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15 Jan

While chasing the pump is undoubtedly an effective way to stimulate hypertrophy, it’s not the only way to make your muscles grow. Mechanical tension, the force created when a muscle contracts isotonically against a load, is also a potent stimulator of muscle growth and should be incorporated into your weight training routine for maximal development.

 

This can be done by simply performing heavy, multi-joint free weight exercises, but there are also a number of training variables that can be manipulated to ensure you yield maximal hypertrophic gains from your training. Everything from loading parameters to exercise selection can be adjusted for better results and in this article, I’m going to share three of my favorite techniques that can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your workouts.

 

 

Choose the Correct Load

Using progressively heavier weights is the simplest and most effective way to increase the amount of mechanical tension being generated during an exercise. Load and tension are directly related and as the amount of weight on the bar increases, more muscular force is required to overcome the downward force exerted on the bar by gravity. This produces tension in the muscle fibers in an amount that is almost directly proportional to the load being used in the exercise.

 

The relationship between tension and load has important implications for program design and the intensity of the load (the amount of weight you lift expressed as a percentage of your 1RM) correlates directly with the number of reps you should perform for each exercise. To increase lean muscle mass, it is advisable that you lift weights in the 3-12 rep range. These rep ranges are equivalent to 90-70% of your 1RM and have been shown to produce the highest amount of mechanical tension during exercise.

 

In addition to selecting the correct loads and rep ranges, it is also important to apply the principle of progressive overload to your training. This can be achieved by simply adding 1.25-2.5kg to the bar every time you train and will ensure that you continue to place more tension on the muscle over time, forcing them to adapt by growing bigger and stronger.

 

Increase the Range of Motion

Not all exercises are created equal and the range of motion, strength curve, and the length-tension relationship of an exercise can all exert influence on the amount of mechanical tension generated by an exercise. For that reason it is important that you pay close attention to the different exercises that you incorporate into your routine, ensuring that only the most effective exercises make their way into your workouts.

 

Exercising your muscles through a full range of motion forces them to contract at the same time that they are being stretched. This creates a huge amount of tension and is just one of the reasons why working through a full range of motion is of paramount importance for anyone that is looking to build a muscular and athletic physique. In some instances, it can also be beneficial to deliberately extend the range of motion of an exercise to create even greater levels of tension.

 

The dumbbell bench press, for example, allows you to lower the dumbbells into a position past where the barbell would normally stop at the chest. This stretches the pecs to their full length, maximizing the length-tension relationship, before forcing them to contract and press the weights back up to the start position. Given the extended range of motion, you will likely have to use lighter weights for such an exercise so it is recommended that you use this technique for your accessory work rather than your main lifts which should be aiming to create tension by using loads that are equivalent to your 3-5RM.

 

Create Passive Tension

Passive tension is created when a two-joint muscle is stretched at one joint while it is forced to contract at the other joint. This produces a favorable length-tension relationship and maximizes the capacity of a muscle to produce force. It also increases the amount of mechanical tension the muscle is placed under, potentially increasing the hypertrophic response that will occur with proper rest and recovery.

 

Used correctly, passive tension can be used to target specific groups of fibers within a muscle which can accentuate muscular development and help you to develop a well proportioned, symmetrical physique.

 

Training the triceps in 180 degrees of shoulder flexion is a good example of how passive tension can be used to develop weak or under-developed body parts. The triceps are biarticulate crossing both the shoulder and then elbow joint however most tricep exercises, such as close-grip bench presses, dips, and press downs are all performed with the humerus starting or finishing in extension. This places the long head of the triceps in a shortened position, reducing tension and diminishing its role in the exercise. Placing the humerus above the head in shoulder flexion stretches out the long head of the triceps to its full length, maximizing the length-tension relationship and creating a large amount of passive tension. This enables you to target the long head of the triceps more effectively, promoting full and even development of the largest muscle of the upper arm. As well as the triceps, this technique can be applied to all two joint muscles including the biceps, calves, and hamstrings.

 

Use Loading and Tension to Your Advantage

Incremental loading, working through an extended range of motion, and creating passive tension are all effective strategies for increasing the amount of mechanical tension a muscle is subjected to during exercise. While incorporating these techniques into your routine will undoubtedly produce great results, it is important to remember that mechanical tension is just one way we can stimulate hypertrophy in skeletal muscle. For that reason, it is important that you do not get hung up on one particular style of training and instead utilize a variety of different exercises, rep ranges, and training styles into your weight lifting routine. This will help ensure that full muscular development is achieved.

 


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10 Jan

Getting back in shape is a specific challenge that requires specific mindsets. Trust me, I’ve done it a bunch of times. Back in my twenties, I’d go hard for a year or two with something like boxing or jiu-jitsu, then be a bum for a year, then train for a half marathon or something. Lately, I’m in a much more steady, sustainable rhythm with my workouts. But back then I wanted to try a bunch of different stuff, and one thing that meant was getting back in shape—and getting in different kinds of shape—relatively often.

 

It’s been on my mind again recently because my older brother and I are planning to climb Mt. St. Helens this August. It’s not that tough of a climb, but it’s not that easy, either, and I’ve been in the process of helping my brother get back in shape so that the whole thing feels nice and easy. He’s a very physical guy. We both played football a couple of years apart in high school and he was an Ultimate Frisbee champ at University of Oregon. But he’s got four kids and manages a bar, so he hasn’t had much free time to stay in shape. The goal has been to aim for our climb about 9 months from now, knowing that we’ll have limited time and a couple of chaotic schedules to work around.

 

 

As we get started on our first short trail runs, I’ve been very aware that we’re in the most delicate part of getting back in shape: the beginning. This is where you can burn out by going too fast, fizzle out by going top slow, or stall out completely by just not going. It’s where you can overwhelm yourself with possibilities, discourage yourself with comparisons, or get shut down by other peoples’ negativity. It’s a minefield, strewn with the remains of countless false starts, negative self-images, excuses, broken promises, and unrealistic expectations. And this is why, if you want to traverse it without getting blown up, you need to treat it like the unique challenge it is and program your mindsets accordingly.

 

A lot of great fitness advice is about how to fly the plane once it’s up in the air. But first, you have to get the plane moving from a dead stop, accelerate down the tarmac without bumping into anyone, and make an ascent. That’s a different game. But if you take a little time to “download and install” the right mindsets into your mental software before getting started, it’ll be a lot easier, a lot more fun, and a lot more rewarding over a long period of time. You’ll have more confidence and the ability to embrace and achieve your fitness goals, whatever they may be. And ultimately, that will translate into more power and potency to fuel your achievement in all other areas of your life as well.

 

To make things a little more immediate for you, I’ve phrased the mindsets in the form of first-person statements. They’re what you’ll say to yourself. These aren’t just affirmations, though, and it’s not enough to simply repeat them to yourself. They have to take root, and you have to take action.

 

Mindset 1: What Type Of Person Are You?

“I’m the kind of person who can get back in shape.”

 

Note that I didn’t say, “I can get back in shape,” but, “I’m the kind of person who can get back in shape.” This nuance makes a big difference, and it taps into the foundation of everything: your self-image. All your specific, individual goals are anchored to and governed by your self-image—the fundamental set of ideas and emotions you have about yourself. If the goals don’t match the self-image, it won’t matter how hard you work or how much you focus. Your “master program” will be working against you, and will eventually sabotage your efforts.

 

Most people’s self-images are almost entirely unconscious and contaminated with all sorts of negative and unproductive elements—but they don’t have to be. You can consciously re-program and rearrange your self-image to support your goals, and that means eliminating any ideas you may have that go against them. For example, you may find yourself thinking something like, “I’m the kind of person who used to be in shape, and then got out of shape.” Once you identify in that way, it’s easy to focus on the “got out of shape” part, as though it somehow precludes getting back in shape now. But why not choose to focus on the “I used to be in shape” part? If you did it once, you can do it again.

 

That’s just one example, but the more you examine your old, crappy self-images, the more you’ll be able to examine and replace them. You can also boost your overall self-image by focusing on successes from other parts of your life, and apply them to your current goal of getting back in shape. Maybe you got out of shape because you were focusing on other, more important things (like my brother with his job and family), and maybe you have been successful with them. Hence, you’re the kind of person who succeeds; you just happen to not have made fitness a priority until now. See the difference?

 

No matter the state of your self-image, you have one, and it’s at the controls for most of your behavior. But if you consciously address it, and work on making it the most productive possible, then it’ll work for you rather than against you, both in your current goals, and all your other goals in life.

 

Mindset 2: How Do I See My Goals?

“I will be mindful of how I talk about my goals, both to myself and others.”

 

 

In these early stages, your intent for getting back in shape exists mostly in how you think and talk about it. So, naturally, how you choose to think and talk about it is deeply important. Your self-image and goals are new and vulnerable, like a newborn baby, and they can easily be infected with negativity. At this stage, every interaction you have with yourself and other people will help shape the intent and the likelihood that you’ll follow through.

 

The mindsets I’m giving you cover a lot of how you’ll talk to yourself about your goal of getting back in shape. But how you talk to others maybe even more important, since you have far less control over how they respond. Self-image is an intersubjective thing, meaning that it’s partially your creation, and partially the creation of the people around you. If other people, especially the people close to you, see you as the kind of person who cannot get back in shape, then you have a much more uphill battle. For them to see that you are that kind of person, they need to be shown.

 

I’m sure you surround yourself with the most wonderful people. But the fact is, some people will react negatively to your goals and try to discourage or sabotage your efforts, either directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously. Now’s not the time to go into the psychology of why that might be, but it’s a reality you’ll probably have to anticipate dealing with. You may say to a friend, or coworker, or significant other, “Hey, I’m thinking of getting back in shape,” and then they may say something snarky, or off-handed, or dismissive, and that can be enough to make the whole thing a much bigger challenge in your own mind. Or worse, they may give you unsolicited advice that starts to pile up and make the whole thing seem more complicated and overwhelming. You already have enough to work against within yourself. You don’t need to pile on other people’s resistances.

 

There’s a lot going on here, and people are complicated. They’re probably not trying to be negative, and their reaction probably doesn’t have anything to do with you. Still, you’re going to have to deal with it. Everyone’s situation is different, and the real key here is to just be mindful.

 

Don’t go blabbing to everyone you know, or put it all out there on social media. Keep a sealed container early on, and make it your own thing. After all, you’re doing this for you, right? There’s something extremely powerful and satisfying about having a private goal and simply doing it. Other people will see it when you’re doing it, and they’ll be much more impressed (and much less likely to discourage) when they realize you’re just doing it instead of just talking about it.

 

Mindset 3: A Self-Check On Accountability

“I will give myself the right kind of accountability to reinforce my goals from the outside.”

 

Being mindful about who you share your goals with also means being sure to actively share them with the right people and in the right way. You want to give yourself every possible advantage and set up your environment so that it supports your efforts, and that includes other people. You just have to choose carefully.

 

One way to do this is to find an accountability buddy—someone with the same or similar goals. Ideally, this will be someone you can actually go workout with. Having a set time with another person is an incredibly powerful type of accountability. For some reason, humans seem to be better at showing up for other people than we are at showing up for ourselves. You can leverage that tendency here: you’re not just helping yourself get back in shape; you’re helping someone else do it, too. And they’re helping you. You’ll also have the added dimension of encouragement, camaraderie, and fun (as long as you make sure this is someone you actually like). Sure, you may have to move the time or cancel every once in a while, and you don’t want to become too rigid or harsh with the whole thing. But this way you’ve made it into something solid and interpersonal, and it’ll feel much more real.

 

Another mode of accountability is making a specific goal, like a 5k, or a half marathon, or whatever it is you feel drawn to. The key here is to have something specific, at a specific time—even better, something you have to sign up and pay for. There’s something about that process that demonstrates a powerful intent and helps you show yourself that you mean business. I remember signing up for a half marathon when I first got into distance running. I made sure that I signed up for one that was far enough in the future that I’d have time to train properly and thoroughly. From there, I was able to work backward from the goal and keep myself on track, far more easily than if I had said to myself vaguely, “I want to start running more.”

 

My brother and I are combining these two types of accountability with our St. Helens climb: we’re working towards it together, and we have a specific window of time when we’ll be doing it. You can figure out what makes the most sense for you in terms of your specific goals. But the key is to solidify your intent by connecting your goals to the world—another person, a specific goal, or both.

 

Mindset 4: Acknowledge Your Wins

“I will just get started, and consider every step forward a win.”

 

Now that you’re pointed in the right direction with your intent, get a quick win. Don’t wait until the exact right moment to get the exact right first workout. Just break the seal. Do a few push-ups. Run around the block. Don’t be too precious about it, because the first goal is to go from holding totally still, to being in some sort of motion. Once you’re in motion, you can adjust. But the first step is to just charge through that membrane of resistance and get started. Then you will have officially moved from wanting to get back in shape to having started to get back in shape. It doesn’t have to be a huge start. It just needs to be a start.

 

From there, make sure to register every step forward as a win, no matter how small. Did you get outside and run at all? That’s a win. Did you eat or drink a little less the night before, anticipating the next day’s workout? That’s a win. A win is a win. Size does not matter. Especially because later, as you gain momentum, what seems like a big workout from your current perspective will feel easier than getting these early wins. Really absorbing each and every step forward will help shift the momentum of your self-image, too. You’re moving now, you started. You are the kind of person who can make a goal and stick to it. Now it’s just a matter of turning that dial-up.

 

Think about a plane on the tarmac, and how much energy it takes to get it from moving totally still to moving an inch. Gradually it’ll build momentum, and before long it’ll be soaring through the air. But goal number one—the pre-condition for the entire flight—is that first inch. Get it however you can. Don’t feel self-conscious about congratulating yourself on what might feel like a small workout. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, or even yourself back when you were in better shape. The better you let yourself feel about your last step forward, the more incentive you’ll have for getting the next one.

 

There’s another element to this, too, that I’ve seen in myself many times. When I’ve been out of shape for a while, my brain seems to actually forget all the workouts and mindsets I’ve learned in the past. It’s like when you’re healthy, you can’t remember what it feels like to have the flu, and when you have the flu, you can’t remember what it feels like to be healthy. But when I broke the seal and just got started with something, my brain and body would start to be flooded with memories. I’d remember all sorts of bodyweight exercises I used to do, sequences of exercises, techniques from boxing and jiu-jitsu, and even whole attitudes.

 

The point is until you get started, you’re not even playing with a full deck. Once you get moving, all your memories will kick in and help add juice to your overall plan for getting back in shape.

 

Mindset 5: Keep It Simple

“I’ll keep it simple and steady, and resist the urge to do too much.”

 

Once you’re in motion and feeling good about it, it’ll likely be tempting to start doing too much. You’re moving past the “false start” stage, but you still need to get past the “burnout” stage. The goal is to establish a steady rhythm over time that will give you a sustainable fitness regimen. There will come a time to up your dose, but the early stages are more about consistency. Right now you have that initial burst of motivation that comes from novelty and a fresh start. But you won’t have that in a few weeks from now. At that point, you’ll have to rely on momentum and the structures you’ve created for yourself with your rhythm and your mindsets.

 

The most basic thing here is to avoid overtraining. This may seem obvious, but the temptation to overtrain is often strong, even (or especially) among those who “know better.” If you end up hurting yourself or getting so sore you have to take time off early on, you’ll end up having to start all over again later. Worse, you’ll have to counteract any excitement and positive motivation you may have generated in order to get yourself to rest. Overtraining can take the form of simply doing too much, but it can also come from jumping to more advanced exercises before you’ve regained foundational strength and mobility. Whatever form of exercise you’re doing, make sure to retrain the fundamentals before going on to anything more advanced. This can be a little humbling if you used to be comfortable with more advanced exercises, but it’ll be absolutely critical to getting past this initial threshold as you guide yourself back into shape.

 

It’ll also be easy to get overwhelmed with all the possible directions you can take your workouts. There are countless avenues for getting back in shape. But at least at the beginning, the key is to stay simple. You don’t want to overwhelm your body with overtraining, but you also don’t want to overwhelm your brain with possibilities. Your life is probably already busy, and your workouts should be a sanctuary of simplicity. Don’t give yourself the chance of being overwhelmed, because part of you is probably looking for any kind of excuse to tell you, “This is too much, you don’t have time, put it off for some other day.” It’s a cliché that your brain is a cognitive miser, but it’s true, and you have to take that into account.

 

As you gain momentum, you can add novelty and mix it up so you don’t let your brain get bored. But right now your goal is to get that momentum in the first place, and the best way to do that is to keep it simple and make it easy for yourself to stay consistent without having to reinvent the wheel every time you plan a workout.

 

Mindset 6: Build Your Foundation

“I will dedicate time to training my mindset to build the foundations for my goals.”

 

This is the meta-mindset you need to make sure the other mindsets work. As I’m sure you know from experience, it’s a lot easier to know what to do than to do it. It’s not always easy to reprogram your mindset. Even if you look at these descriptions and say, “Yes, this makes sense,” that conceptual acceptance is not enough to translate into real reprogramming and real change. In all likelihood, you currently possess plenty of less-than-productive mindsets already taking up space in your mind that will try to override and reject the new ones. But without really retraining your mindset, the best you can hope for is a pleasant epiphany that will fizzle into nothing as soon as you stop reading.

 

I’ve bumped up against that barrier countless times in my youth, and you probably have, too. You may know exactly what to do, and exactly what mindset would be the most positive and productive, and yet you can’t seem to win the inner war against the mindsets you already have. They’re too deep down in there, too rooted in your unconscious mind to just wish away. But if you work at it, you absolutely can switch out your mental software and transform your mindset. Even more to the point, you can program different mindsets for different goals as you move through life and your objectives evolve. You just have to train your mindset like you train your body. That’s how you achieve the total self-mastery that’s a prerequisite for consistent success in whatever goal happens to be in front of you.

 

Just Get Started

These six mindsets for getting back in shape may seem basic on the surface, and in some ways they are. But the basics, the foundations, are what people usually ignore and skip past, and then wonder later on why they crashed and burned, or never really got enough momentum to get started. Like all mindsets, these ones will shape and direct your energies in a powerful and reliable way. But you still need to put energy into them, and you still need to anchor them deep in your mind to make sure they’re really doing their job. Once you learn to do that—to master your own mindset—you’ll gain the fluidity and inner resources to dominate your goal of getting back in shape, and any other goal you may have in the future.

 


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09 Jan

 

No better way to kick of 2020’s podcasts than with one a coach who has gained worldwide respect because of the effort he has shown in pursuing and realizing the best in strength and conditioning training.

 

 

James Fitzgerald has over 20 years of experience as a strength coach. He was also the CrossFit games champion in 2007 and is the founder of OPEX, the education provider for coaches seeking career success, longevity, and fulfillment.

 

In this episode, we discuss:

 

  • Controlling the chaos of training for CrossFit
  • Why you should not do energy systems work if you want to build muscle
  • The importance of the gut in gaining muscle and strength
  • Why a cyclical approach to your trading and diet is wise

 

This is part of a set of interviews with some of the leading minds and thought leaders working in the industry today. I am your host, Tom MacCormick, a personal trainer and online coach.

 

A few things make these podcasts unique, and I hope enjoyable and inspiring: I am trying to curate the greatest hypertrophy experts on the planet. I think we have gotten off to a good start with the experts we have interviewed so far, and you can find a full list with their interviews on The Six Pack of Knowledge page.

 

Find this and other Breaking Muscle podcasts on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, YouTube, Stitcher, PlayerFM, and PodBean.

 


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06 Jan

 

Ask half a dozen seasoned lifters about what belt they wear and why, and you will probably get back just as many different answers. In fact, you will probably get back more answers than the questions you asked, as many lifters will have more than one belt to cater to different lifts and situations.

 

Kettlebells and Yoga - Creative. Fun. Fitness Flows.Kettlebells and Yoga - Creative. Fun. Fitness Flows.

 

The belt for lifting are a personal preference, and the purpose of this article is not to talk about the pros and cons of various types of belt. Instead, we will spend our time looking at how to make the best use of this simple but very effective training aid.

 

I would like to trust that you all believe in wearing a belt, but in reality, I know that some of you may need a little more convincing. Let’s try this line of reasoning. To get better (at anything – your sport, your life, your lifting) you need to get stronger. To get stronger you need to lift heavier. To lift heavier you need to wear a belt. Therefore, wearing a belt allows you to lift heavier, which builds overall strength, which makes you suck less. Pretty simple when you think of it like that, right?

 

And for those of you thinking that your core won’t get stronger by wearing a belt, we’re going to address the issues of the core and intra-abdominal pressure below.

 

Building up overall strength in this manner through the use of a belt means that even when you take the belt off, you can lift heavier than if you hadn’t worn the belt in the first place. This all leads to lifting more weight more frequently. Plugging this right back into the logic above means that you continue to build strength to your ultimate advantage.

 

If that doesn’t convince you, this is probably not the right article for you. However, If you’re now wanting to know how to get the most out of your belt (read: how to get stronger, quicker), then read on.

 

1. How to use your lifting belt effectively

Let’s clear up a misconception here. A belt’s primary function is not one of supporting your back per se, as commonly believed. Instead, it aids you to increase intra-abdominal pressure, which in turn acts as a brace to support and strengthen your spine. To use your belt effectively, you need to use the Valsalva maneuver. This involves taking a large breath of air into your belly (not your chest), and trying to exhale forcefully with a closed throat. This will push your belly out into the belt, which will help increase the pressure build-up around your midsection.

 

lifting belt, weightlifting belt, weight belt, how to use lifting beltlifting belt, weightlifting belt, weight belt, how to use lifting belt

 

2. When to wear a weight lifting belt

When the going gets tough, the tough wear a belt. I’m not suggesting you wear a belt for all your warm-ups sets. But when it starts to get hairy, add the belt. In fact, I would advocate wearing the belt prior to the sets that matter. Breathing hard against the belt is a skill that needs to be practiced, especially when performing continuous repetitions.

 

3. How tight should a lifting belt be tightened

As we have discussed, a good lifting belt is designed to increase intra-abdominal pressure and stabilize your whole midsection. To create this pressure you need to contract your abs against the belt. To make this possible, wear your belt one hole looser than as-tight-as-it-can-go. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to get your hand between your belly and the belt.

 

 

4. How do you position a lifting belt on your body

The basic answer to this is, where it does not impede your lift. The bottom of the belt should not get wedged into your hips when they are flexed. Neither should the top of the belt push against your ribs. Wear it in a position that is comfortable, whilst allowing you to create the necessary pressure against it. You may find this position is slightly higher when pulling from the floor.

 

5. When is the best time to use a lifting belt

In terms of movements, we are talking about the big compound lifts (squats, deadlifts, and presses), and also the Olympic lifts along with strongman exercises such as the yoke and farmer’s walks. All these movements are fundamental to building strength. Any movements that can be classified as such, as we have seen, are best performed with a belt for maximum weight and maximum benefit.

 

Whatever your ultimate goals, it is worth knowing and understanding how to make the best use of this highly effective tool to aid you on your journey. Buckle up!

 


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02 Jan

There are thousands of ways to resistance train. Provided you work hard and safely, document the results, allow enough recovery time between workouts, and then train progressively, resistance training will work within your genetic endowment and nutritional intake habits.

 

Regarding the upper-body, you can use a variety of tools and overload protocols to address the upper body muscles: the pectorals, deltoids, lats, traps, biceps, triceps, and other associated muscle structures. There are chest, incline, and overhead presses, dips, pulldowns, low rows, and upright rows, and a variety of direct biceps and triceps exercises using barbells, dumbbells, and selectorized or plate-loading machine. And these can be done for high, medium, and low repetitions – or a combination of them – using various overload protocols.

 

 

It can be overwhelming with so many options. So, here are five sure-fire upper body routines that can be a part of any strength, power, weight-loss, and/or general fitness program. I’ve also attached recording forms for you to log your workouts. (Click here to download them.) I promise you, if you use these routines consistently, work as hard as you can, and recover between workouts, you will see results, guaranteed.

 

General workout guidelines

  1. Complete the workout in the exercise order format listed (note examples A & B). INSERT YOUR EXERCISE CHOICES ON THE WORKOUT FORM.
  2. Work to achieve muscular overload with a resistance that fits the exercise prescriptions (Rx) listed.
  3. Record the training date (“DATE”), the resistances (“WT”) used and the repetitions (“REPS”) achieved for each workout performed.
  4. Attempt to progress each workout in terms of doing more repetitions and/or using more resistance according to the exercise prescription (Rx).
  5. The “NOTES” section on workout form: space to record machine seat/back/handle settings, the device used (i.e., barbell, dumbbell or machine) or other pertinent information that facilitates the proper performance of the exercise.
  6. Use proper exercise technique and be safety conscious. Use a spotter on certain exercises and stop when safe exercise technique cannot be maintained.

 

Upper Body Workout #1: Big 4 @ 3 Rounds

An upper body workout that alternates the four major multi-joint movements: chest push, row/low row, overhead push, and pulldown for three rounds, decreasing the repetitions each round. The triceps and biceps are then addressed.

 

Specifics:

  • Choose a chest push, row/low row, overhead push and pulldown and do each for all three rounds.
  • Rest 1:00-1:30 between exercises each round and 2:00-3:00 between rounds.
  • Complete the workout with a tricep and bicep exercise.
  • All sets performed to volitional muscular fatigue.

 

Exercise order format:

Example A:

Example B:

CHEST PUSH

BARBELL BENCH PRESS

DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS

ROW/LOW ROW

SEATED ROW

BENT-OVER ROW

OVERHEAD PUSH

DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS

MACHINE OVERHEAD PRESS

PULLDOWN

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

CHEST PUSH

BARBELL BENCH PRESS

DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS

ROW/LOW ROW

SEATED ROW

BENT-OVER ROW

OVERHEAD PUSH

DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS

MACHINE OVERHEAD PRESS

PULLDOWN

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

CHEST PUSH

BARBELL BENCH PRESS

DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS

ROW/LOW ROW

SEATED ROW

BENT-OVER ROW

OVERHEAD PUSH

DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS

MACHINE OVERHEAD PRESS

PULLDOWN

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

CHEST PUSH

BARBELL BENCH PRESS

DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS

ROW/LOW ROW

SEATED ROW

BENT-OVER ROW

OVERHEAD PUSH

DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS

MACHINE OVERHEAD PRESS

PULLDOWN

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

TRICEPS

TRICEP PRESS

TRICEP PUSHDOWN

BICEPS

MACHINE BICEP CURL

BARBELL BICEP CURL

 

Upper Body Workout #2: 14 – 8 Circuit

An upper body workout that alternates three different push & pull exercises for two rounds: 12-16 repetitions (average = 14) & 6-10 repetitions (average = 8) to volitional muscular fatigue with a 1:00 rest between exercises & 2:00 – 3:00 rest between rounds.

 

Specifics:

  • Use the same three push and pull exercises for both rounds.
  • Rest 1:00 between exercises in each round.
  • Rest 2:00 – 3:00 between rounds.

 

Exercise order format:

Example A:

Example B:

PUSH

STANDING BARBELL PRESS

DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS

PULL

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

BENT-OVER ROW

PUSH

WEIGHTED DIPS

MACHINE OVERHEAD PRESS

PULL

PULLEY UPRIGHT ROW

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

PUSH

MACHINE CHEST PRESS

BARBELL INCLINE PRESS

PULL

SEATED ROW

PLATE-LOAD HIGH ROW

PUSH

STANDING BARBELL PRESS

DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS

PULL

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

BENT-OVER ROW

PUSH

WEIGHTED DIPS

MACHINE OVERHEAD PRESS

PULL

PULLEY UPRIGHT ROW

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

PUSH

MACHINE CHEST PRESS

BARBELL INCLINE PRESS

PULL

SEATED ROW

PLATE-LOAD HIGH ROW

 

Upper Body Workout #3: Push – Pull

A higher-repetition upper body workout that alternates three pairs of push and pull exercises, then addresses the biceps and triceps.

 

 

Specifics:

  • Choose three different push and pull exercises each for the first three segments.
  • Do three sets of each exercise for the first segment and two sets of each exercise for the second and third segments.
  • Complete the workout by alternating a tricep and bicep exercise for two sets each.
  • All sets are performed to volitional muscular fatigue.

 

Exercise order format:

Example A:

Example B:

PUSH

BARBELL BENCH PRESS

MACHINE OVERHEAD PRESS

PULL

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

PUSH

BARBELL BENCH PRESS

MACHINE OVERHEAD PRESS

PULL

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

PUSH

BARBELL BENCH PRESS

MACHINE OVERHEAD PRESS

PULL

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

PUSH

DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS

WEIGHTED DIPS

PULL

SEATED ROW

BARBELL UPRIGHT ROW

PUSH

DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS

WEIGHTED DIPS

PULL

SEATED ROW

BARBELL UPRIGHT ROW

PUSH

MACHINE INCLINE PRESS

DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS

PULL

HIGH ROW

BENT-OVER ROW

PUSH

MACHINE INCLINE PRESS

DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS

PULL

HIGH ROW

BENT-OVER ROW

TRICEPS

TRICEP PUSHDOWNS

TRICEP PRESS

BICEPS

DUMBBELL BICEP CURL

MACHINE BICEP CURL

TRICEPS

TRICEP PUSHDOWNS

TRICEP PRESS

BICEPS

DUMBBELL BICEP CURL

MACHINE BICEP CURL

 

Upper Body Workout #4: 3 Strikes & Out

An upper body workout that alternates three push and pull exercises, then addresses the triceps and biceps by using the three strikes and out overload protocol: three consecutive sets to volitional muscular fatigue with the same resistance and a :30 rest between sets.

 

Specifics:

  • Use three different push and pull exercises and any tricep and bicep exercise.
  • Use a resistance that allows for volitional muscular fatigue in the 1st set rep range set. Record the result (wt. x reps) in the space provided.
  • Rest exactly :30 and perform a second set to volitional muscular fatigue with the same resistance. Record the reps achieved in the “2nd” space provided.
  • Rest exactly :30 and perform a third set to volitional muscular fatigue with the same resistance. Record the reps achieved in the “3rd” space provided.
  • It is recommended to have a training partner time the :30 rest between exercises.
  • Rest 2:00 – 3:00 between exercises.

 

Exercise order format:

Example A:

Example B:

PUSH x 3 sets / :30 rest

DUMBBELL INCLINE PRESS

MACHINE CHEST PRESS

PULL x 3 sets / :30 rest

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

SEATED ROW

PUSH x 3 sets / :30 rest

BARBELL DECLINE PRESS

DUMBBELL OVERHEAD PRESS

PULL x 3 sets / :30 rest

DUMBBELL BENT-OVER ROW

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

PUSH x 3 sets / :30 rest

MACHINE CHEST PRESS

DIP MACHINE

PULL x 3 sets / :30 rest

HIGH ROW

PLATE-LOAD ROW

TRICEPS x 3 sets / :30 rest

LYING TRICEP PRESS

TRICEP PUSHDOWN

BICEPS x 3 sets / :30 rest

BICEP CURL MACHINE

BARBELL BICEP CURL

 

Upper Body Workout #5: Ultimate Super Set

An upper body workout performed in three super set segments: chest push and pulldown, overhead push and row, and incline press and another pulldown Minimal rest is taken between exercise pairs.

 

Specifics:

  • Choose a chest push and pulldown for the first segment (three sets each), an overhead push and row for the second segment (three sets each) and an incline press and another pulldown for the third segment (three sets each).
  • Perform the paired sets by alternating the opposing exercises with minimal rest between them (i.e., chest push x 8-12, immediately to pulldown x 8-12, immediately to chest push x MAX REPS, immediately to pulldown x MAX REPS, etc.) working each set to volitional muscular fatigue.
  • Either use the same resistance for all three sets or reduce the resistance for the 2nd and 3rd MAX REPS sets if more repetitions are desired.
  • Rest 3:00 between superset segments.

 

Exercise order format:Example A:Example B:

CHEST PUSH

DUMBBELL INCLINE PRESS

BARBELL BENCH PRESS

PULLDOWN

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

CHEST PUSH

DUMBBELL INCLINE PRESS

BARBELL BENCH PRESS

PULLDOWN

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

CHEST PUSH

DUMBBELL INCLINE PRESS

BARBELL BENCH PRESS

PULLDOWN

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

OVERHEAD PUSH

MACHINE OVERHEAD PRESS

STANDING BARBELL PRESS

ROW

PLATE-LOAD ROW

SEATED ROW

OVERHEAD PUSH

MACHINE OVERHEAD PRESS

STANDING BARBELL PRESS

ROW

PLATE-LOAD ROW

SEATED ROW

OVERHEAD PUSH

MACHINE OVERHEAD PRESS

STANDING BARBELL PRESS

ROW

PLATE-LOAD ROW

SEATED ROW

INCLINE PRESS

BARBELL INCLINE PRESS

DUMBBELL INCLINE PRESS

PULLDOWN

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

INCLINE PRESS

BARBELL INCLINE PRESS

DUMBBELL INCLINE PRESS

PULLDOWN

CLOSE GRIP PULLDOWN

WIDE GRIP PULLDOWN

 

 


Credit: Source link

02 Jan

I’m not going to talk about SMART goal setting or the usual “new year, new me” bullshit. Like you, I have seen it every year for a long time. In fact, 2020 marks my 22nd year in the fitness industry. Personally I am not one for New Year’s resolutions. I do believe the end of the year and start of another is a great time for reflection, introspection and time to plan for a better future, but I also believe any time is a great time for doing self-reflection and the like. It doesn’t have to be at the beginning of the year.

 

If we look at most people’s resolutions they revolve around getting healthier or fitter, earning more money, having a better social life, better relationships and so on. In order to have any of these things we have to change our behavior; and in order to do that, we inevitably have to make an internal shift.

 

 

Personally I am a very goal orientated person, but goal setting, just like resolutions, has been pushed down our throats for over 20 years by self-help and fitness industries alike. If resolutions worked for everybody we would see people realize their goals every year. The truth is that some goals simply don’t work.

 

The power of our thoughts and the quality of them will lead our decisions, habits, and behavior. This will ultimately lead to us achieving (or not achieving) our resolutions in 2018. So, here are some points to consider when setting your resolutions for 2018.

 

Connect With Your Internal View of Yourself

Call it storytelling, internal dialogue, self-talk or the unconscious dialogue that goes on in your head (whether you are aware of it or not). The things you say to yourself about yourself has a massive influence on your behavior. Most of our decision-making is based on self-stories. You unconsciously make decisions that match your idea of who you are and your identity. When you make a decision or act in a way that fits your self-story, the decision or action will feel right.

 

In contrast, when you make a decision or act in a way that doesn’t fit your self-story you feel uncomfortable. If you want to change your behavior and make the change stick, then you need to first change the underlying narrative that is operating. If you want to be healthy, then you have to have an operating story you tell yourself that you are a healthy or healthier person.

As author Stephen R. Covey said, “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”

 

When we think a thought, it elicits an emotion. We often deal with any uncomfortable feelings with addiction or unhealthy obsession—using food, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, drugs, gambling, religion, even sex and exercise to help us feel better. Initially, these things can make us feel better, but in the long term overuse of these things is often unhealthy. Relying on comfort food, for example, doesn’t help us work on the root cause of our emotions. In an emotional eating cycle, we eat “bad” food, then often judge ourselves harshly. Next, we feel guilty and shameful for eating said “bad” food and for falling off the wagon with our diet. Finally, we have catastrophic thinking where we self-sabotage and create more self-loathing and, as a result, self-medicate with more “bad” food. Rinse and repeat. These thoughts, the emotions, and behaviors that follow, hurt us.

 

If your self-story is one of self-flagellation and self-loathing then you are operating from a place that will never help your resolutions of being healthier become a reality. Self-soothing with forgiveness, acceptance, and self-love can be a powerful antidote to this destructive cycle of shame. Understanding this process and acknowledging the root problem can be the first step in breaking the unconscious circuit of unhealthy habits. Understanding your emotions will be the number one thing to work on if your resolutions in 2018 are to become a reality.

 

Don’t Make Your Resolutions Out of Obligation

Your why for your resolutions is crucial to your success in achieving them. I believe doing things for others can be a very strong extrinsic motivator—getting fitter so you can run around with your kids, honoring a passed or living family member or looking good for the opposite sex. Yet, time and time again I find that when the going really gets tough when plateaus are reached when there are setbacks and failures, those who are doing things for reasons outside of themselves are often the first to quit.

 

Instead, when you have a big internal and intrinsic why and when you are doing things that align with your purpose and your highest values, you will find you have a bigger yes burning inside of you. This will allow you to say no to all other things that get in the way and will help you overcome obstacles in your way. Operating from a place of purpose and values trumps motivation anytime. Motivation comes and goes. The driving force that is left behind will help set up the habits and discipline required to soldier on. We can waffle on about discipline as much as we want, but habits are underpinned with a deep drive that comes from an internal shift.

 

Have you ever thought about what would make you happy? What you want? Many of the resolutions we set are not necessarily what we genuinely want. Have you ever filtered out what everybody else thinks, what everybody else wants and ignored everybody else’s judgment and criticism? So much of the time we are worrying about what other people think of us to gain validation, external gratification and acceptance—the very things that we have forgotten to give to ourselves. We often make our resolutions due to obligation rather than a genuine burning desire and passion to make them happen for ourselves.

 

 

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature” – Marcus Aurelius

 

Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient (EQ), is one of the things I wish I had learned about at school and wrapped my head around at a much earlier age. How we feel about things determines, for the most part, the choices we make and our behavior. Regardless of whether it is becoming more financially literate, getting healthier and fitter, or being better at relationships, all of these resolutions require one thing: you must work through any preconceived ideas, beliefs or thoughts that are not working for you or are harmful. If you continue to bring along your baggage, the thoughts and beliefs that are not working for you currently (whether you are consciously aware of them or not), you will continue to have the same results.

 

Sometimes EQ can come in the form of taking control of our environment so it leads us closer to our resolutions. What we know from research is that your environment and the systems you have in place are far more important than willpower and grit. We forget that often our environment creates and controls us, not the other way around. A classic example of this is avoiding certain people or coping with the saboteurs and hecklers on your health and fitness journey. This group can include friends, family members or even partners. It is navigating the rough sea of sensations, emotions, people or locations that trigger poor choices. It can be impatience with your results, trying to be perfect, testing yourself too early with particular food situations or being overconfident and thinking that you don’t have any more to learn, only to not have a strategy for difficult situations or a contingency plan for a bad day. Maybe you are too proud to ask for a hand on your journey to keep you accountable or to track your progress—two of the main reasons why most resolutions fail.

 

It might also be how you view setbacks and failures. If we look at our success and failures in the same way, as a victory in feedback, all of a sudden our perspective on things and our self-story can change. All successes are just a string of failures. And, in fact, our failures give us the opportunity to simply tweak what it is we are doing in order to learn. If more people viewed setbacks in this way, we would see a lot more people sticking with their resolutions.

 

Maybe it’s being self-aware of procrastination, the little voice inside the head that is scared of the resolution, maybe it’s saying we aren’t good enough. Maybe your goals are too big and unrealistic and you underestimate the difficulty of changing what is normal for you. Sometimes we forget action begets more action and if we don’t change something in our daily routine, no matter how small, nothing else changes.

 

EQ also comes in the form of falling in love with the journey, the habits, and the process. It is easy to fall in love with the destination, the results, and the outcome. But falling in love with the habits required to get there is far more important, otherwise, we will simply never get there. The realization of goals does not change a person. Instead, the thinking that changes along the journey and the internal shift to realizing a goal, is what ultimately changes a person, not the destination. Placing value on what is learned along the way rather than the goal itself is emotionally intelligent.

 

Change the Way You Think in 2020

There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be better off financially, wanting to be ripped, to have better sex and relationships, or whatever your resolution is. They are, however, resolutions that lie outside of ourselves. Maybe this year it is time for a different approach if you have been unsuccessful in the past. There is no doubt these things will improve our lives, but often we think that these external things will bring us happiness. In fact, however, the quality of our thinking will dictate how we behave, influence the decisions and choices we make, and determine how happy we actually are. When the quality of our thinking is better, we naturally gravitate toward the things that are better for us.

 

Just remember that changing the way you think is just as important, if not more important, than trying to change what you do.

 


Credit: Source link

30 Dec

Greg Glassman is a controversial choice for Coach of the Decade if you define coach in a certain way, or you think Glassman is all about marketing, or you’re mad at CrossFit because, well, they really do make some fitness professionals pretty mad. You can’t say the same about Dan John. So, here’s an antidote to the CrossFit bug to balance it out for all those people who were mortally offended by our choice of Glassman as Coach of the Decade. Perhaps the Coach of the Next Decade?

 

Dan John is, in many ways, a better coach of coaches, teacher, educator, and speaker than Glassman, than many more visible figureheads of the industry. His books are gospels for many fitness professionals. He has a great pedigree as a competitive athlete and could be seriously considered a true polymath, his expertise extending beyond strength and conditioning. He should also be raised as the exemplar for training and coaching in the coming decade. If the last decade has been a steady descent into the circus trickery of Instagram fitness, inspired by the box gym concept, the next decade should be an antidote, a return to basics, simplicity, and the realization that all that glitters is not gold. That’s where John comes in.

 

 

Push, Pull, Hinge, Squat, Loaded Carry

John’s five basic movement approach to training has become a mantra for many coaches and trainers. His work with Pavel Tsatsouline on Easy Strength is probably the simplest and most applicable template for driving a fitness program based on persona, rather than a generalist approach.

 

Unfortunately, John is probably less well known among practitioners and average trainees – even more in an age where social media popularity seems to be valued more as a ranking tool than actual expertise and experience – than Tsatsouline and Glassman. However, if there was ever a time for his approach to dominate the fitness industry it would be now.

 

Striving for mastery ……… that focus is the essence of Dan’s training: a relentless striving for mastery in the fundamentals done as often as possible for decades.

Dan John, Coaching, And The Importance Of Mentors

 

 

Simplicity, Longevity, and Making it Big

We get stuck in these stupid, deadly clichés of who we are supposed to be as fitness trainers. We fall into drill sergeant mode; we think we’re in some bad army movie from two decades ago. Or you get this hot female personal trainer who was a gymnast and she became a college cheerleader and one time she woke up and she weighed 118 pounds and was just disgusted about the way she looked in her bikini in Malibu. So, what happens in our industry is we get these clichés who are our front line.

Dan John

 

There’s no Luddite-ism here. Social media serves a purpose, but it has also helped amplify the worst aspects of the fitness industry putting style over substance. It has all happened just as we started to experience a sort of post-bodybuilding boom in strength training because of, yes, CrossFit, but also leading into a renewed interest in weightlifting, powerlifting, and more so recently, strongman.

 

Dan John hasn’t changed much at all in the last two decades. He has stuck firmly to doing fundamentals well, doing them forever, and never losing sight of the simplicity of it all, knowing that just because something is simple doesn’t make it easy.

 

Nowadays, aside from the circuit tricks that pass for fitness and training posts on social media, there are CrossFit competitions, and CrossFit-like throwdowns, Ninja Warrior, The Beast and a host of mass appeal events designed to promote strength, agility, and endurance in ways that were unheard of when the only strength athletes with a large audience were bodybuilders. There are more competitions, more competitors, and more competition for attention. In the meantime, the fundamentals of what it takes to be strong for life are getting swept aside by what looks good or grabs the most attention.

 

Greg Glassman and CrossFit helped to push the world of fitness into an area that is, for want of a better word, freaky. Right now, we may need to reach for people like Dan John and try and forge a path in the coming decade that strips away the neon and glitz, and gets us back to sound principles that can be applied effectively across all demographics.

 

After all, fitness is as simple as just wanting to have a better quality of life. Isn’t it?

 


Credit: Source link

29 Dec

 

In an interview with CNBC, Greg Glassman, the 63-year-old founder of CrossFit, said that CrossFit’s success happened without a business plan, without any marketing. Dave Werner, the founder of CrossFit North, the first affiliate.

 

Ignite: Fat Loss - Real Fitness. Real Fat Loss. Real Results.Ignite: Fat Loss - Real Fitness. Real Fat Loss. Real Results.

 

Talking to Box Pro Magazine, Werner recalled how Glassman’s first reaction to his using CrossFit as a name for his gym was, “No, no, no, I’m not taking any money from you.” From accidental beginnings, CrossFit grew to become the most influential force in strength and conditioning, and fitness training over the course of the last decade.

 

This is why, in the early days of CrossFit, it was touted as an open-source model for fitness training. Many of the first CrossFit affiliates began as garage gyms that evolved into the “boxes” that we see today all around the world. That is why, even to this day, the word community is often used as a way of referring to the followers and members of a CrossFit gym.

 

Breaking Muscle started around the time CrossFit was a handful of affiliates, before the rapid growth in CrossFit gyms that occurred in the early part of this decade. To be a little cliché about it, CrossFit was a breath of fresh air in a fitness industry that was moribund with almost no true innovation in training methodologies fluctuating between bodybuilding and aerobics with nothing much in between.

 

Greg Glassman should be recognized for taking a seemingly ragtag mix of ideas and putting them into a format that has ended up becoming the de facto standard group training in strength and conditioning.

 

If it wasn’t for CrossFit, would we have seen the same interest in Olympic weightlifting, kettlebells, and now, gymnastics? Everything that went into a CrossFit training routine was already there before Glassman came along. However, he managed to do a number of things simultaneously that helped define a generation of coaches and trainers and changed the face of gym-going forever.

 

First, Glassman popularized a level of intensity and training that did not shy away from its intentions: to leave you utterly spent, as if you had been in the fight of your life, at the end of a short, intense session. The high-intensity interval training of CrossFit appealed to first responders, the military, fighters, and varsity athletes, all with a vested interest and desire to perform under enormous pressure.

 

Secondly, Glassman’s personality and presentation were a template for coaches and trainers who, up until he came along, couldn’t really point to as charismatic a guru, and one who managed to avoid creating a dogma for training routines while at the same time managing to stamp them with his brand

 

 Because, at the end of the day, Glassman never told his coaches and trainers what they should do. He provided a framework, and he did provide example workouts every day on CrossFit’s website, but every affiliate was freestyling their own training programs.

 

Thirdly, Glassman was ruthless is protecting his brand, and promoting CrossFit without ever having to own anything other than the trademarks and licenses of his business. There was no liability, no actual product, no uniforms, no property or anything of substance that could drag the company down. There was only the CrossFit way and the myth of CrossFit, ending with the ultimate accolade of, Fittest on Earth, at the CrossFit Games.

 

 

CrossFit doesn’t have the same luster and appeal as it did at the beginning of the decade. It is growing internationally, but it has had its fair share of criticism in the US, and many affiliates have come and gone, never to be replaced.

 

CrossFit has probably only ever managed to penetrate 10% of the gym going public. The average affiliate membership is over $100 a month compared to the average gym membership of $20 a month.

 

It more resembles the martial arts studio model than a gym franchise business and as such demands a devoted, motivated coach/trainer/owner to work. But, all these things don’t matter when you consider how CrossFit’s vernacular has found its way into popular culture.

 

I remember at my first certification this laid-back, almost nonchalant guy who didn’t at all look like any sort of fitness guru. And yet there was a level of confidence and inner knowing that he had.

 

Like, for example, the first time he introduced the work out “Helen” – he did so in such an easy, relaxed tone, with a slight smile, as if he knew something that the five of us that were there for the first time didn’t. He knew even though we might have done it already at home, it would be different here, and he knew he didn’t have to do anything to pull our best effort out of us. He also knew the level of “whoop-ass” it would unleash on us.

 

Up until that moment, I really had no idea. My version of CrossFit on my own was quite subdued, comparatively. I also remember the first time I worked on my squat with him. I had been a squatting and training clients for years at that point, and he said, “Give it about 5 years, kid.”

 

I thought he was nuts… 5 years?! But he was 100% right. I became a believer (and then an affiliate) after doing my own test of CrossFit. I was a professional, sponsored endurance athlete at the time, and here was this guy saying I could build endurance with short, intense workouts using calisthenics, weights, and a little cardio. I thought it was nuts.

 

But I decided to give it a try, on my own (all my friends thought I was crazy), in a small personal training gym and surrounding neighborhood. No one in that gym had ever seen anything like what I was doing before. I must admit, it did appear crazy. I plotted out and ran a 5k. Then did nothing but CrossFit workouts (per the main site in 2004) for three months.

 

After that time, I ran the same 5K course and was almost 3 minutes faster in my time (from 22:00 down to just over 19:00). My training volume had dropped dramatically. From like 8-10 hours per week to below 4 hours per week. My strength had increased dramatically, and I had become highly capable of high volume bodyweight movement. I became a huge believer! Shortly thereafter, I attended my first 3-day cert and affiliated right after. I opened the doors of CrossFit LA in Nov 2004.

 

Andy Petranek of Whole Life Challenge

 

You look on social media these days and the influence of CrossFit cannot be underestimated in the number of people doing weightlifting, kettlebells, and handstand walks. Was there a burpee or a wall ball underground before CrossFit came along? Today, you can find functional fitness areas in increasingly more mainstream gyms, a direct result of the influence of CrossFit. Lifting platforms, pull up bars, and box jumps, and kettlebells, and barbells, lots of barbells.

 

Glassman and CrossFit redefined strength and conditioning. You are more likely to see people purse CrossFit-like exercise programs than bodybuilding. You will find local gyms that focus on weightlifting, and even when a small, box-type gym is not a CrossFit affiliate, you will find someone who started in CrossFit or was influenced by it.

 

Greg Glassman and CrossFit helped changed my views on strength and condition and traiing in general. I was collegiate athlete and successfully training high-school and college athletes myself. In fact, I had a great career.

 

But Glassman created something special. I felt that. I knew how innovative it was, I was using the same principles and having success with my athletes. I wanted to do the same for as many people as possible.

 

So, I thought I was lucky he also created a business model that has drastically changed my life. Before CrossFit, owning a gym was just a dream. It felt like it would be way over the head of any coach or trainer. It is a significant investment attached to a singular modality of fitness.

 

Yet, here I am with my own CrossFit affiliate. I have been doing this for nearly a decade. I have a small gym filled with other great coaches, a community that I cherish, and I feel accountable to everyone. It’s very satisfying. I don’t think it would have happend without CrossFit.

 

Michael Tromello, Coach and Owner of Precision CrossFit

 

Greg Glassman has defined fitness, strength and conditioning, and the way people go to the gym in the last decade. Whatever you may think about the organization that is CrossFit, or the man that Glassman is, you can never deny the influence both have had in this last decade.

 

It has been unequaled since the seventies when Arnold shaped the growth of bodybuilding around the world. There are a lot of reasons why Breaking Muscle can call Greg Glassman Coach of the Decade.


Credit: Source link

20 Dec

While there’s some debate in the functional fitness world whether handstand holds, handstand walks, and handstand push-ups should be considered functional movements, I would say it doesn’t really matter.

 

Because…

 

 

People want to learn them.

 

They’re a cool party trick, they’re satisfying to learn, and they make you feel young and limber when you’re doing them (if you become proficient, that is).

 

As a former national level gymnast and now fitness coach of more than a decade, I have learned the biggest challenge to learning a handstand isn’t strength. It’s not even mobility, although that’s a close second.

 

The biggest limiting factor to handstands is a lack of body awareness upside down. People kick up but then they freak out because they have no idea which way is up and which way is down.

 

Thus, gaining body awareness is the first step in being comfortable upside down.

 

Below are five progressive exercises to focus on to build that body awareness.

 

Body Awareness Step 1: Inverted Box Hold

During a box handstand holds, your feet remain on the box while you invert yourself. They’re a great starting point to getting upside down, as they will keep you a little more safe and stable than a full handstand against a wall.

 

When you’re in this position, spend 5-10 seconds pressing your hands into the ground to get a sense of which way is down, and then a couple more seconds getting as long as possible in your spine toward the ceiling to engrain which way is up.

 

Make sure your body is as inverted (vertical) as possible on these. It helps to take a video to see if your torso is vertical.

 

 

  • Try 3 to 5 sets of 20 seconds where you spend 10 seconds focusing on your hands driving into the ground and 10 seconds lengthening your spine to the ceiling.

 

 

Body Awareness Step 2: Inverted Box Hold Weight Shifts

Beyond knowing the which way is up and which way is down, you also need to know your left from your right if you want to walk on your hands. And you most certainly need to be able to shift your body weight from your left side to your right side as you walk. These weight shifts are great for teaching just this.

 

The idea here is to shift your weight toward one side of your body and then gently lift the other hand two inches off the ground. Then shift the other direction and lift the other hand.

 

  • Perform 3 to 5 sets of 10 weight shifts per side.

 

 

Body Awareness Step 3: Inverted Box Shoulder Taps

These are slightly more advanced than the weight shift. This time, instead of lifting your hand two inches off the ground, lift your hand and tap your shoulder. This is also a great way to build balance and control upside down.

 

  • Try 3 to 5 sets of 10 shoulder taps per arm.

 

 

Body Awareness Step 4: Handstand Weight Shifts

Although you can do these with your back to the wall or facing the wall, I prefer them with your front facing the wall as it forces you to get into a better handstand position. So, if you can wall walk or cartwheel your way up to the wall, this is preferred.

 

If you’re doing them with your front facing the wall, focus on keeping just your toes and nose touching the wall. If you’re doing them with your back facing the wall, focus on being in a perfect hollow body position and lengthening your spine as much as you can.

 

The idea here is the same as the inverted box weight shifts, only now you’re in a full handstand position.

 

Check out the video for both variations: back to the wall and wall facing.

 

  • Perform 3 to 5 sets of 10 weight shifts per side.

 

 

Body Awareness Step 5: Handstand Shoulder Taps

Same as the above: You can do these with your front facing the wall or with your back against the wall. In either case, focus on a perfect handstand position and on moving slowly with control as you shift your weight and raise your hand to tap your shoulder just like you did during the inverted box shoulder taps.

 

  • Perform 3 to 5 sets of 10 shoulder taps per side.

 

 

Body Awareness Bonus: Freestanding Shoulder Taps

If you can do these, walking on your hands across the gym will be a breeze.

 


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19 Dec

Fitness has reached worldwide popularity. The need for classes, personal training, and of course my favorite, semi-private training, has exploded with the rise in popularity of fitness.  Many people and businesses have stepped up to fill this need. This is a great thing, but buyers beware. Not all fitness professionals are created equal. I believe there are three major categories of fitness professionals: coach, trainer, and entertainer.

 

The Entertainer

An entertainer is a person who is usually a great athlete themselves and can do really flashy stuff. They base your workouts on the things that they can do, or that look cool, and not what you need. 

 

 

The uninformed will see the entertainer doing cool stuff and may think, “This person must be a good trainer. Look at all this cool stuff they are doing!” While all this “cool stuff” is impressive and attractive, it is most likely extremely difficult and not appropriate for the general population of people. Without considering what your individual needs and abilities actually are, the entertainer just throws you into the meat grinder. If you can’t move the way you need to or if something hurts, you are told not to worry about it. “Just mash this and pull on that.”

 

Most people walk away from the entertainer without any progress, and they may even be injured. This person then seeks out the trainer. 

 

The Trainer

A good trainer is someone that instructs you on how to properly and safely perform an exercise, writes you a program, and sends you on your way. Once you show enough skill to do the exercise, the instruction stops. A trainer usually holds something back, so that you must keep going back to the trainer to get more information.  

 

You will most likely not be given many contexts on why or how you should be using this exercise on your own. After leaving a trainer you will kind of feel unfulfilled and will be left wanting more.

 

The Coach

A coach is a person that can see what you need as an individual and will teach you the skills you need to address those needs. He or she will deliver you enough information, context, and encouragement to use those skills in their absence. With a coach, you will feel cared for and like you are improving not only in skill but as a person. 

 

In the context of fitness, an example of a good coach is someone that will not only teach you how to do a deadlift for example but will also explain how the movement is affecting your body and how the exercise relates to the rest of your life. Once you’ve become an adequate beginner in the exercise, a coach should then encourage you to explore this movement in different ways and on your own. Your coach will be there when you return to help address any issues or help enlighten you as to why you had those experiences on your own. In other words, a coach won’t just spoon-feed you but will guide your learning in a collaborative way.

 

A coach might be someone who you eventually outgrow because they have given you everything they can and leave nothing on the table. At this point, you should have enough knowledge and understanding to pass on what you’ve learned so you can also improve the life of another. 

 

Use a Coach to Become Empowered

At Catalyst SPORT we only have coaches. Our mission is to empower you to change your body and change your life by helping you to feel good, move well, and get strong. The best way we see for that to properly happen is for us to be coaches. We want to help you learn and develop as an individual (both personally and in terms of fitness), while also getting great workouts. We want you to engage us with questions and concerns so that you are an active driver of your own results, not merely a passenger.

 


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