In Search of Power, Part 1

The notion of “power” and “force development” is one that you hear a great deal in the “iron game.” In-fact the notion of developing maximal force whether—directing, accepting or re-directing—sits at the cornerstone of my “Concepts of Training.” And while I note this endlessly in my teaching, the question looms large: Just precisely “how” do you do this?

I have gone to great length in the past discussing the basics of lifting and how proper training protocols are quite “simple.” Noting that resistance work is basically pushing, pulling, pressing or squatting, I choose from a very basic stable of six major lifts and then embellish them with less complicated movements that support their development.

The major compliance problem in the iron game isn’t merely exercise choices but how they are performed. A cursory review of trade magazines and many of the most well-known “experts” reveal an astonishing and recurring flaw in that subjects typically do not “project” weight properly when it comes to classic movements such as Squats or Deadlifts. Ultimately this issue of movement generation becomes the signal greatest problem for the training professional or dedicated exercise enthusiast when they begin implementing a well designed training program.

With this in mind, I wanted to present a unique article series that will help you develop an injury free and flexible physique, while promoting powerful movement generation. To do so, we’ll borrow upon a very large body of work found in my “RED2″ and “DMC” training system in “With Grace”.

To start things off, we’ll look at the preliminary floor-based movements found in the DMC system. Recalling the basic notions of resistance work, all lifting is simply performing a concentric, eccentric or static holding movement. While much focus is spent on the concentric action, with less on the eccentric, few concern themselves with the static action. Yet the ability to maintain body posture under duress might be the single greatest concern and clearly the reason behind why form and movement generation break down when the intensity level increases.

The DMC program is a dynamic nine-stage program based upon the power, and the fluidity of movement that starts in slow “easy” static holds and progresses into explosive movements at a remarkably quick pace. Advancement through the stages comes with an intense understanding of the body and proper movement generation. It is also one of the most challenging training program series that I have devised (although oddly “simple looking”) and usually leaves the toughest of athletes quaking.

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Short Circuits Part. 2: CHEST

 article 2008 short circuits part2 chest Short Circuits Part. 2: CHEST

Do you want to maximize your size and definition, but don’t have the luxury to spend hours training? Use any of these three powerful 20-minute pec-focused circuit-training workouts when time is of the essence.

We can probably all agree that the old proverb, “Patience is a virtue,” has merit. But that doesn’t mean we always have to live by it.

Take, for instance, building a bigger, stronger chest. You can spend 40 minutes to an hour dutifully training it, knowing that such dedication over time should yield impressive results. Or, you can slam your pecs hard for 20 minutes once or twice a week, spending less time toiling and more time getting on with the rest of your life — and best yet, without giving up your goal of maximizing your pectoral development.

The following three circuit workouts pack all the benefits of a longer, drawn out training session into a mere 20 minutes. Two of them can be even done at home, saving additional travel time and hassle. Just keep in mind, to complete the routines in that tight window, you’ll want to employ a two-seconds-up/one-second-squeeze-at-the-top/three-seconds-down cadence for every rep, and rest no more than 30 seconds between circuits. Within circuits, the only break between each exercise is the time it takes to switch positions and/or weights for the next movement.

Using these chest workouts, you can save your patience for other endeavors. It should come in handy when sitting in traffic, listening to your boss drone on in a meeting, or — God forbid — if you’re a Cubs fan waiting for a World Series title.

Workout Circuit #1: Dumbbells
Exercise                                                          Reps
Incline Dumbbell Flye                           15, 12, 10
Incline Dumbbell Press                          15, 12, 10
Dumbbell Flat-Bench Press                               12, 10, 8
Dumbbell Pullover                                            12, 10, 8
Bench Dip                                                        10, 10, 10

Instructions: Repeat the circuit three times through.

The math: 164 total reps at 6 seconds per rep = 984 seconds, or about 16 and a half minutes; plus 30 seconds rest between the first and second circuit and second and third circuit, totals 17 and a half minutes, leaving 2 and a half minutes for switching from exercise to exercise within the circuits.

Note: It will add a few minutes to the session, but if you prefer, you can instead break this workout up into a superset and tri-set, first doing the incline flye and press back-to-back three times through, then the flat-bench press, pullover and bench dip back-to-back-to-back three times through. Reconfiguring the workout in this manner eliminates the need to adjust your bench mid-set from the incline to the flat setting, but it does add rest time, as you should rest 30 seconds between each superset and tri-set.

Workout #2: Dumbbells and Barbells
Exercise                                                          Reps
Flat-Bench Barbell Press                                  15, 12, 10
Flat-Bench Dumbbell Flye                                12, 10, 8
Incline Barbell Press                                         12, 10, 8
Incline Dumbbell Flye                           12, 10, 8
Push-Up                                                           12, 12, 12

Instructions: Repeat the circuit three times through. Use a very light weight for a warm up on your first set of flat-bench presses. For safety, have a spotter on hand during both pressing exercises.

The math: 163 total reps at 6 seconds per rep = 978 seconds, or about 16 and a half minutes; plus 30 seconds rest between the first and second and second and third circuits, totals about 17 and a half minutes, leaving 2 and a half minutes for switching from exercise to exercise within the circuits.

Note: We list 12 reps for the push-up, but if you really want to tax yourself to the limit, go to failure on each set. Because of pectoral fatigue, you may need to drop your pressing and flye weights each subsequent circuit (instead of the standard pyramid-up scheme), but going to failure on push-ups will help ensure you’ve worked every muscle fiber in your chest thoroughly.

Workout #3: Machines
Exercise                                                          Reps
Seated Machine Lateral Raise                           15, 12, 10, 8
Seated Machine Press                                      10, 10, 8, 8
Reverse-Pec Deck Flye                                    12, 12, 10, 8
Reverse Cable Crossover                                 12, 12, 10, 8

Instructions: Repeat the circuit four times through.

The math: 165 total reps at 6 seconds per rep = 990 seconds, or 16 and a half minutes; plus 30 seconds rest between the first and second, second and third and third and fourth circuits, totals about 18 minutes, leaving 2 minutes for switching from exercise to exercise within the circuits.

Note: Because you’re using machines and can switch weight effortlessly from set to set, take advantage by pushing yourself — select challenging weights, and if you fail mid-set, simply drop the weight by 10% or so and complete the prescribed reps. Choosing heavy enough weights to start each set that you need to drop mid-set will add an extra dimension of intensity to your session.

Star Running Back and Supreme Protein Spokesman Brian Westbrook is Primed for an Offensive Explosion as NFL Playoffs Approach

article 2008 brian westbrook supreme protein 01 Star Running Back and Supreme Protein Spokesman Brian Westbrook is Primed for an Offensive Explosion as NFL Playoffs Approach

Running back Brian Westbrook is destroying opposing defenses once more and all is well in the City of Brotherly Love. It didn’t take Westbrook long to put the rest of the NFL on notice that he’s back and ready to wreak havoc as his Philadelphia Eagles begin their second-half push for the NFC East division crown.

In Lincoln Field on Sunday, Westbrook absolutely dismantled the Atlanta Falcons, rushing for a career-high 167 yards and 2 touchdowns, and adding six catches for another 42 yards. Next up for Westbrook, Donovan McNabb and the Eagles in a nationally televised game against the Seattle Seahawks on the road in Qwest Field.

Finding himself at center stage is nothing new for Westbrook, who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 2,104 in 2008, and was named to his second Pro Bowl and first All-Pro team. With success has come increased recognition for Westbrook, as his high-profile on-field heroics have earned him a number of off-the-field opportunities including, most recently, a promotional deal with the makers of his favorite protein bar, Supreme Protein®.

All of this, of course, comes as terrific news to the Philadelphia Eagles’ legions of rabid fans. Last year, Westbrook truly came into his own as an every-down, workhorse running back and one of the NFL’s elite offensive threats. Long celebrated for his superb conditioning and stamina, Westbrook has taken his physique to a new level this year, adding lean muscle mass and decreasing body fat. These improvements were highly evident on Sunday, as Westbrook ran over, around and through the clearly overmatched Atlanta Falcons, on the way to establishing the Philadelphia Eagles as one of a handful of NFL teams that has legitimate aspirations to representing the National Football Conference in the 2009 Super Bowl in Tampa Bay later this season.

In speaking of his physical dominance and overall physique improvements this year, Westbrook credits changes in overall diet, including the newest addition to his regimen, Supreme Protein® bars. “Supreme Protein® bars were a great discovery for me,” the elusive ball carrier says. “I’ll usually eat two a day. The flavor is sensational and each one has all the ingredients to deliver the high nutritional profile I need to perform at a high level.”

That high level of performance has been striking fear into the hearts of opponents since Westbrook came to the Eagles in the 2002 NFL Draft. Last year, in addition to leading the entire league in total yards, Westbrook also set a new career high in rushing yards with 1,333 and set a new Eagles franchise record with 90 receptions. He is, clearly, the NFL’s most dangerous all-purpose offensive player. Although he has experienced some nagging injuries (including two broken ribs suffered in a particularly nasty collision in a game against the Washington Redskins earlier this year), he now has a clean bill of health and is ready to terrorize opponents once more.

Caramel Nut Carb Conscious Bar
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“The wear and tear you absorb over a football season is incredible,” Westbrook says. “It’s important for me to stay healthy, while also maintaining lean body mass and weight so that I can maximize my strength and stamina. Supreme Protein® bars allow me to get the protein and nutrients that I need so that I recover from games and workouts faster. Since I’ve added Supreme Protein® bars to my routine, I’ve been leaner, faster and stronger than ever.”

Now, as the weather turns colder and each game takes on even greater importance, Westbrook’s sights are set on goals that go beyond the personal benchmarks he set last year. With the help of Supreme Protein® bars and his remarkable peak physical conditioning, he looks to return his Philadelphia Eagles to the top of the heap in the highly competitive NFC East and onward to the Super Bowl.

Phosphatidylserine Emerges as a “Wonder Nutrient”

psp016 Phosphatidylserine Emerges as a Wonder Nutrient

Our supplementation needs are rather straightforward; to improve the quality of our lives by shoring-up weaknesses from diet and furthermore augmenting strategically important nutrients that might otherwise be difficult to obtain through normal diet. That, of course, is quite the “shopping list” of needs, yet I think it helps in deciding on goals of supplementation and leads you into understanding why phosphatidylserine (PS) is so important. As you consider two streams of interests, athletic and general overall health, you’ll understand why PS reigns supreme in both categories.

From an athletic standpoint, much of the training talk is exercise protocols and the like. Great focus is spent on “active” training sessions, yet for experienced coaches, the secret ingredient is quite possibly in regeneration work. How we train to improve recovery is quite easily the balance of the work-week, whether it is through “active recovery” work with General Physical Preparation or sub-maximal training runs. Off the practice fields and out of the weight rooms, diet concerns have become possibly the biggest road-block for coaches as without the proper diet approach our work will fall short. However due to nutrient loss in some food sources and the needs of the athlete, proper supplementation is an absolute must (please see: “Simplicity, part 3“). Sitting first on my list of five “supplement musts” is phosphatidylserine.

It has been shown that PS will increase the rate of recovery as well as prevent muscle soreness, thus greatly improving the rate of return in training and the actual amount of training that an individual (or team) can perform. While this cannot be understated given their importance possibly the biggest aspect of PS use that corresponds to the general population is how is known to improve levels of concentration and reducing stress that are massive issues within sport. An athlete who performs with less stress and greater concentration is well on the way to success and combined with the physical benefits, phosphatidylserine is a hands down a necessity for athletes.

For the general mainstream, the use of PS cannot be understated for its impact upon cognitive abilities. The impact upon cognitive issues have been nothing short of extraordinary as it has been shown to improve memory and overall mood and many have coined it an “anti-aging” supplement. I have been working of late with a Chess Master and it has shown a tremendous benefit in maintaining his incredible memory and tactical sharpness. The role of PS is crucial in the brain function and has been linked to delaying memory loss by improving overall efficiency of the neural transmitters. Interestingly enough, as we consider this role and its impact on suppressing cortisol secretion and how it will serve to enhance mood, we’ve also tapped into one of the simplest supplement methods to alleviate the circuitous problem of stress-related weight gain and middle-age. For the uninitiated, increased stress and the secretion of cortisol will result in increased fat gain but of course for those who are stressed about adding weight, the problem is now complicated because they are further stressed. This circuitous problem is not an easy one to clean up but PS might be the easiest and most straight-forward start anyone can make.

vectron protein powder weight lossbutton info Phosphatidylserine Emerges as a Wonder Nutrient Unfortunately the ease of attaining phosphatidylserine through diet isn’t very basic as it found primarily through fish and meat sources, particularly in organs such as in the kidney and liver as well as the brain. Beyond the epicurean issues, with levels of mercury in many fish products becoming very problematic, supplementation with posphatidylserine is the best road to take. It is helpful to keep in mind here that truly effective PS supplements are few and far between. ProSource’s own Super Phosphatidylserine contains Leci-PS, from AlzChem., which contains 5 times the dosage of active PS provided by lesser supplements.

I hope that clears up any doubts on why you should make phosphatidylserine part of your supplement choices.

Short Circuits Part. 1: Shoulders

article 2008 short circuits shoulders Short Circuits Part. 1: Shoulders
Do you want to maximize your size and definition, but don’t have the luxury to spend hours training? Use any of these three powerful 20-minute circuit-training workouts when time is of the essence.

Oftentimes, the hours in our lives just don’t add up the way we’d like. Figure an hour to get ready in the morning, about 10 at work, a 60-minute commute each way, an hour for dinner, two to watch the game, three hours of quality time with the family at night … add seven hours of shut-eye, and you’re at about … well, 26 hours to pack into a 24-hour day. And you didn’t even figure in a workout yet!

You may think you have to compromise your muscle-building results when you only have an extremely limited amount of time to train every day. But the good news is, you don’t — and we’ve designed the routines to prove it, starting with shoulders in this first of a series of exclusive ProSource articles.

The first two workouts below are built for either home or gym use, while the third incorporates a selection of high-tech equipment at your disposal at a typical health club. To complete the routines in 20 minutes, employ a two-seconds-up/one-second-squeeze-at-the-top/three-seconds-down cadence for every rep, and rest no more than 30 seconds between circuits. Within circuits, the only break between each exercise is the time it takes to switch positions and/or weights for the next movement.

With these plans in hand, you can squeeze your lifting into almost any schedule — no matter how crazy it may be.

Workout Circuit #1: Dumbbells

Exercise Reps
Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise 15, 12, 10
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 15, 12, 10
Dumbbell Front Raise 15, 12, 10
Standing Dumbbell Press 12, 10, 8
Dumbbell Upright Row 12, 10, 8

Instructions: Repeat the circuit three times through. The math: 171 total reps at 6 seconds per rep = 1,026 seconds, or about 17 minutes; plus 30 seconds rest between the first and second circuit and second and third circuit, totals 18 minutes, leaving 2 minutes for switching from exercise to exercise within the circuits.

Note: If you’re at home, switching out dumbbells may take a little longer if you have the collared adjustable versions where you have to switch plates on and off, but on the first three exercises at least, you likely can use the same weight and still be adequately challenged. If you have two sets of adjustable dumbbells, you can set one pair up for the first three exercises, and another for the latter two.

Workout #2: Dumbbells and Barbells

Exercise Reps
Seated Dumbbell Press 15, 12, 10, 8
Standing Barbell Press 10, 10, 8, 8
Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise 12, 12, 10, 8
Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise 12, 12, 10, 8

Instructions: Repeat the circuit three times through. For your first set of seated dumbbell presses, use a very light weight for a warm up.

The math: 165 total reps at 6 seconds per rep = 990 seconds, or 16 and a half minutes; plus 30 seconds rest between the first and second, second and third and third and fourth circuits, totals about 18 minutes, leaving 2 minutes for switching from exercise to exercise within the circuits.

Note: In a gym, use a power rack for the standing barbell press, so you can take it off the racks and be in position to press. At home, you’ll need to add a power move off of the floor, bending your knees and lifting the bar to your hips deadlift style, then cleaning it to your shoulders to get into position to do your pressing repetitions.

Workout #3: Machines

Exercise Reps
Seated Machine Lateral Raises 15, 12, 10, 8
Seated Machine Press 10, 10, 8, 8
Reverse-Pec Deck Flye 12, 12, 10, 8
Reverse Cable Crossover
Repeat the circuit three times through.
12, 12, 10, 8

The math: 165 total reps at 6 seconds per rep = 990 seconds, or 16 and a half minutes; plus 30 seconds rest between the first and second, second and third and third and fourth circuits, totals about 18 minutes, leaving 2 minutes for switching from exercise to exercise within the circuits.

Special Instructions: Because you’re using machines and can switch weight effortlessly from set to set, take advantage by pushing yourself — select challenging weights, and if you fail mid-set, simply drop the weight by 10% or so and complete the prescribed reps. Choosing heavy enough weights to start each set that you need to drop mid-set will add an extra dimension of intensity to your session.