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purposeful primitive

Muscle Motivation

“Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.”

Why do we train? Why do we diet? Why do we take supplements? Why do we join gyms? Why do we invest time, money, energy and effort into all thing’s strength, health and fitness-related? What motivates us?

Our communal motivation is a dissatisfaction with our physical self. A dissatisfaction so profound we are driven to do something about it. We refuse to be what we are – we seek to metamorphosize from ugly earthbound caterpillar into gorgeous celestial butterfly. Our dissatisfaction spurs us to start a diet, join a gym, jog, hire a personal trainer, start taking supplements…we refuse to be what we are. It is a trait buried deep in our DNA.

Success is another matter. Effort is no substitute for success. Success is dependent on a combination of elements, i.e., the soundness of mode or method selected, the degree of sustained effort brought to bear, the ability of the trainee to exert the degree of intensity required to trigger hypertrophy.

Is the transformative acolyte able to perform progressive resistance and cardio on a consistent basis and regular basis and in a periodized manner?

Does the trainee have the determination to eat and drink power foods, eschewing poor or counterproductive food choices?

Optimal training and eating requires discipline and preplanning. Fuel muscle growth with quality calories and hardcore lifting.  Melt body fat with clean eating and consistent cardio.

tao of transformation

Four disciplines should be proportionally practiced. Optimally, all four disciplines, resistance training, cardiovascular training, nutrition and brain-train are given equal billing and practiced in a balanced and even fashion. By eliminating or ignoring one or more of the four core elements, results will be disproportionately deficient.

The Purposeful Primitive system is designed to operate as an integrated whole: the sum total of results is greater than the logical sum of the unassembled parts. When used in unison, after a few weeks of total adherence, a physical synergy takes hold and results occur at an accelerated rate. This phenomenon only occurs (but predictably occurs) when the trainee hits that magical sweet spot, that balance point where all the disciplines are in place and practiced with persistence and evenhandedness.

We do not subject ourselves to restrictive diets, train with manic intensity, engage in ferocious cardio, deprive ourselves and exert ourselves in order to stay the same.  In return for our concentrated and comprehensive efforts, we expect improvement in physique, health and performance. We seek dramatic improvement - not infinitesimal or barely noticeable changes, we want extraordinary results in return for our time, money, sweat, blood and herculean efforts. We seek radical physical transformation.

The Tao of Transformation

The Iron Tao has two defining characteristics - yin, yang.

iron tao

A trainee can be said to have undergone a radical physical transformation when they successfully construct a significant amount of new muscle and successfully melt off a significant amount of body fat. Muscle is constructed using power training to become stronger. Fat is melted combining cardio and diet. When the athlete becomes dramatically leaner and stronger, athletic performance automatically improves -and to a dramatic degree, regardless the sport or drill.

How do we attain a radical physical transformation? How do we add lean muscle mass? How do we lose body fat? There are four interrelated disciplines that need be executed in a balanced, “periodized” fashion. Each discipline has pre-planned goals that are pursued simultaneously.  

The Four Transformative Disciplines

The Levers of Progress


1.

Progressive Resistance Training

Builds functional, usable muscle that equates to more raw strength allowing strength to be maintained late into life. This means that we can retard the detrimental degradation of aging and retain function and mobility far later into life if diligent in our practice. The use of full range-of-motion movements strengthens tendons, ligaments and muscle insertion points to make the trainee more injury resistant and thickens and strengthens bone, fighting osteoporosis.

2.

Cardiovascular Training

We need train our “internal plumbing” with the same regularity and intensity we use to train our external musculature. Targeted training of these internal muscles strengthens and improves their functionality while increasing organ capacities and capabilities. To obtain results from our cardiovascular training efforts sessions need to generate a pure physical effort sufficient enough to trigger the adaptive response.

3.

Nutrition

Our goal is to establish critical thinking as it relates to nutrition. This approach puts the science back into eating and relates a collective consensus of nutritional modes and methods used by professional athletes, elite spec ops, MMA fighters and competitive bodybuilders to accelerate workout recovery and muscular growth. Eat nutrient-dense power foods - seasonally appropriate, locally sourced produce and proteins from the farmer’s market and butcher-shop. Get rid of empty calories and sugar (download guide "Sugar-Is it the new enemy?")

4.

Brain-Train

By subjecting the body to intense physical effort a trainee can trigger the "fight or flight" response. The body awakens in order to cope with the severity of the training effort. This state can be achieved with astounding regularity using high intensity progressive resistance and cardiovascular training. Learn and master autosuggestion, berserker psyche, meditational techniques for long-term adherence. This is the subtle psychology of the transformative process.

Cut Through The Training Confusion!

Learn how to create a Transformative Plan using our FREE Step-by-Step E-Course. Create your own personalized Transformative Template whether a new or experienced trainee merging your progressive resistance, cardio and nutrition goals!

Human Performance: The Five Bio-Motor Abilities

How is human performance improved upon? Systematically improve performance within each of the five bio-motor benchmarks.

1.

Strength - Become Stronger

2.

Speed - Become Faster

3.

Endurance - Improve Endurance

4.

Agility - Improve Agility

5.

Flexibility - Become More Flexible

How is systematic improvement within each bio-motor attribute attained?

Create a strategy for improvement for each bio-motor attribute. Set battle-tested strategies into a timeframe and set about achieving the overall goal by attaining a series of incremental weekly mini-goals. Be aware that there are subdivisions, shades and degrees, within each of the bio-motor attributes. The extremes within each bio-motor skill demand different improvement prescriptions.

Bio-Motor Bar Graphs - Detecting Nuance

Within the five bio-motor attributes there exists a range, shades, types and degrees of effort that flow from one extreme to the other extreme.  For each bio-motor skill a bar graph can be created: the extreme left of each graph is pure white; if your eyes follow the bar graph, left to right, the pure white on the extreme left becomes increasingly grey and totally grey in the exact middle. The grey becomes increasingly darker as grey morphs into black and finally the blackest of black on the extreme right. We would add a 6th attribute of Psychological Recalibration.

Strength

Extreme Left

Middle

Extreme Right

Powerlifting

Absolute Strength

Olympic Weightlifting

Explosive Strength

Kettlebell or MMA

Sustained Strength

Speed

Extreme Left

Middle

Extreme Right

40-100 Meters

Pure Sprint/Burst

100-400 Meters

Outer Sprint Limit

400 up to 800 Meters

Strength/Endurance

Endurance

Extreme Left

Middle

Extreme Right

Marathon/Triathlon

Ultra-Endurance Flow State

800 Meters to 5K

Steady State

MMA Style Training

Intense Muscle Contractions

Agility

Extreme Left

Middle

Extreme Right

Defensive Back

Speed-biased

Linebacker

Balanced

Nose Tackle

Strength-biased

Flexibility

Extreme Left

Middle

Extreme Right

Yoga

Flexibility in Its Purest

Dance

Flexibility with Power

Rock or Wall Climbing

Effort + Cardio + Flexibility

Psychological Recalibration

Extreme Left

Middle

Extreme Right

Psyche for Training

Instantaneous

Modifying Habit Force

Sustained Discipline

Long-Term Adherence

Solar Power - Self-Sustaining

Practical Programming

The competent programmer creates training regimens designed to increase power and strength and stamina while preventing or rehabilitating injury. The first duty of the able and facile programmer is to determine the trainees exact needs. After absorbing the facts, data and idiosyncratic differentiations, the programmer constructs a training template, one that will enable the trainee to morph from what they are into what the seek to become. We do so incrementally and methodically; “creeping incremental-ism” deposits the athlete at the predetermined goal at the end of the allotted periodized timeframe – essentially transformed.

No one trains, diets, performs cardio or goes to the trouble to plan and periodize in order to stay the same: we train because we want to improve our physique and we want to improve our performance. One sure-fire way to improve performance is to improve the body. When we become stronger with increased stamina, when we are leaner and more muscular, performance in any and all athletic benchmarks automatically improves. When we look at the individual athlete, there are questions that need to be posed….

  What is the goal?
  Is that goal realistic?
  How much time do we have?
 What needs to be maintained, improved or corrected?

All elite athletes periodize: periodization sets goals into a timeframe then works backwards to a starting point. The periodized athlete ‘reverse engineers’ a plan based on the intended result and the amount of time allotted. To understand periodization we start by quantifying time….

  Macrocycle is the overall length of the periodized cycle.
  Mesocycle is for a single month.
  Microcycle is for a week.

The most basic form of periodization is linear periodization. The classical linear periodization model is a 12-week macrocycle that contains three, four-week mesocycles and twelve one-week microcycles. Categories are created and placed in vertical columns. Each week has replanned performance goals for exercises. Periodization tactics need not be confined to weight training.  In a nutshell, the way to periodize or “cycle” any lift is as follows….

  • Create a realistic goal
  • Establish a realistic timeframe
  • Reverse engineer: work backwards with a calendar
  • Place realistic goals within a specified timeframe
  • Work backwards to establish weekly benchmarks
  • Every 3-4 weeks alter the variables in anticipation of stagnation
  • When instituting changes, make change dramatic, not minor
  • Synergy = Longevity

    The synergy of these individual components creates human longevity. Our population is living longer and wanting a better quality of life later in life. Challenging ourselves to push against the tide of aging is the answer to improved functionality and happiness!

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    purposeful primitive

    Purposeful Primitive Book Review

    Always appreciative of those who read and get Marty Gallagher's book "The Purposeful Primitive." Below is a review by Kevin Gulliver sent to Ironcompany.com. Dated February 13, 2019.  Please feel free to leave any comments on your experience reading the Purposeful Primitive.

    Dear Mr. Gallagher,

    I recently finished reading The Purposeful Primitive.  As a student of the humanities and a health and fitness dilettante, I felt impelled to capture the force of this inspiration in writing. I want to express my appreciation to you for opening the doors to the annals of the history of powerlifting to the common person. Your approach to sports psychology is is unique and comprehensive. I applaud the consummate artistry that you have delivered your teachings and expect to study them for years to come.

    With Gratitude,

    Kevin Gulliver

    For the breadth of the history provided, the specificity of detail of its subject matter, and the efficacy that the fundamentals of training are instilled to the uninitiated, Marty Gallagher’s The Purposeful Primitive is the powerlifting equivalent of Dr. Timothy Noakes’s Lore of Running. The same myth-making methodology that inspired the recreational jogger to try their hand at interval training after introduction to the exploits of Emil Zapotek, and spurred denizens of the weekend 5k onto the grueling path of the marathon compliments Yiannis Kouros’s example is at in the “Iron Masters” portion of this book.

    The ascetic discipline of the “Iron Monk” Dorian “The Diesel” Yates; the purity of heart of the Furnas brothers, the inner peace and wisdom cultivated by bodybuilding forefather Bill Pearl, the grit and precision of Ed Coan and Kirk Karwoski. In the pursuit of athletic glory, these men came to embody distinct virtues that represent the high point of character in civilization: self-sacrifice, prudence, loyalty, resilience. These “Hero’s Journeys” will undoubtedly capture the hearts and minds of countless fitness novitiates.

    The tales of redemption, determination, transformation, and on occasion, tragedy are physical allegories capturing the arc the human spirit travels in its efforts of self-overcoming. In the first instance, as the soul seeks to transcend the material constraints imposed upon it by the laws of physics and the legacy of evolution; subsequently, the effort made manifest in the spiritual realm as the project to surpass the limitations placed upon the soul by society and culture. The work of the Iron Masters is both a protest against materialism and an act of refusal—a wholesale rejection of the path of least resistance as a historical trend running through the annals of civilization and the complacency of the status quo as a norm governing human societies.

    The Purposeful Primitive emerges at an uncanny chronological juncture. This book combines elements of Classicism and Romanticism. Gallagher insists in his Purposeful Primitive manifesto that the book is a harkening back. And it is. This is the work’s Classical aspect. The Purposeful Primitive reaches back to the channel the strength and capture the glory of the primordial father, the King Alpha, the Ur-Chief—a quintessentially Classical gesture. Here we find feats of strength enshrined in the highest tiers of the social hierarchy, symbolized by the archetype of the Warrior King. Samson and Goliath, Hector and Odysseus—all held high court.

    The Purposeful Primitive also contains a forward looking promise, a faith in what Ernst Bloch called the “not-yet-become.” This is the Romantic strain.  In contrast to the Primitive Patriarch, the unique path pursued by each of the Iron Masters is thoroughly subjective, totally individual, and ultimately existential. From all cultural backgrounds and social classes—neither constrained by genetics nor upbringing—each master comes into his own, in large part, through a sheer and prolonged act of will. The Iron Master shares a strong kinship with Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, Frankenstein’s Monster,  and  Goethe’s Faust, and would readily quote Coleridge who in “Dejection” sought  “Haply by abstruse research to steal/From my own nature all the natural man.” Yes: The Purposeful Primitive falls squarely within the tradition of Romanticism. 

    Like a good Classicist, Gallagher fondly quotes Plato’s formula for beauty as symmetry plus proportion. This is beauty classically defined as the imitation of archetypal form. The spirit of physical transformation Gallagher emphasizes with equal force requires a contemporary counterpoint such is found in Post-Structuralist Gilles Deleuze’s claim that “We do not know what are bodies are capable.” That is to say, the transcendence of all pre-established forms, patterns, and definitions in the accomplishment of the hitherto unimaginable—Romanticism at its finest.

    Considerations of aesthetic influence and cultural import aside, The Purposeful Primitive is above all else an allegory for what Eastern traditions of philosophy have designated “The Way”; this, made articulate through the triumphs and tribulations required by the practice of resistance training. Archery has historically been the discipline of choice to accompany the spiritual apparatus of Zen practitioners, but Gallagher points the way to iron induced Samadhi. We come to learn that accomplished feats of strength are only valuable insofar as the same focus, concentration, and discipline that allow for a record lift can be applied to the tasks, conflicts and challenges of everyday life. Gallagher quotes Krishnamurti’s counsel to him to “Carry this [flow state, enlightenment, Samadhi, etc. experienced during training] into to day to day life.” Training is thus integrative and holistic. The purposeful primitive transcends mind-body dualisms in good Spinozist fashion by placing the mind in the body and the body in the mind. Accomplishments in one realm are contingent upon and compound gains on those attained in the other.

    While this review has focused on the more literary aspects of Gallagher’s enterprise, there is no denying the work’s merit as a blueprint for physical transformation. The three pillars of strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and nutrition are introduced with an admirable depth and clarity. Gallagher defines the principle of “Creeping Incrementalism” and staggers progress for his readers by providing beginner, intermediate, and advanced periodization programs that integrate the three pillars. The options for attaining optimal fitness as outlined in the book are vast. The possibilities for experimentation made available by the vast sweep of the various modalities ensures that those committed to physical transformation will remain engaged, excited, and enthusiastic in their training.

    As in all great works of literature, The Purposeful Primitive instigates introspection into the inner reaches of the soul. Nietzsche claimed that if you look long enough into an abyss, the abyss will start looking into you. The same can be said of any great work of literature: the ability of a work to transform any one individual is contingent upon the intensity and focus that person brings to comprehending its meaning and applying its insights. Primitive Prophet, Gallagher has sown the seeds of physical transformation in each person’s heart, whether the wisdom is squandered on paths of stone or reaped in abundance in fertile fields falls to the conscience of each individual who has learned the good news.

    Check out the link below to learn more!

    strength training workouts at home

    Crosscore – The Best Suspension Trainer for Strength Training Workouts at Home

    When it comes to strength training workouts at home, the CrossCore Suspension Training System is a superior tool to all other suspension trainers on the market. For the first time a home trainer using a portable training device can replicate the results derived from barbells and dumbbells by allowing the body to perform and move naturally without limitation. By being able to replicate the motor pathway and payload used in barbells and dumbbells the trainee can replicate the positive benefits of strength training. This is huge!

    Barbells and dumbbells are the gold standard for maximizing absolute strength – why?

    Stabilization

    Instability causes muscle stabilizer activation

    Maximum Muscle

    Short movements with crude tools creates a maximum muscular inroad

    Motor-Pathway Freedom

    Free weights provide the ultimate variety, cut your own motor-pathway in space & time

    Instead of being restricted by static straps as is the case with other suspension trainers, the CrossCore Suspension Training System uses all three planes of motion for real movement that produces better results. This gives the trainee a greater ability to tap into the functional benefits of strength training.

    Strength is the "King" of the five bio-motor attributes. These attributes include: strength, speed, endurance, agility and flexibility. Strength can be further separated into three general categories.

    Absolute Strength

    maximum payloads, short distances, no regard for velocity

    Explosive Strength

    moderate payloads, long distances, maximum velocity

    Sustained Strength

    light payloads, extended durations, varied velocities

    What makes the CrossCore Suspension Trainer different?

    The unique, patented pulley pin engagement system gives the CrossCore a leg up on the competition. When the pin is in the CrossCore mimics other suspension trainers. However, when the pin is removed a greater level of instability is created, forcing the body into dynamic stabilization. Dynamic stabilization occurs when abdominals, spinal extensors and gluteal muscles work in coordination with each other and intra-abdominal pressure is regulated by the central nervous system.

    stabilization

    A CrossCore workout produces better results in strength and power because it taps into this state. This more closely mimics the core instability created in barbell and dumbbell training enabling the trainee to replicate free weight techniques using a suspension trainer. Our method of training utilizes intensity enhancing techniques that enable payloads to be amplified dramatically.

    For the tactical athletes/mountain athletes/first responders out there who travel on and off the job, this is the perfect tool in any operational or downtime environment including your own home. This should be issued gear by a department/agency to their folks requiring a physical fitness standard for their position. This is what we needed back in the day living out of a suitcase, jumping on/off planes only to be disappointed by hotel fitness centers/local gyms whose equipment was lacking or a business schedule/location that didn't fit our work schedules.


    CrossCore fills the implement training gap for clients of any age and ability. Easy to set-up, easy to learn/understand the concepts from the client's perspective and easy to cue for the trainer. Progressing and regressing exercise difficulty is easy and instantaneous compared to other strap-type trainers, the pulley device and rope adjuster are simply brilliant.


    I really like the constant time under tension/load protocol with the slower rep tempo and "soft" transition between concentric and eccentric phases demonstrated in the videos. Perfect for those who are older, rehabbing, or for the beat up operator/athlete. I've found that protocol naturally creates a focus on the mind-muscle connection as well as motor control. On my highly recommended list for my peers, clients and family.

    BK

    Personal Trainer

    Is it possible to replicate barbell/dumbbell results using a suspension trainer? Yes!

    Variable Payload

    The variable payload ability is unique for resistance training. The CrossCore allows the trainee to make poundage changes during a set - heavier payload move closer, lighter payload move further away.

    Muscular Imbalance

    The dynamic stabilization created by the pulley is unique to suspension trainers. This aids the trainee in single-limb training to help correct muscular imbalance.

    Motor-Pathway Freedom

    The CrossCore aids the trainee to cut their own motor-pathway in space & time. This means that a trainee can replicate the techniques, payload and protocols of free weights ultimately providing the RESULTS of free weights!

    How to Improve Dynamic Stabilization

    Improving dynamic stabilization of the body starts with focussing on improving breath control. The first thing we work on with any new trainee on the CrossCore is how to use the breath to stabilize their core.  Helping people learn how to change from a chest breathing pattern to a belly breathing pattern gives them the ability to find a better postural position. This practice helps the trainee achieve optimal posture prior to executing a movement.  If the body is stacked properly a better mind-muscle connection can be achieved during each rep.  See “How do you find breath?” in blog post.

    bosu elite

    How to Execute a CrossCore Hardcore Workout

    In the CrossCore Hardcore workout we employ the use of intensity enhancers to maximize the payload and minimize the training time.  The trainee completes one giant set that includes three components.

    1

    Absolute Strength

    The trainee executes a specific dumbbell technique using the CrossCore with a slower, connected grind speed for 5 reps.

    2

    Muscular Imbalance

    The trainee executes a specific dumbbell technique using one limb starting with the weak side first for 3 reps each side.

    3

    Explosive Strength

    The trainee executes a specific dumbbell technique using an explosive push/pull for 3-5 reps.

    This is what we call the "one and done" strategy. This technique has taken World Champion strength athletes to their absolute limit.  It is profound that a suspension trainer can replicate the results obtained from a hardcore dumbbell workout.

    Below are video clips showing the key upper/lower body exercises that we consider as the foundation of the CrossCore Hardcore protocols.  All exercises are performed with the pin out and the same length pulley rope.  The length of the pulley rope can be adjusted to suit any size trainee as well as make push/pull angles more or less extreme.

    Back Exercise

    strength training workouts at home

    The graphic illustrates the muscles being used in pulling exercises. Grip width and hand position determine which back muscles will be isolated to the greatest degree. For this demonstration a wide grip pull is used where both a two arm and one arm pull will be executed. Other variations include: a narrow grip pull (handles clipped together/palms facing each other) and a wide grip pull combined with a one arm rotational pull.

    CrossCore Hardcore Pull

    Chest Exercise

    strength training workouts at home

    The graphic illustrates the muscles being used in pressing exercises.  Again grip width and hand position determine which chest muscles will be isolated to the greatest degree. For this demonstration palms are facing down in a push up position where both a two arm and one arm press will be executed.  Other variations include: a fly with palms facing each other and rotational press.

    CrossCore Hardcore Press

    Leg Exercise

    strength training workouts at home

    The graphic illustrates the muscles being used in leg exercises. The CrossCore is an excellent entry level tool for anyone learning how to squat. The key technical points of vertical shins and torso can be taught prior to adding a load to the trainee. For this demonstration basic squat form is reviewed as well as one legged squat form. Other variations include: a side lunge and front lunge.

    CrossCore Hardcore Squat

    The flexibility of the patented pulley design allows for a multitude of exercise variations. The ones demonstrated above are but just a few. The pulley also makes CrossCore an excellent tool for training both mobility and flexibility in multiple movement planes as well as strength. It can be used across many disciplines from martial arts to baseball to golf to pilates to yoga.

    CrossCore Rating

    I would give the CrossCore Suspension Training System a 5 star rating for its versatility and portability.  It is the priciest suspension trainer on the market, however its patented pulley design and easy rope adjuster give the user many more training options compared to those of static straps.  The tool can be installed one of two ways:

    1.

    The anchor strap has a cam buckle on it that easily goes over a door.  Putting the cam clip and webbing over a door and shutting the door on it towards you provides the easiest, most stable option without any additional installation. When you pull the door shut towards you over the webbing with the clip on the other side you have complete stability.

    2.

    The second option is to install something like the Dimok X-mount Wall Bracket to the wall.  It must be mounted to the studs for stability. Once the bracket is installed a carabiner can be attached to the webbing with the cam buckle.  Click it into the bracket and you are ready to go.

    strength training workouts at home

    Maximize Your Training with the Magical Dumbbells in a Bag!

    CROSSCORE SUSPENSION TRAINER

    It's a game changer for home training!

    Check out what Amazon customers are saying!

    strength training workouts at home

    Recap of CrossCore System Features

    • Pin Engagement System™ can be locked to stop the rotation of the pulley wheel when stable movements are desired
    • Unlocking Pin Engagement System allows pulley wheel to rotate freely and enables CrossCore® to act as a pulley machine by attaching a counterweight, such as a kettlebell, dumbbell or sandbag, to one end. Using two counterweighted CrossCore units spaced eight feet apart makes for one of the smoothest cable crossovers on the market
    • Rope Adjuster Device™ allows for true self-leveling handles / foot and arm cradles. No more readjusting the height of your handles in the middle of your workout
    • Handles/foot and arm cradles pad the feet and arms when performing certain exercises like knee raises and hamstring curls. These cradles open and close for a snug fit on the hands and feet so the user won’t slip out while exercising
    • The mountain climbing grade rope used for the pulley is rated up to 1,200lbs. The anchor strap with cam buckle is rated up to 1,800 lbs. The adjustable handles / foot and arm cradles with ergonomic grips and webbing are rated up to 1,800 lbs. Each handle has heavy-duty climbing-grade carabiner rated up to 2,000 lbs. The CrossCore is built to withstand any load.  The cam buckle is rated up to 750lbs.
    • Take it with you! Your CrossCore® system weighs about 4 lbs. (1.8 kg) and can go with you to the park, to the gym, on vacation or wherever for a change of pace, and it all fits into a convenient carry bag
    • Warranty: Pulley Unit 2-Years | Everything Else 1-Year
    • Ship Weight: 4 lbs.

    For more training information on utilizing the CrossCore Suspension Training System. Please contact us at stacygallagher@functional-strength.org.

    cardiovascular training plan

    Cardiovascular Training Plan – Mix Modes to Goose Results

    Within the universe of a cardiovascular training plan, there should be different strategies and different types and kinds of cardio that are done on a rotating basis. This keeps the body off balance and guessing and keeps cardio training interesting.

    In mainstream fitness and mainstream bodybuilding, aerobic exercise is done but with no overarching strategy. Mainstream experts champion “moderate intensity” cardio sessions to “work in the fat-burning zone,” thereby maximizing cardio results. This zone is considered as 55% to 70% of all out capacity. Consider periods of working at 85% to 90% of capacity.  To monitor these heart rate changes a heart rate monitor is essential.

    Intense and repeated aerobic exercise will literally reconfigure muscle fiber. Mitochondria cellular blast furnaces are constructed in muscles constantly worked intensely.  More mitochondria make muscles stronger, increase muscular endurance and make muscles more adept at processing nutrients and expelling waste products. To build mitochondria aerobic capacity must be above 80% and done for increasingly longer and more frequent training sessions.  I am a huge fan of the Polar H10 heart rate sensor for accuracy combined with Polar's phone app.  For a fitness tracker I recommend the Fitbit 3 for its 24/7 heart rate monitoring and 15+ activity mode tracking feature.

    Aerobic Types

    The cardio spectrum spans from steady-state pacing to burst or interval pacing.  Both types of cardiovascular exercise are required to have a comprehensive cardiovascular plan.

    Steady-State

    Establish a steady pace and maintain that pace for the duration of the session. Over time and with practice the pace naturally increases. Steady state pacing would be best exemplified by an experienced athlete running a 5K. The runner seeks to attain and maintain the fastest possible pace for the duration of the 5K without going into oxygen debt. When unable to supply working muscles with the requisite amount of oxygen, the runner “ties up” and is forced to slow down or stop to catch his breath. 

    Cardiovascular Training Plan

    Steady state cardio is optimally done with the mildest possible muscular contractions that require oxygen, ergo, the fewer and milder the muscle contractions the less the demands on oxygen.  See Polar Steady State blog.

    Burst or Interval

    At the other cardio pacing extreme is burst cardio, or interval cardio. The burst cardio goal is to go as fast as possible for as long as possible before oxygen debt forces a halt to the effort. Burst cardio could be exemplified by 40-yard dash sprints, or a rapid-fire racquet ball game, or an extended session of heavy kettlebell lifting. Interval cardio purposefully injects muscle contraction and muscle stress into the cardio format. The typical burst cardio session is burst, recover, burst again, repeat for the duration of the training session. In the interval cardio the athlete exerts 80-100% of capacity, oxygen debt be damned. Over time and with practice, the length of time the athlete exerts 100% is lengthened

    cardiovascular training plan

    In the interval cardio the athlete exerts 80-100% of capacity, oxygen debt be damned. Over time and with practice, the length of time the athlete exerts 100% is lengthened. Take a look at Len Schwartz above, the inventor of heavyhands in his 70's.

    Mix and Match Cardio Pacing

    In between these two cardio extremes lie a limitless number of degrees. What are the implications? Serious athletes need to understand the shades, degrees and types of cardio activity and their respective intensities.  The intelligent trainee rotates progressive resistance training routines, shifting back and forth between high intensity/low volume training and moderate intensity/high volume training. So too should the intelligent trainee shift back and forth between steady-state cardio and burst cardio.  Those that insist on staying with the same modes, done in the same ways, are doomed to stagnation.

    Every training routine, no matter how effective or productive will, at some point, cease delivering results. The human body, given time, will find a way to neutralize the positive effects derived from the finest routine. Cardio gains are a result of subjecting the body to stresses that force it to adapt. These adaptations are the results we seek from our cardio efforts: the oxidation of body fat, improved stamina and endurance, improved organ health and function are monumental benefits worthy of the sustained effort required. Pro bodybuilders will rotate cardio types and kinds on a regular and periodic basis in anticipation of stagnation. So should you!

    Cardiovascular training plan

    In all forms of exercise, contrast is the progress stimulator. Create pendulum swings and alternate back and forth between burst and steady-state. You could alternate cardio pacing within the training week or you could concentrate solely on one cardio pacing type for weeks on end. Make like a cardio pro: periodically rotate training types and intensities. This keeps the body guessing and prevents it from attaining hemostasis – normalization of the training effect.  Rotation of type, from burst to steady state, keeps training fresh and vibrant and provides the athlete with both pure endurance and strength endurance.

    Tools can vary, from nothing, hands and feet, to aerobic machines as expensive as small cars and as plush as the best chairs in your living room…built in TVs, internet access, all while you ride a posh stationary bike, climb a stair-climber or a step-mill, pull on a rower or hoist kettlebells, whatever the cardio or mode, pick either burst or steady-state.

    Within each cardio format establish personal best performances (PRs.) The athlete then seeks to better recent personal best performances. Limits are continually assaulted as this is where the cardio gains lie – attempt to improve performance in either burst style or steady-state mode.

    Best of all, if this type of sophisticated aerobic exercise is done consistently and coordinated with an equally sophisticated diet, body fat is forcibly burned.  When deprived of glycogen, emulsified carbohydrates, the body burns its second favored fuel source: stored body fat. Cardio done while glycogen stores are low or exhausted forced the body to burn its own fat.  Bad diet blocks fat burning. There can be no fat burning if there is any insulin in the bloodstream. Body fat cannot be burned before insulin. Insulin spikes in response to sugar.  

    Coordinate your efforts with a solid diet and dissolve body fat. Leaner always equates to improved aerobic performance and improved performance equates to improve stamina, endurance and an improved (lower) body fat percentile.

    The bottom line?

    It is not so much the tool as the method; when you have an effective method, the tools can be varied.

    health benefits of doing squats everyday

    5 Health Benefits of Doing Squats Everyday

    Squat mastery is an important strength and longevity tool. As we age we lose our flexibility and mobility creating a cascading effect of physical decline in our lives. By squatting everyday using proper squat form a beginner trainee can reverse the effects of this natural decline by building muscle mass for overall strength and power.  There are many benefits to incorporating squats into a daily training effort. Use the jumplinks below for my top 5 Health Benefits of Doing Squats Everyday and squat instruction:.

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    1. Create a More Functional Body for Everyday Life

    benefits of strength training

    The squat strengthens the coordination of both the upper and lower body in one exercise.  Getting stronger at this key functional exercise aids the trainee in being able to better perform everyday activities. When the overall guidewire system is improved it combats the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle which contribute to poor posture, chronic fatigue, increased blood pressure, weight gain and a slower metabolism.

    2. Amp the Body's Fat Burning Ability

    mitochondrial density

    By building functional muscle the body increases mitochondrial density. The mitochondria are tiny cellular blast furnaces.  Increasing mitochondrial density amps up the metabolism. Every extra pound of muscle gained will burn an additional 50-70 calories.  If you gain 10 pounds of muscle, then your metabolism will burn an additional 500-700 calories per day. That additional muscle will also help in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism as well insulin sensitivity protecting against obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This aids in toning and tightening your body from your abs to your butt to your legs.

    3. Improve Mobility and Balance

    “For every inch of Forward Head Posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds.”   -Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol. 3

    A properly performed squat not only strengthens the legs it strengthens the muscle slings of the core that are critical to maintaining an upright posture and good balance. Hip and ankle mobility are also improved when using a full range of motion. Sitting for extended periods of time contributes to a degradation of overall posture and functionality. The result is a head forward position and deactivated hip flexors. For more information on Forward Head Posture see Dr. Erik Dalton's site. Lastly there is an improved cognitive awareness of the body overall. 

    4. Prevent Injuries

    Performing a squat over a full range-of-motion with a slow controlled speed allows the trainee to eliminate gaps of weakness. This technique strengthens the ligaments and tendons making muscle insertion points far more resistant to tearing.  This can dramatically reduce the chance of injury in everyday life.

    5. Boost Sports Performance

    Squats are the “King” of all progressive resistance exercises. When performed correctly with the requisite amount of intensity this one exercise gives a trainee great gains in strength overall. There are five bio-motor attributes that aid in better sports performance – strength, speed, endurance, agility and flexibility.  Speed and agility are directly improved when strength capacities are increased.

    How to Do Squats Properly

    Proper squat form is essential for reaping the immense benefits from this one compound multi-joint movement. A baby intuitively understands how to squat perfectly.

    5 health benefits of doing squats everyday

    The technical premise is to make squatting “all about legs.” Learn how to do a technically perfect ultra-deep bodyweight squat first then work through the subsequent variations of goblet squat, front squat and high bar/low bar barbell squat.

    Below are the key technical points that apply to all squat variations and instructive video.

    squat key technical points

    When learning to squat it is important to first learn how to perform a technically correct ultra-deep no weight squat.  Life causes us to lose this innate ability; our strategy is to "relearn" and recapture lost "primordial wisdom." The goal is to perform full ROM bodyweight squats using pristine technique.

    proper squat form

    Crawl before you walk and walk before you run – how can anyone be expected to perform a perfect barbell squat if they are unable to perform a perfect squat with bodyweight alone? Check out the picture above and note knees over ankles, vertical shins, upright torso; pelvis is tucked under. This is our core technique, our foundational position for all subsequent squats. Using a support is a great way to start squatting and accomplish the key technical points stated above.  See the video below of proper squat form using the CrossCore suspension trainer​.

    See 74 year old Dawn squatting using a suspension trainer called CrossCore using pristine form. This suspension trainer is superior to others on the market because of its patented pulley pin engagement system. When the pin is removed a greater level of instability is created, forcing the body into dynamic stabilization.

    Dynamic stabilization occurs when abdominals, spinal extensors and gluteal muscles work in coordination with each other and intra-abdominal pressure is regulated by the central nervous system. 

    stabilization

    Dawn Massey above is a mother of 4 and grandmother of 7. Her flexibility and mobility have soared through consistent, focused daily practice. She can pull a 72lb kettlebell for 8 reps and can squat a 35lb kettlebell for 8 reps.

    CROSSCORE SUSPENSION TRAINER

    It is a game changer for home training!

    After mastering the bodyweight squat the challenge becomes – how do we increase the squat payload while retaining the optimal squat technique we worked so hard to attain in our bodyweight squatting? A kettlebell or dumbbell can be held under the chin, or a barbell plate clutched to the chest to create additional squat payload. With the introduction of these payload-enhancing tools, great care needs to be taken to not allow the archetypical squat technique (ingrained in no-weight squats) to be corrupted, degraded or compromised. A technique we use to make this transition is to push the implement out in front of the body while lowering.  Eventually the low position becomes more comfortable and the trainee can hold the implement close to the body. Goblet squatting allows us to dramatically increase squat resistance by grasping these external payloads.

    Take 15 minutes to incorporate squats into your daily routine. I recommend starting off with 2 sets of 10-12 reps daily to ingrain a new neuromuscular pathway. As your strength and mobility improve vitality increases. My clients find that tasks that seemed overwhelming or unattainable all of a sudden become easier to perform. The body finds a new synergy that allows it to overcome and improve overall movement. 

    Take your squat and your training to the next level!

    Marty Gallagher's Purposeful Primitive training techniques are used by the very best in the World to become stronger and leaner.

    Learn More about the Purposeful Primitive 5 Phase Progression for the Core4 Lifts!

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