Archive for October, 2009

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Shoulder-or-Deltoid

By Nick Nilsson – Staley Training Systems

If you’ve ever had a hard time developing your shoulders, this exercise is going to be a lifesaver for you! Personally, shoulders are one of my WORST bodyparts. It’s tough to keep them strong…tough to get them bigger…and tough to really feel them working when I’m actually doing shoulder exercises!

But the first time I used this technique, it absolutely blew my mind. As soon as I finished the set, my shoulders felt like they were inflating! The blood was came rushing in and I knew I was on to something special…that RARELY happens to me with ANY shoulder exercises.

So what makes THIS exercise so special? You’re going to reach muscular failure TWICE within the same set. AND you’re going to do it with NO REST in between the two phases of the exercise. BAM BAM…one part right into the next.

But here’s the twist…it’s not a typical drop set in which you reduce the weight to achieve this! You’re going to use the SAME weight for both phases of the exercise.

The REAL key lies in the range of motion of each part of the exercise…

You see, when you do a normal barbell shoulder press, as you push the barbell up, you go through what is called a strength curve. In basic terms, it means at the bottom of the movement you are fairly strong. But as you press further (normally about 3 to 5 inches up in the movement) you hit a point where the leverage in your shoulders changes. The exercise gets a lot tougher.

This is called a sticking point – it’s basically the weakest point in the exercise. Another example of a sticking point is commonly seen in the bench press. If you were doing a bench press using a heavy weight, lowered the weight to your chest then started to press but couldn’t get past a certain point (a few inches above your chest), THAT is also a sticking point.

Bottom line, you can only lift as much weight as you can move through that WEAKEST point in the range of motion of an exercise. But OUTSIDE that sticking point, your muscles are stronger and can lift more weight!

The question becomes, how do we still do full range-of-motion lifting while putting greater tension on the muscles to maximize their strength in OTHER phases of the movement?

We’re going to break the movement into two distinct phases. On the first phase, you’re going to do FULL reps of the shoulder press. When you can’t do any more full reps, you’re going to do partial reps in ONLY the top, stronger half of the range of motion.

It’s a powerful technique and it’ll get your shoulders burning like crazy!

The key to geting the most out of this exercise is the setup…

How to Do It:

First, you’ll be doing this exercise in the power rack. While there IS a way to do it without being the rack (and it is still effective that way), the rack is going to allow you to really push your shoulders to the maximum.

Set the safety rails in the rack to just below shoulder height. You’re going to be doing a standing military barbell press for your shoulders, bringing to the front, of course! I NEVER recommend doing any behind-the-head shoulder pressing – it can cause shoulder damage.

For this exercise, start with a weight you can get at least 8 to 10 reps for. I would suggest doing 3 or 4 sets of this exercise in total for your shoulder workout.

Grip the bar with your pinkies or fourth fingers on the smooth rings of the Olympic bar. You need to take a narrower grip on the bar than with the bench press. The rails should be set so you have to bend your knees a bit to get under the bar. The bar should be held across your extreme upper chest.  Next, begin the pressing movement. Press the barbell up in front of your face then lockout at the top. When you do a military press, your knees should be slightly bent and abs tight to keep stress off the lower back.

 

two-phase-shoulder-press1 two-phase-shoulder-press2

 

Because of the path of the bar, you will be leaning back a little bit – it has to go in front of your face. But as soon as the bar clears your head, shift your torso forward so that the bar is DIRECTLY over your head. It almost resembles a bobbing-forward motion. This is a key point that a lot of people miss with the shoulder press. If you keep leaning back, it keep tension on the front delts and takes it off the rear delts.Lower the weight slowly back to your chest then press again. Keep going until you can’t get the weight past the sticking point. Try and get it past the sticking point, though! We want to be sure you’re right at the limit.

When you’re done, set the bar back on the safety rails. And here’s the trick that’s going to set your shoulders on fire…keeping your hands locked onto the bar, drop down onto your knees under the bar. Now keep pressing in the partial top range of motion of the press!

 

two-phase-shoulder-press5

Because the bar is now ABOVE the sticking point, your shoulders have better leverage and can continue with the exercise! Do as many reps as you can until you can’t even budge the bar. I prefer to set the weight down on the rails in between reps here but you can keep a continuous movement, if you want. Do it whichever way feels best to you.

By exploiting the top range of motion after fatiguing the muscles in the full range of motion, you’re going to finally be working the shoulders with FULL resistance in the whole range of motion.

When you’re done, stand up. Your shoulders will be swelling up any second now!

As I mentioned previously, there IS a way to perform this technique without a power rack.

First, perform the barbell shoulder press, just like above. Now, instead of doing reps until you can’t get past the sticking point, you’re going to have to stop a rep or two SHORT of that point of failure.

Basically, you’re going to have to complete that last rep to the TOP. When you’re at the top, now lower the bar only halfway down (just above where your sticking point normally is) then press it back up to the top.

Keep doing reps in this shortened range of motion until you can’t hold the bar up anymore!

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

 

 

10.17mercury

In preparation for swine-flu vaccinations next month, the state of Washington’s Health Department has temporarily suspended a rule that limits the amount of a mercury preservative in vaccines given to pregnant women and children under the age of 3.

Thimerosal has been eliminated from most vaccines in the United States, and the compound may  be linked to autism. But it will be added to the bulk of swine-flu vaccines.

Thimerosal will be added to the vaccine because it is being produced in vials that contain enough medication for 10 shots. The mercury compound kills bacteria, lowering the risk that the drug will be contaminated by needles used to withdraw separate doses.

A smaller amount of mercury-free vaccine will be produced in single-dose vials. Nasal sprays do not contain mercury but are not recommended for children under the age of 2 and pregnant women, because they contain live, weakened virus.

Five biopharmaceutical companies have been awarded massive contracts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for development and production of more than 195 million doses of swine flu vaccine.

The companies — Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, Australian drug maker CSL, and Sanofi-Pasteur — will likely make a great deal of money.

Drug companies have sold $1.5 billion worth of swine flu shots, in addition to the $1 billion for seasonal flu they booked earlier this year.

These inoculations are part of a much wider and rapidly growing $20 billion global vaccine market.

“The vaccine market is booming,” says Bruce Carlson, spokesperson at market research firm Kalorama, which publishes an annual survey of the vaccine industry. “It’s an enormous growth area for pharmaceuticals at a time when other areas are not doing so well,” he says, noting that the pipeline for more traditional blockbuster drugs such as Lipitor and Nexium has thinned.

As always with pandemic flus, taxpayers are footing the $1.5 billion check for the 250 million swine flu vaccines that the government has ordered so far and will be distributing free to doctors, pharmacies and schools. In addition, Congress has set aside more than $10 billion this year to research flu viruses, monitor H1N1’s progress and educate the public about prevention.

Drugmakers pocket most of the revenues from flu sales, with Sanofi-Pasteur, Glaxo Smith Kline and Novartis cornering most of the market.

But some say it’s not just drugmakers who stand to benefit. Doctors collect copayments for special office visits to inject shots, and there have been assertions that these doctors actually profit handsomely from these vaccinations.

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and think twice about the vaccination!)

Chris

By Charles Staley

There’s a very eloquent formula for determining success in any sporting endeavor:

Productivity = Potential — Losses Due to Faulty Process

As an athlete, there’s nothing you can do about your genetic inheritance, but there’s always room for improvement when it comes to your training methods. Particularly, it’s important to identify and correct the most significant error you’re making, because resolving this error has the most potential to improve your athletic performance.

Golfers are a strength coach’s dream, because few of them utilize resistance training. In such cases, a carefully supervised 8-10 week strength training program frequently results in well over a 100 percent strength increase. This increase creates a strength “reserve,” which quickly improves both power, accuracy, and endurance.

During a golf swing, it takes a certain amount of muscular strength to overcome the external resistance of the golf club (this strength is provided primarily by the legs, hips, and rotator muscles of the torso). The stronger you are, the more strength that is left in reserve, and the more you’ll be able to accelerate the club, swing after swing, without exhausting yourself over 18 holes.

For novice golfers, skill practice sessions are sufficient for developing sportspecific strength. But as technical ability improves, the need for supplementary strength training increases accordingly. One interesting phenomenon in golf is that younger players ignore the conditioning element of their preparation, but it often takes years, even decades to develop technical proficiency. So, a golfer may be well over 40 years old by the time he or she has developed a high level of technical expertise, but by this time, physical conditioning has become an issue.


Resistance Training Technology on a Scale of “Good, Better, Best”

While health clubs and equipment manufacturers will tell you otherwise, resistance training machines are not the “best” form of strength training technology, especially for golfers. While they definitely have their place, machines tend to restrict movement to a single plane, which means that the strength developed will not transfer well to an activity like golf, which is multiplanar. Machines also use “variable resistance” technology, so that the machine supposedly matches the muscle’s force curve. But most credible research casts doubts on the effectiveness of this concept. Finally, machines normally restrict the movement to a single joint for the purpose of “isolating” the muscle being worked, but golf is not an activity which requires isolated movements! The object of strength training for golf is to train movement, not muscles.

While “constant resistance” devices such as barbells and dumbbells are superior to machines, they nonetheless have their disadvantages as well. Let’s use the bench press as an example: you lower the bar to your chest, and then ram it to arms length. You assume you’re moving explosively, but as your arms reach extension, the antagonists (latissimus, biceps, rhomboids, and medial trapezious) begin to contract in an effort to decelerate the bar before it leaves your hands. It’s simply a protective mechanism.

Contrast this with your objective, which is to accelerate the bar, and you begin to see the problem. There are ways to address this inherent disadvantage of constant and variable resistance training, however.


Strengthening the Stabilizers

Stabilizers are muscles which anchor or immobilize one part of the body, allowing another part (usually the limbs) to exert force. The most significant stabilizers are those of the trunk— the abdominals and trunk extensors. If the motor cortex detects that it can’t stabilize the force provided by the prime movers, it simply won’t allow the prime movers to contract with full force. Stabilizers are best strengthened through exercises conducted in an unstable environment, such as on a “physio-ball” (those heavy-duty “beach balls” you might have noticed in your local health club), or movements performed with medicine balls.

If you’ve never seriously considered adopting a serious strength training program to improve your golf game, perhaps it’s time to reconsider. Don’t let stereotypical notions of strength training prevent you from taking advantage of this important conditioning element!


SIDEBAR: Strength Training Suggestions for Golfers

1) Seek professional guidance from a sports conditioning professional. Certified personal trainers who have significant experience working with athletes may also be a good option.

2) Initially, expect a slight decline in your game as your body begins to adapt to the additional training loads. After a handful of weeks, your game should climb back up to, and surpass previous levels. For this reason, don’t start a strength training program for the first time if you have important tournaments pending.

3) Expect to spend between 1 and 3 hours a week on your strength training program. The emphasis should be on leg and abdominal musculature.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

brain-763982-1
By Rob Huntley, AHJ Editor
As you get older, you might expect one of the “symptoms” of aging to be memory loss. You might chalk this up to the aging process and figure there’s nothing you can really do about it. But guess what? There is something that you can do to prevent memory loss and even improve your memory: cutting down on calorie consumption. Keep reading to find out the most recent details of research on diet and memory. 


According to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PSNAS), a study was performed on 50 people of the average age of 60. They were divided into three groups: one group reduced their calorie intake by 30 percent, another group on a diet filled with unsaturated fat (such as that which is found in fish and olive oil) and a third group that just continued with their everyday diet.  

Before the study, all of the participants scored the same on a memory test. After three months into the study, those who were on the restricted diet scored 20 percent higher when it came to the memory test than those who were in the other groups (whose memory did not improve at all). 

It was discovered that the group on the restricted calorie diet had better scores that were in conjunction with decreases of insulin and C-reactive proteins.  

Although the study was a relatively low when it came to numbers, it concluded that cutting back 30 percent on calorie intake can have an improvement in memory, due to the metabolic changes that result from the decreased amount of calories. The medical community is working on a drug that will mimic the same effects of calorie reduction. Drugs have been tested on mice and have shown benefits when it comes to calorie restrictions but the memory impact on the mice have not yet been studied.  

According to Anthony Komaroff, MD, the editor in chief of the Harvard Health Letter, severe calorie restrictions may not be possible for some people, although there are those who are sticking with this plan in order to improve their memories. Komaroff hopes that a medication can be created to help give the brain the signal of fewer calories that will help improve memory in older individuals.  

As you get older, you need fewer calories because your metabolism naturally slows down. However, many people do not take in fewer calories because they are used to a certain diet. While it may be difficult to adjust your calorie consumption, it can have other positive health benefits in addition to improved memory. Calorie reduction can limit obesity, decrease the risk for heart disease and also decrease the risk for diabetes, a common disease associated with obesity and often related to age.

Of course, before cutting a drastic amount of calories from your diet, you should consult your doctor or other healthcare provider to weigh the risks and benefits of doing so.
Get Strong!Stay Strong!
Chris