Posts Tagged ‘workout’

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!

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 Legs Trainer. Here you’ll find some of my personal leg workouts that I use to add size to my legs and increase athletic performance. I don’t perform many isolation exercises for legs  because those do very little for athletic performance so I substitute isolations for plyometric movements for strong and explosive legs. If you play sports, these workouts will have you running faster, jumping higher and hitting harder, even if you don’t these workouts will give you a strong and powerful base with great functionality.

Workout #1

Rest for 90 seconds between each set for all exercises except for #1, in which you should rest until your are ready for another round, between 2-3 minutes. 

  • Squats 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Leg Press 3 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlifts 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Superset: (A)Leg Extension 15, 12, 10 (B) Hamstring Curl 15,12,10 Perform exercise A first then immediately move on to exercise B, perform, rest for 60-90 seconds. 
  • Superset: (A) Seated Calf Raise  3 sets of 15-20 (B) Standing Calf Raise  3 set of 15-20

Workout #2

Rest 60-90 seconds between sets! If doing supersets or trisets, complete all exercises on after the other, rest, and repeat.

  • Squats 100 reps (Take as many breaks as necessary but don’t stop until you hit 100, vary the stance to hit all parts of the thighs. I use back squat, sumo stance, narrow stance and front squats, and aim for 25 reps of each) 
  • Triset: (A) One-Leg Leg Press  4 sets x 10 reps (B) Plyometric Lunges 4 sets of 25 reps {Explode from one leg to the other} (C) Wall Squat 4 sets of 30-45 second holds.
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlifts 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Superset: (A) Donkey Calf Raise 3 sets of 15-20 reps (B) Seated Calf Raise 3 sets of 15-20

  Workout #3

Rest between 60 -90 seconds between reps.

  • Bosu Ball Barbell Squats 4 sets of 10, 8, 6, 4 {Set up in the smith machine, load up a barbell and flip a bosu ball onto its uneven side, unrack the barbell and find your balance on the bosu ball. Focus here, keep your core tight for balance, and drop into the squat slowly and push out, use a spotter if necessary!) 
  • Bosu Ball Hack Squats  3 sets of 8-10 reps {Lie a bosu ball with the uneven side on the platform of the hack squat machine. Stand on the even platform of the bosu ball and keeping your core tight, unrack the weight, drop into the movement and control it up}
  • Superset: (A) Bulgarian Split-Squats 3 sets of 10-12 reps (B) Squat Jumps 3 sets of 15-25
  • Superset: (A) Bosu Ball Lunge 3 sets of 8-10 reps (B) Standing DB Calf Raise 3 sets of 15-20

{Grab a pair of heavier dumbells and find a raised platform, stand on it with your heels off the platform, Drop down all the way and raise yourself using the calf muscles}

Workout #4

  • Squats 4 sets of 30,20,10,5 superset Standing Calf Raises 4 sets of 15, 25, 35, 45 
  • Leg Press  4 sets of 5, 10, 20, 30 superset Leg Press Calf Raise  4 sets of 50, 40, 30, 20

** 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.own to 45.

Workout #5

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.

  • Squats  10 sets of 10 reps {Keep the weight the same for all sets}
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlift 10 sets of 10 reps
  • Superset: (A) Standing Calf Raise 3 sets of 15-20 reps (B) Seated Calf Raise 3 sets of 15-20

 

Alright this is the chest we’re looking at here. Gentlemen, get ready to kick some ass. Ladies, this applies to you too. I love to work chest, its one of my favourite days! Make sure you check out the anatomy of the chest before attempting any of the workouts! It’s best to know about the muscle you’re working so you can ensure your training its properly. I will workouts similar to mine, they will build muscle, burn fat , and give you a presentable pectoralis. You just have to be prepared for the hard work!! Use these workouts, cycle between them every week and watch yourself grow! I like to build my workouts with compounds lifts and go heavier on those, then do some plyometrics works and use swiss balls to kinda get the body guessing and finish up with some classic shapers. As far as reps go, I’ll go to failure, whatever that number happens to be. I generally aim for 4-6 reps on heavier compound exercises and 8-15 on the lighter shapers and bodyweight exercises. Here are 5 chest workouts that I absolutely love to do and you should too!

1. The Giant Set Killer [Not for the weak hearted]

Rest periods of 90 seconds after single lifts and supersets, 2 minute rest between giant sets.

  • 3 sets of Korean Dips (Do standard dips if you haven’t worked up to korean dips) superset with Pushup Ladder (You basically take the bar at the smith machine, lower it as close to the ground as possible and start with your arms gripping the bar as wide as possible. Aim to perform 8 reps, after that slide the bar up one notch and narrow your grip one hand length. Aim for another 8. Do this until your hands touch, blast out those reps and rest for the next set)
  • 3 sets of Deadstop Bench (aim for 4-6 reps each set)
  • 3 Giant Sets (3 or more exercises done one after the other without rest inbetween) of : [Swiss Ball Dumbell Press][Wide-Grip TRX Flye] [Swiss Ball Dumbell Pullover] [Pushups] ; the goal is to aim for around 8 reps of each and just burn out with as many pushups as you can, my first set I did 10, by the third I did 4. This set will get you!
  • 3 Giant sets of: [Korean Dips] (Use standard dips to build up to korean dips) [Incline Smith Machine Bench] [Dumbell Incline Flye]. This is the last giant set of the workout, so get in, work hard and you’ll be dunzo by the end of this puppy trust me. Aim for around 8 reps on the first two movement, and some 12-15 reps for the flyes. Keep it controlled with good form. Make that mind to muscle connection and kill it.

2. Revved Up Classic

Rest periods of 90 seconds between lifts.

  • 3-4 sets of Incline Dumbell Press superset with Incline DB flye
  • 3-4 sets of Flat Bench Dumbell Press superset with flat DB flye
  • 3-4 sets of Decline Dumbell Press superset with decline DB flye

For the presses aim for hitting around 6-8 heavy reps and with the flyes choose a weight that’ll have you struggling by 12 and doing no more then 15 reps.

3. Pyramid Scheme Chest

This workout uses the pyramid method. This method usually involves moving from a high rep range down to a low rep range progressively through sets.

  • Incline Dumbell Bench Press Pyramid 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 6 ( As the reps drop, the weight goes up)
  • 3 sets of Plyometric Pushups ( Place two dumbells on one end just over shoulder width apart. Start on the ground and explode up onto the dumbells, lower your body and explode off the dumbells back onto the ground. To build up strength for this try clapping pushups, or if your completely new try standard pushups)
  • 3 sets of Cable Flyes (aim for 21 reps; start with the cable on the highest setting and perform 7 flyes, immediately drop the cable to shoulder height, perform 7 more flyes, after this immediately drop to the lowest setting and perform another 7 reps. You’ll be doing shaping your chest from three different angles on this one, and the lowest setting will be a killer. Suck it up, work through it. Shut out the pain and follow the burn. Kill it.
  • 1 set of Dips (Aim for hitting between 75-100 reps; use the rest-pause technique until you get to the rep range, you don’t stop until you get there! Take as many breaks as necessary but hit that number. If you can’t do bodyweight dips on the dip bar, head over to the assisted dip machine and rep them out there)
  • 10 sets of Swiss Ball Dumbell Press (This is a modified german volume training technique, I love to use as a burner. Grab a pair of dumbells that are 50-60% of your 10 rep max. I can hit 10 reps with around 70lb dumbells, so I use 25 lb dumbells for this. You’re doing 10 sets of 10 reps with 10 second rest in between. It seems easy because of the light weight, but by the 5th set you’ll be hating me! Rep these out, control your form, and finish of the workout!)

4.  DTP Style Chest Killer

This is one badass workout and you’ll feel the blood rushing into your chest like no tomorrow. It may seem very simple but it packs a punch. It’s perfect for those that need a quick workout. This is one of Kris Gethin’s DTP workout, and it’s kicked my ass. You should try it out!

  • Dumbell Bench Press 30 20 10 5 5
  • Incline Dumbell Bench Press 5 5 10 20 30

How this works is you start with 45 second rest periods. As you go move down the rep range and increase weight, you add 15 seconds of rest. So your rest will look like this: 45 seconds, 60 seconds, 75 seconds, 90 seconds, 105 seconds, then you’ll set up for the incline dumbell press and shorten the rest period back down to 45 seconds.

5.  The Big Pump

  • 4 sets of Incline Barbell Bench Press (Go heavy and aim for 6-8 reps for the first three sets. On the last set, do 21’s, lighten up the weight and do 7 wide grip reps, rack and do 7 shoulder width reps, rerack and do another 7 closer grip reps)
  • 3 sets of One-Arm Swiss Ball Dumbell Flyes superset with Bosu Ball Pushups ( Hold a pair of dumbells over your body on a swiss ball. Hold the left arm straight, flex your abs and stabilize your body whilst lowering the weight out with your right arm and performing a flye. Do 8 reps with one arm, then hold the right arm straight with the dumbell over you and lower the dumbell in the left hand. Hit 8 reps then jump into pushups holding the bosu ball on the flat end and rep out until failure. Repeat two more times.
  • 3 sets of Dips superset Machine Flye [Triple Dropset] (Here you’ll be doing your standard bodyweight dips for 12-15 reps  and then without break moving to the machine flye and repping out 8 reps, lowering the weight and without rest, performing another 8 reps, and again lowering the weight and performing another 8 reps without rest. Thats one set, do two more and we’re done. Good luck taking your shirt off to shower!

There you have it guys, a couple of my favourite chest workouts that I like to cycle around week to week to keep my body guessing and progress coming. If you’re new to the training scene, scale down some of the sets so that you can perform as much as you can. Don’t give up, you’ll get better, I promise. Just work hard, train jacked and you’ll get jacked! These workouts will build muscle and shred fat. They will help with functionality, power,strength and athletic performance. The muscles will not only look big and full, they’ll have the strength to back it up. Enjoy everyone, please try them out and comment if you like them!

on7hcWhat if I told you that you had no more excuses to not work out. No more excuses to not go to the gym. No more excuses to feel tired all the time. This post is for anyone that’s in high school, college or university, that either wants to make a change, switch things up or completely transform themselves.  It’s not impossible. It’s actually very achievable if you do the right things. The main thing here is called time management. You’ve planned your days around your school schedule, so why not spare an hour or so for working out. These days almost every school or university in North America has a school gym. Take advantage of it. They are either covered in your tuition or are heavily discounted to accommodate the student budget. Take Ryerson University for example. Full-time students pay for memberships to the universities two gyms in their tuitions! Before that it was around 40$ to buy a membership for a whole semester, which is ran from September-January. That’s pennies, even on a student budget. I recommend you go to your on-campus gym and find out if you get access through your tuition, which is a definite plus. In the case of Ryerson, students have either the Ryerson Athletic Centre (RAC) or the newly built,  Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC). If you want to make the change for the better I strongly urge you to take control of your life, eat well and train consistently. Doing this will change your life, I guarantee you. The benefits of physical fitness and the habits learned from taking care of yourself transfer into your every day life. You will not only feel and look better, you will be happier, you will be able to think more clearly, you will have a more positive outlook on life and you will be able to cope with stress a lot better. All of these pros and what are the cons? You have to find a whole hour to workout. An hour of your day is only 4% of the total day. What do you do for the other 23? If you’re like the general population, you’ll probably spend a lot of time on the internet, scrolling through 9gag, reddit, facebook, and youtube. And you’ll probably spend more than an hour doing that everyday .Why not make a commitment to being healthier? Why not use that time to change your life? What’s stopping you? One of my pet peeves is hearing excuses about the gym. Oh I can’t go I don’t have the time! It’s too expensive! I’m too busy. I’ll start tomorrow! No, you won’t! You said tomorrow, yesterday and here you are today sitting on your ass making another excuse to further delay any change. You’ve got an opportunity here, take it, you absolutely WILL NOT regret it. The first step is to realize a change is necessary, then its your job to make a plan and go after it. Everything is possible and excuses are for losers. You, you’re not a loser though, you’re a champion, and you will do this. No time? Make some! Too expensive? You’ve already paid, if not check with your school gym and get discounted student pricing. Take advantage of it. You’re going to have to grow up anyway, there’s no denying it. Why not learn some discipline and prove to yourself that you’re independent. Reaching your goals will help you make new ones and reach them. You’ll have everything you need on this blog; nutrition, meal plans, goal-specific workouts, wellness tips and motivation. I’ll give you literally everything you need to know and you’ve just gotta execute. This is on you. I can’t make the change for you, but I can help you along the road. Follow my blog and like my facebook page, read and get educated. Knowledge is power, remember that. Let’s get it together, eat jacked, train jacked and get jacked, whatever your jacked may be!

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!!

A favourite of mine and all guys a like, and ladies, if this isn’t one of your favourites, it soon will be. All men want big, full, peaked biceps and horseshoe tri’s. For the ladies, tight and toned does the job. Nobody wants flabby arms, the fix? Read on.

Section A – The Anterior (Flexor) Arm Muscles

First we will take a look into the flexor muscles in the arm known by normal people as biceps and by gym rats worldwide as guns. As you can see, there are 3 flexor muscles that make the “biceps”. These are the:

  1. Biceps Brachii
  2. Brachialis
  3. Pronator Teres

The largest muscle you’ll notice is the biceps brachii. The term bicep means two heads, and the biceps brachii has both a long head and a short head. These heads work together to allow flexion at the elbow and shoulder, as well as supination (holding with an underhand grip). The brachialis is the main flexor of the forearm and the pronator teres flexes the forearm at the elbow and allows us to pronate at the forearm. What does this all mean? Essentially, it means that the main job of the bicep is to allow the arm to flex at the elbow.

How do we work them out? Well this one is pretty self explanatory. We’ve all seen pictures of massive men with bulging biceps curling heavy looking weights. As flexors, the best way to build and develop the biceps is to add weight to any movement that involves flexing the arm. With that said, there are a variety of exercises we can perform to hit the biceps from all angles and get em growing, or in the case of women, tight and toned. My favourites include:

  • Supinated Dumbell Curl
  • Barbell Curl (*Works wonders for adding size to the guns)
  • EZ Bar Curl (Wide Grip/Close Grip)
  • Preacher Curl ^
  • Concentration Curl ^
  • Spider Curl ^
  • Incline DB Curl ^
  • Overhead Cable Curls
  • Cable Curls
  • Hammer Curls
  • Pronated Curls
  • One-Arm Cable Curls
  • 21’s ( These are DEATH)

^ – These four lifts limit the amount of momentum of the movement and therefore really isolate the bi’s and are effective in giving your biceps that highly sought after peak!

Section B – The Posterior (Extensor) Arm Muscle

If the term “bicep” means two heads, how many heads do you think the triceps have? If your answer was three, you’re correct! The Triceps Brachii, or more commonly referred to as triceps or tri’s, have 3 heads that make up the muscle. These are:

  1. Long Head
  2. Lateral Head
  3. Medial Head

The long head is the longest head of the triceps. As you can see in the photo, it runs down the arm alongside the body. The medial head is found in the middle back portion of the upper arm and the lateral side is found on the outer side of the arm, it completes the triceps and gives it that distinct “horseshoe” look. The  main function of the triceps is to straighten the arm by extending at the elbow, while the long head of the arm also works simultaneously to bring the arm down toward the body.

The triceps are trained using push movements that require the arms to be extended at the elbow. Some of my absolute favourite tricep exercises are:

  • Overhead DB Extension (*great burn)
  • French Press
  • Close-Grip Bench Press (*beast for adding size to them tri’s)
  • Skull Crushers +
  • Cable Extensions +
  • One-Arm Extensions^
  • Rope Extensions +
  • Bodyweight Dips
  • Weighted Dips +
  • Dumbell Kickbacks
  • Overhead Barbell Extension ^
  • Bent Overhead Cable Extension^

^ – These exercises are great for burning out the triceps

+ – These exercises are great for adding size to the triceps with heavier working loads.

There we have it folks, the complete go-to guide to building your arms. Now that you have a better understanding of the anatomy of the arms, lets get to growin! Until next post 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!

The chest is one of my favourite muscle groups to train and that for good reason, it’s become one of my strongest muscles. Training the chest is like the epitome of training legs for ladies, we love it and we do it all the time. The chest is the muscle that is most overlooked like women because of their mammary glands (breasts), but please stick with me on this! It’s still a muscle in your body and needs to be trained. Focus on the recommended exercises portion of this post to benefit the most of it. Gentlemen, I’m not worried about you!  You’ve probably already got your notebooks open and pen in hand, good, let’s get going!

What we know as the chest is actually called the pectoralis and it is made up of two muscles; the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor( sits beneath the pectoralis major). Both males and females have the major and the minor, however the female chest has the pectoralis major and the minor around the mammary gland (the breasts)

Now to help you target the pecs better, I’ll separate them into two portions; the upper and lower pecs. If you build a strong chest and get your body fat low enough you can actually see this separation when you flex your tits. If you look at the photo above you see the separation. The lower portion of the pec that you can see in the photo is the larger sternal head of the pectoralis, while the upper portion of the pec is the smaller, clavicular head. So what does this mean? Well basically by understanding that the pec has both upper and lower portion, we can isolate each portion with specific exercises. Exciting stuff right? This will bring out those monster pecs.

How do we work out the chest?! To to this we find out what the pectoralis major actually does for us. The answer:  brings your arms towards the middle of your body across the chest. Think of it like this, everytime you hug someone you’re using your pectoralis major to wrap your arms around them. Never thought of it like that, eh? I’ve probably ruined hugs for you now, oh well, moving on..

The pecs are what we call a push muscle. What does that mean?! Well, to work the muscle itself we have to use a pushing movement. Do you know what a pushup is? I assume you do, do you know what muscle it works? If you guessed the chest, you’re right! Thats because when you push yourself off of the ground, you are using the pectoralis major muscle to get off of the ground, thats why its called a pushup.

When training the chest, there are generally two types of lifts that we do, these are presses and flyes. Whats the difference?! The bench press is used to add size to the pecs, while the flyes are used to give shape to the pecs. Think about it like making a pot of clay, doing bench presses is like adding more clay to the pot to make it bigger, while doing flyes brings the actual shape of the pot together. You usually use more weight on the bench press as it is a compound lift (click here to see the Weight Training 101 post) then on the flye because it is an isometric exercise.

So now that we know everything about the pec, all thats left is to provide you with some exercises that will work the entire chest! Here we go!!

To build the overall size of the chest, I recommend to do a variety of these exercises:

  • Barbell/ Dumbell (DB) Bench Press – Hits the whole pec muscle.
  • Incline Barbell/ Dumbell (DB) Bench Press – Hits the upper pecs.
  • Decline Barbell/ Dumbell (DB) Bench Press – Hits the lower pecs.
  • Plyometric Pushups – Involves explosiveness, builds power and adds size.
  • Pushup – Hits the whole pec muscle.
  • Incline Pushup (Arms Elevated) – Hit the lower pecs.
  • Decline Pushup (Feet Elevated) – Hit the upper pecs.
  • Machine Press – Hits the whole pec muscle.
  • Incline Machine Press- Hits the upper pecs.
  • Decline Machine Press- Hits the lower pecs.

To shape and define the chest, I recommend these exercises:

  • Dumbell Flyes – Hit the whole pecs.
  • Incline DB Flyes – Hits the upper pecs.
  • Decline DB Flyes- Hit the lower pecs.
  • Cable Flyes – Hit the whole pecs.
  • Incline Cable Flyes- Hit the upper pecs.
  • Decline Cable Flyes- Hit the lower pecs.
  • Machine Flyes – Hit whole pecs.

By now we should have a better understanding about the pecs and we’ll use the provided exercises to hit them hard and watch them grow. Thats a wrap for this post folk, see you at the gym training jacked!

Having laid down some nutritional foundation on you, I’m going to get into the training portion and this post will be about the basics. I’m talking exercises that have been around for as long as weights have.

When you first step into the gym what are the first few things you will notice? Probably a lot of people on treadmills, some guy growling under a bent bar lowering himself to a seated position and rising, another guy at the bench tearing up 3 plates, and another one hoisting massive weight from the ground. Why do you see people doing these exercises? Because they work.

These lifts are referred to as compound movements, meaning that they use more than one muscle and are usually multi-jointed movements. Our basic 3 compound lifts are the bench press, the deadlift, and the squat. Some other effective compound movements are the military press, pullups/chinups, the bent-row and the clean.

If you’re a beginner get familiar with these exercises because they will be the staples of your workout. I recommend that when planning your workouts, 75-80% of your lifts should be compound movements, the remaining 20 odd percent could be isometric movements.

What are Isometric exercises? Well, they are single-joint movements that isolate a certain muscle with the goal of definition. Examples of isometric movements include lateral raises, tricep extensions, bicep curls, etc. These are not so important for beginners, but for those of you that have been working out for some time, 6+ months, you’ll be more inclined to use these types of movements.

Okay, so back to the basics. I’ll be focusing here on the compound movements because they are so incredibly important for all gymgoers, be it beginners or the experienced gym rat. Like I said earlier, you’re workout will be comprised of mainly compounds, therefore it is important to have a solid understanding of these movements because you WILL be doing them.

The Squat – This movement works the lower body and core. It hits your quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus (your butt), your calves and your core. This is a beast of a lift and you will definitely feel it. To do it properly, line up under the bar and pick it off the rack just behind your traps, take a few steps back, extend your hips back and drop down slowly and controlled. As you sit into the squat, you want to make sure you’re feet are flat on the floor, about shoulder width apart, and that your knees track over your feet. You can go 90 degrees or lower, I prefer to go ATG (Ass to Grass) and dip just below 90. Make sure your weight is on your heels, keep your head faced forward, and use your legs and hips to drive the squat up back into full extension. Many people tend to fold their backs when they go down which is wrong. You want to keep the bar in a straight line from top to bottom, by driving the hips you can do this properly. By clicking here, you’ll be sent to youtube where Mark Rippetoe explains the concept of hip drive in greater detail.

 

The Bench Press – This lift is a staple for building the muscles in your chest.  It works the pectoralis major muscle in the chest and is a great mass builder. To do it properly, lay flat on a bench and grab the barbell just over shoulder width. As you raise the barbell off of the rack, make sure to keep your wrists straight, control the weight down to the nipple line and explode up. You want to ensure your back stays flat! Many people arch their back once they lift heavy and you can easily slip a disk and mess up your back. Don’t do that, always be sure to use a weight that you can control. The weight isn’t as important as the mind-muscle connection.

 

The Deadlift – This is your lower backs best friend. One of the most classic lifts in a bodybuilders arsenal, this thing is extremely functional because we pick stuff up off the ground everyday. To do the lift properly, stand over a barbell with your feet just under shoulder width. Make sure your shins are touching the barbel and the barbell sits over the middle of your feet. As you lower down to grab the barbell, ensure that your back is straight and grip the barbell about shoulder width. Keep your feet flat, weight on the heels as you explode up. Keep your head up, look straight ahead throughout the whole lift and lock out at the top. This exercise can really mess you up if you round your back. You can easily slip a disk and mess yourself up as well, so ensure a flat back throughout the lift. The deadlift, like all of the classic compound movements can be targeted to focus different muscles with variations to your stance and grip. We’ll get into that as you progress, for now you’ll get better at this.

The Pullup and Chinup – I love this one and you should all know what it is. A pullup is done with your hands are pointed away from your body gripping over the bar, whereas a chinup is done with your hands are pointed towards your body, gripping under the bar. Different hand placement determines what part of the back is being worked, and yes you can cover virtually your entire back with different variations. Perfect for lifters of any experience, every back workout I do includes some variation of the pullup or chinup and so should yours.

The Bent-Over Row – Another great mass builder for the back, the bent row is my go-to for putting on size and strength. The exact muscles used differ on hand placement, which can be either pronated (as you see in the pic) or supinated (underhand grip). The bent-row works the latissimus dorsi muscle, which makes up the middle back. To perform the bent row, grab the barbell about shoulder width and slightly bend your knees. Lower the barbell to about knee level and keeping your back flat,  contract your back muscles and lift the weight up your quad and into your hips. Lower slowly and repeat. This exercise can be used with heavy weight so make sure that you nail the form before attempting to go heavy. Always control the motion and keep a mind-muscle connection.

The Military Press – The king of all shoulder exercises. This beast works all three heads of the deltoids and can be used to build strength and put on size on the delts. To perform this move correctly, sit on a 90 degree bench and grab a barbell just about shoulder width. Keeping the back as flat as possible on the bench and wrists straight, lower the weight down until your arms are about 90 degrees, pause, and control the weight back up into starting position. You don’t want to go too low because you can mess up your shoulders, which I’ve done and its not very fun at all. Don’t let your ego get the best of you and use weight you can manage, it can be easy to mess up your rotator cuff if you’re reckless.

The Clean – This is one of my favourite olympic lifts. It works muscles in your lower and upper body, as well as your core. It is a great exercise to add strength and improve athleticism. I know personally I’ve used this for hockey and its used religiously by football teams, for good reason, it works. This exercise is a bit more complicated to learn, so take your time with it and master the basics. Essentially you start as you would prepare for a deadlift, feet flat, back straight, head pointing up and forward.  As you explode up, lifting the barbell and shrug the weight up and using the momentum and force created, you drop and receive the barbell in a front squat. I know it seems complicated and it might seem so at first, so click here to get a video demonstration.

So there we are, we’ve reached the end of the basic lifts. These lifts explained above work the entire body and will be used in every workout you do. Be sure to learn them properly and remember to check your ego at the gym door and work with weight you can manage. If you have any questions, you know where to find me! Until next time, stay jacked!