Hate Stretching? Stop “Shoulding” On Yourself and Start One of These Programs Today

Hate Stretching? Stop “Shoulding” On Yourself and Start One of These Programs Today

Lifting, Lower Body, Recovery, Running, Tactical, Upper Body
Hate Stretching? Stop "Shoulding" On Yourself and Start One of These Programs Today "I should stretch more," says at least one of my clients every week. While that statement may or may not be accurate, those choice words reveal a level of personal resistance that certainly doesn't help the cause.  Perhaps you "should" stretch. Stretching helps you move better in life and in your workouts. And a regular stretching routine can reduce that "old man" feeling when you get out of bed (by a lot). But suppose you're not naturally flexible, or you have nagging aches and pains. In that case, stiff muscles and joints are likely to protest your random stretching efforts.   In the same way that you might only eat veggies when trying to cut weight, stretching just…
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Missing mobility that can help boost your pull-up workouts

Missing mobility that can help boost your pull-up workouts

Lifting, Spine, Tactical, Upper Body
Missing mobility that can help boost your pull-up workouts Upper back, or thoracic, mobility is a key maintenance issue for the overhead athlete. The thoracic spine plays a vital role in keeping the shoulders out of pain and working correctly. A loss of mobility here can cause painful compression of the rotator cuff muscles or make your lat muscles have to work overtime for pull-ups. And if repping pull-ups isn’t your thing, consider the unattractive humpback you’re likely to develop if you neglect mobility work here! Assess While plenty of videos online show ways to increase thoracic mobility, it’s important that you first determine if you have a deficit. That way, you can monitor your progress and choose effective exercises. To measure your thoracic mobility, use the Seated Rotation Test.…
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Can you rebuild knee cartilage?

Can you rebuild knee cartilage?

Lifting, Lower Body, Running, Tactical
Can you rebuild knee cartilage? I worked with a Marine coming off a long deployment with poor gym access. An avid lifter with all things barbell, he mentioned that he had started to develop dull, achy pain behind both kneecaps upon return to regular gym workouts. He also reported that his knee joints felt “swollen” the day after a heavy lifting session.  “I had X-rays, and they said I had some arthritis, that my knees had lost some cartilage. Can we do anything about that? I miss lifting like I used to,” he said.  What does cartilage do? Knee cartilage is a network of tightly packed cells and water molecules that form a thick, dense cushion over the ends of bones. Strong cartilage is firm, smooth, and slick, like the…
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Want to crush your New Year’s fitness resolutions? Try a past year review instead.

Want to crush your New Year’s fitness resolutions? Try a past year review instead.

Lifting, Recovery, Running, Tactical
Want to crush your New Year’s fitness resolutions? Try a past year review instead. Well, it's almost that time again for New Year's resolutions. What's yours? Get stronger? Run a marathon? Look great naked? Stats on New Year's resolutions - especially those that involve fitness - are quite abysmal. According to studies, while 60 percent of us will make New Year's resolutions, only 8 percent of us will achieve them. You've probably seen it first hand: gyms that are packed on January 2 are ghost towns by March.  So, if you've got a fitness resolution - or one on repeat from years past - how can you follow through and crush it this year? Inspired by a practice by entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, try a past year review first. By identifying what worked…
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Which Deadlift is Best for You?

Which Deadlift is Best for You?

Lifting
Which Deadlift is Best for You? So you want to tackle the deadlift…the King of Lifts? The deadlift is a total-body pulling exercise that builds serious strength and muscle mass. But you must pay your taxes to the King! If you are new to training deadlifts or are returning after an injury, learning to handle the load and generate the necessary levels of muscle tension can be a major source of pain and problems, especially for the lower back. How should you deadlift to get strong while avoiding injury? We recommend that you learn several variations , so you always have a training option when you need it. Here are five styles that cover all the skills you need to know to keep deadlifting: 1. Conventional or Standard Deadlift This style…
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How to Deadlift After Back Pain or Injury

How to Deadlift After Back Pain or Injury

Lifting, Spine
How to Deadlift After Back Pain or Injury Are you an experienced weightlifter? Have you ever suffered a back injury? Admit it -  this is the face you make when it’s time to get back in the gym for that first deadlifting workout:  The ability to touch your toes is essential for deadlifting…and is not just for flexible people! Before someone learns to deadlift, or after someone has recovered from a back injury, one of the first things we look for is their ability to touch their toes. Toe touch helps us to identify some essential qualities necessary for deadlifting safety and performance, including: Range of motion and flexibility to reach the floorBalance and coordination to shift bodyweight forward and backwardPotential compensations due to pain or muscle imbalances Sometimes, genetics…
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How to Get Back Into Strength Training After A High Hamstring Injury

How to Get Back Into Strength Training After A High Hamstring Injury

Lifting, Lower Body
How to Get Back Into Strength Training After A High Hamstring Injury Regaining leg strength after a high hamstring injury (strain, tendinitis, or tear) can be a tricky process. Not only does running cause hamstring pain, but so does squatting…and even just sitting in a chair! Part of the problem is that the high hamstring tendon - located where your leg meets your butt - gets compressed around the pelvic bone (“sit bone”) every time you bend your hip or sit down. So, in the early stages of regaining hamstring strength after an injury here, avoid compression of the tendon over the pelvic bone. This could be simple hamstring curls performed while lying in a prone (belly) position. Avoid seated hamstring curl machines.  In later stages you can reintroduce strength…
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