These sound great.
Personal Trainer extraordinaire Derek 'D-Rock' Peruo is currently putting together various supplement kits, designed to provide regular doses of everything needed to help attain a particular goal. The video below will give you the overall idea :
For more information on the kits themselves (available soon!), pricing and so on - head over to the site at :
And yes, we'll be reviewing these just as soon as they're available. Fantastic.
Recently, I've noticed that I've lost a lot of mobility/flexibility that means I can't squat with my hands close in and with a high bar like I used to, I now have to go low bar and hands almost at the collars.
Warning : the tests are harder than they look. Enjoy.
running with a load on your back
Side benefit (as the Uusorgs will attest) - it's great fun.
The 2900 foot face of The Nose is one of the most iconic climbs in the entire sport. It was first completed back in 1958, by a team that spent 47 days on the face. They approached it much the way that big mountain climbers in the Himalaya would, establishing camps along the face and laying siege to the mountain. In 1960, the second ascent was put up, and took just 7 days, as the team, led by Royal Robbins, completed the first non-stop climb. It took until 1975 before the first single day climb of The Nose was completed, and even now, it traditionally takes most climbers a couple of days to complete.
I think the "eat a ton and train hard" school is kind of like practicing skeet shooting with a blindfold on. You might hit the target, but you might also pull a Dick Cheney.
Definitely something to think about.
"Are we the only ones who think it is a bit uncanny that no matter what the distance and no matter what the conditions, when people drink to thirst they lose the same amount of weight?"
Very interesting idea.
The best way to create this ideal internal environment is by using a combo of one weighted, relatively heavy exercise, and one high-speed, lower load movement (an abdominal drill is also added to the mix in the more advanced versions).
Sounds like my kind of workout.
Over at EliteFTS Shelby Starnes notes a few tips for eating well in a busy world. Good stuff.
At least that used to be the case, before I read this. John Berardi takes a look at the Importance of Diet.
Steve Maxwell taking it a little too easy in the article 12 Reasons to Fire Your Personal Trainer.
In today's wild animal kingdom, running is used only as a survival gait. Dr Lovejoy said he doesn't know of any animal that runs more than 3 minutes at a time in its natural environment.
Definitely something to think about.
... contrary to popular opinion, it is not always the cardio-vascular system that gives out first, it is the respiratory system ...
Very interesting indeed.
Here is a stone training tip guaranteed to help your athletes transition from conventional training means to non-conventional / strongman training.
You will find your athletes who have been trained primarily trained in deadlifts only, have a hard time stabilizing and adjusting to implements that are not fixed, rigid or lifting in close proximity to their own center of gravity.
The solution? Shorten the range of motion. I just finished a workout with one of my wrestlers who couldn't budge the 160 stone off the ground (at 155 lbs bw), but he can deadlift a lot more than that.
So I lifted the stone on top of one of my tractor tires and had him perform hip extensions for sets of 6-8. This not only conditions his hips and lower back for this position, but also his biceps.
Mobility focuses on giving back pain-free, highly-energized, quality of movement. Neither cardio nor strength can do this, and actually, they do the opposite: any load bearing movements accumulate damage in connective tissue, including but not limited to, your joints. Without recovering from and compensating for those activities, we accelerate the aging process. And we are as old as our movement - as old as our joints - as old as our connective tissue.
Definitely something to think about.
Q: You don't like back squats for overhead throwers, is this because of anterior instability or some other reason?
A: In a word, yes; anterior stability is so crucial for a pitcher that I'm not tempted to push it. Then again, that's the short version - and it also assumes that the lifter is using a closer-grip, which mandates more external rotation.
Of course, there's slightly more to it than that; as he explains. Good stuff.
And yes - as Mark briefly notes - there's a difference. A good read.
This line caught my attention :
"Nothing," Calder pointed out, "can happen on a sports pitch until the eyes have done their work."
A great read.
Descend into the pistol with your palms facing down. The moment you start driving up, extend your wrists and fingers. In other words, tilt your palms back and lift your fingers while pushing forward with your triceps. Do it with tension.
Definitely something to think about.
The technique works because the pistol is an exercise in extension and all of your extensor muscles are hooked up to the same loop.
If you choose to buy a book of "healthy" recipes, keep these thoughts in mind:
1. If the cookbook is for low-fat or "light" cooking, beware of recipes with tons of sugar, sugar-like ingredients, and flour. Sugar and flour are indeed "fat free" but will of course make you fat and wreck your health.
2. If the cookbook is "low carb" beware of calorically dense recipes: lots of butter and other sources of dietary fat. Again, these are low-carb but not necessarily low calorie. Also, some of these books take it too far and can be "veggie-free" which isn't necessary on a low-carb plan.
Another good one from Scott Sonnon; solving one of the more common causes of hand pain from kettlebell training.
The Iron Maven shares a few thoughts on 'that heel thing' in relation to squatting. Definitely something to think about.
Alwyn Cosgrove shares a handful of epiphanies from his training career. A great read.
Thib takes a look at a few ways to get those forgotten 'mirror muscles' up to scratch. Beginning, of course, with the biceps.
Scott Sonnon posts an excellent essay by Wakil Mushtaq Ali Al Ansari, looking at the historical and practical implications of flow. Definitely one to bookmark.
I've never really considered tesing my VO2 Max, but this piece by Charlotte (The Great Fitness Experiment) - and her own numbers - may just change that. Very interesting idea.
What can natural athletes learn from bodybuilders? Back training for a start. Jimmy Smith investigates.
Play with heavy stuff, pack on muscle. Simple concept - great read.
Sally points to a great series of benchmarks over at CrossFit Seattle. As you might expect, these are somewhat tougher than the usual fitness magazine fodder. Good stuff.
Words of wisdom from Dan John. A great read.
Ready to build a pair of indestructable ankles? Jimmy Smith offers a few thoughts. A good read.
Via Running Down a Dream : Remember the in-flight exercises we mentioned a while back? Infectious diseases specialist Dr Charles Van Der Horst takes that a step further; using the aeroplane's aisle for lunges, push-ups and crunches (followed by a sponge bath using several of the steamed towels). Brilliant.
Ready to fill in the gaps in your training? Over to Josh Henkin.
Steve Reishus offers a couple of interesting thoughts on the subject of strengthening your kettlebell press (especially when you're moving up to a heavier bell). The band kb press (pictured) is definitely a keeper.
Via LAHF : Mark Sisson has another nice post regarding the connection between lactic acid production and Human Growth Hormone. A good read.
A great article by Steve Reishus - Speed of Movement in Training. A good read.
Chad Waterbury takes a look at calf training. If you're like me, the calves get worked as a by-product of other exercises. Time to give them some direct attention.
Looking to start a little Ring training? Glorious things - love 'em. So does Sally.
Smitty has a good article up on Mens Fitness regarding fat loss the real way - without cardio. Enjoy.
In elementary school, I was the only girl who could climb the knotted rope at the fire station, and I did the flexed-arm hang for longer than any girl in the county, they said. I did the hand-over-handle bars until I grew too tall.
(I mention these things because there are kids out there like this right now, and maybe you can spot them and guide them to opportunity. I think adults take kids' playing for granted, especially girls, and can overlook natural inclinations that could blossom with the right environment. So I pass on this tiny flag.)
Definitely something to think about.
This is good stuff. Over to Dave Tate.
Nutrigenomics (aka nutritional genomics or nutrigenetics) is the fascinating study of how the foods we eat interact with our genes to produce our current health. Dr John Berardi chats to the leader in this branch of nutritional science - Dr Ahmed El-Sohemy. Excellent.
C.S. Sloan has a good article up on Dragon Door - regarding deadlift training. Specifically, how to alter your deadlift training to suit your body type. Good stuff.
Is 2008 the year of low carb, low fat or something else entirely? A good read.
John Paul Catanzaro explains how. A great read.
Of course, there's a little more to it than that. The Science of Sport takes a look at this unusual situation.
A good read.
Via the Ringtraining newsletter : Crossfit London's Andrew Stemler takes a detailed look at how they use Rings in their training. A good read.
NB : The 'Easy Ring Training' PDF (linked in the article) is also well worth a look. Enjoy.
Ready for physical transformation? Chris Shugart tells the story. A good read.
In short - it makes it easier to focus on the task at hand, and there's much less in the way of negative self-talk. Nice one.
It's definitely the right time of year here to do some outdoor sledgehammer work. Here's a great way to begin things - Jim Smith's Dynamic Sledge Warm Up [568kb, .pdf]. Superb.
Over at The Science of Sport Ross takes a fascinating look at muscle cramping. How much of a role does 'salty sweat' really play? A great read.
Eric Cressey has a sensible solution for dealing with the most common form of hip pain. And no, it doesn't include taking any time off training.
Looking at my recent diet, I see I've strayed somewhat off the track. Time to rectify that - with a little help from Alwyn Cosgrove and Mike Roussell.
A good read.
The Science of Sport takes a look at a phenomenon which has attracted its fair share of media attentioned recently - sudden death during exercise. Although it's a terrible thing, the article makes a very important point :
regular exercise protects the heart. It lowers cholesterol, improves cardiac function, and increases life expectancy and quality of life.
[the] overall chances of this (sudden death during exercise) happening are still lower than for the inactive population.
A good read.
Over at The Fit Club there's a brief look at the pros and cons of various running surfaces. What's your favourite?
There's a great collection of kettlebell exercise demonstration videos over on the Kettlebell Inc site. Enjoy.
Mike Robertson takes a very interesting look at designing a deadlift program for intermediate lifters. If you're like me, the beginner gains have disappeared and Elite status is many hard years away. This is perfect.
The Human Marvels outlines the life of the extraordinary Jeffrey Hudson - better known as 'Lord Minimus' - who was an astonishing 18" tall. A good read.
Oh, and to answer Mark's question - running up the hill. Always.
"There comes a time in every race when a competitor meets the real opponent, and understands that it's himself."
- Lance Armstrong
Via Podium Sports Journal : A very interesting article by Sports Phychologist Carrie Cheadle - Optimal Focus for Racing. Although it focuses on competitive cycling, much of it applies to a range of sports.
Looking at this approach to ab training, I'm in no doubt that Christian Thibaudeau had a varied diet as a kid. I can see his mother hiding the healthy food amidst the (unfortunately) more common items on the plate.
Still, it's a very interesting approach. Staggered Ab Training.
Mike Mahler has a nice piece in his latest newsletter on training for general fitness. Whilst it's great to devise a program for someone who wants to lose 30lbs or push their deadlift up 50; most people just want a general increase in fitness. What does that mean?
I'm very much looking forward to this week's articles over on The Science of Sport, peering behind the curtains of running techniques such as the Pose Method and Chi Running. Marketing hype or scientific breakthroughs? Should be good.
This article - Dmitri Ivanov's The science of winning according to Vasili Alexeyev (with notes by Dr Mel Siff) - is superb. Print it out, carry it around with you, and read it several times.
It's that good.
The Ice Chamber blog posts some quick tips to help get you over the bar in your next pull-up session; with a little kipping. They are :
Mark has a nice piece up on bone health - a great read.
Via Coach Dos : After a number of years of being 'on call' 24 hours a day, I stopped carrying a mobile phone altogether. Now I know why.
Vern Gambetta takes a look at the recent increase of hamstring pulls in Major League Baseball, and the time it now takes to recover from them. A great read.
The good news? Not only was he accepted, but he could be back on the field as soon as September 1st. Aged a spritely 59.
Over at Target-Focus Training, Chris Ranck-Buhr takes a look at the stark differences between the two.
This looks great. Anyone had a chance to grab a copy yet?
As part of this month's article series on fitness and the media, Blaine takes a look at the upcoming IAAF World Championships in Osaka. I'm very much looking forward to these; particularly as Osaka is only an hour behind us so the events are always on at a reasonable time.
Should be great.
Charles Staley again asks this somewhat controversial question over at Masters' Performance. If you're still undecided, take a look at Pavel's Tactical Periodization over at Military Fitness Magazine (thanks Jason). A great read.
Five reasons to start a corporate fitness program. Definitely something to think about.
This is a great look at (unfortunately) a fairly common condition - Patellofemoral Syndrome or Pain under Kneecap. From the article :
If you are experiencing a grinding pain deep under the kneecap, which occurs when walking down the stairs, sitting for prolonged periods, or rising from a chair, you likely have patellofemoral syndrome. The syndrome is caused by lack of smooth tracking between joint surfaces of the thigh bone (femur) and the undersurface of the kneecap (patella)--hence the name: patellofemoral syndrome.
The article covers both diagnosis and treatment. A great read, and the videos are superb.
Hungry? You certainly will be when you see these : 44 Finger Lickin' Recipes for Vegans and Carnivores Alike. While you're on that site, swing by Rates and Zones and Hearts and Things. It's a great read.
Speaking of which, Kat has a great snippet on high-protein grains. Good stuff.
Looking for a quick fix? Sorry, there isn't one.
Over at the AKC blog Eric Liford takes a very interesting look at kettlebells and dumbbells in Russian gyms. Good stuff.
Via Napalm's Corner : If you've ever sprained your ankle, you'll know that it isn't exactly the highlight of the year. Jerry Shreck - Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Bucknell University - may just be able to stop it happening again [144kb, .pdf].
Rob O'Brien is currently experimenting with a little kettlebell training in the pool. Very interesting indeed.
How about you personally? What's the single most important thing (with regards to weight training) you've learned over the years?
As I'm still sans-kitchen for another fortnight or so, I'm yet to put any of these to the test. However, the blueberry stuffed pork chops (pictured) are definitely high on the list.
The Science of Sport takes a fascinating look at how track running has influenced marathon times over the past decade or so. A good read.
All together you have like 9 people on the stage...If powerlifting is really trying to be sold and made marketable then why do they do this?
I tend to side with the 'one camera' approach. The lift can be recorded once (professionally, of course); and then the video can be distributed as the promoter sees fit. It's much easier to promote things this way, and the lifter actually stands to get a better deal (more money, fewer hands).
What do you think?
Brisbane Broncos' Strength Coach Dr Daniel Baker looks at the need to be able to quickly adjust the resistance of strongman implements; particularly when training a large group of athletes. Very interesting.
This is great to see. With an average age of 74, the Silver Sneakers is a fitness group for over-65s.
Whilst we're on the running theme, there's a nice piece from Californian trail runner Jessica over on the Complete Running Network - How to start a running club. Oh, and a personal favourite - as far as the name is concerned - Edinburgh's Hunter's Bog Trotters (Hunter's Bog is a part of Holyrood Park, a great place to run).
Run to Win's Blaine Moore completes this months article series on technology and fitness with a look at that all-important piece of equipment for running - the running shoe. A good explanation of why not just any old shoe will do.
This is definitely one to file away for future reference - Yoga for Arthritis.
Mike Davis looks at one way [.pdf, 484kb] in which kettlebell training can differ fundamentally from dumbbell equivalents; it's all in the way you hold them. Very interesting indeed.
There's a great piece over on The Science of Sport which looks at the relationship between running and heart attacks. Bottom line - despite recent events (such as the experience of Alberto Salazar and the tragic death of Mike Long), running is very beneficial indeed.
Alternating/supersets of non-competing full-body movements + Intervals. Also known as hard freakin' work.
Time to grab the bells.
Another great collection of articles - this time for Rugby athletes. Enjoy.
Powerlifting Watch points to a very interesting discussion over at Iron Trybe on the reasons mainstream media doesn't have much presence at powerlifting meets. Personally, I see it as an aspect of promotion - it's up to the meet organisers to attract the media attention.
What are your thoughts?
If you're like me, running is not high on your list of priorities (no matter how beneficial it may be). Real Muscle Online has a few suggestions.
Steve Cotter has an interesting article in this month's issue of the Crossfit Journal - A performance-based comparison of kettlebell methods [804kb, .pdf]. A great look at the various training methodologies and how to best use them in your routines.
Pavel Tsatsouline's latest newsletter points to a thought-provoking piece - "The Soft American" - written by the great JFK. Although it was originally published in December 1960, do the main themes still hold true?
T-Nation's TC takes a look at that great bodybuilding staple - the push-pull workout. Very interesting.
Just got a chance to read Dan John's latest piece on T-nation - New Associations, New Muscle. Here he discusses how not only changing exercises around, but changing the equipment used can lead to a wealth of new ideas.
Experiment. Have fun.
A question over on the Former Fat Guy blog started me thinking - what is the best way to train when there's a new baby in the family (limiting time, rest and generally changing things around - in a great way, of course)? I'd love to hear your ideas; especially if you're about to be a parent for the second time (Kris, I'm definitely looking in your direction). What works? What would you do differently?
Dave Waugh - Sports Physiotherapist at the recent World Adventure Racing Championships Scotland - takes a look at Extensor Tendonitis; especially how it should be managed during training. Very interesting.
Just got a chance to read the final part of Eric Cressey's excellent Mastering the Deadlift series (part I, part II). If you've ever wondered what benefits lie behind the many deadlift variations, read on. Superb.
SCAQ's Tony Austin takes a fascinating look at the more notable changes in swimming technique over the past 70 years. Very interesting indeed.
Just came across some great photos of early Indian physical culture by Vinaya Kumar. Note the stone lifting - great stuff.
Via Maspik Teruzim : Asymmetrical Information's Jane Galt looks at the Set Point argument; promoted by (amongst others) Gina Kolata in her book Rethinking Thin. The subsequent discussion is interesting - personally I agree with Art De Vany on this one. Obesity is a complex issue, certainly, but there is nothing to support the Set Point theory.
Blaine continues this month's look at various ways of keeping in shape without really trying, this time examining the many benefits of yard work. If you've ever taken the mower for a walk, removed a tree stump or just raked up the leaves; you'll know exactly what he means.
Brian Carson continues his old-time strength series with a brief look at Prussian bodybuilder Sigmund Klein. Great physique, straightforward approach.
If you noticed Dogen's Titanium Ankles video [.wmv, 32.9mb], you may be rethinking your approach to ankle training. Enter Mike Davis, with The Importance of Foot and Ankle Mobility [.pdf, 96kb]. It's a great article.
Great question, great answer. Dr Michael Eades has the details.
Raise your hand if you don't want more muscle mass. Anybody?
Yeah, that's what I thought.
If you find yourself nodding sagely (whilst keeping your arms firmly by your sides), here's a bit of reading for you :
This is more than a simple 'squats and milk' article, as Chad discusses recent discoveries in the muscle-building world and how he's currently implementing them in routines for his clients.
Christian looks at 6 great mass-building moves that deserve more than a casual glance. In addition to the big 3, these exercises are definitely worthy of consideration.
Joel discusses that staple of high-frequency training - the 'twice daily' approach. If you've got a bit of time on your hands and a gym nearby, this one's for you.
Tracy Fober's latest blog post points to two great online weightlifting magazines - USA Lifting Magazine and the March issue of Weightlifting USA [.pdf, 3mb]. Both are great reads, and both have printed versions available if you enjoy what you see.
A few highlights :
Great reading for the weekend.
The latest edition of Mike Mahler's newsletter contains a great article by the one-and-only Mistress Krista (OK, there's another one) on workouts for the time-poor. If you identify with the character on the right in the recent Randy Glasbergen cartoon, read on.
When it comes to straight talking, you don't get much more direct than Alwyn Cosgrove or Chad Waterbury. The two have teamed up for a superbly simple, no-nonsense look at the training side of fat loss. Definitely a keeper.
No matter what your lifting goals are, there are several exercises that just make sense for most people (those suffering injury or illness can be excluded for now). Squats, deadlifts, bench press and chin-ups to name a few.
Eric Cressey would like to add a few single-limb (primarily leg) exercises to that brief list. Particularly those that fall into these three categories :
Sounds like a great plan.
In the final part of this month's series on Timeless Exercises, Run-to-Win's Blaine Moore talks about a forgotten art - the Tempo Run. As you'll see, there are good reasons for maintaining a steady pace.
There's a lot more involved in pitching a Wiffle®Ball than you might imagine. For details on the 6 pitches every Pro Wiffle®Ball player should know, head over to the New Jersey Wiffle®Ball Association.
Eric Cressey takes a very interesting look at the speed-strength requirements of cricket. Definite food for thought.
The deadlift - and all of its wonderful variations - easily tops my personal favourites list (for the gym, that is). Eric Cressey embarks on what promises to be a terrific journey.
Brian Carson takes a brief look at German strongman Hermann Goerner. A very interesting guy.
John Wood has just put up a page discussing strongman Joseph Greenstein, better known as The Mighty Atom. Very interesting stuff.
Whether climbing's your thing or you just enjoy throwing a bit of iron around, the ProTips series contains some great information. The DVD's available from a number of stores (if you're in Australia, try Rock Hardware); but for a taster, take a look at Jared Roth discussing the benefit of hangs [streaming, 10.3mb .flv download].
On holds, rocks, bars or doorframes - it's a great exercise (personal favourite - the slippery flat surfaces of a power rack).
NB : for more information on the progression of hangs - as well as the exercises themselves - head over to Metolius Climbing. Excellent article.
This site definitely combines two interests (I'll stop short of saying obsessions) of mine - Climbing photography tips'n'tricks. There's much more to it than you might expect.
There are plenty of great nuggets of information in there.
A great place to start is the article 10 Steps for training pain-free. Enjoy.
Alex Franco looks at the use of kettlebell training for that great summer sport - beach volleyball.
Via Rif's Blog : excellent instruction (either as a preventative measure or following tears). Perfect.
Via Napalm's Corner : Rick Walker certainly knows his stuff when it comes to the deadlift (if you're in any doubt, take a look his training video on the Diesel Crew site). His latest article - a 2-part piece on Beyond Strong - is filled with great nuggets of information that will have you looking hard at each aspect of your deadlift training.
Dave MacLeod takes a brief look at a very interesting subject :
'Are there any great benefits to weight loss for climbers?'
With 13 years of hard climbing experience, and having recently shed a few excess pounds, his answer is certainly food for thought. Has anyone else here noticed a difference (when climbing) after weight loss?
Tim Henriques (Director of the National Personal Training Institute) takes a look at 'strength standards'; giving you an idea of how your lifts stack up against the norm. If you're hovering near a boundary (as a couple of my lifts still are), it may be just the motivation you need.
In the first part of (De)-Constructing Computer Guy Tony Gentilcore and Jimmy Smith looked at several exercises designed specifically for anyone who spends a good part of their life in front of a keyboard (yes, I'm definitely on that list).
Now it's time to address the points to keep in mind during the other 23 hours of the day. Once again, I'm guilty of more than a couple of them. Time to adjust a couple of things.
His answers are definite food for thought.
Via Chasing Elite : a great article over on the Diesel Crew's site - SSgt Glass' Expanding Your Training [.pdf, 700kb]. SSgt Adam Glass discusses the use of a beautifully simple home gym setup; centred around kettlebells, chains and bands. With this mix he has developed some superb, truly inventive exercises (personal favourite: pistols with kettlebells and chains). Enjoy.
You're hungry, but only have one dollar to spend. What do you buy?
The answer, unsurprisingly, turns out to be the calorie-dense processed foods that fill a typical supermarket's centre aisles. As Dr Michael Pollen states in the article :
[Adam] Drewnowski gave himself a hypothetical dollar to spend, using it to purchase as many calories as he possibly could. He discovered that he could buy the most calories per dollar in the middle aisles of the supermarket, among the towering canyons of processed food and soft drink. (In the typical American supermarket, the fresh foods -- dairy, meat, fish and produce -- line the perimeter walls, while the imperishable packaged goods dominate the center.) Drewnowski found that a dollar could buy 1,200 calories of cookies or potato chips but only 250 calories of carrots. Looking for something to wash down those chips, he discovered that his dollar bought 875 calories of soda but only 170 calories of orange juice.
That being said, what type of food would you buy for a dollar? As much as I hate to admit it, my answer would be 'something simple from the nearest convenience store - probably a packet of crisps'.
Dave Tate has undoubtedly learnt an incredible amount over the years; much of it whilst under the bar in some capacity (either training or competing). His latest piece on T-Nation is a gathering of juicy morsels from that time. A great read.
Joe DeFranco briefly tackles an interesting question - bands and chains or air pressure?
His response (in part) :
The "consistent resistance" that these machines market as a positive feature is actually detrimental to athletes. I say this because I want my athletes to always try and ACCELERATE the barbell when they lift. The act of actually making the barbell move faster is what helps develop explosive force. The "air pressure" machines provide a CONSTANT bar speed, regardless of how much force an athletes applies when performing the lift. In my opinion, this may actually decrease an athlete's explosive force!
Somehow I can't help thinking 'Nautilus' when I read this. I do tend to agree with him though.
Eric Cressey discusses something which I tend to do myself - overanalysing your lifting routine at the expense of keeping the primary compound lifts at its core. Time to stop reading and load up the bar.
The About Sleep Disorders blog has a few tips on overcoming Circadian Disrhythmia, or Jetlag. Of course the simplest solution is to not get it in the first place. This doesn't mean avoiding all international flights; it just means to not expect it.
I love this stuff. Blaine briefly looks at the origin of the name 'Heartbreak Hill'; initially part of the Boston Marathon and now given to many marathons around the world.
Great food for thought.
I've long been interested in your mind's ability to focus on a task, remember things and generally make life a little easier. This month's collaboration with Run to Win's Blaine Moore looks at several areas relating to the power of the mind; beginning with a look at the thoughts you have whilst running. And, of course, how these impact your performance.
Via Om Shanti : an interesting discussion on the adjustments made to yoga routines as a result of wrist pain. There are some great ideas in there, regardless of the initial cause of the injury.
Sprinting is a much under-rated training tool. TC once again takes a look at the powers of sprinting to help work on the gluteal fold. Very interesting.
Mike Robertson takes a very interesting look at the importance of proper hip alignment (particularly in the squat and deadlift). Whether you're enjoying a little posterior or anterior pelvic tilt, Mike shows you exactly what to do about it. A great read.
Short-lived fitness fad or a great way to enliven workouts? Tracy Fober seems to be leaning towards 'fad'.
Joe DeFranco briefly discusses the importance of isometric holds for MMA athletes. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, these essentially involve holding a weight still at a point during an exercise - usually when the target muscle is already partially contracted. These are often done with rows and shrugs.
Although slightly controversial, isometric training has a long and interesting history. For more information on this great training methodology, try the following resources :
Charles Atlas : part of his Dynamic Tension training system consisted of simple isometric exercises.
Bob Hoffman : it was Bob Hoffman's writing that first encouraged Bruce Lee to incorporate isometric exercises in his training. Hoffman's works are worth tracking down, as is Bruce Lee's The art of Expressing the Human Body (review); which also discusses isometric training at length.
Photo by Chip LitherlandVia Kat Ricker : a nice piece in the New York Times discussing the rise in female weightlifting amid Florida's high schools. Great to see.
Although I'm not quite obsessive-compulsive over the deadlift (I'll draw the line at 'passionate'), I can certainly appreciate Nathan J. Polencheck's love of this great exercise. He's got some very good ideas here, and as they helped him add 100 lbs to his pull in 6 months, they're well worth a look.
Photo © Russell DaviesMike Roussell looks into a very controversial aspect of nutrition : saturated fat. If you've been inspired, head over to eggbaconshipsandbeans. Mmm.
Mike Robertson talks about a surprisingly controversial item - the Knee Sleeve. Do you use them?
I realized that even though I've trained consistently for over two thirds of my life, I'm not as big as Arnold Schwarzeneggar [sic].
Alhough I've not been lifting weights for anything approaching 20 years (in fact, it's only 3), the logic resonates well. Time to redefine a few goals, I suspect. Or at least the routines used to reach them.
The Training Triathlon blog takes a look at kettlebell training for the triathlete. No doubt this will become a much more common pairing over the next few years.
Chad Waterbury unveils an updated version of his Hammer Down Endurance series of workouts, which was geared towards MMA athletes. This version - Full Throttle - brings these workouts a little closer to the mainstream by updating them to take into account the range of equipment available to many people. Great stuff.
Having experienced my fair share of low back pain over the years (the medical bills make great souvenirs, in an odd sort of way), I was intrigued by Michael Stare and Cassandra Forsythe's latest piece on T-Nation. As they state in the article :
You see, the solution to low back pain isn't the hour you spend in physical therapy each week, or even the hour or two you spend in the gym; it's every other hour you spend living your life. From standing, to sitting, to lifting, to sleeping, every position you take has an impact on the health of your spine.
The article offers several ways to periodically deload your spine; not just at the gym, but in your life as a whole. Definitely worth a look.
Another great piece from Dave Tate; looking at the various ways of including some Max Effort work in your training. Incidentally, the first cab off the rank - Multiple Exertion Method - seems to be the one I focus on by default. Always plenty of fun.
Picture © Scott MarkewitzVia Healthbolt : Mountain Biking UK has an interesting piece this month on Dave Watson's jump over Tour de France competitors. As you can see from Scott Markewitz's photograph, this was an incredible feat.
Julia Ladewski discusses how to broach a delicate subject tactfully. If your wife/girlfriend/significant other would like to lose a little weight without becoming a 300lb Strongman, read on.
This is a superb article. When was the last time you tried push-ups with chains? Overhead shrugs? In fact, there are many, many great ideas in there.
Definitely one to bookmark.
The Ice Chamber blog has some interesting photos of several pull-up varieties - including one of my favourites, the Climber's Pull-up. Lots of fun.
Via Physical Strategies : although you probably remember him as Oddjob (Goldfinger's golf caddy and servant with a steel-rimmed bowler hat), Harold Sakata was an Olympic weightlifter and professional wrestler. This biography has the story of a very interesting guy.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. If you're anything like me, your fridge will be overflowing with food for quite some time.
The topic of periodization is one which has been over-simplified, over-complicated and generally made less useful than it really deserves to be. At the risk of finding himself in the 'just one more' pile, Jack Reape takes a look into periodization in his latest piece over on T-Nation. The result? It certainly isn't 'just one more'. An excellent resource.
Mike Strom launches what promises to be a great article series on the bench press; this time looking at technique. Very good advice.
Another great article by Leith Darkin - Anatomy of Submissions [.pdf, 70kb]. Leith not only takes a look into the biomechanics of the various submission hold varieties, he demonstrates the effects of those holds being taken just a little too far. Very interesting.
Charles Poliquin maintains a high standard with this month's Q&A column on T-Nation. Particularly interesting was the section discussing the use of subscapular skinfold testing as a genetic indicator when determining the type and quantity of carbs in an individual's diet.
As always, great reading.
Geoff Neupert is a personal trainer with passions for both Olympic lifting and kettlebells. His blog contains some great stuff on each, and his latest post - The Importance of Kettlebells and Developing Work Capacity - is no exception. Well worth a look.
Classic Dave Tate. Hilarious.
Jack Reape has a great article on increasing squat depth - no matter which Powerlifting federation you favour. Amid the great advice is this :
I highly recommend a drill that my friend Pavel Tsatsouline teaches in his Strength Stretching video. It's a squat performed facing the wall and should be done in front of a mirror, preferably in the cardio section of your favorite gym. Face the mirror with your toes an inch or two away from the wall in a wider than normal stance. Stick your butt back and your knees out and lower yourself as deep as you can go. Hold your hands out to the sides with your palms up to keep your sternum up as in the normal squat.
I like this one; though I'm at least spared the pain of having a full-length mirror in the home gym. Luckily a blank wall does the trick admirably.
Anyone familiar with the martial arts' concept of rooting will immediately see the power of Chuck Halbakken's suggestions. A Tae Kwon Do black belt and certified kettlebell instructor himself, Halbakken discusses a way to generate power for hand strength - starting at the feet.
This article [,pdf, 24 kb] is the first in a series looking at power generation. Should be a good one.
- The larger muscles take longer to recover than do smaller ones.
- Bigger muscle groups take longer than do smaller muscle groups.
- Predominantly white fibers - the fast twitch - take longer to recover than do the slow twitch or red fiber muscles of the body. Recall that fast twitch fibers produce power and the red or slow fibers are more suited to long endurance types of activities.
- High intensity lifting in ranges above 80-85% 1RM requires greater recuperation times than do those who are in and below the 75% range.
- Full range exercise movements cause more muscle tissue damage than partial range motions and necessitate greater recovery times and methods.
- Older lifters or those above 35 need more time to recover when compared to a younger athlete.
- Recovery rates can be advanced as a result of aerobic weight training load program manipulations. The recovery can also be retarded if there is little to no aerobic efficiency training to the regimen. A general basis of physical fitness helps ensure greater recovery between exercise sessions.
- Better nutrition habits can have a significant impact on the recovery process. Especially when compared to poor eating habits.
- A healthy body generally recovers faster and more efficiently than an unhealthy one.
- Eccentric muscle contractions increase the recovery time due to the interfibril damage that occurs with this type of lifting.
- Overtraining or undertraining, whether occurring from biological and/or psychological causes, increases the demands on the recovery mechanisms.
An excellent list.
* Article by Danny M. O'Dell of Explosivelyfit.com - the definitive source for strength training information.
If all this talk of sleep has made you keen to dig a little deeper into the strange worlds of polyphasic and biphasic sleep (reportedly used successfully by both bodybuilders and powerlifters), consider the Uberman and Steve Pavlina forums (particularly Health and Fitness). Some great information on each of them.
All great food for thought.
Mark Reifkind takes us back to a time in Westside Barbell training before DE and ME days, when the routines were a little simpler and powerfully effective. If your current routine is looking anything like mine (it seems to have grown a little wild over the past few months), perhaps another look at the origins of this great system will inspire a few changes. They certainly did for me.
Via Tom Furman : a great moment from 1970s bodybuilding champion Ehrling Wahlgren. A 780 lb reverse deadlift.
On Scott Sonnon's shiny new myspace blog (well, new anyway) there's an interesting article on '7 Keys to reactive agility'. Like Jason Ferrugia, Sonnon suggests just a few changes to training routines for combat athletes.
Julia Ladewski's current newsletter contains an interesting snippet by Dr John Berardi - Increasing water intake. This can help in several areas (including fat loss), and can be achieved in part through the following :
- Drink cold water - cold water is more palatable, improving 'mouth feel' and ingestion
- Add lemon - lemon increases urge to drink and also kills bacteria
- Chuggables - always carry some sort of jug of water around to ensure you're drinking. Rubbermaid makes a nice blue top container (Chuggables) that we recommend to our clients.
Mike Pelosi takes an interesting look at the short-term (a couple of months) effect of Strongman training on a Powerlifter. In short, there are some very positive changes.
Bud Jeffries takes another brief look [.pdf, 288kb] at the training of several old-time and modern-day strongmen in part II of the 'How and why some of the strongest' article series (part I [.pdf, 356kb]). Some great names in there.
Eric Cressey has an interesting piece over on T-Nation regarding the lats. It's a fairly wide-ranging discussion, covering everything from a bit of basic anatomy to their involvement in the major lifts. Definitely worth a read.
neither wrestling nor any form of mixed martial arts are aerobic sports. Therefore, aerobic training of any kind is a complete waste of your time.
During these two to five minute bouts you'll find yourself squatting, pressing, pulling, lunging, twisting, and bridging. You'll make explosive movements, slow grinding strength-based movements, and you'll hold isometric contractions a lot longer than you can comfortably stand.
As you can see, Ferrugia strays from the usual path yet again. A good read.
Thomas Phillips takes a brief look at the role of isolation movements in the weight room. Despite years of isolation bashing there are a few exercises which seem to be a mainstay in several notable routines.
Travis Mash blends traditional Westside and Olympic Lifting approaches. What does he get? Something truly beautiful.
Strength training is important to fat loss...the "I'll just bump up my cardio for a while to lose the weight" mindset is missing out on a big portion of the picture.
- should the athlete's bodyweight be included in calculations?
- can the Smith machine be reasonably used?
- what does recent research suggest?
If you're adding jumping squats to your program, make sure you read this one.
a discrete 15-minute period of time where you complete as many total reps as possible with two opposing or "antagonistic" exercises
In this case, the two exercises are thrusters and chin-ups, to be performed as follows :
- after warming up, select a 10RM for each exercise
- perform sets of 5 with very short rest breaks (10-15 sec) until fatigue starts to really kick in
- drop down to sets of 4,3,2,1 with longer rest breaks as needed
The goal for future sessions : simply to increase the number of total reps within the allocated 15 min (without directly training to failure). Sounds like fun.
20 snippets of wisdom from Mike Boyle. To get things rolling :Often I would come to the gym, warm-up, do one heavy set of squats and leave. In the process, I got very strong. The process was simple. Have a goal for the day. Attain the goal. Go home.
Some great tips in there.
- swanky new gym gadgets
- swiss ball use and abuse
- hypertrophy training mistake #1
- strongman for beginners
As always, it's a great read.
Blaine wraps up our article series on rest with a look at Timing Rest. This article looks at the most effective way to measure rest break length (for various workout types) as well as offering a few basic timing strategies. A good read.
This is a very comprehensive look at the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet by Under the Bar's Kristoffer Lindqvist. If you've ever wondered just what this diet entails, or words of wisdom by someone who's used it on several occasions, look no further than this piece. Superb.
Mike Robertson mentioned on a recent episode of The Fitcast that his early articles on T-Nation - although full of excellent content - just weren't attracting a lot of attention. In order to combat that he started including the occasional image of a scantily clad female; a tactic which worked well.
The article centres around a simple philosophy - that when it comes to training men and women, the same things work (irrespective of gender). This applies to strength training, fat loss or hypertrophy. Most of the time.
After establishing the many ways in which the two sexes are remarkably similar (at least when it comes to training), Chad goes on to provide the basis for a simple program designed to give the majority of women what they want - more Jessica Simpson than Ms Olympia. A great read.
Ashley Jones has put up a couple of interesting pieces on the Getstrength site regarding Rugby training. The first of these looks at off-season training, combining Olympic, powerlifting and bodybuilding lifts. It's a great combination.
The second addresses some of the modified games which form an effective aspect of training. Some good ones in there.
The young people reading this should know that all the following are bad for you: squats, bench presses, deadlifts, snatches, cleans, lat pulldowns, curls, leg extensions, and basically anything that Arnold did while he trained.
The article, once you manage to stop laughing, is on the most effective exercises to use when training a large group of people. And despite the preceding quote, deadlifts are top of the list.
Can't get enough of Dan's words of wisdom? If you missed it the first time, grab his recent interview on the FitCast. The video version is also well worth watching - especially if you're about to squat.
Strength and conditioning coach Guy Jones reminisces on log training with a difference [.pdf, 190kb]. A great read.
Given enough rest the muscle fibers will be stronger than the ones that you tore. Given too much rest your body will decide that it does not need the extra muscle mass and will begin to break the muscle fibers down again.
The article also briefly looks at the idea of cross training (use of a different sports' workout style in your training) - particularly on the scheduled rest days.
Next up: Fuel and Rest.
The ebook mentioned in the article is an incredible find.
It seems that some people will never understand Mike Boyle. Following Eric Cressey's excellent interview The Misunderstood Strength Coach, some of the comments made this fact abundantly clear.
I don't often read more than the first few comments to a T-nation article (which are usually along the lines of 'Great article!' or 'Keep up the good work') but this piece - Strong Athlete, Zero Injuries - inspired me to do just that. And once again, it was clear that some people just don't understand the man.
Among the fascinating (and a little controversial) views espoused in the article :I'm a big believer in the technical failure concept. The set ends at technical failure, not when you can't cheat through another rep. I'd always rather undertrain than overtrain. Tomorrow is another day. The tortoise beat the hare. The healthy trainee lives to train another day while the hurt guy goes to PT.Many of my older (30-plus) clients no longer do conventional squats or Olympic lifts. Their bodies no longer tolerate it. We do jump squats, kettlebell swings, and lots of single leg stuff with these guys because the objective is to keep them playing.Back pain has three root causes as it relates to lifting. Torque (forward lean), compression (high spinal loads), and flexion are what cause back injuries. Front squats lessen torque, compression, and flexion, and are therefore inherently safer [than back squats].Knee wraps are not an injury prevention tool. They're an elastic launching pad to allow you to lift more weight. Knee wraps don't protect the knee.
and the one that really got me thinking :Treat your vertical pulls just like the bench. Cycle them. Do heavy triples. Whatever you do for horizontal presses, do the same for vertical pulls. Your shoulders will love you for it.
Despite often being misunderstood, Mike Boyle gets results. As the article states :My average athlete can also do a 1 RM chin-up with more than he can bench press.
That's including the bodyweight of the lifter, but it still isn't bad. Now, time to take a serious look at the chin-up part of my routine. Heavy triples coming up.
It's a sunny Labour Day here, which means that nearly everything is closed and I finally had an opportunity to catch up with Eric Cressey's latest piece on T-Nation, 13 Tips for mighty elbows and wrists.
If you read Jim Wendler's recent article Casting your wrists you may recall the opening paragraph :When I started using a bench shirt, I miraculously gained 150 lbs on my bench. No practice, no technique work, nothing. That is the magic of these cheater shirts--you automatically "get it." Anyway, with this increase in bar weight, my wrists were taking a beating and I needed some help. This is where I was bestowed with this knowledge, which I am now giving to you.
If that's a familiar feeling (suddenly asking your wrists to do a lot more work), Eric's article is definitely for you. It's far more wide-ranging than I'd anticipated, and the section on 'checking your workstation' was certainly food for thought. Heavy benching with chains and correct keyboard use in one article? Perfect.
Although it starts ominously :Although exercise in the form of endurance (i.e. running a 2K) or resistance type training (i.e. weightlifting) has numerous benefits such as increasing oxygenation of tissues and improving insulin sensitivity, it also has a downside. With every breath that we take, we use oxygen to aid in the process of converting carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to energy. This, in turn, creates an unstable molecule of oxygen.
These molecules are highly destructive to the molecules and tissues surrounding them and have been named free radicals. The free radicals that exceed the body's antioxidant stores are the cause of oxidative stress. They occur in the body inevitably from energy metabolism and respiration. Exercise uses 12-20 times more oxygen and sends free radical production into high gear.
it quickly adopts a more positive light and looks at the potential benefits of a bit of supplementation. With vitamins C and E heading the list, this isn't exactly going to require a radical re-working of the diet. Not that I need much of an excuse to start taking more vitamin supplements.
Christian Thibaudeau takes a very interesting look at the traditional notion of bulking; asking the simple question :Is bulking up to gain muscle a good idea?
If you've ever wondered whether to bulk-then-cut or simply follow a clean diet with the right amount of each nutrient (all year, that is) then this article is meant for you.
A couple of samples :You can eat any amount of food you want; you simply can't change your protein synthesis limit naturally. Eating more food than your body can use to build muscle will simply lead to more body fat being gained.
andyou can't bully your body into building muscle by force-feeding it. Adding nutrients and calories will have a positive effect on muscle growth until you reach your saturation point. After that, any additional calories will be stored as body fat.
I think the answer is quite clear - a careful, planned, clean diet.
GetStrength's Steve Thompson discusses one of the simplest - and most effective - ways to set up bands for bench training. He's chosen to use Iron Woody bands, but there really isn't a lot of difference between brands.
Having tried various setups in the rack, I have to admit that I'm more than a little keen to get the bench out (there just isn't space in the current home gym) and try something like this - looks great.
Incidentally, the NZ Bench Press recordholder Reuben Simanu (mentioned in the article) is throwing some serious weight around. Take a look at his training log.
There are some great lifters mentioned in that article; here's a bit of a rundown.
If you've ever read the article Finnish Deadlift Secrets (and if you haven't, now's your chance) then you'll be all-too-aware of just how well this guy knows his stuff. If you need further convincing, anyone who's pulled 275/606 in the 75/165 class has been training pretty hard.
Marc 'Spud' Bartley doesn't exactly have the perfect build for a great puller, but a combination of training wisdom and tenacity has certainly served him well. 387/850+ rack pulls are not exactly things to sneeze at.
An incredible nine time IPF world champion, Jarmo Virtanen dominated powerlifting throughout the '80s. As Marty Gallagher points out  'Jarmo Virtanen, the fearsome Finn who took second place, would stay a light heavyweight [181 pounds] and rule the international roost for the next decade'. He did indeed.
Not to be outdone, Ari, Jarmo's brother, was also an exceptional deadlifter. According to Sakari  he had 'one of the best technique I have ever seen.'. Runs in the family.
Otherwise known simply as 'Mr Deadlift' . Although he never fully recovered from a hamstring tear in 1981, he still pulled an incredible 880 at a bodyweight of only 220. The 'Mr Deadlift' moniker is well deserved.
Former World Junior Champion and all-round dynamo. Having pulled 305/671 at a bodyweight of only around 75/165  is certainly a great qualification.
1. COAN: The Man, The Myth, The Method (1999)
2. Finnish Deadlift Secrets
Thomas Phillips takes a brief look at the notion of making minor alterations to your workout template, depending upon external factors in your life (stress, tiredness etc). Definitely a philosophy I adhere to - perhaps a little too much.
If the title suggests to you that this might be an article about squatting, well, you'd be wrong. Surprisingly, Dan John writes about goal setting. And toilet seats.
There are a couple of pieces of wisdom that jump out from this article, the most critical one - to me at least - is a quote from the One Minute Manager :Look at your goals. Look at your behaviors. Does your behavior match your goals?
Definite food for thought. Speaking of food, if the Velocity Diet stuff got you intrigued, you might like to go back to Chris Shugart's original article. It's interesting stuff.
Tony Gentilcore discusses how soft tissue work - and not just the foam roller - is not only 'more painful than watching a David Hasselhoff music video' but also essential work for many who spend time in the gym.
Physical Strategies' Tom Furman talks about a long time fascination with the whip (as a weapon). The whip was in use long before Indiana Jones, and has a bit of a cult following; there's even a sport 'whip boxing'. Great stuff.
An article by Leith Darkin is always worth a good read (if not several), and Making the Client Bulletproof [.pdf, 700kb] is no exception. 'Bulletproof' is actually a compilation of three articles written by Darkin over the years, and looks at the considerations for designing balanced programs for both upper and lower body training.
In this case Darkin addresses the balance within the primary push/pull exercises; a balance which must be carefully considered before specifically looking at an individual's weak points. Very interesting stuff.
Navy pilot Jack Reape takes an interesting look at non-competitive powerlifting; specifically a few of the things that 'regular joes' can learn from those that compete.
Perhaps the most intriguing - at least to me - is the concept of Series/Segments (wave loading on a smaller scale). With a bench workout coming up in about half an hour, it's something I'm definitely keen to try out.
Sound advice. Trainer Eric Patterson takes a look at the effectiveness of boxing conditioning work. It's certainly more fun than the usual array of steady-state cardio.
Or 'The spear, the shield and the crazy monkey'.where we have found ourselves in a confrontational sense, reacting to something that someone is either doing or in the midst of doing to us.
Narcotics Enforcement Agent 'Southnarc' defines the primary role of the default position :No default position will prevent you from getting hit, its objective is damage limitation during the transition from lost initiative to regaining the upper hand. What the default should do first is prevent you from getting knocked down or knocked over.
There are many more types of 'modified flinch' than you might expect. Very interesting. Thanks to Physical Strategies' Tom Furman.
The first part of this article series answers 2 key questions : what is their training like both in-season and during the off-season. Good stuff.
The Sport Fitness Advisor site has an interesting article on the physiology of plyometrics, including a brief note on the benefit of concurrent plyometric and strength training.
If you've ever read Stretching Scientifically (a great book) you'll know just how thorough Kurz can be.
Fascinating article. Navy Pilot Jack Reape talks about his efforts to bring the WSB and Eastern Bloc programs closer together - despite initial appearances, there's enough scope for plenty of overlap.
Jack's training throughout 2005 and up to - and including - meets in 2006 are testament to that.
I like the sound of the Inman mile - walking a mile whilst carrying a weight equivalent to your bodyweight. Tomorrow's going to be a long, long day.
His opening question - definitely something to think about :What exactly is good form and what makes it good?
An interesting and inspirational article by Dan John, who laments the passing last week of a long-time mentor; Coach Ralph Maughan of Utah State; discussing one of the many lessons he learnt during their time together.
To give you a further insight into just how John views Maughan, have a look at his notes on one of Maughan's earlier articles.
Einstein once said something along the lines of :Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Another definition might be 'anything Glenn Buechlein and Jim Wendler do in their workouts'. Crazy 8s with soaped up 53lb kettlebells? Wheelbarrow sprints with 500lb? There're some good ideas in there.
Bring on the bands.
Nathaniel Morrison has a great article in Military Fitness Magazine on one commonly overlooked area of physical prowess: the ability to sit, stand and fall without using the arms.
From the article:Try this; sit down. Now stand up. Now sit on the floor. Get up. How many times did you use your hands?
Very interesting stuff.
Christian Thibaudeu laments the serious attention paid to shoulder development by bodybuilders in previous decades, and resurrects several great exercises - including a superb creation from the legendary Vince Gironda - that are well worth considering. If you identify with the description of Larry Scott as being 'shaped like a traffic cone', read on.
If the article starts you thinking about Ring Training and performing an Iron Cross, Coach Sommer wrote an excellent article last year on The Iron Cross for Bodybuilders - Simulated Gymnastics Training with Weights.
I don't know how many of you would get into a Ferrari and gun it into heavy traffic if you knew your brakes didn't work. So why would you perform a dynamic effort squat, make a fast 90-degree cut on the field, or throw a fast ball on the diamond if you knew your deceleration abilities weren't quite up to par?
Ignoring the claims of infomercials everywhere, core work involves more than a daily set of sit-ups on a fitness ball. In the first of two-part article Core Statics [.pdf, 961kb], the Diesel Crew's Smitty discusses the training of various core musculature for sports; pointing out that much of the existing core exercises overlook the idea of the 'Z' component - the loading of a movement across distance.
From the article:"Power is generated from the ground up, from the core out and from the hands in." Segmental, (progressive) stabilization of the TA, RA, (internal/external) obliques, erectors and spine with each step. I want to force you to generate stabilization! The kind of stabilization that will have aliens popping out of your chest. This could be done with a supplemental series of exercises I call - Core Statics.
Leith Darkin (the author of last month's superb article on grip training) discusses training to increase your punching power. Here he takes a brief look at the ideas behind the Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC) and how various plyometric exercises are of great benefit; in addition to the basic biomechanical principles that assist in punching.
The two articles stated as pre-requisites for this one are The Stretch Shortening Cycle in throwing and striking sports and What do all Martial Arts have in common. Also well worth reading.
If you're not familiar with the boxing punch types mentioned in the above articles, there's a brief rundown (with videos) at Saddoboxing.com.
Whilst mulling over my current one-armed push-up quest (more on that in a minute) I came across the Beast Skills site, via a link on Lean and Hungry Fitness. Beast Skills has tutorials for handstands, one-armed chin-ups and other fun things; as well as information on training (looks like a great mix of traditional free-weights, kettlebells and bodyweight exercises). Very good stuff.
For a look at some of the historical feats of strength in this vein, check out John Gill's superb Historical Performances in Chin-ups, Pull-ups, Levers, and Crosses. As you'll see from the table, John is no slouch himself.
Now to the one-armed push-ups. I'm still several inches away, but gradually becoming more solid at some of the exercises listed in the progression (such as Offset push-ups and the one-handed Total Gym work). I imagine that once I can perform sets of 10 in these exercises, the one-armed push-up should be achievable.
Kyle was born March 24, 1986 with a rare disorder called, "Congenital Amputation." This left Kyle with only three major joints: a neck and two shoulders. Despite his physical differences, Kyle was one of the top wrestlers in Georgia in his senior year. His visit to the 2004 Georgia State Wrestling Championships left him with an impressive record of 35-16. Continuing his amazing career, Kyle is now wrestling at the University of Georgia and has begun training in Jiu-Jitsu and competing in the sport of submission wrestling.
The line that really struck a chord is the one at the top of each page :It's not what I can do; it's what I will do.
Definitely one to remember.
Sometimes 12% bodyfat just isn't lean enough. Dr John Berardi gets extreme.
This article on the Sport Fitness Advisor site briefly looks at some of the research performed on the effects of concurrent strength and endurance training. This is timely as I consider ways in which to mix various elements into a solid routine.
Tireless Australian nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton is interviewed by Peter Thomson on this week's episode of Talking Heads. If you missed it the first time around, the show is repeated on ABC2 at 20:00 and 22:30 tonight, and again tomorrow at 7:00.
Interval training with kettlebells for combat sports [.pdf, 54kb] is an article by long-time wrestling coach (recently retired) David Morgan with a couple of very interesting points. These include a synopsis of why kettlebells are increasingly used in the training of combat athletes, and a sample workout illustrating their use.
David's blog on Enhanced Fitness is also well worth a read.
Dr Eric Cobb has some fascinating - not to mention deceptively simple - ideas. This interview by Chris Shugart took me into Dr Cobb's world of Z-Health; DJM (Dynamic Joint Mobility) Training in particular.
If the interview leaves you hungry for more - and I've no doubt it will, especially once you've taken off your shoes and tried the foot stretches discussed - there's a brief video [.mov, 1.6mb] showing part of a training session on the Z-Health site. Still want more? New versions of the Neural Warmup DVDs are in the pipeline. If anyone's already seen the older ones, I'm very interested to hear any thoughts.
There's more to low-carb than the Atkins diet. Read on.
Mike Robertson does it again. If you've ever experienced knee pain, read this. If you haven't, definitely read it.
Mike Hanley provides an excellent summary of the four types of effort commonly associated with strength training.
The Diesel Crew's Jim 'Smitty' Smith completes his 3 part article series on 'Corporate Strength'. This series looks at a couple of ways in which widely-used approaches to corporate projects can be altered for use with strength-related ones.
Chad Waterbury has written an interesting (if slightly incendiary) article on rope training. A bit of truck-pulling could be fun.
If you were unlucky enough to miss it during the week, Dave Tate has an excellent article on some of the many ways in which bands can be used for rehab. The videos, and the brief interview with Jump Stretch's Dick Hartzell, are great.
Jim Wendler takes a look at the importance of assistance work, and his preferred way of tracking progress.
The Diesel Crew's Jedd Johnson has written a great series of articles on mastering the Log Press. The first part - Improving the Performance on the Strongman Log (.pdf, 279kb) - looks at the three general techniques for cleaning the log. For anyone considering entering a Strongman event, it's a great read.
Big Jim offers a few thoughts on conditioning. Of particular note was this :Powerlifters and athletes have an on/off switch and nothing in between. You have to learn how to idle.
Yes. I think he's right there.
NB : this is definitely one for outdoors. Just in case.
Personal trainer / competitive powerlifter Thomas Phillips has a great article on the Elite Fitness site regarding many of the commonly used deadlift techniques. I'm not referring to the sumo vs conventional debate here; the techniques include things such as squatting or straight-legged starts, head up or head down, and rounding the upper back.
I hate to admit it, but this week I seem to have joined Steph in the world of slackness - at least as far as weight training is concerned. It's incredible how slothful you can feel following a week without deadlifting; only sporadic bodyweight sessions kept things from getting completely out of hand.
Time to crank up the volume and get back into it...in the meatime, here are a couple of pieces which appeared during the week :
Converting to Sumo Deadlifting: How I Made It Work for Me
This is an excellent look at how short arms and a long torso are not the ultimate weapons in the deadlift. South Carolina Barbell's Marc Bartley discusses the differences between US and European pulling styles, kettlebell training for the deadlift, and adjusting the sumo stance a little. Overall, a great read.
Barefoot and Sledgehammer training
We train the hands, so why not the feet? According to the Parisi Speed School's Martin Rooney, the feet are just as - if not more - important. In this audio interview (.mp3, 5.7 mb) he details exactly why.
The interview also touches on the topic of sledgehammer training for athletes, and how Rooney uses it in similar ways to modern Clubbell routines.
21st century eating
The closer I get to relocation, the more hectic the weeks seem to become. A large part of this is the mad rush to see and do as much as possible prior to departure (which I should probably have been doing in any case, but no-one ever does). Still, sporadic deadlift and bodyweight sessions kept things ticking over nicely. Not to mention a ridiculous amount of walking.
Also this week...
On Monday the BBC reported of a series of experiments at the Massachusetts General Hospital involving pig fat, skin and a laser. The aim was to demonstrate the plausibility of remotely melting away the fat, without harming the skin.
Although the tests were successful, it could be several years before similar studies are done on human volunteers.
How to make a sandbag
This is definitely on the to-do list for shortly after I relocate. Alberto pointed me recently to the Ultimate Sandbag (recently reviewed on T-nation); but at $70 I'll probably end up making my own. It's more fun that way in any case.
When it comes to the home-made variety, there's no shortage of available instruction. The first I came to was that by Ross Enamait (.pdf, 424kb), which includes links to suppliers of the bags involved and photos illustrating the various stages of construction.
Cosgrove strikes again
Alwyn Cosgrove is fast getting a reputation for writing exercise routines that don't look too threatening at first, but are utterly brutal when attempted. His latest piece on T-nation is no exception.
More words of wisdom from the inimitable Jim Wendler.
Here's a challenge - find a 290-300lb powerlifter with a diet that's been abysmal for decades and see if a leading nutritionist can sort him out. Dr John Berardi takes on Dave Tate.
I've never really thought of myself as 'lost', however I found some excellent advice in Eric Cressey's latest article on T-nation : 6 lost lifters. The progression back to the bench press (and underlying reasons) following an injury are great.
Another great article from Jim Wendler over on the EliftFTS site. If you've ever wondered why the upper back is important for the bench press - as well as looking at a load of exercises for precisely this area - read on.
Just had a chance to catch up with a couple of the interviews currently available on T-nation radio (from the T-nation front page, look under 'Media and Art'). Definitely worth a listen is a brief chat with Joe DeFranco.
Do you sometimes find yourself falling forward in the squat? Often? Dave Tate suggests a few things that may help
Over on T-nation, Tate's mighty Toolbox series continues. Well worth a look.
In any case, the topic of discussion is knowing how and when to activate particular muscles in compound lifts. Whether you're trying to fire your lats at the right point in a bench press, or bring your hips forward on cue in the squat - this article has a couple of pointers that may just come in handy.
From the article :being stronger in a muscle group is only half the picture. You have to be able to turn on that strength, at the right times, in the right sequence and in the right direction in concert with other muscle groups. Sometimes you have to back up and re-educate your motor system if you get into bad habits.
Charles Poliquin takes a quick look at Overhead Pressing and suggests a 12 week program for its use. Having only recently tried a couple of sets myself, I personally can see a bit more overhead work going on. Unfortunately the low roof means that this will be seated only, but that's still a good start.
There were a couple of ratios mentioned in the article, and after Alberto got everyone going with the Achieving Structural Balance piece, I can see a similar thing happening here. They are :1. The ratio between seated dumbbell overhead presses and the bench press
It should be that the weight done for 8 reps on each dumbbell represents 29% of the close-grip bench press measure. In other words, a man able to close-grip bench about 220 pounds for a single would use a pair of 65's for 8 reps in the seated dumbbell overhead presses.
2. The ratio between the behind-the-neck press and the bench press
The weight for a 1 RM behind-the-neck press from a seated position should represent 66% of the weight used for a 1 RM in the close-grip bench press. That load is lifted from a dead-stop position with the bar resting on the traps, not from a weight handed off in the lock-out position.
Time for a quick test.
Jim Wendler weighs in on the usefulness of using various lifts to indicate probable max levels.
Very interesting interview with Dave Tate over on T-nation (part 1, part 2). He covers a range of topics, but of particular interest were the last two in the piece - considerations when buying a good quality rack, and setting up a warehouse gym. This isn't a 'how-to' by any means; but it certainly does make you want to go out and rent a warehouse.
More words of wisdom from Jim Wendler. This time he talks about something particularly relevant to anyone about to start training for their first or second meet : choosing opening weights, and training for them.
A good read.
Eric Cressey has written an article over at Elite FTS on improving the deadlift by increasing the frequency; the opposite approach to many who seem to like the 'no deadlift' method. Personally I think deadlifting is just too much fun to avoid it (and its many cousins) for any length of time.
EliteFTS has an interesting piece by Jim Wendler on setting up a garage gym. I have to say though, that a typical one car garage in Kentucky must be an awful lot larger than one in Glasgow. Not a bad setup at all.
Some time ago I added a set of Iron Woody bands to my home gym setup. These afford an incredible range of exercises; both by adding variations for the 'big three' and by providing numerous movements that can be performed on their own. Many of these are often used in warmups, light feeder workouts or as high-rep finishers for primary workouts.
A few of my favourites :
TKE (Terminal Knee Extension)
Helps to strengthen the VMO. Often overlooked by powerlifters who squat with the emphasis on the hamstrings and hips. This is prehab for the knees.
Band good morning
I first saw these on the Westside Dead Lift Secrets DVD, though the guys at Westside Barbell have undoubtedly been doing these for a long time.
To do them, simply anchor one end of the band with your feet and loop the other end over your head (so it sits on the back of your neck). Perform Good mornings as usual.
Band triceps pushdown
A great finisher or addition to a feeder workout.
Many cable exercises could be done using bands, and this is definitely on the shortlist.
See: 7 Movements for Rapid Strength Development - Dave Tate
NB: thinking about cheese and bacon pull-aparts really doesn't help this :)
Hit the hamstrings from several different angles. Another one for feeder workouts or a quick warmup.