Blog

At Momentum, a lot of our members train with us to help support their athletic pursuits. Whether they are playing football, rowing, running, climbing or balling. We tend to find that these members achieve their goals more consistently than some of our members who train with us for general fitness purposes, and we put this down to one of 2 things. And before you jump the gun its not necessarily because they are younger, fitter, stronger we all have the same opportunity to achieve those results. 
We believe it is because:

A) They have a clear purpose for why they are training.
Everything they do in the gym supports their main focus in sport, staying injury-free, performing better, getting stronger, fatter, faster, maintaining body mass. All of these outcomes will have clear transferrable results in their performance. This is one of the reasons we encourage our members to find an activity they love doing outside of the gym. Give purpose to your training and amazing results will follow. 

B) The Weekend.
Most of our athletes compete in their sports/activities over the weekend which has a few benefits to maintaining & enhancing their results.

1)Their hardest session for the week will generally be game day/competition.
Which means higher workloads, more stress on the body and calories burnt. All of this, while many of our general fitness members will take the opportunity to sleep in, go out for brunch, binge on NetFlix, the list goes on. So while the athletes are hard at work, the rest of us are generally taking it easy. This is also why we have one of our hardest group training sessions on a Saturday morning. A team-based training session designed to get you working harder, longer and earning a rest day on Sunday.

2) Less time to consume extra calories. 
Given competition generally falls on the weekend, our athletes tend to plan their nutrition & meals around being able to perform at their best. So this would mean minimal alcohol the night before and the day of competition, along with healthy meals leaving them feeling light and ready to go on game day. Which generally means skipping out on beers, late-night kebabs, and the hangover breakfast. 
We suggest saving any higher calories days & catch-ups with friends & family for Sundays. This ensures the weekend doesn't turn into a 3-day food festival and you are back into a routine and ready as Monday rolls around.

3) Rest/Recovery Days
Exhausted after a hard day, lots of sleep (8+ hours) is a priority, ensuring they can adequately recover and are physically ready to tackle another big week, rather than staying up until 3am catching up on Stranger Things episodes or tearing up the dance floor.
Also keeping the body moving on recovery days; brisk walking, cycling, swimming, low impact movement will help generate blood flow and keep your body moving. It can also help to build the base conditioning level by providing a light aerobic training stimulus aiding your ability to work harder and recover faster between hard efforts. 

So what we suggest for our members is rather than use the weekend as an opportunity to do nothing, eat loads because you "earnt it" throughout the week. Keep moving, try some new challenges. Walk, hike, cycle, adventure & explore. Catch up for a run rather than breakfast. The time from Friday evening 6pm until Sunday night 11:59pm  makes up 30% of your week use it wisely. 
Loaded carries have made a resurgence in training programs over the past 10 years (thanks Dan John), and rightly so. They are an incredibly simple and effective exercise, that is just so often missing in training programs for athletes and the general population.  Read More
The 2019 Project Ski World Cup is sure to be an event not to be missed. It will provide you with the opportunity to take on some of the worlds best in a series of individual, partner or team based events. Meaning you can have the opportunity to compete all on your own or surrounded by a team of like-minded legends to help push you further than you thought was possible. It will also provide a competitive yet supportive community atmosphere sure to help you push your limits on the day.  Read More
This time of the year with returning after a few months break, high running loads & firm grounds; sore muscles & joints are a fairly common occurrence. Properly preparing your body to handle the load of training and impact can help keep you on the park for longer, training harder which will lead to better fitness & performance in the long run.  Read More

We have all heard the saying “Abs are made in the kitchen” therefore you don’t need to waste your time doing ‘core’ work in the gym.

Well, that is bullshit.

Fat is lost in the kitchen (through diet) which leads to your abdominals being more visible. But if you want a core that is strong, functions effectively and supports good movement. Then throwing in some abdominal strengthing exercises can help to support your major lifts, as well as prevent injury.

Read More
In this series of training tips, we will run through the how & why of some of our favorite methods to improve the strength and durability of your hamstrings. To ensure they can stand up to the rigors of another long pre-season. So if you or one of your teammates has some troublesome hamstrings. Share this with them to help them prepare to make next year the strongest yet.  Read More
When you have been training in the gym for a number of years, the same old routines and barbell bench press' can start to get a little stale; both for your strength progress as well as the monotony of training. Providing a different variety of stimulus to the body and mind can help you to keep motivated in the gym Read More

Athletes may not always have access to a gym, or weights in order to perform these kinds of sessions. Especially in a team environment or when working with young athletes.

So we have put together a selection of exercises that can be used to support speed and power development using only a slam ball and your body weight.

Read More

Recently my mother-in-law sent me an article entitled; “Heart attacks of the mega-fit: how safe is extreme sport?” with the sub-heading of: “We don’t just go for a jog any more – we train for a marathon, following in the footsteps of the greats. But when top athletes collapse from heart failure, we start to wonder: how safe is this growing culture of extreme sport?”.

The catalyst of this suggestive headline was the early and tragic death of Dean Mercer, a triathlete and winner of the World Oceanman series and the Coolangatta Gold. Mercer had suffered an acute cardiac arrest on his way home from an early morning training session at a local surf club.

I am always bemused that when someone dies running a marathon it makes the news, but the overweight, stressed-out alcoholic who has a heart attack at home is nothing to be concerned about. The comments from the article range from those using Mercer’s death as an excuse to be lazy (at least that's the way I read their ideas but I'm a cynic), to the undertone of; "good god we must protect these endurance athletes from themselves,”. The most interesting concept discussed was that Mercer was completing endurance events as a health based activity compared to the performance based ritual of self-gratification. The myopic "health-based" view of aerobic/endurance activity is always amusing.

I will bypass discussing the enlarged athlete's heart since, for most of us, there's nothing to be done about it now: too late. But I immediately seize the idea that athletes do their sport or train for it with health as the objective. I submit that many people do sport or train to tame demons, to measure themselves against their fellow man or to compare their current and former selves, to prove what is possible when one doesn't get crushed beneath the wheel of somnolence and routine and the status quo, etc etc.

 

I digress, the article did completely turn its viewpoint around when they brought in an actual expert, Dr Andre La Gerche, the leader of sports cardiology at the Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute; who expressed that he has no idea what had happened to Mercer, or what specific factors were at play in his "cardiac event". No one does.

My mother-in-law’s response to this; “I guess my takeaway is that people should get themselves checked by a doctor before undertaking those sorts of activities?”

My response: I am more concerned with testing the overweight/works stressful job/too many hours/hypertensive/smoker/poor diet/high cholesterol/inactive individual(s). All of which have been proven multiple times by different peer reviewed research to be major risk factors to cardiovascular health – and all are gradual processes; much like training for an endurance event.

I imagine Mercer had been training and competing in endurance events for years, potentially decades. He didn’t (and couldn’t) just wake up one day and decide to complete a triathlon.

If Mercer had smoked, or was overweight and sedentary (or did any of the above mentioned things that do cause heart disease/failure) they would most likely have been accepted as the reason as to why he died and no one would be questioning whether or not he should have been tested before smoking/eating terribly/over working/not exercising as these are lifestyle choices… much like training for an endurance event.

The heart is like any other muscle and the more we work it positively (exercise) the stronger and more efficient at pumping blood around our bodies it becomes. A stronger heart has to beat less to pump blood (stronger pump = more blood per beat) therefore less stress is placed on the heart every moment of our lives (See: Eustress Vs. Distress).

Mercer may have had an underlying heart condition that could have been his cause of death. Where if he smoked or drank excessively or was overweight no one would have bat an eye when he died.

Here is a list of things that have been proven to prevent heart disease/failure:

  • Don’t Smoke
  • Maintain a healthy weight (achieved via physical activity and healthy eating)
  • Manage your blood cholesterol (achieved via physical activity and healthy eating)
  • Manage your blood pressure (achieved via physical activity, healthy eating and having a non-distressful lifestyle)
  • Manage diabetes (achieved via physical activity and healthy eating)
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Look after your mental health (See: Exercise for Mental Health)

In summary; exercise, don't smoke, drink responsibly, don't eat processed foods, limit stressors in the workplace and at home etc etc.

It is a terrible tragedy that Mercer died so young, but more so it’s a tragedy that we are more concerned with the wellbeing of endurance athlete’s health and not the thousands of inactive overweight people who are truly at risk of heart disease and/or failure.

There is more to squatting with chain than just looking like a bad ass.

The dynamic load they provide is a great way to build strength, power and acceleration through altering the force-velocity curve.

When the chain is extended at the top of a movement the load is increased. As you move toward the bottom of the movement and the chain coils on the ground the load is decreased.

This will have numerous benefits to training.

1) Adding more load throughout the movement requires you to apply increased force as you progress through which means an increased output.

2) Having less load in the weakest point (bottom) means you can get moving out of ‘the hole’ quicker

3) Having more load at the top of the movement allows you to perform closer to your peak loads more safely.

Aim for 10% total load through chain for heavy strength work and 15-25% for speed work.

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