Archive for fitness commentary, strength training, workout tips

Warm-up Sets Count! (Another Quick Rant)

by Meaghan posted May 18, 2017

Having been a coach and teacher in the fitness industry for quite some time now (I’ll refrain from stating an exact number of years since it’s starting to make me feel old, but let’s just say it’s been long enough that I need to count toes…), I’ve developed some pet peeves.

rant-warning

Continue reading »

Get Better at Preventing Falls

by Meaghan posted March 15, 2017

Hope everyone enjoyed the snow day off! Might as well run this again. Be careful on the ice!

 

After last week’s snow storm, NYC was left with not only a snowy mess, but also some pretty slippery sidewalks due to the rain that followed this weekend, in conjunction with the erratic bouts of warm and cold temperatures we’ve been experiencing lately. Sheets of ice still coat the city in several areas and, needless to say, we’ve likely experienced a recent rise in the rate of falls…

icy_streets_5

Continue reading »

“Hypertrophy” Training Protocols are Kind of a Myth…

by Meaghan posted January 24, 2017

shocked-face-3mother-of-god

That’s right. Much of what you thought you knew is wrong.

8-12 reps for muscle growth, right? Not necessarily.

30-90s only of rest to recruit more muscle fibers, correct? Nope.

Moderate intensity is best? All wrong.

These are ALL myths.

Continue reading »

Focus Goes West!

by Meaghan posted November 22, 2016

You read right: The Focus brand has made its way to the west coast! We now have trainers in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, and recently held our first continuing education workshop for the California crew at Horn Strength and Conditioning.

horn-pic-1

Under the supervision of Focus Personal Training Manager, Ryan Heffernan, FocusLA trainers Emmy and Josh (pictured above) had a refresher on the Starting Strength method of training, which is widely used by many of the Focus staff – including Ryan as well as our Starting Strength coaches: Brent Carter, Ryan Peller and Pete Troupos.

In fact, the FocusNYC team recently won their THIRD Starting Strength meet in a row!

fall-classic-winners

Congrats, team!

Continue reading »

Accidentally Made Up But Highly Effective Exercises: KB SLRDL – Rack Position

by Meaghan posted September 22, 2016

So a funny thing happened on the way to the single-leg deadlift…

Let me start from the beginning. I was training a client a few weeks ago and one of the exercises in our first tri-set was a kettlebell single-leg RDL. The kettlebell was held in the hang position, as you normally see with this exercise.

KB SLRDL
At least that’s more or less what it’s supposed to look like. (Back to this in a second.) The kettlebell is held in the opposite-side hand as the working (stance) leg in order to minimize rotational forces, and the back remains straight as the movement comes from the hip.

So we finished those. A couple could’ve been more controlled and he reached a little too much with the bell but, all-in-all, not bad.

We moved on to our second tri-set, in which one of the exercises was a kettlebell reverse lunge. Same kettlebell, but we changed the position of it. For this movement, I had my client hold the bell in what’s referred to as the “rack” position.

KB reverse lunge

 

Continue reading »

Why I Lift Barbells Like A Teenage Boy

by Meaghan posted June 27, 2016

Today we have a GUEST POST from Focus Barbell Class newcomer, Jessica Taft. jessica taft

Jessica has come a long way since she started lifting – both physically and mentally. Read on to learn what motivates her to keep getting stronger: Continue reading »

Team Focus Wins the Starting Strength Challenge National Title!

by Meaghan posted April 28, 2016

The Focus team was ECSTATIC last Sunday when Starting Strength Challenge organizer, Dana Varrone, announced that we had won the Long Island City meet title for the SECOND year in a row.

Focus Team wins!

Coach Brent Carter did an amazing job coaching us along the way and judging the event; and, little did he know, he’d soon have even more reason to be proud.

Continue reading »

Training Runners: Strength vs. Endurance

by Meaghan posted February 16, 2016

I ran a version of this post before, but our Advanced Concepts students just finished learning about common lower body injuries so I thought I’d run it again. Among other issues, the topic of strength as pertains to running in order to prevent knee problems came up in their activity. The class did a great job not only planning and coaching a progressive program for a runner, but also articulating the plan so that it made sense to the client (AND her headstrong running coach!).

Here are some of the things we discussed:

First, realize and remember that running is a plyometric activity. Therefore, your joints have the potential to take a beating. As you may or may not know, plyometrics place a lot of load on your connective tissue (cartilage, bone, fascia, tendons, ligaments and the joint capsule), especially if your leg muscles don’t effectively absorb the force of impact. So, the risk of injury is quite high when sufficient levels of strength are not first established, and/or when hip/knee/ankle alignment is off. As the old adage goes, “You can’t run to get in shape; you have to get in shape to run.”

There seems to be a bit of controversy regarding the best way to do this, however. A lot of people think that since you’re doing endurance work when you run, training for muscular endurance (i.e., 2-3 sets of >12 reps with little rest) is the way to go. And for a new trainee, someone with a pre-existing injury, or as part of a periodized program for an endurance athlete, this may be good advice. But your body adapts pretty quickly to low-load training; and if you’re running regularly, chances are you’re probably getting plenty of that already. So why continue to overuse your muscles and joints?

Enhancing muscular endurance really shouldn’t be the main focus of a runner’s program after the first few weeks of training. For most runners, the bigger concern is getting strong enough to avoid injury. You see, your connective tissue adheres to what’s called Wolffe’s Law. Much like a muscle, if you systematically overload connective tissue, it will adapt and grow stronger. But it also has a “physiologic limit.” When you exceed this limit, the structure ruptures.

Continue reading »

Weightlifting Belts: Good or Bad Idea?

by Meaghan posted January 25, 2016

As our Advanced Concepts students are simultaneously learning about heavy lifting and the importance of core stability as pertains to both preventing and improving spine injuries, the always controversial topic of the use of weightlifting belts was bound to arise.

weight belt

Why the controversy?

Well, for starters, weightlifting belts are widely misused by the general population. As one of our students pointed out, some guys use them for every exercise, regardless of the need for additional spinal support.

curling with belt

And that’s just silly.

Continue reading »

The Importance of Culture and Community in Training

by Meaghan posted November 6, 2015

Today we have another great post from Brent Carter, Starting Strength Coach extraordinaire!  

As I write this, my hip flexor is killing me, my back feels like it was beaten with a baseball bat, and my legs feel like jello. BUT, I have never felt better! This is because I just had the wonderful opportunity to lead a team of lifters at the 2015 Starting Strength Fall Classic to a victorious team win!

Team FPTI  wins!

Continue reading »