Categorized as: Informative

FIXING THE SQUAT BUTT WINK

The squat butt wink is one of the most well known and dreaded of all squat movement faults. If you haven’t heard of butt wink before, it is the term used to describe the excessive flexing of the lower back during squats. This puts the body in a sub-optimal position for developing and transferring force.

While some research supports the idea that this unnecessarily loads the spine, that is a much deeper discussion than we will get into here. But in my opinion, if given the choose between a spine staying “neutral” or flexing, I choose neutral.

Before we dive deeper into the causes and fixes of the squat butt wink, it is important to note that a small amount of lumbar flexion is unavoidable, especially when squatting deep. When I discuss butt wink, I am specific to the excessive lumbar flexion.

Butt wink is often labeled a mobility problem but so often motor control issues play just as big of a role. To correct the butt wink, we must first accurately identify the cause of it rather than taking the “shotgun approach” so many coaches and athletes use by throwing random exercises at the problem and hope that something sticks. Read More…

Why Use a SkiErg?

You no longer have to wax your skis to benefit from the full-body impact-free workout of Nordic skiing: the SkiErg provides all the aerobic and strength benefits, and is available even when there’s no snow or you can’t get to the trails. Even if you’ve never put on a pair of skis, the SkiErg is the perfect tool to help you reap the benefits of a skiing workout.

An Effective Full-Body Workout

The Concept2 SkiErg helps you build strength and endurance by working the entire body in an efficient, rhythmic motion. Skiing is a low impact, high calorie burning exercise suitable for all ages and abilities. You are in complete control of the resistance: the harder you pull, the faster the flywheel spins, which creates more resistance.

A Safe, Effective and Convenient Training Tool

The SkiErg provides excellent sport-specific training using the poling motions that are integral to both techniques of Nordic Skiing. It also provides a range of resistance similar to that found on snow. The convenience of training on a SkiErg is hard to beat, especially when rollerskiing just isn’t an option—whatever the weather or conditions, the SkiErg is always available. It’s safer than training in traffic and is an easy way to add poling to your indoor workouts. Read More…

What Are the Benefits of Barbell Rows?

Lats Are the New Biceps

The barbell row is one of the most effective exercises for developing a strong back. The prime mover, which is the muscle responsible for completing the movement, is the latissimus dorsi. The lats are one of the biggest muscles in the upper body and are instrumental to an impressive physique. In addition to substantial latissimus activation, the barbell row works all three areas of the trapezius with very high activation in the upper and middle traps. The rhomboids — a key postural muscle — is called upon heavily as well. It’s safe to say that the barbell row is a top exercise for packing on size and strength in the back muscles.

Jaw Dropping Boulder Shoulders

Shapely, balanced deltoids are immensely important for one’s physique. There are three separate parts to the deltoid muscle: front, middle and rear deltoids. The majority of exercisers have well-developed front deltoids from doing pushups, bench presses and military presses. They often have balanced middle deltoids from doing dumbbell lateral raises. But few exercisers focus on the rear deltoids, which takes away from the round, defined appearance of the shoulders. Barbell bent over rows are the best exercise for this often neglected area of the shoulder. Also, the rear deltoids are increasingly activated when performing barbell rows with an overhand grip compared to the underhand grip.

Stability, It’s a Full Body Thing

With all of the upper body benefits it’s easy to overlook the full body stabilization effect of the barbell row. The bent over barbell row requires strength from the hands all the way down to the feet. The feet, legs, hips and core have to work just to maintain a stable position throughout the exercise. Of course, more muscles working means more calories burned, so by activating an array of muscles the barbell row turns into a fat-burning exercise as well. Read More…

The Top 10 Mistakes Made by Crossfitters

Crossfit first came onto the fitness scene about 5 years ago, and at that time, most people thought this was an exercise fad that wouldn’t last. Little did they know that Crossfit would become one of the fastest-growing sports worldwide. Today there are over 13,000 Crossfit affiliate gyms (also know as “boxes”) in 142 countries across 7 continents. With those kinds of stats, it’s fairly safe to say that Crossfit is here to stay.

This fitness regime, which combines functional movements with olympic lifting and weight training has gotten a bit of a reputation for being pretty hard-core, even dangerous. It’s true that the work-outs (or “WODs” in CF lingo) are physically challenging and are meant to test your limits and maximize efficiency and with this kind of challenge comes increased risks and can leave participants prone to injury. There are of course steps you can take to minimize these risks, like knowing these ten common Crossfit mistakes…

1. Not Starting Small

When you first start Crossfit, it’s important to build a solid foundation on which you can build your skills. This is still important even if you’re coming from another fitness routine or consider yourself an athletic person. Read More…

HAVE YOU HEARD OF OCCLUSION TRAINING?

I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical when I first heard of occlusion training. Also known as “blood flow restriction training” (BFR), the method involves using bands or wraps to restrict blood flow to an extremity. The wraps are applied tight enough to restrict venous return but not so tight as to prevent arterial blood flow to the muscles. The most common methods involve wrapping your upper arms or upper thighs and then performing exercises at 20-30% of your 1-rep max for 3 to 4 sets [1]. I know it sounds a little wacky but the scientific research thus far is promising.

What Does The Research Suggest?

Research has found that using BFR can increase gains in both size and strength. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research found that NCAA Division I football players increased their 1-RM bench press by 7% and squat by 8% in a 3-week period when using BFR in conjunction with traditional strength training compared to a control group that did traditional training alone [1]. A follow-up study published in early 2014 found that a 7-week BFR training program had similar results with 1-RM squat increasing as much as 12% [2].

Just to put things in perspective, a 7-12% gain in 1-RM strength is HUGE. An athlete with a 400 pound back squat could potentially increase their 1-RM by about 30 to 50 pounds in less than 2 months of training. And keep in mind these two studies were performed on trained, collegiate-level strength athletes. It’s likely that these findings would apply to other athletic populations such as CrossFit competitors, powerlifters, and Olympic weightlifters. Read More…

The Conditioning Tool You are Probably Not Using with Aaron Guyett

When was the last time you did a conditioning piece that you actually enjoyed? Chances are you don’t find long spouts on the air dyne or rower all too fun. There is value in those tools, but this week we are talking with Aaron Guyett about a tool that is often over looked when it comes to metabolic conditioning. We are talking about the battle ropes.

Aaron is the master instructor for Onnit Academy’s battle rope program, and runs a facility in CA called Innovative results. We met up with him at his facility to talk about how you can use battle ropes in your conditioning workouts.

When it comes to using battle ropes, most of us just know one or two exercises that we saw on Instagram. In this episode, Aaron dives into all the different movement patterns and practical applications that battle ropes have including grip strength, power, and the ability to train all 3 metabolic pathways. Read More…