Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cardio That Doesn’t Suck

As its name obviously implies, strength and conditioning is comprised of two components: (1) strength and (2) conditioning. Despite the many years I spent training in the pool, I’ve always been more of a fan of the strength part, with the conditioning coming as a byproduct. This meme explains it best:

Photo courtesy:

Despite my bias towards resistance training methods for both strength AND conditioning, I do — on occasion — subscribe to more traditional forms of conditioning. I’m even perfectly happy with individuals choosing whichever piece of equipment they find most enjoyable (treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, stair master, etc.). No one of them is really that much better than another.

But what I’m NOT talking about is slogging away on the damn thing for an hour. Although there may be a time and place for long, slow, steady state cardio, now probably isn’t itInstead, the focus should be on interval training, whereby we alternate periods of easier and harder effort. In fact, each of the workouts I describe below takes just 20 minutes, of which only 10 minutes are actually strenuous, since each session begins and ends with 5 minutes easy.

Saturday, March 29, 2014 Workouts for Facebook Fit Chicks

Gaining muscle and losing fat is all about training full-body, compound movements and maximizing the amount of time spent working compared to resting.

As such, I created three mini-circuit full-body workouts that hit all of the major muscle groups. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced trainee, every workout can either be done at home (requires a resistance band) or in the gym.

Check out all the workouts over at

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lower Body Power for All Ages and Stages

What do Michael Jordon skying for a slam dunk, Wayne Gretsky blasting a slap shot, and Randy Johnson hurling a fastball all have in common? Each feat occurs in a fraction of a second.

In order to thrive at sport -- and in life -- there is no doubt we have to be strong. But strength alone isn't enough. We also have to be powerful. That is, we have to be able to generate force rapidly.

It turns out that it's also power, not strength, that has the biggest influence on function as we grow older. Being able to produce force quickly enables us to do things like stand up from the sofa and avoid falling if we trip.

Power is clearly essential on the playing field as well as off. But how do we train for it in the gym? The clean and the snatch come to mind, but not everyone is cut out for those lifts, at least not right away.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to develop power that are less risky than the Olympic lifts and still highly effective. In this post, I provide descriptions and videos for 7 of the very best lower body power exercises that young and old alike can enjoy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Men's Health Next Top Trainer

Hey, faithful readers! Please vote me Men's Health Next Top Trainer:

It takes only a few seconds, and you can vote every day through 4/3. Thank you for your vote!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Brand-spanking New to Resistance Training

Beginning a resistance training program can be a daunting task, especially for folks who've never stepped foot in a gym before. Just last week, I received an e-mail from an old friend in this very pickle who wanted some tips. Below is the exchange (more or less!):

Dear Fitness Pollenator,

Hi! As you know, I'm brand-spanking new to resistance training. I've been reading your blog for a while now, but I'm still a little lost. I want to start a two- or three-day a week training program (30 to 45 minute sessions), and I have access to most standard equipment. What kind of routine should I follow?

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Monday, March 3, 2014

FitPro Client Recipes: Abs of Steel That Aren't Just For Show

Anti-movement core exercises are all the rage these days, and for good reason. Athletes and old folks alike benefit from these exercises that improve the ability to resist motion.

Check out my guest post on Karen Ruffle's Fit Pro Client Recipes site, titled 'Abs of Steel That Aren't Just For Show,' where I go into detail about how to set up and coach eight of the best anti-movement core exercises: