MONDAY: CHEST DAY

Why the first day in the working week is International Chest Day.

1. It gets a large muscle group out of the way early in the week. 

Unless you trained over the weekend, Monday is often the start of a new training cycle and starting your week with a larger body part can be a great idea. On Monday, you often have more energy because, psychologically, you know that you have to make it through the rest of the week and you want to make this first workout count. Also, if you’re someone liable to skip training sessions later in the week, you don’t want to waste one of your workouts on a smaller body part, such as arms or shoulders, especially since bench press will hit those as well as your chest.

 2. The other alternatives are uninviting. 

Related to the first point, consider the alternatives if you’re not doing chest on Monday. Legs? Hmm, maybe later in the week. Back? Ditto. On a Monday, you might still be feeling the strain from the weekend and don’t want to attack one of the big two: legs and back. You also don’t want to run the risk of potentially wiping out the rest of your training week. As already mentioned, arms and shoulders feel like a waste with Monday prime gym real estate. Better make it chest.

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3. People like training chest, so it motivates them for the rest of the week.

A lot of people train chest more than other (some might say more important) body parts, so they get good at it. We like to keep doing what we’re good at, so it only stands to reason that we’re keen to throw ourselves into Chest Day when it comes around. Starting your week off with chest often motivates you into sticking with your training for the whole cycle. (And with chest out of the way, the bros are free to work arms and abs every other day of the week!)

4. People stick with what they know.

A lot of people, when they start going to the gym, learn bench press very early on. It’s very comfortable to start your training week doing the first thing you ever learnt in a gym. Additionally, many beginner’s programs often start with chest and most people like to stick with what they know. Some people even do the same thing week-in, week-out and never change up their split. (Think back to when you first joined the gym. How different is your program from when you started?)

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5. Everyone else is doing it.
Many beginners start at the gym and look around to see what others are doing to get an idea for themselves. It’s human nature to look at a bunch of people training chest on a certain day of the week and think it must be the best or right thing to do. It’s social proof: everyone else is doing it — it must be right.

But for real, it doesn’t matter which day you train your chest. Or any other body part for that matter. Some might actually advise against training chest on Mondays specifically because it’s become known as International Chest Day; it’s so popular, you’re more likely to find a free bench on another day, after all. (Though you could always change up the time of day you train; get up early and hit the gym at 6 AM on a Monday — guaranteed you’ll find lots of free equipment.) There are upsides and downsides to training no matter which day you go. The most important thing, in the end, is that you do get into the gym and put in the work.

Happy training!

HANDSTAND

You’ve always wanted to do a handstand. Or, you’ve been working on improving your handstand and you’ve gotten stuck. Whatever your reason for stumbling on this tutorial, we’re going to help you reach your handstand goals. 

Hand balancing skills are in vogue in the fitness community, and you see some incredible hand balancing artists out there now. 

Learn how to do a handstand

The ability to do a straight-line handstand–or to move within the handstand–is one of the most beautiful demonstrations of strength, control, and grace. So it makes sense that handstands have become such a popular skill to chase after. 

But handstands can be incredibly frustrating to train for if you don’t have a good plan, or if you don’t know what to expect. 

This tutorial is designed to help everyone from total beginners to more seasoned handstand practitioners looking to improve their skills. Wherever you are in your handstand journey, let’s get you toward your goals. 

Comprehensive Handstand Training: Physical Preparation, Technique, and Troubleshooting

There is a LOT of information in this tutorial, but we’ve structured it so that it’s very easy to navigate. If you start at the top and work your way down, you are going to make great progress toward your handstand in no time. 

Here’s what you can expect to find in this tutorial: 

With this approach, you’ll be following the fundamental structure laid out in the GMB training methodology. Our method might be a bit different from what you’ve seen before, but we’ve used it to help tens of thousands of clients achieve their goals, and it will help you toward yours too. 

The Best Way to Learn a Perfect Handstand

I’ve seen countless ways of teaching the handstand, and the way we teach this skill is pretty different from other approaches out there.

That’s not to say our way is necessarily betterthan other ways–that’s entirely dependent on why you want to do handstands, and what you want to get out of your handstand practice. 

For instance, our friend Yuval Ayalon is a master hand balancer, who specializes in handstands. In his own practice, he’s aiming for perfection–because he needs to. He teaches other high level hand balancers how to get as close to perfection in the handstand as humanly possible. 

Handstand Comparison

So, of course, his approach to teaching the handstand is going to be quite a bit different from what we teach.

Our goal is to help you feel comfortable on your hands, so that you can do whatever you want to with your hand balancing skills. 

We emphasize motor control with our approach to the handstand, and by training for the handstand in this way, you’ll be building overall body control, which can be applied to just about any other skill. 

The approach outlined in this article helps create the building blocks needed to get you comfortable in your handstand: strength, control, and balance throughout the body, along with mobility through the wrists, shoulders, and hips.

Essential Handstand Concepts

Spotting a Handstand correctlyThere are about 1,000 things I could talk about when it comes to handstands. I’ve been doing handstands for almost my whole life and I’ve taught them to thousands of people at this point, so you could say I’m pretty passionate about the topic. 

In this video, I’m going to go over the most important concepts I think everyone should understand as they begin or continue along on their handstand journeys. 

I’ve seen plenty of people struggle with the handstand for years, and once they’ve got a good understanding of these concepts, it changes everything for them. Things begin to click, and it just makes the journey a lot smoother. 

I know that looks like a lot, but you don’t have to try and absorb it all at once. These are just general points to keep in mind as you practice, and we’ll return to most of them as we go on.

Step 1: Assessing Your Ability to Do a Handstand

If you’re not used to practicing handstands (and really, even if you are), the positioning of the wrists, shoulders, torso, and even legs in the handstand can be quite different from what you’ve done in the past. It’s important to assess where your body is at right now to see how ready you are for the work ahead. 

In this video, Rose will demonstrate some movements to assess how well your body is able to get into the positions needed for the handstand. Since every day will be different with the handstand, it’s a good idea to repeat this assessment regularly. 

Here are the assessments shown in this video:

Remember: it’s okay if you can’t do all of these perfectly yet–these assessments just help you get a clearer idea of what you might need the most work on as you practice

Step 2: Addressing Weaknesses and Learning Proper Technique

The assessment drives this next part of the process, where you address the weak points you’ve found. 

Rather than just trying and failing, over and over, until you’re frustrated beyond belief, the “address” portion of your training session will be focused and specific. In this video, I’ll give an overview of what you can expect from this part of your handstand journey:

When we plan a training session at GMB, we break things down into five sections: Prepare, Practice, Play, Push, and Ponder. 

5P Framework

Let’s look at each of these in detail, with exercise recommendations, and see how each is essential to your handstand journey.

Prepare: Get Your Body Ready for Handstand Training

We’ll start with some exercises and stretches to Prepare the body for the handstand work you’ll be doing. 

Handstands place a LOT of strain on the wrists, which most people are not prepared for without specifically working on this area. You’ll also need a good amount of shoulder mobility to get yourself into good alignment, and leg strength is key.

Put all those pieces together, and it’s clear that jumping right into your handstand practice for the day probably isn’t the best idea. 

This preparation routine will get your body ready.

Here are the Preparatory exercises shown in this video: 

Practice: Develop Proper Technique with Correct Progressions

Locomotion Exercise to improve HandstandsEvery part of the 5Ps is essential to nailing down the skills you need for the handstand, but the Practice portion is probably the most important–and most neglected–part of learning any skill. 

If you’ve ever learned to play an instrument, you know the key to mastery: practice, practice, practice. 

Think of the handstand like learning to play the violin. You’re going to have to practice the foundational parts of the skill, over and over, until you’re ready to move on to more complex variations. 

In this video, I’ve included variations starting from a rote beginner level, leading all the way to the freestanding handstand. 

Here are the variations shown in this video: 

  • Elevated A-Frame
  • Frogger
  • High Frogger
  • Elevated L-Stand
  • Wall Entries
  • Wall Float
  • Wall Line Work
  • Split Leg Kick Up
  • Straddle Handstand
  • Full Handstand Entries

Rather than think of these exercises as step-by-step progressions, try to approach them like the pieces of a Tetris board. If you’re an absolute beginner, you’ll definitely want to start with the first variation I show, but as you progress through them, you may need different pieces than someone playing on a different board. 

The pieces don’t necessarily go “in order,” although they certainly can be followed that way.

Just make sure not be too rigid in your approach to these variations.

Play: Explore Variations to Solidify Your Skills

Serious practice is important, but playful exploration within and around the skills you’ve just practiced is a key to mastering those skills.

It’s impossible to tell you exactly what you should be doing for the Play portion, since everyone is at a different level, and feels comfortable with different things, but in this video, we’ll show you some examples of Play.

Here are the key points covered in this video: 

  • Practice happens at the edge of your ability; Play happens at the core of your competence. What that means is you’ll play with variations with which you are completely comfortable. 
  • Play at whatever level you’re at, and find different ways to explore those variations.

As an example, let’s say you’ve been working on wall kick-ups. To Play with this skill, you may try kicking up against the wall and then moving your head around in different directions to see how it changes things. Or you could play with different ways of breathing, or with where you place the pressure through your palms.

No matter what level you’re at, you can–and should!–prioritize Play in your training sessions. 

Push: Condition Your Body to Perform Safely & Consistently

Next up is the Push session. This is the part of the session that will feel most like a “workout,” but their real purpose is to strengthen your body and give you range of motion to hold a straighter handstand for longer.

The key is to work at a lower level of skill, so that the quality of your movement remains high. 

Here are the exercises shown in this video: 

  • Band drill
  • A-Frame shrugs
  • Hollow body hold
  • High frogger

You’ll notice that these exercises are drills that focus on particular parts of the handstand.

This is pretty different from trying to jump up into a handstand and just hold as long as possible (not very helpful advice, especially for someone just starting out with handstands). By approaching your “conditioning” in this way, you’ll get a lot more out of your skills practice.

Ponder: Reflect on Your Practice and Learn from Mistakes

This is the final piece of the puzzle that can make or break your progress with the handstand: mindful reflection. 

In this video, I’ll talk about what it means to “Ponder” about your handstand practice, and how it will dramatically improve your overall performance and experience with the handstand. 

Here are the key points covered in this video:

  • Taking a few minutes at the end of your session to reflect can make all the difference in your handstand journey.
  • Think about what you learned from the session–good or bad–and how you can apply that to the next session.
  • If you’re not enjoying the process, you need to reexamine your approach. 

As you go work on your handstand, you’ll see that progress is anything but linear, and if you don’t know what to expect, it can really mess with your head. It’s easy to start feeling down about your progress if you get too caught up in day-to-day fluctuations in your performance.

By taking a few minutes throughout and at the end of your session to mindfully reflect on how things went, where you struggled, and any big wins you had, you’ll start to see the bigger picture over time.

And it will help you figure out what to focus on in your next session, so that you get the most out of that.

Step 3: Apply Your Skills

Handstand Snake Down Bodyweight ExerciseThe application of your handstand skills is really what this is all about.

There’s nothing wrong with doing handstands for the sake of doing handstands, but through working with tens of thousands of clients, we’ve found that, when a skill is tied in to a bigger picture goal, it has a lot more meaning for most people. And that makes training for that skill a lot more enjoyable. 

So, there are two primary applications when it comes to your handstand skills: 

The application is really your why for practicing handstands, and keeping that in mind as you practice will help you continue to make progress and keep moving forward in your handstand journey. 

How to Practice Handstands: Develop Your Best Training Plan

Handstands OutsideAll that goes into mastering the handstand may feel a bit overwhelming. But when all the pieces are put together, this approach should streamline your handstand practice, and make it a lot more directed and focused.

Because the handstand is a skill, you’ll benefit from frequent practice, even if you can’t do long sessions each time.

Basic Practice Tips:

  • Practice 2-4 times a week so your central nervous system can acquire the skill efficiently.
  • I recommend 45 minutes if you’re super serious, but for most people, 15-20 minutes is a lot more realistic.
  • It’s impossible to say how long it’ll take, because we’re all different. Just keep with it, and you’ll improve.

BENEFITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING

The health benefits of strength training extend far beyond weight management and aesthetics.

Yep. Although most people get into exercise purely for cosmetic reasons (i.e. to build muscle, lose fat and increase their physical attractiveness), there is a substantial body of scientific evidence pointing to numerous health benefits of strength training.

But first, what is strength training?

Strength training (also known as weight training or resistance training) is a type of physical exercise which uses resistance to oppose the force generated by muscles through concentric and eccentric contractions.

While most people associate strength training with lifting weights (barbells and dumbbells), it can also be done using other equipment (e.g.: bands, suspension ropes, gym machines, etc.) or using no equipment at all (e.g. body weight exercises, such as push-ups and pull-ups).

Why doesn’t everyone lift weights?

Until recently, insufficient evidence to support the role of strength training in health promotion coupled with the belief that it should only be done by strength athletes and bodybuilders meant that the general population saw little reason to ever engage in resistance training. Thankfully, all that has now changed and people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds are hitting the gym to lift weights!

So, without further ado, here are 10 science-backed health benefits of strength training.

1. Boosts metabolic rate

One of the most well-known health benefits of strength training is that it increases the body’s metabolic rate which, in turn, can help protect from obesity and from all the health conditions that accompany it. This happens in two ways:

  1. Acutely for re-modelling purposes
  2. Chronically for ongoing tissue maintenance

Acutely, strength training causes muscle microtrauma which requires energy-intensive re-modelling.

Simply put, strength training results in tiny injuries to the muscle fibers and connective tissues of the muscles used which the body then has to “fix”. This process is called re-modelling and requires quite a bit of energy to be carried out.

In fact, according to scientific research, regularly-performed resistance training will increase Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) by 5-10% for re-modelling purposes. With the average person’s RMR being around 1600 calories per day, that’s an additional 80-160 calories burned per day.

Chronically, properly-performed resistance exercise results in an increase in muscle mass, which requires more energy for ongoing maintenance and which, in turn, increases the body’s metabolic rate.

To put this into numbers, a 10 pound increase in muscle tissue will raise Resting Metabolic Rate by around 60 calories per day. While this increase is by no means huge, it can certainly add up over time.

Brad Schoenfeld - Health Benefits of Strength Training Quote - Myolean Fitness

2. Improves physical function

Aging coupled with physical inactivity gradually results in a reduced ability to perform basic activities of daily life, including walking around, getting out of a chair, picking up things, and reaching for things in high shelves.

According to research, the health benefits of strength training include that it can slow down and even reverse many of the negative effects of inactive aging, including:

This is achieved partly because of the positive effects that strength training has on muscle and strength as well as on body fat levels.

3. Helps prevent/manage type 2 diabetes

Physical inactivity, poor dietary habits, obesity, and age-related declines in insulin sensitivity all contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

The health benefits of strength training include that it can help with the prevention and management of diabetes by:

The above are supported by a number of scientific studies, including by this meta analysis by Flack et al.

4. Improves cardiovascular health

Although there are a number of risk factors which are associated with cardiovascular disease and which we have no control over (such as age, gender, and genetics) there are a few ones which we can control.

These modifiable risk factors include, but are not limited to:

  • obesity,
  • type 2 diabetes,
  • resting blood pressure, and
  • blood lipids.

Obesity has been linked to a number of risk factors which contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. According to scientific research, strength training can help in the management of obesity, with studies showing that it can result in a significant decrease in fat mass. Research also suggests that strength training causes significant reductions in subcutaneous and visceral abdominal fat.

Type 2 diabetes is also a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease. As mentioned above, resistance exercise is known to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, especially in people who are at higher risk of developing diabetes in the first place.

High resting blood pressure (hypertension) is another major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Hypertension stresses the body’s blood vessels, causing them to become weak and clogged. Numerous studies have shown significant decreases in resting blood pressure in subjects performing regular resistance training for a few weeks. In fact, a 2005 meta analysis reported that blood pressure reductions associated with resistance training averaged around 4.5-6.0 mm Hg for systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Health Benefits of Resistance Training Bodyweight - Myolean Fitness

5. Reduces blood pressure

Hypertension (i.e. high blood pressure) is a medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. Left untreated, hypertension can lead to heart attacks, strokes and other health problems.

Sadly, approximately 85 million Americans (around one third of all US adults) have hypertension.

The good news?

A number of studies have found that two or more months of regular strength training can reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in subjects with hypertension.

This study, for example, which included more tore than 1,600 participants aged between 21 and 80 years old, found that strength training twice or three times per week significantly reduced systolic blood pressure readings by 3.2 and 4.6 mm Hg, respectively, while it also reduced diastolic blood pressure by 1.4 and 2.2 mm Hg, respectively.

Moreover, a 2005 meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials by Cornelissen and Fagard reported reductions that averaged 6.0 mm Hg in systolic and 4.7 mm Hg diastolic blood pressure, and concluded that resistance training could become part of a non-pharmacological intervention strategy to prevent and combat hypertension.

6. Improves blood lipids

A typical blood lipid profile usually refers to the blood levels of:

  • total cholesterol,
  • high-density lipoprotein (HDL), i.e. the “good” cholesterol,
  • low-density lipoprotein (LDL), i.e. the “bad” cholesterol, and
  • triglycerides.

Undesirable blood lipid profiles, also known as dyslipidemia, usually mean that LDL and/or triglyceride levels are high and that, sometimes, HDL levels are low, and are one of the recognized risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Although some research has found no significant changes of strength training on blood lipids, most studies, such as this one, this one, and this one, have shown that the health benefits of strength training do actually include improvements in blood lipid profiles.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) position stand on Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults, the available scientific evidence suggests that strength training may increase HDL cholesterol by 8% to 21%, decrease LDL cholesterol by 13% to 23%, and reduce triglycerides by 11% to 18%.

7. Helps manage chronic pain

Chronic pain, often defined as pain that lasts over 12 weeks, is a major public health problem. According to a 2011 report by the the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the prevalence of chronic pain in the United States has been estimated to be close to 116 million, which means that approximately half of all American adults are living with chronic pain.

The health benefits of strength training include that it can treat several types of chronic pain, including low back, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia pain.

Low back: A large number of randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews have found that exercise reduces pain and improves physical function in people suffering with low back pain. The efficacy of strength training alone has been examined in fewer trials, with a quantitative review by Hayden et al. revealing that strength training is as effective in reducing pain and more effective in improving physical function than aerobic training in those suffering with low back pain.

Osteoarthritis: Research suggests that exercise of all types is effective in reducing osteoarthritic pain, with quantitative reviews, such as this one by Roddy et al. and this one by Pelland et al., that looked at trials utilizing strength training alone, showing a moderate-sized, positive effect of strength training for reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Fibromyalgia: Randomized controlled trials that have examined the effects of strength training alone on pain in fibromyalgia patients have found pain reductions that range from moderate (e.g., in this study) to large (e.g. in this study), with the evidence supporting the conclusion that strength training alone effectively reduces pain intensity among patients with fibromyalgia.

8. Increases bone mineral density

Bone mineral density (BMD) refers to the amount of bone mineral per unit of bone tissue, and, essentially, reflects the strength of bones. Low bone mineral density (osteoporosis or osteopenia) means that bones are weak and, therefore, more prone to fractures.

Osteoporosis affects an estimated 75 million people in Europe, USA and Japan, with more than 8.9 million fractures worldwide caused by osteoporosis.

According to research, adults who do not perform strength training may experience up to a 3% reduction in bone mineral density every year of their life.

On the positive side, a number of longitudinal studies as well as a recent review by Going and Laudermilk, have found significant increases in BMD of up to 3% with strength training%.

Moreover, although much of the research on strength training and bone mineral density has used older women as subjects, there is evidence which suggests that young men may also increase BMD by up to 7.7% through resistance training.

Overall, the majority of studies in this area suggest that the health benefits of strength training include an increase in bone mineral density in both younger and older adults, and may have a stronger effect on BMD than other types of exercise.

9. Enhances mental health

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services, mental health includes people’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Since it significantly affects how we think, feel, and act, it’s no surprise that it’s considered to be hugely important at every stage of our lives.

Cognitive abilities: A number of scientific studies, such as this one, this one and this one, have found that strength training results in significant improvements in cognitive abilities. Moreover, a meta-analysis by Colcombe and Kramer showed that an exercise regimen involving both strength training and aerobic activity resulted in significantly greater cognitive improvement in older adults than did aerobic activity alone.

Self-esteem: Although self-esteem is relatively stable over time and less likely to be affected by exercise, positive changes of strength training on self-esteem have been reported in numerous studies, including this one in older adults, this oneyounger adults, this one in cancer patients, and this one in participants of cardiac rehabilitation.

Depression: A number of studies have examined the effects of strength training on depression levels as well as on symptoms of depression. Although the results have been mixed, O’Connor et al., in a review of the literature, concluded that there is sufficient evidence to support strength training as an effective intervention for helping to reduce the symptoms of depression in adults with depression.

Anxiety: Randomized controlled trials that have investigated the effects of strength training on anxiety (such as this study and this study) have found an overall small, but statistically significant, reduction in symptoms of anxiety, with moderate intensity training (50-60% of 1RM) showing the strongest positive effect. Overall, the available evidence suggests that strength training consistently reduces anxiety symptoms in healthy adults.

Taken together, the studies above on the the different components of mental health suggest that the health benefits of strength training include an improvement in mental health.

10. Reverses aging factors

Finally, some interesting research which has investigated the effects of strength training on muscle mitochondrial content and function suggests that resistance training can increase both the mitochondrial content and the oxidative capacity of muscle tissue.

Moreover, some research on older adults with a mean age of 68 years showed a reversal in mitochondrial deterioration that typically occurs with aging, with the older participants experiencing gene expression reversal which resulted in mitochondrial characteristics similar to those in moderately active young adults with a mean age of 24 years.

Overall, the available scientific evidence to date suggests that the health benefits of strength training include a reversal of aging factors in skeletal muscle.

Conclusion

So there you have it.

When properly performed, research suggests that the health benefits of strength training are numerous and, often, unique to this specific type of exercise.

Just remember, however, that it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen, as well as to get guidance by a certified fitness professional regarding proper training programming and the correct execution of exercises.

TRICEP DIPS

Sometimes it’s all about getting massive, sleeve-splitting upper arms, and to do that you need to start training your triceps.

People tend to focus on their biceps when bulking up their guns, but the triceps are a bigger muscle group than their glamorous, front-of-arm counterparts, so if your aim is impressive size then neglecting them is pure folly.

The triceps are so called because they are made up of three heads – the lateral head, the medial head, and the long head – all of which need to be worked to increase strength and size in your upper arms. Fortunately you can work all three heads at the same time if you pick the right exercise, and the triceps dip is that exercise.

Read on for the full guide to this classic bodyweight exercise, including several variations to increase the challenge once you’ve mastered the basic version, variations that can help you to hit a new bench press PB as well as better fill out your T-shirt sleeves, you need. Why? Once you’re dipping on parrallel bars (or rings), the triceps dip is one of the toughest moves you can do without weights, because one relatively small muscle group must lift and lower your entire bodyweight.

And the rewards are huge. “Your triceps are your dominant ‘push’ muscle to straighten your arms, and are far more powerful and useful for hitting a big bench than the pecs,” says Paul Carter, lifelong lifter and founder of Lift-Run-Bang.com. “Make your triceps as strong as possible and you’ll get stronger in all the big pressing moves and add serious size to your arms.” Continue reading to find out how to master the triceps dip.

How To Do Triceps Dips

Wherever and however you dip, the key is arm position. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart on the surface you are dipping from, with your arms straight. Squeeze your core and glutes then raise your chin and chest to keep your body tight. From there, start the move by bending your elbows. Dip down until your arms are at a 90-degree angle.

Pause at the bottom for a one or two count, then press back up powerfully, ensuring you keep your core and glutes tight to prevent your legs swinging. Don’t fully lock out your arms at the top; keeping a slight bend in your elbows at the top forces your triceps to work far harder.

To expose your triceps to as much time under tension as possible – a key stimulus for adding new muscle tissue – lower your body as slowly as you can. Aim for two seconds at first, building up over time to four seconds. Get as low as you can without stressing your shoulders.

Three sets of eight to ten dips, perhaps pushing the third set until you physically can dip no more, should leave your upper arms in tatters for a day or two.

CHEST GAINS

Spend enough time in the gym, and you eventually learn that the road to a bigger, broader chest is about more than just doing heavy reps of barbell bench presses. You need to stress your pectorals in different ways and from different angles, and at different tempos too. 

Do that, and you shock your chest into growth, especially if you’ve been training with more standard methods. And shocking your chest is the entire objective of this workout, dubbed the “Wild Chest Pump” by its creator, Cory Gregory. Better known as Cory G, Gregory is a veteran trainer, powerlifter, and bodybuilder, so he’s used to moving heavy weights. 

He also knows the value of piling up tons of reps with lighter (but still challenging) resistances and a mix of ranges of motions. It’s a blend of pieces that’ll leave your chest screaming (and on the road to major muscle). “Volume combined with different angles and unique rep schemes is what changes the body,” he says.

Gregory’s chest workout can spice up any pec routine — but use it wisely. If you’re dealing with any shoulder or chest injuries, sit this one out until you’re healthy. And when you are ready to tackle Gregory’s routine, aim to do it once every other week or, at most, once a week if you’re a gym veteran. Whoever you are, take at least 10 minutes to warm up before you get into this, priming your shoulders and rotator cuffs in particular with a routine like this one.

Then jump into the action, and expect to be sore the next day. Expect your chest to be growing, too. 

DIRECTIONS: Do the exercises in order, focusing on form. Make sure you have a spotter, too; you’ll be taking your chest to the limit in this workout, so you’ll want the help. 

1. Superset

Do these two moves back to back. Do 3 sets, resting one minute between each set.

Wide-grip Deficit Pushup

Set up dumbbells so they’re slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, heads of the dumbbells parallel to each other. Place your hands on the dumbbells, so that your palms face each other, and get in pushup position. Lower your chest to within an inch from the floor, then press back up. That’s 1 rep; do 20. 

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Load a barbell in an incline bench press with a medium weight. Lay with your back on the bench, with your feet flat on the ground, glutes contracted, and shoulder blades retracted. Pick up the bar using a grip slightly wider than shoulder width. Bend at the elbows and shoulders, lowering the bar to your chest, then press the bar back to the start position. Do 7 reps this way.

Don’t put the bar back yet. Do 7 more reps, taking at least 2 seconds to lower the bar to your chest, then 2 seconds to raise it. Then lower the bar to your chest; do 7 reps in which your arms only go halfway up. Then press the bar back to the start; finish with 7 reps in which you lower the bar only halfway and press back to the top. That’s 1 set. 

2. Grip-change Iso Hold Flat Bench

Lie with your back on a flat bench, feet flat on the floor and glutes contracted. Hold medium-weight dumbbells over your shoulders, arms straight. Your palms should face your knees, angling just slightly toward each other. Lower the left dumbbell to your chest, bending at your knee and elbow; keep your left arm straight as you do this. Do 12 reps. Now keep your right arm straight as you do 12 reps with your left. 

Now rotate your arms so that your palms face each other. Keeping your left arm straight, do 12 more press reps with your right arm, then repeat the process with your left arm. Do 3 sets. 

3. Fly Superset

Do the two bench fly moves back-to-back, taking no rest in between. Rest for 1 minute after each set. Do 3 sets. 

Incline Bench Fly

Set an incline bench to a 30-degree incline, then lie with your back on it, holding light-to-medium-weight dumbbells over your shoulders, feet flat, glutes tight. Bend your elbows just slightly; keep your palms facing each other. Squeeze your shoulder blades. This is the start. Maintain the bend in your elbows as you lower your arms until you feel a stretch in your chest. Reverse the movement to return to the start. That’s 1 rep. Do 12. 

Flat Bench Fly

Lie with your back on a flat bench, holding light-to-medium-weight dumbbells over your shoulders, feet flat, glutes tight. Bend your elbows just slightly; keep your palms facing each other. Squeeze your shoulder blades. This is the start. Maintain the bend in your elbows as you lower your arms until you feel a stretch in your chest. Reverse the movement to return to the start. That’s 1 rep. Do 15. 

HAMSTRING EXERCISES

If your posterior chain training needs a kick in the ham, this list is for you. Check out our top 10 most effective hamstring exercises according to you!

Despite the hamstrings arguably being the most important muscle group for athletes, they are often laggards in physique competitions. You may see an entire lineup of bodybuilders with massive upper bodies and thick quads, but few will have well-developed hamstrings.

Most people think hamstrings only serve one function: knee flexion. In reality, the hamstrings are not one single muscle, but a group of muscles with multiple functions. The hammies’ most important function is hip extension, which is vital for explosiveness, sprinting, jumping, and even low-back health.



If you’ve been slacking on your hamstring training, or your posterior strength needs a kick in the ham, this list is for you. We’ve gathered the top 10 hamstring movements in the Bodybuilding.com Exercise Database based upon user ratings. If your favorite isn’t on the list or is ranked lower than you would like, just log in and rate your top exercises!

 

1. Clean Deadlift

The deadlift is, not surprisingly, our champion. The “clean” version of the setup is slightly different from your conventional deadlift, placing more tension on the hamstrings (as opposed to the low back). Your butt will tend to be a little lower and your hands a little bit wider. In a clean deadlift, which simulates the positions needed in the first phase of a clean, your shoulders will be a little in front of the bar, your shoulder blades retracted, and you will have to use your lats to keep the bar close to the body. You may use a little less weight in this setup than your regular barbell deadlift, but it is great for training the posterior chain.

2. Romanian Deadlift From Deficit

While called a Romanian deadlift, this is actually a stiff-legged deadlift. The knees should be slightly bent and then stay that way. When you “bend over,” your hips will move back only a little bit. Bend around the hips, letting the shoulders go forward. Some people will intentionally round their backs on this movement to train their erectors; just as rounded-back good mornings are used. I would save this technique for advanced lifters who know what they’re doing.

3. Kettlebell One-Legged Deadlift

A unilateral approach to the hip hinge allows us to reduce the load on the back while still fully recruiting the hamstrings. The biggest mistake on this movement is rounding of the spine. Remember: the entire upper body should be rigid, rotating around the hip. No roundy backy!

4. Power Snatch

While the snatch is a full body movement, upward acceleration of the bar relies heavily on the power of the hamstrings. A full snatch is difficult to learn, but most can probably learn a power snatch, where you receive the bar above a full squat (or even standing). The reason this movement is so good for hamstrings is that the first two phases of it are essentially a deficit deadlift and a Romanian deadlift, both of which are huge hammy killers.



5. Hang Snatch

The hang snatch is similar to the power snatch, but it eliminates the initial pull from the ground to the knees. I recommend beginning standing upright with the bar hanging, and then pushing your butt back until you are in pulling position (as opposed to just starting in your pulling position). If the first part of this movement feels very much like a Romanian deadlift, then you are doing it right.

6. Floor Glute-Ham Raise

The poor man’s version of the glute-ham raise is significantly harder than the original. You can’t quite get all the benefits of the full version off of the floor, but this will be the hardest knee flexion exercise you can do. Most people won’t be able to do this movement at first, so I recommend using a band, a training partner, or using a push-off to bring the difficulty down a notch.

7. Power Clean From Blocks 

Like our other Olympic movements on this list, the power clean involves explosive hip extension driven by the glutes and hamstrings. There are several benefits to pulling off of blocks instead of the floor, but the primary reason to do so is that most people will not have the mobility and the technique to pull from the floor without some fault in their technique. In some cases, it might be better to focus the movement to the most important part.

8. Lying Leg Curls 

The leg curl is a classic bodybuilding movement to isolate the hamstrings from the rest of the posterior chain. Unless your machine has a cam on it, your leverage usually improves making the movement easier during peak contraction. If this is the case, I typically will put a band around the rollers so that tension will increase through the range of motion.

9. Romanian Deadlift

The key in the Romanian deadlift is to move your butt back. Think of it as a horizontal movement, as opposed to a vertical movement like our other deadlifts. In this style, our butts move back with the knees slightly bent. Done correctly, even with no weight, by the time your hands reach the knees, your hamstrings should feel like they are going to rip off. If you can touch your toes, you are doing it wrong. Keep your head up, trying to create as much distance between your chin and your butt as you can.



10. Sumo Deadlift 

We started our list with a deadlift, so it’s appropriate to end on one. The very wide stance of the sumo deadlift takes some of the load from the back and transfers it to the hips. The setup makes it easier to maintain proper position, and it is fantastic for developing hamstrings and glutes.

JAI ALAI

Jai alai is a sport where a ball is bounced off a walled space. A hand-held device called cesta is used to accelerate the ball to a high speed. The speed record for a jai alai ball is 302 km/h. This speed was recorded set by José Ramón Areitio at the Newport Jai Alai in Rhode Island, USA.

jai-alai batJai alai has its roots in a Basque ball game, which in turn is based on ball games played by the Greek and other ancient cultures in Southern Europe and around the Mediterranean. Today, Jai alai is chiefly played in former Spanish colonies in the Americas and South-Eastern Asia. Prior to the communist revolution in China, Jai alai was a popular gambling sport in both Shanghai and Tiajin, but when the communists came to power they banned the game. Another East Asian country where Jai alai has been banned is The Philippines, where the sports was outlawed in 1986 because of problems with game fixing. The law was changed in 2010 to allow Jai alai in the country again.

In the United States, Jai alai is chiefly played in Florida, a state with a large Hispanic population. There is currently six jai alai frontons in Florida; they are located in Miami, Orlando, Dania Beach, Reddick, Jasper, and Forth Pierce. The very first jai alai fronton in the United States wasn’t opened in Florida though; the first U.S. fronton was the one that opened in St. Louis, Missouri around the time of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

Spain has 10 frontons for professional play. Five of them are in Basque Country, two are located in Barcelona, and the remaining three in Madrid, Zaragoza and Palma de Mallorca, respectively.

In Mexico, there are two frontons in Mexico City, plus one in Acapulco and one in Tijuana.

Trivia

  • In the U.S., a professional jai alai player will wear a jersey with one number on the front and another number on the back. The number on the back is the player’s permanent number. The number at the front is the players current playing position, so this number changes with every game. It’s a bit like the number worn by a racehorse; the horse is given a new number prior to each new race.
  • In Basque, the game is often called zesta-punta, which means basket tip.
  • In Spanish, the game is known as pelota vasca.
  • jai-alia gameThe name jai alai was coined by Serafín Baroja (1840 – 1912) who first used it for the game of Basque pelota in 1875. Baroja was a Basque writer and mining engineer who wrote Basque poetry and lyrics. In Basque, jai alai means merry festival. When the game was introduced on Cuba at the turn of the century (1800/1900), the name jai alai was the one that caught on.
  • During World War II, Ernest Hemingway suggested that jai alai players should be used to lob grenades down the hatches of German submarines.
  • A traditional cesta, the 2.5 feet oblong curved wicker scoop strapped on the player’s right arm, is made from steamed chestnut wood and woven reeds. A leather glove is sewn to the outside to hold the player’s hand in place.
  • A traditional jai alai ball is made from goatskin. The ball is called pelota, which simply means ball in Spanish. When rubber was introduced to Europe from South America, this new material was included in the pelota, permitting an even faster game than before. The faster balls hurt the players’ hands and they started wearing a leather glove (guante) on the right hand. It is from this guante that the cesta evolved.
  • A contemporary pelota is still made from hardened goatskin, but with virgin rubber as well, and a few final turns of linen or nylon thread. The pelotas are made by hand and quite expensive. (Expect to pay $100 per ball in the U.S.) The goat skin cover must normally be replaced after just 15 minutes of play, since it wear out quickly due to the extreme forces it is subjected to.
  • A jai alai pelota is both harder and heavier than a golf ball. It is roughly ¾ the size of a baseball. Since the cancha walls needs to be really durable, they are often made from granite, especially the front wall. For budget reasons, having a concrete back wall and side wall is quite common.
  • The high speed makes the ball capable of causing serious injury. The audience is usually seated behind a chain-link fence to protect them. The players on the other hand have no such comprehensive protection, and injuries are not uncommon. In the United States, professional players will wear a helmet to protect the head. It wasn’t always so though; in 1968 a professional player ended up in a coma for 6 months after the pelota hit his unprotected head.
  • Professional jai alai players (pelotaris) are traditionally known by a short nickname rather than their real name, e.g. Jabi, Borja, Padin, Pedro, Kompa, Larru, Hoey, Gino, Erik, Azpiri, Rocha, Ander, Rekalde, Aperri, Olabe, Kompa, Larru, Don, Elgueta, or Mouhica – all examples of successful pelotaris active in the USA.
  • A jai alai player will usually wear a t-shirt, white pants, sneakers, a helmet and a red sash. The red sash is worn around the waist, and is called faja.
  • The practice of using a woven basket-glove on the right hand was popularized by Gantchiqui Dithurbide from Saint-Pée, France in the 1860s. The long version known today was brought to mainstream attention by Melchior Curuchage from Buenos Aires, Argentina in the late 1880s.

HAMSTRING GAINS

If your posterior chain training needs a kick in the ham, this list is for you. Check out our top 10 most effective hamstring exercises according to you!

Despite the hamstrings arguably being the most important muscle group for athletes, they are often laggards in physique competitions. You may see an entire lineup of bodybuilders with massive upper bodies and thick quads, but few will have well-developed hamstrings.

Most people think hamstrings only serve one function: knee flexion. In reality, the hamstrings are not one single muscle, but a group of muscles with multiple functions. The hammies’ most important function is hip extension, which is vital for explosiveness, sprinting, jumping, and even low-back health.



If you’ve been slacking on your hamstring training, or your posterior strength needs a kick in the ham, this list is for you. We’ve gathered the top 10 hamstring movements in the Bodybuilding.com Exercise Database based upon user ratings. If your favorite isn’t on the list or is ranked lower than you would like, just log in and rate your top exercises!

1. Clean Deadlift

The deadlift is, not surprisingly, our champion. The “clean” version of the setup is slightly different from your conventional deadlift, placing more tension on the hamstrings (as opposed to the low back). Your butt will tend to be a little lower and your hands a little bit wider. In a clean deadlift, which simulates the positions needed in the first phase of a clean, your shoulders will be a little in front of the bar, your shoulder blades retracted, and you will have to use your lats to keep the bar close to the body. You may use a little less weight in this setup than your regular barbell deadlift, but it is great for training the posterior chain.

2. Romanian Deadlift From Deficit

While called a Romanian deadlift, this is actually a stiff-legged deadlift. The knees should be slightly bent and then stay that way. When you “bend over,” your hips will move back only a little bit. Bend around the hips, letting the shoulders go forward. Some people will intentionally round their backs on this movement to train their erectors; just as rounded-back good mornings are used. I would save this technique for advanced lifters who know what they’re doing.

3. Kettlebell One-Legged Deadlift

A unilateral approach to the hip hinge allows us to reduce the load on the back while still fully recruiting the hamstrings. The biggest mistake on this movement is rounding of the spine. Remember: the entire upper body should be rigid, rotating around the hip. No roundy backy!

4. Power Snatch

While the snatch is a full body movement, upward acceleration of the bar relies heavily on the power of the hamstrings. A full snatch is difficult to learn, but most can probably learn a power snatch, where you receive the bar above a full squat (or even standing). The reason this movement is so good for hamstrings is that the first two phases of it are essentially a deficit deadlift and a Romanian deadlift, both of which are huge hammy killers.



5. Hang Snatch

The hang snatch is similar to the power snatch, but it eliminates the initial pull from the ground to the knees. I recommend beginning standing upright with the bar hanging, and then pushing your butt back until you are in pulling position (as opposed to just starting in your pulling position). If the first part of this movement feels very much like a Romanian deadlift, then you are doing it right.

6. Floor Glute-Ham Raise

The poor man’s version of the glute-ham raise is significantly harder than the original. You can’t quite get all the benefits of the full version off of the floor, but this will be the hardest knee flexion exercise you can do. Most people won’t be able to do this movement at first, so I recommend using a band, a training partner, or using a push-off to bring the difficulty down a notch.

7. Power Clean From Blocks 

Like our other Olympic movements on this list, the power clean involves explosive hip extension driven by the glutes and hamstrings. There are several benefits to pulling off of blocks instead of the floor, but the primary reason to do so is that most people will not have the mobility and the technique to pull from the floor without some fault in their technique. In some cases, it might be better to focus the movement to the most important part.

8. Lying Leg Curls 

The leg curl is a classic bodybuilding movement to isolate the hamstrings from the rest of the posterior chain. Unless your machine has a cam on it, your leverage usually improves making the movement easier during peak contraction. If this is the case, I typically will put a band around the rollers so that tension will increase through the range of motion.

9. Romanian Deadlift

The key in the Romanian deadlift is to move your butt back. Think of it as a horizontal movement, as opposed to a vertical movement like our other deadlifts. In this style, our butts move back with the knees slightly bent. Done correctly, even with no weight, by the time your hands reach the knees, your hamstrings should feel like they are going to rip off. If you can touch your toes, you are doing it wrong. Keep your head up, trying to create as much distance between your chin and your butt as you can.



10. Sumo Deadlift 

We started our list with a deadlift, so it’s appropriate to end on one. The very wide stance of the sumo deadlift takes some of the load from the back and transfers it to the hips. The setup makes it easier to maintain proper position, and it is fantastic for developing hamstrings and glutes.

BECOME QUADZILLA

So, in this article I will outline a blow by blow workout my team of training partners and I. The team consists of Jon Deprospo (me), Justin Deprospo, and Chris “the officer” Grady. This was one of those workouts that you can remember like it was yesterday because it was so brutally taxing, but rewarding at the same time.

EXERCISE 1 LEG EXTENSIONS

For the first exercise 2-3 sets of moderate weight leg extensions are performed to warm up the quads and get them acclimated for the serious poundage that will come later in the workout. 140lbs is pinned on the stack and is grinded out for 40 moderately fast reps, squeezing and contracting at the top when it feels necessary.

The next warm-up set is started with 200lbs for another warm-up set of around 20 reps, this time slowing the tempo down and starting to feel the pump build up in my quads as I finish the set.

Note: In between these warm-up sets I am stretching out my quads, hamstrings, lower back, and abductors vigorously on various machines or platforms in the gym to keep my legs loose and not susceptible to any type of muscle strain or tear.

The last set of leg extensions is performed with 260lbs (the whole stack) for 10-12 reps. After that, I can’t get the machine to move on my own, my partner then steps in to assist me with an additional 3-4 reps where the negative portion is slowed down to a 3-4 second count.

In the back of my head I hear my third partner (usually the Officer) yelling at me to continue with the set, and refuse to let the set be completed until he thinks it is fair.

EXERCISE 2 BARBELL SQUAT

After three sets on the leg extension, and stretching in between sets, my legs are slightly pumped and ready to get into some heavy weights, so it’s off to back squats.

Back squats are an exercise that is awesome for overall leg development. Since they were just reintroduced into my leg routine a few weeks ago, the weights are still somewhat moderate. Here is how the warm-up sets went: 135lbs for 20 reps, 225lbs for 15, and 315lbs for 12.

The first three sets were to get acclimated to the exercise before moving on to some heavier weights. For my maximum set 405lbs was put on the bar and was blasted for 8 deep reps. Within a minute of racking the weight, my training partners were instructed to take off 2 of the plates of each side of the bar, making the total poundage 225lbs.

With out any hesitation, the bar was taken off the rack for the second time and 12 deep paused reps were performed to make sure my legs were totally demolished. With a exercise like back squats, form should never be sacrificed for weight. This is not conducive to growth, and you will be risking an injury every time you train.

EXERCISE 3 LEG PRESS

As my team and I hobble over to the leg press machine, there is little communication between the three of us. We each start grabbing 45lb plates and slowly stack them on the two leg press machines, realizing the type of pain that a superset like this is going to put us in, after just performing squats.

On this exercise, 3 grueling sets are performed back to back between the two machines starting with 5 plates on each side of the vertical leg press for 15 reps superset with 3 plates on each side of the up side down leg press machine for another 15 reps in a wide duck stance.

The next set begins with 7 plates on the leg press for 15 reps superset with 4 plates on each side of the up side down leg press for another hard, deep, 15 reps.

After I stand up, the two machines are soaked in sweat, and I can barely assist my partner as he puts his body through the same pain as I have. But we don’t quit after two sets and, we go for a third.

The first leg press gets loaded up to 8 plates on each side, for a rough 12 reps followed by some partials, then superset with 5 plates on each side of the up side down leg press for another 12 agonizingly painful reps. This is the true definition of hard-core training, and we are not even finished with our workout yet.

EXERCISE 4 NARROW STANCE HACK SQUATS

At this point in the workout we get through the last few sets priding our selves in the fact that 90% of the general public could never perform a workout remotely close to this type of intensity.

On the first set, two plates are used with a slight elevation of the foot platform. 10 reps are performed with a high, close foot placement, emphasizing the outer quadriceps sweep.

After the first 10 reps I bring my feet lower on the bottom of the platform to perform 10 reps in a sissy squat style, letting my lower back and hips come off the machine. This part of the set is hard to describe, but they are the hack squat sissy squats that Tom Platz was legendary for performing, and they work really well at stimulating the tear drop muscle.

The second and third sets are performed with 4 plates on each side for 12 reps for the high foot placement set. The weight is then dropped to 2 plates per side for a set of 12 reps in sissy squat style.

At this point in the workout, I am drenched in sweat, feeling delirious and, nauseous. I know in my mind that the end is near, so I just continue doing what I have to do to finish the workout and hope I am capable of walking to the tiny Chevy S-10.

EXERCISE 5 SEATED LEG CURL

To finish up the workout, four sets are blasted on the reverse leg extension machine going from 60lbs for 15 reps to 2 sets of 80lbs for 12 reps, then back down to 60lbs for 15 reps. These sets are very moderate but are still somewhat taxing.

The goal is to get a nice squeeze in the hamstrings at the peak contraction, making sure no stone is unturned.

EXERCISE 6 DOUBLE STEPPING ON THE GAUNTLET

As the rest of the team finishes the workout with some calves, I hobble over to the gauntlet and double step it at an intensity level of 10 for 5 minutes. The gauntlet (looks a little scary) is an unbelievable machine to stimulate the gluteus/hamstring tie-ins when you perform double steps on it.

After 5 minutes, I almost fell off the machine, so I decided to call it a day and regroup with the team to figure out the easiest, most painless way to exit the gym, and get an immediate source of carbohydrates and proteins.

YOGA FOR MEN

If you’re a guy, it’s easy to find yoga intimidating. This feeling is understandable. As a gender, there’s a cultural push to make us work out hard, compete, and do sports that tighten us up instead of loosen us up.

 

Sometimes, we’re intimidated because of neglect. In this little article, I’m going to make your entrance into yoga and your body quick and transformative!

 

These 4 key yoga poses for men will help you ease into a practice and ease into your body. Although they are relatively simple, they are deeply therapeutic as well as strength building. They will also work miracles for your flexibility. You can master them in the privacy of your living room AND I’ve set it up so you can do it all in 10 minutes at day! Check these out!

 

1. Child’s Pose

man in Child's Pose

This pose is a low back saver and is the hunch reducer. Do it for your posture, do it for your pain, and do it because it feels so good.

Benefits: Child’s Pose lengthens the spine, assists the relief of lower back pain, and stretches your knees.

How to do it:

  • Kneel with your knees open shoulder-distance, with your toes touching.
  • Place your forehead on the floor.
  • Walk your hands forward with fanned fingers OR move hands behind you on the floor alongside your body.
  • Stay in this pose for 15 deep breaths through the nose.

2. High Lunge

Man in High LungeCredit: RunnersFeed

Here is a wonderful pose for runners and couch potatoes alike.

Benefits: High Lunge resurrects your leg strength and flexibility and fine tunes your core strength and balance. It’s also great for stretching muscles of the feet and toes.

How to do it:

  • Set up like a sprinter with your finger tips on the floor on either side of your lead foot. Your back foot has it’s toes curled under as if you’re going to run a race.
  • Alignment is key. Your front knee should be above your ankle and shouldn’t waver to the left or right. Keep that knee in line with your 2nd toe.
  • Your front thigh should be flat like a table and your butt is in line with that front knee. That means you may have to step back a few inches to get that thigh flat! If that’s difficult you may have to prop your hands up on books (or yoga blocks) or go high on your finger tips.
  • Press firmly through the back heal and look forward to lengthen your spine.
  • As this gets easier, transition from 5 fingers of a tented hand to 3 fingers, then one finger, and then, perhaps, shooting your hands behind you in the air or out to the side so your body looks like a cross.
  • Always draw the tummy in and try to lengthen your spine.
  • Breathe as deep as you can and see if you can stay for 5 to 20 breaths.

3. Crescent Pose

Man in Crescent Pose

Crescent is similar to the high lunge, but it refines more subtle strength and balance throughout the body, especially in the core and the legs.

Benefits: This pose goes deep into the hip flexors for extra strength and flexibility. It also strengthens and stretches the front of the legs.

How to do it:

  • Set up in the high lunge as above, but now the arms will reach straight in the air.
  • The torso is at “attention” and is straight with no back bend in the spine. Rooting down through the tail bone, draw the tummy in and try to gain length in the spine growing through the side ribs.
  • Stay here for 5 to 20 breaths.

4. Yogic Squat

Man in Squat

In India, they have chai and conversations sitting in a squat. Three quarters of the world goes to the toilet like this, and many ladies give birth like this. Most Westerners, however, have lost the ability to do a decent squat. Not good.

Benefits: This pose provides huge benefits for rehabilitating the flexibility in legs and knees. It also relieves constipation.

How to do it:

  • Feet should be shoulder-distance apart. Bend your knees so that your butt is as low as it can go without hitting the floor.
  • Try to get your heels flat. If this is impossible, curl up a towel or yoga mat to give you “ high heels.”
  • In your Squat, sit up tall with your hands in prayer on your heart with elbows pressing into the knees. For a variation, you can place hands on back of skull, drop head, and tuck chin into throat.

Start with these 4 tested and approved postures for only 10 minutes a day using deep breathing as you hold them. You will be amazed at how these poses will lead to small changes and transform your body in major ways.