I’VE BEEN THINKING…

It’s been a while.

I’m sorry it’s been so long since we last talked.

It’s not because I haven’t had anything to say. And, it’s not because you’ve done anything wrong. It’s just… I’ve been distracted.

I’ve been trying to figure out my place in this whole training / coaching space. And, let me tell you, in an industry of millionaire charlatans. That’s not an easy mirror to look in to.

I think it was Nietzche who said that one should always be wary of looking in to the abyss. Because whether you like it or not, the abyss will stare right back at you. Well… I looked. And sure enough it stared right back at me. Leaving me with more questions than answers.

Now, with the added clarity many months of self reflection, meditation, and becoming intimately acquainted with Holly Hindsight (What a bitch!). I have come to a series of conclusions regarding my goals in the fitness industry – and they concern you.

So over the next few weeks, I am going to reveal to you some of my thoughts and meditations on the fitness industry, and where I see the priorities of Rebellion Strength taking us all in this crazy, mixed up journey.

  1. Education First –

Something that I have found astounding is that the more I look into the actual nature of coaches in the fitness industry, the more I realise that we are simply teachers.

For those of you who have suddenly begun the lengthy process of rolling your eyes at this seemingly grandiose statement… bore off.

For the rest of you, bear with me.

I’m going somewhere with this.

The reality is that while many of our academic cohorts will chortle under their breath about how “those that can’t do coach”. The fact of the matter is that whether we care to view ourselves this way or not. We as coaches are teachers to our clients. Who, for all intensive purposes, are our wards.

We are responsible for them and their development. And, if was are going to accept that role and responsibility. Then we also need to accept that, as with all teacher student relationships. There is going to come an inevitable end point to our time together.

This means that once your client takes their first steps into this new stage of life. The kind of person they are in this new chapter of their journey is a direct reflection of the impact that you have had on their growth as a human being.

So if you turn out a grown ass adult that has an adults bank account, but the nutritional self control of a five year old who’s been under dosing their ritalin… you my friend fucked up.

I don’t want to be part of an industry that puts the destination before the journey.

I don’t want to be part of an industry that’s happy to starve someone down to their desired bodyweight. But let them loose back into the dietary wilds with no tangible knowledge on how to actively keep themselves healthy.

I don’t want to be part of an industry that doesn’t take the responsibility of educating their clients towards becoming healthier people for life seriously.

So with that in mind – I’m not going to be.

I am going to stand apart from the crowd and actively put the education of my clients first and foremost. If that means that they reach a point that they don’t “need” me any more. Then I know, hand on heart, that I have done a good job. And more importantly, done right by them. Laying the foundations for them to move forward with a healthier relationship with exercise, food, and themselves.

It might not be good business to create a system in which your clients out grow you. But your students can’t stay in school forever.

I truly believe that if you keep growing and developing the value and service that you bring to your clients. They themselves will grow to the point where, while they no longer need you, they will still “want” you. Because you bring so much more to their lives than simply tracking their macros or counting their reps.

You provide for them a connection to something that makes them better people. Both inside and outside of the gym.

And that my friends, is something that is priceless.

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Strong.

 

Demystifying the Deadlift

The deadlift is one of the most fundamental movement patterns in training to get stronger. I would love to tell you all the science behind why the deadlift is such a great movement, but the truth is that there are many articles on the internet that do this far better than I can. The real reason that I love the deadlift and work to get all my clients to the stage that they can deadlift properly is due to the fact that we live in a time where men and women are throwing their backs out picking up their kids or keys.

The deadlift, when performed correctly of course, is the most efficient way to pick something up off the ground. As such I tell all my clients that the movement patterns that they learn in the gym should apply to all of the movement they do outside of it. There is no difference in how I pick up my keys after dropping them and how I pick up 200kg. One is just substantially slower than the other.

So, the aim of this article is to highlight some of my pet hates in the deadlift and see if we can get your deadlift looking as sexy as it possibly can!

It’s and deadlift, not a squat! – 

During the eternal search for a braced and neutral spine, the most common fault that I see is people dropping their hips so low that they in essence drop in a squat whilst holding on to the bar. While your back may be flat, and yes you may be holding on tot he bar to deadlift. the fact is that you my friend are not doing anything that resembles a deadlift. The deadlift is a hinge movement, the squat is a squat. So many people seem get lost when I explain to them that they need to think of the deadlift as a hinge movement rather than a squat, which is understandable considering that both movements are very hip dominant in their mechanics. However, what I try to convey to my clients that the whereas the squat is an up and down movement, the deadlift is a push into the floor with the feet and a pull backwards with the upper back. The hips are just the hinge.

Start the deadlift in about a half-squat position with your shoulder blades over the barbell. If you start too low, the barbell will end up too far in front of your body, which causes you to literally hang out on the meat of your lower back,compromising your leverage. Thus leaving you in a much weaker position.

On the left we have a squat. On the right we have a deadlift.

On the left we have a squat start. On the right we have a deadlift start – Know the difference

Not fixing your base! – 

Foot position and stance is the most important part of the deadlift. As with building a house, you need to start with a firm foundation. The deadlift is no different.

Unless you are pulling sumo then start with a hip width stance and adjust as required. Very rarely do I see anyone whose stance is too narrow, but more often than not I see a base that is too wide. Not taking time to set your stance will affect not just the quality of your pull but also the positioning of your levers, putting you at a mechanical disadvantage.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself

Check yourself before you wreck yourself

Shruggin’ and Tuggin’ – 

Ok, so while I have referred to the deadlift as a pull through pretty much the entirety of this blog, that doesn’t mean that you doing anything with your arms other than holding the bar in place. Too many people engage the arms and their traps while pulling, and this leads to a really messed up pull.

The reason for this is that for muscles to engage and move, other muscles have to shut off. By shrugging the weight you are simply decreasing the positional stability and tightness of your entire body, which can lead to really bad injuries. Bear in mine that the most common major injury associated with the deadlift is a bicep tear. Don’t be the guy or girl who tries to shrug and curl 140kg. It will end badly.

Don't be the guy on the left

Don’t be the guy on the left

Too fast. Too furious – 

Ok, this one is well and truly my biggest pet hates. Don’t jerk the bar off the floor! Attempting to rip the weight off the floor is more often than not is a recipe for disaster, and the last thing I want is for you to feel the ‘aster’.

Now, there are special individuals who can, and do, rip the weight off the floor at incredible speed, but these guys and girls are freaks, and chances are you cant do it. Honestly though, don’t worry cause neither can I. Check out Dan Green putting the ‘rip’ in ripping weight off the floor.

You need to think of the initial pull like going through the gears on a car. No one would jump straight from first to fifth gear, and the deadlift is no different. Try pulling all the slack out of the bar by building power from the floor and prioritising position. Dan Green is one of the most dynamic pullers in the game, but what he does is so far removed from what most normal humans can do that to try and copy him is pointless. Yes be fast, but only as fast as you can maintain position.

If you have read this and recognised any of these as mistakes that you are making, then scale back, take your time and remember – deadlifting right can save your life!

If you feel your deadlift needs a little more hands on attention then get in touch via the link below to book your free deadlift clinic >>>>>>>>>

http://bit.ly/1rvbFHQ

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Stronger

Hand care for athletes!

The truth is that the state of your hands says a great deal about you as a person. It is common knowledge that if you take part in the strength game that you are going to end up dealing with callused hands, torn skin, and being a little rough around the edges. However, this doesn’t need to lead to you having a sandpaper handshake for the rest of your life.

Chalk can only get you so far!

Chalk can only get you so far!

So what exactly is a callus, and what causes them? Well calluses are very similar to blisters i the way that they are simply a separation of skin layers due to friction, with a subsequent fluid build up underneath them. Once they have dried and hardened then they become full blown calluses. They are caused by friction against the skin by another surface. Calluses are common for workmen, rock climbers and strength athletes given the amount of resistance activity they have to undertake with their hands.

Short of a world record, nothing is worth this.

Short of a world record, nothing is worth this.

The fact is that skin trauma to the hands is an inevitable part of strength training, but while many like to view their calluses as marks of pride, the truth is that there is nothing beneficial about having hands like a cliff side. If calluses tear, they are actually pretty messy and can cause you to develop some mega rips in your hands. Tears to hands are some of the most common and most easily avoided injuries in lifting, and Rebellion Strength is going to teach you the secret of having strong, yet healthy hands.

1.Wear Gloves –

HA! Just kidding! Sort of…

If overly manly man says it, it must be true!

If overly manly man says it, it must be true!

2. Train your grip –

The truth is that the movement of the bar against the skin that causes a shift in the hand that leads to skin being stretched. The harder you squeeze the bar the harder it is going to be for the bar to move around in the centre of your grip. The fact is that a great number of lifters that I have seen in my time as a PT simply don’t understand how much force is actually needed to have a strong grip. More often than not I find myself having to use the cue, “choke the bar” to actually get my clients to engage their grip fully. Add more time under tension by adding in pause reps to help develop your grip and above all else – squeeze the bar!

3.Use Straps –

Ok, this time I am not joking. While straps get a bad rap as an easy way out of lifting big weights ‘correctly’, just like anything else if they are used appropriately then they can save your hands a great deal of stress in your workouts. I like to cycle the use of straps in and out of my workouts in order to give my hands a chance to recover while still getting in enough work to develop my lifts. People tell you that straps are cheating, but as far as I am concerned they are just a tool to help you get towards your goals faster and with healthier hands.

4. Actually take care of your hands –

Ladies are pretty good at this. So chaps, stand up and take note! There is nothing sexy about hands that can snag a pair of your best gals tights, so sort it out. Sack up and go into boots and buy a pumice stone. Then go into Lush and get a hand moisturiser than will absorb into the skin and help your skin stay strong. Bad moisturiser sits on the first layer of skin and isn’t absorbed into the other deeper layers of skin, these are what you wan to avoid, so go in and ask the Lush ladies if they can help you. Once you have these essential items get home soak your hands in water and use the pumice stone to smooth out your calluses. From there wash of what ever lose skin has been worn away and then moisturise your hands to make sure that the skin heals cleanly and smoothly. If the site where the callus was is jagged its just going to tear again.

The final form of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” – Anne Frank

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Stronger.

The coach’s responsibility

I feel like I need to get something out in the open, I am sick of hearing about ‘movement mechanics training’ or ‘sports specific training’ when it comes to athletes because more often than not, these terms are misunderstood and misused by strength coaches at large. Sports Mechanics is a very unique field and should be left to specialists. The simple fact is that while I am very much in support of making each and every athlete better at their sport, that is not the job of the strength coach. That is the job of their sports coach, so do your job and make them better athletes!

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We are in the business of making athletes strong!

Too many of us in the coaching field are trying to be more than we are by attempting to move our knowledge in to fields that we are not qualified to speak on. If I take on a rugby player as a client, I am not going to start putting them into sports specific positional drills. Those muscles are already being worked in training and I sure as hell can’t teach them better than a qualified rugby coach. All your doing is exacerbating the issue at hand and not fulfilling your job description. Sure, your working towards making sure that the player snaps the ball marginally faster, but can they run faster, jump higher and change direction quicker? If not, then no one is going to care how fast he or she can offload the ball because the monster at the other end of the field is already closing in on them with a torpedo like pace.

TAKE THAT!

TAKE THAT!

We need to look at each individual sports requirements and make sure that we are tailoring what ever strength and conditioning that we are putting our athletes through directly corresponds to the demands of that sports. If your sport requires rotational force such as golf, make sure you stabilize the midline and work on the capability of the body to generate rotational force. If you’re a thrower, take it ones step further than work on the ability of the body to rotate and extend during the production of power.

Does your sport require agility and power, great! Lets work on the physical attributes that allow you to have agility and power, but lets make sure that we are doing this in a well thought out and methodical way. The aforementioned issue that I have with the way in which some strength coaches are training their athletes is that it is inappropriate not just in terms of the coaches primary function, namely as a strength coach, but also because its working on the top end of the ‘athletes pyramid’ model that I have discussed in previous works before.

To recap, if we think about ultimate athletic potential as a pyramid, we want to build the tallest, broadest pyramid possible and to do that we need to bare in mind that a pyramid can only be as tall as its base is wide. If we break down the pyramid into three sections we have general physical preparedness (GPP), special physical preparedness (SPP), and sports specific physical preparedness (SSPP).

General physical preparedness would be maximal strength, conditioning and bodily composition of the athlete. Special physical preparedness would be applying the athletes GPP within the context of either the time demands of the sport, the context of a movement pattern, or a set physical attribute that the sport requires. For example, max back squat for a wrestler would be GPP. Zercher squats, sand bag carries, or farmers walks would be SPP. Finally, the act of wrestling would be the SSPP, and this relies on the expertise of the wrestling coach, not you.

Zach Even-Esh has made a career taking kids who know how to wrestle, and making them wrestlers!

Zach Even-Esh has made a career taking kids who know how to wrestle, and making them wrestlers!

The long and short of this article is that you need to remember what your priority is when dealing with athletes. It is your job to make sure that your athletes become harder, better, faster, stronger, not to make them better at there specific sports skills. If you are doing your job right then everyone of their physical attributes that you develop will carry over to their abilities within their actual sports. Don’t try and teach a rugby player how to tackle, make them tackle harder. Don’t teach a runner how to run, make sure that they can physically withstand the mileage of their endurance training.

We as coaches have a duty of care, by not fulfilling our job description we are not just endangering our athletes but our reputations.

To find out how you can get strong and realise your inner athlete just click the link below.

http://bit.ly/1rvbFHQ

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Strong.

5 Easy tips for getting leaner!

The fact is, weight loss is easy. Getting lean and in shape, now that is a different game entirely.

Eat less, do more, and you will burn off weight. It really is as simple as that. However, as any good lifter knows, losing weight is not the same as getting lean. The act of weight loss is simply defined as mass being taken from your body and broken down into energy, but this is not always a good thing.

They are lean, not skinny. Know the difference.

They are lean, not skinny. Know the difference.

The common thought is that we need calories to live and function. If we do not get enough of them we starve. If we eat to many of them, we get fat. Seems simple doesn’t it? While this thought is largely correct, as with all things, if it seems to too good or too easy to be true, then it probably is. Losing weight is the unbiased break down of mass, and that includes muscle tissue. This is the last thing that we want, and here’s why.

Muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in the body with a caloric demand of 50Kcal per Lb, and that is just at maintenance level. We want your body to be as metabolically active as possible and to have as much active functional muscle as possible to make sure that your metabolism is as high as possible. The moment you start losing muscle, you are literally losing cylinders from your metabolic engine and this is why fat loss tends to stall when you simply reduce calories.

Now, by contrast the act of getting leaner is the reduction in the level of the bodies adipose (skin level) fat cells. This is done via proper fuelling of the body, dependant on its activity level and the gentle decrease of calories. This is far more maintainable from the standpoint of you and I as average people but does require the insight of a fitness professional, or more research into how to properly fuel your body. Alternatively you can click here to receive a free nutritional e-book.

To make life a little easier, I have put together a few top tips that I think will help you get leaner, rather than just lose weight.

1 – Train for hypertrophy!

As we said, muscle is the most metabolically demanding tissue in the body and as such having as much of it up and working is what we ultimately need in order to raise your base metabolic rate. This means that you are going to be burning more calories at rest, leading to a greater number of calories burnt daily, month, and annually. To do this, make use of traditional hypertrophy training programs such as 3 x 10, 5 x 8 etc. This greater volume when matched with proper nutrition on your training and non training days will lead to an increase in muscle and number of calories burnt per session.

nickauger

The greater the muscle, the greater the calories burnt.

2 – Increase your protein intake

Protein is the building block of life. It provides 4kcal of energy per gram. Protein is stored in the body as muscle and is only used for energy production when carb stores are deleted. Proteins need to be broken down into amino acids and converted into glucose by the liver if they are to be used for energy production. This process is known as gluconeogenesis.

Protein is synthesised into your body in order to begin the repair or development of your cells. As such your protein intake is one of the primary factors in your bodily development, and should be included to one degree or another in every meal. Protein is also highly thermogenic regarding its nutritional density. It takes calories to digest food to get more calories. Protein has a huge caloric requirement for breakdown relative to its size and if you are working out the majority of the broken down amino acids will be put to work building more muscle. To start make sure you are taking in 1.2 – 1.5g of protein per lb of lean bodyweight and adjust as necessary.

3 – Address food quality before calories

Jumping straight into calorie counting is one of the worst ways to get yourself into trouble when trying to lose weight as it is highly inaccurate, and mentally draining. This is not to say that calories are not important, because they are. However, addressing issues of food quality are the first port of call when looking to get people losing weight. Educating yourself on what it means to eat according to your goals is going to to create a long lasting understanding of good nutrition, and good nutrition is for life. Diets are not.

4 – Don’t dive bomb your calories

Dropping your calories should be the last thing that you address when you are going down the garden path of weight loss. Managing your calories is something that should be done in relation to your macronutrient needs, and once that is addressed then we can start thinking about dropping calories. However, this should be done at a slow rate. As with prescription medication, we want the maximal response from the minimum dosage. Dropping your calories substantially will lead to a point of plateau from which your metabolism will start to take a dive, and in response your body, being the survival machine that it is, will start to take break down the surplus muscle tissue and the metabolic demand that goes along with them. Keep your calories as high as possible, for as long as possible, so long as you are still meeting your goals.

To look like a healthy athlete, you have to eat like a healthy athlete

To look like a healthy athlete, you have to eat like a healthy athlete

5 – Don’t go it alone!

This is the most important aspect of the whole journey. Make sure that you have a support network. Getting lean is a long process and can be stressful if you go it alone. The reason why weight watchers and other programs of that nature are so successful is that they bring you into a community that creates a sense of society and accountability. Get a group of friends, a page on facebook, or hire a trainer, because the more support your have, the more accountability you have to those around you and as such you are more likely to stick to game plan rather than go native with a box of Reese’s Pieces.

These are some tips that I hope will make things easier for you on your journey to a leaner, sexier you!

If you passed up on the e-book at the start of this article and would like to rectify that, click here.

To find out how you can get strong and realise your inner athlete just click the link below.

http://bit.ly/1rvbFHQ

Good luck and, remember:

Train Strong.

Live strong.

Be Strong.

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!