A favorite phrase of well-informed personal trainers, when asked how to isolate a certain muscle, is "you can't isolate a muscle."
Technically, it is true. Muscles never truly work in isolation. For instance, even during an exercise like preacher curls, which seems like it completely isolates the biceps, there are other muscles at work. The primary movement in any biceps curl is elbow flexion. Although you may focus on the biceps brachii, there are two other muscles at work with the biceps to flex the elbow, the brachialis and brachioradialis. In fact, some folks may inform you that the brachialis is the prime mover and not the biceps, since the brachialis is the only one which is a pure elbow flexor.
Continue Reading » You Can't Isolate a Muscle, But Does it Matter?
Whenever you hear a fitness professional talk about what humans were "meant" to do, your bullshit meter should be pinging. Online fitness gurus love to vomit forth all sorts of hypotheses about what the human body was designed to do. And, when I say hypotheses, I mean uneducated, ignorant guesses. Those who place a lot of emphasis on lifting weights love to tell people that running is bad for you and will ruin your joints. One of their arguments tends to be that we were not "designed" for long-distance running. For example, an article in Breaking Muscle, supposedly busting fitness myths, quotes none other than Charles Poliquin, saying "Humans are meant to either sprint or walk long distances."
Continue Reading » Humans Were not Meant to Run Long Distances?
On Quora recently, a fellow asked that most typical question "what is the best way for me to gain muscle without becoming a gym rat."
What this fellow wanted to know was, basically, what was the minimum he'd need to do. He didn't want to be married to the gym. You can't really give a once size fits all answer to this question but one Quora responder did:
Continue Reading » Frequency is Not the Key to Success in Muscle Gaining?
If you are in the market for an Olympic barbell at a price you can afford, a great quality choice is the Body Solid 7 foot Olympic barbell.
I have always found Body Solid products to be well-made and very sturdy for home use.
Continue Reading » What is a Good Quality Affordable Barbell for Home Workouts?
You want a heavy squat but you just can't seem to add any weight to the bar. I can guarantee that it is because of one common problem that almost all squatters have. Once you fix this one problem you will be on your way to multiple squat PR's in no time!
Don't worry, I'll put in an anatomical diagram to prove I know what I am talking about. But let me explain how this one problem affects your squat, and why you need me to help you solve it.
Continue Reading » The ONE Problem That Will Keep You From Squatting Heavy
Quite a while ago, probably around 2006 or 2007, when "Practical Training" by Rippetoe was all the buzz, many people were wondering how to actually go about using the "Texas Method" 5x5 as mentioned in the book. There was no actual written program, only a loose explanation. Someone asked me how to do it, and I interpreted it. This "version" of the Texas Method found its way onto bodybuilding boards other than the board it originally was posted to. Not many people ever knew I wrote it down. I wish I hadn't. Now there are other versions of this "program" around, and hopefully, since then it has died the death it deserved in the first place. I doubt it, though.
Continue Reading » 5x5 Texas Method eBook? Don't Waste Your Money!
This information originally appeared as a forum thread here on GUS. In an effort to preserve the most popular (or perhaps important) information, before shutting down the forum, it will not appear as an article, permanently.
Regarding some questions about the infamous "buttwink" during the squat were posted on the Facebook page. I am going to answer them here as best I can. First things first, though:
Continue Reading » Curing The Buttwink During Squats
I have a dream. I dream of a world where strength training experts train people for strength and fat loss experts help people lose weight. In this fantasy world, neither pretends that the other is a primary goal. In other words, my strength experts will not claim that fat loss will make you stronger, and my fat loss experts will not claim that strength training will make you lose weight and therefore make you stronger.
Continue Reading » Cut The Relative Strength Bullshit in Fat Loss
Answer: It probably does, though of course it depends on the level and type of training.
Continue Reading » Does a Cool Down Period Help You Recover from Training?
In my article Is the Deadlift an Anything Goes Lift?, I brought up old time strength training culture, I wanted to make it clear that I was using it as an illustration of how the lifts came about, and not as a suggestion that we should emulate the way they trained.
Continue Reading » Were The Old-Time Strongmen Really Stronger?
I don't know if you've noticed, but in strength training, there seems to be two opposite groups along the emotional barometer.
Continue Reading » Happy Thoughts and A Barbell
This is a question I am surprised I've never mentioned, since it is asked so frequently. I decided to look around for answers to this question by personal trainers, and I must say I was disgusted at the results.
Continue Reading » Why Don't My Workouts Become Any Easier?
I'm currently reading a novel where the main character needs to put on muscle. Well, at least he thinks he needs to put on muscle. The author is confused. The character really needs to get as strong as possible as quickly as possible, which isn't necessarily the same thing at all. I won't tell you what book this is since you don't need to know just how much of a geek I am. OK, you forced me, it's sort of a time travel book about a guy who needs to fight an incoming wave of inter-dimensional monsters. See, I told you…
It is as simple as this: Clients expect a certain amount of confidentiality and professionalism when they hire a personal trainer. Most will assume that a fitness trainer will not make their personal business a source of water-cooler gossip, and certainly, they will not expect to be made fun of on social media posts. In fact, some people go so far as to have personal trainers sign confidentiality agreements. With so many trainers not having a clue about professional behavior, and being quite immature, this may be quite necessary, at times.
Continue Reading » My Trainer Makes Fun of Me on Social Media - Should I Find a New Trainer?
There is an entire series of posts, here at the GUS Blog, that are centered on failure. However, they are not about failing, but about how failure seems to be built in to so many methods and theories of strength training. The strength training culture often seems to place more emphasis on failure than success. You may wonder why I would go to the trouble of placing primary focus on it myself, to the extent of writing a bunch of articles around it. Well, you are going to fail, but failing should not be built into your training! Success should be built into it.
Continue Reading » Why Is Strength Training Obsessed With Failure?