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Explosivelyfit focuses on the development of superior strength with the intent to help all drug free athletes reach their true strength potential.
You can get stronger and more powerful because these strength training methods and tips work.
you ready to run
Floor pressing with mechanics seats
Resistance training and flexibility
Questions often arise as to the usefulness of the small Velcro style attached weights. But that may be the wrong question to be asking if you are interested in safe, healthy exercise.
Attaching the weights to your ankles and doing any type of fast movements, where your legs are extending, such as happens when running or jogging puts an excessive strain on the knee and hip joints. Over time, this can cause problems leading to laxity in the joint capsule, potential constriction, and/or adhesion of the surrounding tissues resulting in abnormal wear patterns in the joint.
Thus, using these ankle weights for any type of aerobic exercise is not recommended. However, there are times when they are useful in an exercise program. And those times are when you need some extra resistance doing leg curls and quad sets at home.
These little weights are ideal when you are recovering from a lower joint surgery, particularly a total knee replacement. They will help you get back your range of motion, help develop endurance and eventually increase your strength in small increments. All of which you will need to completely recover from this surgery.
They can be useful when rehabbing your ankle from a strain if you follow your doctor and physical therapists advice on when and how to use them.
Although I have never used them when riding a stationary bike they may even be of benefit here too.
If you do any type of upper bodywork, eventually you're going to be doing floor presses; especially if you want to increase the amount of weight, you can bench press.
Sometimes just getting the power rack setup to do a floor press can be problematic. Not only are you going to be tying up the power rack to do the floor presses but you still have to move all of the chains, bands, and kettle bells over to that area. The other area of possible concern is how the floor feels on your elbows when they are under a load at the bottom of the lift.
In my opinion, the solution to both of these issues is to do floor press with two mechanics seats.
Normally a well-equipped weight-training gym is going to have all of the bench press material in one area centralized around the benches. Here you will have the different sizes of chains, the various sizes of stretch bands, and nephew smaller elastic bands to hold the kettle bells on the end of the bar. Carting all this stuff over the power rack is a needless and time wasting activity when you already have everything you need in one spot.
One of the easiest ways to simplify and incorporate a floor press movement into your bench press routine is to use mechanics seats. These can be purchased at almost any auto parts store or any of the major tool supply houses.
When buying these seats, get the ones that are heavily padded and adjust up-and-down with the flick of a lever. With this style of a seat, you can easily and quickly adjust the seat level at bench height or up to several inches above the top of the bench surface.
Now that you have your seats, it is time to start using them. There are several steps to take in order to get your seats set up correctly.
The initial one is to make sure the top of the mechanics seat is even with the top of the bench. You will want to lie on the bench, lift the bar off the rack and lower your arms down in your normal groove. Note where your elbows touch the mechanics seat; if they are way off to one side, then move the seat to where your elbows are touching the center at the bottom position of the lift.
The next thing to do is to make sure that the seats do not move while you're lifting.
You can accomplish this simply by blocking each one in position with several weight plates. This simply keeps the seat where you want it to be as you lift.
Once you have your seats set up where you want them to be for normal floor pressing it is time to start making some height adjustments on it.
Adjusting the height of the seat allows you to work on your sticking point slightly below where it occurs during the lift. With these adjustable mechanics seats, you are able to go up in minutely small increments. (I realize that minutely and smaller are redundant terms, but they seemed to fit together in this sentence). This makes working on the sticking points all that more efficient.
Squats - simply squat down until your buttocks are close to the floor. Do this without bending over at the start; just keep pushing your buttocks toward the rear, just like you down when you sit down in a chair to eat supper. At the bottom of the squat, your hip joint will be below the top of your knee. This is below parallel. Parallel does not mean your hips and knees are at a ninety degree angle. This is a high squat in every book. Go low and get something out of the exercise.
Calf raises - stand up tall on your toes for high numbers of repetitions. You can do them on stair steps for added emphasis on your calves. Or one foot at a time for added emphasis or balance practice.
Good mornings - just bend over at your waist and then stand up straight for one repetition. Do these for high repetitions to build the endurance into your lower back muscles.
Lower back extension
We’ve all seen the pseudo trainers standing on a stability ball swinging something around in their hands.
Just when I thought I’d about seen it all, another screwball shows up with an even goofier exercise. This example shows a guy on a trampoline standing on a BOSU (1) with the rounded part facing the trampoline.
He must have a great liability insurance policy and is probably hoping the insurance company doesn't see this photo of stupidity in action.
I suspect the people that do these things crave attention, negative in this case, because this is the only thing such a stunt could provide.
In the Explosively Strength Training programs, we NEVER stand on these types of gear. We are strong but not stupid.
(1) The BOSU looks like a stability ball cut in half with one side a flat surface and its opposite, the rest of the ball. It can be used with either side up or down for various exercises.
Maximum power output, as many strength athletes already know, results from using loads in the intensity ranges of 30-40 % one repetition maximum. But the maximal coefficient of reactivity will be obtained by utilizing weight loads in the 30-33 % ranges.
Strength training will increase explosive power. But training cannot be confined exclusively to strength regimens, some of it must be in the power percentages.
Are you just beginning to lift weights? If so, then seeking out a knowledgeable coach to guide you along may be the first and most important thing you should consider doing. Check their credentials. Are they certified by a recognized organization such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) or the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)? Do they care about you or just your money and the gym membership? Ask them for references. After all, it truly is a buyer beware situation when you are trying to get stronger and are paying out good money for the results you desire.
Maximum lifts are to be avoided in any new weight training program. If this is the case then how are you expected to lift heavy if you don’t know how to lift in the first place? The answer is you can’t. So don’t be intimidated into adding more and more on the bar in your first sessions. Learn how to lift, build up a base and then gradually start adding the weight.
Excessive initial loads contribute little to becoming stronger but do expose you to an increased likelihood of injury. A new lifter will do quite well with a load varying in the range of 60-80% of a muscles force generating capability. You may be wondering how this is determined. One of the safer ways is to simply estimate a conservative load and try it out.
Another more frequently used method is to do a set amount of repetitions, i.e. ten, five or three, and then use commonly available charts to determine the percentage weight to use based on the outcome of the multi repetition test. Once the percentage has been figured out then the sets and reps will be a matter of professional knowledge and experience for your coach.
Using lighter weights for more repetitions is generally wiser for the inexperienced lifter. Selecting loads that allow ten to fifteen repetitions for two to four sets in each exercise helps build a strong base to continue future training. This repetition and set scheme will not place an excessive load on the bones, ligaments, muscles or tendons of the new lifter. More importantly it will not cause negative disruptions on the nervous system.
Certainly if the lifter is able to easily lift the selected percentage load for the chosen repetitions then more weight can be added the next session. A minimum of twelve repetitions is the determining factor in this decision to go to a higher load. This process will be trial and error for the first two to three sessions unless the coach is highly experienced.
Once the weight has been figured out then it’s time to set up the training load schedule in one of several ways: Progressive, over load, or step loading.
Progressive is effective for the new lifter for a short time then becomes less productive. The schedule will appear in this fashion. Three to four sets of various loads with a certain number of repetitions. For example, a warm up followed by one set of eight reps, then one set of six and finally one set of four. This schedule is followed for the rest of the training time.
The overload scheduling scheme leads to over training which in turn will lead to staleness, lack of interest and even injury. Many coaches like this as they believe the athlete benefits from the extra work. Not so. The athlete becomes disinterested and fatigued. In this system the load progressively increases every week or even every session. There is no rest built into this loading program and the constantly increasing intensity quickly leads to overtraining and its attendant problems.
The step load seems to be the best alternative for the new trainee in that one load is used throughout the entire sequence of one exercise. In the step load the warm up is completed and then one load is chosen which has been determined by the previous testing. This load then remains for three to five sets until it is no longer a challenge to the lifter. This is co-determined by both the lifter and the coach’s observations of the lifters speed and bar path.
An able coach will also start out the exercise session with a dynamic warm up such as riding a bike, skipping rope (my favorite warm up exercise) or some other active motion type of movement. If your coach starts out with static stretches then it’s time to find one more knowledgeable in the field.
Depending on the sessions some will begin with the larger muscle groups first and gradually work their way to the smaller ones such as the arms or calves. On other occasions the exercises will begin with the targeted muscle groups and work from this point onward.
One final note or two; keep a log of your progress in the weight room it will show you how well you’ve done…or not. If the or not is taking place it’s time to find another coach and begin to make some progress.
Sports scientists and strength coaches are well aware of the importance of a strong back. One of the exercises that will contribute to strengthening this often times injured area is simple to do and can be done nearly anywhere.
Position yourself up against a wall so that your head, shoulders, upper back, buttocks and heels are all touching at the same time. Now while maintaining this contact, try to push the lumbar area of your spine against the wall. Keep the pressure evenly distributed throughout the lumbar area and hold it for four or five seconds at a time for five to six good repetitions.
If this seems too difficult then do it supine on the floor. Once you've figured this out on the floor then move back to the standing version.
you ready to run?
If you have been working out over the winter then you probably already know what to do and are following a general plan and simply running the way you feel like each day. Others of you may be following a well laid out plan and come what may you are adhering to it every time you go out.
Most newbie’s make the mistake of doing too much, too soon and end up injured. An ideal beginning program ensures a low training volume for three to six months which allows the body to acclimate to the mechanical loading. Taking the necessary steps to prevent injury will lead to longer lasting enjoyment of this form of exercise.
Begin by analyzing your motivation and discipline. Just why are you out there in the first place? Is it for you or for someone else? Do you have the discipline to stick with it for at least three months? After the three months the subconscious begins to control the habit of running consistently. Support from family and friends, self efficacy, perseverance and a healthy mental attitude will contribute to your success.
Setting short, intermediate and long range goals that are measurable, achievable, realistic and time limited will help keep you on track. Shaping these behaviors boils down to a series of steps that ultimately lead to obtaining your goal.
Allocate a specific time and duration each day for your running or your choice of exercise. Run with a group, or by yourself in the morning or at noon, after supper or as soon as you get home from work. Stick with it.
Once you begin to follow your personal schedule it becomes self reinforcing and provides more encouragement to continue. Lay out your running gear before you go to bed or as soon as you get up in the morning. This is the stimuli and encouragement that makes you want to follow through.
Once you are running, focus either on what you are doing or anything else except what you are doing. These two strategies, associative and dissociative are distinctively different and are used as the need arises. Most elite runners use the associative method as it allows them to keep track of the feedback from their bodies. New runners generally will do better if they use dissociation because as they begin thinking about the run and how their bodies are hurting they are less likely to continue.
Beginners can employ coping skills during the run. Positive self talk, encouraging inner thoughts, taking in the scenery and simply being happy they are out there doing it will carry the day.
After you have decided to actually get going decide if you should talk to your doctor before heading out the door. If you are middle aged, set up an appointment and get a checkup. It takes but a few minutes to find out if you are up to doing what you want to do. Meanwhile, this quick self administered quiz may alert you to some danger signs.
ACTIVITY READINESS QUESTIONNAIRE-(PAR-Q).
Has your doctor ever said you have heart condition and that
you should only do physical activity recommended by a doctor?
If you answered YES to one or more questions: Before increasing your physical activity and/or taking a fitness test consult with your personal physician by telephone or in person. Speak to your doctor about the PAR-Q, and discuss the questions answered YES. Talk with your doctor about the kinds of activities you wish to participate in and follows his or her advice.
You may be able to do any activity you want as long as you start slowly and build up gradually. On the other hand, you may need to restrict your activities to those, which are safe for you.
If you answered No to all questions: you have a reasonable assurance of your present suitability for an exercise regimen. Success often results through the correct application of scientific exercise principles and dedication, such as those that follow.
in a fitness appraisal, this is an excellent way to determine
your basic fitness so that you can plan the best way for you
to live actively.
Delay becoming much more active if you are not feeling well because of temporary illness such as a cold or a fever. It is best to wait until you feel better. If you are, or think you may be pregnant; talk to your doctor before becoming more physically active.
If in doubt after completing the questionnaire, consult with your doctor or health care provider prior to beginning any new physical activity.
After talking it over with your doctor and getting their ok then it’s up to you to dress appropriately. Get good shoes, spend some money and get good shoes! There are too many guidelines to be discussed here so I won’t. Choose your clothing wisely. Dress lightly.
If you are a woman wear a specially designed sports bra to minimize breast injury or soreness during the run. At a minimum these should have firm, non slip, non stretch straps and connected directly to a non elastic cup. It should have no irritating seams or fasteners that are directly on the skin. Finally the bra should hold the breasts in a rounded shape close to the body.
The general laws of running state gradually start out by training gently, train frequently all year round. Go for distance then speed. Don’t set your schedule in concrete, be flexible and alternate hard runs with easy ones. Try to get as much out of the minimum of training as possible, don’t be in a hurry to push onto the next level and don’t race when training or run at a race pace at distances above 16 km. Don’t overtrain, seek out a competent coach and stay mentally tough. Sleep well before a big race and keep a daily diary of your accomplishments.
The motor units that become active during a lift are determined by the amount of weight to be lifted or the amount of weight you think you are lifting-the mind muscle connection.
Do you know if you and your heart are training at a sufficient level to make progress by encouraging the heart muscle to get stronger? If not then the next time you train try counting your heart beats and find out where you stand. This is a quick and dirty way of finding out if you are on track to achieving higher levels of fitness.
To begin the test make sure you have the right equipment on hand. You will need a clock with a sweep hand, or a digital one with an internal stop watch or better yet an actual stop watch. As soon as you are finished exercising take your pulse. Do not wait even two to five seconds to do so or the results will be misleading. Now that this figure is noted take your pulse again in exactly one minute-not a minute and two seconds but precisely one minute. If for example you decide to count right after your exercise is done and do so for one full minute then the second minute would begin immediately with not interruptions between the two.
The next step is to subtract the second reading from the first and then divide the answer by 10. The resultant answer is then compared to the following chart to determine your level of cardio-over all physical fitness.
If your calculations come up less than the number 2 then you are in poor shape and need to work out a bit more and a bit harder by upping your cardiovascular workouts. Raise the target heart rate percentages up into the 70% HR for your age and gender.
Numbers between 2-3 indicate a fair fitness position but it definitely could be improved with higher workout intensities.
Good readings start to appear between 3-4 and get even better at ranges of 4-6. Superior fitness is indicated when the numbers are above 6.
If you are already in superior shape then the dividend number changes. In this instance take your pulse immediately after exercising as before and then again at the thirty second mark. Now rather than dividing by 10 you will divide by 5 to arrive at the answer.
If you are concerned about overtraining take your pulse three mornings in a row as soon as you wake up. If by chance you are entering the overtraining phase of things your pulse may be up higher than normal. Some of the literature suggests these higher pulse rates can be as much as ten beats more per minute than normal. If this is the case then it’s time to lower your level of training until your body has a chance to recover.
of movement perfection
A recent study by William J. Kraemer and associates showed the hormonal response benefits of three separate types of maximum heavy resistance training protocols. This group examined the response effects from the bench press, sit up and bilateral leg extensions exercises based upon percentages of the maximal ten repetition, five set scheme with a two minute rest between each set.
The three exercise program variances were:
10 repetition maximal (10 RM) loads of five sets of ten repetitions
with a two minute rest in between the sets.
The results were pretty clear after the study was finished as to which protocol released the greatest amount of growth hormones. There was a significant increase in the serum growth hormone after the heavy maximal ten rep/five sets were completed. And, this was true in both men and women, but more so for the men than the women. Serum testosterone significantly increased in the men, but not the women and only while engaging in the heavy maximal sessions.
Since these two substances are critical to long-term adaptations of strength and power this study may help in the long-term process of inducing greater muscle hypertrophy and maximal strength development.
Adapting the heavy loading hypertrophic type of exercise sessions appears to foster growth in the muscle mass for men if they use the heavy maximal load for ten reps and five sets with the suggested two-minute rest in between sets. These hormonal responses seem to be related to the amount of muscle mass activated in the exercises. Using the submaximal and the explosive maximal loads did not elicit increases in the release of these hormones, as it was not strenuous enough to the organism.
Neural control and the achievement of higher rates of force development are fostered, at least in the men, with the explosive maximal loads. Whereas in the women the responses after exercising with explosive maximal weights did not seem to be that clear cut. For women it would seem best to train with the explosive maximal and the heavier maximal loads.
Spot reducing exercises do not work and if your trainer is pushing you to do hundreds of sit ups in the effort to tighten up your abdominal muscles and in turn reduce the circumference then find another one. In a study performed by people doing over 5000 sit ups in a twenty seven day period it was found that size changes in the adipose cells of the abdomen were similar to the size changes in the glutes and the subscapular regions.
The training did accomplish one thing; it reduced the size of the adipose cells in all three locations not just the stomach.
reduction is your goal then add in strength training and cut
back on the endless cardio sessions. Muscle burns more calories
per hour which at the end of the day means more expenditure
of energy and better utilization of the caloric intake. This
adds up to consistent weight loss if followed correctly.
Heart Rate Strength Training (HHRST)
number of sets
Once the body adapts to the one set program, then more stress is necessary if progress is to continue. The number of sets is determined by the goal. If, for example, hypertrophy of the muscle is desired then more sets and reps will be in order. In this instance the sets will be in the five to eight ranges with repetitions starting at 8-10 and going up as high as 150 (Bompa)
Strength and power on the other hand will have a large number of sets but each one will be of lower reps and with longer rest periods between each set. The sets will be in the 6-9 bracket with 1-3 reps each and these weight loads will be in the 90-100% 1RM intensity levels. Lengthy rest periods are needed to recover at least 95% before beginning the next set.
of rest time between exercise sessions
training a young athlete
13-14 year olds could tolerate up to 50% of their bodyweight before undue stress was placed on their arches.
Those who had reached the ages of 15-16 were able to handle up to 100% of their bodyweight.
The two main methods of stretching are static and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF). There are ample resources that describe these, so none will be provided here. The following six points simply distill the pertinent points of stretching in a safe and effective manner.
will number from 10-12
Heavy resistance activates the maximum amount of muscle tissue and improves the connective tissues. Without this type of resistance the training is not productive for strength gains. Periodized training schedules either linear or non linear progressions allow for recovery from the heavy sessions and have to be a part of the program.
Nonspecific and specific warm up
Overcoming fatigue both during the session and afterwards is a direct result of using correct recovery methods.
be a complicated problem especially if you are an experienced
lifter. Most new strength athletes will gain on almost any program
as the stimulus is new to the body. An experience athlete on
the other hand requires specific protocols that address their
specific training needs. Periodized training that eliminates
the accommodation effect of the same exercises with the same
sets and reps is the key to success for these athletes.
of performing ten repetitions with 90% 1RM
Nutrition strategies to speed up recovery
Chart courtesy of Gatorade
Keeping your fluids up to par is an important measure in building strong muscles.
The prevention of bone disease
It is truly amazing to see sport coaches still running all of their athlete’s long distances at a slow pace to ‘condition them.’ This type of training does two things for the explosive thrower or sprint specialist, neither of which is positive: it slows them down and makes them less productive on the field.
In all cases sport relevant training and simulation conditioning are keys to superior results. Exercise selections and conditioning protocols will have a profound affect not only to the body but more realistically on the neuromuscular system. Each movement performed during practice or in competition is processed by the central nervous and the neuromuscular systems.
Once this information has been programmed into the organism it will then be applied to the solution of the motor tasks. Therefore the explosive athletes who are out running long slow distances take this slow training onto the field during their event with predictable results; lowered performance.
Explosive athletes need to condition and strength train closely to the movement patterns, force/time curve, types of muscle contraction and the velocity of the skill. Otherwise the training time is misused and the exercises are misapplied.
Relevancy training supports this premise in at least these ten aspects:
adaptations to the sport, i. e. in the energy systems that are
utilized during the event
Training in this manner means exercising in such a fashion as to improve the expression of each of these foregoing factors that are integral to the sport.
Simulation training on the other hand involves the use of various weights or resistance throughout the full range of motion during execution of the sport specific movement. Conditioning with large resistance over a small range of movement is appropriate during certain stages of the training phase.
A significant amount of resistance will confuse the neuromuscular programming that determines the relevancyof the effort. The muscle recruitment and firing patterns will be negatively altered. The addition of the heavier load will cause changes in the center of gravity and rotation, movement inertia, and the body’s mechanical stiffness. These modifications of form will adversely affect neuromuscular performance.
Conditioning relevancy and simulation are synergistic issues within the training process. Both must be addressed in the program development phase to take advantage of their interrelated properties.
slow and conditioning inappropriately and then performing explosively
on the field are mutually exclusive.
Researchers Lawton, Cronin and Lindsell from Australia, and New Zealand tested various rest intervals to see which was most beneficial to increasing their athlete’s power production. Twenty six elite male junior basketball andsoccer players worked on the bench press exercise with a repetition maximum of six reps-this was not the individual 6RM.
These young men were separated into three groups which were differentiated by the length of the timed rest periods built into performance of the six repetitions.
6x1 (six sets of one repetition) with rests of 20 seconds between each repetition. This was labeled ‘singles’.
3x2 (three sets of two repetitions) with 50 seconds rest between each set of repetitions labeled as ‘doubles’.2x3 (two sets of three repetitions) known as triples with rests of 100 seconds between each of the two sets of three reps.
Significant power outputs of up to 25-49% were noted in the later stages of all three (4-6) of the rest and rep schedules. Even more relevant was the fact that when compared to the normal continuous uninterrupted 6 rep training patterns the inter-repetition rest periods helped generate anywhere from 21.6-25.1% more power.
no significant power differences between thethree different
repetition and rest groups. But the inter-repetition rest periods
do make a difference.
It is not
known exactly what energy system is being used for protein synthesis
to take place however it's believed that up to 48 hours are
necessary for supercompensation to effect the body as a result
the muscles prior to lifting influences the tension in the muscle.
This preload can be either an isometric or a stretch shorten
cycle but must be done if you want to lift heavy. This pre lift
phase greatly increases the level of electro stimulation within
the muscle which is important to the initiation of the concentric
The prestart preparation of the lift is nearly as important to the successful outcome as the release/concentric part of the total movement.
The result is a significant decrease in the myofibrillar protein breakdown which helps to increase the muscles protein synthetic rate. This provides a greater positive protein balance and is beneficial for mitigating the after effects of the training cellular damage.
The eccentric contractions developed significantly greater strength gains than did the concentric by as much as 42%. Which in my estimation is a one heck of a big difference. Take a look at the chart from this study and see what I mean.
In each case the type of training increased the specific output but the ones for the isometric and eccentric were huge when compared to the ones for concentric isometric and eccentric.
certainly demonstrates that an increase in the eccentric portion
of any lift, when combined with other studies that show an increase
in any part of the lift tends to increase all parts has validity
in the weight room.
pressure readings are less than 120/80, if yours are higher
see your doctor and do something about it. This disease isn't
called the 'silent killer' for nothing. It destroys the internal
organs without any outward signs that it's doing so.
for this very brief body/muscle action review is this: Knowing
and training these movements will increase your bench press!
refrain 'the meet doesn't start until the bar hits the floor'
is true. But do you know why?
This division of tension separates the squat and bench press from the dead lift. The working force needed to move the bar in the squat and bench press is developed after the preliminary tension that is equal to the weight being lifted. Whereas in the case of the dead lift this force begins from a zero and must build up as the bar is moved from the floor.
The big differences in the two can be put very succinctly:
group of exercises do not elicit an appreciable influence on
the chemical and physical changes within the muscle tissues,
i.e.the excitation-tension links.
In the second group the muscular work is simultaneous with the development of dynamic strength and movement speed. As can be expected starting strength is the chief component developed in this group.
Researchers in Auckland, New Zealand combined explosive and high resistance strength training in the same session for elite cyclists. This resulted in establishing greater sprint and endurance performance. Each of the participants replaced a portion of their normal training time with specialized combination explosive and high intensity exercises. The exercises consisted of three sets of maximal effort single leg jumps alternated with three sets of maximal intensity cycling.
were 20 single leg plyometric step-ups off of a 40cm box before
alternating to the opposite one. The sequence was repeated over
a two minute time span. A two minute rest period separated the
step offs and the cycling portion.
Keep track of your progress and watch your strength increase over the next month and a half.
Positive adaptations to strength and thereby power accumulations will take place with workouts scheduled twice a week. Day one should emphasize the development of strength through the use of heavy weight loads and low repetitions.
On the second day of training concentrate on increasing your power output by the use of alternating loading. Set up the equipment so there is a light and a medium heavy station for each piece of gear. The light spot will be loaded with weights in the 30-45% one rep max range. The heavy will be set at 60-75% one rep max.
Go from one directly to the other for one full set. The rest for three to four minutes before beginning again.
sessions will serve you well, especially as you grow older and your
sense of balance begins to decay. Every single day do something
to improve your coordination abilities.
As an example, you should be able to squat with a higher load by starting in the three quarters position than at the bottom. If you were to add as much weight to the bar as you can lift at the top it is unlikely you could rise out of the hole.
loading only to the capacity of the weakest part, the bottom, the
top is not challenged enough to grow. Placing chains on the bar
that are resting on the floor at the bottom of the lift and gradually
come off the floor as the lift progresses upward will keep adding
weight even at the top of the lift.
Training for strength will require heavy resistance which by its very nature necessitates slower speeds. Power increases will be achieved by using weights in the 50% 1RM range for higher accelerations and velocities utilizing full range of movement for the exercises.
1. Skill development
In practicing skill development and learning the mixture of mental practice and physical practice raises the level of effectiveness in the sport. In competition, imagery before and during the activity should enable a greater effort and a higher probability of success.
Skill development will naturally concentrate on the growth and skill mastery necessary to the specific sport circumstances. In preparing for a competition the focus is on motivation and activation of the neuromuscular system to ensure the performance is at the peak of ability.
Essentially the forgoing supports the ideo-motor principle proposed over a hundred years ago by Carpenter in 1894. EMG recordings verify the mind muscle connection when imagining an activity. The involved muscles react and send out electrical impulses even if there is no obvious physical activity.
Serious sport participation demands following specific preparation practices. The principles that follow have a well established pedigree that will ensure success if adhered to in the program design.
in the process
The start of any movement always sets up the sequence for the remainder of the lift. There are no exceptions. The beginning predetermines to great extent the end result, especially in short duration lifts.
The amount of time spent on the establishing the start varies from lift to lift. The shorter (measured in time) lifts demand more attention be devoted to the exact and very precise positioning of the body before even starting the pull from the floor. Longer time events don’t seem to require as much concentration on the body positions. However, if the posture of the feet, limbs and torso are too far out of the proper start position then the lift will in all likelihood be lost or an injury may result.
It can also
be said that the longer time that is spent in the competition exercise,
the less the strength component is actually displayed during the
lift, ergo the less significance the starting position plays in
the final outcome.
V. I Rodionov
stated in 1967 that the starting position will affect the barbell
trajectory, the force produced by the athlete, the degree to which
the muscles are included in the work of moving the weight, the amplitude
through which the bar moves and the speed and perfection of the
lift. The start, obviously, is an important piece of the lift.
Simply going to the gym day after day is not enough to produce results. You can not remain ignorant of the rationale behind the training concepts and expect to be motivated enough to make the greatest gains possible.
As an athlete
you must be actively involved with your coach and keeping up with
the current trends in the strength literature. Only by learning
and applying the methods of increasing your power output every single
day can you hope to progress.
Happy New Year
to you all
The upper body has great potential for displaying power. In our training we use a variety of means to increase it without getting into the stale zones.
Medicine balls, chains, jump stretch bands, bar unloadersand plyo push ups are just a few of the optional training methods we use to produce our State, National and World record holders.
How a rounded
back affects the deadlift
The start position
is a separate phase of every lift. Developing the perfect start
takes time to do right. However once the basics of the lift are
learned then the athlete normally will disregard any further technique
improvements. Eventually this particular aspect of the lift is set
aside and neglected, leading to possible development of what may
be an imperfect beginning.
A dynamic start
position establishes a state of equilibrium between the athlete
and the bar. Included in this sequence of events will be the placement
of the feet in relationship to the bar, the grip (hook, overhand
or alternate), the width of the grip, the torso angle compared to
the floor, the degree of flexion in the back, hips, knees and ankles,
and finally the position of the shoulder joint as it relates to
the barbell on the floor. Body type also has a bearing on determining
Stretching these particular muscles before doing the bench press will adversely affect your final total. Similar results have been found in other research. Stiffness in a joint relates directly to force potential outcome. A lax, loose, stretched out joint is suffering from neuro-confusion, it doesn't know if it's supposed to be in a relaxed state or making maximum power.
weight does make a difference in power output. In the elite lifters
50% of their weight is muscle! A rough formula for comparing the strength
of different athletes is this one: Relative strength per kilogram
of body weight is calculated. Absolute strength is how much is lifted
regardless of body weight.
the two into a workable formula results in this Relative strength=
Absolute strength divided by body weight.
Because a light lifter has a greater relative strength ratio than does a larger lifter they will have an advantage in comparing strength output on the chin up bar.
Motor function is a two-part process; skills and abilities, Movement instruction develops the skill and is called the technical training part. The development of the physical abilities is the conditioning portion. They are co-joined, as one cannot be properly increased without the presence of the other. Each amplifies its counterpart.
Psychological training is necessary in helping to build a high level of competitive form and in enhancing present physical abilities.
Development of any one ability affects the ability of all others. But to what extend is dependent upon the kind of work used and the current levels of physical conditioning. As an example a heavy set of squats is not possible without a concurrent level of cardiovascular conditioning.
As the training status continues to rise the exercises that once elicited a positive change will now simply remain neutral. The same can be said of the physical abilities, what once was beneficial to all systems now is affecting only a few or even one depending on the level of fitness. A classic example is the person striving for maximal strength who is at the same time trying to develop long duration strength endurance-these two goals are mutually exclusive.
should emphasize the strong genetic potentials of the individual.
By focusing on the strong points the weaker ones are also brought
along at a slightly smaller rate. Develop the weaker ones to the extent
they are not the weak link in the system and do not drag the athlete
tested a group of weight trained individuals who were experienced
in the back squat. Before the test a selected test group did a seven
second maximum isometric contraction squat. After a four minute rest
they performed a series of five maximum counter jumps for height (one
of the commonly used tests of power output). The results were compared
to a group who did just the counter jumps. There was no significant
difference in the two results.
Eccentric muscle actions account for the DOMS but also help protect against future occurrence. A single set of eccentric contractions for at least five reps can cause the onset of delayed muscle soreness. Adding in a second set of eccentric exercises actually helps to defray this painful response.
Each of these states relate to and are associated with separate levels of premeet arousal.
Dynamic stretches, especially with resistance, help to perfect the active flexibility to a greater degree. Whereas static stretches, with a partner, improve passive flexibility. The use of special equipment that is designed to increase the range of motion is beneficial in developing greater amplitude of movement around the joint. The ultimate goal of flexibility training is to merge the active flexibility range of motion with the passive flexibility range of motion.
greater amplitude, as we have previously discussed, leads to strength
displays throughout a larger degree of joint motion. This results
in more strength that is thereby useful through a bigger portion of
the range of motion on the field of competition.
toughness is comprised of two parts.
up macro, meso, and microcycle schedules requires a multifaceted approach
with in depth knowledge of the sport, which by necessity will include:
knowledge will incorporate the practical achievements and the scientific
data dealing with the particular affects of training on the athletes
body and psyche. Next, this knowledge base needs to be systematized
so that it secures for the athlete and coach the reasoning behind
the chosen methodological principles and beliefs, which determine
the practical aspects of the program and organization of the training
final portion requires an objective assessment of the absorption and
development of all the preceding training knowledge with a corresponding
determination of the problems that have accumulated with the theories
and practical applications of them to the sport. Training programs
demand thoughtful consideration at each stage of development.
two athletes of equal physical skill and ability compete with each
other, the one who is better mentally prepared is the winner. It even
happens that an athlete perfectly prepared physically loses against
a physically weaker but mentally stronger opponent".
Learn as much as you can about the sport and of training for strength, learn how the body works, take classes, learn from the best there are in the field. The world is full of possibilities don't let them slip by-take advantage of every second you have on the face of the earth. You never know when your last second arrives.
Shoulder series warm up
The impact of joint angles during lifting
In order to lift heavy weights your body has to be in the most advantageous position. That position will be dictated by the joint angles during the move. Executing the movement within the range of the joint angles that produce the maximum strength simultaneously raises the dynamics of the strength production throughout the full ROM. It does so by taking advantage of the positive influence of the elastic energy properties of the muscles during the movement preparatory phase.
Analysis of the different muscle groups utilized during a particular lift will illustrate the meaning of biomechanical expediency. Our body involuntarily makes an immediate selection of how it will respond to the task by the disposition of each involved joint.
By this is meant the links of the kinematic chain-a sequential combination of a number of kinematic pairs or links-will automatically select either simultaneously or sequentially the correct zone of angles in each link of the chain that will produce maximal strength from each joint.
Simultaneous activation of the joints is associated with movements used to overcome a large external load. Our body will automatically adjust the joint angles to allow maximal force to be exerted on the object. Now if the muscles are unable to overcome the load that's a matter to be addressed by further intensified training practices.
In the second instance, that of sequential activation, we are talking velocity of movement as a plyometric jump and the resultant reaction upon landing. The largest proximal muscle group in the joint begins the move, with the distal joints being locked into position until its their turn to shine which in turn is finished up by sequentially smaller muscles and joints as the jump nears completion. As it nears the finish the original joints are now locked into position.
In each case, we will always begin or at least attempt to begin the movement with the best joint angle zones that take advantage of our maximum strength. Sport techniques are developed around these zones. It is clear to see that by increasing the angles within which power is developed we will be better equipped to succeed in our sport.
Conflicts do exist. in many cases, between the ability of the body to perform certain movements and the the dynamics required of the sport activity. These simply reveal the necessity of increasing the working amplitude of the movement itself during the training sessions that precede competition. Strength must be available at the time and position where it will be the most beneficial. If this display is not during the time the body is in the most perfect anatomical position to produce this strength, then the training goal must be to focus on increasing the amplitude of usable power throughout an expanded range surrounding this non perfect position.
For example in the bench press, if problems occur at the bottom of the lift in getting the bar off the chest, perhaps the camber bar or dumbbells need to be used to increase the strength curve at this position by moving the hands below the chest level. Be careful using the camber bar as it is very easy to overload and then get hurt with excessive weight in this vulnerable lower position.
is up to the athlete and the coach to identify these discrepancies
so they can be modified and corrected.
you are a coach for the younger population of athletes then following
these guidelines will provide a time proven training outline.
Post stimulation effects on the ability of the pecs and triceps to generate greater bench press power was ‘insignificant’ which means muscle tonus induced by the high frequency submaximal percutaneous electrical stimulation (via the skin) electrical stimulation machine’ did zilch for power out put. The results were varied according to each individual but the overall outcome was a measly p>0.05.
After a major rebuild of my right knee long ago I used a ‘TENS’ unit to deflect the pain. It was very effective however, in a short time span it was maxed out. (I wanted to see if I could tolerate the higher settings. I did but this may not have been a good test of the equipment). Having read about these electrical stimulation machines and how they were used in the former eastern block countries it is refreshing to have a clearer answer to the question of effectiveness under lab type conditions.
would appear that more study may reveal that a different frequency
or application may show different results-time will tell.
your instincts, follow what feels natural and increase your strength
in the process. Of course there must be a modicum of common sense
in all of this too. Just because you make progress with a three foot
depth jump doesn't necessarily mean that you'll make twice the progress
with a six foot one.
It was hypothesized that such equipment may hinder speed, aerobic capacity and agility. The results did not support the original hypotheses but did seem to indicate that applying a compressive garment to specific body areas did help in injury prevention.
These aids may prove to be useful tools during injury recovery from an injury by supplying a mechanical support for the body. Greater neural feedback is a possible outcome as well.
This study did not come to the conclusion that bracing limited performance to a significant degree. However, bracing in the distal joints on the lower limbs may result in a marked decrease of performance.
the take home message to this study may be the fact that compressive
wraps, in fact, aid performance, as any of us know who have been in
a bench shirt, or a squat suit. Sometimes experience is a true indicator
of what works and what doesn't.
An increase in amplitude maybe realized if the range of motion in the joint is enlarged within tolerances of the individual and if there is an increase in the elasticity and strength potential in the corresponding muscle groups. This amplitude of movement increases in distance at two points in the kinematic chain, at the very beginning and at the end of the parts in the chain.
In the first instance, this is accomplished by increasing the strength and the ability of the muscles to develop power and force throughout the course of the movement as well as increasing the elasticity of the functional antagonists. That antagonist helps protect the agonist or the muscles actually moving the load while contracting.
Two clear regularities occur during the course of movement. One is the decrease in the force applied to the pull at the end of the movement-especially a counter movement or braking of the extension is more pronounced at the end of any fast move such as throwing a ball or speed benching or squatting.
Secondly, there is a definite increase and concentration of force at certain points in the move. The more accomplished the athlete, the more this particular strength becomes apparent. The right force, at the right time, at the right amplitude produces a winning result-in many cases. Unless the opponent does the same with superior strength and force outputs. If that happens then you're screwed and will have to figure out an alternate method of coming out on top. This is where strategy and tactics begin to play a greater role in the sport.
Take for example the front, side and rear raises the actions of the deltoids should precede any other movement. If not then you are substituting and not gaining the benefit you should be from the move.
A quick way to tell is by looking at yourself in a mirror-I am not suggesting you watch yourself in a mirror for all of your exercises. I am suggesting that you watch the deltoid heads as the exercise is being performed. If you see your shoulder rise up before the weight begins to move up then it would indicate a substitution is taking place.
If you don't have mirrors then have a friend watch as you lift.
Warm up to 60% of your 1 RM, this will depend upon how heavy you are lifting, naturally the higher your one rep max the more lengthy will be the warm up phase. After you arrive at the 60% do ten reps, go to 80% of your 1 RM for five reps then go to 95% for six sets of two reps.
Give yourself three to five minutes rest between each of the 95% sets. Once these are finished drop to 80% and do a final set of five reps then go on to the accessory exercises for the main lift you just completed.
Hint: do not use the pyramid method of weight increases.
Once the warm up is finished go to the heavy training weight, which is based on the percentage of the one rep max. Work up to at least the area of 85% 1RM to 95% 1RM for up to six sets of one to two repetitions. Don’t waste your energy dinking around with a lot of light sets between the final warm up and the first 'heavy' 85%-95% 1RM. Stay away from the 65%, 75%, 80%, intensity levels if you want to get strong.
Just warm up and get on with the quality training.
Retract your scapula to secure your shoulders and to raise the chest
a strength movement begins with these three basic factors in the kinematic
Increasing the working amplitude results from a large range of motion in the working joint and an increase in the corresponding muscles groups' elasticity and strength potentials and conditions, i.e. the load on the bar leads to a higher load on the bar.
Muscle groups in the kinematic pair (the primary joint) plus those in the rest of the kinematic chain (the sequential joint combinations) must continue to facilitate the movement otherwise it will not be successful.
Power and strength output demand the integration of the three basics of movement work together.
When doing a unilateral exercise-with one limb-start with the weaker side first. After moving on to the stronger side do only as many repetitions as were done on the weak side. Corrections of muscle imbalances will not come from hitting the strong side and not working on the weaker one to its fullest extent.
The overload principle applies to this type of training. And it means just what it says. You WILL NOT get stronger lifting soup cans, no matter what the infomercial's say! Lifting a soup can is about as effective as lifting up a bag of air. Unless you are extremely out of shape, move on to a weight that will challenge your body in a positive way.
overload occurs by increasing these components above the normal:
The load on the bar must be high enough that it creates a maximal muscular tension, or nearly so, on the body. First find your one repetition maximum. Figure out the 85%, 90%, and 95% numbers of the one rep max for each lift.
Squats, rest and recovery
are the prerequisites for the schedule.
Afternoon sessions follow a similar path as the lifter moves on up
to near 100% 1RM two reps to 95% 1RM following the same sets as before.
These exercises don't have to be circus acts but they do need to challenge you by making your body handle different movements at the same time. Doing so will increase your ability to lift more weight as it provides another outlet for learning to move efficiently.
Here are three to try after doing a set.
Make circles with one leg while rotating each arm in a different direction.
You cannot be as strong as possible without having excellent movement coordination. Each repetition must be technically perfect in order to exact full power from your body. Movement coordination is one of the most complex and amongst the least understood motor abilities in the athlete.
Make use of a knowledgeable strength coach in your quest for the perfect form and the precise technique. Use a video camera and look at each lift frame by frame. Notice where your limbs are in relation to the load, to one another and to their upper or lower counterparts. Take still photos at the beginning, middle and end or at the sticking points...in short dissect your lifts and make the necessary corrections in your style before the bad habits become ingrained. Once these are 'grooved' in, it is difficult to change them back into the right way.
limitations to a forceful contraction straight through a move occur
at the end of any concentric move. This is the joint activating the
'braking effect' about three quarters of the amplitude utilization
in the joint.
Plyometric's and jumping exercises that are done JUST BEFORE the competitive exercise can act as a stimulant.
example, in your own training try this in your gym before doing it
in a contest. After a thorough warm up for the bench press and just
before you hit the heavy weights do two sets of drop push-ups from
between two twelve to thirteen inch stands. Explode back up each time.
Relax several seconds, then give the bench your full effort
As always, form and technique are crucial elements of success and in hopefully avoiding an injury.
This stretch is performed by laying supine and prone on the ball and rolling up and down the length of the spine. If you have any type of back injury or balance difficulties DO NOT do this!!!
The time to slow down and stop the concentric muscle action may be shortened with this type of training regimen. If the braking phase of the exercise were not in place the joint would be destroyed with the weight suddenly stopping at the end of the range of motion. The body protects itself by involuntarily slowing down, and finally stopping the load before damage to the joint occurs.
Delaying this slow down allows the force to remain at a high level and increases the speed and power of the movement.
you setting up your own strength program? Then use these guidelines.
Stay strong mentally and physically, and remain passionately committed to your hearts chosen path. Danny M. O'Dell, MA. CSCS*D
Providing medical advice is not the intent or purpose of this site. We assume no liability for the information contained in these pages if it is taken as medical advice. Always consult with your primary health care provider before beginning any new exercise program.
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