Heave Ho! Top Pulling Moves

I can’t open my fingers all the way so my hands are stuck in an “iron claw” type of position; a half opened fist if you will. My forearms are throbbing and my biceps have an unbelievable “pump”. I’m bleeding from a scratch above my left eye and my lats feel like I just finished 6 sets of weighted pull-ups. Was I in a New York City bar with my Sox hat on? No. I just finished a 90 minute grappling session and my body is spent. Being a relative novice to the sport of grappling, I tend to muscle many of the movements as opposed to using correct technique and body positioning.

Regardless of whether you are a beginning grappler or a black belt, a secretary or a garbage man, the importance of pulling & grip strength can’t be emphasized enough. In fact, I pull more than push with every client I train. Sure the variations and intensities will vary; however, pulling movements are part of the foundation of every exercise program I create.

The list could go on for pages with all the variations and various tools that one could use…I’m going to share four of my favorites.

1. The Pull-up

If I could only pick one upper body pulling exercise, the pull-up wins easily. Great for grip strength, and developing forearms, biceps, shoulders, lats, traps, rhomboids, abs (yes, abs), pecs, and more. Pulling your body to the bar really forces you to engage the majority of muscles in your upper body making it a compound movement that really delivers. This variation below shows you a way to incorporate the lower body as well. Exercise in video: Pull-up with Med Ball Squeeze

2. Unilateral Row

I typically group my upper body pulling movements into two categories; vertical and horizontal. While pull-ups may be my favorite pulling exercise, I actually incorporate more horizontal pulling movements into workouts and programs. I tend to recommend these for a couple reasons; 1. They are less intimidating for some clients (pull-ups can be quite daunting to a new client), 2. They are easier to teach, and 3. They are excellent movements for improving posture.

While this particular move is a staple pulling exercise for my MMA athletes, I like to challenge the “everyday population” with a variety of rope pulls as well. Make sure you keep an upright posture with your upper body and try to pull evenly with each arm throughout the exercise. Exercise in video: Horizontal Rope Pulls

3. Bilateral Row

See the ‘Unilateral Row’ explanation to see why horizontal pulls, or “rows”, make my list. I think the more rowing you can incorporate into your routine, the stronger and more injury-free you will be throughout your body. The exercise I included in the video is geared a bit more towards MMA athletes due to the nature of their sport. Many times during a fight, they will find themselves in a long clinch or situation where they need to hold on to their opponent for an extended period of time. This requires a great deal of muscular strength and endurance in your arms and back. Backward sled walks hit the mark. Exercise in video: Isometric Backward Sled Walks

4. Deadlifts & Cleans

My room was always clean growing up because I love picking things up off the floor…but I digress. Deadlift variations and cleans are two of my favorite ways to work the entire backside of the body. These exercises are great for explosive hip extension, strengthening your grip, glutes, hamstrings, back; and for developing overall body power. These glute-focused movements are great for the “everyday population” from a functional standpoint. While you may not “clean” your bag of groceries up off the floor into the rack position; it will teach you to engage the proper muscles and lift items in a healthy manner. I love these movements for combat athletes because strong, powerful glutes will help them in many situations during a fight; more difficult to control on the mat if it goes to the ground and more explosive with your kicks and strikes if you are in a stand up battle. Exercise in video: Sandbag Cleans

If you are a busy executive who sits a lot, travels a lot, drives a lot, then it is critical to strengthen your backside. Posterior chain exercises will help combat the unhealthy posture that your lifestyle has you in for 8+ hours a day.

If you are a MMA athlete and we can strengthen your backside, then you are less likely to get injured, you can pull your arm back quicker after throwing a punch, you can hold and control your opponent more effectively, and you are more likely to have your arm raised in victory after a tournament or match.

Make sure you incorporate pulling exercises into your weekly routine to ensure you are maintaining balance in your program.

About Doug
Doug currently works at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE). He is also the strength coach for the Alliance Fight Team in Chula Vista, CA. A Massachusetts native, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Business Management from Westfield State University. Since moving to San Diego he has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU, obtained an ACE Personal Trainer certification, the NSCA-CSCS certification, a Spinning certification, TRX instructor training, EFI Gravity instructor training, FMS training, and received his CPR/AED instructor status. He has also appeared in 8 fitness videos, written numerous fitness articles, completed a MMA Conditioning Coach certification program and has competed in multiple grappling tournaments.

Prior to working at Fitness Quest 10, Doug worked for the American Council on Exercise as the Continuing Education Coordinator where he was responsible for managing over 400 continuing education providers.

For more information please visit www.todddurkin.com, www.fq10.com, and www.dbstrength.

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Free Fitness And Athletic Camp

Wanna Jump Higher? 3 Ways to Improve Vertical Jump

By Brett Klika, C.S.C.S. Director of Athletics, Fitness Quest 10

One of the most common questions I get as an athletic performance coach is “How can I/my child, improve my/their vertical jump?”  The most effective intervention would be to travel back in time and select a man and a woman with superior vertical jump abilities to parent either you or your child. In short, genetics is by far the greatest determining factor in an individual’s vertical jump ability.  Since time travel is not currently available (to the general public) we have to work with what we’ve got.  Here are the 3 most effective tried and true ways to improve vertical jump.

1.  Improve strength-to-weight ratio.  The vertical jump involves culminating muscle force quickly to propel body weight off the ground against gravity.  If the muscle force ability is low and the body weight is high, gravity will win.  Proper nutrition, frequent activity, and developmentally appropriate resistance training will aid improving strength and decreasing excess weight.  Get stronger, get leaner.

2.  Work on jumping technique.  There are biomechanically advantageous positions in which to jump as well as land.  Proper arm action alone can account for 20% of vertical jump ability.  Quite often, there are strength and mobility limitations that can limit the body’s ability to go into biomechanically advantageous position to jump.  For example a proper bodyweight squat is a pre-requisite to vertical jump technique.  If you don’t have the strength or mobility to do the first one right, you won’t be able to do the second one right.  Work on jumping and landing in proper squat position, then progress from there. Click here for a video on vertical jump technique. Do it right to do it better.

3. Jump!  Make sure to incorporate plyometrics into your program.  Think of your plyometric training in two phases:  Plyo prep and max effort plyometrics.  Plyo prep is activities like jumping rope, hurdle hops, and repeated sub-maximal jumps, hops, skips, etc.  These function to prepare the involved tendons, ligaments, and muscles for the force demands of jumping and landing.  These activities help you get off the ground quicker, not necessarily higher.  Max-effort plyometrics are those that require a near-maximal effort to achieve.  High hurdle hops, high box jumps, high backboard touches and other jumping activities in which you have to achieve a certain height criteria are examples.  You may even add resistance through bands, cords, or external weight.  This functions as “practice” for propelling your body against gravity with a true maximum effort. Maintain technique.  Practice makes perfect!  Youth should perform plyo prep activities for quite some time with proper technique prior to max effort work.

There is no “magic” machine, device, program, or funny-looking shoe that supersedes any of the above.  Get in shape, jump correctly, and practice it with intensity and frequency.  Unless, of course, you have access to a time machine.

Brett Klika C.S.C.S., Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10, is a human performance specialist, motivator and educator. A graduate from Oregon State University, Brett has directed sport camps all over the nation. While in college, amidst playing club soccer and lacrosse, Brett worked with the strength and conditioning department for 3 years. A year long resident sports performance internship at the Olympic Training Center brought Brett to San Diego. Brett’s work with the Olympic athletes, as well as local high school athletes nurtured a passion for creating excellence in individuals.

The 10 Commandments Of Nutrition

Everyone has an opinion when it comes to nutrition.  What you should be eating, what you should avoid, how many meals you should be eating, whatever.  But when it comes to the 10 Commandments, there is no room for discussion.  You can follow whomever’s advice when it comes to what you should be eating and when, but you need to follow these commandments if you want to get serious about your nutrition.

# 1: Get your motor started. Eat breakfast.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  When you wake up your body is in a fasting state for approximately 7 to 9 hours.  You wouldn’t eat from 9:00am until 5:00pm would you?

#2 : Slow down! We are always in a hurry.  When you apply that to food, too many people are shoveling in too much food way too fast.  It takes the brain 20 minutes to process how much you have eaten, and when you make your food vanish, your brain doesn’t have time to cut you off and you consume far more food then you need.

#3: Fuel up before training.  A high quality workout doesn’t begin with your dynamic warm-up.  The process starts with your pre-workout meal.  This is the first step to getting your body right so it can perform at optimal levels.

#4: Refuel after training.  Your body isn’t built in the gym.  You actually break muscles down during a workout.  Afterward, muscles become sponge like and want to soak up nutrients so they can rebuild themselves strong and leaner while you rest.

#5: Go wild!  Our ancestors had the right idea: fresh food is better.  I’ve never seen an obese person who got fat because they ate too much fruit, salad, and fish.  Eat fresh and wild and you will be eating better!

#6: Remember that supplements are just that – supplements!  A lot of people are looking for a magic pill to change their bodies.  Sorry, folks, the world doesn’t work like that.

#7: Water your body.  Out bodies are about 70% water, meaning we need to hydrate as often as possible. In other words, drink more water.  About half your body weight in fluid ounces daily is the easy rule to follow.

#8: Keep a nutrition journal.  Research shows that we lie to ourselves. A nutrition journal can be crucial to improve your life. You will find out that you will be in more control of what you eat and start to become accountable to you.

#9: Follow the 90-10 Rule.  If you eat the right foods 90% of the time, you are going to be world class and achieve your goals.  The other 10% allow yourself to sample foods you love, just don’t get out of control.

#10: Experiment with the IMPACT menu.  The IMPACT nutrition menu is a no stress approach what allows you to experiment and enjoy a variety of foods from carbs, proteins, and fasts.  I promise you you’ll never eat better.

Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, is an internationally recognized performance coach, personal trainer and massage therapist who motivates, educates and inspires people worldwide.  He is the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, where his wonderful team of 35 focuses on personal training, massage therapy, Pilates, yoga, sports performance training and nutrition to help transform the bodies, minds and spirits of a broad clientele.  Todd trains dozens of NFL and MLB athletes, including 2010 Super Bowl XLIV Champion and MVP Drew Brees.  He is the head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council, serves on the Gatorade G-Fit Team, and is a featured presenter on the Perform Better educational circuit.  He is a two-time Trainer of the Year (IDEA & ACE).  Additionally, Todd provides motivational talks and programs to companies and conferences worldwide.

Men’s Health recently named his gym, Fitness Quest 10, one of the Top 10 Gyms in the US.  Todd has appeared on 60 Minutes, ESPN, NFL Network and has been featured in Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Business Week, Prevention, ESPN the Magazine, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, Stack Magazine, Self, Shape, Fitness, the NY Times and Washington Post.  Todd has authored 35 DVDs on strength and conditioning, functional fitness, massage/bodywork and business/personal growth.

His new book, The IMPACT! Body Plan debuted in September 2010 and is a 10 Week program designed to create world-class fitness and life performance.  You can sign up for Todd’s FREE award-winning Ezine newsletter, the TD TIMES, at www.FitnessQuest10.com or www.ToddDurkin.com.

The 11 Foods and Drinks To Stop Consuming

The goal is clear.  This is the list of foods and drinks to avoid; period!  If you need to, you can begin by identifying a coal and start to cut back.  If you are someone who drinks three diet sodas a day, cut down to two.  Then next week reduce to one.  Challenge yourself to get 1% better every day.  Here is the list of 11 foods to avoid:

#1: Sugar (corn syrup, fructose, molasses, sucrose) #fitness

#2: Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame (NutraSweet/ Equal), sucralose (Splenda), saccharin (Sweet ’N’ Low). #fit

#3: High-fructose corn syrup #fitness

#4: Fruit juices. #fitness

#5: Alcohol. #fitness

#5: Soda. #fitness

#6: Added salt. #fitness

#7: White flour products. #fitness

#8: White pasta. #fitness

#9: White rice. #fitness

#10: Fast food/fried food. #fitness

#11: Soy-based products. #fitness

Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, is an internationally recognized performance coach, personal trainer and massage therapist who motivates, educates and inspires people worldwide.  He is the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, where his wonderful team of 35 focuses on personal training, massage therapy, Pilates, yoga, sports performance training and nutrition to help transform the bodies, minds and spirits of a broad clientele.  Todd trains dozens of NFL and MLB athletes, including 2010 Super Bowl XLIV Champion and MVP Drew Brees.  He is the head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council, serves on the Gatorade G-Fit Team, and is a featured presenter on the Perform Better educational circuit.  He is a two-time Trainer of the Year (IDEA & ACE).  Additionally, Todd provides motivational talks and programs to companies and conferences worldwide.

Men’s Health recently named his gym, Fitness Quest 10, one of the Top 10 Gyms in the US.  Todd has appeared on 60 Minutes, ESPN, NFL Network and has been featured in Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Business Week, Prevention, ESPN the Magazine, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, Stack Magazine, Self, Shape, Fitness, the NY Times and Washington Post.  Todd has authored 35 DVDs on strength and conditioning, functional fitness, massage/bodywork and business/personal growth.

His new book, The IMPACT! Body Plan debuted in September 2010 and is a 10 Week program designed to create world-class fitness and life performance.  You can sign up for Todd’s FREE award-winning Ezine newsletter, the TD TIMES, at www.FitnessQuest10.com or www.ToddDurkin.com.

The Top 16 Foods You Should Be Eating

  1. What You Should Start Enjoying, #1: Vegetables. #fitness
  2. What You Should Start Enjoying, #2: Fruits. #fitness
  3. What You Should Start Enjoying, #3: Brown rice. #fitness
  4. What You Should Start Enjoying, #4: Beans. #fitness
  5. What You Should Start Enjoying, #5:  Hummus. #fitness
  6. What You Should Start Enjoying, #6: Whole grains. (oatmeal, couscous, quinoa, mullet, sprouted grains) #fitness
  7. What You Should Start Enjoying, #7: Raw nuts. (almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts) #fitness
  8. What You Should Start Enjoying, #8: Natural butters. (almond, cashew, macadamia) #fitness
  9. What You Should Start Enjoying, #9: Oils. (coconut, cold-pressed canola, extra-virgin olive, sesame seed). #fitness
  10. What You Should Start Enjoying, #10: Avocado. #fitness
  11. What You Should Start Enjoying, #11: Whole wheat pasta. #fitness
  12. What You Should Start Enjoying, #12: Wild coldwater fish (avoid farm-raised). #fitness
  13.  What You Should Start Enjoying, #13: Eggs. #fitness
  14. What You Should Start Enjoying, #14: Whole grain breads and cereals. #fitness
  15. What You Should Start Enjoying, #15: Smart dairy choices (almond milk, feta cheese, Greek yogurt) #fitness
  16. What You Should Start Enjoying, #16: Hormone-free, free-range turkey/chicken & 100% grass-fed beef. #fitness

Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, is an internationally recognized performance coach, personal trainer and massage therapist who motivates, educates and inspires people worldwide.  He is the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, where his wonderful team of 35 focuses on personal training, massage therapy, Pilates, yoga, sports performance training and nutrition to help transform the bodies, minds and spirits of a broad clientele.  Todd trains dozens of NFL and MLB athletes, including 2010 Super Bowl XLIV Champion and MVP Drew Brees.  He is the head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council, serves on the Gatorade G-Fit Team, and is a featured presenter on the Perform Better educational circuit.  He is a two-time Trainer of the Year (IDEA & ACE).  Additionally, Todd provides motivational talks and programs to companies and conferences worldwide.

Men’s Health recently named his gym, Fitness Quest 10, one of the Top 10 Gyms in the US.  Todd has appeared on 60 Minutes, ESPN, NFL Network and has been featured in Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Business Week, Prevention, ESPN the Magazine, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, Stack Magazine, Self, Shape, Fitness, the NY Times and Washington Post.  Todd has authored 35 DVDs on strength and conditioning, functional fitness, massage/bodywork and business/personal growth.

His new book, The IMPACT! Body Plan debuted in September 2010 and is a 10 Week program designed to create world-class fitness and life performance.  You can sign up for Todd’s FREE award-winning Ezine newsletter, the TD TIMES, at www.FitnessQuest10.com or www.ToddDurkin.com.

Inspire Millions

Americans are no longer chubby, portly, or overweight.  We are corpulent, obese, and rotund.  We don’t move like humans are supposed to move.  We don’t eat like humans are supposed to eat.  We are not just merely dying from this plight, we are suffering.   What would happen to a Cheetah if we fed it Cheetos and made it sit idle?  It would get sick, it would get depressed, it would develop pain and it would die.  Why? Because Cheetos are not what Cheetahs are supposed to eat, and sitting idle is not what cheetahs are supposed to do.  As cruel as the above treatment may seem to an animal, many Americans live, embrace, and defend their “right” to this scenario.  After all, there is a robust, nearly unchallenged industrial machine to support it. Unchallenged, until now.

This is a call to action.   A much higher calling than sculpting a six-pack, toning thighs, selling gym memberships or slinging miracle supplements.    It’s a call for our society to lift each other up off the couch and move.  It is a call to educate each other to eat food instead of chemicals.  It is a call to INSPIRE MILLIONS to stop suffering and live like humans are designed to live.

You don’t have to be a personal trainer, life coach, or physician to grab a loved-one’s hand and say “let’s go for a walk”.  How do you know if you are walking fast and far enough?  When someone no longer needs to pull you off the couch to go for a walk.  You don’t have to be a dietician, nutritionist, or chef to select food that is actually “food” and not merely a chemically-induced taste.  How do you know what “real food” is?  The ingredients list should be the food itself.  For meat, well, if you know what the animal’s name was prior to being on your plate, it’s probably safe to eat.

We don’t have to be hot, ripped, toned, shredded, sculpted, or beautiful.  We need men, women, and children to get off the couch, stop eating poison, and get out of pain.  Everyone can contribute.  Do something today, right now to change the way you live or INSPIRE someone else to do the same.  It may not happen overnight, it may take time.  Person by person, household by household, city by city, state by state.  Working together, we can stand up and INSPIRE MILLIONS to be happy, healthy and pain free.  After all, that’s how humans are supposed to live.

We at Fitness Quest 10 are going to contribute to the cause by posting a variety of “2 minute challenges” on our Facebook page.  These challenges may include short workouts, flexibility, quick meals, motivation, and a variety of other aspects of wellness.  Two minutes may be all it takes to start a chain reaction to change someone’s life.  Once these challenges receive 5,000 views on Youtube, or 100 total “likes” on Fitness Quest 10, Brettklika.com, and Underground Wellness through Facebook, we will post another 2 minute challenge.  Pass it on to someone you think you can help change their life!

Brett Klika C.S.C.S., Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10, is a human performance specialist, motivator and educator. A graduate from Oregon State University, Brett has directed sport camps all over the nation. While in college, amidst playing club soccer and lacrosse, Brett worked with the strength and conditioning department for 3 years. A year long resident sports performance internship at the Olympic Training Center brought Brett to San Diego. Brett’s work with the Olympic athletes, as well as local high school athletes nurtured a passion for creating excellence in individuals.