Posts Tagged ‘ripped’

weight-scale1

“I’m gunna start working out because I want to lose X amount of pounds/kilos”. If only I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that. You might have said it yourself or have heard a friend say it. The reason I bring this up is because the general population believes that solely the scale can track progress. While losing weight will definitely bring you closer towards your target body, it won’t be of much use once you actually hit your target weight. I very rarely, if ever, look at the numbers on my scale. If I were to hop on a scale now I’d probably be sitting around 180-185 lbs. You may be wondering how I measure my progress if I don’t watch my weight. What I’m going to tell you might surprise you. Ready? Drum roll…..the secret to getting your perfect body is the mirror. Crazy right! It can’t get much simpler! Let me explain how I’ve come to this conclusion.

When I started working out I was skinny-fat and I weighed around 135 pounds. I needed to lose fat on my body but I was actually really light.  Typically when somebody has a higher amount of body fat they’ll immediately think losing weight will give them the body they want. I’m here to tell you that’s not necessarily the answer. I’ve seen people that look like they’re 180 pounds of pure muscle, when in reality they weigh 160 pounds. After my phase with p90x, I weighed around 175 and had some good muscle definition but I wanted bigger more defined muscles. 3 months later, I looked like I gained 10 pounds of muscle and weighed myself and was 2 pounds heavier at 177 pounds. How is it possible that I looked a lot heavier when I actually only gained 2 pounds? Would I have been as successful if I only used scale to track my progress?! No way!! DO NOT TRACK PROGRESS SOLELY WITH THE SCALE, TRACK PROGRESS BASED ON HOW YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR VS. WHAT YOU WANT TO LOOK LIKE. That’s right, all caps, if you know what’s good for you, caps usually mean something important, so take it in again. MIRROR > Scale. 

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let me tell you how to track progress by using the mirror. The thing you’ll be focusing on changing is your body composition. Body composition is basically the amount of fat vs. the amount of muscle on your body. If you think you need to lose weight then you probably have a higher amount of body fat and want to convert that into muscle. I’ve found that my weight generally fluctuates 5 pounds,  give or take, from my starting weight. I like to eat just above my maintenance calories (to find yours click here)  with a macronutrient split of about 40% Protein 40% Carbs 20% Fats. This is generally my starting point when I start a program and I adjust the ratio based on how I look in the mirror. If a couple weeks down the road, I don’t see the definition I want, then I’ll replace a serving of complex carbs with a serving of fibrous carbs. I’ll eat this way for a week and then make any necessary adjustments again. I’ve found this method of measuring progress to be the best for me because instead of worrying about my weight, I can focus on how my body looks, which is, in essence, the main goal. We’re trying to shape and build a body that we want. You have to be able to visualize what you want your body to look like to get there. I’m sure you’ve seen photos of people with amazing bodies that you aspire to build. Use that as motivation. Recognize that the mirror will give you a better measure of your progress towards that dream body than the scale. You can see abs and muscles in the mirror but you can’t see those on the scale. How are you going to get closer to achieving that dream body if you’re only focused on the numbers on the scale?! You won’t, it’s as simple as that!

You can find everything you need to build your dream body on this blog. Use the nutrition articles to find out your maintenance calories and to create a meal plan, try my workout routines and continuously check progress in the mirror and adjust your nutrition accordingly. Results will follow and you may just be surprised of what you’re capable of looking like!!

Good luck and train hard friends!

As summer has recently left, we can only expect cooler temperatures, shorter day and miserable weather. This is when the general population decides that its time to completely loosen up on their diet and training and enter “bulking” mode. Time over time I hear people saying, “Ah summers gone, I won’t be shirtless so I’ll just stop doing cardio, eat more and start bulking”. Okay, that’s cool, but why?! Unless you’re competing there is no in season or offseason and definitely no need for bulking and cutting phases. Just because summer is over doesn’t mean that you can totally ease off of healthy eating and hard training. This should be the time that you take advantage off, kinda like the construction period before the grand revealing. The idea that bulking (which includes eating more calories, putting on muscle and some noticeable fat gains, training heavy with lots of rest, reduction of/or no cardio) is the only way to put on muscle is ridiculous. Do you know what comes as a result of bulking? Excess fat gains. Yeah, not so good. We want to build muscle and burn fat simultaneously. Traditional broscience says it’s not possible but my experience tells me differently. I’ve used this method to get ripped, adding muscle to my frame while successfully losing fat and managed to carve out a pretty impressive physique. I was getting complimented all the time and it felt good. I want you to feel good. I don’t want you to waste your time. I want you to work smart and efficiently. That’s why I’m here. Because I’ve tried and tested this on myself and it worked. Try and test on yourself and see how your body responds, you might be surprised with the results you can achieve!

This method of nutrition is known most commonly as carb-cycling. A style of nutrition that allows the body to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously by zig-zagging your calories and macronutrient intake. This method increases the metabolism to encourage fat burning while providing calorie deficits to melt the body fat. The idea behind the zig-zag method is that you cycle your week between high, medium and/or low carb days. By timing these days according to your workouts, you can achieve the jacked results you’re looking for.

A sample week might look like this:

Monday : High Carb

Tuesday: Medium Carb

Wednesday: Low Carb

Thursday: Medium Carb

Friday: Low Carb

Saturday: High Carb

Sunday: Low Carb

 

 High carb days: 

  • Aim for 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight.
  • Aim for about 1.5 -2 grams of carbs per lb of bodyweight.
  • Aim for about 0.5 grams of fats per lb of bodyweight.

I like to eat just at just above maintenance level on this day, which is around 3000-3100 calories. I like to mix my proteins between chicken, tuna, x-lean ground beef, turkey and eat low-glycemic carbs such as brown rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat bagels. I eat fruits directly after my workouts. The fats are usually trace fats from the proteins (e.g. eggs and steak) and the remainder I get from almond butter and healthy oils.  I get around 180 grams of protein, 380 grams of carbs, and 90 grams of fats which is around 3050 calories.

Medium carb days: 

  • Aim for 1-1.5  grams of protein per lb of bodyweight.
  • Aim for about 1 gram of carbs per lb of bodyweight.
  • Aim for about 0.5-0.7 grams of fats per lb of bodyweight.

I like to aim for around 2400-2500 calories on theses days. I aim for about 200 grams of proteins, around 180 grams of carbs, and around 100 grams of fats. I hike up protein and fat consumption and lower the carb intake. I switch out a meal or two of slow-carbs and add fibrous carbs such as veggies. This ratio lands me at around 2420 calories for the day.

Low carb days: 

  • Aim upwards of 1.6 -2 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight.
  • Aim for about 0.5-0.8 grams of carbs per lb of bodyweight.
  • Aim for about 0.7-0.8  gram of fat per lb of bodyweight.

I like to aim for around 2200-2300 calories. On these days you basically eat only veggies and greens along with your heightened proteins and fats. I aim for around 270 grams of proteins, 50 grams of carbs and 110 grams of fats, which lands me at roughly 2270 calories.

I prefer to use a 6 day split when I use carb cycling. If I were to use the sample schedule as a template my workouts would look like this.

Monday : High Carb {Leg Workout}

Tuesday: Medium Carb {Chest and Calves Workout}

Wednesday: Low Carb {Abs and HIIT workout}

Thursday: Medium Carb {Shoulders and Arms}

Friday: Low Carb {HIIT workout}

Saturday: High Carb {Back Workout}

Sunday: Low Carb {Rest}

I like to hit the muscles hard and efficiently. Use my sample workouts provided in the muscle specific training in conjunction with this type of carb cycling schedule and see how quickly you melt that body fat and built some nice muscle.

I like to make things as convenient as possible so bear with me. I eat around 5 meals a day so this is what a 3 day cycles of high, medium and low carbs would look like.

 

High Carb Day

  1. Eggs & Egg White Omelette + Oatmeals w/t fruits
  2. Chicken + Brown Rice + Veggies
  3. Beef  + Quinoa + Veggies
  4. Chicken +Ezekiel Bread+ Jam
  5. Post workout Protein and Fruit Smoothie

Medium Carb Day 

I do this very simple, on a medium carb day I basically take out the carb portion of two meals and replace with an extra veggie serving. I also eat bigger protein portions (6-7 oz) to help shuttle protein into my body to feed the muscles and grow.

  1. Eggs & Egg White Omelette + Oatmeals w/t fruits
  2. Chicken + Brown Rice + Veggies
  3. Beef  +  2 servings Veggies + Almonds
  4. Chicken + 2 servings Veggies
  5. Post workout Protein and Fruit Smoothie

As you can see, the only changes I’ve made were to meals 3 and 4. I replaced the complex carb with an extra serving of veggies and added a serving of fats.

Low Carb Day 

The easiest day to plan but the hardest to get through. I basically take out the carb portion of all meals except for the postworkout meal and replace them with extra veggie servings, and I also add some fat servings and really hike up my protein and throw in an extra protein shake (protein and water) to add some much needed protein.

  1. Eggs & Egg White Omelette + Oatmeal w/t fruits
  2. Chicken + Brown Rice + Veggies
  3. Beef  +  2 servings Veggies +Chia Seeds
  4. Chicken+ Protein Shake+ 2 servings Veggies +  Nuts
  5. Post workout Protein and Fruit Smoothie

As you can see, the only changes I’ve made were to meals 3 and 4. I’ve replaced the complex carb with an extra serving of veggies and added a serving of fats.

So there it is, try it out and see if carb cycling is for you! This is not recommended for sports athletes whose bodies need carbs to perform at higher levels! If you’re extremely active, the reduction in carbs may impair your athletic performance so it’s not recommended.

Try out carb cycling and see if it’s for you! Remember to stick to the principles outlined in this article and to use the sample workouts to help you achieve that jacked body you’ve been working so hard for. Good luck and please leave any questions or comments!

Looking for bulging biceps with peaks the size of Everest?! You’ve found the right place. These workouts will have those arms bear hugging your sleeves within a couple of months. These are some of my favourites that help me build strong and powerful arms. I like to keep it intense by performing several different rep ranges within a workout, using dropsets, supersets and short rests to stimulate different muscle fibers in the arms and grow those puppies. Try one of these workouts the next time you train arms and see for yourself. Let me know how you like these workout by commenting!!

Workout #1

 Rest between 45-60 seconds after completing all exercises in the superset before performing the next set.

  • Superset: (A) Barbell Curl 4 sets of 6 reps (B) Close-Grip Bench Press 4 sets of 6 reps {Increase weight with each set, rest for 75 seconds)  
  • Superset: (A) Dumbell Hammer Curls 4 sets of 8-10 reps (B) Overhead Triceps Extension 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Superset: (A) Cable Straight Bar Curl 4 sets of 25-30 (B) Tricep Extension 4 sets of 25-30

 

Workout #2 

Rest 45 seconds between sets.

  • Barbell Curl 4 sets of 15,12,10,8 {Increase weight as rep range drops}
  • Incline Dumbell Curl 4 sets of 15,12,10, 8 {Increase weight as rep range drops}
  • Spider Curl 3 sets of 10 {Keep same weight}
  • Tricep Extension 4 sets of 15,12,10, 8 {Increase weight as rep range drops}
  • Overhead Dumbell Extensions 3 sets of 10,8,6 {Increase weight as rep range drops}
  • Weighted Bench Dips 3 sets of 15 {Position yourself between two benches, and have a spotter put some plates onto your hips. Drop down into the dip and extend, that’s one, let’s hit another fourteen}

Workout #3

Rest 45 seconds, and add on 15 seconds until you finish your fifth set. Rest 120 seconds before hitting another 10 reps, then decrease by 15 second intervals as you move up the rep range

  • EZ Bar Curl 10 sets of 50,40,30,20,10,10,20,30,40,50
  • Smith Machine Close-Grip Bench Press 10 sets of 50,40,30,20,10,10,20,30,40,50

 

Workout #4

Rest 60 seconds for the first two exercises, then use short 45 second rests to keep the intensity up and the blood flowing into the muscle.   

  • Bicep Barbell Curl 10 sets of 10
  • Skull Crushers 10 sets of 10
  • Superset: (A) Preacher EZ Bar Curl 3 sets to failure (B) DB Single Arm Preacher Curl 3 sets to failure
  • Superset: (A) Tricep Extension 3 sets to failure (B) Dips 3 sets to failure

Workout #5

Rest for 45-60 seconds between sets. I want intensity here and maximal blood flow to the muscles. Let’s put some power into those arms.

  • Straight Bar Curls 3 triple dropsets of 10, 10, 10
  • Incline Dumbell Curls 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Standing Hammer Curls 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Tricep Extensions 3 triple dropsets of 12,12,12
  • Overhead Dumbell Extensions 3 heavy sets of 8,8,8
  • Weighted Bench Dips 3 triple dropsets till failure (Start with a 45 lb plate and rep out to failure, have a spotter replace the 45lb plate with a 35lb plate, rep out again, then replace the 35 lb plate for a 25 lb plate, rep out, rest and repeat)

Welcome to the Jacked Back Trainer. Here you will find some killer back workouts that will help you put on size, burn fat and build a massive, cobra-like back. I love to use various methods to keep the muscle guessing and working harder to adapt = GAINS GAINS GAINS. You think you’re ready?! Add these workouts into your routine and start seeing some real results!

Workout #1 

Rest between 60-90 seconds unless otherwise stated.

  • Superset: (A) Lat Pulldown  4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 {Increasing weight with each set}      (B) Wide Grip Pullups 4 sets to failure
  • Superset: (A) Bent-Over Barbell Row 4 sets of 6, 8, 10, 12 (Decrease weight as you rep up(B) Standard Pullup 4 sets to failure
  • Superset: (A) Reverse Close Grip Lat Pulldown 4 sets of 10 reps (B) Close Grip Pullups 4 sets to failure
  • Superset: (A) Deadlifts 3 sets of 8,6,4 (B) Pullups (*Change hand grips every set3 sets to failure

 

Workout #2 

Rest between 60-90 seconds unless otherwise stated.

  • Wide Grip Pullups 4 sets of 10 {The set isn’t over until you’ve hit 10 reps. Use the rest-pause technique if necessary}
  • One-Arm Dumbell Row 3 sets of 8,8,8 {Triple dropsets;Go heavy and hit 8 reps, then grab a weight 20-25 lighter and hit another 8, then rep another 8 with a weight 20-30lbs lighter then previous}
  • T-Bar Row 50 reps {Pick something that you can perform at least 25 reps with then use rest-pause to get to the 50. Take as many breaks as necessary and move on to the next exercise only after completing all 50}
  • Superset: (A) Machine Hi-Row 3 sets of 15,10,5 (B) Machine Low Row 3 sets of 15,10,5 {Increase weight as reps decrease}
  • Hyperextensions 3 sets of 12 reps

 

Workout #3

Rest between 60-90 seconds unless otherwise stated.

  • Pullups 4 sets of 10 reps {Change your hand position after each set; E.g. Wide Grip, Close-Grip, One Arm, Behind the Head}
  • Superset: (A) One-Hand Cable Row 3 sets of 8 {Slide the cable to the lowest height setting, grab the handle and with bend knees and straight back, pull your hand back towards your body with your elbow as close to the body as possible} (B) Rope Row 3 sets of 8 {Slide the cable to waist height, attach the rope attachment, and pull the weight back with your arms separating the rope and hugging your body}
  • Close Grip Lat Pulldown 3 sets of 30, 20, 10
  • Deadlift 50 reps {Pick a weight that you can complete 25 reps, and use rest-pause technique to hit all 50 reps}

Workout #4

Rest 90 seconds for exercises with 10 sets, and 60 seconds for assistance work. Choose a weight you can do 20 reps for a set with and stick with that for all 10 sets. Do not go to failure, you’ll get there as the sets go on.

  • Bent Over Barbell Row 10 sets of 10 reps
  • Seated Row 10 sets of 10 reps
  • Wide-Grip Pullups 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Deadlift 3 sets of 10-15 reps

 

Workout #5

 Rest between 60-90 seconds unless otherwise stated.

  • Romanian Deadlifts 4 sets of 10 {Add weight with each set}
  • Pullups 4 sets to failure {1 minute rest between each; try to new variation of the pullup for eact set, e.g. Muscle Up, One-Arm, Close Grip, Wide Grip}
  • Bent Barbell-Row 3 sets to failure
  • One-Arm Dumbell Row 4 sets of 10 reps {Keep weight the same}
  • Seated Rope Row 4 sets of 10 reps {Keep weight the same}
  • High Cable Row 4 sets of 10 reps {Attach a wide grip handle to the lat pulldown station. Grab the bar, step back and put a foot onto the platform used to secure the legs when performing pulldowns. Row the bar towards your chest, the cable should be coming towards your chest diagonally if you’re doing it right! Increase the weight with each set}
  • Medicine Ball Hyperextensions 3 sets of 10 reps 

What’s up everyone. Here are some of my favourite shoulder workouts that I like to cycle between when trying to put some size on my delts, while dialing in the striations by utilizing various training methods, including supersets, dropsets, rest-pause and german volume training. Try these out and see how effective they are for yourself!

Workout #1

  • 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 8* rep Behind the Neck Seated Military Press

 (Increase weight with each set, on the last set perform a triple drop set, hit 8 reps with the weight, drop the weight and rep through the next few until failure, drop the weight again and pump them out)

  • 1 set of 50 reps of Lying Upright Cable Row  

Pick a lighter weights here and rep out to 50. Take as many breaks as you want but don’t stop until you hit this number.

  • 3 Sets of 12 reps One-Arm Cable Lateral Raises superset with 10 reps of

Barbell Front Raise

This one will BURN. Pick a relatively lighter weight and rep out 12 lateral raises on the cable per arm. Immediately after, grab a lighter straight bar (I use 40lbs) and lift the bar with straight arms to eye level, bring down and raise again, with straight arms, over your head, that’s one rep. Perform 10 more.

  • 3 sets of 12 reps Hyperextension DB Reverse Flyes superset with 12 reps of Cable Face Pulls

Position the pads on the hyperextension bench so that you can hand over with your lower body stable and locked in. Bend over as if you were to do a hyperextension, and with dumbells in hand, perform a reverse flye. After you’ve hit your numbers move on to the cable machine and set the cable with the tricep ropes at eye level. Grab the rope and pull the rope towards your face.

  • 10 sets of 10 rep Arnold Press on Swiss Ball

This is the final burner and will kill all heads of the shoulder. Grab a swiss ball and some light dumbells, maybe 40% of your 10 RM (I use 17.5 lbs) and perform 10 reps. Stop, count to 10 000, by thousands in your head. And perform another 10. Follow this method until you hit all ten sets. You’re shoulders will be toast by now.

Workout #2

Rest 60-90 seconds between reps.

  • Arnold Press 4 sets of 12 superset with Standing Military Barbell Press 4 sets of 8
  • Seated Lateral Raises 3 triple dropsets of 12,12,12 superset with seated front raises 3 triple dropsets of 12,12,12
  • Reverse Machine Flye 3 sets of 10 superset with Reverse Cable Flyes  3 sets of 12

 

Workout #3

Rest between 60 -90 seconds between reps.

  • Shoulder Press 3 x 8-12
  • Upright Row 3 x 8-12
  • Lateral Raises 3 x 8-12
  • Front Raise 3 x 8-12
  • Seated Reverse DB Fly 3 x 8-12

 

Workout #4

  • Barbell Shoulder Press 4 sets of 30,20,10,5 superset Lying Upright Row 4 sets of 30,20,10,5
  • DB Arnold Press 4 sets of 5, 10, 20, 30 superset DB Lateral Raise 4 sets of 30,20,10,5

** REST starts at 45 seconds and increases 15 seconds until you hit the set with 5 reps, rest for 90 seconds, then move on to the second round of exercises going from 90 seconds back down to 45.

Workout #5

  • Machine Shoulder Press (Body facing towards machine) 4 sets of 12, 10, 6, 6

Performing machine shoulder presses facing towards the machine will put a focus on the anterior (front) head of the shoulder.

  • One-Arm Lateral Raise 4 sets of 12 reps superset Lateral Raises 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Straight Bar Front Raise (Eye-Level) 4 sets of 12 reps superset Straight Bar Front Raise (Arms Fully Extended Over Head)  4 sets of 12 reps
  • Pronated Dumbell Reverse Rows 4 sets of 10, 12, 15, 20

 

Pancakes..mmm.. who doesn’t love them! Thought eating healthy was boring? You’ll think again after you’ve had some delicious banana chocolate protein pancakes. These are some of my favourites to make! They’re delicious. They’re healthy and they’re convenient. You can make these the night before and heat them up next morning if you’re usually out the door before eating breakfast. If not these can be the perfect  breakfast,post-workout meals, or meal anytime during the day. So easy to make, you’ll be wondering how you lived without em!

Here are the ingredients and the recipe with pictures to help you follow along!

IMG_20130923_113646

1/4 cup oat flour ( I use Quaker Instant oats and the nutribullet to mill the oats into flour. You can also buy oat flour at health stores, but their pretty expensive, so I prefer this little improve).

3 egg whites (You can also use liquid egg whites, just use the nutrition info to calculate the equivalent of 3 egg whites).

1 scoop of protein powder (I use Kaizen Whey Protein because it’s natural, without any GMO’s or gluten, and it doesn’t give me stomach problems. You can also use any type of protein powder; whey, casein, egg, oat, hemp, etc.

1 medium-size organic banana 

1 tablespoon (Tbsp) of organic coconut oil

Preparation:

  1.  Mix the dry ingredients (oat flour, cinnamon, and protein powder into the bowl).
  2. Mash the banana into a smooth consistency and add the to bowl.
  3. Break (or pour) the 3 egg whites into the bowl and mix all of the ingredients together.
  4. Place a pan on the stove and set it to medium. Grab a Tbsp of coconut oil, and coat the pan with it.
  5. After all the ingredients are mixed you should have a lightly runny consistency. Pour some from the bowl onto the pan.

IMG_20130923_112627

6. Let it sit for a 1 minute or two, until you can slide the spatula under it without any resistance. Flip it for another minute     Repeat these steps until the bowl, is empty. This mixture made me 3 smaller pancakes and one bigger pancake.

**OPTIONAL: Pending on your goals, you can add this!! I don’t like to eat my pancakes dry, so I used a Tbsp of 100% pure organic maple syrup. I’m in Canada so this stuff is amazing and its available to me. I tend to stay away from the calorie-free, sugar-free syrups because they are full of ingredients that aren’t very good for the body. Pure maple syrup has natural sugars and has more antioxidants then blueberries and spinach. So with a little moderation, you can eat these natural sugars on occasion. Unless your allergic, in any case, natural honey and agave syrup are good alternatives!!

IMG_20130923_114123

I used this as breakfast, but the mix of protein and low-glycemic will release nutrients into my blood through the next couple of hours until I re-feed. As mentioned earlier, these are super convenient, easy to prepare and will provide a sustained energy release. If you haven’t tried them, have a go and let me know what you think!!

Nutritional Info:

Per 1 Serving

Calories: approx. 100 calories

Protein: 9.45 grams

Carbohydrates: 4.68 grams

Fats: 4.125 grams

Abs….we all want them. They’re usually the first muscle noticed and their high sex appeal doesn’t hurt either. Let me teach you a bit about yours, so all you jackedudes can chisel those bad boys out and all you jacketettes can sport a tight, flat stomach!

What we know as the abs are actually a group of four muscles. These are the:

  1. Rectus Abdominus
  2. External Obliques
  3. Internal Obliques
  4. Transversus abdominis

The rectus abdominus is the flat muscle at the front of your stomach that, when body fat is low enough, provides that “6 pack” appearance. It’s main functions include the flexion of the lumbar spine and compressing the abdominal contents. The first of the three anterolateral muscles (muscles that wrap around the sides of your body), the external obliques, are located at the side and the front of the abdomens. Their main functions consist of unilateral and bilateral actions. The unilateral, or one sided actions, include contralateral rotation and ipsilateral side flexion. Big words right? Have no fear, let me explain. A contralateral rotation just means that the muscles on the right move the trunk to the left. An ipsilateral side flexion is simply a same sided flexion, the muscles on the right flex the right side of the abdomen. Moving on we have the internal obliques, which lie underneath the external obliques and run in their [external obliques] opposite direction. The internal obliques share the same functions as the external obliques, which we can see if we scroll back up. The final layer of muscle, the transversus abdominus, is the deepest muscle in the abdominals and is tasked with stabilizing the back and maintaining abdominal pressure. An example of when we use this muscle is when we go to poop and pee. When you’re pooping and going for the kill, those final pushes are recruiting the transverse abdominus. Pooping your way to abs, wouldn’t that be something! Unfortunately, its not that easy. Let me give you some of my best tips and movements to build your own set.

Before I get into the movements and tips, I want you to chisel this into your brains! Having visible abs is only possible when your nutrition is in check. Notice how I said nutrition, not diet. That’s because your changing your lifestyle here, this isn’t some diet fad that you complete over a month and then go back to junk food for breakfast. It doesn’t work that way. Proper nutrition leads to lower body fat which leads to visible abs. That’s on you. This is your life. Your transformation. Your body. Imagine  your favourite car. Now imagine your favourite car as your body… are you gunna feed yourself shitty 87 grade fuel or super 91. Which one is going to provide you with the better long term performance? The 87 or 91? I hope you get my point.. nutrition is like 80% of the battle for that six pack or tight core you’re looking for. Dial it and results will come. Now how to make those abs pop and those tummies tight!

To those of you who might be doing thousands of sit ups or crunches a day naively believing your going to get a six pack, I advise you to read this and see if it changes your mind. I, for one, am unorthodox when it comes to training my abs. I feel this way because I don’t often directly train my abs. I’ll do some targeted ab work here and there but no religious schedule or workouts. That’s me! I do, however, do a lot of indirect ab work that recruits the abdominals to stabilize my body and keep my  lower back from snapping. Sounds a bit harsh, but I’ve taken a new look on training my core. I like to put the body outside of its comfort zone. This is how I see it. 3 sets of 15 crunches vs 3 sets of squats with a heavy barbell on your upper back, and your abs are stabilizing your body; preventing you from snapping. It’s a bit vulgar but its how I train. Stabilization. Heavy weight isn’t the only solution, take away balance and your in a new world. I do a lot of work with stability balls and bosu balls to build my core. Calisthenics is also a great discipline I use to build my core. When I do train my abs directly, there are a few favourites I have that always manage to kick my ass.

My favourite ab exercises are:

  • Toe-to-Bar Leg Raise
  • Roman Chair Oblique Leg Raise
  • Decline Crunches
  • Swiss Ball Crunch
  • Swiss Ball Bicycles
  • Jackknife
  • Cable Crunches
  • Cable Oblique Crunches (Chops)
  • Windshield Wipers (*advanced )
  • Back and Front Levers (*advanced movements)
  • Hanging Leg Raises

Doing these exercises will provide you with little visible progress unless your body fat is low enough. You’ll need to have your nutrition in check and be consistently active!! You can do it, no excuses, if you want it, you’ll get there. Use your new knowledge of your abs along with these exercises and clean nutrition, and you’ll the that jacked you in the mirror that you’ve always dreamed of!!

Our legs are the largest muscles on our body. They can be separated into two portions: the upper legs and the lower legs.  We’ll be looking at the anatomy of the muscles that make up the upper and lower legs, their functions, and some exercises and tips to help develop some badass legs. Grab them notebooks, sip on a nice protein shake and get to readin!

As mentioned above, there are two parts to your legs. The upper legs,  which are known as the thighs, consist of the quadriceps (anterior), the hamstrings (posterior) and the glutes, whereas the lower legs, which are the calves. To help you get through this, I’ve divided the post into 3 sections: Quads, Hams and Calves, respectively.

Section 1 

Let’s start by taking a look at the anterior (extensor) compartment of the thigh.

Looking at the photo, you may notice that there are many muscles that make up the anterior compartment of the thigh. The one’s that we can train, develop, grow, and define are the quadriceps (the technical term is quadriceps femoris). The term quadriceps means four heads, which means that there are four heads that make up the quadricep femoris.

The four heads are the:

  1. Rectus Femoris
  2. Vastus Lateralis
  3. Vastus Medialis
  4. Vastus Intermedius

The rectus femoris is located at the front of the quad. The vastus intermedius, not shown in the photo, lies underneath the rectus femoris. The remaining two muscle heads run parallel to the rectus femoris. The vastus medialis is the head found in the inner thigh, and the vastus lateralis is located on the outside of the thigh. All four heads work synergistically to extend the leg and flex the thigh, while the rectus femoris simultaneously acts alone to flex the thigh at the hip.

To develop the quads we use variations of squats, lunges, leg presses and leg extensions. Something important to remember when training the quads is that foot stance and toe positioning determine which muscle head gets targeted. For example, for squats and leg presses, performing these movements with your feet shoulder width apart and pointed slightly outward will provide overall thigh development. Closing your stance, meaning bringing your feet closer together, with toes pointed straight ahead will hit the whole thigh, but will target in on the outer thigh (vastus lateralis). Widening your stance, on the other hand, past shoulder width and pointed your toes out past a 45 degree angle will work the whole thigh, with a particular focus on the inner thigh (vastus medialis).

As mentioned above, there are many variations of the squats, lunges and extensions you can perform with varying stances and toe positions to hit each muscle head and develop some great quads. Some of my favourite exercises are:

  • Full Back Squat
  • Front Squat
  • Close Stance Squats
  • Wide Stanced Squats
  • Pistol Squats
  • Sumo Squat
  • Barbell Lunges (Forward/Reverse)
  • Bulgarian Split Squat
  • Step-ups (Barbell/Dumbell)
  • Machine Hack Squats
  • Leg Extension
  • Wall Squat
  • Unilateral Leg Extension
  • Single-Legged Leg Press
  • Leg Press
  • Wide-Stance Leg Press
  • Close-Stance Leg Press
  • Deadlift
  • Sumo Deadlift (ABSOLUTE MURDERER OF INNER THIGHS)

How we feeling so far?! Take a quick break, I recommend it, and come back ready to learn about the hamstrings. See you in 5!

Section 2

Okay, we’re back! On to the posterior (flexor) part of the thighs, the hamstrings. 

As with the deltoids, the hamstrings are a combination of three separate muscles and these are the:

  1. Biceps femoris
  2. Semitendinosus
  3. Semimembranosus

Opposite the quadriceps, the 3 muscles that make up the hamstrings are responsible for flexing the leg at the knee joint and extending the thigh at the hip joint. There is no need in getting into it because the exercises for the hamstrings generally work all three muscles and the glutes as well.

In addition to working the quads, squats, lunges and deadlifts also work on the overall development of the hamstrings, there are, however, certain exercises that isolate the hams. These badboys include:

  • Lying Leg Curls
  • Seated Leg Curls
  • Standing One-Leg Hamstring Curls
  • Flutter Kicks
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlifts (Barbell/Dumbell) (*My absolute favourite for hamstring development)
  • Good Mornings
  • Glute-Ham Raise (*This one is really difficult and requires a spotter because when you fail, you’ll drop on your face, I recommend working up to this with stiff-leg deads, leg curls and flutter kicks)

Section 3 

Congrats on making it to the final section! By now you should have a good understanding about the anatomy of the quads and the hams, their functions, and some movements that if performed will make them grow! In this last section, we will be covering the lower portion of the legs known as the calves. 

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 23.28.42

As you can see in the photo above, the calves are made up of three muscles, these are the:

  1. Plantaris
  2. Gastrocnemius
  3. Soleus

Another thing you may notice in the photo is the the gastrocnemius is the largest muscle in the calf. It’s function is elevating the heel (known technically as plantar flexion). The soleus shares the same function as the gastrocnemius, however it comes into play when the knee is bent. The plantaris at the top of the calf is a very weak muscle that also aids the gastrocnemius in elevating the heel.

How do we train the calves?! Before I get into the exercises that will help us males develop monstrous calves and help the ladies develop heel complimenting calves, I must bring to your attention that the calves are worked everytime your foot leaves the ground. This means that they are used to being worked often. How do we translate this in the gym? We use higher reps, I personally never train calves with less than 15 reps to a set. Just like the quads, the positioning of your toes targets specific areas of the calves. If I’m doing an exercise for 3 sets, I like to vary my stances to hit each part of the gastrocnemius and soleus. My first set will usually be standard toes pointed forward, the next set i’ll turn my toes out so their pointed in a 45 degree angle, and for my finisher set i’ll point them back in to what I call a duck stance and finish off the set.

With that said, lets look at some of my favourite exercises that will provide you with a lovely burn and shape those puppies into deliciousness. These movements include:

  • Seated Dumbell Calf Raise
  • Seated Machine Calf Raises
  • Donkey Calf Raises
  • Standing Machine Calf Raises
  • Leg Press Calf Raises

** Remember that the soleus is only used when the knee’s are bent so for every calf workout, make sure that you have atleast one seated variation of the calf raise, either before or followed by a standing variation.

THATS IT!! We’ve made it, wooohoooo!!! You should have a solid understanding of the upper and lower portions of the legs, how they work and how to develop them through exercise! I hope you’ve learned something, we’ve almost completed the muscle anatomy series. Sit tight while I finish the write up for the anatomy of the arms and the abs, and I’ll have some muscle-spefic workout templates that you can use to really eff shit up and build that body of your dreams! Until next time everyone, stay jacked!

Nothing tops of an upper body, nicer than a set of defined shoulders. On both men and women, defined shoulders compliment the rest of the upper body and also play an important role in daily functionality. Have a read into the anatomy of shoulders and built them to your liking!

The muscle that we know as the shoulders are  actually called the deltoids!

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 15.05.02

The deltoids have three main heads, these are:

  1. The Anterior head
  2. The Middle head
  3. The Posterior head

All three shoulder heads work together to allow the arm to raise away from the midpoint of the body (known as abduction). So when you are standing with your arms to your sides and you raise them to shoulder level, you’re deltoids are engaged and make this possible. The important thing that I want you to remember is that there are 3 heads in the delts! Why is this important? Because each head can be worked with specific exercises, and by combining exercises that work all three heads we can create a workout thats hit the whole delt and build some beautiful tennis ball delts.

As with the chest, working out the delt consists of performing push movements. There are movements that we can use to add size and thickness to the delts, and there are also some movements that we use to shape and define the deltoids and really get those striations showing.

To add size to the delts, I recommend doing a variation of pressing movements, the heavier weight will tear apart the muscle tissue in the shoulder and rebuild huge delts. The presses work the whole deltoid, all three heads included, and below you’ll find some of my favourite exercises for slapping on size to those delts:

  • Standing Military Press
  • Seated Military Press
  • Behind the Head  Barbell press
  • Arnold Press
  • DB Press
  • Handstand Pushup
  • Hammer Shoulder Press
  • Korean Dips

To really shape and define the delts, we use raises to target the anterior, middle, and posterior heads of the delts. These are isolation movements and really provide a deep burn when done correctly.

To target and shape the anterior (front) deltoid head, we use the following exercises:

  • DB Front Raise
  • Incline Front Raise
  • Barbell Front Raise
  • Low-Cable Front Raise
  • One-Arm Low-Cable Front Raise
  • Seated Front Raise
  • Front Raise w/t plate and twist

To target and shape the middle deltoid head, we can use any of these exercises:

  • DB Lateral Raise
  • Cable Lateral Raise
  • One-Arm Lat Raise
  • Seated Lat Raise
  • Incline Lat Raise

To isolate and shape the posterior (back) deltoid head, we use any variation of the reverse flye:

  • Reverse Cable Flye
  • Reverse Machine Flye
  • Bent Reverse DB Flye
  • Seated DB Reverse Flye
  • Lying DB Reverse Flye
  • Seated Reverse Cable Flye

There we have it everyone! As you can see, the deltoids are one of the smaller muscle groups on the body but they still require attention and targeted training to be built. Well built delts complement a big back and a solid chest, so use the provided exercises to target the delts, destroy them and get jacked. Until next post everyone,stay fit, make healthy choices and kill it!

Welcome to the Muscle Anatomy Series; a six part series with focusing on a the anatomy of a specific muscle group in the body. This series will give you a better understanding of each of your muscles and trust me when I say this, it will help you out so much when it comes to training. How so? Knowing the different parts of a muscle allows you to choose specific exercises that target it, which will help you build complete muscle-specific workouts. Sounds pretty sweet right?! It is, now go grab your reading glasses and sip some protein, here we go!

In weight training, the body is broken down and separated into a series of muscle groups. These muscle groups represent all the muscles that are on the body, they are:

  1. Chest
  2. Back
  3. Shoulders
  4. Arms
  5. Abs
  6. Legs

Many beginners and intermediates generally stick with this series of muscle groups, however advanced weight trainers, bodybuilders and competitors go even further and break down some muscle groups into their specific muscles.

The list below is the typical breakdown of muscle groups for a competitor or seasoned lifter:

  1. Chest
  2. Back
  3. Traps
  4. Shoulders
  5. Abs
  6. Biceps
  7. Triceps
  8. Quadriceps (known as Quads for short)
  9. Hamstrings (known as Hams for short)
  10. Calves

As you can see, seasoned lifters and competitors like to break down the body into such detail because in competition, each muscle is judged both for its individual condition and how it compliments the body as a whole. If the biceps are ripped and peaked, but the triceps are lacking, chances are points will be lost, so it’s crucial to have such attention to detail, however for the majority of readers who are just looking to get in shape, don a nice six pack or flat stomach and have a kick ass body, we’ll use the original six as our reference points.

So without further a due, click here to find out about the chest!