Archive for the ‘Quick Tip’ Category

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your conditioning programming (as opposed to strength/power programming) has to be super fancy. Especially if you are focusing on energy systems rather than muscular endurance, you don’t need to have a workout containing 12 different complicated movements. In fact, having too many complex movements in a workout where you will be trying to complete them while extremely fatigued can be a recipe for an injury. Keep it simple. Focus on a small number of movements in a workout, and try to choose options where either a) form breakdown is not extreme (ie box jumps), or b) form breakdown will not result in a huge potential for injury (ie burpees). #allgo


…when training for strength and power. Too often I hear about people switching from Anderson Front Squats one week to Front Box Squats with chains another week. Take it from someone who made that mistake. It’s not necessary and can even slow your progress. Focus on the basics: power Olympic lifts, front and back squats, deadlifts, bench and row, and overhead press and pull-up. If you mix up your rep count and sets effectively and add in the proper remedial work, you don’t need a ton of exercise variation. #allgo


There was a period of about 6 months (anyone who grapples I’m sure has had this at some point) where I had either broken or dislocated toes on each foot constantly. Because I could barely handle toe extension when doing bodyweight lunges (loading was out of the question) I stopped doing lunges and split squats. In retrospect I could have done Bulgarian split squats or pistols. To be honest, if there is one area of my training which I tend to slack on it’s single leg work. I hate it, because I’m not good at it. Hence, I took the opportunity to ignore this part of my training. This week I had a couple of reminders about the importance of single leg work.

First, I hit a PR I have been working towards for a while. 250# power clean. The next day I was working with another trainer on the gym floor, and noticed that I am still unable to do a bodyweight pistol. This is a pretty ridiculous and embarrassing imbalance.

Secondly, I was talking to an Olympic lifter buddy of mine this week. He has taken the entire month off bilateral squat work to only do unilateral stuff. His Olympic lifts, to my surprise, have gone up this month. He recommended a ‘front loaded, front-foot-elevated split squat’ to me the other day. I couldn’t find a video of it, but here’s a video of a front loaded Bulgarian split squat, another great unilateral leg exercise.

Single leg work is great for balance and injury prevention. It obviously has a ton of application to sport, and, as evidenced by my Olympic lifter buddy, it can improve your Olympic lifts and squats. Generally I’m pretty proud to say I work my tail off in the gym and have a pretty balanced program, but this is one area where I really need to get serious about improving. Join me? #allgo

Quick Tip: Stop Training!

Posted: January 31, 2013 in Quick Tip
Tags: , ,

best-planking-pics-29-850x508When Joe Public starts at a gym, his biggest road-block in regards to fitness (nutrition aside) tends to be consistency. In my personal experience, and from what I have observed in other athletes, sometimes dedicated athletes have the opposite problem. We run our bodies into the ground, and then when we are flirting with over-training, we keep going because we think that that is what you have to do to break through a plateau. Bottom line: you are not a machine. Under Amour ads and ego aside, you are a person who needs rest and breaks. Pay attention to your body and your mental state. Are you plateaued? Constantly fatigued? Low appetite? Dreading every gym session? Yeah, maybe you just have to push through it, but maybe you need some time off. Program deload weeks into your training, and if you are a really serious athlete, take at least 2 weeks a year where you do absolutely nothing physical except stretch. Taking time off if you are over-trained isn’t giving in. It’s being smart. Recognize if your body needs a reset, and give it the time it needs so that you can come back strong. #allchill


MMA as well as many other sports require lots of different physical capacities for athletes. You have to be powerful to have a quick double-leg. You have to be flexible to throw a head kick. You have to have good conditioning to kickbox after shooting six times in a row. The more things you attempt to improve at once, the smaller the improvements in each individual area will be. Sure, you may be able to both snatch 200# for the first time and break a 20 minute 5k in the same month. However, chances are you would have seen greater improvement in one area if you had focused on that one area alone. Feel yourself being tossed around during grappling? Take the month off from conditioning and squat heavy several times a week. Breathing heavy after sprawling twice? Drop the heavy power cleans for a month and make friends with burpees. Yes, you can get stronger while doing some conditioning, but make sure your training has a clear emphasis. The more focused your training, the better the results will be. #allgo

Focus some of your prehab attention on the lower portion of the trap for improved bench, overhead pulls, and shoulder injury prevention. Not sure what I’m talking about? The lower trap is indicated by the bottom arrow in the picture below.


TYI’s are one of my favourite shoulder prehab exercises. They also did wonders for reorganizing my separated shoulder a year ago. TYI’s do a good job of hitting the lower portion of the trap if done with proper scapular positioning. This video isn’t great, but I had trouble finding a decent one. In my opinion the athlete here moves way too quickly. This exercise should be done at a more deliberate pace.


As many of you know, it can be difficult to keep up with your regular workouts over the holidays. Gyms are closed, there are additional social events, traveling, etc. Before you get into the thick of things with Christmas and New Years, set out a specific plan for yourself about which days you are going to get your workouts in. In addition, program some workouts for yourself that require minimum equipment and can be done in a variety of locations. Find a hill around your house, throw some weight plates in a backpack, and do some sprints. See how fast you can complete a couple hundred burpees. We all need some R and R here and there, but don’t use the holidays as an excuse to slack completely! #allgo