The importance of training explosively 

Developing explosive strength and power is an effective way to enhance athletic performance. Consequently, training explosively is an important way to nurture an individual’s power / speed strength and their ability to exert maximal force in the shortest amount of time. CMS Fitness Courses (CMSFitness), specialists in health and training, explores the importance of training explosively.

Explosive power is essentially the rate of force development for any type of muscle action and it is vital for activities that require high levels of acceleration and output.

Who benefits from explosive exercise training?

Whilst the general gym-goer does not typically need to include explosive power training in their training schedule, as traditional cardiovascular and gradual strength training will suffice to give adequate results, athletes involved in sports that require movements of high acceleration will need to include explosive power training in order to develop and train muscles outside of their sport.

As explosive exercise training is designed to help athletes increase power output, it is not just used by power lifters and strong men, but by athletes who need to generate rapid bursts of maximum effort. For example, when football players need to accelerate and change direction on the football pitch, or when a cyclist requires a sudden burst of acceleration, or a track and field athlete competing in the long jump. Another example of an athlete that would benefit from explosive power training is a basketball player who wants to improve their jump shot, or a gymnast who is determined to bring more height to their springs.

Athletes involved in martial arts can also benefit for explosive power training. As Men’s Fitness writes, “Explosiveness can mean the difference between delivering a knockout blow or merely making your opponent madder.”

Complex training

Complex training is an exercise athletes can carry out in order to harness explosive power.
Complex training combines plyometrics with strength training to maximise muscle activation, as fully-activated muscles generate greater amounts of power and enable the body to train at higher levels.

As CMSFitness wrote in a blog about complex training techniques and benefits, before athletes participate in this strength-based exercise that is followed by the use of plyometrics, they would need to have some understanding of basic and advanced plyometrics, as well as some experience of strength training.

Also known as the ‘Heavy Suitcase/Light Suitcase’ technique, complex training can be likened to the action that occurs when you carry a lighter suitcase after a heavier one. We find the light suitcase is much easier to pick up after handling a heavier one as our nervous system is prepared for another heavy load. When the body experiences a lighter load than expected, the involuntary muscle contraction generates more force than required, resulting in a high power output.

This same principle is applied to complex training, which combines athletes lifting heavy loads followed by plyometric exercise such as jumping over hurdles. The involuntary force that the body produces in the wake of lifting the heavy loads will be higher than the force required to lift their body over the hurdle, thus resulting in the athlete jumping higher.

Explosive exercises are vital for increasing muscle fibre recruitment and ultimately improve an athlete’s strength, power and performance, specifically in sports that rely on sudden bursts of acceleration. Though it is important to note that in order to avoid injury explosive power exercises should be supervised by a professional fitness instructor.

CMS Fitness Courses (CMSFitness) are specialists in health and fitness training. Based in Huddersfield, CMS Fitness Courses offer a diverse range of high-quality personal training and fitness courses in the West Yorkshire region. CMS Fitness is recognised as a premium provider of health and fitness courses that offer a variety of commercial and government-funded training programmes for people of varying ages and backgrounds across Yorkshire.

http://www.mensfitness.co.uk/exercises/build-muscle/4435/strength-secrets-from-the-first-man-to-lift-1000-pounds

Mens Fitness recently did an article about me focusing on “Strength Secrets To Deadlift 1000lbs” head over to

to read the article.
I can deadlift over 1,000 pounds. Yes, that’s a lot of force because it’s a lot of weight. But one aim of training for strength should be to generate the same force with less weight.
Talk soon
Andy

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How To Work Out Your Weaknesses And Get Strong: Part 4

By Andy Bolton

Today we are going to talk about the weakness that is holding back not only lifters, but the entire western world!..

NUTRITION

Let me tell you the cold harsh truth right now – without your HEALTH, you are NOTHING.

Seriously, without health – nothing else matters.

So why is it, when I go to Powerlifting meets I see lifters stuffing their faces with white bread and cheap cheese and Ham sandwiches or chocolate bars?

Why is it Heart Disease and Cancer are gripping the world in a horrible way (I think 80% of us are statistically going to succumb to one of these diseases at some point).

Scary, eh?

Why is it that I see guys training for 3 hours (with great technique and the “best” training programs)… but they don’t drink anything during that session?!

In other words… they are chronically dehydrated!

I have been guilty of neglecting my nutrition in the past, but it is now something I take very seriously.

I’d like to share a few principles with you today that will improve your STRENGTH and your HEALTH.

Does that sound like something you’d like to do?

If so, please read on, print these principles out and stick them somewhere where you’ll see them every day and live by them.

When you do… you’ll feel, look and PERFORM much better.

10 Principles For Improved STRENGTH and HEALTH

1. Get Hydrated

Drink at least 2 litres of water (excluding peri-workout nutrition per day). The bigger you are the more water you will need.

Try adding a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Rock Salt to every litre of water you drink. This little secret will vastly improve your hydration levels.

Better hydration = better performance. Period.

2. Peri-Workout Nutrition Rules

It is amazing how many lifters still drink nothing around training time. To ignore peri-workout nutrition is RETARDED.

And for those coaches still recommending Skittles and Mars Bars
post workout – SHAME ON THEM.

Get with the times.

Here is what a proper athlete drinks to fuel himself BEFORE, DURING and AFTER training…

– 1 hour before: 1/2 litre water, BCAA’s, Carbs

– During training: 1/2 litre water, BCAA’s, Carbs

– Immediately post workout: Protein, Carbs

Pretty simple really, isn’t it? Start doing it and your strength will rapidly INCREASE. Guaranteed.

3. Get your 5 a day (minimum)

Okay, this one isn’t sexy – but it’s vital for your health.

So just man up and do it.

Eat 5 portions of Fruit and Vegetables a day. MINIMUM.

5 of each would be better!

Emphasize variety and a wide selection of colors throughout the week. So don’t just do Bananas and Potatoes (all yellow)… do bananas, strawberries, spinach, cherries, oranges and so on.

Get it?

4. Quality Matters

Unfortunately, food quality is not always good these days – so get the best quality that you can afford.

Don’t drink tap water – go for bottled water (or filtered).

Go Organic whenever you can – this way you get less chemical and other crap and more vitamins and minerals. It’s a ‘no-brainer’.

You get the idea. Organic is really important.

5. Eat A Variety Of Protein

Grass fed Beef

Organic Chicken

Wild Alaskan Salmon

Don’t eat chicken 8 times a day like some Bodybuilders do – it’s a recipe for boredom and the lack of variety is not healthy.

With meats in particular – quality is super important, hence the “grass fed”, “wild Alaskan”, “organic”

6. Eat Plenty of Healthy Oil

Have 2-4 table spoons a day of the following:

– Coconut Oil

– Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Have 2 to 4 teaspoons a day of this:

– Fish Oil

7. Choose Healthy Carbs

White Bread and white pasta are OUT!

Brown rice, spelt pasta and sprouted bread is in. Make the change and feel the difference.

8. Have A Large, Raw Salad Every Day

This is very important.

Here’s how to do it:

Have this salad with Fish, Chicken or Meat…

– Green Leaves (spinach, lettuce etc)

– Tomato

– Cucumber

– 2 to 3 vegetables of your choice

– Olive Oil, lemon juice

When we cook our food we destroy the enzymes and some of the vitamins and minerals. One raw salad a day will help you to get plenty of enzymes, vitamins and minerals into your body – all VITAL for HEALTH.

9. Get Some Sun Or Vitamin D

Less than optimal Vit D levels have been linked to many diseases.

Unless you work outside in the sun, topless,  for at least an hour a day – you are probably deficient in Vit D.

Buy a Vit D supplement and take it daily. Go for Vit D3 and get at least 1000IU’s per day.

10. Get Some Maca Powder

This supplement is a great natural enhancer of Testosterone. So it’s great for your strength and your performance in the bedroom ;)

Get 1 dessert spoon a day minimum (add it to a shake or smoothie).

Listen up.

What I’ve just shared with you is very POWERFUL. Get your nutrition right and your strength will fly through the roof.

If you found this useful, please hit the Facebook “Like” button because
everybody needs and deserves this simple information.

It’s not hard to do, but most of us don’t do it.

My challenge to you is to STEP UP and cut out the tinned, packaged, processed crap and start putting GOOD FOOD into your body. Your Squat, Bench, Deadlift and HEALTH will thank you for it.

For more stuff that will help your squat, bench and deadlift – you can check out all of my programs by clicking HERE.

How To Work Out Your Weaknesses And Get Strong: Part 3

How To Work Out Your Weaknesses And Get Strong: Part 3

If you are serious about getting STRONGER and building your squat, bench press and deadlift – I’d like you to take a second to think about this…

– Have you ever experienced a time when you were training hard and following a sensible training program, yet you still failed to get stronger?

– Or maybe you got stronger, but not as quickly as you’d like?

If you are anything like me (and any lifter who has been pounding the iron for a couple of years or more), you will have answered “YES” to one or both of the scenarios above.

Now here’s the thing…

I get lots of emails from guys asking me why the are not progressing in the gym. And when I see their training programs – sometimes that is the reason why.

When I see their technique – sometimes that is the reason why they are not getting stronger.

However – there are some guys who have great technique and are following a sensible training program, but they are still not getting STONGER!

What gives?

Here’s what…

Most lifters are guilty of only looking at their program and technique in order to improve.

However, you need to look at EVERYTHING that effects your training and you need to be able to effectively work out what is holding you back.

Oftentimes, the biggest thing holding lifters back is:

A LACK OF SLEEP.

Now I know that sleep isn’t super sexy and it’s not really fun to talk about (unlike programs and super cool assistance exercises).

BUT… If you don’t get enough sleep – your gains will be less than optimal. Period.

Now let me ask you: What’s the point in busting your ass in the gym, if you are then throwing your gains away by not sleeping?

If you want to supercharge your strength gains (no matter how fast or slowly you are currently progressing) – you’d be wise to improve your sleep quality.

Here are 5 tips for better sleep

1. Get off your COMPUTER at least 2 hours before you go to bed

2. Have a WARM SHOWER or bath an hour before bed

3. Do not watch violent television programs or listen to hardcore
music within 2 hours of bed (by hardcore I mean heavy metal and that kind of thing)

4. Take a supplement with MAGNESIUM in it an hour before bed

5. Make sure your bedroom is DARK and COOL

These simple, effective tips will help you sleep better.

And when you sleep better. You will get stronger. And it’s not exactly difficult to do.

Oh, and one more thing – get 8 hours a night.

Try getting 8 quality hours of sleep per night for the next 2 weeks and watch what happens to your strength. You will be pleasantly surprised.

If you found this useful please hit the Facebook “like” button and leave a comment and any questions you have.

For more help getting stronger, check out my full list of STRENGTH
BUILDING TOOLS, by clicking HERE.

How To Work Out Your Weaknesses And Get Strong: Part 2

By Andy Bolton

If you missed part 1 of this series, you can check it out here:

Now let’s get into part 2…

Here we are going to look at technical weaknesses.

At first sight, the three powerlifts (squat, bench press and deadlift)
may look like easy moves to master.

However, you only have to go to your local commercial gym or
“fitness and health center” to see that most people performing the
Squat, Bench and Dealift are doing so with lousy form!

And what does lousy form mean?

It means LESS STRENGTH and MORE INJURY RISK.

Not good.

So, if you want MORE STRENGTH and LESS INJURY RISK (and I’m
guessing you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this) – pay
careful attention to the tip I’m about to share with you because
it is vital on all 3 lifts…

How To INSTANTLY Improve Your Squat, Bench And
Deadlift

Tightness is the key to strength.

If you don’t know how to get tight – you will never reach your
strength potential.

The other day, a friend of mine (who is also a powerlifter) asked
me what mistake I see most lifters making.

I replied…

“That’s easy – they are too loose under the bar”.

In other words – they don’t know how to GET REALLY TIGHT.

Let me tell you – you must practice getting tight on very single
set you do. I don’t care whether it is 95 pounds or 995 pounds,
you must get tight.

And it is only through repeated practice that you will learn to
stay tight with heavy loads.

Here is a drill that my friend Pavel likes to get people to do
to learn to get tight. Do it with me right now.

It’s a 3 step drill that goes like this…

1. Sit down, relax your body and now FLEX YOUR RIGHT
BICEP as hard as you can – but only focus on the bicep

Feel the tightness

2. Stay sat down, relax your body and now FLEX YOUR RIGHT
BICEP and your RIGHT FIST as hard as you can.

You will notice much more tightness when you squeeze your
fist as well as your bicep.

3. Here’s the best part and the true lesson in tightness that I
want to teach you today.

Stand up.

Yes, just do it – STAND UP.

Now do the following as hard as you can:

– Claw the floor with your toes

– Tense your Quads

– Squeeze your Glutes

– Flex your Abdominal muscles

– Tighten your Lats

– Squeeze both fists

and now….

– FLEX YOUR BICEPS

If you do this correctly and with meaningful effort – you will feel
incredible tightness. (Your body will probably shake with the
effort).

It is this tightness that you must try to recreate throughout your
body on your squats, bench presses and deadlifts.

Many people try to find weaknesses that are  more advanced than
they are.

If you cannot get tight – you do not need to be worrying about
hamstring weakness on your squats or tricep weakness on your
benches.

Tightness is king.

Work on it.

For the next 30 days, work on tightness and mastering
your technique on your squat, bench and deadlift and watch your
STRENGTH GO WAY UP.

Have fun and I’ll be back with part 3 soon.

For more help with your squat, bench press and deadlift form,
check out my books and DVD’s right HERE.

Please click the Facebook “Like” button and leave a comment. If
you have any tips for GETTING TIGHT – leave them in the comments
box for everyone to learn from.

Also feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments
box and whilst I can’t promise to answer them – I’ll do my best
if I have the time.

Talk to you soon,

Andy

How To Work Out Your Weaknesses And Get Strong: Part 1

How To Work Out Your Weaknesses And Get Strong: Part 1

By Andy Bolton

There is a saying in STRENGTH TRAINING that goes like this:

“You are only as strong as your weakest link”

And you know what? It’s very true.

A great example is when I pulled over 1000lbs for the first time and then it took me several years (and several missed attempts) before I beat that first 1003lbs pull with a pull of 1008lbs.

Now I’ll be honest with you…

If I’d better assessed my weaknesses, I would have pulled1008lbs much sooner than I did.

Once I worked out what my MAJOR WEAKNESS was – MY GRIP, the solution was simple. Train my grip hard and the results will follow.

Sure enough, 1008lbs fell easier than 1003lbs did once I hit my grip work hard.

The question is… WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR WEAKNESS(ES) right now?

Before I help you to find out your weaknesses, let me just highlight a trend I see in the strength world that is holding many lifters back right now…

It could very well be holding you back too – so pay attention to what follows.

Every article I see on strength training at the moment is talking about the next best Bench variation, or the best hamstring movement, or the best way to get a bigger deadlift without training the deadlift.

I could go on – but I think you get the idea.

95% of the advice on strength training is related to the actual movements that make up your strength training program, and you’d think that makes perfect sense.

However, it doesn’t because IT MISSES THE BIGGER PICTURE.

Allow me to explain…

You can have the best training program in the world – but if you aren’t SLEEPING properly, your results will be less than optimal.

You can perform your squats with perfect form – but if your mind is weak, you will never be TRULY STRONG.

You can hit your triceps with every assistance exercise under the sun – but if your nutrition is lame, your results will be less than optimal.

See what I’m getting at?

Most people’s focus (including that of many strength coaches) is too NARROW.

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to write several articles on ELIMINATING YOUR WEAKNESSES and you’ll get each article for FREE (just keep an eye out for my emails).

The aim is to help you correctly identify your weaknesses by looking at everything that impacts your strength – NOT JUST YOUR EXERCISE SELECTION AND TRAINING PROGRAM.

I have a little exercise for you to do before I next speak to you.

Here it is…

How To Start Figuring Out Your Weaknesses And How To Unleash Your True Strength

Simply put – when you eliminate your weaknesses you “take the brakes off” your training progress and you will start to progress faster than ever.

Here are some areas to think about before I talk to you again. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 for each area, based on how good you think you are at each (10 is best, 1 is worst):

– Technical Mastery of your chosen lifts
– Training Program Design
– Mind-set
– Warm Ups
– Pre-Hab
– Assistance Exercises
– De-load weeks
– Nutrition
– Recovery Protocols

When you see that list, do you now see why it is stupid to just look at exercise selection and training program design when you are looking for weaknesses?

Yet that is what most people do!

Anyway, don’t worry about it – I want to help you and over the course of the next couple of weeks I’m going to give you some great advice that will show you how to you identify and eliminate your weaknesses more successfully than ever before.

Keep an eye out for part 2 (I’ll email it to you) and hit the Facebook “Like” Button below and leave a comment.

How To Deadlift Using Chains (VIDEO)

This video shows you how to DEADLIFT WITH CHAINS…

Deadlifting with chains you will improve your starting strength and your LOCKOUT POWER.

Chains accomodate resistance, making the weight heavier at lockout, and lighter when the bar is on the floor at the start of your Deadlift.

You DO NOT need a loading chain in order to Deadlift against chain. Instead, you can just drape the chains over the bar (as you’ll see in the video).

Chains are a great tool for any powerlifter, strength enthusiast and athlete who requires more speed, strength and power (so if this sounds like you, then I highly recommend that you incorporate them into your
training).

One thing to watch out for when Deadlifting with chains is to make sure that the chain is directly under the bar or placed slightly back towards you at the start. You do not want the chain in front of the bar because it will pull you forwards as you lift, which is both dangerous and inefficient.

Experiment with the chains and let me know how you get on.

Here is my current Deadlift training plan:

Week 1: 60% x 3 doubles (against 20kg of chain)

Week 2: 65% x 3 doubles (against 20kg of chain)

Week 3: 70% x 3 doubles (against 20kg of chain)

Week 4: Work up to a heavy single, then do a heavy partial (from around knee height)

Feel free to copy my training routine and get your Deadlift going UP!

For more information on how to use Chains on your Deadlift, Squat, Bench and Assistance exercises,
bands-and-chainscheck out my new book “Bands And Chains”, by clicking here

 

Talk soon,

Andy Bolton

P.S please leave your comments and questions
in the box below

How To Squat And Bench With Chains

Squat With Chains:

Bench Press With Chains:

5 Tips For Competition Day

5 Tips For Competition Day

By Andy Bolton

In this article I’m going to share 5 tips with you
that you can use to MAXIMIZE your PERFORMANCE
on competition day.

So if you want to make sure that you don’t waste
all that hard work you put in training in the gym –
read on and use these tips at your next meet.

Note: Even if you aren’t a competitive powerlifter,
many of these tips will still work for you the next
time you plan to go for a big gym lift/PR.

5 Tips For Competition Day 

1. Pack Your Bag The Night Before

There is nothing worse than waking up the day of
your powerlifting meet and realizing you can’t find
something that you really need.

You just don’t need that kind of stress on competition
day.

The solution is easy – pack your bag the night before.

I like to write a check list of everything I need and
tick it off as it goes in my bag.

Call me a geek, but it works!

2. Take A Good ‘Handler’ With You

Your ‘handler’ is the guy (or girl) who will look after
you on meet day.

A good handler will carry your bag, help you load the
bar in the warm up room, help you call your numbers…

You get the idea.

The bottom line is that you want this person to be
good.

Don’t take a lemon to the meet because they’ll stress
you out and do more harm than good.

So choose your ‘handler’ wisely (a current training
partner who knows you well is a perfect choice).

3. Open Light 

Ed Coan once said that the only reason anybody bombs
is because they open too heavy.

Sounds simple and it is.

It’s also very true.

I’ve done in excess of 50 powerlifting meets in my
career and I’ve bombed twice. If I’d opened lighter
this wouldn’t have happened.

We all make mistakes.

However, what I find amusing is the guys who bomb
80% of the time. What the hell are they playing at
except for making a joke of the sport?

The tip here is to open light… something you could
triple on a bad day is a good starting point for
beginners and intermediates.

If you are more advanced, you may take a more
aggressive approach and open with a single you know
you can get even on a bad day.

With that said, I can not really ever see the point in
trying to open with a PR. What’s the point?

You have 3 attempts – might as well use them (and
ensure you don’t bomb).

4. Stretch Your Hip Flexors After Squatting And
Benching 

After 3 big Squats, chances are your hip flexors will
be tight.

So stretch them out.

This will loosen them up and help you get a bigger arch.

After Benching, do the same because it’ll help you get
a better set-up position on your Deadlifts.

5. Stay Hyrated 

I don’t like to eat much during a meet.

However, given that meet will last 3 hours and maybe
5 or 6 – not eating or drinking would be a disaster.

So, what’s the solution?

Easy… drink a lot during the meet and add BCAA’s
and Carb powder to your fluids.

That way you stay hydrated (essential for maximum
performance and avoiding injuries) and you get some
calories in.

If you do want to eat some solid food, go for easy to
digest foods like Rice Crackers and Raw, Organic Honey.

It’s 2012… the days of white bread Bacon Butties with
Tomato sauce at meets needs to stop! :)

If you liked this article, please hit the Facebook ‘Like’
button and leave a comment/question.