*The lowering portion of the exercise should take 5-10 sec
*The lowering portion of the exercise should take 5-10 sec
*The lowering portion of the exercise should take 5-10 sec
*Lean forward to engage your chest
*Lean forward to engage your chest
Peripheral Heart Action Training that is. When it comes to ramping up your heart rate in a short amount of time to shred off the fat, PHAT training takes the cake. PHAT training utilizes a combination of upper body and lower body resistance training exercises that force your heart to pump blood back and forth between your upper and lower limbs. Of course your heart beats faster to meet the increasing demand for oxygen throughout your body. More calories are burned in a shorter duration and you're walking out of the gym in record time.
There are plenty of ways to go about PHAT training in the weight room. All forms of equipment from kettlebells, bands, battling ropes, and medicine balls can be used in addition to your traditional weight stacks, cables, and dumbbells. The typical way to perform PHAT training is to combine exercises in "superset" fashion, pairing up two exercises and going back and forth between them. It is best to utilize this form of training in a full body routine, but it can also be split up into the front and back of the body. If done in full-body fashion give at least 48 - 72 hours of rest between each session.
So if you're looking to burn fat, train PHAT! If anything else it will add variety to your training routine.
Here is an example of a full-body routine using free weights and cable machines:
*A and B signifies a superset, which entails going back and forth between the two exercises until all sets and repetitions are completed, then you move onto the next set of two exercises.
1A) Dumbbell Bench Press 3 sets x 10 - 15 repetitions.
1B) Romanian or Straight Legged Deadlift 3 sets x 10 - 15 repetitions.
2A) Seated Row 3 sets x 12 - 15 repetitions.
2B) Walking Dumbbell Lunges 3 sets of 20 - 24 steps.
3A) Dips (weight, bodyweight, or assistance as needed) 3 sets x 8 - 12 repetitions.
3B) Leg Curl Machine 3 sets x 12 - 15 repetitions.
4A) Pull Up (weighted, bodyweight, or assistance as needed) 3 sets x 8 - 12 repetitions.
4B) Squat (Barbell, Dumbbell, or Bodyweight based on ability and availability) 3 sets x 12 - 15 repetitions.
Written by Adam Bisek
Yes they may be covered for the majority of the year, but that doesn't mean that they should be left out of your exercise routine. Squats and deadlifts work the entire body, and research has shown that they can activate the ab muscles far better than many traditional ab exercises, especially overhead squats. As you progressively train your lower body your core will become much stronger. Your core is required to stabilise your body in many other exercises, most sports, and day-to-day life, therefore your improvements in these areas should soar.
Your legs form the largest muscle group in the body and training with resistance weights will aid in the release of growth hormones. The benefit of stimulating a growth hormone response is important to bodybuilders and athletes as it has a positive effect on protein synthesis. It also promotes muscle growth and it affects the metabolic functions of your body in such a way that it can increase your use of stored fat while decreasing your use of carbohydrates for energy. So that's more muscle, less fat (therefore greater visibility of abs), greater strength, improvements in sport, and greater ability to do day to day activities...I still get puzzled when people say they never train legs...
For a bigger chest, train (not exclusively) on a slight incline, this will hit more of the upper part of the pectoral muscles which, when in a t-shirt, will give a much fuller appearance. Keep the incline to 30-45 degrees, as too much of an incline will bring more of the front delts into play, and take some of the strain off the pecs. At the top of the concentric phase of the lift, keep your elbows ever so slightly bent and don't lock out. Doing so also alleviates some of the tension placed on the chest.
Swap the barbell for dumbbells. Although barbells are easier for spotting, and great for negative reps, your hands are kept in a fixed position, which can limit the contraction on your pecs. Dumbbells will allow for a greater (wider) range of movement (ROM), and due to requiring more stabilisation, they can help even out weaknesses you may have between the right and left sides of the body. By increasing the ROM you are increasing the likelihood of more micro-tears in the muscle fibers. These will repair and become stronger. After a couple of weeks of using dumbbells, switch back to the barbell and you should feel a noticeable difference in your strength.
I see people doing 100's of bicep curls day in, day out, with the hope of getting bigger arms. And they get nowhere. Your biceps only fill up 1/3 of your t-shirt sleeve, with the other 2/3 being your triceps. Want big arms? Then you need to train your triceps too!
If you want to increase size, then you need to have the foundations of your program centered around compound movements. For the arms, this means close grip pull-ups, close grip bench press and dips. Reasoning is the same as the above point – when these large muscle groups are activated, a lot of growth hormones will be released. Very simply put, the more of them floating through your body, the greater the potential to grow, (growth is also dictated by a sound nutritional diet, so make sure you are taking in enough calories).
Then, by all means move onto isolation exercises – which should be performed using strict technique, aiming for 6-10 rep range, and don't train them more than twice a week. Also, don't do the same moves week in week out – your body needs to be continually challenged to induce growth, so mix up the exercises.
Personally speaking, late last year I focused loads on weighted pull-ups and dips and I hardly did any isolation movements. The result meant that when I eventually came round to changing my program, I noticed huge gains in strength with bicep and tricep exercises, and a noticeable difference in size.
Whether you've changed your program, introduced new moves, or are concentrating on the eccentric muscle contraction, DOMS are going to happen. That's a given! DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is commonly thought to be caused by microscopic tears in the muscles and the swelling associated with those tears. The pain kicks in 1-2 days following a workout (it can be sooner though), and rarely lasts more than 5 days. If it lasts over 7 days, go and see your GP.
The best methods I’ve found to deal with them are as follows:
Warm up: Make sure you perform a thorough warm up, which will also reduce your chance of injury! Increasing blood flow to muscles makes them more elastic, so they are more resistant to micro-tearing.
Stretching: Although studies show that stretching does not relieve the pain associated with DOMS, stretching the muscles when sore will help to build more elasticity in the new muscle fibers. Thorough yet gentle stretching of the muscle groups you've worked after each session is always a good idea, and make use of foam rollers if you access to them. Stretching will improve circulation to the given area, bringing nutrients to your cells and removing waste byproducts.
Supplementation/nutrition: Vitamin C and E are well known for their anti-oxidant properties and their ability to reduce the proliferation of free radicals. These are thought to be generated during the inflammatory response, which could potentially cause more damage to the affected muscle. Protein, EAA + BCAA and L-Glutamine will get to work repairing damaged muscle tissue – so consume your post workout shake as soon as your workout is over. It will assist the recovery process, but not necessarily reduce the recovery time.
Massages and Ibuprofen: If they are really bad, then a gentle massage and ibuprofen can help relieve the pain, but will not speed up your recovery time.
Yes there are lots of different supplements you can take, but all I'm going to cover here is protein, and the ideal times during the day that you should be consuming it. Whether dieting down or bulking up, protein should be consumed with each meal of the day. It is important to keep a constant supply of amino acids in the blood, so ideally you should be aiming to eat a meal every 2-3 hours. Just make sure your macro nutrient breakdown of each meal is linked into your goal. The result - if you are cutting or aiming to lose weight, this will keep your metabolism high. If you are bulking and looking to put on muscle, you will be providing your body with a constant supply of calories to help you grow.
Outside of those meals is when a protein shake can really be useful. As it is in liquid form it is fairly easy for your body to process quickly. So, if the budget will allow it, when are the most essential times of the day to be having a shake?
First thing in the morning: As you (hopefully) have been sleeping for a good 7-8 hours, and therefore technically fasting, a fast absorbing whey protein drink first thing in the morning will put a halt to your body's catabolic state.
Pre workout: 20g before a workout will ensure that your body is saturated with amino acids ready to start the repair process. Failing that, try to consume 8g of EAA (essential amino acids).
Post workout: 30 - 40g whey (or 50/50 split whey/casein) post workout will enable your muscles to begin repairing.
Before bed: As you will not be eating again for another 7-8 hours, consuming 45g micellar casein right before bed will keep your body drip-fed with amino acids while you sleep. Micellar casein forms a gel in your gut, slowing down the absorption process and keeping your body in an anabolic state for longer.
James On Facebook: facebook.com/James.St.Leger.Fitness
Compound setting is truly one of the best and fastest ways to add thickness and mass to your entire body, one part at a time. As you may well know packing on rock hard lean muscle mass without the fat that can accompany it is something that we all want to achieve as bodybuilders. Super setting is one of the most common ways to achieve this goal, but compound setting will get you there quick fast and in a hurry!
Compound setting is systematically placing together two or more different exercises together to comprise a set. This targets and decimates a single body part in quick and brutal fashion. Quick and brutal is the way to go simply because you don’t have hours to waste taking abnormally long breaks checking out the “scenery” in the gym or engaging in small talk. This is a technique that will totally fatigue the muscle using various, exercises, angles and speeds at once. For the chest and triceps, I am going to structure the routine in a way that gets you the most muscle fiber fatigue for your buck. An important thing to look at when training is rep speed and the lifting load that you use. Manipulate these to variables to get the most out of your lifting session.
These are the two most important variables to be manipulated to your advantage. There are two dominant types of muscle fibers. You have your type 2b (fast twitch) and your type 1a (slow twitch) muscle fibers. Each muscle group of your body genetically has various amounts of each. Your goal should be to fatigue them all!! That amount of fatigue will make them grow. Tear them down and then give them the recovery and nutrition to come back stronger and thicker than ever. Rep speed is key, the best way to tear up a specific muscle group and make them scream is to vary the rep speed in the middle of a compound set. For example let’s create a compound set of two exercises that we all have done. The flat bar bell bench press and the standing cable fly (from high to low). Choose a weight that you know that you can get 3 sets of 8 - 10 reps with but not 3 sets of 12 with for the Bench press. Do the flies with about half of your 1 rep max.
I know… but put the ego down for a sec..., by the 3rd set you will see why. Remember volume of weight moved is the key. The higher the volume (weight times reps) Aiming to get 10 on each set will be key as well…8 must be the lowest that you are willing to accept in any given set. The reason that the load is important is because you want to totally drain the muscles fibers (used in that exercise) by the third set. The heavier load choice on the first exercise is key, this is because you should be fresher for the first exercise. Try your best to keep the weigh constant once you get started. Only take weight off if it is absolutely impossible for you to complete the desired amount of reps. You may feel like you can go up after that first set of bench but do not start with more than 75% Max bench because the flies will get you! Also choose the exercise that you are better at and can move the most weight at to be the heavier of the two exercises.
Perform a Quick and powerful set of bench press… all ten reps. Lift fast and heavy to recruit the type 2b muscle fibers and then immediately go to the fly machine and get into the start position. Start position should be maintained with the weights off of the stack… from the time that you touch the handles you should “Own The Weight”. There should be more tension on your chest muscles that only contract from 180 degrees and fwd. Not so much on your anterior delts (shoulders). At normal 2 second pace First fly with one arm… then the other… then do a full fly crossing both wrists. Count that as one rep. Flying with one arm at a time does 2 things… it drags the set out time-wise and doubles the reps torturing the chest muscles because of the tension maintained for the longer period of time. As a parting gift it challenges your core as you stabilize the single armed flies. Repeat both exercises 2 more times taking the chest to muscle failure.
In the 3 sets of quick and powerful bench presses you should have summoned the type 2 fibers of the middle part of your chest to spring into action. With the single armed flies to doubles you called on the same muscle fibers and also the muscles of the “lower” chest summoning type 1 muscle fibers in holding an isometric chest fly. This type of manipulation of load and speed should result in a recruitment of even more muscle fiber units as the sets progress and fatigue sets in. Provided that you maintained a constant amount of reps, rep speed and intensity you will find that your muscles will be at the state of muscle failure a lot sooner than traditional weightlifting strategies and even supersetting opposing muscle groups.
A killer compound setting technique is the pairing of a barbell exercise with an alternating dumbbell exercise. Taking a dumbbell exercise and pairing it with a bodyweight exercise is also another favorite. Each one of these pairings allow for the training of supporting cast members to help stabilize the workloads through the sets. Stronger secondary muscles in the shoulders and core will lead to heavier weights lifted. Heavier weights moved will increase the physiological changes needed to get you huge and sculpted. Try to keep the sets a firm 3 - 6 and lift as heavy as possible without sacrificing your rep range… remember 8 -10. You should raise the weights lifted once you conquer 6 - 8 sets of 10 for each of the 6 exercises in the routine below. That is a high volume routine that will have your chest singing out for mercy half way through the routine. Compound setting allows you to get more exercises in a shorter period of time Nice!
Incline DB press & Flat Barbell Bench Press
-> 3 - 4 sets X 10 -12 reps X ?lbs.
Rest 60 secs
DB Chest Press (twist) & Medial Cable Flies
-> 3 - 4 sets X 10 - 12 reps X ?lbs.
Rest 60 secs
Seated Chest Press & Decline DB Alternating Press
-> 3 - 4 sets X 10 -12 reps X? lbs.
Rest 60 secs
Decline Pushups & DB Pullovers
->3 - 4 sets X 10 -12 reps X ?lbs.
Cable pushdowns & Body Weight Dips
-> 4sets X 10-12reps X ?lbs
Burnout Diamond pushups 30 reps.
Written by Dre Farnell
A new course is available at Weik University on building a massive chest. Those interested in sitting through an easy course, no need to look any further because class has just begun. Everyone is guaranteed an “A” for the course as long as you sit through the course and pay attention. From there, all you have to do is take what you learned from the course and utilize it in the gym for massive chest gains.
Let’s start with the basics of Chapter 1 and then get into more detail later on in the course.
Let’s start off by explaining the anatomy of the chest. It’s not very complicated and not much to it. Once you understand how the chest works, you will find it easier to visualize your chest workouts.
The pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor.
The pecs are found attached to the humerus of the arm, right near where the shoulder joint is. They then run across the front of the body and originate on the breastbone (picture a chicken breast). The pectoralis major is attached to the front of the body on the rib cage. The pectoralis minor is found underneath the pectoralis major. It originates on the ribs and attaches up to the scapula, specifically at the coracoid process.
The pectoralis major brings the humerus across the body while the pectoralis minor moves the shoulders forward. Together, you get the bench press movement.
Like I said before, once you understand how everything works it makes it much easier to visualize the muscle fibers contracting during each set. When you have a good mind-muscle connection you get more out of each rep. Too many people try to load on a weight that they can’t handle and end up using more accessory muscles rather than the chest alone. That’s fine if you are trying to impress chicks, but in terms of results it’s not efficient.
When hitting the chest you have 3 different areas that you want to hit hard with compound movements. You have the upper chest, mid chest, and lower chest.
The upper chest is something that some gym rats forget about. The best exercise for hitting the upper chest is incline barbell presses. For this you want to have the bench on an incline where you can specifically feel it working your upper chest. Different people feel the exercise at different angles (45 degrees works for most people)—but the best thing to do is try different angles to see what works for you. If you feel the exercise more towards the middle of your chest then you have the angle too low and it will feel more like a flat bench press. On the flip side, if you feel the exercise more in your shoulders, then you have the angle too high and you need to decrease the angle.
The mid chest is hit with the famous exercise—the bench press. Everyone does it in the gym (unless you are injured, have a disability, or simply have no idea what you are doing in the gym). Too many people are in the gym trying to impress everyone with how much they can bench, yet more than half of them are doing the exercise incorrectly in which they can cause serious injury to themselves. The famous saying, “What do you bench?” is said around the gym more than any other saying—I cringe at the sound of it. Not because I don’t care what they bench, but because I know that person is one of the many that I mentioned above that are probably executing the exercise incorrectly. So let me say it once and get it over with… It’s not how much weight you can lift, leave your ego at the door—concentrate on feeling the weight and using the correct form. Another exercise that involves no weights that hits the mid-chest is the pushup. These are great for if you can’t get to the gym or you want to pump up a little bit.
The lower chest I believe is the most neglected portion of the chest. When you look at the best chests in bodybuilding you notice from top to bottom the chest is fully developed and full. If someone neglects the lower portion of their chest you will notice fullness in the upper half but below mid-chest they will be flat and without the roundness at the bottom portion. Doing decline presses as well as dips can develop the lower chest.
Incline Barbell Bench Press 3x8-12
Flat Barbell Bench Press 3x8-12
Decline Barbell Bench Press 3x8-12
Incline Bench Dumbbell Fly 3x15
Flat Bench Dumbbell Fly 3x15
Incline Dumbbell Press 3x8-12
Flat Dumbbell Press 3x8-12
Decline Dumbbell Press 3x8-12
Incline Cable Fly 3x15
Flat Cable Fly 3x15
Incline Dumbbell Press 3x8-12
Flat Barbell Bench Press 3x8-12
Incline Dumbbell Fly 3x15
Machine Fly 3x15
Workout #4 (bodyweight workout)
Bodyweight Incline Pushup on Stability Ball 5x8-12
Bodyweight Pushup 5x8-12
Bodyweight Dips 5x8-12
Workout #5 (Smith Machine workout)
Smith Machine Incline Bench Press 5x8-12
Smith Machine Flat Bench Press 5x8-12
Smith Machine Decline Bench Press 5x8-12
When it comes down to it you want to focus on the mind-muscle connection. You should really feel each rep and feel the muscle working. If you don’t feel an exercise in your chest, then you are probably doing it wrong or are using a weight that you can’t handle and are using more than just your chest.
Make sure you are hitting each part of the chest equally (unless your chest isn’t balanced then you need to work on that section more). Focus on compound movements for the upper, mid, and lower chest. Then utilize shaping movements such as flys to finish out your chest workout.
Most of all have fun with your workouts. If you aren’t having fun, then what’s the point? Utilize what you learned in this course and see where it takes you. Good luck and see you at graduation!
Written by Matt Weik
One of the most enduring debates related to resistance training has been the subject of exercise form. How picky should you be? Should you place more emphasis on the amount of weight? Are you short-changing yourself if you don’t squeeze on the concentric portion of every rep? Does “cheating” have any benefits? What about feeling that mind-muscle connection?! Let’s examine the most commonly abused exercises often referred to the “Big Three” and how perfecting the technique on these movements can lead to substantial levels of new growth and development.
The Squat: If there is any one exercise that separates the serious gym rats from the recreational- abs and bicep enthusiasts, this is it. It would be a rarity to find a gym-goer doing heavy “glutes-to-calves” low bar squats just to “stay in shape for the summer”… that’s because it’s not easy. However when the squat is executed correctly, it becomes a movement that can easily change a person’s entire physique. In addition to building the whole lower body, the barbell squat is a movement that forces the entire body to work and thus, grow!
Correct common mistakes:
I often hear people say “squatting below parallel will destroy your knees!” However this all-too common utterance usually comes from ill-informed trainees because it just isn’t true. When your knee joint is fully extended or completely contracted it is at its strongest. Squatting above parallel places your joints in a semi-compromised position compared to full-squats. Furthermore, full motion squats strengthens your gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, and knees. Comparatively, partial squats only build up your quadriceps and knees which can cause imbalances and eventually lead to injuries.
Fix it: If you have knee pain from Squats, make sure you start light while perfecting your technique and work on developing hip flexibility. Squatting deep with correct form will not be the cause of knee pain!
Rounding your back in an effort to hoist too much weight is counterproductive and dangerous. Therefore, I recommend a slightly wider than shoulder width stance while squatting. This will give you a stable base to execute the movement with maximum intensity. You will be able to maintain proper form without relegating yourself to lower weights and your entire body will be working to lift the weight.
Fix it: Make sure to keep your chest up, always push from your heels, and find a focal point to help place your head in position. Keep your eye on that spot you pick out and do not force your knees inward, it is OK to extend with your knees out if it is comfortable for you. Just like anything worth developing, learning to squat with the correct from takes a great deal time and patience.
Variations: Front Squat, Overhead squat, high bar squat.
The Bench: The most common question asked in gyms everywhere has been “Hey, How much you bench? Many of you have probably been asked this at some point in your life, if not, you probably will. Consequently, the bench press has become the premier ego exercise in gyms all over the world causing athletes to sacrifice their form for a boost in pride. Little do they know they’re also sacrificing new muscle and delayed strength progression for a possible “personal record” to tell all their friends about.
Correct common mistakes:
In an effort to push as much weight as possible, athletes will use their entire body (legs included) to try and lift the load - doing this decreases the distance needed to complete the movement, but it does not help develop your chest.
Fix it: Always remember to keep your butt on the bench and heels on the floor. This will automatically place more stress on the pectorals and correct any potential cheating.
Don’t use too much front deltoids and triceps - the bench press is a primary exercise for developing the pectorals. Therefore, you should pay attention to the width of your grip and give yourself a solid base to push from.
Fix it: Find a place on the bar that is narrow enough to allow a full range of motion but at the same time places maximum tension on the chest. Contract your upper back and keep your shoulder blades down in order to further emphasize the target muscle group.
Having a little arch in your back is fine during a heavy attempt on the bench press. However, some lifters might end up exaggerating the arch in their lower back in an effort to use their lower body to help push the weight. Competitive powerlifters going for a 1-rep max may do this continuously, but for anyone else the risks of injuring your lumbar spine aren’t worth it.
Fix it: Use a spotter to assist you so you do not have to jeopardize your lower back in order save your own life during a heavy set!
Variations: Close-grip bench press, Incline bench press, decline bench press, floor press, reverse grip bench press.
The Deadlift: Second only to the barbell squat, the deadlift is another high risk-high reward exercise that can dramatically improve your overall physique. However, as your technique gets better, your risk of injury goes down and the potential for growth increases substantially. The deadlift allows you to use almost every major muscle group in your body to perform the movement. Therefore, it’s crucial to maintain control of your form and make sure you’re getting the most out of your time in the trenches.
Correct common mistakes:
Deadlifts are primarily a back builder, but the one offense most commonly seen while performing the deadlift is rounding the lower back. The deadlift should teach you to keep your lumbar spine straight while lifting a heavy weight straight off the floor in order to avoid disc injuries.
Fix it: Pull your shoulders back, lift your chest up, and focus on making sure your looking straight ahead. As you come up you should push from your heals and bring your hips forward… this will make it very hard to round your lower back.
Emphasizing a shrug at the top of the lift. - This is not needed because the proper execution of the deadlift will help yield enough trapezius development without any extra shrugging. In fact, it is easy to slip a disc while hoisting the heavy barbell into a forced shrugging position.
Fix it: Be mindful about which muscles are getting the most stimulation during the lift. You should feel plenty of tension placed on your upper back and traps. If you need more stimulation, try an isolation movement like power shrugs or cleans after your working sets to further develop your traps.
Variations: Power cleans, rack pulls, trap bar deadlifts (more of a squat-type lift)
Executing these three major exercises ultimately comes down to patience and focus. Perfecting your form on any exercise automatically adds another level of concentration to your training. Don’t just go through the motions. Be honest with yourself and make sure you are making the progress you should be. Tom plats once said of the Austrian Oak, “The gym could have burned to the ground in the middle of his set and [Arnold] would not have noticed.” You probably don’t need the greatest bodybuilder of all time to validate how crucial focus and concentration is in your training. But it helps to be informed, and some possible caveats to your focus may be those subconscious thoughts… Are you thinking about events in your life outside the gym? That upcoming exam? The parking meter about to expire? That girl in the corner on the standing leg curl machine?! I know from talking with many successful strength athletes and through my own personal experience that lacking absolute focus during a brutal session in the gym can have a significant hindrance on your progress. Harnessing the highest levels of concentration and intensity during each set will lead to less injuries and ultimately yield the greatest results in the end.
Written By: Connor LaVallie