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Achieving the Deadlift

The Deadlift
Front dead
Deadlift: means to take a barbell from the floor to resting around hip level. Put simply, a deadlift is an exercise that trains your body to pick up a heavy object from the ground in the most efficient way possible.
The deadlift is one of the most efficient exercises around when it comes to building strength, power, and a solid core in addition to improving overall sports performance. When performed properly, it will go a long way in helping you improve your posture and aiding injury prevention.

Deadlifts work your legs, butt, back, arms, forearms, shoulders, traps, and abs. Not bad for one exercise! Oh, and it also pumps up your whole body and can even release extra testosterone, which will help you in your muscle building.

Think about our ancestors: they didn’t have a weight rack to deal with, or a Smith machine to help them out – they had heavy rocks, logs, and carcasses they needed to move from one place to another. Same applies for us today in our everyday lives; home, work, playing with kids. At some point we are going to be moving things, equipment, etc. and if we have the proper technique we can do so without injury.

The Deadlift is the most important exercise next to the Squat. But nothing is more frustrating than plateauing on the same weight over & over. Even worse is when the weight you Deadlifted in past workouts for 5 reps suddenly doesn’t even want to budge the floor.
Improving It
Improving the Deadlift – Means More. The fastest way to boost your Deadlift is to Deadlift more. If you are bad or weak at something, the best way to improve it is to do it more often (but not over-train). The deadlift is the number one technique lift. If you don’t have technique in the Deadlift then there will be injury… you just can’t muscle it up.
Things to keep in mind when doing Deadlifts:deadlift-technique-rounding-the-back-neutral-spine
• Don’t arch your back (or roll it in the other direction). Keep your abs tight the ENTIRE TIME, and keep your back straight.
• Keep the bar as close to you as possible – almost roll it up your shins until you get to your knees, and then almost roll it up your thighs until you’re upright.
• As you bring it past your knees, don’t think about pulling up with your back, thrust in with your hips.
• Keep your head up and chest out as you lift – this will help you keep your back aligned properly.
• As you bring the weight up, you want your legs to straighten out simultaneously as your hips come in completely – form a straight line at the same time with your hips, knees and feet.

Some Pointers
• Don’t Pull – Push. You have to use your hip muscles. Deadlift by driving through your heels, push your hips forward once the bar reaches knee level, and lock the weight by squeezing your glutes hard at the top.
• Don’t Squat – Deadlift. Deadlifts are NOT Squats, your hips have to be higher to pull big weights and so you don’t hit your shins on each rep. Raise your hips so your shoulder-blades end up over the bar.
• Use Your Legs. Your hips should be higher than when you Squat, but not too high otherwise your lower back will be doing all the work.
• Strengthen Your Grip. It doesn’t matter if your legs/back have the strength to Deadlift the weight. If your hands can’t hold the barbell, it will obviously never leave the floor. (perform Farmer’s Carry, Single Hand/Arm Holds from Pull Up Bar)
• Warm-up Properly. Some guys don’t warm-up at all which is not only asking for injuries, it also doesn’t let you practice Deadlift form. Others are so afraid of getting hurt that they waste energy doing a gazillion of warm-up sets.
• Pull Faster. The faster you lift, the more muscles fibers you’ll recruit and the more weight you’ll pull. Lifting fast is NOT cheating, nor is it dangerous or bad for your joints as long as you control the bar and use proper technique. Proof of this is that all Olympic lifters pull explosively yet they have low rates of injury.
• Accelerate the bar from the floor as fast as you can. The way down should be under control but not slow. Don’t worry if the bar speed decreases as the weight goes up – just apply as much force to the barbell as you can.
• Stretch Your Hips. Spending 8hrs/day or more behind a computer like so many of us do, will tighten your hips. You’ll have a hard time engaging your glutes during Deadlifts which can turn you weak at lockout and hurt your lower back. Stretch your hip flexors with warrior lunges and do supine bridges to activate your glutes.

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Goal of the Week: Performing Proper Pull Up

Types of Pull Ups
PULL UP is when your hands are facing away from you. This will work your back and biceps.
CHIN UP is when your hands are facing towards you. Although this also works your back, it has more emphasis on your biceps.
The pull-up is a great strength-building exercise. In just one pull-up, your body calls upon the following muscles:
• Fingers
• Forearms
• Biceps
• Triceps
• Shoulders
• Back
• Core

Grab a bar with a grip slightly wider than shoulder width, with your hands facing away from you. Hang all the way down. Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Slight pause, then lower yourself all the way back down. Go up, and really concentrate on isolating your back and biceps. Don’t swing!

Once you can do a single pull up, work on doing them in sets. Do one pull up, then wait a minute or two and do another one. Then wait a few more minutes and do another one. A few days later, try to do two in a row, and do a few sets of two. You need to start somewhere, but as soon as you can do one, you can find a way to do two. After that, find a way to do three, and so on. Remember don’t cheat yourself by only going halfway down and not going all the way up. Straighten your arms out at the bottom, and get your chin over the bar!

Assisted Pull Ups with chair – (either one foot or two depending on your needs) – your feet are ONLY there for support, use your upper body as much as possible.
Assisted Pull Ups with Resistance Band– (you can get different types of exercise bands with different levels of strength). Put your foot in the exercise band and pull yourself up.
Assisted pull ups with a partner – (have a friend hold your feet behind you and help you complete each rep). Have your friend use the least amount of help possible to get you through your workouts.
Pull Up Tips
Now, let’s say you don’t have a rubber band, you don’t have somebody to hold your feet, and you don’t have a chair – you ONLY have a pull up bar. That’s okay – you can do what we call negatives. When doing a negative, you jump above the bar and try to lower yourself slowly and in control until you’re at the bottom of the movement. Also try just holding in the pull position for as long as you can, until you continue to build your strength. Start with 20-30 seconds and then keep building on that.
It’s all about strength. And strength will come if you keep working at it. That’s the 1 thing you must keep in mind all the time: the only way to get good at Pull-ups, is to do Pull-ups and lots of them.
*While taking on this process, be sure to be training your back with other exercises such as DB Rows, Body Weighted Inverted Rows (on the Rings, Bar, or TRX), then proceed to other helpful tools such as the resistance bands.
If you currently can only do one pull-up, start out by doing 12 sets of 1 pull-up with a 45 second break between sets. Do the routine two times a week. Once you can do two pull-ups, begin this routine:
Week 1: 8 Pull Up Iso Holds for 30-40 seconds with 1 minute break. Twice a week.
Week 2: 6 sets of 2 reps. 45 second break in between sets. Twice a week.
Week 3: 5 sets of 3 reps. Twice a week.
Week 4: 4 Sets of 4 reps. Twice a week.
Week 5: 3 Sets of 6 reps. Twice a week. If you’re able to do more, go ahead.

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Goal of Week: Proper Push Up

Training for Push Ups

How to Set up for a Proper Push Up
When it comes to push ups, your form is crucial. Each push up needs to be done perfectly so that your total reps measured from workout to workout are on equal footing. If you did thirty perfect push ups two days ago, and then today you did sixty push ups by only going down halfway, sticking your ass up in the air, etc., it’s absolutely impossible to tell if you got any stronger.
Here’s how to get set up to do a push up:
•When down on the ground, set your hands at a distance that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Depending on your strength and experience, your hands should be angled in a way that feels comfortable to you. For me, my hands are set up so that my middle finger points straight up and away from me. You can also turn your hands inwards slightly if it’s less stressful on your wrists, or you can do your push ups on your knuckles (as long as you’re on a semi-soft surface like grass or carpet.
•Your feet should be set up in a way that feels right and comfortable to you. For some, that might be shoulder width apart. For others, it might be that the feet are touching. Generally speaking, the wider apart your feet, the more stable you’ll be for your push ups.
•Think of your body as one giant straight line – from the top of your head down through your heels. Your butt shouldn’t be sticking way up in the air or sagging.
•If you have a problem getting the proper form with your body, try this (yes I’m serious): clench your butt, and then tighten your abs. Your core will be engaged, and your body should be in that straight line. If you’ve been doing push ups incorrectly, this might be a big change for you.
•Your head should be looking slightly ahead of you, not straight down (yeah I know I’m looking straight down in my top picture, I hadn’t started yet!). I read somewhere that said “if you’re doing them right, your chin should be the first part of your head to touch the floor, not your nose.” Looking up helps you keep your body in line, but feel free to look down if that helps you concentrate more.
•At the top of your push up, your arms should be straight and supporting your weight. You’re now ready to do a push up.

How to Complete a Push Up
Here’s how to complete one repetition of a push up:
•With your arms straight, butt clenched, and abs braced, steadily lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle or smaller. Depending on your level of experience, age, and flexibility, 90 degrees might be the lowest you’re able to go. Personally, I like to go down until my chest (not my face), hits the floor. That way, I know I’m going the same distance each and every time.
•Try not to let your elbows go flying way out with each repetition. Keep them relatively close to your body, and keep note of when they start to fly out when you get tired.
•Once your chest touches the floor (or your arms go down to a 90 degree angle), pause slightly and then explode back up until you’re back in the same position.
•Congratulations, you just did a proper push up. Do as many as you can until you start to feel your form slip (even slightly); you are done for that set. Ten good push ups and 5 crappy ones are tough to quantify against eleven good push ups. If you can only do ten of something, write down your results and aim for 11 next time. Perfect form allows you to keep track of your improvements week over week.

“But I Can’t Do a Push Up!”
That’s okay, here’s a plan that will help you get there. You need to start with an easier push movement, and work up to progressively more difficult types of moves that will eventually result in you doing true push ups.
Start with Wall Push Ups:
Just like with a regular push up, clench your butt, brace your abs, and set your hands on a wall at a width that’s wider than shoulder-width apart. Walk backwards with your feet until your arms are fully extended and supporting your weight (generally one decent sized step back with both feet will suffice). Keeping the rest of your body in a straight line, steadily lower yourself towards the wall until your nose almost touches the wall, and then explode back up to the starting position.
Do 4 sets of wall push ups with a 2-minute rest between sets, every other day. Keep track of how many repetitions you can do WITH PROPER FORM for each set in a notebook for easy comparison to previous workouts. Once you can do 4 sets of 20 repetitions of wall push ups, you can progress to elevated (or incline) push ups.
Elevated Push Ups are just what they sound like – your hands are on an elevated surface, whether it’s something as tall as a kitchen table or as low as a few blocks that are inches off the ground. This will depend on your level of strength and experience.
If you’ve just progressed from wall push ups, pick something that is at a level that’s right for you – I generally find the back of a park bench or the side of a picnic table to be a perfect height for doing incline push ups.
Do 4 sets of elevated push ups with a 2-minute rest between sets, every other day. Again, keep track of all of your stats for how many proper form repetitions you can do in each set. Once you can do 4 sets of 20 repetitions, it’s time to either move to regular push ups, knee push ups, or a lower height for your hands to be supported.
To work on progression, try to doing your elevated push ups on the stairs in your house. As you get stronger, you can move your hands to lower and lower steps until your hands are on the ground. Then try lower incline push up, or push ups with your knees on the ground. In my opinion, if you can do 4 sets of 20 repetitions of incline push ups, it might be time to switch to regular push ups.
Push Up Variations
Basic push ups can get boring – fortunately there are dozens upon dozens of variations to make things more difficult for you. Although I think the Hundred Push Ups program is a solid program for folks to follow, I’m a bigger fan of making the push ups tougher once you’re able to do more than four sets of 20+ push ups.
Why? Because muscle and strength get built when you’re lifting a heavy enough weight that somewhere between 6-12 repetitions per set is a challenge (and even up to 15-20 reps to an extent…but beyond that it becomes less about strength and muscle building and more about muscular endurance).
Once you’re cranking out perfect form push ups like it’s your job, try some of these variations on for size. Click on each for a video demonstration (done by yours truly):
•One foot push ups – the easiest variation, your body needs to stay in balance throughout the whole movement.
•Walking push ups – adds a degree of difficulty by forcing you to move your arms around in between reps
•Decline push ups – these work your shoulders and triceps more so than normal push ups.
•Tricep push ups – keep your arms tight at your side, rotate your hands outward, and keep your elbows tight as you lower your body. Works your triceps like crazy.
•Dive-bomber push ups – funky, difficult, but oh so fun. I’d explain it, but just watch the video
•Plyometric Push ups – these are brutal and will wear you out just after a few repetitions. Just don’t hurt yourself!

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What is Kinesio Tape

Therapeutic Taping, Kinesio Tape, KT Tape…What is it you ask and is it for me?
Therapeutic Tape and Kinesio Tape is an elastic sports and fitness tape designed for muscle, ligament, and tendon pain relief and support. No matter what your training for, you’ve probably come into contact with some type of injury during your fitness journey and lets be honest nothing slows us down faster than pain and injury. So along with other rehabilitative methods this taping technique could be helpful for you.
Kinesio Taping is a rehabilitative taping technique that is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion. It also provides extended soft tissue manipulation to prolong the benefits of manual therapy.
It has the ability to re-educate performance, prevent injury and promote good circulation (lymphatic drainage) and healing by microscopically lifting the skin.
This tape is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and can be used for hundreds of common injuries such as lower back pain, knee pain, shin splints, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tennis elbow, just to name a few. It can be worn for days at a time, through sweaty workouts, work, and showers. It is made with 100% medical grade, acrylic heat activated adhesive, no medical properties in tape, and Latex Free.
Kinesio Taping has also been shown to affect scars. Reductions of adhesions and pitting, softening, flattening, improved pliability, and reduction of contractures have been seen in some patients.

*Definition Fitness is now providing this service to our clients. If you are interested or would like to find out more information on it please feel free to ask.
We will be charging $10.00-$15.00 for this service (dependant on size of area). If you provide your own tape we can discount service.

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Challenge #6

So there are only 3 more challenges before the end f the year and we tally the results to see who will win a free workout and free massage!
-Your physical challenge for the week is to do your age in pushups every day for 5 days in a row= 5 points
-Your nutrition challenge is to try 2 new vegetable recipes this week= 6 points (3 per dish)

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Challenge of the Week: December 2nd-6th

Happy December Definition Clients…this weeks challenge will be a physical one. We will be holding a plank for 1 minute, then everyday you will add 15 seconds to that ending the week with 2 minutes total by Friday. Happy Planking and keep up the awesome work!

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CHALLENGE#3: Reduce Your Sugar Intake

• Reduce your sugar intake to:
-Women- 20 grams or less a day
-Men- 36 grams or less a day
• Record your intake and report to your trainer
• Must have 5 days recorded and turn in by next Monday
• Fruit does not count towards your total
• Worth 5 points!

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Challenge of the Week 11/11- 11/15

Do 100 squats everyday, even on training session days. Take a picture or video of you doing your squats to show your trainer. Post to Facebook or twitter for extra points. Worth 10 points total. 1 extra point for every post.

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Welcome, Stephen!!

Hello, my name is Stephen Burleson and I look forward to meeting everyone here at Definition! I have been involved with strength and condition training for the past twenty years. I enjoy weight training, Mixed Martial Arts, reading and attending church in my spare time. The joy of my life are my three children Reagan, Caine and Sadie, who are actively pursuing athletic endeavors of their own- ballet, baseball and volleyball.

I have a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of St. Augustine, FL, a Master’s in Sports Medicine and Biomechanics, and Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Psychology from the University of Tennessee. I have also successfully completed several relevant post graduate internships including: Cardiac Rehabilitation, Orthopedics, Neurology and Acute Care.

As your personal trainer, I am determined to produce the short and long term results you desire. By providing you with progressive, functional and corrective exercises we will address proper biomechanics, posture, dynamic stability, strength/conditioning, confidence, and pain control. Prior to training, I will delineate any preexisting impairments that may be a hindrance to your performance. I will meet you where you are. Together, we will assimilate an exercise regimen designed to restore, maintain and optimize your body’s function.

I am as eager to see your transformation as you are and I am determined to introduce you to a healthier, happier and more fulfilling lifestyle. Your success will prove to be invaluable as you will be educated on the intricacies of exercise as it relates to you current status, as well as the changes we incur throughout the lifespan. You success is my success!

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Maximum Performance Massage: What You Should Know about Sports Massage

By Candace Moody and Thomas Moody, LMT

Massage therapy has been around for at least five thousand years. There are references in ancient documents of the Chinese imperial court identifying massage as a healing art; in the Bible, there are verses about anointing the human body with oil may that well have referred to some form of healing massage. The Greek physician Hippocrates advised massage routines for his patients. In various forms, therapeutic massage could be found in just about every corner of the ancient world.

Modern athletes are rediscovering the benefits of sports massage. Elite athletes in all sports find that an sports massage therapist can help them train longer, recover more quickly after workouts and injuries, and perform better during competition. Amateur athletes can reap the same benefits, but without an expert training staff to guide you, it can be a challenge to find and ask for what you need.
Here are some things you should know about sports massage:
Not all massage is designed to improve athletic performance. All massage feels good and has some therapeutic benefit. But the soothing massage you receive at a spa is not intended to treat muscles that have been performing at capacity during a workout or competition. Not all massage therapists have the extensive anatomical and kinesthetic training needed to understand which muscle groups have been used or how to help them recover. Therapists who specialize in sports massage have studied athletes and performance and know what it takes to improve function and range of motion.

Massage should be a regular therapy, not a one-time event. Training for competition requires regular and thoughtfully planned workouts. Likewise, massage therapy is more effective when it comes at regular intervals. Massage therapy offers cumulative benefits over time; it’s rare that one session will solve a problem. It also takes time for the body to become accustomed to the deep work required to treat injuries. Massage therapy helps the muscles, fascia and nerves work together to repair, flush or return the muscle to its normal state. Regular massage helps muscles remember what to do to recover and helps the effects last longer.

Effective sports massage uses a variety of modalities. A therapist who only knows a couple of styles of massage may not be able to influence all the systems that your body uses during and after your workout. For example, Swedish massage, the most common massage technique, works on your parasympathetic system. That’s the system that controls “rest and digest” functions, and Swedish is very effective for recovery after competition. But it’s not at all effective before; in fact, a Swedish massage before competing will impair your performance. Ask your therapist how many modalities he has been trained in – the more versatile he is, the more effective he’ll be for an athlete.

If you’re serious about improving your athletic performance, you probably have a personal trainer or coach working with you. Together, you work on a plan for improving speed, endurance, or performance. An expert sports massage therapist can maximize your workouts and shorten your recovery time. If you haven’t incorporated regular sports massage into your training plan, you might be leaving some performance on the table, so to speak.

Thomas Moody, LMT is a licensed massage therapist in practice at Definition Fitness in San Marco. He is certified in Neuromuscular Massage. Thom is part of the sports medicine team of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and Jacksonville University, and has worked with collegiate and Olympic athletes in many sports. He is also certified as a Level One USAA Track and Field Coach. Candace Moody is a writer based in Jacksonville.

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