While Test Week 1 focused on “slower” lifts, such as tire flips and snatch grip deadlifts, Test Week 2 was all about explosive lifts. Utilizing explosive lifts would gauge the pant’s construction and material at handling repeated, high-speed, full range of motion movements. Any weaknesses in the stitching and you’ll be walking around with a gaping hole in the crotch…not a good thing.
Here’s the weekly breakdown:
Monday – July 9, 2010
- Pierre Roy warm up
- Squat cleans: 10 sets of 3 repetitions, 150 seconds rest. Worked up to 265 lb.
- Light Prowler Sprints: 7 sets of 30-40 yards, 90 lb, 90 seconds rest between sprints.
Prior to any Olympic/explosive exercises, I perform this warm up I learned from Canadian weightlifting coach Pierre Roy. This warm up performs 2 functions: it introduces and prepares the muscles and joints to the movements that are about to come and warms up the joint’s synovial fluid, thereby lubricating the joint. From a product testing perspective, it’s an excellent evaluation tool for determining how the rear waist band will perform while bending forward at the waist. While a higher cut waist band is not exclusive to Vertx, they did execute it well. During the warm up, not once did I feel as if the pants were riding down my backside, nor did I feel the pants pulling/pinching down on the front of my hip while bending forward. To me, this indicated Vertx achieved the proper cut ratio of the rear and front waist bands.
When time is short and you need a total body exercise that trains explosive speed and flexibility, there is no better lift than the squat clean. Due to the nature of the exercise, restrictive clothing can hinder performance and ultimately, the amount of weight lifted. The key to this exercise, is to lift accelerate the bar upwards and then to quickly pull yourself underneath it and catch it on your front deltoids. Normally, when performing this exercise, I wear an extremely loose pair of shorts to achieve a deep, comfortable position effortlessly. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure how the pants would stand up to the demands of the exercise. Initially, I thought the pants would restrict my explosiveness, thereby reducing the amount of weight I normally handle by 15-20 lb…at best. Surprising, this didn’t happen. Vertx apparently found the proper balance of strength and stretch in their pant’s material by their 98% cotton canvas and 2% Lycra construction.
The explosive nature of the exercise was a great evaluation tool for the pant’s articulated knees. Optimally, pants with articulated knees, would allow for mobility without restriction or chafing. Watch the section of the video where I perform squat cleans and notice how I perform the exercise: without needing to prep the pants by pulling extra material at the hip crease or knees. If they allowed me to perform this exercise without restriction, they should work for you in the field.
Tuesday – July 10, 2010
- Lumberjack: 10 sets of 6 reps, 75 lb.
- Glute-Hamstring Raises: 6 sets of 6-8 repetitions
- Reverse Hyperextensions: 6 sets of 10-12 repetitions, 90 lb.
The Lumberjack, invented by Pierre Roy, is a great tool and assistance exercise to the full Olympic lifts. Due to the small size of the device, it’s overwhelmingly the favorite training device of many of my clients deployed overseas. Additionally, due to the ease of use, is a great introduction to the Olympic lifts, as it utilizes the same hip drive needed when lifting heavy weights explosively off the ground. For evaluation purposes, it provides valuable information on the strength and comfort of the elastic side panels in the waist band of the pants, as well as their metal button closure. Normally, when performing this exercise wearing loose shorts, I still need to fold over the waist band, to prevent pinching in the waist and hip crease, where the upper thigh joins the hips. However, this wasn’t an issue, the waist band allowed ample mobility without appearing overly baggy.
The glute-hamstring raises and reverse hyperextensions further tested the backside of the pants construction and fit. While the majority of product testers solely focus on the front side of the pants, namely the knees, they overlook the all important back side. These 2 exercises, are a great indication of how the pants will perform while leaning forward at the waist, as in picking something/someone off the ground .
Wednesday – July 11, 2010
- Arm training
- Dynamic Stretching: 10 minutes
While last week I focused on slow and static stretching, this week I focused on a more dynamic, movement based system of stretching. The difference between the 2 systems of stretching, depends on timing. Slow and static stretching is best performed after training/exercise, due to the sedating affect of the central nervous system. Dynamic stretching, should be performed pre-exercise, to stimulate the nervous system and promote a state of heightened awareness.
How many of you would be comfortable on stretching dynamically in a pair of pants? For the record, I was…the pant’s construction and material, allowed full range of motion stretching without fear of ripping the gusseted crotch.
Thursday – July 12, 2010
- Clean Grip Jumps: 10 sets of 3-5 repetitions
- Front Squat: 10 sets of 3-4 repetitions, 150 seconds rest, maximum weight 245 lb.
Out of all the variations of squats, front squats require the most flexibility in the hips, knees and ankles. The key to this exercise, is the maintaining of an upright position. This prerequisite of above average flexibility and unencumbered mobility, is the reason the majority of weightlifters perform this exercise in shorts. During the 36 repetitions I performed in the pants, mobility wasn’t an issue.
Overall, the pants continue to exceed expectations. While impressed with their mobility, I especially appreciate the material utilized…it allows freedom of movement without appearing baggy, nor does the material feel rough and extremely textured like sandpaper. Something you’d appreciate when wearing them for hours at a time.
Next week, I’m back to a outdor, modified strongman training regimen…yea, more tire flips.
To review Week 1 of my endurance test, click here.
For a review of my testing requirements and protocols, click here.