Archive for November, 2010

More Random Thoughts

I’ve got a bunch of these ready to go so I’ll just keep cranking them out several at a time.

1. Vitamin D

As a former math teacher, I like to break things down mathematically. According to most authorities on Vitamin D, you’ll get around 10,000 iu’s of Vitamin D production in around 10 minutes of summer sun exposure if you’re wearing a bathing suit. This breaks down to around 17 iu’s/second, or 1,000 iu’s/minute.

The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies has established the following adequate intake levels of Vitamin D.

  • Birth to 50 years, 5 µg (200 IU)
  • 51–70 years, 10 µg (400 IU)
  • 71+ years, 15 µg (600 IU)

Most nutrition experts believe these levels to be far below the optimal level and recommend around 1,000 to 2,000 iu’s per day. Bottom line, get some sun from time to time! If you’re never in the sun then take some Vitamin D supplements! Vitamin D is extremely important!

2. Don’t Forget About Insulin

Hypocaloric diets are great for fat loss, but taking insulin dynamics into account and manipulating carbohydrate intake accordingly will yield better results according to this study.  Many people are severely insulin resistant because they consume too many carbohydrates or they have poor genetics. We saw from the “Twinkie Diet” that just reducing calories led to considerable weight loss and surprisingly favorable effects on cholesterol. But for optimal health you need to consider things like insulin sensitivity, protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols, in addition to caloric intake.  

3. Loadless Training (Flexing)

When I was a teenager, I used to stand in front of the mirror and practice “posing.” I would take my shirt off and flex my muscles in the mirror. I remember finding it very hard to contract certain muscles such as my lats and hamstrings. I probably flexed my muscles in the mirror for around five minutes several days per week. Within a few months I was able to contract all of my major muscle groups really well.

When I get new clients, I’ll often ask them to contract a certain muscle or muscle group and I find that they don’t know how to contract it. Bodybuilders talk about forming an intense “mind-muscle connection.” Strength coaches and physical therapists talk about “activating” dormant muscles. In Supertraining, Mel Siff defined flexing or posing as a viable training method called “loadless training” and postulated that it had certain benefits. I’ll tell you one thing; if more people practiced flexing their muscles we wouldn’t have all of these dormant muscles and we wouldn’t have to coin certain terms such as “gluteal amnesia.”

Bottom line – don’t be afraid to practice flexing your muscles. I still try to do it a few times per week in the mirror for around 60 seconds or so. I’ll roll through several different poses and make sure that I maximally contract all the major muscle groups – the calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, abs, lats, pecs, delts, bi’s, and tri’s.

4. Text Message from My Client Kellie Davis

A couple of weeks ago I received a text message from one of my online clients. This is what she said:

“I was screwing around (I shouldn’t be) and tried the whole stack on the glute press. Did 170 lbs each side for 6 reps ;)”

Leave it to one of my clients to have stronger glutes than most males! How could I be mad at her for not “sticking with the program?”

5. Chalk One Up for Eccentrics!

Here’s a cool study I stumbled upon that shows the benefits of eccentric training:

Short-term strength training and the expression of myostatin and IGF-I isoforms in rat muscle and tendon: differential effects of specific contraction types

Here’s a quote from the authors:

“In conclusion, we have demonstrated that short-term training increases tendon levels of both IGF-IEa and MGF mRNA, indicating a possible role for these growth factors in the adaptation of tendon to training. Furthermore, we found that eccentric training was more effective in downregulating myostatin expression than other loading types, and in combination with the effect of eccentric loading on IGF-IEa and MGF expression, this may well explain the strong contributions of eccentric actions in resistance training-induced muscle hypertrophy.”

That’s all folks!

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A Few Random Thoughts

I’ve got fifty random thoughts lined up…been so busy I haven’t been able to post them. I figure I’ll just post a few at a time so I don’t overwhelm people.

1. Here’s a hilarious quote from Dr. Stuart McGill

 As you know, you’re taller when you wake up in the morning than when you go to bed at night. This is because the discs are hydrophilic, that means they suck up water while you sleep and when there are no stresses present.

After rising, hydrostatic stresses of just walking around and using the muscles during the day compress your spine and the fluid is squeezed out, decreasing the anular tensions in the disc. So, when you wake up the extra height in the discs are analogous to a full water balloon ready to burst and if you bend, you build up much higher stresses in the disc. In fact, the stresses are three times higher than when you perform the same bend two or three hours later.

Now I’m not talking about getting up and going for a walk or perhaps a boxer going for a jog first thing in the morning. I’m talking about heavy bending exercises, like for example the good-morning exercise or doing sit-ups. Somehow people thought that this would be a good thing to do in the morning. It’s the worst possible thing you could do for the back first thing in the morning. I personally have a more favorite morning exercise, it’s what I like to call a “great-morning,” but I don’t think my wife would appreciate me talking about it! Full spine bending first thing in the morning is a great way to damage your back—an unwise thing to do.

2. Here’s a thought-provoking quote by Justin Harris

Steak generally has generally higher calories. It has saturated fat which gets converted to cholesterol, which gets converted to androstenediol, which gets converted to testosterone. For some competitors, natural competitors, that’s very important. But the other thing with steak… steak has a slightly lower bioavailability than chicken but the protein ratio is better for raising iron levels. If you can increase the iron level , it increases your hematocrit (the amount of red blood cells in your blood, which) you can increase your blood volume, which can give you a fuller look. You look at your bicep and only about 30% of your bicep is actual contractile tissue, actual actin and myosin. If you dehydrated it out… look at beef jerky. That’s the actual amount of actual tissue in the area. The rest of it is water, glycogen. If you can double the amount of blood vessels and double the amount of blood going through those blood vessels in your bicep, that’s going to add size to your bicep, and that’s something [a benefit] of the iron from steak.

3.  Sitting Does Not Raise Intradiscal Pressure (IDP) Moreso than Standing???

Sitting versus standing: does the intradiscal pressure cause disc degeneration or low back pain?

4. It is Indeed Possible to Isolate the Upper Abdominals from the Lower Abdominals

A study conducted by several researchers including Dr. Stuart McGill on belly-dancers showed that they could isolate one over the other during low-load precise movements. This study provides some pretty conclusive evidence and should silence the naysayers. Not that it really matters…if you want six-pack abs diet down and get lean!

Neuromuscular independence of abdominal wall muscles as demonstrated by middle-eastern style dancers

5. A Better Way to do GHR’s

I know I’ve talked about this before but here’s a good visual. Take a look at how the hamstrings relax at the top of the motion in this video (go to the 2:40 mark):

A better way is to elevated the back side of the glute-ham developer so you keep constant tension on the hammies at the end-range of the movement.

That’s all folks!

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Here are some good reads for the week. Tomorrow or Friday I’ll be back with a Random Thoughts blog and I’m also going to try to put up a blog on Spinal Stability.

1. Article of the Week: Robert Dos Remedios Gives Some Great Advice on How to Become a Big Name Trainer or Coach

2. Eric Cressey – 11 Ways to Make an Exercise Harder

3. Patrick Ward – Hypertonic vs. Tight Muscles

4. Valerie Waters Interviews Yours Truly – How to Get Your Best Butt Ever

5. Gray Cook Provides an Intro and a Bunch of Videos from Ed Thomas

6. Chris Beardsley Lists the Top Ten Bret Contreras Articles

7. Carlos Buzzichelli on Periodization

8. Nick Tumminello on Functional Training

9. Ben Bruno Does an Airdyne Tabata Interval


10. Smitty and the Diesel Crew Show Us the Dragon Flag

11. Mike Scott – One Question, Many Answers

12. Mike Reinhold – 3 Keys to Shoulder Impingement

13. Leigh Peele – 55 Gift Ideas

14. Mike Robertson – Random Thoughts

15. Tony Gentilcore on Deadlifting

That’s All for This Week! Happy Thanksgiving Everybody. I’ll Leave You With Something for Which I’m Very Thankful:

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Dear BC,

Is it possible to isolate my upper or lower abs with different ab exercises?


I hear this debate all of the time. Many say that it’s not possible to contract one part of the rectus abdominis over another, while others claim that you can.

Part of this is semantics…you can’t “isolate” one part or another. In other words, you cannot contract one portion while keeping the other completely dormant. However, I believe that you can “target” one part, or steer more activation toward one portion or another. When you look at the nerve supply for the abdominal muscles you will find that they are innervated by multiple nerves (i.e. the ventral rami of T7-T11, T12 (subcostal nerve), and L1 (iliohypogastric, ilioinguinal). This is nothing new; you can also target portions of the the gluteus maximus, deltoids, pecs, etc.

I’m not particularly passionate about this topic because 1) Getting 6-pack abs is 90% about reaching low bodyfat levels and 10% about having muscular abs, and 2) The differences in activation between upper and lower rectus abdominis (RA) activity aren’t so drastic that they’ll lead to huge differences in functional strength adaptations.

Around a year ago I was a bit curious about this topic so I conducted a bunch of comprehensive EMG analyses on the abdominals. While one of my core studies can be found on a TNation article here, I didn’t measure upper vs. lower RA activity in that experiment. I conducted two experiments where I measured upper vs. lower abdominal activity, the tables for which can be found in my glute eBook. I performed tons of the best and most challenging abdominal exercises, and I found that you can indeed target the upper or lower abdominals. “Shoulder to hips” flexion, or abdominal exercises that have you bringing your shoulders toward your hips such as crunches, activate higher levels of upper RA than lower RA. “Hips to shoulder” flexion, or abdominal exercises that have you bringing your hips toward your shoulders such as reverse crunches, activate higher levels of lower RA than upper RA. In regards to my EMG experiments and other EMG experiments, the hip flexors are too far away to interfere with the readings of the lower abdominals – the amplitude is proportional to the inverse square of the distance from the source. So I don’t believe that that is an issue. And my EMG data was normalized, so that’s not an issue either.

If we go by “the feel test,” I’ve performed various abdominal/core exercises for many years and I believe that I can feel my lower abdominals working harder when I do exercises like reverse crunches in comparison to exercises like crunches. And as I’m sitting here typing, I believe that I can segmentally contract the different portions of the abdominals to different degrees. I find it easy to alternate between flexing the lower abs pretty hard while keeping the upper abs slightly more relaxed, and tensing the upper abs pretty hard while keeping the lower abs slightly more relaxed – but I’m not sure how much this has to do with turning on other core muscles such as the transverse abdominis or diaphragm to create this effect. Maybe if I study Shakira hard enough the answer will come to me….

In addition, I’m taking a Graduate level Biomechanics course right now, I’ve read the literature on the topic, I’ve discussed the matter with professors and Biomechanists, and I’ve studied the anatomy. So I believe that I’m pretty qualified to address this matter.

Here are six different studies that indicate that you can preferentially activate one portion over the other:

Relative activity of abdominal muscles during commonly prescribed strengthening exercises.

Electromyographic analysis of upper body, lower body, and abdominal muscles during advanced Swiss ball exercises.

Core muscle activation during Swiss ball and traditional abdominal exercises.

Electromyographic analysis of traditional and nontraditional abdominal exercises: implications for rehabilitation and training.

Muscle activity in upper and lower rectus abdominus during abdominal exercises.

Electromyographic analysis of abdominal muscle activity using portable abdominal exercise devices and a traditional crunch.

There are some studies in the literature that fail to demonstrate the same pattern and therefore contain different conclusions, but most studies do show differences in upper and lower RA activity. I know that Dr. Stuart McGill feels otherwise and believes that these readings are incorrect due to issues with normalization, but I know some professors who are adamant that he’s incorrect on the matter. Furthermore, if you read McGill’s full paper on the topic you’ll see that hips to shoulder spinal flexion still gets you slightly higher lower than upper RA activity, and when you do shoulder to hip spinal flexion you get slightly higher upper than lower RA activity – it’s just not significant in his study – though I’d argue that he may have seen different results had he tested other exercises.

I don’t believe that this is that big of a deal in terms of selecting the best exercises – in addition to EMG, I look at other things like joint safety, specificity, tension in stretch position, ability to produce a pump, ability to produce hypertrophy, ability to transfer to another lift, ability to transfer to an athletic endeavor, joint ROM, ability to increase joint mobility or stability, how the exercise “feels,” etc. When choosing core exercises, I like to stabilize in all directional vectors, and I like to perform exercises that strengthen the hip flexors from time to time – a muscle group that should be strengthened in advanced athletes.

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Bret Contreras: Last year, I created the load vector training model. Of course the system is not perfect, just like all other classification systems. Human movement is quite dynamic and complex, which makes any system of classification very challenging. However, the load vector concept is very intriguing and has merit in the literature.

Chi emailed me his thoughts regarding load vectors last week and I asked him to write a guest blog on the topic since he’s obviously put a lot of thought into it. For those of you who don’t know Chi, he’s a freaky-intelligent guy, a research machine, and an all-around nice guy! And he lives in the Netherlands!

Load Vectors: Less is More!
By Chi Chiu

How do you respond to a blog invite from a highly innovative guy, who turned the explanation of one exercise into a book of 600 pages? How about by writing the shortest guest post ever, about nothing new!

Bret has written extensively about the concept of load vectors (LV) which adds another layer to the use of planes by focusing on the direction of the resistance, instead of the movement. While doing so, he introduces 12 “new” words like anteroposterior, lateromedial, and torsional. Although I enjoyed the concept and love (bio)mechanics, I did not adopt the lingo, because in the weight room we already have less sophisticated, but adequate terminology like push, pull and rotate. If you combine them with the axes (axial, sagittal, and lateral), you basically get most of the LV concept, but on a more intuitive level.

The words push, pull and rotate are generic and tell you something about the forces acting upon the body, while the axes specify the direction. The squat is an axial push exercise and a chin-up an axial pull. The Pallof press however, is a movement in the sagittal plane and looks like a push, hence the press part. In the “new” LV lingo, however, it’s a lateral rotational pull. The LV dictionary for the weight room just got shorter and more intuitive. As a result of it, I’ve seen various people apply those principles on their program design, only minutes after I explained it to them. Just tweak it a little on upper, core, and lower body exercises and you have a general balanced or more specific adapted selection of exercises in no time. By using more intuitive and familiar words, the LV concept gets more accessible and therefore more applicable.

New Terminology

Axial – vertical plane
Sagittal – horizontal plane
Lateral – lateral plane
Push – moving away from the body
Pull – moving toward the body
Rotation – twisting


Axial Pull – chin up, deadlift, power clean, curl, shrug
Axial Push – military press, squat, lunge, dip
Axial Rotation – landmine, single leg box squat, single leg RDL
Sagittal Pull – inverted row, seated row, back extension
Sagittal Push – push up, bench press, hip thrust, sled push
Sagittal Rotation – bird dog, single leg hip thrust, single arm db bench press, renegade row
Lateral Pull – standing cable adduction
Lateral Push – x-band walk, slideboard lateral slide, lateral raise
Lateral Rotation – Pallof press, cable chop, cable lift

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Well I thought it was going to come down to around 25 articles this week but there ended up being more. I whittled it down a bit but I have a hard time doing so as I like to hear different perspectives and I like to post a variety of articles. Anyway props to my friend Mark Young. He went out of his way to provide us with some great free material. Here you go!!!

Bret Contreras Articles

1. Big Arms with Tony Gentilcore and Brad Schoenfeld on T-Nation.

Article of the Week

1. Wow! Is Fat Loss all About the Calories and Nothing Else? This Article has Created Quite a Stir in the Fitness Industry. See Below for Several Responses to the Article. My Thoughts? If you want to lose weight, drop your calories. Don’t focus on cardio, focus on not eating so much. If you want to look your best, eat relatively healthy and do resistance training. Strength gives your body muscular shape!

New Blogs

1. Paul Graham

2. Ana Tocco

New Products

1. Timothy Ferris – The Four Hour Body (I’d like to hear some people’s feedback on this one. I admire Timothy Ferris but I’m just not sure about this book. Sure there are tricks but strength and good physiques take time!)


1. Great Podcast with Patrick Ward on Stop Chasing Pain Podcast


1. The Two Wise-Old Owls of Strength Training: Mike Boyle & Dan John – MBSC Winter Seminar – Feb 5, 2011

Great Deal of the Week

1. Mark Young Offers Free Interviews With Stuart McGill, Thomas Myers, Nick Tumminello, Jim Smith, Mike Robertson, Martin Berkhan, Leigh Peele, Jimmy Smith, Brendan Fox, John Paul Catanzaro, Scott Abel, and more! This is Huge. Seriously, I bet it took Mark dozens of hours to arrange, record, and post these interviews; and they’re yours for free if you sign up for his newsletter. Thanks Mark!!!

Blast From the Past

1. This one is from May but I never read it. Just got around to reading it and it’s a great program for hypertrophy. It’s a Wannabebig article from Daniel Roberts titled Hypertrophy-Clustered Training (HCT-12).

Good Reads

1. Awesome Article by Jim Kielbaso on “How to Become a Strength Coach.” If you’re an up and comer in this field, check it out. Jim’s website keeps impressing me more and more!

2. Tim Henriques on Bilateral vs. Unilateral Training

3. Joel Jamieson gives us part III of a three part series on explosive power development. This is great!

4. Great Blog from Kevin Carr on Battle Rope Variations! Innovative Stuff Right Here!

5. How to Write a Good Blog by Brendon Rearick, Part I and Part II

6. Cool blogpost by JRod – Shows some new hockey commercials that portray hockey players engaging in strength training and then offers commentary on them.

7. Four Ways to Ease Sore Hamstrings by Core Performance

8. Happiness is a Skill by Coach Nick Horton

9. Speed Kills by Anthony Morando

10. Minimalism Part III by Jason Ferruggia (this one is on nutrition)

11. Alex Moroko – 17 Reasons Why Bodyweight Training Rocks!

12. Ben Bruno Interviews Jen Comas

13. Excellent Dr. Clay Hyght Article – 9 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Bodybuilding

14. John Romaniello Interviews Valerie Waters

15. Should You Run Barefoot? by Core Performance

16. Ben Bruno – Single Leg Slideboard Leg Curls

17. Random Thoughts by Ben Bruno – I’m a Big Fan of Ben’s Blog!!!

18. Random Stuff by Mark Young

19. Three Types of Clients and How to Coach Them by John Berardi

20. Awesome Read by Jeremy Frisch on Kids and Conditioning

21. Conquering Chin Ups by Mike Robertson

22. Carl Valle on Bad Combinations and Clashing

23. Five Tips for Building a Sexy Make Body by John Romaniello

24. Mike T. Nelson on the Twinkie Diet

25. Nick Tumminello Shows How to Hit the Biceps and Triceps with the TRX

26. Great Read by Joe Bonyai on Training Athletes With Spinal Disorders

27. Muscular Adaptations to Training by Chris Beardsley

28. Great Read by Dave Rak on Vertical Jump Training on Coach Kevin Carr’s Site

29. Patrick Ward on the Female Triad

30. Minimalism Part IV by Jason Ferruggia.

31. Great Read by Joe Dowdell in Stack Magazine – Is MMA Training Appropriate for Other Sports?

32. Top Ten Poliquin Articles by Chris Beardsley

33. Five Lifting Problems Solved by Mike Scialabba on Wannabebig

34. Tom Venuto on the Twinkie Diet

35. John Izzo on Weak Glutes

36. Box Squats by Clint Darden on Elitefts

37. Six Tips for Building a Sexy Female Body by John Romaniello

38. Motivational Blog by Alli McKee

39. Neghar Fonooni talks about her Program. She runs a tight ship, but she delivers!

40. Dealing with Hip Internal Rotation part I by Rick Kaselj on Mark Young’s site

41. Step by Step Bench Pressing by Mike Robertson

42. PJ Striet on the Twinkie Diet – this one is great!!! I really like PJ.

43. Core Performance – Rolling Plank

44. Programming by Chad Pierce on Elitefts

45. Hidden Shoulder Killers by Lee Boyce

46. Interview with Jay Cutler


1. Eccentric Training for Strength & Hypertrophy

2. The Fall of the Hormone Theory

3. Switching Up Exercises

4. Low Reps vs. High Reps

5. HIP STABILITY: MECHANICAL CONTRIBUTIONS OF INDIVIDUAL MUSCLES – This is sweet! Shows the contribution of individual muscles to hip stability in the neutral and flexed positions in the sagittal and frontal planes

6. The Effects of Thoracic Manipulation on Posteroanterior Spinal Stiffness

7. Prognosis for patients with chronic low back pain: inception cohort study

8. Rehabilitation of the Stability Function of Psoas Major

9. This One is 15 Years Old but is a Great Read on Sprinting Musculature Implications

10. The Effects of Consuming Frequent, Higher Protein Meals on Appetite and Satiety During Weight Loss in Overweight/Obese Men

11. Complex Integrative Morphological and Mechanical Contributions to ACL Injury Risk

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While there are many differences between bad trainers and good trainers, one of the biggest differences is the form that you’ll see poor trainers allowing their clients use in comparison to the form that good trainers insist upon with their clients. The problem is that bad trainers just don’t know what good form is supposed to look like and they’ve never been trained to look at movement with a critical eye. On a side note, they also don’t know what to do in order to fix poor movement but that is the essence of being a great trainer.

Three Types of Trainers When it Comes to Form

There seem to be three types of trainers in my opinion:

1. Wannabe Strength-Coach Physical Therapist types who are way too scared to ever load anyone up and are way too critical of form and therefore stink as personal trainers or strength coaches because they never get anyone strong or looking their best.

2. Ignorant Meathead types who just keep loading up the exercises with no concern for how the form looks and are therefore horrendous trainers and coaches because they end up injuring everyone they train.

3. Great coaches who know the balance, which is actually 90% in the direction of the Physical Therapist types. You’ll see what I mean by this throughout this blog.

I’ve now posted five different videos of Karli (my client) training her lower body. I think it will be worthwhile for my readers to roll through these videos and see what I see. On a side note it’s hard filming these videos because normally I’d coach more throughout the sets but I can’t see much as I’m looking at the camera and not her form. So Karli is getting robbed a bit due to my desire to film these videos, which I do because it serves the greater-good. More women need to be training this way, and the more videos I film the better butts we can create. Karli doesn’t mind as she’s just happy that she feels her glutes working like crazy during our workouts and her butt and legs have improved since I’ve been training her. I’m always contorting my body in the power rack to get these cool angles of Karli lifting – it’s pretty funny.

Here’s a picture of Karli prancing around Chi-Town in a bikini for Halloween; she went as a shark attack. Somebody is proud of their legs!

Five Karli Workouts

Moving on, here are the videos, followed by my observations.


1. Very happy with Karli’s workout this day.
2. High Box squats – to be nitpicky she plopped down a little too hard on the box and her knees caved in (valgus collapse) slightly, but still very good form.
3. Sumo deads – to be nitpicky her head/neck wasn’t in neutral, she didn’t use compensatory acceleration and drive the hips through, and she didn’t stand tall enough, but still it was great form
4. Hip thrusts – perfect!


1. Not too impressed with myself as a trainer on this day. Didn’t cue enough, went a little too heavy, allowed a little too many energy leaks.
2. Zercher squats – a little too much trunk leaning and valgus collapse toward the end of the set.
3. Chain deficit deadlifts – pretty good; didn’t quite look as natural and fluid as I’d like
4. Full range Bulgarians – awesome!
5. Band 45 degree hypers – perfect!
6. Single leg Skorcher hip thrusts – to be nitpicky I allowed cervical flexion, and on a few reps she didn’t come up to full extension.
7. Cable horizontal chops – very good but could look a little more fluid, and the vectors on the right and left sides weren’t symmetrical.


1. I wasn’t too thrilled with myself on this day either. Allowed a little bit too sloppy of form.
2. Front squats – on max attempt form broke down a little too much for my comfort even thought it was a max, some spinal flexion and valgus collapse going on. With 95 lb set a “valgus twitch” was present on each rep at mid-range, and there was too much foot pronation. I know that Karli can do better, but I didn’t cue enough. Turns out she barely ate that day in efforts to lose weight for Halloween, which she didn’t tell me about until the next day. Welcome to the realities of being a trainer!
3. Sumo deads – Immaculate!
4. Hip thrusts – Great.
5. 45 degree hypers – Perfect! I actually prefer the kyphosis you see in the video – it leads to higher glute activation. This is hard to figure out but if you keep an arch throughout the spinal column you end up using tons of erector spinae, whereas if you allow the kyphosis you get much less erector contribution and more glute and hamtring contribution.


1. Great workout! Form was amazing.
2. Low box squats – Great! Very impressive.
3. Sumo deads – Awesome.
4. Hip thrusts – Perfect.
5. Reverse hypers – Flawless!


1. Very happy with this workout.
2. Front squats – awesome! Much better than last time. Some slight valgus but nothing too be concerned about.
3. Dumbbell full squat – there’s only one word to describe it – Beautiful!
4. Deadlift – decent; some cervical extension and some lumbar flexion during the second set. Nothing to be too concerned with.
5. Single leg hip thrust – great! Some cervical flexion but I don’t worry about this too much.


I hope this blogpost has taught many of you a thing or two about exercise form. A good trainer or coach knows how to get people strong while adhering to good form. They look at the various joint kinematics and see what’s going on at the foot, ankle, knees, hips, pelvis, lumbar spine, thoracic spine, cervical spine, scapulae, and shoulders. They look at rhythm, acceleration, and tempo. They know if something looks right or doesn’t. Being a good trainer is about a lot of things – being a motivator, a nutritionist, a role-model, an expert, etc.

But most important – being a good trainer is about delivering results! Getting people stronger, fitter, healthier, sexier, leaner, shaplier, more confident, pain-free, less prone to injury, and more “dialed in” with their health.

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