Ever done a set of heavy squats or deadlifts only to have your SI joint flare up? Do you find yourself rolling your legs side to side trying to alleviate the pain? How about waking up after a terrible night’s sleep due to an on-going irritation in your lower back? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
“Everyone wants to be a beast, until it comes to doing what beast’s do” – Eric Thomas. You may have heard this quote before on a motivational montage that you listen to before training. I used to. I did it so for years and always said to myself that I’ll train as hard as humanly possible no matter what the situation. Lack of sleep, still train hard. Missed a meal, still push myself to the limit. Emotional stress, distract myself and push it to the back of my mind. This is what beast’s do isn’t it?
In part one of this series we explored what our brain is capable of. This entailed looking into brain anatomy, exceptional cases of intelligence and the mathematical possibilities behind the scope of our potential brain power. This article will continue to investigate the notion of heightened brain activity and outline ways in which you can boost your own focus, mood and productivity levels.
In the final instalment of the mastering the compound lifts, I will be dissecting the most technically demanding of all lifts; the squat.
Although it could be argued that the deadlift is the ultimate back builder, I would definitely have to say the pull up is on a par for developing strength, hypertrophy and shoulder health. Show me a guy who can do multiple sets of 10 plus reps on pull ups and you’ll also show me a guy with a wide, thick, muscular back. Barbells without a shadow of doubt build mass, but nothing screams athleticism quite as much as being a master of controlling your own body weight.
If the deadlift is the King of lifts, the overhead press would definitely be Queen. This movement is incredibly challenging, marrying it to the deadlift when it comes to the first two disciplines in any strongman competition. When it comes to deciphering which man/woman possesses the most brute force and power, nothing will give a better indication than how much you can pick up off the floor and how much you can press above your head.
If you want to add size and strength, you need to be in an environment where you can safely add load. No exercise can place quite as many pounds through the upper body as the bench press. This has made it the “go-to” exercise for trainees all around the world when it comes to building the chest, shoulders, arms and back.
There’s no other way to pack on strength and size than through mastering the compound lifts. By honing your skills when it comes to lifting and being patient and consistent with your recovery and nutrition, you’ll have a potent combination for physical development.
The bullet proof body would not be complete without talking about one of the most overlooked aspects of raw strength; grip training. Having a vice like grip not only increases your capacity for strength, it’s a vital part of being injury free as well. This article will follow suit as the rest of the series.
If I had a penny for every time someone asked me this question, I’d have about 5p, but still, it’s almost an immediate reply whenever anyone asks if I lift weights. The bench press is like the male right of passage in the gym. If you can bench a lot, it’s like it cements your alpha status. Everyone wants a big bench and big chest. Now what if I told you your bench press doesn’t actually have as much to do with your chest and triceps as you think.
In part 1 of the bullet proof body I spoke about the importance of the feet and ankle mobility. The reason why I started here is that this is the first area I would look at for anyone suffering from lower back pain. Make sure you read part 1 before this article, as it will massively help you understand some key principles behind injury proofing your body. This article will follow the same suit as the last. First, I’ll be discussing a little bit about biomechanics and common reasons for lower back pain, then I’ll be giving my top 3 tips for correcting issues and building pain free foundations.
Many people assume that it’s the people who train the hardest that achieve insurmountable amounts of size and strength. This isn’t actually the case. Training hard is important but the person who can train injury free will always make more linear progression. Looking after and “pre-habing” your body is an essential part of training. Although corrective work doesn’t seem that glamorous, it potentiates size and strength, making it a key aspect of effective training.
Squats, Benching and Deadlifts get all the attention. They’re seen as the sexy movements that build the most muscle. When you think of strengthening your body, these are probably the first lot of exercises that come to mind.
Crossfit, bodybuilding, olympic weightlifting, strongman, powerlifting, HIIT training, conditioning, calisthenics, MMA, boxing, yoga, hot yoga, naked yoga… (all read in a brash american car retailer voice blurting out deals during a closing down sale). We are inundated with a smorgasbord of training modes, all being sold to us with the elixir of getting us jacked or shredded.
Strength training is an art form. It’s a beautiful combination of problem solving, mathematical equations, brute power and patience. Getting stronger is not simply a case of lift more each week and try harder, you must follow certain principles that allow for long term adaptations.
“Strength is the mother of all qualities”. This is a quote that I heard early on in my career which resonated with me quite a lot. From a young age, strength has always fascinated me. Whether it was watching Superman pick up cars or colossal men move atlas stones on World’s Strongest Man, I knew that the pursuit of a strong, powerful physique was something I wanted to dedicate my life to.
What are our brains actually capable of? It’s an interesting question isn’t it. Hollywood has often highlighted the super powers of enhanced brain function, tantalising us with fantasies of unlimited potential. It makes for a great movie plot but looking a bit closer, is total optimisation actually possible? And if so, how?
Building muscle is not an easy feat. Many presume you just go to the gym, lift some weights, eat more protein and the process looks after itself. The reality is that there are a lot more pieces to the puzzle than that.
When training for strength and size you should never overlook the importance of staying in excellent condition. You may think that high intensity conditioning compromises your gains from weight training, This is untrue.