Posts Tagged ‘Strength Training’

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1. You can follow a well-designed training program to a T, but if you’re not doing the simple things such as drinking enough water and getting adequate rest, you’re just spinning your wheels.

2. It’s going to be hard, and it’s going to suck — there’s no easy way around it. Welcome and embrace the suck factor. Balance is to be appreciated, but recognize that to a certain extent you’re going to have to trend further away from that to get the desired result you’re looking for. Nothing amazing ever happens by staying in the middle. If you want to make significant changes in your appearance, suck it up.

I’m not saying you should suffer, but it’s foolish to think that it shouldn’t be difficult.

3. It’s a clear observation that completely disregarding the importance of proper nutrition is foolish, to say the least.  Look, I get it — it’s incredibly hard. But consider how many benefits have the potential to dramatically improve your physique and performance if your diet was on point.  Understand that there is a trade-off and you have to exercise serious discipline (not restriction).

4. At the risk of ruffling feathers, most folks would see promising results if they mitigated liquid calories (juices, alcohol, etc.) and increased their daily protein intake.

5. Progress takes time to manifest, and it’s no different than cooking up a fine meal in the kitchen. Don’t rush it. Be patient.

6. How many calories you burn in a workout pales in comparison to what you do the other 22-23 hours during the day. With that in mind, a lot who struggle to get lean overlook the value of daily activity.

As a frame of reference, my activity level is pretty darn high when you factor in my own training, and the hours I spend coaching my clients.  It’s the very reason why I have to eat a substantial amount of high quality calories in order to maintain my body composition. Now compare that to someone who works at a desk all day.

Get up, and get more movement in.

7.  Your environment can overwhelm you if you’re trying to improve your approach on the nutrition front. So, if you find yourself always hopping on and off the horse, you need to do a better job of preparing your meals ahead of time.

8. We all have our trigger foods. We tell ourselves just a few bites, but they’re just too irresistible. As much as I love pizza, it doesn’t give me a solid ROI in terms of having a positive outcome on health and body composition because I just end up eating the whole box.  There’s no guilt, but that’s just way too many calories. If you can’t control your portions, look into the possibility of cutting it out (for the time being).

9. It doesn’t matter what training protocol you do. You can’t out-train a destructive lifestyle. Regardless of the training method, all you’re doing is breaking your body down.  What you do outside is going to dictate your results. If you live for the weekends, you’re not going to get anything in return.  Yes, there are people who can get away with eating crap, and getting minimal rest. But, there is a tipping point.

Good intentions and justifying yourself on social media doesn’t mean much. Consider the different elements in your lifestyle that are a hindrance. Work to gradually change them and in turn, you’ll maximize results in the gym.

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Become An Insider

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If you’re someone who regularly lifts weights and/or participates in any sport or discipline, then your knees have barked at you on more than a few occasions.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

Setbacks are a part of the game — no doubt about it. The pertinent issue is working around them to ensure you’re still getting a good training effect while providing yourself enough time to recover.

And let’s be real, with any type of commitment whatsoever or discipline that requires you to gradually push the envelope, there will be setbacks. If you think otherwise, then you’re not training very hard. But like I said, it’s how you work around them that’s going to determine the outcome.

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Photo Credit: T-Nation.com

Reverse Sled Drags

 

Backwards or Reverse Sled Drags have been such a great exercise not only for myself, but also for a few of my clients that occasionally experience achy knees. Interestingly, I’ve also found them to be highly effective for folks with arthritic knees — which lends itself to the fact that they not only serve as a tool to build muscle, but it’s also useful for rehabilitative purposes.

The cool thing about this, too, is that you can do them every workout or training session. It’s a concentric-based movement. Meaning, it’s less induced muscle damage — which makes this particular exercise a viable option to do at a high frequency.

Incorporating these in conjunction with a boatload of hip-dominant work (RDL, Hip Thrusts, Pull-Throughs, Band Sumo Walks) will get your knees feeling good again.

 

If you want to get stronger, build lean muscle, and decrease body fat, learn more about my coaching here. 

Let's Get It Started

At some point in time you’re going to experience back pain. It’s quite common, and at times can be tricky to work around because it’s so complex. For reference, I’ve injured my lower back twice and it’s no joke. Quite discouraging actually. And unfortunately, I had to take a few steps back on my training. So, I can relate if you’ve had back problems.
In this post, I want to address some of the issues revolving around back pain and offer general guidelines that will ultimately get you feeling good and back in the iron game.
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What NOT To Do

1. Stretching Will Actually Do More Harm Than Good

 

Whenever people experience pain they have this behavioral habit of stretching the painful area.  Let me tell you: the site of the pain, is almost never the source of the pain. Stretching is not inherently bad. You just have to be more selective of your approach when trying to ease the pain — and I’ve found that painful areas rarely like being stretched. It just causes more instability.

You might provide yourself with some pain relief, but the problem is that it’s only temporary. More often than not, the pain comes back worse than before. Thus begins the vicious cycle of repeating the process over and over again. I understand the rationale behind it, but to give some context — it’s the equivalent of repeatedly banging your head against the wall.

To drive the point home, the last thing you should be doing is stretching your lower back. You’re actually doing more harm than good.

2. Do Not Stop Training

 

While continuing to train at a high-intensity is unwarranted, pressing the pause button and remaining sedentary is not exactly the best route either. Even worse if all you do sit all day long.

Suffice it to say, it’s still possible to strength train.  It all boils down on focusing what you can do and listening to your body. The key is doing the right workouts. Placing an emphasis on spine sparing exercises will pay dividends in your longevity.  Have some common sense. If the movement hurts, then don’t do it.

You’re not doing yourself any favors by running 3-5 miles on hard pavement, doing a set of box jumps, or attempting to set a PR in your squat.

What You Should Be Doing

1. Strengthen Core Stability

 

If your lower back keeps acting up, it’s most likely a lack of stability rather than mobility. As such, strengthening your core is priority numero uno when it comes to keeping your lower back healthy. The inability to properly brace or stiffen your spine results in your passive restraints taking up most of the stress.

2. Single-leg Training and Glute Work

 

As I mentioned earlier, placing an emphasis on spine sparing exercises is of primary importance. Prioritizing single-leg training and glute work have tremendous value, specifically for folks suffering from acute or chronic back pain. Performing any single-leg work (Assisted 1-leg RDL, Bulgarian Split Squats, Lunges, Step-ups) reduces the shear and compressive forces on the spine that you would otherwise experience in traditional bilateral lower body movements.

Yes. The hip thrust mimics an “inappropriate” motion, but make no mistake — if you want to transform your backside and keep your lower back healthy, these are money.

3. Make Simple Modifications

 

Once your symptoms have begun to wind down and you start to feel good, it’s easy to dive back into your normal training regimen with gusto.

Not so fast.

Tinkering with different variations or altering your set up with an exercise can make a world of difference.  For instance, setting up for a conventional deadlift might not bode well for the vast majority. But with a trap bar, kettlebell, or a landmine, you can shift your weight more posteriorly further reducing the likelihood of aggravating your lower back. Similarly, lying flat on your back for a bench press can be a hassle. Opting for an incline press is more user-friendly because it eliminates the need to excessively arch through the lower back. Remember, keeping your spine neutral under load is the way to go. Compromising that can potentiate another injury causing your lower back to flip you the finger.

I’m happy to announce that I’m taking clients for my online fitness coaching. If you want to get stronger, build lean muscle, and decrease body fat, learn more about my coaching here. 

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