Social Icons

twitter follow facebook followgoogle pluslinkedinrss feedemail

Featured Posts

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.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Weight Training Program

Exercisers just starting a weight training program may have questions about which workout method is best – free weights or machines. Both of these forms of strength training have their pros and cons.

Strength Training With Free Weights

weight training program
Free weights include both dumbbells and barbells. Many veteran exercisers consider free weights to be the "gold standard" of strength training.

Free weights "simulate real-life lifting situations and promote whole-body stabilization," according to Dr. Edward Laskowski, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the Mayo Clinic.

In addition, free weights tend to work several muscles at the same time within a given exercise. By contrast, a machine exercise is more likely to isolate one specific muscle.

However, free weights also have drawbacks. When lifting a barbell or dumbbell, the amount of resistance on the muscle remains constant throughout the exercise.

During a joint's range of motion, there are points where the muscle is weaker than at other points. As a result, the amount of overall weight that can be lifted in a free-weight exercise is limited by the muscle's strength at its weakest point.

Also, unlike machines – which guide and restrict the range of the exercise – free weight exercises allow for a free range of movement. Using poor lifting techniques or failing to use a spotter during difficult exercises can lead to both minor and serious injuries.

Strength Training With Machines

Weight machines operate on a system of cables, pulleys, straps, pin-loaded weight stacks and fixed-lever arms. Examples include Nautilus and Cybex machines.

One of the biggest advantages of machines is that they are easier to use. Machines are designed to guide the exerciser through the proper motion. In this sense, machines may be "safer," particularly for beginners, because they are built to encourage proper technique.

Weight machines also vary the resistance throughout the range of motion in the exercise. So, machines eliminate a major drawback of free weights – that the amount of weight lifted is limited by the muscle's weakest point in a joint's range of motion.

However, weight machines also have disadvantages. Some people find their body type is not well-suited to the design of a given machine. They may be too short or too tall to comfortably use that pullover machine as part of their workout.

Also, an improperly maintained machine can lead to snapped cable or other breakdown that results in serious injury.

Which Weight Training Method is Better?

So, which method is better? For beginners, machines are usually the better choice. They are both easier to use than free weights and less likely to result in injury.

After mastering machines, many who pursue more ambitious fitness training goals will want to move on to free weights, which may offer the opportunity for increased strength gains and greater workout flexibility.

However, exercisers who simply want their muscles to get bigger and stronger will find benefits in using either machines or free weights.

As Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Jeffrey McBride states, "The important factor is to provide sufficient overload to the muscle by lifting heavy weights." In other words, make sure to lift enough weight to give those muscles a good workout.

Laskowski and others also emphasize that when it comes to strength training, using proper technique is far more important than the choice of method or equipment.

For this reason, it is best to consult a personal trainer or other expert before beginning any weight training program.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fundamentals of Weight Training

The body's primary advantage is its ability to adapt to its environment. When related to lifting weights, progressively increasing resistance equates to large muscles with striated definition.

Benefits of Resistance Training

Anaerobic exercise, weight lifting, is the best way to lose weight. Its fat-burning and metabolism-raising effects put it on a completely different level than cardiovascular exercise.

The muscle-building benefits which result from weight training extend beyond metabolism.

New-found size and muscular definition tends to produce a desirable physique, and can therefore lead to higher confidence levels. Whether or not it's politically correct, people view somebody who is fit differently from those who are not.

Resistance training increases energy levels, and the endorphins released by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus help manage pain while increasing morale.

Bone density and muscle mass, which typically decrease with age, are better retained when a person lifts weights. The short-term benefits of sex-appeal couple with long-term vitality to make resistance training a worthwhile life strategy.

Weightlifting Routines

Almost anything can be used as weights; however, free weights and barbells help to maintain correct form and avoid injury. Machines are often specifically designed around proper form and muscle isolation.

Free weights, such as dumbbells and kettlebells, allow for a much wider range of motion and therefore help in developing supportive tissues. Barbells have an advantage in that they generally utilize both hemispheres of the body at once.

To build muscle fast, two sets of eight reps should be performed. Two sets of 15-25 reps, at a lower weight, can be used for toning the body and extending endurance.

When starting a routine, using compound exercises is the best practice because it calls upon many muscle groups at once. This leads to faster fatigue, a good thing, and it raises the body's metabolism faster.

Once a comfortable level is reached, specific muscles can be exercised to bring out a muscle group's character. Along with regularly rotating the order in which muscle groups are worked, isolation exercises can be used to break through plateaus.

Many people who lift weights supplement with protein and creatine. These two supplements in particular can dramatically increase the rate at which muscle growth occurs.

Weightlifting Safety

Muscles require rest in order to grow. This may seem obvious, but many people overwork their body and then fall victim to injury. If a muscle is worked after it is injured, long-term dehabilitation can occur. It's easier, better for the body, and more effective for muscle growth when a group is only exercised a few times per week.

Warm-up and cool-down routines also help keep the body in peak condition. Stretching, light weights, and cardiovascular exercise fill this role nicely.

Lifting enough weights to slightly damage the muscle is essential to maximizing growth, but lifting more weight than the body is ready for will throw off form. Overexertion and improper form are two of the most common causes of injury.

Changing the body's composition takes time, but it is well-worth the effort. As well as potentially prolonging a person's lifespan, it can maintain youthful levels in their quality of life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Best Leg Exercises

leg exercises
When designing a workout regime for body transformation, there are a number of factors to contemplate. What are your goals, your age, your current fitness level, do you have any orthopedic challenges, how much time will you devote to your regime, etc. Once you have answered those questions you’re ready to begin.

I would like to devote the next few articles to exercise selection, more specifically, the most effective exercises for each muscle group. Let’s start with the legs. So, what are the best exercises for leg development? But, before I answer that I would like to point out that for reasons unknown (actually I do know) most people neglect their legs during workouts. Remember your workout should include exercises for all major muscle groups and you legs are a major muscle group.

For men working your legs can be the catalyst for an overall bigger stronger body. For women, the legs are an area where adipose tissue (fat) usually accumulates. Either way, working your legs will contribute to an overall better workout and, of course a better body!
The exercises:

The squat:

  1. The squat is performed with a weight bar resting on the back across the trapezoid muscles just below the neck. The bar should not rest on the neck as this could cause injury.
  2. Hold the bar with both hands; feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed slightly outward.
  3. Lean slightly forward as you descend lowering hips until thigh are parallel to floor while keeping back straight. Keep head tilted slightly upward to prevent rounding of back.
  4. As you ascend keep back straight until you reach starting position.
  5. Repeat for desired number of repetions.
Squats can be performed while holding dumb bells as well.

The lunge:

  1. Start with feet together.
  2. Step forward touching heel of front foot to floor.
  3. Lower hips while bending both front and back leg, both legs should be bent to 90°
  4. Stand and repeat for desired number of repetions.
  5. Repeat sequence, stepping forward with opposite leg for desired number of repetions.
This exercise can be done while holding dumb-bells or with the bar resting across trapezoid muscles just below the neck. The bar should not rest on the neck as this could cause injury. Walking lunges can be performed to increase intensity of this exercise. Be sure to maintain proper posture.

Calf raises:

You can use a basic calf raise machine for this exercise, but if one is not available, calf raises can be performed by doing the following.
  1. Hold a dumb bell in the hand of the leg you are working.
  2. Stand with the front 1/3 of your foot elevated on a weight plate (25 or more).
  3. Raise up on your toes as high as you can go.
  4. Lower heel to the floor and repeat for desired number of repetions.
  5. Switch dumb bell to other hand and perform movements on opposite leg for desired number of repetions.
There are of course a number of leg exercises that can be performed but these are the most effective exercises for targeting all muscles of the legs. I do recommend adding other leg exercises to your routine from time to time to keep your routine fresh and interesting but sure to keep the afore mentioned exercises the foundation for your leg workout.

“The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.” –Franklin Lloyd Wright

Friday, January 15, 2016

Best Glute Exercises

glute exercises
Training your glutes is an often neglected part of bodybuilding workout routines. Adding a few glute exercise 1-3 days a week can offer substantial gains in the aesthetics department.

One key element to obtaining tight, round glutes is putting your mind into the muscle. Evidence shows that focusing on the muscle working, especially at the point of contraction, greatly increases the effectiveness of the workout. You could perform glute exercises all day and show minimal improvement if you fail to focus.

Regardless of whether your derriere is carrying extra baggage, or if there is evidence of pancake-bottom syndrome, the follow list of glute exercises are sure to get the tight, round glutes you’re seeking.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Stand about three feet in front of a bench or couch, holding either a barbell or dumbbells.

Alternatively, you could put your hands on your head. Place one foot on the bench behind you so that only your instep is on it. Lower your body until your front leg reaches ninety degrees and your back knee almost touches the ground. Drive up back off the lead leg to starting position.

Hover Squats

Sit on a high step bench, with dumbbells on shoulders. Lift off to stand, but stop midway and hover a moment before pushing all the way to standing position. As you lower back down to sit on the bench, hover again just inches away from the bench.

Hopping Side Lunge

Bend your knees into a small squat and hop as far to the right as possible, landing on your right foot. As soon as you land, hop as far to the left as possible, landing on your left foot. Keep your legs low and your torso lifted. This is similar to a skating movement, but the tons of air under your feet.

Repeat as quickly as possible, keeping your buns tight.

Hill Sprints

Running short sprints up hills or stairs will set your glutes on fire. Remember to run fast, lift your legs, and squeeze your bottom. Run for 30 seconds and walk back down to recover. Repeat 4-8 times.

Single Leg Deadlifts

Holding two heavy dumbbells by your side, lift your left foot off the floor behind you. Bend forward at the waist balancing on your right leg. Lower the dumbbells towards the floor, squeeze, then come to starting position. Do all reps on one leg before switching to the other side.

Remember, practice good form, stay mentally focused, and get tight!

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Exercise, Vitality and Middle-Aged Women

A Long and Healthy Life Can be Yours

There are several reasons why exercise regimes often fall by the wayside as one gets older. The problem is not the exercise routine itself, usually. The problem may actually be in the imbalance of hormones and nutrients in a middle-aged woman’s body.
healthy aging

Aerobics Fail

There comes a day when many women are tempted to throw in the towel regarding regular exercise. After years of pumping iron, peddling for miles, pounding the pavement, aerobicising with Jane (or Denise, Debbie, Gilad et al) it seems that the battle of the bulge is an uphill struggle, and a struggle that at most simply maintains a shaky status quo body-wise.

For those who’ve never exercised much, the battle is lost before it’s even begun. Fat, flab, bat wings and rolls pop out at random.

Exercise Does Work

Despite some disappointment in exercise and its results, it's important to remember that exercise does help, even though physical results may not be as dramatic as they once were. Exercise may be keeping many diseases at bay, such as cancer, Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression.

Exercise helps keep bowels functioning properly. It also improves circulation and gives one a sense of accomplishment and well-being. It also slows down the inevitable decline in general.

Eating Well Is Critical

At some stage in one's life (the earlier the better) a person must come to terms with the number of poisons and toxins she is ingesting each day. Responsible and healthful selections of food will help greatly in the fight to maintain health, weight and physical appearance. There are a myriad of excellent resources to help one understand the necessity of taking care of the body nutritionally. Diana Schwarzbein’s The Schwarzbein Principle is a good place to start.

Hormonal Adjustments

It may be that natural hormonal decline as one ages has more to do with one’s sagging muscles, growing middle and thinning hair than any other factor. There is a mountain of information available for those who wish to learn about bio identical hormone replacement.

Despite the controversy over these hormones, there is a growing interest and demand for them. Medical practitioners tout these bio identical hormones for helping with all manner of physical problems. Neal Rouzier, M.D. in How to Achieve Healthy Aging, (WorldLink Medical Publishing 2007) notes that bio identicals help people improve their daily life, from sagging libidos to heart disease, high cholesterol, Alzheimer's Disease, osteoporosis, stroke, skin atrophy and other conditions.

Living Well

There is no magic pill for living well. The desire to live a long and healthy life requires commitment to exercise, good nutrition, stress reduction and, for some, bio identical hormone replacement therapy.

Exercise many not seem such a burden when one is feeling well and is energized.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Improving Bench Press Performance

bench press
There are few things more satisfying to the average gym rat then having the entire gym pretending not to look as you mow through serious tonnage on the bench press. One of the best overall mass-building exercises, the bench press has always, rightly or wrongly, been regarded as a yard stick for strength and machismo.

Here are some pointers to to help improve on the bench.


It's only logical that a lifter must first identify his/her weaknesses on the bench before drawing up a plan of action. Some lifters are actually much stronger than their bench performance leads them to believe, but are being hampered by a very fixable problem.

Critical Bench, a handy online fitness resource, stresses the importance of finding holes in your bench.

For example, the site says that lifters who fail at the bottom of the lift (i.e. - being unable to get the bar back up to the start position) "need to become more explosive in the start of the movement."

Other lifters might have difficulty completing the lockout, which is at the top of the press. The weakness there, Critical Bench says, is triceps strength. Identifying weakness is only part of the equation. The lifter must then zero in on their deficiency and make it a priority in their training.


The main reason the bench press is such a valuable mass-building tool is the fact that the lift incorporates a variety of different muscles.

Therefore, whether a lifter is addressing weaknesses or simply trying to improve an already solid bench, they must train all of the muscles involved in the lift.

Critical Bench cites three complimentary muscles that are crucial to success on the bench:

First is the triceps. The triceps are involved in the top portion of the lift. In addition to providing explosiveness in the movement, the triceps also provide stability and support. Critical Bench cites triceps dips, close-grip presses and triceps extensions to help improve triceps strength.

Shoulder strength is also important. The shoulders are engaged throughout the bottom half of the lift and, like the triceps, act as stabilizers throughout the entire range of motion.

A third, and often overlooked, secondary muscle is the upper back area. Critical Bench asserts that lifters "also need a strong upper back to keep your body tight and stable. Concentrate on barbell rowing, seated rowing and pull-ups to build a big strong back."

USING PROPER FORMAs with any exercise, strict form is essential for safe and successful execution of the the bench press., another invaluable training resource, offers some helpful insight into lifting with proper form, including the following:
  • Arching the back: First, lifters should never arch their back and bounce the weight off his/her chest. These are oft-used cheating methods but, when lifting heavy weight, they can be dangerous.
  • Grip: says to "always wrap your thumbs around the bar so the weight won't slip and crush you." Simple advice, but it certainly drives the point home.
  • Breathing: Proper breathing is critical. Lifters want to inhale and hold their breath on the way down and exhale as the barbell explodes on the way up.
  • Foot Position: In addition, the site advocates having "your feet firmly planted on the ground to draw strength from your legs."


While enthusiasm and dedication in the gym will generate results, lifters must also be mindful of wear and tear on their body. Allowing adequate time for recovery, therefore, is also important. Days off, warm showers and post-workout stretches will go a long way in preventing injury and keeping your workouts on track and pain-free.


Critical Bench offers two types of bench training. To maximize their efficiency, they should both be implemented into a training program, if only on alternating weeks:

Maximal Effort Training: This training method features sessions where the lifter will work with as much as possible for a specific number of reps. As an example, Critical Bench uses a " 5 RM maximal effort session would require you to work up the best weight that you can lift for five repetitions with good form."

Lifting heavy weights will help increase strength, there's no refuting that. Lifting with heavy weights involves low repetition, which is the focal point of maximal effort training. The aim here is to improve muscle strength, whereas a high-rep workout stressed muscle endurance.

Dynamic Effort Training: Critical Bench states that dynamic effort training is designed to increase explosiveness. "The foundation of a dynamic effort workout is opposite to a traditional workout. Because the focus of a dynamic exercise is to move the weight as fast as possible, you will use much less weight. In addition, rather than performing a small number of sets and many repetitions, you will perform a larger number of sets of only a small number of repetitions (i.e. eight sets of three repetitions for the bench press)."

To get the most out of this program, it is imperative to push the bar upwards with maximal force on each and every rep.

Lifters trying to break through plateaus or sticking points might also want to try using resistance tubing on a bench press (using light weight of course) to maximize muscle stimulation and to help increase resistance at the top of the movement without using an unbearable weight.

Again, be sure to only use these methods to supplement your normal chest training - they should not supplant it.

Here's to big weight and big crowds at the gym.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Walking Linked to All-Around Wellbeing

Active Living Improves Physical, Economic and Environmental Health

Studies and best practices promoted at the National Center for Bicycling and Walking 2009 Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference illustrated that communities want to be healthy and that good planning helps citizens lead a more healthy lifestyle. But it can go much further that that. Transportation planning that includes the pedestrian is good for individual, environmental, and economic health.

Feet First
Rebecca Deehr, a pedestrian advocate with Seattle's Feet First organization, believes that pedestrian advocacy is really health advocacy. As a recent college graduate, she feels that a focus on health and the economy is a more effective and twenty-first century approach to addressing the problem of climate change than is a 1970s environmentally-oriented approach.

Through the Feet First organization, she speaks to a diverse audience about healthy living. A healthier environment is a result of the choice to walk more, which she believes more people will do in order to improve their health. Walkability is also a big plus to a community that wants to attract more residents and better quality businesses. The economic future will be brighter when more people get walking.

Active Living Advocacy

To promote an active lifestyle, Rebecca feels that advocacy messages must be fun and engaging. Feet First invites people to get involved and as they do, the organization builds a grassroots network that encourages political and business leaders to make changes in the status quo. In fact, as people become more active, they demand changes in their infrastructure to make pedestrian travel safe and enjoyable.

A fun activity that she has used to engage citizens is the Feet First Chicken. Walkers are invited to help the chicken get to the other side of the road. In doing this, she illustrates safe and unsafe practices and intrastructure. The chicken links active living to the built environment. People become engaged in the process and begin to speak out about sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, pedestrian crossing countdown timers, and other such matters of infrastructure.

Walkable Communities
The benefits of walkable communities extend to public health and beyond. In Decatur, Georgia, planners are seeing reduced traffic congestion and businesses benefiting from pedestrian activity. In Shoreline, Washington, businesses enjoy a more aesthetically pleasing view that, while it attracts customers, also provides space for additional rain garden plantings and art.

Coalitions and Partnerships

The vast majority of today's community leaders (Sarah Palin aside!) believe that climate change is the great challenge of our time and that human activity ... or inactivity? ... is the root cause. Getting out of our cars to walk will cut down on emissions. Getting out of our cars to walk will also improve our health. Building infrastructure that increases non-motorized transportation will get more and more people walking and breathing fresh air. Making walking attractive by using landscaping and art improves psychological wellbeing. Towns that are more walkable and healthier are more attractive to new residents and businesses, boosting economic development.

It is easy to see the many parts that can be linked to engage a community and move many people toward well-rounded health physical and environmental health. Using our feet first, we can drive change and, in turn, change the air and society of our communities.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Women's Weight Training for Greater Fat Loss and Muscle Tone

Weight training routines as popularized by women’s fitness magazines tend to look very different from weight training routines in men’s fitness magazines. Photographs of models lifting small, brightly-colored weights are commonplace, as are suggestions to lift weights that allow for a high number of repetitions, often 15 to 20, or even more.
On the other hand, men receive recommendations for routines lifting more weight with fewer repetitions, a technique that research has proven to be effective for gaining strength, muscle mass, and consequently, improving muscle tone in both men and women. The key elements to a successful weight training program in both men and women are the same, and a training program for women should look no different than a training program for men.

Increased Muscle Tone

A primary reason that women strength train is to increase muscle tone, but rarely do people think about what the term really means. Increasing muscle tone involves reducing the layer of fat covering muscle tissue, while maintaining, or increasing muscle mass. Weight training has been shown to increase fat loss, but only in training programs using lower repetition ranges and higher weights than women are typically prescribed.

Fear of Bulking Up

A commonly held belief is that women who lift heavier weights will become bulky and look like female bodybuilders. On the contrary, lifting weights at recommended intensity levels has been shown to increase fat loss and decrease muscle loss while dieting. Since, muscle is more dense than fat, women who strength train while attempting to lose weight actually get less bulky. The fear of becoming bulky and looking like a female bodybuilder is largely unfounded as women do not naturally have the testosterone levels to achieve such a high degree of muscularity.

Weight Training for Women

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that beginning trainees do a variety of exercises working all major muscle groups 2 to 3 times per week using weights in the 8 to 12 repetition range. Beyond the first 6 months of a training program, the recommendation changes to also include some heavier work at lower repetition ranges. As trainees increase strength and are able to lift one or two repetitions more than the goal range with the same load, more weight should be added to the exercise in question.

Weight Training Potential In Women

Women have the same potential as men for gaining strength and greater strength means more muscle tone. Women have less absolute strength then men, simply because they have an average of 40% less muscle than the average man, but relative strength increases occur at the same rate as for men under the same training recommendations.

If women’s fitness magazines targeting a mainstream female audience are any indication, it is not as culturally acceptable for women to lift heavier weights as it is for men. Increased fat loss and muscle tone are awaiting women who are willing to break out of the cultural norms and increase weight training intensity levels to research-proven levels.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Building Muscle Using High-Intensity Routines

Traditional weight lifting consists of straight sets, in which you typically lift a specific weight for 12 reps in three sets. However, to really challenge your muscles, you need to shock them into hard-core fatigue.

Whether you’re a beginning weight lifter ready to move the next level or you need to power past a plateau, you can choose from a variety of high-intensity routines that will shock your muscles into more growth. Pyramids and super sets are two popular methods that deliver results.

high-intensity routines

Pyramids - The Basis for Muscle Training

A foundation of weight lifting, the pyramid routine uses different weights and reps of the same exercise to fatigue the muscle to failure. In the ascending pyramid, you start with higher reps and less heavy weight, moving to lower reps and heavier weight. For your first set, choose a weight that allows you to complete 12-16 reps. For your next set, decrease the weight so that you can complete 12-10 reps. On the third set, decrease the weight so you can complete eight reps, and so on. Your last set will consist of the heaviest weight you can lift for one to four reps.

In a descending pyramid, you will start at the top with fewer reps and heavier weight, working your way down to lighter weight and higher reps. Since your muscles become fatigued more quickly with this routine, expect to lift lighter weights from the beginning. For example, if you normally lift 30 pounds for bicep curls, start with 20 pounds and gradually descend to five pounds for 10-12 reps. Of course, always do a light warm-up set before your heaviest set.

With both ascending and descending pyramids you need to rest long enough between sets (30 seconds to one minute, depending on the weight) so that you can complete the next set.

Another variation is to perform a triangle pyramid, in which you ascend and then descend down pyramid with the same exercise. For example, the reps in this routine might be 16-12-8-4-8-12-16. You’ll need more time for this routine, but used occasionally, it can produce significant results. You may not be able to get in as many reps coming down the pyramid but perform as many as you can and know that your muscles are getting a real workout.

Super Sets - Adding to Your Muscle-building Repertoire

Since we’re talking about shocking your muscles, super sets can also be an integral part of your weight-lifting routine. A super set is when you complete two exercises back to back without rest, stressing your muscles in a big way and giving you a cardio boost as well. This routine is very effective at fatiguing your muscles and can be used as your primary routine or combined with pyramids.

As an example, when working your legs, you could complete a set of lunges followed immediately by a set of leg presses (12 reps for both sets). To use super sets with a pyramid routine, you would complete an ascending or descending set of lunges followed immediately by a regular set of leg presses.

You can combine two exercises that target the same muscle groups (triceps pushdown and triceps kickback), antagonistic muscles (hamstring curl and leg extension), or unrelated muscles.

Another variation of super sets, called giant sets, is to perform three consecutive sets instead of two. You will complete fewer reps in this routine.

While you won’t build strength with super sets because the amount of weight you can lift is lower, it’s an excellent technique for building and shaping the muscles. There are many variations of super sets to keep you from getting bored or reaching a plateau. Super sets also save time in the gym!

While there are many advanced weight-lifting approaches to explore, pyramids and super sets are two of the most popular. Remember, in order to see results you need to shock your muscles and rest in between workouts. Don’t work the same muscles on consecutive days - allow them to grow during off days. These techniques, combined with rest and a nutritious diet, will help you attain your goals of a ripped – or simply more muscular – physique.

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.