Tags Posts tagged with "strength training"

strength training

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You’ve been killing it on legs this year, right? As the months go by and the weather gets cold, often your body feels older than its years. Sure, you maintain a disciplined lifting regimen and sure, you look fantastic because of it. But it seems like your legs start to feel the aches and pains that result from steady consistent training load. You don’t want to give your legs a complete rest, but you know that your outright insane heavy lifting style has to give way for a few months.

Let’s just take a month to scale back the leg training. You’ll still be spending 90 minutes per week working on your legs, but you’ll be cutting back the weight and bumping up your repetitions. This will not only limit the amount of pressure you’re putting on the non-muscle portions of your leg structure, but will also isolate and target those slow-twitch muscle fibers which are typically ignored when using standard set schemes of 8 to 12. Once you hit repetition number 21, 25, 28 and beyond, you’ll discover a new level of muscle burning that you may not have previously thought possible!

Pre-Exhaust is a method which works perfectly with higher rep leg training. You’ll be unable to control and balance heavier sets of weight, but that’s okay! The initial high repetition method is great when you isolate the legs with leg extensions for 18 repetitions, and then throw 15 repetitions of lunges or barbell squats at them!

Hamstrings First? Referring back to the balance issue, without the requirements of going extremely heavy, you can hit the hamstrings hard and early for excellent isolation and eventually, results. Start your workout with high repetition lying leg curls immediately following by seated leg curl machine. Then finish off your day with stiff legged dead-lifts. Now, it’s time to move on to hitting your thighs with that same intensity and fury.

Leg_TrainingSplitting up your Hamstring & Thighs works well with this higher repetition training methodology. A Monday front thigh workout followed with a Thursday hamstring & calf workout is the perfect way to give yourself adequate rest and recovery from each tough workout, with the ability to really isolate and give each muscle group a nice level of dedication.

30, 40, 50 and beyond? Tom Platz used to start his leg extensions, and spend literally a dozen minutes on a single set. He would complete the 20 reps until he reached failure, then he would reduce the weight by 10% and complete another 5 repetitions slowly. He’d repeat this pattern until he was down to 10 or 20% of his initial weight. Then he would move form full to half to quarter repetitions.

Training in this matter allows your very tired and sore joints and tendons to rest while delivering a new level of intensity and an isolation and targeting of your various muscle fiber types. Happy training!

For a complete training system, check out our HIIT Program





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I am going to discuss the 5×5 workout which could quite possibly be the best workout to gain muscle and strength. I am sure you have heard this piece of advice before that when it comes to toning up, you should lift light weights and do high reps. I am sure you have also heard that you should lift heavy weights to gain big muscles. I am going to tell you, forget everything you think you know about fitness, and listen to what I have to say.

These two pieces of advice are absolute nonsense.

The idea behind light weights and high reps for toning is that with the decrease in rest time, the workout becomes almost cardio in nature. This is true and yes the inevitable pump which is just blood rushing into the muscle can make you look highly toned in the mirror, but this is only temporary. Although this workout is cardiovascular in nature I don’t recommend it for toning up. I actually recommend the opposite.

The other piece of advice is to gain weight you need to lift heavy, and although this is partially true, this isn’t the whole truth. Actually lifting lighter weights for higher reps will make your muscles bigger, not a nice big, but bigger nonetheless.

Before I explain muscle mass reps vs strength reps even further, I need to explain the different types of muscle and the 5×5 workout which will be our intermediary.

The two types of muscle growths are sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar. Sarcoplasmic muscle growth is where the volume of sarcoplasmic fluid in the muscle cell increases with no increase in muscular strength. You can think of this as a balloon filling up with water. Myofibrillar muscle growth is when the cells within the muscle actually multiply and makes the muscle more dense, dense being the keyword which I will come back to later. You can think of myofibrillar muscle growth as a balloon and adding more and more rubber to it making it denser.

Muscle Mass Reps

To gain muscle mass, which is just sarcoplasmic growth, you should focus on a rep range of between 6-15 reps using a pyramid scheme with the weight getting heavier each time. Rest should be kept down to a minimum 30-60 seconds to really fatigue the muscle. This will increase the fluid within the muscle and make them bigger. This type of growth gives off the soft bodybuilder look.

Strength Reps

To gain strength, you should avoid failure and lift as heavy as possible in the 1-4 rep range. Lifting in this rep range is what develops muscle tone. Lifting in this range is what will give you myofibrillar growth, it wont make your muscles big, but it will make them strong and really dense, and this is what gives of true tone. There is more to being toned than just having a low body fat. Having a low body fat and dense muscles is what gives off that really nice looking effect.

5×5 Workout

This is where the 5×5 workout comes in as an intermediary. It is bang in the middle of both strength reps and muscle mass reps. So if you want to gain strength as well as size, performing a 5×5 workout strategically is the right way to go about it. I hope you have now learnt that lifting light weights with high reps will not tone you up and lifting heavy wont give you much muscle mass.

I personally wouldn’t just use the 5×5 workout but would instead use all three to develop an incredible physique. Its a bit like shampoo and conditioner, is it better to use shampoo and conditioner combined? Or better to shampoo and then condition your hair? The answer is to first shampoo and then condition. To build an impressive physique, develop a foundation by building up sarcoplasmic muscle, then start hardening the muscle by using a 5×5 workout and then use strength reps to really bring out true muscle tone while focusing on burning body fat.

If you want more details, try out our Muscle Building With HIIT.



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If you’re a competitive bodybuilder, then a pair of killer arms are essential for making your mark in any competition you enter. If you’re just a beach bodybuilder, a set of well developed biceps and triceps is very much needed to make acquaintance with the fairer gender in your travels. If you’re just a regular guy trying to make a statement at work or anywhere, a pair of powerful arms is a prerequisite for getting noticed. Heck, is there any place when having an amazing set of arms isn’t a distinct advantage?

If your arms aren’t where you want them to be – and whose are? – then you may want to consider giving them a little extra attention. Sure, this is the point where a trainer will yell at you to “train harder” and “push it to the max” and other cheesy catch phrases. If you’re a hard working trainer, then you’re probably already doing that. It’s likely that you’re giving your arms everything you have on their training day.
There’s your limitation. Your training “day”. You are training one day a week for your arms, just like all of your other muscle groups. There is the key to making better gains for this particular muscle group in particular – you need to train them more. You need to ‘find’ another day to hit your arms.

The easiest split is the common sense split. Chest & Triceps will be trained on Monday. Back & Biceps will be targeted on Tuesday. Wednesday is shoulder day. Thursday you hit your legs. Then Friday is arm day – AGAIN. On Friday, you train arms alone, to their greatest potential, then you drop the weight and you don’t tough them again until Monday.

Since you will be hitting the triceps & biceps in a secondary role on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, you will want to avoid going too heavy for them on this training day. Use lower weight, with higher repetition. They won’t be worth much in terms of control and balance of weight, since they’ve been torched with the heavy chest and back work already. Instead you should keep your repetitions in the 8 to 15 range, and use lots of sets.

Once the heavy day rolls around, it’s time to get to work. Friday is “Lift heavy arm day” and nothing more. Use a rep range of 5 to 10 repetitions, and let the weight go heavy, as you have all weekend to heal.

Hitting the arms twice a week gives them 104 mini ‘growth cycles’ to enjoy each year – and the feeling you’ll enjoy with bigger arms at the beach, bedroom, or bodybuilding stage will be indescribable!

If you want more details, try out our Muscle Building With HIIT.


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