Technique: It Matters!

Today is a brief one where we’re looking at why good technique is so important…

In exercise, as with many things there are more than way of doing things…again though there is usually an optimum way ie. the best technique…

In exercise & sport correct technique is vital to prevent injury and protect muscles, soft tissue & joints…

Think about an overhead shoulder press…You load the bar up with as much weight as you can just about move, you then try to throw it above your head with jerky, snapping motions and lock your elbows at the top…Just imagine how much stress that places on your shoulder, rotator cuffs and elbows – it won’t be long before you pull or tear something

Benefits of Good Technique:

  • reduce risk of injury
  • activate the intended muscle fibres
  • increase muscle activation in the right area
  • quicker increase in muscle mass & strength
  • leads to heavier lifting = more calories burnt
  • development in the muscles targeted
  • more aesthetic/balanced physique
  • you won’t look stupid (if you care about this)

Tips:

  • Before you try a new exercise invest time in learning the technique
  • We release tons of technique tutorial videos
  • Ask gym staff for advice
  • Employ a Personal Trainer
  • Start light – learn the feeling before going for it
  • use mirrors
  • film your techniques & review them
  • Leave your ego at the door..technique trumps weight/speed
  • If it hurts, STOP!!!

Remember:
You don’t get in a car for the 1st time & know how to drive….Like driving exercises are a skill that must be learn’t

Happy Health,
Tom’s

Strength vs Size

Often resistance or weight training is universally referred to as ‘strength training’, even by personal trainers. This is worrying as in the majority of cases the style of resistance they’re relating to is far from ‘Strength Training’…

It’s important to understand the difference.

Resistance Training
This is simply the process of applying resistance to a given movement therefore forcing the muscles to work harder, resulting in micro tears and inflammation. In time, given adequate nutrition & rest, this can result in larger and/or stronger muscles. The way in which this is done though will have a huge influence on the outcome.

Strength Training
Technically known as ‘Myofibrillar Hypertrophy, this is the neuromuscular process of increasing a muscles force production. This is done by lifting heavy weights in an explosive manor for short periods of time. In our world we often refer to this as ‘high weight, low rep’. This style of training relies on explosive contractions and adaptations within the muscles actin and myosin fibres which produce the contractions.

Size Training
Technically known as Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy this uses metabolic overload and the accumulation of blood and sarcoplasmic fluid within a muscle to produce micro tears to the lining , the result is an increase in size & glycogen (sugar) storage but not necessarily strength. These adaptions are achieved by working the muscle under tension for longer, with a lower weight in a controlled manor. Typically this will be achieved via sets of 10+reps lasting at least 45 seconds where the individual adds voluntary muscular contraction to increase blood flow to the working muscle. We often refer to this as ‘low weight, high rep’, training for ‘pump’ or ‘metabolic overload’.

Which One Is Best
Traditionally it was believed that Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy cannot occur without Myofibrillar as the process of lifting any weights should make you stronger right?! However new research is showing that this may be untrue and that focusing on one may result in a reduction in the other.

Sarcoplasmic Pro’s & Con’s
– quick increase in visible size
– pump feels great
– no real increase in strength
– not functional adaption – fairly useless to an athlete

Myofibrillar Pro’s & Con’s
– Functional adaption – stronger
– Great for sport
– Also makes muscles bigger
– High demand on the nervous system

We recommend using a periodised training programme that would have you working solely within each field for 6-12 weeks before transitioning to a pyramid system that utilises both for 6-12 weeks.

We will release individual articles on all 3 of these offering example training plans & rep ranges.

Regardless of which phase you’re in your results will remain dependant on applying sufficient overload to your muscles paired with adequate rest & nutrition.

Happy Health,
Tom’s

I Don’t have Time!

Time is something that we all share equally but how we use it is very different….

TIME..is undoubtedly the #1 reason we hear for people not looking after themselves, what makes us good at our job though is that we refuse to accept this EXCUSE…

Effective time management is a powerful tool and today we’re sharing some time efficient tips to help maximise your health & fitness…

Starting Point
Where is your time going?

Completing a time diary/audit may surprise you, Eg. how many minutes/day are you on Social Media or watching TV?

  • Turn off social media notifications
  • if you sleep 8 hours/night this leaves you 16 hours/day
  • an hour workout is 4% of your day, 3 workouts/week is plenty
  • the UK government recommend 300 minutes exercise/week, this can be done in as little as 10 minutes chunks when heart rate >60% max
  • Plan your week & time ahead, factor in time for food prep & workouts
  • cook in bulk and freeze for busy days
  • exercise in your lunch break
  • prepare your gym kit for lunchtime or a workout on your way home
  • active commuting: walk to work or park half way and walk the rest
  • Set daily and/or weekly goals
  • Be flexible & willing to adapt/change your plans
  • have a back up plan
  • take the stairs – always!
  • Set golden rules – eg. I MUST workout 3x/week, I will only have 2 takeaways/month
  • Find sources of inspiration: quotes, videos or idols
  • Choose a mantra eg. I’ll feel better if I exercise & eat well

We could continue for a while, but that wouldn’t be time efficient 😉

We’ll leave you by referring to our previous article that looks at setting your priorities, the key point being that your output in life is only increased by prioritising the foundation of everything you do, this being your health.
CLICK HERE

Happy Health,
Tom

Anterior & Posterior Chains

Chains are definitely lesser discussed than other anatomical functions.
Understanding your Anterior & Posterior chains though will undoubtedly help your fitness, progression & performance whilst reducing your risk of injury and skeletal imbalance.

What are they?

The Anterior Chain:
This refers to the muscles on the front side of the body including:
– Pecs
– Quads
– Core
The anterior chain plays a vital role in controlling forward movement, an essential in nearly all sports especially where direction changes are needed. Further to this your core muscles provide the foundation of all movement and power, an undeveloped or weak core will prevent you from training/progressing beyond a certain point as well as increasing the risk of falls.

The Posterior Chain:
This comprises of the muscles on the rear of the body, including:
– Hamstrings
– Glutes
– Lats
– Traps
– Rotator Cuff & Scapula Retractors
The Posterior Chain is responsible for holding us upright, without it we would flop forwards. Additionally they allow us to generate backwards force such as rowing and pulling.

How Can I Train My Chains:

Anterior Chain Exercises:
– 
Bench Press & Push Ups
– Planks, Sit Ups, Leg Raises
– Leg Extensions, Squats & Lunges

Posterior Chain Exercises:
– 
Cable Pull Throughs
– Hamstring Curls
– Rows, Lat Pull Down & Pull Ups
– Deadlift

Training For Balance:

Whatever your goals are it remains important that you have a balanced training plan unless you are training to address an existing imbalance, eg. a front chain dominant physique.

We recommend for every Anterior exercise or workout you do that you then do a Posterior exercise or workout… You could split this in many ways, an easy way to do so is to simply have 2 workout days, #1 Anterior & #2 Posterior…you could then use a 3rd session to address any muscles missed (delts & calfs etc) or run a hybrid workout that contains key lifts from each chain.

Using large, compound movements as detailed above will also aid you in recruiting the most muscle fibres and secondary muscles such as the Biceps & Triceps.

A balanced training plan and physique will not only provide the best platform for fitness, progress & performance but will also minimise your risk of developing structural issues such as pelvic tilt & shoulder instability.

We hope that this is helpful, we’re happy to help you apply this if you simply give us a shout.

Happy Healthy,
Tom’s