|As Featured In:|
Master the King of All Exercises
Deadlifting Secrets 101
Everything you need to know about this complex exercise.
Free Video Training
Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better
Written on October 10, 2012 at 10:58 am, by Eric Cressey
Here’s this week’s list of strategies to get your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs headed in the right direction. This is a collaborative effort between Greg Robins and me.
1. Add amplitude to your conditioning.
Let’s face it: jogging on the treadmill and riding the elliptical or recumbent bike is about as fun as watching paint dry. While an exercise causing boredom doesn’t mandate that it be thrown by the wayside immediately, it does become concerning with this exercise modality doesn’t broaden the amplitude – or range of motion – that you encounter in your daily life. Moving better is about improving mobility, which is defined as one’s ability to reach a certain posture or position. For some folks, this means actually lengthening short tissues or reducing tension in overly stiff tissues, while for others, it’s about establishing stability in the range of motion that one already possesses. Unfortunately, while you’re burn some calories on these cardio machines, you aren’t going to do much to improve your mobility.
The solution is to implement variety in your conditioning, whether it means taking a bunch of mobility exercises and doing them right after another, or integrating several strength training exercises with lighter loads. Step-ups, sled pushing/dragging, side shuffles, lateral lunges are all ways to get your hips moving in ways they normally don’t.
In the upper body, innovative rowing and push-up variations can keep things fun while improving your movement quality.
The next time you’re planning to do some interval training on the bike, try substituting some wider-amplitude movements and see how you like it.
2. Get your Vitamin D right.
I’ve seen studies that have shown great benefits from getting vitamin D levels up to normal, but to my knowledge, those effects were most observed with respect to body composition, hormonal levels, and tissue quality. Interestingly, I just came across this study that showed a significant improvement in power production over four weeks in the vitamin D supplementation group, as compared to the controls. These results are tough to interpret, as the subjects were overweight/obese adults; ideally, we’d study trained athletes with smaller windows of adaptation ahead of them to see just how beneficial vitamin D supplementation is on performance. However, it certainly makes sense that if we’re improving body composition, endocrine status, and tissue quality, folks are going to get more out of their training and make faster progress.
Vitamin D is one of very few supplements that I view as “must-haves’ for the majority of the population. I’d pair it up with a good fish oil and greens supplement to cover one’s nutritional foundation. This is one reason why I’m a big fan of the Athletic Greens Trinity Stack; you can a high quality version of all three in one place.
3. Plan out regressions and progressions.
People like to be good at things. This is especially the case when they are surrounded by a bunch of other people. In the case of group exercise, your attendees are going to have a much better time, get better results, and stay safer if they are performing movements correctly. Group settings aren’t ideal from a coaching standpoint, though, as you can’t spend as much individualized time coaching technique. Therefore, exercise selection becomes paramount to these classes’ success. In other words, you need to have both progressions and regressions in your exercise library.
A common flaw in group classes is that each week, there are 15 new exercise variations on the agenda. The week before, it was 15 other ones, and the following week, it will be 15 more. I know, I know; people want you to “keep it fresh.” In my mind, by changing the exercises so often you are taking the easy way out.
Instead, have people become incredible at the basics. Have them squat, swing, push up, row – all basic movements. From there, set up progressions and regressions. This is much easier to do when you keep the original exercises basic.
Here are a few examples:
TRX Supported Squat > Counter Balanced Squat To Box > Goblet Squat > Double KB Front Squat > Offset KB Front Squat
Hands-Elevated Push-up > TRX Chest Press > Push-up > Feet Elevated Push-up > Push-up vs. Band
This is mostly for teaching purposes, as an example. The goblet squat is accessible to most people, and it falls in the middle, with two levels of regression and progression built in.
I’m a big fan of more work up front and easy sailing there out. You might need to take some time to develop your class program, but it will make for a better product and better results thereafter.
4. Use leftover vegetables in your omelet.
I don’t know about you, but leftover vegetables never taste quite as good as they do when they’ve just been cooked. They’re cold, and often soggy to the point that even heating them up in the microwave doesn’t really make them sound appetizing. Rather than throw them out and skip on your veggies for a meal, try adding them to your omelet the following morning, as the other ingredients – eggs, spices, oils, cheese (if that’s your thing), salsa, and ketchup – can help to liven up their taste. I’ve done this with previously cooked asparagus, broccoli, peppers, onions, spinach, kale, mushrooms, cauliflower, green beans, and tomatoes. Some vegetables – squash and turnip, for instance – don’t have the right consistency to make for a good omelet ingredient, though, so experiment carefully!
5. Learn to stand correctly before you even try to train correctly.
Many people think moving well is all about picking the right corrective exercises to get the job done. While that’s certainly part of the equation, the truth is that before you even talk about exercising, you have to educate yourself about how to simply stand with good posture. As an example, if you have an excessive anterior pelvic tilt and lordosis, you need to learn how to engage your anterior core, activate your glutes, and prevent your rib cage from flaring up up when you’re standing around. Conversely, if you do all your exercises in this aberrant posture, you just get good at sucking!
Have a great week!
Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!
19 Responses to “Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 21”
Leave a Reply