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Thursday, November 30, 2017

4 Training Techniques For Muscle Fullness & Roundness

I'm sure you've noticed how some guys seem to have muscles that are so full and round that they seem to jump right off their bones, while we mortals have muscles that are visually less voluminous, maybe even flat.

Well, this article is for those of us in the latter group who could use a boost in muscle fullness.

Although we may never be able to match the genetically gifted freaks of fullness like current Mr. Olympia Phil Heath or former almost-Mr.-Olympia Flex Wheeler, we can all significantly, even dramatically, increase the fullness of our muscle bellies by using one or more of the following strategies.






1. Increase Time Under Tension

Time under tension (TUT) is about the amount of time the working muscle is under tension, as in contracting, during a given set.

Whether it’s concentric, eccentric, or isometric, muscle contraction increases the tension within a muscle. For purposes of filling out flat muscles, it’s the effects of a longer TUT, specifically the effect of blood vessel occlusion.

When a muscle is contracting, the blood vessels within it are squashed to the point of being occluded, dramatically reducing blood flow to that muscle.

The longer the muscle is contracting, the longer the blood flow is stopped. Your heart is still pumping blood during your set, so this occlusion results in more blood volume building up on the upstream side of the working muscle.

When your set is completed and the muscle relaxes, blood rushes into the muscle.

The longer the blood is occluded, the higher the volume of blood suddenly surging into the muscle. To literally feel this at work, do push-ups for five seconds and note the pump you get after. Now rest a couple minutes and then do push-ups for 30 seconds, again noting the subsequent influx of blood.

Whether you call it hyperaemic super-compensation or a pump, this sudden surge of blood flow and increased blood volume increases the pressure within the muscle. However, what we’re after is the increase in outward pressure, this increase in blood volume places on the tough, dense, fascia that surrounds the muscle.

Fascia isn’t easy to stretch, but over time it does respond to pressure by expanding and subsequently causing an increase in the volume and visual fullness of the muscle it surrounds.

Increasing TUT does, in fact, lead to an increase in muscle fullness. It takes time, no doubt, but it does occur. Using more resistance and a higher rep speed is advantageous in terms of motor unit recruitment (a.k.a. recruiting more muscle fibres).

Instead of prolonging TUT by doing reps more slowly with a lighter weight, it’s better to still move the weight quickly (at least concentrically) and to only lighten the weight as much as is needed to increase the TUT to around 45 seconds or so.

If a set takes less than 30 seconds, it’s not going to be optimal in terms of increasing intramuscular pressure. But, going longer than 60 seconds isn’t generally optimal either, because it requires using a weight that is too light. Performing a TUT of about 45 seconds is the target.

2 – Do More Volume

Our body is an amazingly adaptive biological 'machine' of sorts. It does its best to respond to everything we throw at it by adapting and coming back even more ready to tackle that particular task. Doing a high volume training session is no exception.

By volume we're talking the combination of sets and reps. In essence, it's the overall amount of work a muscle does during a workout. More work means more energy is needed to fuel that work. When we're talking fuel for muscle contraction, we're talking muscle glycogen...the stored carbs within a muscle.

Let's say you're going to apply the above fascial expansion rule-of-thumb and do sets of, for example, twelve reps during your chest workout. Doing 10 sets of 12 reps uses far more pectoral glycogen than does doing just two sets of 12. (Keep in mind that glycogen comes from the muscle being worked.)

A neat thing happens when we do a training session with enough volume to deplete muscle glycogen within a muscle. The body responds by trying to store more muscle glycogen in that muscle so that you're better able to handle the same workout the next time around.

The short-term increase in muscle glycogen is called glycogen supercompensation. This results in your muscles temporarily being able to store more glycogen than they could normally hold – say 120% vs. the normal 100%.

In the long run your body is still working to gradually build the capacity to store more glycogen, and it will if you keep taxing glycogen stores. So this increase in muscle glycogen is both a short-term and long-term strategy.

Although we're not arbitrarily concerned about more intramuscular glycogen storage, we are concerned about muscle fullness. And a muscle that stores more glycogen is a rounder, fuller, muscle.


3 – Optimize Rest Periods

Similar to the first strategy, optimizing rest periods between sets relates to maximizing blood volume and pressure within the muscle.

Imagine doing a killer set that really has you pumped to the max, feeling like your skin is going to tear at any moment. Now let's say you decide to rest 3 minutes in order for your body to remove lactic acid, buffer hydrogen ions, and replenish creatine phosphate (CP) stores as much as possible. In terms of performance on the upcoming set, this is a great idea.

But in terms of sustaining the increase in intramuscular blood volume, resting 3 minutes is not a good idea. You can probably feel your imaginary pump fading just thinking about resting 3 minutes.

Remember, fascia is a tough, dense type of tissue. It doesn't just expand because a little pressure is put on it for a few moments. Instead, it takes copious amounts of sustained pressure to eventually get it to expand.

So in order to maximize fascial expansion and muscle fullness, once you've got a muscle full of blood, you wanna keep it full of blood for as long as possible. Doing so provides more of a stimulus for fascial expansion.

As with every technique, there are pros and cons. If you resume your next set too soon, your performance on the following set will suffer. As mentioned above, it does take time to clear waste products and replenish CP stores, both of which are important if you plan to get a decent number of reps on the following set.

On the other hand, rest too long and you're going to release the outward pressure on the fascia.

This is certainly a time when paying close attention to your body will come in handy. By paying close attention to the tightness and fullness after a set and, especially, when that fullness begins to dissipate, you can finely tune your rest periods to optimize fascial stretch.

Also take note – as in literally in a notebook/training log – of your performance on the next set. If you get 15 reps on set one but only six reps on set two, then you didn't rest long enough.

If you combine your attentiveness to the dissipation of intramuscular pressure with your performance on subsequent sets, you can finely tune your rest periods for fascial expansion better than I could prescribe a specific rest interval.

With that being said, if you're like me and sometimes just wanna stick to a given rest period without occupying your mind with such details, then go with a rest period of about 45 seconds. Thirty to sixty seconds is a good range to stay within. Generally err toward the lower side on less taxing things like biceps curls, and toward the longer end on more taxing movements like squats...that is if you're ever feeling froggy enough to try squats with just 60 seconds of rest.



4. More Volume

By volume it’s the combination of sets and reps. In essence, it’s the overall amount of work a muscle does during a workout. More work means more energy is needed for that work. This is about muscle glycogen, the stored carbs within a muscle.

Let’s say you’re going to apply the above expansion and do sets of, for example, twelve reps during your chest workout. Doing 10 sets of 12 reps uses far more pectoral glycogen than does doing just two sets of 12. (Glycogen comes from the muscle being worked.)

When we do a training session with enough volume to deplete muscle glycogen within a muscle. The body responds by trying to store more muscle glycogen in that muscle so that you’re better able to handle the same workout the next time around.

The short-term increase in muscle glycogen is called glycogen super-compensation. This results in your muscles temporarily being able to store more glycogen than they could normally hold.

In the long run your body is still working to gradually build the capacity to store more glycogen and it will if you keep taxing glycogen stores. So this increase in muscle glycogen is both a short-term and long-term strategy.

Although we’re not arbitrarily concerned about more intramuscular glycogen storage, we are concerned about muscle fullness. A muscle that stores more glycogen is a rounder, fuller, muscle.

As with any training adaptation, this isn’t something you’ll necessarily see after a high volume workout, but it is something you’ll notice over time.

If you’ve already been using a relatively high volume of training, then you’re not growing experience, if any, adaptation, simply because you’ve already been doing it. The same applies to increasing TUT.

The other reason you may not see and experience the muscle fullness that you should isn’t training related, it’s diet related. If you don’t consume enough carbs, especially in the post-workout window of increased sensitivity to glycogen storage, then your body simply doesn’t have the fuel with which to fill your muscles up with glycogen.

Glycogen is simply stored carbs, not stored protein or fat. You have got to put ample carbs in your body to fully replenish muscle glycogen stores.

It’s worth pointing out that, if you’re chronically storing more glycogen within the muscle, the surrounding fascia is also receiving the pressure to stretch.

But you must keep in mind that volume and intensity simply must be inversely proportional to allow for complete muscular and nervous system recuperation. So, avoid the temptation to take every set of a high volume program to failure.
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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Lat Pulldown Exercise: A Back Sculpter

Lat Pulldown

The Lat Pulldown is a core mechanic of most back and lat workouts. Try not to cheat by using your body weight to aid you in lifting the weight down. Instead, try to focus on squeezing your lat muscles, and drawing your power from your entire back region. Alternative grips such as, narrow grip and underhand grip, are possible, start with a slightly wider than shoulder width stance when starting out.





Here are 5 lat pull down variations:

1. Wide-Grip Lat Pull-Down

If your main objective is to increase your back’s width, go for wide grip lat pull downs. They better stimulate the teres major and upper lat fibres, in addition to working the biceps, forearms, triceps, rotator cuff muscles and posterior deltoids. Still, avoid taking an excessively wide grip as this will reduce the range of motion and increase susceptibility to injury. One of the greatest benefits of this variation is increased pull up strength. Make sure to squeeze and retract your shoulder blades for maximum muscle activation, and avoid relying on momentum to do your muscle’s work.

2. Behind-the-Neck Lat Pull-Down

This variant may place undue stress on the shoulders in people with an inflexible shoulder girdle, for many others it can be the best back builder in their routine. The range of motion will allow for a stronger overall contraction and lead to bigger gains, as long as you keep your form in check and start with a lighter weight. If you don’t have shoulder mobility issues and you’re looking for the lat pull down that will give you the most for your back.

3. V-Bar Pull-Down

The V-bar pull down will help you emphasise the centre of your back, while still working your lats. Training these muscles will provide support for core movements and improve your stability and performance in all athletic pursuits. With a secure grip on the V-bar attachment, slowly pull the weight straight down until it’s about even with the middle of your chest, focusing on the contraction of the back muscles. Lean back a bit more than usual to better engage the lats and complete the full range of motion. Also, strive to achieve a full stretch at the top of the movement.

4. Reverse Close-Grip Lat Pull-Down

This variant is best for building thick, full lower lats that go all the way down to the waist. Take a close grip, underhand grip on a lat bar attached to the high pulley of a lat pull down station and keep your chest up and lower back arched as you pull the bar down to your chest. Keep in mind that the closer your hands, the more you will involve the muscles in the centre of your back.

Reverse grip pull downs stimulate the development of the lats by improving the range of movement in the shoulder joints and scapula, while also increasing shoulder stability by engaging the traps and biceps.

5. Single-Arm Lat Pull-Down

Unilateral exercises are tough to beat when it comes to improving mind muscle connection and maximising contraction. Add a few lighter sets of single arm lat pull downs at the end of your workout. Perform every rep in a slow and controlled motion and hold the bottom position for a few moments before returning back to the top. As you pull the handle down, squeeze your elbows to your side as you flex it. Avoid completely returning the weight in order to keep tension in the working muscles.
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Back and Biceps workout

Despite the growth of exercise styles like CrossFit, circuit training, and group training, split routines will never go out of style. Why? Because they get results.





Most back exercises require you to pull the weight you're lifting towards your body. Doing so incorporates your biceps. This makes it very common for weightlifters to exercise their back and biceps on the same day. If you want to begin a back and biceps workout, plan to perform this workout once per week. This allows time for your back and bicep muscles recuperate properly and grow back bigger and stronger.

The Back and Biceps workout :

Biceps

Barbell Biceps Curl – 4 x 8-12

Incline Dumbbell Biceps Curl – 4 x 8-12

Cross-Body Hammer Curls – 4 x 12

Back

Underhand-Grip Barbell Rows – 4 x 8-12

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldowns – 4 x 8-12

Pull-Ups – 4 x 8-10

Back Extension – 4 x 12

Some notes:

Before starting the biceps curls do a couple of warm-up sets, without going to failure. When doing the pull-ups perform the eccentric(negative) part of the movement slowly, going for 4 to 5 seconds on each rep until you reach full extension at the bottom. You can even use and assisted pull-up machine if you are having trouble finishing all the reps.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Benefits Of Bodybuilding

Bodybuilding supplements are popular formulations when it comes to fitness and health. They are mainly made up of ingredients that will not just help in improving your performance but even the body composition. There are in fact a lot of benefits that can be enjoyed with bodybuilding supplements.




Bodybuilding supplements advantages and features

Depending on the way you use such supplements, bodybuilding products can help to lose or gain weight. You can prepare some supplements through mixing them with water. Generally, drinking the mixture before eating your meals will help to lose weight as it has the fat burning mechanism. On the other side, drinking concoction after the meals will let you gain weight through storing and utilizing the carbs from the food you eat.

Further, these bodybuilding supplements help in faster muscle recovery. This is vital because after each workout session, the muscles acquire microtears from lifting the weights. Thus the supplements address presence of these microtears directly through mending the regions with the help of natural healing system of the body.

How to use bodybuilding supplements?

When using such supplements, you have to follow some guidelines otherwise they may cause severe reactions that can in turn lead to many health issues. Gastric problems and diarrhea are some problems that are linked with overdosing of the supplements such as nitrogen oxide and creatine. The supplements thus need to be consumed in a proper way. Taking too much of the dosage than prescribed will not help to improve your body and may instead delay your muscle growth. The present market is just swarming with many bodybuilding supplements that contain whey proteins, creatine, glutamine, fish oil, thermogenics and nitrogen oxide.

More benefits of bodybuilding supplements

Bodybuilding supplements further help to improve the brain function. Apart from giving you the feeling of improved mental alertness all through the day, the natural ingredients of these products can help a lot to reduce presence of mental exhaustion or fatigue. In long run, such effects can keep one going not just during workouts but even during resting time.

So, if you are new to the world of bodybuilding, the very first thing that you need is protein. The foremost step to take towards building great muscles is high quality protein. The whey protein is just perfect for taking within half an hour after the workout as it absorbs fast in the muscles. But if you wish to have slow absorbing protein, you should think of casein and this is more apt to be taken before bed because it absorbs slowly. Thus, whether you are looking forward to be a professional bodybuilder or have muscles just to impress others, protein supplements can be the solution.

The additional part of your bodybuilding regime is glutamine. If you are thinking of having a quality bodybuilding supplement that can offer you great results, then trying glutamine products can be of much use. Glutamine helps to improve the overall wellbeing and benefits your health in many ways. It further helps in muscle development and stops the body from actually breaking down the muscle tissues.

So, if bodybuilding is your aim, try the natural and reliable bodybuilding supplements along with proper diet and regular workout.

 Bodybuilding Muscle Growth Tips

Many medical professionals have agreed that the core of good health lies in one’s ability to combine a healthy diet with a positive exercise program; however, individuals who are unable to do this (and do not possess the correct genes) may look to use health supplements.  This being the case, it then makes sense for those who are looking to tone and shape their bodies to utilize body building supplements as a means of growing muscle mass and increasing body strength.

The greatest benefit bodybuilding supplements offer is that they not only increase muscle mass, but also provide nutrients to the body.  The supplements contain all nutrients required by the body to enhance an individual’s ability to perform optimally as an athlete.  By ingesting a tablet or drinking a protein drink, the individual will receive an instant delivery of the nutrient to the muscles and tissues optimizing physical strength and muscle growth during workouts.  It should also be noted that this instant delivery of nutrients benefits muscle tissue throughout the body increasing body tone as well as body strength.
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

6 Kettlebell Exercises To Burn Fat & Get Ripped


5 killer exercises to get your heart rate racing and your body pumping to burn fat, get fit and look ripped! If you want this HIIT (high intensity interval training) routine to work, you need to be willing to push yourself – resting and catching your breath after each individual exercise will make you feel better and make the routine seem easier, but you won’t benefit in the long run.





What you’ll need to complete this HIIT circuit –

A kettle bell (16kg or 20kg)
Some room
A stop watch or timer
Ideally you need to do each individual exercise for 30 seconds, but if you can handle it, set the time to 60 seconds per exercise – it’ll be worth it!

1 -Kettle Bell Swings

Select a kettle bell at a comfortable weight. The weight should be a challenge as anything too easy will not push you enough during the routine. For example; I am 5ft 9in tall, weigh 75kg and use a 20kg kettle bell.

HOW TO DO IT:

Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder width apart with the kettle bell resting on the floor, between your legs.
Keeping your back straight, bend at the knee and take hold of the kettle bell.
Swing the kettle bell forward until it is at eye level.
Remember to keep you arms straight.
Keep your back in a straight position – you shouldn’t bend / lean forward.
Thrust your hips forward and extend from the knee.
When in the upright position you are half way through the movement.
As the the kettle bell swings back, remember to reverse all the previous steps without the bell touching the floor.
When the kettle bell is between your legs again but not resting on the floor, repeat from step 3.

 2 -Kettlebell Deadlift

The deadlift adds muscle to your hips, hamstrings, glutes, and back. It also ingrains a good hip-hinge—the process of bending forward at your hips while keeping your lower-back flat and bending your knees slightly—necessary in almost every kettlebell move.

HOW TO DO IT:

Stand shoulder-width apart with the kettlebell between your legs and the handle inline with the bony part of your ankles. Bend from hips and grab the kettlebell with both hands. Before you lift, your shins should be vertical, your back should be almost parallel with the ground, and your lower back should be flat.

Squeeze the handle hard, pull your shoulders backward, and crush your armpits. Lift the kettlebell by pushing through the ground, not by pulling up. Stand tall and squeeze your glutes at the top. On the way down, place the kettlebell at the same exact spot you lifted it from.

 3 -Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing is a fantastic exercise to strengthen your body and burn a ton of fat. It develops tremendous power in your hamstrings, glutes, and core, which will improve your other lifts like the squat and deadlift. It also crushes your lungs and blasts your metabolism because it repeats so quickly.

Adding the swing to your workout will absolutely improve your athleticism. It is, however, one of the most butchered exercises on Earth. Start with the kettlebell deadlift first—it will build a great foundation and teach good technique.

HOW TO DO IT:

Start in a deadlift position with the kettlebell a few feet in front of you. Then, hike the kettlebell back between your legs like a center in football and explosively drive your hips forward. Imagine propelling the kettlebell to a target in front of you.

Here are the two most common problems you’ll encounter:

1. “Squatting” the kettlebell swing. At the bottom of the swing, your torso is too upright and your knees are too far forward: it looks like a squat. This happens because you haven’t mastered the deadlift yet.

Work on your kettlebell deadlift and then retry the swing. Only bend your knees slightly.

2. Too much arms. Your arms should feel like noodles because it’s the hips that propel the movement. Instead, use a towel swing: wrap a towel around the kettlebell handle and grab the ends of the towel. Then, swing the kettlebell.

With a correct swing, the kettlebell should reach around the height of your belly button or chest, no higher.


4 - Kettlebell Lunge with Bicep Curl

This will engage you core and work on your balance as well as leg and arm strength.

HOW TO DO IT:

Hold the kettle bell in your right hand.
Lunge forward with your right leg until your knee is bent at almost 45 degrees.
Once in the lunge position, do one full bicep curl.
After the bicep curl, bring yourself back to the initial standing position.
This is one repetition – continue this full movement until the time is up.
Once the timer has elapsed, change sides and go again working on the opposite arm and leg.
Remember to always keep your back straight and to not bend or arch your back.



5 -Kettlebell Single-Arm Clean & Press

Again, working on your balance by engaging your core, this exercise is primarily about shoulder strength.


 HOW TO DO IT:
 
Starting with the kettle bell on the floor, on the inside of your right leg.
Stand with your feet approx. shoulders width apart.
Bend at the knee and in a clean motion, bring the kettle up to you shoulder.
The final part of the exercise is to press the kettle bell above your head.
The aim is to complete part 1 and part 2 seamlessly.
Once you’ve completed the right side for the selected 30 or 60 seconds, swap side and start again.
You should always keep your back straight as before to prevent and straining or injury.


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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

5 Back Training Myths You Probably Believe : what it takes to build a back that makes people say “wow.”

My lats in particular need a bit more work but I think you’ll agree they–and my back overall–are no longer a glaring weakness.

So, in this article, I want to to talk all about what it takes to build a back that makes people say “wow.”




Like most major muscle groups, it takes a lot of work to really make your back stand out. A lot more than the pullups and high-rep dumbbell rows that I used to do–that’s for damn sure.

Fortunately, though, it’s not complicated once you know what you’re doing. And I’m going to break it all down here for you–the best back exercises, how I like to program workouts, how supplementation fits into the picture, and more.

The bottom line is if you follow my advice and eat properly, your back will get bigger and stronger.

The Dumbbell Row is a Good Lat Builder

Don't get me wrong. Rowing movements will hit the muscles of the upper back surrounding the scapulae, but you'll get more bang for your buck by using other rowing exercises instead of the one-arm row. This is because of the body's position relative to the dumbbell.

However, if you're going to do dumbbell rows, you can easily optimize the movement pattern to better hit the lats. Use more of an arcing motion that "drags" the weight towards the hip and it'll hit the lats hard. It doesn't take a 160-pound dumbbell and a contortionist twist at the torso to make an exercise like this do its job.

If You’re Pulling, You’re Training Your Back

It’s rare to see a lifter properly initiate a pull by first retracting his scapulae. Many lifters may understand this concept, but still not properly put it into practice. If this is done, most upper back-dominant movements won’t need a lot of weight to elicit a good stimulation and hit a target rep range.

Furthermore, compensatory motions, like the classic torso “jerk” pattern people use to bring the arms towards the body, usually negate any back involvement whatsoever. When we take out excessive body English, momentum, and ego from the picture, it’s worth asking if it’s even possible for 90% of lifters to get a properly isolated back pump when using heavy resistance on the lat pulldown or seated row for reps.

Even those who know how to retract the scapulae first often make the mistake of setting the shoulders “once and for all.” In other words, they keep them depressed and retracted for the entire duration of the set. That’s a recipe for technical disaster. Having good control of the shoulder blades means both making them stay put and allowing them to move. That translates to setting them and then releasing them.

The benefit of “releasing” the shoulder blades between reps is simple: You’re no longer holding an isometric and you give your body the opportunity to reset into a stronger position and allow for greater circulation to the muscles in the process.

If you’re not good at doing this, a smarter alternative would be to break things down to their derivatives. Powerlifters who are weak at their lockout practice lockouts. Take a page out of their book by practicing scapular initiations from various angles.

The Lats Are the “Wings” Outside the Shoulder Blades

I’m tired of hearing people complain of sore lats after a back workout while pointing to the area beside their armpit. It’s a common anatomical misconception that the lats only create width. Not so. They actually go right down to the lumbar region and are also instrumental in developing thickness.

Guys who struggle to develop size will get a lot further by realizing this and tapping into deeper, lower-lat tissue to help increase front-to-back trunk volume. When most people think “lats,” they think pulldowns or chins. But if you’re using poor form, there’s a good chance neither of those exercises will do the job, especially when you consider the force angles needed to zero in on the lat fibers.



Deadlift

The deadlift is at the core of any great weightlifting program.

My back sucked in both strength and size until I started really working on my deadlift and I’ve never looked back.

Many people are afraid of this lift because they think it’s inherently bad for your lower back or dangerous.

At first glance, this fear would seem to make sense: lifting hundreds of pounds off the ground—putting all that pressure on your back, particularly your low-back and erector spinae muscles—would be a recipe for thoracic and lumbar disaster, right?

Well, research shows otherwise.

In fact, when performed with good form, the deadlift is actually a fantastic way to build lower back strength and prevent injury.

That said, if you have sustained a lower back injury in the past or have a disease or dysfunction affecting the area, you may not want to deadlift. Unfortunately, I have to recommend that you consult with a sports doctor to see if it will or won’t work for you.

The Dumbbell Pullover is a Good Lat Exercise

The dumbbell pullover has been an old-school bodybuilding staple for ages. For the record, I’m not bashing the exercise itself – rather the implement being used. Many use pullovers, in part, to train the lats. But the force angle used in a dumbbell pullover will only hit the top half of the lats, and only through about 40% of the movement, at most.

Once the weight passes eye level and approaches the chest and abs, gravity takes over and the shoulders, chest, and triceps begin to bear the load. And that’s without considering that it’s pretty hard to make the back contract and lock/unlock the shoulder blades while you’re lying directly on them.

To make the best of a bad situation, set up an overhead cable pulley and a dual-handled rope (or bar if that’s all you have) in front of a bench. Lie across the bench as you would in a conventional pullover, only grab the ropes instead of a dumbbell.

Since the resistance will now pull your arms overhead towards the cable pulley (and not down towards the floor), you can use your lats to contract directly against the resistance for a much greater percentage of the movement pattern. Problem solved. For best results, use a decline bench.
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Monday, July 3, 2017

6 Mistakes Beginners Make With the Bench Press

These are my personal observations of the biggest mistakes being made when bench pressing for strength.

This is just a short article on common mistakes beginners (and sometimes more experienced lifters) make with the bench press. The bench press probably the most popular chest exercise and for a good reason, but you should make sure you get it right. Avoid these mistakes and you will see your strength get a nice boost.




1. Not keeping the feet planted on the ground 


 Your feet should be planted firmly on the floor. Flat. Not just lightly planted but driven into the ground like they’re drill bits. Push your feet into the ground hard, especially when lifting the bar up.

2. Grip not tight enough

A second thing to observe is that the barbell often has too much leeway in the palm which leads to instabilities during the lift. The tighter the grip the more control you will have over the bar path and force development throughout the upwards motion.

Ideally, the barbell rests on your palm while your wrists are straight to provide the most stability. A good technique to ensure a tight grip is white knuckling. After you have wrapped your fingers and thumbs around the weight as described in the chapter before, squeeze the bar until your knuckles turn white. You are aiming to make the iron submit not to you not you submit to the iron. Beginners focus too much on moving the bar at all rather than paying attention to the setup before the bar even leaves the racking position. So get in position, press until knuckles are white and unrack the bar for further proceedings.

3. Not building an arch

Arching when doing a bench press is highly debated in terms of health. Some say it has no impact in your vertebrae, some say do. This is a different discussion to be had, but if you want to build a big bench press, you have to know how to build a stable arch to make the most out of the lift.

Most beginners lay flat out on the bench with their lower back fully touching the bench while performing the bench press. This is also OK and will lead to losing out about 10kg – 15kg on the bar from my personal experience.

As long as your tiny ass and shoulders are still touching the bench while pressing, you are within allowed territory for most powerlifting competitions in the world. Therefore building an arch with your back to create maximum force is desirable when you optimise the bench press for strength.

You achieve this by walking your legs in as close as possible to your head while still touching the bench. Most beginners have their feet far out front the power rack. You want your feet to be as closely in as you can possibly manage without snapping your spine. If you want to see some examples for setup Check out my YouTube channel Marathon-Crossfit. 

Thinking of the exercise as lifting the bar up – Yeah, I know you’re supposed to be lifting the bar but you should think of it as you trying to push yourself away from the bar rather than thinking of it as you lifting the bar up. This visualisation technique is a much better way and you’ll be surprised how much of a difference this makes.


4. Using too much momentum

That is a pretty obvious one and relates to how the bench press is performed. If the movement is all over the place with one arm extended quicker than the other, the bar not touching the chest or the upward push being initiated at different points of the lift, you usually do not get the best results in terms of strength.

You should strive to build a full range of motion for the bench press. This means locking the elbows out at full extension of the arms as starting position. Lowering the bar in parallel to the chest from the starting position. Letting the bar rest on the chest for 1 – 2 seconds (also called paused bench press) to kill momentum. Initiating the upward push from the chest up to full lock out and repeating.

If you do touch and go presses you are only selling yourself short in the gym. When there is no attention being paid to keep the bar parallel to the chest you will ingrain imbalances in your body making one or the other hemisphere stronger. This leads to inefficiencies in the movement patterns that will make you lose pounds when you progress to higher weights. In addition, some spotters are not the brightest people on the planet and will grab the higher part of the bar to help. For elite lifters, this easily results and torn or ripped off chest muscles on the weaker side.

Have a clear, controlled, repeatable movement patterns which are efficient and effective. Learn these, automate them and then start to load them with more weight. Otherwise, the sticking points will show later and will be hard to train out as ambitions grow.



5. Not Allowing The Bar To Settle

Pressing the bar straight away is a great way to undo all the progress you’ve made in your technical approach. With extremely heavy weights, immediately pressing the weight can be dangerous as you may not have control over the bar. A better approach is to allow the bar to settle in your hands for approximately 2 seconds.

During this wait, your elbows and traps will compress, pushing you deeper into the bench thus giving your body greater stability. You may also find that the bar will move an inch or two closer to your chest without your arms bending.


6. No Breathing Pattern

This certainly seems to be a strange addition to bench press mistakes doesn’t it? When benching for more than three reps, you still need to take a deep breath on the bar descent and exhale each time you push the bar off your chest. For sets under 3 reps, take a large belly breath as opposed to the normal ‘chest’ breath.

In other words, your shoulders shouldn’t rise when you take a belly breath. This helps keep your body stable under the strain of a maximum effort attempt. Breathing out during the attempt will destabilize your body and may cause you to miss the lift.



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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

5 Techniques To Build The Upper Chest

Are you ready to impress people at the gym or at the beach, with a bigger, more muscular Upper chest? By adding more intensity to your exercise regimen, eating plenty of calories to fuel your workouts, and doing exercises that target your pecs, you can build muscle there within a matter of weeks. Whether you seek to become a professional bodybuilder or simply improve your physique, a big, muscular Upper chest is an impressive accomplishment.



Start With A Multijoint Upper-Chest Movement

The simplest and most obvious solution to emphasize your upper pecs is to target them first on chest day. So, instead of starting your workout on the flat bench, start with the incline bench press.

By flipping exercises, you’ll find that you’re significantly stronger and can lift a little more—or do a few more reps with a given weight—than you could when you did an upper-chest move later in your workout. Forcing your upper pec fibers to lift more than they’re accustomed to will set you on the road to making gains.

By all means, since you’ll now be a little stronger on inclines, don’t be afraid to use a slightly more challenging weight. Nothing stalls progress more than choosing a weight you can already handle for 3 sets of 10. If you normally do sets of 8-10 with inclines, do a set or two (after warming up) for 6-8 reps to make those fibers work even harder.

There are benefits to doing either a barbell or dumbbell movement here, and both are good choices. You may find that the following points will help you decide which to opt for as your lead exercise, but you definitely want to steer away from a machine exercise. Your body has to work harder—and harder work equates to more muscle stimulus and growth—with free weights.

Do A Second Upper-Chest Exercise

One way to target a lagging body part is to do more exercises that focus on it. What you do not want to do, however, is simply repeat what you did with the first move.

For instance, let’s say you did an incline barbell press for sets of 8 reps on the first exercise, and now you’re going to do another movement. Which of these would add a different stress to the target muscle?

A: The Smith-machine incline press on an adjustable bench set to the same angle as the fixed-incline barbell press for sets of 8 reps.

B: A dumbbell press with a lower degree of incline than you used on the fixed bench for sets of 10-12 reps.

I hope you chose B. If you want to change the training stimulus to work a target muscle in multiple ways, you should opt for different equipment, change the angle of the bench, and work with a different relative intensity. Just doing a second upper-chest movement isn’t enough unless you’re taking into account all these factors.

Reach Peak Contraction

Although commonly stated I don’t think many amateur bodybuilders/athletes really take this seriously. When you reach the top of that bench press, you squeeze the center of your chest and you squeeze hard.

Most people simply go through the motions and do not really concentrate on that last 5 degrees of motion at the top of the exercise.

Next time you are performing chest exercises, really try to squeeze your chest tight at the top of the contraction phase and hold for 1-3 seconds. Once you have this down (and believe me you most likely don’t) you will see results fast.

Initiate Properly

To complement the last chest exercise tip, it is also just as important, if not more important, to initiate or start the movement right. How often do you contract your chest before you even move the bar/dumbbells? Odds are you don’t and this could be destroying your gains.

Next time you are about to get ready for that upper chest exercise, physically contract before even moving an inch. This will prep your neuromuscular connection and allow you to truly feel the muscle targeted (upper chest) to work efficiently.

Otherwise your other muscle friends will kick in and help the chest too much, thus limiting your upper chest gains.

Do Your Chest Workout After A Rest Day

One last tip on getting a great workout: Target your lagging body part after a rest day on which you’ve eaten clean, taken it easy, and prepared your mind to move some iron. If you’re tired when you get to the gym, you’re probably not going to have a boundary-breaking workout.

Some pre-workout cocktails are great for increasing your focus and intensity, but don’t solely rely on them all the time. Getting enough sleep and eating well are probably the two most important factors in your ability to have a great workout.
Get Up

Ultimately, if your upper pecs are lagging, it would be insane to continue doing what you’re doing and expect any different results. Follow these tips, and you’ll be on the road to building a fuller, more complete chest, starting with your very next workout!
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Friday, June 23, 2017

Massive Traps – 6 Exercises Must Do

Tom Hardy is actually a great example of how having huge traps can make you look extremely muscular, even if your other muscle groups aren’t that big.



After all when you’re looking at someone, you’re mainly looking at their face. And with your traps only located a few inches away, it’s a great opportunity to show off your muscularity.

Also not many weight lifters, or even PRO bodybuilders, have GREAT traps (with 90% of them always training chest and arms). So if you do develop monster traps, you’ll really stand out from the crowd.

Traps are actually quite an intimidating muscle group too, as they resemble the same shape of a cobra when it spreads its ‘hood’ – done as a defence mechanism. This can be translated as a polite “Don’t f*ck with me”.

Big traps will make you look ready to pounce on any prey that gets in your way.

Deadlift




During a deadlift, the hips and legs work to lift the bar from the ground. The trapezius muscles (along with other muscles in the back) contract isometrically to keep a straight back. The traps also help you keep your chest up, which is critical to completing the deadlift.

Rack pull shrug




To perform this exercise set the safety pins in the squat rack at knee level. Load the bar with HEAVY weight, 100-120% of your deadlift 1RM. If grip strength is an issue, strap up for this exercise. Try to emulate your deadlift position as closely as you can. Pull the bar up to lockout and then shrug the weight, all in one motion. This will work the traps both isometrically during the rack pull and concentrically during the shrug.

Dumbbell Shrug




I prefer the dumbbell shrug to the barbell shrug, but let’s face it. Most gyms do not have heavy enough dumbbells that allow for us to do the dumbbell variation. This variation of the shrug allows you to get a more natural raise with the traps and definitely puts more tension on the traps.

Face Pull




Whether you perform the face pull on a low pulley, a high pulley or a mid-level pulley, face pulls need to be a routine part of your trap training. These days I focus on the high pulley and the pulley directly in the middle with the latter getting a lot of reps as of late. Stand a couple of feet from the attachment in order to get the optimal angle for trapezius recruitment.

Bent over lateral raises




Stand or sit on a bench, with your knees slightly bent, and hold a suitable weight

dumbbell in each hand. If you are performing standing bent over lateral raises, make sure that your upper body and the torso are almost perpendicular to each other.
The palms of your hands should be facing your body.
Extend your arms laterally on both the sides consecutively, inhaling deeply as you lift the weights with your elbows up. Ideally, the elbows should be at the shoulder height level for an efficient workout.

Clean




Take a look at any accomplished Olympic lifter and you will see the effects the clean has on the traps. The clean works the traps in a couple different ways; during the first pull you want a tight upper back. This is accomplished by squeezing your scapulae together. Scapular retraction is a great lower/mid-trapezius exercise. In addition, during the second pull of the clean, a shrug motion is performed completing your full extension, working the upper part of the trapezius muscle. If cleans are not something you want to take the time to learn, start by doing high pulls.
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Benefits Of Bodybuilding

A person’s physical appearance is one of the greatest priorities in 21st century society, and to maintain a pleasing aesthetic can be very stressful.




In order to do this some people will complete rigorous exercise routines combined with healthy, balanced nutritional lifestyles; however, there are those who choose to take supplements instead of changing their lifestyles entirely.  The use of body building supplements is controversial with the supplement bringing many disadvantages, but these pills are also known to present with various advantages as well.  This article will provide information on the benefits of bodybuilding.

1. Better looking body.

That’s the most obvious reason. By regular weight training we can build bigger muscles, burn fat and develop nicer body. When we look better, we feel better. We can impress others with our musculature or attract opposite sex.

2. Strength.

Our everyday life is much easier when we are stronger. We are not getting as tired at work and we can lift heavier objects without a problem. We are harder do defeat in a fight.

3. Increased production of anabolic hormones.

It has been proven that compound exercises like Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, etc. increase the production of Testosterone and HGH – hormones that transform us from a boy to the man, make us bigger, stronger and more confident.

3. Harder bones and tendons.

Lifting heavier weights (over 70% of our maximum) make our bones and tendons harder and stronger. That’s why we are less likely to develop an injury or have any fractures than any other mortal man.

4. Better posture.

We can spot so many people this days with a round back, lordosis, scoliosis or any different posture problems or muscle imbalances. By regular and proper training, specially our core and back muscles, we can avoid them or fix any disproportion. When our back is straight we appear taller and more attractive.

5. Happiness.

Bodybuilding, as well as any other sort of sport, stimulate our body to produce endorphins – hormones which basically make us feel better, happier and reduce the pain. So it’s a really good option for anybody who is stressed out, suffer from depression or has any other mood swings to start working out.


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Monday, June 12, 2017

Top 11 Muscle Building Tips For Vegetarian

I love how often people are intrigued by the fact that I’m pretty jacked and all VEGAN!  Meat eaters are always asking me what the hell do I eat and other vegans always want to know how I’m able to get so shredded and lean on a completely plant-based diet.




Well, here’s a little “top 11 list” for anyone curious about my vegan bodybuilding “ways.”  Compiled below are my top 10 best tips for vegan athletes on building muscle and leaning down without consuming dead animals.  Here goes!

1. Get Sufficient Calories

The very first thing you must do as a vegetarian bodybuilder is make sure that you get enough calories. If you don’t take in enough calories on a regular basis your body is much more likely to turn to incoming protein for fuel and you very well may see a deficit forming.

2. Consume Plenty Of Fruits And Vegetables

Second, be sure that you are taking in plenty of fruits and vegetables. These are going to supply you with a high quality source of nutrients as well as all the antioxidant protection to keep your immune system feeling strong.

3. Don’t Neglect Chickpeas And Legumes

For vegetarians looking to build muscle, one of the key sources of protein they need to be looking into are chickpeas and other legumes. These will also be a good low-fat source of carbohydrates as well and make for a great snack before a hard workout.

4. Swap Rice For Quinoa

If you’re in the habit of always eating brown rice with your meals, swap that up for some quinoa instead. Quinoa tastes much like brown rice (a combination of brown rice and oatmeal) and is higher in overall protein content than the brown rice. On top of that, quinoa is actually a complete source of protein, whereas brown rice is not. This is important for the process of muscle building to take place.

5. Utilize Egg White Or Soy Protein Powders

Fifth, it’s a very wise move to make use of egg white protein powders, if you eat animal by-products, or soy protein powders if not. These will dramatically help to boost your protein intake and are quick and convenient for when you need them. As long as you do make sure to mix them up with other sources of protein, they are definitely a ‘must-have’ for your daily diet.

6. Avoid A Heavy Reliance On Processed Foods

One big mistake that many vegetarians make is relying a great deal on heavy, overly processed foods. Don’t do this. Remember, being vegetarian doesn’t mean you get free range to eat as many high-carb snack foods as you want. You still do definitely have to be eating healthy and making an effort to maintain a fresh diet that contains whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

7.  eat a TON of beans.

To all the dudes reading this, how turned on are you right now?  Seriously though, if you’re wanting to build muscle, get on board the chickpea train! They’re high in protein and an awesome low-fat source of carbs.  I usually eat ’em before I work out (and no, doing that is not a “problem” for me.  I’ve never been a big fan of kidney beans to be honest.  My faves are chickpeas, black beans and most recently, aduki beans.

8. I am the protein powder queen!

Supplementing with a good quality plant-based protein powder will dramatically boost your protein intake.  It’s also a super quick and convenient food item to have on hand and while you’re out.  I’m a big fan of
Vega Sport Performance Protein (829g) Vanilla because it’s low in fat & carbs, loaded with protein and has both BCAAs and glutamine in it– which help with recovery and muscle growth.  I’m also a fan of North Coast Naturals‘ plain brown rice protein powder right before a competition because it doesn’t contain any sodium.

9. I don’t eat processed foods very much.

Processed, packaged foods (although delicious) usually mean high-carb, high-fat, high-sugar or all of the above.  I really make an effort to eat a diet that contains a lot of whole grains, nuts and tons of fresh fruits & veggies.

10.  opt for tempeh over tofu.

Tempeh is another awesome protein source that often gets overlooked–perhaps because it’s harder to find than tofu (at least in Canada.)  Unlike tofu, tempeh is fermented. That means the enzymes in it pre-digest the carbs, protein and fat, so it’s easier to digest and full of fiber and antioxidants.

11.  never skimp on “healthy” fats.


Everyone needs essential fatty acids in their diet and well, since I obviously don’t do “fish oil,” I get mine through good ol’ flax seed oil.  I actually like the taste too.  It’s awesome on oatmeal and gives me a hefty boost of both omega 3s and 6s every morning.
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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Supplements For Strength Training Pre Workout

When most people think of pre-workout nutrition they think of fluorescent chemicals that get you charging.

But a good quality pre-workout is not about that.

If you are eating a nutrient dense diet of wholefoods you shouldn’t need to rely on stimulants to get you psyched up pre-workout.




Instead your Pre-workout should be determined by your workout goals.

One basic principle that applies to all trainers is to always eat before working out, otherwise the body is likely to hack into your hard earned muscle stores for emergency energy.

Eating some type of protein before training will benefit all trainers because we want to have the bloodstream loaded with amino acids when we get to the gym.

It is most optimal to have this protein based meal at least an hour before your workout so that your body has time to properly digest the food and you can direct maximum blood-flow to your muscles where you need it, you don’t want blood being diverted to the stomach for digestion during a workout.

It is also important when we are training to have a specific goal in mind so that we can be consciously working towards it and know when we are making progress.

Training without a specific goal in mind is like driving your car without a specific destination, we can’t concentrate our effort on getting anywhere and the end result is time wasting and frustration.

For this reason your pre-workout nutrition should be targeted to assist you in what you are trying to achieve in the session.

For example if you are training to lose body fat it would be advantageous to take a fat-mobilising supplement before your workout and if you are training for strength you might benefit from a neural enhancing supplement to improve neural connections.

In this article we will look at just a few of the supplements available for your specific training goal.

PRE WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS FOR FAT LOSS

Combining Canitine & Omega 3 for Fat Loss

High doses of Omega 3 fish oil combined with Carnitine have been shown to help reduce body fat. This is because Omega 3 increases metabolic rate whilst Carnitine helps deliver the fatty acids for metabolising. Carnitine is key as the fewer fatty acids that get into a cell, the less energy that can be burned. Without taking Carnitine, fatty acids may go into a depository and be stored as fat. Increasing your levels of Carnitine increases fat burning. It also helps provide the cells with the energy they need to raise metabolism. This can result in you having more energy and motivation. Therefore taking Carnitine can help you burn excess fat by raising metabolism and providing the energy and motivation for exercise.

PRE WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS FOR STRENGTH TRAINING

The best pre workout for strength training is a supplement that will boost the activation of your central nervous system.

Acetyl-L-carnitine is an amino acid (a building block for proteins) that is naturally produced in the body. It helps the body produce energy.

Acetyl-L-carnitine helps the body produce energy. It is important for heart and brain function, muscle movement, and many other body processes..

Caffeine Anhydrous Research demonstrates that this dry form of the stimulant is the best for increasing energy and strength. Taking caffeine helps reduce the perceived pain of lifting weights.

PRE WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS FOR HYPERTROPHY (MUSCLE BUILDING)

These pre-workout supplements contribute to cell swelling and can be used to assist training for muscle building.
 

 Creatine drives fluid into your muscle cells, blunting soreness and allowing you to lift heavier for longer. Look for creatine monohydrate, the gold standard of creatines.

Beta-Alanine This amino acid boosts muscular strength and endurance by increasing your body’s levels of carnosine, a small peptide formed of beta-alanine and histidine.

 Cordyceps This Tibetan fungus helps boost immediate strength by contributing to your ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) cycle. Combine creatine and Cordyceps for greater immediate strength.
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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Build Boulder Shoulders With These 4 Supersets

Shoulder supersets are a highly underutilised, but effective way of overloading your muscles that can lead to a huge boost in muscle growth. Many struggle to pack on shoulder mass, since they do not work them with the volume that they require.



Supersets are simply sets which include 2 exercises performed on after the other. For example: you would perform X reps of exercise 1 and then Y reps of exercise too immediately after.


This workout is specifically designed for your shoulders, using supersets to help you really blow them up, giving you those boulder shoulders you’ve visualised having!

SUPERSET #1
 

Dumbbell Lateral



As you stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, take a dumbbell in each hand and slightly bend the elbows as the weights hang by your sides, palms facing one another. Bend your upper body forward and allow your hips and knees to bend slightly as well. Raise your arms out to the sides until they are parallel to the ground, maintaining the torso straight and stabile. Lower the weights down and repeat.
 

Upright Barbell Row



Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Pick up a barbell with a narrow grip and row it vertically up until it reaches the top of your chest. Stop when it reaches just below your chin and your forearms and upper arms are squeezed into each other, parallel to the ground. Lower the weight down and repeat.

Recommended Rep Range: 8-12 reps for 3-4 set

SUPERSET #2

Seated Shoulder Press




Set on a bench with it angled 90 degrees. Hold a pair of dumbbells, one in each hand. Raise the weights to either side of your head, resting on your shoulders. Press upwards, straightening your elbows. Ensure you keep a slight bend at the top of the movement and prevent locking out to avoid injury. Slowly lower the weights back down to the starting bottom and repeat the movement.

Front Raises




Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells (or a barbell) in each hand. Ensure your palms are facing towards your body. Keeping your elbows straight, raise the weight(s) out in front of you, until they are parallel to the floor. At this point, stop, slowly lower them to the floor and repeat. Ensure you do not swing or use momentum to maximise muscle time under tension.

Recommended Rep Range: 8-12 reps for 3-4 set

SUPERSET #3

Face Pull





Set up a cable with a rope attachment so that it is in line with your head and grab each end of the rope. Take a couple of steps back from the machine and pull the weight directly towards your face, separating the hands as you do so. As you bring the rope all the way to your face, flare your elbows out but keep your upper arms parallel to the floor. Pause, return to the starting position and repeat.

Front Barbell Shrug





Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart as you hold a barbell with both hands in front of you, using a neutral grip. Without rolling your shoulders, shrug them while bringing your arms up and keeping them straight. Avoid lifting the barbell using your biceps and try to touch your shoulders with your ears. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Recommended Rep Range: 8-12 reps for 3-4 set

SUPERSET #4

push press




Stand with feet at shoulder width apart, grab a barbell and hold it with an overhand grip that is a little narrower than shoulder width apart, palms up and elbows pointed forward. Your upper arms should be almost parallel to the floor. Pull the barbell just above your shoulders with elbows close to your body, then lower your hips and bend your knees in a half-squat position. Explosively drive your legs and hips upward and extend your arms to press the weight over your head with a full elbow extension. Make sure you don’t hyperextend the lower back at the lockout position and maintain a neutral arch in your spine throughout the move. Hold for a moment at the top, then lower the bar back to its resting position on your upper chest area.

Cable front raise






The cable front raise is a brutally effective shoulder movement which allows you to isolate the anterior deltoid head while requiring minimal dynamic assistance from other muscles. While both dumbbells and cables offer the benefit of working the shoulders in a unilateral way that ensures equal resistance and reverses any muscle imbalances, the use of cables for the front raise brings another benefit to the table – continuous resistance throughout the movement. Besides working the anterior delts, the exercise also requires the activation of a number of stabilizing muscles such as the trapezius, erector spinae, biceps, rotator cuff and serratus anterior.

Recommended Rep Range: 8-12 reps for 3-4 set
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Sunday, June 4, 2017

5 Proven Ways to Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally

Testosterone is the main male sex hormone, but females also have small amounts of it.

It is a steroid hormone, produced in men’s testicles and women’s ovaries (1).

The adrenal glands also produce small amounts.

During puberty in boys, testosterone is one of the main drivers of physical changes like increased muscle, deeper voice and hair growth.

However, having optimal levels is also important throughout adulthood and even during old age.

In adults, healthy levels are important for general health, disease risk, body composition, sexual function and just about everything else .

Additionally, increasing your testosterone levels can cause rapid gains in muscle mass and vitality in only a matter of weeks .

Interestingly, it also plays an important role in female health and sexual well-being .

The research is pretty conclusive: both genders should ensure they have healthy levels of testosterone, especially as they age (.

Here are 5 evidence-based ways to increase testosterone levels naturally.




Eat the Right Kinds of Food

What you eat has a major impact on all hormone levels and there are multiple studies which show that constant dieting may disrupt your testosterone levels just as significantly as overeating does. Rigorous dieting is not only hard on the psyche, it can be detrimental to your overall health and hormonal balance. Have you noticed what happens to your libido and overall energy during prolonged periods of cutting?

Yes, it’s true – severe calorie restrictions destroy testosterone production.

But let’s be a bit clearer about this one. If you have a lot of excess fat, it’s highly recommendable to eat less than your body uses, i.e. create a caloric deficit. This will lower your testosterone production in the short term, but as the body burns away the fat reserves, your testosterone production should improve, given that you also engage in resistance training.

However, if you’re already pretty lean and have very little fat mass to burn, the situation is entirely different. That’s why bodybuilding competitors who try to take their fat mass below 5% experience terrible drops in testosterone.

Sleep Deep and Sleep a Lot

Whether you choose to sleep four hours or eight hours, can mean a difference similar to night and day in your T production.

Partial sleep restriction lasting one-week (5h/night) in a laboratory setting has been shown to decrease overall 24-hour testosterone levels in healthy young men by ~15%6.

On a study by Penev et al. the men who slept for ~4 hours had an average of 200-300 ng/dL testosterone levels in serum, whereas the guys who slept for ~8 hours had levels closer to 500-700 ng/dL7.

A study from Gov et al8. showed similar results. On 531 Chinese men, increased sleep time was highly correlated with higher total and -free testosterone levels. The researchers also calculated that each extra hour of sleep led to about 15% more testosterone.

Exercise and Lift Weights

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to prevent many lifestyle-related diseases. Interestingly, it can also boost your testosterone.

A large review study found that people who exercised regularly had higher testosterone levels. In the elderly, exercise increases testosterone levels, fitness and reaction time .

New research in obese men suggests that increased physical activity was even more beneficial than a weight loss diet for increasing testosterone levels.

Resistance training, such as weight lifting, is the best type of exercise to boost testosterone in both the short- and long-term.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can also be very effective, although all types of exercise should work to some extent.

Taking caffeine and creatine monohydrate as supplements may further boost your levels when combined with a training program.


Spark Up Your Sex Life

Admittedly one of the most satisfying ways on how to increase testosterone levels naturally is; sexual activity.

It’s not fully understood why this happens, but many studies have theorized that its an interplay with dominance, feeling of power, feeling of success, pheromones, dopamine, and interpersonal touch. For this reason it’s also likely that sex with an actual human instead of the palm of ones hand,would be a much better way to boost T.

Is there any research on increased sexual activity and testosterone levels? You bet there is.

A study of 44 men visiting a sex club actually showed that the guys who went there only to watch other people have sex, had an average increase of 11% in their testosterone levels, whereas the guys who went and actually had sex there noted an average increase of 72%28. It’s also seen in couples that on the nights that there is “sexual activity”, testosterone levels are significantly higher than on the nights that they don’t have sex29. One of the many findings in the Baltimore Longitudal Study on Aging was that in men over 60-years of age, those with higher level of sexual activity had significantly greater serum testosterone levels30.

Much has been theorized about ejaculations and testosterone, and there seems to be this common misbelief that busting a nut would “drain” the body from testosterone (which fortunately isn’t the case).

Get your Zinc

It turns out that low T-levels can be caused by something as simple as mineral deficiency. Or to be more scientifically accurate, severe and moderate deficiency of zinc is associated with hypogonadism in men. Zinc, one of the essential dietary minerals, is needed for your immune system to function properly and for cell division.

It also plays an important role in protein synthesis, nutrient absorption and the functioning of hormone systems. While scientists haven’t yet discovered exactly how a lack of zinc influences testosterone levels, studies have already shown that there is a strong link between the two.

According to one of the first studies to claim this, published in 1996 in “Nutrition”, zinc plays an important role in regulating testosterone levels. However, this study focus on individuals with zinc deficiencies and didn’t offer any evidence of the effect of increased zinc consumption on testosterone production in men who already eat a zinc-rich diet.

Still, modern researchers have provided new data suggesting that getting adequate doses of zinc on a daily basis can help you enhance your manliness. For example, supplementing your diet with zinc for as little as six weeks has been shown to cause a significant improvement in testosterone among men with low levels, while restricting dietary sources of zinc has been found to lead to noticeable decreases.

Since your body can’t store zinc, you have to make sure you take enough of it through your diet every day. The recommended daily amount is 11 milligrams – along with protein-rich foods like meats, fish and oysters, those can be obtained by consuming foods such beans, eggs, yogurt, nuts and oatmeal. Taking zinc supplements can also be useful, but it might cause you to take in too much of it, which could be harmful.
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Complete Chest And Triceps Workout

Most chest and bench press workouts are boring. Random sets by random reps, blah, blah, blah. You’ve tried them, made OK progress and moved on.

But you want more than “OK progress.” You’re hungry for gains. Bench press gains. Chest gains. Tricep gains.





Let’s be real here. Having a weak bench press sucks. There’s nothing worse than hitting the gym and struggling to push up 200 pounds. This type of weakness is embarrassing. And when your arm size sucks too… double whammy.

I’ve always preferred training two muscle groups in one session. With every gym session, I usually train a large muscle group and a small muscle group and spend about 90 minutes in the gym altogether.

Chest Workout

Bench Press (Barbell) – 4 Sets/8-12 Reps
Incline Bench Press (Barbell) – 4 Sets/8-12 Reps
Weighted Push-ups – 3 Sets / 8-12 Reps
Dumbbell Pullovers – 3 Sets /8-12 Reps
Standing Cable Flyes – 3 Sets / 10-12 Reps

Triceps Workout

Flat Bench Triceps Extension – 3 Sets / 10-12 Reps
Overhead Rope Extensions – 3 Sets / 10-12 Reps
Dips (Weighted Dips) – 3 Sets / 10-12 Reps
Triceps Cable Pushdown – 3 Sets / 10-12 Reps
Overhead Dumbbell Extensions – 3 Sets / 10-12 Reps
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