Hey it’s Rick.
Today, I got a guest blog post from Dan Go. Dan is a trainer that I have known for a few years, and he shares with you a few sins he sees in the gym.
There are so many times I hit the gym and find people mistakenly doing the same exact sins to start their workouts. They either hit the treadmills or do some light stretching and *think* they are ready to go.
What these people don’t know is that they are literally taking one step forward in looking good but taking two steps back in actually feeling good.
The following sins must be avoided at all costs the next time you hit up a workout at your gym. If not, they will leave your body injured, broken and weaker.
With each sin you learn about you’ll also discover a solid solution to replace them in your workouts and get a quick glimpse into what is called The Peak Performance Formula.
It is a 3 Step Sequence that will enhance you body in ways you would not have imagined and most importantly it will heal your old injuries while bulletproofing your body from new ones.
The side benefit of doing the Peak Performance Formula before your workouts is that you’ll also move and feel 10 years younger.
Sound good? Alright let’s go.
SHOCKING Workout Sin #1:
Your Fascial Tissue Needs MAJOR Repair
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been working out or how active you think you are…
…if you are not giving your fascial tissue a quick massage before your workouts you might as well not even bother working out.
What is The Fascia?
Fascia (pronounced Fa-sha) is an embryologic tissue which re-organizes long the lines of tension imposed on your body, adding support to any misalignment and contracting to protect you from further trauma (real or imagined).
It’s tough connective tissue spreads throughout the body in a three-dimensional web from head to foot functionally without interruption.
It has been estimated by researchers that if every structure of the body EXCEPT the fascia was removed, the body would STILL retain its shape.
Knowing this kinda gives you a better idea of how important its function is.
Fascia covers the muscles, bones, nerves, organs and vessels right down to the cellular level.
Thus, if there is a malfunction of the system due to sitting, bad posture, and you compound on that problem with intense workouts, it will affect how the fascia is operating.
One thing you must know is that your fascial tissue has the potential to alter organ and tissue physiology significantly.
Strains in your fascial tissue caused by the problems stated above will slowly tighten your body, causing it to lose it’s overall physical capacity to perform under any stress.
99% of the Population is Suffering From Poor Fascial Tissue
Sadly 99% of people in the Western society are operating with very poorly functioning fascial tissue due to their jobs as well as the fact that they sit on average for more than 9 hours a day.
In other words, their bad posture leads to their fascial tissue restrictions.
These “fascial restrictions” are so mutinous that they begin to pull the body out of its three-dimensional alignment, or in other words it throws your body out of balance, aka bad posture.
One study has found that pain felt in specific areas of the body can be frequently related back to having actual adhesions in the fascial tissue. (Schleip R et al., “ligament subfailure injuries lead to muscle control dysfunction” (M. Panjabi). European Spine Journal 2007; 16: 1733-1735)
Things get even worse when they go to the gym in their poorly functioning bodies and put them through 45 minutes to an hour of intense workouts.
An extremely high percentage of people suffer through pain and loss of motion due to poorly functioning fascial tissue and the workouts they do on top of them.
Now you might be thinking that getting a masseuse to work on you right before a workout will get quite expensive.
Well I’m here to tell you that you don’t need one.
This can be easily remedied by applying the first principle of the Peak Performance Formula:
Peak Performance Principle #1 – Get Your Self Myofascial Release on!
The most effective way of improving the quality of your fascial tissue is through massage, aka Self Myofascial release (SMR) or what others call Self Massage.
Most people think that the only way to get a massage is by paying $75/session to your local massage therapist, but what we recommend is something a lot cheaper and 10x more effective.
When you do apply SMR to your body you are essentially fixing your current postural issues, healing old adhesions and dysfunctions in the muscle thus helping your body operate in an optimal state.
When this happens you actually have MORE strength, speed, flexibility and energy than ever before because your body will be free from the constricting effects of its fascial tissue.
SMR is the most potent way of locating your fascial restrictions, changing your posture and effectively improving the way your body’s biomechanical movement.
By implementing the SMR routine you will not only enhance your body’s ability to move, but you’ll also increase its own propriorception, or its awareness of itself.
Think of Self Myofascial Release as putting a BRAND NEW engine in your body’s chassis.
Or if you’re like me, think of the effect of doing Self Myofascial Release as like going from driving a Toyota Corolla to tearing down the roads in a brand new Lamborghini.
By smoothing out the restrictions in your fascial tissue you’ll allow your muscle to contract with FULL FORCE and move with the freedom of an adolescent child.
One way I love to do Self Myofascial Release is by using a Lacrosse Ball.
Through testing we’ve found that it is an incredible tool to get deep into where the true dysfunction of your body is located (hips, glutes, posterior delts, lats and adductors)
SHOCKING Workout Sin #2:
You Do the WRONG Warm Up Before Physical Activity
…or even worse, you just SKIP out on the warm up entirely.
A lot of people discredit the warm up as just a waste of time when it’s, in fact, one of your most IMPORTANT aspects of your workout
It’s like taking a car that’s been sitting in the dead of winter for 8 hours and turning on the ignition and immediately taking it drag racing.
These days your average joe is waking up, going to work, sitting on their butts staring at a computer (while killing their posture) and then hitting the gym for a seriously intense one hour workout without effectively warming up their bodies.
A recent study done by Arthritis Research UK and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy asked 2,583 adults and 1,022 children across the UK asked about their physical activity levels over the previous week.
Just one in five active people said that they ‘always’ warm up and cool down when doing exercise. Some 24 per cent said they ‘never do.’ The main reasons given by those who don’t warm up were ‘can’t be bothered’ (28%) and ‘it’s not important’ (27%). Three quarters (74%) of people who never warm up have not been shown how to do it.
The same study said that many people in the UK may be increasing their risk of injury and joint problems like osteoarthritis in later life by not starting their exercises with a proper warm up.
A proper warm up prior to any physical activity does a number of beneficial things, such as the prevention of injury, the improvement of performance, raising core temperature, the reduction of muscle stiffness and allowing the heart rate get to a workable rate.
But primarily its main purpose is to wake up your central nervous system to be ready for any type of strenuous activity. It’s an ESSENTIAL part of everyone’s workout and it doesn’t have to be boring either.
Peak Performance Principle #2 – Enter the Neuromuscular Activator
What’s a Neuromuscular Activator, aka NMA’s?
NMA’s are exercises that only require your own bodyweight, and they are used to wake up your entire nervous system.
Most generic warm up routines involve cardio machines such as the treadmill, stair stepper or stationary bicycle. These only address one part of the body, which is usually the lower body.
Neuromuscular activators are full body exercises that simultaneously warm you up while waking up your nervous system for the workout ahead.
Think of them like a shot of espresso for your body.
The purpose is simple: We want to warm up your body, transport proper fluids to the right areas, while effectively waking up your nervous system.
NMA’s do another job for your body: Lubrication.
NMA’s release synovial fluids into your body, lubricating your joints, essentially making them pliable for the physical task ahead. You’ll notice that the warmer you hit a workout you (and your joints) will be more “ready” for the physical task.
This is the second principle of the Peak Performance Formula and a key aspect in getting your body to perform at its best.
BUT the Neuromuscular Activator would not be of any use if you’re still doing the next SHOCKING Workout Sin…
SHOCKING Workout Sin #3:
STOP Doing Static Stretches
A static stretch was a very popular method used to warm up a body and has been *thought* to be useful in prevent injuries.
Many people have the common misconception that they should start their exercise routines with some stretching on the spot, perhaps in hopes that it will loosen them up for their workout and prevent injuries.
But after combing through hundreds of research papers I found that static stretching had little to NO effect on injury prevention.
Static stretching before exercise is not just counter-productive, but potentially harmful.
It is like extending a rubber band to its limit. When people stretch to the maximum, they are more likely to pull a muscle.
They increase the range of motion you can attain, but not your ability to stabilize in these new positions.
In fact, doing this will limit your performance in any physical activity you choose to perform.
Even the New York Times did an article titled, “Reasons Not to Stretch.” The article stated:
“One, a study being published this month in The Journal Of Strength and Conditioning Research, concluded that if you stretch before you lift weights, you may find yourself feeling weaker and wobblier than you expect during your workout.
Those findings join those of another new study from Croatia, a bogglingly comprehensive reanalysis of data from earlier experiments that was published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.
Together, the studies augment a growing scientific consensus that pre-exercise stretching is generally unnecessary and likely counterproductive.”
With growing research it’s not hard to see why static stretching is getting a bad rap these days.
Traditional stretches, like when people bend over to touch their toes or stretch their legs on a fence, often cause the muscles to tighten rather than relax — exactly the opposite of what is needed for physical activity.
It is like extending a rubber band to its limit. When people stretch to the maximum, they are more likely to pull a muscle.
They *may* increase the range of motion you can attain, but not your ability to stabilize in these new positions. In fact, doing this will limit your performance in any physical activity you choose to perform.
It’s like getting in your car and putting on a seatbelt that doesn’t function: You think you’re protected but you’re really not.
Only the true fitness experts all agree that if you still choose to static stretch before any kind of physical activity that you’re probably better off not doing it at all.
Peak Performance Principle #3 – Do Short Burst Dynamic Mobility Stretches
The key is to keep your stretches short and dynamic while getting your entire body activated through specific Dynamic Mobility based exercises.
Dynamic Mobility exercises are short stretches and muscle activation techniques whose main function is to give your body full range of motion as well as activate the muscles that have become dormant due to the sedentary nature of today’s workplace.
Dynamic Mobility Exercises exercises are known as the “Anti-Aging” workout.
Now, this is not to say that doing them will make you look younger.
By anti-aging I mean that by doing them you’ll reverse the aging process of movement.
Years of corporate and family life will slowly inhibit your ability to move freely by creating poor posture.
The effect of movement aging is that soreness you feel after waking up or the pain in your shoulders when you work out. It’s that fear of injuring your lower back when bending down to pick up a heavy box
Dynamic Mobility Exercises reverses this aging process and enhances every aspect of your physical abilities (speed, strength, power, vertical jump, endurance, energy) while keeping you fully protected from major injuries.
A study was performed 30 cadets in the US military who did 3 consecutive days of either mobility, static stretching, or no warm up and their effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) on their performance.
Tests were done on the shuttle run, underhand med ball throw and 5 step long jump.
Out of each of the modes of warming up dynamic mobility exercises helped the subjects perform better on every test.
There were no increases from either the no warm up group or static stretching group.
The test proved CONCLUSIVELY that mobility drills before exercising enhanced every aspect of their athletic performance.
Another study conducted by the University of Wyoming and published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” June 2008 strongly supports the use of dynamic mobility exercises exercises before a workout.
They wanted to see whether introducing a dynamic mobility into a four week training program of 24 high level college athletes would have a positive impact on the following performance factors:
The athletes were divided into two groups. One group used static stretching and the other group used mobility exercises before daily practice sessions. The groups were tested for four weeks and measures were taken before and after the training session.
So what did they find in both groups? The research showed that the static group found NO improvements and some decreases in the performance factors stated above.
Whilst the dynamic group showed some significant results to help performance.
This group showed improvements in Enhanced Muscular Strength, including increases of:
- Leg strength by 11%
- Throws by 4%
- Push ups by 3%
- Sit-ups by 11%
- Endurance – time to complete a 700m run was reduced by 2.4%
- Agility – jump time increased by 4%
- Anaerobic capacity – time for 300 shuttle test reduced by 2%
Just by employing one month of mobility exercises to their workout programs these subjects increased their strength by up to 11% and increased their speed by up to 2.4% !!
After only one month of applying mobility exercises to their bodies every marker of athletic performance improved.
You need to do full body Dynamic Mobility drills frequently throughout the week as the short stretches give your body full range of motion and, along with Self Myofascial Release, they even have a hand in bringing your body back into proper posture.
As you can see, it’s ALL strategy and every single piece of the puzzle makes a huge difference and it takes ONLY 6 minutes to complete or just about the time you take to brush your teeth in the morning.
I have put together a program called 6 Minute Superhuman. It is scientifically proven to increase your strength, speed, flexibility, vertical jump power, endurance and energy while bulletproofing your body from injuries forever.
Dan Go CPT, NWS