Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Warm-Up Warriors: Overboard or on Target?

“It’s cool to pee your pants”- Billy Madison (Adam Sandler)

Obviously that’s a load of B.S., it’s not cool to pee your pants, it’s probably the exact opposite of cool, it’s anything but cool, it’s totally uncool……

and that’s how I feel about warm-ups….

Seriously, they suck, they are UN-COOL. No matter how many articles I read about how awesome the foam roller is or this stretch is or that mobility drill is they all suck as far as I’m concerned. They are boring as hell and detract from time that can be spent being awesome (smashing weight, eating meat, being a costumed crime fighter)

Darth Vader + Batman + Light Saber duel= Awesome stuff which warm-ups detract from

But here’s the deal: YOU GOTTA DO THEM…ALL THE TIME, EVERYTIME, WITH A PURPOSE (you should take that last line very seriously because it was written in all caps and bold  which implies that I’m either
A. saying it quite forcefully to convey they importance
B. I’m yelling it
….and you know what, all things being equal more is probably better….I know, THAT SUCKS….

Sometimes things that are good for us suck…a lot.

Deal with it.

Waaaay too many people either skip warm-ups or do something that is half -assed and nonsensical.  Too many guys jump on the bench put 135 on the bar and press away. That’s incredibly stupid….

Yeah, it may suck but take the time and prepare your body to lift, run, jump, deliver elbows from the top rope..To parahrase weight training Yoda Jim Wendler, “I’d rather spend 30 minutes getting ready to train and have a few good lifts than jumping right in and having a shitty day”…Truth

But lately I’ve noticed there’s been a disturbance in the force. I think too many people have taken the whole “corrective exercise”, dynamic warmup, foam rolling is the cure for what ails you thing too far…

I’ve noticed more and more people  competing for the undisputed World Champion of  Warm-ups belt and not spending any meaningful time or effort actually training…. remember, that thing you warm-up for in the first place.

There are a handful of guys and girls who come into the gym and literally everytime I see them they are doing some type of warmup/ mobility/ corrective exercise….these people are in a virtual love affair with the damn foam roller.

They’re warming up to warm-up…it’s freaking disgusting.

Mind you, these are healthy capable people who sometimes actually do lift and are capable of approaching awesomeness but for some reason I think they read one too many articles by some internet Yoda and didn’t think about things for themselves. For a healthy 20 something to have a 30- 45 minute warm-up and then train like my grandmother is a serious misplacement of priorities 99% of the time…Especially when YOU CAN ACTUALLY TRAIN! i.e. SFW (Smash F*cking Weight)

Now one of my clients is going to read this and be all like, “You make me warm-up for a long time” 

My response: “Yeppers, cause you’re 50, just sat at work for the last 8 hours had knee surgery 2 years ago and only get physical activity when you see me two times a week. So ummmm, yeah your ass is gonna have a 30 minute warm-up and I’m  good with that, you should be too”…..

My personal warm-up guide goes like this (in general, every person is different):

Age:                                                 Time:
15-25                                               10 minutes
25-35                                              15 minutes
35-40                                              20 minutes
40-50                                              25 minutes
50+                                                  30 minutes

Perfect? NO

Does it seem to work pretty well? YES!

Why? Older clients tend to need more of everything in terms of tissue work (foam roller), mobility (stretches, movement drills)  and activation (band stuff, iso holds). They’ve spent a lot of their life either:

A. Being sedentary and getting locked up, tight and weak with a host of “turned off” muscles
B. Being a weekend warrior accumulating nagging chronic injuries, getting locked up and forming really faulty movement patterns to compensate not to mention all the F-ed up things they’ve done at the gym…think BOSU balls, Yoga backbends, group exercise in general…

So just being able to get them into a state where they can achieve the correct positions to train safely takes a couple minutes of rolling, loosening things up, moving  and turning things on. A nice side effect to these long warm-ups with older clients is they start to feel better as they loosen up and they think you’re ( I’m) a genius.

Side Note: (this is totally stolen from Mike Boyle) if a (older) client want’s to spend more time on the foam roller, warming up etc. – LET THEM…seriously, will it hurt anything? They like it because it makes them feel better…

Point being: Warm-ups are a tool, they are necessary, keep you safe and allow your training to be more awesome. Believe me, I used to be one of those just use your first lift to warm-up cause that’s all you need ass-hats and that my friends was class A jackassery.

 Get prepared to train but don’t be King of the Warm-ups at some point you have to actually lift some weights, run and jump. Let’s face it, you’re coming to the gym because you want to “correct” something be it weight, strength, body comp etc. and the fact is you’re not going to correct any of those by winning the war of the warm-ups…..


Stuff From the Web

March 21, 2012 1 comment

This post is basically a rip off of the “Good Reads” format that Ben Bruno and Tony Gentilcore do every week. I went through the interwebs this morning and found a plethora of really good articles and blog posts…

Carl Valle at discusses Peyton Manning and how posture can play a HUGE role in athletic performance.
NFL Dead Pool- Mannings Neck Watch 4

Carl’s blog over there is consistently really good, short, concise and always making a very strong, really smart point.

4 Pillars of Good Health by  Adam Bornstein.

For many people, the physical aspect is what’s lacking. We convince ourselves that being social, working, and spending time with the family supersedes the need to exercise or make smart dietary choices; but if you don’t have a healthy body, you are limiting the life you can have. It’s that simple. Everything starts with your body—but that’s not where it ends. If you spend all your time focusing on your body, you miss out on all the other aspects of life that make your time worthwhile.

The weather has been ridiculously nice lately so people are getting out and playing recreational sports again and wiht the spring high school sports  season hear I’m hearing about more and more clients and their kids with hamstring pulls. These are a real bitch to treat, so why not prevent them?
Tony’s blog might be my favorite blog on the webz and this is another example why, straight up truth. If you’re not putting your hands on your clients, you probably are not very good….just saying. People pay us because they usually are not very good at this whole training thing, and when they are pretty good they want to get better. If people like Mike Boyle, Alwyn Cosgrove, Dave Tate, and Dan John all agree that everyone, NO MATTER HOW GOOD THEY ARE, can get BETTER from hiring a good coach I’m guessing there’s value in that.
Point being, it’s very hard to simply get people to do what you want through verbal cues alone and everyone can get better. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “chest up” and I get head up……but if I put my hands in someones thoracic spine and say “get tall” it works almost instantly.

Want someone to arch hard? Put your hand in their lower back.

Want them to do a lower body movement without driving the shin forward? Use your hand as a barrier.
Look at how many times Rippetoe touches this guy to get him in the right positions.
Great overview of postural problems, the why’s and how to’s to get them fixed. Go through each one, you probably need the work…help.
The study did not determine how common it is for women to experience exercise-induced orgasm or exercise-induced sexual pleasure. But the authors note that it took only five weeks to recruit the 370 women who experienced the phenomenon, suggesting it is not rare.
I’m just gonna leave it at that….

FitnessTerms I Wish Would Die

February 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Every profession (and I’m using that term loosely in reference to my own) has terms, sayings, whatever, that make people in that profession cringe every time they hear them. These are mostly made up pseudo science terms that have a BS definition. Sometimes these are real scientific terms that are bastardized to mean something  other than what they actually mean, in the rest of the world.

Honorable Mention: Momentum

Momentum as used in “fitness”- think Planet Fitness, no more than a 50lbs dumbbells we don’t judge unless you unless you dead lift, grunt or try to do anything worthwhile, in which case you don’t fit our mold and we judge you to be a “Lunk”. Don’t believe me:

So yeah, they are “Judgment free” as long as you don’t do stereotypical “meat head” things…but totally judgement free for everyone else.

Any way one of the most frequent things you’ll hear from the patrons and staff from this type of establishment is some variation of the following, “You should lift the weights slowly so as not to use momentum“.

Could you define momentum? Do you even know what this means?

I can and do, because of this thing called…..Physics….: Momentum:  Mass X Velocity

So if I have an object , lets say, ohh….. I don’t know……. a barbell………that can be the mass

and I move the barbell so it has a speed of movement or velocity that kids is MOMENTUMMomentum is essentially mass in motion…

So Einstein, it’s pretty obvious that every time we move a weight we are using momentum…we don’t have a choice in the matter. We “use” momentum EVERYTIME we create any movement what-so ever….

First Runner Up: Intensity

Ever hear this before, “We work at a high intensity in boot camp” or “that was an intense workout”?…

I’m sure you have and we all know what it means…but it’s (usually) wrong…just flat out wrong.


Because exercise intensity is a measure of  your maximum ability. It’s a numerical percentage, not a feeling.

If you go for a run at and your heart rate averages 150bpm (beats per minute) and your max heart rate is 200bpm your intensity was 75%

150/ 200= .75……75% 

If your maximum bench press is 315lbs and you bench press 225lbs for 1 rep you worked at an intensity of 71%

225/315= .71……71%

If you come back and bench 225 for 3 reps on the next set your intensity is?????


It’s the same’s not more intense because it was harder. You performed the exercise at the SAME intensity, just did more work.

So called “high intensity training” programs where you do the “perfect rep” in a slow and controlled fashion often claim to be “more intense” (and they say that whole “we don’t use momentum to lift the weights jack-assery too)..but the godfather of powerlifting and one of the legitimate Yoda’s out there, Louie Simmons, dispelled this in his article Hit…or Miss

First let’s look at the concept of intensity.  Apparently H.I.T. views it as a feeling, like a pump, a term bodybuilders made popular.  Is it a scientific term?  No.- Louie Simmons

Intensity is about percentages, numbers, math….not feelings.

Runner Up: Tone

“I just want to Tone up” ……”This insert jack ass thing on a bosu ball will Tone your core”

Ohhhhhhhhh, reaaaaaaaaaally?

Tone, how it’s commonly used in this bizz is made up. You cannot lift  3 sets of 10 with 5lbs weights and “tone” up a muscle.

Tone comes from the actual (read used in science and has a universal understanding) Tonus. Which is essentially the electrophysiological state of a muscle. The continuous, involuntary, firing of neurons at a low-level to keep the muscle ready to do work. Tone, in a scientific sense is what keeps us upright and our hearts beating.

It has NOTHING to do with how the muscle appears.

Mark Rippetoe described this disconnect in Practical Programming:

The modern fitness industry’s concept of “toning” muscles is specious—it might sound cool, but it lacks any tangible and definable meaning. The term “muscle tone” or tonus describes an electrophysiological phenomenon, a measure of ionic flow across muscle cell membranes. It can be thought of as the muscle’s readiness to do anaerobic work. The more fit the muscle, the more electrophysiological activity it exhibits at rest. Lack of exercise leads to poor tone, aerobic exercise improves tone a little bit, low-intensity weight training improves tone more, and high-intensity training improves tone the fastest.

Lets use a visual comparison: Kim K. vs. Marissa Miller vs. Jessica Biel


OK, so first things first, this is not a “which is better” comparison. They all look really good in a bikini (probably because they get paid lots of cash to look that way, but I digress) we know this. Point is, what is “Tone“?

Kim obviously is a little softer than the other two, she has more body fat and  probably less muscle than Marisa, but definitely less than Jess.

Marisa is the skinniest of the group and probably has the lowest body fat and is second in muscle.

Jess obviously has the most muscle of the three and probably is in the middle in terms of body fat.

So what is “Tone“?

In physiological terms Jess, having the most muscle is probably also the strongest and has the best muscle tonuselectrophysiological activity across the muscle cell membranes. But is she the most “Toned” in fitness terms?

I’m guessing most would answer no, Marisa is.

Now, if Kim were to simply stay at her current body fat level and workout some her muscles would get harder because of increased TONUS– more activity across them. But would she look like Marisa?

Obviously not….Why?

Her body fat would be too high to uncover the harder muscles…..

So what does this little experiment tell us? TONE doesn’t mean jack….stuff is made up.

It’s not about who has the most muscle or fat or whatever…it’s about a combination of the two.

If you’re looking for fitness style “Tone” you must do some combination of gaining muscle and losing fat. It’s not a magical process that happens to your muscle just because you began to exercise.

Finally we make our way to the nights GRAND CHAMPION!

Grand Champion of Horrible fitness terminology: Muscle Confusion

Let’s just throw this out there, the term “muscle confusion” is totally “as seen on TV” made up bullshit…

where "muscle confusion" comes from

It is in NO WAY a scientific term. It was made up to sell a product, and now it’s in the lexicon. People, in this business even, use this and think they sound smart. Do some quick searches in Pubmed or  Google Scholar for “Muscle Confusion” you’ll find a whole lot of :


Ohh wait, here’s a nice…. ADVERTISEMENT! ………….Yea for truth!…

There is no SCIENCE behind it!...Just sales..

Here’s a clue muscles don’t get confused people.

They only know length and tension, they don’t have brains with intelligence and critical thinking skills to be confused. They don’t decide…only do.

When new physical tasks are difficult it’s not because you “confused” the muscle, it’s because the task was one of the following:

  • A new movement pattern, the BRAIN must learn to coordinate these new muscle actions.
  • An overload pattern: more tension, time under tension, speed of movement, energy system, etc.

Not because the muscle was somehow “confused”. You may have been, your muscles were not.

If you work in the bizz of training people, please either STOP using these terms or use them correctly…and if you hear your local, I went to a two-day certification this week so now I’m an expert trainer at the local Globo gym say these…stay away, very far away.

Geezers, Get up and lift a damn weight..

February 7, 2012 Leave a comment

During my undergraduate education the dogma of the day regarding exercise and aging went something like this, “When you get old you will lose all your muscle and die”.

Well not quite. maybe it was more like, “When you get old you should do “weight bearing” exercise to maintain muscle mass, but you’ll lose all our muscle eventually anyway, become a invalid and die small and weak, as a gelatinous mound of carbon/ protein based goop”.

Well guess what 1980 exercise we like aerobics class, cause 10lbs dumbbell curls do something Yoda’s…You are dead wrong…again….

Yoda. You should really do some "weight bearing" exercise. Like gardening!

I covered why you geezers should be lifting heavy weights before: Geezers are (Strong) People too. So I’m not going to belabor the point but, hat tip Sweat Science, look at these images…FYI the white in the image is non muscle- bone, fat. The dark areas are muscle tissue.

 The leg of a chronically (continuously) trained 70 year  old triathlete looks almost identical to the upper leg of a 40 year old chronically trained triathlete. 

The full paper: Chronic Exercise Preserves Lean Muscle Mass in Masters Athletes

Here are the best excerpts:

It is commonly believed that with aging comes an inevitable decline from vitality to frailty….These declines may have more to do with lifestyle choices, including sedentary living and poor nutrition, that the absolute potential of musculoskeletal aging.

Followed up with:

we are capable of preserving both muscle mass and strength with lifelong physical activity.

So basically it’s YOUR  FAULT if you become a little old geezer, don’t want others to take care of you physically when you hit retirement and beyond? …Get up and do something…EVERYDAY….

It doesn’t have to happen unless YOU ALLOW IT TO HAPPEN…..

Beginners Suck…and it’s the “Trainers” Fault

January 26, 2012 Leave a comment

While it’s getting to the end of New Years resolution gym rush time, there are still some more motivated guys and gals who have hung on. These people are still beginners, I’m talking like total newbies. Yeah, they bought an issue of Men’s Health or whatever and they took the centerfold, fold-out, workout out of it and they carry it around the gym and so the exercises for the sets and reps prescribed, but let’s face it, they suck. Now they don’t suck a little, like as in, not good or that’s wrong, but they suck a LOT- a- bit.

This is the type of crap experts have beginners far is that going to get you?

This isn’t to bash on these folks, they’ve overcome a lot just to get to this sucky point and quite honestly it’s not entirely their fault. First off, they showed up. That’s hard enough when you don’t have a clue what’s going on and is a hell of a lot more than what most people do. Which is to say, make up in their head some make-believe reason, verbalize reason and sigh out loud, sit on couch for next 4 hours and watch TV.

Secondly they realized they didn’t have a clue so they looked for help, granted it’s from a website, magazine, book etc, which is like me trying to learn car maintainance from a book. Yes, with enough time and practice pretty much anyone can become competent at almost anything, but I’m better off not buying the book and taking my car into the mechanic. It will cost me more but the job will be done right and I don’t have to struggle thought the learning curve …But hey, at least these people are trying… 

A BIG part of the problem is the “Trainers” at gyms…Seriously, what they hell are you/ they doing?

Ohh, it's cool, I saw a "trainer" do it......

 Stuff like the jackassery above is a BIG part of the problem. What the hell is that doing besides being overly complicated and getting nothing accomplished?

Here’s the problem some “trainers” don’t do shit…no, I’m not joking. I once had a “strength coach” (self-appointed, he was, mind you) tell me, “I don’t do it. I coach it”. WTF? For real?????        FO REAZL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So how would that person even know what works and what doesn’t..Would you go or take advice from a mechanic who doesn’t work on his own cars? ….It’s a job that requires little to no entry-level knowledge, any one can do it….

Then there is the other third, the “trainers” who do workout but have never “trained” a day in their life. They equate the latest greatest fad of the moment with a successful training program…Bender Balls, Bosu balls, TRX, Kettlebells, Foam rollers, Shake Weights, Zumba, CrossFit, P90X etc, etc, etc…and all types of future cappy crapola. It’s not that the modalities suck, they all have a purpose and can have GRRRRRRRRRRRREAT applications. It’s that these jackholes buy into anything entirely and use it exclusively until the next BEST THING EVER comes along. ….These people have never had goals except look good naked, which is perfectly acceptable but because of this they never set goals, they never THOUGHT about what they were doing they just went, “It’s hard and I’m dying in a pool of my own sweat and vomit so it must have been a great workout. I’m going to be really sore tomorrow”.

So the goal of this workout was:

  1. To be really tired.
  2. To be dripping with sweat.
  3. To not be able to raise their arm or walk down stairs tomorrow.

and the goals of the next workout will be…………the same…

Really? That's the goal of EVERY workout?

 Again, that’s alright some of the time…but it should have a place and purpose…not just because it’s Tuesday and the website or Yoda at the certification last weekend said that’s what you’re going to do.

Then there is the other third. These people  train, not workout. They have put THOUGHT into what they are doing. They can not only explain the what and how but the why. These people actually think about what’s going on in their training, where they have been and where they are going. They tend to have definable goals, even if those goals are as opened ended as, “I want to get stronger”, “I need to be less fat”.  These trainers are usually NOT doing very sexy things in the gym, most these things are centered on their own body weight, barbells and dumbbells….They tend to do the same old, squats, benches, deadlifts, lunges, pressess….yeah they may use a TRX for a couple exercises, Kettlebells for some, maybe even a Bosu for some core training, but overall they’re program is pretty basic and focuses heavily on….THE BASICS….strength, movement, crazy shit like that…They usually tend to be both the most knowledgeable and “in the best shape”…….

Wierd, I know.

Here’s the problem: BEGINNERS DON’T (think they) LIKE THE BASICS (at first)…..

They get bombarded with all the junk in the industry from tv, magazines and websites, lets face it people, even very smart people, buy into marketing and just from watching an hour of tv you’ll realize there is a lot of fitness marketing and by golly they aint pushing those things called know the thing that has gotten the more people stronger, leaner, healthier than probably any other fitness apparatus….EVER….

Might not be sexy but damn does it work....

Not, squats, pushups, rows….But jumping, kicking, punching…Really? That’s how beginners should start? A guy who has spent the last 10 years doing nothing but sitting at a computer and sitting in front of a tv should be doing squats on a Bosu?……Can he even do a squat without the Bosu? ………………psssst, I’m guessing no…………….

Unfortunately these beginners never learn a core truism…the basics are the basics for a reason. Mastery of the basic concepts of training will hold true until the end of time.

“Methods are many, principles are few. Methods always change principles NEVER do” -Alwyn Cosgrove by way of Bruce Lee

And that my friends is the problem. Beginners come to the gym and are never given proper instruction and introduction to and in the basics. Too often they are given an overwhelming number of options (methods) but never taught how to push, pull, pack a shoulder, hinge a  hip, squat, lunge. We skip the most important part to put them on a series of high Intensity Plyometrics followed by circuit training or some other looks cool but inappropriate crap…


ohh, don’t worry, it’s cool, we did a very scientific dynamic warmup first…..I guess that makes it right.

So think about it, go into almost any gym and you have 2 thirds of the “trainers” ie knowledgeable, “expert” staff doing mind-numbingly stupid things with people and the other third doing that not very sexy, learning to master a split squat thing.

If you’re a beginner you’re screwed from the minute you walk in.

You see:

  • Trainer A: Client Standing on Bosu ball doing bicep curls
  • Trainer B: Teaching a hip hinge pattern
  • Trainer A: Client doing box jumps
  • Trainer B: Teaching how to open the hips and push the knees out during a squat
  • Trainer A: Client doing bench presses on a stability ball
  • Trainer B: Client learning how to do an elevated pushup on a smith machine

Which one would you go with? Obviously trainer A!!!!! That shit looks hard, and they must obviously be very good or they would not have been about to teach someone to do those things right away…right? Any way I saw that stuff on TV and it looked like fun….plus I did pushups in high school 10 years ago and they were waaaay easy.


There is NO DAMN reason for a dead beginner to do that stuff day 1…it doesn’t make sense on any level at all….except, shhhhhhh, you’re bad at what you do and cover up your deficiencies with cool looking but stupid/ inappropriate tricks….shhhhhhhhh.

So what does the beginner do? What all beginners do everywhere, they mimic what looks cool, what looks like fun. Let’s face it people, often incorrectly, equate complexity with effectiveness. Remember, they don’t have the education and knowledge to understand why it’s stupid. They can’t, that’s why they came in here and watched what you were having your client do in the first place…they were trying to learn……….great job teaching prof.

If you’re a beginner and you want to become good at this whole exercise thing stick with the basics, buy books like Starting Strength, Core Performance, The New Rules of Lifting, and Maximum Strength….any of those programs and some dedication will get you a hell of a lot further than the tv-infomercial, I saw a trainer at the gym do this trick one day BS that is constantly thrown your way. Learn how to move your body and lift a barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell correctly.

Think  about it, the really strong guy at the gym who squats 400lbs easy….yeah, he got that way by squatting, twice a week for the last 5 years….not changing programs every month, and buying into fads and tools every other month for the last 5 years. He got really good at the basics, while the functional training guru got really good at….the fad of the minute be it standing on a stability ball while juggling, P90X, ropes whatever…….all nice tricks I suppose, but is that really where you want to be 5 years from now?

Not an overnight success.

I guarantee the guy or girl who starts training focusing on the basics will be feeling better, looking better, moving better and way more motivated to come to the gym and smash PR’s than the poor soul who is trying to learn the new training  fad of the minute every other week.

Hat tip: Tony Gentilcore

It’s a Pullup….pretty damn basic

Who works on the weekend? Not me, I read!

January 21, 2012 Leave a comment

My morning perusal of the interwebs left me with a bounty of good articles…so good you should read them too.

Some Thoughts on Louie and Westside– Charlie Weingroff 

Mr. Weingroff is super smart and his thoughts on neck packing really influenced my training the last year. I know, it’s like ummm “packing your neck” made a difference?

Yeah, yeah it did..

This article is awesome, covers several misconceptions and arguments against the Westside Philosophy. Plus the videos range from informative to down right cool..Best part is in the first video when Louie says he has physicists and engineers come out to evaluate training. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Physics rules the weight room.” You might be strong, fast, quick etc. and have the latest training gadget gizmo or thing-a-ma-jig but ultimately, physics determines the performance and outcomes of exercises.

Everybody used to hang on Lou’s nuts, now it’s popular to bash him. While I don’t think you should be a nut hanger for anybody…If I wanted to get really strong I would go to Lou and do EVERYTHING he says….maybe not forever but for right now, definitely. Know why? Because every one of his lifters are waaaaaaaaay stronger than me and that’s gotta be worth something.

7 Ways to Ease Pain and Avoid Injury– Sue Falsone

Awesome, short to the point article about how…..ease pain and avoid injuries…..If people just did number 2 (no, not that number two)

not this one either…

but, spent 5 minutes a day with prehab it would go a looooooooong way.

20 Best Fitness Tips of All Time– Susy Sedano


Brace your core, shoulders down and back, hip hinge, lift heavy weights, grip the weights HARD

Do Squats Damage Young Spines– Charles Poliquin

The study this article is talking about is not out in print yet, will be soon, everyone will read it and nothing will come of it except negative no-nothing media driven BS….(think steroids, that’s whats gonna happen here).

I’m going out on a limb here (read: not really): Squatting, we’re assuming proper squatting, is perfectly acceptable and safe. Like Poliquin points out Mel Siff went over this long ago,

It is extremely misleading to focus on the alleged risks of weight training on children when biomechanical research shows that simple daily activities such as running, jumping striking or catching can impose far greater forces on the musculoskeletal system than very heavy weight training“- Mel Siff, Facts and Fallacies of Fitness

Crossfit Endurance, Tabata sprints and why people just don’t get it– Steve Magness

This is a really good article on the pitfalls of CrossFit Endurance. The take home message is this,

#8 Periodization matters:

It seems simple enough that people would know that how you plan and periodize training matters.  Training isn’t a random collection of hard exercises or workoutsThere has to be some sort of logical sequence and progression.  If there’s not, then you can expect to get exactly what you trained for, random results.
The bottom line is that so called high intensity interval training (HIIT) which is the new fad word with strength coaches is good.  But for endurance performance it’s even better when it is supported!  You have to support it with something.  Endurance work of various kinds and even pure speed work (with lots of recovery) serves as support for the intense stuff.

Sounds an awful lot like Charlie Francis, Dan Pfaff, Mel Siff, Yuri Verhkoshansky, Mark McLaughlin, James Smith, Buddy Morris ie coaches who know their shit and don’t just make stuff up because it sounds cool or to sell their “certification”……

As far as I’m concerned Steve hits the nail on the head when it comes to CrossFit,

Crossfit exploits a couple different natural reactions people have to get people on their bandwagon.  First, they create a straw man “us vs. them” mentality.  We’ll go over this straw man tactic a bit later, but they try and cultivate this idea that just because it’s different and new means its got to be better.  They throw in some pseudoscience or misinterpretation of science and they’ve bolstered their selling point.  Further exploiting peoples natural habits, they promise better results with less time commitment, which in today’s “busy” world is probably the number one selling point for many products or ideas. If you’ve ever watched late night infomercials, you might start to see some similarities…

Lastly, once you’re in they do something pretty creative.  They first created their own new performance metric on which you’re judged.  Because being good at all the other methods of establishing performance isn’t good enough, so now you’re judged based on some criteria that crossfit develops.  Being a specialist at something is apparently bad?  Additionally, they really go after this hard work/pain = improvement and results idea.  This is also known as the Rocky effect.  But if you’ve been in the coaching business long enough you know that hard stupid work doesn’t get you anywhere.  You can’t just do work that is painful just because it hurts and expect to get better.
Jump For Stronger Bones– Caitlin Carlson, Womens Health 
This kinda goes in the no crap category. I’ve never understood why “fitness professionals”, I use that term loosely, always advocate low or no impact training. Obviously some, very few, absolutely need this but the vast majority of people NEED impact. It makes our bones grow…you learn that in anatomy and phys class, think osteoblast, they respond to FORCE on the bone
“ohh, like compressive forces? The only type of forces that have been shown to increase bone formation?”
Yeah, Just like that…
You know what causes compressive forces? Well among other things…IMPACT…ie the result from jumping (it’s called landing) ……so why do we start telling people that they shouldn’t have impact once we get certified? Elliptical machine anyone?
Tug Toners for everyone!