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Segmented Training produces segmented results. Separating cardio, from strength, from gymnastics training doesn’t provide nearly the same type of results as mixed modal workouts under intensity. If you think you can get your cardio in the morning, then do your strength work in the afternoon and truly be prepared for life, you are mistaken. Just think about it, in life is it usually one or the other for all that can be thrown at you? Consider a first responder, athlete, fighter, or military operator…they need to be strong and fast simultaneously. If a fire fighter can pick you up, but is too gassed to take you anywhere that’s not effective, nor is the firefighter who has all the cardio in the world but is not strong enough to lift his victim. Life and sport require multiple skills at once, so segmenting them is not practicing how you play or live. So why do athletes like to segment stuff?…Because it
just doesn’t hurt as much or require as much neurological demand. Practicing thrusters then practicing pull-ups will never pack the same punch as the workout “Fran” (21,15,9 thrusters and pull ups). When the skills are mixed, when your are expected to lift heavy and be coordinated under a high heart rate there are adaptations that take place that we don’t understand. But the result is capacity, and a level of fitness and adaptability that is hard to recreate any other way. Consider these three CrossFit name benchmark workouts and the different skills they require. They are fantastic tool for training and evaluation:

“Helen”

4 Rounds for time of:

  • Run 400 meters
  • 21 Kettlebell swings
  • 12 Pull-ups

Skills Required: Cardiorespiratory endurance, Muscle stamina, Upper body and grip strength, basic gymnastic competency

“Diane”

21,15,9

  • Deadlift 225lbs
  • Handstand Pushups

Skills Required: Lower body, core and grip strength, Muscle stamina, balance, flexibility, coordination, intermediate gymnastic competency, cardiorespiratory endurance

“Elizabeth”

21,15,9

  • Squat Clean 135lbs
  • Ring Dips

Skills required: Complex barbell competency, flexibility, Upper and lower body strength and muscle stamina, and cardiorespiratory endurance

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Ok broseph or brosephina, it’s time to get those spaghetti strings you call arms into gear. Many of us are looking to put on upper body size and strength. Going to the gym and wandering around aimlessly produces no results. You need a good plan. The fastest way to put on good muscle in to lift heavy with a variation of exercises that hit all muscle groups in a variety of movement patterns. This Upper body strength and size progression starts with a major lift at a maximal load to develop pure strength and then introduces volume for hypertrophy and gained muscle size. The exercises target different movement patterns for pushing and pulling. There is some isolation work as well to help target mechanical weaknesses of some of the smaller muscle groups and contribute to the larger movements. Try this program for 5 weeks and expect rapid progress and increased upper body size.  Then change the exercises to avoid plateaus. This is a 4-day program with 1 rest day between sessions. The program can be completed with minimal equipment, just a barbell, bench, and dumbbell and rings. Enjoy!

Day 1

  1. Bench Press 6×2 to a 2 rep Max
  2. Narrow Grip Bench 3×8 reps
  3. Arnold Press  3×12 reps
  4. Skull Crushers on the rings  3×10
  5. DB Chest fly + DB Press 2×10 reps
  6. Banded resisted tricep press downs 3×30 reps

Day 2

  1. Snatch Grip High Pull 5×5
  2. Weighted pull up 6×2
  3. Bent Over Row 3×8 reps
  4. Hammer Curls 3×10
  5. Dumbbell hang Clean 50 reps at 55/35lbs for time
  6. Barbell in rack inverted row 2x failure

Day 3

  1. Pin Press 6×2
  2. Strict Press 5×5
  3. Weighted Dips 3×10
  4. Band resisted Push Ups 2x failure
  5. Dumbbell pull -overs 2×20

Day 4

  1. Chinese Row 5×5
  2. Single Arm Row 3×10
  3. 3 rounds for time of : 5 chin-ups,  5 wide grip pull-ups, 5 behind the neck pull ups
  4. 3×10 barbell curl
  5. 3×15 dumbell incline curls
  6. Ring Row 2x failure
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Virtually any method of strength training will get results for the novice, detrained or untrained lifter. A program with any significant level of intensity and functional movements; whether it be lifting soup cans, P-90-X, INSANITY, CrossFit, or Westside Barbell’s conjugate method, will enhance the strength of an individual in just a few weeks.

For this reason it can be very deceiving or misleading to interpret the results shown by the exposure to training programs on novice athletes as a qualification of a programs effectiveness. We see this all the time with the latest fitness fads on TV in the form of the Shaker Weight, Tony Little’s Gazelle training, The Perfect Pushup and Zumba, etc…. Something is always better than nothing, but what does this usually breed?…Relatively inexperienced athletes moving with less than desirable technique, who achieve initial success and then plateau or recede due to injury, poor movement patterns, or lack of appropriate progression. So how do you set a foundation for continued success? What should you be looking for as an athlete that is new to strength training?


Take the Time to Set a Good Foundation of the Basics

New athletes should take the time to restore the range and correct pattern of basic movements. Anyone can slap weight on a barbell. It takes skill and dedication to move with virtuosity. Setting this foundation will raise your ceiling in the long run…increasing athletic potential, decreasing the risk of injury and ensuring a more fruitful and productive athletic life. Here are some basic concepts of movement….

1) Develop Proper Core Strength

Core strength is the ability to support and maintain a neutral position of the spine as you move about the hips, knees, and shoulders. This position evenly loads the discs of the spine…reducing shear and creating a safe and effective transmission of forces. Practice holding the spine long and still whenever lifting weight.

2) Work on Tapping into your power center

Athletes need to access the biggest most powerful muscle groups in the body…the glutes, hamstrings and spinal erectors on the back side of the body. This area is from the knees to the upper back. The “Power Center” is where massive force can be produced and translated through the hips. You can recruit into this musculature by initiating movement with the hips first, balancing weight in the heels, and arching to back to load the backside up while maintaining a strong position for the lower back.

3) Practice Moving in Proximal to Distal Patterns

High levels of power are generated from the center out. This happens in a wave of contractions the start at the core and end at the extremities. You want to let the force of your hips carry over to your arms by not violating this natural chain of movement. Error can be seem in movements such as prematurely bending the arms in the Olympic lifts or pressing early in movements such as the push press.

4) Restore Your Body’s Full Range of Motion

Athletes should be moving through their anatomical full range of motion. Partial range of motion results in partial strength and partial flexibility. To ensure good muscular balance and enhance muscular recruitment require full range exercises. This should be the first plan of attack…DO NOT WAIT!! You won’t learn to go full range once you develop a 400lb quarter squat.

Anyone can use intensity to get in shape. It is the knowledge of your movement and mastering an appropriate prescription that preserves good technique that will ensure the continued athletic development. Use these principals to differentiate yourself and your training from others.

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