Barbell Complex Madness: 3 New Fat Burning, Muscle Building Barbell Complexes

Barbell Complex Madness: 3 New Fat Burning, Muscle Building Barbell Complexes

If you keep up with my training on Instagram (#AlwaysOptimal), you’ve recently seen me experimenting with different training methods including emphasized eccentrics, constant tension sets, and a variety of barbell complex variations.  While each methodology encompasses its own unique set of benefits, today I’m excited to share with you 3 of my personal favorite barbell complex variations and outline how you can incorporate them into your individual training programs to use them most advantageously.  Barbell Complex Madness: 3 New Fat Burning, Muscle Building Barbell Complexes   Barbell Complex #1: Front Squat to Reverse Lunge Complex “Quad dominant” is a popular fitness industry buzz-phrase that, unfortunately, leads coaches to believe we should only strengthen the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, etc) and never directly train the quads.  I say malarky. Of course, strengthening the glutes, hamstrings, and entire posterior chain is important for a variety of reasons…but neglecting the quads is a surefire way to sabotage your strength and overall performance.  In fact, it wasn’t until I started making my quads a priority that my squat radically increased and I finally raw squatted 3x my bodyweight. Not to mention, strong quads improve a variety of athletic movements like, oh I don’t know…sprinting? Enter: The Front Squat to Reverse Lunge Complex The Front Squat to Reverse Lunge Complex is simultaneously one of the most brutal and effective drills for improving lower body strength and performance. Getting the best of both worlds in bi-lateral and uni-lateral training, this particular complex is one of my personal favorites for improving squat performance as it absolutely destroys your quads and glutes while forcing you to maintain an upright torso throughout the entire drill. Barbell Complex #2: Alternating Unilateral to Bilateral RDL Complex As if RDL’s...
This Brand New Fat Burning Pill Is So Effective the U.S. Is Desperately Trying to Ban It…Permanently!

This Brand New Fat Burning Pill Is So Effective the U.S. Is Desperately Trying to Ban It…Permanently!

Don’t ask me how but I was able to get several samples of this brand new fat burning pill sent directly to my home office just about 2-weeks ago. At first I was skeptical. Nervous, to be honest. “Could there really be an effective fat burning pill that torches the fat off your bones and keeps it off for the rest of your life?” I had trouble wrapping my head around the possibilities and implications of such a pill…but I had it on good authority from the most respected coaches in the field such as Alan Aragon and Brad Schoenfeld the pill was legit. “It renders traditional dieting nothing more than a waste of time and money,” Alan told me over an intense late night convo on MySpace. “As long as you have this pill in your back pocket you’ll never have to worry about the woes of dieting ever again. It’s like Paleo…but even better!“ With an endorsement like that from arguably the single most influential coach, researcher, and author in the world of gainz nutrition…I knew I had to give it a shot. My results? Mind blowing.  In barely under 2-weeks I burned every ounce of fat off of my massive 5’4″ frame to reveal the most incredible set of 8-pack abs I’ve ever seen. I even got my body fat percentage virtually measured by a real live doctor on the bodybuilding.com forums and he told me I’m -6% body fat! -6%!  Take that, dieting! And by now you’re probably wondering where you can order your fat burning pills before they get banned, right? Great question and fortunately it’s a very simple process.  All you need to do is follow the instructions below… Happy April Fools Day! Bar-none the...
Exercise Video of the Week: The Nordic Hamstring Curl

Exercise Video of the Week: The Nordic Hamstring Curl

Simultaneously one of the most excruciating and effective exercises I’ve ever tried, I’m excited to introduce you to the Nordic Hamstring Curl. Similar to the Glute-Ham Raise in that strengthens the hamstrings in both primary functions (hip extension and knee flexion), when programmed correctly the Nordic Hamstring Curl can function as an outstanding regression, alternative, and even progression to the GHR. Unfortunately, most lifters completely botch the technique and subsequently get little-to-no benefit out of the movement.  To put an end to the confusion once and for all I’ve created the brief instructional video below along with a list of technique points and programming considerations.   The Nordic Hamstring Curl   Technique Points 1. Keep your glutes squeezed tight the entire time and do not let your hips flex/hinge backwards throughout the whole drill.  2. Control the eccentric (lowering) portion for about 3-5 seconds on every rep. Do Not just free fall towards the floor. 3. Initiate the concentric (ascending) portion by lightly pressing with your arms. Use as much upper body as you need to get started but no more than that. Keep constant tension on the hamstrings the entire time.  Programming Considerations Frequency: 1-2x/week  Intensity: On a scale of 1-10, difficulty should be a 7-9 on a regular basis. Do Not go to failure. Sets & Reps: 3-5 sets of 5-8 repetitions per training session. Feel free to go into higher repetition ranges (8-12+) but seriously modify intensity (i.e. use a quicker eccentric) so you don’t excessively strain the hamstrings Workout Placement: Near the middle or tail end of your training session after your main lower body movements (squats, deadlifts, etc).  Did This Help? If the instructional video and information helped you...

Exercise Video of the Week: The Best Hanging Leg Raise Instructional Video on the Web

I have a love/hate relationship with the hanging leg raise. I love it because it’s an insanely effective full-body movement that not only improves overall core stability, but also total body tension, lat strength, grip strength, kinesthetic awareness, and more. I hate it because it’s offensively difficult. Like…really freakin’ hard. But that’s a good thing. I look at it like this: if it’s brutally difficult then I probably suck at it. And if I suck at it then it’s clearly a weakness which I need to improve upon. Improve upon my weaknesses, build them into strengths, and my overall performance will improve. #BOOM! (<– Click to Tweet!) With that in mind, in this article I’m going to show you exactly how to perform the perfect hanging leg raise. After my instructional video, I’m going to show you the exact progression you and your clients can use to progress from beginner all the way to advanced hanging leg raise variations. How to Perform the Hanging Leg Raise Progressing the Hanging Leg Raise 1) Deadbug The deadbug is a phenomenal core stability-focused drill that teaches you how to maintain core stiffness while simultaneously extending your hips and flexing your shoulders (i.e. exactly what you need to do in a hanging leg raise). The deadbug is a great first progression as it allows you to draw stability from the floor without the added stress of gravity working against you as it does from a hanging position.  Important Note: make sure to keep your lower back flat against the ground the entire time. If your lower back arches off the floor the exercise is null and void. Video Credit:...

Do Your Hips Really Need to Be Fully Extended During the TRX Row?

The TRX Row is a phenomenal drill. But I’m not going to waste your time explaining why. You already know why it’s a great drill and that it can be used across numerous populations ranging from beginner all the way to advanced trainees. Hell, the entire fitness industry already knows that.  The last thing we need is to repeat that same message for the 27,000th time. So What’s This Article About? Have you ever heard that when performing the TRX Row you need to keep your hips fully extended? Of course you have. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, odds are you’ve heard that a hips flexed position during the TRX Row is indisputably wrong. Well…I call bullshit.  Before you get pissed and write me off as a charlatan, hear me out: First: Fully extending the hips during the TRX Row is not wrong. In fact, when first teaching the TRX Row I always begin by coaching a hips extended position.  Second: Just because it’s not “wrong” doesn’t mean it’s always “right.” Just as I use the hips extended position in a variety of situations, there are many instances in which a hips flexed position is the better choice. Want to See What I Mean? In the brief video below I explain exactly why and when a hips flexed position is better than a hips extended position during the TRX Row. The TRX Hinge Row Discussion Points Beginners and Weaker Trainees do better with a hips extended position as their torso is at a greater angle relative to the floor which allows for optimal scapular positioning (watch starting at 1:05). Intermediate to Advanced Lifters may do better with a...

Exercise Video of the Week: The Best Ab Wheel Instructional Video On the Internet

 You know I love planks, right? Well, planks are great but the ab wheel is like the plank on steroids.  A lot of steroids. While both movements are similar in nature (they both function as anti-extension based core strengthening drills), the ab wheel is far more advanced as it: Utilizes a larger range of motion (ROM) Utilizes a significantly longer lever arm Requires significantly more full-body strength and coordination And more In addition, the technique for the ab wheel is much more involved than the plank which, unfortunately, tends to result in a mindblowingly awful performance of the movement. To help you better understand the ab wheel – and use it to build an offensively strong slab of abdominals – I took the liberty of filming the best ab wheel instructional video on the internet. Bold claim, I know. In the short video below I explain not only how to perform the ab wheel in the safest and most effective manner, I also outline the most common technique issues and exactly how you can avoid them.   How to Use the Ab Wheel Technique Points 1. Move the body as one whole unit: Don’t let the hips hinge or move separately from the torso. Keep the body in one straight line the entire time.  2. Maintain a neutral spine: Don’t allow your lower back to cave inward (slip into lumbar hyperextension). Brace your abs and make sure your lower back is completely flat. 3. Pack your shoulders: Don’t allow your shoulders to shrug up towards your ears. Try to put your shoulders in your back pockets to keep them in a safer position while using your lats to improve stability and overall strength.  Programming Considerations Frequency: 2-4x/week...
How to Do Weighted Push-Ups Without a Spotter [Shocking Solution!]

How to Do Weighted Push-Ups Without a Spotter [Shocking Solution!]

Weighted push-ups are a phenomenal exercise. Everyone knows that. But what happens when you don’t have a spotter to load the weight on your back? It’s a serious problem that, until now, has plagued lifters, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts alike. Fortunately, I’ve come up with a solution. A simple, yet shocking, solution that will allow you to perform weighted push-ups even when you don’t have a spotter to put the weight on your back. How to Do Weighted Push-Ups Without a Spotter Shocking, right?  I haven’t been able to mass produce the product just yet but I should have them ready for sale by the end of 2015. I’ll keep you updated. -J World Record Strength! Sign Up & I’ll Send Your 3 FREE World Record Strength Training Manuals Directly to Your Inbox Name: Email: We respect your email...
Fitness Myths that NEED to Die: The “Right” Way to Kettlebell Swing

Fitness Myths that NEED to Die: The “Right” Way to Kettlebell Swing

The fitness industry survives on extremes. With little-to-no middle-ground, things are classified as either good or bad… Right or wrong… Healthy or unhealthy… This holds true for all aspects of fitness including both training and nutrition. I mean, think about it. Depending on who you’re talking to… Carbohydrates are either the best or worst thing in the world Barbell Back Squats are either safe or extremely dangerous Steady state cardio is either absolutely essential or inherently useless See what I mean? Rarely are we presented with a moderate point of view. Discussions examining both the pros and the cons in an un-biased, open-minded, non ego-driven manner are few and far between. This extremist attitude is maintained for two major reasons: 1) Extremes sell. Moderation doesn’t. People want to know the “right” way to do something. Period. They don’t want to futz around with the semantics or science. They don’t want to hear there are a variety of ways to accomplish the same goal. They want to be told exactly what’s “right” and what’s “wrong” so they’re left with zero guess work. Extremes do exactly that (even if they aren’t accurate). 2) People Associate Their Beliefs with Their Sense of Self When you  learn something new – especially if you agree with it and successfully implement it within your lifestyle – it’s not uncommon to begin associating that belief with who you are as a person. In other words, this belief ceases to exist as a possible idea and instead becomes an integral part of yourself – your self worth – with which you strongly identify as a component of your being. It’s for this very reason why low-carb dogmatists fail to accept the fact that high-carb diets work despite a truly...
Fitness Myths that NEED to Die: Is Muscle Soreness Good For You?

Fitness Myths that NEED to Die: Is Muscle Soreness Good For You?

“My trainer is SO good!” she raved over the phone. My friend, Carrie, just called and was giving me the inside scoop on her new personal trainer. Having had the same discussion with countless (likely hundreds) of people before her, I knew where the conversation was headed. “Seriously. You wouldn’t believe how sore I am after her workouts, Jordan. I literally can’t even walk. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.” Experience has taught me confrontation is futile. I opted for the inquisitive approach. “So you’re seeing good results with her?”  I inquired. “Oh my GOD, yes!” she shrieked. I quickly lowered my earpiece volume before she continued, “I’ve never been so sore in my life. Ha! My arms are so wrecked after working out that I can barely lift them to put soap in my hair!” She misunderstood my question. I had asked if she was seeing good results; not if her trainer was making her sore. I tried again. “So you’re losing weight?” I asked. “You’re getting stronger? Looking and feeling better?“ She paused. A brief hesitation ensued before she continued.  “Yea, of course! I mean, I’m working really hard, sweating a lot, and I’m wicked sore after all my workouts. Obviously I’m doing something right…. Aren’t I?” Is Muscle Soreness Good For You? Carrie’s dilemma represents that of most fitness enthusiasts.  For a variety of reasons – mostly pertaining to misinformation propagated by the media and various marketing scams – we’ve been led to believe that muscle soreness is not only a good thing…but that it’s the single-best indicator of workout effectiveness.  This myth is relentlessly perpetuated through a variety of outlets but most predominantly social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Not sure what I mean? “Fitspiration” meme’s like this one explain it...
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m Opening a Brand New Gym in Boston!

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m Opening a Brand New Gym in Boston!

SURPRISE!!! My friend and colleague, Steve Bergeron, and I are opening a brand new training facility called AMP Fitness right in the heart of Boston! Steve’s been working night and day (seriously, not kidding) for the better part of the last year to get AMP up and running and to make sure it’s unquestionably the single-best facility in Boston.  An expert strength coach specializing in movement, posture, and performance, Steve is one of the most kind, generous, intelligent, and hard working individuals I’ve ever met.  Ever. Like…EVER! Having known Steve since I was 19, he recently asked if I’d like to join him at AMP as a full-time strength coach and nutrition consultant.  Seeing as he’s a truly extraordinary coach with a wealth of knowledge and experience (not to mention he’s just a freakin’ awesome dude) I immediately accepted the position and couldn’t possibly be more excited. What’s AMP Going to be Like? Both Steve and I are  extremely serious individuals and under absolutely zero circumstances will we allow any fun in our facility. See those mean mugs? Make no mistake, we’re two of the meanest coaches around and plan to make AMP the single-most hardcore gym in the city. Think I’m joking? Here’s an even more threatening picture of us on AMP’s brand new turf field. See what I mean? No fun and games at AMP Fitness – strictly yelling and brute force will be used to motivate our clientele.  O.K., So Maybe I’m Joking… Truth be told, Steve and I are looking to create not only the best gym in Boston, we’re also trying to cultivate a...