Tag Archives: powerful

Ten Reason to Join us for Squatober

  1. Squatting everyday will make you stronger and cooler.
  2. Completing any challenge is a good thing.
  3. A cool T Shirt.
  4. A free massage.
  5. If you are a fitness center member you get a free upgrade to strength lab for one month.
  6. It is for a good cause (outfits an underprivileged school with a weight room).
  7. Meet some new friends who also like to squat.
  8. Everyone can pick on CeJ.
  9. PR Party at the end of the month.
  10. For every person who does this I will personally donate 5 dollars to a charity of your choice (when in doubt bribe them).

 

These are my reasons why you should join us for our first Squatober here at UF.

 

Todd Hamer

Welcome to the Spooky Season; Squatober

Tis the season for squats. 

 

Every October our friends at Sorinex celebrate October by asking friends to squat 4-5 times a week with them for the month. Squatober culminates in a PR party. I have made a quick FAQ about Squatober and how we are going to be involved and what cause we will be helping through squatting.

 

How do I particpate?

 

The training sessions are posted daily on Instagram and we will repost these daily. We can also print the workout for anyone who may be interested.

 

What do I get for participating?

 

One you will get stronger and have some fun. The other thing is we will give you a t shirt and one free massage. Also, any of our fitness center members who wish to participate we will upgrade you to strength lab for October, at no charge to you.

 

 Is it free and what cause are they supporting?

 

It is free yet if you wish to donate Sorinex will be raising money to equip a needy school with a new weight room.

 

What are the workouts like?

 

Previous years workouts can be found on the squatober instagram page. The workouts are posted daily yet this will give you an idea of what to expect.

 

Why are we doing this?

 

We are doing this a multitude of reason. First, it is fun and we like fun. Second, it is for a good cause. Finally, we want to build a stronger and better community and in the age of social distancing we see this as a great way to help any and all of our members who want to try this out.

 

Finally thoughts.

 

Squatober is something I have done in the past and it was challenging and fun. If you are preparing for a meet this is probably not for you. If you are looking for a new challenge and some fun then this may be for you. If you wish to do this and currently take one of our lifting classes you can do your squatober workout during class time. Just warm up with the group then we will set you up on your own rack and be there to support you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Dave

Hello Union Fitness Family,

 

My name is Dave and I’d like to introduce myself as the newest member of the Union Fitness Family!  I just finished my first month and will be coaching group and personal training sessions as well as holding down the front desk at times.  My first month has been great so far and I look forward to many more.  What I love about being at Union Fitness is the people.  I personally believe you’re not going to find a more well rounded group of coaches and trainers in the area who truly care about wanting to make other people better.  The whole reason I got into strength and conditioning and more specifically coaching is to help others and it is great to be around others who share that same mission.

 

My strength and conditioning journey started 6 years ago as an assistant high school football and strength coach in Lexington, KY.  Since then I primarily spent time in Division I college football, twice at the University of Akron, once as an intern and as an assistant, and at the University of Maryland between being an intern and an assistant.  Last year I spent time working with Grossetti Performance out of New Castle, PA assisting with NFL Draft Prep.  I also spent time at another sports performance facility here in Pittsburgh before coming to Union Fitness where I worked with not only local athletes, youth and professional, but also coached group and personal training sessions.  I am currently finishing my Masters in Strength and Conditioning from LaGrange College and will be finished January of 2021.  

 

I could definitely share more but maybe I will hold off for another post if Hamer let’s me write another one.  If you see me at the gym don’t hesitate to come up and say hello and I look forward to doing what I can to help make Union Fitness the best place to train in Pittsburgh.  

 

All the best,

Dave

 

Iron City Open 2020, Wrap Up

Well folks we hosted our first meet during a pandemic. We had to follow many new procedures and guidelines, yet I am confident that we pulled it off in a safe and strong manner. We want to thank everyone who was involved. Meet organizers, volunteers, competitors, judges, friend and family. Thank you all for coming out and supporting the lifters.

 

As most people know we had to have a meet with limitations on how many people were permitted to be here and while requiring masks. We are proud and happy about how so many people came together and supported one another while respecting all safety guidelines.

 

The meet itself had a very different feel as it was moved from a 2 day meet to a 1 day meet. There was no large crowd of cheering fans and anyone who wanted to watch had to bring their own chair and sit outside. At times it felt more like a picnic than a meet.

 

As for the lifting… let us have an ego here. UF did great! All the lifters who train here did great! Our own Cody Miller won best lifter. The best female lifter was Kelly Piccione. Josh, Bobby, Monica, Stew, Simone  (adopted UF lifter),  all had amazing days! I also want to thanks all of these people for helping make the day successful, Dave, Matt, Josh, Kerry, Liz, Cayt, Vicky, Bryce, Frank, Keenan, Curtis, CJ, Cody, Faruk, Jared, Nate, Derek, John,  Toria, Zain and all others hopefully I didn’t miss anyone.  Thanks to all vendors as well.

 

At the end it was a successful meet and we hope that we met everyone’s expectations. We also must thank you for being members and supporting us through these strange days we are living in.

 

Todd Hamer

 

 

Iron City Open Update

We at UF are proud of our connection to the local powerlifting community. As the GM I was lucky to step into a position that the great relationships were already built in the lifting community. First let me thank you for being such a big part of UF.

 

We had to make a decision on whether it was appropriate to host the Iron City Open. At this point we are moving forward with the meet. For those of you who want us to hold the meet I am sure this is great news. For those of you unsure, we are doing all we can to keep the meet safe and hold ourselves to a high standard. What I do believe is we can do this in a safe manner. Here is a list of what we are doing to keep this meet safe and of course fun.

 

  1. Weigh ins will be limited to lifter and official.
  2. Masks will be required by everyone (the lifter may remove it for their attempt).
  3. The barbell will be sanitized and cleaned between each attempt.
  4. There will be no chalk bowl (bring your own chalk).
  5. No spectators inside the tent.
  6. The meet will be inside the tent with warm ups occurring in our performance lab with the garage door open.
  7. Each lifter will only be allowed one person with them at the meet (a handler)
  8. Temperature checks for each person entering.
  9. UF staff will be here all day to make sure all rules are being followed.
  10. UF has the ability to end this meet or excuse anyone from the facility who is not following the rules.

 

We believe with these precautions in place we can hold a safe, fun and effective meet. We look forward to working with the USPA again and anyone who has anyone questions, comments or concerns should reach out to Todd Hamer.

 

Thanks and BE STRONG!

Being a Female in a Male Dominated Industry

I get many questions related to being a female in the strength and conditioning world. Often times it is related to how I work with other male coaches (sport coaches or strength coaches) and/or male athletes. Further, I am often asked how I train females differently than males. From a general sense I truly believe it does not matter if you are male or female in this profession, as long as you are confident in who you are as a coach and are able to connect with the people you are working with. Working with any athlete comes down to can you teach the movements you have programmed, and can you motivate the athletes to achieve their highest potential related to what you are working on each day. I find it is almost easier to coach males from a technical stand point if you know what you are talking about. If you give them a coaching cue, they try it and it works, they usually realize you know what you are talking about and are ready to respect and work with you – regardless of being male or female. Females tend to be a bit more skeptical at first and inquisitive as to why they are doing the movement in the first place. Male coaches and strength coaches more often then not value having a female to work with to create a more well-rounded staff. Again, if you know how to do your job there should really be no problem. 

 

I like to think we’ve gotten past this issue in 2020, yet there are still some people out there that would probably disagree. There are no exercises that a female cannot do that a male can and vice versa. A barbell will not make a female big and bulky. I lift weights at least 5x a week and still look do not look like a bulky man. A female can bench press a bar, just like a male. From a very general perspective exercises can be done by both females and males. It is important to note that there are some difference in programming that could be applicable to create the “best” program for a male vs a female. For example, the Q angle of female hips can make them more susceptible to certain injuries, and thus we can program accordingly to attempt to reduce that risk. I may do more hamstring and posterior chain work with a female than a male, yet the exercises I choose are still possible to be effectively done by both sexes. It is also very possible for a male to be deficient in posterior strength, putting him in the same injury risk category. At the end of the day programming should be designed based on the human needs not a broad category such as male or female. 

 

From a career perspective it is important to note that within strength and conditioning it is easier to get a job as a female than as a male when you are first starting out. However, that changes when it comes to progressing in the field. A male is much more likely to progress to a higher title such as associate director or even director faster than a female. That is a very real frustration in this male-dominated field. I am incredibly grateful for the women who have been in this field way longer than me and have fought for their career progress. There are several female directors of strength and conditioning that are doing great work. This is just something to be aware of and to fight for your worth in the field.

 

Overall being a female in strength and conditioning has its challenges just like any other career. If you know how to do your job, are confident in who you are as a coach, and understand how to motivate people, you will be fine. At the end of the day I focus on why I got into this career – to help people (any gender) get better. 

Four pillars: Training

Disclaimer: There is a big distinction that I want to make when you read this article. To accomplish any goal you must work hard but doing pointless work for the sake of working hard is dangerous. Hard work does not need to be complicated but precise and consistent.

 

This training article is not going to be about how I believe everyone needs to be a “beast”. There are enough videos out there that yell at you for an hour telling you to work harder. This article does not address what the best program is either. If must know I believe 5/3/1 is, simply because it’s easy to follow.

 

Of course, I believe that a good program helps to achieve a goal but the real challenge is to recover from that program. Hence why the first two pillars are about recovery. I truly mean a challenge. It is psychologically and physically challenging to recover better. It takes time and self-discipline. Now how to address programming.

 

Training needs to be simple. The more complex the program is the more room for error on your part. Most people do not need an intricate program with the latest research. Yes, I believe that some programs are better than others but what I mean is when you are starting out, make the simplest program ever. By simple I mean you are going to come in and do 3×20 on leg press and hamstring curls. Done. That’s a wrap for the day. Now, what are you doing tomorrow? The easier this program is, the more likely you are going to do it for a long period of time. The length of time following a program is far more important than the intensity of the program.

 

 

Injuries will slow you down. Injuries are inevitable no matter what level you are at, how long you have been doing it, or the intensity that you bring. What I believe to be far more controllable is the severity and length of the injury. Most people can remember that their shoulder felt weird that day when they decided to max out. Or when you woke up and your back wasn’t fully prime for that hard deadlift day. You probably did the workout anyway because you are no (whatever word you choose) and now your back/shoulder has been hurting. Congrats.

 

Here is another idea. Do the things that specifically only make your body feel good. If the pain or aggravation persists go see a doctor or physical therapist but what do they know. People know that I am bias towards physical therapist but a good therapist can help tremendously in keeping you on the path to accomplish your goal. Now ideally you have a program that has certain warm-up exercises or assistant exercises that will help the reduce severity of an injury that was to come.

 

Your primary focus should be on your weakness. Again the program doesn’t need the most complex excel sheet you can find but it does need to work on your weak points as the focus. In my case, my hamstrings are not a strong point for me. They have no idea what they are doing and are constantly sore. Hamstring exercises have always been in my programs but not to the extent they should have been. When I currently train legs  ¾ of the workout are now hamstring focus and my back has thanked me for it. This is where a coach, personal trainer, or training partner can be a tremendous help. One of these people should let you know what “thing” needs to focus on.

Training Log; CeJ, Ham and The Skylyn

Today we will take on a trip around the Union Fitness bump team.

 

We are lucky enough to have guest lifters join us often here at UF. Today Skylyn joined CeJ and myself for a fun bench session. The following is what went down.

 

Warm Up

Jump Rope 100 reps without a miss. This is something that should be done daily.

Band Pull Aparts 150 reps with different angles and bands.

 

Lift

Strength is still down BIGTime since the lock down. SOOOOOO…..

Bench

bar 45 2×10

95×5

135×5

185×3

225×2

245×2

265×2

275×2

285×1

 

1a Shoulder Save Close Grip Bench 225 3×8-10.

1b Chins with 26# 3×6-8.

 

Drop Set Dips 2 sets, 2 chains x10, 1 chain x10, BWx20, Band Assisted x20.

Drop Set Cable Rows I forget the weights, but we did 20 reps and 4 drops (so well over 100 total reps).

 

We finished with some fun arm pumps on cable machines.

 

Since returning from the lockdownI have returned to training with CeJ and I realized how much fun it is training with good people. I often see lifters who are looking for a “coach,” my best advice to you is stop looking for a coach and find good training partners.

 

Ham

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Team?

When I was younger nothing stuck for me, it wasn’t until my mother forced me into swimming that I eventually learned to love it. I started on a summer swim team, it was an outdoor pool and this less than 100lb girl would shiver like no other, my lips were blue and I was always and I mean always cold at practice. It was so bad that my mother had to buy me a wetsuit just so I could withstand an hour plus of practice. The Colby Sailfish is what started it all for me and from there my parents decided to put me into winter swimming, I remember it being a huge deal and caused so much drama. Back then moving from summer swimming to winter meant you wanted to be more competitive and looking back I realized if that never would have happened then I wouldn’t have been as competitive as I am today.

 

Swimming was a big part of my life and it helped me learn the importance of routine and structure. I followed swimming with cross-county and paired those together for the remainder of my school years. It didn’t leave much room for anything else but my life was sports and for as long as I can remember, even at 27 thats how it has always been. I’ve always enjoyed putting my all into something that gave me results based upon what I put in, it was entirely up to me and how hard I wanted to work. It showed me that work ethic didn’t throw out favors and it didn’t give away trophies for participation, there was a clear winner based upon time that was spent grinding.

 

My biggest takeaway from swimming was relays, it didn’t occur to me until later in life that I absolutely enjoyed the rush of being on a team consisting of four people. I’d always push myself harder, I’d swim faster and I’d leave it all out there in the pool for my teammates. This translated fluidly to when I started competing in the sport of Functional Fitness, being on a team consisting on two males and two females took pushing myself to a whole new level. In all my years of being an athlete I have never pushed myself to the point I continue to push myself on a day to day basis with my current teammates. 

 

This is why I think playing sports when you are younger is so important, it truly is part of what makes you who you are in this present moment. It teaches you things that you will carry throughout your life and give you skills that you can apply to many situations that aren’t even closely related to sports. When I was put on a relay in swimming I knew that I had a part to play in the outcome and with that being said, in life you play a part alongside many people. This can be your relationship, as a daughter, brother or sister, it could be as a parent or a coach. We are all constantly surrounded by opportunities to showcase our ability to work within a social structure and create something beautiful alongside others.

 

So, to answer the title of this blog, why team? I think it all comes down to being able to share something greater than yourself with other people. When working within a team generally you know your teammates abilities and they know yours so you’re able to jump in when they need a break and vise-versa. To be able to have this understanding amongst three other people is so rare and to even be able to communicate in such a way that you all understand what each individual is feeling is a learned skill from your younger years of competing. 

 

At the end of the day I absolutely love being on a team, it has given me a sense of belonging in a world that makes it so hard to be yourself. It’s also more than a team, they are your friends, your family, not because you spend so much time together but because you truly do care about each individual. I think I’ll always choose to be on a team in every aspect of my life, not just my athletic pursuits. If the life lessons of team sports taught me this much that it carried through till my 27th year around the sun then there is something to be said about the kind of person you turn into when you learn to let people help you and they let you help them in return.

 

Much love,

 

Jocelyn

Understanding the Basics of a Training Program: Part 1

Designing or following a training program can be challenging in its own ways. Different words, numbers, and exercises, all have a specific purpose and need to be incorporated correctly. Today we are going to go over a few of the major aspects of a training program that will benefit anyone, regardless of experience level or goals.

 

Main movement:

 

The main movement is the first movement of the day after completing your warm up. This will consist of a squatting, pressing, or deadlifting variation, and sometimes can also consist of a power variation including the snatch or clean. This movement is the priority of the day and will dictate the rest of the training session. It is important to understand that the main movement should demand a great deal of focus and dedication. These are the movements that are the foundation of your training program, and require the most attention to detail.

 

Assistance movements:

 

Assistance work is directly intended to “assist” the main movement. If you have a very noticeable weakness that is showing through your main movement, then your assistance exercises should be selected accordingly in order to correct that weakness. Assistance exercises are typically in the form of variations of the main movement, and should be performed once the main movement is finished. For example, If your main movement is a barbell back squat, but you noticed that you were getting loose when coming out of the bottom, then your assistance movement could be something along the lines of a paused squat, with an emphasis on keeping full body tension and positioning.

 

Accessories:

 

Accessory exercises should come later in the workout and are intended to build the areas that are used to perform the main movement of the training session. They usually come in the form of isolation or “bodybuilding” exercises such as dumbbell work, machines, and bodyweight variations. Think of these as your shield of armor. They are intended to “bulletproof” your body by building muscle and staying injury free by developing overall balance.

 

Volume:

 

Volume is the measurement of the total amount of work performed. It is typically calculated in the form of sets x reps x weight. Tracking volume can be very important in the overall effectiveness of your training program. If your total volume is too high, then you might have a hard time recovering from session to session, or at worst, it could lead to injury. If your total volume is not enough, then you will have trouble getting the stimulus needed to progress. Keep an eye on your volume, see how you feel and how you respond, and make adjustments as needed.

 

Intensity:

 

Generally, training intensity refers to the amount of effort that you are putting into whatever movement or exercise that you are performing. When performing a barbell movement, intensity refers to the amount of weight or “load” that is being lifted. We often see this written in the form of weight, or in a percentage of a one rep max. Like volume, intensity is also very important to keep an eye on. The point is to produce the necessary amount of stimulus in order to acquire progression. Too much intensity too often and you risk over-training and injury. Too little and you risk a lack of progress.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 as we dive in a little deeper.