Saturday, April 23, 2011

Benefits of Weightlifting

I was doing some research this past week on the benefits of exercise and weight lifting and I was surprised at some the health and psychological pros of weight lifting!

According to Mayo Clinic's website, regular exercise can improve your mood. I can vouch for this one. Days that I don't get into the gym I end up feeling lazy, lousy, and undisciplined. On the flipside, there's the days when I get in one of those solid lifts where my muscles feel shredded( in a good way) and I know that I gave it my all...that's a great feeling!
Regular exercise can also help prevent high blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, Mayo Clinic says regular exercising can help lower that high blood pressure. Your cholesterol benefits from exercise too. Exercise boosts HDL, that good cholesterol and reduces the bad cholesterol that leaves plaque in your arteries, thus slowing blood flow. Having good blood supply to your muscles as they work is essential for getting in a good lift.

Last but not least, weight lifting and consistent exercise helps maintain your weight. The more intense the exercise the faster you burn calories. Not only do you burn calories while your lifting but you continue to burn calories after you're done lifting. Your muscles are broken down and in need of repair. Your body has to burn calories to repair itself.

I'm not a medical professional by any means, but I think most of this makes common sense. I you're not training for something specific like football, you still can get these health benefits from weight lifting.

Lift hard.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Talk With Kent: Realize Where Your Abilities Come From

I talked to my best friend Kent about how weight lifting can become a negative thing in ones' life. Kent has played nine years of football including one year of college football.

The reason he didn't continue to play all four years if his college career was because of football injuries and some injuries he sustained from weight training. Weight lifting was Kent's identity throughout high school and into college. But then something changed.

TGH: When did you first start weight training?

Kent: I messed around with it in junior high, so, 8th grade. I didn't consistently start lifting weights until 9th grade of my freshman year of high school.

TGH: When did you really start seeing huge improvements in lifting?

Kent: Second half of my freshman year of high school.

TGH: Can you see a specific point in your high school years where you had become obsessed with weight lifting?

Kent: Second half of my sophomore year of high school.

TGH: Is there something specific that you can point out that shows that you were getting on the wrong track?

Kent: I had a inner pride that really started building.

TGH: Do you think that pride was affecting the way you treated others and/or the way you acted?

Kent: Well, maybe not so much the way I treated others, but I kinda got this macho viewing of myself and carrying of myself.

TGH: Did you realize that weight lifting had become an overly important part of your life in high school or did you come to that epiphany in college?

Kent: In college.

TGH: How did you come to that realization?

Kent: I tore some muscles from some over exertion in weight training. And it made me lose something that was very important to me for awhile. Plus I got a carpal tunnel in both of my wrists. And I really just had to step back. I realized that I can only do what I've been given the ability to do.

TGH: Where do you think that ability comes from?

Kent: Theres no question that it comes from God and not myself.

TGH: I take it you weren't really considering that fact during high school?

Kent: No, I didn't really, I mean I wasn't cocky, and because of that I think that I thought I was okay.

TGH: What advice would you give to people who want to get started in weight lifting?

Kent: If you want to be a successful weight lifter you have to realize that nothing replaces hard work. If you wanna get big or you wanna get in shape you have to work hard. It doesn't matter what supplements you take. Stick with the fundamental lifts; there's a reason they're still around.
Never put to high of a value on it and never get arrogant about your ability. God is the one who gave you that ability and He can take it away just as fast as he gave it to you.

Thanks to Kent for taking time to talk and being honest about how even weight lifting can become something that drags you down. A good reminder to all of us that our abilities come from God and that he can take away those abilities if we allow them to become to important to us.

Lift hard.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Dead Lift, Back Strength, and Being Smart

Dead-lifts are great!

They're a great way to work and stretch out those hammies, (actually you should already be stretched out before you dead-lift),'s also a good way to strengthen your back. Some people may not realize it, but yes, dead-lifts are supposed to strengthen your back as well as your legs and core.

Now as with any hardcore power lift there's going to be risk of jacking your back. Proper form is a necessity as always.

Lately, I've had to readjust my form in dead-lifting because my spotters told me I was lifting too much with my back and not my legs. Consequently I've had to drop weight. Currently I'm taking about 30% less weight and I've worked on maintaining my form all the way to the ground. NOT dropping the weight but getting that extra bit of work in.

Once I get the weight to the ground I stand up, shake my hands and then do the lift again.

Moral of the story: if your doing something wrong, don't keep on doing it and risk hurting yourself. Instead step back, examine what you're doing wrong and go and fix it. There should be no shame in

Bustin' out a 350 lb. dead-lift and then having a hurt back isn't something to be proud of either.

Lift hard, but lift smart.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

John Wood & Oldtime Strongman

A few months ago I came across the site

It's run by a guy named John Wood who's all about lifting weights like the strongman of old: the natural way.

His site is full of good content and shows how the old fashioned strongman performed great feats of strenght without the aid of steroids or supplements.

Here's a brief look at his website: C:\Users\bturcotte\Desktop\2011-04-10_0352.swf

Be sure to check it out yourself. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's Not Always About Losing Weight

I find it sad, that people think they should or have to lift just because they're overweight, out of shape or an athlete in training.

Lifting weights and general exercise can be and should be more than that. Granted, you should have goals established on where you want to be down the road fitness-wise. Yet, there can be so much more enjoyment in lifting if it isn't just about losing those extra pounds or having big pecks or arms.

For me, lifting weights usually is one of the highlights of my day. As a college student it can be easy to get bogged down and depressed about the school load. That's why so many college students feel the need to party and have fun on the weekend. They need that release, that time to take their mind off of school and all the stress that comes with it.

But why wait for the weekend to give your mind a rest?

Taking time out of my day (2 hours usually) to get in the weight room and sweat, grunt and work hard is the best way to get my mind of the stress of school and such. It's just lifting hard and laughing with my buddies; encouraging each other to go that extra pound/rep.

Personally, there's an extra motivation in lifting hard every day. I play college football for a Christian college in Wisconsin. Many of my teammates are like brothers to me. Going through a season, with all the sweat, mud, dehydration, and aching muscles,victories and losses, draws a group of young men together. I lift for my buddies. The stronger and faster I am, the more effective player I am on the field. If I can do my job right, faster and harder than the opposing player, then I'm helping my teammates out. That's important to me.

I realize most people aren't in my circumstances, so it'll be different for everybody. Still, finding joy in lifting makes it a lot less of a drag. Being able to look forward to a solid lift each day can really ease some stress out of your life.

You should try it. Find reasons to enjoy lifting, as with all things in life.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

How to Clean Powerfully

One of my favorite lifts is the power clean. It helps in explosiveness and body control. It doesn't just work your legs but your core as well. There is just one problem.

It's a lift that's tough to get right. There can be a lot of ways to do it wrong and a lot of ways to hurt yourself if it's done wrong.

To be honest, when it comes to this lift (and many others) I'm still working on my form; critiquing every detail to ensure that I'm not going to hurt myself doing this, and to attain as much work as I can from this lift.

That said, here's an easy and practical look at how to perform the power clean. I hope this is helpful in your endeavorer to get stronger and be safe in the process.

Let me know if you have any additional tips.

Top photo from