Its early in the week and that means you need a dose of ‘kick-ass’….
I find that too many people let life handle them, going with the flow and never fighting against the current or trying to swim. You only get out of life what you picture in your mind. Most people just have average thoughts and most people are therefore….you got it, just average.
I often picture myself sitting at a round table, talking with the idols of mine, picking their brains. Often at this table there is Arnold, Trump, Buddha, Jesus, 50 Cent, Martin Luther King, Lincoln and the characters often change. You might think this is crazy and you might stop reading right now, but can you imagine that I get to have these talks any time I want to?
This is one of the reasons that I am so big on reading about the greatest minds throughout history. It is like getting the chance to talk with them and as we know, physically this isn’t possible. But getting back to the talks I have in my mind…a researcher, Dr. Dennis Waitley showed way back that the nervous system can’t tell the difference between imagining something and actually doing it. This has been tested and proven in Olympic Athletes by the way. Read it again, I didn’t make it up.
So why the hell do most people never take advantage of this principle? If you want success, you must picture it in your mind over and over. When I was shooting 500 jump shots per day, I would picture many of the shots in my head before taking them and in bed at night, I would picture ‘nothing but net’. You know what happened? I could make jump shots without even being able to see the basket. Now, I can’t do that anymore because it simply is not a priority for me, but the principle remains. With bodybuilding, the same thing, pictured it in my mind day after day, all my actions went towards it and I won a championship. Same principle with my business, meeting Devon and marrying her.
I have used this principle every day of my life and it has served me well. Use it 10 minutes per day and get back to me in a month, a few months, a year and I bet you that you will be shocked about how much you accomplish…
So this blog today is going to be dedicated to Randy, Carl and Frank from Newell Strength. They were prodding me last night about why I am not a big fan of ‘cardio’ and then I realized that many of you may have never read my article from 4 years ago on the topic. At the very least, give it some thought and at the end I will have a few pics of what can be done in a very short period of time without any ‘cardio’. Enjoy.
THE AEROBIC FALLACY
I believe that it is part of my job as a fitness expert to bring the science to you. Much of what is currently out there is based in nothing but tradition and acceptance. I know that this weeks newsletter will come as a great surprise to the majority of you and you can do what you would like with the information that I am going to present in this edition. All I ask is that you at least give it some thought.
This may come as a shock to you, but to sculpt a lean, muscular, athletic and toned body, aerobic exercise is one of the worst ways to achieve this desired look. Aerobics means “with oxygen” and in terms of exercise, much of what is seen in the gym on the “cardio” equipment is aerobic. The reason I am quoting cardio is because cardio is not the same thing as aerobics, yet the two are used interchangeably everyday. All aerobic exercise is cardiovascular in nature, but not all cardiovascular exercise is aerobic. Cardio simply means any mode of exercise that stresses the cardiovascular system, so weight training is cardio too. Some other forms of aerobic athletics would include bicycling and marathons. Before I get into the science of this topic, just realize that aerobics did not become hugely popular until the late 70’s/early 80’s and the studies that were coming out regarding the benefits of aerobic exercise were funded and put out to the public by the companies that were making “cardio” equipment to put in all the gyms going up around the country. Think about the timing of everything, gyms did not start to become popular until this time when fitness was brought to the main stream by non other than one of my heroes, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hmm, so all of the sudden, when gyms started exploding in this country, aerobics became great for us and studies just “happened” to coincide with this time period? I have no problem with aerobics if the person truly enjoys it. It can be a very stimulating experience. My problem is with the misapplication of aerobics to sculpt the lean physique that so may of us are after.
For those of you that have seen Pumping Iron, notice that Arnold was in the best shape of his career, yet he performs no aerobics, just intense weight training and dieting. When Arnold made his comeback to the bodybuilding stage in 1980, he too had bought into the aerobics revolution and the physique he brought to the stage was the smallest, softest and out of shape of his entire career. Aerobics train the nervous system and musculature system to become slow, it stresses our type I muscle fibers (slow twitch and red ones, remember this for later on). These are not the fibers that we want to stress if our goal were to gain some muscle and lose body fat, those fibers would be the type II fibers (fast twitch and white). So already, you can see that if you are performing intense resistance training and performing hours a week of aerobics, you are stressing two different systems, not a good thing. Lets examine the chicken and the duck. Now, you know that dark meat has a lot more fat than white meat. The chicken is predominantly white meat and the duck is predominantly dark meat. What makes the meat dark is myoglobin, which carries oxygen molecules to the muscle for work. The duck can fly for thousands of miles and the chicken cannot even get off the ground for more than a few seconds, yet the chicken is much more muscular and lean. Ducks are aerobic and they store fat for use very effectively. Aerobics trains the body to become very efficient at using fat and storing fat, because the predominant fuel source in aerobic exercise is fat. Did you ever hear of the “fat burning zone”? Throw it out the window; it is quite possibly one of the most misleading pieces of fitness information ever! If your car is more efficient at using fuel, is it going to use more or less of it? The correct answer is less of it, great for your wallet, but not your body if we are talking about efficiency of fat use for exercise. We want the hummer engine, the big gas-guzzler, the most fuel inefficient car we can find to burn body fat. To equate this to exercise, we want high intensity exercise with rest interspersed. We want a very large oxygen deficit. In a study by Tremblay et al, it was demonstrated that high-intensity exercise, specifically intermittent, supramaximal exercise, is the most optimal for fat loss. There were two groups, the long slow distance aerobic endurance group (LSD) that was on their program for 20 weeks and the high intensity interval training (HIIT) group that was on a program for 15 weeks. The amount of energy utilized (calories) by the LSD group was DOUBLE that of the HIIT group: however, six skin fold measurements demonstrated greater loss in the HIIT group than the LSD group. When this was expressed on a per energy basis, the HIIT group’s reduction in skin folds was 9X greater than the LSD group! That is what you call more bang for your buck (Willey, 2007). The HIIT group created large post-exercise oxygen consumptions (EPOC), which can take up to 48 hours to your body to fully recover from. This is where fat loss occurs. Not during the hours spent on the treadmill. In another published study by R. Bahr, performed at the department of physiology at the National Institute of Occupational Health in Oslo, Norway, it was demonstrated that low-intensity (defined as 65% of maximum heart rate for less than 1 hour) led to a total EPOC of only 5 calories. On the other hand, intensive exercise-where heart rate was above 85% of maximum, led to EPOC values up to 180 calories (Staley, 2005). As I have said in the past, the body is incredibly adaptive. What used to take 30 minutes on the cardio equipment to burn 300 calories, will soon take 40 minutes, then 45, then 50 etc. What you are doing is creating the body to be a fat storing super efficient fat burning machine! Think about it, do all those people at the gym that slave on those machines ever seem to change? Maybe when they first start, but it has been shown that with this type of exercise, the body becomes almost completely adapted after the first eight weeks. Go to any 5K, marathon or bike race and 60-70% of the people that cross the finish line are fat.
If the body is more efficient at burning and storing fat, this will also equate to a lowered metabolism, again, not a good thing. We are looking for exercise that takes the body hours to recover from (large EPOC). You will not even be aware of this recovery, but if you were put in a lab, oxygen debt would still be elevated for a few hours to 48 hours! Did you ever notice that even after running a few miles, you could hold a conversation during it or immediately following it? The human body recovers very quickly from aerobic exercise. This is not optimal for fat loss. For those of you aerobic athletes, there was another study done by Tabata in Japan that showed anaerobic interval training actually caused greater increases in AEROBIC capacity, more so than the group that actually performed aerobic running! That is just a piece of information to use when you want to switch up your training and do some shorter duration type of stuff.
Which is leaner and more muscular, the marathon runner or sprinter?
Sprinters such as Ben Johnson of Olympic infamy were known to go to McDonalds and see how many Big Macs they could eat, often downing 5-6 without a problem and staying shredded. These athletes have created those big gas-guzzling machines I was talking about earlier. Look at gymnasts; they never do aerobics, yet it can be argued that they have the best physiques of any group of athletes out there. Their training consists of explosive high intensity bouts of exercise, often with nothing more than their body weight.
In a different capacity, aerobic athletes, most notably marathon runners, are the most injured group of athletes in the world. Every time the foot strikes the ground, 3-5X the body weight is applied in force up through the skeletal system, OUCH! The stress hormone cortisol is also produced in very large amounts when the body is constantly performing aerobics. Despite what you see on those silly commercials, cortisol is essential to the human body, but high amounts will cause the accumulation of body fat, most visibly around the mid-section. High cortisol will also negatively impact your adrenal glands over time. Distance runners who train upward of 100 miles per week do not expend more than 800 to 1300 “extra” calories each day above their normal energy requirements (McArdle, 2001). Does that sound it was like their time of investment?
How do you make sure your exercise is intense enough? If you can hold a conversation once a set or interval is completed, you are more than ready to go again. Remember, you are trying to create a deficit. What about the really heavy person that lost massive amounts of weight from their aerobics program? They would have lost weight doing any form of activity that took them out of their sedentary state. The composition of weight lost also needs to be looked at. If you are just performing cardio, your precious muscle is being used as a fuel source, thus it is completely common for people to lose tons of weight, yet be a fatter, smaller version of their former self. This will happen because the composition of weight lost will come from muscle and fat, not predominantly fat. Some of you might say, but Kyle, “I have seen you doing cardio and you told me to do it in the past.” That is correct, but I also used to have a tail and bangs for my haircut, times changes, so does knowledge.
To wrap this up, you might be wondering why I seem so passionate about this topic. Well, I am getting ready for another bodybuilding show and in years past, I too would spend hours on cardio equipment trying to get “ripped”. Needless to say, I didn’t like my return on investment and the muscle that was becoming smaller do to being trained in a slow manner. What would often happen to me from such extreme dieting and hours upon hours of aerobics is that I would gain 30-35 pounds the next week when the competition was over because I had succeeded in creating the perfect “Fat Storing Machine”. I went through every book I could get my hands on to find a better way. What I found was simple, through diet and high intensity resistance exercise with incomplete recovery (beginning the next set before oxygen is fully restored) has led to my best and biggest shape ever! I perform sprints a couple of days per week, but that usually only takes about 10 minutes. Now here is the interesting part, my back has been acting up going into spasm. On those days, you can still find me on the stair-master. Why? Because emotionally and mentally I felt that I needed it. I just said the key words; gym goers have become emotionally dependent on their “cardio” equipment, feeling that if they miss a session, they will get fat. Again, think about the results you have been getting and really think if they are worth it. Most aerobic training is dependent upon an emotional attachment to it.
I know that many of you will be resistant to this idea and this concept may not even catch on in my lifetime. But I did enjoy making you aware of this information!
If you like to run and jog and ride bikes, great go for it, I am all for it. As I said before, I am. Activity is awesome, any kind. Just realize what benefits you are trying to get from it. I have been studying and trying systems of resistance training that allow me to get as “shredded” as I need to, without stepping foot on any more cardio equipment. I hope that this issue was enlightening to you or at least interesting.
I figure I’d put it here first. This is an article I just wrote for a big site. Enjoy! -Kyle
Let me just give you some background on why and how I decided to write an article on how I train my pitchers and baseball players. First off, I recently went on my honeymoon and I literally had a dream on our first night in Fiji about some training protocols for my pitchers at Newell Strength. Secondly, I had phone interviews with Louie Simmons (one of the highlights of my career and a day I will never forget) and Jim Wagner (Trevor Bauer’s of UCLA’s private strength and pitching coach). Add this to the fact that more and more pitchers and baseball players have been finding their way over to me. If you were born in the 80’s or before, you most likely saw the movie, Major League, and if you saw it, then you remember Wild Thing. But how did Wild Thing get to be such an animal on the mound?
I wrote my thesis paper for my master’s on biomechanical aspects of the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint is a complex ball and socket joint. The joints of the shoulder include: glenohumeral joint, acromioclavicular joint, scapulothoracic joint, and the sternoclavicular joint. The rotator cuff is an anatomical term given to the four muscles that act to stabilize the shoulder. It holds the head of the humerus (ball) in the glenoid fossa (socket) (Neuman, 2002). One thing that is often overlooked by many strength coaches is the demands that are placed on the shoulder joint for an overhead athlete. The tremendous range of motion in the shoulder makes it extremely unstable, leading to a high rate of injury. Just a few more scientific terms, stay with me, it is useful to know some of this. The scapula (your wings-the big flat bones located on your lateral upper back) must internally and externally rotate and posterior tilt to maintain ball and socket kinematics (Plum, Van Cingel & Kibler, 2010). Many times, my baseball players will tell me that their shoulders are sore or just not feeling right. This can be due to possible impingement. Impingement is compression and abrasion of the rotator cuff structures during arm elevation (pitching). The supraspinatus has an internal moment arm of 1 inch for shoulder abduction-supporting the load by the hand about 20 inches distal to the glenohumeral joint (GH). The creates a mechanical advantage of 1:20! Meaning the supraspinatus must generate a force of 20x greater than the weight of the load! In addition to this, the shoulder has been shown to have a peak angular velocity of 7000°/second!
Ok, now that we got the science part, lets examine some ideas for a baseball player and pitchers workouts. First and foremost, it is essential to strengthen the external rotators because the internal rotators will grow exponentially stronger from so much throwing if nothing is done to correct the imbalance. This can be done through incline rear deal raises with a pause at the top, explosive dumbbell shoulder cleans, face pulls, scarecrows or reverse flyes with a band and pull aparts to name a few. I prefer to also have the baseball pitchers perform a lot of pulling rather than pressing. I find that many pitchers and players are weak in the upper back and strong and short in the chest. For pulling, we do a lot of TRX rows and variations of them, neutral grip pull-ups with the shoulders retracted and depressed just like in bench pressing and Prowler rows.
Also, because of many impingement problems found in pitchers, I like to stay away from too much pushing. The pushing that I do perform with these althletes includes: medicine ball pushups (activation of the upper back and scapular muscles and rotator cuff, alt. incline db pushups (for stability) and standing sled pushing with the sled behind.
Obviously, core training will be key, but we do not go overboard. We pick 2 exercises from the stability and bracing, anti-extension or anti-rotation category and perform them at the beginning of the workout. As for lower body development, we do a lot of dynamic squatting deadlifting along with box jumps. Because most of these athletes are high school age, I do not do a lot of 1RM work, but we do our max work through sets of 5 reps on the above exercises. Sled dragging is always essential in an athlete’s program for hip and posterior chain development. We focus a lot of posterior chain development and ‘hip-hinging’. You must not forget that in addition to pitching or playing the field, at this level, they also still must hit. So in addition to increasing throwing velocity, all my ball players have seen an increase in hitting power with the above program. Lastly, we work on the start of their 60 yard dash which is performed at their combines. The start is critical in any short sprint and for this, I can find no better reference than Joe D’s Mastering the Combine DVD. If you happen to have a stim machine, put it on your players shoulder region or elbow region, especially the day after throwing. For how to use stim on athletes, pick up a copy of the Charlie Francis’ Training System, he goes into great detail on it in his book. Fresh out of ideas, until next time!
Hope the holiday weekend was great! I got some much needed rest but I am back stronger than ever and will be bringing you guys some cool thoughts this week. I wanted to just show you guys what is possible with some dedicationa to a plan and having a qualified Coach in your corner. Mark has only been with me for a few weeks and he is one of the many men that come to the facility. His intensity is ferocious and even the athletes feed off of his energy. Take a look:
Way to go Mark! Get jacked!
It is amazing how some athletes will push themselves to the brink and some just want to be comfortable. For the comfortable guys, sorry, you can’t come to Newell Strength, lol. Seriously, to create adaptations, top level athletes will be on the border of overtraining constantly. This is why they should be coached and need a coach. A good Coach is like a doctor, prescribing the right dose at the right time and knowing when to back off.
A perfect example is dynamic day. Many athletes want to take their jumping exercises-yesterday was vertimax into box jump (20 total reps)-and do a lot more of it. Dynamic work is stressful on the CNS and you cannot confuse it with energy system development. Two different areas, two different purposes. On dynamic day, you are trying to get the nervous system to fire like a shotgun, BAMMMM! There is a reason my dynamic day for the athletes is at the end of the week (I know yesterday is not the end of the real week, but I am going away for a few days, so we had to fit it in). The reason for placement at the end of the week is because of the intensiveness on the CNS. This is an area that I am learning a great deal more about as I read Charlie Francis’ book. Another area I am exploring is manual tissue release for my athletes. I have a few guinea pigs I am testing this out on and if the results are good, and they look promising so far, you can expect a whole new modality as part of the training program at Newell Strength. Grow exponentially everyday people!
Guys, as you can see, Kentucky has one of the top teams in the country, not only because they have a great coach and some of the best recruits in the country every year, but look how hard these guys are working during the summer. Is there a crowd there? Are they on tv? No! These guys know how important it is to outwork their opponents. If you are a basketball player, you want the game to seem easy compared to your conditioning. The stronger player will always win in any sport. I have three different high school basketball teams already signed up at the Facility for this summer and you better believe there will be some fierce competition on those hot, humid summer day! Not because there is a crowd, but because the competitive spirit will rise to the top, another common trait amongst all great athletes. How could you not want to train hard when some of the top players in the county are training right next to you and they refuse to lose?
I am going on vacation for the week and will not be posting during that time. When I get back, it is time to rock and roll with the new Facility! I can just imagine it now, already have a professional mma fighter signed up, basketball teams, hockey players, lacrosse players and guys that just want to lift heavy s***! Be ready! -K
The TA stands for tough ass. That is right, conditioning should be tough. Are you in shape? Good, it should still leave you gasping for air asking what the heck just happened. Conditioning is not pretty and glamorous, but it should be done with the goal in mind of being in better condition than any of your opponents. You want game day to be easy. Conditioning can build mental toughness, physical stamina and help to get your body fat down. One of my favorite conditioners are shuttles. The shorter the distance, the harder they are. Think about it, you need to accelerate, decelerate, change direction and accelerate again. Think of a locomotive getting started, the hardest and most challeging part is getting going. Ok enough, I am off to do my shuttles before the rest of the day begins, great wake-up call!
I have a lot of the parents of my athletes ask me about speed and agility training and yes, it should be part of a program. However, not before proper strength and power are developed. Al Vermeil, the only strength coach to win rings in both the NFL and NBA has said that agility cannot really be trained. You can’t teach agility. Agility or changing direction while not stopping completely will be found when the athlete is stonger throughout the whole body, mainly in the lower body. If the athlete has stronger muscles to put the brakes on and then accelerate again, what are you left with? Agility. Same goes for speed, if you have a weak athlete you have slow athlete. The athlete must be stronge in the posterior chain first, core and upper body second, to be fast. Speed and agility camps that don’t first address the strength issue, body composition issue and eating are a waste of time. I can get my athletes faster without every taking them out to do sprints. Although I do work on speed and conditioning regularly, I am just making a point. Check these physiques out, who do you think is faster?
I was out in the early morning hours this morning on the local high school football field doing my sprints. I will be doing my conditioning on the mornings that I don’t lift as it compliments the program nicely. This morning I did two 400 yard sprints and two 300 yard sprints. That adds up to be 1400 yards. Then on the way home, I remembered something that strength coach, Dan John once said….he never has his athletes do more that 1200 yards in a workout. Now that does not mean to go jog 4 laps and call it a day. I can think of hundreds of different ways to perform a volume of 1200 yards total that would make you puke just thinking about (puking is never the goal). So three 400s would have been a little more appropriate this morning. This weekend it will be shuttle runs (300 yards, 4 times, give it a try and let me know if you survive). Now, this is not set in stone, but a good way to start out. Once you become a beast, we can up the volume for a few weeks at a time. It depends on your sport and goal too. But doing eighteen 110 meter sprints for a football conditioning test is plain stupid. Many college teams do this and I have no idea how it correlates to the field. Anyway, that is besides the point. Stick to the protocol for now. Check out coach Dan John’s DVD here (highly recommended):