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Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, place your left hand on a bench in front of you, and assume a staggered stance, left foot forward. Hold your elbow in as you row the wight to the side of your torso. Do 10 reps, switch arms and leg positions, and repeat the movement.

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Grab a pair of dumbbells, bend your knees and lean forward so your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. Tuck your upper arms next to your sides, bend your elbows, and hold your forearms about parallel to the floor, palms facing up. Simultaneously extend your arms straight back and rotate the weight so your palms end up facing each other. Return to the starting position. Do 15 reps.

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a pair of dumbbells at arm's length by your sides, palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, curl the weights to your shoulders, and then press them overhead until your arms are straight. Reverse the move to return to the starting position. Do 10 reps.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Anabolic Eating

Anabolic Eating

In our last installment, we discussed some of the nitty-gritty of the Atkins diet, and how the trend toward low-carb pre-packaged food can undermine the success of those using this nutrition scheme. Interestingly, the slippery slope upon which the makers of "low-carb, net carb" pizza, breads, etc., have placed the unknowing dieter actually ramps into an area of performance nutrition that has been around for at least 10 years, and probably longer. In particular, the use of carbohydrate spikes while on a high-fat diet is one of the principles of the so-called "Anabolic Diet" as laid out by Dr. Mauro DiPasquale in the mid 1990s.

In essence, the Anabolic Diet is based strongly on the Atkins Diet, but with a few major changes to accommodate the hardcore strength athlete in promoting an anabolic (muscle-growing) environment. Now, it may sound strange that a diet originally intended for weight loss can be used for muscle building, but even the basic Atkins diet offers many benefits to the bodybuilder. Specifically, it is great for shedding bodyfat and bringing out muscle definition. In addition, the even-keeled insulin levels achieved with the Atkins diet can be very beneficial to athletes looking to maintain constant energy levels throughout the day. As anyone who has worked out intensely with weights can verify, growing muscles and/or shrinking fat cells tend to lead to swinging appetites, mood levels, and energy levels. Flattening out these curves can help tremendously, once you get past the initial descent into ketosis, of course.

Beyond the athletic benefits of the basic Atkins diet, the Anabolic Diet attempts to maintain an anabolic state by focusing more on high protein levels at the expense of some fat calories. The idea is that once the fat-burning furnace has been turned on, the body can use its own fat stores for its energy needs while converting as much of the available dietary protein to muscle as possible, assuming proper training intensity is applied. Then, once bodyfat stores are at the desired levels, dietary fat can be adjusted to provide the necessary energy.

One fascinating aspect of the Anabolic Diet is the mid-week carb surge. It is well known that insulin is a powerful storage hormone, for both fat stores and skeletal muscle cells. By keeping insulin levels low and constant, the Atkins/Anabolic diet helps to maintain energy levels and to shrink fat cells, but it means that your muscles don't receive the benefit of this powerful hormone. DiPasquale's solution to this dilemma is to include one several-hour window in the middle of the week during which huge amounts of carbohydrates are consumed. This goody gorging sends a flood of insulin into the blood stream, and the body's muscles, due to their heavily trained and depleted state, are able to suck up scads of glycogen, creatine, and protein. Some spillage to the fat cells is probably inevitable, but if you are training hard, it will probably be minimal. It remains to be seen whether such a tactic has any benefits for the non-athlete, but the suspicion here is that it would simply lead to the storage of a goodly amount of bodyfat.

It has been said that food is one of the most powerful drugs on earth, and this certainly seems to be true with respect to temporarily altering certain facets of human blood chemistry, including insulin levels. The Atkins and Anabolic systems represent one basic approach to dieting, and in the future we'll look at many more, such as low-fat diets, the Zone, and other particular "fad" diets, all of which attempt to control our blood chemistry via different pathways. Until then, lift well, eat well, and be well!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

An Overview of Bodybuilding Training Protocols

Bodybuilding Training Protocols

Deciding to make a change to your body and life is an important first step toward achieving greater fitness, strength, and self esteem levels. However, this decision represents the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the choices you'll have to make along your road to a better, healthier physique. We've already had some discussions about various diet strategies, and we'll likely return to that topic later. Starting with this article and for several succeeding installments, we're going to look at the various approaches to weight training and what they have to offer the experienced bodybuilder, the fitness enthusiast, or the rank beginner.

Weight Training = Muscle Building

Before we jump into the fray and look at the various systems of weight training, we need to get a grasp of the basic concepts that nearly all training protocols have in common. First and foremost is the fact that all weight training should be looked at as a musclebuilding activity. I know, I know ... I can already hear the protests from many women, athletes in traditional sports, and anyone else who is, in one way or another, somewhat hypertrophy-phobic: "I just want to tone up", "I don't want to get musclebound", "Big muscles are disgusting", etc., etc., etc.

Look, "toning up" is nothing more than losing fat and/or building muscle. Either way, we're talking about increasing the lean body mass index, or becoming more muscular. Similarly, added muscle weight, assuming it's naturally attained, is functional and will enhance, not hinder, athletic performance. Finally, the likelihood that any particular person will become "musclebound" from serious weight training and nutritious eating alone is very small. The muscular behemoths of the world are typically genetically predisposed to building large amounts of muscle (high normal testosterone levels; long, dense muscle bellies; small but strong joints), eat and train to the extreme, and sometimes even turn to drugs to enhance their muscularity. In general, though, building extreme muscle mass is incredibly difficult and doesn't happen by accident.

The Basics

So what are the basic principles which govern muscle growth through weight training? In brief, the factors that contribute to the productivity of a workout system are intensity, duration, frequency, and progression. Briefly, intensity is the difficulty of the exercise you perform.

Most exercise protocols have their own definition of intensity, but regardless of the context, if your efforts in the gym are half-assed, so will be your results. Duration is simply the length of time you are in the gym per workout, and frequency is how often your workouts are performed. As we will see later on, a corollary to these basic ideas is recovery, which happens outside of the gym.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Best Ways To Build Big Biceps Faster

build big biceps

Ask anybody to flex and “show off their gains” and you can almost guarantee that the muscle they’ll tense will be their biceps, in a signature single, or possibly even double bicep pose. When you see people training on the TV and in the movies, they’re almost always curling a set of dumbbells in order to work their biceps, so it’s easy to understand why the biceps are considered the most popular muscle group to train by many “gym rats” and fitness enthusiasts.

When you hit the gym for example, you’ll no doubt make sure you never neglect your biceps because you’ll want to be able to fit into a T-shirt which fits loosely on your torso, yet clings tightly onto your biceps, and feels as if it could rip the second you happened to flex them. Of course we all want a set of huge and defined guns that we can display proudly whilst out and about, but unfortunately adding size to them is far easier said than done. If you’re looking to build big biceps faster, however, to show you that it can be done, take a look at these handy tips and you’ll be showing the guns off in no time at all.

Train Your Triceps

Wait, that’s a typo right, we’re talking about training the biceps, not the triceps?! Nope, it’s no typo, in order to build big biceps, or at least, in order to create the illusion of having big biceps, you will need to train your triceps very hard and very regularly. The reason for this is that, although you want big biceps, what you really want is big arms, as a small arm with a large bicep muscle looks absolutely ridiculous.

The triceps are a three-headed muscle that makes up the vast majority of your upper arm, so naturally if you build big triceps, you will, by default, have bigger arms. Large triceps along with a large bicep muscle will make your arm look much larger, more symmetrical, and far more in proportion than if you simply have a large bicep. If you’ve ever seen people who train biceps religiously, yet barely train their triceps at all, their arms will look incredibly small and skinny, yet when they flex their bicep, it will look as if they have a small tennis ball under their skin, which, for many, is not considered a good look.

Train Your Back

Ok, now we must be having a joke. This is an article about building big biceps, and the first two tips that we’ve shared have both talked about training different muscles. Nope, again, we’re not having a joke, and to prove so, just listen to our logic. Making your back bigger and more defined will not make your biceps look bigger in the same way as training triceps does, but the exercises you perform will make them look bigger. The biceps are a pulling muscles, which means that to train them, you have to pull the weight, rather than push it. Guess what is also a pulling muscle? Yep, the back. Many pro bodybuilders rarely train their biceps during the off season, because they get enough work when they simply train their backs. We aren’t recommending that, but we are recommending that you never neglect your back. The next time you’re performing a set of close-grip lat pull downs, after your last working set, just feel your biceps and feel how pumped they are. Many back exercises are compound exercises, which means that they train other muscle groups, especially the biceps.

Don’t Just Stick With Regular Dumbbell Curls

In order to train the biceps, you’ll probably already be well aware that you’re going to have to get used to curling to really give them a good working. However, don’t think that standard single, or double, dumbbell curls are the only exercises you should perform. There are hammer curls, seated double-arm curls, seated single-arm curls, EZ bar curls, preacher curls, and barbell curls, amongst others. Mix these exercises up, don’t just perform the same ones, and don’t always stick with the same weights and reps either, which we’ll learn more about shortly.

Switch Up Reps And Weights

As mentioned, in order to really build big biceps faster than normal, you will need to switch up, not only the exercises you perform, but also the reps and weights that you use as well. If you’re like most people, you’ll probably stick with the usual weight which allows you to perform 8 – 10 reps per set. However, now and then, go with a lighter weight and rep it out instead. Choose a weight that allows you to perform 15 – 20 reps instead. To begin with, it will feel light and easy, yet by the time you reach 15 reps or so, your biceps will burn and will feel more pumped than ever.

Run The Rack To Build Big Biceps

A great way of really finishing off any biceps session, and one which is guaranteed to help you build big biceps faster, is too, what is known as “run the rack”. By this, you should choose a basic dumbbell biceps exercise, the double-arm hammer curl for example, and should start with the lightest weight there, perform, say 16 reps, and then immediately jump onto the next set of slightly heavier dumbbells, perform 14 reps, and so on, getting heavier and performing less reps until you can’t physically perform another one. Your arms will literally feel as if they’re on fire by the end, and you’ll feel bigger and more pumped than ever before.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Opti-Men Multivitamin

opti men multivitamin
A multivitamin is essential for your everyday health as well as building muscle. Opti-Men is a top-notch multivitamin for athletes and bodybuilders because it was geared towards them.

You will experience better energy, recovery and the nutrients needed to achieve your goals while maintaining general overall health. Absorption is spot on and the price although some may claim is rather high is well worth it for what you get in comparison to a generic multivitamin from your local drug store.

Also noted is the fact that this multivitamin has digestive enzymes built right in which you can’t say about most other multivitamins on the market. There is a slight pungent odor to the pill (common with multi’s) however there is no after taste present after swallowing.

You cannot go wrong with the highly underrated Optimum brand and equally important is the fact that these pills are easy to swallow. You will not be disappointed with this purchase.

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Simple Fixes for Bigger Arms Now

bigger arms

If you want to get bigger arms you just have to hit the biceps harder at the gym with more exercises and add them into more days during the week right?

WRONG. That is the most common mistake amongst people trying to get bigger arms. More is not always better and in this case it can be one of the hindrances holding you back from explosive arms.

Over-working your biceps to complete exhaustion every time you go to the gym does not allow them the proper time to recover and rebuild the muscle fibers. You have to remember that every time you do an exercise like pull-ups and rows that you are targeting the biceps indirectly as well.

Now that you are armed with a little more insight into where to correct your routine, try aiming for one directly targeted bicep exercise (barbell curls) one time per week for 4 sets. This should be within the constraints of a 3 day per week gym routine. Stop doing 4 different varied exercises directly on the bicep and try this tip that will allow more recover and growth time.

The Truth about the Tricep

Most people seeking big arms fail to realize the size of the tricep. Women love biceps and abs right? So no wonder why so many guys are in the gym doing biceps each and every day they are working out.

The tricep actually consumes a far larger portion of your arm than the bicep does making it an ideal muscle to target for arm growth. You will see much more explosive arm growth by focusing on the tricep too rather than ignoring it and only slaving away on the preacher curl.
In order to see your progress it is important to measure and log the circumference of your arm. Every few weeks you can take a new reading to see your gains, while you are on your quest to those 20” biceps.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Running for Pleasure

Running for Pleasure

If you really want to give running a try, make sure you invest in the best fitting running shoes you can find! Next, plan a safe route and follow this beginning schedule.

If you are totally new to exercise, ease into movement. After a five minute walking warm-up, start with a short run every other day (even as little as 5 minutes) and follow it with 10 or more minutes of walking, or as far as you can or feel like going.Gradually increase the duration of each run in a 2x forward/1x backward duration plan.

Example – 5 minutes, 8 minutes, 5 minutes/8 minutes, 11 minutes, 8 minutes/11 minutes, 14 minutes, 11 minutes, and so on.

You can also begin your program with a Walk/Run routine, alternating 5 minutes of walking with short runs up to five minutes. You can use the 2x forward/1x backward method with your running segments. Gradually build up your running time to 30 minutes. Always complete your workout with a 5 minute slow paced cool-down and stretching of the calves, hamstrings, hip flexors and back.

While you are building up your running stamina, practice good running form:
  1. Run tall with good posture. Your trunk will lean forward from the hips slightly, but try to lengthen your body, lift your chest, and hold your abdominals in.
  2. Let your arms swing at a 90 degree angle between the chest and hipbone, not crossing them over your body. Your arm swing should compliment your stride. Relax your wrists and hands. Do not clench your fists.
  3. Power your stride from your thighs, hips, and buttocks muscles. Plant your heel on the ground first and roll onto the toes.
  4. Stay relaxed and peaceful
Take regular days off to prevent injury. Remember, physical training has 2 parts:
  1. Tissue breakdown – caused by the running
  2. Tissue regeneration - caused by the rest period.
Proper training and resting will strengthen your body optimally. Running every other day, and not two days in a row, is good injury prevention. When you are conditioned enough to train for a race, you may add an extra running day to your week.

When you can run continuously for 30 minutes, you can begin to adjust your running workout toward specific training goals. Some new training techniques may include:
  1. Train to cover extra ground. Once a week push yourself until you can run 2-3 times farther than normal distance. Longer runs will boost aerobic capacity
  2. Train for increased speed. To boost your anaerobic capacity and power, 1-2 times a week add several sprints into the middle of your running workout. To sprint, run faster than normal until you reach breathlessness, then back off to your normal pace and recover. This can be done 2-4 times in a run.
Tips for increasing your enjoyment of running include:
  1. Set running goals – for speed, distance, races, etc.
  2. Run with a partner
  3. Change the route when you get bored
  4. Record your progress in a log

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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Better Nutrition with the Food Guide Pyramid

Food Guide Pyramid

This diet method emphasizes overall health, focuses on the total diet, and is user friendly. No one food group is more important than another in the Food Pyramid and its use allows for flexibility with food substitutions.
This pyramid is divided into sections:
  1. Complex carbohydrates form the base or foundation of the Food Pyramid. These starches are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and medium to low in fat unless the cooking adds fats. The recommended number of daily servings are 6 - 11.
  2. The second level is divided into vegetables and fruit. Vegetables are high in vitamins A, C, and folic acid, as well as fiber and the minerals iron and magnesium. They are low in fat unless it is added in cooking or processing. Three servings are recommended. Fruits are low in fat and high in vitamin A, C, and potassium. Two fruits are suggested for each day.
  3. The third level focuses on protein, divided between meat and dairy foods. Two servings daily from dairy products provide protein, vitamins, and minerals except for iron. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are dairy foods. Some dairy choices are high in fat. The meat group includes dry beans, nuts, and eg. The nutrients include protein, B-complex vitamins, iron, and zinc. Some choices are high in fat and the recommendation is two low fat servings daily.
  4. The top or peak of the Food Pyramid is fats, oils and sweets. Salad dressing and oils, cream, butter, margarine, sugars, sodas, candies, and sweet desserts provide calories without a lot of nutrients. However, a person may eat these foods sparingly for enjoyment without negative consequences.
The Food Guide Pyramid was designed to depict variety, moderation, and proportions. The size of each section reflects the number of daily servings. Many people use the Food Guide Pyramid for tracking their food intake because of its simplicity.
Using the Food Guide Pyramid does have its drawbacks.
  1. It does not limit food choices to those low in calories. A person using the pyramid needs to have knowledge of the approximate fat and calories in foods in order to make effective choices. The Food Guide Pyramid makes no attempt to point out individual high fat or high sugar foods within the individual sections.
  2. A person may choose the right number of servings from each group and still make poor nutrient choices if they use mostly processed foods and few raw fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
A person can use the Food Guide Pyramid wisely if they remember the goals of a nutritious diet:
  1. Adequacy - Choose the minimum numbers of servings in each section (6,3,2,2,2).
  2. Balance - One type of food is not overemphasized.
  3. Calorie control - Focus on the nutrient dense lower levels of the pyramid if you want extra food, but also watch the serving size!
  4. Moderation - Using some of the fats and sweets from the top of the pyramid sparingly adds enjoyment to the food.
  5. Variety - Within each section, choose different foods and experiment with new flavors.
Here is my personal experience with using the Food Guide Pyramid:
While I have great exercise habits, I tend to avoid any monitoring of my food intake, mainly because I love to eat! My excuse is that all the exercise is plenty to stay at the fitness level I want. despite the fact that I teach a nutrition course! So after noticing that I was starting to look and feel a bit less than my peak, I decided to bite the bullet and take a hard look at my eating habits. I used the Food Guide Pyramid, focusing on low fat choices. I drew pyramids on pieces of paper, and sectioned them off for the contents: Complex carbohytrates as the base, veggies and fruits on the second level, meat and dairy third,and the "other," fats and sweets, on top.
Some of my mental dialog:
  • "It's hard to eat that much."
  • "Wow I sure don't get enough complex carbs."
  • "I guess I like eating fruit and veggies in mass quantity."
  • "What in the heck HAVE I been eating?"
In two weeks - visible changes! The muscle tone is once again showing at a preferred level.
The moral: It takes a 50/50 relationship between food and activity for best performance and fitness (appearance, too).

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Ultimate 30's Workout

Increase the amount of testosterone and growth hormone your body produces by working multiple muscle groups and keeping rest periods short. For cardio, your lactate threshold can still be increased throughout your thirties, so intervals are king to counter any loss of lung power.

Ultimate 40's Workout

Short, sharp shocks are the way to fire up your body in your middle years - which means you can forget long-winded weights workouts. Vary exercises, intensity and timings to keep your muscles guessing.

Ultimate 50's Workout

You may not be able to lift the heaviest weight, but that's okay. Instead, stretching and yoga should be part of your training, and body-weight moves can replace heavy workouts. Do three sets of 10 reps of the following exercises to protect your joints and maintain muscle mass and testosterone.