This is a very simple setup method for doing dips in the power rack. This is really useful if you don’t have access to dipping bars, but it’s also a great standalone exercise even if you DO.
The Squat…King of the Exercises…and very easy to do wrong or have bad form in! And one of the most common issues I see in people trying to squat is the torso pitching forward as they come down into the squat.
This tip is going to help you FIX that.
If you’re following the health news, you know that vitamin D currently is in the media spotlight, and rightly so. Will Brink just did a great podcast “Vitamin D3 – scam or panacea?“, giving an overview on the importance vitamin D. In this article I will expand upon some key points taken up in the podcast, and back up the case with a solid reference list of recent studies on the topic. I will also present some revealing prevalence stats on vitamin D insufficiency, in order to convince you to get your blood levels checked to find out your vitamin D status.
Vitamin D is interesting for several reasons:
1. The role of vitamin D for health promotion has undergone a paradigm shift. While traditionally thought to only be important for development and maintenance of strong bones, an impressive body of scientific research has accumulated over the past decade, showing that adequate vitamin D levels are necessary to prevent many diseases, especially cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, endothelial dysfunction, diabetes (both type-1 and type-2), the metabolic syndrome, chronic inflammation, cancer, osteoporosis (including falls and fractures), muscle weakness, cognitive dysfunction and mental illness, autoimmune diseases (e.g. multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis), infectious diseases, as well as infertility and adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes [1-24].
Vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency is associated with all-cause mortality , and supplementation has been shown to decrease mortality rates [25, 26]. It has been estimated that doubling vitamin D levels in the general population (from 21 ng/mL to 44 ng/mL) would reduce vitamin D-related disease mortality rate by 20%, and increase life expectancy with about 2 years .
2. Insufficient levels of vitamin D also have direct implications for fitness enthusiasts and athletic performance, due to the importance of vitamin D for muscle function (I will cover this in much more dept in an upcoming article) [28-39].
3. In contrast to other vitamins, vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency is very common (more on that below).
4. The vitamin D requirement for health promotion and protection against the mentioned diseases and muscle dysfunction is much higher than the dietary recommendations (RDA) for bone health [4, 40-45].
Having heard about all the vitamin D benefits you might wonder what is the optimal vitamin D level? How low is too low and how high is too high? How much vitamin D does one have to consume to reap all the benefits? Let’s find out…
I’m known as the Mad Scientist of Muscle for a reason…I come up with a TON of unique exercise and training techniques on a regular basis.
Oddly enough, even though I have a TON of unique exercises, I have training sessions where I do nothing but basic stuff and don’t even TRY to come up with new twists on anything. Sometimes, I just take an exercise I know and hammer away at it. Some the most effective programs I use (including my Muscle Explosion program), have phases where there is almost NO variety at all! Specifically, in the Muscle Explosion program, I have a 5 day phase where you’re doing just ONE exercise the whole 5 days!
The regular Pallof Press is done on a cable machine, standing perpendicular to the pulley so that the cable is pulling directly to the side. You hold the cable handle with both hands in towards your chest, then push your hands out away from your body, increasing the torque on your anti-rotational deep core muscles as you do so.
But what if you don’t have a cable machine to do this with?
The Goblet Squat is one of the best way to teach (and learn!) a proper squatting movement pattern. Instead of having a barbell on your back (which does require more technique, strength and flexibility than you might think, even at lighter weight), the goblet squat forces you into proper body position while also developing the frontal core support musculature.
This version of the Goblet Squat includes lateral movement to help develop the abductor muscles, specifically the gluteus medius and minimus.
The idea for this new version of Daily Specialization Training came to me as I was re-reading the famous story of Milos of Crotona in ancient Greece, who lifted a calf (a baby cow…not the calf muscle!) every day until that calf grew into a bull. I’m sure you’ve heard this one! This is an elegant example of the power of long-term, progressive resistance.
The hanging leg raise is a GREAT lower abdominal exercise. But it does have a few disadvantages – the most prominent is that it can put a fair bit of pressure on the lower back at the bottom of the rep.
This variation of the leg raise is one I came up with for increasing explosiveness in the abs and hip flexors but also serves to overcome the issue of tension in the lower back – you basically blow past that point in the range of motion!
The Swing is a classic movement that targets almost every major muscle group in your body, though most specifically on the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, lower back). It’s one of the single best exercises you can do in the gym!
This exercise is often done using kettlebells, though you can also use dumbells very effectively as well, if you don’t have access to kettlebells, which is the version I’m going to focus on here…especially since it’s not often you find enough kettlebells in one place to really do a drop style of set like this. Dumbells, absolutely.
If you’re familiar with the floor press, this is a “bench” version of that, basically. If you’re not familiar with the floor press, it still is, but I’m going to tell you what the means
The floor press is a bench press done laying on the floor. The reason it’s useful is that at the bottom, your upper arms rest on the floor, which allows you to take tension off the pecs so you’re starting with zero elastic tension at the bottom of every rep. This helps work the muscles harder because of that missing assistance.