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Articles and Education

I commonly get questions like this:

“Should I increase my carbs to help with my performance”

“What do you think of the keto diet”

“I’m eating 190g of protein per day, is that too much”

In every example listed above the thing that’s missing is context. Without enough context I have no way of knowing what any of these people should do. It’s like going to the mechanic and saying “My car isn’t working, should I change the spark plug”? Without a proper needs analysis the mechanic will have no way of knowing what the issue is, and therefore any suggestion they make will be purely based on speculation. 

The scientific method is one of the most important tools we have in the pursuit of maximal strength and muscular development. As research in the sports science field elucidates the various mechanisms and methodologies involved in athletic development we can derive more effective protocols and further enhance the results of our athletes. However, there are several criticisms of the literature and more accurately scientists themselves. Often there’s a dichotomy within the fitness industry where it’s the nerds vs the bros. In my opinion this polarization is entirely unhelpful and based on false assumptions about what each demographic actually represents.

The deadlift is commonly used in resistance training for a variety of reasons including high potential for loading, functions as a full body exercise, high transference to various sports etc. However there is still considerable disagreement as to what the optimal technical execution is for the conventional deadlift. In this short article we’ll cover how hip height in the start position affects strength expression, and how variations in technique can elicit meaningful changes in force production.

Most of the literature on sleep is regarding restriction and its impact on health and performance. However, there is a growing body of research on sleep extension and the potential implications it may have on athletic performance in particular. It’s fairly well understood that sleep is a primary contributor to recovery and performance. In spite of this, it’s estimated over ⅓ of the american population is underslept (1). The American Academy Of Sleep Medicine recommends individuals aged 18-60 sleep a minimum of seven hours a day (1). Failing to meet this requirement has been associated with various chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, along with various other deleterious health and performance outcomes.

If you train hard enough (or not hard enough I suppose) for long enough you will eventually run into a period where progress stalls and improvements to your lifts become much more difficult to realize. Sometimes plateaus last for a few training blocks but, its very easy to let a few blocks slip by and before you know it you are running up on a year or more of minimal progress.

Most people who start out in barbell lifting are familiar with conventional deadlifts. It’s typically the style of deadlifting we learn in traditional weightlifting gym setting, P.E., group fitness classes, and even rehabilitation settings to retrain hip hinge patterns. When it comes to sumo deadlifting, it is most commonly seen in the world of powerlifting. The question often gets asked, “should I pull sumo or conventional?” But to simplify this piece, we are actually not going to address that question here. What we want to cover in this piece, are considerations for new lifters to sumo, who have already decided they want to give sumo deadlifting a chance and are experimenting with sumo deadlift technique.

For every change you see in my body, my mind has gone through ten. When I began the journey that I am on in 2015, I was in one of the worst places I ever been. I was 330 pounds, thirteen years old and had just experienced loss for the first time. My first dog had died and I was trying to make sense of the world. I knew things and people died, I had seen things die, I had killed things before, I had never felt the ache of missing that comes with the loss of someone or something near to your heart.

How specific do you need to be when training for a powerlifting meet? I really want you to stop and think about this question. You may have heard a lot of people who are popular in the world of powerlifting describe how important it is to be as specific as possible when training for the sport. You have to use a straight bar all the time to create the specific stress needed to drive adaptation. Many of the people I hear talk in these kinds of absolutes also complain about their elbow or shoulder or adductor or some other body part hurting going into a meet. What is really paramount in training is the application and management of stress. I am going to argue the specificity of the implement used is not as important as people think.

Let’s start by clarifying that this article is nothing more than a summary of my thoughts based on personal observation, coaching, and discussions with clinicians and professors over the years.  It is not summary of research or definitive fact, albeit from an anecdotal aspect I can consistently drive positive change when fine tuning based on the principles in this piece.

Coaching cues are one of the most prevalent and important parts of coaching. When you’re trying to get somebody to put their body in a certain position or generate force a certain way, you need to give that person a point of reference for how to do that. People often shout very generic intrinsic cues like “core tight” or “knees out”. There are some things that need to be looked at when things like this aren’t getting the results you want. Too often, I’ve seen people use a cue only to have it result in no change and they resort to simply saying it louder or faster instead of changing their approach. This approach doesn’t create meaningful change or help anyone, it often leads to tension and frustration between the coach and person being coached. There needs to be a multi layered approach to thinking about how to cue things and get people to do movements in the way that you want them to.

About Fifteen years ago, when I was then older than most of you readers are today, my doctor gave me three keys to a long and healthy life:

  1. Pick your parents
  2. Take a baby aspirin every day
  3. Exercise every day that ends in “y”

The year 2016 has been a monumental year for strength sports, with some previously “unbreakable” barriers being broken and incredible athletes pushing the boundary of what we thought to be humanly possible. Here is a compilation of what the editors at Kabuki Strength think are the  greatest feats of strength from this year (so far). We hope you enjoy! (note that these are in no particular order)