Author Archives: The Fisher Sisters

The Angle of Strength

18 Mar , 2016,
The Fisher Sisters
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Here’s a little gem you might find useful, and probably already know on some level: There’s something magical about 45 degree angles. It splits that perfect 90° in half, and has a unique way of channeling alignment into increased strength and stability in the body. This is no secret. In sports 45° angles are often trained specifically. Pro tennis players always hit the ball at 45°. Soccer players typically turn their toe out to 45 degrees to kick the ball. Even if you aren’t consciously aware of the power behind 45°, most of us know this intuitively already…because our bodies are built to lock in at this angle. Training with clubbells also exposes the prevalence of this great angle. Take the lever press for example: arms extended up at 45°, clubbell tilted back at 45°. There’s two 45° angles stacked on top of one another. The more aware you become of 45° in your own life, the more you’ll see it popping up all around you. 45° is a powerful angle in geometry. It’s root number is 9 (4+5), which represents the paradox of all and nothing simultaneously and literally depicts the Fibonacci spiral we see all throughout nature, the universe, and our own bodies. (Check out “Number 9 Code” if you want to learn more about the magic of 9: https://youtu.be/Stw316T0nQg) Aligning at 45° will lead to greater returns with less risk of injury and misalignment. It isn’t the only angle that matters, but it teaches us that through balanced alignment we can experience greater strength and stability.

 

lever-press

Enhance Your Athletic Performance with Clubbells

10 Mar , 2016,
The Fisher Sisters
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Erik_CB

When it comes to strength training, there are a lot of tools out there to choose from. Many are entirely capable of accomplishing the goal of enhancing overall strength, but very few address the nuances specific to athletics performance. The Clubbell is unique in that it tackles both these objectives. Here are some of the many benefits:

Grip Strength & Endurance: One of the single most defining characteristics of athletic performance in sports especially contact sports and tool-using sports, is grip strength & endurance which elite coaches consider the measuring stick of one’s total functional strength. The ability to boldly adhere to an opponent or the strength and proficiency with which one wields the implements of one’s sport generally determines victory.  This is certainly true in contact sports such as wrestling, football, and rugby, but also in tool-using sports such as hockey, baseball, and lacrosse.  However, most strength programs overlook hand, wrist and forearm conditioning.

Extreme Range Strength:  In order to prevent injury and perform at extreme ranges of motion, athletes need to train slightly outside the range and depth of “expected” movements.  Clubbells help to condition athletes slightly outside the range and depth of the movements of their sport so when (not if) movements deviate from the expected a “safety valve” prevents injury and restores normal work capacity without performance interference.  The competitive athlete needs to have these motor recruitment patterns in place to facilitate shoulder synergy for both performance and injury prevention.

Shoulder synergy: The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body, but unfortunately, great mobility comes at the expense of stability.  It is a complex arrangement of structures working together to provide the movement necessary for almost all athletic activities. Contact, throwing and racquet/stick sports place great demands upon the shoulder. Injury can occur when athletes overload these movement limits, often resulting in rotator cuff tears.

Complex Training Effect:  A Combination Routine is a series of two or more basic exercises woven smoothly together after having mastered each basic component.  Combination Routines combine strength and speed/power in the same workout. The Complex Training Effect involves a grinding exercise followed by a similar, but ballistic exercise, or utilizing a ballistic followed by a similar, but grinding exercise.  Athletes increase the high tension of the grind or the power of the ballistic exercise or both, and the increases will be greater than if the exercises were performed consecutively.  The performance of a grinding exercise followed by a ballistic exercise elicits a neurological response that enables increased power, thereby creating a greater training effect. The Complex Training Effect augments your neuromuscular system by teaching it to fire at a faster rate. It develops strength, speed and technique simultaneously.  What this allows is for the Combination Routines to be constructed in the ideal way to improve Specific Physical Preparedness for any particular sport.

Conservative Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation:  Forceful, repetitive, or sustained static activities occurring over time with insufficient recovery periods may cause or aggravate Cumulative Trauma Disorders, affecting soft tissue of both musculoskeletal and peripheral nervous systems. Any sport or job using the arms can be associated with Cumulative Trauma Disorders. The most commonly described and diagnosed disorders are Rotator Cuff Impingement, Tennis Elbow, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Clubbell training may be a conservative injury prevention method for those at risk as well as an important prehabilitative and post-rehabilitative tool to those suffering such common sport-related injuries.

Here are just a few examples of some of the sport-specific enhancements Clubbell training provides:

MARTIAL ARTS: Strengthen strikes, clinch work, and application of holds as well as prevent loss by submission.

GOLF: Strengthen fingers to remove handedness bias, and wrist snap to increase distance, accuracy and consistency.

BASEBALL: Develop stronger grip & wrist snap for increased accuracy and velocity in ball throwing; increase bat control and swing speed and power.

BOXING: Enhance wrist stability in striking; increase early power generation and arm endurance.

TENNIS & RACQUETBALL: Improve racket control & strengthen wrist action for all strokes.

ROCK CLIMBING: Develop & maintain hand, wrist & forearm strength and endurance.

HOCKEY: Strengthen stick stability and agility. Achieve stronger, accurate shots, and prevent shoulder injury.

 

The Tug-of-War Dance

29 Feb , 2016,
The Fisher Sisters
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Any master of weight swinging knows what it feels like to balance out the opposing forces in their body. The imbalanced weight displacement of Clubbells amplify this sense to the nth degree. The Clubbell is pulling you in one direction, and you must counter that pull at just the right moment to maintain balance between the equal and opposite opposing forces. A good rule of thumb is to lock in the opposing activation at the top of a swing; at that fleeting moment when the weight becomes weightless. This helps to activate the appropriate muscles and restore alignment.

The basic front swing is a great way to feel this beautiful tug-of-war at play. You can practice a 2-handed or double front swing (we recommend starting with the 2-handed version). Resist the urge to let the clubbell pull you forward. Instead, retract your shoulders back at the top of the swing by quickly flaring your lats. You know, those muscles that live under your armpits? If you don’t think you have them, try packing your shoulders down off your neck actively. There’s no way to do it without turning the lats on, and you’ll feel that area tighten up. The lats are super important for stabilizing the shoulders and transferring energy to and from your core.

front_swing_pull

May you unlock the abundant freedom, flow, and confidence in your body, mind, and spirit.

How Strong is Your Recovery?

11 Feb , 2016,
The Fisher Sisters
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mouse

Many people, especially those who are committed to improving their physical fitness, can be guilty of overtraining. Overtraining may seem fruitful in the beginning, but this is only temporary. Eventually overuse injury sets in and the individual is left unable to continue their training. When all is said and done, they are no better off than they were prior to embarking on their fitness regimen. Much like a rat in a wheel, they end up working hard but only to maintain the status-quo. Typical case of 3 steps forward, 4 steps back.

Others seem unable to surge past the initial stage of discomfort and maintain the level of consistency needed to achieve any measurable results. They become stuck in a state of chronic discomfort, unable to venture into the realm of progress. Each session is a shock to the system, and they have to continually overcome the same obstacle of distress, instead of seizing the opportunity for growth and development.

It is easy to understand then why both of these scenarios result in abandonment of the individual’s fitness plan. They are not sustainable because they fail to acknowledge the way our bodies adapt to work and stress.

A good fitness coach won’t simply show you how to workout, they’ll teach you when to workout, as well as how and when to recover. Recovery is equally as fundamental to your success as the “work”. If you want to ensure you are able to continue training, you’ll have to understand that the time you spend recovering is just as important. Through mindful and methodical active recovery, our bodies are able to manifest the results of the work we have put in. Without this “down-time”, our system does not have time to adapt and we end up in a state of plateaued performance or perpetual injury.

Find the Standing Wave

1 Feb , 2016,
The Fisher Sisters
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standing wave_edited

 

All energy is vibration that travels in waves, and your body is a sophisticated antennae system designed to transmit and receive these good (and bad) vibrations. One of the most common wave form is the standing wave, which is energy that’s connected or fixed to a source at both ends. It causes a continuous feedback loop of energy (think of plucking a guitar string). Depending on the frequency of the wave, the output can be harmonic or disharmonic. Jumping on a trampoline is an example we can all relate to. When you jump you create a standing wave on the trampoline. If another person jumps with you at just the right moment, it can launch you higher in the. This would be a harmonic frequency since it increases the output.  However, if they jump at the wrong time, it can cause a jolt that can cause your legs to collapse (disharmonic frequency; shortens the output).

When performing any exercise, you’re actually creating powerful standing waves within your own body. If the standing wave is balanced and harmonic, there will always be an equal & opposite balance between strength and surrender. It’s all about locking in just the right amount of tension to achieve the optimal frequency for the standing wave to create the optimal output. Often times, proper activation will cause you to feel a literal pulsing or surge of vibration. This is the frequency traveling along the standing wave! It’s electrical and empowering. Many yogis speak of and seek these internal vibrations. This type of energy can heal cells, promote detoxification, and increase overall energy levels.

The clubbell is a great tool to practice standing wave activation because of its design that challenges your structure. The 2 positions below can help you practice activating a standing wave that promotes good structure and spinal alignment that you can really feel.

guard

GUARD POSITION

With both hands together on the neck, position the clubbell to the side of the top hand. The bottom hand forearm crosses your waist in a horizontal line. Pinch the top hand elbow in and slide it back behind you. From this position, pull your grip in opposite directions; top hand pulls up, bottom hand pulls down), keeping elbows in close to your body. If you’re doing it right, you’ll instantly feel your lats flare (the muscles under your armpits) and shoulders pack down. Let your chest expand up while also keeping ribs glued down towards your hips. You’ll be amazed at the amount of strength and activation you will feel just holding this simple pose.

silverback

2-HAND SILVERBACK POSITION

Sitting back, grip the neck above the knob. One arm will be long, one will be short (and seem to want to bend, but don’t!) Rotate the elbow pits away so the elbows lock out. Keep a neutral, straight spine by reaching chest through and sitting further back. From here, pull your grip in opposite directions, keeping elbows locked (pits rotated away). The long arm shoulder should be higher than the short arm shoulder. This grip pull will lock your shoulders into place, engage your lats, and activate your mid-back muscles. Pull navel up into your spine and feel the standing wave frequency surge.

 

A Formula For Success!

29 Jan , 2016,
The Fisher Sisters
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spiral

At RMAX International, we believe in working smarter, not harder. Let’s face it, time is our most precious commodity, and if you’re going to dedicate time to your physical fitness, why not maximize that investment? When it comes to working out, most people think more is better. But what if I told you better is better, and that there is a formula for structuring the time you spend training that will facilitate optimal development and accelerated results?

The Golden Mean or Fibonacci sequence is a pattern we see all throughout nature and the universe. It carries the mathematics behind expansion, growth and perpetual motion. It should come as no surprise then that this formula also carries over exceptionally well into physical fitness. By applying the Fibonacci sequence to the way we train, we can ensure the investment of time and energy we put into our fitness is protected and enhanced.

The four-day wave is a training model that uses the Fibonacci sequence to ratchet the level of output. This ensures the system is not subjected to a state of shock or stagnancy and is hugely beneficial in preventing injury. The result is maximum development with minimal setbacks.

The four-day wave begins with a No-Intensity day. On a No-intensity day, the level of effort expended is minimal. If you were to quantify this on a scale of 1-10, a No-Intensity day would be a 1 or 2. Essentially this day is reserved for implementing restorative mobility with little or no impact to the cardiovascular system.

The second day is referred to as the Low-Intensity day. A Low-Intensity day should push the system twice a hard as the No-day (3-4 on a scale of 1-10) and is used for rehabilitating the joints, muscles and connective tissues. Yoga and body rolling are excellent choices for a Low-Intensity day.

On the third day, the Moderate-Intensity day, the level of effort should be as much as the No & Low day combined, essentially a 5-7 on a 1-10 scale. The focus on the Moderate-Intensity day is practicing technique and building good structure.

The four-day wave culminates on the High-Intensity day. The High-Intensity day should pack as much punch as the Low & Moderate-Intensity days combined with a level of exertion approximating 8-10 on a scale of 1-10. It is the opportunity to build upon the good structure and technique developed during the previous day’s session and to finally push the system to the max.

If you are serious about making the most out of your fitness regime, try riding the four-day wave and see for yourself what the formula for success can do for you.

Why train with Clubbells?

12 Sep , 2015,
The Fisher Sisters
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Firstly, clubs are the original, the oldest, and the most widely used form of strength training in history, and now my programs are in 68 countries around the world. Can you really afford to be left behind the curve? Do you remember when the kettlebell exploded across the fitness world, and everyone was scrambling to find out where to get one? Don’t let lightening strike you standing still twice!

Why does lifting heavy things make you stronger?

Adaptation.

How does the body adapt?

Specifically to the imposed demand.

If one adapts strength specifically, then what is the most effective method of transferring strength to an activity?

The tool which moves in the range and depth most closely approximating real-world activities. The strength adapted from using this tool would have the greatest transferability; that is, if you accept the premise that strength can be transfered at all.

If you do not accept that strength can be transferred at all, then which tool would have the least deleterious impact upon mobility?

The one with the greatest variation in movement – multi-planar movement.

Which tool uses multi-planar movement and can be used to approximate the range and depth of real-world activities, as well as stimulating the physiological profile of those activities?

The only tool which can do this is the Clubbell® – for which it was specifically designed.

Won’t heavier weighted tools produce greater strength than the light weight Clubbell®?

What is light and what is heavy is merely a perception of the Central Nervous System. Anyone who has just picked a Clubbell® off the ground knows that the Leverage Principle caused by the Displaced Center of Mass multiplies the actual effort by 3-4X its “true” weight. Furthermore, the Pendulum Principle caused by the Torque Production of swinging weight rather than merely lifting it, multiplies the force production exponentially (i.e. to move the Clubbell® twice as fast requires four times the force.)

If the Clubbell® can produce such incredible force of effort taxing the CNS, then why is it used primarily as a “performance enhancement” tool rather than a power lifting tool?

Because real-world challenges rarely involve problems of strength deficits, but rather poor ability to absorb and retranslate force. The Clubbell® is unique in that within all three planes, one must absorb and retranslate the weight (despite the Displaced Center of Mass and the Torque Production.)

Wouldn’t the Clubbell® be better designed like a dumbbell so that you could swing more weight without the grip failing?

Not without lessening the unique challenge the Clubbell® presents. The unique Lateral Grip Distraction (a ‘neck’ instead of a ‘bar’) removes the weakest link in all real-world strength – the grip.

With the ‘bar’ grip of dumbbell, barbell and kettlebell, the finger bones create a ‘structural’ purchase for the weight pulling against them. However, with the ‘neck’ grip of the Clubbell®, the fingers only have a muscular purchase for the weight against them. In other words, with a dumbbell, barbell or kettlebell, the weight pull against the fingers, whereas with the Clubbell® the weight pulls through the fingers.

Therefore, the neck grip of the Clubbell® creates the greatest demand on grip strength. For real-world activities, since force is primarily transmitted through and by the hands, and since the brain allocates the greatest amount of grey matter to the hands, the training of effect of the Clubbell® is superior. Real-world strength must begin there, and no other tool does this better and more comprehensively than the Clubbell®.

Why would a tool designed with “lighter” actual weight, but high perceived effort (Torque, Leverage, Traction) be more effective than heavy “true” weight?

Heavy actual weight at worst leads to injuries, immediate or cumulative; at best can be done only infrequently and not into old age. Heavy actual weight cannot be used to rehabilitate an injured or recovering area. Heavy actual weight cannot be moved for multi-planar mobility, and cannot be used to approximate the range and depth of real-world activities.

Align Your Spine

12 Jan , 2015,
The Fisher Sisters
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spinal-alignment

Align your spine! We hear this all the time, but what does it actually mean? Ideally we want to be able to draw one straight line from crown to coccyx. Neck alignment often competes with our overall spinal alignment because we often have the urge to look forward, even when it competes with good form. Practice these steps to find good neck alignment:

  1. From silverback position look straight ahead. Feel the pinch at the back of your neck? Good! Now let this be your last time.
  2. From silverback position, tuck your chin slightly and allow your gaze to fall down at the ground in front of your feet. Reach up through your crown as if trying to lengthen your spine out so there’s space between each vertebrae.
  3. Press your teeth together without clenching and glue your tongue to the roof of your mouth. This may feel strange at first but this is a great way to ensure your neck is in line with your spine.
  4. If you have trouble keeping neck alignment in silverback, try moving the Clubbells back behind your feet and repeat steps 1-3. The countered weight will make it easier to access this alignment. Gradually you can work into this alignment from silverback.

The Mathematics of Torque

6 Dec , 2014,
The Fisher Sisters
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How heavy are Clubbells, really? How hard is it to swing a heavier Clubbell®?  How much work is it to swing it faster?  How quickly can I expect to progress in weight?  What is the increase in perceived effort as I move through the different weight divisions? This article will provide answers to these questions that make both logical and intuitive sense.

clubbell-side-swing-torque

First we consider a relatively well known aspect of circular motion, the applied moment to moment force causing an object to rotate, called torque.   This is just one part of the total work involved in swinging a Clubbell®, but it is easy to understand and nicely illustrates the answers to our questions.  Also, the concepts we need will give us a deeper appreciation for the nuances of work involved in swinging any weight.

There are a couple of ways we might proceed.  We could use Newton ‘s Laws of Motion, applying vector analysis to the various forces involved, a method more suitable to the mathematically masochistic.  Or we could look at the work-energy relationship involved in swinging, using a few easily understood and intuitive concepts to draw some useful conclusions.

Let’s avoid complex formulas and take a simpler approach…examining circular motion from an energy expenditure point of view (work), and how this might apply to the various Clubbell® weights.

To answer our questions and aid our understanding, we need a few concepts:

  • Force is the product of an object’s mass and its acceleration.
  • Work (perceived effort) is force acting through a distance over time.
  • Energy is the capacity to do work.
  • Power is the rate at which work is accomplished.
  • Torque is force causing rotational motion (Clubbell® weight times radius of swing)

Here, energy can be thought of as potential (inactive) and work as kinetic (active).  Then power generation becomes the rate at which we can conduct or channel our energy (convert potential to kinetic) as we swing the club.

From physics, we also know that for an object of constant mass and a circle of constant radius, the net force required to move the object in a circle is directly proportional to the square of the object’s speed.   If the speed is doubled, the force is quadrupled.  In other words, to swing a Clubbell® twice as fast takes four times the work.

So the energy (expended as work) required to generate power involves torque applied over a distance (arc or full circle) for a given time (duration of swing * total reps).  Things affecting power generation are the mass of the Clubbell®, the acceleration (both keeping it going and stopping it on a dime), the distance the club moves through space (shorter or longer club, arc or full circle), the duration of the motion, and finally the speed.

We can think of (some of) the work required to swing a Clubbell® as torque applied along the arc of the swing at a given rate (speed) for a given duration (reps).  This is rather simplistic and ignores many other forces, such as centripetal force (grip strength) required just to hang on to the Clubbell®.  But the concepts are pretty intuitive.  We all know how the number and speed of reps influences our perceived effort, and our bodies know that there is a lot more going on than just torque when we work out.

Looking at the following chart (here’s the multiplication), we can see how the amount of work (torque) goes up quickly as the size of the Clubbell® increases:

Weight Length Torque
5 lbs 20 inches 100
10 lbs 25 inches 250
15 lbs 25 inches 375
20 lbs 25 inches 500
25 lbs 27 inches 675
45 lbs 27 inches 1215

The difference in weight between the smallest and largest Clubbell® is only forty pounds.  But the amount of work necessary to use it is more than ten times as much.  (Units are irrelevant here for torque, since we’re just looking at relative percentages).   And this isn’t counting grip strength!  In addition, the explosive start and the rapid stopping on a dime compress the time component, increasing the acceleration/deceleration, so the work component jumps up (force equals mass times acceleration).

If someone did somehow manage to double the speed and also jump in size from 5 to 45, it would take an energy expenditure that goes from 100 to 4860, an increase of 48 times.  Applying this same reasoning, we can figure out the relationships between any two Clubbell®s.  For example, just a five pound jump from the 5 to the 10 pound Clubbell® increases the workload by one hundred and fifty percent, assuming no increase in rotational speed.

It is important to remember that torque is just one aspect of the work involved in Clubbell® training.  The movements are multi-planar and non-uniform, and when combination routines are considered, it would take a super-computer to figure out all the forces involved and the energy expended.

It is clearly important to accurately assess one’s strength and capacity for work before jumping to the next size Clubbell®.  Circular Strength Training places real demands on the body that increase rapidly with just small increases in weight.  Adding weight multiplies work.

TACFIT vs. CST Clubbells – What’s the difference?

12 Nov , 2014,
The Fisher Sisters
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RMAX offers 2 versions of the Clubbell: CST (the original black model) and TACFIT (its bright blue sibling). If you’re not sure which version suites you best, here’s a comparison chart to help you weigh the pros and cons:

CSTvsTACFIT-clubbells