Latest Article For Juggernaut Training Systems

20 Feb

Check out my latest article over at JTSTRENGTH.COM

12 FITNESS LESSONS by Greg Robins

The truth is, I haven’t always been a strength and conditioning coach. Furthermore, I am still not solely responsible for training athletes to this day. I run 15 adult group classes a week, in addition to programming and coaching for athlete’s for 20-25+ hours a week. I have spent time helping people in a ritzy commercial gym setting, running camps on local high school football fields, coaching in one of the premier gyms in the country, to now coaching in one of the premier strength and conditioning facilities in the country. I kind of feel like the Matt Stairs of fitness……

READ THE REST BY CLICKING THE PICTURE BELOW!

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Mental Strength: A Lesson On Communication

12 Feb

One of my favorite things about keeping a blog is that it serves as a forum to share lessons I have learned. These lessons might not do anyone any good, all I know is that they have been pivotal realizations in my journey. The following lesson certainly does not share a close relationship with lifting. Furthermore, I wouldn’t consider myself someone who has it all figured out. More accurately, I am someone who has done a phenomenal job of not heeding other’s advice the first time, and learning lessons the hard way; often learning the same lesson through repeated neglect of their value the first time around.

So in short: Striving to do the following thing has improved my life, and I think it will do the same for you.

Stop talking shit about people when they aren’t there.

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This is one you hear all the time. It’s as if we all know the importance of it, but continually do it anyway. Imagine that for every time you took part in a conversation about someone who wasn’t present, a conversation about you took place as well. Not a great thought if you ask me. Furthermore, how much more efficient would your communication be if you had the spine to just tell people to their face what you are willing to say about them behind their back? Additionally, how much more fruitful would your relationships with friends, co-workers, etc., be if every time you saw them you knew – that they knew – exactly what you thought about them? 

I am guilty of doing this. I continually catch myself doing it to this day. The difference is that I have cut the time I spend in these conversations down by 80%. More times than not I either stop a minute  into it, or I just serve as a set of ears (which doesn’t make it right). When I do serve as a set of ears though, I try my best to politely steer the person talking to me in the direction of approaching the subject of their rant.

Starting today, be more aware of this. Make an effort to stop, and an effort to help others do the same.

3 Tips For Stronger Lifts (Part III)

7 Feb

The last tip I have to share with you is based on the following experiences:

First, over the course of the past year of training I have made a lot of gains utilizing sub-maximal training. Consistent improvements on my work between 65 and 90% led to PR’s at 100% in all 3 lifts. That being said, there was a bit of a breakdown between what my rep maxes were telling me and what my 1RM efforts were. This was less of the case when I was weaker, and more of the case as I got stronger. This did not apply to my deadlift at all. In fact, my rep maxes would have led to believe I was weaker than what I was able to pull in a 1RM effort.

There is probably a fancy explanation for this, but I’ll just explain it you as I see it. First and foremost, I view this as a mental weakness more than anything. That being said, there are many differences between squatting and benching in comparison to deadlifting. The one I want to stress is the lack of an eccentric, or lowering phase in a deadlift. More specifically to my point, you don’t feel the weight before a deadlift. In a squat you get a taste of 500lbs on your back before you drop with it. In a bench you get to feel 300lbs in your hand before you attempt to press it. With the pull your body has no idea if your about to put a max effort of force into 135 or 600lbs until your intent meets the end of the bars slack or tension (which won’t fully occur until the plates break the ground, if you have enough in you to make it that far).

In a sub maximal approach you may be setting yourself up to lift a weight 50-100+lbs heavier then anything you had moved in training. Many lifters are not affected by this jump. They are able to mentally apply what they know under a load they have never attempted, or even worked within 10% of. At this point I am not that lifter. I agree with their approach, and know that over time I want to make myself better at this.

Therefore, and talk about a lengthy introduction to my tip, one great help for me is learning how to feel weight while training sub maximally.

I had to find a way where I could get the best of both worlds. I needed to feel heavy weight on my back or in my hands, but at the same time train sub maximally  and build strength way more often than I tested it.

So my strategy has gone like this:

In a 4 week block, have one to two weeks where you work to a single (ONE single) at a percentage about 10% higher than your working weights. For example, if you are working multiple sets of 3 – 5 reps  at 75% work to a single at 85% before you get that going. It’s not something that needs to be done every week, and I have had success with just one in four weeks taking this approach.

Another thing that I have had success with is playing with traditional “deload”. Often when I am working sub maximally, the volumes are very high. So instead of dropping volume and staying at a low intensity in my deload, I will drop volume WAY down and bring the intensity way up. For example here is how I recently set up my deadlift 4 week block:

wk1 : sets of 5 at 60%

wk2: sets of 5 at 67.5%

wk3: top set of 75%

wk4: work to a single at 85% and shut it down.

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If you are someone who struggles to handle heavier weights without touching them first, these are some ways for you to work around it.

 

 

 

3 Tips For Stronger Lifts (Part II)

28 Jan

To pick up where we left off last time, in addition to doing more work with straight weight, I have also made another big adjustment.

I started moving weights with a purpose, all the time.

 

So point number two will be entitled:

2. Bring intensity, at any intensity!

Admittedly I my squat has never been explosive. Not even close. Check out this video of a 465lb single from a few months ago.

Another confession would be that I always preached moving weights fast. The truth was when I started to evaluate my training, and more specifically my squat, I realized I was not approaching sets in the 60 – 80% range with the aggression I should be. I was complacent with being smooth, and that was no longer cutting it.

After all, the great Mel Siff made the saying famous that “strength training, is really force training.”

The equation for force is simple –> Force = mass x acceleration

With that in mind (and I know there is more to this), you need to be working to elevate both variables on the right side of that equation. If you are looking to create maximal amounts of force then you need to accelerate lighter weights to the best of your ability.

A.K.A. Bring some purpose with you to train.

Since my meet in October, I have put a premium on this and was able to hit 495lb squat, 20lbs higher than my best meet squat, about 8 weeks after competition.

If you feel as though you are spinning your wheels working sub maximally, I would scrutinize how effectively you are embodying this principal.

Furthermore, if you are one of those people who isn’t that strong and using a sub maximal approach such as 5/3/1, stop whining about how you never handle any weight. Your 90% isn’t that much weight anyways. If you stopped talking and started training with the intensity I describe above you would be making great progress.

Lastly, this applies to both to both the eccentric (lowering) and concentric (lifting) portion of the movement. It should be applied to the bench and squat primarily. In terms of the deadlift, you want to rip into every bar like it’s a max attempt. Your body doesn’t know if you are about to meet up with 315lbs or 600lbs until you meet the end of the slack, so train it to be explosive – always. With supplemental lifts and accessory work there isn’t anything wrong with moving things quickly but depending on the outcome you wish to obtain from the work you would want to vary how you approach it.

 

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3 Tips For Stronger Lifts (Part I)

21 Jan

The following series includes 3 things I think you should consider to aid you in making more progress with the basic lifts (i.e. Squat, Bench, Deadlift).

1. Take more straight weight!

People are quick to jump at flashy exercises and programming schemes. I am / was guilty of this too. The truth is you will make much better, and much quicker progress if you do more work with straight weight. What do I mean by straight weight?

Straight weight is just plates on the bar.

In other words, stop using chains and bands. Ditch other accessories like boards, and boxes too. Instead put weight back on the bar! Additionally, do more variations that have you moving more similarly to the main lifts.

In previous programs I was quick to utilize chain weight, reverse bands, board presses, boxes, etc.

As a rule of thumb:

Squat: Pause more, squat from pins more, use a safety squat bar more often, do speed work sans the chains and bands and at higher percentages than those normally used with schemes relying on accommodating resistance (55-70%).

Bench: Pause more, do rep work off the chest more, floor press more, use different grips.

Deadlift: Fully settle and reset rep work in the 3 – 5 range more often, look to pull from a deficit way more often than you look to pull off boxes, utilize snatch grip deadlifts, build up your conventional DL if you pull sumo, and stop doing rack pulls.

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10 Things For Under $10 (Part 2)

15 Jan

Yesterday I hit 5 things for under ten bucks I think everyone could benefit from. Today, I have the last 5. These are probably a little less common.

1. A Furniture Slider

Furniture sliders are a great option for gym goers who want to do movements that they see being performed on a sideboard but might not have the $500 bucks to dish out on a board themselves. With one of these bad boys you can easily perform lunge, plank, and push up variations, like the few in these videos:

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2. A Towel

A simple gym towel is a great addition to your training arsenal. It can be used for various curl, pull up, and rowing exercises to add more stress to the grip of the lift. In turn, using the towel will help build grip strength.

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3. Ab Wheel

The ab wheel is one of the best pieces of gym equipment you can buy for the money. Rollouts have always been a staple in my programs, and will be for the foreseeable future. For 9 bucks you can grab a wheel and have it for the rest of your life.

Get one here.

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4. 4 Feet Of Straight Link Coil Chain and One “Climbing Link”

A lot of gyms lack a belt and chain for weighted dips and chin ups. You can head over to a hardware store and grab 4 feet of chain and a climbing link for 10 bucks and you’re all set. It might get a little uncomfortable for anything over 150lbs but it’s really not that bad. Furthermore it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than buying a dip belt.

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5. 2/4 Planks Of Wood

If you want to incorporate board work to your bench press training it doesn’t have to break the bank. Additionally, it’s unlikely your gym will have them to use. For well under 10 bucks you can grab a few and cut them to size and use duct tape to put them together to make 2, 3 and 4 boards.

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10 Things For Under $10

14 Jan

In my efforts to make a return to constant blogging, here is a quick little post on 10 things you can buy for under 10 bucks to help you at the gym.

Today I’ll hit you with the first 5, and expect five more tomorrow. 

1. Chalk

If you don’t use it, you don’t need it. If you don’t need it, you need to train harder. 

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2. 24″ PVC Pipe

Head into any big hardware / home improvement store and pick this up for $5 and change. It will last forever, and help your body do the same. It’s never let me down, no need to spend 50 bucks on some fancy roller with bumps and divots and who knows what else. 

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3. Lacrosse Ball

Another cheap little thing to help with your soft tissue work. As much as I love the PVC pipe, the ball helps you get to some more hard to reach places. A baseball, or any other hard ball should do. I prefer the lax ball because it’s grippy and doesn’t slide all over.

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4. Creatine Monohydrate

Honestly the best supplement I can think of for the price. Also one of the only supplements I recommend to just about everyone.

For more on this check out this post here

Check this out for a deal under 10 bucks.

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5. Training Journal

What gets measured, gets managed. Start writing down your numbers, and monitor your progress. Some of the most accomplished lifters I have met have numerous journals filled up. Other great lifters I have met don’t have any. It doesn’t hurt though, and if you aren’t the latter already I bet the journal and a commitment to focusing on progress will do you well.

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