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Most lifters these days have poor shoulder and upper spinal posture caused by sitting, slouching, and staring at screens all day. But it doesn't have to be that way. Get your shoulders healthy by adding this 3-minute shoulder-specific dynamic warm-up into your daily routine. It'll improve your posture, improve your workout performance, and even build some muscle in your upper back.

This warm-up consists of three movements, all using accommodating banded resistance. We want to stimulate constant tension contractions from the stabilizing musculature of the shoulder joint here, including the rotator cuff and upper back muscles.

The Banded Shoulder Warm-Up
  • A1 Banded Over and Back 10 reps
  • A2 Banded Face Pull 10 reps
  • A3 Banded Pull Apart 10 reps

Go through each of these three exercises with smooth and coordinated movements with minimal rest between. Repeat the circuit three times. If your posture resembles Quasimodo's, you can even do this tri-set three times per day.

Here's what you need to know...

  • The nutrition you consume around your workout can greatly increase your rate of progress.
  • Pre-workout and intra-workout nutrition is more important that post-workout nutrition.
  • By ingesting protein before and during a workout, you spare muscle protein, negate protein degradation, and set the muscle up for regeneration and remodeling.
  • If intra-workout insulin is low, glucagon robs muscles of amino acids so it can convert them to glucose. Low insulin makes it possible for catabolic hormones to "steal" your gains.
  • Muscles need carbs to do work, but they also need protein. During a workout, amino acid requirements go up 500%.
  • Loading protein and carbs before and again during the workout also leads to fat oxidation that continues long after the workout.
  • Post-workout nutrition is still important, but it needs pre-workout and intra-workout nutrition in order for it to succeed.
The Most Important Thing

Pre-workout nutrition and during-workout nutrition are the most important things you can do to make any kind of progress in the gym.

In fact, pre-workout and intra-workout nutrition is more important that post workout nutrition.

Real Progress in the Gym, Finally


A few years ago, before we knew any better, pre-workout nutrition usually consisted of simply having a meal a couple of hours before a workout. Then, in more recent times, pre-workout nutrition transitioned to maybe sipping a whey protein shake an hour before going to the gym.

Others, preferring just a caffeinated buzz, would simply quaff an energy drink and power through their workout on nervous energy. This, of course, isn't "nutrition" at all.

And the idea of <i>intra</i>-workout nutrition? It didn't even exist.

Then came a golden age of enlightenment where lifters accepted the science of true pre-workout and intra-workout nutrition. They began drinking measured amounts of protein and...
A batch of soft, sweet cookies doesn't have to be packed with sugar, butter, or flour. Nor does it need to be difficult to make or time consuming. With this recipe there's no blender or food processor necessary. It's easy.

Banana-Banana Cookies

Ingredients
  1. 4 large bananas
  2. 4 scoops Metabolic DriveĀ®banana
  3. 2 cups old fashioned oats
  4. 1 cup of Splenda, or sweetener of choice
  5. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. Splash of vanilla extract
  8. Liberal amounts of ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom or pumpkin pie spice
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mash the bananas together in a mixing bowl. Add all the other ingredients and mix by hand.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with coconut oil. Spoon out batter using a cookie scoop. You should get about 20-22 cookies.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes depending on your oven and how large you made your cookies. Err on the side of a shorter bake time, then break one open to see if it's done. Or stab one with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, you'll know they're ready to eat.
Tip

Invest in a cookie scoop. Find one with a "sweep" which is the thing you often see on ice cream scoops. Use the scoop to make them uniform in size so that they bake evenly.

Nutrition Information

Banana-banana cookies contain about 77 calories per cookie, 5 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of fat.​
The wider grip puts significantly more stress on the upper back, traps, and rear delts, while pulling from the pins with the bar elevated a few inches off the floor allows for heavier loading. The wider your grip, the harder it'll be. If you have blocks, use those. If not, just go as wide as you can in the power rack.

Using a wider grip effectively increases the range of motion of the lift, so a snatch-grip rack pull from a few inches off the floor is approximately equivalent to a conventional deadlift from the floor. When the bar is at mid-shin level, the bottom of the plates will be just a few inches off the floor. That's it. Don't let your ego get in the way and start pulling from the knees just so you can throw more wheels on the bar.



Tips:

  1. Reset after each rep to keep your form in check.
  2. Think about keeping your chest up to avoid rounding your back. With a super-wide grip, you won't actually be able to keep your chest up to any great extent, but thinking about it will at least ensure you keep a safe back position.
  3. You'll definitely want to use straps on these because holding the bar is way harder with a snatch grip; otherwise you'll be significantly limited by grip strength. Our main goal here is back development, so don't sweat using straps.
  4. Start light if you've never tried this before. Really light!

This exercise combines the benefits of both forward and reverse lunges. It's a single-leg exercise that actually works both legs.

The Step-Through Lunge

  1. Start by doing a reverse lunge as you normally would (stepping back.)
  2. Rather than returning to the usual starting position, propel yourself forward right into a forward lunge without letting your foot hit the ground.
  3. From there, push back forcefully into a reverse lunge and repeat for the desired amount of reps.

This exercise is more about developing rhythm, stability, balance, and coordination than it is about brute strength, so don't worry too much about the weight. Most athletes use less than half of what they'd use for either forward lunges or reverse lunges.

Additionally, the step-through lunge could be used un-weighted with the hands behind the head as part of a dynamic warm-up or in a metabolic circuit.