Friday, September 23, 2016

Pro Training Tips For Massive Quads & Hamstrings

massive quads hamstrings

Are you looking for a way to hit those quadriceps and hamstrings quickly, and then get the heck out of the gym? If so, then you have some to the right place. The following workout will allow you to target both sides of the upper thigh muscles, and do so in a manner which will stimulate both the fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. The next time you’re facing a time crunch and really want to hit the legs in a new way, give this routine a shot! It will deliver a full workout in minimal time.

Leg extensions, immediately followed with leg curls

It’s time for a quick workout, and this includes a quick warm-up. You don’t need to utilize the treadmill or elliptical to warm up your legs today. Instead, you can use 1 to 2 sets of these lightweight movements to draw the blood into your legs and get your body ready for the heavier free weights. Use 12 to 20 repetitions per set, making 15 the target number. Despite the fact you’re trying to train fast, your repetition speed should be slow and deliberate. After you complete each set of leg extensions, immediately jump to the nearby leg curl machine and complete an equally slow and deliberate set of 15 repetitions. The goal is a slow pump and burn.

High repetitions Squats, immediately followed with stiff-legged deadlifts

Now that your legs are fully warmed up, you’re ready to move some weight. You will be using the same weight for squats as you will for the high repetition squatting, so this may entail a reduction in your squat weight. Don’t let this worry you. The next exercise will allow you to go heavy for the front thighs. For this movement, you will want to use enough weight to keep you at 12 to 15 repetitions. In the meantime, you will be using very heavy weight for stiff-legged deadlifts. Focus upon flexing the quadriceps very intensely, and then focus upon moving a lot of weight for the hamstrings.

Hack squats, immediately followed by seated leg curls

Up to this point in the workout, you haven’t used much weight. You’ve pumped your legs up greatly and done so quickly, but you haven’t yet hit those fast-twitch muscle fibers that come with training heavy. That time is now! You will be using weight which will only allow you to train in the 6 to 10 repetition range. Once you complete the heavy reps on the hack squats, jump to the seated leg curls machine, where you will use equally heavy weights. You must use full range of motion on both of these movements, with no hesitation. Keep the form solid until the last rep or three of each set, when you will be allowed to break form a bit in the name of getting in a few extra repetitions.

You may choose to follow up this workout with 6 to 10 sets of calf work. This sort of supersetting isn’t all that tough once your muscles and lungs become acclimated to the tempo. The results will be steady and the time spent in the gym will be minimal.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Bodybuilding Training

bodybuilding training

There's not a lot of debate in bodybuilding circles as to how many different training rotations or protocols should be employed during the course of a single year. Most experts would agree you should give a protocol at least 4 weeks to work, then move on to something else after 8 or 12 weeks. When you see the same guys in the gym using the same routines month after month, year after year, you will likely notice they look the same during this period as well. This is not to say you don’t need training consistency. You certainly do.

This just means you need to apply various rep, set, and exercise selection variations as you train consistently throughout the year.

It is very important, when selecting a training protocol, to keep your goals in mind. Differentiate between off-season and pre-contest training phases. You certainly wouldn’t switch from a 10 to 12 repetition, high-volume scheme in the off-season, to a low-volume, heavy weight routine for the pre-contest phase. Typically, bodybuilders will train with the heaviest weights in the off-season, when their joints are well padded with water and fat to prevent injury.

Additionally, low-volume training is best for adding muscle, while the higher volume variety leads to more shape and definition. If you are doing two shows in a year, approximately six months apart, then you will use at least four training protocols during that year. This will include two 3-month phases for gaining mass, and two 2-month phases for dieting. This also allows for 8 weeks of rest, any place where you feel you need it.

Even off-season training periods can be divided into several different training style phases. Suppose you take four months for your off-season phase next year. That gives you 16 weeks to train. Most training protocols are going to become highly useful after a month, and begin to lose their ‘kick’ after two months.

Your muscle groups are going to simply adapt to the workload of this repetition scheme, and you may stop growing. This is why most trainers would mix it up several times each year. Your individual number, or the number of training protocols you should use each year, will depend upon your goals and the number of shows in which you plan to compete.

Finally, a word should be said about body part splits. Many bodybuilders adhere to fairly rigid body part splits, and most people seem to use the same ones. Monday will be chest day, and back will be trained on Tuesday.

Wednesday is dedicated to shoulders, with arms on Thursday and legs on Friday. With some variation, most guys stick to this. If you need proof of this, visit any bench press area on a Monday and look for an empty bench. It seems half the city likes to train chest at 6 pm on this day. Perhaps you could find better results with a routine that places legs first, combines back and shoulders, or uses some other unique twist. It’s food for thought, in the buffet of training that you must visit. It’s time to try something new!

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Inside-out Chest Training

chest training

When targeting a specific muscle group, it is often beneficial to select movements which will hit a specific portion of the muscle, then move to different sections. Chest is one such muscle group in which it may benefit you tremendously to start with one area, such as the inner pectorals, and use exercises to target it specifically. Then, you would move to the center then outer pectorals with each preceding exercise. The result would be a spreading of blood throughout the pectorals, and presumably, more targeted growth.

Incline Dumbbell Flyes

Use very moderate weight which will allow you to reach 12 to 15 repetitions per set. Your goal for this movement isn’t to hit some personal best with the poundage. Rather, you want to stimulate that area where the pectorals meet. Keep your reps slow and steady, and focus upon flexing at the top of each repetition.

Incline Dumbbell Presses

Now it’s time to beef up the pectorals. They should already be fully engorged with blood from the dumbbell flyes, so now it is time to make them do some work. Remember – this workout isn’t designed to pump. Rather, it is designed to help you build up the chest. Complete sets of 8 to 10 repetitions with some seriously heavy poundage.

Flat Bench Presses

Moderate to moderately heavy would describe this movement for the purpose of inside-out chest training. Your first set should be in the 12 to 15 range, and your fourth set should be about 8 reps. The rest should connect the high and low range. Your last set will be the heaviest. The blood flow to the chest should be very intense by this point in your workout.

Dumbbell Pullovers

This exercise will cap off all of the heavy presses and flyes with a vertical approach to hitting the muscle group. Lie on the bench and let the dumbbell drop as low as possible over your head. This will stretch the pectorals completely from top to bottom. Bodybuilders from A to Z (Arnold to Zane) swear by pullovers, and so should you!

Standing Cable Crossovers

Finally, it is time to finish off the pectorals for the day. This movement is very useful for allowing the bodybuilder to hit the outside pectorals, where they meet the deltoid (shoulder) muscle group. By adjusting your standing position, grip, and position of the crossover handles, you can target the upper, middle, and lower sections of the outer pectorals. You will have started at the inside with incline dumbbell flyers, and worked your way all the way down to the outer pectorals. Good work!

You can change the types of exercises to better fit your available equipment and to select movements to which you know your body responds well. As long as the first exercise targets the inner pectorals, the middle movements hit the middle pecs, and the final exercise wraps it all up with an outer pectoral movement, you will be in good shape. Remember to fully stretch following this workout to alleviate soreness and keep the growth coming!

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Training Tips For Building Back Muscle

building back muscle

Training back can be quite a challenge for new bodybuilders who aren’t all that aware of which exercises target which muscle groups, and which set and rep schemes work best. Many will bounce around the gym, tinkering around with different movements, never quite getting a grasp of what makes a solid back workout. Never fear. Here is an easy plan for setting up your back day training. Choose exercises to your liking from the groups listed below, and train your hardest. Manipulate the poundage you use for the movements to hit the designated set and rep scheme below. Good luck!

Select a lower back movement

Hyperextensions, deadlifts, or rack deadlifts should always start your back day. This will be the most weight you’ll move today, and probably all week! You might as well hit this movement while you are at your absolute strongest. Use a weightlifting belt to protect your back during either flavor of deadlift. Don’t fall into the hype of training with an insane amount of weight for just a few repetitions just to keep up with your compadres in the gym. If you cannot move the bar for eight repetitions, then you are using a powerlifter level of weight, and not bodybuilding levels. Keep the weight heavy yet manageable, and training the lower back will add a lot of beef to your physique.

Select an upper back movement

This is the exercise which will target the lats, the “wings” of the back that flare out in almost every single bodybuilding show. You will want to choose a barbell or dumbbell rowing exercise for this area of the back. Free weights always work best. They stimulate not only the back, but the arms, shoulders, wrist grip, and other parts of the body as well. Your repetition range should be at least ten each set for this exercise. While the lower back may be more about moving the weight, the upper back movements you choose should be dedicate to “feeling” the weight with each repetition. Stay focused!

Select an isolation upper back movement

Walk to the machine area of your gym and select a high, medium, or low row Hammer Strength machine which fits your liking. Or, opt for a t-bar rowing machine. Many gyms experiment with machines offering a wide variety of back training arcs, and so should you. These machines allow the trainer to use his energies for moving the weight, not balancing, controlling, or aiming it. You simply push. This doesn’t develop the stabilizer muscles, but they’ve already had their workout with the first two exercises.

Select a Trap Movement

Barbell shrugs are an excellent choice for developing your trapezius, but you don’t have to settle. Dumbbell shrugs allow for just as much growth, with perhaps a bit more flexibility. And, you can always check out cable shrugs using the entire stack. Some gyms have dedicated shrug machines, and others have a flat bench press machine which can double as a shrug machine by creative lifters!

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Balanced Shoulder Training

balanced shoulder training
Welcome to the world of intermediate bodybuilding. You’ve spent a year or three in the gym, and you finally have a handle on nutrition. You know what you should be eating, and you stick to a pretty good bodybuilding lifestyle all around. You’ve reached the point where you’re past trying to get ‘big arms’ and you have advanced to the point of a new goal – complete and balanced bodybuilding development.

Unless you have been blessed with superior genetics, you probably have noted your shoulders are one area which certainly could use a little bit of special attention. You train them weekly of course, but since they’re just not shining like some of your standout body parts do, you are aware of the fact you need to do more. Here are a few tips for better hitting the shoulders in a more balanced manner.

Hit the rotators

Just a few minutes per week of rotator cuff training will lead to an enlargement of the tendon area, and allow for more flexibility in the shoulder area – and more growth as well. Don’t just focus on the three deltoids. Spend five minutes before each shoulder and chest day with a 5-pound dumbbell and your favorite assortment of rotator cuff movements. If you aren’t familiar with these movements, visit for a wealth of useful movements which lead to RC safety, injury prevention, and muscle growth!

Add Upright rows

Many bodybuilders tend to steer clear of upright rows for fear of damaging their shoulder joint. As long as moderate weight is used and the bodybuilder fully warms up, this should not be a problem. Many top IFBB professional bodybuilders use upright rows to help bring out the rear-deltoid and trap tie in, an area which can be very weak when only traditional movements are used. Give them a shot!

Don’t forget the cables

Cable raises in lieu of dumbbell movements can provide new angle of pulling, as well as a level of continuous tension not seen with most exercises. Mix them in at the end of your workout when your ability to control free weights carefully may lessen. You will likely find cables deliver a pump that dumbbells do not, even if they don’t help all that much with size.

Change your shoot zone

If you’re a natural bodybuilder, you are well advised to stay that way as long as possible. If you are a chemically assisted bodybuilder who has entered the ‘dark side’ of steroid use, then you should consider changing your injection zone to the deltoids. Many bodybuilders have noticed a great deal of localized growth that results in the area where they make their most shots. Have you every noticed how a new steroid used will suddenly develop incredible quadriceps and deltoids? Have you ever noticed there are very few so-called ‘natural’ bodybuilders with incredible quads or deltoids? The fact of the matter is, moving your injection zone to a weaker area such as shoulders will deliver a lot of growth into this receptor-packed region.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

How To Prevent Overtraining


When a person induces a lot of stress on the muscles more than the body is able to handle then this is regarded as overtraining. There are many adverse effects which arise when a person over trains. Overtraining causes a person to lose his strength. Apart from losing your strength, it also makes you lose your body mass. Overtraining also weakens your immune system which causes you to fall ill very easily. If you want to know that you are overtraining you should look for the characteristics below;

A decrease in body strength and the size of the muscles, the body takes longer to recover from the training, elevated pulse rate when you wake up, an elevated blood pressure when you wake up, an increased aches felt on the muscles and joints, constant headaches, hand tremors, restlessness, decreased appetite, insomnia, injury, fatigue and illness.

When you are undertaking high impact intense training routines, you are more likely to experience overtraining. When you overtrain your body produces cortisol which causes proteins to fragment into amino acids. These are then directed to the liver for conversion into glucose. When the workout session is prolonged the breakdown of proteins is heightened in the process. When you overtrain the net effect on the body is the increase in catabolism. The first place where the cortisol is released is in the muscles. This therefore means that protein synthesis in your muscles will be hindered. If you want your training to be effective in stimulating muscle growth you should avoid training for more than an hour. Training for a shorter session ensures that your stock of proteins in the muscles will not be affected. Training for a shorter session will also ensure that your immune system will not be affected.

Bodybuilders who are constantly overtraining normally experience frequent flu and colds because there immune system has weakened. Other bodybuilders end up tearing there muscles and tendons as a result of overtraining. The moment your tear your muscles, tendons and ligaments the breakdown of protein commences. The reason why you end up tearing your muscles and tendons is because the body releases cortisol hormone. The presence of this hormone causes the body to convert the proteins in the body to be able to produce energy. The body thus uses the proteins as fuel. As a result of the depleted proteins your bodies defence mechanism weakens. The immune system of the body comprises mostly of proteins. This therefore means when you lose plenty of proteins, your immune system will become weak over time.

According to research, those athletes who overtrain are more likely to suffer from colds and flu. Athletes are therefore advised to train only according to the recommended levels so as to avoid the build up of cortisol hormone in the body. In order to mitigate the loss of proteins a bodybuilder needs to avoid overtraining at all cost. In order to increase your muscle mass you cannot afford to overtrain since you will be elevating catabolic activities in your body.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Taking The Deltoids Out Of Pectoral Training

The chest is the showpiece muscle group in any physique on the bodybuilding stage. Sure, people like to see big arms. And we all know that big backs seem to win the big pro shows. But in every frontal pose, the chest is a make-or-break point for success. Arnold Schwarzenegger had a set of pectorals worthy of a Greek statue, and always took home the trophy over men who were better conditioned. Phil Heath has the best arms of any bodybuilder in history not named Ronnie Coleman, but his lack of clavicle width has led to a chest which cost him an Arnold Classic title against Dexter Jackson in 2008.

One of the main reasons that some bodybuilders have poor chest development is that they allow their shoulders to carry much of the workload when they are hitting the chest exercises. The shoulders play a key role in moving the weight, and if your shoulders are very powerful, they may tend to carry the brunt of the weight of the barbell during the pressing movement. The result is a very nice set of well-rounded, developed shoulders, sitting next to pectorals that aren’t going to impress the judges anytime soon. You can correct the situation by using some techniques to make the chest work harder. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

The most common method of removing shoulder influence from chest presses is to use the pre-exhaust method. This involves starting with an isolation chest movement such as incline dumbbell flyes, then moving immediately to incline bench press. While this is the most common split, it doesn’t have to be the only one you use. Machine exercises such as Pec Deck or cable crossovers also allow you to exhaust the muscles of the chest first. When you follow it up with a set of incline dumbbell bench presses, your chest will suddenly fail long before your shoulders. This will make it do more work – and see more growth.

A less common and perhaps more effective method for removing stress from the shoulders is to use a process known as scapular retraction. Simply put, it involves putting the chest forward when completing pressing movements. Being further off the bench, the weight will pull at it much more – and the shoulders much less.

This style of lifting isn’t legal in powerlifting meets, but it’s very effective in the gym for bodybuilders seeking a better chest and less shoulder involvement on chest day. Flex your chest muscles as you complete each repetition, and keep your shoulders rolled out. The barbell should come all the way down to the nipples with each repetition. This type of training will likely require a reduction in the amount of weight that you are using initially. Over time, however, you’ll discover a new level of comfort, balance and strength with this pulling method.

Use the mirror to honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to your pectorals. If they are overpowered by your shoulders, you should work to correct this situation, by any and all means available!

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Pre-Exhaust Quadriceps Training

Pre-Exhaust Quadriceps Training

The front thighs, or quadriceps, are often a very tough muscle group to fully stimulate. You want to hit them with everything you’ve got, and you give it your best. But it’s just so easy to reach the failure point with them.

Start your leg workout with high repetition leg extensions. These will serve a few purposes. First, you will be able to loosen up your tendons and get the blood flowing to your lower body. Secondly, you will be able to hit the front thigh muscles directly with an isolation movement. This will result not in their moving as much weight as possible (which will come later), but rather to contain as much blood as possible. This workout starts more as a pumping routine than amass-building routine, but that aspect will arrive by our third exercise.

From there you will want to move directly to the leg press machine. Three sets of very slow and methodical repetitions in the 10 to 20 range will suffice. Be sure to flex the thighs at the start and completion points of every repetition. Again, remember that your goal isn’t to move a dozen plates on each side or knock out more reps than your buddy. The goal is to pull as much blood as possible into the quads, and this is achieved through smooth, methodical repetitions.

Now it is (finally!) time to hit those squats. Normally, squats engage a number of muscle groups, including the front thighs, hamstrings, calves, hips, and glutes. These muscle groups will still be stimulated when you are training them today. The only difference is that instead of hitting each of these muscle groups fresh, as is the case when you start your day with squats, you will be starting the exercise with a set of front thighs that are completely pumped from the first two movements. The result will be your front thighs failing way sooner than normally, which is very useful for instilling some new growth. You will be completing four sets of 8 to 15 repetitions of the squats.

Finally, you will finish your front thighs with a few sets of barbell lunges using alternate legs. This will sap away any remaining energy you possessed in the front quads, and leave them completely pumped with amino-rich blood. Three to four sets of 10 to 15 repetitions is best. You’ll want to keep the weight you used at a minimum. You may begin to lose balance and structural integrity by this point in the workout. Check your ego at the door and concentrate solely on flexing those legs.

You’ll notice this leg day uses fewer sets than many of your other routines, and with higher repetitions. If you hit each set with your maximum possible intensity, this won’t be a problem. You’ll wear out the front thighs early with pre-exhaust work and the rest of our routine will require them to do more work than usual – which will lead to greater muscle growth!

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Complete Abdominal Training

abdominal training

We can all agree that for most bodybuilders, training abs is usually 9th or 10th on our list of priorities. We often focus so much of our energies upon developing these larger muscle groups, which allow our bodies to grow and our body weights to climb. Abdominal training, for some, is relegated to the pre-contest phase. Some bodybuilders even design it this way, as they feel training abs only serves to develop a thick midsection. Other bodybuilders will make an effort to hit the abs year round, but they will fall short of a truly well developed midsection because they just throw a few sets of crunches onto the end of some of their workouts each week. It is only the thoroughly devoted bodybuilder with a thorough, complete routine that is able to best develop the midsection to the most complete degree. Here is a workout which, when used consistently for at least 8 weeks, will deliver that complete midsection.

Start your day – each workout – by training abdominals. This may seem foreign to most bodybuilders who are used to starting their training days with the largest possible body parts and working their way down. The problem with this formula is that you also begin your workouts with the most energy and strength. After you’ve been training for 45 minutes, there is a good chance you aren’t going to have much left in your gas tank. By constantly beginning your workouts with the larger muscle groups, the bigger groups keep getting bigger and the smaller groups, well, they stay smaller. It’s akin to the phrase “The rich keep getting richer, and the poor don’t get a thing!” You can always go back to starting workouts with larger muscle groups after you have given this method a shot for 8 weeks. By then, your new level of abdominal development may have you convinced that giving them priority pays off!

Your actual abdominal workout should last about 20 minutes. This may seem like a lot of time, but when you consider the amount of real estate the abs take up on your body – connecting the pecs to your posing trunks and lat to lat around the front – you may come to the realization that certain focus needs to be given to them, which does include time. Every abdominal workout should be identical for these 8 weeks. You will find the number of reps per set will increase as you develop greater muscular endurance and stamina, but the number of sets and exercises will remain constant.

Your first movement should be broomstick twists. You should use them for 5 minutes, or about the length of one song on your mp3 player. These will hit the obliques and warm up the entire midsection. From there, move to hanging leg raises for lower abs. Four sets of at least 15 repetitions is more than adequate. Complete them with one minute (or less) rest between each set. From there, move on to crunches. Five sets of 20 or more crunches will stimulate the upper abs to growth. After that, you will spend about 5 minutes on any abdominal machine of your choice. That’s it! Enjoy the fruits of your labor, which will be a new set of abdominals!

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Combining Shoulder And Triceps Training

shoulder triceps workoutEvery muscle group in the body connects to another muscle group by virtue of location and tendon placement. They all work together to form a unique network of muscles, unified in the single purpose of completing tasks we ask of it. When we attempt a simple lift, such as the bench press for example, hundreds of small muscle groups and thousands of fibers are called into play. The simple act of benching 135 pounds for a single rep requires contributions (in terms of contraction and the exertion of force) from the pectorals, three heads of the deltoids, triceps, forearms, and back muscles to a lesser extent. Additionally, we may even exert some force all the way down to our calves as we use our entire body to help move the weight, as is the case in some circumstances.

In light of this, it may seem odd that bodybuilders work so hard to isolate their muscle groups when training. Perhaps by training them together, synergy can be achieved in both terms of controlling and mastering the weight, efficiently using time and training energy, and capitalizing on optimum blood flow. Here is a workout which works to achieve these goals while allowing the trainer to hit his or her triceps and shoulders fully on the same training day.

Seated Dumbbell presses, immediately followed by dumbbell triceps presses behind the head – Four sets of 8 to 15 repetitions

Train heavy with the first movement, and moderately with the triceps presses.

Dumbbell side laterals, immediately followed by skull crushers – Four sets of 8 to 15 repetitions

This time, train moderately for the shoulder set, then go very heavy with the skull crushers.

Bent-Over dumbbell side raises, immediately followed by triceps bench dips – Four sets of 8 to 15 repetitions

The weight used on the dumbbell side raises should be moderate to allow the feel to be greatest in the rear deltoids. Bench dips should be limited to two 45-pound plates on the lap.

Once you have trained using this routine for several weeks, you will likely be in a good position to add an additional superset:

Upright Rows, immediately followed by triceps cable pressdowns – Three sets of 8 to 15 repetitions

Keep the weight light for both movements to avoid injury.

The influx of blood into the combined shoulder/triceps region will deliver a greater pump than would a workout designed to only affect one of these muscle groups. A larger surface are will have more combined strength, exert more combined force requiring the recruitment of more muscle fibers, thereby drawing in most blood. This delivers greater nitrogen to the area by virtue of increase amino acids.

Additionally, the trainer employing a shoulder/triceps training combination may see increased separation in that shoulder/deltoid area. Many bodybuilders have great shoulders, and many have great sets of triceps – but it is very rare that you see a bodybuilder with the shoulder/triceps separation of a Samir Bannout or a Shawn Ray. Train them together, and you may see a huge change!

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