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Because Heavy Things Won’t Lift Themselves
Updated: 9 hours 39 min ago

Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 1/18/19

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 12:35

Copyright: wamsler / 123RF Stock Photo

BUT FIRST…CHECK THIS STUFF OUT 1. (Even More) Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint – 2019 Locations & Dates

Philadelphia, PA: April 27-28th

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: May 25-26th

Sydney, Australia: July 13-14th

Singapore, Republic of Singapore: July 20-21st

This workshop will piggyback on the material Dean Somerset and I covered in the original Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint.

With this iteration, though, we’ll be going a bit deeper into the coaching and programming side of things:

  • How to program around common injuries.
  • How to “connect” the appropriate exercises to the client/athlete.
  • How to squat and deadlift like a boss.

Find out more details HERE.

2. Coaching Competency Workshop – Raleigh, NC

I’ll be making my first appearance – ever (<— how’s that possible?) – in the wonderful state of North Carolina this coming March to put on my popular Coaching Competency Workshop.

Full details (date, location, itinerary, how to register) can be found HERE.

EARLY BIRD rate is currently in effect ($50 off regular price) and ends soon.

SOCIAL MEDIA SHENANIGANS Twitter

I think if more trainers and coaches would just shut up and let their (potential) client do more of the talking they’d likely see a better percentage of people hiring them. That, and stop talking over people’s heads. No one cares you can break down the Kreb’s Cycle.

— Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore1) January 14, 2019

Instagram

 

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Anti-Flexion Squats. . I saw @robertlinkul post about these the other day and thought to myself, “huh, that’s pretty bad ass and I’m an idiot for never having thought of it.” I also thought “these would be a great fit for my IN-SEASON basketball players.” . Here’s @ben_murray2 (starting point guard for the undefeated, and #1 MA state ranked Brookline High basketball team) performing them during yesterday’s training session. . Perfect variation to train the squat pattern, albeit with minimal axial loading, in addition to torching the anterior core.

A post shared by Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore) on Jan 13, 2019 at 6:04am PST

STUFF TO READ WHILE YOU’RE PRETENDING TO WORK Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist (Self Study) – Dr. Sarah Duvall

If you train women, you owe it to yourself to consider taking this course.

What I LOVE about Sarah’s approach is that not only does she provide a thorough deep dive into the realm of postpartum training and considerations, but she ADVOCATES strength training as an integral component.

In her words:

“You need to lift shit, to fix shit.”

I’ve recently been re-acquainting myself with the material and it’s really helped to open my eyes to knowledge gaps  in this area in addition to appreciating just how much ATTENTION TO DETAIL is required when working with this population.

My wife is two-years postpartum and has been dealing with right sided hip pain for a while now, and it just so happens I watched the section on glute clenching and femoroacetabular movement this morning and it punched me in the mouth.

I had several light bulb moments.

Sarah currently has this course on SALE for $150 off the regular price, but it ends this coming Monday (1/21).

Go HERE, you won’t be sorry.

Cleaning Up Thoracic Rotation – Dean Somerset

Dean’s not one of my best friends for nothing.

Sometimes I hate him so much he’s so smart.

The Missing Lower Body Exercises For Strength – Nick Tumminello

It’s not just about squats and deadlifts, yo.

The post Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 1/18/19 appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Using Fillers In Your Programs: Squats

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 13:54

Last week I wrote about “fillers,” what they are, why I’m a big fan of them, and how I include them into my programs on deadlift day(s).

You can catch up HERE if you happened to miss it.

The post seemed to resonate with people so I decided to expand the concept to include how I go about utilizing fillers with other common exercises.

Today: squatsssssss.

Copyright: spotpoint74 / 123RF Stock Photo

Filler’up

The beauty of fillers is that, much like tv shows based in the city of Chicago – Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago Justice, Chicago Sanitation, Chicago Teacher’s Union1 –  there’s an endless array to pick and choose from.

What follows isn’t close to an exhaustive list.

What’s more, fillers can serve as a splendid opportunity to individualize someone’s program to hone in their unique injury history or their unique mobility/stability deficits.

QUICK ASIDE: When it comes to writing training programs for people, there are more similarities across the board than there are differences.

Far too often I find coaches/trainers making things more complicated than they have to be. Mike Boyle spoke to this not too long ago on social media:

People really want training to be complicated? Same group today 1 Euro BBall, 2 MLB pitchers, 2 position players, 2 national caliber female lacrosse players, 1 national level field hockey player, 1 NCAA female ice hockey player. 90% same. #sportspecific ?

— Michael Boyle (@mboyle1959) January 11, 2019

  • Squat
  • Hinge
  • Carry
  • Push
  • Pull
  • Single Leg
  • Core

Training programs, more often than not, revolve around these movement patterns, and the individualization generally comes down to what iteration of said movement pattern best fits the goal(s), injury history, and ability level of the athlete/client.

More to the point, instead of focusing on the facade of “sport specific training,” the better moniker should be centered on “people specific training.”

But that’s a hefty conversation for another time.

In the end, like I said, fillers are an ideal way to provide some semblance of customization into a program.

Fillers For Squats

Much like the deadlift, there are many moving parts to a squat which the body requires access to.

Starting from the bottom-up:

  • Ankle Dorsiflexion
  • Hip Flexion, in addition to Hip Internal Rotation
  • T-Spine Extension
  • Shoulder Mobility (specifically glenohumeral external rotation with regards to back squats)
  • Core stability, lumbo-pelvic control
  • Expecto Patronum spell2

Here are a handful of fillers for your consideration:

1) Hip Flexor Mobilization with IR/ER

 

The plain ol’ vanilla Wall Hip Flexor Mobilization is still one of my all-time favorite fillers, but this variation, which I stole from my boy Dean Somerset, adds another level to it.

Squatting requires hip flexion, and deep(er) hip flexion also requires hip internal rotation. Adding this in between sets of squats will make your hips feel nice-n-juicy.

The key, though, is to actually get motion from the HIP and not just crank through your lumbar spine. I like to put my hand on my ASIS and then “drive” that towards and away from my opposite (up) knee. In short, I think about opening and closing my pelvis.

There isn’t a ton of range of motion with this drill, but serves as a nice way to “unglue” the hips.

5 reps per direction/side is money.

2) Seated 90/90 Hip Switch (Progressions)

 

What I like most about this drill is that it hits both hip INTERNAL and EXTERNAL rotation simultaneously. The objective is to keep your chest up as best you can, along with your feet staying cemented to the floor.

1st Progression = Supported (hands)

2nd Progression = Unsupported (no hands)

3rd Progression = Adding in additional  end-range Hip IR on the trail leg (be sure not to crank through your QL).

4th Progression = I don’t know, blindfolded? A new Bird Box challenge?

Shoot for 5-8 repetition per side (depending on which progression you’re doing). Hands Supported = high(er) reps. End Range Hip IR = you’ll hate life.

3) Side Lying Open Book

 

This one is pretty self-explanatory, and a great drill to help open up the chest and work on mid-back mobility.

Lie on the floor with a foam roller (or yoga block) underneath your top knee to prevent you from falling into excessive lumbar rotation. With your hips & shoulders starting stacked, “open” your top side by following your hand with your eyes.

BE SURE YOU’RE BELLY BUTTON DOESN’T GO ALONG FOR THE RIDE (it should stay put).

5 reps/side.

4) Pec Stretch with End Range Lift Off

 

This one comes courtesy of the Prehab Guys.

Unlike the Front Squat the Back Squat requires much more shoulder mobility; particularly humeral abduction and external rotation.

This is a nifty drill to help with both (along with helping to improve the ability to posteriorly tilt the scapulae).

3-4 reps/side should do the trick.

The post Using Fillers In Your Programs: Squats appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Exercises You Should Be Doing: Anti-Flexion Squats

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 14:29

“It’s official,” I thought to myself.

“I’m a moron. Why have I never thought of that?”

On an almost daily basis I read or watch something one of my colleagues posts on the internet and I am not-so-subtlety reminded of how inadequate I am.

I mean, granted, I have a deadlift most guys covet, and pecs that can cut diamonds, but even still…it’s not enough.

My brain just doesn’t work in the say fashion as some of my fitness brethren.1

Today’s installment of Exercises You Should Be Doing is a gleaming example of this fact.

Copyright: gekaskr / 123RF Stock Photo

Exercises You Should Be Doing: Anti-Flexion Squat

 

Who Did I Steal It From? – Friend, colleague, and coach, Robert Linkul, owner of Be STRONGER Fitness in Sacramento, CA.

** No fluff here, Robert is an outstanding coach and someone you should be following (especially if you work with older clients).

What Does It Do? – When I first saw this exercise being performed on Robert’s Instagram feed I instantly thought of my IN-SEASON high-school basketball players. They were coming in to train at CORE the following day and I knew they were going to be a bit beat up from a hectic week of games and practices.

I wanted them to come in and get a good training session in, but I also wanted stay cognizant of the fact they would have likely given me the look of death if they walked into the studio and saw “squats” on the docket.

With this iteration I was able to still have them squat, albeit with minimal axial loading on their spine. Too, as I found out myself after performing a few sets, it torches the anterior core.

I receive a high training effect with minimal joint stress with this exercise, and like I said, for in-season athletes this is money.

In reality, though, this is a great exercise for anyone: athlete, non-athlete, in-season, off-season, centaur, whatever.

Other things to note:

– The added “pull” of the band during the eccentric phase of the exercise provides a unique training stress in that the trainee must now learn to CONTROL the lowering portion and not just let the band take over.

– Moreover, I see some value in using this variation with beginners. Getting a beginner to appreciate TENSION and body position during a squat (abs on, ribs down, hips tucked under) is paramount. Far too often they’re “loosey-goosey” and have a hard time comprehending the concept. Here, the band gives them all the feedback they need to FEEL what it is I’m after.

– Lets quit it with the formalities shall we? You know and I know that there’s one thing, and one thing only, we’re both thinking of when it comes to this exercise.

We’ve finally figured out a way to combine squats and bicep curls, baby!

via GIPHY

Key Coaching Cues: I’m using  an EZ Curl bar in the video, but if you wanted to up the bad-ass factor you could use a straight bar or, I don’t know, an ax.

I’d err on the side of conservative here.

A 1/4″ band will be more than enough resistance for most people, but I can see a case being made for 1/2″ band for stronger individuals.2

Programming wise this exercise fits well with high(er) rep schemes (8-15) so don’t be bashful.

SIDE NOTE: Grip will be the limiting factor for the bulk of trainees with this exercise, so please take that into consideration. The last thing you want is someone letting go of the barbell from the top position due to fatigue and then they break their foot.

Jerk.

The post Exercises You Should Be Doing: Anti-Flexion Squats appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 1/11/19

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 10:23

Copyright: wamsler / 123RF Stock Photo

BUT FIRST…CHECK THIS STUFF OUT 1. (Even More) Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint – 2019 Locations & Dates

Philadelphia, PA: April 27-28th

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: May 25-26th

Sydney, Australia: July 13-14th

Singapore, Republic of Singapore: July 20-21st

This workshop will piggyback on the material Dean Somerset and I covered in the original Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint.

With this iteration, though, we’ll be going a bit deeper into the coaching and programming side of things:

  • How to program around common injuries.
  • How to “connect” the appropriate exercises to the client/athlete.
  • How to squat and deadlift like a boss.

Find out more details HERE.

2. Coaching Competency Workshop – Raleigh, NC

JUST ANNOUNCED.

I’ll be making my first appearance – ever (<— how’s that possible?) – in the wonderful state of North Carolina this coming March to put on my popular Coaching Competency Workshop.

Full details (date, location, itinerary, how to register) can be found HERE.

EARLY BIRD rate is currently in effect ($50 off regular price) and ends soon.

SOCIAL MEDIA SHENANIGANS Twitter

I’ve noticed a trend of some fit pros admitting they don’t workout. That’s their prerogative, but you wouldn’t expect an accountant to not stay abreast of most recent tax laws or a ninja to not practice ninjaing. I guess what I’m saying: Coaches should practice what they preach.

— Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore1) January 8, 2019

Instagram

 

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FILLERS: . Low grade, low threshold, easy, activation, mobilization, stabilization, and/or stretches that target a problematic area that can be performed during rest periods of strength exercises. . 1. Great way to include more “correctives” that most people skip during their warm up anyway. In this sense the correctives are PART of the program and not the program itself. . 2. Also a fantastic way to compliment specific exercises to help “gain access” to ranges of motion needed to perform said exercise well. . Here are FOUR fillers I like to include or pair with deadlifts. . 1. Split Stance Adductor Mobilization. . 2. Monster Walks. . 3. Bench T-Spine Mobilization. . 4. Brettzel Mobilization w/ Exhale. . Instead of stalking people on Tinder between sets of deadlifts, perform one of these fillers. 5 reps should suffice.

A post shared by Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore) on Jan 9, 2019 at 10:35am PST

STUFF TO READ WHILE YOU’RE PRETENDING TO WORK What 3 Hybrid Physical Therapists & Strength Coaches Want You to Know About Pain, Exercise, & Movement – Physio Network

This was a fantastic read, and what I like best is that it involves three physical therapists who actually lift weights. It’s like three unicorns talking about lifting heavy things.

Functional Power Training – Dr. John Rusin

John sent me a copy of his new training resource and it’s outstanding. But, what else can we expect from him? The foreward alone, written by Dave Tate, was enough to prompt me to want to punch through a brick wall.

If you want to train like a beast AND intelligently AND not get hurt in the process this is something you’ll want to look into. It comes with a 300+ page training manual along with 12-weeks of programming, a detailed exercise library, and training logs.

About the only thing John doesn’t provide is the post-workout shake.

FYI: I receive ZERO kickback or affiliate income for directing you to this resource. I like pointing my readers to good information and this definitely falls under that umbrella.

Reconceptualizing Youth Athleticism: Deceleration For Performance & Injury Prevention – Kevin Larrabee

Coaches are enamored with ACCELERATION.

Kevin makes a case (actually, several good ones) why placing more of a priority on DECELERATION training should be more of a thing.

The post Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 1/11/19 appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Using Fillers In Your Programs: Deadlifts

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 11:55

I had a gentleman come in for an assessment recently who, upon arriving, provided me with a laundry list of injuries and maladies that have hampered his ability to workout for quite some time.

The list he handed over would have prompted fist bumps from Tolstoy or Tolkien from its grandiosity in description and length.

Some were legitimate – an old athletic injury to his shoulder, along with some nagging low back pain.

Some were, shall we say, a bit of overkill – “my left Sternocleidomastoid gets a bit tweaky whenever I rotate my head more than 17.22 degrees. It’s even more profound when the Dew Point dips below a certain level. Or if I wear red on Thursday.”

Copyright: spotpoint74 / 123RF Stock Photo

The Power of Fillers

Okay, that last part did NOT happen. Rather, it was meant as an allegory of sorts, an attempt to showcase how some people can often fall into a trap of believing they’re broken and that the only way to “fix” themselves is to put under a microscope every tweak, niggle, and bump that rears its ugly head.

To be clear: It’s NOT my bag to discount people’s past or current injury history. I respect and take into account everything (injury history, goals, ability level, favorite Transformer1) and use that information to ascertain what will be the best, safest and  most efficient path to dieselfication possible.

That said, I often have to play “bad cop” and help people come to an understanding.

That they’re not broken, that they can train, and that they don’t have to spend 30 minutes foam rolling and activating their Superficial Dorsal Fascial Line.

via GIPHY

The drawn-out, overly complicated warm-up is my worst nightmare as a coach.

Actually, back up.

Kipping pull-ups are my worst nightmare. With a close second being anytime someone asks me about keto. Oh, and mushrooms.2

Sometimes when I start working with a new client – especially one coming in with an extensive injury history – they’re often riddled with fear and trepidation with regards to training. They’ve been stymied by an endless array of setbacks (and overly cautious physical therapists3) and are reluctant to push past the “corrective exercise” rabbit hole.

Their warm-up often takes longer than it takes to complete the Boston Marathon, to the point where every inch of their body is meticulously foam rolled and every muscle is painstakingly activated.

Yes, it’s important to active “stuff.”

In fact, I’m often flummoxed some people still don’t understand the importance of taking themselves through a proper warm-up.  Getting the body and nervous system primed for physical activity is kind of a big deal, and I won’t belabor the point here.

You should be doing it.

Don’t get me wrong: the warm-up is a splendid opportunity to individualize someone’s program and to have him or her dedicate some additional TLC to areas of the body that need it.

To that end, however, I do feel – at times – people baby themselves to the extent the warm-up becomes the workout.

And this is why I love implementing fillers into my programs.

I love it, I love it, I LOVE it.

via GIPHY

The idea is to address common “problem areas” by tossing in some low-grade activation/mobility drills during one’s rest intervals…as part of their training program.

The key point here is LOW-GRADE.

Filler exercises can be anything from glute activation and scapular upward rotation drills to, I don’t know, a particular stretch (hip flexors?) or naming all the members of Wu-Tang Clan. The premise is that they’re low-grade, low-demand, easy, and address something that won’t sacrifice performance on subsequent sets of iron work.

Performing 400m sprints or Tabata anything does not constitute as a filler, and defeats the point. We’re trying to turn stuff on and/or address common mobility/stability issues, not challenge Jason Bourne to a street fight.

via GIPHY

All that said I wanted to share some insights on how I implement fillers into the programs I write, and in particular which ones I like to pair with certain exercises.

First up, deadlifts of course…;o)

Filler For Deadlifts

There are a lot of moving parts to the deadlift and to perform it in a safe manner requires “access” to a number of things:

  • Ample T-Spine extension
  • Ample hip flexion
  • Depending on the variation (I.e., sumo style) requisite adductor length
  • Scapular posterior tilt (hard to do if someone’s in excessive upper back kyphosis).
  • Lumbo-pelvic control/stability
  • The cheat code for unlimited lives in Contra (very important)4

If none of these things are in play or even minimally addressed many lifters are going to have a hard time staying healthy in the long run.

Alright, enough of my jibber-jabber. Lets get to the drills.

1) Split Stance Adductor Mobilization

 

Now, admittedly, if there was a Wikipedia page for “ordinary and unremarkable exercises,” this one would be right at the top. However, this has always been a staple filler exercise for me and one that I don’t forsee taking out of the rotation anytime soon.

What I like most about this exercise is that it targets the adductors in both hip flexion and extension. The key, though, is attention to detail with regards to anterior core engagement.

A common mistake I see people make is “falling” into their lower back when they walk their hands forward; it’s important to avoid this. Too, another common mistake is allowing the lower back to round as they sit back. The main objective should be to maintain as “neutral” of a spine as possible throughout the entirety of the set.

One other teeny-tiny thing to consider is scapular position. This drill can also be a nice opportunity to work on a bit of Serratus activation by actively “pushing” into the floor so that there’s a bit of protraction and the scapulae “set” or adhere to the ribcage.

Aim for 5-8 repetitions/leg during rest periods.

2) Monster Walks

 

All I can say about this exercise is that when it’s done properly it’s Glute O’clock.

In the video above I’m using Nick Tumminello’s NT Loop which I have found work really well for this drill.

FYI: I receive zero kickback from Nick – maybe a tickle fight? Fingers crossed – in recommending his band.

The idea here is to lock the ribs down and to keep the hips level so they’re not teeter-tottering back and forth during the set. Walk it back using the hips/glutes until the band is fully stretched and then control the return (again, making every effort not to let the hips teeter-totter).

I prefer to use anywhere from 5-8 repetitions here.

3) Bench T-Spine Mobilization

 

This is a money filler for those people stuck in flexion hell all day, in addition to those who have chronically tight/short lats.

Some key things to note:

  • Holding onto a stick (or anything similar) helps prevent the glenohumeral joint from going into internal rotation.
  • As you sit back towards your ankles, try to maintain a neutral back position throughout (keep those abs on, actively “pull” yourself back).
  • Perform a pseudo bicep curl at the bottom to help nudge you into a bit more thoracic extension.
  • Be careful not to induce excessive thoracic extension here. It’s easy to think the more ROM here the better, but that’s not necessarily the case.
4) Brettzel Mobilization w/ Exhale

 

Stolen straight from Gray Cook and Brett Jones this is easily one of my favorite fillers OVERALL, and not just for deadlifts. We’re locking down the lumbar spine by holding the bottom knee down (you can also place a foam roller here if you’re unable to get this low) in addition to adding a nice hip flexor stretch on the opposite side.

The goal, then, is to take in an inhale through nose and EXHALE (out the mouth) as you rotate and drive your top shoulder towards the floor.

Indeed, this is a fantastic drill to work on more thoracic extension, but again, be judicious with ROM here. More is not better. All I’ll say here is stay cognizant of your belly button (innie or outtie?) and where it’s pointing. As you extend back it should not point towards the ceiling. Instead, it should stay relatively motionless and pointing towards the wall your chest is facing.

As you exhale with each subsequent rep, you should notice you’re getting closer and closer to the floor.

3-5 repetitions per side should suffice.

And That’s That

There are a plethora of options here, but all I wanted to do was highlight a handful of my favorites. Choose ONE drill to perform during your rest periods. Also, depending on the total number of sets you have on the menu you could also alternate between 2-3 drills.

There’s no golden rule.

Hope this helped and gave you a few ideas to work with.

The post Using Fillers In Your Programs: Deadlifts appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Glute Training For Athletes

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 11:50

If you’re a personal trainer or strength coach you likely work with clients and athletes who 1) have glutes1 and 2) are looking to up their glute game.

Today’s guest post by strength coach, Menachem Brodie, goes a bit further down the rabbit hole than just giving you a bunch of glute-centric exercises to consider. There are a plethora of factors to consider when trying to ascertain what exercise will be the best fit for any one individual’s derriere.

What’s more, simpler is often better…;o)

Copyright: dolgachov / 123RF Stock Photo

Glute Training For Athletes

What is it about glutes that has made them the “back to the future” of strength and performance training?

Was it Bret Contreras creating the Barbell Hip Thrust and spreading the Gospel of Glutes?


Was it the invention of Yoga Pants?

Or maybe it was Mike Jureller going on his “International Tour of CrossFit gyms” that made them popular… The world may never know.

What is undisputed, is that glutes (and mid & lower traps) are signs that someone is an athlete, or at least training like an athlete.

Today we’ll grab our Glute Dolorean’s and head back to the past, to help us understand why glutes are so important, why squats are not enough, and what you need to consider when programming glutes for your athletes and clients.

The glutes, all three of them: Glute medius, Glute minimus, and Glute maximus, need to be developed in proper proportion to allow the hip joint to sit more properly. As the glutes lose strength they tend, like every muscle, to lose their optimal resting length.

This in turn affects performance, and in the case of the hip joint, can lead to the head of the femur sitting at a poor angle in the acetabulum, which as I found out, over time can lend to bone growth in paces we don’t want it, leading to impingement, or other mechanical issues.

One such issue that can arise, is what has been called “gluteal amnesia,” which simply put is the glutes losing the ability to execute hip extension, leaving the hamstrings to do all the work and can cause the head of the femur to clunk around in the acetabulum like a drunkard in a demolition derby.

Putting Down a Great Base

In order for us to have the best chance of fully expressing our athleticism, we have to have a solid base.

via GIPHY

Now while (especially) the average client, cyclists, and triathletes tend to think of “core” as being the base, this is not the full truth.

The base involves the Axial Skeleton (Spine & rib cage) + the Pelvis. This is of critical importance, as failure to stabilize these two together can sap power and strength. There are of course sports that are exceptions to this, such as rowing, but it’s this author’s opinion that this is why we tend to see disc injuries in that population.

Butt, developing your glutes REQUIRES that you have a stable and strong midsection: the rectus abdominus, internal and external obliques, the pelvic floor, and quadratus lumborum all work together to stabilize the pelvis from the top & middle. I won’t go into these items in this post, but you can read more and learn a few exercises to help address your midsection in this great post from Sarah Duvall, DPT.

You should also read Tony’s piece “Stack the rings for better Squat Performance” , and check out his friends’ Dr. Sarah Duvall, Kellie Hart, and Meghan Callaway’s stellar product Glutes, Core, and Pelvic Floor Online System.

Note From TG: It’s stellar!

It’s often necessary to break down movement(s) into their respective parts to make certain we’re getting motion from the right areas and that we’re using/engaging the areas we want to use/engage to perform exercises well, which is what we’ll dial in on next.

Cycling and Sitting: The Bane of Gluteal Existence

When glutes are strong and full and the diaphragm, ribs, and pelvic floor all move properly for breathing, EVERYTHING works better: Squats are more full range, your back feels like a titanium beam, and jumping and sprinting tend to be out of this world (for a 6th grader).

Butt (<– haha, I see what you’re doing there Menachem) when one starts spending more time in a seated position where the glutes are partially stretched, but not used, and the diaphragm is out of alignment with the pelvic floor, these muscles tend to lose some of their abilities, as they are essentially being told to shut off in those static positions: We don’t need them to work because we are slouching and hanging off the ligaments/connective tissues instead.

Cyclists and triathletes also suffer this problem due to the inherent position of their sport.

You lose power potential in a muscle that cannot stretch, or is in a stretched position for so long. This is an issue many cyclists, triathletes AND our clients/ athletes face, due to the long periods of time that we spend sitting with our glutes in an elongated position, and “the rings” (pelvic floor + diaphragm) out of alignment.

Glutes Are a Keystone to Performance Oft Neglected

While the running joke is that “I got glutes cuz I squat a lot,” Squats actually are NOT enough to fully and properly develop the glutes. There is far more that goes into developing glutes than being able to perform the 30+ something squat variations.

I know what you’re thinking:

via GIPHY

But this is important, as it relates to an oft-missed portion to training the glutes: PELVIC CONTROL.

Pelvic stabilization and control is extremely important if we are to get true hip extension, and not extension from places not intended to work “like that”, such as the lumbar spine.

If I had a dollar for every time I saw a trainer or coach working on “Hip extension” with a client/ athlete who was getting movement from the lumbar spine, I’d be a very rich person.

In order for us to build up the glutes properly, we have to begin by thinking about giving stabilization to the pelvis through teaching the hamstrings, internal obliques, the deep hip rotators (pelvic floor), rectus & transverse abdominus, and Quadratus lumborum to all fire in good sequence and with great strength.

This is a challenge for many, as we tend to perform our front planks by hanging off the hip flexors, we work our hamstrings by laying down on the machine, and often don’t include many anti-rotation exercises (although, you ARE reading Tony’s blog, so you’re officially “one of the smart ones” who does in fact train rotary stability).

Getting to Work

Glute work isn’t simply throwing a few exercises into your dynamic warmup and main routine, there is much more that needs to be done to maximize your athletes results.

We MUST think about the different positions the athlete will be required to perform in their sport:

  • Do they include deceleration and change of direction?
  • Is it a fixed motion similar to cycling or rowing, or is their sport more dynamic, such as basketball and rugby?
  • Is the athlete in anterior pelvic tilt for their sport, such as hockey, bowling, or cycling?

Each of these questions must be answered, as they help us understand the joint positioning of the hip….and as we all know:

JOINT POSITION DICTATES MUSCLE FUNCTION

If we’re actually to train the athlete and their glutes to perform in their sport, we MUST know how the muscles will be asked to work in the “real world”-  that of dynamic movement and uncertainty required by their sport.

This is one of the things many of us forget as we write programming: What positions are the joints going to be in, and due to these changes in joint position, how will the muscles ACTUALLY be responding/used for movement?

  • Stabilizer?
  • Prime mover?
  • Prime mover through full range of motion?
Next we need to answer:

What kind of lever arm should you use for the athlete when training the glutes?

Weighted at the lower leg? (Reverse Hypers)
Weighted at the shoulders? (Barbell good mornings)
Weighted at the hip? (Barbell Hip Thrust)

 

Weighted long fulcrum? (Deadlifts)

Weighted medium fulcrum? (Sumo Deadlifts)

Resistance bands at the knees?
Resistance bands at the shins?
Resistance bands at the feet?

Resistance band at the crotch? (Band Pull throughs)

 

Bodyweight weight-bearing? (Hip lifts)
Bodyweight non-weight-bearing? (Side lying straight leg lifts)

The answer to this can and should vary throughout the training year, but there should always be one or two lever arms which are staples to that athletes program, to help combat the movement deficiencies that their specific sport, AND POSITION in that sport, entail.

After all, you wouldn’t train a pitcher as you would train a shortstop.

Programming Glutes for Your Clients & Athletes

Every single warmup we do here at Human Vortex Training starts with some form of the hip series, depending on the athletes ability to recruit the glutes & stabilize their midsection. This doesn’t mean that these exercises are the only warmup, that would be poor planning. Rather, we should be looking to include at least 1-2 of these moves in our dynamic warm up to help the athlete/client connect with, and utilize their glutes.

Here are the foundational warm-up exercises which I’ve used a mix of over the years:

1) Side Lying Straight Leg Lift

1 @ 8-15 each

 

2) Hip Lifts

1 @ 15-30

 

3) Clamshell Variation

Side Lying Clamshells (beginners)

1 @ 8-15 each

 

Side Lying Half Clamshells (intermediate/advanced)

1 @ 8-15 each

 

4) Side Lying Straight Leg Adduction

1 @ 8-15 ea

5) Birddog Variation or Regression

1 @ 5-8 each

PLEASE Don’t butcher the Birddog exercise! Our affable, giant-triceped host, Tony Gentilcore, has a great video about this and how to better teach it here:

 

6) Single Leg Hips Lift

1 @ 8-15 each

 

7) Banded Lateral Walks

 

8) Banded Monster Walks Forward/ Backward

 

Along with 2-4 of the above exercises, we would get 1-2 breathing exercises, and 2-4 other dynamic warm-up exercises to prepare for that specific days session.

Burnout Session at the End of Your Lift for Glutes? No Problem!

At the end of a session is a great place to add in some more sport-related fatigued state specific glute training. These are usually done bodyweight only, as we’re looking to help improve the athletes resilience and strength-endurance in sport-specific positions, although it’s best to find what works for YOUR athlete….Some respond better, or actually need weighted or resisted variations.

Use your best judgement to find what’s best for your athlete at that time.

1) Back on Bench Single Leg Hip lifts (Rotary Stability)  (Sprinters, Track and Field, Triathletes)

 

2) 45 Degree, Duck footed Glute Back Extensions  (Cyclists, Triathletes, Hockey)

 

3) Frog Hip Lifts (Weighted or Unweighted)  (BJJ, Hockey)

 

But It’s Not All Strengthening

As we all know, simply making a muscle stronger and better able to work in chorus with other muscles, doesn’t make it a rock star. We still need to ensure it’s able to work through it’s full intended range of motion, as well as to rest at its ideal resting length.

For this, we can do a few different exercises:

1) Brettzel

 

2) Half-Pigeon Stretch 3) Dynamic LAX Ball Glute Release with Mid-Trap Activation

 

I like all of these as they also help the athlete learn where the rest of his or her body is & what it’s doing as they get into the proper positions… a big win for Proprioception!

Give these a shot, and let the glute gains begin!

About the Author

Menachem Brodie, NSCA-CSCS, PCES, is a leading Strength Coach for Cyclists & Triathletes. In the health, fitness, & wellness fields for nearly 20 years, he has worked with professional & amature atheltes from around the world. He has authored 2 courses: Strength Training for Cycling Success and Strength Training for Triathlon Success, and has presented internationally on Strength Training for Endurance Athletes, including at the 2018 USA Cycling Coaching Summit.

www.HumanVortexTraining.com

The post Glute Training For Athletes appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 1/4/19

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 12:31

Copyright: wamsler / 123RF Stock Photo

BUT FIRST…CHECK THIS STUFF OUT 1. (Even More) Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint – 2019 Locations & Dates

This workshop will piggyback on the material Dean Somerset and I covered in the original Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint.

With this iteration, though, we’ll be going a bit deeper into the coaching and programming side of things:

  • How to program around common injuries.
  • How to “connect” the appropriate exercises to the client/athlete.
  • How to squat and deadlift like a boss.

Dates are slated for Philadelphia, Edmonton, and Sydney at the moment and you can find out more details HERE.

2. Coaching Competency Workshop – Raleigh, NC

JUST ANNOUNCED.

I’ll be making my first appearance – ever (<— how’s that possible?) – in the wonderful state of North Carolina this coming March to put on my popular Coaching Competency Workshop.

Full details (date, location, itinerary, how to register) can be found HERE.

EARLY BIRD rate is currently in effect and won’t last forever. Hurry up because spots will be limited.

SOCIAL MEDIA SHENANIGANS Twitter

I keep getting emails from magazine editors/writers asking me what “fitness trends do I see arising in 2019?”

Grab a notebook, put it into your gym bag, and use it to ACTUALLY track your sessions. No reliance on an app or expensive piece of technology required.

— Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore1) January 4, 2019

Instagram

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I love Bloop, Bloop, Bloop workouts. . You know the sound when “little” Mario eats a mushroom and transforms to “BIG” Mario? . That’s what a Bloop, Bloop, Bloop workout does: it energizes and revitalizes someone.. . My client @therealalexandrashow came to CORE yesterday not feeling so hot. Her program called for heavy deadlifts, some squats, and a litany of other things she wasn’t in the mood to do after being sick for the past week. . So I went to plan B and improvised. I wrote up a little sumthin, sumthin on my whiteboard (which you can swipe to see for yourself) and had her perform that instead. . 30-45 minutes later she was done and felt like a new person. . First video is a Rotational Landmine Press variation and the second showcases a Hybrid Row I’m a big fan of (especially for anyone looking to improve their pulling strength for pull-ups). . You can check out the rest of the workout if you scroll to the end, but the nuts and bolts is this: the objective is to get the client moving and NOT beat them to a pulp. They should feel as if they trained and accomplished something, but not to the point where they feel like a Balrog came along and punched them in the face. . Next time you come across a client who arrives not feeling too swell for their session, give him or her a Bloop, Bloop, Bloop workout. They’ll love you for it.

A post shared by Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore) on Jan 3, 2019 at 10:18am PST

STUFF TO READ WHILE YOU’RE PRETENDING TO WORK The Path to Improving High School Strength Coaching – Travis Mash

Some sage points given by Travis in this article detailing why hiring a (competent) strength & conditioning coach at the high school level is money well spent.

Teach Your Clients Well – Lou Schuler

It’s the new year, which means an influx of rude and seemingly obnoxious new gym goers. Here’s some tips to trainers on how to nip the unruly behavior in the bud before it gets out of hand.

How to Ace Your Internship – Donovan Muldrow

Donovan asked myself, Mike Robertson, and Chad Hobbs our take on sone pressing questions pertaining to strength & conditioning internships.

Give it a read.

The post Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 1/4/19 appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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One Simple Piece of Advice For Fitness Pros to Consider in 2019: Put Your Clothes On

Thu, 01/03/2019 - 15:06

Not surprisingly I’ve noticed an inundation of “inspirational” or informative post over the past few days offering insight from “How to Save More Money in 2019” to “What Are the (Fitness) Trends to Watch Out For?” to, I don’t know, “Who Would You’d Rather Have as a Dinner Guest: Your Boss or a Balrog?

Too, this is the time of year many people write their “stuff I’ve learned” posts to reflect on their personal growth over the past 365 days (and to totally brag about how many books they’ve read…wink, wink. Don’t worry, I’m not judging.1

This is not that kind of post.

Copyright: tverdohlib / 123RF Stock Photo

Well, It Kinda Isn’t

Truth be told, I didn’t read that many books last year (due to a very active and rambunctious toddler at home. And Netflix), so I’m afraid I wouldn’t have many sage and/or Earth shattering “new things” to divulge anyway.

That said, in an effort to ring in 2019, I would like to toss my hat into the ring, take a few minutes, and share one good ol’ fashioned, “seasoned veteran” piece of advice to new and upcoming fitness professionals who may be following along.

Full Disclosure: What follows may come across as a bit preachy or me being a cantankerous curmudgeon.

Whatever, it’s my blog, deal with it.

AND GET OFF MY LAWN!

Put Your Clothes On

I came across an interesting conversation on Facebook the other day, and it only came to my attention because it was started by an ex-client of mine (who’s also a trainer) who tagged me in it.

She posited this question:

“Curious, are you more or less likely to hire a trainer if they post pictures of themselves with their shirts off or in a bikini?”

Now, don’t get me wrong: I understand why someone who’s in the health/fitness industry would feel it necessary to market themselves by showcasing their, shall we say…assets.

HA – see what I just did there?

I do feel there’s a time a place for it, and I do feel there’s little harm in the occasional “look at me, I’m sexy AF, and my pecs can cut diamonds” photo op.

It’s not lost on me that a significant part of a trainer’s job is to look the part.

I mean, if someone’s going to dedicate their life to training 4-5x per week, taking spin classes “for fun,” and crushing kale & avocado smoothies that taste like algae being blown through a whale’s rectum, you better be sure as shit they’ve reserved the right to showoff the fruits of their labor.

But even then I feel there’s a spectrum of acceptable instances for someone to do so.

One thing to consider is if they’re a competitive bodybuilder, figure athlete, or even model. If that’s the case then I can definitely see a scenario where they’re allowed a bit more leeway.

The ratio of shirtless to cute cat pics should likely be bit more skewed to the former.

However, most fitness professionals aren’t competitive bodybuilders, figure athletes, or models. And, while I recognize my age (42) likely plays into my thought process, I do feel it’s in most everyone’s interests to keep their clothes on more often than not.

Reading through the bulk of people’s answers in the Facebook thread mentioned above, a vast majority mentioned they’d be less likely to hire a trainer who went out of his or her’s way to routinely pose with their clothes off.

Answered ranged from “it comes across as too self-absorbed” to “unprofessional” to “intimidating and that they might be too judgmental of my appearance.”

My former client even chimed in with the following:

“I’ve never once seen Tony G pose with his shirt off for a promotional or marketing piece, and he has one of the best physiques I’ve ever seen.2And what prompted this question to my Facebook friends is an inundation of trainers posting promotional and marketing pieces with their shirts off.

I always wonder how that resonates with the average Joe?”

I’m sure for some people it motivates them.

And that’s great.

But I think for the vast majority of people it sets an unrealistic expectation. And, to speak candidly, from a business standpoint, I have a hard time believing it helps to exponentially increase one’s bottom line.

And before anyone fires back with “well, Tony, my business targets people interested in FAT LOSS or people who want to look better naked, what am I supposed to do: fill my feed with pictures of me attending a turtleneck party?

No, that’s not what I’m saying.

What I’m Saying Is This: Looking the part is one piece of the fitness business puzzle. But it’s not the only piece. Most clients are going to be more interested in training with you long-term because you’re not an asshole, not because your delts  look great using the Perpetua filter.

What’s more, as my friend from above stated herself:

“As a trainer, it’s going to stick with your clients more if you teach them that the journey is less about how they look at all times and more about how they feel about themselves.”

Fitness shouldn’t be centered around one’s ability to showcase six-pack abs in an effort to garner likes (and creepy followers) on Instagram. It should be about helping as many people, from all shapes and sizes and backgrounds as possible.

For some niche markets, I understand that this train of thought won’t resonate and that posting an incessant number of pictures of yourself with your shirt off (or in minimal clothing) does bode in your favor and helps to grow your business. This isn’t meant to come across as confrontational or that what decisions you make to run YOUR business is wrong.

I suspect, though, that most of you reading will have enough common sense and wherewithal to separate that from my larger point.

Which is……

It’s not necessary or mandatory to be successful.

For the bulk of potential clients out there posting shirtless pictures for promotional purposes likely won’t work, it likely won’t resonate, and it likely won’t be relatable. Rather, the better business approach will be to go out of your way to showcase your content, expertise, and knowledge instead. How can you help people? What separates you from the masses?

I doubt it’s your bicep peak.

Maybe you have a unique pull-up drill progression you’ve found successful? Maybe you have a lot of success working with people dealing with low back pain? Maybe you do have an adorable cat?

Highlight that, please…;o)

The post One Simple Piece of Advice For Fitness Pros to Consider in 2019: Put Your Clothes On appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Be Like Water: The Importance of Being Flexible Without Losing Sight of Your Goal or Your Identity

Wed, 01/02/2019 - 10:25

I had every intention of starting off the new year with some witty, yet informative prose. One my goals for 2019 is to get back on track with more consistent writing.

Lets do this….

As it happens, my kid got Hand, Foot, & Mouth last week and of course, promptly passed it on to me. I got hammered with a fever over the weekend, and currently my feet feel like I’m walking over hot coals and my hands look like they had sex with a cucumber.

I mean, they’re not green or anything (that would be weird), but they do have bumps all over them which is super attractive.

Nonetheless, sick kid + sick Dad = not in the mood to write about undulated periodization, scapular humeral rhythm, or, I don’t know, favorite crayon colors.

Huge thanks to TG.com regular contributor, Dr. Nicholas Licameli, for pinch writing for me today.

Copyright: somchaij / 123RF Stock Photo

Be Like Water

I admire water.

It’s truly an amazing substance for many reasons. It can heal, it can hurt. It can clean, it can contaminate. It can cause frostbite, it can cause a burn. It can flood your basement or it can fill the family swimming pool. It can bring life and it can take life…

What I admire most about water is its ability to change without losing or compromising its true identity. Water can change shape, size, temperature, and even alter its own state of matter, depending on the environment it finds itself in at a particular time.

It is able to change without compromising what it is at its core: water.

“Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee

One may say that water is “flexible.”

The famous Bruce Lee quote above speaks to the importance of being like water and having the ability to conform to whatever container we find ourselves in at a particular moment in time. I’m no martial arts expert by any stretch of the imagination, but this is how Bruce Lee went about his training, fighting, and life.

He was fluid, shapeless, adaptable…he was like water.

It is important to understand that this does not mean we should change who we are depending on the external environment or the group of people we happen to be with.

NEVER BE SOMEONE YOU’RE NOT, JUST TO “FIT IN!”

Stay true to who you are at your core, but be flexible and adaptable. If water is poured into a Gatorade bottle, it does not change itself into Gatorade and try to be something that it’s not. No, not water. Water manages to conform to the unique curves of the bottle, while staying true to itself and remaining, well, water!

Fitness and nutrition often times involve overcoming adversity in order to stick to a plan or routine.

Those plans are often challenged by things like unexpected overtime coverage at work, a sudden leak in the basement, a family illness, a surprise snowstorm that hits and requires shoveling, holidays, the gym opens four hours late because the 17 year old juice bar barista is hungover and overslept…the list goes on.

Are these things going to cause you stress? Or, do you find a way to be fluid and work around them? It is at these times that we need to be like water.

via GIPHY

Here’s an example.

You go to the gym with the following plan in your mind: Start with the barbell bench press (must be Monday, Bro), followed by the barbell squat, then some cable curls, and finish up with abs and cardio.

You enter the gym, Eye of The Tiger and Linkin Park blasting through your headphones, ready to raise some hell when all of a sudden…the bench is taken by a group of high school kids taking selfies, someone is curling in the squat rack, and the cable station is taken by that old guy who walks around the locker room completely naked (my eyes can’t unsee some things…).

Now what?

The whole plan is ruined!

Is this going to derail you, kill your momentum and enthusiasm, and throw your whole workout for a loop? Or, do you conform to the container you happened to be poured into? As previously mentioned, do not change the core. Keep the goal the goal and keep the plan the plan, just adapt it.

An example of excessive flexibility and changing at the core would be completely changing the body parts trained or bailing on the entire workout. Properly adapting and being like water could involve substituting the barbell bench press for a dumbbell bench press or Smith machine squats for barbell squats, or dumbbell curls for cable curls.

via GIPHY

If you always have an apple at breakfast, but your wife ate the last one without you knowing, is your whole day going to be thrown off kilter? Or will you be able to conform to the current container you find yourself in and have something with similar macronutrients such as an orange, a pear, or some oatmeal instead?

Note From TG: Means for a divorce if you ask me.

Life isn’t perfect.

Life isn’t consistent.

Since the beginning of life on this planet, adaptability has been an evolutionary staple.

Adapt or die, as the saying goes.

Sometimes you have this plan, this perfect step-by-step plan, but the present circumstances do not allow it to be carried out as planned. In these instances, you must be like water, adapt, and work around what the world gives you. Again, that does not mean you should change the entire plan or change who you are depending on the external environment. Always keep the goal the goal, the plan the plan, and stay true to who you are. You can’t control everything so if you find yourself being poured from a perfectly symmetrical drinking glass into an abnormally shaped bottle, stay focused, roll with the punches, be fluid, be flexible, and be like water.

About the Author

Nicholas M. Licameli, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy / Pro Natural Bodybuilder

Nick believes in giving himself to others in an attempt to make the world a happier, healthier, and more loving place. He wants to give people the power to change their lives. Bodybuilding and physical therapy just act as mediums for carrying out that cause. Love. Passion. Respect. Humility.   Never an expert. Always a student. Love your journey.

Youtube: HERE

Instagram: HERE

Facebook: HERE

The post Be Like Water: The Importance of Being Flexible Without Losing Sight of Your Goal or Your Identity appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Best Articles of 2018: Exercises You Should Be Doing

Mon, 12/31/2018 - 10:09

This is the last post of 2018.

2018 was splendid year, and I thank everyone for their continued support.

2019 is looking to be a busy year from a professional standpoint with several projects in the works in addition to my travel schedule.1 One of my main goals in 2019, however, is to get back on my writing (and reading) horse. I know the last two years have been a bit dearth (comparatively speaking) with the total number of posts and articles I’ve published. Who knew having a kid was so time consuming?

Nevertheless, my hope is that the upcoming year will be a fruitful one in terms of my writing prowess.

Stay tuned…..

Copyright: sirichai_123rf / 123RF Stock Photo

Best Articles of 2018: Exercises You Should Be Doing Anchored KB Row Transverse Landmine Snatch Bench Assisted ValSlide RDL w/ Reach Band Resisted KB Deadlift T-Spine Rotation w/ Lift Off

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Best Articles of 2018: Guest Posts

Fri, 12/28/2018 - 10:36

I’m very fortunate that number of quality coaches reach out and offer to submit articles for this site. Granted they have to promise to name their first born after me AND send me a bowl of yellow only M&Ms, but that’s a small price to pay for internet fame.

Thanks to everyone who pinch-wrote for me in 2018 and gave my fingers a brief reprieve.

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s sent my way in 2019….

Copyright: sirichai_123rf / 123RF Stock Photo

Best Articles of 2018: Guest Posts My Top Shoulder Training Tips – Dr. Nicholas Licameli

This was a two-part article that Nicholas wrote back in January and it’s excellent.

Part I – HERE

Part II – HERE

5 Exercises to Help You Perform More Pull-Ups Without Doing Pull-Ups – Meghan Callaway

There aren’t many coaches I trust more to discuss anything pull-up related than Meghan.

8 Plank Variations That Don’t Suck – Michael Anderson

FYI: The plank pictured above sucks.

Tuning Tension: Getting the Most From Your Muscle – Noah Harrison

I listened to Noah speak in person on this topic and was transfixed by what he had to say. A conversation we had after the fact led to him writing this post for my site.

Ladies: Here’s Why You’re Not Getting Stronger – Lana Sova

LOVED this line from Lana: Less cardio and more Cardi B….;o)

The post Best Articles of 2018: Guest Posts appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Best Articles of 2018: My Picks

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 08:27

Yesterday I highlighted the best articles from 2018 according to what resonated with YOU. They were the articles that received the most traffic according to Google analytics.

You can check them out HERE.

Today, however, it’s my turn.

It’s all about me, me, me, and ME.  These were the articles I felt were Pulitzer worthy and yet didn’t receive the love I had hoped for.1

Copyright: sirichai_123rf / 123RF Stock Photo

Best Articles of 2018: My Picks The Forgotten Component of Progressing in the Weight Room

This was the most recently written of the bunch – last week, actually – but one I believe sends a powerful message.

The Words We Use Matter

Stop telling clients they’re broken. Instead set them up for unrelenting success.

5 Things You Can Do Today to Retain Clients

Suggestions may or may not include an after hours fight club.

The Underrated Value of Mediocrity 

The best piece of gym advice is to show up, do the work, repeat. Average or mediocre workouts are what makes or breaks progress.

My Take on the Keto Craze

I rarely venture into the world of nutrition, but I was compelled to write this article after an interaction with an GNC employee.

Keto = not magic.

Lessons In Lifting From a Dad: Year One

I take what I said above back.

After re-reading the article, THIS is my favorite one from this past year.

How The Matrix Can Make You a Better Coach

There is no spoon.

The post Best Articles of 2018: My Picks appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Best Articles of 2018: Reader’s Picks

Wed, 12/26/2018 - 12:00

2018 was yet another successful year in many aspects, and I can’t express enough how thankful I am for such a loyal readership.

Since it’s the end of the year I wanted to take the next few days to highlight some articles you may have missed (or maybe want to read again). Today’s list highlights those articles which received the most web traffic.2

Put another way: these are the articles YOU felt were the best.

Copyright: delcreations / 123RF Stock Photo

Best Articles of 2018: Reader’s Picks What’s Better for Weight Loss: Cardio or Lifting Weights?

It’s a debate that won’t go away anytime soon, but I attempt to offer my train of thought in this article.

I.e, I win….;o)

Exercises You Should Be Doing: Renegade Push-Up

In a surprise (to me)…this iteration of my popular series, Exercises You Should Be Doing, made the list. I guess everyone likes cool push-up variations.

And car memes.

(shrugs)

NOTE: the push-up pictured above IS NOT a representation of the proper execution of the Renegade Push-Up, or any push-up for that matter.

5 Quick Tips to Increase Strength

1. Pick

2. Up

3. Heavy

4. Things

5. Repeatedly

In all seriousness, I do go into detail on five quickie tips you can follow to help increase your strength. This article also contains what’s likely the most awkward video on the internet of 2018.3

Getting Strong(er) Is Corrective

This would probably be MY pick for favorite article I wrote this year.

Stack the Rings for Better Squat Performance

You didn’t think I’d mention a ring and NOT include a LoTR reference did you?

Pfffft, whatever.

But for real: if you want your squats to feel better, read this article.

The post Best Articles of 2018: Reader’s Picks appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 12/21/18

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 09:16

Copyright: wamsler / 123RF Stock Photo

BUT FIRST…CHECK THIS STUFF OUT 1. (Even More) Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint – 2019 Dates

This workshop will piggyback on the material Dean Somerset and I covered in the original Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint.

With this iteration, though, we’ll be going a bit deeper into the coaching and programming side of things:

  • How to program around common injuries.
  • How to “connect” the appropriate exercises to the client/athlete.
  • How to squat and deadlift like a boss.

Check em out HERE.

2. Coaching Competency Workshop – Raleigh, NC

JUST ANNOUNCED.

I’ll be making my first appearance – ever (<— how’s that possible?)( – in the wonderful state of North Carolina this coming March to put on my popular Coaching Competency Workshop.

Full details (date, location, itinerary, how to register) can be found HERE.

EARLY BIRD rate ($50 off) is in full swing at the moment and won’t last forever.

SOCIAL MEDIA SHENANIGANS Twitter

On a scale of 1-10 (1 = jumping into a shark’s mouth and 10 = everyone should perform this exercise), kipping pull-ups are a -82

— Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore1) December 20, 2018

Instagram

 

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Here’s yet another intermediary progression to the 1-Legged RDL; this time utilization an NT Band via @nick_tumminello . . The feedback provided by the band helps on a few fronts: . 1. The reach forward helps to nudge a bit more of a posterior weight shift back. . 2. Helps with more full body tension so there’s less body English shenanigans (I.e., less apt to rotate pelvis and/or crank through lumbar spine due to increased anterior core engagement). . Such a great way to groove a single leg hinge pattern for those who struggle with balance.

A post shared by Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore) on Dec 16, 2018 at 12:59pm PST

STUFF TO READ WHILE YOU’RE PRETENDING TO WORK The Best of the PTDC 2018 – A Bunch of Badass MOFOs

An article I wrote for the Personal Trainer Development Center earlier this year – 3 Ways to Write Better Training Programs – made their list of top articles written for their site in 2018, in tandem with many other phenomenal articles.

It’s always a great honor to be recognized for your work. It’s even cooler when it’s alongside so many other esteemed colleagues.

From Wheelchair to Wheels – Lee Boyce

This is a BALLER story.

Next time a hangnail curtails your training, stop, punch yourself in the face, and also give this a read.

Strategies For Better Food Tracking – Jason Leenaarts

If nothing else this article drives home the point that the details – even the small, seemingly inane ones – matter.

The post Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 12/21/18 appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Adding CARs to Your Warm Up

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 14:40

My almost two-year old is obsessed with cars.

The vroom vroom kind.

We live on a busy street here in Boston so it’s more of less toddler catnip for him. It’s impossible to go for a walk and he not be transfixed with every Hyundai and Honda that whizzes by. Likewise, every book we read together he points out every car,

Car, daddy. Car, car, car, car.1

I’m obsessed CARs too. By contrast, though, I’m referring to Controlled Articular Rotations.

And they’re something I’ve been including into more and more of my warm-ups of late.

Copyright: lzflzf / 123RF Stock Photo

Adding CARs to Your Warm-Up

The concept of Controlled Articular Rotations is nothing new to the industry. Coaches like Pavel Tsatsouline have been singing their praises for decades.

However, there’s been a bit of a renaissance and cacophony of interest within the industry of late due in no small part to Andreo Spina and his Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) courses.

Full Disclosure: I have not taken any of the courses myself, and my only immersion with the concepts are through various colleagues of mine – Dean Somerset, Frank Duffy, Matt Crush, to name a few –  who have taken the courses or who have been certified.

FRC is a system of joint health and mobility, and CARs are just one branch underneath the FRC umbrella. Or maybe I should use tree in this analogy?

Anyway, whatever, you get the idea.

CARs are active, rotational movements that explore the outer limits of articular (joint) motion. To steal a frame of thought from Long Island based strength coach Chris Cooper:

“Stretching and other mobility drills are great, but if you can’t control your body in that new range, then what’s the point.

Explore how your body moves, and then push its limits.”

Too, another component of CARs that’s important to respect is the idea of irradiation, which is just a fancy schmancy way of saying “tension.”

When CARs are done well they incorporate an immense amount of tension in  the body so nothing else moves (spine, pelvis, etc) so you can capture as much range of motion possible in that one particular joint.

To borrow another scientific word, they fucking suck donkey balls when done correctly.

Here two of my current “go to’s” when it comes to how I’ve implemented CARs into my programs:

Scapular CAR

 

This is a fantastic option on upper body days before any heavy bench pressing. Moreover, in terms of overall shoulder health these are stellar. Many trainees have gotten into the unfortunate habit of “locking” their shoulder blades in place (most germane to the conversation: scapular downward rotation syndrome) and this drill is a great way to “unglue” everything.

Key Points to Consider

  • This is NOT a passive position. Glutes on, abs on, make a fist with non-working side.
  • Place side you’re working in scapular plane
  • Pretend as if there’s a glass of water on your arm you don’t want to spill.
  • Protract, shrug (elevate), retract, depress shoulder blade in a deliberate manner.
  • My cat is such a diva.
Seated 90/90 Hip Switches

I like this drill a lot because it trains both hip internal and external rotation simultaneously.

NOTE: After I posted this my boy Frank Duffy chimed in to say this:

“From a hardo FRC standpoint 90/90 transitions aren’t CARs because they’re focusing just on the IR/ER component of the hips in flexion whereas CARs address all the joint motions. What’s demonstrated is technically considered an Isometric Movement Path (IsoMP).”

Note to Frank: Don’t ever embarrass me on my blog again.2

This is also a good choice to get the hips nice a juicy before a squat or deadlift session. I prefer to start people ground-based (sitting) with hip CARs before I implement quadruped and then standing variations.

 

Key Points to Consider

  • My bad for the blatant crotch shot.
  • Make a fist with both hands – squeeze coal into diamonds.
  • Both feet must stay in contact with the floor at all times.
  • Try your best to stay as upright as possible.
  • If you need to regress, place hands on floor behind you.
The Warm-Up Blueprint For Lifting

Looking for some more ideas to spruce up your warm-up?

Listen, we all go through the motions when it comes to warming-up. I find most people fall into two camps:

  1. Team “nope, I’d rather walk over broken glass.”
  2. Team “the workout is the warm-up.”

You’re either someone who doesn’t do a warm-up (and likely always has achy joints and sub-par lifts), or someone who does warm-up, but then takes 45 minutes to go through a laundry list of “correctives” (and likely has achy joints and sub-par lifts).

I was recently given a copy Jack Hanrahan’s The Warm-Up Blueprint For Lifting and found it very useful.

It shows you how to design your own customized warm-up using the concepts I discussed above and then some. It takes you through soft tissue release, dynamic stretching, CARs, and targeted muscle activation techniques to better prepare you for squatting, deadlifting, bench pressing, and overhead pressing.

What’s more it’s all done with a British accent.

Jack could read The Silmarillion or, I don’t know, the Wikipedia page for the Kreb’s Cycle and I’d pay to listen to it.

The best part is that this is a home study course. So you can go at your own pace.

Be sure to check it out HERE.

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Why Kids Should Cheat the Deadlift

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 08:03

Today’s guest post come courtesy of Dan Edelman of The Brand X Method, which is a wonderful institution dedicated to improving youth sport(s).

I love what they stand for and what the strive to instill in their coaches and athletes.

There’s no ONE set way to train anyone – youth athletes included – and oftentimes the larger, more pertinent approach is adopting methodologies for LONG-TERM health and fitness.

Not for ego.

Enjoy the read (and be sure to download the FREE guide “How to Reduce the Risk of Injury in Youth Athletes” below).

Copyright: spotpoint74 / 123RF Stock Photo

Why Kids Should “Cheat” the Deadlift

Sumo is cheating.

We hear that a lot. Mostly from a certain uppity corner of the powerlifting community and mostly owing to its shortened range of motion compared to the conventional deadlift.

Well, we love it. The Brand X Method™ loves the sumo deadlift.

And we’re often asked about this great love affair.

So yeah, why sumo?

  • When was the last time you set up in a conventional stance to pick up a cinder block, sack of dog food, a child? Never. The sumo stance is how we pick up stuff in the real world.

  • Over the course of 15 years, we have found that kids can learn a safe sumo setup more quickly and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement more consistently. Could it be because our bodies are designed to pick up heavy stuff in this position?
  • The conventional stance requires more work from the spinal erectors (see, e.g., here). Should the erectors fatigue or fail under load—or be left holding the bag so to speak by primary mover fatigue or poor technique—the spine is at risk of injury. We train kids, which by definition means we’re training mostly beginner and intermediate lifters. The responsible approach is to minimize that risk.
  • Powerlifting guru Louie Simmons has said that training wide supports narrow applications but not the opposite. At Brand X – The Lab, we’ve seen people improve their conventional deadlift after training exclusively sumo—but, yeah, you guessed it—not the opposite.

To say the sumo stance is functional is to lose its significance in all the buzz around that overused label.

But it is functional.

Profoundly so.

The sumo stance is everywhere in the everyday world, from the backyard to the ball field, from the garage to the library.

When we train sumo, we enhance physical literacy, we improve our ability to engage with the environment. The more we are able to interact with the world and others around us in positive and rewarding ways, the healthier and happier we—and everyone around us—can be.

Imagine a world like that.

We do.

Never Say Never

So am I saying that we never train conventional?

Of course not.

We program conventional deadlift variations all of the time for our experienced lifters:

Single-leg dumbbell, deficits, rack pulls, RDLs… Conventional deadlifts make for great accessory and supplemental work.

Some of our experienced kids are committed competitive powerlifters. Our sports-specific programming includes conventional deadlifts because it makes sense to identify which position the kid best pulls from.

Is this a contradiction?

No.

We’re talking sport.

We’re talking kids who want to lift the most weight possible. That doesn’t mean we simply let the kid pull conventional. A TBXM™ program for a kid who can stand up with more weight in the conventional stance than in the sumo position also includes exercises that support the conventional stance to ensure that safety and efficiency are maximized during training and competition.

The conventional stance deadlift transfers to the power clean, a staple power-building exercise for The Brand X Method™.

Let’s optimize.

Occasionally anthropometry such as long femurs, long torso, and comparatively short arms call for us to explore a conventional stance for plateau-busting insights.

Individualizing our program is essential to our mission.

Frankly, variation is a fairly conventional strength training principle. And therein lies one of the great things about The Brand X Method™—our principles are sound; they are long-established, evidence-based, and proven. With that kind of foundation, we can forever explore and evolve best practices for teaching kids how to move more safely and efficiently for fitness, sport, and life.

If You Ain’t Cheating You Ain’t Trying

The Brand X Method™ wrangles with the constant tension between the goals of youth sport and the goals of our program.

The former wants high performance at all times (e.g., lifting the most weight, throwing the hardest, running the fastest) while we want to see the discovery, participation, and enjoyment of sport and other physical activities for all time.


Thing is, the tension seems to come from the sports side and is almost entirely driven by an over-reliance on sports-specific training and a lack of knowledge about how our program should be viewed as essential to sports-specific training rather than some kind of extraneous “activity.”

We know that high performance and lifelong physical activity based on consistently good movement don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Our proof is in the USA Powerlifting—California state record book where our kids and teens (and even some adults) hold more than 100 records.

Imagine that—prioritizing safety and efficiency in the form of consistently excellent (and natural) movement yields record holders, champions, and national qualifiers, most of whom stepped onto the platform just for kicks.

High performance is a by-product of The Brand X Method™.

Sumo. What they call cheating, we call common sense.

What they snicker at, we find advantageous.

Efficient.

Safe.

Long-term.

We want our kids able to lift when they’re 40 50, 60, beyond.

A youth fitness program that is not thinking about lifetime fitness is not thinking period.

We’ll continue to train the most efficient, safest movement built on naturally intended, functional motor patterns and positions. We’ll continue to encourage kids to try different sports and then provide them the best strength and conditioning we can to keep them strong, fast, and durable. We’ll continue to imagine a better future for our kids. And we’ll continue to gather the medals, trophies, and records that come with it.

They say cheating. We say scoreboard, baby.

About the Author

Dan Edelman is a Brand X Youth Coach and has been a member of The Brand X Method staff for nearly a decade, principally as staff writer and editor. He is the current Director of Marketing & Communications and is co-owner of R Town Strength & Wellness – A Brand X Method Training Center in San Diego County, California.

About the The Brand X Method

Since 2004, we have been driven by a relentless pursuit of best practices in youth training. Our focus on motor pattern training and physical literacy enhancement optimizes kids’ fitness and elevates their athleticism. We help protect kids and teens against sports injury, boost their sports performance, and push back against the forces behind obesity.

The mastery, confidence, and motivation that kids develop in our gyms are the ingredients of freedom and fearlessness. The Brand X Method™ instills the essence of adventure, passion, and joy in kids and teens when playing their favorite sports, trying new things, and tackling life’s challenges so they can step out of our gyms knowing they can do whatever they set out to do.

Free Download: Brand X Youth Coaches Guide & Assessment

Contact Email: info@thebrandxmethod.com

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The Forgotten Component of Progressing in the Weight Room

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 11:56

It’s popular nowadays for people to brag about how hard their workouts are.

And I don’t mean “hard” as in “man, I’d rather jump into a shark’s mouth than do that squat session again” hard.

No, for whatever reason, it’s become more important to one-up each other, to champion shenanigans over actual progress in the gym:

Person #1:I could barely walk to my car after my workout today.”

Person #2:Pfftt, whatever. I threw up today during my workout. It was awesome.

Person #3:Oh yeah, well, after my workout I couldn’t feel the right side of my face.

Progress, it seems, has more to do with how close to a medical emergency someone can get than it is actually seeing tangible improvements in their lifts.

Copyright: fxquadro / 123RF Stock Photo

The Forgotten Component of Progress

To be fair…

My hoity toity introduction wasn’t meant to imply I’m against trainees pushing the envelop in their training. I’ve often said, somewhat facetiously, that lifting weights isn’t supposed to tickle.

I love when people work hard in the gym.

But there’s a stark contrast between someone working hard during a workout and them going out of their way to routinely surpass their ability to recover from said workout.

via GIPHY

In a very much watered down explanation, “progress” can be applied, measured, or attributed to the following factors:

  • Doing more sets/reps of a particular exercise.
  • Adding more load to a particular exercise.
  • Manipulating rest periods and/or tempo of a particular exercise.
  • Changing “mode” of an exercise (I.e., switching from Trap Bar Deadlift to Conventional)
  • Adding physics into the equation (I.e, moving center of mass further up and away from base of support. I.e., switching from Dumbbell Reverse Lunges to Barbell Reverse Lunges).
  • Can your pecs cut diamonds?1

In Short: Are you making a concerted effort to “do more work?” What’s more, are you able to do so over the course of weeks, months, years?

Your ability to progress long-term is directly correlated with how well you’re able to recover from your workouts (via purposeful fluctuations in training volume, as well as ensuring ample sleep, calories, and hydration). It has nothing to do with one’s prowess at regurgitating their Quinoa & Kale power salad from a few hours ago.

But I’ll get off my high-horse and get to the point.

“Feel” Matters

Last year I started working with another local coach here in Boston. She’s co-owner of a KB-centric gym and  Strong First certified, but she wanted to hire me to help her get more proficient with the barbell lifts (specifically the deadlift) as well as help her prepare for the Strong First barbell course.

Jessica was already pretty freakin strong when she started.

When we tested her deadlift she hit 300 lbs; a number many guys would love to hit.

However, it didn’t “feel” or look easy.

She had a few technical glitches I wanted to iron out.

We had ten weeks. During that time my only goal was to clean up her technique in an effort to make 300 lbs feel easier.

I knew that if we worked on cementing her technique, making each repetition look (and feel) pristine, and getting her into better positions to be able to express her (true) strength…we’d likely see an improvement when she re-tested her 1 rep-max at the conclusion of the certification course.

Conventional wisdom would dictate that in order to get her to lift more weight we’d have to focus on progressive overload – more sets, more reps, heavier load, did she destroy the back of her pants, etc.

That’s not the route I took.

via GIPHY

Over the course of ten weeks we never touched a weight above 265 lbs.

35 lbs under her best lift.

Instead, like I said, we focused on improving position(s) and making sure we trained with loads that allowed her to marinate in impeccable and FAF reps.2.

Fast Forward Ten Weeks

Before she left for her certification weekend we re-tested 300 lbs.

Few things have made me cry – saying my vows to my wife during our wedding, holding my son for the first time, watching Rose let go of Jack at the end of Titanic, flipping my omelet and not breaking it.

Okay, I cry all the time.

Jessica’s deadlift brought a tear to my eye it looked so good.

What was originally a 19 on the Rate of Perceived Exertion scale, looked (and felt) like a 7/8 by the time ten weeks were over.

What’s more, she ended up hitting a PR of 35o lbs that weekend.

*drops the mic.

Progress = Feel, Too

Far too often trainees are quick to add more weight to the bar, or use the concept of more (more sets, reps, load, etc) as the sole metric to gauge progress.

All are important of course, and everyone should remain cognizant of them.

However, don’t be so quick to underestimate the value of staying put and getting more acquainted with a specific weight. If five reps of a certain weight is challenging, even if you can complete five reps, stay there.

Stay there until it feels less effortful. Many people are too quick to add weight at the expense of actually owning it. More to the point, I much prefer someone leave a session feeling refreshed and that they could do more rather than shit their spleen and miss reps on a routine basis.

What good is that going to do?

Easy training is good training.

That’s progression too.

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Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 12/14/18

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 10:03

Holy moley what a shit show.

We’ve had a sick toddler on our hands the past few days (hence the lack of content this week) and our apartment is basically a Petri dish of whateverthef*** at the moment.

He’s feeling better – and back at daycare – but, yeah, that wasn’t fun.

Anyhoo, lets get to this week’s list of stuff to read.

Copyright: wamsler / 123RF Stock Photo

BUT FIRST…CHECK THIS STUFF OUT 1. (Even More) Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint – 2019 Dates

This workshop will piggyback on the material Dean Somerset and I covered in the original Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint.

With this iteration, though, we’ll be going a bit deeper into the coaching and programming side of things:

  • How to program around common injuries.
  • How to “connect” the appropriate exercises to the client/athlete.
  • How to squat and deadlift like a boss.

Check em out HERE.

2. Watch Me In Action

Ever wonder what it would look like to have me take you through an assessment?

No?

Well, I DIDN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ANYWAY!

[slams door]

Fast forward five hours….

A few months ago Adam Rees of GRIT Gym and his girlfriend, Rachel, stopped by CORE to hang out and to so that I could take a look at Rachel.

She had been having some hip issues and wanted me to take a look at her deadlift and squat.

A technique audit if you will.

They ended up making this video to document their experience.1

3. Appearance on The Strength Running Podcast

I was invited back onto the Strength Running Podcast hosted by Jason Fitzgerald.

It’s a on-going battle, but I do feel the tides are turning and that many runners are starting to understand the importance of strength training (and how it should serve to compliment their running).

Jason and I discuss a bevy of things in this episode, but we dial in on the deadlift and why it’s such an integral movement to learn.

Give it a listen HERE.

SOCIAL MEDIA SHENANIGANS Twitter

I’ve been incorporating more Copenhagen Side Planks into my programming of late. Great drill to target core stability, hip strength, and to help offset hip, knee and low back ouchies. Here are three progressions to consider: pic.twitter.com/NGYNzAgkzs

— Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore1) December 12, 2018

Instagram

 

View this post on Instagram

 

In today’s edition of “shit I saw on the internet and am now going to steal it,” this is a deadbug variation that loosely mimics one I saw @vernongriffith4 perform using a @stickmobility . . The difference: . 1. I don’t have access to a @stickmobility , but instead am using a “bendier” PVC stick. . 2. I had @lilew13 (my wife) face the opposite direction because the stick was shorter. . This is a great way to really lock in the concept of the deadbug: stabilized spine while moving through the extremities. . Simply press the stick INTO the wall to engage the anterior core more. For those who struggle with this idea, the stick works like a charm. . And yes, before anyone asks, a band works well here too. However this is a nice option if you don’t have access to a band. . And, honestly, because you have to press into the wall (or the stick falls), I find this variation works better to get the abs to turn on. . ALSO: massive kudos to Lisa for making things awkward AF at the end.

A post shared by Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore) on Dec 10, 2018 at 9:36am PST

STUFF TO READ WHILE YOU’RE PRETENDING TO WORK Gym Owner Musings – Installment #12 – Pete Dupuis

Pete’s stuff is always insightful, relatable, and not full of foo-foo BS.

If you’re a gym owner (or aspire to be), Pete is required reading.

10 Online Training Challenges No One Warns You About – Leigh Peele

With more and more fitness professionals opting to go the online route, it’s important to understand that there are some HARD truths to the lifestyle.

Read this post by Leigh.

And then read it again.

Nutrition Myths For Fat Loss Explained – Steve Bergeron

This is an excellent 3-part (but short read) series written by friend Steve Bergeron of AMP Fitness here in Boston. Plenty of practical and sane advice here.

Give it a read.

The post Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 12/14/18 appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Plant Protein Paradox

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 13:34

It was a pleasant surprise to have an email waiting for me this morning from Dr. Mike T. Nelson asking if I’d be interesting in posting this article up on my website?

“Does He-Man give zero shits about rocking a bowl cut?”

Of course I’d be interested.

The animal protein vs. plant-based protein debate is alive and well. Thankfully we have smart, sane, and subjective researchers in the field like Dr. Nelson to hand us the facts so we can make more informed decisions.

Enjoy!

Copyright: yelenayemchuk / 123RF Stock Photo

Plant Protein Paradox

Plant proteins are all the rage now, but should you drop all your meat consumption to save the planet at the expense of your biceps? Is there any data to prop up the idea that eating more plants helps the earth?

Hang on to your propeller hat for a short trip down the nerd chute to see if the environmental concerns have weight and how plant proteins stack up.

I don’t trust thez gunZ to plants only

Plant proteins have become more popular recently in part due to environmental concerns or ethical concerns (1, 2).  Environmental research is not my main wheelhouse, however I can read research.

Pimentel et al. in 2003 (3) analyzed the of land and energy resources devoted to an average meat-based diet compared with a lactoovovegetarian (plant-based) diet. Both diets contained the same number of calories at 3,533 kcal per person.   According to their analysis:

“The meat-based food system requires more energy, land, and water resources than the lactoovovegetarian diet. In this limited sense, the lactoovovegetarian diet is more sustainable than the average American meat-based diet.” (3).

Meat-eaters = do not pass Go and collect 200 colones (about 33 cents).

In the USA, Europe and Australia, meat and dairy provide about 80% of the daily protein intake compared to Africa where as little as 7 g of meat and 4 g of milk are consumed per capita (4).

I hear your biceps shrieking in terror from here.

In an analysis from Scarborough et al., in 2014 (1), the researchers found that greenhouse gas emission in self-selected meat-eaters was about twice as high as those in vegans. They concluded that reductions in meat consumption could lead to reductions in green house gas emissions.

Meat-eaters 0, plant people 2.

Editor’s note: Tony here, if you want to know my true thoughts on kale, go HERE.

While the above around two selections, a reduction in the consumption of meat proteins may provide an advantage for the environment; but can they provide the same physiologic response in MPS (muscle protein synthesis – aka stuffing those amino acids into your muscles to make them bigger and stronger)?

Will Tony’s biceps become baby biceps?

Science Bitches

A study by Yang et al. (5) compared the effects of whey and soy protein in older men (age 71 +/- 5 years). The subjects completed a single-leg extension exercise before taking either no protein (eeeek) or 20 grams of soy protein (sorry gonads).

The researchers sampled the men’s muscle tissue via biopsy to compare the results to the non-exercising leg. They found that consuming soy protein was better than nothing, but it did not match to the response of whey protein from previous studies (6).

Your friendly author here with Dr Jose Antonio

In another study (7), wheat protein was compared to dairy protein sources in healthy older men (average age: 71 ± 1 years old).

The subjects (n=60) were split into 5 groups where they consumed 35 g wheat protein, 35 g wheat protein hydrolysate, 35 g micellar casein, 35 g whey protein, or 60 g wheat protein hydrolysate.

Plasma and muscle samples were collected at regular intervals. They found that a 60-gram dose of wheat protein was needed to see the same MPS response as the lower dose of 35 grams of the dairy based proteins (7).

Take Away?

Even if you are using a wheat protein supplement, you need a piss ton of it to match the same acute muscle building effects as dairy based proteins. Only trying to get that much wheat via whole food sources bro?

Good luck and enjoy the masseter hypertrophy along with lower body mobility from the Wilford Brimley two-step time.

He does look like a cat  

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/methodshop/2756721978

Chronic Data

I hear the Pubmed ninjas rising up from their war-torn keyboards in their Mom’s basement in a unionism cry:

“…but that is all acute data Mr. PhD Sciency pants – don’t you know that you need chronic data?”

In a chronic study from Joy et al (8), subjects were given either 48 grams of rice protein as a supplement or 48 grams of whey protein isolate after exercise. They did not see any difference between groups over 8 weeks at that dose (8).

This study provides data that while plant proteins tend to be inferior to dairy based proteins on a gram-for-gram basis, that difference in MPS can be equalized at a higher intake dose.

Summary (AKA: Too Long, Did Not Read)

In short, there is data that eating less meat may be better for Mother Earth.

Good news – if you are eating a plant protein you can up the dose (amount) to get similar effects as your meat based bro-tein consuming doooooode bro buddies with bulging biceps.

The downside is that it takes many larger serving sizes.

In the end, it is up to each person to decide their own cost/ benefits, but now you can make an informed decision without watching your biceps wither in the process.

About the Author

Mike T. Nelson, PhD, MSME, CSCS, CISSN, is a research fanatic who specializes in metabolic flexibility and heart rate variability, as well as an online trainer, adjunct professor, faculty member at the Carrick Institute, presenter, creator of the Flex Diet Cert, kiteboarder, and (somewhat incongruously) heavy-metal enthusiast.

You can find out more about him at his website at www.miketnelson.com

References (AKA: Pubmed Ninja Garlic)
  1. Scarborough P, Appleby PN, Mizdrak A, Briggs AD, Travis RC, Bradbury KE, et al. Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK. Climatic change. 2014;125(2):179-92.
  2. Millward DJ, Garnett T. Plenary Lecture 3: Food and the planet: nutritional dilemmas of greenhouse gas emission reductions through reduced intakes of meat and dairy foods. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2010;69(1):103-18.
  3. Pimentel D, Pimentel M. Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(3 Suppl):660s-3s.
  4. Gorissen SHM, Witard OC. Characterising the muscle anabolic potential of dairy, meat and plant-based protein sources in older adults. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2018;77(1):20-31.
  5. Yang Y, Churchward-Venne TA, Burd NA, Breen L, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Myofibrillar protein synthesis following ingestion of soy protein isolate at rest and after resistance exercise in elderly men. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2012;9(1):57.
  6. Tang JE, Moore DR, Kujbida GW, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2009;107(3):987-92.
  7. Gorissen SH, Horstman AM, Franssen R, Crombag JJ, Langer H, Bierau J, et al. Ingestion of Wheat Protein Increases In Vivo Muscle Protein Synthesis Rates in Healthy Older Men in a Randomized Trial. The Journal of nutrition. 2016;146(9):1651-9.
  8. Joy JM, Lowery RP, Wilson JM, Purpura M, De Souza EO, Wilson SM, et al. The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance. Nutrition journal. 2013;12:86.

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Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 12/7/18

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 08:00

Copyright: wamsler / 123RF Stock Photo

BUT FIRST…CHECK THIS STUFF OUT 1. (Even More) Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint – 2019 Dates

This workshop will piggyback on the material Dean Somerset and I covered in the original Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint.

With this iteration, though, we’ll be going a bit deeper into the coaching and programming side of things:

  • How to program around common injuries.
  • How to “connect” the appropriate exercises to the client/athlete.
  • How to squat and deadlift like a boss.

Check em out HERE.

SOCIAL MEDIA SHENANIGANS Twitter

Progression can equate to “feel” of a set too. It’s not always about MORE weight and MORE reps. Oftentimes keeping people at “x” weight for an extended time, so that it feels less effortful, can be a great form of progression.

— Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore1) December 6, 2018

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One of the highest compliments I can receive as a coach is when other coaches hire me to be their coach. . Coaches need coaches too. . Here’s my client @jessmschour from last night. . We’ve been troubleshooting some hip shenanigans and trying to come up with ways to “feel” her glutes more during certain exercises, like deadlifts. . She’s pretty freakin strong: her best pull is 350 lbs with a straight bar. Alas, I wanted to try something a bit different last night. . This is an exercise I stole from @mcconnell_athletics and it worked beautifully. . I wrapped a jump stretch band around two pegs in the power rack and then placed the band through the handle of a KB. . Hello Glute O’clock.

A post shared by Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore) on Dec 5, 2018 at 5:58am PST

STUFF TO READ WHILE YOU’RE PRETENDING TO WORK A Return to Play: Movement Training For Youth Athlete – Jeremy Frisch

This should be required reading for parents and coaches a like.

Jeremy is one of the “go to” coaches I follow with regards to youth training. The content he puts out is legit.

Just watch the videos he posts and tell me they’re not amazing.

I hate him because I’m not him.

Protein: What, When, Why, and How? – Dr. Susan Kleiner

There aren’t many people out there as respected as Dr. Kleiner. Her book, Power Eating, was one of the very first books I ever bought after graduating college (and started taking my own personal continuing education more seriously).

This article keeps things simple, and keeps to the facts.

Want to Get Real Results For Your Training? Pay For Them – Julia Eyre

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a minimum of 47 times more:

“Everyone needs a coach. Even coaches.”

Fantastic article by Julia here explaining more of the nuances and benefits of coaching.

The post Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 12/7/18 appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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