Get Up And Code 38: Chatting With Scott Hanselman
Yes, that is right. We actually got Scott Hanselman on the show. How cool is that?
Scott is actually quite a fit guy—he even demonstrated some super strict from dumbbell curls during the show for Iris and I.
We chatted with Scott about his new home gym, walking desks and more. Trust me, you won’t want to miss this episode.
John: All right. Welcome back to Get Up and Code. We’re not doing our episode numbers anymore, but this is a really special episode because we are honored here to have Scott Hanselman on the show. If you don’t know who Scott Hanselman is, then you’re probably not a developer.
Iris: You’ve been living under a rock.
John: Yeah, exactly. Scott has just an amazing legacy of speaking and he works for Microsoft currently. He’s just an awesome guy. If you haven't listened to his podcast, you can check it out on Hanselminutes. Welcome to the show, Scott.
Scott: No. Hey, thank you. I think honored might be a little bit overstating it, but I appreciate the thought.
Iris: I like how John said working for Microsoft currently. We wanted to have you on the show because I know, if not quite often, you’ve blogged about working out. I read some of the blog posts and recently. Did you tweet or blog about your home gym which was recently renovated?
John: I tweeted about it from Instagram. Yeah. I put it out on the social network. I'm always upgrading my gym. I have a gym in the garage. I had talked a little bit about my treadmill desk. I’ve been upgrading the gym forever, but, finally, I think I have it at the state now where I don’t need a gym membership anymore.
Iris: Nice. Do you use it?
Scott: The gym membership? Yes, I use it. When I went and tweeted the picture, I got a lot of snarky comments that were like, “No, you just have to use it,” because I think a lot of people spend time building their home gyms but not necessarily using them. Yes, I both use it and I built.
John: What do you got? What’s your … Oh, sorry.
Iris: Oh, sorry.
John: What’s your equipment? What do you got in there now?
Scott: Well, I used to go to the local gym which was like a membership. Microsoft will give us 20 bucks a month to go to a gym to pay for the membership, but I'm remote. I batched that money up and I take it all at the end of the year. Then every December I buy something with the $20 a month times 12. I have a Bowflex that I use for cable exercises, so that does flyes, lat pulldowns. Mostly pulling exercises are done in the Bowflex. It’s an upgraded Bowflex. The Bowflex comes with these bows, these steel cables encased in plastic. It comes with 205 pounds, but those are Bowflex pounds. Just like British Pounds, you have to correct. Bowflex pounds are not actual pounds. 205 Bowflex pounds is about a hundred regular pounds so I upgraded. I say that only because they insist that it’s 200 pounds.
I as a moderately, sedentary, out of shape guy was able to take every single Bowflex, hook it up, do a lat pulldown and like okay. Suddenly, I can lat pulldown 205 pounds. We know that’s not true. Therefore, I discovered the Bowflex conversion. I’ve upgraded that to 400 pounds which, I think, is about 200. The point there being that the Bowflex is a big fat lie. That is pulling exercises. Then I’ve got a Livestrong Lance Armstrong branded mid level treadmill. That’s the one that I built my treadmill desk on. We can dig into that if you want to. Then I just recently got on Craigslist a really nice Weider brand – oh, excuse me, my wife is printing. Do you hear that? I don’t know if you can hear that in the background there. Suddenly, the printer has decided to take off. I’m like there’s a phantom job happening. I hope it’s not anything I need to look at.
I’ve got a Weider brand – you have to explain to me both of you guys what it is. It’s not a Schmidt machine because it’s not connected, but it’s at an angle and it’s a squat cage such that it angles backwards. If I'm doing a bench, the bar doesn’t go straight up. It goes angular so I can take the weight off, goes straight up. Then if I want to drop the weight or if there’s any danger, I just go back over the back of my head and it slides down at about a 20-degree angle. I don’t know what the name for that is. It’s not a full squared off cage, but it’s not a Schmidt machine.
John: Okay. Yeah, yeah, I think so.
Iris: I'm trying to make a picture in my head. I have no idea. I’ve got a strange image in my head. It can’t be it.
Scott: Let me find you. It’s a Weider weight cage. There are a couple different kinds of benches, right? I’ll put this into the chat here. There’s a standard bench which is basically like an inclined bench plus some vertical bars. This is not vertical because with a vertical bar, you have to take the bench press bar off, move forward in an unnatural motion and then scooch yourself over. It can be a little dangerous. If you look at the picture I just sent you there, it’s angled backwards. Then below you see where the weights are and it’s Olympic weights. About 4 bars below, there’s a two-foot long extra rest. If I took it off and immediately slam the weights down in my face, the last rung would actually catch the weights before it hit my face.
It’s a modified weight cage but it lets me very safely do – this is not the exact picture of what I have. What I have is larger and more industrial. It lets me do squats. This is just a bench. The one I have doesn’t have the bars across the bottom, and I can safely do squats of body weight or more without any fear of my safety because that’s the number one thing. If you’re in the garage by yourself lifting more weight than you should, you don’t want them to find your body.
John: Right. Yeah, exactly, exactly.
Iris: There are plenty of videos on YouTube if you want to see people do bench press on their own. They set up their camera, their phone. They want to do this one awesome personal best. I actually don’t understand why they actually post on YouTube themselves getting injured, but yeah. There are plenty videos.
Scott: I have not discovered but I can assume, let’s say, that if you post a video of you doing anything at all with weights, even if you are Mr. Olympia it’s very likely that you will be critiqued on your form.
John: Oh, yes.
Iris: Oh, yeah.
Scott: I have no interest in being critiqued on my form. I just want to know if I'm going to hurt myself and I'm not going to be recording them.
John: Remember. What’s his name? Wolverine. What’s his name? He posted him –
Scott: Oh, Hugh Jackman. That was great.
John: Everyone was like, “Oh, you skipped Lake Day” and I was like, he’s a movie star. He’s in Wolverine. What have you done?
Scott: I don’t think he did quit Lake Day. He looked pretty fantastic.
John: Yeah. He looks great.
Scott: That’s a 50-year-old man. He looks great. I hope that we’re going to put all of those images on the show notes for your site because …
Iris: Yeah, I think we should because that looks nothing like my imagination. I'm not sure if people have the same thoughts as me but I had a really weird machine going on in my head.
Scott: Okay. Well, I don’t know the words for that but the point is though – I had it for like 300 bucks on Craigslist which is a great deal because it’s about an $800 bench.
John: Okay, awesome. You’re pretty much set up then to be able to do the full body workout in your home gym now, right?
Scott: Yeah, I absolutely can. Yeah. Actually, the funny thing was that I kept buying the new stuff and I don’t know why. I had this money to spend that Microsoft was giving me so I thought, “Oh, I’ll buy new equipment.” Then I was looking at this webpage by this guy named Scooby, Scooby’s Workshop.
John: Oh, yeah. I know that guy.
Scott: He’s amazing. He’s such an inspiration. I encourage people to check out his YouTube videos, Scooby. The funny thing though is he wrote this post and he said, “The weights and your body don’t know that they’re old.” I was like that’s awesome. The weights – I don’t care. I could use used weights so I'm like, “What idiot is buying new weights?” There’re all these used weights out there. Take advantage of all those people out there that aren’t using their equipment and buy it.
I literally bought this set from a guy in Craigslist who wasn’t using his own set, and he didn’t even know how much he had. This is an $800 equipment. I got 300 pounds of weight, a weight rack, a bench, the cage, for 300 bucks. That’s insane. I’ve already used it, but even if I don’t just the satisfaction for having spent so little to have gotten so much. That probably burned a thousand dollars.
John: That’s a great tip. I always forget to mention like especially for treadmills. There’s a huge one like I always buy treadmills on Craigslist when I buy one because I’ve got a standing desk also there, right? I work with my laptop on my treadmill. I’ll get a thousand dollar treadmill for like $200. You know what? It’s five years old or four years old, but guess what? It’s only been used like three times so it’s great.
Scott: Actually, important tip about treadmills used or otherwise. Treadmills are very, very rarely lubricated. People will walk on them and they will weaken the belt and they’ll weaken the treadmill motor because they don’t lubricate them every couple of miles. On Amazon, you can get a nice lubrication set which is effectively a big long ruler. It’s a flat piece of wood with a piece of foam on it. What you do is you put this silicon lubricant on it. You stick the ruler with the piece of foam underneath the belt and then you just move it backwards and forwards. You want to do that maybe every 5 to 10 miles just to keep it moving. If you’ve got a treadmill and you think yourself, “I’ve been walking on this treadmill for years and I’ve never lubricated it,” it’s probably not working at –
John: I'm going to have to do that because I just run them to the ground and then find another one in Craigslist. I could probably get a couple more years life out of them.
Iris: It’s really interesting what you said about buying good equipment but those who are buying second hand. There are so many people who spent so much money on mainly diets and also buying things on—do you call it TV shop like commercial TV. No. They have this sauna belts. Sorry.
John: As seen on TV.
Iris: Ab King Pro and the Hula Chair. I don’t even know the names though, but people actually buy them.
Scott: Yeah. The Shake Weight and all that crap.
Iris: It adds up. It adds up in how much money you spend. Also, I guess the time watching that commercial and deciding to purchase or something.
Scott: Well this is the other thing, I'm sorry to John.
John: Oh, no. Go ahead.
Scott: The other thing to remember is remember Sarah Connor from Terminator 2. She’s in jail and what is she doing? She’s flipped over her bed and she’s doing pull-ups on a metal bed and she’s ripped. We all remember, I think, when we saw this in the theater and we went “Whoa” as they introduced her. She’s a 45-year-old woman and she’s just ripped and she’s doing wide grip proper form pull-ups, not chin-ups. She’s doing this with no equipment. Body weight cross fit style is a certainly valid thing, and I recognize that I do not need any of that equipment in my room there. You know what I mean? I could get away with just body.
John: It’s a good point because a lot of people take the wrong approach. They say, “Okay. If I invest $1200 in this treadmill or this workout equipment, then I'm going to have to work out or I'm going to invest this huge gym membership or pay for personal trainer.” Then they figure if I invested bunch of money then I’ll have to work out, but it’s actually the opposite. Because then when you screw up, you feel bad about yourself. You beat yourself up and then you go down a downward spiral. In my opinion, I have noticed people have much better results when they say, “Okay, I'm not going to buy anything. I have to earn what I'm going to buy. If I start running, I’m going to start running. If I keep running for 3 months, then I’ll buy my running shoes then I get to have the pleasure, the equipment, the joy of the thing.” It motivates them as opposed to if you already have the reward. You just feel guilty about using it as much as you should as opposed to earning it. It’s so much a better motivator.
Scott: That is an excellent tip, the idea that you need to go out and buy a pair of shoes to start running. I’ve actually gotten funny looks because I work out sometimes in the sense of I’ll go for a brisk walk in the same shoes I wear to work and a pair of jeans. People are like, “Why didn’t you have a track suit and running shoes?” I'm like, “Well, listen. When the soles on these leather shoes wear out, I'm probably walking too much. I could then invest in a nice pair of shoes. If I work out every day, maybe I’ll buy running pants. For now, I'm running. What are you doing?”
Iris: Yeah. Most people who just get started running, you’re not going to run that far in the beginning either. Wait until you have a reason to actually get running shoes. I'm actually not a big fan of running shoes, but that’s just me my personal take on it. I prefer to go completely without shoes, but it’s –
John: Like proper barefoot?
Iris: Yeah. I do proper barefoot where I can. Now, I’ve just moved to another apartment so it’s a little bit harder for me. I live in the middle of the city now so I have to use my Vibrams in the city because the teenagers go out and drink, and so on. If I'm out in the forest, I’ll go barefoot completely.
John: Well, let me dissect that a little bit because Vibram is like shoes that basically have all your toes.
Iris: The gloves for your feet.
Scott: Hobbit shoes, hobbit shoes.
Iris: Yeah, hobbit shoes.
John: The teenagers drinking, of course, are glass bottles broken on the sidewalk, right?
Iris: The legal age to drink in Sweden is 18 which means people start at 15.
Scott: You’re just saying you want to protect your feet. Running in the city is not really safe.
Iris: Not where I live. There probably are areas of the city where it would be safe, but I haven't built up the skin hardness to run over, for example, broken glass. I’m fine with sharp stones, and – if I come home and I'm bleeding a little bit from underneath the foot, it’s not a big deal.
Scott: Well, I’m sure you can catch a number of things but that’s another podcast. I think though that this is an interesting point. Some people might say, “Oh, that’s weird but she’s working out, right?” I think it would be more likely to judge me running in a pair of leather shoes, not running, I don’t actually run, if I’m going for like a brisk walk for a couple of miles, I like my leather shoes. They’re quite comfortable. Someone might judge me and they go like, “You’re insane. What an idiot. What idiot runs in leather shoes?” Then someone might say, “Well, Iris runs in bare feet. Oh, that’s dedication.” Why don’t I get dedication for using to jog in my leather shoes?
Iris: It’s a current trend right now. Well, it’s interesting. Shoes haven’t been around for a long time. I'm curious how it has gotten such a big trend and considered a necessity to wear shoes, because we haven’t had running shoes for a long time.
John: Yeah. Look at hobbits.
Iris: They don’t exist.
Scott: Well, says you. Somebody says that a modern podiatrist, right, a foot doctor, most modern podiatrists have never ever seen a human being that has not worn shoes since they were a baby. There are almost no people, except for people who live really out in the country like maybe in South America or parts of Central Africa who are living the natural way, who have natural looking feet. Almost everyone has a foot that is very, very narrow, almost pointed, while natural feet splay out. The natural toe splays or flays outwards in a fan. Those feet don’t exist anymore because we’ve worn shoes for so long.
Iris: I have to say my feet are because my mother is the same way, and I’ve been walking barefoot since I was a kid. I will go barefoot to school, barefoot everywhere. I had a few injuries, yeah, but not so many as you would think. My feet are really wide. They’re not ugly or anything, but they don’t look like my best friend’s feet, for example. She’s always been wearing shoes and high heels. Hers are like really nice and narrow, mine are like really wide. It might look abnormal to other people, but I got good balance.
Scott: Well see, we need to get you out into being seen by the podiatrist so that they can see what a real natural foot looks like.
Iris: I don’t think it’s like real natural. It’s not tribal worthy. It’s not.
John: I was just thinking for a show now. Do we need a picture of Iris’ foot?
Scott: Are you keeping track of all of this? We want to see what my weight machine is, but more importantly, what does a natural foot look like?
John: There we go.
John: Now, we have the instructions for my editor when she’s listening to this podcast. These are things you’re going to show us.
Scott: You have an editor? You have an editor that’s good.
Iris: I was the editor.
John: Well, the secondary, the post.
Iris: Are you going behind me back, John? I cut out all the words and he adds them back in. I’m sure he does that.
John: Yeah. You got to listen to this show. You got to see what happens for real. Oh, go ahead.
Scott: I was going to say speaking of running and stuff, maybe we should talk a little bit about the rise of the treadmill desk for developers.
John: Oh, yeah. That’s a good topic.
Scott: You have a treadmill, but if you set it up with a desk?
John: What I do is I have my main desktop workstation, right? That’s a beefy machine because desktops are still the beefiest machines. I usually custom build it or whatever, 32 GB RAM, all that big monitor. I got a 4K display right now.
Scott: Oh, wow. Fancy.
John: I use a laptop, I’ve got an Ultrabook right now and I just have this thing called SurfShelf. We’ll have to put that in the show. It’s like this $28 device that basically just goes on a regular treadmill and it just creates this little shelf for you that you can put your laptop on. Then I’ll just walk at like 2 miles per hour, but I gradually build the incline up. Now, I can walk on basically like a 12 inclined, the highest inclined, and I can type, answer e-mails, do all that kind of work while I'm on the treadmill. I’ll either use the laptop directly or I’ll remote desktop into my beefy machine to do some serious work.
Scott: I would say all of that sounds really, really great, but I would maybe like push back a little bit on the inclined thing for people who have any kind of back issues. An incline of 12 is a really serious incline for anyone who is in any kind of lower back issues, and it’s going to change the way that your feet canter. It’s going to change whether or not your stride lands on your heel versus the ball of your feet. It puts pressure on your Achilles tendons.
It’s great that you can do it, but I would encourage people to stay with an incline of 1 or 2 if they’re just getting started lest they put a lot of pressure on their lower back.
John: I agree, yeah. Yeah, it’s definitely so.
Scott: You do agree with that?
John: Yeah. I worked my way up to that and I started with a low incline.
Scott: One interesting thing though about inclines that’s really significant to point, and it took me a while to figure this out, is that walking on a treadmill at a zero incline, so meaning walking on a flat treadmill, is not the same as walking.
John: Right. You’re right. It’s down actually.
Scott: Right, because you’re actually not walking, and pushing and moving any air. It sounds silly but the moving of the air is part of the resistance that’s there. I always feel like, “Oh, gosh. I can run for a mile at 5 miles an hour. I must be really fit.” Then you actually go and do it, it’s like, oh, gosh. Moving your body through the world is somehow more difficult. I recommend an incline of 1 or 2 to simulate actual walking. Do you agree with that?
John: Yeah, definitely. Yeah.
Scott: All right, cool. Good. I'm not off on that. I want to make sure that you guys agree.
John: The key thing, I think, with the treadmill desk is it’s keeping your speed low enough that you can actually work because you’re walking nice and slow. If you’re doing that for line an hour or two hours, you’re going to burn a lot of calories regardless of – I think a lot of people have this – I don’t know. How many hours a day or how long a day do you walk on your treadmill desk?
Scott: On days when I'm actually there at home and working, I will probably not go for more than three or four hours. I have a buddy of mine, Matt Coneybeare, who is an iOS developer. He spends as many as 8 to 10 hours on it. On Fitbit, I’ll be lucky to hit 10,000 steps every day. He’s doing 300,000 steps a week so upwards of 60 to 70,000 a steps a day. Now, he lives in New York. He lives in New York so I think he gets 15 or 20,000 just walking around New York, but he is on that thing at 3.5 miles an hour for 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 hours a day. He’s built up to that to be clear. I think that that’s excessive. I think that’s more than is necessary.
The other thing that I'm finding is that I can do e-mail walking at 3.5 miles an hour. If I have to code, I got to slow.
John: Exactly. Yup, you’re right.
Scott: Literally, the brain power required to move my feet is needed. What I’ll end up doing is if I have to really think for a moment and like a problem is frustrating me, I’ll jump to the side and then straddle the – I’ll jump off the treadmill, straddle it for a second, and then think and then go, “Okay, okay. I got it now,” and then I’ll get back on.
John: I do the same thing. I'm just reading a book now called Thinking Fast and Thinking Slow and he talks about exactly that. One example he used is when you’re driving in a car, if you’re the passenger, when the driver is like making a pass on a semi-truck or something right, you instinctively know to be quiet at that time because they need their concentration. They’re fast thinking like driving normally without traffic or anything, you can talk, have a conversation, whatever. Same thing like walking on a treadmill, you could do that. When you start to really focus your attention and think hard, all of a sudden you can’t even walk. All your attention is focused on that one task.
Iris: It’s funny that you say that because I actually had arguments, lowercase A arguments, with my wife when we’ll be talking or the kids will be loud in the car and we’re driving, and I’ll have to do something exactly like you said. Do some maneuver in the car passing someone or something I don’t feel 100% comfortable with, and I’ll say, “Okay, everybody shut up for a second. Just be quiet.” My wife will say, “Well, you can’t do two things at once?” I'm like, “No, absolutely not. Shut up.” If I want to snap at my wife which is a rare occasion, it’s going to be something like that. I need to fight or flight. Shut up. Let me make this maneuver and then I’ll change lanes. I said, “Okay. The crisis has passed everyone.”
Iris: You can now resume talking.
Scott: I don’t know frankly. I'm surprised that some developers are able to code while listening to things like house music. No seriously. I would challenge you, Iris, to do some really complicated math problems or something that was really deep, deep thought with loud house music in the background.
Iris: I’ll tell you. I live in Sweden so house music is big here so for me that’s like second nature hearing that in the background, but I do listen to Dubstep. The reason why I do that which is extremely loud is almost like happy, hardcore type of beat, gets your heart racing. I sit in an open office and I’ve never done that before. It’s literally driving me crazy to the point that this week I just told my boss, “I'm working from home. I am not on a team. I don’t need to be anywhere. I can’t get anything done at office because everybody talks and shouts across the room.” We don’t have anything to remove noise, noise cancelling. I don’t know what they use but it’s just driving me crazy so I have to have really loud music to block it out. When I need to get something done, I have a problem I struggle with, I actually have more luck going to a café and find like an empty corner or I’ll try to book a conference room, or I just head home.
Scott: Well that gets into the concept of white noise, right? I work at home and I like working from home, but at the same time today I went to a café and sat, and someone actually asked me while I was on a conference call, “Why are you there?” I was like, “I need the people. I need the background sound.” I’ve even though about having some record playing of the sound of people in the background in my office, because I find that that’s a useful noise. You know what I mean? I can sit in a mall food court with the cacophony of people walking around. That’s no problem, but it’s the tempo. If the tempo of the music doesn’t match the tempo of my thoughts, the first thing I'm going to do is just like when I jump off the treadmill I'm going to pause the music. I'm like, “Let’s think.” I believe thinking happens in absolute silence. That’s my belief.
Iris: Well, my problem is with open office, is they’re all developers. When they started talking about problems they’re having and my brain is thinking of things, my brain goes running like, “l’ll help you out.”
Scott: No. I totally agree with you. What you’re saying though is that the language center of your brain gets engaged. Your brain is talking to yourself while other people are talking. You can’t do those things at the same time. That gets to the point about listening to music with lyrics can be more challenging on the brain than music without lyrics.
Iris: Dubstep has no lyrics. It’s just really, really fast house music usually without lyrics.
Scott: It’s too loud, too much.
John: I don’t listen to anything. I just sit there and hum to myself. I’ll talk to myself.
Scott: Oh, okay. Well, that’s good to hear.
Iris: I’ve tried all types of music. I’ve tried different music, Dubstep and Happy Hardcore is the only thing that works for me. Yeah, it’s probably a little bit strange.
Scott: John and I have to now go and Google for Happy Hardcore to find out what that is.
John: I haven’t listened to music in such a long time. It’s kind of embarrassing. There’s a missing part of my brain where sports – I know nothing about sports like professional sports. I don’t know nothing about music. That’s it.
Scott: I love that you don’t know anything about sports. I thought I was the only one.
Iris: Me too here don’t know anything.
Scott: Oh, this is great. I feel like that’s the time I feel the most emasculated, is when someone is like, “Hey, did you see the game last night?” I'm like, “Gosh. Well, I didn’t. I’m guess I’m not a guy right now.”
Iris: You know what you can reply? You say, “No. I was busy working out.”
John: Yeah, in my leather shoes.
Scott: Do you even lift, man?
Iris: That’s the thing I like sports. I like sports. I like doing them, not watching them.
John: Yeah. That’s what I say.
Iris: I see them running around and I’m like, “I want to go too.”
Scott: There you go. Okay, that makes me feel better.
Iris: Remember that line.
Scott: Okay. No, man. I was lifting, personal best.
John: Go check it out on YouTube. I dropped the bar on my neck, but then I was all right. I just bled a little bit.
Iris: Those people actually brag about tearing muscles and stuff. I mean my buddy used to do that. They go like, “Oh, I totally tore my biceps” and they’ll tell you these stories and they’re so proud of doing something like that.
John: Yeah, that’s a really bad idea.
Iris: It’s like bragging about breaking the build, that’s the same equivalent, I’m like no, no, no, no –
Scott: Well, but see breaking the build causes you to learn but tearing a bicep muscle just means you will always have a bad bicep. That’s one of the things that young people don’t remember is that I can tell you of like the great Turkey Bowl of 1998. Turkey Bowl is a family football game that you play at Thanksgiving. I can tell you like that time I got hit by my cousin that injury still hurts me today. That’s what happens. When people are getting hurt at 25 they forget that they will feel that 15 years later and they’ll go, “Gosh, that was a problem. I probably shouldn’t have done that.”
That actually brings up a question I wanted to ask as we wrap up here is was that I’m finding as I’m starting to work out that I can’t get my muscles to hurt enough. That feeling you get 2 days after you work out where it’s like, “That was a great pump.”
Scott: I can’t get – is that what is?
Iris: Muscle soreness?
John: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, DOMS, yep.
Scott: Okay. I can’t get that to happen because my joints can’t handle the weight. You see what I’m saying? I feel like I can lift more with my muscles than my bones and ligaments and tendons can handle.
Iris: Well, I can make you really happy and tell you that muscle soreness is not something you – you don’t need to have muscle soreness to get stronger or to have hyper – I can’t speak in English, get your muscles bigger.
Iris: You usually get muscle soreness when you go fairly high in repetitions or even if you go over medium and a little bit higher and you don’t need to have that. A lot of people they go to this gym sessions and they feel like something worked really well because they can barely walk the next day. You can still go in and do a really good session, not be sore at all the next day and it counts the same towards strength and hypo –
Scott: Hypertrophy? But it’s …
Iris: I can’t pronounce it, yeah.
Scott: But I find it extremely satisfying though.
John: Yeah, it is satisfying.
Scott: I find having that feeling the day after … it’s 2 days after for me tells me I did something right. I’m finding, I was telling John earlier that my goal is to bench a little bit more than my body weight by the end of the year but I’m finding that the weight is not the problem it’s the shoulder or that elbow.
John: Two big things that I think that will help you with that, one is moving the weight a little bit faster, still controlled but what tends to happen at least from my experience is that your ligaments and joins will – and the secondary muscles will tire out if you do slower movements. On certain movements in the gym I will move the weight faster than normal and that seems to help me to be able to get more reps out before the secondary things tire out.
Scott: Interesting. Couldn’t I hurt myself though doing that? One of the things that I’ve found, again I don’t mean to keep bringing up age, but as a younger person injury almost always occurred when I moved some weight or moved my body in a way that was too fast than was appropriate.
Iris: Well, no jerking movements.
John: Right. It’s just an increase of speed but not a jerking movement. You kind of have to use some good judgment there to figure out –
Iris: Try different angles on the bench press as well.
Scott: That’s very interesting that you’re bringing up this speed thing because I don’t want to move too fast and like you say jerk and hurt myself but I do tend to kind of like, as they say, muscle the weight which is I bring it off real slow and I think about it and I go, “Okay, do I have this? Do I have this?” and that’s when the shoulder starts to give out. You’re implying to me to go a little bit more quickly and do it and get it back on there.
Iris: Is there any chance you’re stretching your arms too far almost into a locking position?
Scott: No. The issue is that I think I’ve – is my mousing arm, my right arm and I think that it’s the arm that’s like up towards my ear and wrong. It’s a situation where if you’re sitting at your desk you’re in a normal position, you put your arm up, your right shoulder starts to just float up towards your ear which causes the trapezius and the inner muscle of the deltoid to just be tense all day long. I think that that causes that muscle to swell – this is my theory, causes that muscle to swell and then the tendon sheathes that go through that area then gets swollen. When I go and use them in another exercise I can feel the tendon moving through a swollen sheath and it’s saying, “Gosh, don’t do that.”
What I’ve been able to accomplish and what I’ve come up with since you and I actually spoke last John was I’ll do cable flyes with a Bowflex or punching exercises so I have the cable in my fist and I’ll do back and forth punching with a very, very light weight to just move that sheath through and then bench. Since we spoke I told you I was doing one or two sets of 4, 5, 6. Now I can do 3 sets of 10.
John: Okay, awesome, awesome.
Scott: But I have to do that tendon exercise ahead of time to warm that joint if that makes sense. I can see John’s brain moving. He’s thinking about what’s going on?
Iris: I have to say that a lot of people ignore the warm up. It’s a cliché but people do that. You’re supposed to spend 5 to 10 minutes warming up the part of your body you’re going to exercise and walking on the treadmill for 10 minutes which some people do and then they go do bench press. I mean you warmed up the wrong muscles. It’s one thing increasing the body temperature just a little bit like generally, but it’s not the same thing. You still haven’t lubricated the joints and the tendons properly.
John: That’s true, yeah.
Scott: Well said. Then it sounds like I’m actually doing that now without even realizing it. You’re telling me that I basically learned that warming up works.
John: It seems like it, yeah.
Scott: It’s great. That sounds great then I feel better. I feel like it’s a tendon thing. It doesn’t feel muscular. It doesn’t feel like a bone.
John: The other thing that will strengthen your tendons is doing a little bit of sort of power lifting type of lifting just maybe for a couple of weeks or so or having what they call a heavy day where you’re going to do lower reps like 3, 4, maybe 5 reps and you’re going to do heavy weights, much heavier weights. That will tend to strengthen the tendons and joints a little bit faster. You can also do some isometric type of exercises where you’re holding the thing. For example, I do really heavy bicep curls but sometimes my weakness is actually the tendon in my bicep. I’ll actually hold in a halfway curled position solid for a while and that puts that tension on there which seems to help develop that a little bit faster. It depends, if you’re trying to achieve hypertrophy, you’re trying to increase the muscle size then doing a power lifter type of 3 to 4 reps is going to give you strength not size, but it can also increase the tendons and ligaments in there so that you can do a higher volume when you do the 6 to 8 rep range.
Scott: That bicep thing brings up an interesting question. In the getting of these weight set that I’ve got, I got one of those bicep bars that has the triangle curve in it so instead of a straight curl bar – I’m not sure what that’s called, it’s kind of an angled grip.
Iris: Z bar?
Scott: Z bar, thank you. I got one of those now. Now, I have previously had a set of hex weights from 40 lbs down to 5. I typically curl with those hex weights 35 lbs in each arm. I do an alternating hammer curl and then I do a standard curl with those hex weights and that’s been fine and it’s worked great for a year or 2. My goal is to get up to 40 lbs in each arm but right now it’s 35 and that’s where I’m plateaued. Here’s my question, I said, “Oh great, I’ll put 35 lbs on each size of the Z bar and I’ll know be able to curl with that Z bar and I – ”
Iris: What does the bar weigh?
Scott: I don’t know, 10, 25 lbs not a whole lot. It says 25, okay, so I should probably put 20 on both sides. My point is though the muscles are ready and able but with the Z bar, something about the angle of it, the elbows can’t get it up. What’s going on with the shape of the Z bar that can cause me to be able to lift 35 lbs in each arm but I cannot do the same weight or almost the same weight on the Z bar?
Iris: I have to say, I’m not a really big fan of the hammer curls because this is one of the biceps exercises where it’s easiest to cheat and you’re going to go much heavier than you can do in any other biceps exercise.
Scott: Now, why do you think that because I’m talking about strict ones, I do not cheat, I do not swing momentum, I’m talking about straight down, up and over and then rotate to the pinky and then back down?
Iris: It’s just generally it’s easiest to cheat with that particular biceps exercise. It doesn’t mean that you do it, but it’s very easy to cheat. If you know that you have strict form then you know you have a strict form, but then the angle ______ 0:38:32 which part of the biceps you’re targeting is completely different from the hammer curls with the Z bar.
Scott: Okay, that’s a valid point. I know the –
Iris: The Z bar is considered to be better for targeting, kind of isolating the biceps.
Scott: We’re talking about a Z bar where I’m holding it basically at an angle like this.
John: Yeah, that would be closed grip curls. Here’s an interesting experiment because we all cheat at bicep curls. Here’s how you can find out. Next time you’re doing bicep curls. –
Scott: I’m going to go get them, you talk to each other, I’m going to get my bicep –
Iris: Oh God. We need to record this video.
John: Yeah, I know. We need video here. We’re going to have to start doing like the Google Hangouts and get the video.
Iris: Yeah, his video just froze. He’s got to get the video going again because I want to see.
John: Yeah, we’ll have to have him turn on his video and turn it back off.
Iris: I can go so heavy on the hammer curls and it looks so cool because I can go super heavy and I already go really heavy. I pick up the Z bar and I look like a little sissy. I can barely put any weights on but it feels good.
John: Oh yeah, I’ve got a great trick for this. I’ll wait for Scott to come back because I want him to hear this and it’s really interesting. I do this trick by the way and it makes me look weak.
Iris: Is it the back against the wall?
John: Yes, you stole my thunder. That’s exactly it.
Iris: No, but I knew and I think you’ve mentioned it before. I don’t think he heard – sshh, he’s coming back. Can you turn the –
Scott: Did you guys talk about me while I was gone?
Iris: Yeah. Can you turn off your video off and on so I can get some movement because it kind of froze on me?
John: We just talked about walking in leather shoes, that’s it.
Scott: Can you see me now?
John: What is the year when we’ll have video conferencing working properly? Is it going to be 2020 or …
Scott: Here are my hex curls. I usually stand like this. I’ve got my feet square underneath my shoulders, slightly bent. I’m not locking my knees and I’ll go up like that, turn, come back down and I’ll just go like this.
Scott: Okay? Then I’ll do 3, 4 sets of 10. I never swing or sway back. I just don’t do that because it just makes me feel like I’m cheating. Now here’s the Z bar. Right off the bat, I find the angle uncomfortable.
John: Yeah, you’re on a wide grip now so that’s going to actually target the outer …
Scott: That’s a wide grip?
John: Yeah, right there –
Scott: It feels quite narrow.
John: It’s the way that you’re angled. It’s going to actually target the outer part of your bicep.
Scott: But the bar seems too small, you see what I’m saying? You see how tiny this bar is? I feel like I’m squishing –
Iris: Can you turn it around?
John: I see, yeah.
Scott: That’s the bar.
Iris: Like that.
John: Yeah, that’s …
Scott: See, look, that’s where I want my arms to be, but that’s on the outside of the Z.
Iris: Go slightly more inwards, there.
John: Yep, right there, perfect.
Iris: There, there. That’s going to target the middle part of the biceps, right, John?
John: Yep, yep. Then if you’re on the inner side there’s another grip you see inside there. That will work on the total inner part of your biceps there.
Iris: You’re not going to go – that’s going to make it really heavy as well.
Scott: I’m finding that the rotation of the bar is putting it at an uncomfortable – so you’re saying what’s happening is the bar wants to sit a certain way because of the weight. I’m actually having to rotate it with my wrists so that –
Iris: I have to say I injured my hand really bad when I went too heavy too fast on the Z bar because it does strain your wrist a little bit more. Not in a bad way because it’s good to have really strong wrists so I would say you have to –
Scott: Nope, you just answered my question.
Iris: You have to start off really slowly. We got weak wrists as programmers.
Scott: That is exactly the problem. What I’m learning here is that well, I thought a free weight would be setting me up for success. I mean I can do more weight with the hex weights. That was 35 lbs. The Z bar I put 22 on each side. I learned that the … don’t discount the weight of the bar, John said. That’s effectively the same weight I was curling, but it was harder because of the torque on the wrists. I should probably go a little lighter on the Z bar and be more conscious of my grip.
Iris: Play with the angles as well and find which one feels most natural. I usually use 2 of the angles. I don’t do the narrowest one because I just don’t like it but I use both the angles because you just want to target the whole bicep.
John: Here’s the trick to see how much, because we all cheat, if I do this trick by the way I’ll look like a weakling at the gym and I do it and then people look at me and they’re like, “That’s weird.” Go up against the wall. Put your back against the wall and try and do a curl.
Scott: With the Z bar or with the free weights?
John: Either way. The whole time you want to keep your back completely against the wall. You won’t be able to use any momentum, any kind of back in it at all, it will make you – your weight will drop down. We’ll see but for most cases.
Iris: Scott is walking towards the wall. He’s taking weights in his hands.
John: I get some screenshots here.
Iris: We should tell him not to look down because that’s going to actually strain the neck a little bit. Oh, I think he heard me.
John: He’s doing pretty good with his back against the wall. I’m impressed.
Scott: I think after having done that I think that that tells me I do have strict movement and I’m not cheating, but I think it’s a great reminder.
Iris: Do you usually look down when you do biceps curls?
Scott: I think I do because I’m looking at my feet. I have the same problem with squats as well.
Iris: Just make sure you don’t – it’s easy to strain your neck like that, but you’ll notice when you do it. If you have problems with your neck, a lot of people don’t think about where their head is literally, I mean where their head is when they’re doing exercises.
Scott: I do think that I tend to look down. I have this because I want to see the body. I want to see what am I doing. I have the same issue when doing squats where I tend to look down as opposed to looking straight ahead or slightly up when I’m doing squats. Good advice. Thank you guys.
Iris: Also facial expressions. A lot of people strain their face. They make strange expressions. The worst thing I see is people who put their tongue out exercising. I’m just waiting for the moment when they’re going to bite it – oh yeah. I bit my tongue a couple of times usually talking but if you do that when you do squats that tongue is not coming back up.
John: That would be bad, yeah. All right so I think we should probably wrap this up here. This is good. I took a couple of screen shots and stuff.
Scott: Oh no. Only use the flattering ones. I don’t want to have the ones with my tongue sticking out.
John: I have to say I’m impressed though, you definitely have good form on this picking up those 35s yeah, that’s pretty good. All right. Thanks again for coming on the show Scott. It’s been a blast. We are –
Scott: I appreciate it. I wish you all the best with your show.
John: We are so honored.
Scott: Well, I am honored to get such advice from such fit individuals as yourself.
Iris: Aww, thank you.
John: Thank you. Don’t forget to check us out at getupandcode.com and hey, if you’re listening to this episode, follow us on Twitter @GetUpAndCode and tweet us. Let us know what you think of the episode if you have any ideas and comments.
Iris: A big thank you to our sponsor.
John: Yes, let’s not forget SignalLeaf for sponsoring our podcast here. If you are thinking about starting your own podcast, if you’re looking for an easy way to get started and get hosting then go to signalleaf.com and it makes it really easy to get a podcast up and get it on your website with just a simple … you can copy and paste some java script and you’ve got a player right there. Check out signalleaf.com.
Scott: I’ll do a Hanselminute style ending the show.
Iris: Oh yes, please do.
John: Please do.
Scott: This has been another episode of Get Up and Code with John and Iris and we’ll see you again next week.
John: Take care.
Iris: Take care, bye.