The Death Chair

Since so many people spend so much time sitting in a chair behind a desk, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite mobility work to correct the postural issues that come from sitting for an extended period of time. As always, when I look to learn about mobility and better posture/positioning, I go to the one and only Kelly Starrett at MobilityWOD. Without further adieu, here’s Kelly on fixing posture after sitting for extended periods of time.

Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump 3/27

Here are a few good reads to get you through another work week;

Boring Work

12 Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat by Jason Ferruggia

Nothing Beats Single Leg Training by Ben Bruno

6 Coaches Weigh In on Shoulders by T-Nation

Olympic Lift Variations to Get Big by Wil Fleming

The Tale of 2 Rolls by Charlie Weingroff

Roman’s Road Rules by John Romaniello

Supplement Review Part I by Tony Gentilcore

Supplement Reveiw Part II by Tony Gentilcore

 

 

 

Developing Leadership

leadership

Every coach worth is salt knows the importance of being a leader. For some coaches, being a leader is something that comes naturally, something that they possess without even thinking about it or realizing it. On the other hand, there are some people that need to spend time honing their leadership skills and learning what it takes to become the leader that they hope to be.

saban leader

If you are the type of person that needs to work to develop your leadership skills, there is good news and hope for you yet. Over time, if you are willing to put the effort into becoming a great leader, being that leader becomes automatic and something you do unconsciously.

So that begs the question, what qualities do great leaders have and exhibit on a daily basis? Here are 5 Qualities of Great Leaders.

Superior Communication

No matter what field you are in, to become a great leader and someone that people look up to, you need to be a superior communicator. When it comes to superior communication, a leaders number one objective should be to effectively communicate performance expectations. This enables everyone to stay focused on the task at hand with a clear vision as to what is expected from them on a daily basis.

Challenge People

Every person walking this earth has the potential to do more than they are currently doing. Great leaders understand this and push the people around them to be better, every single day. Great leaders challenge people to reach their potential and then some, keeping people on their toes and not allowing them to ever get comfortable. Most importantly, great leaders give people the tools to develop and grow in their roles.

strength coaching

Positivity

Great leaders display a positive attitude as well as positive energy. They create an environment and atmosphere that inspires others to work hard. These leaders motivate the people around them to excel on a daily basis. Even when failure rears its ugly face, a great leader doesn’t dwell on the situation and keeps pressing forward with positivity to motivate the people around them.

Build Relationships

There is nothing more important in any area of life then building relationships. A great leader invests in the people around them. They get to know everyone on a personal level and truly care about them. In the words of the great leader John C. Maxwell, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

relationships

Lead By Example

Saved the best for last. Simply put, great leaders lead by example – they practice what they preach. If you challenge the people around you to be better and grow each day, you need to be doing the same. If you are the leader, people are watching you and your every move. Don’t expect and ask things of people that you aren’t willing to do.

lead by example

Five 5×5 Variations

5×5 is a training program that was designed by Bill Starr many, many years ago that has yielded great results for countless weight room warriors. The concept is simple; perform 5 sets of 5 reps on your major strength movements, whether it’s your pressing, squatting or favorite deadlift variation.5x5

The Typical 5×5

This is probably the most popular method and the method that most people use whether they realize it or not. When using the pyramid variation, you simply start at a weight and increase the weight every set so that your final set is the heaviest work set. For example, when squatting a typical progression may look a little something like this;

  • 135 x 5
  • 185 x 5
  • 225 x 5
  • 275 x 5
  • 315 x 5

Essentially this variation of 5×5 is four warm up sets followed by one heavy work set. Though it isn’t my favorite variation of 5×5, it’s a variation nonetheless.

The Opposite of the Typical 5×5

This variation is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of working your way up to your heaviest set, you warm up properly, perform your heaviest set and then work your way back down in weight for the following sets.

  • 315 x 5
  • 275 x 5
  • 225 x 5
  • 185 x 5
  • 135 x 5

The Pyramid

pyramid

This may be my favorite variation of 5×5. In the pyramid variation your first two sets are relatively heavy sets that work towards your third set which will be your heaviest set. Then, after your third set you work your way back down in weight on the final two sets. Using our squatting workout as an example, this variation might look something like this;

  • Warm Up Sets as Needed
  • 225 x 5
  • 275 x 5
  • 315 x 5
  • 275 x 5
  • 225 x 5

I like this variation because you lift some relatively heavy weights for all 5 sets and you get in some quality work after performing your heaviest set.

The Wave

wave

Here’s a really cool variation of 5×5. Instead of progressively working your way up in weight, down in weight, or using the pyramid approach, you essentially pyramid throughout the 5 sets. Confused? Don’t be, it would look a little something like this;

  • Warm Up Sets as Needed
  • 275 x 5
  • 295 x 5
  • 255 x 5
  • 315 x 5
  • 275 x 5

In this variation, the weight moves up and down each set, but all sets are real, legit work sets. Without a doubt, this has to be one of my favorite variations of 5×5.

The Straight Set

As the name suggests, this variation is performed by choosing one weight and sticking with it throughout the entire 5 sets of 5. This variation can be very effective but it won’t allow you to use your 5 rep max as you will never be able to complete 5 sets of 5 with your 5RM – but I’m okay with that. Here’s what this variation might look like on paper;

  • Warm Up Sets as Needed
  • 275 x 5 x 5

This is most certainly one of my favorite variations and it might be the most simple. You warm up, which would probably look like the weights in the Typical Variation, and then get after it with 5 sets at a weight a little bit lighter than your 5 rep max.

I am sure that there are millions of other variations of 5×5 out there but these are just a couple that I have fooled around with in the past. This type of programming is very simple yet very effective and can add a little spice to your training as well as add a little challenge compared to the typical 3 sets of 8 reps type of workout.

Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump 3/13

Here are a few good reads to get you through another long, boring work week;

work

Deadlift vs. Clean Pulls by Wil Fleming

Is Overtraining Just Some Mythical Bulls!it? by Jason Ferruggia

Military Press Hurts My Back, What Should I Do? by Bret Contreras

Intensity Techniques to Make You Hurt by Tim Henriques

Considerations in Athletic Performance Enhancement Training: The High School Athlete by Rob Panariello

Ultimate Bacl Hypertrophy Movement by Ben Bruno

Shoulder Training Tips and 5 Exercises by Ben Bruno

On the Job Training by Martin Rooney

Recovery Revisited: The March Madness Addition by Tony Gentilcore

Finding Happiness by Adam Bornstein

T-Spine Rx by Derrick Blanton

Ankle Mobility Exercises to Improve Dorsiflexion by Mike Reinold

Strength Coach Podcast 119

100 Rep Challenge

Like a lot of other people, probably most people, every once in a while I get bored with a typical training session. Three of four sets of benching, squatting, deadlifting and various other movements tend to get a little old and bland after hitting these movements hard month after month. Because of it, I am always looking for something to spice things up when these times come instead of skipping workouts or continually doing something that I’m not too excited about. Enter the 100 rep challenge.

100 rep challenge

The simple but effective 100 rep challenge works every time. I simply pick a movement, typically bench press, front squat and chin ups, and perform 100 reps with a selected weight. I caution you to pick exercises that are compound movements and that are relatively safe in nature, something that you can keep proper form with throughout the entire 100 reps. I also wouldn’t recommend doing this with any Olympic lifts and their variations, as this is something that I would only doing with typical strength exercises.

front sq

To give you an actual example, if I were to perform the 100 rep challenge and to choose the bench press, I would simply put 135lbs on the bar and rep it out as many times as I can, stopping 1 rep shy of failure (after the first set you think this is going to be a breeze, but wait it out, it gets hard!). I will rest for 2-3 minutes and repeat the process until I reach 100 reps. Furthermore, to make it even more fun, once I finally reach 100 reps, I keep the last set going to failure. To stick with the same example of benching, if my previous set ended on rep number 94, I would take my final set past 100 and until I failed. A spotter is obviously needed for a movement like the bench press. bench press

When I have done this I have performed the 100 rep challenge the entire week, picking a different movement as the week goes on. For example, last time I performed the 100 rep challenge I picked the front squat on Sunday, the chin ups on Monday, trap bar deadlift on Wednesday, and finally bench press on Friday. Each day I did a little stuff on the side like core or whatever else you might want to throw into the mix.

If you are in a little training rut I challenge you to give the 100 rep challenge a shot. It may seem like it is very simplistic, and it is, but if you pick an appropriate weight this can be a great change of pace and also a great workout. The last time I performed the 100 rep challenge I left the gym each day feeling pretty spent and also had to spend some quality time with the foam roller the following days!

Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump 3/6

Here are a few good reads to get you through another work week;

reading

The Manathalon by Martin Rooney

Set a PR Every Day by David Dellanave

Best Ways to Audit Your Program by Dan John

The Best in Training by Jim Wendler

What is Conditioning by Pavol

Multidirectional Sled Hip Drills by Joel Jamieson

The Eight “Ates” of Strength and Conditioning by Gregory Martin

Filling in Your Knowledge Gaps by Mike Robertson

Don’t Be A Slouch by Shelton Stevens