Basically why this video (below) took so long is for the past lets say month or two months of a hideous viral infection like many other people, just kind of affected with low energy levels so I was trained and whatever I have to do.
However my training sessions are still included good amount of Z Health mobility work to improve my movement. Specifically some of the drills Mike had given me. Also during the past while doing lifts or exercises, my body has given me good feed back on going ahead and what to do for that day.
I am very happy to be able to say with even with all this stuff going on I have been able to still maintain my standard 32 kilo and 36 kilo press pretty easily.
Also during this time frame, I have put on about 5 pounds of muscle and have actually going down some body fat as well.
Doctor has asked me if I have been taking anything and I just basically told some pressing and drills, they just don’t really get it.
So if you get chance, I recommend you schedule session withMike, whether its at a workshop by going and seeing him.
If you can’t make it out to him, make sure that you do read his blog, make sure you also sign up for his newsletter. Its a great resource to have and thanks.
—George Samuelson, RKC II, CK-FMS, NASM-CPT, Z Health
A huge thanks to George for the great testimonial and it was a pleasure to work with him when he was here in Minnesota. If you are in the NJ area, be sure to contact him at his website This Feels Good.
What are you waiting for? Email Mike T Nelson by clicking HERE today to get started on moving, feeling and performing better! Click HERE now!
Biofeedback Training Via Gym Movements and Spiked Kettlebell Swings
Thanks for all the great orders of the Gym Movements DVD. Much appreciate it from everyone! The comments have been great too and it is amazing to hear from people in Kangaroo Land (Australia), Kiwis (New Zealand), Canada, the UK, Serbia and many other places including the good ole USA too. I love it.
Dave “the Athlete Creator” and I had a great bench session last night via biofeedback (as explained in the Gym Movements DVD) and ended up training for over 2 hours! We did some Z-Health joint mobility to warm up and then did some bench, board work, and inverted rows. We even threw in some random kettlebell work last night including double kettlebell clean and 1 arm cleans with Sparky (aka the Bulldog, the 40 kg KB).
If you want to really add some stress to the glutes and hamstrings (posterior chain for you geeks), have a partner add a push (eccentric load) on the kettlebell swing. Start out with a lighter push and then crank it up from there. Keep your kettlebell swing form the same though. Don’t call and complain if your glutes and hamstrings are so sore it makes sitting down the next day difficult. Good times!
The PR Train Rolls On
Despite getting an all time PR last week on the bench, I added another PR by adding 3 reps to my reverse band bench work even after doing 9 sets of singles around 90% 1 RM (all done with a pause and audio commands). My plan now is to keep working more pause work at the chest to get that up to my touch and go PR and one step closer to my 2010 goal of bench pressing 240 x 1 in competition at the Twin Ports Open in June of this year.
Notice that I did not PR again in the exact same lift (although that can happen), but it was a similar lift. You can almost always PR in some direction EVERY session!
Small, consistent steps forward day in and day out = huge gains over time!
Even though Dave had not done any deadlift or really any lower body work for almost 4 months, he ended up pulling 7 singles over 90% of his 1 rep max on his first lower body day back. Needless to say, he was sore for days afer it.
Constant progress can be made, but it may not always be
on the exact same lift at the exact same parameters. The key is to make sure you are always going in the right direction. Make sure your ladder is against the correct wall before scaling it!
If you missed the last post on the special limited time offer on the Gym Movements DVD on how to use biofeedback, check it out below as it expires tomorrow (Thurs Feb 4) at midnight (central standard time).
Guest post on Training for Females by Brian Copeland
Today I have a special guest post from my buddy Brian Copeland in Colorado. Brian was actually an assistant when I did my RKC back in October 2007 on Brett Jones’s team. Fast forward a few years and Brian was at the RKC assisting again when I was assisting this past June here in Minnesota.
Sit back and let Brain explain why females need to train hard and don’t believe all that crap about only using the pink dumbbells. I routinely have women using the 16 kg kettlbell for swings within a 1-2 sessions to start.
Take it away Brian……
Getting Tone but NOT Big for Female Trainees
By Brian Copeland, RKC, PFS, Z-Health Performance Coach
My female clients always say the same thing to me; “I don’t want to get big and bulky.” Well… you probably couldn’t even if you wanted to! In this article I am going to cover some basic concepts to getting tone and healthy without getting big or bulky
Concept 1 – Hormones:
Women by nature are lower in the hormone testosterone; this is the hormone that is responsible for the image of oversized men with large heads, no necks, hairy backs and bad tempers. It is in fact the hormone that helps people build muscle; that is why many professional athletes take legal or illegal substances to increase their testosterone level beyond natural levels.
Ladies, if professional athletes have to increase their level of testosterone to get “big” then as long as you don’t take steroids you will be fine. You just don’t produce enough of the hormone to get manly looking; in fact if you put any muscle on it will only improve your hourglass figure.
As international strength and conditioning coach Mike Mahler says,
“Getting too big is like having too much money; it isn’t going to happen!”
Concept 2 – Body Fat Level:
High body fat is almost always the culprit in looking bulky or big. In reality a woman who puts on muscle and looses some body fat will look leaner; here is why. Muscle weighs twice as much as fat per volume. That means if your right butt cheek weighed 4 lbs from fat but your left one weighed 4 lbs from muscle, your left one would be half the size!!!
Putting on muscle and dropping the fat is the fast track to looking thin. Now remember, women do not gain a lot of muscle so you will probably replace the 4 lb right butt cheek with a 1 or 2 lb butt cheek. Just make sure to replace both cheeks at the same time ok!
Mike’s note. Don’t believe Brian, check out this video below
Ok, back to Brian…
Now what about too low of body fat? Have you ever seen a female professional bodybuilder who has veins on her stomach? That is because her body fat is super low, as low as 3%. Now I’m a pretty lean guy with a six-pack and I’m over twice that level of body fat to give you an idea. It is completely not natural for a woman or a man to be that lean. To get that lean those professional bodybuilders (there is that word ‘professional’ again) must work SUPER hard and eat SUPER strict and take TONS of supplements. Plus they usually can only make themselves look like that for a couple of days or even just a couple of hours before their body fat increases up to a healthier level.
So to summarize, if you don’t want to look like a man, lower your body fat to a feminine level (when you think you look good), increase muscle as much as you can and don’t worry about dropping to a bodybuilder level of body fat because most people aren’t disciplined enough to even come close to that level
Concept 3 – Strength Training:
There are plenty of good intentioned but uninformed people who are more than willing to offer quick and easy advice about fitness, unfortunately they almost never know what they are talking about. Even worse are the countless articles written in women’s magazines by self proclaimed fitness experts who will tell you what you want to hear in order to sell the magazine. Things like, “Walk Your Way To Skinny” or “The 2-Minute Per Day Fitness Program To Getting A Lean And Sexy Body.” WOW, sign me up! That easy huh? Well, in reality anything in life worth pursuing requires some work. There are no free lunches folks!
Conversely an interesting fact is that getting a lean and sexy body does not have to take a lot of time and it does not have to hurt when you do it. If you are attending spinning classes for 2 hours a day or doing countless fire hydrants to make your buns firm then I’m here to tell you stop wasting your time! There is a better, more effective, faster way!
There are two types of training that should be considered for the non-athlete who wants to improve the way their body looks, cardio training and strength training.
Many women are scared of strength training because they associate it with big bulky muscles. We have already covered why women will not get big and bulky so let’s cover what real strength training is, what it is not and what it will do for you.
What it is:
Training with fairly heavy weight or a fairly challenging exercise
If you can lift it more than 7 times, it is too easy (light)
Exercises that use as many muscles at once as possible
Brief, intense and over with very quickly
What it is not:
Training with light easy weights or exercises that don’t really challenge you
If you can lift it more than 10 times, it is way to easy to do you any good (there are exceptions to this rule but that is for another topic)
Isolation exercises like dumbbell curls or thigh machines
Long, drawn out, exhausting workouts leaving you feeling like crap
What real strength training will do for you:
Create muscle tone
Make you healthier and… stronger of course
Prevent injuries and teach to you lift heavy or awkward object without hurting yourself
Make daily life activities easier to perform. Such as picking up the baby’s car seat, with the baby in it, picking up groceries out of your trunk, etc.
Pavel Tsatsouline, an internationally sought after strength and conditioning coach says, “Strength and tone training are the same thing.” If you want to get strong, use heavy weight but don’t do a lot of set or reps. Sets and reps will tear down the muscle and will cause the body to go into survival repair mode. In order to survive your next brutal workout it will replace your old muscle with more muscle! Lifting heavy weight a few times and then going home will make you stronger and more tone without adding any bulk.
Why am I having trouble getting buns of steel?
The glutes have a lot of strength and leverage. When you see a powerlifter squat or deadlift a bar bending load, it is the incredibly strong glutes that do most of the lifting. When you do butt squeezes, fire hydrants or any other silly moves popular in muscle sculpting classes you are not even coming close to the potential of your glutes’ strength. If you were not challenging the glutes why would they get more tone?
If you are ‘feeling the burn’ and think that you are accomplishing something, all you are experiencing is a build-up of lactic acid in the muscles and does nothing for the tone of your muscles. The way you feel has nothing to do with if you are physiologically improving yourself.
Don’t believe me? In the Guinness Book of World Records look up a picture of ‘Captain American’ who holds the world record for the most consecutive number of sit-ups, about 25,000! This dude sure must have felt the burn more than anyone but he does not even have a six-pack to show for it, even at his low level of body fat!
Concept 4 – Cardio Training:
The final concept I’ll talk about is cardio training. I won’t spend much time here but in summation, 20-30 minutes of cardio max is what the doctor ordered, literally! Dr. Al Sears the Director of The Center for Health and Wellness in south Florida who has helped over 15,000 patients overcome heart disease and loose weight says those long cardio sessions such as marathon running are incredibly bad for your health. The constant pounding on your joints is bad for your feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back.
It also decreases muscle mass (as is apparent from looking at any big time marathon runner) and guess what… the heart is made of muscle. Long aerobic sessions will decrease the size of the heart itself which in turn makes the heart more susceptible to heart attacks. The heart will beat until the day you die, no pun intended. You do not need to train it to beat longer; you need to train it to handle larger volumes of blood and oxygen through brief and intense cardio exercise. Have you ever seen a movie where bad news is delivered to someone and they grasp their heart, and then keel over from a heart attack. Well, that is what you need to strengthen your heart to do, keep beating when sudden intense spikes in the heart’s output is demanded.
Dr. Sears recommends brief and intense interval style training to strengthen the heart. A way to accomplish this is with High Octane Cardio. 1-minute of moderate cardio exercise followed immediately by 30 seconds of intense cardio, followed by a 1-minute rest. Then repeat the 1-minutes moderate followed by the 30 second intense, rest again and repeat.
As always consult a doctor before beginning any type of training program, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions which may put you at risk.
About Brian Copeland
Brian Copeland is a certified Z-Health Movement Reeducation and Integration Specialist, RKC certified kettlebell instructor and Progressive Fighting Systems certified Martial Arts instructor. Brian specializes in helping women and men integrate fitness into their lifestyle, eliminating aches and pains and improving their athletic performance.
Last time we talked about a super cool research study that looked at muscle and connective tissue hypertrophy. This time there will not be any of those big words and we will check out the lifting world and see if the meatheads had already figured this out years ago (like most things, the answer is yes!).
Ever notice how old school mechanics have massive forearms?
I decide to pull the elusive professional Strongman Adam T Glass out of his cold and dark cave in Minot, ND to get his thoughts on muscle and tendon strength. Take it away Adam
Mike, first of- great article. My thoughts will come from my direct experience and the progress of my students. So whatever that is worth here it comes
Is frequency with the lift clearly a key element for tendon development?
My first thought is absolutely. For example, the only people i see day to day whose wrist tendons look like mine are men who work with hammers and tools all day- the farmers out here.
Is load important for tendon development?
I believe load is the key. I work with some bone heads who curl literally every day. They are typical weekend warriors. A “workout” is bench press and curl. That means 185 on the bar and the partner does all the lifting “Its all you bro” for sets of 10. The curls range from mildly good w/35-40lbs to some wild $hitty looking cleans with 50’s and 60’s. So naturally i introduce them to the plate curl.-
95% of the men i show a plate curl to are unable to curl a 25 for 1-2 reps. Only one man has ever curled a 35 in front of me– Freak show Mark Wilson- A man who has spent most of his life lifting dry wall, swinging a hammer and other stuff. (Editor’s note, if you are in the ND Fargo area, look up Mark Wilson RKC for training HERE)
If frequency is the key element, and SO many men do curls as their primary fitness vehicle, why is the plate curl so challenging for them?
At first i though it was the thumb pinch but every time they complain their wrist tendons hurt when they try it, they are simply not strong enough to handle the force. So in my opinion, based upon what i have seen– load has to play a role in this, but i have not tested enough to have any clear data to say the extent. –Adam T Glass
Special thanks to Adam for his words of wisdom above! Be sure to check him out on his blog below and if you are in Minot ND, you MUST get your butt in to see him and train.
I have noticed that on wrist curls my wrist (and others too) tend to “bend too much” and not stay straight. This shuts down the muscles of the arm via the arthrokinetic reflex as talked about last time. “Jammed joints = muscular weakness”
Frequency and Load
Some of you are now rolling your eyes into your head muttering “This is nothing new” and you would be correct. To others, this is earth shattering since it is rarely talked about in the popular media. Chad Waterbury and Jason Ferroggia had a disccusion like this one below
You need to work to add more weight over time. Keep track of your PRs (personal records) for your major lifts. I have PRs for rack pulls, bench, DB bench, reverse bench, kettlebell press,kettlebell snatch, etc I have about 20+ PRs that I regularly track. I am always looking to add more load and/or reps over time. Just the other night I was not feeling like lifting, but I made it to the gym and after some Z-Health joint mobility work I started out on my main lifts of low rack pulls and kettlebell presses. Everything felt good and tested good (but not great) and over time it started to get better. I opted for an old PR on the rack pull and added 2 reps to a 1 rep max weight and also did a bottoms up kettlebell press on my left side with the 24 kg kettlebell for a PR! I felt great after that! Make it fun and chart progress. You do have a training journal, right?
Chad Waterbury has talked about this before too and if you want to bring up a lift, and easy way is to add some bodyweight drills. Since my bench is stalling a bit and I don’t have tons of time to add more bench work in right now, I am doing 50 pushups each day for a week, and then the following week I will bump it up to 60, etc. I also added inverted rows (from a TRX or a straight bar) to keep it balanced out. My goal is to get to 50 per day, and that may be sets of 10, 8, 15,,and it doesn’t matter.
Finger Lifting: Note, this is advanced, which means don’t go out and try this at home right away with a heavy weight. You may find it is the last time you do any finger lifting. Like all things, the dose is most important and start very very light and build up the load and frequency over time. Adam has been done this MUCH longer than you; so you are for warned.
Frequency + Load = Bigger Muscles and more strength
We have outlined some great options for you to add some size and strength around this Holiday season.
Drop me a line and let me know how it is going and what PRs you are going to break!