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Recent Bodybuilding Articles
Showing posts with label bodybuilding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bodybuilding. Show all posts

How To Achieve That Well Defined Physique

Well Defined Physique

Bodybuilding and muscular development is a product of two types of muscular hypertropy. First is sarcoplasmic hypertrophy which result in bulking up of muscles and the other is myofibrillar hypertrophy which makes muscles stronger.When you lift weights, your muscles will get some micro-tears which cause you to feel some soreness immediately after workout and usually two days after that. Naturally, as you spend more days in the gym the soreness will become less and less pronounced.

For the muscles to become more resilient, the principle of progressive overload is employed. At the gym, this is when you’re asked to progressively increase the weights, repetitions, and cycles. However, people who only increase these parameters usually catapult themselves onto a plateau state where they notice that their muscles are no longer bulking up as they should and did. Hence, some fitness coaches try to modify your workout routines by adjusting the weight, reps, and sets to continually challenge your body and prevent it from going into a plateau.

Some bodybuilders want to get big biceps fast and sculpted pecs even faster. Having these earns guys the bragging rights, not to mention being ogled at for hours by those around them. Several bicep and chest workout routines are designed specifically to engage these muscle groups. One way to get big biceps fast is to do barbell or dumbbell curls which you could perform upright or lying at an angle.

Single-arm preacher curls are also a mainstay routine which isolates the biceps specifically. To avoid having a lopsided look to your upper arms, hammer curls are integrated into the program to engage the muscles beside the biceps. Chest workout routine usually include varied forms of dumbbell flyes and bench presses. In order to work out not only one part of your chest muscles, a cable crossover is usually prescribed as well.

Nutrition is an essential component to body-building. Unbeknownst to them, they are actually going against progress as the body goes into low metabolic state mode during a famished state. Training excessively without adhering to rest days will not help your muscles grow, and instead place you at higher risk of injury.

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Find A Workout Plan That Fits Your Schedule

Working out is a great hobby to have especially if you are really trying to get fit or toned. A lot of people would love to have the body of their dreams but sometimes they just don’t have the time to make it happen. Most people are too busy in school, working or doing other things that might limit the free time they have. Even with a busy schedule there are ways that you can still workout daily on your free time.

Workout Plan

The first key is discipline. In order to get things done faster and more efficiently is to have great discipline. If someone decides to start working out but automatically thinks that he is too busy to workout then he should write down his schedule including the free time that he has in between. The best thing about working out is that it all does not have to be done at once; you can split up workouts thru out the day.

After that he should look at each amount of free time he has. If he has thirty minutes of free time in the morning before work and thirty minutes of free time after work before he goes to his other job then he should try to do cardio exercises in the morning and lift weights in the afternoon after work. Cardio exercises increases stamina and the overall health of your body. Most people do cardio workouts to stay fit or lose weight.

There are many different workout plans, some workouts can increase muscle mass and other workout plans can increase muscle tone. To increase muscle mass you have to lift weights therefore you would more than likely have to go to the gym. So if you are trying to build muscle mass then you need to make sure that you have time in your schedule to go to the gym a couple days a week. If you do not have enough time to go to the gym a few days a week then you may have to sacrifice some sleep time.

For some people they will do anything to get the body they want and if you are that type of person then sacrificing some sleep time to visit the gym for about an hour will be well worth the results to you. If sacrificing sleep time is not worth it to you then you might want to find a different method to fit your working out time into your schedule.

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Losing Fat and Looking Good

Losing Fat and Looking Good


Everybody wants to get ripped. No matter who you are, at some point in your bodybuilding or fitness journey, you will make the decision to try to shed your body fat so that you can show off your ripped abs, veiny arms, and shapely ‘everything else’.

The cause for your sudden urge to exit the world of bloated party animal powerlifting-type to Brad Pitt wannabe can be anything. Maybe your girlfriend left you for a skinny guy with a 6-pack and 11-inch guns for arms. Maybe you lost a race to a middle-schooler. Or, maybe you’re just tired of looking at the mirror every morning and not liking what you see.

The first step you should do when wanting to get lean is to turn off the television. You don’t need any of those “As seen on TV…” items because they don’t work. If they did, gyms would be filled with attractive looking, lean and muscular people using Shake Weights and stretch bands. You also don’t need any supplement sold over the counter at your local Walmart or other sports nutrition stores. If these worked, then every attractive person you see would be enjoying these for lunch, instead of a tupperware container of chicken breast & veggies. It might be hard to admit, in a world full of smart phones and 600 channels, that there are no short cuts. Turn off the TV, put down the magic powders and oils and bands and other gadgets, and get in the gym. Everything you need to start your path to becoming lean, will be right there in front of you.

Your next step is to throw away your scale. Many people are seen in the gym trudging away on a treadmill, day in and day out, working to skinny themselves up as fast as humanly possible, without any understanding of how their body actually works. They will tell themselves, “I’m doing cardio to get skinny”. That’s factually incorrect. What they should be saying is something along the lines of “I want to reduce my body fat levels”. That is where so many people go wrong. They want to make the numbers on the scale dictate everything. Guess what – muscle weighs over five times more than fat does! If you gain 2 pounds of muscle and lose 5 times that in fat, the scale will read the same, although you will look MUCH better! Your goal is to build up muscle, which burns fat. You goal is to stay healthy while reducing calories slowly so that you can lose some fat. And your goal is not to destroy your body’s joints or muscles or other systems while doing so!

Half of success in life is just showing up. Need proof? Look at your boss. You’re probably ten times smarter and more skilled to do his job. However, he has been there longer, plugging away day after day, while you were getting educated and trained. Now he tells your more-qualified tush what to do all day while he makes more money. What gives? Life rewards seniority, whether it’s in the gym, the military, or at your job. The best guy doesn’t get the win, the promotion, or the girl. The guy who shows up more often usually does.

Over ¾ of the people in the gym don’t make any progress because they don’t eat right. Don’t be one of them. Like the late, great Jack LaLanne said, “If it tastes good, SPIT IT OUT!” This isn’t to say you can’t devour a tasty grilled chicken breast at every meal. However, if it is covered in butter or gravy and served with a side of Texas Toast, you aren’t going to get leaner. Allow yourself one cheat meal a week. If you need more than that, then you should accept you like junk more than you like looking good. In fact, get a t-shirt that reads that, and wear it everywhere you go!

Supplements can be useful, but only after you’ve been able to achieve some level of consistency in your training and dieting. You don’t want to be one of those people that depends upon pills and powders just to go to the gym. Use them as they are named, to supplement an already excellent nutrition and training program.

The cardio aspect of your training is simple. When you awake each day, hop on the treadmill and knock out 25 to 35 minutes of low-intensity work with an empty stomach. Or place it after your weight training during your afternoon or evening gym session. That’s it. You don’t need any weird kind of fancy routine that only the fitness magazine masters can reveal. Just choose a machine you like, and get to work.

Weight lifting can be simple too! Move from machine to machine and hit the entire body on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week. As you learn the movements, switch to hitting fewer and fewer body parts each day with more sets devoted to each. Do what the others are doing, only with more weight, better form, and less goofing off. And remember that weight lifting is a cumulative effort. You can train like a superstar once a week and you probably won’t make the same progress as the turtle (read: weird old guy) who trains 5 days each week. In other words, train like a start 4 days a week and you’ll build your muscles. End of story!

If you’re in the kitchen, it doesn’t have to be “rocket surgery” either. (You rocket scientists or brain surgeons out there might appreciate that one). One serving of chicken, turkey or egg whites should sit next to one serving of a starchy carb (potatoes, pasta or rice) along with a fiber source such as lettuce or apple. And it should be washed down with a few cups of water. Enjoy this meal 3 to 4 times each day, and perhaps 1-2 whey protein shakes as you can swallow them. That’s it! No magic powders, no crazy diets where you measure everything. One protein, one starch, one fiber, and lots of water. Then you put down the fork and slowly walk away from the table!

The steps are clear. You know what to do. Stop spinning your wheels about what you should do, what you will do, what you don’t have time to do. Get up, and do it, and enjoy the results. Life is too short to settle for anything less!

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Weightlifting: Focus Your Workouts Around the Squat and Deadlifts

squat and deadlifts

Squats and deadlifts are the most effective exercises you can do to put on muscle. They both involve the use of a lot of your muscles and are so powerful they can drive the growth of your other muscles. For example, if you started squatting your chest will get bigger as a result.

No one is sure of the mechanism involved but it probably has to do with the overall hormonal effect squats have. You see when you perform a set of squats and deadlifts your entire body is being stressed which triggers the release of testosterone and growth hormone.

Both of the exercises also require a tremendous amount of effort from your nervous system. And the more this is activated the more your body will grow. Squats and deadlifts have long been the secret of powerlifters for packing on muscle mass very quickly.

For example, one of the best powerlifting gyms in the country attributes 30- 40 lbs. of muscle added to each beginner in the first year to these exercises. You should always have one or the other in your training program to get the maximum results.

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How Muscles Grow

Successful bodybuilders must maximize protein synthesis and minimize protein breakdown. A review of literature from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine described the processes involved in muscle hypertrophy.


Muscles increase in size in response to growth factors (testosterone, growth hormone, IGF-1), cytokines (signaling chemicals), nutrients (amino acids, carbohydrates, calories) and resistive exercise. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, activate signaling chemicals in muscles that turn on protein synthesis and increase muscle fiber size. Chemicals called ribosomal protein S6 kinase and the target of rapamycin (mTOR) are important cell-signaling chemicals that regulate protein synthesis. They are sensitive to small changes in cell energy levels. They work like biological computer programs to line up amino acids needed to produce new muscle tissue.

After weight training, supplementing carbohydrates and proteins activates protein-signaling chemicals that promote protein synthesis and muscle growth. Muscle tension, blood levels of amino acids (particularly leucine) and insulin are key factors triggering muscle growth. They stimulate signaling pathways inside the muscle cells that promote protein synthesis and modify muscle protein breakdown, remodeling and repair.

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Triceps Training Advices

triceps training
The triceps muscle is particularly troublesome for women, but a lot of men also need to tone the back parts of their upper arms. You use your triceps for pushing and pulling, so having strength there will not only make you look fit but also help prevent injury.

Triceps pushups. Grab a chair and sit on the edge with your hands holding onto the front of the seat, palms to the back. Stretch your legs out straight and position yourself so your back is almost touching the front of the chair. Bend your arms to slowly lower your body till your rear end almost touches the floor, and then push yourself up until your arms are straight and your elbows are locked. You can do a similar movement, lifting your bodyweight, on parallel bars. If you use parallel bars, keep your legs hanging straight down under your torso.

Triceps pushdowns. Now sit on the chair and grab it at the sides of the seat, stretching your legs out and locking your elbows. Slide your butt off the chair and lower yourself as far as you can, then push down to raise yourself back up.

Triceps extensions. Stand or sit with a dumbbell in one hand. Straighten your arm so the dumbbell is overhead. Bend your elbow so your forearm moves behind your head, inhaling as you move. Then press the dumbbell up as you exhale. You can also do this exercise with a dumbbell in each hand, raising them simultaneously. Try to keep your upper arms stationary, next to your head; don’t move anything except your forearms.

Do two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps of these exercises.

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Injuries Prevention: Shin Splints

Shin splints is a catch-all term for shin pain, usually caused by a slight separation between the shin muscle and the bone. You can develop shin splints from doing more exercise than your body is ready to handle or simply from introducing a new aspect to your training, such as wearing a new pair of shoes, running downhill, or running on the beach when you normally run on asphalt.

To cure shin splints, back off for a few days. When you’re free of pain, start back up gradually. Don’t increase your exercise time or distance by more than 10 percent a week . Ice helps by reducing inflammation and by dulling the pain. Also, gently but deeply massaging the area several times a day can help.

To prevent shin splints, strengthen your shin muscles so that they work more in harmony with your calves, the muscles that operate in opposition to them.

shin splints

Here’s one simple exercise: Stand on the floor or with your heels on the edge of a stair, with your weight distributed evenly over the entire length of your foot, and lift and lower your toes and the balls of your feet 20 to 30 times. Ask a trainer to show you some other shin exercises. Stretching the calf muscles  also helps prevent injury to the shin and ankle.

Also, be sure to replace your athletic shoes often so your shins don’t take a pounding from lack of cushioning. We know one guy who solved his chronic shin splint problem overnight by buying a pair of shoes with a slightly wider heel. This seemed to suit his running style; a podiatrist or sports-medicine specialist (or even a well-informed running store associate) can help you find the solution that suits your style. If all else fails, your podiatrist may make a special pair of inserts, called orthotics, to properly position your feet in your shoes.

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Customize Your Nutrition

bodybuilding nutrition
Your nutrition is the most important part of this bodybuilding program. It is more important than training and supplements. The reason this is so is because your nutrition drives the results of the other two. If you dont have a good supply of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats your body cant recover from training or use the materials in needs to build muscle with your supplements.

There are several principles that will help you choose the correct nutrition. If you follow them you will see how easy it is to switch from being a hardgainer to an easygainer instantly. Here are the basic guidelines of the nutrition program for gaining weight fast:

  1. Find out how much body fat and lean muscle mass you have on your body right now
  2. Determine how many calories you need to take in order to grow from week to week
  3. What percentage of calories should come from protein
  4. What are the best sources of protein
  5. What percentage of calories should come from carbohydrates
  6. What are the best sources of carbohydrates
  7. What percentage of calories should come from fats
  8. What are the best sources of fats
  9. How should you divide your meals up
  10. What’s the easiest way to consume a lot of calories
  11. What to do if you dont have a strong appetite

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Caffeine Increases Weightlifting Capacity

Caffeine increases endurance capacity by sparing muscle glycogen (stored carbohydrate). It also increases high intensity, short-term performance by increasing adrenaline levels and activating the central nervous system.

caffeine

Some scientists think that caffeine improves performance by reducing pain and speculate that aspirin might be an effective supplement for athletes. A Baylor University study, led by Geoffrey Hudson, showed that caffeine was more effective than aspirin in promoting muscle endurance during a high rep bench press test. Aspirin had no effect on weightlifting performance or the perception of effort or pain during exercise. Caffeine is an excellent pre-training supplement for bodybuilders. It helps provide motivation to train and provides a small boost in performance.

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The Essence of Lunges

Lunges are wonderful for toning the whole leg, but they are not recommended if you have knee problems. In each of the versions described, you lunge by stepping with one leg and sinking down, which causes the knee of the stationary leg to bend. Switch sides to work both legs. (Some people prefer to alternate legs, while others prefer to do one set per leg and then change.) All lunges start from a standing position, and when you have done each one, return to a standing position:

♦ For the standing lunge, move your right leg straight back behind your body, flexing the right foot, and sink down. This causes your left knee to bend.

standing lunges

♦ For the diagonal lunge, move your right leg out at a 45-degree angle and sink down. This again causes the left knee to bend.

diagonal lunges

♦ For the lateral lunge, step the right knee out to the side and sink down, once again causing the left knee to bend. The important thing is to keep the left knee over the ankle.

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Muscle Tension Promotes Protein Synthesis

Muscle tension and time under tension are critical for muscle pro­tein synthesis and increases in mus­cle mass and strength. Skeletal mus­cle is a highly-reactive tissue that increases in size in response to over­load, such as strength training, and atrophies in response to inactivity.

muscle tension

Researchers from the University of Maryland, in a review of literature, summarized the effects of muscle tension and training load on muscle protein synthesis. Mechanical loading (weight training) turns on muscle protein synthesis by activating the mTOR-signaling path­way. Muscle tension also increases the movement of amino acids into muscle cells, which form the build­ing blocks for making new muscle tissue. Muscle tension also activates muscle growth factors, such as IGF-1 to stimulate protein synthesis. Sensors in the muscle cell mem­branes detect muscle loading, which trigger chemical pathways that make new muscle protein.

Muscle tension, along with the availability of key amino acids and other nutrients and hormones, are key ingredients for promoting mus­cle growth.

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Get Your Chains

An effective training method to use is the addition of chain links to a bar. The chains hang from the bar, and as the bar is lowered, the chains gradually pile up on the ground effectively unloading the bar of the additional weight. For example, if you use 50lbs of chains per side on the bench press and that half the chains are on the floor in the bottom position and none of it are on the floor at the top you have an overload of 50lbs at the top of the range of motion. This allows you to increase resistance at the strongest portion of a lift, making you work hard through all the range of motion to complete the lift.

Chains are often associated with jumpstretch bands because they are used to increase the load during the concentric portion of the movement, as you reach stronger joint angles.

However the chains and bands differ in one very important way: the bands are actually trying to throw down the bar toward you (bench press) or throw you down (squat). So basically the bands provide an eccentric acceleration component that must be countered via muscle action.

The bands on the other hand are only added weight. The more chains are resting on the floor, the less weight is added to the bar and vice versa. However, contrary to the bands, chains don’t have that eccentric acceleration component. They simply allow you to increase the resistance during the movement.

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Keep Records of Your Workouts

workouts
This muscle-building technique should form the underlying basis for your entire workout plan. When it comes to structuring a proper approach in the gym, this is the most important overall factor, bar none.

Everyone is so obsessed with all of the specific principles in the gym (such as exercise selection, rep ranges, which days to spend in the gym, how many sets to perform etc.) that they fail to see the big picture.

Regardless of what type of approach you are taking in the gym, the underlying factor for success is progression.

Our bodies build muscle because of an adaptive response to the environment. When you go to the gym, you break down your muscle fibers by training with weights. Your body senses this as a potential threat to its survival and will react accordingly by rebuilding the damaged fibers larger and stronger in order to protect against any possible future threat.

Therefore, in order to make continual gains in muscle size and strength, you must focus on progressing in the gym from week to week in order to consistently increase the stress level.

Progression can take 2 main forms:

a) Increasing the amount of weight lifted on a specific exercise. b) Increasing the number of reps performed with a given weight on a given exercise.

If you’re able to improve on at least one of the above factors each week in the gym, your body will be given continual incentive to grow larger and stronger.

If you neglect these factors and enter the gym without a concrete plan in mind, you’ll be ignoring the very foundation of the entire muscle growth process, and your gains will surely stagnate.

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Build Your Muscles Quickly

build muscles
Anyone who feels healthy and wants to build muscles can do it easily, if they exercise regularly and eat rich diet that contains excessive quality proteins. Always allow your muscles to relax and commence your exercise with light weights. The things you will need to build muscle quickly are Barbells, Dumbbells and protein supplements.

Have protein rich healthy breakfast every day morning. The food you eat must be rich in proteins. You can also whole-grain breads rich in carbohydrates that give energy to your body. Why we go for protein rich food is that it keeps a stable blood glucose level. It helps in building muscle quickly. Having proteins alone will not be sufficient. Your diet should be a balanced one which covers fruits, vegetables, meat and grains.

Initially start working with free weights like barbells and dumbbells. Lifting weights exerts pressure on the existing muscle tissues which in turn helps you to build muscle quickly. You will definitely find a change if you keep practicing the right kind of exercises. Exercise machines also help you strengthen and enlarge your muscles but if you want to build muscle quickly you have to go for free weights only.

Squats, pushups and pull ups can help you in achieving your target body shape quicker. These exercises will also help you build your muscles but not as effective as free weights. But they will provide very good shape to your muscles. But if you use the same weight and do same number of repetitions in all your workouts, your body cant grow. So to build muscle quickly you must increase the weight or number of repetitions you are lifting at regular intervals.

Do not go for supplements that have not been in the market for more than a year. Dont get impressed by the advertisements without testing the supplements. Make sure you include few items in your diet such as fish oil capsules ad multivitamins.

Drink plenty of water. Getting enough water is important for maintaining energy levels. You should drink 8 to 12 glasses of water every day. Take rest after you complete your exercise. Especially when you are a beginner you will require complete rest without giving too much strain to your muscles. Muscles will grow only when you take rest. Here rest means having a good sleep. If you work with more heavy weights everyday it may lead to injury to the muscles.

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Be Prepared for Eccentric Exercises

eccentric exercises

Muscle soreness is most often associated with eccentric exercise— muscle contractions that occur as the fibers lengthen. Examples include walking or running downhill and low­ering the weight to the chest during a bench press. Muscles can exert more force eccentrically (lengthening contractions) than con­centrically (shortening contractions), so muscle soreness and injury is more common in exercises involving eccen­tric contractions. Muscles increase in strength and size largely by repairing small injuries to the muscle fibers, and adapting by adding muscle pro­tein so that similar loads are less stressful in the future.

Researchers from Wayne State University in Detroit found that creatine kinase (a marker of muscle injury and inflammation) and resting energy expenditure were higher in untrained people than in trained people in the days following an intense weight-training workout. The program, designed to induce muscle soreness, involved 8 sets of 6 repetitions for eight exercises. The training cadence was 1 second for each concentric con­traction and 3 seconds for each eccentric contraction. The study showed the weight-trained people adapted to intense muscle contrac­tions and developed protection against potentially damaging exer­cise. Conversely, muscle damage and the resulting repair process were greater in untrained people.

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Training for Beginners

training for beginners
Beginners should use low intensify and slow repetition training

Experienced bodybuilders know that increasing muscle size and strength requires PTA— pain, torture and agony. As Governor Arnold said in “Stay Hungry,” his first mainstream movie, “You must burn to grow.” Japanese researchers showed that beginners benefited from low-intensity, slow-movement weight training.

Two groups of untrained young men lifted weights for 12 weeks, training either at a normal cadence using higher resistance (80 percent max effort) or a slow cadence (3 seconds up, 3 seconds down) and low intensity (50 percent max effort).

The men in both groups gained equal amounts of strength and muscle mass compared to control subjects who didn’t exercise. This study showed that beginners respond to low-tension, slow movement weight-training programs, but the results do not apply to trained bodybuilders.

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Bench Press: How To Get Stronger Unracking The Bar

bench press fail
Sometimes the small things can become very frustrating. This article is for those who have trouble unracking the weight in the bench press.

The muscles we want to strengthen here are the lats, delts and the long head of the triceps. Specially the lats, which are extremely important for stabilization in the bench press.

But we want to train these muscles in the fashion that you unrack bench presses, and those are pullovers.

This sometimes forgotten exercise can be a valuable tool for training your bench press weakness.

Barbell Pullover to Front Raise

You can do these with a straight barbell or Ez Bar. My advice is to use your regular bench press barbell.

This is the key exercise here as it is the one with the most carry over to racking and unracking the bench press.

Try to maintain the arms as straight as possible without straining the elbows, slightly bent and maintain that position throughout the movement.

Use a shoulder width grip or slightly closer.

Perform each rep with the correct ROM, don’t exaggerate but don’t half rep either.

Form > weight

major decline
Old-timers weren’t afraid of experimenting.

Dumbbell Pullovers


Your regular dumbbell pullovers.

Position dumbbell over chest with elbows slightly bent and keep them fixed throughtout exercise. Don’t turn it into tricep extensions.

Lower the dumbbell over and beyond head until the upper arms are parallel with the floor. Pull up over chest using your lats.

Machine Pullovers

If you have access to one, use it.

The main benefit is that while there is less resistance against the lats when you reach the starting point of the exercise above your face in the free weight version, machine pullovers help to maintain that tension throughtout the movement.

The machine provides constant tension over a greater ROM.

Serratus Barbell or Db Incline Shoulder Raise


serratus anterior muscles

Serratus anterior muscles A.K.A. “boxer’s muscle” originate on the upper eight ribs and get the name because of their mobility pattern.

When a boxer punches and reaches, his scapula is protracting and retracting and the serratus muscles come to work. They help us move our arms multi-dimensionally and fast. When the serratus anterior is flexed, it appears to lengthen the arm by moving the scapula forward toward the chest.

manny pacquiao
Basketball player Manny Pacquiao

The serratus anterior muscles also assist in breathing. They stabilize the shoulder blades and spread the ribs for an inhale. The greater the inhale, the greater the internal pressure. (link to intra abdominal preassure).

Serratus also supports arm balancing. You will notice that gymnasts have well developed serratus muscles.

So if you want to improve your handstands, start strengthening these muscles.

serratus muscles
Weak serratus muscles contribute to neck issues, rotator cuff issues and poor circulation.

The incline bench puts you in a good angle to train them, but you can use a flat bench too. Here is an illustration on how to perform this exercise.

incline bench press

If you have any doubts on how to perform the exercise, click here for more details.

Bench Press Isometric Holds


Take your 1RM weight and try to hold it for 15-30 seconds in this position:

Isometric strength is an often overlooked aspect of training.

Try to even ‘taste’ weights beyond your 1RM.

If you hold and stabilize heavier weights than you can press, you will get more confident with your regular loads because you already balanced more weight than that before.
bench press
Arnold living the aesthetic life before it was cool.

Bench Press, Racking & Unracking After Each Rep

This will groove the movement pattern so it becomes more natural and help you get the lat strength for unracking and stabilizing big benches while building your press and muscles as usual.

Just put the weight in the rack and unrack it after every bench press repetition. Pull the weight out of the rack instead of pressing it out of the rack; think doing a pullover followed by a bench press.

You will be definitely getting out of your comfort zone here.

Skullcrushers with Extra ROM



Target the triceps with extra range of motion.

Healthy elbows and strong triceps equal strong pressing.

Weighted Pull Ups


Healthy shoulders and strong lats equal strong pressing.

Ditch The Spotter


If you always rely on someone to unrack the bar for you, you’re missing valuable strength development.

Ditch The Smith Machine


Do I even need to state the obvious.

If you want to find some practical use for this machine, I suggest watching this video:


The Workouts


While the pecs help initiate the movement, these exercises fit better in a ‘back’ workout.

So if you are a bodybuilder you can do these exercises on your back day, or it would be even better to train chest and back together arnold style.

If you are a powerlifter add them accordingly either on bench press days or rows and lat work days.

‘Back Day’ Friendly Workout:
  • Weighted Pull Ups 3-5 x 5-10
  • Unracking your 1rm for reps isometric holds 3 x 15-30 secs
  • Serratus Barbell or Db Shrugs 2-3 x 8-12
  • Barbell Pullover to Front Raise 3-5 x 10

‘Chest Day’ Friendly Workout:
  • Bench Press Racking & Unracking after each rep 3-5 x 10
  • Dumbbell Pullovers 3 x 10
  • Ez Skullcrushers with extra ROM 3-4 x 10
  • Machine Pullovers 3 x 10

My Shoulders Hurt


If pullovers cause shoulder pain, maybe you shouldn’t be benching at all in the first place.

Not all exercises are for everybody, even if you correct muscle imbalances and fix your shoulders, our bodies are designed in different ways and are better fit for different type of movements.

Establish your strengths and work on them.

Stop pursuing a lift that can put you out of the gym.

tl;dr: pullovers


If you apply these methods, all your press exercises will improve and your handstands and overhead work (snatch, jerk) will also benefit from stronger and more stable shoulders and lats.

In case you were wondering about the article’s image video:


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Twana Barnett-Ferguson

Twana Barnett-Ferguson
Stats:
Twana Barnett-Ferguson
Age: 37
Height: 5’6″
Weight: 155 lbs

How did you get into bodybuilding? Did you start by just ‘exercising’ or did you want to become a bodybuilder from the beginning?

I’ve always been pretty active and played sports. Although bodybuilding has been a recent adventure for me.

About 4 years ago I started lifting weights to stay in shape.

Two years ago I went to watch a friend compete and decide I wanted to try it out for myself.

I picked the next show on the calendar and eight weeks later I was competing in my first show, where I placed third out of 13-15 other competitors.

“After that I was hooked!”

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Body

What do you like the most about it, being a bodybuilder?

I like being able to sculpt and grow my body into any shape that I find beautiful.

It’s a constant challenge to keep my body proportionate, making sure one body part doesn’t overshadow another. I also love the challenge of out lifting myself, pushing past my personal best.

It makes me feel good knowing I’m giving my all and putting forth my best effort.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Bodybuilding
What are your biggest achievements in your career and what’s next?

I’ve only been competing for two years so my career is still pretty young. But my biggest achievement so far would be becoming an IFBB PRO at my last show.

I like to dream big, so my next goal is to qualify for the Olympia.

Not only is it the pinnacle of bodybuilding but I would also be sharing the stage with the amazing women I have idolized and followed throughout my own journey.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson IFBB

When it comes to training, what split has worked for you?

I’m actually very high energy (sort of like a hummingbird after drinking an energy drink and 2 pre-workouts) so I find that what worked best for me last week doesn’t always work the next week.

So I change my routine often.

What I do keep constant is my use of dropsets, supersets and rest pauses.

Currently my split looks like:
  • Day 1 – Chest 
  • Day 2 – Legs 
  • Day 3 - Arms 
  • Day 4 - Shoulders 
  • Day 5 – Back & Cardio 
  • Day 6 – Rest 
  • Day 7 – Cardio

You seem to like going heavy, what’s your best lift?

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Lifting

I’m very competitive! I try to keep up with my workout partners (who are all close to or over 200 pound men) so if my partners are curling 65lb dumbbells then I have to. I have to keep up with them which pushes me and seeing me trying so hard pushes them to not be out lifted by a girl! It works out great for all of us.

I love lifting heavy as long as I can do it safely. A great lift isn’t worth two weeks out of the gym with an injury. I’ve pushed over 1000 lbs on leg press, squatted 315lbs, and one arm rowed 120lbs. But the lift I’m proudest of is my bench of 225 pounds because I just started benching.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Bench Press

“A great lift isn’t worth two weeks out of the gym with an injury.”

You also seem to have figured out how to turn your calves into diamonds, wanna share some tips with our readers?

Train, Train, Train! My calves were a weak spot when I started competing. So I would train them 2–3 times a week, using slow controlled movements. After a lot of patience, hard work and ALOT of praying to the “Gods of Gains” I was finally blessed with calves that I’m pretty happy with.

If you could only do 3 exercises overall, what would they be and why?

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Pull-ups

Pull-ups: great for building width in your back while also using the biceps as a secondary muscle. I love exercises that utilize bodyweight and aren’t dependent on expensive machines or equipment.

Moderate weight deadlifts: It’s a great movement that hits multiple muscles at once. But I never go to heavy for fear that I’ll injure my back.

Walking lunges: walking lunges are not only good for your quads, but they do amazing things for your hamstring and glutes. And everyone can appreciate a great set of glutes!

Tell me about your diet, how do you manage anxiety and cravings?

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Diet
I actually like keeping my diet very strict when I’m contest prepping. I don’t eat artificial sugars and I keep my food pretty plain. For me when I eat this way I have less cravings for “junk”.

Also the amount of chemicals in processed food helps to deter me away from eating them.

But I am human, and if I do really have a bad craving I try to replace it with a healthier option.

I’ll eat healthy fats like almonds or avocados. Instead of sugary snacks I’ll have fruit.

It’s about making the right choices to get to my goals. Or just keeping so busy I don’t have time to worry about food.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Sexy

Let’s talk about a different kind of aesthetics: tattoos.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Husband
You and your husband have tattoos, and your job seems to be ink related too. Where does that love for ink came from? Is there a special meaning behind your tats or you just like imagery?

I’ve always been into tattoos, even got my first one when I was 14 years old. For me it’s just imagery.

Being an artist my husband and I hear lots of people’s sad stories and life experiences that we commit to their skin.

I’ve been fortunate to have gotten by pretty unscathed. So I keep my tattoos pretty light I go for beautiful images and things that make me laugh.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Tattoo
Your husband seems to be very supportive of your career. In which ways has he contributed to your bodybuilding success? You train together, right?

He’s the BEST! Not only do we train together but he’s my diet coach. And he preps me for shows. I’m sure there are a lot of couples that couldn’t handle their spouse allotting their food consumption and amount of exercise they have to do a day, but it’s great for us. We have the best relationship. We work together, we live together, we work out and train together. I don’t know anyone who likes to spend as much time with their spouse as me and my husband. We’re constantly pushing and motivating each other to be better.

Plus it’s pretty impossible to cheat on your diet if every time you go into the kitchen your coach is standing right there. Haha!

Because you weren’t badass enough already, according to your bio, you’re also a black belt in Krav Maga?

Yes, I was training in MMA (mixed martial arts) for a couple of years and decided I wanted to try something a little more practical for every day safety. I saw Krav Maga on TV and thought it was the perfect fit for me.

So after five years of training and an epic eight hour test, I earned my black belt. Which is still one of my proudest achievements.

I even went on to further my training to become a certified instructor.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Training
What music do you like to listen during training?

Im a huge fan of Classical, Oi, Dancehall, Soul, Hard Rock, Metal, Hard-Core and Hip-Hop.

Right now my gym playlist has Lamb of God, Ramallah, Sheer Terror, Hatebreed, and Blood for Blood. Very fast, angry and heavy. It helps me push past my limitations.

One final question about bodybuilding: What’s the best piece of advice you can give for a successful contest preparation phase?

Listen to your body. Rest when you’re too tired, eat when you’re too hungry.

Have a good friend to help get you through the rough patches. And have fun.

Contests shouldn’t be miserable, it’s a great time to watch your body make positive changes.

If you’re not having fun and enjoying yourself you need to reassess your prep and remember all the positive reasons why you started.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Muscles

What are your long term goals & plans?

I love working with children (probably because we have the same energy and enthusiasm levels). I would love to work educating families and children on proper nutrition and exercise.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Who knows where I’ll be in 10 years I’m always changing, always growing, always reassessing.

Hopefully I’m in a place where I can educate others with some of the knowledge I’ve gained.

I don’t know where I’ll be in 10 years but I’ll consider it a success as long as I’m still learning and striving to be better than I was yesterday.

Any final words for your fans?

Go out and live life with no fear and no regrets. If you love it and it doesn’t harm you or anyone else jump in with both feet and don’t look back.

Set a goal and don’t stop until you’ve smashed it.

Refuse to fail.
Twana Barnett-Ferguson Brand
Follow her:

FACEBOOK: TWANA.BARNETTFERGUSON
INSTAGRAM: TWANABARNETTFERGUSON (Instagram)
YOUTUBE: TWANABARNETTFERGUSON (Youtube)
GOOGLE +: TWANAnMIKE@GMAIL.COM (google +)

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V: The Ultimate Guide To Get The Adonis Belt Aka V-cuts / Sex Lines

The adonis belt is the term given to the v-shaped lines between your hips and lower abs that run from the hip bone down to the pubis.

Other names for this muscle are v abs, v cuts, v lines, sex lines, sex v…the list goes on.

adonis belt

There is nothing extraordinary about this ‘V’ except that girls seem to love it. It’s like a trail / path for them.

Despite your genes, there are specific exercises you can implement into your routine that will improve your adonis belt.

Honestly, it is possibly as genetic as any other body part.

Some people are just more genetically gifted with this feature than others.

Just like some have lower bicep insertions that make their arms appear fuller, while others have higher insertions that make their biceps peak higher.

Just like you can target the sides of the biceps to make them fuller or train for a better peak, your adonis belt can also be improved.

Today I will give you specific exercises you can use to hack your genetics and get that V that women go crazy for.

This will not end your social anxiety issues and instantly make you win at life, but it will give you a reason to start wearing your pants lower than usual.
narcissus aesthetics
"Adonis, in Greek mythology, is the god of beauty and desire. His name is often applied in modern times to handsome youths, of whom he is the archetype. Also, the Golden Ratio of a tape measure of shoulder-to-waist ratio is called the Adonis Index. Adonis Complex refers to a body image obsession with improving one’s physique and youthful appearance."

*For obvious reasons you need a low body fat percentage for this to work, there is no way around this.

Adonis Belt’s Composition


The Adonis Belt’s is created by the Inguinal Ligament and the Transversus Abdominis (TVA). The transversus abdominis is a layer of muscle of the abdominal wall which is deep to the internal obliques. It’s responsible for creating intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) to keep the core stabilized and protect the spine.

You can consciously activate your TVA, but in extreme real life scenarios where core stabilization is vital such as a woman giving birth or…deadlifting, your TVA will automatically engage. This muscle is also activated when you cough and sneeze.

Naturally, the internal obliques are also essential to the adonis belt. These muscles are activated by rotating and side bending.

Trunk-twisting movements utilize both the obliques and transversus abdominis.

Putting it together, the inguinal ligament is what creates the line while the transversus abdominis and internal obliques are the muscles that make it stand out. You’ll not have a good adonis belt if your TVA and oblique muscles are underdeveloped. Therefore, the more mass your transversus abdominis and internal obliques have the more visible the adonis belt will become.

The transversus abdominis is also responsible for pulling the abdominal wall back. What means that even if you’re not tensing your abs or your belly is relaxed, a strong TVA will prevent it from protruding keeping your waist tight all the time.

While strenghtening your TVA may not directly improve your abs, it will definitely make your waist more aesthetic.

Beware that it’s difficult to develop hypertrophy in these muscles so you’ll have to put in some extra dedication, patience and consistency to see results.

How To Develop An Aesthetic Adonis Belt The Thick Solid Tight Way:


First, any heavy movement that requires serious core stabilization will help. That is squats, deadlifts, snatches, clean & jerks and any other major loading movements that require intra-abdominal pressure.

Now onto more specific exercises:
1) Planks
Plank workout
  • Time yourself
  • Keep your body aligned
  • Keep progressing by adding resistance / time to the holds and beating your last effort
  • Advance to other progressions like side planks
2) Swiss Ball Pikes
  • Add resistance
  • 10-20 reps
  • Keep the thoracic area from rounding
3) Decline Sit Ups With A Twist (elbow to opposite knee)
Decline Sit Ups
  • This exercise can be quite stressful on the lower back so don’t add too much weight
  • Don’t add any resistance at all
  • Or you can use alternative exercises with anti-rotational efforts if you don’t want to take the chance, but that’s for another post
4) Cable Woodchoppers
  • Twist with the hips, not the lumbar spine
  • High pulley works better for me
  • Make sure to twist and bend (correctly)
5) Stomach Vacuums
Stomach Vacuums
  • Think trying to pull your belly button through your lower spine
  • Suck in your stomach as far and as hard as you can
  • Squeeze & Contract real hard
  • Experiment which position works best for you, I do them standing straight
  • If you can hold it for too long, you’re doing something wrong
  • This exercise could be the most effective of the list, don’t underestimate it
  • Perform this at least once everyday
6) Swiss Ball Crunches
Swiss Ball Crunches
  • Add resistance
  • Use the TVA to balance yourself
7) Side to Side Knee Ups
Side to Side Knee Ups
  • Add resistance
  • Use ab straps if you want
8) Loaded Carries: Farmer’s Walks, Stone Loading, Sandbag Carries
  • Loaded carries work your transversus abdominis by forcing you to create intra-abdominal pressure
  • Do them heavy and for distance
9) Leg Lifts (Lying leg raises, Hanging leg raises)
  • This is ideal because the wall prevents him from swinging and gaining momentum and the straps support his grip so it doesn’t break before his abs do. This way you can focus 100% on the abs.
  • Add Resistance & Avoid Swinging
10) Russian Twists – Landmines
  • This one is a safer alternative to the decline sit ups with twist because the hips can move more freely
  • Feel the burn, go all Muhammad Ali on this one; “only start counting when it starts hurting”
  • When you’ve built some conditioning progress to the landmines:
11) Single Arm, Kneeling, Cable, Twisting, Rope Pulldown Crunches to opposite side
  • It’s like a standard cable crunch with the rope attachment except you hold it single-armed and twist to the opposite site
  • For lack of a better name
  • Focus on bending and twisting
  • Keep your arm fixed at all times
12) V Holds – L Sits – V Sits
  • Isometric nature
  • Keep progressing
  • The last 2 aren’t easy on the wrist and elbows

Other Helpful Exercises:

1) Dumbbell / Barbell / Kettlebell Bent Press
  • Careful
2) Turkish Get Ups
  • Try using barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells
3) Reverse Crunches
  • I like to do these hanging on an incline / decline – bench / board
  • Knees Bent (crunches not leg raises)
  • This is also one of those you start counting when it starts hurting
  • Add resistance, you can use cable attachments on the ankles or a dumbbell
5) Side Crunches
  • Well these aren’t side crunches but those are some aesthetic tights she’s wearing
  • On side crunches you are lying on your sides
  • Start side crunching, make sure to raise the legs off the floor too
  • Semi-bent knees work best
  • High reps, go for the burn
6) Push Up Position Alternating Knees to Chest or opposite side
  • Focus on contraction and squeezing your TVA
  • Add resistance by putting plates on your back, a weighted vest or get your woman to mount you
7) Scissor Kicks
  • Oldschool drill
  • Put your hands under your lower back
  • Superset with flutter kicks
8) Side Bends
  • Dumbbell / Barbell / Cable Side Bends
  • Focus on contraction
  • In the video Lu Xiaojun makes fun of your mobility
  • *These can add size to your waist if you do them heavy and frequently enough
Seems like this turned into a complete core training repertoire
Final Points:
  • Don’t lose focus, you may find some of these exercises boring
  • Always add resistance when possible, increase reps or progress to a more complex variation
  • Always contract your abdominal wall during these exercises and during any heavy movement
  • Train your abs 3 times a week with high volume and “heavy” weight, this is the perfect spot between too little and too much
  • These exercises will improve your six pack too
  • To maximize results do stomach vacuums everyday first thing in the morning
  • If you’re a woman feel free to start doing these, but I’d focus on those that strengthen the TVA to keep your waist tight and develop a strong core. I’d say you avoid the ones that focus on adding size since I don’t see the Adonis Belt adding much to a woman’s physique.
  • Bad nutrition = no results
  • No rest = no results

The Adonis Belt is part of the Thick Solid Tight look

There you have the best exercises to get the Adonis Belt / V Cuts.

You can get there with some work and dedication.

Nothing says dedication like consistent, detailed, tedious and monotonous ab training. It requires true will power to commit yourself to that.

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Achieve Your Bodybuilding Results

bodybuilding results

Every person who takes the pain working out definitely expects some good outcome. Bodybuilding results will depend on ones objectives of going the gym. People exercise for different purposes. Some exercise to simply keep fit, others exercise for purposes of preparing for competitions, to gain a good and shapely figure and others exercise to burn fats. No one can undertake such an involving and painstaking exercise without anticipating any good tidings from it. This is actually the very first stage in bodybuilding. One must have a driving force behind bodybuilding. If this lacks, chances of one's endeavors to body built will collapse.

To achieve your desired bodybuilding results, some energy must be spent. There are reasons why people fail to achieve these ends. Failing itself is a process and not a sudden event. It is occasioned by either poor planning or the total lack of it. One reason that makes people fail is having unrealistic expectations. It should be borne in mind that there are no shortcuts in attaining good physique and health. For you to get and enjoy the fruits of bodybuilding, you must be willing to spent time in the gym. Nothing will come easy. Physical fitness is an on-going process. You cannot expect to get to shape, built muscle mass and/or burn fat after a week in the gym. Patience and persistence must be inculcated or else you may be tempted to start searching on some steroids sales online to use them. This is not a solution.

The second reason why people fail to get bodybuilding results is because they don't set goals for their bodybuilding routine. Picking a realistic goal will motivate you to work out in the gym. You need to assimilate your goal such that it becomes part of you. This calls for commitment and not just mere resolutions. It should help you change your lifestyle towards the achievement of this end. By assimilating your set goal, it becomes too painful not to pursue it. Your goal should be simple. Don't set unattainable goals. For example, you cannot expect to change your figure in just a week.

To achieve your goals, make sure you have a support system. You will not achieve your desired bodybuilding results if you don't bring facilities close to you. Make sure that you have some friends who workout. This will give you motivation to workout. You can be hitting the gym together and can even compete. For example, you can compete on who can lift the weights for a longer time. Understand that you are a social being. The achievement of your desired objectives is either fostered or hindered by the friends you hang out with.

People also fail to achieve their bodybuilding results because of misconceptions. You may fail one time but that does not make you a failure. The rate of resilience that which you pick yourself up with is what will make you achieve your desired fitness objectives. For example, you may stop working out for a week feeling that the exercise you have already done has not yielded much. This is a misconception because training is a process and definitely results will show. The earlier you realize that going back to the gym will help instead of sitting pretty will determine the results you get.
 
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