Monthly Archives: May 2016

Do you Deadlift?

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Deadlift_1

When it comes to getting the most value from a particular exercise, there aren’t too many movements that can beat the deadlift. This total body exercise demands strength, power, cardiovascular efficiency, and postural control. When performed correctly, the deadlift works the entire posterior chain – including the hamstrings, glutes, low, mid and upper back, as well as muscles of the quads, core, shoulders, and arms.

The deadlift is great for total body strength and conditioning as well as improving your muscular and cardiovascular endurance. A set of deadlifts may leave you more winded than a 100 yard sprint and the muscle overload and fatigue will elicit gains in strength and muscle density.

To Perform

Step up to a weighted barbell with shins nearly touching the bar and feet hip-width apart. Squat down and lean toward the bar as you keep your heels firmly planted while maintaining a natural posture through the back. Grasp the bar slightly wider than shoulder width and tense your body. As you lift the weight, push your feet into the floor while exhaling. Be sure to keep the bar close to the body as you lift. Maintain your posture throughout the lift, keeping tension through your shoulder blades as you rise to the top position. Control the weight back down to the floor and repeat.

Mistakes to Avoid

The most common mistake with the dead lift is not getting the hips fully involved. If you are rounding forward over the top of the bar rather than squatting down to the bar, you are compromising your low back as well as missing out on all the benefits of efficient biomechanics. A forward rounded posture further accentuates common muscle imbalances, but proper form will help to improve these imbalances and minimize your chance for injury.

How to Incorporate

Include the deadlift in your weekly workouts by treating it as a total body exercise. If you’re doing a split routine, include it as either a leg or a back exercise. By sticking with light to moderate weights and high reps you will greatly improve your muscular endurance and cardiovascular efficiency, while heavier weights will help build muscle density and overall strength. Try light to moderate weights one week and perform higher reps (10-20), then follow it up the next week with a heavier load and less reps (3-8).

Once you realize all the benefits of the deadlift, you’ll be ready to include it in your weekly workouts.

 

Nutritional Support to Boost Your Workouts

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Sports nutrition

A great workout starts with great nutrition. The positive stress from strength training builds muscle and burns fat, but, the negative stress can actually cause more harm than good if you’re not properly fueled.

Pre and Post workout nutrition are a must if you want to maximize results and improve overall health.  Pre-workout nutrition gives your body the fuel and nutrients it needs to get through the activity of the workout. Post-workout nutrition gives your body the fuel and nutrients it needs to repair and recover from the effects of the workout.

The following tips will keep you performing at your absolute best.

Don’t overlook the importance of water. If you’re dehydrated, your workout performance will suffer and you will feel exhausted. Dehydration increases your chances for headaches and head rushes, muscle cramps, nausea, and poor overall performance – not the recipe for a healthy workout. Try drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water a day. So if you weigh 160 pounds, you need 80 ounces of clean filtered water daily.

Timing of calories and nutrients before and after each workout is key. A pre-workout snack should be consumed about 30-90 minutes prior to your workout depending on the complexity of the food consumed. A meal or snack will take more time to digest than a simple liquid shake. A post-workout snack should be consumed immediately after or up to 45 minutes after the workout is completed. Your body is a sponge during this time and has already begun the recovery process – so nutrient ingestion is a must.

The types of foods consumed will affect your results.  A great option for pre and post workout nutrition is to bracket your workouts with a simple liquid shake.  Add the following ingredients to a shaker bottle: 3 oz orange juice, 3-6 oz coconut water, and 1 scoop protein powder, along with 1-2 fish oil capsules. This will ensure simple carbs for energy, electrolytes, protein for muscle repair, and healthy fats to combat inflammation. Another option could be 1-2 hard-boiled eggs and a piece of fruit. The goal is to get a balance of healthy macronutrients but not to consume so much that you feel bloated or too full.

Listen to your body. If you’re feeling weak or you find yourself shaking or you sometimes have a headache during your workouts, chances are your blood sugar is too low. Try changing the timing and types of foods you’re eating before your workouts so you feel more energetic. If your stomach feels bloated during your workouts you may have to lighten your snack or allow more time for digestion. If you feel ravenous after your workouts, ensure that you’re getting enough sustenance in your post-workout snack and that you’re consuming it as soon as your workout it completed.

So prepare yourself for a great workout and feel the difference it makes.

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