Protein

Over the last few weeks we have seen quite a large audience of people talking about supplements.They do say that 3 things in life gets large amounts of people debating and nutrition is certainly one of the three-politics and religion being the other 2.A couple of weeks ago I gave you the top 5 common mistakes people are making in and around the gym 

The last few articles I have broken down a few of the 5 points in the above article.In point number 5 I delved into supplements and basically talked about people going down this route before they have the basics nailed down with their nutrition.Time and time again I see people going down the route of buying certain supplements with the hope it can help them drop a little more body fat, improve their performance in the gym and aid their chances of losing weight.From working in the industry the last 10 years I can safely say that yes some supplements do have a place for certain individuals but they should only be looked at once you have the basics covered when it comes to your nutrition and other lifestyle factors.

For a lot of us supplements can be quite overwhelming and perhaps its an avenue we really have little to no knowledge on and I generally find that most people follow the trend when it comes to going with certain supplements.So today I am only going to focus on protein and to be honest if you are new to taking supplements this is a good starting point to look at.In this article I will highlight basic info on what is it, why and when you should use it,how to use it best and give you some other useful options and brands to look out for.

Let me point out by mentioning I am not a nutritionist,dietitian or affiliated with any supplement store or brand but what I am covering is basic and honest information that I have used myself and with certain clients over the last 10 years of working in the industry.

What is Protein and why do we need it?

Protein is a macronutrient that is essential to building muscle mass.Every individual needs muscle mass in their body for sustaining a healthy lifestyle. The term muscle can sometimes scare people away from protein but the truth is that you need muscle just like you need a certain amount of bodyfat in your body to for fighting off colds,flus and viruses. Protein is commonly found in animal products, though is also present in other sources, such as nuts and legumes. There are three macronutrients: protein, fats and carbohydrates.The body requires large amounts of macronutrients to sustain life,exercise,train,recover and overall for living a well balance healthy lifestyle.

How much Protein do we need?

This really varies for each individual.It really all depends on gender,age,goal,activity level.A low level of daily protein intake ranges from 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight right upto 2.5 grams of protein per kilogram for very active athletes.Over the years of working with all kinds of individuals over the years I would regard the average person needs most to be eating about 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight.However if you are an active individual looking to improve performance,aid recovery,increase your strength well then you need to be working a lot higher than 0.8 grams.

Couple of examples here would be

Active 80kg male that trains 3-4 times per week and is looking to recover a little bit better in between workouts and overall looking to stay on top of his sessions needs to be getting in at least 150g-200g of protein per day.If he finds during the day he can’t find enough time to be squeezing 20-40g of real food per meal/snack he then could look at incorparating a protein shake or two into his daily regime.A protein shake with 1-2 scoops can generally cover 30-40g

80kg male that doesn’t really train too often,jumps on the bike to work and plays tag rugby once a week might night need as much protein as example above.In my opinion he still needs a good daily allowance and would ideally be aiming for this individual to be looking to hit at least 80-120g of protein per day.The same applies as the example above.The first port of call should be to try get your daily protein from real food sources but the shake here can be a good convenience into your day.

When do you eat protein?

A good rule of thumb is to have 20-40 grams of protein within each balanced meal spaced out through the day.Ideally you should be shooting for at least 3/4 meals a day(This includes breakfast,lunch,snack,dinner)This could be something simple as eggs in the morning,a tuna or chicken salad at lunch or even a turkey breast or two for dinner.Of course the best option first is to be eating real food and getting sufficent amounts of protein from food first but a lot of the time we don’t have the time to be cooking up food 3/4 times a day and we need to find far more easy and convenient ways of keeping our protein levels topped up during our day.An easy approach here is looking at a basic protein supplement.Whey,casein,pea or hemp based are certain paths people can go down.Personally whey is what works best for me and would generally use a very simple whey based supplement.Whey protein is considered a complete protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids and is low in lactose content.There are three primary types of whey protein : whey protein concentrate (WPC), whey protein isolate (WPI), and whey protein hydrolysate (WPH) The reason I use whey is beacuse I can tolerate it firstly as a supplment to my diet,aids with my training and recovery and overall is convenient for me to have on days I know I am quite busy and dont have the time to be always cooking my food.It is perhaps when I am on the road,first thing in the morning,after a training session or even can make it a good snack idea in between meals.First thing in the morning I would pop a scoop of whey into my morning smoothie or morning oats to set me up for the day.Not only is this saving me some time but overall its quite easy to stomach for me.Along with that after a tough training session I find it handy to have a protein shake in my bag after my session.The brands I have used over the years and have worked well for myself and my clients are Kinetica  and Optimum nutrition

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Above is a basic example of how I sometimes start my morning smoothie putting together a well balanced shake of some fruit,veg(carbs),nut butter(healthy fat) along with a basic whey vanilla flavor protein scoop from Kinetica. Out of all the supplements out there protein is certainly one of the first options I would look at.For some reason it can get a bad rep but I really have had no issue with the protein supplements I mention above I have used over the years.Okay a certain client may not be able to tolerate whey and may need to look at pea or hemp based proteins but that’s really the only obstacle I have come across with regards to protein.At the end of the day we all need a certain level of protein in our daily allowance.If you struggle to find time or you find you just cant get in certain solids into you at certain times of the day then looking at a simple protein shake is something that really can help you out.Over the years of encouraging clients of looking at bringing shakes into their diet I have seen positive outcomes like improved muscle tone,decreased sugar binges,better performance when it comes to their training and overall I feel it has helped a lot of their fitness goals.

The bottom line here is that if you are totally unsure about what you should do I would simply go source someone that knows what they are talking about and will help you out with your goal.This could be a trainer,sports nutritionist,or even dietitian.Plenty of these guys can help you out on what path to choose first and break down the step by step approach you need in order to get after your goals.

I hope you’ve found this information useful and if you need any more advice you can pop me a direct message from the links below.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.

The 4 most common exercises performed incorrectly

In a previous article I mentioned the 5 most common mistakes people are making in the gym. Everything was highlighted from your warm up routine,your mobility structure right down to your technique on certain exercises.Today I am going to stay with 1 of the points and develop it a little further.The aim of this article is to highlight the most common exercises I see performed incorrectly on the gym floor over the last 10 years and the goal here is to help you achieve better technique and or bring in some better alternatives for you.Last week I talked about program design and perhaps a couple of the movements I will highlight here today are in your current program.The movements mentioned are basic functional movements and they can provide you with a big bang for your buck when done right.A lot of the time I see these movements executed incorrectly and is down to a number of reasons.

1.You have had little to no real guidance and you just weren’t taught right.

2.Your mobility is restricting you perform the movement right.

3.The movement,load,volume or even intensity you are currently working under isn’t quite right for you just yet.

Back Squat

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This is the king of all exercises and is a movement everybody has the ability to perform correctly.If I only a handful of exercises for most people to do, this movement would be included. There isn’t a better exercise for the development of full-body strength, improving core strength and lower-body muscle development.The problem here is seeing the movement done wrong and it happens quite a lot.There are a couple of reasons for this from your mobility restricting you or maybe you are far better off working off some goblet or even air squats first of all mastering the technique a little better before you start to increase intensity with a loaded barbell on your back.The video below will show both the correct movement and the most incorrect common signs of a poor back squat.

Better alternative

My advice here is simple.Go source a trainer that has the ability to fix your technique or guide you towards a better alternative.It might mean spending some time on working on your basic mobility.Having tight hip flexors,stiff hamstrings or even tight ankles could be the reason why your technique isn’t looking as good and is restricting your movement.Or another tip would be to revert back to goblet or air squats.The picture below covers a few basic simple cues you need to look out for when sitting in the bottom of a squat.

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Straight bar deadlift

Another big compound movement that I like to see in most peoples gym program.A super posterior chain exercise that can increase overall body strength and help develop glutes and hamstrings. Unfortunately this movement is the most common exercise on the gym floor I would see being done poorly and can lead to many issues down the line particularly low back injury.The demo below shows both 2 types of bars.A straight bar and a trap bar.There are many variations of the exercise, including the kettlebell deadlift, straight bar and the hex bar deadlift.I use the hex bar myself and with 80-90% of my clients, while the other 10-20% use a straight bar as they have great range of motion in their hamstrings which allows them to pull from the floor in that position.A movement like this that really is something quite basic and functional needs a certain amount of coaching.I sometimes hear of people complaining of lower back pain after deadlifting. This could be down to something as simple as not bracing yourself before your set up, poor technique not knowing how to hinge correctly, going too heavy, or perhaps you should be using a hex bar as you’re not mobile enough to find the correct position at the bottom of a straight bar.

Better alternative

My advice here is simple.Go source a trainer that has the ability to fix your technique or guide towards a better alternative.There are many alternatives like I mentioned above.The kettlebell deadlift is a great example or even veering towards the trap bar might be a good option.If your gym doesn’t have a trap bar then perhaps look at performing the straight bar deadlift off an elevation like a set of blocks or a rack if your mobility doesn’t quite allow you to pull from the floor just yet.

Kettlebell swing

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The Kettlebell swing is an excellent exercise.The bell itself is something I recommend for everybody to have lieing about the house.Its perfect for a home workout,very versatile and quite easy to bring on the road and can perform so many movements with 1 bell.Both the American and Russian swing are great exercises.The american swing is the image above and the Russian is pretty much the same except you don’t finish as high with the bell.The principles stay pretty much the same but this is where a lot of people go wrong with the movement.The kettlebell swing can be quite complex for a newbie and needs some initial coaching.Most people don’t get this coaching and the swing really ends up looking quite ugly.Its another exercise that can encourage injury if you don’t get the basics mastered.

Better alternative

Go source someone who has the ability to coach you initially.You really will only need a few basic tweaks and a good coach will having you swinging well quite soon.Starting off I wouldn’t recommend attending a bootcamp class that does lots of swings or KB class until you have been coached a few times on how to perform the movement.The video below includes a couple of tips along with the normal mistakes I see with most beginners who haven’t been taught right at the start.Hope it helps.

 

Push up

A basic upper body exercise that everybody has the ability to work towards and perform correctly.Basic teaching points are important here.I see quite a number of push ups on the gym floor.From people on their knees,midline collapsing,incorrect hand position,elbows flaring out,not enough range to not finding the right scale for the person.The list is endless but the fixes are simple.

Better alternative

The video below included many of the errors I mention above but it also includes plenty of fixes on how you can go about working towards your first full push up or even will help you a guideline on how to clean your set up a little bit better.Hope it helps.

 

I hope you’ve found this information useful and if you need any more advice you can pop me a direct message from the links below.

You can also get more advice on my social media pages, which are also linked below.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.

Has your gym program got any method to the madness?

In last weeks article I showed you the 5 most common mistakes in and around the gym floor .In point no 5 I talked about dialing in the basics when it comes to your nutrition and getting that right first before you start to get specific with certain supplements.

Today I am going to stay with the basics with regard to your training.If you are a person who finds themselves exercising purely for health/mindset benefits every now and then out walking,hiking,swimming,doing some classes and the odd visit to the gym floor that’s great too but this article is more catered for the individual who is working off a certain program and is questioning whether or not they are on the right track.

A lot of the time I get asked by people to look at their gym programs they are currently undergoing.I have seen all kinds of programs from strength,sport specific,bodybuilding right down to weight loss and gain programs. The list is endless.Programming is vital. A good place to start with is a basic gym program template is one that features specific mobility work, has some emphasis on strength work and a variation of conditioning workouts.Your program should be catered to your goal, your body, your training age, your strengths and your weaknesses.

First of all its great that you are following a program or template when it comes to improving your fitness goal but my point is make sure whatever goal your working on matches well with the training.The training should compliment the goal and secondly that the program is tailored towards your level.Time and time I have seen people on certain programs that really doesn’t match up what they are after and overall doesn’t even link well with their level or even their lifestyle.A lot of the time the program is far too advanced for the individual,they haven’t mastered the basics before starting this program and to be honest overall they don’t have enough time in the week to be doing the program correctly and other lifestyle factors like sleep,food,recovery just aren’t matching up either.To be quite honest sometimes the individual has no right doing that program and they would get far more benefits seeking out advice from the right trainer putting them on the right path.The overall message here is do the basics first and get really good at them before moving on and sometimes you may never need to move too far away from the basics.I have been designing programs almost 10 years now and it always comes back to the basics.They cant be beaten and the results I have seen really speak for themselves.Sometimes the fitness industry can be blamed for this.I have always said this industry rarely sells patience and its all about youth and intensity and really quite vain.A quick search on Instagram and you will come across many points I am talking about.A lot of people buy into it and are searching for “Getting shredded in 4 weeks” programs”Six pack in 6 weeks” and some people think that perhaps beating themselves up in a all out intensity workout is the way forward towards achieving that look they want for the summer beach body.There really is a lot more smarter ways you can go about your goal.The big thing that might be lacking here is education.A sign of a good trainer is someone who isn’t just training their clients but more importantly educating them the right way on how to get after their health and fitness goals.

Common mistakes I have seen with regard to a training program

Endurance athletes having little to no strength work in their program along with no mobility/recovery protocols in place in and around their training.I have worked with a number of runners who have come into me with a lot of niggles and knocks and quite frankly its been down to not looking after the body the right way and really relying on a relatively weak body to get them through their training and race day.Tweaks in your approach like a basic strength program and a basic 15 min daily body maintenance program will really go a long way here.

-Advanced strength programs you really haven’t mastered the basic compound movements like deadlifts and squats in order to start working off a advanced specific % format yet.On top of that you might not have the basic mobility to be able to get into some of the positions and you might just be better off working on that first before you start to put your body into these positions a couple of times a week with heavy load.

-CrossFit workouts I think CrossFit is both good and bad.I don’t mention the C word here too much as every time it gets mentioned there is quite an uproar.All I am going to say here make sure whatever your doing movement wise that its right for your level.A lot of the time this is not down to the CrossFit progam itself but more importantly the coach that is delegating you the work.Every CrossFit gym is different.There are some fantastic CrossFit coaches in Ireland.

-Sport specific programs If you play a sport you should be work on areas in the gym that will compliment your performance.Over the years I have been lucky to have trained along side many professional soccer players,county gaa players,pro golfers to even shadowing some sessions at the infamous FSU university in Florida that produces some of Americas finest athletes..Any athlete I have worked with has the basics nailed down first,has good range of mobility,very good body awareness and has the ability to work through the gears pushing themselves into certain zones of training.There really is no point in getting all specific until you have shown a good level with the basics and quite frankly you are ready for that certain specific program.A good place to start would be having the ability to squat well,have a basic level of strength and are able to chip through a couple of basic mobility/flexibility standard tests that I have mentioned before in previous articles.

-Bodybuilding split programs.These programs are great but you really have to be all in when you’ve a real goal here changing your physique This route may not be for everyone but it certainly has its place.Too many people give this a try doing split programs that are catered for people looking to increase mass,size and put on some muscle and overall they really aren’t spending enough time in the gym,not eating enough food and generally “switch off” at the weekend .

-Weightloss programs The myth of lifting weights,dramatically cutting carbs and hammering lots of “cardio” is still around in order to achieve this goal.A lot of people who are chasing weightloss tend to stay away from the weight room,hammer the spin class and literally cut carbs for a few days before they crash again.From the experience I have with 2 clients both who lost 63kg and 40kg  over the last year both were training 2-3 times a week,on a structured weight training plan,did some cardio every now and then and relied on carbs to get them through certain workouts and days.

Conclusion

Its great that you have a a goal in mind and that your working off training template or program.The best advice here is to assess and not guess.Assess your goal and where you need to work on instead of just guessing and picking programs that might not be the best for you.Lock down the basics first and then make sure your training regime matches up with your goal.If you are unsure the best thing is to source a trainer or coach who is particular about technique, has a good pedigree and has a proven track record of getting results.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.

 

 

5 of the most common faults I see in and around the gym

The last 12 months I’ve filled the column with everything I feel is related to health and fitness.Anything and everything from workout advice,healthy lifestyle tips,nutrition support right down to mindset and recovery protocols have all been covered.The goal of this column is to keep the content relative to a large audience and get out as much real and honest information that I feel is related towards living a fit and healthy lifestyle.The feedback has been great each article so last week I reached out to people for advice they wanted me to write about.The response back was positive and was nice to see people looking for some advice.I had people look for help with everything from workout advice,supplementation questions even down to training structure queries.

So what I decided to do in today’s article is jot down the most common issues I have come across the last 10 years working on the gym floor and will give you many ways on how you can improve these areas.This article is put together not to show you your weaknesses but for you to help you combat them and give you that little bit more knowledge and structure.

Your warm up needs some basic structure

A lot of the time I see people not do the right warm up.Over the years I’ve seen 3 types of warmer upper.The quick 5 minute X-trainer approach,the person who literally flogs it and goes straight into a workout and then the other approach of spending 20 minutes not really doing a while lot on your foam roller.To be honest they are all not the most ideal.The goal of the warm up is to set aside a structure of 10 minutes of increasing your body temp while loosening,stretching and activating your joints and muscles preparing you for your next portion of your workout.The video below includes a basic 10 minute template of what you should incorporate for a basic gym based workout.The structure here includes raising body temp,loosening joints while using some tools like foam rollers,resistance bands and lacrosse balls to work on tight spots in my body such as tight glutes.

Your basic mobility is weak

At least 90% of the people I work with initially need to work on their mobility.After a quick assessment the top 3 areas that always seem to need attention are having very tight hamstrings,weak and inactive glutes and tight hip flexors.This generally is down to long periods of sitting down in our day and not spending enough time on stretching and activating areas that need work on.These 3 areas are a big contributor to low back pain.I have always said that people should incorporate at least 5-10 mins of  mobility drills in their warm up routine in order to combat and stay on top of this. The video below and article here has covered the basics you need to know 

Your basic movements technique needs attention

I have covered the basic movements before.Basic movements like squatting,hinging,pulling and pressing are movements that give you the biggest bang for your buck and I generally always like to see exercises such as goblet squats,deadlifts,push ups,chin ups and carries somewhere into a training program.These exercises will help you build a solid foundation from which you can build once you get consistent and stronger at these movements.The problem a lot of the time is that people don’t spend enough time on the basics and others sometimes have poor technique or are unsure what their technique should look like.These drills are basic and uncomplicated, yet a lot of the time I see these movements performed incorrectly, largely due to two reasons:

1. You haven’t been taught correctly.

OR

2. You didn’t dial the basics in for long enough and moved on to the more complex stuff straight away.

My advice here is go source a trainer that has who is particular about technique, has a good pedigree and has a proven track record of getting results.The squat is a very basic movement yet at times I see it done performed wrong.Go watch my video below and this might just help you out.

 

Your body is constantly quite tight and sore

Feeling tight,stiff and sore is part of training.At the same time you shouldn’t really rate how well your training session or program is on how sore you are the next day.In order to keep on top of your training plan I would always recommend people to bring in at least 15 mins of daily body maintenance into their plan.This is going to help you recover that little better,help you train without tightness that little bit more,decrease the chance of picking up an injury and overall just be a good benefit to your overall day.A basic 15 min flow of a couple of drills or even yoga will really help you out and you can find my 15 min flow here below.Doing some light active recovery like an easy walk or even having radox or epsom salts hot bath is something that can help out there too.

You think supplements will solve the problem

I have seen this creep into the fitness industry. Magic pills,juices,detoxes along with the long list of supplements are constantly being advertised as the best way to get in shape.A lot of people find themselves going down avenues like this with the hope it can help them drop a little more body fat,improve their performance in the gym and maybe help their chances losing some weight.In my opinion supplements have a place but they should be looked at once you have the basics dialed in when it comes to your nutrition.My advice has always been the same here and the results I have seen with clients who stick to this approach speak for themselves.Having a realistic 80/20 approach when it comes to nutrition is what works best.Start with real food and then start to look at your calorie and macronutritent breakdown.Once you get to grasp that then you can look at the odd supplements like a a basis whey/pea based protein/creatine/BCAA if you feel any of them are needed.Get the food right first, find a good coach, work with him/her for a while and then ask them for advice on supplements somewhere down the road.

I hope you’ve found this information useful and if you need any more advice you can pop me a direct message from the links below.

You can also get more advice on my social media pages, which are also linked below.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.

 

 

 

5 ways of developing power for your sport or the gym

In previous articles I have given you advice on some of the best mobility,strength and core based movements out there and you can find them all in my column.I have always said that building a strong foundation is the key to anyone’s gym program. Mobility and strength is the foundation for pretty much everything fitness related.Last week I received a email from a GAA player looking for some power exercises into his gym program so today I am going to focus on ways you can train power and show you movements that can improve your all round performance particularly those who are field based athletes from GAA players,rugby,hockey and football players.I would always recommend bringing both strength and power based drills into you gym routine if your trying to improve your game.If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out some of the best strength based exercises then go check this out first and go incorporate some of those drills into a 6-8 week plan focusing on building strength first then start pairing in some power or speed based exercises.The end result of training for power is better performance in the gym and improved performance in your sport (in terms of your ability to accelerate, decelerate, jump higher, sprint faster, and change direction).I have mentioned in the past having access to gym equipment like battle ropes,plyometric boxes,kettlebells,prowlers,med balls is always a good sign of a good training facility and I have included a lot of those below in the exercises I have recorded.The exercises I have included this week is for the beginner right up to the advanced.The key here is do the movement that technically and physically you are ready for.For instance Olympic lifting is mentioned here below and that is one of the more complex of the power exercises and there really is no point in you going near these movements until you have a couple of boxes ticked.I would suggest you get after the movement that will give you the best bang for your buck.If your mobility sucks and you still cant do a kettlebell swing then I suggest you go work on these areas first before you go near the snatch or clean.If you are still lost on what to do then the best thing is to source a coach or trainer that will guide you in the right direction.

Bodyweight

Covering 3 basic body weight power based movements here.A lot of people feel they need lots of equipment in order to improve power but doing drills like this below is just as good.The jumping lunge,kneeling jump to the box jump are 3 good lower body progressions to work on.

 

Kettlebell

I am a huge fan of the kettlebell and its one of the reasons why we have so many at our gym.The kettlebell swing is one of the first things I would teach when working with a new client along with a couple of other movements.The swing is a movement I see performed incorrect far too often and I have put together a tutorial here on how to swing correctly.Not only are these super for doing power based exercises but they really are quite portable and extremely versatile when looking for a full body workout.Today I am focusing on the Russian swing and using a relatively heavy bell dialing in 8-10 heavy swings.I then tied a resistance band to a slightly lighter bell which made it that bit more testing.Adding band resistance to this movement can add extra resistance at the top while addressing the end range of hip extension and its also quite a handy trick when you don’t have enough bells around the gym floor as you start to get stronger

Med ball

Another handy piece of equipment.The med ball is ideal for bringing in power based drills.Today I am working on both the med ball toss and the med ball slam.Throwing is an expression of power and throwing a med ball around the gym is unlike any exercise that can be done on the gym floor.This toss is working on the transverse plane,which in my opinion every athlete should be training.This drill is really user friendly and the risk of injury or anything going wrong is relativity low compared to other drills like oly lifting/KB work.The overhead ball slam is another drill I would encourage into your regime.Stringing together the reps on the toss driving from the core and the hip is key and shooting for 6-8 reps each side is something I suggest and then taking time on  each rep on the overhead slam is what works better here.Take your time on each rep and get your set up right.Ideally going a little heavier weight in the slam is what works best.

Battle rope

The battle rope slam really is a no nonsense exercise that takes no prisoners.15 reps of these will jack the heart rate right up.This exercise forces you to generate power and speed as you chip through the reps .There are many variations to use the battle rope and these 2 examples above are easy and ideal for everyone to try.

Barbell

A lot of the time when we mention power,Olympic lifting gets mentioned and so it should be.Olympic lifters are one of the fastest and powerful athletes out there.Over the last few years we have seen a huge increase in interest in olympic lifiting in Ireland.Its great to see and perhaps its down to the arrival of CrossFit that put in on the map and got both males and females interested in the barbell working on both the clean and jerk and snatch.Oly lifting is a sport within itself and can be a very technical and complex route to go down.If you are interested I suggest you go source an oly lifting coach or gym that specializes in this area and go from there.Above I am working both movements from “the hang position”(the barbell starting position between the hip and the knee) in my starting position and finishing in the power position (catching the barbell in the rack position in the power stance)I feel this format is perfect for any field based athlete. Oly lifting requires that bit more patience,coaching and technical skill.They both are  super exercises to have when aiming to develop power or speed.But like I said above in the article only bring in these movements once you are ready for them.Like the swing above I have seen a large amount of people go near these movements and they really have looked quite ugly after a couple of reps.

I hope you’ve found this information useful and if you need any more advice you can pop me a direct message from the links below.

You can also get more advice on my social media pages, which are also linked below.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here

 

 

5 basic mobility drills that you need to do

IF YOU ONLY had 10-15 minutes each day to stretch,do some body maintenance or even some mobility work what would you do?

I’ve previously suggested how to structure a warm up session before your workout. I’ve also highlighted the importance of body maintenance each day to look after your body for at least 10-15 minutes recovery stretching each day.

Most of the time I would have these areas as a priority before looking at any other areas before getting a workout in.Mobility and flexibility standards are always the first thing I assess when working with a client on their first visit.Any good trainer should be assessing their clients/members the right way from day 1.

As a trainer I spend most of my day working with office workers who spend an average of 8-12 hours a day in the seated position. Not surprisingly, most arrive at the gym on their first session with the mobility of a clam,low back pain issues,poor posture and generally a weak core which makes training and doing simple things like hip hinges, squats, and other staples of a training program a challenging endeavor.Generally speaking almost every new client I work with at the start shows the same mobility issues and they all roughly show at least 2 signs from the list below that need attention.I have always said to people mobility work generally isn’t cool and a lot of the time you wont see the fitness industry try sell you this.I have always said the industry rarely sells patience and a lot of the time its all about youth and intensity.But believe it or not doing basic stretching,mobility drills and listening to your body for area that need attention is what really will make the difference at the end of the day and will help keep you going on the longevity of your health and fitness regime.

These are the following

Tight hips/hip flexors

Tight hamstrings

Tight ankles/calves

Tight upper back

Rounded shoulders

Tight and inactive glutes

When it comes to training and exercise people often get injured because of neglecting mobility work and doing poor movement/technique in high intensity workouts with a very tight and weak body.

These are some simple drills that everyone should do as often as they can. The exercises listed really is for everyone and anyone  can do them. Everyone may not be able to do them well at the start but they can at least do them.You really don’t need much equipment either.I have said before,having a set of resistance bands can really go a long way and go really well with some of these basic drills below.

Kneeling hip flexor/quad pulsing stretchfullsizerender-43

Drive your hip forward and back while your knee is planting into the mat on the ground. Your iliopsoas muscle, one of the main hip flexors, is a deep muscle that requires isometric activation to stretch it.Contract your glute and pulse forward and back for 15 reps each side and ideally do this after raising your body temperature.

Banded pull-aparts/Banded pass-thrus/Banded x-band walks

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I’ve talked about the benefits of having resistance bands in around your gym bag.They are perfect for doing mobility drills to even some excellent core drills and the best thing about the resistance band is that you can literally bring them anywhere.You can pick sets of bands in both D8fitness and McSport.Here are 3 movements that will help your posture,rounded shoulders,tight upper back and even activate your tight glutes which is one of the reason why your are struggling with low back issues.Not only will these drills improve your overall posture,movement and mobility but I have seen it improve performance and body awareness.

Banded hamstring stretch

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90% of the clients I work with have tight hamstrings.This is generally down to sitting for long periods in our day.When hammies,hips and glutes become inactive this leads to many issues.Most of the time it can lead to low back pain and discomfort.You want to sort your low back issue then go read this article I wrote.Go pop a band into middle part of foot and pulse foot down and up 20 reps each leg.The goal here is to work towards finding that 90 degrees position with a fairly straight leg.Dont overdo it.Get to the range that is just about doable and try hold 60-90 secs each leg

So now you have a couple of the movements now you can watch them in action below

I hope you’ve found this information useful and if you need any more advice you can pop me a direct message from the links below.

You can also get more advice on my social media pages, which are also linked below.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.

6 steps for fat loss

In last weeks article I mentioned core work,abs and fat loss.I gave you some of the best core drills along with mentioning a couple of quick tips in how to get leaner.If you want to get leaner,drop some bodyfat or even chase those abs, yes, you need to do core work along with a lot more of a structured training session but a lot of the time it’s going to come down to what you are eating as it’s a drop in body fat which will help those abs stand out.

You want to look better naked,get a little leaner and overall just look far fitter,healthier and better then perhaps these 6 points below will help you out.Over the last 10 years working in the fitness industry I have seen many fads,myths and avenues that have led people down the wrong path and have resulted in not achieving their fat loss goal.I have however seen a lot of things that have worked and to be honest these points may not even surprise people when I list them off.Bottom line here is that there are no magic pills,quick fixes or special training programs out there that will have you dropping body fat within a week or two.The truth is that you need to be consistent with the work  and hit some of these goals that I list off below.Nothing worth having comes easy.If you are persistent,you will achieve your goals.If you are consistent you will hold onto them goals.

Nutrition 

If you’re serious about stripping off body fat, you must make time for proper nutrition.I have talked about nutrition before in a previous article and have laid out the best realistic approach that works for myself and clients I have worked with.Nutrition is the single most important starting block for your fat loss goals.Your activity level and training sure is important but it all starts with the food and fuel that you are putting into your body.I have mentioned things like calories,macronutrient breakdown and the best approach on supplements here in a previous article. There will come a point where you really need to assess numbers.Daily calories,macro numbers,water intake along with the number of hours sleep your getting in is needed for your reaching your goal.Like I said before you need to assess and not guess.I have seen people get to know their numbers with calories,macros needed in the early stages along with weighing and prepping their food and there then comes a point they know exactly what a typical day should really look like for them with time.Going on a guessing game with macronutirents,eating what you like with hope all the training your doing is sufficient or even cutting out carbs are all areas I have seen people try and not sustain too well over a period of time.

Exercise selection

You need to pick the right exercises that are the most effective.I feel doing the bigger compound movements like squats,deadlifts,some pressing,pulling and carrying movements are what is really going to give you the biggest bang for your buck which in turn is going to help you get stronger.Improving your movement,assessing and working on your mobility,having a strong emphasis on strength training along with a good mix of conditioning work is what is best here.I have mentioned the top 5 exercises here you need in your program.Overall I would try get people to exercise at least 4 times per week and aiming to try cover some of the points mentioned below in a typical training week.Keeping it varied yet relative is really what is needed and is the only way you can achieve that goal.My clients see fantastic results from following a sensible eating plan, resistance training along with some conditioning work three to four times per week. It is repeatable and always works.

Strength training

Bringing in strength training into your regime is important for building muscle,improving performance but is also has an important role to play when it comes to fat loss.When it comes to fat loss, most people embark on a program of cardio and dieting.Strength training coupled with diet and cardio is a far better approach.Strength training will encourage some muscle growth. Studies show that a well-designed strength program can elevate your metabolism after the workout. In other words, you continue to burn calories long after training session.Having a good emphasis on strength training will in turn make you far more adaptable when bringing in some HIIT style conditioning sessions.

Interval training

Give priority to training the anaerobic system at least twice per week.Doing high intensity 60 second sprint intervals with 2-3 mins rest x a number of rounds is a great example of this and can be brought in after your strength portion of your workout.Having said that LSD(low slow distance) is something I encourage people to do a least once a week.Getting out a going for a long walk,cycle,hike for 60 mins is something that can only go well with your 3/4 gym sessions.

Hypertrophy training 

I would try bring in a hypertrophy session into your weekly training plan.This is where you can aim for a little more volume/reps working in some body part isolation exercises working around 60-80% of your 1rm. Exercises like dips,push ups,curls,raises or all good examples here .I would generally encourage people to look at counting tempo here and possibly even varying the tempo,rest periods and loads of the exercise over a 4-6 week plan.

Stay in control

Stress and sleep are really important areas that need to be looked after. This is perhaps the most important thing to manage before you start to look at other areas such as mobility and strength.I have seen stress levels being the primary factor halting clients fat loss goals.Stress throws metabolic hormones out of whack,alters sleep and triggers sugar cravings.I have talked about meditation,yoga and many other areas people should focus on every now and then.

Sleep: Shooting for eight hours is a good start.

Stress: Invest at least 15 minutes each day to yourself, slow down, breathe, stretch and just switch off. It could be doing some yoga poses, going for a walk or playing with your kids.

I hope you’ve found this information useful and if you need any more advice you can pop me a direct message from the links below.

You can also get more advice on my social media pages, which are also linked below.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.