by Bob Vandersluis
Training is pretty difficult, and can challenge the best athletes to work past current physical and mental thresholds. Trying to be your best at anything almost always makes you feel like you’re failing at some point. There are moments when you feel like you have no idea why you’re doing what you’re doing, or how to take the next step, or like you just want to give up and forget the goals you once had.
In the strength and conditioning world, there is a lot of “noise”, and people claiming to have the next best method to get strong and lose fat. Albeit, this is a very progressive field, and methods do have a tendency to evolve over the years, there a few concepts that will always be true if you want to have success with athletic development or body composition.
1) BUILD MUSCLE AND LOSE FAT WITH RESISTANCE TRAINING (COMPOUND MOVEMENTS)
It is universally understood that weight training increases BMR, improves insulin reaction, increases bone density or prevents its loss, and prevents the loss of muscle mass and muscular strength resulting from aging, which emphasizes the importance of weight training.
Since muscle is around 18% more dense than fat, even if after a period of doing consistent resistance training and no weight is lost, the body shrinks, especially around the midsection. So the body firms and shapes up in the right areas and shrinks down in the problematic areas. This is why resistance training is King when it comes to improving the physique.
Everyone and their dog understands at this point that the best bang for your buck exercises are ones that require multi-joint movements. Compound exercises like the squat, deadlift, hip thrust, bench press, row, are all movements that, when done properly can be super effective. These movements should be the base of all of your strength training programming. While doing single joint exercises like leg extensions, bicep curls, and tricep extensions can make you feel the “pump”, they aren’t as effective in muscle stimulus and fat burning.
The hip hinge is one of the fundamental movements of a lot of programs, and one of the most effective ways of building lower body strength. It’s a staple of deadlifts, squats, and anything that requires explosiveness, like olympic lifting, sprinting, and various recreational activities. The block pull is a deadlift variation that requires slightly less hip flexion compared to the traditional conventional deadlift. Athletes who may benefit from this variation are those who sit for prolonged periods of time, and have a posterior pelvic tilt, and have a hard time avoiding lumbar flexion at the end range of motion.
1-Leg Hip Thrust
The Hip Thrust is a glute exercise designed to improve your strength, speed and power by teaching optimal hip extension. What is “optimal hip extension,” and why should you care about it? It’s all about the power in your glutes, which are among the most powerful muscles in your body. The glutes are designed to extend the hip or pull the leg behind the body. If your glutes are underdeveloped, your speed, power and strength are all compromised.
1b) TIME UNDER TENSION
A single bout of resistance exercise stimulates the synthesis of new muscle proteins. Chronic performance of resistance exercise (i.e. weight training) is what makes your muscles grow bigger; a process known as hypertrophy.
Recent studies suggest that the time the muscle is under tension during exercise may be important in optimizing muscle growth. The data shows that greater muscle time under tension increased the acute amplitude of mitochondrial and sarcoplasmic protein synthesis and also resulted in a robust, but delayed stimulation of myofibrillar protein synthesis 24–30 h after resistance exercise.(1)
For this reason we love the next exercise. The Turkish Get-up when done only 4 reps per side, can result in 25-40s of time under tension. This increased muscle contraction time results in greater stability in the joints involved, and as shown above can result in great strength and muscle building.
Half Turkish Get up