Proper Breathing

By Nick Ryan
July 7, 2015
This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series The A.P.E.X. Way

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series The A.P.E.X. WayBreathing is the most fundamental function of being alive, and under normal circumstances happens naturally and requires no thoughts; however, intentional breathing techniques can increase performance and protect the spine, control blood pressure spikes, and calm the mind.  Proper breathing varies depending on the desired outcome of the training session.  The following is a list of training modalities and the recommended breathing technique, followed by a detailed description of each training modality.   ENDURANCE TRAINING Cardio: Find a breathing cadence that is natural and calm, avoid panting, take in deeper breaths if necessary Sprinting: For short distances, breath in, begin sprint, steady exhale throughout the distance. RESISTANCE TRAINING Olympic Lifts:  Deep breath in, hold breath (the valsalva maneuver) to create thoracic pressure, and exhale near completion of the rep, drop the weight not under tension, catch breath normally between reps 1RM: Deep breath in, hold breath (the valsalva maneuver) to create thoracic pressure, and exhale near completion of the rep, lower the weight not under tension, catch breath normally between reps 8-12RM: Negative Phase – Little in, little out, big breath Positive Phase – big breath out. CARDIOVASCULAR […]

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Advanced Overload Techniques

By Nick Ryan
This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series The A.P.E.X. Way

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series The A.P.E.X. WayThere are 2 types of Advanced Overload Techniques: Structural and Technical.  Structural AOTs result from structuring the workout to create an overload while technical AOTs are the result of intensifying the movement itself to increase time under tension, impact the strength curve, or go beyond normal MMF.  Regardless of the advanced overload technique, the purpose is to increase the time under tension to maximize cross-bridge activation for maximal motor unit recruitment.  This article will address each advanced overload technique used during strength training, how to use them within a program, and recommendations for implementation. STRUCTURAL AOT’S POST-EXHAUST Post-exhaust is a structural overload where a multi-joint movement is immediately followed by a single-joint movement for the same primary agonist with no rest between exercises.  It is best when used after a set where the multi-joint movement performance may be either unsafe or compromised if entering the set fatigued.  It is also the ideal way to introduce structural overloads into a workout since the multi-joint set will be unaffected. Example: Squats put a tremendous amount of stress on the entire body and if not performed with perfect form, could lead […]

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Momentary Muscle Failure

By Nick Ryan
July 2, 2015
This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series The A.P.E.X. Way

Momentary Muscle Failure (MMF) is the point at which no more reps can be performed, with perfect form, due to complete acute exhaustion of the muscles required to complete additional repetitions. This article will further define MMF and discuss its importance in making gains in strength and power. We will also discuss muscle fatigue and the impact of intentionally holding back a few repetitions during a set.

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CNS Training

By Nick Ryan
June 2, 2015
This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series The A.P.E.X. Way

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series The A.P.E.X. WayThe Central Nervous System is involved in all movement, with sophisticated communication via electrical signal from the brain, through the spine, down into the nerves that break off into motor units (motor neuron axonal terminals that control the muscle fibers). The purpose in training the CNS is to increase this efficiency.  Understanding how to train and how to support these adaptations with both cardiovascular and strength training will ultimately result in increased human performance. I am not a neurological doctor nor do I have direct access to the original laboratory findings; therefore, I am not qualified to diagnose or treat any neurological problems.  This article is not intended to replace a medical visit.  This article is a discussion on the training adaptations that occur within the CNS and how to solicit adaptations intentionally and safely based on real world experience and various published journal findings. DEFINITIONS The motor unit refers to the motor neuron and the muscle fibers within its span of control.  The ratio between motor neurons and muscle fibers varies.  For example, in the quadricep, one motor unit may include a single motor neuron that is […]

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Time Under Tension

By Nick Ryan
May 19, 2015
This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series The A.P.E.X. Way

Many training programs become focused on weights and reps as the quality control measures of strength training, neglecting to intentionally implement the third variable, time under tension. Time under tension refers to the amount of time that the musculoskeletal system is under load within a given rep, both positive and negative phases. Intentionality of time under tension will directly affect the physiological adaptations of your training results.

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High Intensity Training (HIT) vs. High Volume Training (HVT)

By Nick Ryan
May 14, 2015
This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series The A.P.E.X. Way

The debate over HIT vs. HVT has been a controversial topic in the training community since the late 1970’s. This article will cover both training styles in depth, and will include strengths, weaknesses, and practical applications. This article is intended to present an unbiased analysis of both training styles. While HIT and HVT have been loosely associated with various training domains, this article will primarily focus on strength training for the purpose of increasing muscular size and strength utilizing machines, free weights, and body weight exercises.

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The A.P.E.X. Way: An Introduction

By Nick Ryan
May 12, 2015
This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series The A.P.E.X. Way

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series The A.P.E.X. WayEverything you do in a fitness program affects the adaptations that will occur in your body; therefore, we must be intentional about how we train so that we adapt the way we intended.  The way we breathe,  how fast we move, the way we load the muscles,  the way we push ourselves (or hold back), the way we structure the workout, the way we change things up, and the way we stay safe throughout the process, all affect the overall training outcome. TIME UNDER TENSION How long it takes to complete a rep must be determined before beginning the set because it will directly affect the training outcome.  Moving a weight quickly will stimulate the central nervous system, soliciting maximal motor unit recruitment which can lead to gains in strength, power, and explosiveness.  However, moving the weight quickly will also generate both momentum and take advantage of gravity, reducing the amount of time that the muscle fibers are actually being loaded within the full range of motion.  Deliberately slowing down the rep will increase the total time that the cross-bridges between actin and myosin are loaded, which will […]

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BREAKTHROUGH WEIGHT-LOSS PHENOMENON

By Nick Ryan
August 26, 2014

A.P.E.X. is introducing T95X, a breakthrough weight loss phenomenon just now approved for use in the United States.  For only 5 minutes of exercise a month, and taking T95X before bed each night, you can lose up to 15 lbs a week!  Our scientists discovered a revolutionary nectar that can be extracted from a rare flower native to Mount Everest, that when combined with trace amounts of whale semen can produce earth-shattering weight loss results!  For only 3 easy payments of $99.99, you are only 6 weeks away from a hotter, sexier, leaner you! The fitness industry listens to its customers, so we are bombarded with non-sense programs that promise a miracle but leave us fat and poor.  I think we are tired of quick fixes that don’t fix anything.  What America wants from the fitness industry and what America needs from the fitness industry are two separate beasts.  We want weight loss, fast results, and low commitment programs; however, we need a program that is more about human performance, a program that is dynamic, comprehensive, realistic, and actually works. Why is it that the miracle supplement “simply didn’t work for me as well as all the other testimonials,” and […]

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Exertion Headaches

By Nick Ryan
June 23, 2011
This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series The A.P.E.X. Way

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series The A.P.E.X. WayUPDATE: This article was originally published by itself.  As of May 5, 2015 we decided to include it as a part of our series “The A.P.E.X. Way”. Strenuous, intense physical training can result in what are known as EXERTION HEADACHES.  This article describes exertion headaches, what causes an exertion headache, what to do to avoid exertion headaches, and how to properly transition back into training after suffering from an exertion headache.  The majority of the article centers on exertion headaches that result from lifting weights; however, there is a CrossFit specific section towards the end of the article, updated March 2014.  Endurance athletes that experience exertion headaches after high intensity cardio will find the CrossFit section most helpful. This article is not intended to replace a medical visit.  In fact, if you are reading this because you recently experienced an exertion headache, take a moment and schedule a medical visit. WHAT IS AN EXERTION HEADACHE? Exertion headaches are exercise-induced headaches that are correlated with training at a very high intensity.  They most commonly occur after a set of a compound leg movement (i.e. leg press, squat, deadlift) performed to failure […]

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