Train Smarter : Movements v.s. Muscles

Over the course of history, humans have evolved from single-cell organisms into the multi-cellular complex beings we are today.

In our current form, we are a collection of cells, neurons, hormones, enzymes, bones, muscles that all work together like a super-efficient mega corporation. 

And just how does this relate to working out?

It relates if you are still training like a bodybuilder from 1977

screen-shot-2015-06-23-at-11-59-36-am

Because if your workouts are focused on muscles instead of movements, you are making a big, big, big mistake.

Just like all those cells that came together to become a liver that filters waste products that would quickly build up and kill the entire organism, your muscles weren’t designed to work in isolation.

Even in that most muscle-centric of exercises – the bicep curl – your biceps need your triceps and core muscles and leg muscles and deltoids to pitch in and stabilize

The same holds true for all weightlifting exercises…no muscles ever work in isolation.

Trying to force them to work that way goes against how they are supposed to work.

Think about it…when you walk or run or sprint, you never focus on individual muscles or muscle groups. Instead, your brain sends out the signal to all involved muscles that it’s time to work together and get running.

To that end, one of the best things you can do to improve the efficiency of your resistance training workouts is to stop thinking about muscles and start thinking about movements

Here is a list of the “basic” movements that will serve as a framework for your new movement-based workout program.

  • Push Vertical
  • Push Horizontal
  • Pull Vertical
  • Pull Horizontal
  • Squat
  • Hip Hinge
  • Walk
  • Run
  • Sprint

That’s it for today.

Over the next few days & weeks, I will explain these movements fully and provide exercise examples and teach you how to put them together in a complete training program.


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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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More proof that you should Just Say No to Cardio

  • You want to be healthy
  • You want to be fit
  • You want to be strong
  • You want to be fast
  • You want to be powerful
  • You want to look great naked

If this sounds like you, you need to stop doing boring old cardio workouts…

human hamster wheel

…and start combining strength training workouts with high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.

Here’s why…

In a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers examined whether a combination of sprint interval workouts and strength training workouts would result in compromised strength development when compared to strength training alone.

During this study, they also monitored maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) and time to exhaustion (TTE) to determine if the HIIT workouts would improve aerobic performance.

The Results

After 12 weeks of 4x per week workouts, they researchers found that:

  • Upper & lower body strength improved in both groups with no difference between the strength training (ST) group and the combination HIIT-ST group.
  • VO2max improved in the HIIT-ST group but not in the ST group. Previous studies have shown that HIIT is equal or superior to traditional cardio in improving VO2max

Conclusions

  • Strength training without HIIT will make you stronger
  • Strength training + HIIT will make you equally as strong
  • HIIT improves VO2max as well or better than traditional cardio training

When you combine this new data with all of the previous studies + years of real-world experience that has shown that traditional cardio training reduces strength, power & muscle mass in favour of aerobic performance (VO2max et al), it all starts to become very clear.

It means that if…

  • You want to be healthy
  • You want to be fit
  • You want to be strong
  • You want to be fast
  • You want to be powerful
  • You want to look great naked

…you need to just say no to cardio and just start saying yes to HIIT + strength training.

Reference

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.

The Best Exercise for a Fit Sexy Body

What if I told you that there was a form of exercise that…

  • Raises low self-esteem
  • Burns a ton of calories
  • Is scientifically proven to repair distorted body images
  • Increases functional fitness
  • Is incredibly effective for OBESE participants
  • Is a great way to make new fit friends
  • Makes you stronger
  • Makes you leaner
  • Makes your fitter
  • Makes you more flexible / mobile
  • Makes you sexier
  • And is incredibly FUN!!!

Fit Sexy Body

And what if I told you that this form of exercise is the biggest fitness trend to come along since spandex & leg warmers.

leg-warmer-spandex-newton-j

In fact, led by the market leader (Zumba), dance fitness classes are spreading around the fitness world at an amazing rate. And as a result, there are a lot of women (and a few men) who are transforming their bodies, getting healthy and having a great time while they’re doing it.

Unfortunately, along with all of this fun, there has also been a spike in ankle & knee injuries caused by people doing dance fitness classes in shoes not made for dancing. My physiotherapy buddies here in Toronto have seen their waiting rooms fill up with Zumba injuries over the past couple of years.

What does this mean to you???

It means that if you want to…

  1. create a fit sexy body with dance fitness
  2. while avoiding sprained knees & ankles

…you need to seriously think about buying a pair of dance specific shoes.

Fit Sexy Body

And I can heartily recommend these two brands of dance fitness shoes by Ryka…

… because over the past 5 months, I have had a group of female clients trying out different pairs of dance fitness shoes and these 2 pairs kept getting the best reviews. It wasn’t even close.

They fit better…they look better…and they perform better as dance fitness shoes.

Fit Sexy Body

The official Ryka sales pitch – Ryka designs all their shoes to fit a woman’s foot shape, muscle movement and skeletal structure. For example, the “Q-angle”(quadricep angle) – the anatomical relationship between the hip and knee – measures 5–7 degrees greater for women than men. As a result, women tend to shift more weight to the outside of their feet which leads to over-pronation, instability at foot strike and higher risk of injury. All Ryka sneakers, are designed and developed taking into account a woman’s unique fit needs.

Their dance fitness shoes are further modified with a low profile compression mid-sole, lateral stability and a pivot point (the pink circle) designed to help the shoe respond correctly to dance fitness movements.

These are not running shoes or tennis shoes. They are dance shoes.

NOTE: There are a growing number of dance fitness shoes on the market. I am recommending these 2 pairs of Ryka shoes because my “guinea-pigs” loved them. I have no financial involvement with these products other than they supplied samples free of charge for my experiment. There were 3 other manufacturers who supplied footwear free of charge. Their shoes didn’t test well…so they’re not in the article.

Reference

The Secret of Bruce Lee’s One Inch Punch

Bruce Lee accomplished some amazing accomplishments in his short life. One of his most impressive physical feats was his super-powerful one inch punch.

How the heck did he do that?

According to British researchers, it was Mr. Lee’s over-developed cerebellums and primary motor cortex that allowed him to coordinate his body movements to deliver maximum force.

The Science

Previous studies have shown that the forces generated in a karate punch is not determined by muscular strength but by the brain & nervous system, Unfortunately, up until now, they had no idea what parts of the nervous system were responsible for making Bruce Lee a super-freak.

In this recent study, researchers looked for differences in brain structure between 12 karate practitioners with a black belt rank and an average of 13.8 years’ karate experience, and 12 control subjects of similar age who exercised regularly but did not have any martial arts experience.

In the first part of the study, the researchers measure the short range (5 cm) punching power of all 24 test subjects by means of infrared markers on their arms & torsos. As expected, the karate masters punched harder than the control subjects.

Analysis of punch biomechanics and brain function revealed the reasons for the difference in punching power.

  • The researchers found that punching power depends on timing.
  • Specifically, punching force correlated with how well the movement of the wrists and shoulders were synchronized.
  • In short, technique + muscular power = Bruce Lee kicking your butt.
  • To test brain function, they used diffusion tensor imaging to scan the grey matter (main body of nerve cells) and white matter (bundles of fibres that carry signals from one region of the brain to another) of the test subjects’ brains.

And what they found is that there was major structural differences in the white matter of the cerebellums and primary motor cortex of the karate masters.

It was these differences in the cerebellum that correlated with the synchronicity of the subjects’ wrist and shoulder movements that produced the larger punching forces.

The karate black belts were able to repeatedly coordinate their punching action with a level of coordination that novices can’t produce. We think that ability might be related to fine tuning of neural connections in the cerebellum, allowing them to synchronise their arm and trunk movements very accurately.

We’re only just beginning to understand the relationship between brain structure and behaviour, but our findings are consistent with earlier research showing that the cerebellum plays a critical role in our ability to produce complex, coordinated movements.

So there you go…your nervous system is what’s going to separate your athletic performance from that of the average gym rat.

And that’s why nervous system function is one of the linchpins of all my training programs.

Reference

Kettlebell swing training improves maximal and explosive strength

A study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research says that kettlebell swing training will improve your maximal & explosive strength.

And how cool is that???

The Study

The aim of this study was to compare how kettlebell swing (KB) training had on measures of maximum strength (half squat – HS) and explosive strength (vertical jump height—VJH) in comparison to jump squat (JS) power training. 

Note – JS training is already known to improve max strength and VJH.

To test this, the researchers took 21 healthy men, tested their HS & VJH and then exposed them to a 6 week program of either:

  • Kettle Bell training, or
  • Jump Squat training

The KB group performed 12-minute bouts of KB exercise (12 rounds of 30-second exercise, 30-second rest with 12 kg if 70 kg).

The JS group performed at least 4 sets of 3 JS with the load that maximized peak power.

Training volume was altered to accommodate different training loads and ranged from 4 sets of 3 with the heaviest load (60% 1RM) to 8 sets of 6 with the lightest load (0% 1RM)[/box]

After 6 weeks…

  • The Kettlebell group improved their 1-RM squat by 12% and their Vertical Jump by 15%
  • The Jump Squat group improved their 1-RM squat by 8% and their Vertical Jump by 24%

What does this mean?

  • If you play basketball, Jump Squats are better than Kettlebell Swings
  • If you’re going to the Olympics for long jump, Kettlebell Swings are the exercise for you.

What does this mean to you???

Since the heaviest weight used in this study was only 60% of 1RM, I am surprised that it had such an effect on Maximum Strength. With that being said, my personal experience jives with the research – both exercises are very efficient at producing strength AND power. I would also add that both exercises reproduce movements (hip extension, vertical jump, horizontal jump) that are very useful in real life and in many sporting situations.

I would like to see future studies which:

  • Test with heavier weights
  • Test how different speeds of movement affect power – esp. explosive performance with lighter weights
  • Test Maximum Strength in a horizontal plane – not just vertical jumping

Any thoughts???

Reference

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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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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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Health Habits Fitness Challenge #2

Thanks to my new friends at Konkura, I can now challenge the entire world to all sorts of weird & wonderful fitness challenges.

Today’s challenge is all about overhead pressing power combined with anaerobic endurance.

Let’s see if you can kick my ass.

ENTER THE CHALLENGE

 

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…

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

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The Components of Physical Fitness

What is physical fitness?

You will receive some very different answers depending upon who you ask.

To a person with a medical condition, physical fitness may be a day without pain or a day where they have the energy to walk down to the corner store. To the weekend warrior, it is being able to compete with his friends and still be able to go to work on Monday.

To an Olympic calibre gymnast, physical fitness is performing an Iron Cross. The flexibility of an accomplished yoga practitioner is a display of physical fitness. As is the endurance of a triathelete. Or the power of an Olympic style weightlifter. Or the speed of a sprinter. Or the agility of a badminton player…

They are all right and they are all wrong.

For their particular needs, there is an appropriate level of adequate fitness. The weekend warrior has no need to perform an Iron Cross. Or a gymnast to run a marathon.

The decathalete / heptahalete is supposed to represent the ultimate of physical fitness. While the other athletes are specialists, these multi-sports athletes train to develop the ultimate combination of the different components that make up physical fitness.

So that is where we will go. By breaking down physical fitness into it’s components, we will arrive at a better understanding of physical fitness.

The 5 Components of Physical Fitness

1. 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.

One way to organize these different types of strength is in relation to time.

Maximum muscular strength is the ability to produce the most amount of force regardless of time. That big guy at your gym that is ALWAYS bench pressing may have a high level of maximum strength. He can produce a large amount of force (to move that heavy barbell) but he does it relatively SLOOOWWWLY.

Maximum muscular endurance is the ability to produce a smaller amount of force, but do it for a long time. A marathon runner has a high level of muscular endurance. His bodyweight requires less force to move than a heavy barbell, but he is able to move that weight for 2+ hours non-stop.

Maximum muscular speed is the ability to produce muscular movement very quickly. A hummingbird’s wings are the epitome of speed.

Muscular power is a combination of maximum strength and speed. An Olympic weightlifter is a great example of power. So are high jumpers and sprinters. Another way of looking at power would be to use our weightlifter friend from the gym.

If he bench presses 300 lbs but takes 3 seconds to perform the lift, his power output is 100 lbs. per second. However, if he drops the weight to 200 lbs and performs the lift in 1 second, his power output shoots up to 200 lbs. per second.

If that wasn’t confusing enough, different types of muscular strength rely on the development of the 4 other components of physical fitness.

Next Page…Neuro-Muscular Co-ordination

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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

Energy System Training Makes Your Heart Healthier and Stronger

Circuit Training vs Traditional Strength Training

Researchers have found that high-resistance circuit weight training is equally as effective as traditional strength training for improving:

  1. Maximum Strength
  2. Maximum Power
  3. Shuttle-Run Performance (speed & agility)
  4. Lean Muscle Mass

And when it comes to fat loss, circuit training is the best.

Conclusion

If you want to be leaner, stronger, faster and more agile, get doing some circuit training workouts

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Reference

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Your Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 16 – Day 1

“The Athlete” by Howard Schartz and Beverly Ornstein

Welcome to Week 16 – Workout 1.

In this phase, we’re making 2 changes:

  1. Eliminating the supersets
  2. Changing the rep scheme, and it’s not gonna be pretty.

If you thought 8 sets of 6 reps was rough, wait until you do 12 sets of 4 reps.

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PHASE 1

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 as long as your muscles are getting pliable and your joints are feeling “loose”….feel free to do your own thing…as long as it gets the job done.
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5 Minutes of the following 4 Mobility Exercises:

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1.  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

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2.  Rolling Like A Ball

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3. Shin Box
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4.  Lateral Lunges

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5 Minutes of the following Muscle Warm-Up Exercises

I am going to list a bunch of exercises. You choose which ones you want to do….remembering that the goal is to warm up the muscles and make them pliable and ready to handle the following workout

  • 1 Arm Swing Snatch – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up
  • Bodyweight Squat
  • Step-Ups
  • Burpees
  • Push – Ups
  • BW Rows
  • Jumping Chins
  • Shuffle Lunges
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PHASE 2

The HH Quasi Bodybuilder/Athlete/Freak of Nature Workout ver 1.0

Instead of 3 supersets of 2 exercises for a total of 6 exercises, we’re keeping it very simple this time.

  • 1 exercise at a time…no supersets
  • 12 sets per exercise
  • 4 reps per set
  • 15 seconds rest between sets
  • Choose a weight that will challenge you to just get the 4th rep on the last set
  • If you make 4 reps on set #12, increase the weight a little bit the following week
  • Perform the “work” part of each exercise as quickly and powerfully as possible
  • I recommend that when you feel like you’re running out of gas that you do a 2-5 reps of a light weight, explosive exercise which works the same muscles as the work set (ex. jumping up & down before doing squats)

This will get your nervous system all charged up and help you perform better on the work set.

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Exercise #1 – Standard Grip Bench Press

  • 12 sets
  • 4 reps per set
  • Barbell

For the neural activation warm-up exercise, I would recommend Explosive Push-ups off of a floor/bench/wall

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Exercise #2 – Overhead Press

  • 12 sets
  • 4 reps per set
  • Barbell or Machine
  • Standing or Seated

Standing presses with a barbell is the most challenging option and the one that I recommend…but as you fatigue, your balance is going to suffer and the potential for a weightlifting accident increases. So, feel free to use a seated shoulder press machine. It’s slightly less effective but increases your stability & your safety.

For the neural activation warm-up exercise, I would recommend 5 reps of Overhead Presses with a light exercise band or Medicine Ball Overhead Press & Throw

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Exercise #3 – Standing or Seated Calf Raise

  • 12 sets
  • 4 reps per set
  • Dumbbell/Barbell or Machine


For the neural activation warm-up exercise, I highly recommend 6 reps of Ankle Jumps

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PHASE 3

Stretching – minimum 10 minutes

Focus on the muscles you just worked, plus the ones that are tight on just about everyone….hip flexors, calves, hamstrings, chest, neck & traps

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NOTE

  • New workouts will be posted on Tuesday & Wednesday.

If you’re interested in gaining some size, perform each of these workouts 2x per week
It all depends on your goals

Instead of repeating these workouts, you can perform them a single time only – Mon, Wed, Fri and perform some other exercise on Tues, Thurs, Sat.
For example:
  • you can perform Neural Recharge workouts on Tues/Thurs/Sat –Here is a sample workout
  • If you want to improve your cardio, do cardio
  • If you want to improve your flexibility, take some yoga classes or stretch
  • If you want to have fun while exercising, take a class, play a sport, etc…
  • Or, mix & match

You can also rest on those off days. These 3 workouts are pretty intense and will do a lot on their own.

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Do MBTs & Skechers Shape-Up shoes actually tone your butt, legs & calves?

Thanks to a comment/question from AM, I have put together this little poll to ask you that age-old question?

Do those weird MBT/Skecher Shape-Up shoes actually work?

They claim to:

  • Tone your calves, legs, butt, abs & back
  • Improve your posture & balance
  • Burn fat
  • Improve circulation
  • Solve world hunger & guarantee world peace

But do they?

Let me know what you think…especially if you have ever worn them.

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Your Best Body Workout – 2011

Based upon your feedback, the next 50 weeks of workouts will focus on:

  • Overall Fitness / Athleticism
  • Fat Loss
  • Strength / Power
  • General Health / Disease Prevention

In essence, our goal is to create bodies that can perform at a high level of overall fitness, look great while doing it and potentially live forever.

Alright, so here we go.

Today I am going to lay out an overview of the workouts you are going to be doing for the next 4 weeks.

Later tonight, I will post another article laying out the specifics of Monday’s workout, with videos, etc…

The Plan for the next 4 Weeks

  • 3 resistance training workouts per week
  • Off days will vary depending on your personal goals
  • If your main goal is strength & power, you will perform Neural Recharge workouts – I will post sample workouts
  • If you want to improve your cardio, do cardio
  • If you want to improve your flexibility, do a yoga class or stretch
  • If you want to have fun while exercising, take a class, play a sport, etc…
  • But, NO SERIOUS LIFTING on your off days. You’ll screw up your recovery.

The Workouts

  • Each workout will start with a 10 minute warm-up session
  • 5 minutes of joint mobility exercises, and
  • 5 minutes of exercises designed to get your muscles all nice and pliable

From the warm-up, we move immediately to the main part of the workout

  • 4-6 HIRT Supersets (# of sets depends on your current state of fitness)
  • Each superset lasts 5 minutes – buy a timer
  • NO REST between sets
  • Perform the work part of each exercise as quickly as possible
  • Rep schemes will change during the 4 weeks
  • Neural Recharge exercises will be included to supercharge your nervous system
  • As always, the success of HIRT workouts depends on the intensity of your effort – if you’re going to give it 80% effort, don’t bother. I want/need/demand 100% of YOUR best effort to get the most out of these workouts.

After you have completed the 5 min HIRT superset, you will have 3 minutes between sets to get ready for the next superset and perhaps even stretch a little bit. I will suggest a stretch that will help improve the performance of the next superset.

After you have completed all of the HIRT supersets, I want you to spend 10 minutes on a goal specific to you

  • If you really want to lose weight, spend 10 minutes doing some HIIT sprints on an exercise bike. I would recommend 10 sprints with a 10 sec ON : 50 sec OFF ratio
  • If you want to buff up those biceps, hit the curls for 10 minutes
  • If your hip flexors are really tight, put in 10 minutes stretching them along with your quads and lower lumbars.
  • And if your goal is power & strength, spend 10 minutes doing static holds or partial lifts

And after the 10 min specialty phase, I really, really, really want you to spend another 10 minutes stretching…even if you just spent 10 minutes stretching your hip flexors.

Believe me, you’ll thank me later.

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Anyway, that’s the highlights of the coming workouts.

Monday’s workout will be posted tout de suite.

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Who is the Better Athlete?

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This post – The Components of Physical Fitness – may help you make your decision.


Žydrūnas Savickas

  • The world’s strongest man – 2009 & 2010
  • 6’3″ – just under 400lbs
  • Six times, “Arnold’s Strongest Man winner (2003-2008)
  • Three-time world powerlifting champion (2005, 2006, 2009)
  • 4 times World Cup winner team (2005-2008)
  • Fortissimo Stiprausias man on earth Winner (2009)
  • Log lifting world champion (2008)
  • European powerlifting champion (2005)
  • European round lifting champion (2009)
  • World Cup winner (2004)
  • Strongman Super Series winner (2004)
  • Strongman Champions League winner (2008)
  • 10 times the Lithuanian powerlifting champion (1998-2000, 2002, 2004-2009)
  • World Powerlifting vice-champion (2000)
  • 3 times European Powerlifting vice-champion (1999, 2000, 2001)
  • 10 times the Lithuanian Powerlifting Champion (1995-1997, 1999-2005)
  • 7 times the Lithuanian Powerlifting Cup winner (1994-2000).

Dean Karnazes

  • Ran 135 miles nonstop across Death Valley in 120°F (49°C) temperatures
  • Ran a marathon to the South Pole at −40°F (-40°C).
  • Ran 50 marathons in all 50 states in 50 consecutive days
  • Overall Winner, 4 Deserts Race Series, 2008
  • Competitor magazine Endurance Athlete of the Year Award winner, 2008, 2006, 2005
  • ESPN ESPY Award winner, “Best Outdoor Athlete,” 2007
  • Winner, Vermont Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run, 2006
  • Two-time Emmy Award winner, 2005, 2007
  • American Ultrarunning Team, World Championships, 2005, 2008
  • Men’s Journal, Adventure Hall of Fame, 2005
  • Winner, Badwater Ultramarathon, 2004
  • 350 miles (560 km) in 80 hours and 44 minutes without stopping (2005)
  • 148 miles (238 km) in 24 hours on a treadmill, 2004
  • Single-handedly completed the 199-mile (320 km) Providian Saturn Relay six times
  • Eleven-time 100-Mile/1 Day Silver Buckleholder at the Western States Endurance Run (i.e., better than ten twenty-four hour finishes), 1995–2006
  • Outside magazine, Ultimate Top 10 Outdoor Athletes, 2004
  • Swam across the San Francisco Bay

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Reference

Health Habits Workout – Week 52 Day 3

Week 52 – HIRT workout #3

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

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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.
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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

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

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THE WORKOUT

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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)

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Health Habits Workout – Week 52 Day 2

Week 52 – HIRT workout #2
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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 41/Day 2

Optional Workout

If you perform an optional Neural Activation Workout a few hours before the main workout for the day, you should see better performance during the main workout.

It takes less than 10 minutes and it really works. So do it.

Here are 4 exercises you can use for today’s NA workout

BW Squats aka Air Squats

Push-Ups

Back & Forth Bounding

Rolling Squat / Burpees

.

Main 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

Today’s workout is a classic HIRT workout designed to burn fat, improve power, strength, speed & your anaerobic energy system.

  • 4 Supersets
  • 5 Minutes per Superset
  • 5 Reps per Set
  • As many Sets as possible in 5 Min
  • Minimize Rest between Sets

Superset #1

Dynamic Shuffle Lunges

DB Pullovers

Superset #2

BW Skullcrushers

DB Bicep Curl & Press

Superset #3

1 Leg Squat – Bench or Free Standing

Leg Swoop

Superset #4

Shin Box Switch

Pilates Open Leg Rocker

.

So, what’s next?

Most of you can stretch, shower & go home knowing that you have done a heck of a workout.

However, I will be doing another 30 min of hard cardio.

Rowing machine, laps in the pool or on that hybrid treadmill/elliptical machine that I love/hate so much.

Feel free to join me.

.

Health Habits Workout – Week 40/Day 3

Optional Workout

If you perform this optional Neural Activation Workout a few hours before the main workout for the day, you should see better performance during the main workout.

It takes less than 10 minutes and it really works. So do it.

Here are 4 exercises you can use for today’s NA workout

  • Band/Cable Pulldowns (or chins if you’re really strong)
  • Med Ball Overhead Throws
  • Jumping Squats (BW only)
  • Band/Cable Woodchops – rotate your hips, not your spine

Main 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

Today’s workout is a classic HIRT workout designed to burn fat, improve power, strength, speed & your anaerobic energy system.

  • 4 Supersets
  • 5 Minutes per Superset
  • 5 Reps per Set
  • As many Sets as possible in 5 Min
  • Minimize Rest between Sets

Superset #1

Medium Width Pronated Pulldowns

Standing Barbell Press

Superset #2

Barbell Snatch (hanging or from floor)

Med Ball or Band Slam

Superset #3

1 Arm Kneeling Pulldown

1 Arm DB Press

Superset #2

1 Arm DB/KB Swing Snatch – 5 reps per arm per set

Hanging Leg Raise – straight leg or bent knees / bench or bar

.

So, what’s next?

Most of you can stretch, shower & go home knowing that you have done a heck of a workout.

However, I will be doing another 30 min of hard cardio.

Rowing machine, laps in the pool or on that hybrid treadmill/elliptical machine that I love/hate so much.

Feel free to join me.

.

Health Habits Workout – Week 36/Day 3 – The Deadpool Workouts

.
Week 4 – 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

.

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

.

Is Exercise the Ultimate Antioxidant?

 

According to the latest research, strength training is one of your best defenses against oxidative stress.

In fact, after a mere 6 weeks of of workouts, test subjects saw significant improvement in two key markers of oxidative stress

And when you consider that oxidative stress is directly responsible for atherosclerosisParkinson’s diseaseheart failuremyocardial infarctionAlzheimer’s diseasefragile X syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and aging in general, perhaps we should stop selling gym memberships based on getting a wicked six-pack and focus more on….living healthier, living longer, living better, etc…

The Research

J Strength Cond Res 24(9): 2491-2497, 2010

The purposes of this study were:

  1. to determine whether acute resistance exercise training (RET) induces oxidative stress,
  2. to determine whether chronic RET decreases oxidative stress level at rest condition in previously untrained men,
  3. and also to investigate how the RET intensity influences the training-induced oxidative stress response.

Sixteen young men who did not have RET experience in the past were randomly divided in 2 groups.

The hypertrophy-intensity group performed 3 sets of 12 repetitions at an intensity corresponding to 70% of 1 repetition maximum (1RM), whereas the strength-intensity group performed 3 sets of 6 repetitions at an intensity corresponding to 85% of 1RM.

The workouts  involved 6 exercises, and it was performed 3 times a week on nonconsecutive days for 6 weeks.

Blood samples were obtained just before (pre-RET) and immediately after RET (post-RET) on the first day of the first week, on the last day of the fourth and sixth weeks.

After 6 weeks of training, pre-RET values of malondialdehyde (MDA) significantly decreased and pre-RET values of glutathione (GSH)significantly increased in both hypertrophy- and strength-intensity groups.

These alterations occurred independently of training intensity.

Conclusion

This study indicated that hypertrophy- and strength-intensity whole-body RET performed regularly for 6 weeks, decreased MDA concentration and increased GSH level in healthy young men.

Results suggest that chronic RET has protective effects against oxidative stress similar to aerobic exercises and that these effects seem to be independent of the training intensity.

 

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

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Health Habits Workout – Week 34/Day 3 – The Deadpool Workouts

.
Week 2 – 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

.

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 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.

.

Related Posts

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 2 – The Deadpool Workouts

As a personal trainer, I get a kick out of watching my clients transform their bodies over the course of a few months.

Unfortunately, as your online personal trainer, I never get that visual feedback.

So, as you get ready to tackle Day 2 of this nasty Deadpool Workout, think about ole’ Health Habits Doug and shoot me an email about how the workouts are working or not working for you.

and away we go….

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.

.

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.

.

Related Posts

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

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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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Creatine is for Crossfitters

It’s also for sprinters and soccer players and linebackers and paddlers and hockey players and HIIT fanatics and just about everyone who wants to maximize their high-intensity, short-duration athletic performance.

That is, if they’re male.

According to this research, male test subjects who consumed 20 g of Creatine citrate per day (4 x 5g doses) over 5 consecutive days exhibited a 23% greater Anaerobic Running Capacity (ARC) than those in the placebo group.

The women didn’t do so well.

Sorry.

Conclusion

If you’re a guy who wants to be stronger and faster for longer, you may want to load up on creatine prior to your athletic competition.

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A Better Way to Bench Press

 

According to this study, adding the “elastic tension” of resistance bands (see Jump Stretch, Iron Woody) supercharges your bench press strength.

The Science

This study investigated the effects of training combining elastic tension, free weights, and the bench press.

Eleven college-aged men (untrained) in the bench press participated in the 13-week study. The participants were first given instructions and then practiced the bench press, followed by a one-repetition maximum (1RM) test of baseline strength. Subjects were then trained in the bench press for 3 weeks to allow for the beginning of neural adaptation.

After another 1RM test, participants were assigned to 1 of 2 conditions for the next 3 weeks of training:

  • 85% Free-Weight Tension, 15% Elastic Tension (BAND), or
  • 100% Free-Weight Tension (STAND).

After 3 weeks of training and a third 1RM max test, participants switched treatments, under which they completed the final 3 weeks of training and the fourth 1RM test.

band bench press

Results

After 3 weeks:

  • BAND training increased 1RM strength by 10 kg / 22 lbs
  • STAND training increased 1RM strength by 7.5 kg / 16.5 lbs

That’s a difference of 5.5 lbs or 33%

Their Conclusion

These results suggest that the addition of elastic tension to the bench press may be an effective method of increasing strength.

My Conclusion

You need to add some band training into your exercise routine.

The progressively increasing strength curve provides a unique training stimulus that is superior to standard weight training.

Plus, they fold up easily into a suitcase for travel and they are great for summertime / outdoor workouts.

Like this article???

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Dieting or Healthy Eating

Health Habits Workout – Week 19 – Day 2

Workout Goals:

The next 4 – 6 weeks are all about maximum fat loss via a variety of different HIITHIRT workouts.

And now on to the….

WARMUP

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Feel free to make changes to the warm-up. The goal is to get all your joints lubed up and your muscles warm. How you do it doesn’t really matter. I find these moves to be the most efficient, but I understand that always doing the same warm-up can be boring.

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1.  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

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2.  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

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3.  1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

and now for the….

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WORKOUT

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Each workout will consist of 4 circuits.

Each workout is designed to last 45 minutes (not including warm-up).

If you complete the 4 circuits before the 45 min is up, repeat one of the circuits.

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Circuit # 1

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

Exercise #1

1 Leg Bench Squats

Exercise # 2

1 Arm DB Chest Press

  • 10 sets
  • 5 reps per arm per set…
  • this unbalanced press is tough on core stability. Prime movers of the pressing action are your chest & triceps

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Circuit # 2

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

Exercise #1

Leg Curls

  • 10 sets
  • 10 reps per set…
  • leg curls focus primarily on your hamstrings

Exercise # 2

Leg Extensions

  • 10 sets
  • 10 reps per per set…
  • keep your knees & toes in alignment
  • leg extensions target your quadriceps

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Circuit # 3

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

Exercise #1

Ab Wheel Roll-Out (use Swiss ball if you don’t have an ab wheel)

  • 10 sets
  • 5 reps per set…
  • the roll-out works your entire core

Exercise # 2

Burpees

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Circuit # 4

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

Exercise #1

Face Pulls

  • 7 sets
  • 5 reps per set…
  • face pulls hit your rear delts, rhomboids and a bunch of other shoulder stabilizer muscles

Exercise # 2

Standing Cable Rows

  • 7 sets
  • 5 reps per set…
  • these rows primarily target your lats & biceps with secondary focus on your core

Exercise # 3

Shuffle Lunges

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Just discovered these workouts???

Start here or check out the workout archives

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Holiday Gift Guide for the Fitness Geek ver 1.0

festivusDid you know that it’s only 32 days until Christmas, 23 days until Hanukkah and 30 days until that most glorious of holidays…Festivus?

Have you finished all of your holiday shopping?

Have you picked out your Festivus pole?

Have you prepared your list of grievances?

No?

Well, you came to the right place.

Over the next few days, I will be posting some of my Health Habits approved™ holiday gift giving solutions for those near and dear to your heart.

Today, I am starting with one of my favorite fitness training books.

Never Let Go by Dan John

never let go - dan john

In the world of strength training, Dan John is a breath of fresh air.

Where other strength gurus design overly complex training programs in an attempt to impress their peers, Dan writes programs that are simple enough for a beginner to understand.

But, don’t let that simplicity give you the wrong impression.

While they are easy to understand, Dan’s training programs are based upon the best combination of old-school know-how and bleeding edge exercise science.

And it’s that blending of the new & the old that sets Dan apart from his peers.

So, if there is someone on your holiday shopping list who is trying to get stronger, faster or just plain fitter…pick them up a copy of Never Let Go.

BTW, Dan was the guy that introduced Tabata training to the non-scientific world.

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CrossTraining for Strength

Occasionally, I still design training programs for Strongman and Powerlifting competitors.

zydrunas savickas

And the hardest thing about designing those programs is that these guys never, ever want to do anything except train for strength.

No rehab/prehab work, no HIIT, no flexibility/joint mobility work and certainly no cardio.

They are all too afraid that if they do any of that stuff, they will lose strength.

Arggghhhh!!!

No matter what I say, they don’t want to listen.

So, when I read the excerpt to this study, I actually laughed out loud….and then sent out a bunch of emails beginning with “I told you so”.

The Study

Researchers compared a traditional resistance training program designed to increase strength with a CrossTraining style of program that combined strength & endurance training.

The study lasted 16 weeks and was tested on 38 sedentary, apparently healthy males (25 yr +/- 8 mo).

Subjects were age matched and assigned to 1 of 3 groups.

  1. A control group (Con)
  2. A resistance training group (Res)
  3. A crosstraining group (Cross)

After 16 weeks, no changes were found in the strength of the subjects in the Con group .

But surprisingly, after 16 weeks, researchers found that both the Res group & the Cross group were equally effective at “eliciting improvements in strength”.

They concluded that “concurrent resistance and endurance training (CrossTraining) does not impede muscular strength gains and can be prescribed simultaneously for the development of strength in sedentary, apparently healthy males and thus may invoke all the physiologic adaptations of resistance and endurance training at once.

So, for all of those guys who think that doing some HIIT or (shudder) cardio is going to steal all of your strength…RELAX

Rubens_samson

CrossTraining (done properly) can give you the best of both worlds.

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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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Transformation #1 – the Healthy Irishman – Workouts #2 & 3

The transformation of the Healthy Irishman (and bro) continues

And they’re both going to be nasty workouts

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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The Failure of the Health/Fitness/Obesity Industry

Aaaaarrrgggghhhhh……I am so frustrated.

Yesterday, I met with new client for the first time.

Over the past 30+ years, this woman has tried and failed to lose 20 pounds and get into “shape”

  • She has consulted with doctors and trainers and nutritionists and naturopaths.
  • She has bought books and magazines and dvds and subliminal audio programs.
  • She has starved herself of calories and fat and carbs.
  • She has run and jumped and stretched and lifted and sweated…a lot.
  • She has taken thousands of pills and potions.
  • She has rubbed on various creams and lotions.

In short, she has done just about everything that every popular health/fitness/weight-loss expert has told her to do.

  • And yet, she has never really come close to achieving her health & fitness goals.
  • And she blames herself.
  • And so do the experts.

They told her that their program was guaranteed to work…but only if she followed their instructions with perfect compliance.

So, when the program failed, it was because she broke the rules. It was her fault.

What a load of B.S.

  • They are supposed to be the experts.
  • They promise a solution.
  • She pays them large amounts of money for that solution.
  • And yet they take no responsibility for their part in the process

The nutritionist/dietitian gave her a meal plan, but never told her how to cope with the cravings and hunger pangs that came along with it.

The trainer billed her $120 per session but never taught her the hows and whys of an effective training program.

The weight loss doctor gave her a diet and some B12 injections and then yelled at her when she broke her 1000 calorie / no-carb diet.

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So, why is it that after 30+ years of listening to the experts and spending thousands and thousands of dollars, this woman is still fatter and weaker and less healthy than she wants to be?

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  • Is it all her fault?
  • Is it the fault of the experts?
  • A bit of both?

.And, is there a better way?

 

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The Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout – Part Four

ryan reynolds muscle beard

Continuing on from Part 3 of the Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout…

Psoas

Hip Flexion

In most of my clients, I see the unfortunate combination of weak yet chronically tight psoas (hip flexors).

So, for this muscle group, I like to combine strength training with an aggressive flexibility routine.

So, if you are going to train your hip flexors with this program, you NEED to balance it with some flexibility work.

  • Heavy Partial: N/A
  • Isos: Flexing your hip, push your knee/thigh into an immovable object and hold for 2-5 seconds per rep for 3-8 reps. Options include the underside of a table with your upper-body weight pushing down on the tabletop, or leaning against a wall & driving your knee into a stability ball placed against the wall, or this supine method shown in the video
  • Plyos: N/A
  • Vibrations: High Knees –  3-8 reps per leg

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy/explosive Hanging Leg Raises – 3-8 reps

Glutes/Hams

Hip Extension

  • Heavy Partial: Partial Deadlifts or Good Mornings out of a Power Rack – 3-8 reps
  • Isos: Using the same Power Rack, grab an unloaded barbell and Deadlift or Good Morning the bar up into the Power Rack pins. It’s your muscular force pulling up into an immovable object (the power rack) (see the iso bicep curl video for reference) – 3-8 reps
  • Plyos: Broad Jumps – 3-8 reps
  • Vibrations: Bodyweight Hip Thrusts –  3-8 reps – move as quick as possible

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

Hams

Knee Flexion

  • Heavy Partial: Partial Glute-Ham Raise (holding DB or band resistance) – 3-8 reps
  • Isos: Partner assisted Isometric G-H Raise or Leg Curl (have a partner resist your movement) – 2-5 sec hold for 3-8 reps
  • Plyos: N/A
  • Vibrations: Seated Band Leg Curls –  3-8 reps per leg – move faster than the big fella in the video

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy/explosive Glute-Ham Raises – 3-8 reps

Quads

  • Heavy Partial: Partial Squats out of the Power Rack – 3-8 reps
  • Isos: Iso Squat out of the Power Rack (barbell or hip squat belt) – hold each rep for 2-5 seconds per rep for 3-8 reps.
  • Plyos: Depth Jumps – 3-8 reps
  • Vibrations: Jumping Squats – Bodyweight only –  3-8 reps

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy/explosive Squats, Front Squats, Zercher Squats, Bulgarian Squats – 3-8 reps

Calves

Gastroc

  • Heavy Partial: Partial Standing Calf Raise (Machine)
  • Isos: Using a barbell & a Power Rack, set the rack pins so that you can calf raise up into the pins (just like the iso bicep curls) 2-5 seconds per rep for 3-8 reps.
  • Plyos: Ankle Bounces – 3-8 reps
  • Vibrations: Light weight Calf Raises –  3-8 reps

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy/explosive Standing Calf Raises – 3-20 reps

Calves

Soleus

  • Heavy Partial: Partial Seated Calf Raise (Machine)
  • Isos: N/A
  • Plyos: N/A
  • Vibrations: Light weight Seated Calf Raises –  3-8 reps

Immediately after completing the wake up exercise, proceed to a set of heavy/explosive Seated Calf Raises – 3-20 reps

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Alright, that’s it for Part 4 of the Deadpool Mega Muscle Mass Workout

In Part 5, I will wrap this series up by showing you how to put together your own workout as well as introducing you to the Deadpool Getting Ripped Workout

Enjoy

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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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