Archive | July, 2016

Is Heavy Squatting Really Necessary For a Bodybuilder?

What is Heavy Squatting?

Heavy Barbell Squatting has been a topic of great debate among lifting enthusiasts. Barbell Squatting involves placing a great amount of iron weights onto a barbell bar positioned on the rear your shoulders and having your body slowly go down by bending on your knees. It has been the mainstay of bodybuilding programs within the past decade.

During the mid to late 90s the resurgence of Dorian Yates as an abbreviated training proponent put the limelight the squat again. Being one of the Three Big Lifts along with the dead lift and bench press, the squat was considered to be an essential part any training regimen.  The squat is a lift that is difficult to perform with the prescribed heavy weight form. This has led to it to being classified as a real bodybuilder’s exercise.

Being Parrot-Preached

“If you want increase your arms by an inch then start squatting heavy!” These were the words of a famous bodybuilding champion. The internet forums being as they are, parroted this mantra for years and years. Legions of newbie 150 pound lifters started taking this as gospel and ridiculed whoever said that squats shouldn’t be heavy and done all out. “Squat ’til you drop,” was often a phrase used to answer someone looking to go over a plateau. If you had any weaknesses in any body part it was thought that the squat would magically eliminate this weakness. “Perform squats religiously and watch your chest grow,” was quite common to hear.

Repetitive Craze

This went on and on for almost a decade as the rabid internet newbie bodybuilders continued to preach on the squat. This was highly apparent when 8-time Olympia Champion; Ronnie Coleman was seen squatting 800 pounds in a video just a few weeks before the Mr. Olympia competition. Some attributed his domination to never backing down on extremely heavy lifts. This included the dead lift, bench press and squat. It was absurd that his fellow competitors were considered sissies and weaklings because they never really went all out on the barbell squat.

Lots of Bodybuilders Were not Squatting

As the bodybuilding cycle continued, the squat started to become less and less of a focus to the e-bodybuilders. With the fall of the unbelievable king Ronnie Coleman the squat mantra seemed to have waned. Then super celebrity bodybuilder, Bob Cicherillo voiced out publicly that squats were not the “be-all, end-all” of leg exercises. This has seemed to place a gag order on squat mania. Dexter Jackson also put a lid on the squat sensation that has swept the bodybuilding community for years by winning the 2008 Mr. Olympia. Dexter Jackson is not known to be a heavy squatter.

The Verdict

The bodybuilding scene is a funny one. When a dominant bodybuilder arrives in the scene he magically transforms the basic tenets of bodybuilding. His domination seems to fuel the desire of under developed bodybuilding fans to place his success on a single bodybuilding principle. And this is what exactly happened during the last few decades with the barbell squat. The past two decades were dominated by strength focused athletes: Ronnie Coleman and Dorian Yates. And being a hardcore strength exercise the squat mantra followed their successes.

These two Olympians no doubt used the heavy squat as part of their arsenal to dominate bodybuilding. But others have done the same with relatively lighter barbell squats. Recent champions Jay Cutler and Dexter Jackson are not known for extremely heavy weight training methods.

How does this affect the normal everyday bodybuilder? Use the squat as part of your arsenal. Never blindly follow the fad that comes in the bodybuilding industry. Like the e-bodybuilders in most forums, fads come and go. Develop your leg muscles with the squat along with a comfortable leg press machine and less stressful leg extension.

If you want your chest to grow, hit the bench press.

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Five Keys to Increase Vertical Jump – The Pillars of a Successful Jump Program

So you want to increase your vertical jump? It’s not that complicated, but it will be a huge help in all kinds of sports. Obviously, if you want to dunk in basketball or go to the net in volleyball, you need to get up high. Not your sport? Increasing your vertical jump will help in other sports. It will make you quicker off the blocks in track, give you explosive speed off the line of scrimmage in football, and build quick and powerful legs for skiing. But how do you jump higher? Here are five key components to a jump training program.

1. Plyometric Jump Workouts

Plyometric exercises consist of a stretch-lengthening phase, followed by rapid contraction. In plain English, this means that you shock the muscle and then immediately rebound. For jump training, research shows that the most effective exercise for increasing vertical leap is the depth jump or drop jump. In a depth or drop jump, you start out on a box, jump off the box and explode up with a maximal effort (after a nice warm up of course). Sports physiologists have tested many different heights of boxes, but somewhere around 10-12 inches is enough to get most of the benefit with a lot less risk of injury than jumping from a 20+ inch box. Some key considerations:

  • Quality not quantity. You’re going to rest between each jump and you’re not going to be doing a lot of jumps per session. Most importantly, want to measure every jump. Once you start losing height, stop immediately. You don’t want to practice sub-maximal effort. You want to train yourself to go higher.
  • Not too often. Since you are doing maximal effort, you can’t do this every day. Depending on age and base fitness level, 2-3 times per week should be about right.

2. Strength Training and Olympic Lifting

Power is the ability to develop force rapidly. Plyometrics works explosive power. Strength is the ability to develop maximal strength. For this, you’ll want to go to the classics: squats and deadlifts. In all cases, paying close attention to the spine and avoiding any curvature is essential to your health. There is correlation between vertical jump and leg power on the one hand, and leg strength on the other, so you need to work strength to be your best.

Deadlifts, both straight and bent leg, are great exercises for strengthening the “dorsal chain”, that is the muscles of your backside from the back itself through the glutes (butt) and hamstrings. Start light and build up over several workouts.

The traditional squat is a somewhat dangerous exercise and some of the top strength coaches, like Mike Boyle, recommend against it even for their pro football players. A safer alternatives is the front squat, where you rest the bar on your clavicle. This encourages good form and inhibits you from curving at the spine or leaning too far forward and also challenges your core muscles. Leading coaches like Boyle and Gray Cook actually prefer single-leg squats. These are very safe, a killer workout and will reveal imbalances in your strength. I find it best not to go too low. Some people with poor balance may try to cheat and stay too high. So a good guide is to do it near a bench press bench and sink down until your butt just touches, but doesn’t rest on the bench. If you’re 6’10” that may still be too low. Essentially, you want to go to where your thigh is parallel to the floor, but not too much further as that puts huge stress on the knees.

Once you’re comfortable with these exercises, you’re ready to move onto Olympic lifting. Studies have shown that of all the strength exercises, the power clean is the best predictor of the vertical jump ability. Ideally, you’ll get proper instruction from a qualified trainer as this is a complex exercise, but there are some good instructional videos on YouTube as well. Essentially, a power clean is a deadlift that brings the bar all the way to the shoulders.

This requires building speed with your legs through the initial phase so that the momentum brings the bar past the hips and you can sink into it and get the bar on the shoulders. Please do not do a power clean from that description. I have longer descriptions on my website, but even better is to get an actual trainer to help you learn this exercise. The only point I want to make here is that, like jumping itself, the power clean is an explosive, compound exercise. Because of that, it works much the same pathways as jumping and overloads the muscles in the same way, so it is fantastic component for any jump training program. Did I mention that you should get proper instruction? Please!

3. Core Strengthening

Quick, what’s the favorite exercise of Kadour Ziani, world-record holder in the vertical jump? Squats? Plyometrics? Nope. It’s spiders. To do a spider, you lie on the ground face down, spread eagle in an X. Then you lift up so still in an X, you’re on your fingers and toes. From there you can just hold it or even “spider” around, “walking” back and forth or going round in circles. It’s a killer core exercise.

So what in the world does core strengthening have to do with vertical leap? Simple: core strength will give you rigidity in your torso. So when your legs generate that massive force you’re building through plyometrics and strength training, you want to transfer that force into vertical leap, not dissipate in a wet-noodle body.

If you’re not ready for spiders, you can start with front and side planks and back extensions. Front planks are basically like a pushup position, but you hold it at the top for 1-4 minutes depending on how strong you are. Side planks are like that, but turned 90 degrees, so your chest faces the wall, not the floor. In back extensions, you put your hip cushion with your feet under a roller on a Roman Chair. If you don’t have one in your gym (I don’t), you can use an exercise ball for your hips and put your feet under a dumbbell rack. And while you’re on the exercise ball, turn over and do some crunches on top of the ball, which gives you a longer range of motion and a better workout that doing crunches on the floors.

4. Stretching and Flexibility

You should allocate some scheduled time every week to dedicated stretching and flexibility work. Ideally, you do not want to stretch a lot right before a jump workout. Why? Because it will temporarily weaken the muscle a little. Better to do a nice warmup and just a bit of basic stretching. But outside of your strength and power workouts, you want to work your flexibility by doing some extended sessions, as well as several sessions throughout the day. The best gains come from holding one position for a long time (1-2 mins) and then also maintaining that stretch with frequent refreshers throughout the day if your job or school schedule allows. The refreshers can be just 10 seconds with your foot on the back of a chair.

Why bother with all this? Two reasons. One, you don’t want all that strength and power you’ve developed to be impinged because your body can’t move as it should. Second, you also don’t want your form to be messed up because of an inability to move correctly or because of an imbalance between one side and the other.

5. Proper Nutrition.

Obviously, you want to eat your veggies. Lots of broccoli. That’s true whether you’re training or not. If you’re training hard, though, you want to make sure that you have adequate nutrition. Research is divided on the subject, but I take a multi-vitamin to fill in the gaps. More importantly, you want to get enough high-quality protein without too much fat. The best source of this is whey protein. The best deal I’ve found at this time (October 2009) is a 10-pound bag from NOW Nutrition ordered through Bodybuilding.com, but look around. As a general guideline, you’d like your total protein (including what you get from broccoli) to equal about 1 gram per pound of lean body mass (that is your body mass minus your fat mass). Ideally, you’ll take this in throughout the day in doses of about 20 grams, since you can’t utilize large amounts of protein and the excess protein in a dose will just get converted into fat.

One more tip: some research suggests that 20gms of whey protein taken without other calories right before bed can promote the release of human growth hormone during deep sleep. So that can be a huge booster for your recovery.

Conclusion

Remember, these are just a few key components to a successful vertical jump training program, but it’s far far from exhaustive. You still need to use common sense and that means warm up before you exercise or else you’re asking for injury, and get plenty of rest, otherwise your body can’t recover and you won’t make adequate gains. Remember, rest includes plenty of sleep as well as rest days after strength training.

Train hard, train smart, jump high!

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How to Get Big Muscles Fast – Get The Body That Women Drool Over and Men Wish They Had

Are you someone skinny and want to learn how to get big muscles fast? Or even if you’re already considered buff, but want to know the secrets to supercharge your results, I’ll show you how. With all the muscle building information out there, it can be overwhelming to know what works and what doesn’t. This can lead to information overload and a lack of action.

The truth is there are many ways to get big muscles fast, just like there are many ways to get from point A to point B. If you’re like me, however, you want to get big muscles fast in the most effective and efficient way so you spend the least amount of time for the most results. Maybe you enjoy working out. That’s good for you, but for me working out is something I want to spend the least amount of time doing while maximizing results so I can get in the gym, get out, and get on with the rest of my life.

Let me tell you a little story. I used to be very skinny growing up. I attributed it to genetics as the rest of my family was equally skinny. Now some would say being skinny is a good thing, but I was always insecure because I wanted to be muscular and buff. I was very shy around girls and was secretly jealous of the athletes who seemed to win in life so effortlessly. I remember one day in gym class one day, the girl I had a crush on came up to me and teased me about how skinny and lanky I was. From that day on, I made a decision to get big muscles fast no matter what. I hit the gym and tried every type of exercise out there but I was not getting results! I thought maybe my body just wasn’t made for muscles. I nearly gave up before I found a secret technique from a friend that supercharged my results. I gave it one last shot and it worked! I packed on more muscle than I could imagine in just a few months time and the results have stayed. My friends even thought I was on steroids! I was thrilled to have found something that worked. I was able to get big muscles fast and remember thinking, if I could do it, anyone can.

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Home Health Aide Training – Complex Modified Diets

Oftentimes, as a home health care aide, your job will include helping a patient to prepare food. While the standard rules of food preparation do apply for most of your patients (i.e. following the Food Pyramid), there are also a large number of different modified diets, some of them quite complex that you may need to follow. Here’s what you need to know:

Increasing or Decreasing Intake of Certain Foods

The most common type of modified diet simply requires either an increase or a decrease in the intake of certain kinds of foods. For example, a patient suffering from chronic high blood pressure may be advised to decrease the amount of sodium in the diet. This would entail more than leaving the salt shaker in the cupboard. You also need to check the nutrition information on all prepared foods for the total sodium content that they include.

Other times there may be a need to increase intake of certain foods. For example, some patients may need to have in increase in the amount of protein they take in. Again, consulting the nutrition information on prepared foods will be important. It’s also important to check on which whole foods include high concentrations of the necessary items (in the case of protein, most lean meats and poultry will be high in protein).

Specific Foods Not Allowed

Other times, you may need to consider that specific foods will either be allowed or not allowed. For example, some patients may require a gluten free diet which means ensuring that all wheat based products are specially prepared to be gluten free.

Liquid or Soft Diets

Some of your patients may require a modified diet which includes only soft or liquid foods. This is often the case when patients have trouble chewing or swallowing due to injury or old age. In these cases, it’s very important to ensure that your patients are still getting the necessary nutrients in their diets so that they will remain healthy. For example, you may need to puree fresh fruit and vegetables along with meat and poultry to make it liquid so that the food can be drunk.

Bland Food

Some of your home health care patients may have dietary requirements which include bland foods. This is often the case when they are suffering from gastrointestinal problems. In this case, sharp spices such as pepper should be avoided. Salt should be kept to a minimum as well when working on such a diet.

Low Cholesterol

Your patient may need a low cholesterol diet if the doctor has determined that they are suffering from high cholesterol. Generally this means avoiding fat (low fat milk, lean meat and chicken, etc.) and checking the nutrition labels on prepared foods to ensure that cholesterol levels are kept to a minimum.

Diabetic Patients

There are several schools of thought regarding diabetic patients and you should follow the dietary guidelines prescribed by the attending doctor when working with patients who need such diets. The American Diabetes Association for example includes a series of exchanges where specific amounts of different kinds of foods are allowed to be eaten in order to keep a balanced diet. Other modified diabetic diets may include low carbohydrate diets or low glycemic diets. Diets high in complex carbohydrates and low in simple carbohydrates are also quite common for diabetic patients.

Preparing Food

Given that there are a number of different ways in which food must be prepared for those with modified diets, it’s important to understand the different ways that food can be prepared for these complex modified diets. Some common methods include:

Chopping, mashing or grinding– In all three cases, these basically involve taking whole foods and breaking them down into smaller pieces. In the case of chopping, it’s exactly what it sounds like. You chop the food with a knife. Mashing food means using a fork to mash cooked foods and grinding generally means using a food processor to grind dry foods.

Puree-When a modified diet calls for pureed food, this means that you’ll have to first cook the food until it becomes tender and then run it through a food processor. The texture should be similar to that of mashing, though much smoother than that.

Precautions:

It is important to remember that when working on mechanically altered diets that certain issues may come up. These include:

Loss of Appeal-Often, pureed or mashed foods lose their appeal for your patients and must be dressed up in some way to ensure that they will still want to eat them.

Loss of Nutrients-Because pureed food requires significant cooking time, nutrients may be lost in the process of preparing the foods. You need to take this into account when preparing foods while at the same time keeping track of the caloric requirements of your patients.

Chopping Food-When chopping food, you should use a clean knife and a cutting board. Avoid chopping other foods on the same chopping board where raw meat was cut. When handling raw meat, remember that wood cutting boards will absorb the liquids from the meats and so should be avoided.

Keep Things Clean-In all cases, all equipment used to process food for your patients modified diets must be kept absolutely clean. This means for example that you must be careful to wash equipment once you’ve used it and not allow it to sit and dry.

Storage-If foods that you have mechanically prepared for your patient’s modified diets must be stored, be sure to keep them in air tight containers and to make sure that foods are kept fresh by either freezing or refrigerating them rather than simply leaving them in the cupboard.

Prevent Bacteria-Finally, pureed or cooked foods should be served right away or frozen to ensure that bacterial infections cannot form on them. Hot foods should be served while still hot and cold foods should be served cold to ensure that they are safe. Never serve meat which has been left out of refrigeration for more than two hours and be sure to keep dairy products and eggs refrigerated as well.

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Dunking Workouts – 4 Exercises to Increase Your Vertical

Below are some basic Dunking Workouts.

1. Squat jumps. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and do a normal squat, like sitting on an invisible chair. When your thighs are parallel with the ground, jump as high as you can and land on the balls of your feet. Do this 3 times and rest. Complete 10 sets.

2. One-leg squat jumps. This exercise is same as Squat Jumps (above), but do them with only 1 leg. Remember to go slow as you build balance. Do this 3 times and rest. Complete 10 sets.

Note: You will need to use some props for the following Dunking Workouts:

3. Box jumps. Find 3 rather large objects that you can jump onto safety, like boxes or benches. Set them up according to height starting with the smallest one. Jump on the first object using the Squat Jump. Let yourself fall off the box (don’t jump), and immediately squat jump onto the middle object. Repeat for the 3rd object. The 3 boxes are equal to 1 rep, so complete 10 more times. Rest, and then complete only another set of 10.

4. Lateral jumps. This may be the most challenging of all the Dunking Workouts listed. You may perform the jumps using only one leg or both. Find a bench or a long object that you can jump over. Stand by it and jump over the object sideways, explode jumps over each side. Explode up and back over again immediately after landing. Do this 3 times and rest. Complete 10 sets.

These 4 Dunking Workouts are some popular exercises used to increase your vertical. Use these Dunking Workouts about 4 days a week, and give yourself 3 days for your muscles to take a break.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Training With Free Weights

Weight training is a common type of strength training for developing the size and strength of the skeletal muscles. It uses gravity to resist the force generated by the skeletal muscles through eccentric and concentric contraction. Weight training uses a variety of specialized equipment (including weighted bars, dumbbells, and weighted stacks) to target specific muscles and types of movements.

There are many advantages as well as disadvantages to using free weights when weight training. Here are a few advantages:

• Helps develop better balance. Using free weights for weight training requires that you use more than one muscle group for each exercise. For example, when performing a seated bicep curl, you are not only using your shoulders, but you are also using your abs and your legs for stabilization.

• Conditions muscles used in life situations. Other forms of strength training, like exercise machines, help condition muscles that you will probably only use in the gym.

• Allows for a greater range of motion. When exercising on a machine, the machine guides you through the actual movement performed in the exercise. When using free weights, you must have control in your movements. This is great because is promotes more of a conditioning for the muscles.

There are also some disadvantages to using free weights for strength training. Here are just a few:

• Free weight training is generally for people who are more experienced with strength training. Novices should use machines in order to get the basic strength and conditioning. Then training with these weights should be applied.

• This type of training is not as safe as other forms of strength training. It can be unsafe to perform these exercises without a spotter. If you perform the exercise and use the incorrect motion you may need a spotter to help you so that you can prevent injury.

Free weight exercises are great for those people who want to be fit for life. Most of the top bodybuilders and fitness experts use this type of training in their training programs. This training strategies are great for improving balance and getting that complete range of motion. Free weights are arguably the best form of strength training for the muscles and for life.

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5 Basketball Workout Drills That Will Elevate Your Game in a Week

There are different Basketball Workouts you can use when pursing a pro basketball career. Training everyday with various Basketball Workouts will put you ahead of 95 percent of the competition. There are tons of drills to do everyday and you can experiment with different drills to see which one give’s you faster results. That’s what I did and I’m going to share with you today what 5 Basketball drills that will prepare you for a pro basketball career.

One Arm Shooting Warm-Up

When you are training you are usually shooting shots without any goal on how much to make, or where to shoot from. This is not good because you will develop bad habits in your Basketball Workouts that will translate into the game. When I was at a lecture at a basketball camp at the University of Connecticut, the speaker was the shooting doctor who worked with tons of pros like Michael Jordan and Gilbert Arenas. He said before you start your Basketball Workout you should stand three feet from the basket and shoot one-arm jumpers. When you are doing this you should only count the “all-net” shots you make. If it touches the rim it doesn’t count. The shot doctor was very good at this and he had trained all his players to warm-up this way. I decided if the players in the NBA warm-up using the one-arm warm-up shot, then I should add it to my Basketball Workout. The rest of the day I practiced one arm shots and the next time I played, I sure enough couldn’t miss. I put on an unbelievable performance and everyone at the camp said I should try to play for the team. This drill had helped me so much I decided to use it the rest of my career. Everyday I warm-up with 25 makes from three spots one from the middle of the paint and one from the left block and the right block. This is a great Basketball Workout and anyone trying to become a professional basketball player should do it.

“250 to 500” makes a day

After the one arm shooting warm-ups you want to start you’re shooting workouts. I usually begin putting up shots from different spots on the court. My goal is to make 250 to 500 shots using different moves off the dribble. I start from one side of the wing and shoot from each spot until I get to the other wing. After I shoot mid-range shots I will move to the three-point line and repeat the process. Now you can switch your Basketball Workout up and do shots off the dribble, or go to the basket for floaters. Either way you are working on repetition, which is the most important thing when it comes to developing a skill in a Basketball Workout.

Core Exercises

Now when I’m in the weight room I train only on things that will help me become stronger in the game. One of the things I would do in my Basketball Workout is different exercises that work on your core. I would train 3 to 4 times a week, doing at least 200 to 300 sit-ups a day. I figured If NBA players focus on it so much, and there extremely athletic, then I should to. Once I incorporated it in my workout regimen, after one week of this I added an inch or two on my vertical. I didn’t start doing this until I became a pro because I learned it late in my career. None of my coaches ever stressed how important it is to your game to have a strong core. Now I tell all my players they should do sit-ups everyday in their Basketball Workouts if they want to reach their full ability on the court.

Ball handling

Now before you shoot or after, you need to include ball handling drills in your Basketball Workouts just as much as you shoot, Even if you’re a big-man you should work on your ball handling. I saw Blake Griffin and other NBA big men training their handles in a Basketball Workout on a You Tube video, so if they are doing it then what should you is doing? Right. So what you would do is pick some two ball dribbling drills to do, and everyday dribble the ball you’re hardest and you’re fastest, always keep your head-up, and be persistent because the drill will be a little difficult at first. Do this the entire week and watch how your handle will feel so much tighter. The feeling is amazing. In my free report I explain this more in detail.

Squat jumps

Now when you’re in the gym or weight room you need to do some type of squat exercise where you are exploding up. You want to jump and explode as high as you can, focusing on getting better each jump in your Basketball Workout. Do this and watch your vertical jump get better in just a week. I do all of these Basketball Workout drills and I feel they are some of the most important drills to do. I guarantee you results! because it worked for me. So focus on doing jumps 3 to 4 times a week.

Now combine all the drills and start Monday, and by Friday watch how your game feels! It’s a great feeling when you develop a new skill. I have had those feelings my whole life, and that’s why I can say I had a great career, and now I can teach you the same Basketball Workouts. Best of all I still play.

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How To Add Big And Balanced Muscular Development To Your Biceps and Triceps

Leroy Colbert, Sergio Olivia, Larry Scott and Robby Robinson are a few of the all-time great bodybuilders known for their tremendous arms. While the particular details of their arms varied, all of these bodybuilding greats shared one common feature – symmetry! Not only did they have comparative balance between their biceps and triceps, these bodybuilders also exhibited symmetrical development within these muscle areas.

Unfortunately, many beginning bodybuilders think that bulging biceps alone are the secret to impressive arms. But experienced bodybuilders know too well the drawbacks of an unbalanced physique. When a competitive bodybuilder steps on stage he or she knows that a lagging body part can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Even if you’re not a competitive bodybuilder, unbalanced muscular development will detract from your appearance and overall strength.

Add Size And Symmetry To Your Biceps

Although the biceps appear as a single muscle mass on your upper arm, your biceps consist of long and short “heads” anatomically referenced as the biceps brachii. The long head of the biceps is on the outer portion of the front of your upper arm. The short head of the biceps runs from your shoulder to your elbow on the inner portion of your upper arm closest to your chest. In order to ensure balanced or symmetrical development of both the long and short heads of the biceps, you must train them with equal care and frequency. Fortunately, this balanced training is easy to accomplish as it only requires you to alter your grip or hand position during certain curling exercises.

If you follow my biceps training program, you’ll find that it includes EZ Bar curls, barbell curls and various cable curling movements performed with a either a cambered or straight bar attachment. When you use a narrow grip in performing these various types of curls, you’ll place primary stress on the outer portion or long head of your biceps. Alternatively, if you curl the weight with your hands in the wide grip position, you’ll be primarily working the inner portion or short head of your biceps. The simple trick to making sure that you train both areas of your biceps is to use the narrow and wide grip positions as you complete your various bar curls. With careful attention to balanced workouts that develop the long and short heads of your biceps, you’re certain to add size and symmetry to this entire muscle area.

Add Size And Symmetry To Your Triceps

Since the triceps consist of three visually distinguishable muscles (the long, medial and lateral heads), balanced or symmetrical development of these muscles requires you to train them with exercises that work this entire muscle group. The long head of your triceps is a relatively large muscle that nearly covers the entire length of the posterior surface of your upper arm. Developing this muscle gives your triceps a full, curved and sweeping appearance during a front or rear biceps pose. Whenever I see a guy flex in response to a “make a muscle” request, the first thing I notice isn’t the size of his biceps. I focus instead on the bottom half of his arm which features the long head of the triceps. If this muscle isn’t full and rounded from elbow to shoulder it doesn’t matter what his biceps look like and his pose is a total flop.

To avoid the embarrassment of having flat or floppy triceps, make sure that you use a full range of motion in completing all of your triceps exercises. That means full contraction and extension of your arms on all of your triceps building movements. Remember, successful arm training results from using proper training technique, and training with a full range or motion is absolutely critical for building dense, curved and sweeping muscle in the long head of your triceps.

The medial triceps head is located on the lower inside portion of the back of your upper arm just above the elbow. Since the medial head adjoins the long head of the triceps near the elbow joint, developing this muscle gives also adds a full, curved and sweeping appearance to your upper arms during a front double or single biceps pose.

The medial head is a strong forearm extensor and, when fully developed, gives the triceps a thick, dense appearance when flexed or at rest. Rounding out your triceps is the lateral head which lies on the outside portion of your upper arm and joins the long head to form a thick horseshoe-shaped curve that should be visible when you fully extend or flex your triceps. Like the medial head, the lateral triceps head is also a strong forearm extensor, and proper training of both of these muscles requires that you use a full range of motion in completing all of your triceps exercises.

A balanced triceps training program must work the long, medial and lateral heads of your triceps with equal intensity. To accomplish this, your triceps workouts must include a mix of various extensor movements including Skull Crushers, dumbbell extensions, and double and single armed cable press-downs and triceps pushups. These are beginner level exercises that will ensure balanced and symmetrical development of your entire triceps muscle group. With careful attention to performing these exercises with proper training technique, you’re certain to gain mass, power and symmetry in building big, muscular triceps.

Remember, unbalanced development will detract from your overall strength and appearance. To get truly powerful arms that have head-turning visual impact, you must train your biceps and triceps with equal intensity. Do this and you’ll soon be on your way to building Truly Awesome Arms(TM).

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Exercises To Grow Taller – Grow Taller Through Kicking

When it comes down to growing taller exercises people always wonder if kicking actually works on the journey to increasing your height and the answer is yes. Kicking is a very effective method that you can work through daily that is not only fun but also keeps you fit and by going through it will also reap the growth benefits. Read on for more about exercises to grow taller.

So when it comes down to kicking there is a specific method that you should follow to do this. If you have a punch bag then you are already going to get better results than those that don’t as you are going to be working the shin and the thighs even more than you would when without.

For those without a punch bag you are going to want to just perform a standard snap kick as they call it in karate. If you don’t know what this is, it is the method of lifting your knee up, flicking out your shin and foot (aim it at an imaginary person in the middle of the abdomen) and then bringing it back to the raised knee position and then back down. Repeat this a couple of times on one leg and then continue onto the next leg. Keep repeating this a few times for each leg and then stop and do it the next day (remember to take rest days when you can as they are vital for the recovery and growth).

What this kick does is it targets your thighs and this kick can help gain a little bit of extra height from this kick.

Another kick which is also effective for this is the pendulum kick where you basically jut swing your leg up in the air just like a pendulum and once again this will target your thigh too (adding ankle weights can help increase the difficulty and improve the results for this).

For those of you with a punch bag you can also take a shot at round house kicks. The round house is basically like a sideways snap kick. By doing this on a punch bag you are stretching out the thighs but you are also creating micro fractures in the shins which grow back stronger and longer giving you some more extra height.

These are not the only exercises to grow taller that you can try out. There are many more that apply the same principle such as jump rope and sprinting, these exercises focus on creating micro fractures and after the rest period and recovery they will have grown back stronger and longer giving you some extra height.

Cycling is another exercise that will target the thighs which is a great method to go through if cycling is part of your daily ritual or whether you want to start getting yourself healthy or travel around then slight changes such as increasing the height of the seat and the handle bars can be really effective and by doing this you will be able to fit in growing taller exercises into your day to day plan easily.

Posted in Workouts & Routines0 Comments

Whey Protein – Growing Muscles – Shrinking Brain

Whey is not a discovery of late, not even its usefulness in building muscles. It is not clear when Whey was first used, but it is well documented that Hippocrates (4th century B.C) used Whey liberally for its natural healing qualities particularly in the treatment of liver disease and gout. In the Roman Empire Whey was used after sumptuous feasting to alleviate resulting indigestions. Roman women used this natural product as an internal and external treatment for a “milk and honey-like skin”.

In the early 16th century, the Alchemist Paracelsus was a fervent devotee of Whey and suggested its multiple use for treatment as often as possible. Since then, Whey was widely used by Aristocracies in Europe and it was a popular means to prevent gout, treat digestive problems and as natural Cosmetics for skin treatment. But it was not until after WW2 that science started to take an interest in researching the nutritional properties of Whey protein that has now become the favorite Fastfood for Body Builders.

As we live in an “Instant Gratification” society where the mantra “I want it Now” and “I want it Bigger” rules, the Nutrition Industry has been quick to exploit this trend. A huge selection of Whey products in Mega-size Containers beckon from every Gym and Dietary Supplement store shelf and reading and understanding the labels poses an enormous challenge to the non-artisan.

Without a doubt we can believe that neither Hippocrates nor Paracelsus would recognize, let alone recommend or use any of today’s Body Builder’s Whey. Natural, unprocessed and unadulterated Whey is hard to come by in America, but is quite common in Europe. It has naturally about 11% protein and 75% carbohydrates, abundant minerals (rich in highly absorbable calcium) and Amino acids.

But for the highly sought “Instant Muscles”, athletes asked for higher protein content and the industry was pleased to deliver. The protein content of Whey can be increased ad libitum by a relatively simple molecular filtration process; but, of course there is a price for concentrated protein, as a higher protein percentage reduces the percentages of the other nutrients.

So it is that the Whey in High Power Body Building Formulas boast enormous protein concentrations up to 95%! However, the products show a lower percentage because of added Flavors, Sweeteners and other Ingredients added to differentiate the product for competitive reasons. And herein lays the problem, to lure the consumer into gulping down Mega-doses of their product, the manufacturers adulterate a basically healthy source into a highly processed and outright unwholesome concoction.

Let’s analyze a typical Ingredients Label of one of the 5 top-selling Whey Protein products sold in America:

Calcium And Sodium Caseinate, Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Peptides, Lactoferrin, L-Glutamine, Taurine, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Sunflower And/Or Safflower Oil, Canola Oil, L-Carnitine, Maltodextrin, Resistant Maltodextrin, Fructose, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Proprietary Vitamin And Mineral Blend, Potassium Chloride, Fructo-Oligosaccharides, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose, Soy Lecithin.

That product contains 45% protein, but according to Consumer Report, it also contains heavy metal contaminants like cadmium, arsenic, lead and mercury. That aside, is this label indicative of a healthy product or a health threat when used in high doses for a long time? We could just as well ask: is Fastfood healthy? Sadly, the difference is that these unassuming Muscle-craving consumers honestly believe they build great health for themselves with a natural product; this is clear from the many user comments on Body Builder’s web sites.

The above ingredients are common, with some variations in all the major brands. It should be clear that “Canola and Safflower Oil” are GM (genetically modified) -products, like in all processed foods they are used because they are cheap, no other reason.

Fructose” (most labels list HFCS for High Fructose Corn Syrup) is about the worst choice of sugar for an athlete, and its presence antagonizes the reason for taking the product in the first place, by jeopardizing fat burning. It is further suspected to cause obesity and diabetes.

Natural and Artificial Flavors” is a common deceptive term for Nasties like MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), and many other undesirable substances are hidden in this euphemism. What’s the problem with MSG? Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon states in his book “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills”: MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees — and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more. Why has MSG been added? To make you addicted to the product so you use more of it. Why is not on the label? Because the industry knows you don’t want it, so they have to hide it behind euphemisms, and – yes it is legal. But it is getting worse, because the other Ingredients: “Sodium Caseinate”, “Protein Isolates and Concentrates” are, together with MSG adding up to a potentially excessive consumption of exitotoxins, the glutamate receptors within your heart’s muscle and conduction system are over-stimulated, producing cardiac arrhythmias.

Potassium Chloride” is used as a low toxicity fertilizer ingredient. It is also one of the three-drug combinations in lethal injections. So what is it used for in a Whey product? The answer is, it is a cheap ingredient to increase blood potassium level and because there is MSG in the product. “When magnesium stores are low, as we see in athletes, the glutamate receptors are so sensitive that even low levels of these excitotoxins can result in cardiac arrhythmias and death.” – says Blaylock.

The added “Vitamins and Minerals” are synthetic chemicals with missing co-factors; they are not cell-resonant and not synergistic with other nutrients. This means that the chance of a “one size fits all” product to restore your body’s balance of nutrients is arbitrary and can do more harm than good. It seems that the only reason for adding these chemicals is because it sounds good.

Acesulfame Potassium” is a non-caloric synthetic sugar substitute, and although FDA approved, it is highly controversial for its deleterious health effects. Because a human body cannot metabolize such calorie free drinks, the metabolism is disrupted and that fact puts the functionality of the entire product into question. The only reason for this ingredient to be there is cost, which benefits the producer while it renders the product questionable.

Sucralose” is another non-caloric synthetic sweetener, and although FDA approved, remains highly controversial. The alleged symptoms associated with sucralose are gastrointestinal problems (bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea), skin irritations (rash, hives, redness, itching, swelling), wheezing, cough, runny nose, chest pains, palpitations, anxiety, anger, moods swings, depression, and itchy eyes. Why is this ingredient used? Again its costs and convenience that benefits the producer, not for your health

But there is more to it than what meets the eye, the fundamental question is the source of the raw material, which unsurprisingly is not disclosed on the label. Is the Milk from feed lots or grass-fed cows? Were the cows injected with synthetic rBST hormones, steroids and antibiotics? The fact that Minerals and Vitamins are added, suggests the worst scenario, for Milk from pasture roaming grass fed cows is naturally rich in natural B-Vitamins and Minerals that are highly bioavailable, contrary to the coal-tar derived synthetic Vitamins added.

A healthy Natural Whey product is not easy to find on store shelves because marketing hype and label deception features the synthetic, high margin products. But a search on the Internet can reward you with a truly healthy Food. You want to insist on the following statements by the vendor:

  • sourced from cows that are grass-fed on pasture and free of rBGH
  • no artificial synthetic sweeteners
  • no MSG (Artificial or Natural Flavors)
  • no hydrogenated oils
  • no Canola – Soy or Safflower Oils (these are from GM-crops)
  • no HFCS (High Fructose corn Syrup) or Fructose
  • no Soy or Soy Lecithin (Soy products are GM-sourced)

Beware of statements like “All Natural”, this term is arbitrarily defined and doesn’t mean anything. Remember, the cheapest product will use cheap ingredients, you may save when buying but you’ll pay later a much higher price for fixing your health. Buy from a producer you can trust, don’t hesitate to ask questions. High Protein is a significant portion of your daily Nutrition, so be mindful what you put into your body.

Posted in Building Muscle0 Comments

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