Now that the new year is upon us, droves of people will start exercising. The holiday season is a time when people typically exercise less and eat more, so they double-down on training come January. Pair that with cold winter temperatures and plenty of germs crawling around and you’ve got the perfect environment to get sick – or do you?
Some types of exercise can positively or negatively affect your likelihood of getting sick. Stress, exercise and illness can all affect the immune system so it’s important to have each in check. Continue reading
It’s never been easy to accurately determine the maximum amount of weight you can lift for one rep.
You either expend a ton of time and energy as you lift, rest, add weight, lift, rest, add/reduce the weight, etc. – judging, missing, and guessing your way throughout the haphazard journey. This cycle continues until you find a true one-repetition maximum (1RM). The process, at best, will take 15-20 minutes per exercise and it can be exhausting – literally and figuratively.
Or you perform a submaximal set to failure and plug your numbers into an equation that may, or may not, have been clinically tested. Furthermore, many indirect methods (i.e., submaximal lifts) that calculate a 1RM require you to fail at a specific rep, say, rep 10 or the calculation won’t work. Continue reading
The title of this post was intended to be provocative. However, I wasn’t in the hospital as a patient – I was there to learn how to treat patients with a vast array of orthopedic and neurological dysfunctions.
As part of my Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) training at the University of Southern California, I’m required to perform clinical rotations to develop my skill set. This summer I was assigned a clinical experience at a hospital in downtown Los Angeles that caters to trauma victims. It was, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. So I wanted to share what I’ve learned, and encourage any upcoming trainers or therapists to delve into that world.
One of the many reasons I went back to school to pursue a DPT degree hinged on the fact that, as a performance specialist, I figured out that I needed to improve my knowledge base beyond what my typical clients could teach me. Continue reading
It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, everyone wants impressive glute development. But many people don’t know how to intelligently train the glutes to achieve the best look and performance. So I’m here to tell you how to do it as quickly as possible.
First, let’s cover the primary functions of your largest glute muscle: the gluteus maximus. At the hip it provides the torque for extension, abduction and external rotation. However, most lifters put too much emphasis on the hip extension action during their workouts and this can lead to poor glute development and performance.
Let me explain. Continue reading
If you’re a trainer, coach or physical therapist it’s essential to use effective coaching cues. For years we’ve been telling clients to “squeeze this” or “brace that” or a host of other verbal instructions that often weren’t as beneficial as we’d like.
You might know what it feels like to squeeze your glutes during a squat or lunge, but most people don’t – even professional athletes. The problem is that most clients never learn how to correctly activate certain muscles. The key word here is “learn.”
Over the past few decades, Gabriele Wulf, Ph.D., has been a pioneer in the research for determining how people learn complex motor skills. She and her team have studied the effects of different verbal cues for jump height, balance, posture and even golf. I’ll save you the work of thumbing through all her studies on PubMed and get to the bottom line: External cues work better than internal cues.
So what does that mean to coaches, trainers and therapists? It means you could get better results by using different words while coaching exercises that are typically problematic.
The deadlift, for example, is an exercise that requires a good, solid hip hinge. Therefore, we often tell clients to “hinge at the hip” during the descending phase. Or we tell them to “push your hips back as you go down.”
However, those are internal cues because you’re telling them to focus on a body part. Continue reading
Muscle growth requires tension. If you haven’t been gaining muscle, one likely culprit is a lack of high-threshold motor unit recruitment during your sets.
When the tension of your muscle contractions is too low, you’re not stimulating the muscle fibers that have the most growth potential.
This holds true for any muscle group.
However, the calves come to mind here since they’re one of the most notoriously stubborn muscle groups – if you chose the wrong parents. In Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding he mentioned that one of the ways he got his proportionally puny calves to grow was with super-heavy sets of incline leg press calf raises.
In essence, he forced his calves to produce more tension and they grew because of it. But you’ll quickly run into a wall of fatigue and joint strain if you only add weight to your exercises.
There’s a simpler, safer and more effective way to get more tension and growth out of your sets: the squeeze. Continue reading