Dec 26, 2012

I'm sure you've all seen people walking around with horrible posture. "Desk Job" posture is the most common I've seen. The tell-tale signs are shoulders rounded forward, chin jutting out, and what looks to be the start of a hunch back. What you may not know is that you could be well on your way to having the same issues, or you might already have them.


What Is "Desk Job" Posture?


Also classified as Upper Cross Syndrome (UCS) or kyphosis, "desk job" posture is a series of short and tight muscles paired with long and weak muscles leaving you with a quasimodo-esque, hunched over look.

This is highlighted by overactive pectoralis minor, upper trapezius, and levator scapula, as well as weakened deep neck flexors, scapular stabilizers, and scapular retractors/depressors. That's a mouthful, so I'll break it down into easier to understand terminology.
Dec 23, 2012

This is the final installment of the "Setting Up Your Training Program" series. In this article I will cover what I feel are the best 10 methods to amplify your training and speed up your recovery.

If you haven't checked out the previous articles in the series you will find them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Recovery is a hotly debated topic in the training realm. In my opinion it is the most important part of any program. In fact, once you figure out what you want to train for the next thing in line is how many days of recovery you can allot outside of gym training and/or sport training. The entire program should be based around recovery.

Everyone wants to smash the weights in the gym and hit PRs every time they train (if you don't then you're probably reading the wrong blog but thanks for visiting). This is of course an ideal situation. Life is never ideal, however, there are a few things you can do to make sure you're fresh and ready for the next training session each and every training session.

Before I get all of you to try out these recovery methods and then email me saying they didn't work or you still can't get to your goals any faster, here's a disclaimer: THESE ARE ONLY SUGGESTIONS!!
Dec 19, 2012

This past year has been interesting to say the least. There have been more up’s and down’s, uncertainties, and opportunities than I can count.

But, with all the BS and nonsense I’ve definitely gained some knowledge through experience which will only shape me into a stronger version of myself from here forward. Take a few minutes to read and see if you connect with anything I touched on.


KISS Speaks Volumes


I’ve tried every program, periodization style, method, and exercise under the sun. I can honestly say that I’ve come full circle. After training clients from the general population, college wrestlers, HS basketball players, grapplers, MMA fighters, firemen, police officers, Navy SEALs, Marines, and a bunch of other denominations, I’ve found that the basics work for everyone, every single time. Of course I’ll tweak what I’m doing to suit the needs of whoever I’m working with but I stick to the basics.
Dec 18, 2012

If I was ever asked what my favorite lift was, I would hands down, no doubt in my mind, without hesitation, say the deadlift.

The deadlift is the epitome of strength. It's just you and the bar. There's no way to cheat it. You either pick it up or you don't.

Quite simple sounding until you actually grab onto the cold iron and feel the wraught tension throughout your entire body as every sinew and muscle fiber force themselves to move the weight. It's not only a physically demanding lift, but a mental one as well.

The strongest men in the world have phenomenal deadlift numbers. Back in the Golden Era of bodybuilding, greats such as Franco Columbu had outstanding deadlifts and were actually as strong as they looked.

Dec 13, 2012

It's a shame we can't learn more about exercise from watching kids play. They don't worry about sets and reps, perfect form, the perfect program, or having to drag themselves into the gym after a long day of work. They just go out and have fun.

There's a lot to be said there. Even though kids don't have any of the responsibilities that we do as adults (mortgages, rent, water bills, work, car insurance, putting food on the table), they have one thing we should all be envious of - that sense of "play".

Now I'm not talking about kids these days who sit in front of their computers and interact through a webcam or spend all day playing video games and eating junk food. I'm talking about the good old days when your curfew was when the street lights came on. When there was never a vacant playground. When if there weren't any footballs, basketballs, or baseballs to play with there was a game of man hunt going on. When jumping fences, swinging from monkey bars, and running over, under, and through anything was the norm.

This was REAL playing. So what can we learn from this?

Dec 10, 2012

If you haven’t read Part 1 or Part 2 of this series, I suggest you do so before continuing.

By this point you should have a basic understanding of how to set up a training program using 3 and 4 days/wk splits. We covered set and rep schemes for strength and muscle-building, order of exercises, pairing of exercises, and other techniques like supersetting.

Being visually more intimidating and as strong as you look is great, but no one wants to be gasping for air after climbing up a flight of stairs. And for all of those who need to lose a few pounds, I’m also talking to you. What I’m saying is you have to do some form of conditioning. This entire article will be dedicated to my favorite piece of homemade equipment – the tire sled.
 

Why I Like The Tire Sled


This is pretty straight forward – it’s basically free. There’s nothing I enjoy more than not having to pay for quality equipment, and the tire sled is most definitely the way to go if you’re on a tight budget. You get all the benefits of a metal sled without the price. That being said here’s what you’ll need to make your own:
Dec 5, 2012

This is part 2 of the “Simplifying Your Training Program” series. If you haven’t read Part 1 check it out here. In this installment we’ll dive into training 4 days per week.

If you’re a raw beginner to intermediate and even advanced lifter, training full body 3 days/wk will keep you going for a while or provide you with a nice break. Moving into a 4 day/wk, upper/lower split is a great option for advancing your training. The main difference is that 2 entire days are devoted the upper body and 2 are devoted to the lower body. We will also utilize a very basic A-B-A-B template. This means you’ll be hitting the same 2 workouts twice per week with the only difference being the rep ranges. The outline will look something like this:
 

DAY 1
Upper
DAY 2
Lower
DAY 3
Upper
DAY 4
Lower
Push
Squat
Same as Day 1
Same as Day 2
Pull
Bend
Push
Single Leg Dominant
Pull
Trunk

 
Days 1 and 2 will focus on strength while days 3 and 4 will focus on muscle-building. Keeping with the simplistic theme, the strength and muscle-building rep ranges, as well as the exercises, will remain the same as in Part 1.

As easy as it looks there are a few caveats that need mentioning:

Dec 3, 2012

With the butt load of information at everyone’s fingertips on the magnificent interwebs, it’s no surprise that one would become completely and utterly confused on how to set up their training program.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 
All the “gurus” and “experts” say to do this and that with constantly conflicting concepts (three C’s in a row; should’ve been a rapper) that leave you with information overload. How to sort through the BS and figure out what’s actually going to work is a daunting task.

In this 4-part series I’m going to discuss simple ways to set up your training program and rid yourself of paralysis by analysis.
Nov 30, 2012

There are few exercises that truly epitomize the meaning of strength. Outside of deadlifts, squats are THE exercise to put slabs of muscle on your entire body and make you as strong as an angry rhino in heat.

I'm currently 7 weeks in on a 16 week experiment using a full body style 5/3/1 program. The program calls for squatting 3 days per week with one of those days being heavy (around 75-95% 1RM) and the other two days being light and fast (40-60% 1RM). After I finish this next week I will be transitioning into raising the percentages on my light days but I'll get into that at a later date.

Consistently having a loaded bar on your back teaches you a few things about yourself and about whether or not what you're doing needs to be corrected. Here are 7 things I've learned from squatting 3 days a week:

1.  Breathing is a science.


First of all, if you're not breathing correctly when you squat YOU WILL HURT YOURSELF. There is a bit of a science to doing it correctly. Don't just hold your breath. When you take a deep breath and keep it in your chest you don't get full use of your diaphragm. Your upper back becomes loose because your traps shrug up and you may lose the shelf created for the bar to lay on by pulling your shoulder blades together. Losing the shelf means the bar will become unsteady on your back and no one wants a wobbly bar on a squat descent.

Nov 28, 2012
 
Do you step into the gym and just "work out" or do you walk in with a plan, intensity, focus, and the will to make yourself better than you were yesterday?

These are important questions to ask yourself. We've all seen the casual gym goers and fitness fanatics that seem to go into the gym and not have a clue as to what they're doing or why. They don't have a plan. They move from machine to machine and exercise to exercise without rhyme or reason. Year after year they look exactly the same. They haven't progressed in any way mentally or physically.

Does this sound like you?


If it does you seriously need to reevaluate what you're doing.

When you decide to stop working out and really start training here are a few things to keep in mind:

     1.  FIND OUT WHAT YOUR GOALS ARE

Nov 26, 2012
 
Warming up is an essential part of any strength and conditioning program. It can be the difference
between setting a new PR and having a crappy session.

Far too many people walk into the gym, jump onto a treadmill for 5-10 minutes, and then move straight into their workout. This is a NO-NO. Let's say your session consists of all upper body movements. How is a leisurely walk on the treadmill going to fire up your shoulders, upper back and traps, lats, and trunk to do some work?

Exactly ... it's not. The following is my take on some simple methods to ensure your body is prepped and ready to attack any workout.

Nov 21, 2012

Another year has gone by and another Thanksgiving has come around. Before you go off and stuff your face with delicious Thanksgiving goodies and become a comatose turkey zombie, do something only the true, dedicated iron addicts would do.

Take the time to get in a quick metabolic workout before the festivities begin so your body will be
craving fuel afterwards. Then you can indulge ... a little.

This is a short and sweet (not easy) complex that you can smash out with just one dumbbell and about 15 minutes:

5 Rounds:

A) 1Arm DB Snatch x 6 reps each arm

Nov 19, 2012

Strongman training has become all the rage in recent years. You have everyone from high school athletes to weekend warriors implementing all kinds of carries, drags, tire flips, and truck pulls/pushes, into their programs. Periodization and program design with these odd lifts are for another article. For now I will discuss my favorite strongman exercises for building strength, work capacity, and mental toughness.


Farmer’s Carry


The farmer’s carry is one of the best exercises for adding mass to your traps and upper back as well as building some serious grip, core, and leg strength. Plus, they’re super easy and you can use just about any implement to perform them. There are designated farmer’s handles that you can buy from Rogue or Elite FTS or you can go the inexpensive route and just grab a pair of heavy dumbbells. Be sure to keep your core tight, shoulder blades pulled back, and try not to let your head lean forward. I like to do these for time, distance, or for as long as you can keep the weight in your hands.

Nov 18, 2012

Bodyweight training is an essential part of any training program, especially if you want to get big and strong.

But we’re not talking about your high school gym class. Real bodyweight training involves pushing your body to the limit with gymnastic-like movements that create big-time tension and big-time gains.

The best part about bodyweight exercises are they are relatively easy on the joints and even easier to throw into any program along with barbells, dumbbells, and odd objects.

This makes for a killer training mix and elicits the greatest results possible.

Here’s a seriously short list of 10 of my all-time favorite bodyweight exercises that I implement in my own training as well as my clients’.

Nov 15, 2012



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Franco Crincoli
I am a personal trainer, strength coach, and all around iron addict, with a philosophy deeply rooted in old school methods. My training has been influenced by strongmen, powerlifters, Olympic lifters, gymnasts, and the Golden Era bodybuilders. I believe in reaping the greatest rewards the simplest (not easiest) way possible and having fun doing it.
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