Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Debunking Training Myths

     It’s one of the most profitable, expansive businesses in the world today – fitness. Everybody wants to get fit and everybody wants to look their best. But with so much information out there, what are some of the best strategies? Eat heavy, train heavy? Eat light and do lots of cardio? What’s your diet, what are your goals, what are you aiming for? It can all be confusing. And with a myriad of myths and a gaggle of gurus, who and what can you trust? If you read that standing on your head and eating grapefruit burned extra calories, would you do it? (Maybe!)

      For your fitness road to the Beast, we have Dave Hopkins, fitness extraordinaire from LECOM Fitness and Wellness Center giving you tips and exercises along the way. But, naturally, Dave can’t cover everything, and that’s where we’ll come in. We’ll pick up some of the smaller details – what shoes to wear, what kind of foods we’ll have available on race day and what you should eat, obstacles reveals, and more! This week we’ll debunk a few fitness myths that are total bunk.

     Myth #1: You can ‘crunch’ your way to great abs.  So you want to wear your crop top to the Beast on the Bay but you’re currently rocking a muffin top? We could have a conversation about body image and why it’s so important to love yourself and what you have to offer (it really is!), but that’s a topic for another day. If you’re looking to improve on your abs before race day, don’t go with crunches – or at least don’t expect crunches to do the job alone. While they’ll help abs that are already showing, they won’t eliminate fat because you can’t spot eliminate fat. Exercises like squats and deadlifts and cardio, along with a stricter diet, are ways to begin eliminating fats and see the results you want.

   Myth #2: Cardio is the only thing you’ll need to focus on for the Beast. You hear ’10 miles’ and you panic – how can I run 10 miles? Not to add to your stress, but you’re also going to be doing 20+ obstacles. Aaaah! It sounds scary, but let’s break this down. Yes, cardio is important, but remember that you can handle the Beast at your own pace. If you need to skip an obstacle, skip it. If you’d like to walk or jog or moonwalk it, do it. The cardio is important, but don’t act like you have to be able to sprint 10 miles or you’re going to fail. Work in some strength training and endurance to make sure you can handle the obstacles that you want to take on. And, the more energy you have to take on those obstacles, the better you’ll do.

      Myth #3: You should focus so much on the fitness element of the Beast that you forget to have fun. OK, OK, this isn’t a widespread fitness myth, per se, but it needs said. This is a fun event for a great cause. You’ll be helping children and adults with disabilities by participating in the course on September 10. Isn’t that awesome? What’s a little running in the sand and a few obstacles if it means helping the cause? Get your family involved, get your friends involved, get your neighbors involved. Help us help others and have a great time while doing it! Make a team, train together. Build endurance but also build memories.

     A reminder that our April sign-up promotion ends at the end of April. Imagine that? When your friend registers, they'll get a drop-down menu that asks how they heard about the event. They select "A Friend," fill in your name, and you're both entered. Learn more: http://www.barberbeast.org/Refer-a-Friend

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Upper Body Muscle Groups and How to Work Them

     The majority of the obstacles in the Beast on the Bay require the use of upper body muscle groups, especially those involved in pulling movements (back and biceps). Grip strength is a key factor in any pulling movement, which involves the flexors of the forearm. Your grip strength comes into play when you’re climbing cargo nets and walls, traversing monkey bars, carrying sand bags and buckets of water. To a lesser extent of successfully completing the obstacles, are the muscles involved in pushing movements (chest, shoulders and triceps). You will spend more of your time pulling yourself up, across, and through obstacles, than you will spend pushing your way through them. However, it is imperative that you create a balance between opposing muscle groups. So, be sure to exercise both pushing and pulling muscle groups equally.
     The core is often misrepresented as only referring to your abdominals, but it actually refers to all muscles in your torso. We call it the core because it is where all ambulatory movement originates. More specifically, it is the culmination of these muscles working together, while stabilizing the entire body, regardless of the muscle action being performed. Every obstacle will require the use of core strength, regardless of the upper body muscle group you are using. Crawling through pipes and under cargo netting is simulated by performing plank walks with sliders. Farmer walks with a kettlebell in the suitcase position, is similar to carrying a bucket of water. In both of these scenarios, you’re using your torso to stabilize the rest of your body in completing the movement.
     Here’s a list of exercises divided into groups of push, pull, and core movements:

Chest Press w/ Dumbbells
Plank Walk w/ Sliders
Chest Fly w/ Cables
Dumbbell Row
Kneeling Wood Chop
Incline Chest Press w/ Dumbbells
Seated High Row
Standing Low-High Wood Chop
Decline Chest Press                      w/ Dumbbells
Standing T-Bar Row
Step-Up w/ Low-High              Wood Chop
Shoulder Press w/ Dumbbells
Close-Grip Pulldown
Standing Torso Twist w/ Cables
Front Shoulder Raise
Bent-Over Row
Straight-Arm Pulldown
Lateral Raise
Single-arm Pulldown
Rope Crunch w/ Stability Ball
Upright Row
Single-arm Seated Row
Kneeling Rope Crunch
Standing Shoulder Press
Bicep Curl w/ Rotation
Body Saws w/ Sliders
Tricep Press
Hammer Curls
Kettlebell Windmill
Single-arm Tricep Press
Spider Curls
Farmer Walk w/ Kettlebells

                A basic strength training program for the upper body will be performed 2-4 days per week and target the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, biceps, and abdominals. You should allow a minimum of 48 hours between similar exercises, to enable proper muscle recovery and tissue repair. The Beast on the Bay is going to require mostly muscular strength and muscular endurance as opposed to power and hypertrophy (muscle size). Use the recommendations for endurance when performing core and body weight exercises. Use the repetition ranges between strength and endurance for everything else. I recommend performing 3-5 sets of 6-15 reps for exercises involving free weights and/or machines. Refer to the following tables for more specific load percentages, set and repetition ranges according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Note: 1RM represents the maximum weight you can correctly perform one repetition for an exercise (bench press, squat, etc). Use these recommendations for lower body exercises as well.
Training Goal
Load (%1RM)




This week's video features Dave and Kristin Blakely showing the chest press and farmer's walk: