Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More random thoughts...

  • Great routine for the biceps-Grab a heavy pair of dumbbells that you can rep for 5 reps. Once you finish take 30 seconds of rest before grabbing the next lightest dumbbells and do at least 1 more rep than you did with the first weight. Take 30 seconds rest and then use the next lightest pair of dumbbells and aim for more reps then the second set. Keep doing this until you get do 4-5 drops.

  • Work your rear delts. Generally the posterior delts are often neglected which can lead to shoulder issues. To best work your rear delts do any version of rear delt flys or bent over lateral raises.

  • Have you tried doing farmers walks before? They are considered the standing plank exercise by some and are great for the core and just about everything. Its simple, pick up a pair of heavy, heavy dumbbells and walk around the gym. Make sure you keep your shoulder blades pulled together and chest out and posture tall.

  • If you are having trouble dropping inches and losing fat then bump up your weight training days. If you currently only do 1-2x a week with weights then go up to 3 and watch what happens!

  • Tell everybody and anybody about your goals. Let it be known that you are on a mission to drop the fat, gain the muscle or get stronger. The more people known the more support you will have and the more people can keep you accountable.

  • Stress gets over looked most often when it comes to training. Too much stress in your life will lead to limited fat loss due to the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol causes the body to store body fat particularly in the abdominal area. Not good!

  • Quick change to your fat loss workouts- Do the first half of your workout with low reps in the 5-8 range and heavy weights and then the second half of your workout go to the opposite end of the spectrum. Shoot for 15-25 reps using lighter weights and bands.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Its Monday! 4 squat combinations to use

Below are some different combinations that can work well in your full body workouts. Three of these combine upper and lower body movements into one which is great for overall calorie burn for each exercise. With all of these movements the focus should be explosiveness and speed and not super heavy loads when it comes to the weigh being used.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

2 for 1 Wednesday Workouts

Workout 1- For my female readers. Great workout that involves the full body and will help you drop body fat and get the best body you can! Unlike most of my routines these one doesn't include major players like the squat, deadlift, thruster or step up but brings in new exercises like donkey kicks and lateral band walks which you might not be doing.

A1) Shoulder press Ys with dumbbells-12 reps
A2) Band kickbacks- straight back and to the side- 10 reps each way, 20 total
A3) Pullups-assisted machine or use bands for help if need be -10 reps
A4) Lateral band walks-15 each way
A5) Band chops-20 each
*4 rounds without rest

B1) Tricep rope extensions-15 reps
B2) Donkey kicks-20 reps
B3) TRX row-palms down to palms up ( use a regular row if you don't have a TRX ) 12 reps
B4) Lateral lunge with dumbbells-10 reps per
B5) V up-10 reps
* 4 rounds without rest


Workout 2-For my male readers below are two videos of different compound sets you can use on your back and bicep day if your goal is to add some size. These four exercises alone would not be your entire workout but will help add to your regular routine.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Random thoughts....

  • If you have an issue at the top of the bench press and have trouble with the lockout then focus on your triceps. Learn to use your triceps by keeping your body tight and focusing on pulling the bar apart. In terms of training start doing more lockout presses for the triceps and to blast the weak point in the bench. Set a bench in a squat rack and place the pins so the bar will only be able to get lowered about a 1/4 of the way down. Grab the bar and lower it until you hit the pins and explode up.

  • I have noticed very good success with clients recently in cycling heavy weeks with light weeks for fat loss. Week 1 consists of heavier loads and rep schemes around 6-8 and then week 2 consists of lighter weights and reps around 12-20. Week 2 has more conditioning drills and bodyweight exercises and the workouts are often shorter in duration.

  • If you are a skinny guy and want to gain mass then don't be scared of carbs! You need them!

  • It is much quicker and easier to get crazy focused for 30 days and see what kind of results you can get in terms of cutting body fat and losing weight. Why draw out the process when you can hit it hard and make things happen in less time. Do it!

  • Be careful not to get yourself on BLT diet. Bites, licks and tastes that is. Often you will be making dinner or at work and next thing you know you have snacked on numerous unwanted calories. Keep yourself satisfied by eating throughout the day and focusing on protein, fiber and veggies.

  • If you go with oatmeal then do steel cut and top it with your favorite nuts. Steel cut will cause a slower release of insulin as oppose to regular oatmeal. This will keep your blood sugars from spiking too quickly and will be better for your body fat!

  • If you are aiming to gain muscle use some tri-sets in your training program. Example would be for the triceps. Do close grip presses for 6 reps, then right into tricep extensions for 10 reps and finish with pushdowns for 15 reps.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

More exercise variations to try

1) Roll curl for the biceps
-This exercise does not need much resistance to complete so check your ego at the door. Also note that you must have great form and and control in order to get this movement right. Start the movement just like you would a regular standing barbell curl. Make sure the shoudlers,hips and knees are all in line. Begin by keeping the bar in contact with your upper thigh and as you lift up maintain the contact to the body all the way up. It helps to keep your elbows back as you curl it up. Do the movement with a controlled tempo and squeeze at the top. Below is a video on how to do this.

2) Sumo-Romanian Deadlift-Do this just like a Romanian deadlift but with a very wide stance and the toes pointed out. This variation with hit different aspects of the hamstrings than the traditional Romanian.

3) Ahrens Shoulder Press-Named after Chuck Ahrens, who was considered to have some of the strongest shoulders in the world. This variation of the shoulder press comes from his workouts. Set yourself up like a normal dumbbell shoulder press but instead of pressing them straight up you will press them up and away. You will essentially make a "V" with both arms. This exercise is great since it puts the medial head of the shoulder under high tension as the move is completed. Make sure to start with lighter weight and do this under control until you master the movement.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Try these 4 unique exercises

1) Decline Step-up

Just like doing a normal step-up but on a decline bench. Make sure your toe is a couple of inches below your heel. The foot should be on the low end of the bench. You can add a barbell or dumbbell to increase the load. Great exercise to burn the quads and butt.

2) Fly-away

Think of this as a combination of a dumbbell bench press and fly. To perform, do a regular chest press and then pause at the top and lower the weight like you would when doing a fly. Do this for each rep. Press the weight up like a bench press, fly the weight down.

3) BOSU ball pushup

Not a huge fan of the bosu ball for many things but it works great for this exercise. Turn the ball over so you can grip the bottom handles. Perform pushups and see how lit up your core gets. Try elevating your feet for an even better workout.

4) X row

This exercise can be an alternative to the seated row or pulldown. Use a cable crossover setup and grab the left handle with your right hand and right cable with left hand. Knee or sit a couple of feet in front of the cable setup making sure the cables are at its highest point. Pull and cross the handles in front of your hands until your hands end up in the middle of the pecs. Make sure to pause and contract the muscle of the mid back on each rep. Great exercise for the middle of the back.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Conditioning options

Ehh cardio.....It is definitely not my favorite thing to do and I think its safe to say you feel the same. Running in place on a treadmill, cycling on the bike or sweating on the elliptical just doesn't compare to knocking out some pullups or pulling a heavy deadlift off the floor. The good news is that you can make conditioning more fun and more interesting and here are some ideas.

1) JUMP ROPE-Hard to not think of Rocky or really any boxer when talking about jumping rope. Jumping rope is great for your feet and agility and overall is a solid conditioning exercise. One of the drawbacks of jumping rope of course is not everyone can do it. Despite that drawback, jumping rope is time and space efficient and will make you feel more athletic. A sample jump rope workout could look like this below.

JUMP ROPE for time


repeat this for 6-8 rounds

( you could include this with your normal cardio....doing half jump rope half cardio on the treadmill etc )

2) PLATE PUSHES-This is the alternate version to doing the Prowler ( for those who don't know is a sled you push ) that can be done indoors. Basically put between a 25-45lb plate on the floor and push it. Sounds simple but don't think simple means easy. For those stronger you might even need to stack 45s. Keep in mind the type of surface you have in your gym. Make sure to keep your spine and head in neutral when pushing the plate. Below is a sample workout you can do.



** To change things you can push for a longer distance, do more rounds or decrease your rest periods

3) HILL SPRINTS-If they were good enough to get Walter Payton into great shape then they are good enough for you and I. Hill sprints are intense and they will leave your legs and lunges burning like no other. Keep in mind the steeper the hill the harder it will be. One of the drawbacks is finding a good hill especially if you live in the city. Another drawback is hill sprints tend to be tough of the ankles and Achilles. There is no exact workout for hill sprints but I would start with something you can do. Generally get up the hill as fast as you can, walk down and repeat 6-10x. Remember that hill sprints are tough on the body so I would only do them 1-2x a week.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

5/1 workout

The 5/1 workout consists of three different exercise groupings of three and are time based. Generally it is best to stay between the rep ranges of 6-8 reps. I have also found it best to have the same rep scheme for all three exercises.For each circuit you will have three exercises and you will aim to get as many rounds as possible in 5 minutes then taking 1 minute of rest. You will then repeat this sequence for a total of three rounds of 5 minutes with the goal of each round being to equal the work done in the previous time period or better. It becomes a 15 minute to 3 minute work to rest ratio when done. You should be getting a solid 3 rounds on these circuits if the rep scheme is correct. Below is how it would look

Seated row-8 reps
Goblet dumbbell squat-8 reps
Stir the pot on ball-8 reps each direction

5 min of work/1 min rest/5min work/1 min rest/5min work....done

If you did 3 rounds on the first 5 min then you would aim to get 3 rounds or better on the second and third 5 min rounds. The whole idea of the 5/1 workout is to make the body work hard each and every round and not drop off in performance. I have found this method to be great for improving overall body composition and dropping body fat.

** Key point is to make sure you have quality movement. Do not sacrifice bad form to makeup time. Also make sure the weight you choose is not too heavy because you need to keep the weight the same throughout every 5 minute round to keep consistency.

Ideal exercise selection can be any of the following-

upper body pull/upper body push/lower body

upper body/lower body/core

lower body hamstring or glute dominant/lower body quad dominant/upper body

upper body/lower body/conditioning exercise like ropes or ball slams

sample workout

A1)Seated row-8 reps
A2)Goblet squat-8 reps
A3) *Stir the pot with ball-8 reps each direction
** Stir the pot is when you get yourself in a plank position with your forearms on a ball. Then you make small circles in both clockwise and counter clockwise directions by moving your forearms on the ball
5/1 ratio x 3

B1) Neutral shoulder press with dumbbells-8 reps
B2) *Hamstring curl with ball-8 reps ( if too easy you could do 1 leg at a time )
B3) Chinup-8 reps
** Lie on your back with arms extended straight out as support. Place your heels on the ball, then bridge yourself up by squeezing your glutes. Next dig your heels in the ball and draw the ball in towards your butt. You should feel this in the hamstrings.

5/1 ratio x 3

C1) Band chops-8 reps
C2) Dips-8 reps
C3) Lateral lunge with dumbbell-8 reps each leg

5/1 ratio x 3


I only like to put this into a program for 1-2 weeks before moving onto something else since this workout consists of a heavy volume of work.