Fix Posture & Reduce Back Pain With This Warm Up

America is an injured nation. The total costs of low-back pain in the United States exceed $100 billion per year (1). I have seen this firsthand as a trainer. The majority of my clients have experienced back pain or currently have back pain. People move poorly and are weaker than ever. I am sorry to be brash, but it is the truth. And if you don't believe me, just take a look at this high school from the 1960s.

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Beginners Don't Need Muscle Confusion

When it comes to the body, myths tend to spread due to a simplistic view of how the body works. One of these myths is muscle confusion. In a nutshell, muscle confusion is a program that switches your workout routine on a week to week or a daily basis. The thought is that by changing your workout constantly, i.e., "confusing your muscles," you will cause muscle growth. The idea is based on progressive overload. Put simply; if you wish to become stronger, then you must stress the muscle with more stress than it can handle. After proper recovery, the stressed tissue will grow stronger and adapt to the previous stressor. For the muscle to become stronger, it will need a greater stressor, i.e., a more laborious workout routine. Muscle confusion sounds excellent on paper, but there is no need to change our method as quickly as people think, especially for beginners. 

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Core Conditioning Program

Below you will find the core conditioning program I use with my clients. The purpose of the program is to strengthen the abdominals, obliques, glutes, and hips. To do the program correctly you must perform the two movements together with minimal rest between sets. For example, you would perform a forearm plank followed by side lying straight leg hip abduction. You would then repeat this for the desired amount of sets and reps with minimal rest.

It is imperative that you only advance to the next week's sets and reps if you can complete the amount of work required. The focus should be on quality technique and not the number of repetitions. Please do not rush through the program. Take the time to master the movements and you will be rewarded with a bulletproof core. Perform the program two times per week for 8 weeks.  

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Strengthen The Core With 3 Exercises

In order to squat or deadlift well, you must have a strong core.  When you perform a squat or deadlift, the pelvis will tilt forward slightly to allow the hips to bend and flex. But an excessive lower back arch (anterior pelvic tilt) can limit the ability to squat or deadlift. Put simply, if the pelvis is tilted too far forward then the hips won't have any room to flex. 

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Should You Always Stretch A Tight Muscle?

TIGHTNESS CAN BE GOOD THING

In order to understand why being “tight” is a good thing, you have to understand that a muscle functions like a rubber band. For a rubber band to function properly, it must have enough tightness for it to return to its original shape and it also must be able to stretch. The further the rubber band can stretch while maintaining its tightness the more force it will produce. But if it loses that tightness it will snap. This is due to the rubber band losing its stretch-reflex mechanism. There must be equal strength between the stretching of the rubber band and how tight it is. If the band is too tight then it won’t stretch which means it can’t produce its full force potential, but if it stretches too much it will snap. In order for the rubber band to generate the most force, it must have a balanced stretch-to-reflex ratio. The same mechanism is responsible for contracting your muscles during movement. However, if a muscle cannot contract fully to its original shape due to overstretching then it will not be able to generate as much force as it once could, which puts you at a greater risk for injury. Remember, when a muscle is over-lengthened it is at a higher risk for injury due to the less force it can withstand or generate. Just think back to the rubber band, which one is easier to snap, the new one you just bought or the one from five years ago?

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