Article of the Week
You can slow down the aging process by performing rational efficient strength training program that increases muscle mass and bone density. Bodybuilding, or weight training, has very serious health and lifestyle benefits that someone over the age of 40 should not ignore.
You have a substantial number of
options when it comes to getting and staying in shape. The days of combining a
boring resistance training session with a cardiovascular workout are gone. With
plyometrics circuit training, you can spice up your workout and add flare to
your exercise regimen.
Chest (Pectoral)-Developing Exercises
The chest is made up of the
pectoral muscles - major and minor. The pectoralis major is the bigger of the
two covering most of the clavier and sternum and attach to the upper arm.
Following is a list of 10 most effective chest (Pectoral)-developing exercises.
Weight loss by women mostly
produces muscle and bone loss. A combination of low total calories, aerobic
exercise, and decreased protein intake will cause the body to literally strip
muscle off of your body.
Escalating Density Training is not
like your traditional weight training. While traditional weight training focuses
on muscle fatigue, EDT focuses on muscle performance. In this system, you move
increasingly heavy weights in short periods of time in an effort to boost your
overall power output.
To strengthen a muscle, let it do
its job repeatedly against resistance. For example, to bring strength back to
your weakened neck and upper back muscles, and to strengthen them a little
further to meet the demands of a bent-forward posture, you must not only use
these muscles, but also make them work harder than normal.
The Sleep Factor in Muscle
Sleep research indicates that the average sleeper will
sleep approximately eight hours and fifteen minutes when uninterrupted. During
this research, there were no alarm clocks or disturbing noises to interrupt
normal sleep patterns. When we deprive ourselves of sleep, there is a delicate
cycle that we disrupt.
Muscles contract and relax to allow the
body to perform crucial activity. Electrical signals tell the muscle when to
contract, but when the muscle needs to relax, the signal is deliberately
ignored. Until now scientists have been unable to understand how the body
ignores this signal.
Strong, supple and well-toned: If this
doesn't sound like your back, it could be time to think about the way you move -
and change the habits of a lifetime. Little things such as the way we sit at
work, or the way we carry our handbag, can have profound effects on our bodies,
leading to backache - or worse.
Sarcopenia (pronounced sarko-peen-ya)
is the "age-related" loss of muscle. The word comes from the Greek, for "flesh
reduction." Just like osteoporosis and arthritis, "sarcopenia is a serious
degenerative condition that increases ones risks for falls and makes one more
vulnerable to injury."
The maximum amount of time a weight
training session should last is 60 minutes. After 60 minutes the levels of
muscle building and fat burning hormones (like growth hormone and testosterone)
begin to drop. In addition, the glycogen (stored carbohydrates) in your system,
which is the fuel that your muscles use to contract, is depleted.
Plyometric training is specific work to
enhance explosive power. In other words, it involves a lot of jumping.
Plyometric training is used for sports that require short bursts of power such
as tennis, basketball, or skiing, but it's also a good exercise for anyone who
wants to increase her power.
Trying to gain muscle and lose fat at
the same time is impossible. It just can't be done. This is why most women who
are trying to do both at the same time see no results and give up. You have to
do gaining muscle and losing fat in phases.
Fitness model or natural bodybuilder
look strikingly different because of a low body fat percentage and enhanced
muscle mass and muscle density. These are components which can be built over
time. You cannot just expect results within three to four months and think you
have done the necessary work.
Abs are your body's center of power
and provide core strength. Strong abs aid balance, help prevent lower back
injuries and promote good posture. Consistent abdominal workouts (10-15 min,
4-5x per week) performed correctly are not just for physical well being, but for
aesthetics too. The secret to developing great abs lies in treating your body as
a complete unit.
Body Image is defined as the mental
representation of your physical self at any given point in time. Body image
refers to how you see yourself, how you feel others perceive you, and what you
believe about your physical appearance. Body image is influenced more by
self-esteem than by how physically attractive you are to others. It is how YOU
feel about and in your body.
Chiseled abs, shapely legs, toned
arms - these can be yours when you increase your lean body mass and decrease
your body fat percentage. Rev up your metabolism, improve your stamina and
create the lean body you want by following these steps.
Any body type can be developed with
the correct training and nutrition however people with different body types will
need to approach their training with different objectives, even though they may
all have the same goals.
Minimizing Sore Muscles
Arghh, the dull pain from sore muscles, is a repeated complain from women
involved in fitness training! Hard exercise causes muscle damage. If you looked
under a microscope at your sore muscles after a hard workout you would see torn
and ruptured individual muscle cells, and breakdown of the membranes between
them. High intensity exercise causes muscle soreness.
The "Zone-Tone" technique, is the
art of mentally zoning in and pre-isolating specific muscles just before an
exercise to be executed while at the same time maintaining that zone
throughout the execution of the movement. This wonderful technique is very easy
to grasp and will deliver enormous benefits to your fitness program.
The Best Way to Train
Muscle strength in the adult human is relative to cross
section area (size). An equal cross-sectional area of muscle from any average
trained women or man has about the same 'strength' (i.e.: can generate the same
amount of force, 6 kg - cm2), there is very little variation.
Choosing the WRONG
The exercises most bodybuilders focus on the most, are the
ones that cause the most problems. But before we share with you what those
exercise are, let’s talk real quickly about what bodybuilding is.
Training The Chest
More and more women in body building and fitness are
discovering the benefit of a healthy, chiseled Chest. Improving the muscle tone
in the area of the chest behind the breasts is a great way to improve the look
of the bust. It is essentially a "lift" without resorting to using a scalpel.
Health And Fitness Needs Of Women at
Recent studies indicate that between the ages of 30 & 70 many of
the symptoms & conditions that were traditionally associated with normal aging
are in fact the result of sedentary lifestyles.
Health and Fitness needs for Women at 40
Favorable modification in the eating and exercise patterns of women
aged 40 and over is likely to have a positive effect on their health. Experts
recommend these tips for coping with the physical, nutritional, social, mental
and emotional needs of women at 40.
Before getting started with body building there are certain aspects
that need to be clearly understood in order to avoid disappoint and
achieve desired results
Assess your body-
Every bodybuilder must
have a solid muscular foundation in order to have success in this
sport. With that being said, you need to firstly assess yourself
from this particular standpoint. In order to do this however, you
need to clearly understand what your goals actually are. This
applies to competitive and non-competitive bodybuilders alike
Set An Overall Mass Goal for Yourself,
I.E. 200 pounds and shredded
Achieve an understanding of how
close/far you are away from your goal.
Set up a Comprehensive plan to reach
that goal. I would suggest
using the articles and forums on this site to help you design your
plan. Brief examples:
A year long Plan
12 week bulks, 12 week cuts
Shorter bulks, I.E. 6 weeks and 4 week cuts
An overall fat loss program emphasizing lowering your body fat
A program designed to thin skin, etc
Muscle mass is the most valuable asset of a bodybuilder.
Basically there is a formula associated with gaining mass. The
formula is the following:
Where S is the success that you will achieve in your program,
D is the determination that you have to achieve success, T
is the training that you use, N is your nutritional program
and R stands for rest & recovery.
bodybuilder stops following one of the components inside of the
parenthesis then you get a lesser value, which means that you will
not get optimal results. However note that if you don’t have any
determination you get a value of 0 which means that your whole
program will fail and you won’t get any results. The reason for this
is because determination is by far the most important factor in
determining the amount of success you will achieve in your
bodybuilding program. Why? Because if you are not determined enough
to make the sacrifices necessary to gain muscle, then any obstacle
that you encounter in the way will be used as an excuse to stop
following your program. However, if you are determined to reach your
goals, you will make whatever arrangements are necessary in order to
ensure that your training, nutrition and restful sleep remain
Now that we have
talked about the Formula for Success and the reason why
Determination is the key factor in making such formula work, lets
briefly cover the Training component. Nutrition and Recovery will be
covered in a future article.
Days/week- Work each body part out no more than once every 5-7
days. I stick to once every 7 days, as it gives more time for rest
and growth, and also makes scheduling workouts easier. If
possible, work 1-2 body parts per workout, 3 at the utmost.
Training schedule might look like this: Monday-Chest,
Tuesday-Back, Wednesday-Rest, Thursday-Arms, Friday-Legs,
Saturday-Shoulders, Sunday-Rest. Working with weights five days a
week is effective and gives you an opportunity to rest after two
or three days consecutive days of heavy training. It is also
easier than four days per week because in five days, you cover all
the major muscle groups on a different day and don't have to
combine two muscle groups like shoulders and arms for example, in
the same day.
Duration- Keep your workout under 1 1/2 hours in length,
preferably under 1 hour. Sixty-ninety minutes in the gym is a
perfect amount to spend weight training. Any more than that can be
counter productive. Fitness activities like running, soccer, and
basketball, are ok to do for a longer period. With weight training
you are putting a lot of stress on your muscles, joints, and after
an hour or so, they become fatigued and can inhibit further
Order of exercises- Arrange your exercises to go from compound
movements, which involve multiple muscles, to isolation movements
employing only a few muscles. As such, always start your workout
with your major exercise, be it bench press, squat, deadlift,
pull-ups, military press, or another powerful, compound movement.
Remember, go from large to small when it comes to exercises.
Always go to failure on your last set of an exercise. You should
reach failure or near failure on your preceding workout sets, but
always go to failure on your last set.
Intensity- Intensity is the key aspect to achieving results.
The greater the intensity, the greater the progressive overload
and the greater the results will be, as the decrease in rest
between sets forces muscles to work harder whilst in partial
recovery. Without intensity you can lift as much as you like and
you will still only obtain very minimal results as the progressive
overload principal only works when muscles are hot. The basic way
of increasing intensity using weights is done by pyramiding
training i.e. where the weight goes up as the reps come down. This
system of training is the standard as muscles respond much better
to this progressive overload training, rather than simply
performing all sets and reps going straight into 85% of your 1
Posture/Good form- Observe good form, always. It is alright to
let your form loosen some later in your set, but make sure you can
get at least 6 reps with near perfect form before you "cheat" a
little. Even then, it should be very slight, and still "good
form", no ass-in-the-air on bench, or body swing on curls. If you
have to cheat, the weight is too damn heavy for you. There is no
shame in acknowledging your level of strength, if the weight is
too heavy, lower it some, you're guaranteed a better workout, and
up & Stretching- Always begin with a 10-minute warm-up.
Usually use a stair-stepper or jogging , for the first five
minutes to begin sweating. Spend the next five minutes on warm-up
exercises for the muscle group you will be working. The sets will
be light and consist of around 20 repetitions followed by
stretching the muscle you will be focusing on. Once you have
warmed up, stretched and ready to go you can begin with workout
Variation- Change your workout each time. Avoid doing the
same chest exercises or same number of reps, or same weight week
after week. Sometimes you can use barbells, other times mostly
dumbbells, and other times machines and cables. On top of that,
there are flat, incline, decline, supersets, drop sets, pyramids,
and other variations to target the same muscle group
Your body needs rest and recovery time. Do not workout with
weights more than four days in row. Pros can get away with it
because they have been bodybuilding for 10-15 years and know how
their body will react to their training. They are usually also
using drugs that help their muscles recover and grow faster than
someone who is not using any anabolic bodybuilding drugs. Training
for more than 4-5 days a week might help you achieve some great
results, but there is a great chance for injury and fatigue from
overtraining. Therefore, weight training five days a week with two
rest days works very well , and is the most effective approach
to natural bodybuilding.
big thing to remember is that your muscles don't grow in the
gym, they grow when you rest. When you lift weights, you rip
apart the muscle fibres and your muscles fix themselves to be
stronger. You rip them up in the gym, but they don't fix
themselves to be stronger until you rest, so if you don't
rest, you won't get stronger. In terms of rest, most major
muscle groups take about 48h to recover, and your lower back
takes about a week to recover. Your calves and forearms are
used all the time for anything that involves you moving
something in your hand, or walking around, so they are used to
a lot of activity, so they recover faster, and have more
endurance. With that in mind, the most effective training
routine includes splitting up your muscle groups and taking
3-4 days to complete one full-body workout. Be careful not to
overtrain. Unlike most things you are taught, "less is more"
in weight training. Make sure you rest.
are basic resistance training regimens designed to specifically
increase muscle mass (hypertrophy) as compared to techniques
utilized to increase sport specific requisites (speed, balance,
coordination, agility, reactivity, flexibility, strength, etc.).
Techniques described here involve hypertrophy of the muscle complex
i.e. muscle, tendon, ligament, joints, and bones. As you focus on
long-term goals, you must prepare the supportive structures to adapt
and change as our muscles are continually growing
A giant set usually consists of a number of different exercises for
one particular body part done in tandem. Set one is preformed on one
exercise followed by set one on the next exercise and so on. Weight
is usually moderate and there is little to no rest between each
exercise. After one set, rest can occur up to two to three minutes.
Example: Triceps pushdowns - overhand grip, followed by triceps
pushdowns - underhand grip, then dumbbell kickbacks. The total,
composing one giant set.
A super set consists of a number of different exercises for two or
more body parts one after the other. Body part number one is
exercised, and then body part number two, etc. Weight is moderate to
heavy with minimal rest between exercises. Rest between super sets
is anywhere from two - five minutes. Example: Biceps and Triceps -
alternating standing curls with triceps French curls.
This method involves stopping the movement somewhere in-between
the start and finishing position, stalling there for a given time
period, and then finishing the movement. This can be done at the
beginning of the movement, midway through the movement or near the
end. Stopping the movement at the end of the movement is not as
beneficial unless resistance is still present (i.e. with a cable
system). The "stall" lasts anywhere from 3 - 10 seconds and can
occur at a given point all the time, or an alternate point each
time. Rest between stall sets is user dependant but can be anywhere
from 30 seconds to two min. Example: Preacher curls with a stall at
the midway point for 10 seconds before completing the range of
are defined as muscle contractions in which the muscle lengthens as
opposed to shortening (concentric contractions). This can be
approached purposefully, with the aid of a partner, utilizing
maximal weight (30-40% more than ones maximal concentric lift) or be
done with any regular exercise regimen where the lifter concentrates
on the 'down' phase of the lift as well as the 'up' phase. Timing
during the lift is very slow, allowing for control, and minimum
amount of time is needed between reps. Time between sets is usually
greater, as one needs it for recovery. Example: Bench press with
weight exceeding your maximal press, slowly lower the bar to your
chest and with the help of a partner return the bar to the starting
position. Repeat. Word of caution: Eccentric contractions are known
to cause more muscle soreness than concentric contractions, and the
risk of injury is much greater due to the large amount of weight
The method is to use
more weight, but make fewer reps. So you begin with a weight a
little lighter than what you take usually and series after series,
you put more weight but do fewer reps. At the end, you'd be at 150%
of you usually weight with 4 of 5 reps.
This is the opposite of
the progressive method. You begin with heavy weight and a few reps,
and series after series you'll put down weight but add reps. At the
end you'd be at your usually weight with 10 of 12 reps.
Forced reps are a
process that involves working the muscle group to failure. Forced
reps take place with in a given set and can consist of maximal
weight to failure (less reps) or light to moderate weight (high
reps). Utilization of a lifting partner is essential to allow full
contraction of the muscle to occur. Minimal time is needed between
forced reps (as long as full muscle contraction occurs) and time
between sets utilizing forced reps is longer to allow greater
recovery. Example: Bench press at 90% of max for 6 - 8 reps
(employing a partner to help you through the full phase of
Twenty-ones is a
descriptive term based on the number of reps done in a given set.
The unique aspect of this method is that the set is actually broken
up into three different sets done consecutively, within the same
movement. The three different aspects of the set involve partial
range of motions within a full range of motion (see example). Each
aspect or portion of the full range of motion is done for a total of
seven, followed by the next portion of the full movement for seven,
and then finally by the last portion of the full movement, again for
seven. (7 + 7 + 7 = 21!) Obviously you could do Fifteens (5+5+5=15)
if you wanted to, but this technique is better known as Twenty-ones.
The exercise is done using moderate weight.
This is a specific
movement for the biceps.
You begin with a EZ barbell, the arms are right and you touch your
Make 7 reps, like a curl but stop when your arm are at 90°.
Without stopping the
series, make 7 reps going from 90° to the final position of the
And for ending the
series, make 7 reps of a completed curls, I mean from the legs to
the shoulders by flexing the arms.
Then you have done 1
series. Don't try to make a second one, you can't.
Do this movement with 60
percents of your usual weight.
Partial Reps, Restricted
Partial reps or
restricted range of motion (ROM) sets is similar to Twenty-ones
except that the entire set is purposefully done through a partial
range of motion. Focus can be either on the concentric or eccentric
portion of the partial movement. This can be done anywhere within
the normal full range of motion such as at the beginning, the
middle, or the end. Weight is usually moderate to heavy and timing
between sets is anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes. Example:
Lying Hamstring Curls - a set of 12 reps is done at the top of the
normal range of motion, starting from the hamstrings being fully
contracted and ending approximately midway through the normal range
of motion and repeating.
Training with someone
It's really a good way
to don't take to much time between the series of the exercises. And
you have someone to help you, so you can take much weight if you
Of course don't get the
series if you feel to tired, it's the reason why you must know the
people you train with, because he can push you to good to fast, take
to heavy, and you have risks to hurt yourself.
But it's good also good,
because when you take too much time between 2 series, your muscles
getting cold and when you use the same weight to make a second
series, you can hurt yourself.
Retain the weight
Normally, you have to
push and take back the weight at the same speed. But much people go
fast when they take back the weight.
So when I say “retain
the weight”, I mean “go less fast that you normally must go”. The
way here is to stretch the fibres of the muscle, and also the muscle
himself. So you keep a better contraction in the muscle.
Going at the same speed
in the two directions of the movement is important to avoid hurt.
When you let fall the weight, you may hurt you. You break your
muscle, and let the dumbbells fall on you. So it's dangerous.
Pyramiding is a general term used to describe a number of
different options. There is load or weight pyramiding, repetition
pyramiding, and rest or intermission pyramiding.
Load pyramiding occurs when each progressive set is done with
heavier weight and less repetitions. This can be done with minimal
or moderate rest between sets. Example: Bench press with sets,
reps, and weight as follows - Set 1- 100lbs 10 reps. Set 2- 120
lbs 8 reps, etc.
This form of pyramiding is done with a set amount of weight and
gradually increase repetitions by one or two per set. Example: Set
1- 150lbs, 10reps. Set 2- 150lbs, 12 reps. Etc.
This techniques progressively decreases the time between sets of a
given weight load. Example: Set 1- 120lbs, rest 1:00 minute. Set 2
- 120lbs, rest 30 seconds. Set 3 - 120lbs, rest 15 seconds.
Pyramiding can also be done within a given set. These are also
referred to as load sets (add sets) or drop sets (stripping, strip
Load sets progressively add weight to a given set while the number
of repetitions stays the same or decreases. Example: One set -
100lbs 10 reps, followed immediately by 120lbs 8 reps, etc.
Drop sets involve decreasing the amount of weight while you
decrease or keep the reps the same (each time to failure) with in
the same set. Example: Self-descriptive.
competitive and non-competitive alike strives for a beautiful
X-Frame. This is made up of five distinct aspects, each of which
you need to critique. Try to understand these concepts and then use
them to analyze each of these areas in your own body.
1. The Side Deltoid: You need to examine yourself and see how
developed your side deltoids are. If they are lacking then you need
to prioritize them now! I cannot over emphasize the importance of
this muscle when it is related to the entire body. The wider your
side delts the more complete your physique will be and the smaller
your waste will appear. Usually when people emphasize pressing
movements and neglect isolation movements, they end up with lagging
side delts. So emphasize exercises such as side laterals, upright
rows, overhead laterals etc.
this accomplishes: Makes your collar bone appear longer and your
waist look smaller.
2. The Upper Back: This area again adds width to your upper
body and must be fully developed at all costs. Nothing will widen
your upper back like pull-ups will. I mean nothing! If you are
basing your upper back routine purely on pull downs, then you are
sabotaging serious growth. First and foremost use pull-ups, and
secondarily use pull downs as these are the second greatest way to
build an upper back. Do them wide, close, wider, closer and
everyway in between!
this accomplishes: Accentuates your shoulder width, adds to width
itself and makes waist appear smaller.
3-4. Hips and Waist: These two areas are mostly a matter of
body fat percentage. The lower your BF, the smaller these areas
become. This should be accomplished by changing your diet so that
your body shifts into a fat burning mode. I.E. Lower starchy carbs
and slightly less calories. I discuss this in much greater detail
in my illusion article.
this accomplishes: Makes shoulders, back, and quadriceps appear
extremely larger. In edition it is the finishing signature to the
rest of your body.
5. Outer Quad Sweep: Most people lack the flair of the outer
quad sweep. However, this is just as important to the x-shape as
any other aspect of your physique! You see beautifully built outer
quads make your waist appear smaller, and as we all know this is
your finished product when you step on stage! If you find you are
lacking in this area try a this routine:
Free weight hack squats: 3 sets (12, 10, 8 drop the weight and
Close Stance Squats with Heels Elevated: 3 sets (10, 8, 6)
Machine Hack Squats: 3 sets (12, 10, 8 drop the weight and get 12)
note: if you don't have machine, use free weight hacks instead.
this accomplishes: Causes your waist to appear smaller and finishes
the x-shape off.
Because gaining weight
for hardgainers is extremely difficult, the only way we will get
bigger is to shock our bodies into growth. We do this by:
Eating a lot of calories
Training with heavy weights
first shock is by eating more calories than your body is used to.
This is the most important factor in gaining mass. When you overload
your system with plenty of protein and fats, your body has no other
choice but to gain weight. The goal is to eat just enough calories
to allow your body to build more muscle, but not so many calories
that you gain a large amount of body fat.
second way we must shock our body is with weight training. Weight
training is the fastest way to get your body to build more muscle.
Dieting and weight training both work together. The weight training
overloads the muscles and stimulates growth, while the food you eat
provides the necessary building blocks to repair and build new
you don't eat correctly while weight training, you WILL lose muscle
Track Your Progress