Cycling can be an excellent cardio workout if you work at a high enough intensity. It’s generally easier to elevate your heart rate by running, climbing stairs, or using an elliptical trainer with moving arms, because these involve more muscle groups. The more muscles you move, the higher caloric burn you’ll experience. And if you’re riding outside, you’re likely coast as well as pedal; you’ll have to stop at intersections and for pedestrians, so your heart rate will be hard to maintain. So it may not be the best to boost your cardiovascular health but it’s still better than nothing!!
MAGNUM PRE FO
One look at its bottle will tell you the story of a new-age ultra-concentrated pre-workout energizer that’ll have you pushing through the intensity barriers that have been holding you back from achieving the best workouts of your life. The metallic red coloring, high-voltage graphics and impressive list of high potency ingredients boldly signal the supercharged workouts and sheer domination over the iron you’ll experience when using it. It’s called Magnum PRE FO and once you’ve tried it you’ll never train without it.
When formulating this new technology in workout supplementation, Magnum Nutraceuticals wanted a product that delivered much more than the existing market-leading pre-workouts – a state-of-the-art supplement that would rapidly deliver a massive and enduring energy burst without the jitters and short-term effects typically associated with other pre-workout formulations. PRE FO combines only the very best ingredients, all designed to work synergistically to markedly boost mental and physical prowess while producing the profound state of euphoria and intense focus needed to enhance your commitment to training all-out. PRE4 is also the first pre-workout formula ever to align the perfect ratio of powerful nootropic ingredients with a view to negating the stimulant crash experienced with other concentrated pre-workouts. With its balanced ingredient profile and effective dosages, PRE4 will provide you with just the right amount of stimulation to enhance mental focus minus the dreaded jitters.
And if all that wasn’t enough, PRE FO is ultra-delicious with a taste that has to be experienced to be believed. Never in the history of pre-workout supplementation has a product captured the essence of candy the way PRE FO has. PRE FO’s Cola Candy and Candy Keys flavors have revolutionized the way a pre-workout should taste, so much so that it’ll have the rest of the pack scrambling to keep up. Quite simply, PRE FO is the most sophisticated and delicious-tasting pre-workout on today’s market and it’s ready to reawaken your desire to push harder than ever before.
SO HOW DOES IT WORK?
Among the best of the modern era’s natural performance enhancers, Citrulline, by itself, will generate long-lasting levels of maximum intensity. When combined with PRE FO’s many additional pharmaceutical-grade compounds, it’ll give you gains you’ve only ever dreamed about. Citrulline is known for enhancing muscle endurance and workout recovery while reducing muscle soreness. Whenever we train, the body produces lactic acid and ammonia, both of which inhibit the glycotic energy cycle and cause us to stop short of full intensity. The fatigue fighter Citrulline stops this from happening to greatly extend training duration and volume. Citrulline also increases Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and Nitric Oxide (NO) production to prolong training and to force a maximum amount of blood into the working muscles, thus producing the sought-after pumping sensation that signals extreme growth.
As a powerful nootropic agent, Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) greatly accelerates the production of acetylcholine and dopamine, thereby enhancing concentration, focus, sensory awareness and athletic performance while bolstering mental energy, motivation and alertness. This essential workout compound will get you up for the hardest training session and keep you there. It does this, in part, by working synergistically with PRE4’s potent caffeine blend to prolong mental alertness. It’ll also permanently strengthen neural connections for long-lasting mental health benefits. ALCAR provides a clear, high energy state that lasts for hours while also reducing stimulant-induced jitters. While traditionally used as a powerful fat burner and metabolic booster, ALCAR is also effective in delaying muscle fatigue by reducing the onset and accumulation of lactic acid production and by sparing muscle glycogen to keep training energy high.
Another advanced nootropic agent, Agmatine Sulphate improves focus, wellbeing and attention span while driving down stress, anxiety and the catabolic hormone cortisol. Taken prior to training it can promote confidence and a sense of personal mastery over the iron. It does this by increasing serotonin and noradrenaline levels in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the executive control center that guides human performance. Agmatine Sulphate also assists the uptake of glucose into muscles while greatly enhancing vasodilation, both important when seeking to train with full intensity while forcing as much blood as possible into the muscles. With Agmatine, your pain zone will fast become your gain zone.
French Pine Bark Extract (90% Oligomeric Pro)
Working in conjunction with Citrulline, French Pine Bark Extract enhances blood flow and oxygen transport to promote sustained muscle pumping while assisting with post-workout recovery. By stimulating eNOS (Endogenous Nitric Oxide Synthase) in arterial walls by up to 78%, this highly anabolic compound will have you training harder, for longer, while enjoying the tightest muscle pumps ever experienced.
Bacopa Monnieri Extract (55% Bacosides A&B)
Bacopa Monnieri Extract enhances cognition and focus while reducing anxiety and stress by interacting with the dopamine and serotonergic systems and through strengthened neural communication. This much-studied compound is thought to increase motivation and drive, giving rise to its association with increased training performance. But like PRE FO’s other performance compounds, it’s only beneficial in sufficiently high pharmaceutical grade dosages, as found in PRE FO.
Caffeine Anhydrous and Dicaffeine Malate
The performance benefits of caffeine are numerous. With PRE FO you’ll receive them all through a perfect blend of Caffeine Anhydrous and Dicaffeine Malate. Ingested pre-workout, these two superior caffeine forms will give you increased nervous system activation, intense focus, heightened mental acuity, advanced fat burning, greater strength and power output and higher levels of mental and physical endurance. The highly concentrated and pure Anhydrous, the gold standard in caffeine supplementation, has been shown to directly potentiate skeletal muscle force, work and power among a raft of other performance benefits. Dicaffeine Malate combines caffeine with Malic Acid to help replenish caffeine’s energizing benefits while offsetting potential caffeine-induced digestive problems.
Low stress combined with maximum focus is the optimal state for extreme training aggression and killer workouts. It pays to be calm when zeroing in on a big lift and L-Theanine will give you the tranquility of mind necessary for sustained concentration when tackling the heavy iron. It does this by increasing inhibitory neurotransmitter levels in the brain, thereby promoting a prolonged state of relaxation. The problem with many pre-workouts is excessive stimulation, which may cause anxiety and impair focus. With L-Theanine, the stimulatory effects of PRE FO’s caffeine component are modulated to better enhance focus and narrow attention. PRE FO produces a calm, focused state to ensure training intensity is directed exactly where it is needed: to the task at hand.
Bitter Orange Extract (30% Synephrine)
Bitter Orange Extract is an adrenergic amine which contains the stimulant alkaloids Synephrine, Octopamine, and N-Methyltyramine. It mimics catecholamine activity of the sympathetic nervous system, thus providing the performance benefits of increased epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine to energize the body for sustained physical output without significantly increasing heart rate or blood pressure. Bitter Orange Extract also stimulates the body’s Beta-3 receptors to rapidly break down and burn fat for energy.
An Advanced Formula
100-percent pharmaceutical grade and with a delicious taste all of its own, PRE FO will have you fired up for every session. It’ll also induce metabolic rate increases to obliterate fat stores, produce prodigious muscle pumps and heighten mental focus and the desire to push further and train for longer than ever before. PRE FO will also generate long-lasting energy to give you the strength and endurance to navigate the toughest training sessions. PRE FO has taken its rightful place as the most sophisticated technology in pre-workout supplementation. Isn’t it time you tasted the intensity for superior muscle gains?
BREAKING NEWS: Magnum has 2 products PRE4 (for Canada) and PRE-FO (For USA and International) with the identical ingredient profiles. The only difference is their product name.
The Sandbag workout may not be the most technologically advanced training methodology out there, but it is certainly effective. The qualities of sandbags that are construed by many as impractical and problematic are just the qualities that make the bags so beneficial for training. Let’s review these unique sandbag characteristics as well as other excellent benefits of the ‘bag.
Unless the sandbag is packed FULL of sand, there will be an uneven weight distribution every time the trainer moves the weight. This instability calls upon the core muscles (abdominals and low back) of the body to activate and stabilize to control the motion of the bag. This muscle recruitment will not only lead to a stronger core, but will teach the body to find its centre of mass when the equilibrium is challenged (proprioception).
When compared to a traditional weight training workout, the sandbag workout challenges more of the stabilizing muscles of the body, as the odd shape (which changes every time the trainer moves the bag) will force the trainer to recruit muscles in different patterns and sequences each workout. It’s much more than simply lifting and lowering the weight. The body will have to shift throughout various planes and angles to accommodate the awkward shape and distribution of the sandbag. So take note: it’s not going to be easy… but it will be worth the effort.
Sandbag lifting is similar to kettlebell lifting in that they both challenge not only strength, but also endurance. A good bag will allow for some movement within the bag itself, thereby forcing the trainer to maneuver and adjust to the awkward weight. This causes the body to recruit more musculature, thereby expending greater energy.
‘Functional’ training has been very trendy the past few years, but the fact is, it’s not a fad. We NEED to be able to perform, and not just look good. Sandbag training forces the body to become stronger and more agile in different planes and patterns; it trains us to move more efficiently and to perform regular, daily activities more easily and effectively. We are forced to go beyond exercising in one plane or another; we have to control this unstable object through the planes, which mimics activities of daily living.
Grip strength is something that tends to wane with age, and it’s also something that many ‘traditional’ lifters don’t work on. With sandbag training, you don’t really have a choice. Without easy-to-grab handles, you have to dig your fingers into the bag to get a decent grip for your lifts. This will definitely increase your ability to hold and lift other objects in your everyday life.
You really can do Sandbag workouts anywhere. Indoor, outdoor, in your bedroom, in a hotel room… as long as you have a bag, you’re good to go. And because you don’t need fancy machinery or a gym membership, it’s definitely cost effective.
I’m not suggesting that you drop the iron and live a life of sandbag exclusivity. You can certainly use Sandbag training as your primary form of strength training if that suits your lifestyle. But I think that using the sandbag workouts to complement your traditional resistance training (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, etc.) will give you the biggest returns. Many people have dramatically increased their strength on overhead lifts by supplementing regular dumbbell or barbell presses with sandbag exercises.
The most obvious benefit of Sandbag training seems to be the sheer simplicity. You don’t need to invest hundreds of dollars on a coach (although they are out there for the hiring), or read page after page of biomechanics text books to understand the basics. You certainly have to pay attention to your form and posture while doing these lifts, but half the fun of the workout is figuring out just how you’re going to lift the bag!
There is immense variety when it comes to sandbag training, which makes it tough to get bored with these workouts. Not only are there many different exercises that you can try, but when those get old, you can throw in different hold and carry positions to increase the difficulty. You are really only limited by your imagination.
Go Get One!!!
You can either purchase a sandbag that is specifically designed for use as a strength and conditioning tool, or you can make your own. The commercial bags will likely be more durable and may have bonus features like handles for some exercises that need them. For our Status Fitness Magazine photoshoot we enlisted one of the bestbags in the industry. AlphaStrong Sandbags. They are made extremely well and you can fill them with otherBut if you want to save the money, you can simply get yourself an old gym bag or rucksack that you don’t mind beating up a little. While the sand you use isn’t that important, you can get builder’s sand for a better price, and it generally produces less dust.
Progress is in the Bag!
Below are just a few of the many exercises that you can employ with sandbag training. Give them a shot and see how quickly your results come!
Below are just a few of the many exercises that you can employ with sandbag training. Give them a shot and see how quickly your results come!
Upright Row / High Pull
The upright row has been used by athletes of all disciplines to challenge the upper body and core. Add the challenge of gripping the sandbag and you’re taking things up a notch.
Take it one step further by starting the movement from a deadlift. Complete the deadlift and go right into the Upright row to complete the sandbag High Pull.
The Good Morning is a fantastic exercise to strength the posterior chain of the body (hamstrings, glutes, low back) and focuses primarily on hip extension. The slow and controlled movement of the exercise, along with the instability of the sandbag, really makes this an effective movement. The sandbag can either be held in the front of the body (held close), or held just behind the neck.
One of the foundational exercises for both form and function, the deadlift will also focus on the posterior chain of the body, with more focus on the hamstrings and glutes.
Another very important exercise that focuses primarily on the muscles of the back, the bent-over row also works on the lifter’s stability and core strength.
A traditional lunge is difficult enough, but adding the instability of the sandbag over one shoulder definitely challenges the core and proprioception of the lifter. Be sure to complete repetitions on both sides to ensure symmetrical strength and form.
Now that you know the fundamentals of Sandbag training, the world is your oyster! Throw in a sandbag training day to kick-start your results and fight off boredom.
Vancouver, Canada – March 21, 2017
SENIOR EDITOR ASHA BELISLE PENS EXCLUSIVE CONTEST PREP COLUMN FOR STATUS
Asha Belisle has been a part of the Status team since 2007, first as a copy editor and contributor, all the way up to Senior Editor, and now columnist. Asha is a contest prep coach for athletes from around the globe. A former fitness competitor herself, she knows the ins and outs of the ‘contest’ component of show prep, and with her education and career experience from the past 20 years, she is well versed on proper training methodologies, exercise physiology, nutritional prescription for varying goals, and more. In Asha’s column, ‘Prep Talk’, she will address the ins and outs of preparing for a bodybuilding show: training, dieting, posing, sports psychology and much more.
ONE OF MANY ARTICLES BY ASHA BELISLE PUBLISHED IN STATUS FITNESS MAGAZINE
Belisle: “I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to write my own column for Status. Status Fitness has been a big part of my life for nearly ten years, and I’m really excited to be able to weed through some of the confusion of contest preparation for Status readers. I love writing articles on biomechanics, physiology and nutrition, but in ‘Prep Talk’, I’ll be able to get into the nitty gritty, and I can’t wait!”
STATUS FITNESS HAS BEEN A BIG PART OF MY LIFE FOR NEARLY TEN YEARS, AND I’M REALLY EXCITED TO BE ABLE TO WEED THROUGH SOME OF THE CONFUSION OF CONTEST PREPARATION FOR STATUS READERS.
Physique competitions have increased dramatically in popularity, and so has the misinformation about them. Asha will be touching on the physical, mental, and emotional components of contest prep, and answering questions about this process from Status readers.
Editor-in-Chief Rodney Jang says
“Asha Belisle is a senior editor with Status Fitness magazine. We are lucky to have Asha on our team; this is evident by the fact that her credential list is too long for this press release. A master trainer, Asha is one of the most elite coaches to turn to for advanced training curriculum in all areas, including biomechanics of training and contest prep. Speaking of contest prep, it’s one of the most confusing and misleading areas in physique competition. To eliminate some of the confusion, we have asked Asha to write an ongoing column on the world of contest prep. All I can say is ‘Get ready for real and quality advice.’”
A MASTER TRAINER, ASHA IS ONE OF THE MOST ELITE COACHES TO TURN TO FOR ADVANCED TRAINING CURRICULUM IN ALL AREAS, INCLUDING BIOMECHANICS OF TRAINING AND CONTEST PREP.
Established in 2006, Status is geared towards everyone from professional athletes to general fitness enthusiasts. Casting the top fitness experts in the world, we believe that, no matter how good the information is, unless it is delivered in an attractive and interesting manner, and available through a number of resources, it’s worthless.
Status focuses on presenting its material with the highest quality photography, design, layout, and paper stock. Status is available through a number of logical direct market avenues: newsstands, subscription, supplement stores, fitness centers, and tradeshows. Status is not only available as a high quality, attractive print publication, but is also available through various technologies, allowing access to the masses. Status Fitness Magazine is known as “The World’s Best Fitness magazine. “Status is Everything”.
In my 12+ years of weight training and waiting on machines at the gym I have noticed that guys seem to really enjoy training chest, arms, abs, and maybe shoulders, but they seem to neglect legs and back. Or, they might actually train their legs and back, but they keep the exercises very basic and the workout is way too short. In this article I will be focusing on how you can get a workout in that will fully hit all of your back muscles and thus add great width and incredible striations. Let’s be real here, just because you can’t see your back at the beach doesn’t mean that everyone else can’t see it.
Before I dive into the specifics on back training I feel that it is important to take a look at what my specific goals are and how many times per week I am willing to dedicate toward those goals. If you read my article on the chest in the last issue of Status Fitness magazine, then this information won’t be new to you, but I don’t want to assume that everyone was able to read that issue. Anyway, the reason it is important to take a look at these specific goals is because clearly we don’t all have the same goals in the gym, nor do we all have the same amount of time to dedicate towards those goals. For instance, I am willing and able to dedicate five or six workout sessions per week that last one to two hours each toward my specific training goals. My goals are to bulk up to good muscle maturity and to do my best to stay lean at the same time. The style of weight training that works best for my goals is known as Hypertrophy training, meaning that I do 3 sets of 12, 10 and 8 reps for each of my exercises in the gym and I only take 60-90 second breaks between each set.
If your goals aren’t the same as mine then you might want to look into the other styles of training such as: endurance (12+ reps; 30-60 sec breaks), strength (4-8 reps; 2-3 min breaks), or power (4 or less reps; 3-5 min breaks). But for me, the Hypertrophy style of training seems to work well as I continue to get great muscle maturity while maintaining the low body fat level that I need to be at for fitness cover shoots, etc.
As I mentioned above, I typically follow a five to six day a week training split and the one that has worked best for me is as follows:
Day 1: Back (Biceps burnout)
Day 2: Chest (Triceps burnout)
Day 3: Legs
Day 4: Shoulders
Day 5: Biceps & Triceps
Day 6 (optional): Weighted Abs & non-weighted obliques
Day 7: Off or back to Day 1
The reason I believe this is the perfect training split for goals similar to mine is because it allows the most amount of rest for the muscles: specifically for the secondary muscles that are worked on these days. For instance, on the back day, the secondary muscles that are hit are the biceps, rear deltoids & lower back. In order to get the maximum amount of rest while avoiding overtraining the muscles, you will want to make sure that you haven’t hit any of those ‘secondary muscles’ the day before or the day after your back day. So, in other words, you would not want to train shoulders the day before or after back, since you are hitting rear deltoids as a secondary. I would also suggest that you not train legs the day before or after back as leg day puts a lot of pressure on the lower back. Furthermore, I take advantage of the back day by doing the bicep burnout since they have already been hit as a secondary; this gives me an extra day of bicep training.
Now that you have an understanding of what I believe is the perfect training split for goals similar to mine it’s time to dive into my ‘Complete Back Attack’ and learn how I FULLY train my back.
First of all, I always like to start EVERY workout with about five minutes of speed walking on the treadmill as this is a great way to slightly increase heart rate and enhance blood flow through the muscles. Then, specifically on back day I spend a bit of time stretching through my back, rear deltoids and biceps; I’ll sometimes even do a few pull-ups as bodyweight exercises are always great as a warm up.
Now that the basic warm up is done let’s take a look at the anatomy of the back so that we know where all of those intricate back muscles are located. Knowing the anatomy of the back should give us a feel of what needs to be trained in order to put in that FULL back workout.
A.) B.) C.)
Image A: Is showing where the Latissimus Dorsi are located, which most would refer to as the Lats. The Lats take up the majority of the back and can be hit by performing exercises such as lat pull-downs & rows as you’ll see in my workout that follows.
Image B: Is showing where the Trapezius muscle is located, which most refer to as the traps. Many people think that the traps are just the top of the shoulders and neck, but in reality that is only the upper traps. The upper, mid, and lower traps all run together from the back of the neck all the way down to the center of the back. Each part of the traps can be isolated through special exercises as you’ll see below.
Image C: Is showing where the Quadratus Lumborum are located, which most would refer to as the lower back. All too often people have lower back problems, so while it is important to train this area to keep it strong, you should also be smart by not going too heavy as this will help to prevent those lower back injuries.
Now that you’ve got the anatomy under your belt, let’s learn how to train each of these parts of the back. I always like to attack those big lat muscles first and I can’t think of a better way to do that than to do the basic lat pull-down. This exercise is great because you have a nice wide grip with your elbows pointing out, which really give a nice spread and stretch to those lats. *Be sure to do a light warm-up set before diving into your heavy sets.
Exercise 1 (Lat Pull-Down):
When performing the lat pull-down I feel it is best to keep your upper body angled at a steady 45-60˚throughout the exercise. DO NOT use your upper body to rock back and forth with the weight, but rather pull with the arms through the elbows to keep the focus on the lats rather than the lower back. Keep a nice wide grip on the bar and pull all the way down to your chest and squeeze tightly through the back, then allow the weight to pull your arms up to full extension (this will stretch the lats nicely). Also, be sure to keep the traps down throughout the movement. That is one complete repetition.
My second exercise is a seated cable row using the rope and this is for the lat muscles as well. It’s good to do a few exercises for the lats because they are massive muscles that take some time to exhaust. This seated cable row is great because it really stretches the lats at the top of the motion and you can get a nice full squeeze back with the rope at the end of the motion. Using the rope is the key here because it will give you the full range of motion that you really need on these rows.
Exercise 2 (Seated Cable Rows w/the Rope):
Do your best to keep your back straight up and down throughout the whole repetition. It is important not to rock back and forth with your upper body as we want to keep the focus on your lats, not your lower back. Also, make sure to keep your elbows tucked down tightly to your sides as this will also help to keep the focus on your lats. Begin by pulling the rope towards your navel and bring your elbows back as far back as you can. When you get to that point you want to pause/squeeze tightly through your lats. Now slowly allow the weight to bring your arms forward to a full extension, which will stretch the lats nicely. This is one complete repetition.
Now that you’ve successfully pushed those lat muscles, let’s move on to the trap muscles. I typically start with the lower traps, then I move up to the mid traps, and I finally finish up with two upper trap exercises. For now, let’s focus on how we focus on my favorite exercise to isolate the lower traps, which is known as the Pivot Prone Pull.
Exercise 3 (Pivot Prone Pull):
As you can see in the picture I am using resistance bands that are wrapped around a pull-up bar above me. This exercise is in reality best done on a cable fly machine using the D-handles with the arms set to the highest point and angled in to just wider than shoulder width apart. Start on your knees and align your body directly under the cables with your arms FULLY extended. Pull your elbows all the way down and slightly back and pause/squeeze through the lower traps. Now slowly extend back up to the start position. IMPORTANT KEYS TO THIS EXERCISE: You’ll want to keep your back straight and your chest up throughout the whole repetition. Your hands will be facing outward from the sides of your body throughout the whole repetition as well, which will likely feel a bit awkward/unnatural, but this is the key to targeting those lower traps.
Now let’s move up to the mid traps where we will do a standing single arm mid-trap row. In reality the mid traps would have been hit pretty hard as a secondary back muscle to the lats on the seated row that we did earlier, but now we will attempt to isolate them a bit more with this mid-trap row.
Exercise 4 (Mid -rap Row):
On a cable cross-over style machine you will want to set the arm so that it is at about the same height as your navel. Hook up the d-handle to the cable, set your comfortable weight, and take a few big steps back with d-handle in hand. You’ll want to have a runner’s stance while doing this exercise as this is a great way to keep a steady balance. Typically you would have the opposite leg forward to the arm you are working. Now you will pull your elbow back as far as you can go, hold/squeeze through the mid trap for a moment, and then allow slowly allow the weight to bring your arm forward to the full extension/start position. IMPORTANT KEYS TO THIS EXERCISE: Your palm will be facing downward toward the ground throughout the whole repetition. Your chest should be up and your back straight (no leaning) throughout the whole repetition, too. Finally your elbow should be at about a 45 degree angle from your side as you pull back. In other words, it is not down and brushing your hip, nor is it up and parallel to the ground, but rather at the half way point in the middle of those two positions. All of these keys are very important as they will help you to better isolate that mid trap muscle.
For the upper traps I typically like to do a couple of exercises because this muscle will rarely get hit in your daily routine or as a secondary in the gym. Two of my favorite and most creative exercises for upper traps are the Calf Machine Shrugs and the Trap Dips. I feel this is a great exercise combination for upper traps too as they both manage to target the traps differently.
Exercise 5 (Calf Machine Shrugs):
Set the calf machine a few notches lower than you would set it if you were doing calf raises and put a weight on that will push you comfortably. If it is your first time doing these you may want to start off light until you can get a feel for the exercise. Now you will stand up in the machine with the weight on your shoulders and simply shrug up as high as you can with your traps (hold), and then let your traps slowly drop to the start position. The more range of motion you can get in your shrugs, the better the workout and growth. A FEW SIDE NOTES: Every calf machine is different and might hold you at different angles, etc. Try to keep your hands down to your sides if at all possible. I have however, been on calf machines where I’ll hold the machine’s steel beam down by my navel just so I don’t fall out of the machine. Do your best to keep the hands as low as possible so you can get that good shrug motion. On a different note, I usually put a towel on my shoulders too, as the extra padding is more comfortable on the shoulders.
Exercise 6 (Trap Dips):
Get in position on a dip machine as if you were going to do triceps dips. The difference here is that you will keep your elbows straight and your dip will happen at the traps. So, you will simply allow your traps to slowly dip as low as they can and then you will use your trap muscles to pull yourself back up to the top position and then hold/squeeze through the upper traps. You will also keep your legs straight throughout the repetition. When you get comfortable with this exercise and feel you’d like to challenge yourself more you can simply add a dumbbell between your feet.
The final part of the back that I train is the Quadratus Lumborum/Lower Back. I like to save this part of the back for last as it is the location that seems to get the most stiff/sore after training and I would rather be done at that point than have to carry on and do more exercises. Lots of people do several exercises for lower back, but I personally only do one exercise as my lower back gets plenty of exercise in my daily routines. I usually switch the exercise I do for lower back and will do the weighted back extension on the cable machine one week and the hyper-extension machine the next week. However, in this article/workout I will be focusing on the weighted back extension.
Exercise 7 (Weighted Back Extension)
Hook the triangle row attachment to the seated cable row machine and choose a safe weight that will push you. Now get in the seated position as if you were going to do a seated row; however you will keep your arms straight with the weight and simply lean all the way back to a lay down position with your back. Now you will allow the weight to slowly pull you back to the start position; and that’s one repetition.
This wraps up my ‘Complete Back Attack’ workout. It’s important to remember to switch up your exercises every month or so as this is a great way to shock your system with new exercises. Every exercise will isolate and flex the muscles differently, so don’t get caught doing the same workout for too long as it could hinder progress. Switching things up could be as easy as doing a lat pull-down with the rope instead of the row bar, and/or doing your seated row with one arm using the d-handle. Just replace exercises with new ones and even switch up your sets/reps for a few weeks once in a while too. You have to shock your system into giving you the results you desire. To see this specific ‘Complete Back Attack’ workout and many of my other body specific workouts you can simply go and download them from my website at JamesEllisFit.com.
Mr. Olympia Phil “The Gift” Heath joins Team Ultimate Nutrition
Farmington, CT, August 4, 2016/ Breaking News!!!
Reigning five times Mr. Olympia Winner Phil “The Gift” Heath has agreed to a long term partnership with Ultimate Nutrition, Inc. “I am truly excited to join a first class company that has nearly 40 years of history in this great industry and is a leader in innovation and quality. In my due diligence in selecting a new company to join I was amazed to learn that Ultimate Nutrition manufacturers its own products at cGMP certified facilities, has its own testing laboratories and research and development facilities and is sold in over 140 countries. This allows Ultimate Nutrition to control the quality from the beginning to the end of the manufacturing process. To be the best I need to use the best and I believe I have found the best in Ultimate Nutrition.
I AM EXCITED ABOUT WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS AND I THINK TOGETHER PHIL HEATH AND ULTIMATE NUTRITION WILL DO TRULY AMAZING THINGS THAT THIS INDUSTRY HAS NEVER SEEN BEFORE IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY,” STATED HEATH.
The agreement between Heath and Ultimate Nutrition goes far beyond a typical sponsorship agreement. “Heath will truly become a member of the team and become a key ingredient in new innovations Ultimate Nutrition brings to the market” said Andrea Portanova, Vice President of Marketing and Advertising, “When you are looking for an athlete to sponsor you have about a dozen key criteria you want them to meet, not only does Phil Heath meet all of them he greatly exceeds them.” Heath is expected to be featured across all of Ultimate Nutrition’s advertising and marketing platforms. Additionally, interactive virtual reality and an app are already in the works.
“Phil Heath is a great champion who is at the peak of his career. He has tried thousands of supplements and knows what works and what does not work. To know what works for Mr. Olympia will help us bring revolutionary products to the market stated Dr. Michael Invernale, Executive Vice President of Research and Development for Ultimate Nutrition. “When Phil received his first package of supplements from Ultimate Nutrition he was like a kid in a candy store” stated Mark Bryant agent for Mr. Heath, “everything he tried he loved. I believe Phil Heath and Ultimate Nutrition partnering together will take this industry to the next level.”
About Phil Heath:
Phil Heath is an IFBB Professional Bodybuilder and the reigning 5 times Mr. Olympia Champion. He is nicknamed “The Gift” due to his never before seen combination of size and symmetry. Mr. Heath is a graduate of the University of Denver and currently resides in Colorado. He is driven by a passion to educate everyone on health, nutrition, weight training, and supplementation so that everyone can reach their full physical and mental potential.
About Ultimate Nutrition:
Ultimate Nutrition was founded in 1979 by Victor H. Rubino. At the time Victor was one of the top amateur power lifters in the United States. Driven by a goal to become the best, Victor knew that supplements were the key to improving his performance through increased strength and faster recovery. Not satisfied with the current supplements that were available to him in the 1970’s and being a biochemist himself, Victor decided to launch his own company Ultimate Nutrition. Victor’s goal was to create high quality, thoroughly researched products at an affordable price for everyone.
In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Ultimate Nutrition was among the first companies to have Amino Acid tablets, protein powders, carbohydrate powders, and various types of Fat Burners. By the late 1980’s and early 1990’s Ultimate Nutrition launched several legendary products such as Sports Energizer, an electrolyte fueled ready to drink beverage that came in 10 flavors and in a glass bottle.
By the mid 1990’s Ultimate Nutrition again was on the cutting edge as one of the first companies to come out with whey protein powder and creatine in a bottle. Today, Ultimate Nutrition continues to excel with a wide range of products including Iso Mass Xtreme Gainer®, ProStar® Whey, Muscle Juice® 2544, GlutaPure®, Protein Isolate 2, Iso Sensation® 93, Amino 2000, Flavored BCAA 12,000, Ultra Ripped®, carneBOLIC, Horse Power®, and now Horse Power® X. Horse Power X is a revolutionary condensed pre-workout supplement formulated to help increase energy, endurance, and stamina, and to promote increased strength and muscle building gains. For the past 8 years Ultimate Nutrition has also been the title sponsor of the Joe Weider’s Mr. Olympia competition.
Sadly, Victor Rubino passed away in March 2003 at 48 years young. However, Ultimate Nutrition is still owned and operated by the Rubino family to this day. Our commitment to Victor’s vision remains the same, to create high quality, highly researched products at affordable prices.
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REP VARIATION: HOW TO INCREASE MUSCLE GAINS THROUGH REP RANGE MODIFICATION.
A seldom considered factor when planning bodybuilding-focused workouts is the scheduling of varied rep ranges to encourage continuous gains. When beginning the training process, many of us are told to employ a moderate range of 8-12 reps per set for most movements. Why 8-12 reps? Why not 15-20, 25-40, or 2-6? As it turns out, the magic range of 8-12, given its influence on muscle hypertrophy, and pure size building is deemed best for bodybuilding purposes, and for good reason. First, because it provides optimal training volume which, in turn, increases the time under tension (TUT) of the muscles being worked (with an ideal TUT for each set being 48-72 seconds) it successfully stimulates muscle micro trauma to promote, upon healing, greater size gains. Second, training in this range encourages sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (the growth of organelles, plasma, and non-contractile proteins) to increase muscle volume. Why is it, then, that non-bodybuilding athletes who utilize non-bodybuilding rep ranges (such as power lifters and Olympic weight lifters) sport muscle mass to rival, or even surpass, many physique trainees? And why do bodybuilders who mix up their rep ranges, rather than exclusively employing 8-12 per set, often experience greater results? Indeed, rep ranges other than the standard 8-12 may confer their own unique muscle building benefits. This article will explore the merits of including in our training varying rep ranges and determine a plan incorporating the best of these to produce fresh muscle mass gains.
Time and tension produce mass
Creating maximal tension in our working muscles through both the positive and negative phases of a repetition within a specific anaerobic timeframe is an unquestioned key to triggering an adaptive response and the building of larger muscles. Provided we do not cross over to the aerobic zone and tremendous effort is exerted in achieving a rep range of 8-12 (four seconds down and two seconds up, with a total, ideal, TUT of between 48-72 seconds) we are assured of an anabolic reaction, and, following sufficient rest and optimal nutrition over a 48-72 hour period, further muscle growth (or the maintenance of established muscle tissue). Our muscles are unlikely to grow in accordance with the number of reps completed per se, but as a result of the amount of time they are placed under tension. Thus, the trainee, in utilizing the heavily touted 8-12 rep range, must learn to work hard within a 48-72 second window; falling short of this target may negate the muscles’ TUT and shortchange our results. Extending this period may only be possible when using lighter training weights, again compromising the intensity we may inflict upon our muscles. While four seconds down and two seconds up may seem an inordinately long time in which to complete one rep (and indeed many are encouraged to adopt a total TUT protocol of 40-60, with three seconds down and two seconds up), such extended muscle stress can add up to some impressive results. Because the load we place on our muscles and the extent to which our muscles can sustain this pressure are inversely proportional, we must be sure to work harder with each and every set, not faster. Nowadays, however, trainees often work at rapid pace as they power through their sets as if to cram as much intensity into as short a period as possible. While their dedication and intention is to be commended, their training style is not. As noted, by training too fast we lessen the amount of tension we place on our muscles and, as such, a desired anabolic response is unlikely to occur. For pure bodybuilding purposes, we must remember that muscles don’t count reps: they count TUT.
So what about alternative rep ranges? Why do some physique champs respond well to higher reps, like 12-15, with a much longer TUT (72-90 seconds), and lower reps, like 3-5, with a lower TUT of 18-30?
Low reps (1-5)
Working within a lower rep range of 1-5 is traditionally thought to stimulate strength, rather than muscle gains. Powerlifters, weight lifters and other pure strength athletes typically employ a disproportionate amount of low rep work when aiming to become freaky strong. Because of the specific central nervous system (CNS) adaptations that occur when we train heavy with low reps (the simultaneous recruitment of all available motor units and the relaying of information from the joint capsule and connective tissue to the CNS via proprioceptors, which encourage each maximally contracting muscle to rest shortly after each heavy set has begun, to protect the integrity of our joints) an increase in contractile tissue results. What many don’t realize, however, is that training within this range may also stimulate muscle size increases, specifically myofibrillar hypertrophy (an increase in the size and number of actin and myosin filaments inside muscle tissue). Myofibrillar hypertrophy is thought to lead to more permanent muscle gains, those which remain longer once training has ceased. Hammering low reps also stimulates all three muscle fiber types: slow twitch, fast twitch, and intermediate – after the first rep (in which predominantly slow twitch fibers kick in), the weight becomes increasingly heavier (at which point intermediate fibers are recruited). Finally, after the first few reps, the fast twitch fibers (those responsible for anaerobic power and which have the greatest growth potential) are activated and take over to round out the set. Low reps may also increase our myogenic tone, or the degree to which our muscles take on a hard look, even at rest. Utilizing low reps can therefore promote strength gains, which may translate to heavier weights lifted during our more hypertrophy centered protocols, harder muscles, and direct size increases.
High reps (15+)
Of all the rep ranges from 1-15, 15+ is the least effective for directly stimulating maximal muscle fiber recruitment, but it is nevertheless an effective accompaniment to both lower and higher rep work. Often used to stimulate fat burning to achieve a shredded appearance (which may not be a smart strategy due to the amount necessary to produce results, which may deplete the energy required to lift heavy and hard, which is infinitely more important to the fat burning/muscle building process), higher reps work best to improve our work capacity via increased mitochondrial density (to improve our tolerance for heavier training and to boost recovery rate between sessions), and to enhance visible muscle size by increasing the amount of glycogen, minerals and water attracted into our muscles due to glycogen depletion which promotes insulin sensitivity and nutrient uptake; more extreme glycogen depletion can also cause our muscle cells to stretch, thus leading to greater overall muscle growth as well as the release of anabolic hormones. Research also suggests that such low load, high rep training can boost protein synthesis better than high load, lower rep work can, though further studies may be needed to provide conclusive proof. Further, joint health and connective tissue benefits may also result from this style of training (a rest from exclusively heavy workloads provides much needed respite for heavily taxed joints and soft tissues). Not typically associated with muscle building workouts and gargantuan size gains, high rep train does have its place, but must not be prioritized ahead of hypertrophy focused methods. By using high reps for the final set of a movement we may experience the benefits noted here without compromising overall workout intensity and size gains.
RESEARCH ALSO SUGGESTS THAT SUCH LOW LOAD, HIGH REP TRAINING CAN BOOST PROTEIN SYNTHESIS BETTER THAN HIGH LOAD
A plan of attack
Many a hypertrophy-based workout has included a variety of rep ranges to target different aspects of muscular development and to promote long lasting gains. Indeed, the process of changing variables within our workouts is, in and of itself, an effective way to prevent training stagnation; to keep our muscles constantly guessing as to what will come next, to avert the dreaded plateau effect. To maximize the effectiveness of each of the rep ranges discussed above and to fully recruit as many muscle fibers as possible and to create the metabolic and anabolic conditions necessary for ongoing gains we may incorporate each rep range (low, moderate and high) across each movement, over four total sets. Being mindful that advanced muscle hypertrophy is the ultimate goal two sets must be within the 8-12 rep range, while the remaining two sets will be strength and endurance based (and, structured in this fashion, will confer the metabolic/anabolic advantages discussed above). To kick-start fresh gains in pure muscle size (both sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar) and to improve muscle endurance and strength, begin each exercise with one set of 1-5 reps (after a light warm up of 8-10); then proceed to two 8-12 rep sets ensuring that total TUT does not exceed 72 seconds; conclude with one set of 15-20 reps. Muscle failure must be reached on the final rep of each set, though the maximal number of reps prescribed need not be completed (provided we stay within the correct range). Following six weeks of training in this fashion, switch back to your regular training style (incorporating, if you want, elements from this plan; for example, you may wish to apply this rep scheduling for one movement per body part).
Hit the GAS
So we have determined that a variety of rep ranges may confer unique muscle building benefits and have decided upon a plan of attack incorporating each. Now we must also consider the problems inherent in applying the same training methodology over and over, namely the general adaptation syndrome (GAS), a state during which our muscles may cease to respond to a particular training stimulus; and during which a plateau response may ensue. To counter the GAS we must periodize our training; in other words we must periodically change the nature of our training by manipulating rep ranges, sets and session structure to encourage continuous muscle growth via increased over-compensation. Whereas traditional periodization models may have the trainee gradually modify their training approach or employ distinct training phases (both of which are valid in their own ways), the way I like to do this is to ensure that no two workouts are ever the same: whether the rep range for the first two sets of a movement is lowered (or increased), or an additional movement is added (or an established one subtracted) try to change your workouts without negating the intensity and overall volume of work completed. For the six week plan outlined above, stick within the prescribed rep parameters, but do change exercise selection and training split if necessary. Once regular training is resumed then reps can be modified with each workout to promote fresh gains.
A STATE DURING WHICH OUR MUSCLES MAY CEASE TO RESPOND TO A PARTICULAR TRAINING STIMULUS
Changing the ranges for explosive growth
By using all three rep ranges (low, moderate and high) we may effectively maximize the growth of all muscle tissue structures, become stronger, harder, and more capable of lasting the training distance. Instead of continuously applying the same 8-12 rep protocol for each of our workouts, we may vary our rep ranges to stimulate new gains in pure muscle size. For the bodybuilding purist such training may be considered heretical, a radical departure from the established training norm, an undermining of years of trial and error, and a slap to the face of proven effectiveness. Rather than speculating on any potential negatives, give this range-changing method a decent shot. It might be just what you are looking for to reach your next level of bodybuilding excellence.
Accelerated Muscle: Elite Transformations of Mind and Muscle. Magic Rep Range for Size Gains. (2014). [Online] http://acceleratedmuscle.com/articles/muscle-building/magic-rep-range-for-size-gains/ retrieved on 14/1/14
Burd, N. A., West, D. W., Staples, A.W., Atherton, P.J., Baker, J.M., Moore, D.R., Holwerda, A.M., Parise, G., Rennie, M.J., Baker, S.K., Phillips, S.M. Low-load high volume resistance exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis more than high-load low volume resistance exercise in young men. PLoS One. 2010; 5(8)
Body Recomposition. (2008). Categories of Weight Training – Part 1. [Online] http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/training/categories-of-weight-training-part-1.html retrieved on 14/1/14
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