Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday Tip Jar


1/2 rep- Lower yourself all the way down then come up only half way, go back down and then all the way back up to the top of the move. This would equal one rep. I would recommend doing 4-6 reps since this is pretty intense especially done with heavy loads.

Do 3 sets of 6,5,4 reps taking 90seconds of rest between sets. Finish with a 4th set in which you do normal reps of 12.

In case you forgot proper form or what the split squat is checkout my old post





End with some core work or even a forth tri-set


Do extreme negatives on the preacher curl. Load the bar with heavy weight and focus on a slow 10 second count as you lower the bar down. Have a partner help you lift back up and repeat this for 3-4 reps only. That should be plenty if the weight is enough, trust me. Rest 90 seconds and do 2 more sets.


When you go to change your program dont change the reps,sets, weight, rest intervals and
exercises all at once. Just make one change to any of those variables and you will see new gains. You see tons of people who want to do a new exercise everytime they workout but that doesnt always have to be the case.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Simple program for simple goals

If you are someone who doesn't have one distinct goal but instead want to get a little stronger, want to lose a little weight, want some hypertrophy then this program would be for you. In the program below you will train at every different rep and load scheme in order to give you a well balanced program. Just the variety alone will bring on new change to the body. I have found that this type of program can work great for weight loss as well since it helps keep people using heavy and moderate weights and not just high rep low weight.

Everything is based on a full body workout 2-3x a week format.



Focus on
*Heavy weights 
*5-8 reps per exercise
*3-4 sets of each exercise
*Upper body/Lower body super-sets work best, straight sets can work as well
* Rest periods of 45sec-1min between super-sets

A1) Pullup-6 reps
A2) RFE Split squat-6 reps



Focus on
* Light weights
* 12-15 reps ( even some 20 rep exercises )
* 3-4 sets 
* Upper body/lower body super-sets or even tri or quad sets
* Limited rest periods of less than 30sec ( if your fitness level allows )

Example of quad set
A1) Row-15 reps
A2) Goblet squat-15 reps
A3) Pushups-20 reps
A4) Walking lunge-15 reps



Focus on
* Moderate weights
* 8-12 reps
*3-4 sets
* rests 30sec-1min between sets
* compound sets, super-sets work best

Example of compound set
A1) One arm row-10 reps
A2) Pulldown-10 reps

Once you finish the 9 weeks you can start back with the strength phase even changing the length of the phases. If you find yourself getting better results with certain phases then stick with those and drop the one that doesn't yield the best results.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Don't be a slave to the scale!

If your goal is losing weight, really your goal is fat loss. When someone wants to drop weight they need to lower their body fat and increase lean muscle mass in order to look better. When the goal now becomes to lower body fat our scale no longer becomes useful. Instead what you should focus on is getting your body fat percentage taken at your local gym and use that as a baseline. I have seen way too many clients self sabotage themselves by becoming a slave to the scale. Every week or even every day checking the scale to see their fate and it never helps!

Checking the scale too often results in one of two scenario's.

A) You realize you havent lost weight or lost what you expected to lose in which leads you to become frustrated and and bail on your program. Not good!

B) You realize you lost weight! Great, amazing, so awesome! However, you take the foot of the gas and coast a little and get too high and lose that edge.Not good!

You really need to trust the program and nutrition plan you are on and focus on doing everything you can consistently to get to your goals. If you do this you will get the desired outcome when you finish the plan. Now I am not saying never check the scale at any point I just want people to avoid the constant ups and downs of checking your weight all the time. Sure every month or so it is not a bad idea to check the scale AND your body fat percentage to see if progress is being made but just dont become a slave to that thing!

Monday, January 21, 2013

5 Hamstring exercises to use

Not everyone has hamstring issues but generally most people have these issues-

A) Most are strong on knee flexion exercises ( leg curl ) and are weaker on hip flexion exercises

B) Most are people have weak hamstrings compared to the quadriceps and illiopsoas. You see many people have strong/tight illiopsoas and therefore you need to work the hamstrings in hip extension since the illiopsoas is a hip flexor.

Below is a list of the best 4 exercises to improve on your weak hamstrings

1. Glute-ham raise

* This exercise looks simple enough but trust me it is brutal. If the full exercise is too much at first you might need to focus on just the eccentric part the movement just going down as slow as you can. The best thing about this exercise is it can be done anywhere you just need to have something to hold your feet.


2. Single leg bridge feet elevated

* Again another exercise that needs very little equipment to perform. This exercise is a favorite of sprinters to develop the hip extension function of hamstrings. You need a bench to elevate your feet. Lie on the ground with your heels elevated on bench with legs slightly bent. Bring the non working leg into your hip and hold it there as you press the other heel into the bench and elevate the working leg into extension. Hold and squeeze for 1 second at the top.

3. Leg curl

* Some might say its not functional and its worthless but if its part of a training program and not the only exercise you use then it is beneficial especially as a way to load the hamstrings and to build mass.

4. Leg curl with floor slides or slideboard

* This great exercise can be done on a slideboard or by using towels under the feet on a tile or gym floor surface. The nice thing about this exercise is it works both hip extension and knee flexion functions of the hamstrings. I like how Mike Boyle teaches it in this video below.

5. Stiff leg deadlift

* Of course you need a deadlift movement to work the hamstrings! Work to push your hips back into an invisible wall behind you as you keep the legs stiff to really hit the hamstrings. Deadlifts allow you to lift heavy loads and hit your hamstrings like no other.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Quick Q & A- The Glutes

The glutes are a muscle group consisting of the glute max, med and min. Glutes produce hip extension and external rotation and are considered made up of mostly fast twitch fibers that are very tough to totally fatigue.The glutes are one of the strongest and biggest muscles in the body so they should take priority in your training program. From a vanity standpoint who doesn't want amazing glutes...especially women!

Q- If you neglect training glutes what problems might you have?

A-Most of the population neglects the glutes and that is why people have knee pain, low back pain and are losing their backsides. When you cant fire and use your glutes your low back compensates and therefore has a higher chance to get injured. Knee pain can happen when the glute medius isnt strong enough to keep the knee from caving in during squats.

Q-Why is the glute thruster exercise so important?

A- Not only is it a safe exercise but nothing comes close to it to maximize activation and hypertrophy. Want a butt? Do them!

Q-Why has society lost the ability to "use" our glutes?

A- We simply sit too much. When you spend long periods of time sitting your hips become short and tight and your glutes become long and weak. Soon your body turns them off and then the problem begins.

Q-What are some other exercises that will help the glutes?

A- Lateral band walks help the glute medius
     Kettlebell swings
     Deadlifts with a slight bend in the leg
     Deficit reverse lunges off a step or box
     Box squats

Q- How often should I train the glutes?

A- You can do glute activation exercises everyday in small amounts but in terms of the big exercises keep those to 2-3x a week. Glute activation exercises would be like a set of 12-15 reps of bridges.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Randomness

1. My clients who have lost the most weight generally do:

Intervals for cardio
Do full body strength training 2-3x a week
Follow the 90/10 rule with nutrition ( eat great 90% of the time, eat not so great 10% of the time )

2. Some of my favorite compound-sets for building muscle

A1) One arm dumbbell row-10 reps
A2) Lat pulldown-10 reps

A1) Barbell bench press-heavy 6 reps
A2) Dumbbell bench press- moderate weight 12 reps

A1) Standing barbell curls-10 reps
A2) Seated dumbbell hammer curls-10 reps

3. I feel like deadlifting one time a week is plenty on the body for your average person unless your goal is specifically improving the deadlift solely.

4. Protein shakes can be so versatile. You can have them post workout, for breakfast on the go, lunch or dinner or anytime snack. Guys have always done them now its time for the ladies to start to use them. My female clients are hesitant at first but once they try them they love having them.

5. If you want to gain weight eat peanut butter. If you want to lose weight, eat very limited amounts since it is very calorie dense.

6. Curls of any kind, tricep kickbacks etc are all fine to put into your weight loss programs every once in awhile but they should not make up the majority of your training plan.

7. When you feel your training program isn't working simply go in a completely new direction and see what happens.

8.Check out my friend Kim Dalton's new blog

9. Before worrying about anything else in your training answer yourself this

Can I do 1 pushup with good form?
Can I do 1 pull-up ( or ladies a chin-up ) with good form?

If the answer is no then make it a priority

10. Kale is such a great food. One cup has only 36 calories and its loaded with vitamins and minerals and high in fiber. A great way to sneak it in your daily diet is to cut it up thin and add it to your salads.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Old School Survivor circuit

This type of workout consists of a sequence of exercises that follow lower body, upper pull, upper push, core and then back to lower body protocol. This circuit is made up of 10 exercises and is based of the original idea from 1980's Nebraska strength coach Mike Arthur.

* You should use about 60% of your one rep max for each exercise ( ex:100lb 1 rep max, use 60lbs )

1) Glute thrusters ( add barbell if needed )-10 reps

2. TRX row with palms down ( or any other row variation )-10 reps

3. Alternating dumbbell neutral should press-10 reps each

4. Cable chops with handle-15 reps

5. Trap bar Deadlift-10 reps

6. Chin-up-10 reps

7. Close grip bench press-10 reps

8. Alternating reverse lunge with dumbbells-10 reps each

9. TRX row palms face -10 reps

10. Stir the pot-10 reps each

Do 4 rounds.. Take 2-4 minutes between rounds depending on your fitness level

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, New You-Strategies for 2013!

January means everybody becomes a health nut and workout maniac, well at least for a couple of months before the the workouts lose their luster, results cant be seen and motivational goes down. This year don't let that scenario happen to you. Below are some quick strategies to help you get better this in 2013!


  • Make the plan specific to what will work to you and not what has worked for others-Sure maybe eating a veggies omelet is ideal but you know you hate to cook and you need something on the go, so instead of failure trying to follow that you do a protein shake as an replacement. If people you know lost weight by doing tons of cardio ( doubt this ) and you don't like cardio then don't do it and do free weights, classes or get involved with sports. Simple message is take what works and mold it to what will help you get the success you want.

  • Get a partner, buddy, friend, spouse, support group etc-By having that other "someone" you will increase the chance of hitting your goals. There will be plenty of times when you need that push or need the physical or mental support so get it!

  • Realize Rome wasn't built in a day-Know that this is a process and if it was that easy and quick everyone would be walking around with fitness model physiques.

  • Do you want it or do you REALLY want it? There is a big difference and most people just want it. When you finally come to grips that you REALLY want this then you will do the things needed to get the results.Step up to the plate!

  • INTENSITY-without it you will get nothing.



  • Focus on eating right as your #1,#2,#3 and #4 priority! If you are not willing to do this then forget working out.

  • Focus on full body compound exercise workouts- Think major lifts like lunges, squat and deadlift variations, pushing and pulling exercises. Keep rest to a minimum.

  • Intervals-Let high intensity short duration cardio be a major part of your plan

  • Use variety in terms of sets/reps-high, low, moderate, light, heavy etc

  • Eat right! Oh wait did I mention this? It doesn't matter! It is that important!


  • Eat! Unlike losing weight, your goal is to eat more and more and when you think you have had enough, well eat some more. Odds are you don't eat anywhere close to the amount of calories you need in order to pack on some mass.

  • Just like above, focus on main lifts and do them well.

  • Build the legs and the rest of the body will follow

  • Recovery-Give your body time to rest. The real gains come not in the gym but outside the gym, always remember this.

  • Use between 6-12 reps, moderate loads and high volume.


  • Keep it to simple lifts-Prioritize what you want to get stronger at and make sure you do it first in the workouts.

  • Heavy loads and low reps

  • Simple progressions- 3x4, then 3x5, then 3x6.....increase weight and repeat etc ( just for example )