CALF GAINS

Band-resisted Calf Flexion

Sit on a mat with your legs extended out in front of you. If, in this position, it’s difficult for you to keep your back straight, elevate your hips by sitting on bench or yoga block. Place an elastic resistance band around the balls of both feet. Keeping the knees straight, point and flex the foot forward and upward, maintaining tautness in the band throughout the movement.

Single-leg Standing Heel Raise

Stand on a step with one foot, with the heel hanging off the edge. Make sure the ball of the foot is securely on top of the step. Slowly lower the heel of the standing leg below the edge of the step and then raise the heel as high as possible while keeping the knee straight. Complete all repetitions on one leg before moving on to the opposite side.

Seated Heel Raise

Sit on a chair or weight bench with both feet on a step and the heels hanging off of the edge. Place a dumbbell or plate weight across the tops of the thighs. Make sure the balls of the feet are securely on top of the step. Slowly lower the heels below the edge of the step and then raise them as high as possible.

Plié Squat with Heel Raise

Adopt a wide stance while holding a dumbbell in each hand in the front rack position. The feet should be turned out, but only to the point at which the knees can track in alignment with the toes. Do not allow the knees to cave inward during this movement. Lift the right heel off the floor, but keep the left foot flat. Perform squats with the left foot flat and the right foot balanced on the ball of the foot. Complete all repetitions on one leg before changing the foot position to the opposite side.

Double-leg Standing Heel Raise

Stand on a step with both heels hanging off the edge. Make sure the balls of the feet are securely on top of the step. Slowly lower the heels below the edge of the step and then raise them as high as possible while keeping the knees straight.

WINTER BEACH BODY

With Christmas dinner looming on the horizon, and the threat of endless festive parties ready to eat and drink your carefully-honed summer beach body away, it’s more important than ever to keep on top of your fitness. To ensure that, by the time summer 2018 rolls around, you’re still looking trim, we turned to Toby Huntington-Whiteley, Max Lowery and Matt Roberts – masters in their field of personal fitness – for the best exercises, tips and techniques to keep you ticking over this winter.

Dumbbell Clean to Press – “This exercise is perfect if you are short of time and still want to work your whole body. It works multiple muscles and is great for both your power and strength. In addition, this exercise is an excellent fat burner by increasing heart and metabolic rate.”

1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder width apart.

2. Bend your knees slightly pushing your hips back whilst keeping a neutral spine and lowering the dumbbells just below your knees.

3. In one smooth movement drive your hips explosively forward, engaging your glutes and legs. By shrugging your shoulders and bending your elbows you can bring the weights to your shoulders. 

4. Once you are stood up with the dumbbells on your shoulders, slightly dip your hips back and then drive up to standing. Using this momentum press your arms straight above your head.   

5. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to your shoulders and then to your hips. Then repeat the sequence.

Push-up to Renegade Row – “I love this exercise it hits your shoulder, chest, back and core. I put this at the end of my upperbody workouts as a finisher, alongside a cardio exercise like mountain climbers or burpees. Putting a finisher at the end of your workout is a great way to maximise the calories you burn and increase your metabolic rate.”

1. With two dumbbells come into a push up position with your hands gripping the dumbbells on the floor. 

2. With your core engaged lower yourself to the ground and push back up.

3. At the top of the push up, keeping your core tight, pull one dumbbell to your waist and slowly lower it back down and then repeat on the other side. Then repeat the sequence.

The Classic Burpee – “One of the most effective exercises you can do for full body muscle activation and cardiovascular intensity. I like to do 5 rounds of 20 Burpees with a 1:1 work to rest ratio. So, if it takes me 30 seconds to do 20 burpees, I will get a 30 second break!”

1.  in a standing position, then jump into the air.

2. As you land on your feet, move your hands towards the floor and hurl your legs back so you are in a press- up/plank position, making sure your back isn’t sagging towards the floor.

3. Jump straight out of that position by bringing your feet back under your hips and then extending your legs and your torso upward, leaping into the air in one movement. Repeat this movement as fast as possible. 

The Hollow Hold – “This is my go to exercise to build functional abdominal strength. The hollow body position is fundamental to a gymnasts training, and gymnasts have THE strongest cores of any sport. As with all exercises, quality is key. Once you can do 5 sets of 60s with your legs as low as possible you can start to add weight in your hands and between your feet.”

1.Start at on your back, placing your hands behind your head and bringing your knees in towards your chest.

2. Lift your chest off the floor using your abdominal muscles, and extend your legs straight up towards the ceiling or sky. Lock your knees and point your toes.

3. Keeping your chest lifted off the floor using your abs, lower your straight legs down towards the floor, making sure your lower back does not arch. (The lower your legs go the harder your abdominals have

to work; if your abs aren’t strong enough, your back will want to take the strain.)

4. Find the angle in which you can hold this pose without your lower back arching, all the time lifting your chest off the floor to create the hollow body position.

CONCENTRATION CURL

The concentration curl is an old school move that can produce real results, but only if you’re ready to buy in and work with perfect form. You wont be able to mindlessly shift and swing your body to help to lift the dumbbells, like some people do during standard standing curls—so be prepared to be humbled by the weight if your form is sloppy. Top-level trainers like Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. and Don Saladino use the exercise to build major league biceps.

“The strength of the concentration curl is in how it helps eliminate any excess shifting at the shoulder joint during biceps curls,” says Samuel. “When you do standard biceps curls, it’s easy (and convenient) to let the elbow shift forward and stop keeping your upper arm perpendicular to the ground. That momentum takes the emphasis off the biceps very briefly, but just long enough you sometimes miss the sustained biceps contraction needed to really build your bis.”

You can’t even cheat during the concentration curl if you wanted to, due to the positioning. Instead of standing upright with your elbows free, you’ll bend at the torso and keep your arm at an angle perpendicular to the ground. You can do this the classic way, seated on a bench with your arm resting on your inner thigh, like Samuel and Saladino, or you can bend over and support yourself while you’re still on your feet, like The Rock. The important thing is that your arm only moves when you squeeze your bicep to lift the weight. 

“You’re driving your upper arm into your inner thigh, and doing so will keep your upper arm perpendicular to the ground,” Samuel says. “That takes your shoulder out of play and lets you focus on squeezing your biceps. That also makes the very top of the concentration curl, which can become a position of rest if your elbow has shifted forward, into a position of work; squeeze the heck out of your biceps when you’re at the top.”

Samuel’s last tip is a subtle one, which is easy to do if you’re focusing as you should—but if you’re lazy, you’ll miss the benefit: “Make sure to supinate hard when you do concentration curls, turning your pinky toward the ceiling as much as possible,” he says.

Use concentration curls as your second or third exercise in a biceps training day. Try them for 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps. If you really want to get a pump, set a timer and do as many reps (with perfect form, of course) as possible for 30 seconds on one arm, then do the same on the other arm. Alternate back and forth for three sets.

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!

BICEP WORKOUT

EXERCISE 1: BARBELL CURL

Barbell Curl

The first biceps exercise to perform is barbell curls, which will also allow you to overload those biceps with a heavy weight. Most trainees are slightly stronger when lifting a barbell versus a set of  dumbbells, so this is a great one for maximum strength development.

When doing the exercise, the primary thing to focus on is that you’re not cutting the movement pattern short at all, and that you’re not allowing momentum to cause you to lean backward as you hoist the weight upwards.

This is one of the most common mistakes with this exercise—momentum performs more of the work than your muscles actually do. If you perform it in a slow and controlled manner, that should reduce the chances of this happening significantly and allow you to place a higher intensity deep within the muscle fibers.

EXERCISE 2: INCLINE DUMBBELL CURL

Incline Dumbbell Curl

The second exercise to add is incline dumbbell curls. This exercise is one of the best to help prevent that momentum issue from happening as we just discussed, since it essentially restricts the movement of the back.

When doing this exercise, you will feel maximum tension on the biceps muscle belly, so don’t be surprised if the weight is slightly lower. As long as you’re pushing yourself hard, using the lower weight but maintaining proper form will be the way to go for results.

EXERCISE 3: STANDING BICEPS CABLE CURL

Standing Biceps Cable Curl

If you’re looking to target the deep-tissue muscle fibres, cable curls are a good bet. Since the pattern of movement is less stable with this movement, due to the constant tension provided by the cable, you will call all the stabilization muscles surrounding the biceps into play as you execute the exercise.

You can use a variety of different attachments to perform the cable curls including a rope, a straight bar, or rotating cable handles that allow you to work a single arm at a time.

EXERCISE 4: REVERSE-GRIP BENT OVER ROW

Reverse-Grip Bent-Over Row

After you’ve included regular straight rows within the program, you may also want to consider adding reverse grip rows as well. These are going to place a slightly greater stress on the biceps muscles as opposed to straight rows, so they will be a better exercise for strictly targeting the biceps.

Depending on what muscle group you think of contracting as you bring the weights up to the body (the biceps or the back), that too will impact the nature of the muscle stimulus.

EXERCISE 5: CONCENTRATION CURLS

Finally, the last of the exercises to consider to blast your biceps into growth are concentration curls. When done while sitting, these will also limit the degree momentum plays in the execution of the exercise and place all the emphasis right on the biceps muscle.

Concentration Curl

There will be no helper muscles called into play when doing concentration curls (when done properly), so this is a good one to add in at the very end of your workout when you’re really looking to finish off the biceps and fully exhaust them

MALE BOOTY GAINS

Bigger, stronger glutes help you run faster and lift more weight in some lower-body exercises. Big booty men are also at less risk for lower back pain. Some people also find bigger glutes more aesthetically pleasing.

Glute Muscle Anatomy

When you refer to the glutes, you’re usually talking about the gluteus maximus, which is the biggest muscle in the body. It’s the visible muscle that makes up the bulk of someone’s rear-end. However, there are actually three glute muscles.

The gluteus maximus spans the backside of your hip bone and runs down into your femur. It also connects to the iliotibial band, which is a thick band of tissue that runs down the side of your leg. There are two more glute muscles: the gluteus medius and minimus.

The gluteus medius runs along the side of your hip and is much less visible than the maximus. The gluteus minimus also runs along the side of your hip bone and inserts into the femur.

Your glute muscles extend your hip and lift your leg to the side, a movement known as abduction. They also help rotate your leg. The gluteus maximus is the biggest and most powerful of the three muscles and the most important when it comes to things like running and lifting weights.

Advantages of Bigger Glutes

Sprinting requires hip extension, so much so that building up stronger glutes can actually make you faster. An August 2018 study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine showed that some weighted glute exercises can help improve sprint performance. Sprinting is important in many sports, so men who want to increase their athletic performance should do glute exercises.

For male athletes, performance is important. However, you don’t need to be an athlete to benefit from glute training. If you’re a man who suffers from lower back pain, glute exercises can help. An August 2017 study published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journaldiscussed the importance of glute strengthening exercises in managing lower back pain.

In the article, the authors explain that stronger glute muscles help you move and lift with less effort, reducing strain on your lower back. Stronger glutes can also improve your posture, which can help reduce lower back pain.

1. The Hip Thrust

To build bigger glutes, you should perform an exercise that activates the glutes and allows you to easily add resistance: the barbell hip thrust. A December 2015 study published in the Journal of Applied Biomechanics showed that the barbell hip thrust activates the glutes more than a barbell back squat. The latter is a well-known lower-body strength exercise, but the barbell hip thrust is better at specifically targeting the glutes.

  1. Use a bench or box that won’t tip over. It should be heavy or securely fastened to the ground. Whatever object you use should be 16 inches highand flat on top. 
  2. Sit in front of the box or bench with your mid-back resting on the edge. 
  3. Place a barbell on your lap. You can rest a pad on your lap between your body and the barbell, or use a bar pad that wraps around the bar. This will protect your hip bones as you’re doing the thrust. 
  4. Place your hands on the barbell. 
  5. Bend your knees and plant your feet flat on the ground. 
  6. Lean back and thrust your hips up, pressing through your heels. 
  7. Bring your hips up as high as possible. At the top, your body should form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Your knees should be bent at 90 degrees. 
  8. Relax and put the barbell down.

Tip

Try this exercise without a barbell if you’re not sure how much weight you can lift.

2. Other Glute-Building Resistance Exercises

While the barbell hip thrust is one of the best gluteus maximus exercises, you should switch things up and add variety to your booty-building workout routine.

Move 1: Step-Ups

Step-ups can be used as part of your glute-building routine. Use a box to step on and some dumbbells or kettlebells to add resistance.

  1. Place a box with a flat surface on the ground. 
  2. Put one foot on the top of the box. 
  3. Step up so that you’re standing on the box. 
  4. Step back with the same foot you used to step up. Switch sides when you’ve completed your desired number of repetitions. You can hold dumbbells or kettlebells by your sides to add resistance.

Tip

If this exercise is too difficult, use a shorter box or drop the weights.

Move 2: Barbell Back Squat

While it’s not quite as effective as the hip thrust, the barbell back squat can help you build your glutes. You’ll need a barbell and a power rack for this exercise.

  1. To start, put the bar over your upper back and grab it with both hands, wider than shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Lift the bar out of the rack and take a step back. 
  3. Set your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and turn your toes out slightly. 
  4. Squat down, keeping your feet flat on the ground. 
  5. Go as low as you can; then stand back up.

Tip

You can hold a light kettlebell in front of your chest to squat instead of using a barbell if the exercise is uncomfortable.

3. Unweighted Glute Exercises

Beginners or men suffering from lower back pain who aren’t ready to touch weights can use isolated glute exercises.

Move 1: The Clam

The clam is one of the best exercises for activating the glutes if you don’t want to use weights.

  1. Take an elastic band and place it around your knees. 
  2. Lie on your side with your knees bent and legs stacked on top of each other. 
  3. The bottom leg should be on the ground. Lift your top knee off of the bottom knee while keeping your feet together. Don’t turn your body to lift up, simply raise your top leg as high as you can. 
  4. Lower it back down slowly and under control; Your legs should look like a clam opening and closing its shell. 

Tip

Remove the resistance band if you can’t raise your leg with correct technique.

Move 2: Side Plank

To work the gluteus medius, you can do a side plankwith your top leg raised.

  1. Start by lying on your side with your forearm on the ground. 
  2. Lift your hips up so that you’re in a side plank position with your body in a straight line and legs stacked on top of each other. 
  3. Lift your top leg up and hold it in the air as long as you can and then switch sides.

Tip

Don’t raise your top leg if that makes the exercise too difficult.

MIKE O’HEARN BACK WORKOUT

Want to get big, strong and cut? Part bodybuilding, part powerlifting, Mike O’Hearn’s ‘power bodybuilding’ concept builds muscle and strength at the same time.

This back workout is centered on some crazy-ass, heavier-than-hell deadlifts and only two secondary lifts: one-arm rowsand pulldowns. After you finish these deadlifts, that’s all you’re going to have left in the tank. Trust me.

– 07:28 

This is one example of a Power Bodybuilding workout. Your weights and reps will change depending on where you are in the 12-week program.

Follow that program to the letter, and you too will end up with a big S stamped across your chest. 

The deadlift is the best lift in weightlifting. It hits EVERYTHING. It’s the superhero lift, the beast lift, the man lift. You can cheat a squat by not going deep, but with the deadlift, there’s no cheating. You just grab hold of that bar and rip it from the ground like a freakin’ caveman. 

Take your time. Warm up slowly. Conserve energy. Don’t rush through this. Save your energy for the heavy weights. Wait till you hit the working sets before you really work it.

I don’t use straps. You can’t use ’em in competition, why use ’em here? I switch grip every set. I don’t listen to music. I don’t need that to get psyched. I like the noise of the weight. I like feeling the heavy weight tear down my fibers. Go heavy enough, and the next day, you’ll feel everything hurting – but in a good way.

It’s not a slow pull for me. I rip it up. People ask, “Aren’t you going to hurt your back?” but I don’t know why people think that way. I don’t get hurt. I don’t worry. I just destroy the weight. It’s not the other way around. 

When I deadlift, I’m already putting density and thickness in the mid-back. The one-arm rows hit the lower and outer lat. Beautiful exercise to give you nice wingspan. 

Take a wide-screen grip for pull-downs. You know how to do pull-downs, don’t you? If you don’t, I’m going to come through that screen and slap you silly. Do pull-downs to the chest instead of behind the neck. You get a longer pull down to the chest, more of a squeeze. 

Ready? Go out and be great.

THE “POWER BODYBUILDING”
BACK WORKOUT

Part 1: Back 

Warm-up:

Working Sets:

FOREARM GAINS

Do These 5 Exercises For Big Forearms

1. Barbell Wrist Curls – 4 Sets 30 Reps

Barbell wrist curls are one of the most common forearm exercises and yet most people perform them incorrectly. Don’t let your ego get the better of you while doing this exercise and use weights you can maintain a full range of motion with. The barbell wrist curls work the brachioradialis and flexors.

The best way of performing the barbell or dumbbell wrist curls is to kneel down at the side of a flat bench with your forearms placed on the bench. Grab a barbell with an underhand grip and curl it as high as you can and while lowering the barbell, let the barbell roll down to the tip of your fingers. Doing so will help in recruiting all the muscle fibers in your forearms and hands.

2. Barbell Reverse Wrist Curls – 3 Sets 15 Reps

Barbell reverse curls is another common forearm exercise but is a little harder as compared to the normal wrist curls. Use a wrist curl machine if you have access to it at your gym, or use a flat bench.

You will be lifting lighter weights in this exercise as compared to the normal wrist curls. Grab the bar with an overhand monkey (thumbs over the barbell) grip. A monkey grip helps in better targetting your forearms better. The reverse wrist curls work the extensor muscles.

3. Behind the Back Cable Wrist Curls – 3 Sets 12 Reps

Behind the back cable wrist curl is a great exercise to isolate your forearms. Using the cables will help you maintain a constant tension on your forearms and will fill your muscles with lactic acid.

Stand with your back towards the cable pulley machine and grab a straight bar. Curl the bar and hold the movement at the contraction for a couple of seconds. This exercise focuses on your brachioradialis and flexors.

4. Reverse Grip Barbell Curls – 3 Sets 12 Reps

Reverse grip barbell curls are a compound exercise and will help you in developing muscle mass and strength in your forearms. Holding the barbell with an overhand monkey grip will make your forearms work harder to hold onto the bar.

Keep your elbows pinched to your sides and curl the barbell. Keep the reps slow and controlled and squeeze your forearms and biceps at the top of the movement. The reverse grip barbell curls work the extensors.

5. Farmer’s Walk – 2 Sets of 1 Minute Walk

Farmer’s walk helps in building forearm size and grip strength which can carry over to other exercises. The farmer’s walk is also one of the easiest exercises to perform. Grab a pair of dumbbells and walk around until you can’t hold onto the dumbbells anymore.

Another variation of this exercise is the pinch carries. In pinch carriers, you need to pinch together two plates so they don’t slip. Pinch carries activate your forearms by forcing you to squeeze your fingers so the plates don’t separate.

Tip: Use a Thick Bar or Fat Gripz

Another way to increase the muscle fiber recruitment of the forearm muscles and grip is to use a thicker bar. Conventional barbells and dumbbells have one-inch handles, but you can use thicker bars to make the forearms work harder. Thicker bars also provide a greater stimulus for your forearms to grow stronger and larger.

BENT OVER ROW

Most people tend not to consider their back very much until the day it lets them down and they’re forced to spend hours lying in agony on a wooden floor. Even regular gym-goers will generally focus on more glamorous muscles and spurn the opportunity to address the stress and strain a deskbound lifestyle can place on your back. The problem? Your shoulders internally rotate, and this results in tight pecs and a stiff neck.

This often leads to a weakness in the lower back – at best causing pain and discomfort, at worst risking serious injury – and the problem is only aggravated if you add further stress on the chest and shoulders with endless pressing exercises.

The solution is obvious: place greater emphasis on your back training. Step forward, the bent-over row.

Your back muscles are the primary beneficiaries of the bent-over row, and as they increase in strength your posture will also improve so you don’t slump as much. Directly stimulating your lats, traps, rhomboids and rotator cuffs works wonders for your body. A stronger back with better posture – what’s not to like?

If you’re a bench press obsessive, you should also find that adding this to your weights session helps balance out your upper body muscles – the bench press focusing on pecs and shoulders in contrast to the back-building row.

Bent-Over Row Technique

Form is all important with the bent-over row, and the best way to ensure you don’t get sloppy is to pick the right amount of weight. Slow, controlled movements are of far more value than jerking up a massive weight and twisting all over the shop.

Once you have your barbell loaded, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and lean forward from the waist. Your knees should be bent, but your back stays straight, with your neck in line with your spine. Grab the bar with your hands (palms-down), just wider than shoulder-width apart and let it hang with your arms straight.

Brace your core and squeeze your shoulders together to row the weight up until it touches your sternum, then slowly lower it back down again. There’s one rep. With a light weight, shoot for four sets of eight to 10 reps.

Bent-Over Row Form Tips

Think Elbows

Once you’re set up for the move – leaning forward a bit, bar in hands – think about pulling your elbows behind you, not pulling the bar up. It’ll help to activate your lats and keep everything tight.

Pause at the Top

Most trainers will tell you that if you can’t stop at the top of each rep, you’ve picked a weight that’s too heavy. Touch the bar to your sternum, pause, and squeeze your shoulderblades together at the top of each rep. You’ll build better posture that way.

Bent-Over Row Variations

Reverse-Grip Bent-Over Row

Reverse-grip bent-over row

By reversing the grip, you place more of a load on your lats and lower traps.

Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

An excellent variation on the bent-over row is to sub out the barbell for a set of dumbbells. Having two weights requires a little more coordination, and, more importantly, stops you relying too much on the stronger side of your body for the entire row. Opting for dumbbells instead will help you balance out your strength on each side. Start with the dumbbells just below your knees and allow your wrists to turn naturally during the movement.

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

This beginner row targets one arm at a time and is a good stepping stone to the full bent-over row if you’re struggling with the exercise. Put your right hand and knee on a bench, hold a dumbbell in your left hand and let it hang straight down, with your palm facing in. Row the dumbbell up, squeezing your shoulder blade in, then slowly lower it. Do all reps on one arm, then switch to the other side.

Once you’ve got the hang of the one-arm dumbbell row on a bench, you can increase the difficulty of the movement by supporting your body on an gym ball instead. This unstable surface will challenge your core muscle to keep your steady while you complete the movement, which should give you a stronger base when you attempt the barbell version.

Dumbbell incline row

If you want to ensure you’re not rounding your back during your rows, try this variation. Set up the bench at a 45° angle and lie chest down on it holding a dumbbell in each hand, letting the weights hang down towards the floor. Row the weights up to your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together, then lower them again. Make sure your chest stays in contact with the bench throughout so your torso remains in the correct position.

Pendlay row

This tougher take on the standard barbell bent-over row takes its name from Glenn Pendlay, the weightlifting coach who championed it. With the Pendlay row, you bend over so your back is parallel to the ground and lower the barbell all the way to the ground with each rep. Otherwise the form points are the same – overhand grip, shoulders squeezed together at the top of the rep, core braced. You will need to reduce the amount of weight you use with the Pendlay row because of the extra challenge involved in lifting the barbell from the ground with each rep.

Yates Row

This particular variant is named after British bodybuilding icon Dorian Yates. The six-time Mr Olympia was renowned for sporting an impressive, dominating back and attributes that largely to his twist on the classic bent-over row. Keeping your back straight, adopt a more upright stance, with your torso at a 30-45° angle to the floor. Row the bar towards your lower abdominals, pausing at the top of the movement to squeeze your lats. This variation is also useful for mid-lower trap activation – crucial for improved posture.

Bent-Over Flye

This move uses lighter weights but produces a strong scapular retraction (the action of pulling your shoulder blades together). Keep a slight bend in your elbows, then raise the weights straight out to the sides until you reach chest height, without moving your upper body.

One-Arm Barbell Row

If you want to (a) really target your lats with your rows, and (b) look like a bit of a legend in the gym, try the one-arm barbell row. You will need a loaded barbell and a fair bit of space to do this, but people will be impressed and copying you in no time so they won’t begrudge the room you’re taking up. Stand by the side of the barbell and bend over to grab one end near the plates. Staying in the normal bent-over position, row one end of the barbell up, then lower it slowly.

THE NUTRITION AND TRAINING BALANCE

An early-morning run, for example, can leave you feeling fatigued during your working day. A midday training session may become no more than an afterthought if hunger overrides your motivation. And an after-work jaunt may press your dinnertime perilously close to bedtime.

If you are looking for ways to get back into sync, read on. The following advice will help you coordinate your meals with your training schedule, based on the time of day you run.

Early Birds

To eat or not to eat? That is the eternal question of those who like to run as the sun is coming up.

The answer is, if you can, you should fuel up before your morning run. This performs two functions. First your muscles receive an energy supply to help you power through the run. Secondly, your entire body, especially your brain, receives the fuel and nutrients it needs for optimal functioning. It shouldn’t be a surprise that studies support this and that eating before a run boosts endurance compared with fasting for 12 hours. People who eat before exercise rate the exercise as better and as less rigorous compared with those who fast. 

That said, not everyone can eat before a morning run. If you’re the type of person who sleeps until the minute before you head out of the door, you might not be able to fit in the meal before you run. Eating too close to your run may spoil it by causing cramps and nausea. On the other hand, if you’re a true early bird, you may have the time to eat breakfast, read the paper and wash up before you head out of the door. Here are a few refuelling strategies for both types of morning exercisers:

Early risers
Choose high-carbohydrate foods that are low in fat and moderate in protein. Aim for about 400-800 calories, which will fuel your training without making you feel sluggish. Drink about half a pint of water two hours before your run to offset sweat loss. 

Try these 400- to 800-calorie pre-run breakfasts:

  • Two slices of toast and a piece of fruit
  • Cereal with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk and fresh fruit
  • A toasted bagel topped with low-fat cheese and tomato slices

    Late sleepers
    Most runners fall into this category and don’t have time to eat and digest a full meal before they head out of the door.If you fall into this camp, experiment to see what you can stomach before you train. Here are a few suggestions:

    • Half a pint of a carbohydrate drink
    • An energy gel washed down with water
    • Half a bagel

      If none of these sits well with you just before a run, then fuel up the night before with a large dinner. As long as you don’t plan a long or intense run in the morning, a high-carbohydrate evening meal should power you through your pre-breakfast run.

      For both types
      Whether you are an early or late riser, your body needs calories from carbohydrate, protein and other nutrients after you have finished running. A recovery meal will help fuel your morning at work, preventing post-run fatigue. Eat within an hour of your training and be sure to include both carbohydrate and protein. Here are some options:

      • A fruit smoothie made with a tablespoon of protein powder
      • Eggs on whole-wheat toast and fruit juice or fresh fruit
      • Leftovers from dinner – pasta, soup, chilli or even vegetable pizza

        The Lunchtime Crowd

        People who run during lunch hours sometimes find that hunger gets the better of them. That’s because if you ate breakfast at 6am, you’ve gone six hours without food. By noon, your fuel from breakfast is long gone and your blood sugar may start to dip. Rather than increasing the size of your breakfast (which may just leave you feeling sluggish), you should bring a light, pre-run snack to work.

        Remember the following three points as you run:

        1) Timing Eat one to four hours before your run to allow enough time to food to leave your stomach.

        2) Quantity Eat 100-400 calories, depending upon your body size and what you had for breakfast. 

        3) Content Select foods that are rich in carbohydrate, low in fat and moderately high in nutrients. Try these mid-morning snacks:

        • A breakfast or energy bar with five grams of fat or less
        • One slice of whole-wheat toast topped with fruit spread
        • A 75g serving of dried fruit with a can of vegetable juice
        • One packet of instant oatmeal made with skimmed milk

          Post-run lunch
          The obvious problem with lunch-hour exercise is that you don’t have time for lunch. But you need fluid and food to recover and fuel your brain for the rest of the working day. Packing your own lunch becomes a must – unless you have a work cafeteria where you can grab food for desktop dining. Packed lunches don’t have to take a lot of time. Try these tips:

          • Opt for convenience and shop for lunch items that save time, such as yoghurts, raisins, nuts and cereal bars
          • Always add fruit. Toss one or two pieces of fruit in your lunch bag for a reliable source of nutrient-packed carbohydrate
          • Make the most of leftovers. Choose any food from the previous night’s dinner that you’ve already packed in a sealed container ready for transport, reheating and eating

            Evening Exercise

            After a stressful day at the office, there’s nothing like a run to burn off excess tension. The problem is that you sometimes don’t feel like heading out of the door if you’re hungry or just exhausted. If you do manage to run, sometimes you return home so ravenous that you eat everything in sight as you make your evening meal. Then you might eat dinner as late as 8pm and end up going to bed with a full stomach. 

            What to do?
            It’s very simple – just stick to the following two principles:

            1. Eat healthily during the day to avoid any intestinal upset that might thwart your training plans. Also eat often and enough that you’re adequately fuelled for your session to avoid the ‘I’m too hungry’ excuse.

            2. Eat lightly after exercise to recover well without causing digestion to interfere with your sleep. 

            Here are some tips for evening exercisers:

            • Never skip breakfast. Eat at least 500 calories for your morning meal. For example, quickly throw together a fruit smoothie made with yoghurt, fruit and juice. Or try cereal topped with nuts, skimmed milk and a piece of fruit.
            • Make lunch your main meal of the day. Focus on high-quality protein, such as fish, tofu, lean beef, chicken or bread with cooked grain, along with fresh fruit.
            • Always eat a mid-afternoon snack. Around three hours before your run, eat a snack of fruit or an energy bar together with half a pint of water.
            • Drink more fluids. Grab a drink as soon as you step back through the door after your run. And keep drinking as you prepare your meal. This helps replace sweat loss and may prevent you trying to eat everything in sight.
            • Eat moderately at dinner. Some people worry about eating too close to bedtime because they fear the calories will go straight to their fat cells. That’s simply not true. Your body will use those calories to stockpile fuel in your muscles. On the other hand if you eat more calories than your body needs – no matter what time of day or night – your body will eventually store the excess as fat.