Strongman

Prowler

Prowler

Structural balance should be a goal in everyone’s workout routine. With that in mind, I decided to add strongman training and yoga into my own fitness routines-I’ll get more into the yoga part in a later post. But, for those of you who don’t know what ‘strongman’ workouts are, allow me to explain.

The word, strongman, primarily took shape in the the 19th century as part of a circus act. Strongmen and/or strongwoman would perform incredible acts of power, strength and balance, which of course, would draw the attention of many spectators.

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Modern day strongman, is not much different, than those of the circus. However, it has been formalized as a style of training. Strongman training requires you to lift, push, carry, flip, or throw heavy things which are anaerobic in nature. Meaning you create tremendous exertion by generating a ton of force against the ground.

Some examples of strongman training include: sled pushing, farmer’s walks, tire flips and medicine ball throws. Most importantly, the strength gained in this type of training is easily transferred to everyday activities such as walking heavy loads of groceries home, or picking up heavy items off the ground. Strongman training=strength and functionality.

Next time you’re at the gym, try a strongman workout instead. A simple Google search will give you a myriad of strongman workouts. Or you can also add strongman components into your workout routine. Such as pairing weighted squats with farmer walks, or chest press with medicine-ball wall slams.

My new favorite conditioning workout is pushing the Prowler for 15 minutes 1-2 times/week. I’ll set my timer for 15 minutes in which I’ll push the Prowler (sled) as fast as I can using the low bars for about 20m, then I’ll switch to the high-bars and drive it back to my original spot. Repeat until the timer goes off. Breathers will be necessary but they should be short; just enough to calm your breath and keep going. In other words, rest enough time to get rid of the black spots in your vision. 🙂 Or if you prefer a formal style of training, then do an allotted amount of sets for 20-25m and rest 1-2 minutes in between sets. Try 6-8 sets x 20m then rest 1 minute, and repeat.

This style of training is not easy, but it’s certainly fun and challenging. For optimal fat loss, try a strongman workout twice a week on non-consecutive days. Break a sweat and reap the benefits of working hard!

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Foam Rolling

Foam Rolling

I cannot say enough about foam rolling. No matter if you work out or not, foam rolling is essential to maintain your body’s functionality.

For those of you who are unfamiliar to foam rolling and are asking yourselves what the heck it is, I will explain to the best of my ability. It’s a foam cylinder that you roll on; it’s the poor man’s massage therapist. There is it, described at its finest!

In all seriousness, when you roll your body weight onto a foam roller, you basically induce self-myofascial release technique.  This simple piece of dense foam, can greatly improve your body’s flexibility, function and performance. When you roll onto the foam roller, you massage all muscular restrictions back to the normal soft tissue the way it is meant to be. And the best part of it all is that this can be done in the privacy of your home, no need for gym!

On to the science-y part of foam rolling…

Myofascia is the combination of muscle and fascia. The superficial fascia is the soft connective tissue that is right under the skin and is what connects and/or wraps the muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels all together. And with age, lack of use or injuries, the muscle tissue can get ‘stuck’ causing much pain/discomfort and soreness. This affects your flexibility and range of motion. When you roll against a foam roller, you roll out any muscle knots by applying direct pressure (body weight) on to them—kind of rolling out the lumps in dough. It may be a little painful at first, so ease into it.

Myofascia Release Technique with a foam roller can, among many, help with:

  • Improve range of motion
  • Release stress
  • Reduce soreness
  • Prevent injuries
  • Aid healing

When I had an ankle injury from playing indoor soccer, my chiropractor had me roll on the affected area for two minutes, twice a day. Doing so massaged the tensed muscles and allowed blood flow into the injury which helped speed up the healing process. Not only that, but I also went through a period of severe shin splints from sprinting—so bad that it would keep me up at night!. And guess that my chiropractor suggested…that’s right, foam rolling my calves! So you see my point, foam rolling can only benefit you.

Oh and did I mention they’re usually under $20 online? I bought mine off of amazon, but you can find them in most sporting goods.

Spend just a few minutes a day Foam Rolling to feel the difference! Click here for a list of foam rolling exercises.

Here are some key points for Foam Rolling:

  1. Roll back and forth across the painful or stiff area for 60-90 seconds.
  2. Roll the injured area at least 2 times a day.
  3. Roll everyday if possible.
  4. Avoid rolling over bony areas.
  5. Breath-exhale and inhale to manage discomfort.
  6. Drink tons of water after foam rolling.
Limber as it can be!

Limber as it can be!