I hope everyone had an incredible February! I thought I would do something completely different this month and think outside the box for a workout for you. I’m always seeing these great workouts that people down south get to do in the winter while in Michigan I am stuck going to the gym to get my exercise in. So I must apologize in advance to everyone who doesn’t get snow, this workout is not for you. The workout I have for you is completely different than anything you have ever seen published in any exercise journal or RX article, I can guarantee that!
We’ve all had friends from the gym that have too high of a percentage of body fat for their health. They use the excuse that they are in a “bulking” phase. I’ve seen some guys put on 50 lbs in one off season. But, is this necessary to maximize lean mass gains? Working as a trainer for 13 years I’ve heard 1,000’s of times “in order to grow you have to eat bro!” People go to the extreme to get in extra calories and are taking in Pop-Tarts for post workout and eating McDonalds for a quick calorie heavy meal. Let’s face it most people who are doing this are using “bulking” as an excuse to eat whatever they want and aren’t concerned with two things, first their overall health in terms of saturated fat intake and cholesterol levels and second their net gains.
Just because you can't see your back in the mirror doesn't mean you shouldn't train it. A good back will give your physique a wide and powerful look, and it will also give you the illusion of having a smaller waist. How do you build a strong V shaped back? Read on as I detail my top three back exercises that will hit your lats, middle and lower back...
It’s been 30 days since you hit my leg workout. I’m hoping you are back to walking normal and you’re ready for a change to your shoulder workout. Here are a FEW TIPS to help maximize the results of the workout.
TIP 1: When doing shoulders really focus on form and do not sacrifice it no matter what. Shoulders are the easiest body part to injure and many times the most nagging. Shoulder surgery is not fun and can be a 6 month recovery.
TIP 2: When doing side laterals or front raises make sure you bring the weight SLIGHTLY above the shoulders. I see many people in the gym without a good range of motion and unless you bring that weight SLIGHTLY above the shoulder you will be missing out on some key growth.
No matter how long I’ve been training, or how much I learn, one thing remains the same; my complete and total awe of the vast intelligence contained within the human organism and its ability to adapt to various stimuli. Resistance training is a perfect example of this! Most experienced trainers know that lower reps and volume, tend to primarily elicit strength gains. These tend to be the result of neurological adaptations (especially in the early stages of training). Protocols based on higher reps and overall training volume tend to be more effective at producing muscle growth (i.e. hypertrophy) via structural changes in the actual muscle tissue itself.
How many times have you spent the last half of your workout on the special ab machine at the gym or doing countless sit-ups only to see no results? You’ve done every abdominal workout that you’ve heard of to no avail. Are you finding that getting that ever elusive six pack you want to show off in your board shorts seems unattainable. Here are 3 “Six pack” myths that may be holding you back or at least wasting your time.
“How much do you bench?” As you are reading this article, I am sure that is a question that you have been asked many times. It seems to be the measure of alpha male prowess when you are chatting to someone in a bar. You are rarely asked, “how much do you deadlift?” or “how much do you squat?” Yet out of these movements I have mentioned, the bench press is probably the one where technique between training for a maximal lift and training for aesthetics varies quite considerably. Sure there may be slight changes in feet placement when deadlifting or squatting for a maximal lift as opposed to when focusing on muscular aesthetics, but for the most part the technique is the same. The bench press however is quite different. For this reason it is no wonder that one of the most common errors I see in the gym is a guy trying to push as much weight as possible for reps on a bench press rather than focusing on working the muscle group they are trying to improve. This then spills over to other chest exercises too. Let’s take cable crossovers for example, it seems that the “cable-press-over” has become one of the most common moves you will see in most gyms! With the focus on moving as much weight as they can, a trainer ends up doing something closer to a press with cables rather than a crossover.
Muscular Symmetry is the hallmark of an aesthetic physique. A more subtle, yet no less important, aspect to muscular balance is your inner muscular symmetry. This consists of developing appropriate strength and flexibility between opposing muscle groups not only for the sake of appearance but for musculoskeletal health as well!
Muscles in the body tend to work in pairs that have opposite functions (called Functional Antagonists). For example the biceps on the front of the arm bends your elbow while the triceps on the back of the arm straightens the elbow.
As you can imagine if the biceps was in a chronically tight position you would have a situation where your arms would favor a flexed position as its “normal” resting state. This would also put your triceps in a chronically stretched position. I’m sure we’ve all seen guys in the gym who spend 90 % of their arm workouts doing curls and walk around with their arms bent 24-7!
The most problematic imbalances involve muscles that affect posture.
I hope you enjoyed my back workout from last month. Now that we warmed your body up from the chest and back workouts, I thought it would be time to get serious and move to the legs. Just like the other workouts this is not designed for the beginner. This is designed for individuals that have put some time into the gym, have learned and mastered the form of these exercises, and whose bodies are use to a little pain ;-). Make sure you drink plenty of fluids leading up to and after this workout as always. Feed the body the nutrients it needs to get through the workout and have that post meal ready to start recovery immediately. Have fun and hit me up on Facebook and tell me what you liked best about it.
Training the traps can be a bit tricky, because of the unique anatomical configuration of the muscle. It’s fan-shaped - originating over a broad area along the upper spine, and narrowing down to a much smaller insertion on the shoulder blade (scapula). Because of this configuration, it is able to pull the shoulder carriage straight upward, slightly back and upward, straight backward, back and slightly downward.
Part of the trapezius already works, during a typical back workout that involves rowing. The lower portion of the trapezius works when we do pulldowns, provided the pulley is slightly in front of us (thereby causing us to pull slightly backward, as well as downward). This is why we usually do standing shrugs for our traps - because the upper part doesn’t get enough stimulation from rowing and pulldowns.
I hope you enjoyed my chest workout from last month. I thought I might continue with a back workout to even things out a bit. This should give your back a little shock and awe!! This workout is not for the beginner…..you have been warned. Try it out and let me know what you think. Hit me up on Facebook and tell me what you liked best about it.
BACK ATTACK: The Lift...
So you are thinking about hiring a personal trainer. That is terrific, because more people are working out with their very own exercise consultant than ever before. Personal trainers are not just for Hollywood stars and the “rich and famous” anymore! For good reason, since personal trainers can make the difference between a great workout and a ho-hum one—or even no workout at all. Your personal trainer will motivate you, keep you on track and make sure your workouts are safe, enjoyable and effective.
Of course, you want your personal trainer to exhibit the same qualities you demand of any provider of professional services, say, your tax preparer or dentist—a high degree of knowledge in their field, demonstrated expertise, plus a personality that’s compatible with yours.
Recovery is a critical component of any sound training program and there are many ways it can be implemented. One can recover more passively via total rest or getting bodywork done (i.e. massage), or more actively through a variety of low to moderate intensity activities.
Personally speaking, passive recovery days have rarely worked well for me. They always tend to leave me feeling physically and mentally sluggish. Over time I’ve found that I received more benefit using an active approach that combines a low intensity resistance training circuit along with different flexibility techniques. This “Activation Session” creates a full body stimulus without placing too much stress on the musculoskeletal or bioenergetic systems.
I highly recommend doing this type of session away from the gym environment to avoid the temptation of morphing this activation session into a full-blown workout (i.e. “I’ll just do ONE set of Bench Press”…. and then its “off to the races!”).
Do you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both? If so, then you just might have insomnia. What you might not realize is that you are not alone. Insomnia is actually the most common sleep disorder effecting more than 20 million adults in the United States. Individuals with insomnia:
· Lie awake for a long time before falling asleep,
· Sleep for only short periods,
· Are awake for much of the night,
· Feel as if they haven't slept at all, or
· Wake up too early
No, this is not another doomsday article designed to incite mass panic and overreaction, it is however designed to get you those “jacked”, muscular arms you desire! The trick is incorporating all muscle groups so that each one is worked uniformly. How many times have we seen the guy at the gym who does incessant curls so that his biceps are completely overdeveloped to the point of looking cartoonish, yet has little or no tricep development at all? DO NOT BE THIS GUY!!
Following is my Armageddon routine. I hope you are not scared of a little pain, because if your arms don’t start cramping or locking up after this workout, you are either not doing it right, or aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. This routine works best with three people so that you have enough time to rest in between supersets.
You will need:
A flat bench
Dumbbells (I use 35lbs)
A curl iron (25-35 lb. plates)
When you first start training, the body goes through a lot of neuromuscular changes; therefore, you don't need to alternate your routines very much and due to being a novice you are still learning correct form and techniques. By continuing to follow a workout without any change, it can place you in a tough plateau to break through. Aside from that, it cause your workouts to become monotonous and tedious. In order to burn fat, you should try to change your routine every 4 to 8 weeks. Even when building muscle it’s a good idea to cycle your workouts.
Everyone wants a great 6 pack. A clean diet is imperative, but abdominal training can make a huge difference as well. After training your abdominals over and over! It can get pretty monotonous unless you change it up! Here is a simple way to add a "Rep Style" form to your basic planks.
Basic Planks - this is one of the best types of static to perform. When doing a plank, make sure to have your toes down, body aligned and abs tight. At this point you should feel the vibration in your core. That's the good part! Hold that for at least 20 seconds.
If you have been looking to change up your chest workout I have the perfect one for you to try. Five exercises may not seem that bad, but by the end of this one you will have a pump that will inflate the chest to its breaking point. Try it out and let me know what you think. Hit me up on Facebook!
Here's the workout to inflate you chest!
Okay, are you done? Excellent!
More than likely, the first cliché that popped into your mind was Arnold’s “I’ll be back!” catchphrase from Terminator. While this cliché doesn’t have anything to do with the back per se, it counts because Arnold said it and the man’s back is huge! If you took the time to make a mental list of back-related sayings and clichés then your list might look a little something like the following:
We've all heard the saying, "Abs aren't made in the gym, they are made in the kitchen", but is this really the case? I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be a nutrition or fitness guru, but I do train very hard and have been doing so for the past twenty five years, and I have to say I have always had a problem with this statement. Let's be real, abs are not created in the kitchen, they are REVEALED there. The abdominals are a muscle group just like any other in your body, and require rigorous training and adequate rest to achieve that "blocky" look. For the majority of people, clean diet alone will not give them the look they desire...
When it comes to obtaining optimal body mass, nutrition is potentially the most powerful variable one must control in order to achieve the look they want. Still, the exercise component of one’s training program certainly plays a large role in helping to maximize fat loss.
The cardiovascular aspect of training for fat loss for years has typically been split between proponents of steady state cardio and high intensity interval training. Usually this training is performed before, after, or on a different day altogether from one’s resistance training.
More recently a hybrid approach has been studied that has shown incredible efficacy when it comes to burning body fat called “Integrated Concurrent Exercise Training” (ICE) and that will be the main focus of this article...