Follow by Email

Monday, August 26, 2013

My "Great Find"....To All My Endurance Athletes...Please Read!

You may be a runner...maybe a cyclist...cross-fitter...spartan trainer...tough mudder...athlete...triathlete...

You Name It!!

Of course, you have some training knowledge, otherwise you wouldn't be in the franchise gym at 5am getting a session on the treadmill or bike before work. Yea, it's your typical routine, and you are seeing some slllloooooowwwwww your thinking...why fix something that isn't broken...right? can live in the past...or you can step into the future. Nowadays, technology and science have proven theories wrong time after time and what I'm about to dig into could turn some heads...

SO lets flashback...

Your at the gym...of course you are eye-balling some of the other athletes and seeing what they are doing... see the ultra-marathoner over there doing dumbell curls while standing on a bosu ball with 6 lb. weights.

This Guy's Gym is NOTHING "Fitastic"

"INTERESTING!" So, you wait for her to leave and you give it a go....and THERE YOU HAVE IT!

YOU OFFICIALLY ADDED THE MOST USELESS EXERCISE TO YOUR "SMALL" LIST OF KNOWN EXERCISES TO DO(Whether or not they are good for your sport...doesn't even cross your mind)

Well, I'll give you guys all a little help.

I walk into the gym. Start my warm-up. Pick out those who make me laugh who are doing some wacky shit and flaunting that they think its cool they can do hanging leg raises in complete spinal flexion while using an excessively wide grip(which can do wonders to the supraspinatus), THEN get to the real task...

Look for who Is doing things right...Not too many...But there is a Marine Deadlifting in the corner...325lbs...looks like 5x3.

I went up and talked to him. Turns out...he is a pretty fit dude...mile PR 5:16, 5K- 18:05 has won many military based strength and conditioning competitions, and has a super lean build.


New findings are seeing that RUNNERS can benefit a great amount y incorporating a conjugated periodization method into their program! This means that HEAVY LIFTING(80-90% 1 Rep Max) can be essential to your development as a runner!

Two studies published last month offered interesting takes on strength training for runners. One, from researchers in Chile and Spain, looked at plyometrics; the other, from researchers in Italy, compared low-weight, high-rep strength training with high-weight, low-rep routines.

Some key points highlighted by Dr. Maria Francesca Piacentini of the University of Rome:

The traditional approach to strength training for endurance athletes has been to focus on a high number of repetitions with relatively light weights – three sets of 10 to 15 reps for each exercise, for example. The idea is to build strength without packing on too much muscle, a “problem” that is purely hypothetical for the vast majority of people.

Instead, it turns out that the exact opposite approach may produce better results. Training with heavy weights or explosive motions, such as leaping, seems to have less in common with the demands of running, but these techniques are extremely effective at improving the communication between your brain and your muscles.

Such “neuromuscular” adaptations allow you to recruit more muscle fibres with each contraction, and ultimately translate into more efficient running.

Researchers at the University of Rome tested this idea in a study published in this month’s issue of
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. They recruited 16 runners, with an average age of 44 who were preparing for a marathon, and divided them into three groups. In addition to their regular running, one group added a six-week, twice-weekly traditional strength-training program consisting of three sets of 10 reps of a variety of upper- and lower-body exercises, using a weight equal to about 70 per cent of their one-rep max. The second group did a heavy-weight protocol, doing four sets of three to four reps with 85 to 90 per cent of one-rep max. The third group did no weights.
After six weeks, only the heavy-weights group had made any improvements: 16 per cent in their one-rep max on the leg-press machine and 6 per cent in running economy. Interestingly, these gains came without any significant increase in muscle mass, supporting the hypothesis that the primary benefits were neuromuscular.

WOW! How about that for an improvement! Lift heavy and NOT bulk up...Just get faster! 

And for some advanced runners....I would incorporate a few plyometrics....which also had a case study!

This study, due to be published later this year in the same journal, found that runners can also benefit from “plyometric” training, which uses explosive leaps and jumps to stimulate neuromuscular pathways. Researchers in Chile and Spain assigned 36 runners to either a six-week plyometric training program (60 drop jumps twice a week) or a control group; by the end of the study, the plyometric group had improved their time in a 2.4-kilometre run by 3.9 per cent, while also improving sprint and jump performance.

So back to my opening statement...

Don't be the "follower" in the gym. Contact me and get yourself on a solid strength & conditioning program that WORKS! Science has come through and yes, adding light weight. high reps workouts are GREAT and I love them too...but to really build a strong foundation, the proprioceptive skills of your running musculature must be involved and activated!

So get in touch with me and be a leader. Get PR's, get stronger, and some dam muscle because we all know some endurance athletes could use it   :) 

Until Next Time,

Stay Strong

Identify the one BIG task you have to finish today. Make it your #1 priority. Don't let anything get in your way of finishing it.

Mike Over
Strength & Conditioning Specialist

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How Many Slams Can You Get?

Kettlebell Swings have taken the award for the best strength and conditioning tool for athletes in the past 5 or so years....It helps produce power, flexibility, speed and strength. It is a total body conditioner. It is a great tool for your training tool box and there are few exercises that offer as many benefits as it does.....


I believe I may have a rival. I just think when training for developing pure power, strength, and upper body conditioning....BATTLE ROPE SLAMS are the ultimate BEAST!  The Power Slam is performed with a 2", 50' long rope that is anchored in the middle the same way you would anchor a rope to perform a Velocity drill with the Battling Ropes. The user grabs the two ends of the 2" rope, with either an underhand or an overhand grip, and takes about 3 to 5 steps up towards the anchor point. This puts a great deal of slack in the heavy rope. Then, in a "swing" like fashion, the user swings the ends of the rope up and then slams them down in order to try to force a huge wave all the way through the rope to reach the anchor point. This requires a tremendous amount of power in both the up swing and the down swing.

There is NO MOMENTUM here! All the force is generated through the core of the athlete! Some feel 10 swings with a Kettlebell is friends....welcome to elite fitness...that is what I'm all about. Researching and finding out ways to challenge the human body.

Try comparing 10 Power Slams to 10 Swings....let me know which one puts you out of breathe. The speed and force it takes to create and push a wave to the anchor takes power and determination. You can not fake the Power Slam or "take it easy." If you expect your wave to reach the anchor point, you must force it through. Sure, the swing is a great posterior chain exercise...but I am all about core strength. Having a strong core translates into peak athletic performance....and that's what the slam is all about!!

It is a very athletic move that works the entire body. Like the swing, the Power Slam will help produce power, flexibility, speed, strength, and insane stamina. Unlike the swing, the Power Slam has very little learning curve and it is relatively safe for almost anyone.

The Power Slam also offers variability to its user. If you want to make it more difficult, you just step closer to the anchor and create more slack in the rope. If you need to "lighten your load" you just step backwards and reduce the slack in the rope. Of course, if you step all the way back, you're about to enjoy some heavy Velocity work.

So, here is my challenge to YOU!

See how long it takes you to perform 75 POWER SLAMS!

Here is a video of some of the NFL's best trying this challenge!!

Can you beat The best time, however, belonged to Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Josh Johnson, who finished the challenge in a blistering 43 seconds.

Until Next Time,

Mike Over
Strength Conditioning Specialist

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

10 CRUCIAL commandments to stay injury free!

I'm back! Yes, been a crazy couple of weeks for me. Had a lot going on in my life....

The main thing is my grandfather is no longer suffering and in pain, I am on the up and up with my future(which is always a GREAT thing for my followers), I have a stem cell injection and exploratory knee surgery scheduled, and my parents had a wonderful 30th anniversary :)

Yes, I had to throw in the gummy rings for my dad. I swear they are his biggest addiction. 

But just so many of you don't think I am blowing the blog posts off...I wanted to reassure you that you are in good hands! When I'm busy...that's a GOOD thing!

But I still want to manage to keep you guys informed on what I come across on a day in day out basis in my training and clients.

So that leads me to today's topic:

10 Commandments of Staying Injury Free.

Yes, we all know injuries cross our paths...HECK...mine for the last 14 months! But besides the point...there are ways to keep yourself healthy!

Some of them rather easy and basic....some of them are repetitive and boring(as my runners like to tell me)....BUT

It will enable you to be training instead of dealing with nagging feet and knee issues, or even worse...hip and lower back pain!

So here are my 10 BIGGEST ways to stay healthy:


Include rest days into your training plan by taking a complete break from training both physically and mentally. Get off your feet, rest your mind, rest your body for the day. The more advanced you are, the more rest days you should include. Your body needs the rest and muscles need the time to recover. This is where I see most athletes FAIL. It is tough to stop training, but it is essential for your body! I, personally, include 3 rest days every 5th week, and have many "easy" days. Yes, foam rolling, core work, active stretching and a few unilateral exercises will do WONDERS for your ability to recover and strengthen missed areas!


There are a number of ways to incorporate recovery into your routine. Foam rollers and massage sticks help sore, achy or stiff muscles recover from exercise. Watching movies, spending time with family, reading, listening to music or socializing with friends are other great ways to spend your off days! I like to walk my pup, hike, play tennis(leisurely) things you ENJOY!

Essential for physiological growth and repair, routinely physically active individuals are encouraged to aspire for 8 to 9.5 hours of sleep each night. Cardiovascular performance can be compromised by up to 20 percent with sleep deprivation while reducing reaction time, the ability to process information and emotional stability.  Naps can be a great way to refresh but our body relies on quality sleep.


The goal of post-exercise nutrition is to restore muscle and liver glycogen stores, improve hydration and repair muscle tissue. You should eat 15 to 30 minutes after exercise, preferably as soon as possible, when the muscles are most receptive to fuel. Muscle replenishment and tissue repair can be accelerated if you combine carbohydrates and protein together in a ratio of 4 to 1. If strength training, the protein ratio should be higher to allow for a better recovery! Many runners need to learn that strength training is ENTIRELY different than running in that you are breaking down muscle tissue! That tissue needs REPAIRED....and electrolyte drinks and coffee won't do that! ...(And sorry neither will the chocolate milk...unless you want a sugar high).  Stick to a quality protein/carb replenishment meal! My go to is a blender drink with Almond Milk, 1/2 Banana, Spinach, 1 Scoop Whey Protein, and some berries. Give it a go! Add some stevia for some extra flavor but it shouldn't need it!

A proper warmup is a key component to preparing the body for the demands of any training session or competition. Developing a pre-race warmup is unique to each individual. Performing a warmup will elevate heart rate, VO2, and increase blood flow to the connective tissue and local muscles to be trained. This in turn will raise muscle temperature and help decrease joint and muscle stiffness, therefore improving range of motion. Warm-up periods of five to 15 minutes are recommended with the effects lasting up to 45 minutes. Cool-Down can be comprised of walking and performing some active isolated stretches and movements! You know you love those Frankensteins. :)


Strength training is essential for preparing the body for the rigors of training and racing. It facilitates bone health and enhances injury resistance, including factors that contribute to overuse injuries. The amount of information here is endless. If you don't know by now that strength training has many benefits to supplement your training...I wouldn't count on staying injury free very long.


Correct equipment minimizes unwanted stress. This goes with proper running shoes, fitted bike, posture, the weight you choose to strength train with....

It all goes hand in hand with your ability to perform and continue to perform at a high level.

Increase annual training hours, or training volume, by ten percent or less. For example, if you ran 20 miles this week, your total mileage next week should not exceed 22 miles. Adding mileage too quickly can lead to ugly nagging injuries that are better not started in the first place! Train smart!


Proper interval training can improve VO2 and anaerobic threshold. Not to mention BLAST away the fat. Just read any of my older posts and check out the studies...if your looking to lose weight...GET OFF THE ELLIPTICAL AND STOP THE SLOW MILES! Ramp up your training! Get out of your comfort zone! Come join me and many others who know this to be true!

Recovery allows your body to adapt to training loads. Conditioning should be specific to the event you are training for.  Remember, volume and intensity are inversely related! So adding volume and still keeping those 2 weekly sprint sessions could be enough to tip you over the top. Be careful. Trust your body.

There you have it, my 10 keys to staying healthy! Training hard is GREAT...but you MUST MUST MUST do it properly otherwise you will end up in a cumulative injury cycle that will be tough to escape.

Until Next Time,

Stay Strong My Friends,

Mike Over
CPT / Strength & Conditioning Specialist