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Sitting For Too Long? Try This Routine

Whether you are sitting at a desk, chair, in a car, or wherever you may be sitting for extended amounts of time, everyone will know the feeling of being stiff after sitting for a long time. Usually you will notice it in your lower back first when you sit for a while, but you can start to also feel it in your knees when you get up for the first time in what could be hours. If you routinely sit, like most of the American population does and a lot of the worlds population does as well, you can start to see other parts of your body start to get stiff and sore, ranging from your neck to your shoulders to your hips. These things down the line can lead to arthritis and some other medical conditions if done routinely for a prolonged period of time as well.

Now there can be a easy way to help prevent things like stiffness from setting in, and its a really simple thing. Stand up and stretch. It may seem very obvious that this is a solution to the problem, but most people don’t know when they should get up, and other just don’t know how to properly stretch or what to stretch.

So without further ado, here is how I stay loose while I am sitting for long periods of time!

So for this I recommend doing this at least once every 1-2 hours of sitting. I like to start out stretching at the head and moving down the body.

To start I like to stretch my neckĀ  by moving it in all four directions as such:

While doing these hold each direction for at least 10 seconds before moving on the the next direction.

After the neck I like to stretch the upper body in two separate ways, first with crossing arms as such:

The other stretch being to raise your arms above your head and hold as such:

arms up

For both of these stretches, holding them for about 15-20 seconds would be the most optimal time for doing these at a time, and they can be done a couple of times in a row if wanted.

Side note: If you are typing at a computer for long periods of time as well, try to stretch your hands as well as to try and prevent arthritis/carpal tunnel in your hands.

Next up on to your lower body! To start your lower body I like to go with toe touches as such:

When doing these, do not fall straight down to your toes. Instead if you can count out 10 seconds on the way down to as far as you can reach, and then slowly count 10 seconds on the way back up. This is probably my favorite stretch to do as well because it reaches the most muscles out of all of them, ranging from your lower back to your hamstrings.

To finish out these stretches I like to finish with stretching the front of your thighs with quad stretches as such:

Holding these for each leg for about 15-20 seconds as well would be most optimal, if you need to hold on to something while performing this stretch that is alright, but if you want to work on you balance don’t be afraid to balance on your other leg that you aren’t stretching at the time.

So hopefully this was an informative short blog post for you! Reminder to try and perform these at least once every 1-2 hours of sitting. It only takes about 3 minutes or less to perform all of these, so taking that short amount of time to help prevent stiffness and soreness is not all that much time!

How Far Out From A Competition You Should Start Peaking

There are a lot of questions on when exactly you should start your peaking phase of your programs to start getting ready for a particular competition or meet. There are a lot of variables that can go into this. Depending on if you have multiple competitions in a row or you are just planning for one big meet. It could be something that you are doing spur of the moment or have been planning for a year.

So depending on how far out from the competition you are, and how much experience you have, you may need a long peak or a very short one.

So let’s say you have no lifting experience, but you wanna do a meet/competition later on in the year or next year. Given this information it will take your body a lot longer to fully peak to what it would be able to do. Seeing as in the first couple of months of lifting you will see the most strength gains, taking the time to having a heavy long lifting mesocycle would probably be most optimal, but at the end you would probably need 3-4 week block of peaking. This will make it so that your nervous system is firing on all cylinders by the time of the meet, and in the last week going into the meet doing openers and other accessory work the first couple of days, then no lifting other than stretching for the last 3-4 days to the meet.

On the other hand, let’s take another situation where you have 3+ years of experience and you signed up for a meet that is in 4 weeks. This can vary person to person, but you could get away with a volume week, a medium week, and a heavy week followed by only 1 week of peaking. By this time in your lifting life, you probably know what it takes to get your body in perfect shape for a meet and you can afford to take a short peak week, but still following the same don’t lift 2-4 days before the meet other than stretching.

So there are multiple different variables that go into actually structuring a peak program. It will be different for everyone based on their bodies and how much experience that they, but it will always follow the same general structure.

How To Stick To Your Fitness Goals Around Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving can be a rough time for anyone that is trying to stay dedicated to any fitness goal in general with all of the food involved during it. With all of the great tasting foods around this time it can be hard to have the willpower to resist eating until you physically can’t anymore. Here are a few tips on how to keep up with your fitness goals during this time or during any holiday season.

  • Reduce your plate size
  • Eat slower
  • No snacking on the foods before you actually eat
  • Try to limit how much dessert you have or try to have a small amount after you are finished eating dinner
  • If you can, limit how much is being cooked
  • Try to fill up on healthier options
  • and last but not least…Enjoy It!

Although it is Thanksgiving and it can be difficult to stick to your goals, it is only one day. One day off of your fitness goals will not derail everything that you have built up. So the best piece of advice that you can have is to enjoy Thanksgiving and try to get back on track the next day. It isn’t the end of the world.

When to Learn Olympic Lifts

The most difficult lifts to perform in all of lifting are the clean & jerk and the snatch. Seeing the world’s best at c&j (clean and jerk) doing 575lbs/260kg+ and snatch doing close to 500lbs/226kgs are such impressive feats to witness. If you think about it though, most of those people that are close to those weights have been training Olympic Weightlifting since they were 5 years old or younger. So they have upwards of 20+ years experience with it.

Now you don’t necessarily need to have 20 plus years of experience in it to be able to perform these lifts competently. But you do need more than the 4 years of the typical high school training in it to be good at it. By the time most high school students are seniors they will have usually terrible form trying to force more and more weight up.

To try and fix this, instead of trying to get kids doing heavy weight right away with terrible form, there should be about a 2 year, at least, time frame of learning the foundations of Olympic lifting.

I would say the most optimal time to start learning how to do weightlifting would be sometime around 8-10 years old. At this time children still have the natural flexibility to perform all of the actions and are more keen to learning new concepts. If kids can get upwards of 4 years of experience with weightlifting before they hit puberty they will be more than ready to start lifting heavy amounts of weight, and maybe they can become world competitors too.

Let’s Talk About Squats

Squats. Every top athlete does some variation of these just about every block/phase/stage of their athletic careers. With there literally being dozens and dozens of different variations of them as well. Now obviously not everyone is going to be able to do a back squat or front squat with no prior knowledge of how to do them. There should be some sort of track that you would follow such as

1. Body weight box squats

2. Lower body weight box squats

3. Box squats with a bar

4. Goblet box squats

5. Goblet squats

6. Front squats

7. Back squats to parallel

8. Deep back squats

9. Overhead squats

10. Pistol squats

Some kind of order like this where you are working on mobility before attempting the more technical lifts is optimal.

Now it’s not to say from the list you have to exactly go from 1-2-3etc., but you can progress like 1-4-6-8 or something like that. Not everyone progresses super fast and some do.

Let’s get to the main point of this. Other than clean and jerks and snatches, in my opinion, there is no greater lift for building athletic performance, strength, or health in general than the squat. You may hear things like “squats are bad for your knees/back” or whatever, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact squats help actually build strength around these areas, and around everywhere in the body. Going from your quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, upper back, and just your core all around there is no greater lift.

Thoughts on High School Strength Training

So, I feel like high school can be a very awkward time for strength training, or training in general. Some kids will start off not being the strongest, most athletic, fastest, etc. around their freshmen-sophomore years, but come around junior-senior they see extreme results and everything flip-flops. The same can be said for the others who start out with great athletic abilities or just power in general. Way back when I was in high school I saw many of my classmates that were all star players/lifters/athletes in general from freshman year on waste their potential by thinking that they don’t need to improve at all, and by senior year they were on equal footing with those that didn’t start out great. A lot of this is mostly from ignorance in high school of not knowing that they can further improve themselves. Everyone does not fall into these two categories though.

Because everyone goes through puberty in high school (or before high school) at different times there is no definite singular best way for everyone to train. I do believe though that there is a correct order to training through high school and even in middle school. I would say that for every individual that wants to be a better athlete through high school, if you have the option to start training earlier. You don’t necessarily need to start in high school, you can start in middle school or even earlier (as long as you have proper guidance).

To start out for everyone in my opinion would be the most tedious stage which would be: lots of volume, lots of fundamentals, and lots of form work. Obviously the form work and fundamentals are kind of a given whenever you start anything new, but the volume portion is a little different. Now every program should have some volume in it to help ready your body for heavier weights or doing anything maximally, but when starting out lifting, lets say as a freshman, you would need to do about double the amount. Not necessarily every workout, but over time more. Lets say we have a 8 week block of lifting if the normal progression is 2 weeks volume, 3 weeks in between, 2 weeks heavy, and 1 week deload, then for someone new it would look more like 4-5 weeks volume, 1-2 weeks in between, 1 week heavy, and 1 week deload. This is simply because they don’t have a solid base started yet. Unless it is decided otherwise, when starting you should stay in this phase for at least a year.

After this phase is completed you should move up to the more in between phase, if you started lifting your freshman year, this would most likely be through the sophomore and halfway through junior year. While still doing a lot of fundamentals (since no one can fully master anything in one year of fundamentals), your volume is reduced to more or less normal. Though the in between weeks are increased. I’m sure many of you are wondering what in between weeks are in general. I define them as like a workout with a 5×5 or 6×6 in it, or you could say around 70-75-80%. Not fully maximal but still difficult to do a lot of reps. Now I wouldn’t necessarily saying this should be done from sophomore to junior year, I’d say this phase in training is to get you more used to handling heavier and heavier weights for more and more reps in general. If you feel like you don’t need to do this phase for over 6 months then that is fine, as long as you feel confident with doing heavier weights. I will say that it will make the last steps to high school lifting easier in general for you though.

The last stage would be the same as anyone who has lifting experience in general and it is the same as the first example 8 block phase training that I gave. 2 weeks of volume, 3 weeks of in between, 2 weeks of heavy, and 1 week of deload. As you have already gotten ready for this phase with the last 2 phases of building your base and being able to start handling heavier weights. Now during the 2 weeks of heavy lifting in this phase you can actually start doing actual heavier weights, and the cycle in some sense repeats itself after this, with a few exceptions depending on what you are training for.

Now I will not say that this is not the is all say all route for everyone. Some will stay in the first phase longer, some won’t. Some will have a long middle phase, and some won’t even have it. There are also some who if progressed enough can fully skip the first 2 phases and can completely go towards the final phase. It all depends on multiple things like: when you started lifting, when you go into puberty, size, weight, sports that you are in, etc. So in the end everything depends on: your body, what you are training for, and how long you have been training for.

 

Hang Snatch Grip High Pulls

If there is one lift that I would say that every explosive/power athlete in general needs to do, it is the hang snatch grip high pull. A physical movement that requires basically your whole body to force something up, should be in the exercise diet of all of them. Not only does this movement hit you upper body in the mid-back, rhomboids, rear deltoids, and traps, but it is also extremely beneficial to improving the posterior chain of: the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.

Giving throwers in Track & Field in general as an example on why this exercise is needed, think of how each throw finishes. All (except for javelin which has slightly different mechanics but this lift is still good for) finish with their bodies lifting up and driving up with everything they have. A lot of the extensions that happen during the throw happens in the hang snatch grip high pull. Both extend the calves, knees, glutes and in some way pull with their backs. So basically other than the full olympic lifts in general, this lift is in my opinion the best accessory lift that almost should be a core lift.

For this lift, for it to be used optimally, I would say that it needs to be performed at least twice per week and needs to be a moderate amount of weight being used during it. I would also say that it should not be done in sets of more than 8 reps in general, unless you are just working for muscle size. You will not get the same benefit from this lift in a power athletes perspective if you start doing it in sets of 10+. This is meant to be a explosive lift and anything past 8 reps will make the lift start losing its effectiveness on the nervous system for firing on all cylinders.