Monday, August 26, 2013

'The Scientific 7-Minute Workout' Revised

In a recent New York Times article, The Scientific 7-Minute Workout, fitness columnist Gretchen Reynolds relates the findings of a couple of Florida-based strength and conditioning specialists (see the original ACSM article here).

When it comes to exercise, Reynolds reports that less is more. That is, science shows that the days of spending an hour straight on the stationary bike are over. The caveat? The few minutes you do spend training each day must be all-out, maximum effort.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

8 Things I Saw Today That Made Me Cringe

As a personal trainer, it's my job to ensure my clients practice good technique. Unfortunately, though, when I'm at a gym besides my own, I have to keep my mouth shut. After all, how would you like it if a stranger walked up to you while you were training and told you that you were doing an exercise wrong?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Plug-and-play Program Design

Program writer's block happens to even the very best from time to time. Even when we are inspired, we sometimes look back on our training log to find we've repeated our favorite movements while neglecting and undertraining others.

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One simple, practically automated way to make sure we get everything we need in the proper proportions is to fill in this "giant set" template, based on the categories laid out in The Case for Full Body, Movement-based Training...

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Little Bit of Everything

A few months ago, I took a trip with my mentor to a CrossFit gym a couple friends of ours own. The WOD that day was "Fran" – a brutal back-and-forth between barbell thrusters and kipping pull-ups.

At the time, I'd heard a lot of experts attack CrossFit. As we watched on, I asked my mentor what his own argument against this type of training was. Given his general bent towards bodybuilding, powerlifting, and Boyle-esque functional training, his response surprised me.

"I have none," he told me. "I would definitely do this workout."


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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Case for Full Body, Movement-based Training

Does your one-rep max loaded pull-up equal your one-rep max barbell bench press? If not, you may be in need of a paradigm shift from muscles to movement.

In order to hit all the major muscle groups, many folks utilize split training. That is, over the course of a week, they might do chest one day (usually Monday, when they're fresh), back the next day, shoulders and arms the third day, and legs and abs the last day. Unless you're a bodybuilder -- and even then -- this protocol hardly makes sense for several reasons.

"Split Training"
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Friday, August 2, 2013

Is CrossFit For You? Or Anybody?

People ask me all the time what I think of CrossFit. For starters, there's nothing like CrossFit in terms of equipment selection, bodyweight mastery, intensity, variety, skill development, competition, community, and progress tracking. 

That said, before you head to the nearest CrossFit box, you must first ask yourself a few questions. Can you...
  1. Deadlift without rounding your back?
  2. Deep squat without compensation?
  3. Do perfect full range-of-motion push-ups?
  4. Do strict pull-ups unassisted?
  5. Box jump without a sound?
  6. Olympic lift?

    Is CrossFit For You? Or Anybody?
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