Strength training and fitness in general brings on reams of discussion as to what it means to be an expert. They also bring on droves of people who play at being an expert on the internet and, increasingly, on television. Recognize that I cannot hope to define expertize without it tending to align with my own interests and biases. However, I do think that the non-expert may be distinctly recognizable!
One of the biggest taboos in mainstream fitness and strength training is when a trainee wants to specialize on just one or two lifts. This is a huge deal on online forums and anyone who questions this is usually bullied and made to follow whatever program the forum elite are endorsing at the time. The good news is that strength specialization through prioritizing lifts is totally possible and should be advocated for. The bad news is that all the famous e-gurus and e-strength coaches that are pumping out routines and cookie cutters are being hypocritical about this topic. The bottom line is that it is crucial to prioritize the lifts in order to aggressively train them.
Continue Reading » Choosing Exercises For Aggressive Progression
I originally started writing this little blog post as a status update for Facebook just to share observations about the happenings on various strength forums of the internet. However, while developing my points, I realized I want to provide some practical solutions regarding strength training. So, what I want to do with this article is put forth a way to go about selecting weight training programs and then provide some unconventional yet practical templates for those of you interested in getting strong.
Continue Reading » How To Choose A Weight Training Routine
There are two kinds of "cheating" in the strength training and bodybuilding world. On one hand there is sloppy, desperate, and out of control exercise technique done when it is not necessary. And there is cheating which is controlled and purposeful. The former is obviously bad and dangerous. The latter, however, is more akin to "forced reps". This can and will be done occasionally in order to force the muscles to work a bit harder in their strongest range of motion than they otherwise would with strict technique.
Continue Reading » What are Cheating Reps (aka Cheating Method, Cheating System)?
Not many strength trainees have personal trainers or strength coaches to check up on them when they are lifting. I actually think that most people who do strength training have never had any formal help of any kind. Probably, if you did a survey or something, you'd find the number of trainees with this kind of luxury so small it is insignificant. This means that most trainees are on their own and get no advice whatsoever, or they get their advice from the internet. Most training advice on the internet seems to come back to exercise form. Everybody seems to be an expert on “form.” Also, there are a lot of technique experts. I doubt that most of these internet-experts even know what the word form means. And since the word form and technique are used interchangeably, they must not know what technique means either. It's not easy to explain, so I asked Eric how he would go about explaining it, and here is what he had to say:
Continue Reading » The Reality of Using Lifting Videos for Exercise Form Checks
You ever heard the expression, in lifting circles, "It was a real grinder?" This usually refers to a deadlift and it is when someone tries a very heavy lift, presumably a 1RM or thereabouts, and he really struggles with the load and completes the lift very slowly with a lot of hitches and adjustment, etc. So a grinder means a painstakingly difficult and slow lift that does not go from the floor to the waist in one easy shot. You will probably see a lot of fits, jiggles, and other manner of evidence that the lifter is at his absolute force output.
Practical training involves balancing exercises and how much of your workload is dedicated to training them. If you look at most of the powerlifting, strength training or other such routines floating around the web, you’re going to notice all of them focusing on the big compound movements, but then listing a ton of supplementary, assistance, or accessory lifts after them. Typically, you'll see someone recommending a few sets of heavy Bench Press followed by a total of 15-20 sets of other pressing work, pull-ups, rows, and other exercises for reps. You meet someone at the gym and you ask them what they’re training that day and they’ll tell you that they’re doing 2-3 sets of Squats followed by 10 sets of other leg exercises. Does this seem reasonable? I mean, if you’re doing 2-3 sets of Squats and then 10 sets of some other leg exercises that doesn’t make it a “squat” day, does it? The bulk of the workload is utilized on these supplementary exercises.
Continue Reading » Exercise Selection and Workload
There is a lot of talk about Michael Phelps and his many, many medals. Is he the greatest Olympian ever? Well, it depends on your perspective. As has been said already a thousand times, a case can be made that he is the greatest Olympian ever. But what is true of athletics in general is true of the Olympics. In fact, the Olympics is a case study in athletes with a capital A.
I’m writing this article to shed some more light on Speed Work and to suggest some other ways it can be used in your training. Using Speed Work for Strength Training has become exceedingly popular. Strength & Conditioning Certifications list it as a mandatory part of Maximal Strength Training and almost all powerlifting programs have a whole day dedicated to "Speed Training".
Continue Reading » How To Use Speed Work For Maximal Strength Gains
The Double Progressive System is a resistance training method that attempts to vary the stimulus by changing the number of repetitions and the resistance used. At first the resistance is kept the same and the number of repetitions is increased with each consecutive workout, until a certain per-arranged number of reps is reached. At this point, various scenarios are given as to how to continue, but all of them involve decreasing the reps and increasing the resistance. A common scenario would have the lifter simply increase the load by 5% and reduce the number of reps back down to the initial low starting point, and then repeating the process.
Continue Reading » Double Progressive System
Oh my, so very, very, wrong. And yet it is a commonly stated idea. If you never need a spotter then it is fair to say you never truly train for strength. Strength training involves lifting very heavy weights and sometimes weights that exceed those you've lifted before. This isn't rocket surgery. You want to get strong you have to venture into uncharted territory and you can never be sure. Therefore there are always times in strength training where a spotter, or at least safety catches of some kind, are needed. This has nothing to do with just whether you train to failure or not. Anybody who is around strength training even a moderate amount of time will see lifters failing at lifts where a spotter should have been present, or, again, where the lifter at least should have been within a power rack with spotter bars. So, if someone says you never need a spotter unless you train to "failure," you're talking to someone who is twiddling around with strength training but that doesn't really know anything about it.
Continue Reading » If you Don't Train to Failure, You'll Never Need a Spotter
A while back I made a post called Asinine Expectations. In one I said that it is a false assumption to expect your "form" to perfectly match someone else's form on a given complex movement. This is something I've come across with trainees again and again. They look at other people lifting, or worse, look at STILL IMAGES and think they are doing it wrong if they don't "match" when they do the exercise pictured.
I once wished that strongman was a more popular sport. Well, I am beginning to get what I wished for. However, I failed to foresee the unfortunate side-effect of this popularity: Trendy "Strongman fitness" programs thrown together in slapdash fashion for mass consumption. Case in point, this news program from NBC Today showing a Strongman circuit program for women.
Continue Reading » Dangerous Strongman Circuits for Women (or Men!)
Somebody recently implied that I try to sell pure strength training to everybody. The idea being, I suppose, that I want to convince everybody to engage in maximum strength training and think it is "bad" if they don't, or, by extension, fail to follow my advice. Well, those who have read my blog extensively, of course, know better, since the "selling of strength" training is something I adamantly oppose and often complain about.
Continue Reading » Deadlifts and Muscle Mass: Myths that Sell
Why? I've always wondered about this. Are you such an Adonis but at the same time so weak that you need to work your butt off so that you can become as strong as you look? Even pro bodybuilders are pretty darn strong compared to the average Joe. But let's just stick with the average Joe, not the pro. Let me ask again, why would you want to get strong without adding any muscle?
I wonder this because at least once a month I see a new article explaining how to do this. Why is this concept so popular? Is it because:
Continue Reading » Want to Increase Strength without Adding Muscle?
Page Tree Navigation
- A Bit About Specificity and Transfer Of Training Effect
- Are Machines Safer Than Free Weights?
- Are Strength Training Stalls or Plateaus Inevitable?
- Asinine Expectations in Strength Training
- Being A Maximal Strength Trainee
- Bodyweight Exercises: The Wide Eyed Effect
- Bruce Lee Strength Training Myths
- Choosing Exercises For Aggressive Progression
- Core Strength And Stability
- Corrective Exercise: What I'm Really Tired Of
- Crossfit Training
- Dangerous Strongman Circuits for Women (or Men!)
- Detraining and Deconditioning
- Double Progressive System
- Double Standards in the Strength Training Community
- Easily Convert Kg to Pounds (Lbs) in Your Head
- Elite Athletes
- Banded Deadlifts
- Bench Press
- Biceps Tears from Deadlifts?
- Clean Style Deadlift versus Powerlifting Deadlift
- Deadlifts and Muscle Mass: Myths that Sell
- Hook Grip Versus Alternated Grip for Deadlifts
- How to Deadlift with Standard Plates
- How to do Deadlifts: Hips Too High, Too Low, or Just Right
- One Legged Deadlift? What is That? And What Does it Do for your Strength Training?
- Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
- Romanian Versus Stiff Legged Deadlifts
- Should I Push or Pull for Deadlifts?
- Slow Versus Fast Pulls: Why is the Deadlift a Slow Pull and the Olympic Lifts Fast Pulls?
- Snatch Grip Deadlifts
- Suitcase Deadlifts
- The Deadlift is not a Deadlift and Other Infectious Aphorisms
- Top 10 Rules For Deadlift Training
- What Muscle Should I Feel Working When I Do Deadlifts and Why Do I Feel It Mostly in My Back?
- Do Not Have a Huge List of Absolutely Essential Exercises
- Deadlifts: Don't Jerk the Weight off The Floor - Well Meaning But Confusing Advice
- Having Trouble Breathing and Bracing Your Core During Overhead Press?
- Little Tweaks for Big Lifts? Another Strength Training Myth Goes Down, plus the Big Deadlift and Squat Tweaks
- Overhead Squat Do's
- Performing the Powerlifting Squat for Raw Lifters
- The Deadlift is an Anything-Goes Lift? Plus, Were the Old Time Strongmen Really Stronger?
- Front Planks
- How to Perform the Military Press (Standing Overhead Barbell Press)
- Olympic Lifts
- Overhead Press And Weighted Pull-Ups
- Pull-Throughs (Hip Pulls) Exercise
- Single Leg Exercises
- Anderson Half Squat
- Anderson Squats
- Can I Squat without a Squat Rack?
- Fixing the Buttwink on Squats
- Front Squats
- Front Squats and Back Squats
- Front Squats Versus Back Squats
- Impressive Overhead Squat
- Kneeling Squats
- The Four Squat Workout
- The 'Wrong' Way To Squat
- Tweaking the Overhead Squat: Dislocates, Reaching Back, Grip Width and Mobility Drills
- The Cook Hip Lift
- The Dynamic Barbell Row: A Semantic Exercise
- The Functional Big Three
- Exercise Selection and Workload
- Five Tips for a Better Strength Training Workout
- Giant Sets
Grip and Hand Strength Training
- Beginner Grip Training
- Gripper Info and Gripper Training
- Gripping the Bar for Deadlifts: Correct Grip, Supporting Strength, and Calluses
- Grip Strength Training Equipment: Using A Blob For Pinch Strength
- Hands Like Vise Grips
- If You Can't Grip It, You Can't Rip It
- Pinch Grip Dumbbell Deadlifts
- Rubber Band Hand Extensions
- The Crosswise Brick Exercise
- Homemade Equipment
- How To Choose A Weight Training Routine
- How To Deload - Some Practical Suggestions
- How to Perform Your Specific Exercise Warm Ups
- If you Don't Train to Failure, You'll Never Need a Spotter
- In Strength Training, Do You Always Progress in a Linear Fashion?
- Is Exercise Subjective? The Personal Training Industry and Demand Creation
- Is Michael Phelps the Greatest Athlete Ever? How Do We Compare This to Lifting?
- Lean And Toned from Bodyweight Training but Big and Bulky from Weight Training?
- Learning The Lifts
- Maxing Out Every Day
Mobility and Flexibility
- Dynamic Mobility Videos
- Mobility and Flexibility
Mobility Exercises and Drills
- 4-Point Thoracic Mobilization
- Bird Dog Exercise (4-point to 2-point Kneeling Spinal Stability Exercise)
- Cat Stretch (aka Cat Camel)
- Cook Deep Squat Mobility Progression with Video Demonstration
- Scapular Push-Up (Push-Up Plus)
- Scapular Wall Slides Exercise
- Side Lying Thoracic Rotations
- Static Spiderman Stretch (Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch)
- Supine Bridge Exercise for Glute Activation and Dynamic Warm Up
- Thoracic Extensions on Foam Roller
- Warrior Lunge
- Static Stretching Effects On Force Production and Performance
- The Stretching Handbook
- The Stretching Handbook 2
- The Stretching Handbook 3
- The Stretching Handbook 4
- The Stretching Handbook 5
- The Stretching Handbook 7
- The Stretching Handbook 8
- The Stretching Handbook 9
- What Is Dynamic Mobility?
- Overtraining Doesn't Always Produce a Decline in Maximum Strength
- Personal Trainers and Personal Training
- Pistols: What have you done for me lately?
- Planks: Fitness Fad or Truth?
- Andrey Malanichev
- Bad Attitude Gym
- Big Iron Gym
- Bob Gaynor: 63 Year Old Deadlifts 672 Pounds
- Brad Gillingham
- Brad Gillingham 400 kg Deadlift Record
- Chase Kiser Prepares for APF Senior Nationals
- Crazy Deadlifting by Konstantine Konstantinovs and Andy Bolton
- Dave Tate Talking Trash
- Donnie Thompson Squat Record
- George Leggett Deadlifts 396 @ 165
- Ian Bell Breaks Three American Records
- John Bostick Deadlifts 710
- Konstantine Konstantinovs Interview
- Lance Karabel 1008 Lbs Squat
- Mike Ross Deadlifts 730 @ 218
- Mike Tuchscherer
- Shane Hammock Breaks APF Jr Record!!!!
- Stan Efferding
- Super Cup Of The Titans 2011
- Tom Martin 350 kg Deadlift Record
- Vincent Urbank 846 Deadlift
- Programs and Methods Versus Principles: Wave Loading and Interval Training
- Quality Volume Training (QVT) - Lift BIG Video and Article
- Quantitative Measurements and Quality Evaluations: The Difference Between Numbers and Performance
- Rest Periods
- Should I Lift Fast or Slow? Training to Failure, Single Sets versus Multiple Sets, Non Sequitors and False Dilemmas
- Should You Switch Exercises to Keep Your Muscles from Adapting?
- Single Double Triple Progression: SDT FAQ
- Speed Training (Speed Work, Dynamic Effort, DE)
- Strength and Exercise Myth: Skills are Always Developed in a Sequence
- Strength Consolidation: An Example
- Strength Consolidation For Deadlifts
- Strength: Simple But Difficult?
- Strength Training Rep And Set Range
- Strength Training v. Bodybuilding Part 1: The eBook Expanded
- Strength Training with Single, Double and Triple Progression
- The Perfect Strength Training Program
- The Problem with Reactive Training
- The Reality of Using Lifting Videos for Exercise Form Checks
- The Singles Scene - Your Guide to Single Rep Strength Training
- Training Equipment
Training To Fail Series
- Training to Fail Part 2: Intensity Cycling and High Intensity Overtraining
- Training to Fail Part 3: The Failure of Intensity Cycling
- Training to Fail Part 4: Optimal Training
- Training to Fail Part 5: Focus and Pick A Program
- Training to Fail Part 6: Biomechanics, Injury Prevention, and Performance
- Training To Fail: The Failurists
- Valsalva Maneuver
- Want to Increase Strength without Adding Muscle?
- What are Cheating Reps (aka Cheating Method, Cheating System)?
- What is Fitness-Fatigue?
- Why Do Some Lifters GRIND on Maximum Lifts When Others Don't - I.E. Grinders Versus NonGrinders
- Wobble Boards, Bosu Balls, or Foam: What's The Difference?