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:


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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