Archive for February, 2014

It is rare that I do a ladies only post, but this has to be one of the biggest concerns for women I work with… this and how to get a nice ass.

Is it really possible to naturally burn fat without your breasts shrinking?

If this is an area of interest fo you I’m sure you are aware that breasts are made up of adipose tissue as well as “breast tissue” (fibroglandular tissue). The ratio of fat-to-dense tissue varies for everyone. Below that are the pectoral muscles:

tissue

It should also become pretty clear from the diagram above that developing your pectorals would certainly not increase your cup size, but might help the illusion of size somewhat.

You can’t control how much of your current girls are dense tissue and how much is fat tissue, but really, would you want to deliberately hold onto fat just to maintain your cup size? Speaking as a man, I would prefer a smaller, firm breast over a larger fatty one any day!

By including plenty of pec (chest) work – and don’t be afraid to train heavy – and maintaining a diet that supports muscle growth (high protein, plenty of fiber), you will be improving your overall physique as well as helping with the previously mentioned illusion of size.

Make sure when doing chest work you are using proper form. I see a lot of women performing bench presses wrong, or at least not optimally for chest growth. There are some good chest training tips here: Isolating Compound Movements

Ironically, training heavy is also one of the answers to the ass question. Perhaps that will be a post for another day.

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tired_bodybuilder
The idea with “Finishers” is a pretty cool concept that can be used at the end of a training session or even at the end of a week.

The idea is to completely exhaust a muscle to the point where it is virtually forced into adapting via growth.

To use the matte end of a training session you can either choose to exhaust the primary muscle trained or a secondary one (generally a small muscle). For example, at the end of chest day you can either exhaust the chest using higher reps for something like cable cross-overs, or you could opt to train triceps or shoulders.

The way to use finishers at the end of the week is to have what I sometimes call a “demolition” day. This usually means an overall day either upper body or lower body. Even if the majority of your training is heavy, this day will be around the 12 rep range and will often be a few giant sets.

The main purpose for finishers is to get a hormonal blast to help encourage muscle growth, specifically growth hormone so you will be striving for a burn!

For this reason I will often use one of the following techniques: occlusion training; quad sets; super drops

Another way to get this GH blast is by doing 100% intensity HIIT at the beginning or end of your training.

Give some of these ideas a try to get even more out of your workouts!

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How to get the most out of your training and diet

Mass Method Training

Weights
Drop sets are one of my favorite intensifiers, and there are multiple ways to use them. In fact there are pretty much as many ways to customize them as you can think of. Here are a few ways I use them:

1. Standard drops

At the end of your last work set, do 3-4 drops; each drop decrease weight by 15-20%. Do 50-60% of the reps used for your working sets. Example:
Last working set = 8 reps x 100lbs
Drop 1 = 5 reps x 85 lbs
Drop 2 = 5 reps x 70 lbs
Drop 3 = 5 reps x 55 lbs
Drop 4 = 5 reps x 40 lbs

2. Super drops

These are typically done as a work set of their own. 25% x 2 with more reps each time
Example:
First set = 6 reps x 100 lbs
Drop 1 = 8 reps x 75 lbs
Drop 2 = 10 reps x 50 lbs

3. Power drops – 5-10% drops same number of reps. 6 or more drops (only works for heavy weights)

Example:
Set 1 = 2 reps x 100 lbs
Set 2 = 2 reps x 90 lbs
Set 3 = 2 reps x 80 lbs
Set 4 = 2 reps x 75 lbs
Set 5 = 2 reps x 70 lbs
Set 6 = 2 reps x 65 lbs

4. Eccentric drops (negative drops)
50% drops, about 50% reps. 2 drops

Example:
Work set: 8 reps x 100 lbs
Drop 1 = 4 reps x 50 lbs
Drop 2 = 4 reps x 25 lbs

Experiment with these to shake up your training!

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Sexercise

biceps

Supersets are quite common in bodybuilding, and often use antagonistic pairings such as biceps and triceps. Recently, specifically for biceps I have a preferred method of using supersets that I call bi-sets. Here are the key performance points:

  • Pick 2 exercises in different parts of the range, ie Incline db curls and Preacher curls
  • Reverse the order you perform these exercises each set
  • For the first exercise go relatively heavy (6 reps); for the second exercise use a moderate weight (8 reps)
  • When reversing order you will need to change the weights so the first set is always heavy and second is always moderate
  • the second weight will need to be a little lighter, probably about what you would normally use for 10-12 reps on its own – this is because you will be pre-fatigued by the first exercise.
  • By doing this you are accomplishing a number of cool things: You are training all of the muscle fibres in all of the ranges of motion as well as creating fatigue (typical of supersets) which will help with your overall body composition.

    For more ideas on how to get the most out of arm training make sure to read the following articles:

    How I added an inch to my arms… in a caloric deficit! (with 8 tips for arm growth)

    The Best Arm workout going

    The Perfect Rep

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    SuperHero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington


    mansmen1

    When you hear the term man’s man what images cone to mind?

    I think of people like Gerard Butler, Tom Hardy, Stallone, Hugh Jackman and of course Justin Bieber. Okay hopefully it was aparant I was kidding on the last one. There are more I could name, but the important thing is that these are men that other men admire and are drawn to, so let’s take a look at what characteristics and qualities these lads have…

    First of all there is the way that they carry themselves. It typically involves a unique combination of confidence, humility and humour. On screen we usually see the fearless and confident side of them that shows a strong outward facade, yet in person they are generally light hearted and grounded.

    Guys who go around with a constant “tough guy” scowl are usually doing their own image harm because others see them as a joke; where guys who are able to balance strength and humility are magnetic to both men and women.

    Now let’s take a look at them from head to toe… Or rather toe to head. What we are after here is creating the body that all men would like to have and all women would like to HAVE.

    Big_Quadriceps

    Powerful legs and a muscular butt are staples of the man’s man so no more skimping on leg day at the gym. Here are a couple pointers:

  • calves are mostly small muscle diners so they require high volume and greater frequency to grow.
  • Really strive to feel them burn on each set.
  • Glutes / hamstrings are mostly large muscle fibres so they require less volume but heavier loads, I find 4-6 reps works best.
  • Quads are right in the middle and can respond well to both heavy and moderate weights.
  • stallone2

    Torso: lean and muscular. To obtain this type of physique means a combination of eating well and training well. For most guys this means training upper body in the 8-12 rep range, and eating a high protein diet rounded out with fiber, healthy fat and a little bit of complex carbs. A slight caloric deficit will be needed if you are to shed fat in your mid section, and the training mentioned above will bring out your muscles nicely while doing so. Shoulders and arms are small muscle groups that can be trained more a couple times per week where as chest and back are usually best trained once every 5-7 days.

    hugh_angry

    Face: a strong jawline, and groomed facial hair are considered staples of the manly man. It may seem like a strong jaw is out of your control, but the trick is just to be lean. Facial hair is not necessarily essential, but if you choose to have some it’s best when kept groomed. And no porn star moustaches! Eyebrows should also be maintained but not to extremes. If they are too bushy you look like a slob but is try are razor thin you look like a wimp.

    hair

    hair: This will be an indivual thing that suits your features. For some people it means no hair at all, and for others it is shoulder length. But it is always kept under control!

    Finishing touches: cleanliness is next to manliness. Avoid crap like axe, use a nicely scented bodywash, stick deodorant and if you wish a touch of a good quality cologne. Floss regularily too, bad teeth do not a manly man make!

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    Related:
    Get Sexy in one workout… the Pre-Date pump-up!

    Get Sexy in one workout Part II: The Alpha Pump-up


    SuperHero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington


    SOA – a new Animated webseries
    SOA

    michelle
    Have you ever seen a video of an elite-level bodybuilder and his spotter/training partner is shouting something like “light weight!”?

    What they are doing is sending a message to the athlete that they CAN do it. This affirmation plants into their mind that they are able to break through previous records and accomplish something they never have before.

    It is hard to imagine our own mindset getting in the way of our progress, but once we load up the weights it becomes an all-too-real occurence. It happens when we tell ourselves that we can’t lift such and such weight for however many reps, or sometimes while in the process of lifting weights our mind begins to falter and we finish with crappy form or a rep or two short of failure. Either way, when we do this we are defeating the very purpose we step foot into the gym.

    So how do we avoid this? I’ve found a couple of ways.

    The first is ongoing affirmations to yourself that you CAN reach new goals. This trains your mind to work with you in the moments before lifting weights.

    The seconds way is through visualization exercises. It begins while you visualize your ideal self, perhaps before going to sleep or even better first thing in the morning. The more you create and study this image in detail the more powerful it becomes. Then right before attempting a new personal record, bring this image to mind focussing specifically on the body part you are about to work. This one has worked wonders for me!

    The bottom line is that making progress comes down to HARD WORK, and as humans we tend to shy away from that either consciously or subconsciously, so we must make efforts to mentally exert ourselves so our body will follow!

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    Related Articles:
    Putting the “Progress” into Progressive Overload

    How to Lift Heavier Weights!

    Let’s cut to the chase here; should we be doing cardio after weight training?

    Well, here are the factors I think we should consider:

  • cardio training is generally intended to raise your heart rate and burn fat, so if fat burning is your primary goal then doing some cardio after weights would seem logical.
  • But what is the goal of weight training? To build muscle!

    So the question really becomes: Does cardio improve your ability to build muscle?

    Having a healthy cardiovascular system will certainly aid you, but is it really wise to deplete more energy after weight training than to rest and recuperate? I suggest it is not.

    Instead I prefer to separate cardio from weight training by several hours or even do it on off days rather than before or after resistance training. But like most rules, there is an exception:

    HIIT training on leg day (done on an upright stationary bike) can be a really effective way to help reduce cramping as well as boosting GH, which can become extremely powerful especially if you are using insulin-spiking carbs post workout.

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