Posts Tagged ‘weight lifting’

 

 

 

 

Im jacked only 6 more days! Not that the program is all that bad, but I am “jonesing” for pizza and a good cup of coffee. Energy still is high and my body feels great.
Here is a simple and delicious recipe (credit to M. Saiia)I ate over the weekend.   I put some diced or shredded chicken in a pan w/ cut up potatoes, red and yellow peppers and added a container of Aldi’s southwestern salsa ( yes Aldi’s, it some of the best store bought salsa ive ever eaten).  Let it simmer and then chowed!  Tastey and very hearty!  Since im able to eat chicken now it made a great addition to the meal.

Todays workout:

Supersets (of course)          1 arm dumbbell squat to hi pull 8x L and R w/ Cable pull overs laying on incline bench x 12   (3 sets)

Floor Bench x 6 (see previous post on benefits for floor bench) w/ 2 kettlebell front squats x 8  (3 sets)

Close grip bench x 8 w/ barbell bicep curls x 10  (3 sets)

Fast and effective!      45 – 60  minutes and 447 calories.  Dont forget its the calories burned during recovery that is actually more impressive.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris


Feeling very good. 2 days and can add the chicken and fish into the mix. Started green food supplements today which are a great source of vitamins, minerals antioxidants and actually protein. Still knocking down the fruits and veggies only w/ 3 SP Complete shakes per day and plenty of water.
Im in the groove now! Getting creative w/ my fruits and veggies. Blender and frozen fruit for smoothies at work is awesome!
Still loving the sweet potatoes w/ 1/2 cup brown rice and some cinnamon as my staple. Put together artichoke hearts, red onion, blk olives and red peppers w/ a bit of balsalmic vinegarette as tasty dish.
Todays workout consisted of :
Superset : 1.) DB clean to overhead press 8x each arm w/ squat thrust jump pull ups x 10 for 3 sets
2.) Barbel forward press alt x 20 w/ Single leg deadlift w/ 2 KB 10x each leg for 3 sets
Finished off w/ couple sets standing calve raises and called it a day
Followed that off w/ monster smoothie w/ protein, frozen fruit and cleanse powder then hit the showers.
Had great energy today w/ workout
Energy throughout purificaton has been very high. Maintaining weight give or take a pound or two.

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By Patrick Ward, MS, CSCS

Lets face it – strength athletes are animals! They train. They train hard. And they leave it all on the table! Some of the best workouts I’ve been a part of took place in a garage in suburban America where we were flipping tires, performing Olympic lifts and heavy deadlifts and pretty much going balls to the wall. While the strength athletes are certainly gung-ho about their workout, often the most overlooked component to their entire training plan is the recovery and regeneration. “That stuff is for sissies!” “If I’m not pushing max weights, I’m not making progress!” These two dogmas couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, with some proper planning and attention to recovery, strength athletes could potentially make the gains that have eluded them for the past few years. In addition, it’s important to remember that in the gym we tear down tissue. We grow and get stronger when we rest and allow our body to adapt to the training stresses we have just imposed on it. If we never give it time to adapt and get stronger, then we’re constantly in a phase of breaking down, and that certainly will catch up to us in time. I have outlined five recovery strategies that can be beneficial to all athletes (not just strength athletes) and instrumental in avoiding overtraining, potentially preventing injury and setting you up for continued progress in the weight room.

1) Unload Give yourself a break some times! Yes, progressive overload is important to making gains. But, backing off and giving your nervous system a break is also important. You can’t max out every day (and probably not every week even…at least not for any considerable amount of time) as you will likely hit the wall sooner rather than later. Unloading could be accomplished in a variety of ways. It could be just lowering the intensity (the amount of load lifted in relation to your 1RM for a given lift) for a week.

For example, if you are squatting 4 sets x 5 reps @ 87%, the following week you could unload the intensity by performing 4 sets x 5 reps @ 75%.

It could be in the form of lowering the volume. So, if you are working on squatting 4 sets x 5 reps @ 87%, next week you could unload by performing 5 sets x 2 reps at 87% before ramping back up. Or, it could be in the form of just taking a few days off and maybe partaking in some active rest (an easy walk, riding the bike, etc).

Whatever you choose, allowing yourself to back off a little bit not only helps the nervous system recover from all the heavy/intense training, but it also gives the joints and tendons some time to recover, since going heavy too frequently can lead to a lot of aches and pains.

An easy way to set up time for unloading is to use a 4-week schedule. Week number four is always going to be your unload week before starting to work the intensity back up or changing the training focus (IE, from strength emphasis to power emphasis) in the next 4-week wave. The 4-week wave also fits nicely into a month training plan, which is why I like it. While there are many ways to incorporate unloading into your program (and some of this will be dictated by your sport and the amount of time you have to prepare for competition), here are two generic examples to give you an idea:

Example 1 High Volume Moderate Volume Very High Volume Unload Exercise Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Bench press 4×5 3×5 6×5 2×5 Chin ups 3×8 2×8 4×8 2×8 (decrease load or use body weight if you typically use extra weight for work sets)

Example 2: Base week Moderate Intensity High Intensity Unload Exercise Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Bench press 3×5@80% 4×5@82% 6×3 start at 85% and work up to a max over 6 sets 2×8@70% Chin ups 3×8 3×5 5×5 2×8 (decrease load or use body weight if you typically use extra weight for work sets)

2) Nutrition Around The Workout   What you eat is critical to what you get as a return on your training investment. Making sure you’re getting quality calories is important to ensure that your body is fueled up for the next training bout. Incorporating a post-workout shake or meal is also important to help replenish muscle glycogen (stored energy) that was burned during your workout and to start repairing damaged tissue (protein synthesis). This year I had the opportunity to attend the NSCA’s 31st National Conference. Joel Cramer PhD, Jeff Stout PhD, and Joseph Weir PhD gave a three-part talk on Nutritional Supplementation Before, During and After Resistance Training. They really drove home the point that we need to be on top of our supplementation around workout time. One thing that they talked a lot about was the potential for protein synthesis to be maximally stimulated by increasing amino acid delivery to the muscles at the time when blood flow is increased (which is just prior to and during our workout). After presenting the research, Jeff Stout concluded that, “consuming carbohydrate and protein pre-, during and post-resistance training can significantly reduce muscle damage. By reducing muscle damage, athletes should be able to increase speed of recovery, and allow for them to participate in the next high-intensity exercise sooner.” A simple way to put this into practice is to bring a shake to the gym that you can sip on just before and during your workout. Sometimes, because of how whey protein is, it is not the best texture to sip on during training. If this is the case for you, there are a number of Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) products out there which have a much more manageable texture and taste for prior and during the workout (some of them taste a lot like Gatorade).

3) Paying Attention To Things That Hurt   The five worst words in the English language are “maybe it will go away.” If something hurts, it means that something is wrong. Figure out what that something is and correct it before it turns into a bigger problem. Oftentimes, little, nagging problems can be fixed by incorporating some stretching and corrective exercise into your daily routine. This doesn’t mean you have to join a yoga class or stop lifting heavy and pick up five pound dumbbells and wave them around like an idiot on one leg. But, it does mean that you need to be aware of what is going on with your body and know what to do to fix it. Corrective exercise and stretching are not stressful on the system and can help with your recovery and regeneration. Perform some of the corrective exercises prior to your lifting, as part of your overall general warm-up and perform stretches post-workout once the muscles are warm. As well, since they are not stressful, you can perform the corrective exercise and stretches on off days. In fact, this is recommended, as it will help make the effects of these modalities more long-lasting. Performing some flexibility and mobility work on off days can be a great way to get active rest and keep the body healthy.

4) Low-Activity Exercise To Help Recovery   Obviously I am not talking about preparing for a marathon here. While it is understood that training for maximal strength and performing high amounts of endurance work are not compatible, the strength athlete can gain some benefit from some low activity exercise on off days. By low activity exercise, I mean some brisk walking or riding a bike, or as Louie Simmons used to propose – sled dragging to raise General Physical Preparedness (GPP). Whatever method you choose, the goal should be to get the heart rate up a little bit, which helps to get some blood flowing to the muscles and helps to remove some waste and by-products built up from training. It also raises your work capacity, which can be extremely important as the higher your work capacity, the greater amount of training volume you will be able to handle in the weight room. I like to perform this type of work after a heavy leg day to help get blood move through my lower body and help decrease some of the soreness/stiffness that I may be feeling. In addition to the recovery benefits (and the general health benefits to performing some cardiovascular work), this can also be helpful for strength athletes who need to burn extra calories in order to make weight for a competition – although you really need to focus on your diet for that, as doing too much cardiovascular activity can prevent further strength gains. While many people use interval training for fat loss (which I am a big fan of), sometimes a lot of interval work can be taxing on the lower body – which can be detrimental to progress for a strength athlete who is training their lower body heavy (usually 2x’s a week to boot) and dieting down to get to a certain weight class. Throwing a few days a week of interval training on top of that could be a recipe for trouble.

5) Soft-Tissue Work   Self-care is very important for everyone, not just strength athletes. Working on your soft tissue can be helpful in preventing trigger points and myofascial pain. A lot of the nagging injuries we sustain can be combated with a consistent dose of good soft tissue work as it keeps the tissues healthy, pliable, and gel-like. Finding a good therapist and getting work done (even if it is just once a month) can be exceptional. It doesn’t matter what type of therapist you go to, (NMT, ART, MFR, etc.) – the treatment is only as good as the person giving it. And in reality, all of the above have a lot of similarities. The letters are mainly just nice marketing. A foam roller and/or a tennis ball are great tools to use for self-care when you can’t get to a skilled therapist. Roll on either of these and locate tight, tender, or sensitive bands of tissue within our muscles, then maintain pressure on those bands for a short period of time before moving onto the next area of congestion. This can help break apart fascial adhesions and/or trigger points which have formed in areas of stress within the muscle. I wrote a more comprehensive article, Trigger Point 101, on this subject which is worth reading if you are interested in learning more: http://optimumsportsperformance.com/blog/?p=161

Conclusion   There are many other techniques that can be used to help aid in recovery between training bouts, but hopefully these five tips give you some ideas to play with. Taking care of your body should be the goal of any great program. If you are strong, but you are always in pain – then your training is all for naught and the break-downs will eventually catch up to you. Understanding what you can do to help keep your joints and connective tissue healthy and keep your nervous system firing on all cylinders will not only assist you in making continued progress, but will also ensure that you can do it for a long time to come.

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and recover properly!)

Chris

By Sean Barker
Author of The Dad Fitness System

Old habits are hard to break. But if you keep doing these 5 old school exercises you will be breaking more than old habits.


1. Leg Extensions

Unfortunately this exercise seems to be the extent of most guys leg training. Probably because sitting down and pumping out reps of quad extensions are a lot easier than squatting down with hundreds of pounds on your back.

Despite the “burn” you may feel from your upper thighs when performing this exercise, it is not a very efficient leg exercise as it only isolates the muscles above the knee. The only time this exercise has much benefit is in a rehab setting where these muscles directly surrounding the knee need to be developed for stability and strength. Otherwise opt for any variation of the free-range squat.


2. Behind the Neck Pulldowns

This is another exercise that I still see people doing in the gym. I cringe every time I see someone take a wide grip on the angled ends of the pulldown bar and starting pulling it down behind their neck. The angled ends of the bar are an outdated design and are not where you should be gripping the bar.

This puts your shoulders and rotator cuffs in a very vulnerable position. Putting most of the stress on the shoulders and limiting range of motion away from the back muscles this exercise should be crossed off your list. Work on being able to do bodyweight chin-ups instead or at least pulldowns to the front.


3. Behind the Neck Shoulder Press

Similar to the behind the neck pulldown, the behind the neck barbell shoulder press places your shoulder in a delicate position. It is basically the same movement but by adding additional weight to the bar and pushing up in the vertical plan you are putting your rotator cuffs at an even greater risk of injury.

With the extra weight you can pile on the bar with this exercise, trying to even unrack the bar will soon send your shoulders screaming in pain. Switch to the safer option; the front barbell shoulder press.


4. Concentration Curls

Probably the most popular bicep exercise for beginners wanting to “get the pump” and get Arnold-like biceps. It’s too bad a lot of experienced trainers still waste their time on this exercise. No matter how many reps of concentration curls you do, you won’t get that bicep peak like the Terminator, as muscle SHAPE is genetically determined.

Muscle SIZE on the other hand can be increased through basic movements that allow a heavy weight while use many muscles instead of isolating one smaller muscle. Standing barbell or dumbbells curls are a better choice for bicep development, but better again are close grip chin-ups, which put a lot of stress on the upper arms while working many other muscles.


5. Crunches

If would be nice if all you had to do to get that ripped six pack would be to lie on the floor and pump out hundreds of reps of back breaking crunches. Despite what the infomercials want you to believe, this is NOT true! You wouldn’t build your biceps by doing 100 reps with no weight, so why would you think you would develop your abdominals by doing 100 crunches or more? Your abdominals primary purpose is to actually stabilize your spine and to keep your torso from twisting in half under times of physical stress, not lift your neck off the floor.

Overall, the best exercises for your abs are exercises that allow your body to use your core the way it was meant to be used: for stability and support. Bodyweight planks, and compound exercises like squats and overhead presses will work your abs better than any crunch will ever do. Combined with a clean diet you might just see those abs looking back at you in the mirror.

OK quiz time. Do you see a trend with these 5 exercises?

They all involve sitting down, (which we are all experts at already) and they work only a small section of muscle, allowing you to pump out endless reps without much effort.

For you busy guys who want to get the most out of your workouts, stop wasting your valuable time on these old school exercises that break your body down instead of building it up.

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and lift smart!)

Chris

Great, but challenging workout.  If your beginning modify the workout by decreasing the reps and progressively work up to the desired reps.  This is sure to get you looking great and feeling great!

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

                                                                                                 

This was an excerpt from Charles Staleys’s “The Unatural Athlete.”  Some good sound advice!

1.  Don’t lift weights alone. Accidents can be avoided when a training partner is there to help. 

Bench pressing is particularly dangerous — many have died after becoming trapped under a 

weight they couldn’t lift back up. If you must bench alone, use dumbbells or a machine press. 

2.  Don’t lift weights unless you know what you’re doing. Seek qualified supervision so that you can 

get the most out of your training efforts, and stay safe in the process. 

3.  Don’t lift heavier than what your program calls for. Doing maximum-effort lifts (for any number 

of reps) can be dangerous, are not necessary, and have little place in most athlete’s training 

programs, except for occasional tests of maximum strength. As a general rule of thumb, leave 

2-4 reps to spare on every set. 

4.  Don’t training with weights right before skill training. Fatigue resulting from the weights will 

hamper your efforts at acquiring/improving skill, so do your skill training on days when no skill 

training is taking place. 

5.  Don’t train your legs with weights before running or jumping rope. Tired leg muscles (from 

squatting and other leg exercises) mean that your hip and knee joints are not as protected, and 

these activities create too much shock and jarring of these joints. 

6.  Don’t neglect to use safety equipment. Locking collars, proper training attire, solidly built 

equipment, and adequate space are all-important for accident-free training. 

7.  Don’t leave weights scattered on the floor or leaning against the walls or equipment. The single 

biggest cause of gym injuries is failure to put weights back on their storage racks. Keep a neat & 

tidy gym to avoid injuries. 

8.  Take a moment to make eye contact with anyone else lifting nearby before heavy lifts that 

require your total concentration (such as squats, power cleans, or deadlights). Doing so will let 

them know to stay at a distance so that you can concentrate on lifting, rather than whether or 

not someone is going to “walk into you” during a heavy set. This sort of thing happens more 

often than you think, especially in commercial gyms. 

9.  Don’t neglect any part of your body. Your training program should address every major muscle 

group so that a solid foundation can be developed. A neglected muscle means that you will have a weakness.  A recipe for injury.

10.  Don’t try to unload a bar one end at a time. Taking weights off the bar on one side only causes the 

other side to become unbalanced and fall (or more often, catapult) from the rack — sometimes 

with great speed and force. Be safe and unload plates from the bar by alternating ends.

One thing is for sure, you will age, but that doesn’t mean you should go “quietly.” It is widely known that exercise and diet can significantly slow the effects of aging. The problem is that many don’t follow this. Over the years it slowly creeps up on you. The pounds start accumulating, the muscles get weaker, the joints get stiffer and before you know it you are out of shape! This is often the reason why injuries and pain arise. Years of neglecting your body, the aging effect and continuing to do the same things expecting different results. Many people take better care of their pets or cars than the most valuable thing you have—your body (and mind)! One of the best things you can do is resistance train and eat sensibly. Resistance training helps to offset the loss of lean body muscle that natural decreases with aging. Loss of strength is associated with decreased function, increased risk of falling and injury. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights either (obviously progress to heavier weights). That means you too ladies! Don’t worry you won’t get big! You can’t, you don’t have the hormones. Anyway, studies done by the University of Miami have shown that at about the age of 50 our muscles (especially the Type II strength and power fibers) significantly begin to atrophy and if not properly stimulated will eventually become innervated by the Type I, endurance fibers, so not only do you get weaker but also slower! This then is irreversible. Scary huh? Other studies have reported that men and women lose muscle and bone mass as they age beginning at age 30. This can be off set through resistance training. Keeping your muscles functionally strong helps to decrease the aging effect, improves our ability to absorb shock, control motion, stimulate bone growth, and ultimately lead a more productive, independent and injury free life. Research has shown that it is important to lift weights at the right intensity to stimulate the Type II fibers. Light weights at higher reps are not the answer. Developing functional strength is more important for health and fitness in older adults than developing isolated muscle groups. Train movement not muscles. Don’t wait, get out there and get “fighting”! After all, aren’t you worth it? Make sure you seek qualified assistance to get you started on the right track.

Good luck and don’t stop!

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris