TRAINING TIP: BANDS and BAMBOO BARS- do they improve stability?

TRAINING TIP: BANDS and BAMBOO BARS- do they improve stability?

Our friends over at @evidencebasedmvmt did an amazing job at searching the literature to find out whether or not unstable loads alter bar path and muscle activation during the bench press. The belief that bands and unstable loads increase recruitment of stabilizer muscles is under scrutiny.

They found that studies conflict when pointing out exactly which muscles are increasingly activated, or if there is even an increase in EMG activity of smaller stabilizer muscles during this type of training. Ostrowsksi et al found that there is increased activation of the biceps and middle deltoid during unstable benchpress. Lawrence et al found there is increased activation of the rectus abdominis and external oblique during unstable load bar squat. However a study by Dunnick et al found NO difference in muscle activity between unstable and stable training. So, what are some other benefits if any?

In the context of iron sports, training with bands and bamboo bars may be a helpful way to teach athletes to improve body awareness and control in situations involving unstable loads, for example if the bar is misloaded, a plate falls, or you encounter a similar unpredictable event.

They point out that “it is also a fantastic exercise to train specifically for the demands of contact sports, since the athlete is having to control their body in the context of changing and unstable external forces (think of a lineman blocking, or a basketball player scoring through contact). This may lead to a decrease risk of injury!”

Dealing with The Crab Mentality While Dieting

Dealing with The Crab Mentality While Dieting

“You’re a health FREAK” “Ew, that look probably tastes disgusting” “You look miserable eating that” “You are so obsessive” “I can’t even enjoy my meal watching you eat that.” “Eat this, it won’t kill you!” “You looked better when you were heavier, you look thin and unhealthy” “Come out and drink, you loser!”

The Crab Mentality or Crab in a Bucket Mentality, something that people who diet, follow a healthy diet or lifestyle, are in shape or who are trying to get in shape and improve their health and quality of life deal with far too often. This negative verbal vomit is something that I have dealt with for years ever since I started lifting weights way back when I was 14 years old and something in more recent years I have dealt with nutrition and improving my diet.

The metaphor Crab Mentality or Crab in a Bucket/ Pot refers to and comes from a real-life situation where a fisherman has a bucket of crabs. The fisherman does not need to put a lid on the bucket of crabs even though the bucket is not deep enough to keep the crabs from escaping. As long as there are multiple crabs in the bucket, no crab will ever escape due to the crabs clawing at the crab that is closest to the top and closest to escaping the bucket. Individually any of the crabs could easily escape and get free but since they constantly pull each other down they will never escape which leads to all their demise. The analogy in human behaviour is a negative person with this negative mindset that when seeing another person succeed, especially when it is something that this negative person wants to succeed in, they attempt to diminish or pull that person down just because they are becoming more successful than themselves. They achieve this or try to achieve this by making negative comments, inflicting self doubt and reducing self confidence just based on spite, jealousy and resentment. This can be summed to the phrase “If I can’t have it, neither can you.”

In the past I have had co-workers go out of their way to buy the unhealthiest food they could think of for lunch and make sure they ate it in front of me while I was in the middle of a strict diet, cutting down. Describing every small detail about how good it tastes and how ‘happy’ they are eating it, and this was all while making nasty comments on what I was eating trying to make it sound as unappealing as they possibly could. Every single time something like this ever happened to me, the person who was going full crab mode was extremely unhealthy, over weight and had shown very clear insecurities in the past and present.

This negativity that some people spew out when seeing others make positive changes to their own lives with improving their fitness, diet, health, etc. is just a direct representation of how they feel about themselves and their own insecurities. What is so stupid is that if these people put as much energy towards improving themselves as they did attempting to pull others down, they would likely be just as successful if not more successful than the individual they are jealous of.

So how do you deal with these people? Depending on your relationship with this individual(s) it may be very easy or very difficult, but the same general rules apply. 99.99% of the time the answer is to quite simply ignore them. This can be easier said than done, especially if this individual(s) are unavoidable in your daily life whether it be a co-worker(s) or a family member(s) but always remember to NEVER let them see that what they are saying is bothering you, because it shouldn’t. All you are seeing is just how negative and upset this person is with their life and their choices that they have made and continue to make, rather than working towards improving themselves they would rather drag you down to their level, so they can feel better about their lack of discipline.

Combat this negativity with a giant smile and when they confront you, tell them how great you feel since implementing these positive changes in your life. One of three things will likely happen; they will see that you are actually happy and flourishing and ask for guidance themselves (rare), they will realize you are mentally tough and cannot be broken and leave you alone, or you will watch their blood boil when they continue to see you succeed in what they wish they could. Use their negativity to fuel your motivation and drive towards reaching your goals. Make the choices that these people could not, CHOOSE to be positive and CHOOSE to better yourself. Do not let someone who is clearly so negative and spiteful deter you from your goals and your dreams.

Be happy, be positive but never be satisfied.