Friday, September 5, 2014

Fitness Friday - Fitness News You Can Use

It's Friday, so it's time for another Fitness Friday. This week we have a primer on the pull-up vs. the chin-up, and a breakdown of the bodybuilder squat vs. the power lifter squat. We also have a report on the state of strength and conditioning coaching. There's an article on "Hellfire Reps." And finally, an article on using complexes for 20-minute workouts.

From Breaking Muscle:

Pull Up vs. Chin Up: A Comparison and Analysis

Amber Larsen - Contributor - Biology, Gymnastics, CrossFit
Chin ups are not really pull ups. Well, according to some Internet debates, that’s the case, but I contend that chin ups are in fact pull ups.

I suggest that pull ups is an umbrella category, and there are several different variations within that category including the overhand grip (traditionally called the pull up), reverse grip (the chin up), and opposing grip. In this article, we will explore the chin up in depth and how it activates our muscles, as well as how it differs from the pull up.
Note: Throughout this article, when I say pull ups, I am speaking about strict pull ups.
Left: chin up; Right: pull up.

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From T-Nation:

Bodybuilding vs Powerlifting Squat

The 10 Components You Need to Know 
by Rob King | 09/01/14 
Here's what you need to know...
  • After the newbie stage, you need to pick between getting stronger or getting bigger and squat accordingly.
  • Mix lower rep squats and higher rep squats for hypertrophy (8-12 and even sets of 25 or 50) and use lower rep squats for strength (1-5).
  • Tempos with a slow eccentric are often useful for bodybuilding squats but usually have no place in powerlifting squats.
  • A longer time under tension is great for hypertrophy, but not so great for strength.
  • Generally speaking, use a high-bar placement for bodybuilding squats and a low-bar placement for powerlifting squats.
  • For building muscle, mix up short rest periods and long rest. When training for strength, have a minimum of three minutes rest between sets to maximize recovery and strength.
  • A bodybuilding squat requires a narrow stance while a powerlifting squat is best approached with a hip dominant stance.
To maximize results from the squat, it all comes down to reverse engineering the movement and asking yourself the question, "What's my current training goal?" During your first year or two of training you can squat every Monday and get results with no problem. But after a while those gains will slow no matter how hard you bust your butt. When this happens it's time to take a step back and pick between the following two goals:

1. Get Stronger
2. Get Bigger

Sure, there's always a carryover in size and strength while squatting, but what we're talking about here is squatting to maximize either strength or size. Why is this important? Well, for the bodybuilder, what he squats really doesn't matter. What matters is the development of his legs. For the powerlifter, no one judges the size of his legs, only how much he lifts. As such, he has to squat with his goal in mind.

Let's break down ten components of the squat and discuss the differences between a powerlifting squat and a bodybuilding squat.
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The Current State of S&C Coaching 

by Mark Rippetoe | 09/03/2014

Here's what you need to know...
  • Some of the worst strength and conditioning coaches in the industry are found at the D1 university and professional levels. Hiding behind the innate talents of the genetic phenoms handed to them by skilled recruiters, these coaches bask in glory as they squander the talent of their athletes.
  • The ability to display power is largely controlled by genetics. Explosive athletes are born that way. Athleticism is not very trainable, but strength is. An increase in strength increases the ability to fully display athleticism. So why aren't "strength coaches" focusing on strength development in 2014?
  • What detracts from effective, sport-applicable strength training? So-called functional training, stability work, agility training, incorrectly coached and applied Olympic lifting, machine exercises, corrective exercises, core-specific exercise, and an overemphasis on conditioning.
  • Barbell training with progressively increasing loads on the basic exercises increases strength, power, and all of the other dependent characteristics – for everybody, and for several years.
Note to Future Readers

This essay is about the state of the strength and conditioning profession in 2014, most of which is practiced in high schools, colleges and universities, and at the professional sports level.

Those of you reading this in the distant future, while you drive your flying cars (please be careful), may observe with amusement that all these problems have long since been corrected – if I have even described them accurately here in 2014 – and my concerns turned out to be about as relevant to your advanced civilization as global warming.

From atop your glacier, you may look down on a landscape devoid of weak, overtrained athletes, and wonder just what in the hell I was so concerned about. I hope so.
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Hellfire Reps

Fire Up Your Gains! 
by Ben Bruno | 09/04/2014 
Here's what you need to know...
  • Weight and form are often inversely proportional: the higher the weight, the worse the form.
  • Descending eccentrics clean up poor technique, encourage using a full range of motion, and also ensure that you're selecting a weight you can control. They're also great for hypertrophy and better tolerated by lifters with joint issues.
  • However many reps you're doing (5 or 6), the eccentric phase of the first rep should last that many seconds and decrease by one second on each subsequent rep. For example, do a six-second eccentric on the first rep, a five-second eccentric on the second rep, etc.
  • You can apply the idea to virtually any exercise you want – bench press variations, glute-ham raises, pushups, or inverted rows, but not deadlift variations, free-weight rowing variations, and overhead pressing variations.
Getting clients and athletes to use good form is one of the ongoing struggles of any trainer or strength coach.

You can tell your athletes to go all the way down on chin-ups until you're blue in the face. If you're lucky, you may get them to comply with your demands for a few reps, but the minute you turn your back, they'll inevitably start cheating in an effort to crank out more reps.

You'll see the same thing with squats and Bulgarian split squats. If you don't demand a full range of motion and stick to your guns – almost to the point of being a dick – you'll almost never see it. And even if you do demand it, you'll often see people start the set with good form and a full range of motion and then start to cut the reps short as pain and fatigue set in.

You'll also see people try to increase the weight too quickly and just start using a reduced range of motion and sloppier form. In fact, weight and form are often inversely proportional: the higher the weight, the worse the form.
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20-Minute Muscle: Better Gains Through Shorter Workouts

Short workouts aren't for beginners anymore. Ramp up your intensity and you can still build muscle and torch fat with this series of high-octane workouts.

by Dan Blewett | Sep 02, 2014

Some days you're so rushed for time that it's nearly impossible to get your regular workout in. But rather than write off the day altogether, consider slotting in a condensed 20-minute training session.

That's for beginners, you say? Not if you use the most of your time by increasing the workout intensity. All you have to do is follow the plan, move quickly, and work hard. You still need to accumulate volume over the course of those 20 minutes if you want to make physique gains. One or two short workouts per week won't make you fit.

The "get in, get out" mentality can pay great dividends if you keep the frequency and intensity up. You'll aim for 4-6 short intense workouts per week, chosen from the following categories, all of which give great bang for the buck.

  • Mid-Range Strength Workouts (3 to choose from)
  • Complexes (3 to choose from)
  • Challenges (2 to choose from)
  • Conditioning (3 to choose from) 

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