Articles

Why Running Sucks for Fat Loss

I'm setting aside the usual performance focus for this post and taking a step back. Fat loss is the number one goal for millions of people getting into fitness for the first time, and in that spirit I want to offer some insight to those who might be looking to jogging for a quick way to lose some pounds. Every year right around now, millions of people start to think about how they've let themselves take on some bad habits,...

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More mobility isn’t always good…

Earlier I wrote about why I don’t like the “knees out” cue in the squat (parts 1 and 2 here and here). It often comes down to athletes not understanding which muscles to use, and some being too mobile for their own good. They have trouble finding alignment. I also mentioned why not everybody needs the same amount of “mobility work” – working on it can actually predispose some to injury. If you have more passive ROM at a joint than...

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Why I don’t like “Knees out!” in the squat, Part 2

In Part 1 I talked about how an athlete’s mobility makes them respond to the “knees out” squat command differently, some of the complications that creates, and why it matters. I’d like to dig a little bit deeper into another reason I’m not a huge fan of using this phrase as a primary instruction. Downside #2 – Not Knowing Your Purpose The second reason I don't like using "knees out" is closely related to the last point form part 1: many...

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Why I don’t like “Knees out!” in the squat, Part 1

To be totally frank, I'm not a fan of the "knees out" coaching cue in squats. Sure, I use it from time to time with certain athletes and lifters. But I don't generally like it for 2 reasons. First, I think it actually has the potential to screw people up, depending on their individual joint characteristics. Second, I think that there are many trainers and coaches out there who don't actually know what the purpose of that cue actually...

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“Find the Weak Point and Fix it!”

I’ve been thinking about this quote quite a bit. I don’t remember where I heard it, but I believe the entire world of sports performance training can be summed up in these words. Fix the athlete's weaknesses. Use whatever tools are at your disposal to do it, and constantly learn new ones. Don’t limit yourself to only one kind of training. As coaches we often lock ourselves into stylistic boxes: bodybuilding, Olympic lifting, conditioning, or even corrective exercises. We end up...

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Challenge Your Biases

“It is the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”. This quote, often attributed to Aristotle, contains what I believe to be one of the fundamental keys to developing a training philosophy as a coach (or indeed, any development as a person). Challenging our biases as coaches - testing our views of the training world - is as uncomfortable as it is essential. If you’ve heard the name Frans Bosch before, you’re one...

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A New Study on Back Pain in the Army

New Insights On An Old Problem A significant study on back pain in US Army soldiers was published this month. Results show that lower leg injury dramatically increases a soldiers risk for back pain. This study reinforces the idea that substantial alterations should be considered in fitness training for soldiers and treatment of injuries. The authors investigated the relationship between past lower leg injury (LLI) and the development of back pain. They examined whether lower leg injury would increase the overall...

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Proof That Good Coaching Matters

There are very few absolutes in the world of performance and nutrition. The most universally hated phrase (“well, it depends…”) is also almost always the most truthful answer, much to the frustration of the person asking the question! There is one study however, that shows without doubt exactly how much having a good coach changes an athlete or soldier’s ability to perform and resist injury.  I want to cover it today because it’s so crucial. It was written by a fantastic...

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