So this is something I see a lot in the fitness industry. Planks being performed incorrectly, even when taught by personal trainers. People's posture is all wrong, either their ass is too high in the air, meaning they get very little benefit from the movement or their hips are sagging in the middle, putting a great deal of pressure on the lumbar spine.
In the video I share with you a great little adjustment, where you can really target your abs and improve your strength and stability in the plank position.
WARNING! THIS WILL CAUSE YOUR ABS TO WORK VERY HARD
I know that shoulder pain can be a real nightmare, especially for those who lift weights and are trying to achieve a certain goal. This annoying and niggling injury can really affect a lot of your exercises and restrict your progress.
Having gone through this exact same thing this year I know how frustrating it can be. In the video below I share with you the most effective rehab strategy I used to improve my own shoulder function and show you how to integrate into your workouts to help you get back to training at full tilt again.
I hope you enjoy the video.
If you would like any further help with shoulder pain or any other type of injury, please get in touch via the contact page as I would be more than happy to help.
Please feel free to leave a comment as I would love to know what you thought of the video and how you got on with this exercise technique.
Check out the video below to view my Faster Fat Loss Circuit. This is a great resource that is perfect for you guys who don't really like the gym and would prefer to train at home.
All you need is a pull up bar and a box and your ready to go. Keep the intensity of all the movements high and make sure you watch the credits section a t the end of the video that will give you instructions into how to perform the workout for optimum results.
I hope you enjoy the video.
Hopefully you enjoyed the workout in the video. If this looks like the type of training that you would enjoy and you have been considering hiring an online coach, why not give our free 21 Day Shred Faster Challege a try. Its a 21 Day program that will get you dropping around 10lbs while improving your overall strength and fitness.
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So this is a part of the training process that still has some contentious issues. Most notably, whether stretching will help you recover after exercise. What is absolutely nailed on in terms of science though is the 15-20 minute window we have to consume the right combination of protein and carbs to help us establish better protein synthesis and ultimately better muscle growth and fat loss.
So let’s try and put everything together so we can come up with a definitive list of what exactly works. What will help you recover faster, ache less and stimulate as much muscle growth and fat loss as possible.
1. Don’t Stretch post workout
This is basically a waste of time. It will probably make you sorer and won’t really make any difference to your muscle building or fat loss results. Check out the link to one of my previous articles where I talk a little bit more about stretching and what works best (click here). So basically you can skip this and spend less time in the gym, meaning more time to recover, relax and grow.
2. Get a good combo of protein and carbs into your system as soon as humanly possible.
Now the research into how much varies but as a rule, anything between 2-40g of protein and 40-60g of carbs will do just fine. You can do this through food but after a really tough session most people don’t really feel like consuming a meal. This is where a good recovery shake can come into play.
There are a number of these on the market but I tend to go with this one from The Protein Works which has really given me and my clients good results.
If you would like to purchase Recovery Protein from The Protein Works or find out more, click the link below
The Protein Works Recovery Protein
3. Move more: Get in some active recovery
This is a big one, recovering from a high intensity workout means there will be a lot of lactic acids and waste products floating around your system that you need to get out. One of the jobs of the muscular system, especially in the legs is to aid blood flow and removal of waste products via the lymphatic system. Activities like underwater running, and low grade dynamic mobility drills have been proven to aid this and help speed up active recovery between bouts of high intensity training.
Sounds obvious but we need to be getting around 7-9 hours of sleep every 24 hours. When we sleep we are in the best possible state to promote both physical and mental repair. This amount will not only help our bodies recover between training sessions but also keep our metabolism at optimum levels for fat loss. Another benefit of this amount of sleep is that it helps out brains repair mentally too. Helping our stress levels to stay low, keeping our cortisol levels down and our testosterone levels up.
5. Train Smarter
Keep your training programs short sharp and intense and don’t over-train. 40-50 mins of high intensity training about 3-4 times per week is optimal to develop good improvements in fitness and body composition. Most of us are just normal guys who want to stay in shape and we can get pretty awesome results without feeling like we live at the gym. Don’t get me wrong, if your goal is to compete in body building or any other sport at a high level then you are going to have to train more than this but to get lean and strong, this amount of sessions and time will be enough. In fact, one of the ways I helped my client Greg get in awesome shape was by doing just this. Limiting his training to no more than 4 sessions per week and cutting down the amount of time he was spending in the gym (click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to check out his results).
So I hope this has helped clear a few things up for you and helped you get some clarity into not only what works well for recovery but also how to structure your gym visits to avoid overtraining and allowing your body enough time to recover sufficiently to promote fat loss and growth.
I would love to help…
If you like the content of the blog and would like even more help to get you to your training goals I would love to talk to you. Click on the button below to get in touch and schedule a free strategy call.
Here I can help you set out meaningful and achievable goals and give you a blueprint of how exactly you can achieve them.
I will look forward to hearing from you soon.
In the video below I take you through some of my top mobility drills to help mobilise your ankles and hips to allow you to squat deeper, keep good form and ultimately go heavier.
I know the squat is a pretty individual exercise with everyone having slightly different mechanics and compensatory patterns, so while these drills may not work for everyone, they have proven to be a really effective base in helping a lot of my clients get better at squatting.
Integrate them into your warm and perform them regularly for best results and please let me know how you get on in the comments below.
See you next time, Darren
As a follow on from the faster-six-pack-solutions.html blog post I wrote a few weeks ago I though I would put this short video together to give you a few more ideas of the type of movements and exercises I use with my clients to create a stronger and more functional core.
There are literally thousands more movement variations to access but here is a run through of my top 5.
Give them a go and comment in the box below to let me know what you think.
This is something I talk to my face to face clients about a great deal. Especially when they ask me questions like…
“Why don’t we stretch at the end of the session?”
“Shouldn’t we do a warm down so I don’t ache as much?”
The fact of the matter is simple
“STRETCHING AT THE END OF YOUR TRAINING SESSION IS A WASTE OF TIME AND PROBABLY WILL MAKE YOU MORE SORE”
Now as with all the articles I write, this is not just me making stuff up because it suits my purpose. There is a pretty significant amount of evidence around to suggest that this is the case. Check out the links in the reference list at the end of the post to take a look at some of the most up to date research on this subject.
Warm Up Versus Cool Down
So having read the introduction, I’m pretty sure you know where I am going with this one and I will get straight to the point. The warm up is potentially the most important part of your training session and should take up about a third of your training time.
At Faster Fitness Solutions, we are a big advocate of short sharp and intense training sessions to build muscle and drop fat. Our average sessions last around 45 mins so 15 minutes of this will be dedicated to a warm up. Why? Because a well thought out warm up that includes dynamic stretching with a gradual build up in intensity has been proven to improve functional performance (power output, speed, strength and co-ordination) as well as helping you to avoid injury.
I just Want to train to get leaner and more muscular. How does this affect me?
Well the answer to this one is simple. In order to get you more muscular, help you to reduce body fat and help you look more defined we need to be achieving 2 things.
1. We need to get you performing to the best of your ability in every training session. Giving you the ability to lift more, produce more power and go through bigger ranges of motion in all your exercises will ensure you get greater benefits from your training.
2. We need to keep your training consistent and keep you injury free. Being persistent and consistent with your training will ensure you can keep on getting better. Keeping you injury free is a massive part of that. A superior quality mobility and warm up routine will ensure you can achieve optimal technique for all the exercises in your program, making sure you target the right muscles and preventing you from getting injured.
Post Stretching and DOMS
Magrath, Whitehead and Caine, 2014
Herbert, Noronha, Kamper, 2011
Dawson et al, 2005
Dynamic Stretching and the warm up
Ramachandran et al, 2014
Herman et al, 2008
Little and Williams, 2006
Macmillian et al, 2006
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5 Reasons a high protein breakfast will accelerate your muscle building and fat loss...
So you have all probably heard the sayings
“Six packs are made in the kitchen”
“We are what we eat”
“Eat big to get big”
“You cannot out-train a bad diet”
Well unfortunately these all ring true. The mere fact that you are reading this blog post tells me that to at least some degree, you want to drop body fat and build muscle mass. If that is the case then your diet and the things you put into your mouth are a vital ingredient in how successful you will be. When I talk to clients, they all seem to get this point. They know, as I am sure you do that nutrition is important. What they find difficult however, is understanding what works and how they can fit this into their lifestyle so they can stick to it and create sustainable and long-term changes.
Breakfast is a hugely important part of any nutrition regime especially when it comes to getting bigger and leaner. So here are my top 5 reasons why we need to ditch the cereals and instead go for tasty high protein breakfasts that will get our results motoring.
1. High protein breakfast make you feel fuller for longer. In a study by the AJCN (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) it was found that high protein breakfasts reduced the secretion of Ghrelin (the hormone responsible for hunger stimulation) which will stop you feeling hungry and prevent you from craving high carbs/sugar snacks.
2. High protein breakfasts help you target belly fat. It has been found in a study by Loenneke et al (2012) that high protein diets lead to a targeted loss of abdominal fat. So guys, if you want to get rid of that beer belly, then I suggest that it’s time to make the switch.
3. Your body starts to catabolise protein as you sleep. Basically your body starts to go into a fasting state in the final hours of your sleep. This is where the term “break-fast” comes from. A high protein breakfast will help you quickly reverse the effects of this and put you in a position where you can get your metabolism firing faster, putting you in the right state to burn fat and build lean muscle
4. You need to consume a higher intake of protein to stimulate muscle growth. Dependant on your goals, anything up to 2g of protein per Kg of body weight is required to stimulate muscle growth. For the average guy, around 1.5g/kg will do the trick. Getting started early in the day means that this is a much more achievable target compared to eating a carb based breakfast
5. High protein breakfast recipes are usually healthier all round. So not only do these recipes have higher concentrations of protein, they are usually accompanied by other good food choices such as fruit and vegetables, beans and pulses that have a huge number of other health benefits. So making this change will mean that you are not just helping yourself to hit your protein targets, you are also helping yourself to pack your bodies full of amazing vitamins and mineral to further ensure you stay healthy and feel ready to train harder.
Free Faster Abs Recipe Book
So now you know the importance of a good protein rich breakfast, why not let me help you out even further by supplying some great recipe ideas that will allow you to implement the information in this blog post straight away.
Not only is my Faster Abs Recipe Book packed full of great breakfast ideas, there are also some great ideas in there for lunches and dinners and even some healthy snack ideas for when you are peckish between meals.
Click on the button below to download your copy now!
How integrated training will help you get a six pack without having to spend ages doing crunches or leg raises
At Faster Fitness Solutions we specialise in helping guys who are short on time get quick and effective workout that helps them maximise their results. With this in mind, I thought I would ask the question…
Do we really need to be wasting time lying down and training our abs at the end of a workout?
Now there is nothing wrong with doing this other than the fact that it isn’t very time efficient also, when we look at the relationship between traditional core stability exercises and their effect on athletic performance the research doesn’t really support their effectiveness. In fact most of the research suggests that traditional core training may only play a slight role in performance improvements but certainly does not warrant spending a significant amount of time on (Okada et al 2011, Shamrock et al 2011, Thomas, Nesser and William 2009).
So, let’s be straight, I am not saying the core isn’t important and if we are honest, we all want a six pack don’t we? What I am saying is there are ways of integrating and training your core in far more functional ways that you can directly include in your workout. By simply adding some movement and functional tweaks into your training you can target your core while still getting great strength and muscle building training into the rest of your body.
Check out the video below where I take you through an uneven barbell training matrix that will not only give you a great six pack but also give you a great shoulder and leg workout in a very small amount of time. So there will be no need to waste time on endless crunches, planking or sit ups.
Uneven Barbell Matrix
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Darren has over 10 years experience in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, sports injury therapist and most recently as an educator to other trainers. Originally from South Wales, he went to Liverpool University to study Sports Science and liked the city so much, he decided to stay. Since finishing his degree he set up a thriving personal training and injury rehab business which continues to this day. He has recently moved over to Denby Dale in West Yorkshire and has opened Faster Fitness Solutions, a multi-purpose training and rehabilitation facility located in the heart of the village.