Friday, April 25, 2014

Fitness Friday - Fitness News and Information You Can Use


For this week's Fitness Friday, I serve up four good articles - one on how diet and exercise can contribute to healthy longevity, an article from Eric Cressey on band training, and two articles from T-Nation - an older gem from Charles Staley and an interesting piece on using drop sets for strength and size.

From Medical News Today, new research suggests that red meat and exercise are the keys to healthy aging.

Red meat and exercise could be the key to keeping body and mind in peak condition as we age

Thursday 27 February 2014

Protein loading to improve muscle performance isn't just for athletes and bodybuilders, with Deakin University researchers finding that a protein rich diet incorporating lean red meat combined with strength training improved the size and strength of muscles in elderly women.

The researchers believe the study's results show that the combination of red meat and strength training could be the key to reducing the impact age-related muscle loss has on the risk of falls and the ability of the elderly to undertake day-to-day activities such as getting out of a chair. In light of these positive results the study is being extended to look at the impact that increased dietary protein combined with strength training also has on the mental health and wellbeing of older people.
Read the whole article.

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From Cressey Performance, an excellent article on using heavy bands for power training.

Band-Resisted Training for Power

Published on April 12th, 2014
Written by: Eric Cressey

Chat with any powerlifter about how he utilizes bands in his training, and you'll likely hear that they’re used for accommodating resistances to build strength. In other words, you can set up the bands to make an exercise harder at the portions of the strength curve at which you’re strongest. And, this is certainly an awesome application that’s helped thousands of lifters (myself included) to build strength.

Being a former competitive powerlifter, until just a few years ago, I’d looked at bands as something that could only make an exercise harder. Over the years, though, I've come around and begun to look for ways to utilize them to make things easier with our beginners. And, obviously, using them for pull-up and push-up assistance can be extremely helpful with working with new clients.

I did not, however, realize until just recently that there was also a middle ground between these two extremes (advanced lifter and novice client). In this capacity, more and more, we use bands with our athletes to be able to train power more aggressively, and more frequently. How do the bands fit in? They lower the landing stress on more horizontal and lateral power exercises.
Read the whole article.

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Here is an old article that came up recently on Facebook, but it is still entirely relevant - from T-Nation.

7 Hard Truths About Lifting

by Charles Staley

Here's what you need to know...

• No matter what the goal, you simply can't go wrong by making strength a priority.
• Check your ego. Allow yourself to be coached by someone more knowledgeable.
• Numbers don't lie. If you're getting stronger, you're getting better.
• Stop working hard for the sake of working hard. Practice training economy and maximize the results of your efforts.
Over my 30-year career in the fitness biz, I've experimented with a lot of things that seemed promising at first, only to end up on the scrap heap in the end. But seven concepts have remained tried and true over the past three decades. As a bonus, I'll also share three ideas that I'm taking a second look at.
Read the whole article.

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Here is another piece from T-Nation, on using drop sets for strength and power.

Masochistic Mechanical Drop Sets

by Ben Bruno

Here's what you need to know...
•  Mechanical drop sets allow you to switch to an easier exercise or an easier variation of the same exercise as a means to extend the set further – a great way to add muscle to stubborn body parts.
•  Don't go overboard. Two to four sets is adequate for upper body exercises, while 1-2 sets should be plenty for lower body.
Drop sets are a time-tested, muscle-building technique. You take a weight and rep it out, reduce the weight and rep out again, and then reduce the weight further and do it again. Essentially you reduce the weight as a means to keep the set going.

Mechanical drop sets follow a similar concept, only rather than reduce the load as you fatigue, the load stays the same throughout. You simply switch to an easier exercise or an easier variation of the same exercise to extend the set further. The key is to use exercises that sequence well together and require little-to-no setup changes so you can transition from one exercise to the next with minimal disruption to the flow of the set.

There are many different and effective ways to employ mechanical drop sets for both upper body and lower body work. Here are eight of the best, along with examples for each.
Read the whole article.

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