couches that need to be moved. Kegs. Dogs. Children. All quite odd in their own way. Since we’re training for this queer real world, one point for you if the workout you make up uses odd objects. Sandbags are great, but so are tree limbs, your luggage, or your office chair. The odd object can also be you.

Do it in public. Working out inside a gym is the norm, so one point for working out in public. Look for a playground with pull-up bars, or a space with a chest high retaining wall. I especially love workouts that incorporate barriers – walls, police barriers, fences – by turning them into something to get up and over.

Go hard hard. Even though most of our queerfit workouts fall between 12 and 20 minutes, there are lots of ways to go hard for workouts lasting anywhere from 4 minutes to an hour. You can’t actually go hard hard for an hour, or even for ten minutes – it’s physiologically impossible.  What you want to do is

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To the Pool

At 90 degrees, three days after the Zimmerman verdict, let’s head to the pool today instead of our usual Tuesday spot. There will be a hard workout for those of you who want to swim/push-up/squat out some of your anger & frustration & heartache, and there will be hanging around in the water for those of you who want to just hang around in the water. Let folks know – non-QFers and only-been-once-QFers welcome to join. 6:15 at the Grant Park Pool.   

Top 6 Squat Programs

Now that you understand the heavy squat is the only thing between us and a deadly tornado of sharks, you want to know: how often and how heavy? Enter the elixir of macho mens, the favorite topic of meatheads everywhere, the one thing Jersey Shore’s “The Situation” can talk intelligently about…the squat program.

The premise of any progressive strength program is that you get stronger as weights go up. Duh. But this incredibly simple principle produces a seemingly endless supply of programs, each one promising to make you not just stronger, but stronger than any other program or routine can make you.

You’re grown, you can choose. The top 6 squat programs, starting with the ones most appropriate for those just getting serious about heavy squatting, and ending with the one as ridiculous as the sharknado:

1. Starting Strength Novice Program. At its most basic, you’re doing 3 sets of 5 heavy squats three times a week. Once or twice a week, you’ll throw in either a set of 5 heavy deadlifts, or 5 sets of 3 power cleans. As with any other starter program, there’s no need to geek out about percentages and maximum lifts. Just add 5-10 pounds each week to your squat, maintaining form and depth. While 8-12-rep sets are good for bodybuilders and people who are more interested in hypertrophy (muscle size) than maximal strength, anyone who wants to increase their maximal strength will increase the weight and reduce the reps. To explain why, there’s a lot of science-y debate about the effect of hi-rep vs. lo-rep schemes on your muscles’ myofibrils and sarcoplasm. An explanation that’s good enough for me is that you get better at doing the things you do. If “stronger” means increasing your maximal lift, then lift heavy for fewer reps.

2. Starter Program for Olympic Lifting. This isn’t exclusively a squat program.  Rather, it incorporates squats as part of basic training for someone learning the Olympic lifts (snatch and clean & jerk). I like how it rotates through the heavy squats each week, emphasizing the front squat because of its carryover value to the Olympic lifts. As a program for folks new to Olympic lifting, it is appropriately simple about what weight to use: Read more…

Heavy Squats

[heavy rain is in the forecast for tomorrow morning – if it’s raining at 9:50, QF is cancelled. If it’s not raining, we’re on! Join the Queerfit Atlanta group for location & scheduling changes]

First comes the air squat, which we do all day every day. Then there is the mighty overhead squat, which we do whenever we come across a barbell. Finally, come now the third of the holy trilogy of squats: the weighted heavy squat. Whether front squat, high back squat, or low back squat, there are few things as satisfying as putting something really heavy across your shoulders, dropping down low and standing it back up.

Queerfit, alas, doesn’t have the racks we need for heavy squats. If you have a gym with a rack and you have the right foundation, you absolutely positively should do heavy squats. Do you have the right foundation? You’re ready to put squats into heavy rotation if: Read more…