My Deadlift Warm up

The deadlift is one of the most taxing exercises. With tons of variations that can be down, it can make it easy to be injured if you don’t warm up properly. I have seen a lot of injuries due to not warming up, so lets break down the warm up for your deadlift in todays article.

Why warm up?

The warm up and cool down are crucial for your workout. Without an efficient warm up, you are opening up your chances to injury. Without cooling down, you are increasing your chances to what is called venous pooling of blood in the lower extremities. This can cause you to be light headed and also cause dizziness especially in higher intensity workouts.

What should your warm up look like?

When I discuss warm ups with someone, I take into account what kind of workout they are getting ready to perform. I also look at a few other factors such as the clients health, previous injuries, age, equipment around the gym and more. That is how important the warm up is and it should be thought of as so.

It would take a long time to go over how your warm up should look if I listed every possibility so that is why I will be talking about warming up for the deadlift.

Every good warm up should have you breaking a very light sweat or right on the edge to start sweating. Starting off on a cardio movement such as a bike, treadmill, elliptical, etc. would be good to start with. Again depending on the workout listed, would vary the warm up time but 3-10 minutes should do in most strength workouts for the cardio. I would like to also list that it should be down at a low intensity such as a 50-75% speed in most machines.

Next I look at performing a self myofascial release method such as foam rolling. 5-10 minutes could be spent here if needed. I like this because this followed up with some dynamics will allow an increase in blood flow in the areas worked. This will help increase mobility for the time being, warm up that muscle and allow a decrease in chances of injury.

Dynamics are next on the list. A dynamic movement is typically described as a movement allowing a full range of motion, in turn giving a light but efficient stretch to the muscle.

I do not typically perform static stretches because this tends to relax the muscle as where the dynamic stretches can ready the muscle to fire for our strength movements.

After dynamics, I work my weakness areas to wake the muscles up to fire properly. This is where the warm up can sometimes be very specific and specialized to the individuals needs. Lets say you have low back pain, or your back is a little tight on a day we are scheduled to deadlift. I would incorporate a couple exercises like the reverse hyper, walking lunges, and back extensions or band good mornings. This would allow more blood flow into the back and assisting muscles to increase the stability for the low back. This portion can be different for everyone most of the time.

Last we have what I call “pre activation work” which is very similar to the strength movement we will do. This may also look like the weak areas we hit depending on the individual. Since we are on the subject of the deadlift, I like to incorporate stiff leg deadlifts, goblet squats, and sometimes a couple sets of pile squats to wake up the adductors (inner thigh muscles) if we have a sumo deadlift day.

I also want to mention that when doing any strength movement, especially the deadlift, START LIGHT and do a couple warm up sets to check technique and get the right muscles firing.

My deadlift warm up routine

Bike

Foam roll

Leg swings

Hip circle walks – front, back, sides

Stiff leg deadlift w/ dumbbells

Iso Glute raise with band pullovers

Start with lighter weight to check technique

That sums up the majority of the things needed to be covered today but if you have any questions on warming up, please reach out to me and ask some questions! I hope you all have a great day and enjoy this article and video!

-Alex Costa-

My Next Competition

You may have noticed my competition countdown on the homepage of my website, if not let me explain…

I was super excited to see a local gym and buddy of mine throw a powerlifting meet for his gym. I love competing and having a date on the calendar to get ready for. I also enjoy supporting local fitness businesses and other gyms.

I have decided to compete in a push / pull powerlifting meet on June 1st. I have been prepping for about 2 weeks already. A push / pull meet is a powerlifting meet where only the bench press and deadlift will be performed. The best lifter in each weight class will be the winner, most meets have an overall best lifter which is the strongest pound for pound lifter. I am sitting around 151-153lbs so I am going to try making the 148lb weight class for meet day.

I will be breaking down strength content pretty heavily this month. Especially for the deadlift and bench because of the meet.

I am super excited to compete! If you are in the area, check out the meet! You can find more info on Alpha’s gym page.

Hope everyone has a great Monday!
-Alex Costa-

3 Exercises For A Stronger Squat

When it comes to adding pounds on the squat, it can get very aggravating. It takes time, practice and a lot of work to develop a stronger squat. One thing that can help speed up the process is picking out the correct auxiliary lifts that will help increase muscle strength in those muscles that we use for the squat. In todays post, I will be covering 3 of my top exercises I use for my clients and myself when we need to add some pounds to the bar.

As I said above, exercise selection is crucial when strength training to increase weight to the main lifts like the squat. When I first stated I would just do a couple sets on the quad extension and seated hamstring curl machine. Don’t get me wrong, those machines are good and have their purpose but I noticed I never really added much to my squat when I only did those exercises and a little bit of calves. As I furthered my knowledge and started experimenting with myself, I noticed a select number of exercises that I would do when my squat would increase. Then I learned how to hit weaknesses for the individual when I got into powerlifting which literally changed the game for me as a trainer. I will get into this in a different article, today I am showing some of the best exercises that will help you develop a stronger squat. So let’s get started.

My first one I have on my list is the GHD. Now not everyone has the luxury to have one in their gym, I didn’t when I was at my previous gyms in the past and I didn’t even have one at my private gym at first. When I researched how beneficial the GHD is and researched countless studies on strength, performance, speed, and injury prevention I knew I needed one in Iron Strength and Conditioning. I dropped the money and got one of the best on the market, the Rogue Abram GHD 2.0 for my private gym. This puppy is one of my favorite pieces of equipment not only for me but for a lot of my clients as well. With the GHD, you can perform glute ham raises, back extensions, side bends, crunches and a lot more when you start to get creative.

The GHD works so well because because it is essentially a bodyweight hamstring curl. It is a difficult move to get down at first if you’ve never done it but it’s worth the practice because this can be one of the best exercises to increase your squat and deadlift. As you get better at these, add more resistance by adding bands or holding a dumbbell.

My second exercise is another solid hamstring/glute exercise. I watched a video of Jeff Nippard’s YouTube channel that goes over a study with a different variation of this exercise being one of the top listed exercises for reaching the highest Electromyographic (EMG) level for the hamstrings. This is primarily due to being a movement that keeps the hips in an extended position which activates the glutes and hamstrings, then as you bring the ball in, it is a knee flexion motion which will active the hamstrings even more. A couple things to remember is to keep your glutes engaged and keep them extended so your butt doesn’t drop down, that will take tension off the glutes and lower back. I also think about digging my heels into the ball as I bring it in as if I were trying to pop the exercise ball. A way to increase difficulty is to do one leg or use ab slider for your feet.

My 3rd exercise I have for you is one of my favorite lower body exercises, walking lunges. I used to use these here and there in my leg training when I started, I would use a barbell variation and do them in the rack but the lunges changed when I learned more from Cory Gregory. I learned that you can use walking lunges as a form of General Physical Preparedness (GPP) which in theory is literally strength conditioning. It is a movement that will work the muscle and be used as a form of cardio when lengthening the distance. This will then lead to increased training volume and increasing weak areas and will have your squat going through the roof. These lunges aren’t just a 3 sets of 12 each leg type of deal, were talking some serious distance. 400-800 meters worth in one session. Yes like the 400 meters that make a lap around a track. Now if you are starting off with these, start with something like down and back a few times in your gym then try increasing to 100 meters, then 200, then 400 and more if desired. I have found that 100-400 multiple times a week worked best for me. I added about 90 pounds to my squat back when I did these just about everyday combined with a squat everyday program Cory came out with. It worked wonders for me, but find what works best for you and don’t be afraid to try new things. That is what has made me a better trainer and let me know my body better as far as what works for me and what doesn’t. I could add on to the lunges and write pages about how beneficial they are but I will save that for another post.

These 3 exercises are not the end all, be all theory that will save your squat but these 3 have been very beneficial for me and my clients I have trained. I have seen multiple clients add 30lb to their squat and even some that had 70-100lbs added in a couple months. That does not mean it will happen for you but this is a perfect example of trying new things because you never know when you will find the perfect list of exercises that will address weak points in your lifts.

I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me over the years, I appreciate you reading this post. Please try to share this with a friend, family member, teammate or coach to help others increase strength.

Have an awesome day!
-Alex Costa-

I’m Competing In The OPBA Competition!!

The OPBA (Ohio Power Bodybuilding Association) is a unique competition created by a couple guys in my area. They have only done a little handful of shows so it is still new and growing! This type of competition is interesting as a competitor because you are not just do a bodybuilding show and not just doing powerlifting, you are doing both, back to back days on the same weekend. Programming for this and dieting can be a challenge. You really have to try to learn what works best for your body.

I have been prepping for about 7 weeks now, so I am doing about a full 10 week prep all together. I have used this prep to experiment with some new training/diet methods. One new thing I have been testing out is carb cycling which I will explain more in a different post.

I am excited to try something new, honestly I have been wanting to try this competition out for the last couple times but now it’s time to go for it! I’ll be sharing more content based off of what I am doing to get ready for the competition. Can’t wait!

Have a great day!
-Alex Costa-

My 2nd Powerlifting Meet!

My YouTube video of the powerlifting meet.

It’s go time! My second powerlifting meet! I learned so much from my first one and now I have even more experience from this competition!

Thank you for all of the support and love through this process! I am so excited to get ready for the next competition. I will make a post very soon on what is next for me.

Have a great Monday!
-Alex Costa-

Getting Food For My Powerlifting Meet

In this video, I am going over what foods I am getting for the day of the meet. I also explain why you should get certain things if you are trying to have a good meet!

Thank up again for all of the support, I’ll be posting the meet video tomorrow!

-Alex Costa-

Last Workout Before The Meet!

Click here for the video!

This was from Wednesday, my last lift / taper day before the meet. Weights felt smooth, getting excited for meet day!

Less than 24 hours till meet day, I am getting excited and nervous. When you have anxiety about a competition like this, it can make things a little more challenging. You may lose your appetite, have negative thoughts come to mind, or even start to doubt why you signed up in the first place. I am here to tell you that the ONLY thing or person standing in your way is the person in the mirror. I started having all of these thoughts last night and even this morning. Then I remembered how much work I have put in through the last 11 weeks leading up to this. I remember all of the anxiety attacks, panic attacks and every single bump in the road I went through. These aren’t anything negative, these were mini battles where you had to dig deep to beat them. These were learning experiences. We work too hard not to enjoy moments like this. It’s time to compete. Tomorrow it’s me against me, I am looking to get a higher total than last time. I am looking to prove to myself that I won’t let anxiety beat me, instead I will beat anxiety and make it my bit**! 

IT’S MEET WEEK BABY, LET’S GO!

I will not fall victim to anxiety,  I have taken so much sh*t from it over the years and I’ve had enough. I challenge you to be the one that beats down anxiety with me. We will not be a statistic that lets mental illness win, WE will take the challenge and beat anxiety down. 

If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, or any mental illness then lets stand up and take action. Let us be the ones that take control. If you need help then by all means get a friend or family member to help! Or even contact me!! I am on your side always and we will all get through this together. I love you all and I appreciate all of the support, its time to go have fun tomorrow. 

I am using this photo from http://mental-solutions.blogspot.com/2013/11/mental-health-hotline.html

Have an awesome Friday!
-Alex Costa-

What’s The Best Day to Visit The Arnold?

What's The Best Day to Visit The Arnold?.png

It’s a common question that is always asked about the Arnold Classic. “Which day is best to go?” Well I have my opinions that I will be sharing with you today! I hope this helps some of you to have a great time at the largest fitness expo in the world.

With today being the first day a lot of people are going to the Arnold, I wanted to post this a little early in the day so you can get an idea of how each day is.

Friday

I kind of look at Friday like the one day right in the middle. It’s not slammed but it’s usually not as busy as Saturday. 

Pros

  • Basically guaranteed samples wherever you go
  • almost all competitions are set at lower times or numbers. Ex, the pull up contest is lower the first day but by Sunday, that number may be like 50. That means it is easier to win prizes.

Cons

  • Pretty long lines
  • Not all athletes will be there just yet

Saturday

Well this is the day to go if you like to stand in lines lasting about 2 hours and like walking 10 miles cause of your parking spot. This is a solid day if you really want to meet like 1 or 2 people in the fitness industry. Everyone and their grandma is there on this day.

Pros

  • Pretty much everyone is there, celebrities, athletes and all the big booths are loaded
  • This day is a lot of fun, especially if you have a group of friends

Cons

  • Long walk for parking
  • Booths take forever
  • Feet cramps, well maybe that’s just me haha
  • Probably get to see only 2-5 celebrities max if you are hustling

Sunday

Pros

  • You get all the leftover samples
  • Get through most lines pretty quickly
  • Not as many people as Saturday

Cons

  • Most athletes and celebrities are starting to head out
  • Some booths are sold out of items
  • A lot of booths pack up early

Tips:

  • Park a few blocks away and take a bus. It may cost a few bucks but way easier and better than a $20 parking spot. Usually they are all taken anyway. I did this last year and it wasn’t too bad.

 

  • Take a book bag of some kind for all the supplement samples you get. They give you bags there at almost every booth so don’t feel like you have to but I personally like to.

 

  • Go with a friend! It’s way less stressful plus you have someone to talk to while your waiting 2-3 hours to see some of your favorite athletes and brands.

 

  • Wear comfortable shoes. I can’t stress this enough, but it should be a given. You are taking about 10,000 steps I’m guessing in this day maybe even more. The last thing you want is a blister on your foot during this event.

 

  • Grab an expo directory. This has all booths listed and where they are so you’re not looking for 1 booth for an hour. This sometimes tells you when events are like strong man events and other competitions.

 

  • Wear something comfy. I get that you want to look good for all the chicks or dudes but look you’re on your feet for like 10 hours and walking probably about 10,000 steps. You’ll probably break a sweat because of how many people can be packed in walking shoulder to shoulder with each other. For me, I hate wearing something that I won’t be comfortable in. I would recommend wearing a comfy pair of shorts, sweats or jeans with a nice comfy shirt. On the other hand, Ohio weather tends to suck monkey butt each year around this time so bring warm clothes for outside cause this year will be a little cold out and rainy.

 

  • PRE ORDER TICKETS. I used to get mine from Kroger but I don’t think they sell them anymore. You should be able to get them on the official website for the Arnold Classic. They are usually about $15-$20 for a normal ticket, but also have VIP passes available as well. This will save you money and a lot of time!

 

 

In my personal opinion, I have found that visiting the Arnold on Sunday is the best experience overall. It is not as busy as Saturday and you get so much free stuff! This is what a lot of people want though is the samples. If you want to meet someone and get pictures then I would go Saturday cause they sometimes aren’t there on Friday yet and leave by Sunday. Saturday is the best time to go and meet a couple people.

I hope everyone going has a great time full of amazing memories that will last a lifetime. Some serious motivation can be created at something like this so if you need some motivation to get healthier or create a fitness goal then I would definitely go to this huge event!

Have a great Friday and enjoy the weekend!
-Alex Costa-

What Shoes Should You Train In?

In todays video, I will be talking about what shoes you should train in, why you should train in them and what they will help with the most. I hope this video helps you out on what shoes to wear when training! I’ll catch you tomorrow with another video.

Have a great day!
-Alex Costa-

Upcoming News!

cropped-img_1104.jpgJuly has been a very successful month for me and for my business. I am very happy to bring some new clients aboard with my 1 on 1 online training. I have officially made the announcement of me getting asked to help coach the Granville Blue Aces 8th grade football team. I am very happy to be apart of such an amazing program and an even better staff to help our kids. Costafitness has broken its past record for views in a month which I worked very hard to do through constant content that I post. I am very pleased with my work and how far I have come but never will I settle. I want to finish off July strong and make August an even better month!

I want to personally thank each and everyone of you that keep coming back to my website, the ones that always follow my content and give me support through social media and for all the ones that support me in general! I love how positive the energy has been lately, and want to keep adding onto this amazing journey.

With that being said, I do have a few announcements on what will be coming up!

#1) A give-a-way will be coming up soon!

What better way to show my appreciation for you than with a give-a-way! If we have a good amount of people, I will hold another one around halloween and a big on around Christmas!

#2) MORE CONTENT

Yes I will have a busier schedule. I will be working on my website, with clients, coaching my team, getting ready for a show and all other personal things but I will still make time for content to help each and everyone of you!

#3) Competing in a show very soon?

The only reason I put the question mark is because I have been battling through some mentally hard things going on lately. (Nothing like deaths or anything just like anxiety issues) BUT there is a big show coming up and I planned to join. It is a body building show and a powerlifting meet in one! I hope to still join and compete in the show but I am still finding out what my health will be like so I will be keeping you all updated. The show is about 6 weeks away and will take an extreme amount of prep to get ready. I love the challenge though.

#4) Taking more 1 on 1 online clients

I will be putting more on this through the weeks, but if you are interested in losing weight, gaining muscle/strength, getting faster, jumping higher, being the best athlete you can be, eating better and so much more then send me an email TODAY! (costafitness1@gmail.com) or go to the CONTACT page. My clients are getting some great results and I will continue to keep helping clients as much as I can. This may mean I will be holding a slightly lower limit but I will inform you when it is full. As of now, come aboard with all of us!

 

With all of this coming up, I hope to spark some excitement not only in me but you as well! I will be bringing you all along with me as I do each of these. I am very excited to continue doing what I love. The impact is such a beautiful thing and I hope to meet more of you through the website and in person! If there is any questions on anything, send me an email and I can try helping you. Other than that, I believe that is almost all of the major announcements at the moment. Thank you all again for the positive comments on the new coaching job, have a great Friday!

.                                                                 -Alex Costa-