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Pull Up Variations

“I want to be able to do a Pull-up!”

Outside of “I want to loose weight” and “I want to get stronger.”

I can’t think of a more common goal among someone starting in the gym.

Pull-ups are simple and effective, after all you’re just pulling your body weight up above a bar…

This is that easier said that done moment.

I’m not so gullible to believe everyone can do a pull-up.

I’m confident enough to believe we all have the capability to do so.

But if you can’t do one now, what progression should you be using?

Most Globo gyms will have assisted pull-up machines, which are a great tool to begin developing athletes toward that first pull up.

For those that lack that equipment, athletes can find themselves confused for progression.

So what pull up modifications need to be applied?

What pull up variations can be used?

In fitness, just like life, you’ll find there are many alternatives paths to achieve your goal.  You simply have to find the one that works for you.

In our gym, I like to give athletes options for their pull up progression.

Banded Assisted Pull-ups

Banded Assisted Pull-ups, Negative Tempo

Inverted Rows

Inverted Rows – Negative Tempo

This is just a few of the variations we can apply to help someone achieve their first pull-up.

Over time we can remove bands, increase intensity, and ultimately look at how many pull-ups you can string together, rather than simply getting 1.

Happy Lifting

– Joe

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When Is The Next Strength Cycle?

When’s the next strength cycle?

Everyone has been asking for weeks, what will it consist of, what should we expect.

Its fast approaching, the next strength cycle will start 7/29/19.

The program will focus on Power Cleans, Back Squat, and Strict press.

Movements are great not only for building overall strength, but also for increasing explosive power and athletic potential.

The back squat is one of the most functional movements out there, and one of the basis of building pure strength.

The power clean is a difficult movement to initially learn, but the benefits of the movement far outweigh the frustrations of the initial learning process.

The power clean is outstanding for building explosive power and improving full body coordination.  Improving in both areas will help us to preform better in the gym, on the mat, and in everyday life.

Now in order to make this strength cycle as effective as possible we are going to take the next week as a “prep” time.

We will take an entire class for each movement to go over how to properly preform the movement, you can think of it as a seminar over the back squat and power clean.

This will ONLY be avialble to member of Derby City!

During these mini seminars you will learn and practice the basics of the movements under the watchful eyes of our coaching staff.

Whether you have been preforming squats and power cleans for years or if you have never tried either of these movements before, these classes will be extremely beneficial.

At the conclusion of the cycle, we will all establish new max effort lifts for both movements.

We have had a ton of success in the past with our strength cycles and we cannot wait to see the improvements you all have in the gym and on the mats after this upcoming cycle.

If you have any questions please see myself, Hussey, or any of our coaches and they will be more than happy to help you in any way.

– Joe

Download our FREE Strength Training & BJJ Q&A by clicking —> HERE <—
Please be sure to join our private group by clicking  — > HERE < —

 

Belt Squat Variations

Nothing should come more natural to us than squatting.

It’s a very natural motion we do countless times every day.

Anytime I mention squats, I like to remind athletes, there is not one way to squat.  There are countless ways to squat.

Our own ability to perform a squat, availability to equipment, all can be limiting factors in which we need a variation.

For some, just setting weight onto the back of the shoulders can cause anxiety and mental pressure can build before the lift takes place.

You could be experiencing some form lower back pain or shoulder issues which now causes you to lack the ability to do a loaded barbell squat.

For those who experience these fears and limitations, I always like to recommend a belt squat.

Belt squats are a little different, its going to be a different feel, but it will work.

Not every gym has a belt squat machine, so like any good lifter we adapt with variations.

When you load a barbell and step under a back squat, we load the weight onto our shoulders putting our torso under tension.

The belt squat provides us with a variation to increase leg and hip strength without loading or damaging your back. 

The weight pulling at the hip can also provide traction for the spine.

The greatest benefit for the belt squat is it will allow you to load the lower body without loading the spine. 

I will also use these as a primer before squats on some days, just to get everything tight before the barbell.


 

Strict Press : 3 Steps to Bigger Weight

Simple and Effective.

When it comes to improving our fitness, its what we want.   Get in get out, getting the job done.

Work smarter, not harder.  Right?

I’d like to have a running total of the countless hours I’ve spent wasted, performing isolated exercises to improve my strength.

The overall implications of  isolated movements can be insignificant compared to basic, essential, and effective compound movements.

Very few exercises are as simple and effective as the Strict Press (Military Press).  Attached to that simplicity, is effective improvements in overall strength.

It’s not flashy, so you really dont see it posted on social media, nor replacing bench press Mondays…..

Due to the simplicity of the movement“Just Press” there tends to be a disconnect of functionality to the movement.

It being such an isolated exercises, those disconnects may not allow us to move the weight we’re capable of.

Among those I’ve notice a trend through most athletes that are really easy to correct.

  • Adjusting your hand and elbow placement – making sure our elbows are in front of the bar not behind.
  • Over extension – Arching the chest back, be sure to keep the hip and shoulder in line, pushing down on the core.
  • Foot placement – move your feet out to your squat stance, you should never move weight overhead with a narrow stance

These are simply a quick three common faults and fixes for the strict press.

I can all but guarantee if you work on improving these three components of the strict press, you WILL move MORE WEIGHT.

Happy Lifting

– Joe


 

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


 

How to Train Around Injuries

There we are…

Remember when you where a kid.  Its Christmas Eve, the excitement, eagerness to open presents, unable to sleep.

Anxious, excited, adrenaline coursing through your veins, you just can’t wait to get started!

This was the first time I remember having that restless eagerness feeling.

Now this is me any time I’m about to start a new training cycle, its the next chapter in my story.

A few weeks ago, I competed in the Kentucky State Championships.

I won my division, and set four state records.

I took some time off, ATE ALL THE BAD FOOD I COULD, and got ready for the next cycle.

So with all that adrenaline and eagerness to start my next training cycle, I ignored the pain in my knee from the competition.  Simply put, I thought I’d be good to go after a week off.

I was wrong….

It’s adding a lot of limitations to my training.  Over the past 20 years of coaching, I’ve seen many athletes get injured, and simply not train at all, I’ve fallen victim to in myself.

I’m not sure what’s going on this time, its three weeks before I can see my physician to get it checked out.

But I can tell you this time I’ll not stop training, I’ll simply be training around the injury.

Keeping that motivation and keep moving toward my next competition.


 

This Is How I Got Big Quads

For me, my gym is more than athletes and members.

I spend more time with these people, than I do anyone else.

Building relationships and memories, as cliché as it sounds, through blood sweat and tears.

Every athlete I train, I can identify their physical identifying trait. 

I would bet if you ask anyone what mine is, it would have to be my smile…..

Yea right!

Legs, Quads, Turkey Drums, call them what you will, my physical identifier is by far my quads.

Any sport I’ve participated in, they’ve always got noticed.  I’d have to call myself a liar if I said I didn’t take advantage to show them off…..I worked hard for them.

But what did I do?  The answer may surprise you…

To me they’re just legs.  They help me move weight from point A to B.  But to some of my athletes at the gym, they’re abnormal quads.

Due to the abnormality, I’m often ask what should they do to get their quads larger.

Short answer…..everyone is going to be different, I sure was.

This video was requested on how I grew my quads, I always took it as a joke when people ask me…

It was never something I’ve really considered anyone would be interested in.


 

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.  


 

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.