Quickly Master Bodyweight Dips

The bodyweight dip is a compound upper body movement. Often touted as the “upper body squat.” Yeah it’s that good. Builds up your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Also is a great strength booster for any style of pressing Bench, Incline, Shoulder, etc. It is truly an impressive feat to bang out lots of reps with lots of weights hanging around your waist. If nothing else dips will give you impressive upper body development, strength, and respect from others. 

The trouble is that many people who start training can’t even do one dip. Like not even close. My goal with this article is to shorten the learning curve and get you reppin’ bodyweight dips as quickly as possible. I will propose some simple to apply tips that anyone can do and you will be looking for the dip belt and a pile of iron in no time.

1) Drop the fat

Fat is dead weight. It doesn’t nothing for you, except pound on your joints and slow you down. The bodyweight dip rewards people with “relative strength.” Meaning if you are lean and strong dips will be no problem. If you are big and strong and carry lots of extra adipose tissue aka fat, dips will be much more difficult. So make it easier on yourself and lose the fat. I like a simple leveraged approach when it comes to fat loss. Aim your workouts on building lean muscle tissue. Remember, every ounce of lean muscle tissue burns a certain number of calories around the clock automatically. Muscle burns calories while you sleep, eat, work and exercise. Fat loss is easy if you focus on maximizing lean muscle mass and just eat a little less. Don’t try make it hard and complicated, because it is that simple. Most diets out there work, but stick with one and see it through. The main point is if you look in the mirror and see fat adjust your eating and workouts to get rid of it. Bodyweight dips will become much easier to master.

2) Start Simple

Can you do several regular pushups with good form? If not, start there. Get to where you can knock out 20-30 in a row with no problem. Always do them with perfect form and full range of motion. This is laying the foundation. Many times people want to rush to the advanced stuff without first laying a solid foundation. Don’t be foolish like that. 

3) Trust the Process

I am not going to make this complicated. Here is a simple progression to successfully master dips very quickly. Sample workouts will be provided at the end.

  • Start with pushups, perfect form, 30 reps in a row
  • Progress to decline pushups on a bar in a rack (in video)
  • Progress to negative dips with bodyweight, 6-8 second eccentric (down portion)
  • Progress to negative dips with additional weight, 6-8 second eccentric (down portion)
  • Progress to bodyweight dips
  • Progress to weighted dips

Okay let’s go over this list. Pushups we already covered. 

Decline Pushups on a Bar

Although your body is elevated, this feels just like a decline bench press. I love this one because it teaches you how to work with your bodyweight. Many times people are kind of in shock when they first feel and attempt to lift their bodyweight. This drill gives you the feel, coordination, and the practice needed to do a dipping motion with your bodyweight. See video for demonstration. 

 

Negative Dips 

Start at the top and control yourself down. Go down in excellent control for 6-8 seconds. Jump up to top position and repeat. This will make you sore so you don’t need to do tons of reps. I’d say keep it around 12-20 good controlled, slow reps. This again gives you the feeling of moving your bodyweight through space. Once you get good at these add weight on a dip belt. Once you can do negatives with additional weight, bodyweight dips will very soon follow. 

 

SUCCESS!!! 

Now you can do bodyweight dips. Do them right always. Never do half reps as you will never know if you are actually getting any stronger. Once you can do quite a few get a dip belt and start adding additional weight. 

 

4) Ditch the Bands

People sometimes use resistance bands for pull-ups and dips. Although this practice can help you feel the range of motion there is one major problem. Anyone who has done dips or pull-ups would surely agree that the hardest portion is when you are at the rock bottom of the movement. The trouble with the bands is this is exactly where they give you the most help because of the spring of the elasticity. Bottom line using bands is that you never really feel your bodyweight in the hardest portion of the movement. When the time comes to try without the band it is usually a fail. With negatives you get comfortable feeling your bodyweight plus more if you add weight in that rock bottom position. 

 

5) Lift With Your Brain

In recent years, it seems using the mind to muscle connection while lifting has become a lost art. Many times this is the case with dips. Jerky, spastic reps are commonplace. There are several reasons that this is a bad idea. For instance, if you look like you are taking part in a frog leaping contest while doing dips, you are certainly doing them wrong. Check your ego and take the time using these tips to actually get strong enough to knock out really clean and controlled reps. Don’t try to fake it by violently jerking your body around and doing half reps as this is a surefire way to an injury. Lifting with your brain is really quite simple. Focus with laser intensity on the muscles you are using. Strive to feel every stretch and the contraction of the target muscles. Do not just go through the motions. Feeling and focusing on this is what creates the mind to muscle connection. If you have never focused on this it may take several sessions to practice and get the feel of it. Trust me it is well worth your time. 

 

6) Do These Sample Workouts!

Sample Dip Specific Workout 1:

4x4 Negative Dip 

  • 6-8 second eccentric
  • add weight if needed

3x12 Decline Pushups 

  • with a bar in the rack 
  • focus on lower chest and triceps
  • feel and control your bodyweight moving through space

3 x max reps Bodyweight Pushups 

 

Sample Dip Specific Workout 2:

Complete 4 Sets In Circuit Fashion.

Negative Dips, 4 reps

  • 6-8 second eccentric
  • add weight if needed

Decline Pushups, 12 reps

Pushups, max reps

Rest 60 seconds before repeating.

Gameday Wednesday 8.2.17

Gameday Wednesdays are a fun, varied conditioning challenge with a score. We mainly perform High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to maximize body fat loss while sparing lean muscle tissue and boosting power output. 

Benny The Jet

Complete as many rounds as possible:

5 Box Jumps or Step Ups (24"/30")

10 Jumping Pullups

50 ft Bear Crawl

Sprint 100 meters

Light Jog or Walk 100 meters

Rest 1 minute

Work at maximum effort during work portions and rest easy during rest periods.

 

The Power of Choice and an Instinctual Training Hack

Camaraderie, effort, and motivation are a few of the many benefits of training with a group of like-minded people. Did I forget to mention the fun and the shenanigans? I recently watched Super Troopers so shenanigans is on my mind. World class athletes and organizations understand “group power.” Professional Athletes mostly train amongst their teammates for that extra or second effort. When in college we lifted and conditioned as a team, however, we had a slightly different program based on our position. This was an example of effective, customized group training. 

Over the past 6 years, Nancy and I have been working with clients of all walks of life. In addition, we have trained ourselves for over a decade and constantly study and learn. We study for both our continuing education requirements for our professional certifications and for pleasure and easy reading. Always striving to develop constantly evolving and improving programs for our clients and ourselves. Over the years, one thing has become clearer and clearer. This is the unlocked power of instincts. 

Photo credit:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/quoteseverlasting/8887878112

Photo credit:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/quoteseverlasting/8887878112

WHEN TO USE INSTINCTS

It is hard to define instincts, but in my opinion it is a major key to better and safer training. Once you have ingrained exercise as a productive habit in your life then you have my permission to use instincts. It’s been said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Is this true? I don’t know and I think it depends on the person and their psychological make-up. From experience, I’d say the 8-week mark is a make or break. If you can get involved and commit to 2 months, or 8 weeks, I believe it will become easier and easier to show up. This is because the habit has formed. Hopefully it is something productive, like exercise and eating right. Not something like “SMOKING THE REEEEEFER!!!” (another Super Troopers influence). Bare with me.

Back to instincts, I am speaking from experience with my own training and I am going to tell you how I use instincts in training. To draw on a common experience, have you ever had a REALLY big test, game, moment, meeting with your boss, etc? Enter a any HUGE situation. Beforehand you are fretting about it. What am I going to do? say? How am I going to play? or perform? Or you start playing out the situation in your head over and over again. After all this madness what happens? Your mind spends hours going 90 to nothing. When the moment of truth finally rolls around, you are mentally drained, physically exhausted, feeling flat, and perform sub-optimally to put it nicely. A lot of times to put the icing on the cake you get a head cold following the huge ordeal just to rub it in. Have you ever experienced this situation before?

INSTINCTS IN TRAINING

Oh yeah instincts with training. Sorry got a little off track there. It is truly hard to describe or explain but sometimes you got it and sometimes you don’t. It may be an aligning of the stars or a crash and burn with your hormonal milieu. Perhaps, your favorite team was playing late and you decided to tough it out and stay up way too late and get up way too early. I hope they won. Maybe you were traveling and couldn’t eat nutritious food like normal. Dehydrated from being in the sun over the weekend. Many reasons could be the culprit. Personally, if you are in the gym and working out I don’t think you should beat yourself up over having a poor performance every once in a while. It happens. This is where your instincts can guide you. When I show up and feel incredible and the weights feel like foam, I go to town. On the other hand, if I show up feeling sub-par, I listen closely to my instincts. They may be saying hey buddy let’s not force anything today and just have a good time pumping some iron. A funny thing happens. You never have a bad day at the gym listening to your instincts. Weider, Draper, and many others have commended listening to instincts for decades, and let me tell you, they are on to something. It is akin to a magic or broadway show. Anticipation starts to build, the inspirational music starts, performers start showing up on stage, and before you know you are blasting away and having an absolute ball! The ugly alternative is trying, usually unsuccessfully, to heave a certain weight plus 5 pounds that you did last time when you felt like the incredible hulk. You miss the lift, confidence craters, and the rest of your day you are in the dumps. You start wondering if your life is in shambles and if you will ever recover. Here is a valuable training secret: you don’t have to kill yourself in training. It is productive to push yourself and improve, but trying to force things is never wise. Remember, we are dealing with iron and gravity. You aren’t going to kick either of one of their asses, but you can be friends and they will let you build yourself up. 

If you haven’t noticed, sometimes I struggle getting to the point. Here it is. Listen to what your instincts are telling you. Key point: you must first have acquired the exercise habit. If it isn’t a habit yet, your instincts may be saying “run for your life!!! DQ is just around the corner…” 

Walk in like king kong, tear the place apart. Walk in like a shaking chihuahua, then let loose, pump some lighter weights, get the blood moving and play it by ear. Have fun. Whatever you do don’t make working out a dreadful chore, it should be enjoyable. Building up your body should be a positive and invigorating experience. 

POWER OF OUR PROGRAM

Nancy and I wanted to take productive group training to the next level with our new format. That is why you have a choice. You already know that it is the best of both worlds: Training under the watchful eye of an experienced trainer while also enjoying the thrill of working with a group. Now to make it even better, now you can use instincts and have options. You don’t ever have to worry about trying to craft a productive training routine. We do all that grunt work for you. You get to show up and show out. If you walk in and feel like you want to get that heart thumping with high intensity conditioning you can jump on that and push yourself with others. On the other hand, maybe you walk in wanting to kick back and pump some iron. You can pass on the conditioning portion and finish out with the extra lifting work. 

Another winning strategy is to break your year up in cycles like so….

Goal Cycling Example: 

November-March BUILD UP LEAN MUSCLE TISSUE / GET STRONGER

April-July LEAN OUT / INCREASE CONDITIONING LEVEL (swim suit season: own the beach)

August-October MAINTENANCE / HAVE FUN

There are thousands of different ways you can construct and tweak this idea and with our new customizable approach you can make it happen. This is truly personal training with the fun of a team. An unbeatable combination in my humble opinion. You can now cater to your goals with our program at any time. Oh one last thing, don’t forget about heeding wisdom from your new best friend, instincts. 

Beau Bradbury CSCS, CPT, CF-L2

Struggle to Success: My Fitness Journey by Nancy Bradbury

Flipping through old photos again. However, today something is different. Very different. It is the reflection I see in those photographs spanning over a decade. Is that really me? Is that what I looked like? Wow I look so different today. My body from age 20 to 30 has radically changed for the better. Many will snicker “just wait… until you get older!!!” as if the wheels will fall off and my physique will turn to fantastic to flabtastic. Just made up that word flabtastic. You may want to notify Webster’s. As people warned of the inevitable doom of age my mind went back to Lubbock, Texas when I was in grad school. I had my first sign of the secret to a lean, healthy and powerful body. Thanks to Susie. 

My husband and I attended a gym at 5am during this time and we met a nice lady named Susie. Susie was not young, but Susie looked absolutely incredible. Lean sculpted muscles, impressive strength, and virtually zero body fat. She would show up consistently, work hard, but not excessive. She never appeared to severely strain or be in pain. She never seemed to be injured in anyway or exhausted. She came in alive and well, worked smart and went home. I took note of how she performed basic, free weight movements like it was her religion and developed the body composition of a greek statue. The trouble was that I was young and simply overlooked the value of the simplicity of Susie’s training. In other words, like many people new to training, I thought I knew it all. Looking back, I realize how foolish I was because she had all the results I deeply desired, and I well didn’t… yet! More on that later. 

A little background on myself just so you can gain a perspective of where I started and how far I’ve come to the enlightenment of how simple it is to get in very good shape. Growing up, I ran cross country as a kid and in high school. Coming from an endurance background, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to run for the California State University Chico cross country (b) team. I have also completed a marathon and numerous half marathons. I really can’t even count how many races I raced in. The reason I mention this is because many people believe the falsehood that they should do more and more cardio to drastically change their body composition. I can attest that I did tons of it, literally endless miles and still lacked the physique I desired. To be honest, I wasn’t even close. Trust me, more and excessive "cardio" is not the answer.

Becoming increasingly frustrated, I then feel victim to the “more is better” mindset. The most dangerous and destructive one of all. My thinking at this time was that to FINALLY lose my body fat, I just gotta do more and more!!! I ran, did spin class, lifted weights, yoga, did extra aimless activity to try to burn more and more calories. This might have been my lowest point. I spent hours and hours a day exercising. I was beyond burned out, had no life, and still lacked any desirable results. In many ways, physically and mentally, this period of time just made things worse. 

Shortly after the hellish “more is better” phase, I moved across the country to Lubbock, Texas for graduate school at Texas Tech. I joined a local gym and met Beau at the gym. Shocking I know. Beau is a iron warrior through and through. Lifting weights has been a big part of his life ever since his dad brought home a bench press one day, I think Beau was around 10 years old. In Lubbock, he was finishing up his exercise science degree at Tech at the time. He noticed my routine which was a pretty decent one that I learned from my junior high coach. Beau made some recommendations, but most of all helped me to lift more and run less. My goal was to lose body fat and develop muscle tone and definition. His no-brainer advice was "well to get muscle tone.... you have to have muscles." This is when I first started to grasp the idea that resistance training would trump long runs in my quest for a lean, toned physique. Ironically, around this time is when we met Susie and we both took note of how she was training and her obviously successful results. She had what I wanted. 

Beau has always been obsessed with training and finding the “holy grail” of results. Walk into our home office and you will see stacks and stacks of training books, articles, etc. He will try anything and give it a fair shake. Then he discards the junk and keeps the stuff that produced only dynamic results. We opened our gym in 2011 and have helped lots of people change their bodies for the better. However, we are never satisfied and our constantly evolving our programs to provide only the very best for our clients. For the past 6 years, I have used this time as a trial and error to create a program that delivers at the highest levels. I have spent countless hours studying and practicing different training routines, concepts and styles and then noted the results. Many of the programs I have tried delivered mediocre results. If you know us, you know Beau and I have zero tolerance for mediocrity. I kept close records of what happened, and with Beau’s help, we have developed a program second to none for ladies to drastically alter their body composition. I followed this focused program for one year and my what a difference. I finally have the body that I have wanted for over a decade. I truly feel like I have the secret to developing an outstanding physique in my hands. I closely kept notes of how I trained and what I ate. Now, I want to share this with others. My passion is helping people achieve a much improved body composition and to look and feel, not just good, but outstanding. I have had the fortunate opportunity to use these very methods on other ladies at our gym in our Ladies Physique program and they have also drastically improved their body composition. I stand ready and very excited to help many other ladies to reach their peak physical condition. 

If you are reading this, please understand the tremendous opportunity you have at your hands. You won’t have to struggle through the many rabbit trails like I did searching for a program that provides dynamic results. I’ve done all of that guesswork for you. I will show you how to lift properly, how to eat right, and how to have fun working out. Most importantly, I will show you the way to major changes and the results you’ve always wanted. You may be surprised at how simple everything is, but don’t let that fool you like it did me. All you have to do is trust the program and you will look back one day in the future and be so happy you did. I would like to thank Susie one last time, even though I have no clue where she is. Probably at a dumbbell rack at 5am. She modeled, almost effortlessly, the very secret to a stellar physique. It was like a seed planted long ago that once we finally grasped the idea it all became crystal clear. Thanks Susie!

Take a moment and look through my photos (below) throughout this journey. I show these not in vain, but to show you the possibility. I want to help you do as I did so you can enjoy feeling and looking your absolute best everyday. This is a call to arms. If you stand ready to change your body composition for the better I am ready to help you. Our program we have created is called Ladies Physique and we hold semi-private classes at Weatherford Strength & Conditioning on Tin Top Road in Weatherford, TX. In this program you will get my exact training formula and nutrition regimen. As an added bonus, I will be right there with you, rep by rep, to help motivate and coach you along the way. Not to forget the many good times and laughs we will have along the way. We like to have fun! Please understand, any current level of fitness is welcome. My passion is helping anyone willing to do the work drastically alter their body composition and thus maximize their physical potential. So I don’t care if you haven’t worked out in years or ever, I will help you. I have hands-on experience working with lots and lots of people coming from all kinds of fitness backgrounds. In other words, please don’t worry about not being in good enough shape to start our program. We will make it happen for you. 

To get started with our Ladies Physique program at WSC is really simple. Just give us a call at 817-597-0692 and let us know you are interested in our Ladies Physique program and we will schedule your first day and answer any questions. It’s that simple. I’d encourage you to start now. Like the old saying goes, “procrastination murders success.” Isn’t that oh so true? I am looking forward to seeing you soon!

Click here to see all of the details of the Ladies Physique program.

The Long Lost Gym

You know it’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. That is a lot of words. I felt like writing this because sadly many are losing touch. Take a second and look at these photographs. The first one is at Muscle Beach in Venice, California.

Muscle Beach. Photo compliments to https://www.pinterest.com/mikeandshellyc/the-pit/

Muscle Beach.

Photo compliments to https://www.pinterest.com/mikeandshellyc/the-pit/

What does this photograph say to you? I know what what it says to me. Fresh air, muscles burning under iron and working hard amongst good ole pals. Laughing in between sets at the joke of the day. It is a family out there, an iron family. Some days you don’t want to show, but you have to because you know your pals are going to bring their "A" game. Pick me up! Is a saying in sports when you need help and one of your teammates swoops in like powerful eagle and bails you out. Yeah that is the idea. Other days you will be seething with intensity and you will be the eagle and pick up your buddy who is stale. Notice how he has an attentive spotter and people cheering him on. This is the unspoken stuff that leads to results. Compare this scene to the guy who is wearing headphones and trying to bench press alone. When it comes to that last vital rep, the rep that means results or no results, he will quickly cop out. The guy (pictured above) with his spotter and friends yelling at him will find that extra push and make it happen. This is the difference. The magic. Everyone involved gets a powerful jolt of motivation. It is a joy playing your part and being involved when you see one of your friends struggle and grind through that final gut busting rep. Everyone wins. Who’s up next!

The second picture is at the original Gold’s Gym in Venice.

Gold's Gym Venice 1970's. Photo compliments: https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/golden-age-legends-part-3-joe-gold-social-scene-golds-gym.html

Gold's Gym Venice 1970's.

Photo compliments: https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/golden-age-legends-part-3-joe-gold-social-scene-golds-gym.html

Back in the 70’s, things were quite different. Sadly, I wasn’t alive yet to experience it. That doesn’t mean I can’t recreate and relive the feeling. Notice the equipment: Racks, Barbells, Dumbbells, Dip & Chin Bars, and basic cable apparatuses. Pictured were some of the physique superstars of that day and age: Arnold, Dave Draper, etc. Notice again how the buddy is cheering on the worker. Are there TV’s? Nope. Fancy machines with elaborate paint jobs? Don’t see any. All I see is honest hard work. People working as a unit to push each other to the limits of their genetic potential. Now, really stare and absorb these pictures. Think about the dynamic results these guys and gals earned. A major misconception is that men’s and women’s training should be vastly different. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many women think that they should get on a cardio machine and watch the attached television. Other ladies think they should do a little resistance training with light weight for high reps only to avoid looking “manly.” What a bunch of hogwash. I’ve witnessed countless women in our gym of all ages and backgrounds drastically change their physique for the better by doing hard, basic weight training and eating right. It is really that simple. In my opinion, men and women both need to train heavy for a period of time. Then take a period of time to work in a little higher rep ranges. Obviously they should also stay away from the goofy stuff that will eventually get you injured. Actually avoid it like the bubonic plague. Personally, when I design a block of programming I like to focus on one goal for a period of time (stronger, muscle development, leaning out, etc). Trying to accomplish all at the same time is foolish. Chase two rabbits catch neither. Want to lean out? Focus on leaning out by eating a little less everyday. Want to gain muscle? Eat a little more and hit the weights really hard. Truly, it is that simple. The trouble is that the internet, magazines, inexperienced “fitness people,” etc like to use deception and create confusion. This usually leads into the purchasing of some miracle powder, workout routine, trying the newest and best workout ever, or name anything else goofy that doesn't work that people will quickly sucker for. 

That is why I love these pictures. Sure I can write an excellent program for someone or a group. However, the magic is in keeping it simple, eating right and working with a group of like-minded pals. That is truly the long lost gym. The Pals. Today, you walk into these massive department store looking gyms and they are missing that magic. These “gyms” are too concerned with their TVs, Saunas, Cardio Machines, Spa (that is an interesting one let me tell you), how to keep kids entertained, etc and they are missing the whole point of their existence. Gyms like the ones pictured were created as a place you show up at, work hard, have some fun with buddies, and most importantly obtain dynamic results. Your results should be all that matter. Go to the gym to watch TV? Does that even make a bit of sense? I don’t know about you, but when I am gritting my teeth to power through a brutal last rep of a heavy squat, I could give a rat’s ass about what Dr. Phil thinks about global warming. Comfort and results are like oil and water. If you want to feel like your in a flower shop at a perfect 70 degrees and sipping on chilled water, watching TV, and thinking that aimlessly trotting along on a treadmill and doing a few haphazard sets on shiny machines is a real gym experience, you have such a life-changing opportunity in your hands! If you can change your mindset and your surroundings to be results oriented, then you will receive the results you've always desired. Most of the time at these giant department store gyms people wander in with headphones in and aimlessly go from machine to machine. If they feel insecure or frightened they will go into the forest of cardio machines and pick their new ride for the day. Push a random button and start “exercising.” How lame is that?! No wonder most quit after just a few weeks.

This is why I absolutely love our gym. Look at these pictures below. Notice anything? Forty plus years may have past, but the heart is still beating strong. The heart of a true, honest iron gym. Same equipment, same pals, same gut-busting hard work, and most importantly, results. Our place is a refuge against such a “ME, ME, ME” focused world. Go outside and walk around. People are taking selfies, endlessly staring at their phones, looking at facebook hoping they got another like. In such a self-absorbed world, I am grateful for a place where people are happy to help others win. People who are happy to small talk and laugh. Don’t get me wrong when it is time to work, all jokes are set aside, and we know how to work very hard. We win as a team everyday when somebody betters themselves. It is truly music to my ears when I here a loyal member say, “I was going to skip today, but I couldn't because I knew you guys would be here.” That’s the magic. Dig in.

Click here to view our programs

Jenny, Kat, and Jodi working on incline presses

Jenny, Kat, and Jodi working on incline presses

Jeffery, Lee, and Zak doing the board press

Jeffery, Lee, and Zak doing the board press

Michelle blasting out a few more cable pressdowns while Marianne, Kat, and Jordan cheer her on. 

Michelle blasting out a few more cable pressdowns while Marianne, Kat, and Jordan cheer her on. 

Ryan and Miguel deadlifting.

Ryan and Miguel deadlifting.

The Great Eight Exercises to Build More Muscle

Article By: Beau Bradbury CSCS, CPT, CF-L2

You can also see article at http://www.stack.com/a/the-great-eight-exercises-are-guaranteed-to-build-muscle

Photo Credit: www.stack.com

Photo Credit: www.stack.com

 

 

 

There exist eight proven movements that have built lots of muscle on all kinds of people for decades.

The movements are simple in nature and use loads of muscle mass to perform. Only athletes looking to develop a commanding and powerful physique should experiment with these potent movements. Get good at them, and you will own the field and undoubtably grow more muscle. I call them the "Great Eight."

  1. Squat
  2. Bench Press
  3. Shoulder Press
  4. Deadlift
  5. Power Clean
  6. Bent-Over Row
  7. Pull-Ups/Dips
  8. Barbell Cheat Curl

It's beyond the scope of this article to relate the fine details of how to properly perform each movement. I always advise finding a competent and experienced strength and conditioning professional and taking a few lessons. However, I will briefly discuss each movement and why you need it in your bag of tricks to grow more muscle and dominate your sport.

1. Squat

Possibly the most important movement you can do. Packs a powerful endocrine response and ramps up favorable muscle-building hormones. Most sports heavily involve the legs, so it's a great idea to build them up to become strong and powerful to enhance performance and minimize risk of injury. Put a heavy bar on your back and you can't help but to grow more muscle.

2. Bench Press

The Bench Press has been turning boys into men for ages. In my humble opinion, it is the king of upper-body mass builders. It's simple to perform, and you can use much heavier weight than the Shoulder Press. Show me an athlete with a big bench and I guarantee you he or she will be able to display incredible upper-body strength on the field.

3. Shoulder Press

To be done standing with a barbell. This actually used to be an Olympic lift back in the day. Giant men could press over 500 pounds over their head in a fairly strict fashion. It is hard to find that kind of brutally raw strength today. Aim to be able to shoulder press your body weight, and you will develop a raw strength that is easily transferrable to nearly every activity.

4. Deadlift

Say no more! The Deadlift is truly an honest test of strength. A person simply cannot deadlift shallow or cheat a rep. The bar either comes up off the floor or it doesn't. This power-packed exercise will build a strong and stable body. It will do wonders for your posterior chain strength. I strongly advise learning how to deadlift from a professional coach. Done safely, this is one of the best things you can do for your athleticism.

5. Power Clean

I like to say that the Power Clean teaches you how to "crack the whip." As you build your body to be stronger, you must also be able to translate that strength into speed and power—i.e., "cracking the whip!" The Power Clean does just that. You cannot perform it slowly. You must blast the bar up with great speed every time if you intend to rack it and finish the rep.

6. Bent-Over Row

Most people erroneously overwork their "mirror muscles" and sorely neglect the back of their body (posterior chain). However, the back of the body plays a crucial role in athleticism and the ability to reduce the risk of injuries. You need to spend as much time, if not more, building the backside of your body. The Bent-Over Row is beautiful because it works your low, mid, and upper back and also gives your hamstrings a challenge. It even keeps your shoulders healthy by offsetting bench pressing, keeping  them back in a more neutral position.

7. Pull-Ups/Dips

I put these together because they are both bodyweight movements. Both are absolutely great for developing relative strength and helping  you learn how to control your body in space. Make it your goal to crank out 20 of each. Then add weight with a belt or weight vest. Always do these with strict form and  full range of motion. Don't cheat yourself by swinging around or doing half reps. On a Pull-Up, go from arms straight to chin completely over the bar every time, without fail. Use full range of motion on dips, and never cheat reps. If you do, you'll never know if you are actually getting stronger.

8. Barbell Cheat Curl

OK, OK, I know I just told you to never cheat reps, and now I am recommending Cheat Curls. This is the only time you're allowed to cheat a rep now and then. Grab a heavy barbell and curl it until failure. Then  use a little momentum from your hips and legs and cheat a few more reps up, maybe 2 or 3 additional reps. This serves to bomb your biceps, and they will grow like weeds in the spring! Many of the best arms in history used this technique to blow up to superhuman size. Be cautious not to use too much weight and do not throw your back into it. Aim for 8-10 reps, then cheat 2 or 3 additional reps. If you do this, you won't have to worry about being called "spaghetti arms" any time soon.

Employ the Great Eight in your training regimen and you will grow more muscle. More muscle is a huge advantage in most sports. You can fine-tune your newly acquired muscle mass and get even stronger. A bigger muscle is a stronger muscle once tuned up. As an athlete, you should strive to build a balanced performance machine. These movements will do just that. Your body will be faster, stronger and more powerful than ever. You will perform better at your sport, feel great throughout the day, and minimize your risk of injury. You will get all of these benefits because you chose to work hard and trained smart. You used the simple, proven Great Eight when every one else was doing it the hard way instead of the smart way.

The Best Squat For Tall People

Article by: Beau Bradbury CSCS, CPT, CF-L2

PHOTO CREDIT: www.bodybuilding.com

PHOTO CREDIT: www.bodybuilding.com

I believe this topic must be addressed because most of the information out there is for shorter or average height people. By nature olympic weightlifting is a short man’s game. With that said there have been many taller athletes put up some impressive numbers in all the lifts. Especially the deadlift. The reason: Leverage. 

The point of this topic is squatting and how to adapt your leg training to fit your height. First off, make sure to learn how to squat properly. When someone says squats hurt their knees it just means more likely than not they either have completely destroyed their knees prior to squatting or and more popular what they think they are doing are not actual squats. My best advice is hire a competent trainer for a session or two and hammer out the details. It'll set you back about 100 bucks, quite a bit cheaper than knee surgery I'd say.

I’ve found that squatting has actually helped boost flexibility and strength which makes my knees feel great. Balancing my quad strength with my hamstring strength has virtually eliminated any debilitating knee pain in my experience. This has also been the experience of many of my clients. 

The frustration hit when I squatted and squatted and squatted. I am about 6’4” to 6’5” depending on which convenient store I am walking out of. I have a short torso and long legs. Which is great for deadlifting. Squatting not so much. I mainly used the low bar back squat and sometimes a high bar back squat. The problem wasn’t gaining strength, it was that my butt and hamstrings added muscle, but my quads not so much. They stayed kind of puny and this saddened me. 

Therefore, I undertook a study with my own training and looked at the leverage the movements were creating. Being long legged with a short torso I realized that I must bend over more at the waist to balance the weight at the bottom of the back squat. Hence working my glutes and hamstrings even more. So how do we change the leverage? We cannot shorten our legs so we move the bar. 

In the high bar position, the quads were most likely worked more, but not drastically. Move the bar even further forward into the front rack position where the bar rests on the shoulders in front of the body with the elbows as high as possible. In the front squat a person with long legs must squat down in between his legs, instead of folding over like a good morning, because the weight will fall to the earth rapidly. It forces an upright torso squatting technique. This will push your knees more forward over your toes and initiate your quads to help move the load. In addition, it will make your quads grow! The key is to keep your torso erect and not allow your tall self to tip over.

Start your front squat training with a couple of weeks of goblet squats. This will “grease the groove” as Pavel would say and teach your body the movement by actually doing it. I believe the goblet squat is one of the best teaching movements of how to squat properly. The only con on the front squat has is that it does take some work to establish a sound starting position. Again, hire a good trainer and you will learn this much faster. Another “issue” is that you cannot use as much weight as a back squat. I wouldn't be against you front squatting 70% of the time and saving 30% of your training year for good ole fashioned heavy back squats as this will surely add mass to your tall lanky self. To keep it simple you could for instance front squat from January to September and then back squat from October to December. 

Long story short, if you are tall and want to grow stronger quads to balance out your posterior chain strength do front squats. Do them the right way. Start with light loads to hone technique and ramp it up from there.

Ditch the new year BS and actually get results in 2017 - 5 Pitfalls that will destroy your chance of success

As the clock strikes midnight and the new year 2017 is born many people feel a refreshing new start brewing. It gives you the feeling that things will be different this go-around. The TV is now filled with fast weight loss promises and a “new you for the new year.” I hate to break it to you this is all BS. This is my humble opinion. Every year millions flock to start working out and eating right just to quit within a few weeks and return to their normal ways. They think well shucks maybe 2018 will be different. This is mainly due to a lack of a proven plan and guidance to help them along the way.

In my line of work, it is just as much as an investment in time and energy for me to work with someone as it is for the client. Oh by the way, time and energy are two of the most valuable things available to us. When they sign up with me for personal training or group training I am 100% committed to getting them what they need to succeed. This is why I honestly hate the new years resolution mentality. Nine times out of ten the person is just emotionally charged for a few weeks and then they fizzle out, start skipping on their workouts, ditch the healthy eating and viola we both just wasted our time. Let’s get real for a minute. If your doctor said to you that you better make a change now or you might be dead very soon, would you say okay Doc January 1st is only 8 months away? Hell no! If something is really important to you and you decided to make a change you would do it in an instant flash and wouldn’t wait around until a certain mythological date. Believe it or not, it feels just the same to improve your body composition in January as it does in August. 

Just give me 6 months of focused effort and you will see a drastic transformation. Eat how I say to eat, do the training program I give you and give it some time to work. That is it. Sound too good to be true or too simple? Well it’s not. Imagine, by June 2017 you’d become a show stopper. If I am lucky enough to get someone’s undivided attention for 6 months you’d be shocked at their transformation. You will become much stronger, leaner, and healthier in just a few months. Your body will become much more aesthetically pleasing if you focus hard on getting stronger and shedding off ugly fat with the proper nutrition strategy. Your friends will be shocked at the change. The trouble is that the majority of people get distracted and derailed by the same common pitfalls. For me, it is like the movie 50 First Dates, the same thing happens over and over again. People are quick to jump ship to the next latest and greatest thing they see, read or watched on youtube. If you’ve read my book, I go into great detail over all the BS that tricks people into buying this or that and end up not getting any results. The promise of fast and easy (e.g. lose 8lbs this week!!!!!) is just there to get you to pull the trigger and buy the program. These are empty promises trust me. 

I am going to give you the 5 pitfalls I’ve seen people trip on time and time again. These will destroy your chances of looking and feeling your absolute best. You would do good to memorize these and watch out for them as you go along. They are continuously lurking to snatch up their next victim. 

5 pitfalls:

  1. Not focusing on training with weights - training with weights builds lean muscle tissue which in turn causes your body to burn more calories automatically throughout the day. 
  2. Not training for strength gains - I think it is a fair assumption that a strong body is healthier than a weak and frail one. Witnessing your body get stronger every session is a potent motivator. No one has ever came to me and said, “I am really looking to get that ‘skinny fat’ look, can you help?”
  3. Focusing on “cardio” - If all you do is cardio your body will flense off lean muscle tissue at an alarming rate. In my opinion, one of the worst things you can do. Use cardio if you need it to be fit for duty, but not solely for fat loss. 
  4. Not dialing in your nutrition - The only way to gain fat is by eating too much food. It’s truly that simple. Figure out how much you should eat on a daily basis. Track your eating precisely. Whatever you do, don’t jump blindly onto the next popular miracle diet as it will surely be a disaster. 
  5. Listening to incompetent people - misinformed friends, social media, the internet, etc. Ask yourself, does this person have what I want to have? Are they a symbol of how I want to be? Chances are the ones who are most willing to give lots of advice are the same ones who have less than desirable results. Find the best and listen to them. Do not, under any circumstance, allow yourself to be derailed by listening and applying something goofy. One last thing, do not try to go off by yourself searching to find the next magic bullet. It’s not out there trust me. You will truly be hunting for big foot. Good luck with that. It will be way easier to go with what works.

The 10 Undeniable Laws To Get Strong, Part 2

The 10 Undeniable Laws To Get Strong, Part 2

Beau Bradbury CSCS, CPT, CF-L2

You can see Part 1 here scroll down a little.

LAW #6) Become A Master Of The Fives

Five reps have been the method of choice for many very wise strength coaches to pack on lots of strength for their athletes for decades. Think Bill Starr, Rippetoe and countless others. Do not recreate the wheel. Fives have worked for me and they will work for you. Add a small progression of 2-5 pounds each workout to the Bench, Press and Power Clean. Likewise, add 5-10 pounds to your squat and deadlift each workout. Simple works please don’t try to make this complicated. Last note on this, don’t be in a hurry to find your plateau. Which you will eventually have to work through. If you have the choice between a 5 or 10 pound jump take the 5 pound jump every time.

LAW #7) Start Right By Training Full Body Every Workout

Three days per week train your whole body on heavy compound lifts. This is a simple approach and it flat out works. The body seems to adapt and respond better to a larger stimulus, especially for beginners. Begin workouts with squats, then a pressing movement, and finish with a pull. Again, please don’t make it complicated by adding lots of silly movements. Stick to the basics. Get in the gym, force an adaptation, and get out. If you must add stuff add pull-ups or chin-ups. Be sure to rest plenty between work sets and try to keep workouts under 1 hour. 

LAW #8) Eat Right For Your Goal

If you are reading this most likely you are an undersized male who recently got embarrassed trying to move a couch for your grandma. Or perhaps you are an athlete who realizes that the difference between the bench and PT is closely related to your ability to display strength and power combined with sport skills against your opponent. Just maybe you are a guy or gal who is wanting to better your future in numerous ways by getting really strong. Bottom line: If you are fat and need to lose weight your food intake will differ than a 18 year old who is skinny and wimpy. Below is an attempt at exceptionally clear eating guidelines for both.

  • If you are fat - “Clean” up your diet by reducing processed foods and sugar intake. Meanwhile, add in a quality strength training program. Evaluate every couple of weeks. You will add muscle so watch inches and not the scale. If inches change in the right direction a little every two weeks, you’re on track! If the inches don’t move, drop a few more calories per day. WARNING: There are many myths and foolish people who think that weight training makes you gain fat. This is utterly false, excess food makes you gain fat. If you lift weights as a result you will build muscle tissue. Muscle tissue requires calories to maintain their size and function. Thus, the more muscles you acquire the easier it is for your body to rid itself of ugly fat and show off your newly installed muscles.
  • If you are skinny and wimpy -  Consume lots and lots of calories! Don’t worry about gaining a little fat during the process, keep eating. You are trying to build as much muscle and raw strength as possible. Try to stick to mostly whole foods and whole milk. After your period of growth, if you decide it’s time to shed off some fat this is relatively easy to do. Easy rule, don’t let yourself go over 20% body fat. Right now, you are skinny and wimpy and your sole focus needs to be on gaining weight! Do yourself a favor and don’t stay wimpy by eating side salads and kale chips. 

LAW #9) Get The Most Bang For Your Buck, Always (Supplements)

We’ve all been there, you are a newbie and you are desperate to freak people out by lifting your uncle’s station wagon with your 22” biceps. You know who else knows this? The supplement industry. Am I anti-supplement? Absolutely not. I use supplements everyday. I am anti-empty promises from deceptive marketing attempts and have learned from experience when I was a newbie. Start off by sticking to the basics with supplements. Do your research. There are a few great supplement companies out there. I can tell you if your supplement bill is higher than your grocery bill, you are way off track. If the label is super shiny and makes outlandish promises WATCH OUT! A solid supplement plan for a brand new beginner should be easily under $100 per month. Okay now that I’ve saved you thousands of dollars per year let’s proceed to the final and most important law. You can thank me later. 

LAW #10) Practice Patience & Persistence

Yoda says, “PATIENCE YOU MUST HAVE my young padawan.” Yoda is smart. Be like Yoda. Your single ability to stick and stay is the key ingredient in this quest. Even a bad exercise program with enough persistence will yield some kind of improvement. However, imagine that same persistence applied to a proven system of training. Outlined above is the basic building blocks of just that, an effective strength training protocol. We can give you the best program in the world, the best gym in the world and even the best coaching in the world, but you know what, it won’t make a damn if you get impatient and quit. All of this given to another guy or gal who does possess this uncanny ability to stay the course it’s almost like magic what will happen. If you take anything from this article this is it: whatever you do hang around long enough to see the end result. 

I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this article. It is my mission to help you leave no stone unturned and find clarity in training. This process should not clouded with doubt and uncertainty. I want to put you newbies on the fast track to success so that the iron bug will keep you coming back for decades to come.