Top 6 Articles of 2017

top-6

2017 is coming to a close and it was a busy year in terms of writing for AMP’s blog, along with featured spots with Stack.com and other guest appearances.  It was one of my most productive in terms of putting out content, which means I’m writing a lot more.  Now whether or not its actually readable content is another story.

Hopefully you’ve found these articles to be informative and mildly entertaining.  Some of the articles were more successful than others.  This week, I want to take a look back at what were the top 6 articles of 2017, along with an honorable mention for a special article that made me feel good about the direction in which I’m heading.

Why 6?  Because everyone else does lists of 5 or 10 and I like to think I’m special.

  1. How to Build Strength Without Lifting Heavier Weights– If you’re looking to get stronger, adding more weight seems like the logical choice to increase intensity.  But as you’ll see in this article, written for Stack.com, there are other ways to increase intensity without simply adding more load.
  2. The Bubble of Awesome– I loved writing this article as it was something that dug deeper than just the technicals of fitness and exercise.  This was a labor of love to help the Strength Faction family that had helped me this entire year.  The Bubble of Awesome highlighted some of the mental hurdles we all have to get through on a day to day basis, and how we can create a safe place for awesome things to happen.  Hence, A Bubble of Awesome.
  3. Are You Strong Enough To Run– One of the top articles that was specifically written for the AMP site, this took a look at whether or not we are strong enough to run, and why runners avoid strength training.  Everyone can run, but not everyone should.
  4. Supersets to Improve Mobility & Train Without Pain– Supersets are great for increasing the amount of work you can do in a certain amount of time, but they can also be used to improve mobility, decrease risk of injury, or for combining strength exercises with rehab exercises should be have an injury.
  5. 6 Types of Exercises That Will Help You Get Faster– Getting faster has been misconstrued to mean just moving your legs/feet faster.  This is why you see speed camps for on foot speed, rather that doing what will actually make you faster; strength training.  Strength training leads to better force production which leads to longer strides and more power behind each stride.  All this equals faster sprints.
  6. 10 Smart Loaded Carry Variations for Safer, More Effective Core Strength– Loaded Carries are a great, undervalued core exercise, and about as basic as you can get.  Pick something up, carry it for distance or time, then put it down.  Repeat.  This showed 10 different variations.

 

There you have it, the top 6 articles of 2017.  Now about that honorable mention article…

Last year was the first year I hit my goal of an article hitting the Top Fitness Articles of the Week for thePTDC.com.  That was awesome, however it was always for a guest spot with another site.  This article was the first time something I put out for AMP made the cut.  It just felt extra special to have something from this blog make a Top Fitness Article list.

Hierarchy of Success– There’s a hierarchy to what we need to hit our fitness goals.  For some, exercise is on top, but when you really look at what is necessary and what is most important, exercise is not as high as you would think.

 

 


Bend The Knee

Yup, a Game of Thrones reference in a post about being in a half kneeling position.  One, because kneeling involves bending ones knee and two, because I’m just now getting into the show and am currently on season 4.  Yea, I have a long way to go.

Kneeling

One of simplest way to change an exercise and coincidentally make it slightly more challenging is to use a half kneeling position.  For the most part, our choices in exercises involve sitting, standing, or laying down on our backs.  But rarely do we challenge ourselves from a kneeling position.  Through kneeling, we bring in more stability challenges that will make “easy” exercises slightly more challenging.

Starting Position

No matter what the exercise is, there are a few key points to remember.  You want to stay up tall, keeping the ribs over the hips, and putting pressure into the ground using both feet.  You’ll also be creating tension through the glutes and core muscles so that you don’t fall over.

Why Do We Kneel?

The half kneeling position exposes the lack of symmetry between left and right sides.  We are usually only comfortable using one side of our body, or more comfortable turning to one side over the other.  Ask any rotational athlete, whether it’s a golfer, baseball player, hockey player, etc.   Let’s get more personal.  Take a look at yourself and your own training.  You most likely have a preference as to which side you use to press, pull or rotate, or perhaps a side that feels stronger or more capable.

 

How to Use Them?

While this isn’t a full list of all the exercises you can do in a half kneeling position, these are the one’s that I use most often.

  • Pallof Press– These are a great anti-rotation exercise, yet for the most part you only see them when in the standing position.  These further challenge core and hip stability than standing.

  • Landmine Press– If you lack overhead range of motion at the shoulder due to a mobility issue or an injury that prevents overhead movements, landmine presses can be a great alternative.  We get to do a little a vertical pressing without compromising in other areas. Additionally, the half kneeling position eliminates compensations from the legs or lower back when pressing overhead.   If you have good shoulder mobility, you can progress to dumbbell presses overhead.

  • Pull/Row Variations– We can also do horizontal and vertical pulling exercises from a half kneeling position that switches u

  • Chops & Lifts– A great teaching tool to maintain stability through the hips while rotating the thoracic spine, chops and lifts crush your core.  There is one subtle difference between the two.  A chop goes from a high position to a low one, where a lift is from low to high.

 

Added Bonus: Being in a half kneeling position can put the quads and hip flexors on a stretch, which could help with your mobility and flexibility. Progressing through these positions is ideal for those coming off some sort of injury, namely back and/or shoulder.  It reintroduces them to the idea of core stability, and synchronizing the glutes and abs.  Mostly for coaches and trainers; Both positions are a great assessment tool to see how much control a client has in bilateral and unilateral positions.

Adding stance variation to your exercise selection only results in greater gains as well as new adaptations for your nervous system to adapt to. In short, a stronger, smarter, more stable body.