My intent with every training session is to better my previous session, whether it’s with a singular action of increasing load, sets, reps or a combination of them all. However, the goal is to never sacrifice my form for the sake of doing more volume, as that elevates my risk of injury and diminishes intent on the muscle I’m targeting. When form breaks down, that’s where intent on the targeted muscle gets lost as well and the risk of injury heightens, as no doubt momentum or body English step in to assist in completing the work. The combination of these two factors can surely be counterproductive.
feeling dedication and loyalty to a cause, activity, or job; wholeheartedly dedicated.
provide with a motive for doing something.
past tense for mo-ti-vate
Is it common to use these terms interchangeably? All too common if you ask me. However, once you see the actual definition of these terms you can tell they are quite different. Especially when it comes to the application of these terms to our programs or heck, even our lives. [Read more…]
Be Sure to Check With a Qualified Healthcare Practitioner Before Trying Any Training Tool, Including BFR.
Blood flow restriction (BFR) training is a concept that has been researched for a quite some time and appears to be a safe and effective tool for the training of strength and physique athletes as well as the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal pathologies in physical therapy. Due to the increased popularity of BFR training, more and more questions have arisen about the optimization of its implementation (say that 5 times fast). Today, we’re talking about why exercise selection may be key and, depending on the exercise, can either enhance or hinder the effects of BFR. Let’s get to it! [Read more…]
Blood flow restriction training, or BFR training, is an incredible tool, and while a bit more common nowadays it’s still very much misunderstood. A few years ago, I couldn’t use blood flow restriction training in a gym without continuous looks of concern or a crowd of people around me asking questions. These days, most people are a bit more familiar with this training modality, or at some point have seen their resident meathead use BFR. [Read more…]
More and more lately I’ve been writing, speaking and thinking about, well, thinking. As the “evidence based community” has grown in fitness, I’ve been increasingly aware of the disconnect between scientific knowledge and scientific thinking in our little community.
Sometimes we accept logical fallacies in arguments, so long as we think the person being argued against is on the other side of science. [Read more…]
How the weeks have flown! Here we are, back with Part 2 of I Am Thankful for the Mistakes of the Past. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part 1 right here. Let’s get right into it!
Movement is Not the Same as Progress and Doing Wrong Things Well Won’t Make Them Right.
While dedication, discipline, and passion can allow any goal to be achieved and surpassed, they must be guided, controlled, and channeled correctly. We cannot work hard just for the sake of working hard. [Read more…]
The “Old Days” of bodybuilding and fitness…the “Bro Days.” We’ve all heard of them. Many of us have lived them. The “Old Days” refer to that time way back when and long, long ago when the driving forces of fitness and bodybuilding were primarily “Bro science” and wives’ tales from sources like muscle magazines, the biggest guy (or girl) in the gym, or really anyone with a halfway decent set of abs and a smartphone, without regard for science or evidence-based thinking.
We all started somewhere, and I would guess that many of our origins and paths of growth in bodybuilding and fitness are quite similar. We’ve made mistakes. We’ve blindly followed advice and significantly changed our lives to implement these concepts. Essentially, we became experts in ladder climbing with little regard as to whether the ladder was leaning on the right wall!
Those early days were dangerous. They had the potential to crush us mentally and physically as well as jeopardize our most meaningful relationships with friends, family, and significant others. More often than not, the early days also increased our physical and mental stress levels, limited our ability to be fluid and adaptable, and lessened our overall quality of life. The worst part? We didn’t mind. We didn’t care enough to notice it. We stifled that all-knowing tiny voice in our heads, known as conscience, giving us little jabs of guilt and raising the occasional red flag as we fell deeper and deeper away from who we truly were and wanted to be. We were unaware that we were prisoners and that, my friends, is the best kind of prisoner because ignorance has the potential to keep the imprisoned blissfully in prison forever.
The unfortunate truth is, the “Old Days” have not passed; they are still very much alive, present, and thriving (much like Tom Riddle through an enchanted diary**) through gurus, zealots, both mainstream and social media, and magazines and websites focused on gaining subscriptions rather than improving the community at large. They are profiting and preying off of those who are still ignorantly imprisoned. Thankfully, many have been enlightened and have allowed their views and beliefs to be turned upside down in the presence of a better way. Sadly, many have not. Many are still stuck in the dark ages.
When I was in undergraduate college I wanted to do the absolute best that I could and straight A’s were the goal. Just like the “Old Days,” I put my head down and grinded. I ended up “succeeding” in getting straight A’s and graduating summa cum laude, just like I was “successful” at being a “Bro.” As I progressed in my college and eventually professional careers, I realized that grades weren’t what were important. The grade shouldn’t have been the goal. In fact, I was so enlightened, that in my last year of the doctoral program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, I didn’t look at one grade the entire year! And guess what? I still got straight A’s, but I did it with a much less intense, close-minded, and misguided mindset.
I truly feel that I was only able to get straight A’s in that last year of graduate school without tracking grades because of the years spent doing it the wrong way. This two-part article will explain why our ability to properly apply the concepts of a more evidence-based approach to bodybuilding and fitness relies heavily on our mistakes of the past. In other words, in order to do it correctly, you have to have done it incorrectly first. I don’t regret the “Bro Days.” I am thankful for them. Here’s why and what I’ve learned. [Read more…]
In part 1 of this article I cover the why, as I went through the pertinent information as to when higher volumes might be necessary, and I hinted that logistically specialization cycles might be the best way to safely achieve them. As a brief recap, plateaued poor responders and plateaued advanced lifters might want to consider a higher volume approach (in opinion, defined as 20 sets per muscle group or higher) if everything else is in order (nutrition, technique, effort, exercise selection, sleep, stress etc.). Also, since I wrote Part 1, the soon-to-be-published study exploring very high volumes in trained lifters lead by Schoenfeld and colleagues that I referenced is now published for those interested. This article is all about the how: the process of constructing these cycles. [Read more…]
I am going through a slump right now. I know I should be writing the second installment on blood flow restriction (BFR) training, but instead I am here, getting off track yet again.
Plus, I want the BFR piece to be a good one. I feel this training tool is way too often misunderstood, or not pulled from the arsenal when it is the perfect weapon of choice.
Instead, what I want to talk about is the recent training slump I am currently going through. I have been in such a rut that I even stopped uploading weekly updates to my “Bulking in The Year 3000” series. I am by no means panicking or concerned about the negative emotions surrounding my training though. I see strength training/bodybuilding as my first love, and I have been married to the “old ball and chain” for 19 years now. I imagine most actual real human relationships experience the same ups and downs. Take a couple that has been married for 40 years, I am sure at some point Martha temporarily fell out of love with George. It is no different for me, but I am still no less committed than the day I started.
“Between years 18-21 I couldn’t stand the old fool, and during this time I couldn’t see how I would ever regain the spark we had.” I feel like this is something you might hear Martha say, and right now I relate!
The truth is that in my 19 years of lifting, I have gone through a few phases where I fell out of love with my training. The difference is, back then, I would totally freak out when I felt this way. I still recall being 16 years old and being caught mid-daydream by my disapproving English teacher. My teacher sighed at me, the look in the teacher’s eyes showing they knew nothing could be done about a boy in love. Except my love was the weights. I remember visualizing myself kicking up the 75 lb dumbbells on my top set of incline presses later that day – the idea of that much power was intoxicating. Thus, I was white-knuckling my pen, and the blank look on my face showed I wasn’t paying attention to the lesson. I remember running home after training to get on the all the big message board forums to read everything I could on bodybuilding. I recall waking up excited nearly every morning because at some point, I knew I would get to train. It was like this for the longest time, my great love seemed to grab me and take hold. But eventually the mental droughts happen, and you find yourself in a slump. I’ve had quite a few memorable ones, but there is one that always comes to mind and really puts everything into perspective for me. [Read more…]
If you’re a bodybuilder who is fast approaching peak week (the week leading to a show) or is getting ready to compete in the near future, this blog might intrigue you. I wanted to share with you, as a coach, how I approach peak week and I want to feature one of my athletes who is having a tremendous 2018 contest season. Thomas Davies, who is coming off a novice class win at the BNBF Midlands on August 11, 2018 nailed his peak and his best physique to date. [Read more…]