Friday, February 26, 2010

Guide to eating and working out when traveling

One of the toughest things to do is maintain your healthy habits when on the road. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure being away from your daily routine can take its toll. It does take some extra work on your part, but taking the right steps when traveling can keep you on track with your goals.

The biggest problem tends to be the diet when traveling. You are away from the comfort of your home and kitchen and are stuck with nothing but Applebee's and Fridays. Eating out at every meal becomes a reality and your diet suffers. The best thing to do is to begin by packing snacks before you even leave to go to the airport. The airport is issue number one since we generally get there starving and have no good options other than greasy fast food. Pack protein bars, fruit and things like jerky for a better alternative. When you arrive at your destination check and see if there are any local grocery stores in the area that you can pick up some fruit and healthy snacks like peanut butter and yogurt. When it comes to eating out, if you must, order fish or chicken off the menu. Avoid dressings, sauces, or anything along those lines. If anything ask for the dressing on the side so you can control the amount. Fill up on a healthy salad to start your meals and you will not eat as much.

So now that you have the eating under control lets focus on the workout. Most hotels these days have a fitness center which often just has a couple of light dumbbells and some cardio equipment. You can get a solid workout in fitness center or not in your hotel. The best thing to do is bring a resistance band with you when traveling. They are easy to travel with and are not that expensive to buy. The goal when on the road is just to make sure you are getting some form of workout in to hold yourself over until you get back home. Try the workout below when traveling.

Go from exercise to exercise without resting until you finished the entire circuit.

Pushups- 20 reps

Squat-20 reps

Row with band ( palms facing each other )- 20 reps

Jack knives ( burpees )-8 reps

Pshups ( arms tight to sides, hands close together )-10 reps

Alternating front lunges-10 each leg

Row with band ( palms up )-20 reps

High knees-15 seconds

Rest 2-3 minutes. Repeat 2-3 times.

Go Dominate!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pull-up/chin-up variations

Sternum chin-ups- This style of the chin-up was brought into popularity by Vince Gironda. These can be done with both a supinated ( palms facing you ) or pronated grip ( hands away ).You will focus on keeping the torso leaned back through the entire movement. You want the low portion of your chest to touch the bar. When you try to pull yourself up make sure to lean your head back away from the bar and to arch your spine throughout. Near the end part of the movement your hips and legs should be about 45 degree angle to the floor. Once you complete the movement your head should be parallel to the floor.

This is a great all around back developer. The beginning of the movement is like your regular chin-up, the mid-range is like the pullover and the end is similar to the row. I would not recommend this to the beginner but more for the advanced guy looking to change things up.

Subscapularis pull-up- Start with the normal wide grip pull-up position and bring yourself up until the upper pecs make contact with the bar. Once at the top try and push yourself away from the bar and then lower yourself slowly under control. Your subscapularis muscles are part of your rotator cuff and will help with you back strength and overall shoulder health.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monster chest routine

To start this routine you will be using the 6/12 rep scheme with the two different exercises. For the barbell press make sure the weight is heavy enough to make it a very tough 6 reps to complete. For the dumbbell press the weight should be lower than you normally could do for 12 reps since it is a super set.

Part 1

Incline barbell bench press-1 set @ 6 reps
Incline dumbbell bench press-1 set @ 12 reps

Rest 90 seconds to 2 minutes and repeat 2-3 more times.

Part 2

Guillotine barbell press- 1 set of 10 reps
Rest 1 minute
Seated machine chest press ( use any of the chest machines your gym has )-1 set of 10 reps

Rest 1 minute and repeat back with the guillotine press. Do 3 full cycles of this.

** Guillotine press-is done just like a normal bench press except you will lower the bar to just below the neck and then press up. This will result in the arms being more perpendicular to the body and therefore involving them less and the chest more. This works the sternal head of the pec mostly. The sternal head of the pec is the large lower region the the pec.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

6-12-25 Back

For those of you who were a fan of the arm 6-12-25 workout, here the back version. If you want a new way to add gains then try this unique method of training. After completing the first cycle of this routine you will most likely need to drop the weight 10-20% in order to complete cycle 2 fully. Below are some examples for this routine:

Lat pulldown ( heavy )- 6 reps


Dumbbell one arm row- 12 reps


Seated row-25 reps

*** Really focus on squeezing those shoulder blades when doing the rows. The weight will not be that heavy so you can focus in on the squeeze.

Rest 2 minutes before doing round 2. Repeat for 3 total rounds.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Negative/partials duo-biceps

Check out my negative/partials chest routine that I posted earlier to read the benefit of this type of routine.

Preacher bicep curl-do 6 reps with a 6 second negative on the negative ( the way down )
Preacher bicep curl-15 reps with partials ( do not go all the way up or down, stay in the middle )

** You will have to use lighter weight for the partials.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Weight lifting belts

Although not so prevalent like back in the day, you do still tend to see those guys in the gym wearing the weight belts for their entire workout. A weight belt help to keep your core tight and stable. The good news is that it works, and well that is the bad news as well. Wearing a weight belt all the time or often will cause your core to become weak and dependant on the belt itself. A weight belt only really need to be worn when doing near maximum lifts. In the long run stay away from the belts and start improving your core!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Please feel free to email any questions and or comments and I will get back to you as quick as I can.

Tip- a better shoulder press

Next time you do your shoulder work try this tip. When doing dumbbell presses, tilt the dumbbells in towards your head throughout the movement. Think of it like your pouring water on your head with a pitcher. This will increase the tension on the delts for the whole exercise.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mid back help-rhomboid and trap work

While the lats give the back that wide "V" look, the mid back is what really gives you that thick dense muscular size. Not only will working the trapezius and the rhomboids give you thickness, but will also help you improve your posture.

Rhomboid pulldowns- 4 sets of 8 reps

Rest 60 seconds between sets

** Use a V grip handle bar ( ones you use to row ) and attach it to a lat pulldown machine. Grab the bar and lean back. While pulling down on the bar simultaneously try to pull the bar apart by pushing your elbows out wide. Aim to pull the bar below the chin. Try to think about literally breaking the bar apart while pulling down. You should feel this in the upper back.

Bent over row with barbell- 4 sets of 10 reps ( pause at the top of the movement for 3 seconds on the last 3 reps of each set )

Rest 60 seconds between sets

** Make sure to keep your elbows out wide when doing the row to keep the focus on your mid back and not your lats. Keep your back flat and really try and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

Barbell Shrug- 4 sets of 8 reps ( hold for 2 seconds at the top of each set )

Rest 60 seconds between each set

** When doing shrugs never roll the shoulders! Lift the shoulders straight up and try to "touch your ears" with your shoulders.

Friday, February 12, 2010

E.O.M-Slide pushup

The exercise of the month for February is the slide pushup. A great exercise for the pecs that not many people know about. This exercise can be performed on a wood gym floor with a small towel under each hand. With the towels under your hands, assume a regular pushup position. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder- width. Lower yourself until your chest touches the floor, then pushup while simultaneously pulling the hands together. At the top position the thumbs should almost be touching. Next "walk" your hands out to the original starting position and continue your reps.

**** If you are advanced than try pushing your hands out to the starting position at the end instead of walking them out.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

H4 Favorites-#4 Bison

Bison meat has gained some popularity over the last couple years and it is for good reason. Bison AKA buffalo is one of the leanest meats out there. It is even lower in calories than grilled chicken! Bison is a good source of many nutrients, including, zinc, iron, niacin, phosphorous, Vitamin B6 and selenium. In addition, each 3 ounce serving contains a good deal of protein—about 24 grams. You can use bison as a substitute for any meat dish. Try bison meatloaf, burgers or even ground bison with your pasta.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

H4 Fat burner #8-Bodyweight circuit

Do the following circuit one time through and then finish on the bike for intervals. Rest 2-3 minutes and repeat this cycle. Do 2-4 total rounds of this.

25 squats
25 pushups
15 inverted rows
10 squat jumps
20 alternating lunges ( 10 each leg )
15 close grip pushups
10 chinups ( get in the same position as the inverted row but have your palms face you )

Bike interval- 30 seconds as fast as you can, 30 seconds slow........repeat 3 times total.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pushup variety

Pushups are one of those great but simple exercises that we all have done. Sometimes you just need some variety to change things up to achieve new results. Here are some different kinds of pushups you can try.

Extra wide pushup- hands wider than shoulder width

Narrow pushup-hands almost touching one another

Alternating lateral shuffle pushup-Start in a regular pushup position. Move your right hand to the left until the two hands are next to each other. Now you can slide your left hand out until your hands are shoulder width again. Do a pushup and repeat this process, this time moving to your right and doing another pushup. This is 1 rep.

Diamond pushup-Form a diamond with your thumbs and index fingers

One-arm pushup-Do a pushup on your right hand on the floor and left hand on the box. Switch hands and repeat. This is 1 rep.

Crossover box pushup-Do a one arm pushup with your left hand on the box. Then, from the starting position lift your right hand and place it beside your left hand on the box. Then move your hand down to the floor so your hands are shoulder width. Perform a pushup. That's 1 rep.

Spiderman pushup-Start off in a regular pushup position. Lower your body to the ground while simultaneously lifting your right leg off the floor. Bend your right knee and bring it towards to right elbow. The ending position should be with your right knee and right elbow almost touching. Return to the starting position and repeat for the other side.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thanks for the support! I appreciate everyone who checks in to read what I have to say. There is plenty more to come!

Old school style-20 rep squat and milk program

Chances are some of you might have heard stories about this legendary routine. It is a very old training technique used to help pack on some muscle to not only your legs but to your whole body. Before you attempt this program make sure you have mastered proper squat technique and of course make sure you are injury free in the lower body. This routine takes just as much mental toughness and mental focus as it will physical toughness. Pain and fear will come across your mind as you move forward with this program but it will be up to you to push through it and be a man about it. Squatting 20 reps with heavy weight will hurt and will most likely make you want to vomit. If you are ready for the challenge then read on.

The most important thing to know is that you should not attempt this without a power rack or safety pins. Like most anything that is really intense I would highly recommend a training partner or spotter. If you don't have one then use the safety pins! If you get to that last rep you want to know that you wont die finishing it.

The whole program is based on one set of 20 reps with the basic full barbell squat. Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule works the best. The length of the cycle for this program should be six weeks max. Generally anything after six weeks will burn you out and will yield diminished returns. To find your starting weight simply take your 5 rep max on the squat and subtract 90 lbs and this will be your day one squat weight. From each day forward you will add 5lbs, this is the factor that causes the gains in size! For each rep take a big mouthful of air, hold your breathe squat down and then exhale on the way up. As you get higher in reps you might need to start taking more big breathes between reps. Breathing is huge here, make sure you do it! You might find yourself taking 2-5 breathes between reps. Once you are done with the 20 reps go grab a light barbell and do pull overs while lying on a bench. Take a big breath between reps and feel the stretch in your rib cage. Do 20 reps with somewhere around 20-25lbs. Every workout keep the weight on the pullovers the same since this exercise is just for stretching the rib cage.

If you take on this program you must eat! You need to be consuming calories if you want to get big. Add to your plate and add to the bar. This program got the name squats and milk because drinking a good amount of milk was recommended. Drink up!

Go dominate!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Time under tension training ( TUT )

Most lifters use low reps, high reps, or even train to failure. Some use free weights while others use machines. All of these methods are perfectly fine but there is another method that many are not using....TUT training. TUT is the total amount of time your muscles are under tension during any movement. For example, while doing a bicep curl, the moment you start the curl until you end the curl is the time the muscle was under tension. By doing this type of method you will increase growth hormone levels and fatigue more motor units. which equals more muscle growth!

Next time you go to the gym try this method with any muscle group and any exercise. Lets take the bicep curl again for instance. Try to curl the weight up for 4 seconds, then pause at the top for 2 seconds and then let the weight down for 4 seconds. This would create 10 seconds of tension time on the muscle. Remember that the whole point is to keep the tension on that muscle which means do not lockout any of your movements. You can play around with the time you want to use but generally I would not exceed 10 seconds on the way up, down or on the pause. Another important note is that you should be keeping your reps down when using this technique, I would stick to under 8 reps. You might also notice you will need to drop the weight from set to set.

Go dominate!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Muscle vs Fat

I am sure you have heard the saying "muscle weighs more than fat". This is just not the case. Ten pounds of muscle weighs the same as ten pounds of fat, end of story. However, muscle does take up less space than fat. Muscle is perceived as bulky, when it is actually not. This means you could gain 10 pounds of muscle and lose 10 pounds of fat and look more fit even though your scale hasn't moved.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Shoulder super set

As you notice I don't tend to post many direct shoulder workouts since I believe you get plenty of work when doing chest. I do like this routine as it allows you to hit your rear delt and front delt. The first exercise is a kneeling military press with dumbbells. Make sure to keep your back straight and stand tall to involve some core. If you notice yourself swaying back you might need to drop the weight. If you have back issues then just do this seated instead. The second exercise is the reverse fly with dumbbells. The best way I believe is to bend over with your head resting on a incline bench and your back kept flat. From this position raise your arms straight out to the sides without bending them, pause and let them back down. The key is to envision some pulling your elbows up to the ceiling with strings.

Kneeling dumbbell military press-10 reps
Reverse dumbbell fly-12 reps

Repeat back and forth without rest for 2-3 more rounds.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pre-workout nutrition

Studies have shown that consuming a protein type supplement before weight training greatly increases your post workout energy expenditure over consuming a carbohydrate supplement. This means you can reduce body fat and improve your body composition better. I would recommend eating a high protein lunch or protein bar before your workout.


Bench press is one of those exercises that every guy wants to be good at no matter what his training goals are. Bench press is the biggest ego exercise in the gym in almost any city or town. If you want to increase your bench try some of these tips.

1. TRAIN THE TRICEPS- This does not mean push downs and kickbacks, this means close grip presses and extensions. The close grip bench press is a great way to pack on size and give you bench pressing strength. If you have noticed you cant finish the reps on your bench press that is due to poor tricep strength.

2. TRAIN YOUR BACK- While most people wont think about this, your lats and mid back play a huge part in stabilization during the bench press. Bigger and stronger back muscles will equal a bigger bench. Do barbell rows and seated rows!

3. PULL YOUR SHOULDER BLADES TOGETHER AND TIGHT- Do this while pressing and you will create a shorter distance for the bar to travel which helps you. You will also create a more stable surface to push from.

4. ELBOW POSITIONING- If you want to get a bigger chest you bench with your elbows out, if you want a big bench you bench with your elbows tucked. This will allow you to use your lats to help drive the bar off your chest as well as your triceps. You will generate far more force in this position as oppose to elbows out wide. Another important thing is to keep the barbell in line with the elbow throughout the press.

5. BAR POSITIONING- Bring the bar low on your chest when pressing. At almost all power lifting competitions you will hear people say bring it low! This helps keep your elbows in line with the bar.

6. TRAIN YOUR ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES- This is very over looked but when you strengthen this you will notice a huge jump in your bench press strength. Sometimes you can improve your bench by 20% just by doing this. Your shoulder joint will become more stable and allow you to lift more weight. Try doing external rotation exercises or cuban presses.

7. OF COURSE BENCH-If you want a bigger bench you need to bench! Sure you can do 100's on the dumbbells but you must bench to bench! Try training bench in different ways. Some days train very heavy, like 90-100% of your max for 1-3 reps. Other days try doing reps for speed to create that explosiveness. This type of lifting would use 40-60% of your max for max speed.