It is May here in Minnesota and the temperature is 2 rat’s hairs above freezing. This type of weather has me questioning why I live here in the frozen tundra. Penguins are running around laughing at me…..ok, so it is not that bad YET!
As luck would have it, my furnace went out this past Thursday. I was hoping to wait for a bit due to summer, but perhaps that is not the best idea now as I have my long underwear on and I need to keep my hands moving so they don’t freeze off. Good thing for you as that means another article!
I am not right in the head as I did not make time to have someone look at my furnace this past weekend (you know what they charge you on a weekend? yikes) so that I can help out at the Movement’s Biomechanics of Physique Enhancement. It was another amazing certification with excellent teaching (hat’s off to Frankie Faires) and more amazing Movement candidates that came from all over the country. Seeing the Movement grow and people busting plateaus warms my heart (which is good since it is freaking cold in here now).
The Problem: Progress Has Stalled
One core concept it is EXPECTED to make PERPETUAL PROGRESS.
Yes, you read that right. Continual progress towards your physique and performance goals.
Sounds nutty doesn’t it?
Are you stuck at a never ending plateau? Have your lifts not gone up since Obama became president? Since Bush? Since Hillary did not look like a wax caricature? Palin said something intelligent? (ok that is a really long time)
Are you trying harder and harder only for little to no results and a visit from the pain monster? Elbows creaky like the tin man?
I’ve been there too and it sucks large moose balls. Not any fun.
You try harder and harder, only to see very slow progress.
I am here to help you out with 3 key things that will make a massive difference. Unfortunately these took me years to learn (read: steal from others) and I don’t want you to go through the same process (read: I am a nice guy).
1) Test Your Movements
Everything you do is either making you better or worse
You get to decide which one.
Do more movements that make you better.
Pretty simple, eh?
You can determine if a movement is good for you by measuring your range of motion (ROM) before and after an exercise.
More ROM = good exercise (green light)
Less ROM = not so good exercise (red light)
You can use a toe touch, arm raise, any ROM can work. Just stop at the first sign of any tension and measure the distance. Do an exercise and remeasure. It will either be a green or red light.
Go for the greens!
2) Stop Trying So Hard!
If it was only as easy as trying harder, you would not be stuck at a plateau and everyone in Planet Fitness across the world would be making scary progress.
I too was convinced that trying hard(er) was the key.
Heck, I paid several top coaches who confirmed this “fact”!
Very little difference in muscle, strength and more pain. A lot more pain.
At one point, washing my face in the sink was an exercise in mobility to get my feet far apart enough and to slowly lower my face to the sink without causing any low back pain.
I was up to over an hour of foam rolling, static stretching, dynamic mobility work and joint mobility just to start at a very low weight and go up to my working weight over 3-8 sets.
Yes, all of this BEFORE I really “started” to exercise.
My typical gym session was 2.5 hours.
Finally I said enough was enough and opted to try a different path. I could no longer look at my results (or lack there of) and justify it as “progress.”
At the time I was working with Z-Health and decided to try that approach full stop since I did not have anything to lose.
I remember sitting a dinner with Dr. Cobb of Z-Health and I asked him point blank “If you were me, and you know my issues, what would you do?”
His response was “fire your coach and try this!”
So, being the wise man that I was, I decided to do just that. The main thing I did differently in the gym was to stop all sets as soon as breathing or tension is increased.
At first this seemed really foreign. I FELT like I was not doing anything. It felt too easy.
But, I was determined to keep going forward and despite not pulling any heavy deadlifts, I added 25 lbs to my max deadlift in 5 months. Previous to this, I was stuck at the same weight for well over a year, despite keeping it as my main goal!
Stop trying so hard and you will thank me later. Try has nothing to do with it. Test it.
3) Progressive Overload
Unfortunately, while I made great progress during that phase, I forgot to keep in overload! The only type of overload I was using consistently was intensity based—the heaviest weight I could lift for a single rep.
While this is good, we all know that you can’t add weight to the bar every session or every week forever.
If we could, there would be people pulling double to triple bodyweightdeadlifts at every gym. Heck, most gyms you can’t even find someone lifting anything off the ground, period. Oh, and Planet Fitness will kick you out for that too since, yikes, we don’t want people progress too fast and scare other members.
The key is PROGRESSIVE overload.
Work to add 1) more volume (weight x sets x reps)
2) density (volume / time) and 3) intensity.
This may not happen all in the same session, but EACH one of those is a form of overload.
Your body will respond to it. As my buddy Frankie says “Adaptation has no off switch”
The typical progression that I see for exercises and overload is Volume, volume, volume, density, intensity.
You will probably be different, but that is a rough starting point.
Follow these 3 key factors and I can guarantee you will be adding more muscle, strength and dropping fat too in record time, all with less pain
No more Tin man for you!
While this is not an exhaustive list, it is a great starting point; so time for action.
Give me 10 comments by tomorrow, Wed May 4 at 5pm, and I will be back with 2 more huge tips for you then. Just place a comment below right now and let me know what you think on this!
If you want me to personally guide you to more muscle, strength and less fat and pain; I have only a few spots left for much much less than I normally charge. Go to this link now Click HERE for Guaranteed Results (time sensitive)