How to Retain Muscle After Surgery


How to Retain Muscle After Surgery

I laid back on the bench and I went through the same set up ritual I’d done thousands of times before. My three warm up sets were complete and this was my first working set. I was preparing for a bench press contest, my first in almost ten years. My right shoulder was always sore but I learned to live with the pain. I really had no business benching heavy again but my thick head was in denial. I grabbed a random guy in my vicinity to spot me. I had 275 lbs loaded on the bar and this was going to be an easy double on my way up to 300. I took control of the bar after the liftoff and I started my slow descent. Just as the bar touched my chest I felt it. It was an obvious “POP” in my right shoulder. In my mind, it was a pop heard throughout the gym. I was frozen with fear and luckily my spotter realized something went wrong and lifted the bar up to the racks. I sat up on the bench, grabbed my shoulder and stared at the floor. My arm went numb and I knew something very bad just happened. Thoughts of Surgery flashed through my mind. A future of pain, pain meds, Physical therapy and dare I say it… “atrophy.” I instantly sunk into a deep depression. Continue reading

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How Does A SWAT Team Really Train?

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How Does A SWAT Team Really Train?

How Does A SWAT Team Really Train?

It was late July and the lead story on all the local news stations was the record setting heat and humidity predicted for the day. There was a health advisory warning against any outdoor activity. We started the day out on the range with an hour of PT (physical training) and then jumped right into some shooting drills in full gear. I drank a gallon of liquids before lunch. Our team paramedic was on hand in case anyone needed to be hooked up with some IV Fluids. We had to train… it was our SWAT training day. Continue reading

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Strong Grip of the Law

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Strong Grip of the Law

The Strong Grip Of The Law              

by Jim Vaglica

Years ago, when I was a young rookie cop, I made a lot of arrests. One night I decided it was time to lock up this bad guy, so I moved in and grabbed his wrist. Immediately he began backing up and struggling. He pulled and shook his arm violently in an effort to break free. Eventually I lost my grip and I found myself in a foot chase. He was a young wiry guy in sneakers and he was fast enough to lose me in the darkness behind a building.

I’ll never forget that feeling of defeat. I had lost a struggle and a foot chase in the same incident. Someone had beaten me at my own game. This guy should have been under arrest but now he’s parts unknown. I’ll have to track him down and attempt to arrest him again. This was the first time I actually had hold of someone and they had got away from me. Had I been able to maintain my grip on his wrist he would have been in his rightful place: behind bars, and I would have not felt the agony of defeat. I was determined that would not happen to me again.  Continue reading

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How To Do Dips By The Iron Guru

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Vince Gironda the Iron Guru

Dips By the Iron Guru            by Jim Vaglica

Most of you are too young to remember Vince Gironda.  He was known as the Iron Guru and he opened Vince’s Gym in North Hollywood in 1948. Vince trained some of the biggest names in bodybuilding including Arnold, Lou Ferrigno and Larry Scott. When movie stars, like Clint Eastwood and Robert Blake, needed to get into shape quickly they also came to the famous Vince’s Gym.

The Iron Guru had his own unique and controversial philosophies of training. If someone was training in a manner Vince didn’t believe in, it was not uncommon for Vince to throw them out of his gym. For instance, the Guru believed that the standard back squat caused the hips to widen and the buttocks to protrude. He was also no fan of the standard bench press, believing that it over stressed the front delts. Dips were his primary exercise for building the chest. But these dips were done in a very specific Gironda Style. I had to dig up my old copy of Vince’s book ‘The Wild Physique’ to research exactly how Vince described his dips. Continue reading

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Jim Vaglica’s Intro to CrossFit

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A Crossfit Competition “How hard could it be?”

I was presented with the opportunity to compete in the 2013 Nevada Police & Fire Games, held each August in Las Vegas. The competition brings in over 2000 competitors and offers more than 30 events. I love to compete and I hadn’t been to Vegas in a while so I jumped at the opportunity.

The question was, which event should I compete in? I looked over the list and right away I can eliminate all the team sports because I’m a One Man Wolf Pack. I’ve competed many times in the bench press but now my shoulder is junk and it won’t stand up to the heavy weights I’d need to train with to prepare me for the contest so that’s out. There are several shooting events I could compete in but I don’t want to deal with the hassle of bringing a firearm on a plane. I like boxing except for the whole “getting punched in the face thing.” I could put in a descent time in the 5K road race but this is Vegas in August and I hate running. Poker? Not a sport! Darts? Drinking game! Bowling? Lame! I’ve got a lot of experience in submission grappling but that brings me back to my junk shoulder and I envision my entire arm being ripped off my body, thrown though the air and sliding across the mat, and that would be embarrassing. The list was quickly dwindling but then my eyes locked on a word – Crossfit! I’ve never done it before but I know it’s about performing a bunch of exercises, one after another, until you get tired. I also know that a lot of girls are training in Crossfit and girls are also into Pilates and Zumba so I thought “how hard could it be?” Continue reading

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Firefighter Fitness – Hotshots

Firefighter Fitness - Hotshots
Firefighter Fitness – Hotshots


Hotshot Training: Could You Handle The Heat?

In the wake of the tragedy in which 19 hotshot firefighters lost their lives fighting a wildfire in the hills of Arizona in June of 2013, I was left with many questions. My first question: “What’s a Hotshot?” Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in Boston my entire life but I’ve never heard of the job title Hot Shot. After some research I discovered that Hotshot is, in fact, an official title for an elite team of firefighters sent in to battle some of the most dangerous and remote wild fires.

Anyone interested in this profession would most likely start out on either an engine crew or on a type II fire suppression handcrew. But to qualify to become part of a Hotshot crew you must pass a set of strict physical requirements set forth by the National Interagency Fire Center. While type II hand crews and hotshot crews both perform basically the same back breaking work, a Hotshot crew may be sent in to battle a wildfire deemed too dangerous for a basic handcrew. If I had to relate it to something I’m more familiar with I’d say it’s the difference between a squad of police officers and a SWAT team. Continue reading

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