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Fight Conditioning: How To Build An Engine That Won't Gas Out

Aug 31, 2015

The easiest way to lose a fight is to gas out. When this fatigue sets in, not only are your muscles weaker, but you also make poor decisions because of it. This is why proper conditioning is absolutely essential.

But how do you do it? If you know a little bit of physiology, it’s actually not that difficult to understand.

A fighter of mine recently competed in a tournament, so I’m going to use his case study to illustrate how someone like him would want to prepare for a fight.

INITIAL ASSESSMENT

First, I had him send me a bunch of pictures and videos to get an idea of his muscle balance/imbalance.

After that, I had him perform multiple conditioning tests.

From this assessment, I can come up with a rough outline for what he needs to work on.

Here are my notes on his assessment (we’ll define these abbreviated terms soon):

  • - Extended posture; obvious need for deep abdominal muscles
  • - Not in pain
  • - HRR to 130 BPM took 1m50s (biggest weakness)
  • - RHR...
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What Causes Muscles To Grow

Aug 23, 2015

There are a million articles and programs offering up the next secret (aka, gimmick/fad/farce) method for packing on tons of muscle. Rather than give you some, “top secret” approach or quick tip that will have you spinning your wheels in the gym, I’d rather explain to you the overall concept of what has to happen for you to add muscle mass to your frame. As an overall concept, what I would like to get across to you in this article is that the human body doesn’t want to put on muscle mass.You have to make a conscious decision to do something that is incredibly uncomfortable and jarring to your organism so that you give your body no other choice but to pack on more muscle so that it can defend itself from the same stressor if it is encountered again. Gaining muscle mass is hard work that never ends. Following the application of significant stress to your body, you need to recover. The recovery period is where you add new proteins to your muscles so...

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What Causes Muscles To Grow Part II: The Science Edition

Aug 23, 2015

To truly be able to understand topics, we need to be able to see the forest through the trees, but we also have to stare at some bark. The big picture in regards to muscle growth says that we have to stress the body with mechanical loading, create some heat, and feel an acid load during training, and then we have to recover effectively in the aftermath. The small details of muscle hypertrophy can be quite confusing, and modern researchers are far from understanding all of the intricacies of the pathways associated with growth and breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue. Despite the long road ahead for anabolism based researchers in elucidating all of the pathways associated with what it takes to pack on muscle tissue, there are some things that we can point to with some certainty as being extremely important factors involved with the cellular and molecular regulation of muscle mass.

THE RATE LIMITING FACTOR

Discovering the rate limiting factor of complex inter and intracellular...

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How To Use Low Intensity Plyometrics To Facilitate Maximal Strength Gains

Aug 11, 2015

Since the times of Ancient Greece, athletes have explored ways to get stronger, jump higher, and run faster. Each generation of new athletes have attempted to push the barrier and break previous records. It was with this quest in mind that Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky stumbled upon and created “shock” training. In the Western world, this is known as the plyometric method. So what exactly is a plyometric? A plyometric exercise is one that utilizes the stretch-shortening cycle or myostatic stretch reflex.

The myostatic stretch reflex occurs when elastic energy is stored within the tendons and muscles following a rapid stretch, such as during an eccentric contraction. If a concentric contraction directly follows, as happens during a plyometric exercise, then the stored energy is released and it contributes to total force production.

If you're having trouble visualizing this, think of it like stretching and launching a rubber band very quickly.  The...

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The 23 Hour Plan: How To Maximize Your Time Outside The Gym

Aug 11, 2015

We talk a lot about what to do in the gym. How many sets? Reps? What weight should I use? What are the best exercises for building a huge deadlift? But training is, like, one hour of the day, so what are you doing during the other 23?

While those hours may not seem all that important, you better have them dialed in because I can guarantee it's affecting your training.

Thus, let me quickly layout for you The 23 Hour Plan:  your guide to making the most of your time outside the gym.

SLEEP

Sleep is the ultimate form of rest. Shut your body off → tweak your brain activity → dream about Anna Kendrick → hopefully wake up refreshed.

There are a lot of things that go into waking up feeling refreshed, so here are some tips.

SLEEP QUANTITY: SLEEP 7-9 HOURS A NIGHT

Experiment to find what works for you. If you listen to the other points I’m about to make, you probably won’t need quite as many hours.

SHOOT FOR THE SAME WAKE AND BED TIMES EACH...

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The Minimal Adaptable Load And What It Means For Your Training

Aug 10, 2015

As coaches and athletes we’re always in pursuit of the same thing:

PROGRESS

And that progress will come in many different shapes and sizes. For one person it may mean losing 15 lbs, for another it may mean deadlifting 500lbs, and for another it may mean winning a world championship.

At the end of the day, however, progress is always the uniting principle by which we can gauge the effectiveness of a training program:

Is it taking you/he/she closer towards their goal?

If yes, then you’re making progress.

If no, then you’re not.

BUT, here's the magical question:  how do I or my athletes make progress?

The answer...stress.

But not just any stress, it has to be the right type of stressor, at the right time, in the right amount.  If any of those factors are off, then you won't be incurring the type of positive adaptation you're looking for.

While there are many variables to consider when putting together a comprehensive training program, I'd like to...

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Performance Based Nutrition: How to Forge Your Own Plan

Apr 18, 2015

“I’m absolutely stuffed; I feel like I’m going to explode. I’m so dead from eating all of this food but I can only eat so much (incredible laughter ensues)...On the way home, can we stop at a gas station to grab a few muscle milks?” While sitting in a Chipotle in Columbus, Ohio, Zach Hadge sat complaining about his “sour belly” from the bolus of food he just had. Except, bolus is an exaggeration and it was maybe more like a forkful

Immediately after hearing this I started laughing because I knew once I looked at his plate it was going to be full. Sure enough, it was, it literally could have been returned for full price. It looked like he did nothing more than twirl around some sour cream. He should have been starving, on account of the fact that he missed breakfast, and trying to gain weight for the Arnold.  Instead, he ate minimal food, and drank maybe two of the four muscle milks we got on the way home.

Now I am not sharing this...

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The Cloud Atlas of Program Design

Mar 09, 2015

You have to figure out what you want in life. Not what you say you want, but what you actually want. I don’t really know what I want at this point. I have ambiguous thoughts about things that would be nice. These are things I might say to myself inside my own head right now, like…I’d like to be really strong…I’d like to learn a lot of powerful information in regards to being an awesome strength and conditioning coach, personal trainer, and mentor…I’d like to be financially successful and well marketed within the fitness industry…I’d like a lot of people to know who I am and to think very highly of me. Are any of these things truly tangible goals? Not really. Do I have specific actionable steps to put in place to help me reach these vague things? When I’m honest with myself, the answer is no. I’m floating in some ways. What I need is a specific goal to reach. What I need is a plan to get there.

...

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SLOW DOWN (AND STOP) YOUR LIFTS FOR BIG GAINS: AN OVERVIEW OF TRIPHASIC TRAINING

Nov 18, 2014

During my time at Defrancos Training Systems, formerly of New Jersey, I was exposed to a crazy idea: every lift, every cut in sports, every time you take a step, you’re in one of three phases of movement. 

You are slowing down (eccentric contractions)

Reversing or stopping the movement (isometric contraction or amortization)

Propelling yourself or a body segment to a different space all together (concentric contraction)

The idea of the different phases of movement is not anything revolutionary, but to train each separately to build up a lift or dynamic movement to a whole new level was!

The idea came from strength and conditioning coach Cal Dietz from the University of Minnesota and PHD candidate Ben Peterson. Both coauthored Triphasic Training: A Systematic Approach to Elite Speed and Explosive Strength Training Performance. While the programming in the latter parts of the book may be a little complicated, the beginning and background on the breakdown of...

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Top 4 Benefits of The Bear Crawl Exercise and How To Do It Properly

Oct 28, 2014

In this post, you will learn about the top 4 benefits of the bear crawl exercise and how to do it properly.

On your mark…get set…go! And we were off.  Pseudo running/crawling our way to the 20-yard line.

As we reached the 20-yard line, someone tripped over their hands and fell flat on their face, while the rest of us made the turn back towards the starting the line.

The return trip was rather uneventful, and we all crossed unscathed jumping up to cheer on the rest of our team.  I’m not entirely sure how the event ended, or even how old I was, but I vividly remember my first bear crawl experience.

Maybe you can relate to the above story.  You get put in teams, someone yells go, you “run” as fast as you can on all fours, and then watch as everyone else does the same.  It may have served as conditioning, a mild form of punishment, or just to fill time, but either way we’re on the same page.

Although the competition and...

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