Modern Mobility

I often feel like a bit of a broken record, constantly apologizing for my busy life. It often seems the old cliché of “The only constant is change” could be the ongoing theme of my life. Since my last post, written from the cozy indoors of a lovely Santa Monica coffee shop, I have since had the opportunity to start a new job in a completely new sector, booked multiple trips (both work and pleasure), made the move to power lifting, as well as managed to successfully injure myself, through my own stupid stubbornness.

As previously mentioned, I am not one for new year’s resolutions. I believe in constantly setting both short and long term goals. One thing that I have been working on has been doing both more things that scare me, but also things that bring me happiness. I have often shied away from spontaneity for fear of being irresponsible, or just because I can be a bit of a “type A” rigid planner. I can successfully say I have managed to inch, maybe even step, outside my comfort zone.

In this trend of trying new things, and being a little less rigid in my thinking, I have been exploring different modalities of mobility. I will admit, mostly because I have managed to break myself once again. Turns out, when discovering and programming for strength, you can not, in fact, lift with the same volume, a stubborn all or none mentality, that you can with body building.  Many body builders walk around sore and broken, wearing it like a badge of honor. I am guilty of this mentality. I had become so used to always going to failure, burning myself out, with that depletion style, that I just couldn’t get around the mind set of lifting at 60% or 80% of what I knew I was capable of doing. The irony of which is that I fully understand the difference, as well as the effect it has on your CNS, yet I am in fact, my own worst enemy.

So, to make a long story short, I managed to screw up my left side pretty badly. It started with what I assume was a minor strain, which led to some compensation. However, being the hero that I am, I refused to not continue with my training. In fact, not only did I not rest it, but I probably overdid it, with my “mind over matter” mentality, pushing and pushing. Constantly adding more weight, and not easing off. This just lead to more imbalances, until what was just my hip, was then also the outside of my trochanter, my hams, my glutes, and now down into my calf. I have successfully screwed the whole kinesthetic chain.

So, in an effort to get back to doing what I do best (beating myself up apparently), I finally accepted that maybe this whole mobility thing was worth a try. I will fully admit that with a plethora of research out there I will often read, research, and believe what affirms what suits my own mentality or goal. I think we all have some cognitive bias in that regard. So my idea of mobility has mostly been, do the movement you plan on executing, in the full range of motion, but with less weight. Simple enough, right? If you’re going to squat today, do squats with an empty bar, and just hang out at the bottom, if it feels good, give er’. As of late, this is just not cutting it. So, now I find myself strapped into a table, being painfully manipulated, laying on mats, grimacing, and limping around like an invalid.  

So here is the thing. Not everyone is the same, duh. However, s small part of the populations is what we call “hypermobile”. While this sounds great (and was when I was a cheerleader and did more yoga), this is actually pathological. Too much mobility results in bone not staying where they should stay, and extra stress on the joint. Tendons and ligaments do not actually “stretch out.” You cannot make them longer. Their function is to transmit force, which connect muscles to bones, the force of muscular contraction is transmitted to the bone it’s attached to, thus moving the bone. And since tendons are in fact elastic, a sudden dynamic load causes a very small temporary change in length and a subsequent rebound, such as when you jump, or lift weights. But during normal muscle contraction, if the tendon changed its length not all of the force would move the bone – some would be lost as the tendon stretched. Just like a short piece of chain, a tendon pulls the bone with all the force of the contracting muscle because it does not stretch during the contraction.

Ligaments anchor the joint as it moves, so that the bones which articulate at the joint change their relationship only with respect to their angle. This allows the joint to function as a fulcrum. An excessive amount of “stretching” will cause a rupture. If anyone case ever seen this, it is NOT pleasant.

Therefore, you cannot change the length of either a tendon or a ligament with “stretching” and why would you want to? I’ll take a pass on the whole rupture thing. This leads me to my next point. Fascia. It is the only connective tissues that you can affect with stretching. If you are unaware of fascia, it is essentially the semi clear plastic wrap that keeps your muscle bundled together. It usually becomes problematic when effected by tiny scars called “adhesions” that form between them and their underlying muscle or between adjacent fascia.

So, maybe this article has once again, been a little self serving, but since neither ligaments or tendons are designed to stretch, this would mean any increase in flexibility primarily involves the muscles that control the position of the skeletal components. So really, “mobility” can be considered learning to use any muscle in a way that requires you to teach them to lengthen more readily.  Aka, squat if you’re going to squat, press if you’re going to press, and if you suddenly can’t do that explore alternative therapies that can either assess your faulty movement patterns, compensatory issues, or Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST).

**As an aside, if you love doing yoga, or just like the feeling of stretching, go for it!! This is not intended to discourage anyone from doing anything they love or makes them feel good. Heck, I still love a good pigeon pose. And there is something to be said for the placebo effect. This is my quick and dirty summation of what anatomy dictates, and intended for a “health” audience.

Your fitbetch,

JP xox

Coffee consumption, why it’s cool

As I sit here in a coffee shop, trying my hardest to be productive on a rainy day, I figured, why not talk about the benefits of caffeine. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love coffee maybe more than I love food (and that’s saying something). I could literally drink consecutive cup after cup of the liquid nectar of the gods. I love the taste, I love the smell, I love the complexity, I love pretty much everything about it! Including its personality enhancing factor. But here are some more reasons why I think it’s a great part of anyone’s diet, and of course a few excuses and ammo to justify your caffeine habit.

Firstly, Caffeine affects brain function, this should be pretty evident for anyone who “needs” a cup of coffee to get going in the morning. A study published by Nature Neuroscience found that caffeine administered post studying helped students with memory consolidation. This being the concept of being able to process and retain new information. In addition, The University of Arizona recently looked at whether caffeine helps memory during periods when kids aren’t in their optimal periods of arousal. Aka, fancy way of sayin “tired”. Basically, caffeine given to kids in the morning helped with memory, while caffeine given to kids in the afternoon (a kids optimal arousal time) had no effect. A very similar found the same phenomenon in adults, but only when caffeine was administered in the afternoon, which is an adult’s period of lowest level of arousal. Another reason to have that afternoon Americano. Another recent study published in the Journals of Gerontology showed that women who consumed more than the median daily amount of coffee (261 mg per day. This being about 1-2 cups) had a reduced risk of developing dementia or memory impairment. I addition, for those of you who really wanna go big, a study conducted by Alzheimer Europe and the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee found that 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day is the optimal amount to protect the brain form degenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. All the more reason to keep the liquid gold flowing.
Again, given my ongoing theme, and assuming you, my audience come here for fitness related knowledge bombs, let’s talk about caffeine and its affect on atheistic performance. According to Journal of Applied Physiology,  athletes that consumed caffeine and carbs after strenuous exercise had 66% more glycogen in their muscles than athletes who just ingested carbs alone post workout. Whoa!? Glycogen is important because it is the fuel muscles use to function. It’s the main source of energy when working out, and it’s what you need to refuel and repair post workout. So maximizing glycogen absorption without consuming additional calories is optimal for athletes within sports like bodybuilding. In addition, increasing glycogen levels after a hard workout will also help you perform better during the following day’s workout. Which is applicable to anyone with fitness goals.
 
The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research also conducted a systematic review of 29 studies related to caffeine and athletic performance in an attempt to establish if caffeine prior to exercise acted as a performance aid. They found that 11 out of 17 studies showed caffeine ingestion yielded significant improvements in exercise performance, and 6 out of 11 studies revealed benefits of caffeine use during resistance training.  Another study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that caffeine increased oxidative stress and anti-inflammatory response in long distance runners after completing a 15k run. In this case caffeine was ingested prior to the run.  For more of you more strength inclined athletes, a study published in the Journal of Muscle and Nerve found that caffeine did increase muscle torque and activity during strength training exercise. One group of participants was given 6 mg of caffeine per kilogram of their body weight and they significantly out-performed the placebo group. So, consume caffeine, lift more weight. Sounds like a win to me!  Lastly, a study published in The Journal of Applied Physiology found that caffeine increased the level of enjoyment from exercise and caused the test subjects to burn more calories and consume less calories after exercise. Which I think it no big surprise there, since caffeine is a natural mood enhancer, and being more engaged and focused in your workout is obviously going to yield a better training session.

So let’s also talk about caffeine nor only helps performance, but also recovery. The University of Georgia has found that a moderate dose of caffeine (about two cups of coffee) can reduce post-workout pain by up to 48%.  Disclaimer: This research was small group and they only tested women. Not only this, but the women were not regular caffeine users.

The Journal of Pain showed that caffeine can also reduce muscle pain during moderate intensity exercise. Some participants were given large doses of caffeine prior to cycling exercise, others were not. The caffeine group had significant less muscle pain during the exercise than the placebo group. This may also explain why caffeine is used as an endurance aid for athletes. New research conducted by Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology and the University of Brasilia (UNB) also isolated a protein in coffee beans that is similar to morphine, but works even better. They are currently doing further research concerning this protein and its pain relieving applications. If a person consumes caffeine everyday, then the only way to experience caffeine’s pain relieving effect is to consume a dose greater than the daily amount he or she has been accustomed to. Whomp whomp…

So friends, don’t ever let anyone ever tell you that you have a caffeine problem. You’re just health contentious 😉

Your fitbetch,

JP xoxo

On to BIGGER and better things

Back at it with the booty. Its no secret that I am OBSESSED with the posterior chain. Hammmies, booty, and back. I basically only deadlift, squat, and row… but a millions variations of those exercise. Im not advocating to skip chest or shoulders (the bros of the world are cringing right now). But genetically I have never had an issue building those areas, and I have had many years of building up those body parts as well. Now, don’t think I am being arrogant here, but personally, for me. I am happy with the size I have achieved in those areas. So it’s a maintenance factor at this point. However, give me all the back, the wider the better… more detail, more taper. I want it all! And who doesn’t love that nice round shape to the legs, no banana legs here please!!

After many years of hitting legs two even three times a week, I have been able to play around with a bunch of varieties and methods. Volume has been my friend. Even now, I fluctuate between strength days, hypertrophy days, and conditioning. But there are definitely a handful of exercises and techniques that have proven effective in my arsenal. So let me lay some knowledge on you.

Your glutes are comprised of three main muscles, Min, max, and med. The biggest and most superficial being max (ah duh). Glute max is responsible for hip extension, external rotation of the hip, as well as abduction of the thigh. So for those not so anatomically inclined, think movements such as glute bridges, hypers, side stepping lunges,  any any of that side laying clam stuff they do in aerobics videos in the 80s.  

Glute med and min are important muscles as well, especially in terms of stabilization, for those of you who are more inclined to do “big lifts”, or even in terms of being stable in walking, and of course not injuring yourself. But max is our focus here. Mostly being that most for you ladies, and gents, are looking to build strong powerful glute max weather it be for aesthetics or pushing power for things like sprinting, jumping, squatting etc.

Because the glutes are such a powerful muscle they respond well to heavy ass loads (pun intended). And you can train them within a higher rep range. I want to clarify, I don’t want to see you hip thrusting three plates if its all momentum. You gotta squeeze squeeze squuuuuueeeze! So for beginners start with just trying to feel that tension and slowly work up. This means slow, controlled movements with a nice long pause. But I digress. Back to our main point, I would suggest a rep range of 12-15 if your looking for a hypertrophy workout. For simplicity sake, just assume we are throughout this little post. Anything lower will not be enough to bring the fibers to failure. Which, dedicated readers will know is the mechanism of growth. Anything more and you’re just doing cardio (barf me to death). This will not engage the fast twitch fibers to stimulate hypertrophy, and I only use this level of volume when I need to add in conditioning work to increase your overall work capacity in future lifts. This is also useful for increasing total time under tension. But that in itself is another post.

So, now that we have covered rep range,lets talk about temp. Which also effects time under tension (TUT). The most typical tempo you see in body building splits 2 seconds up, 2 seconds peak contraction, 4 seconds down (think slow and low ladies). I also think it is great to pause for 2 seconds at the bottom, but depending on your focus or programming this may very. The pause allows the kinematic energy to dissipate, so that all the pushing power has to be generated from the muscle. So no cheating. This is also important for strength and power athletes.  To give you a whole picture, for the people who are more visual learners, envision this. Explosive on your way up, flex hard at the top, then slowly lower the weight back down. *Rant* A huge pet peeve of mine is seeing people bounce up and down while squatting. This is not an effective execution of the movement, and I kinda want to shake them, aggressively.

Now that you hopefully have a slightly better idea of how you can go about targeting your glutes, lets talk about how often. Like I said I try to train mine up to three days a week. I understand this can be hard for a number of reasons. Training schedule and recovery being two of the biggest factors I can think of. Typically I always start my week with legs, then try to hit it every other day. One week kind of leads into the next with that style. In order to train with this frequency each day is also different. Large muscles like the glutes resound to variety and volume. So you can do a “heavy day”, then a “volume day” to get some blood flow in there, then move on to an “accessory day” or a conditioning day”, or even a “power day”. All these different styles of training have their own benefits. You can program according to your weaknesses and needs. You can’t train the exact same way each day because your body will become accustomed too quickly, and you put yourself at risk for injuries. Which will only set back your long term progress. And if you’re anything like me, you will get EXTREMELY frustrated… which only leads to further injury.

Lesson, don’t be stubborn like JP.

 

On to BIGGER and better things,

Your fitbetch,

Jp xoxo

Only the strong will survive

Hello my loves, so as we are already past the half way mark for January, and you’re obviously still crushing the gym right? Let’s talk about being sore. I’ve heard it from lots of my coworkers, clients, and even casual acquaintances. “I’m sore”! Good! As you should be. This is all new to your body. Heck, I’m always sore and I’ve been doing this consistently for at least half a decade. Obviously, I’m not saying you should be straight up broke. There is obviously a difference between delayed onset muscle soreness and injury. But let’s just say we’re talking about regular soreness, for the sake of simplicity here.

A greater increase in lactic acid (that burney, sore day after effect), is known to be critical for muscle growth. This is achieved through the lamens term of “doing work”.  So, you’re killin’ the gym. Getting your swole on, which is perceived as a threat to your cells (and to others around you). We may joke about getting a pump that is so sick the pipes are going to burst. But it is actually somewhat truthful. As your muscle cells become engorged in blood, the cell is forced to expand. This result is a number of byproducts from the breakdown of the cell. This is why we feel “swollen” and sore.

Much like the old theory, only the strong survive, this is true for muscle cells as well. The weaker more fragile muscle fibres are pushed passed  their limits, while the body is forced to engage more fast twitch muscle fibres. These fibres have greater growth potential. The more we tax these fibres, the more we signal growth pathways. Long story short, that uncomfortable sensation, or what some mistake as pain is actually essential I’m growing those glutes. This is a concept foreign to a lot of new gym goers.

So how do you use this to your advantage? Well, depending on your goals, if growth is your main purpose of lifting (and this doesn’t just mean “body building” or “bulking”) you won’t want to go to failure on all your main sets. Yes, you should be pushing your limits, but overdo it and you tax your central nervous system. This is more often seen in depletion and prep style workouts. Also an issue for power lifters. Which use different weight schemes all together. In this case, for your average person looking to shape/tone/grow, or whatever you want to call it, what you can incorporate is a pyramid. Which is working up to your final or max set, then drop setting down (meaning to continuously drop the weight till failure, drop again, and  so forth). Note: This will burn like a mother F*cker, you may whimper a little….

I apologize if this article may seem elementary to some of my more gym savy followers. But keep in mind, not everyone is as masochistic as we are. And while the gym may be full now, only the few will survive.

Your fitbetch,
JP xoxo

Are you prepared to Prep?

Happy New Year!

Once again I must apologize for my abysmal lack of content. I recently went through a personal situation before the holidays, then hide away to spend some time with my family. But here we are in the new year, and as such, New Year new me, or some of other crap like that, right?  In truth, I have never made a New Years resolution. It’s not that I don’t believe in bettering yourself, cause I fully support that. I am just the Type A, over scheduled, neurotic person who pretty much always has daily, weekly, monthly and long term goals. It helps keep my crazy to a minimal level, or at least manageable level.

So since a lot of people do actually make resolutions, and with competing becoming increasingly popular, if not main stream at this point, I figured I would talk about that. Now, I’m not going to give you a “bikini prep guide”. There are lots of those already out there on the Internet. And in all truthfulness, if you’re looking for a cookie cutter, one size fits all plan, you might as well throw away your money. Because competing it by no means easy, and it can be quite expensive. If you genuinely want to follow through you’ll need a real plan, designed for your success.

If you do have your heart set on competing, one of the things you need to first and foremost think about it is your motivation. Why do you want to do this? Not just because you’re about to give up the next 4-5 months of your life, but because shows are incredibly expensive. Are you doing it to just say you did it? Is it to prove to yourself you can? Or do you really want to make a career of this? Whatever your motivation, this is going to get you through the tough times. So before you dump a bunch of money into the necessities to get started, is that desire strong enough to justify the cost and time.

Before memberships, spray tans,  hairs, shoes, suits, posing lessons (yes this all matters) you’ll need a coach. No matter how athletic you are, how long you’ve been training, or how much you know, this is still essential. Even the pros have coaches. This is because you need an outside perspective, another set of eyes, someone to keep you sane… And accountable, and most important, someone who’s knows the game. If if its your first show you likely don’t know how to dial yourself in, or anything about back stage. This too all matters. I personally did my first show on my own. And I was a personal trainer at that time. I lived in the gym, all my friends competed, so I wasn’t entirely a noob. While I did place, in retrospect I was no where near ready… But I didn’t know I was ready, cause I didn’t know what the norm was, how I should look or feel, or what I was going up against. It was very lonely and stressful.

Ok, you got a coach. Great job! You are now an aspiring competitor, maybe even part of a team. Have you factored in the cost of travel, hotels, show registration? Yes. Ok, how about the food and supplement cost over the next 4 months? For the average meathead, food and supplements are an ongoing expense. But for someone new to this world, you’re about to dumb a ton of extra cash into your consumables. Being healthy ain’t cheap.

Have you also considered the social cost. There is no more drinking, or eating takeout. Sure, you think you can have a salad at a restaurant… But surprise. You can’t. Most commercial places soak their chicken in oil. And they also cover their grills in oils or butter. There are hidden calories everywhere. Especially sugars. Even standard dressings and sauces are laced with them. So I hope you like reading every label at the grocery store, and packing all 5-6 of your daily meals. If you have a supportive partner this may be ok. If you’re single, I can tell you from experience, it really reduced your dating options. Most guys will not know what to do with you, since you can’t eat or drink. Not to mention, they will have to keep the date under 3 hours, cause you need to get your next meal in.

In addition, since we are on the topic of dating. Prepare to have a drop in sex hormones. As women’s natural hormone levels drop as you lose body fat, you will be less interested in sex. You may look the hottest you’ve ever looked, but at this point you’d rather cuddle a pizza than a man. Partying is also a thing of the past. For one, all night dancing is just too catabolic. Secondly, if you’re the only sober one, once you get tired (it’s a given you’ll be hungry), you’ll be irritable. Thirdly, you can’t stay up late! Don’t forget you need adequate sleep for recovery, to keep your cortisol low, and you have to get up for fasted cardio… Bummer, I know.

Still reading? Awesome! You’re one of the dedicated few. As you get closer to show day, chances are you’ll be depleted. The lack or carbs will make you foggy. If you have a very demanding job, this may impact your performance. Depending on your personality you may in be “hangry”.  I know people who have taken the whole week of before their show cause they’d just couldn’t function. Mind you, everyone is different. I have been told I’m prettying content during my preps. Definitely a little bit more of a space cadet though. I can’t tell you the amount of things I’ve lost, misplaced, or number of rooms I have walked into meaninglessly.

This is by no means an article to discourage anyone from competing. I have myself competed many times, and don’t regret a single one of my preps. Some are harder than others, and no prep will be without ups and downs. Some days you’ll feel great and other days you will want to quit. I personally hate being on stage, and for me it’s about a process. Other people dream of their sparkly moment up there in the lights. My point being, whatever your motivation, it’s a big commitment. And I would never want to see anyone over commit only to be let down or throw away their hard earned money.

If you want to share your own experience, have feedback, or even questions, feel free to give your girl a shout!

Your fitbetch,
JP xox

jpfit

Eat, Work, Gym, Repeat

As promised, because when you make a promise on the internet you have to keep it, here is my post on nutrition.

Chances are, if you’re even relatively athletic, or have some semblance of a gym schedule, your peers/coworkers/family members, and even sometimes gym strangers, ask you about your diet. Whether they’re trying to build muscle, lose weight, or “tone”.

First and foremost, it’s important to note that everybody’s different. Some people are sensitive to carbs, some people literally can’t go without them. And I’m not talking about your average “I love carbs” addiction, I mean people who’s actually become hypoglycaemic without them.  So when adjusting your diet, pay attention to your body and the feedback it’s giving you.

As always, if you’re a diligent reader, I’ll allude to previous articles. I personally am a big fan of keeping carbs low in the morning and throughout the day. The first meal of the day sets the tone for how your body will use and regulate carbs. By eating fats and protein as your first meal you’ll avoid spiking your insulin, which can lead to fat gain. However, go to long without eating and your can increase cortisol levels, blood sugar drops, and your body down regulates your metabolism.

Don’t feel anxious, I know this sounds complicated, but it’s not!

As a general  rule, I recommend eating every 4 hours. This may seem like a lot of food to most, but let me run you through a typical weekday for me, and in reality you’ll probably find it’s calorie and macro content add up to less than most people eat, who haphazardly eat when and what’s convenient.

Most mornings I start with 2 scoops of greens and fibre, and a spoonful of omegas 3, and a black Americano on my way to work. Honestly, I love sleep, so I don’t eat before leaving for work. This quick easy concoction gives my body some nutrition to work with, wakes me up and gets the metabolism fired up. Once I sit down at my desk I have 3.5oz of lean ground turkey which I’ve prepped before the week. It’s an easy convenient meat cookie, to get my protein in, and again, keeping cortisol low. You can add egg whites and greens to this combo if this just isn’t enough for you. Come lunch I typically have 4oz chicken with mixed salad greens and a little dressing. If I’m dieting I’ll add straight balsamic, not vinaigrette or oil, but if I, just living life, simply put whatever small amount of dressing of my choice. So there, we’re already at lunch and your carb content hasn’t exceeded More than 5-10g. Since my work day usually goes to 6, sometimes later, I try to plan accordingly. I’m I’m anticipating leaving at 6, around 4 I’ll have a small snack to tie me over until gym time. I don’t like to work out on a full stomach, but if I miss this meal I won’t get to eat again until 8 or 9. This is usually some nuts (8-12 is an appropriate serving size), with a high quality protein shake.  Whey would be the best choice here, opposed to an iso whey. I also mix mine with water to keep Cals minimal. This is a great low carb, high protein snack, with some fats to keep you full.

So congrats! You’ve made it through your work day and it’s finally gym time! You’ve kept to your diet, and hopefully you’re feeling good. My workouts typically take about 80 minutes at most, depending on the day and how busy the gym is. If I’m doing cardio, a little longer. After I’ve finished I take 1000mg of vitamin C and head home. You might ask why I don’t eat right away. Well, there are a few reasons. For one, I want to continue the fat burning process going, you body is still breaking new muscle and metabolizing fat for energy. Secondly, I prefer to eat whole foods, especially when dieting, so I can go home and relax and eat a proper meal, not out of Tupperware. And lastly, I tend to take a pre workout with stimulants prior to working out. Stimulants, such as caffeine are an appetitive suppressant, combine with high intensive training and my stomach just isn’t ready for digestion.

My last meal tends to be a repeat of my lunch. A combination of chicken and salad or veggies. If your are keeping some carbs in your diet, or are having a higher carb day, this would be the meal to add it in.

Finally, because I am a creature of habit, once I’ve finished dinner and cleaned up for the night I repeat my greens and fibre routine to keep everything moving, ad finish the night with chia, zma for muscle repair and relaxation, and a little PB, cause you’ve still gotta treat yourself.

Up next on the blog, pre workout and intra workout, what I like, what I’ve tried and how to get a skin tearing pump… Or maybe something else, who knows!

Your fitbetch,
JP xoxo

‘Band Wagon’

If you have Instagram (which you obviously do, ah doh), you’ve seen the increasingly popular banded exercise trend. Squatting with bands, kickbacks with bands, hip thrusts with bands… And you get the picture(s). So what’s this miracle science all about? Have bands replace weights in this female oriented booty blast craze?! And yes. I am being gender specific here. Because while the odd power lifter might have bands in his big arsenal of gym tools and accessories (easily identified as an over full duffel covered in chalk), you don’t see the average bro running out to get a set of bishbands.
*side note, if you don’t know what bishbands are, do you even fitness?

So, here’s the thing. Incorporating bands into your training are actually a great way to improve power, strengths and even hypertrophy. Yea, I said it. Hypertrophy. So maybe these girls are on to something.

Here’s the breakdown. Bands offer an ascending strength curve for the concentric range.  In lamens terms, think as you shorten the muscle. Such as sitting deeeeeeeep deep down in a squat, you’ll actually result in more tension as you come out of this position. In the bottom, you’re experiencing minimal tension. This is the normal load, but you’ll require greater than normal strength and power to push up, because as you pull further away from the bottom, the tension increases. Again, as you return back down to the bottom position, the tension deloads. And so on and so forth as you squat your little, or in this case maybe big, booty away.

Disclaimer. Doing simple banded exercises. I mean the non weighted kind, will not have this same effect. For instance, simple doing crab walks, monster walks, little kicks, whatever you wanna call it, are a great way to engage muscles, or burn them out. So these exercises still have their use at the beginning or end of an exercise. They’re also great for ppl learning to use new muscle for the first time (mind muscle connection). Or for people with muscle imbalances. A personal example being that I always have a weaker VMO (inside aspect of the thigh). I often use a band around my knees when squatting to force myself to push out, therefore engaging this muscle to work. It’s a proprioceptive response. The band around my knees forces me to consciously push them apart, opposed to buckling inwards. Otherwise, it will fall. But that is no way effects my overall strength curve. I am very specifically targeting a small muscle to engage, and over time catch up. So technically yes, it is gaining strength, but I digress.

Conclusion, bands are really just another way to force adaptive response. If you’re not trying something new or challenging yourself, your body has no reason to change. Bands are great plateau busters, as tension is a great way to increase difficulty without actually addicting additional weight.  It kicks into a different kind of response, that can shock the system, and provides a graded strength curve. So go for it, jump on that “band wagon”. Just remember there is a right and wrong way to do it if you’re actually looking to grow that booty, and not just make it dance.

Your fitbetch
JP xox