Training Tips and Training for Endurance or Muscle - MonsterSupplements.com
A lot of ‘’young guns’’ focus too much on what is in front of them in the mirror and not enough on what’s behind them such as their back for example! Having big pecs and the back of an 11 year old school girl just looks silly and what’s more it will ultimately create big issues for you in the future in regards to posture and shoulder issues. With that said we need to do something about this trend and intervene! Lads, if you are hitting the bench press and building up your chest muscles then do exactly the same for the rest of your body, especially your back! Here is how.
The best way to start back development (and overall upper body size and strength) is to get good at pull ups. Both wide grip chin ups and reverse grip pull ups are fantastic ways to add bulk and width to your back! Even if you can only manage 1,2 or 3 at the moment make a conscious effort to add 1 rep to that number every other week! From here work towards being able to start your back workouts with 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps. From here, you will see major developments!!
The next movement you want to get good at and perhaps more importantly strong at are bent over barbell rows! Anyone with back width and size worth looking at rows big, simple! Get strong in the 6-8 rep range with controlled form.
Seated cable rows, T-bar rows and single arm dumbbell rows are all fantastic additions to a routine designed for optimal back growth.We would always recommend at least one unilateral exercise (single handed) in order to ensure one side doesn’t take over (which is a common issue).
As you get more advanced, stronger and confident adding deadlifts are a fantastic way to really pack on mass to your back. This is possibly the ultimate mass gaining exercise our there but approach with caution! Form must be perfect and you MUST ensure you are flexible within your lower back and hips or you will get injured.
As a final takeaway top tip back training is always complimented best with focus and exaggeration on the isometric contraction after the lift. This is more commonly referred to as the ‘’squeeze’’ at which point you do exactly that to the target muscles (back muscles in this instance) at the static point once you have lifted the weight. This helps maximise muscle fibre recruitment and in turn growth! Simple.
With all of those things pointed out building a strong, thick and wide back should be no issue at all!
Some people will never find it within themselves to follow regimented eating plans and strict training protocols on a daily basis, week in week out. That’s fine, after all we are all different and our lifestyles often make it easier for some than others to do so. In this instance we can focus on habits rather than rules. Things which you just get into the ‘’habit’’ of doing frequently, if not daily. We can divide these new found habits down the middle – training and eating. Today we will cover training habits.
So following a weekly training split isn’t for you, nor is timing your cardio sessions at specific times of the i.e. before breakfast, going for a fast walk for 25 minutes. That’s fine, instead try and incorporate some of these habits into your day to day life and watch the body fat fall!
1 – Basic Cardio
Get moving more is the initial message here. This means getting out for brisk walks with the family, dog or even by yourself. At least a handful of times per week get out in the great outdoors, walk fast, clear your mind and help the body torch some fat.
2 – Getting Intense
Once you can tick the above box some people might find that getting out of their comfort zone once every 7-14 days is something they like to do! For the duration it will probably feel like a bad idea but all the science tells us is that a small amount of high intensity cardio work burns fat like nothing else!! This might mean getting a quick sprint workout in one morning. As we said, once every 7-14 days is more than adequate. Try 15 seconds all out, resting for 45-60 seconds and repeat for 10-15 minutes. That’s a fat burning habit to get into!
3 – Add Resistance
We can’t tell you train on specific days because that isn’t your forte; it won’t work for you and will ultimately lead to meltdown! Instead what we can do is outline some of the benefits of using resistance training and encourage you to use a few of these habits!
Resistance training helps us burn more fat around the clock than regular CV work (cardiovascular). With that said we think 2-3 full body circuits in the gym are ideal for you! That’s 45-60 minutes, hitting all the major muscle groups with exercises like squats, deadlifts, shoulder press, bench press and the likes of. Use a rep range of 8-10 per set, rest for no more than 45-60 seconds between sets and make sure you really control each rep! You will notice the difference within weeks rather than months!
There you have 3 fantastic habits to get into in regards to the exercise you currently do!
Following on from my PARTIAL BOULDER DEVELOPMENT article this is another alternative approach to shoulder development. This is keeping the triceps fresh so we can work them separately.
A. Prone Rear Delt Swings (This is lying face down on an incline bench, these are swings with no squeeze of the upper back so we keep the load in the posterior delts. The weight will only come up to about 45 degrees)
4 sets 20-30 Reps 1111 Tempo, tension is kept continuous. 60 s rest.
B1. Heavy Partial Side Laterals with a hook at the top of the lift. (The weight is taken from the sides standing, raised only about 10-12″ to the sides then at the top the elbows are driven in a trajectory towards the ears)
4 sets 25 Reps 1111 Temp
B2. High leaning cable lateral raises. (The cable is brought to 45 degrees about the shoulder so HIGH)
4 sets 25 Reps 1111 Temp Rest 60-75s then repeat.
C. Partial Rep Machine press 4/1 Reps (4 partial reps followed by a full rep, 5 sequences so 25 total reps, set the machine so the handles are well below the line of the shoulders BIG stretch at the bottom)
4 sets 25 Reps 1111 Temp
Shoulders done…….triceps should you wish.
“You MUST bulk (add fat) to add muscle” we are told…but how much truth is behind this?
Does getting fat allow us to add more muscle? – I’m not referring to adding a few pounds of fat here, I’m taking on the claim you must consistently add fat to gain muscle, leading to guys with relatively large amounts of body fat and chubby cheek syndrome. A calorie surplus all your body to be in a more anabolic environment, however a huge surplus doesn’t necessarily mean better better when compared to a more sensible one.
Well if you went back in time 50 or so years and asked the majority of the people in the fitness world if bulking was necessary, they would probably tell you…YES! But just like technology has come a LONG way since then, so has the fitness world. However many people still “pass down” the knowledge down which is why it takes so long for certain things to disappear…and this is why many people are “confused” with all the seemingly conflicting information.
Sure having a bit of extra “meat on your bones” may make you feel better because the extra food will give you the confidence when in the gym to attack those weights. Additionally knowing that your muscle will be less likely to be used as an energy source from the extra fat and muscle sparring carbohydrates in your system will allow you to be at ease more when compared to being on a calorie restricted diet.
However there is no reason to “chug” down food in the name of building muscle, sure you will add size…but most of isn’t going to be muscle (if only it was that easy!). Besides I want to be healthy whilst adding muscle throughout the year, sure I don’t have to be a lean machine all the time, but being on first name terms with the McDonalds drive through staff isn’t necessary either….ensuring healthy eating habits and scheduling your “cheat/treat meals” will allow you to stay relatively lean year round without running your mind into the ground by eating vegetables and chicken 24/7 with no reward in the form of a tastetastic meal, your body can’t tell the difference between foods, as long as you are getting the same amounts of nutrients, the outcome will ultimately be the same.
Personally I eat similar foods throughout the week so that I don’t have to think too much about working out the calories and macronutrients in each meal, this allows me to be consistent over time which is especially important when living a busy lifestyle, I then have “more exiting” foods towards the end of the week/weekend when I have time (for those with more time you may be able to spend more time working out your numbers on a day to day basis).
Look, building muscle is a slow process, it’s great that you’re wanting to do everything you can to add muscle, but gettin way out of shape isn’t the answer.
Some people will NOT accept this…they will think of a friend who told them that bulking is the only way to go!…but really, that friend just wants to eat what they want and rationalise their eating plan which isn’t something they want to admit.
If you want to eat everything in sight, go for it! But don’t tell everyone that it’s what you need to do, be comfortable with the decision you made and go from there…Although I would suggest a balanced approach by scheduling a mentally satisfying meal instead of just “whenever” as trust me you WILL eat more “bad food” than you think without a schedule…..I’ve been there!
Additionally after a few days of “bodybuilding approved” food, that treat meal will taste B.E.A. UTIFUL!
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Train Hard. Train INTENSE!
Want to get faster? Well how often to you train the obliques? internal and external obliques work contralateral to one another in accelerating and decelerating force couple to provide speed and movement.
Often the obliques are only trained in one plane of movement or through a greater volume of tension, but the truth is that the obliques need to be trained through both high tension and high force exercise selection in multiple planes of movement.
If your squat is suffering then think to back off conventional lifting and adopt some plyometric or explosive work. If you can sprint this is an awesome way to increase strength of the obliques which in tern when returning to the squat bar will make you stronger.
Periodisation is key, the obliques are no exception.
What is the optimal way of burning body fat in the gym? The truth is there are many ways, as the saying goes there is more than one way to skin a cat. One of the ways is to induce as much lactic acid build up as possible. Whilst that sounds very painful the outcome can be great for fat loss. By pushing the body into the lactate threshold frequently during a workout you can ‘’flick the switch’’ on – of course, that ‘’switch’’ is the one which allows for enhanced fat oxidisation.
How does one go about achieving this?
You could be forgiven for thinking it is easily achieved – after all running for 20 minutes on the treadmill or hitting a DTP arm session will quickly induce eye watering amounts of lactic acid to inhabit your muscle fibres. It isn’t that straight forward though.
Lactic acid training was designed on the premise that we want to force a build-up of lactic acid around the entire body which in turn will create a better environment for fat oxidisation. In simple terms this is telling us that performing an upper body workout is more conducive to your fat loss goals over an arm workout – no matter how gruelling the latter might feel. Even if you cannot grip a packet of chewing gum after the arm workout the effect simply won’t be as drastic as the one stimulated by a total upper body session. Fact.
Moving forward we need to put some parameters in place for us to create an effective lactic acid training routine throughout the week. Fat loss is the goal, but so is muscle retention. Below we have outlined a week’s training for you to try – beware, it isn’t for the faint hearted and don’t be surprised if it leaves you feeling beat up and even nauseous.
Workout 1 – Upper Body
Bench press X 5 8-10 reps
Bent over row X 5 8-10 reps
Military press X 5 8-10 reps
Close grip bench press & seated dumbbell curls superset X 3 8-10 reps (each exercise)
Lying dumbbell pullovers & side lateral dumbbell raises superset X 3 8-10 reps (each exercise)
Workout 2 – Lower Body
Squats X 5 8-10 reps
Stiff leg dumbbell deadlifts X 5 8-10 reps
Good mornings X 5 8-10 reps
Leg press X 5 8-10 reps
Calf raises X 5 8-10 reps
Day off –
Workout 3 – Upper Body
Deadlift X 3 8-10 reps
Clean & press X 3 8-10 reps
Dips X 3 8-10 reps
Chin ups X 3 8-10 reps
Arnold press X 3 8-10 reps
Decline bench press X 3 8-10 reps
Renegade rows & press ups superset X 3 8-10 reps (each exercise)
Lying down pull ups x 3 8-10 reps
Workout 4 – Lower body
Squats X 3 8-10 reps
Lying leg curls X 3 8-10 reps
Single leg press X 3 8-10 reps (each leg)
Glute ham raises X 3 8-10 reps
Glute bridges X 3 8-10 reps
Calf raises X 3 15-20 reps
Day off –
Day off –
4 second negatives on every rep
60-90 seconds rest between each set/superset
As you can see these workouts are intense! The rest periods are kept short and the amount of time you spend under tension with the prolonged negative phases mean that it won’t take long for the lactic acid to simply gush into the upper or lower half of your body.
The great outdoors is often the best place to get a great workout first thing in the morning. Get the heart pumping, endorphins flowing and awaken the mind – it sounds like a rather grand way to start the day don’t you think? Whilst it might feel like a great idea 10PM the night before and not such a good one at 6AM the morning after you will feel good for it once you roll out of the sack and do it. With that said, here are 3 stellar morning routines for you to try. All are going to help kick-start the fat burning furnace for the next 24 hours!
One of the ultimate ‘’beasting’’ sessions any human can endure is a spot of hill sprinting. You will need no longer than 10-15 minutes, after 5 it will feel like it’s been half a day! However, they are ideal for those short on time and in need of a quick fix to making the fat shift.
Try sprinting uphill for 10 seconds, walking back down, resting for 45 seconds and repeat continuously. It’s a tough drag, build up your stamina gradually over a period of weeks. You won’t need to do this more than once or twice a week.
Fast Walking With A Twist
Fasted walking before breakfast is a fan favourite among the fitness community and with a myriad of benefits it is easy to see why. It is also a slightly less strenuous, enjoyable form of exercises to start the day than the gruelling alternative above. However, we want to throw a small curve ball at you. During your 20-30 minute power walk add in 3-4 evenly spaced out 30 second sprints! That’s all. The difference this will make will be apparent upon your return to the house when your top is stuck to your back!!
Strong Man Stuff
If you have ever watched strong men train you will know they aren’t overly fussy on the objects they use. Tractor tires, beer caskets, barrels, cars and the likes of. Sure, you won’t be using the same weight as them but look around your local environment and see what kind of circuits you can come up with. The rules are simple, perform each exercises for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, do a total of 8-10 exercises in the circuit then rest for 2 minutes. Repeat this circuit 2-3 times!
There are several ways you can use to start the way with a bang!
Crash dieting is a term we are all fairly accustomed to hearing these days. The problem is, we kind of know what it means but we will all have very different perspectives on it and as a result we will potentially have different opinions on the severity of the issue. For me it’s a massive problem and as a coach who has had the luxury of analysing hundreds of people’s eating habits I am able to spot common trends. This is one I see crop up time and time again. If I had to be specific, I see it in more women than men but it is by no means exclusive to the ladies of this world.
So what is it? Crash dieting is to go to one extreme, often beyond what is necessary (and healthy) for a short period of time (maybe 2-12 weeks) before swinging totally the opposite direction and binging to the point it becomes unhealthy. There are so many problems in doing this, lets cover them. It’s always seen as a means to burn fat quick, not the case!!
Psychologically it is very damaging and I think that’s possibly the hardest thing to cure. We can always make dietary changes to sort out issues causes by crash dieting (granted, that’s not always easy and can take time) however the mental aspect is somewhat deeper. The problem is the one extreme to the other way of eating goes round and round in circles. Each time you complete another circle the problem is exacerbated. Your mental strength is broken down that bit more, you feel less empowered, less able to achieve your goals and generally downbeat. Again, the longer you live like this the worse it gets. You eventually develop a terrible relationship with food – ‘’good’’ foods are automatically not enjoyable and ‘’bad’’ foods are automatically guilt ridden beyond control.
Physiologically crash dieting has many problems associated with it as well. Every time you under eat for periods of time you force the metabolic adaptation to occur which means you learn to run on low calories. This means when you ultimately give in and ‘’eat’’ again you are more prone to gaining weight fast. You are causing metabolic and hormonal issues in doing this. You are also probably leaving yourself malnourished as a result which is also bad. Read up on ‘’refeeding syndrome’’ with Dr Dan Reardon.
In short crash dieting is causing waves of problems across the entire health and fitness world and it needs to stop. People need to be educated. It boils down to intelligent lifestyle choices rather than aggressive dieting and binging as part of a continuous cycle.
In this article I’m going to go over a few things to consider when you’re next in the weight room, at least when it comes to using the targeted muscle group to move the weight, rather than simply getting the weight from A-B using the targeted muscle group….plus a few others.
It may require you to take a step back and look at yourself objectively, but by being our own critic we can get better results and that’s what we’re all here for right?
In the past I’ve stopped, taken a step back and really analysed what I’ve been doing with my time in the gym– mainly due to a lack of results, at the time it was “ego-bashing” but in the long run it helped me, plus gave me a needed reality check!
Now let’s begin.
One of the most common mistakes people make with their training is working on body parts they can see in front of them – basically muscles which appear from reflection in the mirror. As a result a lot of people suffer with knee, shoulder and lower back issues. Among other factors we can divert some of the blame on to having a weak posterior chain from head to toe. Over powering upper traps against weak lower traps (trap 3), over dominating quads against poorly developed hamstrings/glutes and story begins to unfold. Problems galore!
Below are 3 key areas to focus on in order to develop and sustain a strong functional posterior chain!
1 – Shoulders & Back
Starting from the top we want to focus on removing the emphasis from upper trap development which we see a lot of with heavy shrugs and upright rows. Instead we want to employ exercises like standing cable face pulls and trap 3 raises to isolate this middle area of the back (lower traps). To do this we want lighter weight, very controlled form and isometric (squeezing) contractions to really load the area with stress. Doing so will help stabilise the shoulder joint, avoid excess pressure on the area and improve posture! It’s a great start.
2 – Hamstrings & Glutes
To shift the focus and dynamics of ‘’leg’’ training we want to acknowledge that hamstrings and glutes can no longer be a mere after thought with a few sets of token leg curls and lunges once a week. Let’s start using exercises like glute ham raises, cable pull throughs, Romanian deadlifts, sumo dumbbell deadlifts and lying leg curls – in short, let’s give the backside and rear area of the legs a damn good going over! Doing so will help stabilise the knee joint as well as bullet proof the lower back.
3 – Posture
With two key areas taken care of above the next thing to do is take an active role in ensuring you carry good posture. Think about how you hold yourself, where your shoulders are and focus on walking tall. Also stretch the shoulder and lower back area frequently to aid in joint health and posture.
Doing these things listed frequently should help you avoid common areas many suffer with as a result of poor programming and a lack of focus on the basics. As the saying goes, ‘’you cannot fire a cannon from a canoe.’’ Get strong, front and BACK!
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