Good Morning! An Exercise For Any Part Of The Day

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The Good Mornings are a very effective exercise that unfortunately most people don’t have in their routine. It’s a compound exercise that hits different muscles, but especially your glutes, your back (especially your lower back), spinal erectors, hips and your hamstrings. In order to do a good morning, you have to put a bar on the upper part of your back and bow, with your body coming all the way to parallel to the floor. Of course don’t forget to keep your back nicely arched while bowing! Most people usually keep their knees almost straight (just slightly bent), but some versions of the exercises can also be done with the knees being more bent. The bent of the knees just puts a stronger focus on different muscles, with the straight knees putting more stress and stretch on the hamstrings.

Doing the good morning can really help you with your squat and deadlift. In fact, for newbies who have never been to the gym before and are just starting out their routine, I would recommend starting out with this exercise first before incorporating the deadlift into their routine as they get a bit more advanced and used to lifting weights (the deadlift is very dependent on proper form and many newbies don’t do it properly and often get injured). In any case, if you want to gain weight and muscle and add a lot of size to your frame, this exercise needs to be a part of your routine.

Don’t forget that proper form for good mornings is very important! Here are some videos showing you how to do them properly:

WTF Is Hypertrophy And Should You Care?

get big, bulk up, get big muscles

get big, bulk up, get big muscles
Whenever you start reading things on weight training you come across a bunch of really long and complicated sounding words. One of these is the word hypertrophy. If you want to get bigger, stronger, bulk up and gain weight and muscle, then this is a word you should pay attention to. It’s just another way of saying increase in the size of muscles.

There are two main functions of skeletal muscles. The first is to contract and thereby cause the body to move and the second one is to provide stability for the posture of the body. As mentioned in previous posts, muscles are made up of many smaller units called fibers. It is at this level that hypertrophy occurs. It happens through the increase of muscle mass, as well as the cross-sectional area. This is done through stimulus from the outside. Muscles adapt to work load. Exercise is often used to simulate this work load. Through exercise, stress is applied to the muscle. The muscle then adapts and generates tension. This results in the increase of size and amount of contractile proteins (actin and myosin) which make up the myofibrils in the fibers. So the muscle fibers get bigger. This is hypertrophy.

There are two main types of hypertrophy: sarcoplasmic and myofibrilar. Sometimes a third type, transient, is mentioned as well, however that one is not as important, as it only means the temporary swelling of the muscle (due to fluid accumulation) after exercise.

Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy means an increase in the volume of the sarcoplasm in a muscle cell. Sarcoplasm is the gel-like fluid-like substance that is enclosed within a muscle cell. It contains all kinds of things, with the largest percentage of it being taken up by water. It also contains glycosomes (granules of stored glycogen), as well as myoglobin, which is a protein that binds oxygen. Sarcoplasm accounts for about 25% to 30% of the muscle cell’s size, so if it gets swollen up, the cell increases in size as well. Here the cross-sectional area of the muscle increases, but the actual density of the muscle fibers decreases. So this is mostly non-functional increase in muscle size. This increases the bulk size and look of the muscles. The strength of the muscle does not increase as much.
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How To Squat With Proper Form

squat to gain weight
squat to gain weight
front squat

The squat is one of the essential exercises if you want to get big, bulk up and gain weight. Squats are a heavy compound exercise and they work out several different muscles and muscle chains. This means that they give your body (and especially the lower parts) an intense workout. Unfortunately squats are also an exercise that requires a lot of care to be taken in order to do it properly. In order to get the most benefit out of it and to prevent injuries, you need to learn how to do it properly with the right form.
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A Total Pre-Beginner Routine

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So are you a total beginner who has never set foot in the gym? You probably don’t have the strength, habits or coordination to be able to do any meaningful weight-lifting exercises. You can of course start with weights straight away (of course first studying how to do everything properly), but I think it would be better if you learned workout habits and got some muscle endurance first.

So if you are a total beginner and have almost no experience in the gym or with sports, start with a bodyweight routine. The goal of this routine is to be able to do the number of repetitions specified for each exercise in a row without stopping. So after a while you should be able to do 100 pushups or 200 body squats in a row. However at the beginning you probably won’t be able to do that. So the key here is to be able to do the specified number of repetitions for each exercise in a DAY. So for example you need to do 100 pushups. You do 20 in a row and then your arms collapse and you can’t do any more. After that, you rest a little bit and then do 20 more. You don’t have time to do anymore so only come back 2 hours later and do 20 more. You are up to 60 now. You then do the remaining 40 at various intervals during the day. The same thing would happen with the other exercises. The key here is to do as many as you can on the first try. So the first week you would be able to to do only 20 in a row, the second week 25, the third week 30 and so on, until one day you would be able to do 100 in a row! The numbers below can of course be changed. If you feel that doing a 100 pushups in a day is too much for you, then you can set the daily goal at 50 or even 25. The important thing here is to pick a goal and stick to it.

Do all the exercises below. You can try to do them all in one day every day of the week or pick a few to do a day, only exercising 3 days a week. It’s up to you and how busy you are. However once you pick a schedule, then stick to it religiously!

100 pushups

100 situps

200 body squats

100 dips

100 glute bridges

10 pullups

Some people argue against doing a lot of repetitions of single exercises, however we are not going for total strength here, but instead muscle endurance and the formation of good habits. Repetition was what our ancestors did and they were probably more robust than us. A lot of old martial arts routines were also based on long high repetition body work.

The above exercises should form the base of your routine, but you can throw in other exercises as well if you want to. For example the exercises here are good for any age. You can also throw in a mild stretching routine and maybe some slow cardio on a stationary bike.

After forming a strong base with these exercises, then you can move on to a more structured lifting routine composed of compound exercises .

Compound Exercises To Do If You Want To Gain Weight And Muscle

compound exercises to gain weight

compound exercises to gain weight
Many rookies in the gym trying to bulk up and gain weight make the mistake of doing the same routines that they find in bodybuilding magazines. These magazines have articles on the routines of professional bodybuilders. The routines usually consist of tons of isolation exercises for various individual muscles. Gym rookies follow these routines and then wonder why they see very little gains. The reason is that a novice to the gym has different needs than a pro bodybuilder. Instead, the beginners (and also intermediates) should follow a routine based on heavy compound movements.
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7 Rules For Lifting

lift to gain weight

lift to gain weight

1) The road is gonna be long and hard
Many ads on the internet promise incredible gains in a short amount of time with minimal work. For some this is achievable. However for the majority of people, the journey is going to be long and hard. Some people can achieve incredible gains in a short amount of time, however most people take much longer. If you are like most people, then your journey towards bulking up and gaining weight will be long and hard. You will have to put in a lot of effort and the gains will be minimal from week to week. However over the course of a long period, you will see results. You just have to persist and keep at it. With hard work, you will see results.

2) We are all different. What works for one person might not work for another one.
No two people are alike. We all have different backgrounds,different body types, and other things. That’s why the optimal training for one person is different from the optimal training for another person. There is no “best” way. What works for one person, might not work for another one. So you will have to sometimes try different things in order to find what works the best for you. When you look at bodybuilding magazines, a lot of times they have these routines for professional bodybuilders. These contain hundreds of different exercises for different body parts. A lot of beginners look at these and think that’s what they should be doing. They follow these routines and then wonder why they are not seeing any gains. What works for a pro bodybuilder is not going to work for a novice at the gym. A beginner should be following a totally different routine from that of an advanced lifter.

3) Don’t lift through your injuries.
If you are injured, take a break. Sometimes people don’t want to accept that they are injured and keep doing things despite their injury. Then they create even bigger problems for themselves. If you are injured, then stop and take a rest. Heal the injury and come back once you are better.

Also if some sort of an injury is preventing you from doing some type of exercise (for example squat or deadlift), do an alternative instead. Due to the nature of our society, where we sit all day, some people have developed permanent injuries, which are hard to get rid of and prevent them from doing a full-blown lifting workout. If such a structural injury is preventing you from doing for example a squat or a deadlift, then find alternatives to do. Remember, there is no shame in that.

4) Setbacks will happen. Learn to accept it and be ready to come back once the setback is overcome.
You are going strong, lifting regularly, seeing significant gains, feeling happy and motivated. And then one day, “boom”, something happens that prevents you from continuing. Be it an injury, sickness or some unexpected event, things happen and make us unable to continue. It’s unfortunate, but such is life. You have to deal with it. There is no point in going back and fretting about it (and thinking over what you could have done differently). It happened and unfortunately you can’t do anything about it now. For example I had recently undergone an ACL surgery to repair my ACL, which I had ruptured previously. This has taken me out of commission for a long time. Previously I had a similar setback, when I almost lost my eye. Both times, I was in the best shape of my life, motivated and going strong. With these types of situations, you have to learn how to deal with them, wait them out, and then come back strong. Think of ways of how to overcome the problem and once you can, go back to the gym and get back to your routine.

5) Don’t try to do too much. Just lift what is possible.
Some people try to do too much. Some novices go into the gym, rack up the heaviest weights they can find, thinking that they can lift them and then almost kill themselves when trying to lift them (sometimes even injuring themselves). Instead start off slow. Figure out what you can lift. Practice and then once you have mastered that weight with proper form and it is no longer challenging, move onto a higher weight. You grow by progressively lifting heavier, but you need to start at the proper starting line for you.

6) Good form is everything.
When lifting, proper form is very important. In order to get the maximum impact from an exercise and minimize injuries, you need to do it with proper form. Before starting to do an exercise, learn how to do it properly. This is important if you want to see gains and prevent injuries. Some people think that putting as much weight on as possible is the way to go, but then do the reps with poor form. That is not the best way to gain muscle and can easily result in an injury. So remember to do exercises with proper form.

7) Remember to eat a good nutritious diet
Most experienced lifters will tell you that diet is very important. In fact probably even more important than your workout routine. In order to grow, you need to get the proper nutrients into your body. If you are not doing that, no matter how good your workout routine is, you will never see any significant gains. So remember to eat well.

Why I Train?

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There are moments when I get philosophical and try to contemplate why things are the way they are and why I do the things that I do. One fact of life is that you can never redo things, you can never go back in time. Time doesn’t stop, but keeps on going. A moment comes and then it goes, to be replaced by another moment. All we get left with is memories and even those sometimes fade. The moment is now, yet that too will soon be just a memory.

In my mind I often go back to things that have happened. At one point that was also “now”, the “moment”, with no way of knowing what the future will bring. I was running, thinking, eating, reading or doing a myriad of other activities. I had hopes and dreams and had no idea what will happen in the future. That was the moment, and then it was gone, to be replaced by another moment. Looking back at it, I now know that many of my hopes and dreams did not come true. Yet that does not stop me from living in the moment and creating new hopes and dreams, reflecting the current reality. I can only hope that those will turn out differently.

Life is about learning and trying to grab opportunities as they come. Unfortunately, many times things do not turn out as you want them to turn out. That’s why you need something to keep you focused, to keep you balanced. You need to strive and work on yourself. You cannot control outside forces, but what you can do is try to work on yourself, always striving to improve yourself, whether physically or intellectually. Training, lifting, doing sports, is one of those things that gives me balance, keeps me focused and helps me strive to achieve goals. It is an opportunity that I get to better myself.

1) You can never be perfect, but why not try?

Unfortunately you can never be perfect. Perfection does not exist. There is always at least a small flaw that disturbs the balance. Yet that does not prevent one from trying to be perfect. Sometimes life gives you a bad hand and you have it harder than the guy who got “lucky” and got the genetics, got the money…etc. without having to work for them. That is unfortunate, yet even he is not perfect. In the game of life you should only race against yourself, because that is what counts.

I don’t understand the philosophy “be proud of the way you are”, at least in the way that it is often applied. Often that means, if you’re fat, then be proud of being fat. I think that type of philosophy just creates complacency. Except for a very small percentage of people who are fat because of medical reasons, the vast majority of people are fat, because they chose to be fat. Yet they do nothing about it and continue the bad habits that led them to their current state. You should not create excuses for yourself, but instead try to change it. Numerous people have done it, why not you? It does take hard work, but the final result will be worth it. Unfortunately most people take the easy path and do nothing.

In my head, I have a perfect image of myself, the state that I want to be in, and do everything that I can in order to achieve it. There are setbacks and unfortunately life throws you curveballs, for example injuries, which kill your progress. All you can do is ride it out and start over. Create that perfect image of yourself and set up goals on how to achieve that. Then go out and try your hardest to do that. You might fail, yet there is no shame in failing. We can never be perfect. The shame is in not trying.

2) Life is about challenging yourself

Progress only happens when you attempt to do something that you haven’t done and sometimes it works. That’s why you should always be challenging yourself and doing new things. You never know whether you can do something, unless you actually do it and put effort into doing it. You need to set up a goal and try to achieve it. Challenge yourself!

I never understood the typical “sports fan”, the guy with the pot belly and the beer in hand watching sports. When the team he is cheering for wins, he yells: “We won!” and feels some sort of satisfaction as if he achieved something and tries to show off the guys that cheered for the other team. Newsflash, but you did not win. The guys on the field won. You didn’t. All you did was sit in front of the television, drink beer and watch a bunch of guys run around the field. There is no challenge in that and there should be no sense of achievement. For me personally I don’t like to watch sports, I prefer to do them. When I watch something on the screen, I get the itch to be on the field, to actually be doing it.

Is there something that you want to do, but haven’t done. Then do it! Set up goals and try to achieve them. They might seem impossible to achieve, but therein lies the challenge. If you work hard you can achieve the things that you previously thought impossible. You just shouldn’t give up and when you fail, just try again! I set up challenges in the gym and try to achieve them.

3) You sometimes need to detach from everyday life

Unfortunately, a lot of things that happen in life are BS. I am sure you have been in BS types of situations before. You might sit at work every day for long hours, doing things that you do not particularly enjoy doing or ones that you feel are pointless. You might find yourself in situations where you have pointless arguments with colleagues over totally useless stuff. You might even have colleagues that make life a living hell for you.

That’s why you need a little sanctuary where you can go and detach yourself from the stress and other BS of everyday life. The gym is my way of doing that. You should forget about everything that is happening outside of the gym and focus on what you are doing in the gym. For that moment, life outside the gym does not exist. You are in there and control your own situation. You set your own goals and you are working on achieving them. It’s only you and no distractions.

4) Being strong lets you do things that you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise

Training also gives you other benefits, for example physical. You have the strength or stamina to do things that others can’t. When you are a big buff dude, you get respect from other guys and they are less likely to pick on you. You can defend yourself and others. You can pick up heavy things or go long distances. You are also a lot more healthy than other people.

5) It gives you a sense of achievement and a good feeling

These are the fruits of your efforts, your real life achievements and they are pretty useful. You get a sense of pride when you achieve something that you set out to achieve. You look back at all the hard work it took, but that moment is worth it. Your mind feels elated and your body feels light and powerful. There is nothing that beats that feeling.

6) It’s fun

Besides training is fun! We all like to do things that are “fun” and for me training and doing sports is fun. There is the sense of competition, there is the sense of achievement and all those things translate to fun.

These are some of the reasons of why I train! What are yours?
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5 Tips for Bulking Up and Gaining Weight

gain weight and bulk up

There are many people who want to bulk up and gain weight. Whether you are a bodybuilder who wants to get bigger or someone naturally skinny, here are 5 tips that you should follow in order to achieve that goal:
CL-Jacked

Tip 1: Eat More
This is a no-brainer. If you want to bulk up and gain weight, you need to eat more. Try to determine how many calories you are eating on average right now and add 500 to a 1000 more per day. Remember to eat clean and your caloric intake should consist of healthy carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Remember that healthy fats should be a part of the diet as well, as they are necessary for the body. Sources of healthy carbs are for example brown rice or sweet potatoes, while an example of a source of healthy fats is avocados.

Tip 2: Do Compound Lifts and Lift Heavy
The number 1 mistake many newbie lifters and skinny guys make is that they do a lot of isolation exercises (for example for biceps). Isolation exercises are for experienced lifters who want to carve up and isolate different muscles. If you want to grow, you need to do compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and bench presses. Compound exercises hit various muscle groups and are needed for the body to grow. If you want your body to grow, then your exercise plan needs to rely heavily on compound exercises, no matter if you are a beginner or more experienced. Also don’t forget to periodically up the weight you are lifting. Your reps for all of these exercises should be in the 6 to 12 rep range. Try to do 3 to 6 sets of each of the exercises. Most of your exercises should be done using free weights. If you are a beginner, you can start off with a full-body routine, which you repeat 3 times a week, keeping at least a day of rest between each lifting day. A short, intense workout is much more effective than a longer one.

Tip 3: Drink Lots of Water
On average, a man should drink 2 liters of water a day (an average woman should drink around 1.6 liters). On exercise days, that should go up to 3 to 4 liters. Staying hydrated is a key requirement for a healthy body and also for bulking up.

Tip 4: Get Plenty of Sleep
Your body grows during sleep and that’s why getting a good rest is very important. Try to go to sleep around 11pm and try to get 8 to 9 hours of deep sleep.

Tip 5: Stay Focused
You will never achieve top results if you just mess around and don’t stay focused on what you are trying to achieve and the process of getting there. Set up a plan and try to follow it. Don’t make excuses!

Good luck! 🙂

How To Have Your Kid Become More Athletic

Judo_children
Many parents often want their kids to be athletic. Sometimes the kid does become athletic by themselves, however a lot of times the kid doesn’t. Many parents chalk this up to “nature” or “talent”. They believe that the kid either has it or not. On the other hand, based on my own personal experiences, I believe that nurture has a lot more to do with whether a kid becomes athletic or not. Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” states that practice is more important than talent. I can testify to this.
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