Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Abdominal Training For Those Short On Time

short abdominal training

In a perfect world, we could all count on two hours each day in the gym to allow us to train to our heart’s content. We would always have the time to properly warm up, stretch, train with 15 to 20 sets, stretch and cool down, shower and head home with a cold whey shake.  Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. In our real lives, we have to make trade-offs involving our time, and often that translates to leaving some of our favorites from the gym.

It’s very easy for off-season bodybuilders to leave cardio off their menu when time is short. They’ll also shave off stretching, warm-ups, and other parts considered non-essential. And, when time is very short, it is the very important muscle group known as the abdominals that often take the hit and end up on the chopping block. It’s understandable to neglect abdominals in terms of the 45-minute workouts you might assign to other body parts – even smaller body parts such as calves or biceps. It is still possible to get in a good workout in a lot less time.

Divide into three

The abdominals can be hit in the upper, lower, and side areas. Use exercises like crunches for the upper abs. Lower abs are targeted with movements such as lying leg raises. Use side bends and broomstick twists for the side abdominal muscles. Each area should receive dedicated attention every workout.

Short rest periods

Allow yourself only 30 to 60 seconds rest between each set of abdominal exercises. You’ll soon discover 12 sets can be completed in less than a half hour! After 30 seconds your ATP levels have corrected and the muscles are ready for more. If you’re still breathing hard at that point from abdominal exercises, it might be time to work on your endurance and stamina with some weight training.

Off-hours

Your body doesn’t know if the bench you place your feet on during floor crunches is located in your gym, or is simply your couch during commercials of a television show you’re watching. If you have 5 or 10 minutes to spare at home, you can knock out an adequate abdominal workout without disrupting your life much at all. Leave the time in the gym devoted to the heavy movements requiring heavy equipment. Sneak in 4 to 6 abdominal workouts per week wherever you can squeeze them!

Keep the flex

The point of contraction at the very top of an abdominal crunch is by far the most beneficial in terms of leading to bodybuilding gains. Therefore you could improve your abdominal lot dramatically by simply keeping this contraction going as much as possible. Keep the abdominals tensed between sets when you are training. At home, flex them in the mirror once an hour. Keep them flexed the entire time you’re shirtless in any situation. The tension will lead to greater muscle definition and an 8-pack you can be very proud of, in only a little time each day!

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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 youtube.com 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

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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