Hookgrip is a method used to grip onto a barbell, which is generally utilised by Olympic weightlifters in order to improve their grip strength. This grip requires you to wrap your thumb around the bar, and then wrap your index and middle fingers over your thumb in order to secure the grip. This is opposed to a normal grip, where the index and middle fingers wrap beside, not on top of, the thumb.
Advantages to Hookgrip
Should I Try It?
Learning to hookgrip is definitely worth it in the long run, particularly if you are somewhat serious about your weightlifting. While it can be difficult to learn and uncomfortable at first, it offers greats benefits for your future workouts and max lifts.
In today’s workaholic society we are getting less and less sleep. Adults should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night, yet most people get closer to 6-7 hours or less. Quality, restful sleep is just as important as a healthy diet and regular exercise, but sometimes it’s much harder to achieve. You might be getting yourself to bed earlier, but when your head hits the pillow your mind is still buzzing from the day. Read our tips below to help you drift off.
1. Guided Meditation (Yoga) and Relaxation Exercises
A guided meditation session is a great way to learn to unwind and relax after a long and stressful day. Apps like HeadSpace offer guided meditation programs, which are great for beginners who do not know where to start. Some Fitbit watches provide a guided breathing relaxation setting, which can help you to slow your heart rate and relax. Does your gym run a yoga class? Try it. Even the tougher variations of Yoga re meditative and always remember, just because you can do a yoga pose or are not flexible, doesn't mean you shouldn't attend and improve and learn!
If you do not have access to guided breathing or meditation sessions, try inhaling for a count of 5, holding your breath for a count of 5, and exhaling for a count of 5. While doing this, aim to breathe deeply and focus on trying to breathe in your belly rather than shallow breaths in your chest.
Another method you can use is to contract and relax your muscles while you lie in bed. Starting from your toes, contract single groups of muscles and hold the contraction for about 5 seconds. Repeat this 3 or 4 times on each muscle group, slowly working your way up to your shoulders and neck. As you relax your muscles, you should feel heavier in each muscle group, and as a result, you feel more tired.
2. Avoiding Stimulants After Midday
This tip is fairly obvious, but something we often tend to forget about. If you find that you are unable to sleep at night and you don’t really know why you may be consuming too much caffeine late in the day. Your body can continue to feel the effects of caffeine for 4-6 hours after you consume it. Caffeine can be hidden in things like your pre-workout supplements, which means if you take it before your workout at 6pm you will still have caffeine in your system until late into the night.
Try and limit your caffeine consumption to before midday and see whether this helps you sleep better.
3. Avoid Bright Lights and Electronics
Your circadian rhythm is a biological clock which tells your body when to be awake and when to sleep. Bright lights, especially the blue light emitted from electronics, can impact your melatonin levels which will disturb your natural circadian rhythm. The lights will trick your body into thinking it needs to be awake late at night and suppress the release of melatonin, causing you to struggle to sleep even after you’ve turned out the lights.
Aim to stay off electronic devices such as your phone, iPad, computer, or TV for at least an hour before bed time, and if possible dim your lights. Some devices have a blue light filter which can be beneficial if you need to use your devices late at night.
Setting a strong night time routine can help you relax and settle in at night. Your routine should start at a similar time each night, and may involve a warm shower or bath, reading a book with dimmed lights, and then sleeping after half an hour. Find whatever routine works for you, and try to stick to it each night in order to have an easier time falling asleep. Your circadian rhythm (yes, that biological clock!) will begin to adapt to this schedule, meaning you will eventually find yourself getting tired at a regular time each night.
5. Distraction and White Noise
Sometimes you just simply can’t follow the tips above. Maybe you had to stay back at work, or met with a friend for coffee in the afternoon. Or maybe your mind is just buzzing from the day and you can’t switch off and relax.
I personally find rain noises (particularly storm noises) relax me and help drown out any thoughts that are keeping me awake. White noise or classical music may also work to relax you and allow you to stop stressing. There are many apps you can download, and some even come with timers which will turn off the sounds after a certain time period.
Sometimes it can be stressful when you’re trying to sleep but you can’t, and you know you have to wake up in 7 hours, now 6 hours and 59 minutes, 6 hours and 58 minutes… Distraction methods such as recalling some of your favourite memories or holidays, your favourite movie, or even counting sheep (as corny as it sounds, it can work), may help to take your mind off the fact that you need to be sleeping and help you drift off.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything and still can’t sleep, it might be time to see a health professional. A doctor will be able to work out whether there is a medical condition underlying your insomnia and go through treatment options or referrals which will work for you.
Completing workouts each week is hard enough without having a huge rip or blister that screams every time you touch a bar. It affects your performance, your results and does not allow for an accurate representation of your fitness to be shown. We will start with some simple hand care protocols and finish up with a detailed, tried and tested method for taping your hands to avoid rips, tears and blisters!
Important hand care basics:
Below is a step by step method we recommend using this open to protect those hands! With some luck and proper hand care, hygiene lets make this open a rip-free one!
STEP 1: You will need a pair of scissors and a roll of athletic tape. The best option for tape is a rigid sports tape. Preferably not rock tape of kinetic tape as they are too thin (and cost way to much to use for this application)
STEP 2: Cut six (6) even long strips of the tape that stretch from the tip of your middle finger to your wrist.
STEP 3: Stick four(4) of the strips together so that the adhesive sides are touching. Once completed NO part of the four strips should have an adhesive or sticky side showing. Try to line the strips up as evenly as possible and press them together firmly so no bubbles are present.
STEP 4: Stick the remaining two(2) strips either side of the existing two non-adhesive lengths made in step 3. These strips are used to stick the two pieces together on either side. After this step you should be left with one thick hand grip
STEP 4: Stick the remaining two(2) strips either side of the existing two non-adhesive lengths made in step 3. These strips are used to stick the two pieces together on either side. After this step you should be left with one thick hand grip.
STEP 5: Using the scissors cut two holes at one end of the fabricated strip. These holes should be spaced so that no bunching will occur between the index and middle finger when placed on the hand. Ensure enough space is left at the end of the tape so the finger holes do not rip all the way through when working out. The holes should fit your index and middle fingers loosely.
STEP 6: Slide your index and middle fingers through the slots and pull the handgrip down towards your wrist. At this stage, you can either use your wrist wrap (as pictured) to fasten the hand grip to your wrist or you can simply use another length of the athletic tape to anchor the grip around your wrist.
The grips can be reused. To do so, ensure they are pressed out flat to dry after a workout. The grips may be chalked as you would normally chalk your hands, remember, less is more!
Ensure the grips aren’t secured too tightly so full range of motion can be achieved at the wrist.
It can be difficult to find the motivation to train during winter. Not only is it often dark and cold, but you’ll often be wearing thick, concealing clothing. No one will see if you put on a few kilos right?
Stopping your training during winter means you have to fight so much harder to get back to your desired body shape and fitness in preparation for summer. It’s much easier to maintain a healthy routine than to try and break bad habits. Additionally, training helps to keep you both physically and mentally healthy, which is a year-long priority!
So how can you keep yourself motivated and maintain your training throughout winter? Read on to find out!
Find a Motivating Friend Group
We’re heavily influenced by the people we associate with in everyday life. That’s why it’s important to find the right group of people to train with. A friend group will help motivate you on days when you’re struggling to find the motivation to train and you can hold each other accountable to a regular training schedule. It also means you can look forward to having some fun and a good laugh when you get to train together! If you prefer a more personalised approach, a personal trainer can help you keep motivated and working towards your goals during the colder months.
Finding the right motivation for you to keep you accountable to your training during winter will help you stay consistent in working towards your goals.
Prep Your Gear the Night Before
Try organising your clothes and gym bag the night before your workout. If you train in the morning you could try sleeping in your gym clothes, meaning you don’t need to motivate yourself to change in the cold. If you train at night, having your gear prepared and with you at work or university means you can head straight to the gym after you’re done. If you have to go searching around for your gym gear or have to head home before you go to the gym, you’re less likely to get out the door and get a training session in.
By having all your gear prepared and ready to go, you have one less excuse holding you back from your training.
Brighten Up Your Morning
Waking up on a dark early morning can be demotivating, and it becomes very easy to decide you’re too tired to train. There are alarm clocks which are designed to mimic a sunrise by gradually increasing their brightness as it gets closer to your pre-set wake up time. This way you don’t need to shock your body by flicking on your bright lights, and you are able to wake up gradually as if the sun is rising. Some smart lightbulbs can be programmed to perform a similar feature. These can usually be installed in your existing light fixtures and lamps, and controlled via your smartphone.
By waking up in a brighter environment, you can make it less of a struggle to get yourself out of bed and into the gym.
Reshape Your Warm Up
Wearing multiple, thin layers to the gym is also a handy tip. By doing this, you can arrive at the gym in comfort, but gradually remove the layers as you warm up. This way you can arrive at the gym nice and warm, but not have to sweat it out in thicker winter clothing during your actual workout.
It doesn’t need to be stated that it gets cold in winter. Because of this, you may find that you feel stiffer than usual. Your muscles become stiffer, and blood flow is reduced in the extremities to help preserve your core body temperature. Try warming up for a bit longer, and increasing your mobility time in winter. This will help increase your blood flow to your muscles and increase the elasticity in your muscles. Not only will this prepare you physically and mentally for the workout, but also helps prevent any unnecessary injuries you may get from an incomplete warm up.
Just Do It!
Training during winter can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be. Equip yourself with the right tools and mindset to ensure you get the most out of your training during the colder months. Keep consistent with your training and continue to work towards your goals!
One of the biggest challenges people deal with when following a training program is staying motivated in its entirety.
Maybe you’ve experienced this before…
The first couple of weeks you’re excited about a new program, but then you hit a rut.
It’s not as “fun” as it was at first.
Going to the gym several days a week grows monotonous.
The novelty wears off and you miss a day, then you miss two days, and then you’re off the rails.
Worst-case scenario, you drop out of the program entirely and you’re back at square one, wondering what you need to do to stay motivated, to keep that fire in your belly, so you can stay consistent and reach your goals the next time you start a training program.
While we can deliver you the absolute best training, nutrition plans and support we can’t fill you with the motivation required to be dedicated to the journey every single day.
There are times when, for whatever reason, the road ahead seems treacherous.
So, let’s tackle the issue of motivation head-on, with real-world tools and strategies you can use to maintain your focus and stay on track.
Here are my top six tips for staying motivated, no matter what has you down:
Join a Group
The Internet offers a convenient way for like-minded people to come together for discussion and support in pursuit of a common goal. Social media communities are great ways to talk with other people around the world about training and nutrition. And not just talk, but celebrate accomplishments, share in the struggles, and support one another through it all.
No matter what program you’re following, you’ll achieve far better results when you frequently discuss your fitness goals and progress (or even lack thereof!) with others, in person or online.
Motivation Tip: Don’t just join a community, stay active on it. The most active users get the best results.
Being part of an online community, following a challenge, and engaging frequently (daily, weekly) with others doing the challenge, is about as active as you can get. Those who are deeply engaged will see better before-and-after results. Coincidence? I think not!
The more you know, the better your results. Understanding how you’re getting the results you’re seeing makes for great gym motivation.
Motivation Tip: Never stop learning. Thanks to the digital age, it’s now easier than ever to find information on training and nutrition.
If you know it, share it. That’s what I call paying it forward.
Few things are as gratifying as knowing that some tip or piece of advice—whether it pertains to stance, grip, food choices, or something as simple as encouragement—helped someone advance toward their goal. That sense of pride and satisfaction from helping a fellow friend can be a big motivator to get you to the gym and crush it.
Motivation Tip: There’s a fine line between being helpful and being annoying. Don’t be that person who feels the need to correct every other gym member’s form. Share the knowledge you’ve gained with people you think will be receptive. Start with friends, family, and online acquaintances. Don’t approach strangers, in person or online, until you’ve gained some respect and recognition in a particular setting that warrants you offering your two cents.
No matter how fit, lean, fast and muscular any of us are, we’re always trying to improve upon it. Some call that OCD. We call it dedication.
Knowing the sacrifice that others made to get into great shape helps us realise we can make the same necessary sacrifices to reach our own lofty goals.
Motivation Tip: Don’t let the admiration of others people’s physiques backfire and make you feel worse about yourself. We all travel different paths, and we all have different genetics and body types.
Also, take age into consideration.
Let other people’s physiques provide inspiration, not discouragement. “Success leaves clues,” as they say. If you admire someone who’s extremely fit, find out what he or she did to get so fit, and then incorporate that into your own program and lifestyle.
Having good music that you look forward to can help you stay motivated and get to the gym. Once at the gym, that music can help you have a better workout.
Research confirms this! A study presented at the National Strength and Conditioning Association, using recreational exercisers as subjects, highlighted that those who were able to listen to their preferred playlist completed better.
Motivation Tip: Workout to loud high tempo music - sometimes tell the coach what you like to listen to.
Often in life, the things that disappoint us, upset us, and depress us are silly things that add up and make us want to give in and give up. The stresses of life can derail the fitness plan that was supposed to help derail the stress to begin with.
Sounds ridiculous, right? Sometimes we just need to get over ourselves. There are plenty of people struggling with much bigger problems, so try to put yours into perspective.
Motivation Tip: Check yourself frequently. Are your worries and anxieties getting the best of you? Are you losing perspective and not being grateful for what you have?
Surround yourself with others who will also help to keep you in check and hold you accountable. Real friends will tell you what you need to hear when you need to hear it. Have an open mind and hear them out.
We all know that feeling, where you wake up the day after a big workout and your muscles feel so sore. But did you know there are some methods you can use to help prevent that ‘exercise hangover’?
🏋🏻♀️ Compression Garments (e.g. skins)
You can wear these in the evening and even to bed, just make sure they’re not too tight! Research has shown that compression garments may improve joint awareness, local blood flow, waste product removal, improve running economy, reduce swelling, reduce muscle oscillation, and decrease post-exercise muscle performance whilst appear to have no negative impact on performance.
🛁 Contrast Therapy (e.g. hot and cold baths)
This can be done immediately post workout by turning the shower from hot to cold every minute or so. The change in temperature creates a contraction and relaxation of your muscles which results in a pump-like action in your blood vessels. Because of this pumping action, metabolic waste products produced during exercise and can cause DOMS can be flushed out of your muscles and back into the bloodstream to be broken down.
Now this can either be the same as point 2 or can be just cold or just hot. This doesn’t mean sub zero temperatures. Cold therapy should be between the range of 12-15 degrees for 6 minutes and hot between 35-40 degrees. The cold water constricts blood vessels and decreases metabolic activity, which reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. Once the skin is no longer in contact with the cold source, the underlying tissues warm up, causing a return of faster blood flow, which helps waste removal much like contrast therapy. The hot therapy increase blood flow to the muscles with micro-tears which occur when we train, this allows for nutrients and recovery cells to act.
Holding stretches post workout for 1-2 minutes can reduce DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness) for the days to come. Rather than just leaving right after class, stay back and stretch for 5 mins. This will save you much muscular pain in the days to come and allow you to continue to turn up and perform.
🏊🏻♂️ Active recovery
Jump on the Air-dyne, rower, swimming, go for a slow jog or walk to reduce your high heart rate slowly rather than a rapid decline. This allows your body to flush out waste and lactic acid which create muscle soreness.
Now the cheapest massage is foam rolling but if you happen to have spare time and $ a sport massage allows the muscle fibres and tissue to flush waste out and also increases blood flow for muscles to recover.
A diet which has a wide variety of foods with optimal macro and micronutrients allows for a more productive body. Everyone is different and each persons body reacts differently so “optimal protocol” should be individualised through trial and error.
😴 My favourite is sleep
The better your sleep quality the better you will recover. Poor sleep doesn’t allow the body to do its job. Power naps from 20mins-1hr during the day between 12pm-3pm are also beneficial for mind and body to recover from strenuous activity. If you work in an office ask the boss for a power nap break! If they give out smoko’s every hour for 5 mins then a short 20 min break should not be frowned upon.
If you have any methods I haven’t covered which you have tried and tested please share with the group in the comments below. I am happy for healthy discussion but will give you feedback if I believe it isn’t a great method for the long term.
PS. Things to avoid to improve recovery is Alcohol and a bad diet
You may have heard that fat should be avoided when trying to lose weight. However, eating fat itself does not necessarily cause you to immediately pile on weight.
Why do we gain weight?
Losing weight relies on the balance of calories in (the food you eat) and calories out (the energy you burn through metabolism or exercise). A calorie is simply a unit of energy, and your body needs energy to be able to function. If your body doesn’t use all the energy you put in it, it will store the excess energy to be used later when you are in an energy or calorie deficit. Some excess calories are stored as glycogen in the muscle or liver, however once these are full you will store excess energy as fat. To put it simply, consuming more calories than you burn will cause you to gain weight, consuming less calories than you burn will cause you to lose weight.
Energy is consumed in three main forms: carbohydrates, protein, or fat, with fat being the most calorie dense. Consuming 1 gram of fat is equal to 9 calories, while 1 gram of carbohydrate or protein only contains 4 calories.
Eating lots of fat COULD make you fat, but only because you are consuming a large amount of calories. You would also likely gain weight if you ate the same number of calories in carbohydrates or protein, as you are in a calorie surplus.
Why is fat important?
Fat is an important macronutrient necessary for your body to function normally. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat soluble, meaning you need to eat fat to help these vitamins absorb into the body. If an individual’s fat intake is too low, they will be deficient in these vitamins. Deficiency in these vitamins can lead to issues with eyesight, skin problems, and cognitive problems.
Fat provides satiety, which is the feeling of being full. Lower fat foods may actually cause individuals to over eat as they do not feel full, leading them to consume more calories than they would have if they had eaten a food containing fats.
Additionally, fat is an important ingredient in the production of oestrogen and other hormones. A lower than recommended intake can negatively impact the hormonal balance and cycle in women, leading to larger health issues.
There’s bad fats and good fats?
There are different kinds of fats, and some are better for you than others. Unsaturated fats, when eaten in moderation, can help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health and are often described as ‘good fats’. An example of an unsaturated fat that you may know is omega-3 fatty acids, the kind that is commonly found in fatty fish and walnuts. Other examples of healthy fat sources include avocados, almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews.
Saturated fats, often simply called ‘bad fats’, are foods which should be consumed sparingly as they can negatively impact heart health and cholesterol levels. These fats can be found in meat (particularly fatty cuts), deep fried foods, and palm oil among other sources.
So will eating fat make me fat?
In short, no. Eating in a calorie surplus is what causes you to gain fat. Fat is an important macronutrient that keeps your body healthy! You should aim to reduce your intake of saturated fats, and eat unsaturated fats in moderation to keep your body functioning well.
The Four Stages of Skill Acquisition
Stage 1: Unconscious Incompetence
Unconscious incompetence is the first stage of skill acquisition. At this point, the athlete doesn’t know that they aren’t capable of the skill, and also does not value the performance of the skill. For example, the athlete is unable to perform a muscle up, and does not see how it could be beneficial to their development as an athlete.
One of the most important steps necessary to allow the athlete to move to stage 2 is to teach them the importance, relevance, or benefits of the skill. Until the athlete understands these, they will not dedicate the time and energy to improving their abilities in order to attain said skill.
Stage 2: Conscious Incompetence
During this stage, the athlete begins their skill acquisition journey. The athlete is a true beginner, understanding the relevance of the skill but they do not have the ability to perform the skill. Additionally, the athlete is interested in progressing further and developing the skill. For example, the athlete wants to learn how to do a muscle up but knows they currently do not possess the skills to do so, and in turn, they seek an experienced coach who can guide them in learning the muscle up.
One of the ways individuals can progress to the next stage of skill acquisition is under the guidance of an experienced coach. Without this external guidance, the athlete will find it difficult to gain competence in the skill.
Stage 3: Conscious Competence
This stage of skill acquisition is when the athlete is midway through their journey. The athlete is beginning to learn the skill and is now able to perform it successfully. As the name of this stage implies, the athlete is very conscious of their actions within the skill and will be unsuccessful if they are not focused
This stage is where practice is extremely necessary, especially conscious and focused practice. Through repetition, the athlete will be able to move to the fourth and final stage.
Stage 4: Unconscious Competence
The final stage of skill acquisition is where the skill has become somewhat automatic as if performing the skill is second nature. The athlete no longer has to think about how to perform the skill, they can simply execute it with less effort required. A benefit of this level of skill development is the athlete can now perform multiple tasks at the same time. This may involve performing a muscle up, and communicating with a team mate to let them know they should be prepared to start the next task.
One feature of this level of development is that it also needs to be maintained. Frequent practice of the skill is necessary to ensure it remains second nature to the athlete, otherwise, they may slip back into earlier stages.
A1 Complete 5 rounds of both A and B:
Row x 250
Rest while your partner rows
B1 Squat Therapy x 10reps
B2 Calf Raise Hold x 60s
Scale to calf raises x 15 if you cannot hold for 60s
You have 15 min to complete the work, else move on!
Front rack and squat baby!
5 X 3 @ 3312
complete 5 reps on harop curls
Hook feet under your partner or the stall bars and lower face to the ground maintaining a neutral spine
Complete 20min of:
C1 Rotational Bridge x 10 (5 each side)
C2 Duck Walk x 30m
C3 Bear walk x 60m
You must complete all 3 movements
Complete 2 rounds of:
Couch Stretch x 30s
Passive Pigeon x 30s
Calf Raises x 20reps
What are the benefits of foam rolling?
Foam rolling has recently increased in popularity within the athletic community, used as a method to aid in recovery as well as in preparation for a training session. It’s an inexpensive alternative to sports massage and can be used to sort out small niggles before they become big problems. But have you ever wondered what foam rolling actually does? How does it actually benefit your performance?
Reduction of DOMS
It is believed that foam rolling after a training session can help to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) experienced in the following days. Foam rolling helps to relieve one possible cause of DOMS, the inflammation and tightness in the connective tissue of the muscle. Massage by a foam roller can potentially promote improved blood flow to these areas as well as reduce tightness, thus attenuating potential pain. Indeed multiple studies have found that when compared to a control group, foam rolling reduced muscle pain and tenderness, with the benefits continuing as participants continued to foam roll daily for up to 48 hours post-exercise.
To help reduce any DOMS you may feel from your exercise session, aim to roll out the main muscle groups you used. If you can, continue to roll out each day following your session to continue to feel the benefits!
Effects on performance? Debatable!
It’s also believed that foam rolling before an exercise session can help to improve performance. When performed before a training session, foam rolling does not provide any benefit over other similar exercise preparation methods for athletic performance. However, when performed after a training session as a method of recovery, the results are both positive and negative. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why this may be the case, but as foam rolling has been found to reduce the severity of DOMS the lower muscle pain levels may allow athletes to achieve greater performance.
Another argument for the benefit of foam rolling on performance may actually stem from your ability to perform more sessions in a training week. As you experience less muscle pain and fatigue, you are more likely to attend the gym for another session, get another workout in, and therefore improve your performance.
There isn’t a single argument for or against foam rolling to benefit performance. Its effect will depend on whether it is performed before or after a training session, having both short and long-term effects.
To foam roll, or to not foam roll: that is the question…
In summary, the benefits of foam rolling are clear. Foam rolling can be used as a method to improve your recovery and ensure you are able to perform at your best in your next training session. However, it does not appear to be superior to any other method when used as a warm-up and mobility technique. If you don’t already, try it out after your next training session and see if you can feel the benefits!
Anurag Gill is the Head Coach at HYDRA Movement in Moonee Ponds.