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The Best Workout Routine

exercise, Health, Lifestyle, Programming By August 19, 2018 No Comments

**Spoiler Alert: There is no specific training program attached to this article, rather guidelines for creating or picking a long-term and sustainable exercise program for yourself.**

Many people start new workout routines all the time with the intention of becoming healthier and more “fit.” Sadly a lot of people struggle to maintain these routines due to the fact that the programs they are following are not sustainable nor enjoyable. It is immensely difficult to create sustainable long-term habit change when those changes are focused on engaging in habits that 1) you hate doing, 2) burn you out.

So how do you create an exercise routine that serves you best?

You would want to look at several factors when creating an exercise and activity routine (that are not limited to): frequency, duration, and qualitative factors that you enjoy but also keep you motivated.

Frequency & Duration

When choosing your frequency and duration you want to factor in your general lifestyle, schedule, stress levels, and ability to recover. People who have low levels of stress will be able to recover more quickly and will often times do better training and exercising more often (3-7 days per week.) While people who have high levels of stress or anxiety will recover more slowly and will need to train less frequently (1-5 days per week.)

Knowing this you’d also want to keep the duration of your exercise in line with your training frequency and ability to recover. Generally, the more often you train the shorter in duration your workouts should be, and the less often you train the longer in duration your workouts should be. A workout or bout of exercise could range anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes.

Qualities

When looking at different qualities a training program or activity has, different people will naturally be drawn to different types of activities. Some people like high intensity training, some people prefer activities that are more soothing, some people like working in groups, while others prefer doing their exercise alone. Whatever floats your boat, at the end of the day it’s about finding what works for you and keeps you consistent and motivated.

Typically people are drawn to at least one of these five qualities:

  1. Intensity: Activities that are maximal effort, neurologically demanding, require brute force, and often times are more aggressive in nature. These activities can include boxing, powerlifting, rugby, olympic lifting.
  2. Explosiveness: Activities that are neurologically demanding, requiring explosive efforts and high levels of power but also coordination  such as sprinting, jumping, olympic lifting, gymnastics, etc.
  3. Variety: Activities that are varied and satisfy the need to learn new skills without getting bored. Exercise needs to be both neurologically and muscularly demanding. Essentially every type of exercise can be enjoyable and will deliver progressive results. Anything will work but only for a while. A very popular activity in this category would be CrossFit.
  4. Sensation: Activities that allow you to create a strong mind-muscle connection and pay attention to how the body feels. This includes but is not limited to activities such as bodybuilding and yoga. These activities are muscularly demanding.
  5. Precision: Activities that are demanding on the muscular system but require structure and constant repetitive mastery of a skill such as distance running, grappling,  and bodybuilding. The repetitive movement patterns often have a calming effect.

 NOTE: These categories are from Christian Thibaudeau’s Neurotying which is based in research surrounding individual sensitivity to neurotransmitters (dopamine, adrenalin, and serotonin) and other factors like (Acetylcholine and GABA.) I highly recommend getting more information, starting here.

The idea behind picking activities to do that you are more drawn to is that because you enjoy what you are doing you will be able to push yourself harder, get results, and stay consistent – making your exercise routine sustainable. This will allow you to express yourself physically in the way that is best suited to your individual needs and desires. Who doesn’t want more of that?

When you love what you do, and it suits your needs and lifestyle, what reason do you have to not part-take in physical activity? 

I firmly believe there is an activity or training program out there for everybody, you just need to find what works for you and respect that.

 

 

 

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Path to Pull-Ups

exercise, Programming, Strength, Training By August 6, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

For a lot of women, achieving their first body weight pull-up is a huge milestone. It’s a feat that requires adequate mobility, stability, and strength in order to perform it correctly.

Often times, when people ask how to do their first pull-up they often receive the answer: “Well, just do pull-ups.” Which is redundant and useless. If a person could already do pull-ups, they would.

So where do you start in order to get your first pull-up?

In general, you would want to progress to doing a pull-up as follows:

  • owning the isometric (being able to hang on the bar at the top and bottom)
  • owning the eccentric (being able to lower yourself  in controlled manner through a pull-up pattern)
  • owning the concentric (being able to pull yourself up through the pull-up)

Owning all parts of the pull-up will having you banging out your first full rep in due time. It’s all about developing the requisite endurance, stability, patterning, and strength to do the movement correctly and efficiently.

So let’s start with the endurance and stability portion by using isometric drills. You want to start first by building your endurance at the bottom of the pull-up and building your grip so you are actually able to support your own body weight in an active hang. Once you can hang from the bottom you can explore doing a flexed arm hang at the top of the bar. Work on holding your hangs for 30s-60s. I would recommend being able to hold for at least 60s in both positions before progressing to more dynamic movements.

Once you have achieved strong isometric holds with your hangs, you can work on doing scapular pull-ups. In this movement you will be initiating the beginning of the pull-up by pulling maximally with the shoulders, holding at the top position, and then relaxing the shoulders into a deadhang for 1 repetition. Build this movement in sets of 5-10 reps. The scapular pull-up will also serve to improve your grip strength. The scapular pull-up is going to help you with the movement portion of initiating the pull-up.

After achieving some strong scap pull-ups, you’ll want to progress to negative pull-ups (eccentric pull-ups.) This will allow you to pattern the pull-up with good technique so that when you do get strong enough to do them, you will be using the right muscle to perform the movement (primarily the lats and biceps.) To perform a negative pull-up, jump up to the bar or have someone lift you to the bar and then lower yourself down with a controlled tempo ranging anywhere from 10s to 60s. If you are able to do a 60s eccentric you are most likely able to do a full pull-up.

You can also use band assisted pull-ups to help build muscular strength and the concentric portion of your pull-ups. Make sure to use negative pull-ups and other progressions otherwise you will end up being reliant on the band to perform the movement. Bands are also a great tool to fine tune technique if you struggle to maintain to good form while performing bodyweight pull-ups. To perform the band pull-up, loop a band around your pull-up bar, then place on of your feet on the band to get into the bottom position. Initiate the pull, imagine you are closing your armpits in order to pull your collarbones up to the bar. The band will provide the assistance needed to help you up towards the bar,If you are swinging and bouncing around, you are not performing the movement correctly. You want your band assisted pull-up to be smooth and controlled, as it will translate better into your full strict pull-up.

Some additional assistance work that can help to get your first pull-up would be:

  • Inverted rows (rings or TRX)
  • Farmer’s carries
  • Biceps curls (especially preacher curls and incline curls)

There are many exercises you can do to get strong at pull-ups, however  any movement you do to help you build your pull-up skills should address the endurance, stability, movement patterning and strength aspects of the pull-up. As long as you address these attributes of the pull-up, you will be well on your way to getting your first rep.

🙂

 

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Why You Should Be Doing Turkish Get-Ups

exercise, Strength, Training By February 20, 2017 No Comments

The Turkish Get-Up a move that is loved, hated, and misunderstood all in one. 

The Turkish Get-Up rose to popularity in the last 10 years or so in tandem with kettlebell training. Kettlebells are small, (relatively) light to moderate in weight, transportable weights that have become popular due to their ability to get people lean and strong in short and intense workouts. They have become the tool of choice for busy people who don’t have copious amounts of time to devote to training in the gym.

Keeping in mind that kettlebell training has exploded due to it’s convenience and efficiency – the Turkish Get-Up has also become popular for the same reason. Get-Ups provide a lot of bang for your buck in terms of how they can enhance and supplement your current training program. They can be used as a warm up to help stabilize wonky shoulders and they can also be used in finishers for conditioning. This movement can also be performed for a maximum effort, in fact it’s not uncommon that when people become proficient at the Get-Up they can often perform it with barbells and even other people.

Apart from being able to do a totally rad party trick if you get strong at this movement, it still offers so much more. The Get-Up is a rare beauty of an exercise for a few reasons. The first being that it involves movement in every plane of of motion: sagittal (forward/ backward movement), frontal (side to side movement) and transverse (rotation.) This is very important because in our day to day lives we tend to live almost exlucsively in the sagittal plane. This leaves our bodies open to different injuries and overuse because we only become strong and proficient moving in one direction leaving our other planes of motion weak and uncoordinated. Adding a Turkish Get Up into your training routine can help you to develop that movement proficiency and fill in some gaps in your “movement diet.”

The Get-Up also provides even more bang for your buck in terms of all the different movement patterns in contains. It has knee-dominant movement, hip dominant movement, and pressing. That is three out of four of the major movements patterns meaning it is only missing a pulling pattern. For one exercise, that is a whole lot of movement – what would typically take three exercises to do, it will only take you one movement. This means that the Get Up is a great exercise if you are short on time and using full-body workouts as a training tool.

Lastly, the Get-Up is a fantastic exercise to work on shoulder stability. The rotator cuff will be working during the whole movement to stabilize the shoulder. Given the amount of time it takes to perform one repetition of the Get-Up, this is a lot of time under tension in a very vast range of motion regarding the shoulder, allowing you to reinforce shoulder stability in many different positions. If you have a history of rotator cuff injuries or shoulder instability, adding get-ups into your program would be a very wise choice.

TIPS FOR PERFORMING THE TURKISH GET-UP

When it comes to performing the Get-Up there are a few tips that can help make it easier and safer:

  1. Always keep your eyes on the kettlebell, dumbbell, barbell, person, etc. you are lifting. You should never look away from the implement you are lifting overhead.
  2. Lock out the elbow. A little bit bent is like being a little bit pregnant, there is no in between. A locked out elbow is necessary for optimal stability.
  3. Slow down. The Get-Up is in exercise not to be rushed. You want to create control in all of the movements, if you can do it slowly you can do it efficiently and effectively.
  4. Breathe. A lot fo people forgot to breathe when they do Get-Ups, exhale every time you make a move, and try to stay cool as cucumber.

HOW TO DO THE TURKISH GET-UP

  1. Lock out the loaded elbow and shoulder, bend the knee on the same side of the body.
  2. Push your elbow on the free arm into the floor, and roll into position so the upper body is off the floor.
  3. Push the free hand into the floor, so the elbow is now off the floor
  4. Squeeze your glutes and extend your hips.
  5. Pull your straight leg back and come to a half-kneeling hinge position.
  6. Push yourself up from the floor into an upright half-kneeling position.
  7. Lunge upward and bring the feet together in the standiting postion.
  8. Lunge back into the half-kneeling position.
  9. Reach to your side and bend into the hinged half-kneeling position.
  10. Bring the kneeling leg through and extend the hips by squeezing the glutes.
  11. Lower your hips to the floor.
  12. Lower your elbow to the floor.
  13. Lower your back to the floor.

USING THE TURKISH GET-UP

If you feel like you want to start using the Turkish Get-Up, here is a finisher or stand alone workout you can add in to your regular routine. This wonderful workout I am about to share with you comes from Shawn Mozen of Agatsu Fitness. It is called Turkish Delight; it contains movement in every plane of motion and every major movement pattern (knee-dominant, hip-dominant, press, and pull.)

The routine is a ladder consisting of the Turkish Get-Up and pull-up. It will allow to build strength, movement proficiency, and get in some excellent conditionining. This workout should not be performed for speed, but should take 30 minutes of less to perform. The goal is to add weight to each set of the Turkish Get Up and work up to a one rep max.

Turkish Delight

A1) Turkish Get Up x 5 reps per side

A2) Negative Pull-Up x 1 rep for a 10s eccentric

B1) Turkish Get Up x 4 reps per side

B2) Negative Pull-Up x 1 rep for a 10s eccentric

C1) Turkish Get Up x 3 reps per side

C2) Negative Pull-Up x 1 rep for a 10s eccentric

D1) Turkish Get Up x 2 reps per side

D2) Negative Pull-Up x 1 rep for a 10s eccentric

E1) Turkish Get Up x 1 rep per side

E2) Negative Pull-Up x 1 rep for a 10s eccentric

Bon appétit! 😉

Do you do Turkish Get-Ups? Do you love them? Do you hate them? Did this article help you? Leave me your feedback and questions in the comment section.

 

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KETTLEBELL QUICKIE – Chrissy

exercise, Programming, Training, Uncategorized, Workout By January 26, 2017 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Hello, my lovelies!

I want to introduce you to Chrissy. A benchmark Kettlebell workout from Agatsu Fitness – created by Shawn Mozen for some crazy fit woman named Chrissy.

As the story goes, Shawn was training Chrissy. Chrissy was super strong and fit, and came to Shawn one day saying “I like the workouts, but I want something harder.”

So Shawn got to work and came up with this devious workout that is more a test a mental fortitude than anything and named if after his lovely student Chrissy. And we have many full body sweat stains on gym floors everywhere owed to Chrissy. So thank you, Chrissy, thank you.

The workout is a timed ladder.
The exercises are the tuck jump burpee and Kettlebell swing.

And it goes as follows.

Tuck Jump Burpee :  Kettlebell Swing

30: 20
25 : 25
20 : 30
15 : 35
10 : 40
5 : 45
Complete the ladder as quickly as possible. Record your time, and try to beat it the next time you complete it.

I did mine in 10:51 – a big improvement since the last time I did it almost a year and a half ago now.

Let me know how you do! 🙂

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KETTLEBELL QUICKIE: It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing!

exercise, Fat Loss, Programming, Training, Uncategorized By December 20, 2016 Tags: , , , , No Comments

This week’s kettlebell quickie has landed, and if you haven’t guessed it already: it’s all about the the kettlebell swing.

This week’s workout is a short and simple complex consisting of 4 rounds of several types of swings with one minute rest in between each round.

Let’s do this!

A1) Two Hand Swing x 10
A2) One Arm Swing (Right) x 10
A3) One Arm Swing (Left) x 10
A4) Hand to Hand Swing x 10 per side

4 rounds. Rest 1min in between rounds.

 

 

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The Motion – Executing Excellent Kettlebell Swings

exercise, Strength, Training By July 10, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

In recents years, the kettlebell swing has come to great popularity being touted as the solution to all of your strength, conditioning, and body composition woes. Although the benefits are sometimes exaggerated, it is still a phemonemal exercise that provides numerous benefits and is deserving of a spot somewhere in your training regimen provided you can perform them safely and effectively.

The kettlebell swing is excellent for developing the posterior chain (the muscles on the back side of the body,) developing explosiveness, as well as developing a solid base level of conditioning. The swing is movement that should be done using submaximal weight and is best performed for high reps anywhere from 10 to 50 and more. It’s also great to use in timed sets or circuits and has an immense training effect on the cardiovascular system.

Unfortunately, due to the immense popularity of this exercise (everybody and their grandmother’s want to do the swing) it’s often done incorrectly. The movement operates as a pendulum that requires a fine balance between tension and relaxation of the muscles to get proper momentum. The following are examples of  important details that people neglect when performing kettlebell swings and that hinder progression toward other kettlebell movements such as cleans and snatches.

THE HIKE

The kettlebell swing commences with a powerful hike back between the legs. A lot of people start the swing by deadlifting and trying to groove the pattern in midair. However the best way to start the swing is by placing it roughly two feet infront of you and then powerfully hiking it back between your legs, like football player hiking a ball to their teammate. This allows the pendulum movement of the swing to start with the downswing allowing the arms to stay relaxed during the movement.

image3

SOFT CLAW

Another crucial part to successfully swinging a kettlbell is keeping a soft grip. This means that you want to gently hook your hands around the handle of the bell. This will prevent severe callouses and overuse of the arms during the swing which is important as the swing is launched by the hips while the arms are acting as a tether not a prime mover.

If your arms tend to get tired while doing the kettlebell swing, try a few sets of towel swings, this will teach you to launch the kettlebell with your hips. To perform the towel swing, loop a towel around the handle of the kettlebell and hold on to the ends of the towel – perform the swing as usual.

GLUTE POWER

The kettlebell swing is a hip dominant movement, meaning the glutes provide the force required to start the upswing. When you come to the end of the downswing you want to squeeze the glutes as hard as possible while pushing the feet into the floor, this will let the bell float back up and allow the pendulum motion to continue.

RIBS DOWN

While peaking at the top of the swing and hitting the lockout, a lot of people will forget to engage their abs and shift in to letting their ribs float up which will displace tension into the lower back (which can lead to pain and injury.) The top of the kettlebell swing should look like a standing plank without excessive arching in the lower back – the abs and glutes should both feel tense.

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ATTACK YOUR FLY

Another common mistake many people make (from gym goers to top coaches) is allowing the kettlebell to dip below the knees. This kills the power being generated from the glutes and will result in using the arms and lower back to muscle the kettlebell up leading to inefficiency. The closer the kettlebell is to the muscle launching the movement, the easier it will be to perform the exercise.

As we know, the kettlebell is launched by the glutes, so to keep the kettlebell close to the glutes when it is most proximal to the body imagine you are wearing jeans and aim your hands for your zipper on the downswing. At the end of the movement your chest should be close to parallel with the floor and the kettlebell should be behind you between your legs. 

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PARK IT

Last but not least, after you’ve completed a beautiful set of kettlebell swings you want to park the kettlebell. Parking the kettlebell and finishing your set properly will prevent you from trying to figure any new and inventive ways to injure yourself while trying to figure out how to stop the swing. All you have to do after the last downswing is keep your chest low and just allow the bell to come forward and down from your hips which will park it gently on the floor.

Put all that together and you should end up with a refined set of kettlebell swings that looks something like this.

 

Happy Kettlebell Swinging! 😀

Did this help you? Did you hate it? Would you like some Drake to go with those swings?

 

 

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POP, LOCK, AND DROP – Glute Circuit

exercise, Programming, Strength, Training By July 10, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

 

another one

That’s right folks, I’m back with another one – grab some mini bands, and get ready for this lovely glute burner 🍑🍑🍑

3 Rounds of 3 exercises guaranteed to offer a nice glute pump.


POP, LOCK, AND DROP – GLUTE CIRCUIT

A1) Banded In-And-Out Squats x 10 reps (Left side) Focus on pushing the knees outward and resisting the band during the whole movement, even when jumping in from the wide stance squat.
A2) Banded Hip Extension x 10 reps per side  (Top right corner) Push your moving leg back by contracting the glute. try to do the movement with control and without extending through the lower back to get additional range of motion.
A3) Banded Lateral Hip Abduction x 10 reps per side (Bottom right corner) Start with your feet together, try to push the moving leg away from the stationary leg. Focus on keeping your core tight and try to minimize any movement and shifting in the hips.

Perform 3 rounds without rest between exercises. Rest as needed between rounds. Use the appropriate band for your strength level – if you’ve never used resistance bands for your glutes start with a light band and work your way up in resistance if it’s too easy.

If you would like a set of mini bands without having to sacrifice your life savings and first born child, I recommend this set off of Amazon ($13.99 CAD + free shipping), it is the same set that I am using in this video.

Happy Glute Training! 🙂

 

Did you love this? Did you hate this? Did you get a crazy glute pump from doing the Pop, Lock, and Drop? Let me know in the comments.

 

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So You Think You Can Windmill?

exercise, Programming, Strength, Training By July 1, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

In case you did not receive the memo – I have an awesome windmill. Unfortunately not the badass breakdancing kind, but the kettlebell kind.

_DSC7771

Badass kettlebell windmill as photographed by Sergio Mazzaferro.

The kettlebell windmill is both a stability and mobility drill. It is a great addition to any warm-up before doing overhead work or kettlebell work. To lay things out, this is not a strength movement and it is not a good choice for doing a One Rep Max. The name of the game with windmills is: Movement and Control.

The windmill can be a very humbling movement for many people as it requires moving the body in a way that a lot of people have never even thought of doing, let alone adding weight on top of it.

The windmill requires a decent amount of mobility in the following areas – hips, shoulders, and thoracic spine. As this exercise requires so much movement, it is highly recommended to do mobility drills prior to this exercise to open up these regions unless you are Gumby.

It is what it is.

It is what it is.

Some good mobility drills to do before the windmill are:

Cat & Cow – to promote healthy articulation of the vertebrae of the spine which will aid in thoracic rotation. Perform 1 set of 10 reps.

Feldenkrais Rotations – to open up the thoracic spine for a strong rotation in the bottom of the windmill. Perform 1 set per side, work your way to the floor.

Cossack Squat – to open up the hips and adductors and get the glutes firing.  Perform 1 set of 10 reps per side.

High Bear Crawl with legs locked – to mobilize the hips and stretch the hamstrings. Perform 1 set moving both forward and backward.

In addition to these exercises, if necessary spend some extra time working on overhead mobility by doing lower trap reaches, wall slide drills, or shoulder dislocates.

Once properly warmed-up, it’s time to progress into the windmill – however before progressing into the windmill, it’s good to understand a few things:

  • The windmill is  hinge movement with the feet set up in an  “L” shape. One the side of the body of the overhead arm the foot should be pointing forward. On the nonloaded side the foot should be pointing sideways. The movement happens by folding the hips- or pushing the hips backward without compromising the spine. To get back up to the lockout position, you push the hip forward and squeeze the glute on the loaded side.
  • The overhead arm should always be locked – in the words of Shawn Mozen of Agatsu “A little bit bent is like being a little bit pregnant.
  • Lastly, always look at the overhead arm when loaded. Keep your eyes on that weight like white on rice.

Now that you are intimately informed on the windmill and her inner workings, you’re ready to get down. Grab a kettlebell and get ready to work through the following windmill progressions:

  1. Windmill to kettlebell grab
  2. Windmill to kettlebell grab with arm bend
  3. Windmill to hand on floor
  4. Bottom Loaded Windmill
  5. Full Windmill – Top Loaded Windmill

In the following the video these progressions are demonstrated in order in multiples of three repetitions. Work through the progressions as you are able. Remember to work within the range you have without forcing extra range by compromising form and technique.

 

Are you ready to windmill? Did this article help you? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Let me know in the comment section below or feel to reach me via the “Contact” page.

 

 

 

 

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4 Ways to Crush Strength Plateaus

exercise, Programming, Strength, Training By March 27, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Few things are as frustrating as heading in to the gym day in day out and not progressing. The weights stay the same week to week and results are stagnating. You were planning on pulling a 225lbs deadlift but you seem to be stuck at 185lbs with no sign of getting stronger.

What can be done to solve this dillemma? Fortunately, there are lots of effective techniques to help break through strength plateaus. Providing that nutrition and recovery are sound – there are ways to manipulate the exercises and repetitions to maximize the results.

Back in November I watched the movie Creed and went to lift immediately afterwards – I set a PR on the deadlift that workout and pulled 245lbs. Although I like to credit Michael B. Jordan’s performance as the reason I pulled that personal record – that’s not a method I’m willing to rely on in order to get strong. Fortunately the following methods you’re about to be introduced to are true and tested – and adding them into your training will definitely help bust through any strength plateaus.

TEMPO MANIPULATION

Tempo in relation to exercise dictates the speed at which a movement is performed. It is usually written as a series of four numbers (eg. 4010) which indicates the duration of each part of a repetition.  The first number is the eccentric (lowering part of the movement), the second number indicates the bottom of the movement and how long it is held, the third number indicates the concentric phase of the movement, and the the fourth number indicates the count of the hold at the top of the movement.

For example if a deadlift is performed with a 3112 tempo, you will:

  • lift the bar up for 1 second
  • hold for 2 seconds at the top
  • lower for 3 seconds
  • pause for 1 second on the floor before doing the next rep

Tempo can be manipulated to create less or more muscular tension. A slower tempo will illicit a higher amount of tension versus a faster tempo – a 2010 tempo for 5 reps will be easier to perform than a 4010 tempo for 5 reps. The easiest part of a tempo to manipulate to improve strength is the eccentric portion as this is the easiest part of the movement to perform in general and will allow for a controlled movement leading to better muscle recruitment and motor patterning positively effecting overall strength.

The other best way to manipulate tempo is by adding pauses where the movement is the most difficult to perform. Adding a pause at the bottom of a squat it is a great way to develop strength for people who struggle to get out of the whole. Adding a pause at the top of a bench press would help for people who fail to successfully lockout the movement. Pauses can also be used in parts of the concentric and eccentric phases of the movement instead of just the top or bottom if that’s where an individual struggles.

RANGE SPECIFIC TRAINING

Range specific training refers to hammering out any issues there may be while performing a specific range of motion of an exercise. This can be done by extending ranges of motion, shortenining ranges of motion, or performing accessory movements that are relative to weakness in the movement.

If a person struggles to deadlift heavy weights from the floor but has no issues with performing a lockout – adding a deficit deadlift (deadlift performed while standing on a platform and the bar still on the floor) would likely benefit them and increase their deadlift strength. This works by making a longer range of motion forcing the lifter to pull the bar from and even lower distance than normal. This is one way to lengthen a range.

Conversely, strength can also be improved by shortening a range – for example if a trainee has difficulty with the top part of bench press they can move into an exercises such as a floor press – which shortens the range of motion and only trains the top half or lockout of the movment. Another way to shorten a range would be to perform a rack pull where you deadlift out of the rack from a higher starting to point to train the top half of the deadlift for a strong lockout.

In addition to manipulating the length of the repetitions we can also train parts of a movement with other exercises. To continue with the example of a deadlift – we want to look for exercises that simulate similar angles to the specific ranges where we struggle.

Bottom of the Deadlift 45 Degree Back Extension
Middle of the Deadlift Seated Goodmorning
Top of the Deadlift 90 Degree Back Extension

ACCUMULATION

Another way to bust through strength plateaus is by accumulating volume (ie. performing a lot of reps and sets) – in essence, doing hypetrophy training to elicit a gain in muscle size. The benefit of doing this type of training is that it creates high muscular tension while performing reps on reps on reps with a more moderate weight.

If this is confusing, picture it like this – a relatively strong lifter can perform a 5×5 program for strength, but if they plateau and decided to move a 10×10 training model they are:

  1. going to be using a more moderate weight allowing for better muscle control and coordination which equates to grooving an amazing and flawless movement pattern
  2. creating a lot of muscular tension allowing for better muscle firing
  3. putting on more muscle – which can be trained to move heavier weights

STRUCTURAL BALANCE

The last way to get stronger is by maintaining or creating structural balance between muscles. This can be one of the most neglected aspects of strength by trainees – as it can tend to not feel as rewarding because it usually requires movements (often remedial) with lighters weights or performing calisthenics that leave you feeling humbled.

Structural balance is extremely important to strength and the best way to understand this to explain it by building houses. Imagine you’re building a house, you’ve created your structure and then you’ve gone and reinforced it with extra materials to make it stronger, however the house has only been reinforced in certain areas. This house now has weak links that won’t be able to resist damage as well as the reinforced partsof the house. Meaning it isn’t structurally balanced. The way to correct this is by reinforcing the weak parts.

This house is your body, and essentially if there are any injuries or imbalances between muscles from front to back (anterior chain versus posterior chain) or side to side (dominant side vs non-dominant side) these muscles need to be targetted and  trained to bring them as close to structurally balanced as possible.

This is done by performing specific isolation and unilateral exercises to directly facilitate and strengthen or “rehab” the lagging muscles in training. Sometimes this will need to go a step further in terms of seeking out treatment methods such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, A.R.T, massage therapy, N.K.T, and physiotherapy depending on how severe the imbalances or injuries are and what has caused them. Don’t hesitate to seek extra care or help when addressing structural balance, especially if it’s something you’ve already been working on for a while.

 

Did this help you? Did you hate this? Hit me up and let me know your thoughts.

 

 

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