Measuring sissy squats – a homemade platform

homemade sissy squat platformWe were delighted to receive a message from one of our readers recently who wished to show us a device he had created to keep track of his sissy squat progress. It’s a great demonstration of our principles, proactively developing your own training regime, for effective progression, while at the same time literally showing how you can benefit through DIY training. Mike Tassinari, seeing an opportunity to carefully monitor his training, produced this: Continue reading

Can’t afford to treat an injury? Here’s why DIY rehabilitation is a good thing  

treat injury without moneyTreating an injury, there are all sorts of problems that you have to overcome, with both psychological and physical hurdles. Not least in what holds many people back on the road to recovery can be limited financial resources. Not having the money to pay for a professional trainer, or for some of the perceived necessary equipment, can certainly hinder your progress – but if you use it as a reason not to put in the effort to overcome your problems, it is an excuse, not an insurmountable obstacle. And we don’t care for excuses here. Here’s why money should not be an issue when it comes to taking care of your body:

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How to massage hamstrings – does foam rolling work?

hamstring massage

For rolling away muscle tightness in your quads, the foam roller is a tried and tested tool, but when it comes to the hamstrings, the foam roller is less effective. Let’s take look at why this is, and what we can do to improve the tissue quality of our hamstrings in place of foam rolling. Continue reading

Using the “break the bar” cue for upper body focus

break the bar upper body cueOne of the best technical focuses you should think about in your upper body training is the “break the bar” cue. To perform this technique properly, there is a good chance you will need to fundamentally change the way you currently perform all your upper body exercises; be prepared to go through a several month process of re-learning and re-building your technique and strength. Continue reading

Don’t fold your arms: how to avoid hunched shoulders

folded arms bad ideaWith all the time we spend sitting hunched over computer screens these days, it is growing ever more common to find people who suffer from hunched forward shoulders. To correct this problem we need to employ some simple rules of thumb in our daily lives and practice a few special techniques in our upper body training. This article covers a simple and very effective rule you can implement in your daily lives immediately:

“Don’t fold your arms!” Continue reading

Why you need to learn to squat before you run

running knee supportEach year I volunteer to marshal a 10 kilometre cross-country fun run which is put on as a fundraiser for a local school. I always really enjoy the event as it an opportunity to observe how a large sample of people move. The runners at the front of the field move incredibly well; making the motions appear fluid and efficient with no wasted effort. It comes as no surprise to me that the further down the field you get, the more knee supports you see being worn by the runners and the more difficult and painful the effort of running appears to be.

This year I decided I would keep a mental note of the proportion of those runners wearing knee supports who exhibited out-turned feet as they ran. It wasn’t difficult for me to remember the proportion because it turned out to be 100%. Continue reading

Top 9 excuses for avoiding exercise – and why they don’t hold up

exercise excusesSometimes it’s hard to find motivation to exercise. It can seem like a chore, something that needs to be done rather than something you want to do. You want to see results, you don’t want to spend the time working on them. We’ve covered that attitude a few times – in our various articles on Motivation. But to help you understand why excuses don’t hold up, here’s our list of the top 9 excuses for avoiding exercise: Continue reading

Trial and Error: The Most Effective Training Method  

trial and error effective trainingLots of people seem to be on an endless search for the ‘perfect’ training method; the ‘secret’ training program; some sort of holy grail knowledge that is going to take the results of their training to another stratosphere. It may surprise you to hear that this magical training method does exist although it might not be quite what you expect. It’s something that can be explained in a short article, but requires personal effort to apply. It follows a simple principle, with strong results. Yet it’s something that is always changing, and will never be complete. Continue reading

The best strength exercises for healthy cyclist knees

cycling knees strengthEveryone uses their own body in different ways, and you’re likely to have concerns about exercises specific to your chosen sport, or everyday activities. We often receive requests for ideas for strength training that facilitates particular actions – such as considering your knees for cycling. To answer a recent Twitter request, here’s our top tips for strength training that will be the most beneficial to improving your performance with cycling: Continue reading

Is it ever a good idea to use an exercise mirror in training?

exercise mirror in trainingMirrors are a contentious area when it comes to training. Gyms are generally lined with them, and it’s difficult to avoid the temptation to watch yourself moving, to better understand your movements. Yet most articles and books on training the body to perform movements such as squats and presses are against the idea of using exercise mirrors to help you learn your technique.

This is generally because:

  • To have proper neuromuscular control and understanding of the exercise you need to “feel” the position of your body not “see” it.
  • A mirror can give misleading feedback, as it reflects images back differently depending on what angle you see them.
  • Looking into the mirror may encourage incorrect (and potentially unsafe) head and neck positioning for some exercises.
  • Mainstream health clubs use mirrors for aesthetics, not for health considerations.

We at KneeStrength agree with most of these points, but think it is unwise to dismiss the use of mirrors totally, as they do have some applications in particular circumstances. Continue reading