What’s The Best Lift to Get Stronger?

My best friend and business partner (Nick “Chewy” Albin) really inspired me with his recent blog post. It talks about the importance of “THE BEST.”

He’s very well known in the Jiu Jitsu world and has become a very popular mentor for many on his YouTube.

How he’s often ask what is the “BEST” move someone can use to improve their game.

To shorten the whole post, he goes on to say there is no “BEST MOVE.”

How relatable that is to someone getting stronger…..

“What is the best lift to get STRONGER?”

We’re not all built the same, we do not all have the same strengths and weaknesses. What works for one will not always work for all.

While there could be a universal blueprint considered to “starting strength,” for one to get stronger you have to look at the bigger picture.

All to often a athletes we focus on the micro picture, and not the macro picture.

While someone may tell you need to deadlift more to get stronger, while their not wrong, you could be someone who would benefit greatly from adding auxiliary exercises.

Or since they don’t know you, throwing a universal answer such as “deadlift more” could be completely false. You may have a 500+ deadlift, but can’t back squat your own body weight.

It’s hard to tell someone what is “the best” without evaluating them as an individual. Everyone is going to be as unique as a finger print.

My best advice for those just starting out to get stronger, is just start, there is no shortcuts.

After some time training, then it can be decided what your strengths are, YOUR BEST recommendation that helped you.


 

BJJ : How to Build Your Conditioning For Jiu Jitsu

“I need to start training with you to get my cardio up.”
Regardless if said with the intentions of following through, or passively mention iust acknowledge lack of cardio.
If you’re an athlete at our gym, at some point you’ve told Chewy or myself “I need to start training with you to get my cardio up.”
The disconnect there is our Instagram and YouTube is filled with the highlights.
The heavy lifting, the one rep max, the fun stuff everyone wants to see.
The real truth behind building up your cardio, it’s not sexy.  It’s not fun, you will not enjoy it.
When it comes to building your conditioning for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, athletes tend to misconnect “workout” as building conditioning.
Building workout conditioning such as you’ll see in crossfit style workouts, while has some benefits, does not relate well to your mat wind.
These are two different types of cardio, and can easily be exposed.
I like to recommend athletes who want to work on their pure cardio, interval training, in the same fashion they roll.  
Five to six minute rounds of intervals.  Going one to two minutes over their match times.  Here’s an example of our workout.
6 Minutes of:
:20 sprint – :10 rest
**Rest 3 Minutes**
6 Minutes of:
:10 sprint – :20 rest
**Rest 3 Minutes**
6 Minutes of:
:20 sprint – :10 rest
**Rest 3 Minutes**


Overhead Press : 1 Easy Tip To Push More Weight

I could not believe the difference in the videos!

This video just started out as a simple and effective drill I like to use, I wanted to share with my gym members to also improve their overhead position.

Then during the editing process I needed to go back and pull some of my old lifts to compare for contrast.

The differences was simply astonishing!

Now, there have been many hours of practice, drilling, and maybe a few kicks and screams going into the process.

As you can tell the end result is very visible.

It’s a simple drill, we’re just strict pressing (or military pressing) from the receiving position of our jerk.

I had a terrible problem of not maintaining midline stabilization during my earlier lifts in which allowed my chest to travel forward, pushing the barbell out in front of me and having to finish the lift pulling the barbell back overhead.

It happen in almost every lift I did.

Once I started implementing this drill, it drasticly improved and fixed my overhead position. Since the drill is not happening at lightning speed, it allows you to visibly see any imbalances occurring in the lift.

I do this drill every day before moving weight overhead!


 

2019 New Years Resolutions : How 2018 Set Me Up For Success

It’s already time for the “New Year, New Me”.

It honestly feels like 2018 lasted all of five minutes… While I could write a book on my own mistakes from this year, failed resolutions, I find myself also wanting to hit the reset button. “I’ll start Monday” button as I like to also call it.

New Years, is more about reflection, and adjustment than “new you” As I look back on 2018, I realize I finally started to become the individual I always wanted to be.

A better Husband to my Wife, Father to my Daughter, and Friend to all those around me. I’ve grown more as a person this year than any.

I began to open up, talk about my past, have the realization that we all have a story to be told. That story helps define who we are and the choices we make.

So looking ahead, my adjustment for 2019 is to service those around me better. Every day I wake up to be a better version of myself than I was the day before.

I’ll not focus on what I shouldn’t do, but fine tune all the things I should do. I wish you all the same!

From myself and the DCMMA staff, Happy New Years.


 

Hand Placment : Finding The Perfect Barbell Grip

In the beginning, we think its as simple as gripping the barbell and moving the weight.
Or at least I did…
It seems like such an innocent question, but its ask so frequently, its dismissed just as fast.
“Where do I grab the bar?”
I never really thought about how many times over the past twenty years I’ve been ask that question.
I honestly can’t think of any new athlete or new movement where this question has come up.
Yet I’ve always dismissed it as common core lifting 101.
The answer may surprise you, it’s that simple. Whatever feels natural. 
With the understanding that some lifts have certain parameters that are optimal, there is wiggle room.
For some of your most common movements, a universal grip is not only natural, but efficient and consistent!
Take me for example, I use the same barbell grip and hand placement for my back squat, front squat, clean, jerk, and my overhead press.
I also fine when doing push-ups I continue to have the same hand placement on the ground as when I grip a barbell.

Do you find yourself constantly moving your hands for your weightlifting?  It may help improve your lifts!


 

Three Simple Rules to Easy Nutrition

With all the new fad diets and countless food options out there it seems like nutrition and healthy eating is becoming more and more complicated every day.

It can be overwhelming trying to figure out what we should be eating and what we shouldn’t, but by following three simple nutrition rules, we can start the process to healthy eating and lifestyle changes.

Shop on the outside of the grocery store

All of the real, healthy, natural food in the grocery store is located on the outside edges. These foods are your produce, proteins, and dairy.

If you have to walk down the aisles to find an item you should stay away from it. All of your nutritional needs can be met from the food on the outside of the store.

Eat vegetables with every meal…including breakfast

Vegetables are a great source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and are a low source of calories. This means that you can eat a ton of vegetables without having to worry about consuming a large amount of calories.

Outside of that, the vitamins and minerals in vegetables are invaluable to living a healthy lifestyle. You will want to eat as many vegetables as possible

Limit processed carbohydrates

These goes along with the first rule. We want to limit the amount of rice, bread, pasta, quinoa, etc. that we eat. These can be a source of carbohydrates but should be limited as they can lead to increased fat storage.

Following these three simple rules have helped me to clean up my diet, change my habits, and lose weight. Give them a try and see how they affect your own nutrition and lifestyle.


 

Fixing Wrist Pain Before Weightlifting

There is simply no replacement for good warm ups and recovery.

Stretches both dynamic and static have their place when priming your body before training.

Easier said than done right?

I’m guilty of NOT doing any post training recovery, in which I pay for dearly. I really need to practice more of what I preach with post training recovery…

Some days it takes me longer to warm up than it does to complete my training.

Between Jiu Jitsu and weightlifting, my joints and certain muscle groups really take some punishment, Especially my hands and wrist.

Some days my wrist start off so stiff I can’t grip the barbell or a gi, nothing that can’t be fixed. Without proper warm up I’d never be able to train.

Needless to say, I’ve found what works for me.

Full disclosure, this is just for the wrist primer. This does not replace the fact the connective tissue with forearm, triceps, shoulder, and lats needs work.

But this does help with flexion of the wrist and warms up for before training. It elevates pressure and tightness in the wrist, allowing for better movement in training.

More so by the time I’m finished I’ve removed a lot of the pain I was experiencing prior to training.


 

The Whiteboard Culture: Why Your Score Doesn’t Always Matter

We all exercise and workout to try and improve ourselves.

Whether we are trying to lose weight, lift heavier, or gain endurance we are all trying to improve in some way.

While keeping track of our score in a workout in a great way to track progress over time and measure improvements, it does not always lead to improvements in our health and fitness.

It can be easy to use those scores to determine performance. Our entire perception of our fitness level is now determined by our score.

In most cases this comes at a cost, we no longer pay attention to our technique and mechanics. The soul focus becomes the score board.

The reason technique and mechanics matter is to get the best benefit possible from the movement.

But without a workout score, how do we determine the quality of our training. Ask yourself these questions

  • Did I move the entire workout and give my best effort for the duration of the workout?
  • Did I focus on keeping my movement correct for the entire workout?
  • Did I improve myself in some way during this workout?

If you can answer Yes to all of these questions then you had a quality workout, regardless of what your final score may be. So for your next workout, pay less attention to putting up the highest score and pay more attention to how you are preforming your movements and the effort you are putting forth.

– Hussey

Tight Traps & Neck Muscles : Lacrosse Ball Fix

As a teenager, Monday nights was my “church” night.  Probably not the church you’re thinking of.
It was the biggest night to watch wrestling of the week!  I never missed a episode.  I remember the Monday night
wars between WWF/WCW as the political rival of my child hood.
I was a WWF fan myself.  But then this MASSSIVE wrestler showed up named Goldberg for WCW.  His traps went from his shoulders all the way up to his ears.
As a kid, that was nothing short of impressive, his was so big people even begin to call it their “Goldberg” muscles.
I wanted mine to look that way!
I use to endless amounts of barbell shrugs through my miss guided, and fairly under educated youth.
It wasn’t until I discovered Olympic weightlifting, that my traps (trapezius) really begin to grow.
This is one of those be careful what you wish for moments, now that I do have bigger traps, they get tight all the time.
Can lead to stiffness, mess up my lifting sessions, cramps when I do Jiu Jitsu, and even tension headaches.
My favorite way to elevate some of that tension is with a lacrosse ball pushed again a hard surface.

This really allows me to get a lot of tension release and pressure into the area where I’m feeling stiffness.


Strength Training For BJJ : How to Find Balance

“Train Smarter Not Harder”

I’m sure at some point you’ve heard any variation of that quote. Buy why wouldn’t we work on training harder AND smarter.

I’m frequently ask in one way or another from athletes in our gym, how they should split up their strength training with their Jiu Jitsu.

First, don’t over do it! Don’t think you HAVE to do BJJ and strength training in the same day.

Like most cases limiting factors outside of time is sleep, nutrition, and age. All playing a major role in your capacity to train and recover.

Those being our limiting factors, I NEVER recommend doing BJJ and Strength training back to back.

There is some gray area here in which you use one for technique one for a hard session. But in general when this question is ask,

I’m assuming you’re looking at putting eighty to ninety percent effort into both your Jiu Jitsu and strength training.

In which case one will suffer. Split it up based on your priorities. Not everything has to be done EVERY DAY!

Be mindful of your training, your body, listen to it! You have to find what works for you, don’t force it!