102 Training Tips to Kick Major Ass in 2017
Written by Dave Thomas
Welcome to your consolidated guide to results in the New Year. If you have a goal, chances are we’ve coached it at Performance360, and will coach it again this year. In our near six years of growth and establishing ourselves as a leader in San Diego fitness, we’ve had the ultimate privilege of working with elite professional athletes, competitive weightlifters and power lifters, and plenty of first timers just learning how to move and put forth effort.
Today, I offer up to you my Cliff Notes version to your merry gains in the new year, the most comprehensive guide to all of your fitness goals, featuring a compilation of the past year of Performance360 content across our podcasts, articles and seminars.
Grab a cup of extremely strong coffee, maybe even a training journal, and let’s do this.
1. Do not starve yourself in hopes of burning fat. Metabolic damage is a real thing. If you constantly cut calories, your body is going to adapt and it’s going to burn less. Less in, less out. Over time, your metabolism turns into a dimly lit flame so the minute to re-up your calories, you will gain fat quickly. Starving will prime you for skinny fatness.
2. Via P360 Podcast Episode 7 – Kettlebells 101: “We talk about lats a lot. They are injury preventers. They are performance enhancers and they will contribute to just about every movement you are interested in. For greater lat activation, don’t just let the kettlebell ‘arrive’ at the top, but rather focus on using your lats to apply the breaks at the apex of the swing, and then forcefully drive the bell back down”.
3. The reason you the see #fitfam just #livelaughloving in their kitchen eating donuts is not because they are #blessed. It works like this. When you follow a diet based around precise macronutrients like flexible dieting or IIFYM, you are programmed a measured amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates each per day that make up your prescribed caloric intake. Often, at the end of the day, you need to make up calories or “macros” in order to hit those numbers since it’s important the total calories be reached. So, if you are left with say 15g of fat and 35g of carbs, a donut can often fit into plan because you are within your calorie and macro ranges. It’s not mindless gluttony, nor is it weight loss magic.
4. Carbohydrates are the strings you pull to either add mass, increase performance or lose weight. One strategy is to match your intake of them based on the result goal for your day’s workout. For example, if you are training strength and power on a day, you are going to need and utilize carbohydrates as the primary fuel source. So you’d want to consume more of them with high levels of protein to get an insulin response. If your goal is to mobilize fat as fuel, and you are hitting a conditioning or fat burning circuit such as an EMOM, density circuit, or metcon, you want your insulin levels to be low so you use more fat in the workout. You would want to do those workouts in more of a carb-fasted state, so on those days perhaps scale back your carb intake. This is a strategy I’d only recommend to advanced athletes and those who can be disciplined with their intake, and who have already achieved a relatively low percentage of body fat.
5. From Coach Julianne via How to Fix Chronic Lower Back Soreness: “I think we all know by now, that prolonged sitting gives us low back pain. When you sit, the hip flexors are shortened, so when we stand up they can pull the low spine forward, which creates a fair amount of pain. Then, we go to the gym and put ourselves in that hip flexion over and over again which continues to pull on the low spine, and then we see pulls and strains. If you take time to work with some simple stretches, you will increase your mobility, awareness, and cut down recovery time if not eliminate chronic soreness altogether”.
6. You can’t thrash yourself weekly in the gym without carbohydrates and expect to operate at your peak level.
7. From Coach Julianne via How Julianne Lost 28 Pounds Through Strength Training: “People get great results for themselves in all forms of fitness. Strength training worked extremely well for me and I cannot recommend it more highly for all people. I have not ignored cardio, I just don’t do traditional cardio. I don’t run or use cardio machines. I do circuit training at my gym using weights.”
8. If it’s made in a food lab and comes in a box, eat it minimally. Don’t let the recent popularity of macro-based dieting get it twisted. While you can get lean on Lucky Charms, that shit ain’t good for you. There’s a reason we have macro and micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals. No matter your diet plan, it should always be based around whole, healthy foods.
9. Via The Most Efficient Way to Burn Fat and Build Strength: “Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) is the rate at which our body consumes oxygen after we’ve exercised in an attempt to get us back to a normal state. It is a calorie consuming activity. Reproduction of adenosine triphosphate burned in the workout, returning our body to its resting temperature, and protein reparation to muscles to name a few are a few of the ways we use oxygen post workout. EPOC is low to non-existent in steady state distance running and high in movements and workouts that feature total body, compound movements performed quickly.
10. Results are about adherence. Commit harder and make less excuses.
11. Trouble with speed under the bar on cleans and snatches? Try block pulls and hip pulls, with little to no stretch shortening cycle into power position. Without the ability to descend the barbell down the leg, we have very little upward momentum with the barbell, thus we must create the speed to get under on our own. In short, we can’t rely on our strong pulls, we must make speed to get under since the bar is not going to travel as far upward.
12. From Coach Pritz via P360 Podcast, Ep. 4 – Nutrition 101: “As soon as I upped my calorie intake, I noticed fat loss beginning to occur again. This idea that we need to cut, cut, cut I think is a false one”.
13. I’ve never been a huge fan of giving an athlete eighteen different options to improve something, be it the ability to do more pull-ups, a stronger squat or improved mobility in the ankle. In most cases, one or two prescriptions will do just fine. You like getting a million options from your coach because you have ADD, and we the coach like giving them because it makes us feel smart. But really, simple always trumps complex.
14. Stuck in a plateau? Partial movements are something I like a lot. Quarter front squats and back squats in particular to overload motor recruitment at 125% of your 1-R max. Block or rack pulls for deadlifts.
15. On your squat set-up, drive your elbows down into your lats and pull the barbell into your traps. Your upper body is far more important than your lower body in determining the trajectory of your movement and the success of your reps.
16. Via Strength Training to Improve Running Economy: “Running economy is a very important concept for athletes and is defined by the amount of steady state oxygen we consume for a standardized running speed. Basically, how hard your body has to work running at your maintained pace. Think of this in the exact same manner as you would fuel economy for your car. The car and distance racer with the better gas mileage per gallon will go further. So the key is training your body to expend as little energy as possible. If you require more oxygen running at eight miles per hour than your counterpart, they have a superior running economy, will fatigue slower and they will have a competitive advantage over you.
To improve your running economy and competitive advantage, it is critical you pair your distance training with targeted training of the core to bleed less force on your stride, glute medius strength to prevent over stressing your knee, and a powerful posterior chain to boost your engine”.
17. From How to Do More Pull-Ups: “Get back on the band. Perform 125-150% of your max reps with slow, controlled, perfectly executed reps with full lat engagement (so if your pull-up max is 12 reps, you’d perform 15 on a band). Too often I see athletes perform average reps off of bands with the expectation they are going to continue to get stronger. Mix that strategy in with some weighted, low rep pull-ups. Here are some additional plateau busters”.
- Eccentric Pull-Ups
- Turkish Get-Ups
- Explosive High-Rep MB Slams
- Farmer Holds and Carries
- Overhead KB Swings
- 1-Arm Hangs
- 1-Arm KB Swings
- Short Distance Row Sprints
18. From Coach Brenna via How to Increase Your Back Squat: “As you descend, your speed should be as quick as your body will allow while still under full control. Every squat rep you perform should be treated as though you have your 1-rep max on your back”.
I think this is unbelievably great advice. Too often we hear coaches talk about generating speed and creating bounce, but that can be reckless as hell for folks with weak anterior cores. “As quick as your body will allow while still under full control”. Nice, Coach.
19. To get over the “Oh shit, this feels heavy” mental hurdle of un-racking PR weight, spend some isometric time under the bar without moving. Load up 125% of your max in a given movement and simply un-rack it and remain in that position. You’ll provide neural feed that your body will learn and remember, and when you go to pick up 105% of your 1R, it will feel light. I like doing this particularly for jerk drives and partial front squats.
20. Don’t miss an opportunity to isolate your obliques. They are very involved in most all performance movements. Rotation movements like ropes, twists, medicine ball throw variations, and split stances all work them.
21. Heavy weights will create more dramatic body transformations than light weights, and in a shorter amount of time.
22. Stretch your hip flexors. Tightness in them will sap many, many movements.
23. As Jim Wendler says, “Start too light and progress slowly.” Here’s the thing. Way too many athletes start out way too heavy. Working stabilizers is not a sexy activity. Developing a grooved movement pattern won’t get you many likes on Insta. But it just may keep you healthy and productive for as long as you lift. Without developing our stabilizers, we have zilch. You can muscle through weight for a while, but sooner or later you will need stability, and if you jump the process of developing, say, the stability of your anterior core, you will get hurt or stalled. Stability is best developed taking the body through a full range of motion at well below maximal percentages. WELL below it.
24. From Coach Brenna via How to Increase Your Back Squat:: “Remember that there is no cookie cutter way to squat. Everyone has short or longer limb lengths than others, joint angle differences, old injuries to accommodate for, mobility differences, ligament and tendon “stretchiness” dissimilarities, and so on. All of these mean that everyone will have to tweak the steps of the squat to suit them best.”
25. If you don’t wanna drop a hundred bucks on proper shoes, remove them. Just go barefoot. Anything is better than squatting or pulling in thick foam running shoes. I’d rather see you in a nice set of German clogs than running shoes. When you deadlift in running shoes, the terrorists win.
26. Drinking prevents ideal fat loss. It just does. If you’re gonna have nightly wine, or beers during the week, have at it. But if a major transformation is your goal then don’t hold your breathe for that to happen.
27. Ladies, adding muscle boosts your health in a number of ways, but the metabolic benefits of it are huge. Mitochondrial density goes up, which means we get better at converting food into energy, aka, your metabolism improves. How about less, “I don’t want to be bulky” and more, “I want to add muscle”.
28. One common thing athletes love to is to over extend in the lumbar at the top of a deadlift lockout, and in between reps on hang cleans. Do not “lean back”. Just lock it out. Anything past full extension is hyperextension, and that leads to painful compression and potential damage to discs.
29. If you have a goal for a stronger (insert movement here). Train as you normally do, just add in another day of that movement so that you’re training it twice per week. Amazing what a little old school volume can do.
30. An easy way to train grip is to add a towel to your pulling and holds, particularly in the pull-up.
31. Via P360 Podcast Episode 1 on getting the most out of Tier 1 : Have a Threesome. The ideal set-up is to pair up with three people, even four. This leads to proper pacing and typically challenging yourself to more than you might perform on your own accord. When I watch people workout with other people, after the initial shock they must meet someone new or engage with another human, it always leads to productive, valuable training. This is not to say you partner up with someone and lift irresponsible weight, but when you hold yourself accountable to another human being, you tend to be better at what you’re supposed to do. It also provides a natural rest cycle of around two minutes, the time we are looking for.
32. As soon as you un-rack the barbell, your power is depleting. The very first step back and your clock is ticking, because simply stabilizing the barbell is an energy sucking endeavor. Make haste moving out of the rack, and into the movement. Don’t linger with the barbell in rest position for any longer than you need to. This also applies to deadlifts. Don’t hinge and grip the bar for thirty seconds prior to moving. Grip and rip. Move with some damn purpose and intent.
33. There’s nothing wrong with eagerness to begin doing well quickly. However, when we skip the struggle, we skip all of the learning that comes with desperation and grind.
34. From Coach Pritz: “On a box jump, emphasize the use of your arms for power generation. My strong upper body and core were just as important as my legs to my 60” box jump PR “.
35. To build stability, train total movements at lighter weight rather than a buncha skill movements that ultimately don’t do very much. The ability to perform a sound overhead squat is my one-and done movement to train stability. I do not spend a ton of time on this, but I have tons of it.
36. Via Lats: The Silent Assassin: “A forward leaning chest in excess can throw off a back squat in no time, not to mention can get you hurt if you are attempting too heavy of a load prematurely. You may have noticed that as coaches, we always talk about the set up or grip of a back squat which may seem counter intuitive given it’s a leg exercise. But without that good grip and rigidity in the T-spine/lats we have no chance at performing the movement properly. Weak lats create lumbar flexion, and if you remember one thing about weight lifting it is this”.
37. Few good things in the gym ever happen in loaded lumbar flexion. This is why you won’t find us doing too many sit-ups.
38. In a recent study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the OH squat was found to activate the trunk musculature in about the same manner as a back squat (slightly more), and at a much lighter load. There is no movement that provides more from a corrective, stability, mobility, tension and strength all in one package than the overhead squat.
39. Don’t miss an opportunity to do barbell lunges and unilateral work. A laundry list of benefits you can’t get from their closed-chain cousins like the squat and deadlift. In addition to often targeting the glute and hamstring at more concentrated levels, one very important benefit to remember is that any time a movement is performed unilaterally, you are receive anti rotation work on your core. Anti-rotation is arguably the single most important skill we have in keeping our discs where evolution put them. Lunges, pistols, step ups. Big impact movements.
40. Coach Lenny via Science Proves Exercise Isn’t Enough for Fat Loss: “When asked, ‘What’s the best exercise is for developing six-pack abs’ renowned strength coach Mike Boyle will tell you, with a straight face and without hesitation, ‘Table push-aways’. The fact of the matter is that you can’t out-train a crappy diet. It’s an old adage but it remains true.”
41. Here’s 16 free mobility and stability videos from Coach Julianne that can be performed in your home.
42. Coach Julianne on the clean: “Make the set up repeatable and consistent. Toes turned out, knees flared out, chest elevated. Hammer home to keep the back at that angle through the first pull to the top of the knee”.
43. The angle in which the femur extends and inserts into the hip is different for everyone, as is the length of the femur itself. For these reasons, a movement like a squat may be performed very differently and to different range of motion standards, thus making blind, “ass to grass” requirements moronic. Many squatters with longer femurs may only be able to hit parallel and that is completely fine.
44. I don’t care how long you’ve been training, if your mobility sucks then you need to be open to progressions. Folks who refuse to adapt to their immobility are the ones who get hurt and give functional fitness a bad name. Own your developmental needs and understand that just because something is a “regression”, does not make it an inferior choice despite the terminology. We have to think differently about this.
45. To build serious muscle, you need to hit failure in your sets. Real, genuine failure.
46. It would be a mistake to think that our fat loss goals are facilitated by going as fast as we can in a workout. Your kitchen will burn more fat than any pace you set in your workouts. Slow down, eat right and don’t be afraid of weight that’s 10% heavier than what you normally do.
47. From Coach Julianne via How Julianne Lost 28 Pounds Through Strength Training: I don’t need to eat ice cream every day, so I don’t. But I still eat it because life is worth enjoying with out always worrying about how my abs will look.
48. I am somewhat of a pushup nazi. But, it’s for a good reason as I believe them to be one of the best movements still after all of these years, yet no one seems to want to take them seriously in programming. Here’s a few fun facts.
- #1: In an electromyopgraphy (EMG) test that pitted the band-resisted pushup against the bench press to see which movement experienced the higher intensity of muscle contraction, the pushup and the bench press came out as even over the course of six reps.
- #2: A proper pushup will require you to move approximately 64% of your bodyweight (49% if it’s performed on your knees).
Now consider this. A deadlift at 200% body weight for a 175 pound male is 350 pounds. One might perform 25 reps of that in a given deadlift workout, resulting in 8,750 pounds moved during that time frame.
Take that same 175# male who performs 100 flawless pushups in a workout. At 64% of his body weight, that’s 11,200 pounds moved. You move 22% more volume in the pushup workout than the heavy deadlift workout.
Is it this simple? No, but you catch my drift. Pay as much attention to body weight stuff as you do barbell stuff. Or leave gains on the table and I’ll happily take your leftovers.
49. From Coach Lenny via The 5 Levels of Nutrition: “Here’s the quick and dirty way to get a rough estimate of your caloric needs:
Step 1: Take your body weight in pounds and multiply for 10. I’ll use my body weight as an example.
165 pounds * 10 = 1,650 calories.
Step 2: After you have that baseline caloric level, multiple by your ‘activity multiplier’, which is basically an indicator of how active you are with your body, thus how many calories you burn. Training days are already factored into this multiplier. If you have a desk job and the only real activity you do is during your workouts, you would drop into the sedentary levels. On the other hand, if you worked construction or any other job that has you busting your ass all day physically you would fall into the active to very active range.
Determining Your Activity Multiplier
-Sedentary Lifestyle (desk job), plus 3-6 days of Training = 1.3 – 1.6
-Lightly Active Lifestyle (light activity on feet at work), plus 3-6 days of Training = 1.5 – 1.8
-Active (work on your feet all day), plus 3-6 days of Training = 1.7 – 2.0
-Very active (physically demanding job), plus 3-6 days of Training = 1.9 – 2.2
Let me continue the example of myself. I walk the dog a few times per day and train around six times per week, but outside of that I’m sitting on my ass (sometimes I lose my mind, flip on Pandora and start stomping around the house signing). I used a 1.5 activity multiplier.
1,650*1.5= 2,475 calories per day.”
50. Squeeze the glutes, draw in the belly and do ’em right. A push-up should essentially be a moving plank. Not bad sexual intercourse with the floor.
51. A good front rack position is difficult to develop. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your inability to execute it has a single thing to do with your wrists. It’s some combination of tightness your triceps, shoulder and/or t-spine musculature. Your wrist is just the most visible part that can’t get into position because of that tightness.
52. A mistake on deadlifts is to only focus on the concentric portion of the movement. Much of our strength is developed through the eccentric (lowering) phase of movement, so by simply letting the weight crash back to the floor at the top of the rep, you cheat yourself of gains. We descend in the squat prior to upward movement, we dip in the jerk prior to the drive. Why on the deadlift do we ignore it? Controlled, touch and go reps where the weight does not slam or bounce are my preferred form of executing the lift.
53. From Coach Pritz via The P360 Podcast, Ep 5- Comparing Yourself to Others: “I give a ton of success to my baseball career to visualizing success, and it’s a practice I continue to implement that today in my life and in the gym. The moment you start to doubt yourself, you are way more likely to miss a rep or not succeed at something”.
54. It’s a shame that burpees have been turned into a dime store with the intent to shortcut them and perform them will as little ballistics as possible. Once upon a time, when done right, this was a great movement that taught both acceleration and deceleration. Back when you did them in clusters of low rep, applied beneficial things like “power” and “burst”, this movement really did something for us. Dunk that shit.
PS. I judge you as a person based on how you execute burpees.
- Disruptive, knotty structures can form in our body from muscles being overstimulated, overused and/or the same movements repeated too many times, in combination with a lack of recovery and lack of water.
- Once formed, the nature of knots cutting off their own healing through their acidic build up and inflammatory “poisonous feedback loop” continues to support their existence and becomes problematic for movement health.
- Preventive measures include varying your movement patterns, dedicated foam rolling, ball therapy, rest, hydration, stretching and diet every single day.
- To ensure diversified movement pattern and results, recommended training frequency is two anaerobic strength days, two aerobic circuit days, one to two yoga classes, one to two days of complete inactivity.
- By paying attention to our movement and recovery, we have the ability to train incident free and see amazing, uninterrupted results.
56. The any average Joe and Jane needs at least three to six months of operating a movement at below 60% before they can go above that. Path of movement and the stability developed along that ROM is EV-REE-THEENG when it comes to developing and progressing with your strength. If your movement patterns suck, your strength and movement under heavy loads will suck. Movement patterns are only, repeat ONLY developed under light load, repeated many times and a good conditioning program can absolutely do just that.
57. When you run in place waiting for an erg at the gym.
58. Want one movement you are not doing that you need to start doing immediately? Alternating single arm kettlebell swings. The strength it will build in your lats, grip and core stability will improve whatever PR you are trying to beat. I guarantee it.
59. From Coach Kyle: “To ensure you stay in external shoulder rotation on your presses, always keep your thumbs outside of your shoulders in your front rack set up. This will create a much stronger and healthier front squat and jerk”.
60. Via Conventional or Sumo Deadlift? “The sumo deadlift is a stance that for more people should utilize when pulling. I do not hide the fact I think it is superior to conventional for a number of reasons. It saves the back, plain and simple, because is has less measured sheer force on the low spine. It’s great for those with poor ankle mobility, not yet fully developed kinesthetic awareness. You’ll target more muscles and create less sheer force on the spine. Downsides include possible hip irritation over time and bad for those with poor hip mobility, and a bit less hypertrophy since the range of motion is shorter. All in all, it’s a great option to have in your arsenal and nearly every athlete I have ever switched to sumo has seen better lifts with less discomfort”.
61. The ab exercise is not eating like shit.
62. My analysis of the kipping pull-up versus the strict pull-up, still one of the most read articles I’ve ever written. It’s not as biased as you might expect.
63. From Coach Matt: “On deadlifts, if the bar is not touching you, your lats aren’t engaged or engaged enough. Pull that bar into you.”
64. No single tool is inherently superior. I do believe the barbell to do the most of all, but you can’t lift a barbell in the same hip explosive manner you can throw a medicine ball. On the flip side, you can’t swing a kettlebell heavy enough to match the absolute real strength of a barbell. You won’t work any type of explosion with dumbbells, but do get much more stability with them. Everything is synergistic, nothing is perfect, so it’s advisable you do it all.
65. Via How to Maximize Our Minimus, by Coach Julianne: “Stability in the pelvis is incredibly important for overall functional movement of the body. Your pelvis is the foundation for your spine. With strong stability here, the lower spine is protected and the muscles that surround the lumbar vertebra are supported better through axial movements like deadlifts, and back squats where we load our spine with heavy weight. We are then more likely to have better form and cleaner reps through lockout without recruiting weaker back muscles to help us finish the job (i.e. less soreness or pain in the lumbar, and less rounding of the spine on a heavy pull)”.
66. The reason you don’t attempt a PR every time you lift goes way behind just bad physiology. It’s bad psychology. When you attempt a max lift with high frequency, mathematically, most are going to be misses. When you constantly miss you create a habit of failure in your subconscious that is very difficult to rinse off.
67. Want healthy shoulders? Build strong lats. Any weight that is moved overhead must go through the lats, and any weight that is held in that position relies almost entirely on the lat musculature supporting shoulder stability. There is no support for power and stability in the shoulders without strong lats. Watch anyone performing overhead squats and you’ll see the upper part of the lats literally twitching, the fibers firing non stop from the demands of the supported overhead position.
68. From How to Do More Pull-Ups: “Start the movement of a pull-up simply by tightening/activating your lats. It’s going to feel like you are drawing your armpits towards the floor. This is the feeling of how to start a pull-up, with your back muscles. When you perform a pull-up simply by rowing your body to the bar, you use your biceps and forearms which are very small muscles. Small muscles fatigue at a more rapid rate so your total count is greatly diminished before it has a chance to take off. Your arms should be finishing off what your back starts”.
69. From Coach Chris on creating tension on the rings, or on lifts: “Need full body tension and trunk activation for a lift? Place imaginary citrus in your armpits and crush them to activate your lats and midsection”.
70. Until you develop speed on your Olympic technique, you have nothing. Start with the barbell and take yourself only up to 50% of capacity your first two to three months. Strength is easy. Fast, explosive technique is not and cannot be learned when diving straight into near maximal load. I can out lift many, many stronger athletes simply because I am faster and more technically sound at greater velocity.
71. From Coach Brenna via The Sport of Powerlifting: “Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is necessary. Attempting to be better at something than you were before is how you will gain self confidence and discipline. You can’t compare yourself to others, only to what you used to be. Use those people that are more successful than you as sources of information and motivation to better yourself, step outside your box, and give your old lazy self a kick in the dick”.
72. Specificity Principle, “greasing the groove”, however you want to summarize it, it is important that if you want, you must do. Want to get get good at squatting? Then get good at squatting. Want to be faster? Then train faster. Want to be stronger? Then train stronger. Stop looking for the magic pill and do more.
73. From Coach Dusty: “Widen your base for better balance when going overhead. And for a better back angle when getting up from burpees”.
74. An easy way to get stronger? Improve your grip strength. Your first step in creating tension for any movement is your grip. Without a strong hold of the barbell, there is no lat activation on anything. Without lat activation, there is no squatting, pulling, cleaning or snatching. Remove the mixed grip and take your deadlift work overhand for a while. Wrap your thumb under the bar on pull-ups. Perform heavy holds and carries. Put towels around stuff.
75. The human body works in synergy, thus soreness or injury in an area was likely do to mounting tightness in another. I don’t claim to be an expert of the human body, but I do know if your knee is sore, it’s not your knee that needs fixing. It’s probably your ankle or hip. Dysfunction likes to travel.
76. On your split jerk, drive the lead foot as if an oncoming cockroach were approaching you to crawl up your leg.
77. Coach Julianne via P360 Podcast Episode 6: “Weight should be in the heels before the dip is initiated. Toes out, knees out, slide the back down an imaginary wall. The drive is aggressive up to the toes as you extend the hips. On both split and push jerks, the feet should land at the exact same time as the elbows locking out”.
78. From the Journal of Me, I would say 1% of injuries occur because of improper form. 99% because of preexisting immobility or tightness that has nothing to do with technique or load.
79. If you want to grow muscle, eat white carbs after you train.
80. Coach Julianne on the Hang Power Clean: “Focus on internally rotating the arms to create better elevation of the elbows before the turn”.
81. From The Movement Fix, Ep. 1 – Split Jerk Footwork: The back foot should land on the balls of the feet, not the heel. When the heel is grounded, it likely causes our hips to externally rotate open and the entire lift is thrown off.
82. Be careful not to over arch your back when you are under heavy weight. This creates hyperextension and should be avoided. You simply want the spine neutral-ish. Over extension can cause painful compression.
83. Go false grip in your rows and pull-ups if you have elbow pain. (False grip is to pit your thumb next to your index finger, over top of the tool, not underneath it.)
84. Via Core Strength Training 101: “It’s important to understand that chiseled abs is not an indicator of core strength. There are shredded models with cores weaker than gas station coffee. There are power lifters and weightlifters with no discernible abs who can handle repeat lifts of double and triple body weight. So, when we say developing our core, we do not mean shredding and revealing our surface ab muscles. Training the RA is important, but it’s a side effect not a goal. We are talking about our deep abdominal muscles of the anterior core that serve to protect our low back health”.
85. Do not underestimate the importance of sleep to your goals. When you do not get enough sleep, you are catabolic due to high levels of cortisol. When you are catabolic, your body favors fat retention and will reject muscle addition. Metabolism slows, progress stalls and your metabolism will be effected. Shoot for a minimum of seven hours per night.
86. When the anterior core is under-trained, it can contribute to a forward tilt of the hips, otherwise known as anterior pelvic tilt and the nasty mess of Lower Cross Syndrome. When your hips are in this tilt, the lumbar spine becomes compressed which leads to irritation and the potential to cause disc injury.
The core is not a prime mover. When the core is asked to create force, the spine moves. When the spine moves, we open ourselves up to the possibility of injury. Think about the core as your body’s General. We want it to be there as command and oversight. If it’s there to actually be in the fight, it’s likely the last line of defense and something has gone very wrong.
87. The following are superior to traditional ab movements we think of that build core strength.
1-Arm carries and holds
Roll-Outs – Make sure you avoid going into the anterior pelvic tilt position. Leslie is in perfect position above.
Dead Bugs and Bird Dogs
Weighted Push-Ups – Again, stay out of anterior pelvic tilt.
Yoga – Anecdotally speaking, new athletes who come to us with a yoga dominant background very rarely get hurt. I wouldn’t feel comfortable making a confident statement other than to generally say that they are built from the inside out quite well.
88. From Coach Brenna via 5 Helpful Deadlift Cues
- KEEP YOUR SHINS VERTICAL
- KEEP YOUR BODY BEHIND THE BARBELL
- PACK YOUR LATS
- PUSH, DON’T PULL
- SQUEEZE YOUR GLUTES
89. From Coach Chris via Avoid the Quit: “You need to crawl deep into the dark hole every once in a while to see who you are in that moment. And when you get there, you need to avoid the quit. You need to learn to put yourself in a position to be able to avoid the quit. Because practice makes permanent, quitting in those moments just makes you well practiced at quitting. And then you will quit when it matters most…Avoiding the quit is what helps you become more.”
90. I’ve never loved the term “progressions” because it implies that you move past one thing in favor of another, encouraging a mountain-like steady, uninterrupted climb, and that’s simply not how fitness works. The smartest athletes understand that there is really no such thing as constant linear progression when it comes to movement selection, and that we’re at our most successful when we when we allow ourselves to access all forms of a movement progression.
91. I think that a lot of us get too caught up in feeling the need to “graduate” from a particular movement.
92. From Coach Viv: “Taking yourself to the brink is different for every person. It may not give you the number one rowing split, the heaviest deadlift, or the fastest time on the timed challenge, but honestly, who really cares about that. Yes, it feels good, but not nearly as good as the rest of your day, or your week after you push yourself to where you never thought you could go. I try very hard to make this a habit once or twice a week”.
93. From Coach Will via Common Training Dysfunctions, Pt. 1: “As we move down the chain to the hips and knees we come across a very common issue in the world of lifting; the dreaded knee cave. This dysfunction, although more popular among women (due to anatomy), can effect beginner lifters to even the super strong, and is never pretty. Most often seen when squatting, jumping, landing, and lunging, there are a few reasons why the knees may collapse inward. Primarily, however, this is due to a lack of strength in the hip external rotators, mainly the gluteus medius. Strengthen the glute medius with monster walks and lateral movement”.
94. Reasons you want to add muscle, via 7 Benefits of Hypertrophy Work.
- Strength Gains – Ultimately it’s about strengthening and recruiting your your global movers.
- Assistance Lifts in Disguise
- Improved Anaerobic Endurance
- Soft Tissue Health & Symmetry
- Increased Caloric Expenditure
95. From Coach Brenna via How to Increase Your Back Squat: “Hand placement will vary based on the your shoulder, wrist, and elbow mobility. The closer the hands can get, the more likely you are able to create a tight immobile upper back (which you want to have during a heavy squat). Once the hands and back are set against the bar, nothing should move (or have room to move)”.
96. Via Why You Are in Pain and What You Can Do About It: “Muscle knots are highly acidic trigger points that create problems in your movement and training, and the painful bastards you feel on a daily basis. Repetitive use of Type II muscle fibers in the eccentric phase of a movement patterns have been tied to the forming of trigger points. This would be the heavy lowering phase of movements like a hang clean, squat, deadlift or any other movement that engages the fast twitch fibers”.
Fascia is a spider web like structure that literally covers our entire body, head-to-toe in one uninterrupted structure. As fascia forefather Tom Myers explains, it’s like a sweater for our muscle, tendons and ligaments that saran warps everything together. Think of a Spider-Man suite. Intense training has the ability to disrupt fascia’s hydrated, flowing nature and make it brittle and easily injured.
Self myofascial work is an integral part of preventing this.
97. Do more five rep sets of hang power cleans.
98. From Coach Julianne via How Julianne Lost 28 Pounds Through Strength Training: A big thing I like to tell people, I don’t have “cheat meals” or “cheat days”. I don’t use my workouts as punishment for things I’ve eaten that are “bad”. The negative vocabulary we attach to food only exacerbates our negative feelings for ourselves and choices we make.
99. Via How to Avoid Bro Injuries: Not Enough C’s. Everybody wants to get straight A’s. Perfection in every endeavor. Maximization of skills and knowledge. Full potential on display all the time. The straight A student gets the scholarship and the awards, right? After all, no one ever cared or hired someone who got straight C’s.
But, in healthy, sustainable training, C’s are where it’s at for most folks. What’s a C? Just like school, that lovely output of about 70-79%. In this range, you allow a list of wonderful training benefits. You develop speed and power better than you do at close to 100%. In the C range, you are engaging more of your working muscles. Since you can “feel” the movement and actually control it, rather than it controlling you, you’re able to hit more of the working muscles as opposed to it being an all-hands-on deck approach of near maximal lifting.
100. From How to Run Faster: “Another huge benefit of the sprint is the involvement in our arms, especially our lats, which our upper body’s gateway to power. Unlike distance running where your arm act more as pendulums to keep you in balance, in sprinting your arms become a source of power and propulsion. Think of ‘pumping’ your arms in the forward direction that your body is moving. This might sound like a ‘no-shit’ tip, but I cannot tell you how many times I seeathletes swinging their elbows from side to side, completely destroying the alignment of their running stride. In distance, this will cost you efficiency and in competitive workouts, this will cost you valuable seconds”.
101. From Coach Lenny: “Odds are you don’t consume enough protein, the most important ingredient for changing your body composition. Consume some every meal. I generally recommend 40% of your daily caloric intake consist of protein”.
102. Via The Most Efficient Way to Burn Fat and Build Strength: There is no comparison to the metabolic and physiological effect that a loaded back squat has in comparison to holding a warrior pose, going for a run or even a light weight goblet squat. Strength training improves our carbohydrate sensitivity and builds our metabolism. Too many hear “strength training” and they think that means prematurely putting 200 pounds on the bar your first week and blowing out your back.
It simply means taking your body to a straining stimulus of 70% or higher across total body, compound movements. You really don’t even need to care about your strength to receive the physiological benefit of training it. It’s very safe, very beneficial and very smart of you to do if you want to have less fat and a more active metabolism. Not to mention becoming a stronger and more capable human.
That’s a wrap, folks. From our family at Performance360 to yours, we hope you had a very Merry Liftmas and a #Gainzy New Year.