Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Best Way to Do Single-Leg Exercises for Booty Gains

Axially loaded, bilateral exercises [which are done while standing on two feet with the resistance directed downward (e.g. gravity)] are widely regarded as being awesome. After all, who doesn’t love to squat and deadlift?

If there’s one knock on these exercises, though, it’s that they don’t do a great job of targeting the booty (AKA "dat ass"), especially in the range of motion it needs it the most: full hip extension, or even a small degree of hyperextension.

Luckily (for all the booties out there), somewhere along the line single-leg versions of the squat and deadlift came along. Due to their narrower base of support (one footprint instead of the area between two), these exercises require tremendous balance and hip stability (i.e. booty work), which may even make them more specific to sports.

This specificity has led some strength coaches to favor single-leg exercises over their bilateral counterparts (while others berate said freethinkers for abandoning tradition). I certainly can’t blame the unilateral proponents, although as an amputee I’m admittedly biased. My personal favorites, by the way, are reverse lunges, single-leg Romanian deadlifts (RDL), and step-ups.

The Best Way to Do Single-Leg Exercises for Booty Gains

Regardless of whether exercises on one leg or two lead to better performance on the field or court, one thing is for sure: single-leg exercises work the booty a whole lot more -- especially when performed with the twist I’m about to describe.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Which Squat Depth is Best FOR YOU?

The other day I got into a huge argument with a physical therapist friend (and avid bodybuilder) over squat depth. It was so heated, it almost came to blows.

Well, maybe the physical violence part is a stretch. (He's much bigger than me, especially in the biceps, and could definitely beat me up.) But it was a pretty fiery exchange — until we busted out pen and paper, drew out the stick figures above, and realized we were actually saying the same thing! Sit back, relax, and allow me to explain.

First and foremost, we agreed that squat depth is a highly individual matter. It depends on a slew of factors including hip anatomy, limb lengths, training age, training status (i.e. time of season), and goals. No one depth recommendation will apply to every single person.

With that said, there are certainly instances where we can pretty reliably recommend one depth over another. Here are a few examples.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Lats are the Glutes of the Upper Body []

A quick Google search reveals that only two other people in the history of the Internet have uttered the exact phrase “the lats are the glutes of the upper body.”

(To be precise, there were multiple search results, but the others were merely Retweets.) 

Despite the fact that this idea is not original, it has yet to be expounded on. I gladly take the bait in my new guest post for Dean Somerset.

♫ I like big lats and I cannot lie. You other sisters can't deny that when a guy walks in with an itty bitty waist and a wide back in your face, you get sprung.
- Sir Pollenates-A-Lot

Read all about how the back muscles are the buttocks of the upper body here:


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Will CrossFit Make You a Better Athlete?

I love the CrossFit Games. For one glorious weekend every summer, I get to hunker down on the couch for hours on end and get lost in one of the greatest displays of physical fitness on earth. (Now that I think about it, this act of sedentariness flies in the face of the spirit of the competition… Maybe next year I’ll do some pushups while I watch.)

Perhaps I enjoy the Games so much because, as a trainer, I watch people exercise for a living, so watching the best people in the world do it is all the more thrilling. Perhaps I’m a sadist and enjoy watching others suffer through impossibly difficult workouts. Or perhaps I’m just an aesthete who marvels at the beautifully sculpted bodies of all the athletes.

Regardless, the drama of the Games is palpable. Who will win each event? What will the events even be? (Many of them aren’t announced until the last possible second.) How will the outcome of each event affect the overall leaderboard? Whose dreams of being crowned the Fittest on Earth will come true, and who will have to continue working fiendishly for another year in hopes of realizing their goals?

It’s for these reasons that I got pretty fired up the other day when I read an article titled “Why CrossFit Doesn’t Make An Elite Athlete.” As something of a CrossFit connoisseur (after dozens of hours in front of the tube, in addition to years of friendship with box owners), I feel I have a responsibility to set the record straight on the issue of whether CrossFit will make you a better athlete.