Apr 262016
 

tnationChristian Thibaudeau over at T Nation laying the smack down on some common misconceptions people still have with regards to training.
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Common Misconceptions About Abs, Cardio and More

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Everything works in theory, but some training methods just don’t produce enough benefits to justify the effort. Other training beliefs are just plain wrong. Here are the worst offenders. Sorting them out will give you insight on what to do instead.

Myth 1 – There’s No Need To Train Abs Directly

It’s a popular concept in the strength training field. The argument is that if you’re doing big lifts involving a lot of core strength like a squat, deadlift, the Olympic lifts, push press, etc. then you don’t need to do direct ab work since these exercises are heavily dependent on core strength. Yes, ab strength is key in the big lifts, but this fact can be interpreted two different ways:

1. I don’t need to work my abs since they’re heavily involved in big strength lifts.

OR

2. I need to train my abs hard because they’re heavily involved in the big strength lifts.

See the problem? Most smart lifters do a lot of ab work because they understand how making their abdominal muscles strong can help increase their lifts. Otherwise, why are the athletes competing on these lifts (powerlifters, Olympic lifters) doing lots of ab work in their training? And if most elite powerlifters need to train their abs, what makes you think that yours are so strong that you don’t need to train them directly?

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Apr 252016
 

strengtheoryAnother great article by Greg Nuckols on why the lats are not as important for the bench press as some believe. I love how in depth Greg goes into breaking it all down.
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Next week, we’re finishing up a bench guide that will be similar to the squat guide we put out last month.

Several people have specifically asked me to address the role of the lats in the bench press in that guide. I decided that it would be better to address that issue with a separate article instead of devoting a ton of space in the guide to this topic.

If you know a bit about anatomy and you’re familiar with the bench press, but you don’t spend much time perusing online powerlifting articles, you may find it very, very odd that people are concerned about the lats’ role in the bench.

In common parlance, the lats are a “pull” muscle that you use primarily for movements like rows and pull-ups, which are essentially the opposite of the bench press. In more technical terms, they’re primarily shoulder extensors, with secondary functions as internal rotators, adductors, and horizontal extensors.

Of those four movements, three of them are counterproductive in the context of the bench; when you press the bar off your chest, you’re in internal rotation (yay lats!), but you’re also trying to accomplish shoulder flexion, abduction, and horizontal flexion (boo lats!).

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Apr 242016
 

OutworkI am currently in a weight loss phase as I work towards getting back to a level of muscularity and conditioning that I had prior to when I stopped training at the end of 2014. Dieting can be challenging especially when it seems like every day there is temptation to eat something that is not part of your diet for the day. To help you with this I thought I would share something that has helped me a lot with saying no to these temptations.

I am one of those people who sets their diet up so I eat the same thing for each meal every day. I find this easier to do as it ensures I am consistently hitting my macros for each meal as well as the entire day. I remember one time all the managers were taken out for lunch by the President of the company to celebrate us hitting our targets for the year. I sat there and drank water while everyone else chowed down. The Vice President was so impressed that I was able to do that as he had never seen anyone do something like that before.

power_of_wordsOne of the things that I have done to help with being able to do this consistently is in the words I use. Most people would say I can’t eat lunch and to me the words “I can’t” is very dis-empowering. To me the words “I can’t” makes me feel like I am a victim and things are out of my control.

Instead I use the words “I choose” as I find this to be empowering and reaffirms I am in control. “I choose” not to eat that treat as it does not align with my current goal of losing weight. “I choose” my long term goal over short term gratification.

So the next time you’re tempted to eat something that is not in alignment with your goals try saying “I choose” instead of “I can’t.”

Apr 202016
 

strengtheoryReally good article by Brandon Roberts over at Strengtheory explaining what DOMS is, what it’s not and if you can reduce / prevent it.
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We’ve all experienced the agony. The pain of trying to get out of your car, wobble up the stairs, or move normally after a hard workout. This soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). If you’ve been exercising long enough, you’ve probably felt it. Some lifters relish this pain as an indicator of success, but is that really the case?

What is DOMS?

I frequently see DOMS occur after a daunting leg day. It can also occur in experienced lifters after taking a few weeks off. Studies show (1) that it’s not restricted to any particular muscle group, but some people tend to experience it more in certain muscles.

Technically speaking, DOMS is (primarily) caused by a type 1 muscle strain – some degree of fiber damage, but nothing too serious – predominantly as a result of unaccustomed exercise. As you may have experienced, DOMS can range from slight muscle discomfort to severe pain that limits range of motion. Generally, muscle soreness becomes noticeable ~8 hours post-workout and peaks 48-72 hours later, although the exact time course can vary.

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Apr 182016
 

Some great suggestions by Allmax Nutrition on how to boost your workout motivation at Muscle and Strength.
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There is absolutely no excuse for slacking off in the gym. If you're lacking the drive, check out these 6 proven ways to boost motivation and get after it!

There is absolutely no excuse for slacking off in the gym. If you’re lacking the drive, check out these 6 proven ways to boost motivation and get after it!

Let’s face it, if you have the motivation to consistently train with a high intensity you’re setting yourself up for success.

When you pursue anything in life you need to incentivize. Incentive is what motivates and gives you the enthusiasm to put the effort into reaching your goals.

Without motivation, channeling the full-force intensity needed to translate reps into results is all but impossible.

We all have those days when we experience a total lack of motivation when gearing up for the gym.

For some, the enthusiasm that fueled incredible workouts in the early stages of training evaporates over time and never returns.

While most devoted and disciplined lifters quickly override the urge to take it easy in the gym, an unlucky few remain on cruise control, never really giving it their all despite their best intentions.

So how do these people recapture the willingness to make each workout the best workout of their life?

It all comes back to incentive.

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Apr 132016
 

Peter Fitschen dropping some protein knowledge over at FitnessRX for Men.
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FITRX-PROTEIN-FACTS

Protein is one of the most popular nutrition topics among fitness enthusiasts. As a result, there is an abundance of information about protein available online; however, much of this information is conflicting, which can lead to confusion and a number of questions.

Here are some science-based answers to a few of the most common questions about protein.

QUESTION #1: How much protein should I eat to gain muscle?

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is roughly 0.36g protein / lb bodyweight / day. This number represents the minimum amount of protein needed for a sedentary healthy individual to prevent deficiencies. However, many in the fitness industry are interested in maximizing muscle growth rather than preventing deficiencies.

Numerous researchers looking at protein intake for muscle growth have found that increasing protein intakes above the RDA (as high as 0.8-0.9 g protein / lb bodyweight / day) have been shown to result in further increases in muscle mass (1).

ANSWER: Those interested in maximizing muscle growth may benefit from increasing protein intake to 0.8-1.0 g protein / lb bodyweight /day. If an individual has a large amount of body fat, base this number off of estimated lean body mass rather than body weight.

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Apr 112016
 

An interesting study on bench press angle and its effect on pec activation from SuppVersity.
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The bench press, in one form or another, is part of almost everyone's workout, but what's the best way to do it?

The bench press, in one form or another, is part of almost everyone’s workout, but what’s the best way to do it?

You may have seen Brad Schoenfeld’s post about the just accepted study of his that confirms the well-known link between muscle activity and poundage (higher weight = higher activity | see EMG Series). Well, another recent study provides additional intricate insights into the link between muscle activity and the way you perform the bench press.

Just like Schoenfeld et al.’s study, the study compared the muscular activation during bench presses – albeit in this case that of the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid and triceps brachii during a freeweight barbell bench press performed at different angles: 0°, 30°, 45° & -15° angles, to be specific.

As the authors from the Department of Kinesiology, Cardiopulmonary and Metabolic Research Laboratory at the University of Toledo point out, this is not as “boring” as you may think it is,, as previous investigations may have systematically examined muscle activation during various bench press conditions only throughout the complete lift. Needless to say that “[d]uring any resistance exercise a complete ROM is important”, but Jakob D. Lauver et al. are right to point out that there may be potentially relevant differences in the level of muscle activation over the course of the full range of motion (ROM).

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Apr 102016
 

New article and study from Brad Schoenfeld looking to see if a DUP style routine is better at adding muscle compared to a traditional hypertrophy style protocol.
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If you follow my work you’ll undoubtedly know that our lab has carried out a number of studies seeking to determine the effects of training in different repetition ranges on muscle strength and growth. The overall findings from these studies showed similar increases in hypertrophy between both heavy and moderate rep ranges, as well as moderate and high rep ranges.

Undulated-Periodization-300x188However, the choice of rep ranges is not necessarily an either-or proposition; you can in fact combine strategies to potentially achieve greater hypertrophic benefits. Daily undulating periodization (DUP) routines are specifically designed for this purpose. However, no study to date had compared a varied rep approach to traditional constant-rep training using site-specific measures of muscle growth.

Until now.

Our study, just published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, set out to investigate if muscular adaptations would differ between DUP-style routine and a traditional hypertrophy-style protocol. Here’s the scoop.

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Apr 082016
 

Interesting article over at SuppVersity on a recent study comparing these two training splits. This is particularly interesting to me as I just recently started training full-body three days a week.
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Body Composition Changes Favor Volume-Equated FB Workouts in Trained Athletes

aI guess that most of you will be training according to a split workout, right? You can do so many great bench press and biceps curl variations on “International Chest + Biceps”-Monday… awesome, right? Ok, enough of the sarcasm and back to the science. In this case, a recent study by scientists from the National Research Institute in Warsaw, the Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand, the Bond University in Australia and the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Said study was conducted by Crewther et al. and published recently in the Biology of Sport. It examined the effects of two equal-volume resistance-training protocols upon strength, body composition and salivary hormones in male rugby union players.

The scientists used a crossover design, involving 24 male rugby players (mean age 29.8 ± 6.8 years; height 179.5 ± 7.9 cm; body mass 92.9 ± 12.2 kg) with at least 2 years of resistance-training experience (3-4 times per week) who completed a 4-week full-body (FB) and split-body (SB) training protocol of equal volume during the competitive season.

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Apr 072016
 

tnation This article by Kasey Esser over at TNATION made me realize that I suffer from Anterior Pelvic Tilt. This explains why I have struggled with lower back pain after squatting, especially since I returned to training late last year. Now that I know this I am hopeful following these recommendations will help be a better lifter and bodybuilder.
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Correct Your ATP. Here’s How.

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Here’s what you need to know…

  1. Anterior pelvic tilt (APT) is common. The hips get pushed out, the ribs protrude, and the low back tightens.
  2. Think, “ribs down.” Press your ribs down and brace your abs without letting your upper back round over. This is step one in eliminating APT.
  3. Exhale at the right time when lifting. This will help you depress the ribs and engage the abs.
  4. When isolating glutes, do a posterior pelvic tilt. On hip thrusts and glute bridges, tilt the hips up toward a point on the wall behind your head.
  5. Don’t let the stomach sag. Keep abs braced when you’re foam rolling and standing. Avoid sleeping on your stomach in a position that will exacerbate APT.

If your posture isn’t up to snuff, it’s like an obese person avoiding gluten to lose weight when he’s consuming 5,000 calories a day. He’s majoring in the minors. Yes, that’s how big a deal posture is.

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