Tag Archive | "weight training"

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Back to the Basics for Greater Size and Strength Gains

People lift for a variety of reasons whether it’s to increase mass, strength, power or some other factor. And the way they go about achieving these desired outcomes is the source of debate across internet forums. Everything from ideal training splits, sets, reps, and even rest intervals are sources of debate. Despite these differences in details, one underlying principle unites these lifters, an understanding that programming matters. Poorly designed programming can leave you in a suboptimal state, which will impact your ability to reach your goals, or worse leave you susceptible to injury.

One concept that lifters should take into account when assessing their program is that they’re addressing the following fundamental movement patterns:

Hinge
Squat
Push
Pull
Lunge
Carry

While you don’t have to incorporate each movement pattern into all of your workouts, it would be wise to assess whether you’re performing a sufficient amount of each movement at some point over the course of your training program. Failure to address each movement pattern can lead to muscle imbalances and a higher susceptibility to injury down the line. In addition to that, because the muscles operate as groups, if you have a weakness somewhere in your “chain”, your overall strength goals will suffer.


WATCH: WORKOUTS YOU’VE NEVER TRIED>>

Incline Barbell Bench Press

Lifters may overlook one of the fundamental movement patterns for a variety of reasons. Often times lifters choose to abandon an entire movement because they experience discomfort performing a specific exercise. Exercises make up movement patterns, but they’re not the stand alone movement pattern. If a certain exercise gives you trouble for whatever reason rather than abandoning exercises from that movement find ways to incorporate other user friendly exercises from that movement pattern.

Another common reason is tunnel vision on improving a specific lift when designing a program. While specificity and overload are necessities for training progress, you don’t want to totally neglect the other movements.

SEE ALSO: 6 Tricks to Improve Your Posture

Lastly, some lifters do make an effort to address each of these movements in their programs but it might not be in a balanced fashion. We have a tendency to gravitate towards movements we excel at rather than ones we have more difficulty with. In addition to this, we have to consider what movements/postures we utilize throughout the course of our day not just in a gym. This is why it’s common for many trainers as an example to recommend 2:1 pull to push ratios to provide some balance from slouching in front of a computer for 8 hours. Some ways you could go about evaluating your program is comparing strength ratios across movements, total reps performed of each movement or an honest assessment of movement quality for each movement.

landmine front squat

Here are some strategies to ensure you address any of the fundamental movement patterns that you might be underutilizing in your program.

Hinge
Squat
Push
Pull
Lunge
Carry

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Back to the Basics for Greater Size and Strength Gains

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High Intensity Power Training Workouts for Fat Loss, Strength and Fitness

For most guys, when they think of conditioning for fat loss, it means either nausea-inducing sprints or churning away on a treadmill for hours like a hamster. Fortunately there’s an alternative style of training that’s as time-efficient as sprints and doesn’t require you to stray away from the weights.

Furthermore, because this style of training actually places an emphasis on high-volume technical exercises, you’ll be able to get more skillful repetitions for different lifts that many guys struggle with.

What this means for you is that this program will help you get stronger at technical lifts while also improving your body composition. How do you go about achieving this goal?  With High Intensity Power Training.

SEE ALSO: 7 Reasons You Need HIIT

Researchers wanted to examine what effects Crossfit-style High Intensity Power Training had on body composition and aerobic fitness. They had a 43-person group consisting of healthy men and women participate in a 10-week High Intensity Power Training program. The program consisted of various lifts preformed as quickly as possible, combined with skill work for select gymnastic exercises and Olympic lifts.

The study results showed that both genders were able to improve their aerobic fitness as evidenced by improvements in their VO2 max numbers. In addition to this, both genders were also able to reduce their body fat percentages to the tune of 3.3% less body fat in the female participants and 4.0% less body fat in the male participants.

These two High Intensity Power Training workouts combine the beneficial aspects of the study so you can improve body composition, aerobic fitness and enhance skills that’ll transfer over to bigger PRs.

For best results, perform each repetition in the workout as explosively as possible, with little rest in between exercises. Each workout will be performed circuit-style, consisting of a total of 3 sets for each exercise, with 3-5 minutes rest in between circuits.

The weight used should be challenging but not too heavy where you can’t complete a circuit. If you don’t have experience with Olympic lifts, you can substitute the barbell lifts with moderately heavy dumbbell or kettlebell variations. Take at least one day off between workouts.

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High Intensity Power Training Workouts for Fat Loss, Strength and Fitness

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How to fast-track fat loss

To fast-track coveted progress such as greater fat loss, Tramontana says you need to get back to basics.

Cardio is not ‘hardio’

With a combination of higher intensity interval training (HIIT), low-intensity steady state (LISS) training, body weight training sessions and a nutritious diet, Tramontana ensures his clients are given the best formula for their body.

“My cardiovascular programming is based around a 75/25 split of LISS and HIIT. So based on the available amount of time for a client to add in cardio on top of resistance training would determine the amount of each they conducted,” he says.

Here’s what your cardio program could look like:

2 hours per week for cardio training = 30 minutes of HIIT over two to three days + 90 minutes of LISS over one to two sessions.

Be wary, if HIIT was all you did, you may encounter the downside of too much stress on your body, which can ironically turn HIIT into a fat retention tactic.

So what about weight training?

“For fat loss, I structure everything around two to three full bodyweight training sessions – two sessions based on linear periodisation macro cycle of 16-to-24 week programming, altered every four to six weeks,” he explains.

Translation? A program that begins by incorporating high-volume and low intensity weight training, and progressively moves into phases when the volume decreases and intensity increases.  Tramontana is a strong advocate for women to hit up the weights rack, “I find a lot of women are lifting nowhere near their capacity. Don’t be shy to lift heavy weights and test your ability regularly.”

The importance of rest

All this talk of intensity may have you thinking full pelt should be the only gear you work in, but without adequate recovery, you may be undermining your fat loss chances at the dumbbells. Both injury and overt fatigue can see you performing at less than 100 per cent over multiple sessions.

“Recovery begins with the post-workout meal. I advise at least 25 to 50 per cent of overall carbohydrates be included in this meal – either using complex carbohydrate sources or a combination of simple and complex carbs,” says Tramontana. “I also recommend at least one body therapy session per week.”

Think physiotherapy, massage, sauna, steam, floating, dry needling, sleep in, meditation, yoga, grounding – or something as simple as reading a book.

How to fuel your body with the right food

For Tramontana, eating for fat loss should focus on controlling hunger, which translates to better portion control and craving management.

“I ask that protein be included in every meal upon waking, generally an even or slightly escalating amount each meal depending again on habits and hunger patterns,” he says.

“For fat loss, I personally urge the exclusion of high-energy carbs even post workout – with the exception of competitors in the later stage of preparation.”

Supplementation may also give you an edge in the health and results stakes. Depending on your goals and needs, Tramontana advises the use of creatine, glutamine, vitamin C, branch chain amino acids, fish oils, whey protein, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc and a good-quality greens supplement to aid recovery, general wellbeing and lean muscle growth.

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How to fast-track fat loss

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Time Saver Workout: Mini Spartan Madness

WORKOUT BY: Luis Buron, Spartan SGX Coach

 In this workout we’re simulating a Reebok Spartan Race. The mix of running in place and stepups imitate running and climbing uneven terrain and the moves mimic Spartan Race obstacles (as noted in parentheses). The workout finishes with Spartan signature penalty, burpees, and we go for 2 min. because an unpredictable challenge that you weren’t planning for is what we’re all about.
 1 minute: Run in Place
  • 30 seconds: Dead Hang (Rope Climb)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: Box Jump (Wall Climb)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: High Pushup Hold (Z Wall)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 second: Body Row (Inverted Wall)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: Hollow Hold (Slip Wall)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: KB Deadlift (Bucket Carry)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: Jumping Pullup (Hercules Hoist)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: Kettlebell Swing (Atlas Carry)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: Active Hang (Multi Rig)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: Lunge (Sandbag Carry)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: Bear Crawl (Barb Wire Crawl)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: Broad Jump (Fire Jump)
  • 2 minutes: Burpee

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Time Saver Workout: Mini Spartan Maddness

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Time Saver Workout: Fast Four

WORKOUT BY: Leandro Cavalho, Creator of the Beachbody Brazil Butt Lift

For quick and effective workouts, you’re better off focusing on the larger muscle groups like the chest, back, glutes, quads, hamstrings, abs, and shoulders. For this workout, there are a total of 4 moves: Beginners can start with 1 set of each move; intermediate, 2–3 sets; advanced, do 4 or more sets.

EXERCISE 1

Walking Pushup: Bend over at the waist, keeping a flat back, until your hands touch floor. Walk hands out to a pushup position and perform 1 pushup, then walk hands back and return to standing. Each time increase number of pushups done by 1. Beginners, go up to 3–4 reps, intermediate/ advanced, 5–6 reps. After your sixth rep, perform 10 pushups.

EXERCISE 2

Squat: Beginners, do this exercise 12 times holding 12 lb. dumbbells; intermediate, 15 times holding 15 lb. dumbbells; advanced, 20 times holding 20 lb. dumbbells.

EXERCISE 3

Bentover Row: Beginners, use one 8–12 lb. weight in each hand and do 12 reps; intermediate, 15 lb. doing 15 reps; advanced, 20 lb. doing 20 reps.

EXERCISE 4

Inverted Tabletop: Lie faceup with knees above hips, feet flexed and positioned slightly higher than knees, hands behind head. Start with double reps: In 1 count, lift head, neck, and shoulders, bringing knees in toward chest. Then lift shoulder blades and tailbone a little higher for 1 more count. Return to start in 2 counts, bringing your head back down to touch mat. Then do single reps: Perform the move for 1 count up, 1 count down. Then do short reps: “Pulse” at top of move rather than returning back to the start. Beginner: Do 8 double counts, 8 single counts, 8 shortsIntermediate: Do 12 double counts, 12 single counts, 12 shorts Advanced: Do 16 double counts, 16 single counts, 16 shorts.

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Time Saver Workout: Fast Four

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Core 3-14

7 Best Barbell Exercises for a Strong Core

1 of 8 Attack Your Core While it’s true that “abs are built in the kitchen,” like with any muscle, abs are built in the gym, too.

You still have to blast them with intense exercises to create the stimulus for growth and definition.

Yet the common ab exercises guys use to target their core—planks, situps, stability ball crunches, etc.—leave much to be desired.

By using a barbell, however, you’ll be able to easily add resistance to each core exercise and intensify your training for more hypertrophy

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7 Best Barbell Exercises for a Strong Core

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Burn Fat and Build Bigger Legs

By now you know it’s possible to get in a great high-intensity lower body workout at home with minimal equipment, which explains why you’re standing at the bottom of a flight of stairs with a 25- or 45-pound plate in your hands.

When you’re looking for a quick fat-burning, leg-strengthening session, you can’t go wrong with the combination of weights and stairs. And now, we’re about to show you exactly what to do with both.

In our daily lives, we typically view stairs as an inconvenience. Walking up a flight of them is something we simply put our heads down and do, because unless there’s an elevator handy, we don’t have much choice in the matter. Stairs are everywhere, but there’s a catch, and it’s a beneficial one for you: when used correctly, stairs are one of the most effective workout tools in existence. Best of all, you don’t have to join a gym to find a set.

The workout below is designed for use by the home trainee who wants a grueling, circuit-style session that won’t take long to complete. The idea here is to perform as many rounds of both exercises as possible – set seven rounds as an initial long-term goal – with minimal rest, breaking your previous record each week. Each exercise can be made either easier or harder by increasing or decreasing the number of steps in play.

To perform thrusters, hold a 25- or 45-pound plate at chest level and sit back, leading with your butt and keeping your knees behind your toes, onto the second or third stair. Once you’ve landed, stand up quickly and, in one motion using momentum generated by your lower body, press the plate overhead. For step-ups, hold the plate in a comfortable position and simply step to the second or third stair, step back down again, then repeat with your opposite leg.

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Burn Fat and Build Bigger 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

EXERCISESETSREPS
EZ-bar Curl46-8
Lying EZ-bar Extension46-8
Seated Dumbbell Overhead Extension38-12
Seated Dumbbell Curl38-12
Cable Rope Hammer Curl312-15
Cable Pushdown312-15

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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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The Fitness Ageless Wonders

Shellie Edington, 52

From: Columbus, OH
Stats: Crossfit Games Masters Champ (2016 Winner, 50–54)

Edington has a six-pack that women 30 years younger would envy. Her abs (and the rest of her impressive physique) were earned through an intense five-days-a-week CrossFit program that includes running, rowing, Olympic lifting, and other CrossFit staples.

Edington discovered the sport five years ago, after getting bored with her occasional workouts at a traditional gym. “I felt at home there the moment I walked in,” she says. That didn’t mean it was easy: Edington says she could barely do a pushup or a pullup. “I was shocked by my lack of strength and skill. I was terrified to go back—which is exactly why I did.”

Although she competed in gymnastics through high school and was a cheerleader in college, Edington stepped away from fitness when she became a full-time mother of three. Starting a company called Tumblin4Kids that taught gymnastics classes for toddlers in 2000 kept her somewhat active, but she felt her body slowing down. “I was really dragging. I had put on about 20 extra pounds, and I thought I was going to have to retire from teaching kids because it was too hard to move around.”

She committed to going to a CrossFit affiliate three times a week for an hour at a time, and after a few weeks she started to add twice-weekly Olympic lifting to work on her technique. Around the same time, she started
a Paleo diet that helped her drop about 25 pounds from her 5’3″ frame. Her coaches encouraged her to compete in CrossFit Open events, and she took up the challenge with gusto. In 2014, Edington placed third in her age group at the Reebok CrossFit Games, and fifth in 2015, then went on to win the Masters 50–54 division in 2016.

As proud as she was to stand on the podium, Edington says the ultimate payoff is how she feels. “My hashtag is now #youarenotdoneyet because every day is a chance to get better.”

Workout schedule:

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The Fitness Ageless Wonders

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