Tag Archive | "olympic"

Bar pull-ups: tips and perks

Bar pull-ups: tips and perks Increase your back strength with bar pull-ups. Here’s how to get it right.A strong back is integral to a strong, high functioning, lean body, and pull-ups are like a laser pointer for your flip side. They’re also bloody tough.“Pull-ups are one of the toughest bodyweight exercises you can do and they do take a long time to master,” says PT and founder of business KE Fitness Kris Etheridge.Yet beginners who withstand the burn will witness rapid gains. “You’re going to have to be patient, but you should be improving in strength each week when you first start out.” Etheridge advises strengthening your biceps and upper back using the assisted pull-up/chin-up machine, lat pull-down machine and seated row machine. “If you don’t have access to these machines, a great way to work on your chin-ups or pull-ups is to loop a large power band (a thick circular rubber band) over a chin-up bar and put one of your feet in it,” Etheridge says.

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Bar pull-ups: tips and perks

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The half marathon experience

What does it feel like to pound the pavement of a cool East London borough for a couple of hours? Running blogger, Sarah-Jane Perera (www.poweredbycakes.com), gives us the lowdown of her Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon experience…

“On Sunday May 10 the second Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon took place. Following the inaugural race, I was glad to see the organisers take on board feedback from last year’s event and make this bigger and better than the first one. I was particularly pleased to see the improvement on the route and the added water stations. The big shiny medal and the technical t-shirt were the cherries on the cake.”

“The event organisers moved the race forward by about 6 weeks, so I hoped we wouldn’t have to run in the scorching sun this year. When I set off from home, it was a cool and grey morning – perfect for running a half marathon. Much to my dismay, the sunshine came out as everyone filed into the pens at the starting line, and boy was I glad to have packed my sunglasses. It was exciting to see pro track and field athlete and local East London girl, Perri Shakes – Drayton start the race.”

“I run with Run Dem Crew and Hackney is our stomping ground, so this is a very special race for me. It was great to run with different crew members along the way, and fun scanning the crowds for friends.  I was also looking forward to running past the Run Dem Crew cheer point at Mile 10.”

“It’s a great route and joyous to run on closed roads, past some iconic Hackney sights including the Hackney Empire and through what is a surprisingly green borough of London.  The tempo changes coming through Olympic Park as the crowd thins out but there’s no doubting it still holds a special quality remembering Olympic glory achieved here.”

“Prior to running the race I was a bit worried about being able to run it well, as I completed the Brighton Marathon – my first! – a month before. At around Mile 5, I was in a dark place, I felt really tired and began to walk. That’s when a lovely girl, Josie Arden, patted me on the back and encouraged me to keep running. Meeting Josie made me realise quite how small the running world is, not only did she know quite a few of the same bloggers and runners that I know, but she too had run the Brighton Marathon and was also finding the race quite hard.  We ran the rest of the course together, crossing the finish line hand in hand.” 

“Although it was a tough race, I would do it all over again. One of my highlights was running past the Run Dem Crew cheer point. They went all out, with pots and pans, whistles and confetti cannons.  Vitality Run Hackney is a great local race, where the local community comes out to support the runners, offer us jelly babies and fruit and a whole load of encouragement.”

“Pre-Registration for 2016 is now open. Sign me up!”

 

This article: 

The half marathon experience

Posted in Diets, Fitness Equipment, Nutrition, Sports nutrition, Weight lossComments Off on The half marathon experience

<div id="DPG" webReader="250.776488207"><p>We've all had bad days. You know, those days when you have to force yourself to get off the couch and get to the gym. When you finally talk yourself into getting there, your workout is lax and you know you didn't make any progress toward your goals. Those days suck, but they're also bound to happen.</p><p>Nobody is born with never-ending energy and a bottomless spring of motivation. All of us will eventually struggle. It's what we do with those bad days and how we overcome them that make the real difference in our fitness endeavors.</p><p>So, how do we overcome those bouts of lacking motivation, fatigue, and stress? What can you do to maximize your intensity and make every rep count? Here are 23 great ideas!</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">1 Crank Up The Tunes</h4>
</p><iframe class="left-image" src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:user:bbcommusclemusic:playlist:1J8SlUklLmy5QX9LgvwK9N" width="270" height="350" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><p>Numerous studies have shown that music has the power to elevate a downer mood. Take advantage and get yourself psyched up before you even start your workout.</p><p>On your way to the gym, listen to whatever gets you pumped and then keep that momentum and music going when you get to the gym!</p><p>Research confirms that lifting to your favorite tunes can help you push harder and get the most from every set.</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">2 Visualize</h4>
</p><p>Before you even leave the house, close your eyes for a few minutes and watch yourself go through your workout. Visualize putting that pin on the bottom of the stack and dominating that machine.</p><p>Watch yourself set a new PR on the bench or squat. Feel those muscles moving and flexing, and then go to the gym and make that vision a reality!</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">3 Warm Up Well</h4>
</p><p>I've been training for 15 years and I still see people walk in the door and go directly to the bench press. Those muscles are cold! There's no way that you'll be able to have a good workout with the jump-start strategy.</p><p>Get yourself on a treadmill or use another warm-up technique so your blood will flow and your muscles will be primed for the carnage ahead.</p><p>A warm-up is also a great way to get mentally ready to go. You'll probably find your workout is much better from beginning to end if you spend 5-10 extra minutes preparing for it.</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">4 Take a Pre-workout</h4>
</p><p>Need a hit of energy? There are some great supplements which can help you feel more pumped about your workout. There's a reason you see a lot of ads and promos for <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/goalpreworkout.htm">pre-workout supplements</a>—they work.</p><p>If you've been using the same pre-workout product for a while, then cycle off for a few weeks or try a new product.</p><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/neon-sport/volt.html"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/neon-pre-workout_ratingbanner_01.jpg" width="402" height="167" class="c13"/></a><a href="http://reviews.bodybuilding.com/Neon_Sport/Volt"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/neon-pre-workout_ratingbanner_02.jpg" width="158" height="97"/></a><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/neon-sport/volt.html"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/neon-pre-workout_ratingbanner_03.jpg" width="158" height="70"/></a><p>
<h4 class="c12">5 Amino Up</h4>
</p><p>It's one thing to get amped for a workout, but you also need to be able to train with intensity from your first lift to your last rep. <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/bcaa.html">Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs)</a> are essential building blocks of protein that will keep your muscles fueled in training and help you recover after.</p><p>Add some to your water bottle and you may feel as strong during the second half of the workout as you did when you started.</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">6 Avoid Machines</h4>
</p><p>WBFF competitor, fitness model, and <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/neon-sport.html">Neon</a> athlete <a href="http://instagram.com/missashleysarina" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Ashley Sarina Hoffmann</a> knows a thing or two about using free weights to increase the intensity of her workouts. "Although I use machines at times, I try to stay away from them and focus more on free weights. By using free weights, I engage my core more and don't restrict my range of motion. Lifting with dumbbells and barbells also helps balance, stability, and overall athletic performance."</p><img src="images/2014/23-ways-to-boost-workout-intensity-3.jpg" width="560" height="312"/><p>Free weights recruit more muscles to the lifting task than machines which balance the weight for you. Use the dumbbell rack to your advantage!</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">7 Vary Your Workouts</h4>
</p><p>Doing the same thing day-in and day-out is both boring and unproductive. Try something new! If you've been all about single sets, try some circuits. Or, if you've been giant or supersetting your lifts for the last few months, switch to heavy straight sets.</p><p>Not only will these changes help you feel more motivated, but they'll actually shock your muscles so they have no choice but to recover and grow.</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">8 Be Explosive</h4>
</p><img src="images/2014/23-ways-to-boost-workout-intensity-1.jpg" width="191" height="286" border="0" class="right-image"/><p>"Although I use machines at times, I try to stay away from them and focus on free weights."<br />—Ashley Sarina Hoffmann</p><p>"Explosive movements develop fast-twitch muscle fibers and use the maximum amount of force in the shortest amount of time," says Ashley Hoffmann.</p><p>By introducing explosive movements like box jumps or barbell squats into your fitness regimen, you increase the intensity of your workouts and make them more fun .</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">9 Try Dropsets</h4>
</p><p>Straight sets are absolutely effective, but you can make workouts more challenging and interesting by using dropsets. To do them, grab a really heavy weight and lift it until failure. Once you hit failure, strip some weight and keep going.</p><p>When you hit failure again, take weight off and keep repping it out. Once you hit failure again, you can even go through the motions one more time. By the end, you'll have a bigger pump than ever!</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">10 Superset Lifts</h4>
</p><p>I love supersets. Pick two exercises—either for one muscle group or for opposing muscle groups—and perform one immediately after the other without rest. You'll get two sets for the price of one and a shorter, more intense workout. Ashley Hoffmann utilizes supersets, too. "Supersets are a great way to maximize intensity!" she says.</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">11 Circuit Train</h4>
</p><p>This is a principle similar to supersets, but instead of two exercises, you can do four, five, or even more. Go though one set of every movement before you rest. Once you've gone through every exercise, rest 2-3 minutes, and then go through all the exercises again.</p><p>Repeat this cycle as much as you'd like. If you haven't done much circuit training before, I can promise you that by your last circuit, you'll be totally worn out. This is a great way to introduce some cardio into your resistance training.</p><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/23-ways-to-boost-workout-intensity-2b.jpg" width="560" height="353"/><p>Straight sets are absolutely effective, but you can make workouts more challenging and interesting by using dropsets.</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">12 Do Rest-Pause Reps</h4>
</p><p>Have you ever tried to hit 10 reps and reached failure at seven? Don't sweat it. Next time this happens, re-rack the weight, count to five, and then pick up where you left off. You're still hitting the reps you want, but taking a little break so you can get there.</p><p>Rest-pause reps can help your body respond to the heavy weight so that the next time you try, you may be able to finish the set without taking a break.</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">13 Add Partials</h4>
</p><p>To get a little more out of each set, try performing a few reps of the top half of the exercise when you hit failure with a full range of motion. These partial reps will extend the set and ensure that you break down every last muscle fiber you have.</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">14 Cheat</h4>
</p><p>Don't use this as an excuse to overlook form completely, but you can put a little body English into some of your lifts so you can use more weight.</p><p>Put a little swing into heavy barbell curls or kickstart those laterals when you get near the end of a set. It worked for the old-school guys, and it'll work for you!</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">15 Throw In Cardio Bursts</h4>
</p><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jumpropes.html"><img src="images/2014/23-ways-to-boost-workout-intensity-4.jpg" width="159" height="180" border="0" class="right-image c16"/></a><p>"Grab a jump rope, do some burpees, or even hit an ab exercise between sets for 20-30 seconds," says Ashley. "This way, you're not standing around between sets so you can keep your muscles working and fat burning. If you choose to incorporate cardio bursts into your routine, rest a little longer between sets so you can perform the next set with as much energy as you can."</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">16 Include Negatives</h4>
</p><p>If you have a spotter at the ready, then use her to your advantage. Once you get to the end of the set, lower the weight for five seconds. Have your partner help you to get the weight back to the top. Do this for five reps. I promise you'll be in pain.</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">17 Squeeze</h4>
</p><p>When you perform your reps, don't lower the weight as soon as you lift it. Hold it at the peak of the contraction for a few seconds and squeeze the hell out of the muscle. Then slowly take the weight back to the starting position and try it again. Increasing the duration of your sets will put a new spin on your workouts and make them much more difficult.</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">18 Train To Failure</h4>
</p><p>"You can incorporate training to failure in a couple of ways," says Ashley. "On the days I lift heavy, I hit failure when I hit max weight. On my max days, I always have a spotter for safety and ensure I have good form. On days I incorporate hypertrophy training, I hit failure on the last set by going until I possibly can't squeeze out another rep. Sometimes I hit failure at 15 reps, sometimes at 20 reps, and sometimes I don't even count and just lift until I'm tanked."</p><img src="images/2014/23-ways-to-boost-workout-intensity-5.jpg" width="560" height="338"/><p>The more reps you do, the better you'll understand how a lift works. Use lighter weight on Olympic lifts until your form improves, then go heavier!</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">19 Take It To 100</h4>
</p><p>Powerlifters do one rep for the max amount of weight. This technique is the other extreme. Grab a light weight and lift for 100 repsr, or go a little heavier and rest for 15 seconds every time you hit failure; then pick up where you left off and add up until you hit the century mark.</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">20 Pre-exhaust</h4>
</p><p>Most of us start our workouts with a compound lift like the squat or bench press. To mix things up, choose an isolation exercise and do 3 sets of 10-12 reps with as much focus and effort as you would if you had started with a big lift.</p><p>After you complete three sets of the isolation lift, take on the lift you would normally start with. You probably won't be as strong, so you'll have to put more intensity and focus into the movement.</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">21 Time It</h4>
</p><img src="images/2014/23-ways-to-boost-workout-intensity-6.jpg" width="179" height="210" border="0" class="right-image c17"/><p>After you complete your warm-up, set your alarm for an hour. Once that alarm goes off, you're done—whether you completed your planned workout or not.</p><p>This extra pressure will help you stay on track and keep chitchat to a minimum.</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">22 Rest Less</h4>
</p><p>To maximize her time in the gym, Ashley keeps her eye on the clock. "Sometimes we get too caught up talking to other gym members, searching for a song we like, or even checking social media sites in between sets. Before we know it, 5-10 minutes have gone by and our body has cooled down. On days that I don't lift really heavy, I keep my rest to 45-60 seconds so my body stays warm and my heart rate stays high," she says.</p><p>
<h4 class="c12">23 Talk Positively</h4>
</p><p>Whether you're in the car, locker room, or maybe in the middle of the set, tell yourself your plans for the weight, set, or rep. You might look like a crazy person, but who cares! You're in the gym to get shit done.</p><p>Hearing your own positivity could psych you up more than if you were just thinking it. Once you crush the weight, just tell yourself: "Good job. Now do it again."</p><br /><br /><h4>Recommended For You</h4><div class="c20" webReader="4.0396039604"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/6-ways-to-strengthen-your-mindset.html"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/6-ways-to-strengthen-mindset-small.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="114"/></a><div class="c19" webReader="4.71287128713"><h4 class="c18"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/6-ways-to-strengthen-your-mindset.html">6 Ways To Strengthen Your Mindset</a></h4><p style="display: inline;" class="webReader-styled">
Use these tips to revamp your mindset and multiply your motivation.</p></div></div><div class="c20" webReader="5.50578034682"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/50-fat-torching-tricks-fire-up-your-fat-loss.html"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/50-fat-torching-tricks-smallbox.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="114"/></a><div class="c19" webReader="7.34104046243"><h4 class="c18"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/50-fat-torching-tricks-fire-up-your-fat-loss.html">50 Fat-Torching Tricks: Fire Up Your Fat Loss!</a></h4><p style="display: inline;" class="webReader-styled">
Push past fitness plateaus, ramp up your weight loss, and achieve your New Year's resolutions with these 50 fat-torching tips!</p></div></div><div class="c20" webReader="3.51111111111"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/flip-on-your-growth-switch-with-pumpkin-protein-pancakes.html"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2013/protein-pumpkin-pancakes-smallbox.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="114"/></a><div class="c19" webReader="4.0962962963"><h4 class="c18"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/flip-on-your-growth-switch-with-pumpkin-protein-pancakes.html">Flip On Your Growth Switch With Pumpkin Protein Pancakes</a></h4><p style="display: inline;" class="webReader-styled">
Fuel up and pig out on pumpkin with this meal that's sure to meet your macros!</p></div></div><br class="c21"/></div>

Motivation Overdrive: 23 Ways To Boost Workout Intensity

We’ve all had bad days. You know, those days when you have to force yourself to get off the couch and get to the gym. When you finally talk yourself into getting there, your workout is lax and you know you didn’t make any progress toward your goals. Those days suck, but they’re also bound to happen.

Nobody is born with never-ending energy and a bottomless spring of motivation. All of us will eventually struggle. It’s what we do with those bad days and how we overcome them that make the real difference in our fitness endeavors.

So, how do we overcome those bouts of lacking motivation, fatigue, and stress? What can you do to maximize your intensity and make every rep count? Here are 23 great ideas!

1 Crank Up The Tunes

Numerous studies have shown that music has the power to elevate a downer mood. Take advantage and get yourself psyched up before you even start your workout.

On your way to the gym, listen to whatever gets you pumped and then keep that momentum and music going when you get to the gym!

Research confirms that lifting to your favorite tunes can help you push harder and get the most from every set.

2 Visualize

Before you even leave the house, close your eyes for a few minutes and watch yourself go through your workout. Visualize putting that pin on the bottom of the stack and dominating that machine.

Watch yourself set a new PR on the bench or squat. Feel those muscles moving and flexing, and then go to the gym and make that vision a reality!

3 Warm Up Well

I’ve been training for 15 years and I still see people walk in the door and go directly to the bench press. Those muscles are cold! There’s no way that you’ll be able to have a good workout with the jump-start strategy.

Get yourself on a treadmill or use another warm-up technique so your blood will flow and your muscles will be primed for the carnage ahead.

A warm-up is also a great way to get mentally ready to go. You’ll probably find your workout is much better from beginning to end if you spend 5-10 extra minutes preparing for it.

4 Take a Pre-workout

Need a hit of energy? There are some great supplements which can help you feel more pumped about your workout. There’s a reason you see a lot of ads and promos for pre-workout supplements—they work.

If you’ve been using the same pre-workout product for a while, then cycle off for a few weeks or try a new product.

5 Amino Up

It’s one thing to get amped for a workout, but you also need to be able to train with intensity from your first lift to your last rep. Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential building blocks of protein that will keep your muscles fueled in training and help you recover after.

Add some to your water bottle and you may feel as strong during the second half of the workout as you did when you started.

6 Avoid Machines

WBFF competitor, fitness model, and Neon athlete Ashley Sarina Hoffmann knows a thing or two about using free weights to increase the intensity of her workouts. “Although I use machines at times, I try to stay away from them and focus more on free weights. By using free weights, I engage my core more and don’t restrict my range of motion. Lifting with dumbbells and barbells also helps balance, stability, and overall athletic performance.”

Free weights recruit more muscles to the lifting task than machines which balance the weight for you. Use the dumbbell rack to your advantage!

7 Vary Your Workouts

Doing the same thing day-in and day-out is both boring and unproductive. Try something new! If you’ve been all about single sets, try some circuits. Or, if you’ve been giant or supersetting your lifts for the last few months, switch to heavy straight sets.

Not only will these changes help you feel more motivated, but they’ll actually shock your muscles so they have no choice but to recover and grow.

8 Be Explosive

“Although I use machines at times, I try to stay away from them and focus on free weights.”
—Ashley Sarina Hoffmann

“Explosive movements develop fast-twitch muscle fibers and use the maximum amount of force in the shortest amount of time,” says Ashley Hoffmann.

By introducing explosive movements like box jumps or barbell squats into your fitness regimen, you increase the intensity of your workouts and make them more fun .

9 Try Dropsets

Straight sets are absolutely effective, but you can make workouts more challenging and interesting by using dropsets. To do them, grab a really heavy weight and lift it until failure. Once you hit failure, strip some weight and keep going.

When you hit failure again, take weight off and keep repping it out. Once you hit failure again, you can even go through the motions one more time. By the end, you’ll have a bigger pump than ever!

10 Superset Lifts

I love supersets. Pick two exercises—either for one muscle group or for opposing muscle groups—and perform one immediately after the other without rest. You’ll get two sets for the price of one and a shorter, more intense workout. Ashley Hoffmann utilizes supersets, too. “Supersets are a great way to maximize intensity!” she says.

11 Circuit Train

This is a principle similar to supersets, but instead of two exercises, you can do four, five, or even more. Go though one set of every movement before you rest. Once you’ve gone through every exercise, rest 2-3 minutes, and then go through all the exercises again.

Repeat this cycle as much as you’d like. If you haven’t done much circuit training before, I can promise you that by your last circuit, you’ll be totally worn out. This is a great way to introduce some cardio into your resistance training.

Straight sets are absolutely effective, but you can make workouts more challenging and interesting by using dropsets.

12 Do Rest-Pause Reps

Have you ever tried to hit 10 reps and reached failure at seven? Don’t sweat it. Next time this happens, re-rack the weight, count to five, and then pick up where you left off. You’re still hitting the reps you want, but taking a little break so you can get there.

Rest-pause reps can help your body respond to the heavy weight so that the next time you try, you may be able to finish the set without taking a break.

13 Add Partials

To get a little more out of each set, try performing a few reps of the top half of the exercise when you hit failure with a full range of motion. These partial reps will extend the set and ensure that you break down every last muscle fiber you have.

14 Cheat

Don’t use this as an excuse to overlook form completely, but you can put a little body English into some of your lifts so you can use more weight.

Put a little swing into heavy barbell curls or kickstart those laterals when you get near the end of a set. It worked for the old-school guys, and it’ll work for you!

15 Throw In Cardio Bursts

“Grab a jump rope, do some burpees, or even hit an ab exercise between sets for 20-30 seconds,” says Ashley. “This way, you’re not standing around between sets so you can keep your muscles working and fat burning. If you choose to incorporate cardio bursts into your routine, rest a little longer between sets so you can perform the next set with as much energy as you can.”

16 Include Negatives

If you have a spotter at the ready, then use her to your advantage. Once you get to the end of the set, lower the weight for five seconds. Have your partner help you to get the weight back to the top. Do this for five reps. I promise you’ll be in pain.

17 Squeeze

When you perform your reps, don’t lower the weight as soon as you lift it. Hold it at the peak of the contraction for a few seconds and squeeze the hell out of the muscle. Then slowly take the weight back to the starting position and try it again. Increasing the duration of your sets will put a new spin on your workouts and make them much more difficult.

18 Train To Failure

“You can incorporate training to failure in a couple of ways,” says Ashley. “On the days I lift heavy, I hit failure when I hit max weight. On my max days, I always have a spotter for safety and ensure I have good form. On days I incorporate hypertrophy training, I hit failure on the last set by going until I possibly can’t squeeze out another rep. Sometimes I hit failure at 15 reps, sometimes at 20 reps, and sometimes I don’t even count and just lift until I’m tanked.”

The more reps you do, the better you’ll understand how a lift works. Use lighter weight on Olympic lifts until your form improves, then go heavier!

19 Take It To 100

Powerlifters do one rep for the max amount of weight. This technique is the other extreme. Grab a light weight and lift for 100 repsr, or go a little heavier and rest for 15 seconds every time you hit failure; then pick up where you left off and add up until you hit the century mark.

20 Pre-exhaust

Most of us start our workouts with a compound lift like the squat or bench press. To mix things up, choose an isolation exercise and do 3 sets of 10-12 reps with as much focus and effort as you would if you had started with a big lift.

After you complete three sets of the isolation lift, take on the lift you would normally start with. You probably won’t be as strong, so you’ll have to put more intensity and focus into the movement.

21 Time It

After you complete your warm-up, set your alarm for an hour. Once that alarm goes off, you’re done—whether you completed your planned workout or not.

This extra pressure will help you stay on track and keep chitchat to a minimum.

22 Rest Less

To maximize her time in the gym, Ashley keeps her eye on the clock. “Sometimes we get too caught up talking to other gym members, searching for a song we like, or even checking social media sites in between sets. Before we know it, 5-10 minutes have gone by and our body has cooled down. On days that I don’t lift really heavy, I keep my rest to 45-60 seconds so my body stays warm and my heart rate stays high,” she says.

23 Talk Positively

Whether you’re in the car, locker room, or maybe in the middle of the set, tell yourself your plans for the weight, set, or rep. You might look like a crazy person, but who cares! You’re in the gym to get shit done.

Hearing your own positivity could psych you up more than if you were just thinking it. Once you crush the weight, just tell yourself: “Good job. Now do it again.”

Recommended For You

6 Ways To Strengthen Your Mindset

Use these tips to revamp your mindset and multiply your motivation.

50 Fat-Torching Tricks: Fire Up Your Fat Loss!

Push past fitness plateaus, ramp up your weight loss, and achieve your New Year’s resolutions with these 50 fat-torching tips!

Flip On Your Growth Switch With Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Fuel up and pig out on pumpkin with this meal that’s sure to meet your macros!


View original post here – 

Motivation Overdrive: 23 Ways To Boost Workout Intensity

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Nutrition, Weight lossComments Off on Motivation Overdrive: 23 Ways To Boost Workout Intensity

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7 Exercises That You Need To Fix Right Now

We are creatures of habit. We each default to our favorite exercises, those bread and butter lifts from programs we love for as long as they keep bringing results. Familiarity just feels right. It wraps you in a secure blanket of warmth, growth, and gains. Unfortunately, that familiarity begets false confidence in your exercise technique, which could cost you even further gains.

“But, Rock Lock, I’ve improved 10 pounds over the last year!” you cry. That’s sweet. But imagine the results you could net with precise exercise form and practice. Unless you or a training buddy have an acute awareness of form, it’s possible that you may have been missing key form points. Remember that poor form calls out compensatory mechanisms while still building strength, albeit inefficiently.

Don’t fret, young Padawan. Here’s how to fix these seven key movements that you previously thought you owned.

Exercise 1

Squats have helped Mr. Olympias, World’s Strongest Men, and other athletes launch from so-so athletes to epic gladiators. There’s no reason not to reap the benefits of the almighty squat, right? But after weeks of nearly crushing yourself under the bar, your results can still end up lackluster.

Team Cellucor‘s Jen Jewell explains why.

“I see a lot of ‘newbies’ just lower their butt down really quick with their knees wobbling all over the place—over the toes or collapsing inward. I’ve even seen this with bodyweight squats! So, when I instruct new clients or am giving pointers, I tell a client to push her butt back as though she’s going to sit down in a chair. This usually helps her get into better position and keep from hobbling forward so much.

“Additionally, I encourage clients to ‘push the booty way back—as if you’re trying to knock someone out with that thing—lower, go back up, and repeat.’ Even though that might be an exaggeration of breaking at the hip, it helps clients picture it and will typically do the trick!

“I typically see people barely start to lower, call it a rep, and bounce back up. That’s not low enough! That’s not even a proper squat! To benefit from squats, you have go to at least parallel, which is the position at which your hip joint and knee joint are aligned parallel to the ground. This ensures quad burn, but also fires up the hamstrings and glutes as well.”

Squat

Exercise 2

I cringe every time I see someone fling heavy dumbbells as high as they can using their back, and then allow momentum to not only carry the weight up but send it back down with zero control. This makes back and rotator cuff injuries almost inevitable if someone continues on this self-destructive path. Thankfully, that won’t be you!

First of all, when you hold the dumbbells, they should rest at your sides instead of in front of you. This way you will be less inclined to harness a back-initiated swing to begin the exercise. Visualize generating force from only your delts as you lift the weights out to your sides with a slight bend in the elbow. Locking out the elbows places strain on the tendons in that area and can make them susceptible to injury.

To avoid unnecessary shoulder strain, stop the movement when your arms become parallel to the floor. At that point, turn the weights so your pinkies point toward the ceiling and pause for one second before slowly lowering the weight to the starting position in a controlled manner. Use a challenging weight you can control throughout the exercise to ensure you don’t cheat.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Exercise 3

The triceps rope pushdown should primarily activate your triceps and core, but this exercise is blundered and haunted by our old enemy, the lower back-generated swing monster. Time and time again, I watch people use momentum to press down heavy weights. This only hurts your elbows and yields no benefit for those muscles in the back of your arms. Again, slow, controlled movement reigns supreme here.

Take the rope and step away from the cable stack. The extra distance increases tension on the triceps more than standing next to the pulley. Keep your shoulders squared and back, chest out, and glue your elbows to your sides. By keeping your elbows tucked in, you emphasize triceps contraction rather than elbow destruction.

As you press the weight down, focusing on working the triceps muscles, spread the ends of the rope apart, and squeeze the hell out of your triceps. That squeeze and tension stimulates growth in the target area.

Afterward, let the weight slowly come back up. Right before you feel as if your elbows are about to be yanked out of place, stop, and then do another rep. This constant tension will make your triceps scream bloody murder by the end of your set.

Exercise 4

A king of the exercise world, deadlifts could well be the most basic movement—in theory. You pick up the weight, hold it, and put it down. What could go wrong? Everything. There are oh-so many instances where a deadlift can go wrong and make lifters vulnerable to injury.

“Deadlifts are often a mess all the way through,” Jewell says. “I often see people with their shoulders rolled forward and hunched over as they lower the weight. Then they lose control over their body as a whole. Having your shoulders back, lats tight, core activated, and chest up will help eliminate this hunchback stature that I see all too often in the gym!

“I see another problem with neck alignment. At the beginning of the pull, you might be tempted to look down at the weight. This puts your neck out of neutral spinal alignment, which makes you more prone to hunching your shoulders and keeps you from engaging your core. Keep your neck aligned with the rest of your spine at the start and finish of your pull.”

Exercise 5

“Although dumbbell curls are a great exercise, problems rear their ugly heads when they are performed improperly.”

You want perfectly rounded biceps like IFBB Men’s Physique Pro Craig Capurso? He’s going to let you in on the “secret” to winning the arms race.

“Although dumbbell curls are a great exercise, problems rear their ugly heads when they are performed improperly,” Capurso says. “Many people will either pick up a light weight that can be lifted a million times or a weight that’s simply too heavy. Either of these prevents people from ever performing a worthy rep. Many people start the exercise with a shoulder swing followed by a fading elbow. This movement pattern doesn’t actually involve the biceps. It basically makes the exercise one big cheat.

“The goal is to achieve a well-controlled movement that isn’t aided by the aforementioned body swing. You should feel a deep burning sensation in your biceps and a noticeable pump or swell. You should also be able to perform the recommended reps in your program. After four sets of this type of training, you’ll feel fatigued, making it difficult to even bend your arms. That’s good because you are doing it correctly and have picked proper weights.”

To mix things up and really focus on your mind-muscle connection, try hammer curls. “This is when you stand in a neutral position, with your hands at your sides and the palms facing in toward your body,” Craig says. “Notice where your elbow rests in reference to your body and actively think about maintaining this position throughout the exercise. Really think about contracting the muscle groups involved as you bring up the weight. If you feel the heat in your shoulder, elbow, or any other muscle group that shouldn’t be firing, restart the process or perhaps lower the weight.”

Exercise 6

The bench press is an excellent indicator of upper body strength. When performed correctly, it is a money exercise that builds strength, muscle size, and athletic function. Haphazard execution of the bench press can increase the risk of shoulder or pec injuries, but that can usually be rectified by going with lower weight or just doing the damn exercise the right way!

In preparing to pump out your first rep, make sure your shoulder blades are squeezed together. This will protect your shoulders and bring your chest higher so the bar doesn’t travel as far. Next, plant your feet firmly on the floor and get yourself in a stable position. Otherwise you increase the chance of getting hurt. Keep everything tight, including your shoulders and butt.

As you perform the lift, lower the bar to your nipple line and keep it there for a one-second pause. Think about pushing your chest away from the bar rather than pushing the bar away from your chest. Remember to drive your feet into the floor for force production, keeping your butt on the bench, and arching your back to transfer force to the bar. Once you press the weight up, focus on squeezing your pecs as if you were trying to crush a walnut sitting between them.

Bench Press

Exercise 7

Crunches are a perennial favorite and also one of the most poorly performed exercises in the gym. Even if you think you’re a crunch king, you might be doing them wrong and actually jeopardizing your neck health.

The first step to being a crunch master: Don’t cross your arms on your chest or clasp your hands together behind your head. Instead, lightly place your hands on the temples of your noggin and focus on keeping your elbows in line with your shoulders. Don’t bend your neck; the idea isn’t to bang your head against your crotch, but to dig your lower back into the floor and lift your shoulders about 3-4 inches off the floor.

Squeeze your abdominals and forcefully let out a big breath. Slowly drop yourself back to the floor and repeat. Now do 10 reps and let me know the difference this makes. Don’t worry, you can catch your breath—I can wait.

Do you see other poorly performed exercises at your own gym? Sound off in the comments below! Let us know if you have any favorite tips or techniques. Share with the community to help improve everyone’s form—and results!

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7 Exercises That You Need To Fix Right Now

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Learn The Olympic Lifts: Snatch And Clean And Jerk Progression Lifts

The sport of weightlifting is a polarizing enigma. Some think the snatch and the clean and jerk are the epitome of strength and athleticism. Others find them dangerous, hardcore, and completely out of the realm of normalcy.

As a weightlifting competitor and CrossFitter, I’m firmly in the pro-snatch camp. I think it’s a shame people don’t do the “Olympic” lifts and feel sad when trainers clutch their pearls at the thought of allowing their clients to perform such “dangerous maneuvers.” As it turns out, weightlifting training and competitions are actually safer than other sports.1 With the right coach and the right equipment, there’s no reason to forego your interest in weightlifting because these moves look scary.

The snatch and the clean and jerk aren’t bodybuilding lifts, though. Doing them won’t help you build particular body parts like that troublesome upper pec or that lagging vastus medialis. These lifts will, however, aid your mobility, make you a more powerful athlete, increase your lean muscle mass, and, believe it or not, tax your cardiovascular system.

Now, before you run to the nearest platform to grip it and rip it, slow your roll. You can’t throw plates on a barbell and hope you can get it over your head. That would be like dumping an 8 year old into the front seat of your car, handing him the keys to the ignition, and then giving him the green light—now that’s scary.

The snatch and the clean and jerk are difficult lifts. To do them safely takes a lot of flexibility, speed, and power. So before you even attempt the real thing, try these progression lifts. They’ll help you develop the mobility, speed, and power you need to snatch or clean and jerk successfully.

Clean Foundation Moves

EXERCISE 1

If you’re a bodybuilder, you’ve probably been doing front squats with the bar resting on your shoulders and your arms crossed over the top of it. If you want to clean, drop the habit. Start doing front squats with the bar in your hands and your elbows pointed forward. It gets really difficult to pull the bar off the ground and onto your shoulders if you can’t bring your elbows up to near-shoulder level. If you can’t even hold the bar in that position without wanting to scream in agony, it’s time to start practicing more mobility.

For most people, the enigma of the clean stems from a lack of flexibility. To do a clean, your T-spine, lumbar, and shoulders have to be supple and strong. You may be able to hold the bar in a front rack position, but as soon as you squat down, you freeze. You don’t have to front squat 250 to work on your mobility. Grab an empty bar and practice holding the bar in the front rack and squatting down.

“It’s also important to squat to full depth—that means your hip hinge needs to be below your knees.”

It’s also important to squat to full depth—that means your hip hinge needs to be below your knees. One of the keys to a good clean is getting under the bar quickly. Do one right, and all the sudden you’ll be ass to grass with a bunch of weight on your shoulders.

If you can, sit at the bottom of a light front squat. Practice keeping your chest up and your spine neutral. Don’t round forward. Allow your back and your shoulders to stretch. Learn how to get comfortable in this position.

EXERCISE 2

Undoubtedly, you’ve practiced the deadlift. The clean pull is similar, but you’ll actually be pulling the bar as high as you can. This is an important movement to practice because it’s what you’ll do before you fall under the bar in a real clean.

Clean Pull

For the clean pull, keep your arms just slightly bent and the bar close to your body. The point is not to use your biceps to pull the bar up, but to practice using the energy stored in your ankles, knees, and hips—we call this triple extension—to drive the bar upward. Before the bar even leaves the ground, make sure your lats and hamstrings are engaged.

As you pull, don’t let the bar drift forward. To be good at the clean, you have to learn to control the bar and make it do what you want it to. Don’t let the bar control the movement. Use light weight to begin so you get the feel of how your muscles are working. Your form should stay the same, no matter how heavy you load the bar.

EXERCISE 3

True plyometrics aren’t exactly “lifts,” but they will help you learn how to produce more power. To jump on or off of a box, your muscles have to stretch and then contract rapidly. The faster your muscles can do this, the more force they can produce. Force, as any good student of physiology knows, is a primary piece of power. And power is an essential aspect of performing the clean.

Box Jump

Adding plyos to your regimen is beneficial no matter what your goals are. Jumping on or off of a box will fire up your central nervous system (CNS). Your CNS is responsible for delivering messages to your muscles from your brain. If your CNS works quickly and efficiently, you’ll be much better at doing complex movements.

Jerk Foundation Moves

EXERCISE 1

The push press differs from a strict press in that you get to use momentum from your legs to help you lift the bar over your head. To do a clean and jerk, you need to get comfortable having weight over your head. It might be scary at first, but by doing this lift you’ll build strong, stable shoulders and an iron core that, together, are more than capable of putting up big numbers.

Push Press

I see a lot of people doing this lift with a lot of chest action. The bar goes more forward,than out and there’s a lot of scary back-arching going on. The push press is not a standing incline bench press.

Grab the bar with your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart. The movement should begin with a dip in your knees; don’t start by sticking your ass out. As you push upward with your legs, think about that energy traveling all the way up your shoulders, through your arms, and into the bar. As your arms reach full extension, poke your head through and let your whole body take the weight.

EXERCISE 2

A push jerk is a little different than a push press because you re-bend your knees after you dip and drive the bar over your head. This movement is a little more complicated and thus takes a bit more athleticism and coordination.

Push Jerk

The point of doing a push jerk is to work on “catching” the bar with your legs. In other words, your knees absorb some of the weight as the bar goes over your head. You should be able to push jerk more than you push press.

The lift actually ends when you re-straighten your knees and your arms are at full extension. Just like in the push press, your head should poke through your arms. If someone was standing to the side watching you, she would be able to see at least a little bit of your ears.

Snatch Foundation Moves

EXERCISE 1

Maybe one of the most difficult exercises ever invented, the overhead squat is the king of exposing your weaknesses. If you have any sticky points in your shoulders, back, or hips, the overhead squat will make you feel like an old lady.

Overhead Squat

The overhead squat is a great foundation because the bottom portion mimics perfectly the landing position of the snatch. If you can sit—with your hips below your knees—and the bar over your head without wanting to cry like a little girl, you’ve got the start of a squeaky-clean snatch.

The overhead squat is also great for working balance, stability, and mobility. Even if you aren’t interested in ever trying the snatch, throwing an overhead squat into your regimen will only help you.

EXERCISE 2

The snatch balance is a fun little exercise that’s challenging at every level. Even with light weight, putting together the speed and coordination necessary for this lift can be difficult.

Snatch Balance

Start with the bar racked across your shoulders like you would for a back squat. Your hands will be wide, like they would be for a snatch. Dip like you would for a push press and then drive upward. As the weight unloads from your shoulders, drop into the bottom of an overhead squat position.

It takes speed to get down and athleticism to figure out how to drive the bar up and then squat down in rapid succession. And, like the overhead squat, it requires a lot of mobility.

What do you think?

Have any other ideas for weightlifting progression moves? Having trouble with any of these movements? Hit me up in the comments below!

References
  1. http://www.liftbigeatbig.com/2011/11/benefits-of-olympic-weightlifting.html


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Learn The Olympic Lifts: Snatch And Clean And Jerk Progression Lifts

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Press On: 3 Fixes To Boost Your Bench Press!

Hit the health club on any given Monday, and you might think there’s an audition in progress for a new episode of “Maury Povich” about the bench press and the men who love it. After all, what better way could there be to start the week than getting under a loaded barbell and pushing it for all you’re worth?

Well, I can think of a couple, but that’s for another article. Look, I understand the allure of the bench press. It’s the ultimate glamour movement in the gym for men, and it’s also a great movement for upper-body size and strength.

The problem is that most people gauge their success only by benching as much weight as possible, and they disregard the crucial setup process and downplay the importance of form to perform the lift correctly. This ends up creating a lot more ex-benchers than strong benchers.

Don’t let your favorite lift beat you down. Use these tried and true techniques to skyrocket your bench and blast off to new levels of mass and strength!

Lee Boyce On Proper Bench Press Technique
Watch The Video – 04:43

Fix 1

Upper back exercises are crucial for making the bench press pain-free, stable, and strong. As I mentioned in the video above, the bench press places stress on the shoulder blades and four rotator cuff muscles that originate on the scapula. Having the ability to keep the scapular muscles nice and tight is a key to stability for any pushing movement.

I program my back workouts before my chest workouts whenever I’m isolating specific body parts. This ensures that the back muscles get sore, tight, and are limited in range of motion and flexibility to help fix the shoulder blades on chest day. On a full-body workout, I pull before I push.

Make sure the following exercises are included in your back training day to really build scapular stability and strength:

Fix 2

If building big bench is important for you, you need to get scientific about it. Break down your lift and figure out where you’re weakest, and then focus on turning that weakness into a strength.

Barbell Bench Press

In most cases, a lifter going for a max-effort rep hits a wall or reaches a sticking point around the halfway point coming off the chest. If this is you, it means you lack lockout strength. Luckily, there are many great exercises to help you improve this sticking point.

Lockout Exercises

Floor press

Use a barbell or two dumbbells and lay flat on the floor with the weight in the bench press bottom position. The elbows will be on the floor and the weight around six inches off the chest.

Keep your upper back tight and shoulders retracted. Breathe in, drive the weight up to full-extension at the arm, and keep the legs held together and straight on the ground. Pause at the bottom of each rep. Perform 3 sets of 8 reps.

Pin press

Set up a bench inside a squat rack to create a bench press station. Position the safety pins 4-6 inches above your chest. Lay the bar on the pins and position your body under it. Assume your preferred bench press grip and drive the bar to the top position.

After lockout, lower the bar quickly to the pins. This exercise allows you to focus on max effort. Due to the lack of eccentric control, you’ll have more juice in the tank to lift.

Give yourself a couple seconds between reps to get tight and reset your body. Perform this exercise for 3 sets of 3-6 reps.

Chain bench press

Attaching chains to the bench press makes the load heavier as you progress through the concentric portion of a rep. It’s a great way to make your triceps do more work during lockout.

In rare circumstances, the sticking point happens at the bottom of the lift, which indicates that chest and shoulder strength is a weak link from a biomechanical perspective. Implementing starting strength exercises can help exponentially with this issue.

Bent over barbell row

Starting Strength Exercises

Pause reps

On the bench press, lower the weight slowly and pause for at least one second on the chest. Remember to stay tight during the rep without slackening your grip or exhaling. You won’t be able to lift as much weight as usual with this method, so lower the weight to 80 percent of the normal amount you can lift for reps.

This exercise cuts off the stretch reflex so you can’t use momentum at the bottom of the lift. Momentum tricks your chest into thinking that it’s performing well, when in reality, it’s nothing more than kinetic force that propels the weight out of the hole.

Pause reps are a staple in competitive powerlifting routines everywhere.

One-and-a-half reps

One and a half reps are my favorite way to improve chest activity in a bench press. Ensure that you’re set up correctly and lower the bar to your chest like normal.

Press the bar off the chest to the halfway point, where you have a 90-degree angle at the elbow. Lower the bar to the chest again and drive the bar to the top for one rep. Repeat for 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps.

The science behind this madness is simple: For every rep of 1.5s, you’re doing 2 reps with just the chest and 1 rep with the triceps at lockout. At the end of a set, your chest will have done twice as much work than your triceps.

Fix 3

Like most physical activities, if you want to improve at something, you must practice it. Building a stronger bench press happens in part from benching frequently. Make like the Bulgarians and up your weekly volume—without going overboard, of course!

Boyce Post-Workout Burnout! Bench Press 225×15
Watch The Video – 01:11

Post-workout burnout sets are money when it comes to adding benching volume. At the end of every isolation workout, do a couple quick warm-up bench press sets and then perform a burnout set with 60 percent of your max. Rep it out until failure for one big set.

Here’s a video of me doing a post-workout burnout set after a long Olympic lifting workout. My max is around 345 pounds, so 225 pounds is about 65 percent of my max.

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Press On: 3 Fixes To Boost Your Bench Press!

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, NutritionComments Off on Press On: 3 Fixes To Boost Your Bench Press!


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