Get Strong

Technology Age And Coaching

The semispinalis capitis is a posterior neck muscle with a long moment arm that functions as a main head and neck extensor. Acting unilaterally the semispinalis capitis rotates the neck to the opposite side. When we sit at our laptop computer or gaze at our cell phones there is lower activity in this muscle due to forward head posture. Over time as this flexed position persists we lose power and thickness in this important extensor and rotator. 

Forward head posture is not only a cause of muscular weakness but is associated with headaches, carpel tunnel syndrome, balance, neck range of motion, shoulder pain, chronic nonspecific neck pain and more.  It is estimated the average person checks their cell phone 35-75 per day and this does not include other electronic device use, which can mean from 2 to 5 hours per day we are in a 'text neck' position. To counteract this atrophy of tissue a neck extension movement should be commonplace in all exercise programs.



Neck Extension on the Pendulum 5 Way Head and Neck Machine






Topics: Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Neck training

Exercising The Neck

Having neck exercises as part of any workout routine is an important component of a fitness program. Push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, squats, lunges, planks are commonplace in any free-body routine but without inclusion of neck training overall development is incomplete.

An effective addition to a workout regime is to lay supine with the upper arm at a right angle to the side, the forearms parrallel to the neck and head as if making a goal post. The back of the hands must remain on the floor during the entire movement, this coaching point keeps the traps from assisting the head and neck during motion.

The exercise begins by raising the head off the floor and holding the movement for a determined count. The head then is moved to full flexion, held contracted and returned parrallel or slightly off the floor. It is recommended to hold each movement for 30 seconds at the beginning of and the top of each repetition to get the most out of the exercise. 



Topics: Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Neck training

Foam Rolling?

In the past year two articles were published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy about foam rolling and performance. Foam rolling is a self- administered technique often used to increase range of motion and is found to be part of many weight room and pre-activity rituals.


Researchers examined the effect of  foam rolling during the inter-set rest period during sets of knee extensions while training. In both studies when foam rolling the quadricep or foam rolling the hamstrings between exercise bouts, the process decreased maximum repetition performance compared to the control groups. Based on these results there are implications in foam rolling prescription for rehabilitation and for athletic populations. 


Foam rolling does effect the fascia surrounding the musculature - how, when and why this exercise tool is added to a program must be well thought out to Get Strong.




Topics: Strength Training, Muscular Strength

The Drive Sled

The Rogers Drive Sled will Get you Strong.

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Topics: Drive Sled

Sledding This Winter

The best sledding you can do this season is using the Rogers Drive Sled. A great way to enjoy the winter months and Get Strong. 

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Topics: Drive Sled

The Rules Of Manual Resistance

Important Manual Resistance Considerations:

  • When training manually all athletes must understand the rules of performing each repetition properly.
  • The athlete should not only be capable of performing an exercise but have the ability to teach, as well as administer the exercise to others. 
  • Once an athlete understands how to execute manual resistance it demands the same effort and motivation as if trying to improve on a bench, squat, clean or any other strength training exercise.
  • When training manually to progressively overload it requires a strength measurement to track progress.  Taking a circumference, body composition and other physiological variables allows the coach and athlete to monitor results.
  • Remember when training the head and neck manually athletes should have clean hands especially during flu season.
  • The rules of Manual Resistance must be reviewed regularly! 


The Rules of Manual Resistance

1). If you use Manual Resistance make sure you and your spotter know and understand the rules.

2). The Lifter begins each exercise with the goal of 6-8 reps. This requires pacing, in other words, the first repetition is not an all out effort. The effort must be increasing for every subsequent repetition.

2a). The Spotter should allow the lifter to perform each repetition at the same pace or speed of movement. This will require different amounts of pressure by the spotter during the rep (because of leverage). The lifter will feel as though the resistance is similar at all joint angles (the resistance will feel smooth).

3). The lowering phase of every repetition should be slower than the raising phase. A guide in learning manual resistance is raise the involved limbs up in 1-2 seconds or at a 1-2 count and lower them in 4-5 seconds or at a 4 or 5 count.

3a). The Spotter must make sure that they feel more force by the lifter during the lowering phase of each repetition.

4). The Lifter should continually contract their target musculature during the raising phase and the lowering phase of every repetition.

4a). The Spotter must give feedback to the lifter to ensure there is always a constant contraction on every repetition performed. The spotter should identify any relaxation or loss of force by the lifter during the movement.

5). The Lifter should pause with pressure against the spotter's resistance at the top of every movement. Pausing with pressure and no relaxation is extremely difficult.

5a). The Spotter should insure the lifter is applying force at the top of the movement. The spotter must feel if the lifter is relaxing. The spotter must ease slowly into the lowering phase of the exercise. Slowly easing into the lowering phase or decent is extremely important.

6). The exercise is completed when the athlete reaches momentary muscular failure.


Topics: Muscular Growth, Strength Training, Muscular Strength, Manual Resistance

Full Crimp Grip And More

Without question rock climbing requires strong hands. Because of the landscape to be traversed and the varying size of protuberances and crevices, it necessitates that our strength begins at the fingertips. The most common fingertip holds are defined as full and half crimp and are used regularly on the rock's shifting terrain. Full crimp involves the distal,  intermediate and  proximal, phalanges as well as the use of the thumb, whereas the half crimp is thumbless. These digital positions can be likened to the anatomical classifications of hook, pinch and precision grips.

When climbing routes become steeper much of one's body weight can no longer be supported by the legs - this begets participants to heavily rely upon the hand's fingers and the upper torso for  movement. Indoor climbing is a must for preparation for the outdoor season in maintaining the hands and finger's strength and dexterity. To enhance crimping power the added use of the Pendulum Gripper will bring crimping and one's ascending ability to an entirely new level.





Power Grip Pro  

The Pendulum Gripper Gets and Keeps the Hands Strong


Topics: Grip Cart, Grip training, Pendulum Gripper

Bench Press Intensity

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PLOS ONE is a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science. Unlike traditional peer-reviewed publications it does not use the perceived importance of a paper for acceptance or rejections. Instead it rigorously reviews how  experiments and analysis were done and the significance of the research is left up to the scientific community. Recently researchers published in PLOS One, "A systematic review of surface electromyography analyses of the bench press movement task."

The bench press is arguably the most popular lifting exercise. It is used in homes and gyms throughout the world, in athletic development for competition and as a standard criteria to measure upper body strength in individuals. The methodologies used to enhance development are complex and wide ranging.

The authors of the aforementioned study looked to answer two questions, "Which muscles show the greatest activity during the BP? Which changes in muscle activity are related to specific conditions under which the BP is performed?"  They defined 'intensity' as percentage of ones 1 repetition maximum (1RM).

Looking through 3847l citations and 2635 articles the researchers determined the most relevant articles and examined velocity, intensity, range of motion, stable and unstable surfaces, fatigue, mental focus, sticking points, compression sleeves and sticking points. They concluded that the triceps brachii  and pectoralis major muscles had  similar electrical activity during the bench press and their activity is significantly higher than the activity of the anterior deltoids. Of all the various constructs of training that were listed above (from velocity to sticking points) that effect muscle activity, the most important factor is exercise intensity. The load on the bar relative to ones strength effects all other factors when bench pressing and Getting Strong.

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Pendulum Synchro Docking Bench Press

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Topics: Pendulum Rack System, Pendulum Vertical Chest Press

Fast Fingers

If you play a sport you will benefit from training your hands. Getting the hands strong in all the various grips; power, hook, ball, pinch, precision, finger abduction, adduction and extension leads to tremendous hand and upper body power. Studies have shown, "Four Weeks of finger grip training increases the rate of force development and the maximal force in elite and world-top ranking climbers.", meaning hand and finger training will change performance.

Matt Jennings, the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Xavier University, understands that changing the rate of force development in a basketball players fingers can mean who retains the ball in a highly contested contest and even change the outcome of a game. His athletes train the various grips selecting particular training devices from their Pendulum Grip Cart. They also use the Pendulum Gripper to maximize their power, measure results and Get Strong.


Pendulum Grip Cart


Pendulum Gripper

Topics: Pendulum Gripper, Pendulum Grip Cart

Sprint Running Form And The Test

Coaches and athletes spend a great deal of time on running mechanics.  Utilizing film and having handouts of what you are trying to accomplish speeds the process. If you truly want athletes to understand the action of sprinting give them a quiz, you will be surprised how much better they will correct their form when drilled.

Sprint Running Form

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I. The Hands and Arms  - the faster the arms go the faster the legs go

     A. Relax your hands

         1. If the hands are relaxed the chances are good that the arms and shoulders will be                     relaxed

          2. The index finger and thumb should slightly touch or the hand should remain in a                     natural  position

          3. Start with your lower arm at right angle to the upper arm

          4. Powerfully drive your hand forward no higher than your shoulder

          5. Keep the right angle while vigorously pumping your arms

     B. The rear action of the arm is responsible for higher need lift

          1. The thumb should almost brush your thigh on the descent of your arm

          2. The downward moving hand should clear the buttocks

          3. Keep the arm at a right angle during the stroke allowing the elbow to open slightly at                the end of the stroke

          4. Your upper arm should become almost parallel to the ground

          5. Always assure that there isn't excessive swinging of the lower arm during running -                 maintaining the right angle of the lower and upper arm

      C. Proper movement of the arms and insures unnecessary rotation of the lower torso

          1. While pumping your arms keep your shoulders Square

          2. While pumping your arms do not rotate your hips

II. Head neck and shoulders - position and relaxation allows for faster arm movement, a more powerful stroke, and greater knee lift

       A. Relax muscles of the face

           1. Breathe through your mouth and nose

           2. Relax your mouth

           3. Eyes should be focused at an object in eye level straight ahead - not at your feet or                  upward

           4. The head should always remain in a normal postural position

           5. Never allow the head to rock from side to side or move up or down

       B. Relax your shoulders

           1. Keep your shoulders down while pumping your arms

           2. Do not shrug your shoulders toward your ears

           3. Relax shoulders allow you to pump your arms faster

           4. Keep your shoulders square

III. Legs foot and torso - knee lift must be without improper body rotation and avoidance of prancing

        A. The torso should be upright

           1. When running the trunk should be slightly forward of vertical

           2. Do not allowed torso rotation

           3. Do not allow bending in the middle of the torso - crunching

           4. Do not allow bending backwards

           5. Run tall

        B.  High knee lift is desirable and completion of the drive stroke or drive leg is desirable

           1. Left your knee high with a powerful stroke

           2. The drive must take place wholly behind the body's vertical line with the drive leg

           3. At no time should there be an attempt to reach out with the lifted foot

           4. The lifted foot should be slightly cocked or plantar flexed

           5. The returning lifted foot will land slightly ahead of the body and then we'll be used to                drive forward


The Sprint Running Form Quiz   100% is Required

Fill in the blank

In running the faster the arms go the faster the  ___________________go.

The proper rear action of the arms is responsible for __________________.

When pumping your arms your shoulders should remain __________________.

Proper movement of the arms ensures unnecessary rotation of the _____________.

How should your head, in relation to your torso, remain when running with proper form?


True or False

You should run tall?________

You should not reach out with your lifted foot when running? _________

You should not shrug your shoulders when running? ________

You should relax your head and neck and shoulders when running? ________

You should run run run run run with great form to get better? _________

You should relax your mouth running? __________

You must be in great physical condition to perform your best? __________

The head should remain in a normal postural position? ____________

Breathe through your mouth and nose?_________

If your hands are relaxed the arms and shoulders will probably be relaxed? __________



Topics: Running, Skill, Success