Smart from the Start (Part I)

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Here’s a little list of fitness/nutrition concepts, ideas, techniques, habits, etc that I feel EVERYONE should be incorporating into their daily repertoire. If you disagree, tough noogies. This is my blog, so I can say what I want. And of course, I am right…;o)

1. Learn to train MOVEMENT PATTERNS and find structural balance in your overall programming:

Rather than focusing on body part splits such as “chest day” or “arms day,” learn to structure your routines so that you hit ALL movements patterns during the week. Doing so will almost guarantee that you will hit every major muscle group in the body, as well as help to alleviate any postural imbalances you may have.

Horizontal Push: bench press variations (barbell, dumbbell)

Horizontal Pull: seated rows, dumbbell rows, barbell rows

Vertical Push: Overhead pressing (barbell, dumbbell)

Vertical Pull: Pull-ups, chin-ups, lat pulldowns, etc

Quadricep Dominant: Squat variations (back squat, front squat, etc)

Hip Dominant: Deadlift variations (conventional, SUMO, Romanian, etc)***

Single Leg Work: Lunge variations (walking, reverse, dynamic), Step-ups, etc

As well as several other mini-categories that I won’t get into right now (mainly prehab stuff dealing with the rotator cuff, scapulae/shoulder blades, core, etc).

***I realize that not many will know what a deadlift is. Point blank, it’s arguably the best exercise as it works the ENTIRE body at once. Thankfully, Google exists….do a search. Or better yet, read this article: Mastering the Deadlift

2. Seriously, STOP with the body-part splits:

To be blunt, if you currently have a 40 inch waist, you don’t need to be performing an entire training session of bicep curls. Trust me, it won’t get rid of that belly. Additionally, body part splits (ie: chest day, arms day, etc) is just NOT a very efficient way to train (especially if one of your main goals is to shed some fat).

Ideally, one should follow a FULL-BODY routine three times per week (focusing on all the movements patterns, listed above). Doing so will involve more muscle mass, which will burn more calories, which will burn more fat, which will make you think I am awesome for telling you to ditch the body part split routines. It’s a win-win situation.

For more info on why full-body routines are FAR superior, read this.

3. Steer clear of machines:

Personally, I’m not a big fan of machines. I can honestly say that I haven’t had a client of mine touch a leg extension or leg curl machine (to name a few) in over two years. Unless they are preparing to become the world’s best butt kicker, I see no need. The same can be said for pretty much any other machine that puts you in a fixed plane of motion. Real life movement does NOT occur in a fixed plane, so why train that way? Likewise, I also don’t like the idea of people going to gym, only to sit in/on a machine. Most people sit at work from 9-5, the last thing I want them doing in the gym is sitting more.

Long story short, learn to use free-weights (dumbbells and barbells). If you don’t know how, hire a personal trainer to show you how. And if you do work with a personal trainer and all you do is machine circuits……get a new trainer.

That’s all for now. More to come soon.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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