Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My rant for the day-Pre-workout supplements



I hear a ton of guys around the gym and people I know talk about their pre-workout supplements they take and the effects it has on them. If you know me or read my blog you know I am not a big supplement guy. Whey protein, fish oil and omega-3's is about all I would ever use or have used. The fact is your average Joe ( no offense to the Joe's out there ) takes pre-workout supplements because they want to get those crazy intense workouts and they want to be able to lift everything and anything they can. They hear a friend or a guy at the gym talk about how he takes NO-Xplode or Hemo-Blast or something like that and how amazing it is and that you must take it to get a REAL workout. Here is the truth, quit looking for synthetic/supplemental energy and start being a badass! Go to the gym, hit the workout weights and MAN UP! Dont look for that surge or extra burst to come from a canister, instead use your own motivation and drive! Most of that stuff you put into your body ends up either going into the toilet or hurting your vital organs/daily functions. There really is no good research on the long term harm most of these products can have and most company's can claim what they want in terms of results. I don't take one supplement before my workouts and I get amazing workouts. Its simple.....eat well and get your mind right and you wont need those things...period! If you do actually want some extra energy the right way then is to get some carbs before your workout or drink a vitamin water type product before and or during your workout. In the end if you become always reliant on the supplements then once you go off them it will seem as if your never the same and this will start a vicious cycle. Go all Man and be pre-workout supplement free! End of story......

Monday, December 27, 2010

The New Year is almost here- 3 Ways to burn more calories



1. Do something during your work day- Most people sit all day at work and burn very little calories. Take the stairs more often, or take the long way around the office to drop off that report. You should also get up every now and then to avoid getting tight in your low back and hip flexors. Simply standing up and walking around for 2 minutes helps.




2. Lift rapidly-Lower your weights under control, and then move them up as fast as possible! This will allow you to recruit more muscle fibers and therefore burn more calories!




3. Eat protein with every meal- The thermogenic effect of absorbing/digesting protein is higher than any other macronutrient like fat or carbs. This means it takes more energy/calories to process protein.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More random thoughts...........







  • With holiday partys almost every weekend and bad unhealthy food everywhere you turn it can be hard to stay on track this time of the year. The key is not to fall off the cliff, try and at least limit the damage until years end and then start fresh and go get it Jan 1!



  • Please stop doing 3 sets of everything! Everyone loves doing 3 sets, trainers included. We tend to think that 2 sets is too few and 4..well that's way too many...so 3 becomes perfect. WRONG! You must change things up. You will not be looked at funny in the gym if you do 5 sets....so do it! If you are trying to pack on some muscle volume is essential so up your sets here and there.






  • Greek yogurt is superior to regular yogurt. Its higher in protein and lower in carbs which is perfect in my book. Chobani is my favorite brand.






  • Doing nothing but cardio makes you look doughy........resistance training makes you look good. Your choice.






  • A great thing to do is buy a big jar and put a bunch of mixed nuts and dried fruit ( the good quality kind not the kind loaded with sugar and preservatives) in it. Anytime you need to feed grab some for a great protein/slightly sweet snack.






  • Ladies if you want your legs to look good then you need to focus on angles and variety. Do lunges forward, backward, laterally and in every direction you can. Do squats, deadlifts, lateral steps, forward steps, just move at every possible angle and your legs will get the look you want. Sprints are great as well.






  • If your trying to get a bigger bench and bigger triceps then you better be doing close grip presses.






  • I was sick for bit and wasn't able to workout until just recently and let me tell you it felt amazing! You cant beat the feeling of working out and changing your body. If you don't get that rush when you workout its time to check yourself and find why you do what you do in the gym. Give yourself a reason to love your workouts.

Go Dominate!



Monday, December 20, 2010

Tricep long head work-Routine to blast the inner portion of the tricep


The long head of the triceps muscle tends to get under worked and therefore is generally underdeveloped. In order to truly give your arms that size you are looking for you need to develop this aspect of your triceps. Try shifting your focus to overhead and behind the head movements to increase the mass of your long head.




Overhead rope extensions ( Checkout my previous post on how to execute this exercise ) http://h4training.blogspot.com/2009/12/eom-overhead-tricep-rope-extension.html 1 x 10 reps
SUPERSET

Lying behind the head barbell extensions 1x12 reps


Rest 90 seconds and repeat 3-4 more times.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tip of the day


Try to start your workout with an exercise you would not normally do first. For instance, if you always do flat bench press followed by incline press, try doing incline first for the next couple of weeks. If you do squats first and deadlifts second, try doing the hamstring dominant deadlift first for the next couple of weeks. People tend to fall into a routine or habit of always doing certain exercises first in their workout. Eventually your body just gets used to this and your results slow. By messing up the order of the exercises you will shock your system into better results! You will also improve your strength on the new exercise you start with since you no longer will be fatigued by having to do it second. Go Dominate-

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

6 things people do wrong in the gym



1. Doing endless amounts of steady state cardio for fat loss-Dont waste your time doing 45 min of mindless cardio on the eliptical day after day. Interval training is more bang for your buck!




2. Not doing enough resistance training-We all see that guy or girl who spends 90% of their workout doing cardio and then does 10 minutes of weight training to end their routine. If you want to change your body then lift!




3. Giving up on their program- Too often people quite their program within a couple of weeks because they dont see magical results. If it was that easy and took that little of time everyone would be a fitness model. Stay the course and have belief in the program your on!




4. Take too much time to workout- Everyone has a limited supply of time, we are all super busy these days and therefore need to make the most of our time. Keep your workouts short and simple.......under 45min is plenty. Hit it hard and dont waste your prescious gym time. If you get in and get out then you have more time for everything else.




5. No variation- When people get bored and their workout no longer is fun they burnout which equals failure. If your workout doesnt get you motivated or excited to do it then it is time for a CHANGE! Dont fall into doing what is comfortable....do what you need to!




6. People dont overload themselves-Simple basics when you talk about working out is the overload principle. Basically if you want change you must force your body into going beyond what you normally do. If you are pressing for 10 reps with a weight you can do for 15 then you are not overloading yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and results will come!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Drop sets



You can call them breakdowns or strip sets but most commonly they are called drop sets. Drop sets are one of the best techniques you can use to add intensity to your workout. Drop sets have been and will continue to be a favorite of bodybuilders. If you don't use drop sets you should add this technique to your training.




What are drop sets?


*Is a technique which you do an exercise to failure or close to failure, then you drop some weight and continue with the exercise for more reps.




What do drop sets do?




*By dropping the weight and continuing the set you will recruit more "reserve" muscle fibers. By recruiting more muscle fibers you will allow your muscles to grow!




Some drop set methods ( other than the traditional drop set )




A) ( 6-20 ) or "halving" method- This is when you choose the heaviest weight you can for an exercise for 6 reps. Perform the 6 reps, then without resting drop the weight by 50% and rep out 20 reps. This is great to do with dumbbell rows.




B) Tight drop sets-This is when you make small drops in weight. This would be like doing dumbbell bicep curls and you would do reps with the 50lb, then 45lb, then 40lb etc.




C) Wide drop sets-This is when you make a big drop in weight and generally you can do more reps. This method is best done with large muscle groups and exercises like the squat and leg press. You could have 6 plates on each side of the leg press and with each drop you take a 45lb plate off each side.




D) Power drop sets- This was made popular by Larry Scott who liked this method to not only build some size but also build your strength. Scott liked using this for his arms and shoulders. Start with your 6 rep max, then drop the weight between 10-15% and then do 6 reps with the new weight until you reach the desired number of drops




Some tips





  • I wouldn't do more than 2-4 weight reductions ( drops ) during the routine- So if you start with 200lbs for bench, then you do 190, 180 and finish with 170. This would be 3 drops in weight.

  • Stay within the 6-12 rep range since that is the best range for muscle hypertrophy. Sometimes you can go with the higher 15-20 rep range on your last drop.

  • Don't do drop sets all the time- They are intense and you will overtrain and quickly burn out if you do. They say a ratio of 3:1 is best. Meaning do 3 regular sets and then 1 drop set.









Friday, December 10, 2010

6 more weight loss tips



1. Pay attention to night time snaking-Mindless eating generally happens after dinner. You go sit on the couch and let yourself relax and that is when you tend to grab the chips or candy or some other garbage snack. Your best bet is to not allow yourself to eat after a certain hour. Another option is to eat a small healthy snack like an apple or handful of mixed nuts.



2. Eat protein every meal- Protein is more satisfying than carbs and fat so make sure you are eating it! Getting enough protein ensures you to maintain your muscle which helps you keep a high metabolism. Aim for lean meats, nuts and yogurt.



3. Spice things up- Foods with more spice with add a flavor boost to foods you might call " healthy and tasteless" and will be more satisfying so you don't eat as much.



4. Keep your cabinets stocked with healthy options-If you keep good stuff around odds are you will eat good stuff. Convenience is another big key, so if you have foods that are easy to prepare or easy for you to make you will do better. Here are some things to keep around-



  • Fat free popcorn

  • Pre-cooked chicken breast

  • Containers filled with brown rice

  • Whole grain wraps or pitas

  • Bags of pre-washed greens

  • Frozen veggies


5. Don't cope with stress with food- Sooner or later the time will come when your super stressed and you will want to eat something that will make you feel better. Most likely when you go to de-stress by eating you will grab something that isn't good for you. A better option is to go listen to music, read a book, write in a journal, or exercise!


6. Keep working out hardcore-Don't let the workout get you.....but you attack the workout! Go Dominate!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Random thoughts.............






  • Nothing beats the feeling of dominating your workout-if you don't have the I just conquered the world feeling when you are done odds are you don't workout hard enough. Feel like a badass when you walk out of the gym!



  • Egg nog is a good option around the holidays for your post workout shake- Yes it is high in calories, fat and sugar but if you are trying to pack on muscle it is amazing! If your trying to trim up then not so much.



  • If you don't own a foam roller then buy one-If you workout often you need one of these to keep your muscle tissue feeling good. http://www.performbetter.com/detail.aspx_Q_ID_E_5566_A_CategoryID_E_235



  • Nothing beats the Victoria Secret Fashion Show- If they all were not so thin I would offer to train them.



  • Guys should NEVER...NEVER.....NEVER wear tiny shorts to workout in-I witnessed this a week ago at the gym I work at and it just is not good for anyone.



  • Most women don't work out with enough intensity and that's why they cant get a smaller butt or thinner thighs or toned arms-Ladies you need to drop People magazine and start working out with some authority and then maybe you will notice some changes.



  • Christmas music is just perfect this time of the year



  • The basic Chin-up is great to add some size to your arms



  • Kind brand bars taste amazing and are great for you! The basic fruit and nut bar is one of my favorites. http://kindsnacks.com/

Monday, December 6, 2010

E.O.M-Lying lateral shoulder raise






For December, we are talking about the lying lateral shoulder raise which you can perform on a bench. Simply lie on your side on a regular bench press and grab a dumbbell. Keep your arm extended straight along your side. To start, raise your arm straight up towards the ceiling until your arm becomes perpendicular to the floor. Lower your arm back down to your side to finish this move. Unlike the traditional shoulder raise this variation is harder at the beginning of the movement oppose to the end. Also, this exercise is great for the rotator cuff and overall health of your shoulder. Start off with lighter weight to get a feel for this before adding weight.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Stud quotes






" You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."- Wayne Gretzky



" Build your weakness until they become your strengths."-Knute Rockne








Wednesday, December 1, 2010

H4 Fat Burner #14- Max reps giant set


Here is a routine aimed to target every muscle group of the body. Both cardio and resistance training will be incorporated in order to get the most out of your time. Heavy weight is not the focus but rather how many reps you can knock out in the slotted time.


**Do max reps in the time stated next to each exercise- meaning you try and hit as high of a number of reps for 1 minute. If you need to pause during the time you can. During the cardio try and go all out in terms of speed and effort for the time.


1.Row-1min
2.Alternating front lunges-1min
3. Pushups-1min
4. Form of cardio-Bike, Tread, Stairs, Sprints etc- 3min
5. Pulldowns-1min
6. Military press-1min
7.Form of cardio-2min
8. Tricep extensions-1min
9. Split squats-1min
10. Bicep curl-1min
11. "V" crunch-1min
12. Form of cardio-3min

Rest for 3-4minutes. Repeat this 1 more time max.

Monday, November 29, 2010

BHM- Between Holiday Mindset



For those of you rocking through your workouts and in your best shape yet then ignore this post but for everyone else who needs that spark...LISTEN UP!




Thanksgiving has come and gone and odds are as you look at yourself in the mirror you notice a couple extra pounds on that body of yours and realize your not liking it. Thanksgiving is not the easiest of holidays on the body......carbs and more carbs and deserts galore get stuffed into your face like a vacuum. The good news is you now have some time to prep yourself before the next set of holidays near. You have exactly four weeks until Christmas to ramp up your routine and eating plan to get yourself in the best holiday shape yet. Use this time constrain as your motivation and to help you keep focused. Remind yourself to go hardcore for 4 weeks and you can reap the rewards! The eventual goal is that once you get rolling for 4 weeks that it will be a whole hell of alot easier to start the New Years Resolutions than if you were starting from scratch.....think less pain and time.





Lets first focus on your eating for the next four weeks. The holidays are a time of special treats, cookies, pies and breads.........so make it special and don't eat them until Christmas or Christmas Eve days! For the time being focus on limiting carbs to the mornings and post workout only. Lean proteins are a must at every meal. If you can think of doing one thing during the next four weeks I would say try to make a small change each day and that is it! Don't try and change everything and do an overhaul just think of ONE SMALL CHANGE......you would be amazed what a difference that would make.



Now lets change the focus to the workouts. First, I want you to drop whatever program you are on and toss it! You heard me! Stop another day of whatever you were doing! I don't care how amazing it is or even if you have made insane gains with it......STOP IT! It was once said " that the best workout for you is the one you are not one." Now that you have done this go ahead and grab a scrap book or piece of paper. I want you to list exercises you don't like to do or ones you have not do in a long time. When your done, look at everything you have down on that paper and there you go.... before you is everything that will be included in your workout for the next 4 weeks. Below is an example:




If you wrote down the following-


THINGS I NEVER DO


Legs....like squats and deadlifts



  • Triceps

  • Anything cardio

  • Circuits

  • Pullups, inverted row


NEW WORKOUT



  • All circuits

  • Involve leg work 2-3x week

  • Start doing assisted pullups and inverted rows

  • Add interval training to your routines.......read my post from a couple of days ago



I want you to seriously give this a try and let me know your results. Go Dominate.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Muscle building foods


1) Milk- Is a old school bodybuilding staple. You get a nice amount of calories and a great blend of both whey and casein proteins. Milk also contains calcium ( duh ) magnesium, potassium, Vitamin A and D. Whole milk provides the most calories although a higher fat content.


2) Potatoes-Both dense and filling. Filled with Vitamin C, B6, iron and potassium and some other nutrients.


3) Wild rice-1 cup of cooked wild rice has 3 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein!


4) Whole chicken- Cheap and can be kept for great leftovers!


5) Turkey-Good in many ways and contains selenium ( helps fight cancer ) and numerous nutrients and is high in protein.


6) Whole eggs- Get the benefit of the yolk!




Monday, November 22, 2010

One of the most brutal chest routines yet!


I recently used this routine for my chest workout last week and let me tell you it hurt like hell! I have done my fair share of crazy hardcore chest routines but this has to rank top 2 if not number 1. This routine takes your chest through many different techniques. I highly advise you have a spotter for this routine.....as a matter of fact you must have a spotter for this routine end of story. It is very important you pick the proper weight for each set in order for this like any routine to be effective. You can make adjustments to the weight after each round if needed.


This routine is a tri-set in which you will not take a rest until finishing all 3 exercises

A1)Dumbbell chest press negatives-6 reps with a 8 second negative
** Count a slow 8 seconds and when you get to the bottom your spotter can help you push the weight back up. Remember when doing negatives you can generally handle more weight so make sure you pick something challenging.
A2) Dumbbell chest press-10 reps with a regular tempo
** I would recommend using anywhere from 20-30lbs less than you did on the negatives
A3) Dumbbell speed chest presses-10 reps with a 3 second negative on the way down and then exploding up as fast as possible.
**Speed is key here! Be Powerful and explosive! Use light weights....anywhere from 35-17.5lbs depending on your strength.


Rest 2-3 minutes and repeat this 2 more times. Your chest will feel ripped to shreds the next day trust me!
Below is the weights I used-
A1)110lbs
A2) 80lbs-70lbs
A3) 35lbs-20lbs

Friday, November 19, 2010

Russian squat routine



The Russians have been a known player in the world of strength and conditioning for a long time and this legendary routine is a classic. The goal of this routine is to break you out of a rut and increase your 1RM by 5%. within 6 weeks of training. Remember if you have any back issues a back squat program is not for you.




There are many different versions of the Russian squat routine but below is the routine which Charles Staley posted and it lasts 6 weeks and has you training 3 non-consecutive days a week.




** The % is based off your 1RM. So if your 1RM is 100 and it calls for 80% then of course you would be using 80lbs of weight for the reps.




Week 1-80% ( 6x2 ) 80% ( 6x3 ) 80% ( 6x2 )

* So Monday would be 6x2, Wednesdays workout would be 6x3 and Fridays would be 6x2


Week 2- 80% ( 6x4 ) 80% ( 6x2) 80% ( 6x5)


Week 3- 80% ( 6x2) 80% ( 6x6) 80% ( 6x2)


Week4- 80% ( 5x5) 80% ( 6x2) 80% ( 4x4 )


Week 5-80% ( 6x2) 95% ( 3x3) 80% ( 6x2 )


Week 6- 100% ( 2x2 ) 80% ( 6x2) 102-105% ( new max!!!! )






Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Interval Training-Mike Boyle article



Mike Boyle is a very very very smart individual...did I mention he is a very smart man in the world of strength and conditioning. The article below is authored by him and covers the subject of interval training. Read and enjoy!




Monday, November 15, 2010

Getting your goals- The HARD is what makes it great!!


Watch this clip and pay attention to the last 20 seconds or so and listen to Tom Hanks words of wisdom.



I hear too often that working out is HARD. I want to get toned and lose weight but it is just sooo soo HARD....I mean I really want to but why does it have to be so HARD. Yes, working is HARD and yes it wont be easy but that's what makes it great! If it wasn't hard to drop weight, gain muscle, get stronger than everyone walking this earth would be. The fact is it will be HARD but that at the end of the day that's what makes it worth every ounce of blood, sweat and tears! At the end of your journey you can look yourself in the mirror and say yeah it was damn HARD.....but I did it and it was freaking great! Make it happen!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mass building routine for big arms!-Chin-up ladders



Read this workout on http://www.dieselcrew.com/ and loved it. Try it out!


** This routine uses breaths as the rest interval


Do 8 reps, take 8 breaths rest ( So rest only the amount of time it takes to take 8 slow breaths)


Do 7 reps, take 7 breaths


Do 6 reps, take 6 breaths


Do 5 reps, take 5 breaths


Do 4 reps, take 4 breaths


Do 3 reps, take 3 breaths


Do 2 reps, take 2 breaths


Do 1 rep, take 1 breath


Do 2 reps, take 2 breaths


Do 3 reps, take 3 breaths


and so on.........




Your end goal should be to start at 8 reps, go down to 1 rep and then back up to 8 reps. First time trying this just see how far you can get.




** If you need more resistance than use a dip weighted belt. If you cannot complete this because you are not strong enough then try starting at a lower number like 5 or 6 and going down.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tricep tri-set


Diamond push-ups ( hands form the shape of a diamond on the ground and keep your elbows tight to your sides throughout the movement)- 12 reps
SUPER SET
Dips-12 reps
SUPER SET
Standing reverse pushdowns-12 reps

**Repeat this without rest but do 10 reps instead of 12 on the second time around.

Rest 2 minutes.

**Start back from the beginning on this tri-set and do 10 reps for each exercise and then without rest do another round this time doing 8 reps.


Done.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Staying motivated!


1.Get re-motivated everyday- Most of the time motivation doesn't last, it comes and goes and sometimes totally disappears. Motivation must be renewed every day if you want long term success! Get up and get yourself READY!


2. Have a vision or plan- The root word of motivation is " motiv." The definition of motive is " A reason to act." This is your vision. Your vision of what you want and what you want to get out of your workouts should be big enough to motivate you to act on!

3. Act on passion- So much of motivation comes from emotion. Use whatever emotions you need to draw from to get yourself motivated. It might be seeing someone close to you have health issues hence driving you to start to exercise or maybe being overweight all your life finally emotional drives you to become the " fit" guy.


4. Get results- If you work hard and get results it makes things waaay waaay easier to stay focused and motivated. When you start having success at anything you will be encouraged to keep going no matter how hard the goal is.


5. Ride the momentum- You will always get to that point when you are hitting on all strides....you will be getting great workouts, eating amazing, and taking care of your body like never before. When this happens dont let up! Use the momentum and keep riding the wave!




Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Big back Wednesday workout




This workout is about volume. Bring it!






A)Cable pulley machine seated row- 4 sets of 10, F, F


Rest 2 minutes between sets.


** This is a double drop set. So do set #1 for 10 reps. Immediately drop the weight by 10-15lbs and do another set to failure. Finally, end by dropping the weight again by 10-15lbs and doing reps to failure. This equals 1 set.







B)Lat Pulldown ( wide grip)- 5 sets of 10


Rest 1 minute between sets


** Pause at the bottom of the movement for 2 seconds on each rep.







C) Decline straight bar pull downs- 5 sets of 10


Rest 1 minute between sets


** Set up a cable pulley at just below hip height. Place a decline bench in front of the cable pulley so your head is closest to the bar. Keeping your arms extended and locked out, pull the bar towards the thighs. Focus on your lats and keep the arms locked and straight!




Go Dominate.



Monday, November 1, 2010

Top 5 reasons resistance training is beneficial



Resistance training should be a staple in everybodys workout routine no matter what your goals are. Resistance training offers the following benefits to the body:






1. Builds bone density ( this important especially in females as they age )


2. Enhances endocrine and immune function


3. Maintains and improves muscle mass


4. Maintains and improves power and strength


5. Boosts your metabolism and helps you burn calories at rest!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Reviewing protein supplements



Many of you have asked for me to blog about supplements and specifically protein supplements. So since I listen to the masses here you go! I used both my own thoughts and trials with products as well as other trainers I know thoughts and reviews when putting this together.




BIOPLEX WHEYPLEX



  • Terrible taste

  • Terrible mixing protein

  • Very $$

  • No reason to buy this


NEXT DESIGNER WHEY



  • Solid choice but nothing great

  • Added supplements are nice


ISS RESEARCH COMPLETE WHEY POWER




  • Tastes very well

  • Mixes very well

  • High quality

  • Good flavors

  • Little $$



OPTIMUM 100% WHEY PROTEIN



  • Decent product

  • Don't buy Cookies n cream!

  • Low price

  • One of most popular



GNC BRAND 100% WHEY PROTEIN




  • My personal favorite because of solid price and flavor ( chocolate)

  • Not loaded with extra garbage



CYTOSPORT MUSCLE MILK




  • Personally not a fan

  • Some like the taste, but not me

  • Too many ingredients you cant pronounce

  • Good nutritional value

  • Sometimes doesn't shake and mix well



MET-Rx MEAL REPLACEMENT PROTEIN SHAKE




  • Taste is middle of the road, often is pasty

  • Newest version has cut down on the fat content

  • Full of vitamins



NATURES BEST ZERO CARB ISO PURE WHEY PROTEIN



  • For those looking for low carb option

  • Artificially sweetened............I am not a fan of this, but most low carb options are

  • Lots of vitamins and glutamine

  • Mixes well






Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shape-Ups- The real truth

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71cvCXp8_Tk


" Now you can get into shape without setting foot into a gym"-Sketchers Shape-Ups video


Ok ladies enough with thinking Shape-Ups will make your legs sexy and toned! If shoes can make your legs look damn good then everyone would have great legs. The only reason Shape-Ups might make your legs look better is because your average person starts moving and walking more once they buy them. I mean sure if you go from couch potato to moving on a daily basis then yes of course your legs will look better. However what will really shape your legs is lunges, squats, deadlifts, sprints and all things cardio......not just some flashy shoe.



There has been two recent studies from the American Council of Exercise that concluded there is "simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone." Sure Sketchers claims their product does work and they give numerous testimonials on how satisfied people are with them but don't be fooled. Most of the time these companies do horrible studies and end up with garbage that they try and make seem like real evidence to you.



Overall Shape-Ups to me do nothing for you. They claim to help your posture when in fact they seem to put you into worse posture. They claim they will reduce cellulite which is just hilarious, sorry your not losing cellulite because your sporting these shoes! If you really love how the shoes look and they get you moving and active then good for you, but do not expect true results or miracles from these things.

Monday, October 25, 2010

You should do this! Upper/Lower body super sets


If you are looking to get more out of your workout then you should try this! If you want to cut your body fat and change your body composition then you should try this! If you are limited on the time you have in the gym then should try this!


There are numerous benefits of super setting a lower body exercise with a upper body exercise. One, you can go full blast on your upper body and then allow it to rest while your lower body works. This is an extremely effective method. Another benefit is the ability to burn more calories. You will be working the entire body from head to toe, and the more muscles fibers involved in a workout the more calories burned.


The basic set up is for you to pick one upper body exercise and one lower body exercise. I would choose one exercise to be slightly higher reps 10-15 and the other exercise to be slightly lower 8-10 reps. Make sure you hit every aspect of the upper body by working the chest, back, and arms. I would do 2 back exercises for every 1 chest exercise in the workout to improve your back. As far as your lower body exercises try and hit a quad dominant exercise ( a squat form) and a hamstring dominant ( deadlift ) and also some form of lateral work ( lateral step-up, band walks etc ) and that way you stay balanced. Below are some examples of super sets you can use:



Chest press- 8 reps
SUPER SET
Split squat-12 reps

4 rounds without rest between sets



Lat pulldown-12 reps
SUPER SET
Deadlift-8 reps
4
sets without rest between sets


Close grip press-8reps
SUPER SET
Lateral step-ups-12 reps

3 sets without rest between sets


Row-10 reps
SUPER SET
Glute bridges-15 reps

3 sets without rest between sets


Try changing your routine to this style for 6-8 weeks or so and see what changes occur.

Friday, October 22, 2010

E.O.M-Guillotine Bench Press



October's Exercise of the month is the Guillotine press which is a very unique and rarely used exercise. If you need something new to do on your chest days then give this a try! You perform this press just like a regular barbell bench press but with one change. You will lower the bar to the lower portion of your neck. By lowering the bar this high you will get more activation and muscle recruitment in the sternal head of the pec. The sternal head is the upper portion of the pec and is generally underdeveloped in most guys. This exercise should be done with a spotter since you are lowering the bar around the neck.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CONSISTENCY- You must have it!



Are you stuck in a rut that you cant get out of? Are you seeing limited results in your workout program? Are you not hitting your goals like you thought you could? If the answer to these questions is yes than you are most likely lacking consistency in your program. In my mind consistency is the key to getting results.


First, lets take a look at your workouts. Are you consistently going to the gym day in and day out or do you go for three days and then miss the next two? You will never get what you want if you follow that type of pattern. That's great if Monday you just kill it in your workout and dominate it like no other, but if Tuesday through Thursday you don't get back into the gym then I don't care about your monster Monday workout.......you wont get results! Be consistent in the gym and you will get consistent results...period! No matter what your goals you must be consistent to gain the strength, strip the fat, or gain the muscle.


Second, lets look at your eating habits. How many days would you say you actually eat stellar in a week? If the answer is only a few than you aren't consistent. Your eating should go hand in hand with your workouts. If you eat super clean for two days you better not be spending the next day at the buffet and Dairy Queen. Eat consistent throughout the whole week and the results will follow.


Take away message- Take the idea of consistency and use it in play everyday. If you want to be like everyone else and not get results than that's fine.......but if you do want to get ahead of the game and take your body where you want to go than be CONSISTENT! It starts today! Get excited that you had a great day both eating and in the gym but remember that is day one of seven....don't slide, but stay the course!


Go Dominate people............









Monday, October 18, 2010

Hamstring killer


This workout is going to focus on putting on some mass to your hamstrings. The stiff leg deadlift will be the first exercise you will do and you should make sure you push through the heels to activate the hamstrings. The more bend you put in your knees the less hamstring activity will take place so keep those legs straight and stiff! When you do the lunges make sure you get a long stride and nice and deep to hit more muscle fibers on the stretch. Below is the workout:


A) Stiff leg barbell deadlift ( do a 3 second negative on the way down and then explode on the way up) 2 sets of 8 reps

* Rest 1 minute between sets

After you finish set number 2 take 2 minutes before moving onto the lunges

B) Dumbbell lunges-2 sets of 8reps+ 4 extra pause reps ( simply do 8 reps on one leg then 8 on the other leg. Then go back and do 4 reps on the first leg holding each rep for a 4 second pause at the bottom of the lunge).In total you will end up with 12 reps per leg.

* Rest 90 seconds between sets

Now repeat back with the deadlift for 2 more sets and then follow that with 2 more sets of the lunges. You will end up with 4 sets of both exercises. Once you finish move onto the last exercise

C) Lying leg curls- 3 sets of 8 reps ( do a 8 second negative on the way down on each rep )

* Rest 1 minute between sets

Done!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Old school training philosophies



If you look back at some of the old school training tips from back in the 1920's you will see that most of the same things can be held true today. Here are some things the famous Charles Atlas said back in the day:




1. Set a concrete goal-Figure out your end goal and work backwards from it.




2. Never miss a single training session- Remember the whole consistency thing...this is what he was talking about! Always remind yourself why you are working out and stay on track.




3. Treat your body like its a new car- You would not junk up and dirty a new car would you? The answer is no, and you should feel the same way about your body. Take care of yourself by eating good and getting your rest and results will follow.




4. Totally concentrate on the task at hand- There will always be tons of noise and chatter at the gym, so make sure you focus on you and your responsibility to get the best workout in you can. Also, don't worry about what you will be doing later in the workout or even later than day, simply focus on what is right in front of you.




5. Keep stress to a minimum ( or none if possible )- It has been show that stress and anxiety can inhibit muscle growth. The best stress reliever is exercise so make it happen!




6. Drink your water- duh...obvious of course but rarely ever followed well enough.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

H4 fat burning full-body workout







This is a great full body routine that you can use to burn a ton of calories in your workout in minimal time. I would not recommend this workout for any beginner. Here is the workout on paper.



Everything is a super set and do each super set 3-4 rounds without rest. Take your rest between groupings of exercises.



A1) Dumbbell pushup/deadlift/jacknive combo-6 reps



A2) Box Jumps-15 reps





B1) lateral lunge with dumbbell row- 6 reps per side



B2) Ball slams-15 reps





C1) Lateral band chops- 15 reps per side



C2) Lateral plate squat and press-6 reps per side





D1) Band row and reverse lunge ( palms down grip )-15 reps per side



D2) Floor jacks-20 reps





Now get yourself off the floor and rest your done!







Monday, October 11, 2010

Extended faitgue sets



This is a great training technique to use in your workouts that is similar to drop sets. The difference in this method is that you will be changing grips or foot position to accommodate the fatigue.


Example:


EZ bar bicep curl



  • First set use a palms up grip and do 5-6 reps. When you start to fail switch to a palms down grip, wait 10 seconds and do more reps to failure. Once you failed again now grab a pair of dumbbells and perform more reps until failure with a hammer grip ( palms face each other)

Here are some more examples of exercises and how to change the grip following the same procedure as above.


Dumbbell row

1. Palms down grip

2. hammer grip ( neutral, or palms facing your body )

3. Palms up grip


Dumbbell chest press

1. Palms down grip/overhand ( traditional grip for pressing )

2. Palms down grip/overhand but with the hands all the way to the right side of the dumbbell

3. Neutral grip ( palms face each other )









Friday, October 8, 2010

Some of my favorite workout songs




  1. Green Day-Brain stew


  2. Bill Conti-Gonna fly now ( theme from Rocky )


  3. Roy Jones-Cant be touched


  4. Limp Bizkit- Rollin


  5. Fort Minor-Remember the name


  6. Manafest-Impossible


  7. Jorge Quintero-300 violin orchestra


  8. DMX-Party up in here


  9. DMX-Intro


  10. Overseer-Slayed


  11. Papa Roach-Last resort


  12. Earshot-Wait










Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Interview with Bret Contreras



Bret Contreras is a well know strength coach/trainer and currently speaks across the country and is known as the "Glute Guy." He is the man when it comes to training the glutes and the backside of the body. Check out his YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/bretcontreras1 where you can search the exercises he talks about in full. Below is the Q&A from my interview that I did with him recently.




Q- What is your favorite tri-set for the glutes?


Bret-Hip thrusts, followed by band seated abduction, followed by band hip rotations. This tri-set is totally brutal. Check out the videos on how to do these exercises on the above YouTube channel.


Q-What are the 3 best training tips you have heard or have ever learned?

Bret-A)The best workout for you is the one in which you will be the most consistent. B) Never stop experimenting with your routine in order to learn more about your uniqueness. C) Learn the difference between good pain and bad pain and if you experience bad pain, STOP!!!!


Q- What would be a good exercise maybe that nobody has heard of or uses very often?

Bret-Gliding leg curls which are a very effective hamstring/glute exercise. Check his YouTube videos.


Q-What is missing from most peoples workouts?

Bret- Pendulum quadruped hip extensions and hip thrusts. Refer to his YouTube channel for the how to on these.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pumping the pecs!



This is a routine I read once from Jeff Anderson. AKA "The muscle nerd." Give this a try on your next chest day.




Start out with the barbell bench press


1) Pick a weight you could do for 12 reps to failure. Make sure you stack the bar with 10lb plates and 25lb plates since you will be quickly taking weight off later on.


2) Do 12 reps on the bench press to failure. Once you reach failure, jump up and strip 50% of the weight off.


3) Now with no rest do as many reps as possible with a very wide grip. The wide grip will take the triceps out of it and keep the focus on the pecs.


4) Once you finish that set rack the bar and grab a dumbbell. For most a 30-50lb dumbbell should do fine. You will do a set of dumbbell pullovers keeping your arms very straight and locked out. Do this to failure.


5) Rest up for 2-3 minutes and do this whole giant set again 1-2 more times.


Enjoy!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Would you like to........

Train with me or get workout programs from me? Email me at h4training@gmail.com

Get motivated! Some of my favorite inspirational/motivational videos



I always talk to my clients about attitude and their mindset. Its about giving it your best....your absolute best......nothing less...don't quit......give it you best and keep going! Its that extra that will take you over the top, its doing what you would do and THEN SOME! It is the THEN SOME that will separate you from others. Check out some of my favorite videos below.




Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Want bigger arms?



If you want to grow those guns then start doing reverse curls. This exercise is often forgotten which is a big mistake. Everyone does bicep curls but rarely does anyone do reverse curls. Reverse curls emphasize the brachialis muscle which is located under the biceps on the lower aspect of the arm. It has been shown that you can increase arm size by making reverse curls part of your routine. I want you to drop your current arm routine and add in reverse curls for 2-3x a week for the next 6 weeks and watch your arms grow!




How to do it:


You can use either a straight bar or EZ curl bar. The latter being easier on the wrists and my personal preference. You will most likely need to start with about half the weight you would use for a regular curl. You must focus on the technique! This is very easy to throw your arms up and turn this into a clean. Grip the bar with a overhand ( palms facing down ) grip. Make sure to keep your arms tight to your sides during the whole movement. Imagine drawing your elbows toward each other as you raise the bar to really stress the brachialis.




Tips:



  • Try pausing half way up for a 2 second hold and then finishing the movement up and then back down. You can also pause on way down as well.

  • Change your grips- do the first set with a very close grip, then put down the bar and widen your grip and do more reps, put down the bar and widen your grip again for your last set.

  • Do negatives on the way down with a 6-8 second count.















Monday, September 27, 2010

Pass the Kiwi



Who knew one fruit was such a stud but yet got none of the press like apples, oranges and bananas do. Kiwi has twice the vitamin C of an orange, more potassium than a banana, and more fiber than an apple! There was research done at Rutgers University to see out of 27 fruits which had the most " bang for you buck" in terms of nutritional value and the winner was kiwi. Kiwi tastes great so why not eat it more often.

Friday, September 24, 2010

TRY


One thing I tend to hear a ton from people is the word TRY. "I am going to TRY and make it to the gym".............." I will TRY and eat better".........................."I am going to TRY and reach my goals" are some of the most used. Don't TRY and do anything......do it!!!! To me TRY stands for



T alking about
R eaching
Y our goals

or

T hinking about
R eaching
Y our goals


I want action from you! Don't Try and eat better.....do it! TRY is what people say to make it seem like they are going to put max effort into doing something but without the obligation of saying " I am" or " I will ". Trying is like putting 50% of your effort into accomplishing a goal. Next time don't TRY and workout......... but simply workout! YOU will eat better, YOU will workout harder and YOU will get your sleep. Its about making things happen and taking action to reach what you want. Go dominate.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Badass back routine



For the first part of this routine the focus is on heavier loads with minimal reps. Most people don't do this often enough so it will really shock your muscle. The ending of the workout will switch to more of a traditional hypertrophy workout with moderate loads and medium reps.




Hammer strength lat pull down machine- 5 sets of 5 reps

** If you don't have this at your gym use the lat pull down bar. Make sure the weight on this is heavy and it is a tough 5 reps.


Rest 60-90 seconds between sets




Row- 5 sets of 5 reps

** use a grip that you normally don't use or a handle that you don't use. Once again make sure the weight is heavy for the 5 reps and don't cheat and move your back forward as you pull!!!!!! Use the muscles we want to develop!


Rest 60-90 seconds between sets




One arm dumbbell rows- 1 set of 10 reps

SUPER SET WITH

Straight bar standing pull downs- 1 set of 12 reps

** Focus on standing tall and keeping your arms locked out and straight.


Rest 1 minute and repeat this super set 3 more times.






Monday, September 20, 2010

From anger to iron



Everyone is going to have one of those "bad" days..........but don't let that drag your workout down too. The best thing to do when your pissed off or upset is to workout. Channel your anger and all of that energy you have into your workout and you would be amazed how great of a workout you will have and how good you will feel afterwards! I sometimes feel you almost need to have a little bit of an edge to get a great workout. So quit stressing and hit the gym!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Deja vu chest routine



For this routine try and keep the barbell press weight the same throughout since you will be decreasing the reps each set. The weight on the 1/2 press most likely will need to be lowered each round. As always make adjustments needed to hit the target reps.




A)Dumbbell chest press- 1 set of 10 reps


Rest 1 minute and repeat x2

Once finished with 3 sets rest 1 minute and do exercise B




B) Barbell 1/2 chest press- 1 set of 5-6 reps


Rest 1 minute and repeat x 2

Once finished with 3 sets rest 1 minute and do exercise A


** 1/2 presses are done by lifting the bar off the rack and lowering it all the way down, once at the bottom press just 1/2 way up and then lower it down again and then drive the bar completely up. This equals one rep.




A) Dumbbell chest press-1 set of 8 reps


Rest 1 minute and repeat x 1

Once finished with 2 sets rest 1 minute and do exercise B




B) Barbell 1/2 chest press- 1 set of 5-6 reps


Rest 1 minute and repeat x 1

Once finished with 2 sets rest 1 minute and do exercise A




A) Dumbbell chest press-1 set of 6 reps


Rest 1 minute before finishing up with exercise B


B) Barbell 1/2 chest press-1 set of 5-6 reps






Done and done!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Breakfast is served!


You wake up, still tired despite sleeping longer than you should have so you rush to make it out the door on time grabbing nothing but your cup of coffee. This scenario is what takes place for most people out there. Coffee is not a breakfast item....period! Breakfast is THE most important meal of the day......yes we have all heard this but its true! No matter if your trying to gain muscle or lose weight breakfast is going to play a very important role in your nutrition. You must make eating breakfast part of your daily life.


When you ask most people if they ate breakfast these are the responses
  • I don't like breakfast
**SOLUTION-Find something you like that is healthy and start eating it.
  • I don't have time

**SOLUTION-You are not making a gourmet buffet here, you can spare 2-5 minutes for breakfast some how.....just make it happen!
  • Eating in the morning makes me sick

**SOLUTION-This is most likely because you are used to not eating. Take it slow and gradually introduce eating a solid meal to your body.
  • I had a cup of coffee and doughnut

** SOLUTION-Don't eat the doughnut! Coffee I will be ok with...just have it with an actual breakfast item.



All of these are just lame excuses! Eat your breakfast.....make it happen!


So why eat breakfast?


For those who want to lose weight- People think by skipping breakfast they will be saving calories but in fact you will just make those up by snacking and eating later in the day. By eating breakfast you jump start your metabolism early on and you will eat fewer calories throughout the rest of day.


For those looking to gain muscle- Breakfast is the first chance to get some calories and lean protein into your system. Skipping breakfast means losing out on muscle building nutrition.


Breakfast ideas
  • Eggs and whole wheat toast
  • Oatmeal
  • High fiber cereal- 3 to 5 grams of fiber a serving will be just fine
  • Peanut butter on a whole grain English muffin
  • Yogurt
  • Smoothies- use fresh fruit, yogurt, skim milk or juice and your favorite protein supplement
  • McDonalds Egg McMuffin with canadian bacon- if you must go this route least you will get protein and solid quality bacon. This is one of McDonalds few menu items I would ever recommend.

Remember- If you are going to eat carbs the morning is ideal because you will start off with energy and you will give yourself the whole day to burn it off.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Training in the Sierra's- workout like the pro's


Workout by Art Correa, B.S. Kinesiology, NASM

This is a workout from a friend of mine who owns The Bod-E2 Shop in Fresno, California. He uses this workout with one of his pro athletes, 2010 starting linebacker for the Detroit Lions, Zack Follett. This workout has made the headlines of Yahoo news, Detroit news and will be featured in ESPN the magazine. Art has Zack do this workout in the Sierra mountains with the elevation reaching 8000 ft. Since most of you do not live near a mountain range I have made some changes to the workout. Art uses stones, logs and tree trucks but you can use dumbbells and barbells instead. To see highlights of this workout check out the following link.



Warm-up
1/4 mile jog


Dynamic warm-up
-High knees
-Skips
-Frankenstein's
** Walking lift your left leg straight out to the front and extend your right arm out straight, alternate legs and opposite arms
-Side lunges
-Knee hugs
**Step and tuck your knee into your chest pulling it in with your arms
-Kareokas
-Butt kicks
**Try to really kick your butt, this helps with the hamstrings

Workout ( strength training )
Circuit A

Bent over rows w/ dumbbells 3x15 reps
SUPER SET
Squat toss w/ med ball 3x 8 reps

** Squat down holding the med ball, explode up and toss the med ball forward. Pick up the ball and repeat.

Circuit B

Hammer curls w/ dumbbells 3X 12 reps
SUPER SET
Plyometric push-ups 3x 8

** Get into the bottom of a push-up and explode off the ground aiming to get as much height as possible.


Circuit C

Plyometric box jumps- 3x12 reps
SUPER SET
Oblique side tosses w/ med ball 3 x8 reps
SUPER SET
Walking lunges w/ barbell ( or incline walking lunges if outside ) 3x 8 reps


Circuit D
Snatch w/ kettlebell or barbell ( only use if you have great form) 3 x8 reps
SUPER SET
Rear delt flys w/ dumbbell 3x12 reps

** You can replace the snatch with push presses for the shoulders


Circuit E
Jump squats 3x15 reps
SUPER SET
Front raises with dumbbells 3x12 reps

Up-hill sprints x 10

*** If your not near a hill use an incline on the treadmill and do 10 all out 50 meter sprints


Monday, September 6, 2010

Split squat routine


Split squats are a great exercise to build your legs without over stressing your low back. If you do have low back tightness you can use a lower step or bench for your back leg. Check out my older post on Bulgarian split squats to learn the proper form. http://h4training.blogspot.com/2010/03/eom-bulgarian-split-squat.html



Routine

Split squats- 5 sets of reps at 12, 10, 8, 6, 4

** Rest 90 seconds between sets
** Each set you will increase the weight as you decrease the reps. Start with about 60% of your 1 rep max for 12 reps and each set after that I would add 5-10 lbs. So if your max is 200lbs you would use 120lbs for the 12 reps.


Split squat- 1 set at 15 reps

**After you have done all the work above you will burn out the legs with one set of high reps. Focus on speed and drive up as fast as possible. Use about 30% of your 1 rep max. So if your max was 200lbs use 60lbs here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Observations from the gym- Common errors



If you were to roll into any gym across the nation you would surely find people doing all sorts of things wrong. The other day I took a second to observe the gym I work at and this is some of the common errors I found.



ERROR #1- Doing external rotation work ( rotator cuff ) before bench pressing



Why: Working your rotator cuff muscles is very important but just not right before you bench. You will weaken your rotator cuff and therefore lose stability in your shoulder joint when you bench which is not good. Save the external rotation work for back days.



ERROR #2- Rolling the shoulders when doing shrugs



Why: This is a very common theme you see everywhere. When you roll the shoulders you put extra stress onto the shoulder and can increase your risk of injury. Focus on bringing your traps or shoulders straight up and " touch your ears " as they say.



ERROR #3- Excessive lean forward when rowing



Why: You usually see this when someone has too much weight on the seated row with the cable machine. Generally the individual will lean forward and build some momentum and then jerk the weight back extending their low back. This will cause stress on the low back and lead to back issues. Focus on keeping your back straight like your up against a wall and then pull by engaging the mid back and lats.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Gaining muscle- Techniques to get it done!



Damaging muscles are the key to building them. To build new muscle you must stress the existing muscle in a new way. When muscles are stressed then become damaged and then must be rebuilt. With adequate diet and rest your body will rebuild the muscle with an increase in size!


Try some of these techniques to shock your muscles into new growth:




1) Super-sets- Nothing has been around longer than this! You can really up the intensity on the muscle with this technique. Some examples include:



  • Lat pulldown/Row

  • Bench press/Fly

  • Deadlift/Lunge

  • Close grip press/ Dips


2) Negatives- If you like submitting yourself to pain than please try these! Negatives focus on the eccentric phase of the lift which has been shown to cause more damage to the muscle and lead to more growth. This is tough...and is best to do with a partner. You can do negatives two different ways. One way is to have a spotter help you with the weight on the way up and the other way is to lift the weight yourself. I like to do the negative and then have my spotter help lift the weight up. You can use more weight on negatives but just limit the negative to under 10 seconds.....any more you should increase the weight because it is too light.



3) Off set rep scheme- This is a personal favorite that I have come up with and use often myself. First pick two exercises for one muscle group. Then what you will do is do heavier weight on one exericse for low reps and then medium to lighter weight on the other exercise for higher reps. For example:



Standing barbell bicep curls- 6 reps


SUPER SET WITH


Seated dumbbell hammer curls-12 reps