Redefining Strength – Empowerment through exercise
So over the last year, I’ve thought a lot about what Man Bicep stood for in my life and the life of my clients.
It wasn’t about powerlifting. It most definitely wasn’t about running. And it wasn’t even about a specific diet.
It was about doing something….anything…that made you feel healthy and strong. It was about working out to feel empowered.
It was about taking on new challenges and feeling like you COULD do anything.
It was about redefining what strong really means.
And so I started considering what could really make us feel more empowered. And I began developing workout programs based around this principle.
I believe that working out can be an outlet, a release. I believe it can help us build confidence in a way few other things can. Overcoming physical challenges – lifting more or running further than we thought possible – is just about the most empowering thing you can do.
So I created “Redefining Strength.”
Right now the site has a few products that I’m giving away. I spent a lot of time considering what would be most helpful and supplement everything that I post here, on Man Bicep.
If you go over and subscribe, you will get 4 different reports. One is bodyweight exercises that can be done by beginners and advanced a like. They are basically exercises you can do anywhere and get a full body workout.
You will also get a list of 10 Simple Diet Changes. Be you vegetarian or Atkins dieter, there are tips on there that EVERYONE needs to follow.
I also spent a lot of time creating a foam rolling video library and cheat sheet. I believe that foam rolling is one of the most important things when it comes to moving well and feeling great. I even included some foam rolling videos that show you how to roll out even if you don’t have any of the fancy trigger point equipment.
And last, but not least, you will get a goal setting sheet. I debated about putting this one in since many of you will skip it. But honestly, goal setting is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
I know it’s cheesy. I know it’s boring and seems stupid. But trust me it’s worth the time if you really set goals that MATTER.
Goals that MATTER are what keep you committed even through the roughest of times. Goals CAN be motivating and keep us on course.
You just have to set goals in a way that don’t allow them to fall by the wayside like most people’s New Years resolutions!
So head over to Redefining Strength and check out those four guides and the video library. I hope it gets you as excited as I am for the programs launching in August!
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
How to build a COMPLETE home gym
Here is how to build a COMPLETE home gym in five pieces:
1. Pull up bar – I love pull ups. And while I almost considered excluding this and instead including foam rollers, I felt that the pull up bar was just too essential (and it is too easy to foam roll with a ball you just have lying around the house). Even if you can’t do pull ups YET, a pull up bar can be used to do all the isometric holds to work up to being able to do a full pull up. You can also do scapular retractions on the bar as well as ab exercises. While the least necessary piece for beginners on the list, it is really probably the best piece for core and back work.
2. Jungle Gym straps – Best way to work your ENTIRE BODY. Honestly as long as you have a door or another place to hang them, this is the single best piece of equipment to have for your home. They are just like the TRX straps but a bit cheaper and in my opinion just as good if not better. You can literally work every muscle using these straps. And these straps can be used to make moves easy enough for the beginner or difficult enough for even the advanced lifter. Balance lunges with your foot up in the strap or single leg squats with only one of the straps for assistance can be extremely difficult! So don’t think that you need a ton of weights to get in a gnarly workout at home. There are always ways to progress moves for any body part on the Jungle Gym straps!
3. Sandbag – Since I love lifting heavy, I did want to include some sort of weight equipment on this list….and sandbags won out. They can be used to work any part of the body and the weight can be easily adjusted by pulling out some of the filler bags or not filling the bags completely full. They are also an extremely functional weight since they are awkward. They also really don’t take up that much room and you won’t really have to buy more pairs, like you would dumbbells, as you progress. Not as necessary for the beginner, but a great way to start lifting some weight.
4. Sliders – Sliders can be used to progress exercises for any part of the body and can be a good substitute for weighted activities. They make exercises more difficult because they create a more unstable environment. For example, there is no traction when you slide out to do a side lunge and then try to drag the slider back in toward the standing leg (I always tell people NOT to go out as far as they think they can the first time because they won’t make it back in). Sliders are also fairly cheap and a small piece of equipment that you can basically store anywhere. They are a great way to progress moves without needing weights. And shoot, if you have hardwood floors you can even make your own sliders out of socks!
5. Resistance bands – While I was at first hesitant to put these on the list because you can basically strengthen the exact same body parts with the Jungle Gym straps, they did end up making the list because they are probably the easiest and best piece of equipment to carry with you if you travel a lot. Also, I had considered putting on mini bands for glute activation exercises (since glute activation exercises are extremely important yet everyone skips them) BUT you can make modifications so that you can sub resistance bands for mini bands! Anyway, the point is resistance bands are super versatile, easy to store and can be used by everyone from the beginner to the advanced lifter. Also, unlike dumbbell lifts, moves done with resistance bands have a lot more tension and resistance throughout the full range of motion of the lift, which is an added bonus.
So now you know the only five pieces you really need for a COMPLETE home gym.
BUT what if you can’t get all five?
If you can only get two items from this list, I would suggest getting only the Jungle Gym Straps (or resistance bands) AND a sandbag. HOWEVER, if you want to spend less, resistance bands and sliders can be a great way to increase the intensity and add variety to any of the bodyweight or home workouts you may be doing.
As I mentioned before, foam rollers almost made the list. And it was a very hard decision NOT to put them on there.
They honestly didn’t make it because a tennis ball or rolling-pin will work 95% of the time and most clients I’ve encountered have one or the other (or would rather spend the few dollars on one of those instead of shelling out $50 to $100 bucks for a true trigger point tool). However, if money isn’t an issue and you have space for a bit more equipment and are serious about getting great results, I would suggest investing in some trigger point tools to target exactly your problem areas!
What are your favorite pieces of home equipment? Need some help creating your home gym and designing workouts? Let me know!
NOTE: In posts to come, look for exercises using each of these pieces.
Some random fun to celebrate Friday….just because!
Two things I found this week while shopping that I absolutely LOVE:
1. Macadamia nut butter
2. Coconut Chips from Trader Joes
Also, I went rock climbing with the team last week and LOVED IT!
What better way to see all of your training pay off than to feel physically fit enough to take on any challenge!?!
AND Ryan got a trigger point “Grid” for his birthday…which I’ve stolen to use like every day!
And finally…wish me luck.
I’ve started a new training program which I’m pretty sure will end up upping my deadlift AND help me accomplish a few feats on the VersaClimber and battling ropes. The program was designed by one of the owners of Innovative Results and I’m interested to see the results!
Have I mentioned before that I love self-experimentation!?!
Right now, I’m just working my butt off…and I haven’t been so sore consistently in a while. Although I do feel better after my 7 mile run yesterday. (Uhm yep…I ran 7 miles…who would have thunk it…BLEH…haha)
Anyway, stay tuned for some unconventional tips to help you up your deadlift!!!
HAPPY FRIDAY! Get some delicious healthy snacks, go play and then foam roll for a little recovery! 🙂
To lift heavy, you must be flexible!
If you want to be super strong, you must also be super flexible.
Just look at the best Olympic and powerlifters, they are all super flexible.
That, right there, is flexibility.
Go ahead. Try a squat that deep. Keep your chest up while you do it and your heels on the ground throughout the entire movement.
While you may be able to do it, squatting like that isn’t easy, or even doable for most people.
But if you want to lift heavy weight, you need to work on it.
If you aren’t flexible, you risk injury when you add weight. The weight of a heavily loaded barbell forces your range of motion to increase.
If you can’t perform a full range of motion on a squat with just your body weight, your body isn’t ready to handle the additional weight of a barbell because the extra weight will force your body to complete a fuller range of motion than it is ready to handle.
This “weight-assisted stretching” isn’t good for you! If you push it too far, you will end up injured!
So start mobility and flexibility training! You don’t have to be Gumby, but if you want to lift heavy, you need to have great flexibility in your shoulders, hips, hamstrings, and ribcage!
I cuddle with my foam roller…maybe you should too!