First up, an Under Armour shirt with several sensors built in (pictured above). Measuring things like heart rate, temperature and speed.
Recently we looked at the Radiate Athletics shirt on Kickstarter, which promises to change colour according to body temperature. Interesting idea.
Of course, added to the above are the various strength-assisting, compression and moisture wicking items that are seen in any number of gyms and competitions.
We've noted a number of superb resources - books, DVDs, equipment, workshops and sites - in the Strength & Fitness Newsletter this year. Here are a few personal favourites.Precision Nutrition Fat Loss Crash Course.
If one of your goals is to shed a bit of excess fat, but you're not quite sure what to do/where to start, have a look at the Precision Nutrition Fat Loss Crash Course. Absolutely free.
A compilation of training strategies from some of the heaviest players in the Iron Game. This is training the old-fashioned way - heavy weights, good food and plenty of recovery. Beautiful.
Maik's take on the strength-training world is not exactly mainstream; but it's certainly well-supported and highly effective. Good stuff.
Well made, nice and tough, fast, and they can certainly handle heavy loads. Perfect.
Advanced bar moves, handstand push-ups and a whole lot more.
Love a spot of Rock Climbing? Check this out.
If you've ever been told you have a condition like Tennis Elbow or Golfer's Elbow, you need this. Brilliant.
The second Super Human Workshop was truly incredible, and a look at the many people involved will show you exactly why. To say there was some fantastic information shared is an understatement. Loved it.
If you've ever tried any of the StrongerGrip gear (and if you're a grip fan, you absolutely need to give it a run - superb equipment), you'll certainly appreciate this. After being in the works for years, the StrongerGrip Modular Grip System is finally ready for prime time.
As goals go, this one was certainly ambitious :
Physicist Francis Slakey committed himself to climbing the highest peak on every continent and surfing every ocean.
This is a glimpse at that incredible goal, and the various challenges he encountered along the way.
Suffice to say that if you enjoy a bit of stone work from time-to-time, this DVD should definitely be in your collection.
I love reading books from people who have 'walked the walk', and Andy Bolton's certainly done that. Supersize Your Strength is simply a 16 week training program helping you to replicate that tremendous strength in your own training.
RunTarget is an application for your smartphone that keeps track of where you are, and how fast you are running at any point in time. Well worth checking out.
Club swinging is fantastic, but where do you start? Right here.
Want to lift more weight, and get seriously strong abs in the process? Grab this.
As a standalone grip session, or a part of other exercises. Good fun.
When it comes to recovery work though, I'm always in two minds as to what to do. Should the hands be treated separately, and if so, how? What sorts of techniques are available?
Helping us get a handle on things is Strongman, Mash Monster and Personal Trainer Matt Hunt. Fantastic.
Join us for Gymchat 170 - Intermittent Fasting.
This week we're taking a look at this fascinating approach. Where do you start, and why would you want to? What are the benefits, and is it for everyone, or only those trying to shed some excess bodyfat?
It's safe to say that there's a lot to consider.
In this week's Gymchat we'll be taking a look at the nutritional side of things; the various foods and drinks to consume (and when) which help keep your post-workout soreness to a minimum. And naturally, if you've got any questions on your own nutritional needs, we'll be more than happy to go through as many as possible.
Join us for Gymchat 169 - Recovery Foods.
Helping us explore this fascinating topic is none other than ultrarunner, airline captain and insanely competitive triathlete, Chas Melichar. Fantastic.
NB : to see all of these as they appear (and to share your own thoughts on things), the simplest way is to follow me on Google+. You'll see these, and a whole lot more.
No matter what your sleep is like at the moment - and how you'd like to fine-tune things - we'd love to hear about it. See you there.
Sleep is a topic that's long fascinated me, and it was one of the first ones we tackled in the original Twitterchats (now Gymchats); nearly 3 years ago.
This week I'd like to return to it with the simple questions :
'How do you sleep?' and 'How does it influence your recovery?'
Look forward to hearing your answers, no matter what they are. Biphasic sleep, ZMA, late evening meals; whatever works for you.
See you there.
NB : If you've just joined us on Google+, welcome. Join us on Mar 7, and add a comment/ask a question or three. Dive in.
Who : Strength-training fans
Topic : Recovery Methods : Sleep II
When : Wed Mar 7, 9pm EDT (2am UTC)
How : Post a comment, question or reply
Where : https://plus.google.com/u/0/113406428532094481598/posts/1k2YnK3A8my
If you've never been to one of these discussions before, here's how to join in the fun. Simple, quick to set up and free.
And to see when it's on in your timezone, head over to the calendar.
Incidentally, cheers for all the feedback on the Maik Wiedenbach interview we mentioned last week. For those that haven't seen it yet, head over here.
The Gymchats are a mix of discussion and interview; looking at a different training-related topic each week. To take part, just add a question or comment to the main discussion thread (and the thread is announced in the newsletter, the forums and on Google+ itself - wherever you are, you'll see it).
NB : if you're a professional trainer, coach or athlete - and would like to share your experience with the fantastic audience here - I'd love to hear from you. Just post a comment below, or contact me privately.
Hello everyone, since this is my first article for Straight to the Bar, I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Maik Wiedenbach, I am a NY based personal trainer (or as I like to call it, physique architect), nutritionist and author of "101 Fitness Myths.
I've been a professional athlete for 10 years before switching to coaching and my motto is "Anyone can be in great shape". My articles, drawn from my extensive research and practical experience attempt to cut through the fog and clutter in the fitness world.
Over the next couple weeks, I will be posting a series of articles regarding nutrition, training and the fitness mind set as such. I am extremely thrilled to be part of the Straight to the Bar community.
So lets dive in, the first topic is genetics. People often complain about theirs, admire others and blame their DNA for everything bad in the world. But how important is your genetic make up really?
I don't have the genetics
I hear this a lot - both in the gym and casual conversation. Genetics are a favorite scapegoat for athletic shortcomings. We blame genetics for our failure to build muscle or lose body fat. But how much do genetics really influence your success in the gym?
The answer is less than you would like to believe. While everyone has inherited a certain blueprint, which includes having good and not-so-good muscle groups, certain hormonal levels, and fat storage tendencies, it is also true that ANYONE can get in amazing shape.
You are trying to build the best body for you, not to emulate someone else.
Think of your body as a plant. Given the right conditions, a plant will grow and blossom. If it doesn't, that means something is wrong-- a parasite, not enough light, or too much water, perhaps. The same applies to your body: There is always an explanation for why you're not progressing.
Success in training has three pillars: training, recovery, and nutrition. Most people at best get two out of three right.
Most of us don't have the potential of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but that doesn't mean we cannot achieve our own goals. By way of example, look at the guy next to Arnold: Frank Zane.
Yet, he won Mr. Olympia three times, beating Arnold!
How did he do it? He stuck to his diet, trained with unmatched intensity, and did not take no for an answer. He realized that he couldn't compete with Arnold on the basis of mass; so he created the most symmetrical physique, which many people still consider as close to perfect as a human can get.
Frank Zane's story is inspiring. Your first step is to honestly assess yourself, your schedule, and your training experience, and devise the plan that's right for you.
For those who are new to these conversations, a quick definition : the Gymchats are weekly discussions (currently held on Google+) on a variety of fitness-related topics. Everything from nutrition to competition; if it relates to training, we'll be talking about it.
To give you an idea of what these look like, the most recent Gymchats have been listed below :
This week we're taking a look at this enigmatic activity, and finding out just what I'm missing out on. How to train for it and how it helps with other forms of
your training (and overall condition). Fantastic.
Gymchat 144 - Training at Home
Conversation on Wed Nov 16, 9pm EDT (1am UTC)
This week we're returning to our conversation on Training at Home - equipment & space required, sharing progress and getting feedback. The many ways to make the most of what's available. Fantastic.
Gymchat 143 - Strength Training Over 40
Raymond Ho, interviewed by Kirk Fontaine
Conversation on Wed Nov 9, 9pm EST (2am GMT)
This week we'll be returning to our discussion, looking at the nutritional, recovery, injury and equipment considerations related to training at this age. Everything that will help make sure you're stronger, healthier and in generally better condition in your 40s (and onward) than you are/were in your 20s.
Gymchat 142 - Fitness & Autism
Eric Chessen, interviewed by Kirk Fontaine
Conversation on Wed Nov 2, 9pm EST (2am GMT)
This week we'll be returning to our discussion on training approaches, focusing on the many aspects of fitness other than the lifting itself. What's your current diet like, and do you take any supplements? What sort of music do you listen to whilst training, or do you prefer to lift in silence? Other than getting a good nights' sleep, how do you recover after a heavy session?
This week we're continuing our discussion on Hand Strength, focusing on the Grip Training side of things. What it is, why it's important and how to go about it. Fantastic.
Gymchat 138 - Hand Strength
Conversation on Wed Oct 5, 9pm EDT (1am UTC)
This week we're taking an in-depth look at all aspects of Hand Strength. What it is, why it's important and how to train for it. Fantastic.
Gymchat 137 - Grip, Clubs & Health
Conversation on Wed Sep 28, 9pm EDT (1am UTC)
This week we're taking a look at this superb partnership, particularly when it comes to using equipment such as clubs. Beautiful things.
This time it's in the form of an interview with a particularly inspiring Personal Trainer, Vic Magary. As you'll see, he's got an incredible outlook on the world.
Let's dive in.
1. Firstly, a bit of background. What is your name (and nickname), and where did you grow up?
My full name is Victor Nicholas Magary. Nearly everyone calls me Vic. I grew up in the small river town of Steubenville, Ohio in the United States.
2. I believe you've been studying Martial Arts in one form or another since you were 10 years old. How did you move from student to teacher (in the form of a Personal Trainer)?
My first exposure to teaching came during martial arts classes, even when I was still a kid. I was the 13 year old terror that my instructor put in charge of leading the warm up exercises at the beginning of each class. I was all too happy to tell guys in their thirties to drop and give me 50 push ups because they weren't staying focused in class.
Moving into the personal trainer realm didn't come until after I finished my time in the Army. I started out making "house calls" and going to the homes and offices of clients to put them through their sessions. My equipment at the time consisted of a pair of Powerblock dumbbells, boxing gloves, and focus mitts.
3. Following the closure of your gym, you shifted focus to offerings such as 31 Day Fat Loss Cure and the Rebel Strength Guide. What are your goals like now - a return to a physical space in some way, or are you enjoying the online life?
I have no plans to ever return to the physical space. I can help more people with far less overhead costs online. I now have a few documented cases of people losing 100 lbs or more via my online programs - I never accomplished that in my physical gym. I am considering offering one-on-one coaching and personalized program design via email and telephone support, but that is the closest I plan on coming to doing individual training.
4. What changes in commercial gyms (and the way they are run) have you seen over the past few years? What would you like to see?
I currently use a commercial gym. It allows members 24 hours access via electronic key entry and there are absolutely no high pressure sales tactics. I love it. I've been turned off from large corporate gyms previously from being bombarded with personal training packages and other upsells.
I would love to see more access to "odd object" equipment in a commercial setting. Things like sandbags and a designated sledgehammer area would be great. But I understand that the overall demand for such training implements is relatively low and the commercial gyms will always lean toward providing the unfortunately popular eliptical machines and treadmills.
I think I've discovered a new word for Webster's Dictionary: GripWalking. My word processor doesn't like it. Well for a number of years carrying small (or large) weights for distance has been used by strength enthusiasts. The "Farmers Walk" is a familiar strongman (300+ lbs) exercise, although I have heard of carrying a "Fat Man" Blob (end of a 100 lb Roundhead 50+ lbs) about 91 feet. As hunter-gatherers 50,000 yrs ago we certainly carried spears and rocks as weapons, so we're made to do this.
That's a bit much for my term GripWalking. I'm talking about < 15 lbs in one hand at a time, switching hands, and walking a couple of miles. Small dumbbells <5 lbs have been used to walk with, although they are held in the usual fashion not requiring a persistent grip effort.
The most common form is to carry 1 or 2 lbs in each hand, not much for gripping. If you bump up the weight (5 to 10 lbs), use a round object that requires grip effort, now you're talking about GripWalking. I've started this after training with many grip tools: hand crushers up to 250#, Blobs, plates sideways, and balls 3" to 5". Various GripWalking objects are seen in this photo:
The steel ball bearings are what I use but are somewhat pricey. They are also used for massage of sore muscles. I started with a 3.5" ball bearing @ 6.4 lbs and have worked up to a 4" @ 9.5 lbs. I have a 5" @ 18.5 lbs, but can't hold it long enough, establishing my limits for GripWalking. Here's what I do normally:
In part 3 of this article series I am going share with the other 3 exercise videos described in Part 1, plus I am going to add in a bonus video of and movement that very helpful for those with hip 'tightness' issues (Hint: it is great for mobilizing the hips across at least 2 planes of motion and even a really great precursor to movements like the kettlebell windmill).
The picture above is of our team on the training ground with Brett Kirk, Sydney Swans Hall of Famer; as we kicked off our second 1/2 of the 2011 season.
Of course we do off field strength and conditioning work too; which led me to the following point that I think many, many athletes and strength, conditioning and fitness professionals either don't get or complete under-value.
That while we may be talking in the context of shoulder and hamstring repair in this article series, the important point is:
1) The tools do matter because they allow access to a true integrated program instead of being segmented, into warm-up, activation, mobility, rehab, strength, energy system work, recovery, you can actually have an integrated program that implements all parts synergistically as long as you are willing and able to program appropriately.
Part 1 of this series about using kettlebells, TRX, and ultimate sandbags for recovering from shoulder and hamstring injuries, gave you a general overview of the movements and some of their applications.
In part 2 and the up coming Part 3 I wanted share with the videos demos of all the movements mentioned in part 1, plus 1 bonus video.
Something that I may not have been made clear on before and that is part of the beauty of using these tools; is that they can easily be inserted into your actual program, if you are not in an acute phase of recovery from a hamstring or shoulder injury.
Thus elminating the need to feel like you are solely spending/wasting time do pre-rehab exercise(s), that often just don't get done. Now you can easily insert these 8 movements into any full-body program and not only will you be armor plating your shoulders and hamstrings, you'll be have a time effective workout too.
It's inevitable, when it comes to playing sports; it is not IF you get hurt, it is more a matter of WHEN.
It starts with a 3 step progression.
1) A 'crunching' or 'pop' sound or possibly just a 'twinge'
2) Next is the sinking feeling in your gut. Confirming that it is game over, at least for the time being
3) Then the question: Will I be ready for the next game?
If we use just a tiny bit of common sense we would easily understand that sport is the ultimate 'pattern overload' program; thousands and thousands of reps over the course of a career, executed with extreme force and velocity.
While injury is inevitable the athlete forges forward practicing and training hoping to never experience or undergo any type of catastrophic injury like broken bones, torn ligaments, or other major injuries.
There not much we can do about these 'big boys'; but the holy grail that many athletes spend much of their non-sport training lives pursuing is the prevention of the 'little injuries' like separated shoulders and pulled hamstrings.
There is another question that comes after "Will I be ready for the next game?"
And it is:
"How can I train to prevent this injury from ever happening again?"
While they are 'small' injuries, they are very common and are responsible for a lot of games lost in a variety of sports.
So I thought I would share a few tips that I have accumulated that work very well in answering the question:
"How can I train to prevent this injury from ever happening again?"
The 2 main areas that these 'little injuries' seem to turn up the most are:
-- Hips, Hamstrings, Groin
Unfortunately I have had to earn some of this knowledge the hard way, through my own injuries.
Through my experience I have been able to hone it on what really works; and following two considerations or the base principles I use to program.
Consideration 1: Is Accessibility of the exercise, can the athlete perform some kind regression/progression of the desired movement even when acutely injured, will the movement cause further damage, and will it lead a faster more complete recovery.
Consideration 2: Is Integrity does the exercise promote/improve the movement pattern integrity, does athlete lack the ability to integrate proper musculature to produce the desired movement, and does the selected movement enhance movement integrity.
Accessibility and Integrity are two of the base components to my A-DIS³C Movement Matrix; but we'll save the details of the matrix for another article.
This is a post by the astonishingly creative Adam Stoffa (@SEEAdamTrain) and Straight to the Bar's own Scott Andrew Bird (@scottbird). Resources for Twitterchat 106 - Recovery : Improving Monophasic and Biphasic Sleep.
Sleep is essential for maximizing recovery and improving performance. Scott switched over to biphasic sleep way back in September 2006, whereas Adam has been working hard to maximize the benefits of a single good night's rest. Although their approaches are different, both have found improvements to sleep to be extremely rewarding.
In this week's twitterchat we'll compare and contrast these two forms of recovery work. The benefits of each approach, how to do it and what impact it has (a very positive one) on your training. Really looking forward to it.
NB : if you'd like to join us, the details of how (and of 'what this is') are here :