Nike Metcon DSX Flyknit 2 Set to Release Very Soon

Attention strength athletes and shoe lovers: we’re in prime time new shoe release season. Every year around Thanksgiving and Christmas, we start seeing more shoe leaks, previews, and release dates for cross training shoes and lifters alike. If you’re in need of a new pair of cross training shoes, or just like checking out updated models, then you’re in luck.

Nike just announced that their second edition of the Nike Metcon DSX Flyknit is set to release very soon. On their site, they provided a quick blog post about the shoe’s specs, where you can find them, and when they’re formally releasing.

The official release date for the Nike Metcon DSC Flyknit 2 is December 1st. Upon their release, they write you can find them on Nike’s site, and at select retailers.

[Looking for the perfect training shoe? Check out our comparison of top models here!]

Nike Metcon DSX Flyknit 2

Image courtesy Nike.com. 

If you’re curious about the specs and what’s different in this model, then Nike provided some insights. From their blog post about the shoe Nike writes, “Built for high-intensity training, the Nike Metcon DSX Flyknit 2 is lighter than the classic Nike Metcon. Still, it offers exceptional stability and performance during demanding workouts.

Featuring a new high-tenacity yarn, the shoe’s durable Nike Flyknit upper wraps the foot with lightweight support, while the elastic Nike Flyknit cuff circles the top of the ankle to provide a contained feel. A drop-in midsole provides cushioning for high-impact landings during burpees, box jumps, sprints and more.”

Nike Metcon DSX Flyknit Sole

Also, don’t forget about three weeks ago we wrote about the Nike Metcon 4, along with their prospective specs and release date. This shoe is said to be releasing in a similar fashion as last year’s Nike Metcon 3, which was available in early-mid December.

Nike has been the first big shoe company to drop the initial news for this year’s new cross training models, but we’re guessing Reebok and Adidas aren’t too far behind.

Feature image courtesy Nike.com. 

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What’s the Difference Between Passive and Active Stretching?

Passive and active stretching are two ways an athlete can actively work to improve their mobility. Each type of stretch can be beneficial in certain circumstances, and using each will often depend on the scenario an athlete find themselves in.

For people who like to work out often, but constantly find themselves sitting down and hunched over computers/phones, then there should be some level of mobility work in a weekly routine. In this article, we’ll quickly break down passive and active stretching and when to use each.

Passive Stretching

The act of passive stretching entails the use of an external force on a relaxed muscle to produce a stretch. This external force could be multiple things such as: your bodyweight, a strap, another person, some form of leverage, and gravity. An athlete will not contract or utilize their musculature in a passive stretch, and gives full control to the external force.

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A passive stretch requires very little energy, and is often performed when the main goal is to improve one’s flexibility, as a passive stretch will typically allow for an improvement in range of motion past one’s comfort level. The external force is helping to push, or assist one’s limb into a degree of motion they wouldn’t be able to accomplish without it.

Benefits of Passive Stretching

Passive stretching can be beneficial when an athlete’s goal is to improve their flexibility past the point of where they can comfortably put themselves without external force. Since they’re allowing an external force to stretch them while relaxed, then typically an athlete can push a little further, as opposed to them performing an active stretch on themselves. Additionally, you may see some forms of passive stretching used in different mobility assessments.

[Should weightlifters perform static stretching? Check out what this author says.]

For athletes looking to improve their flexibility, then post-workout is often the best time to use passive stretching. The muscle will be warmed-up and chances of over stretching a tight or cold muscle will be lessened. In addition, before bed can be a useful time to perform passive stretches, as there’s less chance of injuring oneself due to a possibly over stretched muscle soon after exerting force, as sleeping is a completely inactive part of the day.

Examples: A friend stretching your hamstring, performing a doorway stretch, and doing a pigeon on an incline bench.

Active Stretching

Opposite to its counterpart, active stretching relies solely on the athlete and doesn’t involve an external force. An active stretch requires the athlete to actively stretch their joint with the creation of a stretch produced from opposing muscle groups. Remember, this style of stretch requires the athlete to produce force to stretch a muscle, as opposed to being relaxed like in passive stretching.

Active stretching is good for stretching a joint through its current range of motion under the power of one’s own muscles. This style stretch requires an athlete’s energy, and this is a characteristic that should be considered when performing them around a workout.

Benefits of Active Stretching

One of the main benefits of active stretching is that carries (relatively) fewer risks than passive stretching. Since there’s no external force, and a stretch is performed completely under one’s own power, then there’s less chance of over-stretching. In addition, this style stretch can be a useful tool when you’ve been inactive for hours on end.

For example, let’s say you sat all day and just stood up, and you notice your calves are tight. As opposed to going straight to a stair and possibly overstretching a cold calve muyscle, you’ll actively stretch within your current range of motion through the use of the anterior muscles on the leg. It’s a safer means of doing so, and you’re simultaneously warming-up the lower limb, win win.

The last scenario I’ve found active stretching to be useful is after waking up in the morning. It’s useful in this scenario because it eases the body into natural ranges of motion, requires energy without exerting too much too quick, and it’s a decent way to start mobilizing stiff joints.

Examples: Sitting and actively stretching the calve (contract anterior shin muscles), and opening the chest by extending the arms out to the side and creating a stretch by flexing the back musculature.

Final Word

These are only two means of stretching, and keep in mind, we didn’t reference static or dynamic, which are two stretches most often associated with workouts. Passive and active stretching are useful for improving flexibility and mobility. Both style stretches will help athletes achieve different ranges of motion.

One thing to note, passive stretching can be slightly more dangerous for athletes when there’s lack of attention to one’s flexibility limits.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Feature image from @petrihalonen Instagram page.

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Dmytro Semenenko (-105kg) Made the Heaviest Squat at IPF Worlds

Ukrainian powerlifter Dmytro Semenenko has added an enormous 4.24 times bodyweight squat to the history books at the IPF Open World Championships: 445.5 kilograms (982.1 pounds) at -105kg bodyweight. (He weighed 104.98 kilograms — that weigh in must have been a nail-biter.)

Check out the incredible lift below.

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Very importantly, this was the heaviest squat made by any athlete in any weight class at the 2017 IPF Open World Championships. It was 25.5 kilograms (56.2lb) heavier than the second heaviest squat in his weight class, made by Kazakhstan’s Zalim Kuvambayev, and 13 kilograms (28.6lb) heavier than the second heaviest from the whole competition, which was made by two superheavyweight athletes: fellow Ukrainian Volodymyr Svistunov and the American Joseph Cappellino.

Superheavyweight squat world record holder Blaine Sumner posted a “Such a monster. Congratulations champ!” in Semenenko’s Instagram comments.

You can see a few more angles of the lift and hear the color commentary in this clip from the IPF’s live stream of the event.

Now, in this clip you can see the athlete get two red lights for depth and hear the commentators lament that Semenenko didn’t quite get the world record. However, that decision was overturned by the jury and the IPF granted him the world record at 445.5 kilograms, which is now listed on the IPF’s official list of records on their website.

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We believe this squat broke the man’s previous world record of 432 kilograms (952.4 pounds) from this year’s World Games, which took place in Poland in July. You can watch all three of his lifts here: the 432kg squat, 280kg bench, and 330kg deadlift.

This 432kg squat was the second heaviest from all weight classes at the World Games, second only to a 432.5kg squat from superheavyweight Oleksiy Rokochiy.

Semenenko’s performance at IPF Worlds last week isn’t getting quite as much attention as some other lifts made at the event, but we think it’s one of the most impressive of all time.

Featured image via @semenenko_dmytro on Instagram.

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Jumping Lunge Alternatives

Jumping lunges are a beneficial unilateral movement that are done to increase leg power and performance. In an earlier article we discussed the benefits of jumping lunges, as well as how to properly perform them. In some cases, however, you may want to select a jumping lunge alternative to fit the needs/demands of your athletes/clients such as those detailed below.

Therefore, in this article we will discuss five jumping lunge alternatives that you can build into training programs to better fit the needs and abilities of your athletes/lifters/clients.

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Lack of Balance

In the event someone demonstrates poor balance during the jumping lunge, yet has no issues during lunges and maybe even other single legged movements, you can integrate some of the below alternatives into training programs (such as the band assisted jumping lunge) to increase proprioception, balance, and body awareness while still having them gain valuable training adaptations from the jumping lunge.

Inability to Produce Power

Many individuals will not have the basic abilities or foundational strength to support unilateral power training. In this situation, coaches and athletes must focus on foundational training of the squat, lunge, and other strength work before integrating more demanding (on the joints, tissues, and muscles) plyometrics. Once they have the foundational leg strength needed (which I make my lifters and athletes demonstrate a bodyweight back squat…see example below) yu can them start involving them in plyometrics. Certain alternatives, such as the band assisted jumping lunge, speed split squat, and even power march and skip are great ways to build them towards the standard jumping lunge.

Injury Restrictions

Sometimes there will be injuries that will impeded your ability to involve this into a training program, or you may be fearful that this may increase injury risk based on the stage of development of your client/athlete. If this is the case, you must first determine what the injury/weakness is and ask yourself if they are ready for plyometrics in the first place. For starters, they should be able to perform slow, controlled, and full range of motion lunges, bilateral jump squats, and be able to squat their bodyweight (a 200lb man should then be able to squat 200lbs correctly before going into unloaded plyometrics). Additionally, you may find injury to one leg may impede bilateral power training within a program, however you can still proceed with single leg plyometrics (such as the jumping Bulgarian split squat) to help maintain fitness and power capacities of the body during recovery.

Maximal Power Training

There are times when you may want to assist a capable athlete during a movement they can clearly perform for the sake of overloading and provide additional stimulus. Sometimes that may come in the form of band assisted training (such as band assisted deadlifts, squats, etc). The band assisted jump squat can help to increase balance and stability so that a capable lifter can really focus on power production without having to be totally concerned with body awareness. Additionally, the increased jump heights (due to the band helping them increase vertical output) will place greater eccentric demands on the lifters (due to greater vertical displacement of the jump), which can also have a significant training benefit.

Jumping Lunge Alternatives

Below are five (5) jumping lunge alternatives that coaches and athletes can integrate into training sessions to fit the needs and abilities of their lifters/athletes/clients.

Jumping Bulgarian Split Squat

This alternative is very similar to the jumping lunge, however has a lifter place their back leg on a supportive stand, box, bench, or other piece of equipment to help increase stability of the movement. This can help lifters who are still developing proper body awareness and balance and/or are more concerned with maximal power output in one limb (such as in situation discussed in the above section).

Power March/Skipping

The power march/skip should be a foundational movement for many athletes looking to progress into sprint drills and explosive training. This drill can teach proper leg drive, hip flexor strength and power, and develop the explosive abilities that the athlete must possess for unilateral plyometrics, such as jumping lunges.

Speed Split Squat

This is a slightly regressed version of the jumping lunge that does not have the lifter leave the ground and therefore enhances stability of the movement. By not going into flight, you also decrease the eccentric demands of this exercise, which could be beneficial for those transitioning into the movement from a less than optimal foundation. Below is a video demo on the split squat. The speed split squat is done exactly like the below movement, however is done as fast as one can, without stopping or resting between repetitions and/or the concentric and eccentric phases.

Jump Squat

The jump squat is the bilateral form of lower body plyometrics, and can be done to help lifters develop power and body control necessary for plyometrics. Mastering the bilateral movement first is a smart way to limit injury and prepare athletes for the increased demands on unilateral plyometrics.

Assisted Jumping Lunge

Let’s assume the main reason why you are not doing jumping lunges is because an athlete has poor balance, body awareness, or simply is not confident enough with their abilities to land safely. This can be the case with beginners, athletes recovering from injury, and older individuals. While jumping lunges may not be a solid choice due to these limitations, they could bridge the gap between the full blow jumping lunge and speed split squats/Bulgarian jump split squats with this assisted jumping lunge variation. Simply have the lifter place themselves in a jumping lunge setup, however give them a band, TRX straps, or any other supportive piece of equipment that will allow them to find balance and correct any losses of balance while in flight or during the landing phases. I find that the band assisted jumping lunge is a great in-between to (1) improve balance and stability necessary for the jumping lunge while still integrating the  movement (2) allowing even experience athletes a little bit of help to really let them attack the powerful plyometric component of the lunge.

More on Lunges and Unilateral Leg Training!

Check out these lunging (and other unilateral movement) guides below to maximize your fitness and strength training.

Featured Image: @emmatiptemp on Instagram

 

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Powerlifting Australia and Robert Wilks Are Out of the IPF

The International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) has resolved to exclude Powerlifting Australia (PA), the Oceania Powerlifting Federation (OPF), and the President of both organizations Robert Wilks from the IPF.

While PA and the OPF have been excluded, the IPF membership of the other Oceanian nations — which include New Zealand, Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia — has not been affected.

A possible reason why the entirety of Powerlifting Australia was removed along with Wilks is that PA (which technically owns the OPF as a registered business name) is incorporated as a business with Wilks as the CEO.

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What happened? The decision was made at the recent IPF General Assembly, and if you’re interested in powerlifting politics, we recommend reading the minutes from that meeting. IPF President Gaston Parage said that it was partly due to the fact that the member federations did not ratify Wilks as a member of the IPF’s executive committee. The explanation for the proposal to exclude Wilks and his organizations read in part,

For the last two years, the IPF and its EC have been subject to a persistent campaign by OPF, PA and Mr. Wilks. This campaign has involved inundating the IPF disciplinary bodies with claims (that the IPF EC considers to lack any merit), taking the IPF to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (unsuccessfully) and subjecting the IPF and the members of its EC to abusive and intolerable comments.

The campaign culminated earlier this year in a court action in Luxembourg in which the PA, OPF and Mr. Wilks are seeking the annihilation of the IPF as a federation together with an invalidation of all its competitions since 2010.

It also stated that Wilks had made “abusive and inappropriate comments about the IPF, its EC and members (including before important stakeholders such as the IOC and SportAccord.”

Wilks has not yet publicly addressed why he believes he has been excluded.

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Wilks’ name is known among powerlifters as the creator of the Wilks Coefficient, a formula used to judge a powerlifter’s strength relative to their bodyweight. Many powerlifting meets, including those held by the IPF itself, award prizes based on the best Wilks attained on the day.

[Wondering who’s got the best Wilks of all time? Check out our infographic here!]

While the IPF has stated that Wilks agreed to the proposal to exclude him “without prejudice and reserving his other rights,” Powerlifting Australia said on their Facebook page that they “vigorously opposed” the “grossly improper and not sound” resolution, and they plan to contest it. In an official statement, Wilks himself called the decision “outrageous and destructive.”

Powerlifting Australia and OPF are robustly pursuing an appeal through the Courts in Luxembourg, aside from considering all our options. (…)

Be assured though that PA and the OPF remain sound and are proceeding firmly with our programme for 2017/2018.

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Wilks went on to confirm that Powerlifting Australia will still be in attendance at December’s Oceania Championships and Pacific Invitational in Singapore, April’s Pacific Invitational and Sydney Open, and the Australian Junior, Master’s, and Open Championships in August and October next year.

“Whatever the intricacies of world affiliation, those events will be successes in their own right,” he added.

While Wilks was excluded from the IPF immediately, the IPF granted amnesty for December’s Oceania Powerlifting Championships — the exclusion of PA and OPF won’t begin until midnight on December 10, the last day of the meet. After that, according to IPF rules, Powerlifting Australia and Oceana Powerlifting Federation athletes will be ineligible for IPF competitions.

Featured image via @powerliftingaustralia on Instagram.

Thanks to Reddit user Scybear and James Wakefield for their help with this article.

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Weightlifting World Championship Athletes Can Compete In CrossFit Liftoff

This year, the 2017 Weightlifting World Championships and CrossFit Liftoff coincide with each other, which originally meant some weightlifting athletes would have to miss this year’s Lift Off. Luckily for these athletes, CrossFit announced that they’d allow them to submit their competition scores as official Liftoff scores.

In their announcement CrossFit HQ wrote, “CrossFit is offering the opportunity for competitors in the World Weightlifting Championships to use their competition lifts as valid submissions for the Liftoff in the snatch and clean and jerk categories.”

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This year’s World Championships take place from November 28-December 5th, while the Liftoff begins November 30th and goes through December 4th. For weightlifters competing, this is great new because the Liftoff is typically a competition this type of athlete excels at.

The CrossFit Liftoff

Since 2015, the CrossFit Liftoff has been a way to test an athlete’s best snatch, clean & jerk, and general physical preparedness (GPP). It’s commonly thought of as CrossFit’s weightlifting challenge. For the Liftoff, athletes have the ability to complete all of the required tasks that have been given to them in no particular order.

  • Best Snatch
  • Best Clean & Jerk
  • GPP Workout

This year, the GPP workout is set to be announced at 5 P.M. Pacific Time on Thursday, November 30th. Prizes are awarded for the best overall scores, best weightlifting total, best pound-for-pound lifters, best snatch, best clean & jerk, along with gift cards awarded to teen/masters/individual divisions.

How a Lift Counts

All of the lifts and workout need to be performed in a CrossFit affiliate under the eye of a certified coach. And in order for a score to count with video submissions CrossFit HQ writes, “The athlete must submit a video to CrossFit that is uncut and unedited. The video must show the entire lift and include the athlete stepping on a scale to show their current body weight. This means the athlete must have a scale somewhere near the lifting platform to record their body weight just before or after they lift.”

“First, someone must record the athlete stating their name, the Liftoff password and the amount they are attempting to lift. Then they must record the entire lift. They can record the athlete’s body weight either before or after the lift as long as the video is uncut.”

Feature image from @crossfitgames Instagram page, and photo taken by Stefan Drgon. 

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Clarence Kennedy PRs His Snatch With 187.5kg at ~100kg Bodyweight

It took two years for Clarence Kennedy to add 2.5 kilograms to his snatch, but when you’re advanced enough in weightlifting that your personal record is 185 kilograms (407.8lb) at 103 kilograms (227lb) bodyweight, progress takes time.

The Irish weightlifter and YouTube personality, who told us in September that these days he weighs closer to 100 kilograms, posted his new PR of 187.5 kilograms (413.4lb) to his popular YouTube channel over the weekend.

Note that he made the lift wearing single loop wrist straps, which aren’t allowed in international competition. For comparison’s sake — and again, these weren’t competition standards by any means — if Kennedy were competing as an American athlete, this snatch would be 12.5 kilograms heavier than the current -105kg record held by Wes Kitts. (Kitts made a 175kg snatch at this year’s Pan American Championships, though he’s been seen snatching 180kg in training.)

We reached out to ask Kennedy how he finally broke through his old PR, but he just said,

My training has been the same really, I have increased my strength quite a bit and I’ve made a load of other PRs that I haven’t released on YouTube.

Consistency and effort win out, as always.

So what does his training look like? When we interviewed him earlier this year, he told us he squats four out of every five days and that 80 percent of his training is squats:

“Doing a lot of jerks and a lot of Olympic lifts in general doesn’t actually seem to improve my Olympic lifts that much, so I just did the bare minimum of Olympic lifts. They’re the hardest on my knees, especially cleans. So when I was trying to rehab my injuries, I focused a lot more on back squats, which don’t really affect my knees so much and they ultimately wound up helping my Olympic lifts.”

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The new PR is also pretty notable in that Kennedy went vegan in early 2016. A common “criticism” of vegan athletes is that many build their strength as omnivores and then drop meat from their diet. That Kennedy is still breaking personal records after more than a year without animal products certainly doesn’t hurt the argument that you can build strength and muscle without meat.

[Kennedy made our list of the 5 strongest vegans on Earth — check out the rest of the list for some serious plant-based muscle.]

We’re looking forward to seeing the other PRs that he says he’s yet to release on YouTube.

Featured image via Clarence0 on YouTube.

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