Explosivelyfit Strength Training

Explosivelyfit strength training builds powerful bodies!

240916 This takes the cake

240916 This takes the cake

We’ve all seen the pseudo trainers standing on a stability ball swinging something around in their hands.

Just when I thought I’d about seen it all, another screwball shows up with an even goofier exercise. This example shows a guy on a trampoline standing on a BOSU (1) with the rounded part facing the trampoline.

What is this for? Who knows; it certainly isn’t any that I train my athletes for in the gym. How many sports require this type of activity? NONE despite the trainers claims that it conditions the core and balance.

He must have a great liability insurance policy and is probably hoping the insurance company doesn’t see this photo of stupidity in action.

I suspect the people that do these things crave attention, negative in this case, because this is the only thing such a stunt could provide.

In the Explosively Strength Training programs, we NEVER stand on these types of gear. We are strong but not stupid.

(1) The BOSU looks like a stability ball cut in half with one side a flat surface and its opposite, the rest of the ball. It can be used with either side up or down for various exercises.

190916 Measures That may Reduce Your Risk of a Fall

190916 Measures That may Reduce Your Risk of a Fall

The prevention of a fall is important for those diagnosed with Osteoporosis due the fragility of the bones and the potential consequences of damage to the skeletal structure. The disabling nature of a broken bone can be devastating to an older person, especially a broken hip.

Falling results from a variety of sources. The elimination of as many of these as possible will help reduce your chances of taking a tumble. Keep in mind the older we all get the more dangerous a fall can be, especially one that breaks a hip. A few of the ways to help lower the risk of falling can be summed up into a few words-exercise to stay strong, remove the hazards in your home and regularly consult with your doctor about the medications you are taking.

Exercise by its very nature will help prevent a fall by making your body stronger and better balanced. When you lose your balance the power in your body has to be sufficient to immediately regain your equilibrium and set you back on the right path. Strength training is designed to make you stronger and this, coupled with the ABC’s of agility, balance and coordination will enable you to protect yourself to a higher degree than without these attributes.

Your home is a prime site of accident hazards that may be eliminated by simply taking the time to look it over and removing them. Start by getting rid of, or putting up all the things that you can trip over; this includes the small rugs that are notorious for slipping out from under you. If you have extension cords in the home make certain they are picked up and out of the way to prevent stumbling on them.

In the kitchen place rubber backed rugs near the sink and when water or other stuff gets on the floor clean it up promptly to eliminate that potential accident source.

Stay away from the old step stools most of us at one time had in our homes. In your bathroom have grab bars installed around the tub, shower and if need be the toilet. While you’re at it put a no slip surface in the tub and shower area and install adequate lighting so you aren’t groping around in the dark dim light. A nightlight in the bathroom is a good idea as well.
Keep your halls and doorways well lit, even better when you get up at night turn on the lights.

Wear good shoes with non-slip soles and make sure you have handrails on all of the stairs in your home. Keep your stairs in good repair and don’t set junk on the steps-keep them clear at all times; they are for walking on, not storage space.

The next time you see your doctor take in all of the medicines, herbs, vitamins and other supplements you take in each day. Some of these may interact negatively with one another and just be setting you up for a fall. Medications that treat blood pressure or muscle soreness (relaxants or sedatives) can cause dizziness and subsequent loss of balance.

Finally have your vision checked out to make certain you aren’t contending with glaucoma or cataracts. Both can limit your vision, which increases your chance of falling.

Falls occur from medications, hearing problems, lack of muscle strength, coordination difficulties and from conditions that affect balance and the reflex systems of the organism.

These basic precautions will go a long way in helping to make your home more fall proof.

170916 Floor pressing with mechanics seats

170916 Floor pressing with mechanics seats

If you do any type of upper bodywork, eventually you’re going to be doing floor presses; especially if you want to increase the amount of weight, you can bench press.

Sometimes just getting the power rack setup to do a floor press can be problematic. Not only are you going to be tying up the power rack to do the floor presses but you still have to move all of the chains, bands, and kettle bells over to that area. The other area of possible concern is how the floor feels on your elbows when they are under a load at the bottom of the lift.

In my opinion, the solution to both of these issues is to do floor press with two mechanics seats.

Normally a well-equipped weight-training gym is going to have all of the bench press material in one area centralized around the benches. Here you will have the different sizes of chains, the various sizes of stretch bands, and nephew smaller elastic bands to hold the kettle bells on the end of the bar. Carting all this stuff over the power rack is a needless and time wasting activity when you already have everything you need in one spot.

One of the easiest ways to simplify and incorporate a floor press movement into your bench press routine is to use mechanics seats. These can be purchased at almost any auto parts store or any of the major tool supply houses.

When buying these seats, get the ones that are heavily padded and adjust up-and-down with the flick of a lever. With this style of a seat, you can easily and quickly adjust the seat level at bench height or up to several inches above the top of the bench surface.

Now that you have your seats, it is time to start using them. There are several steps to take in order to get your seats set up correctly.

The initial one is to make sure the top of the mechanics seat is even with the top of the bench. You will want to lie on the bench, lift the bar off the rack and lower your arms down in your normal groove. Note where your elbows touch the mechanics seat; if they are way off to one side, then move the seat to where your elbows are touching the center at the bottom position of the lift.

The next thing to do is to make sure that the seats do not move while you’re lifting.

You can accomplish this simply by blocking each one in position with several weight plates. This simply keeps the seat where you want it to be as you lift.

Once you have your seats set up where you want them to be for normal floor pressing it is time to start making some height adjustments on it.

Adjusting the height of the seat allows you to work on your sticking point slightly below where it occurs during the lift. With these adjustable mechanics seats, you are able to go up in minutely small increments. (I realize that minutely and smaller are redundant terms, but they seemed to fit together in this sentence). This makes working on the sticking points all that more efficient.

120916 Conditioning principles and suggestions

120916 Conditioning principles and suggestions

Each session length should vary between forty five and sixty minutes. Try to keep them below 60 minutes.

Begin each session with a DYNAMIC warm up, not a static stretch.

Perform technique and/or skill exercises or work first.

Pay strict attention to your form. Once the form begins to degrade move onto the next selection of exercises. Continuing with bad form simply teaches your body to lift incorrectly with the poor technique that is brought on by fatigue.

Strength selections are next-major muscles of the body-neck, arms, chest, shoulders, upper back, lower back, abdominal’s, quads, hamstrings, calves.

Full range of motion must be performed in all the angles and speeds that are possible. Concentric, eccentric and isometric. Avoid the ‘slow moves’. Keep the bar speed fast. Very few sports require a slow move.

Sets and repetitions will vary every single time. The repetitions will change the most between the two, from a low of two reps for six to nine sets up to eight reps for four to five sets.

If you are keeping weight gain down then work in the higher intensity load sets for fewer repetitions (85%-95% 1 RM for two to three reps with long rest periods of two to three and even five minutes).

Work on the energy systems that are most used in the sport by manipulating the work to rest ratios for each exercise session-this can be used as a session intensifier when combined with the previous section.

End each session with static stretches or PNF stretches. This helps cool the muscles, ligaments and tendons and may decrease the soreness after effects of exercise.

Give priority consideration to good nutrition and rest after the exercise period has been completed. It during the rest that muscle growth occurs.

Other things to consider

The greater increases in strength will bring about larger increases in strength endurance.

A strength endurance athlete can easily over-train using high repetition weight training. This may result in an increased risk for injury and a notable decrease in performance.

Exercise session sequence

Dynamic warm up

Technique work

Power work

Strength-structural exercises first

Static or PNF stretches (ONLY with trusted partners and after a lesson in how to do these)

Cool down

A basic program for a strength endurance athlete: Notice the sequence and the low repetitions of the exercises.

Power cleans to develop speed of movement- 3-4×2-3

Back squats- 6×2-5

Dead lift- 6×2-5

Military press- 4×6-8

Pull downs or chin ups- 3-4×5-10

Bench press- 4×2-5

Leg curls or stiff legged dead lifts (twenty degree flex in the knees to prevent hyper extending the knees) or good mornings- 5×8

Bar bell rowing- 4-5×5-8

100916 Timing your meals to increase the effectiveness of your workouts

100916 Timing your meals to increase the effectiveness of your workouts

Morning workouts may be somewhat better for weight loss. There is some evidence showing that more fat is burned when exercising before eating breakfast. This may be because when exercising later on these sessions will be fueled by the proteins and carbohydrates from meals eaten earlier in the day.

However, if you have any type of a heart disease, working out in the morning may not be your best option because your risk of a heart attack is slightly elevated.

Some of the research is showing that exercise in the afternoon may be better for building strength and endurance. These same studies are showing that your aerobic capacity, coordination, flexibility, muscle strength, and reaction time show the greatest training peak between 1600 and 1900 hrs.

Even though the research is becoming clearer as to the best time to exercise each day, it is not going to make a hill of beans if these times are not good for you.

Each day is special, and each day you have to make a conscious decision as to when you are going to work out. The more habitual this workout time becomes the better the chances are that you are going to stick with it over the long haul.

As for deciding what time to eat your biggest meal of the day, you may want to keep this in mind: stuffing yourself at the local buffet shortly before going to bed will almost guarantee you of a poor night’s sleep because your body is working to digest all the food you ate.

050916 Fall fitness begins at home

050916 Fall fitness begins at home

The kids are off to school and finally you have some free time to yourself. Now is your chance to get fit. So where do you begin? Start with a consult with your doctor to see what they think of your new physical activity plans.

After you have discussed the situation with your doctor and if your health is such that you can become engaged in a fitness program start with a low intensity schedule so you aren’t so sore the next day you can’t move.

Each day set aside a time just for YOU. Make this a priority to follow through with your exercise plans unless a true emergency presents itself.

Write on your calendar what you plan to do or better yet write it down in a logbook that can be as simple as a three-ring notebook. Put down your weight, your goals for the day, week, month, and year.

Start with a dynamic warm up which means you aren’t just static stretching in a passive mode. A dynamic warm up, for example can be skipping rope, rotating your arms and legs around in big circles. The objective of this part of the exercise session is to get your heart and breathing rate up, to loosen up your muscles and get ready for a more rigorous physical endeavor.

If this is the day, you have decided to do aerobic conditioning, i.e. cardiovascular then skipping rope is not necessary. Start out slowly and gradually build up your speed of movement until you are at your target heart rate. Maintain this heart rate for twenty to thirty minutes for at least three to four times a week. Do this on alternate days between resistance training days, which now follow.

You can resistance train without weights or any other types of equipment using body weight moves such as the common push up and chair squats.

Do this entry level ‘no equipment’ fitness schedule for one month and I guarantee you will feel better! Write all that you do down in a workout logbook diary.

Monday

  • Walk or jog for five to ten minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Tuesday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
    • One leg chair squats-one leg held out in front as you descend
    • One leg squats-one leg held behind you on the chair as you descend into the squat
  • Calf raises
    • Two legs standing
    • One leg standing
    • Seated with a small child held securely on your knees
  • Hamstring bridges
    • With feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
    • With feet on the floor as above described
  • Push ups
    • Regular
    • Modified (pivot on your knees)
    • Modified wall lean against a wall and do a push up at an incline
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Wednesday

  • Walk or jog for five to ten minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Thursday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times a piece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
  • Calf raises
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Friday

  • Walk or jog for five to ten minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Congratulations, week one is behind you and now its time for a small two-day break then at it again Monday. This week though change it around by doing three resistance days of training instead of just two like last week.

Monday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two to three more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair-as described above
  • Calf raises-as described above
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)-as described above
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Tuesday

  • Walk or jog for five to fifteen minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Wednesday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two to three more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
  • Calf raises-as described above
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)-as described above
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Thursday

  • Walk or jog for five to fifteen minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Friday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two to three or maybe even four more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
  • Calf raises
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Yahoo you have now made it to your SECOND weekend break. Now repeat for next week by doing three days of cardio work and two of resistance training. Be sure to write it all down.

Keep it up for the rest of the month and notice how much better you are feeling about yourself.

030916 Ankle weights

030916 Ankle weights

Questions often arise as to the usefulness of the small Velcro style attached weights. But that may be the wrong question to be asking if you are interested in safe, healthy exercise.

Attaching the weights to your ankles and doing any type of fast movements, where your legs are extending, such as happens when running or jogging puts an excessive strain on the knee and hip joints. Over time, this can cause problems leading to laxity in the joint capsule, potential constriction, and/or adhesion of the surrounding tissues resulting in abnormal wear patterns in the joint.

Thus, using these ankle weights for any type of aerobic exercise is not recommended. However, there are times when they are useful in an exercise program. And those times are when you need some extra resistance doing leg curls and quad sets at home.

These little weights are ideal when you are recovering from a lower joint surgery, particularly a total knee replacement. They will help you get back your range of motion, help develop endurance and eventually increase your strength in small increments. All of which you will need to completely recover from this surgery.

They can be useful when rehabbing your ankle from a strain if you follow your doctor and physical therapists advice on when and how to use them.

Although I have never used them when riding a stationary bike they may even be of benefit here too.

310816 Eggs are OK now

Eggs are OK now[1]

Eggs are OK now, just as they were 40 years ago.

A new study out of the University of Finland confirms what our Mothers and Fathers told us back then (for those of us who were around back then). This study reports that eating an egg a day doesn’t increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, even in those genetically predisposed to a higher than normal effect of dietary cholesterol on their serum cholesterol levels.

This study is a direct contradiction from what we have been told for the last several decades. In fact, over the past few years, several studies have reclassified eggs back into the good to eat category.

Researchers found no association, in the participants of the Finnish study, among those with the APOE4 phenotype. This particular hereditary phenotype affects cholesterol metabolism and is present in about one third of the Finnish population who are also carriers.

[1] American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online February 2016

290816 Training explosively

290816 Training explosively

One of the issues common to the uninformed coach is doing the same thing week after week, month after month and then wondering why their program is not making progress. The answer is right in front of them: Constantly using the same activity and intensity leads to mediocre results due to the ability of the body to recognize and adapt to the same stimulus.

The repetitions used during training depend upon the level of resistance used and the percentage of intensity based on the tested one repetition maximum. Max percentage lifts limit the lifter to one to two reps whereas speed endurance lifting utilizes reps up to ten per set.

The rest break times, from 2-5 minutes, depend on the load, percentage of intensity, and the goal of the session. Max effort and high repetition lifting naturally take longer to recover from so these rest periods will be longer. Moreover, each rest period consists of two parts.

The first part of the rest is passive in nature with simple rest and no activity, taking place. The second part should be active, consisting of movements that loosen up the body doing the main portion of the work. After the rest is over it is time to get going again.

Using a Tendo unit, at a cost approaching $1400.00, certainly has the capability to display the power output of the trainee and keeping them within the proper intensity zones. However, most gyms do not have a Tendo. If you are in this group and do not have the resources to own a Tendo, the following works well according to Starzynski and Sozanski, PhD[1].

If you do an exercise in 1 second and then do that same exercise in ½ second, your power output has doubled. Strength and power, even though trained separately, still go hand in hand with both supporting the other. It must be clearly understood that you can effectively train only one or the other in the same session; otherwise, it confuses the nervous system thereby training neither trait optimally.

By using a method of load control and a method of managing the intensity of the training period, a coach can be more effective in directing the program for each trainee.

Starzynski and Sozanski state in Explosive power and jumping ability for all sports “an effective formula for training intensity in the whole preparatory period lies in distinguishing three zones of duration of exercise…”

They then go on to list these three zones as follows:

  • Slow, where the set lasts more than 11.0-14.5 seconds
  • Medium speed, with sets lasting between 8.5 to 11.0 seconds
  • Fast, with the workout sets lasting from 6.5 to 8.5 seconds.

If you initially take the time to set up the zone approach to training, the results, according to the authors, speak for themselves and are well worth the startup time spent.

Three methods of training explosively

In each case begin with a good overall aerobic body warm up of five to fifteen minutes or until you break a slight sweat whichever comes first. Sweating signifies that your internal temperature is enough to begin producing high power and work output.

Find the time, to the nearest hundredths, that it takes to do a one-repetition maximum for a particular exercise for that day. Now add one second to it.

The first method of zone training.

1.     Start with a list of important exercises that will train the lagging parts of the athlete. Usually four to five will be sufficient if chosen with due regard to the weakest area of the lift.

2.     Begin with a thorough warm up

3.     Do each of the exercises in sets of five to six repetitions beginning with 50% of the 1RM. After the first set, add 10-20 pounds to the bar for the next set. Continue adding weight until the time of the set exceeds the zone time limit previously listed. At that point, the work with that particular exercise is finished and it is time to move onto another exercise.

The second method of zone training.

Method 2 is based on the individuals previously determined intensity levels in their general and sport specific preparations. To begin the zone two training, after the warm up, load the bar to fifty percent of a 1RM in the chosen exercise. Measure the time it takes to do 5-6 six repetitions at the fastest possible speed. As before, in zone 1 training, add 1 second to this time. This makes it possible to complete 6 sets of the exercise in the workout.

The time to complete the sets is not altered, even though weight is increased each succeeding set. If the time to complete a set exceeds the time limit, the rest of the unfinished sets drop off the schedule for that session. The athlete who does not finish the sets strives the next session to do so. Those who do finish their sets continue to add more sets until they too are unable to get them done in the established time.

1.     Start with a list of important exercises that will train the lagging parts of the athlete. Usually four to five will be sufficient if chosen with due regard to the weakest area of the lift.

2.     Begin with a thorough warm up.

3.     Train the most important exercise first.

After three weeks of training the same exercise, it is time to change to another one off the available exercise list.

The third method of zone training.

This method is highly individualized with the intensity of each session strictly planned out for the particular athlete. This is the ideal situation for a strength coach because it tests their ability to develop a program of training showing definite progress over the long haul.

After a thorough warm up, the first set establishes the time to match for the remainder of the workout sets for the selected exercise. The time to meet is found out the same for all three methods, however in the third zone training this time does not necessarily mean that future workout sessions will have the same time limitations. All of them may vary depending on the strength of the athlete at the start of the session. In each case, the time of the first set determines the time for the remainder of the sets plus one second. Once a set runs past this time, the rest of the training on this exercise is over due to exceeding the time limit.

270816 An introduction into strength and power training for all ages

270816 An introduction into strength and power training for all ages

It turns out there are effective actions you can do to positively alter your health. They can help improve your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, help improve your mood, make you stronger and more powerful, and at the same time make your bones stronger to help ward off fractures.

These are not the only benefits these actions, not by a long shot.

They can potentially help you avoid disability, frailty and retain that precious independence we all want to have as we age.

Strength training can do all of this.

It is a well-known fact that strength training offers all of the benefits previously mentioned, in addition to many others such as are listed in the following section from the Harvard Medical School.

“Practically any regular exercise benefits your health. Strength training specifically helps in the following ways:

  • Strengthens muscles
  • Strengthens bones
  • Prevents falls and fractures by improving balance and preserving power to correct missteps
  • Helps to control blood sugar
  • Relieves some of the load carried by the heart
  • Improves cholesterol levels
  • Improves the body’s ability to pluck oxygen and nutrients from the blood stream
  • Boosts metabolism even while sleeping  and thus helps keep weight within a healthy range
  • Prevents or eases lower back pain
  • Relieves arthritis pain and expands limited range of motion
  • Raises confidence , brightens mood, and helps fight mild to moderate depression
  • Wards off loss of independence by keeping muscles strong enough for routine tasks”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there is now a heightened awareness of the benefits of strength training. There is also the fact that only a small percentage of the American population have actually started a strength training program. This percentage is estimated at just slightly under 22% for men and 18% of the women in our nation who are strength training twice a week on a regular basis.

This percentage figure is way below the U.S. governments Healthy People 2010 goal of 30% of the adults in America who make strength training a part of their exercise program.

If you’ve never lifted weights before or done any type of resistance training the biggest barrier to starting may be knowing where to begin. This may be your situation, if so all you need to start is a comfortable pair of shoes and clothing. Adding to this, a solidly built chair, a few dumbbells and if you’re able to skip rope, a skip rope. This is all you need to get started. There, that wasn’t so difficult was it?

Since the health benefits of strength training are founded on its ability to protect against the onslaught of frailty, while at the same time making everyday tasks easier and more manageable it is essential that you begin sooner rather than later. The longer you wait the more your muscle tissue, bone density, and strength dwindle. If you don’t do something about your strength and power abilities you will soon find it difficult to walk upstairs, get up from a chair, carry groceries, and fend for yourself as an independent person.

Not only will you find it difficult to do the aforementioned tasks but also lacking strength leads to falls and that can mean incapacitating fractures. This in turn further compromises your ability to lead an active life. Strength training has a wealth of research backing its ability to effectively slow down and possibly reverse these life altering events.

Even if you are in your 70s, 80s, 90s and above, research has shown a dramatic increase in strength, power, agility, and mobility within 10 weeks of lifting weights 2 to 3 times a week. Now you have to admit that this is not a tremendous time commitment, especially considering the benefits to your health.

Post Navigation