Tag Archive | "bodybuilding"

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Calum Von Moger’s Armed And Ready Workout

Vital Stats

I’m not interested in looking like today’s bodybuilders. I prefer the classic physiques of guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dave Draper, and Franco Columbu. They had incredible symmetry, great proportions, and amazing overall development. Those are guys I want to look like—but maybe just a little bit better.

In this workout, I’m going to hit arms with an old-school approach to help you build a set of Golden Age guns, from tall biceps peaks to dense, horseshoe triceps. We’re going to put on mass and carve out shape. Our goal isn’t just size. We’re going to build size, aesthetics, proportion, and balance.

I thrive on pushing myself to that next level—breaking past plateaus and goals I’ve set and adding on the reps. If I have it in me, I’ll keep going. You’re not going to grow if you don’t push yourself to the next level. If you want to see results, you have to kick up your training.

Integrate this workout into your program once or twice each week to keep your arms growing.

Calum von Moger’s “Armed And Ready” Workout
Watch The Video – 13:43

This workout is a simple, six-exercise breakdown: three exercises for your biceps and three exercises for your triceps. Start out with higher reps of 12-15 to warm the muscles up, and then taper your reps to the muscle-building range of 6-12 reps for 4-5 sets. Heavy weight and ample volume will ensure a killer pump.

I like to add mass with compound movements and carve with isolation exercises. Start with the compound moves—they’re the best way to work on the mass and the size of your arms—and finish with isolation exercises for detail, cuts, and that added pop.

Calum’s Pro Tips

Barbell Curl

I didn’t have a gym membership until I was 18 or 19 years old. All we had was a barbell, some weights, and some dumbbells. All I knew were barbell curls. Today, they’re still one of my favorite exercises.

I think barbell curls are a great exercise to start an arms workout because you have to employ coordination and balance. There’s no isolation and no machine to rely on, which helps you develop core and overall strength.

“I think barbell curls are a great exercise to start an arms workout because you have to employ coordination and balance.”

Preacher Curl

Concentrate on good form—elbows tight to the pad, no swinging, no momentum&Mdash;and a great stretch on the preacher curl. At the top of this isolation exercise, remember to squeeze your biceps as hard as possible for the ultimate pump.

Stay focused. Just going through the motion won’t get you the physiques of classic bodybuilding champs. Build your mind-muscle connection. Doing so will give you more control and a lasting pump you can feel.

Don’t be afraid to play around with your grip to help hit your biceps from different angles.

Concentration Curls

I like to finish my biceps with the concentration curl. It’s a great isolation exercise that will stretch your biceps and help build high peaks. I like to do them while standing for the added resistance.

When it comes to the concentration curl, contract with as much force as possible, but remember to control the eccentric (lowering) part of the movement. You never want to swing down or simply drop the dumbbell.

French Press (EZ-Bar Skullcrusher)

Keep your elbows as close to your body as possible, and keep them fixed once you get the weight up. I like to bring the bar to my forehead to get a bigger stretch out of my triceps. Explode on the way up and stay controlled on the way down.

French Press

Don’t always feel like you have to stick to a specific number of sets and reps. You may use any workout template as a guideline, but once in a while you have to break the rules and go beyond your “assigned number.” Challenge yourself and grow!

Seated Triceps Press

To really hammer the long head of your triceps, you need to get your arms over your head. Maintain control as you lower the dumbbell behind your head, go down as far as you can to get a really good stretch, and extend all the way at the top. You want the last few reps on your final set to leave you completely gassed.

Dip

Dips are a great finishing exercise. Your triceps are already fatigued, and dips give them that extra, final push. Increase the intensity as needed by increasing the rep count and limiting your rest period.

Attack as many reps as you possibly can, no matter how tired you are.

Calum’s Golden Rule

Not sure if you’re training arms hard enough? Take this test: At the end of your workout, try and touch your shoulders. If your biceps are so pumped up you can’t reach them, you’ve done your job well. If you easily get a hand on each deltoid, you need to keep pushing.

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Calum Von Moger’s Armed And Ready Workout

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4 Moves for Ripped Lower Abs

For most guys, starting from the bottom and working upward is a great strategy when training abs, because your lower abstend to be more stubborn than the upper portion in terms of strength and definition. The idea, then, is to develop a routine that works every muscle group in your abs in tandem in order to provide the balance you need.

The collection of movements below accomplishes this quite nicely, starting with two movements that target your lower abs, followed by some oblique work, and a core-stabilization finisher. And since it’s impossible to train one portion of the rectus abdominis—your six-pack muscles—apart from another, your upper abs will get plenty of work, too, in this routine.

THE LOWER AB WORKOUT

EXERCISE REPS
Hanging Leg Raise 12-15
Land Mine 10 per side
Weighted Crunch 15
Swiss Ball Plank 30-sec hold

Taken from:

4 Moves for Ripped Lower Abs

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Skinny To Strong: Karina Baymiller’s Complete Fitness Journey

Vital Stats

In the fitness community, I’m most often recognized because of my big weight-loss transformation. I went from 185 pounds to a little less than 130 pounds. It took me a few years to get to my lowest weight, but I followed the motto that slow and steady wins the race and I never gave up. I know it was this attitude that helped me place second the 2013 Bodybuilding.com BodySpace Spokesmodel Competition.

Sometimes, I look back and can’t believe how far I’ve come. I don’t even remember the girl who had never stepped foot in a gym and gorged on pizza, chips, and ramen all day.

But I’ve decided my transformation work is not yet done—in fact, it’s only just begun! I’m on a second transformation journey, and this time I’m putting my happiness and my health first. I’m transforming my body from skinny to strong, and my mind from unhealthy to happy.

Before

After

Why I Decided to Change … Again

Believe it or not, when I weighed 185 pounds, I was one confident girl. I loved my body and never thought of myself as fat. I was who I was and that was that. I wasn’t defined by my body’s appearance. But that self-confidence changed the moment I decided I should lose weight. It seemed as though the more weight I lost, the more self-conscious about my appearance I became. I reached every weight-related goal I had set for myself, and yet I was never good enough.

At 125 pounds and with barely enough body fat to function, I competed for the first (and last) time with anxiety that I was “too fat” to be on stage. I had become so progressively wrapped up in numbers and body fat percentages over the few short years of dieting, that I was mentally destroyed.

I also noticed that my training started to suffer. I first began working out to be healthy and because I loved the way it made me feel, but I had lost sight of those reasons. I trained to burn calories and stay as thin as possible. If I didn’t burn enough calories according to my heart rate monitor—which was never accurate anyway—my mood was ruined. More often than not, I would make myself go back to the gym later to do HIIT or run. I started to hate outdoor runs because I was forcing myself to do them. I allowed my training to control me. I stopped doing the things I enjoyed in exchange for doing whatever it took to stay thin.

Along with a severely distorted body image and training that was running me into the ground, my relationship with food started to become extremely disordered. Gone were the days of using food for fuel. If my food wasn’t weighed out to the gram and if I didn’t prepare it myself, I refused to eat it. There were days that I had full-blown anxiety attacks because I couldn’t log something in MyFitnessPal.

“If I didn’t burn enough calories according to my heart rate monitor—which was never accurate anyway—my mood was ruined. More often than not, I would make myself go back to the gym later to do HIIT or run.”

I began taking hours of my day to try to configure my food so I would hit my macros just perfectly. If I didn’t, another anxiety attack would ensue. To say I was obsessed is an understatement. I restricted myself with calories, types of foods, and situations. God forbid I would eat a cookie!

I felt like I was drowning, like I was just barely holding my head above water. Everything I had loved so much in the beginning—the healthy eating, the workouts, my body—now had complete control of my life. They were no longer positives. They had become negatives, weighing me down with each passing day. I knew I had to change. It was only a matter of time before I broke down completely.

That’s when I decided I wanted to find strength.

Letting Go

The first thing I had to change was my mindset. I had to let go of the unhealthy habits that were slowly suffocating me. My negative body image was, and still is to this day, the hardest thing to let go of. I found it much easier to allow for self-hate than to find self-love. Sadly, I think this is true for many people. But I had to let go.

I had to let go of having visible abs 24/7. I had to let go of desperately trying to maintain 12 percent body fat. I had to let go of the number on the scale. Most importantly, I had to let go of the idea that I would only be happy if I was lean. I wanted to be happy when I looked in the mirror, and I knew it wouldn’t come from a certain size. It had to come from letting go and loving myself no matter what.

“I’m proud of the person I’ve become and the changes I’ve made.”

I still remind myself of where I started. That girl sitting on her ass eating ramen all day is 180 degrees from where I am today, and she always will be. I’m proud of the person I’ve become and the changes I’ve made. Whether I stay the size that I am now or gain or lose a few pounds, I love who I am. My worth is no longer based on what the scale says in the morning.

I don’t have “fat days” or “fluffy days” anymore, because quite frankly, I don’t care. I refuse to let something like three pounds of water destroy my day. I know now that I’m healthier than I ever was at 130 pounds. My hormones aren’t out of whack, I’m not moody or depressed, I don’t have random headaches, I’m not constantly fatigued, and I don’t feel weak.

Unfortunately, there’s a widespread belief that equates health to six-pack abs. This might be true for some people, but for the majority it’s not. I can lift more, sprint faster, and am healthier now than I ever was. There is beauty in strength. I don’t just say it, I know it.

Letting Go

I wanted my fire for exercise to burn like it did when I first started lifting, so I let go of the forced daily runs and extra HIIT sessions to “make up” for calories. I began to utilize conditioning work 1-2 times per week instead. I added back my short outdoor runs, but much more infrequently, and never because I felt pressure to burn a certain number of calories. I threw my heart monitor away.

I also discovered powerlifting. When I finally dropped the light-weight, high-rep stuff I was doing to stay thin, I started following Wendler’s 5-3-1 program and quickly fell in love. My strength skyrocketed, and when I decided I wanted to take my training to the next level, I signed with The Strength Guys. Now, the spark is back when I’m in the gym. I feel the fire again.

Squat

Strength Training Program

I follow an intense, block-periodization powerlifting program created by my coach, Jon Stewart. It’s high volume, tailored to correct my weaknesses, and uses movements and load intensities built for progression. I’m on six-week cycles of five-day splits. I have one day of light conditioning and one day of complete rest. Mobility is a vital component of my current program because my training pushes my body to its limits.

Each day and week I use different sets, reps, and weight with a specific rest time, exercise tempo, and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) to follow. Days one and three look on week three of my program.

  • Mobility TrainingMobility Training Mobility Training
    30-40 minutes

Mobility Training includes foam rolling the area to be trained, plus two or three dynamic stretches/movements the prepare the area for training.

Pause Squats have the lifter descending to the bottom position of the squat and freezing. The bottom position is held for three seconds, maintaining tightness in the muscles and correct technique, before returning to the starting position.

Compensatory Acceleration Training (C.A.T.)

is lifting sub-maximal loads with maximum force. For more details check

elitefts.com

.

  • Mobility TrainingMobility Training Mobility Training
    30-40 minutes

Mobility Training includes foam rolling the area to be trained, plus two or three dynamic stretches/movements the prepare the area for training.

Reset Deadlifts are performed the same as a standard deadlift, but the lifter will put the weight completely on the floor and reset their hip position between each rep.

Letting Go

The hardest physical aspect to change for me was my diet. I had developed such rigid views and habits around food that it was almost more of a struggle to let them go than it was to keep them. I packed away my food scale and deleted MyFitnessPal. I started incorporating foods that I hadn’t allowed myself to eat in years. I stopped restricting. I re-learned how to eat, not from a clock or scale, but from what my body was feeling.

At first I thought I would feel free without the calorie counting, stress, obsession, and anxiety, but I didn’t. I would take two steps forward and three steps back, wondering if I would ever be able to change. It took years to develop my disordered relationship with food, and I knew it wasn’t going to take a week to fix it. So, I trusted the process just as I always had, kept working at it, and didn’t give up.

Today, around 70-80 percent of the food I consume is healthy, nutrient-dense food that allows my body to perform at its optimal level. This includes things like lean proteins, organic dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts (and butters!), and seeds.

70-80 percent of the food I consume is healthy, nutrient-dense food like lean proteins, organic dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts (and butters!), and seeds.

The other 20-30 percent of food I consume is made up of things that I crave, or that I just plain want—no explanation or condition necessary. There is no special time, day, or place for these foods. I allow myself the freedom to eat them when I want them. Some days I’m at a 50/50 split, some days it’s 100/0, but on most days I stay right around 80/20. It all balances out.

I don’t restrict, I listen to my body’s needs and wants, and most important, I consume everything mindfully and in moderation. Through all of the extremes, I’ve found balance to be the key component in my physical and mental health. It’s also been the key to my happiness.

Sample Day

I don’t have a meal plan to follow because the foods and amounts I eat change on a daily basis. I don’t weigh or measure anything, so all quantities below are estimated. I don’t know my caloric intake or macro breakdown, but I would guess I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,200-2,700 calories per day. Here is what I ate yesterday:

Greek Chicken Wrap

Final Thoughts

Throughout my second transformation, I’ve found myself spending more time with friends and family. They couldn’t care less what I look like—my abs make no difference to them. As long as I’m healthy and happy, they’re happy too.

It’s funny because these are the people I pulled away from when I started my downhill slide into disordered eating and thinking. I sheltered myself from everything that wasn’t fitness related, even friends and family. But when I finally let go of the obsession and the stress, I felt free.

During this second transformation, I found that the middle is where I want to be.

The fitness community is full of extremes. We work out until we can’t move. We eat diets of tilapia and broccoli. It takes a strong individual to endure what we put ourselves through. But during this second transformation, I found that the middle is where I want to be.

I want to be somewhere between the overweight college girl and the underweight girl on stage, somewhere between the girl who ate pop-tarts for every meal and the girl who ate lettuce for every meal, somewhere between the girl who never stepped foot into the gym and the girl who wouldn’t leave it until she’d burned enough calories. This middle spot is where I’m happy and strong. It’s where I found my balance.

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Originally posted here –

Skinny To Strong: Karina Baymiller’s Complete Fitness Journey

Posted in Bodybuilding, Diets, Exercises, Health Issues, Nutrition, Personal Fitness Training, Training Methods, Weight loss, Weight TrainingComments Off on Skinny To Strong: Karina Baymiller’s Complete Fitness Journey

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Dumbbells Only Pump for Upper-Body Muscle

YOUR SETUP

Some people have elaborate training accommodations in their homes (a power rack, full sets of dumbbells, bars and plates, one of those decked-out home gyms, etc.). You’re not one of those people. You have the bare minimum: a bench and one pair of dumbbells sitting in the basement. The guy with the decked-out gym can do pretty much any of the complete programs we publish every month. You, on the other hand, need to get a bit more creative.

Let’s say those dumbbells you have are a pair of 30-pounders. And like most people, you have limited time on your hands, yet you still want to get the most out of your time.

YOUR SOLUTION

The following workout will tax your entire upper body (chest, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps) in less than a half-hour. Because 30s are the only dumbbells you have, the order in which you do the exercises listed is crucial. Reason being, performing bent-over rows and dumbbell bench presses with such light weight won’t suffice for most guys. However, if you do those movements after a series of other exercises, your upper-body muscles will be fatigued to the point that 30s are plenty heavy to get a good pump without having to do 50-100 reps per set.

Notice which exercises you’ll start with: bent-over lateral raises (for rear delts), kickbacks (triceps), lateral raises (middle delts) and so on. Thirty-pound dumbbells will easily be heavy enough on those movements for most guys, since you have less of a mechanical advantage with them—in other words, they’re more difficult, causing you to use a lighter weight. As you get further along in the circuit, the exercises become easier in terms of mechanical advantage, while at the same time getting tougher because you aren’t resting between exercises. Typically, you’d want to train your larger muscle groups before smaller ones, but not when all you have is a pair of 30s.

YOUR WORKOUT

Do one set of each of these moves consecutively without rest (circuit style). After completing the circuit one time through, rest one minute, then repeat. Take each set of each exercise to failure. Go through the circuit as many times as possible in the limited time you have (in 20 minutes, that should be 4-5 sets per exercise).

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Dumbbells Only Pump for Upper-Body Muscle

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Fitness Equipment, Nutrition, Personal Fitness Training, Training Methods, Weight loss, Weight TrainingComments Off on Dumbbells Only Pump for Upper-Body Muscle

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High Reps, Low Reps? Which Rep Scheme Is Best?

“Once you’ve been training long enough, your body grows wiser and you realize that you can’t simply force it to do anything anymore.”

Bodybuilders and strength athletes stop making progress for one reason: They stop coercing their body to adapt. Note how I intentionally use the word coerce, not a connotatively weaker action verb like force. The reason is that once you’ve been in the training game long enough, your body grows wiser and you realize that you can’t simply force it to do anything anymore.

When you continue to push and grunt with no concrete strategy other than “hard work,” you get injured or beat-up. Few things devour reasonable progress faster than what we’ll call “middle ground” training. That is, always training with the same set or rep scheme and with the same intensity. If you default to training in the 8, 10, or 12 rep range, I hate to break it to you, but your growth is simply wallowing in no-gain’s land.

Fortunately, there are tools in the training toolbox that will sharpen up your training. Let’s start with a brief overview and then move on to how these can be applied to your own programming to maximize growth and development.

The Neural-Metabolic Continuum

The first order of business is to focus on a key element of training: The neural-metabolic continuum. It’s a fancy term that allows you to understand whether you actually work your muscles or central nervous system (CNS), based on key variables. For the sake of brevity, here’s a visual breakdown of what it looks like.

Before your eyes glaze over, let me explain. If you’re chasing more metabolic (i.e. hypertrophic) gains, your, say, squatting program might look something like this:

4 sets of 10 repetitions
Tempo: 3 seconds down, no pause in the bottom, 1 second up
60-90 seconds rest between sets

On the other end of the spectrum, where you might be chasing more neural (i.e. strength) gains, your program might more resemble this:

5 sets of 3 repetitions
Tempo: As fast as possible
3-5 minutes rest between sets

Are we clear on the layout of the neural-metabolic continuum? Good, now let’s look at why you need to spend time in both ends (and not the straight middle) to maximize your growth and development.

Deadlift

The Case for High Reps

By now, it’s probably ingrained in you that you need to perform high reps per set (I’m looking at you, bodybuilders). Let me clarify that I define high reps to dawdle in the 8-12 rep range but could be as low as 6 reps per set.

There shouldn’t be anything really earth-shattering here. If you train with high reps, your goal is to build a bigger muscle.

Some folks call this “structural hypertrophy” since the higher rep sets allow you to focus primarily on the muscles themselves. They also lend themselves to fewer total sets per exercise. By virtue of slowing down the movement, coupled with the sheer amount of reps you do per set, you’re going to increase time under tension, which is a necessary stimulus for hypertrophy. No doubt, gains in strength will come along for the ride, but increases in muscular growth will outpace the increases in strength.

But what happens if you spend all your time here? Quite simply, your body will adapt to your training in this rep range if you continue it for extended periods of time. Furthermore, training in that zone will ultimately limit the amount of intensity you can use as well.

Do high-rep sets (15, 20, or more reps per set) have a place in programming? Sure, but they’re probably the exception rather than the rule.

The solution here is clear: Focus on getting stronger! This brings me to my next point…

The solution here is clear: Focus on getting stronger!

The Case for Low Reps

High reps deliver big gains, right? Well, low reps have a place, too!

The low-rep zone can be defined as anything between 1 rep with near-maximal effort and 5 reps in a set. They’re often viewed as being geared more for powerlifting or Olympic lifting, but if you really want to make high-threshold motor units work, you will need to push some serious weight!

This focuses on making your nervous system more efficient. If you switch from sets of 10 to sets of 3, you coerce your body to unfamiliar, shocking stressors, especially since low rep ranges encourage the use of much heavier weights. Every movement requires more “tightness” and a more intense focus. Further, more motor units and muscle fibers are recruited, and your body gets better at turning off antagonists (or opposing muscle groups) as well.

The result is that you’ll get jacked, but in a slightly different way. Since the goal is more on strength, your body composition will greatly differ from someone who performs exclusively high-rep sets. Powerlifters are strong as hell and can move jaw-dropping weight, but probably lack a bit of the size and definition of a well-trained bodybuilder.

The Perfect Combination

So if high reps promote hypertrophy and low reps facilitate strength increases, then in theory, the marriage of both rep schemes will bring forth muscular and strength development worthy of the Greek gods.

You need to spend dedicated periods of time in both the high-rep and low-rep ranges to maximize your development. High reps build muscle and connective tissue strength, and give your body respite from the grind of low-rep sets, too. Similarly, low-rep sets build neuromuscular and CNS efficiency. When you become more efficient and then go back to your big lifts, you can use even more weight than before, because you’re just that much more efficient and effective.

As an example of what I often do with physique-focused clients, I break down their set-rep schemes into one of two categories:

  • High rep – 8-12 repetitions per set
  • Low rep – 4-8 repetitions per set

These aren’t hard-and-fast rules. There may be times when even higher reps (15-20) could be used. On the flipside, there are other times when you may want to push the weight and work in the 1-5 rep range.

The biggest benefit from switching between these two ranges is that you’ll constantly coerce (there’s that word again) your body to adapt, to grow, and to improve.

Can’t I Just Train Everything at Once?

I know some people really like undulating periodization, in which you hit different set-rep schemes on different days of the week.

“You have to dial up the focus and be the orchestrator to your symphony of muscles.”

If this is you, perhaps your training looks something like this:

  • Monday – 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Wednesday – 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Friday – 10 sets of 3 reps

With this weekly program, you hit everything in one training week, thinking it’s smart, efficient training. This is true if you’re newer to lifting or have never tried a protocol like this before. However, as you get more and more advanced, this type of scenario won’t work nearly as well since you’re sending multiple mixed messages to your body.

Monday’s workout would tell your body it’s time to get big, but then Wednesday’s workout will kick your body into a bit of strength mode. Finally, Friday’s workout will run counter to Monday’s and place the emphasis on raw strength. What is a confused body to do?! As you become more proficient, you have to dial up the focus and be the orchestrator to your symphony of muscles (and thus, training).

It’s kind of why an elite level sprinter can’t simply wake up one day, decide to run a marathon, and hope to be awesome at both distances.

While I’m saying that you need to spend time on both ends of the neural-metabolic continuum, you need to have some patience and zero-in your efforts on one at a time. The general rule is to spend at least 4-6 weeks focusing on one end before you even think about heading to the other.

The Final Step

Hopefully, you’re now alternating between periods of high-rep and low-rep training—awesome! The next step is to alternate the level of intensity over the course of the training cycle. Think of the following quote: “A peak is surrounded by two valleys.” You can’t expect to go at 110 percent intensity every time you train. You’ll only burn yourself out. Layer-in days of high intensity combined with days of low intensity.

The astute reader (you!) might inquire about whether simply wavering between high and low rep ranges might already serve this purpose. It does in a rather unrefined way. Here’s an example of how I’ll set my intensity within a training month:

  • Week 1 – 4 sets of 5 reps @70%
  • Week 2 – 5 sets of 5 reps @80%
  • Week 3 – 4 sets of 3 reps @75%
  • Week 4 – 3 sets of 5 reps @85%

As you can see, I’m not trying to move the same weights or loads on a week-to-week basis.

In week 1, I build a base and get a good weight to build my base from. In week 2, I push the limits of my volume. In week 3, I deload. Basically, that means I lower the intensity and volume to make it an “easier” work week, allowing my body to recover and supercompensate. Finally, in week 4, I go for broke with regard to my intensity. Try using this for your squat sometime—it works great!

“You can’t expect to go at 110 percent intensity every time you train. You’ll only burn yourself out.”

You could also do something far simpler, which yields amazing results when you just get started:

  • Week 1 – 3 sets of 10 reps @70%
  • Week 2 – 3 sets of 8-10 reps @75%
  • Week 3 – 3 sets of 8 reps @80%
  • Week 4 – 2 sets of 8 reps @70-75%

In this example, I use a stair-step approach to prepare you for week 3. After that, you deload and get ready to run the cycle again on week 5.

With these examples, the point I’m driving home is that you can’t go hard every single week. Instead, “wave” your intensity and build up to a series of big workouts, then back off to allow your body time to recover.

It’s All About Smarter Training

If you want to get the most out of your training, you not only need to work hard, but you need to work smart. By training on both ends of the neural-metabolic continuum and incorporating undulating waves of intensity into your training cycle, you’ll not only see better results but you’ll incur fewer bumps and bruises along the way.

 

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High Reps, Low Reps? Which Rep Scheme Is Best?

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Quads-leg-press

Straight Up Quads Workout for Bigger, Stronger Legs

 

When leg day rolls around, is it better to train more like a bodybuilder or an athlete? If you’re asking yourself this question (meaning you’re undecided), perhaps the answer is both. Bodybuilders train their quads for maximal hypertrophy, while football and basketball players are more interested in developing explosive power to enhance speed and jumping ability.

For a typical gym rat who’s neither a competitive bodybuilder nor a serious athlete, the best bet may just be a leg workout that incorporates mass-building principles as well as a quick dose of explosive movements. The following workout offers just that. It addresses power through box jumps; hypertrophy via front squats in a moderate rep range and drop sets of hack squats; and, for good measure, a hefty workload for your stabilizing muscle fibers with unbalanced lunges. Frankly, it’s a great routine for the guy who wants to look good from the waist down at the pool this summer and also have the ability to engage in the occasional pick-up game without getting embarrassed.

THE MOVES

Hack Squat

Keep your movements under control. Your lower body will be on fire during these drop sets, but don’t rush through the reps. The machine will help you keep your form strict, but still concentrate on keeping your lower back flat or slightly arched (not rounded).

Unbalanced Walking Lunge

The intention of this exercise is to train core stability and balance while also working the quads and glutes. Hold a moderate-weight dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand while you do lunges, keeping the other hand free. Focus on keeping your torso upright throughout – don’t let yourself lean to the side holding the weight.

Front Squat

Treat this as your big lift for the day. The 8-10-rep range is designed to promote hypertrophy, so you should be coming close to failure on all four sets. You want to be strong on every set, so don’t skimp on rest periods. Take 2-3 minutes between sets.

Box Jump

Doing an explosive jumping exercise further warms up the lower body while activating the fast-twitch muscle fibers you’ll be calling on for front squats. Go with a 20- to 30-inch plyo box. If you don’t have one available, use a weight bench instead.

THE WARMUP

Precede this workout with a five- to 10-minute low-intensity warmup on the cardio machine of your choice.

 

Straight Up Quads Workout for Bigger, Stronger Legs

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Blast Your Biceps & Triceps, Fast

The biceps and triceps are ideal muscles to superset, as they directly oppose each other. The biceps flex the elbow joint, while the triceps extend it. While one works the other rests, and vice versa, which allows you to cut work time in half while not sacrificing load or intensity.

SEE ALSO: 7 Ways to Make Your Biceps Workout Harder

The arm workout below consists of three superset pairings. The first duo hits the biceps and triceps with heavy weight and relatively low reps (6–8) on two barbell exercises to help spur muscle growth and strength; the second uses moderate weight and moderate reps (8–12) to fall in the hypertrophy sweet spot; and the third superset gets lighter with higher reps (12–15) and cable exercises— one being a hammer curl, which brings the forearms into play more—to finish the arms off with a great burn and a rush of blood. Do this workout on its own or after training a larger area like chest, back, or legs.

SUPERSET ARM ROUTINE

EXERCISE SETS REPS
EZ-bar Curl 4 6-8
Lying EZ-bar Extension 4 6-8
Seated Dumbbell Overhead Extension 3 8-12
Seated Dumbbell Curl 3 8-12
Cable Rope Hammer Curl 3 12-15
Cable Pushdown 3 12-15

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Blast Your Biceps & Triceps, Fast

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How to Use 4 Different Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are more than just stretchy pieces of rubber. Not only are they effective for getting in a full-body workout when time is short and equipment is sparse, but different bands can enhance your flexibility and mobility and help you push past sticking points. Here’s a crash course on getting the most from your bands.

WARMUP: MINI BANDS

Mini bands activate your glutes, which helps prevent other muscles from coming into play during exercises like deadlifts and squats to compensate for mediocre glute activation.

When to use: Before working sets, especially on lower-body days.

How to use: Step through the loop and secure the mini band just above the knees.

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SAMPLE EXERCISES

  • Lateral Shuffle: Stay in an athletic stance and keep tension on your glutes; don’t allow your feet to touch.
  • Split-stance Walk: With one foot staggered, walk forward while maintaining a split stance.
  • Glute Bridge: Lie supine with your feet planted on the floor and the band looped just above your knees. Thrust your hips into the air, focusing on pressing your knees outward.

VARIED RESISTANCE: LOOPED BANDS

This band variety can help assist with pullups and dips and move you past sticking points—weak portions of the lift—by increasing resistance on compound movements to strengthen the weak area.

When to use: Before or during a training session.

SAMPLE EXERCISES

  • Band-resisted Pushup: Wrap the band around your upper back and hold each end in your hands. Rep out your pushups.
  • Pullup/Dip Assistance: Loop the band around a pullup/dip bar and place one foot on the looped band.
  • Band-resisted Back Squat: Loop two bands on either end of a barbell and secure the other end to the top of a squat rack (pull down) or to heavy dumbbells placed on the floor (pull up). These are best used with compound movements like the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

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How to Use 4 Different Resistance Bands

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Hannah Jeter Sizzles in ‘Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017’ Shoot

First, he liked it so he put a ring on it. Now, the man who was once one of America’s most famous bachelors is ready to start a family.

That’s right, everyone — our very own Hannah Jeter is expecting her first child with retired New York Yankee hubby Derek Jeter.

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

The pair wed back in July in a star-studded affair in Meadowood Napa Valley Resort in California. Among the fewer than 100 guests were former teammates along with fellow models and family members from both sides.

“We’re just happy and excited at the moment to be newlyweds,” she told E! this summer when asked about having kids. “And I think that’s our focus right now.”

Looks like plans changed! Luckily, the stunning duo has experience as proud pet parents of Kane, a 100-plus pound Italian Mastiff. Derek revealed that he and Hannah were engaged in Nov. 2015 after penning a love letter to his beloved pup, who was originally a Christmas gift from his then-girlfriend.

In a new first-person essay on The Players’ Tribune, Hannah opens up about the difficulty of adjusting to her husband’s level of fame and the pressure it put on their relationship from the beginning. She goes on to announce that as they look forward to welcoming a baby girl into their family, they want to maintain a certain level of normalcy.

“We want our kids’ lives to be as ‘normal’ as possible,” Hannah penned. “They’re going to be born into such an extraordinary situation. They’re going to have to be some strong little people. We don’t want them to be defined by their dad’s name — for them, we want him to just be “Dad.” That will be the piece of him they’ll have that the rest of the world doesn’t. It will be special, and it will be theirs.

“Still, though, I want them to know Derek Jeter. I feel some sadness — and Derek must as well — thinking about how our children will never get to experience that time in his life. We can show them videos, and photos, and memorabilia — I already can’t wait to show them footage of that last night at the Stadium. But I know it won’t be quite the same. I’ll tell them myself: You had to be there. And I’m sure that both of us will be thinking about that in May.”

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Hannah Jeter Sizzles in ‘Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017’ Shoot

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Iron Is A Girl’s Best Friend

Vital Stats

When I first picked up weights a few years ago, maximal lifting wasn’t even on my radar. I ran around in circles with my 10-pound dumbbells, completely unaware that I was missing out on an entire world of fitness.

In the world of 1RM strength, you set specific goals and work for weeks or months to inch closer to them. You push your body to its limits to achieve a triumph that only lasts a couple of seconds. But you also get rewarded with a rush unlike anything else. It’s a great world to be a part of, and it’s changed the entire way I view health and fitness.

I wouldn’t say I’m an expert on heavy lifting—yet. But I’ve still learned some important lessons along the way, and I’m confident you’ll find them just as helpful as I did. If you’re looking to find your numbers or move them up into uncharted territory, here are five rules you need to take to heart.

1 Train Systematically

If you’re currently training in the 10-20 rep range and have limited experience with anything less—think 3-8 difficult reps—then you aren’t ready for a 1RM test. Attempting a max test when you’re mentally and physically unprepared is a bad idea. You’re just setting yourself up for failure.

I highly suggest using a program that trains specifically for the kind of intensity you’ll find in a 1RM test. I used Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 system successfully for several months before getting a more personalized powerlifting training program from the Strength Guys. Trust me, proper programming makes all the difference both in terms of performance and safety. Squatting 3 reps at 85 percent 1RM is an entirely different ballgame than doing 15 reps on the leg press. Programs like 5/3/1, the Westside System, or Stronglifts 5×5 will prepare you for the intensity that lies ahead.

If you’re unsure of your max or haven’t yet had the chance to test it, I suggest using a 1RM calculator initially. Just enter your best lift, and it does the work for you. The heavier the weight and the lower the number of reps, the more accurate the calculator is. For example, 200 pounds for 5 reps is more accurate than 150 pounds for 9 reps. Nothing is as accurate as actually getting under the bar and testing your 1RM—preferably with some supervision from somebody who’s done it many times—but, these calculators can give you a sufficient idea of what your max should be. You’ll need that number in order for the percentage-based training of strength programs to be effective.

2 Learn How To Get in the Right Headspace

Testing your 1RM requires a serious amount of intensity and concentration. You won’t be frolicking in the land of unicorns, bunnies, and rainbows here. To be honest, testing your 1RM sucks. It usually hurts physically, and it always challenges your body’s idea of what is “possible.” Putting that kind of stress on your body is more than just a physical trial, though. It’s a mental one, too. Before you step up to a barbell to try for your max lift, you need to be a master of these three skills:

Focus

If you find your mind in 35 different places and none of them are at the gym with the bar, it’s not the day to test your max. There may be no such thing as the perfect day, but there are optimal conditions that give you a shot at hitting your best numbers. You want to be present and composed with mental clarity. Your focus should be on one thing and one thing only: moving that heavy weight.

Bench Press
Visualization

Visualize yourself easily pulling your deadlift max. Then see yourself adding some more weight and pulling again with ease. Picture your bench max going up without a hitch. Visualizing not only gives your confidence a much needed boost before you tackle your lift, but it can also actually improve motor performance, making your 1RM attempt a major success.

Jamming Out

Not everybody needs music in order to get into a PR headspace, but for many of us, it’s crucial. Listening to music during a training session has been proven to improve performance; it can also be a great boost of motivation when you’re aiming to venture into uncharted waters. Some people like screamo heavy metal to get their blood pumping, and others prefer electronic music, jazz, or film soundtracks to help calm their mind and set the scene for an epic triumph. Whatever works for you, do it!

3 Embrace The Routine

Everyone has their own way of getting ready for a max. Some people do a specific number of warm-up sets, and some people listen to a particular playlist or eat a particular meal. Find a routine that works for you and stick with it. For people who haven’t yet had the chance to take a 1RM, this is what I suggest the first time around:

Warm up

An extensive warm-up process is essential to get an accurate 1RM and prevent injury. I start with some basic mobility work, taking my joints through a full range of motion, and then I move to my warm-up sets.

Get heavy slowly

Opinions vary about which rep scheme to use as you work up to a heavy weight. Your program or coach might have a specific way of doing this; if so, follow it. Here’s the routine that I like to follow when testing my max or going for a PR.

  • Bar x 10
  • 50% x 5
  • 60% x 3
  • 70% x 2
  • 80% x 1
  • 90% x 1
  • 95% x 1
  • 1RM attempt

High reps don’t have a place on max day. I want to know that I can push or pull heavy weight, which is why I perform several sets of a single rep as I get closer to my max. Each of these reps boosts my confidence and prepares me mentally and physically for the pinnacle lift.

No matter how you choose to arrange your warm-up sets, they should fully prepare your muscles, joints, and central nervous system for the lift ahead. I always leave at least 2-3 minutes of rest between my warm-sets, and then I give myself an extra minute or two as I get closer to my max attempt.

“High reps don’t have a place on max day. I want to know that I can push or pull heavy weight.”

4 Find a spotter

I like to train alone. If you see me in the gym, my headphones are usually in, my hat is down low, and I have a leave-me-alone-until-I’m-done look on my face. On max day, it’s a different story. It’s crucial that you have someone spotting your bench max, unless getting pinned under a barbell sounds like your idea of a good time.

Utilizing a spotter on squat max testing isn’t always necessary, particularly if you squat in a rack with safety bars. If I’m testing my squat, I generally use the safety bars for warm-up sets and then grab the most experienced lifter I can find to spot me for my max attempt. Pulling a random spotter off the gym floor isn’t something that I mind doing, but if this is something you’re uncomfortable doing, bring a friend you trust to put your nerves at ease. And maybe have them read up on the rules of spotting first.

There’s no way to spot a deadlift physically, since you either pull the bar off the ground or you don’t. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invite a mental or emotional spotter along for the ride. If you feel like having someone yell “light weight!” in a Ronnie Coleman voice would help you move a heavy weight, then by all means make sure they’re there!

5 Make Your PR A Lift Like Any Other

The time has come. You’ve been training for this moment for months. You’ve done your warm-up sets, you’re focused and ready, and now it’s go time. All of your prior training has led you to this moment. Scary, right?

“I’m nervous, I’m pumped, I’m motivated, and I want to do something I’ve never done before.”

I’m always a mixed bag of emotions right before my lift, but I think that’s what carries me through and gives me the best possible lift. I’m nervous, I’m pumped, I’m motivated, and I want to do something I’ve never done before. Somewhere in that mess of emotions, I usually just say “Enough! I’m ready to do this,” and then I go for it.

Aside from this inevitable dialog, though, the mechanics of a max attempt should be the same as all the other lifts you practiced up until this point. This isn’t the time to do a quarter-rep or forget to engage your lats when you deadlift. As you visualize your lift, you should be taking note of form and remembering all your normal cues. A max lift where you injure yourself in the process doesn’t count in my book.

After your initial attempt is complete, step back and assess. How do you feel? How did the lift go? Are you ready for more, or did it take everything out of you? I like to keep going until I either miss a lift or know there’s no logical way I can get that weight back up. But many people will stop after one, and that’s fine.

If you feel like you’re ready to conquer another max attempt, I suggest giving yourself 7-10 minutes of rest before you step up to the bar again. Add no more than 5-10 pounds to the bar; don’t get greedy. Even if you leave that second or third max attempt unrealized, you should feel damn good about what you accomplish!

6 Don’t Overthink It

I’m often guilty of beating myself up after the fact. Did I eat too much? Too little? Could I have done another rep? Should I have done more weight? We all do it. When you’re completely invested in something—like so many of us in the world of health and fitness are—you want to be perfect.

But when you’re waging war against big numbers and percentages, there’s nothing to be gained by harboring regrets. Nagging doubts and questions can take over your brain and prevent you from improving, but just as importantly, they can keep you from enjoying an important victory.

The best possible advice I can give you is to let go. At no time is that more crucial than during and after your 1RM attempt. If you walk up to the bar wondering if you’re going to miss, or questioning your preparation, or revisiting the failed lifts of the past, you’ve already lost. You just have to go for it.

You’re ready. It’s time to believe in yourself. Pick up that weight and show the bar who’s boss.

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Skinny To Strong: Karina Baymiller’s Complete Fitness Journey

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All About One-Repetition-Maximum Testing

This article will explain exactly how to conduct one-repetition-maximum testing and suggest ways in which test results can be applied across a range of training objectives.

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Iron Is A Girl’s Best Friend

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Fitness Equipment, Nutrition, Personal Fitness Training, Training Methods, Warm up, Weight loss, Weight TrainingComments Off on Iron Is A Girl’s Best Friend

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