My comments on the WOSS Trainers vs the TRX. The WOSS is easily my favorite suspension trainer now. Watch vid below. Additional info on the WOSS here:
Whether you’re a health/fitness professional or just interested science minded health buff, you know finding objective, balanced, accurate information on health/fitness/nutrition/supplements is both difficult and time consuming. I know many rely on BrinkZone.com for their info, and I’ll be using the ERD as one resource for my information.
It’s a challenge even for yours truly to dig through piles of primary published studies, web sites I trust, and other resources, to distill complex information into useful info for readers, so anything that can help me with that job is a winner in my view.
I received a copy of the ERD and was both impressed with the quality of the content and the layout and graphics, but the process to publication. The ERD is not one person, or a few people sitting around deciding what topic to push to increase sales of some product, but has a legit peer review-like process of editors (some of whom I know personally) to fact check for accuracy and objectivity.*
The ERD distills the latest research for people “in the biz” like me (possibly alerting me to something I need to dig further into) or those looking for an accurate source to rely on as supplement to BrinkZone.com.
A resource that helps me save time, is well written, objective, accurate, puts things in the proper context, and involves a peer review process? I’m in. Highly recommended for anyone looking to save time and energy getting the latest info.
Get more info on the ERD HERE:
* = 5 researchers, 4 editors, and 7 reviewers.
The BrinkZone Avenger sets a new standard in push sled function and design.
Anyone who’s followed my articles and numerous vids has probably figured out by now that I love push sleds. After working with people and groups ranging from SWAT teams, fitness models, strong man competitors, body builders, IFBB pro Figure competitors, to Joe/Jane every day fitness enthusiast, it should be readily apparent I think push sleds are the bombe.
I’m far from alone on that assessment, as many of the best known and highly respected Strength & Conditioning coaches, such as Joe DeFranco, Jim Wendler, and Mike Boyle, to name a few, consider sled training an invaluable tool regardless of the athlete or the goal. The longer I use sleds with an ever wider variety of people with varying goals, the more convinced I became that the push sled is the single most effective strength and conditioning tool known to mankind. Push sleds have become very popular as of late, and for damn good reason; they work like no other tool in existence in my estimation. I like sleds so much as an overall strength & conditioning tool I developed an entire program around the sled and dedicated FaceBook page to them, but more on that later. If you’re a regular user of push sleds, you don’t require any convincing from me on how effective a training tool they are.
‘Till now, there’s only been two major options in sleds: a full sized heavy duty push sled for maximal training benefits, or smaller lighter sleds that are easy to transport, but fall well short of the training benefits of the full sized push sleds. The only major drawback of the full sized heavy duty push sled is the fact they’re difficult to transport and store. Unless you have an SUV or pick up truck, they are difficult to virtually impossible to easily transport from your house to the gym, or to the park, or other locations you want to do your sled work, until now…
Enter the BrinkZone Avenger by Slayer Barbell.
Even if you have the ability to transport your big ol’ push sled, they still take up a lot of space in your home or facility. In my discussions with people as to why they didn’t own a “real” push sled, even though aware of their many benefits, being unable to transport them and or store them was the major reason preventing them from owning one. Thus, the concept for the BrinkZone Avenger Sled was born, which offers all the benefits of a heavy duty commercial grade push the ease of transportation and storage of smaller lighter products. Watch how easily and quickly I can assemble the Avenger sled without any tools:
“The human body is an infinitely complex, but wholly logical system” – Will Brink
Back in the day I wrote the first article on the value of omega-3 fatty acids (via fax oil) for health and fat loss in the major bodybuilding publications. In fact, my first article on the value of flax oil – a source of the Omega 3 lipid LNA – was rejected because the very idea of intentionally adding fat to lose fat and improve health was such a foreign concept at that time. Yes, we are talking pre Internet here! Lucky for me, another magazine – MuscleMag International – ran the article, and the rest is history. It’s safe to say I have been researching and writing about Essential fatty acids (EFA’s), the value of omega-3 fats, the importance of balancing fatty acid intakes, and so forth, for a extensive amount of time. I am also partially to blame for the overly simplistic view of these fatty acids that followed and hope to atone for that with this article.
Much of what we understood at that time, and is still being pushed to this day by some, was an overly simple and generalized view of the essential fatty acids (EFA’s) and their effects on human physiology. As time progressed, and additional research was published, the picture has become much more refined and accurate.
The old paradigm could be essentially summarized as “Omega-3 good, Omega-6 bad” and that was about it. Other than a few who have really taken the time to research the topic, a position that remains to this day. Per usual, such entrenched views tend to change very slowly.
How did that start? Early research found the Standard American diet (SAD) provides excessive intakes of omega-6 lipids and minimal omega-3 lipids which resulted in an elevated omega-6/omega-3 ratio. As science writer Monica Mollica put it so accurately in her recent article on BrinkZone.com, “In turn, an elevated omega-6/omega-3 ratio has been linked to a number of common chronic diseases, notably cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory diseases, cancer, and certain psychiatric diseases such as depression. The omega-6 fatty acid that has been vilified and blamed to give rise to these detrimental health outcomes is arachidonic acid (ARA).” Hence, we ended up with an “Omega-3 good, Omega-6 bad” model that attributed most of the negatives to ARA, with advice people should avoid ARA. Those concerned with their health increased their intake of omega-3 fats via fish, flax, supplements, etc., and reduced their intake of omega-6, to improve their 03/06 ratios.
All well and good, but it’s just not that simple as life rarely is, much less human biology. As Candice Pert Ph.D., discoverer of the opiate receptor said “Whenever something does not fit the reigning paradigm, the initial response in the mainstream is to deny the facts.” Such is the case with the “Omega-3 good, Omega-6 bad” model that some cling to in spite of the ever mounting data showing it to be an outdated model not supported by the modern data.
Book Review: The Skinny On Diet Supplements
By Rick Silverman M.D.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to have the inside scoop, the real deal, the down and dirty on any given issue, then Will Brink’s book, “The Skinny on Diet Supplements,” should be on your required reading list for nutritional supplement information. This book is an encyclopedia of dietary
supplements and their role in weight loss, looking at each item in an in-depth and organized way.
Each chapter focuses on a single supplement, cites what it’s supposed to do, and provides details of the science behind the product, including some dissection of that science. The next section looks at the “real world” chatter about the supplement, and that’s followed by the best feature of the book, Will Brink’s recommendations. This last feature is my favorite section in each chapter, because Will is not shy about saying what works and what doesn’t work. He isn’t beholden to any particular supplement or supplement company, so it doesn’t feel like you’re being sold a bill of goods. Rather, he cuts through the falsehoods put forth by the supplement industry, and where evidence supports the use of a product and that product has proven real world results, he tells you so. Where evidence or the real world comes up short, he tells you that.
The Rumble Roller Takes Soft Tissue Work To The The Next level
Like many people, I have my fair share of aches & pains, tight muscles, and hard earned small injuries and such. Like many, I have been using a foam roller for soft tissue work or SMFR (Self-Myofascial Release) work to improve sore muscles, tight muscles, and general recoup. I generally do my foam rolling in the morning for 15-20 minutes while the oatmeal cooks and coffee brews. It gets me ready for a day at the computer also. I also use it at the gym before workouts, a few times per week, and I find doing so reduces DOMS. Foam rolling is often referred to as “the poor mans massage therapist.” In terms of time and $$$ spent, it’s a no brainer in terms of benefits you receive. If you’re not using a foam roller regularly, you should be, like starting yesterday!
As time goes on, one notices the standard foam roller not as effective, and or, they start to break down, and a replacement needed. Some seem to last longer than others. Enter the Rumble Roller, which takes foam rolling to another level and seems to last far longer than the standard rollers. I was going to make one of my usual videos talking about the benefits of foam rollers, and why the Rumble Roller superior, but coach Charles Staley – who has some great articles here on the BrinkZone – did such a good job of it, I decided to use his vid on the topic. If interested in more information, I purchased both the standard length and shorter smaller (12″x 5″) travel length HERE
Personally, I prefer the standard (blue) firmness Rumble Roller. Highly recommended if you already use foam rollers, not recommended for those new to foam rolling for soft tissue/SMFR work as the Rumble Roller is very aggressive. Watch coach Staley’s excellent vid on the benefits of foam rolling, and why he likes the Rumble Roller over standard rollers in particular.
NOTE: The brand of ARA used in the study covered in this article – the brand with longest track record and most extensive feedback by users – is X Factor by Molecular Nutrition. For companies looking to carry ARA, the manufacturer of ARA is Cargill and the contact (wholesale inquiries only) is firstname.lastname@example.org
I recently did a video on ARA which discusses this study that found ARA had positive effects on strength and muscle mass, but was not able to give details because it had yet to be published as an abstract or full paper. The study results are now public and I cover them below. Two previous articles on ARA ( Part I), by Monica M cover why ARA is a generally misunderstood fatty acid and not a a negative to health, (part II ) covered the safety of ARA as a supplement. Finally, Part III, cuts through the hype and bro-science to give details on ARA and it’s use as a supplement for increasing strength and muscle mass! My understanding is a full paper is in process that will also examine the specific mechanisms of ARA and its impact on strength, muscle mass, and performance.
This study looked at the effects of 1.5g per day of ARA for 8 weeks on muscle hypertrophy, body composition, strength, and power, compared to a placebo matched control. For those who don’t enjoy reading abstracts and studies, here’s the cliffs notes followed by the full details:
• The group receiving 1.5g of ARA had in increase in lean body mass (LBM) of approx 3%, corresponding to 3.5 lb (1.6 kg) compared to no changes in the placebo group
• Muscle thickness increased in the group receiving ARA (+9.5%) vs. the placebo group (+4.7%).
• There was an improvement in anaerobic power (via Wingate test which measures 30 second maximal output), which increased in the group getting ARA (+10.7%) vs. the placebo group (+3.8%).
• The group receiving ARA increased their bench press and leg press strength to a greater degree than the placebo group.
If you have watched my videos over the years, you know I’m a fan. Here’s why; Sandbag training is some of the most productive “functional” training around. The sandbags Ultimate Sandbag takes sandbag training to another level. They have handles and grips, and are very well made. The number of exercises you can do with the sandbags is virtually endless. A must have for home gyms and those who want to take their functional strength and fitness to the next level! I use them with teams I work with and clients at all levels, and keep a small, medium, and large bag in my home gym. If you watch the various vids on the site here, you will see I use these bags for a large variety of training. I have added additional vids to watch below, and if interested in more info, click HERE
If you have read my articles and seen my vids, you know I’m a fan of thick bar/Enhanced grip training for anyone interested in improving their grip, arm strength, and overall functional strength for sports such as strongman, MMA, power lifting, and daily life. It’s a “must have” tool in the training tool box in my view. In this latest vid, I review a unique grip strengthener, the Globe Gripz product.
Here’s a simple fact of life: if your back and legs can dead-lift 700lb, but your grip ends at 300lbs, your dead-lift is 300 lbs. Thus, your grip is truly the final link in the chain that dictates what you can pull off the ground or what you can hold onto in general, be it a chin up bar, barbell, or other objects. Your grip is your ultimate contact with the weights and the objects of life. For strength athletes, such as power lifters, strongman competitors, and others, grip strength is king. Without it, you are no place. When it comes to strength, you are only as strong as your weakest link and most strength athletes know that fact all too well.
Grip strength is also a key factor in various martial arts, especially MMA and BJJ. If you grab onto someone’s sweaty forearm and they easily pull away from your grip, it will make a big difference in the outcome of that MMA match. Various athletes from places one might not expect, from golf, the shooting sports, and others, know a strong grip plays either an important role – or a key role – to their success. That’s why the worlds top strength & conditioning coaches, and knowledgeable strength athletes – such as Dave Tate, Joe DeFranco, Charles Poliquin, Jim Wendler to name a few, focus on functional grip strength, often using thick grip/thick handled barbells and dumbbells. Problem for most people is, their gym has few if any thick handle dumbbells or barbells (usually 2.5” in diameter) as they tend to be both expensive and a “niche” product to your average health club or gym.
Perhaps less appreciated, but no less important, thick handled dumbbells and barbells also stimulate the forearms and muscles of the upper arms to boot, so they have real utility to those looking to add size and strength to the entire arm, not just increasing grip strength. As Charles Poliquin has said
“… as much as possible, train with thick bars when training the upper body … Can’t add size to your biceps? Try working the forearms!”
Your standard barbells, dumbbells, chin-up bars and cable attachments are only about 1” or so in diameter, which of course makes them easy to grip. That’s well and fine for beginners, non-serious trainers, and bodybuilders only concerned with visual appeal, but it’s not optimal for everyone else serious about maximizing their functional strength and muscle mass. Hence, a grip enhancer (various types such a FatGripz, T Gripz, and now Globe Gripz are covered on this site and or found in the Recommended Stuff section of the site) is a highly recommended tool in your tool box of training.
In this vid, I discuss the importance of grip strength in various sports, such as MMA, Power lifting, Strong Man, etc, and cover T Grips & FatGripz as tools for increasing grip and arm strength and other benefits, as well as mention a grip I find particularly effective for reducing tendonitis (Globe Gripz) which I did a vid on HERE. For training vids, more info on the benefits of thick bar training, click HERE
Check out this fun grip challenge I put together I call The Grip Gauntlet using Globe Grips, T Grips, and Fat Gripz Extreme HERE