Monthly Archives: June 2012

This Weeks Good Reads 06/21/12

I am on my way to beautiful Las Vegas now on my well needed vacation.  But no worries I am still here for you.  But this is why this post is a little early.  Now while I go fly off into 108 degree weather, why don’t you stay grounded and check out these good reads.

With the information era upon us, it is very easy for us to get misguided information from some internet guru who has never stepped foot in the gym.  But how do we know what sources are legit or what sources aren’t? That is what my blog is here for. Anything you read that touches similar topics as what I discuss is as good as gold.  And if you cannot find that, use my good reads and resources page to know where to go on the internet for the best information.  But do what Jason says.  Find a trustworthy person, someone that has gotten results himself and for others, and follow just this one person’s way of exercise for at least six months.  If you choose me,don’t mix and match Jason’s philosophy with my own.  If you are wondering why, read for yourself.


Learning to lift one side at a time, will teach a person not only to have motor control, but is a great way to correct muscle imbalances, diesel up that core of yours and pour on the muscle better then Def Leopard can have sugar poured on them.  Check to see the three exercises outlined in order to see what you’ve been missing.


I like this one, because it gives you three reasons why you may not be getting your results.  But what I really like is the last one puts it all on your shoulders and is most likely the case.


This is probably the most simple article written, but I can not stress these reasons enough!  Have you seen this theme in my blog yet?


This one will also follow up on my foam roller series as my blog will start to get into mobility training.  The ankles hold a lot of information about how your body works.  And if your ankles have dysfunction, guess what?  So will the rest of your body. Eric outlines three easy to do from anywhere in the world mobility drills for your ankles.   (Please don’t neglect to foam roll)


Guest Post by Chris Carlsen

Today I will be hosting my first guest blog by a very smart man, Chris Carlsen.  Chris is so smart, in fact e=mc^2 was his idea.  Okay, maybe I am embellishing just a bit, but he is intelligent and you should listen to what he hast to say.  Chris has mentored not just me, but the entire training staff at the Matrix Fitness Club to become giant meat heads, that produce meat heads out of sheer awesomeness.

This post is from Chris’ new blog, it is all about thoracic spine mobility.  It is a perfect segue to follow up my foam roller articles.  Make sure you check out the upper body edition.


Let’s keep things simple . The spine has three parts. The cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae. The only part that is made to move (flex and extend ) is the thoracics. The lumber spine is stabilized (prevents movement) by the core musculature and hips while the cervical is stabilized by our scapular and neck muscles. The point is, when the thoracic cannot extend we get movement from other parts of the spine that are not supposed to move. Now think of posture when sitting. HUNCHED over a desk, the thoracic is flexed all day. If we go the gym and do not get thoracic extension back before we lift , we will compromise. Poor thoracic extension leads to poor scapular positioning. This will lead to stiffness, strength loss, and injuries

The body is a chain. Good glute , core and scapular strength will go along way in preventing lower back pain. Having poor thoracic extension will inhibit the function of these three working together as a unit. Lets try this.  Stand up with the feet a little wider then shoulder length. Now tighten your shins (pretend your leg is a pole that is driving into the dirt) ,squeeze your glutes, brace your stomach (feel ribs gets tight ) and extend your thoracic spine with blades back and down.. Notice how upright , strong and powerful you feel (it”s a standing plank). Thoracic extension is not the cure for everything but it is the missing link in most people’s training and increases function of surrounding muscles and joints.

Here are some thoracic movements.

About Chris Carlsen

Chris Carlsen is the Fitness Manager and head Personal Trainer at the Matrix Fitness Club, located in Astoria, New York. He is a former Division 1 athlete, and is a certified personal trainer through the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA). In addition, he holds specialized certifications in fitness therapy and kettlebell instruction from Jeff Martone (RKC) through Crossfit.

Chris started working at the Matrix in 2007, and it was not long before the facility’s owner recognized his immense talent. After only a few short months, he was promoted to Fitness Manager, and took it upon himself to hire and indoctrinate each new trainer into the functional training philosophy. With his staff, Chris sought to offer the residents of Astoria a style of training that was previously unfamiliar, but which has since become the norm at Matrix Fitness Club, establishing it as the go-to gym for results. Moreover, through hard work and perseverance, Chris and his team managed to make personal training commonplace for many gym members, whereas it had previously been viewed as an unaffordable luxury.

Was this post helpful, enlightening, the purest, greatest thing you ever read? Has Chris inspired you?  Let me know; leave a comment below!

This Weeks Good Reads 06/08/12

 This week has been exhausting thus far.  My morning schedule changed up slightly and has thrown off my day to day routines.  I haven’t been sleeping well, my workouts feel shitty and I am so very tired.  Usually it takes me a week or two to adjust to changes in my work schedule.

And because of this, I can’t tell if my max training program is not going as well as I would have hoped due to lack of sleep, or just simplybecause I am working way too close to my 1 RM.  It is probably a combination of the two.  Hopefully next week I can get my body on track, and will be making some changes to my exercise program in regards to mytraining volume and intensity.

Here are this weeks good reads:

This is a piece by Mike Boyle, in which he talks about how we only have one body.  With this body we have responsibilities to keep it running on all cylinders.  We do not get another body, and if we have to replace any parts they never work quite the same.  We can’t all be as bad ass as the six million dollar man.  This is a “to the point” reminder to take care of your body, health-wise and performance-wise, this way you can live a long, happy life.


These are some great bullets to what you can do to help lose weight.  The little things count, and you will see so in the piece.  It ranges from everything from setting goals to why you should be eating more cayenne peppers.


For those of us who get really busy and want to maintain strength and not too sure how this article is perfect for you.  It talks about how much harder it is for us to reach our goals, yet so much easier to stay at those levels.  Using his eight steps, it really becomes a no brainer on how to keep strength up during the times of your life where things get out of control.


Even though this article says training for men, it is applicable to everyone for any goal.  The title says men because it is an article posted on T-Nation which is predominately a testosterone filled website. It is still a worth while read for all as there are still valuable lessons to be learned here.  This is all about how to set priorities, cut down your training time, but still be effective at getting results and being effective in the gym.  This goes hand in hand with Cressey’s article above.  After reading these, there are no more excuses to not be in the gym.  And to be rather straight forward about it, now you’re just being plan lazy.


Was this post helpful, enlightening, the purest, greatest thing you ever read? Let me know, leave a comment below!

Why Foam Rollers? Upper Body Edition

So I am pretty damn excited and impatient.  I will be going to Vegas to get away and relax for a bit.  Can’t wait until I get to check out the Grand Canyon for the first time.  That will be awesome.   It has been quite sometime since my last vacation, and it is long overdue.

Now that I have gloated and told you all that I will be on vacation, let me begin.

If you have not read Why Foam Rollers?  Lower Body Edition, you should read that before reading this one.  It will have the explanations to the what, when, and wheres of foam rolling. When you are done, and understand what foam rolling is about, you can then read this and have full understanding and then have a great talk to bore your friends about it over some beers.

 Here is the how to foam roll the upper body.


The latissimus dorsi is a very large muscle that attaches to the body at three points: the humerus, the spine and the pelvis.  It is also a very important muscle in which it seems like five percent of the population knows how to use.  Because of this, this muscle will always have trigger points.


  • Lay the foam roller perpendicular to you.
  • Lay on the foam roller so that your armpit is touching the roller.
  • Begin Rolling here, and as you travel down your side.
  • Then rotate onto your back at an angle of 45 degrees and repeat.


The thoracic spine (t-spine) is referring to the upper and middle back.  If you were to put your hands on the back of your neck and feel around for a round, hard bump, you will be feeling cervical spine number 7.  Everything below this up until your belly button is considered your t-spine. This is the area of our body where we want to get all of our movement from.  But in today’s day and age, this is not the case.  Many of us move from our lumbar spine, and that is why many of us have back pain.  This causes our t-spines to become more stable and tight, which causes a lot of problems.  Rolling this out, stretching and following the protocols outlined here for core training will help this area of the body function better.


  • Place the foam roller on the floor perpendicular to you.
  • Lay on your back starting at the top of the shoulder blades.
  • Interlace your fingers behind your neck and touch your elbows together above your nose.
  • Roll between your shoulder blades up until you get to belly button height on your back.


Everybody knows what there triceps are.  It is the muscle on the back of your upper arms.  The one every guy wants to get bigger, and every girl wants to rid of the Opera wave. This area gets very fibrotic and dense because a lot of muscles and connective tissues run through the area.  It will be very tender by the armpit and by the elbow joint.


  • Lay on the foam roller so that your arm is outstretched overhead.
  • Roll between your elbow and armpit.


This muscle attaches to the clavicle, the scapula and the humerus.  It also has three heads: the anterior, posterior and medial heads.  This muscle is hard to really get into with a foam roller.  It is a small and thick muscle, and I feel better using a baseball or tennis ball in order to be a little more invasive and get a better roll.


  • For the anterior head, lie on your stomach; arm down by your side.
  • Lay the front of your deltoid onto the foam roller, and roll the muscle thoroughly.
  • For the posterior head, set up like you are doing the lats.
  • Start with the foam roller at the armpits and roll until the biceps and triceps meet the deltoid.
  • For the medial head, lay on the foam roller on your side with your arm bent 90 degrees.
  • Roll the deltoid thoroughly.



Every knows, there pectoralis major; the muscle that takes much of the abuse from our seated posture throughout the day. With us hunched over the computer, as I am right now, our pecs become shortened.  Foam rolling this muscle, as well as all the others, is very important to achieving and maintaining good posture.  This, like the delts, using a tennis ball or baseball will be much easier to do and much more effective then a foam roller.


  • Lay on your stomach with the foam roller on a forty-five degree angle, the top of the roller facing your head.
  • Roll the belly of the pecs from the sternum to the armpit and the collarbone to the bottom of the pec.

Was this post helpful, enlightening, the purest, greatest thing you ever read? Do you foam roll? Has it made a difference for you? Let me know; leave a comment below!

This Weeks Good Reads 06/02/12

Last weekend I went with my girlfriend to see the avengers, and let me say… It was awesome.  A comic book movie done right.  Had all the pieces of the puzzle; humor, fighting, good character entrances and the Hulk stealing the show. 

Also in recent news, heavy front squats followed by heavy R-DL’s is a recipe for disaster for the hamstrings and glutes.  Holy can’t extend my legs Batman.

Without further adieu, here are this weeks good reads.

This blog post by Jason digs into the mindset that many of us take into the gym and everyday life.  How many people focus too much on the little details in life, and the negative outcomes that may occur in a given situation.  Also, he talks about how we should try to keep a positive mindset not just through life but within our training as well. And how these stresses effect your hormonal levels like cortisol and testosterone and how it affects your body.


This brief article mentions two new studies done that are changing our minds on how we view both foam rolling and proper breathing techniques with our training.  He did a great job summarizing the two, and I don’t want to be a spoiler, so check it out.


I really like what Adam Bornstein did with this post.  He lays out just the truth and facts about the ten things a fitness magazine would never tell you.  Do you wonder why?  Because these things do not sell.  The things I talk about in my blog and the things I put in my good reads don’t sell in the mainstream because they are not the easy way out.  These things do not tell people what they want to hear, but tell them they must work to achieve the fitness goals, or any goals they desire.

Please take the time and read this one, a lot of valuable lessons to be learned.


This was a great question asked and answered by a STEVO.  And this is why I love questions and comments in blogs, because it leads to good stuff like this.  The reason I like this post is because he went further then just saying why situps and spinal flexion is bad for you.  He also tells you why!  And even better, he does tell you that in certain cases, spinal flexion and situps are even favorable.  If you are still not convinced about situps not giving you a six-pack and that they destroy your back, check this Q&A out and read for yourself.


Was this post helpful, enlightening, the purest, greatest thing you ever read? Let me know, leave a comment below!