Portrait Artist: Natalya Kopylova
Kelly Starrett is an athlete, physical therapist, and (above everything else) strength and conditioning coach who focuses on movement. He has worked with several national and international teams including the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, Golden State Warriors, New Zealand All Blacks, Toronto Blue Jays, and a variety of sports organizations like the NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, and international Rugby as well as multiple (if not all) branches of the military. Kelly also coaches top-performing athletes one-on-one at his gym, San Francisco CrossFit, where he focuses less on volume and power and more on form and function being the keys to performance.
Kelly states that there are three categories or ways to train:
The reason for having these categories are to know when you should be working on which area and to be aware of all the areas of strength training so that you can be a better athlete all-around.1
He gives the general public advice on strength training and ways to improve outside the gym through mobility exercises which he provides in his New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Becoming a Supple Leopard, and his online coaching program, The Ready State. Kelly is popularly known for teaching people to use tools like foam rollers and lacrosse balls to increase mobility in joints and to downregulate and he suggests doing this for about 10 minutes each day outside the gym.
Kelly has many other accomplishments worth mentioning, including:
Impactful Tips & Quotes
1. Alpha Brew Podcast - "Ep. 2 - Kelly Starrett"
2. Ever Forward Radio - "Ep. 242: How to Best Recover From Injuries and Training for the Infinite Game with Kelly Starrett"
3. Becoming a Supple Leopard, p. 59
4. Becoming a Supple Leopard, p. 96
5. Becoming a Supple Leopard, p. 126-`128
6. Becoming a Supple Leopard, p. 132
7. Below the Line Podcast - "Ep. 22: Kelly Starrett - Foundational Thinking"
Portrait Artist: Natalya Kopylova
About, Food/Nutrition, Motivation, Workout/Exercise
Mike Matthews is a virtual fitness coach and bestselling author of several books. His flagship books and programs are Bigger Leaner Stronger (or ’BLS’) for men and Thinner Leaner Stronger (or ‘TLS’) for women. To explain the purpose of these books and his mission as a coach, he states, “I’m Mike and I believe that every person can achieve the body of their dreams. My mission is to give everyone that opportunity by providing time-proven, evidence-based advice on how to build muscle, lose fat, and get and stay healthy.”1 He also has a popular podcast, Muscle for Life, and is the founder and CEO of his supplement company, Legion Athletics.
Mike works to give the coaching advice that he wished he had when he started working towards his health and fitness goals. He also backs up all of his advice with scientific reasoning. For instance, in BLS and TLS, he cites over 500 different resources that are mainly scientific articles.
For Mike’s advice on weightlifting, he mainly focuses on progressive overload. This term is used to express that you are loading your muscles enough when you work out that you consistently see progress in reps and weight you’re adding to the bar. He also focuses on “The Big Three” lifts: the barbell squat, barbell deadlift, and barbell bench press and working in the 4-6 rep range (with 1-2 left in the tank) for those lifts and in the 8-12 rep range for most other exercises.
For his advice on nutrition, his main focus is on your caloric intake: making sure you are in a caloric surplus when you are trying to bulk up and in a caloric deficit when you are trying to cut weight. He also states that you cannot ignore the quality of food you eat and suggests eating 1-2 servings of fruit and 2-3 servings (cups) of fibrous vegetables each day.2
Mike does a great job at breaking everything down so that anyone could get started on one of his programs. His programs vary between 3-5 workout sessions each week to accommodate those who cannot find time to go to the gym every day. He also has workbooks that go along with the BLS and TLS programs, more advanced books to follow, and even a cookbook, The Shredded Chef. Last but definitely not least, The Little Black Book of Workout Motivation is a book that he wrote to give advice on motivation and success to assist you further in making goals for yourself and crushing them. As you can see, Mike has been creating great content for a while and he continues to do so.
Impactful Tips & Quotes
1. Bigger Leaner Stronger, p. 31
2. Bigger Leaner Stronger, p. 206
3. Bigger Leaner Stronger, p. 38
4. Bigger Leaner Stronger, p. 102
5. Bigger Leaner Stronger, p. 163
6. Bigger Leaner Stronger, p. 70
7. Bigger Leaner Stronger, p. 216
8. Muscle For Life - "Ru Anderson on How to Master Your Habits"
Portrait Artist: Natalya Kopylova
About, Food/Nutrition, Workout/Exercise
Ben has so many titles, both current and former, that if I tried to list them out, I know I would miss a few. Today, mainly he is a coach to high-performing CEOs and athletes, CEO of his own supplement company, Kion, a top-rated blogger and podcaster through Ben Greenfield Fitness, and a world-renowned speaker on health, fitness, and productivity. To explain some of his past work, he has written over a dozen books on all different subjects from his experiences of being a personal trainer, bodybuilder, and top-performing triathlete.
During a live conference he spoke at for Mindvalley Talks, Ben stated that his main goal through his work is to, “empower people to live a more adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life.”1 He strives to give people quality advice on performing their best, whether it is in the gym or in the office, while maintaining a full and happy life. Many know Ben as a “biohacker” because he talks of improvements you can get by means of things like saunas, cold thermogenesis, and stem cells.
Ben has also been a strong advocate of being on a high-fat diet, or at least saving the most of your carbohydrates for the end of the day. Outside of an increase in performance and just anecdotally feeling better, Ben states that a high-fat diets also improve metabolic efficiency and flexibility2 as well as recovery3 and reduced risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes and even cancer.4
Some of Ben’s highest-praised and most recent books include Beyond Training and Boundless. His past books speak more to specific topics like bodybuilding or triathlete training while these books speak more to a general audience who wants to improve their lives and increase longevity.
Impactful Tips & Quotes
1. Mindvalley Talks: "Can You Hack Your Biological Age? - Ben Greenfield"
2. Beyond Training: p. 318-319
3. BenGreenfieldFitness.com Article: "Rewriting the Fat Burning Textbook - Part 1: Why You've Been Lied to About Carbs And How To Turn Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine"
4. BenGreenfieldFitness.com Article: "10 Ways To Do A Low Carbohydrate Diet The Right Way"
5. Beyond Training: p. 207
6. The Mindbodygreen Podcast : "Ben Greenfield, Professional Biohacker, On Daily Hacks Everyone Can Try"
7. Beyond Training: p. 115
8. Beyond Training: p. 127
Portrait Artist: Natalya Kopylova
About, Food/Nutrition, Workout/Exercise
Shawn Stevenson is a general fitness and nutrition expert who has influenced hundreds of thousands over the past 10+ years through his book, Sleep Smarter, his fitness program, The Fat Loss Code, as well as his insanely popular podcast, The Model Health Show.
It all started when Shawn was in high school. Shawn was on-track to be a star athlete but this came to a quick halt when he broke his hip while simply running a 200m time trial in practice. He dealt with constant pain and four years later was diagnosed with a degenerative bone disease and degenerative disc disease. When he got this diagnosis, he recalls asking his doctor, “Does this have anything to do with what I am eating.” His doctor looked at him like he was crazy and replied, “This has nothing to do with what you’re eating. Just carry on as you are because this is something that just happens. I’m sorry that this happened to you but it’s just something you’re going to have to deal with; this is incurable.”
For the following two years, he followed the doctor’s orders of remaining inactive and using medications for his pain. This, along with what he called his “TUF” (Typical University Food) diet, he gained over 40 pounds and wasn’t seeing his situation getting any better. Eventually, Shawn said, “Enough is enough,” and decided to take matters into his own hands. He started small: working out on the exercise bike, changing his eating habits, and sleeping better. After six weeks, he lost 20 pounds and within nine months, he reversed the damage done to his bones, healed his ruptured discs, and amazed his doctors that weren’t able to make progress by consultations, medications, and surgeries.1
After taking these steps to get his health on track, Shawn kept on improving what he calls, “the three pillars of health that changed everything for me: right nutrition, right exercise, and right sleep.”2 He changed his college courses to learn as much on health as he could, got certified as a strength and conditioning coach, and started assisting students and professors at his university.3
Soon enough, Shawn started to realize his passion for helping others through podcasting, writing, and speaking at events. He also realized after years working with clients one-on-one, how many people needed help with their sleep more than anything so he put his best efforts into his book, Sleep Smarter, which was published in 2016.
Nowadays, the heart of Shawn's content is found at www.TheModelHealthShow.com, where you will find blog posts, upcoming speaking events, podcast episode information, as well as information on Sleep Smarter, The Fat Loss Code, and his upcoming book, Eat Smarter scheduled for release at the very end of 2020. Shawn's content has a strong focus on how our hormones are influenced by our fitness, nutrition, and sleep habits and how they effect our overall health.
Impactful Tips & Quotes
Here are just some of the tips and quotes from Shawn Stevenson that I've found most valuable:
For today's post, I decided to do something different and create a graphic. The purpose of this graphic is to show the exercises that are good for anyone looking to be proficient with a barbell, dumbbell, and/or kettlebell. In my opinion, this is a great starting point for someone who is just starting to work with a certain type of equipment, and ideally, I think it is important to be comfortable using all three. One thing that is not included in this graphic is bodyweight exercises - those are just as important to be comfortable with. If you know how to perform all of these exercises, I think you'll find that your workouts have enough variety that you'll be excited to enter the gym and you should exit feeling exhausted from a great workout if you have a good mixture of compound lifts (squat, deadlift, or press for example) and isolation lifts (curl, row, or lateral side raise for example).
Here are some quality resources you can use to find out how to perform these lifts correctly:
Scott Herman Fitness - YouTube Channel
Mind Pump TV - YouTube Channel
Becoming a Supple Leopard by Dr. Kelly Starrett
Bigger Leaner Stronger by Mike Matthews
StrongerbyScience.com - Greg Nuckols' Definitive Guide for the Squat, Deadlift, and Bench Press
There are several other great resources, these are just a few that I like to reference.
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From researching experts in strength and conditioning, it is interesting that they seem to have very similar go-to cues for the main lifts (the barbell bench press, squat, and deadlift), even though they have very different coaching styles. Some experts put a lot of care into perfecting form and others put more consideration into getting as high of numbers as possible. This is extremely controversial in the health and fitness community because there’s no direct evidence spelling out the “safest” forms and some argue that you can be more apt to get injured if you’re constantly worried about getting hurt and always concerned about perfect form.
Featured in this post are Kelly Starrett (physical therapist, coach at his gym (San Francisco Crossfit), and virtual coach through TheReadyState.com), Mike Matthews (author and virtual coach through LegionAthletics.com), and Greg Nuckols (researcher and coach through StrongerByScience.com). All of these individuals have coached thousands of individuals so I trust that these cues will be helpful for you to know.
Barbell Bench Press
“Once you’ve got your grip set, squeeze the ever loving shit out of the bar.” This is a quote from Greg Nuckols’, “How to Bench Press: The Definitive Guide” and he also mentioned it in his interview on the E3 Rehab Podcast. Mike Matthews suggests doing this in his books, Bigger Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger as well. It is not clear on why this works, whether it is activating certain muscles more or whatnot, but - they aren't just confident - they know that it does in fact work.
Barbell Back Squat
“Screw your feet into the floor.” Here is another quote from Greg Nuckols, from his article called, “How to Squat: The Definitive Guide”, which he advises using as you are dropping down in the squat. Make sure to screw your feet away from your body, not towards. This is also taught by Kelly Starrett in his wildly popular book, Becoming a Supple Leopard (p. 64-65). This cue works to help stabilize and create tension in your hips. It also prevents your knees from falling inward (or ‘valgus knees’) as you squat.
Greg Nuckols states to focus on “ripping the floor in half,” at least until the bar is above your knees in his article "How to Deadlift: the Definitive Guide." This is a similar cue to the squat but an important one. Kelly Starrett also emphasizes this in Becoming a Supple Leopard, stating, “screw your feet into the ground and hands into the bar [away from your body] (p. 198-199).”
Another common cue worth mentioning that could be applied to all of these lifts is to tense up your core during your set up. These are emphasized by all three experts mentioned in this post.
I decided to post on this topic because it seems to be a popular question among the fitness community. I've seen it asked multiple times in Facebook Groups I am in and it is a common topic in books and podcasts as well. If you have worked with a personal trainer before, you likely know all of these cues already but if you are a beginner, these cues should help you as they did me. If you plan on starting to train with a barbell on your own, I highly advise educating yourself beforehand or getting yourself a personal trainer until you are comfortable with each lift. All of the articles and books referenced in this post are great resources for this purpose. If you would like a suggestion on which resource is best for you, you can either comment below or email me at email@example.com and I would be happy to make a suggestion based on your experience and your goals.
Thank you for reading this post. If you've found it helpful, please share it on. You can also subscribe to this blog by providing your email on my Contact Page. I will simply email you when new posts are up (currently about once per week) and of important news related to the blog.
Food/Nutrition, Motivation, Workout/Exercise
I see this question all the time and it’s really the main purposes of this blog site: to help you find resources for nutrition and fitness, whether you are a beginner or looking to learn more on top of what you already know. If you’ve asked this question that means you’ve already started. Something sparked the thought that you want to find a plan that works for you - for nutrition, exercise, or both. Maybe this was a motivational speaker you heard or your weight hit a number that you never want to see again or you had your first kid and realize you want to be around for as long as possible. No matter the reason, you need to find the resources to get you headed in the right direction.
I suggest taking the following 4 steps...
1. Figure Out Your Goals
First off, what are you trying to achieve? Nutrition and fitness are far too complex to try and understand everything at once. Are you trying to build muscle? Do you want to work on your form during certain lifts? Find new exercises?
Are you trying to lose weight? This is a bit more complicated because of how many diets there are out there. My advice is to research which diet sounds most practical for you. Personally, I find Paleo to be a great introduction to avoiding sugary and starchy junk foods. By simply avoiding processed foods, you’ll find that your daily carbohydrate and sugar count will go down and it will be easier not to overeat. If diet isn’t your issue, find an exercise plan that sounds most practical depending on what you enjoy doing and what you realistically have time for.
If you aren’t sure and would like to do a further assessment to figure out your goals, check out a popular post of mine - Setting Goals (Warren Buffet, Jordan Pederson).
2. Find an Expert
If you look at my Recommended Books Page or my About Page, you will find a number of experts with all different backgrounds and areas of expertise. Whether you want to build muscle, lose weight, or work on improving specific aspects of your current programming, there should be someone you can respect and would like to learn more from more. Check out their website, books they've written, interviews they've done, etc. to find out if you want to learn more of what they have to say.
Personally, the only form of media I trust for full nutrition or fitness plans are books. Most programs are simply too complex to explain in an article and you want to make sure it is a plan that you trust will work, especially if you are a beginner. Also, don’t just pick up one book. I find that self-help, fitness, nutrition, and cookbooks all go together. At a minimum, pick up or download 2-3 books from a mixture of those categories. For example, if you want to work on your diet, pick up 1 book from the expert you chose to learn from and then pick up 1 or 2 cookbooks related to the diet you would like to try. Many nutrition books introduce their own meal plans and provide recipes but I can tell you that cookbooks will give you a much better idea of all the options and should make you realize the diet won’t be too difficult to follow.
Take this step seriously. Keep a highlighter with you and really get to know the diet/training program they’re prescribing. When looking at cookbooks, cut out or mark the pages of recipes you want to try.
In the end, it is all on you. You can read all the self-help, fitness, and diet books you want, but if you don’t act on it, nothing will change and you will just waste your time and money. All while researching and reading, you should be doing something to get started. Pick up dumbbells or a kettlebell, or find a gym or a club that you like, or make an effort to limit sugars/carbohydrates. Find what you like best – you make tweaks to their program or combine aspects of different programs. Whatever you enjoy doing and can see yourself doing consistently for a long time is the program for you.
I hope this helps you. This is the method that I took once I had the motivation to get started. I had been working out consistently but wasn’t seeing any improvements so I decided to take it seriously and attempted to improve my nutrition and find a workout plan that works for me – and I did. There are experts out there who want nothing more than to assist you in reaching your goals who have huge followings raving about how well their programs work.
If you want advice on which expert to follow, comment below with what you are looking to accomplish and I’ll do my best to help. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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When I first started lifting, the only way I could gauge if a program was good or not is how popular it was. If thousands of people swear by this program, it obviously works - at least for more people. The point of this post is to help you create/tweak your program by answering the following questions:
I'm sure you are like me and don't want to cut yourself short - you want to make sure you're not just spending time in the gym to spend time in the gym. You want to see gains in strength and muscle and reap the benefits as much as possible.
Ben Greenfield, Mike Matthews, and Greg Nuckols suggest weightlifting programs that maximize full-body improvements. These programs include three different types:
Do My Workouts Include the Right Exercises?
This is an important question to ask. If you aren't following a program and you simply "wing it" when you get into the gym, I strongly advise finding a program with a variety of good exercises. Programs have been made to ensure that you are hitting the right muscle groups enough and to show you how you should be splitting up your days to make sure you recover enough to build strength and muscle in the parts you want to.
Ben Greenfield specifically coaches endurance athletes but in his book, Beyond Training, he suggests building muscle with multi-joint exercises like the overhead press, squat, deadlifts, cleans, and pull-ups (p. 103-104 - Beyond Training).
Mike Matthews' programs, Bigger Leaner Stronger for men and Thinner Leaner Stronger for women, are both Push, Pull, Legs programs. Mike states that the Barbell Bench Press, Barbell Deadlift, Barbell Back Squat, and Overhead Press are the most important exercise in each workout session. Each week, your major focus is trying to progress on those lifts. You warm up and start out with those major lifts and then move on to accessory exercises like the Inclined Barbell Bench Press, Dumbbell Rows, Dumbbell Lateral Raises, Dumbbell Hammer Curls, and the Leg Press. In his BLS and TLS books, he provides plenty of variety for quality accessory exercises like these and categorizes the "best chest, back, shoulder, arms, core, and legs exercises you can do." Most of his programs' workouts end with a core or calf exercise (p. 257-267, 353-360 - Bigger Leaner Stronger).
Greg Nuckols, as far as I know, does not have a named program but he has coached hundreds of people both in-person and online and he has broken multiple powerlifting world records himself. Through his research, Greg has shared plenty of articles and has spoken in multiple podcasts about what makes a good program. He usually gives specifics on Upper Body,Lower Body and Push, Pull, Legs programs. As a powerlifter, he normally programs with the same major lifts as Mike - Barbell Bench Press, Barbell Deadlift, and Barbell Back Squat. He also gives plenty of alternatives to these exercises. I have described this in a large section of a recent post where I went into depth on an episode of the Stronger By Science Podcast. Check that out here. Romanian Deadlifts, resisted push-ups, and front squats are some of the other exercises that he recommends (Stronger By Science Podcast - Q&A: Keto, Rapid Fat Loss, Deadlifts, and Faulty Movement Patterns).
How Often Should I be Exercising Each Major Muscle Group?
This question is not a very easy one because, from what I have read, it is very individual. Each person has different goals and each person's body reacts to lifts differently. Some people may need to do 30 hard sets with a specific muscle group to make any gains while some may only need 15. That being said, Ben, Mike, and Greg all go into specifics on this to describe what ranges work best for most people...
Ben Greenfield, again, keep in mind that this is advice for endurance athletes, suggests strength training between 1-3 times per week. This is enough for you to enhance your coordination, motor-unit recruitment, and build some muscle (p. 103 - Beyond Training).
Mike Matthews suggests training most major muscle groups once every 3-5 days but states that "when it comes to gaining muscle and strength, research shows that training frequency isn't nearly as important as how heavy the weights generally are and how many hard sets you generally perform each week (p. 232 - Bigger Leaner Stronger)."
Greg Nuckols suggests anywhere between 15-25 sets per muscle group per week. If you are a beginner, you may want to start on the low side and see how you recover/progress and increase as needed. He goes further by recommending Push, Pull, Legs repeated twice per week (cycled push, pull legs, push, pull, legs) or an Upper Body, Lower Body three times per week, assuming your sets go pretty close to failure. If you want to maximize your strength gains in the main lifts, these are the specifics he gives:
Are My Workout Sessions Long Enough?
I, personally, favor shorter workouts because I squeeze them into my busy schedule, usually before I leave for work. So do we need to be spending multiple hours in the gym or can we get by with a 30-45 minute workout? Here's what the experts I follow suggest...
Ben Greenfield suggests either doing shorter, more frequent workouts or longer, less frequent workouts. If you prefer shorter, more frequent, he suggests somewhere in the range of 20-45 minutes per workout. If you prefer longer, less frequent, he suggests 50-70 minutes per workout (p. 106 - Beyond Training).
Mike Matthews suggests 9-15 hard sets per workout with 2-4 minutes between sets, depending on the exercise. I am currently running my own verison of this program, using these recommendations, and workouts normally range from 35-65 minutes (p. 230 - Bigger Leaner Stronger).
Greg Nuckols, I have not heard him give specifics regarding this question. He does state that he believes it depends on the intensity of your training. With lighter weights, you can get more volume in each session without getting tired but you will need to train longer to match muscle and strength gains compared to if you were working with heavier weights (p. 27-30 The Art of Lifting).
Although there is a lot of individuality, I believe what these experts have to share provides a lot of insight on the keys to a good weightlifting program. Greg Nuckols states that there is really one big question you should be asking yourself - "Am I making progress?" If you are progressing (adding weight to the bar on one lift or another each week), then you cannot say that the program you are on isn't working. Only when you plateau with about a month of no progression, should you make major adjustments. For minor adjustments, work inside the suggested ranges or try different exercises.
I trust these experts because of the experience they have coaching and researching. There are plenty of other great experts and programs that may not focus on the same major lifts or suggest the same things but the program may still work well for you. Don't discount what works best for yourself.
I strongly recommend Ben Greenfield's Beyond Training, Mike Matthew's Bigger Leaner Stronger/Thinner Leaner Stronger, and Greg Nuckols' The Art & Science of Lifting. Each book has an audience they would help more than the other depending on your goals and what tips you are looking for.
If you have any questions, please comment below. I also provide my email on my Contact page and you can also subscribe to this blog there to get notified of new posts! Lastly, please share this post if you found it helpful.
Thank you for reading!
Let me start out by saying this post is based off of my opinions. I am not an expert by any means but have found what works for me. Everyone's route is different.
Personally, I am not used to going to a gym outside of my home. Mornings are my favorite time to work out and it never seemed logical or practical for me to get to the gym before working my usual 8-5. It's much easier and actually helps me get up in the morning when I know I can throw shorts and a t-shirt on, walk downstairs, and be working out in less than 5 minutes. I've noticed that hitting the bench press, deadlift, or squat first thing in the morning before I go off to work makes me much more energetic throughout the morning and sets a good mood for the day.
I believe there are only a few things that are essential in a home gym and here they are:
This is the most important item that everyone should have in a home gym. The main lifts - The Big Three: the bench press, deadlift, and squat all revolve around the barbell. These are known to be the most effective compound lifts. You can do similar work with kettlebells and dumbbells but those are mostly used for accessory work that focus on certain muscle groups.
While you can do floor presses with dumbbells, I would say that the Bench Press is an essential exercise. A bench also opens up a lot more exercises like the inclined bench press and a spot to do kettlebell rows, dips, etc. I suggest having a bench that allows you to do leg exercises as well.
There is a reason that dumbbells have been so popular for so long: they are great for working specific muscle groups and the movements are easy to figure out. Curls, Lateral Raises, and the Overhead Press all have their place and specifically strengthen your biceps, triceps, delts, traps, and shoulders which, in the end, also help improve your bench press, deadlift, and squat as well.
The kettlebell is my favorite tool used for accessory work because of the variety of workouts and the element of endurance with most movements. Many people have never picked up a kettlebell and have never heard of Kettlebell Swings, Kettlebell Clean & Jerks, Turkish Getups, or the Goblet Squat but I think that these exercises are important to learn and they also make workouts fun.
One important thing to note with kettlebells is the common but good advice to start small. Personally, I started with a 35lb kettlebell and did not get another one until I could do high reps with good form. Now I use a 70lb for Kettlebell Rows and Goblet Squats, 50lb for Clean & Jerks and One-handed Swings, and 35lb for Turkish Getups.
To me, kettlebells naturally feel great to pick up and exercise with and are an absolute essential.
This may seem like a lot if you are a beginner but it really is not. If you do not have the $200-300 to get all of this, start small and work your way to getting each of the essentials. You only need a small room as well. Preferably, set aside a room specifically for working out that you can play music, start the stopwatch, and get down to business.
From here, there are of course other things like the squat rack, rowing machine, pull-up bar, and other things that are great additions to your home gym that open up more options but these 4 things, I believe, should be the core because they will form the majority of your workout program.
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, looking for suggestions, or have suggestions of your own, please comment below. Also, please share this post with friends - in this time, especially, with gyms closed and people asked to stay home, now is a great time to set up a home gym and start working on yourself right at home. Go to my Contact page to subscribe to the blog and be notified of new posts!
After getting a number of comments on Facebook and learning more from strength and conditioning coach Kelly Starrett and his book, Becoming a Supple Leopard, I realize there is a problem with 1 of these suggestions. You should not have to use a back brace if you are using good form and you need to make sure you are using good form without a brace. If I feel my back hurting, I now take that as a sign that I need to lower the weight, figure out the problem with my form, and correct that problem before going back up.
There are a few things that I find help during a workout and experts have backed up that they help as well. These are extra things, obviously you should have a water bottle and the right clothes. None of these extras are too expensive but I suggest these to anyone who has heavy lifting in their workout regimen.
1. Gym Chalk
2. Mouth Guard
3. Back Brace
Any step you can take to prevent injury in the gym, especially if it does not cost much money, is a smart move. An injury can put you out of the gym for a long time and all it takes is one slip-up. The back brace will help you keep correct form, the chalk will help you keep a firm grasp, and the mouth guard will protect your teeth while also allowing you to breathe easier. Don't think you're invincible because you bought a few things but get as much support as you can.
Do you have anything different that you bring to the gym to either boost your strength or protect you from injury? What exercises are benefit most?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.