“Functional Training”

By Jim Bryan 10-12-11

 

Recently our area has been overtaken with the “Functional Training Craze.” CrossFit, Boot Camp Training, and Training with implements other than traditional weight training (free weights, and machines) can be a good thing but does come with a higher rate of injury due to the nature of this training. None of it is new and none of it is more “Scientific” than traditional Training. Basic Traditional Weight Training actually has more science backing it since it has been going on for years. The fact that you strengthen and condition your muscles makes you more functional than you were and no amount of flipping tires,  using kettle Bells, or beating tires with a sledge makes you more “Functional.” How you choose to train is up to you. Most methods work but some are safer than others. Being involved in “Jack of all trades, & master of none training” comes with a risk/reward disclaimer…..or should.

 

The statement that free weights make you more “Functional” than using machines is another buzzword/falsehood. Let’s face the facts: Trainers have to come up with something that sets them apart or makes them appear to be more informed/ scientific/ in the know. Truth is, its just smokescreen packaging. You can get a good workout using anything mentioned thus far. The smart thing would be to use the safer alternatives, with an occasional look at different methods.

 

The newer gyms are popular because of the group training but usually offer less equipment (chin up bars, tires, chains, TRX or rings, Sledge Hammers, and a few weight sets, being the staple) These gyms are easy to set up but do require a higher Certification fee for the instructor/trainer. Face it, they are money makers for the “Owners of the Brand.” These gyms can come and go quickly but in fairness I have seen some really good ones, and I do this type of training myself at times.  I was doing it years before it became a “Brand.” Having been involved in training for over 50 years I have seen many things come and go and come back again.

If you like that kind of training, go for it. It can be fun. It’s not better, just different. In order to be successful you have to enjoy what ever training you decide to do and be consistent with it. Bottom line:  Your training shouldn’t hurt you, and you should look forward to it, not be intimidated by it. Don’t fall for the hype. “A fool and his money are soon to part.”

It looks like fun and can be. Remember the “Aerobics Craze” of a few years ago? Remember how they had to come up with “Low Impact Aerobics?” Well folks, this newer version called “Functional Training” is high impact. Know that before you get involved and make the informed decisions to keep it safe for you.

 

I think I’ll start a new Fitness Trend. It’s going to consist of Mowing, raking, clipping, chopping, pulling, hauling, and digging. I’ll call it “Yard Fit.” I can get my yard done and make money too! Stay informed about training , and don’t fall for gimmicks.

 

 TAKU’ Note: Thanks to Jim Bryan for this weeks awesome article.

Defending Bilateral Movements

By: Keats Sniderman CSCS, LMT, NMT

Introduction

Take a venture through the popular training magazines and journals these days and you’ll read about the many virtues of single-leg exercises. Movements like single-leg squats and deadlifts, step-ups, and many varieties of lunges are becoming the mainstream form of training in both private training facilities as well as commercial gyms. Even more popular is to perform these movements on “unstable surfaces” such as squishy disks, upside down ½ Swiss-balls (Bosu Balls), and wobble (balance) boards for example. In fact, these single-limb exercises have become so popular, that many strength coaches, physical therapists, and personal trainers are starting to abandon traditional bilateral movements such as squats and deadlifts. These traditional movements are even being touted as “nonfunctional” and even dangerous by some. I think we need a little reality check here. Therefore, this article will discuss and highlight many of the claims for and against single-leg and bilateral movements respectively.

The Current Arguments/ Some Rational Responses

Listed below are some of the most common arguments given on why people (especially athletes) should focus mostly on single-leg exercises. Following the arguments are some rational responses:

1) Since 60% (approximately) of the walking cycle is spent on one leg (aka “Stance Phase”), most of our lower-body strength exercises should be performed on one leg.

Response: While it’s true that a large percentage of the gait cycle is spent on one leg during the stance phase, this does not prove single leg exercises’ superiority over bilateral movements. This 60% is also based on research during walking. In what sporting situations is walking the goal? The same research used in the current argument also shows that this stance phase decreases to 40% during running. During sprinting, the stance phase gets even shorter. The bottom line: in most sporting situations in which running speed is important, your goal is to spend less and less time on one leg, and more time in the air, also known as a “float” or “flight” phase. In that case, I’m going to argue that skydiving is the most sport-specific activity of all!

Additionally, what many people who use this argument fail to realize is that during the gait cycle you are using stored elastic energy which helps to generate motion and maintain balance (keeping your Center of Gravity within the Base of Support). This is similar to the gyroscopic effect that keeps a bicycle in motion. Also, the momentum generated during gait and the use of stored elastic energy causes the hip muscles to activate in a much different manner than when performing single leg strength exercises.

From the scientific field of human motor control, we know that there are two primary types of movements: ballistic and co-contraction. With ballistic movements, there is an initial burst of muscular activity followed by period of relaxation during which limb motion continues as a result of limb momentum and stored elastic energy. In contrast, co-contraction occurs when there is a simultaneous contraction of both the “agonistic” and “antagonistic” muscles. Co-contraction activities (like many strength exercises) often use less elastic energy and are thus very different from a body in motion. This is why it’s actually more fatiguing on the muscles of your legs, pelvic girdle, and spine to walk slowly than at a slightly faster, more natural pace. This brings to mind the many ventures of window shopping I used to engage in with my mom and sister as a youth; I would ALWAYS feel so tired and drained very quickly when having to stroll around the mall at this slower pace!

To recap, many of the popular single leg (including bilateral movements!) exercises today are vastly different in the motor control characteristics when compared to the gait cycle (whether walking, running or sprinting) and other sports specific actions. This does not mean that single leg exercises are not valuable, it just serves as a reminder that nothing is as specific as performing the exact sporting task itself.

*Note- if you want a good reference on-line for the human gait cycle check out:

http://www.drpribut.com/sports/spgait.html

2) Single leg exercises are better than bilateral movements for training balance and are thus more “sports-specific.”

Response: It’s hard to deny the increased demand on balance during single leg exercises. However, coming to the conclusion that these exercises will improve balance in sporting situations better than bilateral movements is far fetched. One thing that seems to be forgotten is that balance is very specific to the situation in which it is needed. What this means is that balance in one situation doesn’t automatically transfer to all other situations. Science has shown us that there is no such thing as general balance.” If there was such a thing, you would expect a person with great balance on skis to have great balance on a surf board, a skateboard, and a tight tope. Someone who appears to have good all around balance probably just has good body coordination, reactive ability and a highly conditioned nervous system which includes a keen ability to use his/her righting reflexes.” These are the same reflexes that allow a cat to almost always land on its feet at the end of a fall. As a side note, athletes would probably get more out of practicing some of the martial arts (especially Judo, Aikido and others), some basic gymnastics tumbling moves, and some change of direction sprint and agility work.

With regards to specificity, the actual goal of “sport-specific” resistance training should be to increase force absorption (eccentric and isometric strength) and force generation (concentric strength) in similar ranges of motion and positions that are encountered in sport. Exercises like Front Squats and Snatch Grip Deadlifts fit the bill nicely here as they strengthen the hip and thigh musculature over a full range of motion. These movements also allow enough load to be used to stimulate muscle strength and hypertrophy by effectively activating the endocrine (hormonal) system.

But then, it’s up to specific practice of one’s sport or activity to improve the actual “skill” needed. People need to realize that getting stronger through resistance training only enhances your “potential” to become a better athlete; you still have to perform your sport however!

3) Single leg exercises are safer on the spine than bilateral movements due to lesser loads

.

Response: While single leg exercises almost always involve less overall load to the spine, they can be significantly more stressful to the hips, knees and ankles. With exercises like lunges and single-leg squats (both excellent exercises) for example, very large loads can be transmitted to the hip, knee and ankle of the working leg. Many of the people performing these exercises might not be qualified to do them and most likely need a period of training with bilateral movements such as conventional squats and deadlifts to strengthen their legs and trunk in a safer and more progressive way. Some people are far too weak to even entertain doing some of the lunge, step-up and single-leg squat (& deadlift) variations you see being performed out there; yet these are exactly the exercises being prescribed by many personal trainers and even some rehab specialists specializing in so-called “functional training.”

I know that plain old bilateral squats (even with bodyweight to begin with) and deadlift variations are not that exciting to some, but it just might be what most people need for quite some long time. Remember, just because something appears challenging or is difficult to perform (like a single leg squat), doesn’t mean it’s safe or effective for everyone. Conversely, just because an exercise looks boring or easy (like a squat variation for example) doesn’t mean it’s not effective. Trainers and coaches need to design personalized exercise programs based on what their clients/athletes actually need, not on what they FEEL like giving them at the moment or what’s cool or in vogue in the latest fitness magazines.

4) Single leg exercises are superior to bilateral exercises for recruiting key stabilizing muscles like the Vastus Medialis (VMO), Gluteus Medius, and other hip stabilizers (i.e. hip rotators).

Response: There is no doubt that single leg exercises recruit several of the hip, knee, and ankle stabilizing muscles. All one has to do is stand on one leg and feel all the muscles that recruit in your entire body. This massive recruitment of muscles you feel is a good thing as your body does not want to fall! However, just because higher levels of muscle recruitment may occur during some single leg exercises does not mean they are more effective than bilateral movements. Since loading potential is much higher with bilateral movements, there is also more potential for hypertrophy and strength than with single leg movements. Bilateral movements allow for better dissipation of force/stress through the body which helps to avoid over-stressing any one area. In contrast, the more you isolate and add load to a given limb, the more joint stress that occurs; so this increased level of recruitment comes with a price since now all the stress is focused one limb’s joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This may overload a vulnerable area.

I have determined on myself and countless others, that too much single leg work can absolutely toast the working leg’s hip abductor muscles (glute med, minimis, TFL) and leave them sore and riddled with trigger points and ischemia (lack of blood). With regards to ischemia, tissues that are ischemic are generally tender to the touch and the hip abductors are notorious for being ischemic. Even the contralateral lower back (primarily the quadratus lumborum muscle) can get strained and over-worked from excessive single-leg work. This occurs when the working leg’s hip-abductors fatigue causing the opposite side’s low-back muscle to kick in to keep the pelvis from dropping.

This article is starting to sound a little negative regarding single leg movements but please don’t get me wrong here, I STILL USE them regularly. For instance, if someone is performing a good deal of bilateral strength movements for their hips and thighs, I might add anywhere from 1-3 sets (usually 2) of Bulgarian split squats or single leg deadlifts for example, after the bilateral movements depending on the phase and goal of training. It all depends on what the goal is! And if I need to drop some exercises from the training plan on any given day, it will probably be the single leg exercises as they just aren’t the priority. Besides, many athletes are doing what amounts to a lot of single-leg training in their respective sports via running and change of direction movements.

The Reality of The Situation

In reality, I believe that many trainers and coaches are really just bored and thus get sucked into giving their athletes/clients exercises which are difficult and maybe popular (at the moment) without thoroughly thinking through the exercises and qualifying them for their respective clients. I’ve also been guilty of this in the past, but always find myself returning to the many variations of squatting and deadlifting because when taught properly, they flat out work and give you the most bang-for-your-buck with regards to training efficiency. It also apparent that many trainers and coaches don’t know how to teach bilateral movements properly and thus choose not to use them. Too bad. The following list shows the many varieties of bilateral movement that are available to the fitness enthusiast, strength and conditioning professional or rehabilitation specialist:

Explosive Variations:

Snatch (full lift)

Clean (full lift)

Power Snatch

Power Clean

Power Jerk

Push-Press

Squat Variations:

Back Squat

Front Squat

Overhead Squat

Zercher Squat

DB Squat

Low-cable Squat

Deadlift Variations:

Deadlift

Snatch Grip Deadlift

Sumo Deadlift

Deadlift off Platform

Suitcase Deadlift

RDL’s

Hybrid Variations (neither a Squat nor a Deadlift)

Hack Squat (aka ‘Behind the Back” Deadlift)

Trap Bar Deadlift (fairly Quad-dominant)

DB/KB Squat (similar to Trap Bar Deadlift)

Cable Deadlift

Keep in mind that all these movements can be performed with a variety of mediums (i.e. barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags, odd implements and many more). The range of motion can also be limited or extended in any of these bilateral movements depending on the desired goal. The speed of movement is also easy to modify in these movements and can even be augmented by using accommodating resistance techniques (chains, bands, weight releasers, etc.). Those coaches and trainees that are familiar with accommodating resistance techniques know that they are much more feasible with bilateral movements than with single leg movements. There is a time and a place for occasional use of these techniques with single-leg movements however.

It should be mentioned at this point that single leg exercises are still a very valuable addition to any conditioning program and should be part of the toolbox of most coaches, trainers, and rehabilitation specialists. However, they should be thought of more as “assistance” exercises or side-dishes, rather the “main entrée” if you know what I mean. Maximal strength techniques are not that safe when you’re on one leg! However, there may be cases (as there always are) where someone would be better off doing some barbell or dumbbell lunges or step-ups for example, rather than loading a sore or tired back with heavy squats. It just really depends on the situation and the individual. The following list includes several variations of single leg exercises that are used quite frequently:

Lunge Variations

Stationary Lunge (i.e. Split-Squat, Static lunge)

Dynamic Lunge (single step and then return; either forward or backward

Walking Lunge

Multi-Directional Lunge

Cross-Over Lunge

Bulgarian Split-Squat (rear foot elevated on box, bench, or in strap of TRX, etc.)

Single Leg Squat Variations

Single Leg Squat to Bench

Single Leg Squat off Step

Full Single Leg Squat (i.e. Ass-to-grass Pistol)- reserved for the mutants of the world!

Single Leg Deadlift Variations

Single Leg Deadlift (bent-knee, aka Single Leg RDL)

Single Leg Deadlift (nearly straight knee)

Single Leg Good-Morning

Step-Up Variations

Lateral Step-ups (i.e. Petersen Step-ups, VMO Step-ups)

Regular Step-ups (of varying height)

Alternating Step-ups

Cross-Box Step-ups

A Word About Progression

As discussed earlier in this article, one thing that really bothers me is the lack of trainers and coaches qualifying their clients for specific exercises. As an example, I’ve seen countless trainers in gyms making overweight and deconditioned individuals perform exercises like walking lunges, single leg squats on a squishy disk and single leg deadlifts when these people probably couldn’t even perform a hands-free bodyweight squat without trouble. Yes, maybe the bodyweight squat is kind of boring and not as “cool” looking as the wobble board lunge, but if you’re client can’t even perform a bodyweight squat then what the heck are they doing standing on one leg bouncing on a Bosu Ball?

I have a better idea: let’s actually do what’s best for the trainee/client right now. Maybe later, after a good foundation of basic strength is built with exercises like squats and deadlifts, can the thought of single leg movements like lunges be entertained. And when you do start those lunges, how about beginning with a split-squat (aka “stationary lunge) before having people lunge around the gym with knees flailing like a new-born colt!

Another thought would be to first just teach your client to stand on one leg and balance without excessive swaying of the spine or pelvis (i.e. Trendelenberg sign). This will strongly recruit the ipsilateral hip abductors (i.e. Glute medius, minimus, and TFL) without the unnecessary stress of performing a single leg squat, deadlift or even a lunge. Once a proper single leg stance can be performed, a mini single leg squat can be performed as a great test of trunk, pelvic, knee, and even foot and ankle stability. These exercises can be also be used with great success as “activation exercises” prior to sport or resistance training sessions to facilitate hip, knee, and ankle stabilizer function. Watch for excessive trunk movement, pelvic instability, internal rotation and inward buckling of the femur and knee (varus stress), and pronation of the foot and ankle complex. Most people will demonstrate at least some of these compensations.

From here, multi-directional single-leg hops can be safely performed as an introductory force absorption and plyometric drill. To add difficulty, eyes can be closed or a blindfold can be worn. This dramatically increases the demand on the somatosensory (proprioceptive) system!

The Bottom Line

To conclude, I hope this article has been an informative and possible eye-opening foray into the highly disputed world of exercise prescription and the concept of sport-specificity. With a little common sense and some logical thinking, single leg exercises can be safely worked into a resistance training program, but not at the expense of the more productive bilateral movements that should be the cornerstone of any good conditioning program!

TAKU’s Note – About The Author:

Keats Snideman is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a licensed massage therapist specializing in Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT). He is the owner of Reality-Based Fitness LLC, a performance training and massage center located in Tempe, AZ. He specializes in the enhancement of athletic-style fitness and has a proven track record for getting his clients results having coached and provided treatment to a variety of clients (athletic and non-athletic alike). Some of the clients Keats has worked with include athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLBA, USA Track & Field as well as athletes from both the collegiate and high school levels. For recreation and fun, Keats also competes as a competitive sub-masters sprinter (100 & 200m dashes). He may be reached at ksnideman@gmail.com or through his website at www.realitybasedfitness.com

Don’t Short Circuit Your Training

By Jim Bryan

One of the biggest problems I see is Over Thinking Things. Much of the time this leads to Analysis Paralysis. This  is where you spend more time thinking about doing something, than you actually spend doing it. How much does it matter about the speed of a rep? Does it matter more than actually going to the gym and  having a workout? How much does it matter what “Camp” your from? Is that more important then getting to the gym? About “Camps.” How important is it really to identify yourself as a “Volume Trainee,” a “Power Lifter,” an “Olympic Lifter,” A “HIT Trainee?”  Who are you training for? Yourself or the approval of someone else? Training isn’t really all that complicated. Some would have you think that it is, so they can sell you on Their Method. So much information and so little time. Might as well use that time by going to the gym.

When you go to most discussion boards you have the group looking for the One best way to train” and the one’s that just like to argue that Their way is the one true way.” Ever wonder if the same one’s that Know the One best Way” are just as confused as you? Many are and will argue for something else down the line. You also have the most Dogmatic types that will continue to argue long after their arguments are invalid. They are confused and need to be in the gym, instead of cruising the “Boards” so they can argue for their way, “The one best way.”

There is NO one best way! People have different goals. What works for you is what keeps you going to the gym and enjoying the trip there. Different ways of training have different levels of safety. Educate yourself, form an opinion and then follow through. The simplest way to Strength Train is to pick a group of exercises Starting with the legs and working to the upper body. Go up in weight when things get easy. Machines or Free Weights? What do you have? If you have both, try both. Try to be in and out within an hour.  Do you like “One set Training?” Then do it. Want to use “more than one set?” Then do that. Don’t fret and worry if someone is going to disapprove. It’s your workout! Go to the gym two or three days a week. You can add some cardio if you want. Cut down your rest periods and you may not need much cardio. Do it for yourself, because you want to.  Live long……..be strong!

TAKU’s Note:

Thanks to Jim Bryan for sharing another one of his excellent articles with us this week.

Can’t we all just get along?

The De-Evolution of Physical Culture

By Brian Johnston

It’s an undeniable fact that resistance trainees are in a world all their own, and to a certain extent, they can be classified as an underground cult of sorts. I am not referring to the average person who wants to reshape his or her body, or the injury rehab patient, but the hardcore trainee.

What dumbfounds me is the conflicting attitude among the different resistance trainees, and not only bodybuilders. Bodybuilders think that powerlifters are chunky individuals who can’t build a lean, conditioned physique. Powerlifters think that bodybuilders are weak and nothing but show and who can’t perform to powerlifting standards in the gym. Olympic lifters feel they are above the others because their competitive lifts require extreme athletic ability (a combination of speed, total body coordination, and power), and is accepted as an Olympic sport. I am not suggesting that all iron athletes are guilty of these stereotypical views. However, my experience tells me that a majority feel this way.

The odd thing is that all three types of training methods overlap. Show me a bodybuilder who has not, at one time or another, performed powerlifting style of training (heavy weight, low reps), or has thrown in some power cleans for upper back development. Also, just about every powerlifter or Olympic lifter has performed bodybuilding exercises (supplementary movements) in the off-season during the conditioning phase – these include dips, leg extensions, bent rows and leg curls to work any weak links that can affect the primary lifts.

These three groups obviously have more in common than they realize, yet each tries to segregate themselves from the others. To have Joe Average accept resistance training as a serious fitness alternative, we need to work together and promote resistance training as a whole. With a synergistic approach, we can become stronger threefold, rather than fighting each other in having the public adorn each other’s sport or activity.

One of the primary reasons why many prefer aerobic-based exercise, as opposed to anaerobic exercise, is that it is a social event. A group of people will get together, work toward a common goal (weight loss, muscle firming), and have fun. This often is not apparent where people work out with weights. Resistance trainees tend to ignore or avoid each other like the plague; particularly if others are equally strong, developed or if they are a different type of trainee, i.e., powerlifter vs. bodybuilder. This may be the result of competitiveness or ego. Some day we may regain the camaraderie that was so apparent in the 50’sand 60’s.

TAKU’s Note:
In 1995, Brian Johnston wrote a brief article for a newsletter (Strength & Size), about how the fitness world has lost its union, with bodybuilders in one corner, power lifters in another, Olympic lifters in another, and the average fitness buff yet in another. I felt it was worth repeating an excerpt from this article* since it is my opinion, that strength training is the cornerstone to a well rounded total fitness program. Being involved in healthy pursuits should be a chance for us to bond and enjoy the pursuit, rather than an excuse to talk trash about whose methods are the best.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

*This article reprinted with permission of the I.A.R.T.

Workout in a hurry

6 weeks to a new you in the New Year (Part two)

In part one of this article I told you that we could re-shape your body in as little as 15 workouts over just six weeks. Having read part one you should have taken all of your photos and measurements as well as outlined your eating for the first few weeks of the plan. You should also know how many push-ups and sit-ups you can do as well as your time for a wall sit and how far you can run in 30 seconds. In part two I am going to outline the nuts and bolts of the plan as well as answer some basic questions and give options for those who may have limited access to workout equipment or who want to do their training bare-bones, boot-camp style; outside or at home.

We don’t have a lot of time. That is why we are using this plan in the first place. Let me reassure you it is not about the quantity but the quality of effort that is put forth that makes this type of training so efficient and effective. The workouts themselves are going to be brief and infrequent and therefore should be done with the utmost intensity. Don’t be intimidated by that word. Even if you are a beginner or coming back from a lay off you can work out hard enough to get great results. The secret is to try as hard as you can at the moment. As you recover and adapt each week, you will find that you are able to step it up a little more.

The workout will be done as follows. Each training day you will focus on a certain body region along with your cardio and stretching. None of these workouts should ever take longer then an hour including the warm-up, stretching and cool-down. In fact 45 – 50 minutes will probably be all you need as your fitness improves over the next few weeks. When I make recommendations for how many sets you should perform you will notice that I say one set. In my experience one good set is all you need to have success. Some people just can not seem to handle this approach and feel they need more. If you choose to do more keep this in mind. For each set you add you are using up more of your bodies recovery ability as well as increasing the total time you spend working out. The whole reason we are doing this workout is because we are in a hurry; so trust me and just do one set as hard as you can.

For the cardio portion of your training plan, your job is also to work as hard as you can in the moment. Whatever machine you choose to use I want you to go as far as possible in 15 minutes. I find that 15 minutes is all you need if you are really working as hard as you can. The cardio session is broken down as follows: You wont need to warm-up because you just finished your strength training session. So, pick a machine and work as hard and fast as you can for 12 minutes and then cool-down for about 3 minutes.

Do not increase the length of time you do cardio, just do your best to cover more distance then you did last time. How will you know how far you went? Look at the machine. Most of these machines will give you a distance read out. If not then use calories as your guide. If you burn more calories during the same length of time that means you are working harder then before.

Each time you train, be sure to write down everything you do in the gym. Write down how much you lifted in each exercise and when you can do more then 10 reps in any exercise, add some weight. Write down the distance you covered or the number of calories burned in your cardio session and strive to go further or burn more next time. Every little increase is significant. Be sure to keep the time you do your cardio consistent so that the calorie and distance numbers are accurate from session to session. Remember you are only working really hard for about 12 minutes.

The Workouts:

Workout 1. Lower body:

5 minute warm-up treadmill, bike, or rower

Squats 1 x 6-10

Dumbbell Lateral Lunges 1 x 6-10

Dumbbell Lunges to the rear 1 x 6-10 (each leg)

Straight leg dead-lifts 1 x 6-10

Single leg calf raise 1 x 6-10 (each leg)

Mid-section: Hanging knee raise or incline knee raise, low back extension, band or pulley rotations. 1 x 8-15

Cardio: Machine of your choice for max distance or calories in 12 minutes

Cool-Down: 3 minutes

Stretch: 5-10 minutes full body

Workout 2. Pushing (two days after workout 1.)

5 minute warm-up on treadmill, bike, or rower

Flat Dumbbell flyes or pec-deck 1 x 6-10

Incline barbell or machine press 1 x 6-10

Dips 1 x 6-10 (If you can do more then 10 add weight)

Dumbbell, cable, or machine lateral raise 1 x 6-10

Barbell, dumbbell, or machine shoulder press 1 x 6-10

Dumbbell, cable, or machine rear delt 1 x 6-10

Dumbbell, or cable, overhead triceps extensions 1 x 6-10

Cable or machine triceps push-downs 1 x 6-10

Cardio: Machine of your choice for max distance or calories in 12 minutes

Cool-Down: 3 minutes

Stretch: 5-10 minutes full body

Workout 3.  Pulling (two days after workout 2.)

5 minute warm-up on treadmill, bike, or rower

Pull-ups or assisted pull-ups 1 x 6-10 (if you can do more then 10 pull-ups, add weight)

Close grip (V-bar) pull-downs 1 x 6-10

Reverse back fly with cable, dumbbells, or machine 1 x 6-10

Bent over rows with a dumbbell or barbell 1 x 6-10

Standing shrugs with dumbbells, barbells, or machine 1 x 6-10

Mid-section: Hanging knee raise or incline knee raise, low back extension, band or pulley rotations. 1 x 8-15

Cardio: Machine of your choice for max distance or calories in 12 minutes

Cool-Down: 3 minutes

Stretch: 5-10 minutes full body

Rest two days before starting over with workout number one.

Tips for continued success:

Intensity:

The repetition guidelines I have listed are just that, guidelines. Do not stop a set until you are un-able to perform another perfect rep. With exercises like Squats or Stiff-legged dead-lifts, stop 1-2 reps short of failure.

How much rest:

After you warm-up, move quickly from exercise to exercise. Strive to rest no more then 60 seconds between exercises.

How to be progressive:

First increase reps then increase weight. Once you can exceed 10 reps on your main exercises or 15 on core movements, add 5-10 lbs of weight.

How to add variety:

Exercises are essentially exchangeable. Exchange any major multi-joint, pushing, pulling or lower body movement with any other. Single joint movements such as arm curls and extensions as well as mid-section movements may be changed frequently as well. Just be sure to write down what you do and train as hard as possible on each work set.

Cardio:

Pick whatever machines you like or have available. Bike, Treadmill, Stair-climber, Rowing machine, they are all effective. For best results mix things up and use a different machine or mode each time. Just be sure to write down your distance or calories accurately.

Home training:

If you are doing this workout at home and have a well stocked home gym then follow the plan as closely as possible. If you are using resistance bands, sandbags, dumbbells, kettlebells, and or bodyweight movements then again create workouts that are as similar to those in the above plan as possible. Our exercise library database has more then enough ideas for you to choose from. For the cardio portion go to a track and see how far you can run around the track in 12 minutes (not including warm-up and cool-down). Choose a set time as before (say 12 minutes) and start running. In week one it may take you 12 minutes to run one mile. Don’t be surprised if by the end of six weeks you are going considerably further.

Have fun, work hard and don’t forget to drop us a line with your results.

PAU for NOW

TAKU
www.hybridfitness.tv
www.blackjackfitness.com

CLASSIC H.I.T. WORKOUT

Following up from the awesome articles from Dr. Ken, John Wood, and Jim Bryan, I offer a straight-forward, no nonsense workout. No magic, no gadgets, just hard work on a handful of basic exercises. You should be able to get this workout done in under thirty minutes. If you are following the instructions below, this should see you breathing like a freight-train and totally spent by the time you make it through.

To begin the workout, skip rope, row  or do other light, total-body movements for 5 minutes followed by an easy, dynamic stretching routine. Then complete a set of neck* exercises . Then an abdominal / Core** routine. Once you have a sweat going, you are warmed-up and can begin the resistance training.

You will notice that the repetition ranges have 2 numbers. If an athlete reaches momentary muscular fatigue before he reaches the lower number on the rep-range the weight is too heavy. Likewise if he reaches momentary muscular fatigue beyond the higher number then it is time for him to increase the load.

Train with high intensity, push yourself to the point of momentary muscular failure and use just 1 set. I am a big believer in the 1 set protocol and am confident that one set is all that is required for success.

Strength train on Mondays and Thursdays, and do agility / conditioning work on Tuesdays and Fridays.

 

  1. Leg Press or Squat 15-20
  2. Leg Extensions 8-12 Seated or standing
  3. Leg Curls 8-12 Seated or standing
  4. Calf Raise 8-12 Seated or standing
  5. Chest press 8-12 Dumbbell, machine, or straight bar.
  6. Push-up
  7. Back Row 8-12 Dumbbell, machine, or straight bar.
  8. Shoulder Press 8-12 Dumbbell, machine, or straight bar.
  9. Chin-ups / Reverse Grip Pull downs 8-12
  10. Dead Lift 12-15 Dumbbell, machine, Hex or straight bar.
  11. Dips / Triceps Extensions 8-12 Dumbbell, machine, or straight bar.
  12. Bicep Curls 6-10 Dumbbell, machine, or straight bar.

If you are not used to training all out (and I meet very few who are) than I would ease into it by adjusting the rest intervals between sets as follows:

Week 1 – 2 = 2 minutes rest between sets
Week 3 – 4 = 1.5 minutes rest between sets
Week 5 – 6 = 1 minutes rest between sets
Week 7 and beyond, attempt to move between exercise with as little rest as possible. Pause only long enough to move from exercise to exercise or to change weight etc.

* Neck series = One set each of four-way neck exercise + any shrug movement. Resistance for the neck may be applied with a neck harness using Bands, or cables and or manual resistance etc.

** AB / Core series = One set each of Hip-curl / Low Back Ext / Resisted Rotation

For ideas for Conditioning work, search through our archives.

PAU for NOW

TAKU
www.hybridfitness.tv
www.blackjackfitness.com

Bryan Strength and Conditioning Training Guidelines

For the last couple of weeks I have been running some great articles about what I feel is the cornerstone of effective strength training, HARD WORK. Some of you may be wondering how to organize a simple program around these hard work concepts. Although I feel I have talked about this a lot over the last few years, I have decided to provide some simple guidelines that should help you structure some brief, intense, prudent, and productive workouts.

By Jim Bryan

1. Perform one to three sets of any one exercise during a workout. The harder you train the set (intensity) the less sets you’ll need.

2. Think “Full body workouts” first. That is a more time effcient way to train. Split routines are OK for short periods. You’ll need more days in the gym if you do splits.

3. Legs usually need more repetitions than upper body. Vary your rep scheme from time to time. High reps for a while and lower reps for a while.

4. Training to “failure” is a tool. You do not HAVE to train to failure, to have a good workout but regular “to failure” training is beneficial once you learn the exercise movement. Make real sure that you are training with progressive overload.

5. Generally speaking, start your workout with the largest muscles groups first and proceed to smaller muscle groups as you go through the workout. This sequence can be changed to provide selective work for a muscle group. It’s a good idea to rest between exercises as little as possible, when you become accustomed to training.

6. Make sure to concentrate on lowering the weight AS WELL AS RAISING the weight. Do not allow form to become sloppy and lose control. In my opinion it is not necessary to “count seconds” during the repeptitions. Just make sure your not throwing the weight around. When using machines the weight stack should not make a banging noise. If it does YOU lost control!!

7. It is not a good idea to “grip” the equipment tightly. Doing that may raise the blood pressure unnecessarily. Not a good thing.

8. Once you start an exercise do not shift or move around. Use the seat belt (if provided) for the machine.

9. Do not hold your breath during training. This also can raise Blood pressure. Not a good thing.

10. Attempt constantly to increase the number of repetitions or the amount of weight or BOTH. This is called the “Double Progression” system. Do not sacrifice form in an attempt to produce results. Train safe! Your goal is to exceed the last workouts performance, in as many exercises as you can.

11. Keep accurate records. Date, Resistance and Repetitions, of each workout.

12. Don’t be afraid to take time off from training now and then. Sometimes a rest is just what is needed. Avoid over training.

13. Include variety in your workout. Change equipment now and then. Include cardio but don’t neglect strength training for cardio.

14. Three full-body workouts per week, seems to be right for most people. but some will do better on two. Use it or lose it.

15. Be consistent in your training.

16. Learn to recognize gimmicks and fads and stay away from them.

17. Supplements will not make up for a bad diet. Fix your diet first.

18. You do not have to do Olympic lifts if you are not going to compete as an Olympic Lifter. Safer alternatives are available for training.

19. Use any equipment that you have…Machines or free weights…or a combination. Manual resistance is also beneficial. The main point is safety. The muscles don’t have brains that tell them if you are using machines or free weights, they only know resistance. The myth that some how free weights make a better athlete is pure bull. You can’t look at any team in the NFL while they are on the field, and say with any certainty which equipment they use.

20. Use advance intensity with care…Don’t overuse it. Such as: Breakdowns – Pre-exhuastion – Negative – 3X3’s – 30’s days – 50’s -days – Forced reps – Static holds – Failure training (by the way failure training doesn’t teach athletes to fail, it just makes them work harder) This is the point. Hard, productive, safe work is what is required…on a consistent basis.

21. General training in the weight room makes you stronger. Practice your sport to get better at it. Don’t try to do “sport specific” movements in the weight room.

22. All things being equal, a stronger athlete is a better athlete.

(TAKU’s NOTE:) Jim Bryan is a strength and conditioning coach, author, athlete, martial artist… A Renaissance Man. Visit his web-site and stop by for a workout when your in Florida. For a great audio interview with Jim, visit Dave Durell’s High Intensity Nation

PAU for NOW

TAKU

www.hybridfitness.tv
www.blackjackfitnee.com