Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption-from South Central to Hollywood

I saw Ice-T on a recent Colbert Report and thought I’d check out his autobiography.

Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption-from South Central to Hollywood
Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption-from South Central to Hollywood

I’m not really a fan of rap music. I liked the first two Beastie Boys albums, Public Enemy, N.W.A., Ice Cube and of course Ice-T. I’ve since lost interest in rap, but I was interested in reading how Ice-T went from being a criminal to an actor and businessman.

Ice-T was a successful thief, pimp, DJ, rapper, rock artist, movie actor and TV star. He also helped broker the peace between the LA gangs in 1992. Ice-T was also involved in numerous other projects, including making a documentary on the history of rap music. His success in multiple disciplines is what makes for a good book. And I had no idea that Ice-T served in the Army. He even did the same infantry training at Ft. Benning, Georgia that I did.

Although I liked the story, I felt this book lacked something. At several points where Ice-T was earning a new level of success, he seemed to be light on details and not forth coming. Although he went into detail on how he was a hustler in his criminal past, his legit success was written as if he was lucky or just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Ice-T states that he landed his role in New Jack City because Marion Van Peebles heard him talking in the men’s room of a nightclub, liked what he said so much that he offered him a role in the film.

Other acting successes seemed to come too easy in the story. Maybe it happened that way, but I doubt it. My guess is that because Ice-T is still in the entertainment industry, he is keeping his work ethic secrets close to the vest. When I read the 2nd half of the book, I was reminded of Law #30 from the stellar The 48 Laws of PowerMake your accomplishments seem effortless.

…When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more. Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work – it only raises questions. Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.

I really wish Ice-T would have opened up more in the second half of the book on how he infuses his hustler ethic in the legit world. That would have made it a great book.

 

My First HIT Injury?

Today I strained my back attempting a Max Contraction exercise in the gym. It was just last week that I read and reviewed the High Intensity weight training protocol of Max Contraction Training. Even in my review I had a concern with the plan.

The problem I see with Max Contraction Training is that for a few exercises, the weight I can hold for just 1 to 6 seconds is much greater than the weight I can safely lift into maximum contraction position. This is where a trainer or spotter can help.

Instead of using a trainer or spotter, I theorized that I could recruit muscles unrelated to the movement to get into position and then release the weight onto the targeted muscles. That was the theory. I should know better than to attempt MacGyver moves in the free weight room. I guess I needed the spirit Gods of the gym to thwart my arrogance.

Using the seated row machine, I pinned a weight about 20 pounds more than what I weigh. Then using both arms AND my legs, I yanked the weight back. Then I tightened my hold and tried to contract against the weight. I probably should have tried a lighter weight first, as I was unable to hold the weight. Instead of letting go, I exhibited some bad form to gain control of the weight. That tweaked the left side of my lower back.

It didn’t hurt until I got home. I don’t foresee this being a sidelining injury. I’ll probably miss 1 or 2 workouts at most.

Going forward I am going to primarily do the safer Max Pyramid protocol for most of my exercises. I really think you need a skilled trainer to do that protocol safely. I wouldn’t even trust the average spotter.

UPDATE JUNE 2011: This injury turned out to be nothing. To be on the safe side, I delayed my next workout by 3 days. I’ve since lifted a few times with no problems.

Max Contraction Training

I just finished reading John Little’s 2004 follow up book to Static Contraction Training.

Max Contraction Training : The Scientifically Proven Program for Building Muscle Mass in Minimum Time
Max Contraction Training : The Scientifically Proven Program for Building Muscle Mass in Minimum Time by John Little is a much better book than Static Contraction Training. Instead of being light on text and heavy on photos of steroid monsters, this book dives into the details of how to use static holds to trigger muscle growth. And the photos are of normal people doing the actual exercise described in the text.

Max Contraction is different from other weight lifting protocols in that there are no “reps”. The weight is lifted slowly to the point where the muscle is in maximum contraction. At that point the weight is held fixed for 1 to 6 seconds. Then the weight is slowly lowered. That completes the exercise. You’re done. You’ve triggered full muscle contraction. Move on to the next exercise. If you were able to hold the weight more than 6 seconds, it was too light. Increase the weight.

It takes me about 10 minutes to do a Body By Science workout. With Max Contraction you’ll spend more time moving between exercises than doing the exercises. You can probably finish in under 2 minutes.

The problem I see with Max Contraction Training is that for a few exercises, the weight I can hold for just 1 to 6 seconds is much greater than the weight I can safely lift into maximum contraction position. This is where a trainer or spotter can help.

This concern is addressed in the updated version called The Max Pyramid Protocol (h/t Conditioning Research for finding this). This version of static holds stresses TUL (time under load) over poundage. For more information on that plan read:

I’ve done a few lifts using the Max Pyramid Protocol and found they were effective, especially the leg press. Starting next week I plan to test out the full plan using Max Contraction / Max Pyramid. I’ll let you know how it goes.