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Follow these easy Bum Exercises #GluteGains

Buns of steel aren’t the only benefits of this workout from Insta-star Zanna van Dijk. Expect to radiate confidence, too

Looking at Zanna van Dijk’s Instagram feed, you’d think that she’s lived and breathed fitness her whole life. 

But what makes the health and fitness blogger, Instagrammer and all-round ‘influencer’ so relatable is that she really is just like the rest of us. ‘I actually hated exercise at school and would find any excuse to avoid PE,’ she reveals to WF in an exclusive interview. ‘I only started getting into it at university. I heard about the benefits of eating well and training and decided to give it a shot.’ And if you thought she took to it like a duck to water, think again. Like the rest of us, Zanna made mistakes along the way. Now? She’s a full-time fitness professional working as a personal trainer – not to mention one of the most popular health and fitness bloggers and Instagrammers out there, with 115,000 followers and counting. She puts her success down to passion, consistency and realness: ‘I have a no-nonsense approach to social media, fitness and life,’ she says. ‘There’s no smoke and mirrors and I’m very honest about my lifestyle.’

For anyone who’s kept their ear to the ground with fitness trends for a while now, it’s impossible not to have noticed the fast pace at which the industry has changed since the rise of social media.

Trends come and go – but it seems that bloggers and influencers are definitely having their time. Zanna is riding the wave better than any of them, proven by the launch of #GirlGains – an online community she co-founded with fellow social media influencers Tally Rye and Victoria Spence.

‘It’s for women who are interested in bettering themselves in all areas of their lives, not just fitness,’ explains Zanna. ‘We educate, empower and inspire women to be healthy, happy and confident, to look after themselves and to love themselves.’ And judging by the turnout at their events, the number of followers they have on Instagram and the use of their hashtag #GirlGains, they’re doing just that.

For someone as driven as Zanna, though, that’s still not enough.

‘We’d like to see #GirlGains spread across the world, to reach as many women as possible and to be able to have a positive impact on their self-worth, ambition and happiness.’

 

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Follow these easy Bum Exercises #GluteGains

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 32

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You may not often see someone as big as Arnold doing pull-ups for big reps in the gym, but chins were a crucial part of his training throughout his youth and competitive years. But he quickly learned that this fundamental movement wasn’t quite enough to build a complete bodybuilder’s back.

“When I met Roger Callard, Mr. Western America, he had been doing chin-ups his whole life,” he wrote in “The Education of a Bodybuilder.” “He had a wide back, but never a winning back. He could hit a straight-on back pose and nothing happened. A year ago I encouraged him to start rowing; as a result of his efforts he now wins the ‘best back’ in every contest.”

As the ultimate self-critic, Arnold felt that he still needed one more movement to maximize his own back development. He found it in the T-bar row, which was relatively new when he was captured doing it in the film “Pumping Iron.” His total back formula, which he laid out in “The Education,” was a three-pronged approach: “chin-ups work on width, bent-over rowing with the bar develops the center and lower back, and T-bar rowing develops the outside of the back and the lower lats.” It’s the perfect formula. Finish your back work strong with it today!

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 32

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<div id="DPG" webReader="16.2688172043"><h5 class="c7"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-day-27.html">Previous</a> | <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-main.html">Main</a> | <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-day-29.html">Next</a></h5><p>Congratulations! You've reached the end of the first phase of the Blueprint. Enjoy a well-earned rest day. It's hard to believe you've only had three other rest days in the last month, but this is exactly the sort of approach that turned a promising but raw Austrian lifter into a Mr. Universe at age 20, and a repeat winner at age 21. Here's how he looked when the British press captured the contest in London in 1969:</p><h3 class="article-title">Arnold Schwarzenegger Wins Mr. Universe<br /><span class="exercise-note">Watch The Trailer - 01:44</span></h3><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/c7Iaz_r2t-g" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>His biggest leap of faith was yet to come: traveling across the Atlantic to head off against two-time defending Mr. Olympia Sergio Oliva. But in his mind, the final destination was never in doubt. Stay the course!</p><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/arnold-schwarzenegger-series/blueprint-to-mass-stack.html"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/arnold-blueprint_stack_bannerbig-b.jpg" width="560" height="360" class="c8"/></a><h5 class="c7"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-day-27.html">Previous</a> | <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-main.html">Main</a> | <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-day-29.html">Next</a></h5><br class="c9"/></div><div class="padded-content article-content mod-about-the-author" id="article-about-author" webReader="33.1219512195"><h4 class="article-section-header">About The Author</h4><div class="ata-left-column" webReader="4.85087719298"><div class="ata-author-name"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/other.htm">Contributing Writer</a></div><div class="author-gradient-button"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/other.htm">VIEW AUTHOR PAGE</a></div><p class="ata-author-summary">Check out these awesome articles by some of the best writers in the industry.</p></div><div class="ata-right-column"><div class="ata-author-image-frame"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/other.htm"><img src="images/2013/writer-contributing-writers-sig-new.jpg" alt=""/></a></div><div class="ata-view-all-articles-link"><ul class="bb-chevron-list bold-type"><li><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/other.htm#articles" class="bold-type">View All Articles By This Author</a></li>
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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 28

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Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of the first phase of the Blueprint. Enjoy a well-earned rest day. It’s hard to believe you’ve only had three other rest days in the last month, but this is exactly the sort of approach that turned a promising but raw Austrian lifter into a Mr. Universe at age 20, and a repeat winner at age 21. Here’s how he looked when the British press captured the contest in London in 1969:

Arnold Schwarzenegger Wins Mr. Universe
Watch The Trailer – 01:44

His biggest leap of faith was yet to come: traveling across the Atlantic to head off against two-time defending Mr. Olympia Sergio Oliva. But in his mind, the final destination was never in doubt. Stay the course!

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 28

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 25

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Arnold’s training has been written about for so many years, in so many publications, that it can take on a mythical quality. Simply hearing someone describe how he held the barbell during curls, for instance, can seem like reason enough to do it that way yourself. But Arnold took nothing in his training for granted. He tracked everything, took notes, and knew not only what worked, but when it had worked previously—in what type of workout and order. If you’re not creating a detailed record of your progress in this trainer, then now is the time to start.

Arnold was the best because he recorded every detail of his work. He measured his results so he could compare his numbers and assess his progress.

“Write everything down,” Arnold told Iron Man magazine in 1994. “Unless you take accurate notes about your training and record the results you receive from it, you will have difficulty in determining which training techniques work best on your unique body.”

Your unique body deserves the best. Make sure your success leaves clues.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 25

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Start Small To Lift Big: How To Master 4 Fundamental Exercises

It’s easy to look at complex movements like dribbling a soccer ball, throwing a baseball, or handling a hockey puck and see how that took years to perfect. Athletes rehearse these movements endlessly, stick to the fundamentals, and trust that practice will improve execution in game situations. One day it finally does, but this happens over time, not overnight.

The same theory should apply to weight training. In a perfect world, we would all practice and progress safely, building the type of strength that allows us to handle heavy loads without injuries or negative compensation patterns.

Nevertheless, there’s almost always a look of befuddlement on a trainee’s face when I explain that they must first build a foundation with basic exercises. They simply don’t believe the basics will increase their arm size, build chiseled abs, or sculpt jean-busting legs. They want quick results from extreme plans like they see on television.

It sounds simple, I’ll admit, but my formula for success is this: commit to long-term training goals, and get the most out of the staple lifts like the push-up, dumbbell row, squat, and deadlift. These four are probably the most common exercises within weight training circles, and they’re included in nearly all of the programs you’ll see on this site.

Believe it or not, these exercises are enough to put you on the road to physique of your dreams, if you do them right. However, despite their popularity, they’re very technical movements that can be easy to butcher.

It’s easy to attribute technique flaws to a lack of mobility, but here’s what that excuse overlooks: Most exercises are corrective in nature and relatively easy to master, provided you take the time to progress through them and learn them properly.

Let’s go upstream and solve these problems before they start! Here’s what I see going wrong with the way most people perform the four fundamental lifts, and how you can perform them to get the most bang for your buck in the gym.

Exercise 1

Many push-up issues start when people focus on what muscle groups the push-up “works.” If you’re thinking all about chest, arms, and shoulders, you’ll forget to keep the rest of the body tense and stable. This should be a full-body lift!

Make sure your hips and shoulders are lined up your arms and are in the best position to develop true pressing strength. This will help you build the most force at the bottom push-up position.

Push-Up Fixes
Watch The Video – 02:06

Push-up coaching points
  • Squeeze your glutes and abs to lock your hips to your core.
  • Keep your arm tight to the armpits.
  • Hit the ground with your chest before your head.

Exercise 2

Most issues dumbbell rows happen when the spine is held in a flexed and rounded-back position, rather than a neutral position. Improper spine positioning causes the shoulder blade to move up instead of down when the upper back is rounded, which forces the upper traps to work instead of the lats.

Focus on keeping a long, tight spine during the movement, and you should feel the burn directly below your shoulder blade, into to your tailbone, and through the lats.

Breaking Down The Dumbbell Row
Watch The Video – 02:17

Dumbbell row coaching points
  • Take a wider stance than you think you need.
  • Keep the spine long and straight with the chest up.
  • Let the shoulder blade do the work. The wrist and elbow follow the shoulder.

Exercise 3

Problematic squatters generally fall into two camps: those who are stiff and tight, and those who are mobile but have trouble controlling the movement. I discussed squatting issues before in a power panel with my fellow strength training coaches, but this never-ending battle is always worth discussing.

Squatting is very technical and involves many moving parts. The best plan: Don’t jump into heavy weight too quickly. Start by doing bodyweight reps within your scope of control. Once you add weight, focus on getting comfortable at hitting depth and building a more effective range of motion.

Before you even think of going heavy, ensure that you can control the movement with your heels on the floor, hamstrings resting on your calves, and your torso positioned long and tall.

Squat Fix: Low Mobility
Watch The Video – 05:12

Squat coaching points
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor and press evenly throughout.
  • Create force through the hips to drive the movement.
  • Lean the torso forward as your hips move into the rep.
  • Keep the core tense without restricting airflow.
  • Keep the shoulders vertical over the middle of the foot.

Exercise 4

The deadlift is a skill-based movement that takes reps and consistent practice to improve. Most common deadlifting issues derive from the spine doing too much work instead of the hips, which are supposed to drive the movement. The spine should be a rigid lever that transfers force from the legs and hips up through the arms, thereby moving the weight.

Get your core and shoulders tight and keep the spine stiff to assist the movement. The deadlift isn’t easy, but once you perfect your technique, you’d better believe it can be fun to lift a heavy weight off the ground.

Deadlift Tutorial
Watch The Video – 05:23

Deadlift coaching points
  • Keep the spine straight and drive the movement from your hips.
  • Set the bar close to your shins at the start of the movement and keep the shin vertical, without positioning the knee ahead of the bar.
  • Brace your abs, squeeze your arms down tight to your ribs, and stand tall without over-extending at lockout.

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Crush Your Deadlifts

Struggling with the deadlift? Follow these simple drills to master the ultimate strength-builder!

Less Time, Better Results: Escalating Density Training

Have you ever had the dream of spending less time in the gym while achieving better results? It’s time to free yourself from the cage that is your workout. Here’s a better way to train!


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Start Small To Lift Big: How To Master 4 Fundamental Exercises

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<div id="DPG" webReader="17.1423267327"><h5 class="c7"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-day-20.html">Previous</a> | <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-main.html">Main</a> | <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-day-22.html">Next</a></h5><p>You've had your fill of training like Arnold this week. Today, it's all about rest. If life permits, stay in bed a bit longer than usual, or maybe try to squeeze in a nap this afternoon.</p><p>Not a napper? Consider losing yourself into the rabbit hole of Arnold's "Ask Me Anything" Reddit threads from the last two years, <a href="http://www.reddit.com/comments/16mq0g" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">I Am Arnold..Ask Me Anything</a> and <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1vshw2/iamarnold_ama_2" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">I Am Arnold AMA 2.0</a>. Both live up to all your expectations of frankness and hilarity. You'll learn the secrets of an Austrian cheat meal—pass the Kaiserschmarrn!—alcoholic protein drinks, and how to work your shoulders with the Arnold press until you can't raise your arms anymore. Plus, you'll get a surprising amount of original Arnold artwork in the form of hand-scrawled notes and Christmas cards. Enjoy.</p><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/arnold-schwarzenegger-series/blueprint-to-mass-stack.html"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/arnold-blueprint_stack_bannerbig-b.jpg" width="560" height="360" class="c8"/></a><h5 class="c7"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-day-20.html">Previous</a> | <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-main.html">Main</a> | <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-day-22.html">Next</a></h5><br class="c9"/></div><div class="padded-content article-content mod-about-the-author" id="article-about-author" webReader="33.1219512195"><h4 class="article-section-header">About The Author</h4><div class="ata-left-column" webReader="4.85087719298"><div class="ata-author-name"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/other.htm">Contributing Writer</a></div><div class="author-gradient-button"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/other.htm">VIEW AUTHOR PAGE</a></div><p class="ata-author-summary">Check out these awesome articles by some of the best writers in the industry.</p></div><div class="ata-right-column"><div class="ata-author-image-frame"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/other.htm"><img src="images/2013/writer-contributing-writers-sig-new.jpg" alt=""/></a></div><div class="ata-view-all-articles-link"><ul class="bb-chevron-list bold-type"><li><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/other.htm#articles" class="bold-type">View All Articles By This Author</a></li>
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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 21

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You’ve had your fill of training like Arnold this week. Today, it’s all about rest. If life permits, stay in bed a bit longer than usual, or maybe try to squeeze in a nap this afternoon.

Not a napper? Consider losing yourself into the rabbit hole of Arnold’s “Ask Me Anything” Reddit threads from the last two years, I Am Arnold..Ask Me Anything and I Am Arnold AMA 2.0. Both live up to all your expectations of frankness and hilarity. You’ll learn the secrets of an Austrian cheat meal—pass the Kaiserschmarrn!—alcoholic protein drinks, and how to work your shoulders with the Arnold press until you can’t raise your arms anymore. Plus, you’ll get a surprising amount of original Arnold artwork in the form of hand-scrawled notes and Christmas cards. Enjoy.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 21

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<div id="DPG" webReader="20.1362467866"><h5 class="c7"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-day-13.html">Previous</a> | <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-main.html">Main</a> | <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/arnold-schwarzenegger-blueprint-trainer-day-15.html">Next</a></h5><p>By the time Arnold launched his movie career in earnest with the "Conan the Barbarian" series of films, he was by far the biggest name in bodybuilding. But outside of that competitive realm, there were still men who made the Oak look like a sprout—at least physically. Two such behemoths were Wilt Chamberlain and Andre the Giant, his costars in the second Conan film, "Conan the Destroyer."</p><p>In 2013, Arnold spoke with Bill Simmons, the editor-in-chief of Grantland, about a memorable night he spent with these two legends in Mexico City. The result was a short animated feature that is well worth your time as you rest and recuperate at the end of week two of the Blueprint trainer.</p><h3 class="article-title">Arnold, Wilt, and Andre <br /><span class="exercise-note">Watch The Video - 2:45</span></h3><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/kZPd4brXPfw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/arnold-schwarzenegger-series/blueprint-to-mass-stack.html"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/arnold-blueprint_stack_bannerbig-b.jpg" width="560" height="360" class="c8"/></a>
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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 14

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By the time Arnold launched his movie career in earnest with the “Conan the Barbarian” series of films, he was by far the biggest name in bodybuilding. But outside of that competitive realm, there were still men who made the Oak look like a sprout—at least physically. Two such behemoths were Wilt Chamberlain and Andre the Giant, his costars in the second Conan film, “Conan the Destroyer.”

In 2013, Arnold spoke with Bill Simmons, the editor-in-chief of Grantland, about a memorable night he spent with these two legends in Mexico City. The result was a short animated feature that is well worth your time as you rest and recuperate at the end of week two of the Blueprint trainer.

Arnold, Wilt, and Andre
Watch The Video – 2:45

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 14

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Grind To Grow: Try Your Squats And Presses With Kettlebells!

I’ll never forget the first time I squatted with a pair of 32-kg kettlebells on my chest. It felt like an elephant was sitting on me. The pressure in my gut was immense, and I could barely breathe. Afterward, my abs were almost immediately sore. I was shocked, because as a competitive weightlifter I could front squat, butt-to-ankles, more than 400 pounds. But these two 70-pound balls of iron made me feel like I was fighting for my life!

I quickly learned that kettlebells are unjustly overlooked as strength equipment; they are often only favored as endurance tools for high-rep ballistic movements like swings and snatches. They’re equally adept and providing muscular overload on slow, heavy lifts like squats and presses.

Why? It’s simple: Your body knows that to get stronger, as well as to continue burning fat, it must adapt. Heavy kettlebells give it a challenge that is uniquely difficult to overcome. Because of their odd shape, kettlebells actually make the body do more work than traditional implements such as barbells and dumbbells. Sub them out even just for a couple of movements you already do, and you may be surprised at the benefits you receive.

The Toughest Squat You’ve Never Done

The reason the double-kettlebell front squat is so much more challenging than its barbell cousin is due to leverage. Consider the rack position: With a barbell, the load rests near the top of the spine, across the collarbone and the front of the deltoids, just below the head. In this arrangement, the barbell becomes virtually one with the lifter, making it easier to move the external resistance. This allows you to move much more weight.

With a kettlebell, it’s almost the opposite. In the rack, the weight rests low, against the outside of the forearms, with the elbows pointed down rather than out. The bells try to pull your body forward and off-balance, which forces your entire midsection to reflexively contract in order to keep you from folding in half.

If you’ve been lifting—or just reading about lifting—for a few years, you’ve probably heard this same argument used as a reason to do barbell front squats rather than barbell back squats. But the truth is that the simple substitution of two kettlebells—or even just one—for a barbell means your midsection will take even more of a beating. And this has benefits beyond building core strength.

To start with, you’ll become a better squatter. Because the spine is protected due to the increased reflexive core activation from the rack, lifters can usually squat deeper with kettlebells than they would with a barbell. The difference here is one you’ll likely feel on your backside for days after the first time you try it, so consider yourself warned.

Kettlebell Exercises
Watch The Video – 0:44

Grind To Grow

The increased stability demands upon your core musculature during the front squat are also present in other slow kettlebell lifts—or “grinds,” as they’re often called. Look at the double kettlebell military press, for example: The increased demands placed upon your core mean your body has to work harder to stabilize your joints so your prime movers—the lats and delts, in the case of the press—can do their work.

The upshot, as with the front squat, is that you’ll need less weight to make all types of muscles work more efficiently—particularly the crucial stabilizer muscles around the shoulder and other joints. Efficiency, in this case, means they’ll do what they’re supposed to when they’re supposed to do it. To pick one painful example for many lifters, a strong rotator cuff stabilizes your shoulder joint so you can safely bench press. A weak or injured one, on the other hand, keeps you from benching heavy, or from doing it at all.

Double Kettlebell Military Press

I’m also of the opinion that one of the causes of what are commonly called workout “plateaus” are actually stabilizer muscles that are weak or don’t work properly. Faced with a heavy load that might damage the joint, your body intuitively protects itself by shutting down the nerve force to the bigger muscles—the prime movers—that traditionally do the work.

You may have heard similar logic used to tell you why you should train with free weights rather than with machines. Yes, it’s true: Core and joint stabilizer activation happen to a certain extent with any training tool, but both are more intense with a kettlebell, due to the increased muscular activation from the offset handle. Consider them the freest of free weights.

You Only Need One

“Resist the urge to let your stronger side set the pace. Train both sides to be relatively even with each other.”

Want to know what’s even tougher than a double-kettlebell grind? The same movement loaded unilaterally. Working one side of your body at a time, as with a single-kettlebell military press, requires your body to make all the muscles on the side opposite of the load—and especially the core musculature—contract to keep you from being pulled over sideways.

Another interesting result from training with a single-kettlebell is that you can even-out strength imbalances from side-to-side. Often, side-to-side imbalances are responsible for holding back your progress on traditional bilateral exercises like the barbell squat, deadlift, and military press. Many people find a single-kettlebell front squat to be much more challenging on the core than a double front squat. The same thing holds true for the military press.

If you find you have a strength imbalance, resist the urge to let your stronger side set the pace. Train both sides to be relatively even with each other, both in the number of reps and the amount of weight you put over your head. You may feel like you’re holding back at first, but don’t be surprised if your big barbell lifts get stronger as a result.

Grind to Burn

Strength is a worthy goal on its own, and it’s more than enough reason to try kettlebell squats and presses. But getting stronger is also essential for burning fat and getting leaner over the long term.

Think of it as a cycle. The increased muscle activation and range of motion you experience from doing deep, difficult squats and overhead presses demand that more muscles work harder than they would otherwise. When you work harder, you burn more calories. And since training the core, especially in an integrated manner while standing, makes the body stronger, you’ll be able to lift heavier and work even harder in the future—which burns even more calories. And so on …

The downside, if there is one, is that kettlebell grinds are known to leave bruises—on your ego. I think you’ll be just as surprised as I was at just how hard they make you work. But stick with them, and you’ll also be surprised by the fruits of your labor: A stronger midsection, a more powerful and defined body, and more strength you can put to good use.


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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 4

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If you’ve been on a once-a-week body part split for a while, you may wonder if you’re ready for another chest and back assault already. Trust Ric Drasin: You are.

Drasin, a former professional wrestler, was Arnold’s training partner at Gold’s Gym in Venice from 1970-1974. In that time, the pair survived plenty of twice-a-week and even three-times-a-week chest and back workouts. Drasin told Bodybuilding.com in 2008 that this arrangement was no excuse to let form suffer—particularly when it came to the chest.

“Arnold was always big on not cheating and keeping the focus on the working muscle,” Drasin said. “We sometimes did a 2-second pause on the bottom stretch of bench press and dumbbell flyes and made sure we were fully stretched all the way out for growth. All the other body parts were done the same way.”

Today, get those dumbbells back and down before bringing them back for a hard contraction. Watch Arnold’s face in the training video, and you’ll see that it’s sometimes painful. Then look at his chest, and you’ll see that it’s definitely effective.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 4

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6 Ways To Strengthen Your Mindset

“Knowing the purpose of your actions will set you on course, while having a passion for them will ensure follow-through.”

Have your New Year’s resolutions to feel better, look better, and be better fallen by the wayside a mere month into the year? Unfortunately, if you’re like most people, January is for making resolutions and February is for breaking them.

Believe me, I know the temptation to stay in bed and hit the snooze button—whether it’s to silence the blaring sound of your alarm clock or the bustle of a hectic lifestyle. Let’s face it, balancing family, friends, and work can be tricky and, at times, leave you feeling overwhelmed. Setbacks are inevitable. It’s how you deal with them that matters.

Be proactive. You can’t control outside forces, but you can change how you handle them. Redirect your mindset from defeatist to elitist or, at the very least, from bored and distracted to focused and tenacious! In simple terms: can you develop a daredevil mindset!

Use these tips to revamp your mindset and hype up your motivation. They’ll fuel you to re-board the resolution train and keep chugging away at your goals, whatever they might be.

1 Examine Your Motivation

A guy walks into a gym. He looks around, forgets why he’s there, and walks out.

Yes, this might sound like a joke with a bad punch line, but the message is clear: What drives you? You’d be hard-pressed to find an athlete who couldn’t tell you their clear-cut objectives for putting endless hours into training and recovery. And it isn’t just about being able to recite your goals. Athletes have drives backed by enthusiasm and desire for what they do. That combination of head and heart contributes to their success.

Examine your motivation, and keep it at the front of your mind. Own it. Knowing the purpose of your actions will set you on course, while having a passion for them will ensure follow-through. Next time that alarm rings in the morning, recall your main objective. Are you striving to put on muscle? Are you looking to gain strength for a sport? Whatever your motivation is, let it drive you. Imagine achieving your goal, and realize the hard work you put in at the gym as the vehicle that gets you there.

2 Crush Your Comfort Zone

Sheryl Crow was on to something when she sang “A Change Would Do You Good.” Anyone who continues following the same routine day after day, week after week, and year after year without seeing measurable results sets themselves up for failure. Step out of your comfort zone and into a new realm. Cut out the same old same old, and switch things up to see how your body reacts. Push yourself. If you’re a weight junkie, try CrossFit. If you’re a running purist, incorporate swimming. If you are a cyclist, take up yoga. If you just can’t step out of the gym, try your best to shake it up. Go freestyle for a week. Break your workout rules.

Focus on using and developing your body in different ways. This mental break can lead to a major physical boon. What’s the worst that can happen? You become a yogi? You become a Spartan Race addict? You’ll never know unless you give it a try.

3 Visualize Your Goal

It might sound like a line from “Field of Dreams,” but there’s a reason athletes utilize visualization. We spend so much time preparing our bodies for our physical pursuits but often ignore our mind. We shouldn’t. Visualization is often the difference between hitting the bull’s-eye and completely missing the target. Picture your first task. Then do it.

Visualization is an excellent way to check in and stay on track with your goals whether you’re a cyclist visualizing your course, a golfer visualizing your perfect game, or a daily fitness fiend visualizing yourself mastering perfect push-up form.

4 When the Going Gets Tough…Focus

You don’t have to look far to find a story about an athlete who triumphs over something that would break the average person. This is no coincidence. The ability to deal with adversity is the key to the successful pursuit of your goals. Rather than focusing on how hard or tough something is, focus on what needs to be done.

“Rather than focusing on how hard or tough something is, focus on what needs to be done.”

Take running a race, for example. If you spend the race focusing on how your body feels or what another competitor is doing, you may find yourself crumbling under pressure. Alternately, if you go into the race with a plan that focuses on mechanics and a race strategy, you instantly increase your odds of succeeding. Having specifics to focus on when a task turns into an uphill battle allows you to redirect your attention. Do this, and your energy will follow.

5 Stay Committed

Commitment to the daily grind is the driving force behind any solid mindset. You need to be driven, you need to be dedicated, and you need to be consistent. Rocky didn’t just wake up one day a world-class boxer; Rudy didn’t just quit showing up to football practice. It’s easy to commit when motivation is high and the payoff is apparent, but what happens when your enthusiasm dwindles and you’re tempted to cut corners?

When you want to jump ship, call on your mantra. It’s not only for yogis and self-proclaimed hippies. A mantra can be as simple as one word or as elaborate as a finely tuned story. The mere act of repeating a mantra can physically calm the heart rate and refocus the mind; it’s a technique used by most elite athletes in their daily training and during competition. Just remember, push too hard and “No Pain, No Gain” could actually lead to pain. Stick with positive mantras which inspire without leading to injury.1

6 Be Consistent

Success is not only about precise execution, but also the frequency of actions. What it all comes down to is consistency, which takes organization and focus.

Rather than haphazardly shoving in a workout wherever it fits, redesign your workouts to fit your lifestyle. Spend an hour each week laying out your schedule. Set a day and time and stick to it. Not only does being consistent guarantee optimal performance, it also boosts confidence and perceived capability.

REFERENCES

  1. http://news.health.com/2012/11/02/5-workout-mantras-that-are-bad-for-your-body/


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6 Ways To Strengthen Your Mindset

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