“I don’t want to gain any muscle. I just want to tone up a bit.”
“I can’t lift heavy weights, I’m not strong enough.”
These are just a few of the common responses I hear when I suggest strength training to women who are interested in getting in shape. I totally understand it can be a tough sell for someone who just wants to drop a few pounds or just feel a little better about themselves. Sadly, there are so many myths that are so pervasive in the fitness industry that women just don’t know where to start.
Luckily, I’ve seen a bit of a paradigm shift in the past few years thanks to GOOD information on the internet and groups such as Girls Gone Strong. Women are finally making their way into the weight room with more confidence that they can lift weights and get strong without fear of getting ginormous muscles. To help this movement, here are 5 myths about women and strength training to finally put the last nail in the coffin. Women SHOULD train! Read More
One of the biggest truths when it comes to strength and conditioning is that boring will often get you the best results. It’s no secret that deadlifts and squats will get you stronger or that sled sprints or interval training on a bike or rower will turn you into a metabolic monster. But plain and simple isn’t always fun.
We all want to be leaner, stronger, and faster. I get it. I spent over 5 years chasing strength and competed both as an Olympic weightlifter and a powerlifter. I can’t tell you how many deadlifts I have done in that period but admittedly was certainly lacking in the conditioning part of the equation. Most of my results came from only a handful of lifts….lots and lots of the same lifts.
I understand that most people, however, will get bored very quickly doing the same thing over and over again and in most cases the psychological benefits of training are just as important if not more than the physiological results. When it comes to results a combination of smart programming and consistency is king. To that end, if a program is boring you won’t want to do it so here are a few fixes to make sure you don’t get stuck in a rut. Read More
The answer to that question really depends on several things such as your goals (e.g. what you are trying to accomplish with the lift), your experience level, your physiology, how much weight you are lifting, and whether or not you are doing Tracy Anderson workouts. In the case of the latter you should plan to flail around with 2lb dumbbells for your whole workout. P.S. Don’t do that.
Like everything else in life, there is a time to move fast an other times when you should move slower. Let me explain how to incorporate this into training. Read More
Many of you who have been following the site for any period of time may have noticed there has been a significant lack of articles and posts going up on the site. I will be the first to admit that since I have been working to open my training facility, AMP Fitness, writing for bergeronperformance.com has had to take a backseat.
Just because writing hasn’t been one of my priorities doesn’t mean that my readers, clients, and friends aren’t and I do apologize for leaving you all hanging and I plan to make it up to you all. Let me tell you how! Read More
Yesterday was one of those rare ’2 a day’ workouts because, well, I live in New England and your crazy if you don’t count shoveling wet snow as a workout. Can’t make it to the gym on a snow day? Go shovel for an hour or so. Done.
Being the good Samaritan that I am I decided I was already out there I may as well shovel out my neighbors as well. Definitely trying to rack up the karma points as I await word on whether or not I will be opening AMP Fitness in Boston or heading back to the drawing board.
After about an hour or so of wet snow tabatas I went back into my apartment to find my amazing wife making me gingerbread cookies. See what I mean? Karma!
After one several cookies it was time to get ready to crush my actual training session for the day which was to do some deloaded deadlift training. What is perhaps my second favorite training day of the cycle only to a max testing day. It took a while to get used to the light training week but now I relish it.
It is always refreshing to take it down a notch and focus on technique. If you constantly are lifting heavy and not taking a deload or ‘light’ week every 3-5 weeks you are missing out and in many cases not getting stronger.
I have found a great way to deload and still life heavy without overtaxing your body is to use a more challenging piece of equipment for the lift you are doing. For example yesterday’s lift involved me testing my 1 rep deadlift max using a wide grip axle bar.
You would think that a 1RM is extremely taxing on your body which is only partly true. When your grip is a limiting factor you, in theory, should only be able to lift roughly 60%-80% of your actual 1RM. Ergo your back takes the deload and your forearms get smoked, which is a good thing since they recover quick enough anyways.
I happened to have access to an axle at the gym I train at but since most gyms do not, Fat Gripz are also a great option which you can order online for relatively cheap considering the axle bar will probably run over $100.
And before you go lifting everything and their mother with the fat grips it is important to note that you can get away with using them infrequently and get great results. I typically recommend incorporating fat grip training on pulling exercises every 2-4 weeks which makes it perfect for deload week.
Anywho, my goal for the day was to test my double overhand (DO) grip as well as my alternating grip. I’m not going to lie, this was the first time I have not only tested fat grip deadlifts but it was the first time I had actually done them and believe me, it was a very humbling experience.
First I tested DO:
275×1 (not too difficult)
315×0 (I couldn’t pick it up past my shins without losing grip)
300×1 (got it)
305×1 (challenging but manageable)
It was absolutely ridiculous how fast my grip failed within a 10lb difference when the weight was still relatively light. From there I switched right to alternating grip to finish testing…
405 was challenging but I feel like I had more in the tank. Since it is technically deload week I decided to stop there since pretty much anything I did was a PR anyways.
The pull was much slower than usual due to the fact I had to concentrate so hard on gripping the bar. I’m pretty sure if I tried to accelerate the bar faster it would have slipped out of my hands.
It was also interesting that DO and mixed grip were both exactly 100lbs under what I am able to do with a normal bar. It would be totes amazeballs if when my axle bar deadlift improves so will my regular deadlift. Yes, I did say totes amazeballs in case you were wondering.