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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, 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.


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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.