The writing of this article was prompted by all the social media posts I’ve seen talking about men’s mental health. Apparently November is men’s mental health month. That is unless you’re struggling with your own mental health issues. Then, every month, week, and day may very well be an ongoing struggle. Although throughout this article I’ll be referencing comparative data between men and women and differing demographics, the point is not to prop up men's suffering above women or anyone else for that matter. It’s simply there to elucidate the current state of men’s mental health, which is the central focus of this article. “Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution” (1). This mentality exists in contrast to the current lack of awareness pertaining to the drivers of psychological ill-health. Social media and articles routinely discuss what to do if you’re depressed, anxious, suicidal, etc. But seldom does anyone discuss the complexity of the subject. Unfortunately, without truly understanding the issues that lead to ill-health it’s unlikely to come up with an effective solution and subsequent prevention strategies. Therefore the aim of this article is as follows:
Optimizing exercise range of motion to maximize muscle growth is a popular topic to discuss. As new research emerges, it often leaves you with more questions about the fundamental mechanisms and application of hypertrophy training. Mechanical tension is known as a primary driver of hypertrophy. Therefore it stands to reason that training a muscle through larger ranges of motion will create more tension, resulting in a greater hypertrophic stimulus. Although this makes sense at face value, it’s ultimately an unsatisfactory answer. At deeper levels of analysis, mechanical tension alone (or at least our current model) can not explain some of the observed outcomes we see both in the literature and anecdotally. The aim of this article is to provide a brief review of the topic, provide context to the ROM discussion, and offer practical recommendations to implement into your own training.
As a coaching group, the Kabuki Strength team are asked, “[What are the] Top accessories or technique for building 1RM strength for squat, for bench, and for deadlifts” on our Instagram Q & A. Obviously; the answer is predictable, “It depends. Without jumping onboard our remote coaching service, where we see and assess videos of your lifts, we won’t know and be able to give you a reliable answer”.
I commonly get questions like this:
“Should I increase my carbs to help with my performance”
“What do you think of the keto diet”
“I’m eating 190g of protein per day, is that too much”
In every example listed above the thing that’s missing is context. Without enough context I have no way of knowing what any of these people should do. It’s like going to the mechanic and saying “My car isn’t working, should I change the spark plug”? Without a proper needs analysis the mechanic will have no way of knowing what the issue is, and therefore any suggestion they make will be purely based on speculation.
If you’ve attended any lifting competitions or gotten any training from a gym on weight lifting, I can bet that you’ve heard “BIG AIR” being yelled at the top of a coach’s lungs. Some of you may have even learned the generic breathing strategy to “inhale on the way down (such as lowering the bar to your chest during a bench press or on the way down in a squat) and exhale on the way up or during exertion (as you press the bar off your chest or as you squat up).” Maybe someone has given generic advice that the “Valsalva maneuver” isn’t good for you. Why does the technique of breathing–besides the fact we have to do it to live– matter? Why this emphasis on breathing?
Whether you’re a high bar squatter or low bar squatter, optimal positioning of the bar on your back and how you support the bar on your back with your hands and arms is factored in when considering the ability to create trunk stiffness, as well as considering the management of wrist, elbow, and shoulder aches and pains in the back squat.
The scientific method is one of the most important tools we have in the pursuit of maximal strength and muscular development. As research in the sports science field elucidates the various mechanisms and methodologies involved in athletic development we can derive more effective protocols and further enhance the results of our athletes. However, there are several criticisms of the literature and more accurately scientists themselves. Often there’s a dichotomy within the fitness industry where it’s the nerds vs the bros. In my opinion this polarization is entirely unhelpful and based on false assumptions about what each demographic actually represents.
The deadlift is commonly used in resistance training for a variety of reasons including high potential for loading, functions as a full body exercise, high transference to various sports etc. However there is still considerable disagreement as to what the optimal technical execution is for the conventional deadlift. In this short article we’ll cover how hip height in the start position affects strength expression, and how variations in technique can elicit meaningful changes in force production.
Most of the literature on sleep is regarding restriction and its impact on health and performance. However, there is a growing body of research on sleep extension and the potential implications it may have on athletic performance in particular. It’s fairly well understood that sleep is a primary contributor to recovery and performance. In spite of this, it’s estimated over ⅓ of the american population is underslept (1). The American Academy Of Sleep Medicine recommends individuals aged 18-60 sleep a minimum of seven hours a day (1). Failing to meet this requirement has been associated with various chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, along with various other deleterious health and performance outcomes.
The term metabolic damage has gained lots of traction over the years. Researchers initially observed a reduced metabolic rate in subjects who had lost a substantial amount of weight. This is far from shocking, since reducing an individual’s body weight will simultaneously reduce their energy demands. What was unique in this case however was the metabolic rates of some individuals were far lower than what the researchers projected.