Wednesday, January 20, 2010

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's GOTTA BE the Program

I would feel dishonest, unfair, and untrue if I just showed exercise after crazy exercise to you. Just throwing a bunch of exercises together with some reps and sets really doesn't make a program. Sure, you might get results for a little while just by providing a good effort. Don't worry though it won't be long till the progress plateaus and little aches and pains arise.

Yea, I sound like the glass half empty guy right? Well, maybe it is because I am so tired of people online throwing out random workout. Hey, I like variety and to tell you the truth rarely follow a very set routine. However, I do like to look at a training week and plan some goals.

Ask any successful coach that has actually made long-term progress with clients and they will tell you the same thing, planning is key. How might you make a week of training?

I personally think most people can not handle more than four days of intense training. So, here is how a week may look:

Day 1: Priority of volume with intensity. Options: Density or Ladders
This can be followed by some assistance work done in a circuit style, I personally like intervals for this part of the routine.

Day 2: Power Circuit Training. This is an opportunity for people to work in patterns of motion that they typically don't get with strict strength work. Rotational movements, different lunging patterns, crawling, are all great options within this training session. Typically this is higher repetition work but a more moderate intensity.

Day 3: Strength Focus. Why so late in the week? Generally most people need a significant time building tendon and ligament strength as well as fix muscle imbalances before they place too much emphasis on heavy lifting. Ignoring this rule usually leads to some nasty pain or injury. Lots of interesting ways to develop strength with sandbags though.

Waves: Perform a series of reps in compound movements like clean and press: 1/2/3/3/2/1 the first series is lighter than the second series building upwards.

Clusters: Perform one set with approximately 10 seconds in between till all the "mini-sets" are done. For example, Zercher squats of 5 mini-sets of 2 with 90 seconds of rest after. You can repeat this two to three more rounds.

Day 4: Pure Intervals. This time will help speed up the recovery of the strength focus routine because it will have much lighter loads. The idea is to work up to eventually 60 seconds of work but you can start as low as 15 seconds.

Above is a video of what a Day 1 might look like!

Monday, January 18, 2010

What to do first?

What should I do first? What program should I be doing? It should be the first question anyone asks when they begin a training program. Sure you can listen to the grunters and screamers that tell you to "JUST DO IT!" However, often "just lifting" gets you only so far.

Having a plan and goals goes a lot further in long-term success than just trying to beat yourself up. Sure you see some initial results, but then you hurt, you plateau, and eventually become very frustrated.

Where to start then? First is to be realistic how often you can train. I tell people don't try to get every day, just try to see how many days you can commit to and stick with. Decide the best place for you to train. Some people love the gym, it is an escape from everything, others love being at home for the convenience.

Why does this matter? It will depend on what equipment you have available and how you might structure a routine. Some people may have cables, bands, squat racks, bumper plates available, while others may have a few kettlebells, sandbags, and a TRX. Neither is right, it is whatever keeps you motivated and focused.

What is your goal? Do you want to achieve certain lifts, body weight, body fat, heal some aches/pains? I usually recommend people choose two non-competitive goals. For example, it is hard to squat 1000 pounds if you only want to weigh 200 pounds. However, you may want to shoulder a 175 pound sandbag, but lose 10% body fat. That is definitely possible.

Identify what obstacles you may foresee. The truth is we are all going to face challenges to our goals. See how many of these you have control over and what might be things you have to work around.

Tell others of your goals, it often makes people more accountable if they tell important people in their lives about what they are trying to accomplish.

Tomorrow, I will talk about how to structure a week of training that anyone can adapt to have variety and focus!

Get the week off right, identify your goals, know where you are going to train, what obstacles will you face?

In Strength,
Josh Henkin, CSCS

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Don't Miss This

Monday! That is the day our new websites go up and things will change forever! I am so excited about the growth of our program and we are changing things, BIG TIME!! People from all over the world are getting involved and it will be very exciting to show all of your how we are changing for the better. I have to hold myself back from showing you all the great new programs we have coming.

We are also so close to being caught up for 2010 in other ways. You have all been very helpful in assisting us with our Over Stock Sale! That is why we are going to continue it just for a few more days. Monday, this sale will be no more.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

We Have the Edge

Most people are just flat out confused! They are a little familiar with powerlifting, a bit with Olympic lifting, ok, know some "functional" exercises and they try to jam it all together into a big mess. You see most people feel like they don't have the power to change things. They have to deal with the status quo and use what little they may know about different training methods.

However, we have the edge! We are actually seeing the needs of our clients and creating programs, exercises, and tools that address those needs. It makes coaching so much better to use these methods to address specific needs rather than trying to squeeze people into such a confined philosophy box.

Our certifications and workshops are about to launch for the new year and one of the biggest concepts I could teach people is to look at adding complexity to movements. Sure, if you are a powerlifter try to squat 600 pounds, but all the research shows that it isn't the strongest athletes that are the best, it is the most powerful athletes.

One of the most underused ways to develop power, athleticism, and fitness is through more complex movement patterns. Sure, I have seen the goofy exercises, but I am not talking about those where people stand on one leg and scratch their nose while they try to curl a dumbbell. I am talking about adding force from different angles of the body while moving in sometimes explosive means.

The Ultimate Core Strap and Ultimate Sandpack have definitely open the door to a lot of cool new exercises. So, while our new sites are ALMOST here, I wanted to share some initial ideas with the two videos above. We can resist movement, produce movement, and this all results in an amazing training stimulus that nothing else can replicate!

Watch these videos, try the metabolic workout and you will see what I mean.

We are close to our new sites, so until they go up, you can get these great tools here!!!

Ultimate Core Strap: $29.99: Click Here

Ultimate SandPack (back pack): $169.99: Click Here

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Serious Strength Training

I admit it! I was definitely one of those coaches that believed to have a real, serious, focused training facility I had to have all the usual suspects. Primarily squat racks, bumpers, Olympic bars, etc. C'mon, isn't that what a strength coach should have in his/her facility?

However, if I had to do it over again, I would have!!! While my philosophy of training has not changed how to address it has. If you asked me how to build really solid strength seven years ago I would have said heavy deadlifts, squats, and presses. Now, I would have a completely different perspective. There seems to be so many more options since tools such as sandbags, suspension training, and kettlebells have become available tools.

Now I look at a strength program and not only do I see new opportunities to create strength programs that not only help the weight on the bar, but keep movement abilities as a top priority as well. Too many times when people try to lift more they sacrifice both their athleticism and health. Sure, people can increase the amount they can lift on the bar, but how do you feel? Banged up? Tight? Stiff? I was that person too!

But wait?! How do you get stronger when the weights of sandbags, kettlebells, and suspension units can't come close to what you can put on a bar? Ah, there are numerous ways....

1. Take your same type of movements and change the leverage. For example, start with bear hug squats, move to zercher squats, then shoulder squats. By changing the leverage you change the weight your body feels and can make a lighter weight feel much heavier!

2. Change the speed of movement. Once the tempo of a repetition was really specific. While we have gotten away from that, you can still manipulate a repetition by decreasing how fast you lower a weight, where you add pauses, how fast you try to lift the weight.

3. Alter stability of the exercise. Instead of lifting from a very stable base, try changing the base of support. When you press overhead go from different positions such as a lunge. Rather than just performing a power clean, work on a staggered stance power clean.

Rather than just talking about all the ways, here is a strength workout I performed recently with the same training tools we are talking about.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Out Run the Police?

This week I got a very cool email from one of the most respected people in the fitness and bodybuilding industry, Will Brink. I laughed to myself as one of the first books I ever owned was a Will Brink book!

Well, I was incredibly excited to hear that Will was working with SWAT teams in the Northeast. Even more exciting was that he told me that they were using our Ultimate Sandbag quite a bit as part of their training.

Such news gets me pumped because with all the "warrior" training talk that gets thrown around our military, police, fire, and other emergency groups are the real warriors. Getting fit or healthy is great, but to train when your life REALLY does depend upon it is a whole different thing.

Check out some of the great videos Will sent me of their training!

Don't forget our Over Stock Sale will end soon! Take advantage of it.

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