Training

How to be a good coaching client

May 19th, 2014 by Mistress Krista | Comments Off

How to be a good coaching client

So you’ve hired a trainer or a coach. Good for you! This is an important and useful first step in keeping yourself accountable, learning the basics of the lifts, and having a plan that’s tailored to your needs and goals. Now, don’t be an asshole and cock it up. You have to hold up your end of the bargain too. Here’s how.


How Much Weight Should You Lift?

November 26th, 2013 by Mistress Krista | Comments Off

How Much Weight Should You Lift?

Beginners often wonder: How much should I lift? How much CAN I lift? The answer is easy: Lift the right weight for YOU. Here’s how to figure it out.


Weight Training for Swimming

October 20th, 2013 by Mistress Krista | Comments Off

Weight Training for Swimming

Many swimmers don’t combine weight training with swimming. That’s a mistake. If you’re a swimmer, I highly recommend that you support your swimming with some strength and conditioning work. Here’s how.


Pulling Without Pullups? How To Train Your No-Tech Pull

December 31st, 2012 by Geoff Girvitz | Comments Off

Pulling Without Pullups? How To Train Your No-Tech Pull

Pulling is a primal movement pattern, and great for bodyweight-only exercises. But what if you don’t have a pullup bar, or aren’t strong enough (yet) to make pullups the cornerstone of your bodyweight routine? Enter the crawl. Drop and get under that barbed wire field, soldier!


Yoga for Fighters: Releasing the Psoas

September 4th, 2010 by Mistress Krista | 15 Comments

Yoga for Fighters: Releasing the Psoas

Most fighters end up with certain muscles totally overdeveloped. Because of the way grappling works, the psoas muscles get very, very tight. However, many non-grapplers also have a lot of psoas problems, simply from sitting all day. The psoas shortens and becomes tight. An overdeveloped, shortened psoas means less mobility, reduced speed, and greater risk of injury.


The Less Thinking, More Doing Program, The Sequel: Slightly More Thinking, Slightly More Doing

April 30th, 2010 by Geoff Girvitz | 43 Comments

The Less Thinking, More Doing Program, The Sequel: Slightly More Thinking, Slightly More Doing

The original LTMD Program provided an antidote for those of you paralyzed by too much information. Phase II helps keep you moving forward while you continue to learn.


The Less Thinking, More Doing Starter Program

July 11th, 2009 by Geoff Girvitz | 82 Comments

The Less Thinking, More Doing Starter Program

For those new to strength training, details can be a little overwhelming. After all, you might just want some simple advice on getting started. If so, this article is for you. This program starts you off with a few basic movements that are guaranteed to increase your overall strength and fitness if you’re a beginner.


Don’t fear the free weights!

December 31st, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 39 Comments

Don't fear the free weights!

Remember that one of the big lies in the gym was that women should stick to machines and stay away from free weights? Related to that is the lie that one should “start out” on machines and then “graduate” to free weights. Well, here’s why it ain’t so, as well as why free weights are often better for women.


Strength without size: How to get stronger without getting bulky

December 26th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 73 Comments

Strength without size: How to get stronger without getting bulky

Staying weak because of how it might make you look is the same as staying illiterate for fear of appearing nerdy. Women have somehow been sold a false bill of goods when it comes to working out. Here’s why flapping your arms around with purple dumbbells is not typically helpful.


Strength without size 2: The thickening

December 25th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 37 Comments

In the first part of this article, we discovered why lifting weights for strength is not going to turn you into a she-beast. In the second part, Geoff Girvitz gives you some concrete examples of how to put the theory of getting stronger into practice.


Training for young ‘uns

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 2 Comments

Training for young 'uns

Folks who have young daughters (or sons) interested in weight training worry about what they have heard about the ill effects of training too young: stunted growth, injury, impaired development, etc. However, an appropriately designed, monitored, and instructed weight training program is safe for kids.


The bone building workout

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 8 Comments

The bone building workout

As the population ages, osteoporosis, or brittle bone disease, is a growing concern. Though osteoporosis is not just a condition that affects older women, they are one of the groups most at risk for it. How to put together a fitness program that will give you bones of titanium!


Punching bag plyometrics

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 1 Comment

By guest author Big Lee.

This is a personal story of how I created a hybrid training protocol with punching bags to strengthen weak tendons.


Kardio Kween – Do you really need to sweat to the oldies?

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 25 Comments

Begone Jane Fonda! Pfuah on you, Kenneth Cooper! The truth about “cardio”, “aerobics”, and why you don’t have to hamster on a treadmill for eternity.


Fartlek – Swedish for “asswhuppin”

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 4 Comments


Hey, what’s so funny about the word “fartlek”? You kids just quit laughing. I said quit it!! Stop laughing right now or I’ll turn this car right around then you’ll all be sorry!!!


Clubbell training

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 4 Comments

The club is one of humanity’s earliest implements. As it so happens, the club can also make you strong like bool, and it’s fun to whip it around your head and pretend to be Red Sonja.

The clubbell: not just for Snake Whacking Day any more!


Boy butches up girl

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 4 Comments

I am always happy to hear that guys are encouraging their female acquaintances and partners to train with weights. Many women are introduced to weights by male partners and friends, and this introduction creates an ongoing interest. What if you’re a guy that’s interested in women’s training, and want to know how to do a good job? Here are some helpful tips along with dos and don’ts.


Basics of a routine

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 12 Comments

Well, now, you’re all excited and ready to go to the gym. But where do you start? There’s no point in stumbling around the gym with no particular plan in mind. If you don’t have a focus it’s easy to get bored and give up. The solution? A routine. Here’s how to put one together.


Sit yo ass down! The importance of rest

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 3 Comments

Contrary to what you might think, you don’t get stronger and fitter IN the gym, but OUTSIDE of it. The recovery, not the workout stimulus, is what makes the magic. Rest big to gain big.


Workout 6: All dumbbells! All the time!

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 38 Comments

Routine 1 is a good workout for folks who have minimal equipment, and/or who are just starting out with a basic dumbbell set.

Routine 2 combines dumbbell exercises with bodyweight exercises for some strength-endurance and conditioning benefits. Good if you play sports, and as part of a fat loss program. Not your Curves circuit training, baby!


Workout 5: Intermediate, 4-day split

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 5 Comments

Conventional body part split and less conventional push/pull-light/heavy split routines.


Workout 4: Intermediate, 3-day split

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 15 Comments

A standard body part/bodybuilding style 3-day split. Legs, push, pull.


Workout 3: Intermediate, 3-day full body

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 15 Comments

Full body, basic routines for strength and conditioning.


Workout 2: Beginner, upper/lower split

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 17 Comments

A 2-day upper body – lower body split for beginners or folks just looking for a very basic split routine.


Periodization: not just for menstrual cycles any more

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 5 Comments

You hear about how “low-rep sets” are better for goal X and “high-rep sets” are better for goal Y. What does that really mean? Here, an introduction to the concepts of intensity, volume, and planned variation — aka periodization.


Sport-specific training

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 4 Comments

We used to think that weight training would slow you down for other activities. We heard of mythical athletes who got “muscle-bound” after training and wound up with the agility of Jabba the Hutt. We know now that weight training is an excellent companion to just about any sport. It can help you be stronger, faster, leaner, more powerful, and even help you prevent and recover from injuries.

But how do you go about designing a weight training program for your chosen activity? Clearly a skier is going to have different needs than a rock climber. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to weight training. Here are some suggestions.


Workout 1: Beginner, full-body

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 22 Comments

Very basic intro routines with a full-body focus. Good for folks just starting out.


Krista’s Kompleat Kompendium of Workout Routines

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 4 Comments

I get lots of mail about what routines I recommend for people. It’s always a challenging question to answer, because there are as many possible routines as there are screaming prepubescent children outside a boy band concert.

Nevertheless I thought it might be helpful to compile some ideas for you.


Workout for the time poor

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 3 Comments

Workout for the time poor

Why “I don’t have time” is no longer an excuse. There are 168 hours in a week. I know you can find 3 or 4 to haul your ass off the couch.


No weights? No problem!

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 15 Comments

No weights? No problem!

So let’s say you live in Upper Armpit, South Dakota, or on top of a mountain in the Himalayas, and there are no gyms for 500 miles around. Or, let’s say you’re a complete cheapskate and don’t want to pay $50/month to the local chrome ‘n’ tone Fluffy Fitness. Or, let’s say that you’re agoraphobic and haven’t left your house in 13 years. Whatever the case, it is important to remember that you don’t need weights to get a good workout.


From Dork to Diva: Squat

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 49 Comments

The squat (sometimes referred to as the back squat) is one of the queens of exercises. It hits your entire body, particularly your legs, butt, hips, and lower back. Learn to do it well and your body will reward you with a fabulous (and strong) set of gams.


From Dork to Diva: Shoulder/overhead press

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 10 Comments

The shoulder press, aka the military press, is a great exercise for shoulders and triceps. You can also do this exercise seated, but I find I am able to keep my back in a much more natural position if I have the freedom of standing. Doing the press standing demands that your torso muscles (abs, […]


From Dork to Diva: Row

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 5 Comments

The row is a great compound back and biceps exercise. Use it as one of the foundational moves of your back workout. In this type of movement, the role of the back muscles is to retract, or pull back, the shoulder blades. The biceps help out by bending the elbow. If you want to focus […]


From Dork to Diva: Leg press

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 16 Comments

The leg press, as I am fond of telling you, is a poor substitute for squats. You cannot learn to do squats by doing the leg press, nor should you leg press till you get “strong enough to squat”. Heresy and foolishness! However, if there’s some reason you can’t squat (for example, some cyclists don’t […]


From Dork to Diva: Lat pulldown

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 11 Comments

The lat pulldown is a good beginner back exercise. It’s also a stepping stone to being able to do pullups, which should be your eventual goal. The “lat” part in the name refers to the latissimus dorsi, which are the big triangular muscles of your back that sweep along both sides of your ribcage.


From Dork to Diva: Hamstring curls

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 4 Comments

Hamstrings are the muscles at the back of the thigh. They have two main functions: to straighten (extend) the hip, and to bend (flex) the knee. Squatting-type movements (such as squats and deadlifts) as well as hip extension movements such as stiff-legged deadlifts and good mornings will address the hip extension component of the hamstrings. […]


From Dork to Diva: Good mornings and back hyperextensions

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 3 Comments

A strong lower back is essential to stabilize the torso and to prevent injury. Many people find that when they add extra lower back work to their workouts, their squats and deadlifts improve. In addition, a strong lower back is a healthy and pain-free lower back, which is important for desk job monkeys like me, as well as anyone who includes bending, reaching, and picking things up as part of their daily routine (mothers of small children, that’s probably you).


From Dork to Diva: Deadlift and stiff-legged deadlift

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 30 Comments

The deadlift is one of the best exercises (second only to squats and the Olympic lifts) for overall development, particularly in the lower body. In addition, it’s a very functional lift. We often squat down to pick something up: groceries, a laundry basket, a child, the ratty couch that your deadbeat friend is making you move again, some guy with a gambling problem that your boss asked you to whack, etc. The deadlift, more than most other lifts, prepares you for “real life”. The premise of the deadlift is simply squatting down to pick something (a “dead weight”) off the floor.


From Dork to Diva: Biceps curl

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 3 Comments

Biceps curls, and biceps exercises in general, are highly overrated and overused. But what the hell, we all love to flex and make that little baby pop out.


From Dork to Diva: Bench press

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 3 Comments

The bench press is usually the gold standard of bragging rights, which is ridiculous because first, it’s often done wrong, and second, it can’t hold a candle to squats for difficulty. Still, you hear lots of gym goofballs yabbering about how much they can bench. Like most gym boasts, very few can back it up with good solid form.


Worship at the altar of the goddess of form

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 6 Comments

Prostrate yourself before the bitch goddess, FORM. For those who anger her meet her wrath.

Good form is called good form for a reason—it’s the best way to do an exercise (I know you’re thinking, “Well DUH”, but this really doesn’t seem to be obvious to many people). It’s the most efficient and effective way for your body to execute a certain movement so that it is challenging yet safe.


What the…? Cool exercises you’ve probably never seen before

July 17th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 7 Comments

What the...? Cool exercises you've probably never seen before

After being immersed in weight training for so long, it’s rare that I see a new, interesting exercise. However, a new exercise is often a great way to alleviate workout boredom. Interestingly, many of the “new” exercises I discover are in fact quite old ones that were part of the physical culture of previous generations, and were forgotten with the advent of “modern” training methods. With the resurgence of interest in older, pre-steroid era training methods, these exercises are reappearing. Many of these exercises are excellent, functional exercises with various applications to sport. I’ve also included one that I came up with on my own. These probably already existed in some form or another, so I don’t flatter myself that I’m the Leonardo da Vinci of training or nuthin. If you’re looking for some novelty and a new challenge, give these a try.


Powerlifting: the basics

June 25th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 3 Comments

Maryssa, reigning champion of the 25-lb bodyweight class, demonstrates correct use of alternating grip in the deadlift.


Kettlebell training: an introduction

June 25th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 5 Comments

by Lauren Brooks, RKC

Come on ladies! Are you sick of watching men do pull-ups and you can’t even do one? I know I was! As a fitness coach I stay current with the latest developments. I am always looking for workouts to stay in shape that are not only effective, but also fun. Since most of my clients are more concerned with having a lean physique than with developing real strength, it’s been a challenge to convince them that training for strength is an excellent way to become leaner.


Mistressing the pushup

June 25th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 1 Comment

Come on, admit it, we all envied Demi Moore after that pushup footage in GI Jane. A one-arm pushup is a neat party trick, it looks cool and butch, and pushups in general have a wonderfully basic military flavour to them.


Mistressing the pullup

June 25th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 35 Comments

Pullups are a cool exercise. They look tuff, they feel butch, they’re low-tech, and they are one of the best exercises for all-round upper body strength.
Pullups are also darn hard for the average woman to do. Most untrained females who are older than 10 and heavier than 50 lbs can’t do them. The good news, though, is that most trained women CAN do them. It just takes practice, patience, and time. So, if you’ve always wanted to do a pullup, or you have to do a few to pass a military or police fitness test, this article is for you!


Lurn to squat good – E-ZY!

June 24th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 35 Comments

Few movements are as fundamental to life and sport as the squat. Sadly, few movements are as badly mangled in the average gym as the squat. No worries — this little progression will get your butt kissing the floor in no time!


Learning the squat 4: Tips, tricks and troubleshooting

June 24th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 15 Comments

Few people can knock off a perfect squat on the first try, or even the first several tries. Learning the basics of a squat is relatively simple, but perfecting the technique takes time and practice.


Learning the squat 3: How to squat

June 24th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 5 Comments

All right! Now we get to the fun part! Time to learn the Queen of Exercises, the squat (although maybe the Olympic lifts should be the Queen of Exercises, and the squat should be the Princess of Exercises, but not like a Lady Di sort of princess with all the bulimia and stuff; perhaps republicans would prefer the Prime Minister of Exercises or at the very least Minister of Finance since everyone knows the bean counters run the show anyway, but I digress).


Learning the squat 2: Why squat?

June 24th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 2 Comments

In Part 1, I discussed the myth that people shouldn’t learn to squat because they don’t need to, or that machine leg exercises are a good enough substitute. Sure, machines can come in handy and they have their place, especially in rehab. But the skills gained from squatting cannot be matched by a machine. In this section, I’m going to discuss what the squat actually does for you.


Learning the squat 1: Debunking the myths

June 24th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 13 Comments

The squat is, perhaps, the single best exercise for leg strength and development.
Problem is, the squat is often taught incorrectly, and it’s stigmatized as difficult and dangerous. People warn that it is bad for your knees and back, inappropriate for beginners (or anyone not a male collegiate athlete), too hard to learn, blah blah the sky is falling, etc. So, let’s go through all the scary things we’ve heard about squatting, to debunk them one by one.


Core training for martial arts

June 24th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 3 Comments

A strong midsection is essential to your game. A marvel of engineering, the torso manages to twist, lean, give power to a punch, stay upright, even support an opponent’s weight, and keep you breathing throughout, all with only one supporting “tent pole”: the spine. Much of the torso isn’t bone; it’s gooshy stuff and 26 feet’s worth of last night’s dinner. So where’s the magic? It’s in the coordinated effort of the midsection muscles: abs, obliques, low back, deep torso muscles along with the diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles.


A beginner’s guide to the Olympic lifts

June 24th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 4 Comments

By guest author Ron Dykstra

After reading many, many years worth of borderline worthless magazine information, much of it written by ghostwriters and not athletes, I was burned out on this style of “training”. High volume moderate weight training using multiple techniques to extend sets performed twice a day just did not work for me. I guess I wasn’t taking enough “Get Swole” or whatever magic bullet the magazines were shilling for. My training goals were not realized, but I stubbornly continued to lift, and one day I met a tribe of lifters that were not pumpers, posers, or complete narcissists: Enter the weightlifter.


Your guide to gym gear

June 24th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 8 Comments

Gym toys are kind of addictive. You buy one thingamajig, and then before you know it, your gym bag looks like one of those carfuls of clowns with stuff popping out everywhere. Now, you don’t technically need any of these odds ‘n’ sods, but in a consumerist society, the small matter of actual need doesn’t trouble most folks. Here’s a handy guide to gym gear.


The basics of a home gym

June 24th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 13 Comments

The basics of a home gym

I get a lot of mail from people who want to work out at home and would like equipment recommendations. Usually people are looking for some kind of fancy contraption that they saw on an infomercial, something with rods and elastics and flashy lights and slidey things and godknowswhat but it’ll give them a body like the perfectly tanned and dessicated plastic infomercial fitness person and it’ll fit under the bed and it’s only 50 eeezy monthly payments of $49.99.

Well, MY home gym will cost you maybe TWO monthly payments of $49.99, and you can do just about everything you need with it. In this article, I’ll explain how to set up a basic, starter home gym that is cheap, versatile, and kicks the ass of any machine on the market.


Product review: the kettlestack

June 24th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 6 Comments

The Kettlestack combines the concept of a kettlebell with the plate-loaded element of bars or dumbbells. This enables the user to adjust the weight used for kettlebell exercises.


How to build your own lifting platform

June 24th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 4 Comments

How to build your own lifting platform

Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a bit of space in a basement, or a garage, and perhaps you think that you’d like to fill this space with some lovely plates and barbells instead of some icky furniture or a washing machine. What better way to spend an afternoon than building your own lifting platform!?


How to gain mass

June 21st, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 3 Comments

It’s not a question I encounter as frequently as “how to lose bodyfat?” but there are lots of women out there who do want to be bigger, heavier, and/or more muscular. It’s a refreshing change to answer this question, frankly. The challenge, as many skinny folks have discovered, is how to do it healthily.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on the site, it’s counterproductive to try to lose fat at the same time you try to gain mass. It’s like trying to build a house while someone keeps taking the bricks away. Pick one goal and eat and train accordingly.


Abdominal training

June 8th, 2008 by Mistress Krista | 13 Comments

Abdominal training

How to really get abs of steel: throw some weight on those crunches, and include Table Push-Aways and Fork Put-Downs in your routine.



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