4 ways to make 'planking' easier - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY FIT

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Working out your core is one of the toughest and most painful parts of any exercise routine. Putting strain on your torso and getting that unique, deep burn isn’t a very appealing prospect to most people — they’d rather be making gains in their arms or chest.


Planking primarily targets your core muscles, like the hip abductors, pelvic floor, lower back, and lower chest. During a plank, all of these structures must work in concert to hold up the body’s weight, strengthening the entire group with a single exercise. Although most people only hold the position for between 30 and 60 seconds, this brief moment can feel like a freakin’ eternity.

To help all you hopefuls looking to strengthen your core, we’ve come up with a few proven remedies to get your mind off the anguish. Use these tips to hold a plank for long periods of time, build core strength, and, most importantly, get those abs to pop out.

Also Read: 5 workout machines you should skip while at the gym

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Control your breathing

As you hold a plank, your body will tire out. Your torso will let your brain know it’s getting sore via pain receptors. Although it’s wise to listen to your body, at times like these, it’s better to distract yourself from every little message sent to the brain. A great way to do this is by focusing on your breathing.

Breathing deeply relaxes your body and blocks out distracting thoughts like, “when the hell will this exercise be over?” The next time you decide to shoot for a 45-to-60-second plank, inhale in on a 4-count and exhale for just as long. After just fifteen inhales and exhales, you’ll be at the 1-minute mark.

Easy, right?

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Watch a motivational YouTube clip

Working out is meant to break you down physically. It takes mental strength to push through discomfort. That’s exactly why so many people hire trainers — for outside motivation that pushes them through those last, crucial minutes of intense training.

If you don’t want to shell out cash for a trainer, there are other ways to find the motivation to get into tip-top shape. Many people watch cool motivational YouTube clips to distract the mind and block out the physical pain. Via that smartphone you keep in your pocket at all times, you can quickly view a “moto” clip (like the one below) to get you through those final seconds of your plank.

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Conduct an intra-modification

As with any other exercise, there are many variations of planks, each designed to focus on the various muscles that make up your core. You can use this information to your abdominal advantage. If you start out in a four-point plank and fatigue sets in, modify the exercise and move into a side plank.

The idea is to build up your strength gradually — go until you can’t.

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Recite a music verse in your head

Everyone likes music. There’s no doubt that you’ve memorized a few verses during all those hours you’ve logged listening to the radio. So, as you set out to challenge your body via planking, start reciting a 45-to-60-second song verse in your head — not out loud — to get you through the tough, physical static hold.

Your abs will thank you later.

MIGHTY FIT

The Air Force finally ditches the waist measurement test. Why?

In the military, being fit isn’t just for looks. Without meeting certain fitness standards, military personnel may not be able to do their jobs properly, putting themselves and others in danger. What those standards should be, exactly, has been up for debate for decades. Now, the Air Force is rethinking what it means to be fit for duty. In 2021, the universally despised “tape test” will finally be gone. 

Say goodbye to unfair fitness assessments, say hello to a stronger Air Force.

The US Air Force fitness test has historically been composed of three sections measuring cardiorespiratory endurance, strength, and body composition. While the cardio and strength sections are still under review, the body composition portion is getting a makeover. 

In the past, the test has relied on waist or neck measurements to estimate body fat percentages. Unfortunately, it’s not a very accurate assessment. Some airmen with muscular frames had very low body fat, but still failed the waist measurement test. Getting an accurate waist measurement is another challenge; measurements vary depending on the time of day, how much you ate for breakfast, and who is administering the test. 

Because of this, Airmen who didn’t pass were previously forced to reduce their measurements however they could in order to meet the testing standards; even when that meant losing muscle mass in the process. The goal here isn’t to make it easier to get away with lower levels of fitness. On the contrary, the entire point is to give a more accurate assessment of how fit an individual is, regardless of their individual build or body type. 

Upcoming tests, which are expected to resume in January 2021, will still include a 1.5 mile run, and one minute each of pushups and situps. Until new standards are defined, everyone will receive full marks for the waist measurement portion of the test. According to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., more changes are likely to come soon. 

A new, more holistic approach to fitness testing is on the horizon. 

While the pushups and running are still part of the standards for now, that may not always be the case. Ultimately, department leaders are working to redesign tests with a focus on long term fitness outcomes. Why train with dozens of pushups when planks are less damaging and just as effective? Brown is hoping for fewer overuse injuries, fewer ineffective testing measurements, and better health and fitness for future Airmen.

MIGHTY FIT

5 health tips you should think about on cheat day

You’ve spent week after week dieting to prepare yourself for your unit’s command fitness test because you want to do your absolute best and make weight. However, it’s hard as hell to stick to a diet with all those delicious foods out there to enjoy — we’re only human, after all.

Skipping out on tasty treats in order to shed a few pounds isn’t any fun, but it does work. However, we all deserve to cheat on our diets once every week or so to reward ourselves for making excellent progress. Like everything in life, properly cheating on your diet is all about timing and efficiency. Here’s how to do it right.


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Protein!

Add some protein

When people cheat on their structured meal plan, they tend to scarf down carbs and love every minute of it. However, adding some protein to your cheat meal allows all those carbohydrates to escort that nutrition into storage — which helps increase your metabolism.

By adding some protein to your cheat meal, you’ll continue to build lean muscle even after you ditch the diet. Also, adding protein will fill you up quicker, making you less likely to overeat.

Put some lemon in your water

About 15 minutes before your cheat meal, put some fresh-squeezed lemon into your water. This will help you digest food your body is no longer accustomed to consuming.

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Sit down during your meal

When tend to eat faster when we’re standing up. Sit down, slow down, and enjoy your meal. Not only will you fill up more quickly, it’s also more comfortable. This is your cheat day — treat yourself.

Chew your cheat meal slowly

When you scarf down a cheat meal, you typically don’t feel so awesome afterward. Consider chewing each bite of food around 8-10 times before swallowing. This process allows your body to release a hormone called leptin. When this unique hormone is released, it tells your body it’s getting full.

So, the more slowly you eat your cheat meal, the less likely you’ll earn those love handles back.

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Don’t skip your workout

After a solid workout, your body’s insulin sensitivity is higher and proactively absorbs nutrients. Your body has a tendency to take more of the positive nutrients out of that high-carb meal.

Resistance workouts are ideal for when you cheat on your diet.

MIGHTY FIT

3 hiking tips you hadn’t thought of from a U.S. Marine

One of the most arduous parts of Marine Corps life and training has to be the long-distance rucks. Covering a lot of miles with a lot of weight on your back may seem like a simple enough proposition, but as time goes by, you start to pick up on a few things that can make an otherwise grueling hike just a bit more pleasant–or at least, a bit less likely to cause you the sort of nuisance injuries that can really make a week in the field feel more like a week in hell.

While the nuts and bolts of a long distance hike are simple enough (bring adequate food, water, and appropriate emergency gear, then just put one foot in front of the other until you’re finished) there are some things you can do before you set out or carry with you on the hike that will pay dividends throughout the hump and after, as your body recovers.


4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

It doesn’t matter if it’s made for a man or a woman, all that matters is that it works.

(Courtesy of the author)

Use dry deodorant to manage chafing

Despite how much I’ve worked out throughout my adult life, I somehow never quite managed to get one of those “thigh gaps” all the girls on Instagram keep talking about, and as such, chafing in my groin and between my thighs has always been a concern on long-distance hikes. The combination of sweat, the seams of my pants, and my rubbing thunder thighs always conspire to leave my undercarriage raw, which quickly becomes a constant source of pain as I log the miles.

Even with spandex undergarments and an industrial supply of baby powder, chafing can rear its head and ruin your day, but you can relieve a lot of that heartache (or, I suppose, crotch-ache) by rubbing your dry stick deodorant all over the affected area. The deodorant creates a water-resistant barrier that protects the raw skin as you keep on trucking. This trick has worked for me in the savannas of Africa, the busy streets of Rome, and even in the relentlessly humid Georgia woods. Remember–it’s got to be dry stick deodorant. Gel stuff just won’t do the trick.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Also comes in handy if any of your buddies passes out early at a party.

(Courtesy of the author)

Carry a sharpie to keep tabs on bites

Spider and other insect bites can be a real cause for concern on the trail, and not necessarily for the reasons you think. It’s not all that likely that you’ll get bitten by a spider with the sort of venomous punch to really make you ill, but even an otherwise innocuous spider or insect bite can turn into big problems in a field environment. Bites create a high risk for infection, and not everyone responds to exposure to venoms, bacteria, or stingers in the same way. That’s why it’s imperative that you keep an eye on any questionable bites you accumulate along your hike.

Use a sharpie to draw a circle around the outside perimeter of a bite when you notice it, then note the time and day. As you go about your hike, check on the bite sporadically to see if the swollen, red area is expanding beyond the original perimeter. Add circles with times as you check if the bite continues to grow. If the bite grows quickly beyond that first drawn perimeter, is bright or dark red, and feels warm and firm to the touch, seek medical care for what may be a nasty infection. If you experience any trouble breathing, that’s a strong sign that you may be going into anaphylactic shock due to an allergy, and you need immediate medical care.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

One of the best feelings in the world, followed by one of the worst feelings (putting your boots back on)

(Marine Corps Photo By: Cpl. Matthew Brown)

Add moleskin to blister prone spots on your feet before blisters form

If you’ve done any hiking, you’re already familiar with moleskin as a go-to blister treatment, but most people don’t realize how handy moleskin can be for blister prevention as well.

If you know that you tend to get blisters on certain spots on your feet during long hikes (the back of the heel and the inside of the ball of the foot are two common hot spots, for instance) don’t wait for a blister to form to use your moleskin. Instead, cut off a piece and apply it to the trouble spots on your feet ahead of time, adding a protective buffer between the friction points of your boot and your feet themselves.

It helps to replace the moleskin about as often as you replace your socks, to prevent it from peeling off and bunching up on you (causing a different hiking annoyance), but when done properly, you can escape even the longest hikes pretty blister free.

MIGHTY FIT

The complete bench press checklist

Holding a rifle, hiking with a heavy pack, loading a torpedo, pulling up an anchor, moving bulky equipment: these all require upper body strength. Whether you’re pushing, pulling, or maintaining posture, a strong and healthy upper body is a must.

The number of people who can’t raise their arms over their head due to a shoulder injury is unbelievable. Poor bench press form is often the cause of these issues.

Because we need our upper bodies to thrive in this world, it’s mandatory that everyone learn how to press to build a resilient upper body.


[instagram https://instagram.com/p/BtqnE7aBBV-/ expand=1]Eugen Loki on Instagram: “⭕️WHY A FREE BENCH IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN A SMITH MACHINE BENCH⭕️ – I often hear coaches say they like to teach the bench press on the smith…”

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First, bar path

The bench press is the one exception to the rule of the “straight bar path.” In all other lifts, you want to have the straightest, most vertical bar path possible. This keeps the amount of energy that is stolen from the movement to a minimum.

However, in order to prevent a shoulder impingement scenario, the bar path of the bench press has to be modified. The bar starts directly over your shoulders. If you brought it straight down from there, you would over time grind apart the architecture of your shoulders.

Instead, the bar needs to be brought down to a position lower on your chest, so that the angle made by your armpit is roughly 75 degrees, instead of the 90-degree angle that would form if you were constantly impinging your shoulder.

This means the bar path will be diagonal–the bar will travel from directly over your shoulder to somewhere between your sternum and nipples, and back up on the same path.

Now for the checklist…

Bench Press Step 1

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1. Shoulder blades together

Bring your shoulder blades together and pin them into the bench so that they are locked into place.

By having your shoulder blades locked into place, you can press them into the bench at the same time that you are pressing the bar away from your chest. This will cause maximum force. Think “press the bar up and the back down.

Bench Press Step 2

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2. Set your feet

Set your feet deep into the ground.

Your feet are your stability. They should not move at all during the exercise.

Position them flat on the ground slightly further apart than the knees.

Bench Press Step 3

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3. Take your grip

Grip the bar so that it rests in the heel of your palm directly over your wrist.

In order to transfer energy from you to the bar, you want the straightest connection possible.

If the bar sits higher in the palm of your hand, the wrist will bend, and the bar will be off-balance.

Your hands should be wide enough that when you touch your chest with the bar, your forearms are perfectly vertical from the front and from the side.

Bench Press Step 4

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4. Find your balance point

Unrack the bar and find your balance/”rest” point, directly above your shoulders.

It’s difficult to “feel” this position, so just like in marksmanship, you are going to use a sight picture to ensure you always bring the bar back to the proper place.

Choose a spot on the ceiling that you will look at for the entirety of the exercise, and line the bar up with that location.

The completion of every rep is denoted when you get the bar back to this position.

Bench Press Step 5

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5. Find your touch point

Find your bottom position with the help of your spotter.

On your first warm-up set, with an empty barbell, find the point on your chest that the bar touches when your elbows make a 75-degree angle.

For all follow on sets your spotter should take their index finger and tap you on your rib cage in the position where you should bring the bar to touch on each rep.

This proprioceptive technique can eventually be trained so that you don’t need the tapping reminder. In the beginning of learning the movement, it is wise to always have this mental support.

Bench Press Step 6 Execution

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6. Inhale and execute

  • You have your site picture
  • You have your proprioceptive bottom position reminder
  • The bar is stacked directly over your shoulders

Take a large inhale and brace so that there is no chest movement during the rep.

Bring the bar down to your chest as fast as possible while still maintaining enough control to be able to stop at any point along the way.

Touch your chest and explode back up to your starting site picture.

Exhale.

Inhale and repeat.

Keep your lower body and core engaged throughout the entire movement. The tighter your entire body is, the less energy you will bleed off during the movement.

Over time, you can start to perform 2 or 3 reps per breath. In the beginning, stick to 1 breath to perfect the form.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

What’s wrong here? 1. Eyes aren’t on the site picture. 2. The bar is too high in the palm of the hand causing the wrists to bend. 3. The grip is uneven. This is a recipe for the spotter to swoop in and rescue the trainee.

(Photo by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret)

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier
MIGHTY FIT

How intermittent fasting can work on a hungry troop’s schedule

Ketogenic, South Beach, and Atkins are a few of the most well-known diet plans that countless people from around the country try in hopes of shedding unwanted pounds. Since most troops in the military can’t be as selective with their food choices as civilians, finding a healthy way to shed body fat before your next physical assessment can be tough. After all, those MREs aren’t exactly low-carb.

Today, intermittent fasting has become extremely popular within the fitness world. The idea, in brief, is to eat your meals within a structured time frame and then go several hours without taking in a single calorie.


Intermittent fasting has been proven to control two essential chemicals in the body: growth hormones and insulin.

According to Dr. Eric Berg, growth hormones help the body produce lean muscle, burn fat, and reduce the effects of aging. On the contrary, insulin blocks the benefits of growth hormones and causes weight gain.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier
Dr. Berg breaks down the power of intermittent fasting.
(Dr. Eric Berg)

So, how can troops, specifically, benefit from patterned eating? Well, we’re glad you asked.

We all know the simple formula: If you eat more calories than your body burns, you gain weight. First, people looking to drop pounds start by cutting their calorie intake by lowering the amount of food per meal — which is an excellent start. But every time you eat, even if it’s something healthy, your insulin levels spike. In the presence of too much insulin, you simply cannot lose weight.

The solution is to follow a pattern of intermittent fasting. To do so, Dr. Berg recommends waiting at least four hours before eating your first meal of the day. Follow this meal with another two or three within an 8-hour window. After this window closes, don’t eat anything for the following 16 hours — until breakfast the next morning.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier
Members of the 334th Training Squadron combat controllers and the 335th Training Squadron special operations weather team begin a physical training session bright and early
(U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Troops who undertake morning PT should set their alarm so that they’re awake long enough to begin their eating period immediately after exercises come to a close.

Since the availability of chow in the field is continuous, controlling your fasting isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Food is available for intake within your 8-hour window, just remember to cease fire on the consumtion once that window has closed.

During your fast, make sure to drink plenty of water. You can also add some apple cider vinegar and a squeeze of lemon juice to help fill up your tummy after reveille plays bright and early.

Check out Dr. Eric Berg‘s video below to get the complete breakdown of this exciting health trend.

MIGHTY FIT

6 arm exercises that will get you ready for the beach

It’s almost beach season! That means it’s time put on those colorful tank tops and get your feet sandy. However, before we sizzle in the sun, many of us want to get our arms jacked so that we can give out free tickets to the gun show.

So, how can you get your arms pumped up before summer? Well, at this point in the year, it’d take a miracle — but now is always the best time to start.


The biceps are composed of two muscles: the long and short head. To bulk them up, you’ll also need to include some work on the triceps — which is made up of the lateral, medial, and long head.

If you’re ready to get that daily muscle pump going, then let’s go.

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Straight barbell curls

Note: Don’t get these confused with EZ-curls, that’s something different.

This exercise requires a tight grip on the bar, keeping your hands about shoulder-width apart with your elbows placed in front of your hips. With your wrists straight, lift the bar up and feel the squeeze in those biceps.

Then, lower the bar slowly, focusing on the negative motion. This movement should take approximately three seconds to complete. Go any faster and you’re probably not getting the full rep.

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Tricep push-down

While using an adjustable cable machine, take a solid step backward, set your feet, keep a slight bend in your knees, then push down and breathe out. After you push down, slowly raise the bar until your elbows return to a 90-degree bend.

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Seated incline bench dumbbell curls

Similar to a straight bar curl, seated incline bench dumbbell curls are a great way to shoot blood into your biceps and achieve that epic pump. While in a seated 45-degree position, have workable weights in both hands — which should be hanging down by your sides.

As you start the rep, bring the dumbbells up and squeeze the bicep at the peak of the rep, then, lower that sucker back down slowly. The key to this exercise is to keep your back firmly on the bench. Lifting off the inclined bench could result in crappy form, and we don’t want that.

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Skullcrushers

Laying flat and using an EZ-curl bar with a proper amount of weight, start the rep by lowering the bar toward your forehead. Keep your elbows pointed inward and you slowly bring the bar to touch your forehead.

If you mismanage the rep, you can smack yourself right in the forehead. We don’t want that, but that’s why they call it a skullcrusher.

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Hammer curls

This exercise focuses on expanding the width of your bicep and forearm. Once you’ve grabbed a manageable set of weights from the rack, hold them down by your side until you are ready to begin.

Now, raise the weights up by bending elbows at a 90-degree angle and squeeze that sucker at the peak. There are many ways to complete this exercise correctly. You can alternate hands and which direction you decide to move the weight: toward your chest or out in front of you.

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Overhead tricep extension

This one is the opposite of the tricep push down. Once you’ve chosen a legit dumbbell weight that you can handle, bring it over your head with two hands and stretch it back behind you. Make sure you don’t hit yourself with the weight as you begin the rep, extending your arms straight overhead.

Once you slowly lower the weight down, remember to breathe and halt the weight when your elbow reaches a 90-degree angle. Then, bring the weight back up. Easy day, right?

Note: These exercises should be done with a spotter or a fitness professional. Have fun getting buffed out, but don’t get hurt out there.

MIGHTY FIT

How a lack of sleep could be affecting the weight problem in the military

The most recent Health Related Behaviors Survey for the Department of Defense, conducted by the RAND Corporation, has been released recently — and, spoiler alert: it’s not looking so good.

While the study covers a wide array of health problems, the biggest standout — the one that ruffled everyone’s feathers — was that, across every branch, over sixty percent of troops are overweight or obese. The Army took top “honors” with a whopping 69.4 percent while the Marines achieved a slightly slimmer 60.9 percent.

But this isn’t the most alarming statistic.


Troops are also getting less sleep than before. There’s no denying the connection between lack of sleep and weight gain. Troops are still PTing their asses off early in the morning along with eating relatively well, which makes it pretty easy to identify the real root of the problem.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier
It’s not hard to point out why troop’s get little sleep nor why their sleep is so awful.
(U.S. Army photo)

 

As noted by the Military Times, nearly sixty percent of all troops have reportedly gotten far less sleep than needed. Another research study conducted by the Journal of Sleep Research concludes that both insomnia and sleep apnea are on the rise among service members. This surely contributes to the nine-percent of all troops that have reported daily or near-daily use of sleep medication.

Contrary to popular belief, sleeping more is not a symptom of laziness, a laziness that many point to as the cause of weight issues. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. A lack of sleep throws a person’s hormones that regulate hunger, ghrelin and leptin, out of order. Getting just four hours of sleep will impact your body’s ability to accurately determine its food intake needs.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier
Your best bet is to eat three solid meals a day to curb hunger.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Riley Johnson)

 

Of course, eating too much junk food is going to increase weight gain. But did you know that the opposite — eating one meal a day (which is usually junk food or a late-night binge meal) — is often just as bad. Fat buildup is the body’s way of conserving energy. If you’re starving your body throughout the day and, right before going to bed, loading up on pizza and beer, your body will instinctively hold that junk food because that’s all you’re giving it.

While has been proven that intermittent fasting (intentional or not) does not have adverse effects on metabolism, it’s still very unhealthy — especially when combined with the metabolism drop that comes with a lack of sleep.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier
It’ll be a hell of a work out, I’m sure. But don’t expect it or the training to cut fat off the formation.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kelsey Miller)

 

Which scenario is more likely within the military? That a slight change in PT schedule was so widespread and disastrous that well over half of troops are now more fat — or that an increasingly competitive and stressful environment is causing troops to skip meals and sleep to accomplish arbitrary missions in a garrison environment?

And since the Army Combat Readiness Test, the new PT test for the Army, focuses more on physical strength over cardiovascular endurance, expect them to keep the top spot for the foreseeable future.

MIGHTY FIT

3 “No-duh!” things you can do to manage hunger that actually work

I’m about to tell you how to manage your hunger pangs. These tactics are useless unless you understand one fact about life and your body.

A hunger pang will not kill you and isn’t actually negative at all.

By chiseling this fact on your stomach you can start to reframe the feeling of being hungry. Historically, hunger signals have been a sign to start looking for food or starvation was coming.

Today we have the opposite problem of our prehistoric ancestors. There is too much food! ⅓ of all food is actually lost or wasted!

This is why it’s so easy to get fat! This being the case, we need to reorient our relationship with hunger cues by recognizing that they are leftover from a time when food was scarce.

Chances are higher that you die from eating too much rather than too little.

That being the case let’s get into 3 things that can help you control your relationship with hunger. After all, if we just give in to every urge, our bodies have we are no better than those sex-crazed bonobos.
4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Nothing wrong with meat. It’s the sauces and glazes that cause people to overeat.

(Photo by Paul Hermann on Unsplash)

Choose high-satiety foods

These are foods that actually make you feel full. A great rule of thumb is to stick to foods on the outside edge of the grocery store like veggies, fruits, meat, and less processed dairy products. The closer you get to the middle of the store, the more processed things tend to get.

The more processed something is the less it tends to make us feel full. You can think of processing as the same as pre-digesting in many cases. These foods are designed to make you want to keep eating more of them by not spending a lot of time in your digestive tract.

High-satiety foods like potatoes, lean meats, and whole fruits and veggies tend to make themselves at home in your tummy for much longer. This means that 250 calories of steak or baked potato feel like more food to your body than 250 calories of a hostess product or chips shaped like triangles.

Rule of thumb: Eat mostly high-protein (lean meat) and high-fiber (whole fruits and veggies) foods. Limit intake of high-sugar, fat, salt (the stuff in packages in the middle of the store).
4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Only buy single serving sizes and keep them out of the house.

(Photo by Mohammad Sanaei on Unsplash)

Be wary of what you let in the house

You can’t control the world around you, but you can control your space. In order to make full use of this keep foods that trigger you to eat a lot out of the house plain and simple. Don’t buy them with the intention of bringing them home.

Many people get the munchies late at night when most stores are closed, or they are already in their pajamas. Chances of you going out at this time for some shitty junk food is slim. You’ll have to make do with what’s in the house.

This means you can binge on healthy high-satiety foods, like mentioned above. Or you can forego the binge all together.

A tall glass of water is actually all it usually takes to quell the hunger rumbles sometimes. Next time you think you’re hungry simply have some water and wait 20 minutes. If you’re still hungry go for the food. If not, go on with your life and stop thinking about food.

Best practices: Make your living space one that cultivates good habits, only keep foods, snacks, and drinks that reflect the person you want to be.
4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Choose the least tempting way home.

(Photo by William Krause on Unsplash)

Drive somewhere else

Our brains play a very active role in how we perceive hunger. You might not be hungry at all but all of a sudden you walk by that great smelling burger joint or see that add for a fresh donut. Boom! Your mouth is watering, and your stomach feels like it’s trying to crawl out of your body like that scene in Alien.

Simple solution: Change your route so that you don’t pass that establishment or ad. There’s always another way home even if it’s further, do what you need to in order to win.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

You can control the plane but not the weather. Accept it and move on.

(Photo by Byron Sterk on Unsplash)

The world isn’t going to change for you

By controlling what you can and accepting that which you can’t control, you can start to take control of your hunger pangs.

  • Choose high-satiety foods first, if you still have room after then have the low satiety foods.
  • Control what you allow in your home. You are the keeper of your space, take that position seriously.
  • Change your route. A true hard target never takes the same route twice anyway. Make yourself more survivable and less likely to give into cravings by changing your path.

MIGHTY FIT is making big moves to put out content that you not only want to read but also want to live. Take 2 minutes and let us know here what you’d like to see from MIGHTY FIT.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier
MIGHTY FIT

5 reasons these Yoga Joes are smarter than you

“No pain no gain.”

“Suck it up.”

“Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

These clichés are why your back hurts and your knees are jacked up. Sure, you need to push yourself during strength training if you want to get stronger and you have to mentally overcome the discomfort signals from your body during a long run, but there’s a difference between your edge and your injury. If you don’t know where that line is, then you risk an injury that could cause chronic pain for the rest of your life.

A lot of training injuries come from improper alignment, working out without warming up or cooling down, tight muscles, and weak joints.

Guess what will help: yoga. I DARE YOU TO TRY IT, YOU COWARDS.

Here are 5 reasons why:


[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/B2FicRwjt4_/ expand=1]Yoga Joes on Instagram: “Holding a plank is better with friends. (and pretzel sticks) #yogajoes #yoga #yogajoe #yogaeverydamnday #heretokeeptheinnerpeace”

www.instagram.com

Yoga can help prevent shin splints

Shin splints are a common ailment in military recruits. A U.S. Naval Academy study found that 97 percent of study participants suffered shin splints during training and on average each patient had to stop running for 8 to 10 days. They got off pretty easy — unless those 8 to 10 days were during a critical physical training time period like boot camp or deployment.

Guess what can contribute to shin splints: weak ankles, hips, or core muscles.

Guess what can help strengthen your muscles, stabilize your hips, and build your core: yoga.

[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BErp0kEzfJz/ expand=1]Yoga Joes on Instagram: “Drop and give me twenty dogs. DOWNWARD-FACING dogs. #yogajoes #yoga #downwarddog #soldieryoga #heretokeeptheinnerpeace”

www.instagram.com

Yoga prevents lower back pain

Does your lower back hurt? TRICK QUESTION – I KNOW IT DOES. When you stand for long periods of time (say, at attention or on patrol), the increased pressure on your spine can making the lower back muscles tighten and spasm, leading to pain. Adding gear and a weapon kit and you’re only compounding the pressure.

A yoga practice includes postures and movements that alleviate the lower back and stretch the muscles on the back of your body, from your achilles tendons to your calves and hamstrings to your traps and shoulders.

Do Downward Facing Dog like a real man. Your body and your country will thank you for it.

[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BEeIVESTfBq/ expand=1]Yoga Joes on Instagram: “The yogic forcefield will disarm your enemies with shock and ohm. #yogajoes #yoga #shockandawe #heretokeeptheinnerpeace”

www.instagram.com

Yoga helps manage anxiety

The military is a mind-f*** at a minimum. The United States has been operating in sustained conflict for eighteen years. The stress of combat, of losing friends, and of trying to find self-worth when your country sets you up on a hero’s pedestal is traumatic — and the symptoms of trauma are literally lethal.

A yoga practice gets you out of your mind and into your body. It helps you breathe deeply. It’s a discipline-oriented program that helps you actively combat the stress you’ve endured.

But don’t just take my word for it — ask Navy SEAL Mikal Vega.

Related: This SEAL will show you how to fight the enemy when it follows you home

[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BEeK2F8TfHD/ expand=1]Yoga Joes on Instagram: “Headstand tribunal. #yoga #yogajoes #military #soldieryoga #heretokeeptheinnerpeace”

www.instagram.com

Yoga can help your neck pain

Don’t do a headstand. You’re not ready.

You’re strong enough to do a headstand, sure. Headstands are easy to do — but they’re very hard to do correctly. That’s the thing about the military mindset — we’re brainwashed trained to become the ultimate fighting weapon so we ignore pain and tackle too much physicality too fast.

Adding too much weight too fast at the gym stresses the back, neck, shoulders, and knees.

Standing at attention or carrying 100 pounds of gear strains the neck — it literally causes a condition known as “military neck.”

Doing 10-second stretches at the end of your gym session will not repair the damage you just did over an hour of weight-lifting. But a 30-minute daily yoga practice might.

[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BkdkihaFRvI/ expand=1]Yoga Joes on Instagram: “Awesome triangle pose photo by @airman.yogi – looks proportionally real! #skyyoga #usafr #yogajane #yogajoesseries2 #yogajoe #yogajoes…”

www.instagram.com

Yoga can prevent knee pain

In 2009, the Army reported that on average soldiers were going to sick call twice a year for musculoskeletal injuries. According to Military.com, the knee joint is susceptible to injuries of the connecting tissues of ligaments and tendons, compression tissue of the cartilage, and muscular strength and flexibility imbalances. The most common injury is Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrom (PFPS) or pain along the Iliotibial Band (IT Band or ITB).

Two critical ways to prevent and treat that pain? Stretch and strengthen the hamstrings, calves, and lower back. You need to stretch daily for a sustained period of time. Guess which poses in yoga really target these areas of the body: Warrior Poses.

Ancient military cultures used to take care of their bodies because they didn’t have advanced weaponry to rely on for deadly force. With the advance of weapons, we’ve come to treat the human component of war as disposable.

Don’t treat your body like it’s disposable. Take care of it. Take care of your joints. Take care of your spine. Take care of your mind.

Otherwise you’ll suffer. That’s the plain truth.

MIGHTY FIT

These are the events on the Army CRT that you can prepare for now

Well, it’s about that time again. The Army has plans for another physical fitness test with events other than push-ups, sit-ups, and a two mile run. This time around, the review process seems to have lasted longer than a few weeks so it might possibly, maybe, actually happen.


The new Army Combat Readiness Test will more than likely become a thing. There will now be six events instead of the previous three. The idea behind it is that it reflects the real-world obstacles of combat.

All muscle groups will be worked out, as opposed to just the upper-body, core and cardio endurance. Equipment will now be used. Possibly gender neutral but MOS-specific scoring. And some officer who was REALLY into Crossfit is happy.

Event 1: Leg Tuck

Testing your shoulders, core, and leg endurance, the objective is to raise your knees to your elbow as many times as you can until you reach muscle failure. It simulates climbing tasks.

This event isn’t too demanding or challenging in theory. The concern is trying to keep your endurance up to the point where you can complete as many as you can without reaching complete muscle failure — you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot for the remaining five events.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Event 2: Power Throw

Testing your upper and lower body power, the objective is to toss a 10lb medicine ball behind you as far as you can twice (with both attempts added to the closest centimeter). It simulates lifting, progressive levels of force, and uh, tossing?

Holy crap, dude. If you can’t get someone to help watch where you’re blindly throwing a 10lb ball, just do squats with the ball instead. Shy of the combat application of the ACRT, the second goal is to minimize injuries. Don’t make this event more dangerous than doing a sit-up.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Event 3: Trap Bar Dead-lift

Testing your lower and back strength, the objective is to dead-lift the trap bar three times with a weight you determine. It simulates a soldier’s ability to lift and carry someone on a litter or move equipment.

Remember that “minimize injury” thing from the last event? Learn how to do a proper dead-lift. No way around that. This is supposed to be less dangerous than a push-up. Even if your form is good, it would be beneficial to know your maximum dead-lift weight you can actually perform — three times — so you aren’t wasting your time (and effort) doing two, then have to bump down in weights and try three again. Work smarter not harder.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Event 4: T Push-up

Testing your upper body endurance, the objective is to successfully complete as many T Push-ups as you can before you reach muscle failure. It simulates pushing an opponent away during man-to-man contact.

It’s just like a push-up. But when you’re down, touch your chest on the ground and spread your arms. Do this until you get tired.

No health risk, but I mean, it would be funny watching someone try to skip steps to be fast and face-plant into the ground. Please take photos to laugh at the poor SOB.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Event 5: Shuttle Sprint-Drag-Carry

Testing your muscular strength, anarobic capacity, and ability to exert effort at high intensity for brief moments, the object is to lay prone. On the command “Go!” sprint 25m down and 25 back. Pick up the straps to a 100lb sled and drag it 25m down and back. Sprint the 25m down and back again. Grab two 40lb kettlebells and run the 25m down and back. Then finish the event sprinting again.

So it’s sprint, sled, sprint, kettlebells, and sprint. No real way to prepare sprinting with 40lb kettlebells without just sprinting with 40lbs kettlebells.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Event 6: 2-Mile Run

Testing your cardio-respiratory endurance, the objective is to run two miles — and just like before, you’re still graded on how fast you finish it. It simulates a soldier’s ability to execute long distance ruck marches and to run two miles?

And the new fitness test still involves the run. Only thing different is the grading. So yeah. Get some.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

MIGHTY FIT

5 ‘trap foods’ that are making you gain weight

Every day, countless Americans walk into their local grocery stores and purchase the foods they believe to be healthy based on the packaging and labels. In the fitness world, “trap foods” are those that might seem healthy, but aren’t very good for you in reality.

Many food distribution companies trap you into thinking that if you buy their colorful products, you’re getting the most nutrition possible, meeting your health goals. Keep an eye out for these foods that look healthy on the surface, but are packing lots of nutritional heft on the inside.


4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Sushi

Who doesn’t enjoy a tasty sushi dinner, filled with delicious slices of epic-looking fish? I think we all do. Unfortunately, this type of cuisine can have a surprising number of calories — rolls range from 400 to 900 calories each. Since we tend to order a few rolls at a time, you’re looking at eating 1,000 or more calories in a single sitting.

On the flip side, sushi is a reliable food source if you’re trying to bulk up.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Yogurt parfait

Looks freakin’ delicious, right? Well, unless you put a yogurt parfait together at home with fresh ingredients, you can’t guarantee that it’s not loaded with tons of corn syrup and sugar — which are the last things you want while dieting.
Instead of buying something prepackaged, you can make your own by purchasing unsweetened Greek yogurt and fresh fruit. That’s all it takes!

It’s so simple.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

(Photo by Nikodem Nijaki)

Guacamole

Although the addictive dip contains oodles of healthy and delicious avocados, store-bought varieties are often loaded with sodium. Additionally, this Hispanic treat is so good when garnished with a little lime and cilantro that we tend to overeat.

Traditionally, we eat the dip with high-calorie corn chips, flatbread, or tortillas, further adding to the calorie count.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Various ‘fruit juices’

Don’t get fooled by the labels while walking down the fruit-juice aisle. The packaging on these products is particularly deceptive. They do their best to make the juice appear light and airy by showing off delicious, ripe fruits but, in reality, they’re loaded with processed sugars.

Pay particular attention to the labels that advertise “cocktail juice.” Those are loaded with sugar and will break your diet in a heartbeat.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

(Photo by Didriks)

Deli meats

When put on display, deli meats look like a beautiful buffet of perfectly rolled and stacked bite-sized snacks. From a glance, the meat looks fresh and healthy. In reality, however, it’s quite the opposite. Deli meats are often packaged and, in order to stay good for many lunches to come, they’re crammed with sodium to extend shelf life.

MIGHTY FIT

The ACFT: The Trap Bar Deadlift

The trap bar deadlift is crushing soldiers.

It’s a completely new element of any PT test for the armed forces. Strength hasn’t been tested in a three rep max before, let alone all the other novel elements of the new ACFT.

I’m not so concerned with potential low back injuries like some other critics of the trap bar deadlift have voiced.

I’m a fan. This type of test actually tests something many soldiers do nearly every day.

Picking something heavy up off the ground.

Of course, picking things up should be tested.

Here’s the skinny on the trap bar deadlift and how you can properly train for it so that you can max out the event.


How to train for the TRAP BAR DEADLIFT

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It’s not a true deadlift

The trap bar deadlift isn’t a true deadlift. It’s somewhere between a squat and a deadlift. As a hip hinge stickler. it’s hard to watch just about every video I’ve seen of soldiers conducting this movement. There’s too much knee flexion most of the time.

The trap bar deadlift DOES use more knee flexion than a traditional deadlift. BUT it doesn’t need all the hip flexion you guys are giving it.

The reason there’s more knee flexion is because the handles on the trap bar are closer to your center of gravity than the bar is during a conventional deadlift. This means you don’t need to hip hinge as far forward with a trap bar.

But you still need to hinge.

You should only be bending at your knees, and hips for that matter, as far as you have to in order to reach the ground. If any part of your body is moving, but the bar isn’t, you’re wrong.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

It’s a little bit like a squat and a little bit like a deadlift.

(Photo by Staff Sgt. Neysa Canfield)

It’s not a true squat

This may seem like a weird statement. It’s called a deadlift, not a squat so obviously, the trap bar deadlift isn’t a true squat. Hear me out though.

Lower body movements are generally broken into two main groups:

  • Knee dominant movements
  • Hip dominant movements

The king hip dominant movement is the deadlift. The king knee dominant movement is the squat. The trap bar deadlift isn’t wholly a hip hinge like the conventional deadlift, and it isn’t wholly knee dominant like the back squat.

It’s somewhere in between the two.

Which if we’re being honest is how you should ideally pick something up. The trap bar deadlift assumes that you’re getting the weight as close to your center of gravity as possible, and you’re recruiting the most amount of muscle as possible (quads, hamstrings, and glutes).

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Your hips should be lower and your knee angle should be smaller.

SO…It’s a hybrid

This is actually good. It means you can get more quad involved in the movement than a conventional deadlift. It also means you can get more hamstring involved than a traditional squat. This means you can be stronger in the trap bar deadlift…if you train for it properly with correct form.

How to ACTUALLY hinge at your hips

youtu.be

Proper form: The handcuff hinge

The handcuff hinge is the go-to movement to teach a hip hinge. We are taught by people who don’t know what they’re talking about to fear lifting with our hips, often because lifting with the hips is confused with lifting with the back.

Your hips AKA your hamstrings and glutes can be the strongest muscles in your body if you train them using hip hinge movements like the deadlift or good mornings.

Use the handcuff hinge to help you commit the hip hinge pattern to your neural matrix. Check out the video above for specifics on how to perform it.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

This is a really basic way to prep for this test.

(I made this.)

How to train: 3 MONTH PLAN

Because the trap bar deadlift is a hybrid between the squat and the deadlift, it’s super easy to train for. You should simply break up your strength days into three main lower-body movements. It can look something like this:

  • Monday: Conventional or Sumo Deadlift 3 sets of 3-10 reps at RPE 8
  • Wednesday: Back Squat 3 sets of 3-10 reps at RPE 8
  • Friday: Trap bar Deadlift 3 sets of 3-10

Your rep scheme should change every 4-6 weeks. Let’s say your ACFT is Jan. 1, I would break up your rep scheme to something like this leading up to the event.

  • Oct 7- Nov. 2: Sets of 10 reps
  • Nov. 3-30: Sets of 6 reps
  • Dec. 1-28; Sets of 3 reps

You’re busy; don’t waste your time doing Alternate Staggered Squat Jumps or Forward Lunges. They lack the ability to load heavy enough and are unilateral movements that require a balance component that’s completely irrelevant to the trap bar deadlift. If you have a plan that uses these movements, throw it in the garbage.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier

Being strong doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cool.

This article is intended to give you some basic information on the trap bar deadlift. It is by no means exhaustive. Respond in the comments of this article on Facebook or send me a direct message at michael@composurefitness.com with your sticking points, comments, or concerns on the trap bar deadlift.

I’m also making a push to keep the conversation going over at the Mighty Fit Facebook Group. If you haven’t yet joined the group, do so. It’s where I spend the most time answering questions and helping people get the most out of their training.

If you just want someone to do all the work for you so that you can just get in the gym and train. Here’s the exact plan you need to be doing to get your Trap Bar Deadlift up! It’s fully supported in the Composure Fit app. All the info you need is in that link and this link.

4 ways to make ‘planking’ easier
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