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Blog

Approachable health tips from the personal trainers of TorqueStrong

Filtering by Category: Kettlebells

Density Training

Alydia Bryant

Density training is a method that is new to me but has become a favorite method of training. It has allowed me to track progress, gain strength, and focus on my technique all at the same time. 

Density: degree of consistency measured by the quantity of mass per unit volume.

When density training, perform an exercise for a set amount of time and record the amount of sets and reps you can complete in the given time. When selecting your weight used for density work you want to chose a weight that is 70-75% 1 Rep max, this is also typically your 10 rep max weight. You can vary your method of Density training but stick with a plan for a few weeks so that you can see your progress.When performing Density training you will want to stick with the same weight for at least 4 training sessions so that you can truly see your progress. 

10-15mins is typically an adequate amount of time for density training. The first way to measure density is to set a certain amount of reps and measuring how many sets can be completed during a certain amount of time. The second is to see how many total reps can be completed during the selected time, each set can contain a different amount of reps but you will want to record your progress.  

Ex 1. Military press for 15 mins, How many sets of 5 can be complete in 15 mins. 16kg bell
Monday:
R: 8 rounds=40 reps
L: 7 rounds=37 reps 
Thursday:
R: 9 rounds = 45 reps
L: 8 rounds =40 reps
Ex2. 16 kg  Military press with kettle bell for 15 mins. Complete as many perfect reps, then rest as needed and begin the next set. 

Monday:

R:7.5, 4, 5, 4, 5,4, 5, 4 =43

L:7,5, 5, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 3=41

Thursday:

R:8,6,6,5,5,4,5,4=43

L: 8,6,6,6,5,5,5,5=46

In example two you may not notice any improvement the Right arms military press because each day completed 43 reps. If you look at the reps per set you will notice drastic improvement. Only 8 sets were completed but each set consisted of a higher density of reps.

Density training can be used to improve conditioning, strength, mass, and recovery time. As you continue to practice density work you will find that you will need much less recovery time between sets and your reps will begin to increase as well. The first time I completed a Density work out I was extremely exhausted. 15 mins seemed like an eternity but after just 2 weeks I found my grove. My technique improved because I wasn't trying to get a certain amount of reps every single time. I was only trying to complete as many GOOD reps as I could. My side lean in my Military press went away and I was finally able to get my 24kg Military press after just 4 weeks. 

Density work can be trained with many different movements:

Upper Body:
Press
Snatch
Windmill

Total body:
Clean and Squats
Bent Press
Turkish Get Up

Lower Body:
Squats
Lunges
Weighted pistols
Cossack Lunge
Kettlebell Swings


 

 

 


 


 

 

 

Calisthenics ( to see how your recovery improves, or reps in a set)
Push ups
Pull ups 
Pistol Squats


MOVEMENT

Alydia Bryant

MOVEMENT!

Do you run with out cross training? Does your lunge seem cramped up and awkward? Do you struggle with squatting properly? Maybe you lean forward on your squat, or your knees come forward, or your heels come up once you try to go into a deep squat. Maybe you can’t do a proper push up. Do you arch your back when you bench press? Do you have a hard time locking out at the top of a snatch and yet keep your “rib-to-hip connection”? Have you tried and tried to pack your shoulders but they just don’t seem to move?

Sometimes moving more is the answer but others its not. I’m sure you have heard the phrase “practice makes perfect.” Well the fact is “Practice makes PERMANENT” If you are benching with your back arching off the bench and you continue to increase your weight without fixing your alignment then you are only going to cause more problems. Do you go hard 100% of the time always trying to get more push ups, or a new PR for your snatch. Our bodies will ALWAYS compromise quality of movement for quantity. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, your holding a plank for over a min but then you start shifting your body or your hips drop so your low back takes a turn to help out, then your hips come back up and your quads are sustaining your “plank.” Well friends this is no longer a plank!

We haven’t always had poor movement patterns. In fact we started with GREAT movement patterns. Take a look at little kids under 5. They squat to play, their heels are flat on the ground and typically their tibia(shin) is vertical. So what happens? Why do we lose it? For the next 12+ years we go to school and we sit! Then we graduate and many of us acquire desk jobs and we sit some more! Some of us try to make up for this time sitting by exercising but the problem is that we are still missing basic movement reinforcement.

When babies start moving whats one of the first thing they do? They roll over. Do you have a hard time rolling out of bed? Do you use momentum rather then simple muscle contractions to sit up. For me I see my job as successful if I help my clients/students to see past their weight loss, strength, and performance goals to see the importance of movement restoration! I would be a fool to hand a man/women a barbell loaded with 150lbs and a 24kg (52.9lbs) and tell him/her to do 20 DL and 20 swings. Sure an average man should be able to do both skills with ease and even higher weight. BUT More then likely the average male or female that comes to see me has SUPER tight hip flexors, minimal core strength (six pack or not) , and spends a majority of time with his/her thoracic spine in flexion and shoulders protracted (rounded.) Do you think some one can safely Deadlift in this form? I think not! So please have patience as we learn to crawl again. We have to retrain 12+ years of sitting hunched over! We have to train your body to access that posterior chain. Safe movement takes time! I value Longevity! I value Health! So lets get the basics mastered and we can swing, clean, snatch and and deadlift a ton more!

Post Travel Workout

Alydia Bryant

Summer brings a lot of traveling for my husband and I. This past weekend we traveled to Yorktown, Virginia for a wedding. It was nothing to crazy, just 3 hours, but 3 hours is long enough to get tight and stiff. One of my Friends Mike Lindner (SFG2 and Amazing 12 coach) shared this golden gem with me a few months ago. 

The Work Out:

  • 3Bent Presses-3 windmills-3 reverse Turkish Get Ups Right and Left
  • Finish with 5x 15R|15L swings

This is such a wonderful Combination because it hits every Plane of motion : Transverse, sagittal, and frontal. It is so common to only move in the sagittal plane. (Flexion and extension) When we don't practice movement in the Frontal and Transverse plane we create weaknesses in our bodies. We can become stiff and prone to injury. Most of our daily activities and sports involve rotation but it is so rarely trained in the gym

The Bent Press, Windmill and Turkish Getup all promote Shoulder health. The windmill position causes us to put a great stretch on our hamstrings which will usually take some stress off of the low back.Low backs often get extremely tight while sitting for long periods of time (hints: why most Americans have low back pain). What it also does is require us to brace our core in order to perform the movement. The windmill is an incredible lateral core strength and stability movement that strengthens your entire lateral chain. It improves hamstring flexibility which also aids in relieving back pain. If you can’t go full range of motion straight away then don’t worry about it, just go as deep as you can while maintaining proper posture (no lateral side bend in spine), technique and postural alignment. The Bent Press greatly increases mobility in the thoracic spine and shoulder girdle. It requires a great deal of core strength and do to the primary use of ones lats, It teaches the importance of packing the shoulders. The Bent Press finishes what the Get up started. The Turkish Get Up teaches the Athlete how to lock the ribcage on the pelvis. removing any leakage in core strength. Connecting the core is essential for injury prevention and performance. The spine posture is controlled while a weight is maintained over head. This allows the body to learn how to maintain strength through out the movement. T. It improves ones strength while teaching linkage (connecting, recruiting all your muscles) while eliminating strength leakage. These 3 skills combined together are a Beautiful tool against stiffness! Every muscle in you body is working together. These skills should all be treated as SLOW Grinds and not performed with speed! 

The Swings! 

Because of the dynamic nature of the swing the injury to the body is quite low. A swing is ballistic in nature. A swing should be punched forward by the hip not pulled up by the arms. This creates great glute contraction and hip extension( remember how much time you spent sitting in the car.... in hip flexion). We talked about the lats in the Bent Press. They are very important in the swing as well. They help prevent thoracic flexion as well, which we opened up through the combination of the bent press, windmill, and TGU. 

Give it a try! Let me know how open you feel post practice!