~The Prevail Family
By: Peter Blumert, MA, CSCS, USAW
For many of you, including myself, this may be the first time you have ever seen a musician highlighted in the strength and performance arena. Musicians are not classically known for their athletic prowess as it has long been thought to be detrimental to their skill set.
According to Phil, “Musicians don’t agree on much, but one thing they almost all agree on is that weight training is bad for the delicate technique that is required to play a stringed instrument. The most ambitious musicians I’ve found who espouse the value of physical conditioning over-emphasize stretching and call themselves small muscle athletes”.
In 2009, Phil started training one day a week at Prevail. His initial goal was to reduce the injury potential during his weekly soccer games and the occasional winter ski trip, but his real passion in life is the violin. He is a classically trained professional concert violinist who loves to perform and teach others how to succeed in the concert platform.
Phil and I started training this past spring with the purpose of continuing to build his foundation and to increase his strength. After training together for a month, I decided that he needed to focus specifically on a goal that would really challenge him. After some deliberation, we came up with the goal of him deadlifting 150 percent of his bodyweight (approximately 275 pounds) with a deadline of three months to attain it.
For the next 12 weeks, we met once or twice a week, and I gave him three or four other workouts to do on his own throughout the week. Although he was unable to get in every workout (work, family, etc), Phil did the best he could to do each repetition of every set to the best technical profiency and effort possible.
When we first started this project, Phil did not even have the mobility to obtain a neutral spine position to pull a weighted barbell off the floor. We worked hard at strengthening the top portion of his pull along with other areas of his body, while he religiously worked on his mobility between sets, post-workout, and during his down time. I worked with him on how to properly prepare, both physically and mentally, to pick up a weight that he never thought he would be capable of doing. He learned how sleep, nutrition, soft tissue work, flexibility, and other restoration activities can make a huge difference in how he recovers from his workouts. During the last couple weeks leading up to the deadline we had chosen, we backed off on the volume and intensity to allow his body a little extra recovery.
At a bodyweight of 182 pounds, Phil deadlifted 315 pounds, which was 173 percent of his bodyweight! In the video below, you can watch him lift 300 pounds for the first time in his life.
Although the lift was not technically perfect, it was a huge accomplishment. Every weight he attempted that day, he succeeded (which is a great lesson for all beginners). He learned a lot that day and caught a glimpse of what his body is capable of doing with proper guidance, direction, and a strong will to succeed. Phil’s determination, commitment, desire, and intensity are what made him successful, not only is this endeavor, but in many other areas of his life.
When I asked Phil about what his experience has been like at Prevail thus far and what he most enjoys about training here, his response was:
“When I first started, I was honestly a bit confused as some of the things I was being instructed to do didn’t seem very hard, but somehow were! I’ve learned that there is a tremendous amount of technique involved in training, whether it‘s with external weights or objects, or just your bodyweight. As in most other things, there is a right and wrong way to execute tasks. In weight training, if something is done incorrectly, there is a real risk of injury or bodily harm.
“I realized that my initial goals were not nearly ambitious enough to describe the reality of where I am now physically as I can lift more than I ever dreamed I could. I’ve improved dramatically as a soccer player because I’ve corrected many of the issues I had, such as asymmetries and a lack of understanding in regards to how the body works efficiently and most productively. I’ve learned a ton and it has benefitted both my sport and my musical career. Strength training has actually improved my playing ability on the violin, as I am now more, not less, flexible with an increased muscle resilience and endurance.
“I have a great deal of respect for the Prevail trainers because of the knowledge and passion they bring to each and every training session. It might sound like a cliché, but at Prevail you are more than a number, you’re a valued friend. It shows in the quality of training that they provide.
“One last quick thought that I love to tell everyone: endorphins are the last legal drug and they are a great side effect to experience following a workout. They give me a sense of accomplishment and relaxation, which helps me be a better dad and husband.”
By Prevail Trainer Jacob Goodin
A lot of kinesiology and exercises science students tell me that they want to become a personal trainer or strength coach upon graduating from college. They usually have some sort of athletic background or experience in the weight room, and some of them have even spent a semester studying for the CSCS certification and have a decent foundation of theory and science to draw from. Since I work at Westmont College, a lot of these folks live in the Santa Barbara area and ask me what they can do to get experience and a foot in the door. The answer is this:
Do an internship at Prevail Conditioning. It’s the best thing you can do for your career.
I went through the internship process myself, and can attest to the incredible wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience that each intern gains from Chris, Pete, and the other trainers. Recently John Vaccaro and Brad Pullen graduated from the Prevail Intern program. Here is what they have to say:
I had not heard about the internship with Prevail Conditioning but a friend of mine was in one of Chris’s weight training classes at UCSB and told me about Prevail, so I looked it up online and found the internship program. I applied for the internship because I had just completed a personal training certificate at UCSB and wanted to continue my training. From observing trainers with clients and groups I learned how to teach a lot of new exercises and how to use cues to ensure clients perform them with good technique. The theory sessions were very interesting and I learnt about basic exercise science, training methods and how to design programs. The internship helped me understand the importance of training athletes for sport and how training methods change depending on their sports requirements. It will help me in the future as I want to work in the fitness industry and now I have some valuable experience. Everyone at Prevail was very friendly and helpful and I am very thankful to Chris for the opportunity to have completed this internship.
“Engaging in the Prevail Internship Program was awesome. I heard from one of my roommates about Chris’s facility in downtown Santa Barbara and I figured getting some experience in this profession would be a great idea. I am an Economics major at UCSB and I feel that this internship is a great asset and an awesome learning experience. By observing Chris, I have an appreciation for the care that Chris and his staff give to their clients. Chris treats his clients with care, respect, and always brings energy to every workout. I learned a ton from Chris and now focus on proper body movement. My experience at Prevail was awesome. By participating in the metabolic and energy system development workouts, I have a newfound appreciation for pushing the body to another level through proper movement. I want to thank Chris and all the team members of Prevail for a great learning experience.”
Email us to inquire about current internship opportunities or click here to check out our services and products.
We are proud to welcome massage therapist Sandy Thornburgh to the Prevail Family.
Sandy is a Santa Barbara native and became interested in Massage Therapy after living in New Zealand for twenty years. Sandy returned to Santa Barbara seeking to pursue and foster New Zealand’s holistic approach to medicine. She graduated from the Santa Barbara Body Therapy Institute and has been employed at Fess Parker’s Spa del Mar for six years. Her speciality is a combination of Swedish and deep tissue massage tailored to the clients needs and areas of concern. In her free time, Sandy enjoys playing tennis and spending quality time with her two teenage kids.
Click Here to book a massage today!
By Prevail Strength Coach Jacob Goodin
Whether you train to run faster, to lift more, or just to look and feel better, the tips in this series will help you along your way. More installments to follow.
Secondly, some women will not lift heavy weights in fear of bulking up, so they lift really tiny weights for a lot of reps. FACT: Muscle hypertrophy has a physiological response to high volume and when your repetitions are high (6-12), then your volume is high. (Volume-load = sets x repetitons x load lifted). For example, if you bench press 100 lbs, 5 times, for 3 sets, your volume-load = 1500. So even if the female human body could bulk up rapidly (which it cannot), you wouldn’t want to isolate your muscles and lift in a high rep range anyways. The thought process behind this is to raise your heart rate and increase your metabolic rate.
Learning to safely and properly lift heavy weight can be very beneficial. There is a myogenic response our muscles experience in which the body recruits (or builds) more contractile proteins from heavy weight lifting. This will increase your metabolic burn and decrease your body fat, which will get you to that “toned” body composition. Of course with all heavy weight lifting, you should only perform a movement that you can maintain proper technique and form throughout the entire lift.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
According to the Nutrition Business Journal, in 2011 dietary supplement sales reached $30 billion. Why do men spend thousands of dollars a year on supplements? Because they have a hard enough time trying to get bigger muscles and achieve a “bulkier” physique themselves! If changing your muscular appearance was that easy, then more people would do it. Men have an advantage to be able to support larger muscle frames and yet they still have trouble reaching their goals.
Strength training will not bulk up or rapidly grow a woman’s muscles in a natural setting. With educated programming backed by science women can successfully get stronger and reach their body composition goals in a safe manner. Even more, when women do lift weights, it is beneficial to lift heavy weights and not only for the compositional changes they will experience, but also to increase one’s resistance to injuries. Deadlifts and barbell squats are appropriate lifts, with good coaching and justified reasoning for the client. It all comes back to specific training for each client. Simply put, Lift heavy for strong muscles.