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Plank Variations You Have to Try

These core exercises will take ab workouts to the next level. The plank’s an exercise that’s been around for some time now, and I’ve used it for years with clients of all ages and abilities. From 75 year old housewives to current UFC champions, the plank exercise is a staple in their workout programs. What is the Plank? The Plank, or “hover plank,” is an isometric exercise where you begin face down on the ground. Tuck your toes, engage your torso and line up your elbows directly underneath your shoulders. Now lift your abs, hips, and legs off of the ground leaving the only points of cont...

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The Unhealthy Truth About Vitamin Water

Vitamin Water labels and ads are both pretty and incredibly well marketed, but lets talk about what’s actually in Vitamin Water. Vitamin Water. Sounds ideal, right? Vitamin infused water. What could I possibly have to hate on about that? I mean, it's not like we're talking about fat burners!   Well, to be honest, there are a few things. While Vitamin Water labels and ads are very aesthetically pleasing and incredibly well marketed, lets talk about what’s going on the inside of that bottle. Hey, all you athletes out there, did you know that certain flavors of vitamin water can cause yo...

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29

Jul 2017

Abs Exercises for MMA

Think your core is MMA-ready? Give Doug Balzarini's 8 MMA abs exercises a shot to find out. The “core”, “trunk”, “torso”, “belly”, “stomach”, “abs”, “6-pack”… The terminology alone confuses me. It would seem, somewhere along the way, the definition of one’s core has gotten lost in translation. I cringe every time I hear someone say it’s, “time to blast the core,” only to then lay on the floor and begin crunching away for 5 minutes to get that good burn. Which is to say, we need to better understand what the core really is, and how best to train it. One term for the core I actually do like...

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Are You Working Out Hard Enough?

Your workout intensity could be preventing you from building muscle and gaining strength. Here's how to fix that. Many athletes will sign letters of intent this upcoming year. Many were All-State, stars of their respective teams. And many will think, having signed that letter, that it’s cruise control time. Those are the athletes you’ll never hear from again. As a strength and conditioning coach I see this script play out time and time again. Incoming athletes hit campus with little strength training experience, having, to that point, solely relied upon their natural talent to succee...

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27

Jul 2017

Static Stretching for Athletes

Everything you need to know as an athlete about increasing your performance and flexibility starts here.  “You should never static stretch before a game, only after.” “Only stretch a warm muscle.” “I only stretch the muscles that I feel are tight.” There are a lot of myths and false statements about static stretching floating around. The terms only and never rarely apply in speaking about training, but they’re even less applicable when it comes to static stretching warm-ups and cool downs. In part 1 of the stretching series, I’ll lay out the what, when, where, why and how of static str...

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How Many Calories Are You Burning?

Looking for alternatives to cardio? This article will make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck. I’m sure working out and staying in shape is high on your priority list, because, well, you’re reading this. Unfortunately, sometimes doing the same ol’ workout, at the same ol’ gym, grows at first repetitive, and eventually dreadfully dull. So for those looking for new and exciting (read: not dreadfully dull) ways to burn calories and stay in shape, read on. When it comes to picking a new form of cardio, it’s important to know what you’re getting into from a calorie expenditure persp...

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The Wrestler Workout Guide

A strength training program for the wrestling off-season Wrestlers are notorious for their insane dedication to their sport. In the off-season, wrestlers spend hours upon hours on the mat at their schools and clubs perfecting their craft. This dedication to their technique during the off-season can provide remarkable results in their season. These off-season programs though, in many instances, are missing a key ingredient: strength training. Wrestlers believe that, if they’re consistently practicing their sport (mat work) and conditioning (mostly long distance running), they’ll maximiz...

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Long Slow Distance Runs vs HIIT

If you're really trying to lose weight and increase your lean muscle mass go easy on the jogging and give HIIT a shot. Why do so many people still think that long slow distance training works for fat loss and better health? It’s crazy to me to think that these people have done the same thing for so long when these boring, useless training sessions are far less effective than other training methods. So what happens when these individuals run a few miles a week and don’t notice any difference? They add another mile onto their route expecting that mile to make everything better. Sorry to be ...

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Top 5 Explosive Upper Body Exercises

If you're looking in increase your explosive power and athlete performance, add these exercises to your workouts. While the lower body is of the utmost importance to athletes who want to run faster, jump higher and be more explosive, a powerful upper body is extremely important for combat athletes and others who require hand speed, upper body power, and, well, just want to look better at the beach. Think about a football lineman blocking a defensive end coming off the line of scrimmage or a wrestler trying to avoid a compromising position. Or an MMA fighter in the second round looking f...

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Tips to Improving Your 40 Time

Get faster and improve your athletic performance with these speed drills. Even if you believe shorter acceleration training and multi directional work is more important than running in a straight line, the 40 yd dash remains the king of the NFL Combine. So, to lower that time to Chris Johnson status, use the tips below to improve your 40. Extensive Tempo Runs The workouts below are from my track coach, Carl Valle, who has prepared several athletes for the Olympics and currently coaches a team in Boston. They’ve prepared me for my first track meet with just a few months of training, an...

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Does P90X Improve Athletic Performance?

P90X promises to help you lose weight, burn fat, and build muscle, but will it make you a better athlete? We’ve all seen the infomercials for P90X and how you can get “shredded” by following the program. The infomercial highlights dramatic weight and fat loss, not unlike fat burner commercials like Hydroxycut. Of course, being the athlete you are, you’re always looking for the next best thing to provide that edge. Unfortunately, I’m here today to tell you that if you’re looking to separate yourself, P90X is NOT for you. Here’s why… Move Like an Athlete No matter what sport you play,...

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22

Jul 2017

Accelerated Bodyweight Training

No equipment? No problem. These upper and lower body exercises will help you build muscle and gain strength. Many athletes think that they need certain equipment like barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells and strongman equipment to get stronger. Fortunately for you that’s not entirely true. The fact is, your body weight is the most accessible piece of equipment you have and bodyweight exercises are actually a great tool to build muscle. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the physique of a gymnast. These athletes have the best bodies of any athletes on the planet. They spend countless hours eac...

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The Nutritional Facts on Peanut Butter

While peanut butter can help you build muscle, choosing the right type makes all the nutritional difference. Family Guy lovers, guess what? It’s PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME! When I saw the 1R facebook wall request for, “an article on PEANUT BUTTER!!!!!,” I was ecstatic. The DIY peanut butter machine at Whole Foods brings much joy in my life, so I really appreciate that type of PB enthusiasm. However, in researching this article I found out that there’s some serious peanut loving competition around the globe. An Aussie, Adrian Finch, holds the Guinness World Record for peanut throwing (111 ...

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Performing the Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat

Yes this lower body exercise will be help you get bigger, run faster, and improve your athletic performance. Most people I know in the game of training athletes say when it comes to programming, chances are if you hate doing something it’s what you should be doing. Why? Because most of the time the things you don’t like to do are: 1) things you suck at, or 2) things that are hard. In both circumstances you should incorporate the exercise in your training for two reasons: 1) if you suck at it, chances are it will help you get better because what makes the movement hard is the mobility...

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Gaining Weight Versus Speed

Can you get bigger and still get faster? The answer might surprise you. “If I gain weight won’t I get slower?” I commonly get asked this, particularly from athletes who’ve been told they need to get quicker and gain weight. And while how much you weigh will have an impact on your speed, it isn’t as straight forward as heavier equals slower. Here are points you need to consider when planning you’re offseason training. The Car Analogy The lighter the car the quicker it generally is. But we can add weight to a car in a number of ways. We could add a sandbag in the back seat that would ma...

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Gain Strength with Strongman Training

Tired of doing the same old workout at the gym? These strongman techniques will help you build muscle and gain strength like never before. Adding variety to your training can be a key component to your success. Whether that means changing your set and reps scheme, or adding new lifts, both can be effective. But why not think outside of the box for a second? What type of training enhances your existing program, puts you in a competitive environment, improves your mental toughness, and enables you to have fun? The answer is what I like to call “Strongman Training.” “Strongman Training” ...

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Eating Healthy At Taco Bell

We all have bad diet moments. Here's how to have Taco Bell without the next day taco calorie blues! In a somewhat laughable attempt to jump on the health bandwagon, Taco Bell recently changed its marketing campaign from Fourth Meal to the Drive-Thru Diet. Regrettably, our lovable bug-eyed Chihuahua has been retired and replaced with Christine – a recently slim figurehead oddly reminiscent of Subway’s Jared. Christine is selling you former fourth meal addicts a “new and improved” healthy Taco Bell menu, which advertises 7 items under 9 grams of fat. Sounds great right?! Not quite. What ...

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18

Jul 2017

The Single Leg RDL

Add this complex exercise to your workout routine to work your core and entire posterior chain. I’ve mentioned before that the exercises you should be doing are the hardest ones. Which are typically those you suck at. You should always be looking to add big “bang for your buck” exercises to your workouts. When people talk about big “bang for your buck” exercises, the Single Leg Romanian Deadlift, or SL RDL, is near the top of the list. And when it comes to difficultly level (meaning it’s hard and people suck at it), this is the hardest exercise in the world to do properly, which is exa...

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Build Muscle Through Better Nutrition

Want to gain weight? Eat the right foods and watch your lean muscle mass and athletic performance improve. The basic mantra for building muscle and either gaining weight or maintaining it for an athlete is pretty straightforward: "Eat, eat and then eat some more". The simple fact of the matter is that most athletes just don’t eat enough. I can already hear you saying, “But Coach, I eat all the time and can’t seem to put on weight.” Nonsense! You may be eating but you’re probably not eating in a way that’ll help you maximize your strength and lean muscle mass. When eating to optimally f...

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Examining the Myths of Milk

Does milk actually do a body good? The answer might surprise you… No matter how big of a deal you are, you’re not a serious pop star or athlete until you get the chance to rock the white mustache for a “Got Milk?” campaign. Milk is a basic necessity: whether it’s with cookies or in your cereal and coffee, everyone knows a splash of skim with a dose of calcium does your body good… right? Not so fast. I mean, if Ms. Spears led us to believe she was keeping her v-card til marriage, why should we trust her about milk? Let’s consider a few statistics: ~ 66% (2/3) of all adults – we’re talk...

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