All posts in “body alignment”

bodybuilding routine vs kettlebell routine

Confessions From a Recovering Bodybuilder

Reblogged Confessions From a Recovering Bodybuilder

Hey Awesome Athletes! I’m re-blogging this article from Strongfirst.com Scott Iardella, Physio, whose training protocols I’ve studied and used, so please enjoy. Note the CK-FMS designation below, which combines Russian Kettlbell Training with FMS.  To look like Scott does, we’ll still need to bench press –  this is a type of usable strength that can not be ignored in sports such as Football, Disc Throwing, and Wrestling, among many others What one coach says is not the have all to end all – but it’s great to take in the opinions and experiences of people who are quite smart, and who dedicate their lives to improving your health.

Dan

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Article by Scott Iardella, MPT, CSCS, CISSN, SFGII, CK-FMS, USAW. Scott is an SFG Level II Instructor, former Orthopedic/Sports Medicine Physical Therapist.

This is a little embarrassing, but I admit I was an obsessed bodybuilder for about six years of my life.  My training was completely different about twenty years ago.  One of the key things I learned through all these years is that functional strength training and bodybuilding training are radically different.  Yes, the way I used to train was outstanding for hypertrophy, but not much else.  Let me explain exactly what I mean.

As a former competitive bodybuilder, bodybuilding was a very life changing and rewarding experience for me.  The six years I competed were an amazing time of what I thought was “hard core” training.  You know what, it was “hard core” training, just in a very different way.  At the peak of my bodybuilding career I would spend four hours in the gym, six days a week.  That’s right, 24 hours out of every week were dedicated to high volume lifting with my training partner who was, at the time, training for the Teenage Mr. America.  You can probably guess, we did a lot of sets, reps, and isolation exercises.

I can still remember an example of a chest workout we used to do twice a week:

*    Four sets of flat barbell bench

*    Four sets of incline barbell bench

*    Four sets of dumbbell flat bench

*    Four sets of incline dumbbell bench

*    Finish off with four sets of either a cable fly or dumbbell fly

What you may notice is that all the exercises were done while lying down on a bench.  This is not very functional, obviously.

After our chest training, we’d then proceed on to our back program, usually 20 to 24 sets, and then abs or calves to finish. Slightly crazy as that was 24 work sets, not including warmups.  Rep ranges were in the 8 to 12 range for everything.  You can see why the workouts were four hours in duration.  The word “overtraining” should be coming to mind here.  There were many problems with this type of training, but it served the purpose, at the time.  This was typical bodybuilding training.  This was not strength training.

I still train for muscular hypertrophy, but it’s totally different for me these days. I absolutely want to increase lean muscle mass as much as I possibly can (once a bodybuilder, always a bodybuilder), but the training protocols have completely transformed.  A major contributor to this transformation was the simple discovery of the kettlebell.  It was that tool that helped to change my entire training philosophy, as soon as I learned how to use it properly.

Instead of 24 hours a week, I’m down to four hours a week and usually less than that.  That’s four days a week of one-hour training sessions, where the actual training ranges from 30-45 minutes, with the other time being spent on joint mobility and technique work.  That’s an 83% reduction in my weekly training time.  I’ve also become a “technique fanatic” for the primary benefit of training with maximum safety, efficiency, and results.

If you remember one thing from this article, remember this.  Proper technique combined with smart programming equals optimal results, period.

For me, long gone are the days of hours of training, and double digit sets and reps.  Today, it comes down to just three simple modalities, for the most part.  The kettlebell, the barbell, and bodyweight applications.  It’s a training session that has five fundamental movements and usually includes such movements as a hinge, squat, push, pull, and a carry.  (Thanks Dan John!)

“Fundamental movement is fundamental.” ~Dan John

A typical training session today usually looks something like this:

(By the way, I like to use the term training session as opposed to workout.  Anyone can “work out.”  A “training session” means you are working to improve and build your skills.  Keep this in mind.)

*    Barbell Deadlift, two warmups then 3×5 (pull)

*    Double Kettlebell Military Press, 2×5 (push)

*    Barbell or Double Kettlebell Front Squat, 2-3×5 (squat)

*    Kettlebell Swing, 3×50 (hinge)

*    Kettlebell Turkish Get Up, 2-5 reps (plus one)

*    Racked Walk (or other loaded carry) for distance. (carry)

*    Done…

Take notice of the differences from my previous bodybuilding workouts.  All of these exercises are total body movements, nothing lying down or even seated.  All exercises are a total body integration with no isolation exercises.  This is how the body is designed to be used, as a system.

The big benefits?  Less time, total body integration, functional movement, and skill development, just to name a few.  All are major exercises that work the big muscle groups, stimulate the maximal hormonal effects, and have the greatest systemic benefits.  This is important.  We get stronger, we move better, we feel better, all with the added bonus of gaining muscular hypertrophy.

I change my protocols, rotate different periodization approaches, and sometimes perform more volume to match my training objectives.  But, my primary goals now are improving strength and skill mastery.  All the other goals come after that.  Training the way I used to for bodybuilding did one thing really well.  It was excellent for increasing muscular hypertrophy, but it lacked so many other things.

Now, in addition to increasing muscle mass, I have countless other benefits and I understand what it is to truly train for strength and performance. Pure strength training is king and all goals can be accomplished by being stronger. In my early years, I didn’t realize what I know today, that you must be strong first.


Are you ready to start getting stronger and fitter? Why not book your ONE WEEK FREE TRIAL NOW?

Strength Training at Dan’s Barbell and Kettlebell Club, Alameda, CA

Kettlebell and strength training

Eastbay’s Russian Kettlebell Club

There are 3 Aspects to this Kettlebell Club that you really should know about.

Why Learn To Use Kettlebells For Strength?

1. Learn Kettlebells from the ground up, with a Certified Instructor, learning solid fundamentals.  We are building kettlebell bodies here – the type that look great, move well, and are indestructible.  You body will need to change in order to master this sport – Whether you have experience with weight training or not,  and there is plenty to learn for all!  (Kettlebell Training usually costs $90 per hour – this will cost $200/mo. and will be much more fun)

What is FMS Training?

2. FMS….what’s that?  It’s mobility training, designed by Gray Cook, world renowned Physiotherapist.  FMS is used to train MOST professional sports athletes and teams – from the Olympics to Wimbledon.  I incorporate FMS training with Kettlebells, so that your body can move well, pain free, and achieve maximum performance.

Why Kettlebell Classes?

3. It’s SOCIAL.  Yes, this is a social club.  My thinking is this…..why can’t we rock out to our favorite music, kick some serious butt, receive world class coaching in the sport, AND be social at the same time?  I’ll show you how!  This club is about community, about getting your bodily needs met, and creating an environment that’s supportive.  I’ll support you by throwing a monthly BBQ, and making Wednesday evening of each week our Social Hour – where convene for dinner and drink.  

Below’s the press release………I’ll see you there!

It’s social.  It’s Fitness. It’s balance. In Dan’s Kettlebell Club,we’re fusing the national ethnic sport of Russia, Kettlebells, with real life socializing, food and drink! Mixing Kettlebells with FMS,we will start each workout by bringing mobilization and balance to the musculoskeletal system. Learning Kettlebells from the floor up from a SFG certified instructor you will feel like you’ve never felt before while meeting fun, active workout partners. The important part takes place after class on Wednesdays,when we venture out the fitness world to a local restaurant (where we normally do ourselves damage) – but the class will be accompanied by Coach Dan, so some learning about how to balance food with fitness will take place (we’re doing now, and not just telling anymore). And there will be regular BBQs – because the two just go well together – lifting iron outside, just like we’re back in Mother Russia.

When Do We Train?

Meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-7:30 PM (more times opening up – send me an email and let me know when you can make it – this will help me in adding additional class times! dan@workout4results.com)

About 75 – 90 minutes of fitness (we’re ditching the traditional hour)

Mobility, musculoskeletal balancing (FMS) and performance enhancement

Russian Kettlebell Instruction, and dripping wet workouts

Other forms of exercise you can expect: Body weight exercises, barbell instruction and training, boxing, aerobics

Here’s a sample of an old world Russian Kettlebell training manual, accompanied by music that’s sure to put you in the mood for this eastern genre…!

Old School Kettlebell Training

Time – time to talk, ask questions – time to learn about how to crack you’re body’s code and get fit like a spring chicken!

As a coaches, after every session we feel like we’re leaving our athlete/client out into the harsh, cold world where they have inadequate support …….!!!  Let’s discuss nutrition and life balance WHILE you are ordering in real time – I mean actually while you’re eating and drinking! Tired of being TOLD? I will SHOW you. We’ll Bridge the gap for training athletes by providing:

1.  World class instruction

2.Group Support

3. Habit building (the Coach is watching you order that burger…..yes, you SHOULD order that after lifting those iron cannonballs with handles)

Most of the Coachs’ knowledge is untapped – until you leave the gym…..that’s where everyone falls down!  I can’t install a kitchen at the studio to demonstrate – but there are plenty of places where we can walk,socialize,learn how to balance from classmates and the Coach and enjoy some healthy grub! It’s funny how in order to be fit,we must lose all of the habits we’ve acquired over the last 150 years – and how bringing the 5,000 year old kettlebell into the picture helps to pull us out of our modern, unhealthy thinking and habits.”

Watch! Old Russian Kettlebell Training

old school kb club

 


By Dan Piper, CPT, RKC, FMS,  Workout4Results.com

Strength Training at Dan’s Barbell and Kettlebell Club, Alameda, CA

sports exercise rehab back muscles

Lower Back Pain Rehab and Alignment – Time to Feel Good Again

Exercise and Rehab for Lower Back Pain

Time To Feel Good Again!

Rehabilitation athletes are folks who have been in automobile accidents, have had sports injuries, or are on the mend from one incident/condition or another.   I wrote this article because unless whoever you are seeing to fix you has you moving in exercises patterns or is watching you as you loaded and moving in a pattern, it will be extremely difficult if not impossible for them to recognize and fix you.   Fixing muscle/fascia and bodily imbalances may take more than just a few 15 minute visits with a physio, and small stack of exercises stapled together on 8.5/11″ paper.  It’s a process that takes a different approach to exercising (just don’t stop).  

If you would truly like to learn something, take a look at the above picture with me for a moment.  Imagine  that it’s YOUR body in the diagram, and that the muscles and fascia on the right side of your back are 1/16 of an inch shorter than those on your left side, producing stronger, uneven contractions as a result, pulling you out of alignment and actually altering the once straight and aligned skeleton that you once had.  No matter who you just went to see to get adjusted, massaged, etc, you will definitely come right back out of alignment again until you fix these muscle imbalances.  If you look at the diagram, you can see that there is plenty of muscle and  fascia in your back…enough to pull you sideways and right out of alignment again, with all of the accompanying pain.  If you were to have your spine adjusted, ribs, hips etc, do you think that the adjustment would hold itself in place after you pick up a heavy box, or barbell, asking your back musculature to contract with unequal forces?   Answer: No…that’s why you keep visiting the Chiro.  You will need to see a qualified Physiotherapist, Athletic Trainer, or FMS specialist to work with you over a period of time to re-lengthen these muscles, as this is something that cannot be done in a handful of sessions.  Here are the basics of what you need to do, if you have pain in your posterior chain (back, hips, glutes, shoulders etc).

  1. Be seen by qualified Personal Trainer, Sports Doctor or FMS certified specialist.  Many folks may also perform self chiropractic, outlined HERE.  
  2. Spend the appropriate time to re-lengthen the muscles. You can still lift during this time, but it will take a new approach that you will learn with professional guidance.
  3. Perform these re-lengthening exercises before, during AND after your workout.  Each time you workout, your muscles will want to continue with their current shape and dysfunction, unless you incorporate the following types of stretches into your routine:                                            

Re-lengthening exercises for back/hips/thorax misalignment:

Psoas Stretch                Dr. Eckberg VIDEO

Bretzel Stretch 2.0      Dr. Gray Cook VIDEO (go to 6:15 for 2.0)

Lacrosse Ball Rolling   (roll the side of your back that’s tight, more than the loose side on a 3:1 ratio)                                                                     Dr. Kelly Starrett VIDEO

4. Perform kettlebell or barbell deadlifts, sumo squats, or deadlifts with 2 kettlebells.  Use the lacrosse ball technique, the Bretzel stretch and the Psoas stretch before, and after each and every set, as your soft tissue will attempt to tighten up and shorten again immediately after the set.  After a quick and correctly applied roll, you will be straight again, or straighter at least,  taking you out of harm’s way, and reducing the chance of spinal subluxation/hip shifting during your next set.  In this manner, you will steadily progress  in balancing out your body’s web of muscle and fascia, and work your way back to health.  Most folks start feeling improvement immediately, once the proper rehabilitation exercise protocols are applied.

So don’t be afraid to confront the pain in your body directly.  Getting pain out of your body will change many aspects of your life, for the better.

By Dan Piper, CPT, RKC, FMS,  Workout4Results.com

Rehabilitation at Dan’s Barbell and Kettlebell Club, Alameda, CA