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.

            HOW TO BOX JUMP

            We love that CrossFit has popularized box jumps again. The exercise builds explosive power, trains your fast twitch muscle fibers, and makes you more athletic. 

            What we don’t love? The fact that most people do them wrong, according to Men’s Health Fitness Director BJ Gaddour.

            Follow the jumping, landing, and dismounting tips in the video above, and you’ll safely build more strength, stability, and power from start to finish. Keep an eye out for additional ways to increase single-leg strength and starting strength, too. 

            Once you nail the correct form, add box jumps to your workout. For maximum power, do sets of 3 to 6 reps every 2 to 3 minutes. For a conditioning stimulus, go for 10 minutes straight, alternating which leg you step off the box with each time.

            SKULLCRUSHERS

            Contrary to what the name might suggest, skullcrushers won’t send you screaming to the ER—at least when done right. They can, however, help you build massive triceps. Here’s everything you need to know about this popular exercise!

            Most exercises have rather literal names: A single-arm overhead dumbbell extension describes the movement pretty well, after all. A few others, however, are named for the part of the body they’ll break if you lose control. In this class we have skullcrushers.

            Skullcrushers are actually a family of single-joint triceps exercises, not necessarily just one exercise, because there are so many ways to do them. You can use almost any kind of implement—dumbbells, barbell, EZ-bar, or cables—as well as a variety of angled benches. Each variation provides a slightly different feel and effect, so I’ll guide you through the most popular.



            What all skullcrusher variations have in common is simple: elbow extension. The upper arms are generally locked in a position perpendicular to the body, which means both the long and lateral triceps heads—the two biggest—are called into play. As you increase the angle of the bench (i.e., use a more inclined bench), the upper arms move closer to an overhead position, so more of the work falls on your triceps long head. Doing the movement on a decline bench reduces the long-head involvement, so more of the emphasis falls on the lateral triceps head.

            Tips For Crushing The Skullcrusher

            There are a few important keys to doing the movement:

            1. Keep your upper arms perpendicular to the floor, not necessarily perpendicular to your body. This ensures you’re working against gravity. Your arms should automatically be perpendicular to your body when you’re on a flat bench, but won’t necessarily be when you’re doing the movement on an incline or decline bench.

            2. Only extend your elbows. Avoid allowing your upper arms to move back and forth from their position as you raise and lower the weight. If you move your arms, you put some of the load on your shoulders.

            3. Lower the weight under control, which means using a weight you can safely handle. Use a very deliberate rep speed on the negative. I assume you know why! (If not, just reference the exercise name again.)

            4. As you power the weight back up, stop justshort of full extension so that you’re unable to rest in the top position, which keeps tension on the muscle throughout the range of motion.

            5. Use a spotter when training to failure. A spotter can also assist you with a few additional forced reps, hand you the weight to begin, or grab the weight when you’re done.



            6. Keep your elbows in tight as much as possible and avoid elbow flare to ensure the triceps do the bulk of the work. Allowing your elbows to flare out reduces the triceps’ workload.

            Common Skullcrusher Variations

            With An EZ-Bar

            Don’t use a very close grip on a bar; take it with a grip of about shoulder-width. Using the EZ-bar can be more comfortable for your wrists, compared to a barbell, and the wider grip will be easier to balance in your hands and reduce elbow flare.

            Your Complete Guide To Skullcrushers!

            With an EZ-Bar

            Dumbbells

            With dumbbells, each arm has to work independently. You’ll sacrifice the amount of weight you can use, because dumbbells are harder to control, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You’re also able to perform these with different grips, which affects how the triceps are recruited.

            Your Complete Guide To Skullcrushers!

            Pronated Grip

            Incline Bench

            This variation puts a bit more emphasis on the long head. Don’t make the angle too steep.

            Your Complete Guide To Skullcrushers!

            Incline Bench

            Decline Bench

            These crushers put more emphasis on the triceps lateral head.

            Your Complete Guide To Skullcrushers!

            Decline Bench

            Cable Version With Bar/EZ-Bar

            The line of pull comes from the side with this variation, so there’s no resting spot at the top.

            Your Complete Guide To Skullcrushers!

            Cable version with bar/EZ-bar

            Cable Version With Rope

            A neutral grip on the rope slightly alters how your triceps are recruited, and you can pronate your hands at the end of the range of motion to exaggerate the peak contraction.



            Your Complete Guide To Skullcrushers!

            Cable version with rope

            45-Degree

            In this variation, your upper arms are angled back toward your head about 45 degrees and locked in that position. This allows the bar to clear the top of your head, and there’s no resting spot at the top. You’ll also emphasize the triceps long head to a greater degree.

            Your Complete Guide To Skullcrushers!

            45-Degree

            Smith Machine

            Though uncommon, you can do a variation of skulls on the Smith machine. Obviously the bar can’t move in an arc, since it’s constrained to a vertical pathway, and you’ll have to adjust the position of your arms, but you can still move the load primarily with your triceps. If it helps, think of these crushers as a close-grip bench variation.

            Your Complete Guide To Skullcrushers!

            Smith machine

            Crush Your Workout

            Did You Know?

            Skullcrushers and nose breakers refer to the same movement, but there are other names for them too. They’re sometimes variously referred to as French presses and lying triceps extensions.

            If you’re doing any multi-joint exercises in your triceps workout like the triceps dip machine, weighted bench dips, or close-grip bench presses, do those before skullcrushers because you can use the most weight to overload the triceps. Because you can go fairly heavy with skullcrushers, they make a good second exercise in most triceps workouts. Choose a weight you can do for 3 sets of 8-10, but occasionally vary the rep target to prevent stagnation.

            Skullcrushing Superset

            For a little extra oomph in your next triceps workout, try this superset: Start off with skullcrushers, then immediately proceed to close-grip bench presses. You don’t even need to change bars or weight!

            The first movement really targets the triceps; do it to failure. Instead of dropping the weight, go right into the multijoint exercise that allows the pecs to help you complete more reps to failure. Just lower the bar to your chest under control and press strongly back upward to full arm extension.

            Cheat Crushers

            One final tip: You might think that cheating on skullcrushers would send to you to the doctor, but there’s a way to keep a set going once you’re near muscle failure. Instead of doing the movement strictly—that is, bending and extending at only the elbows—you can allow your upper arms to move back and forth a bit during the exercise execution. While this turns a single-joint movement into a multijoint one—which you normally want to avoid—you can typically squeeze out a few extra reps this way at the end of your workout to really fatigue your triceps.

            GYMSHARK BASELAYER

            Primed for performance.

            – Muscle shaping cover stitch seam
            – Raised rubber print waistband
            – Mesh panels and DRY technology
            – Printed Gymshark logo
            – Main: 90% Polyester, 10% Elastane. Mesh: 90% Polyester, 10% Elastane.
            – Model is 6’1″ and wears a size M. 

            Every step of the Element+ Baselayer Leggings’ creation revolved around performance. These compressive base layer leggings have been sculpted for support, function and focus with sweat-wicking technology, breathable fabrics and a stay-put fit. Element+, assisting your training every rep of the way.

            Gym shark

            TRAINING YOUR BRACHIALIS

            With summer now with us, the focus of everyone’s training and questions for me inevitably shift from strength to a six pack for the pool and bigger arms for the bro-tanks. Most people focus their arm training on biceps which is fine but neglecting to put in the work to train the other muscles of the arms will set you back in the long run. For instance, the triceps make up 2/3 of the arms and the biceps only 1/3. Even on the front of the arm there are other elbow flexors often ignored, most notably the brachialis.

            The brachialis is an elbow flexor that lies underneath the biceps. It is the primary elbow flexor, despite receiving a disproportional amount of interest. The brachialis can generate 50% more power compared to the biceps brachii(1). This is because it is closer to the joint axis and only crosses one joint as opposed to two by the biceps. The brachialis also serves to keep tension around the elbow joint to prevent damage during hyperextension. The brachialis is innervated by the same nerve as the biceps, but often times they brachialis can be double innervated by both the musculocutaneous and radial nerves(2). The artery that serves the biceps also serves the brachialis. The brachialis inserts into the ulna, as opposed to the biceps which insert on the radius. This means that the brachialis is not as active in pronation and supination. Because of this the brachialis is best trained with a neutral grip, or in a supinated grip with the biceps working at a more mechanical disadvantage

            From an aesthetic standpoint, the more you train the brachialis the more it pushes up against the biceps and increases overall arm size. According to <a href="http://www.strengthsensei.com/bigger-arms-by-targeting-the-brachialis/&quot; class="aq cc im in io ip" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>a strength coach if your pronated curling strength (reverse grip) isn’t within 80% of your supinated curling strength your brachialis is weak. The best way to strengthen the brachialis is to either specifically target the muscle, or pre-fatigue the biceps to force the brachialis to work harder later in the workout. Starting with supinated grip bicep exercises but finishing with pronated or neutral grip exercises is the best way to accomplish this. Varying up the grips is a great way to hit the brachialis, and adding eccentric counts can be a great tool to finish off an arm workout with.

            Exercises to target brachialis:

            • Hammer curls
            • Reverse curls
            • Straight bar
            • EZ-Bar
            • Preacher curls
            • Zottman Curls
            • Thick bar curls (especially reverse curls)
            • Fat Gripz

            Sample Workouts

            1. Biceps Pre-Fatigue

            A1– Incline Curls 5×6

            A2– Chin-Ups 5×6

            B1– Straight Bar Curls 4×12

            B2-SA Cable Curls 4×15

            C1– Reverse Grip Preacher Curls 4×8

            C2– Cross Body Hammer Curls (Pinwheel Curls) 4x8ea

            2. Brachialis Specific Arm Day

            A1– Reverse Grip EZ-Bar Curls 0:0:4 4×8

            B1– Reverse Grip DB Curls 4x12ea

            B2– Zottman Curls 4x12ea

            C1– Rope Hammer Curls 0:0:4 4xFAIL

            HOW TO BURPEE

            The key to getting major fat-blasting results out of your burpees is to do them properly. Use this step-by-step guide to learn how to do a burpee, and make the most of the dynamic motion.

            How to Do a Burpee
            Get your heart rate pumping with this super efficient exercise

            Burpees have a reputation for a reason. They’re one of the most effective-and crazy-challenging-exercises out there. And fitness buffs everywhere just love to hate them. (Related: The 30-Day Burpee Challenge That Will Totally Kick Your Butt)

            The sweat-drenching move turns your body into the best piece of workout equipment ever, training virtually every muscle in your body-including your shoulders, chest, abs, quads, inner thighs, butt and triceps-and sending your heart rate through the roof for awesome calorie-torching, muscle-building benefits, says personal trainer Mike Donavanik, C.S.C.S.

            But to get the most from every rep, you need to know how to do a burpee with picture-perfect form. Here, Donavanik shares step-by-step tips on how to do a burpee.

            How to Do a Burpee the Right Way

            1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, weight in your heels, and your arms at your sides.
            2. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body into a squat.
            3. Place your hands on the floor directly in front of, and just inside, your feet. Shift your weight onto your hands.
            4. Jump your feet back to softly land on the balls of your feet in a plank position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to heels. Be careful not to let your back sag or your butt stick up in the air, as both can keep you from effectively working your core.
            5. Jump your feet back so that they land just outside of your hands.
            6. Reach your arms over head and explosively jump up into the air.
            7. Land and immediately lower back into a squat for your next rep.

            Form tip: Avoid “snaking” the body off the ground by lifting the chest first and leaving the hips on the ground when raising body back up off the floor.

            Luckily, this move is super versatile and can be tailored to any fitness level.

            How to Make a Burpee Easier

            How to Make a Burpee Even More Challenging

            • Add a push-up to the plank position.
            • Add a knee tuck to the jump.
            • Perform the entire burpee on just one leg (then switch sides and do on the opposite leg).

            ARNOLD PRESS

            If you’re working out to get big, there’s probably no better example to follow than Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

            The bodybuilding icon revolutionized the sport before his movie career took off, as he racked up seven Mr. Olympia titles by the time he headed to Hollywood. You know the story from there—and it’s all thanks to Arnold’s one-of-a-kind physique, which he honed through hard work in the weight room. 

            So if you’re looking to build some boulder shoulders, you’ll likely feel comfortable taking a page from Schwarzenegger’s own training book. The bodybuilder’s unique twist on the overhead press is so effective at spurring muscle growth that the exercise was named after him: The Arnold press. 

            The move is so effective because it hits all three sections of the deltoid, the round-looking muscle that caps the top of your upper arm. “Most guys get plenty of work on the anterior (front) delts from pushups and bench presses,” said former Men’s Health Fitness Director BJ Gaddou. “But many are missing the medial (lateral) and posterior (back) heads.”

            Working the medial head adds thickness and width to your shoulders, while the posterior head stabilizes the shoulder joint, improves posture, and aids the big pulling muscles during deadlifts, pullups, rows, and farmer’s walks.

            Should You Risk It?

            You’ll probably spur the growth you’re working toward if you add the Arnold press to your regimen—but you should be aware that the move doesn’t come without risks. 

            While the Arnold press does hit all three parts of the deltoid, it also taxes your shoulder joints in a manner that could put you at risk of damage down the road. Because of Schwarzenegger’s adjustment, you run the risk of shoulder impingement as you rotate the weights, and internal muscle rotation is always something worth avoiding if possible. 

            If you’re thinking about trying the Arnold press and you have any shoulder pain, Men’s HealthFitness Editor Ebenezer Samuel, CSCS advises that you should drop the weights and find another exercise immediately. “Focus on strengthening your mid-back muscles with Superman holds and banded external rotations, first,” he says. Once you’ve done that, hone your thoracic mobility via foam rolling and some of the thoracic spine stretches.” For a good Arnold substitute, check out Ron Williams’ video demonstrating an adjusted lateral raise. 

            If you insist on doing Arnolds so you can truly emulate the Governator, Samuel advises that you should be extremely cognizant of how you move the dumbbells throughout the move. Never over-rotate the weights, and be mindful that your palms never face away from each other. “If [your palms] are not fully facing front at the top of the lift, that’s okay,” he says.

            When first take on the move, start out with low weights for three sets of six to eight reps at a time. Once you’ve mastered the form, try switching things up with a variety of loads, and mixing between high, medium, and low reps. Just be careful and listen to your body—massive shoulders are useless if your rotator cuff is shot.

            PERFECT SQUAT FORM

            If you squat with proper technique and heavy (for you) poundage, you might grunt, scream, or even cry, but you probably won’t be injured.

            Squatting is one of the most productive if not the best exercises out there (it’s called the King of Exercises by many). It is one of the most difficult to learn as well. If you are new to this exercise, please take several training sessions practicing with an empty bar or broomstick (you can do some additional work on the leg press if needed). It’s very important to get your technique down cold while the weights are still light. Your small errors with small weights will turn into BIG errors with big weights. Much of the bad press the squat has received in the media is a result of improper technique and not the exercise itself. Red flags you may encounter will be pointed out and hopefully how to avoid them.

            First Things First

            The first thing to discuss is not foot position or width of stance, but proper trunk position. Pretend you are a soldier and the meanest, ugliest sergeant ever just told you “TEN-HUT!” You would automatically straighten up and pull your head and shoulders back. This is the proper position of the spine for the squat. IOW, your head is pulled back; your chest is raised; and you have a slight arch in your lower back. At no time during the squat should you bend over at the low back or look down. Of course you have to bend over at the hip (more on that later). You should not look up either. OK, so you got that down?



            Now, the best way to do squats is in a power rack or cage (a large rectangular rack with cross-drilled holes) so you can adjust the pins where if you have to bale, you can set the bar down without any harm. Set the pins to just below the depth you are going. They also serve as a visual cue for depth and if you go down/up crooked. Place the J hooks or posts that hold the bar for you to get under at the level of your nipple or so. Try to unrack it once to see if it’s at the right height. The bar should have a knurled area in the middle (if it doesn’t, find another bar or another gym) so it will not slide down your back.

            null

            Barbell Squat

            Many people use towels or padding under the bar. Others (including me) feel this leads to some instability because the weight is “teeter tottering” on a small area on your back. If the bar is hurting you either need to add some trapezius mass, place the bar a little further down your back (it should be just above or below the sharp ridge on your scapula (shoulder blade), buy a Manta Ray, or tolerate it because it’s part of the game. The Ray helps to spread the load across the shoulder, but it doesn’t fit everyone well.

            Now step up to the bar. Place your hands about the same width as a bench press (unless you are doing the shoulder breaker wide-grip variety) and make sure you are even on the bar before unracking. Take a deep breath, step under the bar and unrack it. Most squat injuries (according to Fred Hatfield) occur during the back up. Only take enough steps that you can clear the j-hooks or posts on the descent. Remember the “soldier position” even in the unracking and back up. Place your feet shoulder width or slightly farther apart. Think if you suspended a line from the ceiling it would brush against your medial delt and hit you in the ankle.

            null

            Use the “practice” sessions to get a width that fits you. You might say many powerlifters squat with a wide-stance and they are pretty strong as a group. I’ll agree wholeheartedly, but I’ll also point out that the conventional squat is probably more productive because you are working through a larger ROM. Learn this way and then learn the variations if you like. After you have the width right, turn your feet out at roughly a 45 degree angle. Adjust the width if need be. Now you are ready to squat.

            Take a deep breath, contract your abs and descend. It should feel like you are sitting back on a chair behind you; not going straight down. Keep your knees in line with your feet. DO NOT LET YOUR KNEES BOW IN anytime during the lift! I have a Grade 1 knee sprain (MCL) from doing just this. Keep the load light enough so you won’t do this and gradually build up. Many people say to try to keep your shin at a 90 degree angle to the ground. This is impossible with the regular stance squat and is only possible by a few using the wide-stance variety. Try to keep your knees from going out past your toes. Alter the width if need be. Most people can and should descend till their thighs are parallel to the ground. This is actually pretty low. A very small majority of people can’t and may be better stopping just above parallel.

            Don’t give up on reaching parallel too quick. Also, to go even close to parallel, you have to bend over at the hip (not the spine, of course). However, you should always be more upright than bent over. Two methods of determining your shin/back position and depth is to either have an attentive and adept person monitor you from the side and/or use a video camera placed to the side and close enough to determine all angles. After you have descended to the bottom position, reverse your direction immediately (don’t bounce at the bottom) and drive upwards. Try and pull your back up (hip extension) as hard as possible during the ascent.

            Brooks Kubik describes this “as if a giant gorilla had a hold of your ass and your shoulder and was trying to straighten you out.” Come back to a standing position, take a breath or two (or many 8^) and descend again. Remember the soldier position between reps as well. Make each rep it’s own little lift. IOW, make each one count even on your warm-ups. If you maintain good form in your warm-ups, you’ll likely retain it for the work sets.



            Belts Or Knee Wraps

            Should you wear a belt or knee wraps? The former helps to stabilize the spine by increasing intra-abdominal pressure and the latter is just a way of elevating more weight. Especially if you are getting started with the squat, go without either. Use your abdomen as the brace instead of outside help. The knee wraps serve no use except to the powerlifter who wants a bigger max. They may impede the growth of structures around the knee or even cause some harm if used chronically.

            The main reason the power rack gathers dust while there is a line for the angled leg press is because squats HURT! It doesn’t matter whether it’s the skinny beginner using the “big wheels” on each side for the first time or the bonafide 600+ squatter stepping under an already bending bar. They both feel some pain when doing this exercise. Learn to live with it!

            The most productive exercises are the most painful. It’s a fact of life. If you squat with proper technique and heavy (for you) poundage, you might grunt, scream, cry, hurl and/or pass out, but you probably won’t be injured and you’ll make terrific headway towards your goals. Learn to be aggressive and focus your complete attention on the task at hand. Good luck and happy training!

            BUILD A COBRA BACK

            Your back is the biggest muscle group after your legs. It can also be one of the hardest muscle groups to train since you can’t see your back directly in the mirror and hence it can be comparatively hard to establish a mind-muscle connection.

            If done right, a good back workout should be as grilling as a brutal leg workout. You should be running on fumes when you’re done with your back workout. Building a cobra back can take a lot of effort, patience, and persistence. It is no surprise only a few people have a jacked back.

            5 Exercises For Building A Cobra Back –

            1. Pull-Ups – 50 Reps

            You need to have a broad back if your goal is to build a shredded back. Pull-ups are one of the most efficient exercises when it comes to building a wide back and giving you a V-taper. Arnold performed 50 reps of this exercise at the beginning of his back workouts.

            There are no fixed number of sets you need to complete these 50 reps in. Try to take as few sets as possible. As you get better at this exercise, you can start using weights to make it harder for yourself. If you’ve just started working out, use a pull-up assistance machine or ask for a spot from someone at your gym.

            2. Deadlifts – 3 Sets 5 Reps

            Deadlifts are a complete back builder. It’s a compound (multi joint) exercise which works your entire body. It is better to perform this exercise at the beginning of your back workout when you’re at your strongest.

            You don’t need to do a lot of reps to get the most out of deadlifts. Lifting heavy weights with an explosive movement can get you better results. Deadlifts can help you gain muscle mass and strength which can make you stronger at every other exercise.

            3. Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3 Sets 12 Reps

            While overhead pulling movements can add to the width of your back, rowing movements will add the much-needed thickness. You need to have a combination of both these movements to build a Cobra back.

            Dumbbell bent over rows help isolate your back and will give you an incredible pump. Have a full range of motion to recruit all the muscle fibers in your back. Hold and squeeze your back at the top of the movement.

            4. Lat Pull Downs – 3 Sets 12 Reps

            Lat pull downs are incredibly effective at targeting your lats. Many people make the mistake of using momentum while performing this exercise. Make sure you don’t swing yourself and use momentum to lift the weights.

            Try bringing the bar close to your chin while sitting straight. Hold and squeeze your lats at the bottom of the movement. Use lifting gear like straps to eliminate recruiting your forearms. Doing this will also help in lifting more weight and performing more reps.

            5. Ground Pulley – 3 Sets 12 Reps

            The ground pulley is a great exercise when it comes to developing a V-taper. Use weights you can comfortably lift for 12 reps. Lifting heavier weights can lead to leaning way too far at the bottom and the top of the movement.

            Keep your reps slow and deliberate to completely annihilate your back. You can try variations of this exercise by using different handle bars. Each new grip will target your back from a different angle and will recruit different muscle tissues.

            REFUEL AFTER TRAINING

            What’s best to eat for recovery after a hard workout? 

            That’s what marathoners, body builders, and fitness exercisers alike repeatedly ask. They read ads for commercial recovery foods that demand a three to one ratio of carbs to protein, tout the benefits of a proprietary formula, or emphasize immediate consumption the minute you stop exercising. 

            While these ads offer an element of truth, consumers beware: engineered recovery foods are not more effective than standard foods. The purpose of this article is to educate you, a hungry athlete, about how to choose an optimal recovery diet. 

            More: Nutrition Recovery for Endurance Athletes

            Which athletes need to worry about a recovery diet? 

            Too many athletes are obsessed with rapidly refueling the minute they stop exercising. They are afraid they will miss the one-hour “window of opportunity” when glycogen replacement is fastest. They fail to understand that refueling still occurs for several hours, just at a slowing rate. 

            Given a steady influx of adequate carb-based meals and snacks, muscles can refuel within 24 hours. If you have a full day to recover before your next training session, or if you have done an easy (non-depleting) workout, you need not obsess about refueling immediately afterwards.

            More: 4 Delicious Recovery Smoothies

            Refueling immediately is most important for serious athletes doing a second bout of intense, depleting exercise within six hours of the first workout. This includes: 

            ? Triathletes doing double workouts
            ? Soccer players in tournaments
            ? People who ski hard in the morning and again in the afternoon

            The sooner you consume carbs to replace depleted muscle glycogen and protein to repair damaged muscle, the sooner you’ll be able to exercise hard again. 

            More: Are You Eating Enough Carbs?

            Over the course of the next 24 hours, your muscles have lots of time to replenish glycogen stores. Just be sure to repeatedly consume a foundation of carbohydrates with each meal/snack, along with some protein to build and repair the muscles. For example, a fruit smoothie is an excellent choice.  

            How many carbs do I need?

            According to the International Olympic Committee’s Nutrition Recommendations, adequate carbs means:

            Amount of exercise                          Gram carb/lb      Gram carb/kg

            Moderate exercise (~1 hour/day)           2.5 to 3                 5-7

            Endurance exercise (1-3 h/day)              2.5 to 4.5              6-10 

            Extreme exercise (>4-5 h/day)                3.5 to 5.5             8-12

            More: Why Are Carbs Important?

            For example, a 150-lb triathlete doing extreme exercise should target approximately 500 to 800 g carb/day (2,000 to 3,200 carb-calories). That’s about 500 to 800 g of carbs every four hours during the daytime.