Here’s how strength training can get you a better bikini body... More and more women are strength training when they hit the gym, but if you’re still not convinced, then you could be missing out on some serious benefits. Whether you’re using the TRX, doing a kettlebell class or using a pair
Michael Svoboda/Getty Images Plenty of people are perpetually unhappy with their weight. Even these folks wouldn’t be considered obese, per se, they might just have enough extra pounds to be considered overweight. But we have good news. Whether your spare tire is a result of holiday overeating or some long-term unhealthy habits, you can beat those last 15lbs by following a killer workout plan. We consulted with Andrew Borsellino, C.S.C.S., co-founder of Precision Sports Performance, and Thomas King, C.S.C.S., strength and conditioning coach with JK Conditioning, to build the ultimate workout routine to get you confident and shredded in two months. [RELATED1] “The hardest part always is just getting started,” says Borsellino. “If you lack self-esteem and are wary about walking into a gym or studio, or visiting a nutritionist to get your journey going, an important first step should be trying to find a place where you feel comfortable and a coach or trainer that you connect with.” But if you’ve been fit in the past and know the ropes around the gym and want to go it alone, our simple plan will help you get off on the right foot. “When getting started, make sure you start the right type of program,” says Borsellino. “If you get going on a program that is way too intense right off the bat, it may keep you from continuing and reaching your goals.” Furthermore, if you’re unprepared for a high-intensity workout program, you could potentially be walking the path to injury. At the same time, starting a workout program that’s too easy or not stimulating could just lead to boredom—and boredom makes you more likely to quit. King adds: “In my experience, the easiest way to sneak fat loss work into your routine is through the use of circuits and complexes. Nobody really wants to spend an hour running on a treadmill when you could be doing more engaging exercises like kettlebell swings, thrusters, and squats. I also like to include at least one more traditional strength training day per week. It allows for recovery from the demanding circuits and the lower reps will help preserve muscle tissue during the fat-loss stage.” [RELATED2] Finally, remember that not all workout plans work for everyone. Everybody is different, and different stimuli will lead to different results, but the most important thing to remember is that this is a lifestyle. “Small changes at a time lead to big improvements and lay the foundation for a healthy life,” says Borsellino. The workout The following workout program, which comes courtesy of King, incorporates three workouts per week: two days of circuit training and one day of strength training. Perform these workouts on nonconsecutive days for eight weeks. Before each session, do a light warmup that includes aerobic exercise (like walking on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes) and dynamic mobility work (like banded shoulder dislocations and rotational hip dislocations). Instructions Day 1 circuit: Perform one set of each exercise before resting. After you have completed one full round, rest for two minutes and start again. The goal is to complete five rounds as quickly as possible. For an added challenge, time yourself and see how you progress as you move through the eight-week program. Day 2 strength workout: The strength day will stick to the basic lifts and pair two complementary movements as a superset. Perform exercises in the same superset (marked A and B), then rest 1½-2 minutes. Repeat for the prescribed number of sets. Day 3 circuit: The second circuit incorporates a dumbbell complex. Choose a dumbbell weight you can use for all the exercises, and be sure to do each exercise without putting the dumbbells down. If that’s not difficult enough, after each complex, row 100 meters as quickly as possible. Complete five rounds of this circuit in as little time as possible. Time yourself and see how you progress over the next eight weeks. [RELATED3] Topics: Fat LossStrength TrainingBurn FatBuild Muscle
A strong core will support everything else you do, but when most people think of core they only think of abs. Head trainer Alexa Towersey and Jenna Douros show us how to build up your core.The core includes all of the abs (deep and superficial) in addition to the muscles of the hips and lower back. These four exercises are designed to target as much of the core as possible.
For all the girls carrying the world on their shoulders, Karey Northington provides an epic upper body circuit designed to build strength and create some serious shape.The whyThis workout is a fantastically efficient time saver that hits the deltoid from multiple angles, creating beautifully sculpted shoulders. Using dumbbells, the body bar and the plate help vary the muscles used and make the workout convenient to do almost anywhere. With today’s busy schedules, it’s crucial to have at-home options that save a trip to the gym.The doComplete 12 reps of each exercise one after the other, with little to no rest in between. Begin with two rounds, working your way up to four rounds as you become stronger and fitter
milan2099 / Getty Each and every one of us steps foot into the gym because we want to improve our physical selves. While we all might have different goals, the same theme exists for all of us…progression. Now, there are a few guys out there that get to lift heavy weights for a living. Perhaps they’ve been lucky enough to gain major sponsorship or have lucrative contracts with a magazine and/or sports supplement manufacturer. These guys “get paid” to workout, so for them the gym is their office. For most of us, however, we can’t afford to build our lives around the gym, but must fit the gym into our lives. Between work, family, friends, and errands, we’re lucky to find just 3-4 days per week to train for perhaps 60-90 minutes at a time. Thus, it’s important that every moment we spend fighting the resistance of dumbbells, barbells, cables, or machines be used with maximum efficiency. That means choosing the “best bang for your buck exercises” that yield optimal muscle-building results in a minimum amount of time. Below (the exercises) are the two workouts that will help you craft a strong and sculpted upper body. Perform each one once a week for optimal results. The exercises Bench Press Quick Tip: For maximum stimulation of the chest, position your torso on the bench with a slight arch in the lower back; the ribcage held high; and the shoulders shrugged back and downward. Incline DB Press Quick Tip: Vary the incline of the bench workout-to-workout or set-to-set from 30° to 45° to 60° to target different motor unit pools. Wide-Grip Pullup Quick Tip: Vary grip widths and the angle of the torso when pulling to effectively stimulate all areas of the back musculature. Underhand Grip BB Bent Row Quick Tip: Keep the torso bent at an angle of about 75° and pull the bar into the lower abdomen to best stimulate the belly of the lats. Seated BB Military Press Quick Tip: Use a bench with back support and keep your torso upright throughout the set (leaning back engages too much upper pecs). Bring the bar just below the chin before driving it back to the top. Shoulder-Width Grip BB Upright Row Quick Tip: Raise the bar to a level at which the upper arms are parallel to the floor. At the top, the hands should be lower than the elbows to best stimulate the shoulders. Triceps Dip Quick Tip: To keep chest activation to a minimum and target more triceps activation, make sure your torso remains upright throughout the set. Lower yourself to the point where your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Partial Rack Deadlift Quick Tip: For complete back development, vary the range-of-motion from just above knee-height to as low as the mid-shins. It is best to stick with one range-of-motion per workout. One-Arm DB Row Quick Tip: Keep your upper body parallel to the floor throughout the set. As you raise the DB, keep the elbow close to the body and do not allow the elbow to go higher than the height of your torso. Incline BB Press Quick Tip: Use the same torso position that was mentioned above for the bench press. Lower the bar to the top of the chest, just below the chin. Chest Dip Quick Tip: Keep your torso leaning forward throughout the set to more strongly engage the pecs. Lower yourself to a point where you can feel a slight stretch in the chest before pushing back to the top. To keep more tension on the pecs, do not lockout. Seated DB Press Quick Tip: To put the greatest emphasis on the anterior delts, press the DB’s with the palms facing each other. To work the anterior delts but also bring the lateral heads greatly into play, press with the elbows held back in line with the torso and palms facing forward. Close-Grip BB Upright Row Quick Tip: Take a grip on a BB with your hands spaced about 6″ apart. Raise the bar to about the height of your chin to bring the mid and upper traps into play along with the anterior delts. Close-Grip Pullup Quick Tip: Take a slightly less than shoulder-width grip on the pullup bar. Lift your body up to a point where you feel your biceps are fully contracted, while focusing on keeping lats activation to a minimum. Lower yourself to a point where there is still a slight bend in the elbows to keep tension on the biceps. Topics: BackBicepsChestMiddle BackShouldersTrapsUpper BackBuild Muscle
Per Bernal / M+F MagazineAs a kid growing up in St. Clair Shores, MI, Steve Kuclo would flip through the pages of FLEX and Muscle & Fitness magazines looking for workout programs and lifting tips to help him gain strength and size. “I’ve always loved competing, and I played a lot of sports growing up,” says Kuclo, who after two years of studying at the University of Michigan decided to change directions and become a full-time firefighter. About this time Kuclo also developed an itch to get onstage as a bodybuilder. After a few years of competing as an amateur, Kuclo, then 25, turned pro in 2011 at the NPC USAs. But he still had financial responsibilities, which meant he had to continue to juggle being a firefighter with his career as an IFBB pro—until last year. [RELATED1] Like many top names in the industry, Kuclo uses the name recognition, income from sponsorships (he’s currently sponsored by AllMax Nutrition), and earnings from bodybuilding competitions as a platform to pursue other things. His biggest venture right now is a clothing company, Booty Queen Apparel, which he runs with his wife, IFBB bikini pro Amanda Latona-Kuclo. And being a body- builder, entrepreneur, and a dutiful husband means he “pretty much has three full-time jobs,” he says. We’ll focus on one—being an IFBB pro bodybuilder. Think you have what it takes? ON THE JOBThe lifestyle of an IFBB pro is a 24/7 grind—your training, nutrition, and sleep quality all have to be on point. Otherwise, your odds of flexing your way to glory are dismal at best. If you’re up for it, here’s what you can expect, according to Kuclo (Instagram: @stevekuclo). THE DAILY GRIND“Monday through Friday, Amanda and I wake up early and take care of business for Booty Queen Apparel—answering emails, making sure we’re coming out with new products, and planning out appearances at expos. As for the gym, I’m lucky to have a training partner who is flexible, so I go either in the morning or at night for a couple of hours.”To remain nourished, Kuclo cooks at home and take his meals on the road with him. [RELATED2] SKILLS NEEDED“The one big factor is genetics. If you’re, like, 5’4″ and 140 pounds, and you want to compete in the Mr. Olympia, especially against the big guys who are 275 pounds or more, you may need to rethink your goals. If you’re a big-framed guy, with big joints and muscle bellies, who sees quick results in the gym, then you got it,” Kuclo says. BEST PART OF THE JOB“Meeting and greeting fans,” he says. “At the 2017 Mr. O expo, a guy said, ‘I had cancer, and watching your videos helped get me through some dark times.’ Meeting people like that is the most rewarding thing about what I do.” WORST PART OF THE JOBAlong with the wear and tear of training, doing promotions for Booty Queen, and traveling to competitions, Kuclo says there’s another downside to the job: Your sex drive can plummet close to showtime. “If you put an apple pie and my wife in front of me, naked, two weeks out from a show, I know I’m in shape when I’d rather pick the apple pie…though I still may take my wife.” [RELATED3] The “IT” Factor: Anyone can be fit, but being a professional bodybuilder requires superior genetics, says Kuclo. If you don’t have them, reconsider your goals.
We take a look at top workouts and exercises for building up your sport and cardio fitness - think group fitness classes, running clubs, obstacle courses, hip-hop dance. GOOD FOR While not overly useful to the highly trained individual, low-key, entertainment-based group fitness classes or activities may provide a much needed push for the under-motivated. “These types
Try: Pre-workout muscle engagement When you’re pushed for time, you want to get the most bang for your buck. Pre-workout muscle engagement is a technique that aims to engage more muscles throughout your workout, which burns more calories and creates a stable base. How: Try adding the following core and glute activation