I got on the topic of using muscle rubs for pre-workout on our Facebook page a while ago, dropping a few tips here and there. Some exercisers, and especially lifters, may think that it's not okay to occasionally use a muscle rub to help with aches and pains before a workout, or to help deal with stubborn joints. It is. You just have to use your best judgment and not try to use muscle rubs to cover up the pain of an acute injury so that you can work through it at the wrong intensity and volume. A pre-workout muscle rub is great for a stubborn joint that needs a little help now and again, but it should never be used to work around an active injury. I thought for today's letter I'd go over some basics on how muscle rubs work.
Continue Reading » Are Muscle Rubs Useful For Pre-Workout?
Strength training is actually simpler than you thought. The majority of basic articles on strength training do not bother to define strength training at all. When it is defined, the word "strength" is used in the explanation. The most typical type of definition looks something like this: "Strength training is using resistance to build your physical (or muscular) strength."
Usually, however, explanations focus on the benefits of strength training: Strength training builds muscle, decreases injury risk, makes bones stronger, etc.
Continue Reading » What Is Strength Training?
If You are Not Going to Compete, The Only Reason to Strength Train is For Fitness and Health: Stop Saying That!
I am going to have an aneurysm. There is a little vein in my forehead that is just pulsing. It's getting bigger and bigger and I'm afraid its getting ready to pop. Why? Because yet again I read someone saying that unless you plan to compete, your goal in strength training should not be to get stronger or to achieve a big lift. It infuriates me. Plain and simple. I am sick of hearing it and sick of reading it. It's bullshit. Stop saying it.
Train Smart; Not Hard. This is one of those aphorisms I'm not sure about. It sounds good, doesn't it? On one hand, I've said it myself in regards to strength training. When I said it, I had a fairly specific idea of what I meant. I meant to say that you should ignore the macho caveman bullshit that is such a part of messages about strength training, where people say things like "Just shut up and lift heavy. Work hard. Beast mode!" I meant that you should THINK, PLAN, ASSESS, and, you know, just generally behave like you have something between your ears. Don't live up to the meathead view of strength training. It really does take some smarts to get very, very strong.
Continue Reading » Train Smart; Not Hard - Does Intelligence Mean Less Effort is Required?
So, I watched a few minutes of the first episode of the new show Gym Rescue, where Randy Couture and Frank Shamrock try to rescue a floundering gym. It is pretty much the same premise of Bar Rescue, which makes sense because it is a spinoff of that show, airing on Spike TV. I would have done better to have a drink while watching it.
Continue Reading » 'Gym Rescue' Reminded Me Of Fitness BS I Hate
Critical thinking, like "evidence based training" is all the rage these days. That's great, if it was anything more than a couple of buzz-words. However, it seems that people in the fitness industry want to talk about good thinking, rather than do it. It's hard work. It's never-ending. It's kind of like deadlifts. There are those who do them, and there are those who shout "Booyah, arrrgh, deadlifts, BEASTMODE! Hardcore!" One of my main reasons for not believing that critical thinking is really something the fitness industry, at large, cares about, is that too many of its members do it selectively. In other words, they think about things they have a negative reaction to, and criticize those things, but when something happens to coincide with their general views, the thinking stops, even if it doesn't represent a credible "scientific" stance. One of these instances is anecdotal evidence, and "this works for me" prescriptions given by individual trainees, or better yet, celebrities who strength train or stay fit for movies, or what have you.
Continue Reading » What Can the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) Tell Us About Strength Training?
Of the following items, which do you feel you absolutely need: Food, water, clothing, shelter, microwave oven, cell phone, and personal training? A bit of a daft question, perhaps. We know, as humans, that our absolute necessities of survival do not include microwave ovens, cell phones, and personal training. We can say that we must have food, water, clothing, and shelter. We might also include healthcare and education in that list. Other things, no matter how much we love them, are luxuries. However, what we don't always realize is that before the microwave oven was invented, there was no demand for it. And for years, when our rotary phone was attached to the kitchen wall and we had to stretch the coiled cord of the handset over to the broom closet so our parents wouldn't hear our private conversation, there was no demand for cell phones. So, just because a product or service is useful and even though it changes our lives, the demand for these things does not exist until they arrive on the scene. But, often, it takes more than usefulness to create demand for a product.
Continue Reading » Is Exercise Subjective? The Personal Training Industry and Demand Creation
For a couple of years now I have been giving away a free PDF book entitled "Strength Training and Bodybuilding: How Different Are They?" This book explains, to my way of thinking and in no uncertain terms, how bodybuilding is a practice that is distinct from strength training. This was not a book that I ever hyped and certainly not something I thought would set the strength training world on fire. In fact, I doubted it would make a difference at all, no pun intended.
Although many hundreds of people received the book, only a few ever expressed any views on it and there are several people who absolutely loved it, to the point that they insisted I should be selling this book. If I sold it, they told me, people would take it more seriously and I would therefore reach more people, besides making money, etc. Well, I know that all this is true. If I promoted my books, and myself, I'd be more successful!
Continue Reading » Strength Training v. Bodybuilding Part 1: The eBook Expanded
I've been following a "volume" oriented approach to Deadlifts for many months now. This blog post is meant to explain this quality based volume approach to training heavy on Deadlifts.
Continue Reading » Quality Volume Deadlifts
Continue Reading » Quality Volume Training (QVT) - Lift BIG Video and Article
The standard definition of a stall is a temporary stop in progression. When most people talk about a stall or plateau they are talking about failure to progress on one or two exercises.
Continue Reading » Are Strength Training Stalls or Plateaus Inevitable?
Each exercise or strength related thing that you do is an individual skill. They, in and of themselves,are not "strength" but are a display of skill which shows specific strength. You put a bunch of these diverse skills together and you have something that can be called overall strength.
Continue Reading » Strength and Exercise Myth: Skills are Always Developed in a Sequence
There are many ways of looking at linear progression. The term itself is just a bit of meaningless babble that has somehow become vogue in the strength training world. All progression is linear. It's just not all a straight line. But this is not what people mean by linear progression, what they really mean is linear loading. However, a huge misunderstanding in strength is that your training will continue to be a simple journey from point A to point B and there will always be a straight line between those points.
Continue Reading » In Strength Training, Do You Always Progress in a Linear Fashion?
There are two parts of this title and both contain a common misconception. However, the source of the misconceptions may not be what you think. I'll get into the weight training (strength training) part first. Strength trainees come in all shapes and sizes. Clear? You've got tall and lanky ones, short and fireplug shaped ones. Big ones with huge guts. Little guys with lean and wiry bodies. Little guys who are stronger than they look. Big guys who are not defined and look a bit flabby but are unnervingly strong. And of course, I don't mean to leave out the females, I just know better than to talk about female body shapes! You look good. Honest! What else? Oh, guys that have blocky waists and are very strong. Guys who have tapered and thin waists but are also very strong (another myth don't ya know).
I've been thinking about this and I don't usually go about talking about my numbers but several things have unfolded recently both on my Facebook page and unrelated to this page on other fitness pages. I don't like to toot my own horn as they say but I've found that every so often you have to take a stand even if it means praising yourself.
Continue Reading » Being A Maximal Strength Trainee