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The Death of the Bench Press (And What to do Instead)

This title isn't a joke.  A form of click bait, yes.  But a joke?  No.

You're skeptical.  I get that.  How could a meathead like myself throw in the towel on benching?  

But this isn't an overreaction to headlines that NFL teams are adopting Turkish Get-Ups instead of bench presses. And if someone's stated goal is to bench more weight, well guess what?  We're going to bench.  

But if someone's goal is to move better and feel better?  Forgive me, Lord Schwarzenneger, but we probably won't bench. Ever.

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Weight Loss Myopia

Is perfect the enemy of good?  I don't think it is.  I've seen too many people believe they need to be "perfect" with their nutrition in order to lose weight.

But willpower only lasts so long.

I always believe that we don't need to be perfect to see the success we want.  If we move the big rocks - sleep more, drink more water, find solutions to navigate the toughest part of our day or week - we're going to get 80% of the way there.

But the bigger problem?  The need to have a perfect diet stems from this fundamental belief: that weight loss is the only marker of a successful nutrition plan.  Or worse, that someone should only eat better if they want to lose weight.

Whatever happened to following a good nutrition plan just because it's good for us?

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Simple, Not Easy: How to Increase Your Pull-Ups

I can't remember when I did my first pull-up.  But I can tell you it wasn't until I was in my 20's.

Growing up I was the kid in gym class who would attempt a pull-up, not get anywhere close, then fall to my feet in shame.  I also remember being a lanky freshman in college, and how sore my biceps would be after carrying a case of bottled water up four flights of stairs.

But I think I've made up for lost time.

During a two and a half month stretch earlier this year, I increased my bodyweight pull-up total from 13 to 20.  My results may not be typical - after all, it's 0.5 more pullups/week - but I think my plan and program were a big reason for my success.  

(As well as some loud, obnoxious, early 2000's heavy metal to help along the way.)

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Training Regulation 101: Fewer Injuries, Mo' Gainz

Last year I published my most popular post to date: Is Exercise a Stress Reliever or a Stress Amplifier?  It explained that while we often think of exercise as stress reliever, it can often have the opposite effect. 

That’s right.  Instead of helping your overall health, your mode or intensity of exercise could be contributing to why you’re constantly getting hurt, sick, or unable to sleep.

Why this occurs may seem obvious to you, but realizing this fact put me light years ahead of where I was as a coach. Everything started to click. I realized why certain people with frequent back pain, or who were always sick, didn't necessarily feel better after their workout.  And sometimes they even felt worse.

So the inevitable question is: how do you know where on the stress spectrum you fall, and that you're not sabotaging yourself with your mode of exercise?  

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