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Sandbag Training | Using Sandbags For Strength Training

Sandbag Training

Using Sandbags For Strength Training

Using sandbags for strength training has been around for quite some time. But not everyone has jumped on the bandwagon and traded their dumbbells for a burlap sandbag.

Besides being cheap to purchase (or making one yourself), sandbags offer several strength benefits that make it worthwhile in adding to your workout routine.

Here are a few examples…

Sandbag Training

Builds Core Strength

It’s always a good idea to strengthen your core muscles as much as you can. Core exercises strengthen your underlying muscle tissue and can help to prevent injuries.

When doing a sandbag strength training routine, you’re engaging your core muscles with almost every movement. Even if the exercise itself is not entirely focused on core strengthening.

A sandbag shifts it’s center of gravity constantly. Which feels different and often more difficult when compared to traditional weights. Also, by switching between different types of sandbag fillers, you can add diversity to your workout.

Sandbag Training Doesn’t Require Much Space

Barbells, plates, machines, and squat racks can all take up a lot of space. If you want to improve your strength, using sandbags for weight training is not only affordable, but they also require very little space. This makes them perfect for home gyms and home workouts where you can have a flexible way of working on your strength whenever you feel like it.

You can also take them anywhere. So if you ever find yourself somewhere lacking exercise equipment, for example when traveling, then getting a sandbag could be the answer!

Versatile Exercises

Sandbag workouts are not only effective but also versatile. You can use them for almost any type of exercise.

They can be used for traditional compound exercises such as squats, bench press, power cleans, deadlifts, and more. And because sandbags are soft, they have a low impact on your joints and you can perform less rigid movements.

There are exercises that are unique to sandbags such as the bear crawl; which are good for building stamina and working the core. There are also bear hug squats which are a good alternative to the front squat.

When it comes to cardio-related exercises, there are sandbag sprints and carries. These are not only high-intensity but they also heavily work the legs.

In a similar way you might use a wobble board for stability and balance, this sort of training can also be developed with a sandbag. You can even combine the two for a crazy stability building session. This work with unstable objects can be useful for many sports.

As you can see, sandbags can replace a lot of the equipment needed for most exercises.

Sandbags Come In Different Types

No matter which level you are in your fitness or strength training, you’ll find that there is a sandbag to accommodate your needs. Some bags can weigh up to 400 pounds; which are perfect for those wanting to gain serious strength.

You can also choose from different material qualities, the number of handles, and sizes.

As mentioned earlier, it’s possible to use different filler weights; you can add or remove them accordingly to suit different workouts. This makes them perfect for CrossFit routines where different exercises are performed in a single session.

Pricier sandbags can be water-resistant and withstand heavy-duty usage. With all the different sandbags available on the market, you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that can suit your level of fitness and your exact requirements.

Various Strength Training Variables

When compared to weight training, using a sandbag offers an excellent range of training variables to enhance your strength. Your body’s position, holding position, and the plane of motion can have a larger scale by using a sandbag when compared to traditional weights.

For example, there are around 11 positions to hold a sandbag versus only four positions when using a barbell. There’s a whole list of possibilities of training variables when you use sandbags.

These ways of lifting sandbags and making changes to your body’s position can alter how an exercise feels and the results that come afterward.

Also, planes of motion with a sandbag, such as shoulder squats, rotational lunges, and lateral drags, can make your strength training more elaborate and progressive.


Conclusion

Sandbag training can be a game-changer for your strength training routine. Depending on your fitness level, there is a lot of gym equipment that a weighted bag can replace.

As we’ve discussed, there are so many exercises that are possible with one training bag.

Progressing your strength training is very achievable using heavy sandbags. And if you want a versatile workout that you can perform almost anywhere, then a sandbag is a fantastic option!

Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength Gain 101

Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength Gain 101

As we quickly approach fall season for many high school and Collegiate athletes across the country, strength gain and muscle hypertrophy are common goals for many athletes. What are some ways that we can promote strength gain as gym-goers and athletes? Let’s take a look…

This is a Guest Post from EverybodysPersonalTrainer.com


Keys To Building Muscle Size and Strength

Linear Progression

Before we can discuss muscle hypertrophy and strength, we need to first take a look at the physiological response our muscles have to exercise. When a load is placed upon a muscle belly, the muscle tissue is broken down and thus needs time to recover. During this recovery process, your muscles adapt by growing bigger and stronger; through muscle hypertrophy.

So it goes without saying that one of the most important ways to increase muscle size and strength is to linearly increase the load upon the muscle in the form of increased poundage.

Proper Rest

Ample rest and recovery time between bouts of exercise is also very important for strength and muscle gain. Have you ever heard the saying that you grow and become stronger outside of the gym? Therein does lie the truth. Much of the adaptation that is being made is happening on those rest and recovery days outside of the gym.

Proper Nutrition

Now that we have discussed load and weight-bearing activity as well as rest and recovery, we now have to consider proper nutrition. Protein is responsible for building, maintaining, and repairing muscle tissue. As a strength athlete or gym-goer looking to promote strength gain, it is very important to get at least 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight daily. Ideally spacing these meals at 2-3 hour intervals throughout the day is best.

According to personal trainer Eric Leader, post-workout protein and carbohydrates are essential. It is said that the 30 minutes after a bout of exercise is typically called “the anabolic window” and is an excellent time to take in additional protein.

Consistency

Finally, consistency over time may be the most important factor to increase muscle size and strength. As long as you exercise consistently over time, you will experience results. The name of the game is to stay vigilant and to stay in it for the long haul.

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5 Reasons Why Good Quality Sleep Is Beneficial To Your Health & Fitness

5 Reasons Why Good Quality Sleep Is Beneficial To Your Health & Fitness

Often we hear that sufficient good quality sleep is vital for our physical and mental well-being. But, we often focus on our diet and physical activity when trying to improve our health and fitness and ignore sleep. Though sufficient good quality sleep is a must for our body to rest and recover. And is equally important for us to stay healthy and fit.

In 24 hours of a day, we try to accomplish as many tasks as possible. But, when we don’t find enough time to complete our tasks, we tend to sacrifice sleep. Insufficient good quality sleep or poor sleep has an adverse impact on your hormones; which can lead to weight gain, mental stress, depression, anxiety, and other life-threatening diseases like cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes.

As per sleep experts, 7-8 hours of good quality sleep each night is best to achieve optimal health benefits. Sufficient good quality sleep allows your body to take the complete rest that is required by it to recover from the hard work of the day and be ready for the task that needs to be accomplished the following day.

Insufficient good quality sleep also affects your social well-being, as it can make you irritable and moody. Plus, it can reduce energy levels and motivation to perform your daily tasks, ruining your productivity.

Older adults are more resistant to the effects of sleep deprivation. But young adults and children don’t have the same level of resistance and may become hyperactive or rebellious.

So, here are 5 reasons why sleep is good for your health and fitness…


1. Prevents Excess Weight Gain

Sufficient good quality sleep helps your body to prevent excess weight gain by stopping you from overeating and it allows your body to balance hormones, Ghrelin, and Leptin. These hormones control your hunger. Ghrelin, also called the “hunger hormone”, stimulates appetite and increases the intake of food; whereas Leptin inhibits hunger. Ghrelin promotes the storage of fat whereas leptin helps in reducing fat storage.

Insufficient sleep disrupts your body from using insulin properly. Your body becomes insulin resistant which allows fat to circulate in your blood resulting in the generation of more insulin. This excess insulin is stored as fat in your body

Insufficient good quality sleep also results in increasing your stress level. When your stress levels increase, your body starts producing more Cortisol; which forces your body to store more calories as fat.

2. Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

When you are asleep, your blood pressure level lowers down which results in giving your heart and blood vessels a rest. Insufficient good quality sleep or poor quality sleep is known to increase the stress level and increase anxiety; which can increase your blood pressure level and cholesterol levels. High blood pressure and excess cholesterol level in your body can lead to serious life-threatening diseases like hypertension, coronary heart diseases, and diabetes mellitus.

In addition to diet control and physical activity, doctors recommend that 7-8 hours of good quality sleep daily is vital to reduce the risk of developing many cardiovascular diseases.

3. Improved Concentration and Productivity

Another reason why sleep is good for your health is because it helps to improve your brain health. An adequate amount of good quality sleep can boost levels of your concentration, problem-solving skills, and productivity.

Insufficient good quality sleep or poor sleep can impair the functioning of your brain, make you tired mentally, and reduce the level of alertness and concentration. Sleep deprivation can throw clarity of thoughts out for a toss and you won’t be able to make the simplest of decisions, and forget making complex ones because of which your productivity suffers.

The deep sleep stage is essential for your brain to consolidate memories and link stories of the day. While your body is resting, your brain is at work in consolidating feelings, memories, events, thoughts, and other sensory inputs gathered during the day and preparing for new inputs, memories, thoughts, events to be registered the following day.

4. Boosts the Immune System

Your immune system helps you to fight infection by identifying harmful viruses and bacteria and getting rid of them. Another health benefit of adequate good quality sleep each night is that it can help you improve your immune system and help fight infections like the common cold.

As per some studies, even a small reduction in the amount of required sleep can weaken your immune system. It found that people who sleep less than 7 hours per night are 3 times more likely to catch a cold than those who sleep a minimum of 8 hours per night.

Sleep deprivation weakens your immune system and your body is not able to fight infections with the same strength or pace.  Due to a weak immune system, you may fall sick more often.

5. Helps to Reduce Inflammation

Insufficient good quality sleep increases stress hormones and anxiety which raises the level of inflammation in your body resulting in making your body prone to developing cardiovascular diseases, even cancer, and diabetes.

Also, inadequate good quality sleep or poor sleep has a major undesirable impact on your body as your body may develop inflammation due to cell damage. It may lead to recurring inflammatory bowel diseases due to inflammation of your digestive tract.

Conclusion

In addition to a healthy diet and a good amount of physical activity, sufficient good quality sleep is vital for your physical and mental well-being.

Sufficient good quality sleep is good for your health and fitness because of several reasons:

  • it boosts your immune system to fight infections
  • helps you to avoid weight gain
  • helps you to avoid developing life-threatening cardiovascular diseases
  • improves concentration
  • helps in reducing stress levels and inflammation
  • and getting rid of anxiety

Sufficient good quality sleep helps you to rest and recover from the tiring efforts of the day which is vital for being productive the next day.

This is a Guest Article from SleepStandards.com


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5 Benefits of Pyramid Sets

5 Benefits of Pyramid Sets

Pyramid sets are considered to be one of the best methods for gaining both size and strength.

They’ve stood the test of time, much like their counterparts in the Egyptian desert.

But when it comes to actually talk about the benefits, we don’t always focus on more than this.

In this article, we’ll be discussing just a handful of those other benefits that you should know about before going back to doing straight sets.

This is a Guest Post by Robert Grayson of GGPhysique.com


#1 – Pyramid Sets Warm You Up

Starting off your pyramid sets with lower weights is a great way to get warmed up. 

Many people perform 3 or more sets just to get warmed up. And this can prevent injuries and also get your muscles primed for heavier lifting.

Performing pyramid training is all about gradually increasing the weight each set, while simultaneously decreasing the reps.

So, for this reason, warm-ups are built into your training from the outset!

#2  – Helps Activate CNS

Activating your CNS (Central Nervous System) is one of the key ways to maximize your strength. And it’s no secret that pyramid sets are great at doing this.

Many people go into the gym and try to lift a weight from the beginning and can’t. But when using pyramid sets to build their way up by activating their CNS and warming up, they often can.

#3 – Pyramid Sets Keep You Motivated

One way to make sure you’re not motivated is to always be doing the same workouts, lifting the same weights. 

If those weights are especially heavy you might start to dread your sessions. And that’s the worst thing possible for any lifter.

Consistency is the ladder to success. And without motivation, you can’t be consistent.

#4 – Allows You To ‘Feel It Out’

Going back to our second point, sometimes people will go into the gym and try to lift a weight and fail.

However, with pyramid training, you’re going to be able to know before you attempt a lift whether it’s going to be too heavy for you or not.

If you’re struggling with your warmup sets, it’s going to be unsafe for you to try your heaviest working set. 

It’s usually a good sign that you’re tired, not fully recovered, or haven’t eaten enough.

It’s incredibly useful feedback that can save you injuries and a lot of frustration.

#5 – Keeps Energy In The Tank

Usually, most people are going to be performing more than a single heavy compound lift during a workout.

So pacing yourself is really important. And pyramid training does that for you. Each set increases the workload but decreases the reps. 

So your total volume is moderate rather than insanely high. This then allows you to repeat the same process on other lifts and exercises.

Conclusion on Pyramid Sets in Training

Pyramid sets have many benefits, including psychological ones, not just strength and muscular based ones. Implementing them into your training from time to time is a great idea and shouldn’t be overlooked.


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The Ketogenic Diet for Athletes: Main Pros & Cons

The Ketogenic Diet for Athletes: Main Pros & Cons

Many people are sure that active sports and a keto diet are not compatible. They believe sports records can be set only by absorbing a lot of protein and carbohydrates. So, let’s see how a keto diet training differs from the usual training methods of others.

What is a Ketogenic Diet?

Technically, all types of regular physical activity can be attributed to two types:

  • Aerobic Exercise: Low-intensity and high-duration exercises, such as long-distance running, low-intensity aerobics, walking, and cycling.
  • Anaerobic Exercise: High-intensity and short-duration exercises, such as strength training, Crossfit, and short-distance races.

In a state of ketosis, our body is predisposed to an aerobic type of physical activity. Glycogen, which is stored in the muscles, can be spent in one marathon. But there are great fat reserves in the body of even a very slender person. So there will be enough ketones for a very long period of physical activity.

Team Athletes

Keto Diet and Strength Training

First of all, let’s determine for what purpose you are using a combination of a keto diet plan for athletes and strength training.

Option A: You are already on a ketogenic diet and would like to increase muscle mass and strength. In this case, it is worth keeping a positive balance of daily calorie intake; taking into account regular training, and maintaining the perfect keto ratio of 20/75/5. Sometimes, a slight shift towards protein is precisely recommended in cases where the goal is to increase muscle mass. Read some reviews on the best keto protein powder to learn more. Also, your proportions may change slightly to 25% of calories from protein, 70% of calories from fat, and 5% of calories from carbohydrates.

Option B: While in ketosis, you are trying to reduce body weight, in particular, get rid of excess body fat. Here, of course, the calorie balance should be negative while maintaining the same classic keto ratio of 20/75/5.

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Keto Training Details

However, no matter which option you choose, the pros and cons of the keto diet during strength training remain the same and comply with the following parameters:

  • Training frequency: No more than 2-3 times per week. After several weeks from the beginning of strength training, it is advisable to break the trainable muscle groups by days – training each muscle group once a week.
  • Selection of Exercises: Without a doubt, preference should be given to compound exercises. Ideally, these should be free-weight exercises. But if you replace them with exercise machines due to poor technique or old injuries, this would be a worthy alternative.
  • Repetition Mode: It is optimal to adhere to a range of 5-8 repetitions in working sets. You should select your working weight within two sets into the exercise.
  • Training Duration: Workouts should not exceed one hour, provided that you exercise at a calm pace. Thus, you will get 5-6 exercises for 3-4 sets.

Compliance with the above principles is due to the essence of the impact of strength training on a keto diet for athletes.

Understand that the main task of this type of load on the musculoskeletal system is to stimulate the production of hormones – testosterone and growth hormone. This production begins after the training is complete, and the rest and recovery phase begins. That is why strength training should not be frequent.

Intermittent fasting, with the right approach, in combination with a keto diet, will help in the production of growth hormone.

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Conclusion

Our advice is to treat regular strength training as a daily routine. This is precisely the place it should occupy in your life. And most importantly, remember: the main influence on metabolic processes is not in what to eat before your workout on a keto diet, but after – in the recovery period. And special attention must be given to the quality of recovery. First of all, use stress-reduction techniques and take care of healthy sleep.

Do you practice keto diet and strength training? Do not hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section!

About the Author: My name is Adam Reeve and I have been a professional personal trainer and fitness instructor for over 10 years. Also, I’m a life coach, wellness writer, and low carb diets, enthusiast.

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