Monday, September 22, 2014

How To Build Grip Strength





Your grip strength is an important link in your "chain" of strength. Whether you're hanging from a pull up bar, picking up a barbell, or throwing around kettlebells, if your grip is weak you'll never reach your full potential. How can you ever get truly strong if you're grip is always failing you? You may feel strong enough to bang out a couple more chin ups, but if your grip is slipping, you'll never know.

 Training your grip also improves your wrist, elbow, and hand health when done correctly. Grip strength training is more than just hand strength! A well balanced grip strength training routine that works on both flexion and extension can strengthen all the muscles and tendons from the tips of the fingers to the elbow joint.  I've often had clients who experience wrist pain during push ups or other pushing/pressing movements, but after training their grip they no longer had any issues with their wrists.

 Regardless of your training method of choice, adding a little bit of grip strength training to your program wouldn't be a bad idea! Lets look a little more into grip training ...


 Benefits Of Grip Strength Training:

You'll be able to lift more: A strong grip can be a contributing factor in your ability to lift bigger weights. This is especially true in pulling movements like pull ups, chin ups, dead lifts etc.

Improved quality of life: Grip strength has actually be linked to improved quality of life in your later years and a longer life span.

Greater strength endurance: You'll be able to perform more reps of an exercises that requires your grip strength endurance. This means movements like the farmers walk, kettlebell swings, or chin ups will all improve with a much stronger grip.


 Different Types Of Grips:

 Pinch Grip - This grip involves the thumb squeezing in opposition of the fingers, you're gripping using only the tip of the thumb and finger tips.

 Crushing Grip - Squeezing an object inward using a full grip. Such as crushing a can or squeezing "grippers".

 Supporting Grip - The supporting grip involves a full closed grip using the thumb and fingers wrapped around an object and the fingers support the majority of the weight. This grip would be used during hanging, chin ups/pull ups, dead lifts etc.


Ways To Improve & Train Your Grip:


Using Fat Bars Or Fat Grips:
 Using a fat bar or by adding "fat grips" during your training is a great way to improve your supporting grip strength. You can use a kettlebells with larger handles, add "fat grips" to your pull up bar or Olympic bar, or try making some soft ball grips for pull ups! Perhaps I'll make a blog post on building your own soft ball grips in the future!
                                 
(Fat Grips)

(Softball Grips)


Towels For Rows Or Chin Ups: You can challenge your grip during rows or chin ups by gripping onto a towel or two. You can set this up easily by throwing a towel or two over the chin up bar and grabbing a hold of the towel as your support during chin ups or rows. This sort of grip is quite challenging and excellent for those in grappling arts.


(Towel Grip Chins)


Pinch Gripping Plates Or Dumbbells:  Gripping onto the fat ends of dumbbells or the sides of weight plates using only your finger tips, you can build up your pinch grip strength. You can grip for time, or grip the plates and walk for distance etc. Up the weight as it becomes easier.


(Pinch Grip With Plates)


Train With "Grippers": Grippers are one of the most common grip strength and forearm training tools. You can pick them up in a variety of tension strengths and you can even find some that are adjustable! Grippers can be used for reps or for static squeezes. They're a great way to improve your crushing strength! 

(Grippers)



Balance Out Your Training To Avoid Tendinitis:

 When you're training your grip on a regular basis it's important to balance your flexion with extension movements. If you're only working on squeezing the fingers inward and not extending them outward, you can run into tendinitis and other pains in wrists and elbows. The simple solution to this ... wrap a basic rubber band around your finger tips, extend the fingers outward by opening them up keeping the fingers straight. Do reps of 30 to 50 for each hand. 


- Tim 


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------






Wednesday, August 27, 2014

4 Tips To Choose An Excellent Personal Trainer/Fitness Coach



 

  The fitness world is loaded with "trainers" and "experts" all pulling for your attention and business. If you're looking for help with your fitness goals, there's no shortage of options! The problem is, which trainer/coach/teacher do you choose? Bargain shopping isn't the answer, and neither is choosing the most expensive option. You could find a grossly under qualified trainer, teacher, or coach charging the lowest rate or the most expensive rate. Both have their pros and cons, both draw in different types of clients. Regardless of what they're charging, here are some simple guidelines for choosing a quality teacher, coach, or trainer. 

1. Who were their teachers? 

  Who were their teachers? What were their qualifications? What have their teachers done and who have they taught? Ideally, your teacher should have studied under legitimate professionals who have a track record of delivering legitimate information and producing quality teachers. For example, my teachers include world class full contact bare knuckle Karate champion (1967) Shigeru Ishino, who I hold a 1st degree black belt under. I've also worked with and been certified by world renowned kettlebell/movement expert Shawn Mozen and top Yoga expert Mark Laham. These are just a few of the teachers who I have worked with, each one of them with a track record of not only producing great teachers, but they walk the talk and live what they preach. 

2. What have they done, or, what can they do? 

 What has your teacher done? What skills have they acquired? What abilities do they possess? Or, what has your teacher done or accomplished before in the past? How can you expect to learn how to become a world class power lifter when your teacher has never even competed in an event himself/herself? Would you rather learn from someone who has been there and done that, than someone who knows the theory of what it takes? Of course you would! I'm not saying that the trainer from your local gym doesn't know what he/she is talking about, I'm saying that if you're given the choice between teachers, experience is paramount! Choose a trainer who has experience in the area that you're looking to improve upon and make sure they can produce results consistently with their students and not just themselves. Which leads me to my next point ...

3. What can their students/clients do?

 Without a doubt, above all else, this is what you should look for when looking for a trainer, coach, or teacher. Your teacher needs to be able to reproduce results in multiple students consistently. Regardless of their speciality, their methods need to work with people from all different backgrounds and produce results at a very high percentage. If you're teacher doesn't have plenty of testimonials to prove their methods work, or if they can't show you what their students can do ... walk away. 

3. What are they working towards? 

 What are they working towards? What is their idea of fitness? If you want to learn how to move better, reduce pain and inflammation, and learn how to integrate fitness into your daily life ... then why would you higher a trainer who specializes body building or physique competition? The same for the opposite. If you want to become a body building champion, why the hell would you higher a movement specialist or yoga instructor to get you to your goals? Find out, clearly, what your trainer/coach is working towards. Find out what their ideals are and what's their personal take on fitness. Find out how you'll be training, what their approach is, and what kind of training modalities they favour. If it doesn't jive with what you're looking to accomplish ... then move on and look for another one. 

4. Who are they truly serving?

 Who are they serving? Quite simply, are they looking to serve themselves, or are they truly serving the client. A good teacher, always ... F#%KING ALWAYS, has their students best interest in mind at all times. This means, they'll work around your schedule, make up sessions for you, take time to text or call you to set up workout times when you're slacking. They take pride in your accomplishments, tailor ever single program to each individual client and are always learning more in order to better serve their clients. They charge reasonable rates, or they're flexible with payments from students in order to make sure your training stays on track. In short, their clearly not in it for them self or their ego. If you're trainer charges too much, doesn't deliver solid results, won't reschedule, doesn't follow up, doesn't address your needs and problems, doesn't tailor programs specifically for you, forces you through dangerous workouts etc. Then they're simply in it for themselves ... this is all too common in the fitness industry. 


 Regardless of what you're looking to learn, these are 4 basic rules to follow when looking for a quality teacher in any field. Keep them in mind, do your research, and find yourself a quality teacher! 

- Tim 


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------






 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies



 Here's a wonderful recipe introduced to me by the coaches at http://www.CavemanStrong.com . If you're craving something rich and delicious, but you're not trying to ruin your nutrition programming, then these paleo chocolate chip cookies should do the trick! They turn out soft and chewy, and don't involve any of the junk you'll find in regular chocolate chip cookies. It's best if you only have one or two at a time and not get caught up in eating too much paleo baking. The majority of your diet should come from fresh veggies, fruit, and meat ... but a little treat here and there is ok! Just try not to eat the whole batch in one sitting!

  Here's what you'll need ... 

- 1 cup of coconut flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup of coconut oil
- 1/2 cup of real maple syrup
- 2tsp of baking soda
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- 1 large dark chocolate bar (75% or higher)

Here's how to put it together ... 

- Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees
- Chop up your chocolate bar into small pieces/chunks and set it aside
- In a large bowl, mix together your eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla
- Once you've mixed the eggs, coconut oil and maple syrup, add your coconut flour, baking soda, and chocolate chunks into the bowl
- Mix everything together well until it forms a smooth cookie dough
- Roll the dough into small balls and place on greased up cookie sheet, you can use butter or coconut oil to grease the cookie sheet
- Press each ball down lightly with a fork
- Bake in the now heated oven for 10 mins, don't allow the cookies to burn
- Remove them once they've browned and let them cool
- Eat and enjoy!


- Tim

WWW.JUNGLE-FIT.COM

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------





Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fitness Essentials: Sifting Through Garbage To Find The Gold


        "It's not the daily increase, but the daily decrease. Hack away the unessential." - Bruce Lee 


  The world of fitness is a vast and confusing place. Every single day we're bombarded by countless new workout fads, "miracle supplements", and new pieces of fitness equipment that keep getting stranger and stranger. Seriously, have you seen those kangaroo boots? WTF?

                                 
                                                              Yep, these exist ... 

  It's not hard to see why so many people end up frustrated with a serious lack of results. After all, you're being hit with wave after wave of misinformation and contradicting points of view on a daily basis. "Trainer X" preaches a program that is in direct contradiction to  "Trainer Y". You read an article on how fats like butter are actually healthy for you, but your doctor is telling you to reduce your fat intake to help lower your cholesterol.How in hell are you ever going to get the results you want when you're not even sure where to start or what information to put into action?!

 My suggestion to those of you struggling with all of the "info" out there today is this ... stick to the basics and strip away the rest.

- Eat a lot of veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds and other plant life

- Eat quality protein with each meal (chicken, beef, steak, pork, fish, eggs, duck, lamb etc.)

- Cook at home so you know what's going into your food

- Eat when you're hungry, stop before you're stuffed

- Avoid processed foods, grains, sugars, and deserts

- Drink lots of water. Avoid soda, fruit drinks, and too much juice.

- Keep alcohol to a moderate amount, avoid beer and stick with spirits mixed with soda water or water

- Always warm up before your workout.

- Stretch often.

- Workout, at least 3 times per week using resistance training. This can be your bodyweight or using weights. If you don't know how to use your bodyweight, check out "The Bodyweight Solution" for ideas and instruction.

- Base your workouts around total body, multi joint movements. It doesn't even need to be complicated. Make sure you're squatting, pulling, and pushing at the very least. There's multiple variations of these exercises you can use, choose a variation or weight that's tough for you. Which brings me to the next point ....

- Master a certain weight, or movement and then move on to a more advanced movement or weight. Try setting up your workout with your three basic movements (squat, pull, push) 3-4 sets, 8-10 reps, 60 seconds of rest between sets. Perform all the sets and reps for one exercise before moving onto the next exercise. Once you can do 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps without too much trouble, it's time to move onto a greater weight or harder bodyweight progression.

- Move quickly at least once a week. This means run sprints, jump rope, or do tabata intervals with burpees or battle ropes etc. Just make it short, and make it intense.

- Get quality sleep, rest, don't over train. Listen to your body, if you're tired or stressed just relax.

- Move often. This means walk places, take the stairs, hang from bars or sit in your squat position. Play sports, play with your kids, or play with your dog. Who cares! Just move.





  It's really that simple. The basics always remain true, and some of these would just seem like common sense ... something that's not always so "common" these days. No one got fat from eating real food, moving more often, challenging their strength, and avoiding shitty food. Keep it simple.

  If you want to get lean, build strength, improve your movement, and be healthier, just follow these basic guide lines. Everything else out there is icing on the cake, it's fluff, it's all adding onto these basics. Stick with your basics, and then develop on them. In time you'll be able to make your program as intricate/complicated or as basic as you like.

- Tim

WWW.JUNGLE-FIT.COM 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Monday, August 11, 2014

Quick Thoughts: Everything In Moderation



We have a society that enjoys living by the "if a little is good, then more is better" mentality. This is a flawed method of thinking when it comes to most things in life, including your fitness program. We need balance, we need moderation in almost every aspect of our life in order to be truly healthy. For example ...

 Not training at all leads to becoming weak, stiff, over weight, poor posture, lack of mobility, a host of illnesses and inability to efficiently move your body.

 Training too often and obsessing over your program can lead to over training, avoiding social situations, basing your life around your workouts, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and an unhealthy obsession with training.

 We need night/day, hot/cold, work/rest ... yin/yang. We need balance. Everything has a balance, your training should as well. Think about focusing on making your training about longevity, sustainability, and movement. Make it about balance. Make fitness fit into your life, and not the other way around.

- Tim

WWW.JUNGLE-FIT.COM 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------








Monday, August 4, 2014

Quick Thought: Congruency In Training Methods



Quick thought I had today, or really I've been thinking about this in many ways for a while.

 When we look at any discipline (dance, martial arts, or even fitness) we'll see methods, practices, and movements that show up in all of them. Things that are congruent, things that are essential. 

 I personally think that those movements, practices, and methods make up the basics for human movement and should be looked at carefully. Time doesn't lie, if it reins true in multiple methods of movement or exercise, there's probably a damn good reason.

 For example, squatting, pushing, pulling, midline stability and back bending can be found in just about every method of combat or movement. Don't believe me? Take a look. Base your training around this sort of thing in order to build a base, get stronger at them, then build on it. 


- Tim 

WWW.JUNGLE-FIT.COM

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------





Thursday, July 31, 2014

Paleo Sumo Wrestler Soup!



 Recently I was watching a documentary on sumo wrestlers. I love looking into the training methods and diets of combat athletes and ancient warriors. One interesting thing I found was a soup that's staple of the sumo diet. It's called "chankonabe"and aside from a few ingredients, it's pretty paleo friendly. The soup is loaded with veggies and meat, and it's pretty simple to make.

 Now, I know what you're thinking, "why would I want to eat like a sumo? Aren't the fat?". Yes, they are ... but it's not from this soup it self. They eat a ton of the stuff, along with noodles, rice, and a shit load of beer! The calories they consume in a day is astronomical. They also nap a lot. Unless you're eating way too much, eating lots of grains and beer, and taking lots of naps ... you're not going to get fat from this soup. Quite the opposite actually!

 This recipe should go a long way and allow you to eat it all over the course of a few days, unless you're feeding a family. Now, before we get started, I'm not a chef and this is not the traditional recipe ... in fact it probably tastes a lot different. This is why I'm not calling it "chankonabe", I just like calling it my "sumo wrestler soup" because it was inspired by them. Anyways, it tastes great!

 Here's what you need ... 

- 1 pack of ground pork
- 1 large egg
- 1 box of chicken broth or bone broth
- 1 bunch of green onion
- 1 whole onion
- 1 small chunk of ginger
- 1-2 carrots
- 3-4 baby bok choy bunches
- 1 sweet potato, peeled
- 4-5 peeled garlics
- 5-6 mushrooms

Here's how to put it together ...

- Pour all of your chicken broth into a large pot (and I do mean large), start boiling it on the stove
- Dice up the green onion bunch and all of your garlic. Drop half of the diced up green onion and all of the garlic into the chicken broth
- In a large mixing bowl, add the ground pork, 1 large egg, and the rest of the green onion. Mix it by hand and roll them into small meat balls.
- Drop the meat balls, one by one, into the boiling chicken broth. Place a lid over it and allow it to boil at medium for a while.
- While the meat balls are boiling, dice up your carrots, ginger, mushrooms, onion, sweet potato, and rip up your bok choy.
- Add all of your veggies into the pot with the meat balls and broth
- Add a little more water to the pot, cover and allow it to sit and boil on low
- When the veggies are soft, and the meat is cooked, you'll be ready to let it cool off slightly and eat

- Tim

WWW.JUNGLE-FIT.COM 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------