Archive for the ‘training’ Category

 

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Over the years I have been extremely blessed to mentor new trainers and coaches and to help them get started on their path to what I hope will be a successful career for them. Many of them will ask me questions such as: what are the best exercises/ tools to use? What is the best program to help my clients get the results that they want and so-on. To me these are good questions, but the lack the most important aspect any good and effective program, the why behind it .

You see, any so called training program that lacks purpose and individualization in personal training, will most likely end up leaving the client disappointed. Especially, if they aren’t new to this whole fitness world.

 

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Just random workouts can work in getting a person leaner and somewhat stronger. Yet in my opinion that will only go so far and probably will leave glaring issues that the person has unaddressed. So instead, let’s have a reason for doing what we are doing with our clients.

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This does take more energy and forethought to make this happen, but your success will be obvious to others and lead to great results and joy from your clients!

One day at 3 A.M. my dog began to freak out and wouldn’t be calmed down no matter how much we reassured her. So as a result, I got up out of bed and laid down with her on the coach. (My presence can usually calm her down.) Then we finally fell back to sleep and sometime later I heard my wife yell, MOSES! I think that my water broke, of course I being the intelligent man who I am said, really! Isn’t it a bit early for that. You see our child wasn’t supposed to be born until a month from that day. But thankfully my wife being very intelligent decided to call the hospital , talked to a nurse and told all that happened as a result, the nurse told us to come in. We then packed a bag (remember a month.) and began the drive to the hospital to meet our little one.

 

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After many hours and a bit of sleep my wife gave birth to a baby boy, his name was Josh and I began the journey into fatherhood. I didn’t realize how much it would affect my fitness though and I have learned a few valuable lessons as a parent and of course want to share them with you!

Mobility:
I have spent years investing time into moving well and a big part of the focus is having good joint mobility. It is funny how fast all of that work can begin to disappear when you are carrying a baby around often. I can recall when my guy was very little working with one of my clients on the barbell clean and for a brief second my wrists would not extend and get into a good rack position. I was extremely perplexed, but then realized that I had been carrying a baby in wrist flexion and made my muscles tight as a result.

I also began to feel something that I had not felt for a few years and that was tight shoulder area muscles. My t-spine, pecs and other back muscles ended up getting tight from once again being in slight flexion while carrying around my little guy; then came the elbow pain factor from over use. So I began to apply my knowledge to my situation and came up with some solutions to these problems that wouldn’t be going away any time soon

First of all and the most uncomfortable feeling was what was going on in mid-back, so I began to work even diligently on my mobility, stability and breathing in this area. You will want to do the same, maintain your posture and keep your shoulders healthy with: T-spine mobility drillskettlebell halosArm bars, Turkish get ups and breathing drills. Also of course don’t forget to foam roll as much as you can!

You will also want to spend time on wrist mobility and making sure that your movement is as balanced as possible.

Working out:
You will find this part very challenging to do as a new dad; if you are like me then you feel obligated to help your partner with the little one. But you need to recognize that you need to stay fit for your baby and significant other’s benefit. Now you will not however be able to dedicate a lot of time to it. So you will want to train complex moves with a good amount of intensity in order to either maintain or get results from your training. Just don’t kill yourself; you may not sleep from one night to the other.

Some moves that you will want to incorporate in your training are:

Kettlebell swings
this movement will counteract the baby carry posture and help strengthen your back line.

Farmer’s walks

This will help you stabilize your shoulders and train your posture while working your abs.

You may find doing all of these moves to be very challenging and making time to train difficult, so I want to give you some options to help.

  1. Do shorter more frequent workouts:
    With any child time is a precious commodity, so you will not be able to spend as much time training as before. Instead pick a few complex moves and put them together with a bit more intensity than before, as well-doing super-sets and so-on. Now do this more often than before. (4 to 6 days a week)

    2. Train total body 2 times a week:
    This will cover all of your needs in your fitness for the time being and help you even make progress as you train

    3.Grease the groove:
    This is simple, pick a movement or two and do it on the hour or every two and so-on. For example as I writing this post, I took a break to do pistols. Just keep it away from failure and enjoy the gains!

You as a new dad or even an older one can still stay relatively fit through this busy time of your life and you don’t have to feel guilty about taking time for your health. Staying fit is a gift not only to yourself but your family as well. Just make sure to iron out the details with your partner and have a plan for what you are going to do and how much time you are going to do it in. If you have to work your mobility throughout the day to save time for your strength and or conditioning work, Just figure it out for you and stick to the plan using the points that I gave you and enjoy fatherhood!

My neck hurts as I…..; my low back hurts as I squat. My shoulders hurt as I press overhead. These are common complaints that I hear from my online clients, in person and of course my fellow fitness fans. Although there can be many reasons as to why a person has pain in any given movement pattern. There may be overuse in a muscle in the chain due to imbalances and compensations or even just the old-fashioned reason of poor form as a person trains that movement. There also may be a serious medical condition such as cancer or the like. So as always if you have pain present especially if it is chronic, see your doctor.

However, this post is not about that type of pain especially since I am not a trained medical professional. This post will show you how to reduce discomfort in a movement by learning how to get your thoracic spine moving in the ways that it should; both in extension and rotation. The result of this new mobility will help you move better, feel better and could quite possibly make you stronger and more conditioned in the long run!

The t-spine or the thoracic spine is composed of 12 vertebrae and has an absolute important function in just about every exercise. The T-spine must either extend or rotate in our human movements, such as: gait (running/ walking) squatting, lunging as well as other movement patterns and exercise.

You probably now can see that if this area has too much dysfunction that it can affect the surrounding areas and create potentially dangerous compensation in other movement patterns and exercises. In other words lack of mobility and stability in this area can lead to injury in places such as: the low back, neck or potentially other areas as well by creating undue strain in another area as a result of the aforementioned dysfunction. 

So then you see that if it is not functioning well we will want to make it better by specific drills to do so. Not just from a health perspective but problems in this area can also lead to poor performance in your training or in your chosen sport. So sometimes mobility in conjunction with stability work followed by re-patterning; can lead to better strength gains in people who are training and having some difficulty getting better at their pursuit.

The way that the thoracic spine moves:

Your mid-back is designed to move in two ways and if you are extremely deficient in them your chances of getting injured are much higher.

The first movement is rotation.

Your middle spine should be able to rotate almost equally from side to side. This movement is seen in walking, running and in many lifting moves. Failure to rotate well here can lead to all kinds of problems and pain in any area that the movement pattern involves. For example if you cannot rotate form you thorax, you will rotate too much form somewhere else as I wrote about earlier.

Good                                                                                               You’ll need some work

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The second move is extension.

This movement mostly happens at the lower part of this area. once again failure to have this movement in the t-spine will usually lead to ugly overhead form, possible injury and overuse of the low back in order to try to extend and to get in the right position for overhead work.

Good                                                                                       You’ll need some work

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Fixing these issues:

First thing first there should be some kind of assessment to find out if your t-spine is the problem. Then from there, a break down should take place to find the one of more things that can be corrected to improve these movement patterns.

Step One: Check breathing:

Lack of proper breathing patterns can create tightness in your neck, upper back, chest as well as other areas in our bodies. To see if you are breathing well stick one of your hands on your chest and one on your belly. Take a breath in through your nose and see what moves first and what area you are breathing into.

Then place your thumbs on your back and other fingers in the front of you. Once again take a breath in and see what is moving as a result of your breathing.

Did your chest rise up first? Did you feel it in your neck? If so you have dysfunctional breathing and will want to make it better.

Not having these qualities in our training can lead to injury and most likely will keep you from getting the results that you want from your fitness training. So don’t be one of those people who don’t spend time on training joint mobility.

Step Two:  Check your rotation:

This post is geared towards people who are doing a self assessment and don’t necessarily have someone to look at their t-spine function. In light of that, the following assessment you can do yourself, if you are simply aware of your position and breathing as you do it.

Step Three: Cervical rotation/ extension

At times due to the closeness of a person’s neck to their t-spine, one can compensate for another. This can lead to lots of tightness in a person’s neck and possible injury as the person works out.

Good                                                                                          You’ll need some work

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Step Four: Check your extension

As I stated earlier, your mid-back shouldn’t be able to just rotate but also extend as well. Failure to do so often leads to the dreaded rib-cage flair,  low back pain, shoulder instability and not being able to live up to your full potential as a lifter! (Oh-no!)

Finally: fix what is going on.

Drills to improve these movement issues:

Breathing:

Rotation:

Neck drills:

Extension:

Taking care of this area doesn’t guarantee that you will never be hurt, but not taking care of it is to leave things up to chance and most likely not end up living up to your potential in fitness. So make sure that you spend time on these drills especially the ones that you need the most improvement in. If you don’t you are simply a slacker! (J/K) But, really, you are!
🙂

This weekly workout is a great way for me to stay sharp and innovative with developing workout sessions that are same but different. I strive to accommodate all fitness levels as I design them, in addition to trying to keep it simple while building strength, blasting fat and training your heart. Each week has an emphasis, so feel free to mix and match these sessions throughout your days and weeks to get a balanced approach to your personal fitness and to build all of the qualities needed to live a better, healthier and leaner life!


This week’s workouts once again follows that mantra for success and consists of mostly ballistic exercises to help train your heart and create some time under tension for muscle-building and strength.

Weekly workout: The intense Double Dose

This week’s workout is done by grabbing two of your lighter bells and getting busy with: 1 clean and then five overhead presses without re-cleaning the bells. This is immediately followed by, 10 cleans and finished off with 5 dead swings with the 2 bells.  The goal of this session is to get to 5 rounds of this with a minute to two rest in between rounds. 

If you need to use your back off moves, such as a push-press for the overhead press and or an alternating press. The clean can become a swing and you can better pace the dead-swing (setting it down the floor for each rep.)  Then of course, you can choose to set them down if you need to, before you finish the round! However, as always make sure that your technique is on the money as you take whatever approach that I offered in the preceding rant!

Once again we have your guidelines for success

  • Do all of your sets and reps with quality form. Crap only produces crap!
  • Breathe by matching your breathing with each pattern
  • Rest as much as you need to and no more.
  • Tough it out while working out ( keep in mind the results)
  • Enjoy the fat blasting effect  and raised metabolism.

Click here to get my Ultimate Kettlebell swing Tutorial and workout series. This series will not teach you the swing,  but show you  how to train with it to get to your goals!

Kettlebell training is extremely versatile and if need be, it can be your only form of training or you can couple them with other forms of training to aid in your goals. Today’s workout is a hybrid session involving one of my favorite kettlebell moves and one of my favorite bodyweight upper body moves. Those are the jerk/push-press and pull-ups/chin-ups. I have been loving this combo and now, I want to share it with you!

This week’s ditty can be scaled to all levels by doing a push-press instead of a jerk and doing chin-ups (or your progression) instead of the whole pull-up. You can also train power by going with heavy double kettlebells and lower reps or do conditioning by higher reps with lighter bells or a single bell. You can also choose to re-clean the bell after every rep. to add in more work for the time period that you will be training.

Do your pull-ups/chin-ups in a ladder style after doing your jerk or push-press. In other words do a set of 8 jerks then 1 upper pulling move. Then do another set of 8 and 2 and so-on. After you finish the whole ladder rest 2 to 5 minutes and do it all over again for up to 5 rounds. ( as long as you can keep your form) Then you can smile and know that you overcame a jerk of a workout!

A video of the KB Jerk (hard style):

Chin-up Demo:

The guidelines for success:

KIWK workout of the week- the drop down

  • Do all of your sets and reps with quality form. Crap only produces crap!
  • Breathe by matching your breathing with each pattern
  • Rest as much as you need to and no more.
  • Tough it out while working out ( keep in mind the results)
  • Enjoy the fat blasting effect  and raised metabolism.

So enjoy this workout friends and the fat blasting after effect that it will bring you as you train using this challenging workout.

Also as a gift to you; I want to share with you my free videos series on how to do the kettlebell swing properly for strength and conditioning,  Click here for it.

Every once in a while I get the itch to re-share on of my older workouts. This week’s workout is one of them and it is one of  my favorites to do/ So join me in doing this workout this week and let’s get stronger and fitter together with this workout! Enjoy Friends

The Back Yard

This workout was a lot of fun to put together and to do as well as challenging to finish. As always it didn’t take a lot of time to do and I felt awesome afterwards! It is done by doing:

1 snatch up to five
• 1 press up to 5
• 1 clean up to 5
• 1 front squat up to 5

After doing one rep of all of the movements in the order given you will do this other mini-circuit of these moves:

• 1 Jerk to 5
• 1 clean to 5
• 1 one arm swing up to 5

Alternate these two circuits doing the reps of one, then do the other circuit and so on until you finish the two complexes back to back. Set the timer to see how long it will take to finish this complex with challenging weight and good form.

• Men use a 16KG to 24 kg
• Women use a 12 to 16 kg

If you don’t know how to do any of these moves, then do the movement leading up to that move. For example if you can’t snatch, then the high pull or the one arm swing and so on. Just make it work for you or you can do any of our other nifty workouts that have less difficult moves to them until you learn the others. Just remember to make safety your number one priority as you train and seek to get better.

The guidelines for success:

KIWK workout of the week- the drop down

  • Do all of your sets and reps with quality form. Crap only produces crap!
  • Breathe by matching your breathing with each pattern
  • Rest as much as you need to and no more.
  • Tough it out while working out ( keep in mind the results)
  • Enjoy the fat blasting effect  and raised metabolism.

So enjoy this workout friends and the fat blasting after effect that it will bring you as you train using this challenging workout.

Also as a gift to you; I want to share with you my free videos series on how to do the kettlebell swing properly for strength and conditioning,  Click here for it.

My wife has a saying that she uses as a standard reply when people try to take away her individually and place her in some kind of box. She will say a simple phrase that is loaded with power and creates a boundary when she says it, I am my own person! This statement is powerful in its simplicity and use. In our training we have to understand that we are all also our own people and the way that we respond to the training stimulus and our technique will vary as well as a few other factors. This post will attempt to delve into this principle and break it down so it will both encourage and help you as you train for results.

If you are a fitness coach and have been working with people for any period of time, you probably have found that if you are a dogmatic programmer that your success will be very limited with your clients. People are individuals and even though there are principles that we should apply to our programming, we also need to observe what creates the best changes to the person’s fitness qualities. Such as: better movement, strength gains, conditioning, getting leaner and so-on.

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Of course there is also a need to find out what may cause pain to the person. In fact recently, I found that symmetrical squatting caused a client of mine pain. I sent her out for medical help and she felt better. We also did the usual correctives fixed any Valgus collapse and tried squatting again and she had pain after 8 reps. So I began to use the rear foot elevated squat and she had no-pain. For some reason her anthropometry caused her to have pain in high rep squatting so we made the adjustment and she is happy and making fitness gains as a result while staying pain-free and not create dysfunction.

However, she still should do some form of squatting; because within that pattern there is a lot of benefits for strength, caloric expenditure and so-on. Which brings me to my next point, just because some on is an individual doesn’t meant that they shouldn’t do the things that we know are good. For example, everyone should do some form of strength or resistance work, for the very reason that we know it has so many benefits to it.

Now the approach that one takes to get their resistance work in may be different. Some may love body-weight training and use that for a primary means of strength work. Others may love kettlebells, weightlifting, Olympic lifting and so-on. I think the key here is to find by experimentation what you like the most in order to stick to it and what gets you the most bang for your buck as far as results go.

You will also want to calculate in the time you have available to train, what you have an opportunity to use as far as equipment goes and so-on.

So from reading this post I hope that you realize that following a program by some guru from a book may not be the best way to get results and possibly could end up hurting you or leaving disillusioned by this whole fitness thing. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Also learn every opportunity that you can follow this blog read books by experts and if you are a trainer, read research and objectively learn. Also don’t be afraid to adjust your program according to the needs and goals of your clients. Remember everyone is their own person and should be treated as such.

If you missed any of these posts click here to read them!

If you have been following this blog for the last 8 weeks, (Click here to see them  if you haven’t after you stop feeling ashamed!) you know that I have spending time on ideas that are of vital importance in an effective fitness training program. As I have been been writing for the last almost three years now that, training for extreme fitness results requires thought and strategy. Simply going through the motions, jumping programs or being random will only get you so far. As a result I am writing this series to help others finally achieve almost super human results from their fitness if desired.

This week’s post and 8th installment is about a principle that I have written on in the past and should be almost common sense in this health and fitness field ; that is the S.A.I.D. principle. When this acronym is broken down it is: Specific Adaptation (to) Imposed Demand. (Click here to see the last post that I wrote on the subject)

This principle is simple and makes our fitness training direct by guiding us how to train for our individual goals. This concept is like a recipe that requires us to put in the proper ingredients and then come out with our desired out come in time. That doesn’t meant that everything will work for everyone in the same way and that there is no need for trial and error in out training, it simply means that if you want to be a power-lifter, you will need to power-lift with the core lifts as a focus. (squat, bench and deadlift.) However, the law or command (te-he) of  individual differences will dictate how you make the most progress as you do that. As well what accessory exercises that you will need to do to ensure your own success as you train. One more thing, may I say that your accessory work should continue to change as you develop, but that is a post for another time!

You will want to think of your training as a recipe. That does not meant that at times you will not have to have back off days,weeks and even a calculated change throughout your cycles. It does however, mean that if your training is random, you are not in control of the outcome as much as if you “stuck to the plan!”

Remember that you need to be balanced in your training and endeavor to apply all of these “commandments” to your training. That means that a bit of thought and planning needs to go into what you are doing. Even if it is just a corrective phase of your training or if you are building power of muscle. Don’t just show up to the gym and expect long term results in your fitness!

As you may remember form last week that I decided to write this series of posts to help my readers learn the principles that will help them have more success in their training. So due to my name being what it is, I went step further and decided to call it my ten commandments of fitness. The goal of this series is not to offend anyone, it is first my strange sense of humor manifesting in my writing and it is also my effort to once again educate others some of the useful information that I have learned over the years of study, training myself and others! (click here to see post # 1)

Today’s principle or commandment is “Thou shalt have a goal and plan.” (I told you I would!)

Training as with anything else wherein someone wants to accomplish something needs to have goal. I know that seems like such a basic concept and it is. Yet, you won’t believe how many people do not have one. I have done my own unscientific poll of gym goers in my influence and most of the time the answer is the generic, “I want to get in shape!” or even “I don’t know.”  These two types of mindsets will most likely lead to failure and discouragement to the exerciser.

So the first step that you will need to take in your fitness is to have a goal and a plan. In order to have a goal one must first think about their priorities in fitness. For example if you need to lose fat for health reasons that should be the thing that you focus on and then train in a way that will give you the most bang for your buck. (Complex movements, super-sets, circuit training, metabolic conditioning and low intensity cardio. Then of course you will really want to begin to eat less and better as the primary mode of fat-loss.

That covers your goal. In addition to this you will want to plan out how you will do it. Such as: you will begin to track your calories and then add in some better choices as you eat. Of course you will want to plan out which days that you will work out and for how long. You will also want to plan out what you will do on which day and so-on.

Having a plan is not an option if you want to be successful in any of your endeavors. It doesn’t matter if it is a performance goal, fat-loss or any other pursuit. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” So follow this fitness commandment and take the time to plan out your training. What days will you train? What time? How often? How many will you rest? What strategy will you employ for progression?  Take a few minutes to think about these things and write down your conclusions, try them out and learn from them. Plan on waiving your loads, know your percentages and rest as many days per week that you need to recover.  Remember “Thou shalt plan thy workout!”

If you have ever seen the movie the History of the World, you know about the part when Moses goes on the mountain and comes down with his “15 commandments.” then he drops a tablet and exclaims, ” here are my 10 commandments!”

Today’s post is not about those commandments funny or real; it is rather my fitness commandments based on science and my experience over my 12 year  career. Over the next few weeks, I will break down those principles and attempt to apply them to our training.

These principles of training have been around for a while and have brought fitness success to the user for many years now. They will do the same for you if you begin to incorporate them into your programming and training. It will take some thought and practice but in time you will begin to think by using these laws to train.

These rules (if you would) are as follows and I will write about each one in a post over the next few weeks and we then can discuss how to apply them to each of our own fitness training.

  • First have a goal and plan
  • Track your progress
  • Recover from your training
  • Individual differences
  • Overcompensation
  • Overload
  • The S.A.I.D Principle
  • The use/disuse principle
  • The Gas principle
  • The specificity principle 
  • If it makes you feel better, I will put a “thou shalt” before every post when I write them. Just to further cement the thought into your mind and to hopefully make you laugh a bit. So pay attention to this blog and subscribe if you haven’t to get all of these posts and to join in on the fun!