Strong and Stable

Health Sports - April 17th, 1998

by Jeff Libengood

It has been a while since I’ve been moved with this kind of excitement about training; I just couldn’t wait to get the word out to you through the Weekender!

You know that feeling you get when you know you’ve finally “hit the nail on the head?” That’s how I feel now. But it just didn’t fall into my lap. Oh, no. Nearly $4,000, 60 hours and another certification (my sixth) later, I have developed a new training system that is un­believable! It isn’t in Japan yet, and I am the first one to set it up and implement it.

Weight training, as you think of it, involves a conventional meth­odology; lie on a bench, resist the weight down, then push it up. To change the intensity, vary the tempo of the lift, pounds and rest between sets. Those methods are correct for strengthening a muscle, but there is more to strengthening it completely. Giving it balance and stability requires heavy recruit­ment from the nervous system and from muscles in the body known as equalizers and stabilizers.

For example, when you do a bench press, your prime movers are chest, front shoulders and triceps. But the equal­izer muscles in that lift are the lats, infraspinatus, teres major, teres minor and even the erectors (all muscles in the back). Dur­ing any lift, when the prime mov­ers are working, the equalizing muscles on the other side are acti­vated. Additionally, the stabilizer muscles may also be involved (de­pends on whether you’re using ma­chines, free weights or other types of resistance.)

The question of how you get as many muscles as possible in­volved at once is answered if you execute the lift while in an un­stable environment. You must sta­bilize first, then continue stabiliz­ing throughout the entire set. Hence, this training pattern in­volves all of the muscles that pri­marily move the weight, equalize and, finally, stabilize it.

With this you recruit more musculature and neural involve­ment simultaneously. It requires more energy which burns more calories, greatly enhances core (torso) stabilization (all energy transferred between the upper and lower body is passed through the core), improves neural recruitment for better and stronger nerve fir­ing, improves balance, perfor­mance and posture, and you greatly strengthen other areas you wouldn’t normally recruit from conventional methodologies.

Last, you get a very high trans­fer (or carry over) from the gym to sport performance and everyday movements (because it becomes more three-dimensional).

I’ve been using this new con­cept successfully on myself and many of my clients. The results have been great, and everyone is raving about it. What a difference! For example, at a 202-lb. bodyweight, I can do a 525-lb. bar­bell squat for three reps. However, with my new system, I did five sets of 20 reps on the squat with just my bodyweight, and my thighs were sore for five days!

Every single one of my clients had sore abdominals after work­ing them because it allowed total isolation and full range of motion of the spine. And not one person did more than 15 reps in a set! And not only did they train through a full range of motion, working flexion and extension, but also had to sta­bilize themselves the entire time which worked them laterally.

Let me illustrate the effective­ness by talking about an exercise of which we’ve done countless reps— the abdominal crunch. Doing them from the floor or a bench has been the norm. During the execution, most people pull their head or neck, applying cervical spinal pressure. And many crunch from momen­tum, not musculature contraction. In the crunched position, the spine is at about 30 degrees flexion.

However, from this position, the spine is still capable of 40 de­grees extension, meaning that re­turning to the floor still inhibits 10 percent of the spine’s working capacity. So, by continually limiting its working range of motion, the abdominal musculature shortens, pulls the shoulders and head for­ward, creating bad posture.

Because you aren’t aware, you unknowingly compensate for this because your head protrudes for­ward and the results are pressures in the head, perhaps eyeaches and even headaches. This postural mis­alignment also binds the shoulders’ range of motion. This is just one example; there are others.

I’ve been using this new sys­tem on patients with bad lower backs with amazing results. I implemented it into the routines of the golfers I train. Their distance and control have greatly increased. Athletes and everyone else are no­ticing balance and coordination greatly improving, and people are just plain ol’ lovin’ it. It works you hard, but it’s fun.

I’ve also implemented a new training style just for the liga­ments, tendons and musculature of joints (wrists, elbows, shoul­ders, knees and hips). It really works wonders! I urge you to come and give it a try. Once you do, you won’t be satisfied with your old workouts.

I will end on a precautionary note. Lately, I’ve been approached and asked a lot about the legitimacy of other trainers. It seems there are a lot of trainers popping up around town. My advice is simple: Some are good, and I know some who are worthless. I can’t mention any names in print, but there is one male I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending to anyone. He left, couldn’t cut it in the U.S. and all of a sudden comes back as a “PGA Tour trainer.” To me, he’s nothing more than a glorified caddy. His claims only deceive people.

I take pride in being a fitness leader and, as your trainer through the Weekender, I want to make sure you are with some­one qualified who will give you great, safe and hard workouts. Ask to see his/her credentials and ask for references. Also ask around to others who’ve trained with the one you’re considering. Or, if you want help in choosing someone good, call me, and I’ll give you my unbiased opinion. Together in Purpose…Jeff