The Best Exercise You’re Not Doing

Throughout my fitness journey I’ve tried many exercises and exercise variations but there’s one move that really stands out. I’d go as far as saying that learning this exercise was one of the biggest turning points in my fitness journey. The move is called the Leopard Crawl and I learned about it through Tim Anderson’s original strength website.

I say this is the best exercise you’re not doing because I’ve never seen someone in person do this exercise. Maybe it’s because many people haven’t heard of it, it won’t be a social media hit, or crawling like an animal feels weird. Regardless of how you feel about the exercise, it provides many benefits.

Benefits

Core Strength: The Leopard crawl is great for core strength. It teaches you how to use all your core muscles simultaneously. Your core muscles have to stabilize in order to control your movement.

Nervous System Health: The interesting thing about Leopard Crawls is that they’re physically demanding but they’re great for revitalizing your nervous system. The reason why it’s so beneficial to the nervous system is the contralateral aspect of the movement. When you Leopard Crawl, you’re using opposite limbs simultaneously. You use your right hand at the same time as your left leg and vice versa. This forces both hemispheres of your brain to work at the same time.

Back Health: One thing I noticed is that my lower back feels better after doing rounds of leopard crawls. I think this is because of the way the movement is set up, particularly when crawling backwards. Another reason for better back health is the development of core strength cause by Leopard Crawls. A strong, stable core is your back’s best friend.

Fat Loss: Leopard Crawls are great for fat loss due to the metabolic demands it places on your body. It forces you to engage many muscles. The longer you do the crawls, the more cardiovascular energy you have to use. Every time Ive finished a round of Leopard Crawls, my heart rate skyrockets.

Muscle Building: As I mentioned before, Leopard Crawls require you to use multiple muscles at once. You already know about the core muscle engagement but did you know that Leopard Crawls will help you build bulletproof shoulders? They’ll also fire up your chests and triceps. If you don’t have access to a gym and you want to build an impressive upper body, Leopard Crawls will help you tremendously.

How To Do Leopard Crawls

Starting Position: Get down on your hands and knees.

Step 2: Raise your slightly above the ground. Raise your shoulders to a height that it’s above your hips. Tilt your head slightly so you’re looking up at an angle.

Step 3: The Leopard Crawl is a Contralateral movement so you’ll be using opposite limbs simultaneously. As you start crawling, you’ll move your left arm while moving your right leg and vice versa. You can do this forward and backwards. To make this even more difficult, maintain proper tongue posture the way I mentioned in this article.

Regardless of your fitness goal, you can benefit from the leopard crawl. It’s one of the rare exercises that will require a lot of energy but revitalize you after. If you’re not physically ready for the leopard crawl, you prepare yourself with the baby crawl. Give these movements a try!

Original Strength Website: https://originalstrength.net

Get Stronger With These Home Chest Workouts

Chest workouts you can do at home for more strength and muscle

These last couple of months I’ve been doing a lot of home chest workouts to help me maintain or build my upper body pushing strength. It’s been a challenge without weights but I’m confident in the workouts I’ve been doing. In general, my workout routines have changed but my training approach still remains the same. My training has focus is still on activating as much muscle fibers as possible. This is a major key to performing and looking your best. This is

Focus on high muscle contraction and quality conditioning. Focusing on these two training methods are the keys to an athletic and attractive body. A body that can lift, move well, and still look good.

Instead of heavy weights and explosive lifts, I’m doing plyometrics and isometrics. Even my regular bodyweight exercises involve me flexing my muscles as hard as possible while doing them.

Training is a mindset. It doesn’t matter what type of equipment you have. You can still approach your workouts with the same intention as you would when you’re lifting heavy. They say the body follows the mind. When you have the right mindset with the proper training knowledge, things take care of themselves. These are some of my home chest workouts for strength.

Chest Workout #1

This first workout is simple.

  1. Wall Pushes: Wall pushes are a form of overcoming isometrics.They’re a great way to activate a ton of muscle fibers.  With overcoming isometrics, you’ll actually use more muscle fibers than you would with a max effort lift.
  • Six sets of six second wall pushes: I like to use two different joint angles, doing three sets of each. This helps me mimic the two hardest joint angles of the bench press. I rest 1.5 minutes in between each set.

2. High Tension Pushups: These are like regular pushups except that you’re tensing your muscles as hard possible. Each rep is controlled and focusing on maintaining muscle tension.

  • 7- 10 sets of 15. Rest a minute and a half in between each set.

Chest Workout # 2

  1. Standard Pushups: Do 20 pushups to get started.
  2. Plyo Pushups: These are clap pushups without the clap. Lower yourself on a 3 count and once you get to the bottom, push off the ground as hard as possible.
  • 3 sets of 5. Rest 1 minute in between sets.

3.  Triangle Pushups

  • One set of 12

 

4. Max Tension Slow Pushups for one minute: These are tough. The goal is to go slow that it takes you 30 seconds to get to the bottom of the pushup position. After that, it should take you 30 seconds to get to the top of the push up position

  •  Two sets

5. Max Tension Slow Triangle pushups: It’s the same concept as the regular pushups but the only difference is each portion is 20 seconds rather than 30.

6. Decline Pushups: One set of 20.

7. Triangle Incline Pushups: One set of 12.

8. Timed Pushups: Set a timer for three minutes and do as many pushups as possible. Doing high reps will help you build Tendon Strength.

These are the chest and shoulder workouts I’ve been doing since the gyms have closed. I’m confident they can help you maintain or improve your upper body strength. You’ll also build some muscle !

Photo by Keiji Yoshiki from Pexels

 

Squat or Deadlift Every Workout

As someone who emphasizes total body workouts, I believe in squatting or deadlifting every workout. You can even do both. In my current routine, I’m in the gym three times a week and I’m doing at least one of these two compound lifts. I’ve been following this approach the last two months and I’m pleased with the results.

Reasons To Squat or Deadlift every Workout

Total body benefits– If you want to follow a total body training split, doing squats or deadlifts each workout will make that goal easier. Squats and deadlifts work several muscles from head to toe. There’s a reason they’re both in the discussion for king of all lifts. I often feel satisfied with my workout, knowing that I’ve hit as much muscles as possible.

Increase Strength and Muscle: If you want to get stronger in a lift, then do the lift often. A big reason powerlifters and weightlifters are so strong in their specific lifts is because they do those lifts almost every day. Some of the top performers do them twice a day. I may not be doing as much training frequency as those strength athletes but I believe my routine will allow me to gain strength. I can speak from experience  when I say doing a lift more often will make you better at that lift. I’m currently doing 40 squat reps and 60 deadlift reps every two weeks. My confidence in performing these lifts and my technique have also improved as a result of doing these lifts frequently.

You’ll not only gain strength with this training approach but you’ll also build muscle. In order to maximize muscle growth, you need to hit as much muscle fibers as possible. This is only possible through compound movements like the squat and deadlift. Doing at least one of these lifts three times a week will make it easier for you to gain muscle.

How To Make This Work

The squat and deadlift have great muscle and strength gaining benefits but they have their drawbacks as well. They put a lot of stress on your body and nervous system. The way I handle this challenge is by varying the way I train these lifts each workout.

I don’t go heavy more than once a week. Heavy is 80 % or more of my one rep max. On the days that I’m not going heavy, I’m either doing speed work or just regular light reps. The light reps are usually 20 pounds greater than my body weight.

Another thing that helps is to be aggressive with your recovery. When you train hard, you need to recover hard as well. The obvious methods are diet and sleep. Doing low-intensity yoga workouts, deep tissue work, and deep breathing. You should also rest one or two days in between workouts. Did I mention that cardio helps with muscle recovery?!Once you find an efficient way to do squats or deadlifts each workout, you’ll be pleased with the results.

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

Outdoor Leg Workout For The Ages!

This post is great for people without gym memberships and those who want to spice up their fitness routine.

Following the theme from my previous post,I added an outdoor workout to my routine. I’ll be doing this workout every week and I believe it’ll contribute to my Fitness goals of overall strength, athleticism, and health.

My Workout:

My workout was very simple. I found a short and moderately steep hill and did some hill sprints. The purpose of this workout was to build leg power. Since I do leg work at the gym too, I made sure my total volume was low.

Five sets of two hill sprints. I rested two minutes in between each set. After the hill workout, I did isometric lunges for one minute on each leg. I did two sets for each leg with a minute rest in between.

Benefits of This Workout:

Safety: There’s some form of risk with every workout you do. It depends on a number of factors like your mechanics, pre-existing injuries, and how much you recovered from previous workouts. I believe the rewards of this workout outweigh the risk since there’s no external load involved. Also, the sprints you’re doing is on a hill so won’t be moving fast enough to pull your hamstring or put your ligaments at risk.

Fast-Twitch Muscle Fiber Recruitment: By doing hill sprints with an emphasis on speed and power, you’ll be recruiting a lot of fast-twitch muscles. Fast-Twitch muscles are the muscle fibers that produce the greatest muscle growth.

Fast-twitch muscles also make you a better athlete. The explosive movements you see in sports and in the weightroom involve the usage of a lot of fast-twitch muscles. The isometric lunges also recruit fast twitch muscles due to the fact that you have to activate as much muscle fibers as possible so your legs can stay stable. Doing them after hill sprints makes me work that much harder.

Fat-Loss: Every time I’ve had sprints in my training routine, I’ve been my leanest. It makes sense when you think about how hard your body is working to move fast. There’s so much muscles involved in the movement. Now imagine the extra work you have to do to run up a hill as fast as possible. Sprinting is an aerobic workout too. When I did this workout, I was breathing heavily. My heart was moving faster than a stampede of buffalo. The image below is the aftermath of this workout.

Joint Health: This goes hand in hand with the safety aspect of the workout. Safety aside, I believe this workout makes your joints healthier. I’m speaking from experience when I say that hill sprints have helped me improve my joint health.

My ankles and hips have gotten stronger as a result of running hills. When I first started running hills, I experienced soreness in these joints as a result of the intensity of the movement.

The isometric lunge part of the workout also contributes to joint health. In order to hold the lunge position, your joints have to be stabilized. They also build muscle endurance, which is critical for injury prevention. Most injuries happen when the muscles are fatigued.

Closing Thoughts: If you want to get outside of the weightroom and hit your legs a different way, this article is for you. It’s a fun way to mix up your workouts. So remember, Hill Sprints are awesome and the world is your gym!

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

Total Body Workout For 2/21/19

I’m sharing the total body workout I’ll be doing tomorrow. This will be part of my current routine.

Fitness is an experiment. You try different things to see how your body responds. You can mix your sets and reps or follow a new workout program. Tomorrow I’ll be doing a workout I’ve never done before. I’ve done all the exercises that will be mentioned but never in one workout. This workout follows the trend I’m going in my fitness.

I’m currently doing a total body workout split. I prefer this method because it let’s me get more work done in less days. I also prefer total body workouts over bodyweight splits because I feel less soreness the following days. The only drawback is total body workouts affect your energy levels more. Different things work for different people but so far this approach has been working for me.

The goal of my workouts is to hit as many muscle groups as possible while also activating a lot of muscle fibers. I talked about the benefits of activating a lot of muscle fibers in my previous post How To Build An Impressive Body .

The Workout

Below is the workout I’ll be doing.

Dynamic Warmup

Dumbbell Overhead Press: 5 sets of 3 with 3 minute rest in between. I’ll be using 85% of my one rep max. I’ve been doing more overhead presses because I feel like my shoulders have been a weak point. Dumbbells allow me to work each shoulder equally.

Squats: 60% of my 1 rep max. I’ll do 5 sets of 3 with 1 minute rest in between. I’ll be using the Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT) method Use CAT For Strength Gainz.

Farmers Walk: I’ll carry two 90 pound dumbbells for 45 seconds and rest 2 minutes in between sets. It’s hard to do a one rep max percentage for farmer’s walks but you should aim for at least your body weight for the total weight you’ll be carrying. I’ll do 3 rounds of this.

Jump rope for 5 consecutive minutes. I’ll be switching from a steady to a fast pace throughout.

I’ll finish off with some static stretches.

What I like about this workout is that my body won’t be bored. I’ll be working almost every muscle in my body in different ways. This workout has strength, speed, and conditioning in it. If it sounds interesting, give it a try and see how your body responds to it.

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Use CAT For Strength Gainz

This post is about how focusing on speed will help with strength gains

If you’re not familiar with CAT, you’re missing out.Adding CAT to your training routine will help you make major progress in your strength. I’m not talking about your pet Mr. Whiskers. I’m talking about Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT).

I have to say CAT has helped me make noticeable gains in the last couple months. My squat was stalled for a couple months and I realized I lacked speed in the movement. I mention this in a previous post Assault on The Squat pt.2 As I did more research I found CAT.

Background: CAT originated from a man named Fred Hatfield who also goes by the name Dr. Squat. It’s a good idea to take squatting advice from a guy with a name like that. Dr. Squat believed that you can get significantly stronger in your squats just from working on your squatting speed. He was the first person to squat 1000 pounds so I definitely had to look into this.

It all comes down to applying force. The key to moving 400 pounds is by applying more than 400 pounds of force, otherwise the weight won’t move. When Dr. Squat was preparing for the powerlifting meet in which he squatted over 1000 pounds, he would rarely squat more than 800 pounds. He was focusing on applying as much force on the bar as possible. Dr. Squat swears by this method and from personal experience, it works.

How To Use CAT: From what I know, the key to CAT is speed. From what I’ve read, its best used for deadlifts and squats. You’ll choose a weight that’s between 55 and 70% of your one rep max. When using CAT, you’ll lower the weight like you normally do.

The difference is when you’re rising back up. This is the part where speed comes in. The goal of the concentric/ rising part of the lift is speed. Try to move the weight as fast as possible throughout the entire concentric portion, and not just at the bottom of the lift.

How I use CAT: I use CAT for both my squats and deadlifts. I’ve been able to move heavy weight easier since adding CAT to my training. I normally do CAT deadlifts after doing heavy squats. I do 5-8 sets of 3 with amount rest in between. I do CAT squats after doing heavy shoulder presses. I also do 5-8 sets of 3 with a minute rest in between.

I like this rep scheme because it allows me to maximize the speed I use in each set. Also, the total volume is high enough for me to improve my muscle memory in the movement. To make things more fun, I like to pretend I’m using weight that’s heavier than my current max. It helps me be mentally prepared for the days that I lift heavier weights.

Closing Thoughts: Not only is using this training method effective, it’s fun too. As someone who’s into athletics, I like moving explosively. CAT has helped me improve my performance on heavy lifting days. I’ve had people tell me my heavy lifts look effortless. I think it’s because my body has because so used to applying large force on the lift, it’s natural now. I plan on using this in my training for the foreseeable future since I’ve been getting good results from it.

Here’s a couple links that also explain CAT.

https://boxlifemagazine.com/what-is-compensatory-acceleration-training-and-how-can-it-help-you-get-stronger/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/breakingmuscle.com/amp/fitness/compensatory-acceleration-training-speed-up-your-strength-gains

Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/chriswojtewicz/26736265130/”>chris.wojtewicz</a&gt; on <a href=”https://bestrunningshoes.com/”>Best Running</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”&gt; CC BY-SA</a>

The Magic of Supersets

This article is about how supersets can help you build muscle and burn fat. Article also includes a sample workout routine.

Is it possible to build muscle and burn fat at the same time? From my experience, it can be done. There are many factor involved with building muscle and burning fat simultaneously such as diet, training, and sleep. One method that has worked for me is using superset.

What Are Supersets?

Supersets are when you do two different movements consecutively. The key is two do two movements that work opposite  muscle groups. An example would be push ups followed immediately by rows. A bad example would be bench press followed by push ups. Supersets don’t always have to be done with opposite movements as long as the 2 movements don’t work the same muscles.

There’s a number of reasons why supersets are great for building muscle and burning fat at the same time. The muscle building benefits are obvious as you’re lifting a weight that’s challenging enough to build muscles for a good amount of reps, preferably 6-10 reps. This is the typical rep range used when building muscle. Since you’r working different muscle groups for each movement, you’ll still be in the muscle building range for each movement. Supersets work for fat loss because by being in constant motion, you keep your heart rate high for a longer duration. This is similar to when you’re doing an intense form of cardio.

Another benefit of supersets is that it saves you time. By doing two consecutive movements, you get more done in less time. The more you can incorporate supersets in your routine, the less days you’ll have to go to the gym since many muscle groups will be hit in each workout. I like to do this for my accessory lifts because the main lifts like squats bench press, and deadlifts require more energy and concentration.

 

Sample Workout

Below is a workout I added to my routine when I was focused on building muscle and burning fat. I believe this workout set a good foundation for me as I’m currently focused on building strength.

1. Back Squats–  With the back squat, I like to make the eccentric or lowering of the weight slow. The eccentric portion of a lift is when the most muscle tear occurs. Muscle tear leads to muscle growth once you recover. Once I reach the bottom position, I pause at the bottom for 3 seconds. You can also replace the back squat with the deadlift for this workout.

3 sets of 7 with a 1.5 minute rest in between each rep.

Set 1:

2. Legs and Back Superset: Bulgarian Split Squat and Bent Over Row

Bulgarian Split Squat– 6 reps

Bent Over Row– 7 reps

Rest for 1 minute

Repeat til you complete 3 sets

3. Physioball Hamstring Curl.

3 sets of 30 with a 1 minute rest in between.

4. Finisher: To end this workout, I usually do the jump rope or punching bag finisher that I mentioned in my previous post Finish Strong and Burn Fat! . You can use the kettlebell finisher too if your hips aren’t too tired from the squats and split squats.

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Deadlift Are Good For The Soul

If I had to pick one exercise that’ll make you feel awesome, it’d be some heavy deadlifts. I say heavy because deadlifts are meant to be done in low rep ranges (3-6) reps. I’m not including Olympic lifts because they’re more difficult to teach and learn. I don’t know about you but I feel so powerful when picking up heavy weight from the ground with such explosive ferocity.The deadlift is the best exercise for total body strength. It engages every muscle from head to toe, with emphasis on the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. I’ve heard people say that deadlifts are bad for your back. The truth is using bad form on deadlifts or any other exercise is bad for you. From my personal experience, proper deadlifting has helped me fix back issues caused by weight lifting with bad form.

The dealift is an exercise with real world application. Not only does it make you strong from head to toe, it also helps with sports performance. Due to the emphasis on powerful hip movement, the deadlift can help an athlete improve their sprint speed and vertical jump. The deadlift also teaches you how to properly lift things from the ground, assuming you’re using correct form. This will come in handy when you’re helping a friend move their furniture.

Like any other exercise, it’s important to have good form when deadlifting. Deadlifting is a hinging movement. When deadlifting, it’s important to have the barbell touching your shins on the bottom position. Slightly arch your back and keep a neutral spine. Before you lift the weight, remove some slack from the barbell by slightly pulling it. Also, squeeze the barbell as hard as you can and brace your abs. Focus on pulling the weight with as much force as possible. It’s important to commit to the lift, meaning you have top pull the weight once you get to the bottom position.

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Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/isafmedia/6940701913/”>ResoluteSupportMedia</a&gt; via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/b22a01″>Visualhunt</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”&gt; CC BY</a>

 

Strength And Hypertrophy

This article is about the importance of improving your strength.

When it comes to weight lifting there’s two primary approaches, strength and hypertrophy. Everyone has their preference and mine is strength. The feeling I get when I’m moving something heavy is exhilarating. Another thing I love about strength training is I don’t gain excess mass from it. Yeah you’ll gain some mass when focusing on strength but strength is primarily influenced by the nervous system.

If you love training at high intensity levels then strength training is for you. If you want to be able to lift heavy ass weight while staying lean then strength training is for you. Don’t be fooled by the large powerlifters and strongmen you see. Their size is primarily due to their large calorie intakes. There’s different powerlifting weight classes so it’s definitely possible to be tremendously strong and lean at the same time. I know of people that weigh 180 pounds that can deadlift over 600 pounds. Since strength is a function of the nervous system, they got so strong due to body adaptation.

I don’t consider myself to be a powerlifter but I am interested in improving my overall physical performance, in life and sports. My current goal is to improve my relative strength, which is my strength to weight ratio. Lifting heavy helps me do that.

The key to get stronger is to do compound lifts at 80-95 % of your 1RM for 3-5 reps. Make sure to rest for 2-3 minutes in between sets. Due to the stress it puts on your nervous system, I wouldn’t recommend strength training on consecutive days. I also don’t recommend lifting heavy more than 3 times in a given week. I currently lift heavy twice a week so I can still have energy for other parts of my life.

So if you want to be a better athlete LIFT HEAVY. If you want to feel like a total badass LIFT HEAVY. If you want to increase your testosterone LIFT HEAVY. Just LIFT HEAVY.  Hell, if you want to improve your muscle building potential, LIFT HEAVY. Who do you think has more growth potential, someone who deadlifts 400 or someone who deadlifts 225? As I work toward reaching my physical potential, I believe strength training will be a valuable asset for me.

Disclaimer: Choose weights in which you can get quality reps with good form.

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