Tag Archive for: upper east side

It's time to throw out your training program.

Here’s a great guest post by Halevy Life Training Manager Lauren Murphy:

It’s time to throw out your training program.

This past week, as I diligently followed my 12-week program for the split jerk, I made the realization that sometimes you need to throw the program away and fly by the seat of your pants.

I am one of those people who works off a program that details the amount of sets, reps, and rest time for each week, leaving little for imagination. And ya know what? It works! It takes a full 12 weeks, but through the program I am able to up my strength and hit new goals. That being said, I have recently learned that sometimes it is best to lose the program and just wing it.

My 12-week program has been a gradual crescendo, starting multiple sets of 5 reps at around 60% of my max and ending with 2 quick sets of 2 reps at about 100% max ( in return making my new 1RM roughly 10% higher than when I started).

This week, as I finished my first of 5 sets of 5 reps at about 80% of my max , 99 lbs… I hit a wall. I was so bored!! And a colleague who was working out next to me could tell. “That weight is way too light and not nearly challenging enough, forget your sets of 5 and put some weight on there!” he said. It was time to switch things up, I threw some more weight on the bar and started working sets of 2 reps. I hit the first 2 reps at 111 lbs, too easy. The next set I went to 121 lbs and the bar still seemed to fly. Third set was 126 lbs, hit it twice and knew I could still bump up the weight. I finished my last set of 2 at 131 lbs. Wait, 131 lbs!!! That is more than my current predicted 1 rep max, 125lbs! Needless to say, I felt like a rock star.

Split Jerk - Lauren Murphy, Halevy Life

Bang! (A Rock Star in Action)

Changing up your program has multiple benefits for both your performance and your mind. Not only did I get a bump in my ego after hitting a new PR on my split jerk, but mentally I felt brand new. The stress of having to do 5 sets of 5 reps had finally hit me. Breaking away from my program helped me to mentally refresh and gain new motivation for the split jerk. Studies have shown that training at heavy loads (70-120% of 1RM) for 1-6 reps is the most effective way of enhancing maximal strength as well as maintenance of maximal strength. However, research also shows that training to failure should only be performed for limited periods of time (1).

Integrating multiple maximal low rep sets as well submaximal mid rep range (3-6) sets into your work out has been proven to help improve both power and strength gains (1). Now, I am not saying I wont end up going back to my 5 sets of 5 reps next week, but I will definitely be taking a ‘vacation’ from my program every once in a while. And not just for split jerks but for squats, dead lifts, all my Olympic and maximal strength exercises. So, next time you are bored and tempted to deviate from your program, don’t worry about it! You can sweat about it later…

1. Tan, Benedict. “Manipulating Resistasnce Training Program Variables to Optimize Maximum Strength in Men.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 13.3 (1999): 289-304. Journals.lww.com. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning. Web.

Baby Got Back, Man Got Front: Squat Like A Beast..Without Pain

Here’s another phenomenal guest post by Halevy Life Director of Programming and Education, Nick Johnson:

Why would/should anyone ever front squat? It’s so much harder, you definitely don’t look as tough because you can’t load the bar up and muscle through it, and it isn’t super comfortable at the bottom of the lift. So why utilize the front squat?

Look: Very tough. But the Front Squat may be a tad more confortable at the bottom portion of the lift ;)

Look: Very tough. But the Front Squat may be a tad more confortable at the bottom portion of the lift…

My goal is to make and support the argument for using front squats before you ever load up the barbell and put it on your back. Here are the 3 biggest reasons I choose the front squat over back squatting for beginners and/or those lacking core stability.

1. Performing a front squat is much easier on the posterior chain (especially lower back) than the back squat. Many of the clients I begin working with, regardless of their goals, almost always have problems with:
a. The ability to stabilize their core when in motion, and
b. Lower back pain.

The front squat addresses both issues. Because the load is placed in front of the body, the barbell is kept over the center of gravity without your back having to bend as much to keep it there. In other words, front squatting allows for much more knee flexion without decreasing the hip angle to the point where you are performing a lower back exercise. If you look at the angles outlined below, the front squat allows us to get much more knee flexion (6 degrees difference with this individual) without placing as much stress on the lower back (11 degrees difference in the hip angle). This is extremely important when working with anyone with low-back pain or issues activating their core.

Front Squat

Front Squat

Back Squat

Back Squat

2. The second reason: quadriceps activity. The front squat is a truly quad dominant exercise. When you back squat, the more acute hip angle created, due to the bar position relative to the center of gravity, causes you to use much more hamstring and glute activity at the bottom of the range of motion. We can in fact even get more work done with far less weight using a front squat. To solidify this notion just check out this study performed by a team at the University of Florida. The decreased resistance needed means there is much less compressive forces on the knees, minimizing the risk of cartilage, ligament and tendon injuries.
To further convince you that front squatting will build your quadriceps at a much higher rate, check out this article. You can see bye the EMG (Electromyography: a cool way to see electrical activity produced by skeletal muscle) data that the front squat produces higher muscle activation in the vastus lateralis and rectus femoris compared to the back squat, and there is little to no difference in muscle activation in the vastus medialis. These 3 muscles are the big 3 out of the 4 (this is what femoris stands for) that make up the quadriceps group of muscles.

quad muscle

3. The absolute best reason to use front squats over back squats, especially if you are just starting to squat in a new workout regimen: they are much safer! You cannot cheat; if you do so you drop the bar. The front squat essentially has a built in safety mechanism. This is why I love the front squat as an indicator of lower body strength over the back squat. You are forced to complete the exercise correctly, using your legs to keep the torso erect, not your lower back. Just to further drive the point home, this is a client I have worked with for 2 weeks. He didn’t do anything for a while prior to coming in to work with us, and this picture was taken the second time he front squatted in his program.

client front squat

The form is absolutely incredible for someone who is beginning a resistance training program for the first time. I can guarantee if I were to place the bar on his back he would come in the next day and we would be doing things to help loosen his lower back because it hurts so damn much.

So why doesn’t everyone use the front squat? You can’t lift as much weight, and it can be uncomfortable at first. Really? Uncomfortable? If you’re not willing to get out of your comfort zone to do things the right way go enroll in the golden oldies yoga class and water aerobics at your local YMCA. If you want to do things the correct way and push yourself to receive the best results, add the front squat to your workout and see your legs and midsection strengthen immediately. For any instructions on how to perform a front squat properly or for loading parameters hit me up on www.twitter.com/HL_Nick.

Getting over addiction, depression, illness, and financial ruin

Watch this guest spot on my network’s show “Over The Hump” where I give up the details on my past and getting over addiction, depression, illness, and financial ruin:

What's the Truth About Stretching?

Stretching is a highly controversial topic in exercise and fitness circles. Should one stretch at all? Could stretching be detrimental? Should stretching be done before or after exercise? In today’s guest post Halevy Life Training Manger Lauren Murphy answers these questions and more!

    Lauren Murphy, Training Manager at NYC Upper East Side Personal Trainign Gym Halevy Life, demystifies stretching and exercise.

Jeff Halevy’s top tips to getting trim & slim (New York Daily News)

From today’s print and online New York Daily News, my tips to getting trim & slim in 2013!

The New Halevy Life T-Shirt: The Ultimate Laid-Back Work(out) Attire!

Jeff Halevy Models the New Halevy Life T-Shirt

The New Halevy Life T-Shirt: The Ultimate Laid-Back Work(out) Attire!

The REAL Secret to Long, Lean Muscles [VIDEO]

Long Lean Muscles Dancer's BodyAdmit it; that’s exactly what you want: the body of dancer, with long, lean muscles. Here’s the secret (it’s not what you think!)

Get Lean with Luggage (ABC Segment with Jeff Halevy)

NEW YORK (WABC) — As people try to stay trim this holiday season, fitness expert Jeff Halevy joined us to show how to stay lean with luggage.

Halevy has joined Newark Mayor Cory Booker and First Lady Michelle Obama in the ‘Our Power’ and ‘Let’s Move’ campaigns.

Halevy created Our Power, a technology-based childhood obesity program, when he was chosen to join the First Lady’s childhood obesity campaign, by Mayor Booker, the campaign’s co-chair.

Our Power launched in Newark last year and is expanding nationally in fall 2013.

Halevy Life stayed open to the public despite being closed for business.

It was the first gym in Manhattan to offer up free showers and cell phone charging to those who lost power and hot water.

Jeff and his team are continuing to support Sandy Relief, by donating 100% of sales of the $89 SP personal training starter package (6 sessions) to Sandy Relief. They have raised nearly $5,000 already.

Six Free SP Personal Training Sessions at Halevy Life in Support of Sandy Relief Efforts

For the ENTIRE MONTH OF NOVEMBER, Halevy Life will be donating 100% of the proceeds from the sale of SP New Client Starter Packs (MSRP $89), which gets you SIX SP PERSONAL TRAINING SESSIONS to use over one month. (Scroll down now to sign up!)


Again, ALL  (a.k.a. 100%) of the $89 sale price will be donated to a variety of local and national nonprofits providing Sandy disaster relief.

Get in shape while you help those who have been devastated get their lives back in shape!

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