Success Stories

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shoes and Heavy Weight

The video above describes pretty common occurrence when squatting heavy weights.  The same applies to dead lifts, power cleans, snatches etc.  Running sneakers simply do not provide a optimal base and can hinder linear progression on the core lifts not to mention alter movement patterns.  This is why you see a lot of people in the gym with minimalist shoes or powerlifters who wear chuck taylors.  You don't need to buy fancy shoes to get a more stable base.  Doing your squats and deadlifts bare foot is an o.k. option to provided you make sure a round plate wont fall and crush your foot.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sat fat Science

Scholarly Source on sat fat intake vs CVD

"During 5-23 y of follow-up of 347,747 subjects, 11,006 developed CHD or stroke. Intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of CHD, stroke, or CVD."

"Consideration of age, sex, and study quality did not change the results."

"A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace saturated fat."

Just came across some more research showing that saturated fat is not the enemy.  The nutrition advice given in this country is so backwards.  Saturated fat was never proven to be the causative agent in heart disease or weight gain.  People could do a lot better lowering their risk for heart disease, by eating a diet free of processed foods.  If I had heart disease I would rather enjoy foods like  eggs, cheeses, grass-fed dairy, and the occasional breakfast meat like sausage and bacon then consume processed flour, sugar, and oils in a lot of the "healthier" alternatives marketed today.  

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Home Made Sled

Anyone who has been following the trends in the strength and conditioning world understand that weight sleds have become a cornerstone in most athletes training.  No matter what you are training for everyone can get benefits out of a sled.  

A lot of powerlifters have taken notice, because the total amount of weight they could lift was being limited by their work capacity.  By doing G.P.P (General Physical Preparedness) aka sled work powerlifters were able to train different energy systems... although sled drags are not sport specific to powerlifting it indirectly increases work capacity, allowing for increased total weight lifted!

What can the normal athlete take from all this?  By adding a reasonable amount of G.P.P to your weight training sessions you can go a long way towards a stronger, leaner body, with a better ability to recover. The weight sleds they use at strength and conditioning facilities can be expensive thats why I want to link you to this article on how to make a home made weight sled...  Isn't much to look at but these things are torture!

Here is a brief clip from my workout today on a home made weight sled


Monday, June 20, 2011


The RFESS (rear foot elevated split squat) is an exercise I have been using in my training a lot recently.  This exercise is quite challenging and works your whole leg musculature in a unique way, not to mention that after a few sets you can really get a good sweat going.  The primary muscles worked during the RFESS are the quads but it also works the hamstrings and can hit the core quite well.

The RFESS is nice because you can make good strength gains without all the spinal loading of the traditional barbell squat.  In addition it can be loaded several different ways, and the range of motion can be modified to make it easier or harder.  As you can see above I am doing them on a 4 inch box allowing me to get a better range of motion.  Also I loaded it goblet style with a kettle bell because I find I can maintain form easiest with this method.  Holding dumbells at your sides is very popular, as well as using a weighted vest which is probably the best option  but not necessary as long as you are consistent with loading techniques.

While doing the RFESS it is important to keep your chest up and spine in a neutral position, it is common for the upper body to lean forward in the down ward phase of the motion to compensate for flexibility/ strength deficits and this should be avoided.  Lastly the foot that is elevated on the bench is simply their for balance and should not be used to drive back upwards.  When done correctly this may be a good exercise choice for people with anterior pelvic tilt because with a full range of motion the opposing hip flexors will get stretched.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Muscle ups

Today I wanted to show viewers a difficult excercise to perform along with some coaching cues that will allow you to perform the exercise safely.

As you can see above the Muscle Up is essentially a normal pull up with an explosive element incorporated in order to bring your body above the bar.  Muscle ups are a multi-joint movement that primarily work the muscles of your back, core, and to some extent chest and triceps (over the bar phase). They are great because the concentric (upwards) phase of the exercise teaches you how to coordinate an explosive effort and the eccentric (lowering) phase works your lats, core, and forearms much like a pull up.

When doing a muscle up form is key.  This move can be abrasive to your joints if you do not do a few important things.  First off your initial grip on the bar is very important : Grip the bar with palms facing outwards from you.  Unlike a normal pull up you must grip the bar with your palms parallel with the ground as opposed to the wall.  Your grip needs to roll over the bar so your wrists are bent over the bar.  Initially this will seem awkward but it is crucial the second phase of the exercise or you wont be able to push yourself above the bar.

Beginning at the bottom of a pull up position forcefully pull upwards behind the bar.  This is different than a pull up because in a normal pull up you would pull under the bar.  As you pull your head and upper torso behind the bar.  On your ascent pull forcefully towards the bar and lean into the bar.  This will bring you into the bottom of a dip above the bar.  Dip just as you would on a dip bar to finish the movement.

This move varies in difficulty.  While progressing you can use a kick to generate momentum and make the movement easier.  People skilled in muscle ups will be able to perform them very slowly and under control.  A muscle up can take a long time to learn depending on your starting strength.  For beginners I would advise you to check out a resource like beast skills to learn more.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Training ADD

Training A.D.D is a popular term used by personal trainers.  This refers to a trainee that will never stick to a set diet or exercise regimen for more then a couple weeks.  People with training ADD often spin their wheels endlessly because regardless of how hard they work out, or how smart they are in exercise theory, they NEVER make any measurable progress.

People with training ADD typically understand what goal they have in mind initially but for what ever reason become unhappy with their situation and decide to change midway through.  Since making changes in body composition and performance are relatively slow processes people with Training ADD never reach the level they set out for.

A common example of this is a trainee who decides they want to gain muscle.  After researching the best program and diet to gain weight they set out on an effort to become huge.  They realize  after two months of bulking up that they are starting to lose definition in their abs.  Regardless of the fact that the rest of their body is growing well and their strength is through the roof they panic and decide that they need to cut back, and make a 180 degree shift dropping calories and focusing more on cardio.  After a few weeks of this they are back to square one because they didn't put on any appreciable muscle mass, and the muscle they did put on was lost in their reactive effort to cut back down in a short time.  And this leaves the trainee exactly at square one.

Training A.D.D. does not just have to be applied to body composition changes but we can also see this in performance measurements when a person tries to train for to many different things at once.  They want to be good at long distance running, and powerlifting, all while being fast.  Their training tries to resemble this by switching between mutually exclusive goals all at once.  And in the end they get no where because they don't pick with one goal and focus on it!

People with great physiques or great speed or great power all or all of the above have gotten that way over a long period of time.  Whatever their goal was they stuck with tried and true methods and were CONSISTENT! This does not mean consistency for a month or two.  Consistency means dedicating yourself to a diet and fitness regimen for years.  

So far all those with training ADD set a goal and stick with it for at least three months before re evaluating.