There are a ton of crazy workout gadgets out there that are absolute wastes of time.
Curling with Globe Gripz
I am sure you have tried a few now and again and can name some that were totally useless.
Well, one item that you might have seen at one time or another that is NOT useless, is the Globe Gripz handles.
I have been training with Globe Gripz off and on since 2012. I immediately was impressed by their packaging and the quality of the product.
For the last few weeks, though, Globe Gripz have been a weekly part of my training. In fact, I have had a resurgence in my Biceps training, especially in the Barbell Curl.
For several years, I did not do Barbell Curls because they hurt my wrists and forearms so intensely sometimes that I would feel the leftover pain for several days down the line.
However, with Globe Gripz on the bar, I feel ZERO pain in these areas when curling. I have been able to put several good, solid weeks of training in and have upped my 1-Rep-Max in the Barbell Curl to 160-lbs and have been increasing my repetitions with 135-lbs on the bar on a near weekly basis, nearly hitting 10 reps just yesterday.
Barbell Curl Training
Here some clips of some of the recent Bicep Curl training sessions…
Barbell Curl: 135-lbs X 10 (Almost) + Attempt at 170-lbs Barbell Curl with Globe Gripz
Strict Barbell Curl: 155, 157.5, 160-lbs
If you feel the same kind of pain in the Barbell Curl that I do, I strongly encourage you to check out Globe Gripz. Naturally, there are LOTS of other ways Globe Gripz can be used, just like Fat Gripz and the other Instant Thick Bar Handles that are on the market. Barbell Curls is simply what I use Globe Gripz for the most. Actually, that’s all I really use them for.
I am sure the Form Police will show up and say these curls ARE NOT STRICT. That’s fine. My response is “Show me your video with stricter form and comparable weight.”
Now, I am also aware that there are strict curl competitions, where people stand against a wall or some other structure to prevent swaying back or using the delts and back for assistance.
Awesome! I am all about competition and comparing my lifts against others, ESPECIALLY when there is a standard, so I tried them too.
I have seen a few clips of these competitions and an EZ-Bar is often used. So I gave this a try using an EZ Bar in an attempt to match the competition standard as closely as possible. Here is the video…
Strict Curl with Back Against Door: +/- 158-lbs
I really do not know where this would put me in the established competition lifts that exist. I am assuming that for my bodyweight (about 235 on the day of that lift), this would be pretty low, as I am sure the competitors have a much better grasp on the proper technique of the lift. For instance, I noticed some substantial stress on my lumbar during the first rep and had to adjust where I had my feet to reduce it. It’s definitely not just a vacation performing this lift, especially when you are going for a near-max.
So, here’s the deal. Some people think Curls are stupid. If you feel this way, that is fine.
I personally like to keep track of things like this. I have an idea of my PR in lots and lots of lifts and I like to push myself in this nature.
Plus, I love competition. Ever since I was a child and played baseball, I have loved the field of competition.
Over the years, that field turned from a diamond of dirt and grass with a fence around it to the Strongman and Grip Strength Platforms.
If I can find a Strict Curl competition nearby, I might add that to my Competition Portfolio as well. If anyone is familiar with them, I’d love to hear about them.
Now, if you are not into competition, but just want to get bigger and stronger arms, then be sure to check out Call to Arms, an ebook I put out last year with Joe Meglio.
Naturally, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If you are not training your biceps with some intensity on a regular basis, then they could be your weakest link. At the least, they might hold you back on other lifts. At worst, you could run the risk of tearing a bicep and be out of competition and training for a while, waiting for it to heal.
Intense Arm Training, like what we cover in Call to Arms can help you erase that weakness.
Also, if you are Grip Enthusiast, you should consider adding Arm Training of some sort to your routine. Both Paul Knight and Steve McGranahan have made mention of the relationship between Grip Strength and their overall arm strength.
All the best in your training,
Armaid: The Best Lower Arm Therapy Device on the Market Today
Around here, the kids are all back in school and they have the whole year ahead of them.
There’s tons of excitement as they look forward to the many possibilities and potential for the year.
I still remember my Senior year, when I said I was going to not play basketball (which I pretty much hated) and just concentrate on baseball.
I wanted to go into the school weight room three days a week and put on some serious muscle, because I was 6-feet tall and about 200-lbs, but thought for sure with hard work I could put on some muscle and show up for my Freshman Year in college looking like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire.
While I never ended up looking like Mark or Barry, I did end up putting on some muscle and planting the seeds that would grow into a life-long interest in weight training.
Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t realize some of the things these guys were doing and taking in order to get so freakish. I also didn’t realize that there was a difference between training for size and for training with strength. I just went in there and did what I read about in bodybuilding magazines and didn’t understand the importance of proper loading and rep schemes in order to get stronger. If finding a balance between muscle gains and improvements in strength levels is something that you struggle with, then today’s article is perfect for you.
Today’s post comes from Eric Cressey. Eric is probably best known for his work with professional baseball players at his facility in Connecticut, Cressey Performance, but he is also know for his work in the arena of fitness and especially the field of strength & conditioning. His knowledge blows me away and he is one of the few professionals in the field I subscribe to. Every article, video and product he puts out is GOLD. Possibly his most well-recognized work, Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look Feel and Move Better is on sale for this week only for $50 off the regular price.
Enjoy today’s post from this world class author, speaker coach, and lifter.
5 Reasons You’re Not Getting Stronger
By: Eric Cressey
Like most lifters, I gained a lot of size and strength in my first 1-2 years of training in spite of the moronic stuff that I did. Looking back, I was about as informed as a chimp with a barbell – but things somehow worked out nonetheless. That is, however, until I hit a big fat plateau where things didn’t budge.
Truthfully, “big fat plateau” doesn’t even begin to do my shortcomings justice. No exaggeration: I spent 14 months trying to go from a 225-pound bench to 230. Take a moment and laugh at my past futility (or about how similar it sounds to your own plight), and we’ll continue.
All set? Good – because self-deprecating writing was never one of my strengths. I have, however, become quite good at picking heavy stuff off the floor – to the tune of a personal-best 660-pound deadlift at a body weight of 188.
Eric Cressey, 660-lb Deadlift
My other numbers aren’t too shabby, either, but this article isn’t about me; it’s about why YOU aren’t necessarily getting strong as fast as you’d like. To that end, I’d like to take a look at a few mistakes people commonly make in the quest to gain strength. Sadly, I’ve made most of these myself at some point, so hopefully I can save you some frustration.
Mistake #1: Only doing what’s fun and not what you need.
As you could probably tell, deadlifting is a strength of mine – and I enjoy it. Squatting, on the other hand, never came naturally to me. I always squatted, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it took the back seat to pulling heavy.
Eventually, though, I smartened up and took care of the issue – by always putting squatting before deadlifting in all my lower-body training sessions (twice a week). I eventually wound up with a Powerlifting USA Top 100 Squat in my weight class.
More interestingly, though, in addition to me dramatically improving my squat, a funny thing happened: I actually started to enjoy squatting. Whoever said that you can’t teach an old dog (or deadlifter) new tricks didn’t have the real scoop.
Mistake #2: Not taking deload periods.
One phrase of which I’ve grown quite fond is “fatigue masks fitness.” As a little frame of reference, my best vertical jump is 37.3” – but on most days, I won’t give you anything over 34” or so. The reason is very simple: most of your training career is going to be spent in some degree of fatigue. How you manage that fatigue is what dictates your adaptation over the long- term.
On one hand, you want to impose enough fatigue to create supercompensation – so that you’ll adapt and come back at a higher level of fitness. On the other hand, you don’t want to impose so much fatigue that you dig yourself a hole you can’t get out of without a significant amount of time off.
Good programs implement strategic overreaching follows by periods of lighter training stress to allow for adaptation to occur. You can’t just go in and hit personal bests in every single training session.
Mistake #3: Not rotating movements.
It never ceases to amaze me when a guy claims that he just can’t seem to add to his bench press (or any lift, for that matter), and when you ask him what he’s done to work on it of late, and he tells you “bench press.” Specificity is important, but if you aren’t rotating exercises, you’re missing out on an incredibly valuable training stimulus: rotating exercises.
While there is certainly a place for extended periods of specificity (Smolov squat cycles, for instance), you can’t push this approach indefinitely. Rotating my heaviest movements was one of the most important lessons I learned along my journey. In addition to helping to create adaptation, you’re also expanding your “motor program” and avoiding overuse injuries via pattern overload.
I’m not saying that you should overhaul your entire program with each trip to the gym, but there should be some semi-regular fluctuation in exercise selection. The more experienced you get, the more often you’ll want to rotate your exercises (I do it weekly). Assistance exercises ecan be shuffled every four weeks, though.
Mistake #4: Inconsistency in training.
I tell our clients from all walks of life that the best strength and conditioning programs are ones that are sustainable. I’ll take a terrible program executed with consistency over a great program that’s only done sporadically. This is absolutely huge for professional athletes who need to maximize progress in the off-season; they just can’t afford to have unplanned breaks in training if they want to improve from year to year. However, it’s equally important for general fitness folks who don’t have an extensive training background to fall back on, unlike the professional athletes.
If a program isn’t conducive to your goals and lifestyle, then it isn’t a good program. That’s why I went out of my way to create 2x/week, 3x/week, and 4x/week strength training options – plus five supplemental conditioning options and a host of exercise modifications – when I pulled Show and Go together; I wanted it to be a very versatile resource.
Likewise, I wanted it to be safe; a program isn’t good if it injures you and prevents you from exercising. Solid programs include targeted efforts to reduce the likelihood of injury via means like mobility warm-ups, supplemental stretching recommendations, specific progressions, fluctuations in training stress, and alternative exercises (“plan B”) in case you aren’t quite ready to execute “Plan A.”
For me personally, I attribute a lot of my progress to the fact that at one point, I actually went over eight years without missing a planned lift. It’s a bit extreme, I know, but there’s a lesson to be learned.
Mistake #5: Wrong rep schemes
Beginners can make strength gains on as little as 40% of their one-rep max. Past that initial period, the number moves to 70% – which is roughly a 12-rep max for most folks. Later, I’d say that the number creeps up to about 85% – which would be about a 5-rep max for an intermediate lifter. This last range is where you’ll find most people who head to the internet for strength training information.
What they don’t realize is that 85% isn’t going to get the job done for very long, either. My experience is that in advanced lifters, the fastest way to build strength is to perform singles at or above 90% of one-rep max with regularity. As long as exercises are rotated and deloading periods are included, this is a strategy that can be employed for an extended period of time. In fact, it was probably the single (no pun intended) most valuable discovery I made in my quest to get stronger.
I’m not saying that you should be attempting one-rep maxes each time you enter the gym, but I do think they’ll “just happen” if you employ this technique.
The Bench Press – the one lift in the gym that’s seemed to transcend beyond the realm of just meathead weightlifting enthusiasts, and solidified itself as the official lift that every man must know his number for. So pretty much, if an over eager Man-Crushing beckons the question, we as men must be prepared to respond proudly with a stout number otherwise risk getting asked to turn in our MAN-Card…
But what if you are a competitive Strongman, CrossFitter, or Olympic lifter that holds the Overhead Press in higher regard????
I for one can attest to this dilemma. However, instead of ditching the bench press all together, I have found a simple and extremely effective way to not only do both, but also utilize one of powerlifting’s most prominent training systems to do so. That’s right, for those of you afraid to expose your undying allegiance to the Overhead Press, you no longer have to shamefully explain to people that you prefer a different movement pattern than the King of Meathead lifts…So rejoice, and restore your MAN-Card to its rightful place in your wallet. You no longer have to just do Overhead, you can Bench Press too!!!
The Birth of the SWOLE System
The solution I found to this meathead conundrum was birthed whilst training for my last Strongman Competition in which the pressing portion of the competition would be a certain number of reps on different implements for time. Noting that the weights for this event weren’t my limiting factor, I had to focus my time and effort on developing as much speed overhead as possible.
It wouldn’t be enough to just be able to lift maximal loads overhead, I had to lift them with a relative degree of speed. So taking what I have implemented successfully with my own interpretation of the Westside Method, I simply adopted the same principles utilized to build the bench press, only using the Overhead in its place.
If you know the Westside Method and the results this program produces you can expect to produce an athlete that can lift a hell of a lot of weight as fast as greased lighting. Pretty much, their power output rivals that of an angry bear with the munchies going after your picnic basket. Scary…I know…
The Basic Concepts
How are they able to do this? Simple, their training goals (squatting, benching & deadlifting as much as humanly possible) are met by two different methods with two different objectives. The Dynamic Effort Method, which is put in place to increase the rate of force development in each core lift, and the Max Effort Method, which is put in place to be able to continually overcome the maximal load your body is able to lift.
***Because inducing hypertrophy and a greater degree of work capacity are important goals for my athletes and I, we also implement a Repetitive Effort day for our core lifts as well***
Applying Dynamic Effort Training to Overhead Lifts
The objective of the Dynamic Effort Method is to increase the rate of force development in your core lift so that your max effort lifts will have greater bar speed. In order for me to take advantage of this training effect so that I could lift not only heavy weights overhead, but do so with speed, I would focus my efforts on the Strict Press, Push Press and Jerk as my core lifts instead of the Bench Press. I follow the same percentage (40% – 60%), rep (3 reps), and set (8 – 12 sets) range as the Westside Method, just with a different core lift.
Applying Max Effort Training to Overhead Lifts
The same principles apply to my approach to Max Effort Method training days. Three days after my Dynamic Effort Day, I would focus on hitting anywhere from a 1-5 rep max on the SAME core lift I did three days prior (it’s important to note that I’d rotate implements as well as the style of OH lift in order to continuously adapt to different stimuli).
By focusing on developing as much maximal strength as speed, I was able to develop tremendous power output in this movement pattern, insuring that on competition day, those lifting against me would soil themselves in fear! It worked… #Strength,Speed,&Stamina=Dominance
So where does the Bench Press fit in? Well, just like with the Bench Press, I found that focusing your supplemental work on the muscles involved in the core lift itself was the best way to improve the core lift. In this case, conveniently enough, the same muscles that are used in increasing your OH Press are the ones being used in the Bench Press (triceps, shoulders, and upper back to be specific). So my supplemental work was composed greatly of Bench Pressing.
Training Volume Considerations
As far as volume goes, I used the same protocol as that of many powerlifters using the Westside Method. On Dynamic Effort Method training days where the weight is submaximal, my supplemental work (on the Bench Press) would be relatively heavy (3-5 sets of 4-8 reps), whereas on Max Effort days when I’m lifting near maximal weights for my core lift, the supplemental work would be much lighter with far greater volume (3-5 sets of 12-20 reps).
So all I had to do was implement the Bench Press as my supplemental lift and BOOM, I could actively achieve my objective of increasing not only the weight I could put over head as well as how fast I could do it, but also answer the most important question any and every meathead could be faced with… HOW MUCH DO YOU BENCH?
NOTE FROM JEDD: I recently met MANdler at a seminar in New Jersey and asked him to tell us a little bit about his program, and this is what he had to say (I had just beaten him in a Hulk Hogan impersonation contest).
Component 1: The Training Manual
Understand the SWOLE System and how MANdler gets such awesome results with his clients.
Component 2: 12 Week Training Routine
MANdler lays out 3-months worth of programming to turn you into an ass-kicking machine.
Component 3: Exercise Video Database
MANdler shows you exactly how to perform each exercise to ensure proper form and best results.
Component 4: The Diet Manual
Understand how to eat the right way in order to get Swole even faster.
Component 5: Meal Plans
Apply the Swole Methods for quickly and easily with this done-for-you diet plan.
Component 6: Supplements Guide Book
Not all supplements are bad – find out the ones that are worth your money and will help support all your other hard work and discipline.
Common Questions About the SWOLE System
Q: What is the SWOLE System and HOW does it work so fast?
A: The SWOLE System is an all-inclusive training packet that focuses on a percentage based scientific approach to training and easy to follow diet guide, that lead to fast and efficient results such as increased size, strength, endurance, and a lean athletic physique.
Q: What is included with this training system?
A: Included in this success pack are a done for you 12-Week transformation program, Video tutorials for EVERY exercise, a simple to follow diet guide, as a well as a theory portion that explains WHY the SWOLE System works so well for increased size, strength, power, endurance, and SEX APPEAL (you’ll look good while performing good as well)!!!
Q: I’m an athlete that needs to build strength, size and SPEED…will this training system work for me?
A: This system was actually started with athletes in mind. You will build size, strength, endurance and yes, even speed at a ridiculous rate! All things held constant, the athlete with superior strength, speed and conditioning ALWAYS wins. You don’t want to be left behind or face an opponent that has trained with this system. TRUST ME!!!
Q: Is there a diet component to this program? How does it work?
A: Yes. It’s one of the most important issues you must address when working towards your goals, and the simple system we use to address WHAT to eat, WHEN to eat, and HOW MUCH to eat, are what make this done for you, “Plug & Chug” diet system SO effective.
Q: Will this program work if I’m just trying to get ripped?
A: HELL YEA!!! For many of the weekend warriors at my gym, this is there one and only goal!!! When you focus on the training protocol that we focus on with this training system, it is theoretically IMPOSSIBLE to not decrease your body fat percentage while developing a lean athletic physique.
Q: I’m older than a lot of your “success stories” seem to be (in my late 30’s), will this program be suitable for me as well?
A: Absolutely it will work for the older than 30 crowd! Our bodies are meant to adapt to the demands that we place upon them. When we go through this specific, science based training protocol, it’s all the more important that we focus on training efficiency. And that’s the cornerstone of the SWOLE System’s philosophy. Train smarter, not harder. Train optimally, not maximally. When we match our training, our nutrition, and our lifestyle with the proper road map that are dictated by our specific goals, we are guaranteed to have success, REGARDLESS of age!
For more information on the SWOLE System, click the image below:
As my obsession with Angry Birds gets stronger and my ability to manage time gets weaker, I find myself with less and less time to train.
However, limited time to train has not hurt my training progress, as it has forced me to quit screwing around while I am in the gym and pack a ton of quality, hard, and serious work into my training sessions. (more…)
The Importance of Nutrition for Athletes A Guest Post by Strength Coach, Joe Meglio
Let’s face it, many athletes struggle with their nutrition.
I often ask my high school athletes what they ate on that day so far and I usually get answers like pop tarts, a bowl of cereal, a wrap or sandwich and other highly processed food that comes out of a box or wrapper.
Not only are they eating crappy food, but they are barely eating! The problem with poor nutrition is that an athlete cannot expect to perform at their best if they are not feeding their body the proper nutrients it needs to achieve maximum performance. You are what you eat! If you eat like crap, you are going to feel like crap, recover slowly and have low energy levels.
Nutrition Made Simple
The biggest challenge for most athletes is being consistent and making the right food choices. In order to solve this problem, the best approach is to make nutrition as simple as possible. This means don’t complicate it by counting calories and other macronutrients. Instead, athletes should focus on eating nutrient rich foods. (more…)