A Technological Revolution for Health and Fitness Nerds

Quick post for all you fitness nerds out there.

Today is the day that I finally get my greedy little hands on a Push Strength workout/fitness tracker. As an early indiegogo supporter, I am one of the first people to have one of these bad-boys and because I love y’all so much, I am going to share the wealth.

Starting tonight, I am going to use my Push Strength band to start testing:

  • The real-world effectiveness of different exercise tools – machines vs free weights vs bands vs body-weight
  • The real-world effectiveness of different training routines
  • The real-world effectiveness of different exercises – pistol squats vs bodybuilding squats vs power squats

And because I love all my fitness friends, I will be sharing all that glorious data here at Health Habits.

But that’s not all….

Later this month, I will be meeting with the CEO of Tell Spec to discuss when I can expect to get my grubby paws on one of the beta units as well as organizing a series of amazing tests with all the other beta testers.

For those of who who don’t already know, Tell Spec uses a handheld scanner in concert with a learning algorithm and a cloud-based database to create a tool that will tell you exactly what is in the food you eat…or don’t eat.

At present, the “TellSpec BETA identifies calories, macronutrients (fats, protein and carbohydrates) and a limited number of ingredients all at reasonable concentrations in food”. And while that would be cool enough, it’s going to get way, way cooler.

As us beta-testers start scanning different foods, we are building the database, pushing the algorithm to evolve…and improving the scope & accuracy of the technology. This means that by the time TellSpec is ready for sale to the general public, it will be able to tell you exactly is in those chicken mcnuggets you scarfed down for lunch.

And while that is amazing enough for us health nerds, what it also means is that the entire processed food industry is going to be in for a rude awakening. Instead of having to deal with a small group of health nuts trying to spread the gospel of healthy eating, they are going to have to deal with a LOT of normal Moms & Dads who are going to be pissed off with the crap they are being sold.

pink-slime-jon-stewart-2

And if that wasn’t cool enough, the Tell Spec could be a actual lifesaver for all those kids with serious food allergies. Instead of trusting labels, kids armed with a Tell Spec scanner can make sure that that nut-free cookie is actually nut free.

How cool is that?

Stay tuned…the technological revolution for us health nerds has just begun.

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How to Get Strong – The Science of Strength

In an earlier post, The Components of Physical Fitness, I divided physical fitness into it’s component parts and provided a brief introduction of each part.

In today’s post, I am going to focus on muscular strength…or as Google likes to say…how to get strong, how to get stronger, how to get brutally strong, how to get freaky strong, etc, etc, etc.

And if you plan on getting freaky strong, you’re going to need to understand the whys and hows behind getting strong. And those whys and hows are all based in science.

So….we’re going to look at some of that science to help you figure out how to maximize your own personal levels of “strong”.

Intro to Muscular Strength

How strong you are (and how strong you could be) depends on the performance of your body’s skeletal muscles.

Your body’s muscles are highly adaptable. They will react to the stresses that you place upon them.

  • Sit on the couch and they will atrophy.
  • Try and run fast and they adapt to produce faster contractions.
  • Lift heavy objects and they will increase their ability to produce maximum strength.

Muscular Strength can and has been categorized in a variety of different ways. In this article, I am choosing to divide Muscular Strength into four categories, based primarily on Newton’s Second Law.

vec F = m vec a (force is equal to the product of mass and acceleration.) Mass relates to how much weight/mass a muscle or muscle group can move. Acceleration relates to how fast that weight/mass is moved.

By using and manipulating force, mass and acceleration, we can force our muscles to adapt and become more efficient at generating…

4 Types of Muscular Strength

  • Maximum Muscular Strength
  • Maximum Muscular Power
  • Maximum Muscular Speed
  • Maximum Muscular Endurance

NOTE – Each of these categories has different characteristics with regard to mass and acceleration

Navigation

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Fitness for Beginners – How To Do Push-Ups

Every January, gyms/health clubs/fitness centers around the world fill up with fitness virgins…eager to get in shape, drop a few pounds and transform their fat into fit.

Unfortunately, most of those newbies have no idea how to properly and safely perform resistance exercises…and are left to flail and flounder until they eventually quit out of frustration, embarrasment and/or injury.

woman-push-up

So…as a public service, we are starting this series of how-to videos for beginners. In this first video, my buddy Andi shows us a number of different Push-Up versions…starting with Wall Push-Ups (designed for the absolute beginner) and progressing all the way to some truly nasty Superman Clap Push-Ups.

All of these different push-up variations have one thing in common…good form Tight core muscles…not letting your back/belly droop. Tight leg muscles..helping you transmit energy effectively Shoulder blades retracted and held tight…protecting the shoulder joint from potential energy Proper breathing pattern – exhaling a thin stream of air as you push-up and inhaling a thin stream of air as you lower down to the floor[/box]

Next post….Bodyweight Squat variations

Reference

The Human Body is an Amazing Machine

One of the most important things I can do as a personal trainer is convince my new clients that their body is capable of making amazing improvements if they are willing to put in the work.

To prove that point to one of my most incredibly stubborn male clients, I decided to challenge him to a little contest.

The deal was that between Novemeber and March, we would both follow the same training, nutrition and supplement programs.

  • If he stuck to the program (90% adherence) and didn’t see a big change, I would refund everything he paid me for personal training.
  • If he stuck to the program and did see a big change, he had to give me 5 pairs of his Toronto Blue Jays season tickets.
  • If he didn’t stick to the program, I got the tickets and a weekend with his lady…a 1963 Corvette Stingray.
  • And if I didn’t stick to the program…I had to refund his money regardless of how he did.

KNUCKLE-SANDWICH

Fast forward to March 2013

  • We both stuck with the program
  • My client gained 18 pounds (12 muscle/6 fat)
  • My client increased every test lift (10 lifts) by a minimum of 34%
  • My client increased his 3 target lifts as follows:
  1. Squat went from 185 lbs x 5 reps to 365 x 5 reps
  2. Bench Press went from 205 lbs x 1 to 295 lbs x 1 rep
  3. Hanging Deadlift (from knees) from 225 lbs x 1 rep to 505 lbs x 1 rep

Not bad for a 48 year old guy with bad knees and a creaky lower back.

What about Me???

  • I gained 49 pounds (23 muscle/26 fat) 
  • My test lifts increased by a minimum of 35%
  • My 3 target lifts went back to levels I haven’t achieved in a decade:
  1. Squat went from 475 lbs x 5 reps to 675 lbs x 5 reps
  2. Bench Press went from 405 lbs x 1 rep to 545 lbs x 1 rep
  3. Hanging Deadlift went from 525 lbs x 5 reps to 765 lbs x 5 reps

What Now?

  • My client is going to start following a strict Paleo diet with the goal of dropping 15 lbs of body-fat before summer. We are also switching his training from strength to fitness/agility/speed and overall health.
  • I have started back on a hybrid Paleo diet designed to melt off all that body-fat I gained eating potatoes and rice. Like my client, I am going to switch my focus from strength to fitness/agility/speed and overall health. Along with the fat gain, my 43 year-old joints aren’t too happy about the strength/size phase. My knees and shoulders hurt…even with all of the rehab & mobility work I did over the winter.

Conclusion

The Human Body is an Amazing Machine.

Get Ripped, Get Huge ASAP

The Holy Grail of Bodybuilding

  1. Get ripped…
  2. while packing on slabs of muscle…
  3. in a short time frame….
  4. without drugs.

And here’s how we’re going to do it.

andreas-munzer-ripped

NUTRITION

Calories

Between 10 – 12 calories per pound of Lean Body Mass (LBM)

  • LBM = your total weight – body-fat weight

Example

  • a 220 lb man with 20% BF has an LBM of 176 lbs
  • An LBM of 176 = a range of 1760 to 2112 calories per day

Peri-Workout Nutrition

Drink a serving of Gaspari Nutrition’s Size On Max Performance during the course of your workout.

  • Creatine + whey protein hydrosylate + leucine + carbohydrates + some other “stuff” = my favorite workout drink.  (180 calories)

Post-Workout Nutrition

  • Whey Isolate protein shake – water, 2 scoops of  protein, shake, chug – (200 – 260 calories of muscle re-building-ness)

[box type=”note”]If you’re finding that you’re not gaining or shudder…losing some muscle mass on this plan, I want you to add extra carbs to this shake – fruit, sweeteners, whatever Take the calories away from the carbs you eat during the rest of the day[/box]

Rest of the Day Nutrition

In addition to the workout supplements, I recommend 2 tbsps of fish oil to be taken each day. Personally, I take 1 tbsp in the morning and the second spoonful before I go to bed.

Next, we need to subtract the supplement calories from the daily allowance…

  • Fish Oil (240 cal)
  • Size On (180 cal)
  • Whey Protein shake (200 – 260 cal)
  • Total – 620-680 calories

This leaves our test subject with between 1080 and 1492 calories for the rest of the day

Here’s how he’s going to get those calories

  • 1/2 will come from carb-free Protein sources – eggs, beef, chicken, fish, etc…
  • 1/2 will come from the approved vegetable list

If you need to use fat to prepare your meals, subtract those calories from your protein sources

Approved Vegetable List

  • Leafy, green, salad-type vegetables – Amaranth, Arugula, Beet greens, Bok choy, Broccoli Rabe, Borage greens, Brussels sprout, Cabbage, Catsear, Celery, Celtuce, Ceylon spinach, Chaya, Chickweed, Chicory, Chinese Mallow, Chrysanthemum leaves, Collard greens, Corn salad, Cress, Dandelion, Endive, Fat hen, Fiddlehead, Fluted pumpkin, Garden Rocket, Kale, Komatsuna, Kuka, Lagos bologi, Lamb’s lettuce, Land cress, Lettuce, Lizard’s tail, Melokhia, Miner’s Lettuce, Mizuna greens, Mustard, Napa cabbage, New Zealand Spinach, Orache, Pak choy, Paracress, Poke, Radicchio, Sea beet, Sea kale, Sierra Leone bologi, Soko, Sorrel, Spinach, Summer purslane, Swiss chard, Tatsoi, Turnip greens, Watercress, Water spinach, Winter purslane and Yarrow
  • Flowers and flower buds – Artichoke, Broccoli, Caper, Cauliflower, Courgette flowers and Squash blossoms
  • Bulb and stem vegetables – Asparagus, Cardoon, Celeriac, Celery, Elephant Garlic, Florence fennel, Garlic, Kohlrabi, Leek, Kurrat, Lotus root, Nopal, Onion, Pearl onion, Prussian asparagus, Spring Onion/Scallion, Shallot, Welsh onion and Wild leek
  • Root and tuberous vegetables – Bamboo shoot, Beetroot, Burdock, Broadleaf arrowhead, Camas, Canna, Carrot, Cassava, Chinese artichoke, Daikon, Elephant Foot yam, Ensete, Ginger, Hamburg parsley, Horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke, Jícama, Mashua, Parsnip, Pignut, Prairie turnip, Radish, Rutabaga, Salsify, Scorzonera, Skirret, Swede, Sweet Potato or Kumara, Taro, Ti, Tigernut, Turnip, Ulluco, Water chestnut, Yacón and Yam
  • Sea vegetables – Aonori, Carola, Dabberlocks or badderlocks, Dulse or dillisk, Hijiki, Kombu, Laver, Mozuku, Nori, Ogonori, Sea grape, Sea kale, Sea lettuce and Wakame
  • Other Vegetables/ Fruits – Bell pepper, Bitter melon/Bitter gourd, Chayote, Courgette, Cucumber, Ivy Gourd, Eggplant/Aubergine/Brinjal, Luffa, Pumpkin, Squash, Sweet pepper (Capsicum), Tinda, Tomatillo, Tomato and Winter melon
Approved Supplementary Fats
  • Avocado oil, bacon fat, butter, coconut oil, ghee, lard, tallow, nut butters, walnut oil, macadamia oil, and olive oil (over salads & veg only – don’t cook with olive oil)

TRAINING

This series of workouts will pile on muscle mass faster than a big tub of steroids.

.Reference

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3 completely badass fitness products that you’re GONNA buy…or else.

Alright….maybe badass isn’t the appropriate description for these products.

None of them are going to smack you around for being a pair of idiot skinheads starting trouble on a public bus.

But they will help you :

  • make your feet work better
  • reduce associated pain
  • pack on muscle faster than cheap internet steroids

Correct Toes

Dr. Ray McClanahan (podiatric physician) believes that the best way to treat most foot problems is by allowing the foot to function exactly as nature intended. Unfortunately, the shoes you are wearing right probably don’t do that. This realization is why so many people are giving barefoot / minimalist shoes a try. Unfortunately, if you have been wearing “normal” shoes for most of your life, switching to a barefoot shoe isn’t going to fix your feet.

This is where the Correct Toes spacer can help. They are designed to spread your toes into their natural and correct position…improving “proprioception, which then allows the brain to better promote balance and optimal muscle function”.

Paired with a quality pair of barefoot / minimalist shoes, Correct Toes returns your foot to its natural state, treating most foot problems, and by extension, many musculoskeletal problems.

Sidewalk Surfers from Sanuk

There is no point in buying the Correct Toes spacer and fixing your gnarly old feet if you’re going to keep shoving them into a pair of “normal” shoes and scrunching them together like some masochistic Chinese foot binding experiment. What you need to do is buy a pair (or two) of barefoot / minimalist shoes that allow your feet to move as they were originally intended.

And that’s one of the reasons why I have been wearing a pair of Sanuk Chibas all summer long.

Some of the other reasons are…

  1. they are comfortable as heck,
  2. can be worn on the beach AND with casual clothes,
  3. they look pretty darn good
  4. and they come with an antimicrobial additive…meaning they won’t stink after hours and hours of barefoot wear.

SizeOn

skinny exercise weightlifterA few months back, I started working with two different 40+ year old clients who wanted to add some muscle to their “slender” physiques. In addition to a complete restructuring of their diets and an introduction to a truly nasty training program, I put them both on Gaspari Nutrition’s SizeOn product.

Instead of taking a bunch of different products, I wanted one supplement that would service their workout endurance demands as well as help them pack some meat on their hardgainer bodies. And SizeOn turned out to work perfectly.

Both clients had already started gaining muscle with SizeOn, but when we added it into the mix, things really took off.

  • Both gained significant muscle mass
  • Subject #1 gained 14 lbs of muscles while losing 7 lbs of fat
  • Subject #2 gained 11 lbs of muscle while losing 22 lbs of fat.

Pretty significant transformations…especially when you consider that both of these guys were both ectomorphs and lifelong hard-gainers.

I can’t say enough about this product – Great Stuff!!! – Here are the ingredients if you want to check it out.

Science of the Squat – Depth & Load – and How They Impact Your Squatting Muscles

The squat is often called the King of Exercises.

And for good reason – because nothing develops lower body muscle mass, strength & power faster & better than barbell squats.

And if you want to be known as the King of the King of Exercises, you’re going to need to take a look at this new research published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to determine the relative muscular effort (RME) while performing the squat exercise. Specifically, the researchers were looking at the effects of barbell load and squat depth on hip extensor, knee extensor and ankle plantar-flexor RME.

Study Design

Ten strength-trained women performed squats (50-90% of 1 RM) in a motion analysis laboratory to determine hip extensor, knee extensor and ankle plantar-flexor net joint moment (NJM). Maximum isometric strength in relation to joint angle for these muscle groups was also determined. RME was determined as the ratio of NJM to maximum voluntary torque matched for joint angle.

Results

Both barbell load and squat depth had significant interaction effects on hip extensor, knee extensor and ankle plantar-flexor RME (relative muscular effort).

  • Knee extensor RME increased with greater squat depth but not barbell load
  • Ankle plantar-flexor RME increased with barbell load but not greater squat depth
  • Hip extensor RME increased with both greater squat depth and barbell load

Conclusions

This data suggest:

  1. Training for the knee extensors can be performed with low relative intensities but require a deep squat depth.
  2. Heavier barbell loads are required to train the hip extensors and ankle plantar-flexors.

What does this mean to you???

It depends on your training goals?

  • Are you a bodybuilder trying to develop your quad sweep ala Tom Platz?

Then you need to squat deep – Ass to the Grass as they say

  • Or maybe you’re a sprinter, or a football player, or a powerlifter, or a strongman looking to develop a uber-power posterior chain to dominate your sport?

Then you need to focus more on load than depth of squat

  • Or maybe you’re an all-around / hybrid kind of athlete like myself?

Either way, with this info, you’ll be able to design better/smarter/more effective squat programs…all thanks to science 🙂

Reference

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Ultimate Hardgainer Workout – Shoulders, Back, Neck and Traps

DAY 4 – Shoulders / Vertical Back / Neck & Traps

Warm-Up

Each workout begins with a 10-15 minute warm-up all of your joints and muscles to get them ready for the workout. Feel free to use the warm-up I lay out in my Best Body workouts. The idea is to lube up your joints and warm up the muscles.

The Workout

7 supersets in a row – 2 of them single limb sets – 5 of them with 2 exercises apiece

Superset #1 

  1. Wide Grip Pulldowns / Assisted Chins supersetted with
  2. Overhead Shrugs (barbell or dumbbells)
  • 2 Exercises 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set  – using a weight you could perform 10-15 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, wipe up your sweat and move onto Superset #2

Superset #2

  1. Narrow Grip Pulldowns (or assisted Narrow Grip Pull-Ups)
  2. DB Waiter Walks
  • 2 Exercises – 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set of Pulldowns  – using a weight you could perform 10-15 reps with
  • 30 STEPS per set for Waiter Walks – be aware of your environment as you walk – no tripping
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, move onto Superset #3

Superset #3

  1. Face Pulls on Pulldown Machine (or bands)
  2. BB or DB Front Raises (or bands)
  • 2 Exercises 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set  – using a weight you could perform 10-15 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes move onto Superset #4

Superset #4

  1. Single Arm Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise – dumbbell, kettlebell, band
  • 1 Exercise – 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per arm, alternating left, right, left, right… using a weight you could perform 10-15 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, stagger on over to Superset #5

Superset #5

  1. 4-Way Neck Flexion – (replace machine resistance with hand reistance ONLY)
  2. Straight Arm Pulldowns – (cable or band) – also called Shrug Pulldowns or Scapula Pulldowns
  • 2 Exercises – 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set  – using a weight you could perform 10-15 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, have faith that you’re almost finished and move onto Superset #6

Superset #6

  1. Straight Arm Pushdown – (cable or band) – often incorrectly called a S.A. Pulldown
  2. DB Shoulder Press – (DB, KB or band)
  • 2 Exercises –  5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set  – using a weight you could perform 10-15 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, rejoice in the knowledge that you have only 5 more minutes to go

Superset #7

  1. Single Arm Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise – dumbbell, kettlebell, band
  • 1 Exercise – 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per arm, alternating left, right, left, right…using a weight you could perform 10-15 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set

That’s it for today, and if you don’t want to be brutally sore for the next 3 days, take a look at these post-workout pain-reducing techniques.

The Ultimate Hardgainer Workout – Arms and Core

DAY 3 – Arms / Core

Warm-Up

Each workout begins with a 10-15 minute warm-up all of your joints and muscles to get them ready for the workout. Feel free to use the warm-up I lay out in my Best Body workouts. The idea is to lube up your joints and warm up the muscles.

The Workout

Arms

3 supersets in a row…1,2,3

Superset #1 

  1. 2 Arm Palms-Up Bicep Curl – (Barbell, Dumbbell, Cable or Bands)
  2. Overhead Tricep Extension – (Barbell, Dumbbell, Cable or Bands)
  • 2 Exercises 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set  – using a weight you could perform 10-15 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, get your ass off the floor and move onto Superset #3

Superset #2

  1. 2 Arm Hammer Curl – (Barbell, Dumbbell, Cable or Bands)
  2. Tricep Pushdowns (cable or bands)
  • 2 Exercises 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set  – using a weight you could perform 10-15 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, get your ass off the floor and move onto Superset #3

Superset #3

  1. Undergrip Bodyweight Rows
  2. Bodyweight Skullcrushers
  • 2 Exercises 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set  – using a weight you could perform 10-15 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, get your ass off the floor and move onto Superset #3

Core

3 more supersets.

Superset #1 
  1. Dead Bugs
  2. Reverse Hyperextension
  • 2 Exercises – 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set  – bodyweight only
  • Keep proper form on every rep
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps with good form, drop the number of reps
  • After 5 minutes, get your ass off the floor and move onto Superset #3

Superset #2

  1. Woodchops – (Cable or Bands) – rotate through the hips – DON’T twist the spine
  2. DB Waiter Walks
  • 2 Exercises 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per side per set for Woodchops  – using a weight you could perform 10-15 reps with
  • 30 sets per set for Waiter Walks – be aware of your environment as you walk – no tripping
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, get your ass off the floor and move onto Superset #3

Superset #3

  1. McGill Crunch
  2. Stir The Pot – McGill – FF to 1:03 on the video
  • 2 Exercises 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per set of McGill crunches
  • 5 circles in each direction for Stir The Pots
  • Keep proper form
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, slightly increase your rest period
  • After 5 minutes, collapse on the floor and do 10-15 minutes of stretching
That’s it for today, and if you don’t want brutally sore arms for the next 3 days, take a look at these post-workout pain-reducing techniques.

Ultimate Hardgainer Workout – Chest and Back

DAY 2– Chest / Horizontal Back / Rear Delt

Warm-Up

Each workout begins with a 10-15 minute warm-up all of your joints and muscles to get them ready for the workout. Feel free to use the warm-up I lay out in my Best Body workouts. The idea is to lube up your joints and warm up the muscles.

The Workout

Chest / Rear Delts

Perform the following 3 Chest / Rear Delt Supersets in series – 1,2,3

DB Fly / DB Press / DB Rear Delt Fly – 3 different positions (high incline/med incline/flat) – 5 minutes each position

  • 3 exercises back to back for 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set – using a weight you could perform 10-15 reps with
  • Start with the High Incline version
  • No rest between exercises
  • After you’ve completed the 5 min of High Inclines, rest for a minute and adjust the bench to a mid-incline position
  • After 5 minutes of mid-inclines, adjust the bench to a flat position
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • Including rest periods, this should take 20 minutes

Horizontal Back

This time, you have 2 single arm exercises, followed by a 2 exercise superset

Standing 1 Arm Cable Row (you can substitute bands)

  • 1 exercise – 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • Set the cable stack/band in a low position
  • 5 reps per set – using a weight you could perform 10-15 reps with
  • Do 5 reps with the left hand, then do 5 reps with the right hand
  • After this set, move the position of the cable UP one notch
  • 5 reps left hand, 5 reps right hand
  • No rest between sets
  • Here’s what the mid position will look like
  • Continue moving the cable up one notch until you reach the high position or the 15 minutes are complete
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set

1 Arm Bodyweight Row (Smith Machine, suspension trainer, cable stack set to heaviest weight)

  • 1 exercise – 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per set – bodyweight only
  • Do 5 reps with the left hand, then do 5 reps with the right hand
  • As you tire, change the angle of the exercise…horizontal is harder, vertical is easier
  • No rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion

Cable Straight-Arm Push-down / Push-Ups (you can substitute a band for the cable)

  • 2 exercises – 5 MINUTES – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set  – using a weight you could perform 10-15 reps with
  • Do 5 reps push-downs, then do 5 reps with of push-ups
  • As you tire, I want you to sacrifice the number of reps instead of sacrificing form
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on the pushdowns, lower the weight for the next set
  • If you can’t get 5 reps on push-ups give me 4..or 3..but keep the form tight
  • No rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion

That’s it for today, and if you don’t want a brutally sore upper body for the next 3 days, take a look at these post-workout pain-reducing techniques.

  • Next Hardgainer Workout is Arms & Core training

The Ultimate Hardgainer Workout

Every week, I get a couple of readers ask me about training programs for hardgainers. And while, I do have a great size-building workout posted already….it isn’t a true hardgainer program.   So here are the instructions for my ultimate hardgainer workout.

But this one is.

The HealthHabits HardGainer Workout of Death

hardgainer---before-and-aft

THE RULES

  1. Focus on individual muscles or small groups & not movements – think pecs instead of bench press
  2. Keep the number of muscles worked per workout to a minimum – no full-body workouts
  3. Maximize the volume of work applied to those muscles
  4. Limit rest periods during the workout
  5. Make good use of post-workout recovery techniques to help aid recovery and avoid crippling DOMS
  6. In between these workouts, don’t do anything more challenging than a brisk walk.

All of these rules work together to do one thing:

To force the targetted muscles to do the most amount of direct work that is humanly possible….and then help you recover from it. For whatever reason, hardgainers need to be pushed really, really, really hard to force their bodies to adapt and create new, bigger muscles

Okay, that’s the theory….here’s what you’re actually going to do.

The Week at a Glance

  • For true hardgainers, I have set this up as a 4 day split routine with a mandatory 5th Rest Day.
  • After the rest day, you start over with Day 1.
  • This means 6 workouts per week.

Popeye workout

  1. Quads / Hip flexors / Hams / Glutes
  2. Chest / Horizontal Back / Rear Delts
  3. Biceps / Triceps / Core
  4. Shoulders (Front/Side) / Vertical Back / Neck & Traps
  5. Rest
  6. Repeat
Note: This 4 day program can be modified to fit your goals/lifestyle/training experience level
  • Instead of 4 on-1 off, you could do it over 7 days with M/W/F/Sun being your training days
  • Or over 8 days with an off day in between each training day
  • Or you include include one or more of these workouts into an existing program to bring up lagging bodyparts

The 4 on-1 off works best, but it’s pretty intense

A Day at a Glance

  • Each workout begins with a 10-15 minute warm-up all of your joints and muscles to get them ready for the workout. Feel free to use the warm-up I lay out in my Best Body workouts. The idea is to lube up your joints and warm up the muscles.
  • With this workout, instead of counting reps, set & weight lifted, each muscle group will be trained for a set time, with the goal being to do the most “work” during that set period of time.
  • Each muscle group will be hit with 2 – 4 exercises during that set time period.
  • Each muscle group will usually be hit by both compound (bench press) and isolation exercises (DB chest fly).
  • I have organized the exercises in a specific order to maximize your results.
  • We will be using 3 different set-extension techniques to help you extend the length of the set and maximize the volume of work inflicted on your muscles.

hulk muscle

  1. Alternating Single Limb Sets – left, right, left, right – kinda self-explanatory
  2. Drop Setslowering the weight used on successive sets as you begin to fatigue
  3. Rest Pausewhen you think you can’t complete that final rep, pause…take 2-3 big breaths…and then lift the weight

Okay, there’s the overview.  Here come the workouts…

Quick Navigation

Next PageDay 1 – Quads / Hip flexors / Hams / Glutes

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Will Stem Cells Replace Steroids?

Researchers from the University of Illinois have made a very interesting discovery regarding exercise and adult stem cells.

They found that after they put their little lab mice through a little lab mouse workout, there was a dramatic increase in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in their little lab mouse muscles.

This is important for a number of reasons.

  • It establishes a link between exercise and the health of your muscle (no big surprise there)
  • However, it may mean future stem cell treatments for age or disease related muscle loss as well as rehabilitation for injured muscles
  • It also means that once the research progresses a little further, you can bet that bodybuilders will find a way to incorporate MSC treatments into their regime of steroids, growth hormone, diuretics and insulin

STEROIDS-STEM-CELLS-MARK-MC

 

  • And after the bodybuilding community has found a way to MacGyver MSCs into their bodies without killing themselves, this therapy will eventually filter down to pro athletes, Olympians, amateur athletes, college students, the dudes at your gym and eventually every 50+ man going through a mid-life crisis.

Just think…in 20 years, we could have senior citizens walking around looking like the 1970s version of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

arnold-young-old-fit-fat

 

All thanks to stem cells..

Reference

 

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

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Homobrassinolide….aka Steroids that taste good on hot dogs

It’s probably a false alarm, but researchers from NC State have found that the plant steroid homobrassinolide has “anabolic steroid-like” effects with minimal side effects.

Testing this plant steroid on lab rats, the researchers documented:

  • an increase in appetite
  • an increase in lean muscle mass
  • an increase in the size & number of muscle fibers
  • and an increase in physical performance
  • with minimal or no androgenic side-effects

Woo Hoo!!!!

Mustard flavored steroids with no side effects!!!!

So, what the heck is homobrassinolide?

  • Homobrassinolide is a brassinosteroid found in the mustard plant.
  • Brassinosteroids are plant-derived polyhydroxylated derivatives of 5a-cholestane, structurally similar to cholesterol-derived animal steroid hormones and insect ecdysteroids, with no known function in mammals.
  • 28-Homobrassinolide (HB), the specific HB tested in this experiment, is a steroidal lactone with potent plant growth-promoting properties

The Science

In this particular study, 28-Homobrassinolide (HB) stimulated protein synthesis and inhibited protein degradation in L6 rat skeletal muscle cells (EC50 4 μM) mediated in part by PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.

Oral administration of HB (20 or 60 mg/kg/d for 24 d) to healthy rats fed normal diet (protein content 23.9%) increased food intake, body weight gain, lean body mass, and gastrocnemius muscle mass as compared with vehicle-treated controls.

Note – this dosing protocol equates to a dosage of between 1363 and 4090 mg per day for a 150 lb man.

The effect of HB administration increased slightly in animals fed a high-protein diet (protein content 39.4%).

Both oral (up to 60 mg/kg) and subcutaneous (up to 4 mg/kg) administration of HB showed low androgenic activity when tested in the Hershberger assay.

Moreover, HB showed no direct binding to the androgen receptor in vitro.

HB treatment was also associated with an improved physical fitness of untrained healthy rats, as evident from a 6.7% increase in lower extremity strength, measured by grip test.

In the gastrocnemius muscle of castrated animals, HB treatment significantly increased the number of type IIa and IIb fibers and the cross-sectional area of type I and type IIa fibers.

These findings suggest that oral application of HB triggers selective anabolic response with minimal or no androgenic side-effects and begin to elucidate the putative cellular targets for plant brassinosteroids in mammals.

Conclusion

Don’t get excited when a supplement company comes out with a new homobrassinolide supplement next month.

Even if homobrassinolide pans out as a treatment for muscle wasting and an awesome new supplement for 16 year old boys sick of getting sand kicked in their face….it’s going to be years and years before an effective product comes to market.

Ineffective over-hyped products will be on the market in 2-3 months.

Reference

Health Habits Workout – Week 52 Day 3

Week 52 – HIRT workout #3

.

The goals for this phase are Fat Loss / Aerobic Endurance / Anaerobic Endurance / Improved Joint Mobility / Correct Typical Muscular Imbalances (reduce neck & lower back pain)

.

And remember, the success of this phase of the workout relies on three things:
  1. Keeping good form throughout each exercise.
  2. Performing as many reps as possible. Really push yourself.
  3. Keeping the rest between sets to an absolute minimum. No rest if possible. .

WORKOUT WARM-UP

Feel free to mix things up during the warm-up. The goal is to warm up your muscles and to get your joints lubricated. I like the following warm-up exercises, but if you’re getting sick of them..do your own thing…as long as it gets the job done.
.

Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

.

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor.

When your back starts to arch…STOP
.

1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

 .
.

THE WORKOUT

,

Superset # 1

  • 3 exercises performed back to back
  • 7 sets of each exercise
  • No rest between sets
  • 2-5 minutes rest between supersets

Exercise #1

Horizontal Wood Chops – (cable or band)

  • 7 sets
  • 5 reps per set per side…
  • Using a weight that would allow you to perform 10 repetitions with good form

Exercise # 2

Shuffle Lunge

  • 7 sets
  • 40 reps per set
  • Bodyweight only

Exercise #3

1 Leg Bodyweight Deadlifts

  • 7 sets
  • 5-10 reps per set per leg…
  • Bodyweight only

Superset # 2

  • 2 exercises performed back to back
  • 10 sets of each exercise
  • No rest between sets
  • 2-5 minutes rest between supersets

Exercise #1

Bench Step-Ups – (bodyweight only)

  • 10 sets
  • 10 reps per set per leg…
  • Bodyweight only
  • Most fast…what we’re sacrificing in weight, we’re going to make up in speed

Exercise # 2

Hip Thrusts – feet on bench

  • 10 sets
  • 20 reps per set
  • controlled speed on the descent – explode on the ascent

Superset # 3

  • 3 exercises performed back to back
  • 7 sets of each exercise
  • No rest between sets

Exercise #1

Alternating Shoulder Press (See Saw Press) – (dumbbells)

  • 7 sets
  • 10 reps per arm per set…
  • Using a weight that would allow you to perform 20 repetitions with good form

Exercise # 2

Alternating DB Bicep Curls – using the same DBs used for Ex.1

  • 7 sets
  • Max reps (with good form) per set…
  • Using the same DBs used for Ex.1

Exercise # 3

Bodyweight Tricep Extensions

  • 7 sets
  • Max reps (with good form) per set…
  • Bodyweight

That’s it, you’re done for today.

Stretch and go home

Tomorrow, it’s cardio & stretching (lots of stretching)

.

Health Habits Workout – Week 52 Day 2

Week 52 – HIRT workout #2
.
The goals for this phase are Fat Loss / Aerobic Endurance / Anaerobic Endurance / Improved Joint Mobility / Correct TypicalMuscular Imbalances (reduce neck & lower back pain)
.
And remember, the success of this phase of the workout relies on three things:
  1. Keeping good form throughout each exercise.
  2. Performing as many reps as possible. Really push yourself.
  3. Keeping the rest between sets to an absolute minimum. No rest if possible. .
WORKOUT WARM-UP
Feel free to mix things up during the warm-up. The goal is to warm up your muscles and to get your joints lubricated. I like the following warm-up exercises, but if you’re getting sick of them..do your own thing…as long as it gets the job done.
.
Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction
.
Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor.
When your back starts to arch…STOP
.
1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up
 .
.

THE WORKOUT

.

Superset # 1

  • 2 exercises performed back to back
  • 10 sets of each exercise
  • No rest between sets
  • 2-5 minutes rest between supersets

Exercise #1

Toes to the Ceiling

  • 10 sets
  • Maximum reps per set…
  • Reach your hands behind your head and hold onto something solid for increased stability
  • Try to go higher up than the guy in the video

Exercise # 2

Shuffle Lunge

  • 10 sets
  • 40 reps per set
  • Bodyweight only

.

Superset # 2

  • 3 exercises performed back to back
  • 7 sets of each exercise
  • No rest between sets
  • 2-5 minutes rest between supersets

Exercise #1

Push-Ups – (using Smith Machine if needed…no girlie push-ups ever)

  • 7 sets
  • Max reps without stopping….
  • As soon as you have to stop, move onto the next exercise

Exercise # 2

Air Squats

  • 7 sets
  • Max reps without stopping….
  • As soon as you have to stop, move onto the next exercise

Exercise # 3

Bodyweight Row on Smith Machine

  • 7 sets
  • Max reps without stopping….
  • As soon as you have to stop, move onto the next exercise

.

Superset # 3

  • 2 exercises performed back to back
  • 10 sets of each exercise
  • No rest between sets

Exercise #1

Stability Ball Crunches – (bodyweight)

  • 10 sets
  • Max reps without stopping….
  • As soon as you have to stop, move onto the next exercise

OR

Stability Ball Jackknifes – (bodyweight)

  • 10 sets
  • Max reps without stopping….
  • As soon as you have to stop, move onto the next exercise

Feel free to mix & match

Exercise # 2

2 Leg Hip Thrust with feet on stability ball

  • 10 sets
  • Max reps without stopping….
  • As soon as you have to stop, move onto the next exercise

.

That’s it, you’re done for today.

Stretch and go home

Tomorrow, it’s cardio & stretching (lots of stretching)

.

Health Habits Workout -Week 36/Day 1 – The Deadpool Workouts

Alright people…get ready to sweat.

It’s the fourth and absolute final week of this Deadpool Workout. Next week is a recovery week and then on to something new.

WORKOUT WARM-UP

Same warm-up as always…with the goal being to warm up the muscles & lubricate the joints. Feel free to substitute exercises as long as they get your joints all warmed up.

Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

THE WORKOUT

As I mentioned in Part Six, each workout has 6 main lifts.

Most main lifts will also employ a “wake up” exercise to get your fast twitch muscle fibers primed & ready

I have arranged each of the six (6) lifts by movement or muscle group in a way to maximize performance & recovery.

Superset #1

The goal is to perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per set

Start with the…

Wake-up exercise – Explosive Bodyweight (BW) Hip Thrust –  3-8 reps

Then, move as quick as possible to the….

Main Lift – Barbell / Smith Machine Hip Thrusts – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

Superset #2

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on hip rotation & core stability

The is NO wake-up exercise …so it’s not really a superset

Main Lift – Standing Cable Woodchop – handle at belly height – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

The aim of this exercise is to rotate through the hips – not at the belly/lower back – The guy in the video does an okay job, but I want you to think of a baseball player swinging a bat…move those hips

5 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – moving quickly & powerfully

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

Superset #3

This 10 minute superset focuses on a horizontal pulling movement  – 3-8 reps per set

Start with the…

Wake-up Exercise Isometric Face Pulls into the floor – Lie on the floor with knees bent and arms flared out to the side – elbows are bent with hands pointing up to the ceiling

Begin the movement by pushing your elbows back into the immovable floor….as hard as you can – hold each rep for 1 second – Repeat for 3-8 reps

Then, move as quick as possible to the….

Main Lift – Standing or Seated Cable Rows – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting towards your belly) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

Superset #4

This 10 minute superset focuses on a vertical pulling movement  – 3-8 reps per set

Start with the…

Wake-up Exercise – Super Fast Band Pulldowns – 3-8 reps –

Then, move as quick as possible to the….

Main Lift – Pull-Ups, Chin-Ups or Pulldowns – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting towards your belly) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

Superset #5

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on core stability & abdominal bracing

The is NO wake-up exercise …so it’s not really a superset

Main Lift Turkish Get-Up – 5 minutes – as many reps as possible

5 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – focus on form

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

Superset #6

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on some of your “beach muscles”

The is NO wake-up exercise …just 2 exercises – back to back – for as many reps as you can get in 5 minutes

Lift #1 – Standing Alternate Bicep Curls – palms up/supinated – pick a weight that you can handle 10 reps and then perform between – 3-10 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible

Lift #2 – Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise – pick a weight that you can handle 10 reps and then perform between – 3-10 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible

5 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – moving quickly & powerfully

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & go stretch out those muscles

.

And feel free to hit me up with questions about this workout.

It’s not exactly the type of workout you’re going to find in your copy of Men’s/Women’s Health.

.

Health Habits Workout – Week 35/Day 3 – The Deadpool Workouts

.
Week 3 – Day 3…last workout of the week
.
Get ready to sweat…this one is a real Mother-Trucker.
.
WORKOUT WARM-UP
.
Same warm-up as always…with the goal being to warm up the muscles & lubricate the joints.
.
Feel free to substitute exercises as long as they get your joints all warmed up.
,
Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction
.
Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP
.
1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up
.
THE WORKOUT
.
As I mentioned in Part Six, each workout has 6 main lifts. Most main lifts will also employ a “wake up” exercise to get your fast twitch muscle fibers primed & ready I have arranged each of the six (6) lifts by movement or muscle group in a way to maximize performance & recovery.
.
Superset #1
.
This first superset focuses on the horizontal pulling movement
.
The goal is to perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per set Start with the…
.
Wake-up exercise – 1 Arm Isometric Row – Grab hold of an immovable object (ie. heavy barbell, cable stack, piece of equipment, flagpole, etc and try to pull it towards you using a rowing motion. Neither you nor the object should move. Hold for 2-5 seconds per rep for 3-8 reps Then, move as quick as possible to the….
.
Main Lift – 1 Arm DB Row – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight
.
Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up left arm, main lift left arm, wake-up right arm , main lift right arm…)
.

Superset #2

This second superset focuses on the posterior chain (lower body).

The goal is to perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per set..

Wake-up exercise – Broad Jumps –  3 reps

After a few broad jumps, move as quick as possible to the…..

Main Lift – Deadlift or Pullthroughs – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

.

10 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – moving quickly & powerfully.

After 10 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

.

Superset #3

This second superset focuses on Vertical Pulling movements.

The goal is to perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per set..

Wake-up exercise – Jumping Chins or Speed Band Pulldowns –  3-8 reps

Note – Perform the lift much faster than the guy in the video

Main Lift – Chin-Ups/Pull-Ups or Pulldowns – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

.

10 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – moving quickly & powerfully.

After 10 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

.

Superset #4

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on your core – specifically on bracing the core

Their is NO wake-up exercise …today we have 2 Main Lifts

Main Lift #1 – Ab Wheel Roll-Outs – as many reps as possible with good form

Main Lift #2 – Standing Cable Plank/Bridge

  • Using a resistance band or cable station, face away from the band/cable station holding the band/handle overhead.
  • If arms overhead is too tough on your shoulders, rest your hands on your head.
  • With a “slight” forward lean, walk (gradually) forward until the resistance starts to pull you backwards or you start bending at the spine.
  • This exercise mimics a bridge/plank exercise, except instead of being in a horizontal position, you are vertical
  • To make it tougher, stand on one foot.

5 minutes – back & forth between the 2 exercises – focus on form

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto…

.

Superset #5

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on the core – side flexion and/or rotation

Their is NO wake-up exercise …today we have just 1 Main Lift

Main Lift #1 – Standing Cable Woodchops – Starting with a horizontal woodchop, perform 3-8 reps (using an 8 rep weight) from one side, then switch to the other side and repeat. After chopping to both sides, adjust the position of the cable – setting it higher – this creates a decline movement, provides a different stimulus & decreases the difficulty as fatigue begins to set in.

5 minutes – back & forth between the 2 exercises – focus on form

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

Superset #6

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on some of your “beach muscles”

The is NO wake-up exercise …just 2 exercises – back to back – for as many reps as you can get in 5 minutes

Lift #1 – Cable Tricep Pushdowns – palms down – elbows pinned to your sides – pick a weight that you can handle 10 reps and then perform between – 3-10 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (pushing down) as quickly as possible

Lift #2 – Reverse Grip/Palms Down Cable Bicep Curls – pick a weight that you can handle 10 reps and then perform between – 3-10 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible

5 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – moving quickly & powerfully

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & go stretch out those muscles

.

And feel free to hit me up with questions about this workout.

It’s not exactly the type of workout you’re going to find in your copy of Men’s/Women’s Health

.

Building Muscles 101…aka Turning Skinny Guys into Ripped Guys with Muscles

Today’s article is for the ectomorphs (aka skinny guys) in the audience.

Specifically, it’s for those guys who want to look a little less like Michael Cera and a little more like 1970s bodybuilding legend Frank Zane….or maybe somewhere in between.

  • And I’m here to tell you that it can be done.
  • It isn’t going to be easy…but it can be done.

frank zane beardmichael cera

 

So, let’s get started…

First off, let’s discuss why you are so darn skinny in the first place.

Answer: Genetics + Lifestyle

Genetics

When it comes to your genetics, you’re kind of stuck.

There is nothing we can do about your genetic inheritance….unless you are willing to submit to some freaky stem cell operation being performed by former East German scientists.

So, let’s just drop the subject of genetics and move onto lifestyle.

Lifestyle

Ectomorphs never like hearing this, but when it comes to “bulking up”….success depends entirely on:

  1. stimulating muscle growth &
  2. eating like a pig.

That’s it……That’s the big secret.

So, why is it that every single skinny client that I have ever had has sworn that they:

  1. work out harder than anyone in their gym &
  2. eat like a pig.

…and they still can’t gain any muscle.

The Answer?

They lie to themselves.

Like most of my obese clients, they think that they are doing all of the right things.

But, after a week or two of tracking their workouts & their food intake, it becomes clear that they need to:

  1. stop doing so many cardio workouts, bicep curls, crunches &
  2. start eating like a pig

Let’s start with the workouts

Start with this mass building program.

Now, on to the food

First off…we determine how many calories you need to eat per day.

Start by determining your Lean Body Mass.

  • Hop onto a bathroom scale that measures body-fat percentage along with your weight.
  • Record both numbers
  • Multiply your weight by your BF % (150 lbs. x 9% = 13.5 lbs.)
  • 13.5 is your body-fat in lbs.
  • Subtract your body-fat weight from your total weight (150 – 13.5 = 136.5 lbs.)
  • 136.5 is your Lean Body Mass

Now, if your body-fat % is 10% or lower

  • Multiply your LBM by 17 to calculate your Maintenance Calories
  • Using our example, our test-skinny would need to eat (136.5 x 17) 2320.5 calories every day just to maintain their current level of buffness.

If your body-fat % is between 10% – 15%

  • Multiply your LBM by 16 to calculate your Maintenance Calories

If your body-fat % is between 15% – 18%

  • Multiply your LBM by 15 to calculate your Maintenance Calories

If your body-fat % is between 18% – 21%

  • Multiply your LBM by 14 to calculate your Maintenance Calories

If your body-fat % is above 21%

  • Multiply your LBM by 13 to calculate your Maintenance Calories

And now that you have determined your Maintenance Caloric Needs, if you want to gain muscle, you need to take it up a notch.

I recommend increasing  your daily caloric intake by between 500 – 1000 calories.

That would mean that our test-skinny would need to eat between 2820.5 – 3320.5 calories per day.

And that’s a lot of food.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Commit to a minimum of 2 weeks of non-stop big eating
  • Set an alarm to remind you to eat at least 5 meals per day
  • Write everything down – a food log is essential
  • Chug a minimum of 2 meal replacement shakes per day – Muscle Milk & Monster Milk are 2 of my favorites
  • Carry high calorie snacks with you everywhere – nuts, seeds, granola
  • Post workout – drink a shake & eat additional carbs (fruit for the Paleos & grains {bread, rice} for everybody else)
  • Eat a protein/carb meal right before bed – meal replacement shake, cottage cheese, meat & potatoes, ham sandwich, etc…
  • And always, always, always…make sure you hit your caloric target

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Health Habits Workout -Week 34/Day 2 – The Deadpool Workouts

It’s Week 2 – Day 2 of this nasty Deadpool Workout

enjoy.

WORKOUT WARM-UP

Same warm-up as always…with the goal being to warm up the muscles & lubricate the joints. Feel free to substitute exercises as long as they get your joints all warmed up.

Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

THE WORKOUT

As I mentioned in Part Six, each workout has 6 main lifts.

Most main lifts will also employ a “wake up” exercise to get your fast twitch muscle fibers primed & ready

I have arranged each of the six (6) lifts by movement or muscle group in a way to maximize performance & recovery.

Superset #1

The goal is to perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per set

Start with the…

Wake-up exercise – Bodyweight Jump Squats –  3-8 reps

Then, move as quick as possible to the….

Main Lift – Barbell Front Squats or Back Squats – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

Superset #2

The goal is to perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per set

Start with the…

Wake-up exercise – Isometric Shoulder Press –  3-8 reps

Press up into an immovable object….as hard as you can – hold each rep for 1 second – Repeat for 3-8 reps

Then, move as quick as possible to the….

Main Lift – Push Press – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

10 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – moving quickly & powerfully

After 10 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

Superset #3

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on a horizontal pulling movement

The is NO wake-up exercise …today we have 2 Main Lifts

Main Lift #1 – BW Scapula Row or Standing Cable Scapula Row – 5 minutes – as many reps as possible

Main Lift #2 – Standing Cable Plank/Bridge

  • Using a resistance band or cable station, face away from the band/cable station holding the band/handle overhead.
  • If arms overhead is too tough on your shoulders, rest your hands on your head.
  • With a “slight” forward lean, walk (gradually) forward until the resistance starts to pull you backwards or you start bending at the spine.
  • This exercise mimics a bridge/plank exercise, except instead of being in a horizontal position, you are vertical
  • To make it tougher, stand on one foot.

5 minutes – back & forth between the 2 exercises – focus on form

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

Superset #4

This 10 minute superset focuses on a horizontal pushing movement  – 3-8 reps per set

Start with the…

Wake-up Exercise – Plyometric Pushups

Main Lift – Bench Press – any variation – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (pressing up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

Superset #5

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on core flexion & stability

The are NO wake-up exercises …just 2 main lifts

Main Lift #1 – Hanging Leg Raise

Main Lift #2 – Standing Cable Plank/Bridge

  • Using a resistance band or cable station, face away from the band/cable station holding the band/handle overhead.
  • If arms overhead is too tough on your shoulders, rest your hands on your head.
  • With a “slight” forward lean, walk (gradually) forward until the resistance starts to pull you backwards or you start bending at the spine.
  • This exercise mimics a bridge/plank exercise, except instead of being in a horizontal position, you are vertical
  • To make it tougher, stand on one foot.

5 minutes – back & forth between the 2 exercises – focus on form

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

Superset #6

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on core Extension & stability

The are NO wake-up exercises …just 1 main lift

Main Lift #1 – Toes to the Sky

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

.

nothing – you’re done

.

And feel free to hit me up with questions about this workout.

It’s not exactly the type of workout you’re going to find in your copy of Men’s/Women’s Health.

.

If you like what you see here, click here for updates or Share this Post with the rest of the world.

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Health Habits Workout -Week 34/Day 1 – The Deadpool Workouts

Alright people…get ready to sweat.

It’s the second week of this Deadpool Workout. So – push yourself a little harder than last week.

WORKOUT WARM-UP

Same warm-up as always…with the goal being to warm up the muscles & lubricate the joints. Feel free to substitute exercises as long as they get your joints all warmed up.

Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

THE WORKOUT

As I mentioned in Part Six, each workout has 6 main lifts.

Most main lifts will also employ a “wake up” exercise to get your fast twitch muscle fibers primed & ready

I have arranged each of the six (6) lifts by movement or muscle group in a way to maximize performance & recovery.

Superset #1

The goal is to perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per set

Start with the…

Wake-up exercise – Explosive Bodyweight (BW) Hip Thrust –  3-8 reps

Then, move as quick as possible to the….

Main Lift – Barbell / Smith Machine Hip Thrusts – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

Superset #2

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on hip rotation & core stability

The is NO wake-up exercise …so it’s not really a superset

Main Lift – Standing Cable Woodchop – handle at belly height – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

The aim of this exercise is to rotate through the hips – not at the belly/lower back – The guy in the video does an okay job, but I want you to think of a baseball player swinging a bat…move those hips

5 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – moving quickly & powerfully

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

Superset #3

This 10 minute superset focuses on a horizontal pulling movement  – 3-8 reps per set

Start with the…

Wake-up Exercise – Isometric Face Pulls into the floor – Lie on the floor with knees bent and arms flared out to the side – elbows are bent with hands pointing up to the ceiling

Begin the movement by pushing your elbows back into the immovable floor….as hard as you can – hold each rep for 1 second – Repeat for 3-8 reps

Then, move as quick as possible to the….

Main Lift – Standing or Seated Cable Rows – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting towards your belly) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

Superset #4

This 10 minute superset focuses on a vertical pulling movement  – 3-8 reps per set

Start with the…

Wake-up Exercise – Super Fast Band Pulldowns – 3-8 reps –

Then, move as quick as possible to the….

Main Lift – Pull-Ups, Chin-Ups or Pulldowns – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting towards your belly) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

Superset #5

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on core stability & abdominal bracing

The is NO wake-up exercise …so it’s not really a superset

Main Lift – Turkish Get-Up – 5 minutes – as many reps as possible

5 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – focus on form

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

Superset #6

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on some of your “beach muscles”

The is NO wake-up exercise …just 2 exercises – back to back – for as many reps as you can get in 5 minutes

Lift #1 – Standing Alternate Bicep Curls – palms up/supinated – pick a weight that you can handle 10 reps and then perform between – 3-10 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible

Lift #2 – Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise – pick a weight that you can handle 10 reps and then perform between – 3-10 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible

5 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – moving quickly & powerfully

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & go stretch out those muscles

.

And feel free to hit me up with questions about this workout.

It’s not exactly the type of workout you’re going to find in your copy of Men’s/Women’s Health.

.

If you like what you see here, click here for updates or Share this Post with the rest of the world.

.

Related Posts

Health Habits Workout -Week 33/Day 1 – The Deadpool Workouts

Alright people…get ready to sweat.

The Deadpool Workout is here.

WORKOUT WARM-UP

Same warm-up as always…with the goal being to warm up the muscles & lubricate the joints. Feel free to substitute exercises as long as they get your joints all warmed up.

Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

THE WORKOUT

As I mentioned in Part Six, each workout has 6 main lifts.

Most main lifts will also employ a “wake up” exercise to get your fast twitch muscle fibers primed & ready

I have arranged each of the six (6) lifts by movement or muscle group in a way to maximize performance & recovery.

Superset #1

The goal is to perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per set

Start with the…

Wake-up exercise – Explosive Bodyweight (BW) Hip Thrust –  3-8 reps

Then, move as quick as possible to the….

Main Lift Barbell / Smith Machine Hip Thrusts – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

Superset #2

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on hip rotation & core stability

The is NO wake-up exercise …so it’s not really a superset

Main Lift Standing Cable Woodchop – handle at belly height – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

The aim of this exercise is to rotate through the hips – not at the belly/lower back – The guy in the video does an okay job, but I want you to think of a baseball player swinging a bat…move those hips

5 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – moving quickly & powerfully

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

Superset #3

This 10 minute superset focuses on a horizontal pulling movement  – 3-8 reps per set

Start with the…

Wake-up Exercise – Isometric Face Pulls into the floor – Lie on the floor with knees bent and arms flared out to the side – elbows are bent with hands pointing up to the ceiling

Begin the movement by pushing your elbows back into the immovable floor….as hard as you can – hold each rep for 1 second – Repeat for 3-8 reps

Then, move as quick as possible to the….

Main Lift – Standing or Seated Cable Rows – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting towards your belly) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

Superset #4

This 10 minute superset focuses on a vertical pulling movement  – 3-8 reps per set

Start with the…

Wake-up ExerciseSuper Fast Band Pulldowns – 3-8 reps –

Then, move as quick as possible to the….

Main Lift – Pull-Ups, Chin-Ups or Pulldowns – 3-8 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting towards your belly) as quickly as possible – choose a weight you can perform 8 reps & stick with that weight

Rest long enough to catch your breath & go again (wake-up, main lift, wake-up, main lift…)

After 10 minutes, rest a little bit & move onto….

Superset #5

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on core stability & abdominal bracing

The is NO wake-up exercise …so it’s not really a superset

Main Lift – Turkish Get-Up – 5 minutes – as many reps as possible

5 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – focus on form

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & move onto….

Superset #6

This time, we have a 5 minute superset focusing on some of your “beach muscles”

The is NO wake-up exercise …just 2 exercises – back to back – for as many reps as you can get in 5 minutes

Lift #1 – Standing Alternate Bicep Curls – palms up/supinated – pick a weight that you can handle 10 reps and then perform between – 3-10 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible

Lift #2 – Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise – pick a weight that you can handle 10 reps and then perform between – 3-10 reps – perform the concentric part of the lift (lifting up) as quickly as possible

5 minutes – back & forth – resting as little as possible – moving quickly & powerfully

After 5 minutes, catch your breath & go stretch out those muscles

.

And feel free to hit me up with questions about this workout.

It’s not exactly the type of workout you’re going to find in your copy of Men’s/Women’s Health.

.

If you like what you see here, click here for updates or Share this Post with the rest of the world.

.

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The Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout – Part Six

In Part Five of the Deadpool series, I told you about the four “beta-test” versions of the Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout:

Each version was designed for different types of clients with different types of bodies and different types of goals.

  • Version 1 is designed to make a lightly muscled, super quick, speed demon kind of body even faster & more explosive
  • Version 2 is designed to take a heavily muscled, bodybuilder kind of physique and push it through plateaus to a new level of muscle mass
  • Version 3 was created for my strongman buddies. This workout would add muscle mass, but the primary goal was to build freaky levels of strength & power…size was secondary
  • Version 4 is my favorite….

It’s 2 parts Version 3 mixed with 1 part Version 2 and sprinkled with 1 part Fat Loss.

Strength + Power + Speed + a healthy dose of EPOC makes this my favorite workout for creating a truly athletic body capable of just about anything.

So, that’s what we’re going to start with:

The Deadpool Ultimate Workout

Because this workout is a hybrid – we will be using:

All 3 of  the fast-twitch muscle fiber Wake-Up techniques

  1. Very Intense Concentric Muscular Contractions – ex. Partial range bench press or Isometrics
  2. Very Intense Eccentric Muscular Contractions – ex. Plyometric movements (depth jumps)
  3. Very Fast Concentric & Eccentric Muscular Contractions – like a hummingbird flapping it’s wings

Note – we will focus mainly on techniques 2 and 3. The heavy concentrics will only be used  prior to the big compound powerlifting style lifts.

After waking up the fast-twitch fibers, we will stimulate them with a variety of explosive concentric lifts with the focus on muscle tension and speed of movement.

NoteWe will not be using slow  paced eccentric lifts in this program. I use that technique with trainees focusing primarily on maximum strength. For trainees  interested in power, speed & fat loss, this technique tends to do more harm than good.

But, for reference, I am listing all 3 of the main lifting techniques used during the work sets.

  1. Slightly Less Intense Concentric Muscular Contractions…through a full range of motion and performed as fast as possible. Think explosive bench presses.
  2. Slightly Less Intense Eccentric Muscular Contractions….but we drastically increase the time under tension. Sloooowwww negatives on those bench presses.
  3. With no pause at the top or bottom of the lift. The muscle is always under tension.

Program Design

Because this program is designed to make you look great & perform better, I will be choosing mainly compound exercises that

  • use a lot of different muscles
  • work in numerous planes of movement
  • tax your energy systems quite heavily
  • and don’t fit well into split routines

For these reasons, the Deadpool Ultimate Workout will consist of three (3) total body workouts per week.

What you do during the rest of the week depends upon your goals / lifestyle.

  • For fat loss, I would recommend some additional HIIT workouts
  • For improved aerobic/cardio function, throw in some “cardio” training
  • For pain reduction / looser muscles /joint mobility problems, try out a Feldenkrais class or Pilates or a Circular Strength Training class or yoga or go for some chiropractic/acupuncture/soft tissue therapy. And don’t forget the foam roller.
  • For a little fun, try a dance class or join a boot camp or play tennis or golf or swimming or tantric sex….

But, keep in mind that your Deadpool workouts are pretty tough on the nervous system and that any additional workouts should be of a lower intensity to allow for nervous system recovery.

The Workouts

  • Each workout will include six (6) main lifts
  • Not including warm-up and cool-down, each workout will not last longer than 60 minutes.
  • Each work set will consist of between 3-8 reps.
  • Each work set will include a “wake up” exercise & a main lift
  • During the main lift, the concentric portion of each lift is performed as fast as possible – lots of power
  • Minimize your rest between sets

Okay, those are the basics.

There are a lot more options that we can use, but let’s start here and once you have mastered this workout, we will add in some more tricks.

Workout #1

As I mentioned above, each workout has 6 main lifts. Most main lifts will also employ a “wake up” exercise to get your fast twitch muscle fibers primed & ready

I have arranged each of the six (6) lifts by movement or muscle group in a way to maximize performance & recovery.

  1. Posterior Chain – Lower Body – Choose from deadlift, cable pullthrough, hip thrust, Olympic lifts, GH Raise, sled push/prowler/etc – Perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per sets – Start with a weight that you can move for 8 reps with good form – for now, leave that weight constant – Use a “wake-up” exercise
  2. Lower Body – Lateral / Rotational movement – Choose from Linebacker shuffle – band, cable and cable/band Woodchop – Max reps in 5 minutes – 3-8 reps – constant weight
  3. Upper body horiz pullrows, sternum chins – Max reps in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps – constant weight – – Use a “wake-up” exercise
  4. Vertical pullstraight arm pulldowns / reverse shrugs, high pulls, olympic lifts, shrugs – Max reps in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps – constant weight – Use a “wake-up” exercise
  5. Core – bracing – planks – horiz/vert, roll outs, waiters walk, turkish get-up – Max reps in 5 minutes – 3-8 reps – constant weight
  6. Beach Muscles – bicep curls, lateral raises, forearm flexion – Max reps in 5 minutes – 3-8 reps – constant weight

Workout #2

  1. Anterior Chain – Lower Body – Choose from Squat, lunge, reverse sled drags – Perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per sets – Start with a weight that you can move for 8 reps with good form – for now, leave that weight constant – Use a “wake-up” exercise
  2. Vertical push – Choose from Overhead press, push press, thruster, handstand pushup – Perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per sets – Start with a weight that you can move for 8 reps with good form – for now, leave that weight constant – Use a “wake-up” exercise
  3. Horizontal pull – Choose from Face pull, horizontal cable shrug / straight arm row– Max reps in 5 minutes – 3-8 reps – constant weight
  4. Horizontal push – Choose from Chest presses, pushups, dive bombers, st arm press or reverse horizontal shrug – Perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per sets – Start with a weight that you can move for 8 reps with good form – for now, leave that weight constant – Use a “wake-up” exercise
  5. Core – flexion – Choose from Hanging leg raise, toes to the sky, roll outs – Max reps in 5 minutes – 3-8 reps – constant weight
  6. Core – extension – Choose from Back extension on pulldown machine, toes to the sky, roll outs – Max reps in 5 minutes – 3-8 reps – constant weight

Workout #3

  1. Upper body horiz pull – Choose from Bodyweight rows, face pull, horiz shrug or st arm row – Perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per sets – Start with a weight that you can move for 8 reps with good form – for now, leave that weight constant – Use a “wake-up” exercise
  2. Posterior Chain – Lower Body – Choose from Deadlift, pullthrough, hip thrust, Olympic lifts, GH Raise, sled push/prowler/etc – Perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per sets – Start with a weight that you can move for 8 reps with good form – for now, leave that weight constant – Use a “wake-up” exercise
  3. Vert pull – Choose from Chins or pulldowns – Perform as many sets as possible in 10 minutes – 3-8 reps per sets – Start with a weight that you can move for 8 reps with good form – for now, leave that weight constant – Use a “wake-up” exercise
  4. Core – bracing – Planks – horiz/vert, roll outs, overhead lifts – Max reps in 5 minutes – 3-8 reps – constant weight
  5. Core – side flexion / rotation – Woodchops – bad for lumbars – Max reps in 5 minutes – 3-8 reps – constant weight
  6. Beach Muscles – Choose from Reverse bicep curls, pushdowns, calf raises – Max reps in 5minutes – 3-8 reps – constant weight

Now What?

  1. Choose your own exercises & create your own Deadpool Ultimate Mega-Mass Workout
  2. Hang on for an hour or so and I will begin posting weekly Deadpool workouts here and on Facebook

.

If you like what you see here, click here for updates or Share this Post with the rest of the world.

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The Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout – Part Five

Get ready for the nastiest, sweatiest, most muscle-buildingest workout of all time.

Get ready for the workout guaranteed to turn the scrawniest fan boy into the ultra-quick, ultra-powerful, ultra-muscley bad-ass superhero of his dreams.

Get ready for Deadpool….bitches.

Alright, enough hype….let’s get down to business.

If you haven’t read the preceeding 4 posts, do so now – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, the Deadpool workout works because it focuses on your nervous system and your fast twitch muscle fibers.

And depending upon the techniques we use, we can train your muscles to be super fast, super strong, super powerful and/or super big.

It’s simply a matter of how we organize the techniques & how much effort & intensity you bring to the workout.

So, what kind of Deadpool body do you want?

  1. A lightly muscled, super quick, speed demon kind of body
  2. A heavily muscled, bodybuilder kind of physique
  3. A freakishly strong body – smaller than a bodybuilder…but scary strong
  4. The Ultimate Deadpool – a combination of scary strong & freaky fast

I have been beta testing all four workouts over the last 9 months and have seen some amazing results.

  • 2 NCAA track & field programs are now using Deadpool training techniques with their sprinters after a successful test with a small group of their freshmen athletes
  • A handful of veteran bodybuilders up here in Toronto are using Deadpool techniques to break through some really old, really stubborn plateaus. In fact, the two bodybuilders that I have worked with personally have added more mass in 12 weeks than they had added in the previous 2 years.
  • A whole bunch of my strongman & power lifting friends are using Deadpool techniques to increase their power & set new PBs.
  • And finally, dozens of my “normal” personal training clients are using aspects of the Ultimate Deadpool techniques to transform their formerly flabby fifty-something bodies into bodies that are leaner, stronger, healthier & more athletic than they have ever been.

One of my clients, a 40 something male who weighed 266 lbs and was initially unable to do a single chin up is now…

  • 40 lbs lighter,
  • able to do multiple sets of 5 rep chin ups with 90 lbs of weight hanging from his waist,
  • sprint hills faster than his teenage son,
  • bang out multiple sets of 5 rep push ups with 120 lbs of extra weight on his back,
  • able to quit taking medication for high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol.

So, if this has piqued your interest…stay tuned.

Because on Wednesday, I quit teasing you and lay out the Ultimate Deadpool Workout.

And on the following Monday, I will begin posting daily Deadpool workouts here and on the Facebook page.

Stay tuned.

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Post Workout Recovery Techniques

You’ve just finished another gruelling workout.

Now what?

If you’re like Tiger, you’re going to stagger into the change-room, grab a quick shower and head off to the nearest Hooters.

And like Tiger, you would be WRONG

When it comes to getting fit/healthy/buff/ripped/sexy/etc, your workouts are only half the equation. The other half of the equation is Workout Recovery.

And because I love you guys so darn much,  I have put together my favorite Post-Workout Recovery Techniques.

  • Post-Workout Carb/Protein Shake
  • Hot/Cold Contrast Showers
  • Fish Oils
  • Meditation / Sleep
  • Epsom Salt Baths
  • Ice
  • Massage
  • TENS
  • Chiropractic / Acupuncture
  • Traumeel

Post-Workout Carb/Protein Shake

I have talked about this technique before. Simply put, it’s a no-brainer.

Post workout – your muscles are screaming for nutrients. Ignore that message and your workout recovery goes into slo-mo. Heed the message and the repair goes into overdrive.

More info here.

Hot/Cold Contrast Showers

Alternate between 30 seconds of cold water and two minutes of hot water. Perform this shrinkage inducing protocol three or four times.

While most of the claims about this recovery technique are anecdotal, there is some research showing that alternating hot/cold showers post-exercise is effective in lowering both heart rate and the levels of lactate in your blood. Anecdotally, contrast showers have been said to improve athletic recovery via increased blood flow and possible nutrient and waste product elimination (lactate). There may also be a psychological benefit and an increased feeling of alertness and fatigue reduction.

In my personal experience, contrast showers help reduce my post-workout DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) as well as perk me up for the rest of my day.

Fish Oils

Your workouts cause inflammation.

Localized inflammation in joints and muscles. Systemic inflammation throughout your body. Fish oils are a great, natural, anti-inflammatory. Add some to your post-workout shake. If you already have issues with chronic inflammation, you may want to consider adding some Turmeric/Curcumin or Zyflamend into the mix.

Meditation / Sleep

High intensity workouts can be tough on the CNS (central nervous system)

And while there are lots of supplements (natural adaptogens & pharmaceutical agents) out there that claim to help repair & restore the CNS, I don’t feel comfortable recommending any of them. However, I am willing to push meditation & sleep as the two best CNS treatments ever invented.

Sleep – You probably don’t sleep enough already. Add in a tough workout routine and you’re looking for trouble. Get your 7-8 hrs.

Meditation – There are lots of ways to meditate. There are crunchy-granola yoga meditative techniques. There are medical based mindfulness meditation programs. Praying is a form of meditation. There are even mp3s you can buy that claim to help sync your brainwaves into the pattern best suited for meditation. But the simplest method may be to just sit or lie down, put your hands on your belly and focus as your breath flows in and out.

Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom Salts (magnesium sulfate) are another anti-inflammatory agent.

When added to a nice hot bath, they are absorbed through the skin and helps reduce muscular pain and general “achiness”. It also helps increase your levels of magnesium and may help reduce water retention.

Ice Massage

The benefits of ice massage are questionable at best. But, I know a lot of athletes who swear by it, so I figured it best to include it in this review.

Most of the pro-Ice Massage evidence isanecdotal. The main claim is that ice massage is an effective method for reducing localized inflammation and reducing the symptoms of DOMS. However, the clinical research doesn’t agree. In fact, some researchers feel that ice massage should be contraindicated when it comes to preventing post-exercise DOMS.

So, I leave the decision up to you.

Personally, I will skip the post-workout ice massage. If you need more info, click here.

Therapeutic Massage

There are many different types of massage.

Medical research has shown that the benefits of massage include pain relief, reduced levels of anxiety and depression, and temporarily reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and state anxiety.

Plus, it just feels gooooood.

Get a massage every month or so. Your body will thank you.

TENS

TENS is a non-invasive, medically tested, safe nerve stimulation intended to reduce pain, both acute and chronic.

It’s also the subject of cheesy late night infomercials.

And that’s too bad. Because, in my experience, TENS is a great little tool for reducing muscular pain. I bought a unit two years ago after a car accident screwed up my neck, back, shoulder & knee. It wasn’t my only treatment modality, but it was convenient, effective and relatively cheap.

For post-workout pain, a TENS unit is probably overkill. But, for those older trainees who have a few chronic aches and pains, a TENS unit might be worth it’s weight in gold.

Chiropractic / Acupuncture

I group these two treatment modalities together because my chiropractor is also an acupuncturist and soft-tissue therapist. I don’t get one without the other.

I go every two months and Sheldon works out the kinks that I have managed to create. When I over-do the chin-ups and my bad shoulder acts up a little, Sheldon breaks out the acupuncture needles, re-adjusts the bones and does a little (excruciating) muscle stripping.

45 minutes later and I am a new man.

Traumeel

Traumeel is a homeopathic anti-inflammatory.

And, according to researchers, it works better than NSAIDS at reducing chronic inflammatory conditions as well as systemic inflammation caused by exercise. Plus, you get none of the unpleasant side-effects associated with NSAIDS.

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Well, there you go. There’s my list of Post Workout Recovery Techniques.

Feel free to comment if you think I have missed something or if you disagree with one of my choices.

mango-shake health nutrition fitness healthhabits food

Peri-Workout Nutrition

Back in the olden days, workout nutrition consisted of a quick run to the water fountain between exercises.

Then came Gatorade.

Then, we were introduced to the magic 20 minute post-workout window of time.

We were told that if we chugged down a  carb/protein shake immediately after working out, we would:

  1. Shift our metabolism from a catabolic state (muscle damaging) to an anabolic state (muscle building) .
  2. Reduce post exercise muscle soreness
  3. Get bigger, stronger, leaner, faster, etc…

And there was (and still is) a lot of scientific research to back up this belief.

As a result, every gym put in a “smoothie bar” and we all chugged down some pretty gross post-workout protein shakes.

But wait, it doesn’t end there, we’re just getting started.

Researchers began to study whether pre-workout carb/pro nutrition might be even more efficient than post-workout carb/pro nutrition.

And their research showed that it was.

mango-shakeAs a result, instead of one post-workout shake, I was now drinking half my shake pre-workout and finishing the rest post-workout.

I thought I had it all figured out.

Not quite.

The next scientific breakthrough discovered that while a combined carb/pro shake pre-workout worked wonders, a carb free protein meal didn’t work near as well.

And that was fine with me. Those heavy pre-workout protein shakes were sloshing around in my stomach and slowing down my workouts.

RECAP

At this point:

  • Carbs before workout – GOOD
  • Carbs & pro before workout good, but made Doug’s tummy upset
  • Carbs during workout – GOOD
  • Carbs & Pro (Amino Acids) immediately post workout – GOOD

In a nutshell, the theory is that:

  1. Carbs raise your insulin levels, increasing the efficiency of nutrient absorption.
  2. Your workout inflicts micro-damage on your muscles.
  3. Your muscles are now screaming for nutrition to re-synthesize newer/stronger/faster muscles.
  4. Then you throw a bunch of protein/amino acids into the mix

And voila, your body recovers faster & more efficiently from your workouts.

End of story, right?

Not yet.

In the past few years, I have been reading more about improving anaerobic endurance during workouts by supplementing with beta alanine or bicarbonates. And while the research shows mixed results, I have personally and professionally seen impressive gains in endurance during some pretty intense HIIT & HIRT workouts.

Since adding these supplements into the mix, I have been able to push some very intense workouts well past the dreaded 45 minute mark.

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So, what does all of this mean?

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It means that for best results, I recommend:

  • Eating a combined pro/carb meal (real food) 1 to 2 hours before working out
  • Drinking a mid-workout beverage containing…a high GI carb like maltodextrin, BCAAs, creatine, bicarbonates and/or beta alanine.
  • Drinking a post-workout shake containing carbs and a fast digesting protein (whey isolate).

Keep in mind this is a best case scenario type of peri-workout nutrition program.

Most of you aren’t going to want to spend the money on all of this stuff.

So, if cost is an issue, I would recommend

  • Eat the pre-workout meal as described above.
  • Drink watered down orange juice during your workout. BCAAs & Creatine if you can afford them.
  • Post-workout shake as described above.

Personally, I have tried 3 different workout beverages with sugar/BCAAs/Beta Alanine/Bicarb and have found that Biotest’s Surge Workout Fuel to be the most effective. It costs approximately $1.10 per serving.

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BTW – peri means around or about…so in this case peri-workout nutrition means nutrition around your workout

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I look forward to hearing your feedback. Workout nutrition is a hotly debated topic amongst all of the “experts” out there on the interweb.

My skin is thick, don’t hold back.

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Transformation #1 – the Healthy Irishman – Workout #1

Yesterday, I outlined the Irishman’s transformation.

Today, I will post Workout #1….feel free to try it out for yourself

WARM-UP

  • Goblet Squat (DB) x 8 reps
  • Push-Up x 8 reps
  • Body Weight Row x 8 reps
  • Shuffle Lunge x 30 reps
  • Ab Wheel Roll-Outs x 8 reps
  • DB Swings x 20 reps
  • Hip Flexor Stretch x 8 reps

Repeat as many times as possible in 10 minutes (no rest between exercises – 30 sec. rest between supersets)

Note – You NEED to get through this at least 3 times in 10 min.

By the end of the 10 min. warm-up, the Irishman should be sweating hard and gasping for breath.

WORKOUT

Superset #1

  • Alternate between exercise #1 and #2  for 10 minutes
  • No rest between sets

Exercise # 1

  • Goblet Squat
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps (doesn’t have to be exact, weight selection will improve with experience)
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set (at first, this will seem very easy..don’t worry, after 10 minutes you legs will be dying)

Exercise # 2

  • DB Lateral Raise / DB Bent-Over Lateral Raise
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps (doesn’t have to be exact, weight selection will improve with experience)
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set (by the end of 10 min, you may only be getting 1 or 2 reps per set, but remember 100% intensity)
  • Alternate between shoulder exercises –  ie Goblet/Laterals/Goblet/Bent-Over Lateral/Goblet/Lateral/Goblet/ Bent-Over Lateral…

5 Minutes rest between supersets #1 and #2 – Use that time to set up for superset #2

Superset #2

  • Alternate between exercise #1 and #2  for 10 minutes
  • No rest between sets

Exercise # 1

  • Swing Snatch
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 40 quality reps
  • Perform a maximum of 20 reps per set

Exercise # 2

  • Cable Straight Arm Pushdown (aka the Vertical Woodchop or Hi-Lo Slam)
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set
  • Be explosive with these

5 Minutes rest between supersets #2 and #3

Superset #3

  • Alternate between exercise #1 and #2  for 10 minutes
  • No rest between sets

Exercise # 1

  • 1 Arm Kneeling Pulldown (or 1 Arm Alternating Standing Pulldown if 1 arm is n/a)
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set

Exercise # 2

  • Shuffle Lunge
  • Bodyweight
  • 30 reps per set
  • Focus on speed…shuffle those feet

Go Home…you’re finished

If you want these workouts emailed to your smartphone, click here and subscribe for the updates

Exercise Videos

Goblet Squat

Lateral Raises

Bent-Over Lateral Raises

Swing Snatch

Straight Arm Pushdown

Pulldown variations

Shuffle Lunge

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Transformation #1 – the Healthy Irishman – Workout Overview

jason-statham-shirtless-trans3

The other day on my blog, I introduced you to the Healthy Irishman and his plans to transform his body. Here is a link to that post.

Today, I will be outlining his program.

PROGRAM GOALS

  • The client want to add approx. 10 lbs of lean muscle.
  • Improve definition.
  • Improve fitness
  • Doesn’t want to look like a bodybuilder…more like LL Cool J or Jason Statham

llcoolj

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

This program is designed to:

  • provide maximum hypertrophy stimulus, while
  • supercharging anaerobic fitness and overall athleticism

In short, this program is going to make the Irishman bigger, stronger, faster, more flexible and hopefully reverse some of his dysfunction in his left shoulder.

THE WARM-UP

Unlike most programs, the warm-up doesn’t just get the Irishman ready for the workout, it is part of the workout.

I have designed two separate warm-ups that he will perform on alternate days.

Each warm-up is designed to dynamically stretch his joints, increase muscle temperature & elasticity, prime his anaerobic energy system as well as get his mind laser focused on the remainder of the workout

WARM-UP #1

  • Barbell Snatch x 8 reps
  • Barbell Overhead or Front Squat x 8 reps
  • Back Squat x 8 reps
  • Barbell Good Morning x 8 reps
  • Barbell Bent-Over Row x 8 reps
  • Barbell Deadlift x 8 reps
  • Hip Flexor Stretch x 8 reps

Repeat as many times as possible in 10 minutes (no rest between exercises – 30 sec. rest between supersets)

Note – You NEED to get through this at least 3 times in 10 min.

WARM-UP #2

  • Goblet Squat (DB) x 8 reps
  • Push-Up x 8 reps
  • Body Weight Row x 8 reps
  • Shuffle Lunge x 30 reps
  • Ab Wheel Roll-Outs x 8 reps
  • DB Swings x 20 reps
  • Hip Flexor Stretch x 8 reps

Repeat as many times as possible in 10 minutes (no rest between exercises – 30 sec. rest between supersets)

Note – You NEED to get through this at least 3 times in 10 min.

By the end of the 10 min. warm-up, the Irishman should be sweating hard and gasping for breath.

Take 5 min to get ready for the “real” workout

THE WORKOUT

The key to the success of these workouts is intensity.

I don’t care about the amount of weight lifted or how many reps. What I care about is effort. If you push harder than you thought you could ever push yourself, this workout will reward you with truly impressive results

For example, I tried this workout on a personal training client with amazing results

He is/was a tall (6’5″) guys with little muscle

In 9 weeks, he added 13 lbs of muscle and if his impedance scale is accurate, his BF has dropped from 23% to 14%

WORKOUT BASICS

  • Each workout will consist of 3 supersets
  • Each superset will consist of 2 exercises
  • Each superset will last 10 minutes
  • The reps performed per exercise will be modified by yours truly to maximize results.
  • The weight selected per exercise will also be modified by yours truly.
  • Intensity level HAS to be 100%

Simple…but not easy

SAMPLE WORKOUT

Superset #1

  • Alternate between exercise #1 and #2  for 10 minutes
  • No rest between sets

Exercise # 1

  • Goblet Squat
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps (doesn’t have to be exact, weight selection will improve with experience)
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set (at first, this will seem very easy..don’t worry, after 10 minutes you legs will be dying)

Exercise # 2

  • DB Lateral Raise / DB Bent-Over Lateral Raise
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps (doesn’t have to be exact, weight selection will improve with experience)
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set (by the end of 10 min, you may only be getting 1 or 2 reps per set, but remember 100% intensity)
  • Alternate between shoulder exercises –  ie Goblet/Laterals/Goblet/Bent-Over Lateral/Goblet/Lateral/Goblet/ Bent-Over Lateral…

5 Minutes rest between supersets #1 and #2 – Use that time to set up for superset #2

Superset #2

  • Alternate between exercise #1 and #2  for 10 minutes
  • No rest between sets

Exercise # 1

  • Swing Snatch
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 40 quality reps
  • Perform a maximum of 20 reps per set

Exercise # 2

  • Cable Straight Arm Pushdown (aka the Vertical Woodchop or Hi-Lo Slam)
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set
  • Be explosive with these
  • Perform standing

Superset #3

  • Alternate between exercise #1 and #2  for 10 minutes
  • No rest between sets

Exercise # 1

  • 1 Arm Kneeling Pulldown (or 1 Arm Alternating Standing Pulldown if 1 arm is n/a)
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set

Exercise # 2

  • Shuffle Lunge
  • Bodyweight
  • 30 reps per set
  • Focus on speed…shuffle those feet

Okay, that’s it for this intro post.

Tomorrow, I will be posting the Healthy Irishman’s first workout (just in case anyone wants to join in)
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Enjoy fellas.

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another Health Habits transformation: The Healthy Irishman

It looks like the shift from healthhabits.wordpress.com to healthhabits.ca is finally happening.

For the next little while, I will continue to post here while directing you over to the new blog.

Hopefully, you like the new design. It is still pretty barebones, but I will be adding new features and improving accessibility over the coming weeks.

Let me know shat you like and don’t like about the new design

Now, back to today’s post

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another Health Habits transformation: The Healthy Irishman

A few weeks ago, the Healthy Irishman asked me to help transform himself from being merely healthy into something super-human.

And, considering how many posts he has written for Health Habits, I figured I owed him.

So, I put together a particularly nasty workout, beta tested it on one of my guinea pigs, and voila…starting Monday, the Irishman and his visiting younger brother will be putting on a freak show at the Venice Beach Gold’s Gym.

I will be posting the workouts here as well as on this Posterous website.

(FYI – with Posterous, The Irishman will be able to view his workouts (with video) off of his smartphone at the gym – just like an iPhone app, except the workout won’t suck)

For those of you who might be interested in following the Irishman’s progress (or joining in), feel free to sign up for email updates. Also, you should probably sign up for the Health Habits feed as well.

Here’s a brief outline of Gavan’s (the Irishman) current fitness routine

  • he trains 5 x per week
  • Mon to Fri
  • at 4:15 am (not a typo)
  • he workouts at Golds Gym – Venice (so he has access to every workout toy imaginable)

His current workout is based on a 2 exercise/10 set per bodypart workout based on a 5 day split

M- Back/Chest
T- Hamstrings. Calves
W- Shoulders/Abs
T- Bi’s/ Tri”s
F- Deadlifts/Glutes

Sat is off or 30 min cardio
Sun is off

Resistance workouts last 50 min with an additional 10-20 mins cardio after lifting. 1 hr 20 total approx.

His Goals:

  • He would like to build up maybe add 10 lbs of lean muscle.
  • Get some definition.
  • Improve fitness
  • Doesn’t want to look like a bodybuilder
  • Wants to look defined & strong…kinda like

LL Cool J

llcoolj

or Jason Statham

jason statham

His Stats:

  • Gavan weighs 176 lbs @ 5′11″
  • He has a chronically injured right shoulder (vertical presses are out)

Here’s his before pics

healthy irishman before pic 1

P9240005

His Diet:

He eats 5-6 meals a day and gets good quality carbs and protein in each meal.

Carbs: Brown rice, quinoa pasta or gluten free pasta, cous-cous, yams, polenta, oatmeal
Protein: Egg whites, fish, shrimp, tofu, seitan, chicken, turkey

Also, for the next 5 weeks, Gavan’s brother Ross is visiting. This means that the Irishman will have a workout buddy for the first 5 weeks.

Ross’ Pics

healthy irishman brother ross fronthealthy irishman brother ross side2

healthy irishman brother ross side rearhealthy irishman brother ross side

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In tomorrow’s post, I will outline the workout along with my recommendations for supplementation and diet.

And, on Sunday, I will post the first workout

Enjoy fellas.

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The Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout – Part Three

DeadPool muscle

Continuing on from Part 2

Upper Back

Horizontal Pull

  • Heavy Partial: I don’t like partial reps for any rowing exercises
  • Isos: Isometric Row – Grab hold of an immovable object (ie. heavy barbell, cable stack, piece of equipment, flagpole, etc and try to pull it towards you using a rowing motion. Neither you nor the object should move. Hold for 2-5 seconds per rep for 3-8 reps
  • Plyos: N/A
  • Vibrations: Using a light weight (dumbbells, barbell, bands, etc..), perform 1 or 2 handed speed rows as fast as possible. I prefer the bands for this…less chance of injury Remember, think hummingbird wings –  3-8 reps

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Barbell/Dumbbell/Cable Rows – 3-8 reps

Upper Back

Vertical Pull

  • Heavy Partial: Partial Chin-Ups with added weight, Partial Pull-downs – 3-8 reps
  • Isos: Attempt to Chin-Up or Pulldown a weight that is too heavy to be moved – Hold for 2-5 seconds for 3-8 reps
  • Plyos: N/A
  • Vibrations: Using a light weight (dumbbells, barbell, bands, etc..), perform 1 or 2 handed speed rows as fast as possible. I prefer the bands for this…less chance of injury Remember, think hummingbird wings – 3-8 reps

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Barbell/Dumbbell/Cable Rows – 3-8 reps

Lower Back – Core

Spinal Extension

  • Heavy Partial: N/A
  • Isos: N/A
  • Plyos: Overhead Medicine Ball Tosses to the rear – 3-8 reps
  • Vibrations: Band Triple Extension or Swing Snatches (light weight) – 3-8 reps

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Swings or Good Mornings or Deadlifts – 3-8 reps

Chest

  • Heavy Partial: Partial Bench Press in the power rack – 3-8 reps
  • Isos: Isometric Bench Press – Push the bar into an immovable object (ex. Power Rack) –  Hold for 2-5 seconds for 3-8 reps
  • Plyos: Medicine Ball Chest Throws (lying or standing)
  • Vibrations: Band Chest Press for speed

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of Chest Presses for 3-8 reps

Abs – Core

Spinal Flexion

  • Heavy Partial: N/A
  • Isos: N/A
  • Plyos: Medicine Ball Slams – 3-8 reps
  • Vibrations: Standing Band Crunch – 3-8 reps

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of Standing Cable Crunches (just like the band crunch except using a pull-down cable machine) – 3-8 reps

Obliques – Core

Spinal Rotation/Lateral Flexion

  • Heavy Partial: N/A
  • Isos: N/A
  • Plyos: Rotational Medicine Ball Slams – 3-8 reps


  • Vibrations: Band Wood Chops – 3-8 reps (move faster than the girls in the video)

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of Standing Cable Woodchops  – 3-8 reps

Okay, that’s enough for today.

In Part 4, we hit the lower body

Enjoy

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The Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout – Part Two

deadpool ryan reynolds

In Part 1 of the Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout, I told you that:

  • By stimulating the hard to hit fast-twitch muscle fibers, even hardgainers can maximize the size, strength and power of their muscles.
  • To wake up those fast-twitch fibers, we need to use 1 of 3 different techniques:
  1. Very Intense Concentric Muscular Contractions – ex. Partial range bench press or Isometrics
  2. Very Intense Eccentric Muscular Contractions – ex. Plyometric movements (depth jumps)
  3. Very Fast Concentric & Eccentric Muscular Contractions – like a hummingbird flapping it’s wings
  • After waking up the fast-twitch fibers, we hit them with…
  1. Slightly Less Intense Concentric Muscular Contractions…through a full range of motion and performed as fast as possible. Think explosive bench presses.
  2. Slightly Less Intense Eccentric Muscular Contractions….but we drastically increase the time under tension. Sloooowwww negatives on those bench presses.
  3. With no pause at the top or bottom of the lift. The muscle is always under tension.

Today, I am going to give you some of my favorite Wake-Up Exercises and show you how to pair them with the traditional lifts to get the best results.

Wake-Up Exercises

For convenience, I am going to shorten my descriptions of the 3 style of wake up exercises.

  1. Very Intense Concentric Muscular Contractions will be called “Heavy Partial Lifts” or “Isos”
  2. Very Intense Eccentric Muscular Contractions will be called “Plyos”
  3. Very Fast Concentric/Eccentric Muscular Contractions will be called  “Vibrations”

I have broken the list of wake up exercises down by body part and/or body movement.

Hopefully, it is easy enough to follow, but if there’s a problem, please comment and I will update the post.

Here we go….

deadpool guns

Traps

Vertical Shrug Movement

  • Heavy Partial: N/A
  • Isos: Isometric Shrug – Grab hold of an immovable object (ie. heavy barbell, pins in a power rack or even sit on a bench and grab the underside of the bench) and try to shrug it. The weight should not move. Hold for 2-5 seconds
  • Plyos: Slam Shrugs – Set up a power rack with the pins slightly lower than your shrug lockout height. Grab your barbell and position it beneath the pins. Then, shrug the bar HARD into the pins. Repeat for 3-5 reps
  • Vibrations: Using a light weight (dumbbells, barbell, bands, etc..), perform 5 shrugs as fast as possible. Remember, think hummingbird wings

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Barbell Shrugs – 3-8 reps

Horizontal Shrug Movement

  • Heavy Partial: N/A
  • Isos: Iso Face Pulls into the floor – Just like a regular standing cable face pull, except you are lying on your back and pushing your elbows back into the immovable floor – Repeat for 3-8 reps holding each rep for 1 sec.
  • Plyos : Reverse elbow strikes into a heavy bag – 3-8 reps per arm
  • Vibrations: Face Pulls using a Jump Stretch band – 3-8 reps – as fast as possible

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of Standing Cable Face Pulls – 3-8 reps

Shoulders

Overhead Pressing Movement

  • Heavy Partial: Standing or Seated Partial Shoulder Press out of a Power Rack
  • Isos: Isometric Shoulder Press – Shoulder Press into an immovable object –  Hold for 2-5 seconds for 3-8 reps
  • Plyos: Medicine Ball Shoulder Press Throws-  Repeat for 3-8 reps – think speed!!!
  • Vibrations: Shoulder press using bands – 3-8 reps – moving as fast as possible. Remember, think hummingbird wings

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Shoulder Presses – 3-8 reps – using either barbells or dumbbells

Lateral Raise Movement

Normally, I wouldn’t use this technique for an isolation exercise such as this, but feel free…

  • Heavy Partial: N/A
  • Isos: Isometric Lateral Raise – Lateral Raise into an immovable object (ex. Power Rack) –  Hold for 2-5 seconds for 3-8 reps per arm
  • Plyos: N/A
  • Vibrations: Super-speed Lateral Raises using bands – 3-8 reps – moving as fast as possible. ala Speedy Gonzales

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Lateral Raises – 3-8 reps – using either barbells or dumbbells

DeadPool muscle

Reverse Lateral Raise Movement

Normally, I wouldn’t use this technique for an isolation exercise such as this, but feel free…

  • Heavy Partial: N/A
  • Isos: Isometric Lateral Raise – Reverse Lateral Raise into an immovable object (ex. Power Rack) –  Hold for 2-5 seconds for 3-8 reps per arm
  • Plyos: N/A
  • Vibrations: Super-speed Reverse Lateral Raises using bands – 3-8 reps – moving as fast as possible. ala Speedy Gonzales

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Lateral Raises – 3-8 reps – using either barbells or dumbbells

Biceps

  • Heavy Partial: Cheating Bicep Curls  or Partial Range Bicep Curls – 3-8 reps
  • Isos: Isometric Bicep Curl – Curl a barbell into an immovable object (ex. Power Rack) –  Hold for 2-5 seconds for 3-8 reps per arm
  • Plyos: Drop & Catch Bicep Curls – Start by holding a barbell at the top position of a bicep curl. As you start to lower the barbell, let it drop and catch it while your elbows are still bent. This will take some practice. You don’t want to drop the barbell. – 3-8 reps
  • Vibrations: Super-speed Bicep curls using bands – 3-8 reps – moving as fast as possible. ala Speedy Gonzales

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Bicep Curls – 3-8 reps – keep the form strict…not like the cheat curls

Triceps

  • Heavy Partial: Partial Dips, Partial Close Grip Bench Press or Partial Pushdowns- 3-8 reps
  • Isos: Isometric Close Grip Bench Press or Iso Pushdown- Your tricep force vs an immovable object (ex. Power Rack) –  Hold for 2-5 seconds for 3-8 reps
  • Plyos: Close Grip Plyo Push Ups  – 3-8 reps
  • Vibrations: Super-speed Pushdowns – 3-8 reps – moving as fast as possible.

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy Dips, Close Grip Bench or Pushdowns – 3-8 reps – keep the form strict.

Okay, that’s enough for today. This post is too long already.

Tomorrow…another bunch of exercises

Enjoy

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The Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout

deadpool

Since building the Squidoo Lens about Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool Workout, I have become a big Deadpool fan and am really looking forward to the movie. I think the studio made a great choice casting Ryan “Smart Ass” Reynolds in the role of Wade Wilson.

But, as I mentioned in the lens, Ryan is naturally a pretty skinny guy.

As a result, adding a whole lot of muscle mass was job #1 as he got ready to take on the role of Deadpool.

And he did a pretty good job.

Ryan-Reynolds

But we can do better.

In Part 1 of this series, I outlined the concepts behind my Official “Make Ryan Reynolds your Beeyotch” Workout

In this post, I give you a mass building workout that will put Deadpool to shame.

And I have named it…

The Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout

DeadPool muscle

Like I mentioned in the previous article, the key to the success of this mass building phase is the focus on your nervous system and fast-twitch muscle fibers.

The theory is that since most hardgainers are slow-twitch fiber dominant, and slow-twitch fibers aren’t built for hypertrophy, we need to do something special to wake up those dormant fast-twitch fibers and force them to grow.

And here’s how we’re going to do it:

  • Each workout will consist of a series of 2-exercise supersets
  • The first exercise in each superset is designed to wake up the fast-twitch muscle fibers
  • The second exercise in each superset is designed to take advantage of the newly awakened fast-twitch fibers

How to Wake Up your Fast-Twitch Fibers

I was exposed to this concept about 15 years ago. At that time, I was training for powerlifting and strongman events. But my bench press was stuck. So, here’s what I did.

I would perform a partial bench press in a power rack with as much weight as I could handle. After a few sets of single reps, I would crawl over to standard bench press and attempt a maximum lift.

This technique allowed my to put over 30 lbs on my maximum bench press…after just 2 workouts.

The Theory

My strength was improved due to some combination of fast-twitch muscle recruitment and improved neuro-muscular co-ordination.

Since then, I have researched this topic…without much success. At least in the English speaking world. Those Russians were way ahead of us back in the day.

Anyway, most of you probably don’t care very much about the theory, so let’s move on.

The Wake-Up Exercises

I use 3 different methods to wake up the fast twitch fibers

  1. Very Intense Concentric Muscular Contractions – that’s what I did with the partial rack bench press
  2. Very Intense Eccentric Muscular Contractions – Plyometric movements
  3. Very Fast Concentric & Eccentric Muscular Contractions – think sprints or throwing movements

Okay, your fast-twitch fibers are awake…now what?

Now we take advantage of those FTs, by exposing them:

  1. Slightly Less Intense Concentric Muscular Contractions…through a full range of motion and performed as fast as possible. Think explosive bench presses.
  2. Slightly Less Intense Eccentric Muscular Contractions….but we drastically increase the time under tension. Sloooowwww negatives on those bench presses.
  3. With no pause at the top or bottom of the lift. The muscle is always under tension.

Reps, Sets & Bodyparts

Here’s where individual goals play a part.

Are you interested in athletic performance or just getting big and buff like Arnie?

  • My GPs were athletes, so I had them doing total body workouts. If they had been interested in appearance only, I would have had them do split body workouts (ie Back & Bis on Monday, Chest & Tris on Wed)

When it comes to rep selection, I had the GPs perform 3-8 reps on the Wake Up sets and 3-8 reps on the Work sets

For sets, I was much more fluid and looked at performance and time.

  • Max time for a workout was 45 min
  • But more important than time was speed. If I noticed a drop in the speed of movement, we shut everything down and hit the showers….not together. You get my point.

So, there you go. That’s the nuts and bolts of the Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout

In the next installment, I will give you some examples of Wake-Up Exercises and show you how to pair them with the traditional lifts to get the best results.

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I, Bodybuilder….Fitness Marketing 101

I Bodybuilder

Nobody does a better job marketing to amateur bodybuilders than the guys at T-Muscle.

And they may have outdone themselves with this program.

Just released this morning, people are already going nuts.

They are lining up to buy a supplement that costs 80USD and may only last for two weeks.

Prorate that over a year and we’re talking just over 2000USD.

And they’re begging to buy it.

Begging.

OH MY GOD THIS IS SO EXCITING I WAS LITERALLY SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS EVERY 10 SECONDS WHILE READING THE ARTICLE.

So, my question is…

What do we need to do to get the general public this interested in their own health & fitness?

What buttons need to be pushed?

Imagine how quickly America’s obesity epidemic would be turned around if everyone got this excited about a new exercise  nutrition program.

300 million fitness junkies.

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Mechano Growth Factor

Mechano Growth Factor Arnold

Scientists in the UK and Denmark have shown that elderly men are capable of dramatically increasing their muscle mass.

All it takes is some growth hormone and some deep knee bends (elderly man speak for squats).

barry bonds then now before afterGrowth hormone???

Isn’t that the same stuff Barry Bonds was (allegedly) self-medicating with?

Well, yeah, but it’s okay because….because the doctor says so.

In fact, study researcher Dr. Geoff Goldspink says that this reseach “raises the question: Can age-related loss of muscle strength and increased fragility be ameliorated by the therapeutic application of mechano growth factor (MGF)?”

Question 1:

Is it morally acceptable to demonize athletes for taking GH or MGF or all manner of anabolic steroids and then turn around and put Grandpa on the juice?

Answer:

Next Question

Question 2:

What the heck is MGF?

Answer:

According to the Dr. Goldspink, MGF is a local muscle growth/repair factor (MGF).

This  means that MGF is produced locally in response to mechanical stress and acts on those muscle fibers that produce it. And once released, that local MGF pulse lasts for a few days.

It  is derived from the insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) gene by alternative splicing, but, owing to a reading frame shift, MGF has a unique C-terminal peptide. After resistance exercise, the IGF-I gene is spliced towards MGF which ‘‘kick starts’’ hypertrophy and repair of local muscle damage by activating the muscle stem cells as well as anabolic processes.

When you stretch your muscles during exercise, they start pumping out your own supply of MGF. That activates the stem cells that are already present in your muscles. And once “activated, these progenitor cells begin to divide, creating additional muscle fibres and increasing the size and strength of the muscle”.

Interestingly, loss of muscle mass in old age and in certain diseases is associated with an impaired ability to express MGF. In these conditions it seems that the muscle stem (satellite) cell pool is not adequately replenished.


Question 3: I’m young and loaded with growth hormone. Where do I get some of this MGF to kick start my anabolic process?

Answer:

  • Option 1 – You can buy a synthetic version of MGF on the internet. (link is strictly for illustration purposes. I am not advocating buying MGF on the web) Currently it’s expensive, but the price is expected to drop in the coming months.

And yes, this stuff is already popular amongst bodybuilders, strength athletes, professional ball players, old men aching to strut their stuff on the beach… In fact, the combination of IGF and MGF is preferred by many performance enhancement gurus over the use of straight GH as an anabolic agent.

  • Option 2 – Research has shown that MGF is a stretch sensitive growth factor. And not just any old 30 second static stretch. Both MGF and IGF respond much more strongly to clclic/dynamic stretching than to static stretching. This research jibes well with the research that shows eccentric resistance exercises to have a very powerful effect on MGF production. This makes sense as it combines muscle lengthening with increased mechanical stress (load).

So, what does this mean to you?

If you want to naturally increase your production of MGF and IGF and get bigger and stronger and more powerful, you need to stretch your muscles under load.

I would like to suggest 2 different methods to achieving this goal.

  1. Eccentric weight training.
  2. Resistence Stretching ala Dara Torres

But remember, this is bleeding edge science kind of stuff. Listen to your body and don’t do anything stupid. Also, go see your doctor for a check-up…turn and cough

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Reference

Health Habits Pop Quiz

If you think it’s possible, leave a comment explaining how it can be done.

On Friday, I will throw in my 2 cents.

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Do You Wanna Get Big and Strong?

It’s a common theme in gyms all around the world – Guys want to get bigger and stronger.

So, that’s what we’re going to talk about today. A kick ass training program designed to get you bigger and stronger.

The “Do You Wanna Get Big and Strong?” Program

Phase 1  –  10 x 10 Training

In phase 1, we are going to use one of the all-time best size building programs.

This phase goes by many names….

  • Call it  10×10 training,
  • Call it German Volume Training,
  • Call it that mother-blanking workout that causes so much pain that you can barely walk after a workout, call it whatever you want.

Here’s what you’re going to do.

  • Lift 3x per week on non-sequential days (M,W,F)
  • Rest between lifting sessions (Tu,Th,Sa)
  • Sunday is devoted to either HIIT training or Cardio training or something else athletic.
  • Day 1 focuses on Chest & Back training
  • Day 2 focuses on Legs & Abs/Core
  • Day 3 focuses on Arms & Shoulders
  • Each bodypart will be hit with one main compound exercise for 10 sets of 10 reps.
  • You are going to stick with that same exercise for the next 6 weeks
  • I have also included a couple of supplemental exercises in each workout. If you find that your muscle mass isn’t noticeably increasing, remove the supplemental exercises and just stick with the basic 10×10 sets.
  • When it comes to weight selection, choose a weight that you perform for 20 reps. This means that the first few sets of the 10×10 will seem way too easy. But don’t worry, around set number 6, you WILL feel the pain.
  • If you are able to complete all 10 sets of 10 reps, you need to increase the weight. Don’t make a huge jump in weight. A 5% jump should be about right.
  • After 6 weeks, you should be ready to move onto Phase 2. However, if you find that you’re still growing like a weed after 6 weeks (and you aren’t too bored of doing the same exercises over and over) feel free to stay on Phase 1 for another 2 weeks.

Suggested Exercises

For the 10×10 exercises, we are going to choose big, long range of motion, compound exercises. We want to involve as many muscle groups as possible while still maintaining simplicity of movement.

In the past, some people have tried to incorporate olympic style lifts into 10×10 training. It doesn’t work real well. Too much volume. Too much fatigue. Too high a chance of injury. Stick to the basics

  • Suggested 10×10 Chest ExercisesPresses – BB or DB, Incline, Decline, Flat…it’s your choice. You can even do push-ups with additional resistance (chains, bands)
  • Suggested 10×10 Back ExercisesChins or Rows – Try to resist doing pulldowns – do a band assisted chin-up if you need help. For rows, standing cable, bent-over barbell, even bodyweight rows with additional weight (weight vest, chains)
  • Suggested 10×10 Legs ExercisesSquats or Deadlift – Front squat, back squat, safety bar squat, trap bar squat – For deadlift, if technique is an issue, partial deadlifts out of the rack may be an option – set the pins just below knee height
  • Suggested 10×10 Arms & Shoulders ExercisesDips, Curls & Presses – no machines

Why the 10×10 Program works

It’s simple. You are exposing your biggest muscle groups to a huge volume of work.

You will grow. I have seen this program work time and time again.

And if you don’t that even the skinniest guy can get big and strong, check out Christian Bale

Christian Bale muscle transformation

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Do You Wanna Get Big and Strong?

Phase 1 Workout Log – PDF

Next Page – Phase 2

 

Why Personal Trainers Get Results

A new study, published in the June edition of the Journal of Exercise Physiology, tries to determine which approach is better for reducing body-fat:

  • Weight Watchers or,
  • Working out at a health club.

The Study

43 overweight women (BMI = 25) were given a 12 week membership to either a Weight Watchers center or to a local health club.

  • The women in the Weight Watchers (WW) group were instructed to follow the WW program, including weigh-ins, counseling sessions and the WW point system for monitoring caloric intake.
  • The women in the health club (HC) group were instructed to follow the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for weight loss.

The researchers monitored the participants progress by measuring body weight (BW), body fat percentage (%BF), intrabdominal fat (IAF) and subcutaneous abdominal fat (SAF), total cholesterol (TC), HDL-C with sub-fractions, and triglycerides.

The Results

At the end of 12 weeks,

  • the WW group lost 5% (9 lbs.) of their body weight,
  • while the HC group lost only 2.5% (2.9 lbs.).

Yippee!!! Weight Watchers wins, I never have to go to the gym again.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, not so fast there pardner. The “weight” lost by the WW group wasn’t all body-fat. In fact, the researchers discovered that a large percentage of the lost weight was lean tissue (ie muscle) and not fat.

And that’s no bueno.

Muscle requires calories to survive. Fat doesn’t. Lose your muscle and your metabolism drops. It’s not how much weight you lose, it’s how much body fat you lose and where that body fat comes from.

While the HC group lost very little weight during the 12 weeks, they may have improved their overall health picture due to their significant loss of intrabdominal fat. According to Ball, “these results imply that exercise may have positive influence on the metabolic syndrome despite the number on the scale.”

Ball also determined that the group support offered by Weight Watchers resulted in most of the WW group lasting the entire 12 weeks, while many of the HC participants quit.

“These results imply that overweight, sedentary women joining a fitness center with the intent of weight loss or body fat change will likely fail without support and without altering their diets,” Ball said. “Nearly 50 percent of people who start an exercise program will quit within six months.”

“This study attempted to discover what takes place in the real world when overweight women attempt to lose weight.” Ball said. “I think the outcome of the study speaks volumes about the necessity for a multi-pronged approach in order to lose weight, body fat and gain health benefits. I hope that this will be the first in a series of studies investigating commercial weight-loss programs.”

So what does all this science mean?

It means, that if you want to succeed at losing body-fat, improving your health and transforming your body, you need to combine the physical (diet, exercise, injury prevention, balance, neuro-muscular performance, energy system, etc…) and the mental (emotional support, coping techniques, inter and intra-personal techniques, etc…).

That is why good personal trainers are worth their weight in gold. In addition to the fitness and nutrition programming, a good personal trainer can provide the emotional support that their clients need while they are transforming their bodies and their minds.

Who would have thought that that big ball of muscle down at your local gym was actually an amateur psychologist.

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Muscular Strength made simple

In my post, The Components of Physical Fitness, I divided physical fitness into it’s component parts and provided a brief introduction of each part.

Since then, I have written in more detail about Structural Balance and Energy System FitnessToday I will try to explain the concept of Muscular Strength and how it applies to overall physical fitness.

Intro to Muscular Strength

This component of physical fitness deals specifically with the performance of the body’s skeletal muscles.

  • Your skeletal muscles contract and stretch in order to produce movement. Simple.
  • How they produce that movement is less simple.

Your body’s muscles are highly adaptable. They will react to the stresses that you place upon them.

  • Sit on the couch and they will atrophy.
  • Try and run fast and they adapt to produce faster contractions.
  • Lift heavy objects and they will increase their ability to produce maximum strength.

What is Strength?

Muscular Strength can and has been categorized/defined in a variety of different ways. I am choosing to divide Muscular Strength into four categories, based primarily on Newton’s Second Law –  \vec F = m \vec a (force is equal to the product of mass and acceleration.)

  • Mass relates to how much weight/mass a muscle or muscle group can move.
  • Acceleration relates to how fast that weight/mass is moved.

Note: You don’t need to know all this science stuff, but it can really help your strength training if you do 🙂

There are 4 Categories of Muscular Strength

  1. Maximum Muscular Strength
  2. Maximum Muscular Power
  3. Maximum Muscular Speed
  4. Maximum Muscular Endurance

Each of these categories has different characteristics with regard to mass and acceleration

1.  Maximum muscular strength

Maximum Muscular Strength is an extreme form of muscular strength.

In relation to newton’s Second Law it completely favors mass over acceleration. It is a measure of the maximum mass that a muscle, or muscle group can move, regardless of time.

  • Think immovable object v.s irresistible force.
  • Pushing your ‘out of gas’ car up a hill to the gas station at the crest of the hill.
  • Your maximum squat at the gym.

Got it?

The importance of maximum muscular strength?

While this is a point of debate amongst both academics, coaches and athletes, I believe that maximum muscular strength is the most important component of overall muscular strength.

Looking at the force-velocity curve, we see a relationship between force/mass and velocity / acceleration. 

  • Maximum Muscular Strength would be represented by the point on the curve in the upper left corner.
  • Muscular Speed would be represented by the point on the lower right.
  • Power is the combination of strength and speed.

  • If you were to increase your maximum strength, you would shift the force-velocity curve and your muscular power upwards.
  • Conversely, if you could increase your speed of movement, you would shift the curve to the right, also increasing your power.
  • Increasing both strength and speed would push the curve both up and to the right, resulting in even greater increases in power.

For most athletes, that is a welcome goal.

How do you develop maximum muscular strength?

Maximum Muscular Strength is developed using different forms and methods of resistance training. Generally speaking, heavy weights for low repetitions are used to develop max strength.

As this is a very complicated subject, I will be discussing this topic in detail in future posts.

Maximum muscular speed

As mentioned above, Maximum muscular speed is the ability to produce a low force muscular movement very quickly. As seen in the force-velocity curve, muscular speed is both a relative and absolute term.

Relative, because your mass (along with a bunch of other “stuff”) impacts the speed that you can achieve. To illustrate this point, let’s look at the animal kingdom.

A cheetah, while incredibly fast – 60+ miles per hour is no match for the peregrine falcon, which can dive at speeds up to 200 miles per hour.

In the world of athletics, speed is also relative. The world’s fastest sumo wrestler may be fast against his peers, but against an Olympic 100m champion???

And when we’re comparing apples to apples, Maximum Muscular Speed is often the determining factor in an athletic competition.

For example, superior hand speed often makes the difference in a boxing match between two men in the same weight category.

How do you develop maximum muscular speed?

Like Maximum Muscular Strength, speed can be developed using resistance training techniques. However, Max Speed training most often involves body weight training that attempt to maximize both the condition of the muscles and the performance of the neuro-muscular system as a whole.

I will also be covering this topic in more detail in future posts.

Maximum muscular endurance

Maximum muscular endurance is the ability to produce a smaller amount of force, but do it for a long time. A marathon runner is a great example of muscular endurance. His body weight requires less force to move than your car, in neutral, going uphill; but he is able to move that weight for 2+ hours non-stop.

Why do you need maximum muscular endurance?

Maximum muscular endurance is the least sexy of the 4 categories of Muscular Strength. However, it is the most vital when it comes to general health and longevity. While not being taken to extremes, the training to improve muscular endurance has a beneficial effect on your cardio-vascular health.

How do you develop maximum muscular endurance?

Maximum Muscular Endurance is generally trained with body-weight exercises. While there may be a need for injury prevention resistance training exercises, most endurance athletes focus their training on their sport of choice.

I will also cover the training methodologies of endurance athletes in a future post.

Maximum Muscular power

Muscular power is the combination of maximum strength and speed.

An Olympic weightlifter is a great example of power.

How do you develop Maximum Muscular Power?

As Maximum Muscular Power is a combination of Max Strength and Max Speed, the development of power involves a combination of training methodologies.

I look to cover this topic in my next post.

Muscular Strength

I hope this introductory post was helpful in helping you understand Muscular strength training and how it impacts athletic performance and general physical fitness.

In future posts, I will go into a more detailed explanation of each of the 4 categories. I will also provide same training programs for each category of Muscular Strength.

If You Want to Be Fit, Do Not Ignore Proper Body Alignment

In a previous post, The Components of Physical Fitness, I broke down physical fitness into it’s component parts and provided a brief introduction of each part.

In today’s post, I will investigate in further detail one of those components: Proper Body Alignment

As I said in the previous article, proper body alignment involves the relative position and interplay of your skeleton, skeletal muscles, ligaments, tendons & fasciaFor example, are your hamstrings too tight? Is your pelvis in proper alignment? Is the fascia covering your diaphram too tight?

If your body is out of alignment in one place, there will be adaptations elsewhere. Whether those adaptations will result in pain and injury depends on factors that are largely out of your control.

Luckily for us, if things do get out of alignment, it’s not too hard to find a good  physical therapist or an osteopath to help with analysis and/or re-balancing your out of balance body.

If seeing a specialist is out of your price range or you’re just a DIY kind of person, there are a lot of body alignment gurus willing to post a ton of free info online:

Each of these individuals have a unique approach to putting your body into balance. If it is possible to meet with one of them for an assessment, I would highly recommend it. If not, read some of their articles, decide which of their styles makes the most sense to you and apply ONE concept. Don’t try to do everything at once.

If you do decide to DIY, start by taking a few digital photos of your posture – standing & sitting, from the front, rear and both sides. Lift your arms overhead, squat, etc… You would be surprised how easy it is to see your own flaws in a photo.

Most likely, this is what you are going to see.

Side View:

  • Client exhibits classic exaggeration of the double S-curve posture.
  • Forward head posture and chin protraction are evident.
  • Rounded shoulders combined with an exaggerated kyphosis are apparent in the upper thoracic region.
  • Significant anterior pelvic tilt with a concomitant increase in lumbar lordosis is also evident in the lumbo-pelvic region.
  • Anterior weight bearing is difficult to determine due to the cropping of the photo, but still seems to be an issue of concern.

This all too common grouping of postural misalignment is depicted very nicely in the following image that I borrowed from  part 2 in Cressey & Robertsons’s Neanderthal No More series.

body alignment

While posture #1 is the ideal, #4 is all too common.

Primarily caused by hours of sitting and staring at television and computer screens, posture #4 has become all too familiar.

Think about it, an hour sitting in the car driving to work, sitting for most of your 8+ hours at work, driving back home and then finally dropping down onto the couch to watch some ‘must-see” tv. All this adds up to poor posture, misalignment, and eventually pain and disfunction.

Okay, enough doom & gloom.

This can all be corrected. Start with the links listed above. Take it slow. Your poor posture wasn’t created in a day and it won’t be corrected in a day.

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