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WOW – November 22nd

25/11/2010

This week’s WOW is another great one I wish I could do. Unfortunately I do not have a partner of equal training or even unequal training. I still continue my search for a training partner!

WOW: The Grok Throwdown

3 cycles of:

Two-minute scuffle
200 Meter Partner Carry – Piggyback
200 Meter Partner Carry – Fireman’s Carry
200 Meter Partner Carry – Bridal Carry
30 Second Plank for Two

How-to:

It’s partner time.

Hunter-gatherers formed tight-knit communities by necessity. Each member was integral to the success of the group, and everyone had something to offer, be it wisdom, physical prowess, or even foraging techniques. Humans in general are social beings; we either make small mouth noises or make signs and gesture with our hands to communicate directly with each other, or we write/type/etch lines and loops that represent these mouth noises to relay communication to far off people. And that’s just the last couple hundred thousand years. Now, Facebook and Twitter and blogs like these represent new avenues for a different sort of communication and social connection. You can meet someone, fall in love, and make plans for marriage without ever holding their hands. I’m not here to knock love (in all its crazy, lovely forms), but I’m assigning this WOW to get people in each other’s literal faces again, because I.

You know what else is healthy? Fighting.

Yeah, fighting. C’mon, don’t click away. Deep down, we all love a good tussle. Think back to your younger days, when roughhousing with a close friend was a fine way to spend the afternoon (and that goes for girls, too; I’ve raised one and they can throw down). A skinned knee here, a grass stain there – what was better? Today, you’re going to wrestle, fight, scuffle, roughhouse, and/or duel another human being. And then you’re going to carry that person 200 meters, and he/she you. Finally, you will perform a 30 second two-person plank with that person lying on top of you. Then, do it all two more times.

Choose a partner you trust. Someone you know won’t get carried away and grab a roll of quarters. And unless you’re up for a challenge, you might not want to call your pal who’s knee-deep in krav maga. Or maybe you do. Using a partner of roughly equal size and strength is best. If you’re untrained, pick an untrained guy or gal. If you’re an actual wrestler or fighter, pick someone of equal skill and spar. Do this on a natural surface, like on grass or the canopy of a bamboo forest in mainland China. Don’t hurt each other, but don’t let up. Trip each other, grapple, roll around on the ground. Just give it all your strength. Have fun. Two minutes of all out war should be exhausting.

For the partner carry, begin with the basic piggyback ride. Run if you can, uphill even, or just walk briskly. The second round carry is a fireman’s carry with the other person slung over your shoulder, like so. Switch shoulders after 100m. The third and hardest carry is the bridal carry. We don’t do a lot of bicep specific exercises on this workout regimen, but the bridal carry will destroy them. If you find your form really suffering on this last carry (hips jutting forward, lower back bearing most of the load), switch to either of the two previous carry types.

For the two-person plank, you’ll want your partner to drape him or herself completely and – most importantly – evenly over your body. Feet on feet, hips on hips, chest on upper back. You don’t want 180 pounds of human localized over your thoracic spine.

Remember, whatever you do, be careful. We don’t want any injuries here. The sparring should be intense but with a focus on safety. The carries should be difficult but not crippling. Be smart. Listen to your body. And know when to back off.

Variations:

If you don’t have a partner, a weighted backpack or vest can be substituted for the carries. If you don’t have a partner and/or you’d like an indoor WOW see the WOW archives for alternative WOWs.

To make it easier:

  • Skip the bridal carry and stick to piggyback or fireman’s carry.
  • If you can’t do a full two-person plank, just do a full minute of a regular plank. Or, have your partner evenly distribute weighted objects along your body.

To make it harder:

  • Choose a stronger, faster, bigger, and heavier partner who’s well-versed in combat arts.
  • During the carrying, try throwing in a few lunges.
  • Carry your partner uphill, up stairs, or over rocks.
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