Training to Muscle Failure: 5 Hacks for Serious Lifters

Training to Muscle Failure: 5 Hacks for Serious Lifters

Think back to the first time you ever lifted weights. What did you do? You probably walked up to a dumbbell rack, picked up the heaviest weight you could hold, and performed some exercise movement–heck, any exercise movement–to the best of your ability. Rep after rep after rep. And you did so until you could no longer move the weight. Then you rested—probably until you felt fresh again—and repeated. Sometimes, a little naivety and simplicity is a good thing. But that simplicity is also why so many people are frustrated by what they do in the gym. Beyond the exercises you perform and the frequency with which you train, most people don’t know how hard to push on any given set. They don’t know how to build muscle. And they don’t know how to build strength. What they do know how to do is just perform exercises. It’s the reason why “training to muscle failure” is one of the most highly debated topics in the fitness industry and, truth be told, it’s extremely misunderstood. I’ve spent enough time studying the topic to know that there’s no simple answer. Some people swear that taking every set to failure is the secret to success while others insist it’s a recipe for guaranteed injury and “overtraining.” Is training to muscle failure good or bad? Right or wrong? Will it help you achieve your goals or will it devastate your body and ruin your chances for success? The answer – as most things in life – depends entirely on the individual as well as their needs, goals, and preferences. Unfortunately, though, saying “it depends”...

Exercise Video of the Week: How to Do Dumbbell Rows

Unquestionably one of the best movements for strength, hypertrophy, performance, and overall general health, the Dumbbell Row should be a staple in nearly everyone’s training program. Considering there’s a great deal of controversy regarding “the right way” to perform it, though, I chose to dedicate this exercise video of the week to outlining my exact coaching cues. How to Do Dumbbell Rows I hope you enjoyed the video and, as always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions you can leave them in the comments section below. Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal. -J Sign Up for Your FREE Syatt Fitness Newsletter! Name: Email: We respect your email privacy Powered by AWeber...

Exercise Video of the Week: TRX Pike

  In this Exercise Video of the Week I introduce a great movement, not only for overall core strength and development, but also for shoulder health and function: The TRX Pike. TRX Pike This Move Will… – Improve core stability in both anti-extension as well as anti-rotation – Improve Serratus Anterior function which may lead to increased shoulder health – Improve T-Spine mobility specifically in extension – Improve scapular upward rotation Recommendations – Perform the TRX Pike near the tail-end of your lower body strength training sessions – They’re a great addition to any super-set, circuit, or even as a standalone drill – Appropriate sets and repetitions range from anywhere between 2-4 sets of 6-20 repetitions depending on individual needs, goals, and level of experience I hope you enjoyed the video and, as always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions you can leave them in the comments section below. Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal. -J Sign Up for Your FREE Syatt Fitness Newsletter! Name: Email: We respect your email privacy Powered by AWeber...

Exercise Video of the Week: Mastering the Superman Pushup

The Superman Pushup is one of my favorite “core” exercises. It’s a phenomenal anti-extension drill that will absolutely destroy your abs. I generally prefer to include it near the tail-end of my lower body training sessions for 2-4 sets of 6-12 reps. Looking for a new exercise to shake up your training? Give the Superman Pushup a shot. Mastering the Superman Pushup I hope you enjoyed the video and, as always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions you can leave them below. Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal. -J Sign Up for Your FREE Syatt Fitness Newsletter! Name: Email: We respect your email privacy Powered by AWeber...

Exercise Video of the Week: Half Kneeling and Tall Kneeling Dumbbell Shoulder Press

I’m always on the lookout for big bang-for-your-buck exercises that simultaneously improve numerous athletic qualities. While these compound exercises have countless benefits, I find them particularly useful when I need to get in & out of the gym as quickly as possible – this time of year they’re especially helpful since I’m busy studying for final exams. Two of my personal favorite exercises that fall under this category are the Half Kneeling and Tall Kneeling Dumbbell Shoulder Press. The number of benefits shared by these two exercises are staggering to say the least so below I’ll name a few of the main ones: – Encourages Ankle Dorsiflexion – Encourages Glute Activation – Actively Stretches the Hip Flexors – Encourages Core Stabilization in the Sagittal and Frontal Planes – Improves Shoulder Size and Strength I tend to incorporate one of these variations near the tail end of my upper body training sessions for targeted hypertrophy and strength work. Generally speaking, 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions is sufficient for an adequate training stimulus. Half Kneeling and Tall Kneeling Dumbbell Shoulder Press I hope you enjoyed the video and, as always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions you can add them to the comments section below. Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal....

Exercise Video of the Week: Assisted Dip Machine Tricep Extension

  In last weeks’ Exercise Video of the Week I discussed the relative importance and contribution of the triceps to Bench Press performance. I also provided a video outlining one of my favorite tricep accessory exercises, The Rolling Dumbbell Tricep Extension, and have since received an outstanding response. Keeping with the theme of tricep development, in this weeks’ Exercise Video of the Week I’ve provided a new exercise which I decided to name The Assisted Dip Machine Tricep Extension. I hope you enjoy the video and, as always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please leave them below. Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal. -J  ...

Exercise Video of the Week: Seated Dumbbell Clean and Press

The Seated Dumbbell Clean and Press is a great movement for hypertrophy and prehabilitation purposes in the shoulder.  Keep in mind that it’s an advanced drill and there’s often a steep learning curve so keep the weight light and focus on using perfect technique! In regard to programming, I save the Seated Dumbbell Clean and Press for days devoted to upper body training and use light(er) weight for high(er) repetitions (i.e. 10-15 reps). I hope you enjoy the video and, as always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please leave them below. Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal. -J P.S. Happy Passover to all who celebrate – I’ll be thinking of you as I munch on my matzah!    ...

How to Increase Leg Drive to Improve Bench Press Performance

We often hear about leg drive and it’s importance in regard to optimizing Bench Press performance. Unfortunately, though, most trainees don’t know what leg drive is or how to use it effectively. As such, in this weeks’ Exercise Video of the Week I discuss the basics of leg drive including where to place your feet and how to use it appropriately to improve your Bench. How to Increase Leg Drive: Key Points Keep your feet behind your knees and closer towards your head. Drive your feet into the ground as hard as you possibly can throughout the entire lift! Create as much pressure as possible between your upper back and the bench throughout the entire lift! How to Increase Leg Drive to Improve Your Bench Press I hope you enjoy the video and that it’s helped you understand how to increase leg drive as quickly and easily as possible. Don’t Forget Your 4 Training Manuals – FREE! Before you leave, don’t forget to download my 4 training manuals which I’m happy to give you absolutely free. Downloaded and read by thousands of people worldwide, these 4 books will show you how to burn fat and amplify your strength. Plug in your info below and I’ll send your free manuals directly to your e-mail in less than 60-seconds. Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal. -J World Record Strength! Sign Up & I’ll Send Your 4 FREE World Record Strength Training Manuals Directly to Your Inbox Name: Email: We respect your email privacy...

Exercise Video of the Week: The Inverted Row

My recent post Exercise Video of the Week: How to do a Push-up received a far better response than I initially expected. Consequently, I’ve decided to devote the majority of my upcoming Exercise Video of the Week segments to relatively basic, albeit important, compound movements that are so often performed incorrectly. This week I’ll be featuring the Inverted Row: The Inverted Row is a fantastic drill for improving – among other things – upper back strength, scapular stability, posture, and shoulder health and function. Performed correctly it should demolish your entire back but place a significant emphasis on the lats, low/mid traps, rhomboids, and even the rear delts. In other words…the benefits of Inverted Rows are endless and nearly everyone should incorporate some variation of them into their training regimen. Having said all of that, this is how to perform a well-executed Inverted Row:     Unfortunately, Inverted Rows are pretty easy to mess up and, when performed incorrectly, they can actually do more harm than good. Generally speaking, the most common errors I see in regard to the Inverted Row are: Not Going High Enough In the video I said it may not be necessary to touch the bar to your chest, but it is necessary to achieve full scapular (i.e. shoulder blade) retraction. Generally speaking, those with shorter arms relative to their torso should be able to touch (or come very close to touching) their chest whereas those with longer arms have a little bit more wiggle room. Regardless, don’t skimp on range of motion. Get as high as possible without compromising form and shoulder health. Letting the Hips Sag See in the video...

Exercise Video of the Week: [Machine] Bent Over Row

  I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend! Fortunately, I was able to make my way back up to Beantown and spend Turkey day with 15 of my closest relatives. Aside from the insane traffic and 10-hour drive, it was great to see my family, spend quality time with mama Syatt, and play (read: dominate) in my annual basketball game with my cousins. That being said, the highlight of my weekend was the pie.     I love pie….and when my mother and two aunts get together for the holidays, it inevitably turns into a pie eating extravaganza with the tastiest pies you could possibly imagine. I love Thanksgiving 🙂 Anyway, I’m finally back to my normal diet (i.e. not shoveling pie down my throat) and training schedule following my most recent Powerlifting competition, and it feels good to be back on track; I always function better and make more progress on a regular schedule opposed to a less predictable routine. I guess that shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise, but it’s important to be aware of nonetheless. Enough rambling; let’s move on to the Exercise Video of the Week:   [Machine] Bent Over Row   Benefits The Bent Over Row is great full-body compound movement (with an obvious upper-body emphasis) which can be used to develop strength and hypertrophy as well as improve overall health and function. Performed correctly, the Bent Over Row will build the lats, rhomboids, and low/mid traps while improving scapular function and mechanics. I often use it as a tool to teach and practice the hip-hinge, as it serves as an...