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Tip of the week tip: Use this tapping test for the health of your CNS

Tipps der Woche  Tipp: Verwende diesen Klopftest für die Gesundheit Deines ZNS

Take this test

Have you checked your central nervous system lately? Years ago, Stefan Fernholm showed me an interesting test in which you take a pencil every morning and make as many dots on a piece of paper as you can in 10 seconds.

Let's say you make between 40 and 45 dots every day for two weeks. Then one morning you struggle to get 30. Putting points on a piece of paper is quite easy, but if you make 25% less, that's bad.

I started my day with a 10 second test for two years. And after evaluating all of this, it turned out to be amazingly accurate. If my score dropped and I kept exercising, I ended up getting sick or injured. The reduced performance on my tapping test was an indicator of CNS fatigue. After that, every time my score dropped, I started exercising lighter, increasing my protein intake and paying more attention to the little things like rest and sleep. It was a miracle.

Exercising a lot lousy is still lousy

This tapping test shouldn't be anything surprising because the fingers contain a lot of nerve connections. Some of the most complex movements are the simple ones we take for granted - like typing or grabbing your nose.

If your CNS starts to feel fatigued, then you can no longer exercise hard. Of course, you can still train "medium" (also known as junky) for many years without making any progress. In other words, a lot of lousy training is still lousy. If you can't train heavy anymore, then train less until you can train heavy again.

Tip: Here's why you have narrow shoulders

Everyone thinks they know how to train their shoulders, but very few have mountains of shoulders under their t-shirt. Here's what they're missing.

By Dr. John Rusin


Shoulder muscles need metabolic stress to grow

Believe it or not, the shoulder muscles don't usually respond well to heavy weights. The shoulder muscles consist mainly of slowly contracting muscle fibers. This means that most exercisers will get better results with higher reps in the 12 to 20 range.

Higher repetitions work for almost every exerciser by reducing the external weight placed on the shoulder joint, thereby reducing the cumulative load on the shoulder joint over time.

Less weight means less stress on the joints. However, this is not an excuse to take a relaxed approach to shoulder training and train lighter without challenging yourself.

Building strength and muscle mass in the shoulders requires an emphasis not only on progressive overload in the basic exercises, but also on creating an enormous metabolic pump effect in the tissue.

More reps, more sets, less rest

There are a few key methods that will increase metabolic stress in the shoulder muscles and work extremely well for muscle growth:

  1. Increase the repetition range to 20+ reps to really pump the muscle full of blood.
  2. Perform more sets. Try 4 to 5 instead of the conventional 3.
  3. Reduce the rest between sets to just 20 to 40 seconds.

This applies to pretty much any shoulder exercise. Regardless of the exercise you choose, it will turn your shoulders into an iron bloodbath and get them growing again.

Tip: Try full body ladder workouts

If you love the way the ladder method simplifies your workout, use it for your entire training session. Do this as follows.

By Dan John


The basic ladder

The ladder method is great for gains in strength, power and muscle mass. You start with one repetition of an exercise and add one or two repetitions with each subsequent set until you have reached the predetermined number of repetitions. Then you start again with one repetition. The weight remains the same.

The most basic variation is the 1-2-3 ladder, which looks like this:

  • 1 repetition
  • Short break
  • 2 repetitions
  • Short pause
  • 3 repetitions
  • Short pause
  • 1 repetition
  • Short pause
  • 2 repetitions
  • Short pause
  • 3 repetitions

That's a total of 12 repetitions. Add another round of 1-2-3 for 18 reps.

Ladders have become very popular with exercises such as pull-ups as this method allows the exerciser to control fatigue and perform more total reps than would be possible with a classic set. Ladders are a surefire way to build strength on pull-ups.

But while most ladders are just for one exercise, you can easily put together an entire workout using only ladders.

The full body ladder training program

You can use ladders for your entire workout, but this takes some planning and brain power. Here's an example:

  • Press: 2-3-5-2-3-5
  • Deadlift: 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3
  • Squats: 2-3-5-2-3-5
  • Curls: 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3

Use three training days per week and autoregulate the weights. In other words, increase the weight when it feels light.

The rules for ladders

  1. Choose your repetition range. Using your 5 RM weight (maximum weight for 5 reps) and performing a ladder with 1-2-3 reps is a good start. Start light.
  2. Choose the number of reps for the ladders. I would suggest starting with 3. If you can do all 3 ladders, then it's time to increase the weight next time.
  3. It's all about staying fresh and efficient. It's not about forcing reps and grinding your teeth. There are no percentages, no plans and no programs that you have to work out. The exerciser has to adjust the weight by feel.
  4. Let the volume do the work. This is often underappreciated. Getting strong, defined and massive takes time, energy and effort. For strength, you need many clean repetitions with correct technique to teach your nervous system to move massive weights eventually.
  5. The speed of the load and overall effort must be maintained throughout the ladder. If you want to force reps, ladders are not for you.
  6. Don't fear bad days. Ladders seem to work because of nervous system adaptations. As with all systems, setting up the wiring may take a little extra time.

Tip: Front squats on the multi press

Forget what the narrow advocates of functional training say. If muscular legs are your main goal, then the multi press beats the barbell.

By Paul Carter


In standard front squats, the rhomboid muscle is the weakest link in the chain. Once this muscle is exhausted - or if it's too weak to hold the heavy barbell in place - the barbell will move forward and the set is essentially over. Of course, barbell front squats are one of the best exercises in terms of athletic application. This exercise has an excellent carryover from strength in the weight room to skill on the field. However, if we're talking about focusing solely on loading the quadriceps for mass gains, then this weak point makes barbell front squats inferior to the multi-press version. And this weak point is eliminated with the multi press.

It is far easier to hold the bar in position on a multi press than on a barbell. Multiple strongman champion Jouko Ahola uses the multi press for his front squats during training. IFBB pro Mark Dugdale also performs variations of this exercise. The other advantage is that you can perform a high number of repetitions. Performing a set of 20 repetitions of barbell front squats means that the lower back will fatigue before the quadriceps. This is not a problem with the multi-press variation. You can hold the bar very close to your body and lift your elbows far enough to keep it there and focus on what your quadriceps are doing instead of focusing on holding the bar.

Tip: Burn fat while moving weights

You don't need cardio equipment to get defined. This method uses weights and blood flow manipulation to mobilize fat.

By Christian Thibaudeau


Alternating upper body/lower body sets for fat loss

By performing two exercises in quick succession that target muscle groups that are far apart (e.g. quadriceps and shoulders), the body must quickly adapt its blood flow to the working muscles at different ends of the body. This constant need to adjust blood flow makes the heart and cardiovascular system work extra hard. This is great for mobilizing fat and cardiovascular health. Stick to slightly lower reps so that you can use fairly heavy weights while still getting the metabolic boost and cardio effects. Aim for 6 to 8 reps per set, but you can go up to 10-12 reps on some exercises.

Combine two exercises and rest about 20 to 30 seconds between the two.


  • Leg press, 10 repetitions
  • Pause for 30 seconds
  • Dumbbell shoulder press, 8 repetitions
  • Pause for 30 seconds
  • Leg press, 10 repetitions
  • Pause 30 seconds
  • Dumbbell shoulder press, 8 repetitions
  • Pause 30 seconds
  • Leg presses, 10 repetitions
  • Pause 30 seconds
  • Dumbbell shoulder press, 8 repetitions

The rules

You can use any exercises you want, but follow these rules for best results:

  1. Use one upper body exercise and one lower body exercise per pair.
  2. Try to avoid exercises with a strong postural component such as squats, deadlifts and bent-over rows. If you are not used to high density training, you may find it difficult to maintain a correct training posture when you get tired.
  3. You can use isolation exercises, but perform them at the end of a training session or combine them with a very demanding exercise.
  4. Start with 3 pairings per session until you become efficient at a high density workout. Then you can consider going up to 4 pairs of exercises.
  5. Control the eccentric or negative phase of the movement and perhaps even perform it quite slowly.

Tip: Eat fat before you go to bed

What you eat before you go to bed makes a big difference in losing body fat. Here's a description of how you should manage your fat and carbohydrate intake in the evening.

By Clay Hyght, DC


What you eat during the last two hours before bedtime has a huge impact on your body's development - especially when it comes to fat loss. Here's the rule:

Eat for what you're going to do next

Most of us won't move much during the last two hours before bedtime. For this reason, we don't need to eat a traditional bodybuilding meal at this time. Instead, we should eat for what we're going to do: not move much.

More specifically, your need for carbohydrates is dramatically reduced when you sleep. Remember that carbohydrates provide energy for high-intensity efforts like training with weights or sprints - and there is no such thing as "high-intensity sleep".

Fat, on the other hand, becomes the primary source of energy when the intensity of exercise decreases. And when you sleep, you burn almost exclusively fat. For this reason, eating carbohydrates before bedtime dramatically increases the likelihood that carbohydrates will be stored instead of burned. And if carbohydrates are not burned, they are either stored in the form of glycogen or fat.

What if I train in the evening?

If you have exercised with weights in the last three hours before going to bed (cardio doesn't count here), then there is very little chance that the carbohydrates you eat at this time will be stored as fat. This is because glycogen stores are partially depleted and will soak up all the carbohydrates, leaving no carbohydrates to be stored as fat.

But those of us who don't exercise during the last three or four hours before bedtime should minimize our carbohydrates in our pre-bedtime meal if fat loss is our main goal (don't be afraid of low-carb vegetables, though).

The fat factor

When it comes to fat intake before bed, my rule is "eat fat when you're not eating carbs." However, halve your normal fat portion. So limit your last meal of the day to 10 to 15 grams of fat.

Tip: 3 rules for exercisers who love coffee

Here's why you shouldn't drink coffee after a workout and two other rules you should know.

By Robert Yang


Avoid coffee after a hard workout

Drinking coffee after a hard training session is a big mistake when it comes to recovery. During exercise, your cortisol levels rise to help your body cope better with the stress of training. This is a normal process during training that puts your body in a catabolic state.

At the same time, your body produces testosterone. Optimizing the testosterone to cortisol ratio after training is important for recovery.

From the moment you finish your workout, the priority is to lower cortisol levels to optimize said testosterone to cortisol ratio. This is also the reason why post-workout nutrition is so important for recovery. This food intake flips the switch in the body from a catabolic to an anabolic state. Coffee, however, does the exact opposite.

Remember that you drink coffee in the morning to wake you up and give you energy. When you drink your coffee, your adrenal glands produce cortisol. Cortisol is a stimulating hormone, but it is also a catabolic hormone. During stressful periods, cortisol is our friend. It puts your body into fight or flight mode. Cortisol is a hormone that breaks down protein for energy, which is optimal before a heavy session of deadlifting. However, drinking coffee after a workout can prolong the catabolic state.

Benefit from coffee but don't use it to survive

Coffee can be a double-edged sword. If you're using coffee to set a new personal best or burn off that last bit of fat, then you're benefiting from coffee. However, if you're drinking coffee several times a day because you can't get going otherwise, then you're using coffee to survive.

Drinking too much coffee can make you dependent on coffee for energy. If you feel strange but still tired after drinking coffee, or if you can't perform without it, this is a sign that you should take a break from coffee.

One way to prevent this is to use something to support the adrenal glands. The caffeine can stress the adrenal glands and rob the body of nutrients. To make sure you don't stress your body too much, you can use Rhodiola Rosea. This is a plant extract that can help your body cope better with stress and your coffee consumption.

Know whether you metabolize coffee quickly or slowly

You should avoid interfering with your sleep. One study found that up to 50% of adults do not sleep well. Coffee abuse could have something to do with this.

When it comes to how much coffee you can drink, your genetic predispositions could play a role. This is especially true for the CYP1A2 enzyme, which is primarily responsible for metabolizing caffeine. Fast metabolizers drink a large coffee with dinner and fall asleep at 9:30 pm. Slow metabolizers drink half a cup of coffee in the morning, are nervous throughout the day afterwards and have trouble falling asleep in the evening. If you are a slow metabolizer and are sensitive to caffeine, then you should have your last coffee at noon. Even if you are a fast metabolizer, you should avoid coffee after 3pm.

Drinking coffee too late in the day can increase your cortisol levels. Remember that your cortisol levels drop after sunset. Sunset is the signal for your body to reduce cortisol production, which allows for the production of melatonin, which is crucial for sleep and regeneration.




By Dan John

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