Explosivelyfit Strength Training

Explosivelyfit strength training builds powerful bodies!

071117 Testing your training program

071117 Testing your training program

Do you think we are able to continually bring home world championships by not following a carefully designed workout schedule? The quick answer is NO. Every set, rep and selected exercise is considered based on the relationship to the ultimate goal-personal bests.

We use clearly established test days throughout the training schedule.

Once every four to six weeks a mechanism to evaluate the effectiveness of your schedule ought to be put into effect. Is your squat lift poundage actually going up or are you stagnated? Can you Military press more now than two months ago? Is anything better now? You will not know unless you test.

Without periodic tests, you are wasting your time and energy on a potentially non-productive workout schedule. In each training session, a set goal is established or should be established. At the end of the particular series of training sessions in the mesocycle, measurable results should be obtained. If they are not what was expected, then changes to the program are necessary for further progress to be achieved.

Building into the program regularly scheduled ‘test days’ gives these direct benefits:

  • It measures the validity of the strength program design
  • It clearly indicates a benchmark day; one that will give instant feedback.
  • It will provide incentive to go onto the next phase of the training.
  • It will put in a semi rest day of low volume.

Depending on the mesocycle we test on a regularly scheduled basis all of our lifts. Consider doing so in your program and see how you stand relative to your objectives.

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311017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? 3/3

311017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? 3/3

The problem

Nearly every newspaper or magazine on the stands has an article about the obesity problem in today’s modern society. In case you are not aware of the dangers of being overweight here are just a few of the conditions that can have a major impact on your quality of life and on your lifespan. Obesity increases your chance of developing heart disease, hypertension, type two diabetes, cancer, arthritis, asthma, and sleep disorders.

The how much 

A body mass indicator (BMI) is not the same as a body fat indicator. The BMI indicates weight compared to height and is not valid for most athletes or those who are above average in muscle density. The BMI will give guidelines to a person who is underweight, normal, overweight or obese. Being overweight is asking for trouble down the line so this must be controlled before your health begins to fail.

The common formula for BMI determination (in inches and pounds) is
BMI= (current weight expressed in pounds ÷ height expressed in inches X height in inches) X 703.

For example, a male weighing 215 pounds and standing 5’11” would use the equation numbers of BMI= (215 ÷ 71 X 71) X 703 = 29.98

The BMI gives a good indication of the amount of body fat on your body. This relationship varies depending on your age and gender. Most women will carry a higher percentage of body fat than most men will for the same BMI score. As we age, the muscle tends to atrophy due in part to a lack of use, which causes excess body fat accumulation. This does not mean if you stop exercising ‘the muscle turns to fat’ as physiologically this is an impossibility for two distinct cells to morph into different cells i.e. a muscle cell will not turn into a fat cell.

The solution

So what do you do about this turn of events in your life? The short answer is to begin to exercise, but only after speaking to your doctor about your plans. Second, find ways to reduce the stress in your life. Next, a gentle but structured exercise program is the safest way to losing your stomach fat.

If you are short of time and cannot go to the gym for a full session then do three to four ten-minute bursts of cardio throughout your waking hours on your aerobic day. On alternate days of the week do eight to ten different resistance exercises. These too can be split into shorter periods of activity spread over the course of your day.

Two days of resistance training and two days of cardio will be a good starting point towards better health. Gradually build up the intensity of your exercise sessions because intensity burns fat, not gently jogging or lifting light weights for a few sets. Get your heart rate up, breathe heavy and hard (within your target zone of course), and push the muscles into areas they have not seen in a while. In short, put something into it in order to get something out of it-like the fat in your stomach!

Try this routine out for a month and see how much better you feel at the end of thirty days.

On the cardio days do some walking, ride your bike, or even some light jogging. Remember, that when you first begin you do not have to keep up with every hot shot in the gym or on the running course. If you forget to gradually work up to it, your body will remind you of the folly of your actions the next afternoon.
Essentials of Personal Training, Baechle, T. R. and Earle, R. W. Human Kinetics 2004

Waist to hip ratio calculator: https://www.nyhq.org/diw/tools/hipcalc.html

 

241017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? 2/3

241017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? 2/3 

The problem

Nearly every newspaper or magazine on the stands has an article about the obesity problem in today’s modern society. In case you are not aware of the dangers of being overweight here are just a few of the conditions that can have a major impact on your quality of life and on your lifespan. Obesity increases your chance of developing heart disease, hypertension, type two diabetes, cancer, arthritis, asthma, and sleep disorders.

The why

Recent research has found that stress actually changes your nervous and hormonal systems around so they encourage fat accumulation around the waist. This type of fat is dangerous and can lead to an increase in your chances of developing hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.

The October issue of Obesity Research featured a report by Swedish scientists, which found changes occurred in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal connections.  This intricate system regulates the part of the brain that controls metabolism through the adrenal gland. They also found that men with accumulations of fat in the stomach had nervous system changes that help to keep the bodily functions in balance. These researchers believe that these brain and neuroendocrine changes happen due to a life of chronic stress.

The how

One method of determining where you store your body fat is to use the waist to hip ratio formula. Take a measuring tape from your sewing room or sewing kit and measure the circumference of your hips at the widest part of your buttocks. Write this number down and then measure at the smallest circumference of your waist, just above your navel. As you measure your waist, don’t suck your stomach in, as this will give a false reading. Letting it all hang out is the best stance here.

Divide the hip number into the waist number to determine the ratio. If the number is one or above you are at an increased risk of one or more of the diseases previously listed.

The formula is Waist ÷Hip and anything less than one is good news.

More next week.

171017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? (1 of 3)

171017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky?

The problem

Nearly every newspaper or magazine on the stands has an article about the obesity problem in today’s modern society. In case you are not aware of the dangers of being overweight here are just a few of the conditions that can have a major impact on your quality of life and on your lifespan. Obesity increases your chance of developing heart disease, hypertension, type two diabetes, cancer, arthritis, asthma, and sleep disorders.

Losing weight can oftentimes help prevent these diseases from occurring. As you begin your self-examination, two potential areas of concern rise to the top of the list: ‘Fat location’ and ‘Fat surplus’. Fat storage locations in the body are a leading predictor of things to come.

The where

An ‘apple shaped’ (android obesity) body style carries the weight around the waist and will present more health risks than will be a ‘Pear shaped’ (gynoid obesity) or one who carries the weight around their hips. Most overweight males carry their weight around their stomachs. This is not good, but there are ways to tell where you are carrying a predominant amount of your fat in case you haven’t noticed yourself in the mirror. “There is a positive correlation between the abdominal fat content and the waist circumference measurement”. All of the fat clings like glue to your organs; it just hangs around in there doing nothing but harm.

101017 Americans are severely obese, to the tune of 15.5 million citizens.

101017 Americans are severely obese, to the tune of 15.5 million citizens.

A survey of 3 million Americans, conducted by the RAND Corporation in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and subsequently published online in the International Journal Of Obesity found that more than 6.6% of adult Americans are now 100 or more pounds overweight! This is an increase of almost 4% (3.9%) from the year 2000.

The cost of healthcare is more than doubling with the epidemic of severe obesity in our nation. Obesity increases the frequency cancer, heart disease, type II diabetes and other chronic and mostly preventable diseases.

When will this stop?

031017 Question of rest time between exercise sessions

031017 Question of rest time between exercise sessions

I’m a little confused on how long I should wait in between strength training sessions. I was always told 2 days but now someone has told me that if I do an intensive lower body training session I should wait an entire week before going back to that muscle group to allow a true and full recovery. Is this true

Answer:
In my opinion a week is way to long to wait between sessions. Your muscles will be into the detraining zone. Two days isn’t bad but you lose a lot of training time waiting. I would not suggest a one weeks wait in between muscle groups, even the largest muscles in your body, i.e. your back and legs should be recovering within two to three days at the most. The majority will recover within one to two days even after an intense workout. Are you getting my training newsletter? If so I am addressing recovery issues for the next several months.

Elite athletes are lifting up to 14 times a week. You may not be in the elite ranks right now so it may be better to lift according to your experience level. For instance, if you have been lifting under six months then twice a week will get you going. Over six months you may consider three times per week. In my gym after a year of training time I have many of my trainees on a four day program. With the exception of my competitive athletes I am not saying I want them in my gym four times a week. Since most of them have their own gear I eventually want them lifting at home or elsewhere. I am not in favor of creating a dependent relationship with those who train with me. I expect them to learn and apply what they have learned to their own circumstances by thinking about their training and discovering what is working and what isn’t, then they plan their own course of action.

Taking into consideration the issue of muscle soreness as a reason to wait seven days; if you are still sore seven days post exercise then you have possibly suffered an injury. On the other hand being sore is not an indicator that you need to stop exercising as this soreness will evaporate shortly after the first one or two movement specific warm up sets. Joint tightness helps produce more power output as the joints aren’t fighting a loose set up but are instead closer to the levers actual working ranges.

260917 Recovering from an exercise session

260917 Recovering from an exercise session

Exercise is a way of life for many people; they stay active longer into their lives while remaining mentally and physically sharper than their non-exercising friends. An active lifestyle requires a firm dedication to living a healthy life through good food choices and exercise. Sometimes being active brings with it a few aches and pains.

There are moments though when, especially after a particularly hard training session, soreness may occur. Even though this may be a cause for concern, there are strategies that may be used to relieve some of this discomfort.

Use a cool down after your session is completed. These few minutes of less vigorous activity help your body to return to its pre-exercise status by lowering your breathing, heart rate, and temperature back to near normal numbers. This time aids in the recovery of the muscles and cardiovascular systems.

Static stretching after the initial cool down gives the muscles a chance to relax and gives you a moment or two to improve your flexibility at the same time. Stretches are particularly effective now because the muscles, tendons and ligaments are all warm and flexible; just what is necessary to be productive.

Athletes generally weigh themselves before and after training sessions. This is to ensure they are staying properly hydrated. A recreational athlete might consider doing the same for the same reasons because a loss of fluids causes a loss of mental and physical sharpness. The rule of thumb is a pint a pound. Therefore, for every pound you lose exercising you need to drink at least 16 ounces. The exception to this is for an extreme endurance athlete or the salty sweater (1), not only is water important but so are the electrolytes.

Give your muscles the nutrients necessary to repair themselves after the session. Low fat chocolate milk is ideal in this situation because it has a good balance of carbohydrates and protein in each pint. Drinking one of these within ten to fifteen minutes pushes the glycogen back into your muscles and this helps them recover faster meaning a quicker return to your favorite activity.

190917 Special strength and the athlete

190917 Special strength and the athlete

We all know that not everyone is born with the same capabilities to display awesome strength. It’s a fact of life that some of us just don’t have the right combinations of fast twitch to slow twitch fibers. However, each of us can make a difference in our strength levels through proper training schedules. How we go about setting up these training regimens is the topic of this article.

There are minute differences in each muscle fiber type, and these differences make up the ability to run long distances or to lift heavy weights. Some are nearly all fast twitch with nary a hint of a slow twitch characteristic in them. At the other end of the spectrum are the slow twitch fibers with an amazing ability to keep on keeping on. Somewhere in the middle lay the in-between fibers the type two ‘a’ and ‘b’. Not quite all out fast twitch and not fully slow twitch either.

Determining the precise ratio of fast to slow twitch fibers is in the realm of the scientists but a few easy to follow tests may give an astute coach a clue as to the direction the training program would realistically follow. Dr. Fred Hatfield, also known as Dr. Squat, came up with a useful gauge for program planning based on the individuals’ fiber makeup. Here’s the test.

Determine the one repetition maximum, without equipment, in the lifts of your choice. Now take eighty percent of that one rep max. Do as many repetitions as possible with this weight. If you are able to do four to six repetitions, and no more with good form, then you are more than likely genetically gifted with a larger amount of type two fibers-the fibers that produce high force but wear out quickly due to their lack of endurance. These fibers operate within the rapidly consumed ATP/CP energy sphere. They fatigue easily, have fewer mitochondria and few capillaries supplying them with fuel.

If on the other hand you are able to do more than fifteen then you probably, have an abundance of type one fibers. These contain a greater percentage of mitochondria, a higher aerobic enzyme capacity and much more dense capillary concentrations. They allow you to go longer but the force output possibilities are lower.

In the middle of these two extreme rep ranges, we have the seven to fourteen ranges. These individuals will have predominance of in-between fibers. Not that many fast twitch and not that many slow twitch fibers.

So what do you do with this information once you’ve found it out? If you know your trainee is a fast twitch sort of person then design the program around this aspect. Keep the reps low and the sets higher. Two to six reps for ten to four sets respectively. Keep in mind that performing four sets of six reps will be physiologically harder on the system than doing twelve sets of two reps.

If they lean more toward the slow twitch end of the continuum then have them doing higher repetitions and fewer sets.

Now that you have a brief idea of the direction you will be going with your training plans, don’t forget to add in a few higher and intermediate reps and sets schedules for those who have the majority of fast twitch fibers. Take advantage of your trainees’ strong points but don’t overly neglect the rest of the points either.

120917 Engram development; the vital component to success

120917 Engram development; the vital component to success

Exercise technique is something most professional trainers preach. But does anyone ever wonder why? After all it is common knowledge that more weight can often times be lifted if it’s ‘cheated’ up, and more reps can be performed if some of them are ‘cheated’ at the end of the set. So what is the big deal about technical proficiency? The big deal is this: ability, longevity, and injury free movements result from learning and practicing good habits.

Instructing and practicing proper form in all aspects of exercise will enhance an individual’s ability in the long term. Technically correct exercise movement patterns decrease the risk of injury due to poor body mechanics, and improper muscle substitutions.

‘Practice makes perfect’ only if it is truly perfect, consistently, time after time. With proper instructions from the coach/trainer, the activity should become more accurate as the athlete makes the adjustments in form. The effort used to complete the movement tends to decrease and there is “less chance of overflow to the wrong muscles”(1) in the process. However, this pattern must be repeated many times to establish the neuromuscular pathways.

A technically correct and repetitive exercise movement effectively develops a pattern of movement called an ‘Engram’. By definition, “an Engram is an effect or performance that is imposed upon the Central Nervous System through repetition.”(2) The advantage of developing these pathways translates into the activity becoming an automatic unconscious process.

Exercising under a heavy load without having to think about ‘how to lift’ allows the subconscious to take over when the going gets rough. The athlete no longer has to think where their feet are placed, how to begin the move, when to breathe, which muscles to tighten and which ones to loosen in order to make the lift.

It is automatic IF the Engram has been previously developed.

(1) Therapeutic Exercise for Athletic Injuries Houglum. P.A. Human Kinetics 2001

(2) Ibid

050917 More benefits of exercise

050917 More benefits of exercise

Exercise has been cited as being beneficial for avoiding, lessening, and mitigating a vast array of diseases in the past. Now, new research is confirming even more of these exercise related benefits for those who choose to follow this path to better health.

According to a recent report from Duke University, working out directly affects your heart. You may reduce your risk of developing heart disease up to 25% by doing 750 minutes of high intense minutes each week. By doing 300 minutes of intense exercise you lower your risk of heart disease by 20% and exercising 150 minutes per week lowers the risk by 14%.

Despite scientific research and the medical expert’s advising exercise to manage the pain of arthritis, up to 90% of those with arthritis fail to meet even the standards of 150 minutes of exercise per week. Of this 90%, nearly half get no exercise at all. They are inactive.

Boost your memory with movement.

Aerobic exercise pushes the rate of circulation up and this helps to increase the flow of oxygen rich blood into your brain. A study of almost 300 older people found that of those who walked at least 72 blocks, about 4 miles and 880.0 yards, each week had more gray matter in their brain than those who did not walk or exercise each week. Those who were walking each day cut their risk in half of developing memory problems.

Achieve a calmer state of mind with exercise

Regular aerobic exercise tends to reduce an individual’s level of stress hormones, and decreases the amount of fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure when under duress. Some of the recommended ways of aerobically exercising are walking, running, swimming, biking, or any other activity that keeps your heart rate up and within the target range for up to 20-30 minutes a day.

Equally effective is resistance circuit training. This method involves doing a series of exercises without stopping for 3-6 times around a circuit-thus the name circuit training. It is most effective with the large muscle groups such as legs, chest, and back. As an example, when doing an intense lower body circuit, the series could look like this: do each exercise for 1 minute. Do this 3-6 times, if you are able.

  • Skip rope
    • Squats
    • Skip rope
    • Calve raises
    • Skip rope
    • Dead lifts
    • Skip rope

Obviously, before beginning any of these exercise suggestions consult with your doctor.

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