Getting back in the game!

Hey Rebels!

I have been quite for a little while now so here is a quick update. For the last few months I have been dealing with a nasty back injury to my SIJ which out me out of proper action for a while. However, as one door closes another door opens! I have switched jobs and am now a full time Personal trainer! The Rebellion is moving forward and so am I!!! To that end I have come back to training with a new vigor and am now putting myself back in the swing of things focusing on Olympic Lifting.

Last night I got a 5kg PR on my Snatch, brining it up to a mere 65kg, but hey, progress is progress!  That was the followed by 3×3 / 3×1 115kg Snatch pulls. All this was finished off a boat load of accessory work for my upper back and lats, i.e. single arm rows, pull ups, Klokov press, face pulls etc.

I have set myself a few goals for the upcoming months and may even be making an appearance at the WSA Welsh counties Powerlifting meet, but I will keep you all updated on that going forward. It’s good to be back in action and gaining some traction!

Get in touch to find out how you can be part of the Rebellion!

Another Amazing Testimonial!!

Working with Becca has been such a pleasure! I cannot wait to see how she progresses in the future.

“I would have to say my experience of working with Rogan has been a lot of ‘firsts’.

Since working with Rogan it is the first time ever I have been able to walk into a gym and not feel completely intimidated, I feel confident to exercise and not feel like ‘everyone is staring at me!’.

It is also the first time that when exercising I am actually able to get an understanding of what I am doing as Rogan has not only instructed me but has taken the time to explain why I am doing certain things and how it will help me improve.

It is the first time I have enjoyed excessing and actually looked forward to going to the gym, Rogan varies every session so I learn something new every session, he ensures I walk away feeling positive and like I have achieved something.

It is the first time I have not only stuck to an exercise and diet plan but the first time I have seen results, I feel healthier, happier and am getting closer and closer to my goal!” – Becca Nelson

Thoughts of the Day!

You need joy in your life! Now, I will be the first to say that work has to be a huge part of your life, and ideally one should strive to work at something which is a great source of passion in your life. However, for a lot of people, this is not always achievable, nor practical.

My thought is this, find something in your life that you are passionate about and make your life as focused on that passion as possible. It will make the time you spend not doing what you love that much easier.

You may be a finacial excutive who loves to rock climb, or, you could be a rock climber who works as a financial executive. The choice my friends is down to you!

Finding Your Strength

This is an article I wrote a while back for Tabata Times, and I would like to to give them full credit and thanks for giving me the opportunity to write this piece which has been very important to me during this stage of my life.

 – I write this while travelling home to Cardiff from a seeing my family back in Kent and, in true Rebellion fashion I am sitting here contemplating my own strength. Now, I will be the first person to admit that I am nothing spectacular when it comes to strength. I am not the strongest guy in my friendship group, my gym, and sure as hell not the world. But compared to the average person I would be considered strong. This relative notion of strength is something that I find both intriguing and frustrating. I am the proud owner of a 200kg deadlift, which my friends think is great, and at the time I thought this was a big deal – for me and my own ‘gains’. But now I am struck each day by just how strong the human race is becoming.

Maybe one day, but not yet.

The 1000lb squat used to be the biggest deal within the Powerlifting world – but now it is something that is being done on a fairly ‘regular’ basis. How mind boggling is that? I cannot conceive of how 1000lbs would feel on my back, and how it would feel to press that weight out of the bottom of a squat with nothing but pure unadulterated brutality. Equally, just to stick it to those haters who don’t consider Powerlifting an athletic pursuit – Lu Xiao Jun (-77kg) now has the world record in the Snatch, which I believe is 176kg.

Take a moment to let that sink in. A 77kg Chinese man, in one swift motion, hoisted 176kg over his head, sat in the bottom of an overhead squat, and then, to top it all off, stood there in lockout just waiting for the down command. HOW THE HELL CAN HE DO THAT!? No, for real, how can he do that? How can there be this massive difference in strength between us as a species, genetics and upbringing? Well for me that’s not good enough for me. We are all born different for sure. But then why is the gap so big? I get that these people have trained most of their lives to be this strong but most people, even under the same circumstances, could never even hope to achieve this level of strength.

What sick madness is this?!

With all of this in mind how can we actually define what is ‘strong’ anymore? My 200kg deadlift means nothing in the grand scheme of strength, but then what does? As each world record is broken, as each feat of athletic endeavor is completed, as each new yardstick is struck into the ground of human performance, how the hell are we meant to keep up and say what is strong? If no one is strong, does that make everyone weak? To those of us for whom strength in not simply a pursuit or a marker of athletic performance but a means by which we define ourselves – how can we continue to define ourselves in a field which is constantly moving forward at a rate where most of us cannot even hope to keep up?

Are we, as a generation of young lifters, developing a disconnection between us and ‘them’? The Herculean ‘them’ who are more than we are and more than we could ever hope to be? Are these great athletes losing their identity in our generation’s perception of strength? Have they become titans rather than men? In that loss of identity have we lost the ability to define ourselves as ‘Generation Iron’ in the feats of these athletes? We can all say that we have felt the pain, the struggle and the joy of lifting, but very few of us know what it is to hold the weight of the world in our hands.

How can I relate to that? How can Matt Chan Relate to Klokov?

To speak of bulls, my friends, is not to have run with them. I guess what it really comes down to is the fact that the strength of each individual is not measured in the end result – nor should it be. How can we as Brothers in Strength compare our strength to that of these titans? We can’t, and when we remove the end, we are left with the means, and it is in the means by which the individual achieves his/her strength that we find their true strength. The strength of the individual has to be found in the great pains they have gone to in order to find the strength within themselves to keep moving forward in the face of these leviathan like feasts of strength that we could never hope to match.

I guess I am writing this for two reasons. Partially as a cathartic release of my own pent up frustration at my own level of strength, but also as a reminder to myself – and to you my readers – that there is so much more to strength than the endless chase of an ever-evolving number. Strength must be made into a personal pursuit which has to be more than just the numbers you get to put up on your gym’s PR board. It has to be a personal love, a love so deep that to be parted from your strength would be a fate worse than death. We can’t define what is strong, only you can do that. Only you; Weightlifter – Crossfitter – Gymnast – Athlete. Find your definition of strong and hold it close, and hold it dear.

What makes it all worth while!

“Inspired, Motivated, Energised and unable to walk down a set of stairs in the morning…My first month of training with Rogan at Rebellion Strength and has been one big learning curve coupled with the awakening of forgotten muscles and their functions! 

This month has been all about establishing great technique and working out what kind of level I am at and where I need to go. In order to do so, Rogan has embedded the most important principles of lifting, pushing, pulling weights in the gym in order to maximise my sessions and progress. Rogan’s ability to spot the tiniest of errors in my technique (throughout the completion of the motion) has radically transformed the way I gym and the possibilities of faster progression. As a result, I have been able to bench, squat, press and deadlift more weight, with better form, than ever before which feels great.

Once establishing a sound technique, Rogan has been coaching me to my 5 Rep Max in; Squat, Deadlift, Bench and various Overhead Presses (Strict, Push etc…). I’ve surprised myself with the amount of weight I can comfortably move, and Rogan has ensured to push me to my limit in all my session with him to date. When you think the hard work is over and the instruction to remove the majority of the weight is given, you naturally think a rest/cool-down is about to come – quite the opposite! This is when the intensity is increased and my body has been pushed to its limit! I particularly like this part of the session although hate Rogan at the same time for it!

Another new dynamic Rogan has introduced to my gym session are proper warm ups and cool downs (consisting of lunges, kettlebell swings, stretches etc…) which have really helped with my flexibility whilst also reducing most post-gym soreness; allowing me to continue with normal life (getting in and out of the car without panting like a mother mid contraction due to tight hamstrings) and train hard in the following days. Another aspect of my training with Rogan that I didn’t expect is his seriously detailed knowledge of the human body and how to mitigate certain injury issues, fix tight limbs and general support and advice regarding questions of this nature.

This month I want to continue to set new personal records, improve my core strength and work on my grip and generally girly soft hands….Bring on March!” 

- Kieran Ghandi

 

If this doesn’t make it all worth while, then I don’t know what does! Kieran started off like many of us, a great sportsman with a lot of bad habits. It has been a pleasure working with Kieran and I am looking forward to seeing him smash more PR’s in the months to come!

Strong, not “for a girl”, just strong!

Ok this is one for the ladies. The place of barbells with in the life of the everyday woman is something that I am very passionate about and to that end, I am please to announce that I am dealing with a wonderful new training partner, and yes, she is a girl who wants to lift. Interestingly enough, she has a very unique goal. Nope, she doesn’t want to get slim and she doesn’t want to drop a dress size. She wants to get strong! Now, before you jump to conclusions about this lady, I can confirm that she is sporty, attractive, and feminine.

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So, that’s 70kg over her head…who says strength isn’t feminine!?

 

The reason I felt I needed to describe some of this lovely lady’s characteristics is that it is a social convention to consider strength as a masculine pursuit rather than a universal pursuit, on which gender has no bearing. See, this woman wants to be strong both in and out of the gym, and express her strength in all aspects of her life. Isn’t this truly what strength is all about? This week I want to throw some tips out there focusing around strength and how a few changes in your views on strength may in fact make you a stronger more powerful woman. All these titles are quotes I have heard from a number of women, and if I had the chance, these are the things I would like to say to these women.

  1. “Being strong isn’t feminine!”

 

I want everyone, including you lovely ladies, to be happy in the bodies that they are in, and live a life that is full of joy and expressions of your fitness and strength. Now if a woman decided that she wanted to become a bodybuilder and become as massive as possible, then I would support her in her choice, as it is a choice which is leading her down the path to happiness, and most importantly, its on her own terms. With that being said, I realize that most women do not want to walk down this path, but just because you don’t want to be bulky, doesn’t mean you should forgo strength training.

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Have the strength to not stop!

 

I know that the general school of thought is that weights only make you big and strong. While this can be true, they can also make you faster, more toned, slender, and other things besides all that. The barbell is a tool; its how you use it that dictates your results. Being strong allows you to push past challenges in your life, whether that be picking up more shopping without throwing your back out, or climbing a rock face, having more energy to play with your children, or opening heavy doors. What could be more feminine than having nothing hold you back from living your life as a woman who can push through everything with pride and strength? So remember ladies, strength is never a weakness.

2. “I couldn’t do that, I’m a girl!”

 

Fair enough, women are not as strong as men, at least not maximally. Strength is a multi-faceted concept which we could debate the nature of for hours on end, but what I want to touch on is that fact that strength is a pursuit which is passed over because women think that they can’t be strong, simply due to the fact that they are women. I don’t think any of the women reading this magazine would want to have their gender be used as an excuse, or be viewed as a short coming, so why let your gender have any bearing on your training? Whether you define strength in terms of gymnastic ability, endurance capacity, or maximal strength, you must pursue this goal without any limitation. You can be as strong as you choose, so long as you follow a good strength program and pursue it with absolute commitment. Female gymnastics is one of the most impressive displays of feminine strength I have ever seen, and none of these women could ever be considered weak or unfeminine. So don’t let your preconceptions of what you can or cannot do hold you back from being the strongest person you can be, in what ever capacity that may be.

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You’re damn straight you can!

 3. “I don’t want to get bulky!”

 

So, going back to what I said in point 1. – the barbell is a tool, and how you use it is going to dictate the results that you get. With that being said, I am a man who is very much on the path of strength. I am committed to being as strong as I can be, in every definition of strength that I can think of, and I can tell you one thing, its really hard to get big. I mean, it is really, really hard, and I have the added advantage of having a substantially higher level of testosterone that you ladies do.

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Life is always moving.  Be strong in movement!

Using weights to increase your athletic strength will not make you big and bulky, but it will increase your metabolic rate and improve your posture – if used correctly. It can make you faster, burn fat more effectively, increase the efficiency of your body at partitioning the nutrients that you eat by making your body more opposed to storing fat, and many other things. Beneficial all round!

Lastly, if there is one thing that you ladies take away from this is that weights help to increase your bone density. Why would you want that? Well, a little known fact is that 50% of women in the UK experience some form of osteoporosis. This is a weakening of the bones which can lead to all sorts of medical issues and has one of the most simple fixes for the majority of cases… Strength training! Wolfe’s law dictates that the density of a bone is directly correlated to the amount of resistance placed upon it. The stronger you are, the denser your bones are and the less degeneration you will have as you age. This in itself is an argument for why even the elderly should also engage in strength training in order to regain some of their strength and improve their posture. So why not start now?

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Get ready to start the journey

Remember ladies; femininity is founded in strength. Never forget the potential that you all have to become the strongest version of yourselves, both in and out of the gym.

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Strong.

Rogan

For any information or questions regarding the blog, or for any information regarding my services as a Personal Trainer, please contact me via my Facebook Page, Twitter, Email, or in the comment section below.

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Email: rebellionstrengthhq@gmail.com

 

Gong-Fu lifting and a Gong-Fu life

“Gong-Fu; Hard work over time to accomplish skill. A painter can have Gong-fu. Or the butcher who cuts meat every day with such skill his knife never touches bone. The musician can have Gong-fu, or the poet who paints pictures with words and makes emperors weep. This, too, is Gong-fu.”  – Lu Yan (Jackie Chan), The Forbidden Kingdom.

 

You too can master Gong-fu. We are all engaged in some cycle of skill acquisition. Whether it involves learning a new skill, a language, sport, or movement, very little in life comes easily. Nor should it! We all have that thing, that special something that we are seeking to acquire in life. Often enough, we find that we have gotten more out of the journey, the time and effort taken to achieve that which we are seeking than we ever could have from the thing itself.

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The beauty of the path is not to be underestimated

We all have our own Gong-fu to master, and this mastery takes an investment of time and a huge commitment to the cause. Through this commitment we are taken on a journey, and it is on this journey that we attain our grasp of mastery. I say a grasp of mastery because true mastery is simply and illusion. It is something that is beyond our comprehension, a truly Platonic concept of something so perfect that it is the purest expression of itself, and as such, can only be conceived in the mind rather than the body. Should this dissuade you? NO! It is through the journey that we become the best that we can be – not by reaching of some preconceived idea of mastery which, once arrived at, shatters our own perception of mastery as we realize just how far we have still to go on this long winding journey.

But do not be disheartened, my friends and fellow travelers. I challenge you to look back on your journey. Look back deep into the time that you have spent in the pursuit of personal gain. See how far you have come, not how far you have still to go. For truly, the path never ends, the journey is eternal and the destination unreachable. But this does not make the journey any less wonderful, any less beneficial, or any less important. On this journey you will experience mires and mistakes which will seek to throw you off the path of mastery. But these are also important parts of the journey. Without these mistakes and plateau’s we never learn what it is to go off the track, and miss out on some of the most developmental experiences that the journey of life has to offer. It has been said that there are a thousand lessons in defeat, yet none in victory. In my mind there has been no truer word spoken on the subject of a defeat. However, remember that the point of a defeat is not to crush your soul. True failure at anything is simply a reminder of how much you have to learn. Like a stern but nurturing teacher it shows you where you are weak and what part of yourself you have to strengthen and develop in order to endure the journey of mastery.

Marilou Dozois-Prevost of Canada reacts after failing to lift the weight in the women's 48kg Group A snatch weightlifting competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

Enjoy the failure, it’s showing you the way to success

This journey is a development of the mind, spirit and body. Without the mind we cannot perceive the image of perfection and mastery. Without the spirit we have no fortitude to hold fast against the whirling and beating storms that life throws at us. Yet, without the body we have no vehicle to carry the mind or the spirit, no way to express their strengths and suffer their weaknesses. Take this view of life into every single action that you take. Some may practice martial arts, others may train their bodies, and some lose themselves in the never-ending labyrinth of the mind. But while some practice one thing, go out into the world and practice everything. Every step you take, every word you say, thought you have, and weight you lift, each person you make love to. Seek to make it the purest, most perfect expression of who you are, and what it truly is.

This is no easy thing. But this is the Gong-Fu of life. This is the martial skill that allows you to combat the imperfections of yourself and your mind. Aspire to be more – do more and think more so that you feel more. Put yourself before all things, and yet have nothing that you value less that yourself. The Buddhists say that attachment is the root of all suffering, and that only through detachment from all things can we truly reach enlightenment. But I do not see a cause for nihilism in these words. What I see is a commitment to not put one thing above the place of another. To not love one thing with all that you are, but to love all things, at all times, with all that you are.

Love each failed lift, because with that failure you have moved one step closer on the path to mastery. The journey of life is measured in feet, not miles.

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Strong.

Rogan

For any information or questions regarding the blog, or for any information regarding my services as a Personal Trainer, please contact me via my Facebook Page, Twitter, Email, or in the comment section below.

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Email: rebellionstrengthhq@gmail.com

Training the Hyper-mobile Athlete

“You know why I can’t perform at my best? Cause I am just to damn flexible!!!!”, said no one ever!!! Or did they?

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“Come at me bro!”

SUP REBELS!! Today I want to touch on something that was inspired by a friend of mine. I know this girl, let’s call her Jackie, and Jackie is a fantastically talented martial artist. She is both graceful, and absolutely terrifying. She fights with aggression, speed and poise, but, she can’t jump. She also has trouble engaging her core, and has had issues with her joints, and why is this? Well, she is hyper-mobile. She is by definition, overly flexible. WHOA, WHOA, WHOA!!!! Ok, before you guys jump on me saying that I am bashing flexible people, I am not, but lets just examine a few things before we get into the thick of this.

Point one. There is no such thing as being too flexible. In fact, being able to move all of your joints to the end of their individual working ranges of motion, within muscular consideration, should be something every single one of us can do. We should all be able to touch our toes, squat to depth via a full range of external rotation, and we should all be able to pick something up off the ground with a neutral spine. These are not traits of a flexible person. These are the traits of a fully working human. We just consider these to be feats of flexibility due to the fact that we are all movement deficient to one degree or another, due to the sedentary lives that we lead, and the fact that we all default to bad positions, which require you to stay in states of partial range. Ever wonder why most people don’t have the effective range of motion to squat past 90°? Well, look no further than your comfy desk chair, of dining room chair, whatever. All of them are set at  90°, and as spend so much time on our asses that our range of motion is shortened to this range. Sad truth, but se la vie.

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Ergonomic? Yes. Source of all your mobility cancer? Also yes. 

Point two. Hyper-mobility has nothing to do with over flexibility. Yes, I know how I defined it earlier but bare with me. Hyper-mobility is not just a case of being ‘over flexible’. It is a case of looking at the range of motion, and stability of the joint in motion, in regards to the level of muscular control and consideration available for the individual, within that range of motion. So, what does this mean? Well, as we stated, squatting to depth with a full range of external rotation in the hip capsule should be a given, yes? Ok, well with a hyper-mobile athlete you need to take into consideration the integrity of the hip capsule, and the muscular control of the anterior and posterior chain.

Right, a quick anatomy lesson, bones are attached to bones by ligaments, whereas muscles are attached to the bone via tendons. Now muscles, originate and insert, start and end, at a joint. Every joint has a certain degree of looseness; this in lay terms is what gives it its working range of motion. When a joint has laxity, a level of looseness that allows it to push past the point of muscular consideration, then we have a situation wherein the joint can find itself in a less than optimal position, i.e. hyper-thoracic extension – an excessive extension of the lumbar spine.

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Knee Tendon Structure

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Knee Ligament Structure

So who is affected by this? Well, a few examples of hyper-mobility symptoms are:

  • Hyper-thoracic extension
  • Thumb making contact with the forearm
  • Extension of the elbow/knee past 10°

Do, you know anyone who can do any of these things? Is this person a girl? Don’t worry, this is not a sexist question, but the fact is women have a greater pre-disposition towards symptoms of hyper-mobility, due to their individual levels of estrogen, progesterone and relaxin produced within their bodies during the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Ergo why you need a special qualification to train pregnant women. Due to the fact that their hormone production is through the roof creating this future little Rebel, their joints experience a higher level of laxity, and no one wants to deal with a pregnant ladies femur popping out of their hip socket mid session. [1] Equally, women are generally more flexible than men due to their physiology, i.e. their increased Q-angle and carrying angle. [2]

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Male Vs Female Q-angle

Men, due to their hormonal make up, display a lower level of individual with hyper-mobility, however, when they do, its usually due to a genetic predisposition, typically also displaying a higher level of skin elasticity.[3] Different populations also display hyper-mobility to differing degrees. Chaitow and Delany recorded that this predisposition is higher in those of African, Asian, and Arabic origins in rates that exceed 30%, whereas Caucasian populations tend to display hyper-mobility rates of 6%.[4]

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Just chillin with my mobile self

So I think we have digressed on what hyper-mobility actually is enough. So how do we apply this to Jackie? Well, if you have paid attention then you will understand that the reason why Jackie can’t jump is due to her joint laxity. She is strong enough to jump, and to jump high, but, her joints and their laxity put here in an inefficient position to jump from. This is very common, as what tends to happen is that due to lack of stability in the hip, her knees go valgus, which gives Jackie a poor base to jump from, and express her power. I say that this is common due to the fact that one of the big factors which allow for joint laxity, is lack of neruo-muscular control, i.e. the athlete lacks the ability to actively engage certain muscle groups, primarily in the anterior and posterior chain, which allows their joints to move past the point of muscular consideration. As such, valgus knees, bad lumbo-pelvic control – the spine and pelvis wiggling around, and lack of ability to engage the ‘core’ are common symptoms of hyper-mobility.

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Valgus knee position vs a good knee position

So, while we have to accept the fact that each person will have individualized symptoms of hyper-mobility, we do have to work from the common denominator, and as such, there are a few things we can do to sort out the issues described above. Before, we get onto this I do have a quick question that I want to ask you all. How tall is a pyramid mathematically? – As wide as its base. As such, we have to look at developing a base before we engage in any form of specific training. In strength and conditioning, we call this developing GPP – general physical preparedness. However, in this context we need to address good positioning and posture, both of which require high levels of core control. How do you switch on your core I hear you ask? A fair question since I did say that hyper-mobile athletes lack core control. Well, just squeeze your butt and tense your abs. Sounds simple right? It’s not.

So what is this magical core? How do I turn it on? But I have good posture? I have a good core, check out my abs! – all good questions, bar the last one which was more of a statement about their diet than core strength. Ok, so what is your core? Well in terms of what muscles are recruited, it’s the abdominal corset – the front, the side and the deep muscles, the lower back, and the glutes. When people say, “engage your core” what they are saying is that you must engage all of these muscles, simultaneously, as when they work in unison they create total “core” stability through out the body. So how do we go about this? Well imagine all of the muscles around, and under your spine holding you up.

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Six pack abs are not why Dan Bailey has a strong core

Ok, so now is the interactive part of the blog. Stand up, yes, I do mean you. Stand up and engage all of these muscles one by one. NOT YET!! Ok, so when you do this, note what happens to your posture. When you tense our abs, you should feel your hips move forward and your lower back get tight. When you tense your butt, your hips should externally rotate, and your abs should tighten slightly. When you tense your lower back, your chest set itself, and your abs should get tight. All good so far? Good! Ok, 3 2 1 GO!

* If you cant engage any of these muscles, specifically your lower back, really focus your mind on engaging those muscles. The mind muscles connection is a real thing so,

Ok, smashing! Right, now try and tense all of those muscles at the same time. What happens? You get really tight, and coincidentally, your posture corrects itself. HOW AWESOME IS THAT! Yes, your posture is at the base of your pyramid. If your default position is a broken one, why would your positions during exercise, movement, or anyother expression of your strength and fitness be any different? It wouldn’t, that’s just a fact! The core musculature is what creates structural integrity within the body, and without this integrity, the bodies ability to control its force output is dramatically decreased, which brings us back to Jackie and her jumping. GOD I LOVE IT WHEN A BLOG COMES FULL CIRCLE!

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Bad Posture. It ain’t sexy.

Well, we have learnt some science, we have talked about some cool things, but what the hell are we meant to do with the hyper-mobile athlete? Well, there is no range of hyper-mobility that cannot be trained around. We just need to look at the mechanics of what is going on during the movements that are affected by the individuals’ hyper-mobility.

Our first and primary goal is to develop stability within the athletes’ movement patterns, which in turn, will help develop motor control. That’s all well and good saying all this mumbo jumbo, but what does it mean?

As we have discussed, if your lack the ability to engage the core, keep the body stable, and move within muscular consideration, then moving in the most optimal fashion is going to be an issue for you. But never fear there is a cure, the law of torque. Torque is a twisting force, which causes rotation in the direction in with the force is applied. So, if a torque force is applied in an external direction, we see external rotation. Motor control creates stability in the big joints of the body, which will affect the stability of the smaller joints in the body, i.e. motor control of the hip will affect the knee and prevent it from going valgus or varus. Creating external rotation within a fixed position, such as when standing. Or, when moving against a force, such as when pushing against a barbell during a pressing movement, ultimately creates a greater level of stability within the joint capsule, due to level of torque that is being generated via a higher-level engagement of musculature within the body. This in turn leads to the body having to force itself into a better position.

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Carl Paoli showing a good, torque generating bottom position

Try this. Stand up engage your core. Ok, now do the same thing when you are externally rotating your hips, i.e. screwing you feet into the ground and pushing your knees away from one another. What happens, your level of stability is increase due to the extra forces that are being generated. This ain’t bro science, this is physics yo! But hey, don’t take my word for it. Take a look at these two videos by MWOD creator, strength coach, and physiotherapist Dr Kelly Starrett.

KStar on hyper-mobile considerations

KStar on torque and lower back stability

Well, that about wraps this up. Thanks for reading, and remember, you can never be too mobile you can only be too loose. Also, strippers are not looking for attention. They are just looking for tension! If you watch the videos you will understand. GO WATCH THE VIDEOS!!!  Later Rebels!!!

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Strong.

Rogan

For any information or questions regarding the blog, or for any information regarding my services as a Personal Trainer, please contact me via my Facebook Page, Twitter, Email, or in the comment section below.

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Email: rebellionstrengthhq@gmail.com


[1] Carter, C, “Persistant Joint Laxity and Congenital Dislocation of the Hip.” The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 46 B..No.1 (1964): n. pag. Persistant Joint Laxity and Congenital Dislocation of the Hip. Web. <http://www.bjj.boneandjoint.org.uk/content/46-B/1/40.full.pdf>.

[2] Heitz, N.A, “Journal of Athletic Training 34(2) April (1999): 144-49. Hormonal Changes Throughout the Menstrual Cycle and Increased Anterior Cruciate Ligament Laxity in Females” Web. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1322903/>.

[4] Chaitow & DeLany, J. “Clinical Application of Neuromuscular Techniques, Volume 1: The Upper Body” 9780443062704

BrianMackenzie

LIFT FORREST, LIFT!!!

I want to take a second and talk about running. Running is something that humans have done for as long as we have been human. Running is not merely a survival mechanism – it is a beautiful, astounding, almost spiritual expression of our fitness. With that being said, running sucks! I mean, running really, really sucks! But, it wasn’t always this way. Running is something that we are designed to do, in the most mechanically efficient way possible. We run the ways that our bodies are designed to run, or, at least, we are meant to.

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“I look so good! But, it hurts so bad!”

However, anyone who has ever watched anyone running know that we all have different running styles. Don’t worry; this isn’t just a post on the forefoot vs heel strike debate. That comes later! Most of these differences aren’t due to the fact that we’re prone to internal or external rotation whilst running – more on that later. It is mostly due to the fact that we, as a populace, are spending way too much time on our asses. That’s right! Sitting for hours on end is making you immobile, due to the fact that you are developing scar tissue in your bodies’ collagen deposits in your joints. This is leading to you, as a human who is designed to run and express your fitness, to run in mechanically inefficient positions, which is then causing your body damage and forcing many people to give up running because, ‘it’s hard’, and ‘it hurts’. Of course it hurts! Your running has becomes a series of inefficient positions, transferring to the next inefficient position, and so forth.

So, what can we do about it? Well, proper warm ups and cool downs, mobility work – such as compressions, stretching and foam rolling – is all going to help, but that isn’t enough. The issue with most people’s running technique is a structural one. Generally, when we see people running they tend to either run correctly, or in a valgus, or varus position. Basically, the hip internally rotates and the ankle flicks out (valgus), or the hip externally rotates, and the knee faces outwards, with the ankle flicking inwards (varus). Neither of these is a good position for the hip, ankle or knee to be in during any athletic endeavor. It is not an optimal position for the hip to be in order to allow the musculature of the body to generate optimal force out put. So what causes this? Well, as I stated, it’s a structural issue. This means that the musculature of the body is what is causing these inefficient positions to occur, due to being too tight, weak, under developed etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGojEyYBmwc

Recognize anyone you know?

So given what we know now about these inefficient positions,and why they occur, it answers the question as to why runners, and endurance athletes seem to be injured all of the time! So what can we do to fix it? Well evidently, if the issue is structural, then we must strengthen and develop the structure – i.e. the human musculature – via strength training. However, what is the one thing that most endurance athletes don’t do? That’s right, you guessed it… Strength train.

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“The best thing you can do to be a successful long distance runner, is choose your parents” Dean Karnazes, ‘Ultramarathon Man’ 

The simple fact is if that we look at these incredible runners such as Dean Karnazes, and Jason Robillard, and we are all sitting there thinking ‘if they are the elite, then I need to do exactly what it is that they do to get better, then I will be the best!’ Wrong! The issue with this mentality is that what these runners are doing today is not what they were doing yesterday. They are at the heightened state of athletic performance due to genetics, hard work, and constant development. The ugly truth is that the majority of us are not technically competent enough to run a 5k, let alone that marathon you seem to think you are ready for! Always remember, you can have the sickest stroke volume and VO2max (max oxygen up take), but that means sweet F.A if your technique is poor and your structure is limiting your progression.

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Brian Mackenzie, one of the foremost thinkers on modern endurance training

WHOA! SLOW DOWN! Ok, before you guys get your SKINS leggings all up in a bunch, I am not saying that you need to sack in the long runs and start pumping iron, cause, let’s face it, there is a reason by Bodybuilders and Powerlifters do not run marathons. Bulk is not a benefit to the endurance athlete. However, what if I told you that a slightly more developed upper body allows a runner to pendulum his arms at a greater force output by allowing more power to be generated throughout the body via each stride? Would you hit the gym then? At the end of the day, it’s a question of watts. He – or she – who can put out the greatest wattage at the lowest body weight has an advantage, simply by virtue of the fact that Force X Mass = Acceleration. When taking a hill on a bike, or on foot, your personal wattage may be what separates you as the one who crests the hill first, or last.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duUo8fRarQ4

Listen to Dean Karnazes and Brian Mackenzie chat about endurance and strength

It is a well-known fact that endurance sports are some of the most physically taxing events that the human body can go through. As such their need for physical stability and muscular endurance is tantamount to their success.  So, why is it that more endurance athletes don’t engage in strength training? Well, the main reason being is time constraint. Long distance events take time, and as such, training for these long distance events takes a great deal of time, and for the average endurance athletes primary means for VO2max increase. Many fear that resistance training will slow them down, decrease their VO2max, and take away recovery time from their other training. This is simply not the case.

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The path less followed is the path of most resistance

True, there is no evidence to suggest that resistance training is going to benefit the athletes VO2max in any way what so ever. It just doesn’t tax the correct energy systems, but whatever. According to Jung, VO2max is not compromised when resistance training is added to an endurance program[1]. Equally, resistance training has been shown to improve the running efficiency of an athlete by as much as 8%. This is largely due to improved neuro-muscular efficiency and force production. These findings have huge implications to the world of endurance sports, given the extremes endured by the athletes during their chosen events.

Something else worth mentioning is a study which was performed by Mikkola et al. which demonstrated that the integration of explosive resistance training into an endurance program for cross country skiers showed a greatly improved power output from the quadriceps muscles of the athletes.[2] Cross-country skiers are said to have some of the best VO2max’s in the world. As such their ability to fuel their muscles is top notch, meaning that an increase in their ability to produce force will have a massive impact on the economy of movement and their efficiency during training and races.

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Questionable outfit, awesome athlete!

As we can see, there is nothing to worry about in regards to a degradation of an athlete’s VO2max. In fact, resistance training can actually be a major benefit for the athlete. As we mentioned earlier, it is merely a question of wattage. Resistance training will help to improve maximal strength, running economy, neuromuscular efficiency, and will serve to increase structural stability.[3]

At this point, given the amount of people who engage in endurance sports, we need to see an evolution in the training ideals of the endurance community at its very roots. We need to see people treating running as a skill – developing that skill and looking at the body as a tool to express your fitness. In every feat of athletic endeavor, whether it is training, or in an actual event, we have to remember just one thing. There should be no difference between moving in the strongest manner, the most mechanically efficient manner, and the safest manner.

Guess what? I’m now qualified! Please contact me for any Personal Training needs in the Cardiff area or for any remote programming and nutritional consultations.

LATER REBELS!

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Strong.

Rogan

For any information or questions regarding the blog, or for any information regarding my services as a Personal Trainer, please contact me via my Facebook Page, Twitter, Email, or in the comment section below.

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Email: rebellionstrengthhq@gmail.com


[1] Jung, A.P, ‘The Impact of Resistance Training on Distance Running Performance’, Sports Med, 2003; 33(7): 539-552

[2] Mikkola J.S, Rusko H.K, Nummella A.T, et al, ‘Concurrent Endurance and Explosive Type Strength Training Increases Activation and Fast Force Production of Leg Extensor Muscles in Endurance Athletes’, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2007, 21 (2) : 613-620. 10.1519/R.20045.1

[3] Millet G.P, Jaouen B., Borrani F. et al. ‘Effects of Concurrent Endurance and Strength Training on Running Economy and VO2 Kinetics’, Journal of Medical Science, Sport and Exercise, 2002; 34 (8): 1351-1359

To Oly Lift, or not to Oly Lift? That is the question!

SUP REBELS! Today I want to touch on a subject that has become a fascination of mine. Powerlifting will always be my first love when it comes to strength sports, but recently, I have been toying with Olympic Lifting. Ok… toying is an understatement, I LOVE THEM! I am such a fan of the Olympic lifts its unreal. However, would I teach them to an athlete, yes! Would I program them for an athlete, probably not.

HOLD UP! Before we throw the baby out with the bathwater. Would I program them for some athletes, sure! But I would not have them as my first port of call. Let me tell you why! There is a debate that is has been raging within the world of strength and conditioning, and that debate is whether or not the Olympic lifts should be a central part of any program which seeks to achieve optimal athletic potential, or whether a more traditional compound lift / Powerlifting based program should be used. Before we get into the meat of this debate, there are a few things that need to addressed before we can sink our teeth into this hot topic, so grab your protein shakes and hold on tight!

“Olympic style weightlifting is an excellent training method for developing power. It consists of two movements, the Clean and Jerk, and the Snatch. The derivatives

of those movements are what make up the majority of training exercises” – Gambetta (2007)

 

Ok, so, Olympic lifts are the Snatch, and the Clean and Jerk. These are incredibly high skill movements which require a great deal of not only strength, but co-ordination and neuro-muscular development. For some, these lifts are considered the gold standard by which one assesses and develops an athlete’s power. Both the snatch and the clean and jerk require a violent explosion of the body, via triple extension, i.e. full extension of the ankles, knees and hips. This full extension is done over the course of three pulls:

1)    From the starting position, to the knee

2)    From the knee to the hip

3)    From the hip to the catch position

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The clean broken down. Can you spot the 3 pulls?

These Olympic movements are essentially a jump, and the action of jumping is the most integral part of power testing for athletes. Don’t think I’m serious? Just take a look at the testing for the NFL Combine, 225lb bench test, 40yard dash, and of course, a depth jump and a vertical leap.

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Patrick Peterson’s 38inch vertical leap at the 2013 Combine

 

It’s not hard to see how there is a direct carry over from developing this violent triple extension into the field of athletic performance. But, why the Olympic lifts? Now, I know what you are thinking – that I have just answered my own question with that whole bit about triple extension and jumping etc. Yet, I put to you the same question – why the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk? Seriously, think about it, have you ever seen a Strongman lift an atlas stone? Have you ever seen a Powerlifter pull a conventional Deadlift off the floor? If you haven’t, go look it up on youtube…. Go on… I have time. Done it? Good! Now, one thing that I am sure the discerning eye of a Rebel will notice is that the strength of the hip extension required is massive. Also, these movements are much more simple to teach than the Olympic movements.

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Rob Orlando, Owner of Hybrid Athletics / Crossfit Hybrid, and former Strongman is a huge proponent of the stones

Now, I am a big proponent of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) when it comes to programming, and unfortunately, the big scary elephant in the rooms is that the Olympic movements, while not difficult to teach, are difficult to master to a level where one can get the full benefit of them. Often in the earlier stages of learning the Olympic lifts technique, not strength, is the limiting factor. While one could argue that this is true with any athletic movement, there is a very big difference in the technical requirements of a Deadlift and a Snatch. So what are our other options?

As I mentioned earlier, the Olympic movements are considered by some to be the gold standard of developmental tools to improve an athletes explosive power. However, as any Weightlifting coach will tell you, you cant get stronger at the Clean and Jerk, by doing nothing but Clean and Jerks. You also have to Front Squat and push press a lot, and I do mean a lot! It is these movements that develop a weightlifters absolute strength, which is why it’s only those freaky genetic outliers that can clean, more than they can Front Squat. So if we work on the principal that if your technique is spot on with the Clean, then the more you can Front Squat, the more you can Clean, then surely, the lighter the Clean, the faster it will go? If this is true – which it is – then the best way to improve explosive strength is to develop ones absolute strength, and it is here that we run into some issues with using Olympic lifts.

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Not this kind of issue!

Essentially, all Stength and Conditioning is, is the development of an athlete’s GPP (General Physical Preparedness) in order to allow him, or her, to perform better in their event training. This, in turn, allows them to develop their SPP (Special Physical Preparedness), i.e. a thrower’s actual throw. Throwing technique is something that is a unique physical and technical requirement, which they must make their own, based on their own body mechanics and needs. The Bench Pressing, Snatching, Cleaning and Squatting have given the thrower the requisite strength in order to throw his or her implement, but it does not make them a good thrower, throwing does! The issue with the use of Olympic Lifts is that they require GPP just for the movement itself, which may or may not transfer over into the field of play, as every sport has different athletic requirements of its players.

Yet, without at doubt, they have a huge benefit for those athletes that can do them effectively. But, taking the time to teach the Olympic lifts to the point where they can yield a return which is greater than the time investment the athlete must make in order to become proficient at them, can seriously detract from the main goal, which is to make them better athletes, not Olympic lifters.

551480_489929277710758_723601548_n-1Highland Games champion Matt Vincent uses Olympic lifts to great effect, but they are not the basis for this throwing program

 

The point has been made that where as other strength development programs focus on – how fast OR how strong – an Olympic lifting program asks – how fast are you strong? This has a massive transfer over to sports, and should be a question that we address when programming for athletes as:

“Athletic Activities usually require quick and powerful movements and, consequently, depend on the development of explosive power” – Siff (2003)

 

However, when we take into account the issues expressed above, we must address other options if we are to allow a maximum return on our training investment. The speed at which you move, throw and lift, is dependant on a number of things. Namely, the rate and efficiency with which your synapse fire during a movement. This, in turn, causes muscle fiber recruitment. The more muscle fibers you can recruit the stronger you are maximally, and the stronger that you are maximally, the faster you are sub-maximally. In order to do this however, one must practice moving at speed, and not just at speed, but brutally fast speed. This can be done via plyometric movements, such as speed Deadlifts, and speed Box Squats. These movements should be done at roughly 40-50% of your 1RM for 2-3reps over 10-15 sets.

The incorporation of speed work allows for development of your synapse-firing threshold. But, this requires moving brutally fast from start to finish. The issue with applying this speed movement pattern with Olympic movements is that, given the nature of movements, it is very difficult to perform them in a touch and go manner, unlike the Squat, Bench and Deadlift. Also, in regards to their sport specific carry over, Olympic Lifts start with a controlled first pull. What sport do you know starts with a controlled first movement?

Now let me be clear, this is not me attacking Olympic lifting. If you needed to be reminded of my opinion on Olympic lifting, refer back to the beginning of this article. I think that every athlete should be taught the Olympic Lifts. Their benefits in regards to neuromuscular co-ordination, stability, power output and efficacy as movement patterns, they are a must. However, as I stated earlier, programming is a question of getting the best return on your investment, and Olympic lifts do not provide that without a huge long-term investment of time, sweat and potentially tears.

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Strong.

Rogan

For any information or questions regarding the blog, or for any information regarding my services as a Personal Trainer, please contact me via my Facebook Page, Twitter, Email, or in the comment section below.

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Email: rebellionstrengthhq@gmail.com