Quote of The Week- Lifting is Safe

Why lifting weights is one of the best tools to protect yourself.

“ If you think lifting is dangerous, try being weak. Being weak is dangerous”. – Brent Contreras

What is danger? Danger is something that can cause you harm. For the purpose of this post, I’m talking about physical harm. When you’re strong, you’re less likely to experience physical harm from outside forces. Any harm you do experience will be minimized due to your physical strength.

I can speak from experience from having injuries in the past that those injuries would have been worse if I hadn’t develop a strength base. This is why Brent. Contreras says being weak is dangerous.

Weak is a relative term but the idea behind his quote is to take your strength seriously because it’ll minimize your risk of physical harm. One of the best ways to develop your strength is through lifting weights.

Being strong will also reduce your risk of danger in regular life. If you ever get in a physical confrontation, being strong will make it easier for you to defend yourself even if you don’t know how to fight. If you’re strong and you look strong as well, people are less likely to want to get in a physical confrontation with you in the first place.

Being strong will reduce your risk of hurting yourself when moving furniture. Being strong will reduce the impact of a fall. It can help you in many areas of your life. In addition to lifting weights, I recommend learning how to move. Doing this will help you maximize the full use of your strength.

Ps. I meant to post earlier in the week. Sorry for the delay!

The Fitness Mindset

The mindset you get from committng to fitness

The moment you commit yourself to a fitness journey your life will change. In order to get far in that journey, you’ll be forced to transform more than your body. Your mindset will change as well. I’ve experienced these changes during my fitness journey.

Growth

Growth seeking is part of the fitness mindset. Anyone that commits to fitness is trying to better themselves. When you try to better yourself in health and fitness, that mindset flows to other areas of your life. By committing to fitness, don’t be surprised if you become more ambitious in your overall life. If you want the best for your body, why wouldn’t you have the same attitude towards other parts of your life.

 

AN example would be deadlifting 500 pounds. This amount sounds like a lot but it’s possible with the right mentality. Any great physical feat is as much mental as it is physical. The growth mentality in fitness comes from setting goals. Fitness taught me the importance of setting goals.

Another element of growth is pain. Sometimes you have to experience pain to grow. Someone who’s committed to fitness is familiar with pushing past pain. That pain could be mental as a result of fearing what can happen or it could be physical as a result of fatigue or injury.

Resilience

The fitness mindset includes resiliency. Committing yourself to fitness will make you mentally resilient. It teaches you to move past adversity because you will face adversity in your fitness journey. Everyone that I’ve met who’s been physically active for a long time has had some type of bump or bruise. It takes a lot of resiliency to have your goals slowed down by an injury but keep pushing forward.

Another form of adversity you might face in your fitness journey is self doubt. I’ve had times when I plateaued on my some lifts and doubted if I could make improvements. It takes a lot of resiliency to overcome self-doubt.

Embrace Discomfort

When you commit yourself to fitness, you have a stronger tolerance to discomfort. There’s a lot of discomfort involved with fitness. Having 400 pounds on your back isn’t comfortable. Running at max speed with your muscles pumping like crazy isn’t comfortable. This goes hand in hand with growth seeking because you’ll need to move past your comfort zone to grow.

Discipline

This one is pretty obvious. It takes a lot of discipline to be committed to fitness. It takes discipline to not skip a workout when you’re feeling tired. It takes discipline to stick to your diet when your office orders Ledos pizza. It takes discipline to sleep at a reasonable time when you get invited to a big party.

Get The Fitness Mindset!

When you invest in fitness, the rewards will trickle-down to the other areas of your life. You’ll approach life a different way and be mentally tougher than before.

To be able to develop these mindsets through fitness, you’ll have to do workouts that challenge and scare you a little . You’ll have to do workouts that cause some inner doubt. When that doubt appears, do the workout anyway. Do workouts that make you want to curse.These are the workouts that’ll strengthen your fitness mindset. Wrist curls and calf raises aren’t gonna cut it. If weight lifting is your avenue, you’ll have to go for compound lifts. If you’re into sports, compete with people who are as good or better than you.

Photo by Derwin Edwards from Pexels

Are You Getting Stronger?

This post gives you a guide on how to test your strength progress in the weightroom.

Who doesn’t love to get stronger? Strength is one of the key foundations to fitness. The stronger you are, the more likely you can achieve other goals like muscle gain, fat-loss, athleticism, and overall good health. As someone who values strength, I always wonder if I’m getting stronger.

I bet many fitness lovers can relate to this feeling. Strength progress can be tough to measure because you can gain strength in one lift and stay stagnant on another. This article will focus on exercise specific strength. There are many ways to see if you’ve gotten stronger.

One Rep Max

One of the most common ways to see if you’ve gotten stronger is to test your one rep max. If you could deadlift 300 pounds last week for a one rep max but now you can do 310 pounds for a max, you’ve gotten stronger.

Pros:

  • Lifting heavy weights is fun!
  • It’s easy to find your weak points when doing a one rep max. For example, if you’re struggling at the bottom portion of a squat, you can do pause work. If you’re shoulders are letting you down with your bench press, do more direct shoulder work.
  • Confidence boost. Nothing in the gym gives me a greater sense of confidence than lifting a new max. You just feel powerful when you do something you weren’t previously able to do.

Cons:

  • The biggest problem when maxing out is the injury risk. The weight you try might too much for your body to handle. That’s why it’s important to have a spotter or safety pins when trying out a new max. One way I try to reduce injury risk when maxing out is to use the wave loading approach I learned from Charles Poliquin.
  • Confidence loss. When going for a one rep max, there’s a risk of failing on the lift. When it comes to gaining strength, failing is something you want to avoid.

 

Five Rep Max

This is one of the simplest ways to see how much you’ve progressed in strength. For the purpose of this article, I chose the number five rep max as a measuring tool. You can also different maxes like your three rep, seven rep, etc. Let’s say you can squat 250 pounds for five reps. If you can squat 250 pounds for seven reps two weeks later, you’ve gotten stronger.

Pros:

  • This is one of the the safest approaches to testing your strength because you’re using a weight you’re familiar. It’s easy to see if you can do more reps of weight you’ve used many times.

Cons:

  • This approach isn’t as fun as testing your one rep max unless you’re doing it with your two or three rep max.

Bar Speed

Another way to test strength progress is through bar speed. This approach is best used when you’re doing speed reps. If you can move a certain wait faster than you previously could, you’ve gotten stronger.

The idea is that you’re able to apply more force. The more force you can use in a lift, the more weight you’ll be able to use. You have to use more to move 400 pounds than to move 300 pounds. I learned about this when I started doing compensatory acceleration training (CAT).

Pros:

  • You’re not stressing yourself with a heavy load. When lifting for speed, it’s recommended to use 55-70% of your one rep max
  • Boosts athleticism! Most sports involve explosive movements like jumping and sprinting. If compound lifts like squats and deadlifts transfer well to sports performance, then doing them explosively could have an even greater impact. If you see athletes train in the weightroom, they often focus on doing the lifts in an explosive manner.

Cons:

  • Risk of injury: Speed reps can lead to injury if you’re not careful. Never compromise form in order to move the weight as fast as possible. I also try to keep my foundation as strong as possible through armor building exercises .

 

Increase Your Chances of Getting Stronger:

There are several programs, systems, and training protocols to get stronger. Many of them do work. The simplest advice I can give anyone who wants to get stronger is to focus on compound lifts.Compound lifts like the squat, deadlift, bench press, and chin-up work many muscles at once. These lifts are also the best way to measure your strength because more parts of your body is involved. The bench press is a greater strength evaluator than the tricep extension.

In addition to doing compound lifts, try to get as much muscle contraction as possible through heavier loads or by focusing on speed. Good things come to those with the right habits. How do you normally test your strength?

Photo Courtesy of https://www.pexels.com/@bruno-bueno-953238

 

 

Do A Random Workout

Breaking out of your routine and doing a random workout can provide immense benefit to your training program.

Consistency and discipline are important in any training program but sometimes you can benefit from doing a random workout. It doesn’t have to be something scary. You’ll find great benefit in just going to the gym on a random day and doing something simple.

Last Thursday , I felt the itch to go to the gym even though I had an intense workout the day before. I felt good and just wanted to get something done. I felt great at the end of the workout and it made me think about the benefits of doing random workouts.

Benefits of Random Workouts

Greater Appreciation: You develop a greater appreciation for your workout routine. Sometimes I take my workouts for granted since I’m so used to the same routine. It becomes automatic. By doing a random workout, you actually have time to think about your workout routine.

Recovery: Doing a random workout will help you with muscle recovery. The fact that you’re moving your body means you’ll be promoting blood flow throughout your body.

Learning New Things: Random workouts can teach you a lot about your body and what it needs to progress. By doing a random workout, you’re getting out of your comfort zone and that’s when you’ll learn a lot about yourself. You can take what you learn use it to help you achieve your goals faster.

Happiness: If you’re someone who loves fitness, getting in any workout will bring you joy. Personally, I feel like a kid in a candy shop when I step in the gym. The endorphin boost you’ll get from the workout also helps with the happiness.

How To Select a Random Workout

When doing a random workout, I recommend choosing something that will contribute to your fitness goal. Even if the impact of the random workout isn’t as large as your normal workouts, at least you’ll move a step closer to your goals.

You can do an intense workout or a workout with moderate intensity. The best way to decide workout intensity depends on what day you’re doing the workout. If the random workout is at the start of your training week, go for higher intensity. If it’s in the middle or end of your training week, it’s best to go for moderate intensity workouts.

This goes hand in hand with my personal training philosophy. I always like doing my hardest workouts at the start of the week. This gives me momentum that I can carry into my following workouts. I’m also fresher at the start of my training weeks.

My Workout

The random workout I did followed the moderate intensity approach since it was near the end of my training week . During my random workout, I did a lot of movements I was familiar with but the format was completely different.

Deadlifts: I did  five sets of three at 225 pounds. These were regular deadlifts at a steady speed.  My rest periods were four minutes, which is pretty long for this level of training intensity. The purpose of this was to get in some extra reps. I learned from Strength Coach Pavel Tsatsouline that you can get stronger by increasing the amount of times you do an exercise. By getting in more quality reps of a movement, I’m making my nervous system more efficient at that movement that movement. A more efficient nervous system means greater strength potential.

Weighted Dead-Bugs: I did dead-bugs while holding two 12 pound dumbbells. The added weight forced my core muscles to work harder. I want my core to be as strong as possible so I can generate more power and be safe during my heavy lifts. I did 10 reps of these in between my deadlift sets.

Iso-Lunge: I did one minute isometric lunges on each leg. The purpose of this was to improve muscle endurance, strengthen my joints, and to work my glutes.

Bag Work: I finished the workout with bag work. I did three rounds of hitting the bag. Each round was two minutes long. It was a good way to get in some cardio.

Photo by <a href=”https://burst.shopify.com/@thenomadbrodie?utm_campaign=photo_credit&amp;utm_content=Free+Stock+Photo+of+Chin+Ups+%E2%80%94+HD+Images&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=credit”>Brodie Vissers</a> from <a href=”https://burst.shopify.com/fitness?utm_campaign=photo_credit&amp;utm_content=Free+Stock+Photo+of+Chin+Ups+%E2%80%94+HD+Images&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=credit”>Burst</a&gt;

Build Your Armor

This article is about the movements that get your stronger and help fight off injuries.

Like many lifters, I’m a big fan of the Big 3 lifts; Squats, Deadlifts, and Bench Press. These lifts will help your performance in other physical activities. I paused to be strong but we often forget about building our base.

I’ve had injuries in the past that really limited what I could do. Those injuries helped me grow a lot as a lifter and I learned lessons from them. One of the most important ones was the importance of building your armor.

What Is Your Armor?

Your Armor is your body. One of the biggest keys to performing your best and staying healthy is to have your body as solid and fluid as possible. Solid as in your body is strong and can take on external forces. Fluid as in your body can move effortlessly.

I’m not saying you’ll never get injured because life can be unpredictable. When you build your armor the odds are in your favor of staying healthy. Things will hurt less. I still have some tweaks from time to time since I’m constantly pushing myself but I’ve been able to bounce back easily due to building my armor.

How Do You Build Your Armor?

You build your armor by strengthening your stabilizers. You build your armor by making your mobility is on point. You build your armor by fixing muscular imbalances and making your core powerful In order to accomplish this is by choosing the right exercises.

I first heard the concept of building your armor from Strength Coach Dan John. He listed some exercises that he believed would best build your armor. Below is a list of armor building exercises that I use to stay strong and healthy. These are the exercises that have worked for me.

Farmers Walk

The farmer walk is one of the best armor building exercises. It works every muscle on your body and builds overall strength. For armor building purposes, the farmer walk strengthens your core muscles. It teaches you to brace when dealing with external resistance. A stronger core and the ability to brace is necessary when doing heavy compound lifts. Your back will have a lower risk of injury as a result.

Bulgarian Split-Squat: Another great armor building exercise is the Bulgarian split squat. This move will help fix muscular imbalances in your lower body because it targets one leg at a time. One side of your body will always be stronger but the closer they are in strength, the better your movement will be when performing bilateral movements like squats and deadlifts. Better movement and better strength means a lower chance of getting hurt. You can’t go wrong with this move.

Contra lateral Movements: Contralateral movements like the deadbug and bird-dog are great ways to solidify your armor. These movements teach your core muscles how to work together at the same time. When performing an intense movements, you’ll want your core as solid as possible. Contralateral movements will help you do that. I do the bird-dog before every workout I do. It sends a message to my brain that I need my core to be as strong as possible.

Yoga: Yoga will build your armor two different ways. The isometric poses will strengthen your body’s stabilizers. You’ll also improve your flexibility so your movements will feel natural rather than forced. I honestly think yoga is a big reason I’ve been able to bounce back quickly from injuries.

Closing Thoughts: This isn’t your typical rehab article. I’m a big supporter of doing prehab and rehab exercises. Why not do movements that provide the same benefits and provide a good workout? These armor building exercises have been a major part of my training throughout the years. I’ve even had training weeks dedicated only to these movements. The results were normally better physical performance and appearance. Don’t be surprised if your posture improves by doing these exercises. What exercises do you do to build your armor ? !

 

Photo on <a href=”https://bestrunningshoes.com/”>Best Running</a>

Three Things I Learned From Strength Coach Charles Poliquin

This post is about some valuable knowledge I gained from Strength Coach Charles Polinquin

This article is in honor of Strength Training legend Charles Poliquin. Poliquin died last September after decades of contribution to the fitness industry. Poliquin was one of the most well known and respected strength coaches. He trained olympic athletes, bodybuilders, and powerlifters. He was extremely knowledgeable in fitness and I learned a lot from him and his team. I might not have progressed as much as I have if it wasn’t for him.

Sprint Workouts Are Not All Built The Same

I learned that not all sprint workouts were built the same. In the early days of my fitness journey, I knew that sprints were a great exercise to do. They burn fat, build muscle, and increase athleticism. I used to just sprint thinking that was enough to get all these benefits. I’m sure the sprints I did helped me make improvements int these areas but I wasn’t aware that different sprint workouts emphasized different areas of fitness. One day I stumbled upon an old sprint workout article on one of Poliquin’s websites. I saw different ways to sprint to maximize certain goals.

I’ve shared some of these goal specific sprint workouts in previous posts. These workouts have helped me when focusing on different aspects of fitness. I learned how to sprint specifically for athletic performance, fat loss, and muscle gain. Knowledge is power.

 

Different Strength Building Rep and Set Schemes

The great Charles Poliquin thought me different strength building methods that have helped me tremendously.  When I started focusing on strength, I just focused on the regular progressive overload approach. This approach works but sometimes you have to mix things up, especially if progress starts stalling. One of them is Cluster Sets. I mentioned cluster sets before but it’s worth repeating. Cluster sets are sets within a set.

An example is if you’re comfortable doing three reps per set for an exercise. Instead of doing all three reps continuously, you’ll stop at two reps rest for 20 seconds and do another rep. By taking short rests during each set, you’ll find yourself being able to do more reps per set and more reps overall.

Another strength building protocol I learned from him is wave loading. I’ve used wave loading. Wave loading is a way to help you work up to a new max. I use wave loading whenever I want to test a new max.

1st Wave:

  • 3 reps at 90% of one rep max
  • Three minute rest
  • Two reps at 95% of one rep max
  • Three minute rest
  • One rep at 98% of one rep max
  • Three minute rest

2nd Wave:

  • Same number of reps and rest time, the only difference is you’ll add five pounds to each set.

3rd Wave, if you have enough left in the tank:

  • Same as second wave but with another five pound increase in weights.

Earn Your Carbs

The idea behind earn your carbs is you should only be eating carbs on days you do challenging workouts. Since carbs are used for energy, there’s no point in eating a bunch of carbs if you’re sitting on the couch all day. You don’t need energy to watch TV. This idea focuses mainly on simple carbs like rice, pasta, and bread. since they’re the ones that contribute mostly to fat loss. You can still get carbs from fruit and beans.

This is one of the simplest pieces of advice for anyone trying to lose fat.I try to follow this principle as best as I can but I love eating carbs. I’m not perfect.

Closing Thoughts

As a student of strength, I’m truly grateful for the knowledge that Charles Poliquin has shared. I’ve made great progress in my fitness journey thanks to him. He’ll always be a legend in the fitness world.

Below are links from two of his main sites.

https://www.strengthsensei.com

https://www.poliquingroup.com

The Power of The Mind is No Joke!

This post is about how powerful the mind is when it comes to achieving your fitness goals

Story Time

The other day I was reminded just how powerful the mind is. It was a deadlift day and I was getting ready to do my work sets. I usually do ten sets of one for these. As I try to lift the weight up, I struggle more than I normally do. I get so close to locking out but couldn’t make it all the way.

I figured maybe my setup was off. So I wait a minute and get ready to lift again. I usually rest a minute in between sets for this workout. The second set was worse than the first. I start thinking something is wrong with me. Maybe my body was fatigued and I wasn’t aware of it. I get frustrated and start taking weight off.

I took off two 45 plates and got ready for a new workout. As I got ready to do my set, something didn’t seem right when I looked at the weight. I then realized I was using the wrong weight all along. During my working set, I was trying to lift 50 more pounds then I intended. No wonder it felt heavy! I felt like a fool but was happy at the same time. I got a chance to see how that heavy weight felt. Aside from the importance of paying attention to what I’m doing, I learned some valuable lessons

Lesson 1

The first lesson I learned is you’re stronger than you think. I know I was unsuccessful when attempting those first two reps but the weight felt easier than I thought it would. Sometimes we get intimidated by large numbers. It’s not a surprise that confidence makes a huge difference when lifting heavy weights.

I’m not saying to blindly put weights and just lift. This is a reminder that you might be stronger than you think. Remember to enter the weight room with total confidence in your abilities. All great achievers in life have high levels of confidence in their abilities. Whether you’re creating a business or trying out a new weight in the gym, you have to see yourself succeeding.

Lesson 2

The second I learned is that writing down your goals is very powerful. I’ve heard many times that you’re more likely to achieve a goal if you write it down.

During my workout, I realized the weight I was trying to deadlift was the same weight I wrote down on my list of goals. It’s crazy because I’ve been reading this goal to myself everyday as if I already achieved it. It’s like when you set your mind to a specific goal , you automatically start moving in that direction.

Another benefit of writing down your goals and reading them every day is a boost in confidence. When you see yourself as already achieving a goal, you feel like it’s inevitable to achieve it. That’s what I’ve been doing every day when it comes to deadlifting this specific way. The saying the body follows where the mind goes applies to this situation.

In case you’re wondering, I got this goal setting idea from a book called It Works: The Famous Little Red Book that makes your dreams come true by RHJ. I recommend reading this book if you have an open mind and are trying to achieve a fitness or life goal. I’ll share my deadlift goal once it’s achieved.

Closing Thoughts

I can sum this all up with the human mind is very powerful. When you see yourself achieving a certain goal, your mind will think it’s true and will guide you to do what’s necessary to achieve it. If you have a fitness or life goal, write it down and read it every day. You’re more likely to achieve that goal when you a daily reminder of it.

 

My Week With Easy Strength

Last week I talked about Easy Strength, one of the most respected strength training programs around. What separates Easy Strength from other strength training programs is that you’ll hardly ever use weight that makes you uncomfortable. My curiosity pushed me to try out the program for at least a week. My initial challenge was choosing the right weights. I didn’t want to choose something too light or I’d feel like I was wasting my time. I also added some moderate cardio after my main workouts.

Day One of Easy Strength

The movements I chose were squats, deadlifts, weighted chin-ups, dumbbell overhead press, and farmers walk. After doing my regular warmup routine, I did the following workout.

Barbell Back Squats: Two sets of five at 205 pounds. I normally do 330 pounds for my working set.

Deadlifts: Two sets of five at 285 pounds. I normally do 405 pounds for my working set.

Weighted Chin-Ups: Two sets of five with a 25 pound plate. I normally do 55 pounds for my working set.

Dumbbell Overhead Press: Two sets of five at 45 pounds. I normally do 60 pounds for my working set.

Farmers Walk: 100 yards with a 105 pound dumbbell.

This workout started off smoothly. I was moving the weights easily and didn’t feel like I really challenged myself. I even started to feel a little guilty until the farmers walks came. The workout called for doing a farmers walk with 105 pounds in each hand for a total of 200 yards. 100 yards down and back. I’ve never used that much weight on my farmer walk and I normally rest longer when doing them. It’s hard to measure 100 yards in a commercial gym so I did my best estimation. Carrying the dumbbells down didn’t feel that bad but taking them back was brutal. I had to stop a few times.

Day Two Of Easy Strength

The main thing that changed in day two is that my grip felt weak. It’s probably because of the Farmer Walks from the night before. I also didn’t sleep well. Despite having a weak grip and feeling tired, I did my workout. Luckily, Easy Strength doesn’t ask you to use too much weight ( except for the Farmer Walks). Maybe I just need to get my grip stronger. Everything felt fairly easy and then Farmer Walks came in. I put my ego to the side and only used 90 pound dumbbells this time.

Day Three of Easy Strength

I felt a lot better in day three thanks to a good night of sleep. My biggest challenge at this point was fighting boredom. I’m not used to doing the same workout on three consecutive days. Luckily the workout allowed me to add some weight after each set. The workout for day 3 followed a 5/3/2 rep and set scheme. The first set I did five reps for the same weight I used in the previous days. The second set I did three reps with a five pound increase in weight. Finally, I did two reps in the third set with another five pound increase in weight. When it came to farmer walks, I used 95 pound dumbbells. Day three went smoothly. The following day was a rest day.

Day Four of Easy Strength

That rest day made a world of difference. When I woke up on day four, I was ready to lift some heavy weight till I remembered the point of the program which was to get stronger without having to strain yourself. The program allows you to slightly increase the weight on this day if you’re feeling it. I guess that was good enough for me.  I went back to doing two sets of five on day four. On that day, I used 10 more pounds from what I started with. I used 95 pound dumbbells for my farmer walks on day four too.

Day Five of Easy Strength

Day five was the same as day four.

Closing Thoughts

After doing a only a week of the program, I can see why it works. By doing so many reps of a movement over time, your nervous system gets comfortable with it. Since strength is a function of the nervous system, this is very beneficial to increasing strength. Doing all those Farmer walks teaches you how to brace your core. Your ability to brace your core is critical when lifting heavy.

I reccomend this program if you don’t mind doing very similar workouts over a long period. Luckily, this program allows you to do different variations of your core lifts as the weeks continue. Easy Strength takes a lot of discipline. The discipline to do almost identical workouts every training day. Also, the discipline to not add too much weight.

I enjoyed this program because it allowed me joints to recover from the pounding of heavy weights. I also had more energy during the week since I wasn’t exerting myself too much. I definitely plan on doing the full program one day.

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

Below is a link of the workout template, wrote by Dan John himself:

https://www.t-nation.com/training/40-workout-strength-challenge

 

The Greatest Strength Training Program Ever?

This post is about the famous strength training program called Easy Strength. The goal is to get stronger without struggling.

As a student of strength, I enjoy learning from all the top strength coaches. I like to take things from their teachings and apply it to my training. Two of my favorite strength coaches are Dan John and Pavel Tsatsouline. I’ve learned a lot from both of these legends. A strength program created by these two must be legit.

Their strength training program is called Easy Strength. The goal of the program is to get significantly stronger without feeling beat up after each workout. If you could get significantly stronger in all your major lifts without beating yourself up with heavy loads and intense training methods, would you do it?

How Does Easy Strength Work?

Easy Strength is an 8 week strength program in which you only do five main exercises. You’ll do the same workout every day for 5 days a week. Some weeks you’ll do different variations of the same exercise to avoid boredom. The key is choosing weights that you won’t struggle to move. At the end of each workout you should feel energized. It’s reccomended to choose a push, pull, squat, hinge, and loaded carry movement.

My approach: I decided to give Easy Strength a one week tryout. This will be my chance to get a feel for the program and reload. I’ve been pushing myself with heavy and explosive lifts lately so I’m sure my body will appreciate the relief. Since I’ll be doing the same movements for five days in the week, I’ll also be able to improve my lifting technique.

The five exercises I’m choosing are the squat, deadlift, chin-up, dumbbell overhead press, and farmers walk. I’m choosing these exercises because they’re the ones I train the most. The deadlift counts as a pulling movement but I’ll treat it solely as a hinge movement. I plan on doing some cardio at the end of each workout but it won’t be too strenuous.

Closing Thoughts: Easy Strength was originally created so athletes could get stronger in the weight room and still have enough energy for their sports. We’re all athletes and our sport is called life. Isn’t the ultimate goal of fitness to improve our quality of life? I get a thrill from pushing my body with heavy loads but there’s always room for a program like this. There’s so much information in the fitness industry so the best way to find it if something works is to try it. I’ll be sharing how my one week trial of Easy Strength goes.

 

Photo by Leon Martinez from Pexels

Strong People Should Do Yoga

This post is about how yoga will help you in the weight room and in other areas of fitness

When it comes to building strength, yoga doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Yoga might not have the same effect that weightlifting has for strength building but it’ll indirectly make you stronger.Personally, I wouldn’t have made as much progress with my training if it wasn’t for yoga. From the outside yoga may look like glorified stretching but once you try it, you’ll experience a challenging workout.

Yoga Benefits

Flexibility: Yoga will help boost your overall flexibility. This is useful when trying to lift a weight with a full range of motion. As someone that does yoga, I never have an issue squatting to depth.

Stability: Yoga builds muscle and joint stability. In order to do those standing lunges and single leg poses, your stabilizer muscles will need to be used. The stronger your stabilizers are, the more power you get generate in your movements. Why don’t those people who squat on bosu balls lifting heavy weights? It’s because you can’t generate as much power on an unstable surface.

Core Strength: Several yoga poses will force you to engage your core muscles. A strong core will help you generate more power in any movement you perform. A strong core will also reduce your risk of injuries. Core strength is very important

Muscle recovery: Yoga helps with muscle recovery because it promotes blood flow. It’s probably because of those long poses and the deep breathing done in yoga workouts. I know my sore muscles always feel better after a yoga session.

Balance: Yoga provides the perfect balance to weight lifting. Some lifts like the squat compress your spine while yoga decompresses it. Proper weight lifting requires varying levels of intensity. Yoga can be challenging but it relaxes you. Yoga will also increase your energy so you have more in the tank when you hit the gym.

My Favorite Yoga Poses

Downward Facing Dog: The Downward Facing Dog is good for us lifters that really hit squats and deadlifts. This pose will give you a stretch throughout your backside from your lower back all the way to your calves. Runners and sprinters would benefit from this pose as well. The image on the thumbnail is a good demonstration of the Downward Facing Dog.

High Lunge: The high lunge is one of my favorite poses. The name says it all. In this pose your front leg will be in a lunge position and your back leg will be straight. You’ll also raise your arms to the sky. This pose gives you a groin and hip stretch but my favorite thing about is the increase in single leg stability. This pose will also build muscle endurance so you can perform any physical activity longer. Increased muscle endurance helps with injury prevention.

yoga-crescent-lunge_925x

 

Upward Facing Dog: This move is great for stretching your hip flexors. Tight hip flexors limit glute activation which will hold back your ability to perform big lifts and athletic movements.

upward-facing-dog-yoga_925x

Pigeon Pose: This is a great pose to loosen tight hips. I especially love doing this the day after a hard squat or deadlift workout. I don’t want to butcher the explanation for this pose so I’m putting a link below to help you get a good idea of how the pose is done.

https://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-do-one-legged-king-pigeon-pose-in-yoga

My Yoga Reccomendations:

As someone who likes to do high intensity training like lifting heavy weights and sprinting, I like to do Vinyasa Yoga. I like this type of yoga because it’s not as intense as other forms of yoga. I mainly use yoga as a recovery method on my non-lifting days. I also recommend easing into poses in order to avoid injuries. Yoga should help you feel better, not worse. I’m currently using an app called Down Dog that provides a wide variety of yoga workouts.

Closing Thoughts: I’m so grateful for what yoga has done for me in my fitness journey. It’s helped my body recover from the impacts of intense workouts as well as battle life’s stresses. AS you add yoga to your fitness routine, don’t be surprised if other areas of your life improve as well.

 

The images on this post were taken by the same photographer. I put a link of his instagram below.

https://www.instagram.com/matt_henry_photo/

 

For better yoga tutorials :  https://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/