Saturday, January 30, 2016

DO YOU WANT TO GET AWESOME TRICEPS?

POWER TRICEPS. If you want 'em BIG, make 'em STRONG!




Looking strong is never enough. I always want to be strong as well. Working out with powerlifters years ago, it was crucial that I be able to press bar-bending weights, so I made sure my triceps were never a weak link in chest or shoulder presses. Even today, when my focus is more on triceps detail than size, I continue to specifically train tris for pressing power.




CHANGE OF FOCUS 

I'm injury-prone. You'd think I would've figured this out with as many strains and sprains as I've accumulated through the years. Just a few months ago, though, coming off a serious shoulder injury, I rushed a workout and strained my right elbow. As always, I've continued to train heavy and to failure, but ever since the sprain, I've had to alter the focus of my workouts toward more pushdowns and away from barbell and dumbbell extensions.

My triceps workouts were in the process of changing anyway. Dead cold, my arms are almost 23", so, not to sound cocky, but my arms don't really need to be much bigger. However, I'm always looking to get better, and better means more detail at this point. A diversity of triceps pushdowns lets me squeeze hard at contraction and focus on specific areas of my upper arms to really etch in the separation. Barbell and dumbbell extensions are good for mass, but they don't provide the same pressure at contraction as the lifts in my current routine.




CURRENT ROUTINE 

I start with one-arm pushdowns with an overhand grip. The first set is for high reps (18-20). I push this set to failure, so it's not strictly a warm-up. However, the high reps get the blood pumping into my upper arms. I follow this with three sets in the 10-12 range. Again, these are somewhat higher reps than what I do for other exercises. I just want to make sure the muscles and tendons are OK before I start going really heavy.

Next come regular pushdowns with a V handle, which focus on the outside heads of my triceps. I bend over a little bit and keep my elbows near my sides, and I don't let the bar go up very high. If I was actually standing straight, I don't think my forearms would come up any more than exactly parallel to the floor. Most of my focus is on the lockout. In fact, I lock out so fully that I turn my wrists slightly outward at the bottom. I accomplish this by holding the handle with a monkey grip (thumbs over). Then, at the end, my wrists can rotate to put more pressure on the triceps at contraction. It's a minor motion, but you can certainly feel it. I follow three sets of these with three sets of reverse-grip pushdowns (palms facing up) with a straight bar, which I feel more in the inside heads of my triceps.

Next, I superset rope pushdowns with dips on a dip machine. A lot of trainers bring the ropes apart at the contraction, but I keep them together throughout, so my palms are always facing each other. In this way, I keep the pressure on the long head of each triceps. When you bring the ropes apart, you switch the pressure from your long heads to your outer heads.

Dip-machine dips also hit the long heads. Rather than using a regular grip, I hold the handles on the very end with just my palms pressing down, so my fingers aren't actually grabbing ahold. It just feels more natural that way. I lock out at the end, but I don't go as far as I would if I were doing dips for my chest. As soon as I feel my pecs stretch, there's no point in going any further. (Those of you without access to a dip machine can approximate this movement by doing dips between two benches, with your hands on a flat bench behind you, your feet resting on a flat bench in front of you and weight plates on your thighs, if necessary.)

Finally, I finish off my workout with the best tri power exercise: close-grip bench presses. I do these either with a barbell or on a Smith machine, and I pyramid three sets, typically doing 12, eight and then five reps. Due to my elbow injury, I stop a tiny bit short of lockout, which also keeps continuous tension on my tris. I also sometimes get a forced rep or two at the end of the
final set.




VOLUME AND INTENSITY 

As you may have noticed, I do a lot of sets for triceps. Counting both exercises in the supersets separately, I do 19 sets, and the workout typically takes an hour and 15 minutes to complete. Like most people, in my early training years, I did nine or 10 sets for tris. However, at some point, I realised the muscles weren't getting taxed enough with that volume, so I started increasing the workload. Soon my sets got into the 12-15 range, and my triceps starting growing a lot more. It's not like they were weak before, but I was able to take a good bodypart and make it what some people call my best.

I may do a lot of sets for my triceps, but that doesn't mean I train less intensely. I always train hardcore and heavy. Virtually every set is pushed to failure. 

Furthermore, in addition to the Weider Supersets Training Principle, I also use the Weider Forced Reps Training Principle and the Weider Descending Sets Training Principle to push my sets beyond failure.

I like doing descending sets with cables, because I only have to move a pin up a stack. When I can't do any more reps with the original weight, I reduce the weight by approximately 20% and pump out a few extra reps until I again reach failure. I usually do these only for the last set of two-arm pushdowns. When I'm doing one-arm pushdowns, I give myself a forced rep with the other hand to help squeeze out an extra rep. My form is always strict. I don't have a choice on that. 

When you've got injuries, you can't take a chance on yanking things around. 

Lately I've been training with Bob Cicherillo, who helps with forced reps, but most of the time I train alone, so descending sets are the easiest and safest way to push my sets beyond failure.




PURE POWER 

The three most important exercises for triceps mass and power are close-grip bench presses, dips and lying triceps extensions. To really build power, try this routine (see "Triceps Power Routine" sidebar). Due to my elbow injury and my greater focus in recent years on upper-arm details, I no longer do free-weight extensions, but they're crucial for a strength foundation in your triceps. Keep the reps low for all three exercises. You can pyramid sets of close-grip bench presses down to as few as four reps, as long as you always warm up properly. Do two warm-up sets of 12-15 reps before beginning.

I'm one of the few professionals who performs close-grip benches. In fact, it's rare to see anyone but me do them at Gold's Gym in Venice, USA. They're not trendy or fun. They're hard work, and that's why I love them. I've always done close-grip benches because I not only want my triceps to be strong, but I want them to be strong in pressing movements as well as in isolation lifts. When you're trying to be a great bench-presser, remember that using a lot of weight for pushdowns doesn't necessarily translate to the bench press.

There's almost an art to focusing just on your tris when doing close-grip bench presses or dips. You need to concentrate on the hinge movement at your elbows. 

Forget about your chest and front delts. The flip side is also true. Once you learn to isolate your triceps, you can call on them during a compound movement to help you eke out a few extra reps of chest or shoulder presses.

FINALLY I've never done anything too fancy for triceps. You only need to do subtle variations on the tried-and-true lifts to throw the stress to various areas of your tris. 

Build a foundation of power and mass, but make sure you always adhere to strict form. The triceps are a key muscle - for a bodybuilding stage as well as for overall upper-body power. Train them properly and not only will you look strong, but you'll be strong as well.




STRICT FORM

The most important thing in bodybuilding is to learn how to perform the lifts with strict form. This is especially important for pushdowns. I see people in the gym all the time doing pushdowns with their hands coming way up, and they're virtually throwing the bar down. They make pushdowns an aerobic exercise, training many muscles but never fully taxing their tris. This is actually natural. Your mind and body's first inclination is to get muscles to work together to maximise strength. 

That's why you really have to concentrate to make a lift isolate a specific muscle. With pushdowns, make sure the only things moving are your forearms via the hinge joint at your elbows. Leave the aerobics for the treadmill and the bike. 




By Tom Prince 1997 NPC National Overall Champion

Thursday, January 28, 2016

THE BEST EXERCISES BY MUSCLE GROUPS

The most effective Chest, Back, Shoulder, Legs and Arms Building Exercises






5 Most Effective Chest Building Exercises

    Bench Press. The king of all upper body muscle building movements. The bench press is so popular that it is often seen as having it's own training day - bench press Monday.

    Incline Bench Press. The first choice of many top pro bodybuilders.

    Dips. Once considered the upper body squat, dips are a great compliment to any bench press movement.

    Dumbbell Bench Press. You will really be able to feel the chest work with this pressing variation.

    Incline Dumbbell Bench Press. A solid alternative to the incline barbell press.




5 Most Effective Back Building Exercises

    Deadlifts. Nothing builds beefy backs like the deadlift. The sheer act of holding a barbell with heavy weight places the lats under an incredible amount of stress.

    Pull Ups. A far superior choice to lat pull downs. If you can do one, try for two. If you can do two, try for three! If you can't do them at all use rack chins.

    Barbell Row. No back building workout should be without a heavy row, and barbell rows are at the top of the list.

    Dumbbell Row. An excellent second choice to barbell rows, especially if you have a weak lower back.

    Power Clean. The explosiveness of the power clean effectively works the back from traps down.




5 Most Effective Shoulder Building Exercises

    Military Press. This exercise has been a staple of great workouts for decades on end.

    Push Press. Very similar to the military press, but utilizing more of an Olympic lifting-style explosiveness.

    Bench Press. Yes, you read that correctly. The bench press is an amazing front delt builder. In fact, if your chest day involves several pressing movements there's a good chance you won't need any direct front delt work on shoulder day.

    Seated Behind The Neck Press. Go no deeper than arms perpendicular to the floor, and this is a rock solid choice.

    Seated Dumbbell Press. A little easier on the shoulders for many because the dumbbells can be placed in a more natural position.




5 Most Effective Leg Building Exercises

    Squats. The king of all muscle building lifts. 'Nuff said.

    Front Squats. Another top choice of bodybuilding beef kings. Front squats can be tricky to learn, but you will be rewarded with big wheels.

    Stiff Leg Deadlifts. Beef up your hamstrings!

    Leg Press. If you don't have access to a squat rack this is your next best bet.

    Barbell Lunge. Lunges are another quality leg-building staple.




5 Most Effective Arm Building Exercises

    Chin Ups. A shocker, but chin ups (performed with palms toward the face) are a beastly bicep builder, perhaps even better than straight bar curls.

    Close Grip Bench Press. This exercise allows for a heavy amount of weight to be placed on the triceps.

    Dips. Much better than most tricep isolation exercises.

    Barbell Curls. A classic. Just don't curl in the squat rack.

    Seated Two Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extension. Allows you to lift heavy weight and reach a deep stretch. You will need a good spotter.





Honorable Mention

    Weighted Sit Ups. Why do volume when you can add weight and also build thickness.

    Power Shrugs. Performed with an Olympic lift style explosiveness, power shrugs allow you to move a lot of weight and tax the traps into massive growth.

    Cable Crunches. Forget floor crunches - add some weight and thicken your six pack!

    Side Bends. Side bends not only help to build core stability, enhancing your performance on other compound exercises, but they also target the obliques, helping to build an impressive midsection.

    Seated Calf Raises. The easiest way to isolate and blast the calves.

TPW ES dark 728x90

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Key Mass-Building Move (Not What You Think)

I was having an e-mail conversation with Mr. America Doug Brignole, which will be part of an exclusive interview in the March ’12 IRON MAN, and I asked him which are his favorite exercises for building mass. 




He’s put on quite a bit of size lately, so I was wondering if he’d made any “discoveries.”



His answer stunned me, even though it’s something related to an animal study on hypertrophy I often quote and directly related to my Positions-of-Flexion mass-building protocol (more on that in a moment)…

“[The best mass-building exercises] are the ones that have a resistance curve whereby the resistance increases as the muscle elongates and diminishes as it contracts–for example, standing cable laterals.”

Whoa! Ask most people what the best size-building move is for the medial-delt head, and you get “presses.” But I know for a fact Doug is not an overhead-press fan. That’s another story. The point here is that his best choice for shoulder size is a STRETCH-position exercise.




Doug said, “A standing cable lateral raise–with the pulley about hip high–provides resistance right from the beginning of the movement [where the medial head is somewhat stretched], and it diminishes as the arm is raised to parallel to the ground.”

That’s the complete opposite resistance curve of a standing dumbbell lateral raise, an inferior delt exercise, according to Doug. There is zero resistance at the start–the most important point–and it gradually increases to where it’s impossible to hold in the contracted position. There should be max resistance at the bottom with much less at the top.



So why is the stretch point so important for stimulating muscle-mass increases? Here’s the scientific explanation from top strength and hypertrophy researchers Steven Fleck, Ph.D., and William Kraemer, Ph.D.:

“At the optimal length [of the muscle fiber] there is potential for maximal cross-bridge interaction and thus maximal force….. With excessive shortening there is an overlap of actin filaments so that the actin filaments interfere with each other’s ability to contract the myosin cross-bridges. Less cross-bridge contact with the active sites on the actin results in a smaller potential to develop tension.”




In case your eyes glazed over while reading all the science lingo, what they are saying is that at the peak-contracted position, like the top of a dumbbell lateral raise, the fibers are very bunched up, so much so that they can’t produce as much tension as when the muscle is in a more lengthened, or stretched, state.

There’s definitely something very special about stretch-position exercises when it comes to triggering mass–semi-stiff-legged deadlifts for hamstrings, overhead extensions for triceps, flyes for pecs, incline curls for biceps and so on. I use those as the second move in standard Positions-of-Flexion mass-building protocol, but maybe they should be first.

I’ve been more intrigued with stretch-position moves since I saw the bird study by Antonio and Gonyea (Med Sci Sports Exerc. 25:1333-45; 1993). They produced a 334 percent increase in mass gain in the “lat” with one month of STRETCH-ONLY “workouts.” They progressively overloaded the bird’s wing at elongation, and according to Antonio, “produced the greatest gains in muscle mass ever recorded in an animal or human model of tension-induced overload.”

With Doug’s comments and revisiting all of the above, I’m going to experiment again with putting the stretch-position exercise first in my bodypart routines. I say “again” because we tried that years ago. In fact, it worked so well we created a video titled “Hypercontraction Training.” Lots of trainees reported excellent mass gains–but it fell out of favor. Why? Because strength was sluggish on the big midrange exercises, which were performed after a few sets of a stretch-position exercise. We thought because strength wasn’t increasing, it wasn’t working well. Wrong…

Now we know that there is not a major correlation with getting a muscle stronger to get it bigger. And maybe, just maybe, stretch overload is the key get-bigger trigger.

I’ll have more in a future blog. Till then, stay Built for Life.




By Steve Holman - Iron Man

Steve has been training for 35 years, since he was 15, and has been IRON MAN Magazine’s Editor in Chief for more than 20 years. He has written more than 20 books on bodybuilding, weight training and nutrition, and his popular “Train, Eat, Grow” series, which he writes with his training partner Jonathan Lawson, appears monthly in IRON MAN magazine. Steve has also interviewed many legendary bodybuilding figures including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cory Everson, Tom Platz, Lee Labrada and Boyer Coe. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

THE BAG OF MUSCLE TRICKS FOR FITNESS & BODYBUILDING

If you've hit a lifting plateau, you know how difficult it can be getting over the top and continuing the climb for more muscle gains. 




That's why somebody asked me to open the vault and pull out my heaviest hitters: 10 training techniques designed to ensure you won't fail again in the pursuit for more muscle.



Here's what to do: Incorporate any of the following techniques into your workout regimen with virtually any exercise you perform -- but only for four weeks at a time. Since each is so effective, you'll be tempted to stick with the first one you try. Don't. Instead, trade one method for another every four weeks. This will help prevent plateaus and take your size and strength levels to an all-time high. The added bonus: You'll never get bored.

Whether you're stuck in a long-time lifting rut or you simply want to add another weapon to your workout arsenal, these methods will help you make the fastest gains ever, in the quickest time possible.


1. The 5% Method

How to do it: Choose the heaviest weight you can lift eight times (your eight-rep max) and do four sets of seven repetitions, resting three minutes between each set. Do the same for your next two workouts (do one workout every five days), but increase the weight by 5% each session and decrease the reps by one. In your fourth workout, do seven-repetition sets again, but use the weight you used in your second workout. You'll be 5% stronger than when you started. Here's an example:

Workout 1: Do four sets of 7 reps with 100 pounds.
Workout 2: Do four sets of 6 reps with 105 pounds.
Workout 3: Do four sets of 5 reps with 110 pounds.
Workout 4: Do four sets of 7 reps with 105 pounds.

Why it works: By always increasing your weights or the reps, you'll improve a little each workout for a dramatic cumulative effect.


2. Diminished-Rest Interval Training

How to do it: Time the rest you take between sets in your current workout. In each subsequent session, try to perform the same total number of sets and reps, but reduce your rest periods by five to 10 seconds each time.

Why it works: This forces your muscles to recover faster between sets, which stimulates growth.




3. The Patient-Lifter's Method

How to do it: Find your two-rep max and do six sets of two repetitions, resting two minutes between each set. In your next workout, try to perform six sets of four. You may be able to get only three sets of three, or three sets of two, but keep repeating this workout until you can perform four repetitions for all six sets. When you do, your two-repetition maximum will now be your four-repetition maximum, so you'll be able to lift more at any repetition range.

Why it works: Most guys hit a plateau because they train with the same weights and reps for too long. This method shocks the body to trigger fast results.


4. Back-Off Sets

How to do it: After performing 2-4 sets with your six-rep max, perform a higher-repetition set with lighter weights, known as a back-off set. Drop the weight by 40% and do as many reps as possible, performing them as quickly as you can. For example, say your first and second sets were six reps with 100 pounds. Do set No. 3 with 60 pounds for as many reps as possible. (You'll be able to complete more repetitions than you'd usually get with 60 pounds.)

Why it works: The nerves that stimulate your muscles are already "excited" from your heavy sets, so they're psyched up to do more work than usual. Doing the back-off set forces your muscles to work harder than normal, sparking muscle growth.


5. Partials

How to do it: Choose a weight that's about 10% to 20% greater than your six-rep max. But instead of doing a full repetition, lower the weight about one-fourth of the way down before lifting it back to the starting position. Do 3-4 sets of 4-6 repetitions, resting three minutes between each set. (Use a spotter.) Follow that up with 1-2 regular sets of 4-6 repetitions using a weight that's a little heavier than the amount you could normally lift for 4-6 reps.

Why it works: It preps your body for heavier weight because it allows you to overload the part of the lift where you're strongest, without being limited by the portion of the movement where you're weakest.



6. Waveloading

How to do it: Find your five-rep max and follow these guidelines:
Do four repetitions.
Rest for three minutes.
Increase the weight by 5% and do three reps.
Rest for three minutes.
Increase the weight by 5% and do two reps.
Rest for three minutes.
Repeat the process, but start with a weight that's about 5% heavier than the one used in your first set.

Why it works: In the second set, your muscles' nerves are highly activated from the heavy load of the first set. This allows them to recruit more muscle fibers than usual, allowing you to lift even heavier weights.


7. Cluster Repetitions

How to do it: Choose a weight you can lift at most 2-3 times (about 80% of your one-rep max). Then perform 10 sets of one repetition, resting 30 seconds between each set.

Why it works: It allows you to perform 10 repetitions with a weight you can usually lift only two times. So it works more total muscle fibers than is typically possible. Combine this with Diminished-Rest Interval Training for maximum muscle-building effect.




8. 6-1 Principle

How to do it: Take your seven-rep max and do six repetitions. Then rest for 3-5 minutes. Then increase the weight until it's about 90% of your one-rep max. Do one repetition and rest 3-5 minutes. Repeat the procedure, but this time do six reps with a weight that's about 2% to 3% heavier than your six-rep max. For your one-rep set, choose a weight that's about 2% to 3% heavier than your max. (Congratu-lations, you set a new personal record.)

Why it works: In the one-repetition set, your muscles are expecting to do six repetitions, so it doesn't seem as hard. In the six-repetition set, your muscles are expecting a heavier load, which makes the weight seem lighter. The end result is a plateau-busting effort.


9. Inverted Sets and Reps

How to do it: Use this scheme if you've been doing three sets of 10 reps or a similar workout. Take your current set and rep scheme and flip it, so the number of sets you're doing becomes the number of repetitions, and vice versa. Instead of doing three sets of 10 reps, you'll do 10 sets of three reps. Since you're stopping at three reps instead of 10, you need to rest only about 20-30 seconds between sets.

Why it works: Inverting your workout allows you to do the same number of total repetitions but increases the average amount of force your muscles apply to the weight.




10. Half-Volume

How to do it: Cut in half the number of sets you normally do.

Why it works: If none of the other muscle tricks work for you, your muscles are probably overtrained. By reducing the demand on them, you'll allow them to recover. Another option: Take a week off.





 By Alwyn Cosgrove - M&F

Thursday, January 14, 2016

10 Motivational Tips To Enhance Your Energy!

Training has been sub-par with my hectic schedule and anytime I gain momentum I would have to disrupt my own routine due to schedule conflicts. 



Here are 10 useful tips for improved energy through motivation.

 Last week, I was at a convention with old friends who were in the field of fitness and athletics. The past few months my training has been sub-par with my hectic schedule. Anytime I gain momentum exercising I would have to disrupt the consistency of my own routine due to the scheduling of people I train.



In this profession we are so busy helping others that we tend to forget about taking care of our own health. It's all about balance and this is something I've tackled a little better over the years since it can be a challenge if you don't make it a priority. Just seeing the condition of my colleagues has always put a reminder that you should also be on top of your game. I always thrive on a friendly competition and I look forward to seeing them once or twice a year to keep me on my toes.

Personally, this is the only thing that really keeps my energy levels up when I think about it because for me it is motivational to be in top conditioning when interacting with others in the same industry. Now that I've given you an example what keeps me motivated. Let me discuss 10 ways you can enhance your energy; it has given me dramatic changes as well.


1. Know The Diffence Between Knowing And Doing

    The majority of us know what we must do to achieve our dreams but we sometimes don't move forward with the endless excuses or reasons. Our excuses range from being busy, we don't have the money to continue, we don't have the patience, and we don't have the talent or skills, and so on.

    In actual fact, with all these excuses we've probably burnt out a good portion of our energy just thinking of those excuses. Put away those excuses and write down what you'll be doing to achieve that goal. 

     Write down that message that motivates you. Carry it with you so you can look at the message and take heart in the knowledge. Leave these notes in key places such as your house, your car, or a locker before you step into the gym. When you begin to slip into the "excuses mode", pull out that message so you can be back on track! 


2. Get A Picture Of A Physique You Hate

    What I personally like to do is display photos or pictures of you that you hate or imagine you would look like if you stopped exercising. Grab a picture of yourself that you hate the most and carry it around with you, such as your wallet or somewhere you can access it. 




3. Download Audio Clips

    I'll sometimes download audio clips and listen to them while I am training. Some of my clips would come from the movie "300". A quote I enjoy very much is from King Leonidas declaring "Madness... This is Sparta", or "Spartans tonight we dine in h*ll".

    You can also listen to clips of someone yelling at you for being lazy. The movie "Full Metal Jacket" comes to my mind when Sergeant Hartman is blasting down your throat to get back into the gym. What a great motivator boosting your energy levels.


4. Eat The Right Foods For Recovery & Energy

    An important aspect is your diet which can develop or increase your endurance. By knowing you are eating the correct foods to help stimulate your body's recovery and energy levels gives you an edge and greater confidence in yourself.


5. Get A Visual Aid

    Visual aids can be another motivator for some people if you need an additional push to head to the gym. For the single people like me, it's always good to have a sexy picture of a girl or guy motivating you to work hard in achieving that good body you want. Heck, don't you want to look good at the beach and impress the opposite sex?! 




6. Use Aromatherapy

    Using aromatherapy promotes your health, well being, and vitality by the use of plant essences. These natural plant essences are also known as essential oils and have been used by man for their therapeutic benefits in cosmetics, perfumes, medicines, and massage oils.

    The oils deliver a source of energy that includes physical and spiritual affects. The physical side effects are contributed by components of essential oils (the chemistry, biophysics, etc): antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral, to name just a few. 

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses volatile liquid plant materials, known as essential oils, and other aromatic compounds from plants for the purpose of affecting a person's mood or health.

    On the spiritual side of things - energy is present in all organic life. It flows through us all; it is also known as Qi, Chi (Chinese), or Prana (Sanskrit) - the life-force that emanates from all living things. You can use essential oils in everyday life through inhalation or oils for a relaxing massage. You can also use essential oils because it harmonically affects your physical, emotional, or spiritual level and thereby increases your energy. 


7. Get Enough Sleep

    This next point isn't anything new and we just sometimes forget to take care of our body. Resting your body allows you to recuperate and workout effectively for your next routine. Getting adequate sleep in conjunction with a nutritious diet will provide a foundation of energy and productivity. 


8. Write Down Your Progress

    Having a log book or diary can help you stay motivated by seeing if you've progressed from your previous numbers a few weeks ago. Concentrate on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Concentrate on your potentials. By building on the positive things it will translate to your inner confidence. 




9. Don't Forget To Breathe

    A person's performance can dramatically increase if you were to understand proper breathing. Our breathing mechanism has changed over the years due to stress in our life. This change has increased the amount of tension in our body.

    When we are born we naturally breathe through our diaphragm which is also called fetal breathing or natural breathing. The natural way of breathing is when you inhale and your stomach inflates and as you exhale your stomach deflates. We build the amount of stress in our life by the time we become an adult - this creates tension which also goes into our mind & thoughts and carries over to our face, neck, and shoulders. 

Over time, we carry so much tension that it eventually effects our breathing mechanism. We then breathe shallow breaths and use only 1/3 of our diaphragm (also known as upper breathing) due to this. We need to relax the upper body and letting it sink or flow downwards to our body.

This is specifically important to any form of exercising or heavy lifting. The diaphragm is the most important muscle for lifting and the strongest as well. The diaphragm works as a pump, up into the lungs and to the remainder of the body.

Learning to fill the lungs from the bottom is important for your training. Let me explain how you should breathe properly. By simply relaxing your shoulders at a sitting or standing position with shoulder width apart. Place fingers tips into the soft part of your abdomen and be relaxed. 

     When inhaling, the muscles of your diaphragm push out and as you exhale your fingers go back in. So as you inhale you will inflate and exhaling you will deflate.

    Proper breathing plays an important part in protecting your spine when you lift. It compresses your surrounding core area and contracts when you lift weight. By keeping it stable the contraction is generated throughout your body. Try lifting heavy without a belt and you truly know you've mastered your breathing. 




10. Involve Your Mind, Body & Spirit

    To get maximum results, people need to involve their mind, body, and spirit. Qi Gong and Yoga is an ancient system that has been around for centuries.

    Qi Gong will help re-boost your energy levels helping you feel recharged. It can be practiced once or twice daily and will prepare you for your exercising. It will also assist those recent or old nagging injuries that will eventually be gone. Simply practicing Qi Gong will help promote the blood flow (Qi) within your body. 

Qi Gong

Qigong refers to a wide variety of traditional cultivation practices that involve movement and/or regulated breathing designed to be therapeutic. Qigong is practiced for health maintenance purposes, as a therapeutic intervention, as a medical profession, a spiritual path and/or component of Chinese martial arts.

    Anyone has the capability of becoming a healer to oneself or to others. Knowing you have this type of energy gives you a new profound confidence and allos you to do things more confidently. Drop me a line and I'll be glad to explain further how you can build Qi within your body! 



Conclusion


Alright, I have to confess to everyone, being competitive isn't the only thing that motivates me. It's time for me to do that late night work out and I need an additional boost of energy. Ok, there are just too many selections and I just don't know which one to choose? Since it is a Wednesday I'll choose that nice picture of Jessica Alba from the Fantastic Four. Tomorrow... Scarlett Johansson! 



 By: Richard Chan - BodyBuilding.com

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

These easy fiber fixes fight hunger and promote health

Along with providing myriad health benefits, dietary fiber can help you control hunger and lose weight



On top of scrambling a dozen egg whites, grilling four chicken breasts, opening three cans of tuna and scheduling your pre- and post-workout supplements and shakes, fiber might be the furthest thing from your mind. But it could also be just the weight-loss edge you need. Along with providing myriad health benefits, dietary fiber can help you control hunger and lose weight.



How does fiber help? "First is the chew factor," notes Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, director of sports-medicine nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "Foods that have fiber take longer to eat.

"Second, foods that have fiber take a little longer to empty from the digestive tract, so you feel fuller longer," adds Bonci, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and author of the ADA's Guide to Better Digestion (2003).

"Third, foods that have soluble fiber, such as oatmeal and mature beans, help stabilize blood sugar over the day, so you don't feel as hungry," she explains.

Seems like you'd be foolish not to have fiber if you're trying to control your weight. Since fiber also helps prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other maladies, you should be screaming for fiber by now. But if you think getting more fiber means forcing down bowl after bowl of lettuce and prunes, you'll probably just be screaming. Relax -- Bonci has several painless ways for you to increase your dietary fiber.




Cereal

"High-fiber cereals like All-Bran, Kashi and Raisin Bran have a lot of fiber for a small serving size. In addition to eating these cereals with milk, you can sprinkle some on top of oatmeal or yogurt, or add it to a smoothie."

Fiber counts: Raisin Bran, 1 cup, 7.7 grams; cooked oatmeal, 1 cup, 4 grams


Beans

"Dried or mature beans like kidney beans, limas and chickpeas are high in fiber. You could have bean soup or add some to vegetable soup," Bonci says. "Canned beans are quick and easy. We're talking about mature beans, though, not green beans."

Fiber count: kidney beans, canned, half-cup, 5.66 grams

Vegetables "Frozen mixed vegetables have many ingredients -- corn, beans and more -- and all have fiber. Throw some into a stir-fry or spaghetti sauce," she advises. "There's no work involved."

Fiber count: mixed vegetables, half-cup, 4 grams




Nuts and seeds

"There's no dietary fiber in meat protein, but nuts and seeds have protein along with fiber, so you're killing two birds with one stone," Bonci notes.

Fiber count: peanuts, 2 ounces, 4.5 grams


Fruits

Fruits are sweet sources of fiber, especially when you can eat the skin.

Fiber counts: large apple with skin, 5 grams; large banana, 3.5 grams; large orange, 4.4 grams

Grand total fiber count, just for the eight foods listed above: 38.76 grams, slightly above the 38 grams recommended daily for a typical man. See how easy it is to get your fiber?


MAKING THE SWITCH Bonci cautions: "Don't go to extremes with fiber. If you haven't been eating fiber, add it gradually, starting with one meal per day." You could change your cereal. You could add a vegetable to dinner. You could add chickpeas (garbanzo beans) to a salad.

Switch to whole foods and whole grains. That means the whole apple instead of apple juice, 100% whole-wheat bread instead of white or "wheat" bread, a potato with skin instead of instant mashed, old-fashioned oatmeal instead of sugary puffs. You don't have to eat prunes, either, although now they're called dried plums. 




Story by: By Jo Ellen Krumm