Saturday, June 18, 2016

The 5 Lower Body Technique Mistakes You've Been Making [Muscle & Strength]

"Your legs aren’t growing. You’ve tried everything: squats, deadlifts, Olympic lifts, lunges, low reps, high reps, two-a-days, protein powders, and blood flow restrictionYou name it, you’ve tried it and it didn’t work. Your legs bring new meaning to the expression “hardgainer.”

The one aspect of training that you may (perhaps unknowingly) have failed to master, though, is proper form...."

Continue reading my new article, The 5 Lower Body Technique Mistakes You've Been Making, at The article includes side-by-side videos of proper and improper form. The videos were painstakingly crafted to make the errors crystal clear for your viewing and educational pleasure.

Click the link to continue reading:


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

4 Easy, Reliable, and Valid Fitness Tests to Measure Progress

Guest Post by Jen Sinkler

“What gets measured gets improved.” It may be clichéd to quote leadership expert Robin Sharma in yet another fitness post, but you know why clichés are a thing? Because they’re based in reality. And this quote nails it.

We’re flush in an age where tracking your fitness is fashionable. From Garmins to Fitbits to Apple Watches, collecting and measuring data has never been easier. But is there something they’re missing? 

When clients and gym members ask how to measure progress, it usually turns into a discussion revisiting what exactly they’d like to achieve. If their method of tracking isn't measuring what they actually want to improve, I’m wasting their precious time.

At The Movement Minneapolis, the gym I co-own with my husband, David Dellanave, we use custom-built tracking software to measure every workout. In the context of strength, we make it easy for members to see if they’ve loaded more on the bar or if they’ve become able to perform a few more reps week by week. They periodically test their strength in the way of five-, three-, or (for some clients) one-rep max attempts, keeping the intensity appropriate for their lifting experience.

As I mentioned earlier, for a test to be valid, it needs to measure what you’d like to improve. Another key piece of the puzzle is finding a reliable test. Meaning, you’re able to reproduce it so that you can compare each data point objectively and learn if you’re headed in the right direction or not. As we say at the gym, “better questions lead to better answers.”

Measuring strength is pretty simple — achieving the same range of motion, can you lift more than the previous week or max attempt? Cardiovascular endurance is also straightforward — assuming you’re running the same distance each time, are your times increasing or decreasing?

But how do we effectively measure athletic qualities? The plot thickens, and I’m so glad you asked. (Or that I pretended that you did, rather.)

Enter the Broad Jump, 10- and 40-Yard Dash and Pro Agility tests. I like these tests for several reasons:
  • They measure qualities that are applicable to training goals involving speed, agility, and explosive power.
  • Their simplicity allows for reliable results, allowing me to know for certain if I’m moving the needle in the direction I want to go, or if I need to make adjustments in my training.
  • They’re easy to do with minimal equipment. You need only a little space, a tape measure, and a stopwatch.

If you’re interested in measuring your current athleticism in this manner, try the tests below.