Dip Progressions

When it comes to improving your fitness, you have to constantly keep yourself challenged. In weight training, this is done by increasing weight to increase difficulty. With calisthenics, however, it works  little differently. Challenging yourself and calisthenics can mean changing the angle, changing the depth of the movement, or looking at different variations of exercises for the same muscle group. Whether you’re lifting weights or doing calisthenics most of us are familiar with dips. When I was starting to increase the difficulty of my dips, I add weights. But taking a step back and taking a better look at the exercise I found that the weights are not necessary. As I progressed I moved from bench dips, to elevated bench dips, to parallel bar dips, the straight bar dips, and eventually Korean dips. Before I would progress from one to the other I made sure I was reaching the maximum depth with proper form to make sure I was maximizing my range of motion. One of the things I love most about calisthenics is the near limitless amount of exercises you can do if you get creative. You can find a video of all these dips here.

Want to get fit without paying for a gym membership? Do it all in the comfort of your home or local park with my new book The Calisthenics Quest!

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The Truth In My Fitness

I get a lot of comments on photos and articles that I post claiming that, of course I can do the things that I do because I’ve been fit my entire life. But, I can tell you that is not true. In high school, and my much younger years, I was very active and outdoorsy and constantly exercising, but there was a point in which I fell out of it, and through a good portion of my 20’s I was completely off the fitness bandwagon and started putting on a bit of weight and body fat. I came back onto the fitness scene with studying Taijiquan, and not long after I got into weight training. My primary goal, at first, was to start losing that weight that I had put on. And it was a struggle a lot of ups and downs in my diet anger over not seeing results right away and wanting to give up on more than one occasion. But with a lot of hard work, and a few years of busting my butt, I lost about 20 pounds. At this time I was doing a combination of weight training as well as calisthenics. And when I was doing this calisthenic training I will tell you firsthand that I could not do one single pull-up. After continuing to work for a few more years those pull-ups started coming along as well as hitting those crazy numbers on push-ups. It is honestly been within the last four years that I’ve become more calisthenic focused and it’s not because I dislike lifting weights. It was because I found calisthenics just work better for me. Now looking at some of the crazier calisthenic moves that I’ve been doing I want you to keep in mind that for a lot of those I train for well over six months just to do it for the first time and in some cases it took close to a year just to get it for the first time. So what I’m really trying to say is that this was all achieved through hard work not something that I have always been able to do I’m still striving for new goals just like everyone else, I even continue to watch my eating habits. If you have a goal you need to push for it and there will be ups and downs, but there are people out there that are more than willing to support you towards your goal.

Have questions? Contact me.

Get info on my up coming book.

Hunting For a Trainer?

Ok, so now you are considering a trainer but don’t know what to look for. Sure, the huge meat head or cheerleader looks like they know their stuff, but do they?

First, is your trainer willing to answer questions? To believe everything without question is indoctrination. Your trainer should be able to answer your questions about health and fitness. No trainer knows everything, but they should be willing to research the answers to your questions.

Does your trainer make huge promises? No person is the same, so to be told you will lose a bunch of weight just like a person you saw in TV is likely a false promise. Also, if they tell you that you will be ripped like Arnold, I ask you this. Are you Arnold? No one will build the same.

Does your trainer have insecurities? If your trainer tries to dissuade you from trying new things this could be due to personal insecurities. If you want to try out that Spin, Yoga, or Zumba class, then do it. It is your fitness journey and you should do things you enjoy.

Does your trainer listen to your goals? If your goal is to lean out and lose weight did they build the right program for you? There are certain rep ranges and weight percentages to take into account for each goal. Also, if your goal is to not lift weights at all, then your trainer should be listening to this.

Finally, is your trainer certified or just a gym rat? Sure that guy that can lift 200lbs is ripped, but can he teach you to do that safely? I highly suggest researching your potential trainer. Most certifications can be looked up online for free. After all, you are putting your fitness health and goals in their hands.

Don’t be afraid to get a trainer, just make sure they are right for you.

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How much time do I need to work out?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been getting the same question over and over. “How much time do I need to devote to working out?” There really isn’t a perfect answer to this, but here is my view. You honestly do not need to spend hours in the gym working out. The real trick is to workout smart. In a lot of cases, you can get away with 30 to 45 minute long workouts as long as long as you avoid the common distractions in the gym such as TVs and constantly texting or making calls between sets, and in some “fitness facilities”, the snack table. No, I’m not saying that you won’t get a lot out of working out for an hour; heck, I like working out for at least an hour. But in most cases, the time is not necessarily available. Another thing you can do to help speed up your workout is focus on multiple muscle groups in one exercise. You don’t have to stick with the standard three sets of 10 for bench press three sets of 10 for lat pulldowns you can work more than one muscle at a time. The most important of all focus on your goals. Every time you enter your gym, playground or wherever else you workout, go in with a plan and if that plan is torn apart by someone using the equipment, then you need have a back up plan. There of been plenty of times when I went in planning to work one set of muscles and was thrown off by equipment I regularly use for that so I switch gears and move to another muscle group. And never forget, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re not sure how to best maximize your time in the gym. It takes some getting used to and there are plenty of people that can help you get on the right path.

Have questions? Contact me.

See my fitness journey.

5 Tips To Keep Your Fitness Goals.

Every year I meet people that make very unrealistic health and fitness goals for their New Year’s resolution, and, within a month, they give up. That doesn’t have to be you. Get Inspired.Set attainable goals. The most common mistake people make is to set one large goal. It is important to set small goals for short term and long term. Instead of saying “I want to lose 50 lbs. by summer” (which is unhealthy), try the small goal of losing 1-2 lbs. a week. It doesn’t sounds like much but a small step forward is still a step forward. I use the SMART goal system. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Get a trainer. Even if it’s once a week or once a month, a trainer will help you assess your current fitness level, set goals you can attain, and help you choose workouts to get you to your goals. They can make sure you are doing your exercises correctly to avoid injury and can help you stay motivated. Don’t forget, even Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno and Ronda Rousey had help.

Eat for success. You can’t get lean and fit with a poor diet. Start by eliminating empty calories such as soda pop, juices, candy, and other junk foods. You can still have an occasional treat but everything should be in moderation. Then calculate your needed calories and eat by the numbers, keeping a balance between fruits and veggies, and lean proteins and healthy fats.

Create a support system. Health and fitness goals are hard to meet on your own. Friends, family, and co-workers might not understand your goals and inadvertently try to sabotage your effort. You worked out yesterday, you can skip it today or one cookie won’t hurt you. Surround yourself with as many like minded people as you can, from work-out buddies to health conscious eaters.

Don’t focus on the scale. At first you may drop weight fast, then plateau on weight loss. This is common and very frustrating. Instead focus on how you feel, how much energy you have, how well you sleep, and how your clothes fit. Keep in mind that set backs can happen and they are nothing to worry about. It is also possible that you are putting on lean muscle.

Treat your fitness goals as a life style change and stick to your convictions. It takes time to turn a new routine into a habit. Remember, everybody is different and reaching your goals may mean different approaches than someone else. Your fitness journey will be unique but follow these five simple tips for continued success.

Have questions? Contact me.

SEE MY FITNESS JOURNEY

Flexibility Training

Much like other areas of health and fitness, flexibility has a systematic progression based on your goals, needs and capabilities. The three phases of flexibility training that I like to use are corrective, active and functional.


Corrective flexibility is used for increasing joint range of motion, improving muscle imbalances and correcting alter joint mechanics. Some of the techniques for corrective flexibility include foam rolling (also known as self myofascial release) and static stretching. Foam rolling would be used for tight or overactive muscles to help relax and elongate improving muscle extensibility. During static stretching will improve muscle extensibility further by holding your stretches for 20 to 60 seconds allowing for greater lengthening of the muscle.

 

The next phase of flexibility is active flexibility, which uses active-isolated stretching. This allows for the agonist and the synergist muscles to move through a full range of motion while the antagonists are being stretched. In most cases the stretches are only held for 2 to 5 seconds at the end range of motion and then relaxed and it would be done for a specific number of repetitions.

The third phase in the flexibility continuum is functional flexibility which utilizes dynamic stretching. For dynamic stretching you need multiplane are extensibility with optimal neuromuscular control throughout the full range of motion. One easy example of this would be doing bodyweight squats or walking lunges with a medicine ball rotation.

The third phase in the flexibility continuum is functional flexibility which utilizes dynamic stretching. For dynamic stretching you need multiplane are extensibility with optimal neuromuscular control throughout the full range of motion. One easy example of this would be doing bodyweight squats or walking lunges with a medicine ball rotation.

See my fitness journey
Have Questions? Contact me.

5 Simple Tips For Keeping Your Fitness Resolution.

Every year I meet people that make very unrealistic health and fitness goals for their New Year’s resolution, and within a month they give up. That doesn’t have to be you. Get Inspired.
Set attainable goals. The most common mistake people make is to set one large goal. It is important to set small goals for short term and long term. Instead of saying I want to lose 50 lbs. by summer which is unhealthy, try the small goal of losing 1-2 lbs. a week. It doesn’t sounds like much but a small step forward is still a step forward. I use the SMART goal system. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Get a trainer. Even if it’s once a week or once a month, a trainer will help you assess your current fitness level, set goals you can attain, and help you choose workouts to get you to your goals. They can make sure you are doing your exercises correctly to avoid injury and can help you stay motivated. Don’t forget, even Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno and Ronda Rousey had help.

Eat for success. You can’t get lean and fit with a poor diet. Start by eliminating empty calories such as soda pop, juices, candy, and other junk foods. You can still have an occasional treat but everything should be in moderation. Then calculate your needed calories and eat by the numbers, keeping a balance between fruits and veggies, and lean proteins and healthy fats.

Create a support system. Health and fitness goals are hard to meet on your own. Friends, family, and co-workers might not understand your goals and inadvertently try to sabotage your effort. You worked out yesterday, you can skip it today or one cookie won’t hurt you. Surround yourself with as many like minded people as you can, from work-out buddies to health conscious eaters.

Don’t focus on the scale. At first you may drop weight fast then plateau on weight loss. This is common and yet very frustrating. Instead focus on how you feel, how much energy you have, how well you sleep, and how your clothes fit. Keep in mind set backs can happen and they are nothing to worry about. It is also possible that you are putting on lean muscle.

Treat your fitness goals as a life style change and stick to your convictions. It takes time to turn a new routine into a habit. Remember, everybody is different and reaching your goals may mean different approaches than someone else. Your fitness journey will be unique but follow these five simple tips for continued success.