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BESTFIT Issue 14 – Ask the Experts

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Experts-headerStruggling to do more than three pull ups or wriggling your way to an embarrassing fail on the fourth? let bestfit’s @dane_mitch show you the way…

Use bands to assist or add weight to resist

If you can’t already do a pull up, loop a large strength band over the bar and put your knee inside the band to assist you. If you can already do at least 10 pull ups, rather than trying to do more repetitions, add weight by using a weighted dip/ pull-up belt or by placing a dumbbell between your legs.

Utilise eccentric only repetitions and pause reps

Eccentrics refer to the lowering portion of the exercise. So, if you can’t do a pull up, a good training method is to jump to the top of the bar using your legs as assistance, then lower yourself down as slowly as possible. Try 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps. Adding 1 eccentric repetition when you have fatigued at the end of a normal set of pull ups is also a great way to expose your muscle to more tension.

Use drop sets

At the end of your set of bodyweight pull ups, once you have fatigued, add a band to assist you with achieving a few more repetitions. Alternatively, if you are able to do weighted pull ups, complete your set then take the weight off and pump out a few more reps for additional strength endurance and muscle building stimulus.

Switch up you’re grip

Switch the position of your hands on the bar every once in a while to recruit slightly different muscle fibres. Experiment with the width of your grip and the placement of your hands.

Switch up you’re grip utilise eccentric only repetitions and pause reps spread out the volume throughout the day

Switch the position of your hands on the bar every once in a while to recruit slightly different muscle fibres. Experiment with the width of your grip and the placement of your hands.

Spread out the volume throughout the day

If you have a doorway pull up bar, a great way of accumulating lots of pull ups is to spread them out into small chunks throughout the day. Alternatively do a few pull ups in between sets of other exercises whilst at the gym. Then aim to beat that number of reps in your next session.

Myth of Fact

Crunches: an outdated way to get chiselled abs?

People are slowly catching on to the fact that abdominal crunches are not the best way to develop an impressive mid-section. Repetitively flexing your back in the crunching  motion can take its toll on your spine and is not great for your posture. There are so many other exercises that elicit greater levels of activation.

Look at elite level gymnasts, for example; they generally have incredible looking abs and a strong core that helps them perform amazing skills and feats of movement. You won’t however find these Olympians performing thousands of abdominal crunches. Staple exercises for them are hollow body rocks, hanging leg raises, rollouts, candlesticks and hanging windscreen wipers. A quick internet search will show you these exercises. If they are too hard for you, don’t worry, there are always plenty of regressions, give them a go!

Experts-nutrition-knowhowThe popular paleo diet has been around ever since dr loren cordain penned the book of the same name.  the movement has been met with positive and negative feedback. both are justified, writes ben Coomber..

“Paleo dieting can be summed up as avoiding grains, most starches, some fruits, dairy and any other foods which would have been unavailable prior to modern cooking and farming methods. This is where I have an issue. The Paleo diet is an exclusive diet; it restricts food choices because of ‘rules’. Grains, beans, dairy and other foods are restricted for all people, despite the fact that these things can be highly nutritious and nourishing for some and only problematic for a minority.

“This drawback removes from what I think is actually a near perfect system. By focusing on meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains and dairy (depending on personal tolerance) you are able to maximise your health, physical performance and mental performance every day. You don’t need to give it a name and you don’t need to adhere to certain rules. You can emphasise meat, fish, vegetables and fruits, and even include other foods, such as grains, in moderation.

“By adopting this approach you can hit a happy medium and take charge of your own health and vitality without feeling unnecessarily restricted. I’ll call this Paleo Dieting Mark 2, and here are five essential things to get you started:

Beef

“Beef is a fantastic source of protein, essential fatty acids and micronutrients, like vitamin B12 and Iron. All beef in the UK is grassfed, but I do advocate eating beef from cows that are fed a natural diet when eating from non-UK sources. Try different cuts and cooking methods, and remember you haven’t lived until you have made pulled brisket.

Cuciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage and brussells sprouts are probably the most nutritious things you can eat, all packed with fibre, minerals like magnesium – vital for performance – and vitamins. They’re highly satiating and low in calories, too, perfect for improving your health and performance, and perfect for long-term bodyfat regulation. Pile it high!

Potatoes (both colours)

Potatoes are the king of carbohydrates. Cheap, delicious, versatile and incredibly easy on your stomach, they can be included in just about any dietary plan for any goal. Both varieties have benefits over the other, with sweet having more fibre, white having more vitamin C, sweet having more vitamin A and white having fewer calories. When dieting, white potatoes are also rated higher than any other food on the satiety scale, meaning that per calorie they fill you up better than even meat and vegetables.

Butter

Butter is fantastic. You can cook with it, spread it, dip in it and of course fill a potato with it. It’s high in vitamin A, lauric acid, selenium (really important for athletes), iodine and a great source of fats including Arachidonic Acid, which has a major role in brain function. Again follow the ‘grass-fed’ rule here, but British butters should all be suitable. It is high in calories, so just pay attention to portion control.

High Quality Fresh Bread

Is it Paleo? No, it isn’t, but it’s a great thing to have in your house. Bread is very filling and is high in B vitamins, zinc, Vitamin E, fibre. It’s also an awesome source of carbohydrates, which are vital for intense performance within any sport of physical endeavour. For anyone without a gluten allergy there’s no reason to go without a fresh crusty loaf!

 

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