CROSSFIT LEICESTER’S HOUSE RULES FOR A HAPPY BOX

In order to maintain a safe, fun, and effective training environment for everyone, we ask that all members, visitors and guests adhere to the following rules and policies: 

1. SIGN IN & OUT WHEN YOU ENTER CFL. For Health & Safety reasons we need to know whom is in the gym at any given time, therefore you MUST sign in and out when you enter CrossFit Leicester, whether you are coming to a WOD/Class/Open gym or simply visiting someone. The sign in book/sheets will be on the front desk in reception, please ensure you fill in the correct sheet (there is one for WOD’s/Open Gym/Visitors)
2. BE EARLY. If you’re not early, you’re late. Give yourself enough time to change, chat, go to the toilet and do any additional warm-up before class starts. Most likely that means showing up at least 10 minutes prior to class start time.
3. CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR. Somewhere a school kid is warming up with your PB.
4. CLEAN UP. Put your shizzle away. Clean up your sweat, blood and puke. Pick up your used tape, pens, notebooks, scrap papers, chalk, plasters, wrist straps, water bottles and sweaty clothes. Put away all the equipment you used where it belongs. Stack the boxes neatly, put the bars in the racks, stack the plates in order, and hang up your skipping rope.
5. RESPECT OUR EQUIPMENT. Drop only as a last resort. Put things down gently. Only drop weights when you have to bail and not a convenience. Bumpers are designed for emergency dropping, not dropping every rep. ALWAYS keep your weight under control. NEVER drop an empty barbell. NEVER drop a kettlebell or dumbbell. Our equipment is expensive, and the more times we have to replace it, the more we’re going to have to charge you.
6. BRING THINGS TO OUR ATTENTION. If you notice that equipment is broken, lights are out, were are out toilet paper in the lavatory, simply bring it to our attention, so we can do something about it. If you have a problem with a coach, another member or anything in general tell us, rather than moaning to other members or bitching on social network to people who cannot solve the situation. If you don’t tell us then we don’t know and we can’t do anything about it.
7. TRY HARD. Effort earns respect. Work hard. Don’t drag people down with a bad attitude. Be optimistic, have fun and push yourself and those around you to do better.
8. GO HEAVY OR GO HOME. The only way to get stronger is to increase the load. Always strive to go a little heavier and a little faster. Never say, “I can’t”. When you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. Push your limits.
9. DON’T CHEAT. No one cares what your score was. Everyone cares if you cheated. Be honest with everyone else, and be honest with yourself. You know what full range of motion is; so there’s no excuse for shoddy reps. If a coach calls you out for doing something wrong, listen to them. The coach standing around watching you work out has a much better perspective on what you’re doing than you do.
10. LEARN HOW TO COUNT. If you lose count, the next number is always ONE !. If you know you have trouble keeping count, ask someone to count for you or use a chalkboard. If you log a PB on the board, you MUST have someone count for you and/or witness it. If no one saw it, it didn’t happen.
11. THE WOD TAKE PRIORITY. There’s a myriad of reasons we have WOD’s in CrossFit for starters: You’re less likely to bias yourself towards the things you’re good at; You get some competition; you get support, you get coached and no matter how experienced you are you still need coaching and need to work on the basics. If you have extra things you’re working on, there are times before or after the wod and open gym to work on them. Newbies, make sure you’re staying consistent and learn from the coaches. Old hands, don’t start thinking that it’s okay to do your own thing whenever you want to, remember the rules.
12. OPEN GYM. Our Open Gym is for athletes to work on their weaknesses and develop strength and improve on skills. Open Gym hours are NOT for groups to take over to do their own WODs. If there is a WOD you would like to do in a group speak to the head coach who will schedule it in, or you can book a time with him to use the box – so that others can use the open gym for what it is intended. Open Gym is a chance for us to come together, support and learn from each other, but remember we have coaches for a reason so use them if you are not sure about anything. Do not take over the Open Gym area, have respect for others that wish to use it. If you use any equipment from the main CrossFit side you must put it back at the end of your session, everything has it’s place. For Health and Safety reasons: Do not walk through or interrupt the main WOD area once it has started this includes but not exclusive to: going to the toilet (use the toilets in the office area), getting equipment, chatting to mates, filling water bottles (get water from the kitchen in the office area) or in fact anything at all. Have respect for the coach and the other members doing their sesson.
13. BOX HQ CLASSES TAKES PRIORITY. When the group classes are running they take priority and are not to be interrupted, turn the open gym music off or use your headphones, have respect for those attending those classes. Do not run through the middle of the workout space, use the doors on the side when classes are taking place. Remember, it is those classes that pay for the open gym area and using that space is a privilege and not a right.
14. PAY ATTENTION WHEN THE COACH IS GIVING INSTRUCTION. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing CrossFit for 1 month or 5 years, it’s disrespectful to have your own private conversation or do your own thing when the coach is trying to give instruction to the class. You may know how to perform each movement off the top of your head, but not everyone does, so just be patient and quiet and let everyone get the full benefits of the coaches’ knowledge. Besides, you might learn something new about the lift that you would have otherwise missed! Respect our Coach’s, their #1 priority is coaching excellence in a  safe training environment for all athletes. In that regard their word is law, so please respect their authority! 
15. TAKE OWNERSHIP. Be responsible and respectful and take pride in our box CrossFit Leicester. Don’t let others get away with things that are bad for them or bad for the gym. It is for individual training and practice. Remind people to take their clothes with them and pick up their water bottles. If you see someone doing something that you’re pretty sure will hurt them, tell them to cut it out. We don’t care who it is — if anyone is deadlifting with a rounded back, you can call them out! Safety first!
16. INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO NEWCOMERS. Hopefully your coach will take the initiative and announce a drop-in or a new member when you turn up for class. That’s the first step. But you should view it as your duty as a member of CrossFit Leicester to make sure that the new athlete feels welcome in a new environment—especially if it’s their first taste of CrossFit. Furthermore, the new member will probably give a positive review of our box to their friends, which will bring in new members which will help the community grow.

HAPPY CROSSFITTING FOR ALL MEMBERS AT CROSSFIT LEICESTER

COACH ANDY

Link

http://www.insidelinemagazine.co.uk/2014/01/crossfit-leicester-sponsor-leicesters-original-flat-track-roller-derby-team/#more-1237

TIGHTEN UP THE BAR, LIFTER WILL REPEAT

Author: Mike Gray – May 31 2012
Just about 6 years ago I entered my first weightlifting meet. I had been Olympic lifting for about 4 months and wanted to get into a meet before I took off for Iraq for the next 7 months. So there was a group traveling from San Diego up to San Francisco for the California State Games at a local High School.  It was a great time and I learned plenty about competing in a meet and what the difference between “gym” lifting and “meet” lifting is.

There was one moment/lesson that will stick with me for the rest of my life though. Greg was there with me and saw it as well (and if I screwed up any of the details by all means correct me). In one of the early morning sessions I believe they were doing the masters males first and there was a guy who had to have been at least 55 doing clean and jerks with I want to say about 120-125 kilos. Anyways this guy was a pretty hard core looking dude and I believe he was wearing a headband to keep his grey hair back as he was lifting.

Well on his second attempt he didn’t quite lock out his jerk and the bar came slamming back down straight onto his head knocking him out, I’m not joking it drove him to the ground and he was out for a few seconds. All I remember thinking well he is done at least he got one lift in. I will be damned if he didn’t get up dust himself off and turn to the judges table and say he will take it again. Announcer says into the microphone “Tighten up the bar, lifter will repeat”! Then he got up there and made the lift after only a few minutes before that he was laid out on the platform like a corpse.I remember Greg just shaking his head, I remember thinking what the hell had just happened but most of all I remember thinking that is a tough SOB who just had a ton of weight come crashing down on his head and he went back and made the lift.

If you haven’t competed in a meet by all means please do but remember you are going to miss and you might have to follow yourself and get back up and take it again with only a couple of minutes to gather yourself. I just want you to think about that it could be a lot worse because I know I do when it happens to me.

Ivan Abadjiev & the Bulgarian Weightlifting System

Ivan Abadjiev & the Bulgarian Weightlifting System  

By David Woodhouse 

History

Ivan Abadjiev was born in 1932 and was himself a world class weightlifter having placed 2nd in the World Championships in 1953. After retiring from the sport he took an administrative position in Bulgaria but was vocal in his criticism of the team’s training methods. In 1969, following their disappointing performance in the Mexico Olympics, as a desperation move, the governing body appointed him national coach. Just three years later, at the games in Munich, Bulgarian lifters won three gold and three silver medals, their first medals in any sport in Olympic competition. This medal count was duplicated four years later in Montreal and in Moscow increased to two golds, four silvers and two bronzes. In 1984 Eastern European countries boycotted the Los Angeles games and this cost Bulgaria several likely gold medals. Nevertheless, at the World Championships two years later they won gold in 6 weight categories (versus the Soviets 3) and became the most successful team in weightlifting history.

Abadjiev was nicknamed ‘the Butcher’ for the level of discipline and commitment he demanded from his athletes. However, in his initial 20 year tenure, he coached 9 Olympic Champions, 57(!) World Champions and 64 European Champions. All this was achieved in a country with a population of just 8 million people – less than that of Greater London.

Abadjiev’s most famous athlete was featherweight Naim Suleymanoglu who actually defected from Bulgaria to Turkey in December 1986. Over the next 10 years Naim proved to be the greatest lifter in the history of the sport. He was a senior world record holder at 15, at 16 became only the second man to jerk three times body weight and still holds the highest ever Sinclair total. Despite missing the Los Angeles games, where he would have been an overwhelming favourite, he went on to win three Olympic gold medals plus 7 World and 6 European Championships. In Seoul he broke 4 World and 6 Olympic records and won gold by 30kg. His total would have been enough to win the lightweight division against lifters 7.5kg heavier!

Application of the S.A.I.D. Principle

SAID stands for “Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands” and states that “adaptation to a stressor is specific to that stressor”. Applied to weightlifting, this implies that performance is best improved by performing the snatch and clean & jerk with maximal weights. The SAID principle became the corner stone of Abadjiev’s training philosophy.

 “Our athletes do not do any “supportive exercises” they stay with full clean and jerk, snatch, and front squat We have found that taking back squat out is more effective for the healthy lifter. Sticking with the three lifts named above as the only training for the advanced and healthy lifter…. If the athlete is injured they will do back squat or parts of the lift the full lifts (ie. high pulls, push press, etc…). You must be extremely careful with the stresses you put on your athletes. You must have direct benefits from each exercise because the athlete has limited recovery capacity.” IA

 In 1969 when Abadjiev took over as national coach the team used 19 exercises in their training. Over the next 20 years, as he continually adapted his program, exercises were progressively discarded until 1986 when his lifters performed just 5 (Snatch, Power Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Power Clean and Front Squat) and exclusively for single repetitions. Throughout this period the team’s results in International competition continued to improve and Bulgaria became the top weightlifting nation in the world.

Popular weightlifting ‘assistance exercises’ such as pulls,                                                   deadlifts and back squats were discarded because their movement path and speed of execution does not exactly mirror that used in the competition lifts. Abadjiev states that all available adaptation energy must be committed to exercises with the greatest cross over (i.e. snatch, clean & jerk and front squat!). Additionally, these popular assistance exercises are often performed with loads exceeding those possible on the competition lifts, and for multiple repetitions. This type of training causes substantial skeletal and central nervous system fatigue that reduces the quality of future workouts.

Lifting from the hang or from blocks at various heights, is a popular method of teaching novice athletes and in this context these exercises certainly have merit. However, as soon as an efficient technique has been acquired the focus must shift to performing the full movement from the floor. It is a common observation that substantial work from the hang primarily serves to improve an athlete’s performance at… lifting from the hang! In some situations, a lifter’s maximum from the hang can actually start to exceed his best from the floor.

Abadjiev does acknowledge that when injury precludes a lifter from performing the full lifts, assistance exercises may need to be employed.

1st Man to Jerk

3 x Body Weight

Stefan Topurov

 Adaptions from Maximal Loadings

Consistent training with high intensity loadings can increase the density of nerve impulse that can be generated by the central nervous system. Over time this allows the athlete to recruit a greater percentage of their higher threshold muscle fibres and hence significantly improve power output. Additionally, there is evidence that Type IIa muscle fibres can actually be converted to the more powerful Type IIb fibre type. Abadjiev states that these adaptations are best achieved when loadings are near maximal
Employing single lifts at maximum improves both inter and intra muscular coordination. The former involves improved synchronisation of fibres within a muscle, and the latter, improved efficiency between muscles. This is especially important in the Olympic lifts which are highly technical whole body movements. Due to fatigue these adaptations cannot be optimally developed when employing multiple repetition sets. Additionally, as technique degrades rapidly under fatigue, there is a risk that lifters may be rehearsing a sub optimal movement pattern.

Zatsiorsky states that high threshold motor units are activated under two conditions, a single maximal repetition and the final repetition of a (maximum) set of multiple repetitions. However, the greater time under tension in a multiple repetition set increases both non functional hypertrophy and muscular fatigue. Non functional hypertrophy is an increase in the size of the muscle cell’s sarcoplasm rather than the actual contractile unit, the sarcomere. This can push a lifter into a heavier weight class without a corresponding increase in strength.
Finally, there are many lifters who have flawless technique at submaximal loads but whose technique deteriorates under maximal loading. The Bulgarian system obviously requires the lifter to attempt maximums on a regular basis. This translates into greater confidence with heavy weights, a more consistent competition performance, plus the advantages gained from heavier opening attempts.

SAID Vs Periodisation

Abadjiev used an extension of this argument to challenge the validity of classic periodisation:

“In Bulgaria, many other sports disciplines were built on the methods developed by the Soviet experts. The main concept is distinct periodisation, preparation stage, interim stage and competition stage… I threw it away… Is it logical to achieve outstanding results by hard work and then stop and go back to a lower level?” Norair Nurikyan: Olympic Gold Medalist 1972 & 76

In simple terms classic periodisation involves a gradual progression from high volume and low intensity to low volumes and high intensity. Abadjiev implies that any improvements yielded by the high intensity period will quickly be lost when the athlete subsequently reverts back to the higher volume and lower intensity work. A lifter should therefore never stray too far from the ultimate goal of lifting heavier weights!

SAID Vs Variation

Blagoi Blagoev

This extreme application of the SAID principle has been criticised for it’s lack of variation, a factor regarded as essential for long term progress. At first glance, the small pool of exercises and the exclusive use of singles does appear to support this argument. However, if one looks closer, subtle but very significant variation is actually quite evident. Lifters might take as little as 1, or as many as 10

attempts at maximum. They might hit a maximum and immediately drop back to 80% before progressing back up

(sometimes with minor adjustments in the weights attempted). Alternatively, after one or more maximum attempts they may perform drop down, ‘flushing’ sets avarious intensities. Additionally lifters change the order of exercises or repeat exercises

within the same session to add extra stimulus where required. Finally, the coach might change the training frequency in a given week to permit greater time for recuperation. These and other variables can be continually adjusted to keep training both mentally and physically stimulating (See Appendix) It should be stressed that Bulgarian lifters utilise daily ‘training’ maximums rather than absolute (best ever) maximums. On a given day, depending on fatigue and arousal levels, these two loads could vary significantly.

It has been reported that Abadjiev favoured a sequence of three hard weeks followed by one lighter one. Some have described the light week as involving a reduction in intensity whilst others suggested they simply involved a reduction in the training frequency with no reduction in intensity. It is likely that Abadjiev experimented with all the variables and adopted different models depending on the individual situation.

Tapering for Competition

Abadjiev has stated that it is ‘paramount’ to maintain the intensity of training when preparing for competition. Tapering is therefore achieved by reducing training frequency over the final two weeks. Typically he would have his lifter’s drop to four sessions in the penultimate week and then two sessions during the final week. Of course athletes in his system were already very tolerant of such training.

“It is extremely important to maintain the adaptive state and keep the lifter used to the heavy poundages that will be experienced on competition day. . On the “off” days the lifter should do a generalized warm-up and no more.”

The Training Day

There are a number of schedules that have been presented by former Bulgarian coaches as examples of an average training week. Some call for absolute maximums only on a    Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings and (maximum) power snatches and power cleans on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays. Other examples depict maximum lifts morning and evening on successive days. Please see the Appendix for examples.

Yanko Rusev – Yanko Rusev, Olympic Champion 1980

Abadjiev was one of the first coaches to implement multiple daily sessions and has been the most extreme in distributing the work load across the day. He performed 2 or 3 daily sessions and required lifters to take a 10 to 30 minute break between exercises. This helped to ensure the highest quality in each training segment and allowed a degree of physical and mental recuperation. Abadjiev also claimed a reason to divide the training stimulus was that circulating testosterone levels only remain elevated for a maximum of 60 minutes. The rest periods employed between exercises would, in theory, help keep this highly anabolic hormone elevated for longer. However, in light of the probable use of exogenous forms of the drug, this explanation is more likely a ‘red herring’.

It has been suggested by some former Bulgarian lifters that social reasons were actually more important than physiological ones. Abadjiev was reputedly a stickler for timekeeping and kept his lifters under extremely tight evening and weekend curfews. The divided daily program provided him with another avenue to control his lifters. If their entire day was filled with training and restorative treatments, there was less risk of them fatiguing themselves with other pastimes or distractions!

Application of the Bulgarian System

Over the last 20 years, as more information about the Bulgarian System was made available, coaches have begun to adapt the basic template for ‘amateur’ lifters of different abilities and stages of development. When adapting the program, one must be aware that Bulgarian lifters were professional athletes who ate, slept and trained at their National Sports Centre. They had massage before and after training and employed daily water therapy sessions (e.g. sauna and whirlpools) and other restorative methods. In a recent seminar Abadjiev made no secret of the fact that his lifters (like all elite athletes of the time) also took advantage of banned anabolics.

The following is a summary of the ‘Americanised Bulgarian‘ system, which top US coach Steve Gough devised for drug free (mostly part time) Western athletes:

The corner stones of the program are the three maximum sessions performed on alternate days, e.g. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Time permitting, and with increased work capacity, lifters can then add lighter sessions (up to ~85%) on the ‘off days’ which function as active recovery from the preceding heavy workout. The last stage is to perform similar ‘tuning’ sessions on the morning of a heavy workout. There is substantial practical evidence that suggests a moderate session in the morning can actually improve the quality of a workout later in the Tom Gough evening

To ward against overtraining, as discussed previously, a lighter week can be taken as required. (For examples of how to structure the actual workouts please see the Appendix)

If the lifter embarks on this program cautiously then it is the author’s firm belief that tolerance to three maximal sessions per week should be achievable for all, providing a lifter has an efficient technique and is injury free. I would suggest initially setting targets 5% less than (recent) maximum and limiting attempts at maximum to 2 or 3. Over time the athlete and coach will gain an intuitive understanding of when to push, when to back off, and how slight changes in training load will impact on future sessions.

When a lifter first begins to employ maximum lifts in training, the workout may require several days to recover. However, over time, tolerance to the heavier loading develops and the athlete can progress to maximal loads without significant preparatory arousal. Subsequently CNS fatigue is reduced and training consistency will improve.

To make the most of this approach, the lifter must research and employ any legal methods of improving recovery. Methods that have supporting scientific evidence include creatine, contrast showers, protein/carbohydrate recovery drinks and massage. It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss these in any more depth.

When an American lifter asked Abadjiev what he looked for in an athlete, he replied simply, “will power”. Else where, the Bulgarian System has been described not as a program but as a “state of mind” or “way of life”. There is no doubt that lifters who choose to employ this method must be highly motivated and robust. They must be extremely disciplined both in and out of the gym (to ensure optimal nutrition and sleep etc). Finally, they must be fearless in their pursuit of new maximums and must avoid cultivating a negative attitude toward failures. One of the most striking aspects of the Ironmind DVD, “Unbelievable Bulgarians” is actually the number of missed attempts.

Greatness will never be acquired by staying in one’s comfort zone!

APPENDIX

A. Example Loading Progressions

  1. 50 (3), 70 (2), 90 (2), 100 (2), 110, 120, 120, 120

3 singles at maximum

  1. 50 (3), 70 (2), 90 (2), 100, 105, 110, 115, 120, 120

2 singles at maximum with smaller increments to target

  1. 50 (3), 70 (2), 90 (2), 100 (2), 110, 120, 102, 112, 122

1 single at maximum; drop down and work back up

  1. 50 (3), 70 (2), 90 (2), 100 (2), 110, 120, 120, 105, 105, 105

            2 singles at maximum and 3 ‘flushing’ sets

B. Example Exercise Sequences

1.   Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Front Squat

2.   Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Front Squat, Snatch

3.   Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Front Squat, Clean and Jerk

4.   Front Squat, Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Front Squat

C. Example Training Week

Monday, Wednesday and Friday:

9.00 – 9.30                  Front Squat

10.00 – 10.30              Break

10.30 – 11.00              Snatch

11.30 – 12.00              Break

12.00 – 12.30              Clean and Jerk

12.45 – 1.00                Front Squat

4.30 – 5.00                  Snatch

5.00 – 5.30                  Break

5.30 – 6.00                  Clean and Jerk

6.15 – 6.30                  Front Squat

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday:

9.00 – 9.30                  Squat

10.00 – 10.30              Break

10.30 – 11.00              Power Snatch

11.30 – 12.00              Break

12.00 – 12.30              Power Clean and Jerk

12.45 – 1.00                Front Squat

2. Zlatan Vanev’s training day on 4 November 1998. His pbs at the time at 77kg body weight were 165 & 205  (take from the Ironmind ‘Unbelieveable Bulgarians’ DVD)

Morning

Power Snatch              50/2, 70/2, 90/2, 110/2, 130, 130

P. Clean and Jerk        50, 110, 140, 160

Front Squat                 ???

Evening

Snatch                         60/2, 80/2, 100/2, 120, 120, 130, 130, 140, 150, 155, 130, 145, 155, 160, 162F, 162F, 155

Clean and Jerk             70/2, 110/2, 140, 160, 180, 200, 210FJ, 210FJ, 210FJ, 210FJ, 210F

Front Squat                 120, 200, 235, 245

This illustrates how frequent, short and intense squatting ‘workouts’, that can total only 5 or 6 repetitions, can be effective in maximising leg strength whilst minimising fatigue.

 

KEEP YOUR CHIN UP by Christian Thibaudeau

Keep Your Chin Up – How to master the king of relative strength tests

Chin-ups are a strange animal. They can humble the strongest lifter as easily as an unsatisfied ex-girlfriend. On the other hand, mastering the art of the chin-up doing lots of solid, easy reps is always impressive and is generally well correlated with a good overall physical condition and solid athletic potential.To dominate this exercise, one must possess a strong back, strong arms, a firm grip, lots of body control, and strength endurance in the forearms and hands. This makes the chin-up quite possibly the best test of relative strength available.

The tough thing about chin-ups is that the slightest weak link will kill your progress. Few people are limited by back or biceps strength (although it can happen) and many people who seem to have all the tools to be successful, instead fail miserably! Remember that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This is certainly true with chin-ups, so the fastest way to become a great chinner is to correct your weaknesses and improve your strengths. This article will give you a breakdown of what you need to do and will present different programs depending on your level of capacities.

Also, just for clarification, by “chin-up” I mean pulling yourself up to a bar with your palms facing you. A “pull-up,” on the other hand, is a type of chin-up where the palms are facing away from your body.

Covering all the Angles:

To have success at chin-ups you must have an adequate level of several different physical capacities. Here’s a rundown of what physical qualities are required for each structure:

Hands: Static strength, static strength-endurance

Forearms: Dynamic strength, dynamic strength-endurance

Arm flexors (biceps and brachialis): Dynamic strength, dynamic strength-endurance

Upper back (rhomboids, lats and mid traps): Dynamic strength, dynamic strength-endurance, static strength, static strength-endurance

Abdominal wall and lower back: Static strength, static strength-endurance

Psychological: Resistance to pain

Advantageous body weight and body fat: The heavier you are, the harder chins will be!

As you can see, you need to possess a lot of different capacities. The slightest weakness will undoubtedly inhibit any progress you’d normally make.

Hand strength and strength-endurance is probably the most neglected aspect of physical performance. These physical qualities have a huge influence on your capacity to do a lot of reps. Simply put, your hands connect your body to the bar; if your grip isn’t rock solid there’s no way you can apply maximum force on the bar and you’ll perform below your potential.

Here’s an example to help you understand this concept: try to deadlift a heavy load while squeezing the life out of the bar. Now try the same load with a weak, soft grip. Which one is easier? The first one obviously! But why? After all, you did have the same strength potential in both attempts. The answer lies in the grip! The firmer your grip, the more of your strength you can apply to the bar.

I’ve rarely seen athletes who possess enough hand strength to fully utilize the strength of their body. Exceptions include hockey players, grapplers, and gymnasts who develop a lot of wrist and hand strength practicing their sport. As a result, including some hand strength exercises can be a good way to increase almost anyone’s chinning power.

Having strong forearms is also a prerequisite for a good chin-up performance. Furthermore, strength alone isn’t enough. You must have a lot of strength-endurance in your forearms. You’ll find that, more often than not, your hands and forearms give up first, or at the very least, fatigue in your forearms will greatly reduce your pulling power.

I personally have very small hands and always had a weak grip. This greatly impaired my performance in the Olympic lifts, deadlifts, and chin-ups. Only when I started to work hard on my hands and forearms did these lifts improve. As you can see in my forearm pictures, what was once a weak point is now one of my strongest.
So the first step in building your chinning and pulling power is to have strong hands and forearms. Here’s a routine that’s sure to improve those areas.

Thibaudeau’s Hands and Forearms Strength Routine

A) Dynamic “Captain of Crush”

5 sets per hand, as many reps as possible until you reach 15-20

212 tempo (See our FAQ section if you’re unfamiliar with tempo numbers.) link

60 seconds rest between each set

You’ll need some specialty equipment to do parts of this program. This particular exercise requires the “Captain of Crush” grippers produced by Ironmind. These grippers aren’t your ordinary plastic toys found in sporting goods stores, which only require around 20 to 40 pounds of force to close. These things are brutal!

The COC grippers come in four different “strengths.” The so-called “Trainer” gripper requires that you produce 100 pounds of force to close it. The No.1 gripper requires 140 and the No.2 requires 195, while the No.3 requires 280 pounds of force. The dreaded No.4, which only one man in the world has closed, requires 365 pounds of force to be closed completely!

The No.3 and obviously No.4 grippers aren’t really useful for most individuals. If you can work up to the No.2 gripper (which will take some time), then hand strength will no longer be one of your weak points. Most people would only need to invest in the first two strengths (the Trainer and the No.1), and maybe a No.2.

For the first exercise we’re going to do reps just closing the grippers. You’re going to close them several times in a set, just like any other exercise. To improve your hand strength and strength endurance you should do 15 to 20 reps per set. Chances are you won’t be able to do that at first. Don’t worry, it’s normal. Simply do as many reps as you can and when you reach 15 to 20 reps you can start to use the next strongest gripper.

B) Paper folding

As many “sets” as possible for each hand

No rest between sets

This next exercise might seem easy or even idiotic… that is, until you try it! It’s a great drill to increase hand strength-endurance and digital dexterity. The objective of the exercise is to hold a sheet of paper in your hand, then using only this one hand, crunch it into a tight ball. If you succeed, try it with two sheets. Add sheets until you’re unable to reduce them to a tiny ball.

For this exercise you simply go on until you fail. Don’t take any rest between “sets.” If you can ball one sheet, go to two immediately and so on. This will build great strength-endurance in your hands.

C) Forearm roll

3 sets of 5 reps

90 seconds rest between each set

This is a classic forearm exercise. I’ve yet to find another exercise that can build as much strength-endurance and size in the forearms. You’ll need a forearm roller, but there’s no need to buy one as they’re really easy to make. The picture of my own roller should help you build your own.

To perform this exercise correctly you must “roll” the weight up and down under control. Don’t let it drop down after you roll it up; instead roll it down in a controlled manner. You’ll use three sets of five “reps.” A rep consists of rolling the weight up, then back down. When you can complete three sets of five reps with good form, increase the load.

D) Isometric “Captain of Crush”

3 sets per hand of max time

90 seconds rest between each set

Once again, using the COC grippers, we’re going to work on static endurance. Close the gripper and hold it closed for as long as you can. Aim for 45 to 60 seconds. At first, few will last over 30 seconds, even with the easier grippers, but work your way up slowly.

As you can see, this routine can be performed anywhere as long as you have the necessary material and equipment. I recommend doing it two to three times per week as a supplementary workout. You can perform this short workout at home or even on your lunch break! You can do it in the gym too, but if you choose to do so, do your main workout first. One word of caution: try not to do this workout the day before a pulling workout.

Level 1 Chin-up Program: The Newbie Routine

Now that we’ve covered basic hand and forearm strength, let’s jump right into increasing your chinning abilities.

This first chin-up program is for individuals who can’t complete at least one chin-up in good form. (If you can do more than one, go ahead and skip to the next level.) It should be performed for four weeks, after which you’ll retest yourself on the chins to establish which level to do next. A good goal for this level is to perform five complete chin-ups after four weeks of training on this program.
A) Incline chin-up

3 sets of max reps

211 tempo

60 seconds rest between each set

This exercise is a good way to develop your capacity to lift your own body. It’s the equivalent of the push-up for the back muscles. You’ll need a power rack and a bar to perform this drill.

Set the safety pins about mid-thigh level and place the bar on the pins. Grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip, put your feet on the floor and keep your body straight. Bring yourself up by pulling on the bar.

B) Three-position static holds

2 “sets”

90 seconds between each position

In this exercise you’re going to hold specific positions of the chin-up motion. You may need a partner or a bench to get into the proper positions. Hold each position for as long as you can.

Position 1: Finished chin-up position

Position 2: Mid-range

Position 3: Starting position

C) Lat pulldown to the front (chin grip)

1 x 7, 1 x 6, 1 x 5, 1 x 4, 1 x 3

311 tempo

90 seconds rest between each set

While this exercise can’t replace the chin-up, it can be a useful exercise to strengthen the muscles involved in the chin-up.

We want to really focus on maximal strength on this exercise to get you ready for chinning as fast as possible. You’re going to do sets of 7, 6, 5, 4 and 3 reps. Ad weight on every set.

D) Partial chins

1 set of 5 reps

201 tempo

With partial chins you start from the finished chin position, lower yourself slightly and bring yourself back up. Obviously, the lower you go, the harder it gets. So every week try to go down a bit lower on each rep.

This exercise will greatly help you improve your chin-up strength. Don’t judge your progress on your performance in this drill as it’s performed last in the workout and your muscles and nervous system are already fried. You’ll only do one set of five reps, each rep must be completed, so only go down as low as you can while still being able to pull yourself back up.

After the completion of this 4-week program, take two days off from training and test yourself on the chin-up. If you can do four to six complete chins in good form you can go up to level two confidently. If you can only do one to three chins you can still go on to level two, but you’d probably be better off using the level one program for two to four more weeks.
Level 2 Chin-up Program: The Regular Guy Routine

This program is for individuals who can complete between four and six chin-ups in good form. It also lasts four weeks, after which you test yourself again. A good goal is to aim for 10 to 12 complete reps after the four weeks, then you can go up to the next level.

A) Negative chins

5 x 10-12

6 second negative tempo

90 seconds rest between each set

This drill is great to build up strength as well as strength-endurance in the specific chin-up muscles. It’s also great for developing mental toughness. In this drill, get a partner to help you into the top chin-up position on the bar (or do this yourself by jumping up), and then lower yourself under control.

Since our goal is to perform 10 to 12 chin-ups, we’re going to do sets of 10 to 12 negative chins. Try to lower yourself to a six second count. Chances are that the first three or four reps won’t be a problem, but it’ll get tougher as the set goes on. When you can complete the 12 reps with a six second negative tempo, add some weight (via a weight belt).

B) Staggered chins

20 total reps

201 tempo

30-60 seconds rest between each set that you need to complete the 20 reps

The objective here is to complete 20 chins. Take as many sets as you need to complete all 20. You may need 10 to 15 sets to complete the 20 reps. That’s okay. However, each week try to complete all the reps using less and less sets. Ideally, at the end of the program you’d only need two to four sets to complete all the reps.

C) Partial chins

2 sets of 12 reps

201 tempo

90 seconds rest between each set

With partial chins you start from the finished chin position, lower yourself slightly, and bring yourself back up. The lower you go, the harder it gets, so every week try to go down a bit lower on each rep.

This exercise will greatly help you improve your chin-up strength. You’ll do two sets of 12 reps. Each rep must be completed, so only go down as low as you can while still being able to pull yourself back up.

Once again, after the completion of this 4-week program, take two days off and test your chin-up max. If you can complete anywhere between 10 to 15 chins, you can go up to the third and last level. If you only do 6 to 9 chins you can also progress to level three, but you’d be better off doing two to four more weeks of level two training.
Level 3 Chin-up Program: The T-man Routine

This program is for individuals who can already complete between 10 and 15 chin-ups in good form (full reps with a controlled tempo). It also lasts four weeks, after which you’ll test yourself again. A good goal is to aim for 20 to 22 complete reps after the four weeks.
A) Negative chins

5 x 20-22

3 seconds negative tempo

90 seconds rest between each set

Get a partner to help you into the top chin-up position on the bar (or do this yourself by jumping), and then lower yourself under control.

Since our goal is to perform 20 to 22 chin-ups, we’re going to do sets of 20 to 22 negative chins. Try to lower yourself to a three second count. This will be easy enough at first, but will get tougher as the set progresses. By now you should be able to add some weight on this exercise.
B) Mid-grip pull-ups

5 x 5

301

90 seconds rest between each set

Pull-ups (palms facing away from you) are a good assistance exercise for chins as they’re actually harder to perform. Increasing your strength in pull-ups will generally transfer positively to your chin-up performance.

C) Lat pulldown to the front (palms facing you)

2 x 40

201

90 seconds rest between each set

We’re now going to use the lat pulldown to build specific strength-endurance in the chin-up muscles. By now you have the strength necessary to do well, but you need to develop the capacity to maintain that strength level for a long time. You’re going to do sets of 40 reps on the lat pulldown. Start light! At 20 reps the set might seem easy, but fatigue will quickly set in afterward.

D) Regular chin-ups

3 x max

201

90 seconds between each set

We’re going to do our chins at the end of the workout. By now you’re completely wiped out so these will be hard! Expect to do very few reps, but performing this drill in an extremely fatigued state will really help you get those extra four to five chins at the end of your test!

After four weeks on this program you’ll need to take four days of complete rest before testing yourself on the chin-ups. This is a hardcore program and will really drive you into the ground, but in the end your body will respond with a glorious improvement in chinning power!
Workout Frequency
Hand/Forearms Workout

Times per week performed: 2-3

When to perform: Anytime, but at least 24 hours away from a pulling workout. However, you can do it after a chinning workout.
Level 1: Newbie Routine

Times per week: 2

When to perform: First training day of the week. Repeat 3 days after.
Level 2 Regular Guy Routine

Times per week: 2

When to perform: First training day of the week. Repeat 3 days after
Level 3 T-man Routine

Times per week: 1

When to perform: First training day of the week.

Other Workouts

While you use this program you should not do any additional upper back workout. Also, you shouldn’t do another body part on the same day as your chin-up specialization workouts. Other than those restrictions you can use pretty much any training split you see fit. If you want to do the Olympic lifts, you should do them at least 48 hours after a chin-up workout.

Concluding Remarks

This training progression will increase your chin-up and pulling power immensely. However, not everybody will be able to go through all levels. Some people aren’t built to do 25 chin-ups. The biggest limiting factor is obviously your body fat percentage, so if you’re serious about posting huge chin-ups numbers, you should try to minimize your body fat levels.

Now go hit the bar! (The chinning bar that is!)
By:  Coach Thibaudeau

About the Author

Christian Thibaudeau is a strength and conditioning coach who works with a wide range of elite athletes. He has successfully trained athletes requiring a wide array of physical qualities ranging from strength and power (football players, Olympic lifters, strongmen competitors) and important energetic capacities (hockey players) to proprioception and stabilization/balance (figure skaters ). He’s also a competitive Olympic weightlifter and a football coach. Christian is completing his M.Sc. degree in exercise science and has been a research assistant in that field for the past two years.

Direct Approach Olympic Weightlifting Programme

DIRECT APPROACH OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING PROGRAM
Joe And Virgil Dube
31 July 2008

DIRECT APPROACH OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING PROGRAM
BY: JOE DUBE and VIRGIL DUBE

Since first presenting this idea to certain coaches and a few lifters, they have shown interest and wanted better clarification, a direct approach program of sorts. Below is a hypothetical program we’ve derived for this purpose and are calling for the sake of name: Zone of Comfort – No Misses (ZCNM) and based on Contest First Attempt (CFA). Such a program can be done instinctively disregarding percentages or on a cycling rotation – whichever the lifter/coach deems appropriate for the trainee. We’ll explain as we chart our conceptual program.
We recognize that no two persons are alike, that some individuals have natural talent and the genes, and react to training much different than others. We also recognize that much time, money, mass media dialogue, and personal effort has been admirably invested and administered by coaches, gyms, schools, training centers, etc., to enhance Olympic Weightlifting, but on the grand scale the truth is: our sport is suffering from lack of elite performance, and this can be corrected in part with a different, perhaps old-time and direct approach to fundamental training. This program we’re presenting is merely an example on our behalf to illustrate quality championship training, a start towards the ultimate objective of every lifter. It is fat-cut-to-lean and a model for our approach to training the Olympic lifts … and we must add that it is open to modification to fit any particular lifter’s needs … but only after he or she has attained proper lifting technique. We also recognize it will be open to scrutiny, even criticism and possibly be viewed as radical to modern so-called scientific and accepted general concepts and elaborate formulas, especially when it is advocated broadly that tons of exercises done singularly or with elaborate apparatus will make sufficient contribution. It is true many of these auxiliary exercises will help to some extent, but not on the elite or mountain-top level of performance we are suggesting, and seeking from our great reserve of athletes, a multi-cultural and diverse nation unparallel on Earth. Science is great! So is hard down-to-earth practicality! The concept of direct training is straightforward and our well-meaning attempt to present what we believe is the best most compact and comprehensive approach to enhancing a lifter’s training skills, which we feel confident will result in successful platform performance. To accomplish this goal there are certain necessities we have identified and implemented: simplicity, eliminated certain specialty exercises which are actually time-wasters … their intended results be actually accomplished by repetitive singles on the platform lifts and as close to that environment as possible. We are focusing on primary moves, more volume on technical-lift-training, and scheduled quality back-up strength training exercises to be executed in periodic moderation. Presented are ten different hypothetical workouts that span two weeks, more or less, depending on lifter/coach schedule: five are technical, three are basic strength, and two are leisure. The ten should be repeated several times with slight progression the objective until contest day arrives. Please understand we are presenting a program in weight and exercise arrangement solely for demonstration, a roadmap if you will to illustrate our concept.
* * * * *
It is broadly advocated that dozens of exercises can be performed to enhance Olympic weightlifting. Some are good and have merit. Some are unnecessary. For lifters seeking peak performance and cut-to-the-bone-training, there are but a handful of quality exercises he should truly focus on. We hate to say it but a lot of the specialty apparatus gyms have purchased specifically for Olympic lifting could be sidelined and replaced by more top-quality lifting platforms and simple racks. Hitting a baseball, throwing a football, throwing the shot put and discus, broad jumping, high jumping, hurdling, table tennis, all gymnastic events, etc. … plus snatching and cleaning and jerking, are all examples of precise movements that require time and thousands of single and precise practices for the athlete to become good or the best. Building supportive strength has become a modern phenomenon in athletics, and specialty training is great, but specifically training the actual event still holds true as a direct route to develop champions.
Here are a few of the more popular exercises we feel can either be eliminated, or greatly reduced in a lifter’s training regimen. Some are actually our old standbys, but in years associated with this sport and analyzing platform progress against gym training, and maturity, if we started again today we would train much as what we are passing to you in this presentation, a training program that is simplified, direct, compact, and one that builds power, speed, and sound technique.
High Pulls with Snatch or Clean Grip: Most lifters pull to designated heights … sticks for example, but most often poor exercise form is executed and the consequence is lousy lifting technique and performance, and may be one of the culprits in lifters often losing the bar to the front. Unless corrected by a coach or training partner, lifters tend to bend into the bar as it approaches the high point instead of extending the body upward mimicking the actual finished pull for the lift. Also, the weight is usually an over-load, often grossly, which lessens the pulls speed to some extent. You don’t want this!!! It is counter productive to nerve impulses you’re activated between the nerve center in your brain and the muscles trained to respond by doing the Olympic lifts in real-time speed and form.
Power Clean & Power Snatch: Two great lifts, and body building exercises. We love them, but in reality and for the Olympic lifters purpose, are they merely extended and modified versions of the actual Olympic lifts, the latter shortened versions? It’s hard to cast them aside, but in putting quality time on the actual lifts, they can be eliminated, or at least lessened in importance. Extension on the top pull is a natural component of the snatch and clean movement, and if trained properly, real-time spent training snatches and cleans is sufficient. Time spent on these exercises can be better transferred to the Olympic lifts and more volume on technical days.
Drop Snatches, Hang Snatches & Cleans, and Block Work: These exercises are designed for top pull, to hone technical form, and develop quick descent, which to an extent is good training. They are novel and fun to do, but are they actually necessary? We say no, and again we assert … if a lifter is coached properly on technical form, the actual Olympic lifts can’t be beat to teach all aspects of pull, descent, even a solid overhead jerk … practice makes perfect!
Repetition Snatches & Cleans from Floor: We feel outright this is a ridiculous way of attempting to build strength for the actual quick lifts. Why? Each successive rep is compounded in slower motion, and fatiguing to the muscles and joints. Overdone, they can be dangerous and career-ending! The explosive properties this sport demands is to an extent lost with each successive repetition done on any ballistic movement, regardless of floor, block, or hang start position. The power needed can be built by directly squatting or dead lifting weights … and yes, these power assist exercises can be done in reps because they are aimed for one primary purpose … building the supporting power that works in unison with sound technical form that comes into play on the competitive platform.
Toning and Isolation Exercises: There are many, and some are good and serve a viable purpose. They should be done on occasion, but not as a regular component to quality and specific Olympic lift training. That is why we have inserted leisure days when the lifter can chill-out and play around in the gym doing random meaningful work on auxiliary movements he favors and feels are beneficial to him.
In Summation:
1. Its imperative from day-one to develop good technique and explosive speed in Snatch and Clean & Jerk. Technique is fundamental and straightforward: pull the barbell smoothly from the floor, back flat, hips low to initiate leg drive upward, and accelerate in as straight a line as possible and close to the body over the center of gravity … no jumping back, no animated excessive slamming feet on the platform, no violent banging the bar against the body which will reduce inertia … good extension … quick drop downward to compact squat, or split. Time, plus the center of gravity, is limited and unforgiving if these points aren’t adhered to in fluid motion.
2. Train majority the Olympic Lifts – doing singles for Lt, Med, Hvy, days, and in a cycle process. Also visualize platform lift with each single done – be it first, second, or third attempt.
3. Train moderately on power to reinforce need for strength and continued progress. Monitor your needs sensibly. Squats, Deadlifts, Presses, are merely a means to attain progressively greater platform lifts.
4. Lessen or eliminate residual exercises. It is argued some exercises are designed to save the joints. However the joints come into play no matter the movement and the more exercise saturation over time the worse on joints. Time and wear breaks us down, a cruel reality for we Olympic Lifters. Partial movements can be more harmful in sudden bursts and when the body hasn’t gone through full-range motion, the latter more natural. Economizing training to include the program we have presented should actually economize on joint flexing. However, common sense also comes into play. If sudden injury or illness is apparent, stop training and seek professional medical aid.
* * * * *
The technical days are the heart of this theoretical program and designed to teach the body to adjust to levers under ever-increasing burden, and hone the nervous system and the energizer to all movement, which greatly controls the weightlifter’s destiny. Envisioning your performance on contest day with each and every technical lift scheduled in training is very-very important. A healthy way to train is to envision platform competition experience: light day = first attempt, medium day = second attempt, heavy day = third, which is often a personal best or record attempt. From the standpoint of an equation: basic power + technique + hard work = quality progress & champions. Our overriding emphasis is: the Olympic lifts must be done fast every time, and to attain the exactness in skill and speed require they be done in multiple singles with quality target weights in proportion to what is desired in an upcoming competition. Reps, even doubles, slow the movement, thus affect and de-rail nervous system channels thus far attained, and this acts much like premature breaking on a fast-spinning wheel. Our view of the difference between power and strength, is: power equates into speed with tonnage, strength equates into power potential, but not direct power which is asserted by optimal speed of movement, or singles = power …… multiple sets & reps = strength.
The basic strength days should not exhaust the trainee but leave him exhilarated. Eye-popping strain, bone-crushing reps are unnecessary. We assert, overdoing reps with near max intensities in one workout, or over time, increases the PSI and comprehensive fatigue on soft and connective tissue. Overdone over time we believe this is where so many injuries are attained. Bursts are best where periodic rest periods intervene for short-time recuperation. Also when the tonnage mounts and excessive fatigue to the body and becomes dangerous when form is accidentally broken. The exercises should build some muscle and create a foundation to support the body throughout the fast-moving technicals. They should be done with varying sets and reps and high and low intensities, and be creative and enjoyable … a welcome break from the nervy technical days. The power assist exercises should include: full back squats and front squats for push, Olympic pull dead-lifts for pull (stiff-legs done for erectors on occasion with bar just above feet and on blocks), power drives for shoulder explosion, some military presses for basic shoulder and arm power, power jerks for fast thrust. A casual off day workout should be thrown in when fatigue reaches high level. They should include tone and core exercises for a welcome relief from the strenuous regimented training.
For lifters with specialty problems in the jerk, there are several exercises previously listed. They can be incorporated in the basic strength days, but don’t overdo them … because much of what can be accomplished to correct problems is done by repeated technicals and having a coach or recording device on hand to catch such flaws.
One very important point to make is: Olympic weightlifting isn’t purely a power sport, though strength is a factor. Attaining success lies on proper attitude and mental preparation (envisioning as we have expounded on, for the mental side is the other key to success), with mental and physical execution in unison and unequalled by any other sport. Olympic Weightlifting is athletic, is the gymnastic sport of the iron games. Each platform lift should be explosive and technically sound. When we lifted many years ago we envisioned a bomb going off as we pulled the bar from the floor … lightning speed throughout. Guys and gals, at this point we got quite crazy!!! Being slightly left of center is sometimes beneficial!!!
Some last comments before presenting our hypothetical program; we started training in the early sixties using pictures in the Strength & Health Magazine to learn technique. With today’s technology that primitive approach has changed, but there also exists numerous contradictions in training approaches as we have mentioned earlier. There remain absolute principles that apply directly to the type progress that is necessary to build world-class champions …and that is direct simple-approach training, which includes the fundamental equation we stated earlier. When Joe trained in the late sixties his training was economic, and the reps were minimal on power assist moves (though every 10 or so days he would rep-out on squats with some random weight). Training the Olympic lifts, he did singles to develop lightning speed, which he attained for such a big man at 330 pounds … and did a majority of it with rusty weights and bars in a backyard shed, except when he trained at York with Bednarski, Picket, etc.
* * * * *
This is our hypothetical program outline with added comments for explanation. For the sake of simplicity below we’ll use a 140 kilo snatch and 180 kilo Clean & Jerk to give the percentages only on the technical days, for singles based on the starting attempt in an upcoming competition. With each successive technical workout 1% (less or more) goal intensity can be added for progression towards desired cycle-completion objectives. The other power lifts should be randomly chosen by lifter and coach and executed with various multiple sets and reps that will be heavy enough at various stages of the training cycle to enhance (and not disrupt) power performance on the actual Olympic lifts. Build programmed singles toward target weight, and once there do as many singles as lifter/coach desires. The technical workouts can be lengthy, so only one Olympic lift should be done per session, except on contest workout day where the lifter does the snatch and clean & jerk and mimics the contest experience.
If you should try this program earnestly in this or some close versions, please let us know what you think. We welcome comments on improvements or otherwise suggestions that don’t sway drastically off our concept or presentation, that being comprehensive Olympic lift training. We wish not to infringe on coaches and lifters who are comfortable with their present program training regimen … stay with what works, if it truly works. For the critical-minded … just give it a try, and if you should, please don’t blame us if you make great progress, or become a lifting champion. For pacifists and pessimistic lip-flappers … just don’t bother with any challenge to your narrow mental zones and keep losing.
Bear in mind, the life-blood of this sport is the lifter’s personal and supreme challenge … to defy gravity! It doesn’t happen without the appropriate preparation and follow-up action.

****************************************************************************************

For Clarity: ZCNM means Zone of Comfort – No Misses, a guideline point where whatever percentage weights are measured to Contest First Attempt (CFA). Higher number of singles with lower intensities offers refinement and better control on technical flaws. No misses is merely a means or yardstick for the lifter to be better determined that each of his/hers lifts to be successful and to maintain scheduled continuity, which in the end should pay-off in competition with fewer platform misses. The total number of reps prescribed in a workout: single x 20-22 sets on light day, single x15-17 sets on medium day, and single x10-12 sets on heavy day, can be done in build-up to target percentage, or after appropriate jumps done, be performed in whatever number as near to that desired weight. What is important is to reach as close to the desired weight and do as many singles as is soundly possible to enhance future contest performance … not breaking form, not missing.

TRAINING DAY 1 (Basic Strength Day).
MILITARY PRESS (Rack) — Reps & Sets can vary (3 to 10 range after warm-up) … be creative in arrangement. A great exercise to strengthen arms and shoulders, thus enhance the overhead jerk.
FULL BACK SQUAT — Reps & Sets can vary (3-10 range after warm-up). This exercise is the fundamental pushing foundation for snatching, cleaning, and jerking.
OLYMPIC PULL DEADLIFT from floor (Keep HIPS DOWN at start, no BACK ROUNDING!) — Reps & Sets can vary (3 to 10 range after warm-up). This exercise is the fundamental pulling foundation for snatching and cleaning … remember hips down.
CORE EXERCISES (optional each Basic Strength Day) — Use discretion for Reps and Sets: hyperextensions, sit-ups, leg raises, other exotics.

TRAINING DAY 2 (Technical Day – Power Oriented).
1 – SNATCH (Low Intensity) — After warm-ups (will mention once: elliptical machine is a good warm-up for lower body mobility, then do normal stretching, shoulder rolls with empty broom stick or PVC Pipe, empty bar overhead squats, ankle and wrist flexing, etc.), do 20-22 singles each lift envisioning CFA (Contest First Attempt) in upcoming contest. If the lifter is cycling start by working up to the 70% (20-22 single buildup, then 98 x 3-5 singles that is to be included in the 20-22 single buildup, or whatever is desired) CFA and work in successive workouts working up to the 75% (20-22 single buildup, then 105 x 3-5 singles that is to be included in the 20-22 buildup, or whatever is desired) CFA – jumping 1% (1.1) each repeated workout.

TRAINING DAY 3 (Technical Day – Power Oriented).
1 – CLEAN & JERK (Low Intensity) — After warm-ups as mentioned in Day 2, do 20-22 singles each lift envisioning CFA in upcoming contest. If the lifter is cycling start by working up to the 70% (20-22 single buildup, then 126 x 3-5 singles that is to be included in the 20-22 single buildup , or whatever is desired) CFA and work in successive workouts working up to the 75% (20-22 single buildup, then 135 x 3-5 singles that is to be included in the 20-22 single buildup, or whatever is desired) CFA – jumping 1% (2.0) each repeated workout.
FRONT SQUAT — Reps & Sets can vary (2-3 range after warm-up
).

TRAINING DAY 4 (Basic Strength Day).
POWER JERK (Rack) — After warm-ups, do 10 singles ZCNM. Comfort Zone percentage is optional and what is appropriate to the lifter on any particular day, but heavy enough to not miss — no press-outs!!!
FULL BACK SQUATS — Reps & Sets can vary (5-6 reps range after warm-up).
LEG EXTENSION/LEG CURL — Reps & Sets can vary (3 to 10 range after warm-up). These are isolation exercises to strengthen both the knee joint and thigh stabilizer muscles (thigh biceps).
STIFF-LEG DEADLIFT (feet on blocks and toes just under bar) — Reps & Sets can vary (3 to 10 range after warm-up). Be aware not to go especially heavy, or overdo this exercise. Is an excellent spinal erector developer (thigh biceps too) but caution must be adhered to avoid injury.

TRAINING DAY 5 (Leisure Day) at coaches discretion.
Stretch, perhaps do core exercises, and spend quality time on an elliptical machine to enhance lower trunk mobility, ankles, knees, hips.

TRAINING DAY 6 (Technical Day – Power Oriented).
2 – SNATCH (Medium Intensity) — After warm-ups, do 15-17 singles CFA, each lift envision 2nd attempt in upcoming contest. If the lifter is cycling start by working up to the 80% (15-17 single buildup, then 112 x 3-5 singles that is to be included in the 15-17 single buildup, or whatever is desired) CFA and work in successive workouts to 85% (15 single buildup, then 120 x 3-5 singles that is included in the 15-17 single buildup, or whatever is desired) CFA – jumping 1% (1.1) each repeated workout.

TRAINING DAY 7 (Technical Day – Power Oriented).
2 – CLEAN & JERK (Medium Intensity) — After warm-ups, do 15-17 singles CFA, but each lift envision 2nd attempt in upcoming contest. If lifter is cycling start by working up to the 80% (15-17 single buildup, then 145 x 3-5 singles that is to be included in the 15-17 single buildup, or whatever is desired)) CFA and work in successive workouts to 85% (15 single buildup, then 152 x 3-5 singles that is included in the 15-17 single buildup, or whatever is desired) CFA – jumping 1% (2.0) each repeated workout.
FRONT SQUATS (With pause at bottom) — Do 5-6 singles, kilo’s at coaches discretion.

TRAINING DAY 8 (Basic Strength Day).
PUSH PRESS (Push-to-Ceiling at top) — Reps & Sets can vary (3 to 10 range after warm-up). Done properly is excellent to strengthen jerk lockout.
FULL BACK SQUAT — After warm-up do 10 singles in ZCNM, (whatever weight that is comfortable to lifter and form isn’t broken), then drop back lighter for a set or two of reps.
OLYMPIC DEADLIFT/SHRUG AT TOP (HIPS DOWN at start!) — After warm-up do fast 10 singles in ZCNM (whatever weight that is comfortable to lifter and form isn’t broken), then drop back lighter for a set or two of reps. Is the fundamental pulling foundation for snatching and cleaning … remember hips down.

TRAINING DAY 9 (CONTEST SIMULATION DAY).
3 – SNATCH (Heavy Intensity) — After warm-ups, do 10-12 singles CFA, each lift envision 3rd attempt in upcoming contest. If the lifter is cycling start by working up to the 90% (10-12 single buildup, then 126 x 3-5 singles that is included in the 10-12 single buildup, or whatever is desired) CFA and work in successive workouts to 95% (10 single buildup, then 132 x 3-5 singles that is included in the 10-12 single buildup, or whatever is desired) CFA – jumping 1% (1.1) each repeated workout.
3 – CLEAN & JERK (Heavy Intensity) — After warm-ups, do 10-12 singles CFA, each lift envision 3rd attempt in upcoming contest. If the lifter is cycling start by working up to the 90% (10-12 single buildup, then 162 x 3-5 singles that is included in the 10-12 single buildup, or whatever is desired) CFA and work in successive workouts to 95% (10-12 single buildup, then 170 x 3-5 singles that is included in the 10-12 single buildup, or whatever is desired) CFA – jumping 1% (2.0.) each repeated workout.

TRAINING DAY 10 (Leisure Day) at coaches discretion.
Stretch, perhaps do core exercises, and spend quality time on an elliptical machine to enhance lower trunk mobility, ankles, knees, hips.

****************************************************************************************

NOTE: THESE TRAINING DAYS ARE NOT NECESSARILY CONSECUTIVE DAYS TRAINING. WORK, ESPECIALLY REST DAYS, CAN BE DETERMINED BY THE COACH/ LIFTER.

REPEAT THE ABOVE TRAINING DAY WORKOUTS BY FOLLOWING PROGRESSIVE PERCENTAGES CFA GUIDELINES. THE LIFTER CAN ADJUST HIS PERCENTAGES UPWARD ON THE LATER CONTEST SIMULATION DAYS IF DESIRED AND HE/SHE IS HITTING THE 95% LIFTS EASILY WITH ZERO MISSES.

AT THE DISCRETION OF THE COACH/LIFTER IF THEY FEEL THE NEED FOR MORE/LESS WORKLOAD THEY MAY INCREASE/DECREASE THE SINGLES TO FIT THE LIFTERS NEEDS AS TO AVOID THE POSSIBILITY OF OVERTRAINING OR UNDERTRAINING. USE GOOD COMMON SENSE.

Wishing you health, happiness, and great success in our wonderful sport,
Joe Dube, and brother, Virgil.

Revised: July 31. 2008

FITNESS IS…

SOLITUDE

“I don’t like work—no man does—but I like what is in the work,—the chance to find yourself. Your own reality—for yourself, not for others—what no other man can ever know.”   
Marlow—Heart of Darkness
I’ve heard it argued many times that the reason for the UK’s fitness failures is some combination of ignorance and inaccessibility.  Sounds plausible: If people don’t know what they should be eating or how much they should be exercising, how can we expect them to stay healthy?  So we go about increasing awareness and try to infuse our culture with fitness.  The topic makes a home on the talk show circuit and carves out a daily niche on the local news.  The marketplace explodes with informational videos, online tutorials, and $5 per month gym memberships.  The number of gyms in America rises to an all-time high.  Additionally, restaurants are required by law to disclose the nutritional content of their food.  All the pieces are falling into place.  Yet all reliable statistics indicate that we are more sickly, more injured, and more overweight than we’ve ever been.  I’ll say it again: with more resources and more knowledge than ever before, we are the least healthy we’ve ever been.  This unequivocally tells me that information and accessibility are not the issue.
So, how is it possible that with so many tools at our disposal we still find a way to fail so miserably?  The easy answer is that we just don’t care.  I’ll admit, the simplicity of this is tempting. But there has always been a section of society that could give two shits, and I don’t believe that those apathetic few are the only thing contributing to a problem this big.  I believe that for the larger “caring” subsection, the issue is something closer to mental crowding.  We live in a world more immediate and barraging than any our ancestors had to navigate.  We have more resources, authorities, and research than they ever did.  I believe that as the flow of information has grown, so too has our inability to process it.  Where they went days or weeks between news cycles, giving them ample time to think and formulate opinions, we are refreshed within minutes.  How do we form coherent thoughts on fitness when Google pulls up 100,000 returns to our search?  How do we digest the value of health and wellness while scrolling through infomercial after infomercial on premium cable?  The answer is, we don’t.  We observe, briefly acknowledge, and change the channel.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t cut it.  Whether the subject is politics, religion, family, or fitness, skimming the headlines will never be enough to make an informed decision.  You have to dig deeper, discover facts from multiple sources, then take your time digesting that information.  This is the critical element.  Rarely is your first thought your finest—in fact, it’s usually somebody else’s.  Yet the overwhelming trend in our society is to make up our minds quicker and quicker.  In our effort to be decisive and efficient (read: laziness) we bypass the reflective stage of problem solving and cut straight to the chase.  Every diet book is a bible, every fat busting tool is a magic bean.  We buy them without understanding their cause or purpose and hope they’ll solve our problems.  Looking at health through the eyes of its advertisers, we’re no longer fitness practitioners—we’re fitness consumers.  And as long as we see fitness as something that must be done “to us” rather than “for us,” we will never internalize the message.
The solution to this problem is threefold. 
First, we need to appreciate the gravity of what we’re facing:
-We live in a world of highly processed, if not completely contaminated food sources.  Choosing to ignore this fact increases our risk of practically every disease known to man.
-Our typical daily routine demands hours of sitting, a position that directly opposes the healthy, pain free evolution of our species.  Choosing to ignore this fact increases our risk of practically every injury known to man. 
-If you ask the average person on the street what it means to be fit, they’ll point to a picture of Kate Moss.  Choosing to ignore this fact might actually save your life. 
Needless to say, the deck is stacked against you. 
Second, we have to examine our limitations carefully, locate their origins, and go find tools that can push us past them.  This requires research, patience, and the permission to make mistakes.  No blanket diagnosis fits everyone, so stop repeating affirmations and tracks of Tony Robbins.  Fixing a postural distortion will take years, so don’t get discouraged when you can’t fix it with 2 weeks of Mobility WODs.  Your fitness journey will last the rest of your life—you have to accept that there are no shortcuts.
Finally, we have to deafen our ears to the musings of our friends.  Their reasons are not your reasons, their problems are not your problems.  We have to discover for ourselves how and why fitness will benefit our lives, take the time to seek out the best method of achieving it, then take ownership of the process of doing so.  Emerson wrote that we “must be defended from travelling with the souls of other men, from living, breathing, reading, and writing in the daily, time-worn yoke of their opinions.”  As it pertains to fitness, this means training for your own reasons, not somebody else’s.  Take what others say and do, learn from it, and continue on.
Underpinning all of this is solitude.  If we don’t give ourselves the space to ask real questions, we will never be capable of finding real answers. Comfort food, alcohol, Facebook, and YouTube are all just elaborate distractions.  You won’t find yourself there.  As humans, we need isolation to sift through the vocal chorus in our heads and determine which voice is ours.  And that doesn’t mean going off on a cliff somewhere and staring into the sunset (although that is a totally awesome way to do it).  It can be as simple as a workout alone in your garage or a ten minute session on the yoga mat.  Whatever it takes to quiet your mind and focus your energy to a single point.  Like Marlow said, no man likes work, but what’s in the work has real and lasting value.  Spend some time determining what that is.

TOP 13 NUTRITION LIES THAT MADE THE WORLD SICK AND FAT

Top 13 Nutrition Lies That Made The World Sick and Fat

 by Jeff Kuhland | September 9, 2013 | by Kris Gunnars

Nutrition is full of all kinds of nonsense.The worst examples are listed here, but unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg.Here are the top 13 nutrition lies that have made the world both sick and fat.

1. Eggs Are Bad For Your Health

Eggs are so incredibly nutritious that they’re often called “nature’s multivitamin.”The nutrients in them are enough to turn a single cell into an entire baby chicken.However, eggs have been demonized in the past because they contain a large amount of cholesterol, which was believed to increase the risk of heart disease.But the truth is that despite being high in cholesterol, eggs don’t really raise the bad cholesterol in the blood. In fact, eggs primarily raise the “good” cholesterol .

Despite all the warnings about eggs in the past few decades, studies show that they are NOT associated with heart disease .If anything, eggs are pretty much a perfect food  for humans. They’re loaded with protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and unique antioxidants that protect the eyes .

They are also an excellent source of Choline, a nutrient that is very important for the health of the brain and about 90% of people aren’t getting enough of .Despite being a “high fat” food, eating eggs for breakfast is proven to cause significant weight loss compared to a breakfast of bagels .

Bottom Line: Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet and do not raise your risk of heart disease. Eggs for breakfast can help you lose weight.

2. A Calorie is a Calorie

Apple And Calculator

It is often said that the only thing that matters for weight loss is “calories in, calories out.” The truth is that calories matter… but the types of foods we eat are just as important. That is because different foods go through different metabolic pathways in the body . Additionally, the foods we eat can directly impact the hormones that regulate when and how much we eat, as well as the amount of calories we burn.

Here are two examples of why a calorie is NOT a calorie:

    • Protein: Eating protein can boost the metabolic rate and reduce appetite compared to the same amount of calories from fat and carbs . It can also increase your muscle mass, which burns calories around the clock .
    • Fructose vs glucose: Fructose  can stimulate the appetite compared to the same number of calories from glucose .

Even though calories are important, saying that they are all that matters when it comes to weight (or health for that matter) is completely wrong.

Bottom Line: All calories are not created equal. Different foods go through different metabolic pathways and have varying effects on hunger, hormones and health.

3. Saturated Fat is Unhealthy

Foods High in Saturated Fat

For many decades, people have believed that eating saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease. In fact, this idea has been the cornerstone of mainstream nutrition recommendations. However, studies published in the past few decades prove that saturated fat is completely harmless. A massive study published in 2010 looked at data from a total of 21 studies that included 347,747 individuals. They found absolutely no association between saturated fat consumption and the risk of heart disease .

Multiple other studies confirm these findings… saturated fat really has nothing to do with heart disease. The “war” on fat was based on an unproven theory that somehow became common knowledge . The truth is that saturated fat raises HDL (the “good”) cholesterol. It also changes the LDL cholesterol from small, dense LDL (very, very bad) to Large LDL, which is benign . There is literally no reason to fear butter, meat or coconut oil… these foods are perfectly healthy!

Bottom Line: New studies show that saturated fat does not increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. It raises the good cholesterol and changes the “bad” cholesterol to a benign subtype.

4. Eating a Lot of Protein is Bad For Your Health

Many people believe that eating a lot of protein can damage your bones.

High Protein Foods

While it is true that increased protein can increase calcium excretion from the bones in the short term, the long term studies show the exact opposite effect. In fact, eating more protein is consistently associated with improved bone density and a lower risk of fracture in old age . This is one example of where blindly following conventional nutrition advice will lead to the exact opposite result.

Another myth is that protein increases strain on the kidneys and contributes to kidney failure. The reality is a bit more complicated than that. Although it is true that people with established kidney disease should reduce protein intake, studies in healthy individuals show that protein is perfectly safe .

In healthy individuals, protein actually reduces two of the main risk factors for kidney disease… which are diabetes and high blood pressure.

Eating a high protein diet has many other benefits, including increased muscle mass, reduced body fat and a lower risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease .

Bottom Line: Studies show that protein has positive effects on bone health in the long run and does not raise the risk of kidney disease in healthy individuals. Eating a high protein diet has many important health benefits.

5. Everyone Should be Eating “Heart-Healthy” Whole Wheat

Boy Eating a Sandwich

Commonly mistaken as a health food, evidence is mounting that wheat can contribute to various health problems. Yes… this includes “heart-healthy” whole wheat. Wheat is the biggest source of gluten in the diet. New studies are showing that a significant percentage of the population may be sensitive to it .

In sensitive individuals, gluten can contribute to various symptoms like digestive issues, pain, bloating, stool inconsistency, fatigue and may damage the lining of the intestine. There are also some controlled trials associating wheat gluten with various disorders of the brain, including schizophrenia, autism and cerebellar ataxia .

Not only that… but a controlled trial in humans showed that whole wheat increased various risk factors for cardiovascular disease in as little as 12 weeks . Even though whole wheat is “less unhealthy” than refined wheat, the best choice would be to skip the wheat altogether.

Bottom Line: Wheat is the biggest source of gluten in the diet. Many studies are showing that wheat, including whole wheat, can contribute to various health problems.

6. Coffee is Bad For You

Cup of Coffee And Coffee Beans

Coffee has gotten a bad reputation in the past. It is true that coffee can mildly elevate blood pressure in the short term . However, long term studies show that coffee may actually reduce your risk of some serious diseases.

Coffee drinkers:

  • Have up to a 67% lower risk of Type II diabetes .
  • Are at a much lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s .
  • Have up to an 80% lower risk of liver diseases like cirrhosis .

Caffeine also helps to mobilize fatty acids from the fat tissues, boost metabolism and increase exercise performance by an average of 11-12% . Many studies have examined the effects of caffeine on the brain, showing that it can improve mood, memory, reaction time, vigilance and overall brain function .

You may be surprised to hear that coffee is also loaded with antioxidants. In fact, it is the biggest source of antioxidants in the modern diet, outranking both fruits and vegetables, combined . If you’re sensitive to caffeine or it tends to disrupt your sleep, then green tea has many of the same health benefits but a smaller amount of caffeine.

Bottom Line: Coffee contains very large amounts of antioxidants. Studies show that coffee drinkers are at a much lower risk of developing many serious diseases.

7. Meat is Bad For You

Meat

Blaming new health problems on old foods has never made sense to me. One example of that is meat… which humans have been eating throughout evolution, for millions of years. For some very strange reason, many people are now blaming meat for diseases like heart disease and type II diabetes, which are relatively new.

This doesn’t make much sense at all and the studies don’t support it. While it is true that processed meat is associated with all sorts of diseases, the same is not true for unprocessed red meat. A massive review from 2010 that looked at data from 20 studies with a total of 1,218,380 individuals revealed that unprocessed red meat had no significant association with either cardiovascular disease or type II diabetes .

Other studies that included hundreds of thousands of people agree with this… processed meat is bad, but unprocessed red meat is harmless . Even though some observational studies have found a link between meat consumption and cancer, review studies that look at the data as a whole show that the effect is weak and inconsistent.

If there really is an association between red meat and cancer (which has NOT been proven) then it is most likely caused by excessive cooking, not the meat itself. For this reason, it may be important to avoid burning your meat. Also, let’s not forget that meat is incredibly nutritious. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, quality proteins, healthy fats and various lesser known nutrients that are important for the body and brain.

Bottom Line: Studies show that unprocessed red meat does not raise your risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. There is a very weak association with cancer, but most likely caused by excessive cooking and not the meat itself.

8. The Healthiest Diet is a Low-Fat, High-Carb Diet

Food Pyramid

Since the year 1977, the health authorities have told everyone to eat a low-fat, high-carb diet. This was originally based on political decisions and low quality studies that have since been thoroughly debunked. Interestingly, the obesity epidemic started at almost the exact same time the low-fat guidelines first came out.

Since then, several massive studies have examined the health effects of the low-fat diet. In the Women’s Health Initiative, the biggest study on diet ever conducted, 48,835 women were randomized to either a low-fat diet or continued to eat the standard western diet.

After a study period of 7.5 years, the low-fat group weighed only 0.4 kg (1 lb) less and there was no decrease in cardiovascular disease or cancer. Other studies agree with these findings… this diet is notoriously ineffective.    Even though it may work for healthy and active individuals… for people with obesity, metabolic syndrome or diabetes, the low-fat diet can be downright harmful.

Bottom Line: The low-fat, high-carb diet recommended by the mainstream nutrition organizations is a miserable failure and has been repeatedly proven to be ineffective.

9. Refined Seed- and Vegetable Oils Are Healthy

Bottles of Vegetable Oil

Some studies show that polyunsaturated fats lower your risk of heart disease. For this reason, many have recommended that we increase our consumption of vegetable oils like soybean oil, sunflower oil and corn oil. However, it is important to realize that there are different types of polyunsaturated fats, mainly Omega-3s and Omega-6s. While we get Omega-3s from fish and grass-fed animals, the main sources of Omega-6 fatty acids are processed seed- and vegetable oils.

The thing is… we need to get Omega-3s and Omega-6s in a certain balance. Most people are eating too little Omega-3 and way too much Omega-6. Studies show that excess Omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation in the body, which is known to play a causal role in many serious diseases . Most importantly, seed- and vegetable oils are associated with a significantly increased risk of heart disease… the biggest killer in the world.

If you want to lower your risk of disease, eat your Omega-3s but avoid the refined seed- and vegetable oils. It’s important to keep in mind that this does NOT apply to other plant oils like coconut oil and olive oil, which are low in Omega-6 and extremely healthy.

Bottom Line: Excess consumption of refined seed- and vegetable oils can increase inflammation in the body and dramatically raise your risk of cardiovascular disease.

10. Low-Carb Diets Are Ineffective and Downright Harmful

Woman Who is Not Losing Weight

Low-carb diets have been popular for several decades. Because they are high in fat, they have been demonized by nutritionists and the media. They repeatedly claim that such diets are “unproven” or downright dangerous. However, since the year 2002, over 20 randomized controlled trials have examined the effects of low-carb diets on various aspects of health.

Almost every one of those studies agrees that:

    • Low-carb diets lead to significant decreases in blood pressure.
    • Low-carb diets where people are allowed to eat as much as they want causemore weight loss than low-fat diets that are calorie restricted .
    • Low-carb diets increase HDL (the good) cholesterol and decrease triglyceridesmuch more than low-fat diets .
    • Low-carb diets change the pattern of LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol from small, dense LDL (very bad) to Large LDL – which is benign .
    • Low-carb diets have powerful positive effects on type II diabetes, significantly lowering blood sugar and reducing the need for medicatio.

 

  1. If anything, low-carb diets appear to be easier to stick to than low-fat diets, probably because people don’t have to restrict calories and be hungry all the time .

Even though low-carb diets are unnecessary for people who are healthy and active, studies show that they are extremely useful against obesity, metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes… which are some of the biggest health problems in the world. Despite these powerful results, many of the “experts” that are supposed to have our best interests in mind have the audacity to call low-carb diets dangerous and continue to peddle the failed low-fat diet that is hurting more people than it helps.

Bottom Line: Low-carb diets are the easiest, healthiest and most effective way to lose weight and reverse metabolic disease. It is pretty much a scientific fact at this point.

11. Everyone Should be Cutting Back on Sodium

Sea Salt in a Bowl

The health authorities constantly tell us to reduce sodium in the diet in order to reduce blood pressure. Whereas most people are eating about 3400 mg of sodium per day, we are usually advised to cut back to 1500-2300 mg per day (about 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of salt). It is true that reducing sodium can cause mild reductions in blood pressure, especially in individuals who have elevated blood pressure to begin with .

But it’s important to keep in mind that elevated blood pressure itself doesn’t kill anyone directly. It is a risk factor, not necessarily a cause of disease. Interestingly, many studies have examined whether sodium restriction has any effect on cardiovascular disease or the risk of death. These studies consistently found no effect… even in individuals with high blood pressure.

Other studies show that too little sodium can also be harmful, leading to adverse effects such as insulin resistance, elevated LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as an increased risk of death in type II diabetics. Overall, there is no evidence that healthy people need to cut back on sodium.

Bottom Line: Despite sodium restriction being able to mildly reduce blood pressure, this does not lead to improved health outcomes.

12. Sugar is Bad Because it Contains “Empty” Calories

Glass Full Of Sugar Cubes

Many think that sugar is unhealthy just because it contains “empty” calories. This is true… sugar contains a lot of calories, with no essential nutrients. But this is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Sugar, mainly due to its high content of fructose, can have severe adverse effects on metabolism and set us up for rapid weight gain and metabolic disease . When we eat large amounts of fructose, it gets turned into fat in the liver and is either shipped out as VLDL particles, or lodges in the liver to cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease .

Studies in humans show that excess fructose can lead to insulin resistance, elevated blood sugars, elevated triglycerides, increased small, dense LDL and increased abdominal obesity in as little as 10 weeks . Fructose also doesn’t lower the hunger hormone ghrelin and doesn’t affect satiety in the brain in the same way as glucose. This way, sugar causes a biochemical drive in the brain to eat more and get fat.

This applies to fructose from added sugars, NOT the natural sugars found in fruits. When consumed in excess, added sugar is associated with multiple diseases, including obesity, heart disease, type II diabetes and even cancer . Sugar is probably the single worst ingredient in the modern diet.

Bottom Line: The harmful effects of excess sugar go way beyond empty calories. Sugar can have severe adverse effects on metabolism, leading to weight gain and many serious diseases.

13. Fat Makes You Fat

Bacon

It seems to make sense that eating fat would make you fat. After all, the stuff that is making people soft and puffy is fat. For this reason, eating more fat should give us more of it. However, it turns out that it isn’t that simple. Despite fat having more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrates, diets that are high in fat do not make people fat.

This depends completely on the context. A diet that is high in carbs AND fat will make you fat, but it’s NOT because of the fat. In fact, the studies consistently show that diets that are high in fat (but low in carbs) lead to much more weight loss than diets that are low in fat .

14. Anything Else?

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

 

 

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN MEDICINE BALL

THE SLAMMER

(A HOW TO GUIDE TO MAKING YOUR OWN MEDICINE BALLS) By Pierre Augé

An Issue that many have had to deal with over the years is how and where to get an inexpensive implement for effective physical training. Now I’m not going to drag you along with a great history of how the Medicine ball was originally used by the military for that exact purpose. What I will tell you is that since then the simple inexpensive Medicine ball has come to cost a small fortune. No longer! Now an inexpensive and durable ball can be manufactured for only a few dollars a little bit of effort and a great deal of patience. These balls are great for anything you would normally do with a Medicine ball, however they are ideal for use as a Slam Ball during CrossFit workouts! Hence I dub thee SLAMMER! For this is what we do with thee.

Let’s get her done!!! Shopping List
Item 1: Get a Ball…

I’m serious, go out and by a cheap though heavy duty “rubber” basketball.

Yep Just like that one. In fact if you spend more then $10 on the ball you are too rich for my blood!

page1image10992

Item 2: Buy a radial tire puncture plug kit.
This item usually comes in packets of 5 plugs. If you purchase 1 kit with the rasp and plunger, and another kit with only the plugs than you can make 5 balls with that many plugs.

Again, yep just like that one! These are the most expensive part of the entire package but they happen to be what keeps the whole thing together. And yeah still cheap.

page2image4464

Item 3: Buy a funnel. Yes this is a pain because its rare that you can find a funnel that is narrow enough for this application so if you can’t find one do as I do. Make one! Below is an example of the funnel I used on this particular ball.

You will want to cut the clear plastic cap off and pull the extension tube out of it. You will notice in upcoming pictures that I cut the bottom off the container and drained it. Don’t forget that if you are going to use an oil container like I did clean and dry it thoroughly before pouring sand through it. Try it you’ll figure out why.

page3image6104

Item 4: Buy Some “Shoe Goo”!
This stuff seals the deal. I’m serious it seals the thing once your done. Its tough, its cheap ,it works, its everything we want it to be.

page4image2536

Item 5: The finest sand you can find.
If you go to the beach and dig it up great! If you go to the hardware store and by some patio paving sand then great. But I guarantee you will need some sand, so go get some.

This stuff works well its fine and goes through that damned tiny funnel as well as can be expected.

END SHOPPING LIST!
Ok so that was a pretty simple and cheap shopping list. You can Most probably get all of those materials save the ball at your local hardware store. If you happen to live in Canada, Canadian Tire has all of the above plus cheap Huffy Sports basketballs for $4.99.

page5image6528

Step 1: Take the ball. Oh wow thats deep.
Now JAM the rasp into the ball! Rasp around in the hole a bit.

Now role the ball over an eighth of a turn and JAM it again! Rasp in the hole a little bit.

Remember the JAMMING thing yeah now do it with the funnel. The following is what it looks like all JAMMED up. The reason you are puncturing the ball twice is because you want airflow going through the ball while you are trying fill it with sand. Without even the slightest amount of airflow it becomes a very big pain trying to get the sand in there.

page6image6192
page6image6472
page6image6752
page6image7032
page6image7312
page6image7592
page6image7872

Step 2: Filling the Ball with Sand!
This stuff is called “Sand”! It goes inside the Medicine Ball! (Left)

page7image1800
page7image2080

This is sand about to be poured into the ball. (Left)

This is a Basket ball sitting on a bathroom scale with a funnel JAMMED in it. Say goodbye to basketballism say hello medicine ballism. (Right)

This is sand being poured into the ball. (Right)

page7image5304
page7image5584

Do you see what I’m getting at? Well at this point all that is left to do is sit there and pour sand in the ball for the next hour and a half. I’m serious! It takes a while. Be patient! It’s worth it!

Step 3: Closing her up and sealing the ball!
Once you’ve completed the filling portion of the exercise, take your plunger and a plug and jam the plug following the instructions on the package, into the holes in the ball. Then cut the tabs that remain sticking out of the ball with a pair of pliers or a knife. Now this is the complicated part! Take some Shoe Goo and put some over top the plugs. Wait a couple of hours and voila you have a SLAMMER!

Have fun, respectfully Pierre Augé.

CROCK POT BALSAMIC ROAST WITH SWEET ONIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • BRAISING STEAK DICED – 1kg/ 2.2lbs
  • COCONUT OIL – 1 tsp
  • FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER – 1 tsp
  • SMOKED PAPRIKA – 1 tsp
  • ONION POWDER – 1tsp
  • GARLIC POWDER – 1tsp
  • GARLIC  – 3 cloves (or less if you do not like garlic)
  • SWEET ONION – 1 large
  • TOMATO PASSATA – 4 fluid ozs/118ml
  • BALSAMAIC VINEGAR – 4 fluid ozs/ 118ml
  • WATER – 4 fluid ozs/118ml
  • BEEF STOCK – 2 Tbsp

CAULIFLOWER PUREE:

  • CAULIFLOWER – 1 head
  • BUTTER – 1 Tbsp
  • FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER – to taste

PREPARATION:

  1. In a small bowl, combine pepper, paprika, garlic and onion powder.
  2. Combine vinegar and tomato passata in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Season all sides of roast with spice mixture.NOTE: You may have some of the spice mixture left over. This can be saved for another use.
  4. Slice onion into thick slices and place in the bottom of the crock pot with garlic.
  5. Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place roast in the skillet and brown one side, without moving the roast, for 5 minutes. Use tongs to flip the roast and brown the other side for 3 minutes. Brown the other parts of the roast for about 1 minute each side. Place browned roast on top of onion in crock pot.
  6. Turn heat to low, add water and stock to the skillet. Deglaze pan with a wooden spoon. Pour pan liquid over roast, then pour balsamic mixture on top.
  7. Place lid on crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours.
  8. While roast cooks, steam cauliflower until tender. You can steam in a microwave by placing in a covered bowl with a little water and heating for about 2-3 minutes. You can also steam in a steamer insert over simmering water.
  9. Drain cooked cauliflower and transfer to bowl of a food processor. Add butter and season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth.NOTE: I had a turnip I needed to use so I cooked it and added it to the cauliflower. I think it improved the texture and flavor. If you have a white root vegetable, feel free to cook it and add it in.
  10. When roast is done, shred it in its juices, serve over pureed cauliflower, and ladle juice over the top.