There’s lots of reasons I respect Eric Cressey as a strength coach.
First and foremost is the fact that he is STRONG. Guy deadlifts over 600-lbs, despite the fact that he’s not a genetic freak or anywhere near 300lbs. RESPECT.
But the biggest reason is his ability to see deeper, and analyze possible solutions to problems, ASIDE FROM what everyone else sees.
I don’t like to bag on the Fitness Industry. I think that happens far too often.
The problem is not the industry itself, but rather, the bad apples spread throughout it that tend to spoil the proverbial bunch.
Every so often, a new buzz word or catch phrase comes out, and you can just see the Johnny-come-lately’s ready to to swoop in, pick up on the new terms, and use them like they thought of them.
In the video below, Eric Cressey touches on one of these such buzz words, “Ankle Mobility.”
He’s a bit more diplomatic than me in the way he covers this topic, as you’ll see when you watch the video, and he may even make you question your previosu thoughts about ankle mobility and how it influences movement patterns, such as the Squat.
Like Eric points out, there’s more to it than meets the eye.
This attention to detail is why I trust him so much.
This week, Cressey has dropped the price on one of his most popular products, the High Performance Handbook, by $50.
So for the next few days you can add this to your library at a much lower investment.
Eric Cressey is one of the best strength coaches in the world. If you’re a budding strength coach and you’re looking for someone to follow, Eric is the man, and High Performance Handbook is a great place to start.
Get it today. I can’t recommend it strongly enough.
All the best,
The High Performance Handbook Right Now $50 Off
Tags: eric cressey, high performance handbook, strength coach
Posted in baseball strength and conditioning, basketball strength and conditioning, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training powerlifting, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training to prevent injury | No Comments »
Avoiding Arm Pain from Kettlebell Training
Kettlebells continue to become more and more common in gyms and more popular these days.
And no wonder – they have proven to be very useful tools that can help you accomplish your strength, muscle and fat burning goals.
But, even with all their awesome benefits, if your form is off, kettlebells can cause some issues if your not careful.
Here are three very common errors in kettlebell training that can lead to elbow pain if you don’t correct them.
1. Grip in the Rack
When you hold a kettlebell near your chest/shoulder, it is called the Rack. This is a starting point for lifts such as the Kettlebell Press and Jerk, so it is also a common position to be in.
Unfortunately, this can also be a very annoying position if your technique is off. The kettlebell can sit on your forearm in a way that cause pain.
This pressure can later cause further issues in your elbow if you don’t correct things right away.
Luckily, this can usually be corrected by adjusting how you hold the kettlebell. By changing where and how your hand is positioned, you can reduce a lot of the pressure (you’ll see it later).
2. Crashing on the Snatch
New Kettlebell lifters often experience brutal forearm pain when performing Snatches, because they catch the kettlebell incorrectly at the top of the movement.
Usually, this comes from being too passive at the end of the Snatch. Lifters get into the habit of letting the kettlebell handle swivel in their hand. This may be what it looks like should be going on, but it is not.
When the kettlebell handle spins in the hand like this, the giant belly of the KB will smash with full force into the forearm, and this can cause deep contusions, surface bruising, and even knock the forearm bones slightly out of whack.
Having a tender forearm is bad enough, but when bones are starting to get moved around, that can throw up every press, row and curl movement you do in the gym.
Instead, what you need to do when finishing the snatch is allow the kettlebell to turn on an axis in the center of the bell itself.
This video shows exactly what you should do:
3. Bottom Portion of the Swing
The Swing is one of the foundational movements of Kettlebell lifting. It is a lift in itself, plus it the initial stage of many other lifts, such as the Snatch and Clean, because it is the most efficient way to bring the kettlebell from the floor to the shoulder or overhead position. Remember that word – “Efficient.”
When many lifters are starting out, they develop a habit where they keep their hand and forearm pronated at the bottom of the swing. That is, at the very bottom of the Swing, their palm is facing to the sky and the back of their hand is facing the ground.
In the true spirit of efficiency, this is not what should be done. Mechanically, during this follow-through portion of the swing, you should allow your forearm and hand to actually turn over BEYOND pronation. Otherwise, you are essentially resisting this rotation and fighting the bell.
Considering the number of repetitions that are possible with Kettlebell Swings, fighting the bell like this could potentially add up to a great deal of stress on the common flexor tendon in the forearm and result in pain that can be very irritating and get in the way of a great deal of your other training as well.
Correct Your Technique with This Video
These 3 areas of kettlebell training are easily fixed, once the lifter is made aware of them. The problem is that most people don’t even realize they are setting themselves up for injury to their forearm and elbows until it is too late.
For more information on how you can correct and prevent injuries and pain in the forearm and elbow, check out Fixing Elbow Pain. This program has helped hundreds of lifters get back to pain-free workouts and healthy lower arms.
Pick it up today => Fixing Elbow Pain
All the best in your training,
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.
You can get Globe Gripz here => Globe Gripz
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.
Check out Call to Arms => How to Get Bigger Stronger Arms
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
Tags: arm training, Biceps training, get bigger arms, get bigger biceps
Posted in muscle building nutrition build muscle mass, muscle-building-workouts, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training to prevent injury | 2 Comments »
This is Part II to the Epic Upper Body Workout that I started at the tail end of September when my good friend Chris came up to train. This is the Pulling Work we did.
I wanted to show him some new stuff he add into his training to not only build muscle, but also to balance out his shoulder training, as well as be better prepared for physical altercations in his line of work as a Corrections Officer.
Part IV: Bigger Back and Stronger Grip with Pull-up Variations
This video shows several variations for Pull-ups that will not only build your back muscles, but will also balance your shoulder strength and build better grip strength. Having a strong set of hands is very important for Chris in his line of work as a Corrections Officer.
Part V: Build a Big back with Low Cable Row Variations
We split these sets up with both wide and narrow rows. I showed Chris a correction to keep the emphasis on the lats and other big back muscles and to reduce the level of upper trap involvement. The set-up we used made the range of motion much shorter than normal, but this was because of the seat we used, due to my left lumbar area being very touchy. You can see once Chris adjusted, it began feeling totally different.
Part VI: Upper Back Postural Strength with Bodyweight Training
The Inverted Row is a great exercise and it can be loaded with chains draped over the body to make it more difficult. On top of that, we also held the concentric for a 3-count pause. I also used some mental distraction tactics to mimic the sound of an alarm going off due to a prison riot. This may sound annoying, but it is something that would be real during an actual emergency in the jail.
Part VII: Odd Object Loaded Hyper Extensions
Since Chris occasionally runs into situations where an inmate will get physical, instead of loading the Hyperextensions with normal dumbbells or barbell plates, we bear-hugged sandbags and heavy bags. This feels much more like actually having to control an inmate than just gripping some weights.
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I still have several clips coming your way from this workout. Stay tuned in a couple days for the Arm Training that we did. My arms were blown up like water balloons after what we did. It was AWESOME.
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All the best in your training.
Tags: "big back", get better hand strength, improving your grip, muscle building, strength training, strong shoulders
Posted in how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve grip strength, muscle-building-workouts, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training to prevent injury | No Comments »
Ab Wheel Training For Real
I have been continuing to experiment with the Ab Wheel. It is by far my favorite piece of equipment for training the core right now. Here are a few reasons why.
1. It Works a LARGE Portion of the Body
The Ab Wheel is similar to a dynamic plank – you must create tension from the shoulder area to the knee area. Because of this large amount of muscle that is working, I find basic Ab Wheel roll-outs to be a great warm-up, and I often use it at the beginning of workouts as a bridge from my general to specific warm-up.
2. It is not ONLY Hip Flexion
So many abdominal exercises involve hip and trunk flexion – sit-ups, leg raises, crunches – all of them involve drawing the hips and rib cage closer together, potentially causing shortening of the hip flexors. I sit down so much while I work and drive, my hip flexors are short enough, so I avoid doing that movement pattern in training as well. This is something to keep in mind if you sit down a lot and your back hurts – it could be due to tight hip flexors.
3. It Doesn’t Hurt My Neck
For whatever reason, in the past I have strained my neck doing ab movements. Whether it is from hooking my hands around my head, clenching my teeth together, or whatever – it has happened, and a strained neck is one of the most annoying things for me, so I look to avoid it like venereal disease.
With these three benefits considered, the Ab Wheel continues to be something I include in my training on a regular basis.
Plus, in the long-term, I want to be able to do a Standing Ab Wheel Roll-out. It seems to be an advanced feat for this simple device, and I think if I were to train to obtain it, it would be a “Gateway Feat,” in that my core would be so strong that the increased strength would assist in many other lifts as well.
With this in mind, I have been looking for ways to gradually increase the difficulty of the more basic ab-wheel roll-outs in order to progress more smoothly to the more advanced movements.
One drill I have come up with that I have not seen elsewhere is Decline Ab Wheel Roll-outs. For these, you set the Ab Wheel up on some sort of decline, instead of a flat surface.
There are two main strength building benefits to performing roll-outs on a decline:
1. The eccentric challenge level as you roll out is increased greatly, as you must stay engaged in order to control the descent. This gives you much better stability than the basic exercise does.
2. The concentric challenge level is BRUTAL as you must pull much harder to climb back up the hill. This teaches you to pull much harder with the shoulders, lats, and core when returning to the starting position.
Decline Ab Wheel Roll-outs
There are surely many ways you could set this exercise up. One way that I think would be perfect is with an inside pitching mound, such as the one below, to begin with.
However, instead of busting out the nails, hammer and circular saw, I just dragged an extra gym mat out to the hill beside the house and used mother nature to my advantage.
As you can tell by my screams and grunts, this version of Ab Wheel Roll-outs is no joke. Far harder than the basic exercise, this one will hit you hard.
Even if you don’t go for the more advanced movements with the Ab Wheel, this piece of equipment is a great investment for those with home gyms. For about $10, it takes up no room and leaves every muscle in your core absolutely destroyed.
Get your Ab Wheel here: Valeo Ab Wheel
All the best in your training,
Braced Bending DVD: Bend Everything from Steel Bars, to Frying Pans, to Hammers and Wrenches
Tags: ab training, ab workouts, abdominals, core strength, core training
Posted in bodyweight training, core training workouts, core workouts for athletes, how to develop strength, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training to prevent injury | No Comments »
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