Tag: strength training

What You Need To Know About Electrolytes!

What You Need To Know About Electrolytes!

Electrolytes are an important part of our diets, but if you think that drinking some Coconut water or eating a banana helps cure or prevent cramping, then you need to think again. Here is what you need to know about electrolytes…

There are 4 main electrolytes we will focus on:

  1. Sodium (Na+),
  2. Potassium (K+),
  3. Calcium (Ca++), and
  4. Magnesium (Mg++).

Each electrolyte has a distinct function but they work in unison to create optimal cell performance. If our electrolytes get too far out of balance they can counteract each other and hinder performance.

It is important to keep adequate amounts of electrolytes in the diet, but it is more important to keep them in balance.

Electrolytes are charged particles within the body that maintain proper cell function. One common mistake is that those who regularly exercise believe that they need to constantly replenish their electrolytes due to the loss in sweat.

It is true that these electrolytes are lost through sweat, among other things, but we should keep in mind that our body is smart. Our body wants to hold onto these valuable nutrients as long as it can. With this in mind, our body attempts to retain the electrolytes which are low in the system and releases the ones which are in excess.

Sodium (Na+) is always present in sweat while the other electrolytes are in much lesser amounts. Due to this, water is the only necessary nutrient that needs to be replenished if exercise lasts less than one hour.

Don’t go around thinking that you need a calorie filled sports drink or Coconut Water just because you did some light activity for 30 minutes.

For events lasting longer than one hour, some electrolytes need to be restored. Just avoid overindulging on added sugars while replenishing your electrolytes, unless needed due to your daily energy expenditure. Remember, you don’t need it unless you have been continuously sweating for at least 60 minutes, not including breaks.

Electrolyte Breakdown:

Sodium (Na+)

Sodium (Na+) is an electrolyte that commonly works with potassium (K+).

Its main functions are to:

  • maintain our body’s fluid balance,
  • send nerve impulses and
  • allow for muscle contraction.

These functions are actually what stop cramping! Sodium (Na+) helps our cells to maintain hydration, but, more importantly, it prevents cramping through sending signals to our muscle to turn on and off. When we do not have enough Sodium (Na+), then our muscles cramp as our body turns a muscle on and saves Sodium (Na+) by not sending the signal to turn it off. This creates cramping.

While these are important functions, too much Sodium (Na+) causes high blood pressure, filtering systems dysfunction and potassium (K+) deficiency.

Sodium (Na+) works with potassium (K+) but has the opposite effect. If one gets too high in balance, it will prevent the other nutrient from performing its job.

Sodium (Na+) is a hard nutrient to avoid, being found in salt along with most everything processed. For those that exercise regularly, this is not commonly a concern due to sweat rates and the amount used for muscle contraction. However, those that are sedentary, or who have known heart problems, should avoid excess sodium (Na+) intake due to the increased stress it places on your heart.

Though it should not be banned entirely, sedentary individuals should avoid large amounts by limiting the number of processed foods consumed. Generally, anything edible within a package has some amount of salt, so be smart about your consumption.

Overall, to improve overall performance and health, a greater concern should be placed upon the intake of potassium (K+) relative to sodium (Na+).

Potassium (K+)

Potassium (K+) works with Sodium (Na+) in our cells to maintain an equal charge balance.

Other functions include:

  • maintaining osmotic pressure within the cell,
  • blood pressure regulation and
  • it is necessary for muscle strength and contraction.

Due to the large amounts of sodium (Na+) commonly consumed, and the lack of a proper diet, potassium (K+) is commonly overrun.

To keep your muscles in an optimal state of performance, try to get a good amount of potassium (K+) through your regular diet. Good food sources are avocados, tomatoes, coconut water, dark green vegetables and, of course, bananas.

If you have a low Sodium (Na+) Diet due to health-related issues, then avoid having an excess of Potassium (K+) which will actually cause more issues by throwing off your  Sodium-Potassium Electrolyte balance.

Also, avoid an excessive amount of sugars that generally come along with potassium sources unless intense exercise proceeds.

Calcium (Ca++)

Calcium (Ca++) is one of the most important nutrients and electrolytes in the body; especially for active individuals.

Calcium’s (Ca++) main function is initiating muscle contraction. Without calcium (Ca++), our muscles cannot contract.

Though this is important for our skeletal muscles, it is most important for our heart or cardiac muscles.

Without calcium (Ca++) in the blood being brought to our cardiac muscle cells, they will no longer be able to contract and our heart will stop. This is not very common due to our large calcium (Ca++) stores we call bones but can happen with too much exercise within a short period.

Our body would much rather break down our bone tissue so our heart can work rather than let our heart stop beating even once.

Remember, our bodies are smart. The only thing our bodies care about is survival. With this backup system in place, we do not have to worry much about our heart-stopping. However, if we want to keep our bones strong and increase our muscle contraction ability to become stronger, then we need a good amount of Calcium (Ca++) in our diet.

Good sources include dairy products, dark green vegetables, and bony fish.

Note: Calcium (Ca++) intake is most important for women, especially during puberty. This is because women’s ability to absorb Calcium (Ca++) greatly slows post-puberty and nearly stops around age 30. Therefore, women have to consume an entire lifetime worth of Calcium (Ca++) before the age of 30.

*Be careful not to over-consume large amounts all at once.

Magnesium (Mg++)

Magnesium (Mg++) is an electrolyte that is commonly overlooked.

Its common functions are:

  • as a structural component in our muscle cells,
  • to help lower blood pressure and
  • prevent heart arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats.

Also, Magnesium (Mg++) levels help to control the functions of Calcium (Ca++) in the body. If Magnesium (Mg++) is too low, then our Calcium (Ca++) metabolism will not be optimized.

To maintain a healthy heart and be able to gain new muscle cells keep an adequate amount of Magnesium (Mg++) in your diet. Just don’t take Magnesium (Mg++) and Calcium (Ca++) supplements together, as they compete for absorption within the body.

Some good sources are green vegetables, potatoes, nuts, and seeds.

The Bottom Line

Electrolytes are vital for our health but do not believe the new fad drinks that have you loading up on one nutrient without considering the effects it has on the rest of your body.

Know your nutrients, and know your body. Get what you need and not too much of one electrolyte versus another. 

Now go salt your bananas, and have some nuts in your milk!


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Coffee for Strength and Performance!

How Much Caffeine Is Right For You?

Caffeine is an effective tool used to increase performance during intense exercise, and it can even make you stronger!

 

We all love coffee, don’t we?

Coffee is great, but it has been given a bad reputation by those that do not understand its uses and effects. Let me help out with that…

Caffeine is mainly known to be a heart stimulating drug commonly found in supplements, coffee, soda, and many energy drinks.

Caffeine is a great stimulator, both for the brain and the body. It increases our focus, improves blood flow, and can even make us stronger!

The thing is, it needs to used properly to get these great effects and not overused to where the effects fade until they are nearly useless.

 

Coffee for Everyone:

It is almost a daily ritual for many people to wake up and then almost immediately consume a cup of coffee to get their day started.

Though this may be common, this is NOT a good practice because it prevents our body’s natural waking systems from functioning properly.

To prevent this negative effect, and improve the effects of caffeine use, allow for at least an hour for your body to naturally awaken before consuming caffeine. This will allow enough time for your body to go through its natural hormone release to prepare your body for the day ahead.

If you are guilty of this daily ritual, like most people, don’t worry, I can help correct it for you!

Simply start by having your morning coffee 10 minutes later than usual on the first day, 20 minutes later on the second, and so on until you have reached an hour or more before you have caffeine upon waking.

If this is too fast for you, you can add 5 minutes per day instead, or increase the time every other day.

You shouldn’t feel any negative symptoms by doing it this way, but if you do, just know that they will go away after a week or so and you will start feeling better than ever soon enough!

It would be more beneficial for you to try drinking 1 Liter (32oz) of water within your first hour upon waking to improve your metabolism and start your day off right!

For those of you that enjoy having coffee throughout the day, make sure that you take time to read the effects of caffeine below and what the safe daily limit is for regular use.

 

Coffee for the Athlete:

The goal of caffeine being present in an athlete’s diet should be to increase performance. If it is being overused than it will become almost useless as a performance enhancing tool.

So to gain the greatest results from the use of caffeine limit intake to only when it is beneficial, such as just before strength training or a strength-related competition.

By limiting your caffeine intake to only before strength related events, you will greatly increase its effects leading to an overall improved performance.

You will not only feel stronger, you will be stronger!

So don’t ruin the effects by taking too much too often. Use it as an extra tool in your arsenal for when you need to hit a new PR or just improve your performance!

 

The effects of caffeine include:

  • Decreased sodium (Na+) re-absorption in the kidneys leading to increased urine output,
  • Increased heart rate which temporarily raises blood pressure,
  • Opens up fat cells for the release of stored fats,
  • Increased pain tolerance,
  • Improved blood flow,
  • Hunger suppression,
  • Increased focus and awareness.

The effects of caffeine last about 5-7 hours so keep at least this much time between consumptions and before you go to bed.

 

How much Coffee is Best for me?

Taking 1.3-2.7 mg per pound of body weight (3-6 mg/kg of caffeine) per day is believed to be safe for athletes and has the most optimal effect on exercise performance.

However, for most individuals who enjoy using coffee to “wake-up” throughout the day, a safe and effective caffeine limit is to consume no more than 200mg of caffeine (12oz coffee) at one time and no more often than 1-2 times per day.

This is a good amount that will stimulate your system and will likely not cause any overload or negative effects.

For easy reference, a 12oz. cup of coffee has about 200mg of caffeine.

Overall, the less often you use caffeine, the more effective it will be when you need it!

The same principle applies to any supplement you may want to take. You want to get the most out of supplements by taking the least. If you only need a small dose of something or can do without, to get the desired effect, then take only what you need.

Always talk to a qualified physician and someone who has actually taken the supplement you are planning to try before consuming.

 

Coffee Pro Tip: Different roasts of coffee have different caffeine levels and acidity. Light roast has the most caffeine, with about 100mg per 6oz, and the least acidity while deep or dark roast coffee has the least amount of caffeine, at about 100mg per 8oz, and the highest acidity.

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How much Sleep do you actually need to reach your Goals?

How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need?

The more you do, the more you need to sleep!

Keeping a consistent sleep schedule is vital for both your strength and health!

Sleep is the most important and valuable recovery tool for our mind and body. Without proper sleep, our bodies cannot function optimally, or even at a normal rate.

Studies have shown that losing even one hour of sleep from your normal sleep schedule, greatly decreases your mental and physical performance, and taking an extra hour of sleep the next day will not bring you back to normal function.

This means that you cannot catch up on sleep!

Sleep is important and must be maintained regularly during your daily schedule for optimal benefits. If you are constantly changing the amount of sleep you get or time of day that you sleep it will interfere with your Arcadian rhythm, or natural time clock.

Your Arcadian Rhythm:

Our body does not know or care what the clock says, or if it is daylight savings time. Before clocks, our body still had a natural rhythm that was based on light.

Studies have shown that when it becomes dark at night and then light in the morning, our bodies go through chemical changes that say it is either time for rest or to wake up.

As the sun sets our bodies begin to slow down functions and want to be in a restful state to recover from the day’s activities. Then as the sun comes up it begins to activate systems, such as releasing insulin to put glucose into cells for energy, in order to get ready for daily activities.

For most people, it is recommended that you sleep for at least 7 hours a night, but this is only a minimum that does not provide the most recovery.

Everyone has a different amount of sleep that is required for their body, but there is a general amount of time that provides optimal recovery for most active individuals.

For most optimal recovery, be in a restful state as the sun goes down and sleep from at least 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. each day.

This is best for your Arcadian Rhythm, which means that as the natural light from outside dims down, so should your activities for the day, and the light you use around you. This will help to start the recovery process and get your body prepared for sleep so that you are not up all night staring at the ceiling. Also, to avoid interfering with your Arcadian rhythm, which is regulated by light, avoid being around a lot of light at night such as T.V. or computer lights.

How much Sleep do you actually need?

Sleeping with the sun is best for our recovery, but not always adaptable to our life’s activities. Again, we go back to the minimum requirement of getting at least 7 hours of sleep each day, with closer to 8 or 9 hours being better for those that are active.

However, as we know, we are all different and our bodies all recover at different rates.

If you want to know how much sleep you require, then simply go to sleep at a normal time (9-10 p.m.) after a standard day for you, and see when you wake up using no alarm. If you get less than 6 hours of sleep before waking up naturally, then go back to sleep to see if you can add on some hours.

Then count the hours you were asleep, making sure that you feel rested, and this is your normal sleep requirement. All you have to do now is account for your additional requirements after activity.

The more activity you do, and the more stress you place on yourself, the more sleep you need to recover from it.

  • If you exercise for at least one hour per day, then try to add 30 minutes to 1 hour of extra sleep to your normal schedule.
  • If you train intensely or are trying to build muscle, then you should add at least 1 hour of sleep for every hour of intense training that you do.

This will ensure the most amount of recovery to help decrease stress, build muscle, and make you stronger!

Now GO TO SLEEP!!!


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My Strength Journey

This is

My STRENGTH Journey

The Ryan J. Mathias Way

How It All Began

My Strength Journey started as a child when my dad started to have my two older brothers and I do, what he called, PT’s (Physical Training).

My dad is a firefighter and he wanted to make sure his sons grew up healthy and strong, so he told us to do 50 Push-Ups, 50 Sit-Ups, and 100 Jumping Jacks every day. Looking back, this was not very much to do and would only take maybe 20 minutes if we were slow (which we were).

However, my dad was almost always at work to support our large family of 4 boys (the older 3 and my little brother) and my mom. We hated doing this easy task of PT’s, so we would really only do them whenever my dad came home for a day or two from work. This made for a very infrequent training regiment, but it planted the seed of the importance of strength and fitness

“…it planted the seed of the importance of strength and fitness.”

The Next Step

The next step in my strength journey actually came on my own.

I had been doing martial arts for a few years and in it, we would do different variations of Push-Ups. I was quite good at doing push-ups at this time (likely from my dad’s initial push) and actually started to enjoy them.

We would do 8 variations of push-ups in training that included standard, close, on knuckles, on fingertips, and on our wrists facing 4 different directions (this was to build wrist strength for martial arts).

These were a fun challenge to me and I had the goal then of becoming stronger, so I started to do 70 push-ups (I skipped 1 wrist push-up variation that I didn’t like) every day when I was about 11. I did this for about 6 months around the same time my dad got a bench press and weight set put in our garage.

Again, whenever he was home he would have my older two brothers and I go do some bench press and dumbbell work. Generally, it was 4×10 on everything done in a circuit fashion.

I had the wrong mindset and thought that weights were too hard and would make me too stiff like bodybuilders. After a while, my brothers began weight training at school with their football program, and we stopped training at home.

“I had the goal then of becoming stronger, so I started to do 70 push-ups everyday when I was about 11.”

Pushing For More

“I didn’t want to be big, I just wanted more and more strength.”

Even with the little weight training we did I made sure to do my 70 Push-Ups because I wanted to get stronger. I didn’t want to be big, I just wanted more and more strength.

So after 70 Push-Ups became too easy for me, I began implementing more push-up techniques until I had a very long and grueling push-up regiment that I would then do only twice a week.

I would start with doing 1-15-1 Push-Ups in which I would do 1 Push-Up, rest for maybe 10-20 seconds, then do 2, 3, 4…up to 15 and back down again. That equated to 225 total push-ups in under about 15 minutes.

Afterward, I would do my, no longer 7 but, 10 varied sets of push-ups which, over time, went from 10 to 20 to 30 push-ups each round. I would even do 5 standard push-ups as fast as I could immediately after each round of the different variations.

THAT WAS 575 PUSH-UPS twice a week (Monday and Saturday)!!!

Now, with that amount of volume, I would not do complete push-ups for most of them. Too many were only half reps that I would not lockout, but more so try to pump out at the bottom.

This was not to focus on the chest, but more just done because I had weak triceps that could not keep up with the volume.

I also added in some leg and ab work which I did even CRAZIER amounts of volume every Wednesday and Friday.

For legs, I would do some old school martial arts bodyweight techniques in which started with 500-750 knee bends. Knee bends are where you grab your ankles, then bend your knees until your bottom bounces off your ankles and then extend your legs again. It was a simple, but painful exercise that I did to absolute failure of 500-750 reps first thing.

Looking back I see how bad that was for me because my back was completely rounded throughout and my ankles became tight due to the constant bouncing.

Next, I would crouch down and do little hops in a crouched position for 100-200 reps doing 2 rounds. That would really burn my quads, cause damage to my knees and also make for even tighter ankles.

I would finish with some bodyweight squats until I felt like puking.

From there I would do different ab exercises for about 20 minutes. I did those 4 workouts per week, not including my 5 mile run every Sunday.

Now it is great that I was training hard, but these workouts really just tore my body apart. Oh, did I mention that I would only workout with a full body plastic sweatsuit on that was under my sweatshirt and sweatpants?

I also didn’t drink much water and almost never ate any fat! My idea was that if I ate fat, I would get fat. I even cut out the fat I saw on lunch meat!

“I would only workout with a full body plastic sweatsuit on that was under my sweatshirt and sweatpants.”

I Was Doing It All Wrong

Again, my goal was strength yet I had no idea of how to get there.

I would do all this training volume, yet I was still not getting stronger or making any gains. In fact, I was losing weight though I wanted to gain it!

This training lasted from when I was 12 until I was about 16 and a half.

I was really great at doing bodyweight exercise, however, I was not getting any stronger, or bigger. My goal was to weight 202 pounds just like Rocky Balboa (I loved the Rocky movies), though I was stuck at 180-190.

I only started doing what I really needed when I was 16…

Read More HERE!

Mathias Method Strength Family 3
Mathias Method Army supporting their General at the USPA Meet

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The Mathias Method Strength System Guide

The Mathias Method Strength System Guide

Get the Mathias Method Strength System Guide Today!

Implementing The Mathias Method and

Optimizing Your Training Program

“The Mathias Method does not change your training program, it improves it!”

The Mathias Method is a System, not a just Training Program. It is a Systematic Approach to Strength Training that allows you to stay Healthy, Improve your Performance, and get stronger, all while moving towards your specific training goals. 

The Mathias Method focuses on Strength because Strength is the basis for all other training goals. By getting stronger it is easier to lose weight, gain weight, look aesthetic, be healthy, decrease injury, move athletically, increase performance, run faster, jump higher and more! By getting stronger it is so much faster and easier to obtain these other goals. So, we first focus on improving your strength so that you can better obtain your goals. 

We also emphasize proper movement patterns and lifting technique through the Daily 30 and our Exercise Descriptions.

The Mathias Method Strength System consists of these following parts:

Warm-Up through Active Mobility Techniques

  • Do full Range of Motion movements and stretches to improve your joint function and check how your body feels for that day. If certain areas are in pain or do not function properly then spend some time mobilizing them to improve performance and decrease pain.

Activate the Muscles to be Trained (part of Warm-Up)

  • Use activation techniques to bring blood flow to your soft tissues and ensure that they are firing correctly for optimal performance. This will also help with increasing your neuromuscular proprioception improving muscular function.

Technique Work to Strengthen Weaknesses (part of Warm-Up)

  • Do 3 sets of 5-10 reps with a lightweight (<50%) or a bodyweight exercise to improve upon your weaknesses and reinforce proper movement patterns. This is done at the start of every workout so it is not neglected.

Get Stronger through a Main Strength Movement

  • Pick one main exercise that will build the most strength in the areas you are training and do a lot of work with it. Focus on perfecting this movement and increase the intensity slowly over time to continuously improve.

Accessory Work to Build Muscle and Train all Planes of Motion

  • Choose 3-5 other exercises that will improve your main exercise or build up your weaknesses and do a good amount of work with them. Try to make all areas of your body strong by building up the areas your main lifts may neglect or not train hard enough.

Condition Your Body (optional)

  • For athletes or those experienced, utilize conditioning work to strengthen your cardiovascular system so that you can withstand more workloads. Take 10-20 minutes post-training, or on non-training days (20-30 minutes), and do exercises that push your cardiovascular system while helping you with your goals. Examples are sprints, jogging, jump rope, sled drags, light training circuits, sports practice, etc. 

Mobilize to Increase Range of Motion

  • Take at least 10 minutes after every training session and work on improving, or maintaining, your mobility. Choose 2-3 mobility techniques that will help loosen your tight tissues, or recover from your training session, and work them for 2-5 minutes each.

Warm-Ups Described:

First, a proper warm-up to any form of training is vital for optimal performance. The warm-up will better prepare your body to function properly, decreasing the risk of injury, while meeting the demands of the workout. The goal of the warm-up is to better prepare your body to perform safely and optimally. This includes physically raising your body’s skeletal muscle temperature, and improving your oxygen uptake through low-moderate intensity, training specific exercises.

The first part of any warm-up should begin with moving your body through all planes of motion using full Range of Motion. This is a way to help determine how your body is feeling and gives you more insight on what you should do in the following pieces of the warm-up to prepare yourself before adding loads, and helps to increase, or maintain, your joint mobility lessening any potential problems. 

Take your body through all planes of motion that may occur in your training, or all movements that your body can do safely. Control your movements and utilize a full range of motion in order to fully prepare your soft tissues to move efficiently. Some long duration, static stretching movements should be utilized focusing on tight areas of your body in order to relax chronically tight tissues for better performance. For most mobility stretches, hold for 10-30 seconds to help increase your range of motion, and only utilize longer duration stretches for extremely tight tissues. Try not to be static in your stretches, but rather contract and relax or move in and out of tension in order to increase the muscular function with movements. For running and cycling, you may need to only focus on the ankles, knees, and hips, while for strength training it will depend upon the exercises in your workout. Some training days may need to only focus on the shoulder and arm joints while some may need to focus on all the joint in the body. If you are unsure, an athlete, or want to improve your entire body’s joint function, then follow our Warm-Up Guide.  

Activation Techniques Described:

The next piece of the warm-up, after going through a full range of motion movements and stretches, are the activation techniques. These are techniques utilized to help activate, or turn on, the correct muscles for the workout. This will help teach your body to fire the correct muscles and make sure they are working efficiently. It is best to use lightweight or bodyweight, movements to bring blood to the proper tissues without overly fatiguing them. The goal is to stimulate the muscles and improve their neuromuscular function to improve performance

Activation drills are specific to each training session’s main movement. The activation drills include balance training to improve neuromuscular proprioception, or muscle activation, and joint stability. Both mobility to improve positioning and the activation drills to teach proper muscle activity will better prepare your body to perform optimally and make you stronger. To view Activation Technique Examples go to Warm-Ups.

Technique Work Described:

Exercise Technique is a crucial part of any movement based training program. Without proper technique, your body will learn improper movement patterns that can hold back your strength and cause injury. Technique is so important that it should be worked on every time you start a training session. This is still part of your warm-up and therefore only light weights (<50%) or bodyweight should be utilized. The focus is on improving your movement pattern by utilizing perfect form, under controlled movements. Knowing your main lift, or exercise, of the training session, pick a related exercise that you need to improve upon, or that works on your weaknesses. This may even be the main lift, just done with much lighter weight to improve your form. Choose an exercise that will help you improve upon your weaknesses and do 3 sets of 5-10 repetitions while focusing on perfecting your movement pattern. If you are not sure the correct way to perform a lift check out our Main Lifts Page.

These are the first exercises listed on each training day. The main goals of these exercises are to prepare your body for the more intense work ahead, build up weaknesses and increase work capacity. The exercise you select should be one that both requires similar mobility as the main exercise of the day and is a weakness for you. Choose something you are not good at; such as a front squat, low box squat, close grip bench press, incline bench press or military press. It can be anything that utilizes the same muscles as your main movement. This exercise should be done with the relatively lightweight (<50%) every time you do it and completed with perfect form. You should do only 3 sets with only 5-10 reps, or as many as you can do without getting fatigued or lose perfect form. Again, the goals are to improve the motion of this exercise and better prepare your body for the work ahead, not to pre-fatigue those muscles.

Get Stronger Described:

Every training session needs a Main Exercise, lift or movement. It is the focus point of the workout and the reason you are training for that day. All of the training before and after these lifts is set to better improve the main exercise

The main exercise should be a standard motion that improves performance in your chosen sport. This can be any movement that makes you stronger. It should be something that builds the most overall strength. It can be a power lift like squat, bench press, deadlift, a close variation or something like sprints for running. It just needs to be helpful for you to build the strength necessary to be better at what you want to be better at. 

You should also do the most amount of work with this particular exercise. If you want to get good at something, then you need to do it a lot. You should spend the most time on this exercise and try to perfect it while still pushing forward. Try to increase the overall workload or weight every few weeks so that you never stop progressing. For detailed information on how to execute this main movement go to our Main Lifts Page

Accessory Work Described:

You are only as strong as your weakest link, and accessory work is used to build up your weaknesses. Accessory work trains your body through all planes of motion so that you can build full body strength and have no weaknesses. It trains the areas that your main lift may not be able to target as effectively. For your accessory work, choose 3-5 exercises that help build up your main lift, or train areas that it does not, and do a good amount of work with each. Use moderate weight and do as many sets and reps as it takes to improve before moving on. For more on Accessory Work look on our Accessory Work Page

Conditioning Described:

Conditioning is any form of work that improves your cardiovascular health and total work capacity while assisting with the goals of training. Some examples of conditioning are; jogging, sprints, jump rope, battle ropes, light circuit training, a daily WOD, sled dragging, or just manual labor. Conditioning is meant to increase the ability for your body to withstand work and become stronger. If you have low cardiovascular health and little muscular endurance then the amount of work your body can withstand is greatly diminished, along with your ability to become STRONGer.

Conditioning is not necessary until an advanced level of training but can be used by beginner and intermediate lifters if desired. Conditioning should be performed 2-4 times per week for 10-20 minutes at a time. You may utilize high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or moderate intensity steady state training. With high-intensity intervals, work to rest should be at a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio. For moderate intensity steady state conditioning, the body should stay in motion throughout the entire time with little to no resistance in order to sustain a raised heart rate during the time used. It is most optimal to do conditioning immediately after completing a training session, just before mobility. This will add to the work already done in the session and allow for the greatest increase in muscular advancement. Conditioning can also be done on non-training days if preferred, but should then be done for 20-30 minutes. Remember, conditioning is meant to condition your body, not break it down beyond what your body can repair before the next training session. Use relatively light loads and just keep moving.

Mobility Described:

Mobility is an often neglected, but extremely important, part of any training program. Mobility allows you to improve your joint and muscle function so that you are less likely to have an injury occur. By taking your joints and muscles through their normal, Full Range of Motion you will help to improve and maintain their function. Mobility is your body maintenance to keep you pain-free and healthy.

A healthy joint and muscle must be both strong and flexible. If there is too much strength without flexibility then there is a higher potential for ligament, muscle, and joint tears. If there is too much flexibility without enough strength then the joint is unstable and has a higher potential for dislocation. Therefore, to maintain a high level of performance there must be strength and flexibility throughout the body.

The mobility before a training session is utilized to improve positioning and better prepare the muscles to perform at their highest level. However, if you have specific muscles that prevent you from getting into the proper position needed for optimal performance, then these muscles should be fully mobilized both before and after training with active stretching and massaging techniques (foam rolling).

The time spent after a training session to mobilize should focus on, but not be limited too, the muscles used during the session just completed. If a joint or muscle has proper alignment and range of motion, then do not focus on it. Focus on mobilizing short and tight muscles to better improve range of motion. Each post-training mobility technique should be utilized for a minimum of 2 minutes on each muscle to create lasting change.

Mobility can also be replaced by yoga or any other activity that improves your body’s ability to move as intended without pain, such as rolling out soft tissues. It is most optimal to mobilize right after a training session, but it can also be done on non-training days. The goal is to get at least 30-40 minutes of mobilization done weekly to enhance your recovery and performance. That is just 10 minutes 3-4 times per week.


…and that’s how you Mathias Method! You simply apply this system to your training program to get the most out of it. The Mathias Method does not change your training program, it improves it so that you are always getting stronger! 

To learn more about the Mathias Method Strength System and how to create the most effective strength workouts of your life, click the link below and start taking your training to the next level!

The Mathias Method Strength System

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