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Why You Shouldn’t Skip Your Mobility Work

Health, Training, Workout By July 27, 2018 No Comments

No one’s saying you need to have the mobility of a Russian contortionist. But putting off your mobility work in favour of getting into your lifts as soon as you hit the gym could have consequences that will creep on you and reduce the longevity of your training life. If you are THAT GAL or THAT GUY who has trouble hitting parallel depth with a bodyweight squat but jumps into a barbell back squat without doing any preparation, we need to have a talk.

WHAT IS MOBILITY?

Mobility = Flexibility + Stability

In order to understand why you need to do mobility work, you should understand what mobility is. Mobility is a combination of having flexibility and stability through a joint’s range of motion.

Flexibility is a joint’s ability to move through a range of motion. This can be done actively or passively.

Stability is a joint’s ability to stabilize through its range of motion.

When a joint is both flexible and stable – having good and adequate mobility, you can develop phenomenal strength while mitigating the risk of injury.

If a joint does not have adequate mobility (flexibility and/or stability) to perform desired movements, this is when you need to start doing some work to figure out which joints are limited in movement.

HOW TO MOBILIZE YOUR JOINTS

The major joints you can look at mobilizing are the:

  • ankles
  • hips
  • spine (lumbar, thoracic, and cervical)
  • shoulders
  • wrists

All of these joints are capable of moving through many ranges of motion; you should be able to move them and stabilize them in all of the ranges of motion you train and then some.

People who are tight as a rope would benefit from doing more flexibility work. While people who are comparable to Gumby will benefit from doing more stability work. Most people will need a combination of both flexibility and stability work.

  • This could mean working on frog stretch to warm up tight hips prior to squatting.
  • This could mean working on cat-cows to move the spine, and then working on deadbugs to stabilize it in neutral, or working on Jefferson curls to get mobile outside of neutral spine.
  • This could mean doing dowel shoulder dislocates to open your overhead range of motion prior to pull-ups and presses.
  • This could mean doing weighted dislocates to stabilize the shoulders before pull-ups or presses.

The approach will need to vary from person to person, from movement to movement, from joint to joint. Not every person will benefit from the same drills, and that’s okay.

Are you making the same mistake everybody else does when stretching the adductors in a frog stretch? AKA rounding the back and falling into a posterior pelvic tilt. # Sadly, 9/10 people I see working on the frog and half-frog stretch make this mistake, which unfortunately makes the stretch ultimately useless. Whenever the lower back rounds and the pelvis tips backward the adductors move into a shortened position (which means that they can’t be stretched from this position because they are not lengthened.) # To effectively stretch the adductors, you want to make sure that you keep your back flat and pelvis in a neutral position. If you can’t get your lower back flat (neutral) in the frog or half frog stretch you’re probably starting by going to deep for your current flexibility and need to ease off and work on some PNF variations in a less deeply stretched position. # The frog stretch is fantastic for opening the hips before squatting, deadlifting, or doing bent over rows when it is performed correctly (especially for people who tend to round their lower back while training.) So now that you know better, you can do better. May your hips be limber, and may your spine stay neutral when it’s supposed to be. 👊🏼 # # # #StrengthAndSanity #fitness #fitfam #toronto #the6ix #torontofitness #torontofitfam #personaltrainer #personaltraining #onlinecoaching #onlinepersonaltraining #flexibility #mobility #iamagatsu #girlsgonestrong #womenofstrong #girlswholift #womenwholift #strongwomen

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IS YOUR MOBILITY WORK ACTUALLY HELPING?

While mobility work is totally awesome and good for you, you want to make sure you are not wasting time and doing the wrong drills. In order to know if your mobility work is actually helping, you will want to test your movement quality and range of motion before you do a mobility drill.

This process could be doing a bodyweight squat to see your depth and if there is any pain throughout the movement. Then going into your mobility drill from there. Test the movement range and quality after your drill. Did your range improve? Is painful movement now pain-free? Yes? Good job, you did a drill that worked.

If you tested a movement, did a mobility drill, and the range stayed the same or there was no qualitative improvement, you will need to do a different drill in order to improve that movement. Mobility work should have an instantaneous response in terms of improving your movement quality –  even if it’s small.

HOP TO IT

If ya’ don’t know, now ya’ know – you have every reason now to be doing your mobility work and making sure you are adequately prepared for your workouts. Do your drills. Your body will thank you. The gains will come abounding.

📷 @agatsufitness “I don’t like stretching.” “Well, do you like tearing muscles?” 🤔 # #fbf to the time I took the @agatsufitness Level 1 Movement and Mobility course in Montreal. # While not everyone has to work on achieving a front split, the progressions used to achieve them are fantastic for releasing tension in the hips and hamstrings – which could help people carrying a lot of tension mitigate the risk of injury. # Lifting heavy is fun, but there still needs to be a balance with training flexibility, which would allow us to have optimal mobility. If we trend too far in either direction we risk opening our body up to injury. If you’re someone who lifts a lot, consider adding a regular mobility practice to your routine to help keep your joints and tissues healthy.

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How to Use Chains for Strength

Programming, Strength, Training By September 20, 2017 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Chains are a great tool that often get misused. I’ve seen an abundance of videos of people using chains just to make themselves look “badass” yet only succeed at making themselves look incompetent.

So to set you on the right path, I am going to explain to you what chains are used for and how to use them.

WHY YOU WANT TO USE CHAINS

Chains are most commonly used to add additional resistance to a lift on the way up. This works by having links come off the floor one by one on the way up. The movement will be easiest at the bottom when there are more links resting on the floor, and it will be most challenging at the top and on the way up when the links are coming off the floor. Chains are commonly used on squats, deadlifts, and presses, but can be used on a variety of exercises.

This permits the trainee to get stronger on the top portion and lockout portions of the lift. It also makes the eccentric easier, allowing you to preserve more energy and strength for the upward (concentric) part of the lift. Chains are a great tool to use to get through a strength plateau.

The more links that are off the floor, the heavier the total weight is.

The more links that are on the floor, the lighter the total weight is.

 SELECTING YOUR WEIGHT

To load a bar or weight with chains, you will need to use a weight that is lighter than what you normally use without chains. Different chains have different weights, so knowing how much the chains weigh will help you determine how much weight you should or should not use. You want to make sure you have extremely good control of the weight as any slight deviation in movement will cause the chains to swing which will be very destabilizing.

LOADING THE IMPLEMENT

Once you have selected your weight, you will hang the chains on each side of the bar and then secure them with safety clips for the barbell. If using a dumbbell or kettlebell, the chain should have a clip that you can use to attach it to the weight.

Once you’ve set everything up, perform your sets and reps as desired 🙂

Happy training!

 

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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 – Snatch it up!

Programming, Training, Workout By February 6, 2017 No Comments

Don’t have more than 10 minutes to workout? This week’s kettlebell conditioning is here!

This week’s workout is fast and furious. It consists of 5 rounds of maximum repetitions and has a short but intense 5 minute duration. Have a partner record how many repetitions you complete and try to beat it the amount next time you try the workout.

Here we go.

SNATCH IT UP

Right Hand Snatch x 30s

Left Hand Snatch x 30s

5 rounds

No rest in between rounds.

 

Enjoy 😉

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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 – Snatches&Ladders

Fat Loss, Programming, Training, Workout By January 10, 2017 No Comments

Snatches&Ladders has made it here for this week’s kettlebell conditioning. A complex ladder that primes you to perfect your kettlebell snatch.

 

A1) One-Arm Swing(R)
A2) High Pull(R)
A3) Snatch(R)
A4) One-Arm Swing(L)
A5) High Pull(L)
A6) Snatch(L)

Rep Scheme: 5,4,3,2,1

3 Rounds. Perform the ladder as quickly as possible. Rest as necessary between rounds.

 

Enjoy 😉

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KETTLEBELL QUICKIE – Clean it up!

Fat Loss, Programming, Training By January 2, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

This week’s KETTLEBELL QUICKIE is here! A simple and straightforward complex to help train your clean and jerk.

A1) One-Hand Swing x 5 reps
A2) Clean x 5 reps
A3) Jerk x 5 reps
A4) Clean and Jerk x 5 reps
PERFORM 3 SETS PER SIDE. Rest as necessary between sets. Complete as quickly as possible.

 

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KETTLEBELL QUICKIE – UpDown Complex-Ladder

Fat Loss, Programming, Training By December 26, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

Perform the following complex as a ladder with the listed rep scheme. Perform the ascending sets of the complex with even numbered reps. Start with 2 reps and work upto 10 reps. Start descending the reps of each set with odd numbers starting with 9 reps working down to 1 rep on the final set. Rest as necessary. Perform as quickly as possible.

COMPLEX:
A1) Kettlebell Swing
A2) Goblet Clean
A3) Goblet Squat
A4) Two-Hand Press
REP SCHEME: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 9, 7, 5, 3, 1
You can use this workout as a stand alone workout or conditioning complex after your regular training. To get better at this workout, time how long it takes you to complete the ladder and try to beat your time each time you attempt it.
Enjoy!

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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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