3 Excercises For Building A Rock Solid Core

When it comes to building muscle I like to keep things simple. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of hot new products and exercises that promise to be the next best thing in muscle building. Theses fancy exercises and products use long “scientific like” words and explanations to show you they work to build the most muscle.

In this article I am going to get back to basics. I am going to show your three muscle building exercises you can’t afford not to do and why you should be doing them. These three exercises are the grass roots of building muscle and are essential for any serious training program.

You might find it hard to believe, but with these three exercises alone you can pack on a serious amount of muscle. I refer to these exercises as the “core” to any good program. When I start planning I muscle building program for a client I always start with these three basic exercises and build the program around them.

3 core muscle building exercises:

Squat
The squat is the biggest exercise for packing on serious poundage. There’s no argument about it. The squat is primarily a leg building exercise. You start the exercise with a barbell resting across your shoulders standing straight up. Then bending at the knees and hips you lower the barbell down until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. And then push the barbell back to the starting position.

The main muscle groups pulled into action for the squat are your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. Secondary muscle groups include the lower back, adductors and to a certain extent your shoulder muscles. As you can see many muscle groups are recruited for this exercise making it the biggest exercise and biggest potential muscle builder.

Like all the core muscle building exercises, you should make the squat the first exercise you do on your leg training day. Because it’s the biggest exercise you want your legs to be fresh and ready. If muscle building is your goal, aim for about 8-12 reps on the squat. Because you’ll be lifting heavy weights a good warm up is vital. Squatting is very stressful for the lower body, especially the knees, so 5-10 minutes on the treadmill and some lights squats first up are recommended.

Bench Press
The bench pres is the king of upper body building exercises. For years the bench press has been used to measure a lifter’s strength. How many times have you been asked “how much do you bench?” I bet you’ve never been asked how much do you squat or how many chin ups can you do.

The bench is a simple yet extremely powerful exercise that targets the entire chest (pectorals), front shoulders (deltoids) and triceps. To perform a bench press you must lie on your back on a flat bench, grip the barbell at slightly wider than shoulder grip and press the bar straight down to your chest.

The bench press is the biggest upper body builder because it allows you to move the most amount of weight possible. This is its advantage over the dumbbell press. With the help of a spotter you can also push yourself to lift heavier weights. There are also other advanced bench press techniques like board presses, bench press negatives and chain presses. See our link at the bottom for more details.

Wide grip Chin Up
If you were only going to do one exercise to work your back this would be it. The wide grip chin up is the ultimate test of a lifters power to weight ratio. This muscle building exercise is very demanding on the body.

The wide grip chin up primarily hits the lats, but also targets the entire upper back, biceps and forearms. To execute this exercise you need a chin up bar or assisted chin up machine. Hold the bar in a wide grip (greater than shoulder width) with your palms facing away from your body. Start in a “hanging” position with your arms fully extended. Pull yourself up until your can get your chin over the bar and lower back to starting position.

Most people will not be able to do wide grip chin ups without some lat/back training first. You can use the assisted chin up machine or lat pull down machine to strengthen your lats before attempting wide grip chin ups. This is the most demanding back exercise you can do so it must be the first exercise in your session.

When you should be doing these exercises

Like I mentioned previously in this article, these exercises are the biggest muscle builders and also the most taxing on your body so they must be done at the beginning of your workout to get the maximum benefits. I recommend that you do up to 5 sets on each exercise and vary the way you perform these sets each week. For example, the first week you do pyramid up sets, the second week you pyramid down and the third week you do straight sets. This keeps your muscles from getting accustomed to your routine. Good luck packing on some serious pounds!

2 Simple Steps To Ripped Summertime Muscles

Summer is on the horizon, and the time has come to kick back and relax under the sun. It’s time for beach days, barbecues and pool parties, and for any serious weightlifter these activities also mean one thing: it’s time for the shirts to come off and to showcase that rock-solid physique they’ve been working on all year. No one wants to be walking around with a soft, smooth and flabby body, and for the next month or two, all of those serious lifters will be shifting into “get ripped” mode.

How do they usually go about this?

They lighten up the weights and perform higher reps.

This has always been a widely accepted method of “cutting down” and if you ask most trainers in the gym they’ll tell you that “heavy weights bulk up the muscle and lighter weights define the muscle”.

Do you want to know the reality behind the “light weight and high reps” method of obtaining a ripped and defined physique?

It is completely, totally and utterly DEAD WRONG.

It couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, there is no logical basis for this way of training whatsoever, and whoever dreamt up this downright ridiculous way of thinking has caused the vast majority of lifters to waste their time and impede their progress in the gym.

Let me clear this up once and for all: you CANNOT spot reduce. In other words, it is physically impossible to target fat loss from a specific area on your body. Performing bench presses with light resistance and high repetitions will not magically burn fat off of your chest or cause it to appear harder and more defined.

Every single time you wrap your hands around a barbell, dumbbell or cable, your goal is to stimulate as much muscle growth as you possibly can. There are no special, secret weightlifting exercises that will “define” your muscles or cause them to become more “ripped”.

Training with weights builds muscle mass, end of story.

So how exactly do you “define” a muscle?

The only way to “define” a muscle is by lowering your body fat level in order to make your muscles more visible. Body fat reduction can be achieved in two ways:

1) Modify your diet.

You should lower your overall caloric intake to around 15x your bodyweight and focus on consuming smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. This will keep your metabolism naturally raised at all times and will keep your body in a constant fat burning state. Limit your intake of saturated fats and simple sugars, and focus instead on consuming lean sources of protein and low glycemic carbohydrates. It is also very important to keep your water intake high at a level of around 0.6 ounces per pound of bodyweight.

2) Perform proper cardio workouts.

Let go of the traditional method of moderate intensity cardio in 30-45 minute durations. If you want to maximize your body’s fat burning capacity and also minimize the muscle loss that inevitably accompanies a fat burning cycle, focus on shorter cardio workouts performed at a high level of intensity. These types of workouts will shoot your resting metabolism through the roof and will allow you to burn maximum amounts of fat even when you are at rest. I recommend 3-5 high intensity cardio sessions per week, spaced at least 8 hours away from your weight workouts.

That’s all there is to it, folks. Take the notion of “light weight and higher reps” and throw it right out the window, down the street and around the corner. Following this misguided method will only cause you to lose muscle mass and strength, and will not assist you in burning fat or defining your physique.

All you need to do to mold those rock-solid muscles for the summer time is this:

1) Train with heavy weights and low repetitions to build maximum muscle mass.

2) Modify your diet and implement cardio workouts to eliminate body fat and create visibly harder and more defined muscles.

End of story.

I’ll see you at the beach!

Muscle Gain Visualization Tips

We now move into an area that is far too neglected by mainstream health and fitness professionals, the mind. Most books or courses concentrate on the physical side of weight gain and completely neglect the mental side of things.

Visualization can play an important part in gaining weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Gaining weight can be difficult for many people who don’t use their minds to help in the process.

Visualization is a powerful technique that can help you make lasting lifestyle changes. Just by “day dreaming”, you can significantly improve your chances in achieving your goals.

Visualization is a great weight gain tool and its as simple as visualizing your body as you want your body to look like. This mental image of yourself is then transferred to your subconscious mind, which in turn starts to work on your body, shaping it in accordance with your mental image.

This means that if you program your subconscious with a mental image of yourself as a more muscular person, through persistence your mind will accept this and aid your body to conform to this mental image.

Once your mind is programmed with the proper mental images, it will start to work in assisting you to gain weight. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to believe in your visualization goals. You have to let go of your past failures and refuse to entertain any negative images that come into your mind.

If you can visualize your body at its perfect proportions, the subconscious mind will work to make it become a reality. It will then begin to positively reinforce your body into aiding the metabolism and eating habits.

Programming your mind into believing that you can gain weight, and to visualize yourself with your perfect proportions is of the greatest importance.

Try to think of a different image of yourself, then let your subconscious do the work for you. If you think of your body as being out of shape all the time, then the subconscious mind will find ways to make it so.

The sub-conscious looks after all of all your vital functions, it is the cause of all your good and bad habits, and also regulates the muscles of the body (The muscles are controlled by the sub-conscious) and body-fat composition on the body.

Try to visualize your body as lean and as muscular as you would like, and your mind will work on that image. The mind can be a great partner in gaining weight.

Relaxation

Relaxation the best way to reach the sub-conscious and will slow down the mind, turn off the exterior world so as to tune in to one’s inner self. The best times for these sessions are in the morning and late at night right, just before going to sleep.

Perform two sessions, one in the afternoon (Primary) and the other before going to sleep (Secondary) but once a day is quite sufficient. Sessions usually last 20 minutes, which isn’t time consuming especially when taking in the benefits received.

It has been stated that one of these sessions is equivalent to 2 hours of deep sleep and upon waking you will feel revitalized and full of energy. Believe me instead of worrying about time constraints; you will be looking forward to the next session.

When you begin your relaxation sessions, make sure you won’t be disturbed – lock the door, take the phone off the hook and loosen all clothing. Now find a comfortable position, whether it is lying down or sitting in a comfortable chair.

Sitting may be preferable as you may fall asleep if you become too comfortable. You want to be conscious and not asleep in order to tap into your sub-conscious mind.

Try to exhale all the air from your lungs completely and then breathing in through the nose. Take ten seconds to fill the lungs with air (not to capacity, but comfortable) hold for ten seconds and then exhale slowly through the nose for another ten seconds.

Each one of these breathing cycles should last for 30 seconds, complete five cycles and after each cycle you will be feeling more and more relaxed.

Having reaching this calm relaxed state, start your visualizations. Put together images that power your emotions. Make them alive and colourful. Make the scenes as real as possible and imagine yourself as muscular and toned as possible.

Picture yourself ten weeks from now on the beach, walking briskly and confidently to your favourite spot, your breathing is normal and relaxed. You smile to yourself; you could keep walking like this for miles without feeling fatigued.

You lay your towel out and begin to take your clothes off revealing a muscular, toned, well conditioned body. You have just bought a brand new swimming suit which just weeks before would have been lying in your closet waiting to be used.

Glancing around you notice the beach is busy, you catch the eye of someone of the opposite sex, they smile at you and you smile back. You walk confidently to the water and swim a couple of hundred yards with no problem or fatigue.

Or try this:

Visualize your family and friends complimenting you about how good your body looks. Try to view the scene as it is happening this instant – in the present, not in the future.

Using these visualizations you can construct in your mind any scene that desire. See yourself exercising, socializing, in the company of friends. Try and hear people complimenting you about your new muscular body, and watch their admiring glances. Make the mental image as real as possible.

 Remember set a goal for your ideal weight

 You must want to gain weight

 Visualize yourself at your ideal weight

 Use positive images at every opportunity

Practice these sessions on a daily basis and over a period of ten weeks you’ll be on your way to become more fulfilled, happier and muscular.

 

Free Weights VS Machine exercise

Free Weights VS Machine exercise

Something you need to keep in mind and never forget
is that when you exercise, you are training for
life.  You still may spend an hour a day in the
gym, although that will still leave another 23 hours
or so for your muscles to function without using
any fancy equipment.

Whenever you do any type of exercise, the movement
of your body during the exercise is known as the
range of motion.  The more difficult the range of
motion is, the more effective the exercise will be,
because your body has to work twice as hard to
perform the movement.

Take for the instance the classic dumbbell bicep
curl.  If you aren’t familiar with the exercise,
it is performed by standing up straight with your
palms facing forward, and a pair of dumbbells held
down by your sides.  You’ll contract your biceps
to bring the dumbbells up to your shoulder height,
then repeat the exercise as many times as you wish.

Using that same movement for exercise on a bicep
curl machine, you should sit down, brace your
upper arms on a pad, grasp 2 handles that are in
front of you, then perform the same movement as
above to move the handles in an upward motion.

Now, looking at the muscle contractions in this
exercise, you are contracting essentially your
biceps if you are using the curl machine, and
that is pretty much all you are doing.  When you
use the machine you are sitting down, which will
limit just how much your shoulders give.  The
machine has several muscles used in this
exercise limited to the biceps, as well as
the muscles in your forearms and fingers.

Most of the time, when using machine weights, you
will always be limited as to what type of exercise
you can perform.  You must always follow a strict
procedure, which is pretty much the same with
free weights.  Unlike free weights, machine
weights offer a certain degree of resistance.

One of the best thing about free weights is the
fact that you move a little chuck around to
select the weight you want to use.  Instead
of dragging it over to your exercise area,
you simply select it on the machine.  When
you are tired during a workout, this can be
a blessing.

A lot of people argue in the fact that free
weights are the best for your body.  While this
is normally true, many people out there feel that
machine weights are the best.  There are pros
and cons with both machines, although free
weights have been around a lot longer and have
been proven time after time to achieve dramatic
results.

Body builders for example, have used free
weights over the years to build very impressive
bodies.  If you ask most of them about machine
weights, they would probably laugh at you and
tell you that you need to quit joking around.

In a nutshell, free weights will use more of your
muscles than the machines do, which makes them
more effective overall.  This doesn’t mean
that the machines are a waste of use, as they
offer some great advantages.  In some cases,
it is best to stabilize the muscles that are
being used in a movement, which is where machines
are the best to use.

The decision on which to use for you should be
based on what you hope to achieve with lifting
weights and where you plan to use the equipment,
such as home or at a gym.  Both systems are
great for your body, although the free weights
are best to use if you want the best possible
workout, and always ensure that your muscles
are getting the right workouts they need.