Big Traps, Yes Please! 6 March 2018

The Shoulder Shrug

So, you want to increase the size of your traps; sure, why wouldn’t you!

The traps, or to be technically correct trapezius muscles are responsible for elevation, retraction and medial contraction of our shoulder blades, which translates into shrugging up and down and pulling the shoulder blades together.

The best exercises for this will be your barbell and/or dumbbell shoulder shrugs.  Steps include:

1)    Stand upright grabbing the dumbbell or barbell with your preferred grip.
2)    With your arms fully extended allow the weight to hang in front of OR if using dumbbells eitherside of your body.
3)    Keep your body stature anatomically symmetrically with your neck and spine positioned upright.
4)    While keeping the weight close to your body, elevate your shoulders towards the ceiling and hold for 2 seconds.
5)    Release the hold, and repeat the exercise with an intensity that adheres to your muschle building goals.


As with all muscles, to increase in size & strenght, we must:

a) recruit as many fibers within the muscle sheath as possible

b) ensure that we place those fibers under an intensity they usually do not work under and

c) make sure the intensity is within the fast twitch muscle hypotrophy remit.

To ensure we recruit the largest percentage of muscle fibers possible, it only stands to reason that we must apply the overload principle and work the muscle fibers to their maximum capacity. It's only then we can be sure that we're recruiting those muscle fibers at the top end of the intensity spectrum.  This can sometimes be a problem with exercises that require grip strength as the majority of the time our grip fatigues prior to the muscle being worked. Often, in these occasions, the muscle we want to encourage to grow is restricted to secondary muscle potential. To mitigate this problem many pro athletes and serious lifters use ergogenic fitness accessories such as weight lifting straps, that can help increase the grip strength allowing for an additional couple of repetitions. In more recent years quality weight lifting hooks are being used, that eliminates the need for gripping the bar completely allowing all the focus to be on the predominant muscle being worked.  This is a fantastic method, to ensure we're recruiting the maximum percentage of muscle fibers which then significantly increases our potential for strength and lean muscle gains.

2 Dream Killing Behaviours you Need to Avoid6 March 2018

The biggest cause of distress in our lives is usually a result of us not fulfilling our potential.

When we don't fulfill our potential, we become restless; we've all this energy though we've not set up the frameworks to structure its flow.  The energy has to be released; though without focus it can become volatile and begin discharging as pain, depression, anger etc…

Making plans and setting goals create the structure needed to focus our energy. This is okay, as the vast majority of us will have no shortage of ambition, the problem, however, is that we often are unwilling to commit or decide on a certain course of action OR we do decide, though quickly regress back to our old ways and quit.

 So, therefore, the two biggest dream killers are arguably:

  1. Indecisiveness &
  2. Negative Regression

Being indecisive means we're not great at making clear decisions, and this can result in a very stagnant life or a life where we exhaustingly go around in circles.To overcome this we need to be rational, our indecisiveness stems from a fear of not knowing the future outcome. Usually, rather than acknowledge this fear we create stalling issues e.g. I'm not ready or 'this needs to be arranged first'. Understand, the only way we become ready is through a process, and therefore we must start first. It's through the process we uncover the gems, polish our art and allow ourselves to grow. A good example of this is how authors will write their novels; it's not unusual for them at the beginning to write pages of BS knowing that it will never make the final edit, though they write it anyway as they know this is the process that uncovers the quality content. Don't even think about needing certainty; if you really want certainty do nothing, and you can be certain of becoming nothing. For those that are willing to take a leap of faith, good this is the smart thing to do; chances are you will make the right choice, and even if you don't it's important to quickly identify the wrong choices so we can quickly discard them and move on.

The, Take Away? GET STARTED!

Negative Regression is a whole different scenario. This is where we start our new lifestyle change with the best intentions in the world, though a short time after starting, we revert back to our old way of doing things; this is because either a) we didn’t really want the change in the beginning or b) we've become disheartened due to lack of progress. Steering Clear of these debilitating success factors is all about the prep work...

a)   Before, engaging in a new lifestyle change,  do your homework, find out is it really for you. We tend to look at things on a very superficial level, we see something that we think we want and then, soon after, realize O NO this is not for me… we then stop engaging and inevitable stop trying. Not only do we not achieve what we set out too, though we also feel terrible for quitting. However, the truth in this scenario is that it was never for us to begin with, something that we would have known if adequate due diligence was carried out.

b)    Sometimes, however, the change really is for us, though during select moments when we're under stress and feel weak the effort the changes require feels too much. When this happens, there is nothing the body and mind love to do more, then revert back to their old familiar groove...  At the first sign of this regression, we need to employ the below strategies:

1.    Write down all the reasons you want this change; let's call this the motivating factors, and put them in a list, put this list somewhere you can easily and readily access it; as your going to need it in the earlier stages.

2.    Every time you feel yourself slipping, stop, take a drink of water and simply read those motivational factors. Having these motivating factors back in the forefront of the conscious stream is usually enough to enable a more sound judgment to be made.

3.    Lastly, go easy on yourself…a lot of people become very discouraged due to the perceived lack of progress… you cannot go from 0 to 100 overnight and you cannot compare yourself to someone else… give yourself credit for how far you've come already…understand everything takes time.

Every now and then even with all the strategies employed... we can all feel like the effort to improve is too much. When this happens succeeding depends inevitably on how much love we hold for ourselves...

...My advice, stop and think of all crap you've already been through, you haven't quit thus fare, so I don't think you going to quit now either.  Also, think of the future you, you're going to need to do your best right now, thus to equip that guy/girl with the tools they're going to need to overcome the challenges they face in the future.

The takeaway...practice self-respect!

SwiftLoad Explode Vs Weighted Vests Vs Traditional Dip Belts6 March 2018

Since the invention of SwiftLoad Explode I've been receiving tons of questions about which is better... SwiftLoad Explode or Weighted Vests or even what the difference is between these and the Traditional Weighted Belts. The quick answer for those of you, who couldn’t be bothered reading further, is Swiftload Explode was designed specifically for strength + muscle gain, and candidly there is no fitness accessory on the market today that can match it against these requirements. This is not to say however that weighted vest or older styles weighted belts are without charm. To this end, you may want to scroll a little further to find out more.

I was tempted to provide a detail description surrounding the physiological mechanisms of actions behind neuromuscular facilitation and cellular adaptation, to define the benefits of Swiftload Explode, however, an easier way to do this is probably via the straightforward comparison table a little further down.  

Before checking out the comparison table though, I think it would be beneficial for us to become familiar with the 2 fundamental principles underpinning bodybuilding.  

1.     In order to become stronger, we subject our muscles fibers to stimuli greater than what there ordinarily used to. In the fitness world, this training method is called the overload principle. Thus if we are to continue becoming stronger we must continue to up our intensity/weight in correlation with our performance advances.

2.     It’s only the fibers recruited during exercise that will adapt during recovery. Meaning that in order to maximize muscle growth, we must recruit the maximum number of muscle fibers possible during our routines. Bodyweight exercises are by default a fantastic way to recruit large percentages of muscle fiber as to perform them we must stable ourselves and prevent unwanted movement. The problem with bodyweight exercises, however, is, it’s difficult to add or reduce intensity thus athletes by default start performing more and more repetitions resulting in the shift from anaerobic to aerobic training. In order to keep training within the strength and muscle building anaerobic remit, athletes will often move away from bodyweight exercises, sacrificing the mobility and fiber recruitment benefits for the ability to increase loads.

Table 1.0 Comparing the user benefits of Swiftload Explode, Weighted Vests, and Traditional Weighted Belts

If the user is seeking a tool that they can use for activities other than weight training & bodybuilding e.g running,  the weighted vest might be a good bet. As long, as they understand the intensity will be restricted to a finite amount usually between 5 & 20 lbs and therefore a training plateau and lack of progression with this aid will occur. If the main incentive is to pack on lean muscle and become stronger, it would be the opinion of the author that SwiftLoad Explode is what you want to run with.

You can look at Swiftload Explode as an innovative win/win solution in that it enables athletes to perform optimal bodyweight exercises while at the same time providing the ability to add &/or decrease loads in coherence with their current goals & strength levels. This subtle advantage is key from a physiological perspective in that the athlete will also have the ability to apply the overload principle + recruit the maximum number of muscles fibers during each set. Although subtle this advantage results in accelerated advances in size and strength.

Now, choose your weapon and get lifting!