Sep 192014

Chad Waterbury gives us the low down on what he has learned over at the Movement Performance Institute!

For the last few months I’ve been learning from the stellar physical therapists at the Movement Performance Institute (MPI). The West Los Angeles-based facility is run by knee-rehab savant and biomechanics expert, Chris Powers, Ph.D.

Dr. Powers was one of the pioneering researchers to clinically demonstrate a relationship between knee pain and hip weakness. If you had knee pain 15 or 20 years ago, doctors and physical therapists would commonly focus on the knee joint itself. Thanks to Dr. Powers’ research, we now know that proximal factors such as the hips and trunk are often the culprit.

When the hips are weak it not only sets you up for injury, but also limits performance in the sprint, squat, jump, lunge, deadlift and just about every other athletic movement you can think of.

The Movement Performance Institute is a state-of-the-art facility with every imaginable biomechanical testing gadget. They have high-speed cameras, force plates, vector analysis, and probably the most expensive treadmill in the world that measures force, balance and stride length. And that doesn’t cover half of it.

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Sep 182014

Another great podcast from Guru Performance!

Episode 13 of the Guru Performance ‘We Do Science’ podcast! In this episode Laurent Bannock discusses ‘Nutrition for Bodybuilding Contest Preparation’ with Eric Helms (AUT University, NZ), Alan Aragon (California State University, USA), and Peter Fitschen (University of Illinois, USA). In this session they get into:

  • What is bodybuilding contest preparation?
  • Evidence currently available
  • Calories and macronutrients for competition
  • Determining macronutrient intake
  • Ketogenic diets and individual variability
  • Nutrient timing & meal frequency
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Peak week
  • Psychosocial issues
  • Limitations

[ Android ]

Sep 172014

Jesse Irizarry gives us the low down on percentage-based programs over at Juggernaut.

You either love them or hate them. Some coaches and lifters believe using percentage based programs is the only way to plan training while others rave about the restriction they create. True, some systems of training not based on percentages have been shown to be very effective, but the argument that any use of percentages creates parameters that are too rigid just isn’t true.

When writing training programs and coaching large groups of athletes or large groups of lifters, percentage-based programs are almost necessary to manage and progress these large numbers. The idea that these training programs can’t also be intuitive and meet the needs of the individual is due to a misunderstanding uses of percentages, along with not learning some easy guidelines that I’m going to describe here.

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Sep 152014

Next installment of Neil’s and Erika’s vlog on the road to their Pro debuts.

Neil and Erika Tkatchuk are the owners of Trench Fitness and are both currently in prep for their pro debuts. They are committed to doing a weekly vlog to help educate people on the different aspects of contest prep and training. Some great info so be sure to check it out and subscribe!

Sep 152014

Some great advice from Mark Dugdale in this article at elitefts.

To some extent, all of bodybuilding is an illusion. Tiny joints, cartoonish muscle bellies, and extremely low body fat cause a great physique to appear otherworldly under proper stage lighting. The illusions bleed into the bodybuilding lifestyle and often get embellished via publications. Today we tweet, update our status, and Instagram such things. When you think about it, much of it is smoke and mirrors.

I certainly hope that my professional bodybuilding career is far from over, but one thing I know is that it’s 10 years closer to ending than when I won the 2004 USA. Here are a few things that I wish I had understood when I began this journey. Perhaps they will help you see past some of the illusions…

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

My first foray into bodybuilding entailed teen and junior divisions, which are exempt from weight classes. I still remember the nervousness associated with weigh-ins when I moved on to the open class weight divisions. Milling around waiting your turn to step on the scale with competitors sizing each other up…I hated it. I always felt like the smallest guy in the class, especially in sweats. However, I quickly learned that oftentimes the “small” looking guy in clothes proves to be the most dangerous on stage. Bigger isn’t always better. The guy who can create the biggest illusion tends to win.

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Sep 142014

A big shout out and congratulations to 3DMJ Coach Jeff Alberts aka “The Godfather” on winning the overall yesterday! Jeff has been a natural bodybuilder for 28 years and is a huge inspiration to many. Jeff’s focus this prep was on balance and not letting his prep overshadow other areas of his life. So much respect for this guy, well done Jeff!

Sep 132014

Came across this article by Borge Fagerli aka Blade on what is “The Optimal Program?” Some great information!

Q: There are so many programs out there, every one of them claiming to be the “best” or “optimal” program. I am so confused, and it often makes me randomly jump from one to the other just to make sure I don’t miss out on anything. How do I know which program to follow – are there any basic principles I should look for?

A: The first thing you need to do is to realize that there is no single program that at any one time can be “optimal” for everyone. An optimal stimulus for muscle growth depends on several factors and varies both individually and from day to day. However, we can make some educated guesses, and based on this we can structure the desired stimulus into a template – something we call a “training program”.

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Sep 122014

Interesting new series over at Juggernaut by Brian Minor. While I have no intention atm of competing in powerlifting I do feel training to get stronger in a proper periodized training program as a powerlifter would is a great way for natural bodybuilders to maximize their physiques. Looking forward to the rest of the series by Brian.

If you have paid any attention, you have likely noticed over the past ~4-5 years that there has been a dramatically increasing trend for physique-focused athletes taking a more progressive strength-based approach to their off-season programming. Before I go any further, for the purposes of this article “physique-focused athlete” refers to any athlete that requires a fake tan come competition day (bodybuilders, figure, bikini, fitness, physique, etc).

The concept of strength focused progression for this demographic of athlete is commonly met with both acceptance by some and criticism by others. The common refute: “strength doesn’t matter on stage” rebuttal. While this is certainly correct, it ignores the process of going from point A to point B and the significance getting stronger can have on the outcome.


Point B is typically a more developed, proportionate, and often more conditioned version of their previous showing. So while conditioning is more related to prep itself, being a mature athlete in the off-season goes a long way in setting themselves up for success when prep commences. But as far as overall development, it is well known that the offseason is where the progress is made. An off-season programming plan is essential soon after stepping off the stage, and it goes well beyond mimicking the workout posted by your favorite pro on social media.

So in the quest for a structured offseason approach, why are more physique focused athletes turning to a plan focused around increasing strength and even pursuing competitive powerlifting? Let’s examine the behavioral aspect first.

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Sep 112014

Interesting article from Muscle Evo and Christian Finn.

You’ve seen pictures of gymnasts with huge arms.

You’ve also heard that those arms were built without any direct arm work – curls, pressdowns and so on.

Now you’re wondering if you should be doing the same thing. If you want bigger arms, is training like a gymnast the best way to do it?

You probably know already that some of the bodyweight exercises performed by gymnasts – dips, pull-ups, push-ups and so on – work the arms very hard.

Even during a movement like the double-leg circle on the pommel horse, where the elbows are straight the whole time, the biceps and triceps are working continuously to stabilize and support the body [2].

However, none of this means that you can expect the same results simply by doing the same exercises.

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