Trainer Blog

Three Common Errors in the Kettlebell Swing... And how to clean them up.

The kettlebell swing is a fantastic exercise for improving power (the ability to be strong at high speed) and conditioning.  It also is a terrific exercise for fat loss. Legendary strength coach Dan John called the kettlebell swing a “fat-burning athlete builder”. I have found it to be just that, as well as  a movement that…
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Progressions in the loaded carries: improving symmetry

Carrying “odd” objects around: dragging limbs fallen from a tree, carrying water softener salt or dog food from the car to the house, lugging luggage through the airport, etc., are inevitable demands of life.   Few things are as disempowering as not having the ability to navigate those types of tasks. Here’s the great news:…
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Introducing loaded carries: the first four to try

Having grown up in a farm rich area in Southeastern Wisconsin, I can say for sure that carrying heavy things around for long periods of time will leave you a weird kind of strong.  I distinctly remember catching up with an opposing discus thrower at a track meet against one of the teams from a more…
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Troubleshooting the push up part 2: arm position

Push-ups can be one of the most effective exercises around to help “tighten up” the back of the upper arms, and the back of the armpit area.  This is one of the often cited areas that people want to improve muscle tone in by strength training.  In order to get the most out of the…
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Troubleshooting the push-up part 1: the core

The push-up is one of those quintessential exercises that has probably been around since we humans had enough leisure time (or military need) to play around with strength training.  A good push up will develop upper body pushing strength, core strength, and improve posture.  Done well, the movement  develops tone in the shoulders, chest, arms,…
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Troubleshooting the plank

If the plank seems to you like an exercise that is too easy to master, you’re right! We trainers think planks are great.  Almost everyone should have the ability to get into some sort of plank.  It can be elevated or even standing, but the ability to defend the position of the spine while it…
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What is "neutral spine" and why it is important for you?

“Neutral spine” is one of those terms that we fitness professionals throw around pretty casually.  We refer to the concept in terms of maintaining a neutral spine position while completing a movement related to strength training or building flexibility, etc.   I have used the term recently in both the troubleshooting the deadlift post and…
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Troubleshooting the Goblet Squat

The squat is the one of the two essential lower body patterns for strength exercises.  The other is the “hinge” family, of which we touch on here in Troubleshooting the Deadlift.   The squat is not only an immensely useful movement in activities of life, but is an excellent way to build a more useful…
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Troubleshooting the Deadlift

Troubleshooting the Deadlift The deadlift could be argued to be one of the most valuable exercises in all of fitness.  The movement represents the safest and most efficient way to pick something up off of the floor and put it back down.    Beyond its usefulness in real life applications, the deadlift is one of the…
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Setting up for nutrition success: daily food prep

Achieving success towards fitness goals is definitely a challenge.  Typically, it isn’t the 60 minutes of training that is the most challenging part.  If your goal is weight loss (or weight gain for that matter), the challenge is in the kitchen, not usually in the club!   Don’t let the challenge stop you from getting…
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The Best Workout for Weight Loss When You "Don't Have Enough Time"

I’m always amazed at how many people I meet don’t have time to “work out” but want to lose weight. More often than not, it’s simply their ideas about working out for weight loss that are holding them back from making terrific progress towards their goal.  I’m here to let you know that you CAN…
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Staying fit for what? and how to build a fire pit that will last a lifetime

    Because we live in a time and place that allows us to be tremendously productive members of society from a chair (behind the wheel, or  in front  of a computer,  etc.) we are often forced to measure our fitness in ways other than simply our work.   One might use the “the ability…
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Three “levels” of planning exercise: how to take the next step when you get stuck

Three “levels” of planning exercise: how to take the next step when you get stuck When we first start exercising literally anything and everything work to improve fitness.  Riding a bike can increase our leg strength and doing squats can help us lose fat.  Although it seem like a stretch but it is definitely not.…
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Getting the most out of a workout when you can only get to the gym one time in a week

For me, this time of year happens to be filled with lots of travel.  When I am home, I want to be at home with my family so getting to the gym on a day I wouldn’t normally work is out of the question. Because things are so busy, I must make the most of…
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movements take care of muscles

A movement based paradigm versus a muscle based paradigm. I came of age in the fitness industry during a time that the body was viewed as a “bag of parts”. Because strength training was viewed muscle by muscle, we developed a machine for every muscle.  Using machines to improve general fitness, local muscle strength and…
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a guiding principle for exercise progression

I spend a good deal of my time and energy learning to help personal trainers and strength and conditioning coaches better help their students. I recently wrote an article for trainers that has a message everyone who does not have a coach can learn from.   Below, I lay out a principle that can help guide…
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About Mark

I am a busy guy; husband, father, coach, mentor, gardener, outdoors man and cook are the primary hats I wear. To be the best of these I can be, I need to stay in shape for all those pursuits, and feed myself in a way that allows me to keep up the pace. I can help you to take the next manageable step in fitness and wellness to get you closer to your ideal self.