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Do you use ELEIKO bars in your gym?

Seriously? Do you use ELEIKO bars in your gym? That is the question I was recently asked by a young man that was considering training with me. I turned to him and asked if his current coach was going to take him to the Olympics to represent Canada in the 70Kg weight class. He looked at me dumbfounded as if he didn’t understand the question, and then he replied in a rather aggressive manner, “that’s a weird question, of course not!” So then why do you need ELEIKO bars? I agree that yes the ELEIKO brand is by far the Rolls Royce of weightlifting when it comes to bars, and yes they are quite expensive per unit. But if you go through some historical data, you’ll read stories out of Russia, a powerhouse in the weightlifting community; had generally one, maybe two bars in their gyms and lifters used to race to win the bar. Yet they produced champions, and continued to for decades to come.

I’m writing this blog because the young man ended up at a Crossfit gym that had more ELEIKOS than I did, but no champions to name, and it was the third time that someone’s asked me this during my career, so I felt it was time to be cathartic and let the world know that there are a myriad of things that will get you to where you want, and equipment may be the last thing on the list if at all on there. Let’s start with genetics, and NO, it’s not necessarily just how strong you are rather a combination of flexibility in the right places, torso to leg height ratios. The femur to tibial lengths, acetabular depths help. And let me hit you with the fact we dare not speak of in this day and age; certain cultures have these assets in spades! I’m going to leave it there just in case this overly sensitive society decides to throw stones at me for discrimination.

Ok now let’s start at the years of training experience; I asked this young man how long was he at his gym? He said, he’d been training for roughly 2 years. I asked how many phases did he see in those “2 years,” and he had no idea what I meant by this. I asked what periodization was he working with, what sort of volume was he doing weekly, as well as tonnage, and again he looked at me like I had a third eye on my forehead. So from this part of the conversation you can ascertain that there was no rhyme or reason to his training, and sadly a major factor that was much more important than the quality of the bars they wanted to use was missing; programming… That’s right, how do you think you’re going to make it to even a city or local meet if you don’t have a proper program to follow! His age may have been in his low to mid twenties, but his training age was definitely less than 2 years, yet the ELEIKO bar was the priority? Hmmm…

Last but not least I asked him where he was being coached since it was obvious he didn’t work with a proper program. He replied, “we’re coaching each other”…  Wow! So to back track the why behind this blog, it’s mainly because I’ve had this conversation a few times now over the years with college students. They’ve heard of me from here and there and when training has come up, this is a subject they want to talk about, and it’s starting to get old. To be honest I’ve never had the privilege to take a young athlete to a competition but mainly because weightlifting isn’t the most popular sport. It offers no monetary future and in this country an athlete will usually pay his own way to go across Canada to hit up a provincial meet, let alone a national meet with the slightest hopes of representing our national team internationally.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve added weightlifting within my sport programs whether for rugby, football, hockey and soccer or any other power sports requiring this type of training. I find that the neural adaptations are fantastic when added to the right phase of their programs and have seen great success in most if not all of my past and present youth athletes. But just because they are presented in increments to the athlete of a different discipline, they still have to be taught well. These young men and women have looked to me for the right type of coaching and guidance, and NO they did not walk into any of my past spaces with their buddies to train each other; sorry, but there’s a Goodlife down the street! They’ve come for the programming, because it is the essential ingredient to the success of these athletes.

In the midst of our conversation I already knew that the kid wasn’t going to train with me, but I decided why leave him hanging to fail later and offered free advice for an hour of my time at no charge. I watched him warm up, and he asked me where he should start, I told him I’m not his coach so start where ever he usually did. When the work commenced I will only say that his snatch looked like he was humping a bar, the bar did not travel up his thighs and yes I just said hump. For those of you who don’t know what that means, let’s just say the bar bounced forward about a foot from his hips which means he’ll plateau sooner than later as far as lifting more is concerned. Also he deadlifted his cleans, That’s right, deadlifted, which means his feet positioning was all wrong, he didn’t pull or push his knees during bar travel, and he was one lift away from a lower back injury since there was no real extension in his body before the catch. Oh and, he couldn’t snatch or clean, rather the whole time he was doing powers of each, which means that in all the that time spent training, he never actually learned the snatch or the clean.

At the end of the session, I gave him the pointers he needed, sent him towards some great resources, Tommy Kono, Bob Takano, R.A.Roman, and of course Catalyst Athletics Olympic Weightlifting by Greg Everrett (the fullest resource around in my opinion), etc. I finished the hour with one last dig, “sorry kid, but the ELEIKO bar is the least of your worries.” I know I should be more professional, but I couldn’t help myself, and word around town is, he’s not doing much weightlifting anymore. I hope I wasn’t the deterrent, it wasn’t what I wanted but I was tired of the same ridiculous question. Let me be blunt, if you’re a shitty driver, a lamborghini won’t make you a better driver, it actually may kill you.

Therefore take your time, learn, and continue learning more after you’re done learning, as you’re never done learning. I personally went out of my way to get a coach to help me fix what I learned on videos first and trained for 3 months with him. I later took what I had learned and continued in my gym, trained day in and day out and played with programming so that I can then hone my skills incase a young athlete wanted to walk through my doors someday and ask me to specifically train him on the lifts. I pride myself on technique because it is the only way you will progress safely; the two key words here being progress and safely. Now to answer every other kid interested in training the lifts with me; I use YORK barbells from johnedeals.com right here in Calgary.

I support local business and I do it because in my opinion he carries the best bars. They are American made steel bars proven time and again for over 50 years. They come warranted by YORK Barbell, and they have great competitive prices against ELEIKO, ROGUE, WERKSAN, Pendlay, etc. I’ll take YORK Barbell over a run of the mill Chinese bar saturating the markets today, so that I can trust what my clients work with. Also, I run a business that is still growing organically, so every penny counts. So I chose the best bang for my buck and with it, I’ve produced great little college athletes that can go forward and succeed in their discipline possibly enough for some of them to get a nice ride in secondary education. And that my friends makes me very proud. The next time you ask a coach, Do you use ELEIKO bars in your gym? Ask yourself instead, where are you in your training? What do you aim to achieve from your training? And can the coach in front of you get you there safely? Anything else is a broke down Lamborghini that drives like shit. (excuse the expletives today)

 

Franco Gomez Do you use ELEIKO bars in your gym? Do you use ELEIKO bars in your gym? IMG 1102

Your Coach, Franco Gomez

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Are goals the basis for assessments? Or assessments the basis to your goals?

350755_Vitruvian-robot-tattoo_620 are goals the basis for assessments? or assessments the basis to your goals? Are goals the basis for assessments? Or assessments the basis to your goals? 350755 Vitruvian robot tattoo 620Recently this past weekend I was privy to doing my Functional Movement Screen (FMS) Certification Level 1 and 2, and being amongst my peers was not only fun but very inspirational. I looked around the room with such admiration at the variety of education and backgrounds all coming together to learn what it takes to help people move better, move often, and just simply move. As most of those who know me, know that my motto is ‘Performance is for Life.’ I always iterate that performance is not just at the elite level but rather in all walks of life! What people don’t understand in this day and age though is that performance at all levels will fail you if you’re not moving properly.

I want you to close your eyes and imagine yourself in a long white smock as you’re building your first Robot! Think of it’s brain as a computer and it’s body is a steel mechanism of moving parts. This robot is run electrically through the wiring from signals sent from the computer to move the robot’s joints and parts. The computer sends signals to keep the joints oiled and lubricated so that the robot learns to move freely with out obstructions, creaking, or the steel body binding. The computer learns motor patterns so that the robot can move efficiently, and effectively within its tasks. But more importantly, the robot now begins to understand movement as it’s artificial intelligence continues to learn all the patterns necessary to strive in this world.

Ok now take that robot which you just took the time to teach movement within the span of it’s short life, and sit him in a chair for 8 to 10 hours a day. Now you’re noticing the robot is a little slower at moving and there’s a little more steel sounding movements due to the oil in the joints drying up and collecting dust. The robot’s body isn’t looking very shiny anymore, and instead starting to collect the odd rusty specs of dust here and there. Also because of the lack of usage you find that for some reason the wiring from the computer isn’t firing signals fast enough or none at all and the steel in the joints are starting to bind a little so the robot isn’t moving very efficiently throughout it’s daily tasks.

You wonder and study the problems and you try rewiring, and you reset the computer and nothing seems to be happening; you’ve broken the robot… The human body spent the first half of it’s existence or more moving. As you’ve heard before we were hunters, gatherers, warriors, etc. and for this last third of human history we’ve become more and more sedentary. Our careers demand hours and hours of sitting around in front of the computer typing, mouse surfing, reading and all other wonderful things that our borne of our jobs. We are now that broken robot but the difference is we are slowly learning how to reset that computer, we are learning mobility drills, flexibility exercises, myofascial release, and so many other fantastic techniques that are putting us back together. Unfortunately in this society We just have to want to move more then wanting to move at any cost!

Lately we’ve been living in the world of low attention spans and high regard for social media and all the poisonous fruit that comes off that tree. Things like 30 day challenges that push the metabolic envelope to sickness, promises of beautiful bodies at the cost of your health and general mobility and let’s not get started on the nutrition fads; that’s a Blog in itself! I was once asked by a very important man from a company I was working at if I just took down people’s goals and built programs for them to work on. I just gave him a blank stare and told him that goals are secondary to me if the people can’t move properly. I need to see how they move and find out what weaknesses lie within and why. I need to see people’s asymmetries and distinguish what sort of corrective exercises need to be applied and how, I also need to assess their strengths so that I can formulate a few of their goals into a program as well to compliment the fixes needed to move better.

This is why I felt that the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) was an important tool to add to my arsenal, and this is why I still feel that those 7 simple movements in the screen can tell so much about a person and what lies within. This past weekend working with friends and colleagues just reaffirmed that I’m on the right path. Clients don’t need to lose 50lbs tomorrow, they need to lose 50lbs intelligently through a program that incorporates their strengths, considers their asymmetrical issues, compliments their weaknesses but still is able to challenge them physically. I always say, ‘do the exercise right and not only will it be harder but will also make you stronger.’ The fitness world is starting to follow in the elite footsteps and move towards function and specificity, and I believe that the the Functional Movement Screen is a great starting block in assessing a client, so that they can get to their goals in healthy fashion. Well friends, I hope I was able to open your eyes like mine were this past weekend; and now for my next assessment; stay functional (healthy) my friends…

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Oct

04th

Uncategorized

Simple Rules To Programming

images-1 Simple Rules To Programming Simple Rules To Programming images 1

Simple Rules To Programming

Interesting isn’t it but with the inundation of workout fads, DVD’s, magazines, phone apps and philosophies it’s hard to understand why it’s still not a simple task for the general population to figure out a program. Ok so everyone wants the secret to the six pack, or those elusive wonderfully tight glutes, and even a pair of great biceps!

The reality is that in this article you will get a little of what COGO Fitness + Performance’ training philosophy is and for those that want a hand learning a little about how to program on your own. Before I start I want to dispel a few things that people constantly use in training and where we at COGO differ. Generally people like to train body parts where we prefer to train movement. People train core with crunches, sit ups or V-twists we prefer planks, anti-rotational cable work, or hip dominated med ball work as a few examples. The reason we stay away from specific body part training is because the human body doesn’t move in one plane rather many planes of motion. Also to add insult to injury (no pun intended) working one body part at a time generally causes imbalances in muscles and joints that lead to overuse injuries such as tendonitis, crepitus, impingements or joint ruptures.

Ok ladies and gentlemen, here are a few rules we use at COGO Fitness + Performance to program for you, but more so influenced by how a body moves, and the technique necessary for this movement:

1. Big muscles before small muscles, for example back, chest, or legs come before your biceps, triceps, or calves
2. Joint mobility/stability (depending on the joint), core stability and muscular strength and flexibility, which means full range of motion in all movements.
3. CORE, CORE, CORE, CORE and stop doing CRUNCHES!!!
4. Hip hinge movements such as squats, deadlifts, reverse lunges, etc.
5. Knee stability such as a split squat
6. Vertical push or pull such as shoulder press, single arm kettlebell press, pull ups, or different pull down variations.
7. Horizontal push and pull, like a bench press, or cable row
8. All upper body push/pull variations vertical or horizontal must be led with a scapular retraction or in layman terms, squeeze those shoulder blades low.

Well there you have it, turn some of those workouts into a superset, and you now know our secrets, or do you? the hard truth is there’s obviously more to this depending on mobility issues, sport specifics, or simply what your goals are that you want to achieve. In the mean time I hope that this might be a good start to learning how to program, rather than running your old high school program for the guys or being so confused in the gym that you run to the nearest Zumba class for the ladies. We at COGO Fitness want you to ask as many questions as you can because the more we teach the more education you’ll want; we don’t benefit from keeping secrets rather we benefit from sharing what we know. Remember that performance is for life and in the mean time;

Stay healthy my friends…

Franco Gomez

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