To actually determine if you have truly hit a major sticking point ask yourself some basic questions such as has my training been on point, every session? Or have I been eating enough protein and other nutrients to support my workouts. Have I been getting enough sleep to recover properly? All these things will ultimately play a big role in whether you progress or not, so make sure these three are nailed down first.
Ok…Your Stuck, What Now?
To break through a lifting plateau there are little things you can add to a workout to up the intensity and help you push past that sticking point. One of the simplest to incorporate is the drop set. The drop set is an additional set that will be included immediately after your last set of a particular exercise. So let’s say you were struggling to increase your bench press and you were doing the following weights…
Bench Press 3 sets x 6 reps with 225lb
Here you are performing 3 working sets of 6 reps per set. Now what a drop set is, is were you add an additional set onto the end of the workout. The key to this set is to perform it immediately after the 3rd set with as little rest as possible. Another key here is you will be lightening the weight up for this set by as much as 40% and performing it as many times as you can until failure. So Something like this….
Bench Press 3 sets x 6 reps with 225lb, then 1 dropset for AMRAP with 155lb
The term AMRAP simply means as many reps as possible. So if you hear someone at the gym say this that is what they are referring to.
So try adding this in your routine and see if it helps you break through. The drop set technique can be added onto any of the main lifts like a barbell bent over row, squat, or military press. Where ever you may be having the biggest struggle try throwing it in and see what happens.
Hard work will beat out talent if you want it bad enough. Learning the self discipline and focus to work toward your goals is the toughest and yet most rewarding and fulfilling experience of your life. I feel bad for those who will never understand this. Do you have a goal this year you are striving toward? If so, ask yourself am I taking the necessary steps on a daily basis to make this happen? Remember every day counts toward that end result! So what are you going to do?
So this topic came up the other day with a client of mine so I wanted to touch upon this a little more for everyone. My client to be unnamed has been battling lower back pain and was trying to put together a solid leg workout without barbell squats. Telling a guy like me with a background in raw power lifting to prepare a leg routine without squats is like saying you want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the jelly. You are missing the single greatest link to the chain of success here. But, in my wisdom I do realize not just squatting will build the legs up, but in the process there are exercises to stay away from, especially to avoid knee pain. The single greatest movement for causing knee problems is….wait for it…..the leg extension!
Why Not Leg Extensions and What Can I Do Instead?
The major issue with the leg extension is that when you lift the weight up to contract the quadriceps’ muscles, all the tension is focused on the patella. Years ago people used to think that squatting was bad because it puts too much stress on the knees, when the truth is that the leg extension, even when using sub maximal weights, will apply more pressure to your knees than a heavy squat workout.
So what can you do instead of squats if you are having low back pain? The best exercise to use as your new primary movement in your leg routine is a dumbbell split squat with your back leg raised…See below.
Give It A Shot
I would highly recommend giving this one a try. It will keep all the pressure off of your lower back, and still hit the legs in their entirety just like a squat. As far as number of reps or sets, this will vary depending on your fitness goal. Personally, since I am still able to squat not having any back issues I use this as a secondary move to squatting, performing 3-5 sets at 8-12 repetitions per leg. But for someone using it as a primary movement I would be sure to get a good 5 sets minimum in on this to make sure you are getting enough work in on those legs! So what’s your favorite leg exercise? Leave a comment below on your favorite go to moves for leg workouts.
So you finally pull the trigger and get started on a new training routine to begin reaching those goals you desire. A few months in you are seeing a little bit of change and then something happens….You completely stall out. Why? Everything seemed to be going well? Here are a few reasons that may be able to help you figure out what the real problem is.
You Grew Complacent- This reason is actually the most common problem I see in my clients. All too often complacency kicks in quickly because you never had a clear goal set in mind in the first place. You wanted to lose some weight, and in the first few months you did, which is good, but now subconsciously you begin telling yourself that you did what you set out to do. So now your workouts lose the proper intensity, you start just going through the motions, and next thing you know you begin skipping out on the gym all together until next year. To avoid this trap so many fall for make sure you have a clear goal, and be sure to make sure your reasons why are strong enough to get you through the hard times.
Your Diet Does Not Match The Goal- Another common issue I see is your diet is way off from where it should be. This goes both ways too, whether your goal is to put on muscle or weight loss, I see it on both sides of the fence. For example, a young athlete trying to put on muscle will most likely not be successful eat chicken and broccoli three times a day. No different than someone trying to lose weight going on a lose weight quick starvation diet to where they end up stalling out on progress after two months. Make sure you get with someone that can help you dial in a meal plan before you begin your new routine, that way you start off on the right foot and are not digging yourself out of a hole later.
Your Sleep Sucks!- Not getting adequate amounts of sleep each night prevents our bodies from having the correct hormonal responses to both help us recover from the day before, and also to aid in fat loss….Yes fat loss! Getting enough sleep allows the body to release the proper amount of growth hormone throughout the night so we recover, feel energized in the morning, and over time see better fat loss results.
If you pay close attention to all three reasons you will notice that they are truly all connected to one common denominator…Bad planning. A wise man once said if you do not have a plan then you plan to fail, and does that statement really hold true for most people. So the best advice I can give you this year is before you jump in head first nail down a specific goal you have in mind, and then put together the meal plan and training routine that will be best suited your your needs. Sounds simple enough, but every year 80% off gym memberships are never used once! So easier said than done in this regard, but everyone has to start somewhere, so don’t wait any longer and get after it today!
Today more than ever I see countless numbers of different energy drinks available on the market. Without naming specific company names here, from the brand that “gives you wings” to the one that sounds like a flammable gas we use to go faster in a race car, the market has exploded with different brands and competition. But what I do not understand is why people are using these in the first place?
A Simpler Approach
Instead of spending the 2.00-2.50 per can on whatever energy drink you are using why not buy something in a powder form, add water, and shake it up? Buying a powder product this way will save you almost an extra 1.00 per serving, cutting your monthly energy drink bill in half! And even better yet, there are a lot of available products on the market currently that are more potent than your typical energy drink as well. So if you are not noticing much out of what you are buying now, you have more options to find something better suited for your own personal tolerance.
Here is where everyone is different. Some folks will get by on a product that is very light on the potency scale, while others are on the opposite side of the fence, looking for the strongest product for their money. For something lighter that will give you smooth energy throughout the day check out Attack from Kodiak Sports Nutrition. This product will not be overwhelming, but does not give you a crash after 3-4 hours. You can also use this product before workouts as well to give you a boost in endurance. On the other hand, if you are someone looking for more potency and strength per serving I would recommend Hemoshock from GPL Labs. This product contains key ingredients such as geranium stem extract that will give you a great kick in the energy department and last all day. One scoop is all you will need to get you through the day!
The above products mentioned per serving will run you between .85-1.25 per serving! Significantly less than any energy drink and more potent as well. And better yet some of the flavor you can get in these products will blow away just about any typical carbonated energy drink you are used to. And no extra sugars added either. If you get a chance I would definitely check them out, and save yourself some money in the process. Speaking of saving money do not forget to use the promo code fit20 for the month of January to save 20% on ALL purchases made on our website.
This time of year brings about many ambitious individuals that have great intentions of starting there new year right. But did you know that by January 15th literally 95% of all resolutions made will be broken! Yes, 95% is what statistics show. This number is truly staggering so today I want to discuss how to not become one of these 95% and how to have a productive 2017.
Where to Start
With any resolution you may have the best place to start is by picking a goal that is realistic. For example, if your $200,000 dollars in debt and you make a resolution to be worth a million dollars within a year, this is most likely not the most feasible. But, if your goal is to reduce your debt by 50% or reduce debt completely that may be doable depending on your situation.
Relating to Fitness
Fitness and weight loss resolutions every year are one of the most popular. People always strive to look and feel better, but it seems that they are also the quickest resolutions to crumble. When the alarm clock goes off an hour too early, or when you leave work and planned on going to the gym but went straight home instead. These practices are all too common this time of year. Over 80% of actual gym memberships purchased are never even used one time! So what do we do initially to make sure we do not become just another statistic?
First of all, you need to set in your mind a clear goal. Not just I want to lose “some” weight, or I want to be healthier. These types of goals have no real meaning behind them and will not hold up when times get tough. Now, saying I want to lose 20 pounds by March 15th before I go on vacation would be much clearer and focused, with an actual deadline, which is just as important as the goal itself. Deadlines create urgency, and when you have some urgency behind you you will be more likely to take more action to make that change you have always wanted. One last thing I always tell people is go into a resolution with the end in mind. So in other words imagine yourself the way you want to look and feel, to remind yourself as to why you are doing what you are doing. Practicing this part is also important to remind you of how important your goal is