Kinesio Tex Gold 100% Cotton Kinesiology Tape Review

In 1979, Dr. Kenzo Kase (some people consider him the originator of kinesiology tape) founded Kinesio, who today manufactures kinesiology tape for athletic applications. One of the leading tapes by Kinesio is the Kinesio Tex Gold Tape, which is made of 100% cotton and offers lightweight to medium support for nearly every athletic endeavor.

After my previous experiences with cotton kinesiology tape from a variety of manufactures, I was eager to see how this roll held up during sweaty, explosive, and full range of motion training sessions to then share my experiences and feedback.

In this article we are reviewing the Kinesio Tex Gold 100% cotton tape by Kinesio.

Stability

Kinesio Tex Gold cotton is a fairly low profile tape when applied, and offers the amount of support I was expecting from kinesiology tape. I was initially drawn to the adhesive abilities of this tape, especially when compared with other 100% cotton and less adhesive rolls. The tape stayed in place, offered good support, and was much appreciated after my first experience with another leading 100% cotton tape.

Applying the tape to the skin was as easy as peeling and sticking. Once in place, the tape stayed put and offered a light and noticeable pull to trigger better movement patterning. I personally found this tape to offer a fair amount of support and pull, which I preferred as compared to lighter less adhesive tapes on the market. Lifters who are looking for a less noticeable tape (feel on skin) may want to opt for another version or brand, as I did feel the tape and it’s pull, however at no point did it hinder my movement in anyway.

Kinesio Tex Gold Tape Fit

Comfort and Fit

Kinesio Tex Gold is constructed of elastic cotton material, which offers lightweight support. The material is soft on the skin, and really stayed put which is highly beneficial during more intense training sessions involving fuller range of motion movements.

Unlike other versions, this tape did not come in pre-cut strips, however,I found this tape to be very tear-able, and the additional markings on the back of the tape made it easy to measure lengths. While I would say pre-cut is a plus, this tape was tear-able, measured well, and stayed in place.

I found applying the tape to be pretty easy, and didn’t have any issues tearing it or getting strips the same length (thanks to the grip on the back of each strip). I found the cotton tape to be pretty comfortable on the skin, and didn’t really absorb the sweat, which is a good thing, as this helped it stay adhered.

I applied the tape across the bicep/elbow, as well as on the upper trap and shoulder complex. I was actually surprised at how quickly I felt some relief from some weird trap alignment I have going on, and found it to provide good feedback during pull ups and push ups.

Kinesio Tex Gold Application

Material

This material is comprised of latex free 100% cotton fibers, that are very stretchy allowing for full ranges of movement yet still was able to stay adhered and firm to the skin, which is a must for a no fuss tape. I didn’t have any issues during most of my training, which was much appreciated, unlike some other versions of cotton kinesiology tape.

Kinesio Tex Gold Review

Durability

I personally found this tape to adhere well during training involving snatches, overhead pressing, and even back squats (bar on the shoulder strips). They stayed in place, didn’t lose firmness and feel, and lasted the entire training session. Granted, I do not wear kinesiology tape often, and if I do I use for only single use, as I sweat, a lot.

Price

These rolls of the tape vary based on thickness and size. Sold on Amazon, as well as the company website, you can expect to get the 1 or 2” rolls for $14.95, and the thicker 3” roll for $21.95. I found the price to be warranted when compared to more popular and well-known brands that may lack the adhesive properties that Kinesio Flex Gold provides.

Kinesio Tex Gold Tape Price

Final Words

I found the Kinesio Flex Gold tape to be a good all-around kinesiology tape that offered midrange support, great adhesiveness, and had a smooth, natural feel.

A potential drawback of this tape is that some people may want less of a supportive and adhesive feeling tape, which in that case may make this not the best option. For the price, and the qualities of adhesiveness and firmness, I would recommend this product to budget shoppers and high end athletes alike.

The post Kinesio Tex Gold 100% Cotton Kinesiology Tape Review appeared first on BarBend.

Watch This 70-Year-Old Dominate His Final Powerlifting Meet

At BarBend, we’re big fans of videos of strength athletes crushing PRs and pulling heavy lifts at an older age. (Some of our favorites include Fred Rice deadlifting 520 pounds on his 72nd birthday and Janis McBee taking up Olympic weightlifting in her late 70s.)

But it’s not often that we’re treated to a documentary about senior lifters that’s as high quality as Iron Grandpa, the excellent short film about Finnish powerlifter Esko Ketola.

The documentary, which was produced by Al Jazeera and the Finnish media company Matto Media, follows the 70-year-old Ketola as he trains to compete in the 2014 Global Powerlifting Committee World Championships in Argentina.

It’s a complex story. Not only does Ketola have to contend with his history of injuries (in particular, a ruptured joint capsule in his hip), he also has to grapple with his checkered history of steroid usage. Ketola failed doping tests in 1992 and 1995 and received a lifetime ban from international competition. He is now only able to compete in untested federations, which is why he flies to Argentina to win the GPC’s 67.5kg division. Check out the trailer below.

The full film can be watched right here.

“I’ve talked a lot about winning five world championships,” says Ketola. “I need one more to be a man of my word. That’s why i’m going to Argentina for the World Championship. Only the weak give up.”

The film overall is a great meditation on the sport of powerlifting, and Ketola — though he experiences the occasional moments of cantankerousness — is a wise soul who shares lifting philosophy from the perspective of a septuagenarian.

You have to be strong overall, just as strong from head to toe. Legs for squats, arms for bench, back for deadlift. (…) It’s a test for the whole body. If competitors are equally strong, the one with the strongest willpower wins. Luckily, all I have in my head is incredible willpower.

Ketola’s goal is to deadlift 190kg (419 pounds), and along the way he experiences a troublesome weight cut, and a lot nailbiting failed lifts. The final competition lifts, even for audiences unfamiliar with the sport, are seriously suspenseful.

Image via Al Jazeera on Facebook.

We won’t reveal whether or not he achieves his goal, but the film closes with Ketola joyfully describing his doctor’s anger at his decision to continue lifting, despite requiring surgery on his hip.

“You should’ve seen (his) face,” he smiles. “I’ll train to become the strongest in the world in my category. Then we’ll go again.”

Featured image via Al Jazeera on Facebook.

The post Watch This 70-Year-Old Dominate His Final Powerlifting Meet appeared first on BarBend.

How Being Stressed Can Impact Your Strength Training

When it comes to strength training, stress can be something of a double-edged sword. We need stress to grow physically. For example, every time we pick up a weight, we’re producing a calculated stress on the body that will, in return, facilitate muscular growth. We do this because we know we’re getting a return on our investment, in that our body will come back stronger and build upon the stress we placed upon it.

Yet, what about mental stress and its impacts on lifting? Can it be positive or is it always a downhill battle for gains? Merriam Webster formally defines stress in multiple ways, two of which are…

  • “A force exerted when one body or body part presses on, pulls on, pushes against, or tends to compress or twist another body or body part; especiallythe intensity of this mutual force commonly expressed in pounds per square inch.”
  • “A physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension.”

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On top of Merriam Webster’s formal definitions we’ll often find that everyone has their own definition of what stress is. This is due to everyone having varied levels of adaptability and thresholds. It’s an inevitable attribute that separates athletes from each other. For example, think of athletes who perform great under pressure. They’re most likely better equipped to handle mental stress.

Effects of Stress on Exercise

Daily mental stress can be caused by multiple factors, which can include things like our job, kids, financial standing, relationships, and many more.

The hormone commonly linked to and increased with stress is called cortisol. This hormone plays a role in multiple bodily processes such as nervous system/metabolism regulation, anti-inflammatory properties, immune health, and others. In natural regulated amounts, this hormone can actually be a good thing for the body, as it helps regulate some of our daily systems. For example, it helps us naturally wake up in the morning.

A post shared by Meg Squats (@megsquats) on Apr 7, 2017 at 5:48pm PDT

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Our natural cortisol production is highest in the morning and tapers as our days proceed. The issue with cortisol comes about when we encounter stress throughout our day. Too much and too little can impact the body in a negative way. Daily stress – whether acute or chronic – will create a spike or elevation in our cortisol levels. The spikes we encounter are situational, so it comes down to how our body handles and adapts to stress placed upon it.

This is when an influx of cortisol production brought on by stress can impact muscular gains and strength. A study from 2014 focused on the effect of stress and strength in an older demographic by utilizing a grip strength test (grip strength is often correlated to other muscular group’s strength). They found that higher stress levels correlated with catabolic properties in skeletal muscle. In this case, a decrease in muscle protein synthesis, which is the opposite of muscle growth.

In addition to impacting our strength levels, stress also impacts our body composition (with weight gain/loss). As strength athletes, weight becomes increasingly more important, especially when competing in weight classes. A paper from 2005, titled Stress and Metabolism, analyzed how repeated bouts of stress impact healthy and obese populations. They found that frequent stress increases sympathetic nervous system responses, increased cortisol, and epinephrine secretion (adrenaline). These frequent responses from stress can impact weight gain and loss due to insulin resistance (increase in blood sugar).

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Another factor and possibly one of the most influentially negative in terms of our muscles and stress has to do with the hormones cortisol suppresses. When we experience high amounts of stress, then we’re decreasing anabolic hormones like our natural growth hormone, insulin like growth factor, and testosterone. As we know, these are the hormones we aim to increase with lifting. These improve our fitness, strength, and all around physical health by improving our tenacity in the gym.

Instant Stress Relief Methods

Most stress reducing techniques take time and practice, but there are a few things you can in the moment to reduce stress.

Breath Counting: This entails counting your inhalation, holding of the breath, and exhalation to regulate your nervous system’s excitement. If you’re feeling stressed, then try inhaling for 3-seconds, holding your breath for 3-seconds, and exhaling for 4-seconds. At the onset of negative emotion, utilize this technique for 5-rounds.

Mental Notes: This method is a little more personal, but I find it often works when I’m feeling daily stresses. Find one or two thoughts that make you happy. These could be a person, something you’re looking forward to, or a positive memory. Whenever I feel extremely stressed, I’ll close my eyes and pick one of my positive thoughts. Overtime this has produced an instinctual positive reaction whenever I feel an onset of stress. My mind is now in the habit of combatting stress with positive aspects of my life.

Ways to Avoid Working Out Stressed

The below methods will help you manage daily stress, which can produce better results in the gym. If you actively work to lower your daily stress levels, then you’ll be more likely to improve mentally and physically for the gym. Less stress will directly and indirectly equate to higher levels of energy and natural anabolic hormones.

1. Meditation, Breathing, and Yoga

As cliche as it sounds, tactics like meditation, breathing techniques, and yoga will help you manage daily stress levels. Meditation and yoga are both excellent at helping to calm and center your focus on the body with the sole purpose to help you relax. Consider meditation and calculated breathing as your mental yoga.

Meditation: To begin, try introducing meditation tactics at the right times of day. For example, try doing so before bed and work to focus solely on your breathing for 5 minutes. Once you clear your mind of competing thoughts, then you’ll help the body relax and avoid thinking about daily stresses. Plus, you’re already in bed, which makes this method easy with no additional work on your part.

Breathing: Try Alternate Nostril Breathing. This is simple, effective, and takes 5-10 minutes of your day, plus breathing tactics have been shown to calm/improve nervous system function.

  • Sit, relax, and close your eyes. Bring your dominate hand to your face and place your pointer/index fingers on the bridge of the nose in-between your eyebrows.
  • Your thumb and ring finger will then fall on your nose. You’ll begin by pressing your thumb down on one side (right side for right hands, left side for left hands) and slowly exhaling through the opposing side.
  • Upon exhalation, begin by slowly inhaling through the same side of exhalation, and breathe out of the previously closed side.
  • Repeat this for as many rounds as you see fit – breathing in through one nostril, and out the other. The previously linked study used 5 and 10-minute increments to see improvements.

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Yoga: Far too often athletes could utilize yoga for its calming and mobilizing benefits, but neglect to do so. If you’re timid to actually take a class, then check out our article on the best yoga poses for weightlifting athletes. You can choose to flow through these with the tempo and stretch selection you see most appealing.

2. Sleep, Magnesium, Theanine, and Zinc

Sleep is fundamental to recovery, hormone regulation, and even promoting better stress levels. It’s generally understood that 6-8 hours is what athletes require, but many have a hard time doing so. On the flip side, you can also try using daily supplements to promote better stress levels.

Sleep: Most experts agree that 7-9 hours of sleep a night is an adequate amount for athletes. It’s important to try and keep your sleep/wake schedule consistent, as this will help your body adapt to a sleeping pattern. This pattern can help improve your deep sleep cycles and natural cortisol productions. If you’re waking up at sporadic times, then cortisol production will be inconsistent, which can have an impact on stress levels, workouts, and energy levels. If you find yourself struggling to finding deep sleep – check out our five tips for restful sleep.

Magnesium: Magnesium, the infamous mineral that many athletes are actually deficient in. This mineral improves sleep quality, stress levels, blood pressure, and it even relaxes the muscles within the digestive tract.

Theanine: Theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that produces similar effects of magnesium, but without a sedative side effects.

Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that plays a role in our immune system health and natural testosterone production. Both of these factors can be suppressed and decreased with increased stress levels. Also, ZMA supplements have been noted to help support relaxation and sleep.

Wrapping Up

Daily stress is an inevitable part of our lives and some can be beneficial to our mental and physical tenacity. Yet too much stress can be counterproductive for in-gym performance. The above steps are easy and everyone can do them to promote healthy stress levels. What’s most important is that you find which methods work best for you.

The post How Being Stressed Can Impact Your Strength Training appeared first on BarBend.

New Documentary: A Day In the Life of Mat Fraser, the Fittest Man On Earth

If you’ve ever wanted to follow The Fittest Man on Earth  throughout a day of training, you’re in luck. Bodybuilding.com and NF Sports (one of Fraser’s sponsors) have come together to film this short, eight-minute documentary titled A Day With the 2016 CrossFit Champ.

At the start of the video, Fraser describes the tipping point when he realized he could win the CrossFit Games.

At the Games (…) I sat down next to one of the really good guys. And I’m like, ‘Huh. You’re my size. (…) Our legs are the same size. You’re not this superhero everyone has on a pedestal. OK, maybe I can compare with you.’

Watch the video below.

The documentary is well shot, but to be honest, it doesn’t provide as much detail as we’d like. For example, we learn little about his nutrition, we see him making bacon, eggs, a muffin, and a glutamine shake for breakfast, but we don’t know what else he eats — he simply says, “Then I eat” as he describes the rest of his day.

And while it’s cool to watch the Fittest Man on Earth and winner of the 2017 CrossFit® Open work out all day (we see him complete three solid sessions), it would have been useful to learn a little more about his training methodology.

As another example, after he completes a home workout and a gym workout, he returns home to “do another, like hour or two of just the accessory stuff, you know stuff that isn’t hard (…) just that nagging stuff that piles up. Finish that, stretch, eat, bed.”

We see him performing some cleans, back extensions, and scap work, but we would have liked to hear more about the Games champion’s prehab. What does he do that others don’t, or don’t do enough of? What has he found most useful to protect his back, which he once broke in two places? What are the exercises that give him an edge? Fraser talks a lot about having learned from his mistakes, but we don’t really learn what those are.

Image via Bodybuilding.com on YouTube

A Day With the 2016 CrossFit Champ is actually the second of several documentaries that Bodybuilding.com is releasing about Fraser. The series, called The Making of a Champion, debuted a week ago with Beginnings, a longer, ten-minute documentary about Fraser that focuses much more on his motivations and mentality. We’ve embedded it below.

It’s not clear how many films will be released under the Making of a Champion title, but they should provide some great insight into the champion as we approach the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games, where he’ll be defending his title as the Fittest Man on Earth.

Featured image via Bodybuilding.com on YouTube

The post New Documentary: A Day In the Life of Mat Fraser, the Fittest Man On Earth appeared first on BarBend.

Ultimate Nutrition Whey Gold Review — Is It An “Anytime” Protein Powder?

Ultimate Nutrition is a Connecticut-based supplement company that carries a lot of products catered toward bodybuilders. (The company currently sponsors six-time Mr. Olympia winner Phil Heath.) The company isn’t as ubiquitous in supplement stores as competitors Optimum Nutrition and Isopure, but Ultimate Nutrition has built a loyal following and has well over a million Facebook likes.

They produce several kinds of protein powder, and we decided to try out Whey Gold, their stab at an all purpose protein.

Ultimate Nutrition Whey Gold Nutrition Facts

Let’s take a look at the nutrition label.

One scoop contains 140 calories, 20 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbohydrates (no fiber), and 2 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of which is saturated fat. Despite the product’s passing resemblance to Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard, this is not a low carbohydrate protein powder.

It’s also very low in sodium compared to some other protein powders (40mg per scoop) and it provides 16 percent of your daily calcium and 2 percent of your daily iron.

Ultimate Nutrition Whey Gold Nutrition Ingredients

The main ingredient is a blend of whey protein concentrate, hydrolyzed isolate, and isolate. Each of these forms have their own benefits: concentrate has more ingredients linked to health benefits (like CLA), isolate has the most protein, and hydrolyzed is absorbed the fastest.

Ultimate Nutrition Whey Gold Ingredients

The second ingredient is waxy maize, a type of corn that is intended to spike your blood sugar when consumed post workout. The argument is that because your carbohydrate stores are depleted during a workout, you should spike your insulin by eating high glycemic carbs (like waxy maize) post-workout. This is mostly practiced by bodybuilders, and its inclusion shows that they’re targeting the bodybuilding demographic.

Next the label mentions “natural flavors,” (we would have liked more information here) and then the artificial sweeteners sucralose (or Splenda), and acesulfame potassium. Whether or not the artificial sweeteners are a cause for concern depends on the person consuming the product, but I liked the fact that the product includes their names — some of their competitors just say “natural and artificial sweeteners” without any extra info.

Ultimate Nutrition Whey Gold Nutrition Benefits and Effectiveness

Here’s what I liked about this product: it blends three kinds of whey protein, it’s free of soy, it’s very low in sodium, and despite the imprecise inclusion of “natural flavors,” it’s ingredients label is more descriptive than some competitors.

The artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium may be dealbreakers for some readers, and it’s also worth noting that there aren’t any additional digestive enzymes like lactase to help digest the powder, so it may be hard to stomach for the some 25 percent of Americans who are lactose intolerant (this percentage rises to 75 percent worldwide).

Ultimate Nutrition Whey Gold Label
Ultimate Nutrition Whey Gold Label

The fact that there are nine grams of carbs for every twenty grams of protein is interesting. The pro is that the carbs, most if not all of which come from waxy maize, should help to spike blood sugar and send protein to the muscles more quickly before, during, and/or after a workout. The con is that this deliberate spiking of insulin means Whey Gold is not a great “anytime” protein shake.

So the protein quality is high, but the waxy maize and carb content may make it less useful for the average reader.

Ultimate Nutrition Whey Gold Nutrition Price

This product appears to only come in five-pound tubs that cost 90 dollars each and provide 67 servings. That means it costs $1.34 per serving or, if you want to get very granular, 6.72 cents per gram of protein.

That’s quite pricy from a cents-per-gram-of-protein standpoint; you can compare that to Dymatize Elite (6.24 cents per gram of protein, 5-pound tub), Jym (4.49 cents per gram, 4-pound tub), BPI Sports Whey-HD (3.6 cents per gram, 5-pound tub) and Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard (3.31 cents per gram of protein, 5-pound tub).

Ultimate Nutrition Whey Gold Price
Ultimate Nutrition Whey Gold Price

But since this isn’t a low-carb protein powder (or a high-carb protein powder, it’s somewhere in the middle), it’s probably best to look at the price per serving. From that standpoint, this is still relatively expensive at $1.34 per serving, though by a smaller margin. Compare that with Jym ($1.25 per serving), BPI Sports Whey-HD ($1.09 per serving) , Cellucor Cor-Performance (93 cents per serving) and Optimum Nutrition (79 cents per serving).

Mixability

For a product without lecithin and with no artificial ingredients for this purpose, it mixes surprisingly well. It doesn’t take much shaking for it to mix, though it doesn’t dissolve as well as, say, Optimum Nutrition — there remains some very small clumps or powder, but it’s still very easy to drink and doesn’t irritate the throat.

Ultimate Nutrition Whey Gold Taste

I tried “Delicious Chocolate” flavor and it tasted great — very creamy and closer to milk chocolate than dark chocolate, which meant that it was surprisingly palatable with water but a little too creamy tasting with whole milk. If you’re drinking it with low fat milk, however, I think Whey Gold would be a great way to restore the creamy flavor that’s lost with the fat.

The Takeaway

Overall, this is a fine product that could be a good choice for bodybuilders who want to spike their insulin and who want to minimize soy, but as a supplement for the general population it’s not at the top of our list: it’s pricy, it’s not a great “anytime” shake, and it might be tough to digest for folks with sensitive stomachs.

The post Ultimate Nutrition Whey Gold Review — Is It An “Anytime” Protein Powder? appeared first on BarBend.

ORAC Energy Greens Vs. Healthforce Vitamineral Green – Which Has More Benefits?

ORAC-Energy Greens and Vitamineral Green are marketed very differently: the former has a strong emphasis on its science-backed benefits, while the latter has a more New Age-y appeal, with the jar featuring a glowing angel and promises to enhance your magnetic and vibrational energies.

We can’t blame these products for trying to appeal to different markets, but is there a way to tell which is the more effective supplement? We took a harder look to see which is more likely to improve your health.

Buy ORAC-Energy Greens and Vitamineral Greens

Taste

ORAC-Energy Greens

Believe or not, it barely tastes of anything. It’s bland and has a slightly peppery aftertaste, so it’s quite reminiscent of celery juice.

Vitamineral Green

This was definitely the worse-tasting of the two supplements. It’s totally free of flavorings and sweeteners and tastes like straight wheat grass and algae. It’s earthy and soily, and you might find it hard to disguise the taste in a smoothie or juice.

Winner: ORAC-Energy Greens

Price

ORAC-Energy Greens

The price fluctuates a little, but on Amazon you can get thirty servings for roughly thirty dollars, or if you want to invest in a large, 364-gram jar, it winds up at less than 75 cents per serving.

Vitamineral Green

You can find a 500-gram jar of 50 servings on Amazon for 58 dollars, which evens out to $1.16 per serving.

Winner: ORAC-Energy Greens

ORAC-Energy Greens Versus Vitamineral Green

Ingredients

ORAC-Energy Greens

Like most green superfood drinks, there’s plenty of wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina, and chlorella. There’s also a mixture of green vegetables, berries, five kinds of mushrooms, probiotic bacteria, a “liver support” blend of milk thistle and artichoke leaf, and an “energy formula” of açai berry and maca root.

ORAC-Energy Greens
ORAC-Energy Greens

There are two more unusual blends: one that’s focused on quercetin, a plant pigment and antioxidant that’s linked to heart health and reduced allergies; and a blend of adaptogens, compounds that are linked to stress management and recovery that include ashwagandha, astragalus, holy basil leaf, and suma root.

ORAC-Energy Greens
ORAC-Energy Greens

Unlike many greens powders (and unlike Vitamineral Green), it lists the quantity of most of its ingredients as well, so if you’re curious about whether or not you’re getting an effective dose, you can look it up. Note that some of the blends are proprietary, but most of the ingredients’ weights are listed.

Vitamineral Green

They’re split up into six categories: “From the Waters,” which has spirulina and chlorella, “From the Oceans,” which has five kinds of algae, “VMG Enzyme Concentrate” which has seven kinds of digestive enzymes, “Probiotics” which has six kinds of probiotic bacteria, and the largest category is “From the Land,” which has ingredients like barley grass, moringa leaf, and holy basil.

Vitamineral Green
Vitamineral Green

“From the Land” also has a lot of unusual ingredients you don’t see in most green superfood powders, like nettle leaf, carob pod, chickweed herb, yacon leaf, amla berry, and shilajit. A lot of these are used in traditional medicine like Ayurveda, and while some have been linked to health benefits, others (like chickweed herb and yacon leaf) don’t yet have a lot of scientific evidence supporting therapeutic use. Ultimately, I have more faith in the more conventional, science-backed ingredients in ORAC-Energy Greens.

Winner: ORAC-Energy Greens

Benefits

ORAC-Energy Greens

OK, so what are the benefits here? The biggest selling point for ORAC-Energy Greens is that it uses the ORAC scale to measure its antioxidant content. That’s generally considered the best way to measure antioxidant potency, and with an ORAC scale of 40,000, one serving has three times the antioxidants found in a cup of blueberries. That’s truly impressive.

On the other hand, there’s little information regarding vitamins and minerals — we’re only told that it contain has 75 percent of the RDI of Vitamin A, 58 percent of your Vitamin C, 7 percent of your iron and 2 percent of your calcium.

Regarding micronutrients, it’s not astoundingly powerful, but it positions itself as an antioxidant supplement and in that regard, it’s the most potent source of antioxidants I’ve ever seen. It also contains a wide variety of adaptogens, and it contains 1.2 billion probiotics per serving from five different strains. That’s on the lower end as far as probiotics go, but it’s a nice inclusion.

Vitamineral Green

This also doesn’t have a very exhaustive list of vitamins and minerals. One serving contains 60 percent of your daily intake of Vitamin A, 20 percent of your daily Vitamin C, 40 percent of your iron (that’s a lot), and 10 percent of your calcium.

We know that it contains six strains of probiotic bacteria, but not how many (Unlike ORAC-Energy Greens.) We know it has antioxidants, but we don’t know how many (Unlike ORAC-Energy Greens.) We know it contains a lot of natural grasses, seaweeds, roots, and herbs, but we don’t know how many. (Unlike ORAC-Energy Greens.)

Vitamineral Green is marketed in a pretty “New Age-y” fashion and it contains a lot of ingredients I’ve never seen before. It’s rare in that regard; if you’re a big fan of natural medicine and have been trying to find a supplement that contains both bladderwrack and shilajit, you’ll be delighted. But that’s all that really makes it stand out from the crowd: as far as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and probiotics go, we don’t have a good idea of what the product delivers.

Winner: ORAC-Energy Greens

Overall Winner: ORAC-Energy Greens

When compared to Vitamineral Green, ORAC-Energy Greens is cheaper and does a much better job of quantifying its benefits and convincing me that it’s a worthwhile supplement.

The post ORAC Energy Greens Vs. Healthforce Vitamineral Green – Which Has More Benefits? appeared first on BarBend.

Split Squat vs Squat – What’s the Difference, and Muscles Worked?

While many strength, power, and fitness athletes know all about the immense benefits of squatting, many are neglecting another fundamental movement that can not only aid in their overall squat performance, but also save their joints, increase movement patterning, and even add slabs of quality lean muscle to their lower bodies.

In this article, we will compare and contrast the split squat vs the squat, and discuss the importance of both movements for every athlete, regardless of sport.

The Split Squat

Generally speaking, many lifter’s refer to the “split squat” as an exercise that is done without a bench, in which the lifter takes a split stance (one foot back, one foot in front, much like taking a knee), lowers to one knee (back knee is usually in line with front heel or slightly behind) with the feet about hip width apart (maybe slightly closer).

[All split squats aren’t created equal! Here’s what you need to know!]

Common variations exist, such as the Bulgarian split squat and/or front-foot elevated, however for this article we will throw them all in one large category I’ll call “split squats” (as the complexities change based on the variations, however the general outcomes are generally similar).

A post shared by Mike Dewar (@mikejdewar) on Apr 5, 2017 at 5:33am PDT

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In the above video, I am performing a few sets of split squats at the end of a squat training session. Split squats help to develop unilateral leg muscle, aid in proper hip, knee, and ankle tracking, and can increase a lifter’s performance via something called, the “Bilateral Deficit” effect.

The Squat

This movement is about as fundamental as it gets. Often, children, before they can even walk…sit and stand in this natural squatting pattern. Almost every athletic endeavor can be aided by a healthy diet of squats, which is why most of us here are very familiar with them.

The squat is often performed from the back rack position (low or high bar) or front rack, however in this piece I will compare split squats to the squatting movement in general (back squat).

A post shared by Mike Dewar (@mikejdewar) on Apr 24, 2017 at 11:03am PDT

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In the above video, I perform a series of heavy squats with some good loading, demonstrating how these can be used to produce strength, hypertrophy, and sports performance outcomes on an athlete.

[Of course you need a stronger squat! Here’s how!]

Why You Should Do Both

Although the back squat may be a staple in your training program (if not, what are you doing?!), the split squat and it’s variances should find their way into your assistance sections of your training program on a weekly basis, if not more. If you neglect both movements, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and potentially injury.

Here’s why.

Maximal Strength

Without a doubt, the squat is one of the most strength-based movements around. Developing raw strength with this fundamental movement can have vast carry over to sport, drive hormonal and neural adaptations, and make the weak, strong…and the strong, stronger.

The split squat can definitely impact maximal strength capacities via the benefits of unilateral training, however is often not advised to do for maximal loading relative to one’s maximal strength, as the reward for heavy unilateral movements is not worth the potential joint-harming effects. Athletes can definitely attack unilateral movements with vigor and heavy loading, however I generally recommend keeping reps moderate to higher (no less than 5-6 reps per leg per set) with unilateral movements since they are best used for hypertrophy, sport specificity, movement integrity and injury resilience, and aiding in overall performance enhancement (ie strength).

Muscular Hypertrophy

Both movements provide great stimulus when looking to add quality muscle to your frame. Without hypertrophy cycles, athletes will stall out, ultimately limiting long term strength progress and increasing the likelihood of injury.

A post shared by Mike Dewar (@mikejdewar) on Oct 24, 2015 at 11:27am PDT

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Granted, these are drop/reverse lunges, however the unilateral effect is present.

The squat can be performed with higher loads, and can be done in high volumes, making them great for systemic muscle growth and development. The split squat, as it is a unilateral exercise, can often produce a more pinpointed approach to quadricep and glute development, increase neural patterning, and be a great accessory exercise to increase muscle mass and overall squat performance.

Correcting Asymmetries

Unilateral training can play a huge role in performance and injury resilience. While squatting under full range of motion and control can help you with those as well, the split squat can really increase your odds of performing well and avoiding preventable injuries via the immense benefits of unilateral training.

The important of the split squat (and the many variations of single-leg squat exercises; lunges, step ups, Bulgarian split squats, etc) cannot be stressed enough, regardless of your sport. Increasing specific muscular hypertrophy, increase balance and stability of the pelvis, hip, knee, and ankle, and increasing neuro-patterning all can have immense carry over to athletic movements and yes, heavy squats.

Sport Specificity

The squat has vast application to powerlifting, weightlifting, strongman, CrossFit movements, functional fitness, running, and formal athletics. The foundational strength and movement patterning is a must for all athletes. Additionally, strength and power athletes may find adding lunges, split squats, and other unilateral movements can aid in overall movement, positional strength, and muscle mass development specific to their squat.

A post shared by Mike Barbot (@barbotbarbell) on Mar 1, 2016 at 8:13am PST

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The split squat is also a must, as it helps to aid in injury prevention, build weak muscle groups, and increase muscle activity for stationary athletes (weightlifters and powerlifters). For athletes who move around (functional fitness, formal sports, runners, track athletes, strongman, etc) most of your sport is performed while in flight and contacting the ground on one foot (if you run, you do this). The need for balance and symmetrical movement patterning on both legs is critical to your success and health as an athlete.

Final Words

I am a huge advocate of including split squats and other unilateral leg exercises (step ups, walking lunges, front-foot elevated lunges, etc) into every training program at least once per week, if not more. The added benefits of movement integrity, muscular development, and balance and stability of the hips, knees, and ankles during dynamic movement are all too important to ignore.

Both the squat and the split squat (and the variances) are highly urged to be done so that coaches can not only advance their lifters and athletes, but also protect them from preventable injuries caused by neglect, muscle imbalances, and poor programming.

Featured Image: @thej2fit Weightlifting on Instagram

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