Strong & Supple Workshop

Strong & Supple 2017 poster

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Strong & Supple Workshop

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Hi guys,
We’ve finally got a time, date and location for the Strong & Supple workshop. I’m really excited about the tools this will give to people, helping with aches, pains, strength and simply enjoying the benefits of moving the body properly again!
Here’s how to join us:
  • Place only confirmed upon receipt of payment. Spaces strictly limited to 14.
  • Transfer appropriate figure (£40 for non-members of the Vale Resort, £30 for members of the Vale Resort) to sort code: 09-01-27, acc no: 75210634, reference: Workshop
  • Email info@alphapw.com when this is done to receive your pre-workshop tutorial videos.
If you decide this is for you, I’d advise to sign up as soon as you can. The longer you have to work through the material in the tutorial videos, the more you will get out of the workshop on the day 🙂
Looking forward to seeing you there and having some fun,
Adam
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Strengthening Posterior Part III

Bulletproof your back and boost everything else

Posterior Chain III – What it is and how strengthening it will change your life

In part 1 of this series, we discussed how modern day life is affecting our posture. Bad posture weakens key parts of the body, ultimately leading to pain and grumpiness!

One of these key areas is your posterior chain. Your posterior chain comprises of (amongst others) your back, buttocks and hamstrings (the muscles that run down the back of your leg). These muscles play a major role in your ability to move, they literally propel you forward. So if they become weak (which we often see due to excessive sitting and sedentary behaviour), your ability to move well decreases. Also, with something that’s weak, pain is usually not too far behind. Lo and behold, back pain is all too common at the moment.

The most unlikely saviour

Last week, I shared with you the Scandinavian secret, that described how the use of sled training can not only strengthen your back and other key areas, but really improve your cardiovascular conditioning as well.

This week as promised, I want to share with you another version of that training. Not everyone has access to a sled, but nearly everyone will own this training tool: a wheelbarrow.

Wheelbarrow sledding

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If you’ve ever worked on a building site, you will know that carting a full wheelbarrow around isn’t easy. For those of us whose daily lives are a little more sedentary, utilising this method of training can provide some really exciting results:

How to do it

  • Load up a wheel barrow (the sturdier the wheel barrow the better) with anything of weight; plates, sand, water jugs etc.
  • As you can imagine, technique is very important. When you lift the wheel barrow, make sure your knees are bent and your back is straight.
  • Standing tall with your shoulders back and arms straight, start walking forwards.
  • What type of session you do can depend on the type of space you have available. A big grassy park is fantastic (the grass and undulating gradients add some good resistance). An empty car park, quiet road or country path can work just as well.
  • Aim to walk with the barrow for 5 minutes. Rest for a couple of minutes and repeat. Build this up and add more weight as you get stronger and fitter.

The benefits

  • When you walk with a loaded wheelbarrow for any length of time you will notice your back, your glutes, and your hamstrings are all feeling it. Your heart rate is raised. Also take note of your forearms and fingers, I bet they know you’ve done something as well! Along with strengthening the key areas of your body, the wheel barrow can drastically improve your grip, which is a very good indicator of overall strength.
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Strengthening Posterior Part II

Bulletproof your back and boost everything else

Posterior Chain II – What it is and how strengthening it will change your life

In part 1 of this series, we discussed how modern day life is affecting our posture. Bad posture weakens key parts of the body, ultimately leading to pain and grumpiness!

One of these key areas is your posterior chain. Your posterior chain comprises of (amongst others) your back, buttocks and hamstrings (the muscles that run down the back of your leg). These muscles play a major role in your ability to move, they literally propel you forward. So if they become weak (which we often see due to excessive sitting and sedentary behaviour), your ability to move well decreases. Also, with something that’s weak, pain is usually not too far behind. Lo and behold, back pain is all too common at the moment.

The Scandinavian secret

As I’m sure you all remember, back in the 1950’s, Finland had some of the strongest deadlifters in the world. Not only were they strong, but they had a very low incidence of back pain. To find out more, a few of their competitors visited their Finnish counterparts to find out their secret.

They discovered that many of them were lumberjacks.  Part of their job was to drag these big heavy logs from the site down to the trucks on the road. This is one of the stories explaining one of the most effective training tools in the book: sled training.

If you’ve ever dragged something of weight for any kind of distance, you will know it doesn’t just require strength, you also get out of breath pretty quickly. This is another reason sled training has become so popular, as it can really improve your cardiovascular conditioning whilst keeping you strong.

Sled training

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Sled training is brutally simple and extremely effective. It involves moving a sled, loaded with weights across the floor. There are many ways to do this, each providing a different benefit. As we are talking about posterior chain, today I will show you the best way to use sled training for strengthening this area: sled dragging

Sled dragging

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  • As you can see in the photo, I have looped the harness around myself and am walking forwards, dragging the sled behind me
  • Aim to get into a good rhythm of walking (don’t run)
  • Stay tall and use a good arm swing, pushing the floor backwards
  • Start with a weight that you can drag for 2 minutes constantly. Have a 1 minute break and repeat two more times. As you get fitter and stronger, either add more weight to the sled or repeat it more times.

What do I do if I haven’t got a sled?

A lot of good gyms are now catching up and own various types of sleds. If you haven’t got access to one, a great substitute is to use a harness or rope and drag a tyre.

Next week, I’ll show you a different version of sled training that uses a piece of kit you may not expect but probably own already. Have a blessed week.

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Strengthening Posterior Part I

Bulletproof your back and boost everything else!

Strengthening your posterior chain can dramatically reduce pain and make moving around a whole lot easier. Here’s what it is and how to do it.

Modern lifestyles have provided us with some very nice perks. One of the not-so-nice ones however is the increasing amount of weakness we see in a key area of people’s bodies. This weakness usually leads to pain and grumpiness! It takes no genius to figure out, that to strengthen our bodies, we need to move.

So what movements will help and what is this key area we need to strengthen?

Modern lifestyles encourage us to be in the seated position for huge amounts of time. Being in this unnatural position for extended periods of time pulls our bodies out of alignment, causing the modern day ‘seated posture’. If you’ve noted any youngster slouched over a screen, or even caught yourself after you’ve been sitting at a desk for too long, you know what kind of posture I’m talking about.

What happens when we are out of alignment?

Muscles can become tight; joints can become stiff and pulled slightly out of their correct place (increasing your risk of injury). Bad posture is also extremely tiring for the body, so can be a reason for lack of energy.

The slouched posture has caused many of us to become anterior creatures, meaning a lot of the muscles on the front (anterior) of our bodies are tight, and many muscles down the back (posterior) of the body are weak. These posterior muscles (or posterior chain) comprise of your back, buttocks and hamstrings (back of the leg). Strengthening these muscles not only improves your posture and decreases pain, but your ability to move. They help with pushing, pulling, jumping, moving forward, even something as simple as sitting down and standing up with ease.

So over the next few weeks I’ll show you some of the best ways you can strengthen your posterior chain. Today, we’ll start off with a real staple of posterior chain training: the step out lunge.

But before you train the posterior chain, you need to stretch the anterior chain. One of the anterior muscles which gets really tight (mainly due to sitting) are the quadriceps (muscles down the front of the thigh). This stretch will help loosen your hips and as a result you will get a lot more out of the lunge.

Sofa Stretch:

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* Assume the position in the picture, squeezing the back side, breathing slowly and continually. You’re aiming to feel it in the front of the thigh (in the leg that’s kneeling). Tip: the closer the knee is to the back of the sofa and the further your leaning back the more intense the stretch, so adjust as appropriate

Step out lunge:

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* From an upright standing position, take a comfortable stride length, bending both knees, keeping your back straight.

* Just before the back knee touches the floor, squeeze your buttocks and push back to the starting position through the heel of the front foot.

* Repeat the exercise alternating legs.

Lunges can really work the legs, so if you haven’t done any for a while just start with 5 each leg and build up from there.

Next week, we’ll talk about a secret the Scandinavians have used to have some of the strongest backs with the lowest cases of back pain.

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Project Restoration – Part Two

How focussing on recovery can sky rocket your results

Last week in part 1 we discussed how one of the most sought after things is to have MORE ENERGY. How many times have you heard people say things like “I just feel tired all the time”?

So we started PROJECT RESTORATION. Over the next few weeks I will share with you some tools that you can use instantly to RESTORE you to what you were designed to be: lean, strong, healthy and full of energy.

Restoration tool #1MOVEMENT

A common misconception out there is that FIT = HEALTHY. This is not always the case. Most elite athletes have trained their bodies to be excellent at their given sport, but many are constantly fighting injuries or illnesses. It is the same for us in the general population; exercise is a very good way of improving our energy levels, but if we want more energy, more intense exercise isn’t always the answer.

So what do we do?

If you’re feeling low on energy, movement will always help. What type of movement you do is the crucial bit. As we’ve just talked about, sometimes performing intense exercise when you’re already exhausted can make things worse. So what do you do instead? Here are 3 ideas:

  • Get outside and go for a walk. Being outside with the fresh air, the sights the smells does more good than we know. And if you can walk barefoot for a bit on grass, earth or sand for even more benefits (read here for why http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/11/04/why-does-walking-barefoot-on-the-earth-make-you-feel-better.aspx)
  • Set aside a few minutes in your day to stop, take a few deep breaths and stretch. Deep, slow breathing (using the diaphragm, here’s how http://www.alphapw.com/is-this-the-worlds-most-valuable-substance-and-its-free/ ) is fantastic at reducing stress and blood pressure. Combine this with your favourite stretches to further release tension and you’ll leave feeling more energised and a little less stiff.
  • Play. Yes, you’re allowed! Most grown-ups have forgotten how to and how good it feels to just mess about for a while. Be it in the park with your kids, throwing a ball or frisby with some friends or dancing on your own in the house to your favourite song go be silly for a while and watch what happens to your mood [Symbol]

How do you know if intense exercise is not appropriate on a particular day? Listen to your body. If you feel more exhausted at the end of it instead of it picking you up or you are not capable of doing what you normally do then the above choices will usually bring you a better result.

Next week we’ll talk about how to use specific food and drinks to fit into your PROJECT RESTORATION. Have a great week.

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