Is good form during weight lifting essential to gaining muscle mass? Many think good form is an essential factor, but is it? The answer may surprise you!
In this vid, I cover what’s often a major peeve to coaches and trainers world wide, and one reason many often fail to make progress in their goals. Don’t be one of those people!
I put this together as a fun and tough way to use the various grips (Globe Gripz, Fat Gripz Extreme, and T Grips) I have into one challenge.
The Grip Gauntlet is a fun workout and killer test of grip strength to boot. Check out my buddy Sgt. Jim Vaglica doing the Grip Gauntlet in the vid below.
No, I can’t complete the Grip Gauntlet! Jim has the grip to weight ratio of an orangutan and he didn’t get through it, but I think a few more tries and he would.
If you’re interested in some of the grips shown in this vid and or want to see my discussion on the importance of grip, thick bar training, etc see these articles/vids for more information:
Most everyone knows that strength training is important if you want a strong body and a nicely-muscled physique, but it’s also important for many other non-cosmetic reasons.
A study published by a German science journal pointed out the numerous benefits of strength training for aging gracefully and healthily, including: reduction of age related muscle loss, increase in muscle strength and mass (as the trainee in this story, demonstrates in the gym), reduction in the loss of bone density, and improvement in posture and coordination (which helps decrease the likelihood of falls).
Now before you start thinking: “it’s probably too late for me,” or “the gym is for muscle heads,” or “the weight room is intimidating,” I’d like you to introduce Tom, a client of mine for over 6 months, who is 76 years young.
Getting older doesn’t automatically preclude you from learning how to lift weights and resigning yourself to a loss of strength and functionality.
The effects of age related muscle-wasting (sarcopenia) may be counteracted by resistance training (J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Feb;25(2):326-33.), and we’re not talking about the little pink dumbbells, either. Somewhere around 60% of a maximal effort weight and higher reps, and even using free weights (not JUST the machines). For more information on the causes, prevention, and treatment for sarcopenia, there’s an extensive article on the BrinkZone HERE if interested in additional information.
Older trainees in the gym normally stick with familiar cardio machines, but if you’ve ever seen Al in action, you might want to clear some space. Al’s been a client of mine for over half a year now, and in that time he’s seen some impressive gains in strength and coordination.
Which is important when you also have Parkinson’s. He’s also in his 70’s.
Although Al’s determined personality makes our work outs fairly intense, trainees with Parkinson’s can use resistance training pretty much like everyone else. And just like anyone else, he got stronger with a basic program for resistance training.
I’ve written several articles for The BrinkZone on weight training, fat loss, fitness modeling, bodybuilding programs, and various of motivational articles. The articles were meant to inspire and motivate both men and women to embrace the fitness lifestyle, and maintain the healthiest, leanest, strongest body possible no matter what age or excuse. And speaking of (good) excuses, stay-at-home, post-partum, and working moms are among one segment of the population that can benefit the most from simple, basic knowledge of weight training and fat loss advice that can help get them lean, strong, and healthy.
That’s why I’ve produced a book and DVD that addresses the many challenges that moms of all strides face when trying to achieve fat loss, and can help inspire you to lose that baby weight for good. It’s a great program that’s simple and effective. Perhaps you’re a new mom or maybe a mommy of two or more, and you’re ready to drop a few pounds, and get back in your pre-pregnancy clothes. Or maybe you just want to get in the best shape of your life. This program is for you.
If you have read my articles and seen my vids, you know I’m a fan of thick bar/FatGripz 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. If you need a refresher on the benefits of thick bar/FatGripz training, take a look at the write up and vid I did a while back HERE, then come back to this page. I can wait!
The makers of FatGripz have come out with the FatGripz Extreme. The Extreme model is thicker than the standard FatGripz, getting closer in size to what strong man competitors actually train and compete with. World class power lifter, top coach, and Founder of Elite Fitness had this to say about these new Extreme grips:
“…these are the best grips I have ever used. While they all serve slightly different purposes these Fat Gripz Extremes have more uses than all the others combined.
If you are looking to add variety to your training, work around minor shoulder/elbow aches, and increase neuro-muscular activation, give FAT GRIPZ EXTREME a try!”
I would agree with Dave. While I personally tend to stick with the standard sized FatGripz for most exercises when looking to increase grip width on an exercise – such as chin ups, farmers walks, trap bar dead lifts, etc, – the addition of the new Extreme grips adds yet another dimension.
These grips are not for everyone. If you’re new to thick bar/FatGripz training, I’d recommend the standard sized FatGripz. However, if you have been using standard FatGripz for a while or have had access to thick bars, then the Extreme is a tool in your training tool box you’ll want for sure.
Here’s Dave Tate doing a set transformation curls using three different grips. I have tried these myself and they are killer. I have also tried this technique with chin ups and deadlifts, and it’s brutal!
Standard sized go ==> Fat Gripz
Extreme Version go ==> Fat Gripz Extreme
It’s not often I come across a new piece of training equipment that makes me say “I wanna try that!.” Most of what I see for “new” training equipment is either a rehashed concept, or more a novelty.
The Slayer Barbell is a new design that has merit, so I decided to get my hands on one and try it. I also left it at my gym for other members to use, and it’s quickly become one of the most popular training tools in the gym. Below is a vid I made with a few friends using the Slayer.
Although the “bread and butter” of this bar is arm training, one can do a surprising number of effective exercises with it in a very small footprint as well as a few specialty exercises, such as bridges. See an example of whole body training I did with fitness model Kelly HERE.
As with any training tool, it’s a tool in the tool box. Not going to change your life and make you “a mass monster in 20 days and give you a body of a God” or any such nonsense, but I think it makes a great addition to a home gym or commercial set up. There’s more that can be done with this bar then my simple vids shows.
The manufacturer is currently giving away a copy of my book The Sports Supplement Bible FREE with any purchase of a Slayer Bar for the month of February, so if you’ve been thinking of trying one, you’ll have my book to read! Hit HERE if interested
PS, they liked my video so much they asked permission to use it on their site, so you’ll see the above vid their too
Bridges: An Underrated and Underutilized Exercise
I’m often asked what’s a good exercise for the gluteus and hamstrings. Bridges are one of the most underrated and underutilized exercises for working those muscles. The bridge is an excellent exercise to isolate and strengthen the gluteus, hamstrings, core stability muscles, hip/lower back as well as improve spinal stabilization. Most people do this exercise without added resistance, but that’s a mistake (see “tip” below vid). Done with added resistance, there’s improved responses, as all muscles require added resistance (vs volume) to adapt and get stronger. And NO, they are not just for women!!!
Bridges are a highly functional exercise that can lead to both functional improvements as well as visual. For example, one practitioner of Brazilian jiu jitsu I know said “This is a key exercise for anyone who competes in jiu jitsu tournaments. Strong bridge makes all the difference in escaping. I work bridges hard.”
Bridges are an exercise that have both expected and unexpected benefits both functionally (for various sports) and visually, for bodybuilders, figure/fitness, or the average person looking shape up and strengthen the area. It’s also used for both rehab and prehab. Personally, I tend to incorporate it into lower body days. A typical workout might look like: front squats, RDLs, Bridges, and planks, or a workout I did the other day geared more toward conditioning/GPP/conditioning was a complex of:
Sand bag step ups
Slayer Barbell Bridges
High/low Prowler sprints
Did three circuits of the above then some planks and side planks. My butt was sore for days!
Tip: most people do bridges with body weight only as adding additional resistance comfortably is not always easy. The Slayer Barbell allows for as much added resistance as you could want in perfect comfort, which is one of many exercises this bar allows. If not using a Slayer, try putting a foam pad around an Olympic bar (so the bar does not dig into your hips), or try a plate across your lap, or a heavy medicine ball. None of those options are as comfortable and smooth as using the Slayer Barbell, but experiment with those options and see what works for you. As with any body weight only exercise, your own weight will only get you so far and added resistance will be needed for continued increases in strength, etc.
Note: if you want more information on Sandbags, Slayer Barbell, or Prowler sleds, go HERE and or use the search function (upper right hand corner of this site) to see more vids, articles, etc on them. They are “must have” training tools in my book.
Monica is a regular contributor to the BrinkZone. Her articles here cover the gambit of topics from fish oil, to successful aging, to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for men, and many other topics. I highly recommend readers take a look at her stuff if they have not already. If you read her materials here, you know she’s a rare intellect and why she’s hand picked by yours truly as a writer for The BrinkZone.
If you look at her pictures in her articles, you can see she puts as much effort into her workouts and body as she does her well researched articles. I was recently in southern FL for business, and met up with her at World Gym Fort Lauderdale, where we did a quick upper body workout. I’m sure none of you will complain I’m not in this short training vid