Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ivan Abadjiev, Legendary Weightlifting Coach, Passes Away at 85

In sad news coming out of Bulgaria, it’s being reported that legendary Bulgarian weightlifting coach Ivan Abadjiev passed away on March 24 in Germany; he was 85 years old.

Abadjiev is arguably considered among the most accomplished coaches ever in the history of Olympic weightlifting. From 1968 to 1989, and again from 1997 to 2000, he served as head coach of the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation. During that time he produced 12 Olympic Champions, 57 World Champions, and 64 European Champions.

Ivan Abadjiev (center podium) accepting a team award at the 1985 Worlds. On the left is David Rigert of the USSR. On the right is László Ambrus of Hungary. Photo courtesy of Bruce Klemens.

His training methods have come to be known as the Bulgarian System of training, which revolved around an intense, competition style of training the snatch and clean & jerk as primary exercises in a workout. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Abadjiev studied the American basketball training system and theorized that an incredible level of sport-specificity could be applied to weightlifting training.

Abadjiev’s model led Bulgaria to a stunning Olympic victory over the Soviet Union in 1972. By the 1980s, Bulgaria, a country of under 8 million people, was arguably the world power in weightlifting, routinely defeating the Soviet Union, a country that (at the time) had a population of almost 300 million people.

Coach Abadjiev lived in Northern California from roughly 2007 through 2012, where he was active in coaching the sport. He was instrumental in coaching with a young(er) Dave Spitz at American Weightlifting, the Non-Profit Organization that was a prelude to the powerhouse weightlifting team California Strength. 

His career was not without controversy, at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, two Bulgarian weightlifters, Mitko Grablev (56 kg) and Angel Guenchev (67.5 kg) were both disqualified after they tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. A similar situation followed at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, where the entire Bulgarian Weightlifting team was expelled after 3 positive doping violations.

Featured image: Screenshot from School of Champions

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All Day Energy Greens Review — Are There Actually 5 Servings of Vegetables In This?

The Institute for Vibrant Living is an Arizona-based company that claims their greens powder, All Day Energy Greens, is “one of the most potent, energizing, alkalizing, immune-enhancing drinks available” and that it “exceeds the nutritional equivalent of five servings of fruits and vegetables.” But what’s actually in it?


Buy All Day Energy Greens on Amazon

Ingredients

There are close to forty ingredients that are all lumped into one proprietary blend, unlike some greens powders that separate them by their function, like digestive health, antioxidants, and so on.

The list includes powdered alfalfa, spirulina, barley grass, acerola cherry, watercress, spinach leaf, astragalus root, green tea leaf, beet root, maca root, yerba mate, and a variety of fruits and berries.

Notably absent are probiotic bacteria, but there are several kinds of digestive enzymes — amylase, cellulase, protease, and lipase — which are linked to improved nutrient absorption.

One serving contains 25 calories, 1 gram of protein, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and no fat.

All Day Energy Greens Ingredients

Taste

While it smells like your standard grassy, earthy greens powder, the taste is in fact very pleasant — I’d liken it to a mixed berry flavor, with undertones of grape and carrot. I really liked it.

Effectiveness

It’s a proprietary blend, which I’m not personally a fan of in greens powders because I like to know if I’m getting a clinically effective dose of some of the more medicinal ingredients in the list, like astragalus and maca root. They’ve been linked to circulatory health and sexual health (though not very conclusively) and are typically used in doses of 30 grams and 1.5 grams respectively. Since they both appear in the second half of an ingredients list of an 8.25-gram serving, they probably aren’t going to confer many of their alleged benefits.

All Day Energy Greens Nutrition

However, unlike a lot of greens powders, this does provide a very comprehensive list of the vitamins and minerals present in a serving, and in this respect the nutrition is extraordinarily high. One scoop  contains 633 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C, 100 percent of your daily Vitamins D, K, B12, biotin, riboflavin (B2), and folic acid (B9). There’s also 80 percent of your Vitamin A and 10 percent of your daily iron, magnesium, and potassium.

That’s a serious amount of nutrition that makes All Day Energy Greens outstanding in its field. Given the ingredients, it’s also likely that it delivers a potent dose of antioxidants, though that particular benefit isn’t quantified on the label.

All Day Energy Greens Review

With all that said, it’s tough to conclusively say that All Day Energy Greens provides “the nutritional equivalent of five servings of fruits and vegetables.” If it provided, say, the nutrition in five servings of spinach, many of the vitamins and minerals would be higher (it would contain three times as much magnesium and Vitamin A, for example).

That said, it is a very nutritious supplement, particularly when you look at the price.

Price

It’s $29 for 30 servings, or 96 cents per serving. That’s inexpensive for a greens powder, particularly one that delivers this much nutrition.

Compare that with Athletic Greens ($4.23 per serving), Onnit’s Earth Grown Nutrients ($2.30/serving), Patriot Power Greens ($1.96/serving) AI Sports Nutrition Red & Greens XT ($1.33/serving), Green Vibrance ($1.08/serving), ORAC-Energy Greens ($1/serving), PharmaFreak Greens Freak ($1/serving), Sun Warrior’s Supergreens ($0.55/serving), and Amazing Grass’s Green Superfood ($0.52/serving).

The Takeaway

I liked everything about this product except for the marketing. But given that the greens powder industry is awash in similar claims, I can’t truthfully say that “five servings of vegetables” is an extraordinarily inaccurate claim — but the language should nonetheless be toned down a little.

This is a very solid supplement that delivers an outstanding amount of nutrition for a very low price. I would have liked to see some probiotics thrown in too, but for the price point, the nutrition, and the transparency, this is one of the better deals you’ll find.

Buy All Day Energy Greens on Amazon

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Friday, March 24, 2017

17.5 Open Workout Tips From Top CrossFit® Athletes

88 Year Old Fitness Instructor Wants to Know: What’s Your Excuse?

The saying, “your health is your wealth,” is possibly be the best way to sum up this Wisconsin-based fitness instructor’s career. To the unknowing eye, Delores Steil is quite the opposite of what you’d expect from your typical fitness instructor.

Why’s Steil so different? She’s 88 years old and has been teaching fitness classes at the same YMCA for the last 27-years. Fox 12 Oregon recently did a news story on Steil and her fitness instructing career, which is covered in the video below.

Possibly the best part of the video is Steil’s thoughts on what others think about her. When asked if she sees herself as an inspiration like many of her peers do, she simply responds by saying, “I don’t feel special, but my daughters do, they think I’m great.”

If that doesn’t prove Steil is in the fitness industry for the right reason, then I don’t know what will. Here we have a woman receiving national news coverage and she shrugs off any attempt to point herself out as an inspiration to many people and stays humble. To top it off, Fox 12 Oregon state that she’s only missed one class in the last 10 years. Keep in mind, she teaches classes three-times a week.

If you Google “Delores Steil,” chances are the only thing you’ll find on her is this recent news story. This scenario reminds me of the article we wrote in November on Mark Bell’s “Why I Will Never Stop Lifting,” video.

In this day and age it’s easy to get caught up in the flash and glamour of the fitness industry. With things like YouTube, Instagram, and influencer marketing, the fitness industry is becoming much more saturated with those who do fitness simply because they can.

It’s increasingly harder to find those who do it for the pure love and enjoyment. Steil might be the definition of the pure love and enjoyment fitness can entail when you’re improving yourself and others around you.

Feature image screenshot from Fox 12 Oregon news report. 

The post 88 Year Old Fitness Instructor Wants to Know: What’s Your Excuse? appeared first on BarBend.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Gua Sha Therapy — Does It Work for Strength Athletes?

Greens First Supplement — Should I Really Be Alkalizing My Body?

Greens First is a greens supplement by Ceautamed Worldwide, a Florida-based company that is intended to “alkalize” your body and deliver “the phytonutrient and antioxidant benefits of a diet rich in dark greens and brightly colored fruits and vegetables in one, easy-to-use product.”

So what does the actual science say about Greens First? Let’s find out.

Ingredients

There are 49 different foods that are arranged into seventeen categories, some of which only contain one ingredient. Each category has its weight listed next to it to help give you a rough idea of the dosage.

There’s the “greens blend” of barley grass juice powder, chlorella, and spirulina. Next is a vegetable blend of juice powders from carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, parsley, and kale. Then what’s called an “OxiSure™” blend that I believe is another word for an antioxidants, which contains ingredients like green tea extract, powdered berries, and powdered cruciferous vegetables.

Next are separate blends of fiber, non-GMO soy lecithin, digestive enzymes, probiotics, sprouted barley, a resveratrol blend, more green tea extract, quercetin, milk thistle seed, red beet root, cinnamon, aloe leaf powder, turmeric, kelp, and licorice root.

Greens First Ingredients

The ingredients are diverse and tick most of the boxes that greens powder aficionados usually look for: the grass juice powders, the algaes, the antioxidants, the digestive enzymes, and the probiotics. Everything is non-GMO, vegan, and free from artificial ingredients, sweeteners and preservatives.

One scoop contains 40 calories, 1 gram of protein, 1 gram of fat, 6 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of fiber.

Taste

A very refreshing spearmint flavor. I should note that there’s a large sticker on the container to advise me that “with each season’s harvest, every blend (…) has a uniquely vibrant taste all its own,” so it’s possible that your Greens First will taste different. The one I received is a pretty pleasant (though not subtle) blast of mint.

Effectiveness

First, the pros: there’s just about everything you might want in a greens powder as far as ingredients go: grasses, seaweeds, antioxidants, enzymes, probiotics, and even milk thistle, which has been linked to liver health (and remember that the liver is what actually “detoxifies” the body).

Greens First Review

The ingredients list is also pretty descriptive as far as dosage goes. Let’s keep using milk thistle as an example: what’s nice is that you know that each serving contains 75mg of the stuff. However, the dosage that’s most commonly recommended for benefits is at least 100mg three times per day, so you’re probably not getting much benefit in that regard.

You do know that it contains 2.5mg total of barley grass juice powder, chlorella, and spirulina, which is probably an effective dose for some benefits to your cholesterol and blood sugar. You do need to do your own homework to figure out the effective dose of whatever ingredient you’re most interested in, but at least the packaging is relatively descriptive regarding dosage.

The downside of this product is that it makes some unfounded claims. The biggest problem I saw Greens First is that there is no micronutrient information on the label. That means I don’t know whether or not Greens First provides any vitamins or minerals besides sodium. It probably does, but there’s no way to know exactly what and how much; all it tells me is the macronutrient content (carbs/protein/fat) and the sodium content (15mg, or 1 percent of your daily intake).

There’s also no information about how many antioxidants or probiotics it provides, and those two components being relatively high is usually something you can count on in a greens powder.

This makes the label’s claim that it provides “naturally occurring and easily absorbed vitamins, minerals and macronutrients” and “15+ servings of fruits and vegetables” more difficult to justify. Not even the most nutritious greens powders (the ones that do disclose their nutrition info) approach the nutrition of 15 cups of vegetables, and Greens First doesn’t even try to support that claim by providing nutrition info.

Greens First Nutrition

Then there’s Greens First’s big claim that it helps you “Alkalize Now!” While there’s no harm to consuming more alkaline foods (they tend to be fruits and vegetables, after all) there’s no real consensus in the scientific community that this is an aspect of your nutrition that you should really be focusing on. Acidic food may make your urine more acidic, but it probably isn’t making the rest of your body more acidic and in any case, different parts of your body vary in how alkaline or acidic they are. There’s not really a set point, and your blood only falls out of its slightly alkaline state if you’re in certain disease states.

It’s not like there’s absolutely no point to consuming more alkaline foods. Studies show there may be some benefit in reducing morbidity, but a lot more research needs to be done — alkalinity is certainly nowhere near as important as vitamins and minerals, an area in which Greens First falls flat.

Price

It’s $37 for thirty servings, or $1.23 per serving. That’s not very cheap, particularly given how little I know about the vitamin and mineral content — there’s no way for me to tell if it’s a smart financial decision because it combines the benefits of other supplements, for example.

Compare that with Athletic Greens ($4.23 per serving), Onnit’s Earth Grown Nutrients ($2.30/serving), Patriot Power Greens ($1.96/serving) AI Sports Nutrition Red & Greens XT ($1.33/serving), Green Vibrance ($1.08/serving), ORAC-Energy Greens ($1/serving), PharmaFreak Greens Freak ($1/serving), All Day Energy Greens ($0.96/serving), Sun Warrior’s Supergreens ($0.55/serving), and Amazing Grass’s Green Superfood ($0.52/serving).

The Takeaway

Given the ingredients label, this greens powder contains practically everything you might buy a greens powder for, if ingredients are what’s most important to you.

Given the lack of a nutrition label, you can’t know if the ingredients are providing any benefit. I wouldn’t recommend a health supplement that provides so little information about its nutrition.

The post Greens First Supplement — Should I Really Be Alkalizing My Body? appeared first on BarBend.

Interview: Alex Viada Talks Optimizing CrossFit and Mixing Ultramarathons With Powerlifting

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Shakeology & Power Greens Boost Review — Is This the Ultimate Post-Workout?

Shakeology is the supplement arm of Beachbody Inc, the same company behind Tony Horton’s P90X program and Shaun T’s Insanity. The goal of Shakeology is two-fold: to provide a protein shake and a multivitamin all rolled in together.

This is a special review, because we’re reviewing both Shakeology and a supplement to Shakeology, a greens powder called Power Greens Boost. The idea is to add a scoop of Power Greens to your Shakeology shake to amplify its nutrition profile and provide extra vitamins and minerals.

So, does it deliver the goods?

Ingredients

Shakeology

Shakeology’s ingredients are broken down into four categories, all of which are proprietary blends, so I can’t tell you how many of each ingredient is included.

First, a protein blend of whey, pea, sacha inchi, chia, flax, and quinoa that’s intended to help “build lean muscle and reduce cravings.”

Then there’s a “super-fruit/antioxidant blend” of pretty unusual foods like camu-camu (a South American berry that’s high in vitamin C), acerola cherry, bilberry, goji berry, and monkfruit.

The third category is a “super-green/phytonutrient” blend of spirulina, spinach, kale, moringa and chlorella, which are pretty common in the average greens powder.

The fourth is an “adaptogen blend” of herbs, roots, and mushrooms: ashwagandha, astragalus, cordyceps, maca, maitake, reishi, and schisandra. It’s intended to help the body adapt and respond to the effects of stress.

Shakeology Ingredients

Finally, there’s a blend of prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes. There’s no information about how many probiotic bacteria it contains, but this blend likely exerts a positive effect on digestive health and nutrient absorption.

One scoop contains 160 calories, 17 grams of protein, 17 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of fat.

Power Greens Boost

The Boost doubles down on the greens: one scoop contains five combined grams of spinach leaf powder, cucumber, chlorella, spirulina, celery stalk powder, and kale leaf powder. Note that Shakeology already contains spinach, chlorella, spirulina, and kale, though we don’t know in what amounts.

One scoop provides 20 calories, 3 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein.

Shakeology Power Greens Boost Ingredients

Taste

Shakeology

I tried chocolate, and while Shakeology is available in cafe latte, vanilla, strawberry, and “greenberry” flavors too, it’s hard to imagine flavors other than chocolate or cafe latte working well with the flavor profile. That’s because Shakeology, while very tasty, retains some of the earthy, nutty flavor that I can tell originates from the powdered vegetables and seaweed. The cocoa works well here and does a good job of balancing out the earthiness of the greens.

Shakeology Taste

Power Greens Boost

It’s surprising how much a little teaspoon of greens powder can alter the taste of an entire large, chocolate protein shake. The entire flavor profile changes and the chocolate flavor, while works in a nice, subtle fashion to complement the greens in Shakeology, gives way to the grassy greens flavor.

Remember that Shakeology already had to work to overcome the flavor of the seaweed and greens, and while it does that successfully on its own, it changes under the weight of all the greens once you stir in the Boost. The chocolate flavor becomes harder to detect and the experience becomes a bit less pleasant.

Benefits and Effectiveness

Shakeology

Despite a conspicuous absence of grasses (like wheat and oat), Shakeology contains just about all the ingredients of your average greens powder: the spirulina, the chlorella, the probiotics, the digestive enzymes. It even contains some of the less common ingredients that some niche greens powders offer like ashwagandha (linked to cognitive benefits), astragalus (linked to circulatory and kidney health) and the mushroom varieties maitake, reishi, and cordyceps, which are labeled as adaptogens and may help the body recover from stress and exercise.

So, the ingredients are solid, but there’s no information about how much of each ingredient or even of each blend is present in a serving of Shakeology. So while the volume of a serving is much higher than your average greens powder, it’s still impossible to know for sure if you’re receiving a clinically effective dose of anything.

On a similar note, there’s no information as to how many probiotic bacteria are in a serving, either.

But although there’s not a lot of information about dosages, there is a lot of information about the actual vitamins and minerals in the drink. To be honest, I value that a lot more, since the benefits of vitamins and minerals are more concrete and have more scientific consensus behind them than the herbs and roots.

On that note, the nutrition profile of Shakeology is pretty impressive. One scoop delivers 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamins A, B6, B12, thiamine, and manganese, 50 percent of the recommended daily intake Vitamins D, E, K1, folic acid, panothenic acid, and chromium. There’s also thirty percent of your recommended intake of calcium and iron, and twenty percent of your daily magnesium.

Shakeology Power Greens Boost Review

It’s really, really nutritious, moreso than the majority of greens powders I’ve seen, most of which are just delivery vessels for antioxidants and probiotics. (Not that there’s nothing wrong with that.)

So if you’re purchasing Shakeology because you want the alleged benefits of ingredients like spirulina, ashwagandha, maca root, and so on, you might be frustrated by the fact that there’s no way to know if you’re getting an effective dose of any of them.

If you’re purchasing Shakeology because you want a protein shake and a ton of vitamins and minerals, it could be the product for you.

Power Greens Boost

Shakeology impressed me, the Boost not so much. There’s actually not a lot to say about it because there’s not a lot of information to work with. It contains five grams of spinach, cucumber, chlorella. spirulina, celery, and kale, but unfortunately — in stark contrast to Shakeology — there’s zero nutritional information.

The tub does promise to provide “one full serving of vegetables,” “vitamins and minerals,” and “healthy (plant-based) nutrients,” but there’s no info about the micronutrient, vitamin or mineral content. What are you really adding to your Shakeology? Honestly, you don’t know.

Given the ingredients and rich green hue, you’re probably adding a decent amount of antioxidants and chlorophyll to your shake. But it would be nice to know for sure.

Price

Shakeology

A 2.78-pound bag of Shakeology provides thirty servings for about $130, which is $4.33 per serving.

This product is on the expensive side for greens. It’s more expensive than Athletic Greens ($4.23 per serving), which is among the most expensive greens powders I’ve tried.

Compare that with Onnit’s Earth Grown Nutrients ($2.30/serving), Patriot Power Greens ($1.96/serving) AI Sports Nutrition Red & Greens XT ($1.33/serving), Green Vibrance ($1.08/serving), ORAC-Energy Greens ($1/serving), PharmaFreak Greens Freak ($1/serving), All Day Energy Green Superfood ($0.96/serving), Sun Warrior’s Supergreens ($0.55/serving), and Amazing Grass’s Green Superfood ($0.52/serving).

Now, Shakeology is very nutritious by the standards of greens powder, so it can potentially replace many vitamin supplements while doubling as a protein shake. In that regard, it may be worth the cost.

Shakeology Price

Power Greens Boost 

$35 for twenty servings ($1.75 per serving) is obviously cheaper than Shakeology, but is isn’t so cheap for a greens powder (see the price comparison above), particularly when you take into account that Power Greens Boost is meant to be taken with Shakeology. So it’s asking you to pay $7.08 per serving while giving you barely any information about its actual nutritional content.

The Takeaway

While Shakeology is expensive, there’s an argument to be made that it may be worth it from a macro- and micro-nutrient perspective, particularly given the fact that it offers more vitamins, minerals and protein than your average greens powder.

I don’t think that same argument is as strong with the Power Greens Boost. Shakeology delivers enough nutrition and costs enough as it is, and there’s not enough evidence or information regarding the nutrition in Power Greens Boost to justify purchasing it as well.

I’d stick with Shakeology alone.

The post Shakeology & Power Greens Boost Review — Is This the Ultimate Post-Workout? appeared first on BarBend.

Best Booty Shorts

Fake Strongmen Prank Several Morning News Shows

“It’s working your delts, your tris, your plaps, all your major chest muscle groups. “

Comedians Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, under the extremely fake names of Chop and Steele, came up with a plan: invent a charity, invent a strongman tour, invent an appearance on America’s Got Talent, and send a ton of PR emails boasting their fake accomplishments to morning news shows.

They’d be glad to come on your show, demonstrate their feats of strength, and promote their tour and charitable organization, “Give Thanks for Strengths.” Would you like some incredible strongman feats on your morning TV show?

Image via Found Footage Fest on YouTube.

Despite having no real evidence of any strength accomplishments, local morning news shows have a lot of airtime to fill, and Pickett and Prueher managed to book appearances on programs in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Bismark, North Dakota, and Allentown, Pennsylvania. One of them emailed the day after their appearance asking for credentials. Too late, buddy.

The feats of strength they displayed were nothing short of awe-inspiring. For their stupidity and pointlessness.

Then again, we’re quite certain that Hafthor Bjornsson and Zydrunas Savickas have never tested how many wicker baskets they can crush in a minute…

Image via Found Footage Fest on YouTube.

… or how many times they can strike a tyre with a baseball bat…

Image via Found Footage Fest on YouTube.

… or how many times they can open and close the legs of a guy doing a handstand…

Image via Found Footage Fest on YouTube.

… so hey, maybe Chop and Steele do outrank every other strongman in these movements.

Pruett and Prueher are hosts of the Found Footage Festival, an event that “showcases footage from videos that were found at garage sales and thrift stores and in warehouses and dumpsters across the country.”

The fake strongmen’s real strength is messing with morning news shows — their company is best known for pulling a similar prank in 2010 with yo-yo master Kenny Strasser who is, in fact, god-awful at yo-yo tricks.

Anyway, if you ask us, we’re hoping to see a lot more basket crushing for speed at next year’s Arnold.

Featured image via Found Footage Fest on YouTube.

The post Fake Strongmen Prank Several Morning News Shows appeared first on BarBend.

8 Women Who Are Squatting 400, 500, and 600+ lbs

Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeves Review

Rehband is one of the most well-known brands of compression training gear. Their products range from neoprene knee sleeves (5-7mm in thickness) and elbow sleeves to shoulder braces and other compression-based training tools for athletes of nearly every sport. I have personally been training in these exact sleeves for almost two years, and after experimenting with other knee sleeves (ranging in thicknesses, but mainly 5 and 7mm), I was excited to share my experiences and feedback.

In this article I’m reviewing the Rehband 7mm knee sleeve.

Stability

The Rehband 7mm knee sleeve is the standard  thickness for most recreational and competitive power, strength, and fitness athletes. Similar to other 7mm sleeves on the market, these are supposed to offer joint warmth and compressive support for squats, lunges, snatches, cleans and jerks, and other strongman and lifting movements.

The sleeves offer a good range of support for most lifters, however, when compared to other 7mm knee sleeves on the market, to me they felt a bit more rigid and provide more joint warmth (at the expense of flexibility).

Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeves Review

I found the added rigidity to be helpful for heavier barbell and strongman training, but the limited flexibility (as compared to other 7mm sleeves) was slightly more noticeable when performing low intensity (% of 1rm) high volume training and WODs.

Personally, I found these sleeve to offer significant support and joint warmth for heavier movements, such as squats, clean & jerks, and snatches. When compared with other 7mm knee sleeves that I have reviewed and trained in, I found the Rehband 7mm knee sleeves to be a little more bulky and less flexible during conditioning WODs and higher rep movement. This potentially makes them a less than ideal option for more conditioning based workouts.

Comfort and Fit

The sleeves come in a range of colors and designs, and are offered in varying degrees of thickness (3-7mm).

The Rehband 7mm sleeves sizing was comparable to other 7mm knee sleeves that I have reviewed as well a trained/competed in (see the video for my complete measurement and sizing breakdowns).

The sleeves offered a tapered fit, making it fairly easy to slide up and down in between sets and movements. However, the added stability that I felt with these (when compared to other 7mm sleeves) did limit the flexibility of these sleeves in more dynamic and high intensity WODs. The trade-off, however, was that they stayed in place during more strength and power based movements due to the high compression and thickness of the sleeve.

Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeves Sizing

With that said, I did find that these sleeves kept my knees very, very warm, almost to the point of excessive sweating. While it did not affect the ability to stay in place drastically, I did notice some sliding and excessive sweating wearing them, which could contribute to some unwanted movement and odors.

Material

The Rehband 7mm sleeve has held up well over the last two years of my weightlifting, powerlifting, and higher volume training.

The 7mm neoprene has remained intact, showing little signs of wear and tear, with the seamless construction still able to offer compression and joint warmth. I have found these sleeves to be less resistant to odors, however this could be due to the fact they have lasted me almost two years and provide a good deal of joint warmth (almost so much that my knees excessively sweated, leaving the sleeves to slide around too much at times) leading to some serious perspiration in these sleeves.

As my original pair has aged, I’ve had to take more responsibility washing them after workouts to combat odors, as I have sweated a great deal in them over the years. While this may seem like a potential downside, the simple act of washing them weekly (on the beginning stages and through the years) may help to presence their odorless state and compensate for spending hard-earned funds on another pair of sleeves.

Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeves Review

Durability

I have lifted in these sleeves for almost two years, competing in powerlifting, weightlifting, and functional fitness competitions. The durability of these sleeves was good compared with other 7mm knee sleeves, mainly when performing heavy squats, high intensity (% of 1rm) Olympic lifts, and more voluminous squat training.

Even after almost two years of training in these sleeves (5-7 workouts per week, squats 3-4 times per week, Olympic lifts nearly daily) there are minimal signs of breakdown, making these one of the more durable sleeve options I’ve tried.

Price

The price for the Rehband 7mm Knee sleeve is $40-45 for one sleeve. Unlike most other knee sleeves on the market, Rehband sells the their sleeves individually, making the price for a pair (one sleeve per knee) around $80-90, about $30-40 more than most 7mm sleeves on the market.

This particular sleeve has lasted much longer than other sleeves I’ve owned, so I feel like I’m getting longer term use for a higher price.

For more intermediate or advanced lifters who have experimented with other knee sleeve (3,5, and 7mm), this may be the upgrade you are looking for. For others who may not be as concerned with a more rigid and compression knee support, I have also found success lifting in similar, less expensive 7mm sleeves.

Final Thoughts

The Rehband 7mm knee sleeves offer a good amount of support and compression, however lack flexibility and comfort at the expense of the added stability.

Personally, I have found these sleeves to offer dependable support during heavy and high volume squat cycles, snatches, and heavy cleans. Additionally, I have found them useful for general joint warmth and compression support, though they certainly come at a premium price.

The post Rehband 7mm Knee Sleeves Review appeared first on BarBend.

KT Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Tape Review – Does It Work?

KT tape is one of the most established kinesiology tape producers, offering numerous products in varying colors, designs and materials. In this article we will be reviewing the Pro Synthetic version of kinesiology tape by KT Tape, designed for enhanced durability, adhesiveness, and support for power, strength, and fitness athletes.

This particular version is constructed out of synthetic fibers, and will be compared throughout to a previous review of the cotton kinesiology tape by KT Tape.

How did the synthetic version compare to the cotton tape? Read below for our full take.

Stability

The synthetic KT tape offers a flexible, low profile, and soft tape option for lifters and athletes. The adhesive properties of the synthetic version were far more effective than the cotton version (I personally found limited to no effectiveness of the KT Tape cotton version due to lack of adhesiveness) in both dry and wet conditions. The synthetic version stayed in place during far better than the cotton version during sweaty conditioning WODs with full range of motion movements.

When compared to the KT Tape cotton version, I found the synthetic tape to also provide good stability and feedback, primarily due to the strong adhesive abilities. While one may think comfort and flexibility have been sacrificed for a far more adhesive tape, I didn’t notice any significant differences in flexibility and comfort of the synthetic version. 

KT Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Tape Review

KT Tape claims the synthetic version can stay in place for up to seven days, and has increased adhesiveness in both wet and dry environments (swimming, sweating, outdoors, etc). When compared to the cotton version, I found the synthetic version to be a more rigid, adhesive, and supportive tape, especially for athletes who sweat more, are in more outdoor and wet environments, or have more body hair

Comfort and Fit

KT’s synthetic tape is constructed of elastic 100% synthetic and latex free material, which offers lightweight support, and the company claims that gives it superior weight to strength ratios. Applying the tape to the skin was fairly easy, and KT Tape provides both instructions in the box and online tutorials, offering applications for knees, shoulder, elbow, back, and lumbar issues (just to name a few).

I found applying the tape to be pretty straight forward and intuitive as it was far more adhesive than the KT Tape cotton version, making it stay in place longer and offer immediate support

KT Synthetic Kinesiology Tape

The tape comes in pre-cut strips elastic and adhesive strips that can be applied in a variety of positions depending on the intended applications; this is one plus, as the pre-cut strips make it easier to handle.

For testing, I applied the tape to my upper arm and shoulder region during push-ups. The tape was applied to provide added feedback and support of the shoulder complex and to reinforce sound scapular stabilization and retraction.

One potential downside of this synthetic tape version is that the added adhesiveness and stability offered results in a more noticeable feel of the tape pulling on the skin. While I personally did not find it as a drawback, many lifters may opt for a less noticeable tape option, potentially making this not the most suitable option.

KT Synthetic Kinesiology Tape Application

Material

This version of the tape of comprised of a stretchable and woven 100% synthetic fibers (also 100% latex free), claiming to have “superior weight to strength ratios”, provide longer lasting support, and is anti-microbial. This alignment of the fibers allows for the tape to be stretched lengthwise to move with the flexion and extensions of the joints.

KT Synthetic Kinesiology Tape

I found the synthetic version to be comfortable and very adhesive, allowing it to stay in place during training. While the synthetic version was much more noticeable on the body (you can really feel the tape working), I didn’t notice any restrictions in range of motion of comfort.

Durability

I was pleasantly surprised at the durability and adhesiveness of the synthetic version of KT Tape. The added durability allowed me to have the tape not only stay in place, but have a noticeable stiffness and supportive rigidity during bodyweight and weighted movements, regardless of sweat and/or body hair (which posed issues with the adhesiveness of the KT Tape cotton version).

Price

The synthetic version of KT Tape is listed at $19.99, which comes with a roll of twenty 10” pre-cut adhesive strips and a helpful step-by-step instructions manual (more variations available online as well).

This price is pretty standard when compared with other synthetic versions, however it’s significantly more expensive than KT Tape’s cotton version (listed at $12.99 per roll).

For those who may find themselves in less wet and hairy conditions, the KT Tape cotton version may be an option as well.

KT Synthetic Kinesiology Tape Price

Final Words

Personally, I found the synthetic version to be far more supportive and adhesive than the KT Tape’s cotton version, which was a great improvement from my first experience.

The added adhesiveness offered significantly more neurological feedback and awareness than the KT Tape cotton version, as I could feel the tape pulling more due to that added adhesive and supportive properties. This could be a downside for people who don’t want to actively feel the tape on their skin.

For athletes looking to experiment with kinesiology tape and/or are firm advocates of it’s usage, I would normally opt for a synthetic version instead of the KT Tape cotton version, as the extra cost is normally justified.

The post KT Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Tape Review – Does It Work? appeared first on BarBend.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Motivation: 58 Year Old Mark Solomon Hang Snatches 113kg

The Coolest Custom Painted Nike Romaleos 3 (So Far)

Watch Weightlifter Aleksey Torokhtiy Do Ballet In a Tutu

Ukrainian weightlifter Aleksey Torokhtiy won gold at the 2012 London Olympics with a total of 412 kilograms (908.3 pounds). He can power jerk 255kg. And now, thanks to his pretty awesome YouTube channel, you can see him do ballet in a tutu. Rejoice!

Showing again that he is beginning to approach Dmitry Klokov levels of hamming for the camera, Torokhtiy brought a professional ballerina (identified only as “Ekateryna”) to the gym to help him incorporate principles from ballet into weightlifting.

Along the way, he really brought out his cornball side. For example, here he is pretending to stretch like a ballerina using someone else’s leg.

Image via Aleksey TOROKHTIY on YouTube.

But on a more serious note, Torokhtiy was taught some very challenging ballet stretches that could have some real carryover to performance in weightlifting.

Image via Aleksey TOROKHTIY on YouTube.

For example, at about 1 minute 20 seconds into the video, Ekateryna demonstrates this serious stretch for the glutes and the outer thigh. It’s recommended that you hold the position with the low back straight and the knee as close to the floor as possible for one or two sets of 20 to 30 seconds each. (“The feelings are not so pleasant,” says Torokhtiy.)

Image via Aleksey TOROKHTIY on YouTube.

This is another ballet stretch — which some might call a single-leg saddle — for the outer thigh that he recommends you try holding for two sets of 20 to 30 seconds each. Torokhtiy likes it, but later complains that his level of muscle mass makes it difficult to hold positions like this.

Image via Aleksey TOROKHTIY on YouTube.

A hamstring and low back stretch that Torokhtiy took to like a duck to water. But it was when they started playing around with variations on the splits that we were really surprised by his flexibility.


Images via Aleksey TOROKHTIY on YouTube

Although he claimed these stretches made him see sparks in front of his eyes, we’re still very impressed at how well he kept up with Ekateryna, and the video provided yet more evidence that actually, static stretching can be a great tool for weightlifters.

Featured image via Aleksey TOROKHTIY on YouTube

The post Watch Weightlifter Aleksey Torokhtiy Do Ballet In a Tutu appeared first on BarBend.