Category Archives: Announcements

Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Now in 4 Languages With More to Come!

Hi Fitness Friends! Just wanted to post a quick blog to mention that my Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy book has now been translated into German (can’t find the book via the link for German site), Spanish, and Russian. I’ve heard that it will soon be translated in Korean, Czech, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, French, Simplified Chinese, and Portuguese!

BSTA

I am VERY proud of this book, so if you are a foreign publishing company and are interested in publishing a translated version of the book, please contact Drew at: drewt@hkusa.com

And if you don’t yet have the English version, you can pick it up on Amazon HERE for less than $15. If you want to see a sample of the book, click HERE. Every lifter, personal trainer, strength coach, physical therapist, and athlete should possess a mastery of bodyweight strength training – it’s the foundation of resistance training.

Pistol

 

Updates: Thesis, FAQ Tab, and 605 lb Deadlift PR

Hi fitness friends, just wanted to provide a few updates:

PhD

I have less than one year to finish my PhD, so I’ve been cranking on research/data collection. I realized that very few sports scientists focus their strength & conditioning research on women, so I decided to hone in on females for my studies. Here are some things that I’ll be looking at with my thesis:

1. Gluteus Maximus EMG Review: what does the literature currently have to say about gluteus maximus activation associated with rehab, functional, and resistance training exercise? What are the gaps in the literature?

2. Gluteus Maximus MVIC Position: the gold standard in the research for maximum voluntary isometric contractions is the prone bent leg hip extension against manual resistance applied to the distal thigh. Does just standing and contracting the gluteus maximus leads to greater, equal, or less upper and lower gluteus maximus activation? Hypothesis: standing will lead to greater upper glute activation, whereas the gold standard will lead to greater lower glute activation.

3. Squat Variations and Glute Activation: which leads to higher levels of mean and peak upper and lower gluteus maximus activation – parallel squats, full squats, or full front squats (using the same relative loading)? Hypothesis: no significant differences.

4. Hip Thrust Variations and Glute Activation: which leads to higher levels of mean and peak upper and lower gluteus maximus activation – hip thrusts, American hip thrusts, or band hip thrusts (using the same relative loading)? Hypothesis: standard hip thrusts will be superior, but results won’t be significantly different.

5. Squats versus Hip Thrusts: which leads to higher levels of mean and peak upper and lower gluteus maximus activation – parallel squats or hip thrusts? What about a bottom squat isohold versus a top hip thrust isohold? What about force, velocity, power, and rate-of-force-development? What about joint angles and heart rate? Hypothesis: hip thrusts will be superior to squats in terms of upper and lower mean and peak glute max activation, force, velocity, power, and RFD. Squats will be superior to hip thrusts in hip ROM and heart rate response.

6. The Effects of Squats versus Hip Thrusts versus Combined Squats & Hip Thrusts: in a 10-week training study, how does a volume-matched protocol of squats, hip thrusts, and combined squat/hip thrust compare in terms of transfer to vertical jump, broad jump, triple jump, maximum sprinting velocity, sprinting horizontal force and power, maximum horizontal pushing force, and gluteus maximus hypertrophy? Hypothesis: Combined group will lead to greatest transfer of training outcomes and hypertrophy gains across the board. Squats will be superior to hip thrusts for transfer to VJ, BJ, and 3J. Hip thrusts will be superior to squats for transfer to sprinting, sprinting forces and power, and gluteus maximus hypertrophy. I guarantee I’ll be wrong about some of my hypotheses and am excited to learn what actually does happen in training (instead of theorizing based on acute research).

Front squat

FAQ Tab

Since I’ve been so swamped working on my PhD, I decided to write a Frequently-Asked-Questions page. It’s very elaborate, so please check it out. Also, please understand that I don’t have time to answer every email I receive – I’m too busy. I’m getting my PhD while paying my own tuition (without taking loans) and also spending thousands of dollars on technology that will aid my research (I already have EMG, force plate, video capture, and a heart rate monitor, but I’ll need to purchase an ultrasound unit and a radar gun with state-of-the-art software associated with it). This is not easy! In a year, when I’m done writing up my thesis, my life can return to normal. But as of right now, I’m working round the clock.

Thrust

PR’s

Lately I’ve set a number of PR’s in my own training. I finally achieved a 315 lb front squat, I bench pressed 325 lbs on two occasions, I incline pressed 285 lbs, and yesterday I conventional deadlifted 605 lbs! I’d really like to total 1,400 lbs in a powerlifting meet in the next 8 months or so, so my goal is to get to a around a 335 lb bench press, a 435 lb squat, and a 630 lbs deadlift. Here are some vids:

315 lb Front Squat

 605 lb Conventional Deadlift

New & Improved Garage Gym

In the year 2000, I purchased my first piece of fitness equipment (a Powertec power rack with a bench). Along the way, I kept making small purchases, and fourteen years later, voila. I recently moved into a new house in Phoenix, AZ. Here is the new and improved garage gym. It has all the big things I like in terms of equipment, and also all the little things that make the gym awesome (bathroom, mirrors, rubber mats, mini-fridge, heater, AC unit, HDTV, stereo, etc.).

Here’s a quick video that shows a panarama of the gym:

 

Here is a more thorough video of the place where I explain all the various training tools and pieces of equipment:

Below are pictures of the place.

P1020830

HD TV, Stereo, Computer, Lab Equipment

P1020831

Mini-Fridge Stocked With Powerade Zero

P1020832

Cybex Squat Press

P1020833

Elitefts 45 Degree Hyper

P1020834

Elitefts GHD

P1020835

Dumbbell Rack & Various Accessories

P1020836

AC unit (mandatory in Phoenix)

P1020837

Squat Stands, Deadlift Area

P1020838

Bench Press & Power Rack

P1020839

Seated Shoulder Press, Lat Pulldown, and Accessories

P1020840

Hip Thruster

P1020841

Reverse Hyper

P1020842

Incline Press

P1020843

Hammer Strength Iso-Row

P1020844

El Bano

DSC_7828

Wide Angle 1

DSC_7830

Wide Angle 2

DSC_7838

Wide Angle 3

DSC_7847

Wide Angle 4

DSC_7848

Wide Angle 5

I encourage all fitness enthusiasts with their own homes to gradually build up their own gyms. There’s no waiting for equipment, no distractions, you can play your own music, and you can equip your gym with the vital tools that will give you a much better chance of succeeding. Most of my equipment was purchased at Elitefts, Sorinex, Rogue, and Perform Better (no affiliate links).

Training for Strength: Bonus e-book!

The importance of strength

If you are a strength coach, I’m guessing that you probably spend a lot of time on building programs designed to increase your athletes’ strength. Call it an educated guess.

Or, if you’re a personal trainer, I am guessing that you might want to help your clients gain strength so that they can lift a greater volume of heavier weights and improve their body composition. Again, I might be reaching here, but please stay with me.

And if you’re a physical therapist, you might be putting late-stage rehabilitation programs together that help your patients improve their full function after regaining pain-free range-of-motion. That sounds like increasing strength is a big part of the process.

The bottom line is that almost every professional working in the evidence-based strength and conditioning, fitness, rehabilitation, exercise therapy, and exercise in healthcare professions needs to understand how best to improve strength in their patients, clients or athletes.

 

Programming for strength gains

So how do you go about developing your own strength training programs? How do you decide whether to use more volume or less? To train to muscular failure or not? To use high or moderate percentages of 1RM? To use short rest periods or long rest periods?

If you’re an evidence-based practitioner, then when you review the evidence before deciding how to structure your strength-training programs, you naturally refer to a flow-chart that looks something like this:

Evidence

Unfortunately, there haven’t been that many systematic reviews showing how different strength training variables (like volume or percentage of 1RM) affect strength gains. One or two have been performed in relation to volume but that’s about it. That means it’s a lot of hard work to be a truly evidence-based practitioner when it comes to understanding how to alter training variables to best gain strength. You need to wade through all of the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to see what they say.

As you can see, the level of evidence for observational trials and other evidence is below that of RCTs. That means before you start reading observational trials and seeking expert opinion, you should really read and assess the evidence provided by the RCTs.

 

Focusing on long-term results

And don’t forget that the level of evidence is higher where it directly measures the variable you want to understand, which in this case is long-term strength gains. So studies exploring the long-term effects of different training variables on muscular strength are more important than those exploring the immediate effects of different resistance-training workouts on muscle protein synthesis, post-exercise hormone responses, or the molecular signaling processes that underpin gains in strength and size.

Remember, we once thought that post-exercise hormones were the key for long-term hypertrophy. So it’s likely that our current models are not perfect. In fact, they are always in a state of flux. Mitchell et al. (2014) recently reminded us of this when they reported that long-term muscular size gains were not correlated with short-term rises in muscle protein synthesis, nor with the phosphorylation of many of the signaling proteins.

In reality, our understanding of these acute study results is constantly changing, which is part of what makes it so exciting to study. Equally, our understanding of the results of long-term trials will never change, which makes their findings more reliable.

For example, if a long-term trial monitored one group who trained bench press with an average load of 200lbs (a high percentage of 1RM), and another group of similar strength levels trained bench press with an average load of 150lbs, (a moderate percentage of 1RM), then the resulting difference in strength gains tells us something about the effects of high or moderate percentages of 1RM that will likely never be superseded.

To paraphrase Henry Rollins, the long-term effects of training with 200lbs will always be the long-term effects of training with 200lbs (for trainees with the same strength levels).

Henry Rollins

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that.

The important thing is that if you are helping people improve their strength, and you consider yourself to be an evidence-based strength coach, personal trainer, or physical therapist, then you need to know what the long-term trials tell you. Annoyingly, the literature is extensive and it’s hard to track all of the studies down.

Fortunately, Chris has pulled them all together and described the results in a single e-book, called simply “Training for Strength”. Let me tell you how you can get a copy.

 

How to get your copy of Training for Strength

If you’re currently a paying subscriber to our monthly Strength & Conditioning Research review service, you’re going to receive a free bonus copy later today. We like to look after our subscribers.

If you aren’t a paying subscriber yet, to get your copy of Training for Strength, just sign up to our monthly review service today. Shortly after completing your subscription, you will be emailed a free bonus copy of the Training for Strength e-book (PDF and e-reader versions).

Strength versions

And don’t worry, we are not trying to trap you into a long-term subscription! Signing up to the monthly review service does not commit you to more than one edition, which costs just $10. And you can cancel your subscription whenever you like. So unless you absolutely cannot spare $10 to see whether you like our monthly review service, there is no reason at all to miss out on this e-book.

Click subscribe now and give it a try!