My New Favorite Exercise: The Barbell Pullover

While trying to make my way into being capable of something like a Spartan Race, I’ve had to step back and look at every exercise I do. With three days per week taken up with running, I don’t have all week to train.

Well, I do, but I don’t. I mean, I have more free time available than most due to the nature of my job, but I also have to practice with a longsword, prepare food for the family, etc. I just don’t want to spend all day training.

Besides, I live in South Georgia and it’s freaking HOT!

Anyway, I take a look at what exercises I was doing and I also watched a number of Spartan Races themselves. Now, not all obstacle course races are Spartan Races, so I watched a bunch of those too.

My goal was to look at what would be demanded of me so I could tailor my training accordingly. In the process, I started doing a movement that’s become one of my favorite exercises: The barbell pullover.

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A Bid For The Title Of ‘Spartan’

Spartan Race Photo by Marc Rafanell LópezA while back, a friend of mine finished a Spartan Race. I’d seen this new-fangled thing called obstacle course racing and knew little enough about it, so I checked it out. It was…intimidating.

Warren wasn’t bragging or anything, though he was entitled to do so. He’d done something pretty damn cool.

I wanted in. Continue reading “A Bid For The Title Of ‘Spartan’”

Dave Goes Barbarian: The Focus and the Fix

Photo from PixabayHey, all you hunters and huntresses, fighters one and all, this is Barbarian Dave rockin’ the preternatural waves of ethereal communication, and I have a message for the discerning savage: get in touch with yourself.

I was going to start off with a semi-clever shtick about two ideas warring for attention like proverbial wolves, but I realized they’re just flip-sides of the same coin. Which you should hurry up and loot from the effete city-dwellers hoarding them in not-at-all-safe-from-hordes chests. Aren’t they precious?

Dave, I hear you protesting, what are you talking about? Are you making another dirty joke? By no means! Besides, my mother (either of them) may be reading this, and while the sailor within is strong, I’m not risking the Wrath of Mom.  Simply put, you need to strengthen your mind-muscle connection. That’s the first bit. The second, just as important, is you must…must figure out where your weak spots are and work to correct them. Continue reading “Dave Goes Barbarian: The Focus and the Fix”

The Search For The Perfect Training Method

When I train, I want the perfect training method. I want the ideal balance of strength, conditioning, mobility, everything. I want it to be just intense enough to make me a fitness diety while being fun enough that I don’t actually care.

The question is, does such a training methodology actually exist?

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Starting Strength Part Deux: Back To Basics

It’s time for me to get back to basics and that means back to Starting Strength. Yesterday was week one, day one back on things, and I definitely felt it.

But the question is, just why did I go back to something I’d progressed beyond?

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Dave Goes Barbarian: Bench Press A Planet

WikiImages / Pixabay

What? No, we’re barbarians, here. Not superheroes. Though, spoilers will be dealt with appropriately.

Dave, what are you saying?

I’m saying you should be bench pressing a planet. Probably every day, depending on volume.

Dave, I thought we were talking HEMA and-

Yeah, yeah: I’ll get to that. First, though, we need to talk basics. Why is that? Because I’ve been going untrained for months and coming back hurts. While the end goal here is to support my HEMA work, and build general physical preparedness for the next 60-120 years (what? I’m optimistic), there’s a lot to do to get to the point where I want to be. And that starts first thing in the morning. With push-ups. Continue reading “Dave Goes Barbarian: Bench Press A Planet”

Dave Goes Barbarian: I Pulled The Trigger

azboomer / Pixabay

Or rather, I drew the sword. After all, the metaphor is specifically HEMA-related, and that’s what I’m talking abo- Oh, never mind. I’ll come in again, shall I?

Yesterday, I joined Schola Saint George. I quickly received an email from Dr. Brian Price, one of the co-founders of SSG, and I’m ready to begin my journey into the martial instruction of Fiore dei Liberi. Now to recruit some sparring partners…

For now, I’ll be continuing my work on body-weight calisthenics and basic gymnastic practice, and integrate some free weight barbell training into that.

I’ll be honest, here, though: I kinda feel like I’ve just enrolled in an advanced degree program. The more I dig into HEMA, the more I’m going to have to learn just to keep my head above water. No twice a week sessions at the local dojo. This is going to need to be something every day. And a lot of it is going to be book work, at least to start with. For one, there’s an entire glossary of terms I’m going to be learning. Some of which I recognize. Posta di fenestre, for example, is the Window Guard, or as the Germans refer to it, Ochs – the Ox Guard. The sword is raised to the side of the head in both hands, with the point aimed at the opponent. I suddenly wish I’d taken Latin, y’know, ever.

Fortunately, there are a number of things upon which I can work while getting up to speed on the theory. I’ve found several videos on the Tubes of You that show exercises one can perform with a sword to limber up the joints and get the muscles ready for practice. I spent a few minutes performing these, and already feel a difference. Which is a good thing, as an old impingement issue in my right shoulder has been cropping up again. Basically, my neck is too tight, and pulls the ball of my humerus deeper into the joint than it should be, where it rubs against one of the tendons, generating annoying inflammation. It genuinely sucks, but there are a number of things I can do to alleviate the problem. Squatting heavy, for one. Indian club and mace swings, for another. And (trumpet fanfare) swinging a sword around! I’m debating an indoor sword trainer, as well, which is a nifty device that looks like somebody melted a sword blade down until it was all of a foot and a half long past the crossguard. It’s the same weight as a sword, has the same balance, but I’m not going to lop the blades off the ceiling fan, or accidentally vivisect one of the kids. I’m sure Mrs. Dave will appreciate that.

The big thing going on right now isn’t the HEMA. It isn’t the resumption of physical training. It isn’t even picking out a new handgun (I’ll fill y’all in on that, when it happens). No, Dave is coming to grips with his limitations, and I’ll be frank: it [REDACTED] sucks. I believe I mentioned that Mrs. Dave travels fairly regularly on Uncle Sam’s dime. That leaves me to do the hands-on raising of Wee Dave and Wee-er Dave (not their real names) more or less by my lonesome. I went into this with eyes wide open, or so I thought. Those of you who are also parents will nod when I say: I had not clue the first. I had zero idea of the levels of frustration small children engender on a daily basis. I had no idea how exhausting just getting the basics accomplished could be. I really had no way to know. If you haven’t been a parent, there’s almost always a sunset clause built into any childcare you’ve provided. (Okay, realistically, that’s likely true here, as well. It’s just that I’ve got fifteen more years, and that’s if we don’t increase the clan, again.) I signed the check sight unseen, and now it’s coming due. And I’m tired. I’m flat exhausted most of the time. And it’s not a lot of fun. It’s fun sometimes, and it’s usually good (what’s that line about not being tame, but being good?), but it’s not easy. So my efforts as self-improvement and professional development are, while not outright frozen, at least slowed by a good bit. I suppose I’m increasing my WIS (and maybe my CHA), but I’ve never before found that to be a particularly pleasant endeavor.

So the littles are running me more or less ragged (and I’ll talk about that more in columns to come: You, too, can act as a pseudo group therapy for Dave!) and I’m not getting done the things I want. I have novels to finish, y’all, and it’s just not happening. I have skills to develop and projects to finish. And I have to let that be okay. It’s not my natural disposition, let me tell you. But that’s not a choice I get to make. Or rather, it’s a choice I made long before Wee Dave arrived on the scene.

Next week, I’ll be going into my further exploration of Fiore and his work, as well as treat you to a thrilling discussion of PT methods. I’m sure you’re waiting with baited breath (old chum). Until then, get supple and try not to rage on the effete city-dwellers around you, you furious barbarians.

Pink Kettlebells And Training The Next Generation

(Photo by Tom Knighton)

By most measures, I’m a successful father at this point in my kids’ lives. They’re fairly well adjusted, smart, independent, and so on. They have little trouble making friends and, at least with my almost 18-year-old son, doing so without betraying who they truly are.

But I still feel a bit like a failure.

You see, while most parents probably feel that way to some degree, for me, it’s about my kids and their health. My son is badly obese, though he’s lost about 25 pounds in the last few months.

My daughter, however, at 7-years-old, isn’t. And I aim to keep it that way, which is why I got her a kettlebell of her own. My hope, to help her never get to where I was or where her brother is.

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Dave Goes Barbarian: Training Philosophy

LouisBauer / Pixabay

This is the second post by Dave Pascoe where he talks about his own journey down the Barbarian rabbit hole.

Fellow Barbarians! Hearken now to tales of High Adve-

Y’know, I really need to shelve that sckaldic declamation stuff for a while. It’s actually hard to think in. Still, pull up a chunk of sod or log bench, hoist a tankard, and get comfy by the fire. We got some talkin’ to do. Continue reading “Dave Goes Barbarian: Training Philosophy”

Dave Goes Barbarian: Introduction

Photo by torbakhopper

I’d like to introduce my friend, Dave Pascoe. Dave is a fiction writer and a good friend. He’s responsible for a fair bit of what you see here at By Spear and Axe, to be honest. While he didn’t write it, discussions with him do wonders to inspire posts.

Now, I’m giving him a weekly column. After all, he’s following the Way of the Barbarian. Plus, since he’s been part of the discussions for so much, he understands it very well and also knows how to not take himself far too seriously, as you’ll see below.

By Crom, and all the gods of the north, it is good to see you, Brothers. Aye, and you shieldmaidens, too, Sister. Please but the spear down: there’s already a beast a’roasting, and besides, I’d like as disagree with you all, as I’ve done before. Before we fall to brawling, however, I’d like to introduce myself to my fellow barbs who haven’t yet had the pleasure of my acquaintance. Continue reading “Dave Goes Barbarian: Introduction”