Home Posts tagged "strength and conditioning program" (Page 15)

Stuff You Should Read: 1/23/2011

It's been a while since I gave you a list of recommended reading, but that changes today! Rotten Resolutions - I usually bring this article to light right at the beginning of January each year, but forgot in light of the busy last few weeks.  Check it out.  It might make you see your strength and conditioning program goals in a new light. Ankle Dorsiflexion Immobility Impairs Lateral Step Down Test - This is a good post from Mike Reinold about how ankle restrictions can alter testing further up the kinetic chain and make you see "the big picture." The Proactive Patient - I still think that this is one of the better articles I've ever written at T-Nation.  What do you think?
Read more

High Performance Training Without the Equipment: 6 More Pushup Variations

In yesterday's post, I outlined the importance of including pushup variations in your strength training program and introduced five ways to progress this basic exercise. Today, I've got six more pushup variations for you. Pushup Variation #6: Yoga Pushups I like Yoga pushups not because they are a subtle increase in difficulty over a regular pushup, but because they afford some extra mobility benefits at the ankles, hips, and thoracic spine.  They're a great addition to a dynamic warm-up.

Pushup Variation #7: Spiderman Pushups While it increases the difficulty a bit more than a yoga pushup, the spiderman pushup still affords some great hip mobility benefits.

One word of caution, though; it's my experience that folks tend to "slip" into a forward head posture more often with the spiderman pushup than any other pushup variation, so make sure that you don't let the head poke forward as the elevated leg's hip goes into flexion and abduction. Pushup Variation #8: Slideboard Pushup Variations We utilize the slideboard a ton at Cressey Performance - and pushups are no exception.  Two of our favorites are slideboard pushups with band and slideboard bodysaw pushups. In the case of the former, we take a 1/2" band and wrap it around the wrists.  This band wants to pull you into internal rotation and horizontal adduction at the shoulder, so you have to activate the posterior rotator cuff and scapular retractors to hold the ideal pushup position.

The bodysaw pushups really take things up a notch on the difficulty scale, as they not only make the hand positioning dynamic, but also increase the anti-extension core challenge.

Pushup Variation #9: Pushup Iso Hold w/Perturbations In our DVD set, Optimal Shoulder Performance, Mike Reinold and I spend quite a bit of time talking about the value of rhythmic stabilization drills to train the true function of the rotator cuff.  I'm also a big fan of pushup isometric holds to teach proper scapular positioning and educate athletes on ideal posture.  In the 1-leg pushup iso hold with perturbations, we get all those benefits - plus some added instability training because there are only three points of contact with the ground.

Pushup Variation #10: TRX Pushups The TRX is probably the most versatile piece of equipment out there other than the barbell and the functional trainer - and one of its most basic uses is pushup variations.

As I alluded to in my e-book, The Truth About Unstable Surface Training, the instability created by the TRX likely allows you to maintain muscle activation in the upper extremity even though less loading is needed.  This means that when performed correctly, TRX pushups may have a place in a return-to-function protocol after rehab, or even simply as a deloading strategy in a strength and conditioning program.

For more information, check out the Fitness Anywhere website.

Pushup Variation #11: T-Pushups Last, but certainly not least, we have the T-Pushup.  This pushup variation is great because it not only involves constant changing of the points of stability, but also because it requires thoracic spine rotation.  To increase the challenge, you can hold dumbbells in your hands.

I've listed 11 variations in the past two posts, but I know that a lot of you out there have some innovative pushup variations to suggest as well.  Let's hear 'em in the comment section!

Sign up for our FREE Newsletter today and and receive this deadlift technique video!
Name
Email
Read more

High Performance Training without the Equipment: 5 Pushup Variations

I've written several times in the past about how it's important to not only balance your upper body pushing and pulling exercises, but also make sure that you have a similar volume of open- and closed-chain exercises in the pushing component.  In other words, you need to have plenty of pushup variations to "cancel out" all  the bench pressing variations in your strength training program.

There's a problem, though; most of you can do a ton of pushups, and are in need of something more challenging that can take this beyond simply a warm-up.  With that in mind, I wanted to use today's post to highlight some pushup variations we use quite frequently at Cressey Performance.  While a few might require some of the cooler amenities (e.g., chains, slideboard) we've got at our fingertips, most are drills you'll be able to perform without them.  Without further ado, here are five pushup variations to throw some variety in your strength and conditioning program. Pushup Variations #1 and #2: Feet Elevated and Band Resisted Pushups I combine these two not only because they were both in the same video that I'd taken for Show and Go, but also because they represent two of the most convenient solutions for the typical lifter. Elevating the feet not only makes the movement a bit more challenging from an anti-extension core training perspective, but it also increases activity of the serratus anterior, as I wrote HERE.  Believe it or not, while this modification makes the movement harder as a whole, it can often take away symptoms completely in some folks with shoulder pain. In the case of the band-resisted pushup variation, the resistance accommodates the strength curve.  In other words, the band deloads at the bottom of the movement where you're the weakest, and picks up resistance as you go further up toward the top of the movement, where you're the strongest.

Pushup Variation #3: Chain Pushups

Okay, this one will require you to have some equipment, but trust me when I say that if you do decide to get some for your home gym set-up, you'll use them over and over again - and not just for pushup variations!  As with the bands progression above, chain pushups are a form of accommodating resistance; the load is heavier where you're strongest.  I also like chains because they allow you to quickly and easily modify resistance on the fly for drop sets or to simply make the exercise easier as a set progresses.  And, they can be pretty challenging:

Let's assume conservatively that you're lifting 60% of your body weight with a pushup.  At 190 pounds, that's 114 pounds for me.  When you combine it with 10 chains at 15 pounds each, you're looking at about 264 pounds of resistance.  Who says you can't load up a pushup?

Pushup Variation #4: 1-leg Pushup Variations

One quick and easy way to make any exercise harder is to reduce the number of ground contact points.  On a normal pushup, you have four (both hands and feet).  Simply taking one foot off the floor not only increases the loading on the upper body, but also imposes a subtle anti-rotation challenge to your core.  You can do it feet-elevated, too:

Of course, you can combine the 1-leg pushup with external loading, too:

Pushup Variation #5: 1-arm Push-ups

Sticking with the theme of reducing the numbers of points of stability, you can go to one-arm pushup variations as well.  You don't have to be diesel enough to do these from the floor to get the benefits, though; you can simply press from a pin in a power rack.

As you get stronger and more comfortable with the movement, you can move the pin down to increase the challenge.

Start thinking about how you can integrate these in your strength training program, and I'll be back soon with five more pushup variations you can use to take things even further.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a detailed deadlift technique tutorial!
Name
Email
Read more

17 Reasons I’m Excited for 2011

With the new year upon us, I got to thinking about how excited I am for all that 2011 has in store for me – and thought that it’d make for a good post to kick off the year.  Here’s why I’m excited: 1. Being Married – My wife, Anna, and I got married on October 3, and it was just the tip of the iceberg in a whirlwind year (new job for her, wedding planning, new house, new puppy).  Both of us are pretty excited for a low-key 2011 where we can just hang out and enjoy one another’s company!  And, we left our honeymoon for this year (I couldn’t escape for that long during the baseball off-season), so we’re excited about that.

2. The Continued Growth of EricCressey.com - I really enjoy writing, and each year, this website grows – which means I get to share my passion and interact with some very cool people.  Here were 2011’s year-end statistics for EricCressey.com: 450,791 unique visitors 1,106,748 visits 2,901,970 pages 2,730,922 hits Thanks to everyone who visited the site this year! 3. The book I’m reading now: The 4-Hour Body. Tim Ferriss has become a good friend, and I was fortunate enough to be one of those who received an advanced copy of The 4-Hour Body prior to publication.  With the crazy goings-on at CP as well as the holidays, I’m just now getting a chance to read through it and give it the time it deserves – and I must say that it’s fantastic.  Tim does an awesome job of providing “info-tainment;” his entertaining writing style will keep you reading, and the background research he put in to this book will guarantee that you walk away with some ideas that will immediately benefit you.

4. The book I’m reading next: The New Rules of Lifting for Abs. As with Tim’s book, I got a copy of The New Rules of Lifting for Abs in advance, but haven’t even had a chance to open it up.  As with any Cosgrove/Schuler collaboration, though, I’m sure it’ll be high quality and a huge hit.  I’m looking forward to checking it out.

5. Cutting Back on Travel – 2010 was a crazy busy year for me personally – from buying a house, to moving, to planning a wedding, to getting married, to getting a puppy.  These “firsts” wouldn’t have been tough to pull off normally, but it seemed like every time my wife and I encountered one of them, I was getting ready to hop on a plane to go do a seminar somewhere.  As such, I’ve started turning down a lot more seminar opportunities not because I don’t enjoy doing them, but simply because the travel wore me out in 2010.  I will, however, still be traveling some – but this year, it’ll be with my wife…and we’ll be traveling for fun! 6. Another Year on the Perform Better Tour – While I may be cutting back on seminar travel, I wouldn’t miss the Perform Better Summits for the world.  I’m still waiting on final confirmation of which cities I’ll get in 2011, but I can say definitively that these are some of the best continuing education opportunities in the fitness business and that I thoroughly enjoy all of them – from the information to the great people I always wind up meeting.  Hopefully, I’ll get to meet some of you in person thanks to Perform Better this year.

7. Continuing on my Postural Restoration Institute Journey – I’ve spoken a bit in the past about the Postural Restoration Institute and how it dramatically impacted the way we evaluate and program for many of our athletes and clients.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it has been some of the best continuing education money I’ve ever spent.  I’ve only gone through two of their seven courses, though, and am excited to learn more.  I’ve covered Myokinematic Restoration and Postural Respiration, and already on the agenda for 2011 is Impingement and Instability. If you’re a physical therapist, athletic trainer, or fitness professional and haven’t seen any of their stuff already, I’d highly encourage you to check it out. 8. The New Cressey Performance – I’ll have pictures of the newly-renovated Cressey Performance soon, but suffice it to say that adding 1,000 square-feet can go a very long way.  I’ve finally got my own office at the facility, which I know will make things a lot easier moving forward, but even beyond that, just getting a bit more space can really change the “flow” of the facility to make it more coaching friendly.  We see all sorts of articles and presentations on how to coach, but nobody ever considers how the set-up of your facility can make your coaching duties remarkably easier or more difficult. On top of that, Cressey Performance is busier than ever, with double digit percentage growth again in 2010.  Thanks to everyone for your continued support! 9. Relishing my Fantasy Football Championship – In the most impressive managerial run in Cressey Performance Fantasy Football history, I crushed the competition this year.  This trophy will reside on my desk for the entire year.  Those of you who visit CP can have your picture taken with it, if you’d like.

10. Doing more charity work – I’ve helped out here and there with various charities since I moved to Boston in 2006, but in 2011, I’m excited to do much more – and I’m in a position to do more now, too.  Nowadays, I can use my exposure and expertise a lot more to help – and thanks to my work with Kevin Youkilis, I can work directly with his great charity, Youk’s Hits for Kids. Along those lines, those of you in New England might be interested to check out his February 3 event at the State Room in Boston.  The CP staff will be there along with a bunch of pro athletes, Tony Gentilcore, actors, Tony Gentilcore, musicians, Tony Gentilcore, comedians, and Tony Gentilcore.  For more information, check out YouksKids.org. 11. The New Sports Rehab to Sports Performance Teleseminar – Joe Heiler has done a great job the past few years in bringing in great minds to contribute to his Sports Rehab to Sports Performance teleseminar series – and this year is no exception.  I’m really excited about this line-up: 1.  Sue Falsone – PT, Athletes' Performance 2.  Ron Hruska - PT, Postural Restoration Institute 3.  Dr. Mike Leahy - Sports Chiropractor and inventor of ART 4.  Thomas Myers - Anatomy Trains author 5.  Brian Grasso – IYCA Founder 6.  Greg Roskopf - Muscle Activation Technique 7.  Brian Mulligan – PT, Mulligan Technique/Joint Mobilizations with Movement 8.  Dr. Warren Hammer - Chiropractor, Graston Technique Instructor, Fascial Manipulation 9.  Dan John - Strength Coach, author, Never Let Go 10.  Gray Cook - PT, FMS

Click here for more information. 12. New Projects – In 2010, I introduced two products: Optimal Shoulder Performance and Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better. For me, a product every six months is a pretty good “pace,” as I don’t want to become one of those guys who puts out mediocre stuff every single week.  As of right now, the only confirmed project for 2011 is a collaborative one with Mike Reinold and Mike Robertson.  I am thinking, however, that this is the year that I finally create a baseball-specific product in light of the fact that it’s 80-85% of our clientele and what I do all-day, every day!  Only time will tell! 13. Continued Show & Go Feedback – Speaking of Show and Go, it was released in late September, and since it’s a four-month strength and conditioning program, we’re coming up on the point in time where I start getting loads of emails from those who have wrapped up the program and have results to report.  I get a lot of feedback along the way, but it’s awesome to hear where things end up when the entire program is complete.  So, to those of you doing the program, please pass along your results!

14. More Writing at T-Nation – I only published two articles at T-Nation in 2010, and I don’t plan to repeat that poor output!  I’ve already been contacted by them about doing a monthly piece, and while I’m not sure that my schedule will allow me to get one to them every month, I definitely expect to be blowing that 2010 total out of the water.  I’ve already submitted one and have two more in the works.  I owe a lot to the folks at T-Nation and Biotest for the opportunities and exposure they’ve afforded me and hope to continue to return the favor with good content for years to come. 15. Watching Tank grow up – Our puppy, Tank, is about five months old right now, and he’s awesome.  He is pretty much housebroken, and definitely man’s best friend.  As you can tell, he loves hording his toys.

16. The 2011 MLB Season - In addition to the fact that my team (the Red Sox) is looking good, we have quite a few clients who are on the cusp of big league debuts, so I am excited to get out to see them play in the show and enjoy the fruits of their off-season labor.

17. The 2011 MLB Draft - Let's just say that I very well might just stay home and hit refresh on my computer over and over again during the two days in June that make up the MLB draft.  We have a lot of talent athletes - both high school and college - training at Cressey Performance who will be getting calls.

There are quite a few other things that get me excited for 2011, but this is a good start – and probably all that you care to read!  Speaking of YOU, what are YOU looking forward to in 2011?  Got a big goal for the year?  Share it in the comments section. Happy New Year! Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a detailed deadlift technique tutorial!
Name
Email
Read more

Strength and Conditioning Programs: Deloading to Plan for Personal Records

As we continue 'Stache Bash 2010, today's featured/discounted product is The Art of the Deload.  More importantly, though, I've moved to the horseshoe 'stache with accompanying soul patch.

Control yourselves, ladies, and we'll be able to move forward now. As a brief background on The Art of the Deload, this 26-page e-book is a quick read that'll give you practical strategies that you can quickly and easily put into practice.  In it, I outline 10 different deloading strategies that can be implemented in any resistance training program - and discuss who is the best fit for each strategy.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I thought I'd give you a little taste of one of the ten: Method #9: Planning for the PR Deload Week With this method, you work backward from the first day of the subsequent program with the goal of testing one lift when you’re at your freshest.  Let’s say that you’re on a three days per week set-up, with the last (12th) session of the month taking place on a Friday.  Your goal is to train normally over the course of the first four weeks (Month 1), with a small amount of technique work for the lift in question taking place during your deload week. Let’s say that you’re looking to bring up your front squat.  Accumulate the majority of your specialization training over the course of Weeks 1-3, and then in Week 4, just do some front squat technique work in the 60-70% of estimated 1-rep-max range on all three days (MWF).  Obviously, do some assistance work, too, but don’t go crazy with volume or intensity. Then, take the weekend off, and come back in to test the front squat on Monday.  Effectively, you’ve imposed a ton of fatigue over the course of Weeks 1-3, rested during Week 4, and realized the fitness gains at the beginning of Week 5. If you're interested in checking out the other nine strategies I outline, you're in luck, as I'm putting The Art of the Deload on sale for 25% off - which means that you can pick it up for under $10.  Just enter the coupon code DELOAD at checkout and the discount will be applied. Click here to order now, or click here for more information. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a deadlift technique tutorial!
Name
Email
Read more

Strength and Conditioning Programs: 7 Steps to Programming for Young Athletes

Today's guest blog comes from Brian Grasso. Template Design is a style of programming that has yet to truly catch on industry-wide, but is remarkably effective, especially when working with younger, sport-based populations. Although I enjoy articles that are weighty in scientific specifics and complete in the depiction of the theories they are purporting, I also tend to benefit as much, often more, from less wordy commentaries that are pithy in nature. So today, brevity wins. In the current state of our industry (and I admit, this may be a terribly unpopular statement), we tend to over-scrutinize from a formal assessment perspective – the expense being common sense and practicality. An explanation may be in order… If a 13-year old presents, through formal assessment, with a “poor” forward lunge pattern, what does that really tell us?

Does he lack Glute strength or activation? Are her hip flexors too tight to create a positive forward translation? Is it a foot issue (that I dare say less than 1% of Fitness Professionals are truly qualified to ascertain)? Is it a structural abnormality? Now, the corrective exercise folk among us have all just raised their hands thirsty to share the knowledge of how to “fix” this barely teen – but let me ask another couple of questions first. Does the kid just not know how to do a lunge?  Could the “poor” result be “fixed” with three minutes of proper coaching and cueing?

At 13, has peak height velocity (PHV) begun, rendering this young athlete’s mobility and coordination nearly non-existent? Moreover, I’d be willing to bet that 90% or better of the 13 year olds who walk into your facility would “fail” this standard assessment:
  • They’re growing and lack mobility
  • They growing and lack coordination
  • They sit all day and have inappropriate hip functionality as a result
  • They’ve been introduced to improper “training” and lack posterior strength
A formal assessment can certainly show us gains, improvements and corrections when performed at regular intervals – and because of that, I am all for them. But here’s what I’ve learned to be true about coaching young athletes in the trenches:
  • You see them less than you’d like to and the “homework” you give them in the way of corrective exercise likely isn’t getting done – at very least not the way you’d want it done.
  • Your time with them per session is finite, but there’s a whole-lot-o-stuff that needs to be addressed.
  • Group and team training is almost always the way it goes – any sort of individualized attention must be created through a systematic approach to coaching and programming.
  • Yes, we all preach to our young athletes the virtue of lessening the load and concentrating on form – but, in the high school weight room when you’re not around, but their peers are, guess who is loading the bar?
This is not a declaration to abandon assessments altogether, nor is it a manifesto encouraging you to throw your hands up in the air and announce the situation hopeless. It’s a simple decree suggesting that your programming practice could aid a great deal in curbing this problem – and doing so not by what you discover “formally” through assessment, but what you know to be true about young athletes: 1. They sit all day long, which means: a. They are kyphotic and lack thoracic mobility (and therefore proper scapular function)

b. They have tight, weak hips that also lack function 2. They don’t have proper strength and conditioning care outside of you, which means: a.  ROM is compromised in all major joints b.  Form and function of lift technique is entirely unfamiliar Over the years, I have grown fond of referring to these issues as the “Likely Bunch” and have created a training template intended to meet of the aforementioned needs as a matter of principle rather than what an assessment tells me. Rather than programming for the day, week or month, my standard Training Template for a high school athlete looks as follows: 1.       Tissue Quality – 10 minutes 2.       ROM/Torso/Activation – 10 minutes 3.       Movement Preparatory – 10 minutes 4.       Movement – 10 minutes 5.       Strength/Power Technique – 10 minutes 6.       Strength Execution – 10 minutes 7.       Warm-Down/Active Flexibility – 10 minutes The “10-minute” time frame represents a maximum (with five minutes being the minimum).  This creates a 7-Step Programming Template that takes anywhere from 45 – 70 minutes to complete. I have 30–50 exercises listed in my personal database for each category and select on a given day what each athlete will work on. An example day may look like this: 1.       Foam Roll (Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, ITB) 2.       Ankle Mobility, Hip Circuit, Side Planks, Supine Bridges

3.       Various Multi-Directional Movement Patterns (including skipping, hopping and deceleration) 4.       Lateral Deceleration into Transitions 5.       Front Squat Technique 6.       Hybrid Complex – Hang Clean, Front Squat, Push-Press, Overhead Lunge 7.       Static-Active Hamstrings/Quads Within this template, I’m guaranteeing my young athletes get what they need from a developmental and preparatory standpoint each and every time they walk in my door. Create a Training Template for yourself and see how much easier programming becomes. Brian Grasso has trained more than 15,000 young athletes worldwide over the past decade. He is the Founder and CEO of the International Youth Conditioning Association - the only youth-based certification organization in the entire industry. For more information, visit www.IYCA.org. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter:

Name
Email
Read more

High Performance Training Without the Equipment: Installment 1

Based on feedback on Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better, one of the most popular components of this strength and conditioning resource has been the exercise modifications section.  This section features recommended modifications for everything from mobility deficits (e.g., can't squat deep without rounding the back) to equipment limitations (e.g., no cables or squat rack).

That said, I know it's never possible to use a single chapter to cover absolutely every equipment modification one will encounter, so I wanted to get a series going here that highlights some quick and easy substitutions that you can use in your strength training programs.  To that end, here is the first installment of High Performance Training Without the EquipmentToday's focus will be what to do in your home gym if you don't have access to dumbbells.

If we're talking about regular bilateral dumbbell pressing, the modification is quick and easy: just use a barbell, and get your variety by using a collection of floor presses, board presses, full range-of-motion presses, and various inclines and declines.

If we're talking about either unilateral or alternating dumbbell pressing variations, then try out the 1-arm push-up.  You can make the exercise easier by performing it off the pins in a power rack - and as you get stronger, gradually move the pin down lower.

On the "flip side," you can obviously use barbell rowing variations to replace dumbbell rowing variations.  One that I particularly like is the 1-arm corner row, in lieu of the 1-arm DB Row.  You just stick the end of a barbell in a corner.

Or, you can just do the 1-arm barbell row - which requires a ton more grip and forearm strength to keep the bar from tipping.

Of course, there are plenty more options in this regard; your imagination is your only limit!

For more exercise modifications like this - as well as a comprehensive program in which to include them - check out Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better.

sag-main

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email
Read more

Is Show and Go Okay for Females? You Tell Me.

I've gotten several inquiries about whether Show and Go will be a good fit for women trying to get fitter and stronger.  I guess it really depends on whether you want to be able to do stuff like this.

My lovely fiancee just showing up and banging out eight pull-ups - in her work attire, without a warm-up.

Or Cressey Performance client Natalie putting on a show of her own with some rope pull-ups.

And a little something for the deadlifters in the crowd...

"At the beginning of this program, I was very out of balance, where my lower body was much stronger than my upper body and I will give Eric the credit for balancing me out. I found incredible strength gains in my chest, back and shoulders and was still gaining at the end of my 4 months. Working with Eric I knew the mobility and stability throughout my body would improve in the areas it needed to; I have never had any shoulder issues, but now my shoulders have never felt healthier, more stable or stronger. By the time I got to the third phase, I found my 1RM for the bench press climbed almost 30 lbs and I was working with weight I have never worked with before. Beginning the program I could not do any pull-ups .. I finished with being able to do 3 complete reps for 4 sets ... that's success to me! This program gave my body the perfect base to go in any training direction afterward."

Kelsey Pettengill - Saco, ME

sag-main

 

"My fiance, Mathew, and I completed Eric's 16 week strength program in June. We were both extremely pleased with our results. I increased my squat by 55lb, my deadlift by 33lb, my 3-rep maximum chin-up by 12lb, my bench press by 8lb and my standing jump by 7.5"- great results in just 16 weeks.

"This is the first intensive strength program I have undertaken. The program will produce amazing results if you are completely committed, determined and motivated for the 16 weeks. I even managed to complete my training with international travel and demanding work pressures.

Mathew was an ongoing source of support and this program highlighted the importance and value of a committed and motivated training partner.

"As a female who up to three years ago focused their entire fitness regime on cardio, I highly recommend Eric's program and his strength and conditioning expertise for maximizing strength gains and sculpting a lean physique."

Cassandra Lees - Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

sag-bonus

"I have nothing but glowing praise for Eric Cressey's program. I have been a recreational lifter for many years. Eric's program has helped me overcome some sticking points in mobility and strength that I wasn't able to address on my own. Even though I am relatively strong, I have never been able to chin. Now, I can do several sets of chins with various grips.

"Because of all the unilateral work that Eric recommended in this program, my basic lifts (deadlift, squat, bench) have gone up significantly.

"My favorite lift, the deadlift, has gone from 225 to 280 and that's at my body weight of 130 lbs.

"I was always a good conventional squatter, either free squat or box squat, but was never comfortable with the front squat. This program provided me with the tools to finally perform a decent front squat.

"I could go and on and on and tell you about all the other lifts and how they improved. Suffice it to say...THIS PROGRAM WORKS! Thanks, Eric!"

Arlene Robbins  - New York, NY

"I can't say enough to describe the positive experiences I had with the Show and Go Program. Obviously, I gained significant strength across the board and got leaner, which in itself is rewarding, but the amazing part to me is that I did so as a 40 year old female with an office job and not as a younger elite athlete with access to more training resources. And my progressions weren't solely strength oriented as I also made improvements in my flexibility and range of motion in spite of having past issues in these areas. With the enhanced strength and flexibility, I'm now enjoying the best fitness, strength and health I've had at any point in my life. And, it's incredibly empowering to be a strong woman and reach strength levels I never thought were possible for me. There is no question in my mind that I got more than a 16 week training manual from the Show and Go Program. Rather, this program provided a road map for me to be able to continue to optimize my strength and overall health because I experienced the power of mixing of mobility exercises along with innovative strength gaining techniques."

Rebecca Wilson - Fayetteville, Arkansas

If this isn't proof enough that this is a great female fitness option, I don't know what is.  For more information - and a $50 off discount this week only - click here to check out Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better.

 

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

 

 

Name
Email
Read more

Weight Training Programs: 5 Reasons You Aren’t Getting Stronger

Like just about all lifters, I got a lot bigger and stronger in my first 1-2 years of training in spite of the moronic stuff that I did in my weight training programs.  In hindsight, I was about as informed as a chimp with a barbell – but things worked out nonetheless.  That is, at least, until I hit a big fat plateau where things didn’t budge.

Think I’m joking?  Sadly, I’m not; otherwise, I wouldn’t have spent about 14 months trying to go from a 225-pound bench to 230.  When you’re finished laughing at my past futility (or about how similar it sounds to your own plight), we’ll continue.

Ready?  Good – because self-deprecating writing was never a strong suit of mine.  I have, however, become quite good at picking heavy stuff off the floor – to the tune of a personal-best 660-pound deadlift at a body weight of 188.

My other numbers aren't too shabby, either, but this article isn't about me; it's about why YOU can't necessarily get strong as fast as you'd like.  Let's look at a few mistakes many people make in their quest to increase strength.  Sadly, I made most of these myself along the way, so hopefully I can save you some frustration.

Reason #1: You're only doing what's fun - and not what you need.

As you could probably tell, deadlifting is a strength of mine - and I enjoy it.  Squatting, on the other hand, never came naturally to me.  I always squatted, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that it took the back seat to pulling heavy.

Eventually, though, I smartened up and took care of the issue - by always putting squatting before deadlifting in all my lower-body weight training sessions (twice a week).

In addition to me dramatically improving my squat, a funny thing happened: I actually started to love to squat.  Whoever said that you can't teach an old dog (or deadlifter) new tricks didn't have the real scoop.

ec_660dl

Reason #2: You're not taking deload periods.

One phrase of which I've grown quite fond is "fatigue masks fitness."  As a little frame of reference, my best vertical jump is 37" - but on most days, I won't give you anything over 34.5" or so.  The reason is very simple: most of your training career is going to be spent in some degree of fatigue.  How you manage that fatigue is what's going to dictate your adaptation over the long-term.

On one hand, you want to impose enough fatigue to create supercompensation - so that you'll adapt and come back at a higher level of fitness.  On the other hand, you don't want to impose so much fatigue that you dig yourself a hole you can't get out of without a significant amount of time off.

Good weight training programs implement strategic overreaching follows by deloads - periods of lower training stress - to allow for adaptation to occur.  You can't just go in and hit personal bests in every single training session - and if you try, you're going to wind up exhausted.

e042e-art_of_the_deload2

Reason #3: You’re not rotating movements.

It never ceases to amaze me when a guy claims that he just can’t seem to increase strength on his bench press (or any lift, for that matter), and when you ask him what he’s done to work on it of late, and he tells you “bench press.” Specificity is important, folks, but if you aren’t rotating exercises in your strength training program, you’re missing out on a wildly valuable training stimulus: rotating strength exercises.

While there is certainly a place for extended periods of specificity (Smolov squat cycles, for instance), you can’t push this approach indefinitely.  Rotating my heaviest strength exercises was one of the most important lessons I learned along my journey.  In addition to helping to create adaptation, you’re also expanding your “motor program” and avoiding overuse injuries via pattern overload.

I’m not saying that you have to overhaul your entire strength and conditioning program each time you walk into the gym, but there should be some semi-regular fluctuation in exercise selection.  The more experienced you get, the more often you’ll want to rotate your strength exercises (I do it weekly).  We generally rotate assistance exercises every four weeks, though.

Reason #4: You’re inconsistent with your training.

I always tell our clients from all walks of life that the best strength and conditioning programs are ones that are sustainable.  I’ll take a crappy strength training program executed with consistency over a great program that’s only done sporadically.  In my daily practice, this is absolutely huge for professional athletes who need to maximize progress in the off-season; they just can’t afford to have unplanned breaks in training if they want to improve from year to year.

If a strength and conditioning program isn’t conducive to your goals and lifestyle, then it isn’t a good program.  That’s why I went out of my way to create 2x/week, 3x/week, and 4x/week strength training options – plus various supplemental conditioning options and a host of exercise modifications – when I pulled The High Performance Handbook together; I wanted it to be a very versatile resource.

HPH-main

Likewise, I wanted it to be safe; a program isn’t good if it injures you and prevents you from exercising.  Solid programs include targeted efforts to reduce the likelihood of injury via means like mobility warm-ups, supplemental stretching recommendations, specific progressions, fluctuations in training stress, and alternative strength exercises (“plan B”) in case you aren’t quite ready to execute “Plan A.”

For me personally, I attribute a lot of my progress to the fact that at one point, I actually went over eight years without missing a planned lift.  It’s a bit extreme, I know, but there’s a lesson to be learned.

Reason #5: You’re using the wrong rep schemes.

Beginners can make strength gains on as little as 40% of their one-rep max.  Past that initial period, the number moves to 70% – which is roughly a 12-rep max for most folks.  Later, I’d say that the number creeps up to about 85% – which would be about a 5-rep max for an intermediate lifter.  This last range is where you’ll find most people who head to the internet for strength training information.

What they don’t realize is that 85% isn’t going to get the job done for very long, either.  My experience is that in advanced lifters, the fastest way to build strength is to perform singles at or above 90% of one-rep max with regularity.  As long as exercises are rotated and deloading periods are included, this is a strategy that can be employed for an extended period of time.  In fact, it was probably the single (no pun intended) most valuable discovery I made in my quest to get strong.

I’m not saying that you should be attempting one-rep maxes each time you enter the gym, but I do think they’ll “just happen” if you employ this technique.

To take the guesswork out of all this and try some programming that considers all these crucial factors (and a whole lot more), check out my resource, The High Performance Handbook.

Sign-up today for our FREE newsletter and receive a deadlift technique video!

Name
Email
Read more

Strength and Conditioning Programs: How Hard Are You Working?

Everyone likes to think that they bust their butt all the time in their strength and conditioning programs. The truth is that deep down, we all know that we dog it sometimes. Nobody can give 100% every single day (or 110%...ever; I hate that adage). Along those same lines, here is a pretty amusing study that shows just how much your mind can get in the way of the efforts you SHOULD be putting out in your workout routine.  Researchers had three groups each perform ten 6s sprints on a cycle with 24s rest between sets.  The first group (control trial, or CL) knew they were doing ten before the session.  The second group (deception trial, DC) was told they were only doing five - but then informed that they had five more to go after the fifth sprint.  The third group (unknown trial, or UN) weren't told anything; they were just stopped after ten sprints.

When researchers examined the total work performed over the first five sprints, they found that the deception trial group was 6.5% greater than the control and unknown trials.  The others had paced themselves because they knew the ending was further off.  People are going to pace themselves and hold back a bit whenever you give them a reason to do so - so plan accordingly in your exercise prescriptions. What's one way to work around this if you aren't being coached in-person? Make yourself accountable to a program. There is a tendency to want to skip the last set or strength exercise when you design your own programs, but when you're answering to someone else's program, you're more likely to stick to it. Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better is a great resource to check out in this regard.  Just ask James Cipriani, a personal trainer who used the program to kick his own personal gains up a notch: “I just read your recent blog post in which you mentioned sending Show and Go testimonials.  Well…it would be a travesty if I didn’t give you a shout out. “I’m a personal trainer myself.  And after over 23 years of training myself and 16 years of training others, to say I grow “bored” with conventional weight training programs would be an understatement.  I first trained to augment sport (football), then I got into powerlifting, and really became addicted to it when I started bodybuilding.  I competed for eight years in the sport and did very well.  But…I outgrew it.  Yes…I was bored.

“I, like many others that I train, look to other sources to not only motivate me in my own training (mentally more than physically), but also to broaden my horizons as a trainer.  That is what led me to purchase your Show & Go program.  I have to say, Eric, it is the most comprehensive, integrated program I have ever used.  From the warm-ups, to the strength exercises, to the stretching, to the cardio enhancement….my strength, flexibility, conditioning, and muscularity all improved ten-fold.  And my bodyfat level went noticeably down without me tweaking my normal diet.  I even had nagging shoulder and low back pain that inhibited me from doing certain movements that are now gone.  I was able to deadlift weight I haven’t been able to use since my powerlifting days.  Plus, a couple of the core movements you include are ones I have never seen or done and I loved them!  I now use many of them with my own clients. “One last thing to note…I very rarely get through a 16 week program.  I tend to grow bored and need a different style of training.  That never happened.  Not only that…I am starting a second go-round this week of it with a few of my own personal tweaks to it.    Great product, Eric!  Thank you so much!” James Cipriani - CFT, CSCS, NS Brookfield, CT

Click here to check out Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better for yourself.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!
Name
Email
Read more
Page 1 13 14 15 16 17
LEARN HOW TO DEADLIFT
  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series