Posts in strength
Take Pride Tuesday: Attendance Equals Results

Leonardo Da Vinci once said "It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them.  They went out and happened to things." Two important factors of your fitness journey (aside from a strong mindset) is motivation and drive—just showing up and going through the motions won’t cut it. Just ask John Cisco, an Iron Lion who is in his Senior year at Xavier High School.

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Exercise Tip of the Week: Un-racking the RDL

Here at Iron Lion, you will often hear the trainers say " respect the weight." What we mean is a weight can make you or break you and we need to ensure focus throughout the duration of the lift for safety. An exercise begins with the set-up and is over when the weight is put back to the floor or rack. Many people often get hurt putting a weight down or back haphazardly instead of using the technique taught for the lift. Remember, we are teaching you how to handle weight, and you need to follow these directions until the weight is out of your hands. This weeks video demonstrates how to un-rack and rack the RDL.

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Stronger Feet for Stronger Deadlifts

Here at Iron Lion, you will hear the trainers cueing you to grip with your feet or to root your feet into the ground. Why are the feet so important? It’s because the feet spread over a surface, grip it and send sensory messages about it to the rest of the muscles, telling them how much strength to apply. Athletes and clients should be able to separate the toes, spread the floor and grip with the big toe, lighting up the muscles of foot and creating an arch of support or neutral foot. One exercise that really helps you feel this foot-body connection is the RDL.

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In-season Training for Football and the Weekend Warrior

The In-season training cycle is one of the hardest seasons to program and continuing to play gives me great feedback with respect to what is the right training volume at that time. In general, the challenge with this particular program is training to stay strong and mobile throughout the season, but not doing too much and overtraining the athlete (burning out their nervous system). This is also a great program for weekend warriors who love to powerlift. It becomes very hard to juggle both and stay healthy, but this program will allow you to maintain your strength and seamlessly pick up where you left off when the season concludes. 

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One-arm Row Set Up for a Sculpted and Pain Free Back

Although the row seems quite simple to execute, it is actually one of the hardest to get right. With this being the case, I hesitate to give it for homework and relegate it to supervised sessions.  Performing this exercise poorly can lead to a scoliosis pattern (low shoulder), shoulder impingement, and short lats. However, most of these negative effects can be mitigated by a great set-up.

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Part 3: Scapular Stability and Neck Freedom (No More Neck Pain)

The best and safest way to get the student to connect with this postural relationship is with a standing body weight lateral and/or rear deltoid raise, followed by a seated row and push-up. In the push-up and row, I usually see a faulty neck pattern. One in which the student is leading with the neck. Instead of using the scapular muscles in a synergistic way, the trainee will compensate by using the neck as a stabilizer. The neck is supposed to be free and this compensation will lead to neck and shoulder tightness and impingement's.

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How to Pack Your Head for the Deadlift, Squat and Swing

In my last blog, I discussed proper static neck positioning (without moving).  Now that you understand how to pack the head when you’re steady, you can progress to doing so dynamically (with movement). The neck must move in harmony with the rest of the body, or it can greatly affect how you lift. In this post, you will see this relationship within the deadlift, squat, and swing respectively. 

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Neck Positioning and Strength Training: Part 1

Properly positioning the neck while exercising has engendered great discussion over the last couple of years. Issues pertaining to whether you should “pack” or extend the neck have been debated in the strength and conditioning field. But before discussing proper neck positioning during movement, you must initially learn to master positioning statically.

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How to Push the Prowler

New blog: How to Push the Prowler -  The prowler, or sled, is one of my favorite exercise tools. It’s great for teaching running technique, building strong legs, metabolic conditioning, de-load weeks (as it requires no deceleration) and low impact strength training for the elderly. It’s rightfully called the “functional leg press” by Strength Coach pioneer Michael Boyle. What makes the sled more “functional,” unlike the traditional leg press, is that it mimics perfect running mechanics. This makes it a preferable choice over other equipment like the leg press or treadmill. 

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Progressions of Glute Medius Stability

The gluteal muscles factor into nearly every strength or powerlifting exercise, and as Devin illustrates, their failure to fire properly results in the muscles of the back compensating, often times leading to lower back pain. Below, I discuss the function of the glute medius/minimus muscles, why they become weak in the first place and how to correctly strengthen the glutealcomplex.

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Poise Under Pressure - The Turkish Get-up

The Turkish Get-Up is the epitome of poise-under-pressure. The head, neck, and torso align perfectly to form a harmonious postural relationship. In other words, our bodies are properly stacked during this exercise, allowing us great freedom and an enhanced capacity for global movement. In Michael J. Gelb’s book Body Learning, he wrote of the link between head, neck, and torso: “[The link] increases our store of potential energy, allowing movements to be undertaken in the most economical way possible, so long as the balancing mechanism is not interfered with. And it promotes the best possible functioning of the body’s life-support system (i.e. breathing,circulation, digestion) and of intelligence and emotions”. This is the exact relationship that occurs in a well-executed TGU. The Get-Up is the perfect blend of looseness and tension and encompasses all qualities of fitness, including strength, stability, mobility, flexibility, endurance and hypertrophy.

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