It’s been way to long and I know how you have been waiting anxiously by your inbox  for the latest Majuscule.  Well, it was WORTH the wait!  We have been busier than ever at The Lab and we have so much exciting news coming up that I have not been able to keep up with it all (we have been working night and day trying to expand our continuously shrinking walls and are getting closer to that reality).

Last time we spoke (because I know you talk out loud back to me when you read this), I mentioned we would be on Channel 2 for an interview.  See link below.  WELL, that was in mid March.  At that point Voy had lost 117 lbs!!! As of today he is at 140lbs!!! 23 lbs lost since that interview alone.  He is amazing.  But just like everyone else he had to start with one step at a time.  Matter of fact he couldn’t stay on the elliptical for more than 30 seconds on day 1.  13 months later he is a total rockstar and can out perform some of the best in the gym.  What is his strength? Showing up with the right attitude day in and out…and coming back for more no matter what.  He doesn’t miss days.  THAT IS IT.  No magic formula other than daily exercise, a sensible diet, and consistency.  he has bad days ALL the time, but he never gives up!  Unlike those, ” I have tried everything’s,” who may try something for 1 week before calling it quits and then onto the next flashy fad.  When you hear him speak in the interview he reveals his secret (“Just getting started”).

Channel 2 Interview
Next, I have to give a shout out to little Lisa Manfredi who JUST dead lifted 225lbs for 3 reps.  That was after doing snatches, clean and jerks, back squats…and then finish off the workout with 100lbs over bodyweight for 3 reps.  AMAZING.  And she could hardly walk a year ago!

The article below speaks to a glimpse of The Lab philosophy.  Which is, we believe in NO GIMMICKS. We use allot of cool sexy tricks but at the end of the day we are not here to be flashy and cute.  We are here to produce results, and that is why we select the exercises that we do from athlete to senior citizen.  Read below to see why you might be wasting your time on gimmicky tricks that are may seem cutting edge but in fact are slowing your results.

By the way, it is great outside..come try BOOTCAMP!

Enjoy this Majuscule!

Stability Suicide


guns


Training on unstable surfaces is like shooting a gun after a few drinks of alcohol…not smart or safe.  I would even argue the later to be more dangerous and the former to be more productive;) Most people can not perform the basic moves correctly on a STABLE surface from poor body awareness, flexibility, muscle imbalances, poor strength, and simple fear of the exercises.  So why on earth do many people feel the need to add such a silly wrench to the situation?  My guess a) to avoid having to do the real work which is hard and uncomfortable (using perfect form, adding weight or reps, and working on basic biomechanical issues which isn’t always fun).  b) boredom of their trainer or self.  c) They are in physical therapy.


None of the above solutions are consistent with result producing WORK unless you are rehabbing to get BACK to WORK).


.  Consider the squat or lunge for example.  Two basic and essential motions for the body yet 9 out of 10 people that walk in my door (even WITH years of exercise experience) do them wrong.  So why would these people even consider adding a challenge such as instability when they are to unstable or weak to do the basic move correctly?


This is also why we focus on strength at all times.  We are not making the average Joe a powerlifter or weightlifter , however being able to perform the basics with increasing loads is merely a testament to how good their form and STABILITY truly is!


Think of stability as STRENGTH.  If you are weak you cant hold all of your bodies positions in place under little stress (on stable flat environments) OR unstable environments for Gad sakes.  Master the basics and then challenge yourself with a heavier weight and you WILL improve BOTH strength, balance, AND posture when performed correctly (considering you are holding your form perfectly at ALL times).  More bang for your buck and less risk of falling of the damn bosu ball!

highwire


In review the ability to lift a heavy weight with good form is a the best sign of how good your form, stability, and posture is.  Performing on an unstable surface (outside of rehab or physical therapy) is merely training you for the circus.  Unless your job is to walk the high wire or robbing banks with  infra red laser alarms than can the instability junk, have some vodka, and pick up a barbell…ok, skip the vodka.

lasers

Notice the terrible spine position;)


No don’t get me wrong.  MOBILITY is a good thing. But that is much different and only safe if you have equal parts stability (strength) to control your mobility and why so many people get hurt doing Yoga and yoga only, I mean you can only stretch and relax a weak muscle so much).  Otherwise, you are an accident waiting to happen.  Excessive mobility is how you get hurt.  Likewise excessive mobility (low back) is what lead to your injury when you bent down and picked up that french fry off the ground and leaned over to grab it.



bentover


“Hey look, a french fry!”  But (or should I say BUTT),  at least she bent her knees a little! Believe it or not she is exposing her spine (and her crack) to injury evening bending like this.



The January 2010 Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reported some research that we have proven in our Lab ages ago (yeah, that’s The Lab Gym, check it out, it’s pretty sweet).  The article starts off with, “If you think  that weight training on an unstable surface such as an exercise ball always activates more muscles, think again,”  according to research at California State University.


Researchers tested 30 resistance trained subjects performing shoulder presses using 3 sets of 3 repetitions using barbells and dumbbells seated on a bench and on an exercise ball (at The Lab we eventually we get you to do them standing= An even better way, when your ready for it).


Based on surface electromyograpahy readings for 8 muscles  (anterior deltoid, middle deltoid, trapezius, triceps brachii, rectus abdominus, external obliques, and upper and lower ercetor spinae).  The researchers found that as instability of exercise increased, activation of most muscle groups increased.


plates2


You (accident waiting to happen): with inadequate stability/strength with your excessive mobility. But hey, looks like a great way to do some shoulder presses!  Lets give you a barbell and see what happens!


Take home message: Don’t get blind sided by THE FUNCTIONAL FITNESS BUZZ (We like to call it foo foo functional).  Your tried and true weightlifting basics well give you more bang for your exercise buck (or as we like to say, a higher R.O.P., ‘Return On Pain.’).


Stick to the ‘basics’ of squats, deadlifts, lunges, pushes and pulls (Upper push and pull: chest and shoulder presses, pulldowns, pullups, dips, etc).  After you prioritize them suuuure go ahead, No one is looking you can do a few isolation exercises bicep curls, shoulder raises, etc).


snatchflexibility

A few of the ‘basics’ blended together for total body mastery: a) Core stability b) flexibility in shoulders, lumbar spine, hips, ankles. c) Ladies see how skinny this man is.  Let this be a lesson to heavy weights/low reps do DOES NOT = big muscles.  This is one of the strongest 136 lb men in the world, yet rail thin. Hmmmm, ‘toning’ anyone?

And that of course assumes you are doing them right. I see people in the gym everyday who do these wrong, experience some sort of the ‘wrong’ pain and falsely attribute it to the exercise as a bad one.  When in fact they either a) in correctly executed the exercise or b) let their ego get involved and used to much weight c) “oh my God what is that pain?”Sir, that is called muscle fatigue (know the good vs. the bad pain!  Yet, this isn’t supposed to feel like a massage.).


Finally, learning the basics such as the squat takes a skilled professional to help teach you the correct positions and ‘feel’ to make sure the exercise is building you up and not breaking you down.  Nor is using pictures from trendy magazines, online images/websites, or using the local gym rat meat head  as technique or form reference going to cut it(unless they are a Lab rat) , because I would bet the farm (gym) that they are doing them wrong. Heck, I have been lifting for 19 years and competing for over 15 and I did them wrong for the first 8-10 years.


Now go hit the basics do them right and don’t look for the next flashy thing to distract yourself from what truly matters.  Throw your ‘fitness’ magazines away and stop distracting yourself from putting some good honest WORK in.  Dedication, consistent HARD work, and FOCUS!  Otherwise you will be the next person complaining to me that, ” you tried everything, but nothing worked for you.”  When sure, you may have tried a few things but stopped each one when they may have actually become hard or required you to put in more effort than you planned to.  Its called a WORKout for a reason;)


Nearly ANYTHING will work if you hit it hard enough, long enough, an consistently enough!



Closing Points:  Focusing on silly distractions, foo foo functional moves, and many and most gimmicks for that matter will result in:

1. You will burn less calories. You won’t be able to use nearly as much weight on a bosu ball (or flashy foo foo move) as you would on a stable surface performing the same exercise. Burning calories and toning/building muscle is all about progressive resistance/overload (stressing the body). When you are more worried about face planting you are not focused on the correct things.

2. You will make yourself weaker. Gaining strength (strength is a good thing and should be a goal for everyone, and ladies you wont get muscle bound, if your still worried, then don’t take steroids;) is all about force production (ie: being able to transfer force from the ground up). By training on an unstable surface, you’re severely limiting the amount of force you can generate in any given exercise.

3. Core Strength: Please don’t be THAT person who claims that unstable surface training is great for training the core. Try the basics correctly, push yourself, and see how your core engages (see overhead squat position in pic above).

I could go on and on, but I’m hungry and need to go eat…

CORE STABILITY TRAINING 101:

1) It all starts with being able to hold a correct posture hold position standing up or in ranges of motion (squatting or bending) a) normallyb) under stress/weight


posturehold

Posture hold position: chest up, shoulders back and down, butt back, knees soft, weight in the heels (toes curled up), eyes forward..and squeeze.  You should be able to take a punch, jump, shoot a basket, squat, bend over, and more from this position.

spine1

In the above position your are aligning the vertebrae in the correct alignment to take on stress and movement (stable).  Deviating any of this is when you introduce risk.

This is the standing or squatting
spinal position. When bending over how should it look?

spine2

Bentover: Nothing has changed in the vertebra’s distance from each other no flexing forward, etc).  In order to do this the hips must move correctly with your spine and slightly unlocking your knees.  Spine, still safe, straight, and stable!

For example: bending over or deadlifting
toetouch

And another: Squatting, picking up fries…

squatform


Or, how about some normal activities of daily living???


farmers

The better it is the more functional and ‘core stability’ you will be.  For example, carrying your groceries.  Above, I am carrying 250 lbs in each hand worth of ‘groceries’ with the posture hold position intact.  Core/spine = safe.


tireflip

Or, picking heavy things from off the ground.  Like the remote control.  Here, my knees are bent and back is locked into the ‘posture hold position’ and I am safely lifting 600 lbs worth of remote controls 10 times in under 50 seconds (fastest time of all 200lb men at the Strongman Nationals;).


snatchoverhead

Or, packing you luggage in the overhead bin in the airplane. Here is 242 lbs of luggage safely ‘stowed’ away.  Posture hold position in tact.

jerk

Or lifting a car over your head.  What?  It happens.


So when you do, posture hold!