Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The scarcity principle, or ‘how to look good naked’

scarcity principle
© Glenn Francis,

A beautiful, fit body is a rare thing. And it is that very scarcity which makes us place so much value upon it.

Paradoxically perhaps, our lives are inundated with images of lean, healthy, sometimes thin and sometimes muscular models. Yet, despite the omnipresence of the body-beautiful on our walls and our screens, despite what looks like a readily achievable goal, there is no escaping the elusiveness of this physique: it requires a significant effort to make the image in the mirror match the perfect images we see all around us.

Physical beauty –the one achieved rather than the kind you may have been born with- comes at a price. That price is not merely a monetary one (gym memberships, personal trainers, etc), it is also paid in units of sweat.

And make no mistake about it: there may be shortcuts, and there may be optimal ways to eat and train for fitness and for leanness, but there are no magic-bullets.
The fitness industry is rampant with such quick fixes and promises, but does it actually deliver?

Saturday, 16 February 2013

To pack or not to pack: how to perform pull-ups correctly

If you have ever wondered how to perform a pull-up correctly, you may have read a lot of conflicting advice, with one prevalent view among trainers and coaches nowadays being that you should ‘pack’ your shoulders at the bottom of the movement (in the dead hang position), in order to promote shoulder stability.
By ‘packing’ your shoulders, these trainers mean that you should keep your shoulders down (depressed) when in a dead hang.
This however, can feel somewhat unnatural and awkward to a lot of athletes.

Looking at the two pictures below, the first one illustrates form at the bottom of a pull-up where the shoulders are allowed to rotate upwards into a dead hang position, whereas the second one shows the dead hang with the shoulders ‘packed’.