December 27, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast: December 27, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast: December 27, 2019

Exercise and Brain Health: I suggest that it’s not just the complexity of the exercise, but the level of force exerted that affects how much brain matter you use during an exercise. Increased force production comes from greater motor-unit recruitment, faster motor-unit firing rates, and more motor-unit synchronicity. Meaning, the more force you produce, the more muscles and nerves your brain has to fire to operate the system.
Your Brain Needs Exercise

You can include crawling movements in with the exercise described, but note they are often programmed in Level I versions of many of our sessions. I wouldn’t waste your time with them if I thought they weren’t beneficial.
Bird Dogs

More on fat loss and lifting weights. Doing “cardio” for the sake of burning calories is pretty much useless.
Fat Loss

You are not a slave to your genetics in most cases. Your genes might load the gun, but you decide whether to pull the trigger.
Genetics and Health

You have to move in ways your body was designed to move if you want to train hard without injury. Everything we do at IKSC is designed to reinforce strong movements outside the gym in sport or daily life.
Damaging Training

Video of the Week:

December 7, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast: December 7, 2019

Leslie Gluch in fog
IKSC Weekly Link Blast December 7, 2019

Get strong and be able to move well. It’s the best thing you can do for your mind and body.

Things you can learn from an exclusively carnivorous diet, brought to you with a little common sense from Mark Sisson. I vary from 90% carnivore to 100%. I still eat starchy tubers about once a week, and something I notice is I want more fermented things like kimchee, or saurkraut now and then, but one thing is for sure, it won’t hurt you to try this. I experimented with this first back in about May of 2018, after learning more about who Shawn Baker was and some of the superhuman things he could do. I think one of the main reasons people report feeling so good eating this way is because they were waaaaayy low on protein to start with and if all you eat is meat, fish, and eggs, you’ll get enough protein.

Avoid being dogmatic in your nutrition. I eat a diet that is about as close as I can get to what humans evolved eating, but it’s not because I think it makes me part of some paleo, low-carb, or carnivore “club.”

Dan John is one of the best strength coaches around. I always like it when his views align with things I’ve found to work well over the years.

Video of The Week:
(Something I’ll add. What you do with your feet and ankles affects everything. That’s where the kinetic chain starts.)

November 21, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast November 21, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast November 21, 2019

Eat like a predator, not prey. In this case, eat like the conqueror, not the conquered.

Lats are one of your most important core stabilization muscles. We don’t usually think of them that way, but they are.

Good write up on nutrition documentaries in general here.

Another good one from T-Nation. I remember when this article first came out, I’d just learned these crawls at a Steve Maxwell workshop and a few days later this showed up. Perfect timing.

Most of the stuff in Men’s Health is junk, but this article cites two extremely reputable people, Dan John and Prof. Stuart McGill. Not surprisingly, one of our staples, the loaded carry is the topic.

Here’s an old post about trying to out-train the dinner table.

Video of The Week:
Should tie into what we talked about in our last nutrition class.

November 14, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast November 14, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast November 14, 2019


I do a class on inflammatory foods and inflammation now and then, but this article is one of the best I’ve ever read on inflammation as it relates to diet and exercise.


Before you decided to dive into buckets of sugary junk this Thanksgiving, you might take a look at what was likely on the table at the first Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving lobster and oysters, anyone?


This study on L-carnitine might show one of the reasons people see so much success on a pure carnivore diet: They are eating a bunch of red meat, and generally going long stretches without eating. Red meat is rich in L-carnitine.

(Think, Vince Gironda steak and eggs diet: Two meals per day, eight hours apart with nothing but steak and eggs in mass quantities.)


More on our trapbar deadlifts. Kettlebell suitcase deadlifts work the same way.


This would seem to apply to women, as well. Muscle and strength is your friend if you plan to age well.


Video of the Week:

Pavel Tstatsouline is quite a character, but his info on stretching and just about anything to do with strength and conditioning is great. Showing off the hairy chest must be a Russian thing.

November 7, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast November 7th, 2019


IKSC Weekly Link Blast November 7th, 2019

Thanks to those that showed up for class Monday night. I will be repeating the same class on Tuesday the 12th, at 7:15p.m. for anyone that missed it. I really want to help people keep on track and that is much harder when the days get shorter and social pressure drags people away. Everyone likes to work hard in the gym, but elements of sleep and stress are every bit as important as exercise. That is what this class deals with.

Special Class: Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Take some time for yourself. It’s important.

Hard work gives you better posture and always has according to these Egyptian artifacts. Strangely enough, they’ve also found that the grain-based diet of some of the Egyptian royalty caused heart disease, the same way it does for modern humans.

Here’s a good breakdown about The Game Changers movie out. No, I haven’t seen it. I get questions about it now and then. I could address specifics, if anyone has questions.

Please note, the exercises listed to build bone health are all full-body, compound movements with significant amounts of weight. I would also argue for exercises that emphasize dynamic joint stabilization (like burpees) are a good thing. I’d also suggest that loaded carries are probably the biggest bang for your buck of all.

Another good article dealing with sleep.

Video of the Week:
I’ve shared this before, but it is more important this time of year.

October 31, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast October 31, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast October 31, 2019


Don’t forget about the class Monday the 4th at 7p.m. Don’t let the holiday season derail your strength and health goals.


Most of these points about hormone optimization apply just as much to women as men.


I’d say this was a good start, but the truth is ALL cereals are sugar bombs.


Here’s an article on gut health and the Auto Immune Protocol, which is a super strict paleo diet. Yes, it works. I’ve heard similar stories from people over the years, even before we had any idea what might be going on ( and we still know very little about the gut biome).


Videos Of The Week:

June 28, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast June 27, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast June 27, 2019

Video of the week:
Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek are basically the modern leaders in the low-carb diet field, or “keto” as it has become known as. I’ve been reading their work and following them for several years now. Here is a good primer on nutritional ketosis.

I’ve eaten what would be considered a very low carb diet for several years now. I haven’t had a weight loss goal at all during that time. I’ve stayed pretty much the same weight and body composition, and anything physically I set out to do I can usually accomplish. I do know that if I add back more than about 50grams of carbs per day, the body composition starts to suffer.

Think of our July Challenge nutrition guidelines as the “anti-processed food” diet. Good reasons to adopt that strategy full-time:

As it says on my business cards, form follows function. Train for performance and the aesthetics will follow.

We were talking about this just the other day. The benefit of concentric training is that you can do a bunch of it and recover fast.

If you really want to go with no processed food, here is an option. The only downside I’ve found is it is sometimes hard to get in enough calories. I am carnivore about 5 days of the week, with a few meals of some starches, fermented foods, and limited vegetables. Been that way for about the past year.

Loaded carries. Can’t get enough.

Bonus video. Short, and a few years old, but still dead-on. The idea that dietary fat and cholesterol is a problem within itself is a lie:

Photos this week: The people who carved these drawings didn’t eat processed food. They are near a site likely used to harvest wild game by some primitive people, an estimated 5,000-6,000 years ago:



January 20, 2012

Essential Martial Art Core Strength Exercises: The Deadlift.

Essential Martial Art Core Strength Exercises: The Deadlift.
One of the biggest mistakes martial artists make in training is forgetting maximal strength training in their strength and conditioning regimen. This is usually skipped over in favor of some type of strength endurance or power endurance exercise, like burpees, pushups, high-rep kettlebell exercises, or more conditioning, like running or jumping rope.

The reason is because the primary energy system used during martial art training is strength or power-endurance. The temptation is to simply do more of this to supplement. I disagree.

If you are training hard in whatever martial art you are doing, you should be getting all the endurance and power-endurance work you need and can handle. You should be ready to puke during basic technique and forms training. If not, then you aren’t working hard enough.

Nothing will improve your ability to play your sport more than practicing that sport.

However, you can generally always use some maximal strength work to stimulate the nervous system and give you more maximal strength and power when you really need it. This might not get worked every training session. Maximal strength is the hardest to gain.

If I could only add one single exercise to supplement a martial art program, it would be the deadlift.

Very few exercises force you to engage your entire body like the deadlift does. It makes you generate force from the ground in an upright position – via hip and knee extension- while simultaneously requiring spinal stabilization, while under heavy load.

The deadlift works the entire posterior chain (the back of your body) from the ground up. These are the “rear wheel drive” power muscles you see in sprinters and throwers. They are not mirror muscles man-boys in tank tops puff up like a bantam rooster. They are all about performance, strength and power. Like a strong set of forearms and traps, you can’t fake a powerful pair of glutes and hamstrings. They are a sign of great health and a powerful body.

It also works the grip, as long as you don’t use any sissy straps like bodybuilders use.

When you break all that down, that starts to sound like a lot of martial art movements, such as a takedown, punch, kick, jump, choke, joint lock, or defense against any of these attacks. In short, it will make you hit harder, sweep and throw harder, choke and grip stronger.

Here are a few of the muscles brought into play by the deadlift (there are more, but this is a fast breakdown in plain English):
Hip flexors
Feet and ankles
Spinal erectors (low back)
Entire arm (including hands, fingers and forearms)
Middle/Upper back

As far as an abdominal exercise goes, the deadlift is king. The core is heavily taxed during this movement. Core strength has nothing at all to do with 6-pack abs. Abdominal definition is 100% nutrition.

Core strength is your body’s ability to stabilize the spine during a movement. There is no better way to exercise this than forcing it to stabilize during a deadlift up to double your bodyweight. No amount of situps is equal to a single deadlift at two times your body’s weight.

Specific programming and technique is a little beyond the scope of this article, and should be addressed by a legit strength coach in-person, but I think working your way to a double-body weight deadlift will pay off in every area of your strength and power development, in just a few minutes per day.

If you must go it alone, the text I recommend for deadlift coaching and programming is Power to The People-Russian Strength Training Secrets by Pavel Tsatsouline. I have used this program, and have seen it work well with dozens of other men and women.

July 29, 2010

Overhead lifting is the ultimate test of full-body strength.

Overhead lifting is the ultimate test of full-body strength.

Since before the first Olympics, lifting heavy objects overhead has been the ultimate test of strength.
Every part of the human body is placed under load while lifting a heavy object overhead, such as during a dumbell or kettlebell military press.
Forget the bench press. The bench press is an artificial, gym creation. Lifting something heavy from the ground overhead is not.

Seated or machine presses are not the same.

What about “military presses” on a Smith rack or other machine? Isn’t that the same thing? They smoke they shoulders, and you get a great burn in your deltoids and triceps.
No. Machine presses are not even the same thing.
Anything done in a machine or seated does not require nearly the spinal stabilization or central nervous system demand lifting an actual object overhead does.
And, if you want to gain strength, forget about the “burn.”
There are lot of things that burn. Placing a hand on a hot stove burns, but does not make you stronger. Training for the burn is bodybuilder nonsense, not strength training.
Furthermore, the military press is only done from a standing position, with locked knees. It is not performed seated, nor in some kind of pussified machine.
Traditionally, it was done with the heels together and feet facing out at a 45-degree angle, as if standing at attention in a military formation. It has, however, changed so that any locked-knee overhead press is known as the military press.

Overhead lifting can be done with any implement

Overhead lifting can and should be done with a wide variety of implements. My favorite is the kettlebell. The kettlebell’s offset center-of-gravity requires a great deal of stabilization, which challenges every muscle from the fingertips to the toes.
No kettlebell? No problem. The dumbell military press is a great exercise.
No dumbell? Still no problem. Overhead lifting can be done with a sandbag, medicine ball, or whatever you can imagine.
The barbell military press is a great exercise, and is considered by many to be the ultimate test of upper-body strength, with much more carryover to other activities than the bench press; however, it is significantly more technical than a dumbell or kettlebell press and should be only attempted after careful study and/or professional coaching.

What about cardiovascular conditioning?

The demand placed on every muscle group that comes from lifting a heavy object from the ground to full overhead lockout is incredible. When done for high reps, it equals a cardiovascular workout unmatched by literally anything.
Doubt this? Then try this for size. Find a dumbell or sandbag you can lift from floor to overhead lockout for about 10 reps before failure. Find a quarter mile track, or just take it right next to your treadmill at your local gym.
Clean and press the weight 5 times. Then run a quarter mile as fast as possible. Repeat for rounds for 20-30 minutes.
That’s it. No “abs” at the end of the workout. No idiotic bicep curls or tricep extensions. No boring “cardio” session afterwards. You’re done. Cooldown, stretch and then eat.

Overhead lifting is safe if done properly.
An often-cited reason for not including overhead lifting in a strength training program is because it “hurts my shoulders” or fear of injury.
Unless you have some prior injury, there is no reason not to include overhead lifting in your exercise, if you do it properly. I have women senior citizens clean and press 26lb kettlebells overhead on a regular basis with zero injury. On the contrary, increased range-of-motion and injury resistance are to be expected with correctly-done overhead lifting.
At the same time, I know young, otherwise strong women that cannot lift ½ that amount safely. It is all about proper technique and preparation.
If it hurts, you are probably doing something wrong, or have some flexibility issues that must be addressed, whether you plan to press overhead or not.
Get some training from a legit trainer. Correct overhead lifting takes practice and technique, something usually not covered in a multiple-choice trainer certification, or part of some corporate gym’s “sales” training.
And no, overhead lifting does not cause rotator cuff injury, but improper overhead lifting can cause any number of injuries, just like any exercise done with too much weight, too soon or lack of attention to correct technique.
Build Strength & Agility with Gym Rings

Strength is a skill
Overhead pressing requires skill and body-awareness. That means you have to actually pay attention and focus while performing this activity. Watching the TV in a cushy commercial gym while attempting to barbell press your bodyweight is a recipe for disaster, and possibly a good Youtube video.
Focus and learn to use your body. Learning to use your body more efficiently should be part of any exercise routine.
Learning a challenging activity like pressing weight overhead will build neuromuscular efficiency that will pay off in almost every aspect of your strength and health.

-Jim Beaumont
CrossFit/Tactical Athlete Certified Kettlebell Instructor

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