Monthly Archives: January 2016

EXERCISE EXECUTION & SQUATTING

 

As the days go on, and the more I practice lifting for my personal benefit and training clients, the more I think that we should DO LESS however do it harder! Yes you heard that correctly. My best work outs come when I keep my training session short, selecting 1 exercise and I ATTACK it! On every rep and every set focus on perfection. Feeling the mind muscle connection, proper positioning and use GREAT form only.

front squat

Yes you heard that correctly. Just because you performed 47 different variations of a Squat for example, doesn’t mean you worked harder than if you just focused on executing the Squat to perfection that day.

How often do we actually see this practiced? Think about it. How often do you go to public gyms and see poor posture reps, lack of stability in the exercise and a weight being used that doesn’t seem like it can be managed. More often than you would like to admit I’m sure. We also see these people for a month or 2 then never to be seen until next year. As these habits prevent longevity and cause over training.

Instead of your typical 3 sets of 10, followed by the next leg exercise and then followed by the another halfhearted leg exercise, just to make you feel like you’re doing more – try this…..

Back Squat 1 warm up set, 2×3 with a heavy load that forces you to work as hard as possible to get it up 

2×3 with a heavy load that forces you to work as hard as possible to get it up

2x 6to8 reps with a weight that you use for building muscle

20 reps with a lighter weight.

Finishing with 1 set of a 30sec to a minute, where you hold at the bottom of the Squat to finish yourself off.

Training like this from a mental and physical forces focus and pure execution, hits a strength, muscle, quick twitch, slow twitch, aerobic & anaerobic, spectrum. Then go home, eat clean, hydrate, get great sleep, and recover! Give it a shot!

 

 

 

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MYTHS

I know there is a ton of research out there, tons of info and tons of confusion. So here are some daily concerns I hear, and hopefully some myths and questions we can answer for you! Enjoy!

MYTH

EAT AS LITTLE AS YOU CAN TO LOSE WEIGHT

If you are not trying to look like someone who has been starving for a period of time, then I recommend you do not practice this approach. Unless you are a fighter trying to make weight the night before, you are probably trying to just look better in the mirror and in your clothing. So you want your clothing to look different on you. You also want people to feel how much harder you are when they touch you. Do this by putting on lean muscle and decreasing the amount of fat your body contains. Not by trying to just decrease the number that pops up on the scale. If the jeans fit different, you look smaller, posture is different, and your body is harder, than who cares about the number on the scale. Your body adapts and changes when you feed it the proper fuel and in the right amounts. So not over eating is key, however under eating will prevent muscle growth. Aim to eat lean protein, healthy fats, lots of water, all of the time and sometimes mix in small servings of healthy carbs with each feeding!

THIS EXERCISE IS BAD FOR YOU

First off, every person is their own case study. What may work, be appropriate, or wrong for one person may be ok, and efficient, depending, for the next person. So it always depends on scenario. Squats often get a bad rap for being bad for people’s knees. Granted if you have a history of knee problems, maybe they are not the best option for you. However there are so many variables that should be factored in before you just throw an exercise out the window.

Do you squat too frequently throughout the week?? (I know people that squat 5/6x a week – these people will probably get over use pain of course.)

Do you activate your glutes prior to your work out, do your glutes even know how to activate, and do you even know what I am talking about? If not you probably are compensating in areas that shouldn’t be working instead…

Are you glutes weak? If so your knees will cave inwards causing knee pain.

Do you have tight ankles? If so, your knees will track past your toes, causing knee pain.

Do you even know how to squat correctly? Because what you may call a squat and what a squat actually is may be 2 different worlds. Obviously, if you don’t practice quality form, full range of motion with control then, yes you are prone to probably get knee pain.

SWEATING A TON = GREAT WORK OUT

Sometimes a great sweat may help you burn calories, give you an endorphin rush & get your heart rate up, but just because an exercise or work out didn’t challenge your heart rate too much or leave you gasping for air on the floor, doesn’t mean you aren’t benefiting. Remember there is a time, place, reason for everything. Let’s take chin ups for example. Unless you are trying to accomplish 30 chin ups as fast you can, then I would rather see you do 3 sets of 10 QUALITY chin ups using GREAT form with enough rest period, where they looked controlled and clean. Take your time, build muscle, get stronger and master the movement.

YOU NEED TO WORK OUT FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR

Sometimes my best work outs are short in duration high in intensity! From a physiology stand point this is important. It is also important in my opinion to simply do less really well, than to do more over a period of time halfhearted and crappy.

SPOT REDUCING

To lose fat in one area you must lose fat all over. Resistance train. Condition hard. Eat clean. Stay active. Drink water. Get great sleep. You will drop body fat!

“I DRINK A WATER OR 3 A DAY SO I SHOULD BE LOSING WEIGHT?”

No drinking water instead of soda will help you lose weight in conjunction with great nutrition. Also you need to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces! Having 2 to 4 bottles a day is not enough. Figure at least 6 to 8 bottles a day!

DON’T WORK OUT CERTAIN TIMES OF THE DAY….

Any work out is better than no work out. Any program is better than no program. Working out anytime of the day beats not working out at all. Try to work out in the morning. However, if your life style doesn’t allow for this, work out at night, just give yourself enough time to unwind so you get a quality sleep and you can fall asleep!

CARDIO TO LOSE WEIGHT…

Your body needs all sorts of form of stimulus. Tough challenging conditioning bouts, resistance training to build muscle, cardio to improve capacity and heart health, yoga to improve mobility and flexibility, amongst other approaches. There are many variables to making change and seeking results. Cardio is important however not the end all be all!

MUSCLE WEIGHS MORE THAN FAT

The biggest cop out ever. Sure they weigh the same on the scale. However 5 pounds of muscle will look much more dense than 5 pounds of fat. For a visual, think of a baseball as 5 pounds of muscle, and a basketball as 5 pounds of fat.

STRETCH BEFORE YOU LIFT

The old school, Static Stretching (holding a stretching position for 30 seconds or more without moving) can actually decrease power production. So try foam rolling to loosen up some of those stiff knots and warm up the tissue, then practice a dynamic warm up instead. An example of this could be body weight squats, high knees, snow angles on the ground! Keep your muscles in motion prior to putting them in motion! When you are done resistance training, now it is time to static stretch and cool down.

Hope we debunked some of the myths you have been hearing! Hope this one helped you guys! As always any questions let me know!

 

THREE SETS TO TRY

We all need variety, we all need change and simply our muscles need different stimuli from time to time! Here are 3 non-conventional training styles you can try at the gym on your own!

TRY THIS

For those of you who need that feeling of blood flow and lactic acid build up, and need the feel of performing 3-4+ exercises for one muscle group this one is for you! This style of training will give you that same type of feeling and effect! In fact performing a set like this may be all you need to do for that muscle group that day.

In an attempt to decrease the amount of time you spend in the gym and increase the intensity, I hope these 3 style of sets help!

REST PAUSE SETS

Here I perform a typical basic seated row….however I do 5 reps with good control and range of motion, then I rest at the end position for 5 seconds (shoulders retracted together), then I repeat this same process twice more. Total I perform 15 reps, and the set lasts for at least 45 seconds plus the amount of time it takes to perform the rest! This is a great way to build muscle, and keep your muscles under tension for an extended period of time!

STRIP SETS

Here Aryana is performing Hex Bar Dead Lifts! A great exercise for the glutes, hams, low back. She keeps her hips low, chest up, side of her body tight, pushes her heals into the ground and drive through her hips!

This type of set is as it sounds…..

She performs 165 for 3 reps than immediately strips off the 25’s on each side (50lbs total) and performs 3 reps of 115lbs. (We stop the video here for time purposes) but then we strip it another 50 pounds (65lbs) for 3 reps. Then rest.

PRE EXHAUST ISOMETRIC SETS

Another set that is as it sounds. We are simply going to exhaust a muscle then go use it. A very challenging way to train, highly effective for getting strong and building muscle. To spice things up a tad further, here we show Aryana performing the Stiff Arm Pull Down, right into a Chin Up ISOMETRIC HOLDS. An Isometric, contracts a lot of muscle fiber and really pushes your mental toughness as well. You can try this set variation with Squats right into Squat Holds, or Tricep Extensions right into Push up Iso holds, lateral raise into Overhead Holds…. the list goes on!

Hope this gave you guys some ideas and some new strategies to try!!