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THE SLING-SHOT FOR STRONGER BENCH PRESS

Everyone in a sense wants to lift heavy weight. Everyone also wants to progress in strength when they go to the gym. One of the most popular lifts for folks is the bench press, and big numbers is still a goal for virtually all lifters.

There are many ways to accomplish a big lift in benching. Working on technique, sticking points, and of course form. A big misconception in lifting weight is being strong is all you need, but as noted there is more at play.

When it comes to benching heavy weight in a safe manner, a sling-shot can be the answer. The sling-shot helps kill two birds with one stone. You put your arms into this small band with an opening on each end, and the band goes across the chest/upper abdomen area. It helps assist in your form for pushing max weight safely by keeping the elbows tucked into the body more which does not allow your shoulders to be as exposed. This also allows you to drive through the triceps while keeping the elbows and wrists aligned.

Push lot of weight and be safe all at the same time? Pretty nice indeed.

The science behind it is due to the “reverse band effect” it has by aiding you in lifting the heavy weight, in time this weight becomes easier and easier because the muscles become conditioned to it. This is referred to as the “future method”.

As you lift heavy weight more and more, in the future that heavy weight becomes lighter and lighter.

Make sense?

The sling-shot can also be used for push-ups as well with the same concept. Believe it or not many heavy bench pressers struggle with doing a decent number of push-ups (25-50 reps). This is because strength is relative. Some people just have that brute, 1 rep max force while others have more conditioned and stamina-based muscles. The sling-shot is worn the same way while doing a push-up and the future method still applies, only in reps as opposed to weight. The muscles become conditioned and adapt to the reps that are being imposed on them and in the future the reps will go up.

The sling-shot is simple. There is not much to it. It will however keep you safe in your training with any kind of weight, even if it is just your body weight. It has been proven to effectively get people stronger in a short amount of time as well. So if you are looking for simple and effective, the sling-shot is the piece of equipment for you.

 

FUNCTIONAL TRAINING: WHAT WORKS AND WHY

In a previous article, the discussion of functional training as compared to bodybuilding was the focus. This write-up will talk about functional training exercises that work and why people should incorporate them into their current workout routine, regardless of what routine that is.

To review, functional training needs to be looked at regarding a continuum of movement when it comes to training. Functional training has an emphasis on improving any ability or activity that involves movement involved in a sport, walking, running, jumping, twisting, swimming, and much more. It also deserves to be noted that functional training is performed and executed through the utilization of the 3 planes of motion as well (sagittal, frontal, and transverse), which is vital to overall performance of the body and its ability to move and perform.

When functional training is discussed, many different movements come to mind. Some of the most effective movements that you should be doing are:

  • Tire Flips: Tire flipping is one of the best total body strength and conditioning workouts available. You use your entire body to flip the tire, much like a deadlift. You can switch up the weight of the tire and distance in which you flip it. Regardless, it will give you one heck of an aerobic, strength, and conditioning workout.
  • Hammer Training: This is another form a training that you seem to feel everywhere. Using everything from your abs, lower back muscles, glutes, uppers back, forearms, wrists, and even chest region, hammer training is no joke. Another form of training that you will get the heart pumping, the muscles pumped, and the fat burning.
  • Battle Ropes: Battle ropes have the reputation for being an all upper body workout. Even though they will toast your shoulders and arms, battle ropes hit much more. A battle rope workout will target the abs, back, and glutes. You may also incorporate certain movements such as jumping, lunges, or even squats to work your legs more.
  • Sled Training: Another full body workout piece of equipment, sled training can accelerate speed, power, and fat loss. The sled pretty much builds and trains every athletic attribute you desire, this is large part to a person being able to be pushed, pulled, or dragged. If you are an athlete looking to get better conditioned or a person looking to kick your but in a workout, the sled is for you.

BENEFITS OF FOAM ROLLING

Go into any gym and you might find some odd things going on. The way people incorrectly use a machine, improper form, even the way someone dresses, but for anything to become a “trend”, and more importantly worthy trend, someone must be the odd one out.

Maybe you have entered a gym and seen someone rolling around on the floor or up against the wall like a cat, pressing against something that resembles a thick paint roller. As they do they move, maybe you see them wince, either in pain or a sense of relief. Maybe you are too uncomfortable to go up and ask what they are doing because by simply having a conversation with them you are now odd by association.

No worries, 1Up Nutrition has you covered.

What you are witnessing is called foam rolling. In more technical terms, this is a form of self-myofascial release therapy. It can be performed before and after working out regardless of your workout program or routine (bodybuilding, CrossFit, running, functional training, etc).

So, what is myofascial release therapy? Well first, you need to know what fascia is. Fascia is a fibrous layer of connective tissue that surrounds all of the muscles in our body. When you work out, adhesions are formed on the fascia and cause the mobility of the muscles to be limited or stiff. Without proper mobility, fibers of the fascia become cross linked and they bind to muscles and nerves, inhibiting normal motion and even causing pain. When it comes to foam rolling or myofascial release therapy, you break up those adhesions that are formed from working out, bringing mobility back to a more functional form.

On top of helping out with mobility, foam rolling increases blood flow to the muscles, helping with recovery and improving performance.

There are precautions one needs to take when foam rolling to help prevent furthering injury and preventing one. Since foam rolling helps with recovery, be sure to not roll on a particular area of the body too long, especially a part that is sore.  A good rule of thumb is start off gently with the muscle (sore or not), and give it about 20 seconds of roll time maximum. If you know you have an injury, avoid rolling directly on the injury. Remember, your body weight is what will apply the pressure so use your arms and even legs to control how much of your bodyweight is used during the rolling. Take your time while rolling as well. Do not go too fast. Rolling is not the most pain free thing in the world, actually it hurts (a good hurt), so no need to hurt yourself anymore than you need to.

Regardless of your workout routine or program, foam rolling has a purpose and benefits to help out with your performance and recovery.

Go get rolling!

AWESOME TIP FOR CHEST AND TRIS

Fitness and bodybuilding are filled with “go-to” movements. These movements seem to do so much in targeting a muscle for strength and growth. These movements also hit more than one muscle group at once which is great for time.
A movement that has made a name for itself in bodybuilding and for good reason is the dip. This movement has been around for quite some time and is one of the more popular movements in the gym. It has a focus and emphasis on targeting the triceps, but is also used for hitting and targeting the chest as well.

The dip requires decent core strength as well to perform when using just the bodyweight. The wrists, elbows, and shoulders are the mover joints throughout the up and down rep. Many people have struggle with the dip because it truly exposes weakness in the triceps and shoulders. Also, if a person has weak joints or pain of any sort, the dip will pose as a huge challenge. Dips however can be modified for virtually anyone to perform them. Bench dips are great for people with a weaker upper body or issues with joints. The bench dip engages the triceps but allows the person to control resistance with their legs. Another modification of a dip is the dip machine or an assisted dip machine. Both target the chest and triceps while allowing the user to have full control over the resistance used.

The raw and natural dip however reigns supreme for numerous reasons. As stated earlier the natural dip engages the core and gets so many muscles firing in the upper body do to the person having to have complete control of their body throughout the rep. Simple tricks to the dip are modifying the angle of the body as well. By putting the body more upright throughout the rep, the triceps will be targeted much more, engaging a lot of elbow work to help the shoulders out. On the other hand, by slightly leaning forward in the dip, the emphasis shifts away from just the triceps and now goes into the chest, especially the lower pectorals. By focusing on getting deep in the rep (be careful of the shoulders), a great stretch takes place in the chest making for a great squeeze when bringing the body back up.

The dip comes in numerous variations and modifications. Whichever way you choose to do it, just do it. Your chest and triceps will thank you.

BEST LEG PRESS TIPS

The leg press machine seems to be the go-to place for many on leg day. It does not require much. One loads up the bars (sometimes way too much), sits down, and starts pushing the weight up and down. Many leg press machines even come with “spot plugs” to prevent a person from crushing themselves using a weight they should have no business using.

But it looks cool to load up a bunch of weight, maybe even get a buddy to sit on the machine to make it look cooler, and let the weight bang up and down as you grunt through a wicked set of 3 reps of 800 pounds.

Here is the deal, the leg press machine is a great machine. It has many benefits. If used correctly it can do amazing things for growth in the legs. Egos must be check. Focus needs to be dialed in.

When performing a leg press, a warm up set is important. Many do not realize how much they use their back when doing reps in a leg press machine. Getting all the joints warmed up and ready to work is important. Find a weight that you can do a nice, clean, and slow 15-20 reps. Make sure your feet are positioned properly as well. Keeping it simple and basic, feet should be just inside shoulder width and able to stay flat on the platform throughout the rep. So, if your heel comes up when you are bringing weight down chances are your feet are too low and if your toes can pop up your feet are too high.

Keep it basic.

Your legs should not exceed too much more than a 90-degree angle while bringing the weight down to your body. If your butt is coming off the seat you are going too far down, but if you are only moving the weight 2 inches then you have way too much on the bar and not getting good range of motion. Also, never lock your legs out on the top of the rep! This will ensure constant tension in the legs. Locking the legs out can also damage the knees.  Do not underestimate your arms as well. Many leg press machines have grips to use as well. Not only will this aide you in just pushing yourself harder, the grips will allow you to be more stable in the seat which will keep your back aligned throughout the set.

Try a 4 to 5 set, 10-15 rep range workout next time you hit legs using these leg press tips!

 

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