Food For Thought

Retraining the Brain

endurance training

What I mean by retraining the brain is what endurance training is all about.

Lets call your brain MAMA. Mama sitting in the chair smoking a cigarette. If mama is sitting in the chair things are cool she feels everything is all right in the body. But if she gets out of the chair and puts her cigarette out to see who you have in the upstairs bedroom with you she is out of control. The key is to keep mama, your brain, in control. The brain merely reacts to stimuli. The problem is mama usually reacts way to early to protect the body. She is lazy. Doesn’t want to work just get the job done.

To relate this further.

The minute you exert energy she reacts to this as a problem. She is out of the chair and you are sweating and panting your guts out. You have to keep mama in the chair calmly smoking her cigarette. You have to convince her that even though your body is under extreme stress she feels everything is cool. Hence you will not be sweating or panting.

How to do this!!!

Begin a rhythm..Inhale, two, three, four…..Exhale, two, three, four….take in as much air during your inhale as you exhale and in the same amount of time. *Very Important*

Start by maintaining your breathing on the stair stepper. Time it until you begin to gasp or pant. Stop regain composure by immediately regaining your breathing rhythm. Start again. Do this everyday and add time to your control. Before you start this uphill or adding resistance you want to increase your speed maintaining control, then come back down to your starting speed and begin to make your brain believe your starting speed is a resting speed.

So lets say your heart rate is at 120 at your starting speed and it goes up to 140 at the increased speed go back down to the starting speed and your heart rate will drop to lets say 110 because mama thinks you are resting and everything is cool.

Remember maintain your rhythmic breathing..Inhale , two, three, four….Exhale, Two, Three, Four!

Then start adding multiple speeds. Begin with starting medium full out speed then back to medium speed and let mama think this is now the resting speed then to beginning speed or low speed.
If you hit high speed now and you begin to pant go to medium speed take a cleansing breath and get back to rhythm in your breathing gain CONTROL AT ALL COSTS!

Then go back to high speed in control for as long as you can. If you lose control go to medium speed and if you can”t pull it off then go to slow speed. There I guarantee mama will think you are resting, gain control of your breathing then head back up.

I hope this makes sense so far.

Once you have satisfied yourself that you are in control of your being start adding resistance. When you gain control with resistance start adding a weighted vest to your running or walking.

A cleansing breath gives mama a couple of deep breaths to add oxygen and make mama feel like things are cool then go back to controlled breathing. This will become easier, believe it or not, as time goes on. Very quickly in fact. Don’t allow mama the upper hand ever. Be in control of your being. Once mama is convinced that under duress everything is cool you will be saving your heart, hydration and carbs.

I would also recommend meditation. You will be using the same breathing techniques in meditation as you use in running. So what happens when you begin your breathing mama thinks you are resting or meditating and you remain in control without your brain feeling as though she has to react.

I tell my athletes to gear down for a race never gear up. Start your pace before you begin the race not when you have completed half the track and then you find your rhythm that is BS.

Dragon Gym High Altitude Center For Training….Good Luck
this is from my book “Preserving The Male Integrity” If you reprint please ask for permission …many thanks



Are You Training Your Calves to Break Your Ankles?

Dragon Gym High Altitude Center For Training designs weight lifting programs specifically for pro athletes in their respective sports.
We have come up with many new concepts to prevent injuries over 32 years:

This is part II from “Are you Training Your Calves to Break Your Ankles”
Once you have developed your platform, all your power is now focused and no longer compromised by rolling off to the side on either foot. The key now is to integrate all connective muscle tissue in the leg, with the abs and glutes.
The following exercise is called a CALF SQUAT and is performed on a 2×6 board. You already know the 3 position calves. The important thing now is your impetus of movement and generation of strength to facilitate a vertical, to hurdle, jump, or forward movement with maximum power. To initiate this and the Calf squat you must engage the pyramadalis muscle first ( anterior muscle to the rectus abdominus in the pelvic region). To find it lay on your back , knees bent, feet flat on the floor close to your butt and press your lower back to the floor and exhale. Your hips should come toward your face. You have in this movement changed your center of gravity from your shoulders to your hip flexors and increased your power multifold. You will need to do the same thing standing up. 4 steps to movement, center and power…..1.)contract lower ab, 2.)exhale, 3.) Which initiates momentum, 4.)engage muscle groups you wish to use.
Calf Squats:
With the ball of your feet on the 2×6 board and knees bent and feet straight. You begin the exercise by contracting your lower ab , keeping your lower back straight and not arched, exhale and keeping your knees bent, raise your heels coming up onto your platform, all 5 toes and the ball of your foot solidly placed on the board. From this position press up unbending your knees and flex your adductors forward and gluteus as high as possible. Stay on your platform heels up maintain flex in your adductors and glutes inhale and bend your knees to original position then lower your heels and begin again. Do this in all 3 positions, feet straight, toes together, and heels together. * See “are you developing your calves to break your ankles”

Your verticle should increase by 6 inches. Hurdlers will straighten out their line. Just be sure your movement up or forward is initiated by the lower ab and that you exhale to jump or hurdle. This will also increase muscle development in your hip flexors.

This article comes from my book “Preserving The Male Integrity” if you wish to reprint please ask for permission thanks.
For more info:

I hope this helps.


Belt of Strength

I know you have all heard of “core training.”  In reality this is actually a new term that has come up in the last five years or so.  Its idea was to give support to the lower back.  Unfortunately the core training I have seen over the years barely gives the athlete a 6 pack much less lower back support.  Here is the reason.  When most athletes work their abdominals their positive move is all abs and their negative move is no abs.  It neither targets the muscle necessary for lower back support nor does it allow the athlete to use enough weight to facilitate muscle growth without actually injuring their lower back


(click to enlarge)

At “Dragon Gym High Altitude Center For Training”  We have come up with a series of isolation exercises that make up what we call the “Belt Of  Strength.”

First of all you need to know how to do an abdominal exercise and second you probably would like to know what muscle actually supports your lower back.



It is called the pyramidalis muscle.  It is the anterior muscle to the rectus abdominus in the pelvic region.  To find it lay on your back, knees bent with heels close to your butt  place one hand palm down under your lower back.  Now try to crush your hand with your lower back and you will have engaged your pyramidalis muscle.  Another muscle that you will have engaged and is almost impossible to do so while you are standing or running, unless you contract the pyramidalis, are your hip flexors. Now that you know where it is put your hands behind your neck with your thumbs supporting your neck and your elbows to the left and right.  Without bending your neck, keep it straight, look at the wall behind you.  Pressing your lower back to the floor raise your shoulders 4 inches off the floor.  Exhale during this move.  While you are up in this position continue to exhale and contract the pyramidalis as hard as you can…press that lower back to the floor.  Now here is the catch for all your exercises.  When you begin your negative inhale but while you are inhaling maintain your flex.  Never allow your ab to relax.  You are now using your brain to work out…..See article “Retraining The Brain”

If you do this exercise as described.

It will:

1)      Take the pressure off your lower back and help prevent lower back injury.

2)      Eliminate lower back pain due to stress

3)      Center your body and give you impetus of movement, power and strength for all exercises

4)      Help prevent abdominal tears

5)      For men help prevent cremaster muscle strains and tears




To engage six pack development you need to get your brain to focus on it.  See Article “Retraining The Brain”  Another words if you are able to focus on the muscle fiber of just one part of your six pack you will not need nearly as much weight to build it.  Using the same above procedure and keeping your lower back to the floor have your spotter “Pressure Point Focus” each area of your six pack while you are doing the exercise above.  Have your spotter press with the tips of their fingers into that part of the six pack you wish to develop. Your spotter will tell you when that part of your six pack is contracted and if it is maintaining the contraction during your negative movement.  Then move on to the second part of your six pack and repeat the exercise etc.  My athletes can contract and relax their 6 or 8 pack individually and from the left to the right side.

If you do this exercise as described

It will:

Allow major six pack development

Assist in entire upper body structural support

Greater protection to vital organs during sports

Complete flexibility to abdominal structure

Prevent abdominal tears




You need to be on the floor with your knees bent and heels to your butt.  You want to work your obliques and be able to keep your pyramidalis in position.  Meaning you do not want to arch your back any longer you want to keep your back flat.  This is why athletes have lower back pain doing abs and squats etc.  When you come off the floor in an ab exercise roll up do not arch your back to get off the floor.  If you arch your back you are putting the pressure on your lower back not your abs.

With your hands behind your head and your back on the floor, keep your lower ab, pyramidalis, contracted and your lower back straight exhale and contract your pyramidalis and roll up and bring your left elbow past your right knee.  In this twisted position keep both hips on the floor at all times.  Maintaining this twisted position inhale as well as maintaining your flex to prevent lower back injury and lower your body back to the floor.  Your right elbow should be facing the floor at this time.  Just before your right elbow hits the floor exhale twist your body around and come back up so your right elbow goes past your left knee without your back and shoulders touching the floor and without your lower back arching inversely and hyper extending.  Your left elbow should now be facing the floor inhale and lower your body back to the floor.  Just before your left elbow hits the floor exhale twist your body around and come back up and start the exercise again.

If you do this exercise as described

It will:

1)      Develop your obliques without lower back and ab injury

2)      Open up your hips for more flexibility

3)      Support your lower back during rotation of upper and lower body

4)      Maintain center, power and strength during rotative movements




I like to call the transverse the flank muscle up to the ribs.  Standing straight facing a mirror have weight in left hand with your right hand flat on your neck and elbow straight out to the right maintaining your alignment, keeping your glutes contracted and as high as you can get them to your lower back “See Alignment Article”  Inhale and keep your arms to the side arch your back to the side by lowering the weight to your left knee.  Contracting your lower ab exhale and arch to the right past 12 noon to a one o’clock or 11 o’clock position respectively.  Think of a pendulum and continue to face front do not arch your right elbow around in front of you and do not twist your body.  Your head should be at 11 or 1 o’clock respectively if your are looking in a mirror.  Remember not to arch your lower back keeping your pyramidalis contracted.  Even when your are standing think of your lower back pressed to the floor and keep it from arching. You want your back straight while your are arching your body to the left and to the right.  Do a set of ten minimum.  Switching the weight to your right hand repeat the exercise.

If you do this exercise as described

It will:

Help protect your organs from a side blow to the left or right

Protect your ribs with muscle

Stretch your ribs and rib cartilage with flexible muscle

Develop, as a bonus, your serratus anterior muscle




This exercise will hit the lower part of your back with the support coming from your pyramidalis and the rectus and your obliques. This will also attack that fat you have at your waist above your gluteus medius.

Taking your 45lb Olympic bar and putting it on your shoulders with your arms over the top and stretched out along the bar tuck your ab as tight as you can never allowing your lower back to arch or invert or you will injure your lower back.    Facing the mirror bend at the waist slightly forward and twist the weight  from your left to the right 90 degrees while you exhale and contract your abs.  The left side of the bar and your stretched out left hand should be facing the mirror.  Do not go past 90 degree twist.  Make sure you keep as little momentum as possible so you do not pull out your back.  Keep the weight in control during your twist.   Keep facing your head toward the mirror and see yourself in the mirror.  Try not to move your hips.  Even though this is not possible keep them as straight ahead as possible to get a full oblique and lliocostalis stretch as possible.  Inhale …very important….and maintaing your flex and abs bring the weight to its original position.  Exhaling contracting swing the weight from your right to your left 90 degrees following the above procedures.  Repeat the exercise 20 times.

If you do this exercise as described

You will:

1)      Get full flexibility during a twisting movement without tearing out your lower back

2)      Stretch your ribs, rib cartilage with flexible muscle


Commonly called your back straps.  How do you reach from your neck to your waist?  Go to your Roman chair laying down facing the floor with your abs on the seat and your heels tucked under the upper rollers.  Your legs should be straight out from your waist.  Bend from the waist with your head to the ground or at 90 degree bend from your waist to the floor put your hands behind your neck and your elbows touching each other in front of your face..  From the floor look up toward your feet.  From this position you are going to do what is called an inverted Roman Chair.  The difference is, in my exercise, you will not destroy your lower back in doing it.  First of all think of a cat.  Have you ever seen a cat stretch arching its back.  You will do the same thing in this exercise.  Instead of swinging to a straight lay out position your are going to arch up to a layout position.  Here is how you do this.  Contracting your pyramidais will initiate the arch at the lowest part of your back. And have your elbows follow a pretend bar from the floor to your waist.  Contract and begin uncurling your lower back to your shoulders, when you get to the top or your shoulders open up your elbows to your left and to the right with your hands still behind your neck.  Inhale and descend to the floor with your elbows coming together again and repeat the exercise.

If you do this exercise as described

It will:

1)  Allow flexibility and fluids into the vertebrae

2)  Keep your lower back from hyper extending and becoming injured

3)  Help your glutes to support your lower back

4)  Develop your entire back strap with muscle and flexibility

5)  Keep vertebrae flexible with muscle development


If you do all of these exercises as described:

You will:

1)       Have a “Belt Of Strength” that is virtually impenetrable during sports

2)      Give you center, and strength in movement

3)      Develop muscle in this “Belt Of Strength” to integrate with connective muscle tissue,    to facilitate flexibility in movement with power and strength.



This information comes from my book “Preserving The Male integrity” and the new concepts developed in weightlifting training for the athlete over the last 34 years @ Dragon Gym High Altitude Center For Training.  If you wish to reprint Please ask for permission.  The terms BELT OF STRENGTH and PRESSURE POINT FOCUS are copywrited programs.  CONTACT………..WEB