Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

In the movie “Girl Next Door,” one character questions the main character, asking: “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”  He is referring to a point in the movie about whether or not a decision is worth the consequences it will bring upon him.  *Spoiler Alert* It was.

This is no different that when you select exercises to put in a training program.  You have to decide whether or not an exercise is worth the potential consequences that may come along with it.  Look at the many factors that go into a specific movement, and then decide if it is applicable to the person you are programming for, even if it is yourself.

Does the person in front you have the requisite skill, strength, control and mobility to get the most out of it?

Could you possibly pick a different exercise and still get a similar outcome?

The first thing you need to look at is what is the purpose of exercise you are using, or what is the outcome you are searching for. Is it strength based? Hypertrophy? More on the conditioning side of things?  Knowing this can go a long way to making the decision for you.

Once you have the intended purpose all picked out, take a look at the skill necessary to perform a certain exercise.  Can that exercise help you get to the outcome you are searching for?  If you wanted to increase upper body pressing strength, one movement you may select is the overhead press.  However, the overhead press has a few requisite mobility and stability skills to it and you need to be real honest with yourself and determine whether or not you have those skills.

This is where you have to ask yourself the question, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”  If I’m going to do an overhead press, is it worth it?  Am I going to get everything out of it that I need to?  There may be a better way to express upper body pressing strength.  Even if you wanted to keep a vertical movement, there are landmine presses, dumbbell and kettlebell presses that you can substitute.

And even if you say screw it and keep a barbell overhead press in your program, always keep in the back of your mind whether you’re getting enough juice or gains to warrant any potential unwanted outcomes.


Exercises to Save Yourself From Low Back Pain

Have you ever had a sore back and wondered what you did to cause it? Maybe it was the way you slept or something you did at the gym. But no matter what caused it, back pain is never pleasant. However, we can avoid these events in the future by incorporating some simple preventative measures into our training routine.

These preventative measures include performing basic core exercises to set a solid foundation, as well as compound lifts to add resiliency to the low back. This will ensure that if you do happen to move in a way that could tweak your back, your body will be ready to handle it and you won’t be forced to sit out for weeks while recovering from a random strain or spasm.

Before we get to the exercises, the first step in building a resilient back is to mentally prepare for the exercises. When we tweak our backs, there is an immediate fear of performing any exercise that may put some stress on the muscles of the back, so we often avoid them all together. But to make those muscles stronger and more resilient, we need to challenge them. Preparing yourself mentally to perform these exercises is therefore a critical step.

It’s important to note there’s a difference between muscle soreness and pain when you train. The muscles of the back may get sore and you may feel tension, but that’s a completely different feeling than pain. Knowing the distinction between the two is vital to your training success. If you have existing pain or any structural injury, it’s best to see a medical professional before doing anything outlined in this article.

Step 1: Bulletproof Your Core

The first step to building a resilient low back is to train the core to do what it’s supposed to—resist movement.

With these four exercises, you’ll create a strong core that will provide a stable foundation for the bigger movements later on

Side Plank

One of Stuart McGill’s “Big Three” exercises, the Side Plank is great for strengthening the lateral muscles of the spine that help stabilize it. It’s important to keep the elbow under the shoulder, and squeeze the glutes and abs to maintain good alignment.

Beginners can start by performing Side Planks for 10 seconds at a time (on each side) and then gradually build up from there.

Bird Dog

Another one of McGill’s Big Three, the Bird Dog hones in on the muscles of the back that run along each side of the spine. The glutes and hip stabilizers will also get involved in the fun.

To set up, start on your hands and knees. Next, simultaneously lift your left arm and right leg, keeping tension in your abs. Hold the extended position for a second or two, then return to start. Aim for 5 reps per side.

Plank

This movement will create full-body tension through your core, which will translate to the tension you’re going to have to maintain during any other exercise. The Plank requires you to brace not only the abs, but also the legs, glutes and upper back. It really is a full-body exercise when performed the right way.

Start with 10 seconds at a time and build up from there. Remember we’re aiming for full-body tension, not just getting into the position and hanging out.

Dead Bug

Bracing and keeping a neutral spine is a huge part of eliminating back pain. Moving your arms and legs simultaneously while keeping your back from arching is the key to this exercise. While the Dead Bug might not look like much, taking the movement slow and concentrating on keeping the core braced and lower back flat on the ground will go a long way toward building a bulletproof core. Aim for 8-10 reps per set for 3 total sets.

Step 2: Build Strength, Endurance and Resiliency….

Read More

http://www.stack.com/a/save-yourself-from-lower-back-pain-with-these-9-exercises

 


Interview with Client of the Month Thomas Ammirati Aka ammo

Our interview with the Client of the Month: Tom Ammirati “Ammo”

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-What is one thing that helps you stay consistent?

The best way I keep consistent is by maintaining a schedule between work, college (studying, homework and class) and making gains. If I did not make my plans for the day there would be no chance I would be able to get my ass to the amp kingdom.

-Name one small change in your daily life that has made a difference when it comes to your goals.

One small thing that has helped me make a difference in my goals is always bringing the energy and electricity at amp.

-What was a big obstacle you had to overcome?

-A big obstacle I had to over come were my herniated discs which restricted my lifting in many ways, but the honey badger we call Adam put my problem into consideration when making my program. Now I am capable of making major gains I didn’t think I was ever going to be able to do again.

-What was one time at AMP that you felt most accomplished?

There really isn’t one time at amp where I felt most accomplished because every day I’m making more and more gains. But the time I hex bar deadlifted 550, benched 350 and Hatfield squatted 600 for a double was pretty cool.

-If you could give someone who is struggling advice, what would it be?

If you are struggling, just think about bringing the energy. It is all about the vibes when it comes to amp. Bring the damn energy and I promise you, you will make major gainz.

Respectfully,
Thomas Ammirati
Aka ammo

“Bring the ENERGY”
“Swole Patrol”
“Caution: High voltage at the AMP Factory”


Interview with Client of the Month Eileen Guido

As Client of the Month Eileen Guido has to overcome several obstacles, change her habits and choices but through all that she is seeing results. Let find out what has helped her through it all

•What is one thing that helps you stay consistent?
-The one thing that keeps me consistent is knowing that I don’t want to go back to where I was before I started at AMP.

•Name one small change in your daily life that has made a difference when it comes to your goals.
-Changing my eating habits was key for me. Realizing that I couldn’t just eat whatever I wanted because I worked out that day. Adding more small meals and snacks instead of the 2 big meals I used to eat.

•What was a big obstacle that you had to overcome?
-When it came to working out in the past I was never consistent. At AMP I knew I would be held accountable if I didn’t show up. Having someone there waiting for me really made me commit to it.

•When was a time at AMP that you felt most accomplished?
-For me I feel like I had many small accomplishments. When I started I had this fear of jumping and being able to get over that was a great feeling. Also any time I was able to increase my weight in squats and dead lifting was an accomplishment.

•If you could give someone who is struggling advice, What would it be?
-My advice would be to stick with it even on the bad days. Everyone has days when they get off track but the key is to get right back to training and eating healthy the next day.

Thank you Eileen for taking time to help and inspire others!


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.