To use stable or unstable exercises, that’s the question

Unstable surface training (UST), also referred to as stability training (ST), has gained tremendous popularity in the last several years. Unfortunately, for the average person just trying to improve themselves physically, the popularity of stability training has exploded into the mainstream. Why do I think this explosion in popularity is unfortunate? Because, like any industry, the fitness industry is full of people trying to make a buck anyway they can.

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The fitness industry preys upon people’s insecurities; the fitness industry is always looking for something new because of the ease at which they can hook consumers with an “easier”, “faster” way to look better. UST is not popular because it is more efficacious than traditional training, but because of a tremendous media campaign. They know there’s huge money in marketing a piece of equipment and/or workout program, especially when it’s backed by pseudo-scientific studies.

Some UST device advertiser’s claim their product is the key to achieving a strong, fit, balanced, functional body. They claim that no longer does one need to lift weights, push them self to get stronger, or even go to a gym. Just use an advertised device, like the Bosu ball, with a few dumbbells or just body weight, and viola! You will magically become fit. They are preying on people’s ignorance, and in many cases, inherent laziness.

Truth be told, UST has only proven its usefulness in the rehab setting and only with respect to ankle stability to any degree. There is no research to support the efficacy of UST in healthy people over traditional training. Several studies report that training on an unstable surface offers no increase in the electromyography (EMG) of the muscles involved in core training and no increase in athletic performance.

UST exercises have been shown to adversely affect movement velocity and range of motion when performing traditional ground based exercises like the squat. Hence the ability to exert force, power or move at high velocity is hampered during UST. This is simply because the loads needed to perform the exercises are too light to produce a significant adaptive response. These results are not conducive to building strength, muscle or explosiveness.

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2013 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gear

Here’s a grab bag of Father’s Day gift ideas that fit the “gear” category, from shoes and shirts to belts and bags, and even products to get him into shape. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our annual gift guide.

Golf by James Warren

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For the dad who loves to golf, or just likes to wear golf shirts, check out Golf by James Warren, a clothing collection that utilizes Europe’s best fabrics with a distinctive American style. We tried out the polo shirts and were impressed. The shirts are made in Italy using 100% cotton and the traditional designs are complimented by very distinctive features that set them apart from your traditional polo shirt. Check out the website for more shirts, sweaters and jackets that “defy traditional boundaries.”

Premium belts and more from Maono

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MAONO.com is on a mission to create beautiful, high-quality clothing and then selling online to remove the middle man and make their products more affordable. We checked out a black leather belt featuring a rectangular pin buckle that would make for a great gift and offers a classic and elegant design that’s perfect for everyday use. The belt is made in Italy with impeccable craftsmanship, and it offers a great example of the quality and design of this brand. If you’re looking for gifts like accessories or clothing that are classic but stylish, and if you want to stay within your budget, then you should definitely check out MAONO.com.

Tommy Bahama hybrid swim trunks

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These hybrid swim trunks from Tommy Bahama are perfect for dads who love boating or the water in general. The Hybrid of Paradise 11″ Swim Trunks are unique because you can wear them as swim trunks or regular shorts. They look like a cross between regular clothe shorts and a bathing suit, but the cotton/polyester blended material is very comfortable while also being appropriate for the water. All of the interior pockets are mesh like you would find in a bathing suit, but it has the standard external pockets you would expect from a pair of cargo shorts. The only surprise is that it doesn’t have the mesh underwear portion you would expect from a bathing suit, so that makes them look even more like shorts along with the zipper in the front. The shorts also come in a wide variety of colors. We liked the royal blue pair we had with the yellow logo on the side. With the quick dry fabric these shorts are perfect for boating and beach outings, particularly when you’ll be going back and forth between the water and the bar!

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Product Review: Force Factor Pre-Workout

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Nitric oxide (NO) supplements have been all the rage for several years now, and there seems to be a neverending amount of anecdotal data claiming their efficacy. However, because I have wasted so much money over the years trying different products with claims of building muscle, I am skeptical to say the least.

NO is a very powerful chemical that, among many functions, regulates blood flow. NO dilates blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and allows blood to flow more freely. It’s the same substance that allows Viagra to do its work. It’s this increase in blood flow that has lead many in the supplement industry to infer a better delivery of nutrients to muscle cells, which they equate to more muscle. That is one hell of a stretch and just doesn’t hold water.

It may be surprising to many that the NO supplements of today are the same as the arginine products of the ’80s; they’re just marketing them differently. Unfortunately for NO proponents, the level of arginine in the blood has little to do with NO production, and therefore has nothing to do with increasing blood flow. If we could increase NO production through diet or supplements, because of the decrease in blood pressure that occurs with higher NO levels, we would have had reports of lower blood pressure and syncope. These types of reports have not occurred, nor have they been found in research.

For the last 20 years, I’ve made it my mission to find real evidence of what works and what doesn’t. NO products are no exception. I’ve searched and searched, but have not been able to find one study that shows supplementing with an oral form of L-arginine like alpha-ketoglutarate, alpha-ketoisocaproate or L-arginine monohydrate boosts (NO) levels which causes vasodilatation. The studies that do show an increased production of NO while supplementing with L-arginine administered the amino acid through the parenteral route or Intravenously (IV). Unfortunately for NO marketers, the amounts used through IV cannot be duplicated orally, because even a fraction of these levels causes extreme gastrointestinal distress.

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5 Questions with Hollywood Stuntman/Dove Men + Care Spokesman Bobby Holland Hanton‏

Bobby Holland Hanton is the Michael Jordan of his profession. Hollywood’s top stunt double, Holland Hanton has doubled as Christian Bale (in “The Dark Knight Rises”), Daniel Craig (in “Skyfall”), Ryan Reynolds (in “Green Lantern”), and he recently filmed “Thor: The Dark World” with Chris Hemsworth. Bullz-Eye got to ask the latest spokesman for Dove’s Men + Care line of products for men five questions about his career.

Bullz-Eye: Of all the Hollywood studs you’ve served as a stuntman/body double for, who is the one you would most like to be for an entire week and why?

Bobby Holland Hanton: Between Batman, James Bond and Thor, this is an extremely difficult question. I would have to say Batman and Bond are equally as intriguing, with Thor being a close second. Batman is a superhero, who fights crime behind a mask and no one knows who he is – that is pretty cool. Whereas Bond is more realistic, he’s a slick and suave hero that everyone can see and root for. On Thor, Chris Hemsworth looked great and is a character that carries a heavy hammer — he is always particularly well-groomed and keeps his face fresh.

BE: What did you want to be when you were 10 years old? And how did you become a stunt double?

BHH: When I was 10 I wanted to be Batman, Thor and James Bond. No, I’m only kidding. I wanted to be a professional soccer player. Growing up, I followed in my older sister’s footsteps and took on gymnastics. I loved the physicality of the sport and I loved to train. However, soccer was always my passion, and then I found myself just enjoying the regimented training and working out.

BE: What’s the most gruesome injury you’ve suffered as a result of being in your profession?

BHH: I suffered a bad back injury while filming “Green Lantern.” I performed four back-focused stunts in a short period of time, which took a lot of hits to my back over and over. It took its toll after a while, and I found out ultimately that I had sciatic nerve damage. I needed to have two operations on my back, one of which was an emergency surgery, and it took about 9 months to regain full strength. I hope I can say that will always be the worst injury I’ve ever suffered.

BE: What do you do to stay in shape? What type of training do you do, what do you eat and how frequently?

BHH: It is all dependent on who I am doubling. With Chris Hemsworth in “Thor,” I was on a very strict workout plan to gain the strength and muscle. Whereas for Daniel Craig, who is slimmer, I did not work out as often, and focused on my diet and nutrition plan. I have found that between movies it has been best to maintain a middle ground, and I have been blessed to have the ability to change body types rather easily; I thank genetics, I guess. I believe in a strict regimen all day, every day in order to keep workouts and nutrition intact. I wake up every morning and take a shower before I start my day. I am a huge fan of products like the Dove Men+Care Aqua Impact body wash, because it prevents me from smelling bad on set after performing stunts all day, which would be embarrassing in the company of so many movie stars. I also make sure I eat regular portions throughout the day, every two hours, balancing high protein, high carbohydrates and high fats.

BE: Was there a movie star you’ve met who left you completely start struck? Who is the hottest female celebrity you’ve ever seen in person?

BHH: I have been fortunate to work with some of the greatest stars of all time. I would say Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins and Gary Oldman struck me the most. Chris Nolan is a spectacular director, and I loved working with him on “Batman”. In terms of the hottest female celebrity I have seen, I would go with Emily Blunt or Rachael McAdams — they are gorgeous!

Check out the full line of Dove Men + Care products at www.dovemencare.com.

  

Exercises you haven’t done but probably should

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Ask anyone who’s been in the iron game that’s had any type of success and they’ll tell you, “stick to the basics and don’t try and reinvent the wheel.” I couldn’t agree more from a coach/competitor stand point. However, one needs to throw a wrench in their workouts in order to prevent or break through plateaus. Variation is a universal principle that, when applied correctly, can yield incredible results.

One of the most obvious and easiest ways to add variation is to incorporate different exercises to one’s program. The following is a list of exercises I have rarely seen used, but recommend in this first installment.

Smith machine ladder push-ups

A chest exercise most often used as a finishing exercise can be used toward the beginning of your program with the proper adjustments. For those who can perform push-ups easily and require more resistance, this can be accomplished by adding chains around your neck, putting a box or bench under your feet, and/or using tempo. Conversely, if performing push-ups is difficult, especially toward the end of the workout, start at a higher level on the smith machine.

One set is going to consist of three subsets, which essentially are drop sets. The higher you place the bar the lighter the load.

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Start the exercise in a position where positive failure is achieved between eight and 12 reps. Notice the straight line from the shoulders to the hips to the feet. Try to maintain this position as much as possible throughout the exercise.

Raise the bar one level, and perform the second part of the set. The goal is to achieve six to eight reps to positive failure. If the load is too heavy to achieve the desired reps, go up two levels the next time.

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