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Keeping The Blade Sharp

“Keeping The Blade Sharp” is a practice I embrace as a StrongFirst Instructor.

  • It means practicing what I preach and not letting my own training go to the wayside as I get busier with new clients.
  • It allows me to stay in touch with the experience that I am putting my athletes through.
  • It holds me to a higher standard of strength and conditioning.
  • It provides me with the opportunity to learn from the struggle – for strength is made only in the forge.

This commitment keeps me healthy.

YOU TOO should make this commitment!

I am not saying drop everything and become a StrongFirst Instructor (not against the idea either) – but what you should do is make a commitment to a movement routine.

In previous posts I have discussed what type of exercises you should be focusing on and talked all about functional movement, so I won’t go into it now.

All this is to say that you need to be continuously practicing these functional exercises, and using a corrective movement strategy if you have any weaknesses / asymmetries.

Why? Simply because:

If you don’t use it,

You lose it.

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Strength Challenge 4 Week Prep-Program

LatsOn STRENGTH CHALLENGE
========================

> The point of this Training Program is to peak one’s performance in the 3 rep Squat, max rep Push Up and timed Farmers Carry.

> An Athlete following this program will do these 3 exercises, 3 times a week.

Here is the program that will have your strength peaking by the end of the month

  • Keep in mind that everybody responds to exercise differently, what may be enough for some may not be enough for others
  • Listen to your body! Use subjective feedback / “Rate of Perceived Exertion” (RPE)  – this is an effective guide for tracking progress.

Week 1

Day 1

1 rep Squat Weight Ladder up to 2nd attempt weight + 5 rep weight ladder up to heaviest (3-4 sets each)

Push Up Ladder up to Max Reps @ 60 sec rest.(5-7 sets)

Carry – Tabata @ lighter than test weight

+ 2-3 sets of ‘Accessory’ work

Day 2

3 rep Squat @ 1st attempt weight  (5 sets)

Push Up Ladder down from Max Reps @ 60 sec rest (5 sets)

Pause Deadlift @ Farmers Carry test weight x 3 reps (5 sets)

+ 2-3 sets of ‘Accessory’ work

Day 3

Squat Weight Ladder up to 2nd attempt weight x 1-3 reps (3-5 sets)
(* if feeling good, try out a maximal attempt)

Push Up sets around Max Reps @ 2-3 minutes rest (3-5 sets)

Light Farmers Carry, use multiple positions x 4 minutes

+ 2-3 sets of ‘Accessory’ work

<><><><><>

Week 2

Day 1

1 rep Squat Weight Ladder up to 1nd attempt weight + 5 rep weight ladder up to heaviest (3-4 sets each)

Push Up Ladder up to Max Reps @ 50 sec rest. (5-6 sets)

Carry – Tabata @ lighter than test weight

+ 2-3 sets of ‘Accessory’ work

Day 2

3 rep Squat @ 1st attempt weight (5 sets)

Push Up Ladder down from Max Reps @ 50 sec rest (5 sets)

Pause Deadlift @ Farmers Carry test weight x 5 reps (3-5 sets)

+ 2-3 sets of ‘Accessory’ work

Day 3

Squat Weight Ladder up to 2nd attempt weight x 1-3 reps (5 sets)

Push Up sets around Max Reps @ 2-3 minutes rest (3-5 sets)

Light Farmers Carry, use multiple positions x 4 minutes

+ 2-3 sets of ‘Accessory’ work

<><><><><>

Week 3

Day 1

2 rep Squat Weight Ladder up to 1nd attempt weight + 5 rep weight ladder up to heaviest (3sets/2sets)

Push Up Ladder up to Max Reps @ 40 sec rest. (5 sets)

Carry – Tabata @ lighter than test weight

– NO Accessory! (Rest / Visualize / reduce fatigue – except if Beginner)

Day 2

3 rep Squat @ 1st attempt weight (5 sets)

Push Up Ladder down from Max Reps @ 40 sec rest (5 sets)

Pause Deadlift @ Farmers Carry test weight x 3 reps (3-5 sets)

– NO Accessory! (Rest / Visualize / reduce fatigue – except if Beginner)

Day 3

Squat Weight Ladder up to 1st attempt weight x 1-3 reps (3-5 sets)

Push Up sets around Max Reps @ 2-3 minutes rest (3-5 sets)

Light Farmers Carry, use multiple positions x 4 minutes

– NO Accessory (Rest / Visualize / reduce fatigue – except if Beginner)

<><><><><>

Week 4

Day 1

1 rep Squat Weight Ladder up to 1nd attempt weight + 3 rep weight ladder up to heaviest 5 rep max (3 sets each)

Push Up sets around Max Reps @ 2-3 minutes rest (3 sets)

Pause Deadlift @ Farmers Carry test weight x 5 reps (3 sets)

– NO Accessory! (Rest / Visualize / reduce fatigue)

Day 2

3 rep Squat @ lighter than 1st attempt weight (3 sets)

Push Up sets around Max Reps @ 2-3 minutes rest (3 sets)

Tabata Plank

– NO Accessory! (Rest / Visualize / reduce fatigue)

>>>>>>>>> At Least 2 days Rest Needed Before Testing <<<<<<<<

Day 3 (2 days later) = TESTING!

3 Rep Max

Push Up Max

Farmer Carry Time

=================================================

I encourage everyone to try this out. Tell your friends, see if people at your gym with try it out too. This Challenge is a fantastic workout as well!

Post your Scores in the comments.

Or,

Send them to me directly at colangelo.mart@gmail.com

Question on Testing Protocol and Technique see : http://martincolangelo.com/about-2/latson-training-strength-challenge/

*SPECIAL*
(for those who made it this far) This is an EXCEL version of the program above, as well as my own personal Training Program for the next couple months.  Look back at this link in a couple months, I will update this document as I figure out my programming for 2019 – as well as add many other trial programs I will have going throughout the year.

Looking forward to finishing this year Strong, and starting the New Year with clear intentions.

My best to you all,

Martin Colangelo

“The Better Movement Specialist”

Brought to you by:

 

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Principle Based Training: Strength

1) Safety First (2) Strength has a greater Purpose (3) Tension is Strength (4) Relaxation is Strength

5) Perfect Technique (6) Long Rest (7) Simple (8) Sinister


Strength Principles

If you follow these principles you will ALWAYS progress.

Because you will always have in the back of your head the reason you are training – making motivation a non-issue.

These principles should help construct your notions of how you workout (i.e. hardstyle, long rest),

and also guide you to a more holistic way of training and care taking of your self (relaxation/recovery).


 

1) Safety First

  • This includes personal space, choosing the appropriate weight, location and equipment.
  • It also means not training yourself to a point were the risk of injury becomes greater than the benefit received from the exercise.
  • Pain = NO gain (usually) – I am always reminded at this point of some Paul Chek says : “Train, don’t Drain”

 

2) Strength has a greater purpose

“Sparta, Rome, the knights of Europe, the samurai… worshiped strength.
Because it is strength that makes all other values possible.”
(Enter the Dragon)

  • Strength is a SKILL; that means it can be TAUGHT, and that you are either GOOD at it or BAD at it – you are either strong, or weak. Being GOOD at something is valuable, but aspiring to be better is even greater.
  • Train strength because it carries over into everything else you do in the world : be it physical or mental.

 

3) Tension is Strength

  • This means HARD STYLE : you must learn how to utilize your bodies tension in order to improve your performance. This is achieved through certain tension techniques.
    • including: 1) make a white knuckle fist
      2) drive heels into floor
      3) crush a walnut between your Glutes
      4) squeeze the Abdominals
      5) utilize power breathing
    • the next step is knowing when to use them, that involves some strategy on your part.
  • Without proper abdominal bracing (tension) your risk of injury increases.
  • With proper abdominal bracing you can literally do anything you want (except fly).

 

4) Relaxation is strength

  • The other side of the coin of tension is relaxation and thus also the other side of Strength.
  • This includes proper rest between sets and appropriate recovery between workouts.
  • If you CANNOT relax (if you CANNOT exhale with an audible sigh of relief) you need to figure it out… Without Relaxation you will always have elevated cortisol and low testosterone levels (which is harmful over long periods of time).
  • Relaxation is also a Mobility Principle: along with breathing and patience; if you lack either of these it is now wonder why your strength and mobility goals seem so unattainable no matter how hard you try. You are trying too hard!

 

5) Perfect Technique

  • Every Rep. Every Set. Every Time…. technique, technique, technique : when you start a new training program or learn a new skill the first few weeks of improvements is predominantly NEUROLOGICAL. Only then will muscular adaption starts to occur.
  • Similarly once you train yourself past the stage of muscular adaption, almost ALL progress becomes neurological and technique based again.
  • Attention to technique while training (and having a coach provide correction/feedback) will fast track your road to strength – all the while SAVING YOU FROM INJURY.
  • INJURY PROOF YOURSELF by training with good form. The human body CANNOT perform perfect reps while under a high amount of metabolic fatigue – which brings us nicely to our next point….

 

6) Long Rest

  • Proper rest intervals are critical : serious strength training requires 3-5 minutes and even up to 15 minutes rest between near maximal lifts.
  • I go deeper into this subject in a previous post entitled : ‘Training Considerations: Rest, Set Type and Mental Management’
  • Pavel confirms everything I mention in his article ‘Long Rests: Russian Science to the Rescue’
  • A final reason to rest long and to keep the sets short (20-40sec max), is what Al Ciampa says in the above article, namely :

    “If you let the “burn” in the muscle rise too high, you literally destroy the mitochondria, the very thing you tried to build”

  • the last tip I have for you comes from a source I cannot remember but it goes:  “Don’t confuse Strength and Conditioning with Conditioning and more Conditioning”

 

7) Simple

  • For building impressive strength use the KISS principle.

Check out StrongFirst Simple and Sinister: a strength and endurance program that will prepare you for literally ANYTHING

  • Simple because the exercises themselves are easy to learn
  • Simple because you use only a hand full of exercises and you get really good at them.  Furthermore, as your technique improves, the greater the training effect becomes.

 

8) Sinister

  • Sinister because training for strength is HARD WORK!
  • The individual movements themselves may be ‘simple’ – but the combination of maintaining technique and speed while fatigued (and still using heavy weights) demands that your body adapt.

check out Simple and Sinister at the StrongFirst website:

Kettlebell Simple & Sinister

Remember,

If you follow these principles you will ensure progress.

Have fun with this information and explore what works best for you.

If you get confused or just don’t know where to start / what to do  –  that is when you need to get a coach.

These principles are useless unless there is a goal or end product in mind.

 

> if you enjoyed this post, share it with someone who you think would benefit




<>

Martin Colangelo

“The Better Movement Specialist”

Stay Strong my friends!

 

 

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Principle Based Training: Workout Organization

 

1) Mobility  2) Reactivity   3) Speed/Power

4) Strength  5) Endurance 6) Relaxation/Recovery


 

Training Principles

This topic is important for those who desire efficiency and want to get the most out of their workouts.

If you want to get in shape (whatever that means) and not just be OK at a bunch of different exercises, you will have to plan out -step by step – the path to your goal.

Since most people don’t have fitness goes beyond simply ‘getting fit’,

This article will be about the very general goal of getting fit.

With this goal in mind, we can begin laying out the step by step process towards ‘fitness’.

> If you follow this workout organization,  you will find yourself on the fast track to fitness success.


1)Mobility

  • Soft tissue work first. Do this in order to get the tissue moving in the right way.
  • Foam roll, Band work, Active Stretching
  • Write down a mobility goal, ideally have it relate to an exercise you know you will be doing later i.e. better hip mobility in the deep squat.
  • Some Movement Patterning work for the exercises you know you will be doing later is a good idea.

2) Reactivity

  • Having slow reactivity means you have a slow nervous system, this is an indicator of how much time you have left.
  • you can train reactivity in many ways:
    • vision training
    • balance training
    • catching and throwing exercises
    • changing directions (of any movement on demand)
  • It is important to do this prior to lifting, because the effects of this type of training will increase your ability to produce strength later in the workout.
  • Doing this after a workout will reduce the training effect.
  • This is also a good time to practice a new skill

3) Speed/Power

  • Must be done prior to any excess fatigue.
  • Speed development means fast twitch muscle fiber development.
  • Metabolic waste is detrimental to speed development I.E. no one gets faster as a game progresses.
  • This section will recruit high threshold motor units and will encourage myofibrillar hypertrophy
  • Choose compound movements – jumping, explosive kettlebell movements, Olympic lifting, sprinting, plyometrics etc.
  • keep reps LOW (1-5 reps) and rest HIGH (3-5 minutes)
  • complete recovery between sets is required, don’t confuse speed training with conditioning…. it is trained more like strength.

I want to remind you that this is not THE way, this is just one of many ‘ways’.

All I am trying to do it make your life easier.

If your reading this then you more than likely care about your body, you already workout and want to know more about the health and fitness world.

If you order your workout according to this template, you will be following the body’s natural way of optimizing and improving your energy systems.

You will therefore be getting the most out of each workout.

Damn love efficiency…


4) Strength

  • this section of your workout is where you stress your body for 3-5 sets with 1-3 different exercises.
  • choose a grinding, compound movement for sets of 3-6 repetitions with about 3 minutes rest. (Ex. Deadlift, Press, Pull Up, Squat…)
  • this section will encourage sarcoplasmic hypertrophy

5) Endurance

  • Conditioning in this template means anything more than 6 reps
  • If your ‘explosive’ movements stay explosive, and form remains strict – this section can last for as long as you do.
  • this section is highly goal dependent:
    • if you want slow-twitch muscle hypertrophy = sets of continuous movement for 40 – 120s, equal amount of rest.
    • if you want to burn calories = heavy 3-5rep Deadlift/ followed by 30-60sec Swing/ followed by Plank until you ‘recover’…
  • Find yourself a qualified strength and conditioning coach – one who doesn’t confuse strength and conditioning with conditioning and more conditioning.
    • This is because there is a difference between muscular conditioning – and – cardiovascular conditioning … each has its own considerations and ideal training methods.

6) Relaxation/Recovery

  • this section should be as long as needed, some need 5 minutes, others 15.
    1. breathe deep
    2. decompress your spine.

    • decompression exercises include : hanging, child’s pose and cobra, cat-camel, Sphinx pose etc.
  • Post Workout Window for Improved Recovery: there is a 6-9 hours window post workout that if you time either your recovery procedures or sleeping cycle to correspond with this window you will enhance your recovery and your ability to train the following day.
  • Meditation and other mental practices will help tremendously for those athletes committed to their progress. Since mental practice takes time – However, even 5 minutes will go along way!

 

> if you enjoyed this post, share it with someone who you think would benefit



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Martin Colangelo

“The Better Movement Specialist”

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Stay Strong my friends!

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Principle Based Training

This article is about what I do as “The Better Movements Specialist”

This article will be as much about my training philosophy and coaching style –

as it is about the end goal / vision of my business.


 

“The Socrates of Training”

Sometimes it is better to ‘Work In’ than it is to ‘Work Out’.

In today’s stressful epoch it is hard to tell if what we are doing is helping us, or harming us, in the long run.

Everyone has a different capacity for stress – a different tolerance – different defense mechanisms – and different standards for they think is ‘normal’.

Not to sound like a broken record but really, what is normal.

The best way I can describe it from a physiological point of view, normal is when the two branches of your nervous system are in balance.

‘Working In’ is anything that activate your parasympathetic nervous system. I.E. anything that calms down your “monkey brain” and allows you to rest, recover, digest and play.

‘Working Out’ is the opposite, it activates the fight or flight centres of the brain, and if one is not careful they can get stuck in this zone. If this happens a training session that would have stimulated a hormetic response in fact digs you deeper into fight or flight.

It’s this ‘getting stuck’ that is the big problem.

I have seen people stuck in either end of the spectrum. An individual stuck in the parasympathetic zone can’t handle stress. The individual stuck in the sympathetic zone will not be able to relax.

Why can’t we have both?

The truth is, we can.

This is what the ‘Socratic method’ of training is all about…

It is about figuring out at what level an individual is at –

  • their Strength level
  • their Endurance level
  • their Movement functionality / economy
  • their dominant nervous system
  • there are many,many others…

– and then working them up from their unique, individual level – to the next one. and then the next, and the next etc…

The KEY to success however is that the individual must figuring it out FOR THEMSELVES.

Yes a good coach can help show the way, but they cannot do the work for you.

No that is not a cop-out, if you don’t want to think about how you move or spend the necessary time needed to figure out where you are in the spectrum, then you will never be … ‘normal’….


Results that LAST

For sure there are other methodologies that can get you to your goals, they may even get you stronger and faster sooner and more completely.

However, only if you train mindfully will you have access to your body’s abilities when you need them the most. not only that but you will be able to maintain a higher level of strength and endurance for longer – that is you will be able to maintain your ‘fitness’ levels well into old age.

There is no point in looking for ‘one-hit-wonders.’

I want to create a balance individual who can perform, even dominate, for long periods of time.

I want to build you up to Gretzky level, Jordan level, Ali, Pavel, Brady, Armstrong (without doping!) – you get the idea.

And this is how….


Principle Based Training

  1. Mobility Principles
  2. Training Principles
  3. Strength Principles

FIRST AND FOREMOST – you have to be ready to ‘work out’ – or as described above; ‘normal.’

How can you tell if you are ready to Work Out, or if you should be Working In?

  • check you breathing
  • check your mind

The body and mind mirror each other, especially the heart rate and breathing rate. When you are stressed both heart rate and breathing rate are elevated.

Therefore you will need a baseline of both.

  • check both, ideally when you wake up from 8 hours of sleep
  • check them 2 or 3 days in a row, and then use the average

If this is the first time you have spelt for 8 hours 3 days in a row then this article has already made an impact on your life – you will feel so much better after sleeping enough.

Finally, but definitely not last – POSTURE

  • if your posture is not ideal, you should work on mobility until you can lay comfortably on the ground for 10-15 minutes without any props.
  • that is to say, you should be able to sleep without any pillows.

If this seem like too much of a challenge simply to start working out, keep in mind this article is written to be as generic as possible – I can not prescribe anything to anyone without meeting them first.

Contact me at colangelo.mart@gmail.com -or- info@latsontraining.com for a consultation. Lets chat about your unique situation (online or offline).


 

1) Mobility Principles

  • refers to the ability of your body to use full ranges of motion.

I.E. Bending without breaking.

  1. Relaxation
  2. Breathing
  3. Patience
  4. Use your Strength
  5. Create Space
  6. Share the load

2) Training Principles

  • refers to the organization of our workout.

If you follow this order of increasing and then decreasing neurological intensity you will cover all your bases for strength and endurance

  1. Mobility
  2. Reactivity
  3. Speed / Power
  4. Strength
  5. Endurance
  6. Recovery

3) Strength Principles

  • refers to the fact that strength has a greater purpose

This is because strength makes everything else possible, it is a skill that can be taught, its about doing something properly and doing it well.

  1. Safety First
  2. Tension is Strength
  3. Relaxation is Strength
  4. Perfect Technique
  5. Long Rest
  6. Simple
  7. Sinister

*stay tuned for explanations in upcoming posts


This bring me to the last point,

The Overall Vision

My business is called LatsOn

The ‘Lats’ span more joints in the body than any other muscle.

The Lats are strong and mobile and uniquely awesome in what they do.

Most importantly the Lats support your posture, that is to say you head.

I.e. Lats support you life.

Humans are social creatures, and require a balance of 3 major aspects to ensure or a high standard of living:

  1. Home / Family
  2. Work
  3. Hobbies (includes sports)

LatsOn supports these 3 things through the following strategies:

  1. Movement
  2. Nutrition
  3. Mindfulness

These strategies are based on a ‘Minimal Effective Dose’ modality – that is to say the least amount of _____ for the greatest amount of return.

Each of the above points interact and support each other in such a way that when balanced properly, optimizes the quality of your life.

Currently our movement systems are based on 4 modalities

  1. Strength and Conditioning
  2. Powerlifting
  3. Kettbell Skills
  4. Restorative / Corrective movement

Each of which are again, based on a Minimal Effective Dose approach.

My business partner Tyler Lees-Schmut and I provide Group and Private instruction in all of these areas, specifically supporting (but not limited to) these demographics:

  • Youth (athletes or not)
  • Adults in recreational sports
  • Front Line Workers / First Responders

Quick note on Hobbies (including sports) – everyone has a hobby, or at least should have one for a healthy balanced life, and every hobby requires a movement practice to support it.

Yes that means even if your hobby is reading a book, or collecting stamps or playing with a train set – you still require bodily functions to perform these tasks. As stated before, the body and the mind mirror each other; so as your physical capabilities decline so do you mental capabilities (and vice versa).

This is called aging.

Why not age gracefully and functionally.

Did you know your eyes are controlled by muscles? Makes sense doesn’t it. So why don’t you ‘Work Out’ your eye muscles like you would any other? this would allow you to see your books, stamps, train, grandchildren’s children – whatever.

Whatever your goals, whatever your age or ‘fitness’ level, despite what kind of life you lead – LatsOn can help!




Martin Colangelo

“The Better Movement Specialist”

Stay Strong my friends!