Why can’t I gain muscle mass?

Discouragement in not seeing the results that you were looking for.

 

You have been serious about hitting the weights, you train hard, try your best to eat healthy, but after months fly by, you step on the scale and never gain a pound, you ask yourself, ‘why can’t I gain muscle mass?

It can be discouraging but first you will need to take a look at some ways that can help you with increasing the muscle size that you are looking for. Without these avenues to follow, it can be difficult to add the extra muscle weight, no matter how hard you are hitting the weights.

No doubt, it will take a lot of hard work and dedication to develop muscle and give your body an overall change in musculature structure and body fat percentage.

To make these changes, it not only takes a lot of hard work and dedication in the gym, but it will also take dedication to eating the right kind of diet that will give you the transformation that you are seeking.

Today we are going to take a look at some possibilities that you might have been overlooking if you are having a difficult time building muscle and adding size to your overall frame and muscular structure.

Are you eating enough of the right kinds of food?

You can be dedicated to your weight training, hit the gym five or six days a week and train heavy, but if you are not eating enough of the right kinds of food, it will be very difficult to build muscle and add muscle weight, even if possible at all.

There are many types of diets that people follow, and this all basically comes down to what you believe works best, or personally works best for you. Typically the type of diet that I approach is one that includes quality protein such as chicken, fish and tuna.

A good structured diet will also include fresh fruits and vegetables for added energy to get you through your punishing workouts. (link supplied by Ironwolf)

When you are not eating enough, and of the right types of food in your diet, it will be nearly impossible to build the muscular physique that you are putting your hard work and dedication into developing.

In order to determine how much is enough when it comes to feeding yourself the proper nutrition to build muscle, next I will go into detail on how to explain this through creating a caloric surplus.

Checking your food for calorie and protein content.
Do you measure your food portions for the sake of knowing how many calories you are consuming?

Are you creating a caloric surplus?

Creating a caloric surplus can be time-consuming measuring our calories and weighing your food portions, but if you are not spending the time it takes to gather the information that you need to calculate exactly how many calories you need a day to first of all maintain your body weight, it will be difficult to know exactly where you stand when it comes to how much food and calories you are ingesting every day.

First of all, it is necessary to know exactly how many calories a day you will need to maintain your body weight.

You can find this our by clicking on this link which will take you to a calorie counter where you can give your age, body weight and activity level to determine exactly how many calories you will need a day to maintain your body weight.

Once you have determined how many calories it is that you will need to maintain your body weight, then you will need to add on roughly an additional 300 to 400 calories per day over that in order to have enough calories in your daily consumption to build muscle.

There are other things that you may need to take into consideration, such as your body type. There are three different body types which can greatly affect your outcome when it comes to building muscle.

Ectomorph

An ectomorph is someone who has a naturally small boned body structure that might have a little more difficult time trying to add muscle to their frame because they are naturally skinny and have a hard time putting on weight and will need to consume more calories than someone who has a naturally larger body structure.

Different body types.
In order to get an accurate measurement of how many calories you need a day to maintain your bodyweight, you will need to take into consideration your age, weight and activity level.

Endomorph

An endomorph is someone who has a naturally larger body structure, larger bone structure and overall larger body frame. This type of person has a natural tendency to put body weight on much easier than an ectomorph, and a lot of their food reserves can become stored as fat cells.

Mesomorph

A mesomorph is someone who has the perfect body type for building muscle and has the best physical structure and ability to consume calories that are absorbed better for building muscle.

A mesomorph is someone who doesn’t need to pound down the food in order to gain weight, and is someone that doesn’t need to be leery of every little thing they eat is going to add an excessive amount of weight on like and an endomorph would.

Once you have determined precisely how many calories you will need a day to maintain your body weight by using the calorie calculator, you will need to adjust your calorie consumption according to your body type so that you are ingesting enough calories to build muscle without putting on excess fat.

If you fall into the category of a mesomorph, you will likely need to add 300 calories per day to what it takes to maintain your body weight. If you are an ectomorph, you will need to adjust your caloric consumption higher, and this may be something that you will need to play around with until you can determine how many calories you will need a day to build muscle.

If you fall into the category of an endomorph, once you have determined precisely how many calories a day you will need to maintain your body weight, you might want to start our smaller by adding only an additional 100 calories to what you will need per day to maintain your weight.

After you have given yourself at least 1 month if not 2 months, and you still have not noticed any difference, you might want to boost your calorie consumption up by another 100 calories, enough where it can give you the calories you need to build muscle with a solid weight training program, but not too many where you are putting too much fat on your frame.

Train hard for maximal gains.
Train with intensity and overload your muscles.

Are you training frequently enough?

The concept behind building muscle is to overload your muscle, give your muscles an adequate amount of rest, typically 72 hours, once your muscles have fully recovered, repeat the cycle.

Many people that are experiencing a lack of progress when building muscle are only working in each muscle group once per week. In order to achieve maximal gains in your weight training, you will need to train each body part twice per week.

A training partner can give you an added boost

At times it can be frustrating working our on your own and not having anyone to give you the backing that you need to achieve maximal results. There is no need to go It alone.

Especially at a time like this with the covid 19 pandemic going on, many people who once use to go to a gym to work our are training at home, and this can make it especially difficult for them to get the added boost they need from having someone to spot them in a heavy lift, or overall motivation that one can receive from having a training partner.

Finding a training partner or coach.
Have someone to train with you for best results.

When you are having a difficult time building muscle, one thing that can greatly benefit you is having a training partner. This doesn’t need to be a professional trainer, it can simply be someone that has similar interests as you and enjoys working our.

A training partner can give you the added motivation to train harder and to push each exercise to failure. Many times when we pick up a weight and begin to rep out, we often stop one or two reps short of failure which can be greatly affecting our progress.

To efficiently build muscle, we need to overload the muscle to a point of exertion for the purpose of breaking down muscle tissue. Once the muscle tissue is broken down, then we need to give our muscles a break for 72 hours, or 3 days for them to properly heal which is when the muscles are doing their actual growing.

Once the muscle tissue has mended, then you will need to start back at the beginning of the process again on breaking the muscle tissue down. This requires overloading your muscles on a regular basis of two times per week.

Once you are ready to work on overloading your muscles, this doesn’t mean that you are necessarily going to be piling on the weights and seeing how much you can lift with only a range of one or two reps per set.

More specifically, when talking about overloading your muscles, I am speaking in terms of going to complete failure with whatever weight you are using for an exercise.

For example, if you are doing the barbell curls with 80 lb and your maximum repetitions is 12 reps with that weight, but you are only doing 10 reps, then you are not lifting to your full potential.

When you are not lifting to your full potential, it will be difficult to put muscle on when you are cutting your sets short. This is why it’s necessary to push to the point of failure with each set you do.

The best way that I have found to push yourself to the full point of failure and beyond is by having a training partner that will give you the added incentive and motivation to push you beyond what you can normally do on your own.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to find someone such as a friend that has similar interests as you and enjoys working out, this way you can have somebody that you know and trust to workout with and will give you the added boost to your training and your spirit which will go a long way when it comes to seeing results in the gym or in your own home if that’s where you prefer to do your weight training.

Training with intensity keeping your goals in mind.
Training with intensity keeping your goals in mind.

Creating goals

Another place where many people are lacking that are not seeing the results they are looking for when it comes to building muscle or sculpturing a great physique is they are not setting proper goals for themselves.

In order to achieve anything great in life, it is necessary to create goals for yourself. Goals can be small or large, they can be for the short-term or long-term such as one year, 5 years or even 10 years.

Without creating goals it will be difficult to reach your destination when you have not actually determined a destination that you plan to reach.

I have written about the subject of creating goals for your training in the past and you can simply click on this link to check out ideas on how to create training goals for yourself for the short-term and long-term.

Conclusion

Many times if we are not seeing the results that we are looking for, it can be a good idea to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Often when we set our to accomplish a goal, we are only looking at one part of the aspect that it takes to satisfy that goal when oftentimes it takes several aspects.

Generally speaking, when you see someone that looks like they have put a lot of work into their body, they get passed off as being someone who spends a lot of time in the gym.

True, to build an impressive physique does take plenty of time and dedication weight training, but there is a lot more behind the scenes that is required in order to obtain an impressive physique, and that is eating enough of proper kinds of food, sleep, setting goals, training hard and being true to yourself.

I hope that this post has found you well and has given you some extra knowledge and tools that you can use to improve upon your training.

Along with all the key points that I have touched on in this post, it can also be a good idea to give your diet a proper supplementation plan which can also help you with seeing the results that you are training for.


To get a good idea of a supplement that can help you with increasing your muscle size and give you an adequate amount of protein to build muscle, you can check our one of my reviews on protein supplementation by simply clicking on this link supplied here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave a comment in the box below and I will be happy to get back to you as soon as possible.

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Incline bench press vs flat bench press

Bench press

 

The bench press has been crowned as the king of chest exercises, but is that strictly designated for just the flat bench press or does that include the incline bench press? The ‘incline bench press vs flat bench press’, we will be discussing the key differences between the two and does one work better than the other.

The bench press has always been a great exercise for developing the chest because it is a compound exercise, meaning that it will put more than one muscle group under stress at a time.

The bench press will work the overall chest, but it will also put other muscle groups into play such as the lat muscles, shoulders, traps and triceps, so if you are looking for a good all-around exercise to develop the chest, the bench press is an excellent one to get moving you forward.

Another advantage when doing the bench press is you can move more weight around as compared to other exercises such as the dumbbell benches and dumbbell flyes. There are many other great exercises that will definitely stimulate the chest muscles such as cable exercises and weight machines.

But when it comes down to it, there is one single most engaging exercise that will pack on the muscle for the chest and that is the bench press along with other variations of the bench such as the incline bench press and decline bench press.

What are the key differences?

Decline benches with barbell
Decline benches with barbell

One of the big differences between the flat
bench press and the inclined bench press is the flat bench press will work the overall chest but the inclined benches will work more of the upper pectoral region as well as more shoulders come into play when doing incline presses.

Another advantage with flat bench presses is they will work more of your overall chest area and you will be able to press more weight with the flat bench press. So if your goal is to increase your strength in the bench press, your best bet would be to concentrate on working the flat bench press.

If your upper pectorals are lagging behind, then it would be a good idea to concentrate more on doing incline benches since this exercise puts more stress and directs more attention to your upper pectorals.

Incline benches with barbell
Incline benches with barbell

Doing Incline benches, you won’t be able to press as much weight with them as you would with the flat bench press, but when performing the incline bench press, you are basically following the same principle as the flat bench press.

You will keep your feet flat on the floor, keep your lower back arched with your shoulders pressed into the weight bench, keep your hands at a slightly wider grip than your shoulder width with the palms of your hands facing forward and your elbows back.

Does one exercise work better than the other?

If you were to ask if one exercise works better than the other, or if the flat bench press works better than the incline bench press, it would basically come down to what your goals are and where you need to direct the majority of your attention.

If your goal is to increase your bench press strength for power lifting competitions, I would suggest that you will need to direct the majority of your time and the most of your energy toward pressing more weight on the flat bench press.

With the flat bench press, you are naturally able to press more weight than you are with the incline presses and the bench press will work the general overall area of your chest, but if you are seeking to build strength for your chest, ‘hands down’, the flat bench press is the exercise that you will need to be dedicating your time to.

This is not to say that you should completely avoid working the incline presses into your schedule, but simply stating that you will need to put your greater efforts into the flat bench press and make sure that you are working the flat bench press at the beginning of your chest workouts when your energy levels are at their highest.

If your goal dosen’t revolve around building strength but more for developing a proportionate physique, then you will need to spend more time working on specific exercises that bring up other more targeted areas like your upper pectorals where the flat benches can work the overall chest but the incline bench presses will more directly target your upper chest region.

Working with decline benches

Decline dumbbell benches
Decline dumbbell benches

Working with decline benches is pretty much the same scenario as doing incline presses. Decline presses you won’t be able to lift as much weight as you would with the standard flat bench press, but the advantage when doing decline presses is you will be working more of the lower pectorals.

This is also an excellent exercise if your goal is to build a portionate frame and the lower portion of your chest is lagging behind, then it might be a good idea to incorporate the decline bench press into your workout to bring out any areas that need more development.

Incorporating other key exercises into the picture

As important as the bench press, incline presses and decline presses are, it is still necessary to engage your workouts with other exercises where you can stimulate more of a wide range of angles targeting your chest muscles at different angles and stimulating further growth.

Along with following a structured weight training program including the flat bench press and incline bench press, it is also a good idea to include decline dumbell presses, dumbbell flat bench presses and incline dumbbell benches to stimulate a wide range and a fuller stretch in the exercises.

Incline dumbbell benches
Incline dumbbell benches with a spotter

When you incorporate dumbbell benches into your workouts, you naturally will not be able to lift nearly as much weight as you will with a barbell, but using dumbbells in your workouts is essential for developing a full, well-rounded development for your chest because you are targeting a wider range using more exercises and digging deep into the muscle tissue by using exercises that allow for a fuller stretch such as using dumbbells.

Incorporating decline dumbbell benches is an additional way to stimulate further growth into your lower pectoral region, especially if your lower chest may be lagging behind, you can even get a fuller stretch if you include dumbbell flyes in your routine.

Create yourself a training program

Incline dumbbell benches
Incline dumbbell benches

We have covered much area thus far in this article talking about exercises such as flat, incline and decline benches with a barbell and dumbbells and the possibility of incorporating dumbbell flyes for each of these positions including flat, incline and decline dumbbell flyes.

Now comes the part of creating a training program out of these exercises listed above as well as an arsenal of other exercises including bench dips, bar dips, cable exercises and weight machines.

When it comes to creating your own chest training program, with so many exercises to choose from, where do you begin when setting up your own training program?

Basically it will come down to what your goals are and if you have any specific chest areas that may be lagging behind and need to be more directly targeted.


Going for strength

If your main objective is to develop a strong chest, naturally you will be targeting your chest workouts toward building strength which will revolve around the standard flat bench press using a barbell.

When setting up this type of program, you will want to start your chest workout with the bench press when you have more energy and follow up that exercise by doing incline benches or possibly decline benches alternating the two periodically in your chest workout or you can follow up the bench press with dumbbell benches.


Going for muscle size and proportion

If your main objective is to build muscle size and to keep your muscle development proportionate, it still may be a good idea to start out your chest workouts benching with a barbell incorporating heavier weight when your energy levels are at their highest.

If you are suffering from a lack of development in your upper or lower pectorals, you may want to start out your workout with incline or decline benches when your energy levels are at their highest and then follow up with the flat bench press.

There are basically no set rules stating that you always need to do your chest workouts the same way or that you always need to start out doing the standard barbell benches first, whether if they are with the flat bench, incline or decline.

It can be a great idea to frequently change your exercises around where you might go in the gym and start out with incline dumbbell benches or maybe flat bench dumbbell flyes first in your workout and not even include the standard flat bench press in your workout.

The most important thing is that you are putting your chest under the stress needed to stimulate muscle growth and see muscular development, and to keep your chest development in check to see if there are areas that may be lagging behind, then you will need to incorporate the exercises into your program that will bring up those lagging areas.


Overall chest development

If your main objective is to work your chest muscles and obtain the greatest variety of exercises in your routine for maximal development, you have a very wide arsenal of chest training exercises to choose from.

Just training with barbells doing benches and dumbbell benches as well as other exercises like dumbbell flyes, bar dips and bench dips all work great for stimulating muscle size and strength.

Chest press machine
Chest press machine

Then you can always go for a wider range of stimulation in your chest muscles by including cable exercises such as the cable crossovers and a variety of weight machines such as chest press machines and pec deck machines.

Now matter what your goal is for chest training, whether it be for strength, muscle size or for overall development and tone, it is always a good idea to include a variety of exercises into your chest training routine for full development and pump.

Conclusion

This article has covered a wide variety of chest training exercises other than what was first outlined as the comparison between the flat bench press and incline bench press. The difference between the flat and incline bench press basically comes down to what your goals are and the type of chest development that you are looking for.

As with training any other muscle group, you will have your key exercise or exercises for making the best progress for strength and size such as the standard bench press for chest, but it will also be necessary to include a wide array of other exercises for better muscle stimulation.

I think that the exercises I have outlined in this article should be a pretty good guide for you to get started on setting up your own chest training program, dependent on what your goals are and where you want to take your progress.

With any good exercise program, you will always need to follow a healthy diet and it can also be a good idea to supplement your diet for best results.


You can check out one of my product reviews on supplementation by clicking on this link, and when you visit, be sure to check out any one of the affiliate links to purchase a product.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave a comment in the box below and I will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.

Read moreIncline bench press vs flat bench press

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How to build a masculine physique

Developing a masculine physique.

 

For centuries men have had an interest in (how to build a masculine physique), but not many want to work very hard, or they lose interest when they realize just how much work it takes or how long it can take. Following a good training program will not only benefit you now, but many years yo come provided that you stick with it and be true to yourself.

Are you one of those people that love a good challenge and is ready to take on new things or new ideas with your weight training and physical fitness activities?

Well if you are one of those people that loves a good challenge, today I am going to be talking about how to grow in your physical fitness journey and be open to new challenges when developing the physique that you desire.

The challenges that I represent could be goals that you are setting, the mindset that you are taking on in a physical fitness challenge or anything that could be setting you back on reaching your fitness goal.

Building a muscular physique is not like the title of this post is apparently representing, building a muscular physique is not just for men, there are plenty of women that enjoy working out and building muscle and strength.

There are women that hold prestigious titles in the realm of bodybuilding as a sport and there are many women strength trainers that have held world championship titles in power lifting.

Whatever your gender is, next we will be taking a look into different aspects of how to build a muscular physique, the dedication that goes into it and an overall snapshot of motivation that you can trigger into your own training agenda.

Setting goals

We all know that in order to build big and macho muscles, we need to spend plenty of time in the gym working out, but how much of a success rate do we have if there are no goals set.

In order to have a clear visual of where you want to be within a given time frame, it is necessary to have clear and precise goals, not only for a day to day or week to week time frame, but for the bigger picture, like six months, 1 year, even 5 your time frames.

To get a good visual of where you desire to be within a specified time frame, it will be necessary to set your goals according to the s.m.a.r.t goal plan. A recent post I have talked about the s.m.a.r.t goal plan you can check out here, this will be beneficial for setting up your goals.

Your success rate for any physical fitness plan will have a much better success rate if you create goals and keep them logged so that you can keep track of them on a day to day basis, this way you will get a better picture of where you are heading now and in the future.

Anyone who has ever achieved greatness in their profession has always relied upon setting sound goals for themselves. Take for instance the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He held the Mr Olympia title eight times, went on to be a blockbuster in the movies, and even held the position as governor of the state of California. With a background like his and all that he has gone on to accomplish, do you think he went as far as he did without ever setting a single goal?

Over Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career, he has set a whole lifetime worth of goals, and it’s apparent that he never gave up the fight until each and every one of his goals were accomplished.How to be smart with your training.

The proper mindset

Along with plenty of resistance training and goals, you will also need the proper mindset. Proper mindset is a necessity when it comes to your training, because if you do not have the right mindset, your mind will be far off distracted on numerous other things that can take you away from making the fitness gaines that you long for.

It can be difficult accomplishing anything beneficial in the gym when your mind is on work or a multitude of different tasks at home. We all have an abundance of things bombarding our minds every day, but it is necessary to set yourself in the right mind frame to accomplish your training goals.

For example, when you are setting yourself up for a heavy lift in the bench press, you will need the proper mindset and visualization of performing the exercise in your mind before you do the actual lift. This thing called visualization is an important part of getting your mind keyed into the physical aspects of your training so that you can make the most of your lifting to reap the benefits in the most beneficial way.

If you are in school and preparing for an exam, you will need the proper mindset to accomplish the task of mental preparation and the actual following through with your assignments in finishing the exam.

The same is true for accomplishing your fitness goals, you need to follow through with your mental preparation, the actual prospect of lifting the weight to completion using proper form and technique so that you can excel to the best for your benefit

Are you having setbacks?

One thing that can definitely put a damper on your training is any number of setbacks. Setbacks can set you up for a great disadvantage with making the progress that you long for with your training, whether if you are working out to develop big muscles, developing strength or physical preparation for the sport of your choice.

Setbacks can come in any number of forms such as minor muscle strains, pulls or they can be full-blown injuries or even over training the muscle which will result in the lack of progress if any progress at all.

It doesn’t matter how experienced you are at training, if you have been training for a month, six months or even ten years, setbacks and the dreaded outcome from them can strike any one of us at any time.

The most important thing is that you follow a system of goals keeping a proper mindset as well as following safe training techniques, then you should be able to avoid most serious setbacks by following these principles.

If you do suffer a setback, it’s not the end of the world, “what doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger”. Any time you suffer a setback, use that as a learning tool so that you can avoid from making the same possible mistake again.Starting up a weight training program.

Setting up a program

If you have been interested in building a muscular physique and are new to training, the first thing that you will need to do is set up a training program. Setting up a training program can be best accomplished first of all by defining what your goals for physical fitness are.

If you state that you want to develop big muscles, that isn’t enough, you will need to physically write down in a journal precisely what your goals are and have a definitive way that you plan on accomplishing your goal and have a set time frame that you plan to accomplish your goal.

If your goal is to build a masculine physique, this is best acquired through resistance training with a combination of free weights, weight machines and body weight exercises. It is best to perform exercises with a weight that you can achieve with a repetition range of 8 to 12 reps maxing out on your final repetition.

If you can accomplish more than 12 repetitions with your chosen weight, it might be in your best interest to adjust the weight heavier until you can accomplish the rep range of 8 to12 repetitions.

If your goal is to develop firm and toned muscles for that Greek God appearance, you can follow the same principles as stated above, except choose a slightly lighter weight that you can perform a rep range of 15 to 20 reps per set.

Avoid finding yourself distracted by doing things like taking your cellphone to the gym, cellphones are a great piece of technology, but are best left at home or in the car.

Sometimes it can be difficult to pry ourselves away from distractions, but the time we spend at the gym or training at home is for the betterment of ourselves and you will be doing yourself a great service if you give 100% of your attention to improving your physical health and wellness.

Getting positive feedback

A negative thing about today’s world is it can be difficult to get positive feedback in or out of the gym. Have you ever had the opportunity to receive positive feedback while training? If you have, have you noticed that your workout may have increased in productivity?

Ever since we were infants, we have had an innate need to receive attention or positive feedback, whether it be your mother when you were young or from a significant other in your adulthood.

The same is true when it comes to your journey of physical fitness training. Typically, the best way to go about getting professional feedback is to have your own personal trainer.

Personal trainers can tend to be a bit pricey and not everyone can afford one. But if you find it in your best interest to receive the proper feedback that you need to get the best results in the gym, or even at home,

You can check out this free personal trainer app system that can enable you to receive the comforts of having your own personal trainer in your own home.

Maybe following a personal trainer app isn’t for you. You could partner up with a friend with related fitness interests, having a training partner can have many wonderful benefits.

A training partner can give you the positive feedback you need, they will also be there to assist you with exercises that you might need an extra hand with to get that one extra rep or two out.

This final idea is YouTube, this isn’t your best source of positive feedback but it can be a great source of knowledge that you can benefit from to further your own personal experience with training and the betterment of yourself.Develop a masculine physique.

Conclusion

Developing that masculine physique doesn’t need to be drudgery and it doesn’t need to be something that we have to do alone. Don’t be fooled by the name of this article, developing a muscular physique isn’t only for men, there are plenty of women that enjoy working out and developing muscular physiques.

Eating a healthy diet is a major portion of developing a physique that has that magnetic appeal. You can spend hours in the gym working out but have nothing to show for it if you have a layer of fat covering up your muscles.

Eating healthy also gives you the fuel that you need to get through those tough workouts and gives your muscles all the vitamins and nutrients they need to recover and grow.

Another thing that can help to give your diet an extra boost, especially if the food you eat might be lacking in certain areas is a diet boosted by the means of supplementation.


You can check out one of my reviews on protein supplementation simply by clicking on this link here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to drop a message in the box below and I will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.

 

 

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12 week squat program

Front squats

 

My last post I had covered some principles on how to improve skills on squatting and how to squat with better form, but today I am going to talk about a 12- week squat program, and how you can increase your strength in a pretty short period.

Have you been struggling in the gym for a long time, but been having a difficult time increasing your strength in the squat? Well today I am going to cover some points on how you can increase your squatting strength.

Whether you are into bodybuilding, powerlifting, sports ‘such as football’ or you just simply want to increase your strength in the squat because you want to be all around bigger, stronger and feel better about yourself.

Then stick around and pick up a few tips that you may not have heard of for increasing your strength in the squat and get some heads turning in the gym when they see you powering up from some bar bending squats.

This 12 week program isn’t some gimmick that has you following a high rep scheme, or having you follow some fancy set and rep system. It’s laying a foundation of following some core principles and keeping your #1 principle in mind, and that’s to squat more weight.

How quickly can you increase your strength in the squat?

Typically, results can vary with strength increases due to frequency of training, if you are training heavy enough, your range of motion and practicing proper form can have an effect on it. You will also need to make sure that you are not only eating the right kind of food but if you’re eating enough.

The idea behind this article is to set a specified time on increasing your strength in the squat. The time frame I have set is 12 weeks, (3months). I didn’t want this time frame to be too short ‘so’ to see a significant enough increase in strength.

And I didn’t want the time frame too long to prevent from over training the targeted muscle from what some would suspect would be over training.

If you follow the principal that I will be talking about in this post, you should be able to add a significant amount of weight to your squat within 3 months. It will take plenty of hard work and determination, but I think that you will be pretty satisfied with the outcome.

Strange training techniques
Strange training techniques

Simple techniques for improving your strength in the squat

Often some of the most common things that can keep you from increasing your strength in the squat are just the smallest things that many people overlook. I have covered many of these in my last article. I am not specifically saying that you need to go about strange training techniques like the one pictured above.

Straight forward, it is necessary to keep things simple and basic, often people are looking for incredible techniques or strategies that they can use to increase their strength or muscle size.

I think that if you spend more time keeping things simple and straightforward, you will have much better results than spending so much time looking for an answer that will probably have you burned out after just the first workout.

How often a week should you squat?

Sometimes you might see someone that is so eager to get results, that they might work on the exercise that they desire results from the most, every time they go to the gym. I can understand their zeal, but you will want to avoid doing this for any prolonged period.

Continued punishment on the same muscle, workout after workout, day after day, will result in an over trained muscle. Working the muscle and breaking the muscle fibers down is necessary for muscle growth, but it’s while the muscle is recovering is when they do their growing.

In order to receive incredible results in a specific exercise like the squat, you will need to go outside the box, (so to speak). In general, it is necessary to follow a program of varied exercises and switch them around frequently and train each body part two times per week.

But when you have a specific goal in mind like increasing your power in the squat, everything else will take a back seat, not saying that you will cease training on everything else, but your main objective is to concentrate on your squat.

In order to achieve great results in any specific exercise that you have designated to work on as your main goal, you should fully concentrate on that exercise and apply it at the beginning of your workouts when you are most strong and have your highest amount of energy.

I would recommend that you concentrate on doing squats at the beginning of your workout three times a week, even four times depending on how you feel. One important key point to finding great results in your training is to read your body and follow what it is telling you.

For example, if your first day for that week you do squats you do 225 lb for two reps, and the next time you go to the gym and you feel like doing 225 lb for two reps is a struggle, follow what your body is telling you and back down a little.

Barbell squats back of neck
Barbell squats back of neck

The program

The idea behind this program is to concentrate on working at your squats three times per week, which goes against what I typically recommend, but the regular rout that you would follow would be to train each body part two times per week and keep alternating your exercises around.

To fully concentrate on working on the specified exercise such as the squat, you will need to single this out as your most important goal and you will be designating this exercise as your first and foremost exercise that you will concentrate on each workout.

This is not to say that you will follow through with a thigh training routine three times per week, but simply to concentrate on doing the squats each time you go into the gym.

For example, I remember back when I was in my late teens and going to the gym every night, I would train each of my body parts in a set program that I would concentrate on and follow through with on a regular basis, but I would always start out each training session with the bench press.

By concentrating on the bench press at the beginning of every workout, I wasn’t giving my best energy and attention to other muscle groups, I was just putting all my energy and efforts toward my one goal, and that was to increase my bench press.

The problem was that I continued doing this for a long time, much longer than 3 months and after a while I found myself in a state of being over trained and I got to the point where I wasn’t seeing any results and I eventually ended up getting burned out.

Following this principle with your squatting can be very effective, but keeping it at a 3-month period, and no longer, you will avoid hitting the over trained state.

How this training setup might look for the week, is when you squat the first time for the week, you would do squats behind the neck, your second day for the week for squatting would be to the front of the neck, and your third final day squatting for the week would be squats behind the neck.

You will need to concentrate on making small increments with your squats each training session. For example the first time in the week when you squat, if you can do a hundred pounds for two reps, the next time you squat, shoot for 100 lb for three reps.

There are three things that you will need to concentrate on, and that is increasing your reps, sets and weight. If you can make small increments in your training sessions with each of these three things, you should be able to make steady progress.

Another important part of this training principle is to keep a training log of exactly what you lift each workout. You will need to keep a record of how much weight, how many sets and how many reps you do each time you do the squats.

If you go to the gym every training session and simply rep out with the same weight every time and have no idea how many reps you did your last workout, you will have no idea of how many reps you need to do your next workout to keep these small increments progressing forward.


Below I have an idea of what type of rep and set system that you can follow to give you an idea of how you can set your program up.

WEEK ONE

  • 100 lbs, five sets, two reps. Your first training session for the week. Barbell to the back of your neck.
  • 100 lbs, four sets, three reps. Your second training session for the week. Barbell to the front of your neck.
  • 105 lbs, five sets, two reps. Your third training session for the week. Barbell to the back of your neck.

WEEK TWO

  • 110 lbs, five sets, two reps. Your first training session for the week. Barbell to the front of your neck.
  • 110 lbs, four sets, three reps. Your second training session for the week. Barbell to the back of your neck.
  • 115 lbs, five sets, two reps. Your third training session for the week. Barbell to the front of your neck.

As you can see in this example, you have already increased your squat by 15 lbs within 2 weeks. At this rate you could increase your squat by 30 lbs a month. Then you take that by 3 months and you will have added 90 lbs to your squat. At the end of this three month cycle, return back to your normal training program.

The two important things about this program is fully concentrating on your squats at the beginning of your workouts when your energy level is at its highest, and keep following a process of progression, which you will need to keep a training log to keep track of your records.

Barbell front squats
Barbell front squats

What other exercises should you include with the squat to increase your strength?

The best way to increase your strength in the squat is to work the squat at the very beginning of your leg training workout every time when your strength and energy are at their best.

When it comes to concentrating on other exercises that will help with increasing your power in the squat, I would recommend following up with the squat by doing other power moves such as deadlifts and the clean and jerk.

You don’t want to be following up your squats by doing these other moves more than two times per week. The other third time in the week that you do squats you will follow that up by training a different body part such as your arms or back.

Conclusion

No one ever said that setting up a 12-week training program for developing strength was going to be a breeze, but in order to get the results that you are looking for is going to take a lot of gut busting work, but when you see the results, it’ll definitely be worth it.

Other important factors that you will want to follow to increase your strength in the squat over the coming 3 months is to make sure that you are eating plenty of healthy fruits, vegetables and protein, and it is also very important that you keep yourself well hydrated with water.

A combination of other good sources of food for protein is peanut butter. Greek yogurt is another excellent protein source to add in your diet but the important thing is that you want to fuel your system with the right kinds of food and you will receive better results if you follow a supplementation program.


There are many supplementation products on the market, but I have found that two of the best are whey protein and fish oil.

You can check out one of my reviews on gold standard whey protein powder by clicking on this link.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave a comment in the box below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

 

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Best biceps building exercises

A muscular physique

 

Have you ever wondered what the single most, best biceps building exercises are? Or maybe what the top three are? What if I told you that building biceps, or as far as that goes, any muscle group, was a lot like putting a puzzle together.

In order to see the full picture, you have to include every piece of the puzzle. Often if someone isn’t seeing the results that they want in the gym, it’s because they are not including every piece of the puzzle to develop the full picture.

Often people think that in order to build huge biceps, they need to be using the right exercise, which is true to a point. We will cover that a little further in this post.

I think that it’s important to reflect on the full picture first, so you know that you are making the most of all the tools required.

Next we will be taking a look at what is involved in building a solid foundation with the right tools and getting a feel for the full picture behind building the rock solid body that will get heads turning.

Getting the full picture

As you can see, there are many important things to consider for building big muscles. Choosing the right exercises is an important part of building muscle, we will be looking at that shortly, but there are many important parts that come together to create the full picture.

If you are leaving anyone of these important parts out, it will have a major impact on your results.

The reason I am bringing up the importance of the full picture when this post is about the best exercises to use, is because if I give you my perspective on what the best exercises are and you are not seeing any results, it’s probably because you are leaving out one or more of the other key components.

Top three exercises for building big biceps

There are many great exercises for building big biceps, and you should put as many of them to practice as possible, but there are a few that stand out as the top mass building exercises that do an exceptional job for building big biceps, especially when you follow by all the other principles that I have laid out for you above.

The best way to gauge what type of exercises work best for building muscle other than using maximal weight for best muscle size results is to incorporate exercises that involve your elbows being in three different positions to stimulate muscle growth in your biceps.

There are your standard biceps exercises that include barbell curls, hammer curls and alternate dumbbell curls. All of these exercises involve being in an upright position, whether you are standing or seated. But they all involve you having your elbows fixed at your sides and are an excellent way to build biceps, but incorporating exercises where you have your elbows either in back of you or in front of you will stimulate muscle growth to a further extent.

What area are you targeting?

Diagram of the long and short biceps heads.
This diagram depicts the placement of the long and short biceps heads. Long heads in red and short heads in green.
Brachilis underlying bicep head
Brachilis underlying head does not show prominently, but attributes to 50% of muscle strength.

The brachialis is the prime mover of the elbow. While the biceps brachii appears as a large anterior bulge on the arm and is of considerable interest among bodybuilders, the brachialis underlying it actually generates about 50% more power and is thus the prime mover of elbow flexion.

Exercises that target the brachilis underlying

I have gathered a list of exercises that work great for targeting the brachialis underlying as shown in blue in the diagram above.


Next we are going to examine what bicep exercises stimulate your biceps to the best effect when you are incorporating one exercise for each of the different elbow positions that I have pointed out above.

Barbell curls

Many bodybuilders have always relied on the old standard for building big biceps. Barbell curls are a great way to achieve overall muscular development for the biceps and have been relied on by any bodybuilder and strength trainer that I know of ever since the dawn of bodybuilding.

One of the reasons why barbell curls are such a great exercise for muscular development is because you can load up the bar and squeeze out more weight than you can with other exercises such as dumbbells or cables.

Weight machines are a great way to incorporate more of a variety in your bicep training, but weight machines don’t give you the ability to build up the muscles the same way as performing exercises with free weights because free weights allow you to incorporate the stabilizer muscles which account for balance.

Barbell curls can work both the long and short heads of the biceps, it basically depends on what grip you are using when curling.

The wide grip works the short head as shown in green in the diagram above, and the narrow grip works the long head as shown in red in the diagram above. Shoulder width grip works the whole biceps brachii.

Preacher curls

Preacher curls, otherwise known as (Scott curls) are another excellent way to develop your biceps and add size to your biceps. Other than what is shown in the picture above where this bodybuilder is doing preacher curls with an EZ curl bar, you can also add variety by using a straight bar, as well as dumbbells.

A great advantage when performing the preacher curls, is you will be forced to use good form without swinging or cheating the weight up, which cheating the weight up can be a benefit if you are purposely performing cheat curls, but in order to stimulate good muscle growth in your biceps, it is necessary to perform good strict form which is a necessity when doing the preacher curls.

Preacher curls specifically target the brachilis muscle as shown in blue in the diagram above which is a muscle found in the lower part of your biceps.

Aiding in the flexion of your elbow, this muscle is targeted whether performing the preacher curl standing or seated, or whether you’re using a dumbbell or barbell.

Incline dumbbell curls

Last but not least on this list of great biceps builders is none other than the incline dumbbell curls. Incline dumbbell curls are a great way to build muscle in your biceps when following the principle I mentioned earlier about performing an exercise in your routine where your elbows are extended out in back of you.

Another exercise that you can include where your elbows are extended in back of you and you can also use more weight are the body drag curls. The only problem with performing this exercise is it may be a little more difficult to squeeze your biceps at the top of this move as you normally would with the incline dumbbell curls.

Incline dumbbell curls you will not be able to lift as much weight with this exercise, but it is a great way to stimulate your biceps while keeping your elbows in back of you, and this exercise will also help to eliminate any cheating so you will be forced to perform this exercise with good form, and always remember to squeeze your biceps at the top position and let your arms all the way down at the bottom position without swinging your arms.

The long head of the bicep as shown in red in the diagram above remains active throughout the entire range of motion when performing inclined curls.

Conclusion

When designing your bicep training program, it is never a good idea to design it around three exercises and only sticking to doing them. It is best that you incorporate a series of different exercises which will enable you to develop your biceps to the fullest.

If you are serious about adding size to your biceps, I would recommend that you start each bicep training session out with performing barbell curls which will enable you to use more weight which means stimulating more muscle growth.

When performing the barbell curls, if you have reached your max amount of reps that you can go with strict form, you can always use your legs for a series of two or three repetitions at the end of your sets for further muscle stimulation.

Once you have finished with the barbell curls, it would be a good idea to follow up with at least one of the other two exercises that I pointed out.

For example, after you have finished the barbell curls, you could do the inclined dumbbell curls followed by a set of body drag curls or a set of hammer curls. Another example you could do is after finishing the barbell curls, you can do preacher machine curls followed up by a set of alternate dumbbell curls or cable curls.

Never be afraid to change things around in your training routine and keep things fresh, because if you do the same thing over and over again, your workouts will start to become stale and you will see very little progress if any after a while.


Another important part of your regimen that is necessary to keep muscle growing is your diet and supplementation. To check out a review on muscle building supplementation products, you can simply go here and smash this link.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave a comment or question in the box below as I love to hear feedback from my readers and I will reply back to you as soon as possible.

 

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Weight bearing exercises without weights

Rope chins

Weight bearing exercises without weights can get you excited about building muscle and developing a set of big muscular arms that are popping out of your shirt sleeves? Or would you like to put on a pair of your favorite short’s and expose a set of burly muscular legs?

Many people would like to develop a muscular physique that would give them the confidence to show themselves off at the beach or simply feel better about themselves.

But are you finding it difficult to train at the gym because of self distancing or having to wear a face mask which can make it difficult breathing, especially when breathing heavy is a necessity when it comes to working out?

Others would rather train at home, possibly for safety reasons or for privacy but find it out of the question because of lack of space or they are not able to afford workout equipment.

I have talked before about training at home and doing body weight exercises, but what I have covered before is basically a hand full of basic exercises and some people get bored with doing the same old thing and would like to experiment with doing something different.

In this post we will explore some different body weight exercises that can keep things new and exciting for your training program. Although there are people of different training levels and experience.

We have included exercises that are different strength and training levels, some exercises people of less experience can tackle, while others you may not be able to do until you have built up your strength and experience level.

First we will start out with some more basic exercises that a beginner can use in their training programs and then work out up to the higher experienced exercises that will require you to spend some time building yourself up.


Chair push-ups

If you are anything familiar with doing your standard form of push-ups, you might be tired of doing the same old repetitious thing, sometimes it can be nice to add a little spark to your training and try something different.

There are different variations to doing the push-up which can add variety. There are a couple of other variations that we will cover here today.

The first one I will cover is the inclined, bench or chair push-ups. This exercise will direct more attention that you are exerting on your chest muscles by developing the lower portion of the pectorals.

Inclined, chair push-ups

First start out with placing your hands on a chair and your feet on the floor, lower yourself down until your chest touches the seat of the chair, pause for a second and then push yourself up squeezing your chest muscles.

The type of grip that I would typically use with chair push-ups is I grasp the sides of the seat with the palms of my hands facing inward, this can create a variation of rotation where they would normally be facing back, but using this grip will target your chest muscles in a slightly different manner.

Declined chair push-ups

This version of the push-ups is replicating basically the same idea as the inclined push-ups, except with this version, your hands on the floor and your feet are on the seat of the chair.

When you perform the decline chair push-ups, you will be putting your hands flat on the floor pressing yourself up. This exercise will basically replicate the incline bench press which is targeting your upper chest area.

Hack-squats

Hack squats are a good exercise for developing the quad muscles. If you can’t work out at the gym and don’t have weight equipment at home, an exercise that you would typically do at home to replace the squats would be the deep-knee bends.

To give your workout a bit of variety, instead of doing the deep knee bends, you can try out the hack-squats for something different.

This exercise is basically like the squat except you will stand approximately one foot away from the wall and rest your back against the wall.

Once you are in this position, you will start to slowly lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor and then return back to the standing position with your back still intact to the wall.

You can take whatever stance you feel most comfortable with, but generally the most common stance you would take would be a shoulder-width stance.

Dragon fly

The dragonfly is an exercise that will take intense core strength. There are many other great exercises that you can use to develop your core, such as the plank exercise

There are different variations to performing the planks, but I think that of all core strengthening exercises, the dragonfly has to be the top exercise that takes the largest amount of strength to perform.

This exercise as shown in the image is performed on a bench in a gym, but you don’t need a gym in order to perform this exercise.

This exercise can be performed in your own home on the floor, as long as you have something that you can hold on to, to support your upper body while giving you the strength to raise your lower body.

As pictured in the image, this dragonfly performer is holding onto the sides of the bench to secure his upper torso. But if you are doing this exercise in your home, all you need is something to hold onto, even if it is holding onto the underside of your couch.

Neck bridge

The neck bridge, aka, the wrestlers bridge is an exercise that will build a strong and muscular neck. The neck bridge is an exercise that wrestlers perform to develop a strong neck which helps them with strength for take down maneuvers and reversal tactics.

The neck bridge can be performed with various styles such as the one shown in the image where you are basically holding this same position. Another variation is where the person performing The neck bridge is rotating their neck around hitting all different angles of their neck.

Last but not least is a safer variation of the neck bridge which still does a good job of building and strengthening your neck muscles. This exercise you set a chair up where you can rest the back of your head on the seat of the chair, place your feet flat on the floor approximately shoulder width apart.

Once you are in this position, you will start by raising your buttocks off the floor, you can either hold that position that you are in while keeping your neck straight, or you can raise your body weight up and down while using the muscles in the back of your neck to do the lifting.

Muscle-ups

Muscle-ups have been a popular exercise for a long time that take a tremendous amount of strength. As the image above depicts, one would think that this is basically a chin up move, but there is a little more to it than that.

First of all, in order to perform this exercise, you will need a bar to perform this exercise.

The best place to do this exercise would be outside where you have access to a bar that you can have plenty of free-range of motion above the bar for the completion of the exercise, such as a clothesline pole.

First you will want to start out hanging down at arm’s length, then you will raise yourself up until your chest reaches the bar, the same way as a wide grip chin .

Once you have reached this position, then you will want to muscle yourself up using good form over the bar so that your arms are straight down at your sides while grasping the bar.

Once you have reached the top position which will need ample room so that you do not bang your head on anything, such as the ceiling, then you will want to lower yourself back down and use good form and full control back to the finishing position and repeat.

Human flag

The human flag is an exercise that will take a lot of practice, as you can see from the picture, it will require a lot of strength to perform this exercise.

To perform this exercise, you can use your imagination for something to hold on to. As shown in the image above, you can hold on to a pole, such as a flag pole or a basketball hoop pole.

I have seen pictures of this exercise performed where the person that was doing the human flag exercise was holding on to the side of a large enough person to support their weight.

It will take a bit of strength to perform this exercise, therefore it will take a while to work up to building enough strength to do this exercise. One pointer I can give that might help with getting you going with building up the strength is using something to rest your legs on.

When you are resting your legs on something to support your lower body, you can gradually work your way up to lifting your legs off the support, this way you will be able to hold yourself in this position and work at developing it when you are not quite strong enough to do this exercise on your own without the aid of a support to hold your lower body.

Conclusion

In conclusion to this article, I hope that these exercises have given you an idea to broaden your training program, spice it up and be able to include new exercises in your routine that will target your muscles in a broader range.

There are a lot of other unique exercises that a person can include in their training program, exercises that don’t involve weights and you can do in your own home or backyard just using your body weight.

I will cover more unique exercises that you have probably never heard of in a future article, but hopefully these that I have included today will give a new breath to your training and will give you something new to work on.


To help you with succeeding at your goals and building muscle and strength, you can check out one of my product reviews on supplementation simply by hitting this link.

If you have any questions or concerns, I would love it if you could drop a comment or question in the box below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

 

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Build big shoulders-with dumbbells

Bodybuilding for size

You can build big shoulders with dumbbells in the gym or at home, all you need is a set of dumbbells. They don’t take up much room and they’re easy to store if you work out at home.

Developing muscular shoulders can’t go unseen very well, especially when you wear a tank top. A well-developed set of shoulders can stand out on the beach or anywhere spectators may pass by and gaze at your set of shoulders and dream of having an impressive muscular build that you do.

There can be a lot of enjoyment out of training shoulders because there is a wide range of exercises that you can do, and you don’t need a gym to train shoulders. Quite often I do my entire workouts just with a pair of dumbbells.

For this type of shoulder training, you not only need a pair of dumbbells, but you can also do similar workouts with kettle bells. Today’s subject we will be talking about weight training with dumbbells and how you can arrange your workouts with a versatile style of exercises just with dumbbells.

Why dumbbells?

Training heavy has always been a mainstay of bodybuilding. Generally where heavy training is perceived, most bodybuilders go about training heavy incorporating barbells, this gives them the ability to train heavier.

When incorporating dumbbells, a person is not able to train as heavy as they can with barbells, but the advantage with using dumbbells is you can get to a wider range with your exercises and you can also accomplish twisting and rotating your hands to achieve a further range of motion to develop the muscle.

There are other variations to dumbbell exercises that you can achieve with other equipment most commonly found in gyms such as upper and lower cable systems and kettle bells.

For example, you can imitate the dumbbell side lateral with a lower cable weight machine. Often gyms have weight machines that you can attach a single grip handle to a lower pulley and replicate the side lateral.

Often you can find gyms that have these low and high cable pulley system machines positioned where you will have one on each side of you and ,you can replicate the side laterals with both hands at once, you can also do the same with rear laterals.

Other typical dumbbell shoulder exercises that you can replicate with a low pulley system and a short handle attachment are the upright rows and the front laterals.

There are always other various options you can do with other equipment, but the advantage of using dumbbells is your range of motion and your ability to do a wide variety of exercises targeting all muscle groups with minimal equipment that can be done in your own home.

 

 

Training heavy

Take a look at many of the top bodybuilders today, how do you see them training, most of the time you see them pumping out heavy weights with barbells. Barbells give you the ability to accommodate a heavier working load which will induce muscle stimulation to a greater degree.

That’s why all those power lifting moves you see like the bench press, squat, dead lift, snatch and clean and jerk are always performed with a barbell.

These exercises can be performed with dumbbells, but you won’t be able to lift as much and you won’t achieve the same stability performing these exercises with dumbbells as you would with a barbell.

Barbells will give you greater muscle stimulation than dumbbells when it comes to your overall working load, “how much you can lift”, but dumbbells will give you a greater muscle stimulation when it comes to versatility in motion and a wider range of targeted muscle development through targeted angels.

An example of versatility in motion is the Arnold press. To develop the front head of the shoulder, “anterior head”, to achieve the greatest amount of weight pressed overhead, you would need to do the military presses or the press behind the neck.

To get a wider range of motion by a slight rotation to the hands, you can do the dumbbell presses. When you perform the Arnold press, your hands make a 180° turn while the Arnold press is in motion.

An example of a wider range of targeted muscle development through targeted angels would be the rear laterals. The rear laterals target the rear head of the shoulder, aka “posterior head”.

There are barbell exercises that will have a degree of negative impact on the posterior deltoid, basically any exercise you do for your back will have some effect on the posterior deltoid.

In order to work the posterior deltoid to a 100% execution level, it is necessary to perform the rear laterals. This is another relevant form for keying in full muscular development through incorporating dumbbells.

Is versatility the key?

Can you build a well-developed set of shoulders with one or two exercises? You can develop your shoulders to a degree and you will no doubt achieve a muscle pump which will feel good and probably lead you to believe that you are doing something positive towards having a future set of developed deltoids.

But in all reality, your deltoids will not have a balanced look, they will lack in appeal, especially if you are involved in body shows, and if one area of your body is under- developed, it can result in a weak link and possible injury in the future.

So when we are talking about versatility, what exactly is meant? Training versatility could mean training at different times, frequencies or duration. But to be more precise, I am talking about targeting a specific muscle group with a wide variety of angels and training systems.

There are three heads to the deltoid, first there is the front, “anterior head” of the deltoid which is worked through doing overhead pressing exercises and front laterals. This region is also negatively impacted by other exercises like the bench press.

Second is the side head of the deltoid, “medial head”. This region of the deltoid comes into play when raising your arms out to their sides as in doing any form of the side laterals, either done with dumbbells, kettle bells or low cable systems.

Another exercise that will target the medial head of the deltoid is the upright rows. Upright rows can be accomplished either with barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, low cable systems, or anything of an adequate amount of weight and with a little imagination.

An advantage to performing the upright rows with dumbbells is a little tweak to your wrists. When holding the dumbbells at arm’s length down, your palm’s will be facing inwards, “palm’s towards your thighs”.

Keep the outside of the weight high and the inside of the weight tipped slightly lower, doing this and keeping a shoulder width grip will help to target your medial deltoid to a fuller degree.

Third is the rear head of the deltoid, “posterior head”. This head of the deltoid is targeted through doing rear laterals. You will also achieve some posterior deltoid activity through performing rowing exercises when training back.

Training systems

One of the most common training systems that I believe works great with doing shoulders is tri-sets.

Tri-sets are when you perform three exercises back-to-back with no rest between each exercise, between tri-sets you will rest a minimum of 60 seconds, no longer than 90 seconds.

What I find works the best is when you set up the format of your tri-sets, is to have one exercise target your anterior head, a second exercise target your medial head and the third exercise target your posterior deltoid.

Example 1 tri-set

  1. Dumbbell presses /front deltoid
  2. Side laterals, palm’s down/side deltoid
  3. Rear laterals, palm’s down/rear deltoid

Example 2 tri-set

  1. Arnold press/front deltoid
  2. Side laterals, palm’s up/side deltoid
  3. Rear laterals, palm’s back/rear deltoid

*The first exercise for either example can be alternated with front laterals.

*The second exercise for either example can be alternated with upright rows.

After you do 5 tri-sets of 3 exercises, this would be basically the same as doing 15 straight sets of the same exercises. Doing your shoulder training performed as tri-sets will reduce the duration of a workout but will increase the intensity.

 

 

A list of dumbbell exercises

Below is a list of the more common shoulder training exercises, as performed with dumbbells.

Frequency and volume

Is frequency and volume important when it comes to training shoulders? Training frequency is how often each week you train a body part, volume is the duration of each workout, or how long you’re training session is per day.

Frequency

In the example of this content, here is an idea that you can base you’re training schedule from, for your weekly shoulder training schedule.

*This is based on following a push-pull method

DAY

  • Sunday-rest day
  • Monday-chest, shoulders, triceps
  • Tuesday-thighs, calves and core
  • Wednesday-back, traps and biceps
  • Thursday-shoulders, chest and triceps
  • Friday-thighs, calves and core
  • Saturday-traps, back and biceps

In this example, you are giving your shoulders a minimum of 72 hours rest, or ‘three days’ in between training sessions.

Volume

The total volume of you’re training can be based on your actual weight-training session, and any cardio involved.

If you do an overall 15 sets for shoulders, this should take approximately 30 minutes. Based on this outline, below is an example of a typical push-muscle day and your overall training volume for that day.

  • 15 sets for shoulders/30 minutes
  • 15 sets for chest/30 minutes
  • 15 sets for triceps/30 minutes

Total- 1 1/2 hours + 30 minutes for cardio = 2 hours total volume

Many pro-athletes would take a program like this example and split it up into 2 training sessions per Lean bodybuilderday. 1, ‘one hour session’ in the morning and 1, ‘one hour session in the evening’.

Conclusion

This post should give you a pretty good idea of how to form a training routine and what it takes to build muscular shoulders.

Your own personal training program should be like your fingerprint, it should be your own, designed for your own specific needs and formulated around your goals.

If everyone’s training involved the same principles and the same tactics, it would be pretty easy to come up with a training program, just do what some other guy is doing, but everything isn’t always so straight forward.

Coming up with your own unique tailored training program is something that needs to fit your schedule, your own personal preference, you’re training style and last but not least is something that you are going to be happy with doing.

If you are not happy with what you are doing in the gym, it will affect your results and if you even stick with it.

I hope this information has been helpful to you and will guide you in coming up with a sound training program of your own that you will be proud of the results that can benefit you.

For further reading on supplementation, you can check out one of my reviews by going here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave a comment in the box below and I will be happy to get back to you as soon as possible.

 

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Back training for mass, To row or not to row

Building a huge back

Back training for mass. To row or not to row. Have you given it thought on making the most of your back training by what rowing exercises that you include in your back training routine?

How many times have you been inspired to pick up a barbell and start rowing to build a muscular back after you have witnessed the musculature of some bodybuilders back that looked similar to the Swiss rolling alps?

There are many great back rowing exercises that do an incredible job at building a thick well muscled back.

Today we are going to take a look at various rowing exercises and how these exercises come into play for developing the muscular back that you have always dreamed of having.

Is there a rowing exercise that works best?

There are a wide variety of different rowing exercises that you can do for back. Personally I think the best deal would be to incorporate all of them at one time or another, but you shouldn’t just limit yourself to only one rowing exercise for back.

When it comes to doing a rowing exercise that works best, basically it comes down to what you are trying to achieve. If your goal is to add an unprecedented amount of muscle size on your back, your best bet would be to incorporate barbell rows.

This is not to say that barbell rows are the best exercise that you can do for back, but when you do barbell rows, this has always been the king of rowing exercises and you can pile on lots of weight, it’s all about lifting heavy weights, isn’t it?

There are plenty of other great rowing exercises that you can do in your back training routine, such as the one arm dumbbell rows. This is a great exercise for adding size to your back and you can concentrate on doing one arm at a time, plus you can also get a great stretch when doing dumbbell rows.

There are other rowing exercises that do a great job such as cable rows, t-bar rows and various other rowing exercises. It would be best to not limit yourself to only one rowing exercise when there are many if you put all of them to use, it will do a much better job at targeting your back from all different areas.

Here is a list of some back rowing exercises

How many rowing exercises should you include in a workout?

Typically, for a back training routine, I would recommend doing three exercises, one for lat muscles and the other two as rowing exercises.

This is not to say that you should only do one lat exercise for a back routine. Quite often I do two lat exercises, it just depends on how I feel. Sometimes I do only wide grip chins, other times I might do reverse grip chins and lat pull-downs.

When you do your rowing exercises for your back training routine, I would recommend doing two rowing exercises if you want to put extra emphasis on thickness for your back muscles. Other times you can concentrate on just doing one rowing exercise and doing two lat muscle exercises.

Basically it comes down to what you feel like putting into a workout, given your energy levels or what area of your back you want to concentrate most on development. It also depends on what your goals are, and how long you have been training.

If your goal is to just get into better shape or tone your muscles, you can accomplish this by doing only two back exercises, one for rowing and the other as a lat exercise.

For building muscle, I would recommend doing either 3 or 4 exercises in a back workout. If you do three exercises, it is basically up to you if you want to do two for lats and one for a rowing movement. If you do 4 exercises in a back training routine, then you can split the difference and do two as rowing and two as lat moves.

How often should you train your back?

There are many bodybuilders out there that only work each muscle group once per week, but I think that if you are in the building stage and want to add a lot of muscle to your frame, it is much better to work each muscle group at least twice a week and make sure that you get 3 days of rest between each workout.

After you have trained back, your muscle fibers are at a point where they have been broken down and they are in a stage where they need to recuperate and mend, this generally takes 72 hours, or three days.

After that three days, they should be good and recouped by then. If you go longer than three days between training body parts, they may not be getting the muscle stimulation that they need in order to grow to their fullest potential.

How many reps should you do?

If you are serious about building muscle size, I would recommend that you stick to a rep range of between 8 to 12 reps per set. If you do more than 12 reps per set, this is more for getting into shape and toning your muscles or you can do high reps to burn calories.

If you are doing less than 8 reps per set, this is more for building strength. Many people are into building strength and following a rep range of 1-6. This is an excellent range to stay within for building strength.

Should you train heavy when doing back?

The best way to build muscle is to train heavy, so it may be in your best interest to train heavy, but when training heavy, that is to follow with a weight that you can still perform 8 to 12 reps with.

For example, if you are doing barbell rows with 135 lb and can easily rep out 15 times, then you are training to light. If you notch up the weight to 185 lb and can barely push out 10 reps, then this would be a good weight range for you to follow with.

Conclusion

Back training has always been one of my favorite body parts to train, because there are a wide category of exercises to choose from and having a wide, well muscled back can give the appearance of wide shoulders.

Some people have a tendency to pick and choose which body parts they want to spend 90% of their time training. There are some guys I swear that the only thing they train is arms.

If you spend all your time training arms and never do anything else, pretty soon you will start to take on the appearance of Popeye.

To get the most benefit out of your training and have the best experience putting muscle on, I invite you to check out one of my reviews on supplementation, simply go here.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to drop a message in the box below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

 

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Muscular development, beefing it up

Weight trainer transporting plate

The sound of steel plates clanging, hoisting weights equivalent to that of a Toyota, blurting out screams of agony as your training partner hollers, c’mon, one more rep.

Building strength and muscular development, beefing it up to the point that your arms are ready to explode right out of your shirt sleeves.

Does this sound familiar? Gym life at times doesn’t seem compatible for those who are faint at heart, but yet is addicting to those who live for seeing just the smallest increment added to their arms, chest or legs.

Muscular development is something that many have had the burning desire to achieve and have worked long and hard hours to achieve, and many people haven’t made the results that they had hoped for.

Some people have relied on the use of illegal substances such as steroids to achieve the results that they have longed for. Is it possible to increase your muscular development eating regular food?

Do you need supplementation along with a healthy balanced diet to build muscle? Or can you build muscle without it? Today we are going to cover 4 points that will hopefully clear up any questions that you may have been wondering but we’re afraid to ask.

Can you build muscle on a typical diet?

The age-old question, can you build muscle just eating a typical diet of fruits, vegetables and your choice of protein whether it be beef, chicken or fish, or eating other healthy protein-packed foods such as cottage cheese, Greek yogurt or a variety of other healthy protein filled foods.

Can loading up your plate full of colorful vibrant nutritious foods give you all the essential vitamins and minerals and they need to build muscle? Or do you need other sources such as supplementation products or illegal steroids in order to build a vast amount of muscularity on your frame?

All of these healthy and nutritious foods come packed with the vitamins and minerals that you need to build muscle, but often times the food that we buy in the store might be lacking in nutrition value, as well many times it can be difficult to take in enough nutrition just through eating many of the common foods that you buy at the supermarket.

For example a bodybuilder with a large frame that would need to take in a substantial amount of carbohydrates, protein and overall calories would need to take in a large amount of food in order to support his frame and build muscle, but what if this same bodybuilder as a slow metabolism and he has a harder time burning off the excess calories without it turning to fat.

With proper exercise, a person can increase their metabolic rate which will in turn help with burning excess calories, but this isn’t necessarily always an easy situation for many people, sometimes it is more economical for a person taking in a higher amount of calories to support their frame and their workout load through supplementing their normal diet with products that can help with boosting their metabolism.

Do you really need illegal drugs to build muscle?

The sport of bodybuilding as well as many other sports these days have become so saturated with the use of steroids, and many of these Sports athletes are actually getting away with using these which makes it unfair for the competing athlete that is all natural.

Steroids are giving athletes the competitive edge, but it is not from their own ability that they have achieved such talent in their given sport, not to take anything away from the users of these steroids, because there’s no doubt they still work very hard for what they have achieved. But do you think that these athletes obtaining an edge from the use of illegal drugs is fair for the other athletes?

It is true that when bodybuilders and other sports athletes use these illegal drugs, they are obtaining much more substantial results from the use of these steroids than they would be if they had never used them. From the use of steroids, they are developing muscle size, strength and speed at a much faster rate than the athlete that has never used steroids.

Personally I feel that there would be a lot more pride for what one has achieved in their given sport if they had obtained the results that they work hard for through the process of natural muscular development, that is through training hard, eating a proper diet and being a little more patient through obtaining their results through a natural process.

Exercise and weight training are supposed to be about living a healthy lifestyle and feeling good about oneself, after all, I’m sure that’s the way it was meant to be when it first started out. But since people have become selfish through obtaining bigger and better results at faster speeds so that they can be better than the next guy made it more of a liars sport in my eyes.

There are far too many professional bodybuilders and sports athletes that have died prematurely due to the excessive use of anabolic steroids all in the name of being better than the next guy. Don’t you think it’s about time for a change? The sport would have a lot better reputation if there was no need for drug testing because the athletes would have never went down that path in the first place, what do you think?

Can you build muscle at 50?

Many people believe that you can’t build muscle at a certain age, and that typically lies around the age 40 because our metabolisms start to slow down and this makes it difficult to build muscle or lose weight.

Whether you are 40, 50 years old or older, it is still 100% possible to regain muscle that you have lost. If you have built up a certain amount of muscle mass in the past and have laid off from working out for a long enough time that you have begun to lose some muscle mass, it is easy enough to get that muscle back provided you train hard and take in enough of the proper ingredients like lean protein, fresh carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

Now that I have covered a little on the fact that you can regain lost muscle at a certain age, what about building new muscle? Say for example if you are 40 years old, you have been training for several years and if you have found yourself built up to a certain point but you feel that you could get bigger. If you wanted to add, say an extra half an inch of muscle to your arms over the next year, would this forty-year-old man still be able to do so?

The fact is that once a person reaches around the age of 40 their testosterone starts slow and their metabolism has a difficult time generating the capacity to develop muscle or lose weight like they were able to do back in their twenties and earlier 30s.

Even though once a person reaches a certain age and it gets difficult to build muscle or lose weight because of your testosterone and metabolism, you can still achieve more muscle, it just takes more effort to muster in order to accomplish this goal and it may take more time, but it still requires the same dedicated hard work in the gym and the same basic principles to follow with a healthy diet.

The importance of following a healthy high protein diet with supplementation

You can spend many years training and eating the right diet, but if you are not taking in the right portions of food, it will be difficult to sustain the amount of calories it takes to build up muscle, or the lack of calories it may take to lose body fat.

This can be a challenge for many people when they are on the go between school and work, keeping up with taking in the right combination of ingredients in their diet and the right quantities so that they can see beneficial results. This is one of the major reasons why many people take supplementation is because it can be difficult to take in the right nutrients through your general food sources alone.

Many people also find it necessary to take in a supplement along with their regular diet because taking in a form of supplementation can help give their health a boost and may also help with preventing or warding off diseases.

Another scenario that I have found myself in often is if I don’t have a supplementation to back up my workouts, I have a tendency to slack off on my weight training. Sometimes it can be a funny thing how our mind works in that way, but having that added boost of nutrients or protein in supplementation form to back up our workout can help with giving us the motivation to even get a workout in, in the first place.

There should be a general rule to follow on how much protein a person should take in, in order to obtain muscle mass. You will find different theories on this among different people, some people believe it is necessary to only take in .08 grams of protein per pound of body weight while others feel it is necessary to take in one gram of protein per pound of body weight.

Yet, some people follow other theories on the importance of really boosting the protein levels up in their diet in order to build muscle. Many people feel that it is necessary to take in as much as 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. If you take in too much protein, is your body using all of it, or is a portion of it just going to waste?

This basically comes down to your training volume. Naturally if you are a 250 lb bodybuilder and you spend three hours in the gym per day training, you will naturally need more protein per pound of body weight than a 150 pound bodybuilder who only spends 1 hour a day in the gym.

Much of this can also come down to our genetics and how well our bodies adapt to adding muscle. A person with an ectomorphic body type will naturally need more overall food and protein than someone with an endomorph body type.

Conclusion

From what we have covered today, you should understand the importance of eating a healthy diet and taking in an adequate amount of overall calories for building muscle while making these calories the sustainable kind of nutrition that your muscles require to grow.

Do you need illegal drugs to build muscle? It’s highly unlikely that you will get as big as Ronnie Coleman or Sergio Olivia without the use of anabolic steroids, but there are plenty of bodybuilders that have achieved some pretty good muscular development without the use of steroids.

And the point is, they’re still alive and healthy.


For further reading, you can check out one of my product reviews on supplementation by following this link.

If you have any questions or comments, don’t be afraid to leave a comment in the box below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

 

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What’s the best protein to build muscle – keep your muscles growing

Protein for building muscle.

Anyone who has ever set foot in a gym with the slightest interest in building muscle has wanted to pack on as much muscle as humanly possible in the shortest amount of time. But when it comes to building a lot of lean muscle, it naturally takes the proper kind of diet along with supplementation aside from just lifting weights.

What’s the best protein to build muscle and keep your muscles growing is a common theme behind many gym-goers with a mission to accomplish their muscle building dreams in as limited time as possible.

In today’s subject, we will be discussing what some best choices of food are for building lean muscle and keeping your diet lean. We will be determining how much protein you will need, finding a meal plan that works for you.

We also will be taking a look at the importance of supplementation along with a solid diet for building muscle. So if you have been looking for the proper diet for your needs and the proper supplementation for your diet, you can find the answers right here.

Determining how much protein you need:

Getting enough of the essential protein in your diet is an important part of muscle building, just as much as it is lifting weights. The question that many people ask, is exactly how much protein they need in order to build muscle.

Muscles are for the most part made of protein and are continuously being broken down and rebuilt. To gain muscle, your system needs to synthesize more muscle protein than it breaks down.

There needs to be a positive protein balance in your body which is called a nitrogen balance, because protein is high in nitrogen. People who want a lot of muscle need to eat a larger amount of protein. It’s well documented that a higher protein intake helps build muscle.

People that want to keep muscle they’ve already worked for, may need to increase their protein intake when losing body fat, because a high protein consumption can help to prevent muscle loss that generally occurs when dieting.

A typical recommendation for gaining muscle is 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, or 2.2 grams of protein per kg. Studies indicate that a protein intake of slightly higher than 1 gram of protein per pound (2.2 grams per kg) is better.

Though it’s hard to give exact figures due to conflicting study results, about 0.7–1 grams per pound (1.6–2.2 grams per kg) of body weight seems to be a reasonable estimate. If you are carrying a good amount of body fat, using your lean mass instead of your total body weight is a good idea because lean muscle is what determines the amount of protein you will need.

Your top choices for protein:

Fish is an excellent source of lean protein.

There are many great sources of protein that you can include in your diet, but the best ones are the leaner choices which would typically include white meat such as chicken, turkey, and fish. Other great options are Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and eggs.

I have published a post recently on the difference between chicken eggs and turkey eggs. Turkey eggs are much bigger so there is naturally a higher fat content in them, but the fat content that is in eggs are good for you. Eggs have plenty of (omega-3) fatty acids which are essential for your diet and building muscle.

Red meats have more myoglobin, which are cells that transport oxygen to muscles in the bloodstream. White meat is generally classified as poultry (chicken and turkey), while red meat typically refers to beef or pork. The biggest difference between the two is fat content.

White meat is a leaner source of protein, with a lower fat content. Red meat contains higher levels of fat, but also contains higher levels of vitamins like iron, zinc and B vitamins. Iron in red meat is called heme, which is more easily absorbed by the body compared to iron found in plant sources.

Red meat may contain more vitamins and minerals, but high consumption of red meat has been linked to increased occurrence of certain cancers, specifically colorectal cancer.

Both white and red meat have benefits. If you eat meat, it’s a good idea to include small amounts of both in your diet. Choose leaner cuts of red meat, like those that end in “loin” such as sirloin or tenderloin. You should trim visible fat around the edges to reduce fat intake and avoid charring while cooking.

Coming up with a meal plan:

I know, you are probably thinking that this is the worst part of the diet is coming up with a meal plan, because this is the part that involves weighing out your food portions and keeping track of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, but if you don’t track these areas, it will be a difficult trying to keep track of what you are eating and knowing if you are eating enough of the proper nutrients, or maybe even too much.

When it comes to the basics of setting up a meal plan, your meals should be portioned out so that your carbs and protein will be equal for most meals. To supply your body with all the critical nutrients you will need to eat six times per day.

To amp up the muscle growth, you will need to focus your meals around workouts and the time of day. Training days you will need more carbs, approximately 2.5 grams per pound of body weight and your post-workout meal will need to be higher in carbs to support the energy needed to burn through your workouts.

You will need to shoot for the most of your carbohydrates early in the day, while your later meals are mostly protein. This gives your body the amino acids it requires. Insulin sensitivity will tend to be lower later in the day, avoiding carbs helps prevent fat gain.

This pizza looks healthy, but may not be your best source of protein.

Protein consumption should be maintained at a high level, try to aim for as close to 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. On workout days you need about 20 calories per pound of body weight, but on rest days shoot for only 14 calories per pound.

Finding the right supplementation for your needs:

There is no supplementation that could ever be good enough to replace a proper diet. Food full of proteins and carbohydrates as well as the right kind of fats are important for building muscle and promoting health, but it is always a good practice, as most other weight trainers also do, is to include some form of supplementation in their diet, because a good diet alone might be lacking in some nutritional areas that you need, and supplementation is a good way to fill the gaps.


Conclusion:

You should see the importance of following a healthy diet and taking in enough of the proper protein to build muscle, but not the types of protein such as red meat which tend to be higher in fat and can diminish the hard work you have put in on your diet if you are trying to lose weight but want to maintain the muscle.

Along with a healthy diet high in protein, it is an essential part of the diet to include supplementation. For all you people out there seeking to build muscle, you will naturally want to have a higher amount of protein in your diet, so it naturally stands to reason that you will want to supplement your diet with a protein powder.

To check further into some information on a good protein supplementation, you can check out one of my product reviews on Gold Standard 100% Whey protein powder, Simply click on the link here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave a comment in the box below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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