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Blog

21

Mar'18

Attentional Focus: Internal vs external Visualization during Resistance Training

Today I want to look at where attention should be placed during resistance training: is it best to focus on simply lifting the weight or is it better to focus on the contraction of the targeted muscle tissue? A research paper was recently published covering this very topic so we will delve into this paper as well.   What is attentional focus? This term simply refers to what is it that are you focused on or thinking about, whilst you are engaged in an activity. During High Intensity Resistance Training (HIT) you can perform exercises with an external attentional focus …

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15

Mar'18

Do multi-joint exercises alone provide enough of a stimulus for optimal strength and hypertrophy?

In this post, I want to look at the two types of exercises that make up all resistance training workouts: multi-joint (MJ) and single-joint (SJ) exercises. What is the difference between them, is one type superior to the other, and when should we be doing both? Let’s begin by defining our terms and giving examples.   Definition and example of a single-joint exercise A single joint is exposed to a resistance that provides a significant stimulus intended for the muscles responsible for one joint action. For example, there are four possible joint actions at the knee: flexion, extension, internal rotation …

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08

Mar'18

HIT vs HIIT, Sprints vs Resistance Training: What’s the Difference?

Is there a physiological difference in response between sprinting all-out (on a bike, treadmill, rowing machine etc) until you are unable to maintain a peak cadence level versus performing a high effort resistance training (RT) exercise? Due to a perceived dichotomy between cardiovascular exercise and resistance training, this is not a question that has been significantly explored in the scientific literature. A recent research paper published in PeerJ, titled “Similar acute physiological responses from effort and duration matched leg press and recumbent cycling tasks” and authored by James Steele, Andrew Butler, Zoe Comerford, Jason Dyer, Nathan Lloyd, Joshua Ward, James …

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21

Feb'18

Getting the most out of Advanced Training Techniques

Popular strength training and resistance exercise is packed with examples of “advanced training techniques”. This is largely due to performance variations of exercises being limited only by imagination. It is however reasonable to query whether or not these techniques stimulate any more in the way of positive physical results beyond normal resistance training. By normal resistance training, I mean exercise that incorporates appropriate movements taken to momentary muscular failure (MMF). As for a definition of MMF, I like the combination of these two: …when trainees reach the point where despite attempting to do so they cannot complete the concentric portion …

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12

Feb'18

Optimal Protein Intake for Strength and Size

The New York Times reported yesterday on an interesting research paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine1. This meta-analysis looked at the effects of protein supplementation on muscle mass and strength increases in individuals engaged in a resistance training program.   Does supplementing with protein provide additional benefits over resistance training alone? The research highlights the likelihood that the current RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for protein is inadequate if you are resistance training to build muscle and get stronger. The authors also suggest that increased protein intake whilst engaging in resistance training is particularly important for those over …

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22

Jan'18

Staying strong during flu season

News outlets are reporting that this season’s flu infection rates are now at epidemic levels in the US and will be within the next week in the UK too. It seems a good time to highlight what you can do to best protect yourself from infection, what to do if you do get sick and what this means for your workouts. Whilst the common cold and influenza are both forms of virus with some similar symptoms, influenza or flu is undoubtedly worse: with the likelihood of fever, body aches and exhaustion. This year it is the Influenza-A/H3N2 virus causing the …

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22

Dec'17

Genetics, DNA fitness and personal genetic tests: what’s possible?

In recent years there has been a growing number of companies offering DNA tests to consumers, some specifically focusing on the fitness impact of certain genes. The marketing hyperbole suggests that the purchaser will, with the results of their swab test, be able to tailor their workout routine specifically to their DNA for superior physical results. Frankly, I was ready to start writing this article completely dismissing the value of direct to consumer DNA testing for fitness and exercise prescription as it stands today. Researching the article got to me though. It is an intellectually exciting topic and too intriguing …

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18

Dec'17

What makes people buy into your HIT Personal Training business?

Whether you are a personal trainer, a gym facility or even a franchise model owner you are in the business of successfully selling your service. I will take it as given that you are passionate about HIT and understand the valuable impact your service will have in improving the lives of your clients. To be able to get your message across to prospective clients requires more than just your passion for HIT. To be able to sell HIT, you firstly need to understand the drivers that cause clients to seek out a service like yours. What underlying internal motivations or …

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08

Dec'17

How much do you lift? A guide to selecting the right weight

If you are just beginning HIT, one of the practical questions you are most likely looking to answer is How much weight should I use? Keen to get started with the intensity aspect and enthusiastic to lift as much as possible, many new HITers end up short changing themselves. Focusing foremost on intensity at the very outset of the journey and equating high loads with intensity is double trouble and a case of putting the cart before the horse. Or dangerous and inefficient, up goes the likelihood of injury along with a side order of dilution of the stimulus. It …

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27

Nov'17

High Intensity Training with Resistance Bands

In this post, I want to look at resistance bands: how useful are they, who can benefit from them, and can be used for HIT? Outside of simple equipment such as chin bars and push up handles, another piece of home exercise kit that people tend to consider for strength training are resistance bands. The idea of resistance bands is appealing: a potential gym’s worth of exercises promised in a portable pouch the size of a typical handbag. What’s not to like?   Watch Simon explain three key points about resistance bands   Different types of resistance band Resistance bands …

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