Sleep Extension Techniques To Enhance Muscle And Strength

daniel debrocke Apr 20, 2021

Most of the literature on sleep is regarding restriction and its impact on health and performance. However, there is a growing body of research on sleep extension and the potential implications it may have on athletic performance in particular. It’s fairly well understood that sleep is a primary contributor to recovery and performance. In spite of this, it’s estimated over of the american population is underslept (1). The American Academy Of Sleep Medicine recommends individuals aged 18-60 sleep a minimum of seven hours a day (1). Failing to meet this requirement has been associated with various chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, along with various other deleterious health and performance outcomes.

One paper looking at the effects of sleep deprivation on resistance training performance found significant reductions in strength in bench press, deadlift, and leg press. Additionally the researchers observed increased...

Continue Reading...

How To Make RPE And RIR Easier And More Effective

brandon senn Mar 12, 2021

RPE (rating of perceived exertion) and RIR (reps in reserve) are two ways a training plan can instruct how difficult a certain exercise should be. Both are self-estimations of proximity to failure within a certain rep and load combination. For example, if a program lists 3 sets of 5 reps at a 9 RPE you should choose a load that you can at least do 6 reps with. This way of instructing loads for an exercise can be incredibly valuable because many exercises do not work with traditional methods such as percentage of 1RM. I suppose if you were to test (max out) every exercise in a training plan to find your 1RM you could then theoretically use percentages but no one has time for that and even if you did you wouldn’t garner an adaptive stimulus from most exercises. Let’s face it, you aren’t going to gain much muscle or strength by performing a 1RM on your DB curls, machine rows, and other accessory movements.

RPE and RIR are useful because they provide a scalable means...

Continue Reading...

Using Potentiation To Break Training Plateaus

brandon senn Mar 12, 2021

If you train hard enough (or not hard enough I suppose) for long enough you will eventually run into a period where progress stalls and improvements to your lifts become much more difficult to realize. Sometimes plateaus last for a few training blocks but, its very easy to let a few blocks slip by and before you know it you are running up on a year or more of minimal progress.

If you ask five different people what causes training plateaus, you will undoubtedly get five or more different answers. The real kicker is each person you ask is probably right! Variables that determine how well you adapt to training are infinite including but not limited to your biological load (any factor that influences physiology from nutrition, sleep, stress, training load/effort, and many other things), the organization of your training plan and how well that organization matches your needs, your physical environment, and many other things that sometimes require complex solutions.

To break through a...

Continue Reading...

Why Chuck Taylors Are The Worst Shoe For Strength Athletes

brandon senn Mar 12, 2021

This week we are going to discuss popular footwear for individuals interested in training for strength. More people than not choose footwear for function over form. However, if you are someone who often chooses the latter of the two options who have probably made decisions based on what the footwear does for you, not necessarily what it is doing to you. Let me break that down just a little bit:

Heeled shoes such as used in weightlifting allow many lifters to achieve a lower squat position via accommodation of ankle flexion. A common misconception is that these shoes increase ankle mobility. The fact is they reduce ankle dorsiflexion demands of a low squat by pre-setting the ankle into a greater range of plantar flexion. So, you are not actually improving ankle mobility so much as you are avoiding ankle movement.

“What does it really matter so long as you were able to squat deeper?”

In this example the shoes did allow for you to squat deeper but, through accommodation of...

Continue Reading...

Refined Resilience: The Potential Of Purposeful Pain

nathaniel hancock Jan 19, 2021

“The ultimate is not to win, but to reach within the depths of your capabilities and to compete against yourself to the greatest extent possible. When you have that, you have dignity. You have the pride. You can walk about with character and pride no matter in what place you happen to finish. – Billy Mills, 1964 10k Olympic Gold Medalist

 

Two Races

No one predicted that William Mervin Mills would win the gold medal in the 10,000 meter run of the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. A member of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux Tribe) from South Dakota, Billy was a United States Marine who attended the University of Kansas on an athletic scholarship for his considerable running abilities. Billy faced poverty as a youth, was orphaned at age twelve, and experienced repeated racial prejudice that led to suicidal thoughts. On top of it all, Billy had hypoglycemia, which affected his performance on the track. No one predicted Billy would win in Tokyo — no one, that is, but Billy....

Continue Reading...

Sumo Is Not Just Wide Conventional

cassandra strunk Dec 23, 2020
 

Most people who start out in barbell lifting are familiar with conventional deadlifts. It’s typically the style of deadlifting we learn in traditional weightlifting gym setting, P.E., group fitness classes, and even rehabilitation settings to retrain hip hinge patterns. When it comes to sumo deadlifting, it is most commonly seen in the world of powerlifting. The question often gets asked, “should I pull sumo or conventional?” But to simplify this piece, we are actually not going to address that question here. What we want to cover in this piece, are considerations for new lifters to sumo, who have already decided they want to give sumo deadlifting a chance and are experimenting with sumo deadlift technique.

To kick off the discussion, the first thing to consider when switching from conventional deadlifts to sumo deadlifts is understanding that there is more to it than just widening your stance and trying to pull. Most people familiar with...

Continue Reading...

Preparing For The Precipice: Laying The Foundation For Max Effort Lifts

nathaniel hancock Aug 19, 2020

It had never been done before. El Capitan — the famous 3,000-foot granite face in Yosemite — once seemed impossible to climb at all, let alone solo and without ropes. But on June 3, 2017, Alex Honnold posed for a National Geographic photo — climbing shoes in hands, wide grin on face — atop the mammoth monolith after 3 hours and 56 minutes of flawless execution that crisp morning. His many years of meticulously detailed practice and planning had culminated in the realization of a dream that, three years after the fact, remains unthinkable to the lion’s share of humanity.

Why did he do it? How did he do it? Journalists around the world covered the incredible, death-defying feat, and the Free Solo documentary has netted almost $30M as of this writing. Nathaniel Rich of The Atlantic claimed that what we envy in Honnold is not so much his climbing ability, but rather “his ability to forget about death.”

It may seem...

Continue Reading...

In The Zone: Ingredients Of The Perfect Training Session

nathaniel hancock Jul 08, 2020

Unconscious. The flow state. In the zone.

These terms describe how we comprehend incredible performances — in athletics, the creative arts, and elsewhere — during which the protagonist transcends the mundane to momentarily enter another dimension.

Witnessing the zone in others is powerful; experiencing it ourselves can be literally breathtaking.

We have all seen the phenomenon in the sports world: swimmer Michael Phelps winning eight gold medals in one Olympics; runner Joan Benoit Samuelson besting the field to become the first women’s Olympic marathon champion; sprinter Usain Bolt annihilating the competition in both the 100m and 200m at three consecutive Olympics. While these are inspiring examples, the zone or flow state is not limited to the Olympic Games, winning medals, or even the wide world of sports. Instead, one can “flow” in a seemingly unlimited number of realms and disciplines, to include one’s profession as well as one’s...

Continue Reading...

Finding Joy In The Journey – Why The Process Means More Than The Outcome

nathaniel hancock May 11, 2020

Goals drive me. When I visualize a dream and begin to believe I can make it a reality, I get excited (my wife might say “obsessed”) and immediately start making plans for how to realize the ambition.

In the gym — and specifically in the sport of powerlifting — these goals tend to fall into two main categories: (1) personal records (PRs) in the squat, bench, deadlift, and total; and (2) competition goals, such as placing first in the Master’s (40+) category at a major meet or making a national team to compete in the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF).

While having my eyes on a specific prize is immensely motivating to me, over the years I have come to realize that finding “joy in the journey” (a phrase attributed to singer Michael Card) is ultimately more important than achieving the very goals that propel me forward.

What do I mean by this? To quote former Philadelphia 76ers guard Tony Wroten, “trust the process” and...

Continue Reading...

Preventing Weight Regain After a Diet

daniel debrocke Apr 24, 2020

Contrary to popular belief, dietary interventions to produce weight loss are quite efficacious. However the rate of recidivism is high at roughly 85%, with research demonstrating a substantial portion of weight lost being regained within just a few years (1). This is not simply a result of lapses in adherence, and in fact has strong genetic, biological, environmental and psychological influences. Given the audience this article will be seen by, the focus will revolve around strategies to optimize body composition both from a muscularity and leanness standpoint. The objective of this article is to understand why weight regain is so prevalent by exploring the various mechanisms (both direct and indirect) involved. From there we can compile a series of recommendations and strategies to bypass or at least minimize negative repercussions associated with dieting and the feared rebound. Although this article is not specifically geared toward bodybuilders or physique competitors, the...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.