Monday, March 26, 2007

Personal Preference

Whether you are scientific about training, fly by the seat of your pants or anywhere in between, you can't help but bring your personal preferences in to your training. Over the many years I have had the privilege of speaking with several (and I mean several) of what I would call "well versed" strength coaches/trainers and a common factor that I've noticed is that a lot of them believe in certain things based on their personal likes and dislikes.

For instance, you may read where a strength coach will recommend training 2x per week and advocate 20 rep squats. Why? First and foremost, if worked hard it can be productive but secondly, a lot of personal preference goes into that program. You may see another coach recommend the bench press and have a program based around it and then another coach emphasize the overhead press. Again, more than likely the bench press coach likes the BP and will incorporate it into their program because they feel there is value. Another example is a coach recommending 3x per week training instead of 2 or a person who suggests additional CV work and then another who recommends none.

My point here is this - a lot of what we read (and sometimes write) is based on what the individual finds to be of value to THEM and then passes it along as value to others. Nothing inherently wrong with doing that but it is up to the reader (and the writer) to not read (or speak) as what is written to be gospel and to understand and entertain that which is proposed and embark on the journey themselves. - Fred Fornicola

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A New Way To Work Out?

For many years I ran and did bodyweight exercises, because I didn't like weights and believed they would make you slow, bulky, etc,.. I used what I learned in the marine corps, which included push ups, pull ups, squat thrusts, etc. I even did some rope climbing and wrestlers bridges I learned in high school. I did these things when I got a sedentary job after years of physical work. I still use bw exercises and like them.NOW, all this stuff is being presented as if it's been some big secret kept from the public! Really? I had no idea I was so avant garde! The truth is, a lot of people buy into this boot camp stuff for the same reason they buy into Pilates or whatever. They think it will make them look substantially different than they do, in some relatively easy fashion. And there is a certain "tough guy" glamour that appeals to some people. I have seen ads about "blow-torching off fat", like if you do a hard set of bw squats or swing your kettlebell you'll suddenly drop tons of flab. Forget about diet. Forget about how you have to really work hard consistently.I'm waiting for some of these folks to pay some big guy in a uniform to kick sand in ther faces and scream at them about being "pukes and quitters who ain't packing the gear"... I'm hoping the next big craze is "manual labor fitness" so I can get some of these unfortunates to put in my new rock garden and deck. This too, will pass. - Regards,Griff

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Lower Body Strength from Running

It is true that you can only get stronger to a point, but that is the limiting factor with all exercise modalities - strength training included Regardless of the choosen exercise squats, leg press, or running leg strength will only be developed up to specific point based on many factors. Some of which are body leverages, ranges of motion, and genetic limitations as to how fast or how much one can lift or run. IMO being able to overload is not a factor with any activity. Since any modality can be made systamatically more challenging.

If overload really is making the body or muscle area perform more work than currently capable than the following are ways to overload a running workout.

1. progress in speed (jog to run)
2. progress in distance relative to time
3 perform intervals or spriniting activities / add more intervals
4. reduce the rest period of said intervals
5 run hills / same procedures are intervals
6. perform a distance course with hill intervals - if course has hills
7. change the running surface. grass is more challenging than the road - beach sand is probably the most challenging.
8. perform other running activities as intervals ( bear crawls, crab walks, side shuffle, backwards running) (side note bear crawls on beach sand is a killer)
9. Add bodyweight squats or lunges at periods of a long run. every 5 minutes perform 50 squats.
10. perform sprints with push-up intervals. If you think push-ups don't work your hips perform them after sprints.

I just think that all the above are ways of having the lower body perform more work than it's currently able. therefore making it stronger!

Just a thought since most commerical gyms don't have much in the way of lower body exercises, especially if you can't squat or deadlift. Just food for thought. - Doug Scott, Strength Coach

Monday, March 05, 2007

Exercise for the Average Person

As a non-athlete, non-bodybuilding home trainer, I found the following quote to be very interesting. For the last few months I have been following a similar bodyweight routine of chins, dips, body rows, pushups and squats. I do one set to failure on each exercise & train 2 days per week. If the weather is good, I will walk a couple of days per week also. I have found this type of workout to be perfect for the needs of average people that are not interested in sports performance or "bodybuilding", but simply need to increase their "functional ability" for everyday life (mowing the lawn, carrying groceries up the stairs, moving some furniture, etc). In August, I will begin my 48th trip around the sun. I no longer have the time, nor the desire, to try to look like a bodybuilder or male fitness model. I'm just trying to stay in shape for living. When I compare myself to my peer group & not 25 year olds, I feel that I stack up pretty well. – Jay Setser