Finding Intensity In CrossFit Again

  I’ve never been an intense exerciser. I don’t have an intense personality, and while I work quickly and with intent, there is no real spark to anything I do. When I first found my body was capable of any athleticism, it was distance running. Training for half marathons was something I discovered my body could do, and this was before CrossFit was available in my area. I’d go out for long runs, nursed injuries, and ran six half marathons one year, finishing the season with the Portland marathon. I haven’t run a race since. Shortly after the marathon, a CrossFit gym opened in my small town. I really liked the difference in workouts as compared to running, and I was learning a lot because everything was new. I tracked all my workouts in my journal, recorded lifting gains, and looked forward to getting up at 4:30 in the morning to go there. I went four days a week. That may not sound intense, but for me, it was more intensity toward exercise than I’d ever had. Sure, training for [...]

Finding Intensity In CrossFit Again 2018-04-18T14:15:23+00:00

A Complete 8-Week Beginner/Intermediate Muscle Building Program

  So you’ve finally made the decision to become big and muscular, paid for a gym membership and started lifting weights. Kudos to you! Joining a gym has never been an easy choice for any beginner, but if you are consistent and keep going without making any excuses, you will look back a year from and wonder why you were even scared in the first place. It’s human nature to resist change and want to stay in the comfort zone. That’s why it can seem so hard at first, but it is out of the comfort zone where growth, change and adaptation take place. In this article we present you an 8-week workout routine which even though it won’t take you too far from your comfort zone that it eventually breaks you, it will nevertheless force the body to grow new muscle mass and continually adapt to the progressive weight overload. And this is exactly what you’re looking for. Without continually challenging your body with increasingly heavy weight, you won’t give it reason to grow and it will eventually remain [...]

A Complete 8-Week Beginner/Intermediate Muscle Building Program 2018-04-18T14:14:46+00:00

Row Every Day: The Thick Back Solution

  The 4-Week Specialization Program Row Specialization Most lifters have achy shoulders, poor posture, and backs so narrow they disappear when they turn sideways. So what’s the best way to build a thicker back, improve posture, and prevent future shoulder issues? Do a row every time you train. To add slabs of muscle to your back, you’ll have to specialize. To add muscle quickly, increase training frequency and volume, and add new exercises to your back training while dialing back in other areas. Let’s break it down, go over some exercises, and look at a sample program. Increase Training Frequency To build a lagging muscle group, short-term bouts of higher training frequency work best. By training a row or horizontal pulling movement every time you hit the gym you’re doing three things: Triggering protein synthesis within target muscle groups more often. More protein synthesis can drive faster gains in size when recovery is sufficient. Improving motor learning. The more you train a function, the more efficient your body will become. When you row, you’re retracting your shoulders, helping to pull them back [...]

Row Every Day: The Thick Back Solution 2018-04-18T14:13:54+00:00

Why Body Language Can Help You Dominate Your Training

  Social psychologist and Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy goes deep into the research of the influences of non-verbal behavior. Through research, she found that we are influenced by nonverbal behavior. The most exciting part? Our own non-verbal behavior has the ability to change how we feel. Expressions of power and dominance are clear to see both in the animal kingdom and sport. This involves opening up the body and taking up the most space—an outstretched gorilla beating its chest or world record holder Usain Bolt with his arms out and fully extended after winning his race. In that moment, it’s clear that the performer of the expression feels powerful. Conversely, the powerless like to close up, wrap themselves up, and appear smaller. The fetal position is an example of this. One’s shoulders are typically hunched over as a way of trying to “shrink.” Those in this position seem to lack confidence. How the person feels seems to dictate how they appear and act, however, that’s not all. Cuddy goes on to explain that our non-verbal behavior also has an effect on how [...]

Why Body Language Can Help You Dominate Your Training 2018-04-18T14:08:34+00:00


  Fight off upper back stiffness and posture issues with the Thoracic Spine Prayer: Fight off upper back stiffness and posture issues with the Thoracic Spine Prayer: ________________________________________ BENEFITS: This exercise targets mobility in your upper back and spine. It’s also a sneaky way to work on hip mobility. ________________________________________ COACHING KEYS: Press the ground away through your forearm on the ground. Follow your elbow with your eyes as you open up toward the ceiling. Keep your butt back to your heels. ________________________________________ HOW TO USE: Use this exercise between bouts at the computer, after/before long flights or in your warm-up to upper body day. Shoot for 2-4 sets of 5-15 repetitions. A post shared by Tim DiFrancesco, DPT,ATC,CSCS (@tdathletesedge) on Feb 1, 2018 at 9:41am PST ________________________________________ BENEFITS: This exercise targets mobility in your upper back and spine. It’s also a sneaky way to work on hip mobility. ________________________________________ COACHING KEYS: Press the ground away through your forearm on the ground. Follow your elbow with your eyes as you open up toward the ceiling. Keep your butt back to [...]


Get Stable, Get Strong: Pressing, Pulling, and Squatting

  If you want to build muscle, you need to be focusing your efforts on building strength across a wide variety of rep ranges while maintaining perform form. The problem is, building muscle takes time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Which means you need to be able to stay progressive with your training for a consistent period of time in order to see gains. It’s not going to happen overnight, or with the first PR you hit. This is why the biggest limiting factor in why many of you are unable to build muscle is your inability to stay injury-free. In order to be progressive in your training, you need to be able to stay injury-free for a long period of time. Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of injuries that have short-circuited progress. And while it’s halted my own gains in the gym, it’s made me a better coach as it’s forced me to re-evaluate how I lift, what I should be focusing on, and how to master different movement patterns. The ability to stay injury-free [...]

Get Stable, Get Strong: Pressing, Pulling, and Squatting 2018-04-09T02:06:49+00:00

Help For Tight Hips

  I was chatting with a colleague at a workshop a couple of weekends ago. He was telling me about the torn labrum in his hip that used to bother him. The labrum is a thin, cartilaginous film that lines the rim of the socket in the pelvis where the head of the femur sits. “I used to feel like I needed to stretch, but when I stretched, the feeling would only go away for a little while. It always came back.” Do you ever feel like your hips are tight and need to be stretched? When I was going through yoga teacher training, the teacher would ask for requests during the public classes. Invariably, at least one person (and often more) requested hip openers, presumably because of “ hip tightness.” But is it tightness? Or is it something else? The Decisive Nervous System Tightness is a sensation, dictated by the nervous system. Sensory receptors embedded in muscle, tendons, and joint capsules let your brain know what’s happening at the joint and what range of motion is available in the event someone [...]

Help For Tight Hips 2018-04-09T02:05:47+00:00

The Science Of Weight Loss Loves Hard And Heavy

  Traditional programs to combat weight gain focus on nutritional (calories in) and exercise (calories out) considerations. Many health-related professionals agree that dietary guidelines likely best serve to promote short-term reductions in body fat, with the impact of exercise being helpful, but perhaps not overwhelmingly. Even so, from the perspective of physical movement, questions can be raised as to which is more meaningful: The increased caloric costs associated with daily exercise and activity, or An increased ability to oxidize fat. In fact, the caloric costs of any given format of exercise are typically not great, being at best low to moderate. However, in terms of optimizing the prevention of body fat accumulation, it is suggested that exercise program design should focus on brief, intermittent phases of intense work, followed by more prolonged periods of active recovery. The Deceiving Apparent Simplicity of Fat Loss A staggering 2 out of 3 adults are overweight or obese. Equally worrying is the lack of an apparent strategy to ward off such a trend. One basic perspective has been the perhaps overly-simplistic relationship between calories in and calories [...]

The Science Of Weight Loss Loves Hard And Heavy 2018-04-09T02:05:29+00:00

Use Micro-Goals For Macro Change

  Historically, I’m not good at setting goals—any goals. Recently, I was bemoaning my frustration about a hurt ankle and poor diet to a friend. She told me that I need to spend some time considering my nutrition and fitness goals, because if I don’t have a purpose and a plan to reach them, old habits will creep up. This means that I will forever be chasing my own tail, never getting anywhere, and not having any fun. Goals serve a purpose: to motivate us to become better. When we set goals, we should outline the discipline and resources that will be needed to reach them, like a roadmap. We should have a plan in place to work around any obstacles and detours that present themselves. When necessary, we need to be willing to adjust the goals themselves to match the circumstances of our life. Many of us fail to fully set goals. Sure, Sunday meal prep and a plan to work out four days this week is a great way to start. But where is our effort headed? I don’t believe we have to have [...]

Use Micro-Goals For Macro Change 2018-04-09T02:02:18+00:00

The 6 Stages of Transformation

  From Average to Awesome From Sedentary to Dedicated Lifter Back in 2005, Chris Shugart wrote about something he called “the transition.” He said there are two types of people in gym: Type 1 The person who’s struggling to train consistently and eat right. This guy doesn’t like going to the gym and hates to change his eating habits. It’s all a chore, and he often quits, restarts, and falls off the wagon. Chris wrote that this person hasn’t yet made the transition. Type 2 The person who has made lifting weights and healthy eating a lifestyle. He loves it, doesn’t need to be motivated, and hates to miss a workout. There’s no way he’d quit. This person has made the transition. As Chris noted, most people fall into the first category. But is there more to it than that? As a psychologist, I just had to dig into the research and take a closer look at the psychology of change. Note that this isn’t so much a “how to change” article, because there’s no one strategy that works for [...]

The 6 Stages of Transformation 2018-04-09T01:59:47+00:00