Friday, April 29, 2016

Bodybuilding Workout Tips: Calf Training

Have you been cursed with genetically poor calves? Or, do you have the stomach to admit that you didn’t train them with the utmost intensity and attention during your earlier training days? Whatever the reason, today your calves are nothing to be proud of. You’ve developed a nice upper body, a set of washboard abdominals, and some thighs that really do chafe when you walk. However, after the hundreds or even thousands of times you have stepped foot in the gym, your calves still look untrained.

You’ve just accomplished the tough part – you accepted this analysis of your shortcomings and you continued reading. This is good news. It means you’re ready to change – to improve them. It’s only after admitting you have a problem (in this case, poor calves) that you can solve this problem. So, without wasting any more words, let’s get solving. Here are a couple of sure-fire ways to move your calves from the doghouse to the penthouse.

calf training

Go heavy
Your calves are used to carrying the bulk of your body all day long. Loading up that calf sled with 45 pounds is probably a nice vacation for them. If you don’t have 300 pounds on the machine, then you’re not showing them anything they didn’t see walking you to the bathroom this morning. Go heavy, or go home.

Use lots of sets
The calves can be a stubborn body part, but so can bodybuilders. You’re probably used to maybe tossing 4 to 6 sets at calves after thoroughly torching your quads and hamstrings. Is this any way to treat the body part on display all summer long? Of course not. Move them to their own day if necessary, but you need to give them 12 sets if you want them to give you some respect (and growth!) in return.

Increase your caloric totals
Eat to grow. It’s that simple. You didn’t get those “monster” 17-inch guns by dieting, did you? If you eat what you’ve always eaten, you’ll look how you’ve always looked. Got it?

Explore new everything
Find new exercises, angles, machines, and other variants to keep your calves guessing. They’re pretty used to the whole walking routine. And they know running too. But they aren’t familiar with bent over donkey calf raises on the 45 degree angle with dumbbells hanging, now are they? Mix it up if you want them to grow.

104 is the magic number
You need to train calves twice a week. And you need to stop missing calf training days. There are 52 weeks in a year, so you should be completing 104 calf sessions this calendar year. No exceptions. If calf day falls on Christmas, you need to train them on Christmas Eve. If you catch the flu for a week, then you need to squeeze in the other two days at a later date. At the end of the year, if you trained hard and heavy for each and every session and didn’t miss a single one, you will see growth. And what happens if you skip sessions? Nothing. That’s what. Your calves will look the same as they’ve always looked.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Proper Etiquette When Training With A Workout Partner

Anyone who has ever served in the military knows one thing for sure. When two soldiers take the battlefield against a common enemy, they have each others’ backs until the end. They’d fall on a grenade for their buddy. They’d take a bullet for their buddy. Keeping their buddy safe and out of harm’s way is as important as the mission itself – it’s even part of the mission. This translates to the gym, when we (often with a training partner) go to war against the iron. Let’s learn more about spotter communication and etiquette.

bodybuilding partner

The first key to success in partner training is to get on the same page in terms of goals and training styles. If one of you is laid back, and the other is super-focused, chances are great your iron marriage won’t last. Or, if one partner prefers to chat with everything in spandex, and the other prefers wearing headphones and keeping extreme focus, it will not work either. Temperament is very important in bodybuilding. Choose a training partner who acts like you do.

Second, communication skills must be developed and perfected. Typically, only three commands are needed, given by the person doing the lifting. “Go” initiates the set, and alerts the spotter that assistance is needed moving the bar into starting position. “Help” should be muttered when the lifter cannot move the weight any further, and needs the spotter to apply a slight amount of pressure to the bar, making it 5 or 10% lighter. This difference gives the lifter the ability to complete one or more repetitions. Finally, “Done” should be spoken when the person lifting the weight has determined he cannot lift anymore, and would like help re-racking the weights. These three common commands should be used universally in gyms. Your training partner may also use motivational speaking to help you train harder, but these words should never interfere with your own commands to the spotter. Many injuries do occur in the gym when strangers give each other a spot and fail to work out the three verbal cues necessary for safe spotting in a set.

Finally, the importance of showing up on time, and not missing days, cannot be emphasized enough. We all live busy lives and have work, family, and school commitments. It’s very easy to ‘squeeze in’ a trip to the gym whenever it suits your schedule. It’s much harder to time things so you arrive at a pre-planned time to accommodate you’re training partner’s schedule. Be courteous with the clock, and expect the same from your training partner.

Your primary goal in the gym it to make gains in muscle mass and strength. This is accomplished through proper training. Your secondary goal is to stay safe, so that you can keep going to the gym. If you tear a pec while benching too much without a spotter, your seriously endanger goal #1. Use your training to your advantage in the gym, and make sure both you and him make it home safe after the workout!

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Bodybuilding Training Tips For Explosive Workouts

bodybuilding tips
There comes a time in every bodybuilder’s training career when he decides to step back and take a break. Maybe he is 20 years old, and was outshined on the beach by someone his age with 30 pounds more muscle. Maybe he stepped onstage at his local show and saw another man win in a heavier class, despite being his same height. Or, maybe he just looked in the mirror one day and made the determination that he was simply tired of looking like he did, and that it was time for him to begin growing once again.

Most bodybuilders reach this conclusion at some point in their bodybuilding career at least once, and sometimes 10 or 20 times. They know they need to kick their training to the next level if they ever want to possess the physique they really believe they can have. It’s at this point when isolation movements need to take a backseat. Yes, they are great for helping to create a pump and maybe etch out some detail. But in all these years of training, they have not led to the level of muscle mass that you currently desire.

You look to the basics. You’re already using squats in your routine. You may even use deadlifts sometimes. Bench press and military press are used too. So you’ve already been training using the compound movements, right?

Not so fast. You’ve been using compound movements, but you haven’t been using power movements. These are the exercises which lead to gains in explosive power, or the fast access of both strength and speed. Here are a few compound movements you should consider adding to your weekly training regimen.

Complete these exercises first on their respective muscle group day, when you are at your freshest. Your muscles need to be properly warmed up, but not stretched excessively so that muscle elasticity increases to the point where you lose some strength and stability. Here are the basic movements.

Power snatches (add to shoulder day)
Barbell cleans (add to shoulder day)
One-arm dumbbell snatches (add to shoulder day)
Sprinting (add to leg day)
Vertical Leap (add to leg day)

These movements can be dangerous to joints and tendons. Always warm up fully before attempting to use these exercises. Keep in mind that your goal while training with these won’t be all-out unadulterated mass. Rather, it will be about developing your core strengths which can then be applied to your mass-building routine. For instance, as you become more proficient with snatches and cleans, you’ll notice your bench and military presses climbing significantly. Your use of sprinting and vertical leaps will improve your performance in the squat. You see, these movements aren’t the foundation of any exercise program. Rather, they allow you to become stronger at the fundamental movements by eliminating some weaknesses which may exist in the muscle groups.

Give these explosive power movements a shot. Aside from the new gains in terms of functional strength, you may just have some fun with them!

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Avoiding Unnecessary Bodybuilding Mistakes During Training

Success contains lessons that are hard learned from all of our mistakes. Wise people learn from their mistakes, but those who are even wiser among us are those individuals who are capable of learning from other peoples mistakes. These mistakes could had a detriment from the onset and that’s the reason as to why imparting advice from them to anybody who wants to be a bodybuilder is the most important thing, hoping that it will prevent such mistakes from replication in their fitness years.

bodybuilding mistakes


The initial grave mistake is being over enthusiastic at the onset of the training program leading to overtraining. One could train really hard and even too long devoid of an adequate time to recover or rest. Don’t spend long hours in the gym. It could burn you out since you are left without enough energy to take up training the next day. Optimum time for training should be around 45 minutes minimum, with an hour being the maximum. Any addition to this limit will break your body and make you lose enduring power which will fly you to success.

Another mistake is ignoring proteins in a diet, and eating less which would otherwise help you gain some weight. Do not emphasize on fats but good fats containing animal products cannot be ignored, though in small proportions. Otherwise, as much as you train, you will continue adding on weight like a Sumo wrestler. It would delay your body bulk up as much as you conform to the basic rules of program discipline. Never ignore the fact that proteins are the most critical nutrients that a bodybuilder’s diet needs with a balanced diet, otherwise achieving anything good would be a kid’s dream.

Focusing your might on weight exercises will mean that you suppress other important exercises such as cardiovascular training since they are critically important. As much as your objective is muscle increase, cardio exercises will keep your weight balanced by ensuring a complete fat combustion within the body.

It is not wise to involve extra cardio exercises within your bodybuilding training. Going to the extremes with your cardio exercises in a bodybuilding program will severe your muscle gain process. Put an emphasis on boosting your metabolic process. You need calories in your weight training and cardio exercises can turn to be the opposite of this.

In addition, do not consider the possibility of overusing a weight lifting special belt within your exercises. As much as it might effective in the stabilization of the core part of the abdominal, it can easily hinder other muscles from the desired strain that is required for their transformation, let it remain for those heavy weight lifters. But as a beginner never try to lift weights that are heavy and brings a lot of problems later after you are through.

Maximum development of muscles should always geared towards the development of sheer muscle mass and maximizing your strength, which should then be controlled by refraining from pushing your body far more than it can handle, leading to a muscle tear.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Back Training Mixes For Those With Wide Waists

wide waist bodybuilding
We are all put together differently. Some of us are tall and lanky. We are called ectomorphs, and we have a terrible time adding mass to our frame. Others are shorter and carry more body fat. Referred to as endomorphs, we can add muscle without too much effort, but the fat surely comes with us. Finally, some of us are blessed to fall into a group known as mesomorphs. These people have no problem adding muscle mass, and fat usually isn’t a concern.

In addition to possessing different body types, our frames vary as well. In bodybuilding, a narrow waist and wide shoulders are referred to as a classic V-frame, and are very desirable. Being born with a genetically wide waist is something that curses bodybuilders of all body types mentioned above. Here are some tips to training back while reducing waist width.

Avoid deadlifts

It’s a well-known fact that deadlifts are among the most useful exercises known to man in terms of adding muscle mass to the back, as well as the entire body. They are known as a ‘core’ movement, in that they train the center of gravity of your body – the hips, thighs, hamstrings, back, and abdominals. This is great if your goal is functional strength. Lineman and track athletes should always include deadlifts in their routine for a thick physical core, as well as overall power and balance. If you’re a bodybuilder, however, you need to be aware of the fact that the movement does lead to a very quick thickening of the oblique muscles.

These side abdominals, when fully developed, can take away form the overall appearance of a “V” shape, making the waist wider and shoulders appear more narrow. For this reason, many top bodybuilders don’t use deadlifts at all. If you’re looking to gain overall muscle mass, use deadlifts. If you have a genetically wide waist and narrow shoulders, you may want to consider avoiding them.

Wide-grip lat pulldowns

It’s been proven by researchers in laboratories, and trainers in gyms worldwide. The wide-grip, front-directional lat pulldown is most effective for stimulating the upper lats (back muscles). Training them to their fullest- and widest- will make your waist seem smaller by comparison.

Chin to win!

Chin-ups lead to upper back thickness, as well as width. They need to be a mainstay. You can’t change how wide your hips are, but you can change their neighboring muscle groups to make them appear smaller.

Keep the food moving

Ideally, you should avoid processed carbohydrates and beef, as these foods tend to stay in your digestive track for week, months, or longer. Eat a lot of fiber and the food will keep moving. The obliques are pushed out by the large intestines which sit beneath them. Keeping them freer of food waste will make them smaller, and make your waist appear smaller as well.

Stay lean

Keep your body fat levels low. Males tend to accumulate body fat in the midsection area. Simply dropping your body fat levels from 15% to 10% can lead to a drop of 1-3 inches on your waistline, which will make the back appear wider and bring out that desired V-frame!

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A New Approach To Training Calves

training calves
Let’s face it, the calves are some of the hardest body parts to develop. We try everything – bulking, leaning, cardio, heavy weights, light weights, stretching, and just about every other trick in the book. The result is that we are able to add a quarter inch to our lower legs each year, if we are lucky.

Calves are a painful body part to train due to quick lactic acid buildup, and they never respond like other body parts. What are the calves so tough to grow? What is the trick?

The truth is, the calves are the most used body part we have, and they are very resistant to growth. Think about it for a moment – you are on your feet for 3 to 12 hours each day, right? That’s a whole lotta reps your calves are already conquering. Then consider the amount of weight they are carrying. They’re not just splitting your 180-pound bodyweight workload in half. Rather, with each step you take, they are carrying your entire body weight. That’s 180 pounds per calf muscle, thousands of times per day. Is it any surprise that your workouts aren’t working? Heck, you’re making yourself complete 6 sets of calf raises with 220 pounds… your body does that much work just getting dressed in the morning!

The bottom line is simple: You need to find new ways to make the calves grow. One way to do that is to shock them beyond anything they have ever seen before. “Cinco de Calvo” is one such method. It involves training the calves five times per week. Obviously, this type of training might seem like overtraining at first. However, when you learn about the variances in training leading to various muscle fiber stimulation, as well as added recovery means, you may begin to appreciate the Cinco de Calvo method.

Varied training

Workouts 1, 3, and 5 will involve heavy weights, low sets, and low reps. You decide what you prefer for the movements and the ranges. Workouts 2 and 4 will involve grass or track sprints for 30 minutes. No sets or reps, just you and a 30 minute timer. The weight session will complement the effects you see from the sprinting, and vice versa. Your legs will be stimulated, no doubt about it!

Recovery

You will immediately stretch your calves (on all five training days) for 10 to 20 minutes following training. Keep the stretching slow and methodical. You’re not trying to create or maintain a pump at this point. Rather, you just want to break up the lactic acid which has built up in that region. Apply ice as well. This will help to reduce swelling and allow you to come back stronger – and faster – to the next workout. Eating 100 grams of additional protein each day (above your normal intake) is a great help as well.

The bottom line is that just about any muscle group can grow, provided you give it enough stimulation and recovery. Give the Cinco de Calvo training method a shot!

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

8 Training Tips For Bulging Biceps

bulging biceps

Are you looking for a set of spectacular guns? It’s not all that hard to develop good arms, but it can often be very difficult to develop great arms. Here are eight tips for growing your arms, effective for anyone from the beginner to advanced bodybuilder status!

Vary your rep ranges

Most bodybuilders tend to find a comfortable repetition range, and keep all of their workouts in this area. If they like lifting heavy, they’ll typically use 6 to 10 repetitions for everything. If they enjoy going lighter, then 10 to 15 reps will fit the bill. In order to stimulate all available muscle fibers, bodybuilders must train in both low and high repetition ranges.

Keep form perfect

There are many body parts, such as chest, back, or legs, when you can achieve some pretty good gains without using perfect form. When it comes to the biceps, however, you’re not going to be that lucky.

Eat more food

You can’t grow without eating. Gyms around America are chock full of people who look the same every year because they’re attempting to gain muscle while losing fat. Naturally, it cannot be done. Instead, divide your workout year into a series of weight gain/loss phases in which you add muscle, and then diet down to display it better.

Sleep more

Gaining muscle doesn’t happen in the gym – it happens while you rest. Getting your tail in the gym and training hard is important, but the sleep you receive that night (coupled with solid nutrition) is where the actual growth occurs.

Train with a partner

Not only is training with a buddy safer, it will also give you further motivation to lift harder and above all, show up in the gym at the first place. Find someone of similar body weight and goals. If they ever cancel, you should train alone.

Give your workout a boost

A new generation of NOS drinks and capsules is on the markets, loaded with caffeine and other ingredients designed to lead to increased blood flow to the muscles during a workout. While the effects are cortisol-based and only temporary, the increased pump may leave you training harder than ever, which will lead to permanent gains.

Use the dumbbells

Many bodybuilders believe that barbells are the absolute end-all and be-all of lifting weights. While they are very effective for building strength, their limited flexibility means you can’t always hit the muscle from every possible angle.

Machines allow for more angles, but they limit the taxing effect upon the muscle. Simply put, they often make things just a little too easy for the bodybuilder. The solution is to opt for dumbbells. They deliver a unique blend of available angles and outright heavy lifting which leads to biceps growth.

Patience

Give it time. Arnold’s great arms took a decade to build, even with his incredible genetics, work ethic and early chemical assistance. You can’t expect to build Arnold’s arms, but you can work hard and develop the best arms you were designed to have.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Cultivating Efficiency During Bodybuilding Training

efficiency during training
As you make progress as a bodybuilder, you will need to find out the extent of variety in this profession. This means you will be in most cases find yourself with an urge to do the things that lie outside the scope of the ability of your body. This may result in lack of adherence to the laid program and schedule.

This is just an example of the unexpected issues that arise in bodybuilding sessions, which may affect your progress speed for good of for worse. To avoid negativities and maximize the benefits, the secret lies in sound planning principles.

To begin with, you must be able to manage your level of stress. Higher the levels of stress increase your chances of ending up with accidents, mishaps and discouragements. When you are under stress, you may lose count of the number of the times you have worked out on a certain procedure. You overdo it and the accidents will not be far away from you. Your body and mind of a bodybuilder should work in a unified fashion. This is no mean feat to achieve, bearing in mind the tight working schedules you operate under but it can be achieved. In fact this is what tells the difference between successful bodybuilders and everyone else. It all comes down to sound planning.

Planning may be viewed in two aspects: time and exercise management. Managing your time is your duty. Once you avail yourself at the training station, the rest of the planning should be co-coordinated by your gym instructor. He needs your co-operation since you are the learner and he is the teacher.

You will find it hard to avoid stress. Just know how to reduce it. By mentioning the word stress here, what should come into mind is the ability to subject your body to continued exercise. You will always be faced with a scenario where your body no longer ‘feels’ like doing any more repetitions of a certain bodybuilding exercise. This is called resistance. Driven by what you want to achieve – a fit physique- you will press on. By pressing on, you are exposing your body to stress. This kind of stress may be referred to as physical stress while the conventional type may be referred to as mental stress.

Resistance works in the best way when there is planning. You have to learn to tell your muscles to wake up and be active. This will motivate the muscle fibers which are seldom activated by the daily chores. Initiate rest periods and intervals. Be careful not to use these breaks as avenues for laziness. Repeat the processes using the recommended instructions provided by your colleagues who are familiar with the workout or your gym instructor.

It is a very tricky business trying to balance between maintenance of the right motivation for bodybuilding and caution against overtraining. It all depends on the threshold of the individual. To know your threshold, you may draw clues from your past experience in bodybuilding, your bias when it comes to exercising various sections of the body and the opinion of the gym instructor. In order to come up with the most efficient and accurate bodybuilding efficiency tool, make use of the standards which gym experts have put in place. Also, judge yourself using the level at which your colleagues are. If you have a bias towards a certain workout, say chest workouts, this will tell about where most of your energies lie.

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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Bodybuilding Debate: Training Arms When Bulking?

Some bodybuilders feel that in off-season period should be devoted mainly to weight gain and compound movements, and that spending time on exercises such as one-arm isolation dumbbell curls really won’t lead to mass gains, the goal of the off-season lifter. Others believe that if you don’t train arms, you’re simply not a true bodybuilder. Let’s look at both sides of this argument, and see who’s closer to the truth.

training arms when bulking


Don’t train arms when bulking

 Have you ever seen what happens when a powerlifter diets down for a bodybuilding show? He often outright crushes the competition due to the size of his chest, back, shoulders and legs. The primary movements of the powerlifter are the squat, deadlift, and bench press which – coincidentally – build up these powerful muscle groups. Let’s face it- we all have different recovery abilities. If you only have to worry about leg, chest, and back/shoulder days, then you can train those body parts much more frequently. Being able to hit the chest every 4 or 5 days, instead of 7, means you’re including a lot more sets of bench press and dumbbell press to this off-season than you had in your last off-season. These sets add up. If you are able to add an inch to your chest, two inches to your thighs, and at least an inch to your back, you’re going to be displaying a much better physique the next time you diet down.

Always train arms when bulking.

 The idea of not training arms is pathetic. They’re the showcase muscle group. In an off-season bulking mode, with or without anabolic steroids, the recovery resources are certainly there for most people. These are the months to grow, and that includes the arms! You should be eating plenty of food, receiving more than adequate rest, and focusing on heavy sets. Bicep barbell and dumbbell curls are required for this.

The truth?

 The truth is that it depends on the bodybuilder and the situation. If you’re a hardgainer who can never make gains in the neighborhood of 10 to 12 pounds or more, then maybe preserving more of your precious resources for the compound movements might lead to better overall weight gains. On the other hand, if you have reasonably good recovery resources or use AAS, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t use the off-season to add an inch or two to your arms. Treat the arms the same as you would any other body part. Train them with lots of sets and lots of weight. For most bodybuilders, an off-season wrought with heavy arm days is a key to success.

 There are always going to be circumstances when all logic listed above will be thrown out the window, and the answer will depend upon the needs of the bodybuilder. If your arms overpower your body, take 2 months off training them. If your arms are below par, then train them twice per week in the off-season. Use common sense and tailor your training to match your goals.

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