Structure and Exercise Performance

One of the hardest things to do as a person who prescribes exercise is to take an internal perspective on exercise design. There is so much talk these days of sets, reps, and protocols, and not enough on exercise biomechanics and quality of movement as it relates to load. Exercises are merely attempts to organise a movement which then challenges certain muscles in the body. Externally visible parameters of the event such as foot and hand placement, path of limbs during movement and global range of motion are and should be tailored to the individual.

squatbiomechanics

People are different. So are their hips.

To simplify things, we categorise exercises with names like “squat”, “push up”, etc, to denote what is actually an orchestration of joint movements by muscles. Following this we also try to sub-classify movements to show variations in execution, like “sumo squat” for wide stance squats, “diamond push ups” for narrow hand-placement pushups etc. Keep Reading!

Setting Boundaries, Barbell training, and FRC

My blogging has take a hit recently. In fact, my writing in general has taken a hit. I justified my lack of initiative toward writing by listing all the things that seem to be consuming my time; An increasing client load, planning for my wedding, and performing general DIY duties on our new flat. The result being however, that I feel depressed and stressed out as I havent been able to write. My writing, both fiction and non-fiction had always been an outlet for me, and a way to decompress while bleeding out some of the crazy thoughts that accumulate in my head. The fact is,  when do we every have enough time for anything? Getting the things you want done is a matter of prioritizing. Keep Reading!

Thoughts on Autoregulation

It’s been a while since I have followed a strict, progressive training program. While it’s true that I made some of my best progress on linear progression models such as Starting Strength, or when I was a client of Steve Maxwell’s, it seems I’ve been able to maintain or at least progress in ways I did not expect. Progressive training models work, but the problem is that in order for one to make linear, or even periodized progression one must follow a predictable delivery of stimulus.  In order for this stimulus to be effective however, it requires extraneous factors of training to be uniform, meaning you need to have fixed circadian rhythms, good nutrition, regular and evenly spaced out training sessions. I have had none of those. Keep Reading!

How To Establish A Mind-Muscle Connection

The “mind-muscle connection” is a somewhat bro-sciency way to describe the connection one feels to the muscles as they contract during exercise. However obscure this may sound, I can attest that this is a very real phenomenon, as well as trainable skill.

arnold curl

Arnold was a fan of mind-muscle training

The true purpose of exercise is to deeply and effectively fatigue or “work” the target muscles. Some exercises work large groups of muscles simultaneously, like a squat, and some work smaller muscles more directly, like a biceps curl. Keep Reading!

How Often Should You Work Out?

I get this question often. The predictable answer is “it depends”.

There are two major schools of thought in training frequency; High Intensity, and High Frequency. As the names would imply, they have to do with how you distribute the stress you apply to the body during a training cycle. During a given exercise session, you are applying stress to the organism. This is the amount of work you do (volume x intensity) in a workout. You can do a lighter workout more frequently, or you can do a high intensity workout less frequently. For the vast majority of people, there is an inverse relationship between workout intensity and frequency. This simply means that most people can’t train hard every day without consequence. You need to rest and recovery from the workout stress and thereafter adapt by becoming stronger. Keep Reading!

Why Older Isn’t Better: The Real Meaning of Functional Training

There’s a weird trend happening in the fitness world these days. I’m referring to the rise of “Functional Training”. Now, what began as an attempt to make exercise more meaningful and applicable to everyday situations became a bastardization of the concept. Like any well-meaning movement, there are always the objective and open-minded prophets who’s gospel gets twisted and abused to create some new, perverted version. The idea was to challenge movement patterns in multiple planes of movement, improve stability, and add an element of coordination to exercise, all inherently good things. However, what these people don’t understand is basic anatomy and physiology. They are misinterpreting what they see on the surface for being the truth. Like so many other situations in the world, humans aren’t very good at seeing the trees in the forest. Keep Reading!

Why Numbers Don’t Matter.

I have been giving a lot of thought lately to the idea of internal vs external performance. We live in a fitness world dominated by the idea of the external accomplishment of “strength feats” or endurance challenges. Push up competitions, how much you can bench press, how fast is your 5k run? While very motivating and entertaining, it really has very little to do with health and properly conducted exercise. Keep Reading!