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The Unoffical Start of Summer – Memorial Day

Has anyone in your family served in the military?

If they’re anything like mine, I bet they have some memorable stories.

My grandfathers side of the family has a rich military tradition with each generation serving. None more prestige in my eyes than my grandfather.

He served in WW2, stormed the beaches of Okinawa, fought the war in several countries to come home and met the love his life and raise 13 children. (Most through adoption)

I listened to all his stories, as he loved to tell them.

What stood out most through those stories was his pride and sense of honor that came from his service.

I get goosebumps even thinking about his stories. No one was more influential in my life than him.

As I grew older I wanted that same pride, honor and tradition.

I wanted to be just like him and at 17 years old I enlisted in the military. . . It changed me life.

I went from a household full of drug abuse and neglect, to seeing the world, and becoming part of a family that built life long bonds that are irreplaceable.

I will always see my accomplishments small when I compare them to the man I looked up to so much.

The reason I bring this story up is that this Monday is Memorial Day.

A day to remember and honor those who served in Our Armed Forces.

The military is what got me excited about fitness.  So its only fitting every year with my gym we honor those with a workout.

This Monday we will be doing the workout known as Murph. 

Memorial day Murph, has become somewhat of a staple in the fitness community.

This unique Memorial Day tradition will take place at Derby City on 5/28/19 @ 11am.

Consider this an invitation to join me and countless others who will participate in honoring our service men and women.

If you have any question please don’t hesitate to let Chewy or myself know.

Look forward to seeing you there.

– Joe


 

What Are Best Ab Exercises ?

What is the best exercise to get six pack abs?

Arguably the most common question in the fitness industry and one of the most irrelevant.

I’ve seen some amazing athletes come through gym, with abs looking as if they just step straight off Abercrombie & Fitch poster.

Because they have abs, the perception is they’re strong. This is not always the case…

Some abs are built for function, some for show.

To really tap into your potential for general fitness or any sport, we need a well balanced and stable core.

Stabilization is the key to success with all fitness.

If we’re lifting weights, throwing a ball, swing a bat, mixed martial arts, or running.  Our power, control, and success will be made by having established positioning.  Which originates from our core.

There are literally thousands of core (ab) exercises, with new ones originating each week.  Some useful, some flashy, some are not needed.

Like everyone, I have my favorite exercises. 

Weighted Sit Ups

Planks (and variations)

GHD Holds (Glute Ham Developers)

These are just three of my favorite, its not the only ones I put into my programming.  All simple and effective to building a stable, tight, sometimes flashy, core! 


 

Best Accessory/Assistance Exercsie : To Build Strength

 

Strength!

We’re talking pure, uninhabited strength! You want it, I want it, we all want it.

I’m commonly ask “what’s the best exercises to get stronger”.  Which is irrelevant question, what works for one does not work for all.

That said, I do have a my favorites that have helped me become stronger through the years.

I’m not talking about our traditional lifts, Bench Press, Back Squat, Deadlift.  Or even the advance lifts, Snatch, Clean and Jerk.

More so what exercise are the best accessory work, or some call auxiliary work, to help develop a sound, solid, STRONG base for strength.

The Single Arm Row.

One of the easiest, purist, bang for your buck exercises you can do in the gym.

Single Arm Rows (one arm rows) help us build stronger lats and rhomboids,  In turn allows us to push, pull, and squat more weight.

This is however an exercise EVERYONE seems to do different.  THAT DOES NOT MAKE THEM WRONG!

Different variations of the exercises and different placement allow us to work different muscle groups, allow stronger emphasis and focus on our weaknesses.

If its not something you currently add to your training, I would strongly suggest doing so.  


 

Workout Motivation

Training….

What motivates us to workout?

It’s time consuming, stressful, exhausting, and at times unpleasant.

Recently I had a discussion with friend about people who NEED motivation to start training. We didn’t see eye to eye, but that’s the beauty of discussion and seeing the other persons point of view.

Which aloud me to have some self reflection. Ultimately when we first decides to workout, what is the reason?

Hopefully it comes from a genuine place of self improvement. From general observation and personal experience, when we seek out motivation to convince us to start training, sticking with it can become problematic.

Take me for example, I did six years of competitive CrossFit. For the past 2 years I honestly did not want to do it anymore. I didn’t tell a soul, because to me it seem like I was admitting of giving up.

So I looked for outside motivation to keep me in it, music, inspirational quotes, motivating videos, new gyms, and training partners. I continued to do CrossFit because I was good at it, and thought I could take it places.

I no longer did it because of my own personal growth, ultimately abandoning it all together. That false sense of motivation will not last. Its a short term fix, plugging the hole of a already sinking boat.

To truly stay motivated we have to want to improve ourselves.  Watch the full video for more!


 

Deadlift For Grip Strength : Which Grip Should You Use

I never trained to improve my overall grip strength through grip strength training exercises. I was lucky enough that the strength training I completed, indirectly and adequately strengthen my grip as well.

This is not true for all, some may need that supplemental grip strength training.

I’ve posted videos before about exercises I find beneficial to directly improve your grip strength. Most frequently when I’m approached about this topic, everyone refers to the deadlift to improve their grip strength.

You’re not wrong…

But how are you using the deadlift?

There is a vast difference between using the deadlift to improve overall strength gains, and using a deadlift to improve grip strength.

On top of that, what grip are you using?

If you’re using the deadlift to improve your overall strength gains, then by all means use any grip or straps you need to complete the lift safely.

After all we’re testing your deadlift in this scenario not your grip strength.

If you are using the deadlift to improve grip strength, I would highly suggest a double overhanded grip. And doing sets to failure or just a few rep shy of failure.

Getting that deep burn in the forearms, that you simply can not hold onto a bar any longer.

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!


 

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!