How to Get Strong – The Science of Strength

In an earlier post, The Components of Physical Fitness, I divided physical fitness into it’s component parts and provided a brief introduction of each part.

In today’s post, I am going to focus on muscular strength…or as Google likes to say…how to get strong, how to get stronger, how to get brutally strong, how to get freaky strong, etc, etc, etc.

And if you plan on getting freaky strong, you’re going to need to understand the whys and hows behind getting strong. And those whys and hows are all based in science.

So….we’re going to look at some of that science to help you figure out how to maximize your own personal levels of “strong”.

Intro to Muscular Strength

How strong you are (and how strong you could be) depends on the performance of your body’s skeletal muscles.

Your body’s muscles are highly adaptable. They will react to the stresses that you place upon them.

  • Sit on the couch and they will atrophy.
  • Try and run fast and they adapt to produce faster contractions.
  • Lift heavy objects and they will increase their ability to produce maximum strength.

Muscular Strength can and has been categorized in a variety of different ways. In this article, I am choosing to divide Muscular Strength into four categories, based primarily on Newton’s Second Law.

vec F = m vec a (force is equal to the product of mass and acceleration.) Mass relates to how much weight/mass a muscle or muscle group can move. Acceleration relates to how fast that weight/mass is moved.

By using and manipulating force, mass and acceleration, we can force our muscles to adapt and become more efficient at generating…

4 Types of Muscular Strength

  • Maximum Muscular Strength
  • Maximum Muscular Power
  • Maximum Muscular Speed
  • Maximum Muscular Endurance

NOTE – Each of these categories has different characteristics with regard to mass and acceleration

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Does Ketone Drink = EZ Weight Loss?

Oxford researcher, Dr. Kieran Clarke has created a new type of ketone-based endurance drink designed to…

  • Generate significant weight loss
  • Improve mental alertness
  • Improve cognitive function

…as well as treat, prevent or reduce the effects of…

In short, this supplement MAY make you leaner, smarter, healthier, faster, stronger and less prone to diabetes, alzheimer’s, parkinson’s, huntington’s, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

Note that I say MAY.

The science is all very new. According to Doc Clarke:

“We are very excited about our research, which we think shows great promise. Our primary interest so far has been to understand how the body’s metabolism responds and makes use of our ketone drink.

We are a long way yet from showing meaningful benefits as a treatment for disease or in aiding athletes’ endurance, and while we think it is possible that the ketone drink may have benefits in slowing Alzheimer’s progression, no one has done much research on this as yet…although this remains of great interest to us.”

How great an interest???

Great enough to apply for a US patent.

Can you imagine how much money Dr. Clarke will make if this product lives up to it’s potential?

The Science

  • Previous research indicates that a state of elevated ketones may improve physical and cognitive performance.
  • Unfortunately, direct administration of ketone bodies is unpractical and potentially dangerous
  • Fortunately, there are ketone precursors that might give her the same effect without any of the downsides.

On of those ketone precursors is  (R)-3-hydroxybutyl (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate, the ketone monoester that Dr. Clarke has been administering in the form of a meal replacement drink to her healthy human volunteers.

In one pilot study, eight adults with type 2 diabetes to see whether the drink produced any effect. The volunteers had three ketone drinks a day for five days and had their weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar monitored. Their weight dropped an average of nearly two per cent (in 5 days), as did their levels of glucose, cholesterol and fat in the blood.

In another study, Dr. Clarke gave 22 elite rowers the ketone drink and monitored the distances they achieved in 30 minutes on an indoor rowing machine.

One rower broke a world record and five others beat their personal best.

Conclusion

I am thoroughly geeked-up about the potential of this supplement.

Fingers crossed people.

Reference

Health Habits Fitness Challenge #2

Thanks to my new friends at Konkura, I can now challenge the entire world to all sorts of weird & wonderful fitness challenges.

Today’s challenge is all about overhead pressing power combined with anaerobic endurance.

Let’s see if you can kick my ass.

ENTER THE CHALLENGE

 

A Solution for Skinny – Fat Runner Syndrome

In spite of two major knee reconstructions, I love running long distances.

Even though I am built like an hypermuscled Clydesdale, I still love throwing on a pair of shoes, hitting the trails and watching the world slow down as I ground out the miles. Aside from the numerous health & fitness benefits, I love how I “feel” when I run.

So, I can understand why a LOT of runners:

  • Focus exclusively on running
  • Ignore the other components of physical fitness
  • Allow muscle mass to waste away
  • And end up with a Skinny-Fat body

But…it doesn’t have to be that way.

It is possible for long distance runners to hold onto a decent amount of muscle mass and avoid looking like a anorexic Hollywood actress

Here’s how.

Nutrition

  • The Paleo Diet should form the base of your eating plan. The high nutritient : calorie ratio makes it the best choice for repairing muscular damage brought on by your workouts.
  • Fish oil and a quality green food are two base supplements that I recommend to all clients – runners or not.
  • While Paleo is your best choice throughout the day, when it comes to your pre & peri-workout nutrition, Paleo carbs (except for fruit juice) aren’t going to work. Too much fiber, slow digestion, full belly. Not good when you’re running for miles & miles.
  • What you need is Sugar and BCAAs before, during & after each work – cardio & resistance.
  • Buying tip – My favorite BCCA supplements are Scivation XTEND and Biotest Surge Workout Fuel.
  • Supplement daily with Creatine. Improved ATP storage. Improved muscle cell hydration. Better looking muscles. What else do you want?
  • Buying tip – Choose a micronized creatine powder from a reputable brand

Training

Here’s where we stimulate muscle growth.

And we’re going to use either of these two programs to do that.

But, we’re going to make some modifications:

  1. You’re going to do a maximum of two weightlifting workouts per week. You pick which bodyparts you want to work on.
  2. You’re not going to do the leg workouts during your running season.

I have tried to have clients do both and it almost never works. Without a pile of performance enhancing drugs, your legs won’t recover from the combination of weight lifting & running.

Post Workout Recovery Techniques

  • Post-Workout Carb/Protein Shake
  • Hot/Cold Contrast Showers
  • Fish Oils
  • Meditation / Sleep
  • Epsom Salt Baths
  • Ice
  • Massage
  • TENS
  • Chiropractic / Acupuncture
  • Traumeel

Sleep

GET 8 HOURS SLEEP!!!!

And consider switching to a “barefoot” running technique

Ever since I switched to…

  1. running in barefoot / minimalist shoes and
  2. landing on my forefoot / midfoot instead of using the standard “heel-toe” running gait

…my knee pain & shin splints have disappeared.

Well, there you go.

A solution for Skinny-Fat Runner Syndrome.

Follow the plan and within no time, you’ll be a lean-muscular runner.

 

 

Your Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 16 – Day 1

“The Athlete” by Howard Schartz and Beverly Ornstein

Welcome to Week 16 – Workout 1.

In this phase, we’re making 2 changes:

  1. Eliminating the supersets
  2. Changing the rep scheme, and it’s not gonna be pretty.

If you thought 8 sets of 6 reps was rough, wait until you do 12 sets of 4 reps.

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PHASE 1

Warm-Up

Feel free to mix things up during the warm-up.
The goal is to warm up your muscles and to get your joints lubricated. I like the following warm-up exercises, but as long as your muscles are getting pliable and your joints are feeling “loose”….feel free to do your own thing…as long as it gets the job done.
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5 Minutes of the following 4 Mobility Exercises:

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1.  Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

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2.  Rolling Like A Ball

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3. Shin Box
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4.  Lateral Lunges

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5 Minutes of the following Muscle Warm-Up Exercises

I am going to list a bunch of exercises. You choose which ones you want to do….remembering that the goal is to warm up the muscles and make them pliable and ready to handle the following workout

  • 1 Arm Swing Snatch – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up
  • Bodyweight Squat
  • Step-Ups
  • Burpees
  • Push – Ups
  • BW Rows
  • Jumping Chins
  • Shuffle Lunges
.

PHASE 2

The HH Quasi Bodybuilder/Athlete/Freak of Nature Workout ver 1.0

Instead of 3 supersets of 2 exercises for a total of 6 exercises, we’re keeping it very simple this time.

  • 1 exercise at a time…no supersets
  • 12 sets per exercise
  • 4 reps per set
  • 15 seconds rest between sets
  • Choose a weight that will challenge you to just get the 4th rep on the last set
  • If you make 4 reps on set #12, increase the weight a little bit the following week
  • Perform the “work” part of each exercise as quickly and powerfully as possible
  • I recommend that when you feel like you’re running out of gas that you do a 2-5 reps of a light weight, explosive exercise which works the same muscles as the work set (ex. jumping up & down before doing squats)

This will get your nervous system all charged up and help you perform better on the work set.

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Exercise #1 – Standard Grip Bench Press

  • 12 sets
  • 4 reps per set
  • Barbell

For the neural activation warm-up exercise, I would recommend Explosive Push-ups off of a floor/bench/wall

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Exercise #2 – Overhead Press

  • 12 sets
  • 4 reps per set
  • Barbell or Machine
  • Standing or Seated

Standing presses with a barbell is the most challenging option and the one that I recommend…but as you fatigue, your balance is going to suffer and the potential for a weightlifting accident increases. So, feel free to use a seated shoulder press machine. It’s slightly less effective but increases your stability & your safety.

For the neural activation warm-up exercise, I would recommend 5 reps of Overhead Presses with a light exercise band or Medicine Ball Overhead Press & Throw

..

Exercise #3 – Standing or Seated Calf Raise

  • 12 sets
  • 4 reps per set
  • Dumbbell/Barbell or Machine


For the neural activation warm-up exercise, I highly recommend 6 reps of Ankle Jumps

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PHASE 3

Stretching – minimum 10 minutes

Focus on the muscles you just worked, plus the ones that are tight on just about everyone….hip flexors, calves, hamstrings, chest, neck & traps

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NOTE

  • New workouts will be posted on Tuesday & Wednesday.

If you’re interested in gaining some size, perform each of these workouts 2x per week
It all depends on your goals

Instead of repeating these workouts, you can perform them a single time only – Mon, Wed, Fri and perform some other exercise on Tues, Thurs, Sat.
For example:
  • you can perform Neural Recharge workouts on Tues/Thurs/Sat –Here is a sample workout
  • If you want to improve your cardio, do cardio
  • If you want to improve your flexibility, take some yoga classes or stretch
  • If you want to have fun while exercising, take a class, play a sport, etc…
  • Or, mix & match

You can also rest on those off days. These 3 workouts are pretty intense and will do a lot on their own.

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Who is the Better Athlete?

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This post – The Components of Physical Fitness – may help you make your decision.


Žydrūnas Savickas

  • The world’s strongest man – 2009 & 2010
  • 6’3″ – just under 400lbs
  • Six times, “Arnold’s Strongest Man winner (2003-2008)
  • Three-time world powerlifting champion (2005, 2006, 2009)
  • 4 times World Cup winner team (2005-2008)
  • Fortissimo Stiprausias man on earth Winner (2009)
  • Log lifting world champion (2008)
  • European powerlifting champion (2005)
  • European round lifting champion (2009)
  • World Cup winner (2004)
  • Strongman Super Series winner (2004)
  • Strongman Champions League winner (2008)
  • 10 times the Lithuanian powerlifting champion (1998-2000, 2002, 2004-2009)
  • World Powerlifting vice-champion (2000)
  • 3 times European Powerlifting vice-champion (1999, 2000, 2001)
  • 10 times the Lithuanian Powerlifting Champion (1995-1997, 1999-2005)
  • 7 times the Lithuanian Powerlifting Cup winner (1994-2000).

Dean Karnazes

  • Ran 135 miles nonstop across Death Valley in 120°F (49°C) temperatures
  • Ran a marathon to the South Pole at −40°F (-40°C).
  • Ran 50 marathons in all 50 states in 50 consecutive days
  • Overall Winner, 4 Deserts Race Series, 2008
  • Competitor magazine Endurance Athlete of the Year Award winner, 2008, 2006, 2005
  • ESPN ESPY Award winner, “Best Outdoor Athlete,” 2007
  • Winner, Vermont Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run, 2006
  • Two-time Emmy Award winner, 2005, 2007
  • American Ultrarunning Team, World Championships, 2005, 2008
  • Men’s Journal, Adventure Hall of Fame, 2005
  • Winner, Badwater Ultramarathon, 2004
  • 350 miles (560 km) in 80 hours and 44 minutes without stopping (2005)
  • 148 miles (238 km) in 24 hours on a treadmill, 2004
  • Single-handedly completed the 199-mile (320 km) Providian Saturn Relay six times
  • Eleven-time 100-Mile/1 Day Silver Buckleholder at the Western States Endurance Run (i.e., better than ten twenty-four hour finishes), 1995–2006
  • Outside magazine, Ultimate Top 10 Outdoor Athletes, 2004
  • Swam across the San Francisco Bay

.

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Reference

Health Habits Workout – Week 52 Day 3

Week 52 – HIRT workout #3

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The goals for this phase are Fat Loss / Aerobic Endurance / Anaerobic Endurance / Improved Joint Mobility / Correct Typical Muscular Imbalances (reduce neck & lower back pain)

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And remember, the success of this phase of the workout relies on three things:
  1. Keeping good form throughout each exercise.
  2. Performing as many reps as possible. Really push yourself.
  3. Keeping the rest between sets to an absolute minimum. No rest if possible. .

WORKOUT WARM-UP

Feel free to mix things up during the warm-up. The goal is to warm up your muscles and to get your joints lubricated. I like the following warm-up exercises, but if you’re getting sick of them..do your own thing…as long as it gets the job done.
.

Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

.

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor.

When your back starts to arch…STOP
.

1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

 .
.

THE WORKOUT

,

Superset # 1

  • 3 exercises performed back to back
  • 7 sets of each exercise
  • No rest between sets
  • 2-5 minutes rest between supersets

Exercise #1

Horizontal Wood Chops – (cable or band)

  • 7 sets
  • 5 reps per set per side…
  • Using a weight that would allow you to perform 10 repetitions with good form

Exercise # 2

Shuffle Lunge

  • 7 sets
  • 40 reps per set
  • Bodyweight only

Exercise #3

1 Leg Bodyweight Deadlifts

  • 7 sets
  • 5-10 reps per set per leg…
  • Bodyweight only

Superset # 2

  • 2 exercises performed back to back
  • 10 sets of each exercise
  • No rest between sets
  • 2-5 minutes rest between supersets

Exercise #1

Bench Step-Ups – (bodyweight only)

  • 10 sets
  • 10 reps per set per leg…
  • Bodyweight only
  • Most fast…what we’re sacrificing in weight, we’re going to make up in speed

Exercise # 2

Hip Thrusts – feet on bench

  • 10 sets
  • 20 reps per set
  • controlled speed on the descent – explode on the ascent

Superset # 3

  • 3 exercises performed back to back
  • 7 sets of each exercise
  • No rest between sets

Exercise #1

Alternating Shoulder Press (See Saw Press) – (dumbbells)

  • 7 sets
  • 10 reps per arm per set…
  • Using a weight that would allow you to perform 20 repetitions with good form

Exercise # 2

Alternating DB Bicep Curls – using the same DBs used for Ex.1

  • 7 sets
  • Max reps (with good form) per set…
  • Using the same DBs used for Ex.1

Exercise # 3

Bodyweight Tricep Extensions

  • 7 sets
  • Max reps (with good form) per set…
  • Bodyweight

That’s it, you’re done for today.

Stretch and go home

Tomorrow, it’s cardio & stretching (lots of stretching)

.

Health Habits Workout – Week 52 Day 2

Week 52 – HIRT workout #2
.
The goals for this phase are Fat Loss / Aerobic Endurance / Anaerobic Endurance / Improved Joint Mobility / Correct TypicalMuscular Imbalances (reduce neck & lower back pain)
.
And remember, the success of this phase of the workout relies on three things:
  1. Keeping good form throughout each exercise.
  2. Performing as many reps as possible. Really push yourself.
  3. Keeping the rest between sets to an absolute minimum. No rest if possible. .
WORKOUT WARM-UP
Feel free to mix things up during the warm-up. The goal is to warm up your muscles and to get your joints lubricated. I like the following warm-up exercises, but if you’re getting sick of them..do your own thing…as long as it gets the job done.
.
Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction
.
Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor.
When your back starts to arch…STOP
.
1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up
 .
.

THE WORKOUT

.

Superset # 1

  • 2 exercises performed back to back
  • 10 sets of each exercise
  • No rest between sets
  • 2-5 minutes rest between supersets

Exercise #1

Toes to the Ceiling

  • 10 sets
  • Maximum reps per set…
  • Reach your hands behind your head and hold onto something solid for increased stability
  • Try to go higher up than the guy in the video

Exercise # 2

Shuffle Lunge

  • 10 sets
  • 40 reps per set
  • Bodyweight only

.

Superset # 2

  • 3 exercises performed back to back
  • 7 sets of each exercise
  • No rest between sets
  • 2-5 minutes rest between supersets

Exercise #1

Push-Ups – (using Smith Machine if needed…no girlie push-ups ever)

  • 7 sets
  • Max reps without stopping….
  • As soon as you have to stop, move onto the next exercise

Exercise # 2

Air Squats

  • 7 sets
  • Max reps without stopping….
  • As soon as you have to stop, move onto the next exercise

Exercise # 3

Bodyweight Row on Smith Machine

  • 7 sets
  • Max reps without stopping….
  • As soon as you have to stop, move onto the next exercise

.

Superset # 3

  • 2 exercises performed back to back
  • 10 sets of each exercise
  • No rest between sets

Exercise #1

Stability Ball Crunches – (bodyweight)

  • 10 sets
  • Max reps without stopping….
  • As soon as you have to stop, move onto the next exercise

OR

Stability Ball Jackknifes – (bodyweight)

  • 10 sets
  • Max reps without stopping….
  • As soon as you have to stop, move onto the next exercise

Feel free to mix & match

Exercise # 2

2 Leg Hip Thrust with feet on stability ball

  • 10 sets
  • Max reps without stopping….
  • As soon as you have to stop, move onto the next exercise

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That’s it, you’re done for today.

Stretch and go home

Tomorrow, it’s cardio & stretching (lots of stretching)

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Re-Build Your Heart with Exercise

We all know that exercise is good for our heart.

What we didn’t know is how and why endurance exercise causes your heart to grow larger and work better in response to the increased pressure and volume.

The Science

According to the research published in Cell, endurance exercise causes a downregulation of a specific transcription factor called C/EBPβ.

This reduction in C/EBPβ kickstarts a genetic program which results in the hypertrophy and proliferation of cardiac muscle.

Ergo, endurance exercise re-builds your heart.

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Kind of like the Grinch at Christmas.

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Reference

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    health fitness exercise healthhabits

    HIIT is better than Cardio for your Heart

    Let’s say you’ve got high blood pressure…and stiffness in your arteries.

    Whatcha gonna do?

    Well….if you’re like most people, you just found out about your problem from your doctor. And you’re about to get a prescription for a bunch of drugs and a recommendation to hop onto the nearest treadmill and do lots and lots of low intensity / long duration cardio-vascular exercise.

    But, what if your doctor is wrong?

    • What if…instead of spending hours glued to the seat of an exercise bike, you could be doing 2 x 40 minute interval training sessions per week.
    • And what if…by doing those 2 x 40 minute interval training sessions per week, you were lowering your BP just as well as your cardio cousins.
    • And what if you were improving your arterial stiffness even better than those cardio junkies.

    According to this study, that’s exactly what you would be doing.

    healthy-heart

     

    Common Sense Conclusion(s)

    • If you have hypertension & arterial stiffness, talk to your doctor before you start any exercise program. It just makes sense.
    • Tell your doc about this research.
    • Find out how good/bad your heart really is.
    • And maybe consider doing both types of workouts.

    And do some more reading – high blood pressure is no joke.

     

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    Results v.s. Dogma

    Being a big fitness geek, I spend an inordinate amount of time researching anything & everything fitness.

    And over the years, I have come up with some fairly solid opinions on what I perceive are the best ways to get fit, strong, lean, etc.

    • I believe that the cardio junkies at your gym could really use a dose of HIIT / Tabata / HIRT training.
    • I believe that the Paleo Diet is fantastic for both your health & your love handles
    • I believe that mobility training is more important than flexibility training.
    • I believe that lifting heavy stuff is good for everyone.
    • I believe in challenging yourself
    • I believe in having fun while I exercise
    • I believe that most exercise machines suck
    • I believe that movements are more important than muscles

    However, I also believe that results are more important than dogma.

    • If my super-amazing Paleo Diet isn’t giving you the body that you want, make some changes.
    • If months of nausea inducing Tabata workouts isn’t helping to lower your way-too-high blood pressure, then throw in some long, slow, boring cardio.
    • If your knees fill with fluid after each & every squat workout….stop doing squats.

    In essence, if your goals & your actions don’t match up, you are left with two options.

    1. Change your goals
    2. Change your actions.

    For example…

    Recently, I have been entertaining the idea of competing in one of these Tough Guy races.

    And after discussing the race with my two (2) surgically reconstructed knees, we concluded that I am going to need to shed a whole lot of muscle mass and improve my cross country running technique if I want my knees to survive this thing.

    So, starting this week, I changed my workout to include more long distance cardio.

    And because my knees aren’t up to an hour of running, I began by using this quasi elliptical/jogging machine we have at the gym. It’s easy on the knees & it comes pretty close to mimicking a true running motion.

    New Goals : New Workout

    Unfortunately, it also caused some of my workout buddies to freak out.

    The sight of me grinding out the miles on my human-sized hamster wheel was enough to actually make some of them upset.

    Seriously…it was weird.

    It was like I had betrayed some sort of unspoken agreement to never do any form of endurance training.

    Weird.

    Health Habits Workout -Week 33/Day 2 – The Deadpool Workouts

    As a personal trainer, I get a kick out of watching my clients transform their bodies over the course of a few months.

    Unfortunately, as your online personal trainer, I never get that visual feedback.

    So, as you get ready to tackle Day 2 of this nasty Deadpool Workout, think about ole’ Health Habits Doug and shoot me an email about how the workouts are working or not working for you.

    and away we go….

    WORKOUT WARM-UP

    Same warm-up as always…with the goal being to warm up the muscles & lubricate the joints. Feel free to substitute exercises as long as they get your joints all warmed up.

    Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

    Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

    1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

    THE WORKOUT

    As I mentioned in Part Six, each workout has 6 main lifts.

    Most main lifts will also employ a “wake up” exercise to get your fast twitch muscle fibers primed & ready

    I have arranged each of the six (6) lifts by movement or muscle group in a way to maximize performance & recovery.

    Superset #1

    The goal is to perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per set

    Start with the…

    Wake-up exercise – Bodyweight Jump Squats –  3-8 reps

    Then, move as quick as possible to the….

    Main Lift – Barbell Front Squats or Back Squats – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

    Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

    After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

    Superset #2

    The goal is to perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per set

    Start with the…

    Wake-up exercise – Isometric Shoulder Press –  3-8 reps

    Press up into an immovable object….as hard as you can – hold each rep for 1 second – Repeat for 3-8 reps

    Then, move as quick as possible to the….

    Main Lift – Push Press – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

    10 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – moving quickly & powerfully

    After 10 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

    Superset #3

    This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on a horizontal pulling movement

    The is NO wake-up exercise …today we have 2 Main Lifts

    Main Lift #1 – BW Scapula Row or Standing Cable Scapula Row – 5 minutes – as many reps as possible

    Main Lift #2 – Standing Cable Plank/Bridge

    • Using a resistance band or cable station, face away from the band/cable station holding the band/handle overhead.
    • If arms overhead is too tough on your shoulders, rest your hands on your head.
    • With a “slight” forward lean, walk (gradually) forward until the resistance starts to pull you backwards or you start bending at the spine.
    • This exercise mimics a bridge/plank exercise, except instead of being in a horizontal position, you are vertical
    • To make it tougher, stand on one foot.

    5 minutes – back & forth between the 2 exercises – focus on form

    After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

    Superset #4

    This 10 minute superset focuses on a horizontal pushing movement  – 3-8 reps per set

    Start with the…

    Wake-up Exercise – Plyometric Pushups

    Main Lift – Bench Press – any variation – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (pressing up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

    Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

    After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

    Superset #5

    This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on core flexion & stability

    The are NO wake-up exercises …just 2 main lifts

    Main Lift #1 – Hanging Leg Raise

    Main Lift #2 – Standing Cable Plank/Bridge

    • Using a resistance band or cable station, face away from the band/cable station holding the band/handle overhead.
    • If arms overhead is too tough on your shoulders, rest your hands on your head.
    • With a “slight” forward lean, walk (gradually) forward until the resistance starts to pull you backwards or you start bending at the spine.
    • This exercise mimics a bridge/plank exercise, except instead of being in a horizontal position, you are vertical
    • To make it tougher, stand on one foot.

    5 minutes – back & forth between the 2 exercises – focus on form

    After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

    Superset #6

    This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on core Extension & stability

    The are NO wake-up exercises …just 1 main lift

    Main Lift #1 – Toes to the Sky

    After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

    .

    nothing – you’re done

    .

    And feel free to hit me up with questions about this workout.

    It’s not exactly the type of workout you’re going to find in your copy of Men’s/Women’s Health.

    .

    If you like what you see here, click here for updates or Share this Post with the rest of the world.

    .

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    Health Habits Workout -Week 33/Day 1 – The Deadpool Workouts

    Alright people…get ready to sweat.

    The Deadpool Workout is here.

    WORKOUT WARM-UP

    Same warm-up as always…with the goal being to warm up the muscles & lubricate the joints. Feel free to substitute exercises as long as they get your joints all warmed up.

    Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

    Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

    1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

    THE WORKOUT

    As I mentioned in Part Six, each workout has 6 main lifts.

    Most main lifts will also employ a “wake up” exercise to get your fast twitch muscle fibers primed & ready

    I have arranged each of the six (6) lifts by movement or muscle group in a way to maximize performance & recovery.

    Superset #1

    The goal is to perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per set

    Start with the…

    Wake-up exercise – Explosive Bodyweight (BW) Hip Thrust –  3-8 reps

    Then, move as quick as possible to the….

    Main Lift Barbell / Smith Machine Hip Thrusts – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

    Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

    After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

    Superset #2

    This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on hip rotation & core stability

    The is NO wake-up exercise …so it’s not really a superset

    Main Lift Standing Cable Woodchop – handle at belly height – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

    The aim of this exercise is to rotate through the hips – not at the belly/lower back – The guy in the video does an okay job, but I want you to think of a baseball player swinging a bat…move those hips

    5 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – moving quickly & powerfully

    After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

    Superset #3

    This 10 minute superset focuses on a horizontal pulling movement  – 3-8 reps per set

    Start with the…

    Wake-up Exercise – Isometric Face Pulls into the floor – Lie on the floor with knees bent and arms flared out to the side – elbows are bent with hands pointing up to the ceiling

    Begin the movement by pushing your elbows back into the immovable floor….as hard as you can – hold each rep for 1 second – Repeat for 3-8 reps

    Then, move as quick as possible to the….

    Main Lift – Standing or Seated Cable Rows – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting towards your belly) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

    Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

    After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

    Superset #4

    This 10 minute superset focuses on a vertical pulling movement  – 3-8 reps per set

    Start with the…

    Wake-up ExerciseSuper Fast Band Pulldowns – 3-8 reps –

    Then, move as quick as possible to the….

    Main Lift – Pull-Ups, Chin-Ups or Pulldowns – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting towards your belly) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

    Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

    After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

    Superset #5

    This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on core stability & abdominal bracing

    The is NO wake-up exercise …so it’s not really a superset

    Main Lift – Turkish Get-Up – 5 minutes – as many reps as possible

    5 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – focus on form

    After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

    Superset #6

    This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on some of your “beach muscles”

    The is NO wake-up exercise …just 2 exercises – back to back – for as many reps as you can get in 5 minutes

    Lift #1 – Standing Alternate Bicep Curls – palms up/supinated – pick a weight that you can handle 10 reps and then perform between – 3-10 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible

    Lift #2 – Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise – pick a weight that you can handle 10 reps and then perform between – 3-10 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible

    5 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – moving quickly & powerfully

    After 5 minutes, catch your breath & go stretch out those muscles

    .

    And feel free to hit me up with questions about this workout.

    It’s not exactly the type of workout you’re going to find in your copy of Men’s/Women’s Health.

    .

    If you like what you see here, click here for updates or Share this Post with the rest of the world.

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    More Crossfit than Crossfit

    Two weeks ago, I ticked off a small slice of the Crossfit world when I posted this workout video on Facebook and asked for their feedback.

    Amidst the constructive criticism and numerous questions, there were a few Crossfitters who took the time to offer the following opinions:

    • worst workout I have ever seen
    • that workout is retarded
    • stupid
    • fu*king stupid
    • useless, and
    • not as good as a wide variety of different Crossfit workouts (most noticeably the Murph)

    Strangely enough, when asked, none of these commenters could offer a cogent argument as to why the workout was stupid and/or retarded.

    No big surprise…amongst every group there are always a few jackasses.

    But…the jackasses got me thinking.

    They got me thinking about how Crossfit & Crossfitters have changed during the time that I have watched Crossfit explode in popularity.

    When it began, Crossfitters thrived as an “us against the world” group of amateur athletes devoted to a pursuit of physical fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive.

    Crossfit’s specialty was in not specializing.

    Crossfitters believed that in combat, survival, many sports, and most importantly, real life ….this kind of approach to fitness is rewarded while, on average, the specialist – bodybuilding, powerlifting, runners, etc…are punished.

    So, why is it that when I talk to Crossfitters, I am noticing an increasingly close-minded approach to fitness….an attitude that Crossfit and more specifically, the WODs… are the end-all and be-all of physical fitness?

    Why is it that, instead of creating the world’s most complete athletes, the focus is shifting towards creating the world’s best Crossfitters?

    .

    And that’s where it would have ended….with me mulling over the evolution (de-evolution???) of Crossfit while sitting on my local Starbucks patio, drinking a mug of green tea, enjoying the summer sun and watching the girls walk by.

    .

    Except that I mentioned it to my buddy Amir – aka the guy who designed the 3 Minutes of HIRT workout circuit.

    .

    Perhaps not the brightest idea I have ever had.

    .

    Because Amir took the criticisms a little personal….and proceeded to:

    1. engage in a few days of online arguing with the Crossfit jackasses, and
    2. take out his frustrations on his personal training clients.

    But, luckily for us, after a few days of brutalizing his clients, Amir decided to:

    1. Test himself with a bunch of the hardest Crossfit WODs, and
    2. Create a bunch of new (and more Crossfit-esque) workouts for your enjoyment.

    Here is the first workout.

    Note: I had to split the workout into 2 videos because youtube complained that the file was too big.

    Amir’s time for the workout was 15 min and 59 seconds

    The circuit consists of:

    1 round of:

    • 2 x 24KG Kettlebell Snatch x 25 reps
    • Pistol Squats w/ lateral bench jumps x 30 reps
    • Switch Grip Pull Ups x 35 reps
    • Dynamic Fly Push Ups x 40 reps
    • 2 x 24 KG Kettlebell Snatch x 25 reps
    • Bodyweight Dips x 50 reps

    And as you may have noticed, Amir’s workout partners were not always able to perform the exact same movements as Amir.

    They modified the intensity of the exercises to suit their current level of fitness.

    • Pistol Squats became a 1-Leg Squat with the off leg positioned behind the body
    • Pull Ups became Supine Body Weight Rows off of a Smith Machine
    • And the freaky Dynamic Fly Push Ups became elevated yoga block Push Ups

    .

    So, give the workout a try and let me (and Amir) know what you think.

    p.s. I left all the grunts & growns in the video for your enjoyment

    .

    Health Habits Workout – Week 28/Day 3

    Goals: Massive fat loss & amazing fitness

    In Week 1 of this workout, we used a 20 sec. work : 20 sec. rest ratio during our supersets

    This week, the ratio shifts to 20 sec. work : 15 sec. rest

    Next week, we go to the full-on Tabata ratio of 20 sec. work : 10 sec. res

    During these workouts, I want you to balance the amount weight you use with number of  reps per set .

    • If you normally like to push heavy weight…I want you to cut back and focus on the number of reps per set
    • If you normally go lighter but like to do high rep sets..then I want you to up the weight and drop the reps

    The success of this program depends on you being willing to break out of your comfort zone.
    And after these 3 weeks, we’re going to back off for a week with some bridge workouts….and then dive back into another 3 week cycle focusing on different exercises.

    .

    WORKOUT WARM-UP

    Feel free to mix things up during the warm-up. The goal is to warm up your muscles and to get your joints lubricated. I like the following warm-up exercises, but if you’re getting sick of them..do your own thing…as long as it gets the job done.

    Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

    Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

    1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

    .

    THE WORKOUT

    Exercise #1

    Thrusters

    • Thrusters (BB or DB) for 20 seconds
    • Rest (standing) for 15 seconds
    • 7 sets of thrusters
    • 4 minutes & 5 seconds total
    • Perform as many reps as possible per set

    No rest between work sets

    Do this instead…..

    • Using a resistance band or cable station, face away from the band/cable station holding the band/handle overhead.
    • If arms overhead is too tough on your shoulders, rest your hands on your head.
    • With a “slight” forward lean, walk (gradually) forward until the resistance starts to pull you backwards or you start bending at the spine.
    • This exercise mimics a bridge/plank exercise, except instead of being in a horizontal position, you are vertical
    • To make it tougher, stand on one foot.

    I will film a video for this exercise later this week. Until then, hopefully this image I created will give you a clearer idea of what I want.

    Hold for 1 minute or until you catch your breath and are ready to start the next work set.

    Exercise #2

    Ab Wheel Roll-Out (or barbell / stability ball roll-out) (article on roll-out)

    • Roll-outs for 20 seconds
    • Rest (kneeling) for 15 seconds
    • 7 sets of roll-outs
    • 4 minutes & 5 seconds total
    • Perform as many reps as possible per set

    Back to the standing cable/band bridge/plank thingie for a minute

    Exercise #3

    Straight Arm Pulldowns – standing – use a rope handle

    • Pulldown for 20 seconds
    • Rest for 15 seconds
    • 7 sets of pulldowns
    • 4 minutes & 5 seconds total
    • Perform as many reps as possible per set

    Back to the standing cable/band bridge/plank thingie for another minute

    This time – face sideways to the cable stack with your arm straight out to the side at shoulder height – stand on the leg closest to the stack – this will be tough

    Exercise #4

    Push-Ups

    • From the floor if you can do them
    • Using a smith machine if you can’t do floor push-ups
    • No “girl” push-ups on the knees
    • Push-up for 20 seconds
    • Rest (floor) for 15 seconds
    • 7 sets total of Push-ups
    • 4 minutes & 5 seconds total
    • Perform as many reps as possible per set

    Back to the standing cable/band bridge/plank thingie for another minute

    This time – sideways again (but face the opposite direction – 180 degree turn) to the cable stack with your arm straight out to the side at shoulder height – stand on the leg closest to the stack – this will be tough

    At this point, you have done 16 minutes of HIIT/HIRT/Tabata work. This is the minimum amount of work for the day. However, depending upon your fitness level, I want you to try and complete all 4 exercises again – that would be 32 min of HIIT/HIRT/Tabata + the standing cable bridge exercise.

    After that, you’re done for the day.

    Stretch and go home

    Tomorrow, it’s some easy cardio & stretching (lots of stretching)

    Wednesday, it’s back to the weights

    A Super-Sexy David Beckham-esque HIIT Sprint Workout

    David Beckham : Men’s Health

    Awhile back, Men’s Health wrote an article showing us guys how we can “Live It Like Beckham“.

    Included in that article was the David Beckham Workout.

    Looking at that workout almost 2 years later, I realized that…..it was a hunk of junk.

    Seriously, this guy makes bazillions of dollars every year and this is the best workout that him and his team of trainers & therapists can come up with.

    We can do better.

    So, here we go:

    1.   Strength Training

    The MH article ignored Beckham’s strength training routine, so like them, we will save that part of his training routine for another article.

    However, if you are interested in building some strong, powerful “athlete” muscles, start with this article.

    2.    Aerobic Training

    The MH article also neglected to look at Beckham’s aerobic training. Luckily for you, I am going to build some aerobic conditioning into your….

    3.    Anaerobic / HIIT / Tabata Training

    Alright, here’s where the fun begins.

    • 3 workouts per week
    • Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced workout
    • Increased speed, power & anaerobic endurance
    • Less of this

    • And more of this

    Beginner Workouts

    • These workouts are designed for beginners who are interested in losing tons of weight and getting super-fit and ripped.
    • For beginners, I am going to assume that you are performing 2 strength training workouts per week
    • I will outline 3 Super-Sexy David Beckham-esque HIIT Sprint Workouts. The number of workouts you perform will depend upon your schedule, goals & recovery abilities.
    • My recommendation: Do all 3 workouts if you can
    • Regarding fitness equipment, I prefer trainees do these workouts while sprinting outdoors or on an exercise bike in the gym or on a Versaclimber or on a rowing machine. A treadmill can be used with lower intensity workouts, but when the sprinting gets intense, the treadmill can get a wee bit dangerous.

    Workout #1

    • Warm-up – 10 mins at a perceived intensity 50% of your maximum intensity.
    • 3 minutes of sprints – 10 sec. sprint with a 50 second rest
    • 10 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (175 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute
    • 3 minutes of sprints – 10 sec. sprint with a 50 second rest
    • 10 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (175 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute

    Workout #2

    • Warm-up – 10 mins at a perceived intensity 50% of your maximum intensity.
    • 3 minutes of sprints – 10 sec. sprint with a 50 second rest / 15 sec sprint with 45 sec rest / 20 sec. sprint with 40 sec. rest
    • 10 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (175 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute
    • 3 minutes of sprints – 10 sec. sprint with a 50 second rest / 15 sec sprint with 45 sec rest / 20 sec. sprint with 40 sec. rest
    • 10 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (175 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute

    Workout #3

    • Warm-up – 10 mins at a perceived intensity 50% of your maximum intensity.
    • 10 minutes of sprints – 10 x 10 sec. sprint with 50 sec rest
    • Cool-down – 10 mins at a perceived intensity 50% of your maximum intensity.

    Intermediate Workouts

    • These workouts are designed for intermediates who have outgrown the beginner workouts and are still interested in losing tons of weight and getting super-fit and ripped.
    • I am assuming that you are performing 2 strength training workouts per week
    • I will outline 3 Super-Sexy David Beckham-esque HIIT Sprint Workouts. The number of workouts you perform will depend upon your schedule, goals & recovery abilities.
    • My recommendation: Do all 3 workouts if you can
    • Regarding fitness equipment, I prefer trainees do these workouts while sprinting outdoors or on an exercise bike in the gym or on a Versaclimber or on a rowing machine. A treadmill can be used with lower intensity workouts, but when the sprinting gets intense, the treadmill can get a wee bit dangerous.

    Workout #1

    • Warm-up – 10 mins at a perceived intensity 50% of your maximum intensity.
    • 5 minutes of sprints – 10 sec. sprint with a 50 second rest
    • 5 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (180 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute
    • 5 minutes of sprints – 10 sec. sprint with a 50 second rest
    • 5 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (180 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute
    • 5 minutes of sprints – 10 sec. sprint with a 50 second rest
    • 5 to 30 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (180 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute

    Workout #2

    • Warm-up – 10 mins at a perceived intensity 50% of your maximum intensity.
    • 5 minutes of sprints – 10 sec/50 sec – 15/45 – 20/40 – 10/50 – 15/45 sec. sprint/rest ratio
    • 5 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (180 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute
    • 5 minutes of sprints – 10 sec/50 sec – 15/45 – 20/40 – 10/50 – 15/45 sec. sprint/rest ratio
    • 5 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (180 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute
    • 5 minutes of sprints – 10 sec/50 sec – 15/45 – 20/40 – 10/50 – 15/45 sec. sprint/rest ratio
    • 5 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (180 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute
    • 5 minutes of sprints – 10 sec/50 sec – 15/45 – 20/40 – 10/50 – 15/45 sec. sprint/rest ratio
    • 5 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (180 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute

    Workout #3

    • Warm-up – 10 mins at a perceived intensity 50% of your maximum intensity.
    • 10 minutes of sprints – 10 x 10 sec. sprint with 50 sec rest
    • 5 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (175 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute
    • 10 minutes of sprints – 10 x 10 sec. sprint with 50 sec rest
    • 5 to 30 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (175 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute

    Advanced Workouts

    • These workouts are designed for advanced trainees who have outgrown the intermediate workouts and who are almost super-fit and ripped.
    • I am still assuming that you are performing 2 strength training workouts per week
    • I will outline 3 Super-Sexy David Beckham-esque HIIT Sprint Workouts. The number of workouts you perform will depend upon your schedule, goals & recovery abilities.
    • My recommendation: Do all 3 workouts if you can
    • Regarding fitness equipment, I prefer trainees do these workouts while sprinting outdoors or on an exercise bike in the gym or on a Versaclimber or on a rowing machine. A treadmill can be used with lower intensity workouts, but when the sprinting gets intense, the treadmill can get a wee bit dangerous.

    Workout #1

    • Warm-up – 10 mins at a perceived intensity 50% of your maximum intensity.
    • 2 minutes of sprints – 10 sec. sprint with 20 second rests (4 sprints total)
    • 5 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (180 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute
    • 4 minutes of sprints – 10 sec. sprint with 20 second rests (4 sprints total)
    • 5 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (180 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute
    • 2 minutes of sprints – 10 sec. sprint with 20 second rests (4 sprints total)
    • 5 to 30 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (185 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute

    Workout #2

    • Warm-up – 10 mins at a perceived intensity 50% of your maximum intensity.
    • 4 minute Tabata workout – 4 x 20 sec sprint / 40 sec rest
    • 10 minutes cardio at 50% of max intensity
    • 4 minute Tabata workout – 4 x 20 sec sprint / 40 sec rest
    • 5 to 30 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (175 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute

    Workout #3

    • Warm-up – 10 mins at a perceived intensity 50% of your maximum intensity.
    • 10 minutes of sprints – alternate 10/15/20 sec sprints
    • 5 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (175 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute
    • 10 minutes of sprints- alternate 10/15/20 sec sprints
    • 5 to 30 minutes cardio at 60% of max intensity OR (175 – your age) Heartbeats per Minute

    .

    Enjoy

    The Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout – Part Three

    DeadPool muscle

    Continuing on from Part 2

    Upper Back

    Horizontal Pull

    • Heavy Partial: I don’t like partial reps for any rowing exercises
    • Isos: Isometric Row – Grab hold of an immovable object (ie. heavy barbell, cable stack, piece of equipment, flagpole, etc and try to pull it towards you using a rowing motion. Neither you nor the object should move. Hold for 2-5 seconds per rep for 3-8 reps
    • Plyos: N/A
    • Vibrations: Using a light weight (dumbbells, barbell, bands, etc..), perform 1 or 2 handed speed rows as fast as possible. I prefer the bands for this…less chance of injury Remember, think hummingbird wings –  3-8 reps

    Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Barbell/Dumbbell/Cable Rows – 3-8 reps

    Upper Back

    Vertical Pull

    • Heavy Partial: Partial Chin-Ups with added weight, Partial Pull-downs – 3-8 reps
    • Isos: Attempt to Chin-Up or Pulldown a weight that is too heavy to be moved – Hold for 2-5 seconds for 3-8 reps
    • Plyos: N/A
    • Vibrations: Using a light weight (dumbbells, barbell, bands, etc..), perform 1 or 2 handed speed rows as fast as possible. I prefer the bands for this…less chance of injury Remember, think hummingbird wings – 3-8 reps

    Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Barbell/Dumbbell/Cable Rows – 3-8 reps

    Lower Back – Core

    Spinal Extension

    • Heavy Partial: N/A
    • Isos: N/A
    • Plyos: Overhead Medicine Ball Tosses to the rear – 3-8 reps
    • Vibrations: Band Triple Extension or Swing Snatches (light weight) – 3-8 reps

    Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Swings or Good Mornings or Deadlifts – 3-8 reps

    Chest

    • Heavy Partial: Partial Bench Press in the power rack – 3-8 reps
    • Isos: Isometric Bench Press – Push the bar into an immovable object (ex. Power Rack) –  Hold for 2-5 seconds for 3-8 reps
    • Plyos: Medicine Ball Chest Throws (lying or standing)
    • Vibrations: Band Chest Press for speed

    Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of Chest Presses for 3-8 reps

    Abs – Core

    Spinal Flexion

    • Heavy Partial: N/A
    • Isos: N/A
    • Plyos: Medicine Ball Slams – 3-8 reps
    • Vibrations: Standing Band Crunch – 3-8 reps

    Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of Standing Cable Crunches (just like the band crunch except using a pull-down cable machine) – 3-8 reps

    Obliques – Core

    Spinal Rotation/Lateral Flexion

    • Heavy Partial: N/A
    • Isos: N/A
    • Plyos: Rotational Medicine Ball Slams – 3-8 reps


    • Vibrations: Band Wood Chops – 3-8 reps (move faster than the girls in the video)

    Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of Standing Cable Woodchops  – 3-8 reps

    Okay, that’s enough for today.

    In Part 4, we hit the lower body

    Enjoy

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    The Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout – Part Two

    deadpool ryan reynolds

    In Part 1 of the Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout, I told you that:

    • By stimulating the hard to hit fast-twitch muscle fibers, even hardgainers can maximize the size, strength and power of their muscles.
    • To wake up those fast-twitch fibers, we need to use 1 of 3 different techniques:
    1. Very Intense Concentric Muscular Contractions – ex. Partial range bench press or Isometrics
    2. Very Intense Eccentric Muscular Contractions – ex. Plyometric movements (depth jumps)
    3. Very Fast Concentric & Eccentric Muscular Contractions – like a hummingbird flapping it’s wings
    • After waking up the fast-twitch fibers, we hit them with…
    1. Slightly Less Intense Concentric Muscular Contractions…through a full range of motion and performed as fast as possible. Think explosive bench presses.
    2. Slightly Less Intense Eccentric Muscular Contractions….but we drastically increase the time under tension. Sloooowwww negatives on those bench presses.
    3. With no pause at the top or bottom of the lift. The muscle is always under tension.

    Today, I am going to give you some of my favorite Wake-Up Exercises and show you how to pair them with the traditional lifts to get the best results.

    Wake-Up Exercises

    For convenience, I am going to shorten my descriptions of the 3 style of wake up exercises.

    1. Very Intense Concentric Muscular Contractions will be called “Heavy Partial Lifts” or “Isos”
    2. Very Intense Eccentric Muscular Contractions will be called “Plyos”
    3. Very Fast Concentric/Eccentric Muscular Contractions will be called  “Vibrations”

    I have broken the list of wake up exercises down by body part and/or body movement.

    Hopefully, it is easy enough to follow, but if there’s a problem, please comment and I will update the post.

    Here we go….

    deadpool guns

    Traps

    Vertical Shrug Movement

    • Heavy Partial: N/A
    • Isos: Isometric Shrug – Grab hold of an immovable object (ie. heavy barbell, pins in a power rack or even sit on a bench and grab the underside of the bench) and try to shrug it. The weight should not move. Hold for 2-5 seconds
    • Plyos: Slam Shrugs – Set up a power rack with the pins slightly lower than your shrug lockout height. Grab your barbell and position it beneath the pins. Then, shrug the bar HARD into the pins. Repeat for 3-5 reps
    • Vibrations: Using a light weight (dumbbells, barbell, bands, etc..), perform 5 shrugs as fast as possible. Remember, think hummingbird wings

    Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Barbell Shrugs – 3-8 reps

    Horizontal Shrug Movement

    • Heavy Partial: N/A
    • Isos: Iso Face Pulls into the floor – Just like a regular standing cable face pull, except you are lying on your back and pushing your elbows back into the immovable floor – Repeat for 3-8 reps holding each rep for 1 sec.
    • Plyos : Reverse elbow strikes into a heavy bag – 3-8 reps per arm
    • Vibrations: Face Pulls using a Jump Stretch band – 3-8 reps – as fast as possible

    Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of Standing Cable Face Pulls – 3-8 reps

    Shoulders

    Overhead Pressing Movement

    • Heavy Partial: Standing or Seated Partial Shoulder Press out of a Power Rack
    • Isos: Isometric Shoulder Press – Shoulder Press into an immovable object –  Hold for 2-5 seconds for 3-8 reps
    • Plyos: Medicine Ball Shoulder Press Throws-  Repeat for 3-8 reps – think speed!!!
    • Vibrations: Shoulder press using bands – 3-8 reps – moving as fast as possible. Remember, think hummingbird wings

    Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Shoulder Presses – 3-8 reps – using either barbells or dumbbells

    Lateral Raise Movement

    Normally, I wouldn’t use this technique for an isolation exercise such as this, but feel free…

    • Heavy Partial: N/A
    • Isos: Isometric Lateral Raise – Lateral Raise into an immovable object (ex. Power Rack) –  Hold for 2-5 seconds for 3-8 reps per arm
    • Plyos: N/A
    • Vibrations: Super-speed Lateral Raises using bands – 3-8 reps – moving as fast as possible. ala Speedy Gonzales

    Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Lateral Raises – 3-8 reps – using either barbells or dumbbells

    DeadPool muscle

    Reverse Lateral Raise Movement

    Normally, I wouldn’t use this technique for an isolation exercise such as this, but feel free…

    • Heavy Partial: N/A
    • Isos: Isometric Lateral Raise – Reverse Lateral Raise into an immovable object (ex. Power Rack) –  Hold for 2-5 seconds for 3-8 reps per arm
    • Plyos: N/A
    • Vibrations: Super-speed Reverse Lateral Raises using bands – 3-8 reps – moving as fast as possible. ala Speedy Gonzales

    Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Lateral Raises – 3-8 reps – using either barbells or dumbbells

    Biceps

    • Heavy Partial: Cheating Bicep Curls  or Partial Range Bicep Curls – 3-8 reps
    • Isos: Isometric Bicep Curl – Curl a barbell into an immovable object (ex. Power Rack) –  Hold for 2-5 seconds for 3-8 reps per arm
    • Plyos: Drop & Catch Bicep Curls – Start by holding a barbell at the top position of a bicep curl. As you start to lower the barbell, let it drop and catch it while your elbows are still bent. This will take some practice. You don’t want to drop the barbell. – 3-8 reps
    • Vibrations: Super-speed Bicep curls using bands – 3-8 reps – moving as fast as possible. ala Speedy Gonzales

    Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Bicep Curls – 3-8 reps – keep the form strict…not like the cheat curls

    Triceps

    • Heavy Partial: Partial Dips, Partial Close Grip Bench Press or Partial Pushdowns- 3-8 reps
    • Isos: Isometric Close Grip Bench Press or Iso Pushdown- Your tricep force vs an immovable object (ex. Power Rack) –  Hold for 2-5 seconds for 3-8 reps
    • Plyos: Close Grip Plyo Push Ups  – 3-8 reps
    • Vibrations: Super-speed Pushdowns – 3-8 reps – moving as fast as possible.

    Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Dips, Close Grip Bench or Pushdowns – 3-8 reps – keep the form strict.

    Okay, that’s enough for today. This post is too long already.

    Tomorrow…another bunch of exercises

    Enjoy

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    SuperFood: Beet Root

    An interesting new study shows that drinking beet root juice boosts your stamina and could help you exercise for up to 16% longer.

    The theory is that the nitrate contained in beet root juice leads to a reduction in oxygen uptake, making exercise less tiring.

    And while the researchers are not yet sure of the exact mechanism that causes the nitrate in the beet root juice to boost stamina, they suspect it could be a result of the nitrate turning into nitric oxide in the body, reducing the oxygen cost of exercise.

    In fact, drinking beet root juice reduces oxygen uptake and improves endurance better than any other known means, including training.

    Including training! Obviously, this is big news for endurance athletes.

    beetroot

    The Science

    The researchers gave the test subjects 500ml per day of organic beet root juice for six consecutive days before completing a series of tests, involving cycling on an exercise bike.

    On another occasion, they were given a placebo of blackcurrant cordial for six consecutive days before completing the same cycling tests.

    After drinking beet root juice the group was able to cycle for an average of 11.25 minutes, which is 92 seconds longer than when they were given the placebo.

    Beet root supplementation resulted in a 19% reduction in the amplitude of the pulmonary O2 response during moderate cardio exercise

    As an extra added bonus, the group that had consumed the beet root juice also had lower resting blood pressure. (systolic pressure dropped 6 mmHg)

    This blood pressure benefit was also found in a 2008 study.

    In that study, researchers discovered that within 1 hour of drinking 500ml of beet root juice, volunteers experienced a drop in blood pressure, with the peak drop 3 to 4 hours after ingestion.

    Some degree of reduction continued to be observed until up to 24 hours after ingestion.

    Researchers showed that the decrease in blood pressure was due to the chemical formation of nitrite from the dietary nitrate in the juice. The nitrate in the juice is converted in saliva, by bacteria on the tongue, into nitrite. This nitrite-containing saliva is swallowed, and in the acidic environment of the stomach is either converted into nitric oxide or re-enters the circulation as nitrite.

    The peak time of reduction in blood pressure correlated with the appearance and peak levels of nitrite in the circulation, an effect that was absent in a second group of volunteers who refrained from swallowing their saliva during, and for 3 hours following, beet root ingestion.

    This research suggests that drinking beet root juice, or consuming other nitrate-rich vegetables, might be a simple, effective and inexpensive way to reduce blood pressure and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

    Conclusion

    If you are interested in:

    • Lowering your blood pressure
    • Reducing your risk of heart disease
    • Increasing your aerobic endurance
    • and making you cardio sessions feel much, much easier

    Drink your beet juice.

    And if you can’t get your hands on some fresh beet root juice, there are a number of GreenFood/SuperFood/Antioxidant drinks that have beet root powder as an ingredient.

    Related Posts

    Reference

    Are You Tough Enough for This Workout?

    Are you tough enough to handle one of my custom HIIT/HIRT workouts?

    And by handle the workout, I don’t mean just survive the workout. I mean, can you push yourself harder than you ever have before?

    Can you kick my ass at this workout? Well, can you…punk?

    The Workout

    Part 1 – The HIIT.

    30 minutes of HIIT sprints on a Stationary Bike

    Note: These are short duration sprints – 10 sec. As such, they are to be performed at Maximum IntensityAnd when I say max intensity, I mean MAXIMUM INTENSITY.

        The 20 sec Active Rests should be performed at a 6-8 on the Borg Scale…very, very light effort.

    Part 2 – The HIRT

    This second part of the workout is a 10 Minute HIRT Circuit consisting of 3 exercises, performed back to back with no rest between sets. The goal is to complete as many reps as possible (AMRAP) in 10 minutes

    Each set will consist of 5 reps performed in an explosive manner.We will be using bodyweight exercises.

    • Push-Up – 5 Reps per Set – As Many Sets As Possible in 10 minutes
    • Body-weight Row – 5 Reps per Set – As Many Sets As Possible in 10 minutes
    • Bulgarian Split Squat – 5 Reps per Set – As Many Sets As Possible in 10 minutes

    For most, body-weight will be more than enough resistance. However, if you think you can handle it, feel free to add some resistance (weight vest, chains, bands, plates, dumbbells…your choice). But, I don’t want you sacrificing intensity & speed just to add some weight.

    • Remember, there is no rest between sets.
    • Perform all 3 exercises in the same spot.

    I find that a Power Rack or Smith Machine works well for the Body-weight Rows. So, I just camp out there for the full 10 minutes using the bar (or a bench) for the Bulgarian Split Squats.

    So, do you think you can kick my ass at this workout? Here’s how I did earlier today:

    HIIT Sprints

        • All sprints completed as designed
        • Bike Resistance set at 80% of maximum
        • Fastest Revolutions per Leg in 10 seconds – 32 (3rd sprint)
        • Slowest Revolutions per Leg in 10 seconds – 24 (last sprint)

    HIRT Workout

        • Push-Up – BW (248) + 20 lb Weight Vest for 100 reps
        • BW Row – BW (248) + 20 lb Weight Vest for 100 reps (Body held parallel to floor)
        • Bulgarian Split Squat – BW (248) + 20 lb Weight Vest + 25 lb plate for 105 reps per leg (Back leg on std. flat bench)

    So, can you kick my ass?

    PDF copy of the workout

    Today’s Workout – June 10, 2009

    rocky boxing meat

    Resistance Training Day

    Warm-up

    • 5 min of Joint Mobility exercises & Dynamic Stretching

    Workout

    Superset #1

    • 10 minutes of heavy bag work – fists, knees, feet & elbows

    No rest between techniques…sweat pouring off me like Niagara Falls

    60 sec rest between superset 1 & 2 as I moved from the heavy bag room to the weight room

    Superset #2

    • Push-Ups – various grips – Bodyweight – 10 sets of 10 reps, supersetted with
    • BW Row on Smith Machine – Bodyweight – 10 sets of 10 reps, supersetted with
    • Swing Snatch – 35 lb plate – 10 sets of 10 reps

    No rest between sets

    30 sec rest between superset 2 & 3

    Superset #3

    • Straight Arm Pushdowns – Dynamic movement – lots of core involvement – 8 sets of 20 reps, weight pyramiding from 145 – 260 lbs., (last 3 sets 19, 16, 14 reps) supersetted with
    • Jumping / Shuffling Split Lunges – 8 sets of 40 reps, Bodyweight

    No rest between sets

    60 sec rest between superset 3 & 4

    Superset #4

    • Cybex Incline Chest Press – 10 sets of 20 – 13 reps – weight increasing from 145 – 300 lbs, supersetted with
    • Bulgarian Split Squat – 10 sets of 7 reps, Bodyweight,

    Flexibility/Mobility Training

    • no time to stretch…oops, gonna pay for that

    Notes:

    Short on time today. 35 minute workout. No rest between sets. No rest between supersets. Exhausted at the end of 35 minutes. Jogged to the gym and jogged/stumbled home from the gym

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    Today’s Workout – June 08, 2009

    one arm press paul anderson

    Resistance Training Day

    Warm-up

    • 10 min of Joint Mobility exercises & Dynamic Stretching

    Workout

    Superset #1

    • Rollouts – 10 sets of 10 reps, supersetted with
    • alternating sets of Bodyweight Squats & Bodyweight Reverse Lunges – 10 sets of 20 reps

    No rest between sets – Total reps – 100 rollouts & 200 reps squats/lunges

    3 min rest between superset 1 & 2

    Superset #2

    • Pull-Ups – various grips – Bodyweight – 5 sets of 5 reps, supersetted with
    • 1 Arm DB Press – 75 lbs – 5 sets of 3 reps, supersetted with
    • Jumping Lunges – Bodyweight – 5 sets of 20 reps

    No rest between sets

    3 min rest between superset 2 & 3

    Superset #3

    • 1 Arm Kneeling Pulldowns – 8 sets of 5 reps, weight pyramiding from 145 – 250, supersetted with
    • Glute Ham Raises – 8 sets of 5 reps, Bodyweight

    No rest between sets

    3 min rest between superset 3 & 4

    Superset #4

    • Standing Cable Crunch – 7 sets of 3 reps @ 135 lbs, supersetted with
    • Bulgarian Split Squat – 7 sets of 7 reps, Bodyweight, supersetted with
    • Standing Cable Row – 2 hand – focus on scap retraction not biceps – 7 sets of 7 reps @ 225 lbs

    No rest between sets

    3 min rest between superset 4 & 5

    Superset #5

    • Cybes Shoulder Press – 5 sets of 5 reps @ 205 lbs, supersetted with
    • DB Concentration Curl – Hammer grip – 5 sets of 5 reps @ 50 lbs

    No rest between sets

    Flexibility/Mobility Training

    • 15 min of stretching

    Exercise Better with Coffee

    For decades, endurance athletes have relied on caffeine as a performance aid. They claimed that a pre-workout cup of coffee helped them to push themselves harder and for longer periods of time.

    And along the way, science has backed up that belief:

    • In 1979, scientists found that caffeine helped cyclists improve their performance by 7% during a 2 hour workout.
    • In 1991, cyclists dosed with 9mg of caffeine per kg of bodyweight were able to increase their endurance by 51%
    • In 1995, cyclists performing high intensity circuits were able to improve their endurance by 29% with a dose of 5.5mg of caffeine per kg of body mass.

    Pretty good, right? The only problem is that no one really knew why caffeine improved athletic performance…until now.

    Researcher (and cycling geek) Dr. Robert Motl has spent the last 7 years considering the relationship between physical activity and caffeine. Today, he has a much better understanding of why that cuppa Joe he used to consume before distance training and competing enhanced his cycling ability.

    • Early in his research, he became aware that “caffeine works on the adenosine neuromodulatory system in the brain and spinal cord, and this system is heavily involved in nociception and pain processing.”
    • Since Motl knew caffeine blocks adenosine from working, he speculated that it could reduce pain.
    • A number of studies by Dr. Motl support that conclusion, including investigations considering such variables as exercise intensity, dose of caffeine, anxiety sensitivity and gender.

    The good doctors latest study “looks at the effects of caffeine on muscle pain during high-intensity exercise as a function of habitual caffeine use,” he said. “No one has examined that before”.

    And what did they find?

    • Caffeine reduces pain during exercise.
    • Less pain means you can work harder.
    • Less pain means you can work longer.

    The Science

    The study’s 25 participants were fit, college-aged males divided into two distinct groups:

    1. Subjects whose everyday caffeine consumption was extremely low to non-existent,
    2. And those with an average caffeine intake of about 400 milligrams a day, the equivalent of three to four cups of coffee.

    After testing their baseline aerobic fitness, Dr. Motl tortured his subjects with two monitored high-intensity, 30-minute exercise sessions.

    • An hour prior to each session, cyclists – who had been instructed not to consume caffeine during the prior 24-hour period – were given a pill.
    • On one occasion, it contained a dose of caffeine measuring 5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (equivalent to two to three cups of coffee); the other time, they received a placebo.
    • During both exercise periods, subjects’ perceptions of quadriceps muscle pain was recorded at regular intervals, along with data on oxygen consumption, heart rate and work rate.

    The Results

    Obviously the most important result was that caffeine reduced the pain of intense physical activity. But Dr. Motl also found that when it came to the reduction of pain, “caffeine tolerance doesn’t matter”. Caffeine-junkies and the herbal tea drinkers received the same pain reducing benefit from their little caffeine pill.

    So, what now?

    Dr. Motl wants to see what effect caffeine’s pain-reducing abilities has on sport performance.

    “We’ve shown that caffeine reduces pain reliably, consistently during cycling, across different intensities, across different people, different characteristics. But does that reduction in pain translate into an improvement in sport performance?”

    Interesting question for sure, but I am way to impatient to wait for science to catch up to real life. If you’re like me, check out this list of caffeine based beverages and let’s get physical.

    Reference

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    1,000,000,001 Different Ways to Squat

    This post is for that guy at the gym who avoids squatting because:

    • They hurt his back
    • They hurt his knees
    • They hurt his shoulders, wrists, neck, ego…
    • Squat only focus on his quads
    • He’s trying to focus on his vastus medialis
    • Squats are overrated
    • He’s not a powerlifter
    • He’s not a bodybuilder
    • He’s not a football player or sprinter or skater or…

    Well, you get the idea.

    Just for that guy, I am going to outline all of the different ways that you or him can squat.

    Note: I am pretty sure that I will miss something, so feel free to let me know what I missed and I will add it to the post.

    1,000,000,001 Different Ways to Squat

    In an attempt to organize this master list of squatting options, I decided to organize all of these different lifts into different categories.

    Categories

    1. Unilateral / Bilateral
    2. Stance / Body Orientation
    3. Equipment
    4. Position of Load
    5. Range of Motion
    6. Tempo or Speed
    7. Weight of Load as a % of 1 Rep Max Lift
    8. Lifting Surface
    9. Training Volume
    10. Rest Periods
    Crossfit builds fit females
    Crossfit builds fit females

    Unilateral / Bilateral

    • 1 Leg Squat – free leg held in front of body – knee bent
    • 1 Leg Pistol Squat – free leg held in front of body – leg straight
    • 1 Leg Box Squat – free leg hangs down
    • 1 Leg Squat – free leg placed behind body
    • 1 Leg Bulgarian Squat
    • 2 Leg Squat

    Stance / Body Orientation

    • Hips turned out – Toes turned out
    • Hips straight – Toes straight – legs shoulder width apart
    • Hips & toes straight – narrow stance – legs close together
    • Torso held high, chest up, very little forward lean at the hips – bodybuilder style
    • Rear end pushed back, large forward lean at the hips – powerlifter style
    • More knee flexion than hip flexion during lift – Knees move past the toes during lift
    • Equal knee and hip flexion – Knees don’t pass the toes
    • More hip flexion than knee flexion – Knees stay well back of the toes – box squat style

    Equipment

    • Barbell
    • Dumbbell(s)
    • Kettlebell(s)
    • Bodyweight only
    • Weighted Vest
    • Band(s)
    • Chains
    • Medicine ball, sandbag, log, tire, rock, person or any other extreme implement
    • Machines – Smith machine, Squat machine, Hack Squat machine, etc….
    • Cable weight machines
    • Benches / Boxes
    • Stability balls

    Position of Load

    • Back Squat – load held on shoulders behind the neck
    • Front Squat – load held in front of the neck
    • Overhead Squat
    • DBs, KBs, etc held in hands at waist height
    • Zercher Squats – load held in the “crook” of your elbows at chest/belly height
    • Hack Squat – barbell held behind your legs

    Range of Motion

    • Full squat
    • Barely bending your knees Partial Squat
    • Everything in between
    • 1 and 1/2 squats – squat all the way down, come up half way, go back down and then squat all the way up
    • Focusing on a specific range – i.e working only in the bottom 1/4 of the full range focuses the effort strongly on your glutes, while focusing on the top 1/4 focuses mainly on the quads while also making the exercise much, much easier

    Tempo or Speed

    • There are a number of different systems for classifying lifting speed. For simplicity sake, I will stick with the basics: fast, moderate, slow & pause
    • Different speeds of motion can be used for the different portions of the lift: descent, bottom, ascent, top
    • You can mix and match the different speeds with the different portions of the lift depending on your training goals
    • The typical squatter descends fast, doesn’t pause at the bottom, ascends back up fast and pauses at the top if he needs to rest – not very scientific
    • However, another lifter may descend slowly, pause at the bottom to eliminate the bounce he might receive from his stretch shortening cycle, ascend as fast as possible and immediately descend into another squat

    Weight of Load as a % of 1 Rep Max Lift

    • Your 1 Rep Max Lift is the maximum amount of weight you can successfully lift with good form.
    • If you are lifting for strength, you will likely choose a load that is close to your 1 Rep max. A lower percentage load is used when you are performing high reps for muscular endurance or for low reps and high speed in an attempt to develop muscular speed.

    Lifting Surface

    • This category is primarily employed by the Bosu or “functional training” crowd
    • Most lifters stand on a solid floor, but if it floats your boat, feel free to squat while standing on:
    • Balance disks
    • a Bosu
    • a 1/2 foam roller
    • a balance beam
    • on top of someone’s shoulders

    muscle-beach-pyramid

    Training Volume

    • Depending on your training goals (power, strength, hypertrophy, endurance, speed), you can choose a variety of reps per set, sets per exercise and total sets/reps per workout

    Rest Periods

    • This category refers to the length of the rest periods taken between sets.
    • Short rest periods are used as a tool to develop the trainees anaerobic energy system.
    • Long rest periods are used to allow more complete muscular and/or nervous system recovery.
    • And as with tempo and load percentage, there is an almost infinite number of positions in between.

    Putting it all together…

    To be honest, I have no idea how many different types of squats we could make with all of these options.

    1,000,000,001 looked impressive, so I went with it…sue me.

    But, I do know that my little list ‘o squats should definitely spark your imagination and help you create a new and better squat workout.

    Have fun.

    HIIT Interval Timers: Review of the Inventico TMR04-B

    Bill Hall
    artist: Bill Hall

    One of my favorite training methods is HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training.

    It’s one of the best tools I know for developing power, improving anaerobic endurance and maximizing fat loss.

    But, it’s not perfect. One of the potential drawbacks to HIIT workouts is that instead of counting reps, your workout revolves around time.

    And that’s fine if you are using a piece of cardio equipment with a built in timer.

    However, if you are trying to time a set of HIIT hanging power cleans, you may be in for some trouble.

    Unless you have a workout partner with a stopwatch, an expensive personal trainer like yours truly…or a dedicated Interval Workout Timer like the Inventico TMR04-B.

    Inventico TMR04-B
    Inventico TMR04-B

    What is an Interval Timer

    Basically, it is a stopwatch dedicated to counting down and alerting you to start and stop your HIIT work sets and rest periods.

    The TMR04-B is not the only interval timer on the market. But, it is the only one that I have used.

    Disclosure – Inventico contacted me in January and asked if I would be interested in trying out their product. At that time, offers of this kind were fairly new to me. I agreed to try out the unit because:

    1. I was sick of using a stopwatch to time my personal HIIT workouts
    2. The Inventico rep was very confident in the product and was willing to risk a bad review
    3. I am a geek for fitness equipment. You wouldn’t believe the amount of workout and rehab tools that litter my apartment

    So, here’s the review:

    How Does It Work?

    • The unit is about the size of a travel alarm clock – 3 1/2″ (8.3cm) wide & tall by 1 1/4″ (3.5cm) thick
    • You enter the number of interval sets and the length of the work sets and rest periods via the buttons at the top of the face plate.
    • The relatively large LCD display (height of numerals – 3/4″ or 2cm) counts down the work/rest periods
    • The unit beeps three times at the end of every work set and beeps 1 time at the end of your rest periods
    • At the end of your final work set, the unit produces 3 sets of 3 beeps
    • There is also a red LED light at the top of the unit that flashes in unison with the beeping.

    Pros and Cons

    Pros

    • It made solo HIIT workouts a LOT simpler. For example, in the past when I wanted to do a HIIT workout using front squats, I had to pause between reps to turn and look at the wall clock in my gym. With the timer, I used the LED light as a visual cue to start and stop my sets. Outdoors, the auditory cue (beeping) was loud enough that I didn’t need to carry the timer during sprints.
    • The LCD screen is large enough to see from a few feet
    • Inventico designed the unit to be mounted onto fitness equipment. The unit has two holes in the casing that allow a piece of cable to be threaded through and attached to the frame of a piece of fitness equipment. Obviously, this was designed to help out a health club manager. For my use, I bought a piece of stick-on magnet and stuck it to the back plate of the timer. This allowed me to attach the timer to any piece of metallic equipment at whatever height was appropriate for that exercise.
    • The unit is durable – It was dropped more than once and it kept on tickin’

    Cons

    • The beeping noise is way too loud for a health club. And it isn’t adjustable. But, it can be eliminated by removing a small chip from the circuit board inside. Note –  Inventico has plans to offer an adjustable volume control with it’s next edition of the timer
    • The LCD screen is hard to read in certain lighting conditions. However, I seldom used the screen anyway, preferring the LED indoors and the beeping outdoors.
    • The instructions were a little confusing. I gave the unit (with instructions) to a bunch of people and no one found it easy to adjust…at first. After a few tries, it becomes easier.

    Overall

    The unit isn’t perfect, but if you are a HIIT junkie, it’s worth the $26.

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    Note about Health Habits and Product Reviews

    In the past few months I have started to receive offers to try out different products & services. At first, I turned down all of these offers because I can’t stand when other bloggers write kiss-ass reviews for products simply because they got the product for free and felt that they owed it to the company.

    I decided to take Inventico up on their offer because I was genuinely curious about the product. And I was 100% honest in my review.

    In the future, if I write a review about a product that I received at no cost, I will:

    • Let you guys know that I received the product free from the manufacturer,
    • Review it honestly, and
    • Request from the manufacturer that they send a second item to one of my readers for their review. That way, we will get two different points of view on the same product/service.

    Reference

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    WARNING: Tabata Workouts WILL Cause Fat Loss

    tabata

    I have a love/hate relationships with Tabata training…..I love what it does for me, but I hate how I feel around minute #3.

    Seriously…Tabata training is one of the best ways to quickly improve fitness & melt body-fat. If that piques your interest, read on….

    Pre-Workout Checklist

    1. Pick an exercise that uses a lot of muscle – squats, power cleans, pull-ups, etc… To make that selection, you can choose from the list of exercises that I have provided or pick your own if you think my choices stink.
    2. Pick a weight that you can handle for at least 7 reps.

    Execution

    1. Perform as many reps as possible within 20 seconds – maintain good form
    2. Rest for 10 seconds
    3. Perform 7 more sets
    4. Move on to the next exercise

    Note:  Use a clock, stopwatch, workout buddy or a dedicated HIIT timer to keep track of your work sets and rest periods. I know of two HIIT timers on the market.

    The Workouts

    Instead of giving you a static workout with pre-selected exercises, I have decided to organize the workout by movement patterns (e.g. Vertical Push) or dominant muscle groups (Quadriceps).

    Within those groups, I have given you a list of related exercises.

    For example, within the Vertical Push Movement Group, you can choose from 1 Arm Overhead PressPush Presses, 1 Arm Grappler Presses, Side Presses, etc…

    Remember, the goal is to go as hard as you can for 8 sets of 20 seconds.

    • Don’t use this workout to try out new exercises – You won’t be able to develop maximum intensity if you need to concentrate on technique. Choose exercises that you know you can perform effectively and safely.
    • If you can’t make it through all 8 sets because of the lactic burn to a muscle, eliminate that exercise and replace it with one that uses more muscles. e.g. a push press uses more muscles than an overhead barbell press.
    • Single limb exercises allow you overcome this problem as well – e.g. 1 Arm Overhead Press v.s. Barbell Overhead Press

    Workout # 1

    1. Vertical Push Movement
    2. Horizontal Pull Movement
    3. Quadriceps Dominant Movement
    4. Core Stabilization – focus on Spinal Flexion & Extension
    5. Vertical Push Movement – optional
    6. Horizontal Pull Movement – optional
    7. Quadriceps Dominant Movement – optional
    • Feel free to re-arrange the order of Exercises 1, 2 and 3. It doesn’t really make a difference.
    • Sets 5 to 7 are for advanced athletes only. Remember, intensity is the key to Tabata success. Don’t try and pace yourself in order to add another set. Go full out on each set. Believe me, 4 sets of full intensity Tabatas should be enough to have you soaking wet with sweat and bordering on nausea.

    Workout # 2

    1. Vertical Pull Movement
    2. Horizontal Push Movement
    3. Hamstrings/Glute Dominant Movement
    4. Core Stabilization – focus on Rotation and Lateral Flexion
    5. Vertical Pull Movement – optional
    6. Horizontal Push Movement – optional
    7. Hamstring/Glute Dominant Movement – optional
    • Feel free to re-arrange the order of Exercises 1, 2 and 3. It doesn’t really make a difference.
    • Sets 5 to 7 are for advanced athletes only. Remember, intensity is the key to Tabata success. Don’t try and pace yourself in order to add another set. Go full out on each set. Believe me, 4 sets of full intensity Tabatas should be enough to have you soaking wet with sweat and bordering on nausea.

    Vertical Push Movement

    Horizontal Pull Movement

    • 1 Arm Standing Cable Row or Band Row
    • Body-weight Rowuse an adjustable power rack or Smith machine. This allows you to modify the angle of pull and the percentage of body-weight. Also, change your grips from set to set – width, underhand, overhand
    • 1 Arm or 2 Arm Seated Rows – I prefer the standing rows because of their high demand for stabilization, but the seated version is pretty good as well
    • Avoid any bent-over movements – Your lower back will fail long before the rest of you

    Quadriceps Dominant Movement

    • Front Squats – Dumbbells or Barbell
    • Body-weight or Weighted Vest Squats – 1 Leg or 2
    • Overhead Squats1 Arm or 2, 1 Leg or 2
    • Quad Dominant Lunges – Lunge forward onto the ball of your foot AND keep your step short and allow the knee to travel past your toes…I know, I know, everyone says not to lunge this way, but it really hits the quads. BTW, take a look at how far your knee travels past your toes as you climb a flight of stairs…ooooh scary stuff.
    • Bench Step-Ups
    • Bulgarian Lunge/Squat

    Core Stabilization – focus on Spinal Flexion & Extension

    • Standing Cable or Band Crunch
    • The Ab Wheel
    • Leg raises/Knee-Ups / Crunches (various) – I would skip these exercises – you will fatigue quickly and you will probably have to cheat to complete all 8 sets

    Vertical Pull Movement

    Horizontal Push Movement

    • Push-Ups – like the Body-weight Row, use a Smith machine to adjust angles and body-weight resistance. Also, adjust hand placement (width, overhand, underhand) from set to set. Trust me, switching grips will increase the number of reps you will be able to perform
    • 1 Arm Standing Cable Press or Band Presses
    • Stay away from any standard bench press type exercise. The lactic acid will hit way too soon. You will never get a good Tabata workout…trust me. The cable/band exercise is the best choice. Even the push-ups allow you to use your legs and core to help perform the lift. You need these extra muscles to take some of the load

    Hamstring/Glute Dominant Movement

    Core Stabilization – focus on Rotation and Lateral Flexion

    Related Posts

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    Muscular Strength made simple

    In my post, The Components of Physical Fitness, I divided physical fitness into it’s component parts and provided a brief introduction of each part.

    Since then, I have written in more detail about Structural Balance and Energy System FitnessToday I will try to explain the concept of Muscular Strength and how it applies to overall physical fitness.

    Intro to Muscular Strength

    This component of physical fitness deals specifically with the performance of the body’s skeletal muscles.

    • Your skeletal muscles contract and stretch in order to produce movement. Simple.
    • How they produce that movement is less simple.

    Your body’s muscles are highly adaptable. They will react to the stresses that you place upon them.

    • Sit on the couch and they will atrophy.
    • Try and run fast and they adapt to produce faster contractions.
    • Lift heavy objects and they will increase their ability to produce maximum strength.

    What is Strength?

    Muscular Strength can and has been categorized/defined in a variety of different ways. I am choosing to divide Muscular Strength into four categories, based primarily on Newton’s Second Law –  \vec F = m \vec a (force is equal to the product of mass and acceleration.)

    • Mass relates to how much weight/mass a muscle or muscle group can move.
    • Acceleration relates to how fast that weight/mass is moved.

    Note: You don’t need to know all this science stuff, but it can really help your strength training if you do 🙂

    There are 4 Categories of Muscular Strength

    1. Maximum Muscular Strength
    2. Maximum Muscular Power
    3. Maximum Muscular Speed
    4. Maximum Muscular Endurance

    Each of these categories has different characteristics with regard to mass and acceleration

    1.  Maximum muscular strength

    Maximum Muscular Strength is an extreme form of muscular strength.

    In relation to newton’s Second Law it completely favors mass over acceleration. It is a measure of the maximum mass that a muscle, or muscle group can move, regardless of time.

    • Think immovable object v.s irresistible force.
    • Pushing your ‘out of gas’ car up a hill to the gas station at the crest of the hill.
    • Your maximum squat at the gym.

    Got it?

    The importance of maximum muscular strength?

    While this is a point of debate amongst both academics, coaches and athletes, I believe that maximum muscular strength is the most important component of overall muscular strength.

    Looking at the force-velocity curve, we see a relationship between force/mass and velocity / acceleration. 

    • Maximum Muscular Strength would be represented by the point on the curve in the upper left corner.
    • Muscular Speed would be represented by the point on the lower right.
    • Power is the combination of strength and speed.

    • If you were to increase your maximum strength, you would shift the force-velocity curve and your muscular power upwards.
    • Conversely, if you could increase your speed of movement, you would shift the curve to the right, also increasing your power.
    • Increasing both strength and speed would push the curve both up and to the right, resulting in even greater increases in power.

    For most athletes, that is a welcome goal.

    How do you develop maximum muscular strength?

    Maximum Muscular Strength is developed using different forms and methods of resistance training. Generally speaking, heavy weights for low repetitions are used to develop max strength.

    As this is a very complicated subject, I will be discussing this topic in detail in future posts.

    Maximum muscular speed

    As mentioned above, Maximum muscular speed is the ability to produce a low force muscular movement very quickly. As seen in the force-velocity curve, muscular speed is both a relative and absolute term.

    Relative, because your mass (along with a bunch of other “stuff”) impacts the speed that you can achieve. To illustrate this point, let’s look at the animal kingdom.

    A cheetah, while incredibly fast – 60+ miles per hour is no match for the peregrine falcon, which can dive at speeds up to 200 miles per hour.

    In the world of athletics, speed is also relative. The world’s fastest sumo wrestler may be fast against his peers, but against an Olympic 100m champion???

    And when we’re comparing apples to apples, Maximum Muscular Speed is often the determining factor in an athletic competition.

    For example, superior hand speed often makes the difference in a boxing match between two men in the same weight category.

    How do you develop maximum muscular speed?

    Like Maximum Muscular Strength, speed can be developed using resistance training techniques. However, Max Speed training most often involves body weight training that attempt to maximize both the condition of the muscles and the performance of the neuro-muscular system as a whole.

    I will also be covering this topic in more detail in future posts.

    Maximum muscular endurance

    Maximum muscular endurance is the ability to produce a smaller amount of force, but do it for a long time. A marathon runner is a great example of muscular endurance. His body weight requires less force to move than your car, in neutral, going uphill; but he is able to move that weight for 2+ hours non-stop.

    Why do you need maximum muscular endurance?

    Maximum muscular endurance is the least sexy of the 4 categories of Muscular Strength. However, it is the most vital when it comes to general health and longevity. While not being taken to extremes, the training to improve muscular endurance has a beneficial effect on your cardio-vascular health.

    How do you develop maximum muscular endurance?

    Maximum Muscular Endurance is generally trained with body-weight exercises. While there may be a need for injury prevention resistance training exercises, most endurance athletes focus their training on their sport of choice.

    I will also cover the training methodologies of endurance athletes in a future post.

    Maximum Muscular power

    Muscular power is the combination of maximum strength and speed.

    An Olympic weightlifter is a great example of power.

    How do you develop Maximum Muscular Power?

    As Maximum Muscular Power is a combination of Max Strength and Max Speed, the development of power involves a combination of training methodologies.

    I look to cover this topic in my next post.

    Muscular Strength

    I hope this introductory post was helpful in helping you understand Muscular strength training and how it impacts athletic performance and general physical fitness.

    In future posts, I will go into a more detailed explanation of each of the 4 categories. I will also provide same training programs for each category of Muscular Strength.