Everyone needs some sort of motivation. If we weren’t motivated how would we make it in this world? Would George de Mestral have invented velcro by sitting back and not giving it his all? Would Michael Jordan have become the greatest basketball player of all time by hanging it up after his sophomore year of high school when he was cut from the varsity team? I don’t think so!
Everyone needs to find that one thing they can always fall back on and count on to be there even when things are at there worst! Whether it be reading, cooking, basketball, blogging, writing, exercising, etc… I found my passion in working out.
I know that even if I fail a test in school or am having a bad day I can come into the weight room and break a personal record (PR) and feel good about myself. As soon as I walk into the weight room and cover my hands in chalk and throw around heavy weights I know I’m right where I’m suppose to be. Everyone needs to find that one place they can go on the darkest of days and know no matter what mood you’re in you can always find comfort in doing something you love!
Find your passion and do it for you. Don’t do what others do just because that’s the “cool” thing to do. Do something that will make you stand out from all the rest. Along the way there will always be people trying to tear you down but you can take that how you want. If it were me I would take it as motivation because you are doing something to better youself while they are “sayers” not “doers” and only tear you down because they don’t have the will power to accomplish goals the way you do. Once you find that place it will just come natural and it will be something you look forward to doing every day and it gives you motivation to strive for something greater!
Co-Owner Adande’s Gym
In high school I bought into the famine that by doing calf raises I would get this massive vertical jump because calves are the number one factor in determining whether you have a big vertical or not. I worked out my calves all the time sometimes making them the most important part of my lower body day! I worked them beyond a fatigued stage. I worked them until I cramped up in the calves. So as a result I got a HUGE vertical and I was able to run an extremely fast 40 yard dash right?
Not so fast! Having big calves have little to no effect on how high you can jump! If you are looking to increase your vertical jump and are doing calf exercises as your main way to increase your jump you aren’t going to gain much in your jumping ability. Sure you can work calf exercises in once in a while but do NOT make this your main focus.
“The posterior chain makes up for about 70% of the musculature which is responsible for your ability to jump.” The posterior chain is a group of muscles, tendons, and ligaments on the posterior kinetic chain of the body. Examples of the posterior chain are the biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, erector spinae muscle groups, and so on.
Lifts I have found to develop my posterior chain are box squats, good mornings (with bands), hyperextensions, and glute-ham raises to name a few. So instead of doing calf exercises to overload the gastrocnemius muscles try a few of these exercises. I have found first hand they have helped increase my vertical leap! Ploymetrics and box jumps also helped increase my vertical jump.
There is another factor that plays a part in jumping and that is genetics. Yes I said it; genetics plays a huge role in determining how high you can jump! Some people have what Joe DeFranco refers to as having “high-cut” calves. What he means by this is that your “calves will have a high insertion point very high on the lower leg.” This usually results in a longer achilles tendon. “Having a longer achilles tendon can store more elastic energy, which translates into more explosive jump.” However, you can NOT increase the length of your achilles tendon. So in turn PICK THE RIGHT PARENTS!
Co-Owner Adande’s Gym
I remember back when I first started lifting I never use to use a lifting program when I trained. I created “my own” program and I wonder how that turned out? I thought I knew what I was doing but it turned out that was NOT the case.
I always saw large gains right away and I thought I was big and bad because of it. What puzzled me was why was I always plateau’d after about a month or two? I never knew about over-training and it never crossed my mind. I never knew what a deload phase was. All of this I learned with programming my workouts.
I don’t think there is any “bad” program out there. You should pick a program that you are comfortable with and “sold” on. If you buy into the program you will see your biggest gains. Remember programs ususally are developed by men who have been through the trenches so more than likely they know more than you do when it comes to coming up with a program. There are tons of programs out there. Are you looking to bulk up? get faster? get stronger? jump higher? “tone-up”? etc… If so just use the internet. There are many FREE programs out there to chose from. Before investing hundreds of dollars in a program check the internet because chances are you can find a program similar to the one that suits you without having to spend money!
Network with top strength coaches out there. Facebook and twitter have been huge lately, as you use those services so do many TOP strength coaches. Add them on facebook, like their “fan page” and so on. Also subsribe to their websites. The top strength coaches; James Smith, Zach Even-Esh, Joe DeFranco, Mike Guadango etc, all put wonderful FREE tips about basically every aspect of training. You get KEY training tips for free why not use them!?!?! They are friendly people and answer almost any question you may have. Just having them gives you a huge advantage over lots of people!
Co-Owner Adande’s Gym
Training with weights has always been a passion of mine dating back to my junior year of high school or so. My school didn’t put as large of an emphasis on weight training as I did. I lifted “hard” often five days a week, monday through friday my junior and senior year of high school. I thought I was a pretty tough guy because I just threw on heavy weights and did as many exercises as I could until I got “tired.” Back then I didn’t know any better I thought by doing this I was going to turn into Ray Lewis. At first the results were great. I was putting up huge numbers for about the first month or two and seen myself beating PR’s constantly. After the two months I began to plateau and was puzzled to why? Why would I not keep getting stronger if I was contantly lifting heavy weights with tons of different exercises a day? This same thing went on until about half way through my Junior year of college. For five years I thought I was big, bad, and a great lifter! But was I?
The answer is no! I didn’t know how to program a workout. I didn’t follow a workout plan and I didn’t ever give my body the proper rest it deserved! Second semester of my Junior year in college I had been amazed at the physical speciment Brian Cushing was so I youtube’d his training. In one video he benched 225 35 times and from there I was hooked. I began looking up workouts and lifts that were actually beneficial. Then I met my boy Dylan Poesch playing semi-pro ball. I thought I was pretty bad ass then I did a dynamic effort lower body day with him. We did box squats with 225 and monster mini bands. I was overwhelmed. I never done anything like that in my life. We did 8 sets of 2 and I was dead. We then followed it up with some heavy ass one legged split squats and band good mornings but we didn’t stop there. I was introcuded to heavy ass sled drags and prowler pushes. I watched videos of guys sled dragging and thought man that looks easy. We had over 200 pounds of weight on and dragged it 20 yards. I never worked so hard in my life. From that day I knew I was going to take my training seriously and start to sample a workout plan made famous by Joe DeFranco.
It was that summer where I saw my biggest gains! Do you think I lifted heavy ass weights five times a week doing as many exercises until I “tired” myself out? NO!!! I trained smart, ate smart, and was in the best shape out my life! If I wasn’t lifting heavy ass weights five days a week what exactly was I doing? Well to start out I sank the five training days a week down to four. I learned that rest is just as important if not more important than the workout itself! My typical Monday included a “Maximal-Effort Upper Body” day. In this I followed Jim Wendler’s 5-3-1 workout. This program may not be liked by everybody but I love it. I mean Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is that 400 pound bench everybody is after. The 5-3-1 is designed to slowly increase your maxes by 5 pounds every 4 weeks. Think about it, four weeks is roughly a month so if you increase your bench max five pounds every month and times that by the number of months in a year that’s a 60 pound increase in your bench over the course of a year. I think I’d take a 60 pound increase rather than seeing huge gains right away then wearing out and plateauing because of overtraining.
My Tuesday was very similar to my Monday. I did “Maximal Effort Lower Body.” In this I also used the 5-3-1. My main lift was a box squat and what I learned from box squats is that they are more benefical to me than regular squats. I have a bad left knee and doing regular squats killed my knee! When I switched to box squats with an adequate stretching routine my tendonitis in my knee got WAY better! So the first time I maxed out in the box squat I was doing roughly 400 pounds. By the end of the summer I put up a 1RM of 500 pounds. Now I bounced off the box a little in doing it but still gaining almost 100 pounds in your squat in one summer is pretty good I’d say! After I followed this up with a One-Legged exercise for example one-legged split squats, lunges, step-ups. Then I finished with either band good mornings or glute ham raises. Notice I only did three lifts on this day but they were VERY effective lifts and I saw major gains doing it.
Wednesday was my rest day! But just because it was my rest day I didn’t take it lightly! I still dieted well this day and I stretched out to keep the lactic acid from building!
Thursday was my “Repitition Upper Body” day. On this day I benched 50% of my max on bench and worked on bar speed. Notice I didn’t go heavy on bench this day! I do a 50% day so I can work on good bench speed. Bar speed is very important in having a BIG bench. That is the major difference between my Monday workout to my Thursday workout.
Friday I did a Dynamic Lower Body day which I think is my favorite day! This day you work more on speed and explosion and power. Notice again I don’t go and squat heavy weight I go in and squat around 50% of my 1RM again working on speed and explosion while keeping proper form! I didn’t limit myself on the other jumping/sprinting exercises I did either.
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