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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