There seems to be an accepted notion that aesthetic bodybuilding techniques can’t be integrated within the structure of an empirical powerlifting workout program. I firmly believe otherwise.
It has been my observation upon viewing the iron game there are two types of people. First there are those who are pumpers and toners and secondly there are those who concentrate on the brute power of heavy lifting alone.
That is until recently when we have a metamorphosis of a third type of hybrid person who trains to combine the best of both worlds. It involves the nice blood choked pump of the bodybuilder yet it’s got the rugged and capable power of a strength athlete. When you combine these two approaches you have what is called powerbuilding or powerbodybuilding.
Powerbodybuilding can be used by competitive bodybuilders as well. It’s great for the early cycle in which a bodybuilder is embarked on the critical muscle mass building phase. For the contest entering and winning bodybuilder it is important for him to be perceived as someone who doesn’t just have herculean size which is ALL SHOW and NO GO. There’s a stereotype out there that bodybuilders are not very strong. Using a powerbodybuilding method at the beginning of their contest cycle they’ll be able to back up the great cosmetic physique with some real world strength and power.
Likewise a strength athlete or powerlifter would like for the public to perceive them as not just someone that lifts heavy iron, but also has the rugged, solid and capable look of a finely tuned athlete.
One of the saddest things I have observed especially in the powerlifting arena is that of the lifters who weight under 242 pounds.
Many of them possess tremendous tendon and ligament strength but yet as far as overall behemoth muscular bulk they just don’t have it. And when you throw a long sleeved shirt and tie on them they pretty much blend with the masses of the general public.
Personally, that bothers me. Granted, tendon and ligament strength is important I admit to that. But I’ve observed lifters with larger physiques than mine that move much less heavy iron that I do. I feel that they’re more into a pump phase of training, which is fine, but deep down I know they desperately want to possess more superhuman strength and power. Enter POWERBODYBUILDING.
I am not the lone proponent of the POWERBODYBUILDING movement (I am only seeking to introduce a renewed interest in this powerful training component), there have been others over the span of the last 60 years. Some of the most notable luminaries of this movement that I can think of offhand includes and is not limited to: Malcom Brenner, Franco Columbu, Jeff Everson, Lou Ferrigno, John Carl Grimek, Donne Hale, Mike & Ray Mentzer, Sergio Oliva, Reg Park, Bill Pearl, Clancy ross, Bill Seno, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Sipes and Dorian Yates, just to name a few.
If I am not mistaken POWERBODYBUILDING may have achieved its zenith when one of the criteria’s for entering an AAU sanctioned physique event required athletic events such as Olympic & Powerlifting to help secure additional points in the physique contest itself. Sad to say that’s not the case today.
All of the guys I have just mentioned have been great assets to the physique game because for them to get the size they possessed they had to do some heavy, heavy lifting and if you looked at their workout programs you could see that they combined heavy tendon and ligament building movements with the muscle sculpting movements of the cosmetic bodybuilder.
It was not uncommon for Franco Columbu to bench in the high 400´s or deadlift over 700 pounds for a big triple. In tests of power, moving a huge weight in a short movement, deadlifts, squats, supports were all easy for John Carl Grimek. Clancy Ross was fully capable of getting 180-pound dumbbells in position self-assisted for some heft incline work.
And who can forget Chuck Sipes who could squat 6 to 700 pounds and bench nearly 600 pounds, when nobody else near his bodyweight was even close. Plus he was an IFBB super-star bodybuilder to boot.
It’s not by accident that all of the names I have mentioned have ended up at the top in the iron game. They not only looked the part (cosmetic bodybuilder) but they all could push the heavy iron that the general public perceived of them.
Naturally the question may arise as to whether the days of just being a pumper or toner are gone? Well, in my opinion I would have to say No!
Why not? Because there is still going to be a lot of people involved in the sport of bodybuilding who don’t have any aspirations of taking their training to that 3rd or 4th level of intensity it takes to train heavy. However if they do then it’s going to be way more competitive, mark my words, and I think as you see the sport metamorphosize into the year 2025 you’ll see more powerbodybuilding taking place because you will just have an overall edge over someone that just pumps the dog crap out of the muscles while giving little or no regard to gaining super human strength.
Now some people still might not know the difference between muscle bulk training and pump training so let me elaborate.
When a bodybuilder or a powelifter bulk train they use heavy, heavy weights to tear down deep muscle tissue membranes. The muscle rebounds (recovers) and grows abundantly. This is what is called ultimate hypertrophy.
Now on the other hand if a bodybuilder or powerlifter subjects themselves to light pumping movements you’ll gorge the muscle with blood literally. I call this a suck pump. Granted this type of training will shape and bring up the muscularity of the muscle bellies but it lacks the integrity of bulk training.
If you want to retain the transitory muscle thickness that you experienced with the flush pump training then you will have to include the deep tearing down of the heavy weight training. This is one of the best ways to retain muscle thickness (density) where in the morning you wake up and you still look pretty big.
What I am trying to gear this article towards is for you bodybuilders and powerlifters who desire total development and total strength while being less concerned about specialization in one area. Your overall strength and muscular size will definitely increase using a POWERBODYBUILDING program. This is because the program is physiologically construed to provide heavy high intensity work (muscle bulk training) for size and strength and volume high rep work (flush pump training) and to add fullness and vascularity to the muscle.
It has been my aspiration for quite a while now to introduce a powerbodybuilding system of training that can be used by beginners, intermediates and advanced men. Check out the brand new resource below for more information on exactly how to structure your training with a powerbodybuilding approach.
The Secret Training Methods That Transformed A Scrawny Former Marathon Runner Into A Massive Power-Bodybuilder- Bench Pressing 515 Lbs & QUADRUPLING Overall Body Strength & Power. Click here for the story.
Guest post by Andy Bolton of Deadlift Dynamite
1. Realize that strength training is a violent pursuit
You may have never thought about strength training as something violent, but it is. Think about it: when you squat, you put a weight on your back that could potentially cripple you if it all goes wrong. When you bench, you lift a bar above your body that if dropped on your neck will probably kill you.
And the deadlift encourages you to lift weights from the floor that could break your back if you don’t have the correct form and know how to stay tight.
Indeed, if you don’t get a buzz from watching MMA, boxing, rugby, American football or some other “violent” sport, you are probably not cut out for serious strength training. However, if you do get a kick out of watching those sports and have a passion for getting stronger, you need to develop…
If you want to dominate the kind of weights that the average lifters can’t even hope to lift, you have to be aggressive.
When you are in the hole on the squat, with your max on your back, you have to drive that bar back to the start position like your life depends on it.
The same goes for the bench press: when the bar touches your chest, you have to crush it with serious aggression and drive it back to the start position.
And as for the deadlift, I don’t think any other lift is so dependent on being in the right state of mind. Watch my world record deadlifts and you will see my training partner slap my face beforehand for several minutes. As Dave “Bulldog” Beattie does this I am allowing my aggression to build. When the time comes I push Dave out of the way (not easy to do given that he’s 300lbs) and then I unleash hell on the bar.
That’s the kind of attitude all the best guys have. If you want to see aggression, watch me lift, watch Captain Kirk lift, watch Chuck Vogelphol lift, watch my training partner Brian Reynolds lift—all great lifters, all very aggressive. You can get ok strength without aggression, but if you want to be super strong, you have to be an animal.
With that said, you also need…
The ability to think clearly and see things as they are is of vital importance to the strength athlete. Only when you think clearly will you be able to objectively work out your weaknesses and address them accordingly.
Only when you think clearly will you know when to push and when to hold back, when to get psyched up before a lift and when to just be aggressive when you are actually under the bar. Only when you think clearly will you be able to stay injury free and ensure your own longevity. Clarity is essential for success. Most people are unclear and unsuccessful. There is a pattern right there.
Visualization is a simple yet highly powerful mental skill that all successful people have. Science has proven that if you think about something over and over again and with enough intensity, your brain can’t actually tell the difference between whether or not you have actually done what you are thinking about or just imagined it.
So… the trick is to visualize yourself going for and SUCCEEDING with personal bests over and over again before you actually attempt them. I “saw myself” lift 1,008lbs thousands of times before I actually pulled it for real. When the time came to do it in competition, I actually felt like it was nothing new. Embrace visualization and use it to help you get stronger.
At the same time…
5. Avoid excess negativity
The reason why I say to avoid excess negativity and not just to avoid negativity is because we all have negative thoughts and we always will have. The difference is that some people dwell on negative thoughts and allow them to sabotage their success, while others quickly eliminate them and/or work out if there is a hidden message.
In relation to lifting, the biggest example of negativity is people who see themselves missing personal bests. Never, ever do this and if you catch yourself doing this, stop it straight away and imagine yourself succeeding 10 times. In order to ‘catch’ negative thoughts before they get out of hand, you must have…
Tony Robbins says that most people live their lives like a leaf on a river. In other words—they go where the river takes them, with no real control over where they are going. If you want control over your life and your strength, you must be like the speed boat on the river; able to pick its course and do what it wants—instead of being dictated to by your surroundings and circumstances… you must take control and make things happen.
When you are focused, you will naturally take control and spend your time more wisely. Right now, do a quick exercise that will get you focused…
• Take out a sheet of paper
• Write down three 30 day goals
• Write down three 3 month goals
• Write down three 12 month goals
• Write down a big, outrageous 3 to 5 year goal
Read these goals every day and tick them off as you do achieve them. Finally, you must be:
Bruce Lee talks about flowing like water. You must be the same. No matter how well you plan, things will always need to be tweaked and altered along the way. That goes for strength training and everything you do in life.
Do not be stubborn, be flexible. If something’s not working, be man enough to change it.
When discussing the most influential bodybuilders of the ‘golden age’ of bodybuilding, the name Steve Davis is inevitably brought into the conversation. Steve is arguably one of the most muscular and symmetrical bodybuilders of any generation.
Throughout his illustrious bodybuilding career, Steve competed at the highest level from 1968 until 2002, competing in 2 Mr. Olympia’s (1979, 1981); 3 Masters Olympia (1997, 1999, 2002); 2 IFBB Mr. America’s (1975, 1977); 10 IFBB Pro circuit contests (including Canada Pro Cup, Grand Prix World Cup, Grand Prix California, etc.); NABBA Mr. Universe (1977); IFBB Mr. World (1977) and more.
In terms of his peers, Steve’s list looks as though it was drawn straight from the Bodybuilder Hall of Fame roster and included: Frank Zane; Chris Dickerson; Franco Colombu; Boyer Coe; Dennis Tinerino; Robby Robinson; Mike Mentzer; Tom Platz; Serge Nubret; Casey Viator; Ed Corney; Roger Callard; Jim Morris; Warren Frederick; Dave Johns; Eddie Guilani; Danny Padilla; Pete Grymkowski; Harold Poole, and many others.
An interesting fact about Steve is that he transformed from a very powerful 285-pound powerlifter to a 200-pound IFBB Mr. World—without using dangerous performance enhancing drugs. His transformation was in fact, legendary. Steve attributed his successful transformation to the highly methodical approach he used to achieve his goal of being a world champion bodybuilder.
Once he decided that he wanted to be a successful competitive bodybuilder the transformation began. The first step in the process was performing an honest assessment on his nutrition, diet, supplementation and training programs. Afterwards, Steve sought out the best among his peers and put a plan together to reach his goal of being Mr. World by building his body to its full genetic potential.
And as I said, the most amazing part of Steve’s transformation is that he was able to achieve his goal without the use of drugs. This is a significant challenge in that natural drug-free bodybuilders are not as equipped to handle the same workloads as bodybuilders who rely on anabolic steroids or other potentially dangerous performance enhancing drugs.
The bodybuilders who rely on performance enhancers are able to handle super heavy workloads only because of the large quantities of artificial chemicals and enzymes that are acting in conjunction with the person’s natural abilities to add muscle size and increase strength. Consequently, the anabolic steroid bodybuilder’s training frequency ratios and intensity factors are much higher than that of natural bodybuilders.
When Steve set his mind to becoming Mr. World, he turned to his peers for guidance, one of whom was the legendary Vince Gironda. Vince played a critical role in helping Steve to put his ‘Mr. World’ plan together and then carry it out. Overall, Steve trained with Vince for 3 decades. In reality, their relationship was symbiotic—with both men helping each other.
For example, Steve was there when Vince’s 8 x 8, 6 x 6 theories were being implemented. Steve was among the first to try out these strategies first-hand and was actually was part of the development process. So not only did Vince help him, but Steve helped Vince to refine and improve his theories, which of course ultimately led to Vince being one of the greatest bodybuilding legends of all time.
Steve’s approach to building muscle was simple: The key factor in training for additional size and muscularity is to get stronger by consistently using heavier and heavier weights in the exercise sets. Steve always stressed the fact that this must not be done at the expense or sacrifice of proper form.
He strongly believed that if an exercise is not performed in strict fashion; isolating the muscle you are attempting to train, then you have no accurate gauge of your progress—if any—in getting stronger.
To develop a nutritional strategy Steve worked very closely with nutrition and supplementation guru Rheo H. Blair (also known as Irvin Johnson). In the nutrition and supplementation world, Rheo was the equivalent of Vince Gironda—among the world’s most respected experts.
And like the mutually-beneficial relationship with Vince, the relationship between Steve and Rheo was symbiotic, benefitting both men and their careers. Vince and Rheo collaborated extensively throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s on nutrition and supplementation with Steve being one of the primary beneficiaries of the relationship.
Throughout his bodybuilding career, Steve remained a mentor and role model to many throughout the world, and not just among the bodybuilding community. At the gym where Steve trained many experienced trainers and trainees regularly sought his advice on all aspects of training, diet, nutrition and supplementation.
Steve was always happy to spend time answering questions from the countless guys who viewed him as a mentor and role model.
Chad Waterbury is a neurophysiologist and fitness author whose unique training methods have been embraced by a wide range of athletes, bodybuilders, figure models, and fitness enthusiasts of all ages and from all walks of life.
Previously, Chad we was the director of strength and conditioning at the Rickson Gracie International Jiu Jitsu Center in West Los Angeles. He now works with professional fighters, celebrities and non-athletes one-on-one. He contributes to many magazines such as Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Fight! and the T-Muscle bodybuilding Web site. He is also the author of Huge in a Hurry and Muscle Revolution. He also lectures at fitness conferences and gives personal seminars.
Chad has a master’s degree in physiology from the University of Arizona, where his focus on the neurophysiology of human movement and performance led him to make radical changes in the way he trains competitive athletes as well as nonathletic clients. His workouts are now shorter and faster, producing superior results in strength, power, and muscular development, while at the same time inducing less fatigue and allowing for shorter recovery periods between workouts.
Chad’s latest effort is a program entitled HFT (High Frequency Training)
It is a custom method he developed to strategically target specific muscle groups for growth. His program is based on the premise that most guys who increase training frequency to target muscle growth go about it all wrong.
Here are three problems with the ‘typical’ high frequency training approach:
1. The initial volume of work is excessive: Increasing training frequency is only effective if your recovery capacity is prepared for the extra load. Adding too much too soon sets you up for overtraining, which can activate the general adaptation syndrome (GAS) response, a three-state physiological defense mechanism that can wreak havoc on your immune system.
2. No progression plan: Without a plan to progressively challenge your muscles to do more, you’ll quickly hit a troublesome plateau.
3. Not varying the movement patterns: our muscles are highly adept at adjusting to movement patterns. When you repeatedly perform the same movement day after day, muscle growth grinds to a halt.
Chad’s approach to high frequency training (HFT) takes each of these factors into account and in doing so, removes them all as barriers to growth. The HFT program is divided into five sections:
I) Real-World Observations
II) Muscle Science
III) High Frequency Training
IV) Targeted HFT
V) Full-Body HFT.
In the first section of the book Chad provides some good background information relating to how he was inspired to develop his HFT program by observing real-world examples of targeted muscle growth. In this part of the book he includes a very interesting discussion about practical strategies for increasing training volume—and therefore pushing the muscles to get bigger and stronger. In order to stimulate muscle growth, the added volume must be significant. At the same—and this is where most guys make mistakes—the increased volume must also be manageable.
This is followed by Section II, provides a brief but thorough overview of the science behind muscle growth.
In Section III, Chad gets into the nuts and bolts of his HFT program, outlining the specific steps you need to take in order to achieve the desired gains. Chad describes his approach to HFT as a “system of working a muscle group four or more times per week to increase lean muscle mass. The hypertrophy comes from a higher volume of work through more frequent training. Each short workout provides enough stimulus for growth, and then the volume steadily increases in a manageable way.”
In Sections III, IV and V, he offers up two approaches to HFT implementation: 1) targeted; and 2) full-body. The targeted approach is for those who want to strategically target specific muscle groups for improvement. For the targeted approach you perform two super-mini workouts for the targeted muscle groups twice a day for a 28-day period. Option two is to perform four fully-body workouts each week for a 12-week period.
Chad does an excellent job in describing the exercises movements and outlining a clear pathway for both HFT approaches. HFT does not rely on machines, restrictive movements or isolated exercises. Rather, all of the exercises are compound movements that use rings, body weight or free weights. The program emphasizes a sufficient training volume and lays out a realistic progression plan.
After reviewing Chad’s High Frequency Training program I’m pleased to recommend it to anyone who is looking for an effective approach to either target specific muscles for growth of build all-around lean body mass through full-body workouts. Chad has repeatedly demonstrated that he is a true expert who offers real-world, practical solutions—HFT is no exception.
Mike Westerdal of CriticalBench Interviews Chad Waterbury creator of High Frequency Training
CB: Chad, thanks for doing this interview. You’ve worked with many different clients over the years and one specialty you’re known for is muscle growth. Tell us more about that.
Chad: When I started training clients 17 years ago, most of my clients were guys who wanted to build muscle. Since they hired me, it was obvious they were hardgainers. So I had to quickly learn how to add muscle to them or else I would’ve had to find another profession.
Since then, I’ve worked with every type of guy you can imagine. One common factor is that they all want to build muscle fast. An athlete needs it to boost his performance, and a regular guy wants it so he can perform better in the gym and look better on the beach. In any case, when it comes to muscle growth, the laws of physiology don’t change based on what you do for a living.
CB: When muscle growth is slow, what’s usually to blame?
Chad: That’s a good question. Nutrition can certainly be a problem. I’ve found that stuffing your gut with protein powders every few hours can slow muscle gains by reducing protein synthesis. It can have a pro-inflammatory effect and this reduces muscle growth, recovery, and performance.
Most often, however, the problem lies within the person’s training parameters. You must shock the muscle with a powerful stimulus in order to make it grow. Sometimes the answer is to drastically increase your training intensity. Successful bodybuilders such as Mike Mentzer, Dorian Yates, and Ronnie Coleman have all extolled the benefits of high intensity training.
But there’s a major problem with following the high intensity approach popularized by professional bodybuilders: it doesn’t work for the vast majority of guys out there. If it did work, we’d all be following it.
CB: So what does work when a guy has a hard time building muscle?
Chad: That’s a question that’s taken me the better part of my career to figure out. When I was a young trainer I tried all the approaches you read about in muscle magazines. I’m sure your readers did, too. Virtually none of them worked to any respectable degree.
It wasn’t until 2001 when I saw the Alexis brothers perform their routine in Mystère in Las Vegas that I started to take a different approach to training my clients. Those guys have strength, athleticism, and physiques that anyone would commit a felony to have.
I knew the Alexis brothers had superb genetics, but when you consider that they were doing 10 shows per week with multiple practice sessions in between, it made sense to mimic what they did. At least it was worth a try.
Now, there were obviously two things they were doing that most hardgainers weren’t doing. First, they were training their muscles much more frequently than the typical two or three times per week bodybuilding routines. Second, their training was manageable from a recovery standpoint. It had to be because they were doing 10 shows per week.
When I got home I started training with a higher frequency because I was at a stage in my life when I wanted to be much bigger. So I ate everything in sight and doubled my training frequency. I worked my way up to 286 pounds. That’s a lot for me because my body wants to weigh around 195 pounds. I wasn’t ripped but I didn’t care at the time. The higher frequency of training shocked my body into growth.
I also started implementing high frequency training (HFT) protocols into my client’s programs to target stubborn muscle growth. So if my client had proportionally small arms, or pecs, or calves – any muscle group, really – I increased the frequency for training that muscle group up to 10 times per week.
CB: Wow, so they spent a lot of time in the gym.
Chad: Actually, they didn’t. I had them perform extra training sessions that only lasted a few minutes each day with dumbbell or body weight exercises. Sometimes I would prescribe pull-ups to a guy who had a pull-up bar at home, other times it would be an exercise that only required a dumbbell.
If I was going to have my clients train their muscles more frequently, I knew those extra mini-workouts couldn’t take much time or require trips to the gym. This is one aspect of HFT that I got right from the start.
Where I fell short was with the initial training parameters. Sometimes I would prescribe too much too soon. Other times I wouldn’t vary the movement pattern enough and their joints would get aggravated. This is why I no longer recommend daily pull-ups from a fixed bar. When the wrists are locked into place it puts excessive stress on the elbows and shoulders.
CB: What have you found are the keys to fast muscle growth?
Chad: First, train the stubborn muscle groups more frequently. You need at least four sessions per week with full-body training. And if it’s a specific muscle group like your biceps you should train it six or seven days per week.
Second, the initial training volume must be relatively low. It doesn’t take much work to turn on protein synthesis, but that stimulus must occur frequently throughout the week. No matter how hard you try you can’t get much growth from a single training session, or even in a day.
Look, as I’ve said numerous times, if 100 sets of curls in one day could add an inch to your biceps, every guy would’ve found time to do it. But it won’t work because there’s only so much growth you can stimulate in a day.
Now, if you increase that stimulus to six or seven times per week you’ll get much faster muscle gains. It’s simple math: more work will lead to more growth, provided your body can recover from the workout. This is why you should start with a low volume of work when you merge into HFT. You never want to do more than is required at first.
Third, there must be a steady progression plan in place. If you do 100 push-ups every day you’ll gain respectable mass within the first few weeks but then your growth will come to a halt.
Why? Because the body has already added all the muscle tissue it needs to adapt to the demand. You must make your muscles perform more work over time. Adding as little as one rep per day can do the trick.
For example, let’s say your pecs need more size and you do 50 push-ups per day to fix the problem. If you’re a 200-pound guy you’re pushing 150 pounds with each rep. By adding one rep per day you made those muscles do an additional 3150 pounds of work by the end of the first week. This added volume accumulates quickly. It’s like compounding interest for your muscles.
CB: And this is why High Frequency Training works so well?
Chad: Yes, when you start with the right exercises, volume, and progression plan, you can make any stubborn muscle add mass within four weeks. A properly designed HFT plan will build muscle faster than anything I’ve seen.
My new muscle-building system, High Frequency Training, takes all the guesswork out of the process. It contains 28-day plans for all major muscle groups if you just need to target undeveloped body parts. And it contains a 12-week full-body plan if you need to quickly add muscle across your entire body. Plus, a complete nutrition program and instructional videos are included.
It’s my best muscle-building system to date.
CB: Thanks Chad! If you’re a guy who feels over trained this could be a great change of pace plus a great way to add muscle fast. Click here to learn more about Chad’s new HFT program.
CB: Shawna, thanks for doing this Q&A with us. How did you get started working out?
Shawna: I was always involved in sport as a kid. I swam competitively for 12 years and did every school sport I could on top of that. I skied competitively as well and competed in bodybuilding back in the day. To be honest, sport kept me focused and out of trouble in a turbulent childhood.
CB: You and me both! Tell us more about your bodybuilding days.
Shawna: After I was done swimming and skiing competitively, I was challenged in the weight room. I did sport specific training prior to deciding to try my hand at bodybuilding. I enjoyed the training aspect of bodybuilding. It was a great way to learn about my body, how it reacted to workouts and nutrition etc. But I didn’t agree with the whole sport in general. I hated that my success or failure was based on subjective criteria, even though I was successful in the competitions I entered. (That’s a whole other rant for me…) I learned a ton from that experience that now I can pass on to others when I train them.
CB: How do people in every day life react to your muscles? Do they admire you, tease you, stare at you or compliment you?
Shawna: I’m actually surprised when I see myself in videos, I guess I don’t necessarily look ‘average’. I really don’t notice people reacting to my physique much. If I’m wearing short sleeves, someone may compliment my arms or something, but I just accept the compliment and I don’t make a big deal of it. I don’t feel I’m really freakish at all at about 120lbs. I mean I’ve seen some very muscular women in bodybuilding circles. I think that women admire my physique because I’m not ‘big’ and I carry myself well, good posture goes a long way.
CB: You run a bootcamp too right? That’s so different than bodybuilding style workouts, how did you get interested in that?
Shawna: Bodybuilding isn’t necessarily great ‘functional’ training and isn’t for everyone. In fact, it appeals to very few people. I wanted to reach a lot of people with practical ways to train that’s fun and effective. Boot camp style and body weight training is great for the majority of people.
CB: What’s more important performance or aesthetics?
Shawna: Performance trumps aesthetics hands down. But, if you play your cards right you can have both. How you look is basically all about nutrition. So if you’re training hard, your abs are made in the kitchen. Eat properly and you’ll look lean and athletic as well. It’s not rocket science. Everyone is looking for a magic bullet. They look at me and think I have some special secret. Here’s my secret: train hard consistently and eat nutritionally dense clean food. This isn’t sexy but it’s the magic. If it were easy, everyone would look amazing. It just takes commitment and focus.
CB: You sure can, we call it PowerBuilding. Do people over 40 need to work out differently than people in their 20s and 30s?
Shawna: People in their 40′s need to EAT differently than people in their 20′s and 30′s. There’s less of a margin of error. Where in my 20′s I could follow the 80/20 rule (eating clean 80% of the time), in my 30′s it may have changed to 85/15 and now it’s possibly 90/10. I can’t ‘goof’ off nutritionally as much now as I could have in my 20′s. Mind you, I’ve become such a functional eater, that I don’t crave the things I did in my 20′s either.
As for training, I can train as hard or harder now as I did when I was younger as long as I train ‘smarter’. I have some knee issues that I have to work around, as others will have physical issues in their 40′s. I have to listen to my body more. I probably require a little more in terms of recovery time. Keep in mind that I’ve never taken an extended time off from training. If someone hasn’t done anything since high school, that’s a totally different story.
CB: Speaking of nutrition, what’s the biggest factor leading to fat gain in North America?
Shawna: I hate to say it, but it seems people are afraid of hard work and discipline with training and nutrition. Like I said earlier, if it were easy to look great, everyone would be sporting a rocking body. I like that you can’t ‘buy’ a lean, athletic physique, it has to be earned with effort and sweat. If more people were willing to prioritize this then there would be less fat gain. I don’t want to sound like a super freak either. I have a balanced life of running several businesses and I’m a mother of two. I invest in about 40 minutes of training daily along with proper eating. I don’t spend hours in the kitchen either. It’s all a matter of priorities.
CB: What’s your favorite exercise and why?
Shawna: Dude, how can I answer that? I’m supposed to say pull ups, but I love several exercises. If I had to narrow it down, I’d have to say bench pressing, squatting and burpee pull ups.
To me, these are pretty basic moves that hit my entire body. I usually do a split routine, so I don’t combine the three of these together much.
CB: You like burpees?! I do them, but I don’t like them. What exercise measures relative strength the best in your opinion?
Shawna: Pull ups are a great measure of upper body strength. They also help with the ‘other move’ that everyone thinks is the best measure of upper body strength: the bench press. Pull ups help balance the physique and for women especailly, they really help shape and tone the body. Show me a woman that incorporates pull ups in her routine and I’ll bet she has a nice shape.
CB: Why do you think it’s rare to see people doing pull ups in the gym?
Shawna: Pull ups are tough! You can’t use traditional progressive resistance training techniques when doing the pull up. You can either do one or you can’t. Ego prevents many from even giving it a try, especially in a gym situation. But if people give them a try and used some of the controlled cheating techniques I use, they’d be able to do impressive sets of pull ups.
CB: What are your 3 best tips someone can use right away to get better at pull ups?
Shawna: I’ve got many tips, but I’ll narrow it down to three. Here you go:
1. Pull ups should really be called chest ups. Your goal is to get your chest under the bar. This allows you to utilize the stronger muscles of the back and directly increase scapular strength and stability versus pulling with just the biceps.
2. One of the best ways to improve pull up strength is through eccentric training. You can use a variety of assisted pull ups to get your chest up to the bar, then slowly lower your body from the bar using control. It’s the lowering from the pull up bar that builds strength. Working the negative is key.
3. Controlled cheating is perfectly acceptable when increasing pull up power. Once you’ve maxed out with your own power on the pull up, use things like assisted pull ups, band assisted pull ups, jump pull ups and you can even add a ‘kip’ to your pull up to help increase your strength. Employing controlled pull up techniques is like doing a ‘forced rep’ and ultimately will increase your overall strength and power on the pull up. Of course the controlled ‘cheat’ on the pull up will be followed with working the eccentric contraction.
CB: Here’s a bonus tip. Check out Shawna’s Pull Up Program Here. Shawna, are you dressing up for Halloween?
Shawna: Well, due to Hurricane Sandy, it seems all flights everywhere have been delayed and cancelled. So instead of handing out candy to my neighbors, I’m stranded waiting for a flight home from the east coast that’s been rescheduled for tomorrow. I’m dressed up as a frustrated traveler who’s very thankful for a safe home to be going to.
CB: That sucks but we’re glad you’re okay. What’s new in Shawna’s life? Got any cool projects coming up?
Shawna: I’m excited to be pairing up with Boot Camp Finisher guy Mikey Whitfield and Boot Camp Games dude Brian Kalakay along with my Challenge Workouts: Boot Camp Edition to make The Ultimate Boot Camp System which will launch next week. We really feel like we have the a lot to offer boot camp owners to spice up their camps with tools so clients stay, pay and refer.
As well, I’m looking at the new year to launch a private coaching program with Challenge Workouts. I really love working one on one with people to help them meet their personal fitness goals.
CB: That’s awesome, we’ll be following and cheering for ya. Thanks for the Q&A Shawna!
Shawna: Thanks for the opportunity to share with your audience Mike. I’m looking forward to chatting more with you in the future. Love the ‘Fix My Shoulder Pain‘ program, it certainly helped lots of my clients.
Challenge Workouts! Strong Enough for a Man…..
But Made By a Woman (That Can Probably Kick Your Butt!)
As told to CriticalBench.com by Shawna Kaminski
I’m Shawna Kaminski, aka ‘The Pull Up Queen’. You’re going to think I’m a little biased when I start talking pull ups, but hear me out.
I can easily do 20+ pull ups and my bench isn’t too shabby either. Consider that I’m a 49 year old mother of two and former Catholic school-teacher as well, I was never a gymnast or Cirque de Soleil performer. I’m just an ‘average’ woman with some above average skills. I’ve got a few things I can tell you to help with both your pull ups AND your bench press.
Go to any gym and the most common question asked is ‘how much can you bench?’ Traditionally this is ‘the’ measure of upper body strength and power. More accurately, if you’re looking for a measure of upper body relative strength, you should ask ‘how many pull ups can you do?’
Nobody asks this, but pull ups are a great indicator of overall upper body functional strength similar to the bench press. Many people with an impressive bench press struggle with body weight pull ups let alone weighted pull ups.
Guess what? Training with pull ups will actually increase your bench press, so along with getting impressive functional strength, you’ll get impressive bench numbers too when you incorporate more pull ups in your training.
As you know, it’s imperative to have a strong base of support when bench pressing. It’s necessary to keep the shoulder blades together and depressed. The expression ‘shooting a cannon from a canoe’ can be used as an analogy with the bench press. Poor scapular stability is going to lead to poor transfer of force that will in turn result in poor bench performance.
The good news is that vertical pulling, such as is done with the pull up, will develop scapular stability. You’ll develop a solid foundation from which you can push weight on the bench. In addition, the pull up reduces muscle imbalances created by doing heavy pushing exercises. Pulling muscles are often overlooked and under developed.
If you currently can’t do many pull ups, I want to share three tips to help you:
First off let’s talk body position. Pull ups should really be called chest ups. Your goal is to get your chest under the bar. This allows you to utilize the stronger muscles of the back and directly increase scapular strength and stability versus pulling with just the arms or biceps.
A common mistake many make is that they inwardly rotate the shoulders as they try to bring the chin up and over the bar. Rather, squeeze the shoulder blades together, think elbows down and back to work the upper back. More strength and power will come from the larger muscles of the back this way.
One of the best ways to improve pull up strength is through eccentric training. You can use a variety of assisted pull ups to get your chest up to the bar, then slowly lower your body from the bar using control. It’s the lowering from the pull up bar that builds strength.
Controlled cheating is perfectly acceptable when increasing pull up power. I don’t recommend cheating on loaded movements due to the risk of injury, but the pull up is different. Traditional progressive resistance training methods don’t apply. Once you’ve maxed out with your own power on the pull up, add a ‘kip’. Drive the knees forward to transfer power from the lower body to upward momentum. Doing a kipping pull up is like doing a ‘forced rep’ and ultimately will increase your overall strength and power on the pull up.
Convinced that you need to start doing pull ups now?
Not only will you look like a super freak athlete when you knock out rep after rep of pull ups, but your bench press will also improve.
And, if nothing else, consider the little lady in the corner (me) spanking you on the pull up bar to light a fire under your butt to get started.
as told to CriticalBench.com by Ben Tatar
Jake Prazak has bench pressed 909 at 220lbs and 920 at 242lbs. These are both world records. Let’s meet bench press world record holder Jake Prazak!
CB: Jake, tell us about yourself.
JP: I am 35 years old and live in the small town of Rock Falls, Ia. I am married to Jessica and have 4 kids. Hunting, fishing, lifting, and wrestling is how I spend most of my time. My family by far is the most important thing in my life.
CB: Jake, you benched 909 at 220lbs and 920lbs at 242lbs, both world records. What went through your mind after you achieved both of those lifts? How did you celebrate?
JP: They both felt amazing. In bench there are a lot of ups and downs. To finally get the records was a relief because I had been close so many times. We celebrated just like we do after any competition…with lots of beer to replace lost carbs and rehydrate.
CB: Tell us about your bench press routine!
JP: Monday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, close grip bench, accessory triceps
Tuesday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, Squat/Deadlift, leg accessory, bi’s, forearms
Wednesday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, Upper Back work and some more shoulders
Thursday- Shoulder preventative maintenance
Friday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, Bench, accessory chest
Sunday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, bodybuilder day (core, cardio elliptical sprints)
CB: Can you tell us a little more about what you do during shoulder preventative maintenance days and why they are important?
JP: I look at my body as a complex machine. If you don’t do any preventative maintenance (PM) on machines, especially the complex and most used parts, they will start to not work correctly and eventually break. That is how I look at my shoulders. Your shoulders take a beating daily, they need to be taken care of. For my PM for shoulders I do active stretching, light band work, and several different rotator cuff movements.
Bill Carpenter with Jake Prazak
CB: Jake, give us 10 keys to a scary strong bench press!
JP: 1-Training partners that are on the same page as you
2-Listen to your body. Your body will tell you when to deload, no program should.
3-Do not get into a comfort zone…handle weights that takes you out of that zone.
4-Analyze how each accessory exercise you do can help your bench
5-Don’t worry about anyone else’s numbers but your own.
6-Eliminate as many distractions as possible throughout each day.
7-Constantly work on improving your form, setup, and technique
8-Know how to supplement correctly.
9-Travel and do a training sessions with the best out there. This hands on knowledge is priceless.
10- HAVE FUN and be yourself.
11- SPEED, SPEED, SPEED
12. Orgasm often…best thing for your body by far.
CB: Thanks for the 2 bonus tips :) Thus far in your bench press journey, list for us a) your favorite moment b) a crazy moment and c) a moment that changed you the most
JP: a.) Watching any teammate hit their first multi-ply bench
b.) Watching bones break, quads detach, bicep tears… it’s so painful and crazy to see in person.
c.) Hearing my kid’s voice over everything else while laying on the platform.
CB: Where do you train? What is it like?
JP: I train at N.I.P. & Fitness Center. I own it with one other partner. It is a 5100 sq ft, brand new facility in Mason City, Ia. We have Powerlifting, Strongman, Dedicated Women’s circuit and lots of pin select and plate loaded equipment. We cater to everybody, no matter what your fitness goals are. www.northiafitness.com is our website. We have a forum and online supplement store. You may also find us on Facebook under N.I.P. & Fitness Center.
CB: That’s awesome. Everyone make sure to check out Jake’s gym. How did you get started in bench pressing? Did it ever occur to you that you would be a world record holder? That makes you one in 7 billion people. How does that feel?
JP: I started bench pressing in 5th grade and never quit. My first competition was when I was in 10th grade and I think I benched 185. I never in a million years believed I would hold any all time world records. It doesn’t even sink in until you say, “7 billion people” and then you start to look back and realize what you have achieved.
CB: What are your future goals?
JP: In the near future, I want to up the 242 record and within the next 2 years want to be the lightest ever to bench 1000.
CB: What are your 10 favorite exercises for a bigger bench press?
JP: 1-Splitting wood by hand
3-Close Grip Bench
4-Dumbbell military presses
5-Incline Straight Bar
9-Close grip bench with bands
10- 12 oz arm curls
CB: #1 and #10 are my favorite. How are you going to remember your bench press journey? How do you want to be remembered?
JP: I will remember all of the great friends I have met throughout the world. Powerlifters in general are the most down to earth, non self centered people I have ever met (for the most part)…until you disrespect them! That is what I will remember and love about the powerlifting community. I don’t really care how I am remembered, everyone else will decide that on their own.
CB: Well, Jake you’re so much stronger than the rest of the world. How do people usually respond when they discover that you can bench press over 900lbs?
JP: Most don’t believe it and most don’t understand multi-ply lifting.
CB: What was the best advice you ever received? What was the worst?
JP: Best: You have to live in your shirt. Worst: You train in your shirt way to much.
CB: I’m going to name a powerlifting topic. I want you let me know what comes to mind.
JP: Me in 11th grade. I thought I was big shit getting 225.
CB: 315lb. bench presser
JP: Believe me, I don’t mind taking plates off for you. I want you to be 405 lbs presser. I am just happy you are bench pressing and wanting to get better.
CB: 405 lb. bench presser
JP: Same as the 315 lb presser.
CB: 500 lb. bench presser
JP: Same as the 405 lb presser.
CB: 600 lb. bench presser
JP: Same as the 500 lb presser.
CB: 700 lb. bench presser
JP: Same as the 600 lb presser.
CB: Bencher who fears the shirt.
JP: You have to surround yourself with people who know how to use them…they will cure your fear.
CB: Bencher who disses the shirt.
JP: They have obviously tried it…they just can’t handle multi-ply benching. Do you want to say you bench 400 raw or 600 equipped? Human nature in all of us says we want to say 600 equipped. Sounds way cooler! Raw and equipped are two completely different sports. I got really bored with raw and became addicted to handling as much weight as possible. I have the utmost respect for anybody who competes and will never diss anybody.
CB: People who look up to you.
JP: Don’t be scared to talk to me and ask me any question. This is what I enjoy.
CB: Your fans.
JP: Thank You!
CB: A bencher comes up to you and says, “I haven’t gotten stronger in years. I need help! I feel like I have reached my potential and I’m just not into it.” What do you say to get them going again?
JP: I say get into it and stop feeling sorry for yourself. There many people who have it way worse than you. So be thankful you can even lift weights! Once they change their attitude I will help them as much as they need.
CB: What’s your nutrition plan?
JP: I have no nutrition plan. I try and eat as clean and healthy as possible. I try and stay anabolic 24/7. Everybody knows what they should and shouldn’t eat, I don’t need it on paper. I love burgers, brats, and beer!
CB: I’m going to list five aspects of powerlifting. Tell me which you think are most important: Diet, Genetics, Mind/Heart, Training Partners, Rest.
JP: Mind /Heart
CB: Jake, if you could be any kind of animal, what would you be?
JP: A dog…They are pretty intelligent and obviously for the other reason.
CB: What makes Jake different in the gym than everyone else?
JP: I am driven to be the best at what I do. I am not happy with 2nd.
CB: Jake, it has been great interviewing you today. You have really shocked the world with the numbers you have been putting up in the bench press. We wish you all the best with everything you do. In closing who do you want to thank?
JP: I want to thank my wife Jessica and my kids for the sacrifices they have put up with while allowing me to be selfish in accomplishing my goals in this obsession of mine! They are my biggest fans. My training partners deserve a lot of credit as well, without a dedicated team no records would have been broken. My sponsors Rudy Rosales with OVERKILL STRENGTH EQUIPMENT, American Muscle (http://americanmuscle.us/), Rhino Power Gear (https://www.rhinopowergear.com/), HAAS Chiropractic, Synergy Worldwide (http://us.synergyworldwide.com/). I am proud to represent these elite companies. I take who I represent very seriously. Finally, thank you CRITICAL BENCH for taking the time to get to know me!
I know this one tip I got from Injury Specialist Rick Kaselj, MS is going to help your shoulder feel better in just minutes. It is called vertical hanging. If it sounds self-explanatory it’s because it is.
Here’s how to do it: Lift your arms straight overhead and take note of how your shoulders feel. Next hang on something like you’re a kid hanging from the monkey bars.
For example: If you are in the gym, go over to the pull up bar, grab the handles, and let yourself hang from them. If you are not able to bring your arms very high, bring them to a point as high as you can and then hang with partial weight.
It might feel a little weird and be a little uncomfortable but hang for 15 seconds with all of your body weight off the ground or partial weight off the ground.. Now step away from the bar and lift your arms overhead. Do you have more movement? Do your shoulders feel a little loser?
For most people it will be Yes-Yes.
Here’s why: Over time gravity pulls on our arm. With our arms weighing about 10 lbs, the slow pulling starts to reshape the shoulder into a painful joint by shortening the ligaments in the shoulder. With the vertical hanging, we are stretching the ligaments in the shoulder in order to reshape the shoulder back into a pain-free shoulder.
Isn’t this tip from Rick’s Fix My Shoulder Pain utilizing the SR3 Method cool? I do this before my workouts while I am priming up my body for my workout. Give it a try this weekend!
What Is The SR3 Method TM?
The SR3-Method is short for “Shoulder Reshaping 3-Part Method”. It was invented by Injury Specialist and Kinesiologist Rick Kaselj, MS who has over 16-years of hands on experience, and a masters degree in exercise science.
The “Traditional Shoulder Pain Model” involves endless cycles of appointments, investigations, stretching and strengthening.
Important: Neither Strengthening nor Stretching Will Help You Until The Shoulder Joint Has Been Reshaped Into a Pain Free Joint.
After having hundreds of Rick’s clients follow this model with minimal success, he needed to find a new model that breaks the traditional shoulder pain model and moves clients from painful shoulders to pain-free shoulders.
This led to the creation of the SR3 Method which is based on one key concept: Reshaping your shoulder from a painful shoulder joint to a pain-free shoulder joint.
I know it sounds amazing but let me show you how you can do this for yourself and have your painful shoulder move into a pain free shoulder.
Part 1: Alignment:
The first part of the SR3 method involves using the concept of alignment. In order to begin reshaping your shoulder you need to make sure your shoulder joint is in ideal centration – the best possible position. The SR3 method will show you how to do this.
Part 2: Tissue Quality:
The second part of the SR3 method is improving tissue quality. With ongoing pain and injuries the tissues change over time. This leads to the shoulder reshaping into a painful shoulder joint. This could cause dysfunction, less movement, poor circulation, less malleable muscles, stiffness around the shoulder joint and tight ligaments.
This all ends up affecting the positioning of the shoulder blade, leading to the shoulder blade changing its tilt. This biting tilt leads to the most common shoulder injury – a rotator cuff injury. The SR3 method will show you how to reposition this tilt and experience a pain free shoulder.
Part 3: Activation & Endurance:
Activation is turning on the right muscle in the shoulder to decrease the stress on the rotator cuff, provide stability to the shoulder joint and allow you to layer on strength to your shoulders.
Finally, and something that is often overlooked, is the concept of endurance when it comes to a shoulder pain relieving program. The reality is your shoulder muscles to be able to work for a long period of time in order to prevent the shoulder joint into reshaping into a painful shoulder joint again. By focusing on endurance you can ensure the shoulder joint muscles will hold the shoulder joint in a pain-free position after shoulder reshaping has occurred.
In this interview, Critical Bench author, Jedd Johnson interviews Jerry Shreck, from Variety Trainer and originator of the Deceleration Training program.
1. Jerry, tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be a Strength Coach at a Division 1 University.
Well I graduated from East Stroudsburg University with a major in Movement and Exercise Science and a minor in Sports Medicine/Athletic Training. My first job was working at a pretty big high school that was serious about their sports; so serious that the town would all but shut down for Friday night football games.
What surprised me when I got there was they never had an athletic trainer or strength coach there before. I was their guy and I was able to accomplish some great things there.
Then an opportunity presented itself, one of those “being in the right place at the right time” situations. So I pursued it hard and landed a job working as an athletic trainer at a D-I University (Bucknell). To my surprise they had no full time strength coach. Just a guy who kind of worked with the football and wrestling programs.
To make a long story short; within a year, I was volunteering in the mornings 5 days a week to train 7 different sports teams. Within 2 years I was hired as Bucknell’s first full time strength coach and have been there ever since.
2. Jerry, what sports do you work with at the Division 1 Level?
I work with 27 varsity programs and one club varsity team (men’s rowing). I oversee 2 weight rooms and have one full time and one part time assistant. My full time assistant works directly with football in the stadium weight room. The other weight room houses M & W Basketball, M & W Lacrosse, M & W Soccer, Field Hockey, Volleyball, Women’s Rowing, Baseball, Softball, M & W Swimming & Diving, M & W Track & Field, Cross Country, M & W Tennis, M & W Water Polo, M & W Golf, Cheer Leading, and Wrestling.
I think I got them all and I oversee all of them. Injury prevention is my top priority with all of their training. They do keep me busy!
3. Jerry, I know a very serious injury that athletes experience in college athletics is ACL Tears. For those who might not know what is the ACL?
Well first, I would really like to point out that ACL tears occur at all levels of sport and it can be one of the worst injuries an athlete can suffer. The Anterior Cruciate Ligament or commonly known as the ACL is a major ligament that really helps to stabilize the knee. Without getting too technical, it attaches the femur bone (upper leg) to the tibia bone (lower leg/shin) and runs across and through the main joint of the knee. Its main purpose is to keep the tibia bone from moving forward.
4. What causes an ACL Injury? What types of movements in sports bring about these tears?
An ACL tear occurs when it is stretched beyond its tensile strength limit and it essentially gives until it snaps. It would be like stretching a rubber band until it breaks. This normally occurs either by a contact or non-contact injury. A contact injury would be from contact with someone or something violently. An example of this would be if a football lineman was involved in a pile up and another football player rolled up on or fell into his leg.
A non-contact tear occurs normally in stop-and-go sports, usually when changing direction or landing poorly form a jump but without touching anyone or thing. An example would be a soccer player sprinting down a field and was going to cut to the left. He/she would typically plant with the right foot and extend through the ankle, knee, and hip (triple extension) to push off towards the left.
What can happen when sprinting, if there is not good glute activation and the athlete is quad dominant, the tibia will be pulled forward and when the athlete tries to pivot it will result in an over stretching of the ACL – - “POP” – - – the ACL tears.
5. What does it mean if an athlete is Quad Dominant, and can this increase ACL injury risk?
I see quad dominant athletes more and more now days for reasons that I won’t go into right now. Basically, what this means is an athlete is relying on their quads as the main muscle groups of the lower body to decelerate and accelerate when doing athletic types of movement. This quad dominance can place the knees into improper positions that can predispose athletes potential for injuries.
Getting good activation of the gluteus muscles during deceleration and acceleration types of movements will not only assist the quads but also place the body into more proper biomechanical positions resulting not only in lower chances of injury but a more stable and explosive athlete.
6. Jerry, you have developed a program to prevent ACL tears. What is the program called, and what is the basis of the program?
It is called, Deceleration Training To Prevent ACL Tears. It is ten years in the making and has been tested and used on all levels of athletes for the past 8 years with outstanding results! It is basically a systematic progression of exercises and drills that re-train an athlete to use his/her glute muscles when moving in or out of any athletic movement.
Younger athletes today sit more than ever before in front of the TV, computer, texting on the phone, and/or playing video games. I believe this to be shortening their hip flexors and in return causing other problems. One major problem is the inability to fire up the glutes properly. This is one of the main reasons I believe we are seeing a rise in ACL tears each year in athletics.
7. Jerry, is this something that just Football players would benefit from or can other athletes do it as well?
ALL athletes that are involved in any sport where sprinting, jumping, cutting and/or change of direction will benefit from this training system.
8. Jerry, is this the type of program that is only good for University-caliber students, or can other athletes use it as well?
I have used this will athletes at all levels from jr. high school to professional athletes. I once used this system with a U-10 soccer team (all under 10 years old). You only advance to the next phase after the athlete has mastered the current one. Obviously, the more mature and athletic the athlete is the quicker he/she would advance.
9. What kind of equipment, space, and time requirements are needed in order to implement your Deceleration Training Program?
Not much equipment is needed at all. A plyo box and some cones is it and if you were creative you would need no equipment.
Space will be determined by how many athletes are going to be trained at a time. Usually, an area of 30 yards would be sufficient. I do the majority of these drills on a basketball court with teams.
Time would be determined more on which phase you are on and the level of athlete learning the phase. Most drills are very short and would normally be done in the beginning of practice 15-30 minutes; twice a week would work on average.
10. Where can we find out more about your Deceleration Training Program?
Check out the full details about the training program here: http://criticalbench.com/goto/ACLtear
You’ll get to see even more details about the program itself, and even get to see me performing some of the drawers full speed.
How To Prevent an ACL Tear Video
Guest Post By Rick Kaselj Creator of Muscle Imbalances Revealed
There is a good chance you have been doing the squat wrong for a long time. The squat builds leg strength and shape but also it is important in saving those knees. You want those knees to be happy so you can keep lifting for a long time.
Lets test to see if you are doing the squat all wrong.
Do this Test to See If You Are Getting the Most Out of Your Squat
Look in the mirror or have someone look at your squat.
Perform a bodyweight squat.
Look to see how far down your hips go.
Do your hips stay above your knees or do they dip down past your knees?
If your hips do not dip past your knees, you are not getting the most out of your squat and you are not helping strengthening knees and hips in order to protect your knees.
Lets chat about why letting your hips pass your knees is important.
Knee and Hip Strength Through Full Range
You want to build strengthen around the knee and hip through full range of motion. If you are stopping, just above the knees, you are not building full strength in the hips and knees which leaves the knees exposed to injury when the hips pass the knees. The hips pass the knees often when you are doing day to day things and working.
If you let the hips pass the knees, you strengthen the knees over a larger range of motion plus you work the hamstrings, hip flexors and gluteus maximus which all help in decreasing the stress on the knees and keeping the knees happy.
You can test out what I am talking about.
With your non-dominant hand, grab something very stable like a squat rack or door frame. Lean back and move into a squat position.
With your dominant hand feel the muscles around your knee and hip area.
Do a few repetitions of the squat and make sure to see what is happening with your quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and gluteus maximus.
Perform the squat to different heights.
Try a half squat.
Try a squat with your hips above your knees.
Try a squat with your knees in line with your hips.
Try a squat with your hips below your knees.
What happened to your knee and hip muscles at different depths?
Did you feel an increase in activation of the quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and gluteus maximus when hips pass your knee?
If yes, keep reading on.
What Can You Do About it?
You have done the assessment, now it is time to do a few exercises that will help out.
A finger squat is a bodyweight squat that will help you build strength around the knee and hip during greater range of motion.
Start in a squat foot position and place your palms together, in front of you. Keep your arms straight and squat down to a point in which your fingers touch the ground while looking straight ahead. When you touch the ground, return back to the starting position.
Performing the finger squat will force you to dip your hips below your knees so you strengthening at a greater range of motion of your knees and your hips.
You can do this as a warm-up to your leg program or you can do this at the end of your leg program as a recovery.
Front Squat Hip Dip
Adding a twist to the front bar squat. For your first set, start off with a warm-up weight. Perform the front squat and work on dipping those hips past knees on the bottom position. I am not saying bring your seat to your heels, just dip them past. You will feel how the squat changes when you do this.
Doing this with the front squat, based on where the bar is, it allows you to lean back more and activate your gluteus maximus muscles which is important for hip health but also knee health.
Test out your squat to see if you are going deep enough. If you are not going deep enough, you are not strengthening your knees in order to prevent injuries and you are not strengthening the hips in order to keep them strong and decrease the strain on your knees.
Make sure to test out your squat depth and give the finger squat and front squat hip dip a go to help improve your squat depth in order to make your knees happy for the long haul.
Hears to getting strong and to happy knees.
Rick Kaselj, MS
Are You A Fitness Professional That Needs To Earn CECs and CEUs?
Take Rick’s Home Study Course “Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Assessment & Exercise”
by Mike Westerdal
The word ‘balance’ generally refers to an even distribution of weight or a state of equilibrium. Balance is something that most of us strive to achieve every day of our lives, in just about every aspect of our lives—especially when it comes to weight training and maintaining the health of our bodies. In contrast to balance, ‘imbalance’ is a state of being out of proportion or equilibrium. At the very least, being in a state of imbalance is frustrating and distracting.
In terms of strength training, the term imbalance is often used to refer to a muscle or body part that it is not functioning as well as it should be. When an injury occurs or a system is not working properly, it places the body into a state of imbalance because it is no longer in a state of equilibrium.
For example, a torn rotator cuff in the shoulder results in a state of imbalance because the injury inhibits you from performing many of the exercises and movements you would normally be performing.
For many of us, one of the biggest difficulties of being in a state of imbalance is identifying the cause or condition that placed us there in the first place. In other words, we know that we’re in a state of imbalance but we’re not entirely sure what happened to cause the condition of imbalance. And if you don’t know exactly what the problem is, there is no way you can figure out how to treat it.
This is precisely the reason Muscle Imbalances Revealed: Assessment and Exercise was developed. MIRA was developed by four well-known fitness pros—Nick Rosencutter, Anthony Mychal, John Izzo and Rick Kaselj—who say that the program offers a “complete guide of assessments and exercises to help pin point problems and fix dysfunction in order to bust through fitness plateaus and get faster results.”
Unlike most programs, MIRA takes a different approach in that it is almost entirely presented in a series of 12 video presentations that can either be streamed or downloaded for later viewing.
The overall MIRA program blends proper training and proper soft tissue work to enhance the speed at which people recover from injuries.
The first video is entitled Muscle Imbalances and the Performance Client: Assessments and Exercise Progressions to Improve Performance and Prevent Injury. This first one—as well as the next two—is narrated by Nick. The first part of the video is focused on helping you assess your body and uncover the root of the problem that you may be facing.
He does an excellent job of walking you through the assessment process, teaching you how to understand the difference between various symptoms, which allows you to then determine the correct underlying cause. Next, he gets into the actual assessments that he uses to pinpoint problems. The ‘Thomas Test’ is one assessment that he uses. He provides step-by-step instructions that show exactly what you need to do to perform the assessment. Afterwards, he moves on to the exercises you can do to address the problem.
Assessment and Exercise for Athleticism is the title of the next video set. This one is narrated by Anthony Mychal. In this video, Anthony focuses on identifying and eliminating muscular imbalances that inhibit overall athleticism. The following presentation is headed up by John Izzo and is entitled Assessment and Exercise for Personal Training. John’s presentation focuses on Assessments for Optimal Health. This presentation is primarily geared towards personal trainers. Its purpose is to help them to help their clients to achieve their personal fitness goals.
Rick takes the lead in the next video presentation, which is called Assessment and Exercise for Injury Rehabilitation. This one of course emphasizes assessments to identify injuries, followed by exercises and movements to alleviate the problems. One presentation is focused on knee injuries and another targets the back.
The rest of the videos are very similar with each of the guys narrating the presentations that cover his particular areas of expertise. All of the presentations follow the same basic format, beginning with an introduction before moving on to the assessments and then the exercises. Each video includes a handy PDF outline that covers major points of the presentation. These are great for taking notes and following along.
Be forewarned though—MIRA is not for everyone. The program is really designed for persons who already have a working knowledge of the body and muscular systems.
MIRA is not set-up for the casual workout enthusiast. Overall, I think MIRA would be a wise investment for someone who is looking to improve his skills. The all-video presentation style could be a little cumbersome for some people but the quality of the program makes it well worthwhile.
A few people asked if they could get a look into Assessment & Exercise, here are 6 clips from A&E, enjoy.
Before I get to the clips from Assessment & Exercise, John Izzo shares with you what he goes through in his presentation:
Component #1 – Assessment & Exercise for Performance with Nick Rosencutter / Length – 1:27:03
Component #2 – Assessment & Exercise for Athleticism with Anthony Mychal / Length – 1:35:01
Component #3 – Assessment and Exercise for Personal Training with John Izzo / Length – 1:10:14
Component #4 – Assessment and Exercise for Knee Injury Recovery with Rick Kaselj / Length – 40:29
Plus there is:
- The VIP coaching call which we will be setting up
- You can earn Continuing Education Credits (CECs or CEUs)
- Additional presentation that I am going to do on Assessment & Exercise for Back Injury Recovery
Discover the Secret Assessment and Exercises to Help Bust Through Fitness Plateaus, Get Faster Results, Rapidly Recover from Injuries and Improve Performance Without Ever Leaving the Comfort of Your Own Home!
Reviewed by Mike Westerdal
Preparation for a physique competition or a fitness photo session takes a special degree of commitment and effort that goes above and beyond the ordinary. Whether you’re up on a stage or in front of a lens your body needs to be as close to perfect as possible because even the slightest flaw will be magnified ten-fold and can mean the difference between success and failure.
Long-time fitness pro and natural bodybuilding expert Brian Cannone knows this fact well. Through his more than 20 years in the industry he’s developed a keen understanding of the subtle nuances in nutrition and training that shed fat, build lean muscle and result in a stage-perfect or photography-ready lean, muscular physique. Brian shares his secrets with us in his Stage Ready Nutrition and Training Guide. Let’s check it out see what Brian has to say.
For the majority of men, it can be an immense struggle just to get your body fat levels into the single digits. Most of us would be thrilled to achieve a body fat percentage of 8 or 9 percent. While that may be great for the average guy, if you’re considering getting in front of a camera or up on stage, that just won’t do. In fact, if you want to model or compete, you’ll need to target getting your body fat percentage down to between 2 to 6 percent.
If you’ve set your sights on this lofty goal, then Stage Ready Nutrition and Training might be just want you need. Brian has laid out a step-by-step plan that will guide you along the proper path to success. The 95-page book is divided into eight chapters, each of which covers a different aspect of the process.
Chapter one is focused on both mental preparation and planning. You might be tempted to skip this chapter but don’t, because it’s probably one of the most valuable parts of the book. Being in the proper frame of mind is absolutely critical to achieving success in any endeavor—even more so when you’re goals take you far above and beyond the ordinary. Second, without proper planning you’re most likely going to fail. After all, if you don’t know what your destination is, how can you get there?
In the next chapter Brian covers the scientific basics behind fat loss. He says that the purpose here is to provide you with a detailed and accurate assessment of where you are at any given moment a simple way to instantly measure your progress at any time. This feedback/guidance system uses body fat analysis, a strength assessment and a fat-burning zone assessment to help you track your progress.
Chapter three is focused on getting super lean and shredded in as little time as possible. The most important rule here is to maintain a negative calorie balance in order to push your metabolism to use stored fat for energy. Everything in this chapter is built on this core principle and is designed to ramp up the capability of your metabolism to burn stored fat. Individual sections cover daily caloric intake, increasing your activity levels and proper supplementation.
In the following chapter, Brian shares his no-fail way to get the best results from your nutrition program. This is an excellent chapter because it shows you how to take the guess work out of the nutrition component of the fat-burning equation. The information here is invaluable to say the least because miscalculating the proper negative calorie target for you could mean the loss of valuable muscle mass or it could add weeks, or even months, to your timeline.
Chapters five and six or also focused on nutrition and metabolism. There is good information about maintenance calories and Brian includes some handy tables so you can do your own calculations. Afterwards, he moves on to discussions regarding protein, carbohydrate and fat intake, along with information about macronutrients. The chapter also includes a food guide and a sample meal plan.
Next, the guide moves into the training aspect of preparing for the stage or camera. Brian’s approach is a four-phase plan that is designed to transform your physique so that it’s stage-ready. The first three phases last three weeks each, with the final phase being the recovery component. The final chapter of the book will tell you everything you need to know about supplements that can help you achieve your goals.
Although Stage Ready Nutrition and Training Guide is designed for those persons with the very specific goal of preparing for a competition or career in front of the camera, it can still appeal to anyone that wants the look like they compete whether or not they actually do. Just because you look like a high level bodybuilder or model does not mean that you have to compete. It’s cool to know that you could if you wanted to though.