Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book Review: Underground Secrets To Faster Running

This book definitely exceeded my expectations. I throughly enjoy all 86 pages of it. I read this book in about 2 hours.

I like and also agree with most of Ross' opinions. His opinion on Mass Specific Force (MFS) is interesting. MFS is the amount of force you can produce in relation to your bodyweight. He talks about staying away from putting on sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (non-contractile), and only concern yourself with myofilbillar hypertrophy (Contractile).

He states that to run faster you have to put more force into the ground, or the same amount of force but at a faster rate.

He talks about why linear periodization is a load of crap bascially!! He is definitely a proponent of more of a concurrent approach to strength training.

He discusses why he thinks the deadlift is a superior choice of lift to the squat. I myself am a huge deadlift fan. If I had to pick between a deadlift and a squat, I would also pick the deadlift (everytime). In saying that I still think the squat pattern is still important to coach.


This is a good thought provoking book. I would recommend it.

Stay Strong,

Friday, June 18, 2010

Plate Loaded Single Leg Deadlift

Here is a plate loaded version of a single leg deadlift (SLDL) that I use with some beginners who have difficulty with a dumbell version.

1 Arm Plate SLDL

I find with some beginners that when I load them with a dumbbell they have trouble keeping their shoulder of the arm with the dumbell retacted. What I see is the shoulder come from into protraction, which can cause some rotation and some flexion of the thoracic spine. I find too that beginners think they need to go lower down when performing an SLDL, then they really need too. This can cause some beginners to go into some rotation and flexion of the thoracic also.

All the above can lead to an ugly lookin' SLDL.

I find with the plate loaded version that beginners hold better form. The plates vector of weight is easier to control than that of a dumbbell. It feels very similiar to a kettlebell, as it drops straight toward the floor. Also with the plates diameter, it stops beginners going too far down when performing a SLDL, as it tips the floor. This stops beginners going into too much thoracic rotation and flexion.

Give it a try.

Stay Strong,


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Book Review: The Female Brain

So my closest friend started to tell me about this book, and how she thought that I would enjoy it. Boy she knows me too well. Also the more I read and listen to people like Paul Chek, I have become more open minded about learning more things. So I decided to go where very few males have gone before 'inside the female brain'.

I have to say that initially I felt the author Louann Brizendine came across as fairly sexist, but the more I read of this book the more her humour, wit, and information grew on me.

Brizendine broke the book down in a very reader friendly way. The chapters where as follows:

Chapter 1:The Birth of the Female Brain

Chapter 2:The Teen Girl Brain

Chapter 3: Love and Trust

Chapter 4: The Brain Below the Belt

Chapter 5: The Mommy Brain

Chapter 6: The Feeling Brain

Chapter 7: The Mature Female Brain


Chapter 1: The Birth of the Female Brain

Every brain starts off as a female brain! After 8 weeks, if enough testosterone is produce, it will start to change this female brain into a male brain. The testostrone supposely skrinks the communication centre of the brain, reduces the hearing cortex, and makes the part of the brain that processes sex twice as large. Go figure!!

As babies, females are more observent than males. In the first 3 months a baby girls ability to make eye contact and mutual facial expression will increase by 400% more than boys.

Chapter 2: The Teen Brain:

Talks about how the menstrual cycle can really f#*k things up for females. The menstrual cycle is broken up into two phases: the estrogen phase for the first two weeks of the cycle, and the progesterone phase for the last two weeks cycle.

During the estrogen phase (weeks 1 & 2), a girl is more socially relaxed. There is a 25% growth of the connections in the hippocampus (your memory), and that makes the female brain a little sharper and more alert. The brain fucntions better, and you remember more.

Then in weeks 3 & 4, progesterone starts to come out from the ovaries and begins to reverse the effects of estrogen, acting like a weed killer on the new connections that were made with the hippocampus. the brain becomes more sedated at first, then gradually more irritable, less focused, and then a little slower.

In the last few days of the cycle, progesteronr collapses and its calming affect is withdrawn. This leaves the brain momentarily upset, stressed, and irritable. Bascially this is where the shit can hit the fan!!

Chapter 3: Love and trust

In this chapter Brizendine states that women are more cautious than men when starting out in a relationship. Women for the most part look for long-term security out of a relationship (can this male provide for a family, and keep us safe), more so then men. She claims that not much has changed since our stone age days.

She talks about the high levels of oxytocin (feel-good hormone) is very high in the initial phases of a relationship. This is why people can crave for one another when they are apart. Oxytocin can also supresses anxiety and skepticism, reinforcing ones feelings for their partner. This can be achieved by kissing, hugging, and well you know yourself.

She finally goes on to talk about in some brain-imaging studies that, emotional pain triggers the same circuits in the brain as physical pain.

Chapter 4: The Brain Below the Belt:

Brizendine states that women need to be completely relaxed to be able to have an orgasm. If the female cannot relax this will shut off the hormones that are release in order for her to have an orgasm.

Chapter 5: The Mommy Brain:

Brizendine talks about how females can get so obsessed with their babies, that the same happy hormones get release, that where release when they first fell in love with their partner. This is why so many women after giving birth have zero interest in sex, as caring for the child gives them enough satsifaction.

Brizendine states that some mothers actually start to carve for the feeling of breast feeding, as this again starts to release the happy hormones that are released during sex.

Chapter 6: The Feeling Brain:

Brizendine states that in general women are better are detecting one's feelings. Men only pick up subtle signs of sadness 40% of the time, where as women pick it up 90%.

Chapetr 7: The Mature Female Brain

This was the chapter I liked the most. Brizendine talked about that when a woman reaches post-menopause, and all her children are grown-up, that she starts to finally care more about herself then others. She finally does what she wants to do. This is why women over fifty are more likely to initiate devoce than a man.


I think this a great book for any who trains, is married too, or is friends with females. The book goes into the physiology more than I did here, which is what I really did like about it also. What hormones are being release with this type of reaction and so forth.

Well there you have it. The Female Brain!

Stay Strong,


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Want a Bigger Chest and Shoulders? Do More Rows!

I am sure we have all seen this. Guys with aweful posture (forward head, rounded shoulders), benching to get a bigger chest!

Whenever I get asked by young guys about how to make their chest bigger, I always say, "Do more rows"! To which they always look at me let I have two heads!

Let me explain here. If you have poor posture like the picture below more bench pressing, or any horizontal pushing will only do you more harm than good, and give you a smaller looking Pec area, rather than the barrel chest look you desire.

Poor Posture

In the picture above my posture is so bad, that you cannot even see my chest. If I was to do more bench pressing, or any type of horizontal pushing it would actually make me chest look smaller NOT bigger, by pulling me more into this dysfuctional posture. Now if I was to strengthen my upper back, and get my shoulder blades back, my chest would look like it just magically grew tenfold! See in the picture below

Good Posture from some upper back work

Also if you have poor posture like in the first picture, the function of shoulder into overhead positions is going to be greatly comprised. Look below.

Alter overhead mechanics due to poor posture

In the picture above there would be no way in hell you would let someone with this overhead movement pattern press a weight overhead. Now if you wanted to really get optimal hypertrophy of your shoulders, you would want to press overhead. But you could not run the risk of pressing overhead with the posture in the picture above.

Now if again I was to strengthen my upper back, and work on some other things (like t-spine mobility and proper breathing patterns from the diaphragm), I would put myself in a much better and safer position to overhead press. In the picture below, you can see that my upward rotation of my scapula is far better, safer, and more efficent with good posture. This effectively will allow me to overhead press without any compensation, while keeping my shoulder healthly in the long-term also.

Optimal Overhead Positional due to better posture

Show there you have it. It you want a bigger chest and shoulders, DO MORE ROWS!!

Stay Strong,


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What a Week!

From L-R: Connor Ryan, Robbie Bourke, Stephen Bennett, Cedric Unholz, Steve Bunker.

Sorry for the lack of activated on the blog. I am just home from Boston after attending the Perform Better Summit. It was a hectic week, not only did I attend the Summit but I met up with all the guys from MBSC. It was great to meet all of the guys again.

I travelled over with my friend and Strength Coach Stepten Bennett, and we met up with Australian Strength coach Cedric Unholz in Boston.

A big shout out to Steve "Bunkie" Bunker, and all of his family for all of their generosity during our stay. Also to Connor Ryan for the ride back on Sunday to Winchester, and for just being " a sound man"!.

The summit itself was great, and it was nice to finally put some faces to some names. It was wonderful that Cedric and I got the chance to have a full blown conversion about training and re-hab with Charlie Weingroff on Saturday night. That was an education in itself. Thanks Charlie.

Also a big thanks to Mike Boyle for accommodation at Rhode Island, and to Anthony Renna for Fridays after party.

As for the actually presentations, I need to listen back to my voice recorder, and look over my notes.