Friday, June 13, 2014

Fitness Friday - Fitness News and Information You Can Use

It's Friday, so it must be time for a new selection of fitness articles. This week we begin with two articles on squatting, then we move to preserving muscle and strength during a layoff (or injury), training the shoulders, and an interview with Dr. Fred Hatfield, one of the legendary figures in sports science.

This week we begin with two articles on squats - one from Tony Gentilcore at T-Nation and one from Bill Hartman at his blog.

How Deep Should I Squat?

by Tony Gentilcore

Here's what you need to know...

  • It's ignorant to say that everyone should squat to the same depth. Some lifters inherited awesome levers, possess just the right hip anatomy, and are able to squat butt-to-floor with no issues.
  • Serious squatters should perform the kneeling rock-back movement screen to see where they fit in on squat depth.
  • One problem directly related to squat depth is "butt wink." The butt wink is just a less fancy way of saying posterior pelvic tilt. Butt wink and squat depth can be improved by working on crappy ankle mobility, including glute work in every session, and doing slow goblet squats.
Let's make one point clear: It's completely asinine to say that everyone should squat to the same depth. Some people picked the right parents, inherited awesome levers, possess the appropriate hip anatomy, and are able to squat ass-to-grass with no issues at all. And we all hate those people.

Conversely, there are others out there who, because they're told to do so (usually from some internet jockey who claims to squat over 400 pounds, ass-to-grass, for reps, while juggling chainsaws) or because their manhood is somehow called into question, try to squat deep no matter what. And well, bad things happen. Not everyone is the same, and it's important to understand this. As a coach my "end game" is to work with what I have and to get every single one of my athletes or clients to squat to depth. However, it's not always a good idea to force someone to squat deep when they just don't have the ability to do so safely. While admirable, the end goal for every person shouldn't be to squat deep.

Rather, the goal should be to develop proper squat mechanics, groove technique in a safe range of motion that's applicable to a particular individual's limitations and anatomy, and most important of all, keep the spine safe. Admittedly, it's not a sexy approach. I'm not going to sit here and wax poetic about some super secret squatting protocol or bust out my protractor and discuss some advanced algorithm to follow. The answer, simply, is to work on "stuff," and eventually squat depth will improve. One problem directly related to squat depth, however, and one that I see far too often, is "butt wink."

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Short Topic: There’s a squatting controversy? Seriously?

Bill Hartman | Intelligent Human Performance 

Optimal varies with imposed demands (load, speed, surface, fatigue, visual cues, stance width, pelvic position, hip joint shape, etc.). Squatting is not as simple as knees out being better than knees in or toes out being better than toes straight. 

Variability is the ideal. It would be desirable to be able squat in many different ways and many different foot positions under varying circumstances. 

There is never one ideal. That’s like saying there’s one ideal posture, one way to sit, one way to have sex, or one way to throw a ball. 

In fact, we know that because of the noise built into the nervous system we can’t duplicate the same motion no matter how hard we try even if it looks the same to the naked eye. 

With practice and good coaching, you will determine the optimal for the circumstances and the individual.
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The next two articles are also from T-Nation.

How to Keep Muscle During a Layoff

by Christian Thibaudeau

Here's what you need to know...
  • Unless you're tied to a hospital bed, you won't lose any muscle mass if you take a week off from training. You may feel smaller or flatter, but it's not because you're losing muscle mass. Rather, your muscle tone has decreased slightly due to the nervous system being less "turned on."
  • After a layoff of 2-3 weeks, you might lose 5-10% of your strength, but you won't be losing much muscle mass (if at all) and the loss of strength will be mostly due to lost neural adaptations. Once you go past the 3 weeks, though, it's quite possible to lose muscle mass, but there are many things you can to do to mitigate the loss.
  • Contrary to what most people believe, you don't gain "extra strength" by tapering/deloading for a peak. You're simply "revealing" the strength you gained during your hard training cycle.
  • Sadly, most people only notice "overtraining" when they start to lose strength and body weight, so their normal reaction is to train more to kick-start the gains. Not only will that not solve the issue, it'll make things worse!
There are generally three situations where a serious lifter would take time off from training:
1. A planned deload to help reach peak performance or to recover from overtraining.
2. A short and planned break (e.g., a vacation or trip).
3. An unplanned layoff (sickness or injury).
The first two are generally done begrudgingly, while the third is often treated as the worst thing possible next to a death sentence. The fact is, deloading and hiatuses from training are things that are part of everybody's life. I've had to stop training due to some health problems and I work with lots of clients who have busy schedules that require time off or at least reduced training. While it's my job to help people get the most out of their training, it's also part of my job to help them retain most of their gains when they're forced out of the gym.
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5-4-3-2-1 Shoulder Workout

by Nick Tumminello

Here's what you need to know...
  • You'll be doing 5 sets of the first exercise, 4 sets of the second, 3 sets of the third, 2 sets of the fourth, and 1 set on the fifth.
  • The exercises that appear first are the most complex, use the most weight, and therefore require the fewest amount of reps. The exercises that appear at the end are simpler, use less weight, and require more reps.
The numbers (5-4-3-2-1) represents the sequence and number of sets you'll do for each of the exercises. The exercises that get the most sets (5, 4) are the most complex and tend to use the heaviest loads done for the fewest amount of reps. Therefore, they're placed early in the workout when you're most fresh. The less complex movements (i.e., more isolation oriented) exercises are performed for fewer sets (3, 2, 1) are placed later in the workout. These exercises are done for more reps so we use less weight.
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Finally, from Breaking Muscle, Craig Marker sat down for an interview with Dr. Fred Hatfield, aka "Dr. Squat."

The 7 Laws of Training According to Dr. Fred Hatfield

Craig Marker
Contributor - Psychology and Research

I recently sat down with Dr. Fred Hatfield, also known as Dr. Squat, to discuss his views on strength and conditioning and how they fit into modern training systems. For those of you unfamiliar, Dr. Hatfield was a great college gymnast and bodybuilder (he was Mr. Mid America, but he didn’t compete in the Mr. America competition because of a powerlifting meet).

Dr. Hatfield is probably best known for his world record squat of 1,014lbs set in 1987 when he was the age of 45. He was also the founder of Men’s Fitness magazine and the International Sports Sciences Association, and he has written over sixty books. He knows squat and a whole lot more.

See you next week.

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