Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Didn't Get What I Wanted:Gift Idea 3

This gift idea is great because there is no assembly required. Mobility and tissue quality is something people neglect far too often. Stretching will help somewhat but you guys need more than that. Self-Myofascial Release (SMR) can be what you've been looking for.
Personally I roll on PVC and Lax Ball before EVERY training session and incorporate it into the warmup. Balance the body part while laying on the ground and roll back and forth. Need a quick reminder on where to find the PVC look here. This is my last lower body one before my honeymoon.

PVC Roll x 10 passes each
IT Band
Low Back
Upper Back

Lacrosse Ball x 10 rolls

Chin Ladders

Kneeling Tire Jumps

Neck Flexion 4 x 25

The SMR was 2x through with chins, jumps and neck. The last of the warmup was 2 more sets of chins, jumps and neck.

Not having a pre-training routine is asking for trouble. It is a ritual for me and prepares the body for lifting physically and mentally. Help yourself out and buy something that will last forever. The PVC is about $7 and lax ball will set you back about $3. For about 10 bux you can help start off each training session the best way possible.

What do you like to do before training? Let me in on your top warmup secrets NB Strength Coach Fan Page.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Didn't Get What I Wanted:Gift Idea 2

In Part 1 of gift ideas for those that didn't get what they wanted we tackled bench press boards. For a measly 5 bucks there was an opportunity to make a home made implement that would help increase your bench press as well as changing up an exercise.

The next idea I have in store can cause cursing and thanking at the same time.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
For those that can't see the price it is $3.62 for a 50 lb. bag of gravel. How much do weights cost? Searching around I didn't find anything cheaper than $1 per pound for brand new plates. Having a loose 45 lb. plate won't help much because the exercises that can be performed is limited due to the round shape. For less than $4 someone just got a new tool for their training. Things that are possible with the sandbag are not limited to Front Squat, Front Lunge, Back Lunge, Shoulder Squat, Shoulder Lunge, Ground to Shoulder, Good Morning, Power Clean, Clean to Squat, Clean to Press, Squat to Press, Bent Row, Back Squat, Bear Hug Carry and a bunch of others that take some imagination to concoct.

You can even throw it!

Remember this was cheap so throwing it won't be any skin off your hide and is easy to replace. Try throwing that brand new 45 lb. plate. If you plan on throwing it or would like to have an extra layer of protection head over to the section where garbage bags are kept.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Contractor bags are thicker, heavy duty trash bags. Buying these will cost little more but can help keep gravel in the bag. Double up the bag for more protection but there's only 12 that come in a box so don't waste them. Don't open the gravel bag unless you plan to have different sizes other than 50 lbs. Just keep in it's original bag put into a contractor bag, duct tape it and that's it.

This gift idea is my personal favorite because of the versatility and variety it adds to a training session. In an upcoming post I will detail exactly how to construct a sandbag that will endure the most grueling workout. Until then let me know how you enjoy then ideas at the NB Strength Coach Fan Page.

Monday, December 26, 2011

I Didn't Get What I Wanted:Gift Idea 1

The holidays have come and gone so hopefully you had a great time with your family. Getting presents shouldn't been the focus of the holidays but if your lucky enough to receive gifts then it's always cool to get some good ones. If not, I am here to help. There might not be too much money in your bank account so the gifts to yourself will be cheap.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
The Bench Press is a worldwide favorite exercise of nearly everyone that steps into weight room. Have you seen an open bench press on a Monday afternoon? I think not. You'll still be able to do the beloved bench press but will add board presses to the menu. Boards can improve weak points from the chest to lockout depending on the thickness of the board.

To make the boards you start off some 2x4 from the local home improvement store.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

At Lowes for $5.67, you will have a piece of lumber that is 2x4x16 which is roughly about 192 inches of material. This should be enough for a 2, 3, 4, and 5 board. The bottom base board will be longer in order to have a handle. I would make the handle board 14 inches and any other board will be 12 inches.
  • 2-Board-14 inch plus 12 inch=26 inches
  • 3-board-14 inch plus (2) 12 in=38 inches
  • 4-board-14 inch plus (3) 12 in=50 inches
  • 5 board-14 inch plus (4) 12 in=62 inches
Comes out to 176 inches with some leftovers for screwups. Be careful cutting the boards it might be a good idea to have them cut at the store. Screw or glue them together and take some time no on likes going back to Lowes to restart. If you don't know how to use boards than start here.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December Training Tunes

Another installment of my favorite training tunes that cranked on the iPhone. I have never been able to lift with out some music and I'd like to keep it that way.

Prince-I Would Die For You

People like him because he doesn't give a damn what you or anyone else thinks. C'mon if he can wear a blouse and still pull wool he must be doing something right. Give his philosophy a shot where applicable and allowable. I'm not saying go to work and start doing your own thing unless you have something else lined up. Try it next time your in the gym. Instead of blasting your arms, back or any other single body part try something different.
Here's one
Big Three
  1. Bench-5x10
  2. Squat-5x10
  3. Dead-5x10
You will have to figure a good working weight for you but remember this is to be a challenge. I would also make this easier on myself and use the same weight for each exercise. The first 2 sets would be warm-up sets and the last 3 are the working sets. You could use 135, 185 to warm-up and 225 for work. Do not rest between exercises and determine rest upon completion of 1 round. Keep it moving. Where's the ab work? You'll get it with the squat. What about my bi's, brah? The deadlift will help there. The bench press is in there for your precious pecs. Do everyone a favor and try to do this where each "station" is close to one another. No one likes the guy that's spread out over the entire gym. Do the 3 lifts 5 times then leave. If that doesn't say "I don't give a damn."

Elvis-In the Ghetto

I don't have many Elvis songs on my playlist but this is favorite. It is simple, just Elvis and a guitar. Little bit of a change up here. What I like about the song is that it's not everyday hear a white guy talking about the ghetto. It feels like 50 Cent should have written this song. It allows for you to listen. Jacked up stuff happens all the time and some things never change. Don't let it get you down.

Lamb of God-Again We Rise

I like Lamb of God. Its very technical almost as if you have to a be a fine connoisseur of metal to appreciate such instrumentals. Again We Rise takes more than half a minute to get to the lyrics. This allows for your ears to embrace the full assault. Lamb of God is at the top of my list to start the warmup.
Upper-PVC Roll, Mobility x 20, Neck, Shoulders, Hips, Knees, Ankles, Wrists, Chin Ladders, Push-Up, Neck (Harness, Flexion, Extension).
Lower-PVC Roll, Mobility x 20, Kneeling Jumps, Blast Straps Push-Ups and Scarecrows, Neck (Harness, Flexion, Extension).

The above video shows how incorporate chin/pull-up into my routine. Laddering my chins increases the volume as well as quality reps. Perform 1 reps, rest 10-15 seconds perform 2 reps, rest, then 3 reps and so on until you reach your set reps in the extended set. Give it a try and your max reps should go up.

Looking for some tunes for your next lift. Start with something that will get the blood flowing then mellow it out to bring it home. I don't know about anyone else but I can't crank hard, face melting metal the whole time. You get to worked up and fry yourself. Who should I be listening to? Comment on your current most played list?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When Should I Train?

Everyone is busy. I get that. If you want to get bigger, faster and stronger than training has to fit in the equation somewhere. The hard part is finding time to train with work, school, kids, significant other, pets, friends. When you add all this up, training is usually the one that is left out. But at what cost? You won't know until it's too late.

So when are the best days to train? Simple. Whenever you have time. I once believed I could only train on Monday, Wednesday, Friday so I could have a day off after each session. It can be tough to make yourself follow and certain routine with little room for flexibility. What if your kid has a recital on Friday? What if you have a meeting after work? What about the holidays? Don't get me wrong, you can fit it in on the days you want but something has to give.

I'll show you might work schedule and where training fits in during my day.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
6 a.m.-Wake up and eat breakfast
7 a.m.-Coach before school
9-4 p.m.-Teach
4-5:30 p.m.-Coach After school

Same as Monday through Wednesday except with 2 football games finishing around 8 p.m.

Same as Monday through Wednesday except attending varsity football games after school until about 10 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday
Off from school

So you can see Thursday and Friday are out of the question and I'll use those for my "Off" days. Saturday and Sunday look good since my schedule is open and flexible. Those 2 days are used for training for sure. That leaves Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday to get another day of training. Monday is not the best idea because that would be 3 days of training in a row, I just did that and it was tough. By the 3rd day I was shot and grinding to get to the end. Tuesday or Wednesday will work because it will give you some rest from the back to back weekend training. You can get in an extra workout on any of the other days.

Look at your week and the things you have going on. Try to figure out the best days to train where distractions and obligations are at a minimum. Set aside that time and for you benefit have your session planned out so there is no wasted time or not knowing what to do next. I would even go as far as to write out the entire workout from your warm-up to the exercises performed. It would also be helpful to put a time limit so you know when you should be done. Hopefully these pointers can help training a priority.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Don't Play That

It's pretty easy to say what people should be doing in their training. There are always some "Don'ts".

1.Don't squat with a pad.
The first thing you need for a good squat is a tight setup. Having a Maxi-Pad draped across will not let this happen. The bar has to be locked into your traps and if you have a pad on the bar it might give you some cushion but is that what you really need? Have the bar on your traps, set your lats take a deep breath and get ready to squat. As soon as you strap that thing on to the bar your testosterone lowers.

2.Don't skip your warm-up.

The warmup is very important. It prepares the body for intense exercise but will also let you know if PR's are on today's menu. A grinder warm-up can tell you it might be wise to dial down the training session because you might not have it today. Starting off your session should be a routine. From Elitefts Vault said it should look like this

Example: Sled 3 x 20 steps
GHR 1 x 6 reps
Pushups 1 x 10 reps
Chin 1 x 10 reps

After consistently performing this routine you can add more exercises and volume. My warm-up usually consists of Pull-Ups, Push-Ups, Neck Exercises, PVC Rolling, Shoulder Dislocations.

3.Don't be too hard on yourself.

I know for most of you training is what you look forward to but it can't be the focus of your entire life. Everyone has a lot going on, so when you don't have a great day in the gym it's not the end of the world. Learn from them and move on.

Got any to add? If so drop by the NB Strength Coach Fan Page.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What Do You Do With That? Part 3:Roller


In Parts 1 and 2 of "What Do You Do With That?" we took a look some uncommon implements at your local commercial gym. Bands and Boards are usually used to get you stronger, while a foam roller can be used for prehab/rehab. This means you use a foam roller to help prevent injuries and also bring you back from one.

Before we talk about what you do with a roller, let's figure out where to get one. There are many different types of rollers that you can buy. The most common is the foam roller. That is okay for the normal Gym Bro but not you. Foam rollers lose there shape and start to flatten out after a while so step it up to some dense material. PVC Pipe.
Besides having all of your home improvements needs, Lowe's also carries the perfect size PVC for you to roll on instead of the foam.

Now you have some different options when you roll up to Lowe's so I'll tell you what to look for. Keep in mind this is a home improvement warehouse so don't go in there and ask the nearest cat with a Lowe's vest where the nearest good piece of PVC is. You want to look for something that is a manageable size not a 10 foot piece that a guy has to fire up the table saw to cut down to size.

Your looking for something that is already cut to size and easy for you to transport. The size you want is 2 feet long with either a 3 or 4 inch diameter. For some reason the 4 inch in regularly out of stock so it might take a couple of times to get what you want. I use the 4 inch and it has been perfect.

What can I do with this hard piece of plastic? You are going to give yourself a massage with the PVC using your body weight to apply the pressure. Use the pipe to break up scar tissue and work out some knots. Focus on the tight spots of your body which usually means anything you can't see while standing in front of a mirror. Concentrate on your hamstrings, IT band (side of your leg), Quads, Glutes, and your Upper Back. Take each section and do a set number of passes with the PVC. Be consistent. If you want some advanced rolling techniques read this. I like to roll before every training session as a way to get some of the kinks out and get the blood flowing through out the body. You can incorporate it into your warm up along with some other exercises.

The other tool you see on my first pic is a lacrosse ball.

A lacrosse ball is solid rubber and can be used to pinpoint certain areas that need more attention. Lower body sections put it on the ground and roll on top. For the upper body put it on the wall, stand up against it and roll. Go easy. It will take some getting used to don't just plop down and hope for the best. Lacrosse balls can be found at any sporting goods store for about $3. No more excuses for feeling tight you have two viable options that combined are about $10 and will offer relief.

If you haven't joined the NB Strength Coach Fan Page please stop by.

Monday, September 5, 2011

What Do You Do With That? Part 2:Boards


Hey Bro, pass me that 3-Board. What the ???? Uh sorry man, I have no idea what you're talking about. If you've seen some boards at your gym consider yourself lucky. If not, do what I had to and make some.

So what do you with those 2x4s? Pretty straightforward Board Presses. Well, what does mean?

The safest way to pull this off is a 3-Man team of Board Man, Spotter, Presser. If you are the board man it's not that hard to hold to board. If you make your own make sure they have a handle. When the presser is ready hold the board and position it on the chest making sure it is centered and not on their throat. The spotter will take an alternated grip and assume this is a max effort lift. Don't pull the bar too high it is just to get it off the upright. You don't want to be the reason why he loses upper back tightness. Also make sure your fingers are out of the way before they get stapled to the board. Pay attention there is a lot going on with boards, spotters, and heavy weights over your throat. The board can move, it can be too high or low, lifter might want to rerack. Make sure you have an understanding of how you will count, lift off and spot. As for the lifter, we will assume you have a solid setup. You will start the descent as normal to the board. Don't just let the bar fall onto the board, bounce it, then lock it out. Control the descent, absorb the bar into the board then lockout. Keep in mind this will be harder than tradition bench press because you cut out the stretch reflex.

Photo Courtesy of West Side Barbell.
Why should I do board presses? Depending on what size board you have will determine the main muscles worked. So a 1 board is main chest muscles while a 4 board is a majority of triceps. So in addition to your regular bench press training you can also supplement with some board pressing for your lagging areas. Lets say you can take a certain weight down to the chest and almost to lock out but are getting stuck you need to work on your triceps and use a 3 or 4 board about where you are having problems and strengthen that area. Having some trouble off the chest then shorten the board and work the tough range of right off the chest. Besides working on some of your sticking points what else is board pressing useful for? Right off the bat is a different tricep exercise that is also very similar to the lift you are trying to build up. Board Press and Bench Press are pretty similar. Board Pressing is also a little easier on the upper body allowing you to recover quicker. Since the range of motion is lessened so is the impact on your CNS. Finally another great benefit is you handling a heavier weight. You can feel what that weight is in your hands and through your body with a shortened stroke in order to build some confidence. Heavy weights can play tricks on your mind so why not beat it to the punch and show yourself you can do it.

Now, this was a just a primer into board pressing kinda what I would tell the guy at the gym asking what they are used for. There is a lot of information about how to cycle them into training, when to use them and to add them with Bands. Make sure you check out How to Work Wonders with a Piece of Wood.

Friday, July 29, 2011

What Do You Do With That? Part 1:Bands


There are times that you are in the gym and you see someone using a new tool and wondered: What is that for? Now if we sat and talked about everything you seeing going on in a weight room we could be here for a couple of hours. Today we will tackle bands and their common uses.

What's the deal with this huge rubber band? The three most common uses for me are stretching, band exercises and the occasional accommodating resistance.

For stretching you can attach a band to that or anchor it to your appendage and pull for a greater range of motion. My favorites are the hamstring and pectoral stretch. For the hamstring you would lay on the ground and normally pull on the back of the leg but now you can attach the band to the bottom of your foot and pull on the band.

For the pectoral stretch you attach it to a rack or anything overhead walk out where the arm is a 45 degree angle and keep your arm straight as you move forward to stretch the pec. You dictate the intensity by how far you move, so more range of motion the better.

Band related exercises are very common in my programs because they are so freaking easy to add to your session it's stupid. Upper body day add a couple of sets of Band Pull-Aparts. When I trained a volleyball player this summer she was doing about 100-200 pull aparts and face pulls between exercises. I believe doing these helped her get her first unassisted body weight pull-up.

Can't do pull-up attach it to the top of the rack put your knee through the loop for some assistance.

Accommodating resistance is an advanced method of using bands and chains to add resistance to an entire range of motion. For a quick example lets look at the squat.

Photo Courtesy of West Side Barbell.
You attach the band to the barbell ends in addition to the Olympic plates. Since these are heavy duty bands they will add tension to the training weight making the weight heavier at the top because it's attached to the bottom of the rack. The typical setup is to have the most weight and tension at the top because it's when you are strongest completing the lift. A reverse band setup is the opposite and will assist you in locking out more weight.

Bands are a versatile tool to have with you at all time and they are very durable. Now let's make sure we rub our brain cells together to ensure we don't do anything dumb that could cause an injury. Don't jump right into to using bands on the bar because you will get extremely sore. For more information look to Elitefts Band Exercise Index, Dave Tate's Accommodating Resistance and Louie Simmons Bands and Chains. Next up Part:2 Boards.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July Training Tunes

If you aren't listening to some music when training you could be missing out on some PR's. Listening to music during exercise can make a strenuous task a little more bearable. If nothing else it gives you an excuse to listen to something you usually pass up when the wife or kids are in the car. Looking at my iPhone's "Top 25 Most Played" I came up with a list of tracks that helped me through my first cycle of the Jugg Method.

Thursday-War All The Time
Thursday has always been one of my favorite bands. I constantly find myself playing Thursday during training because their music has great instrumentals with well thought out lyrics. Let's not forget they put on a sick show.

Musicians usually have meaning behind their songs, but the cool things about music is you can sometimes relate it to your life. "War All The Time" is Thursday's description of their tough childhood and finding comfort from those going through the same trials and hardships. Tough teenage years? Who can't relate to that? Hearing this songs reminds me of those difficult times most of us go through in life. Playing this songs also reminds me of a local marine who lost his life serving his country in Afghanistan. Now, without getting too political war affects many people especially those left to deal with losing a loved one. Young men and women join the military to serve their country and rely on each other to get through adversity. I appreciate your service to our country. I did not know the kid well, but we did train at the same gym. He stuck to the basics, lifted heavy and trained hard. Nothing but respect. RIP John Farias.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony-Thuggish Ruggish Bone

As soon as i heard this song from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony I knew I wanted to cut a video to it.

The attitude that the group and the song portrays is something I like. You can't listen to that song without thinking "Who gives a flip what you think. It's me and that's it." There are too many people walking around not everyone is going to agree with you or like you so stop wasting your time. Sometimes you just do what you do the way you've always done it.

Slayer-Angel of Death
Slayer, not much to say hear. Best. Metal. Band. Ever. Slayer is a constant on my playlist because of the upbeat tempo which keeps me going during hard training. They open up Reign In Blood with this masterpiece. They aren't for everyone I get that. This song in particular is very controversial but you can interpret the meaning for yourself. The lyrics make you think and I use it as a constant reminder that everyone goes through things and sometimes people have had it harder than you. Don't complain.

3 of my favorite songs from a couple of groups that I frequent while at the gym. If you are able to self-motivate without the need for loud music, keep it up do what works.

Monday, June 20, 2011

If I Were You I'd Take Precaution

Last year, I started training Raelyn in preparation for 7th Grade Volleyball. We kept things pretty simple with basic compound lifts and easy to learn accessory movements. This year was going to step it up since she was older and knew what to expect from the sessions. Training would last an hour which included Warmup, PVC Roll, Band Assisted Stretch, Explosive Power Movements, 2 from Bench, Squat, Dead, Press, Auxiliary Lifts and PVC Roll/Cool Down.

Week 1 was an Introductory phase of learning the exercises and temp. Week 2 was where she really progressed.

Example Training Session
5 Min Walk
PVC Roll-Ham, Quad, Glute, Back x 2
Band Stretch
Y, L, W, T x 10
Overhead Press
Front Squat

Above is the basic outline of training session not including some auxiliary supersets, explosive movements and conditioning.

Last Year After Week 1
Deadlift 80 lbs x 8
Overhead 20 lbs x 8
Squat 55 lbs x 8

This Year After Week 1
Deadlift 155 lbs x 8

Overhead 50 lbs x 8

Squat 65 lbs x 8

Every exercise was chosen in order to maximize her play on the volleyball court. She would need power, strength and stamina. There is no wasted movement or exercises to "make her sweat." She can go to her local personal trainer for that nonsense. She brings it every time she walks into the weight room and there are few girls out there working as hard.

Stay tuned it only gets better...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Umm..Yeah I Am Gonna Need You To...

Let's pretend you were in Office Space, but it was filmed in your gym. You run into a lifecoach/hypnotist/whatever and now the slate is clean. You don't give a crap about what everyone else is doing with their new found exercise or the new training protocol that just came out. Many times enthusiastic trainees fill their head with too much information they lack focus and have 5 different programs going on at once. Not gonna work.

So now that you've wiped out your hard drive of all the training info from over the years, lets put in place a solid foundation that will help guide your training decisions.

1.Train Like You're in Prison.

This rule is something I always think about when training. I've always been fascinated with guys training in prison. How is it someone doing 10-20 years can get jacked but you're still squatting 185 lbs. Better food and nutrition? Hardly. Use of illegal performance enhancers? Possibly. More rest=more growth? I'll give you that. How about not wanting to man-handled? If I dropped you in prison you would either grow or turn into someone's main squeeze. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Do you have to go to prison to test Darwin's Theory? Nope, just train like your life depends on getting bigger, faster, stronger.

2.Focus on a Barbell to Complete Compound Exercises.

Training should start with a main compound lift in which you use a barbell. Squat, Bench, Deadlift, Overhead Press and their similar variations. Everything after that should add muscle mass and bring up the aforementioned lifts. This is usually where people get cute and do some new exercise. Stick to the basics that have worked for longer than you've been lifting.

3.Do What You Like.

Training should be fun, if not you'll leave it like your high school girlfriend. After the main lift, you have unlimited exercises to choose from so it's not a crime to do something you enjoy. For me this was a couple of different exercises. Kettlebells were a tool that fascinated me enough to go to Houston for Mike Mahler's Seminar so I could learn how to snatch and clean. I took this same approach when incorporating handstand pushups to my overhead press routine. I didn't know what I was doing. Didn't read a forum on it. Just picked a wall, kicked up, and started pressing away. There has to be an new exercise you would like to try. Find an old school strongman magazine you will see some variations that would change up your dull routine.

4.Hang Out with Strong People

The importance of this one is hard to measure, but it can make a huge difference in the future of your training. It is very east to train a certain way and you don't know what you've been missing out on. This happened to me when I was a graduate assistant at Texas State University. I was a lost weight lifter until running into Coach Leo Seitz. I went to his office and asked if I could help out with his athletes. This is where he began to preach the good news of the Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press to me. Coach Seitz was also good for a saying on how he approached his training Wide Fu**ing Open. Catchy, huh.

5.Don't Take Training Too Serious

When you stick to a routine and see gains it is very easy to let training take over your life. Don't let this happen. Keep some balance in your life which will ensure training isn't a chore. For that time you designated to train by all means go all out but when you're don't bring the session home. Doing this will keep you in the game longer not on-again-off-again relationship with the gym.

There is too much misinformation regarding training so you need to have some set-in stone rules that you can reference. Everyone has them for everything from how you want to raise your kids to picking a girlfriend why wouldn't you do this for training. That's right, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

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