Dave Castro on … Enhancing Performance...

In this Web exclusive, the director of CrossFit’s Training Department (and the man behind the Games) discusses the use of performance-enhancing drugs in CrossFit. – See more at: http://www.theboxmag.com/article/dave-castro-enhancing-performance-10146#sthash.sDZSYCKv.yshIB3pM.dpuf What is CrossFit doing regarding performance-enhancing drugs? We test a lot. We test everyone who qualifies for the Games from the Regionals. Every athlete at the Games is tested, including the teams, as soon as Regionals are over. And then we have a list of 10 to 20 people who we randomly pick to test throughout the whole year. Rich Froning and Jason Khalipa were on that list and last year they were tested probably 15 times. And it’s completely random. They’re called up or they’re told to be home at a certain time and someone drives out there and tests them. Right now, I don’t think anyone who’s winning is cheating. I guarantee you there are thousands of people who tried to get to the Regionals that are using steroids. Yeah, there are probably people at my skill level who are using steroids to do a little bit better and it doesn’t matter. There are people who are using steroids, trying to get stronger, trying to get an edge, who aren’t even qualifying for the Regionals. And then I imagine there are a few people at Regionals somewhere in the field who are using steroids who we’re not catching, but they’re not the ones qualifying. The ones who are good enough to get there are getting tested and are not using steroids. Are there any of them who are potentially working with companies like BALCO or some of these organizations that have designer drugs and stuff that we’re not able to test for yet? Potentially, but I don’t think we’re there yet. I think...

The Weightlifter’s Journey...

The Weightlifter’s Journey Part 1: The Best Way to Get Started w/ the Olympic Lifts – EP...

Overcoming Injury Jun22

Overcoming Injury

I’ve watched my injury video hundreds of times at this point, and every single time, I find my mind trying to undo the events that happened January 26, 2014. I remember everything so clearly about that morning: my breakfast, the drive to the Expo, thinking that “even though my body was tired I’d give it my all” (remember this point for later), I remember seeing all the excited lifters and fans. I mostly remember being happy. Things didn’t work out in my favor that day, or really, for a lot of days after, but that’s part of life. It doesn’t “kick you when you are down,” or “pick on you.” Life happens. Period. What you do with those circumstances is entirely independent to you, your willingness to work through problems you face, and more so, a willingness to accept that in almost every scenario, the choices YOU make impact your life. I’m not going go on a tangent, but it’s one of those “if you hate your job, change it” kind of mentalities I’m talking about. Accepting an injury is just like that; you can’t undo it. You can wallow in self pity, or you can be proactive and research, work, and contact anyone and everyone possible to guide you in the steps to not only come back from the injury, but come back better. Now, before some jackass points out that not all injuries are able to be overcome, there are certainly steps to be taken that can ensure no matter how minor or traumatic the injury, you come back the best you possibly can. I’m going to list some ideas that have helped me, and also share some pitfalls. I hope you take the time to understand that I’m not perfect, and my...

Understanding Your Central Nervous System Jun20

Understanding Your Central Nervous System...

There are many factors that go into the equation regarding strength and conditioning, along with a physical therapy plan of care. The key to solving this equation is your central nervous system (CNS) and understanding your own unique recovery needs. Throughout this post, I will discuss some of the science behind CNS fatigue and overtraining, along with a number of factors behind understanding your own nervous system.   Many of the patients I treat as a physical therapist are involved in high intensity training like CrossFit or are firefighters and police men and women who put their lives on the line each and every day. These realms are so diverse. With increased diversity comes greater demand of the CNS since there is greater adaptation required. These individuals are similar in many ways including the constant change of job and environment related stressors like training programs, inconsistent sleep patterns, poor diet, and psychological challenges. However, each group still requires their own unique recovery needs.   These types of individuals are usually Type A or highly active most days of the week (either due to training schedule, job requirements, or both). What I try to convey to these patients is the understanding that unless you are properly recovered, training over and over again only slows down the whole strength gaining process. People come to me complaining, or boasting sometimes, about training heavy complex movement patterns day after day with some of these training sessions occurring less than 12 hours a part. They wonder why they are getting hurt or not making any progress. The answer resides within a complex interaction between our brain and body.   Many of us also forget that there are other stress influences in our lives other than exercise (money, kids, lack...

UNCOMMON & UNSTOPPABLE: CHANNELING THE FOUR ATTITUDES OF GRIT AND GRACE Jun16

UNCOMMON & UNSTOPPABLE: CHANNELING THE FOUR ATTITUDES OF GRIT AND GRACE...

This blog series has been about developing emotional resiliency—the internal firepower that instantly pops you back up to your feet no matter how many times you get knocked down. We have explored emotional awareness, how to detect and transmute negative emotional energy into a positive correlate, and discussed at length the four demons of anger, anxiety, arrogance and absence of self-respect. I would like to close out this series of articles by discussing the four positive attitudes of grit. Grit is like a metallurgical alloy combining emotional resiliency and emotional strength, the rarest of metals that U.S. Navy research identified as the defining quality between the .04% who are the last men standing in the graduation of a BUD/S class. If you have a burning desire live an uncommon life, the four attitudes of grit are mission critical. Burn these four traits into your character and you will find grace in the most trying of circumstances.   The Four Attitudes of Grit Self-esteem. This is the first attitude of grit. Self-esteem is the emotional state of feeling worthy and respected by others, the polar opposite of the fourth demon mentioned in the last post. As discussed, low self-esteem can originate from early traumatic experiences like childhood abandonment and similar volatile environments where your voice is not heard. Or it can be an unfortunate case of outright abuse. In any case this needs to be tackled head on and replaced with a healthy sense of self that will provide a foundation for internal resiliency. With this foundation secured, the inevitable blows of life will simply roll off of you because you will find your internal sense of worth unaffected. The stoic within comes to the battle, turning adversity into opportunity and challenges into learning. The...

Losing Weight with Derek Weida...

https://www.facebook.com/derekweida/videos/911705428888433/ Goooood Morning!! Losing weight: It’s really not as complicated as the world tries to make it. Honestly, it’s just simple smart decisions you make everyday and over time you’ll see the results of your hard work. Here are my couple simple...

What are the most important factors in designing effective strength programs? Jun11

What are the most important factors in designing effective strength programs?...

How to Lift Forever: 5 Mandatory Exercises Jun04

How to Lift Forever: 5 Mandatory Exercises...

Here’s what you need to know… Do face-pulls to correct your posture and keep yourself from hunching over. Use the rear-foot elevated split squat to strengthen the lower body and jack up the load without harming your spine. Program loaded carries into your training with progressive overload. They’ll strengthen the entire body including the core, shoulders, and hips. The glute bridge won’t just make your butt look better, it’ll also protect the lower spine. Squats and deadlifts don’t have to be done with a barbell in order to be effective. Add these movements into your regimen for training longevity. How to Lift Forever Love lifting? Love playing sports? Then you need to make certain exercises a priority in your training to prevent injury and insure lifelong orthopedic health. Why? Partly because your posture sucks. You sit a lot and you stare at a lot of screens. The exercises below will straighten you out. The second problem is the ratio of pulling to pushing exercises. Generally speaking, most lifters push more than they pull, leading to a host of potential problems down the road. So the first step is to get your training program rebalanced. To do this, use a 2:1 ratio of pulling to pushing exercises. Once that’s taken care of, use these exercises to keep you in the gym and out of my office for the long haul. Exercise #1: Face Pull The face pull may be the most versatile loaded training tool in our arsenal for remediating poor shoulder and thoracic positioning. It provides the exact opposite movements that we’re continuously pulled into on a daily basis. This movement incorporates humeral horizontal abduction and external rotation of the shoulder and retracts the shoulder blades – all helping combat the hunched over, constantly...

How Long Does It Take To Get Strong with Silent Mike Jun04

How Long Does It Take To Get Strong with Silent Mike...

I am here to spread positivity, please do the same. I answer all your questions from instagram @SilentMikke and comments below. If you like the video please subscribe, share and like. Also make sure to checkout Mark Bells powercast on...

How To Bench Press, with Eric Spoto May29

How To Bench Press, with Eric Spoto...

Eric Spoto, holder of the heaviest raw bench press of all time (722 lbs), takes Mark Bell and Silent Mike through a step-by-step tutorial on the bench press, and answers some common questions. Filmed at Super Training Gym, Sacramento, CA on May 1, 2015 [Visit Eric’s website]...

Barbell Brigade Q&A May29

Barbell Brigade Q&A...

Mark Bell and Silent Mike answer questions at the Barbell Brigade Intensity...

Stop Doing Box Jumps Like A Jackass May22

Stop Doing Box Jumps Like A Jackass...

Here’s what you need to know… Box jumps potentiate the nervous system for gains in strength and size, assuming you do them correctly. If you’re not getting full hip extension, you’re wasting your time. Those young geeks you see doing 50-inch box jumps just have fantastic hip flexibility rather than great jumping ability and explosive power. Quality is more important than quantity. Maximize the hip extension and land with sound technique. Perform box jumps as a potentiating exercise before you lift, not as a conditioning tool. Get Faster, Get Stronger No one cares how strong you are if the speed at which you produce force is best described as glacial. You need speed to bring your strength to new levels and the quickest way to get explosive is with the box jump. Jumps are an awesome display of power, athleticism, and relative strength with directly applicable qualities to nearly every sport. And yes, they’ll get you more jacked, too. The problem is, they’re often over-prescribed and performed with atrocious form. Let’s fix that. Let’s examine the muscle and strength building benefits of box jumps, along with how to do them properly, and how to program them into your workouts for rapid gains in explosive power. The Benefits of Box Jumps Most of the impressive box jumps you see aren’t what they appear. That 14-year-old kid hitting a 50 inch-box jump is impressive, but it’s a product of a pretty good jump and fantastic hip mobility rather than pure explosive power. Related:  How to Train for Power Even worse than some of these phony-baloney jumps, people set themselves up for bloody shins, dangerous wipeouts, and faulty landing mechanics due to inappropriate prescriptions of jumps. Like every exercise, box jumps are a tool that must be...

8-Step Daily Routine for Hip Mobility May21

8-Step Daily Routine for Hip Mobility...

What you’re getting yourself into: 1300 words (4-6 minutes read time), plus a 6-minute video tutorial Key points ahead: Tight hips make everyday activities more difficult. Trying to force a stretch will just lead to more pain and stiffness. Don’t do it. Practicing these 8 exercises consistently now will mean less of a need to practice them later. Our hips and the muscles that surround them are the base for most of our movement. They propel us in walking and going up stairs, as well as supporting us in kneeling and squatting. And in pretty much all sporting activities, good hip strength and flexibility is one of the keys to good performance. Unfortunately, the necessities of daily life can make our hips less functional than we’d like. Sitting most of the day stiffens the hips and can make them weaker from prolonged positioning. This is not ideal for us, and not ideal for the workhorses of our body. It’s important to spend some time each day remedying the issues many of us have with tight, dysfunctional hips, which is why I created the stretching sequence I’ll describe below. The hips are an area that need a lot of consistent exercise to keep mobile and healthy. The following series of 8 stretching exercises hit the major muscles that are tight on most people. I originally designed this sequence a few years ago as a warm-up for myself before working on more strenuous lower body exercise and stretching, but I soon realized it’s a great mobility practice on its own and can help people to improve restrictions efficiently. Hip Flexibility Sequence for Lower Body Freedom of Movement In this video, Ryan will demonstrate each of the 8 stretches involved in this sequence. Below, I’ll describe each exercise in detail. The key to practicing...

Consciousness Technology & Plant Medicine Journey FAQ May21

Consciousness Technology & Plant Medicine Journey FAQ...

Utilizing the world’s ancient and modern technology to help figure things out, overcome fear, and elevate consciousness continues to be invaluable in my life. I have spent over 16 years exploring these methodologies, and finally feel comfortable sharing the specifics of my discoveries. While some of these technologies such as floatation, holotropic breathing, meditation, and yoga should be integrated into daily life and carry little to no caveat, medicine plant journeys have great potential only when mixed with the right intention, and the proper timing. They are not a panacea and everyone’s actual experience will be wildly different. Because of this reason, I am not recommending any medicine or location for you, personally. You have to trust your own voice of wisdom and calling to the task. There are many places that offer work with plant medicine, and while some of them are doing great work, others are not carrying the same integrity and can be dangerous. Below is the information I have to the best of my knowledge.  Remember, I cannot endorse or recommend anything specific for YOU.  These are the following centers I trust for myself. Huachuma (San Pedro) Huachuma is an inherently pleasant but very challenging medicine. The primary active ingredient is mescaline, but in the Huachuma preparation the whole plant is used in accordance with an ancient recipe from Chavin. It’s specialty as a teacher lies in spiritual growth through immediate experience, adherence with one’s mission, and healing psychological mal-alignments. For the detailed accounting of my personal experience with Huachuma, click here. There is only one place left in the world I am aware of that follows the ancient Chavin way of the medicine: The Spiritquest Sanctuary. About SpiritQuest Sanctuary The sanctuary itself is 200 protected acres in the lower...

The Sport Psychology of Goal Setting May20

The Sport Psychology of Goal Setting...

http://www.jtsstrength.com/articles/2015/05/06/the-sport-psychology-of-goal-setting/   You’ve gotta set goals and achieve them to become the best athlete you can be. Duh, everyone knows that. And you know what? It’s completely true. Goal-setting is an absolutely indispensable part of the sport training process. Goals can keep you both grounded and focused at the same time, which is one hell of a combo for enhancing your dedication to training and competing. The formal study of sport psychology reveals that there are several different classes or types of goals (three, in fact). And what’s even more interesting is that these three different goal types are not all equally powerful in their effect on sport performance. In fact, they are quite unequal, with one being dominant, the other being important but less so, and the last being a relatively minor detail. By taking a look at these three different goal types and examining their relative effects, we can make sure we’re setting and achieving the right types of goals for the best outcome in our sport performance, no matter which sport it is. Because of our (the authors’) own personal background, we’ll use mostly examples from strength and combat sports, but these principles apply to absolutely all sports and all forms of competition. THE THREE TYPES OF GOALS: In sport psychology, there are three types of goals: – Process Goals – Performance Goals – Outcome Goals Luckily, their definitions are quite simple and straightforward: PROCESS GOALS: These are the goals of executing the actual training process it takes to improve your performance in sport. Here are some examples: – Making it to the basketball court at least 5 times per week before a citywide 3 on 3 tournament – Taking all of your supplements without missing any for a bodybuilding show...

HOW TOXIC HOSTILITY IS KILLING US: YES, THIS IS RELEVANT TO YOU. SO READ IT May19

HOW TOXIC HOSTILITY IS KILLING US: YES, THIS IS RELEVANT TO YOU. SO READ IT...

http://tonygentilcore.com/2015/05/how-toxic-hostility-is-killing-us-yes-this-is-relevant-to-you-so-read-it/ I had the pleasure of attending the Boston Sports Medicine Performance Group (BSMPG) annual conference this past weekend at Northeastern University. First off: props to Art Horne for pulling off – yet again – another spectacular job organizing and hosting the event. You, sir, deserve this:   Second off: this is easily one of the more “high-level” events of the year on the fitness calendar, and I can’t speak highly enough to the caliber and quality of not only the speakers, but the attendees as well. Ever have that feeling you’re the dumbest person in the room? Well that was me this past Friday with guys like Bill Hartman, Charlie Weingroff, Pat Davidson, Eric Oetter, Dr. James Anderson, and the pencil sharpener located at the front of the room all under one roof. If you’ve never heard of the event, now you have…and I’d highly encourage you to try to make the trip to Boston next Spring. If you have heard of the event, and you’ve never made the trip, to you I say…….. Get it done next year. You won’t be disappointed. Okay, so, lets talk about stress. Why? Well, for starters it’s something that affects all of us in some form or another. And secondly, one of the keynote speakers this past weekend was the one and only Dr. Robert Sapolsky, author ofWhy Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. He’s one of the world’s foremost experts on stress (he wrote a book about it, duh.), and someone who’s done more research on the topic than pretty much everyone, ever. And he has an epic beard. Which means we should listen to him. Gandalf schmandalf The good doc spoke for around 90 minutes, but it felt like it was ten. It was all fascinating....

The New Approach to Training Volume May18

The New Approach to Training Volume...

Introduction For as long as I’ve been lifting, I’ve heard the recommendation that 1-5 reps is for building strength, 8-12 reps is for increasing muscle size, and 15-20 reps is for increasing muscular endurance. Several variations on this theme exist. The concepts of myofibrillar hypertrophy and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, usually used to explain strength and size differences between strength athletes and bodybuilders, say that the heavier weights build actual contractile proteins in muscles (myofibrillar hypertrophy), and higher rep ranges (8-12) create more of a focus on increasing sarcoplasm, or the fluid, in muscles. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, however, is completely unsupported by any sort of scientific literature (unless Supertraining counts as scientific literature or you count transient increases in fluid as hypertrophy), and strength differences are much more easily explained through other ideas the evidence actually supports. The American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations for hypertrophy are that novice trainees perform 8-12RM for 1-3 sets per body part, resting for 1-2 minutes and training 2-3 times/week; whereas, advanced trainees are directed to use 70%-100% of their 1RM for 3-6 sets, with varying rest periods depending on goals, and a 4-6 days/week frequency.(1) Strength training recommendations are similar. However, research over the last few years (and decades of successful methods seen in strength athletes and bodybuilders through time) has demonstrated that while these recommendations likely work, they are only a small part of the total picture. More recently, Fisher et al wrote a position stand that recommended maximal intensity of effort (lifting to momentary muscular failure) for each set, using a load and frequency that corresponds to the trainee’s goals, and performing a single set per exercise.(2) Finally, Brad Schoenfeld, my current favorite exercise researcher, published a meta-analysis (a paper that combines the results of multiple studies to...

The Effect Of Weed On Exercise May18

The Effect Of Weed On Exercise...

As marijuana becomes more mainstream, with seven states preparing for legalization (hot on the heels of my home state of Washington, and also Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C.), an increasing number of athletes, including triathlete Clifford Drusinsky (a future podcast guest) and what seems to be nearly the entirety of the UFC, are now turning to marijuana as a training aid for their running, swimming, cycling, lifting, fighting and more. Since pot has long been known to reduce discomfort, maximize stomach health, and improve mood, it’s no surprise to see marijuana legalization seemingly accompanied by a surge of use among both recreational and hardcore athletes who are facing multi-hour, grueling training regimens, and who are turning to versions of weed that don’t harm the lungs, such as vaporizing, edibles and pot-based energy bars (recipe coming later in this article), and oils (if you want to try 100% legal and highly absorbable CBD Oil Extract, use discount code BEN10 to get 10% off at BioCBD+). Some athletes swear by using marijuana or its isolated active ingredients, such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) as performance-enhancer drugs, saying these substances ease anxiety and increase pain threshold so that they can push themselves during workouts. Others say that smoking pot disintegrates their motivation to work out, and instead they find themselves munching Doritos while watching cartoons (a great way to decrease cortisol, but not an incredibly effective way to make big fitness gains). Though marijuana (cannabis sativa) is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the NCAA, its increasing legality has many wondering whether using marijuana will help or hinder our quests for optimum athletic performance and fat loss. Do THC, CBD, or other ingredients in marijuana enhance athletic performance on a molecular...

Calories In vs. Out: The Most Important Factor in Achieving Your Goals – Introduction to The Pyramid & Energy Balance May17

Calories In vs. Out: The Most Important Factor in Achieving Your Goals – Introduction to The Pyramid & Energy Balance...

The fitness industry is filled with people trying to convince us that the stuff that matters least, actually matters most. This comes down to the economics of the situation – that which matters most (food) is the hardest to sell and profit from, whereas there are huge sums to be made from overemphasising the importance or effects that supplements or training gadgets will have on people’s physiques. The truth is that there is a well-established order to the hierarchy of importance for our fat loss and muscle growth goals when setting up our diets. source: www.rippedbody.jp This means we can’t eat just ‘clean foods’ or ‘go gluten-free’ and ignore calories. We can’t supplement our way out of a bad diet, and we can’t use some special meal timing tricks to enable us to binge eat in the evenings. Sorry. It’s going to require a little work and is less appealing than believing things are some other way, but getting things right now will save you a lot of time, money and frustration in the long run. Today we’ll cover the calorie part of the nutrition puzzle. This is the exact set-up system that I have used and refined from work with clients over the last 4 years. Here’s what we’ll cover: How to choose appropriate fat loss targets based on your current body-fat percentage. How to set muscle gain targets based on your current training experience. How to calculate your energy intake for those targets defined above Why energy calculations are only a ‘best guess’ and need to be adjusted. How to adjust your calorie intake to get back on target if things don’t go as planned.   Fat Loss & Muscle Gain Fundamentals People generally have one of two goals – fat loss...

Gender Differences in Training and Metabolism May14

Gender Differences in Training and Metabolism...

Home » Gender Differences in Training and Metabolism Gender Differences in Training and Metabolism January 11, 2015 by Greg Nuckols 12 Comments What you’re getting yourself into: 2700 words, 8-12 minute read time Key Points 1. Most of the major differences in performance and metabolism between genders can be explained by size and body composition, not gender itself. 2. Of the true gender differences, the most important ones have to do with differences in sex hormones and fiber types. 3. Additionally, womens’ fat and muscle tissue is better equipped than mens’ for handling both carbs and fat. 4. All of these differences make women better metabolically suited for… just about everything related to health and performance except for short, intense bursts of activity that rely on glycolytic capacity. 5. If you prefer pictures to words, the highlights of this article are presented in an infographic at the bottom. It’s no secret that most strength, fitness, and nutrition content out there is by men, for men.  That’s shifting somewhat, but powerlifting, bodybuilding, and sports science have traditionally been, and still are, male-dominated pursuits. So, just for starters, how much of a difference IS there between men and women?  Or at least, how large are the physiological differences in major parameters that relate to strength and performance? Not very large at all. For starters, men and women are very metabolically similar, at least when looking at metabolic rate.  About 90% of daily energy expenditure can be explained by fat-free mass, fat mass, and activity level.  Women *do* tend to have slower metabolisms than men, but the difference is primarily a function of muscle mass and body size, not gender. In terms of muscle mass differences, women tend to have about 2/3 the muscle mass men do,...

Why The Dad Bod Is Worse Than Ebola...

Bro Science #72: stop the dad bod.

15 Tips to Unleash Your Athleticism May14

15 Tips to Unleash Your Athleticism...

15 Expert Tips to Unleash your Athleticism Lets be Clear:  Having muscle and strength isn’t enough—you must be able to move and generate force rapidly to stand above the average meathead. Who wants to be all show, no-go? Further more, what fun is having tons of endurance without appreciable muscle mass? If you’re like most lifters, you want demand a blend of both athleticism and muscle mass, and that’s what I’m here to deliver.  In today’s post, I’ll show you how to build a body capable of competing with the toughest athletes, yet still lean and muscular. I reached out to a handful of expert coaches in the industry to help you maximize your training and improve athletic performance. Not only will you maximize your training, you’ll build real world athleticism. In other words, these tips will help you become Unleash Your Athleticism, and become a beast both in, and out of the gym.  1) Value Relative Strength As much as Absolute Strength There are many factors to consider, but heavy strength training is a tool for improvement, not the end-all be-all in performance. Does the allocation of resources towards building more strength with potential gains in size outweigh the benefits of higher relative strength and corresponding improvements in agility, speed, power, and coordination? Sorry to burst your bubble, but no. There are always exceptions like absolute strength athletes such as lineman, throwers, and strongman competitors, but when athletes’ sports are movement based relative strength reigns king. Incorporate bodyweight training, movement skills like sprints and jumps, and stop blindly adding weight to the bar above all else. Related: Find out Seven Ways to Improve Relative Strength 2) Develop Unilateral Strength and Power David Dellanave of Dellanave.com If you want a more athletic, and dare I say functional, type of...

A Simple Tip For Olympic Weightlifting Training May14

A Simple Tip For Olympic Weightlifting Training...

hen instructing the non-Olympic Weightlifting athlete who has never performed Olympic Style Weightlifting (OSW) exercises or exercise alternatives (i.e. pulls), one error often observed occurs during the athlete’s upper extremity involvement during the exercise execution. Inexperienced athletes will often excessively pull the barbell with their arms instead of allowing a proper lower extremity contribution for vertical barbell velocity and successful exercise performance. This instructional exercise offered to me years ago by my good friend Al Vermeil will provide feedback to the athlete and assist in ensuring an appropriate lower extremity contribution for proper technical exercise performance. The Exercise Starting Position The athlete assumes a “hang” position exercise posture while holding a wooden dowel positioned against the popliteal fossa at the posterior aspect of the knee. A clean or snatch grip is incorporated upon the dowel depending upon the specific exercise of instruction (Figure 1). The Exercise Execution The athlete slowly extends their body vertically while allowing the wooden dowel to rise against the posterior aspect of their legs, concluding in a position of triple extension on the balls of their feet with their shoulders shrugged (Figure 2). The exercise is then repeated at faster tempos to generate a greater exercise velocity performance via the lower extremities. The position of the wooden dowel offers a “bar pathway” posterior to the body thus eliminating the upper extremities from the exercise equation. Since the arms are not a contributing factor to the exercise performance, the athlete is now provided with feedback as they sense the lower extremity involvement during the exercise performance. This is the same lower extremity sensation that should occur during the actual OSW exercise performance with a barbell positioned anterior to the body.  ...

MOVEMENT VARIABILITY & ITS RELATION TO PAIN AND REHAB. May12

MOVEMENT VARIABILITY & ITS RELATION TO PAIN AND REHAB....

Movement variability has definitely been receiving a bit more attention over the past year or so and coming into more and more discussions about movement. Anyone who has kept an eye on this blog will see it has been mentioned regularly over the past few years. If we explore the research into this area we see it has been a focus in academic circles for a great deal longer although it is filtering down at a glacial rate to training and rehab programs. Hopefully we are starting to shift our understanding of the human body away from the mechanical and towards more of a biological perspective. This may help us to understand why changes in someone’s posture and ‘imbalances’ in general within the body don’t actually matter quite as much as they would in a purely mechanical system. The tolerances of the human biological system are probably much greater than we give them credit for. Rage against the machine Within the paradigm of a mechanical system, seemingly the predominant model taught today, the operation of the body is viewed as a precision machine. If one part of a machine breaks or operates outside of the precise narrow parameters set for it then it spells disaster for the machine as a whole. We often blame deviation from poorly defined ideals and ideal relationships within the body for various injuries and diseases when often they do not have clear correlations. Pain and its relation to posture would be a perfect example of this, as would concepts such as ‘overpronation’ and muscle firing patterns and timings. Movement is just the same, there are not many ‘right’ ways to move that have been objectively defined and can therefore be blamed, instead we have wide parameters of what we...

Squat Like a Champ May12

Squat Like a Champ

Here’s what you need to know… The squat is a highly functional exercise that every athlete should be doing, or working their way up to doing. The biggest obstacle lifters face when squatting is their mobility. And with mobility, you either move it or lose it Squatting ability should be assessed on a continuum. Find the movements that you can do well and gradually work up in difficulty as your mobility improves. I love to squat. The unmistakable feeling of heavy weight on my back and the sound of clanging 45’s always clears my mind like nothing else. However, the barbell back squat is under fire from the same “experts” who want to abolish gym class and make overhead pressing an indictable offense. Yes, squatting can be “dangerous” for the lower back when mobility is an issue, and certainly there are other “functional” single-leg activities you can perform in place of the squat. But just because you might not be ready to squat today doesn’t mean it’ll be off the table forever. There’s a way to systematically progress to performing solid squats. That’s right, like a martial artist moving from white belt to yellow and beyond, you can earn the right to squat. But is it Functional? Some experts say the squat isn’t functional. Really? Well, unless you take a dump by doing a single-leg pistol squat to the bowl, or put a foot up on the tank to drop a Bulgarian-inspired deuce, a two-footed squat still takes place every day. And why doesn’t anyone call out the chin-up for functionality? It’s not like people are doing that motion on a daily basis. Anyway, here are four “functions” of the squat that make it worth keeping in your program: The squat functions to improve...

Your Fitness App is Making You Fat May08

Your Fitness App is Making You Fat...

Fitness apps are all the rage. An explosion of new companies and products want to track your steps and count your calories with the aim of melting that excess blubber. There’s just one problem — most of these apps don’t work. In fact, there is good reason to believe they make us fatter. One study called out “the dirty secret of wearables,” citing that “these devices fail to drive long-term sustained engagement for a majority of users.” Endeavour Partners’research found “more than half of U.S. consumers who have owned a modern activity tracker no longer use it. A third of U.S. consumers who have owned one stopped using the device within six months of receiving it.” While the report mentioned several reasons why people don’t stick with these tracking devices, my own theory is simple, they backfire. Here are three surprising reasons why fitness apps may be making us less happy and more flabby. 1 – Not Just Calories In, Calories Out The first reason fitness apps make us fat is that almost all of them are based on a pervasive myth. Most of these gadgets and apps attempt to push people to eat less and exercise more. They ask users to track what they eat and record their physical activity in order to quantify whether dieters intake a surplus of calories for the day. Eat too much or move too little, the thinking goes, and you’ll get fat, right? Not exactly. Evidence that the calories in, calories out theory is too simplistic is plentiful. For example, doctors have known for some time that certain medications cause patients to gain or lose weight by changing hormone levels in the body. If putting on pounds was just a matter of “energy balance” then these medications shouldn’t make...

Beer and Rocks with Matt Vincent...

Matt Vincent is one of the most interesting humans I’ve had the privilege of meeting.  He is a 2x Highland Games World Champion, which basically means he’s the best in the world at throwing a bunch of heavy shit. One of the biggest takeaways for me out of this interview was the emphasis on staying healthy for his actual sport-throwing.  He repeatedly emphasized the fact that the training in the gym is only a small part of his overall training.  It is only there to support his technical work with throwing. With that said, he shares how he breaks down the year, what exercises he uses, how he recovers and prevents injury etc. He also goes into how he lost 30+ lbs. of fat and is still hitting PRs in the gym and on the field. When he’s not power snatching 330lbs or out training in the field, he enjoys a wide variety of art, craft beer, and even paints his toe-nails. This dude’s perspective on life is absolutely inspiring to me.  On one hand, he is in constant pursuit of excellence in the form of Highland Games’ competition.  On the flip-side, he has a great ability to balance that with time spent just having fun and enjoying his life.  I hope you enjoy the show....

How To Get Better Sleep May08

How To Get Better Sleep...

The quality of sleep we get affects every aspect of our lives — however 40% of Americans don’t get the amount of sleep necessary for performing their best. Fortunately, with a few simple additions to your nightly routine, you can transform your physical and mental well-being and set yourself up for success. Establishing a bedtime ritual is the key to sleeping longer, better, and starting your days more refreshed and energized. Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-get-better-sleep-2015-3#ixzz3ZYmU827L...

Move Better Instantly May06

Move Better Instantly...

Ever had an experience where a particular movement was just a lot harder than you thought it would be? It’s pretty common. Instead of a smooth flowing motion you’re herky jerky and tiring out too quickly. And that’s when we need to make some adjustments. The desire to move better is at the heart of everything you do in training. Strength and power are all well and good, but we’re really after the total body control to perform difficult skills and moves in a way that looks easy. When you do this, you know your strength and power are there. Fluid, controlled movement simply looks good. It’s as if we are hard wired to recognize and appreciate it, and I’m going to share some useful tips that will help you to move better right away. 1. Slow it Down for Instant Awareness We tend to muscle through those movements we have a hard time with. If something is really difficult to do, it’s easier to just move quickly to get through it. But that won’t lead to graceful movement – and it’s not safe either! So, how do you move better, even with especially difficult skills? Slow down and pay attention. It may sound cheesy, but being mindful is really the key to better movement, and it’s what all the rest of these tips hinge upon. Try this exercise: Walk briskly from one end of a room to the other. Now, slow down your movement, and as you walk back to the other end of the room, pay attention to each of these details. Feel how you adjust yourself as you walk – your posture, eye gaze, hip dominance, weight distribution, and breath. Before, during, and after any exercise, really make an effort to pay attention...

Fighting May06

Fighting

A Conversation between Sam Harris and Jonathan Gottschall Jean-Léon Gérôme, The Duel After the Masquerade Jonathan Gottschall is a Distinguished Fellow in the English Department at Washington & Jefferson College. His research at the intersection of science and art has frequently been covered in outlets such as The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times, Scientific American, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nature, Science, and NPR. His book The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, was a New York TimesEditor’s Choice Selection and a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. His latest book is The Professor in the Cage: Why Men Fight and Why We Like to Watch. *  *  *Harris: Jonathan, you and I seem to have had similar midlife crises: We each woke up one morning and were suddenly very interested in violence, self-defense, martial arts, and related topics. But you went so far as to have a real mixed martial arts (MMA) cage match, the training for which is the subject of your new book, The Professor in the Cage. How did this manic idea take hold of you? Gottschall: Well, I think I was 38 at the time (I’m 42 now). I’m an adjunct English professor at a small college in Pennsylvania, and I’ve been an adjunct for ten years. I make about $16,000 a year. I publish fairly well but, for various reasons, it’s pretty clear that my academic career is not going to come to anything. The tenure track hasn’t happened, and it’s probably not going to. So I kind of reached this point where it was an authentic midlife crisis. It was like, Here I am: I’m pushing up on middle age, and I don’t quite have a real...