D-Rock TV #4: Secret Lair Edition
MP3 Audio (19:20)
Happy first week of the new year. Take a moment and reflect on how you feel. Are you stressed already? If so, take a deep breath, sit back and enjoy episode 4 of D-Rock TV.
This week, we’re filming “on location” from my secret lair in the suburbs of Chicago. We’re going to talk about training barefoot, improving your grip without adding time to your workouts and how understanding the differences between stability and mobility can improve your program. Plus viewer feedback and the Question of the Week.
Up first, the quick tip.
QUICK TIP: Train Barefoot For More Strength Gains
If you’ve never trained barefoot (or at least in socks) I urge you to try it. Most athletic sneakers raise your heels and place your feet at an unnatural angle. Training with your feet flat on the ground forces the muscles in your arches and ankles to actually do their job, becoming stronger in the process.
A lot of doctors recommend custom insoles for people with flat feet or low arches and I think this is just dead wrong. Training barefoot was the only way I improved my flat feet. Plus, I also gained grater balance, range of motion in my ankles and improved posture.
The secret, of course is to start slowly and progress to longer and longer intervals without the shoes. If your feet or calves start to cramp up, you’re done training barefoot for the day. Take a break and continue in your normal workout gear.
I try to train barefoot when possible, but most commercial facilities have rules against it. So at the very least, try training is a pair of Vibrams or flat-soled shoes (like those classic red high-top converse shoes from the 80’s).
COOL STUFF: DIY Thick Grips
Jedd over at Diesel Crew posted a training article outlining three awesome ways to integrate grip training into your existing workout routine. I am a big fan Jedd and Smitty over at Diesel Crew and I recommend you check out their website and the towel article.
Read Jedd’s article here.
I was so inspired by Jedd’s article that I took it to the next level and made myself a set of foam handles that are easy to transport and turn any standard barbell or dumbbell into a serious piece of strength training equipment.
I went to Home Depot and spent $6 on a piece of 1.5-inch pipe insulation which I cut down to fit the width of my hands.
Is it as versatile as a towel? No. I can’t drape or loop my thick grips, but it’s just as portable and once you pop them on to the bar, they stay put. You don’t need to keep re-wrapping them between sets the same way you do with a towel.
If you’re too lazy to go out and make some thick grips yourself, get in touch with me, tell me how wide your hands are at the knuckles and I’ll make you a set and ship them to you. I’m serious.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Unless I say otherwise, I have no affiliation with any of the products or services I mention on D-Rock TV or on Body By D-Rock. I’m just sharing with you the stuff I use and enjoy and feel are trustworthy.
[UPDATE: The set of grips I show you in this episode broke today (Jan 11) during my deadlifts. Maybe the foam doesn’t do well with sweat. Or maybe it was a bum pair. I’ll make a new set and let you know.]
FEATURE SEGMENT: Stability vs Mobility
Mike Boyle and Grey Cook are two of the most respected (and most referenced) strength coaches in the business. They have trained athletes longer than I have been alive and they know a thing or two about how the human body functions.
I was so excited to rediscover an article published by Mike Boyle on a new way of thinking about joints and how they relate to each other. He calls it the Joint-by-Joint Approach to Training and it could make the difference between helping an injury and making it worse.
According to Coach Boyle, joints are either primarily stable or primarily mobile by nature and a joint of one type will be sandwiched between two joints of the other type.
Your elbow is a stable joint, for example, and is between your very mobile wrist joint and your very mobile shoulder complex. You can follow this pattern up and down all the articulations in your body.
So how do you apply this to your training?
Well, Boyle suggests that joint pain may very well be cause by improper use of the joints surrounding it. So lower back pain might occur because of less mobility in the thoracic spine. Or knee pain may persist because of hyper- or hypo-mobility in the hip or ankle.
My four years of training in the Feldenkrais Method supports this theory of one joint effecting another. And when I injured my knee last year, it wasn’t long before my hip started cramping up because I couldn’t walk normally.
So if you have joint pain, do a quick assessment and experiment with Coach Boyle’s theory. Ask yourself, “What hurts?” and check the joints above and below for imbalances or weaknesses.
Read Mike Boyle’s original article here.
VIEWER QUESTIONS: Thanks Patrick!
Speaking of home depot, Patrick left a comment on the website asking if there was a way to make a jump rope from home depot supplies.
My response was that, honestly, after you buy all the washers, PVC tubbing, dowels, eye bolts, clips and everything else you’ll probably spend a lot more than if you just went out and purchased a ready-made jump rope.
But I’m still curious to know if it can be done!
If you’ve made a decent jump rope from stuff you found at home depot (or where ever), leave a comment below. I, as well as patrick, will definitely appreciate your comments.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: (Multiple Choice) A 30-year-old woman walks into your gym and says she wants so increase her strength and put on some muscle. She says she’s familiar with strength training but has never been serious about it, and she has no obvious injuries. What rep range would you recommend for her program? Why?
A) 1 to 3
B) 3 to 6
C) 6 to 10
The first person to leave a comment below with the correct answer gets 2 free workout assessments with me, valued at over $150.
Congrats to Sean and Jason for answering the last two Questions of the Week.
Last week’s question was, “What does D.O.M.S. stand for and what is it?”
Sean correctly answered Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, which is the pain you feel 24 to 48 hours after an intense workout.
And Jason was the first person to answer the Question of the Week in episode 2. The question was, “True or False: Static stretching should be performed as part of a strength training warm-up. Why/Why not?”
Jason answered by stating static stretching weakens muscles.
And he’s right: static stretching before a strength training session does not allow your muscles to store as much elastic energy during the eccentric phase, which doesn’t allow you to lift as much during the concentric phase.
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That’s it. Peace out.
Until next time,
Stay fit, stay strong.