Category Archives: Larry’s Blog

Complex Training

Complex Training is the pairing of a Plyometric movement (a type of exercise that uses explosive movements to develop muscular power) with a biomechanically similar strength movement. Although complex training methods vary in exercise order and rest intervals, for the purpose of this article focus will be on a low RM strength exercise followed immediately by a similar plyometric exercise. Additionally, focus will be on the long term chronic effects of complex training as a training parameter and not the acute effects on performance.

 

WHY INCORPORATE COMPLEX TRAINING INTO YOUR TRAINING?

 

The logic behind these matched pairs of exercises is that the resistance work gets the nervous system into full action leading to a greater training benefit. Complex training takes advantage of post-activation potentiation (PAP), which is the transient increase in muscle contractile performance after previous contractile activity. The increase in performance is due to greater Ca2+ sensitivity in the muscle and greater recruitment of muscle fibers. PAP increases the rate of force development and thus increases speed and power.  The rationale is that by repeating PAP exercises, complex training will produce long-term changes in the ability of a muscle to generate power[i].

To develop the rate of force development, and therefore increase strength and speed, the Type IIb muscle fibers need to be targeted as these are ones that produce force most explosively allowing for maximum power. Additionally, PAP itself is greater in type II fibers. The sorts of exercises that develop the Type IIb fibers are:

  • Speed strength exercises, e.g. weighted squats jumps

Plyometric exercises, e.g. bounding.

WHAT DOES THE SCIENCE SAY?

There have been a variety of experiments done on the result of complex workouts. Because of the differences in experimental procedures, there have been a range of outcomes. However, when the relevant experiments are narrowed down to those using experienced athletes and using a consistent workout plan of a 3-6 RM (at least 60% of 1RM)[i] followed by a similar plyometric exercise, there does seem to be a consensus. One study conducted at the University of Utah by Adams et al. (1992); utilizing 48 male subjects, found that those who trained using a combination of squat exercises and plyometric exercises increased their vertical jump significantly (10.67 cm) over those who trained on squats (3.30 cm) and plyometrics (3.81 cm) alone, over a six week period. This seems to be the only comprehensive long-term experiment done on Complex training; the benefits of complex training to sport performance is unknown.

Additionally, research found that complex training can increase the 1RM of traditional lifts.[ii] This is also seen when plyometric is preformed before traditional.[iii]

Complex training has been shown to increase vertical jump in both acute and chronic adaptation, and may have the most benefit in sports that involve short-term power events.

HOW TO INCORPORATE

There is evidence that complex training only increases plyometric ability in strong, well- trained athletes[iv],[v], so it should be reserved for experienced lifters and performed near the end of the off-season. As complex training is most beneficial to type II fibers, it is not time efficient to perform complex exercises for predominantly slow twitch muscles, and results may not be seen in individuals with a greater percentage of slow twitch. In addition, females may not show significant strength gains from complex training and prepubescent people should never complete complex training.

Complex training should be done fresh (first in a workout), on a rested body that has not recently performed exhaustive aerobic exercise. Avoid static stretching before or during complex training (reduces force production potential). Always go for quality: all reps should focus on explosiveness with enough rest.

Complex training is usually done in the specific phase just prior to season. The exercises are specific to each sport. Typical complex set: 5RM squat (at least 70% of 1RM) immediately (10-15 sec, longer you wait, more PAP dissipates) followed by 5 jump squats, then rest for 3min.



[i] J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Feb;19(1):135-9. Short-term effects of selected exercise and load in contrast training on vertical jump performance.

 

[ii] J Strength Cond Res. 2001 Nov; 14(4):470-476

[iii] J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Feb; 17(1):68-71

[iv]

Chiu LZ, Fry AC, Weiss LW, Schilling BK, Brown LE, Smith SL.

Related Articles, Links

Postactivation potentiation response in athletic and recreationally trained individuals.
J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Nov;17(4):671-7.

 

[v] J Strength Cond Res. 2003 May; 17(2):342-344

 


[i]

Hodgson, Matt; Docherty, David; Robbins, Dan

 

Post-Activation Potentiation: Underlying Physiology and Implications for Motor Performance.[Review]

 

Sports Medicine. 35(7):585-595, 2005.

 

Eccentric Training

Eccentric training, also known as negative training, is a technique that allows you to push your muscles past their normal point of failure.  Eccentric movements are performed involving lengthening of the muscle fibers.  This type of negative training is more demanding on the muscles, therefore they are fatigued a lot further than is possible during concentric movement.  Stressing the muscle, while it is lengthened, actually damages the micro-fibers of the muscle to such an extent that there is an increased potential for greater stimulation and growth.  Contractions that permit the muscle to shorten are concentric contractions, for instance while lifting a weight.  Eccentric contractions stress the muscle while it is lengthened, e.g. while lowering a weight.

The key to understanding the negative workout lies in this view of how individual motor units or the muscles are recruited: Because some motor units are turned off while a weight is lowered, a decreased number of motor units are holding the weight.  The active motor units are then exposed to a greater level of tension, which now provides an opportunity for greater growth stimulus.  For example:  Suppose you are using a muscle composed of 10 motor units to lift a weight of 100 lbs.  When you lift the weight, all the motor units participate so each motor unit is exposed to 100 pounds of tension.  You lower the weight by turning off some motor units; lets say you turn off 3, this leaves 7 motor units to lower the weight under control.  Because there are now fewer motor units supporting the weight, each of the remaining active motor units is exposed to more tension resulting in muscle hypertrophy (i.e. increase in the size of the muscle cells).  Because each motor unit is exposed to greater tension during the eccentric portion of the lift greater growth stimulus results.  Clearly, performing negatives can lead to muscular growth more quickly than performing concentric or isometric repetitions.  However, you must not perform negatives all the time.

There are different methods for eccentric training.  The first method is: Negatives Only.  This is a situation where a full workout session is dedicated to performing only negative phases of a specific exercise.  This method can be useful for building up strength or for blasting through a plateau.

The second method of Eccentric Training is:  Extra Eccentric Reps or Forced Negatives.  For this, a standard set of repetitions is performed and when concentric failure is reached a partner lifts the weight for you.  You perform only the part of the weight training phase that involves lengthening while your partner performs the concentric (lifting) part of this exercise.  This action is repeated for the desired number of reps. This is usually repeated 2-4 times, or until the muscles are fatigued.

The way to perform an eccentric rep is to add 40% more weight onto what you would normally do for that exercise. For example:  On the bench press if you can perform 8 reps at 225 lbs, you would put 360 pounds on the bar.  To start, have your training partner hand off the weight to you, then you would slowly lower the weight.  As a general rule of thumb you would take 4-5seconds to lower it (sometimes up to 10 seconds depending on your program). Once the weight has been lowered your partner would then lift it back up for you.

WARNING!  Don’t go overboard with eccentric training. Because it does cause more damage to skeletal muscle than concentric or isometric training, it requires more rest and recovery time.  Performing negatives excessively can lead to “over-training”.  Keep in mind that if negatives are not performed properly you would be risking potential damage to connective tissues and muscles by placing them under an excessive load.  These potential problems can be avoided by not performing negatives at every training session, or at the very least, changing the kind of negative training from what you used during your previous workout.  By safely incorporating eccentric training into your current training program you create greater overload and create new muscle growth resulting in greater gains thus getting BIGGER!  Above all, work with a reputable, certified physical trainer.

Training for Linebackers

The  Linebacker position requires Strength to be able to take on and shed blocks from Offensive Linemen; Agility to tackle running backs in the open field and Speed to be able to drop back into coverage.  In today’s SST Blog we will look at three exercises that will help you improve in these areas.

Log – Hang Clean and Press

One of SST favourite exercisef for imrpvoved hand strength SST we like to use a Log with thick grips because it improves hand strength.  This is important for taking on blocks, as well as tackling.  The important part of this exercise is generating power through triple extension.  That is using your hips, knees & ankles to generate force through your body and accelerate the bar up to your shoulders.  Once there you re-bend your knees and again use triple extension to help lift the weight above your head.

This is a great exercise for not only taking on blocks, but also explosively driving through tackles.

Sled Shuffle

For this exercise you load weight on the sled and attach it to your waist with a belt.  In a strong athletic position with knees bent and chest up the athlete drives off the leg closest to the sled.  You can perform this exercise with higher weights and slower movement earlier in the off-season.  As you get closer you want to use lighter weights and move more quickly.  This is a great exercise to help shuffling and cutting.  It is difficult to find an exercise that helps functionally strengthen those muscles, but this is our favorite.

Prowler Sprint

The prowler is one of the most polarizing pieces of equipment at our gym.  Most people have a strong love-hate relationship with it.  We have a term called the “Prowler Flu”, as several athletes have been forced to sign the bucket when they are done with it.  You can use it in several ways – as an energy system workout when you push it for longer distances.  But in this case we are going to focus on 10 yard acceleration runs.  This is great for filling the hole during running plays, or having to change direction and accelerate after a quarterback throws the ball.

If you’re looking to take your game to the next level contact one of the SST Franchises.

 

Steve Bodanis

SST Hamilton

www.sstcanada.com

What age is right for my child to start lifting weights?

Strength Training for KidsI think it’s high time we answered this question by debunking some of the myths surrounding the issue!

From soccer moms to hockey dads and everyone in between, the question of strength training being harmful for young children always remains at the top of the list. The answer, of course, is NO!! Strength training is, in fact, healthy and beneficial for your child. So much so, that studies conducted on the subject have been conclusive in finding that a properly constructed, structured and supervised program is a safe way to increase strength and endurance for sport, improve posture and reduce the chances of injury during gameplay.

Myth One:  Strength training will stunt my growth

I love this one.  Why?   My dad is only 5’3” 130 pounds soaking wet, and my mother is 5’5”.  And yet, I’m 6’4”.  Before you get into the milkman jokes let me inform you of some interesting research that indicates the reasoning for this.

A study of Olympic lifters (the ones you see grunt and groan while jerking sometimes 2x their bodyweight over their head) showed that 74% of them were the tallest in their families!  What does this mean?  Genetics … yes that has something to do with it,  but these athletes were strength training as young as 5 years old!!!  Yes, you read it right … 5 years old!

I, and some of my colleagues in the field, were lifting some type of Joe Weider cement plates prior to the age of ten and are the tallest people in our families!

So, this myth is …

FALSE

Strength training is proven to prevent osteoporosis in all types of people, young and old.  So what does that tell you?  Strength training not only strengthens muscle, tendons, and ligaments, but also has a profound effect on the skeletal system and aids in bone growth.

Myth Two:  Strength training ruin my growth plates

Well, that has been answered with the height issue, but this is still a major concern of parents – that their kid will break a growth plate during training.  I, and some of my professional peers in the industry, have been lifting weights for over 30 years now (I’m old!) and have yet to see this occur!

Strength Training for KidsIn fact, research has shown that kids who do not strength train get injured more in their sport than the ones who do.  Micheli (1986) states that children were injured in youth sport activities and the obvious reason was that their bodies were not ready for the physical demands of the sport.  Speaking of injuries, for a period of 7 years, we at SST did not have any sort of hockey groin injury when this was the most common injury heard about in the hockey industry.  Now it seems like the high ankle sprain is the new thing … knock on wood … our athletes have avoided this as well.   Is it good luck?  Yeah, maybe … but a proper personalized program is the real reason behind this, so-called “luck”.

If you have a proper and thorough assessment procedure (the best and the one we use at SST is the one learned from Charles Poliquin) your findings will aid in your program design.  With a proper and SUPERVISED strength training program, growth plate injuries are rare and almost nil.

What parents have to understand about strength training for their young children is that the weight training emphasized at SST and most other high performance centres is not “weight-lifting” (where the largest amounts of weight are pulled or pushed overhead in attempts at breaking records).  The programs are, however, based on your child’s needs, with emphasis on bodyweight exercises such as jumping, bounding, calisthenics, etc. or lighter weights (the weights are raised and lowered in a slow and controlled manner).  And, it’s all properly supervised by our certified coaches.  In life, everyone is different; thus the need for personalized and supervised programs which, if done properly, will not hinder any growth plate development.

So, this one too is …

FALSE

Myth Three:  Strength training for a young child has no benefit

I am shocked typing this because it may be as idiotic as Britney Spears’ marriage, haircut … and her music!  Believe it, I have had many so-called “expert” parents and coaches state this to me while stuffing themselves with a Tim Horton’s Boston Cream donut!

How about increased self-esteem and increased self-confidence for kids who strength train?  What more can someone ask for?  Strength training also leads to a significantly reduced chance of a child becoming depressed.

There are many other benefits to a properly supervised strength training program.  The National Strength and Conditioning Association, the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest the following benefits of a supervised resistance training program for kids:

  • Improved coordination, body awareness, and balance (especially before the age of puberty as this is a time that the body’s nervous system can be hardwired properly)
  • Increased muscular strength; what person doesn’t want to be strong and look good?
  • Increased performance; how can a coach not like this concept?   Make an athlete faster, stronger, and more powerful…what coach wouldn’t want that?  Oh… I know… a losing coach!
  • Reduced injury by protecting joints – strength training has been proven to strengthen not only muscles but the ligaments and tendons that aid in joint protection

As well, Ramsey, et al. 1990 states that scientific evidence points to the important role the nervous system plays in producing strength gains for children.  This is especially true for prepubescent children.   What does this really mean?  It is safe for kids to strength train and the benefit is increased strength!!

Additionally, decreased chance of osteoporosis is another benefit.  As many know, bone health is of utmost importance, especially in females.  Osteoporosis is now being called a “PEDIATRIC” disease and young girls should participate in resistance exercise to improve the rate of bone deposition (Loucks,1988)  Research has also shown that young weightlifters have greater bone densities than individuals who do not lift (Conroy, et al. 1990)

And again, this myth too is …

FALSE

The health benefits of a properly supervised strength building program at SST are:

  • Improved heart and lung function
  • Stronger bones – less chance of breaking and losing time on the playing field
  • Healthy body composition (more muscle burns more fat calories) – for every one pound of muscle gained you burn an extra 50Kcal per day.  I like to use the analogy of a stock market …put some money in and watch it grow while you sleep….unless you are in the subprime mortgage business…ouch!!
  • Increased self-esteem and confidence
  • Decreased possibility of depression

So for the parents who still wish to ask the question “Is strength training harmful for my child?” my answer is simply “No, strength training is not harmful for your child”.  So let’s get rid of the video games and snack foods and get our kids into a strength training program. Believe me, they will thank you for it someday!!

———

Larry Jusdanis, owner of Sports Specific Training

Larry Jusdanis, owner of Sports Specific Training

Larry is an accomplished Strength and Conditioning Coach with more than 20 years of strength coaching and is a disciplined leader who demonstrates exceptional creativity in developing athletes and executing programs that consistently exceed expectations.

To get more information about SST please visit www.sstcanada.com

To check out how these programs can be done in complete safety, visit us at www.xperformm.com

 

 

 

To Squat or to Power Clean?

With Olympic lifting at an optimal high in training facilities, I ask the question:

“To squat or to power clean?”  That is the question.

Part 1:

What’s better?  I know any good strength coach like Steve Bodanis, Dave Scott MacDowell, Scott Prohaska, or John Blair will say “it depends upon the athlete’s program”.  But then I ask, “why do some coaches preach power cleans for close to 100 reps when we know that this is a technical lift and high reps increase rate of breakdown of form?”  (If this sounds like your coach, they may have received their certificate over a weekend, and you should read my article on what makes a great strength coach)

Squats are a staple in many successful athletes’ programs

Squats are what I call a slower strength movement.  Obviously there are some speed variations, but for this purpose we will focus on back squats.  This puts us more at the maximal strength component of the strength speed continuum or force velocity curve.

Force Velocity CurveAs you can see with Squats, emphasis is on maximal strength and strength-speed during dynamic training days.  Some variations of squats that would emphasize different phases of the force velocity curve are:

  • Back/ front/ safety squats
  • Back/safety squats with bands
  • Back squats
  • Jump squats

Back/Front/Safety Squats with maximal weight promote maximal strength.

Back/Safety Squats with Bands shift more toward strength-speed.

Back Squats with Bands are traditionally strength-speed and depending upon the load used can be closer to speed-strength.

Jump Squats depend on the weight used.  At SST, we emphasize speed during the exercise and NEVER have our athletes exceed 25% of their bodyweight as their load for their day.  If you are in doubt, ALWAYS aim for the lower weight and increase speed during this exercise.

There are many more variations of the Squat that good strength coaches know how to perform.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series.  Coming soon.

———

Larry Jusdanis, owner of Sports Specific Training

Larry Jusdanis, owner of Sports Specific Training

Larry is an accomplished Strength and Conditioning Coach with more than 20 years of strength coaching and is a disciplined leader who demonstrates exceptional creativity in developing athletes and executing programs that consistently exceed expectations.

To get more information about SST please visit www.sstcanada.com

To check out how these programs can be done in complete safety, visit us at www.xperformm.com

 

 

 

What to Look for in a Strength Coach

athlete16_200x300If you are just getting into the spirit of using a strength coach or personal trainer and want to know what to look for, hopefully I can offer some advice. I have been in this field for over 14 years and have seen a lot. I’ve traded new information with colleagues, and used mentors and libraries of information to learn what I now know. But the learning never stops! I am always seeking what is best for my clients.

Many people have asked me what to look for when hiring a strength coach or a personal trainer; I think the answers are the same in either situation.

I used to think education was the most important credential and trust me I believe this lays down the foundation of the science of personal training which is very important but not the only thing to look for.  I have seen many good coaches who don’t have a post-secondary degree have success but I have seen many more trainers who have a degree and then take a 2 day course and now think they are EXPERT personal trainers after one weekend!

Here are some of the attributes I think a client should look for:

Passion

I have just returned from a speaking engagement and workshop in cloudy southern California (June Gloom!) where a couple of things really stood out.   On the first day I had the pleasure of teaching 50 personal trainers about Functional Applied Speed Training for Power Systems.

I was overwhelmed and surprised by the passion and love for training and knowledge these coaches exhibited.  Some had come from as far as Canada and New York all the way to California for a full day of learning.  Right away (8 am) the audience was engaging and very receptive to learning.   Never once did I have to beg for a volunteer, in fact I had to beat them away with a stick when we went into the practical sessions.  This is what I call passion!

The next day I was fortunate to pair up with a good friend and great strength coach, Scott Prohaska.  He had arranged for the training of 15 athletes, ranging from Olympic bobsledders to division one football players to rep baseball players.  Coming into this I knew all these high -level athletes would have passion, but the passion from Scott was amazing.  Not only was he encouraging, but he tried every drill I put each athlete through.  At the end of the session he told me that he has brought in many people in to speak with his athletes and was pleased to report that his athletes told him that they enjoyed the day mainly due to my passion and the fact that I was right there in the trenches with them. This is what I love to do!

Later that day Scott and I went for dinner and discussed how many hours we work per week?
70-80 hours was the answer.  I have asked many professionals, in other fields, the same question and they often admitted to working similar long hours. When I ask why they work so many hours each week,  the common answer was not just that they have so much work to do, but rather, that they love what they do. You can actually see the true passion in their manner.  People who are successful put the time into their field of work, but the ones who are truly dedicated, do it for the love of it! Their passion shows, in fact it oozes out of them – because you can not fake passion!  As one of my clients, JoAnn, says “Love it!!”

Leave your Ego at the Door!

This is probably one of the most important ideals, and one of the most difficult for many coaches to acquire.  I see big egos every time I travel and watch other coaches teach.

Let’s use my friend Scott for example. His strength is his ability to help his clients get strong . . . he does a GREAT job at this, but he understands his limitations, in this case, speed training. What did he do but seek out someone to help him and his athletes.   He left his ego at the door!

I did the same thing for some of my female clients when I discussed nutrition and training with top physique coach, Francine from Montreal. Her insight was tremendously productive in helping my female clients achieve success.   I often bring in nutrition experts such and Caryn from Biotics Nutrition to teach the SST staff, enabling us to better help our clients.  Again I remind you, your trainer should be able to leave ego at the door!

Remember the bottom line is that strength coaches and personal trainers are here to help you.  Whatever it takes, coaches should try to ensure the best for their clients.

We, as coaches and trainers, all like to boast about our clients’ successes and sometimes market them (before and after stories),  but remember this (and I tell all my parents and athletes this):  You are the one who committed yourself to the project and you must be the first one to put forth a great effort .  Our trainers are ready to work hard for you, and you must be ready to work too.   I just wrote up a program to encourage you to reach your goals . . . you and your trainer’s best efforts!

Continuing Search for Educational Resources

Consider the strength coaches who attended this past seminar. They took time from their busy schedule to spend a whole day to better their techniques.   They are determined in their search of new educational information.  Next time you are looking for a trainer/coach ask how many seminars and what other types of education they take part in. At SST, the minimum goal is to attend one new seminar each month to better ourselves. Even if I only discover one new thing, both my client and I will be better for it.

These last few weeks, I have been reading books, articles, DVDs and anything I can get my hands on regarding cancer and nutrition.  Why?  One of my clients has been diagnosed with cancer and I feel an obligation to do the best I can to help him get better.  This is the kind of dedication I look for when hiring strength coaches.

Another good friend, one of the most learned nutritionists in the world, John Berardi spends countless hours researching and discovering new information about the human body.  He has PASSION which leads him to the never-ending search of new and important information; the ongoing search for education!  Why do you think he is the best?   Passion and education!

So next time you are looking for a trainer/coach, don’t be afraid to ask them questions as if you’re conducting a job interview; which you, in fact, are.

Results

Yes, results are the bottom line. Why do you think the TV show, Biggest Loser is such a hit? People are getting results and that’s what everybody wants!  Most people want instant success. If a coach tells you that you can drop 20 pounds in two weeks, be very leery. Success takes a lot of work, as in anything worth while, and there are no short cuts. So don’t expect shortcuts in weight loss or training either.

Ask your coach or trainer what successes they have had, and be specific. If you are a female client ask about successes with female clients.  If you’re an athlete, ask about who the trainer has helped?

Do you see a theme here?  The best coaches all have passion; all exhibit a keen interest to learn more in an endless study of research; a good coach stashes his/her ego. All these combined will give the client excellent results.   Notice I did not mention certification?  The reason for this is that some trainer certifications are done on line or through a weekend course (some are actually pretty good) Now, this is better than nothing I guess, but imagine dealing with a doctor who received his accreditations at a weekend seminar.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to get certification but the trainer/coach must still continue their education throughout their lifetime.

So, when looking for a good coach/ trainer please ask these questions and remember you will only get the results you want from the effort you and your trainer put into it.  Some Coaches may only be working with you for two hours a week.  So get off the couch, get ready for summer, and find yourself a great coach!

———

Larry Jusdanis

Larry Jusdanis

Larry is an accomplished Strength and Conditioning Coach with more than 20 years of strength coaching and is a disciplined leader who demonstrates exceptional creativity in developing athletes and executing programs that consistently exceed expectations.

To get more information about SST please visit www.sstcanada.com

To check out how these programs can be done in complete safety, visit us at www.xperformm.com

 

 

So … you wanna get big ???

I have worked with hundreds of athletes, weekend warriors, and average Joes.  Some needed to drop a few pounds while others would be considered “hardgainers” – those guys that say “no matter what I do I can’t gain weight.”  Thankfully, I had the remedy and was able to change their ways.

  1. athlete01Sleep – If you want to pack on muscle, your hormones need to be optimal.  When you sleep, your body releases growth hormone.  If you are only getting 4-5 hours a night, or waking up every hour, that needs to change.  You will need to block at least 8 hours per night, preferably at the same time every night.  If you find that you are waking up fairly often, then supplements such as zinc, magnesium, cordyceps, ashwaghanda, and 5-HTP may help you out.
  2. Eat 6-8 times per day – If you want to get big you cannot skip meals.  If you skip a meal you’ll never get it back!  Hardgainers generally have higher metabolisms and need to eat more calories.
  3. Get enough protein – You will need to get 1.5 – 2 times your bodyweight in grams of protein daily.  If you weigh 160lbs that would be 240g-320g daily.  Break that up into 6-8 meals and you should be in the range of 30-40g per meal.  On workout days I like to be taking in a little more than on my off days.
  4. Train at the same time – Studies show that if you are on a routine of getting to sleep, waking up, and training at the same time every day, then your results will be improved.  Schedule your workouts like they are appointments that you will not miss.
  5. During the workout – We recommend taking BCAAs during your workout.  We use Poliquin brand BCAAs because they have the optimal ratio of Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.  You need to take 15-20g during the workout, or don’t bother.  This will help keep you in an anabolic state and give you the building blocks to repair your muscles after a grueling workout
  6. Post workout shake – We like to use a combination of Carbohydrates, Protein, and Glutamine.  The amount works out to approximately 1g of Carbs per lb of bodyweight, 0.25g of protein per lb, and 0.10g of Glutamine per lb.  Timing is important, so try to have it as soon as you finish your last set.  Do not mix protein with liquids until right before you are going to ingest it.
  7. Time under tension – If you want to put on muscle, you need to make sure that you are keeping your muscles working, or under tension, for 40 -70 seconds.  We use tempo in our exercise prescriptions. Say you are performing a bench press at a tempo of 4010, 4 seconds down and 1 second up; that means every rep takes 5 seconds to complete.  If you are doing 10 reps that’s 50 seconds that your muscle is under tension.  That’s a huge difference from 10 reps at 1010.  If you want your body to change, you need to push it to make it do so.
  8. Choose Compound movements as your base – Squats, Deadlifts, Dips, Military Press, Chin Ups, Bench Press, Bent Rows. You can do some isolation exercises, but these compound movements need to be your major lifts.  Do not be afraid to lift heavy weights, either.  When you are done your workout, you should be dragging yourself out of the gym.
  9. Working out is not a social event – On your program you need to have specific rest periods.  When you are done a set, start your stopwatch.  When it reaches the specific time you’d better be lifting!  Do not be hanging around talking to everyone that walks by…..maintain your focus! You can pick up girls on the weekend!
  10. Train Hard …Then go Home – Your workouts should not keep you in the gym.  After your general warm up (approximately 10 min) your workout should be 45 minutes to 1 hour.  After that your testosterone levels start decreasing.  You should be able to determine how long it takes by multiplying tempo x reps x sets and adding in the rest periods.  We like to use antagonist muscle pairings to get more work done in less time.  For example, Chest/Back.  You perform a set of chest, rest, and then move on to the back.  If you take 60s rest between sets it will be 2½ to 3 min between chest sets.  You should be fully recovered and be able to handle more weight.

Here is a sample program for hardgainers – Extended Giant Sets.

Day 1 – Chest/Back

Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Tempo

Rest

A1 Supinated Chin Ups

4

4-6

4010

15s

A2 Pronated Chin Ups

4

3-5

3010

15s

A3 Horizontal Rows – feet elevated

4

8-10

2012

3m

A4 45 Incline DB Bench Press – N to P

4

4-6

4010

15s

A5 DB Bench Press – Neutral Grip

4

6-8

3010

15s

A6 Decline DB Bench Press

4

8-10

3010

3m

B1 Bent Lateral Raise

3

8-10

2011

10s

B2 DB Flies

3

8-10

2110

60s

 

Day 2 – Legs

Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Tempo

Rest

A1 Back Squats

4

4-6

4010

15s

A2 Low Pulley Split Squats

4

8-10

3110

15s

A3 Backwards Sled Drag

4

 40 yds

XXX

3m

A4 Lying Hamstring Curls

4

4-6

4010

15s

A5 Romanian Deadlifts

4

6-8

3010

15s

A6 Back Extensions

4

8-10

2011

3m

B1 Standing Calf Raises

3

8

1011

10s

B2 Seated Calf Raises

3

25

1011

60s

 

Day 3 – Shoulders/Arms

Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Tempo

Rest

A1 Dips

4

4-6

4010

15s

A2 Close Grip Bench Press

4

3-5

3010

15s

A3 Lying Tri Extensions –EZ Bar to head

4

8-10

2012

3m

A4 Thick Barbell Curls

4

4-6

4010

15s

A5 Reverse Preacher Curls – EZ Bar

4

6-8

3010

15s

A6 Incline Hammer Curls

4

8-10

3010

3m

B1 3 Way DB Lateral Raise

3

   5ea

2011

10s

B2 Cobra External Rotations

3

8-10

2110

60s

 

Larry Jusdanis

Larry Jusdanis

Larry is an accomplished Strength and Conditioning Coach with more than 20 years of strength coaching and is a disciplined leader who demonstrates exceptional creativity in developing athletes and executing programs that consistently exceed expectations.

To get more information about SST please visit www.sstcanada.com

To check out how these programs can be done in complete safety, visit us at www.xperformm.com

 

 

Max Size and Max Strength Bench Workout

Why is it …

Why is it that whenever I’m in a gym, I see people benching the same weight at each workout?

It usually goes like this:

A person performs a few reps at 185 pounds then at 205, and maybe 225 and then they get stuck.   At this point the individual moves to another exercise, most likely the incline bench, and does the same kind of thing.   You would think that after a year the weight they can bench would be through the roof, but unfortunately they haven’t seen continued improvement because most people don’t know how to maximize their strength training capacity.   They don’t know how to initiate progression.  The potential for increasing muscle size just isn’t being met.

“The potential for increasing muscle size just isn’t being met.”

Though we at SST have different bench routines for each of our athletes, the one I want to outline here is a favorite because it helps the athlete gain not only strength, but also size.

Basically the workout consists of 6 sets of 6 reps but with drop sets.  Of course, after finishing this workout, many of our athletes feel like their body has been to hell and back!

Here’s how the program works from a physiological standpoint.  An important factor to consider when working to increase strength and muscle size is to maximize motor unit activation.  To better understand this, think of your body as containing a pool of motor units. By performing the Max strength Max size bench workout, which consists of lifting at, or near, maximum capacity, you would activate almost all of those motor units.  The type of motor units we are aiming to recruit are the “fast twitch” or the type IIb muscle fibers.  Fast twitch fibers are associated with high threshold motor units and are evidenced by power, speed and explosiveness.   SST encourages their athletes to recruit the fast twitch fibers because this optimizes the most potential for building both strength and size.  And who doesn’t want to be bigger and stronger?

The Max Strength Max Size workout is also an effective tool when used to build up the legs, but for now let’s look at increasing bench performance.

Exercise order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Tempo

Rest in between reps

Rest after set

A1

14” Bench press

2

2,1,1,1,1

401

15

100

A2

Wide grip pull- ups

2

6

301

0

100

B1

Bench press

2

2,1,1,1,1

301

15

100

B2

Narrow grip pull ups

2

6

301

0

100

C1

Wide grip Bench press

2

2,1,1,1,1

301

15

100

C2

Chin ups

2

6

211

0

100

D1

Decline lying db triceps extension

3

8-12

311

0

90

D2

External rotation on knee with db

3

15

301

0

90

About Tempo

Tempo refers to speed of   movement.  The first number represents the speed, in seconds, when lowering the weight or letting it down with gravity.  The second number refers to the pause between lowering and raising.  The third number refers to the speed of raising the weight.

For an example, look at the chin-up tempo.  The tempo is 211; therefore, the athlete would lift himself up over the bar in one second, pause for one second and then lower himself for 2 seconds.

For the most efficient workout, SST pairs exercises together.  For instance, you would do A1 immediately followed by A2 as the first pairing, and then repeat until all sets have been completed.  At this point move on to B1 and B2 and follow the same pattern.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

Three different grips are used for bench work

Differing the grip and varying the load, increases muscle tension and motor unit activation.  By varying the grip you maximize muscle recruitment thus increasing the potential to build muscle mass.

How the rep scheme is broken down

SST recommends starting with a weight that is near your maximum ability for one rep.  Lift this weight for 2 reps.  Wait 15 seconds then use a weight that is 5 to 10% less and perform a single rep at maximum tension.  Repeat with this weight until you have completed 6 reps in total.

Alternate bench work with chin-ups/pull-ups

Research has shown that by working opposite muscle groups overall strength is improved in the most beneficial manner.  Perform all 6 reps of chins and pull-ups at the same time with no rest in between reps.  When you are able to perform all 6 reps with ease add more weight.

It is important to rest between sets

There is a 15 second rest between reps when doing bench lifts which allows the body to recover and to recruit maximum motor units for every lift.  By lifting in this manner, the athlete is able to tap into the higher threshold motor units.  By using the maximum tension in every lift, you can expect to make tremendous gains in strength and start to build up size.

This workout is demanding but the results are well worth the effort.  Perform your workout once every 4 – 5 days for a month and let me know what you think.

Larry Jusdanis, owner of Sports Specific Training

Larry Jusdanis, Sports Specific Training

Larry Jusdanis is the owner of Sports Specific Training Inc. and has trained thousands of athletes from a variety of sports ranging from your Weekend Warrior to the Professional.

To get more information about SST please visit www.sstcanada.com

To see how the Max Strength Bench Workout can be done in complete safely at or even above your normal maximum capacity, visit us at www.xperformm.com  Watch the Bench Press videos.

Learn more about the Cormax Bench Press station.

Welcome Larry Jusdanis … and Larry’s Blog

Xperformm is very pleased to announce a new blog contributed by Larry Jusdanis.   Larry is an accomplished personal trainer with a wealth of experience and a long list of accomplishments to his credit.  Himself a former CFL quarterback, Larry now owns and operates Sports Specific Training Inc. which offers personal strength and training programs for athletes in 8 Canadian locations.

We see a strong synergy between Larry’s approach and Cormax equipment

Larry Jusdanis

Larry Jusdanis

“We’re very pleased and honored to have the support of such a knowledgeable and well-respected sports professional,” said Grant Skinner, Executive Vice President at Xperformm Inc.  “Larry works with and trains hundreds of athletes annually, and we’re excited to be able to share in our blog the benefit of his experience.  We see a strong synergy between Larry’s approach to strength and conditioning training and the benefits and capabilities of Cormax equipment.”

Larry is an accomplished Strength and Conditioning Coach with more than 20 years of strength coaching and is a disciplined leader who demonstrates exceptional creativity in developing athletes and executing programs that consistently exceed expectations.  Larry is a results-oriented professional.

SSTAs the owner of Sports Specific Training Inc., a privately owned company, Larry is dedicated to the development of athletes of all ages. SST’s approach is quite unique in that they are committed to producing the best athlete possible through the development of strength, power, nutrition, agility, flexibility, motivation and FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH and SPEED.  During the past 7 years SST has become a leading expert in the field of FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH and SPEED!  Larry Jusdanis works with hundreds of athletes each year who excel in a wide range of sports, including:  baseball, basketball, figure skating, football, golf, hockey, skiing, soccer, and track and field.

Larry Jusdanis QB

Larry Jusdanis QB

Larry has a long list of personal and professional accomplishments:

  • First Canadian quarterback to start in a CFL game in the last 25 years
  • First Canadian Quarterback to be invited to the NFL Combine
  • Coached by Mike Krucyk (backup QB to Terry Bradshaw during the Pittsburgh Steeler years)
  • Broke numerous CIS and conference passing records while attending Acadia University
  • Until recently, he was the all-time leader in CIS passing history
  • Twice nominated as the MVP of the AUAA
  • Acadia led the nation in passing during each of Larry’s final 3 years
  • Impressive times in the CFL combine: 4.67 in the 40-yard dash time at 242 lbs
  • Larry’s forty-yard dash time for the NFL put him in the top 5th percentile for the League
  • Larry was drafted by the BC Lions and then traded to the Hamilton Tiger Cats in 1995. Larry started and/or played in 8 games with Hamilton
  • Larry finished his 3-year career, playing with the Montreal Alouettes and the Toronto Argonauts.  During his stint in the CFL Larry played with Matt Dunnigan, Doug Flutie, Anthony Calvillo and Tracey Ham.  Larry was coached by the likes of John Jenkins (coached two Heisman trophy winners) and Danny Macciocca
  • Founder and owner of Sports Specific Training Inc. (SST)
  • Founder and operator of and ELITE National Strength and Conditioning Company for athletes
  • Speed Director for the National Association of Speed and Explosion (2012-)
  • Strength/ Speed and Conditioning Coach, University of Guelph  (2013-)
  • Speed Consultant, Mater Dei (2012-)
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach, Toronto Argonauts, CFL (2006-2009)
  • Strength and Conditioning Consultant, Hamilton Tiger Cats, CFL (2007-2008)
  • Speed Consultant, Cleveland Browns , NFL (2007)
  • BPhEd, Exercise Science, Acadia University
  • CPTN, Certified Personal Trainer
  • Level 4 Poliquin Certified Strength Coach
  • Level 3 Biosignature Coach
  • FAST – Founded Functional Applied Speed Training program for coaches and athletes

Watch for great new posts and content in the new “Larry’s Bloghere.

Contact Grant Skinner here:  grant.skinner@xperformm.com or 416.300.9194