Archive | Workout

3 Calisthenics Exercises to Build a Chiseled Spartan "300" Warrior Body

Every week I’m in the gym at least 3 times a week keeping my 6’0″, 165 lbs body in condition. I normally don’t spend more than an hour and 15 minutes getting my main exercises and 20 minutes of interval cardio in at the end. Right before I left for Trinidad about three weeks ago I was lifting weights like any normal gym day, when I noticed this guy who looked like he was a one man army. He was lifting with his other friend who looked like he stepped out of the movie “300”. It wasn’t that heavy lifting type of muscle that you see a lot, but a symmetrical, chiseled lean muscle look that is almost intimidating. The kind of body that women at the beach like to stare at through their sunglasses while whispering to their girlfriend.

I walked up to this guy and told him, “Man you seriously look like a comic book character, what’s your name?”. The guy laughed and told me his name (we’ll call him Cesar). Cesar and I talked about the importance of nutrition and he told me about three key exercises that were the basis for his Sparten body. So here are the three exercises that you should incorporate into your routine with 2 – 3 minutes rest time between sets.

The first exercise is the wide grip pull up which I affectionately call the “Rocky” pull up. You place your hands shoulder width apart and then pull your body up using your lats until the back of your neck hits the bar. Start off and see what your strength level is. I usually keep my reps to 7 – 12 per set. If you are just starting find someone who is willing to hold your feet to help spot you initially to build your strength.

The second exercise is the infamous dip. If you can find a “v”-shape dip bar that would be the best to give you the most pectoral (chest) extension. You want keep your legs together and bend your knees with your head up. On the repetition you should go as low as you can and then extend and raise yourself up above the bar. Do 5-7 repetitions and then take a 2 minute rest. What I do is incorporate the other weight lifting exercises for the day (back/shoulder, triceps/biceps, chest) with all of these. You’ll see that cycling these three exercises into the entire 45 minutes to hour of your lift will have you looking like the Incredible Hulk. I noticed sizable gains and chisels within the first week of integrating them into my workout.

Lastly you’ll want to setup 2 stacks of weights. Start laying three 35 pound weights one on top of the other a body lengths away from a bench press. After you’re done with the first, build your second stack of three 35 pound weights a little more than shoulder width apart from the first stack. Now this is the ultimate setup for a calisthenic pushup that is using your own body weight. First place your feet in the middle of the bench (you’ll want to setup these 2 stacks 90 degrees from the middle of the bench to one side) and then place the palm of your hands on the side of the top most weight on each stack. Keep your back straight and go down for your first pushup. The proper form should have your chest touching the ground and going between the two stacks of 35’s. You should adjust the stacks for your height and proper shoulder width. I usually do about 7 – 10 reps and then rest. The key here is quality of form, your chest should feel like it’s been stretched like never before. You want to squeeze your pectoral muscles at the top of the pushup to get the maximum results.

When you focus on the 1 or 2 muscle groups and then incorporate these 3 calisthenic exercises into your 1 hour routine, you will see results within the first 2-3 lifts guaranteed. I just gave you all a golden nugget of wisdom that I found. This in conjunction with the nutrition tips that form the foundation of my eating habits and specific exercises create the body you see below.

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How to Build Muscle Size and Strength Fast Using "Death Sets"

If you really want to know how to build muscle size and strength as fast as humanly possible, study the old-timers. Long before steroids and the BILLION dollar supplement industry, there was a time when men trained with nothing but heavy iron and a gruelling will to build size and strength. One very distinguishing factor between strength trainers and bodybuilders of yesterday and today was the intensity of their training.

One training technique they used that is very rare to see today is something called “Death Sets.” By the name alone, you can tell they definitely aren’t a walk in the park. But what they give you is results. Real results, and faster then any supplement or home gym can promise. In fact, applied properly with the right food to eat to build muscles, they can very well be the fasted way to build muscle and gain weight.

I had first read about death sets in a one of the greatest books ever written on strength training, Dinosaur Training, by a man named Brooks D. Kubik. If you are a hardgainer, or someone really serious about training for strength and size, then death sets can and will slap more pounds of muscle and strength on your frame then practically any other way of training. They are perhaps the most intense type of training you may ever do, but like I said, the results you get will be like nothing else. So if you really, really want to learn how to build muscle size and strength faster then ever before, and aren’t afraid of some hard work, these are for you.

So what exactly are death sets and how do you do them? Death sets were properly named because they trigger what Kubik calls the “Grow or Die” mechanism. Unlike conventional training, they really work you closer to your absolute limit like nothing else. Basically, death sets are heavy, high rep training. Sounds like a paradox, doesn’t it? Normally, you either train with heavy weight and low reps, or with lighter weight and high reps. So how in the world do you train with heavy weight and still do a high amount of reps? Two factors: certain compound exercises and mental toughness. Death sets are not meant for your smaller muscle groups like arms or neck, but rather for the big muscle groups such as your legs and lower back.

Though you can apply death sets with most larger muscle groups, performing squats or deadlifts with them are by far the most gruelling, but effective. Since our legs can withstand much more physical endurance then the rest of our body, (given that we walk and stand on them all day long) it is very hard to reach their limit. And your body will do everything it can to get your mind to quit before your body. But you have to train your mind to withstand pain and accomplish your goal. Even though squats and deadlifts are known as mainly leg exercises, you can no doubt expect your whole body to grow. The intensity will include your whole body to come into action, and as a result the rest of your muscles will benefit, especially doing stiff-legged deadlifts.

Some examples of death sets are 15, 20 and even up to 30 reps of squats or deadlifts, but with HEAVY weight. Heavy enough to where you feel finished at the tenth rep. But this is where your will power and focus come into play. This is a good test of your mental strength, because as soon as you even think about quitting or giving up, your body will do it. This is why it is so important to mentally prep yourself before the set, and to stay in that animal instinct throughout the whole set.

The good news is that you only have to do one of these sets per exercise, two at the maximum. But after you are finished you will feel completely wiped out. You may throw up or feel like passing out, but as long as you complete the set and make sure to nourish your body after with plenty of good food and rest, your body will grow. You certainly won’t grow overnight, this is at least a two month process; but if you work hard enough and build up to heavy enough weight, your body will literally transform. Your mental toughness will also develop and you will eventually become as tough as nails both physically and mentally. Now that’s a true strength trainer!

So if you got the guts, give these a try, but remember not to do too many other exercises in your program along with them. You can very easily overtrain with these, especially if you are a hardgainer. Just a couple other major compound exercises for your upper body should be plenty, and don’t neglect proper nutrition and plenty of rest or you will be completely wasting your time and effort. This is perhaps the best way on how to build muscle size and strength fast.

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How To Build The Side Of The Arm Muscle – 5 Tips

Building a well-sculpted body requires more than knowing just a few types of exercises. Rather, you need to target specific muscles in each part of your body with specific exercises designed to work those parts.

Take the arms, for example. Most people who work out focus mainly on the biceps (front, inside of arm) and triceps (back of arm). But, what about those muscles on the sides of the arm? By targeting those muscle groups, as well, you stand to gain muscles in place you never knew you had them.

Here are 5 tips for how to build the side of the arm muscle:

1. The upper part of the side of your arm is called the medial (side) deltoid:

First, let’s get our terminology straight. When we talk about the side of the arm muscle, we really need to distinguish between two types of muscles: the medial deltoid and the brachialis.

The deltoid muscle – which extends directly down from the shoulder blades and into the top of the arms – actually has three parts: front, side, and back. The medial (side) deltoid is the one that looks like it is on the side of your arm.

2. The lower part of the side of your arm is called the brachialis:

Moving down your arm a bit, you have a separate muscle called the brachialis. This is situated between the biceps and triceps muscles.

Together, a set of well-developed medial deltoid and brachialis muscles will give the sides of your arms the look you want.

3. For your deltoids, do side lateral raises:

There are a number of exercises that can work out your medial deltoid muscles. We focus here on side lateral raises. Here’s how:

a. Pick up two light dumbbells (5-15 lbs.).

b. Stand with your feet apart, about shoulder-width.

c. Hold the dumbbells just in front of your body with the palms of your hands facing each other while slightly bending your elbows.

d. Raise the weights out to the sides and upwards in a semicircular arc until they are just above shoulder level. Hold this position for a moment, then lower them back to the starting position.

e. Repeat.

4. For your brachialis, do the dumbbell bent-over row:

A great exercise for your brachialis muscles is the dumbbell bent-over row. Here is what to do:

a. Stand with your knees bent and your upper body at about a 60-degree angle.

b. Now with the weights fully extended downward in your arms, bring them straight up to your chest by contracting your shoulder blades fully.

c. Inhale and then slowly return the weights to the starting position.

d. Repeat.

5. Also for your brachialis, try reverse curls:

Here is another good one that is designed to increase the size and definition of your brachialis:

a. Stand up straight, with your back and head straight forward and upward.

b. Grab a barbell with palms out and down (rather than up and toward you). Grip the bar at shoulder width, slowly raising the weight with your elbows tight up against your body.

c. Once the weight has reached the top, lower it slowly back down to the starting position.

Bonus tip: by focusing mentally on the muscles you want to really build up while you do these exercises, you can actually improve the intensity of the workout that these muscles get. By focusing on them, your body will naturally send more energy in those areas.

Try these tips on how to build the muscles on the sides of your arms.

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Bouncer Weight Training

Being a bouncer, you experience a world that most people cannot imagine. You spend your nights and weekends in smoky bars, quietly and politely observing bar patrons purposefully filling their bodies with alcohol as a means of impairing their own judgment and finding opportunities with the fairer sex. You also have to break up fights, protect the door, and at times restrain individuals so they don’t hurt themselves or others. It is a job that can change from boring to deadly at the drop of a hat. It is the responsibility of even bouncer to train intelligently and responsibly to ensure he can do the best job possible. Here are some training tips you can employ to ensure you are in the best possible strength, cardiovascular, and skill set positions for the tasks that your job as a bouncer may entail.

Weight Training

Being big and strong is the first way you are going to be an effective bouncer. If you’re big enough, your mere presence alone will be enough to prevent most confrontations. However, there are going to be times when actual strength will be required to subdue people and control situations. Your lifting regimen should consist of the heavy compound movements of bench press, squats, deadlifts, rows, shoulder presses, skull crushers, and barbell biceps curls. Keep your repetition range in the 5 to 10 area to build functional strength.

Cardiovascular Training

Nothing is worse than gassing out while grappling with an angry, 300 pound drunken bar patron on the concrete floor. Brief yet intense confrontations can be a major drain on your body’s resources. For this reason, you should complete 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular training at the conclusion of each workout. You don’t need to worry about using some great level of intensity – simply walking 3 miles per hour at a 2% incline grade is more than adequate. In addition to building up your lung capacity to help in stressful situations, you will also be improving your own cardiovascular fitness and overall health levels.

Proper Training

Safety is always one issue of being a bouncer that is never overlooked – when it comes to the bouncer himself. However it is important that bouncer also consider a quick 2 to 4 week training session on proper take-down and restraint methods to ensure rowdy bar patrons are subdued quickly, without causing the person to sustain serious physical harm. If your bar is being sued, you’re losing money and will probably be the first man laid off. Enroll in a self-defense course with an emphasis in safe and secure take-downs which will protect both you and the inebriated bar patron.

The old rule of bouncing is, “if there isn’t a fight for three weeks – start one!” and it stands true that many in the field will instigate confrontations in order to present to management a sustained need for their presence. Tactics like this aside – if you present a strong, fit and well-trained package, you will always have work in the entertainment industry.

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Use The Psychology Of Operant Conditioning To Improve Your Fitness

How can you trick your mind into thinking it actually WANTS to exercise?

We all struggle with motivation sometimes!

Some people pay thousands of dollars for the motivation of a personal trainer. We’re afraid that if we don’t have someone to keep us accountable to our fitness – we’ll let it slide.

What if we could turn our minds into our very own personal trainer instead? For free.

By deepening your understanding of a few simple psychological phenomena, you will be able to turn your mind from something that talks you OUT of going for a run…into your biggest motivator.

Your body craves a run, but your mind says no. How can you trick your mind into thinking it wants to exercise too?

Well the first thing you need to do is make a plan. Before you can even start to use psychological conditioning, you need to create a tangible workout schedule. Start with small, attainable goals – such as going for a run every other evening for a week.

Write your plan out as a list, or write it on a calendar.

Next it’s time to apply a psychological phenomenon called operant conditioning.

Operant conditioning is a term given to the psychological effect of positive and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is when we complete an action and as a direct result are given a reward. When we are given a reward, certain parts of our brains are stimulated in a way which encourages repetition of the action.

Just having a plan can really help with motivation.

How can having a check list activate operant conditioning?

Operant conditioning requires an action and a response. In this case, exercise is the action. You need to create a response for yourself in order to connect the desirable stimulus with the positive action.

Let’s start simple. Get in the habit of checking every exercise you do off of your list after you complete it. Just this simple “reward” will draw attention to your success. Repetition of this action-positive reinforcement patter will trigger pleasure in the brain. Eventually you will subconsciously look forward to checking each little achievement off your list. Suddenly going for a run is much more of an accomplishment than it was before.

Maybe list keepers aren’t as severe and strict as everyone makes them out to be.

They just know how to enjoy themselves. One little check at a time.

How else can you incorporate the action-reward mentality of operant conditioning into your workout schedule? Make running part of a more elaborate routine. For example, if you run every Tuesday at 7, reward yourself at 8 by watching your favourite TV show. The mind loves habits, routines, and patterns. Eventually, it will feel WRONG if you don’t go for your usual run.

If you want to get even MORE serious about operant conditioning, you could introduce punishments into your routine. For example – set a jar beside your check list. Each time you successfully go for a run, add a dollar to the jar. But each time you skip out on an exercise on your list, take a dollar out. At the end of the month do something fun for yourself – budgeted by however much money you collected in the jar.

Realize that lack of motivation to exercise is something that everyone experiences.

You’re not alone.

And you can beat this laziness!

Now get out there and go for a run!

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Building a High Intensity Training Workout Routine

As a high intensity training coach for strength athletes I often, and sometimes on a daily basis, get questions about how to build a workout routine, how to advance a workout routine or what the next step is in reaching individual potential. I always keep it simple stupid using the basic theory of HIT.

I wish I could say it is just experience that allows me to answer these questions but it is actually a combination of critical thinking, experience and an understanding of how people around us including athletes, differ… based on their genetic makeup. What I am saying is that although high intensity strength training is probably the most effective training ever, because of it’s efficiency and the way our bodies are designed, we still all have different genetic fingerprints and in applying the theory of high intensity training properly, is the key to the puzzle.

It is no secret that we are all genetically different, from our fingerprints to the individual differences that make us up. If you look at color we have albinos at one end of the spectrum and Negros at the other. This difference also is directly related to tolerance to sun light where an albino can tolerate very little volume of sunlight where as a Negro can tolerate much more. These are genetics! Same applies to muscles, height, IQ and a list of others.

Same can be said for tolerance to exercise, although we are physiologically the same we are genetically different. This is the reason when I build an exercise routine I customize it to the individual using it. There is no One Size Fits All totally!

In saying there is no one size fits all, there are exercises that are very effective which turn on the growth mechanism of the entire body. These exercises are what I call the big exercises such as deadlifts, squats, rows, high pulls, dips, bench presses and their alternatives. When building any workout, I use a cross hatch of these exercises, based on the person’s goals and augment these exercises with other effective but less stressful exercises. By using the thermometer of volume and frequency to adhere with brief and infrequent workouts, I ask a number of questions to get a read of what their genetic makeup might be. This might include:

o What they feel their weaknesses are

o What their rate of progress has been for the past 3 months

o What their energy levels are at the moment

o What their current workout frequency is

o What level of intensity are they applying

o What their diet is like and what do they tend to eat

o What is their body fat percentage at the moment

o How long have they been training

o What training have they been initiating; high volume or high intensity

o Do they include aerobics or cardio training and why

These are just a few. In asking these questions I am painting a picture of who they are genetically, and the road they have traveled, to get to the point of where they are presently. If they are searching out a workout routine and find me, in most cases, the way they have approached their goals has been unsuccessful. What I find in many cases is that they are floundering. They have gone months and years without meaningful progress due to two things.

1- Not cooperating with their genetics

2- Not applying properly, the Theory of High Intensity Training, which stated simply is that exercise must be intense, brief and infrequent.

It is no secret that you can train either hard or long but you can’t train hard and long. The theory of HIT indicates quite simply this…

1- You must stimulate muscular growth with an intense contraction i.e. going to failure or beyond…

2- Your training must be brief as to

3- Allow the body to not only compensate but overcompensate or adapt to that stimulation.

Did you know that you can increase your strength beyond 300% however your ability to recover may increase on 50%?

The body only requires you to stimulate an adaptive response once, not over and over again and because any more than is minimally required takes away from the growth and recovery process and since the body systemically recovers, then whatever is left over goes into overcompensation, laying down muscle… then your training must be brief and infrequent. And all this hinges on one thing… genetics!

I find…

A properly designed program, including one for bodybuilders is really a strength program because muscle and strength are relative.

This means that it is necessary to do only what is minimally required to stimulate an increase. Any more than what is minimally required is overtraining! This means only one set per exercise… remember, you do not have to stimulate a response over and over again. Your goal is not to do more work, leave that to the distance runners!

There is also no reason to do a number of sets and alter rep range, every rep up until the last almost impossible rep performed that turns on the growth mechanism of the body is nothing more than a warm up.

The higher the rep range, the less stressful due to the weight being employed.

Big basic exercises, as previously mentioned, should be the core of your workout routine augmented with smaller exercises like curls, laterals, pull downs, triceps extension etc if necessary.

All big basic exercises do not have to be done in each workout, rather, performing just one or sometimes two per workout is plenty along with one or two smaller exercises.

In a split routine you can have up to 4 or more split workouts with rest days between each while experiencing amazing progress. You will not loose size but gain!

Rest days in general range most effectively between 4 days all the way to 14 days, based on genetics and the level of the trainee. A very advanced trainee who can generate very intense contractions thus strength may need 7+ days of rest as would a less experienced trainee who has a low tolerance to intense exercise. Both will advance, yet at different rates.

Advanced athletes require more intense contractions to advance, along with longer rest times. Higher stress intensity techniques are required and work very well in all exercises if managed properly.

Both beginners and advanced athletes require big core basic exercises to turn on the systemic growth process of the body.

Tracking progress means tracking your strength gains. You will either gain reps or strength or both which will result at a future point as a muscular bodyweight gain.

Diet plays a major role in performance, progress and recovery. There must be quality cement in place to build the house. Macro-nutrient manipulation in many cases is very beneficial, allowing the bodies natural systems to be used most efficiently. Processed anything should be limited.

Remember, you grow outside the gym not in it! It is an ends to a means. Use these factors when building your H I T workout routine and watch your progress speed along to reaching your genetic potential.

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Exercise Routines For Fat People

Here are 2 great exercise routines for fat people. A big mistake a lot of trainers and “weight loss experts” make is that they give 1-size fits all routines for everyone. Wrong… overweight people will often get injured on these type of programs. If you have more than 25 pounds to lose and you want a program that helps you to lose weight fast and over the long term while minimizing the risk of injury, then this article may be the answer to what you’re looking for.

Exercise Routines for Fat People

1. Focus on just 1 exercise

Look, right this minute, you’re just trying to lose weight. Not have the best body in the world. So you don’t need to do a bunch of different things. Instead, focus on 1 thing that is good for weight loss and make it work for you. This can be many things. Here are a few safe things for overweight people.

Walking up and down stairs for 15 minutes non-stop, jumping on a mini-trampoline during 5 different tv commercial breaks, doing jumping jacks during tv commercial breaks, and walking on a 15 degree inclined treadmill for 25 minutes.

Those are all great ways to lose weight while minimizing your injury risks.

2. Take 2 exercises and jump back and forth between them

You can take the above exercises I mentioned and switch up between them. Say for example… during 1 commercial break you’ll walk up and down the stairs in your house. Ok, then the next commercial break you’ll do jumping jacks in front of the tv. And so on. You can spread out the workouts… they don’t have to be during consecutive commercial breaks. Just sneak them in wherever it works for you.

These are 2 exercise routines for fat people that are proven to work and they won’t put any undue injury risks on you.

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How to Build Braveheart’s Body in 2 Months! Mel Gibson’s Secret Workouts Revealed!

Mel Gibson’s Exercise Tips

You must take proper nutrition that has low fat and high protein food. Also, you must make sure there are a lot of vegetables and fruits as they flush out toxins from the body. Natural sources of protein like soy based products, oatmeal and eggs must be consumed to maintain energy levels. Saturated fats like red meat, candy bars and sodas contain empty calories and must be totally avoided.

You should include creatine and other protein supplements in your daily diet in order to obtain the energy required to perform high intensity workouts. These also help to supply water and oxygen to working muscles and maintain energy levels easily.

Cardio exercises like hiking, running, walking and swimming must be done daily to boost metabolism that consequently leads to burning of fat. Bodyweight exercises like squats, crunches, sit ups and push ups must be done to warm up the body for weight training exercises.

Dumbbell flyes, cable crossovers, decline barbell press, bench barbell press are a few of the most effective workouts to build chest muscles. Biceps can easily be sculpted by performing hammer curls, preacher curls, bicep curls and pull ups.

Consuming Nitric Oxide helps your body to attain the required levels of strength and endurance in order to effectively perform high intensity exercises. It improves flow of blood and encourages muscle pumping. Many deadly disorders like heart attacks, diabetes and cancer are prevented by consuming Nitric Oxide. It can also cure injuries and joint pains easily. It rejuvenates the immune system and stimulates fat loss. It also acts as an agent against aging. 

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The Importance of Periodization Training

It’s important to understand that the body has a very cool and effective ability to adapt to anything. At the same time, when it comes to increasing physical enhancement, our bodies need a change of stimulus; we have to alter patterns of movement and increase the amount of resistance placed upon the body. The body will only respond when it has a demand placed upon it that it has never dealt with before; this is referred to as the maximum overload principle.

Understanding How the Body Responds to Physical Stimuli

By alternating stimuli and forcing the body to work to adapt, we increase the number of muscle fibers that are broken down and we write new neurological patterns in the brain. This ultimately makes us stronger, faster, and more efficient. It will also increase proprioceptive awareness, help with weight loss, increase lean muscle, and enhance cognitive function.

Periodization Training – What You Need to Know

The key to achieving all this is periodization training. Periodization training is a type of program that has set goals which are divided into a series of cycles. A periodization training program can be set up differently for everyone; it’s only dictated by the individual’s personal goals. Again, the focus of each cycle is personalized to the client’s unique fitness goals or training goals. Any protocol can be altered according to the individual’s specific goals, but your body needs a chance to adapt to one before moving into another phase. It will typically take about 4-16 workouts for an athlete or fitness client to adapt to their workout plan, and this is the ideal point when exercises should be altered or changed.

Customize Your Periodization Training Program

Here are a few examples of how simple it is to alter or customize your training program in order to maximize the benefits: (your trainer can guide you in customizing your program effectively)

  • Increase or decrease the number of repetitions per set, or the number of sets of each exercise (depending on your goal)
  • Increase the amount of resistance
  • Shorten the rest period between sets, exercises or training sessions
  • Change the order of the exercises, or the types of exercises
  • Increase the speed at which you complete each exercise

Supporting Evidence: Periodization Training Gets Results

The most cited study conducted on the enhanced benefits of periodization training (as compared to non periodization training) was done at the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University. It shows that a periodized strength-training program can produce better results than a non-periodized program.

Don’t Expect Results from Repetition Alone

I cannot emphasize enough just how important periodization training is any to anyone looking to increase and improve their strength, speed, endurance, stability, or any other fitness goal they’ve set. Following the same program month after month will leave you stuck in the mud, expecting results that you are not going to get from sticking with the same routine repeatedly. Einstein said it best – his definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So, get on it! Start periodizing your routines, meeting your goals, and enjoying the results that you deserve to have.

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Explode Through Your Bodybuilding Plateaus with Anabolic Priming

Have you ever heard a bodybuilder say, “You need to work your legs to build your arms”? While there is in fact quite a lot of truth to this advice, it also hints at a solution to break through training plateaus and pack on muscle when you’re a hard gainer. This article explains how to use exercise to anabolically “prime” your body to boost workout gains and offer a natural alternative to the use of dangerous and illegal steroids.

Exercise and adaptation responses

Most serious bodybuilders and exercisers will have experienced the frustration of training plateaus – that is the more they work out, the harder it is to make gains in muscle size and strength. Why is this? To put it very simply, the reason is that the once wide window of adaptation when beginning a workout routine for the first time has now shrunk several fold.

Weights and exercise intensities that used to stimulate muscle size and strength no longer have the same effect. Under natural (non-steroid/drug enhanced) development conditions, the human body places restrictions on adaptation to ensure survival and balance or homeostasis.

It would appear that the solution to this problem would be to increase the body’s anabolic hormone response to allow for further adapation however, the “natural regulation” process frustrates many bodybuilders and causes many to look to steroids for a solution.

Exercise and the anabolic hormone response

In an earlier article on our website we discussed the interaction of bodybuilding-type exercises and the hormonal responses associated with them. Anabolic steroids we explained are responsible not only for “building up” and enlarging various types of tissue such as muscle and bone but also for directly increasing strength, which indirectly leads to further gains in muscle size. In the same article, we mentioned that anabolic hormone response can be manipulated with exercise.

According to the NSCA – the world’s leading authority on strength and conditioning, manipulating one or a combination of the following factors can naturally boost testosterone levels:

· Exercises that use large muscle groups

· Exercises that use heavy resistance (85-95% 1RM)

· Moderate to high exercise volume (multiple exercises/sets)

· Short rest periods between exercises (How does this type of exercise create a more anabolic environment in the body?

The following are some of the suspected mechanisms leading to the increased anabolic state:

· Since control of anabolic hormone release is directly dependent on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (the link between the hypothalamus and pituitary gland), it is possible that intense physical exercise/stress itself may stimulate increased concentrations either directly or indirectly

· Fluid shifts from the blood into the cells during intense exercise may concentrate hormone levels with no actual increase in secretion levels

· Venous pooling of blood (muscle “pump”) in the exercised muscle may increase hormone concentrations by reducing clearance and degradation in organs like the liver. It is also suspected that retention of blood in the veins of the exercised muscle may increase the time of exposure and the likelihood of the hormone binding with its specific receptor in muscle tissue

· Sarcolemmas (membranes surrounding muscles) of involved muscles are mechanically sensitized (stretched) from force generation stress and made more permeable to available anabolic hormones and growth factors

What is the suggested protocol for using exercise as an anabolic primer?

A good way for a bodybuilder to take advantage of the body’s natural anabolic priming system is to perform a combined upper and lower body routine. In other words, upper and lower body exercises are performed in the same workout session.

This type of routine can, for example be performed 2 – 3 times per week to separate any upper/lower body split programs. On the split days, you can still choose to perform just the “priming exercises” before exercising the arms and back for example.

The hormone “spike ” induced from the exercising of the large muscles of the legs early in the routine creates a greatly boosted anabolic environment for exercising the smaller, less powerful muscles of the upper body like the chest and arms. Increases in testosterone will also boost strength levels via increased motor nerve activity which will in turn, allow for more exercise-induced muscle damage and muscle growth (ideal for “hard arm size gainers”).

So to anabolically prime your body, try performing the following:

Begin your weightlifting session with 3 – 4 sets of deadlifts or squats at 85 – 95% of your 1 RM (if you don’t know your 1 RM, aim for 2 – 6 repetitions)

· Rest no longer than 60 seconds between sets

· Perform your traditional combined upper body/lower body routine or split routine as normal

· Drink a carbohydrate and protein mix drink during and after your routine as this has shown to boost IGF-I levels

In closing, this article has briefly explained the concept of “anabolic priming” using exercise. It is suggested that you experiment with other exercises that will have the same effect as squats and deadlifts to avoid boredom and ensure a varied training stimulus and sufficient anabolic response.

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