In this article I want to cover a few fundamentals of strength and conditioning for combat sports that I recently shared with my friend Jason from Precision Striking. First I’ll discuss exercises to develop base strength, then move on to power movements and conditioning exercises.
But before I get into that, here are some key points related to this topic. Continue reading
GUEST POST from Paul Vandyken
With the fitness culture becoming more popular and more people becoming aware of the benefits of working out, a large variety of people from different walks of life are now hitting the gym. Many of these people are looking for effective exercises and routines to train their abs in the hopes of developing a strong core or to get a six pack.
Unfortunately, what many don’t realize is that you can potentially injure yourself by performing exercises incorrectly or by choosing the wrong exercises. However, if you know what you’re doing and you do it the right way, you can achieve the result you’re after. Continue reading
What the heck is a Fat Burning Ladder workout?
A Ladder Workout is a training technique that I often use, especially with bodyweight / calisthenics workouts. It’s also one of the training methods I will be introducing in my upcoming ebook/ video program, Bodyweight MASS Builder. It’s a high-intensity, high-volume super-set workout that will build muscle, increase muscular endurance, and burn fat. It’s a simple but challenging form of antagonist supersetting that you can apply to almost any exercises, but which I find particularly well suited to body weight exercises.
Here’s how you perform this workout protocol: choose two exercises, typically one pushing movement and one pulling movement (antagonist muscle groups), OR a lower body exercise paired up with an upper body exercise, and you super-set these two exercises, moving back and forth between them with minimal rest. But here’s where the ‘ladder’ technique gets interesting: you begin with only ONE repetition on one exercise and gradually increase reps on every set, and you start with a high number of reps on the other exercise and gradually decrease reps on each set. One exercise moves up the ladder in reps and the other one moves down.
Here’s an example, starting with 1 to 10 repetitions, which should be suitable for most beginners: Continue reading
We’ve all seen it … the gym rat swinging heavy dumbbells and calling it “bicep curls”; or rocking back and forth with the full stack on the lat pulldown; or bouncing a heavy bar off their chest on a bench press, pounding out some fast reps. There’s also those people who treat weight training like “cardio” – firing off dozens of reps at lightning speed with very light weight.
What do they all have in common? Besides the fact that most of them are probably injured in some way, they are are all performing their resistance training at a fast tempo.
Now I admit that I’m generalizing when I describe everyone who performs fast reps as “ego-lifters” with crappy form… there are many experienced lifters who practice decent exercise technique but train with a faster tempo. However, the point of this article is to question whether that is the optimal way to train. Continue reading
What if I told you that there is one neglected body part that you could strengthen which would lead to an increase in full body strength and mobility? It might not be what you expect.
I’m talking about your FEET.
If you suffer from foot, ankle, knee, low back pain, or related problems including shin splints, bunions, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, ‘fallen’ arches, or Achilles tendonitis, then this article should be of particular interest to you. Your feet may be holding you back from becoming stronger.
The feet are the body’s base of support. During exercise, sport, and most daily activities, force enters the body through your hands and feet, with the feet supporting the bulk of this workload. However, whereas most people understand the importance of grip training and how strong hands contribute to a strong upper body, our feet are often neglected. Most people just shove their feet into rigid dress shoes or ‘bouncy’ running shoes and forget about them.
To make matters worse, when our feet start to hurt we are typically advised to wear rigid orthotics or “ultra-supportive”, inflexible shoes to help support our feet. Unfortunately, binding up your feet like this interferes with or even eliminates their ability to move. Less movement (or poor movement) leads to more weakness.
Orthotics are like crutches… they may take the pressure off while you are using them, but they do not correct the underlying weakness. If you had weak hands or sore wrists would you start wearing wrist wraps and rigid hand splints every day? I hope not. You would perform mobility and strengthening exercises to restore proper function to your hands. Well, your feet typically weight bear all day long, which makes it even more crucial to focus on strengthening their weaknesses rather than “bracing” them externally!
In this article I’ll be introducing you to exercises and footwear that can help you “fix” your feet, heal old injuries, improve your posture, and start moving better in general. Also take a few minutes to watch my recent interview (below) with Steven Sashen, barefoot runner and the founder of Xero Shoes® (a modern spin on the traditional barefoot running sandal), where he explains the problem with most “athletic footwear”
We discuss several important topics related to foot health, including:
- The three key moves that let you easily and comfortably run barefoot
- Why “minimalist” shoes are not the same as barefoot (so if you tried minimal and it didn’t work, here’s why)
- How being barefoot can help if you have ankle, knee, hip, back, or even neck pain… and plantar fasciitis
- The “foam mattress” theory about why cushioning and orthotics may be harming you. Continue reading
One of my favorite advanced training techniques for hypertrophy (building muscle) is pre-exhaustion. This “old-school” method was used and recommended by some of the great golden-era bodybuilders from back in the day such as Casey Viator, Arthur Jones, and Mike Mentzer.
However, I don’t recommend using this training protocol until you have a good foundation getting stronger with the big basic compound movements (such as squats, presses, and pulls). For myself, I like to alternate between a program like my Barbarian Strength Training and Pre-Exhaust Training every few weeks. Continue reading