Here’s an update of what I have been up to:
“If you don’t touch the bar to your chest your reps don’t count!” Or “You are not doing a REAL bench press”
These are the old high school weight room rules and does not apply any more. Sure, if you are a powerlifter you must touch the bar to your chest to make the lift in competition. Most of us working out in the gym are not powerlifters and have much different goals. Touching the bar to your chest can be very rough on the shoulders especially if you lack the range of motion. Many people can’t even use the bench press because it bothers their shoulders let alone bring it all the way to their end range of motion with heavy weight.
Many people have tight calves for various reasons: Poor gait mechanics, wearing raised heals, bad posture, or simply from their genetics. This results in a lack of ankle mobility. Dorsiflexion, which is the motion when the toes are brought closer to the shin, will be limited with tight calves and can cause a number of problems.
Those who stretch consistently typically stretch their calves, but they often forget one very important stretch: The soleus stretch.
The two muscles of the calf are the gastrocnemius and the soleus. While other muscles do exist around the back of the lower leg and knee, these are the two that we most concerned with.
The soleus is the dominant muscle being used when pointing your foot in a bent knee position.
It’s that time of year again!!
Everyone’s motivation is high to get in shape. I say use it and get a jump start on your workouts!
A few tips on your New Year’s fitness plans:
So let's get workin out!
Beginner Workout: Do all exercises in a row for 1 round. Do 4-6 rounds with 1-2 minute rests in between. Longer rests can be taken if needed.
You may have heard it takes 21 consecutive days of doing something to make it a habit. Good or bad. This concept greatly applies to changing your lifestyle in order to achieve your fitness goals.
Ok, so being someone who likes to back up his information with research, I will say that the 21 day rule is not a definitive mark for COMPLETELY forming ALL new habits or breaking old ones. Some may take 2 weeks while other habits may take almost a year. The point is this: after roughly 3 weeks of solid effort to eat well and exercise, your new fitness lifestyle becomes MUCH easier to maintain. Remember that it always takes work beyond 21 days, but your discomfort while doing it becomes much less.
For those of us who like to “bulk” and “cut”, it is now time to bulk or as I rather call it, do a muscle building phase. There has been some backlash on this method lately for good reason. A “bulking” phase does not mean eat and drink everything in sight. That is not the right way to build muscle and it actually makes it harder to lose fat come time for the “cutting” phase. I’m also convinced it makes problem areas more problematic. Believe me, I know too well.
Recently I was reminded of how much additional activity is needed for those with a sedentary lifestyle to lose fat. Most of us have a sedentary job which we drive to and then get home to sit in front of another computer or TV.
Active Jobs Make a Big Difference
The average sedentary woman will burn 1,750 cals a day and average man 2,300 cals a day. Take those same people and put them on their feet with light activity for 8 hours a day and now they burn 2,250 and 3,000 cals respectively. This activity level would describe such occupations as a nurse, server, or small-medium package handler. If you take these two people and have them at a job with moderate labor, they now burn 2,900 and 3,500 calories respectively. That is a difference of 500-1200 calories burned per day!
As a trainer, it is EXTREMELY easy to make those with active jobs lose fat. Give them a few extra workouts a week, make them adhere to a healthy diet, and watch them lose fat at an incredible rate. For the sedentary individual this happens MUCH slower as one would expect by the numbers above. They need to have their nutrition near perfect in order to lose fat at a considerable rate.
A Hard Workout
If you have lower back issues or had them in the past, then you must take precaution when performing your daily activities and chores. It is important to use proper lifting posture while doing simple things like lifting objects off the ground or in this instance a not so simple task as swinging an axe.
Give it a try and you will find how hard it really is. I was so excited to split wood when I moved back up in the “mountains” some years ago I did it for 4 hours with only minimal breaks. My body was shaking so hard I could barely walk home and I nearly puked.
Why split wood for exercise:
I grew up doing this chore as we needed adequate firewood for the winter and was shown to do so by my father. With that said, I am no expert in lumberjack sports. So there might be a more powerful or faster way to split logs, but this technique is used to save your lower back and utilize your legs. Last I looked there was no log splitting event in competition.
Use these sound concepts:
Set up the log on another larger piece of wood. This will make splitting much more effective and you won’t have to swing as far down reducing the strain on the lower back.
Square up your stance to the log, with your feet shoulder width apart or wider. As with any overhead axe swing, begin with one hand at the end of the handle and other towards the axe head. Keep your back straight the entire time.
Periodization in a Nutshell
Periodization is an essential part of your program design. Without it, you will quickly plateau in your ability to build muscle and strength. Periodization is a strategically designed workout plan for a number of weeks and/or months that includes specific acute variables. These variables consist of reps, sets, tempo, rest, intensity, overall training volume, and structure of your workouts. They may also include changes in exercises throughout the weeks and months.
A Simple Plan to Build Muscle
With undulating periodization for the purpose of hypertrophy you alternate between volume and intensity throughout a specific time frame. Here we will alternate every 2 weeks. This differs from linear periodization where volume decreases and intensity increases over time. This is not to say undulating is better than linear periodization in all instances.
Jerry Yuhara, CPT, CES, CMT #75123
4193 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
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