Home Posts tagged "Jim Smith"

Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 5/20/19

I hope you had a great weekend. Here's a little recommended reading for the week ahead.

Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better - I turn 38 today, so I decided to put Show and Go, one of my more popular resources, on sale for 38% off. Just head HERE and the discount (from $59.99 to $37.19) will be automatically applied at checkout.

EC on the Lift the Bar Podcast - I joined Stuart Aitken on his podcast to chat about fitness industry success and building up career capital.

Gym Owner Musings: Installment 14 - My business partner, Pete Dupuis, always shares some good nuggets in these brain dumps. They're must-read for gym owners.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 4/6/12

Here's a list of recommended strength and conditioning resources for the week: Elite Training Mentorship - This continuing education resource we introduced last month has started off with a bang, as we've gotten a lot of great feedback.  It'll update twice per month, and the first happened yesterday.  Content came from Dave Schmitz (two in-services and two exercise demonstrations) and me (two in-services and two exercise demonstrations).  My in-services this month were "Understanding and Managing Congenital Laxity" and "Understanding the Hip Adductors."  Updates from Mike Robertson and BJ Gaddour will come later this month.  Click here for more information.

9 Strategies to Train Around Lower Body Pain - Speaking of Mike Robertson, this is a great article he had published at T-Nation this week. Pressing Considerations for the Older Lifter - This was a super-detailed post from Jim "Smitty" Smith on what the seasoned veteran of strength training programs needs to keep in mind when doing a lot of pressing. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!
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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 8/17/11

Here's a list of recommended strength and conditioning reads (and views) for the week: The Death of Personal Training - This is a great webinar by Alwyn Cosgrove that won't air until 8/22, but you can sign up now to get access.  Alwyn was a great mentor to me on the business side of things when I was starting out, so it promises to be a very insightful event. Plus, he's always hilarious when he presents! Simple Posture Correction - Jim "Smitty" Smith introduces an excellent drill you can use to work on excessive scapular anterior tilt and poor thoracic mobility. Evidence-Based Coaching - Sam Leahey clearly put a ton of work into compiling this post; the trainers and coaches out there will really benefit from reading this, even if it is a bit lengthy. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a deadlift technique tutorial!
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Bracing in a Strength Training Program: When to Turn Up the Volume

Today, we've got a guest blog from Jim "Smitty" Smith. I was speaking with Mike Robertson the other day about life and we started talking about our next career moves.  He was contemplating a run with Chippendales after his idol, Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees, made a comeback. And I was telling him about my idea to get on the Deadliest Catch show and live my dream of being a fisherman.  Both ideas were great and we are continuing to take steps forward to achieve our dreams — a little bit every day. After that 3 hour discussion, we started talking about bracing. Just Like the Volume Dial I was telling Mike how I was going through Charlie Weingroff’s Training=Rehab | Rehab=Training and I had some questions about how he defines or explains bracing.  I, of course, understand bracing as a whole and teach it for our max efforts and loaded means, but Charlie introduced me to the idea of the importance of the "inner core".  That is what I wanted to discuss with Mike.  Charlie stated that the inner core must fire first, neurologically, to setup up the foundation for the more intense loading or more sophisticated movements — this is when the "outer core" should kick in.

Mike told me to imagine the volume dial on your stereo. He asked me on the volume scale, where would planks come in?  I stated "1", and smiled like I just stole something.  He then asked, "Where would the dial be for max efforts squats?"  I was catching on and said "10"!  Duh WINNING!

But Charlie and Mike threw up a caution flag. If we brace at "10" all the time (force and brace our abdomen outward, anterior and laterally to create tension or irradiation to buttress shear and stabilize the torso) , it could "shut down" the inner core and leave us susceptible to injury.  This is especially true if the establishment of bracing is not preceded by diaphragmatic breathing.  The long term inhibition of diaphragmatic breathing can affect a whole host of things like pelvic alignment => which can inhibit and shorten certain muscles groups (lower cross and upper cross syndromes) => create kyphosis and lordosis and much more.  The ramifications will be seen up and down the kinetic chain. Turning Up the Intensity There is a time for "breathing over the brace" at the lower intensities and there is a time for serious tension — take max effort strength exercises.  If you look in most commercial gyms today, you might think talking on the cell phone or getting a drink at the water fountain is a max effort lift, especially with all of the cinched up velcro belts popping off.  In reality, we’re talking about heavy compound movements performed with loads upwards of 80% + 1RM.  These components of your strength training program require serious intramuscular and intermuscular coordination and full body engagement to remain injury free, stable and strong throughout the full execution of the lift.  Also many times you’ll see novice, and sometimes experienced, lifters start the movement with a good brace, but lose it during the decent or accent.  It is definitely a skill to keep "the brace" the whole time you are under load.  Verbal and physical cues can be used to drill this technique.  Training with an injury or other compensations will also directly impact your ability to keep the brace throughout.

Bracing for Max Attempts

If you talk to any elite powerlifter, bracing for max efforts involves not only keeping the tension (sequenced isometric contractions on the primary / synergistic / antagonistic muscle groups) but also holding your air.  The air is taken (breathing through the belly) and held, and the abdominals are pressed outward forcibly.  If you are pressing out against a stationary object (i.e. the belt) it will further secure the brace and improve torso rigidity.  This is volume level "10".  As you can see this is much different than the bracing required for a plank.  Also remember, heavy bracing is not limited to just max effort attempts.  Any high intensity movements could require sequenced bracing, if only for an instant. The Ah-Ha Stuff During simple, basic movements we should drill and become proficient at simply creating tension (bracing level "1") across the entire kinetic chain and "breathing over the brace" (Weingroff) through active diaphragmatic breathing.  This will help to engage intra-abdominal pressure and lay the foundation for all of our movements.  And as we progress, more intense bracing can allow for heavier loads and more powerful movements to be introduced safely. It was very enlightening for me to understand how breathing incorrectly could have just as much of an impact on posture, strength and performance as injuries, immobility, instability, high volume | short ROM movements or even too much load with poorly performed exercises. All this talk of volume has got me reaching for my glow sticks.  Off to battle with Tony Gentilcore! Jim Smith "Smitty" is the head strength and conditioning coach at Diesel Strength and Conditioning in Elmira, NY.  Smitty has been called "one of the most innovative coaches in the industry" and has written for most major national fitness publications. He is also a featured writer for LIVESTRONG.com and on the EliteFTS Q/A staff.  Check out some killer FREE gifts and his site at dieselsc.com. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a deadlift technique tutorial!
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Stuff You Should Read: 4/25/11

To kick off the week, here's a quick rundown of things you might like to read (or watch): The 5 Most Common Deadlift Mistakes - I published this blog at Men's Health last week, and thought I'd give you a heads-up on it.  It's a good tag-along to the FREE video I provide HERE on how to deadlift (you can also subscribe in the opt-in box at the bottom of this blog to get access). Does Hip Range of Motion Correlate to Low Back Pain?  Maybe Not in Everyone - This is a good post from Mike Reinold that talks about how research on the topic can be tough, and that rotational sport athletes and sedentary folks need to be considered differently. Anti-Rotation Sled Dragging - Here's an innovative core exercise from Jim "Smitty" Smith utilizing the sled for your strength and conditioning program. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a deadlift technique tutorial!
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Accelerated Muscular Development: Life Lessons from “The Hangover”

Today, we have a guest blog from Jim Smith, CSCS, the author of Accelerated Muscular Development 2.0. I wish I knew then what I know now.

This is one of life’s most cruel jokes.  With age comes wisdom (hopefully) and reflection.  I often think about going back and changing certain things that happened in my past and how the outcome would have been so different. I never would have stolen that cop car… I never would have married a stripper… I never would have pulled out my own tooth with a pair of pliers… You know, stuff like that.

When you’re drunk and are hopped up on GHB, you do crazy things.  Things that you want to take back; if you could just remember them. You can’t change the past, you can just move forward, continue to educate yourself and not make the same mistakes again. Training is the same way.  I’m sure if you look back at the stuff “you used to do” in the weight room you’d probably laugh.  And that is a good thing.  You had to start there to get to where you are now.  Progression and working to always be better is the key to success. I’m no different.  I’ve made many mistakes in the weight room not only with my training but the programs of my athletes.  I’ve done things that worked and some things that didn’t work.  But I kept learning.  I kept going to seminars.  I kept corresponding with other coaches in the industry.  And I got better and learned a few things along the way.  Here are a few of those innovations that I know will help you reach your goals in the gym. Flow is the New Warm-up Gone are the days of just hitting a few arm crosses and jumping jacks before your workout.  Other staples like bodyweight squats and lunges, while very effective, aren’t really time efficient.  Also, do they hit every articulation of the lower body for a complete prep? Imagine this flow: bodyweight squat => lunge forward right leg => fall into glute stretch push back to lunge on the right leg => back to bodyweight squat Repeat on left leg Or how about this: inchworm => push-up => push-up plus => inchworm back - Repeat Now you’re getting the idea.  Fast, efficient and encompassing as many movements as possible. Stiffie or Softie? When I say stiffie or softie, are you thinking about that Jimmy Johnson commercial for ED?  I am!  Man his hair is so cool.

We both should be thinking about some of the “tools” we use in the gym.  Some tools or implements just aren’t the best choices for certain individuals when performing certain exercises. Let’s talk about broomsticks.  How do we use them?  Two immediate examples are broomstick dislocates and broomstick wall squats.  Both are great movements to open up the shoulders, chest and upper back as well as the wall squats drilling good squat form.  But is the broomstick really the best tool for the job? When we are talking about individual differences, limitations and mobility, no, it is not.  I want you to think about replacing the broomstick with an elastic band.

The elastic band is perfect because it adjusts; it stretches and relaxes according to the individuals limitations.  It does NOT force the lifter or athlete into a movement pattern.  As the lifter hits a limitation the band stretches and allows the movement to continue while dynamically stretching the limitation.  Overhead wall squats with elastic bands are great too for all the same reasons.   You’ve probably abandoned dislocates because of how bad they feel with a broomstick.  Try out these new variations and you’ll feel the difference. Learn from my mistakes and continue to evolve with your training.  This will ensure you continue to progress and bring efficiency into your workouts.  No one wants to spend hours and hours in the gym.  But when you are in the gym, you need to most bang for your buck and these new variations will help. Innovations and versatility like this are what make my new product, Accelerated Muscular Development 2.0, a complete training system.  Unlike most programs, it doesn’t just provide 12 weeks of workouts and leave it at that.  In addition to giving you two 12 week programs, I also show you how to create your own programs moving forward – which puts you in a position to innovate for yourself and build your own programs.

Years and years of trial and error have led to the creation of the AMD 2.0 program template.  It breaks the workout down into its essential components (most programs are missing these pieces) so that each section has its own priority and its own focus.  From there, it is very simple.  In fact, once you see the template and apply it to your first workout, you will never forget it.  It is so easy.  And like I said, I have been training for many years and have done a lot of things wrong.  I really feel like AMD 2.0 is the next step because anyone can apply the template to whatever program they are on.   So as you progress and finish the AMD workouts, you can repeat them or use the template with any program you want to try. The AMD 2.0 template incorporates soft-tissue work, dynamic warm-ups, the primary workouts, core training and finally a rehab component.  If you have purchased other programs, you’ll probably have noticed that you received the primary workouts ONLY.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the right way to train.  You must prepare your body to workout.  Coming into the gym from the car after a long day and not warming up will always have a negative impact on your ability to move, train to your potential and remain injury free over the long term.  There is a definite flow to a good workout and if you know how to do it, you can actually cut your workout time down significantly.  We are going for high impact and short duration workouts.  No one wants to spend 4-5 days a week in the gym with 2 hour workouts.  With AMD you’ll have 3 training sessions a week lasting 45min to 1hr.  Get in the gym, kill it and get out. For more information – and a big introductory discount (this week only) with lots of bonuses – check out Accelerated Muscular Development 2.0.
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The Best of 2009: Guest Submissions

This week, I've already featured our top articles, product reviews, and videos of 2009.  I was also really lucky to have some bright minds as guest contributors this year, and today I'll feature a few of their submissions. The Rocker Inferior Capsule Stretch - This excellent submission from physical therapist Tim DiFrancesco shows a shoulder mobility exercises we've used with some of our guys with excellent results.  It includes some great videos like this:

So What Does a Pitching Coach Do, Anyway? - I love this guest blog from Matt Blake, a great pitching guy with whom I get to work daily.  It just goes to show you that there is a lot more to understand than mechanics when it comes to developing elite pitchers.

21st Century Nutrition: Talking Shop with Dr. John Berardi - This was more of an interview than a guest submission, but let's be honest: JB provided most of the content here!  He discusses the future of nutrition and the success of Precision Nutrition.


The Be-All, End-All Throwing Program from Your Favorite Snake Oil Salesman - Here's another post from Matt Blake.  I like this one because it's entertaining thanks to the cynical tone that kicks it off, but educational because of the justification for that cynicism.  It's classic "info-tainment."

Real Activation: Modifying a Classic Core Movement - Jim Smith is perhaps best known for being a true innovator when it comes to exercise selection, and this post was an excellent one for that very reason.

Interval Training: HIIT or Miss? - A great guest submission from Mike Boyle; enough said!

Building Vibrant Health Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 - Eric Talmant presented a comprehensive look at his involvement with Metabolic Typing(R).

Thanks to everyone for the time they spent on creating these pieces, and the expertise they shared!

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Combat Core Reloaded

Just a quick FYI for today's blog: Jim "Smitty" Smith is re-launching his Combat Core e-manual.  As some of you know, I think it's a fantastic product that I've heartily endorsed in the past.  You can read a full review I wrote HERE.

combatbook Anyway, with the relaunch, Jim's offering a ton of new bonuses - from articles to audio teleseminars.  Needless to say, it's a great product independent of these bonuses, so the deal is just even sweeter for now.  Check it out HERE.

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Random Friday Thoughts: 7/17/09

1. I started this week off with a bang with a few good (and goofy) YouTube clips in my newsletter, so there's no reason to shy away from a continuation of the awesomeness in this blog. 2. Tony Gentilcore got the day off from work today.  He claimed it was to go see the filming of the next Functional Strength Coach seminar, but we all know it was just a front for his regular ol' "weird ninja dude in the woods" routine.  Glad you enjoyed your alone time, big guy.

2. Congratulations to CP athlete and New York Mets minor leaguer Tim Stronach (St. Lucie Mets: High A), who just missed both a perfect game and no-hitter on Wednesday.  "Stro" took a perfect game into the 8th inning, and then lost the no-no with one out in the 9th.  The wildest part is that Tim didn't even know until the day before that he'd be making the start.

Stronach packed 21 pounds on his 6-5 frame this off-season with loads of hard work at Cressey Performance, and deserves all the success that comes his way.  Great job, Tim!

3. I received an email with the following question yesterday: "I play basketball. I watch how guys lose lots of weight and bodyfat preparing for the combine. How do they do that?"

Answer: The overwhelming majority of college basketball players I've encountered live on sugary sports drinks, chicken wings, pizza, and booze.  Simply cleaning up their diets for a month or two will work wonders even if training is held constant.  Did you expect something more revolutionary?

4. Here's another study showing that swinging a heavy bat prior to regular hitting is an inferior warm-up protocol as compared to swinging the normal bat or an underweighted bat.  Researchers  "suggested that when preparing to hit, 5 warm-up swings with either a light or normal bat will allow a player to achieve the greatest velocity of their normal bat."  This is in complete contrast to the use of weighted baseballs to increase throwing velocity; I love 'em when used with the right population.

5.  Huh?  What?  Come again?

6. I went back through Jim Smith's Accelerated Muscular Development today to check up on how he approaches formatting for e-books (as we prepare some for the upcoming project's release).  While I was looking it over, I got to thinking about how it never ceases to amaze me how thorough Smitty is with his products; he just seems to cover everything.  I've said it before: this is a great resource; I'd highly recommend you check it out.


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A Quick Thursday Promise to You

If you asked my fiancee (or anyone who knows me well, for that matter), she would tell you that I work all the time.  If I'm not training athletes, I'm training myself, reading research, or writing programs or articles about training. My life pretty much revolves around it - and I'd be lying if I didn't say that it is challenging to get to everything. To be very honest with you, I'd probably make more money if I just stayed home and wrote articles and books all day.  It's a direction quite a few folks in this industry have taken, in fact.  You'd be surprised at how many well-known internet personalities in the exercise world don't see athletes anymore; they just stay home and write about what life would be like if they actually did train people.  Or, they talk about what they used to do when they worked with folks, or what they've seen in the research of late. Now, I'm all for research.  And, given my articles, books, and DVDs, I'm all for sharing knowledge that I've gained.  However, I'm a huge believer that you can't add to the body of knowledge unless you are out in the trenches working with people.  You'd be surprised at how many researchers and writers could never get results in the real world.  Why?  Because people - attitudes, emotions, individual differences, etc. - get in the way. This is why I have so much respect for those who are "in the trenches" and derive a significant portion of their income from in-person training.    I enjoy articles, blogs, seminars, and products from guys like Alwyn Cosgrove, Mike Boyle, Mike Robertson, Bill Hartman, Mike Reinold, Jim Smith, Brijesh Patel, Nick Tumminello, and dozens others because these are all guys who are in the real world working to help people.  Unlike those who just write, they are constantly getting feedback from clients/athletes on what works and what doesn't; theories don't go untested.  If I was a consumer, I'd actually go out of my way to make sure the person writing a book or article was actually seeing clients/athletes before purchasing it. A few years ago, I never would have even thought to make this promise, but the internet certainly changes things.  And, that's why I'm promising today that I'll be training athletes for a long time, and the day I stop training athletes is the day that I stop writing and speaking about training, too.
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