Archive | March, 2017

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How to get rid of cellulite

Most of us are plagued by dreaded cellulite, but before you pack away those shorts or dresses, we’ve got the latest science-backed solutions that could help. Here, sports scientist Ross Edgley rounds them up so you can win the war on cellulite if you’re one of the 87 per cent of women in the UK affected by the orange peel effect.

What is cellulite?

Cellulite is basically a term used to describe the dimpled and uneven appearance of skin caused by fat deposits that are just below the surface of the skin. Although scientists don’t know exactly what causes it, it’s believed to be related to the body’s inability to get rid of toxins, fat and fluid which becomes trapped under the skin and cause fibrous tissue to become hard, which is responsible for producing the dreaded dimpling effect. So what methods can you use to combat it?

Roll with it

Try moving on a foam roller and stretching more often to loosen your muscle fascia. This is the tight, interwoven fibres of the muscles and when loosened up it allows nutrient-rich blood to circulate through those fibres, which not only helps rid the body of toxins but also increases the resting metabolic rate and breaks up fatty tissues.

Eat and drink away cellulite

Eating more brightly coloured fruits such a papaya and mango has been shown to help prevent and reduce tissue damage due to the high content of antioxidants. Also, berries that are darker in colour such as blueberries and blackberries also help boost the antioxidant level in the body and stimulate the production of collagen, which may lessen the appearance of cellulite. One of the quickest ways to smooth out the appearance of your skin is to amp up collagen production with sulfur-packed foods, including cucumbers, black olives and celery. Vegetables that are rich in vitamin A may also aid in boosting collagen production in the human body, so incorporate more cantaloupe, raw carrots and sweet potatoes into your weekly food plan. There are endless ways you can eat yourself smooth!

Although green tea has not yet been specifically tested as a treatment for cellulite it has received a lot of recognition as being a possible treatment for obesity. Whilst losing fat won’t completely solve cellulite, it’s been shown to help, according to research conducted at the Laboratoires Arkopharma in France. Try sipping on 2-3 cups a day (but avoid it too close to bedtime due to the caffeine content). Green tea has a distinct bitterness to it, so for those who don’t enjoy the taste, try The Protein Works Green Tea Ultra capsules (£10.49, theproteinworks.com)

Increase your heart rate

One of the simplest ways to combat cellulite is to stimulate the lymphatic system. This is because the lymphatic system serves as a drainage system to rid the body of toxins and if running efficiently prevents the fibrous tissue under the skin from hardening and therefore causing the dreaded dimpled cellulite effect. So how do you stimulate your lymphatic system? Get exercising and breathing heavier. It really is that simple since studies show exercise can increase lymph activity by 10 to 30 times its activity at rest. Another good reason to get moving! Check out our cellulite workout to get going.

Fight it with fat

Lastly, science shows eating fat could help with cellulite. Yes, really. But not just any fat – a special kind of fatty acid known as CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) that’s found in beef. Most notably, in a study conducted in Beverly Hills, California (and published in the Advances in Therapy Journal by Dr Lawrence Birnbaum) 60 females were given CLA for 60 days and ‘in as many as 75% of the women, the appearance of the skin improved significantly, and thigh circumference was reduced by an average of 0.88 inch.’ For an easy CLA hit, try the capsule form (£7.99, theproteinworks.com)

For more information from sports scientist Ross Edgley visit www.rossedgley.com

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Mindfulness exercises

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There are tonnes of ways to get pumped using exercise, a HIIT class with booming music that shakes the floor, sprinting your morning run because your so pumped because your earphones are so loud they’re practically bursting your ear drums, or signing up for another spin class knowing full well that the instructor will be screaming at you the whole time. But, it’s important to make sure you’re getting a healthy balance of exercise and rest or relaxation to achieve good health – that’s why we love methods that combine the two.

If you thought ‘inner energy’ was all about sitting on a yoga mat in the lotus position while chanting ‘om’, then think again. Those familiar with the Chinese martial art tai chi may have come across qigong before. Sometimes known by its full name of taiji qigong, it consists of 18 exercises that are used to promote the body’s natural healing energy to reduce stress levels and increase your quality of life.

How does it work?

Focusing on postures and breathing, qigong is aimed at improving physical and mental health. ‘The exercises can help to promote the body’s natural healing energy, reduce stress and create a feeling of wellbeing,’ explains Ronnie Robinson the director of Taiji Europa, (taiji-europa.eu).
If you know a little about acupuncture, you may be familiar with the Chinese theory of internal energy pathways, or meridians, through which ‘qi’ or ‘chi’ – energy – flows through. ‘Each meridian connects to different internal organs and ensures a healthy energy flow to the connected organ,’ Ronnie explains. ‘When the chi flow is regular the body will remain healthy. However, if there are blockages in this energy flow, problems can result.’
The theory goes that ailments occur because there is disruption to the energy flow in the meridian associated with that particular area. The disruption can be due to stress, poor eating habits, or even being too hot or too cold, creating a build-up which energy can’t freely flow through. Qigong helps to clear these blockages so energy can flow through the meridians with as little disruption as possible.

How to do it

The movements are simple, slow and gentle, yet effective in restoring energy. The body is kept in alignment throughout, and breathing is soft and natural. You may not get your heart racing in qigong, but you’ll certainly benefit physically. ‘Think about the natural movements of animals,’ says Ronnie, ‘like how birds take off and fly. They don’t carry the stresses and strains in their bodies that we humans do. Try to emulate the smooth, easy, natural movements that you see in the rest of nature.’
Want to give qigong a go? Perform each move 8-10 times one after another to create a flowing routine. It’s ideal performed in the morning for a gentle start to the day, or a good option if you need to unwind after work.

Qigong decoded

Beihui: A pressure point at the central part of the top of the head
Dantian: A pressure point just in front of your tummy
Laogong: A pressure point on the centre of the palm of the hd
Zusanli: A pressure point a few inches below the outside of the knee

Top tips for qigong

Listen to your breath Adopt a soft, natural breathing during the movements.

Be aware of your body Although aches and pains are sometimes normal, don’t overdo it. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you.

‘Sink’ your weight and ‘lighten’ your upper body Establish a connection with the ground by imagining your weight dropping deep into the earth while your upper body floats upwards. In reality, your upper body may be heavy with tension while you find it hard to keep your feet firmly on the ground.
Maintain alignment Keep a natural arch in your back and neutral spine, the way we’ve evolved.
Focus and intent Connect with all the movements you’re making and the directions you’re going.
Be natural Think of the movements you see taking place in nature and try to follow suit.

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Butt sculpting and core strengthening workout

Why the bosu ball? “By adding an unstable surface, a BOSU ball increases activation of the rectus abdominus and facilitates extra activity per exercise than a stable surface would,” says Meaghan.

 

1. Sit-up

3 sets / 12-15 reps

1. Begin by lying on the Bosu ball with your hips just off the edge of the ball. Place your hands behind your head to gently support your neck.

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2. Exhale and curl your upper body over the Bosu ball. Hold for a brief second at the top before slowly returning to the starting position.

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Words/workout: Meaghan Terzis
Photography: James Patrick 

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Butt sculpting and core strengthening workout

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Strike a balance with this Inner thigh exercise

Want to boost gym performance? It’s time to balance out your intense workouts with a good old dance-inspired stretch

Blocking out the time to really delve into a stretching session can seem hard to justify if your busy schedule already makes squeezing workouts in difficult.

But if you’ve found yourself hitting a wall when it comes to results, or you’re constantly plagued by niggling injuries, it might just be what the doctor ordered. US-based Lastics has taken inspo from the long, lean and limber bodies of dancers to come up with classes and online videos to help regular gym-goers get the most out of their workouts. ‘Dancers epitomise the balance between strength and flexibility to the extreme,’ says Lastics founder Donna Flagg. ‘Their bodies are graceful, sculpted and powerful.’

Rather than overhauling your entire workout routine to emulate that of a ballerina, Lastics instead allows you to simply take a leaf out of their book, providing stretching-focused classes to help you develop an improved range of motion. This is essential to anyone who’s looking to prevent injuries, boost conditioning and balance out strength training – as well as achieve a slender silhouette. ‘Lastics enhances all other activities, improves posture and circulation and gives you more freedom to move in your body,’ Donna adds. So if you’re intrigued by the slenderness and strength of a dancer but don’t necessarily have any goals to make it as one (bar the occasional tear-up on the dance floor on a Friday night), this is the perfect middle ground.

If you’re interested in subscribing to Lastics, trying out the DVD or even just having a taster of what it might be like, give this workout a go. Donna has devised it especially to supplement WF’s workouts, but it’s a wise and healthy addition to any active woman’s weekly routine. It can even be added to the end of a workout if you don’t want to dedicate an entire session to it.

How to do it

Breathe into the stretch and release when the body starts to resist. Then take a few breaths and release deeper into the stretch on each exhale. Repeat as desired.

Technique

Sit in a straddle and let your head hang between your legs, rounding your back. Release any tension you may be holding.

After you’ve been hanging there totally relaxed, reach your nose a little closer to the floor. Hold your upper body where it is and press the backs of your knees down into the floor.

Hold your body and knees in place and flex your feet, making sure your knees don’t pop back up.

Finally, hold all of that and lift your chin to flatten your back. Hold for a few seconds.

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Strike a balance with this Inner thigh exercise

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Train With Dana Linn Bailey Contest: Winning Back Workout

Sam Wells is one lucky girl. The aspiring women’s physique competitor not only met the first-ever women’s physique Olympia winner, Dana Linn Bailey, she trained with her too. Sam won MHP’s 2013 “Train With Dana” contest, and her prize was spending the day at City Athletic Club in Las Vegas trading reps with her idol.

“When I got the call that I had won, I honestly didn’t know what to do—I just ran around the house crying like a total spaz,” recalls Sam. The day after DLB won the Olympia, Sam was there to meet her. Among flashing cameras and surprise visits from other notable Olympia athletes, such as Kai Greene, the two women got right down to business by crushing a back workout. “Getting to do what I love to do most alongside the person I most look up to was a remarkable experience,” says Sam.

Train With Dana
Watch The Video – 11:09

Although she was depleted and tired from the day before, DLB challenged Sam to do her best. “The thing about Dana is that she is so inspiring,” says Sam. “She makes you feel like you can do it too. There are some people who are discouraging and have a cocky attitude. She’s not like that at all. She’s really uplifting, inspiring, and motivating.”

“I was speechless the whole day—I just tried to take it all in. This day changed my life.”

Follow the workout these two inspiring ladies did together!

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We all need a little kick to the behind once in a while. Here are 23 ways to increase the fun and intensity of your workouts so you feel more motivated to do them!

 

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Train With Dana Linn Bailey Contest: Winning Back Workout

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Dumbbells Only Pump for Upper-Body Muscle

YOUR SETUP

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

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

YOUR SOLUTION

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

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

YOUR WORKOUT

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Neural-Metabolic Continuum

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deadlift

The Case for High Reps

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

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

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

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

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

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

The solution here is clear: Focus on getting stronger!

The Case for Low Reps

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

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

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

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

The Perfect Combination

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can’t I Just Train Everything at Once?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Final Step

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s All About Smarter Training

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

 

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

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Break Through Plateauing Results by Training Smarter

Stuck in a rut? If you exercise regularly but can’t figure out how to smash plateaus, you’re in the right place. This plan, by IFBB fitness pro Fiona Harris, will trim inches off your thighs, tone and sculpt your arms, perk up your glute-ham tie-in, and create definition like your Insta-idol @NicoleMWilkins.

By manipulating variables such as intensity and frequency and incorporating different training techniques—like heavy/low-rep and light/high-frequency body-part splits, plus cardio, HIIT, and plyometrics—you WILL keep your body progressing right to the top.

RECOMMENDED WORKOUT WEEKLY SPLIT

  • DAY 1: Lower-Body Workout 1, Heavy Weights; 35 minutes steady-state cardio
  • DAY 2: Chest/Shoulders, StepMill HIIT Cardio
  • DAY 3: Plyometric Whole-Body Workout, Rower HIIT Cardio
  • DAY 4: Rest
  • DAY 5: Lower-Body Workout 2, High Volume; 35 minutes steady-state cardio
  • DAY 6: Back/Arms, Treadmill HIIT Cardio
  • DAY 7: Rest

Harris recommends one day of heavy lifting and one day of higher volume, as well as pairing plyo with traditional lower-body moves. Mixing high-rep training and plyometrics with heavy lifting helps provide a new stimulus to muscles.

Lower Body

Workout 1 (Heavy Weights)

  • Leg Extensions: 1½ reps (1 rep from full flexion to full extension, then ½ rep to halfway down, then up to full flexion); 1 warmup set; 7 sets of 12–15 reps.
  • Barbell back squat: 5 sets of 8–12 reps.
  • Leg press: Narrow stance (feet/ knees together) 4 sets of 10–12 reps.
  • Hack squat: Wide stance, toes pointed out, 4 sets of 8–12 reps.
  • Lying hamstring curl: 1½ reps; 4 sets of 8–12 reps.
  • Barbell hip thruster: 4 sets of 10–12 reps.
  • *Rest 45-60 seconds betweetn sets

Workout 2 (High Volume)

  • Leg extension superset with pop squat:** 1 warmup set; 4 sets of 12–15 reps/20 reps
  • Smith machine sumo squat with pulse: 4 sets of 15 reps.
  • DB reverse lunge to curtsy squat: 4 sets of 12–15 reps per leg.
  • Single-leg cable hamstring-curl superset with bent-knee kickback: 3 sets of 15 reps/15 reps.
  • Abductor machine superset with side-walking squat with resistance band: 4 sets of 15 reps/10–12 reps each direction.
  • DB walking lunge: 3 sets of 20 reps per leg.
  • *Rest 30–45 seconds between sets
  • **Superset: Do one set of each move with no rest in between sets.

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Break Through Plateauing Results by Training Smarter

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Straight Up Quads Workout for Bigger, Stronger Legs

 

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

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

THE MOVES

Hack Squat

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

Unbalanced Walking Lunge

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

Front Squat

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

Box Jump

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

THE WARMUP

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

 

Straight Up Quads Workout for Bigger, Stronger Legs

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Medicine ball workout

Complete this routine as a timed circuit or do five rounds (20 reps each exercise).

The gist:

A medicine ball is a weighted ball roughly about 35 centimetres in diameter, and comes in a variety of weights from one kg to 11 kg. They are inexpensive, and available in hard plastic, dense rubber or synthetic leather material.

Medicine balls add a twist to your current workout to keep it challenging enough to elicit progress. This workout is designed to improve your overall athletic performance, firm up your core, and increase your muscular power and stamina. Use of the medicine ball will also help improve your coordination, balance and flexibility.

The kit:

You will need a timer and a medicine ball for this full-body workout. Refer to the workout chart. This four-week circuit-style workout will keep you on your toes, and your heart rate going!

The list: 

The workout comprises six exercises that target all areas of the body. Start with the first exercise, complete as many reps as you can within the recommended amount of work time (see chart), rest for the recommended amount, then continue on to the next exercise. Repeat until all of the exercises are done. As the week’s progress, the circuit gets more challenging. Record your results so you can properly keep track of your progress.

For Weeks 1–2:

Once all of the exercises in the circuit are complete, rest 90 seconds, and repeat the entire circuit two more times.

For Week 3: 

Once all of the exercises in the circuit are complete, rest 60 seconds, and repeat the entire circuit two more times. 

For Week 4: 

Once all of the exercises in the circuit are complete, rest 60 seconds, and repeat the entire circuit three more times. 

Tip: For beginners, use a lighter weight medicine ball. For an extra challenge and to increase your power, use a heavier ball.

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Medicine ball workout

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