January was a busy month for me and I didn’t get many opportunities to work on the blog. Between training hours, university classes, and my own lifting I’ve been writing less, but I’d like to sum up my experiences in one concise post to share what I’ve been up to.
January 10th and 11th – NSCA Coaches Conference
This was a spectacular event. I made the drive from Cleveland to Indianapolis (roughly 5 hours) for the two day conference and had a great time. The presenters were enthusiastic and passionate and I got to try some some awesome new equipment that was brought in by exhibitors. A few things really stood out to me.
The Power Squat Pro from Rogers Athletic Company was an amazing piece of equipment. Even though I never get to use plate loaded machines in my training (my gym doesn’t have any), I think they’re pretty cool. I’m honestly not sure there’s a simpler back builder than the good ole hammer strength row machine! But seriously, this one was impressive and functional. I saw maybe 6-8 people get on this thing, and everyone (both guys and girls with different limb lengths) were able to squat below parallel with a neutral spine. You can also also tailor the loading to favor a more hip dominant or knee dominant squat. I was able to notice a significant difference in muscle activity after trying out both loading techniques.
Here’s a video demonstration.
I also got to try out a Tsunami Barbell for a set of bench presses. The bendiness of these bars is pretty unusual but they challenge you in a very unique way.
During the eccentric portion of a bench press, the plates on the bar continue to move down even after the middle of the bar has reached your chest. This forces you to rapidly decelerate the load as you begin the next press. When you reach the top, the plates on the bar should continue moving above your hands. At that point you must decelerate the load by pulling the bar back down to your chest. The faster you move the bar, the more you can feel the oscillatory effects.
Here’s a pretty good demonstration of 10 rep set with 135. This is perfectly fine, but I would suggest moving the bar with much more speed. The muscle contractions that I felt once I had a good rhythm going were intense and powerful.
The last one I felt was notable was the wattbike. Without a doubt it was the smoothest cycling machine I’ve been on. It monitors way more than a regular gym goer would ever need to know, but it’s pretty impressive. Most interesting to me was how it could measure the effectiveness of your strides. Ideally, you’ll be distributing force evenly throughout the cycle between both legs. It doesn’t take long to notice that this is actually very difficult to do and every harder to maintain. Overall it is a fantastic piece of equipment.
January 24th – New STACK Article Published
This article highlights some of my favorite core specific exercises. I cover hollow body ISO’s, deadbugs, single-arm TRX rows, and banded pallof presses.
January 25th – First Powerlifting Meet
Having never competed before, this was a great way to get introduced to the environment of a powerlifting competition. It was super laid back and everyone that I talked to was encouraging and positive. The ages of the lifters ranged from preteens all the way up to some dudes pushing 60. I lifted in the 181 pound class and 20-29 age group. Overall there was probably a mere 25 lifters there.
I came into the meet with goals to bench 250 and deadlift 450. Fortunately, I was able to surpass both numbers fairly easily. I benched 190, 220, and 255 with maybe another 10-15 pounds in me. I then deadlifted 375, 420, and 460 with another 5-10 pounds in me. I was just happy to make all my lifts. The crowd cheering you on and the energy in the gym definitely helps!
It was also a great experience because the meet was hosted by someone I used to work for. He owns a facility in Parma, OH called Cal Crowell Diverse Fitness and Athletic Training. Cal’s a caring guy and a passionate coach and has been somewhat of a mentor to me since I got into the training business.
Here’s a short list of the videos I uploaded this past month.
Banded Pallof Press
Training Sumo Deads w/ Chains
2″ Rope Pull-Ups
88 Pound Kettlebell Swings
Band Resisted Hip Extension
Single Arm Bottoms Up Kettlebell Floor Press
Training Max Effort Deadlifts
Training Band Resisted Speed Deadlifts
Thanks for reading!