Saturday, July 13, 2013

Firefighter Physical Preparation Part 1

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It's been too long since my last entry, but trust me I've been grinding away at NB Strength Gym. Recently my boy Nick G contacted me looking for some help on the physical portion of the firefighters exam.  I know some firefighters and guys trying to become one, so I had no doubt that it would be strenuous.

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The test consists of 8 Events completed in 10:20
Stair Climb
Hose Drab
Equipment Carry
Ladder Raise
Forcible Entry
Ceiling Breach and Pull

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Nick got a hold of me on 4/15 with a deadline of 5/10/13.  As you can see not much time, but I knew we could get it done.  I wanted to increase strength in press, squat and pull.  I also figured increasing mobility and range of motion couldn't hurt so we attacked some weak areas.  To finish it up, work under time restrictions based mainly on odd objects would help us hit all the bases.  Putting it all together we would work on flexibility, mobility, general body weight, core lift coupled with an auxiliary movement finished off with an odd object timed complex.

1A) PVC Roll
1B) Lacrosse Ball on Scaps
2A) Push-up
2B) Band Pull-apart
3A) Push-up to Toe Touch
3B) Vest Bear Crawl
4A) Trap Bar Deadlift up to 3x5
4B) Sled Tug of War (Thick Rope)
As Many Rounds As Possible
5A) Farmers Walk
5B) Sledge Swings x5
5C) Push-up x 10
5D) BW Squat x 15

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Fortunately for us Nick attended a practice run on 4/29 and was able to bring back valuable information so I could make adjustments.  Nick went to the practice and was able to complete the course but, we didn't like how much time we had left so we really cranked it up!  Come back for Part 2 to see what changes we made.  Until then stop by NB Strength Coach Facebook to see peeps hitting it hard.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Art of the Deload

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Training has a different flow than most other aspects of your life.  Some weeks you could squeeze and come up with a PR and other times everything is spot on but you're struggling.  If you think going balls out 365, let me know how that goes.  A break every couple of weeks will really help training in the long term.  "But what should I do?"  

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First off, know that in order for this to work there should be a reduction in total work, reps, sets and exercises.  Next, pick what tool to use.  How about changing it the normal programming you have grown accustomed to?
I like to choose between body weight, barbell, kettlebells, sandbag, and bands.  After stretching which one I will used I decided on an easy to follow set and rep scheme.  Recently I've been using how ever many sets it takes to get to 100 reps.  Sometimes I will get 1 set of 100 reps and not drop the weight until it's done for that particular exercise.  

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One of the best places to start since it often requires no equipment is body weight.  This gives you an awareness of how the body moves and show weak areas.  Obviously basic movements work best focusing on squat, lunge, push up, handstand push up, dip, chin.  1 set of a 100 reps might be pretty tough on some of these so breaking up the 100 will still give you a challenge.  

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To me the next logical progression is to add resistance to a body weight movement.  Besides adding a vest, bands are a great way to increase the intensity.  Use upper and lower body exercises and if you have something to choke the band around face pulls, flyes, pull throughs, can be added for variety.  I like to choose 5 Upper and 5 Lower and try do 100 non-stop reps of each.  My favorites are overhead press, squat, push up, good-morning, face pull, pull through, tricep extension, hamstring curl, hammer curl, and deadlift.
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Sometimes nothing is better than cold steel on your back or in your hand.  This type of deload is probably the most popular because of all the barbell exercises that are out there.  Again, stick to the basics, use upper and lower and have a routine that will be easy to move from lift to lift.  No weight just an empty bar that should weigh 45 lbs.  You can easily string together a great deload at the gym with and empty bar or if you don't want to make the trip buy an old one from Craigslist.  Find you some space outside and get it in.

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As you can see we are slowly progressing to more difficult implements.  The one I use for a Deload is a 50 pound bag that I show you how to make here for less than a couple of $.  Again, basic movements are best here with a good mix of upper and lower body movements.  My recommendation is a 100 reps and take a break in set but don't put down the weight the bag lends itself to Squats, Press, Goodmorning, Curls, Lunges, Shrugs, RDL and pretty much anything else you can think of.

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Probably the toughest of all version of my Deload because if you haven't done kettlebells a 44lb is a good weight for high rep work.   Also since everyone might  not have access I leave this one last.  There are plenty of movements to do and some of the basics that you would've done with the other pieces of equipment feel a little bit different due to the KB's center of gravity and how it moves through space.  Regardless, I think not using them is a mistake because it is a new stimulus.  Some of the traditional Kettlebell exercises like Swings, Cleans and Snatch will be pretty rough for a 100 rep non-stop set so use some common sense and break it up.  If not your hands might get broken up for you.  Go with some basics movements like Goblet Squat, Lunge, RDL, Press and add some KB moves like Swings.

Sometimes easier parts of training can be overwhelming.  Most people approach the situation of "reduce total work, reps, sets and exercises" with panic.  What do I do?  If I pick wrong, will I lose my gains?  Where do I start?  I've never used that? And on and on.  Now just pick any of the above piece of equipment and find a set/rep scheme and go at it.  Have anything to add?  Make sure you stop by NB Strength Coach Facebook to jump in.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

1 Year and Counting...

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Today is a special day my friends.  It's been 1 year since filing the DBA and opening up the gym of NB Strength Coach.  The time spent in the gym has been awesome and some good friends have come through those doors to get stronger than ever.

Now is the time to thank my supporters and those who trust me with their physical fitness.

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Big Lou and I have been lifting for along time.  Not only is he my brother but he is the first to go through all the training I put out as he is my partner.  He's been there to training no matter what and enjoy the time we spend in the gym.

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Raelyn is one of the original trainees.  I've been lucky enough to train her since the before the start of her 7th grade year and have seen her get stronger than most guys.  Her work ethic has allowed her to be able to play volleyball with girls much older than her and dominate.  I expect nothing but big things from her.

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When I first started training, I only wanted to work with current athletes.  I thought they would be motivated and could do advanced movements with them.  One weekend I decided to have a Free Session for anyone and Johnny jumped all over it.  This opened up my vision to Ex-Athletes who had the drive for new challenges.  Johnny has been coming for a while and is constantly making improvements.

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Nick also stepped out on a limb one day and showed up to a Free Session Saturday.  He had been lifting on his own but the intensity wasn't there.  As a fellow Unicorn Alum I knew he had it in him.  It was a rough start adapting to the new routine but he took it head on building his Deadlift max up to 465.

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I would also like to thank my beautiful wife for allowing me to spend time with the people that walk into my gym.  Without her this isn't possible.

And anyone else I missed because in reality this post would take up so many pages shouting out everyone.  Thanks

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