Explosivelyfit strength training builds powerful bodies!


Danny M. O'Dell, MA. CSCS*D Strength coach

Danny M. O'Dell, M.A. CSCS*D



 
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EXPLOSIVELYFIT STRENGTH AND POWER TRAINING INFORMATION FOR THE SERIOUS ATHLETE!

QUESTIONS

Explosivelyfit is focused on the development of pure strength and the various methods used to obtain it. The intent is to help all drug free athletes reach their true strength potential.

Keep training smart, and strong.

Danny M. O'Dell, M.A. CSCS*D


 

 

Now you can learn how to strength train effectively with the Explosivelyfit Video Questions and Answers Strength Training Program


Do you have a strength related training question? If so send me a note with Training Question in the subject line.

All questions and answers are possible candidates for this page. Your personal information will be removed prior to the web posting.


Where do I go for information on Diabetes?

That is a good question and here is the answer.

http://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes

Healthline provides a very comprehensive overview of Type 2 Diabetes as a critical starting point for individuals and/or their loved ones.

 

From: Danny
Sent:
To: Jeff
Subject: Re: nonlinear periodization

Hi Jeff,

I am fortunate to be in a school that allows me to limit the students who
come into my classes. My older ninth through 12th grade classes are kept at
a maximum of 12-13. Others are capped even lower. In the case of the real
young ones, I limit it to between four and six. This allows me to almost
individualize each ones training schedule. Since I am there three days a
week the most the younger ones get is once per week while the older students
can sign up for all three days. Most go twice a week on split days.

I set the daily schedule based on the goals of the week and month, which are
set at the beginning of the year. The first month is general body
conditioning. Most of the kids are farm kids and already have a strong work
ethic. They just haven't formally lifted in the weight room over the summer.
However, the care of livestock requires lots of hay bales, feed sacks and
water to be lifted and delivered to their animals so they keep in shape this
way.

I vary the sets and reps on a daily basis, sometimes they will lift in the
90-100% 1RM for a session and then (generally this will be before their
weekend) on a high rep, low intensity schedule. The reps on these days can
be as high as continuous 100 with 10-15% 1RM. These high volume days are put
in place after several months of conditioning, usually in December or later
on after a contest and toward the end of the school year. Normally, for the
older ones, we are consistently at or above the 80% 1RM so as to develop as
much pure strength as possible during the school year and for our contests.

Nonlinear undulating scheduling has provided our students with the
opportunity to compete successfully on the world stage. A straight linear
progression can be very effective for the new lifter but there are limits.
And the limits I have found result from the boredom of continued exercise
progression. The body quickly adjusts to the repetitions, sets and
exercises--in that order so any variation of these three will help avoid
accommodation, which in turn will stave off plateauing. The second downfall
of linear schedules is at a certain point the muscles will not be able to
tolerate any further increases in load. This leads to burnout or injury.

The core lifts (military press, pull-ups or lat pulls, bench press, barbell
rows, squats, deadlifts, calves, sit-ups, back extensions, triceps and
forearms) remain pretty constant throughout the year with variations on
each. For instance if I detect a bit of staleness in the squat I'll change
the pace and switch them to a front, overhead, hands out front, medicine
ball, medicine ball hands go up when the body goes down and the reverse when
coming back up, bench squats and their favorite; the Bulgarian split squat.
I use a list of sixty different squats so there is rarely any complaining
about doing the same thing over and over.

The younger ones loads are generally based on their body weight and in some
cases their maturity. They rarely do one rep maxes and the ones they do the
load is one I set for them and is not their one rep max. I stay very low on
these little ones. Most of their sessions are technique with five-pound
barbells and up to eight-pound dumbbells, medicine balls, stability pads,
coordination with the skip rope and fun games on scooters.

As for your question about varying the in season or off-season schedules.
When we are preparing for a state, national or world competition the kids
lift throughout the summer five days a week. The last two months are peaking
with the last ten days a taper. This is adjusted according to each athlete's
recovery ability.

The athletes coming into my classes receive individual, within limits,
certain special exercises that will help enhance their on field strength. I
do what I can to hook up with their sports coach to make certain I
understand what they are telling me.

I hope this has helped.

Danny

From: Jeff
To: Danny
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 7:47 AM
Subject: RE: nonlinear periodization

Danny,

Thanks for the information.
It is very helpful.

Jeff


To: Steve
Subject: RE: Clarifications and answers and more questions
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 2010 07:10:02 -0800
Hi Steve,

How is the training going?

Danny

Hi there,
 
Sorry for the delay in replying, I was out of town for a couple of interviews this week.
 
Training - well this week was an unplanned break while I stayed at a friend's place and did some job hunting in Hamilton - Burlington area, but will restart Friday.
 
I had added static lunges and single leg RDLs and lateral step ups to the step up routines and will stick with these for about a week or so. After I will add in rear lunges and lateral lunges, then Bulgarian split squats - if I don't get pain in front of knee (just below knee) then I'll start adding in forward lunges.
 
On the DB squat/ stiff leg DL - prone rows / push up (suspended) routine I will add an extra set of rows for a bit - they seem much harder than the push ups. I assume that means back is weaker than the front so will do a bit more for the back until they are similar.
 
All told I have to say that the best / most effective part seems to be the farmer walks - they definitely work a lot more than just the grip.
 
Results so far - well waist is smaller - about 1+" - so I'm happy. It would probably be better if I changed the diet part more but I'm happy. I eat well but then I muck it up a bit with chocolate bars and or popcorn. The junk doesn't replace any real food
but gets added after. Details....details...
 
Regards,
 
Steve

190210

Hi again,

I may be able to give you better answers over the phone if you care to call or give me your number I’ll call you. Mine is 509 991 5833.

As you can see my answers will be in bold. The two parts follow.

Well I am out of school for the week and my students are now in other classes until we start again next week. My regular trainees come in after 1600 daily and my son’s car needed a new hub and bearing installed which took us two hours to remove and replace. Those are my excuses for the delay. As Mark Twain once said “there are a thousand excuses but no good reasons.” But I’m sticking to them anyhow.

I admire the fact that you realize smoking was killing you and have now cut back to two packs a week. Certainly none will be better for you but you already know that. 510 is on the heavy side so you do need to redistribute this to a more healthy percentage of lean muscle mass.

Let me now address your query here.

Hello Sir,

I was wondering if you could help with a couple of training questions I have regarding step ups?

I want to start strength training and put together a circuit to build some general strength before starting heavier work. The circuit is based around step ups, forward, lateral and cross over.

The step is 17" high - when top of thigh of up leg is parallel to floor, heel of bottom leg is just lightly touching floor. I could increase step by 1 1/2" so that I would only have ball of  bottom foot on the floor at the beginning of the step up.

When doing crossover step ups the up leg ankle and knee are bent and from that position take my weight as I step up. The angle of the ankle and knee are much greater than the opposite angles when I do a lateral step up. 

I am not certain I would even be doing a cross over step up. What are you hoping to accomplish by doing them?

Should I endeavor to get the angles closer to each other more balanced - say by stepping farther over on the lateral step ups and doing the cross over step ups from the end of the step so that I can make the cross part shorter? Should I work to increase the angles of ankle/knees of both types or only work as close to mid-line / perpendicular as possible?

I would have to see these before giving an answer. My concern is the angle of the knee, i.e a varus or valgus during the step up. If valgus then it could be hard on your ACL.

As I start adding weights - dumbbells to all three types of step ups should I use same weight for all three types of step ups or more for one or another
warm up with a lighter set and progressively add weight to the exercise.

 

- particularly the lateral and cross over? See above regarding the knee angles

Right now starting I am strongest and most comfortable on the forward, then lateral and then crossover. Should I work to balance these - more sets of the most difficult or is it normal for there to be differences? Yes it is normal because we are normally not symmetrical in our strength from side to side.

I am mainly concerned with strength for everyday life rather than any specific sport or athletic activity, but don't want to cause injury in an attempt to get healthier.

I have tried to find out the answers to these questions in a few internet forums but responses have been all over the place and usually uninspiring in confidence. Unfortunately circumstances - economic, preclude me from going to a local qualified personal trainer for advice.

Any help and guidance you could provide would be greatly appreciated,

Thank you,

Steve

Re why I'm spending time with step ups.
 
MY situation: 50+ yrs smoker was 3 packs / day until a month ago - now 2 packs a week, been very sedentary for last year or so, can't afford gym - a year of unemployment, 5' 10" 180# 40" waist. Need to do something about the situation. Few resources, no experience, no barbell.

But you do have the desire to get moving and have made some great strides in that direction. I do wonder whether or not you have been talking to your doctor about these exercise plans. If not I’d encourage you to do so as quickly as possible, you just never know what’s going on under the surface.

I do have dumbbells and 200# weights and wood.

You’ve got what you need for a start. Are your dumbbells changeable?

So made a pull up stand with wood and pipe, put chains with pipe for handles -  high set for dips and horizontal rows, low set for push ups,

My first gym and at the time my most productive workout environment was almost entirely handmade gear like yours. It has it’s own character doesn’t it. I don’t understand the need for these pieces “horizontal rows, low set for push ups also have a low bar so can (eventually do rows with entire body weight.” Are you able to do these off the floor?

Also made step out of 2x6s. Found DB with 25#plates too large - the plates scraped my knees while carry them,

Get several pieces of one inch cold rolled steel by two feet, put another piece of galvanized pipe over the center part of the bar add your weights and collars and that should clear your legs as you walk with them.

 

but weights have 3 holes plus core hole so more chain and pipes for handles - advantage I got 1" 2" & 3"  pipe for handles.

This will make your grip much stronger and goes along with the suggestion above concerning the one inch cold rolled steel and the center portion of the bar.

These are good ideas for anyone improvising and making a home gym of their own. Have you considered using these pieces of gear as examples of how to do this? If not, I would help you in developing a handbook you could sell on PayPal.

 

First goal gpp and lose waist. So put together circuit. Can only do 4 pull ups and 5 dips on chains - figured best way to improve is to do lots, so the circuit.

The higher you can get your gpp the sooner you will reach your fitness goals.

Are you keeping a food and drink diary? If not, start now. The research shows that by keeping track of what is going into your mouth and having social support for your objective play a big part of being successful.

 

First 15 - 20 min dynamic joint work - only static stretch at warm up is hip flexor before 4 glute activation drills, HF stretch before each one.
 

If you are doing the same thing each time your body soon dismisses it and no longer benefits from the activity or if so in a much diminished manner. Try this sequence for your warm ups:

General warm up-skipping rope for two to five minutes

Torso area warm up, i.e. upper warm up for the chest and shoulders: ten to fifteen each circular arm swings clockwise and counter clock wise, horizontal criss crosses, arm swings upward and behind the head, and arm pumps.

For your lower body do: ten to fifteen body weight only squats to the floor, followed by good mornings with your head going below the level of your waist, large and fast leg swings fore and aft and side to side.

These are then followed by the muscle group specific warm up, the first set of your chosen exercise. Generally this will be between fifty and sixty percent of your tested one repetition maximum.

Once these three steps are completed you are on your way to a productive session.

Circuit:
 
3 Pull ups, 3 Dips,

Do you have access to a medical supply house; if so and if you are not allergic to latex see what they have in the surgical tube section. These tubes are great and come in a variety of diameters. Get them long enough so you can slip them over the top of the chin up bar and then over your feet. The elastic will help pull you up. The same set up will work for your dips.

If you travel they can be used as a skip rope too.

10 step ups alternate legs,
with what weight? Are you able to adjust the height of the step?

repeat this 4 times then 10 pushups on floor,

Alter your hand placement for these, wide narrow, on a ball, on a stair step, below your chest, incline, decline with and without chains or tubes.

 farmers walk 85 - 90' x2, elastics foot flex

(have had shin splints 3 times, thought I should solve that).

Do some dorsi flexions with a plate of make your own dorsi flexion device or use elastic tubes around your toes but be careful they don’t snap back on you.

Repeat circuit 6 times with modifications every other round - push ups -> renegade rows, farmer walks to fsuitcase walk 1@ 85 ft overhead DB walk.

Are you keeping track of your time for each circuit? One of the ways to increase the intensity of your session is by decreasing the time spent doing it while keeping the loads and reps the same.

Will start to modify main circuit as follows, every other round change step ups to 1 set each of step ups,

single leg dead lifts, keep your top hip level with the floor as you do these.

step ups, static lunges first, then go to reverse lunge, then, rear foot elevated split squat, keep your upper body perpendicular to the floor as you go down then forward lunges and lateral lunges.

This way I'll build up to dynamic lunges as I get stronger. I’d recommend doing them now if you are able.

Will also start modifying pull up/ dip part every other set to hand stand push ups (right now I can only do them against wall and only 3, and chin ups- diffent hand widths.

Have you tried to do the modified ones on your knees?

On alternate days, do DB squats/stiff leg dead lifts. I use the step to accomodate the different handle height from the chain/pipe grips, then feet elevated, horizontal rows/ suspended push ups. Repeat this circuit now only 4 times but hopefully 6 x by the end of the cycle. Right now using 2" handles for farmer walks - all others I use the 1" or regular DBs.
 
This way I get in effect a pha circuit with both configuations - although when I designed it, that was by accident, I didn't know what pha was - I just needed "a break" in doing pull ups and dips.

And this is how you get stronger and more physically fit. Keep a log of what you’re doing. You could use this as inspiration for others in the same boat as you and it could be added to your future home gym book…
 
Plan to keep this cycle up for 4 weeks then take week off, don’t waste your time taking a week off, just do an active recovery week where you do completely different things than what you were doing in your circuit.

then work on strength circuit 3x wk for 4 weeks. Then a week off, don’t take a week off.

then evaluate what I need at that point. Hopefully by then I'll be back to work and have more options, at least for more equipment - barbell, more weights (if I need them by then) and you will,

weight vest, you can get a fishing vest and add weight to the pockets

some stretch bands-thought they would be a good tool to strengthen hip flexors and the other exercises will work the extensors, adductors and abductors. Right now hip flexors are tight - but I think that is just short not strong (nor is anything else yet) - I sit a lot and drive a truck when I'm working.

After circuits I go for short walk 20 minutes and vary the pace, hopefully be run and sprint instead of walk soon. This is one of the highly recommended ways to cool down and you are doing it instinctively. nice job.
 
Then home do glute work (with hip flex stretches) or balance work (alternate days) - 1 leg hold now on floor with dBs both held to same side, will progress to doing it on small pillow, then floor with eyes closed. Then static stretches and shower.
 
Essentially I started with step ups for a whole leg exercise, then will move to progressions I mentioned, static then dynamic. And will add in an alternating static lateral lunge with weights - I do these now as part of warm up with just bodyweight, they seem to loosen me up in the hips.
 
Since at this time don't have a lot of weights, doing mainly single leg work will allow for progression with the equipment I have and will balance out both sides as well.
 
One thing that I am a bit concerned about, when doing the circuits I find my heart rate about 155, at which point I'm just doing the foot flexes and then break for a couple of minutes. I don't start the next circuit until heart is down to about 115 - 120.


Given my age is this heart rate too high? Given your smoking history it could be too high so if I were in your shoes I’d see a doctor and ask them. At 155 you are above the ninety percent level and this, in my opinion, is too high for you.

The general rule for maximum pulse is 220 minus age which in your case will be 170. This is a starting point for finding your target heart rate percentages. Begin with sixty, move to sixty five and on up until you are at about eighty percent or about 136 beats per minute. This formula for finding a target heart rate can be off by as much as ten percent so err on the side of caution when applying it to your situation. There are more accurate methods for finding the correct range but they are more involved and many people don’t want to dink around figuring it out.

 

should I take a break within the circuit or slow down a bit. YES
Normally heart is 75 - 80 while at rest ie on computer. This is high for resting. I think it should be below 70 and it will if you keep exercising and losing weight.

Don't want to have a heart attack while trying to get healthy! By the time I finish stretches after walk before shower heart rate is below a 100. which will be close to sixty percent of your max heart rate.

Hi again,
 
Glad to hear you are getting some free time in you days. I strongly suggest you enjoy them, my experience is that when life grants some breathing space days it usually also brings very busy times as well. Enjoy it all as it comes!
 
Thank you for all your suggestions and  advice, it's appreciated. To answer some of your questions -

The purpose for the lateral and cross over steps is for more targeted work on hip adductor/abductors. I was thinking that even though single leg work would do that to a degree most of it seems to work quads and hamstrings much more.
You are correct in your appraisal of the single leg lifts however if you use the surgical tubing it will be easier on your knees in the long run. The way they are doing them in the video puts a lot of stress on the ligaments, especially the ACL. What is this exercise teaching your body to do? Unless you are terribly out of position in a sporting movement this is an unnatural body motion and in my opinion continuing to do them puts you at risk for an injury.

I would not want any of my trainees doing them. There are other exercises that will work your ad and abductors and not damage you in the process such as the previously mentioned bands or tube versions used to strengthen these muscles.

I do them a little bit differenly than shown in this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoB8WX0h3ug

The step up is the same but feet are shoulder width apart on the box and I wasn't going to do a cross over step down, just step down laterally with the same leg that I stepped up with.

If you do them without the cross over it will be less stress on the joint. A squat will do a similar thing if you go real wide on the stance but be careful when doing so if you aren’t flexible enough to tolerate the stance.

On each rep I would be completely on the box with both feet and come down completely off the box. Hence with an equal number of sets and reps of lateral and cross over I'm doing more laterals - although the additional laterals would be down/eccentric. In effect extra work targeting adductors. Also I think that the degree and range of stress/work on the adductors/abductors probably changes as the the angle of knee flex/extention changes. Your ab and ad-ductors are the ones that help move your legs in or out and targeting them with special exercises I think will be more efficient than doing a step up.

 
My questions are, should I do the more work on the laterals or keep it balanced by doing a cross over step down as well as up?

Neither, do a lateral lunge instead and save your knees in the process. Just make sure the middle of your knee is in line with your big toe and the next one to it when going down.

Also should I use the same weights for the laterals and cross overs. The cross overs seem to put a lot more stress on the ankles and knees.

They do!
That may be good or not - I don't know, that's the major question. Unless you are crossing over in your sport then I wouldn’t do them.


The cross overs that I seen on the net usually are targeted toward skaters, skiers and soccer players.

The difference is they are crossing over on a forgiving surface not a surface that will not allow the foot to move if you lose your balance. Tearing up a knee is not a fun time. Words of experience…

None of which I do but it also seems wise to balance movement patterns as much as possible. If I was going to err on the side of any slight imbalance I think it would be better to do more work rowing than pressing, or more hamstring than quad since quads usually more developed anyway.

Yes in most cases you are right.

From what I have read most injuries seem to arise from weak posterior chain, both upper and lower. or from lack of literal balancing abilities or direction changes as in adductor/abductor issues. In core most problems seem to be lack of bracing strength rather than forward torso flexion. I can sit up and bend - I do it all the time, problems more likely to come from bracing as I do things in life and lift things.

Practice abdominal bracing per Dr. Stuart McGill.

I'm not really interested in body building as such but rather in getting stronger and stopping the deteriation that has come as I age. Although I don't think it is age that causes the deteriation so much lack of activity.

Strengthening your full body will slow the age related muscle loss and activity does help keep you mentally and physically sharp.
 
This week is the first week, and I admit I only did 4 sessions 2 each of circuits I described.
 
The step ups I used 2x 25# same for the overhead DB walks and 2x50# for the farmer walks and the squats (but with the 1" handles on squats and dl) and two legged stiff leg dead lifts. For this first cycle of gpp/shrink the waist I will concentrate first on increasing the reps rather than increasing the weights except on the step ups - I know I can go heavier on the forward steps, next week I thought I would start modifying the step sessions to include sl dead lift and static lunges and the lateral /cross steps. Also will go to 3 sessions/week of each type circuit - with 7th day off.
  
I will start taking small breaks within the circuits between the steps/pull up/row and the push ups/renegade rows and again before the farmer walks.
 
I will add in the bulgarian split squats and dynamic lunges(starting with rear then lateral then forward) in the 3rd or 4th week. I found that I got pain just below the knee with the forward dynamic lunges and with the bulgarians when I first tried them all out and thought the static work would build strength first before the more stressful work. 

If I were setting up a program for you this would be it:

Skip rope, area warm up and movement warm up. Then four to five sets of eight to twelve reps of the following:

Military presses
Supine pulls or chin ups as you become stronger
Floor presses
Barbell or dumbbell rows
Crunches, curl ups, and sit ups each day select one for the day
Leg raises or flutters
Squats
Deadlifts
Calves
Triceps and biceps
Cool down with static stretches
Done and ready to meet the rest of the day.


 
Re equipment:
 
Step - height is not adjustable, its made from 2 x 6s - 3 of them on edge high and a top of 2 x 6s 3 wide with a center line row between the ends of 2 x 6s and about 20" long 2 x4s in the corners and at the ends of the center bar and couple off the center bar and from each end. So there is no point on surface of step that is more than 3" from the support from the end of 2 x4 or the edge of the 2 x 6s. Screws were put in from either side of each piece of wood.

Definitely over engineered and fairly heavy, but I know it will never collapse under me. But not very adjustable - although I can add another layer of wood on top to increase the height or use a layer of 2x6s in front of it to decrease height slightly. Also not a bad thing to do a bear hug carry as an alternate to the farmer walks. Also thought I'd use a 2 drawer filing cabinet I have the same way - it's even heavier since its 2/3 full, and I can through more stuff in as well.
 
Dumbbells are adjustable with screw on collars. From Walmart - only a $7.00 cab ride to get them home. Thought about your suggestion of longer bars when I first discovered problem with 25# plates on the DB, both custom made and also getting the Walmart 3 piece barbell and just threading the DB handles onto the long threaded sections of it and not connecting the center section, but the cost of the bars and spring collars or vice grips as collars or the 3 piece bar were a lot more than 2 pieces of 5' chains - 70 cents a foot 50 c each for the 2 threaded type link, the plastic pipe for the handles was free. Landlord was redoing the apartment in the basement including some plumbing work. And for now the chain DB seems to work fine.
 
Chin up station fits in an alcove by the door into my room - I share a place with a couple of other people so I have to keep things mainly in my space, uprights are double 2 x4s another one on the floor and angled brace pieces on either side of the uprights. on the side of the uprights away from the door two more 2x4s inside one shorter so now there is a slot where I put a removable low bar. The space allows a working width on the pull up bar of 35". The dip part is just chains hanging from the top bar with pipe for handles. Like a trx system only easier to adjust height (use an s hook to shorten one side by a few links.) - also about 1/15 the price of the trx straps. The low set of chains is just 2 more chains so that I don't have to spend time changing them between dips/rows and push ups. The bars are just standard black pipe gas piping. I use the chain handles for rows so that the handles spread and swing a bit as I row giving me a more natural movement pattern than I get with hands in fixed position on a bar. Also with the s hook make sure this is strong enough to hold the load and keep checking it on a frequent basis to make sure it’s not expanding. can adjust height so each handle is slightly different height - just the reverse of doing push ups with one hand higher. To do (eventually) whole body weight rows I would use the low bar and start with  legs in the air so I'm in an L shape under the bar. Right now I'm not strong enough to row my entire weight or to hold the L position while doing it - but eventually! I will also start doing pyke push ups with the handles hanging from the pull up bar - I think the suspended pykes although less weight will build good shoulder stability in the overhead hand position (in the pyke I suppose technically an underhead position since I'd be upside down) which will help with the handstand push ups. 

I hadn't really considered putting what I do together as a saleable package - I'm not really qualified to offer much advice to anyone but it is definitely something that I will think about. I know I can usually come up with simple and cheap solutions to equipment problems - it doesn't take much in creativity to do that. Also I will certainly keep track of what I do and results pro and con that it yields. Where I would fall down on is technical understanding of why it worked or didn't as it relates to structures/mechanics of the human body. That will probably change in the future so I will think about your suggestion.
 
For now, I will concentrate on just doing things and see how it goes. Right now I think the hardest part is motivation to act - easy now at the beginning. Keep a logbook. But I'm sure longer term that might change for better or worse. I'll see how things develop. For now I'll go forward with a spirit of optimism and handle the future when it comes.
 
I hope I've answered your questions and clarified my descriptions and questions a bit.
 
Once again, thank you for your assistance.
 
Regards,
Steve

From: Keith
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2009 6:48 AM
Subject: Feedback and suggestions for improvement

Hi Danny,

I have a question regarding perceived exertion when doing strength conditioning.  I am fairly new to real strength training but have done weight training on and off and lots of other sports most my life, I am 48 years with some definite long term muscle imbalances probably due to back surgery in '92.  Any to keep it short, when a 5X5 type program for strength is it necessary to have to weights heavy enough to just barely make the last rep or what ?

Regards,

Keith

Good morning Keith,

Thanks for writing. My answers follow your questions. If they aren't completely clear send me your phone number and if you're in the USA or Canada I'll call you back this afternoon when I get back from school. After all the students would miss my words of strength training wisdom if I took time out of the weight room to talk to you about this.

I have a question regarding percieved exertion when doing strength conditioning.  I TEACH MY STUDENTS AND TRAINEES IN THE GYM THAT FOR THE MOST PART I EXPECT THEM TO BE WORKING OUT IN THE 7.5-10 RANGE. WITH THE MAJORITY IN THE 8-9'S ON A SCALE OF ONE TO TEN WITH ONE BEING THE EASIEST AND TEN THE HARDEST. I FOLLOW, FOR THE MOST PART, PRILIPIN'S GUIDELINES WHEN TRAINING THE ONES GETTING READY FOR A CONTEST.

I am fairly new to real strength training but have done weight training on and off and lots of other sports most my life,

  • GOOD FOR YOU; IT IS IMPORTANT TO STAY ACTIVE ESPECIALLY AS YOU GET OLDER. AS THE SAYING GOES USE OR LOSE IT.

I am 48 years with some definite long term muscle imbalances probably due to back sugery in '92. 

  • IF NO MUSCLES WERE DESTROYED AS A RESULT OF THE SURGERY THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN CORRECTED LONG AGO. IF NOT SEE YOUR DOCTOR AND THEN A PHYSICAL THERAPIST AND GET THEM BACK IN BALANCE.

Any to keep it short, when a 5X5 type program for strength

  • I HAVE MY TRAINEES WORKING IN THE 80-85% 1RM RANGE WHEN ON THE 5X5 SCHEDULE.

is it necessary to have to weights heavy enough to just barely make the last rep or what ?

  • YES OR EVEN NOT BE ABLE TO COMPLETE ALL THE SETS OF FIVE REPS. WHEN STARTING OUT IF YOU ARE ABLE TO DO ALL FIVE SETS OF FIVE REPS, IN MY OPINION, THE WEIGHT WAS TOO LIGHT AND SHOULD BE RAISED. FOR EXAMPLE, ON SETS ONE AND TWO YOU CAN DO ALL FIVE, ON SET THREE ONLY 4, SET FOUR MAYBE YOU CAN GET THREE AND ON THE LAST SET ONLY ONE OR TWO. STAY WITH IT FOR TWO TO THREE WEEKS AND THOSE REPS WILL BE THERE. ALTERNATE A 5X5 DAY WITH A 5X2 OR 3 DAY AT THE SAME PERCENTAGE. THIS IS A BREAK DAY AND GIVES YOUR BODY A CHANCE TO RECOVER AND GET STRONGER FOR THE NEXT DAY OF 5X5'S.


Take care,

Danny

Original Message -----
From: Pauline
To: danny
Sent: Friday, March 06, 2009 4:43 AM
Subject: fitness

Hi Danny could you tell me what which muscle elevates the shoulder, is it the upper or lower trapezius and how to safely cue a squat

Hi Pauline,

You are up early; my kind of a person.

The shoulders are elevated by these muscles:

*The levator scapulae not only helps raise the shoulder and assists with rotation inward.
*The rhomboid major and minor adducts and inwardly rotates the scapula, in doing so it affects the rest of the shoulder girdle movements.
*The trapezius is the main muscle, as you indicated in your note.

When I cue the squat: center the bar, lift off the pins with your legs, be directly under the bar, two to three at the most steps back in the set up, deep breath, hold it but don't push against the glottis, move your butt or hips back, not down, push the butt back, unhinge the hips, keep the back arched, head level or looking up slightly, not at the ceiling, lower legs perpendicular to the floor at the bottom and knees out, knees inline with the feet, start the bar with your head and shoulders, come up straight to name but a few.

I hope this has helped a bit. If not give me a call at 509-991-6833.

Take care,

Danny


----- Original Message -----
From: Pauline
To: danny
Sent: Friday, March 06, 2009 8:24 AM
Subject: RE: fitness

Hi Danny, I know it is the trapezius, but to be specific is it the upper or lower trapezius?
another question, what is the position of the when sitting or standing?

Hi,

It is neither the top or the bottom, it is the entire muscle working together to elevate the shoulder girdle. The muscle works as a unit. When it's needed, it all fires. There is nothing in this or any other muscle that allows a separation of parts unless surgically separated. The only thing that works separately, sort of, is the amount of muscle fiber motor units recruited to do the task and then it's whatever is necessary to move the load.

This idea of separation of muscle from top to bottom or visa versa via alternative exercises is personal trainer, muscle magazine hocus pocus. It's an all or nothing proposition on the part of the fibers.

Can you isolate any muscle? The answer is a resounding no, they all operate synergistically helping one another move the levers of the body.

I don't understand this part of your question: what is the position of the when sitting or standing?

Take care,

Danny

Original Message -----
From: Christopher

Subject: Re: Benching and shoulder problems

Hi, Danny-
I love bench pressing and I have had a lot of success increasing my
strength, but a shoulder problem that has persisted for over a year has
ruined my progress. It started in the right shoulder then went away and
migrated to the left shoulder. I have tried  physical therapy using elastic
bands, lights weights with movements designed to strengthen the rotator
cuffs, and cutting the weight dramatically. The pain has improved, but I
still cannot bench-- each time I bring the bar to my chest it's precarious
the whole way down.

I don't want to give up benching, but I am at a loss for what to do next. I
stretch doing arm rotations with 5 lbs. prior to benching; is that wrong? I
see below that your Tips section on your site says two different things;
don't stretch before lifting and do stretch before. If you have something I
could buy to read or you know of someone here in NYC who could help me or if
you could help me I would be happy to pay for services.

Thanks,
Chris

From the TIPs section of your web site

Strength and stretching
Research conducted during execution of the bench press
demonstrated that maximal force production is positively related to
stiffness in the prime movers, i.e. the Coracobrachialis, deltoid,
pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, Serratus anterior, and the triceps
brachii.

Stretching these particular muscles before doing the bench press will
adversely affect your final total. Similar results have been found in other
research. Stiffness in a joint relates directly to force potential outcome.
A lax, loose, stretched out joint is suffering from neuro-confusion, it
doesn't know if it's supposed to be in a relaxed state or making maximum
power.

Stretch after lifting.

Shoulder series warm up
Prior to beginning a bench or squat training session do a series of shoulder
resistance stretches along these lines:
* Alternate arm raises upward and forward with dumbbells up to ten pounds in
each hand.
* Alternate arm rotations with dumbbells up to ten pounds in each hand.
* Alternate straight arm raises to the rear with a spring in the backward
motion.
* Alternately and at the same time raise the arms to the rear with the
elbows bent and then extend them 'energetically' straight out to the front

Chris

Hi Chris,

I sympathize with your situation as I've been through it.

First let me clear up the stretching issue. Static stretches before any type
of strength or power displays will decrease the output an estimated 8-10%.
The series of shoulder stretches I suggested are dynamic in nature and will
warm the shoulders up without causing a decrease in the power.

Now onto your question. My immediate suggestion is to have an MRI and see
what the damage is in there. Consult with your doctor about the changes that
are seen. Let the doctor and your physical therapist know what your goals
are in relation to your shoulder and the bench press. If it needs surgically
repaired, get it done. Then follow the health care guidelines to a T during
the rehabilitation. Don't push it let it, heal and then begin over. Tough to
do, but that may be the best alternative in the long run.

The properties of the elastic bands are not well suited to this due to the
resistance curve that is inherent in these materials.This is especially true
when working your rotator muscles. At the end range the bands are the
toughest to move which correlates directly to the vulnerable position of the
arm and the high stresses on those small muscles.

Perhaps a change in your technique or training is in order. First you will
have to get a full (range of motion) ROM without pain before even
considering going high in the bench press.

Go to a narrow grip and keep your elbows tucked to the sides never exceeding
the 45 degree rule. I once saw the great Larry Pacifico bench over 500
pounds with a narrow grip (equal to or less than shoulder width) because his
shoulder was bothering him.

Change your bar path to where it is hitting near the zyphoid process but not
lower. Then push straight back up without the bar coming back towards your
head.

Use dumbbells and keep the ROM on the short side above your chest.

Use the rack and limit the ROM above your chest.

Use bands that take the weight off on the eccentric contraction but add
during the concentric.

Use weight deloaders in reverse, i.e. light eccentric back to heavy
concentric.

Use boards set up before the pain begins and gradually work down to the
chest over time.

Do military presses with barbells and dumbbells.

Lots and lots of rows from above the head,  midlevel and below waist. Do
pull ups and chin ups.

Try the dips-supported at first to see if you tolerate them.

Can you do push ups? Does it hurt going down? Try a band assisted eccentric
push up with the band attached above your body.

In this case you will be much better off seeing a health care professional
rather than looking at any of my strength manuals. After you get it fixed
then they would certainly guide you to a bigger bench press.

These are just my ideas of things that may work for you.

Check with your doctor. Check with your doctor. Check with your doctor.
Check with your doctor.

Let me know how this all turns out.

Danny

dear coach

Hi i am a100mtr runner aged 19years ihave been doing this event since 2002 seriously training for it .Istarted off with a timing of 11.2(H.T)and clocked my best 10.44(H.TIMED).THE problem is that ihave my 60mtrs time of 6.4sec but the deacceleration in last 40mtrs is too much.what is this due to? and how can this be improved?my competitions are starting from june .please help me in fixing this . iwill be thankfull to you.

FROM ARUN (INDIA)


Good morning

Those are good times so you must be doing things correctly. Here are several suggestions for you and your coach to look over. Please bear in mind these are only generic suggestions as I have not seen how you run, looked at your training logs, or know your capabilities.

Are you hitting the weight room consistently? Heavy squats, dead lifts, power cleans…..solid upper body conditioning to go along with the lower body workouts in addition to the center of your body as that is where the power is counteracted from the lower end.

At first blush my inclination is to suggest more lactate style training as your muscles are shutting down in the stretch. However this is a secondary energy source for this short sprint. You must first and foremost develop your ATP/CP high energy system to the utmost as this is the system you are utilizing during your rapid trek down the track. This is best accomplished via running in the 90-100% best times for three to six repetitions during your training to force the body to adapt.

Next will be the fast glycolsis pathways. But you HAVE to maintain correct running form so have someone critique you as you enter this phase of training. DON’T BECOME SLOPPY as you become fatigued. This is run at a lower percentage-80-89% of your best sprint time for five top twelve repetitions.

These may be developed by following interval and repetition methods of training, staying within the percentage of your best time brackets, the distance ranges and the volumes or repetitions on the track.

Speed work should ALWAYS precede other training

Make certain on your heavy sprint days that you are adequately rested between sprints so as to maintain correct running form at all time (seven to eight minutes rest between each all out sprint). These days should come only about twice per week. You can work other areas (acceleration, starts, stride length, frequency) more times in a week.

Have you tried any flying forty meter times, are they increasing or decreasing? If they are increasing then you are running out of gas will need to work on your high energy endurance capabilities.

Do you do any overspeed work on a slight decline of around 3-6%? The ideal would be to find a straight and flat surface of 50-60m then a slight decline of 40 for the forced overspeed in your particular area of deceleration.

This is an obstacle you can overcome but it will take some practice and hard work to do so.

Keep me posted as to how you are doing.

Danny

How to develop your legs

That is a great question that is asked frequently. The short answer is this: You have got to start squatting with free weights and increasing your caloric intake to make those legs grow bigger. Get off the machines and under the bar.

Let me explain. Most people are able to do more on a machine because the balance factor is not in play on a machine. The machine holds the bar by keeping it in a certain predetermined groove and eliminates most, if not all, of the proprioceptive feedback, so learning the technique is non existent. The end result is decreased benefit to your targeted musculature.

Most people aren’t able to do as much weight on the bar as in the machine. Don't be worried about the load on the bar right now. Just lower the weight, get under the bar and start doing them technically perfect with the free weights.

Keep in mind that age, diet, genetics and gender will have a bearing on how big you can get. There are two ways to increase the size of your muscles: Sarcoplasmic and Myofibrillar, represented in the former by an increase in the sarcoplasm, the interfibrillar semi fluid and in the latter by an actual enlargement of the muscle fibers. Getting large but useful muscles will be dependent upon increasing the size of the fibers and not the fluids that go between each one. Read more strength tips...

Now on to a specific plan of attack:

Get your doctors approval before beginning a new exercise program.

Weigh yourself once a week on a specific day, just as soon as you get up in the morning and after having gone to the bathroom.

Buy a diary and begin writing everything down that you eat or drink and at what times

Keys to growth

Eat five to six balanced meals each day. Space these out at regular intervals of two to two and half hours apart. You have to increase your caloric intake to grow. Don't eat junk food or if you do at least keep it to a minimum. Stay well hydrated by drinking enough to keep your urine looking pale yellow.

Get good rest. Sleep is essential to growth.

Get off the machines and start doing free weight squats with the bar on your back. Find a good NSCA certified coach and learn how to do them correctly.

Exercise the legs three times a week with at least a days break in between each session. None of these should last more than 50-60 minutes. Just get in, lift and get out. Have sips of a sports drink or water before, during and immediately after your lifting times. Once completed and within the first thirty minutes begin to replenish the nutrients that have been used up to start the repair process going. During the first thirty minutes get protein and carbohydrates into your body (chocolate milk is nearly the perfect blend to drink at this time) Within the next two to three hours eat a well balanced meal with a bit more protein and carbohydrate mix to it.

The schedule

Part one:

After a warm up start with four sets of eight repetitions in the free weight squat, but don't make yourself sick while doing them. The puke factor is NOT in effect here. Go all the way down and all the way back up in your full range of motion. Don’t get into the habit of doing high squats. Do each one right; deep and deeper. Start with the bare bar if you have to but do them right each and every time. Rest between sets last long enough to catch your breath and get your pulse back to about 75% of your target heart rate.

Once you are able to do four sets of eight then on your last set do ten repetitions for two consecutive times. If you are able to do the extra two repetitions then add 10-20 more pounds of weight and repeat the four sets of eight repetitions again with the new weight the next time you lift.

Follow the squats with stiff legged dead lifts for four sets of twelve repetitions.

Now do your calves with high repetitions (12-20) for standing and low repetitions (8-10) for the seated ones with four sets of each version.

Do this for four to six weeks and then take a two session break.

Part two:

The next series is one of front squats, one legged calf raises, and good mornings with high repetitions and short rest periods. Do three to five sets of twenty on all squats, deadlifts and calves. Stay on this schedule for three to four weeks then rest again for two sessions. Continue to eat very well without piling on the fat tissue.

Part three:

The third series will be high load and long rest periods of two to four minutes between sets.

The exercises are squats, calf raises, and regular dead lifts with six to eight sets of four to five repetitions.

Repeat the three part schedule after a two session rest break. I guarantee you will have added size and strength to your quads, hamstrings and calves if you follow these suggestions.

Summary:

Eat, squat with free weights, rest, eat, lift hard, rest and eat.

A question was sent to Daniel Pare, strength coach in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. Daniel is an outstanding coach and a regular contributor to Danny O'Dell's Explosivelyfit Strength Training News

Thanks for requesting more details in regards to my article and training principle, 5 reps to weight loss.

I did not mention much about the weight being used on my article so this time I am going to. I will give you a real example this time. I also get the impression that the focus of your exercise program is mainly “a bodybuilding-type” training routine with sets of 10 to 15, which is clearly hitting the hypertrophy phase. Am I correct? I do not. I stop prior to reaching it. We also must agree on something, after 5 reps not only we are looking at a muscular pump, but our form deteriorates.

I am tempted to ask you what you do when you train like a typical day at the gym like # of exercises per muscle group, # sets and reps.

With my clients and members when I say that we do not do more than 5 reps, that does not include the warm up. If one is squatting we start with the barbell for 10 or body squats for 10 then, as soon as weights are added to the barbell, we are down to 5 reps top. If an individual is doing body squats for 10 reps it could be related to a couple things, one being a serious lack of flexibility and it needs to be addressed. The second is a total lack of core strength (I have seen people doing body squats and crumbling literally, after strengthening the core musculature –not sit ups… they were well-capable of doing squats with the barbell).

When we do the actual strength training session, the reps are no more than 5 and more times than often less than 5. 5 reps per set is top. If you are doing an exercise, squats for the sake of this note, and you are doing your 3 of 10-15 reps with eg; 55 Lbs/25 Kg (I work in Kg in my gym for the most part), going to do 3 x 5 reps and using the same amount of weight would be non productive at all. So, the load must increase. Now, I don’t know how long (months, years) you have been training, but you will need to adapt to this. It won’t be too long (week to a month depending on your ability to adapt).

Here is a example of one of my client; for squats (back squat) as she begins with it she begins with the barbell for 10 reps (it could be 2 x 10) then, we are going to 40 Kg for 5 reps and this is still a warm up. She begins at 50 Kg for 2 x 5 then, to 60 Kg for 2 x 3 and to 62.5 Kg for 2 x 2 reps and this will not last for long either. (The last sets of 2 reps were not that hard at all. It could have been 65 Kg). Let me remind you that this lady is in her 50’s and she squats full depth. Her best is 67.5 Kg x 2 and that will not stand too much longer. She had arthritis in her hips and could not do squats at all. Her goal was not so much to lose weight, but she ended up 3 sizes down in her clothes fitting and she wants nothing to do with more than 5 reps per set. Even her daughter is following my approach/training principle now! Note: Her daughter used to do high rep sets (10-15) and since she came here once with her mom, she has seen better results and much faster. (I have other scenarios just like that).

Each repetition is done with momentum, none of those slow reps. We are going to agree that you cannot have momentum when you are doing high reps. That is one of the reasons why we are getting great results. What you need to do is find a weight where you are challenged when you reach 5 and I mean challenged (not challenged that your form deteriorates). I don’t work all the time with one rep max, simply because lots of my clients who want to get in better shape were/are not in great physical condition at the beginning, so going for a 1 max rep is just not possible for them. The one rep max will work very well after one is conditioned. If you have a rep max then use it. Just remember that your rep max needs to be very recent. If you took a couple weeks off, vacation… it is not accurate any more. When doing 10 to 15 reps all you are doing is training towards a muscular pump. Why do we need to training to reach a pump?

For years I have been experimenting with that and I have not come across one individual who could sustain proper form and remain mechanically strong after 5 reps! I also believe that doing 5 reps and actually less is a lot better for overall health.

Strength training as I explained in an earlier article published in Danny O’Dell’s Explosivelyfit Training News is called Myofibril hypertrophy and this simply means that you are strengthening a steel cable by thickening the filaments of that steel cable. That is strength training (5 reps and less) and that in return will give you a much stronger cable. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy simply put means that you take the same steel cable and thicken the insulation/coating of that steel cable. This relates to higher rep sets (8 and above). Which way is likely to strengthen the steel cable?

I will honestly tell you that since I have adopted the sets of “5 reps MAX” with my clients, whoever joins to lose weight he/she loses weight, not a few pounds, but dozens and dozens, losing inches, and lots of them. I have athletes becoming a lot stronger than they were. Everyone is getting amazing results.

I hope this helps you, if you need more info do not hesitate to contact me at WEIGHTROOMPRESS@aol.com

For your info, I am presently writing the book version of what I do here.

“5 Reps to Weight Loss and General Conditioning”, which is nearly done (few more weeks).


Daniel Pare
Strength and conditioning coach.

Questions and comments from a new trainee regarding their strength training

I want my focus to be getting rid of the floppiness on the tummy from ribs down to abs, but also a little on the backs of my upper arms. I’m a beginner too...the most I’ve ever done is 3- and 5-pound dumb bells here and there.

My fitness routine has mainly been some yoga, balance ball, aerobics, and basketball, but mostly running. I have a treadmill at home but when the weather’s nice I’m always outside. I usually do about 2.5 to 3.5 miles a day several times a week. Would love to do more but there is ZERO time on my schedule right now.

Answer:

First off I commend you for fitting exercise into your obviously time filled busy life. It is not easy being a professional and a parent at the same time. Generally one of the two suffers as a result of this mix. But keeping the focus on the family generally is a key point to success in both endeavors.

These questions can be answered by a certified and competent trainer. Notice I did not say just a certified trainer but a competent one as well. A certification from a recognized source such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association implies the trainer has demonstrated superior knowledge, is competent to coach and is well up to the training task. Competency and results are the ‘proof in the pudding’ as the saying goes.

Properly designed exercise protocols start with a dynamic warm up; not static stretching. Static stretching, as seen with many runners standing on one leg while pulling the other up towards the buttocks, is NOT the way to begin an exercise session. Static stretches relax the joints and the nervous system. This is exactly the opposite desired outcome of a strength program. Engaging in static stretching before any explosive sport such as gymnastics, sprinting or wrestling is even worse. It opens these athletes up to injury due to the neuromuscular confusion resulting from the relaxation and opening up of the joints.

Dynamic warm ups, on the other hand, involve moving the body and its limbs around the joints range of motion, getting the pulse up and raising the respiration rates in preparation for the resistance exercises. Skipping rope is an excellent way to start because it helps develop coordination and endurance with the use of minimal equipment.

In answer to the question of reducing and eliminating the ‘floppiness on the tummy’…and ‘the backs of my upper arms’; spot reducing is not possible with training alone. The loss of overall body fat is responsible for getting rid of the fat tissue in these hard to manage areas of the body. Keeping a daily diary of food and liquid intake is a first step to success followed by discipline in your eating and drinking habits.

Cardio workouts will not burn the calories you need to reduce your fat levels. Add in resistance exercise to increase the muscle mass and in turn raise your rate of metabolism. This, coupled with the cardio sessions, will decrease the level of fat on your body.

A beginning routine is made up of large muscle group exercises featuring balanced applications of sets and repetitions for both agonist and antagonist groups. After a movement specific warm up where each exercise is performed ten to twelve times do eight to ten repetitions for two to four sets. A set is one group of eight to ten repetitions. Follow each set with a rest period of sixty to ninety seconds, depending on your present conditioning status and then begin the next set of the same exercise. Move through the list at a steady pace. You should not be in the weight room much longer than forty five to fifty minutes.

Not all exercises will be performed each session but these are the essential ten and form the foundations of any strength program.

Consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.

Here are the recommendations for you:

  1. Military presses
  2. Chin ups or pull downs
  3. Bench presses
  4. Barbell rows
  5. Squats
  6. Deadlifts
  7. Curl ups or full range sit ups
  8. Back extensions
  9. Laterals
  10. Calf raises


Periodization training question

Hi Danny,

I subscribe to your newsletters and they are a great source of information. I'm an ectomorph and very lean (hardgainer) and wanted to know your opinion on linear vs. non-linear (daily undulating) periodization. I've heard about it through Cosgrove's website. Right now I'm using a linear model keeping reps in the 6-10 rep range. I change the rep range every two weeks starting with 8-10, then 6-8, 5-8, 3-6. So, it's an 8 week mesocycle and I take one week to unload where I'm keeping reps in the 10-15 range. Can this lead to overtraining since I'm using linear progression and only taking one week to unload the body?

Also, Cosgrove is in favor of total body workouts because the body recovers as a unit. He suggests using only multi-joint movements which would mean eliminating any direct arm work or isolation exercises. He doesn't support split training. Given my body type, would this be a more sound approach?
Thanks for your help,

My answer

Good morning,

Thank you for the nice words.

But onto your question: I think the term and the usage of 'hardgainer' is way overblown and in many cases misunderstood in its entirety. Stuart McRobert certainly made his mark with the Brawn book he wrote many years ago but I think he really did set back the strength training aspect for many enthusiasts with his term hardgainer. You didn't mention how many sets you do, the exercises you've selected, or your goal so I just have to guess that I am close to the mark with my response.

In all of my experience I have not had one person who was overtraining either in my gym or walking into the gym from off the street. Overtraining is problematic for the elite athlete pushing massive volumes and at high intensities otherwise, again in my opinion, its an excuse not to work out hard. I have trained world champions and high level athletes and not one has run into this problem. Admittedly I have not had the Olympic level competitor under my care as most are at the US Olympic training center.

I use undulating periodization with every one of my trainees regardless of age, skill level or strength training experience. The body reacts and adapts quicker to the repetitions than to the exercises so the reps are changed about every other day or at the most after three to four workouts. Then the exercises are changed around. The goal is to avoid accommodation. Once that happens then your body settles into the routine much like I suspect yours has with the two month schedule you describe. The unloading week is a week of no progress, unless you are really really pounding your body with extreme volumes and loads this is a week that you will never get back, like time, once it's gone it is nonrecoverable. A built in unload day does not mean a day off, it simple means you are giving your body a chance to recuperate from the typical work load it's been under for the preceding time span. Rest days on the other hand are just that-a rest day with no physical activity; just rest.

In many cases the problems I see with new trainees is they are over analyzing the situation, as Girogio from Forza Strength says "just lift the weight." The old timers didn't worry about overtraining even though they spent hard hours at their 'day job' before exercising. I realize that 'Listen to your body' is a overused term but is very applicable to a trainees situation, if they are astute enough to recognize the clues and heed them that is.

Alwyn and I share similar training theories and practices, however if you are training for a particular event i.e. a powerlifting competition then those lifts have to take priority over every other lift-period.
Generally the newbie's in my gym do overall body workouts rarely exceeding fifty to sixty minutes total including the warm up and cool down. These are more efficient and provide a quality result.
As they progress with their general physical fitness they are moved to a four day program and in some cases a five day set up. The days are divided into upper, lower day off upper, lower day off or upper, lower, upper, lower, upper and the next week it's lower, upper, lower, upper, lower.

I have had several athletes on a ten session plan for up to two months depending on the response, however these are exceptional young men and the second sessions are in some cases twenty to thirty minutes in duration. In and out. Others are able to lift up to four times a day at the high levels but this is a full time effort on their part as they prepare for contests.

Multi joint exercises demand more muscle recruitment and therefore produce better results for an individual. I do not recommend nor encourage many curls in my programs. You will get enough bicep work and receive better benefits with barbell rows, pull ups, chin ups, rope pulls, pull downs and the like. In short there are not very many isolated moves in any of my programs unless the person is recovering from an injury.

Here is a bit of information on overtraining and the signs of such. It was originally published in an earlier edition of the Explosivelyfit Strength Training News.

Shameless plug coming up

The Explosivelyfit Strength Training News is an outstanding, in my opinion, source of strength training information.

'Supercompensation' is the thin window of opportunity between overreaching and overtraining. It is the ideal goal in any well-designed exercise program, especially if you are contemplating a contest in the near future. But, how is it reached without overtraining and getting hurt?

The body’s adaptive mechanisms are wonderful and can do marvelous things to keep you healthy. However, you must pay attention to what it is saying about the evolution-taking place concerning your training loads, duration and intensity and the effects on you.

Background information

In 1954, Hans Selye came up with a description that described how an organism adapted to sources of stress in their environment. He called the model the “General Adaptation Syndrome” aka GAS. He further described two such stressors, one good and one bad. They are respectively,

* Eustress or that which produces growth, performance enhancements and repair

* Distress, which can cause decay, damage, death or disease in the living organism.

The General Adaptation Syndrome theory states there are three phases to an exposure to stress. Phase number one is the initial alarm, phase two is the resistance to the stress and the final phase is the adaptation to the stress (which Selye called exhaustion).

Breaking the three phases down into manageable bits of information one will find the first stage is the body’s initial response to the stress, i.e. flight, fright or freeze. (“Shock or alarm”, as it is described in the Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning book by Baechle and Earle) The body at this point has a temporary inability to cope with the situation; however, it quickly calls on energy reserves and begins to function in a more appropriate manner.

This is the beginning of the resistance phase in which the body adapts to the stimulus and returns to a more normal state. The body is preparing itself for a continuation of similar stresses by growing stronger in response.

The final stage is exhaustion. If the organism does not have a pause in the constant stress, it begins to break down. Thus, overtraining has reared its ugly head and progress begins to “grind to a halt”. Minor injuries appear, desire diminishes, and working out is no longer enjoyable. The workout program has failed!

From this modest start, strength and conditioning specialists have come up with all sorts of training plans. A well-designed program will be characterized by a continuation of the Eustress processes. On the other hand, stagnation, soreness, minor injuries, and a lack of desire to exercise provide an early indication of distress that eventually leads to “Overtraining”. Leading into the overtraining is a condition called overreaching.

Overreaching is a desired effect that results from setting and achieving goals. It is the push to a higher plateau of ability. But if you remain in this zone too long, you soon reach the overtrained condition. Recovery from over reaching is easily accomplished with a few days active rest, a lighter than normal load, intensity and frequency of effort.

How do you know if you are entering the overtrained realm? Listen to your body. As an example, one of my personal “sure fire ways” of knowing I am entering this phase is illustrated in the following scenario.

In my training diary, I keep track of every set, every rep and every weight lifted in every session. I note how each set felt with an alpha character beside the log entry for that set. It is either an “E” for easy, an “M” for moderate or an “H” for hard.

If my training is going really well and I find myself writing down how much weight I will be lifting a month from now on the present program…I know it is time to change or one of two things will happen:

1. I will get hurt (more than likely I will be getting hurt)

2. I will not finish the program

Invariably, this is a major clue to me to change the intensity, load, duration, sets reps, or frequency of exercise. If I do not heed the obvious warning signs of my projected gains, I lose in the end.

This little secret has saved me many a time over the past ten to twelve years of developing an injury. Every now and then, I forget and keep pushing ahead anyway.

The last time I ignored it I ended up with a shoulder surgery. I was laid up unable to use it for over six weeks. Yeah I know what you are thinking; he could have done squats with a safety squat bar. I did and the pads on the par extensions hit RIGHT ON THE STITCHES. I kept up squatting. I was complaining (whining) to my doctor about the pads hurting the shoulder he had stitched up so recently. He looked directly at me and said very calmly “Don’t rip out my stitches”. I stopped doing them and went instead to the leg press machines in my gym.

Other clues to overtraining are more subtle. They include the following anaerobic indicators:

Stages of Overtraining

1. No effect on performance

* Altered neural functions

2. Probably an effect on performance

* Altered motor unit recruitment

* Altered sympathetic activity and hypothalamic control

3. Probably decreased performance

* Decreased motor coordination

* Altered excitation contraction coupling

* Decreased muscle glycogen

* Increased resting heart rate and blood pressure

* Altered immune function

* Altered hormonal concentrations

4. Decreased performance

* Decreased force production

* Decreased glycolytic capacity

* Sickness and infection

* Emotional and sleep disturbances

From Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning by Baechle and Earle

Avoid overtraining like the Plague.

Overreaching, however leads into the “Supercompensation” training effect. This is a good result from the effect of exercise. Supercompensation means the body has successfully weathered the stress of the previous program. It now prepares itself for the next time this stressful situation happens by getting stronger.

If I can be of any further help let me know.

Stay strong and committed to the path your heart has chosen for you.

Danny M. O’Dell, MA. CSCS*D

Answer continued after a new question was posed

Hi again,

I don't think you are working any of it too much and may not see the gains you are seeking because of the lack of intensity or volume. I would have you increase to four to six sets of eight to twelve with a work to rest ratio of 1:2-1:3 on a four to five day schedule. Unless you are really hitting the multijoint exercises with heavy weight I think you're probably eliminating the excess protein each time you go to the bathroom. If you think Berardi has high protein guidelines look at Bill Starr's... I have not looked at the book you mentioned. You are right about the muscle imbalances, each side of the joint needs to be stressed with appropriate weights to keep the integrity up to par and ward off injury.

But having said that:
In looking over your schedule it seems to me that you may be not allowing much rest for the shoulders, biceps, triceps, and upper back. You are hitting these areas on both days. If you want to stay on this type of a schedule then consider this make up:

Legs, lower back, center, rest, chest, upper back, shoulders, center, rest, legs, calves, shoulders, chest, back, center and rest.
Have you considered these as options to your training schedule:
Warm up, dynamic lower body stretches, lower body, center, cool down and static stretches

Rest day-cardio
Warm up, upper body dynamic stretches, upper body, center, cool down and static stretches
Rest day-cardio

Warm up, full body dynamic stretches, lower body, center, upper body, cool down and static stretches.
Or lower, upper, day off, lower, upper, day off lower, upper, two days off and repeat

Or lower, upper, lower, upper, lower two days off then upper, lower, upper, lower, upper and two days off
Talk to you later

Answer continued

Hi Danny,

Your arrangements are better, it eliminates any crossover from one day to the next. How would a Cosgrove type arrangement using undulating periodization work? For example:

Workout A - Squat, T-pushup, Step-up, Row, Romanian Deadlift, Swiss ball crunch

Workout B- Deadlift, DB Shoulder Press, Lunge, Chin-up, Incline bench, center

Mon (A) 4-6 reps; Wed (B) 10-15 reps; Fri (A) 8-10 reps then the following week BAB.

Danny

Whoops, I forgot to tell you that Yes an overall body program will be of benefit to you depending once again on your goal. You will have to determine the best work to rest ratio, the intensity range, the exercises, an so on to set up your program.

See you later

Danny

Hi again, Are you eating enough to fuel your body with the workouts you are doing?

Talk to you later

Hi Danny, thanks so much for the great info. You're right, I forgot to mention the number of sets. I'm currently working three days a week. Legs, shoulders, biceps on Monday; Chest, back, triceps on Wednesday; and full body on Friday. Total number of sets per workout is about 10-15. I also include some rotator cuff work at the end as well as abs and lower back.

I'm trying to eat about every 3 to 3.5 hours and I've read Susan Kleiners book which recommends 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. I've also skimmed over Scrawny to Brawny which is a book written for ectos. It pretty much emphasizes full body workouts, compound movements- although the protein recommendations by John Berardi are too high.

The programs are periodized but using linear progression. The book recommends training movements and not muscles. I would think that over the long run this could invite muscle imbalances and injury. For example squats (quad dominant) are included but there isn't any direct hamstring work; abs are only hit once a week; lower back work isn't even mentioned. It's only in the beginning of the book (corrective phase) where imbalances are mentioned and 2 to 3 week in that cycle wouldn't be enough time to correct an imbalance. What do you think about the book?

Answer continued

Alwyns rep scheme would work out just fine. Undulating is another name for avoiding accommodation and it is best accomplished by setting up your workouts on a the macro, meso and micro cycles. You can lift pretty hard and still put in your rest days by using dumbbells once or twice a month in place of the barbell workouts. It's a good change of pace but the intensity and the heavy loads aren't up to snuff as far as I am concerned for the heavy lifter.

I rarely utilize the stability ball for my competitive lifters so the ball crunches aren't in many of my programs unless I am specifically targeting balance issues or with one coming off a joint injury and needing proprioceptive readaptation reeducation.

Talk to you later, remember don't over analyze it, just lift and enjoy the ride. See what happens on the way, you will be surprised. Some of my very best work outs have been just doing it.

Danny

What is the best target heart range to help control high blood pressure?

First off, consult with your primary health care provider before engaging in any new exercise program. Then if you are taking medication REMAIN on the meds until you have talked to your doctor.

It has been scientifically documented that exercising in the range of 40-70% is most beneficial to the cardiovascular system when it comes to reducing the effects of essential high blood pressure.

Here is an edited version of a question we receive all the time from young trainees, especially those who read the bodybuilding ragmags. My responses are in bold. I am not a medical doctor so if you take up a program be sure to consult with your doctor before doing so. How old are you?

I am 15, a freshman in high school and need to get stronger because if I work hard enough this summer than I have high chances of starting on my football team varsity and then for basketball I could play on varsity and start my junior year. And for Track if I can cut down 1-2 seconds off my 200m time I can win state. These are my long term goals but for now I just need to get bigger and stronger.

Added muscular mass will help in the sports you mentioned. But then you have to be able to move that mass so get in some speed work to keep that up during your strength and weight gaining phases.

I was going to do Carb cycling with it in my cutting phase which will be the last 3-4 weeks of summer before school just for reasons to lose some of the fat to look better.

First off, this program should be for YOU and not your classmates.

I think anytime a person begins a ‘diet’ that emphasizes, to the almost exclusion of a major food group that person is headed for a disasters conclusion and ultimately will end up with a higher percentage of fat in the end. If you eat five to six times a day with ratios of 40-45% carbohydrates for energy production purposes, 30% protein for muscle and bone growth and 25-30% fat-of the good kind, don’t be leaving out fat as your body must have it to operate efficiently with in the nervous system to name just one important area in each meal you will get enough of the nutrients you need to become strong and powerful.

I was planning on eating around 1-1.5 g protein per meal because I’ve heard that this will really spark growth. Then all together it will be around 3,500-4,000 calories per day. I think I should grow quite a bit with it.

1-1.5 grams of protein per meal is not enough as you will only be getting 5-7.5 grams total if you are eating five meals each day. If however you are thinking of ingesting 1-1.5 grams per kilogram per day then consider this: Protein taken in this quantity generally are for those in extremely heavy concentrated training. You may be (are) overdoing it here. Try .8-1 gram per kilogram and save your kidneys at the same time plus your wallet will thank you. So if you weigh 88 kg then your daily intake could be from 88-1.32 grams spaced through out the day within your five to six meals. One final note on the protein issue-excessive amounts it can lead to unhealthy bones.

About the protein I will be eating, I will have 6 meals a day, 30-40 grams of protein each meal.

In total you will be consuming upwards of 180-240 grams per day, this is too much as far as I am concerned. See above. Spare your kidneys and bones and save the septic tank from all the flushed protein your body will not be able to use.

I get to a certain weight I will switch over to Carb cycling to loose a little of the extra fat I’m sure Ill gain during this bulk.

I would not bulk up. That weight will be difficult to get rid of, it is akin to yo yo weight gains and loss. Bulking up went out of practice in the late seventies to early eighties as it is unhealthy to your body.

I’m around 180-183 lbs now. I need to be up around 200-210 lbs by the end of the summer. That’s 2-3 months of heavy lifting and eating to gain 20 lbs or so.

If you eat the suggested five to six balanced meals, lift on a mass building schedule, and get plenty of rest you will gain the weight you want and not be getting fat as you do it. Stick to the basics of good nutrition and exercise physiology and you will do well. It sounds like you are an eager and ambitious young man-channel that enthusiasm in the right direction and make it work for and not against you. By that, I mean you can’t be lifting everyday as your body needs to recuperate and build back from the sessions of exercise.

Then as soon as I hit 200-210 I will switch training routines ‘and then lower calories and do the Carb cycling. This will hopefully get me down to around 190-200 lbs with a lower body fat %.

Keep track of your body fat once a week but don’t get obsessive with it, some weeks will be better than others, keep a food/drink log for one week and write down everything you eat or drink. Then look it over and see what you are actually putting into your mouth. Then make the necessary dietary changes to achieve your goals. Just don’t get crazy with it all. You have a long life ahead so don’t get frantic about appearance now as you are still growing. There are many options that will present themselves to you during your life. Choose the course you take and think of the long term effects of these choices. There are other training options available on line here.

Adding weight continued from previous post

I do this with my athletes, one of which is 605 and now weighs 198 pounds. He wants to add 15-20 pounds over the summer. He has been on a modified strength program for the past two months (during track season), the intensity is in the 90-95 range and the volume is low. Once he is out of school for the summer, he will begin a hypertrophy phase of four to five weeks, several weeks of strength and then back into the hypertrophy again. These are hard sessions of basic mass movements such as the military press, chin ups, T bar rows, bench presses, bar bell rows, abs, side bends, squats, and deadlifts with four to six sets of 8-20 repetitions. This is a three-day schedule once he settles in it will go to four days and then the growth will be regularly noticeable.

I was planning on eating lots of tuna and chicken this summer for the bulk part. Do you think 20 lbs in 3 months is attainable for my age?

Anywhere you can get your nutrients is fine just don’t get sick of them, space the eating out, vary your meals and enjoy your life.

In regards to your program, IF you are wanting to gain useable weight and not just bodyweight then you are going to have to do more sets and reps. Two sets of squats is not going to cut it. Make certain you are going FULL range of motion on all of your exercises-squat to the bottom, butt to the floor, bar to the chest, full upright on all of your exercises-did I mention going full range on all of your exercises……

I am not much for the ‘jog’ parts as I think you would be better off doing dynamic fast paced activities to warm up-start out slow and build up your speed and endurance. Either you don’t have sets and reps in on the Tuesday schedule or I am overlooking them but the agility should probably be done at the get go and once you have started to slow down in the drills STOP as you don’t want to instill bad movement patterns as a result of fatigue setting in.

I never have my athlete’s static stretch before strength training as it decreases their output by as much as 8 percent. Become dynamic and not static in your warm-ups. The stretches you have are fine at the END of your exercise routine but not before.

As for the routine, I would add in bench presses, and dead lifts at the very least. See above. I don’t have my trainees do too many barbell curls as they get a better workout for their biceps with the barbell rows, pull downs, and chin ups. Stay with the reps for a week or so then increase or decrease them drastically one way or the other. And change your exercises around to add variety to your program. Additionally changes never enable your body to accommodate which leads to a plateau which leads to no progress.

Another thing you might consider is signing up for the online training courses off my website-these can be custom designed for each person. They can be set up any way you need from twice a week up to multiple times a week all with various prices available. And they come with email support. In case you are interested here is the link:

I hope this has helped a bit, keep me posted on your progress.

Do everything correct and with passion. Don’t cut corners. Enjoy what you are doing

 

Trainee question:

I am sixty years old and exercise regularly both cardio and strength. I would like to know what is the best way for me to shed fat and build strength. Would it be with a cardio or weight training regimen or both? If weight training is recommended for building strength, how much weight should I be using if I lift? Will it be heavy, medium or light and how many reps, i.e. 8, 10 or 15 should I consider to achieve the results.

Answer

Congratulations on your continued persistence in maintaining your health. At the age of sixty it will be a bit more difficult to get rid of the extra layer of fat covering your muscles because your metabolism has slowed down over the years. But it can still be done. Begin with a workout diary. Write down everything you eat and drink along with your workouts each day. Eat five to six times a day.

Recovery is vital to your success and this can only be accomplished by resting between sessions and eating right. Break up your meals into five or six smaller ones over the course of the day. Maintain the proper ratios of fat, protein, and carbohydrates in each meal.

The short answer to your question of ‘what is the best way/exercises to shed fat and build strength’… hands down it is weight training.

Resistance training builds muscle mass. Muscle is metabolically more active than fat and thus burns calories at a higher rate. The more muscle you have the faster will be your use of the calories that you take in each meal.

The sets and reps to greater hypertrophy will be in the higher ranges when compared to those used to gain pure strength. Multiple sets – 4-6 of 7-10 repetitions will increase your muscle mass to a significant degree. The intensity of each set will be in the 75-85% 1RM range.

You have to challenge the major muscle groups by doing military presses, pull downs or chins, bench presses, barbell rows, squats, dead lifts, and abdominal during your strength training sessions. Accessory exercises such as triceps extensions, barbell curls, calves, and deltoid work will be performed for 1-4 sets of 10 reps. Of course there are far more accessory exercises than what were just listed but you get the point.

Do these on a work to rest ratio of 1:2. As your stamina and work conditioning hardens reduce the ratio to 1:1. The work to rest ratio implies that if a set takes ten seconds to do then you will rest either twenty (1:2) or ten (1:1) seconds before beginning the next set.

Between each of the various exercises skip rope at high speed for 1-5 minutes. This will raise your work capacity and allow more to be accomplished in the future.

Add in runs, not jogs, or fast bicycle rides on alternate lifting days for twenty to thirty minutes to raise your cardiovascular capabilities.

Question:

I'm a little confused on how long I should wait in between strength training sessions. I was always told 2 days but now someone has told me that if I do an intensive lower body training session I should wait an entire week before going back to that muscle group to allow a true and full recovery. Is this true

Answer:

In my opinion a week is way to long to wait between sessions. Your muscles will be into the detraining zone. Two days isn't bad but you lose a lot of training time waiting. I would not suggest a one weeks wait in between muscle groups, even the largest muscles in your body, i.e. your back and legs should be recovering within two to three days at the most. The majority will recover within one to two days even after an intense workout. Are you getting my training newsletter? If so I am addressing recovery issues for the next several months.

Elite athletes are lifting up to 14 times a week. You may not be in the elite ranks right now so it may be better to lift according to your experience level. For instance, if you have been lifting under six months then twice a week will get you going. Over six months you may consider three times per week. In my gym after a year of training time I have many of my trainees on a four day program. With the exception of my competitive athletes I am not saying I want them in my gym four times a week. Since most of them have their own gear I eventually want them lifting at home or elsewhere. I am not in favor of creating a dependent relationship with those who train with me. I expect them to learn and apply what they have learned to their own circumstances by thinking about their training and discovering what is working and what isn't, then they plan their own course of action.

Taking into consideration the issue of muscle soreness as a reason to wait seven days; if you are still sore seven days post exercise then you have possibly suffered an injury. On the other hand being sore is not an indicator that you need to stop exercising as this soreness will evaporate shortly after the first one or two movement specific warm up sets. Joint tightness helps produce more power output as the joints aren't fighting a loose set up but are instead closer to the levers actual working ranges.

Read more about the proper way to train with the strength training manuals available here.

Question:

I am in a quandary. At one time I was very diligent about doing regular (3-5 times a week) training, both aerobic and weights. I focused more on the aerobic part, mostly running with some cycling mixed in for variety.

The problem over the last year has been a lack of motivation, so any gains I made prior have been lost. I know I need to drop a lot of weight. I am 6'2" and weigh 260 pounds. I have looked at several different body composition charts that say I should be down in the 220-225 pound range.

My current training plan is very simple: Run 30-40 minutes 2-3 times a week. Sometimes I am able to get in the gym after that for some weight training, but that does not always happen. I am looking for a good training plan to accomplish the following objectives:

1. Lose weight.
2. Increase aerobic endurance.

Answer:

At 602 and 260 you are carrying a supply of unnecessary weight, unless you have a tremendous amount of muscle but then you didn't mention the waiver for the weight so I suspect as you stated the weight is not all muscle. So what to do about it. You have already identified a problem area now its time to develop a plan of action just as you do on your call outs.

It has been my experience as well as many other professional trainers that while cardio is good for the heart it is not necessarily good for burning off the fat layer we all seem to accumulate as the years begin to stack up on us.

Your one sentence speaks volumes about your training: Sometimes I am able to get in the gym after that for some weight training, but that does not always happen. Training has to become a priority in your life. If you cannot control when you get off shift then exercise as soon as you get out of bed-get it behind you and move on with the rest of your day.

My suggestions are these and in the order given relative to importance for achieving your goal of better physical fitness.

In order to lose weight you have to be conscious of your eating and drinking intake, calories above your maintenance level will cause an increase in body weight and fat storage.

The first step is to write down everything you eat and drink every time you pass anything by your lips.


Increased cardio does not develop greater musculature which burns calories even while resting due to the muscle tissues higher metabolic rate of energy expenditure.


Step number two is to reduce your cardio by ten to twenty percent (or better still to use it strictly as a warmup for your training day workout session). By this I mean limit the running, not the cycling to ten minutes per day five to six times a week. It will be easier on your joints and less energy consuming for the rest of your body. I find some diehard runners refuse to give up the excessive running and end up paying the price later on with unbalanced muscle power output production curves that translate into low back pain and ankle and knee problems from the incessant pounding these susceptible joints receive with each foot strike. If you follow this and alter your running then warm up with a slow to moderate jog then do a fast sprint, note your time and then stay within 80% of this time for the remainder of your ten minutes. After each sprint jog until your heart rate reaches 80% of your target heart rate number then hit the sprint again.

Step number three is too increase your resistance training by working out three times a week at the get go. Do major muscle groups and stay away for now at least from the so called isolation moves such as the concentraion curls and the triceps kick back types of exercises.

The Schedule

Option one-the beginner workout schedule.

* Full body resistance training program on a schedule of at least two times per week, with three times to optimize the results.

* Utilize correct exercise technique at all times

* Three sets of ten to twelve repetitions each exercise unless other wise noted.

* Work to rest ratio is 1:2, meaning if you work out for ten seconds you then rest for twenty seconds.

* If you are able to add weight after completing the series three times, then do so the next session.

* If you have added weight then do only ten repetitions and work up to twelve.

Rest one minute between each set before moving onto the next one.

Warm up: do this series or something similar before each session of training.

* Cardiovascular for one to five minutes-skip rope, ride a bike, or jog in place.

* Limb rotations-move all of your limbs around in giant circles to loosen them up.

* Shoulder series-do each one of the following 15-20 times each

* Wide clockwise circles with outstretched arms

* Wide counter clockwise circles with outstretched arms

* Arms straight to the sides with palms facing the body moving out front and back over head without bending them

* Arms bent at 90° and then extended rapidly to the front and back to the 90° starting position

* Push ups-ten to twenty five

* Chin ups-five to twenty five

* Squats-twenty five to forty

* Sit ups-twenty five to fifty

Week one. Do two sets of ten to twelve repetitions for each of the following exercises-in the order listed.

Day one

* Neck-Flexion and extension

* Shoulders-Military press

* Biceps-Biceps curl

* Triceps-Triceps extensions

* Chest-Bench press

* Bar bell rows

* Dead lift

* Abdominal-Incline sit ups

* Thighs-Squats

* Hamstrings-Stiff leg dead lifts

* Calves-Standing calf raises

Week one-Day two

* Neck-Flexion and extension

* Shoulders-Military press

* Biceps-Biceps curl

* Triceps-Triceps extensions

* Chest-Bench press

* Bar bell rows

* Dead lift

* Abdominal-Incline sit ups

* Thighs-Squats

* Hamstrings-Stiff leg dead lifts

* Calves-Standing calf raises

Week two. Do three sets of ten to twelve repetitions for each of the following exercises-in the order listed.

Day one

* Neck-Flexion and extension

* Shoulders-Military press

* Biceps-Biceps curl

* Triceps-Triceps extensions

* Chest-Bench press

* Bar bell rows

* Dead lift

* Abdominal-Incline sit ups

* Thighs-Squats

* Hamstrings-Stiff leg dead lifts

* Calves-Standing calf raises

Week two-Day two

* Neck-Flexion and extension

* Shoulders-Military press

* Biceps-Biceps curl

* Triceps-Triceps extensions

* Chest-Bench press

* Bar bell rows

* Dead lift

* Abdominal-Incline sit ups

* Thighs-Squats

* Hamstrings-Stiff leg dead lifts

* Calves-Standing calf raises

These suggestions will do two things for you. Increase your cardiovascular and musculature systems.

 

Static contractions

Here is a question from one of the over two thousand members of the Explosivelyfit Training News concerning static contractions. You can read more about training for strength and power in the articles portion of the web site.

For more specific training information check out the bookstore offerings.

Question

I've been using for some time and really like it. I’m 57 and it has helped my strength tremendously! I can lift some heavy weight. Yes, I know it looks funny but I want your opinion, please- good or waste of time.

Thanks

Answer

Are you talking isometric static contractions? If so then they certainly do have a place in lifting. I believe the static holds in the various positions would better serve your needs though. For instance, in the squat or bench lower the bar and then stop it about a third of the way down. From this point either go back to the start or lower it all the way and then go back to the start and do another set. Perform these lifts at various points in the range of motion so as to build strength around the joint angles. The static holds seem to be the most effective within about a 20 degree range either way. There is an entire science built around this theory.

Here is a summary on the issue I wrote in July of this year.

Develop the force on the bar quickly - think fast to move fast. Remember though that a large volume of high intensity isometric training fatigues the nervous system which in turn decreases coordination and movement speed. Isometrics should be used sparingly and in small doses with adequate rest and recuperation interspersed between the segments of training for best effect.

Danny

Additional information added after the question was answered:

I lay on a bench with the bar above my chest in the 25" range or just a little higher. I press out the bar and hold for several seconds. I’m able to push some tremendous weights. For example, I do heavy DL's in the rack, using a dl grip and sometimes use hooks too to lift even more weight. I know the theory is out there and maybe some real experts like yourself might call it rocket science but it really works for me. I've pushed off over 600# BP, dl-in the 500# + range (knee level); in the smith machine I have pushed 450#. I'm not big at all but doing regular exercises has got my strength up a lot.

Thanks for replying.

Answer

Keep up the good work in the gym

Danny

A weight room schedule question

A weight schedule question with my answers in capital letters for the most part. For more strength training tips go to the Strength tips page at Explosivelyfit.com

Thanks for looking at this. Right now we have 2 groups coming in on Mon.,Tues.,Thurs.

* CHANGE TO MON. WED AND FRI FOR THE ONE DAY SPLIT BETWEEN THE LIFT DAYS AS RECOMMENDED BY THE NSCA

* ADD AN EXTRA FIFTEEN MINUTES TO THE YOUNG GROUP, THEY NEED THE HELP MORE SO THAN THE NEXT GROUP THAT COMES INTO THE FACILITY. DOING SO WILL IMPROVE YOUR ENTIRE PROGRAM IN THE LONG RUN

* REMOVE FIFTEEN MINUTES FROM THE OLDER GROUP

* APPORTION THE GROUP INTO THREE OR A LITTLE MORE AT EACH RACK-see next suggestion

* MATCH THE LIFTERS AT EACH RACK

o ACCORDING TO STRENGTH LEVELS FIRST AND

o THEN ACCORDING TO HEIGHT

* PLACE MORE OF THE HEAVIER (LOAD WISE) LIFTERS AT ONE STATION SO THE REST PERIODS ARE LONGER FOR THESE LIFTERS

The first groups are 9th and 10th. They need a lot of technique correction at this time, but are improving. There are anywhere from 28-32 lifters in the first group. They are in the weight room from about 3:30-4:15.

The second groups are Jr. and Sr. They have a pretty good technique base for the most part. There are anywhere from 25-30 lifters. They are in the weight room from 4:30-5:30. We have instituted a new program so all are doing the same routine with minimal variations.

The problem we have is few of the female athletes seem to get there full workout in due to the numbers.

* HOW DO THEY NOT GET IT IN IF THE OTHERS ARE GETTING THERE’S IN? You have a definite loss of weight room etiquette here?

Also some males or females in some of the minor programs show up see the crowd and leave before even starting their workout.

* HAVE THE LITERS IMMEDIATELY GO TO A POWER RACK AND NOT MILL AROUND THEREBY YOU ARE CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF ORGANIZED POWER.

Wed. and Fridays are pretty clear and the weight room is used on those days for some in season Athletes.

* MOVE THESE TO TUE AND THUR TO ALLOW THE CORRECT SPLIT TO TAKE PLACE IN THE DIFFERING GROUPS TRAINING SCHEDULES

The program consists of:

* Day 1 : Hang clean, Bench, Rack Row, Squat, BB, RDL, Glute Ham.

* Day 2: Clean and Jerk, DB Bench, BB Row, Step ups, OH Squats, Good mornings, SL DB RDL.

* Day 3: Snatch, Close grip bench, Rack Row, Squat, Single leg squat, BB, RD, Glute ham.

THE PROGRAM DOES NOT SEEM TO FOLLOW A LOGICAL PATTERN. FOR EXAMPLE ON MONDAY THESE EXERCISES (HANG CLEAN, BENCH, RACK ROW, SQUAT, BB, RDL) ARE IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED ON TUESDAY WITH THESE (CLEAN AND JERK, DB BENCH, BB ROW, OH SQUATS, GOOD MORNINGS, SL DB RDL) WHICH IN MY ESTIMATION IS TOO FAST OF A SPIN AROUND FOR THE MUSCLE GROUPS, ESPECIALLY THE LEGS AND CHEST.

IF YOU HAVE TO CONTINUE THE PRESENT SET UP PERHAPS AN ALTERNATE EXERCISE SELECTION SHOULD TAKE PLACE. THIS SELECTION WOULD HELP TO MITIGATE THE LACK OF REST BETWEEN DAYS FOR THE SAME MUSCLES.

IF NOTHING ELSE DO THE EXERCISES WITH DUMBBELLS TO LOWER THE INTENSITY ON THE FOLLOWING DAY. OR DO MILITARY PRESSES IN PLACE OF THE BENCH PRESSES ON TUESDAY. WORK ON EIGHTY PERCENT OF THE PREVIOUS DAYS LOAD FOR TUESDAY’S WORKOUT.n

Hi there,

I have answered your questions after each one you asked. If they aren’t clear please let me know and I’ll give it another shot.

Keep training smart and hard.

Danny

01029

Hi Danny, I purchased the mass builder e-book a couple of days ago.

Some background info: I have been weight training for quite a few years and after the initial "spurt" of growth I have found it increasingly difficult to gain size/strength.

If you have been hitting it hard and not properly recovering you could be in a mild stage of overtraining, more than likely though this is not the case. However, not knowing your training status it is hard to determine the cause from here.

I suggest checking your log book; see what your initial pulse readings after waking up in the morning were before you started the mass building program. If it is up that is an indicator, a late indicator of overtraining.

An earlier clue to potential overtraining is your personality changes in the areas of irritability, shortness with others, lack of good sleep at night, and lack of training energy amongst just a few. Talk to your wife or close friends-they will have noticed changes in your personality if this is happening.

If all that is good then one of the things that I would recommend is to dramatically alter your repetitions from what you have been doing in your training. Again look at your log book. I suspect you may find the same reps and sets have been done in your exercises for quite a time. In the mass builder options book you will notice these repetitions changes occurring with regularity.

Your body quickly accommodates to the reps and in turn begins to stagnate. Next it adapts to the sets and finally to the exercises themselves. Change is good but it’s sometimes hard to pin down when to change. In my case and with those who train under my guidance the microcycles change daily. The emphasis changes every two to three weeks.

Next look at your food and drink diary. Are you eating enough good food to support more muscular mass or more fat mass?

In fact I sometimes feel as if I am getting smaller and weaker from my workouts?

You are on a mass building program not a strength building program. There are big training differences in the two. Mass is higher volume whereas strength is high percentages of your one repetition maximum, i.e. 85-110%

If by chance you are getting smaller a quick check of your initial body measurements would clarify this in a matter of seconds.

I tested my one rep max on most of the main exercises today and after a day or so of rest I will begin with the routine as outlined in the e-book.

Remember you are starting a mass building program not a strength building program. The purpose of mass building is to develop larger cross sectional muscle tissue. After that is in place then do a mix of mass and strength. Then strength pure and simple with high percentages and lots of rest between sets. Not nap time rests but enough so your body can hit it hard again.

After completing the 12 week training cycle(page 25), my aim is to re-test my 1 rep max in these exercise, but should I then repeat this same 12 week cycle again?

If you were my trainee the program would change after the twelve week period. You would have to decide on what your goals were going to be and then move on from that point for your next mesocycle.

Can I continue in this way indefinitely, do the 12 week cycle, test 1 rep max to adjust the weights and repeat cycle again??

You can if you want to but the better course would be a new program or drastic modifications to this one.

Wont I get stale?

Yes at least in my case I would.

Is it necessary to make changes and if so what are they?

Yes. Reps, sets and exercises.

On page 26 of the e-book I noted something about Prilepin's optimum total? What does the figure represent - sets/seconds, what does it mean?

A.S. Prilepin developed the sets, reps volume and percentage table after examining about twenty years worth of eastern block country elite world class Olympic lifters training programs and log books. He then set the guidelines down for the most effective and efficient ranges to train in. These provide a roadmap to superior strength and are followed by most knowledgeable strength coaches. Again you are on a mass building program. Prilepin will apply to your training once you take the leap into building up your strength levels.

The table you are referring to is a compilation of information that can be used to schedule workouts to get the most out of the training session. Notice on the last line under percent power max, 20-35 reps are from 25-250. These are training suggestions for hypertrophy to endurance to recovery. All right there for you to look at and apply.

Your thoughts are appreciated

From: X G.
To: Danny
Subject: Hi Danny

Your daughter recommended your site to me. I broke my foot on 3/27/07. The base of my 5th metatarsal was fractured in 2 places. I'm currently in the last week of "limited weight bearing", so I'm well on my way to recovery. I'd like to start exercising, but need exercises that won't put any stress on my foot. I'd also like to lose 35 pounds. Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much,

A. A.

Hi there,

My daughter is a true sweetheart isn't she? I love her more than she will ever know.

Do you have any equipment on hand to exercise with?

If so what is it?

Do you have experience in exercising?

If so, doing what?

Do you have osteopenia or osteoporosis?

What has your doctor told you that you can do until this heals up 100%?

Do you have your doctors ok to exercise?

What is your age, height and weight?

Your age helps me to plan out an exercise routine that would benefit you.

Start out by keeping a diary of all that you eat and drink for at least a week. Look at it and you'll see where the majority of your calories are coming from. If they aren't from nutritious sources then either eliminate or reduce them in your daily intake. Are you drinking enough water each day? A good rule of thumb is to get at least a liter of water for every thousand calories you take in during the day. Second take your current weight and add a zero to the end, i.e. in my case at 215 if I was to lose weight I'd only take in 2150 calories a day.  

Stay active all day; walk, fidget, stand instead of sitting while on the phone or computer. Get a full nights sleep. A lack of sleep contributes to weight gain.

Let me know the answers to my questions and I'll get back to you.

Hi again,

Yes, she IS a sweetheart...

As far as exercising, I see my doctor next Wednesday and will be sure to ask him what kind of exercise is okay.  We have a stationary bike and we were "mall walkers" until my accident.  I think we have some dumb bells around too.  I'm 51 years old, a little over 5'6" tall, and weigh 170 pounds.  I gained weight over the past decade, after I got married.  I came into the marriage (which is a very happy one, by the way) weighing 128 pounds.

I will start to keep track of everything I eat.  I'll fidget as much as I can until I can stand for longer periods.  I drink a ton of water already.

Thank you very much for your help.  I'll keep you posted.

A. A.

Hi,

Its nice to hear from you again. A lot of people ask but not that many actually follow up by making the changes they need in their lifestyles to make a difference in their physical fitness, body composition and ultimately their lives. You are at the first part of this journey.

If you are not able to bear full weight or stand right now then go to a sporting goods store or a medical supply place and pick up several different diameters of surgical tubing. If you are latex intolerant don't use this stuff.

Get about six to ten feet of this elastic material. Start out with a small size of about 3/8 of a inch and then get another one about a 1/2 inch in size. You can use these for all sorts of upper body exercises.

Bear in mind that your one good leg can be exercised and roughly 10% of the strength you gain on this side will transfer to the side with the broken bones so you don't lose all of the tone in your muscles from the inactivity.

Here are a few of the exercises you can use with tubes after you consult with your doctor. I put the squat in to show you what these can do once your foot is healed.

Do each one for two sets of ten repetitions on alternate days. Do each of these exercises Triceps, Squat, Biceps, Shoulder and triceps, Military press, Rows, Ab crunches, and Triceps. Follow good exercise technique and don’t sacrifice form for added resistance.

Make absolutely certain the tube is securely attached before you use it.

Consider these points (from the book Scientific and clinical application of elastic material available at Human Kinetics) before using the tube material. If you do decide to use elastic resistance, then a few precautionary notes on the use of the rubber tubing or rubber bands are now in order.

Avoid using the bands or tubing if you have long fingernails.

Take off your jewelry, or other sharp things you may have on your body.

Always check the condition of the tubing and bands before every use,

Check for tears, abrasions, and wear. Replace if any of these conditions are noted. These implements can be very dangerous if left to decay. At the stretched out position, if they break, they can come flying back in a violent manner causing injury to you.

Always check the connections at the points of attachment before using the tubing or bands

Wear good eye protection while using the tubing or bands.

Do not stretch the tubing or bands more than 300% longer than their normal resting length to help prevent them from breaking.

If you have latex allergy do not use latex tubing or bands.

Keep up with your diary and exercise everyday. Weigh yourself so you know what is going on with your body.

Keep me posted on your progress of which I know you will be making.

Danny

Date:Sunday,
10:29 AM
To: Danny
Subject: Good Morning

Hi Wendy,

My responses are in bold. I am glad you are starting out to better health.

Well, I have an ok from my regular Doctor to work with you. He’s always ok with me improving my health, but he said take it slow – ½-1 lb/wk weight loss goal.

Begin by weighing yourself and adding a zero to the weight shown. This will be your daily calorie allotment. Every calorie counts. Weigh every day at the same time with about the same clothing on.

My problem is that Tuesdays are just a ‘slammed’ day for me with clients. I usually work straight through till about 1:30.

Start by becoming more active at your desk, move your hands, arms and feet, fidget, tap your fingers. Energy out means calories being used. Set an alarm and get up at least once an hour to do some calf raises, wall push ups or chair squats. Take a dinner time walk at noon or as soon as you are off work. Make this as important as the people you deal with every day. If you aren’t well then you can’t help them can you? Be selfish with your time and get the exercise sessions scheduled every day.

Let me give you a laundry list of all my fun things.

First is dystonia – a movement disorder that affects my hands and arms. I’m doing pretty well with it, but there are times when I just can’t maintain a grip on anything. It helps if I focus on my hands, but it doesn’t always work.

Sometimes stretching and exercises that enhance your flexibility may help by extending or maintaining your range of motion and increasing the strength of the areas affected. Practicing better posture may also help and Tai Chi would be a good place to begin.

Next is the arthritis – which they say is in my knees and toes. Not too bad at this time – mostly gets me going down stairs.

Activity and keeping the full range of motion capabilities in those joints may help here. Bike riding or pool work like we have discussed are possible options.

Last is the residual stuff from being hit by a drunk driver. My right knee, hip, lower back and shoulder are still being treated.

Treated by doing what? And who is treating these parts? Are you still seeing a physical therapist? What exercises did they give you? Are you doing them?

It’s all muscle related, and I’m sure any routine that helps strengthen these is going to be good.

I need a routine that works into my life and leaves me no excuses to not MOVE!

I can give you at least one good reason to get off the dime and get going-your child. Anything that you do involving movement will help you get stronger and lose weight. Your knees, hips and lower back will all see drastic improvements with weight loss.

I’m trying to walk as far as I can, as fast as I can each day.

Trying doesn't cut it. You have to do it. Trying is a built in excuse for failure! But this can be an excellent starting point, keep it up. Take along a set of dumbbells as you walk and do biceps curls, military presses, side and front raises. Stop and do twenty calf raises or half squats. Hold the weight over head and do triceps extensions or over the head squats, do lunges or stop at a bench and do a few Bulgarian split squats if you are strong enough to do them.

I do have a couple of sets of the ‘bands’, if that helps.

Take your bands along and do some chest work, hook them around your legs and do resisted walks, calf raises or squats. Anything that will resist your movements will strengthen your body. Let your imagination guide you along.


I can use the weights at the high school,

If you are speaking of the High School in my school district,they have a nice weight room. If so then do these exercises on an every other day basis:

Exercise equipment

Rope
Bands
Tubing
Barbells
Dumbbells
Your body, brain and determined persistence to improve

Exercise
Start out slowly
Calories are the energy source for movement.
Movement uses these calories up and helps to create a deficit in the daily requirement.
Fidget, keep in constant motion all the time you are awake.
5x5x5 per day-five minute sessions, five times a day, five days a week
Basic multi joint strength exercises such as:

Military presses
Pull downs
Bench presses
Barbell rows
Sit ups
Laterals or side bends
Back extensions-floor, bench or couch
Squats
Deadlifts

Do each one eight to ten repetitions for three to five sets. Start out slowly with just one set for a couple of weeks.

Cardio exercise

Heart rate calculations: basic 220-age multiplied by 60-80% equals THR. This can be off by as much as 10%.

Walk
Ride a bike stationary or mobile
Row
Rope
Tai chi
Yoga

and I have access to the workout room at Salk (no free wts).

Can you do your cardio there???

Thanks for your help Danny!

Wendy

----- Original Message -----
From: "kevin"
To: Danny
Sent: Thursday, 9:02 AM
Subject: Ratios


Danny-
I have been combing the search engines trying to find
one answer to no avail. I want to know what the ratios of strength should be between different muscle groups for well rounded look and fitness.

For example. My lean body weight is around 170 lbs and I am 6'tall. If I workout bench pressing 100 lbs how much should I be able to squat, deadlift etc.

Hi Kevin,

Strength comparisons are listed on my site on the articles page

Body proportions are here on the strength basics page:


Listed under Body Proportions here

Your question:

My lean body weight is around 170 lbs and I am 6' tall. If I workout bench pressing 100 lbs how much should I be able to squat, deadlift etc.

My brief answer:

In my opinion you are not lifting nearly enough. At your bodyweight I would think that at a minimum you should be pushing at least 210-250. In your squats and deadlifts this would be respectively up around 310-350 as a ball park figure. If I were your coach I'd be looking first at your health status, next at your technique and if all was well then begin you on a solid two to three month strength building program consisting of three day a week workouts. I do offer an excellent online training program and if you are
interested in trying it out just let me know.

Let me know if this helps you out.

Danny

Hi again,

These are based on one rep maxes without artificial aids of any kind.

Here are a couple of resources that may give you more information than I supplied in the last message:

Science of Sports Training by Thomas Kurz from Stadion Publishing

Muscles: Testing and Function with Posture and Pain by Kendall, McCreary, Provance, Rodgers and Romani from Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins Publishing.

There are several thoughts floating around on the various 'ideal' ratios but none that I know of that have been agreed upon by the researchers.

Talk to you later,

Danny

----- Original Message -----
From: "kevin"
To: "Danny
Sent: Friday, 9:49 AM
Subject: Re: ratios


Danny-

What you gave me actually exceeded my expectation. You have certainly gained my respect.

thank you,
Kevin

Friday, 10:51 PM

Hi my name is Linda;

I have finished my studies for Fitness Instructor and commencing my certificate for Personal Trainer. Whilst I was doing my Fitness Instructor course I was not happy with some of the course notes, so I have a few questions that I am sure with your expertise will be able to answer them.

Can you please explain why lat pull downs are such a NO NO behind the head?

I don't use this exercise because it puts the shoulders at risk while in this exaggerated and potentially harmful position at the bottom of the pull. The shoulders are in an extreme adducted state with high tension on them. As you are well aware, the shoulders are not a true ball and socket joint, with some even suggesting that it is not a joint at all, which means it is an unstable joining or junction of the two limbs and upper torso.

Putting a heavy load on a bar and then pulling it down where it's not meant to go, places unnecessary stress on the shoulder joint by excessively stretching it out beyond its normal limits. Recall from your studies the actions of the rotator muscles, the 'sits'. These keep the humerus in place when ever the arm is moved. They are relatively small muscles that are called upon every time the arm is moved. Placing them in danger of tearing is not my idea of strength training. I believe it is another source of aggravation to these muscles that doesn't need to be there in a well designed training program.

My last objection to this version of a pretty fair exercise is the fear of equipment failure. If a heavy load is attached to the bar which is being pulled with high energy to the back of the head imagine a cable breaking. This could or would cause a catastrophic injury to the cervical area of the spinal cord leaving the trainee in a life altering/threatening state. In my estimation it is not worth it contrary to what you may read in the muscle mags or rag mags and I don't use it nor allow my trainees to use it while under my direction. If they insist then they move on because it is not allowed in my gym. I want strong powerful bodies, not injured ones.

Also can you explain sciatica nerve…

This is the largest nerve in the body and stretches from the nerve roots of the spinal column through the buttocks and into the lower limb. Damage or irritation to this nerve can cause intense pain throughout the lower torso.

Dr. Stuart McGill, a noted lower back specialist has developed stretching exercises for this that he calls ‘nerve flossing’. They work by stretching the nerves protective coating and releasing any tight spots in the pathways. A more descriptive explanation will be found on pages 242-243 in his excellent book Low Back Disorders. You can get this off of his website at www.backfitpro.com or through Human Kinetics

and how it disturbs martial arts trainers/athletes

Damaged or inflamed sciatica will adversely impair an athlete’s ability to run, sit, stand, lie down, or do much of anything except hurt.

and what are the best stretch exercises to strength the sciatica nerve?

See the previous brief explanation.

There is so much confusing information and very technique information about the energy systems we use everyday in our lives, can someone please explain in English how each energy systems is used

There are about four commonly talked about energy systems and all are working at the same time with an emphasis on particular ones during particular and specific times of exertion.

The most powerful is the ATP/CP which engages and supplies a major contribution of energy to high intensity high load short duration exertions that take place in under ten seconds of physical effort. This one is the main fuel source for the 100 meter sprint, for the Olympic weight lifters and the American football players amongst just a few. It is used with 90-100% 1RM loads with the primary source being phosphagen.

Next up is the fast glycolysis which is the breakdown of a compound such as glycogen or glucose by enzymes, producing pyruvic, a colorless acid that is formed as an intermediate compound during the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins or lactic acid, a colorless organic acid produced in muscles and releasing energy for use in the body. This is a quick way to utilize glycogen; a white compound (polysaccharide) stored in the liver and muscles of humans and animals and easily converted to glucose as a source of energy in the muscles. This normally is used with 75-90% 1RM loads for exercises lasting from 15-30 seconds.

Fast glycolysis and oxidative combined energy systems release energy when exercise is conducted at 30-75% 1RM for durations of 1-3 minutes. It is approaching the oxidative state which supplies the long distance folks with their energy to maintain a race pace for extended periods. In relation to resistance training the percentages are in the 20-35 percent ranges of a 1RM.

Again these are not separate acting releases of energy producing compounds. They all act during motion but in various amounts at various times.

and what are the best energy systems to use for weight loss, strength training and resistance training and bodybuilding.

A combination of training that uses all the energy systems in an undulating periodization program designed for each of the goals mentioned. One will have an emphasis on strength, sarcoplasmic or myofibrilar hypertrophy, or weight loss.

Please refer to my website for more specifics on these topics.

Lactic acid what really causes it

Lactic acid is a byproduct of muscle exertion and is a normal reaction to heavy unaccustomed work or work load. It has a tendency to irritate the muscle fibers and is a suspected culprit in DOMS. Most hard core bodybuilders are able to tolerate this build up for greater lengths of time than other athletes.

and how to prevent lactic acid?

You don’t prevent it. You work around it and with it by applying proven training principles of appropriate loading patterns, sets, reps and work to rest ratios to name but a few.

What is the best way to get oxygen in the blood?

Breathe

How do you recognize when your clients or yourself don’t have enough oxygen flowing through your blood?

You will pass out, become light headed, and breathe heavily but maybe inefficiently. Your work capacity will be severely limited.

Oxygen how important is it really for the martial artist/athlete

Without oxygen you die and without the muscles receiving it they shut down and will not function. A martial artist/athlete without proper conditioning both aerobically and anaerobically will not win, pure and simple. The body must have the ability to take in and then use the oxygen if it is to survive.


and non active human bean.

I don’t know what a human bean is. If you mean human being then perhaps here is a brief answer. If the body is not used then it decays. There are three stages of training and living: stagnation, regression or progression. If you are not active then for a time you stagnate then you begin to regress until your muscles and cardiovascular systems can no longer support even basic life needs. Then you die.

Low Blood pressure what exercise should you avoid and why?

Low blood pressure is just what says it is; low. If the pressure is low then it’s not supplying the body with enough blood at the right times to properly function. I don’t have any specific exercises I avoid.

Your trainees should be filling our pre-exercise assessment forms to let you know if they have preconditions that you have to be aware of in order to set up a program for them that will not exacerbate their medical conditions.

Sent: Thursday, 4:20 PM
Subject: Squatting Technique

Hello,

I have a question for you on technique.
My son is working out with weights for football and he is being told conflicting techniques on squatting. He has been told by some on the staff that he needs to be parallel when at the bottom of the squat while others involved in training has told him to not get parallel.

What is the correct (if there is) or suggested low point for squatting?

He is 5'10" 245 lbs and has big thighs.

thank you for your time.

Allen T,
MI

Good afternoon Allen,

He should, in my humble opinion, be going below parallel on all of his squat to take full advantage of the exercises benefits including increased testosterone and growth hormone release after doing them.

I teach my students and trainees the full squat and not the half squat so commonly practiced by well meaning but ill informed coaches. These are not bouncing at the bottom but full control to the bottom with the compensatory acceleration back up to the top. Low bar with a solid arch in the back, sit back by unhinging at the hips first and not the knees and lower legs perpendicular as possible to the floor with an outward flare to the toes of any where from 7 degrees and up depending on the width of the stance. (pretty magnificent sentence wasn't it) As he comes back up his head, shoulders and upper back must lead the way and not the buttocks.

There is less stress on the knees below and above than at parallel as the weight load is heaviest at the parallel point due to gravitational pull on the load while it is perpendicular to the ground. When squatting above parallel you deny the body the benefit of full range of motion thereby decreasing the actual useable range of strength in that closed kinetic chain.

He may have to back off the weight a bit until he grooves the squat technique but he will be gaining in the end with lower chances of injury and a greater potential for displaying the strength and power resulting from the full range squats.

I hope this has helped you a bit, if not let me know.

Talk to you later

Danny

24, October 2008

Comment sent to me from a subscriber to the explosivelyfit strength training news.

I bought your ultimate bench manual a long time ago.

Your message/website is probably the most underrated one out there. I’ve been disappointed by a lot of lifters who I thought worked hard and trained on some kind of elite level. They actually gave me some kind of motivation when I was slowing down. All of them are on drugs. Even those guys in (city name deleted by Danny) and associated with (club name deleted by Danny). It’s all a bunch of BS.

I was looking for a comment space on your page to send you props. But couldn't find one. I know you're busy and don't have time to read nonsense emails.

Just wanted to say keep up the good work.

Bye

Thanks for the words of encouragement. At your suggestion I did add the strength training forum to the home page but it's not being used to any great extent.

Question

----- Original Message -----
From: David P
To:  Danny
Sent: Saturday, November 29, 2008 6:36 AM

Hi Danny,

I recently purchased your book and found it very helpful. I do have a few questions. How long after your heavy bench day do you do your speed work? I'm also unsure on how to group my body parts together. Example chest and tris on the same day. back and bis on another. how many days a week do you train? I hope I haven't asked too many questions,

Thank you

David P.

Hi David,

How long after your heavy bench day do you do your speed work?  Give it 72 hours. Incidentally I don't have a Tendo unit and my Myotest broke (it's going back). I went back to my handy stop watch to time the reps on speed day. We time the max day reps as well. Speed is absolutely essential to making a big bench. If you train slow you will be slow on the platform.

I'm also unsure on how to group my body parts together. Move them around on a weekly basis. After each bench day do triceps, lats, upper back, deltoids side and rear raises and hammer curls. Go heavy one day and high reps the next session. Get in five or six extra small workouts a week that last less than twenty minutes non stop. For example do triceps pushdowns and abs, side raises and abs, rear raises and abs, hammer curls and abs, do one hundred triceps extensions, each one of these combinations can be done in fifteen minutes or less. Then get out of the weight room. I train every day of the week. Many are the very short extra sessions.

Example chest and tri's on the same day. back and bi's on another. how many days a week do you train?

I hope I haven't asked too many questions, David, if you don't understand, there can never be too many questions. I  talk to trainers every single day. I have always felt that once anyone knew everything then it was time to move onto another career because at that point all the information they had was outdated.

Keep hitting it smart and hard,

Danny

Question:

----- Original Message -----
From: Jeff L
To: Danny
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 8:14 PM
Subject: thanks for the recommendations on full squats

I am writing to say “thanks” for your article on Full Squat technique quoted from SportsMedicine.about.com http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/strengthtraining/a/howtosquat.htm

I had been doing ‘half squats’ for several years, thinking full squats were ‘bad for you’. Your article convinced me to start doing full squats with 2/3 the weight, and after a month I’m getting great results more flexibility, more strength, and no more knee pains whatsoever. My workout includes biking and my strength and endurance up hills has significantly improved since I started doing full squats.

Thanks

Jeff L.

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the nice words. There are so many misconceptions about the squat that trying to clear them up is like emptying the great lakes with an eye dropper.

Whenever anyone shows up in my gym for training they start with the squat unless they have a valid medical reason not to do so. This thins the herd and eliminates the upper body trainees who just want to do bench presses and barbell curls in which case they are taking up space and air in the gym.

If you continue to do full squats I'd suggest adding in some good high quality dead lifts as well to strengthen your back for the riding you're doing. Alternatively add in back extensions with static holds at the end of the reps to help build up the muscles in your lower back.

Dramatically vary the repetitions on an irregular basis because your body quickly adapts to the reps followed by the sets and lastly to the exercise.

I wish you continued success with your training. If I can be of assistance just let me know.

Take care,

Danny

Question:

Hi, i have to say that the information you present is very thorough and well researched.

But, my question is, can you please advise me on how to write my own program to primarily loose fat but to include training to stay reasonably fit and strong (not weightlifting strong but be able to do day to day things requiring strength with ease).

I am a female aged 33 who has been involved in a variety of exercise and activities throughout my life (tennis, rowing, softball, netball, biking, walking, casual running, golf, weights).

I dont have many resources to work with, like a gym, and am unable for the most part to exercise outdoors (i live in Saudi Arabia) but do have resistance bands and a few light hand weights and have regular access to a treadmill and stationary bike. I like to do some exercise everyday for about one hour.

If you require any more information please email me.

Thanks very much

Elizabeth H.

Answer

If you are trying to lose weight, i.e. body fat and become stronger then add in some resistance training to build up your lean muscle mass. Do the basic eight or so exercises for two to four sets of eight repetitions (unless otherwise noted) two to three times a week. As a female you know the necessity of loading your shoulders, spine, hips, and the long bones of your legs in the prevention of osteopenia and osteoporosis.

In the case of the following exercises, the use of your bands or hand weights will suffice for a while then you’ll need to be buying heavier ones. Adding them in combination with one another will obviously increase the resistance. The more resistance you use while exercising the greater the results will be-up to a point.

These are the exercises I would recommend you do after consulting with your doctor:

  • Military presses-back straight (arched)
  • Pull downs, chin ups or prone rows
  • Bench presses or floor presses
  • Barbell rows-back solidly arched
  • Full depth squats-butt back, solid arch in the back, knees out and behind the toes at the bottom
  • Dead lifts-solid arch
  • Full range sit ups with weight held on your head or chest
  • Back extensions-high repetitions in the twelve to thirty five range
  • Laterals

Ride your bicycle with sprints built into them, then a quick but slower pace for a time, followed by more sprints to get your metabolism going faster. Ride within your target heart rate zone. You no doubt have learned that your body rapidly accommodates to the runs until it is old hat.

Alternate a three session bicycle ride week with a two session lift week and the reverse them the next week so you are doing three lifts and two bicycle sessions with the weekend off in each case. Your schedule will look similar to this:

  • Monday-weight train
  • Tuesday-bicycle or treadmill
  • Wednesday-weight train
  • Thursday-bicycle or treadmill
  • Friday-weight train
  • Saturday and Sunday-days off
  • Monday-bicycle or treadmill
  • Tuesday-weight train
  • Wednesday-bicycle or treadmill
  • Thursday-weight train
  • Friday-bicycle or treadmill

Continually alter your training routine by manipulating the time, your sets and repetitions, the pace of the movements without using momentum to move the load and the exercise selection order. Seek change in your exercise patterns and you will change your body composition to the good.

Keep track of your progress by writing it down in a daily logbook.

If I can be of any help in setting this up let me know and I'll shoot you an email right back.

An excellent book entitled “The Scientific and Clinical Application of Elastic Resistance” by Phillip Page and Todd S. Becker is devoted to the use of elastic resistance devices. This book is available through Human Kinetics at: http://www.humankinetics.com

If you do decide to use elastic resistance, then a few precautionary notes on the use of the rubber tubing or rubber bands are now in order.

Avoid using the bands or tubing if you have long fingernails.

Take off your jewelry, or other sharp things you may have on your body.

Always check the condition of the tubing and bands before every use, Check for tears, abrasions, and wear. Replace if any of these conditions are noted. These implements can be very dangerous if left to decay. At the stretched out position, if they break, they can come flying back in a violent manner causing injury to you.

Always check the connections at the points of attachment before using the tubing or bands

Wear good eye protection while using the tubing or bands.

Do not stretch the tubing or bands more than 300% longer than their normal resting length to help prevent them from breaking.

If you have latex allergy do not use latex tubing or bands.

 

Question:

Dear Sir,

I have got fat around my chest and under the arm, what sort of exercise would help me to get rid of it.   Please elaborate.
Best Regards
Zainy

Summary: The best way to lose the fat is to lose the fat.

It is NOT possible to spot reduce contrary to what you may be seeing on the TV. Start a daily food and drink diary. Enter every thing that goes into you mouth for at least a week. Write down all of the consumed food and drink, the time you had it and what you were doing before the urge to eat hit. You will soon begin to see a pattern to your eating habits.

Notice what these items are and when and where your calories are coming from so you can make adjustments in your eating and drinking. Diets generally are not an effective way to lose weight as they are rarely followed for any appreciable length of time. Avoid, at all costs, the starvation mode by eating five to six times a day from a balanced selection of foods. Drink enough to keep your urine a pale yellow.

Your exercise program needs to address the issue of lean muscle mass. Increased resistance training that engages the major muscles of the body is the ticket here. You did not mention your age or gender so this is a shot in the dark as far as this part is concerned. Utilizing compound exercises (squats, military presses, bench presses and dead lifts to name but a few) activates the major muscle groups. This in turn releases significant amounts of testosterone and growth hormones into your body if you are a young man of 16- 26 or so; less if you are much older. This speeds up your metabolism and changes the composition of the tissues leading to more lean muscle mass. If you insist on targeting the chest and arms then do incline, flat and decline bench presses, followed by triceps extensions or push downs followed up with the barbell rows.

You don’t have to spend hours and hours working out. Forty five to fifty five minutes maximum. In short, get into the session, do your exercises, cool down and go home to a post workout drink of chocolate milk. This has a very good distribution of carbohydrates, fat and protein, which makes it an ideal after work out replenishment source of calories.

Train smart

Danny

Question:

When swimmers are tapering at the end of the season will a strength program interfere with the taper?

The question may need to be clarified before an answer can be given. A taper is built into the training program to take advantage of the strength gains of a high load, high intensity program and to allow these gains to stack up and increase in value during the ensuing low volume but extreme high intensity workouts that are performed just prior to a big meet. Assuming we are talking along these lines then the answer will be an enthusiastic no.

In every case, in all competitions, the stronger person mentally and physically will win barring unforeseen circumstances beyond the individual’s control.

The fitness fatigue model, briefly stated, is a balancing act between the effects of fatigue which result from the exercise session with the fitness benefits gained from the workout. These effects are acute and chronic in nature, i.e. the CNS, PNS and muscle responses which alter the physiological status of the person. At the same time the after effects of the sessions are enhancing the future and present performance of the athlete.

Exercise potentiation or the taper phase should be integrated within the program 10-14 days before a big meet takes place. This helps the positive neural adaptation from the strength training program and minimizes the after effects of fatigue while at the same time intensifying the fitness end of the spectrum.

Question:

Hi Danny,

I injured my Achilles tendon a year ago playing tennis, but seem to have recovered now. I only get a twinge now and then. 
I would now like to prevent this injury reoccurring.

What do I do, strength exercises for the calf, skipping, stretching as well?

How much strength training and do I stop as soon as I feel a little twinge..?

Regards, Ivan

Hi Ivan,

You didn’t mention your age or degree of injury but this is a common one in men around their mid thirties.

To begin with I am a strength coach, not a doctor so it is incumbent upon you to make sure you’ve consulted with your doctors and you both agree that it is ok to be exercising again, follow her or his recommendations, and then see a physical therapist for a full functional assessment of your lower torso. Check to see that you have full range of motion comparable on both ankles. If not, get it before continuing onward.

Twinges are a signal of protest from your body. You are wise to heed them. Keep in mind that with an injury such as this, your mind becomes ultra sensitive to the previous injury and reports back at a very low threshold setting on perhaps insignificant feelings. It is just being safe rather than sorry in letting you know it feels something going on.

Once you have done the above then it’s time to get going with a few suggestions.

Stretches are effective for the Achilles tendon if held for prolonged periods (and not on a stair step I might add). Why not the stair step you may be asking yourself right now. The answer is you are asking your Achilles to stretch and relax while at the same time relying on the same muscle to maintain balance, so in reality you are not stretching in an effective manner.

In order to properly stretch this tendon and muscle arrangement begin by standing about three inches from the wall, lean into the wall and now stand on an incline board or a book that allows your heel to rest on the floor while feeling the stretch. The book shouldn’t be much higher than about one inch tall. Remain in this position for five to twenty minutes without hyper extending your knees. When you’re finished you’ll feel the tightness in the posterior of your ankle/calf. This will go away in short order.

Without knowing more it is difficult for me to recommend any type of strength training other than gastrocnemius, soleus and ankle exercises, i.e. calf raises and seated calf raises, inverters, everters, and dorsi flexions. Tubing or other elastic material is great for these types of movements. Since you are already standing on it practice standing on a balance disc so you develop the proprioceptive signals again for the various positions on the board. 

Riding a bicycle as well as skipping rope (as long as it doesn’t aggravate the situation) will help keep your cardio up to par. Towel rolling and marble pick will give you that fine motor control senses afterwards use a golf ball or a rolling pin to work the sole of your foot.

Practice perfect gait as you walk because it’s easy to fall into bad walking habits when compensating for the injury.

Once this is accomplished begin adding more to the mix. Exercises such as stair stepping, body weight lunges, squats, hamstring movements and more agility (if you are able to run at least two miles without discomfort in the Achilles.

Along with these consider doing balance and proprioception exercises such as the stork, the heel to toe, side to side…

Strengthening progressions depend on the degree of tissue healing, flexibility, mobility and your tolerance to pain. Pain and subsequent swelling are strong indicators that you’ve pushed too hard and need to back off a bit. Normally when things are going well, at the first of the healing period, is when the body is not ready for heavy work simply because the tissues have not been laid down in an orderly fashion. Instead they are a mishmash of scar tissue. This my friend is an injury waiting to reoccur.

Take your time do it right and it will heal up correctly. Again I urge you to see your doctor before getting to froggy with this injury.

Question:

Hi I was wondering whether there was specific routine I could use to develop core power for judo, especially in the hip region. Also in terms of flexibility how much and how often to improve??

Thanks

Steve S.

Hi Stacey,

Hip strength will improve with resistance training for both the flexors and extensors of the hip. I would check with my friend and fellow strength coach Alwyn Cosgrove who has a strong history in martial arts for any further information on this subject. I can get you darned strong but Alwyn can address the question much more specifically and thoroughly than I can. His web site is http://www.alwyncosgrove.com/

Question:

Dear Danny

I just finished reading your response to a reader's question about specific strength building routines for off-season training for triathletes. At the end of your reccomendations, you wrote:

'Essentially what you are trying to accomplish is improved overall body strength but without the added muscle mass that frequently accompanies resistance training. Low reps and high intensity will do the trick. Added mass is just more weight to carry in the water and on the road whether it be running or biking. Just what you don’t need, so stay away from the high reps with the moderate weight loads of 60-70%1RM!'

I have to say that I thought it was the exact opposite!! I have long held the belief that low reps and high intensity encouraged hypertrophy and bulk while high reps and moderate weight loads facilitated fat loss and lean muscle gain without adding bulk. Please clarify!!

Thank you. I eagerly anticipate your reply.

Kind Regards,

Courtney

Hi Courtney,

High repetitions of 10-12 and above, at around the 70% 1RM will increase muscle hypertrophy, whereas low reps at intensity levels above 85% 1RM for reps of 2-5 will increase strength with a lower impact on adding the extra bulk.

Work to rest (W: R) periods for each are different as you can well imagine. For hypertrophy the W: R is almost 1:1. This is a mind game you have to play to just stay on schedule, especially if you are doing multiple sets and you should be if you want to see results.

The strength without added mass W:R is much longer, i.e. up around three to five minutes or more between heavy sets of two to five reps. the goal here is to allow full recovery of the fuel back into the muscle fibers. You will have to determine the best rest time for yourself. Some of my trainees do well with between two to two and a half minutes between heavy sets where others find that up to five minutes is just about right. My goal is to get them recovered with in three minutes. Training adaptations make this possible.

The myth that high reps and moderate external loads reduce fat is widespread but without any type of scientific foundation. The more muscle mass you have, the greater will be your fat burning metabolism simply because muscle is more biologically active than fat; which just sits there on your body waiting to be either used or added to.

Question:

Hello,

My name is Ben E. and in September 2008 I will be joining the British army as an officer.  I am currently 16.  For this I will need to develop my cardiovascular abilities along with strength.  I have just joined a gym which I can access 7 days a week with good facilities, but up until now I have just experimented with 3km runs, resistance training of multiple sets of ~10 reps, and more recently high intensity training (8-12 reps 1 set with heavy weights).  You are obviously an expert in this field and I would greatly appreciate some help as to a suitable training program. 

I am prepared to work very hard and time is of no concern.  Currently my maximum jogging distance at 6km/h is about 7km and my leg strength greatly exceeds my upper body/arm strength.  I am 125 pounds and lean, so I am much better at long distance and sprinting than shot.  My initial thoughts were that simply running long distances on a treadmill and increasing them gradually would be the most effective at increasing my endurance, but I have read that prolonged exertion (long distance) reduces muscle mass, which I do not want.  A solution I read to this was interval training, but no specific distances of timings were given. 

To increase strength I thought that the traditional multiple set method would be the best, but then online I discovered a huge community that claim high intensity resistance training is much more effective along with a high protein intake.  Also, sources conflict about the work to rest ratio so at the moment I am resting for 2 or 3 days between resistance workouts.  Could you please give me advice or outline a training schedule for me?

Thanks in advance,

Ben

Hi Ben,

Congratulations on your decision to enter the military. I tell all of my strength trainees NOW is the time to join. You are off on a grand adventure and one that will forever change your life in a positive way. Your Country has a magnificent history behind it and you are following in the footsteps of some very historic and influential officers, Churchill, Harris, Mountbatten, Montgomery, just to name a few that helped change the face of the world just a few short years in the past.

As for your questions I have taken the liberty of using your words and simply providing my responses to them as follows.

My name is Ben E. and in September 2008 I will be joining the British army as an officer.  I am currently 16.  For this I will need to develop my cardiovascular abilities along with strength.

Yes indeed you will but more importantly will be the development of your ability to never, never, never, never, never, never quit before accomplishing your goal and completing your assignment by conquering your objective.

I have just joined a gym which I can access 7 days a week with good facilities,

You can, and should, be exercising at least six of the seven days each week. Split the sessions up between strength and cardio. Decide which is the most important and hit it harder and more frequently. You have nearly a year to get into shape for this great adventure.

but up until now I have just experimented with 3km runs,

Build your time and distance up with fartlek (see notes at the end) training; hard one day; less the next cardio training day with medium speed, fast speeds, and long but quick distance running. Once you are able to tolerate the running, without physical problems developing, then start putting a pack on your back to simulate the military training. Start light and slow but get the training times in.

resistance training of multiple sets of ~10 reps,

This is a good starting point. Continue with this for three to five sets and then drop to five to six sets of five to six reps after about three weeks time. Keep alternating the sets and reps. Your body will accommodate quickly to the reps so it must be kept off guard by frequent and sometimes drastic changes in the number of repetitions performed in each set.

and more recently high intensity training (8-12 reps 1 set with heavy weights).

One set is not enough; you need at least three to five in order to see any significant changes in your musculature and strength development. These sets have to be at intensity levels at or above 80% of your tested one repetition maximum. As an example, if you bench press 200 pounds then in order to maximize your strength further you’ll need to be pushing weights at, and in excess of, 160 pounds in each of your sets.

You are obviously an expert in this field and I would greatly appreciate some help as to a suitable training program. 

Thank you for your kind words.

I am prepared to work very hard and time is of no concern.  Currently my maximum jogging distance at 6km/h is about 7km and my leg strength greatly exceeds my upper body/arm strength.  I am 125 pounds and lean, so I am much better at long distance and sprinting than shot. 

My initial thoughts were that simply running long distances on a treadmill and increasing them gradually would be the most effective at increasing my endurance,

The treadmill will help but in my opinion nothing beats running outdoors with the wind and rain in your face.

but I have read that prolonged exertion (long distance) reduces muscle mass, which I do not want.  A solution I read to this was interval training, but no specific distances of timings were given. 

Long distance will inhibit strength and muscle gains but in your situation you have to be able establish a compromise between the two. If I were in your shoes I would train for strength endurance and cardio fitness.

Strength endurance means you are able to continue moving decent weights for longer periods of time than one who specializes in the power sports. Power sports being the sprints, Olympic lifting and even though it is misnamed, powerlifting. For your cardio look into the fartlek training methods. It is a good combination of long distance and fast running.

A sample fartlek schedule would look similar to this of course this is highly modified to meet the demands of your strength requirements:

Sunday-Rest and recover
Monday-Strength training per guidelines previously mentioned
Tuesday-30-45 minute long moderate paced run
Wednesday-Strength training
Thursday-25-30 minutes of hill and flat land running at both a hard and easy pace
Friday-Strength training
Saturday-15-20 minute fast run, make each of these runs faster than those before.

Don’t jump into the running or the long distances with both feet as you will more than likely develop shin splints which will have the immediate effect of stopping your cardio training unless you start on the bicycle.

To increase strength I thought that the traditional multiple set method would be the best, but then online I discovered a huge community that claim high intensity resistance training is much more effective along with a high protein intake. 

Working out with intensity levels above 80% 1RM for lower reps and more sets will increase your strength and at the same time help to minimize muscle hypertrophy. You will be getting stronger but will not be packing on the weight that will slow you down in the running portion of your all around training.

 Also, sources conflict about the work to rest ratio so at the moment I am resting for 2 or 3 days between resistance workouts. 

That’s too long of a break. You are losing ground. Take your pulse in the morning as soon as you wake up. Do this for several days to get a baseline. Now as you start the training as outlined keep taking your pulse each morning. If it goes up then you may be headed into an overtraining status. If so then back off or even take an extra days rest on one of the cardio days or high volume strength days.

Keep your nutritional needs up to par and get enough sleep each night so your body can regenerate and adapt to the stresses you are putting it through as you prepare to enter the military.

Could you please give me advice or outline a training schedule for me?

See above answers.

Note: Fartlek from the encyclopaedia Britannica (Swedish: “Speed Play”), approach to distance-running training involving variations of pace from walking to sprinting aimed at eliminating boredom and enhancing the psychological aspects of conditioning.

Question:

Hi my name is Robert  I am a football player and body builder, I have been training in the GYM almost non stop for the past six months, I measure my arms chest and at the end of every month to  see if I am making any gains. 

In Feb I measured my Biceps at 17 and 1/2 inches. This month I measured them to be the same my arms  have not grown an inch and I have killing them on my arm days I was wondering if I am over working, and if I should periodically take a week off from training in order to actually further my gains.  I change up my work outs and every thing. I have been making great gains in my legs shoulders  and back, but arms do not seem to grow as fast, and I have up and down weeks with my chest. To cut the crap I was wondering how I can have constant  gains without crappy weeks and months were I don't gain an inch of mass, and  how much running can I do without  burning off my gains in muscle ?

I would appreciate it if you would  take time to answer   these questions, I enjoy reading your sports articles.

Thanks for your time, Robert

Hi Robert,

Let me get this straight; you say you have been working out ‘almost non stop for the past six months’ and you are wondering if you may be ‘over working’…your arms and chest’? In a nut shell YES!!! For God’s sake give it a rest.

Take a week or so off and let your body rest and get caught up to this gross overload you have subjected it to for the past six months. During this recuperative week look over your training diary and see if you have been doing basically the same thing week after week. Futility in training is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Once you have it established that you did in fact over train with the same exercises then it’s time to redo your program. Give this proven schedule a whorl and I am certain you will meet with additional success.

Closely examine you diet. If you are trying to add inches to your arms then you also need to add weight to your body by eating more each day. Do so in a properly balanced fashion of 40-45% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 15% fat in each of your five to six meals a day.

You didn’t mention your height and weight, but the weight will have to go up if you are an American football player. As it goes up, so must your speed and explosive strength.

A reliance on arm exercises to increase their size is, in my estimation, a misdirection of energy, effort and time. Instead concentrate on your heavy squats, deadlifts, benches and barbell rows. The squats and deadlifts will release greater amounts of testosterone and growth hormones into your muscles. The barbell rows will build the foundation for your bench press while at the same time helping to put muscle on your upper arms.

Arm specific training should be focused on the triceps as they are the largest of the upper arm muscles. If you still insist on doing pure arm work then use these suggestions/guidelines in your bodybuilding repertoire.

One day a week, for a full twelve hours, do this:

Before each exercise period (on the hour) have a protein drink

At the top of every hour do three to four sets of eight to ten barbell curls and triceps extensions resting two to three minutes between sets.

On the half hour marks do three to four sets of twelve to fourteen dumbbell hammer curls and triceps push downs.

Alternate schedule-Five days a week

Monday
Select three exercises for your arms; one for your biceps and two for your triceps.
The first day do five sets of five at 85% 1RM

Tuesday
Select three different exercises for your arms; one for the biceps and two for the triceps.
Do five sets of three reps at 90-95% 1RM

Wednesday
Select one exercise for your triceps and do ten to fifteen sets using one of the triceps exercises you used on Tuesday.

Thursday

Rest your arms

Friday
Repeat Monday’s schedule

Saturday

Minimal arm work consisting of three to four sets of light curls and extensions using the exercises of your choice. End with good stretching movements.

Be very aware of joint pain during these high volume training sessions. If they start hurting it’s time to back off.

Keep me posted on your arm ‘blasting’ progress.

Danny

Question:

Hi

Having just dislocated my shoulder again playing rugby and now being 34 my days I am afraid are gone.  Now this hurts me a great deal as I have also lived for sport and rugby, being competitive etc and pushing my body to extremes.  I now have to focus on something else and I have decided cycling.  My aim this year is to cycle from Sunderland in England to my home town Edinburgh in a day, 135 miles in total. I am planning on doing this at the end of June. As well as cycling for long periods of time I realize I will have to have some sort of weights programme to accompany the specific cycling I will need to do.  I was therefore wondering what type of weights programme would you suggest, would it include a lot of leg squat work with high reps for example?

Your expertise in this would be greatly appreciated.

Best wishes

Fraser

Question:

Hi there sir

My son is in archery for 2 years. Age 14. Stand tall at 1.7m and body weight of 60kg. His skill is progressing very fast except that his  weakness is strength.

Question is at his age, is it advisable for him to do weights at the gym or just body weights exercises. Please advice what types of exercises and diets he needs to develop his strength. He needs the strength to compete in the world junior shoot in India next year. Appreciates your advice in this sports. Thank you.

Regards
A. H.
Singapore

Hi Aba,

By all means get your son into some form of strength training. At his age he is entering the most critical stage of his life for gaining superior strength and power for his sport.

I am a firm believer in using weights as the primary means of establishing strength in his rapidly developing body. Done correctly, weight training will not hamper his archery skills. However if too much of an emphasis is placed on the ‘mirror muscles’ then he could suffer some intermuscular imbalances and a general deterioration in his coordination abilities.

To begin with I suggest he first work on the strength of his upper body by doing military presses, incline presses, bench presses and decline benches with dumbbells followed by extensive pull downs or chins, kneeling pull downs from the top pulley, dumbbell rows both single and double, standing low rows from the low pulley. The rows should be in a ratio of at least 1:2 of the pushing to the pulling motions, i.e. a military set would be followed by two pull down or chin up sets.

Next will be exercises for the middle torso. Again weights are useful here as well as before. Start with the normal set up movement with a weight held on the head or chest and do the set up exercise. Follow up with laterals where he is lying on his side with you or someone else holding onto his straight legs or he is in a glute-ham raise bench. In either case the movement begins when his upper torso is off the bench and parallel to the floor. Now he moves his upper body up and down as far as his range of motion safely allows. Do an equal number of repetitions on each side for symmetrical development. He will find that one side is stronger than the other. This is natural and nothing to be concerned about. Once both left and right laterals have been performed it is time to work on the lower back. Have him assume a prone position with his upper body off the edge on the glute-ham bench or with you holding onto his fee of a normal flat or slightly inclined bench. The motion is a simple down and then back up to parallel. After he becomes stronger add some weight and continue doing them.

Lunges will be adequate for his legs along with stiff leg dead lifts to keep his lower back strong for the bow pulls.

Specific exercises would imitate the exact nature of the archery sport in that he would be pulling off a cable set up that is matched his bow pull stance. Grip work consisting of finger exercises for his pulling hand can be performed on the same days as his normal workouts. I believe isometrics would be a good addition to his training schedule on a regular irregular basis. Wood chops and any type of cross body resisted exercises will help him control his upper body when shooting.

Sport relevant training can also result from building training gear that will support his activity. One of the handles I have in my gym that was originally developed for the track and field throwers is a dual handled pulley that attaches to either a high or low pulley.

This simple to make and use device allows a pull to be performed with one hand while the other is in a static holding position. It takes coordination, strength, balance and power to move the stack of plates. One hand is pulling while the other is resisting the change in status as it holds tight to the moveable handle.

Another option is to have him pulling on a pulley/cable set at chest height while holding steady with the other hand to the apparatus.

Of course he will also need to control his breathing and that can be helped with cardio workouts on the strength off days.

Let me know how well he is doing.

Question:

Hi I am a 33 yr old female who had always maintained a good body weight through training. I have been under a lot of stress recently and my weight gain is awful and motivation is just as bad.  I work in a gym full time and also have another gym membership. When I do Train i like to feel the work out can you please give me some advice on what is best CV and resistance.
Good day to you,

Since you haven’t mentioned recently giving birth or any emotional difficulties with a marriage, boyfriend, financial issues or medical problems

My first reaction when I read this was you are doing too much either in the gym, on your job or at home. My recommendation is to take a one week break from all of your exercise physical activity. During this time reestablish your personal mental and physical goals and then write them down.

See your personal physician and get a full medical check up to eliminate any medical concerns such as depression, diabetes or thyroid problems. Any of these diseases could be affecting your weight gain or lack of energy/motivation to exercise. Once these suggestions are taken care of then look at your goals.

In this case you said “When I do Train i like to feel the work out…” Here is a program that will ensure you feel the workout and provide high motivation at the same time.

Consult with your doctor before performing any new exercise routine or program.

Do the following exercises two to three times per session for two weeks, two times a week. Keep track of your heart rate throughout the session. After each rope skipping episode begin the next set of exercises when your pulse reaches the 70% THR. Don’t let it drop below 70% THR.

An alternative to this schedule is to allow your heart rate to drop to 60% normal before beginning the strength exercise. The third option is to rest for up to two minutes between rope skipping and the strength portions.

Skip rope for one minute.

360’s (bridges) one at each position for 15 seconds with perfect form for one minute.

Skip rope for one minute at a steady pace.

Note: Warm up your shoulders and arms with the shoulder series of moves as described here before moving on to the pushups:

5. One minute of push ups.

Note: Warm up your lower body with a set of 15-25 good mornings and one set of 15-25 bodyweight only squats before beginning with the weighted squats that follow.

6. One minute of squats at 40% 1RM.
7. Skip rope for one minute.
8. One minute full range of motion sit ups with hands on the chest.

Note: Warm up the chest and upper arms with an additional series of shoulder warm ups but this time do only ten each of the series before beginning the bench press and barbell rows.

9. Bench press one minute at 40% 1RM.
10. Barbell row one minute at 40% 3RM.
11. Skip rope for one minute.
12. Back extensions for one minute.
13. Skip rope for two minutes.

Cool down

The cool down provides your body the opportunity to return to a near normal state. The static stretches make use of the muscles warmth and lower viscosity of the tissues. There are six rules of stretching as recommended by the stretching authority Brad Walker of Australia. You can check out his website at http://www.thestretchinghandbook.com

Question:

My children 12, 14, are both very sporty. They compete at athletics,gymnastics,soccer, but their main interest is highland dancing which is very demanding as it requires stamina, agility, flexibility and most importantly strength in their legs to get the power in their leaps. Is there any specific training you would recommend?

Thanks Jim k..

Good day to you Jim,

It is very refreshing to hear a parent speak so highly of their children’s ability and interests in completely different sports. Many times, as a strength coach, I am dealing with the single minded adult ‘driving their child in one direction’. This is a disservice to the child as it does not develop their all around athleticism prowess.

In the school where I am the strength coach we have several Scottish highland dancing classes and those students are putting out some high energy during the session. The movements are difficult, especially with the added requirement of maintaining their coordination while tired.

Since you did not mention your children’s gender I am basing this response on the fact that the majority of participants are female. There are many areas to consider when designing a program for them; the first is their gender. Girls develop earlier than the boys and that means their schedule can be a tad more aggressive. Next is their age: the older they are the more advanced the design can be. The common thread between the two is the fact that on their own they more than likely will not do an exercise to exhaustion or beyond their capability- unless an adult is pushing them. In that case they will continue and potentially hurt themselves in the process.

As for a specific exercise program here is the one I suggest you give a whirl at having them do. Begin with general physical conditioning. If they meet the standards and are in the upper percentile for their age then move them into a directed strength phase. After successfully completing the directed strength segment it is time for more specific exercises; ones that address the sport in a very specific fashion.

General physical conditioning consists of:

Cardiovascular workouts of fifteen to twenty minutes performed at high heart rates (monitored 70-80% THR) four to five times per week alternating sessions between the high and low of both time and percentage. In my opinion nothing beats the skip rope for this portion of the training. Keep a close eye on their body temp as the youngsters’ ability to regulate heat is not fully developed yet.

Any type of twisting, bending, running and jumping movements are ideal at this juncture. Bodyweight exercises such as the chin up or pull up, push ups, sit ups, hanging leg raises, squats, 'Y' squats, calf raises each performed for high repetitions, i.e. in the ten to fifteen rep ranges, and the four types of bridges, done correctly, which focus on the core musculature. When doing any type of jumping make certain they are landing correctly and not moving into a valgus position as this is highly detrimental to the ACL.

Directed strength is geared more toward the demands of the sport and would look similar to the following:

Higher speed cardio rope skipping performed with high knees and butt kickers for ten to fifteen minutes, broken into one to two minute sessions, three to five times a week. Practice the agility and coordination of the moves during these sessions.

Low level plyometrics such as bounding and one leg hops while limiting the hits to no more than fifty to seventy-five per exercise period.

Body weight squats with jumps
Ankle hops
Calf raises

Special strength training
The following can be loaded up to 30% bodyweight for the 12 year old and up to 50% for your 14 year old child for up to two to three sets of 10 for each one.

Front squats or
Overhead squats or
Jump squats-much lower weight than the previous two. Don’t use so much that the jumping and landing characteristics are altered.

The squats are then progressed to 10 and 20% bodyweight respectively for your 12 and 14 year olds for two to three sets of two to three repetitions separated by a nice rest to bring the heart rate back to at least 75-80% normal.

Explosive Front squats or
Explosive Overhead squats or
Explosive Jump squats-much lower weight than the previous two. Be sure to protect their necks so the weight does not crash onto their neck.

Weighted sit ups
Good mornings
The four bridges with a low external weight
Laterals or side bends with a single dumbbell
Military presses necessary for keeping the high hands

As long as they are enjoying themselves and having fun, then you are on the right track.

Danny M. O’Dell, MA. CSCS*D
http://www.explosivelyfit.com


Question:

I use the leg press and leg extension machines in my gym. I am training hard but my legs don’t seem to be getting any bigger. How do I add muscle mass to them and even more how do I get bigger and stronger?

Thanks

That is a great question and one that is asked frequently. The short answer is this: You have got to start squatting with free weights and increasing your caloric intake to make those legs grow bigger.

Let me explain. Most people are able to do more on a machine because the balance factor is not in play on a machine. The machine holds the bar by keeping it in a certain predetermined groove and eliminates most, if not all, of the proprioceptive feedback, so learning the technique is non existent. The end result is decreased benefit to your targeted musculature as you are finding out.

You mentioned you weren’t able to do as much weight on the bar as in the machine. Don't be worried about the load on the bar right now. Just lower the weight, get under the bar and start doing them technically perfect with the free weights.

Keep in mind that age, diet, genetics and gender will have a bearing on how big you can get. There are two ways to increase the size of your muscles: Sarcoplasmic and Myofibrillar, represented in the former by an increase in the sarcoplasm, the interfibrillar semi fluid and in the latter by an actual enlargement of the muscle fibers. Getting large but useful muscles will be dependent upon increasing the size of the fibers and not the fluids that go between each one.

Now on to a specific plan of attack:

Get your doctors approval before beginning a new exercise program.

Weigh yourself once a week on a specific day, just as soon as you get up in the morning and after having gone to the bathroom.

Buy a diary and begin writing everything down that you eat or drink and at what times

Keys to growth

Eat five to six balanced meals each day. Space these out at regular intervals of two to two and half hours apart. You have to increase your caloric intake to grow. Don't eat junk food or if you do at least keep it to a minimum. Stay well hydrated by drinking enough to keep your urine looking pale yellow.

Get good rest. Sleep is essential to growth.

Get off the machines and start doing free weight squats with the bar on your back. Find a good NSCA certified coach and learn how to do them correctly.

Exercise the legs three times a week with at least a days break in between each session. None of these should last more than 50-60 minutes. Just get in, lift and get out. Have sips of a sports drink before, during and immediately after your lifting times. Once completed and within the first thirty minutes begin to replenish the nutrients that have been used up to start the repair process going. During the first thirty minutes get protein and carbohydrates into your body (chocolate milk is nearly the perfect blend to drink at this time) Within the next two to three hours eat a well balanced meal with a bit more protein and carbohydrate mix to it.

The schedule

Part one:
After a warm up start with four sets of eight repetitions in the free weight squat, but don't make yourself sick while doing them. The puke factor is NOT in effect here. Go all the way down and all the way back up in your full range of motion. Don’t get into the habit of doing high squats. Do each one right; deep and deeper. Start with the bare bar if you have to but do them right each and every time. Rest between sets last long enough to catch your breath and get your pulse back to about 75% of your target heart rate.

Once you are able to do four sets of eight then on your last set do ten repetitions for two consecutive times. If you are able to do the extra two repetitions then add 10-20 more pounds of weight and repeat the four sets of eight repetitions again with the new weight the next time you lift.

Follow the squats with stiff legged dead lifts for four sets of twelve repetitions.

Now do your calves with high repetitions (12-20) for standing and low repetitions (8-10) for the seated ones with four sets of each version.

Do this for four to six weeks and then take a two session break.

Part two:
The next series is one of front squats, one legged calf raises, and good mornings with high repetitions and short rest periods. Do three to five sets of twenty on all squats, deadlifts and calves. Stay on this schedule for three to four weeks then rest again for two sessions. Continue to eat very well without piling on the fat tissue.

Part three:
The third series will be high load and long rest periods of two to four minutes between sets.

The exercises are squats, calf raises, and regular dead lifts with six to eight sets of four to five repetitions.

Repeat the three part schedule after a two session rest break. I guarantee you will have added size and strength to your quads, hamstrings and calves if you follow these suggestions.

Summary
:
Eat, squat with free weights, eat, lift hard and eat.

Question:

I am 53 yr old female in good shape...I have been bench pressing for about 7 months and I have reached 60lbs but, am now having a difficult time!  I do 2 sets of flat bench, 2 sets of incline and 2 sets of decline, reps are usually 8-12 however on occasion, I find that I can only do 6 reps>  Can you advise me on the proper technique of bench pressing.  I was told that I am bring the bar to close to my chest and the rotator cuff is taking over.  Is this true??

Thank you so much~~~E

p.s. I am 5'9" and weight is 158lbs  I train 3 times a week full body and aerobics for about 3 hours per session using mostly dumbbells, barbells etc.  On my days off I do Pilates, abs. some light aerobics, yoga. dips. ball work.

Good day to you,

Congratulations on your continuing efforts to remain a healthy vibrant, powerful woman. A quick answer to your lack of bench progress is you are not doing enough benching to see advances in your weight load and you are doing way too much cardio. The repetitions you are using put you into the hypertrophy range. Strength will come within the five to eight bracket and power in the one to three area. The cardio will definitely decrease your body’s ability to produce strength. The dips are working similar muscles as your bench thus not allowing you to give them a rest. Interestingly enough performing heavy squats will increase your bench due to the release of the growth stimulating hormones in your body afterwards.

If you want a bigger bench then I would suggest you do five sets of five repetitions at 80% of your current one repetition maximum every other day with the week ends off spent in active rest activities. Add in one or two triceps specific exercises for two to three sets of 8-10 reps, do military presses for three sets of eight reps, barbell rows of at least twice the amount of reps you did in your benches and end with one or two external rotator cuff exercises using a light weight (two to five pounds) for 12-20 reps.

The rotator is in action immediately when ever you move your arm as its function is to keep the humerus in position and not let it ride upward. So the thought of using the rotator cuff to move the weight is only partially true. But it is also inaccurate to state these small four muscles are in fact moving the weight when you bench to your chest. A correct bench press will touch your chest just above the zyphoid process assuming you are using a good arch, this does not mean your butt is coming off the bench to acquire the arch.

Make certain you are getting adequate carbohydrates, protein and fats in your diet in roughly these proportions for each of your five to six meals per day:

55% carbs - high, medium and low glycemic-low to medium before you exercise and high as soon as you finish to help replenish the fuel to your muscles.

25% protein

20% good fat

As for techniques these are from The Ultimate Bench Press Manual.

Technique Summary for the bench press

Retract your scapula

Flair your lats to make a big lifting platform

Use the closed pronated grip (thumb securely wrapped around the bar)

As you lift squeeze the bar and try to bend it into a ‘U’ shape

Squeeze the bar hard enough to make dents in it

Keep your wrists straight and in a direct line above your forearms, and directly above your elbows

Contract your abs by abdominal bracing

Squeeze your glutes tightly together

Develop and practice a deep upward arch with your lower back but in line with your flexibility and natural limitations

Keep your glutes in constant contact with the bench

Drive your feet into the floor

Keep your elbows tucked to your sides at about a forty five degree angle to your body

Push the bar up in a straight line and not back over or toward your face. Doing so usually means you are out of your natural groove and are in danger of damaging your shoulders or missing the lift

Finding a one-repetition maximum.

Begin with a thorough general physical warm up then move into an area specific warm up.

Rest for sixty seconds

Choose a load that will allow three to five repetitions

If the weight was lifted, rest for ninety to 120 seconds; add 10-20 more pounds

Do the new weight two to three times, if successful add an additional ten to twenty pounds on the bar

Rest two to four more minutes

Attempt to do one repetition

If successful, rest another two to four minutes, add another ten to twenty pounds to the bar and repeat.

If unsuccessful, decrease the load five to ten pounds and try again after a rest of two to four minutes.

Take care,

Danny

Question:

I have been asked to train a young lad aged 12. He is very interested in taking up rowing in the near future. Now I know there lots of differing opinions on weight training at a young age. Keeping to body weight exercises I believe is the best way forward? What are your views on conditioning training for kids aged between 12-15?

Thanks Matt

Hi Matt,

I have one suggestion that takes priority above all else: don’t let him, or more specifically his parents, allow him to specialize on this one sport. He may make fabulous progress initially but in the end he will be lagging behind his more athletically rounded competitors.

I disagree on using body weight only exercises as he is old enough to begin with external resistance loads. Depending on his biological age, not his chronological age, he can begin hitting the weights at this age.

A few guidelines, that are by no means all inclusive, follow. From ages 11-14 he can exercise with loads that allow ten and over reps per set to help develop his strength, power and flexibility. Explosive strength training can also begin with this age group, along with aerobic endurance, speed of reaction and maximal acyclic and cyclic speed. Thirty minutes a session three times a week with a total of around four to six hours per week spent in physical activity of all kinds such as team games or in this instance just being a kid.

Keep the loads within the suggested range, watch for signs of fatigue and schedule proper programming cycles for him. You will be on the way to making him a powerful rower.

When he reaches 14 and above, new avenues of training open up to you but these will have to wait until that time appears.

Take care,

Danny

Question:

As a once or twice a year participant in senior games throwing events (shot and discus), I admittedly do not train year-round for these meets.  However, I would like to do some sort of a winter routine that will begin and maintain my training cycle, and allow me to ease into the actual throwing season (May-July).

I am moderately busy from September to May with part-time refereeing of prep-level basketball and soccer, so I maintain reasonable fitness, but I currently put in very little time toward summer throwing.

Are there any particular daily or weekly stretches, agility drills, or lighter weightlifting routines, etc. that you might suggest to me that will accomplish my objective without requiring a huge time investment? I am not a big fan of fitness centres or gyms. 

You can reply directly to me if you don't think this question has a wide interest base.

Thanks,

Rich

Hi Rich,

You present an interesting situation. You are a competitive thrower during the senior game season and moderately active in the off season but don’t want to spend too much time in the gym actually training for your sport. Several training protocols come to mind:

The first is doing a strength day followed up the day after with a speed strength day followed in turn with a full body hypertrophy day.

Your strength day will consist of legs, shoulders, chest, upper and lower back compound exercises performed in three to four sets of five to six reps at your 80-85% 1RM.

The speed day will be with 35-50% 1RM for six to nine sets of two to three reps. Move the bar as fast as possible with out damaging yourself in the process. Time every set and maintain high speeds.

The hypertrophy day will have you doing a full body workout of four to five sets of eight to ten reps with a work to rest ratio of 1:1-2. The intensity level will be at or around 60-75% 1RM.

The second is to due full body explosive training two times a week.

Explosive strength, as the name implies, is how fast a person can reach the maximum force available. The more force that is developed in the shortest amount of time, the greater is the explosive force. Think speed of movement as there is a mind muscle connection.

Training in such a manner as to inhibit the weaker fibers and going straight to the fast acting powerful ones is the key to instant and explosive force and power. Conditioning the CNS to bypass the non-power fibers occurs in some of the elite strength athletes. This takes the body a long time to make this adaptation and requires a deep dedication to the strength sport-more so than many people have at the lower levels of participation.

Maximum power output, as many strength athletes already know, results from using loads in the intensity ranges of 30-40 % one repetition maximum. But the maximal coefficient of reactivity will be obtained by utilizing weight loads in the 30-33 % ranges.

Strength training will increase explosive power. But training cannot be confined exclusively to strength regimens, some of it must be in the power percentages.

‘To improve an athletes speed potential, strength exercises similar to the sports techniques should be done so as to improve strength while perfecting techniques. Strength exercises aimed at improving speed in sports technique must be similar in form, timing and rhythm of movements to the actual sports technique. Resistance must also be similar-not too great’ as it will alter the form of movement and prevent the athlete from moving as fast or as explosively as they need to.

Here are a few training suggestions:

Use very fast movements against resistance, such as that provided by standard exercises. Medicine balls thrown in various manners against walls, outward, upward, sideways…, catching and immediately re-throwing a medicine ball, jumps with and without weight for height and/or distance, low level plyometrics, examples of which are one leg hops, bounding, skipping for distance and height, clap push ups, medicine ball drops and re-throwing upward.

These are but a few of the many ways you can increase your explosive strength capabilities. Train hard and fast with these sessions but avoid continuing once fatigue sets in as you will disable the neuromuscular pathways that help develop the speed of execution in the first place.

Training slow and conditioning inappropriately and then performing explosively on the field are mutually exclusive.

Danny M. O’Dell, MA, CSCS*D

Question:

I have a patient coming to see me for treatment for acute low back pain. (I am a chiropractor). My patient is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and hurt his back the other day during practice. I myself have recently started taking classes and have come to really enjoy it although it is an intense workout.  I am a good size guy 5"10, 220 lbs and work out with free weights a lot, but I feel that some of these smaller guys are stronger than me when we practice. I wanted to know what type of training routine would you recommend to help improve my overall strength and power, such as cleans, snatches or more dynamic exercises like walking lunges, flipping tires etc.

Thanks

Craig S. DC CCSP

Hi Craig,

Perhaps the smaller guys are able to express their strength faster than you are. By this I mean they have developed their training program to include not only strength exercises but power and speed as well. In order to catch up to them I suggest that you make certain that you are as strong as they are in the primary exercises such as the squat, military press, bench press, dead lift, barbell rows and the power cleans. Next, if you are as strong as your competitors, then start working on the development of speed by using weight loads in the 30-40% 1RM ranges for six to nine sets of three reps. Time every rep so you know if your are getting faster.

Use very fast movements against resistance, such as that provided by standard exercises. Medicine balls thrown in various manners against walls, outward, upward, sideways…, catching and immediately re-throwing a medicine ball, jumps with and without weight for height and/or distance, low level plyometrics, examples of which are one leg hops, bounding, skipping for distance and height, clap push ups, medicine ball drops and re-throwing upward.

Remember you have to train as you play and that does not involve many slow movements. Those that are slow are of the isometric type where you are holding your opponent.

Danny M. O’Dell, MA, CSCS*D

Question:

We’ve had a client who has found out from doctors that he has fat under his abdominal muscles and he would like too get rid of it.  Have you ever heard of this condition? Should I design a fat loss programme as normal?

Many thanks

Claire B.

Professional Personal Trainer and studio instructor

Hi Claire,

Fat under the abs is normal. What is not normal is an excessive layer that predisposes that individual to higher incidences of disease. Paying particular attention to the intake of food and drink will help decrease this fat tissue. It will not decrease it in only that area; as it is impossible to spot reduce without surgical intervention. Set your trainee up on a healthy resistance program, with a healthy nutritional plan and encourage them to keep a training log so they see their progress. The fat will go away-guaranteed.

Danny M. O’Dell, MA, CSCS*D

Question:

I’m a competitive 5km runner and I’m trying to better my race times; I have been increasing my protein and I have found out that I have gained around 5lbs? My clothes fit the same but I would like to lose my 5lbs because I feel heavy; I believe its muscle that I have gained but I’m wondering if this will affect my race performance; I’m 5'5-5'6" approx. and weigh around 124-125lbs; I was 120lbs in the summer. I tend to have a lot of muscle and small built.

What is a good competitive weight for a female 5km runner? Will dropping weight help my race performance even if its muscle gain that I put on? Also this weight gain seems to stay the same in the mornings and in the evenings; I don’t seem to weigh less in the morning, which is strange. Any advise would be greatly appreciated because i have races coming up and I’m a little stressed over this.

Gina

Hi Gina,

Without knowing what your body fat level was before you started taking the protein it is hard to tell if in fact the extra weight is muscle. In my opinion unless you have been strength training it is highly unlikely that it is muscle.

Adding more useable muscle to your frame will help you run faster, if not carried to the extreme. Dropping any muscle as far as I can see will not help you run faster. It will however make you slower.

If you are concerned about your added weight get it checked out to see if it’s fat or muscle. I would encourage you to continue with a resistance training program as it will help with the kick at the end. Do higher intensities of your 1RM, i.e. 85-95%, for low reps of two to three per sets of five to six. These exercises would be for your legs, mid and upper torso. An added, yet normally undiscussed, advantage of extra muscle is it helps move your limbs at higher velocities, which in your case means a quicker pace.

Danny M. O’Dell, MA, CSCS*D

Science of Sports Training, Kurz T. Stadion Press 2001

Question:

What specific strength building routine can you recommend for off-season training for triathletes?

Thanks.

Hi there,

During your off season you still have to maintain your extensive cardiovascular capabilities so don’t neglect the road work. As you are no doubt aware developing stronger legs and making improvements in your upper body strength to resist the rotational demands of your torso during the run and swim are important to increased efficiency during the event. I would suggest lower repetition strength training with higher intensity efforts in the 85-90% 1RM range for anywhere between three to ten sets of squats, bench presses, military presses and dead lifts. Do these on alternate days.

Alternatively you can do strength endurance training. These sessions involve the following sequences of exercises:

In the rest-pause strength endurance training schedule, a weight of 90%-95% is lifted for one to two reps then racked for a moment or two then lifted again. This is repeated six to ten times for the exercise. The essential component is to be able to display maximum strength, absolute and or limit strength, repeatedly without a noticeable decrease in power.

Start with three sets of three repetitions at 80%-90% of a one Repetition Maximum (1RM) with rest of two to three minutes. Then drop the weight to 40%-50% 1RM and perform four sets of fifteen repetitions each in a medium to slow pace.

At a weight of 40% to 50%, perform the maximum number of lifts you can in twenty seconds, rest twenty to thirty seconds, and then repeat for one to two extra sets. Maintain pulse at 120-140 beats per minute. (Authors suggestion: Maintain your pulse at around the 80% target heart rate levels.)

Perform eight to ten different circuit exercises in a medium to slow pace with thirty to sixty seconds of rest between exercises. Keep pulse below 140 repetitions. (Authors suggestion: Maintain your pulse at around the 65%-70% target heart rate levels.) Choose exercises common to your sport.

1-2 x6-10 @ 90% 1RM followed by 3 x 3 @ 80-90% 1RM with rests of up to three minutes, 15 x 4 @ 40-50% 1RM, followed by maximum number of lifts x twenty seconds with a rest of twenty to thirty seconds repeated two more times.

It should be noted that your cardiovascular training will adversely affect your strength training but strength training will not damage your cardio endeavours.

Essentially what you are trying to accomplish is improved overall body strength but without the added muscle mass that frequently accompanies resistance training. Low reps and high intensity will do the trick. Added mass is just more weight to carry in the water and on the road whether it be running or biking. Just what you don’t need, so stay away from the high reps with the moderate weight loads of 60-70%1RM!

Keep up the good training

Danny

Question:

What strength & conditioning exercises do you suggest for the forty-two muscles related to the neck?

John H. M., MA, PT, DC

Hi John

From my perspective many of the neck muscles can be tuned up with elastic, surgical tubing, towels, hand manipulations with either partner or self imposed resistance, free weights, head harness apparatus, body weight exercises, isometrics, stretching, improved posture, and conscious effort to increase the strength and range of motion in this area with the applied resistance. Barring any medical conditions most of the suggestions are appropriate.

Question:

This is probably a question from one of your old timer fans, (of course I don't feel old at all) Background, I am 63 + years old (dob 30.7.43). I play about 10 hours/week, of hard badminton with players 20 to 30 years younger than I. They feel that my winning is due fact that I won 2 Gold medals & a Silver in the Pan Pacific Masters Games 2004, held on the Gold Coast in beautiful and extremely friendly Aussieland. I also play some (now infrequently) basketball with my son's school team (about 40 years younger than I), Won a Bronze Medal in the Asia Pacific Masters Basket ball in 2000. I do watch my diet and exercise irregularly on my Total Gym and some weights + skipping (irregularly).

My problem (?) is fat in my abdominal & Hip area. Height:172.5cm, Weight: 85 kg, Waist: 97.5cm, Please let me know what my weight and waist size should be best, (Body type ecto/meso morph) and what I should do to achieve such a target.

Thank you,

With best regards & wishes

T. D. C.

Sri Lanka

Good day to you,

You certainly are active; that is commendable and indicative of a long productive life span both physically and mentally.

According to my calculations these are the results, converted into inches and pounds for the sake of my understanding, of your physical measurements:

Height-172.5 centimeter = 67.913 385 827 inch= 5.65

Body weight-85 kilogram = 187.392 922 857 lb, lbs

Waist-97.5 centimeter = 38.385 826 772 inch

Comparing these to the height and weight charts you will notice that at 5 feet 6 inches tall and 187 pounds you are over the recommended weight by 23 pounds. Unless you are heavily muscled this is too much weight to be carrying around and is a definite unhealthy stressful drain on your cardiovascular system and the joints in your body. Since you mentioned your waist measurement I will add that it too is over the recommended size for healthy living especially as it is located in your abdominal region.

Waist circumference measurements have gained in popularity due to their ability to predict regional adiposity especially in the abdominal area. Coupling the BMI with a waist measurement increases the ability of predicting health risks than with just one measurement alone. The national cholesterol education program suggests a cut off of greater than 102 cm for men in determining obesity. Other researchers set the limits at 100 cm for men when determining those with a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Look over the chart to see where you fall in the risk category.

 

Men

Women

Risk factors

Inches

Inches

Very high

>47

>43.5

High

39.5-47

35.5-43

Low

31.5-39

28.5-35

Very low

<31.5

<28.5

Chart adapted from the ACSM 2005 guidelines for exercise testing and prescription 7th edition, Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins

Sagittal abdominal diameter is an excellent indirect measure of visceral fat. In this case the test is better suited to those who are lean to moderately overweight rather than the obese. This test carries even greater predictability for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in both men and women. The procedures of measurement have not been standardized. If you have this test performed make certain the follow up tests are measured at the same location with the same or equal equipment, i.e. the tape measure.

Now then in answer to the second part of your original question, “what I should do to achieve such a target?” Begin by knowing what you are eating and drinking on a daily basis, write down everything that goes into your mouth for a week. Look at the results and make the necessary corrections to improve your diet.

From all appearances the majority of your training is cardiovascular with short spurts of intense activity. My recommendation for you is to begin with a steady program of weight training comprised of the major muscle groups. Your training schedule will be made up of exercises for the upper and lower back, the chest and shoulders and the front and rear leg muscles.

In your particular case the schedule would look similar to this alternate three day full body program. On the days you are not lifting then hit the cardio hard with your other activities. Start with three to four sets of eight repetitions for each exercise that follows.

Military presses followed by chin ups or pull downs

Bench presses followed by barbell rows

Squats followed by dead lifts or stiff leg dead lifts

Sit ups with weight

Triceps extensions

Calf raises

You will see success with these suggestions.

Danny

Question:

I am 40 years old and an active sports person. My problem is a have a tummy (bulge) that will not go away. I do a mile run in 7 min, play squash, soccer and run (jog a lot). I don’t smoke or drink (alcohol). I am 1.58m tall, 58kgs.

See the above answer.

Danny

Just a quick question, I left university a year ago after graduating on a sports conditioning, coaching and rehabilitation degree and am now acurrently working as a fitness instructor/ personal trainer working in a local gym.

However, my desired career is to become a strength and conditioning coach and then progress to working within a professional sports team. I have done lots of voluntary work within sports clubs and found strength and conditioning the most enjoyable, but not sure how to go about it, if you could please give me some pointers or advice for the best course of action?

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thanks

Luke B.

Hi Luke,

Begin by looking at the National Strength and Conditioning Association website here at http://www.nsca.com

The way to a S/C coaching career is becoming a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, (CSCS). It is a rigorous examination but well worth the study and time involved in successfully passing it.

I wish you well in your pursuit of this worthy goal.

Danny

Question:

My two son's surprised me with a HOME JYM (weight & Pulley type) But no Training CHART,I have tried to obtain a chart via the Internet, all I get is sales of the same JYM, no charts. Can you help?

Hi there,

Your sons obviously love you a great deal to spend their money on exercise equipment for their Dad. You must be very proud of each of them and for good reason.

While I am not familiar with the specific machine you have, if it is like the others on the market with a similar set up I can certainly give you some good exercises to do with it.

To begin with make certain all the pulleys, cables and handles are securely fastened to there respective attachment points. Keep a log book of your training days. Write it all down; sets, reps, weight, easy, medium or hard, start and ending times.

Next warm up with a skip rope-my favourite dynamic warm up. Do this for up to five minutes and then decide if this will be an upper, middle or lower torso training day.

If you have chosen the upper torso begin with a shoulder warm up and do the following prior to using your machine:

Start with bodyweight only and work up from there. Some advanced elite athletes use up to twenty kilograms for these exercises.

Wide clockwise circles with outstretched arms.
Wide counter clockwise circles with outstretched arms
Arms straight to the sides with palms facing the body moving out front and back over head without bending them
Arms bent at 90° and then extended rapidly to the front and back to the 90° starting position

Now that your shoulders are warmed up start your exercise program with the following sequence.

Alternate your exercise days by taking a break in between each session, unless you are planning on doing three days in a row with one day off and then repeating the series again. Do each exercise for eight repetitions for up to five sets with a moderate work to rest ratio of 1:3-4.

The three day on one day off schedule follows.

Upper torso training-Shoulders

Military presses
Pull downs or chin ups
Low cable attachment side and rear raises

Chest

Bench presses
Pec dec

Upper back-Pick two of the following:

Cable rows-similar to the barbell rows
Upright rows
Low cable rows
One arm cable rows

Arms-Pick one of the following from the biceps and triceps group

Triceps push downs
Low cable attachment triceps extensions
Cable bicep curls
One arm cable bicep curls

Middle torso training

Sit ups
Reverse sit ups with low cable attachment
Cable crunches
Side bends
Good mornings with high cable attachment
Reverse good mornings with low cable attachment

Lower torso training

Squats with low cable attachment
Calf raises with low cable attachment
Leg curls with low cable attachment
Leg extension I am not fond of the leg extensions because in my opinion it tends to separate the knee joint.
Abductor with low attachment
Adductor with low attachment
Seated soleus calf exercise again with the low attachment and the handle resting on your knees as you sit.
Dead lifts
Stiff leg dead lifts

Take a day off and then repeat the series again for the next three days. Remember to change exercises on the next three days.

Full body every other day schedule

Warm up as in the preceding workout program. Do each exercise for eight to ten repetitions for up to four sets with a work to rest ratio of 1:2-3. Begin with an upper or lower exercise and alternate between them as you progress through your session. Work quickly but correctly, by that I mean don’t become sloppy with your form as it will surely lead to an injury.

1. Squats
2. Military presses
3. Calf raises
4. Stiff leg dead lifts
5. Pull downs or chin ups
6. Sit ups
7. Side bends
8. Bench presses
9. Triceps extensions
10. Low cable rows
11. Biceps curls
12. Side and rear raises

There you have two very solid programs to assist in getting you stronger and more powerful.

Danny O'Dell, MA. CSCS*D

Question:

I am a 48 year old masters swimmer. I mostly swim freestyle but have recently tried to branch out into medley swimming, as I am strong in most strokes. I have been frustrated though, by an inability to improve in butterfly. I seem to lack the arm strength and cannot do more than 25meters in good form. My current training pattern is to swim 2 kilometres 4x/wk doing various sets. I also do aerobics with weights 2x/wk. To improve upper body strength, most days I do 2 sets of 10 push ups.

Could you give me both land exercises and water recommendations to strengthen my endurance in butterfly?

Sincerely, Wendy S

Hi Wendy,

You are to be commended for your strong training ethic, keep it up. I would start out by recommending a break from the pool and your aerobics for several days. You are spending a lot of time in the pool, and on dry land doing the same things. Your body may need a rest. After the lay off, then hit it again.

As you are well aware the butterfly is an extremely difficult stroke. Two paths lead to greatness one is perfection of technique the other is strength improvements. Combining the two will lead you to your goal. I have several suggestions to make you a more powerful swimmer.

First, make certain you have a good swimming coach who knows how to instruct the butterfly technique.

Second, you have to make strength gains in your pulling actions and that does not come from doing only push ups. Here I would recommend that you include some form of straight arm pull downs, lots or rowing motions, high, low and medium heights if using a machine. If not, then barbell and dumbbell rows.

Use the military press as your shoulder stabilizer exercise.

Perform many high repetitions of the various rotator cuff exercises.

Find lower torso exercise such as the squat that will help with your hip flexion power, do abductor and adductor exercises and finish off with some medium repetition dead lifts to keep your back strong.

You can also do some ‘bench work’ with light to moderate weight as you practice this stroke. Position yourself perpendicular to a high exercise bench and go to it while maintaining your balance as you do the stroke.

The best type of strength training, in my estimation, will be the ones that closely imitate the ‘correct’ actions in the pool. Don’t use excessive weight that will alter the technique of the stroke because the carry over will be practically nil.

Keep up the training.

Danny O'Dell, MA. CSCS*D


From: bschiff@thefitnessedge.cc
Subject: 01117 Exercise and rest period cycles

Danny,

Great newsletter. Recovery is the one topic I find myself preaching more than ever to my parents, coaches and kids in the day of “specialization.”Now if we can only get them to truly understand it!

Brian Schiff, PT, CSCS
The Fitness Edge
"Fitness Solutions for Lifelong Health"
www.thefitnessedge.cc
www.BrianSchiff.com
Ph: 614.761.9242
Fax: 614.761.9245
bschiff@thefitnessedge.cc

I am writing to say “thanks” for your article on Full Squat
technique quoted from SportsMedicine.about.com

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/strengthtraining/a/howtosquat.htm

I had been doing ‘half squats’ for several years, thinking full squats were ‘bad for you’. Your article convinced me to start doing full squats with 2/3 the weight, and after a month I’m getting great results– more flexibility, more strength, and no more knee pains whatsoever.

My workout includes biking and my strength and endurance up hills has significantly improved since I started doing full squats.

Thanks again –

Jeff L.

----- Original Message -----

From: Lucy
Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 9:26 AM
To: Danny
Subject: Feedback and suggestions for improvement

Hello Danny,

Great article! (Referring to the 01 July 2008 Explosivelyfit Training News Economy and training effort-they are compatible) Would you consider writing an article on a specific workout for general conditioning and fitness that incorporates cardio and weight training.  I would love to get some ideas of what you would consider a basic workout for a beginner wanting to get "in shape" as quickly and efficiently as possible. I would love to know what you consider to be the top 10 exercises that you would recommend for an hour workout.   Forgive me for asking if you have already written an article to this effect. 

Have a great summer

Lucy

From: Danny
To: Lucy
Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 10:16 AM
Subject: The training thoughts you asked me about

Hi Lucy,

Here are my thoughts on starting out with a training program. (this answer will appear in the 2009 January and February editions of the explosivelyfit training news). Since I am a strong believer in strength training, cardio is not a prominent feature in this program. However, if you follow the instructions you will get strong cardio benefits from the schedule but you have to push to achieve them by considerably shortening your rest periods between sets.

If you decide to follow it could you take detailed notes as to your progress so we can make changes in areas that aren't producing the results you want.

Take care and I hope your training goes well. If you have questions please send me a note.

Danny

Hello Danny,

Thank you so much for the wonderful "newbie" workouts you have so meticulously outlined.  It is so refreshing to get such a well articulated, professional opinion on ways to keep the body fit and in top form.  I have printed out the workout suggestions and hope to give more attention to incorporating your ideas into workouts in the fall season.  I thrive on new ideas.  It keeps me motivated and challenged.

Thank you again.

Lucy

----- Original Message -----
From: Chris N.

Hi Danny, I contact you a while ago as I suffered an a/c separation injury 18-months ago (it was pinned, then pin removed and rehab etc).

If I could ask, for confidence really – I’ve been told that (for chest training) to incorporate floor presses into my workouts – I guess it’s ok not to retract the shoulder blades with this move (as I would for regular bench presses etc)?

Also, should I look to retract shoulder blades for all chest presses – incline, decline, bar and dumb bell?

And would doing drop set of regular bench presses be too intense following my injury?

Thanks again

Danny, thanks again for your time and interest


From: danny
Sent: 01 June 2008 23:26
To: Chris N.
Subject: Re: Rotator Moves

Hi Chris,

I would follow your physician and physical therapists advice to the letter during your rehab. After eighteen months it should be completely healed by now.

You said:  Am I correct to think that

  • I should do the same number (sets & reps) of exercises for each of the four rotator muscles? I would split them up and do two in the morning and two in the afternoon. This will give that area a rest and be a way to intensify the two sessions for greater progress.
  • How many sets/reps and how many times per week? Every other day for three to five sets of twelve to fifteen during rehab. After rehab then follow a general strength cycle of five to six sets of eight to ten reps with perfect form.
  • As these exercises are rehab/maintenance I should never look to increase the weight. If you never increase the weight then you will not get stronger and they will let you down again if you are hitting the weights in a solid manner. Follow the two by two rule when adding weight and then in the case of these small muscles add only a pound or two at a time. Build the endurance up, add weight, build the endurance, add weight....

Keep in touch,

Danny

----- Original Message -----
From: Chris N.
To: Danny
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2008 1:44 AM
Subject: Rotator Moves

Hi Danny,

you kindly gave me some advice a while ago and also recommended a book about shoulder health (which I decided not to get at that point based on ‘a little bit of knowledge is bad for you…’ etc).

If I can ask further, I had an a/c separation injury about 18-mth ago (which was operated on successfully) and amongst other things I do various rotator cuff exercises Am I correct to think that

  • I should do the same number (sets & reps) of exercises for each of the four rotator muscles?
  • How many sets/reps and how many times per week?
  • As these exercises are rehab/maintenance I should never look to increase the weight

Thanks very much

Hi Danny,

Just want to give you some input about Exercise and Rest Period Cycles.

Six weeks ago  I changed my athletes powerlifting schedule. You might recall I had them on the Westside barbell  twice a week - heavy day/speed day  regimen, doing squat/DL and bench on different days.

I kept the separate days but I increased the recovery window to three full days between workouts. If the next workout falls on a TUE or SAT (they can't train those days) I push the scheduled session off to the next day. In other words we do squats/DL only every 4th or 5th day. This works out to only 4-5 sessions for each split over 21 days. The other change is that we take more time in each session (about 2 hrs) and do both heavy and "speed" work in the same session. I have them take 25g/25g carb & protein before and again about half way thru with 50/50 immediately after (got that from you, too!) They do core strength 2 to 3 times a week in separate sessions never on squat day.

Why am I telling you about this? Because of the results after 6 weeks.

Briana, 14 yo about 150#, has increased her squat from a 1RM of 287# to doing triples at 340#. (attached pic 340# squat, yeah I know, I didn't get her below parallel but it's hard to snap and spot at the same time)

The only reason she hasn't attempted more is that is all the weight we have right now! Her bench has gone from 140# to 175#.

Stuart, 13 yo about 130# has upped his squat from 1RM 240# to 1RM 320# and added 30# to his bench.

Once again, the idea for the modification came from reading one of your articles.

I also want to weigh in on the "cardio makes you weak" thing.

I keep hearing this from guys that can squat 700# but get all out of breath walking across a street. You know, the ones without enough stamina to help me move the squat bench from one side of the room to another.

These kids run 5k two mornings a week and 10k two mornings a week. They train 2 hours of mixed martial arts and 2 hours of muay thai five days a week. They can go all out for 15 minutes at a time and come back ready to do it again five minutes later.

If cardio work is detrimental to a maximal lift then how come Briana can squat more weight, RAW, than any 14 year old girl I've ever heard of?

Myth busted! in my opinion. The other side of this is the fight trainers who claim "weight training makes you slow". 

My experience, beginning 20+ years ago with special forces troops, is that the athlete who "walks around" in a state of optimal fitness (fit to fight) as their ordinary condition has a vast advantage over the athlete who "trains up" to their contest or event and then "lays off" until it's time for the next one. In fact, I think the latter is REALLY . . . well, not that smart.

Thanks once again for being the go-to guy in power training.

Bob B

----- Original Message -----
From: Danny
To: Bob B
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 5:35 PM
Subject: Re: Nevada Youth Athletes Shatter World Powerlifting Records

Hi Bob,

THAT IS FANTASTIC NEWS. I am so very glad your trainees had a good time at their meet. They had excellent coaching from you! I always liked the non supportive equipment meets. As she so very well said it, it's her doing the lifting and not the gear.

Thank you very much for the update. Can I have permission to add your comments to my site? Do you have a business name that we could publicize for you?

Take care,

Danny


----- Original Message -----
From: Bob B
To: Danny
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 3:01 PM
Subject: Fw: Nevada Youth Athletes Shatter World Powerlifting Records

Hi Danny,

The results bragged about in this press release are a direct result of lessons learned and applied from the explosively fit newsletters.  Thanks for bringing us good solid science every month. You da man!

Bob B

----- Original Message -----
From: Bob B
To: AHill@reviewjournal.com
Cc: mtiacourse@mastertoddy.com
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 1:55 PM
Subject: Nevada Youth Athletes Shatter World Powerlifting Records

December 2, 2007 Las Vegas, Nevada

Nevada Youth Athletes Shatter World Powerlifting Records

As thousands of marathoners pounded through downtown streets Sunday two young Las Vegas sisters awed the crowd at the Plaza ballroom with an impressive display of record breaking strength and power.

More than 200 amateur athletes from as far away as Ukraine and the Philippines competed this weekend at the annual AAU International Powerlifting Championship held at the Plaza Hotel in downtown Las Vegas. The crowd favorite was seven year old first-time powerlifter Shoshana B. who upstaged her champion older sister by displaying style and showmanship as she blasted out American and World Records in the Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift competitions for an impressive record total 75 kilos in the Raw 77 pound class.

Fourteen year old Briana B, already an American Record holder and 2007 North American Women's Teen Powerlifting Champion, blew past her previous American Squat Record to set new American and World Record lifts in the Raw Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift competitions with a record total 313.5 kilos in the Raw 165 pound  class.

The sisters are Raw lifters. Raw powerlifters perform their lifts with pure body strength as opposed to "equipped" lifters who use mechanical aids like straps, wraps and special "lift suits" to assist them in attaining more impressive numbers than possible with raw strength alone. When asked about lifting equipped Briana replied, "I will never do that. What's the point? The suit and wraps and stuff don't make you stronger, they just make bigger numbers to impress people who don't know any better. But you didn't really lift that weight, the suit did. What matters is how strong I really am, not how strong people think I am."

When not lifting heavy iron Briana is an amateur full-contact fighter and kickboxer. The former Nevada State Taekwondo Champion recently became one of the rising stars fighting out of the renowned Master Toddy's Muay Thai Gym in Las Vegas.  She looks forward to auditioning for Master Toddy's "Fight Girls" series airing on the Oxygen cable network.

Briana is a High School freshman while Shoshana is in the first grade. The long time Vegas residents are trained and coached by their father local martial arts and strength coach Bob B.

----- Original Message -----
From: Linda
To: Danny
Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 12:36 AM
Subject: RE: 15038 Flexibility and resistance training

Hi Danny, Thanks for your help in my questions. I suppose you might have a feeling that I am going to ask another question J yes I am. Sorry you are my only resource that I have that is helping me out.

By the way I answered my diabetics question cheers.

My question is this, which I have done my research on the net and found some information that was helpful but others were a bit confusing so hopefully you can work with me.

This is where I am really stuck on.

25 year old male, L. leg amputated above the knee- artificial limb and mild brain damage – difficulty with short term memory and coordination. Client is able to complete all activities of daily living and lives with his parents. That is all information I have from this case study.

I am required to design an exercise program to assist with maintenance of muscle mass and weight loss. Now I know what program to write for muscle mass and weight loss, that’s not my problem I am struggling with because this case study as limitations beyond what I have studied on, actually we didn’t study at all about amputations and exercise.

I am not sure whether a client with an above the knee artificial limb trains with it on or off? Last thing you ant to do is put pressure on the socket is the correct?

But if the client does not have his artificial limb then all exercises will be performed sitting but you don’t want this because the hip flexor will be consistently flexed will it not and is that not good for the hip flexor to be consistently flexed for the amputee? But don’t understand why because I have read some websites but got a bit confused in understanding how the hip flexor plays a role in the above the knee amputation.

Can you tell me how do I tackle this one?

Look forward to hearing from you

Kind Regards

Linda

Hi Linda,

If I ever have the chance my first stop will be to one of my physical therapy friends, then the Veterans Administration Hospital to see how they work with the vets. In answer to your questions, my gut instinct would be to do:

Question: I am not sure whether a client with an above the knee artificial limb trains with it on or off?

I don't know for certain but I suspect that in many cases it would be on.

Question: Last thing you want to do is put pressure on the socket is the correct?

Not necessarily. If they walk with it they are more than likely going to train with it and that includes pressure within the limitations of the prosthesis. Training with it on will help them be more independent and it will instill confidence in their ability to function with the device.

Question: But if the client does not have his artificial limb then all exercises will be performed sitting but you don’t want this because the hip flexor will be consistently flexed will it not and is that not good for the hip flexor to be consistently flexed for the amputee?

You can train with or with out it on. Without it on would be centered on bands, tubing and cables attached to the limb and worked through the full ROM to get the extensors and flexors working in a compatible manner.

Question: But don’t understand why because I have read some websites but got a bit confused in understanding how the hip flexor plays a role in the above the knee amputation. 

The hip extensor is an antagonist to the extensor.  As such it helps control and stabilize the joint during movement. They are critical to running, walking and other activities where the legs have to move forward and backward.

I would call or visit your local rehab hospital, Physical Therapist or orthopaedic surgeon to get their thoughts on it.

I wish I could give you more help but I can't on this one.

Take care,

Danny

----- Original Message -----
From: Linda
To: Danny
Sent: Sunday, March 16, 2008 12:07 AM
Subject: RE: 15038 Flexibility and resistance training

Hi Danny my name is Linda;

I am in the process of completing an assignment for my personal training studies and I was wondering if you could recommend me some books and or resources that can give me the best possible information that I require to complete my assignment.

The books and or website resources that I need guidance is What exercise to prescribe to diabetes (either Type 1 or type 2) who have peripheral neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease with mild cerebrovascular accident and also I need to write a program with someone who has a L. leg amputated above the knee - artificial limb with mild brain damage who has short memory difficulty and coordination. Since these are advanced questions in my assignment that were not covered in my course, I need to find reliable resources so I can complete my assignment, so I can get qualified and start working

Also where I can find postural screening charts so I can diagnosis my clients with there posture so I can better write them a program and strength what weak and stretch what's tight.

I am hoping that you can guide me to the right direction.

I look forward to hearing from you

Kind Regards

Linda

Hi Linda,

Keep up the studying and do the best you can so you are able to help others out with their lives.

Here is a short list of the ones I'd suggest you begin with, after you digest these then look further into the resources they've used to expand your own library:

Books: there are many more than these but from this list you'll be able to develop a much larger resource library. These are but a few in mine.

• ACSM's guidelines for exercise testing and prescription-the latest edition from the American Academy of Sports Medicine
• Exercise Physiology by McArdle, Katch and Katch from Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins publishing
• The Essentials of Personal Training by Earle and Baechle from Human Kinetics Publishing

Websites: Simply type in the words diabetes, peripheral neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease with mild cerebrovascular accident and you will be rewarded with an abundance of useful sites.

http://www.diabetes.org/

http://www.diabetes.com.au/

http://www.diabetes.ca/

For the postural charts and information I'd begin with the following:

• Muscles:testing and function with posture and pain by Kendall, McCreary, Provance, Rodgers and Romani from Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins publishing
• Therapeutic Exercise for Athletic Injuries by Peggy Houglum from Human Kinetics Publishing
• Athletic Body in Balance by Grey Cook from Human Kinetics Publishing

Take care and let me know how you are progressing in your studies.

Danny

----- Original Message -----
From: Linda
To: Danny
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 10:51 PM
Subject: can you please help me with my queries

Hi my name is Linda; I have finished my studies for Fitness Instructor and commencing my certificate for Personal Trainer. Whilst I was doing my Fitness Instructor course I was not happy with some of the course notes, so I have a few questions that I am sure with your expertise will be able to answer them.

Can you please explain why lat pull downs are such a NO NO behind the head? Also can you explain sciatica nerve and how it disturbs martial arts trainers/athletes and what are the best stretch exercises to strength the sciatica nerve?

There is such much confusing information and very technique information about the energy systems we use everyday in our lives, can someone please explain in English how each energy systems is used and what are the best energy systems to use for weight loss, strength training and resistance training and bodybuilding.

Lactic acid what really causes it and how to prevent lactic acid?

What is the best way to get oxygen in the blood? How do you recognize when your clients or yourself don’t have enough oxygen flowing through your blood? Oxygen how important is it really for the martial artist/athlete and non active human bean.

Low Blood pressure what exercise should you avoid and why?

Linda

From: Danny M. O'Dell, MA. CSCS*D
Sent: Sunday, April 01, 2007 12:35 AM
To: Linda
Subject: Re: can you please help me with my queries

Good morning Linda,

Those are very good questions, some of which I receive on a consistent basis. Which school did you get your degree from and what organization have your been applying your knowledge to in order to get your Personal Trainer certification?

Take care

Danny

Can you please explain why lat pull downs are such a NO NO behind the head?

I don't use this exercise because it puts the shoulders at risk while in this exaggerated and potentially harmful position at the bottom of the pull. The shoulders are in an extreme adducted state with high tension on them. As you are well aware, the shoulders are not a true ball and socket joint, with some even suggesting that it is not a joint at all, which means it is an unstable joining or junction of the two limbs and upper torso.

Putting a heavy load on a bar and then pulling it down where it's not meant to go, places unnecessary stress on the shoulder joint by excessively stretching it out beyond its normal limits. Recall from your studies the actions of the rotator muscles, the 'sits'. These keep the humerus in place when ever the arm is moved. They are relatively small muscles that are called upon every time the arm is moved. Placing them in danger of tearing is not my idea of strength training. I believe it is another source of aggravation to these muscles that doesn't need to be there in a well designed training program.

My last objection to this version of a pretty fair exercise is the fear of equipment failure. If a heavy load is attached to the bar which is being pulled with high energy to the back of the head imagine a cable breaking. This could or would cause a catastrophic injury to the cervical area of the spinal cord leaving the trainee in a life altering/threatening state. In my estimation it is not worth it contrary to what you may read in the muscle mags or rag mags and I don't use it nor allow my trainees to use it while under my direction. If they insist then they move on because it is not allowed in my gym. I want strong powerful bodies, not injured ones.

Also can you explain sciatica nerve…

This is the largest nerve in the body and stretches from the nerve roots of the spinal column through the buttocks and into the lower limb. Damage or irritation to this nerve can cause intense pain throughout the lower torso.

Dr. Stuart McGill, a noted lower back specialist has developed stretching exercises for this that he calls ‘nerve flossing’. They work by stretching the nerves protective coating and releasing any tight spots in the pathways. A more descriptive explanation will be found on pages 242-243 in his excellent book Low Back Disorders. You can get this off of his website at www.backfitpro.com or through Human Kinetics

and how it disturbs martial arts trainers/athletes

Damaged or inflamed sciatica will adversely impair an athlete’s ability to run, sit, stand, lie down, or do much of anything except hurt.

and what are the best stretch exercises to strength the sciatica nerve?

See the previous brief explanation.

There is such much confusing information and very technique information about the energy systems we use everyday in our lives, can someone please explain in English how each energy systems is used

There are about four commonly talked about energy systems and all are working at the same time with an emphasis on particular ones during particular and specific times of exertion.

The most powerful is the ATP/CP which engages and supplies a major contribution of energy to high intensity high load short duration exertions that take place in under ten seconds of physical effort. This one is the main fuel source for the 100 meter sprint, for the Olympic weight lifters and the American football players amongst just a few. It is used with 90-100% 1RM loads with the primary source being phosphagen.

Next up is the fast glycolysis which is the breakdown of a compound such as glycogen or glucose by enzymes, producing pyruvic, a colorless acid that is formed as an intermediate compound during the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins or lactic acid, a colorless organic acid produced in muscles and releasing energy for use in the body. This is a quick way to utilize glycogen; a white compound (polysaccharide) stored in the liver and muscles of humans and animals and easily converted to glucose as a source of energy in the muscles. This normally is used with 75-90% 1RM loads for exercises lasting from 15-30 seconds.

Fast glycolysis and oxidative combined energy systems release energy when exercise is conducted at 30-75% 1RM for durations of 1-3 minutes. It is approaching the oxidative state which supplies the long distance folks with their energy to maintain a race pace for extended periods. In relation to resistance training the percentages are in the 20-35 percent ranges of a 1RM.

Again, these are not separate acting releases of energy producing compounds. They all act during motion but in various amounts at various times.

and what are the best energy systems to use for weight loss, strength training and resistance training and bodybuilding.

A combination of training that uses all the energy systems in an undulating periodization program designed for each of the goals mentioned. One will have an emphasis on strength, sarcoplasmic or myofibular hypertrophy, or weight loss.

Please refer to my website for more specifics on these topics.

Lactic acid what really causes
Lactic acid is a byproduct of muscle exertion and is a normal reaction to heavy unaccustomed work or workload. It has a tendency to irritate the muscle fibers and is a suspected culprit in DOMS. Most hard-core bodybuilders are able to tolerate this build up for greater lengths of time than other athletes are.

it and how to prevent lactic acid?

You don’t prevent it. You work around it and with it by applying proven training principles of appropriate loading patterns, sets, reps and work to rest ratios to name but a few.

What is the best way to get oxygen in the blood?

Breathe

How do you recognize when your clients or yourself don’t have enough oxygen flowing through your blood?

You will pass out, become light headed, and breathe heavily but maybe inefficiently. Your work capacity will be severely limited.

Oxygen how important is it really for the martial artist/athlete

Without oxygen you die and without the muscles receiving it they shut down and will not function. A martial artist/athlete without proper conditioning both aerobically and anaerobically will not win, pure and simple. The body must have the ability to take in and then use the oxygen if it is to survive.
and non active human bean.

I don’t know what a human bean is. If you mean human being then perhaps here is a brief answer. If the body is not used then it decays. There are three stages of training and living: stagnation, regression or progression. If you are not active then for a time you stagnate then you begin to regress until your muscles and cardiovascular systems can no longer support even basic life needs. Then you die.

Low Blood pressure what exercise should you avoid and why?

Low blood pressure is just what says it is; low. If the pressure is low then it’s not supplying the body with enough blood at the right times to properly function. I don’t have any specific exercises I avoid.

Your trainees should be filling our pre-exercise assessment forms to let you know if they have preconditions that you have to be aware of in order to set up a program for them that will not exacerbate their medical conditions.

----- Original Message -----
From: Linda
To: Danny
Sent: Sunday, April 01, 2007 9:15 PM
Subject: RE: can you please help me with my queries

Thank you Danny for you answers they have made things so clear for me. I am shocked because we did not touch much on rotator cuff and also we did not get taught ‘the shoulders are not a true ball and socket joint’. In our basic programming writing they told us to include lat pull downs but its amazing you don’t even use them at all.

I can not afford to go to Uni to do my degrees, here in Australia you can do short courses for Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainers and Fitness Specialist. In my fitness instructor we did very basic anatomy and physiology. Is there are excellent book that you can recommend that we give me excellent knowledge of understanding what to prescribe to different types of genders. I mean if some1 wants strength training you would concentrate on these things, if someone what’s to lose weight you would focus on these things etc etc.

Warmest Regards

Linda

Hi Linda,

I want to clear up  something; I do use the lat pull downs but not to back of the head. I use them for those who are unable to do a chin up or who do not have access to the jump stretch bands for assistance in doing a chin up.

The rotators are important muscles and need specific attention, especially if there is a lot of bench pressing going on in the program.

I would suggest you go to Amazon.com and buy the books Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning by Baechle and Earle and NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training also by Earle and Baechle. These two books will provide you with an excellent beginning reference library. You can expand from there. Over the course of a years time I generally spend in excess of $300 plus on books. If you are to be a successful trainer then it's my opinion that you need to know your stuff. The only way to do that is by studying daily on the subjects.

Training a female is the same as training a male. The differences in most cases will be in the load used by each. I have a few females who are lifting more than the average male right now. But they are highly trained lifters who are national, state and international caliber lifters with the records to back them up.

Strength training programs are designed in yearly periods that emphasize different phases of strength development such as hypertrophy, speed, strength, strength power, power...  Weight loss would see a shift in priorities to more calorie burning hypertrophy and higher repetitions per set workouts compared to strength training with its lower reps higher intensity of 1RM percentages and higher sets.

Are you a subscriber to my Explosivelyfit Training News? There are twice monthly articles that are specific to strength training issues.

I hope this helps.

Take care

Danny

----- Original Message ----- From: "Jon B
To: Danny
Sent: Friday, July 04, 2008 10:55 AM
Subject: Quick question about protein

Hi Danny,

I hope you can help answer a straight forward question for me. I've been trying to understand the numbers I've read about protein needs for athletes, you have a post on this topic from 2007:

http://www.pponline.co.uk/blog/protein-requirements-strength-athlete-23097-38096#comments

In the post you claim that the protein needs are around 1.2 - 1.7 grams per kilogram, I have consistently heard numbers like this. However you also say that 20-30% of calories should come from protein... but as far as I can tell these numbers do not jive. For example say I'm 70 kilograms I might be eating something like 3000 calories in a day, 20% of that is 600 and at 4 calories per gram of protein that means that I've consumed 150grams of protein!  That's 150/70 = 2.1 grams per kilogram of body weight! At 30% it increases to 3.2 grams per kilogram of body weight! These numbers seem very very high to me.

Is there something I'm missing here? Can you possible help me sort this out?

thanks a lot,
Jon B

Danny wrote:

Hi there,

Good questions and here are my answers to them. Your figures are right on the mark.

Let me explain a bit. As you are well aware, numerous sports dieticians recommend wide ranging dietary need percentages for different athletic endeavors. Then there are the athletes who have across the board. For instance, look at Bill Starr's recommendations; compare his to a registered dietician. It is a night, day difference but it worked for him, and he was a very successful Olympic lifter with the York Barbell team in years past.
The differences in the two ends of the spectrum are this: An elite athlete in heavy intense training may in fact tolerate and need the higher levels of daily protein. The Encyclopedia of Sports and Fitness Nutrition states that 5000 additional calories are needed to grow one pound of muscle. Liz Applegate PhD., the author goes on to say that studies indicate a person who is lifting weights needs an additional 50% over and above the daily recommended dosages of protein to keep growing the muscle tissues. Some athletes strongly disagree and add much more to their diet.

The RDA is currently set at .36 per pound, which in your case would be approximately 55.44 grams per day. Increasing an additional fifty percent boosts the requirement up to about 83.16 grams per day. In other words, you would need 332.64 protein calories in your diet every day to grow bigger.

However, and I should have been much clearer on this part, a trainee working out five to six days a week for forty five to sixty minutes would use the lower end of the grams per bodyweight scale, i.e. the
1.2 grams/kg. More intense exercise requirements would be near the upper end at the 1.7 per kg. These are the athletes lifting upwards of fourteen to sixteen times per week.

In your case, and I don't know how often, how much or how hard you hit
it each day, it works out to between 335-476 protein calories per day spread over the five to six meals you eat.

As for the percentage break downs of carbohydrate, fat and protein in your daily diet Nancy Clark, MS, RD in her excellent book Sports Nutrition Guidebook, available here, recommends 55-65%, 20-30% and 10-15% respectively. In your example diet of 3000 calories per day, this would break down into 1800 carbs, 750 fats and 450 proteins per day. The protein requirements she suggests are at the low end of the scale at about .73 if my calculations are somewhere in the ballpark.

As you continue to train you too will find the ideal combination that seems to work best for your needs at the time. These could be placebo enhancements or real physiological changes going on but in either case they work.

I am a believer in keeping the carbs high and the protein in the mid ranges for best results. Carbs keep you going and the protein keeps you growing without excess fat being laid on your frame. Too much protein, in my opinion, puts a strain on your kidneys.

I hope this helps out.

To: Danny
Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2008 11:35 AM
Subject: Quick question about protein

Hi Danny,

Thanks a lot for your response!  It was very helpful.

cheers,
-Jon

Questions and comments
Breakfast - cereal and a cup of coffee, 11 O'Clock - have some coffee and biscuits or crisps, Lunch have a sandwich or pizza and a cup of coffee, Dinner - have a main meal at about 6.30. Drink tea at about 7.30 go to bed at about 11pm.

Answer: What time are you getting up each day and is it consistent? Is your cereal sugar laden? I am not certain what a biscuit or crisp is but my suspicion is that it is along the lines of a donut here in the States. Are you eating a processed meat sandwich? Is your dinner meal a big one?

Based on my assumptions (and you know what it means to ‘assume’) and bearing in mind I am NOT a nutritionist here goes:

  • If you are not getting up at the same time some adjustments could be made by either going to bed a half hour or hour earlier. It is pretty important that you have uninterrupted sleep and then wake up on your own the next morning after approximately seven to eight hours of sleep

  • I would suggest you begin your day with a good mixture of carbohydrates and protein to keep your energy levels up and your body properly refueled until your next main meal. This should in all reality be your largest meal of the day as you have essentially been fasting all night long.

  • For your mid morning ‘pick me up snack’ you may consider changing from the biscuit or crisp to a much lower glycemic replacement. Food items such as apples, plums, raw pears, yogurt or apple juice just to name a few. What happens when you eat the foods you describe is your blood sugar goes very high which causes your body to react by injecting a massive dose of insulin to bring the levels back to normal. When this happens you get sleepy and in the process begin to lose energy.

  • For your lunch the same guidelines would apply keep the glycemic index in mind so you continue to have energy for the rest of the day.

  • Supper should be a light meal with a good balance of quality foods from the food groups of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

  • Is your tea causing you to wake up at night to go to the bathroom? If so consider not drinking any fluids after 1800 hours each day.

Comment
Lack of complete motivation if I feel anyway tired I put off training till the nest day.

Answer: Speaking from experience as a strength and conditioning coach at my High School; keeping up the enthusiasm takes its toll on my energy stores.

The motivation I use for myself is that of being a good role model and displaying a life style that exemplifies what I not only teach but what I believe in. In addition I want to remain as strong as possible for as long as possible. Plus I believe in the insurance actuary charts that show a healthy life leads to a longer and more productive meaningful life right up to the end. Those who do not subscribe or practice this lifestyle have a gradually deteriorating health pattern. I suppose it all gets down to this: I do not want to be a burden on my children when I get old and frail.

As for being tired that is one of the signs of depression or poor eating habits. You did not mention your age but are you going through the change of life? If so I would encourage you to see a doctor and have a full medical work up to make certain things are where they are supposed to regarding hormone levels, blood pressure, cholesterol and other such common alignments as we get older.

If you are young then the same recommendations hold true. Find out what is wrong and get it fixed for your own sake.

I have found not only in my cases but others as well it is important to put as check on the calendar each day to remind you that YOU have done something positive for YOU and no one else. This simply means you push or drag yourself into the physical activity each and everyday, unless you are extremely active in your position as a Phys Ed coach.

Bear in mind personal exercise is much different than teaching classes where you are forced to be active. Some of my most productive sessions have been the result of forcing myself into the weight room for just a ‘few sets’ then out. Try it out and see for yourself. These don’t have to be long but at least start and see where they lead.

Comment
No because I make up excuses like I am too tired, I haven't eaten so I must eat first and then I am to full to do anything

Answer: If you miss one session it is very easy to miss the second and succeeding ones down the line. If you feel like eating then this may be the time for you to have a high glycemic snack to get you going. Something like a sports drink, hard candy, pancakes or waffles and syrup or honey. All of these spike your sugar levels and increase your energy BUT the down side is they tend to make you tired if they are not used up during your exercise period. You have identified two reasons for not exercising; tired and need food. Now that is over you could consider just pushing yourself into the weight room or onto the bicycle for a short workout, one you know you could survive even if you were tired or a bit hungry.

Comment
Because I feel that my health will suffer in the long run. I have always being extremely active up until the last 2 Years. I  am a PE teacher and I have had a knee injury and have found it very difficult to get back into any sort of exercise. I enjoy all physical activity and I am determined to succeed.

Answer: You are correct in the fact; your health will suffer not only in the long run but the short run as well. Even now, you don’t have the energy to do what you want to do so it is already affecting your life negatively!

I have had eleven knee surgeries from the most basic scope to a total rebuild of the right one in 1986. I was able to come back and squat in excess of 500 pounds within a year and a half. I am a bit older now so that will not happen again. (Update I had had a total knee replacement in July of 2006.)

Did you fully regain full range of motion in your knee? Do you have equal strength in both legs? Are your measurements equal side to side on each knee. If not, have it evaluated by a doctor then enter into a physical therapist care for the correct rehabilitation of the previously injured knee.

If in fact you are determined to succeed then you will begin to exercise even if you are tired or hungry or whatever the excuse may be at the time.

Comment:
Design a personal exercise programme and help me with some motivation techniques to keep me on course.

Answer:
I can do this, just go to the Online training page here and sign up for the program you want to use to get healthier.

If you have any questions please get a hold of me again.

Danny

----- Original Message -----
From: Stephanie
To: Danny
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2007 11:09 PM
Subject: Improving

Hi,

For school we have to pick two subjects in athletics and research how to improve them. I picked shot-put and sprinting. I was wondering if you have any tips to improve, and how you do them properly?

Thank you for reading my email, please help!

From

Stephanie

Good morning Stephanie,

Thank you for the inquiry.

You didn't mention your age so the information is generic in nature. Age makes a difference in the percentages used in the exercises whereas gender, i.e. females, can begin strength training at an earlier biological time than a male.

I am a strength coach and in that capacity I help athletes and others who want to improve their health get strong and powerful. I don't spend time on the techniques of the two sports you mentioned as that is within the purview of the individual sport coaches realm. You will need to discuss how to do the shot put and sprints better with the onsite coach. As for getting stronger and more powerful you have come to the right place.

Both are explosive sports and each requires a strong base of strength followed by the power training cycle.

The strength base is built with four to five sets of six to eight repetitions of 70-85% of a tested one rep maximum. This will last approximately six to eight weeks before transitioning into the power phase.

The power is built upon the strength and is generally developed with loads anywhere from 35-75% 1RM, for six to nine sets of 2-3 reps. On these sets the bar speed is kept very high for each rep and is timed either by a stop watch or electronically if you have access to one of these devices-I don't right now but am looking into getting one this year.

Next are your accessory exercises that will complement the main ones you have chosen such as the shoulders, chest upper back, legs, calves, abs, lower back and arms. These will be done for three to four sets of eight to twelve after the main ones are finished. For example, do your set of squats for your legs and then turn around and do three to four sets of eight to twelve sets of Roman Chair squats.

I hope this helps you out.

Question:


I'm a little confused on how long I should wait in between strength training sessions. I was always told 2 days but now someone has told me that if I do an intensive lower body training session I should wait an entire week before going back to that muscle group to allow a true and full recovery. Is this true

Answer:

In my opinion a week is way to long to wait between sessions. Your muscles will be into the detraining zone. Two days isn't bad but you lose a lot of training time waiting. I would not suggest a one weeks wait in between muscle groups, even the largest muscles in your body, i.e. your back and legs should be recovering within two to three days at the most. The majority will recover within one to two days even after an intense workout. Are you getting my training newsletter? If so I am addressing recovery issues for the next several months.

Elite athletes are lifting up to 14 times a week. You may not be in the elite ranks right now so it may be better to lift according to your experience level. For instance, if you have been lifting under six months then twice a week will get you going. Over six months you may consider three times per week. In my gym after a year of training time I have many of my trainees on a four day program. With the exception of my competitive athletes I am not saying I want them in my gym four times a week. Since most of them have their own gear I eventually want them lifting at home or elsewhere. I am not in favor of creating a dependent relationship with those who train with me. I expect them to learn and apply what they have learned to their own circumstances by thinking about their training and discovering what is working and what isn't, then they plan their own course of action.

Taking into consideration the issue of muscle soreness as a reason to wait seven days; if you are still sore seven days post exercise then you have possibly suffered an injury. On the other hand being sore is not an indicator that you need to stop exercising as this soreness will evaporate shortly after the first one or two movement specific warm up sets. Joint tightness helps produce more power output as the joints aren't fighting a loose set up but are instead closer to the levers actual working ranges.


Stay strong mentally and physically, and remain passionately committed to your hearts chosen path. Danny M. O'Dell, M.A. CSCS*D

Providing medical advice is not the intent or purpose of this site. We assume no liability for the information contained in these pages if it is taken as medical advice. Always consult with your primary health care provider before beginning any new exercise program.

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