Author Archive Ickey Shuffle

I Didn’t Know This Was a Motorhead Song

Eight men answered the midweek bell to swing iron at Meathead this past week fighting off humidity and the dog day doldrums of the late summer.  We began with a disclaimer that some would call eloquent and moving and others would call nonexistent and completely missing.  Everyone hears things differently I suppose.  Next came a warmup consisting of various exercises not including the side straddle hop, because as I have learned recently, when your running shoes are extended beyond their useful life, that particular exercise is about as much fun as being stuck in a middle seat on a cross country flight between a chatty vegan and a woman who is super excited about her new Rodan & Fields business (pyramid scheme).  New shoes have summarily been ordered so as not to follow the cautionary tale of Gummy and Gloss and refusenik jumping jacks.

The holy spreadsheet of thunder and rock & roll let me know that press ladders and snatches were the order of the day.  Snatches are terrible and snatches in humidity are terribler.  First up was five sets of 1 press per side, then 2 per side, then 3 per side. Next was five sets of 10 snatches with each arm.  The compulsory part of the workout finished we could move on to the things that I actually wanted to do, namely five sets of 10 swings, 10 merkins, 10 sumo high pulls, and 10 sumo squats.  We then finished the morning off with some loaded carries and hollow body holds.

Now onto the part of the backblast that people actually read.  This particular offering is terribly late for a variety of reasons, none of them particularly good.  My ancient laptop is like Tennessee football, last viable circa 2012, and I don’t like writing on the iPad or the work computer.  Also, I really couldn’t think of any theme I wanted to center my commentary around.  The playlist was Motorhead because I was in need of a palate cleanser due to attending my first jam band concert the previous weekend.  While the musicianship is undoubtedly amazing,  the concept of one verse and chorus every 14 minutes is something I’ll never get used to.  Oddly, over the 45 minute period, the Spotfiy algorithm selected three cover songs performed by Lemmy and the boys.  Their rendition of Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law” was good, though not much different than the original.  Aerosmith’s “Train Kept A Rollin'” was interesting given the stark vocal differences between Lemmy and Steven Tyler, and their version of The Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie” was something that was unexpectedly delightful. While trying to think of a good topic to write about, my thoughts settled on the school year that is about to start, and how it represents a fresh start and a clean slate, a midyear do-over on New Year’s resolutions.  This time of year gives the chance for a restart that many of us need, and by many of us, I mean me of course. The past several months have been more existing than truly living for yours truly.  Too many weeknight glasses of scotch and vapid television, not enough intellectually enhancing pursuits.  Therefore I have decided to hit take the metaphorical game cartridge out of the console, blow on it (those of us raised on the original Nintendo Entertainment System know that is how to fix any software bug) and hit the proverbial reset button on the year.  I ordered a new laptop and have decided to finally get started on the nine year plan of becoming a freelance writer.  Why nine years?  Well, in nine school years, my youngest child will finish high school, and at that point I want to have reconciled my last spreadsheet for the man, constructed my last PowerPoint deck for senior leadership, and cease to be a cog in the soul crushing machine that is corporate America.  Now that I have put this ambition out there in print (pixels, but you get the point), I have an accountability network, and this group of ours excels at holding each other accountable.  If anybody else could use a midyear recalibration, I think the dawn of a new school year marks a good point on the calendar to reassess, realign, and get going.  As Andy Dufrense said, it’s time to get busy living.  Now, there are steaks to be grilled (get the outdoor flattop griddle, it’s life changing), backyard footballs to be thrown, and riddles of how to monetize writing things on the internet to be solved.

I Don’t Feel Tardy

About a week ago a number of men larger than ten but smaller than twenty gathered at Hydra for a workout that still starts at the reasonable hour of 6 am.  We’re going to say 13 because I’m reasonable sure that is actually correct, but can’t be bothered to check Slack.  This backblast is woefully tardy so some of the details may be a bit hazy, but that’s how some of life’s best stories typically go, with details shrouded in mystery due to the passage of time or injection of intoxicants.  Anyway, here’s my best recollection of the morning:

Short run to the other parking lot for COP, probably SSH, Imperial Walkers, and mountain climbers probably done by about 75% of the group.  Run to the rock pile at the church across the street.  Three sets of Sots presses and overhead squats.  Only a handful of people tried the Sots presses, which is disappointing and you people definitely need to broaden your strength building horizons.  Run over to the empty field between the mini playground and the baseball fields.  Iron Horse inspired merkin/squat/LBC ladder starting with 20 reps then run down the other end for 18, run back for 16, etc. all the way down to 2.  The ladder structure is still terrible, think Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff level terrible.  Run to the football field and gather in the end zone.  I wondered why nobody used the football field anymore, and as we were about to start the next complex Spackler warned me that it was full of burrs.  Being Spackler, I didn’t listen and brushed it off instructing the group to lunge walk to midfield, drop for 10 merkins, then sprint to the end zone.  After lunge walking to midfiled I dropped to perform said merkins, and immediately felt sharp pains in both hands as they were covered in burrs.  I should have listened to Spackler, apologies.  There were a few rounds of this, just banking the merkins for later.  After the last sprint, run to the bleachers and tables by the concession stand for 100 dips and 100 incline merkins, plus the 30 or so regular merkins carried over from the football field.  Run back to launch lot for some concluding Mary.

There is a good reason for the extreme delay in publishing this backblast.  Actually there is not.  I don’t like typing these on the iPad, and I don’t like using my work computer, so I’m left with an ancient laptop from circa 2012 that is slower than the service at restaurants these days due to the worker shortage.  Except Chic-Fil-A of course, they remain on their game, doling out sandwiches and nuggets with a side of “My Pleasure” with efficiency that would make Germans proud.  As an aside, my record for getting them to say “My Pleasure” during a transaction is 5.  Yes, I’m a basically a child.  On to the news and notes of the morning.  Most of the regular crew was there except for Gloss, who was leading a workout that I’m not sure actually exists.  Clover was not there either, having followed Gloss to the mystery workout in some neighborhood that probably doesn’t show up on GPS apps.  The burrs football field are no joke, when I hit the deck my hands were filled a searing pain.  I imagine the pain is similar to that of parents whose children Auburn University (previously known as Alabama Polytechnic Institute and East Alabama Male College).  Hops wasn’t there either, so he avoided the japes regarding animal husbandry and bad football prevalent in Lee County, Alabama.  That’s about all I can remember, again, please forgive the tardiness.  I’m sure tomorrow’s Hydra Q will prepare his backblast in a more timely fashion.

Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in Stores March 29th

This morning at Anvil we had thirteen PAX including one FNG and were greeted by the first morning of the season that felt downright pleasant.  I think the gloves can safely put away until November or December, and maybe even washed.  I was thrown for a bit of a loop right from the start because based on the usual attendees of Anvil, I was expecting three things to happen:

  • To be heckled mercilessly
  • Refusenik-ing galore
  • Very little participation in cadence counting

Instead, the group was very affable and good-natured, so I had to adjust my expectations and press on.  We began with a jog to the Astroturf pavilion and upon arriving the sign out front let us know that we had entered a designated mask zone.  Outside.  Really.  Seeing no Karen Fauci types around to scold us we warmed up with the usual group of exercises.  Surprisingly, we had nearly full participation in the side straddle hops, sans Hops.  Far be it from me to judge (kidding, I love judging) that’s a weird exercise to boycott.  I save my refuseniks for truly dumb things like burpees.  Following the warmup we set off for the Avenue of Trees.  Four rounds of a hard run to the end for merkins, squats, and Freddie Mercurys (20x, 15x, 10x, 5x reps) and a recovery jog back.

Next up a run to the hot box for bench work.  First up was 50 dips then run to the end of the sidewalk and back.  Next up was 20 incline merkins, 10 decline merkins, run out and back.  Third round was 20 split squats, out and back, and lastly was 20 step ups.  We had about 15 minutes to go in the workout by this time, so the instructions were given to run to the rock pile.  Someone asked me if I meant the pile on the way back to launch or the far away one on the other side of campus.  Bro, have you met me?

Upon arrival at the rock pile we had another question, asking if we were getting lifting rocks or running rocks.  Again…I thought you people knew me.  First exercise was the Sots Press, which is the overhead press while holding the squat position.  Look, you people can give me all the dirty and disapproving looks you want, but I’m going to keep calling the Sots Press because it’s a great exercise and everyone should do it more often.  Next up was the overhead squat and four rounds of curls and triceps extensions.

Lastly return to the launch lot for some Mary, mostly the usual exercises but I mixed in some of the isometric holds we do at Swole/Meathead/Olympus.

Mumblechatter seemed light this morning, which usually provides me fodder for backblast titles and material.  I didn’t hear much that would give me an opportunity to go off on a rambling, loosely tied together tangent.  However, it was good to see that some things remain constant.  Snowflake still runs in and out of workouts, Rachel is still really fast, and Puddin still farts loudly during Mary.  In an ever changing world, it’s nice to have some things remain constant.  With little inspiration to work with, I’ll use the title of the backblast to pass along song useful information that I’m sure Clover (Area 51’s hard seltzer Q) would want everyone to know had he been there this morning, which he was not.

We had one FNG this morning, who we named Poblano.  His last name is Scoville, like the heat units used to judge peppers and hot sauce.  He is also a former collegiate baseball player at the state university of New Jersey, so we had a few areas to work with.  The creative juices were flowing about as well as molasses rolling uphill in January and the suggestions flamed out quickly, much like the Big 10 and ACC in the NCAA tournament.  We settled on Poblano because it’s a fun word to say.  Not many announcements today, but please keep the Palmer family in your thoughts and prayers.  Check Slack for some upcoming challenges/events.  High Tide has a functional strength challenge later in May, with divisions for Respects, Meatheads, and mortals.  Flipper has a couple things out there as well that I haven’t been able to read all the way through yet because, Flipper.  In closing, we’ve hit that short stretch of perfect weather for afternoon patio happy hours so hopefully we’ll see some organized via Slack/text/email soon.

A Shot in the Dark Beats a Walk in the Park

Only four PAX this morning for what is hopefully the last chilly gloom of the season.  As a group we decided that today’s musical selection would be to listen to and review AC/DC’s new album Power Up.  There would have been five of us, but at 5:28 am I received a text from Voodoo saying that he was wrapping up some work for a client in Ireland and wouldn’t be able to make it.  I assume this mystery client was Bono, Pierce Brosnan, or Conor Macgregor since those are the only notable Irish people I can think of.  Maybe Sinead O’Connor, though I’m not certain she is still among the living and can’t be bothered to look it up.  Mighty Mite wondered aloud if this was a ruse to avoid any discussion of UVA basketball.  Later in the day I received another text from the Nant’an asking when the backblast would be posted.  The audacity.  Anyway, on to the day’s activities:

EMOM Sets of 10 rounds/6 reps of heavy swings

AMRAP Sets for 15 minutes of 10 merkins, 5 sumo high pulls/upright rows (there was some discussion on what the proper term is, but I like sumo high pull) and 2 clean & press each arm

Active Recovery set of 50 swings

Three sets of mixed grip heavy carries and deadlifts followed by some core work to round out a solid start to the week

Initial thoughts on the new AC/DC album is that fortunately is sounds like AC/DC.  It’s essentially blues grooves and driving rock beats played through heavily distorted guitars over a shuffle drum beat supplemented by sexually suggestive lyrics, catchy hooks, and numerous ways to use the word “rock”.  Personally, I don’t really want a band like AC/DC to grow as artists or exploring the proverbial studio space.  I want stripped down straight ahead rock and roll.  Anything more than four chords is jazz fusion.  In short, Power Up is superior to approximately 98% of the dreck released over the past twenty years.  Long live rock and roll, may it once again rise and stand at the forefront of popular music.

The Eagle Flies at Dawn

The latest iteration of Meathead continued the double bell strength program and ten PAX girded up their loins to tackle a midweek meltdown centered around the clean and press.  It was actually eight PAX at 5:30 with Frehley’s Comet and Focker rolling in (separately) during warmups.  As an aside (I tend to go off on tangents) YHC recently learned that to gird up one’s loins means for a warrior to gather up and fasten a loincloth so it does not impede his movement on the field of battle.  Previously, the only context I had for this phrase was Eddie Harris’ pre-game prayer in the movie “Major League”.  Is very bad to steal Jobu’s rum.  Is very bad.  As an aside to this aside, have we named somebody Jobu yet?  We should name somebody Jobu.

Warmup: SSH, IW, Sharon Towers

Double Clean & Press Program: 10 rounds of a single rep going heavy on the weight.  Only having single weight bells, YHC paired up with Voodoo and his set of gray, rattletrap bells which he refers to as “62’s”.  I am assuming that 62 referred the pounds that we use in these United States and not the kilograms used by all but three countries on Earth (shoutout to Myanmar and Liberia) since 62 kilograms would equate to about 137 pounds.  Myanmar is currently in the throes of a military coup, which is always exciting, and also used to be (or maybe still is) called Burma.  I’m going to assume that Burma is the home of the Burmese python, which as I learned from living in Florida for a few years, is overrunning the Everglades since people bought them as pets without realizing how big they grow and then release them into the wild.  Because, Florida.

The Eagle: When deciding on the middle part of the workout, I saw something called the Eagle on the second tab of High Tide’s spreadsheet of kettlebell knowledge which is akin to the Necronomicon from “Army of Darkness” as they both bring pain and suffering.  It consists of 8 rounds of 8 double front squats followed by a 20 meter farmer’s carry.  We estimated the 20 meters with 8 parking space lines.  This was about as much fun as a military coup in Myanmar.

5x5x5: The third phase was 5 rounds of 5 reps of deadlifts, swings, rows, sumo high pulls, and merkins.  Finish up with outsourced Mary and we’re one workout closer to the weekend, which is sometimes referred to as “when the eagle flies on Friday”.

The playlist was a bit uninspired as the 2.1 had a late basketball game last night, and after getting the children put to bed the M wanted to catch up on “This is Us”.  It’s a decent show, but I am always a bit unsettled during the parts where they make the lovely Mandy Moore appear old and struggling with dementia.  In YHC’s opinion, MM should always be shown as young and vibrant as she was when she burst into our consciousness in the music video for “Candy”.  Today’s selection was the soundtrack from Rocky IV, mostly because it has been lodged in my head for awhile since I stopped for coffee one afternoon and realized the place was playing the entire album.  Needless to say, that particular Dunkin Donuts has earned my business.  We mixed in some one offs from other movies like “Over the Top”, “Top Gun”, “The Karate Kid”, and “Caddyshack” but there wasn’t an overall theme.  I’ll do better next time.  Maybe my next Q will be a Mandy Moore/Motorhead mashup.

Sonic Surprises and Senior Day at Swole

We are approximately one month into the new strength and conditioning program at Swole, Meathead, and Olympus and today the featured exercise was the kettlebell swing.  Six PAX began their week on the good foot and gathered in the drizzly, murky parking lot of a nondescript office building in suburbia.  With the Q still in a celebratory mood following the Alabama Crimson Tide’s 18th national championship a fair to middling disclaimer was given and we got down to business.

Warmup: 18 SSH, 18 Imperial Walker, 18 Mountain Climbers then onto the heavy swing portion of the workout

Senior Day Celebration:

Ten rounds of six heavy swings every minute on the minute

Next up was a 15 minute AMRAP complex designed to build muscle and highlight the careers of Devonta Smith (#6, Your Heisman Trophy winner and AP Player of the Year), Mac Jones (#10, America’s Quarterback and your Unitas Award winner), and Najee Harris (#22, Your Doak Walker Award winner).

6 Squats and 6 Deadlifts, 10 presses each arm and 10 rows each arm, 22 LBC and 22 Freddie Mercury.  #RTR  #MTAQ

After that the PAX were undoubtedly feeling like Ohio State’s defense trying and failing to keep up with the most prolific offense in the long and storied history of collegiate tackle football.  It’s probably tough to get into playoff shape playing only half of a season however, and battles with such titans as Indiana and Northwestern probably leave little in the proverbial tank.  #SarcasmFont

At this point Sasquatch decided that discretion was the better part of valor and disappeared into the darkness, much like Notre Dame in a New Year’s Day bowl game.  Legend has it that on a quiet night you can still hear the Alabama running backs stampeding untouched through the Irish defense.  We then did three rounds of a strength building complex consisting of 6 one armed chest presses on each side, 10 skull crushers, and 22 flutters.  Fatigue was setting in, but it was time for heavy carries so we pressed on, as champions do.

Finish with three rounds of waiter/rack/suitcase carries, then three minutes of heavy swings, and the hardest part of the week is over.

On the musical front, YHC decided to throw the PAX a curveball.  Instead of the standard fare of hair metal of classic rock, the playlist was straight outta the mean streets of West Chester, Ohio.  If you grew up with the channel called Video Jukebox you were reunited with some old hip hop friends, and if weren’t so lucky, you probably were left with some mixed thoughts about those people who represent the 513.  Either the hip hop genre peaked circa 1993, or YHC has no use for anything in the category after then (except for Nelly of course).  Playlist included Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend”, Sir Mix A Lot’s “My Hooptie”, Rob Base and EZ Rock’s “It Takes Two”, Young and Restless’ “B Girls”, Paperboy’s “Ditty”, Positive K’s “I Gotta Man”, Candyman’s “Knockin’ Boots”, Run DMC’s “It’s Tricky”, Young MC’s “Bust a Move”, and Skee-Low’s “I Wish”.  Voodoo really enjoyed “My Hooptie” for the record.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to Naughty by Nature or Nate Dogg and Warren G, lest things get too turnt as the kids say.  Regarding the Video Jukebox channel, this was a service where you would call a 900 number, pay a small fee, enter in the code for a song and then watch the corresponding music video play.  The smoother middle school boys would talk to a girl in between classes and make sure that the object of their affection would be watching that afternoon and then dial up a romantic slow jam such as Surface’s “The First Time” or Stevie B’s “Because I Love You”.  The Video Jukebox channel was the ultimate wingman.  There was also nothing better for getting hype in 1990 (as the kids say) as when you’d be watching The ‘Box and a call would come in and you’d see the digits 671 appear at the bottom of the screen because that meant momentarily you would be going to the extreme to rock a mic like a vandal and rollin’ in a 5 point 0 with your ragtop down so your hair could blow.  Simpler times.  Word to your mutha.

Tis The Season For #Gainz

Failing to realize that today is a bank holiday, YHC agreed to Q Meathead earlier this week and the dream of sleeping in was dashed.  The one upside to this prolonged house arrest period however, has been the discovery of the post F3 nap.  Knowing that the blissful 6:45-7:30 am slumber awaited, five Pax tackled a strength and conditioning workout in the friendly confines of Calvary’s hotbox, since the Q had less than zero interest in standing around swinging kettlebells in the rain.  Today’s playlist had the potential to be controversial for an 11/11/20 workout, but seemed to be well received.  I decided to go with Christmas music this morning even though normally I am in the not before Thanksgiving camp.  With all that has happened this year, the opportunity to spread joy and good cheer needed to be seized.   Also, my Spotify Christmas playlist had already been created years ago and required no additional effort.

Warmup: Not a fan of them

Round 1: Alternating Swings & Merkins from 10 reps down to 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 then 25 LBC to catch our breath

Round 2: Alternating Swings & Squats from 10 down to 1 then 25 LBC

Round 3: Alternating Swings & Wide Arm Merkins from 10 to 1 then 25 LBC

Round 4: Alternating Swings & Deadlifts from 10 to 1 then 25 LBC

Round 5: Alternating Swings & Diamond Merkins from 10 to 1

That got us to 275 swings.  Or 265.  Or 250.  Or 270 depending on who you asked.  After Ernst & Young verified the results we did the remaining 25 swings to get to 300.  Next up was three rounds of split squats and dips and we were joined briefly by the Anvil Pax led by Ductwork and his eight tiny reindeer.  One minute of elbow plank and we were finished and now we can move on to naptime.

Now for the part you people actually care about…the Christmas playlist clocks in at 3 hours and 35 minutes and is chock full of auditory presents.  The elves of random shuffle gave us The Royal Guardsman’s “Snoopy’s Christmas”, The Jackson Five’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, The Angelic Whitney Houston’s “Do You Hear What I Hear”, Robert Earl Keene’s “Merry Christmas from the Family”, Bryan Adams’ “Christmas Time”, Billy Squier’s “Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You”, The Ramones’ “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”, Alan Jackson’s “Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas”, Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” and of course Mariah.  This is the time of year where Mariah awakens from her yearly slumber ready to dominate the next month and a half.  Some of the gems we didn’t get to include “Mamcita Donde Esta Santa Claus”, “Dominick the Donkey”, “Christmas in Hollis”, “Mele Kalikimaka”, and Weezer’s version of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”.  The weather may be warm and muggy, the trees may still have most of their leaves, and the Big 10 may not have had their front-runners drop games to lesser teams in embarrassing fashion, but this morning we officially rang in the Holiday season.  It’s been a pretty messed up year, so in YHC’s opinion we should go nuts for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.  If something is worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.  Buy too many presents for your family, cook a second turkey, break out the good wine, play Christmas music, put up more lights than are tasteful and necessary.  Let’s make the next seven and a half weeks memorable.


Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Swole

Eight pax gathered to start the week off on the right note, by swinging iron and celebrating the music of America’s greatest rock and roll band, Van Halen.  This was YHC’s first Q since Eddie Van Halen passed away earlier this month, so I wanted to pay tribute to the band that has provided the soundtrack to many of life’s best moments.  The playlist consisted of YHC’s favorite song from each of the band’s studio albums.  Live albums, best of albums, and one offs from movie soundtracks were omitted.

The warmup was basically ceremonial and lackadaisical due to the Q’s general indifference to warming up.  We jumped in to the main event consisting of sets of 20, 15, 10, and 5 swings paired with merkins, then deadlifts, then curls, then triceps extensions, then weighted crunches.  Some various core exercises were interspersed to break up the rounds.  Following five rounds, we had completed the requisite 250 swings, but since you can find an extra gear and do anything while listening to Van Halen, we did an extra 50 swings.  I hope Eddie would’ve liked that.  Next was three rounds of goblet squats and clean and presses.  Some weighted carries and bonus swings were enough to get us to 6:15 without having to do the dreaded elbow plank and hollow body hold.

If it seems like YHC rushed through the portion of the backblast about the workout, then that is correct.  I really just want to write about Van Halen, my favorite band and one who’s music has brought me massive amounts of joy throughout my life.  I remember the first time I heard a Van Halen song like it was yesterday, even though it was in 1984 and I was about six years old.  It was a Sunday morning and I was watching a music video weekly countdown show on broadcast TV (we didn’t yet have cable).  The video for Jump came on and it was like nothing I had ever heard.  From that moment on I was hooked and would devour everything the band ever recorded.  In junior high and high school my pregame hype music was Van Halen.  When I got my driver’s license the first CDs I played in the car were Van Halen.  You can hit 90 mph in a Toyota Tercel when Panama comes through the speakers.  The morning of my wedding I played Van Halen II a couple times through.  I think we all have that band or singer that resonates with us for some reason and sets off a tuning fork in our souls.  It’s incredibly sad that Eddie is gone, but any opportunity to celebrate the music left behind makes for a good day.  Rest in peace Eddie, and thanks for everything.


Runnin’ with the Devil (Van Halen I)

Dance the Night Away (Van Halen II)

Take Your Whiskey Home (Women and Children First)

Hear About It Later (Fair Warning)

Where Have All the Good Times Gone (Diver Down)

Panama (1984)

Summer Nights (5150)

When It’s Love (OU812)

Poundcake (For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge)

Can’t Stop Lovin’ You (Balance)

Without You (Van Halen III)

Tattoo (A Different Kind of Truth)

Swing Sammiches

What you are about to read is called a Backblast.  It is something that used to be written and posted to the world wide web that would summarize a workout, possibly make the reader laugh, and sometimes impart nuggets of wisdom.  Currently, backblasts are as rare as finding flour, toilet paper, and ground beef on a single Harris Teeter run.  Unless they come out somewhere called “Waxhaw”, which I’m not even sure is a real place that exists.  “Waxhaw” sounds like a karate instructor from Mississippi trying to teach a pupil to block punches by rubbing turtle wax in a circular motion on  and off a fleet of classic cars.

Back to the matter at hand.  Nine of us gathered this morning to pursue strength and knowledge while not running a single step.  The current program’s core element is 250 swings per workout supplemented with other kettlebell and bodyweight exercises, and now that we’ve been at it several weeks, the pressure to come up with new combinations was weighing on me.  Also weighing on me was the pressure to come up with a playlist that would motivate, entertain, spark conversation, and elicit appreciation for the artists.  My last playlist was curated around my first love, Sunset Strip Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, and was pure auditory bliss.  Not everyone has the proper reverence for this era however (I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed), so I went in a different direction for today.  Play button pressed, we jumped right in to the first of five rounds of the swing sandwich, which is 20 swings (the bread), 20 weighted crunches (the cheese), 10 clean & press (the meat), and 20 swings (the other bread).  In between rounds we mixed in merkins, chest presses, flutters, and deadlifts.  With 200 of the 250 swings now complete, we topped it off with a final set of 50 swings so we could move onto some personal favorite exercises.  Next we did three rounds of overhead squats and three rounds of the Sots Press, which is a wonderful exercise that is as awkward to perform as it is difficult.  I noticed a lot of “modify as necessary” on this part.  I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.  A handful of core exercises capped off the morning as dawn was breaking and the geese were defecating.  A threatened/promised fly by monkey humping from Spackler and the Anvil crew never happened, so they must’ve been having too good a time over on Five Knolls.

Today’s playlist focused on alternative rock hidden gems from the mid-nineties and seemed to be well received, I even had some requests to share it so I’m calling it a win.  We didn’t get to the selections from Letters to Cleo, Buckcherry, and Goldfinger though, so I enjoyed those on the drive home.  The next playlist may involve professional wrestling entrance themes, but the idea is still percolating.  Only a handful of announcements including the upcoming blood drive being spearheaded by Mighty Mite and Beetlejuice.  At least I think that’s what Mighty Mite was saying, it’s hard to make him out from 45 feet away.  There’s a happy hour tomorrow at the cougar bar in Ballantyne, I can’t remember the name, but you know the one.  There’s an Iron Pax challenge going on, and undoubtedly every rep of every exercise will be done with perfect, Chelms-esque form. In closing, let’s recommit to writing quality backblasts (insert jokes about starting that right after this particular backblast) so we can read about places other than Waxhaw, or Narnia or whatever it’s called.

Thank You For Being A Friend (#BlameVoodoo)

We find ourselves midway through the eighth week of the twelve week strength program, and today’s workout was particularly awful.  The program currently has us in the throes of snatches, several rounds with little rest in between.  Six of us bid adieu to our Anvil friends and got to work as they disappeared into the South Charlotte fog.  This morning’s workout consisted of:

5 rounds of press ladders (1, 2, then 3 reps per arm)

5 rounds of puke inducing snatches (10 reps per side) with a scant 15 seconds of rest in between (#Absurd)

4 rounds of 90 second farmer’s walks (Old McDonald can kiss YHC’s posterior)

60 second plank hold, 60 second hollow body hold, 90 second glute bridge hold

Swings until our Anvil friends return


Now for the part of the backblast that people will actually read.  Fair warning however, there will be some tangents as there are several subjects I have thoughts about.  First of all, while I love kettlebell workouts, why on Earth are we doing a program designed by the Russians?  Did we lose a war?  It feels especially wrong this week as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, when a group of scrappy American college kids defeated the Soviet Union team who for all intents and purposes were professional players who had not been defeated in twenty years in Olympic ice hockey.  As an aside (you were warned) Kurt Russell was absolutely snubbed for Best Actor for his portrayal of Team USA coach Herb Brooks.  I can’t be bothered to research who actually won the award that year, but I’m just going to assume that it was some artsy highbrow schlock that nobody actually likes.  Probably foreign too.  If you can watch the pregame scene where Coach Brooks tells the team that they will not only skate with the Russians on that particular night, but they would do the unthinkable and beat them, and not want to run through a brick wall, then I suggest researching real estate in Toronto because you don’t have a patriotic bone in your body.  Anyway, back to the Russian designed workout thing, again I’m not going to actually do any research, but I hope the person who designed this program defected from the USSR, because it feels like an insult to the great Americans who helped topple the Soviet communist regime such as President Reagan, Hulk Hogan, and Rocky Balboa.

The #BlameVoodoo portion of this backblast’s title stems from the fact that our New Orleanian friend was not among us this morning because of his travels home for Mardi Gras, then to Las Vegas.  While the rest of us did rounds of snatches.  With 15 seconds of rest in between.

The other portion of the title is inspired by Unplugged’s wardrobe choice this morning.  About midway through the workout, Unplugged peeled his outer layer to reveal a Golden Girls t-shirt.  Not just a shirt with text that read “Golden Girls”, but a picture of Blanch, Dorothy, whatever Betty White’s character was named, and whatever Estelle Getty’s character’s name was.  To take my mind of the multiple rounds of high rep snatches with little rest in between (which Voodoo missed because he was gallivanting among New Orleans and Las Vegas) I tried to recall as much as the theme song as I could, and I think I got about 80% of it.  I’m solid on the first and last verses, but the middle has a couple lines I’m not sure of.  Anyway, another aside…

What happened to the TV show theme song?  If you’ll allow me an Old Man Yells at Cloud moment, the TV show opening theme song has been relegated to the dustbin of history, and in YHC’s opinion, society is poorer for it.  Theme songs used to either provide the viewer with some background and context about the show through it’s verses (sometimes to the point of overkill, think the older dreck before most of our time like The Brady Bunch or Gilligan’s Island) or laid down a sweet instrumental track that set the tone for the viewing experience.  Into the dark recesses of my mind (a truly horrifying place) I went, trying to think of some examples of top quality TV theme songs, and here is what I’ve come up with (again, you were warned):

Cheers: Perhaps the gold standard, balancing a lively piano riff with poignant lyrics

Hill Street Blues: I don’t remember much about this show other than my dad watched it, but I do remember that piano groove interspersed with an electric guitar solo that didn’t really fit, but was required by law in the 1980s

Growing Pains: Decent lyrics, decent melody, and Alan Thicke, so a solid option

Full House: Recently my 7 year old has been watching the Netflix show Fuller House, and I have to say that DJ Tanner still has her fastball

Night Court: The sax interlude made this theme much funkier than it needed to be, which we were all richer for

The Facts of Life: A home sick from school staple for YHC, a bouncy beat and fun lyrics with the added bonus of spurring one of the great debates of our time.  I firmly believe that men can be separated into one of two categories, Blair or Jo.  #TeamBlair

Perfect Strangers: I don’t remember much about this theme, but it had Balki and the Dance of Joy

Family Ties: Alex P. Keaton is one of the great protagonists in television history, as he was the moral compass of the family, which aside from him was comprised of filthy hippies

The Golden Girls: As mentioned above, an absolute banger of a theme

Married With Children: Al Bundy plus the Chairman is a winning combination

Friends: A serviceable though unremarkable Rembrandts song, it fit nicely with the show’s aesthetic

The Office: Perhaps the last show with a memorable theme

I’m sure I have forgotten several, and I’m also sure I will remember a couple immediately after hitting the Publish button.  I expect to see you all on Saturday as we continue our kettlebell workouts at Olympus.