Archive for Razor’s Edge Performance

Do you know HOW-TO?

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , , on June 5, 2013 by razorsedgeperformance

How to Guide

 

The problem we sometimes run into as strength coaches is that we’ll program in certain exercises but we don’t always get to see them carried out by our athletes. Not until I can bend space and time at least, but that’s another story. In an ideal world, we would get to see every athlete, every day. Unfortunately, we’re left programming for guys with different schedules or, out of: city, province, country. At least you know that they’ll be giving our program their full effort, however they may have habits we dislike or misconceptions about a given lift.

The benefit nowadays, is that you can upload videos of any lifts to be seen worldwide. What we’re trying to do is create a bit of a library so that our athletes can hop on youtube and pick up some technical cues and get a good idea for the do’s and don’ts of a given lift. If there’s any lift that you need help with, let us know in the comments. In the meantime, here are a few videos to get you started!

 

 

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The People Demand Answers!!! March 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 8, 2013 by razorsedgeperformance

Hey Guys,

Sorry for the delay but here’s some recent questions answered!! As usual, feel free to email info@razorsedgeperformance.ca or leave a comment on our facebook page if you have a question that needs to be answered!!

stupid-question

Paleo…Is it necessary for results?  

With Crossfit taking over the world, and paleo being the nutritional approach to Crossfit, it is really easy to feel the need to go paleo.

There is a famous saying in the health/fitness world…what is the best program? The one you follow. Well nutrition is not a lot different…the key to getting success from all your hard work comes from an equally strong focus on your nutrition. As long as you can stick to strong principles, you will do well. For example, I have a friend who is more shredded than most human beings, he goes by timbahwolf on Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. If you follow any of his accounts, you’ll see that he eats whatever he wants…junk food, fast food, etc. It would seem unlikely that he is so shredded. The key is though, that he has been tracking his nutritional intake for the last decade or so. He makes random food choices, but always sticks to pre-determined macronutrient intakes. Follow principles, whether its good ingredients, no processed food, specific macronutrient ratios, or whatever you wish, but that is the key to success… Now to clarify, if you do eat of lot of the quesitonable foods, it’s extremely important not to overdo it, that’s why you need to focus on your food diary.

Do Supplements Really Matter?

The truth is the mind is much more powerful than any supplement. I have seen people get hyooge with a full-cupboard of supplements, and I’ve also seen people get jacked on water (and food of course). If you push yourself and truly believe that you are capable of great things, your body will continue to build. Having said that, supplements are heavily researched and a number of them are VERY likely to have a positive effect. Whether it is by increasing muscle protein synthesis, decreasing muscle breakdown or improving work capacity, there are a number of supplements that improve physiological adaptations. The big thing is that they are small percentages. Will you feel the difference tomorrow? No. Add up all those little tiny gains over a long consistent journey of good health/training and you end up with big results! Point is, when you are working with a budget, start with the essentials (we have addressed those here) and when you find some products you like, or great deals, make supplementation a critical part of your process.

What is the Best Program??

Play sports, and master the basics. Every athlete has a different set of experiences that forms how they perform today. With that in mind, every athlete has specific needs to ENSURE that they are developing optimally, and taking care of the important details that prevent injury. If we were to put a mask over that (which I don’t suggest…) then the most appropriate program for any athlete is to build the basics in the weight room and practice your sport. There are so many skills involved with sport that you can always be working on your game. The weight room is intended to build the capacities of force and power (strength) to support your sport. With the appropriate time and energy, a coach can build a very comprehensive program to help you be the best athlete you can be, but on a time/energy/cost budget, it’s important to just MASTER the basics first. Squat, bench, clean and snatch!

Respect the Process

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , on March 13, 2013 by razorsedgeperformance

There’s something exhilarating about setting a PR (personal record) in the gym. The feeling of conquering a lift, showing progress and putting it all together is rewarding. Those are special days. I think young new lifters don’t realize how special those days are and how much they need to be respected.

ryan-bracewell-Deadlift

When I talk about setting PRs I’m referring to some of the more intense and technical lifts, like: Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, Clean and Jerk and Snatch. I’m not referring to your bicep curl PR. When I say that they don’t respect the process, I mean that they haven’t yet followed the process of getting ready for it. Too often I’m teaching a lift or at least correcting form and young athletes will push so heavy that they end up breaking form anyway. You’re ambitious, I get it, I was there once. Since I’m here now, I’m telling you to pick your moments. If your technique is spotty, those flaws will be exaggerated at 1RM. Don’t do it. If you haven’t been doing one of these lifts for very long, respect the process! Spend time at a lighter weight and get all the cues down. This means correct posture, full range of motion, ideal activation sequence and great stability. If you can’t master all the little details, you’re not ready for work close to 1RM.

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If you step in to a gym with great coaching and experienced lifters, you see more consistency; whether it’s a max day or a light day the technique throughout the lifts should remain flawless (or very near).

Besides the technique aspect, programming for max effort days needs to be followed. You can’t just step into the gym every few days and try to do a max lift, your body will not respond. You need to properly program intensities and weights so that when you have scheduled max days, there’s a good chance you’ll hit a PR, otherwise plateaus are way too easy to hit.

Unless your form is flawless, I suggest taking a few weeks to drop the intensity and make sure your loading sequences and range of motion are perfect. That way, when you go back up, you won’t face the same injury risks at higher loads.

Remember,

It’s About Getting Better!

 

The Combine is a Trap!

Posted in Performance with tags , , , on March 11, 2013 by razorsedgeperformance

Editors Note: This post was orginally written at http://www.fitstoronto.com, but is written by Cory Kennedy, so there is no conflict reprinting it here!

As someone who is in the performance enhancement industry (for sport that is…), combine season is kind of exciting. It’s like the little brother of Track and Field at the Olympics. This is a time for the best football players in the NCAA to take a step back from some of the skills and complexity of football, and get an opportunity to display their athleticism for all of the NFL teams. It also proves to be a money maker for supplement companies, apparel companies (Under Armour sponsors it, but Adidas is trying to get in on the action too!), and of course Athletic Performance facilities. While everyone has their eyes glued to the screen of NFL Network for the 4 days, I ask young football players (and athletes of other sports as well) to heed my warning: Forget about combines!

I know how hard it is though. Everyone wants to be associated with their numbers…I jump this high, run this fast, and change direction in under 4 seconds…It is much simpler than just saying, I am really good at football!

The problem isn’t that the combine is broken, or that athleticism is bad, it’s about priorities! The NFL pays players millions, so players need to prepare specifically for this ‘job interview’ in order to ace it. The key take-home though is that these players spent 4 years of high school DEVELOPING…then 4 years of college DEVELOPING…finally 8 weeks mastering the test. Young athletes need to remember there is more to being a great football player than mastering these tests…

Case in point, Athletes Performance, probably the world’s most popular performance enhancement facility. Every year they represent close to the top 100 athletes in the NCAA to prepare them for the combine. At the same time, they are also working with players from around the NFL and NCAA on their regular off-season development. I can’t say for certain, but I am pretty sure the pros who aren’t at the combine have their own specific program, and rightfully so. All of the combine guys though? They all do the same thing…why? They aren’t developing as football players, they are merely mastering expression  of different tests.

Proper development is about doing the things necessary to prevent injury, prepare the body for movement variability, and to build a foundation that makes it possible to continually improve. Expression on the other hand, is the end stage. This is where you put the finishing touches on a particular quality to make it come to light. Most professional athletes will aim for this expression one or more times per year as their competitive season unfolds. A developing athlete though? It may not happen for the first few years. Why? Development is the most important part.

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(***Case in point…RGIII performing a Vertical or Broad Jump at 2012 Combine…contributing factor to later injury??)

It is easy for an athlete to get frustrated when they want that 4.5s 40 in high school, or a 35” vertical. As a coach, it is important to always make sure the compass is pointed the right way, and sometimes it means holding off on EXPRESSION to really make an impact on an athlete’s overall DEVELOPMENT!

Got Snatch? – An Easy Progression

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , on March 5, 2013 by razorsedgeperformance

When it comes to olympic lifting, the hardest part is getting direction. It looks like an awesome lift but if you try for the first time, or any time without having been coached, you could be totally lost or just horribly wrong. Even when you think you know what you’re doing, you may be missing certain key steps which will show themselves once you get to a much heavier load. You wouldn’t want to find out your technique is flawed because then you’d have a tough road of backtracking and damage control.

Lu

In the video below, you’ll see a very simple snatch progression. It includes: Snatch from the pocket, Snatch from mid thigh position and Snatch from below the knee position. The only other position after this is right off the floor and if you’ve gotten the technique down until that point you should have no trouble at all. If you’re a true beginner and have just begun to dabble in the olympic lifts then this video should be broken up. Spend lots of time being comfortable catching from the pocket and getting  a full depth overhead squat. Then, in subsequent weeks you can progress through the other positions.

If you’re a seasoned vet, or at least an intermediate, then this is a great warm up progression to make sure you’re moving well and catching well before moving up to higher loads.

As is always the case, if you’ve never done any olympic lifting then I suggest you hire a professional for guidance.

Without further ado, happy snatching!

 

The People Demand Answers!! February 2013

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , on February 20, 2013 by razorsedgeperformance

The Q and A is back for more!

question

The first question I have relates to some of my speed training clients, especially hockey players going to dry land for the first time in a long time….

My shins are absolutely killing me, how do I make shin splints go away?

Shin splints occur for multiple reasons. One might have poor biomechanics, an imbalance in the lower leg or tightness in the lower leg. The first plan of attack is to reduce swelling and soreness by icing and light massage. Then you need to take on the soft tissue in the lower leg with foam rolling, massage and stretching. After that, make sure the anterior and posterior muscles are each getting adequate work. For most people that will mean adding some tibialis anterior work (resisted dorsiflexion) since calves are often overworked. So put a little extra work into your lower legs and your shin splints will be easier to control.

At what point will the foam roller hurt me?

A young athlete running at the track was complaining of tightness so I showed him how to use a foam roller. After using it for about 10 minutes, he was afraid it may hurt him. The truth is, extended use of a foam roller really won’t hurt you but it also won’t continue to give you benefits. The main goal is to promote blood flow and return elasticity to the fascia (soft tissue enveloping muscles) and muscle fibers. Generally the foam roller helps with mobility, flexibility and recovery. So once you’ve used it for a few minutes you’ve probably already received its benefit. The only risk would be bruising but you would need a lot of pressure and a very hard object. If you’ve never used one, try adding in a few minutes pre workout and watch you positioning improve!

foam roller

I’ve been eating low fat foods and haven’t been losing weight, what gives?

I feel like the word is slowly getting out, but it’s still not there yet; Fat is NOT the enemy – unless it’s transfat or everything you eat is deep fried. The truth is, most individuals, especially if they’re fat loss clients, could benefit from increased fat intake and decreased carbohydrate intake. As mentioned in Carb Timing, starches and sugars should be saved for post workout times. If you stick to protein, fats and veggies for most meals of the day then fat loss will come more easily. I mean you’ll still have to exercise and not overeat, but at least you can just do those consistently and you’ll lean right out. The point of a low carbohydrate diet is to reach what’s called nutritional ketosis. This is the point where your body switches from glycogen for energy to ketones which come from fat stores. In order to reach that point though, we need to significantly reduce carbohydrate intake ( <=50g/day). At that point, even though we’re starting to use up fat stores for energy, we still need additional fat intake to meet energy demand. For that reason, you can’t really have low carb and low fat, it just won’t work. If you decrease carbohydrate intake you must increase fat intake of all types.

low-fat1

If you want to see your question in next month’s Q and A, shoot us an email at: info@razorsedgeperformance.ca

Remember,
It’s About Getting Better!

Weightlifting is the Answer! Here is why…

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2013 by razorsedgeperformance
We have spoken a number of times on this page about why weightlifting exercises (SEE Snatch, Clean, and Jerks) are awesome for developing speed and power in athletes, and thus why they should be included in many training programs.
While that is still true, I am going to discuss why weightlifting is EVEN BETTER for recreational athletes, and for that matter strength and conditioning coaches!
Let me talk about the second group first, because that is my cohort. As strength and conditioning coaches we are usually a competitive bunch (most are former athletes) and so love to compete no matter how old or out of shape we get. Add to that thought the concept of the high power output that is present in these exercises and it makes for the perfect avenue to compete in that still stays true to what we preach all day in the weight room! Wait, there is a cherry on top…these lifts are highly technical, and require a lot of practice and some good coaching. So as strength coaches, we always want to be working on our craft to provide the best coaching to our athletes. The more you can practice the lifts on your own, the better you get at coaching them and picking them apart.
Now let’s get to the recreational lifter and with that the crossfit population. I will go on record and say there are some things I really enjoy about crossfit. People seem to love it and love getting to the gym. This is great for the health and fitness of overall communities and the individuals within them. It is a system that also works well to improve overall physical capacities and body composition. So why do people hate on it, especially in the health and fitness community? Probably because they break people…some of it is from the crazy amount of volume everyone is expected to do, and some of it is just from the fact few members get taught proper technique for the weightifting exercises (let alone basic barbell exercises!!)…
Here are a few reasons why they are actually amazing lifts for the recreational lifter, even though they seem too technical and only for the ‘elite’…
Mobility! Here is the world record holder in both lifts at 77kg class, Lu Xiaojun. I have a huge man-crush on him for his weightlifting abilities. Not only are we talking about crazy amounts of power to move the bar, but he is catching the weight in a full-depth overhead squat. Even go back and see his starting position; Weightlifting requires a high level of mobility in your hips and ankles, as well as shoulders and upper back. These are the kinds of things the office-warrior loses quickly as they age, so just working on getting to these positions is highly valuable. Posture is such a large emphasis for these lifts that these muscles will get a ton of attention, and have no choice but to get their act together!
Metabolic Demand! These lifts use the entire body. So when you do a set of 8 or 10 reps at a submaximal weight, you are burning a ton of fuel. No wonder all the elite lifters are shredded (save for superheavy’s)…
Even working with a dowel (wooden stick, step 1) to get the positions and transitions correct, will be a great workout for most people as the volume is typically high and the attention to detail as well.
Cool Factor! Because they are so technical, not a lot of people do them well…walking into a gym, taking over the platform, and rocking some double body weight clean and jerks will definitely get you some attention. You will make a lot of friends that day. A lot of people can squat, but throw the same weight overhead as fast as you can? My mind just got blown.
It is with all of these reasons that we have begun a weightlifting club out of FITS Toronto where we work with weekend warriors to master these lifts, and so far the response has been impressive. If you want to really kick your training into another gear, and find something that you can really pour your focus into…then start learning how to weightlift!! (Consult a professional!!)
BONUS: Here is me hitting some PR’s yesterday as I journey to a bodyweight snatch…join me!
DOUBLE BONUS: Here’s Kyle beating Cory‘s PRs
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