NRL 2021 Draw: strength of schedule, who each team plays twice, who has the hardest draw, analysis, Brisbane Broncos

The 2020 season finished only just over a month ago but the draw for next year is already here.

With the help of the Fox Sports Lab, we have broken down just how difficult each team’s draw is.

The strength of the schedule is based off the Lab Predictor’s ratings for each team, which also factors in how teams have historically gone at scheduled venues.

Kayo is your ticket to the best sport streaming Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

Round 1

Origin returning to normal


Source link

The Perpetual COVID-19 Strength Plan

“Maximise the recruitment of high-threshold muscle fibers, increase strength, muscle, and volume using this advanced training tactic.”


With the Covid-19 situation still a series of openings and lockdowns around the world it means that gyms are open in some places, while in some countries they may have to wait a little longer.



I have been getting a lot of questions especially from my clientele who live in Melbourne, Australia, since they are still under severe lockdown and have no gym access available and are wanting to have a sure-fire gameplan ready for them once those restrictions are lifted.


In saying that, I thought it might be a great idea to share the game plan I would do if my goal was to get back much of the strength that may have been lost during lockdown, muscle coordination in key lifts and of course maximising my muscle growth.


Because let’s face it, building an aesthetically attractive and masculine physique is the goal of 99% of the male population.


Let me introduce you to the Cluster Set Method, while this method is not necessarily new I am often surprised at how little publicity this awesome method actually receives let alone how many coaches actually use or know how to use this method within their programming.


Now, being a male myself I do pride myself on having some sort of commendable strength related to my big lifts but my priority is and always will be about building an aesthetically attractive and masculine physique. Let me explain why I feel this method is necessary to kick-start your training coming out of lockdown.


Why the Custer Set Method

Whether you have just come out of lockdown or are still patiently waiting you most likely have been performing some sort of bodyweight, resistance banded or dumbbell-based training without any of the heavier more intense barbell work that you may have been normally performing in the gym.


While you may have been able to perform variants of exercises like the bench press, squat or deadlift and many others there will still be a degree of inefficiency in performing these lifts and expecting yourself to be where you were at before lockdown.


I know some of your may be in a hurry to build muscle and get back into shape but it’s been long established that muscle growth from a training program doesn’t actually happen for a while – it takes around 3-5 weeks before any substantial muscle growth will occur!


The first 2-3 weeks of any new program there will be a neuromuscular adaptation before any muscular adaptation (growth) will occur. So it makes even more sense to spend time getting this initial phase of training right so that once your body is primed you can take advantage of the muscle you may have not been able to build if you just went balls out from the get go.



Another reason why this method is a perfect starting point has to do with your ability to coordinate muscles within exercises as this is crucial to your ability to build muscle.


By performing lifts at a high enough level of intensity you can recruit high-threshold motor units which means you will be stimulating a higher number of muscle fibers within the muscle of that lift and in time will improve your muscles recruitment and coordination.


This means by simply stepping back in to the gym you are opening yourself up to a new stimulus that the body can adapt to and your motivation levels are going to be at an all-time high. The perfect time to take advantage of what you could consider as a potentiation phase that will set you up nicely before progressing into a more muscular hypertrophy specific plan of attack.


Understanding Cluster Sets

Firstly, it’s important to understand that the central nervous system is in charge of the recruitment of motor neurons, starting with the smaller motor units before the larger motor units.


This is known as the Henneman Size Principle. 1/p>


Remember I mentioned when lifting at a high enough level to recruit high-threshold motor units, all this means is that your body will recruit the smaller motor units and thus muscle fibers before it can recruit the larger muscle fibers so it is important to make sure you are truly lifting at the recommended percentage of your lifts which you will find in the subsequent sections below.


Now, cluster sets are when you perform a certain number of reps, rest a short amount of time, then perform the same amount of reps or slightly lower for a given amount of “intra-set clusters”.


By lifting at this high level of intensity it will expose you to greater amounts of volume being lifted at this intensity within a set.


What makes this even sweeter is when considering muscular hypertrophy, the intensity of which we lift plays a significant role from both a % of your 1RM and the proximity to momentary muscular failure.


So when we use cluster sets we have the intensity side taken care of and when we add the short rest periods between reps or ‘clusters’ your body has just enough time to replenish some energy (ATP) so you can continue lifting at that intensity.



A key point to what I have just mentioned is to make sure you are lifting at a high enough level of intensity so it would be wise to have a solid understanding of your 1RM or even performing a strength test before beginning this method to further pinpoint your exact percentages and weight in which you will need to be lifting with.


In summary don’t use a weight that allows you to complete each cluster set too comfortably. This is going to go a long way in allowing you to become more neurologically efficient within the movements and your ability to recruit muscle fibers.


Cluster Method Workout Placement

I am sure you already have an idea with what exercises will be used and when to perform them but let’s quickly go over the basics. The primary exercises or ‘A series’ of your workout is where the cluster sets will be programmed.


The sets following the A series will be backed off in regards of intensity and situated within the functional hypertrophy (6-8 reps) & hypertrophy (9-12 reps) strength quality. The intent behind these exercises is to further fatigue each muscle group by focusing on maximum tension rather than load purely.


While the cluster set method can be used across the full spectrum of ranges, it’s predominantly known for being used with loading patterns of 1-5 reps per cluster.


For this program and for the purpose of maximising the recruitment of high-threshold motor units, we will be using the clusters within a 1-2 rep loading scheme.


How to Perform Cluster Sets

The general approach is to use a weight heavy enough to perform the target number of reps based off the first set. While there are many different variants in how to perform cluster sets this will also change the required percentage to lift with.


In our case we will be working off 90% of your 1RM, so the perfect approach would be to either already know your 1RM or to perform a strength test the week before you actually start in order to have a better handle on your percentages.


Let’s use the bench press for example. If my first set of clusters is 2-1-1-1 and I know I could maximally lift 150kg for 2 reps, I would then use 90% of that weight for my initial set of clusters.


The first cluster set would look like this:


  • 300 lbs (135 kg) for 2 reps (rest for 15 seconds)
  • 1 rep (rest for 15 seconds)
  • 1 rep (rest for 15 seconds)
  • 1 rep (rest for 180 seconds)


Now that our bases are covered, let’s dig into the rest of the program.


Programming Basics

Due to the high amount of intensity that will be lifted within each session, this will be a 4-day intensification phase rotating between a lower & upper body day focus that will last 4 weeks.


The lower body days will see the primary lifts rotated between a squatting & hip hinge movement pattern.


The upper body days will see a super set format used where there will be a shared focus between push/pull movement patterns in the horizontal & vertical planes.


As you move into each successive week, there will be 1 rep added into each cluster set, this will see you complete your final week of cluster sets for reps of 2-2-2-2.


  • Week One – 2-1-1-1
  • Week Two – 2-2-1-1
  • Week Three – 2-2-2-1
  • Week Four – 2-2-2-2


The exercises after your ‘A series’ are all about maintaining continuous tension. Inside your B & C series of exercises, it is important to use a weight that is heavy enough to complete the target rep range whilst also making sure you can maintain the required tempo.


Across the 4-week intensification phase, your upper body will see a total of 22-24 working sets per session, and the lower body will see a total of 17 working sets per session. This will set you up nicely for your next phase where I would suggest a 6-8 week muscle hypertrophy specific phase.



What Do You Mean By Tempo?

The tempo in which we lift within any given exercise is known as ‘Time Under Tension’ (TUT). This just refers to the 4 phases of lifting that are seen within each rep. (See image below)


The Perpetual COVID-19 Strength Plan - Fitness, Exercise, dumbbells, lower body, cluster training, basic strength, workout programming, upper body, cluster sets, pandemic, covid-19, muscle fiber recruitment


So if we use the bench press as an example and the tempo used in the above image of 4-2-1-0.


The 4, would see you lower the bar at a 4 second count.

The 2, would see you pause at the bottom isometric (hold) for 2 seconds.

The 1, would see you lift the weight back up in 1 second.

The 0, would see you have no hold at the top isometric.


As you will see below, I have actually also used the letter ‘X’ in the third column or concentric portion of the lift. This simply means that you need to emphasis lifting explosively.


The Workouts and Schedule

Below you will find the weekly schedule that will see you start with your week with the upper body. Due to intense nature of this program the lower body is always performed after the upper body day to allow any of the back muscles and the erector spinae that may be taxed to get enough rest in and not impede your ability to complete the upper body lifts.


Please know that an active rest day means to not just sit around all day. A simple daily step goal of 8,000-10,000 will do the trick.


MondayUpper Body 1
TuesdayLower Body 1
WednesdayActive Rest day
ThursdayUpper Body 2
FridayLower Body 2
SaturdayActive Rest Day
SundayRest day (take one full day off per week)


Upper Body 1 – Phase 1
A1. Neutral Grip Pull Up62-1-1-140X090 seconds
A2. Flat DB Press Pronating62-1-1-140X090 seconds
B1. Bent Over Single Arm Supported DB Row – Prone Grip36-830X175 seconds
B2. Seated Single Arm DB Arnold Press36-8302075 seconds
C1. 60 Degree Incline DB Curl – Supinated28-1030X060 seconds
C2. Ez-Bar Triceps Extension28-1030X060 seconds


Lower Body 1 – Phase 1
A1. Trap Bar Deadlift62-1-1-140X0180 seconds
B1. DB Split Squat46-840X075 seconds
B2. Prone Leg Curl – Plantarflexed46-830X175 seconds
C1. BB Hip Thrust38-10302045 seconds
C2. Unilateral DB Farmers Walk – 25m each side38-1030X045 seconds


Upper Body 2 – Phase 1
A1. Incline Bench Press62-1-1-140X090 seconds
A2. Barbell Bent Over Row – Prone Grip62-1-1-140X090 seconds
B1. Flat DB Press – Neutral Grip36-830X075 seconds
B2. Single Arm Lat Pulldown – Supinating36-8301175 seconds
C1. Cable Rope French Press28-1020X060 seconds
C2. Seated DB Hammer Curl28-1030X060 seconds


Lower Body 2 – Phase 1
A1. Safety Bar Back Squat62-1-1-140X0180 seconds
B1. DB FFE Split Squat46-840X090 seconds
B2. Kneeling Leg Curl – Dorsiflexed46-840X075 seconds
C1. 45 Degree Back Extension38-1030X275 seconds
C2. Cable Woodchop312-1430X060 seconds


Sports Nutrition Considerations

Seeing as though your performance will be of importance and to tolerate these higher intensities being lifted and overreaching nature, I would add in pre-workout 5g of creatine monohydrate alongside 5g of beta-alanine for further benefits in endurance performance and increase repetitions to failure.


However, if you don’t enjoy the tingling sensation known when using beta-alanine, you can also spread your dosages into 1-2g taken 3x throughout the day. 3, 4


Where to from here?

Once completing this phase of programming and IF your goal is to maximise muscle growth, I would highly recommend moving into a muscular hypertrophy specific plan of attack over the next 8-16 weeks depending on how much time you can commit to building muscle.


Whether you are an aspiring physique competitor or simply a physique enthusiast, this is the best plan of attack to follow after completing the cluster set method.



1. Culbertson, J. Y., Kreider, R. B., Greenwood, M., & Cooke, M. (2010). Effects of beta-alanine on muscle carnosine and exercise performance: A review of the current literature. Nutrients, 2(1), 75–98.

2. Kreider, R. B., Kalman, D. S., Antonio, J., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Wildman, R., Collins, R., Candow, D. G., Kleiner, S. M., Almada, A. L., & Lopez, H. L. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: Safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1), 18.

3. Milner-Brown, H. S., Stein, R. B., & Yemm, R. (1973). The orderly recruitment of human motor units during voluntary isometric contractions. The Journal of Physiology, 230(2), 359–370.

4. Robinson, R. (2009). In mammalian muscle, axonal wiring takes surprising paths. PLoS Biology, 7(2)

Source link

Total Gym Strength Training Workout for Beginners

Total Gym Strength Training Workout For Beginners

Congratulations on receiving your new Total Gym!

It’s awesome that you took the first step in creating a higher quality of life for yourself. You have your new and beautiful piece of equipment right in front of you and I bet that you’re already in love with your Total Gym!

And why wouldn’t you be? It’s just one of the coolest and most effective pieces of equipment ever created!

As exciting as this time may be, it can also be intimidating if you’re at a beginner fitness level. So to make this process as simple and seamless as possible for beginners, we have created a quick Total Gym Fitness Routine for you to start with and slowly incorporate more exercises to get to a more advanced fitness level.

Follow this routine and you’ll soon start to reap all of the associated benefits such as building strength, creating power, increasing muscular and cardio endurance, and improving your core.

The Total Gym Strength Training Workout For Beginners

Chest Press:

Sit up straight with good posture facing away from the Total Gym. Grab onto the handles and push out directly in front of you to complete your first rep, then repeat the exercise to complete the set. Remember to press out fast but to come back in slowly to control the movements and maximize the muscle contractions. (2 Sets of 15 Reps)

Upright Back Rows:

Sit up straight with good posture facing the Total Gym. Grab onto the handles and begin to pull them towards your body with the goal of getting your hands lined up with your chest, then come back out to complete the rep. Now repeat that motion to complete the 1st set. Remember to pull in towards your body fast but to go out slowly to control the movements and maximize the muscle contractions. (2 Sets of 15 Reps)

1 Legged Regular Squat:

Sit upright with your butt as close as possible to the bottom of the seat with one leg on the platform and the other leg lifted in the air to the side of the platform. Proceed to squat on the one leg that is on the platform by going down slowly until you feel engagement in the quadriceps region of your leg, then press to lift your body back up to complete the rep. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps on Each Leg)


Sit up straight with good posture facing the Total Gym. Grab onto the handles with a closed fist and begin to curl your hands up with the goal of getting your hands lifted up all the way to your chest. Curl up fast, then come back down to the starting position slowly to complete the rep. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps)

Leg Raises:

Lay down flat on your back on top of the slider with your arms fully extended above your head to grab onto the hand grips of the Total Gym with your hands facing one another. With your arms fully extended and your body stretched out, begin to lift your legs up simultaneously as high as you can to form the letter “L” out of your body, then slowly lower them back down. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps)

Remember, this is not a competition, but more so an opportunity to create a strong foundation for yourself to create fitness success and help you get to the next level. It is recommended that you perform the following exercises 2 – 3 times per week for 4 weeks before advancing to the next level and creating more advanced exercise opportunities for yourself.

Good luck!

Source link

6 Ways To Improve Your Grip Strength

Have you ever challenged yourself to get all your grocery bags from the car to the house in only one trip?

I do this all the time, which usually means I’m grabbing five or six bags in each hand. Whether you consider it laziness or efficiency, you can’t deny it requires some serious grip strength!

Grip strength is often perceived as something only men — not women — train. (When I was a kid, my dad had these blue plastic-handled grippers. I would try to squeeze them, but even with both hands, I still couldn’t make them budge.)

But developing a stronger grip is something we should all prioritize if we want to level up our training. In this article, you’ll learn exactly why grip strength training is important as well as six of the best exercises to help you develop your grip.

What Is Grip Strength?

Grip strength is the measure of force and power you can generate from your forearms and hands. While it’s an easily overlooked component of training, it’s an integral part of strength development that significantly affects the results you can achieve.

There are three types of grip. The crush grip is the grip between your fingers and palm (think of squeezing something in your hand). The pinch grip refers to pinching between your fingers and thumb, while the support grip is a static move in which you need to hold the position for an extended period of time. All three types of grip can be developed.

Why Is Grip Strength Training Important?

You’re only as strong as your grip allows. If you have a weak grip, you may hit some plateaus in your training simply because your grip limits how much weight you can move and how many reps you can perform.

The better your handgrip strength, the more you can focus on your lifting technique and mechanics without compensation, which in turn can reduce your risk of injury.

Grip strength training also improves your connective tissues — the increased blood flow contributes to improved muscle function and adaptation to training. Grip strength (like strength training in general) additionally increases your bone density, especially through your wrists and elbow joints, therefore reducing your risk of injury to these areas. If you don’t condition your grip and forearm muscles for mobility, strength, and endurance, you may experience injury or chronic pain down the road.

Outside of its benefits in your training, grip strength can help improve the quality of your everyday life, from opening jars to shoveling snow to upping your tennis, baseball, and golf game.

6 Exercises to Improve Grip Strength

There are six grip strength exercises I recommend including in your training program — and as you’ll see, getting a good grip takes a lot more than wrist curls, stress balls, and grippers! Each of these movements and types of grip will help with a different aspect of your grip strength and ensure you’re continually challenging yourself.

Exercise #1. Heavy Barbell Deadlift

One of the easiest ways to increase your grip strength is by including heavy barbell deadlifts in your program. Heavy deadlifts are my favorite functional strength training movement. In addition to working your crush grip, they target the major muscle groups of your posterior chain and core. (Plus, you can mix this movement up by using kettlebells or dumbbells.)

How to Perform a Barbell Deadlift:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. The bar should be close to your shins, and your shins should be vertical.
  • Take a deep breath and engage your core, creating tension throughout your entire body. While maintaining the tension, send your hips back to find your hinge position. Imagine holding an orange between your chin and your chest to ensure your neck and back stay in a neutral position throughout the movement.
  • Grab the barbell with both hands in an overhand grip (palms facing toward your body). Load your lats by drawing them down and back away from your ears (imagine having to hold a piece of paper in each armpit). Think about externally rotating the pits of your elbows — turning the inner elbow so it faces forward — as you do this. You should also feel some tension in your hamstrings.
  • Before standing, imagine splitting the floor with your feet to activate your glutes and maintain tension throughout your lower body.
  • Drive your hips forward to full extension and exhale at the top of the movement.
  • Maintaining tension in your core and lats, return to your starting position by sending your hips back and hinging to return the barbell to the ground.

Important Tips for Training Grip Strength:

  • Start with a conventional overhand grip, with your hands holding the bar about shoulder-width apart in a pronated position (palms facing your body).
  • As you get stronger and develop your grip, you can increase the weight.
  • As you progress, start incorporating a mixed grip — as demonstrated in the video below — with one hand in a supinated position (palm facing away from your body).
  • Alternate sides on your mixed grip to avoid creating any muscular imbalances by favoring one side over the other.

Exercise #2. Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Hold

Bottoms-up kettlebell drills are a great way to not only strengthen your grip but also drill lat recruitment, shoulder stability, and overall full-body tension. Considering the inherent instability of bottoms-up holds, make sure to start with a very light weight.

How to Perform a Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Hold:

  • Begin with your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold the kettlebell handle with one hand. With the other hand, help guide the kettlebell into an upside-down rack position, with the bottom of the bell facing the ceiling.
  • Keep your shoulder packed, down, and back to create the most stability.
  • Grip the kettlebell tightly, engage your lat and your core, and generate tension throughout your entire body.
  • Work on holding this bottoms-up kettlebell position for time. You can also progress with half-kneeling holds and bottoms-up presses.
  • The longer the holds, the more you’ll be able to sustain tension in your grip. This will translate to being able to perform more reps.

Want to learn more about bottoms-up kettlebell training? Find out how to get started — and why it’s so beneficial — in this article.

Exercise #3. Farmer’s Carry

The farmer’s carry with kettlebells is a great way to further challenge your grip strength and endurance. When done correctly, you’ll continue to learn how to recruit your lats and maintain core tension throughout the farmer’s walk.

How to Perform the Farmer’s Carry for Grip Strength:

  • Start as you would for a double kettlebell suitcase deadlift. Pick up the kettlebells and find your standing position.
  • Going slowly, start walking with the kettlebells. Avoid shrugging your shoulders up or letting the bells rest on your sides.
  • Start with a weight that allows you to carry the kettlebells for 20 seconds at a perceived effort of 8 out of 10.
  • As you progress, you can add heavier weights or perform your carries for time or distance, but make sure you can maintain an upright and engaged position throughout the carry.

Exercise #4. Thick Bar Training

Use a thick bar (e.g., axle bar, Fat Gripz) for some of your lifts to create a different stimulus for your grip work. Changing up your grip size will further increase the muscle strength in your hands and forearms and may help you break through plateaus.

Thick Bar Training Tips:

  • Select exercises you’re already proficient with so you can perform them with good technique.
  • Choose a lighter weight than you’d normally use for these exercises, or stick with bodyweight only — you won’t be able to lift as heavy, and that’s OK!
  • You can slip Fat Gripz on almost any implement (e.g., barbell, dumbbells) if you don’t have access to a thicker bar.

Exercise #5. Flexed-Arm Hang

The flexed-arm hang test is a common military test used to assess upper body strength, support grip strength, and endurance. You can use it as both a full-body bodyweight training tool and a self-test to measure the improvement of your grip and overall strength.

How to Perform the Flexed-Arm Hang:

  • Set up as if you were going to perform the descending portion of a chin-up.
  • Pause in a mid-hang position with your arms flexed.
  • Hold that position and maintain your full-body tension by engaging your core, squeezing your glutes, and flexing your quads.
  • Aim to hang like that for at least 15 seconds.

Working on your pull-ups too? Check out this step-by-step guide on how to perform a proper pull-up.

Exercise #6. Plate Pinch

The plate pinch is a great tool for developing your pinch grip overall grip strength. You can progress it by increasing the weight or the time, or by incorporating plate curls (also called plate pinch curls).

How to Perform a Plate Pinch:

  • With your feet hip- or shoulder-width apart, pick up a weight plate by pinching it between your fingers.
  • Maintaining your pinch grip, stand with the plate by your side and your core engaged. Avoid resting the weight plate or your arm against your body.
  • Pack your lat down and away from your ears while maintaining full-body tension.
  • Begin with a light weight plate (e.g., 10 pounds) and slowly progress to a heavier load and a longer pinch time.

How Often Should You Do Grip Strength Training?

You can add some grip strength training to your workout routine two or three times a week at the end of your sessions. Begin with one or two sets, and slowly increase the number of sets, the number of reps, or the length of time you perform the exercise as your grip strength increases.

Over time, you’ll start to see your grip strength paying major dividends in your overall strength and your training results!

Source link

All Blacks back to full strength for Pumas

New Zealand are back to full strength for their Tri-Nations clash with Argentina in Sydney on Saturday following their shock loss last round to the Wallabies.

The All Blacks have named their first-choice halves combination of Richie Mo’unga and Aaron Smith, who sat out the Brisbane defeat, while barnstorming winger Caleb Clarke is also back in the line-up.

Among other changes, veteran prop Joe Moody returns after missing two Tests through concussion with Tyrel Lomax replacing suspended prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi.

Patrick Tuipulotu, who missed the Brisbane Test with illness, has been named in the second row.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster said he wanted to see a “smarter” performance from his troops.

“We were bitterly disappointed with the loss against Australia on the weekend, but we’ve taken a lot of lessons from that game,” Foster said.

“Specifically, we need to be smarter in seeing space and executing our plan around that.”

He said the All Blacks were on guard for the Pumas, who pushed them before falling 20-16 last year.

“The Argentinians are well coached by Mario Ledesma and we have a lot of respect for them,” he said.

“You only need to go back to Buenos Aires last year, when we had a real arm wrestle with them, to know how tough they can be.

“They’ve been in Australia for a number of weeks, they are well-prepared and this is their first Test of 2020 so it’ll be a massive occasion for them and their country so we have to be ready.”

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (capt), Shannon Frizell, Samuel Whitelock, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tyrel Lomax, Dane Coles, Joe Moody. Res: Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman, Nepo Laulala, Tupou Vaa’i, Hoskins Sotutu, Brad Weber, Rieko Ioane, Damian McKenzie.

Source link

Strong Winds Lash Cayman Islands as Eta Regains Tropical Storm Strength

Strong winds battered palm trees in the Cayman Islands as Eta, which the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said had regained tropical-storm strength, approached on the morning of November 7. The NHC issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the Cayman Islands, parts of Cuba, northwest Bahamas, South Florida, and the Florida Keys. “Significant, life-threatening flash and river flooding will be possible in Cuba, along with landslides in areas of higher terrain,” the NHC said. “A tornado or two may occur Sunday evening and Sunday night over South Florida and the Keys,” they continued. The Cayman Islands, Jamaica, the Bahamas and South Florida were forecast to experience urban and flash flooding, the NHC said. Credit: @gonolesglp via Storyful

Source link

Heavy Suitcase Deadlifts Build Anti-Rotational Control and Strength

Deadlifts with dumbbells or kettlebells are kind of pointless unless you’re doing single-leg variations. Wrong.


Do you ever try single-arm variation instead of single-leg? Two legs on the ground but just one bell, in one hand, held on the side of your body. This is the suitcase deadlift, and in many ways, it trains the same qualities as a single-leg RDL.



The difference is, you can load this exercise up much heavier and have much more fun with it. I have put a lot of the details of your approach in this article, if you need to dig deeper or have specific issues than you should check out my movement principles online course.


The Benefits of the Suitcase Deadlift

Why do we do single-leg exercises? It’s easy to build single-leg strength. Except that’s not all. They also help improve our stability, and it’s not just because they build unilateral strength. It’s from developing the skill of triggering the trunk muscles that keep our hips from rotating or shifting in a coordinated effort.


Our bodies find stability and strength for one side from the other. Our left side obliques turn on to help keep us from side-bending when we’re holding something heavy on the right side of our bodies.


We create a force against the ground from our right foot to flex our left lat.


These cross patterns should be automatic, and we should have control and strength on each side to stabilize the other, but that’s not always the case.


The suitcase deadlift makes it intuitive to sharpen this quality.


It feels wrong to tilt or rotate to one side when you’re picking a heavy weight off the floor in just one hand. You instinctively and actively fight against it.


Should You Do It?

This may seem like a remedial exercise, or something beginners should practice before training heavy barbell deadlifts. Still, it’s just as necessary for elite powerlifters to be far from the competition during general training blocks.


We’ll always develop a tendency to use one side of our bodies in the movement more than the other.



And while some of that is part of being human, too much is part of a problem that can get you hurt.


You may play a sport where you almost exclusively use just one side of your body. Or you could be a busy professional who does some repetitive tasks over and over.


It doesn’t matter what it is; repeat the same movements over and over on one side, and you’re going to struggle with some nagging injuries, aches, and pains.


Exercises like the suitcase deadlift can keep you healthy or help rehab the damage that’s already been done.


What Muscles Are Involved?

The movement itself trains the hamstrings, quads, glutes, and even the back muscles as they help you grip and hold the bell.


But the true advantage in adding these to your workouts is that they build anti-rotational trunk control and strength.


The deep muscles of the trunk that stabilize the spine, pelvis, and hips like the transverse abdominis, psoas major, and even the pelvic floor muscles, to name a few, can really be stressed with this exercise and trained harder than they would be with any exercise where you’d have the same sized weights in both hands.


How to Do a Suitcase Deadlift

Place a dumbbell or kettlebell to the side of one of your ankles.



Hinge over and squat down similarly to setting up for a barbell deadlift. You’ll have to squat down lower and be more upright than you would in a conventional deadlift with a loaded barbell because the bell isn’t as high off the floor, and it’s placed to the side.


Heavy Suitcase Deadlifts Build Anti-Rotational Control and Strength - Fitness, elite athletes, Kettlebell, dumbbells, functional strength, suitcase deadlift, single leg, powerlifter, transverse abdominal, cross patterning, obliques, psoas, unilateral exercises, remedial exercises, core stability


Inhale deeply, filling your entire abdominal cavity and expanding and pressurizing not only your belly but the sides of your torso and lower back with the air.


Brace and think of driving your feet and ankles through the floor as you stand, making sure your hips don’t shoot up before your chest and shoulders do.



  • As you stand, concentrate on letting your shoulders relax and hang but keep the side of your torso with the weight from dipping or slanting lower than the opposite side.
  • You want your hips to stay square and even the whole time.
  • Fight the urge to let your torso bend to the side of the weight as you stand.
  • Concentrate on engaging your trunk to keep your hips square and not allowing yourself to twist or bend to the side at all.
  • Exhale hard at the top, rebrace and squat down the same way to touch the bell to the ground before standing back up


Add Variation

One of the biggest ways to switch things up would be to use a barbell instead of a dumbbell or kettlebell.


  • Many people think of using a barbell when they do suitcase deadlifts, but it needs to be thought of as a progression to using a bell.
  • With a barbell, not only do you have to fire your trunk to stabilize and keep from turning and rotating, but you’ll also have to stabilize the bar to keep it from tipping forward or back in your hand.
  • This demands a lot of focus on engaging your shoulders, back, and forearms to stabilize the barbell itself and if you can’t first fix your hips and pelvis in place, using a barbell defeats the purpose of the exercise.


Find stability in your body first with bells. Then you can use barbells, also.


Too Far Too Soon

To train trunk stability and get the legs working, you need to challenge yourself with a heavyweight.


But you have to ease into it.


Too heavy of a dumbbell on day one, and you’re stabilizing muscles are likely to tire out too quickly, making you twist or turn.


And once that happens, nothing is protecting your back from injury.


For the Advanced

Despite what you use for weight – dumbbell, kettlebell, barbell – you can make this exercise much more difficult by doing floating reps.


Start the exercise the same as usual, but when you squat back down after the first rep, instead of placing the weight on the floor or even tapping it to the ground, you lower it until it’s just half an inch off the floor. Pause for just a moment and stand back up.


Heavy Suitcase Deadlifts Build Anti-Rotational Control and Strength - Fitness, elite athletes, Kettlebell, dumbbells, functional strength, suitcase deadlift, single leg, powerlifter, transverse abdominal, cross patterning, obliques, psoas, unilateral exercises, remedial exercises, core stability


Heavy Suitcase Deadlifts Build Anti-Rotational Control and Strength - Fitness, elite athletes, Kettlebell, dumbbells, functional strength, suitcase deadlift, single leg, powerlifter, transverse abdominal, cross patterning, obliques, psoas, unilateral exercises, remedial exercises, core stability


Do your entire set floating the weight just above the ground but never touching, and you’ll feel fatigued, and soreness in a way you haven’t felt since your way over-zealous grade school gym teacher made you do a hundred rep sit-up challenge.

Source link

Zeta expected to regain strength, make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane outside New Orleans

The storm is expected strengthen over the next 24 hours leading up to landfall.

As of Tuesday night, it had restrengthened to 70 mph and was moving northwest at about 15 mph.

Zeta, the 27th named storm of the season, is expected strengthen over the next 24 hours leading up to landfall in the U.S. Wednesday evening. It’s expected to touch down as a Category 1 hurricane just south of New Orleans.

Meteorologist said the storm could bring strong winds, up to 8 feet of storm surge and up to 6 inches of rain in some areas. Isolated tornadoes are also possible, adding to the possibility of widespread damage and power outages in parts of Mississippi and Alabama.

Louisiana Gov. John Edwards declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm Monday night. He said he issued the order despite uncertainty surrounding the storm’s final path, and urged residents to follow the guidelines.

“While there is some uncertainty in Zeta’s track, it is likely that Louisiana will see some impacts from this storm, and the people of our state need to take it seriously. It’s easy to let your guard down late in the hurricane season, but that would be a huge mistake,” Edwards said.

He said state officials were already assisting local authorities with “critical items like pumps, generators and food and water” for first responders.

“We stand ready to expand that assistance as needed,” Edwards said in a statement. “Everyone should be monitoring the news for information and should heed any direction they get from their local leaders.”

Forecasters said Zeta will most likely speed off to toward the Northeast and weaken quickly after landfall late Wednesday.

The storm’s remnants could get swept up with another storm system as it leaves the area, potentially bringing heavy rain in areas between the Tennessee Valley into the Northeast, meteorologists said.

ABC News’ Melissa Griffin contributed to this report.

Source link

‘Strength of a bricklayer, skills of a surgeon’: Dusty joins great debate

Leigh Matthews, the official ‘player of the 20th century’, shies away from intergenerational compare-and-contrast, observing that we’re now well into the 21st century. At the same time, he sees that it is like-for-like, robust goal-kicking midfielders. “Dusty’s the only player I don’t get insulted being compared to,” he said with his customary twinkle.

Tigers defender Francis Bourke attempts to spoil a mark by Magpie Ricky Barham in the 1980 VFL grand final.Credit:Fairfax Archives

If footy people love one thing more than a great player, it’s a debate about great players. One, Gary Ablett, left the stage with subdued dignity in Saturday’s grand final, leaving it for Martin to make what he will of it. The taciturn Martin delivered his own bouquet to Ablett, calling him the greatest of all time. The title is not yet vacant.

So where does Martin sit, and where might he one day rest? Let’s do this in ascending order.

Best Richmond player? “I’ve still got Bartlett No 1, but he’s gone past Royce Hart and Francis Bourke,” said Sheahan, doyen of footy media and inveterate list-maker. “He’s a more polished player than Bartlett, and a better team player.”

But Bartlett endured for 19 years, played 403 games, won five best-and-fairests and five premierships. The Norm Smith did not exist for most of his career, but he won one anyway in 1980. Also, he has a statue.

Martin has three flags, three Norms, a Brownlow medal, but oddly enough only two b&fs. This reflects the sudden and meteoric rise of him and Richmond four years ago, a sublimely virtuous circle. At 29, he also has time.

Best finals player? “You’ve got to be lucky enough to be playing finals to know if you can play well in finals,” said Balme (ask Bob Skilton, three Brownlows, one final). “Dusty’s been lucky to play the last few years. The best players are the ones who play well when it matters most. That’s finals. I think we’ll remember him for that more than most.”

Sheahan observes that of the 11 finals Richmond has played in the past four years, Martin has been best-on-ground in eight, arguably nine of them. Matthews marvels that in six finals in the past two years, Martin has kicked 15.2. “He performs under pressure,” Matthews said. “He must have ice in his veins.”

In all this weighing and measuring, recency bias plays a part. This is most starkly illustrated by the career of Gary Ablett, senior: one b&f, no Brownlows, no premierships, impossible to confine or define by stats, yet in many minds still the clubhouse leader for best player ever. It’s worth keeping in mind.

Best grand final player? Now we’re cooking. McLachlan can’t go past those three medals. “This has been a year like no other topped off by a grand final like no other,” he said. “It seems fitting that we had a game-changing and history-making performance by Dustin Martin, who is now a grand final player like no other.”

Richmond's Kevin Bartlett in 1981.

Richmond’s Kevin Bartlett in 1981.Credit:

All agree Martin’s distinction is that the bigger the occasion, the better he plays, making the grand final his natural theatre. “To be so good on the biggest day on the calendar is an accolade in itself,” said Matthews. “The fact that you can play so well when the pressure is at its greatest.”

Geelong looked to have Richmond in a stranglehold on Saturday night, until Martin’s muscled through a goal just before half-time to prise it loose. “He just knows what to do, when it needs to be done,” said Balme.”It’s timing. You were thinking, we need something to happen now, and he does it. And you’d think, how does he do that?”

Best player ever? Not yet. “It’s about longevity and how good you can be on your best days,” said Matthews. “It’s a combination of the two. He hasn’t got longevity yet. Dusty’s been really good for the last five years. Gary Ablett’s been fantastic for 10 to 15 years.”

But Martin does have runs on the board (well, this is cricket season). He’s been around for 10 years. He’s played 243 games. He rarely misses, a tribute to his thorough preparation. He’s only 29. He’s at a club and in a time that is going to keep him vitally interested for some years yet.

Richmond's Royce Hart marks during the 1967 grand final against Geelong.

Richmond’s Royce Hart marks during the 1967 grand final against Geelong.

Crucially, he plays in a position and in a way that sticks in the memory. “He’s got the strength and power of a bricklayer,” said Matthews, “and the touch and skills of a deft surgeon.”

When not in the midfield, where he is the best of a common type, he’s lurking up forward, ready to kick goals, which even specialist forwards find hard. In this, he is much like Matthews. He kicked 915.


“All four of his [grand final] goals could have been goals of the day,” Matthews said. “Teams have realised that if you can be a goalkicker, play the forward half. Dusty doesn’t go back and neither should he. That’s where the crap stats happen.”

Geelong captain Joel Selwood might have imagined he would have the last word on Saturday. In a way, he did, ruefully.

“We had a plan for Dusty. We had a couple of plans for him,” he said. “He’s a good player. He’s a hell of a player.”

Most Viewed in Sport


Source link

The 7 Questions of Muscle and Strength

While training principles are universal, training programs must be individualized. Why? Because when they’re suited for the individual (you) they’re safer, more effective, and sustainable. They’re designed to fit your needs.

Great programming involves factoring in elements that’ll increase the likelihood that you’ll stick to it by blending universal training principles with your individual preferences. To accomplish the most with your training, you’ll need to use those universal principles in a way that’s sustainable and enjoyable in the long run. Best of both worlds.

Nail down the right training plan by asking yourself these seven questions:

1 – How often do you want to lift each week? And on average, how often have you been lifting each week?

As I said in The Most Effective Muscle-Building Strategies, the best type of training split is determined by how many days per week you’re training.

However, how many days per week you want to train and how many days per week you actually DO train are two different things. That’s why the second part of this question is so important, especially for those who are excited to start a new training program.

A 2006 study found that participants greatly overestimated the amount of times they would actually go to the gym. Although they expected to go an average of ten times per month, the average monthly attendance over was lower than five visits. So, many people end up going to gym about half as often as they expect.

Now, this study was focused on wasted membership fees, but the results are more about general human psychology and behavior when it comes to making time to exercise. And it all comes down to individual overconfidence.

According to the authors of the paper, “Overestimation of future self control or of future efficiency is at the root of all findings. These findings are also consistent with findings on consumer behavior in the credit card industry and employee choice of 401(k) plans.” (1)

Here’s What to Do With Your Answer

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. However, overconfidence leads many of us to consistently ignore this reality and overestimate how often we’ll make time to exercise.

It’s possibilities vs. probabilities. This overestimation of our future self control or of future efficiency causes us to confuse what we hope we’ll (possibly) do with what we (probably) will do. Many have expectations based on wishful thinking instead of their previous behavior.

If you average going to the gym once per week and all of a sudden make it a goal to start going three to four times per week, it’s very likely you’ll revert back to your normal behavior. You’ll feel like a failure because you didn’t meet your expectations.

But you simply used the wrong strategy. So, be more realistic about your goals. Take an honest look at your past training-frequency behavior and create a realistic goal based upon that.

You may want to train four times per week, but if you’ve only been managing to do it once per week, it’s smarter to making it a goal to train twice per week. Every month or so, add a day.

That’s what gradual behavior changes – changes that are much more likely to become habits – is all about.

2 – What are your injuries and limitations?

Exercises are general, but exercisers are individual.

Sure, everyone basically does some type of pushing, pulling, lower-body exercises, and core exercises. There’s absolutely nothing individual about that aspect of exercise programming.

However, a great deal of what’s individualized about training is what exercises you don’t do based on your physical framework, current ability, and injury profile. So what causes you pain and what do you need to avoid?

Now, we’re not talking about the sensation associated with muscle fatigue. We’re talking about aches and pains that exist outside the gym or flare up when you do certain movements. Such problem areas may simply need time to heal through rest, or they may be injuries: compromised areas of your body that can no longer tolerate the same level of load and do not improve.

Here’s What to Do With Your Answer

If an exercise hurts you – for whatever reason – you’ll need to find a modification or an alternative that doesn’t. Don’t train through pain; train around it. Find exercises that fit you instead of trying to fit yourself to exercises.

So if, say, a certain pulling exercise hurts you, simply experiment with other pulling options in the same category until you find one that you can do without discomfort. When selecting exercises—whether you have limitations or not—use these two simple criteria to make effective choices.

  1. Comfort – The movement is pain free, feels natural, and works within your current physiology.

  2. Control – You can execute the proper technique and body positioning. For example, when squatting, you display good knee and spinal alignment throughout and use smooth, deliberate movement.

To allow for comfort and control, you may need to modify (shorten) the range of motion or adjust the hand or foot placement to fit your current ability. In some cases, you may just have to avoid certain exercises and use other options.

3 – What’s your training environment?

Where will you be training, and what equipment do you have access to?

This is obvious when you’re training at home with limited equipment and space. However, when training at a big-box gym, we’re also limited by our environment, but in a different way that’s crucial to setting up your workouts.

Many people walk into the gym with a workout that looks great on paper, but falls short when they try to use it. If you’re training at a big gym, you’re essentially renting the equipment and space with a bunch of other people who couldn’t care less about your workouts. So even though you’ve got access to a lot of different types of equipment, your workouts must be set up with that environment in mind.

For instance, circuits involving multiple pieces of equipment are a bad choice because people may be using the equipment you want to use. And taking up a bunch of equipment at once makes you an inconsiderate asshole.

It also means that certain exercise paired-sets are a bad choice due to logistical reasons. Lat pulldowns paired with squats are great if you’re training at a private gym, but they’re a problem in a busy gym.

Here’s What to Do With Your Answer

If you’re working out at home, you’ve got the convenience of pairing anything together that you want, but you may need to get creative with exercises based on what equipment you have available.

Paired sets must be designed with the big-box gym member in mind. For instance, pair exercises requiring immobile equipment (squat rack or machine) with exercises using mobile equipment (dumbbells, resistance bands).

This mixture allows you to bring the mobile equipment to the immobile equipment and remain there without having to walk all over the gym and lose the equipment to another member.


4 – What areas of your body do you what to focus on most (and least)?

It’s a mistake to have a “balanced” training program that dedicates roughly the same amount of volume and training days to your weaker, less-developed muscle groups as it does to your stronger, well-developed muscle groups.

A good workout plan isn’t about balance. It’s about addressing individual needs and helping you reach your particular goals. Your training program should be imbalanced to some degree in order for you to dedicate more overall training to the areas you’re trying to develop most.

Here’s What to Do With Your Answer

Select exercises based on the muscle groups (or lifts) you want to develop the most and give them more overall work volume each week. And make sure you’re not spending too much time hitting muscle groups or lifts that need the least amount of volume.

Now, if performance is your main goal and you want to be proficient at a little of everything – but not to excel in any one particular thing – then balance may be just the thing for you. But not for everyone.

5 – Are there any exercises you really love or really hate?

Since you’ll get excited to do exercises you love, it’s important to make those exercises staples in your programs. For people to work hard, they first have to want to come to work.

By the same token, it’s important to either eliminate or at least minimize the use of any exercises you hate. Unless you’re training to compete in some form of lifting competition, there’s no single lift you must do to improve because no exercise has magical powers.

Here’s What to Do With Your Answer

Reject the idea that you should emphasize exercises you hate. Contrary to popular belief, hating certain exercises doesn’t mean they’re what you need the most. There’s probably a good reason you hate them and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re lazy. It means you need alternatives.

To make progress, you just need to create mechanical tension across tissues and joints – that’s all strength training is – and do so with intensity, specificity, and consistency.

There’s no reason to force yourself to do an exercise when there are plenty of other viable pushing, pulling, lower-body, arm, shoulder, etc. exercise variations you can choose from.

6 – Do you prefer constant exercise variety or a lot repetition?

If your goal is to participate in powerlifting, Olympic lifting, or strongman, you certainly need to be consistent with the lifts you must perform in competition. Those require mastery.

But what about the rest of us who are in the gym for athletic performance, muscle growth, and general fitness? I provided the exact answers in my article, Training Variety Vs. Consistency: Final Word.

That said, something I didn’t address in that article was how exercise consistency and variety aren’t mutually exclusive; they can be done together to individualize your programming.

Here’s What to Do With Your Answer

So let’s say you prefer variety, but you also have a few lifts you’d like to improve. In this case, you’d begin each workout with one of those lifts, and you’d do certain lifts consistently on a schedule throughout the week.

The rest of your workout can be varied. This can be done by designing yourself about 6 to 10 different workouts, making sure each workout covers the bases. Now simply rotate through those workouts.

If you’re not focusing on any certain lifts, simply follow the workout rotation strategy I just covered without doing any specific lifts consistently throughout the week.

Now, there’s a big difference between exercise variety and randomness. Randomness is failing to plan, which means you’re likely to leave a lot of gaps in your programming when you fly by the seat of your pants.

On the other hand, what I’m talking about above is planned variety to ensure you cover all of the mandatory lifting movements. You get the exercises you need while also getting the variety you crave.

A good ongoing training program should have enough consistency to allow you to see progress while also having enough variety to prevent staleness and boredom. This means using the same basic exercises but in different ways.

KB Swing

7 – Do you prefer faster or slower paced workouts?

Some people like to stay moving during their workouts, while others may prefer some downtime between sets. This also depends on how much time you have available to train. Your busy life may require you to have faster-paced workouts because you’re simply trying to get a lot done in 30 or 40 minutes.

Here’s What to Do With Your Answer

If you like faster-paced workouts, but also have a few lifts you’ve got your heart set on improving, you can blend these two elements together.

Begin each workout with one of those lifts you’re wanting to improve and take several minutes (3-5) rest between sets. Then, for the rest of the workout, ramp up the pace by doing paired-sets and tri-sets.

Both keeping a faster-paced workout and allowing ample rest between sets of the same muscle groups can be accomplished by using paired-sets and tri-sets. That is, as long as you group non-competing exercises together, which means each exercise within a given paired-set of tri-set hits different muscle groups. For example, pairing up a chest exercise with a back exercise, or doing a tri-set involving a lower-body exercise with an ab exercise and an arm exercise.

Paired sets and tri-sets allow you to do a faster-paced workout while also resting longer between sets of the same muscle group, while maximizing your overall training time by doing a set targeting a different muscle group. And when training for muscle gains, getting ample rest between sets hitting the same muscle group is important for getting the most out of each set.

The Most Effective Muscle Building-Strategies

5 Ways Your Mind is Sabotaging Your Gains


  1. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier. Paying Not to Go to the Gym. American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 694-719, June, 2006.

Source link