Saturday, 28 March 2020

Increase Overhead Strength to Improve Your Bench

Increase Overhead Strength to Improve Your Bench

There has been mass panic about training at the moment due to coronavirus. One of the concerns I am hearing most about is losing strength on the bench press. "I have a bar, some plates, and some dumbbells, so I can't bench, it's gonna go down massively".
You can use this time to work on your overhead strength. This will more than likely help you come back with a better bench then if you just kept hammering away on it at the gym as you normally do.
This is something that Ed Coan has spoken about for a long time. When his bench stalled, he said he would work on behind the neck presses as he felt the weakness in his shoulders were limiting his bench press.
Charles Poliquin said that based on the normative data he collected over the years there was a strong correlation between shoulder pain and a lack of overhead strength. He also explained that training only the bench press pathway often causes the subscapularis muscle to shorten and unbalance the shoulder joint.
Charles would often say that the ability to be able to behind the neck press was a sign of a healthy shoulder. To perform the behind the neck press we start the weight from a deadstop on the traps, using a full range of motion. This is how you would assess your shoulder integrity using that lift, not a little half rep lockout type thing barely reaching the top of your head, that I see in most commercial gyms.
So, spending some time focusing on your overhead strength may also help reduce your risk of injury as you may correct some imbalances that you would not have otherwise addressed.
Overhead presses will also increase the strength of the long head of your triceps which will also help carry over to a stronger bench when you get back to it.
Pair your pressing work with a chin up variation, then move on to some form of row, and external rotator work and you will keep, if not increase, the strength on the bench press. Remember to vary the type of press and chin up every 4 -6 workouts and do the same for your assistance work.
The change will more than likely help you break a few plateaus.
Bench press tip - grip width
Bench press tip - elbow position
Bench press - arch or no arch?

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Some Good Sources of Information in Regards to Corona Virus

Some Good Sources of Information in Regards to Corona Virus

There is all sorts of noise being made on social media about the corona virus. Today I thought I would simply share some useful sources of information.

Myths surrounding the corona virus -

Examine resource page -
Has everything from daily reports, fact checkers, to why soap helps kill the corona virus.

I also received this email from Jay Campbell which I think people could benefit from:

Hey Folks!
As a man of service and action, I'm going to honor my commitment to inform you when necessary.
This message comes from a Doctor on the frontlines in Italy battling Covid-19.
I just wanted to pass on this information.
It was sent to me by a colleague who has a friend that works at Dr. Negreen(?), which is the main hospital on our island.
It’s obviously in Spanish, so I’m just going to read it and translate it for you. This is what it says.
The Chinese now understand the behavior of the COVID-19 virus, thanks to autopsies they have carried out.
This virus is characterized by obstructing the respiratory pathways with thick mucus that solidifies and blocks the airways and lungs.
They have discovered that in order to be able to apply a medicine, you have to open and unblock these airways so the treatment can be used to take effect.
However, all of this takes a number of days.
Their recommendations for what you can do to safeguard yourself are:
Number 1: Drink lots of hot liquids. Coffee, soups, teas, warm water. In addition, take a sip of warm water every 20 minutes because this keeps your mouth moist and washes any of the virus that’s entered your mouth into your stomach, where the gastric juices will neutralize it before it can get to the lungs.
Number 2: Gargle with an antiseptic in warm water, like vinegar or salt or lemon, every day if possible.
Number 3: The virus attaches itself to hair and clothes. Any detergent or soap kills it, but you must take a bath or shower when you get in from the street. Avoid sitting down anywhere and go straight to the bathroom or shower. If you cannot wash your clothes daily, hang them in direct sunlight, which also neutralizes the virus.
Number 4: Wash metallic surfaces very carefully because the virus can remain viral on these for up to 9 days. Take note and be vigilant about touching handrails and door handles, etc. I guess within your own house as well, you can make sure that you are keeping those clean and wiping them down regularly.
Number 5: Don’t smoke.
Number 6: Wash your hands every 20 minutes using any soap that foams. Do this for 20 seconds and wash your hands thoroughly.
Number 7: Eat fruits and vegetables. Try to elevate your zinc levels, not just your vitamin C levels.
Number 8: Animals do not spread the virus to people. This is person-to-person transmission.
Number 9: Try to avoid getting the common flu. I guess because this just already weakens your system. And try to avoid eating and drinking cold things.
Number 10: If you feel any discomfort in your throat or a sore throat coming on, attack it immediately using the above methods. The virus enters the immune system this way and remains for 3 or 4 days within the throat before it passes into the lungs.

Good luck to everyone.
Take care of yourself.
And pass this information along if you wish.

This article talks about the progression of the disease, who is most at risk, and some supplements that may help you out -

Explaining exponential growth and the global impact (the lily pad story probably made me aware of how bad this could be well before anyone really cared) -

These podcasts from Peter Attia were informative as always:

Two medications that have shown some promise:

Webinar from Chris Kresser -

Q and A with Chris Kresser -

Joe Rogan talking with Michael Osterholm -

That should keep you going for a while if you want to be informed.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

What Is the Difference Between Bands and Chains?

What Is the Difference Between Bands and Chains?

The main difference between bands and chains is that bands are pulling down on the bar, adding more eccentric overload. This can make them hard to recover from, so I use Charles Poliquin’s advice and only use them 1 out of every 2 workouts. Also, I tend to use less reps when using bands then when using chains.

Like chains, bands teach you to accelerate the bar throughout the entire range of motion, as the bands get harder the more they are stretched. The load is lighter in the bottom and heavier in the top. Bands tend to build more explosive strength though because of the downward force they apply to the bar. With straight bar weight or chains, it is like dropping a basketball to the floor, you get some bounce, but not as much as if you throw the ball into the ground. That is what the bands are basically doing. Because of this bands will help build an explosive start and help you lock out heavier weights.

Bands tend to move (oscillate) around a lot more than the chains do, so they challenge your stability a lot more. This is another added benefit.

When setting up bands you have to ensure you set them up correctly. You have to make sure there is still some band tension in the bottom position of the lift. Too often I see people set bands up where there is no tension at all in the bottom. Without tension in the bottom, you will lose some of the training effects of using bands.

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Gold and Silver at Abu Dhabi Continental Pro Jiu-Jitsu Competition

Gold and Silver at Abu Dhabi Continental Pro Jiu-Jitsu Competition

Simon Chandra Gold at Abu Dhabi Continental Pro 2020
Congratulations to Simon Chandra on winning gold yesterday at the Abu Dhabi Continental Pro Jiu-Jitsu Competition.
It was a good start to the year for Simon, as this was his first competition of 2020, and he had to go up a weight division as there was no one to compete against in his weight class. Simon weighed in at 66kg and then ended up fighting in the 73kg weight class. This is a great effort to win a gold going up a weight class in this event, especially when you consider you can weigh in the day before the event. So, some competitiors in the 73kg class could be closer to 80kg come the time of comp. With Simon, we were at the correct weight, we didn't do any water cuts or anything like that. 66kg is the weight he walks around at. It was the plan to just be at weight and not do any type of cut, which in the end turned out really well for Simon, even though he had to go up a class. Probably just shows that if your jiu-jitsu and strength are good, body weight itself doesn't mean all that much (up to a certain point).
Marverick Santos and Nathan Waters SJJA Crows Nest Feb 2020
Marverick Santos also come home with a silver medal yesterday. Like Simon, it was a huge effort having to go up a weight class as his opponent for the day ended up being heavy. Due to this Marverick had to go up to the 85kg weight division, after weighing in at 76kg.
Again, we didn't use any water cuts or anything like that. This is his every day weight. He would have been fighting guys who weigh around the 90kg mark or even slightly more.
So to get a silver medal in the adult black belt division is a great achievement.
This is also the first time Marverick has followed a nutrition plan or done any structured strength training in the gym. We have only worked together for about 1 month now, and speaking prior to and after the event, he said he felt really good.
I am excited to see how much he progresses over the course of this year.
SJJA won a fair few medals on the day as always. We are very happy for the team and all the hard work everyone puts in.