90 By 40: Week 9

No one’s coming.

I’d be lying if I said the last two weeks have been my best. It’s easy to get distracted from the things you say you want to accomplish when the requirements of life come about. One thing I’ve tried to censor in this space is this project turning into a weekly session of me writing the words “I need to be better” just to have the whole thing fall on deaf ears.

But I also think there’s another part of this project that’s measured by something more than miles per hour on a radar gun. Whether anyone reads this series on a weekly basis is not really important. What’s important is that I’m held accountable — both positively and negatively — to myself.

It doesn’t take a scholar to know I’m someone that loves motivational speeches. Love them. Love inspirational posts, motivational sayings, love coach-speak. I love these things because I think they serve a tangible purpose to those that allow themselves to hear the message, to wake themselves up.

Last week I got algorithmed this:


The message is a “no duh”. Everyone knows this. At least, everyone should know this. You have the ultimate say in whether or not you are putting the work in necessary to achieve your goals.

Some may think this is corny. That’s fine. It’s not for everyone. But I think it’s good to be reminded every once in a while that the pizza you eat, the beer you drink, the time you spend on the couch, the time you spend on your phone, the time you spend arguing with total and complete strangers on the Internet, is doing nothing but keeping you from achieving anything of significance in your life. You’re making a choice.

It’s the owning of that choice I believe is important. Those around you, those that care about you, will hold you accountable for your choices. They won’t let you fall short of your goals.

But, if they are empty goals, goals that exist in words but not in effort, no one has time for that. It’s unattractive. You will be left behind.

I’m the only one that can make 90 By 40 happen. You’re the only one that can make your 90 By 40 happen. No one’s coming.

On to the testing:

After the jolt of self-reflection I wanted to take some inventory of where I am at this point in the project.

One of the rules I had when I was training throwers was they were to know their previous records before they started throwing that day. It served a purpose: it gave them a target to hit for that day and instant positive feedback if they set a record. The impact of positive feedback is undervalued.

Additionally, it’s good to take inventory of overall progress every couple of weeks so you can provide yourself the motivational value of positive feedback. It’s why progress pics during fitness challenges are important. Nothing more motivating than seeing that you still are carrying that 2016 holiday weight even though you promised yourself this year would be the year.

Here’s my progress from the start of 90 By 40 on September 12th for every wake-up warm-up exercise:

Core Taps12-SepCurrent HighDifference
Diagonal R3134+3
Diagonal L2833+5
Can Opener3032+2
4 Square3438+4

I don’t expect the differences in this category to get too big; there’s only so fast a human can move in 15 seconds. And I don’t think I’ve gotten to 50 taps on Side-2-Side even when I was in my best shape.

The med ball section is disappointing for a couple of reasons:

  1. I really should be consistently above 30 mph (with a 4-pound medicine ball) at this point with the overhead throws and torques.
  2. I don’t have a space to do the running throws, which is something I’m in most need of right now to get my body sequencing down.
Med Ball Throws12-SepCurrent HighDifference
1 knee26 +1*mph
Overhead2629 +3mph
Torque R2629 +3mph
Torque L27 +2*mph
Windmill R2631+5 mph
Windmill L2529 +4mph
Backwards29 +4*mph
Running3134+3 mph
*radar only registers 25+ mph, so beginning throws below 25 mph are indeterminate

The elite throwers I used to train were consistently in the 43-35 mph range for the running throws, so you can see I have a long way to go there.

Now for the important stuff: throwing.

Remember I took it very slow on the higher velocity/movement drills to make sure my arm was ready to handle the load. The three most important drills are double knee, standing, and torque.  These drills are the best barometer of arm strength and ability to create rotational power from a static position. Here’s the chart for those three:

Double Knee4562 +17mph
Standing5565 +10mph
Torque6273 +9mph

Two big takeaways:

One, obviously pure arm strength has shown significant improvement with a 17 mph increase and 10 mph increase in the two arm strength specific drills. Whether that increase is correlated to me just getting closer to my natural ability after so much time off or an actual building of velocity, I’m not sure it matters. Probably a bit of both. What’s important is it’s there and it’s measurable.

The other is that the torque drill, which incorporates lower half and trunk rotation, is not progressing at the same rate as the pure arm strength measurements. Overall fitness and functional strength are lacking. Time to hit the gym.

The next two months will be important to start seeing significant improvements in the movement drills, including the new ones that were added this week.

First will be the whips drill, which is a variation of torques, but more designed to isolate hip rotation and force from the lower half.

Starting velocity: 68 mph

Next will be the fan favorites because they’re the ones that get you the big numbers on the gun.

Step behinds were always my best drill, the hardest part is finding an open-air place to throw them consistently. The #garage will do for now.

Starting velocity: 72 mph

Current high: 76 mph

Turns & burns have never been my favorite and even more so now as there’s no place to throw this one unless I’m risking catching a knuckle on the garage door or releasing one too early and taking out a child.

Starting velocity: 75 mph

My goal is to get at least two of these drills into the 80s by the end of January. Should be doable. I think it’s doable. Let’s find out.