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.

compound exercises

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

Fit You, In Feb Too (Top Tips)

If you hadn’t guessed from the title today’s post is about keeping motivated beyond January, we’ve got some top tips to help ensure that the ‘new you’ lasts longer than just January…

  • establish a routine – diary/calendar & planners are essential
  • key to success = adaptable approach – be flexible to ensure you hit your meal plan & exercise targets
  • set goals – click for more info
  • set targets eg. 3x 1 hour workouts per week, these can fit in around your schedule
  • review & adapt goals
  • take regular measurements – be accountable to yourself
  • look for/try to find activities that you enjoy
  • buddy up – get a friend on board, training buddies are great
  • manage your expectations: this is a long term lifestyle
  • accidents happen – recover, don’t stress
  • try new things: both food & exercise options are endless
  • Relax! take time to de-stress & get plenty of sleep
  • join an exercise class or get a Personal Trainer to help you out
  • don’t worry about what everybody else is doing
  • only take from advice from someone qualified

We hope this helps you to keep smashing your goals, you know you can do it!!

Happy Health,

Tom’s

 

Smash Your Plateau

Have you ever followed a particular training plan and noticed that it’s great at first but your results seem to slow and plateau after a while?  Perhaps you’re stuck in a rut right now!

This is extremely common and perfectly normal albeit rather frustrating…plateaus can come in many forms and are not exclusive to slowed strength & size gains…

Why Do We Plateau?

Unfortunately the very reason you may chose a certain training plan is the same reason that you’ll eventually plateau, essentially your body will learn and adapt to the demands that you’re regularly placing on it. This results in less effort or stress from the same workload, less stress = less adaptation.

For example, early on in a strength cycle you may comfortably add 5kg/week to your squats, as your body begins to adapt to this style of training its very likely this progression will slow down.

Avoiding Plateaus 

The key to success whether your goal is simply to be fitter, stronger or slimmer is having (& committing to) a structured and varied approach.

Using Body Building as an example: the foundation of any professional’s training will be ‘Periodisation’… simply a process of structuring training into 6-12 week phases that place different stresses on the body & muscles…

Additionally, professional athletes alike will use this system in line with their on & off season schedules to ensure they are at their physical peak when it really matters, off season they can afford to be less restrictive with their diet and actually train harder.

Non athletes such as you & I will still benefit hugely from regularly changing our training variables. We too can tailor this around our calendar, for example you may want to pay extra attention to toning & physique for the 3 months before your beach holiday, alternatively you may want to use the winter to focus on getting stronger or improving your cardio…

What Factors Can I Change?

  • Rep Range
  • Rep Tempo
  • Rest Interval
  • Intenstity
  • Exercise Types
  • Protocols (super-sets, compounds, pyramids. HIIT & Fartlek etc)
  • Workout Duration
  • Body Part Split: switch up what you do in which workout
  • Try Whole Body Workouts
  • Try Exercise Classes
  • HIIT: work vs rest ratio
  • Try A New Exercise or Sport
  • Rest Days Between Workouts
  • Your Diet Remains A High Priority!!!

Remember: true health is a balance between several factors, therefore a complete plan should incorporate all of the following:

  • Strength
  • Muscular Endurance
  • Cardio
  • Flexibility
  • Agility & Coordination

This is only a brief introduction to the topic and hopefully a helpful nudge to mix up your training. Hopefully you get the idea of just how much we can vary our training and manipulate it around our goals and schedule…it would take pages & pages for us to give you more, the reality is your periodised plan should be personal to you & your goals, therefore if you’re really struggling to understand or apply this get in touch with us.

Happy Health,

Tom’s

Winter Vegetable Soup

Warm up with this simple & nutritious Winter Vegetable Soup…

Serves: 4
Prep: 10 Minutes
Cook: 45 Minutes

Ingredients:
Carrot 330g
Swede 250g
Potato 350g
1 leek
1 onion
200g turnip
50g cabbage
1.5ltr veg stock
1 Garlic clove
Thyme
25g butter

  • Chop all the vegetables into small pieces or slice in a food processor
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan and fry the onions on a low heat until softened
  • Add the leaks and crushed garlic clove and cook for a few more minutes until cooked down
  • Add all the remaining vegetables and stir so coated in the butter
  • Cook for 5 more minutes
  • Add the vegetable stock and thyme. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30-40 mins or until vegetables are soft.
Allow to cool and blend.
Serve & Enjoy

Jump Yourself Fit (Plyometrics)

If you’ve ever trained with us you’ll know how much we love incorporating Plyometrics into our sessions…Today we’re going to tell you why…

Plyometrics is a style of exercise that uses explosive contractions, often jump based to utilise the stretch-shortening mechanism of muscular contraction for enhanced physiological adaptations.
Plyometrics are short lived, fast explosive exercises.

Benefits of Plyometric exercise include:
– Increased muscle size
– Increased strength & power
– Improved running efficiency
– Injury risk reduction
– Increased tendon stiffness
– Increased neural drive & improved muscle activation
– Improved sprint times
– Great calorie burning

These positive adaptations are beneficial in many sports applications as well as every day life, fitness & well-being.

Some of our favourites:
– Clap Push Ups
– Squat Jumps
– Plyo Lunges
– Box Jumps
– Single Leg Hops
– Bosu Burpees

Top Tips:
– Relies on balance & coordination
– Introduce gradually when new to Plyos
– Try adding 5 sets of 6-8 and see how you respond
– Rest 1-2 minutes between Plyo sets
– They are demanding, you will get out of breathe quickly
– You must understand the technique fully, start slowly and build up to full jumps

Image result for plyometrics

Challenge Yourself

Who doesn’t like the feeling of achievement?!

Setting yourself Goals & Challenges is a great way to stay motivated and something to work towards, to cap it all off at the end you get an unrivaled sense of achievement…

Your goals don’t have to be huge, they could be something as simple as improving your lap time around the park by 1 minute in the next month.

The key to setting goals & challenges is to keep them SMART…We’ve mentioned SMART goals before and undoubtedly will again, for now here is a little reminder…

Related image

At the end of every GOAL should be a reward whether internal or external….Last Sunday that’s exactly what we got when we took some of our Boot Campers to an 5k Inflatable Obstacle Race…Not only did we all get medals and freebies but of us including our trainers felt an immense sense of achievement that already has us focused on finding our next challenge.

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What will your next challenge be?

 

Fitness For Older Adults

Today’s Myth Buster ‘I’m getting older, I need to take it easy’…

Too often we hear people citing age as a reason for being less active and more out of shape…Unfortunately this is just not true…As we get older it becomes even more important that we remain active….

It’s widely believed that aging means:
– you have to slow down
– your body is fragile
– you are tired easier
– you’ll gain weight
– age is why you’re unfit & out of shape

The reality is:
– you were probably already inactive
– this is why you’ve gained weight, over years of more calories in than out
– your metabolism has slowed due to inactivity meaning that you gain weight easier
– you have lost muscle mass through a lack of activity, use it or lose it!
– calories are the only thing that make you fat

The benefits of activity in older adults:
– faster metabolism
– increased muscle mass = better physique & faster metabolism
– better hormonal balance, higher testosterone in males
– increased bone density – less risk of breaks
– lower risk of falls & bones diseases such as Osteoporosis & Osteoarthritis
– better mental health
– a better quality of life
& many many more…

Becoming More Active:
  If you are starting out after an extended period of inactivity these top tips will help you to approach this in the best way

– consult your GP if you have any medical conditions
– understand your limitations
– start slow/easy and work out where you are
– build up the intensity gradually over time
– understand that this is a long term lifestyle, not a sprint
– always warm up & cool down
– use varied exercise including cardio & resistance
– listen to your body
– drink plenty of water
– if in doubt, consult a personal trainer

Age is not a valid reason for being inactive…if you look after your body it will look after you…active adults regardless of their age have a better quality of life…

What Is Pre-Exhaust Training?

As the name suggests, Pre-Exhaust training is  a system that aims to Exhaust/Fatigue a certain muscle group. This is done using an isolation exercise such as a flye or extension before moving on to a compound lift such as a press or squat.

Why Use Pre-Ehxaust?
It is important to understand that muscles work in pairs to perform movements, for example the chest pairs with the triceps to push whilst the back pairs with the biceps to pull.
With this in mind, picture the size difference between the biceps and the back, which one do you think will fatigue first?  Given the biceps considerably lower size and power output its very likely that their fatigue would prevent us from fully overloading the back.

This is where Pre-Exhaust training comes in, by using an isolation exercise such as a reverse flye we can start to fatigue the back without placing stress on the biceps, this ultimately will allow us to perform a greater volume on the compound exercise.

Studies have shown that Pre-Exhaust training is an effective method for allowing a greater volume of work resulting in greater overload and muscular adaptation.

How Do I Use Pre-Exhaust?
Perform 1-2 isolation exercises on your target muscle group (3-4 sets each) before moving to 2 compound exercises (3-4 sets each).pre-exhaustion-technique-minIsolation Exercises:

  • Chest: Flyes, Cable Cross Over
  • Back: Reverse Flye, Reverse Cross Over, Straight Arm Pulldowns/Pullovers
  • Shoulders: Side Lateral Raises, Front Lateral Raises,
  • Legs: Leg Extensions, Hack Squats, Leg Presses or Squats

4 Week Case Study: Real Results

We love to share our clients successes with you, they say more than we ever could with words alone.

We use a range of body composition & fitness tests every 4 weeks to help track our clients progress and ensure that our programming is effective.

Below are some recent results from one of our awesome clients, she has only made small changes to her diet, started exercising 3x/week and still enjoys nights out & a social life…the results speak for themselves, being healthy doesn’t have to be hard.

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As you can see in just 4 weeks:

– her weight is down
– her waist is slimmer
– her body fat & BMI have dropped
– she has gained muscle on her legs and arms
– all of her fitness tests have considerable improvement

If all of this can be achieved in just 1 month, imagine what you could achieve over 6 months and longer.

We hope this helps to motivate you.
Tom’s