Tag Archives: fitness

Rules for Weightloss

The holidays are a time when most people are “social feasting” as I like to call it  and in doing so creating internal conflict on whether or not to try to stick to a diet during the holidays.  Their usual train of thought is: I’ll just wait until after New Years to make a resolution.

The scary statistic is that 92% of New Years resolutions will fail.  That means only 8% will succeed!  See, I can do math.

Here is some more math, the average American gains .4-1.8 pounds during the holidays and gains 1.2-3.6 pounds per year.  In some cases that means most of your weightgain happens between Thanksgiving and New Years.  Maybe it’s time to put down that reindeer shaped surgar cookie.

How is it that I am single handedly able to consume a 11 pound turkey, small village of Pilgrims, and 2 pumpkin pies  in 3 days and still maintain a 6 pack you might ask?  If you say by doing a million crunches you are going to get an Undertaker tombstone by yours truly.  The truth is I don’t do crunches, I probably spend less time working out than you, and also probably consume more calories.  So what is the secret?

The secret is that there is no secret.  But there are rules that you must follow in order to lose some of that excess gravy and keep it off.  Now, this isn’t a set of rules you should follow sometimes, it is something that you should make a habit if you are serious about getting the body that YOU want.

Here they are:

  1. Take a holistic approach towards diet and exercise.  Have you ever heard the expression “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”?  Numerous studies have shown that a combination of proper nutrition, strength training and cardiovascular exercise is the most efficient way to lose weight both short and long term.  I recommend 1-3 days of bodyweight or resistance training and 2-3 days of cardiovascular exercise to lose weight.
  2. Know your calories.  First and foremost, if you want to lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume (a caloric deficit).  This is an absolute must, no exceptions.  The basic way to find your daily caloric consumption for weightloss, multiply your bodyweight by 1.1 -1.3 depending on your exercise habits.  This is your target calorie intake each day, eating too much will prevent weightloss and eating too little will slow your metabolism.  (This number might be lower if you have a high MBI or high percentage of body fat percentage)
  3. Feed your metabolism regularly throughout the day.  Regularly consuming small meals will keep your metabolism revved up and allow you to burn extra calories throughout the day.  Lets say your daily calorie consumption from tip#2 is 1,800 calories per day and you are aiming for 5 meals per day.  You should divide 1,800 by 5 which would give you approximately 360 calories per meal.  Taper your meals throughout the day eating a slightly larger breakfast and a slightly smaller dinner.
  4. Perform whole body exercises.  Research shows that whole body exercises such as squats, lunges, pushups, bodyweight rows, and numerous core exercises that challenge your entire system are the best way to increase your metabolism.  If you are not able to move properly it makes it hard to exercise and in turn lose weight or reach your goals.
  5. Incorporate circuit training into your workouts.  A great way to burn a ton of calories is to perform bodyweight and/or resistance exercises back to back for a certain amount of time or repetitions.  This is known as metabolic training, circuit training or turbulence training.  This type of training is a fun and exciting way to challenge your whole body physically and cardiovascularly and will surely help you reach your goals.  Group training and/or group fitness classes are a great way to get in these type of workouts.
  6. Use interval training to rev up your cardio.  High intensity interval training has been shown to not only increase your cardiovasuclar health but will also help you burn more calories.  I recommend using the bike or rowing machine and starting slow with 10-20 second work intervals and 40-60 second rest intervals and decreasing the work:rest ratio as you become more fit.
  7. Have a program and stick to it.  Would you try to fix your car on your own or would you bring it to a mechanic?  Why wouldn’t you do the same with your body?  I recommend programs such as The New Rules of Weightlifting (for men or women), Core Performance, Maximum Strength, or The Female Body Breakthrough.  You can get most of these books from Amazon for as little as $10-$20.  For a program that is custom tailored to you then I recommend contacting a certified health and fitness professional.
  8. Write it down. One way to see results is to write it down.  Use a journal, a notebook or your Iphone.  Whatever you do, make sure you are writing things down such as your goals, your diet, your exercise program, your weightloss, or maybe even gain.  If you look at things on paper it will help you see where you are going wrong or could possibly improve.

Happy Christmahanakwanzmakuh!

Post any questions, comments, concerns below.  I will answer.


Weekend Reading: Incredible Edible Eggs, Beautiful Badasses 2 and Core Interviews

I know I wrote about this months ago but I finally had time the other day to sit down and watch Avatar.  Yes, I am slightly behind the curve on this one as I find it hard to devote 3 hours to blue humanoid crusades on planet preservation but holy crap.  My only regret was not going to see it in IMAX 3D.  Harry Potter 17 is next….haha just kidding (not really).

It has been a while since I have shared some of the great things I find on the interwesz so here are a few things to read over the weekend that is more exciting than me and the girlfriend watching Chocolat on HBO.  Johnny Depp is truly amazing.

The first order of business is to praise the food of the gods: eggs.  I am not sure of how many I have eaten in my lifetime but a few dozen a week for the past 10 years should paint a good picture.  Slowly but surely I have adopted the belief that the yolks are perfectly healthy and will not make me a fat ass.  Honestly, I spent 9 out of the past 10 years separating the white from the yolk and trashing the most nutritious part (the unborn chicken baby).  Here are Tony Gentilcore’s views on whats worse: eggs or men’s figure skating? Here is another egg article by Mike Geary on whether whole eggs or egg whites are better for you.  

My current favorite egg creation is a scramble with mushrooms, spinach, rosemary, herbed goat cheese and 4 whole eggs.  This has been my breakfast for 1 week and running…along with a potato, oj and milk.  Want to gain muscle?  Eat.

Want to lose muscle?  Go on the Twinkie Diet.  Yes, this is a real diet that helped a nutrition professor lose 27 pounds.  Good research, shitty diet.  Here is the original and here is Mike Nelson’s response.

While we are on the subject, Cassandra Forsythe wrote a great post on the great saturated fat debate.  The American Dietetic Association held their 93rd annual meeting in Boston last weekend and Cassandra helps break down some of their talks.  Check it out.

Yes, with my busy schedule I still have time to cook breakfast every day.  Early to bed and early to rise and all that jazz.  I am awake and doing work when most tigers are dreaming of mauling zebras and Halle Berry in her catwoman suit.  The truth is that most people come up with thousands of excuses for not getting shit done and one of the more popular excuses is that they don’t have enough time.  Rog Law broke it down in an epic post in the No-Excuses Guide to Getting Things Done.  My first client is typically around 6a.m. and I still wake up about an hour before I even have to leave in order to let my brain adjust to the new day by listening to a seminar or the Fitcast followed by reading on the train on my way to Fitcorp.  What do you do before 6a.m.?  Chad Howse also wrote a recent post on how to get your schedule in order, great stuff.

Next I want to redirect your attention to some videos ofBeautiful Badasses.  This series has become popular on Nia Shanks’ site, the BodyFat Solution.  It shows beautiful women lifting heavy things and just being totally badass.  Kudos to Nia for inspiring women across the world to drop their preconceived notion that women who lift heavy things will become bulky and mannish.  In reality, this is f*$&ing hot.  What do you do women to do be a beautiful badass?

Here is a post of Jason Ferrugia’s beautiful badass breaking her old pullups pr by 4 reps at a grand total of 17.  That is a truly amazing feat for any woman so props to Jen.  Here is how she did it.

Last night, my beautiful badass ditched the light weights and entered the wonderful world of deadlifting and barbell front squats.  After working with her for the past month on prep work to get her ready to handle some weight.  At 110lbs, she nailed the barbell front squat and banged out a couple sets of deadlifts with 95lbs.  On a scale from 1 to 10 on hotness that ranks up there with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore a clay pot.

For your viewing pleasure:

The last thing I want to share with you is a series of core interviews on anything and everything that will help you build the core that have always dreamed of.  My friend Mark Young is giving away these priceless interviews on his site for free.  I am appalled daily at the stuff that I see people continuing to do in the gym to train their mid sections hoping that someday a 6-pack will magically appear.  Download this series of interviews here if you are seriously looking to improve your core knowledge and training.  Enjoy!

Have a great weekend and if you don’t check back in have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


Some Soft Tissue Tidbits

It still amazes me how many people are aware of the benefits of soft tissue work such as self myofascial release (SMR) and yet when I ask them how often they foam roll all I get is crickets chirping.  My next question is why not to which I am answered: I don’t have enough time.  If you have time to do biceps curls while standing on the BOSU and then 60 minutes on the eliptical then I hate to break the news but you have more time than you think.

I wrote a post several months ago about Foam Rolling For Health that includes links to proper technique that is worth checking out.  Today I wanted to reiterate a few of those benefits and go over a few more.  Just like any other exercise, foam rolling is a skill and now that it is finally being recognized by the media there are a whole slew of people just throwing themselves on the foam roller and flopping around like a fish out of water.

The importance of fascia and it’s interconnectedness to our physiology goes deeper than just a “Saran Wrap” that covers the muscles as I have heard it referred to as.  I hate this term.  People such as Thomas Myers, author of Anatomy Trains, have spent their lives focusing on “facial fitness” and relating this relatively new science to modern techniques.  Or is it new?  Ida Rolf began her studies on postural release, or Rolfing, back in the 1950s with great success.

“Fascia is the organ of posture. Nobody ever says this; all the talk is about muscles. Yet this is a very important concept, and because this is so important, we as Rolfers™ must understand both the anatomy and physiology, but especially the anatomy of fascia. The body is a web of fascia. A spiderweb is in a plane. This web is in a sphere. We can trace the lines of that web to get an understanding of how what we see in a body works. For example, why, when we work with the superficial fascia does this change the tone of the fascia as a whole?”
-Ida P. Rolf PhD

Here are some of the basic benefits of using SMR prior to activity:

  • Decreases muscle tension via autogenic inhibition.
  • Breakdown of soft tissue adhesions.
  • Breakdown of scar tissue.
  • Provides greater benefits when done prior to stretching.
  • All of these help to prevent injury.

Some more benefits of SMR:

  • Increases vasodilation which facilitates nutrient delivery and waste removal.
  • Reduces tissue viscosity which can allow better quality muscular and joint actions.
  • Decreases sympathetic tone.
  • Improves respiration.
  • Decreases feelings of anxiety and fatigue.

Here are some general guidelines to foam rolling:

  • Roll Slowly.
  • Hold on tender areas/sore spots for 30-60 seconds or until discomfort dissipates by 75%.
  • Eliminate 2-3 sore spots per targeted muscle.
  • Keep pressure manageable.
  • Do 5-15 min before athletic activity and before stretching.
  • Do 5-15 min post activity to aid in recovery.
  • Perform on “off” days to optimize recovery and aid in tissue health.

Using the foam roller provides a cheap, effective and easy way to improve your soft tissue and overall health but just like anything else it requires your attention and time.  You should be able to experience some of the acute benefits immediately but it will take some diligence to receive the full benefits.  Improve your soft tissue to improve your posture and your health.  Believe me, your body will thank you for years to come.


Recovery…. From Training, Life and Tackle Football

Maybe not one of the best ideas I’ve had in a long time but yesterday I went back to my alma mater to play in my alumni vs. actives flag football game.  It was all in good fun and regardless of what shape each of us was in I don’t think we were prepared for the hurt that was to follow.  Blood, sweat, a wet field, a black eye, and a potentially broken collarbone later we are all layed up today.

All in all I’m happy with my 2 TDs for the day and multiple tackles.  On the down side I am finding it difficult to move my legs and do things such as standing up.  Now I know how Jay Cutler feels having no offensive line.  Needless to say I will be on the couch all day where I belong watching the Pats take on the Browns.  Although I will not be playing in the Super Bowl anytime soon I will own this year’s Tecmo Bowl.

Since I plan on doing as little moving today as possible I thought I would share a few of my thoughts on recovery.  It is something that I did little of in my early days of lifting which is something that I totally regret.  I got results from completely hammering my body 5-6 days a week but looking back and knowing what I know now my results would have been far superior had I recovered properly.  I mean it is what we do outside the gym and on our off days that helps your body grow.

Whether you are an athlete, a runner or just a weekend warrior recovery is important to help prevent injury, strengthen your immune system, and get you the results you are looking for.  Sleep, diet and proper training all play a role in how your body recovers.

One of the first questions I ask all of my clients when we meet is how much sleep they get and how well they sleep.  It is one of the easiest places to improve not only your training but also your quality of life.

Here are a few easy ways to increase the quality of your sleep:

  1. Take a shower before bed to warm the muscles and help you relax.
  2. Do some static stretching or soft tissue work to help the body relax.
  3. Don’t watch T.V. in bed, rather do some easy reading or listen to soft music.
  4. Make sure your room is dark.  Cover the windows and turn off the electronics.
  5. Don’t drink caffeine or Jager bombs before bed.
  6. Try to get in a routine.  Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each night.
  7. Use clean sheets (my girlfriend appreciates this one).

Your nutrition also plays a huge role in your body’s recovery as well.   After all, you are what you eat.  Do you think that if you continue to suck down diet sodas and house desserts and fastfood that your body is going to look and perform how you want it to?

I’m sure you’ve all heard the term post-workout nutrition but what exactly are you refeuling with after your workout?  What do you have for breakfast when your body is starving for quality calories?  What is the last thing you put in your body before you go to sleep?  Everything you put in your body is going to aid in recovery.

Here is a sample day of eating:

  • Breakfast: 2 egg omlette with peppers, onions, and garlic.  A banana and a glass of orange juice.
  • Meal 2: Oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts and a glass of skim milk.
  • Pre-workout: smoothie -1 scoop of whey protein, 1/2 cup milk, frozen berries, banana, 1 cup spinach, chia seeds, and 1/4 cup oats.
  • Post-workout: 1 scoop of whey protein (or chocolate milk…I prefer organic) and a banana.  Gatorade also works well for recovery.
  • Meal 5: A sandwich…lean meat, pb&j or whatever floats your boat.  Throw some veggies in there too, baby carrots for an added crunch can be satisfying.
  • Dinner: Meat and veggies.
  • Pre-bedtime snack: Yogurt as it contains probiotics which aid in digestion and is also a good source of protein to aid in recovery.

You can substitute most of these food items for something of equal or greater value but try not to stray too far from the recipe.  The nutrients and frequency of meals all aid in proper recovery whether you are trying to get stronger, lose weight or perform better.  I eat the same foods whether I am bulking up or trying to burn fat, it makes food choices easier and I know I am getting proper nutrition to reach my goals.

For those of you who train and train hard every week it is extremely important to take a week to deload or decrease your training frequency at least every 4-6 weeks or so.  It may not be as important  for beginners as it is for intermediate or advanced lifters but you should still be finding time to decrease training intensity by either sets, reps or number of days.

I also prefer my clients as well as myself to take a day off in between training sessions to allow for full recovery.  Now I don’t mean doing nothing at all but rather not lifting heavy things repeatedly 5 days in a row.

A good recovery “off-day” could still be used for focusing more on soft tissue work, mobility drills, light body weight training and cardio such as a metabolic circuit or interval training.  Instead of playing contact football on your day off like I did, play something like basketball or another sport with your friends that will not have you layed up the next day.

Tomorrow I plan to do some extra foam rolling as recovery from using my body as a human battering ram in yesterday’s game.  As for the rest of today?  I plan on doing as little moving as possible.


Movement Wisdom

All too often people focus on strength and stability training as a way to improve their fitness and appearance.  But what happens when an individual’s  initial dysfunction is being caused by something other than  a muscular weakness?  What if that supposed weakness is actually muscle inhibition?  What if the weakness in a prime mover is the result of  a dysfunctional stabilizer?  What if tightness is actually protective muscle tone or inadequate muscle coordination?  What if Lindsay Lohan actually went through rehab and got clean?

Hopefully all of these questions have raised a few eyebrows (except the last question….we know that will never happen) because even today, there are very few professionals who look at movement as a standard for human fitness and performance.  The problem is that these sciences may be the key to unlocking the mysteries behind injury and dysfunction in the human body.

My industry as well as others that deal with human movement such as physical therapy, athletic training, chiropractic medicine, and orthopedics seem to be moving towards this direction as our science has evolved over the past decade.

What may seem complex atually takes a minimalist approach as we look at the body and it’s systems as a whole and break it down to the most primitive movement patterns.  The goal here is to allow your body to relearn the movement patterns that were available at birth and work from there.

As an attempt to create an industry standard, Gray Cook’s new book Movement: Functional Movement Systems begins to simplify many of these quandries in an attempt to create standard operating procedures for our science and industry.

I have been following Gray for a few years now and have adopted the Functional Movement Screen or FMS as a standard for working with all of my clients.  Although every one of my client’s goals may be different, the one thing that every human has in common is movement.  Our job is to not only locate faulty movement patterns but to bring back mobility and stability before attempting to build strength on top of dysfunction.

Here are a few pearls of wisdom from this epic book:

  •  
    • Pain affects motor control in unpredictable and inconsistent ways.  This, coupled with poorly planned and poorly  reproduced exercises, gave the average patient little chance of reestablishing authentic motor control.
    • What we see as low general fitness may be the extra metabolic demand produced by inferior neuromuscular coordination and compensation.
    • Mobility must precede stability.
    • Those with a weak core might develp tightness in the shoulder girdle or neck musculature as a secondary atempt to continue functioning. 
    • Those with chronic low back pain and stability problems may develop tightness in the hip flexors and hamstrings as secondary braces even if it reduces mobility.
    • As we age, grow and become self-sufficient-and then as we decline and lose some capabilities-we must always maintain some degree of our original functional movement patterns or we will be disadvantaged.
    • Breathing connects all parts of the movement matrix, but it remains the most neglected aspect of the Western approach to exercise, athletic conditioning and rehabilitation….Correct breathing provides power through a central drive of energy supported by the matrix.
    • Once appropriate levels of movement pattern function have been established, performance and skill can be investigated.  If these are prematurely investigated without an appropriate movement pattern baseline, poor performance and skill testes may actually be attributed to a faulty fundamental movement pattern.
    • Many rehabilitation approaches do not revisit the fundamental movement patterns that walking is built upon when older individuals lose balance or have difficultywalking. Instead, many seniors are placed on recombent bikes or given resistance exercises for their thighs under the assumption that weakness is the only problem. 
    • However, we must consider that coordination, patterning, reflex stabilization and timing also play a role, and these will not be reconstructed with generalized strengthening or cardio exercises.

I have barely scratched the surface on some of the wisdom that Movement  has to offer but hopefully this will help cause a paradigm shift on how you view exercise and movement rehabilitation.  As we move closer to a time that is ruled by science and logic, this field will continue to grow and evolve for the betterment of those we work with. 

The sad truth and the largest obstacle that I face is that the media and advertising interests have greater influence on the fitness culture than the professionals dedicated to fithess, athletic development and rehabilitation.  This is the only reason that anyone would ever buy a workout DVD from that asshat “The Situation” or a Kettlebell DVD from “actress” Jillian Michaels.

What is the world coming to?


The 3 M’s of Warmup

If you would have asked my 10 or even 2 years ago what I did to warm up before lifting I would have said either nothing or a few warmup sets before my working sets.  Looking back I believe that this approach is about as useful man with no arms with an itchy ass.

Although there is some validity to doing a few warmup sets I was missing other and potentially more significant aspects.  For one I was only randomly stretching in between sets which I found out years later would cause much male patter tightness from doing heavy bench and leg presses.  The other key ingredient I missed out on was any time of mobility work to help ensure I maintained proper stability and range-of-motion (ROM).

A great analogy to skipping a proper warmup would be starting your car in the dead of winter and hopping on the highway without giving it adequate time to warm up.  It’s a good idea to let the oil circulate and start down the road slow before taking off like a bat out of hell.

I believe that only temporary success can be achieved by taking shortcuts.  To that extent I have put together the 3 Ms of a good warmup:

  1. Movement
  2. Mobility
  3. Muscle Activation (Stability)

“To be ignorant of motion is to be ignorant of nature.” – Aristotle

Gray Cook wrote in his book Athletic Body in Balance that modern science tells us that the brain does not recognize individual muscle activity-it doesn’t need to.  Instead, the brain looks at movement patterns and creates coordination between all the muscles needed.

Movement defines us as humans and athletes and yet we are moving less and less.  We sit at during our commute, sit at a desk at work then go home and sit on the couch to watch prime time T.V. and Sports Center.  Even worse are those who make the effort to go to the gym then sit down on the machines and bikes.  No wonder your hips are tight, your back hurts and your ass is flat and/or fat.

Isolation is all fine and dandy for gaining size and strength but the goal of training should be to improve how the body moves as well.  At the very least we should get the body moving in multiple ways to counteract all the sitting that we do all day.  Allowing your body to move before your workout (whatever it may be) is an integral part to warming up muscle tissue which has been shown to help prevent injury and increase the effectiveness of your workout.

This leads right into the next component which is mobility. Mobility can be described as freedom of movement through the intended movement or exercise without restrictions with strength and stability.  Your body is designed for mobility and due to a mostly sedentary lifestyle, muscles such as your hamstrings and hip flexors become tight and restricted.  Dynamic stretches and mobility work will help these muscles return to their original length to aid in posture, correct techniqe, and to help prevent injuries.

Mobility warm-ups can include soft tissue work, stretching and mobility exercises designed to increase joint ROM.  If you are not mobile during your workout, the risk for injury significantly increases.

Personally, I begin every workout by spending time on soft tissue work such as foam rolling and using other implements such as a soft tissue or tennis ball.  Not only are you enhancing the quality of the tissue but you are on the ground and moving.  Next, I include several mobility and/or flexibility exercises focusing on generally tight areas such as the hip flexors.

These exercises might include:

  • Half-kneeling hip flexor stretch or mobilization
  • Spiderman lung with overhead reach
  • Wall slides
  • Split squats
  • Leg swings

The final hallmark of a proper warm-up is muscle activation in which I will include stability work.  There are varying studies on whether or not muscle activation is necessary or even beneficial when done prior to a workout.  My own personal belief which stems from what I have seen with my own clients is that by warming up the stabilizers such as the glute medius prior to doing an exercise such as the squat will cause them to fire more efficiently.

I included stability in this category not only to make your exercise more efficient but to also aid in injury prevention.  If your smaller stabilizers are not doing their job then your prime movers are likely to take over causing a certain amount of stiffness.  If that made no sense to you then keep this in mind: if you are stiff during your workout you could end up like this guy

Some great muscle activation warm-ups include:

  • Lateral Mini-Band Walks
  • Shoulder-Tap Pushups
  • Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Overall, a proper warm-up should take anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on your workout, time, and current abilities.  Your in the gym to move and feel better so a solid base is essential to your overall success and longevity.


Exercise of the Week: Sumo Deadlifts

If you all haven’t been able to tell yet I am a big advocate of lifting heavy things for a set number of reps and thus am an even bigger proponent of the deadlift.  As a strength coach, one of my main jobs is to get people stronger (duh) and there are not many lifts that compare to the deadlift for measuring overall strength.  Starting out though, there may be some people who do not possess the proper flexibility to get into the proper setup for a conventional deadlift.  Also, working with all types of clients I have found that some people are mechanically at a disadvantage from the start due to the relative length of their femurs and/or arms.  In this case I use the sumo deadlift.

The big difference between a conventional deadlift and a sumo deadlift is the stance and more specifically the position of the feet and legs.  Picture a large (very large) half-naked Japanese man setting up to do battle with another very large half naked Japanese man.  Sexy huh?

The Benefits:

  1. Strengthen your back, legs, hips, and forearms.
  2. Grip strength.
  3. Teaches you how to pick up heave objects off the floor without screwing up your back.

The Setup:

  1. Your feet should be positioned wider than shoulder width with your toes pointed out.  I have seen this done multiple ways so you will have to do some experimenting to figure out what works best for you.  I have seen obnoxiously long stance with the toes pointed straight out. I myself prefer a comfortable “reasonably wide” stance with my toes pointed out at about 45 degrees.
  2. NOTE: make sure the bar is close to your shins.
  3. Keep your chest “tall”, get your air and keep your abs braced (as if you were going to get punched in the stomach)
  4. Instead of squatting down, focus on pushing your hips back as far as possible so you can “sit” in the stance.
  5. Keep your shoulder blades back and down (I tell people to visualize putting your shoulder in your back pocket) to engage your lats and activate your thoraco-lumbar fascia to stabilize your spine.
  6. NOTE: you should feel tension in your hammys at this point.
  7. Keep your chin tucked and you should find a spot on the floor about  10-15 feet in front of you and stay focused on it.

The Pull:

  1. Keep your core tight and drive through the heels, pulling the bar with your elbows locked.  Shoulders should still be back.
  2. DO NOT: bring your hips up first!
  3. Your hips and shoulders should rise simultaneously while keeping the bar close to your body.
  4. NOTE: remember to slowly breath out while lifting.  Think: hissing by letting the air out of a tire.
  5. Finish in the lockout position by firing your glutes and getting your hips into extension.  Many people fail here but it is very important.

The Descent:

  1. This part is very important as I see many people finish a great set then finish by bending over at the lumbar spine.
  2. To descend, start at the hips and push your but back (just like in the setup) while maintaining a slight arch in your lower back.
  3. Breaking with your hips rather than your knees (the knees can bend, don’t confuse this) and keeping the bar in contact with your body control the weight back to earth.

A Few Recommendations:

  1. You should pull frequently but only pull heavy once a week or once every other week.
  2. Find and fix your weaknesses whether it is your back, your shoulders, your glutes, or your core.  I wrote an article on this a few months ago.
  3. Go barefoot.  Your body will learn better neurologically and you will get better ankle mobility.  I think barefoot is the way to go but flat soled shoes work just as well.
  4. Get your ass into the picture by doing extra hip extension work such as glute bridges and barbell hip thrusts.
  5. Do speed work such as speed deadlifts or kettlebell swings.

My own deadlift PR stands at 405 lbs and is slowly rising.  If you want to get stronger then I recommend a great program such as 5-3-1, westside barbell, and Eric Cressey’s Maximum Strength which I highly recommend for beginners.

Happy sumo deadlifting!


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