Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What is the best way to get stronger on deadlifts or any exercise for that matter?

This is a question a lot of people seem to want to know. Not only for the purposes of getting stronger in deadlifts, but in any exercise they wish to get stronger in. It is not a simple answer, nor is it a cookie cutter template that can be applied with everyone. So I will only answer by giving general tips to follow as some might apply to some and others it doesn't.

Key to gaining stronger is pushing yourself, getting more reps, using more weight, eating more then what your body burns, supplementing properly and the list goes on. Simply just applying these will not increase strength gains overnight. All these concepts and ideas must be incorporated into a planed training program and diet regimen. A quality training routine that focuses on increasing strength on a weekly basis will do wonders compared to a training plan with no goal or substance put into it.

Using more reps or getting more reps also helps push your muscle further by forcing it beyond its limits. This will allow it to grow stronger provided if enough food and supplements are utilized correctly. Forced reps is a technique thrown out there to help you achieve that. This occurs when your at the point where you cannot get anymore reps, then you put all your strength in forcing out more reps. Obviously reps will not be full reps, but more partial reps. If performing these, we recommend using a spotter for exercises where a partner is needed such as the bench press.

Rest-Pause sets also help in getting more reps. Rest-Pause sets is a method where you perform reps with a weight you can handle for 12 reps. Once completed, you rack the weight, rest for a couple of seconds, then un-rack and begin completing as many reps as you can. Then repeat the process for 2 or more times. This allows you to get in more reps with weight that you handle for let say maybe 20 reps. This is a very useful technique to employ when attempting to increase strength.

Another way to increase strength is utilizing food intake. This is often the most overlooked factor as everyone is focused on just adding weight plates or focusing on the training aspect of it. Food is essential and will produce wonders when the right combination of carbohydrates, proteins and fats are added in the right ratios. Supplements also help to a certain point. If your diet is crap or simply sucks, no amount of supplements will help you out. Supplements are there to help "supplement" the vitamins, minerals other important nutrients that you would not achieve through diet alone. If your thinking of spending $100 on the latest hydrolyzed whey, latest creatine or best pre-workout formula and your diet is complete and utter crap! Save yourself the trouble and buy a book on nutrition or use the internet for information.

There is a couple of other ways to get stronger, but these are going down to the vary basics. Whether you achieve getting stronger on deadlifts, bench press or squats, it all comes down to how motivated and dedicated you are about making that goal possible.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Stiff-Legged Deadlift And Why It is Important!

The stiff-legged deadlift is probably a more common under utilized exercise for the main reason of people not training legs in the first place. If you do manage to train legs, chances are, you put more effort into your quads then you do your hamstrings. What gives? Hamstrings are part of your leg? It could be the fact that most people do not see the muscle or have no clue on why it is important to train it. So let me get straight to it! It is important because it is such a vulnerable muscle, it is used constantly, and injuring it just plain sucks!

Do not neglect this muscle! It does so much work and stabilizes your posterior chain is makes it that much more important. As I mentioned before, having dominant quads puts more stress on the hamstrings as they have to work double time to keep it balanced. Same goes throughout the body. hamstrings!
Stiff-Legged Deadlift In Action Performed By Jaime Eason
Both rear and front muscles must be trained equally and build up strong to avoid discrepancies. It allows both muscle groups to keep the body balanced. So next time on leg day, focus on hamstrings first, then hit squats or you have a separate day for

Hamstrings is a muscle group that is used throughout the day. Remember, they are used to keep your whole posterior chain balanced and keep the body upright. Have lower back problems? This could be an issue. Using stiff-legged deadlifts can remedy that. Unlike your normal deadlift, the stiff-legged deadlift is exactly performed as it is titled. Rather then keeping a bend in regular deadlifts when beginning the movement or the lowering portion of the movement. The legs remain rigid and stiff when lowering the weight. This puts tremendous focus on the hamstrings allowing for greater stimulation. Unlike deadlifts, this is not an exercise you should go heavy on. Keep it light until your hamstrings are built enough to handle it.

You do not want to injure the hamstring because it hurts and it is a pain to walk! It just simply sucks! I had an injury in my hamstring when I first started deadlifting. The stupid part was that my hamstrings was weak as hell. I was your typical upper body guy until I pulled my hamstring and couldn't walk for a week! So that is when I realized how important training the hamstrings really was. This is when I started to incorporate the stiff-legged deadlift which over time, I notice a huge improvement in my posture and amount of weight I can handle on deadlifts.

All I am saying is, the stiff-legged deadlift is the perfect exercise to help improve hamstring strength and maintain good posture. If you want to know how to effectively use it, check these workouts!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Maximizing Deadlift Strength

So my training is on and off and at times it does get boring. Now don't get me wrong, but I love to train! What warm blooded American doesn't? Don't answer that, but yes it does get boring at times. Which is why they say variety is the spice of life. So what better way to take advantage then to add some unique lifts that I rarely see! They may not be totally unique, but I can guarantee you, nobody else really does them. 

So I included a couple of exercises which I have seen on the net or on various articles. I must say, I love them! They give a whole new fresh spin to the workouts since incorporating them. I am a big believer in building a strong lower body since most of the gym people you see have giant upper bodies and small legs. When I mean small, I mean my forearms are bigger then their legs with no doubt at all. These exercises focus primarily on lower body along with a couple of upper body.

First exercise I like to do in my leg routine is front squats. You do see many performing back squats, but many shun front squats due to the stability requirements. What I like about them is that they force your torso to remain upright rather than a curvature that you get on back squats. If performing without a belt, your core will definitely feel a burn. If your core is weak, you will have a hard time maintain stability as you descend in the squat. Which is another great exercise for core work. Killing two birds with one stone! So for me, that is a bonus since I hate ab exercises.

My next exercise that I almost do every leg day is side leg press or side hack squats. Odd? Yes! But they do work! The movement involves turning to your side when at a leg press or hack squat machine. I prefer hack squat machine as I get more stability out of the movement with the two pads that go over your shoulder. You start by laying on your side on a hack squat machine and keep one leg on the platform while you put your leg closes to the pad out behind you. Much like performing a lunge, you descend down onto one leg while your other leg remains behind you. The exercise will force each limb to work harder as it will not have the support of your other leg. This is good for bringing up lagging sides if you have any. This is what they call unilateral training which is another excellent tool I will be discussing later on.

Last go to exercise is reverse shoulder press on the machines. I like this one because I tend to have dominant front shoulders and lagging rear delts. So in this movement, I can recruit them to a certain extent rather then have my front delts take the whole load. This can also be done using a barbell, but I feel safer using a machine. If you have weak rear delts or have trouble bringing the barbell behind your neck, I highly suggest using a machine for safety. These are not totally unique like I mentioned, but one rarely comes across a person who performs these.

I don't always train hard, but when I do, it is to failure!

Friday, May 17, 2013

When Should I Do Deadlifts? Back Or Leg Day?

To be honest, it can vary on what your training goals are. Deadlifts has so many uses and so much variety can be introduce with the exercise. Many people ask whether to do them on back or leg day. Can you do them on both days? This depends largely on your training level and your ability to recuperate. Beginners will suffice from doing deadlifts one time a week as it will suck a lot out of you and will require the beginning trainer more rest then the advanced.

Photo By Muscle & Performance
More advanced trainers can benefit from deadlifting on both days as they have conditioned their body more efficiently from years of training with weights compared to the beginner. Now comes the question, what is best muscle group to use them with? Both are good, but I have found using deadlifts on only either back day or leg day and alternating each week. So if you perform deadlifts on back day, then next training session when you do legs, you include them. At least a 1 week in between should be good.

Since deadlifts do target the whole area of the body, you can specifically target the upper back portion by using rack deadlifts. Essentially you are taking the legs out of the movement and focusing more on pulling with your upper back. In this exercise you can add more weight than normal as you are starting from the middle portion of the exercise where you would be strongest compared to pulling off the floor. This is good to help build up your strength in this part of the movement when you perform it from the floor. Are they a true substitute for regular deads? No, but they can be supplemental to them.

As mentioned above, you use rack deadlifts on back day and use regular deadlifts from the floor on leg day if you prefer to do them twice a week or prefer to alternate them. As before, it depends on your training level.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Deadlifts And Why They Are King!

What makes picking up a loaded barbell off the floor without any assistance or momentum so extraordinary or should I say the exercise to come out victorious out of all exercises? Is it the fact that deadlifts work the whole body from A-Z? Is it the idea that deadlifts pack on more muscle mass then the rest? Or is it simply because the amount of strength it requires to simply lift it is in a class of its own?

For whatever the reasons mentioned, it is actually guessed it! For the reasons mentioned! Seeing deadlifts in the gym is like seeing a freakin unicorn in real life. It may occur, but a very slim chance. Why do people avoid it? Simply because they are afraid to perform the lift, they don't know how, they do not want to look like a wuss
in front of everybody (that is right, I said it) or they are busy doing some type of exercise where you stand a bosu ball. By the way, how is that working for you?

Back to the topic! Deadlifts are a must for building some serious strength and conditioning throughout your body. Do you have lower back pain? Guess what, medication and NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) help, but why use them! Use a natural remedy such as exercise! Build your lower back strong enough to prevent any pain from occurring. Deadlifts help tremendously in this area as well as targeting the whole posterior chain.

Afraid to perform the deadlift? Well, Rome was not built in a day or so everyone says. This is why you learn as much as you can about the deadlift before attempting it. Learn the correct form first by searching videos or even articles pertaining to deadlifting correctly. You can always ask a trainer as well since many gyms should have qualified trainers. If not, then what the hell kind of gym are you at? Anyway, there are many resources on the deadlift and how to perform it. Youtube is a great place to find instructional videos.

Now we come to the part where most of you are afraid on how much weight you can do. Ok, maybe this only pertains to guys since they are always trying to pack on the weight. First off, do not put ridiculous amount of weight that you cannot handle. We know you want to impress the ladies or guys, but you don't want to end up walking like the 80 year old with a walker. Come on! It is not worth injuring yourself for a few minutes of fame. I mean, do you think Arnold started deadlifting 400+ when he began training? Do you think it took Ronnie Coleman a couple of days to deadlift 800? Start with light weight, then gradually move up. You do not want to ask to borrow the 80 year old's walker because you wanted to impress that girl from across the gym. Train hard, but train smart.

I guess that is it for now. We will update this blog with more useful information, stay tuned for that.
Want more tips on deadlifting? Check this website out.