Friday, October 10, 2014

Fitness Friday - Fitness News You Can Use

It's Friday, so it's time for some fitness information from around the interwebs. This week we have articles on getting into the "zone" by finding "flow," the benefits of ultra-high rep sets, grapefruit juice, your aerobic window, and single-leg training.

As always, follow the link in the title of each article to go read the whole thing.

To start this week, here are a couple of articles from T-Nation.

Finding Flow: How to Get in the Zone

by Bill Rom | 10/02/14

Here's what you need to know...

  • The "flow state" is completely focused motivation; a single-minded immersion into the task at hand.
  • The leading powerlifting gym in the history of this country, Westside Barbell, has flow states mapped into its DNA.
  • CrossFit has mainstreamed flow states. The social environment creates a group flow state that has brought more people into fitness than any other area of exercise.
  • To use flow in your own training, you need to have clearly defined and measureable goals. You need to think about creating a situation where you're reaching 1% past your comfort zone at all times.
Have you ever competed in a sport where you felt like every decision you made was perfect? Any long-time athlete who's done this would say he was "in the zone." But the zone is just another way of describing a flow state. So, what's a flow state?
"Flow is completely focused motivation," writes Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. "It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand."
Flow is everywhere in sports. For example, in the book, The Rise of Superman, Steve Kotler uses the evolution of extreme sport athletes to define how flow can magnify human performance. These athletes have consistently shattered their records by tapping into natural flow state triggers.
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100 Reps to Ripped

by Dennis Weis | 10/01/14

Here's what you need to know...

  • The more experienced you are in the gym, the easier it is to hit a plateau.
  • To break through a training plateau, use 50-100 rep sets with short rest-pauses interspersed throughout.
  • For a 50-rep set, perform 25 reps consecutively, take a 15 second rest-pause, then bang out as many reps as you can before rest-pausing again.
  • The goal is to reach 50 or 100 reps with 6 or fewer rest-pauses or subsets.
  • This method can used for strength, hypertrophy, or as a fat burning finisher, depending on how you set it up.
Smash Your Plateau

Take off your shirt and stand in front of a mirror. Do you look any different than you did a few months ago? Be honest.

Now check your training log. Have the weights gone up? Can you do more reps with the same amount of weight? Have you beaten your 1RM or 3RM on the key lifts recently or have things kinda stalled out?

If things aren't looking good, you may have hit a plateau. That's okay, it happens to every advanced lifter. To blast through it, you can't just keep doing the same things you've been doing in the gym. It's time to get a running start and juggernaut through that wall.
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A new study just released suggests that grapefruit juice, at least in mice, has positive effects on fat metabolism and glucose levels.

Grapefruit juice stems weight gain in mice fed a high-fat diet, study finds

Date: October 8, 2014
Source: University of California - Berkeley

Mice fed a high-fat diet gained 18 percent less weight when they drank clarified, no-pulp grapefruit juice compared with a control group of mice that drank water, a new study demonstrated. Juice-drinking mice also showed improved levels of glucose, insulin and a type of fat called triacylglycerol compared with their water-drinking counterparts.

Fad diets come and go, but might there be something to the ones that involve consuming grapefruit and grapefruit juice? New research at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that a closer look at grapefruit juice is warranted.
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From Mike Robertson, of Robertson Training Systems - this is an excellent post how to increase aerobic capacity for athletes.

Widening the Aerobic Window

October 6, 2014


If you’ve been around athletics for any period of time, chances are you’ve seen the athlete who isn’t “in shape.”

Whether it’s football, basketball, soccer, or something in between, they make a few runs up and down the field or court and they’re gassed.

Red faced, tugging on the shorts, and gasping for air like they’ve just been held under water against their will for the last 30 seconds.

And what’s even more baffling is that sometimes these athletes, outwardly, are the fittest looking athletes you can imagine!

So what gives?

Let’s start with a few definitions, just so we’re all on the same page. From there, we’ll talk about strategies and interventions to help these athletes out.
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And here is one more from T-Nation to round out this week's collection.

5 New Reasons to Train on One Leg 

by Adam Vogel | 10/07/14

Here's what you need to know...
  • Explosive unilateral exercises have been shown to improve Rate of Force Production (RFD) and contribute to overall power output.
  • High-load eccentric or negative training is one of the most powerfully effective ways to pack on muscle.
  • Single-leg exercises are valuable since you can use one leg for the eccentric (lowering) portion and two legs for the concentric (lifting) portion.
  • Single-leg training can increase hamstring length, which has benefits for activities like sprinting.
  • Single-leg exercises are great for metabolic conditioning.
  • It takes twice as long to train each leg individually. That means at least twice the metabolic cost.
One Leg, Twice the Results

Single-leg exercises have become a staple in many strength and conditioning programs:
  1. They allow athletes and bodybuilders to continue training around an injury.
  2. They correct left-right strength and size asymmetries.
  3. They improve general balance and proprioception.
  4. They're similar to athletic movements such as running and bounding and therefore have a strong motor carryover to sport.
When you dig a little deeper, there are even more hidden benefits that make single-leg exercise a powerful training tool.

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