Friday, August 1, 2014

Fitness Friday - Fitness News You Can Use

I missed last week, so there are a few extra articles here this week to give you something to read while you should be working. There's a lot of good stuff, so enjoy!

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From the Cressey Performance blog, a guest post from Andrew Zomberg.

7 Strategies for Strength Training with the Minimum

Written on June 20, 2014, by Eric Cressey

Recently, my wife and I vacationed in Italy, and fitness nuts that we are, we frequented several hotel gyms - none of which were particularly well equipped. Here's the one from hotel in Florence; yes, it was just dumbbells up to 10kg.

Immediately upon leaving, I sent an email to Cressey Performance coach Andrew Zomberg (@AndrewZomberg), who I knew was the guy to write up a post on having a great training effect without much equipment. This is what he pulled together; enjoy! -EC

Greater equipment availability generally yields greater efficiency because in order to induce structural or functional adaptations, you have to “force” the body to do so. Unfortunately, getting to a gym is not always feasible. The good news? Resistance training does not always have to depend on cable machines, power racks, and barbells.

Inaccessibility to gym equipment can be discouraging. The good news is that by creating structured programs and discovering new ways to challenge yourself with progressions, you can easily elicit a comparable training effect, just as if you were in a gym. Here are some options...
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From Brett Contreras (the glute guy, as the picture below attests) - a collection of cool links in his "Random Thoughts" post - there is a TON of stuff there, so be sure to check it out.

Random Thoughts

How’s it going fitness peeps? I’ve got some great articles, videos, rants, and before/after pictures for you to check out. Just keeping you in the know!

Good Articles

Here are some great recent articles to read, written by various colleagues.

Scientific Articles

Chris Beardsley

Chris has written some great scientific articles in the past month. Several months ago he focused on hypertrophy, then he moved on to strength, and now he’s examining power. Here are the last six blogposts:
  1. Resistance Training and Power
  2. Ballistics and Power
  3. Injury Rates in Strength Sports
  4. Range of Motion on Strength Gains
  5. Rest Periods on Strength Gains
  6. Training to Failure on Strength Gains

Other Scientific Articles
  • We’re getting fatter due to less exercise, not more calories. See HERE.
  • Are you tired of pseudoscience? HERE are 10 claims that the authors would like to see go away forever.
  • Nick Tumminello teaches you some B.S. detection strategies HERE.
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A few articles from T-Nation.

Total Body Strength

Loaded Isometrics for Size and Strength

by Nate Palmer | 07/24/14

Here's what you need to know...

  • Loaded isometrics teach irradiated tension, which increases strength gains in almost every exercise.
  • These moves can be done to increase either muscle size or strength, depending on the load used and the time under tension.
  • These exercises will teach you to use your entire body as one unit, test your mettle, and build strength in several key areas. Perform these after your main lift for the day, as a finisher, or just to test your willpower and see how strong you really are.
  • Keep the entire body tight to build total body strength. Keep your mental focus on the muscle you're working. Build your mental focus and you will get stronger!
Loaded isometrics can teach you a great number of things. The lesson I always learn is that I'm not as strong or as tough as I think I am. It's always a humbling experience to feel a whole new level of pain from a familiar exercise and it's a good check to see if you're actually working on your weak areas or just on the exercises you like.

Loaded isometrics are also fantastic for teaching the concept of irradiated tension, which, when properly performed, can increase strength gains in almost every exercise. The basic premise of irradiated tension is the idea that the body does not function in single units, but that the entire structure is important for even the smallest isolation move. In other words, when you create tension through your whole body, a dumbbell curl is more than just a dumbbell curl.

To create this next-level type of tension through your whole body, assume an athletic stance, feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and starting with your core, begin to tighten your abs and then your glutes to create a foundation. Then squeeze the quads, pull the shoulder blades down and back, engage the lats, and lastly, tighten both fists.

Make sure you're taking small shallow breaths and then take inventory of your body. You should feel like an immovable object. If you need more proof that this technique will allow you to lift more, do a single arm dumbbell press with your weaker arm. Try it once without the tension, and try it once with it. Make up your own mind.

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8 Rules for Fat Loss Training

by Andrew Heming | 07/29/14 
Here's what you need to know...
  • If you're serious about stripping off body fat, you must make time for proper nutrition. If you don't have time for this, make time.
  • Too often people trying to lose body fat just use intense metabolic resistance training and HITT (high intensity interval training). With fat loss programs, you need to switch as needed to different strategies such as metabolic resistance training, strength training, bodybuilding, and strength plus conditioning.
  • When designing a weekly plan for your training, consider how different styles of training affect different systems and thus affect recovery. You need to allow for some "space" between different kinds of stressors such as nervous system stressors, joint stressors, spinal compression, and metabolic stressors.
  • When trying to burn fat, you should rotate between different types of alactate (without lactic acid) conditioning that consists of short, intense work and lactate (produces lactic acid as a byproduct) conditioning that consists of longer duration work.
Want to lose body fat quickly and keep it off? Stop following those mainstream fitness workouts designed for your granny. Real fat loss training should build calluses on your hands. Here are eight rules for effective fat loss training, plus a sample workout plan that puts them all into action.

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Bodybuilder Goes CrossFit

by Christian Thibaudeau | 07/25/14 
Here's what you need to know...
  • While the thinking used to be that CrossFit made guys weak, the average competitor in the CrossFit Games is very impressive.
  • Quite a few CrossFit girls have better physiques than some figure competitors, even without dieting.
  • There's something magical about being able to perform an explosive lift when you're metabolically fatigued and your heart rate is skyrocketing.
  • Doing submaximal lifting that focuses more on speed and density of work, like you do in CrossFit, is a great way to build muscle.
  • CrossFit can also get you lean fast, even with zero emphasis on nutrition.
I have a secret. I did CrossFit almost exclusively last summer. I've competed in Olympic lifting, powerlifting, and I've been a competitive bodybuilder... and now I can say I've been a CrossFitter too. I went to CrossFit Levis three times a week and then trained on my own to work on strength and my Olympic lifts. I actually kept a kind of CrossFit journal back then. So, one year later, here it is: my CrossFit diary, along with some current-day observations.
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Here is a little science for you this week:

After resistance exercise, muscle repair and strengthening aided by stem cells

Thursday, 24 July 2014
A new study in mice reveals that mesenchymal (mezz-EN-chem-uhl) stem cells (MSCs) help rejuvenate skeletal muscle after resistance exercise.

By injecting MSCs into mouse leg muscles prior to several bouts of eccentric exercise (similar to the lengthening contractions performed during resistance training in humans that result in mild muscle damage), researchers were able to increase the rate of repair and enhance the growth and strength of those muscles in the exercising mice.

The findings, described in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, may one day lead to new interventions to combat age-related declines in muscle structure and function, said University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Marni Boppart, who led the research.
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This comes from, a site that posts some interesting research summaries related to supplements, nutrition, and strength.

The joint effect of strength training and ginger supplementation

Supplementation with ginger combined with strength training reduces the damage wreaked by aggressive molecules in fat people, but the combination doesn't work better than either supplementation or training alone. Sports scientists from Iran state this in the Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness. The results of their study also suggest that ginger supplementation boosts the number of kgs muscle mass you build with strength training, and the number of kgs fat you lose as a result.

Strength training and ginger

Overweight is unhealthy for a number of reasons, and one of these is that the extra kgs of fat multiply the activity of aggressive molecules – free radicals – in the body. Physical exercise – so strength training too – reduces this, and supplementation with ginger does the same. But what does combining the two do? That's the question the researchers wanted to answer in their experiment.

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