We present to you a set of ten mistakes that just might be a part of your strength training. If you strive for progress, you should avoid them like the plague. If you pay a little bit more attention to what people are doing in your gym, you will notice each of the below listed mistakes on a daily basis. The worst part is that they usually come together and, according to the probability theory, you are probably also doing (at least) one of those mistakes.
If you really try and analyse your exercise routine, as well as the routine of those exercising around you, you will often see someone doing each of the 10 mistakes that will be described later. We will not occupy ourselves with some trivial mistakes, like the one when people dedicate themselves to working out for (the whole!) two months before summer and later wonder what happened to their results. Living like a pig for ten months (or three years) and wishing to achieve a bodybuilder look in two months is just not possible. Everyone with a bit of common sense knows enough to understand that such results do not come overnight.
Many people have their own set of exercises that they insist on repeating forever. They never dare to learn anything new and include it in their training. What is even worse, their training then turns to a routine consisting of approximately the same number of reps and sets, and more or less the same weights. The longer a person works out in such a way, the less progress they are able to achieve with their training. This also includes working out with the exercise machines only. Be bold, dive into the unknown and learn some new exercises. You are missing out on too much. Learn how to use the barbell and the entire repertoire of exercises it offers, learn how to use the kettlebell and your own body, start using free weights and stop limiting yourself.
Training often has to become hard. The problem is that a lot of people refuse to get out of their comfort zone and continue to work when things get tough. For illustration, there are people who are doing the bench press with 35 kg, but can actually do the same number of reps with 60 kg. If you are one of those people who make the above described mistakes, you must admit to yourself that you have a problem. You are not training; you are in fact pretending to train. Be aware that only by getting out of your comfort zone, you can create a real challenge for your body (to which the body adapts, thus becoming stronger). Come to your senses and accept the fact that the lack of true effort brings zero results.
The volume of work is defined by the number of reps, sets and weights. For the short term results, the ideal thing would be to constantly vary all three components. Conversely, for the long-term results a constant increase of the training volume is ideal. A year ago, a certain training routine might have been adequate for you, but you have made a progress since then so the same training is now nowhere as effective. Your current training routine might be extremely hard for you, but it will become relatively easy in the future. That is why we should always work on increasing our training volume.
Deload phase represents a period of lower intensity training in order to give your body a chance to rest, adapt to what you have done previously and prepare for the next work cycle. If you are training hard, it is very important that you set some time apart for this stage of training as well. Two to three weeks of high intensity training should be followed by a week of a reduced training volume (the deload phase). Following this pattern is a good way to implement this principle into your own training program. This mistake can most often be found in people who maintain an extremely high intensity training. In the short term, that is a great thing, but the long-term progress requires alternating between high and low intensity training phases. Lack of the deload phase will result in overtraining together with the lack of results, frustration and even becoming fed up with your training.
This rule is not as important for beginners who train two to three times a week, since their training intensity is low, hence their body does not require a resting phase.
Using a proper technique allows you to get the most out of each one of your exercises, while being safe at the same time. Your safety is one of the biggest reason why your training technique should be perfect. Injuries are a major enemy of the long-term progress. Poor technique is a pathway to a dangerous territory you should not be willing to take. Many people think that it is enough to do something, just as long as you do it. To clean 100 kg like a pig is not something you should brag about; what comes around goes around. Maybe you do not feel it right away, but rest assured that the pain and the injuries will appear eventually.
Everyone would like to do what we see Dmitry Klokov or Rich Froning doing. But we are simply not yet at the same level as they are. It is bad to try to imitate our role-model’s workouts and training programs and disregard the differences in the level of training, skills and knowledge. It would be wiser to consider what our role models did when they were at our level. Because Klokov could not snatch 200 kg right away either.
Follow your own path and gradually increase the complexity of your exercise, as well as the training volume. It is wrong to skip certain steps and do things for which you are not ready. For example, if you do not know to perform a front squat, you should not even be thinking about doing a clean. Everyone should train according to their own level of training, their abilities and shortcomings.
Lack of a training program will make us wonder around without getting anywhere. A good long-term training program could prevent each of the major mistakes that people do during their training. Make your own plan and stick to it as long as it provides you with results. A good training program must be focused on the long-term progression, which we have already discussed (mistake #7), along with a variation in exercises, number of reps and weights. It must contain the deload phase (mistake #4) and proper progression of training exercises which will make us practice continuously and according to our plan, without improvising one minute before the training. Improvising always includes a high risk of mistakes you should never be willing to accept.
A good warm-up routine has many positive effects. Two of the most important ones are the increase in performance and prevention of injuries. Also, if your range of motion in one of your joints is limited, warming up is the part of training where you can work on that. Short hamstrings, tight pecs, traps and lats, bad posture regarding shoulders and pelvis, limited range of motion in your hip or ankle – all the issues that we should try to fix during our warm-up routine.
Long-term lack of sleep, unhealthy eating habits, messy lifestyle and a bad posture represent another mistake which people often do, thinking that those things have no connection to their training whatsoever. If you are one of those who share such point of view, you need to know that you are making a huge mistake. Insufficient amount of sleep prevents your body from recovering and muscle building (yes, our muscles are regenerated during sleep). Bad eating habits and a messy lifestyle significantly hinder the effectiveness of training and recovery time, while bad posture results in a limited range of motion during the very training. Avoid these mistakes; get your life in order and you’ll feel better in your own skin straight away.
In our everyday training we very often come across some deeply rooted myths. Presented here are few of the most common ones and the truth about those myths that will help you separate them from reality.
THE TRUTH: We can often notice people wearing different types of jackets and tracksuits for which they hope will encourage their lose weight. Unfortunately for those people, excessive sweating does not help with weight loss. Namely, sweating is a process which serves to regulate our body temperature, i.e. the cooling process. By sweating, our bodies lose fluids, certain electrolytes and get rid of the toxins. Because of that, the post-training results on the scale very often show a lower body weight, which, however, returns to that prior to working out with further rehydration.
In addition, it is important not to forget that an excessive loss of fluids causes dehydration and some negative side effects, such as fatigue, vomiting, headaches or muscle spasms.
THE TRUTH: During the very training, aerobic exercises cause greater calorie loss, though for the simplest of reasons – they last longer that anaerobic training. But problems appear after the training. Following the anaerobic training, the speed of our metabolism is increased much longer that after aerobic training. That is why, when we take into account both the training and the period after the training, we can see that the energy consumption is larger after anaerobic training. Thus, anaerobic exercises are considered to be much more effective when it comes to weight loss.
THE TRUTH: Strength training helps us increase our muscle mass which causes larger energy consumption when going about our everyday activities. That means that our metabolism is working faster. If we consider the fact that weight loss depends on burning more calories than consuming them, then that tells us that strength exercises must be a good weapon when fighting against excessive body weight. Of course, we should not forget that an adequate diet is, next to working out, the most important factor of weight loss.
THE TRUTH: Huge amounts of sit ups will not reduce the size of your belly, nor they will help you to get a six-pack. There are no exercises for “targeting” a specific part of your body and losing weight exclusively off of it. In order for your abs to be visible, it is necessary to remove the fat tissue that is covering them, which can be done only by eating clean, doing quality full body strength training and some type of cardio training. Only when the fat starts to disappear will your “six-pack” see the light of the day.
THE TRUTH: Men have a prerequisite for developing much more muscle mass in comparison to women. The biggest reason for that is the testosterone which women have in very small quantities when compared to men. For this reason, the strength training with heavy weights will bring about the positive effects that women are actually looking for when working out, but it will hardly cause excessive muscle building in process. This myth is mostly supported through pictures of female bodybuilders. Nevertheless, people forget that those are extreme cases, that is, women who have dedicated their whole lives to be as bigger and as muscular as possible, who use large amounts of forbidden substances on a daily basis.
So, to all women reading this: Stop worrying about "bulking up". Lift heavy. It is the only way to get good results.
THE TRUTH: It is wrong to judge the quality of a training depending on the muscle soreness or fatigue it has caused. Great training doesn’t always cause muscle soreness, especially when it comes to elite athlete’s training. Besides, beginners are more prone to muscle soreness, as well as advanced athletes returning to training after extended period of rest. After some time, the body gets used to bigger loads and training volume, thus very useful and hard trainings sometimes do not cause any muscle soreness. Also, modern training includes training methods which are not hard on the body, but provide excellent results, nevertheless.
THE TRUTH: We have heard a lot of times that a basketballer compromises his jump shot by working out in the gym. Fortunately, this is yet another misconception.
Adequate strength training, combined with sport-specific training most surely does not cause the loss of your fine motor skills. As long as you practice your jump shot, you need not to worry. We can support this idea by stating that a large number of NBA basketballers does strength training every day and, what is even more interesting, they do an easy training in the gym on the very day of the game!
THE TRUTH: Good and complete strength training, done in the right way, won't reduce your flexibility at all! We could claim the exact opposite – quality strength training during which you are making sure to use your FULL RANGE OF MOTION actually helps to increase your flexibility. In addition, it is a fact that bodybuilders, olympic weightlifters and mixed martial arts athletes are, as a rule, very flexible people, much more flexible than the average population, despite their huge amounts of muscle mass.
The only right principle during training is working from core to extremities. That means that each quality movement is preceded by stabilizing your core. If your core is not stable, that is, if your spine is not in a braced and neutral position, your body is unable to do a quality movement. This results in the loss of stability, power output and force production as well as increased chance for injuries.
Each person should possess the knowledge of how to properly organize your spine. This is key during training, but also in our everyday life. Because, we should already be aware of that our movements define the way in which our body functions. The same goes for our body posture. If we do not know how to organize our body posture, then our body will accept bad body posture as its default position.
If a physically inactive person becomes adjusted to bad body posture, in time they will suffer the consequences. They will manifest through pain and inability to fulfill your everyday chores. Also, it is possible to sustain certain injuries over time, e.g. when a person who does not know how to organize their spine properly lifts a heavy couch or any other heavy object. The chance of experiencing negative side effects of bad body posture is increasing with age.
While negative effects of bad body posture affect the inactive population, their effect is even greater regarding the athletes. Although this represents a widely acknowledged fact which nobody can deny, few athletes, and we could also say that for their coaches, know how to organize your spine properly and maintain this position during various movements.
A stable and organized spine is key to safe movement as well as maximizing your power output and force production. Simply said, bad body posture calls for injuries and hinders our performance.
Athletes who perform movements without properly organizing their spine in the controlled training conditions will repeat those movements during the competition. However, external forces that affect our body at that moment (e.g., when landing or changing the direction) will be multiple times stronger. They will continue to perform inadequate movements in the future as well – when training progress enables them a higher training load and more advanced exercises. They will not experience difficulties in the beginning, but in time, due to higher training and competition requirements, that risk will increase drastically.
Squat is a good example with which we can paint a picture of what you’ve just read. Let's say that a young athlete has not learned to perform a good air squat. He initially performs only such a squat and remains safe. The problems arise later when we start adding weight and doing the exercises with a variety of jumps. Now our athlete performs inadequate weighted movements, and the poor squat technique is reflected on the poor jumping or landing technique. This makes the training less safe. The forces have increased, and the technique has remained poor. Over time, our athlete is growing up and becoming heavier and stronger. The forces that his body has to overcome in competitions and training are still growing and now there is a risk that the injury will eventually take place.
We are giving three additional reasons for those who do not consider all the reasons from the above to be as important for maintaining a neutral position of the spine:
In order to avoid problems caused by not being able to maintain a neutral spine position, it is necessary to learn the sequence for bracing your spine. By following the sequence we can properly organize our spine in every situation. It’s a mistake to do it exclusively in the gym; it is also necessary to do it during movements you perform outside the gym. Only then will the proper organization of our spine become the "default" organization of our spine.
The sequence for the organization of the spine:
It is necessary to properly organize your spine before doing a certain movement, both in and outside the gym. This means, before we start walking, running, doing squats, deadlifts, snatches or any other movement, your first need to get your spine into the neutral position. We will repeat once more, glutes set position, abs brace position. The intensity of engagement of abs must be increased together with the increase of the movement complexity.
Some will surely wonder how it is possible that some powerlifters work with enormous weights without being in the optimal position. The answer to that question is actually pretty simple. They present athletes who consciously accept the risk brought about by their technique and they know that a greater deviation from the optimal position also includes a greater chance of sustaining an injury. They are compromising and accepting a poorer technique which will allow them to lift heavier weights. Athletes whose primary task is not to lift as much as possible should never concede to taking such a risk.
It is of the essential importance, regarding both improved performance and your safety, to learn how to properly organize your spine. The provided description, despite the fact that it may seem to simple, will bring you good results. Perfect your knowledge with what we are offering you here and make your training better and safer, regardless of whether you do CrossFit, powerlifting, weightlifting, bodybuilding or any other physical activity.
We all know that it is the mental attitude which determines who will succeed, and who will fail. Due to large competition, modern athletes cannot and should not rely exclusively on their talent. Having a talent is not enough. Even though we have heard stories about truly successful athletes thanks to their hard work, we often ignore the fact that the greatest athletes today do not possess only talent. Hard work leading toward the success has for a long time not been only an exception. It has become a rule.
This article will tell you a story of USA athletic trainer. It happened at the beginning of USA national basketball team preparations for the Olympic Games in London in 2012. The main character of the story is Kobe Bryant – one of the few basketball players who can be compared to the best of them all, Michael Jordan.
We present you a story about the unbelievable work ethics of Kobe Bryan with the help of a text from Reddit. Although basketball is not something you would expect to read about in our blog, we are sure that the following story will encourage your motivation. It's simple – some stories are universal and can be applied to any other area including CrossFit, powerlifting, weightlifting or bodybuilding. Enjoy!
I've been a professional athletic trainer for about 16 years and have been able to work with a range of athletes from the high school to professional level. Right now I run in a clinic in Cincinnati and have most recently been training with some players on the Bengals.
I've been seeing the videos of Kobe's most recent dunks and the comments you guys have had to share I decided I might as well chime in what I know about the man. And let me just state by saying that this story doesn't touch on anything we don't know about Kobe but rather that he simply is not human when he is working on his craft.
I was invited to Las Vegas this past Summer to help Team USA with their conditioning before they head off to London, and as we know they would eventually bring home the Gold (USA). I've had the opportunity to work with Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade in the past but this would be my first interaction with Kobe. We first met three days before the first scrimmage, on the day of the first practice, early July. It was a brief conversation where we talked about conditioning, where he would like to be by the end of the Summer, and we talked a little bit about the hustle of the Select Team. Then he got my number and I let him know that if he ever wanted some extra training he could hit me up any time.
The night before the first scrimmage I remember I was just watched "Casablanca" for the first time and it was about 3:30 AM. I lay in bed, slowly fading away when I hear my cell ring. It was Kobe. I nervously picked up.
"Hey, uhh Rob, I hope I'm not disturbing anything right?"
"Uhh no, what's up Kob?"
"Just wondering if you could just help me out with some conditioning work, that's all."
I checked my clock. 4:15 AM.
"Yeah sure, I'll see you in the facility in a bit."
It took me about twenty minutes to get my gear and out of the hotel. When I arrived and opened the room to the main practice floor I saw Kobe. Alone. He was drenched in sweat as if he had just taken a swim. It wasn't even 5AM. We did some conditioning work for the next hour and fifteen minutes. Then we entered the weight room, where he would do a multitude of strength training exercises for the next 45 minutes. After that we parted ways and he went back to the practice floor to shoot. I went back to the hotel and crashed. Wow.
I was expected to be at the floor again at about 11 AM. I woke up feeling sleepy, drowsy, and almost pretty much every side effect of sleep deprivation. Thanks, Kobe. I had a bagel and headed to the practice facility.
This next part I remember very vividly. All the Team USA players were there, feeling good for the first scrimmage. LeBron was talking to Carmelo if I remember correctly and Coach Krzyzewski was trying to explain something to Kevin Durant. On the right side of the practice facility was Kobe by himself shooting jumpers. And this is how our next conversation went -- I went over to him, patted him on the back and said, "Good work this morning."
"Like, the conditioning. Good work."
"Oh. Yeah, thanks Rob. I really appreciate it."
"So when did you finish?"
"Getting your shots up. What time did you leave the facility?"
"Oh just now. I wanted 800 makes so yeah, just now."
My jaw dropped. Mother of holy God. It was then that I realized that there's no surprise to why he's been as effective as he was last season. Every story about his dedication, every quote that he's said about hard work all came together and hit me like a train. It's no surprise to me now that he's dunking on players ten years younger than him and it wasn't a surprise to me earlier this year when he led the league in scoring.
Thanks for reading and allowing me to share you my Kobe Bryant story...
Yesterday you were tired from work, and today is a day off so it doesn’t make sense to spoil it with training. They are after all only two training sessions. But is it really so, or is every training important?
Every training that we miss without good reason impedes our progress. Perhaps today's weight would have just been a warm up if we went through with every workout we had planned. But no, we skipped because of short-term pleasure, not knowing that we actually sacrificed the real long-term progress. Winners train when they are tired, deprived or frustrated, or when they are facing various problems. For them, there is no excuse. A skipped training is always just a skipped training - regardless of the reason. And if we will be a little harsher, then we can say that a skipped training is a skipped opportunity for development that we have irretrievably lost.
Being fit is a lifestyle choice. Every day we face choices that bring us closer to (or away from) our desired goal. Whether we want to lose a few pounds, gain some muscle, whether we want to become the new Lionel Messi, LeBron James, Roger Federer, or become the fittest man in the world. Things we do every day define us. Together with the choices we make. One wrong choice will not make a difference, but one skipped training when all was not ideal will make the next bad choice bearable. In time, we will develop the habit of telling us that it is normal not to train in conditions when in the past we skipped training.
With two reps that we skipped yesterday and the one set we skipped today, we increase the likelihood of skipping them again in the future. Skipped training when you were delayed at work or when it was too hot will dictate the thinking that it is normal to skip training in these conditions. So subconsciously, we can develop more bad habits. However, we all know that this is not a characteristic of success. Successful people know that every workout is essential. They know that the morning alarm that they set the previous day in order to get up early for training means only one thing, regardless of the enormous desire to stay in bed. They rise up out of bed and do their training, while those less successful choose the easier way and decide to get some sleep. Such choices make the difference between the best and the rest.
Just do the right thing regardless of the obstacles. Because the success or lack of success will be determined by what we do every day. Success depends on our habits. And our habits are what lead us to our goal, not our talent or excellent ideas. What we do every day determines our fate. We are what we do every day.
There is another whole series of habits that can hinder us in our progress. We all know that we move too little, and yet we use the elevator when we can use the stairs (my neighbors use it even when they need to get to the first floor!), we use our cars to the destinations where we can be in 10 minutes of walking, we choose breakfast from the bakery instead to wake up 20 minutes earlier and prepare a healthy breakfast, etc. Bad choices that create bad habits facilitate the adoption of new bad choices including new bad habits.
What we do, build us. By the way we think and the habits that we created, we can find ourselfs in one of the three following situations:
1) We can be the ones who stand on the side and watch how others are progressing (and complain how it’s easier for them - “because they have an easier job, a better genetic predisposition…”).
2) We can be the ones who think about how it would be if we had the right opportunity or if we acted when we first had to.
3) We can be the ones who work and act, and ones who will not regret missed opportunities.
Do not become a slave to bad habits and start to act. Not next week, not tomorrow, today! Make a good lifestyle your habit.
If every bad choice is looked at isolated, then those bad choices do not have great importance. But every bad choice facilitates the adoption of new bad choices. If they were looked at as a whole, their total effect would be enormous, even though if looked at in isolation they seem meaningless. That is the theory of accumulation.
There are no irrelevant choices. One poorly placed training, one bad meal, one skipped self myofascial release, one beer too many. Everything counts and nothing is irrelevant.
The training that we have not done well today increases the likelihood that we will not deal with tomorrow’s training with 100%, and the bad meal last week will make today's bad meal a bearable choice. The more often you make a bad decision, it is easier to justify a new bad choice. So our theory of accumulation indicates that every choice matters.
Somebody's going to say that rest days have an important role and that we cannot constantly train and keep a high intensity. We are going to agree with that. Rest days really play a very important role in long-term training, especially in the high intensity training of athletes. However, rest should be earned. Have you earned your rest day?
Training is skipped only with a reason - injury, illness or family emergency situations. Heat, bad day at work, traffic jams, being lazy or watching movies late into the night are not good reasons.
Skipping workouts create a bad habit. Likewise, by not skipping workouts we are creating a good habit. The theory of accumulation tells us that an individual training does not mean much, but their total sum over a longer period is of great significance. Bad choices we make seem insignificant if we look at them in isolation, but in a month, a year or throughout the life they create a very big difference. They share successful from unsuccessful. Examine it and thereby be realistic. Did you give your best or could you be better? Take time to honestly answer to the previous question and then move on to the next. Do you really want success? If you really want it, then you need to know - every training is essential. Pretending that you want success will not bring results and time will prove that mercilessly. Being fit is the sum of the daily habits and the result of the accumulation of all the good and bad choices that you do from an early age. If you have not already, it's time to form good habits. One that will allow you to achieve your goals, not those that will inhibit it. Form habits that will force you to do the right thing in every situation.
It is time for training!
Do you want to get old without experiencing what your body is capable of? Or do you think differently and want to find out how far you are willing to go to discover your full potential? Here, we are only addressing the ones that want more. The ones that want to find out how strong their body is. The ones that want to be stronger, faster, fitter. Ready for everything life puts in front of them. Our task is to make everyone a better human. Let us help you discover the best version of you. Welcome to our web page!
Hereafter, in this section of the web page, we will release articles with the goal to inform you what you are doing wrong in your training, things we forgot but are an important part of training, about ways that can make us stronger, faster, have more endurance and more motivated people. Here we will introduce the whole philosophy behind Unbroken Fitness. Because Unbroken Fitness isn’t just about apparel and accessories for training. It’s a life style. It implies the inner fire, which forces us to search for the best out of us – in training and in every day life. Unbroken Fitness implies that we always want more, give even more, and live better.
For the first article, which will come out in this category of our web page, we chose a theme that deals with reviewing the thesis that every training session is not relevant. Is that really like that? Or is it actually true that, in search for the best results, every training session is important? The answers to those questions you will be able to find out throughout the next few days. Until then, train hard and train smart.
We would like this place to become the source of useful information available to everyone. Because of that, our products won’t be placed as the main idea here. Here you will be able to receive all the necessary information that will help you achieve all your long term training goals. For both recreational fitness enthusiasts and for athletes, for people that want to lose a couple kilos or gain muscle weight, for people who want to become the best version of themselves, and for people that want to become world champions. Our task is to offer information that will make everything easier for you, and it is up to you to reach out and apply that information to your training. Dare to be Unbroken. Dare to be great.