Strength Training

Why the Squat is the KING of exercises

Over the years many debate which exercise is the best exercise to have in your arsenal. Without equal, the Squat is the KING of all exercises. Below, I briefly discuss 10 reasons why (outside of science proving the squat is king).

  1. In the multi-variations that are possible (back, front, split, sumo, and others), squats work every major muscle group in the entire body and on both sides of the body—no other exercise can do this!
  2. Squats are totally free! You already have everything you need to achieve a world-class body sculpting strength and fitness training program. They do this by challenging your heart rate and conditioning.
  3. Squats can be done virtually anywhere—all you need is a few square feet and you’re off to the races.
  4. Squats solve time-constraint issues. Once you’re in the groove, you’ll be able to perform an entire workout in less time than it would take to drive to a gym and change into gym clothes.
  5. Squats have almost no risk of injury. This is especially true as you integrate a number of variations into your routine that challenge, sculpt, and strengthen your entire musculature from multiple angles.
  6. Squats are the key to a sound and healthy heart and a powerful pair of lungs. They integrate both cardio endurance and cardio interval training into one series of exercises.
  7. Squats build lithe, perfectly sculpted muscles from your neck to toes. The result is a sculpted physique that is always proportionate to your body’s natural frame, muscle and bone structure.
  8. Squats are the key to dynamic lifelong weight management, because as they build muscle, they automatically accelerate your body’s fat-burning engines. One pound of muscle burns 30-50 calories a day, in contrast to just 2-6 calories burned by one pound of fat per day. Your muscles thus reset your metabolism, burning fat twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
  9. Squats are the foundation of a fitness lifestyle that will keep you young, vibrant, energized, and totally strong for life!
  10. They reinforce your personal willpower and self-determination to do and accomplish great things. They are the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy for lifelong strength and fitness.

 

 


Workout of the Week

How are your workouts going? Need something with some variety because you are bored, or stuck with results? Here is a workout designed to increase explosiveness, functionally challenge your core, and improve posture. Give it a try and let me know what you think. This will also improve joint stabilization as well. Particularly in the shoulders, back, and core. Needed equipment: Kettle Bells, A box or platform ranging in height from 6″ to 36″ depending on your height, and your ability.
Combination workout of the week  
 

Box Jumps 5×3 (60 second breaks)

Barbell Deadlift 3×5+ (90 second breaks and do as many reps as possible on the last set. If you hit seven reps, increase the weight by 10lbs at the next workout)

A-1: Kettlebell Rotation Press 3×7+ each side

A-2: Alternating Renegade Row 3×7+ each side

Alternate between sets of A-1 and A-2 and take 90 second breaks between each set. If you hit nine reps on the last set of each set, increase to heavier kettlebells at the next workout.

Hanging Leg Raise 3×8 (one-minute breaks and 4 second negative on each repetition)

B-1: One-legged KB Squat 3×6 each side

B-2: Double KB Clean 3×10

Alternate between sets of B-1 and B-2 and take 90 second breaks in between each set. When you can do two extra reps on the last set of each exercise, go up in weight.

Finisher: Hindu Squat 1×50


The Low Down on Core Training – Keep it Simple

     “How do I get more defined abs?” Certainly one of the most asked questions in the world of fitness. What it takes to see definition in the midsection takes real consistency from multiple facets of life. There are a few ways to break down your core. You have strength, definition, and functionality. Getting defined abs is a multifaceted subject. But all factors need to be considered and put into play to be really effective at getting the abs you either have not had in years, or even ever!

     If attaining a lean, defined midsection is your goal, keep in mind that just doing thousands of crunches wont get the job done. It doesn’t seem worth it to do all that work and see little to no improvement now does it? Now keep in mind, I am not necessarily talking about weight loss but I am talking about fat loss to be precise. Losing the fat is key to not just seeing your midsection, but adding years of vitality to your life.

     The first place to start with fat loss comes from getting your body-fat tested. The WORST way to measure it is any scale or handheld device that runs on electrical current. Its accuracy is tied directly to how hydrated you, or are not. If a trainer wants to measure that way, walk away and request a refund. What is much better is caliper testing. Some tests have as little as 3 pinches, some as many as 12. The more, the better as you get a better idea for the total fat on your body. One of the best ways is to have it done by someone who does Bio Signature, or Hormone Analysis through fat storage ratios. Doing so helps get professionals, such as myself get your body working for you, so you can better keep the fat off long term. KEEPING the results you worked so hard for. Working smarter, not always harder.

     So now that you know where you stand, lets look at the functionality of your core. Its comprised up of 6 main muscle groups that can confuse people as to what angles to hit or hit certain spots of their abs. You have the 6pack, or Rectus Abdominus down the front (it is the upper and ill-termed “lower” abs – they are one group), the Transverse Abdominus, Internal & External Obliques, the Quadratus Lumborum, and Spinal Erectors.  You have some supporting core muscles such as the Serratus Anterior and a few others, but we wont get into that too much. The overall functionality requirements of the core/midsection is to provide stabilization of the midsection. With increased stabilization of the core, not only will everything you do in the gym get better (cardio, stronger in all your lifting), you will see increase efficiency in all day to day activities.

     With that said, now we can get to what you really want to know…What are the best ab exercises? Knowing that stabilization is the focus, iso-metric exercises are best. You also do not want any core exercise that cause you to over extend your back. So lets look at a few great exercises you can do at home, the gym, or on the road. They will help build a lot of strength and also keep your muscles “long and lean”. If you do too much crunching or back extensions, you can end up with imbalances that can really compromise your overall posture and put your joints, especially your spine at risk. By strengthening more than just the front muscles you will see your waistline disappear faster than you can imagine.

1. Plank hold – Either on elbows or arms extended. There are more challenging variations, but start simple.

2. Side Plank – Either on elbows or arms extended. There are more challenging variations, but start simple.

3. Paloff Hold – Requires a band or cable machine to apply tension. This can be done kneeling or standing and have specific added movements for varying degrees of difficulty.

     Lastly, the important part of reducing bodyfat. Based on your Hormone Analysis, we can then determine what foods you want to eat, and when. Additionally, the same plan for the right supplementation to get the fat off and more importantly, keep it off! After all, it doesnt matter how hard you work in the gym if you dont control what you put on your plate.


Ensure your Success with these few tips!

We all struggle with different aspects of health and fitness that we feel “hold us back” or we know we need to improve upon. Regardless of what you struggle with, a few easy changes will make a HUGE improvement on not on just how you feel, but how you look as well! You have likely read a plethora of articles either online, or in print, that in many cases just don’t seem realistic to sustain long term. Regardless of what we do, follow the KISS (Keep It Simple Silly) principle and you will see success!

 

Failing to plan, is planning to fail. Within your plan you have to consider the 5 components of fitness, starting with the most important:

 

1. Nutrition – When you buy your groceries, stick to the outside of the store. Plan your meals ahead by making all your meals for the week in one afternoon or evening. Sunday works best for me. Lastly, use a 6pack cooler to take your meals with you for the day. Keep a food journal. I can help with learning how to shop and keep a food journal – Dont count calories!

 

2. Sleep – Plan to go to bed when you are tired. You will wake up with more energy. Listening to your chronotype will ensure that your hormonal cascade resets to proper capacities. This is critical for any goal.

 

3. Workouts – Plan ahead. Ensure that you have both cardio and strength training workouts and don’t forget to apply flexibility training into your routine as well. You shouldn’t need to spend more than 90min in any one workout session. Keeping a log of your workouts can go a long ways as well! If you do, you need to get some structure and guidance to do so.

 

 4. Supplements – This is really important to find a supplement rep that you trust and has both experience and knowledge to back it up. Most will have tried many different products and can give you first hand reviews. Most importantly, keep this simple. Too many products are out there that don’t offer what they say they do. You should only need a few products; nothing more. GMP is the way to go!

 

 

5. Professional assistance & support – Finding the right professional will guide you through any goal, regardless of what obstacles or injuries may come your way. Their job is to manage your health, nutrition and well-being by constantly employing strategies and re-designing them to keep you healthy, reduce stress, and get you results you seek. Having someone with a field-related degree and top tier certifications (NASM, NSCA, or USAW) and actual field experience.

 

If you keep these points in mind, you will find you will most importantly feel a whole lot better. You have to take care of yourself before you can properly take care of others. Remember, dont rely on just the scale for determining your success. Use other means, Body composition, pants sizes, push ups, or a plank hold test. Several to choose from! If you have more questions, please post them, or contact me to get more information.


Presidential Fitness Testing

One of the most common New Year’s Resolutions is to “Get Fit.” But in order to succeed at that goal, you must first ask, “What am I getting fit for?” Physical fitness means different things to different people. For years, as children we had to go through some standardized fitness testing of which most of us failed miserably. But then once we are out of grade school, the testing stops. There is no testing for teenagers, or adults unless you play(ed) high school, collegiate, or even professionally (for the fortunate few). So why not start the New Year with some basic testing, and push yourself to do better each month. You will find that by the end of each quarter, and the year, your improvement will be remarkable.

There are three general types of fitness, and determining what and why you are resolving to become more fit, will help you stay on track to accomplish those goals:

  • Performance-related fitness is linked to athletic performance (for example: a 50-yard dash time or the ability to maneuver around obstacles quickly) and is linked to speed, reaction time and coordination.
  • Health-related fitness is linked to fitness components that may lower risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or low back pain.
  • Functional fitness is being fit enough to enjoy your life fully without letting aches and pains or extra weight stand in your way.

So, what are you getting fit for and how will you accomplish that goal? Close your eyes and get a vision of what you want to look like, how fast you want to be or how healthy you want to be and keep that image in mind each time you work out. It is most important to note that there is no “ideal image” so whatever image is clear in YOUR mind is the right one for you.

Now… Test Yourself!
Now that you have a crystal clear image in mind, testing your current level of fitness is critical in measuring your success. The Presidential Fitness Test continues to be an excellent way to assess your own fitness. The test itself (available online at www.adultfitnesstest.org) will help estimate your level of fitness using several different components:

  • Aerobic fitness – ability of the heart and lungs to deliver blood to muscles
  • Muscular strength and endurance – enough to do normal activities easily and protect the low back
  • Flexibility – ability to move your many joints through their proper range of motion
  • Body composition – not too much body fat, especially around the waist

The results on each test provide you with a measure from which you can track your progress in each area as you become more physically active. If you have any concerns about your level of activity, it is always recommended you speak with your doctor first.


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