Monday, July 25, 2016

Why Free Weight Training Isn’t Always Best

Free Weight Training

Most bodybuilding manuals prescribe about the same movements for training back. You’re supposed to start with deadlifts, move on to chins and barbell rows, then finish your day with some lat pull downs.

This primary focus upon free weight movements has served many bodybuilders well over the years, but it has also cost many bodybuilders years off their competitive career due to injury. Additionally, some bodybuilders, because of their training style, body type, or other factors, are unable to attain the pump in their back required for balanced muscle growth. They might get bigger, and they sure get stronger, but they often will lack the ability to attain and maintain a balanced pump which leads to balanced growth. Here are a few movements which trainers can use to attain great bodybuilding back growth without the use of free weights.

Hammer Strength Machines

These exercises often get a bad rap by bodybuilders, because they are often populated with the elderly or soccer moms looking to pump up their bodies by swinging a massive 10 pounds with no feel or control.

Yes, the machines are essentially “idiot-proof” and can seem very easy when the weight used is moderate and the reps are high. However, by increasing the weight, slowing down your repetition speed, and working hard to feel the contraction of the back with every repetition, you may be able to see better results from these machines than you can with free weights. You don’t have to think about balancing or controlling the weight, so your sole focus should be upon pushing it.

Assisted Chin Machines

Without a doubt, chins are probably the most effective exercise for adding back width and strengthening the entire back. However, because they can be awkward and heavy movements, we often find ourselves recruiting the muscles of the shoulders, back, neck, arms, hips, and others to allow us to raise our bodies. Reducing the weight allows us to move through the chin repetition slower and with great focus upon flexing the muscle of the back.

Cable Rowing

When completed with a slow tempo allowing the bodybuilder to pause and flex at the peak point of each repetition, rowing places perhaps more blood into the muscle groups of the back than any other movement. Seated cable rows with a variety of handle positions allow the bodybuilder to draw bloods into different parts of the back. Start your workout with the seated wide grip variety, and then rotate the handle out every set, or every other set, to move down in range. Practice pausing at different positions in the repetitions. Bring the weight to different spots on your chest. Find ways to stimulate new muscle fibers with new blood, and new muscle growth will be the result.

Aside from the increased blood flow and potential for better ‘feel’, the three aforementioned movements are much safer than heavy free weight training. The chances of being injured on machines or rowing are minimal. If your back growth progress has stalled or if you’re nursing injuries, give back pump training a shot!

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Advanced Training Techniques For Bodybuilders Simplified

Advanced Training Techniques

Everything you do in life starts from the beginner level before advancing to the next advanced stage. The same case applies to bodybuilding. Some popular techniques will embarrass you whenever you don’t seem to be making progress. You can easily avoid those disappointments if you follow the simple steps outlined here. First of all you need to attain the most from the present routines without using more time than is necessary. It is better for you to try to have the same routine done in less time. Observe your recovery rate and compare it with your previous performances.

Heave days will be good for you when your mood is really into bodybuilding. You have no excuse for postponing what you have the motivation to do. During light days, be yourself and put yourself into as much pressure as your body can allow. You may sometimes need the help of your gym instructors. When this help is being sought, make sure that your instructor understands you according to the level you are in. sometimes confusion arises leading inappropriate training routines. A typical case is when there are so many of you in the gym and the instructor has problems telling you apart.

Forced reps are a common way of getting through the hard days. Many people think that they are a source of good results but this is not the case. They do it because they do wonders when it comes to boosting the ego. If there is something you need to leave behind once you have your muscles into the gym, it is the ego you usually old elsewhere. It can be pretty difficult to leave it behind but this is the only way you are going to be a good student.

Partial reps are a great way of ensuring that the fire on your bodybuilding muscles keeps burning. They are good for all body parts except for squats. It is good if you do the first half of the rep and leave the rest for another time, especially after having a break. You should isolate every muscle and make sure that it gets the best from your routines. The best way to isolate these muscles is to understand the role played by every rep and routine. A good example of this is the dumbbell which produces the best results when done in isolation.

This does not mean that you ignore other parts of the body. It is all about planning your bodybuilding timetable and ensuring that you are getting what your body deserves. Do not engage in negative bodybuilding. Negative bodybuilding refers to the scenario where you reduce the weights as you get along through the routines. Hold as hard a weight as you can. If the weight is too little, then it is not good for you. You are in essence doing negative bodybuilding. Do not cheat. Cheating is when you tamper with your timing pattern in order to get through a tough rep. cheating means that you are not serious about what you aim to achieve as a bodybuilder.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Powerlifting Back Training For Bodybuilder-size Mass

Powerlifting Back Training

There are essentially two ways to train the back to add muscle. First, you can opt for the traditional type of training performed by trainers at most gyms in America. These workouts usually involve 4 sets of four exercises, in which your repetitions span from 8 to 15. You train for muscle, but mainly for the pump as well. This type of training is fairly effective, but you are probably aware (if you’ve been training in this manner for years) that you’re not going to see a lot of changes in your physique from week to week on it.

There is a second method of training the back, and while the goals parallel those of bodybuilders (to gain muscle mass), the means by which this is achieved involve lifting in a method consistent with powerlifting. You keep the weights high and the reps low, and you use a lot of sets. Here is a sample workout involving a powerlifting-style of training, designed for bodybuilders.

Wide-grip lat pulldowns

You’re going to use some seriously heavy weight for this set. Instead of opting for the traditional four sets of 8 to 12 repetitions, you’ll be using 6 sets of 3 to 5 repetitions. This means you’ll be going very heavy, and using a lot of cheating to help you move the bar. As long as you’ve thoroughly warmed up for this movement, it shouldn’t be a problem.


Again, after a warm-up of two moderate sets, you’ll be using very heavy weights for very low repetitions. Your goal will be triples. Two sets of warm-ups in the 8 to 15 range should be followed by 5 sets of 1 to 3 deadlifts. Always wear a back brace when completing deadlifts this heavy.

One-arm dumbbell rows

Again, you’ll be going extremely heavy on this movement. After two warm-up sets, you’ll knock out four sets of 2 to 5 repetitions with a very heavy dumbbell. It’s okay to break form a bit, as long as your back is on fire from the heavy weight you’re moving. A weight belt is recommended for this movement as well.

Hammer strength rowing

Finally, it’s time to act like a bodybuilder for a few minutes. Climb out of the free weight area and tackle a Hammer Strength balanced lift of your choice. Mix them up with each workout. You’ll want to pump up the back with 4 to 5 sets of 8 to 20 repetitions. Burn out that back, then call it a day!

This style of workout should not be used for more than 4 weeks in a row without at least a single week of more traditional, higher repetition and higher set training. You’ll notice the back becoming much stronger, at the expense of some size in certain areas not covered by your new style of training.

Additionally, your joints and tendons will tend to ache following this type of training. Use it for as long as it remains effective, and then try another training method for a few weeks.

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Arm Training For The Genetically Challenged

Arm Training

Let’s face it, most of the bodybuilders you see on the pages of muscle magazines began their bodybuilding journey with much better genetics than you did. You may be one of those “one in ten thousand” lucky souls with perfect muscle insertion, huge muscle bellies, small joints, and naturally low body fat. But there is a 1 in 9,999 chance you are not. You probably have genetics that are good in some areas, and a little weaker in others. You probably look at the muscle magazines and don’t realize that the people in those magazines have several sets of huge advantages in terms of size, structure, and many other factors. They may have 21-inch arms with perfect shape and symmetry, all while standing at 5% body fat. They may have attained it through some combination of diet and training, along with supplementation and the use of anabolic steroids. And even if you trained and ate just like they did, and used the same supplements and steroids, you would never look like them. It’s a sad fact of life you must accept.

That being said, you can make huge strides in terms of finding a finish line that is light years ahead of your own starting line. If you begin your arm-training journey with 17-inch arms, then it’s very possible you can get them up to 21 or 22 inches like Vic Martinez or Dexter Jackson, both IFBB Professional bodybuilders. However, if you began your weight training journey with arms measuring 11.5 inches, then you may eventually cap out your growth at 16 or 17 inches. Will your arms look like those of the professionals? Of course not. Will you look like a professional compared to your own starting picture? Absolutely! Here are some tips for getting the most out of your arm training.

Remember that the key to arm growth is finding the right combination of training factors that work best for your own physique, with its own unique sets of gifts and deficits.

Exercise selection

Depending upon your body type and natural leverage (among many other factors), some exercises will be more effective than others. Compound and isolation movements affect different bodybuilders differently. Stick with a movement for 4 to 6 workouts to determine (based upon soreness and growth) if the movement is effective or not.

Repetition speed & Set/Rep Scheme

Depending upon your personal mix of slow- to fast-twitch muscle fibers, a rep speed of 2 to 4 seconds will make a huge difference. The number of sets and rep range (all the way from 6 to 8, up to 15 to 20) will matter as well. Measure and record your results.


Don’t become one of those bodybuilders who changes up his routine every 2 or 3 weeks as you discover a new routine in a muscle magazine. Instead, give each training protocol a solid 6-week test run to determine if it is effective or not. This includes all of the above factors (exercise selection, repetition speed, and set/rep scheme. Record your findings and wait the full 6 weeks before determining what works and what does not.

The key to making the most personal gains (to move from your starting to finish lines the fastest) is to discover which combination of the above factors is most effective for making gains.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Training Guide For Novice Bodybuilders

novice bodybuilder
There are many people who had a daunting experience when they started out there bodybuilding careers. The reason is because there is no sport which can be intimidating than bodybuilding, this is because the sport is characterized with people who are muscular with big arms and large chests. If you are a skinny person starting out on bodybuilding you can be easily intimidated when you come across such people.

However when you go to the gym, you need to keep one thing in mind, even those professional bodybuilders started out where you are right now. They did not come from there mothers womb looking the way they look today. This article will show you the steps you should take in order to develop there body physique;

How to get started

It is spectacular that you have decided to take up bodybuilding. If you are looking to build body mass, grow a pair of six packs, or just to cut down your body weight then you can be able to accomplish all this through weight training.

Before starting your missions you need to first state your reason for starting bodybuilding in the first place. After writing your reasons for taking up bodybuilding you need to also write down what you hope to achieve through bodybuilding i.e. your goal for taking bodybuilding. Your goals need to be classified as either long term or short-term. This will enable you to come up with a training program which will help you meet your goal.

Coming up with your own training program

Before you even develop your training program you must have in mind the reason as to why you are coming up with the exercise routine in the first place. If you are a novice bodybuilder you need to ensure your training program is based on a solid foundation. Therefore the first step you should take is to ensure that your training program is designed in an efficient manner. In order to determine whether the training routine is fit for you, you need to consult a fitness expert who will be able to advice you as to whether the fitness program will help you attain your goal.

Body part training

The only to train your muscles effectively is by dividing your training exercises into body parts. You need to work out each body part separately. There are many professional bodybuilders who can attest to the fact that this approach has enabled them to achieve tremendous muscle growth. The other advantage of clearly defining your different muscle groups from the beginning is to be able to avoid an imbalance in the training of the several muscle groups. Thus your body composition is perfect in terms of muscle development.


There are very many techniques to choose from in order to exercise your different muscle groups. But if you are a novice bodybuilder you need to begin with the basics such as undertaking compound movement exercises. The advantage of this technique is that it trains very many muscle groups at the same time.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Muscle Group Reflective Cardiovascular Training

When it comes to planning cardiovascular training, most bodybuilders don’t put much thought into it. They plan their muscle group workouts with great precision and focus. They select exercises, set and repetition ranges, and even toss in a few training principles to increase intensity, such as drop sets or training beyond failure.

cardiovascular training

However, their cardio training sessions usually involve jumping on the nearest open machine and completing the time required to stay trim, with little regard for muscle group crossover or spillover effect. There are ways to stimulate the muscle group that has just been trained with weights, during the following cardio session. Not only does training in this manner help to avoid overtraining a muscle group, it can also be used to compliment the anaerobic weight training session you just completed by hitting those muscle fibers once again, keeping blood in the region for another 25 to 45 minutes. Let’s look at a few ways we can accomplish this goal.

Following chest day…

If your gym has an Ab Shot machine, you can receive a great cardio and midsection routine (which will also compliment your chest training) by using this movement. The pullover movement of the exercise is great for the pectorals, serratus, and entire front half of your body. Additionally, any sort of pullover cardio machine will make great inroads into hitting the chest after it has already been scorched during your workout.

Following back day…

Rowing for cardio is the first and only cardio movement you should ever consider after completing back training. Your heart rate will be elevated and your back will be pumped when you climb atop the machine. You’ll keep that pump going, and pulse accelerated, for the next 30 minutes. The soreness that will be evidence in your back the next day will be evidence you have done things right!

Following shoulder day…

A nice Pilates, kettle ball, or step workout – one which will require a great deal of arm swinging, with or without weights – is the best strategy for keeping the shoulders pumped following a shoulder day. Remember to keep checking your heart rate to ensure it remains in an acceptable range. Tossing in a few sets of moderate weight dumbbell side raises or lateral raises might be a good way to keep the shoulders pumped if you notice them losing their fullness during the cardio session.

Following leg day…

The standard stepper is the best movement you can use following a tough quadriceps, hamstring, and/or calf workout. The slow and steady nature of the exercise will ensure you don’t deliver too much stress to the muscles, which should be fairly unstable following a tough workout. At the same time, the up and down pumping movement of the quads will keep blood moving to your legs. Keep a watchful eye on your heart rate, as it can become too high with the blood leaving your upper body for 90 minutes or more. Conclude you weight and cardio sessions with 5 to 10 minutes of deep stretching to break up lactic acid and other toxins which will accumulate in the area during your training session.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why Forearm Training Matters

forearm training
When you first begin bodybuilding training, there is a good chance you aren’t going to take forearm training all that seriously. After all, they aren’t listed as target muscle groups in nearly all the articles we read in magazines. In the beginning, we usually employ a group of compound lifts which deliver stimulation all over the body. The forearms grow at a rate determined by genetics, rest, diet and stimulation through secondary training. Every time you complete a barbell row, biceps curl, or lat pull down, the forearms are targeted. In the beginning, they grow as a result. However, there are a few reasons why direct and sustained training designed to isolate the forearms is a good idea. Here are a few of them!


There is nothing more comical to see upon a bodybuilding stage than seeing athletes displaying the “reverse Popeye syndrome”. These men have amazing and well-developed biceps, but their forearms are small and underdeveloped. While this does allow the biceps to appear larger in some cases of competitors with sub-par biceps, this intentional lack of possible muscle can and will eventually cost the bodybuilder in the final placings. The forearms need to be as developed as the rest of the muscle groups in the body, and the judges know this better than anyone. If there’s any doubt in your mind at all, ask the judges at your next competition.

Support in major lifts

When you’re training hard and heavy, you are employing many sets of systems to complete each repetition. Your nerves, muscles, skeleton and tendons combine their efforts to move the weight. When completing a movement such as the deadlift, for example, your body uses multiple sets of muscle groups, aside from just the back (the muscle group being targeted). Your biceps and forearms are both called upon to support the lifting of hundreds of pounds. These muscle groups are much smaller than the back, and weaker as well. As a result, they often fail first. By training the biceps and specifically, forearms, with direct and targeted training, one can improve the number of repetitions and weight used in the deadlift. This applies to any and all movements requiring multiple muscle groups. The forearms are often the smallest and weakest muscle group, and fail first. You need to change that through training!

Injury avoidance

The stronger your biceps and back become, the greater workload (heavier weight and more repetitions) they are able to safely and consistently complete. However, heavier weights also contribute to a greater likelihood of sustaining an injury. Tendons and bones cannot be made stronger – one can only lift to make the muscles stronger and take precautions to ensure the muscles groups being trained are properly warmed up. Developing the forearms using resistance weight training helps them to be better prepared for a workload presented to them, and therefore less vulnerable to injury.

The bottom line is that yes, forearms do matter. Train them with the same intensity and focus you use on your ‘showcase’ body parts and you’ll be very happy with the results!

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Five Parameters Of Chest Training

bodybuilding chest training

While the chest is actually considered to be a single muscle group, it actually contains five separate yet equal areas which need to be developed to their fullest if you wish to display a full and complete chest.

Let’s check out these five areas, along with exercises which hit them most effectively.

The Inner Chest

Close-grip bench press (used for triceps) is a great way to isolate the inner chest. Also useful are incline and flat dumbbell flyes. The contraction and flexion you feel at the peak of every repetition is highly important as well.

The Outer Chest

Cable crossovers, wide incline dumbbell flyers, and parallel bar dips work to help develop that pectoral-shoulder tie-in area. Remember that this part of the upper chest shelf is visible in many poses, and its development is essential if you want to have an impressive upper body. Whenever you see a bodybuilder with poor pectoral/shoulder connections, there’ a good chance he’s not standing in the winner’s circle.

The Upper Chest

Incline “anything” will cause the upper chest to grow. Include a wide variety of incline bench pressing, dumbbell presses and flyes, and machine movements in your weekly training protocol. Always include two free weight exercises for every one machine movement you employ. Otherwise, you may find yourself missing out on some of the added benefits of free weight training, such as stabilizer muscle development.

The Lower Chest

Flat bench presses touch upon the lower chest, but nothing will stimulate this area like decline bench pressing and dumbbell presses. As always, the weight must remain heavy in order to be effective, and the repetitions should be focused and slow. You’ll also stimulate the lower chest (and abdominal tie-in lines) though the use of body weight parallel bar dips.

The Rib Cage

Frequently neglected in talks of overall chest development is the rib cage. In the 1970s, many bodybuilders believed that the use of dumbbell and barbell pullovers would lead to greater rib cage expansion, which would make the chest look bigger in side chest and vacuum poses. It’s hard to argue with the results of training in this manner for such proponents as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane, but the jury is still out on whether or not this practice actually expands the bones of the rib cage. At any rate, and for adequate serratus development as well, include pullovers with free weights or the pullover machine in your weekly training regimen.

It is your goal to include movements from each of these main areas in each chest workout. Neglecting one of them from time to time won’t seriously impair your long-term gains, but it won’t help either. At the same time, long-term ignorance of one or more of these areas will lead to compromised overall chest development. It may look worse than it should, and it will certainly perform without complete structure and support required for safe exercising. Include at least one movement from each of these 5 areas in every chest workout, then add additional movements as you see fit, based upon your experience and own strengths and weaknesses in the gym.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Anatomy Of MAX-OT Training

In recent years, MAX-OT training has seen a huge peak in popularity, followed by a dip in coverage as training methods such as DC training have taken center stage. Still, there is a large contingent of bodybuilders who use MAX-OT training religiously. They believe it offers a way for bodybuilders to train quick and heavy, in a very safe and productive manner.

Body part #1

  • Exercise 1
  • Exercise 2
  • Exercise 3
  • Exercise 4

Body part #2

  • Exercise 5
  • Exercise 6

MAX-OT Training
Body part #1 will be a major body part. This can include back, chest, thighs, or even shoulders, if traps will be the second part to follow. Body part #2 will be a smaller body part, such as biceps, calves, or triceps. Most bodybuilders will group chest with triceps, back with biceps, thighs with calves, and shoulders with traps. However, you can arrange body parts differently to suit your preferences and any recovery factors unique to yourself.

Exercise 1 will be a heavy compound movement. Exercises 2 and 3 will be standard heavy movements. Exercise 4 will be an isolation movement. At this point you move on to the second body part. Exercise 5 will be a compound movement, and exercise 6 will be an isolation movement.

For exercise 1, you will complete 2 very light warm-up movement sets. Your third set will be very heavy (the same weight you plpan to use for the two actual work sets) but you will only complete one repetition. This is called the “Acclimation set” and is unique to MAX-OT training. Every exercise of the workout will contain an acclimation set to help mentally prepare you for the heavy set that is about to arrive. Once you complete the two light warm-up sets and the single acclimation set, it’s time to get to work! You exercise 1 sets will be heavy and in the 4 to 6 repetition range. You will allow yourself up to 2 minutes rest between these sets.

Exercises #2 and #2 will require less warm up. You will simply use a single warm-up set with light weight, then one acclimation set. Then you will only be completing ONE working set for those exercises. As you can imagine, this means you have to work extremely hard to ensure that set is of the absolutely utmost intensity, or you will be wasting your time. Finally, move on to your final exercise for body part #1. This exercise #4 will require no acclimation set, as you’ll be fully warmed up and ready to work. Complete your final exercise and move on to the second body part.

Complete 2 warm-up sets, and one acclimation set, before plunging into two heavy work sets for exercise 5. Then, use just a single warm-up set and a single acclimation set before completing ONE set of exercise #6. That’s it. At this point, your two body parts should be fully engorged with blood and your strength levels tested to the maximum, but your joints shouldn’t have endured too rigorous of a workout, which will keep them working longer for you.

MAX-OT workouts should only take about 45 minutes to complete. You will use small 60 to 90 second breaks between each set. Good luck, and train hard!

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Young Bodybuilders Training Routines

Top of the morning to ya. Word around these parts is that your lower back isn’t so pleasant to look at in the morning. Heck, it doesn’t look good when you’re posing at any time of the day. Perhaps it’s time to get serious about your back training, and really challenge that area to grow. You use your deadlifts for pure mass, and you know the hyperextensions you’ve been using are helping with detail. However, you have been searching for a third exercise which can help deliver detail and mass to the lower back – and you don’t mind a challenge. Well, let’s hope you rested well last night. Good mornings have arrived, and you’re in for a very rough day!

young bodybuilders training routines

Completing good mornings is simple. Begin with a very light barbell on your back. The pre-fitted barbells in ten-pound increments work best for this exercise. Stand with the barbell on your shoulders, and then bend over to the point where your upper body is parallel to the floor. You never want to go below parallel with this exercise, or the barbell may just roll down to the floor. Once you bend over, slowly return to the standing position with the barbell on your back. This is a reverse deadlift in that the weight is above you, not below you, and the mechanics behind the movement are remarkably similar.

A belt should always be worn when completing good mornings. This exercise places the lower back in quite the vulnerable position, and the added support of a ‘second spine’ can be the difference between a great lower back pump and 6 months out of the gym following surgery. Never train to failure with this movement, and never go above a weight that you can move for at least 8 repetitions (and preferable ten!) You may need to insert a towel between your neck and the barbell if pain occurs, or employ the use of the “Manta Ray” or similar pad on the squat bar. The heavier weight you lift, the more risk that will be posed to the neck and upper back.

If you have experienced injuries to the lower back or any place on the spine, you will want to consult with your physician before plunging into the world of good mornings. They’re very effective, but are considered by some trainers to be a “young man’s movement” in that older trainers with more back issues and less flexibility may have a difficult time completing the movement.

Set and repetition range will vary based upon your needs and level of overall development. Four sets should be fine for most bodybuilders, but a limit of two may be used if the lower back is already experiencing a major pump when arriving at this exercise. Your reps should always be in the 10 to 15 range. Going too heavy can lead to serious risk of injury.

Start or finish your lower back days with good mornings, and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results!

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