Thursday, July 28, 2011

5 exercises to avoid

Here are some exercises that most of you know you should be avoiding but you don't really know why you should be. I don't personally believe in saying "never" do exercise A, or exercise B but the following are just some exercises you should avoid or find a better alternative for. Remember almost every exercise has a potential risk to it, so just do the exercises with the greater reward relative to its risk.

1) Upright row-This is a fairly common exercise you see people doing in every gym across America to develop/strengthen their shoulder. The issue with this exercise has to do with that very muscle, the shoulder and the shoulder joint. Upright rows can cause shoulder impingement over time for many people especially if done with a narrow grip. If you are going to do this exercise try and switch to a wider grip.

OTHER ALTERNATIVES: Military press, dumbbell press

2) Behind the neck pulldowns-Pull downs to the front of the body are a great exercise, this variation not so much. Just like the upright row this exercise can cause issues with the shoulder and shoulder joint. Also, since most people lack good shoulder flexibility, they will tend to compensate by bending their neck forward and causing issues with the neck and C spine.

OTHER ALTERNATIVES: Normal lat pulldown, Pull ups

3) Behind the neck shoulder press-Are you noticing a trend here? Most of these exercise have to do with a movement in which the weight is going behind the head. This exercise has the issues as the above exercises. Shoulder problems and rotator cuff issues can arise as well as problems with your neck.

OTHER ALTERNATIVES: Shoulder press in front of the head, military press

4) Stiff leg deadlift with legs elevated-The stiff leg deadlift, done right, actually is a great exercise and should be done to improve the hamstrings, back and glutes. However, when you try and get more extreme range of motion by elevating your legs off the ground and standing on a box or step you can cause issues. What tends to happen with this approach is once you get to a certain depth on the lift you lose the arch in your back. By losing the arch in your back you shift the tension from the musculature of the back to the connective tissue and bones of the spinal column. End result is you increase your risk to hurt the low back.

OTHER ALTERNATIVES: Regular deadlift, hamstring curl

5) The basic sit up-If you like having a healthy low back then I would avoid/minimize doing floor sit ups. This old exercise ends up doing more harm than good. This exercise causes you to flex at the spine over and over and eventually can lead to damage to your discs and low back. Now I do think here and there you should toss in some sit ups because the last thing you want to lose is the ability to sit up from a bench press after pressing 300 plus pounds, that would not be good. But for the majority of your time I would use other exercises that have a higher reward than risk.

OTHER ALTERNATIVES: Planks, side planks, med ball chops and lifts

Monday, July 25, 2011

Random thoughts

  • There are a bunch of programs that work for a while but then eventually everything becomes stale. You need to make sure you are changing your workouts. Change exercises, programs, and methods.

  • If your trying to get faster then work your hamstrings and glutes. If your trying to better your vertical then work on your quads.

  • I love beets. They are low in calories and fat, but are high in fiber and vitamins and minerals. So Eat some!

  • If you have no specific training goal in mind try to mix up your routine every4-6 weeks. Do weeks of strength, metabolic ( fat loss ) and hypertrophy to get the benefits of every type of training.

  • Plyometric training and lifting with heavy heavy loads is hard on your central nervous system and can really beat down your body. Limit these types of workouts to 1-2x a week.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Better hamstrings with this trick

Sure some people will argue that the leg curl isn't functional and is garbage but I don't really care. The leg curl in my opinion is still a solid exercise to use if your trying to build someones hamstrings. Having strong hamstrings is functional!

The next time you do leg curls pay attention to your feet. Your calves can help your hamstrings lift the weight when your feet are dorsiflexed ( your foot facing your body ) and if you plantarflex ( pointing the foot away from the body) your calves with be taken out of the equation. So what does this mean to you and your workout?

***Have your foot facing your body.

***Point your feet away from your body.

*** On the concentric part of the leg curl ( bringing the legs toward the body ) have your feet dorsiflexed and use a heavier load than normal. On the eccentric part of the lift ( which we are stronger on ) have your feet plantarflexed and go for a slow tempo.

Monday, July 18, 2011

3 Exercises to add muscle

Here are 3 exercises that people need to do more often to help with your muscle gains.

1) INCLINE DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS- Ok, so I know a ton of people bench and work their pecs, but not many people do incline often and with enough volume. Dumbbells are great because they allow for a greater range of motion more so than the traditional barbell does. Also, incline press will help your anterior delt ( front of the shoulder ) and upper pec to develop at greater speeds which will result in a fuller looking chest. Every 3 weeks or so try to change the angle of the incline slightly to keep yourself progressing in the workouts.

2) STIFF LEG DEADLIFT WITH BARBELL-Nothing beats these in terms of really torching your hamstrings. Focus on a controlled lowering of the bar to get that negative and then explode on the way up. Mix up your rep schemes by going heavier with low reps ( 3-5 ) on some weeks and then going moderate weight with medium reps ( 8-10 ) on others. Make sure you always keep great form and never spare the back by trying to do too much weight1

3) WALL BARBELL BICEP CURLS-I love these things because they help you avoid cheating. Normally you do a standing bicep curl and by the end your rocking, your back and shoulders are working and it becomes a mess. Now that you wont cheat as much you can get greater recruitment of the bicep than before. Get yourself against a wall and keep your butt, and whole back against it the whole lift. I stand with my feet about 1-2 feet away from the wall.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Weak Training advice

Fitness professionals are naturally full of opinions and have numerous recommendations on exercise. And they’ve populated the Internet with blogs spouting their ideas about health and fitness.

There are many trainers, but there are few great trainers. Some of smartest minds in the industry are Todd Durkin, Joe Dowdell, Tony Gentilcore Mike Boyle These are the individuals people should be listening to – they’re the experts people would be smart to follow.

Then there are so-called "celebrity trainers" … like Tracy Anderson. I’m not sure how she has become so successful. Maybe because she makes crazy claims or gets celebrity women to think she is actually smart and is getting them results. Or maybe these celebrities – like the rest of the public – just don't know any better.

If you want to get a laugh, check out her website: Here are just some of her more ridiculous claims:

TRACY’S SITE: The mission of her method is to "strengthen the smaller muscle groups so that these muscles can pull in the larger muscles – which results in a lean figure that is not bulky."
*** Who knew our body's smaller muscles had such power over our larger muscles? Oh, wait … they don't! This statement on her site is not only ridiculous, but it can inspire people to work out in ways that can result in injuries.

TRACY DISCUSSING DANCE CARDIO AND THIGH-BUSTERS: "Doing 20-40 reps of each move pulls away the fat from the muscle – the cardio burns that fat to help diminish the look of cellulite."
*** A certain rep scheme pulls fat away from muscle? Wow. Her claims might be funny … if they weren’t so ridiculous.

TRACY IN LIFE&STYLE MAGAZINE: "We don't want to take away Kim Kardashian's amazing curves, so we just do specific movements to tighten the skin and to pull the muscles tight against the bone."
*** Last time I checked, you can’t pull skin and make it tighter through exercise. I’m no doctor, but I'm just saying. Also, your muscles already surround your bones. Is Tracy going to go inside your body with a wrench and tighten the bolts?

Tracy has a flashy website, she’s fit and she can drop celebrity names faster than an amateur weightlifter can drop a set of dumbbells. But I don't care and either should you. She’s clearly not educated in the field and she doesn't really know what she is doing.

The purpose of this blog post to remind you to pay careful attention to the things you read and hear in the fitness industry. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish my workout so I can pull in my larger muscles and tighten my skin.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Try this!

Do 100 reps of pullups in as few of sets as you can. You can take whatever rest you need between sets just don't exceed 2minutes. Then next time you workout your back try and get to 100 reps in fewer sets as you did the first time around. It doesn't matter what number you start with your how many you do in each set just get to 100 in the least amount of sets. If you are not strong enough to do legit pullups then you can use the assisted machine or just wait til your stronger!


25 reps-set 1









Thursday, July 7, 2011

Things I like

  • Good Health brand peanut butter pretzels-Whole wheat pretzels filled with natural pb a perfect combo.

  • Combo of-Dumbbell hammer curls for 10 reps, followed by 10 neutral grip ( palms facing each other ) chinups. Without resting keep going back and forth between the two exercises dropping the reps by one each round. So 10/10, 9/9, 8/8 and so on until you get to 1. Of course you need to be able to do chinups in the first place.

  • Rosie Huntington-She is the new girl in Transformers. See above.

  • Ground bison+bell peppers+onions+garlic+diced tomatoes over a bed of brown rice=a perfect protein meal after a hard workout day

  • Unilateral work-One arm chest press, one arm row, one arm squat and lunges. Not only will you stimulate your core but you will shock the body into new growth!

  • Running hills-Great to build lower body strength and power. Hills also force you to drive your arms harder than running on flat ground. Nothing feels better than knocking out some hill sprints on a nice summer day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Keep your shoulders healthy with this....

This routine is a great way to maintain overall shoulder health. Heavy weights are not needed at all, 2.5-5 lb dumbbells work just perfect. Make sure you do all of these exercises under control for best form.

Do this sequence non stop for 10 reps of each exercise.

Lateral raises ( palms up )

Lateral raises ( thumbs up )

Lateral raises ( thumbs down )

Front raises ( thumbs up )

***Cross overs ( palms facing away from you )

Military press

*** The cross overs-have your palms face away from you and your arms out in front of your hips. Then bring your arms up and over your head like you were going to do jumping jacks ( minus the jump ). Cross your arms in front of your head and then bring them back towards the hips.