Category Archives: Strength Training

What The Gambler Can Teach You About Strength Training

Kenny Rogers sang The Gambler in 1978. On the surface, the song appears to be about gambling, but there’s a much deeper meaning pertaining to life in general. The song is very appropriate for the field of strength & conditioning, and the lessons contained within take most lifters two decades to fully comprehend. Here’s the video:

And here’s the chorus:

You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em
Know when to fold ‘em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

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Your Own Personal World Records Are The Only Thing That Matter

Your Own Personal World Records Are The Only Thing That Matter
By Charles Staley

When I was still relatively new to lifting, I can remember thinking how incredible it must be to break a World record in sport. I remember in particular watching former Soviet weightlifter Leonid Taranenko break the clean & jerk World record in the late ‘80’s with a monstrous 586-pound effort.

Fast forward to today, and despite decades in the gym, I’ve come nowhere close to breaking any kind of World (or even National) record in any sport, but I can tell you that I have achieved things that I never would have thought possible for myself, and these achievements have brought me tremendous satisfaction, as well as continued motivation to continue my favorite pastime. A big part of why I’ve done as well as I have is that I’ve always been laser-focused on bettering my own “PR’s” (personal records) in the gym.

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Are Cheat Reps Beneficial? A Discussion of the Evidence and Implementation

Are Cheat Reps Beneficial? A Discussion of the Evidence and Implementation
Jason Tremblay, President of The Strength Guys Inc.
Andrew Vigotsky, Chief Research Officer of The Strength Guys Inc.

The word “never” is an evil word to use in sport science. How many times have you been told to never use momentum? To never break form? It’s common knowledge. But for the purpose of hypertrophy, is there a role in the training regimen of bodybuilders for cheat reps? So often we see bad form being chastised, but did the old timers like Schwarzanegger and Draper performing cheat curls in the original Golds Gym know something that we didn’t… Do cheat reps and momentum have their place in a bodybuilding regimen? Theory and evidence suggest that this may be the case.

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Change the Tune: Accommodation & Stagnation

Change the Tune: Accommodation & Stagnation
By Will Vatcher

Here’s what you need to know:

  • There is a delicate balance between the correct blend of specificity and the correct amount of variation to progress
  • You can continue to progress if you change your exercises regularly
  • A process of elimination is useful to discover where you are stuck

During the late 1960’s, a Soviet scientist named U. I. Ivanov performed and published results from an interesting experiment. Ivanov used three similar groups of people and had them perform strength training exercises twice a week for a period of three months.

  • Group 1 performed (concentric) dynamic weight exercises
  • Group 2 performed static strength exercises (isometric) with maximal tension
  • Group 3 performed yielding (eccentric) exercises using weights exceeding 10-40% of what they were capable of lifting in an ordinary (concentric) manner.

After the period was concluded, the results were very interesting. Compared to their previous personal performances:

  • Group 1 managed to lift on average 8.5 kg more in the squat and 5.5 kg more in the clean. They also managed to jump 3.7 cm higher and could pull with 14.6 kg more force in a back strength test.
  • Group 2 managed to lift on average 9.2 kg more in the squat and 12.7 kg more in the clean. They also managed to jump 5.4 cm lower than before the training period and pulled with 30.0 kg of increased force in a back strength test.
  • Group 3 managed to lift on average 15.0 kg more in the squat and 9.7 kg more in the clean. They also managed to jump 1.6 cm lower than before the training period and pulled with 19.1 kg more force in a back strength test.

What did and does this experiment reveal? The athletes tested strongest in the motor skills and tasks that were the most similar to the exercises they did in the experiment.

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