Tag Archives: Exercise

Patty Cake For Adults: Proprioceptive Exercises

3 Nov

As we age, we lose our sense of physical balance. Likely, this is because we become more sedentary. Because falls are a significant problem for the elderly, it’s a good idea for us to improve our resistance to trips and falls.

Anyone who’s suffered an ankle or knee injury knows reinjury is a problem.

Watching professional athletes is impressive because of their agility and ability to react in less than the blink of an eye.

What do these three topics share in common? How can younger folks be better athletes? How can older folks improve their safety? What kind of rehabilitation do we need for ankle and knee injuries?

The theme word: Proprioception. The following links explain far better than I could:



If you’re looking for athletic proprioceptive exercises:


“Oh, my God. That was close” is usually what goes through your mind after your proprioceptive sense saves you.

Just when you think the limits of human capacity have been reached…here’s an impressive fellow (one arm handstand pushups):


If you’re working on your balance, it’s only a matter of time before you contemplate something like balancing upside down. Don’t do it. Not for long anyway.

Just Sharing Some Youtube Videos (Fitness, Goal Setting) & Random Thoughts About Axes

28 Jun

This is a good video by Scooby on Youtube about setting fitness goals.


He talks about setting “goals for roles” which sounds kinda corny, but makes sense. What are your important roles in life? Parent? Prepper? Exercise Buff? Target Shooter? For each of those roles, set some measurable goals.

Setting goals is easy. Achieving them, not so much. The key is to find little steps you can take which move you closer to the goal. Exercise provides a good example. Many exercises which are notoriously difficult can only be achieved by finding a progression of less intense exercises that allows you to reach the goal.

This Youtube video shows a three-step progression to doing one-handed body rows.


When younger I knew the 2 handed version of these as Charles Atlas style pullups. The idea was to put a broom between two chairs, lie underneath it, and pull yourself up. Atlas was more famous for his chair pushups. You can’t really use a broom. They just don’t make them like they used to! You’ll need to find a solid wooden or metal bar. You’ll need a more stable base than the backs of chairs.

In the day it worked because the course was designed for proverbial 98 pound weaklings. Today’s weaklings are fatter. The broom would break. The chairs would topple. This exercise was deleted from the revised course.

These can be done with the legs straight or with the knees bent and the flats of the feet on the floor, as shown in the video above. The bar should be just high enough so you have to reach up to grab it.

If you grab the bar with a normal grip, you might feel an ugly sensation in your fingers if you do a lot of reps. I suspect this is the nerves in the finger joints being pinched together. If that happens, wrap your thumb around the bar so it’s alongside your fingers. This has the effect of moving the bar more toward your palms.

This grip is like the “monkey grip” of BJJ, but not a full false grip. For those who want to see the monkey grip, the next video show it.


Part of goal setting is knowing when a goal really is too much. Here is a video from a guy who’s crossed the line into super amazing: He can do a one-handed actual pull up.


Unless you’re very small and light, that’s simply too much stress on the elbow and shoulder.

While I used a back exercise as an example, the concept applies to anything difficult to achieve. You must find some series of steps that will lead you to success. Each little step might seem small, but, collectively, they’ll add up to big personal achievements you might have believed impossible.

A sad day in prepperville (two days ago): Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend has died. This was made into a film, The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price. It was the book that The Omega Man was based upon. A third version, I Am Legend stars Will Smith. If you’re younger and have only seen I Am Legend, check out the two classics.

Heard this on the news (don’t know if it’s true): Heat kills more people in America than all other natural disasters combined. In the next few days, it’s possible parts of the American Southwest will hit record temperatures never before recorded on earth. Stay cool.



This video is about re-handling and sharpening axes. Wouldn’t you know, right before watching this video, I sharpened an axe on my electric grinder. According to the video, we’re not supposed to do that because it destroys the axe’s temper. Nothing’s worse than an ill tempered axe!

I seldom use axes today, and in the past, I remember sharpening them manually. For the life of me, I can’t remember if I knew not to sharpen them on electric grinders or not. Usually when I forget something and am reminded of it, I at least then remember that I had known it in the past and forgotten it. Whenever sharpening any tool though, I go slow and try not to heat the metal up too much.
Practical Axe Manual


How To Sharpen An Axe (by Wranglertar). I know he’s running his finger on the side of the axe and probably moving away from the blade, but don’t run your finger along the blade of any sharp tool!

Wranglertar is a prepper-homesteader with many great videos. He makes a great point in this video: If there ever was a long-term break down of society, tools like quality files would be in demand. File cards, sharpening stones, and honing oil would all be good to have.

Files are one of those things you really can’t easily manufacture yourself. The quality of the metal is crucial. Like many tools, most files today are made overseas. If you want to try to snag made-in-the-USA Nicholson files, try harryepstein.com.

If you want to know more about files, this pdf has some information.

There seems to be a de-evolution of tools. I suspect our kids will look back one day and say, “Do you remember when we could purchase all those great high-quality Chinese tools?”

I’ve always liked axes better than hatchets. Hatchets are more dangerous, because your fingers are within striking distance. If you’re looking for a new axe, take a look at the Husqvarna Forest Axe. The people who like sharp things like it.

These are made by the traditional Swedish axe makers and sold under the Husqvarna brand. You can save some bucks while getting good quality.

Many woodsman, if given one tool to choose when going into the Northern woods, select an axe. I shouldn’t be surprised at the prices of axes today. It’s no longer a common working tool.

Charlie Palmer, The Prepper Next Door

Athletic Versus Physically Fit (& Fitness Revisited)

16 May

It would be great if we could all be athletic, but many of us must settle for the goal of just being physically fit. What is athletic? When I think “athlete,” I imagine somebody who can sprint a short distance really fast. They can run a 40 yard dash impressively.

Athletes have powerful throwing arms. They can throw a baseball, a football, or just a blob of steel a substantial distance. They can propel their own bodies into the air. Long jumping, high jumping, or just jumping back and forth across a bar as this impressive fellow does:


Physical fitness is more about being able to run a mile in a good time or being able to do a lot of pushups. Many athletes are physically fit. Many physically fit people are impressive athletes. It’s possible to be physically fit and still suck as an athlete: Ask me how I know….

For older preppers, fitness is a more achievable goal than athletic-ness. It’s pretty well known among fitness people that inactivity associated with aging destroys fitness. This is the old “use it or lose it” concept.

It’s important to be respectful of our own limitations. It’s easy to overdo exercises. Doing 100 pushups every day will add up to over 36,000 pushups a year. That’s a lot of wear and tear on the shoulders. To minimize overuse injuries, it’s good to mix up your exercise routines.

In the day, doing different exercises and participating in different sports to improve your skills in your chosen sport was called “cross training.” Today we know cross training doesn’t have as much positive impact as was once thought. If you want to excel at one sport, devote time to it.

For those who want to mix up their exercise routine a bit, here are some ideas:

This simple workout routine has twelve basic exercises. Simple things you can do with no equipment, like pushups and crunches. The biceps appear neglected.

This neat workout challenge has 5 exercises of 50 reps, including the dreaded burpee. Just doing 50 burpees is a pretty complete workout!

I’m not a fan of paying a lot of money to get a cleverly marketed exercise routine. I follow the philosophy of Scooby1961 on Youtube.  He reviews p90x (scoobysworkshop.com), which was made famous by Paul Ryan.

One group that has had marketing success in taking a bunch of known exercises and lumping them together is CrossFit. Here are some basic “crossfit” routines.

Some people feel crossfit routines are likely to lead to injuries or see it as too “cult-like.” Crossfit names their workouts with names like “Fran,” which does seem a bit creepy.

If you do bodyweight exercises and need a challenge, visit BeastSkills.com which has tutorials for things like one-handed pushups. It has well-thought-out progressions to build up to your selected exercise. Pick one or two “beast” exercises to master. Even if you never achieve them, the journey will make you stronger.

If you prefer weights, one intense path is to pursue a power-lifting workout. This focuses on only three exercises: A deadlift, squat, and bench press.


To avoid injury, be sure you get your form perfected and start off with lighter weights.

The level of strength serious power lifters have is amazing. A 132 pound power lifter might be able to bench press 250 pounds and squat and deadlift over 400 pounds. A much  more modest goal is something like: Benching your body weight, and squatting and deadlifting 1.5 times your body weight.

Even for those amounts, you’ll want a squat rack cage for the squats. Have a spotter for the bench press, if you don’t have some sort of cage or self-spotting racks. If you weld, you could build your own self-spotting racks.

At the end of the day, we can’t all be great athletes, but we can find a level and type of exercise that suits us and work to become more physically fit.


Prepper’s New Year’s Resolutions (Fitness)

7 Jan

If you’re like many people, you’ve made New Year’s Resolutions. These give us motivation to achieve goals. One of the most common New Year’s Resolutions is to lose weight and to get back into shape. After about a month, many will revert to their old ways. No harm done, but opportunity lost.

It’s a great time to test the theory of progressive muscle development. Starting today, you could try something like this: Do one pushup or do one burpee. Don’t do more. Just one. Tomorrow, and every day hereafter for the next two or three months, add one more repetition to your chosen exercise. Don’t miss a day. See where you are in sixty or ninety days, whichever period you’ve chosen.

Many people fail at this because they want to do too much too soon. One push up is trivial, so they want to start at twenty. The problem with that is that the body hasn’t had twenty days to build up to doing progressively more and more exercise. They haven’t created the mental picture of constantly adding one more easy repetition. The exercise doesn’t become a habit when we do too much to start. But, doing one, two, three, four, five, etc., pushups or burpees will let the exercise habit sneak up on us. If bad habits can sneak up on us, why shouldn’t we let good ones too?

You can’t rush success or knowledge or skill in many areas. This plan of attack doesn’t work for everything. Take the humble pull up. That’s a pretty intense exercise. After only a few days, it’s possible you’ll be pushing your muscles to exhaustion with only a few more reps. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to do 60 straight after 60 days. They’re just too darn hard.

Many say burpees are a cardio exercise. I wouldn’t classify it so. To do cardio, you need to elevate and maintain a high heart rate for at least 20 minutes. Thirty minutes or forty is better. Few people can maintain a good pace with burpees and do them for half an hour.

An easy exercise for most people is walking. Studies have shown that 30 minutes a day of walking helps people maintain their current bodyweight. Forty Five minutes a day will help people lose weight.

New studies show that to lose weight, you need adequate sleep. It has to do with ghrelin and leptin and other complicated sounding things. Other studies show reducing fructose  in our diets will help us in our struggle against extra pounds. Fructose is added to many processed foods as a sweetener.

With snowfall in many areas, it’s easy to forget that we’re still in a drought. To prevent barge traffic from coming to a halt on the Mississippi, they’re digging up the rock at the bottom the river in some areas.