Friday, June 27, 2014

Fitness Friday - Fitness News and Information You Can Use

It's Friday, so it's time for a recap of the best fitness articles from the last week. Headlining this week is another good article from Charles Staley at T-Nation - this one on seven mind hacks to excel in the gym.

Following that, we have another T-Nation article by Eric Bach on the art of the hang clean. There's also an excellent primer by Mike Robertson on push-ups, and then a two part blog from Tony Gentilcore's blog on maintaining athleticism as we age.

7 Mind Hacks for Gym Dominance

by Charles Staley   

Here's what you need to know...
  • Experts talk about strength training theory, lifting technique, and periodization, but very few talk about the psychological skills needed for weight-lifting dominance.
  • While your physicality can be likened to the size of your engine, your psychological aptitude is analogous to running on all cylinders. It determines how much horsepower you can get out of the body you've already built.
When I view the intellectual landscape around the subject of resistance training, it strikes me as significant that so little time is spent discussing the mental skills required for high-level lifting. There are a few possible explanations for the absence of this type of info:
  1. We don't think such skills are important.
  2. We think these skills are important, but not "teachable." In other words, either you have it or you don't.
  3. We understand the importance of the mind's role in lifting success, but don't feel qualified or otherwise capable of teaching these skills to others.
I suspect that the final explanation holds the most truth. Somehow, we view the mind as the exclusive domain of trained professionals with lots of letters after their name, not the purview of meathead lifters like us.

Psychological skills deserve more attention. After all, once your physical skills are well-developed, strategic psychology may be the greatest weapon in your arsenal. While your physicality can be likened to the size of your engine, your psychological aptitude is analogous to running on all cylinders – it determines how much horsepower you can get out of the body you've already built.

So with all of that in mind, here are my top seven tips for "getting your head right" when you really need to uncork a big lift in the gym.

* * * * *

Hang Clean For Total Body Power

by Eric Bach   

Here's what you need to know...
  • The clean is the top dog in resistance programs for improving performance as it requires triple extension of the hips, knees, and ankles in a coordinated, explosive pattern – a movement that simulates the triple extension in both sprinting and jumping.
  • Hang cleans will get you absolutely jacked. They not only stimulate your forearms and traps, but nearly 200 muscles in the body so that you get a huge anabolic surge and training effect.
  • Intelligently planned cleans get you absolutely shredded. Cleans, especially when performed with a full front squat or low catch, are metabolically demanding. The explosive nature and muscle recruitment requirements will leave you absolutely floored when done with proper technique and short rest.
Without question, power cleans are a phenomenal tool in your pursuit of high performance strength and muscle. The problem is, they can be difficult to learn. Most cleans are downright atrocious. You see things like starfish legs, excessive knee valgus, and a gross lack of coordination, none of which have a place in the weight room. Hang cleans, however, are a great, doable, alternative.

* * * * *

From Robertson Training Systems, Mike Robertson offers the most complete primer on push-ups I have ever seen.


June 25, 2014

Every single client or athlete I train uses push-ups in their programming.

And why not?

They are simply a fantastic lift, whether your goal is to get stronger, burn more body fat, or become more athletic.

Let’s start our journey by reviewing just a few of the reasons you might want to include push-ups in your next training program.

* * * * *

Finally, from Tony Gentilcore's site, a good two-parter on how to stay athletic.

10 Must Do’s To Stay Athletic (Part I)

James Cerbie, CSCS | 6.23.2014

Today’s guest post comes courtesy of former Cressey Performance intern, James Cerbie. As the title suggests it’s all about how to maintain athleticism, which is something that will hit home for many former athletes, weekend warriors, and Al Bundy-like people who like to bask in the glory of their high-school and college days.


What does it mean to be an athlete?

Sure, there’s getting all the girls of course.

Kidding…kidding…we all know there’s more to it than that.

So what is it?

The thrill of winning, the rush of competing, the butterflies before a game, the anticipation of a daunting challenge, the brotherhood (could be sisterhood but I’m speaking from my own experience), the pain of defeat, the constant drive towards perfection…it’s hard to say.

Being an athlete, to me at least, encompasses all of those things and more. It’s truly a way of life, and hard to rid yourself of once you’re so called playing days are over.

Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t seem to recognize this. Once you leave college or professional sports, you’re thrust into a world that almost looks down on being an athlete. They’ll just tell you: “Oh, you had your chance. Your playing days are over. It’s time to hang up the cleats and begin your slow decline into decrepitude.”
* * * * *

10 Must Do’s to Stay Athletic (Part 2)

James Cerbie, CSCS | 6.24.2014

Before we get to Part 2 of James’ guest post from yesterday, a few things:

1. You should read Part 1 if you haven’t already. This isn’t like The Matrix Reloaded or Revolutions or anything where, if you didn’t watch the original Matrix, you’d be throwing your hands up in the air wondering what WTF is going on.

Where did 100 Agent Smith’s come from?

If Neo can fly, why go through all the trouble of kung-fu’ing everyone?

And, who the hell is this Architect character and why is he obsessed with the word “ergo”?

Nevertheless, you can absolutely read Part 2 (below) and not Part 1 and get the gist of everything. But, it’s still nice to have the whole story.

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