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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Bring New Life to Your Deadlift: 3 Must-Know Weightlifting Tips

deadlift-2.jpgThe deadlift is a creature all its own. There is no other exercise like it, and there are so many reasons behind that. It can be one of the most beneficial total-body exercises, yet at the same time, one of the most detrimental if performed incorrectly. Numerous factors go into this very important lift, but there are a few tricks to keep in mind to help you set up and perform well consistently while avoiding injury.

1. A straight line is the fastest path to your destination.

The deadlift starts at the floor and ends at a fully upright stance. There are no two ways about that. Isn’t the quickest way from point A to point B a straight line? Absolutely. This means that the path of the bar during the lift should be as straight as possible. If you’re saying “I have no idea whether my bar path is straight,” take a quick video of your deadlift from the side. A great smartphone app for this is Iron Path. It lets you track your bar path, and it has definitely helped me out.

2. Learn how to breathe and use a belt.

People ask whether they should wear a belt. There is no one-size-fits-all answer here. It completely depends on why you are wearing a belt in the first place. Contrary to popular belief, wearing a lifting belt will not save your back from bad deadlifting. Bad deadlifting (for example, rounding of the back) will place a lot of torque on your entire spine, and this is why most deadlifting injuries occur. A belt is not your safety net. The proper use for a belt is to, along with proper breathing, help create intra-abdominal pressure to brace the midsection for a heavy lift.

First, learn to breathe correctly. If the lift is heavy (80% or greater of your 1-rep max), you will want to take in a big breath before every rep and brace your abdominals and obliques to maintain spinal alignment. Once you can deadlift with proper breathing, a belt becomes helpful during your heavy lifts.

3. Determine your best stance.

I can’t tell you what your best stance is. You will have to find out on your own. The two traditional stances used are conventional and sumo stance. With conventional, your feet will be somewhere around shoulder width apart. With sumo stance, your feet will be much wider (typically 6 to 8 inches outside shoulder width). Certain body types tend to work better for each style. For example, someone who is considered to be tall and lanky might have a good chance of being a better conventional-style deadlifter. Certain limb lengths create different leverages that give advantages and disadvantages with each style of deadlifting. Long story short: try both.

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Done correctly, the deadlift is one of the best overall exercises out there. It is a closed-chain, multi-joint movement that involves lower- as well as upper-body strength, stability, and mobility. Warning: the deadlift is not easy, and you may have to lighten up the weight to get the correct technique. Give these tips a try and make sure you ask a NIFS Health Fitness Specialist for more help with technique and how to better yourself as an athlete.

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This blog was written by Aaron Combs, NSCA CSCS and Health Fitness Instructor. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS fitness center injury prevention muscles weightlifting deadlift

How to Build Training Programs for Competitive Athletes (Part 2)

In part 1 of this blog, I explained training periodization, and talked about the first two macrocycles: off-season and pre-season. Now I’ll talk about the remaining macrocycles: in-season and post-season.

In-Season

ThinkstockPhotos-100324402.jpgOnce the competitive season begins, scheduling time to get in to lift is a lot more difficult due to the practices, games, and travel that are happening. To me, in-season lifting is sometimes undervalued in the competitive/athletic world because of the fact that the primary focus is to win games or matches, not lift weights. However, I believe that this is one of the most important (if not the most important) times during the year because of what lifting can do for the athlete throughout the competitive season and into the off-season.

The goal of in-season lifting is simple: maintain what you have built in the off/pre-season and make sure that no muscular imbalances develop. This is not a time to try and increase your squat or bench by 50 pounds. It is a time to make sure that your body stays healthy and you are able to preserve the muscle, strength, and power that you have built throughout your season. Doing this will not only keep you healthier for your sport, but will also set you up for better long-term development during the subsequent off-season. Think about it: If you lose the vast majority of strength, power, and muscle mass you’ve built over the in-season, you are basically starting at square one when the season is over. If you are able to preserve 85% of that strength and power, you are starting further along than you were the year before, which allows you to make bigger gains.

Recommendation:

Training Frequency: 2 days per week
Mode: Medium Sport Specificity
Volume: Low

Post-Season

When your competitive season comes to a close, there should be some time to relax and recover from it. Take time and reflect on how you performed and what you could have done to be better in different aspects of your activity. Start creating a plan on how to improve those things once your training ramps up again.

As for training during this period, it should still happen. Your body is still recovering, but you want to make sure you do not totally fall off the map by not doing any type of exercise or physical activity. This is a perfect time to play or participate in some other sports or change up your weightlifting routine. You basically have free reign on your choices under one circumstance: get away from your actual sport/complete lifting routine.

This macrocycle does not last long, but it is an important one. You have been competing for months and want to avoid being burnt out on the sport you love, so getting away will be good. Do something different; just be active. After 3 to 4 weeks of light activity, you can begin your off-season program and start the quest to better yourself for the next competitive season.

Recommendation:

Training Frequency: 2 to 4 days per week (light activity)
Mode: Low Sport Specificity
Volume: Low-Medium

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Overall, there is no exact science that is going to work perfectly every time when you are building your own training programs. You will always need to make tweaks, even to the best programs around. This blog provides the framework for developing a solid program, but the devil is in the details. You want to make sure that you have everything planned out as you progress through the competitive season. Some things may not go as planned, but that is okay. The ultimate goal is to make you the best athlete you can be in the sport or activity you are doing!

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This blog was written by Alex Soller, NIFS Athletic Performance Coach. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: mini marathon training weightlifting programs athletes

How to Build Training Programs for Competitive Athletes (Part 1)

ThinkstockPhotos-dv484081.jpgWhen putting together a program for anyone, client or athlete, you always want to have an idea when you would like to peak, or be at your best throughout that calendar year. For Mini-Marathon runners, May is the time to be at your best. For football players, you want to be firing on all cylinders when August rolls around. The structure of your training should be based around when your season is going to begin, to make sure your body is prepared to last the duration of the competitive months. Regardless of when you are competing, your training should never remain totally the same throughout the whole year.

This concept of training periodization has been around forever. It was developed by a physiologist named Leo Matveyev around the 1960s. By definition, periodization is a preplanned, systematic variation in training specificity, intensity, and volume organized in periods or cycles within an overall program (see Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning). Periodization can build the general framework of how you might want to structure your workout programs through your training year.

For our sake, I am going to refer to these periods or cycles as macrocycles. Macrocycles are the biggest of the divisions of training timeframes throughout your competitive year. They can be filtered down to smaller variations (mesocycles—smaller, microcycles—smallest), but we will stick to the biggest ones for now. This will allow you to get a general idea about the main goals for each macrocycle.

There are four macrocycles that will be divided up throughout the year. These are the following:

  • Off-Season
  • Pre-Season
  • In-Season
  • Post-Season

In this blog, I talk about the first two macrocycles. In my next blog I will talk about the final two.

Off-Season

The off-season is always one of the best times of the year to train. This is a time when you can focus on building strength but also implement some training modes that you might not use during the other phases of development (for example, flipping tires, boxing, swimming, and so on). I also like to use this time to assess the success of the programs I have used over the past year to see what helped improve aspects of my teams and what did not (FMS testing, strength/power testing, energy system testing).

A lot of teams and individuals spend a fair amount of time in this macrocycle (12-16 weeks). Although your competitive season is a long time away, slacking during this phase could set you behind in the goals you want to achieve. Practices are usually very short or nonexistent, which leaves plenty of time for you to hit the weights to get your body ready.

Recommendation:

Training Frequency: 4 to 6 days per week
Mode: Moderate Sport Specificity
Volume: High

Pre-Season

The pre-season begins what is considered crunch time when it comes to preparedness in the weight room and on the playing field. The season is right around the corner, and the next 8 to 12 weeks will fly by. You will be competing before you know it.

During this macrocycle, training becomes a lot more sport specific than in the preceding cycle. The goal is to get the body ready for the exact situations and stressors that you will encounter during competition. As a strength and conditioning coach, I want to prepare the athletes’ bodies with exercises that will mimic and enhance their actions on the field. Examples include working on lower-body power with football players, increasing aerobic endurance with soccer athletes, or enhancing rotational power with golfers.

All in all, you just need to be on the field or court playing in order to get ready for the season. However, the smaller the learning curve the athlete has from off-season to pre-season conditioning, the better. Too much stress too soon (as for athletes who do no training over summer break) can lead to overuse injuries from ramping up the activity levels too fast. Remember to take into account the fact that you are training more for your sport at this time, so do not overdo it in the weight room. Make sure you have adequate recovery time in order to get the most out of your previous months of training.

Recommendation:

Training Frequency: 3 to 5 days per week (depending on practice time/schedule)
Mode: High Sport Specificity
Volume: Medium-High

In part 2 of this blog, I’ll go through the other two macrocycles: in-season and post-season.

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This blog was written by Alex Soller, NIFS Athletic Performance Coach. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

 

Topics: mini marathon training weightlifting programs athletes

Proud Chest: Hacking the Squat Pattern for Weightlifting

squat-patternnew.jpgSquats, really any variation, are easily one of the most popular exercises out there today. The squat pattern is a fundamental and big-bang movement when done correctly. But before you throw a bunch of weight on a bar and step underneath it, it’s important to focus on some details to help minimize some minimums that will ultimately lead to a cleaner and safer squat.

Getting the Foundation Right

I love the phrase from Gray Cook that goes, “More is not better; better is better,” when it comes to progressing a particular movement. As a society and fitness community we are eager to jump waist-deep into something without considering the notion that you can drown in only 2 inches of water. It is so important that you mind a solid performance pyramid where movement is the foundation before jumping right to performance or skill. Doing so will ensure proper patterning, leading to even bigger lifts (if that’s your thing) and, more importantly, keeping you safe.

Assessing Your Squat Pattern

So how do you know whether your squat pattern is at an optimal level? Get assessed! If you are not assessing, you are guessing (I can’t remember who I stole that from), so know your minimums before jumping into some maximums. The upper-body/chest area falling forward while squatting is a common issue we see on the fitness center floor. Maintaining a “proud chest” (I adopted that phrase from Gym Jones), or keeping the chest up, is a key squat pattern component.

Two Ways to Maintain a Proud Chest

Here are two simple and effective ways to develop and maintain a proud chest in your weightlifting squat pattern:

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This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS fitness center equipment weightlifting powerlifting squat pattern assessments fms

Mobility: Why Strength Training Is More Than Just Weightlifting

Strength training is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, and I couldn’t be more excited about that. It can benefit everyone in some way. Now that we are all started down the right track, I would like to offer some more in-depth advice on an aspect of strength training that is overlooked: mobility.

Strength and Mobility Go Hand in Hand

Mobility.jpgMany people shy away from lifting weights because they think it will make them “big and bulky.” To bring a little more clarity to that notion, please see this blog post. However, strength and mobility should not be thought of as separate ideas. “Strength” can mean many things. To me, strength is not just about one certain lift or exercise. Sure, there are some competitions that measure just three lifts, but that is its own little niche. I think that for anyone who is not a competitive powerlifter or weightlifter, strength has to be applied to all forms of movement.

There are five major categories of movement, which are squatting movements, hip-hinging movements, pressing, pulling, and “other” (such as isokinetic movements—for example, a plank). All of these movement patterns should be strengthened in a strength training program (barring any limiting injuries).

Before I get too far off topic, let’s get back to our main focus: mobility. Mobility, like all of the different movement patterns, is another aspect of strength training. It is impossible to be all-around strong without being mobile. You may be able to put up some respectable numbers on a few different lifts, but if you neglect mobility, that will come back to haunt you. Strength training is great, but over time it can cause muscle tightness, and even limited range of motion if muscle growth is substantial. This can be countered by putting time and effort into working on mobility.

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS)

IMG_2714_2.jpgThe Functional Movement Screen was developed to help determine whether an individual is at risk for an injury. What it also assists in doing is locating mobility issues. The tests that are included in the FMS were specifically chosen to test the areas that are most commonly associated with limited mobility. Not only does the FMS pinpoint areas that need some work, but it also gives exercises that can improve on your deficiency. The truth is that everyone is unique, and everyone’s exercises should be, too.

Here are a few examples of what might be included in your FMS corrective exercise list:

  • Single Leg Lowering: While lying face up on a mat, bring your feet together and lay your hands down at your sides. Bring both legs up as far as possible while keeping them totally straight. Slowly lower one leg at a time, still keeping it straight, and try to get your leg all the way to the floor. Bring the lowered leg back up slowly and then switch legs.
  • Lumbar Locked T-Spine Rotation: Start by sitting with your shins on the ground and sit back onto your heels. Grab the back of your neck with one hand, and put the other hand on the ground straight in front of you. Without moving your hips, take the arm that is grabbing your neck and try to point that elbow up toward the ceiling without removing the hand from your neck. Hold at the top for one second, then bring the elbow back down and in toward the opposite-side knee. Repeat for the other side.

Everyone is unique when it comes to mobility. Your corrective exercise list can be determined by simply going through a 20-minute Functional Movement Screen appointment with any of the Health Fitness Specialists at NIFS. These results will determine which corrective exercises will most benefit you; then you will get a detailed list of these exercises and how to perform them. So get down to NIFS and schedule an FMS appointment today, or call 317-274-3432 and ask for the track desk.

Free Fitness Assessment

This blog was written by Aaron Combs, NSCA CSCS and Health/Fitness Instructor. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.
Topics: NIFS range of motion weightlifting strength training mobility functional movement

Are You Glute-n Free? The Importance of Exercises for Glutes

Gluten intolerance and celiac recently has become a very popular nutritional topic. Gluten is a protein found in grains, including wheat and rye. Digestive issues, joint pain, and headaches are a few of the health issues that may occur if you have this intolerance and eat foods that contain gluten. Many individuals adopt a gluten-free lifestyle, which could lead to positive changes when paired with exercise and overall health.

But what if I told you there was a certain lifestyle that would have an opposite effect on your life? This is also characterized as gluten-free, but has nothing to do with food. This “Glute-n Free” lifestyle may be holding you back from achieving many exercise or physical activity goals, or could lead to simple lifestyle issues, such as dealing with nagging lower back pain.

Gluten = Bad, Glutes = Good!ThinkstockPhotos-200069245-001new-1.jpg

This Glute-n free trend I’m referring to is minimal or absence of gluteal exercises during your workout programs. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body. It is essential in just about every physical activity and is the central core muscle. You could consider this muscle to be the body’s powerhouse. Along with glute max, you have other gluteal muscles with various responsibilities, like hip stability. You will use these muscles in just about every activity that you do. From swinging a golf club to picking up a box off the ground, the glutes are vital.

Glute strength is important no matter what at point you are in your life. You could be an elite athlete looking to improve your broad jump, or a grandparent wanting to be able to pick up your grandchild while playing. Regardless of your goal, the strength of these muscles should be a main focus in your training program. One of the main movement patterns that these muscles help produce is known as the “hip hinge” movement pattern. Some fitness examples of this movement include the kettlebell swing, deadlift, and RDL.

Success in these exercises, or this movement pattern in general, relies heavily on your body’s ability to maintain good form under load, which is much easier when the muscles are up for the task. If muscles do not have the capabilities to withstand these forces, many issues could arise, commonly in the form of lower back pain.

The Functional Importance of the Glutes

This example does not stop in the gym, either. If you are at home and try to pick up a couch while rearranging furniture, the same rules apply. If your body (a big part of which being the glutes) is not strong enough to deadlift the couch, how did you get it up in the air? The simplest answer is that you were able to compensate from some other area (lower back) to hoist the couch up and move it. If strength levels were adequate to lift it, my guess would be you would not be feeling any pain.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you could be a Division I linebacker who is looking to become more powerful while tackling. Tackling requires an enormous amount of power from the hip hinge position that allows one to deliver the biggest strike possible to the ball carrier. If I told you I would make you a stronger tackle with a few modifications to a training program, would you do it? I’d hope so. 

Top 5 Glute ExercisesGlute-n Free

So now that I’ve given my spiel about why training the glutes is important, here are my top 5 glute exercises that will help you develop a backside that Sir Mix-a-Lot would be proud of. These exercises start with the most basic and end with the most advanced.

  • Single-Leg Glute Bridge
  • Lateral Band Walks
  • Cable Pull-Through
  • Barbell Hip Press
  • Deadlift

 

This blog was written by Alex Soller, NIFS Athletic Performance Coach. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

 

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Topics: functional training muscles weightlifting stretching exercises glutes

Effective Grip Strength Training Solutions

ThinkstockPhotos-472123412.jpgGrip strength is quite a conundrum in the fitness industry. It is so often called upon during training, yet grip-strength training itself can be overlooked.

Many people don’t even think to train grip strength, or they don’t think that grip training will benefit them. Have you ever had trouble opening a jar or a can? Have you ever dropped a bag of groceries while trying to carry in every single bag from your car (like I do every Saturday)? Now do you think grip training might benefit you?

How Can a Better Grip Help You?

Any activity that involves holding something is going to require grip strength to some degree. Here are a few activities that may or may not come to mind when you think grip strength.

  • Golfing: When playing golf, every shot you take requires you to hold a club. When holding the club, it pays to have a tight grip. Why? When you hit the ball, there is a transfer of energy from your hands to the club, and from the club to the ball. To get all of the energy from your hands to the club and the ball, you need to allow for as little movement of the club as possible when striking the ball. Grip strength is required to minimize the movement of the club upon striking the ball.
  • Carrying a suitcase: Whenever you carry anything, you need grip strength. This usually isn’t a concern when the item you are carrying is light, such as a book or a cup. However, an item like a jam-packed suitcase can really test your grip when you are running through the airport to catch your plane. And if you work grip strength exercises into your workout routine, you can catch that plane and make it to family Christmas on time!
  • Picking up a heavy object: This one seems like common sense, right? That’s because it is. When lifting a heavy object, such as a piece of furniture, grip strength is what keeps that object from crashing to the ground. You may have very strong legs, arms, and back, but if your grip is too weak to hold the object, you can’t move it!
Training Your Grip

So how can you train your grip to be stronger and have more endurance? There are many different ways, and here are a few (for more exercises, see this article):

  • Using a thicker bar: A larger object is harder to hold onto than a smaller object. Therefore, a thicker barbell will be harder to hold onto than a thinner barbell. You can incorporate a thicker bar into your normal weightlifting routine by substituting it into every exercise you would normally do with a regular bar. Don’t have access to a thick bar? You can create a thicker bar. All you need is a couple of towels. Just wrap them around the bar to the thickness you desire, and you’re ready to go! (CAUTION: Be careful and use a spotter when weightlifting. A new technique means you will need to take time to get used to it.)
  • Plate pinches and flips: If you’re lucky, your gym will have bumper weight plates (and yes, we have plenty here at the NIFS Fitness Center!). These work great for either plate pinches or flips. In a plate pinch, you pick up a bumper plate between your thumb and your other four fingers, and you either stand still to go for time, or you can walk with them and try to go for distance. In a plate flip, you grip the plate in the same way as you would for a pinch, and you do a half flip, catching the side of the plate that was just facing the ground. (Again, use caution when doing these exercises. These plates can be heavy, and if the exercise is done incorrectly, somebody could get hurt.)
  • Dead hangs: For this, all you need is a pull-up bar. From a pull-up position, just hang freely from the bar for as long as you can. This will test your grip strength endurance, which is very functional for things like carries and holds.
Grip strength has been a crucial part of my recent training. I like lifting heavy weights, so it was frustrating for me when my grip strength was my limiting factor on lifts such as the deadlift. I have incorporated a few of these techniques, and after a couple months I saw progress. Weights that used to slip from my hands felt much more manageable in several different lifts that involved gripping and pulling. If you don’t believe me, try these for yourself! Give it a little bit of time; soon enough, your grip will be stronger and your days of struggling to open that pickle jar will be over.

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LIFT_logo_white.jpgNIFS introduces a new Lifting program in 2016! LIFT is for all levels wanting to learn proper Powerlifting and Olympic lifting techniques. Our expert trainer will teach fundamentals, evaluate movements and help build a customized training program around your lifting goals. If you would like more information contact Aaron at acombs@nifs.org

This blog was written by Aaron Combs, NSCA CSCS and Health/Fitness Instructor. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.


Topics: NIFS fitness center weightlifting golf grip strength

Five Life Lessons from the NIFS Powerlifting Competition

NIFS 2nd Annual Powerlifting Competition happened November 14 in front of a packed house filled with excited onlookers, friends and family of the athletes, and “heavy metal” enthusiasts. The event doubled in size in one year’s time, with competitors from all over the state as well as some of our strongest NIFS members!

power-1.jpgThe fitness center floor was transformed into a makeshift coliseum so all could witness the battles that took place on those power racks and platforms. One could easily learn a great deal about the art of powerlifting, but I witnessed some rather big life lessons on display that were just as powerful as our two champions!

1. Success Favors the Prepared

From the athletes to the support team, success in this event was determined by the level of preparedness and not leaving anything to chance. Preparing for that day resulted in personal records and championships for the athletes and a smooth order of events for the support team. And although the training was difficult and time consuming, putting everything you have into the preparation for anything that you want to achieve is a surefire way to accomplish what you seek.

2. Dynamite Comes in Small Packages

The 2015 Female overall champion weighed in at 124 pounds and pulled 300 pounds off the floor! Now that’s a small package with a HUGE detonation! Although many challenges in your life will be bigger than you, it is possible to overcome them no matter the size of your resources; just keep pulling.

3. Sportsmanship Is ALIVE

Unfortunately, hardly a week goes by that we do not witness an act of disrespect and lack of sportsmanship in some arena of sport in the media. Some are worse than others, of course, but it sometimes can be hard to believe that athletes are competing solely for the thrill and reward of the competition itself. I was reminded at this event that sportsmanship does live on, and it was so inspiring to see athletes support and motivate their fellow competitors. Being more excited about someone’s accomplishments than your own is contagious, and it’s an overall victory for those involved.

4. Failure Breeds Success deadlift.jpg

I have always been a strong believer that failure does breed success, and that sometimes you win and other times you learn. Seeing an athlete fail to complete a lift, almost immediately learn from any mistake that occurred in the preceding lift, and step up and knock out the next one is the truest example of this philosophy. Learning from a mistake, correcting what needs to be corrected, and having the heart to try again is true success.

5. The Bigger the Dream, the Better the Team

NIFS’s first attempt at hosting a powerlifting event was a modest, yet very successful venture that set the tone for future competitions. Due to its success, the event doubled in size and challenges in providing a quality event. Having likeminded and supportive people involved in planning, staging, and putting on an event like this makes those challenges shrink. The staff and volunteers who showed up that Saturday and worked tirelessly is what has allowed the success of this event. And I can’t help but realize that everyday, our lives, is an event; and it takes a strong support team to be successful. We can’t do it on our own! Be sure to thank those that make your everyday events a success!

I know I speak for the rest of the team, NIFS, and the community when I say we are already counting down the days to next year’s big event! Keep your eyes and ears open for the details!

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LIFT_logo_white.jpgNIFS introduces a new Lifting program in 2016! LIFT is for all levels wanting to learn proper Powerlifting and Olympic lifting techniques. Our expert trainer will teach fundamentals, evaluate movements and help build a customized training program around your lifting goals. If you would like more information contact Aaron at acombs@nifs.org

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

  

Topics: NIFS fitness center NIFS programs weightlifting powerlifting competition

Five Reasons Weightlifting and Weight Training Are Good for You

At times you may hear somebody at the gym or fitness center saying, “I don’t want to look like a bodybuilder,” or “I don’t want to be a powerlifter.” That’s great! That person knows their goals and also what they want to avoid. However, don’t let your specific goals cause you to have myth-generated fears of certain exercises.

Extreme Lifting Programs

Just take a second to think about what exactly a bodybuilder or a powerlifter has to do in order to earn his or her title. A bodybuilder must train with heavy weights, high intensity, and a whole lot of volume (reps and sets). Not only is the training extremely specific to what they do, but they have to do it for years to even be considered an amateur! I haven’t even mentioned a bodybuilder’s diet. Bodybuilders can consume 8,000 to 9,000 calories per day to gain muscle the way that they do!

A powerlifter’s training is just as specific to their sport. They train with very heavy weights and high intensity, but lower volume. A powerlifter pushes his or her body to an extreme level by slowly loading more and more weight into the program over time. A powerlifter can also consume upwards of 7,000 to 8,000 calories per day in order to fuel his or her body to perform at such a high, strenuous level.

All in all, extreme athletes such as professional bodybuilders and powerlifters follow very intense and specific programs that have gotten them to the level they are at today. What does that mean for the normal gym-goer? It means that there should be no fear of looking like a bodybuilder or a powerlifter unless you are following that specific style of program or eating that amount of food.

The Benefits of Lifting Weights

So far, I have given you reasons why you shouldn’t avoid weightlifting, but now I will give you specific reasons why you should be lifting weights.

  • Strengthening bone: Lifting weights can add bone density, which will really pay off in later years, possibly saving you from injuries and expensive surgeries.
  • Adding stability: When weight training, you are forced to recruit stabilizing muscles. These will become stronger and allow you to perform physical functions more efficiently.
  • Boosting your metabolism: That’s right; lifting weights burns calories! You will be burning calories during a weightlifting session, but also afterwards. Your metabolism can get a positive effect from weight training, causing you to burn more calories throughout your day*.
  • Increasing Fat Free Mass (FFM): Weight training will help to build muscle, which is included in FFM. So, if you do it correctly, you can effectively burn fat and gain muscle through weight training*. Sounds like a win-win to me!
  • Increasing functionality: So when your friend says “Hey, can you help me move into my new house this weekend?” you don’t have to dread saying yes! If you have grown accustomed to lifting weights, you will be well prepared for events like moving furniture, yard work, and rearranging all your stuff in the attic* (just like you’ve been meaning to do for the past five years).

So, if weightlifting isn’t for you, I want to encourage you to go into the gym and try a session of weight training. If you’re brand new to weightlifting and need some help, a Health Fitness Specialist like me is always waiting here at NIFS to help you get started.

*Individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

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LIFT_logo_white.jpgNIFS introduces a new Lifting program in 2016! LIFT is for all levels wanting to learn proper Powerlifting and Olympic lifting techniques. Our expert trainer will teach fundamentals, evaluate movements and help build a customized training program around your lifting goals. If you would like more information contact Aaron at acombs@nifs.org

This blog was written by Aaron Combs, NSCA CSCS and Health/Fitness Instructor. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS fitness center functional training weightlifting powerlifting bone density weight training

Top Ten Reasons to Compete in NIFS’ 2015 Powerlifting Competition

We are less than a month away from the Second NIFS Annual Powerlifting Competition, to be held here at NIFS on November 14. We have already exceeded last year’s registration, so the competition will be stout and the energy in this building will be palpable.

There’s nothing quite like the rush of competition, and I would argue that it is even greater in a sport like powerlifting. You against the weight is what it boils down to, and the accumulation of months of training and preparation come to the forefront for seconds to grasp victory. It’s almost poetic. 

If you’re not the Hamlet type, here are 10 more reasons to compete in the NIFS 2015 Powerlifting Competition, coming at you David Letterman style!

10. To answer the age-old question: “Do you even lift, bro?”

9. A whole bunch of free snacks and coffee!
8. Show off your new weight belt and shoes!
7. Be an ATHLETE again, or for the first time!
6. Have someone load and re-rack your bar for you!
5. Test your physical and mental toughness, something you can’t do playing Halo.
4. Collect a tremendous amount of high-5s!
3. Visit three bars (squat, bench, dead lift) without paying a cover charge!
2. The SWEET FREE T-SHIRT!
1. Finally take that leap and DARE to be GREAT!

So do it for the poetry or do it for the T-shirt, but just do it! Dare to be great and demonstrate to your fitness community (and more importantly, yourself) that you are strong, you are prepared, and you are an ATHLETE! 

This year’s competition is shaping up to be epic, and the 70 available slots are going quickly, so do not wait! Grab your slot today!

get registered for Powerlifting

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS NIFS programs challenge weightlifting powerlifting competition