Sign up for personal training / sports training by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com.
Showing posts with label Weightlifting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weightlifting. Show all posts

How I used personal training to help my infant son roll, crawl and walk faster, Part One

By Charles Moffat, Toronto Personal Trainer.

Okay so my infant son Richard is roughly 3 months and 2 weeks old, and he is already rolling over from his back to his belly, and vice versa. He did his first complete roll yesterday and did several more today.

Now to be clear, being able to roll over by himself is a huge stepping stone for a baby. The normal ages for rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing up, and walking are as follows:
Rolling Over - 4 to 6 Months
Sitting Up - 4 to 8 Months
Crawling - 7 to 10 Months
Standing Up - 9 to 12 Months
Walking - 9 to 15 Months
Call me impatient if you wish, but I have become determined to help my son reach the various milestones slightly faster than other babies. (For context he said "Daddy" back on August 31st, when he was just 2 months and 1 week old - and he was 2 weeks early popping out of his momma, so clearly he is also impatient to do everything in a hurry.)

Every day I get my son exercising. But the exercises he does differ from what most parents normally do.

#1. Tummy Time

Usually such exercising is referred to as "Tummy Time", which is included in what he does. Tummy Time is typically laying the baby on his or her tummy so they can practice lifting their head up.

Tummy Time is important for building neck and upper back muscles, in addition to arm muscles, leg muscles, abdominal muscles - all muscles your baby needs to start building.

Tummy Time is an exercise that all babies should be doing, every day. So it is strongly recommended parents take the time to have their babies do 10 to 30 minutes of Tummy Time per day.

#2. Assisted Rolling

In addition to Tummy Time I also help my son to roll over - to the point that he can now roll over onto his side - and from his side to his belly - all by himself.

We accomplished this by doing the following:
  • Assisted rolling by helping him move his arms and legs into the correct positions for rolling over and then helping him push himself onto his side, and eventually on to his belly.
  • Laying him on his side so he can practice rolling on to his back or towards his belly, unassited
Now that he can roll himself under his own power he is less vulnerable to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). A common cause of SIDS is a baby suffocating on something because they were unable to roll away from the object they were suffocating on. Even being able to perform a half-roll on to their side could end up saving their life.

#3. Assisted Sitting Up and Assisted Sit Ups

This I accomplish by placing him in a sitting position and supporting his back and chest with one hand. As he gets better at it however I have started removing the hand supporting his chest, and even switching to having both hands holding his wrists instead of his torso - this way he still gets support if he needs it, for safety reasons, but otherwise is practicing holding himself upright in a sitting position.

I find you have to kind of steer him using his wrists and arms because his lack of balance will cause him to leave forward or to the sides more often.

The second part of this is holding his hands and helping him to perform a basic Sit Up. He starts from a laying position, holding his wrists I help him into a sitting position - maintain that sitting position - and then help lower him back down into a laying position. I repeat the Sit Ups 10 times before giving him a break.

#4. Assisted Standing

Using my hands under his armpits to support him, I lift my son into a standing position. I then reduce the amount of pressure I am using to support him, forcing him to exercise his leg muscles in order to maintain standing.

Doing this exercise every day, I find it allows my son to build stronger legs so that he is now able to stand for longer periods with very minimal support (mostly for balance and safety purposes) from myself.

Sometimes I will also help him by supporting his hands instead of his arm pits, so he is more under his own power.

#5. Assisted Squats

Since his legs are getting stronger every day, I have also started helping him to do squats. Squats builds his leg muscles even faster than standing does. The method is similar to the assisted standing above, but I reduce the amount of pressure I use to support him so that he is forced to either stand on his own or is reduced to a squatting position and then he has to use his own power to stand back up again.

He hasn't reached the point like the baby below has with the squatting and lifting weights, but nevertheless.



 Your End Goals

The ultimate goal of all of these exercises is to improve the survivability and strength of your baby.

If your baby can roll over by themselves that is a very important step, but being able to sit up independently, crawl away from danger, or even stand and walk away from danger - those seem like important skills to me.

As my son gets older I will also be making sure he learns how to swim and a variety of other useful skills.

Doing all of this in a supervised manner is safer in my opinion.

Doing the things mentioned above may seem like "no brainers" to some people, but I am also applying personal training concepts to his exercises, things like:
  1. Repetition - He does every exercise 10 times or more, or for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Exercising Daily - He exercises every day, even when Papa is tired or busy we still make time to do the exercises.
  3. Do Every Exercise - We don't skip any exercises. 10+ minutes of Tummy Time, 10 Rolls, 10 Minutes of Sitting, 10 Sit Ups, 10 Minutes Standing, 10 Squats. Total time - About 35-45 minutes.
  4. Break Times - So he doesn't get exhausted.
  5. No Exercising on a Full Tummy - Want to see the baby spit up? No? Then wait at least 30 minutes after feeding before doing any exercises.
  6. Nap times are also good, not just for baby, but for everyone.

As your child grows they are going to be exercising constantly. Remember to hydrate and feed them regularly. Sleep. Nap. Rest breaks.

Avoid too much TV, computers and cellphones. If it feels like they are watching screen too often, it is time to go outside.

Remember to have fun outdoors!

Don't Expect This To Happen

Spand-Ice Vest for Back Pain - For Weightlifters and More

If you are into weightlifting and various other exercises / sports, you may sometimes experience back pain. While Back Pain is not strictly a sports injury, it might as well be - and if you are experiencing extreme back pain - that could be a sports injury, and you should consult a doctor.

My normal recommendation for people experiencing back pain is to use Tylenol 650 mg tablets - which are marketed in pharmacies both as a muscle relaxer and for people suffering from arthritis. Hot Tip - It is the exact same product in both bottles, but the arthritis pills are typically cheaper. I guess they are counting on weightlifters on being unable to do math.

Yoga is also good for people suffering from back pain, as it helps to improve your posture - and posture problems is a common cause of back pain.

However today is different.

Yesterday I received a package from a courier.

In it was the "Spand-Ice Safe Alternative to Opioids: The Revive Tank - Wearable Ice + Heat Therapy for Back Pain Relief, Recovery, and Support".

Or as I like to call it, an "Ice Vest for Back Pain" or just "Ice Vest". So much simpler.

Spand-Ice (American company) contacted me in late August, seeking to promote their product.

And at the time my response was "Hmm... I sometimes get back pain." More often these days since the birth of my son, and I will sometimes strain my back a bit while carrying him. (Proof that this product isn't just for weightlifters, although my son recently clocked in at 14.9 lbs when we visited the pediatrician - so he is growing fast!)

So I agreed to test out their product and post a product review.

So yes, yesterday the package arrived containing a Men's Size Large version of their product and I briefly reviewed some of the written documents they sent with the product. (And my wife says I never read instruction manuals...)

And then I tossed the new ice packs in the freezer, next to the ice cubes and ice cream.

Now I should note this is not my first time using ice packs for pain therapy - I also have a collection of ice packs for treating wrist and elbow pain.

I should also note that ice packs only serve to provide pain relief. It is not a permanent cure to any kind of chronic pain. For that I recommend consulting a doctor.

My Thoughts So Far on the Spand-Ice Vest
  1. Wear the vest over clothing, don't try to put it directly on. The extra clothing gives you a buffer zone between you and the ice packs.
  2. Why did they call it a Tank? It is clearly a Vest. A tank top wouldn't have a zipper or buttons going down the front. But a vest would have a zipper or buttons going down the front. Someone in their product naming department needs some Fashion Police to tell them what is what.
  3. It feels really good on a hot day. I could see wearing this just to cool down on a hot day.
  4. Bonus, the packs can also be heated in the microwave - which means you could wear them on a cold day to warm up. For Canadians, this would go well with shoveling snow out of the driveway or sidewalks of your home. Heat up the packs in the microwave first, put on the vest, add a few extra layers for added warmth, go outside and shovel the snow while wearing them - stay warm while doing it!
  5. It does feel nice numbing any back pain. So it works. Huzzah.
  6. Because the vest is pretty snug and fits me well, I could see wearing this outside under a sweater or hoodie, with a shirt underneath the vest.
  7. I don't think it is very fashionable however. Not something to wear in public.
  8. The vest seems to be well constructed and made of durable materials. Only time will tell however, but at present it looks pretty good in terms of durability.
  9. I tried it on briefly yesterday and then ended up feeding and burping my son. He spat up a little bit on the shoulder during the burping process, but it wiped off easily. Woot?!
  10.  I am wearing the vest right now while typing this. It feels pretty good. So it works and does what it is supposed to do. I like it when a product does that.
  11. I like how the pouches for ice packs have two levels, one for the lower back and one for the middle of the back. I just use both, to get the "full effect", but I can see some people preferring to only use one ice pack at a time.
  12. The ice packs might be compatible with other ice packs I use for elbow and wrist pain. Maybe. Not sure. I haven't actually tested this yet, but they LOOK to be roughly the same size.
  13. The vest includes a belt that goes around your mid-section and then Velcros in place. I am guessing this is to prevent the vest from sliding around too much. Once it is on it is pretty snug and doesn't really move.
  14. I do feel a bit fat wearing it - but I guess that is normal for vests as they add bulk to the chest and gut area. But whatever, you are not wearing the vest for its fashionableness.
  15. If I was to wear a vest out in public, I have other vests that are fancier. Maybe wear one of those over top of the Spand-Ice Vest? Example below.
The author wearing a more fashionable vest and a Stetson while directing traffic at his sister's wedding.
Additional Commentary

I get that Spand-Ice is marketing their vest ("tank") for people who are into sports, and thus it looks like sportswear. But honestly, if they just added some buttons and pinstripes, it would look so much better. And then could offer it in colours other than black. True, black worked well for the Model T Ford, but when it comes to fashion more options is certainly better.

Also there is a long list of back pain sufferers I think who would like this product.
  • Pregnant mothers.
  • Elderly people.
  • People with back arthritis.
  • Parents who have to bend over constantly and pick up their children (cough cough, like me).
  • Construction workers.
  • Anybody with bad posture induced back pain.
  • People suffering from a back injury due to an accident.
  • People recovering from back surgery.
  • People who need to wear too much clothing at work and just want to cool down underneath all those layers. Ha!
  • Hunters - because carrying a deer or similar large prey out of the woods so you can eat it is back breaking work. Bonus, just make it camouflage instead of black. Hunters will buy anything that has camo on it.
The price is a bit much in my opinion: $125 USD. I was not expecting it to be that much.

It is made in the USA. So that might be a factor as to the cost.

But that is probably normal for a new product that recently went through its Kickstarter phase and only recently became available to the general public. I imagine the price will gradually go down as its popularity grows.

Product Links

For Men
http://spand-ice.com/product/the-revive-tank-men/

For Women
http://spand-ice.com/product/the-revive-tank-women/

The Advantages and Benefits of Rowing Machines

Guest Post by Karen Neilsen.

Rowing is a form of workout that develops healthy muscle tissue on your arms and some other parts of the body. In the nonexistence of a substantial river, one can perform his rowing workouts in the home with the best rowing machine, also known as a rower by many. This movement with a machine to imitate the activity of a sloop rower is known as an indoor rower.

In actual fact, this activity became a popular and competitive game connecting men and women contestants not considering of age. Home rowing contests use this machine and evaluate the power used by the participants regardless of the level of resistance used on it. The final results are published through websites and even on Television.

For more information on Rowing Machines, please read this great post, https://garagegymplanner.com/rowing-machine-reviews/ 

There are several advantages that a best rowing machine may bring to your whole body.

It can provide as gym equipment for working out your entire body. These advantages include:

  1. The best rowing machine provides whole body workouts. It is not only for a specific type of muscle, but it works for all muscle groups.
  2. If your target is to burn fat and calories, then it is the best exercise equipment. This fitness equipment can burn your calories faster than any other exercises. Can you imagine, burning 900 calories within maximum one hour?
  3. It is totally risk-free and does not harm your body at all. It never creates any pain and strains on joints or any part of the muscle of the body. Additionally, it provides very comfortable feelings and genuinely very quick benefits on the whole body.
  4. If you are looking for any effective exercise for rehabilitation after a wound or injury, then perform rowing regularly for joints or muscle rehabilitation.
  5. The best rowing machine allows you to adjust it according to your need. It is flexible and you can make it suitable for your stamina level. Check what suits your stamina level and then adjust.
  6. No matter, what is your age! Anyone can use this without any harmful issues.
  7. It provides proper workouts for the heart and you can perform rowing to keep your heart good.
  8. It provides noticeable benefits to losing weight and for cardiovascular.

With a large number of advantages, one might assume this as the perfect fitness equipment for his or her indoor use. Though, without the right coaching and workout position, it can give significant amounts of stress on the back. It is recommended to acquire first the right coaching before taking any workout program.

Alternatively, the best rowing machine can be the ideal workout program for those who desire to lose weight and tone the entire shape. At the very first glance, one can determine that this workout only focuses on the upper body area.

Although if you will inspect the motions needed to complete the workout, one can observe how other parts of the body pass synchronously with the upper parts.

In a rowing contest, participants compete to reach a line marking the end of the race.

The first team who is capable of crossing the finish point is the contest champion. In the home rowing using the machine, the statistic is based on the energy or power applied by the team.

The team who has exerted the more power and the more energy is the champion. Indoor rowing contest can be possible only if the participants have hooked their machines online.

The best rowing machine is frequently qualified as genuine and definitely not cushioned to ensure that the data given are precise and to guard the reliability of the sport. For such, the sport has a powerful entice those who desire to play team sports and get the full advantages of doing rowing workouts.

Rowing Machine Benefits

Using one of these devices gives you all of the perks of a high impact workout, but without having to torture yourself. After all, high impact means bringing your metabolism to a nuclear level of burning fat and calories. To achieve this, you would normally participate in jarring, quick movements that would exhaust even an Olympic athlete. This device does virtually the same firing of your metabolism, but without collapsing on the floor.

A full movement on this device starts with the pelvic and legs as you go forward. In the backward movement, the arms, back, shoulders, abs and buttocks take on the work.

Finally, the sliding motion that places you back into the starting position incorporates your back muscles along with hips, midsection and once again the legs. As if this were not enough, you will also notice other seemingly forgotten areas start to show response to the work. The most common targets for this additional definition are the backs of the arms and the lower and upper back.

Another great side effect of this workout is the nature of the movements. We tend to tire easily of the jarring, slamming and rapid movements normally associated with high impact workouts. Those are not a problem here. As you execute your movements during this devices workout, you will be using a smooth, gliding movement throughout.

This reduces the possibility of injuries. So, as you can see, when you add up all of the rowing machine benefits there really are quite a few.

Although rowing Machines are not one of the top choices when it comes to personal fitness equipment is actually a very good one. Rowing is something that has to be done for between 20 and 40 minutes which makes it a very good cardio exercise, but at the same time it involves a lot of resistance training which also strengthens the muscles. It is thus useful both as an aerobic exercise machine and as a strength one.

How to use a Rowing Machine Safely and Efficiently

Guest Post by Scott Murphy.

After years of being unnoticed, it’s now time for that weird exercise machine collecting dust in your gym corner to take the stage. The rowing machine, or ergometer, has become increasingly popular recently, and for good reason, too. It has been proven that an hour on the machine can burn up to 800 calories. Also, since it puts almost all the muscles in your body to work, using the rowing machine is of the most effective workouts.However, it takes a bit more knowledge and skill to use this piece of equipment.

When used properly, rowing machines can prove to be powerful workout tools, strengthening your core, legs, arm, shoulder, and back muscles. But, effective workouts can only happen when you know how to use your resources properly. So here are a few tips to help you use the rowing machine safely and efficiently:

1) Start with your legs.

The common misconception with most people is that rowing is all about using your arm muscles, but it’s actually about 60 percent legs, 20 percent core, and 20 percent follow through with the arms and shoulders. As you push off the footplate, concentrate and start with your leg muscles, really using your hamstrings.

2) Go skin-tight.

If you’re someone who’s acquainted with the sport of rowing, then you must know about the spandex unisuits rowers always wear. These skin-tight outfits aren’t worn merely to give you a chance to put your toned body on full display. The form-fitting clothes are meant to keep you safe while performing the exercise. Loose shorts are something to watch out while you’re on the move since they have a tendency to get caught in the slide.

3) Get your feet locked in.

Before you begin rowing, make it a habit to lock your feet by strapping them into the pads on the machine. Pull the straps across the top of your foot, tight enough so your feet will not slide around on the footplate.

4) Don’t row only with your arms.

Pulling the handle with only the strength of your arms will cause serious injury to your body.

Rowing requires 60 percent of your power to come from pushing with the legs, 20 percent from using the core, and another 20 percent from pulling with the arms. Keep in mind how important it is in each stroke to use the power of your legs as you push against the panel or foot stretcher where your feet are strapped in.

5) Keep your shoulders working.

In the finish, keep your shoulder blades together and focus on how your core muscles are helping you maintain your body in that slight angle. A word of caution is to stop rowing if your shoulders begin to hurt. Listen to your body and don’t overexert yourself.

6) Beware of blisters.

If you don’t want any blisters and callouses on your hands, keep a relaxed grip on the handle.

Many beginners tense up during the exercise and grip the handle too tightly, leading to discomfort and an inefficient use of energy. Taping can also help prevent and treat these injuries.

7) Don’t push the resistance.

Indoor rowing machines are what rowers use to help them prepare for the real boat race in the water. While your erg’s fan can be set at a higher resistance, most professional rowers stick to the lower settings. Keeping the fan setting between 2 and 3 replicates actual water resistance.

Very few rowers train at a fan setting higher than 4 because it runs the risk of injury. So, don’t get cocky and adjust the settings at a level your body can’t handle.

How to Set Realistic Weightlifting Goals

If a person goes to the gym and sets for themselves an unrealistic goal of someday "bench pressing 400 lbs" they are basically just setting themselves up for failure.

What people should do instead is to first determine the following:

How much can I currently lift doing particular exercises?

So for example, if their chosen exercise is the bench press, and they can currently bench press 120 lbs, they should then set a new goal that is within range. Like bench pressing 125 by the end of the week, and later trying to bench press 150 within several months.

Those are realistic goals a person could set.

And the trick here is that such goals will vary with the person.

A much stronger person, who can already bench press 170 lbs might set a short term goal of 180, and a long term goal of 200.

Thus goal setting with respect to weightlifting should be to do the following:

One - Make a system / schedule whereby you are doing a variety of exercises geared towards achieving your weightlifting goal.

Two - Set a short term goal.

Three - Set a long term goal.

Four - When you achieve your short term goal, set a NEW short term goal that is slightly harder, but still below your long term goal.

Five - Keep setting and achieving your short term goals until you eventually achieve your long term goal.

Easy.

But the first trick is knowing how much you can already manage. Then you will have a better idea of how to set realistic short term and long term goals.

When setting such goals you should also be setting goals that are SAFE!

And if you know you are stretching the limits of safety, at least get yourself a spotter so you lower the chances of seriously hurting yourself.

Weightlifting Fails, Things Not To Do

Realizing That Was Stupid
GET A SPOTTER!

5 Tips on How to Use Shoulder Bags

Shoulder Bags are a rather simple but effective way to exercise and build a variety of muscles. They are a bit gimmicky, but essentially very easy to use and a great way to build core muscles faster.

Each bag, regardless of size, goes around your neck and sits comfortably on top of your shoulders. Walking around with one burns extra calories, as does jogging, and doing a host of other activities.

Tips on Using Shoulder Bags

#1. Avoid Dangerous Activities

Never use a shoulder bag while doing anything potentially dangerous, such as swimming or cycling. The added weight on a bicycle would make you top-heavy and more likely to crash. While swimming, that extra weight would dramatically reduce your bouyancy and put you in danger of drowning. So definitely avoid using shoulder bags during any activity that could lead you to crash, drown, or potentially sustain some kind of injury.

#2. Do NOT Wear A Shoulder Bag Constantly

Unless you love having back pain and developing sports injuries, then you really should only be using a shoulder bag while exercising - like when taking a walk, a jog, doing other weightlifting activities, and so forth. Wearing one constantly means your muscles don't get a chance to relax, recuperate and repair themselves. During a state of constant wear and tear your muscles would actually break down, become chronically painful, and would actually shrink instead of bulking up. Having extended breaks between exercises promotes healing and muscle growth and wearing a shoulder bag constantly would prevent such healing.

#3. Sleeping Position and Diet

You should find a sleeping position that allows your back muscles to relax more fully. This will allow them to heal and bulk up faster. The same goes with your diet, your diet needs to match your exercise routine so you are getting enough calories, protein and nutrients - so think lots of veggies and meat. This way your body gets plenty of sleep and has the right amount of protein to be used a building blocks and the right amount of nutrient rich veggies to speed up the process.

A lack of quality sleep and a lack of healthy food wrecks havoc with your potential muscle gain.

#4. Size Matters, as does Time

When choosing shoulder bags to use you should start off small and then gradually work your way up to heavier weights. Thus you should always start off with a 5 KG bag, regardless of your current physical condition.

Use the 5 KG bag during your exercise routine for 6 to 8 weeks and then switch to a 10 KG bag. Then use that for 8 to 10 weeks before switching to a 15 KG bag, and so forth.
  • 5 KG - Use for 6 to 8 weeks.
  • 10 KG - Use for 8 to 10 weeks.
  • 15 KG - Use for 10 to 12 weeks.
  • 20 KG - Use for 12 to 14 weeks.
  • 25 KG - Use for 14 to 16 weeks.
  • 30 KG - Good luck even finding bags in this size or bigger. They do exist, but are trickier to find.
This way your body adjusts gradually to the weights and you are over-straining yourself. If you switch to a larger bag and feel like it is too much for you, go back to the previous bag size and use it for an additional 4 to 6 weeks before trying the bigger bag again. This way you give your body extra time to build the necessary muscles.

Patience and Restraint are Virtues, not just in Weightlifting but also in Life.

#5. Specific Exercises

You should research specific exercises that work well with Shoulder Bags. Shoulder Bag are great for increasing core stability, thus you can add these bags to a multitude of exercises such as:
  • Lunges
  • Barbell Squats
  • Dumbbell Squats
  • Solitary Squats
  • Jumps
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Skip Rope
  • Boxing
 And many more! Enjoy!

Five Ways for Building a Stronger Chest

Guest Post by Alycia Gordan

A rippling, strong and broad chest is an admirable trait in men that is achieved through sheer hard work and dedication. However, contrary to popular belief, growing a larger and stronger chest is not only about exercise. It is a science and needs to be worked around with technique and precision.

It is easy to think that hours of strength training can give you the strong chest of your dreams. In reality though, there are various dos and don’ts involved with achieving this type of physique.

If you are aiming to build a big chest, here are some ways that you can achieve your goal faster:

#1. The Right Kind of Exercises

The Pectoral Major and Minor make up a person’s chest muscles. Hence, both these muscles need to be exercised to make the chest grow. Pectoral Major is the large fan shaped part of the chest and Pectoral Minor lies underneath it.

Some exercises work on one muscle in isolation whereas some target both the chest muscles together. Performing the right kind of exercise is essential as that will target the particular body part that you want to enhance.

The most popular chest strengthening exercise is a bench press. This exercise is an ultimate muscle builder. More and more weight needs to be added gradually to give the chest muscles a throbbing workout.

Inclined dumbbell press, flat dumbbell fly, bar dip, weighted dips and push-ups are some other popular and effective chest building exercises. Keep in mind that your workout should be so rigorous that each and every rep should count and exhaust the chest muscles extensively.

#2. Increase your Diet

It goes without saying that skinny or underweight people cannot have a strong, broad chest. Moreover, bench press and similar exercises can only get you so far in your quest. To build a broad chest, you need to up your nutrition intake. Consider nutrition as a raw material and a chiseled, rippled body as the final product.

Hence, more calories are required to build more mass. The more nutrition rule applies to both pre and post workouts. Before the workout, you need nutritious, high calorie foods to provide energy for the laborious workout that you will indulge in. Similarly, a meal containing high protein content is required for muscle recovery and growth after an exhausting exercise session.

Your high calorie intake should never come from processed, fatty foods. Instead, your diet should comprise proteins such as chicken, lean beef, eggs and whey along with complex carbs derived from brown rice, sweet potato, barley and oats. The good fats can be consumed in the form of flax seeds, avocado, quinoa and nuts.

Furthermore, you can also use supplement boosters that are usually loaded with carbs and conveniently help to replenish the energy stores in the body taking your training session up a notch.

A simple calculation you can remember is to take 150-200 grams of carbs per day. Your protein consumption should be fixed at 1-1.2 gram per pound of body weight. Similarly, 15% of your diet should comprise healthy fats.

#3. Muscle Overload

The simple truth is that if you want to grow your chest muscles, you have to overload them to the extent that they are damaged! Sounds gruesome but in reality, it is not like that. Muscles grow back bigger and stronger after a strenuous training session. Hence, the more the muscle overload and damage, the bigger the muscles.

This is the reason why high intensity programs are used to gain mass. They work really well! Try to build up your time under tension. For instance, doing 20 reps builds more tension than 15 reps. Similarly, even adding 1kg to your normal routine helps increase the tension in your chest muscles. Hence, ironically the more your muscles break, the greater the benefits you will reap!

#4. Squeeze your Muscles

The mind and body connection should be super strong for your workouts. By just doing your reps, you are letting your body know what you want. However, by “squeezing” your chest muscle after every rep also signals to your brain that you mean business.

Squeezing your chest muscles after every rep will amplify the burn feeling which you experience after a workout and, of course, the more the burning sensation, the better.

#5. Protein Consumption

With such an intense workout, you need to provide the right type of nutrition to your overworked muscles to help them re-grow. A consumption of 23-25 grams of protein right after a demanding workout will help those muscles grow back bigger and stronger. Protein is proven to help rebuild the broken muscle fibers after an exercise. To achieve best results, add glutamine to your protein shake which contains amino acids that are imperative in generating stronger muscles.

When aiming for such high body related goals, one also has to understand that proper rest is as important as workout. If you opt to come to the gym 6 days a week and indulge in such a rigorous routine every day, your muscles, nerves, bones and tissues will not have the opportunity to rebuild. Moreover, your strained muscles will be at a higher risk of being injured.

If you follow the advice mentioned above, we are sure you will only be a few months away from the body of your dreams! It is time to officially say hello to a huge, ripped and swoon-worthy chest!

AUTHOR BIO - Alycia Gordan

Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer. She loves to read and write article related to health and lifestyle, sometime on health-tech as well. She is crazy about chocolates and you can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia

Five Mistakes People Do When Weightlifting That Ruin Gains

There are a lot of common mistakes people do when weightlifting in an attempt to build more muscle that ends up wasting a lot of their efforts to put on extra muscle weight.

Below are just 5 of the most common things people do which ruins their ability to put on lots of muscle.

#1. Lack of Sleep

Sufficient sleep is fundamental for recovery. Neglecting sleep can reverse the effects of being in an anabolic (growth) state which you are creating through quality nutrition and exercise, and lead to catabolism (muscle tissue breakdown), which is counterproductive for building muscle.

When you are sleeping, your body begins repairing damaged muscle tissue through the release of natural human growth hormone (HGH) which is needed to grow and develop. Generally, this is produced in higher amounts when your body is getting the rest it requires, which for the average person, is at least 8 hours a night.

However, if you are not getting enough sleep, this process gets disrupted and can slow down your overall muscle development. If you find that your eyelids weigh a tonne when you arise in the morning, you simply did not rest optimally.

Studies have also shown that lack of sleep raises the hormone cortisol which is a catabolic hormone that causes stress on your muscular system and can undo all the hard work you have been putting in. Not what you want!

Allocating enough time for rest should be as much of a priority as watching what you eat and maximising the intensity of your workouts.

MUSCLES GROW WHILE YOU SLEEP, NOT WHILE YOU WORKOUT.

#2. Lack of Nutritional Foods and Protein

The old saying holds true, you need to ‘eat big to get big’. Your muscles require the right fuel in the right quality and quantity to truly grow and develop.

The most effective way to measure how much you need to eat to get bigger is to first workout your calorie maintenance level. This is the amount of calories you need to eat each day if you were to do nothing but rest and remain at the same weight.

Once you have worked out your calorie maintenance level, you want to begin eating slightly more calories on top of this and move into a calorie surplus (eating an extra 200 – 500 calories as a base).

It is important to apply trial and error during this stage, as going well above your calorie maintenance level may lead to unhealthy weight gain in the long-term.

However, eating at a calorie surplus will prevent your body burning fewer calories which can be used to repair and develop damaged muscle tissue from exercise, and ultimately, lead to more growth.

A few things to mention is that your approach to nutrition should be as clean and unrefined as possible. Staple foods such as lean meat, fish, poultry, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, pulses and legumes should form the bulk of your diet, all the while avoiding refined and processed foods as much as possible.

LOTS OF PROTEIN AND VEGGIES SPEEDS UP MUSCLE GROWTH.

#3. Not Targeting the Muscles Properly

Performing an exercise using proper form is actually important. If you perform a bicep curl with your elbow pointing outwards for example, you are using your shoulder and other muscles to help you lift the weight, when you should have your elbow tucked in and you should only be using your biceps to lift the weight.

Simply lifting the weight is not enough. You are just going through the proverbial motions. What you want to do is target the correct muscle, only use that muscle - and do it properly!

A common mistake within this is for people to be lifting the biggest dumbbell or barbell they can lift, when what they should be lifting should be roughly half of that and lifted with the correct form to maximize muscle rippage.

In order to build new muscle tissue you first need to rip the old muscles, and if you are using improper form - and consequently ripping less muscle tissue - then you will not be maximizing the amount of new muscle tissue when your body regenerates while sleeping.

IF YOU ARE NOT RIPPING MUSCLES, YOU WILL NOT GAIN MUSCLE.

#4. Lack of Planning and Execution

If you do not plan to succeed, then you are effectively planning to fail.

Keep a journal. Make an exercise plan. Record how often you are exercising, what exercises you are doing, how many you are doing, and any changes and notes.

Within this plan you should also plan to increase your exercises over time, both in terms of number of reps, amount of weight being lifted, and the types of exercises you are doing so you are constantly challenging your body to do new things.

For example lets say you start off doing 6 different exercises for 6 minutes each.

Two weeks later you should change your routine and start doing 7 different exercises for 7 minutes each.

Wait two weeks, then start doing 8 different exercises for 8 minutes each.

Two weeks, 9 exercises for 9 minutes each.

And so forth. Remember to rest and stay hydrated.

Furthermore you need to stick with it and keep exercising. If you stop, take breaks too frequently, end up being lazy and procrastinating - well then it is really no surprise if you fail because you failed to execute the plan.

EXECUTING THE PLAN IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE PLAN.

#5. Lack of Understanding what you are Doing

During all this time you should be researching how to best achieve your weightlifting goals. You should be striving to become super knowledgeable on the topic at hand. So for example if you are trying to put on lots of muscle, you might even use techniques used by bodybuilders in order to beef up faster.

I am not recommending steroids or anything like that, but there are various power-lifting techniques you could certainly utilize in order to achieve better results. The more you know about these exercises, the more likely you will be able to use them, use them properly, and get results.

When in doubt, consult a personal trainer who specializes in weightlifting techniques.

Heavier Poundage Bows and Weightlifting for Endurance


The above two shots were done earlier today with a 1975 Browning Wasp traditional recurve bow (50 lb draw weight), at a distance of 20.5 yards. Not bad for an antique bow.

The bottle itself is easy enough to hit with a light poundage bow, especially if you are accustomed like I am at shooting at relatively small moving targets.

However getting that level of accuracy (the cluster is the size of a dime) with a higher poundage bow is a true challenge because it becomes a matter of physical strength to be able to pull - let alone hold steady - a 50 lb bow.

That means that the Herculean effort of pulling 50 lbs and then holding it steady is a matter of both STRENGTH and ENDURANCE.

Hence the title of this post, Heavier Poundage Bows and Weightlifting for Endurance.

Now I have talked previously about the issues of weightlifting for the purposes of doing archery. If you want to read more on this topic I recommend reading the following posts:

10 Weightlifting Tips for Archers, Part One

10 Weightlifting Tips for Archers, Part Two

Archery as an Alternative to Weightlifting

And while those posts do talk about the benefits of weightlifting for the purposes of doing archery, it does not really talk about the issues of higher poundage bows - like those in the 50 to 80 lb range, and how to train your body to be able to pull the heavier poundages, and then hold it steady.

Thus here we go...

10 Tips for Building Strength and Endurance for Heavier Poundage Archery

Tip #1. Get a variety of different kinds of dumbbells.

Don't bother with barbells, dumbbells is what you really need for this. You need the dumbbells so you can focus on the individual muscles, both left and right, without having one side of your body compensating for the other.

You also need a variety of different sizes so you can focus on building different muscle groups, which will often require different weights in order to challenge you properly. If they are too heavy you will be less likely to execute the exercises using proper form, if they are too light they won't be challenging you properly. Thus you need a range of different weights so you can both challenge yourself and focus on your weightlifting form.

Tip #2. Like archery, weightlifting is all about form.

It might not look like it, but professional weightlifters are focusing their attention on making sure they are performing the exercise properly so they can maximize their muscle growth. If they use improper form to lift/move the weight then it is the wrong muscle(s) doing the work, which means that won't be getting the full benefit.

Take the simple dumbbell bicep curl. Done correctly the elbow is kept relatively close to the body. A common beginner mistake is for people to curve their elbows outwards to make it easier, which means they are using different muscles to help lift the weight. Done correctly, it is only the biceps doing the work.

Right: Sample image of a bicep curl. Note how the elbows are kept close to the oblique muscles on the sides and aren't sticking out to the sides.

Note - Good form also includes GOOD BALANCE. Keep both feet on the floor and stay balanced!

Tip #3. While lifting, focus on doing it SLOWLY.

A common beginners mistake when weightlifting is to do 10 reps very quickly, like it is some kind of race and you just want to get it over. However that doesn't actually help when you are trying to build endurance (or strength for that matter). Instead your goal should be to lift the weight slooooowly, hold it there, and then go back down slooooowly. This way you are building endurance more.

Doing weightlifting slowly also gives you more time to focus on the quality of your form. Like archery, shooting too quickly will effect your form. Your goal here is the same, to lift it slowly, focus on your form, and perform the exercise properly. You don't get the reward like hitting the bullseye like you do in archery, but you will see the rewards as your endurance and strength goes up after only a week or two weeks of doing the exercises.

Tip #4. Expand your focus so it covers multiple muscle groups.

"Don't put all your eggs in one basket."

Don't just exercise your back muscles. While it is true that your back muscles are important for doing archery, they are not the only muscles that archers use.

Archers use their upper back, their shoulders, their triceps, their biceps, forearms, finger muscles, their lower back, their abdominal muscles, and even their pectoral (chest) muscles. Some are definitely used more than other muscles, but that should not discourage you from exercise them. The muscles of your lower body (legs / etc) are also used for balance and standing still. Thus there is a good argument that archers should embrace a full body workout for improving their overall strength and balance.

Focusing on only one muscle or one muscle group (the upper back for example) may be helpful with one task, but creating too much emphasis on the back muscles will cause other muscles to become overly dependent on that one muscle group and the quality of your accuracy as an archer could actually go down as your shoulders and other muscles cannot hold steady when placed under the strain.

Note - It also helps to learn the anatomical terms for the different muscles. That way when you look for exercises that help your shoulders, you know that you are looking for deltoid exercises.

Thus you need to deliberately pick and choose exercises which will boost the following muscle groups:

Rhomboids (Upper Back)
Front, Back and Upper Deltoids (Shoulders)
Pectorals (Chest)
Triceps (Back of the Upper Arm)
Biceps (Front of the Upper Arm)
Forearms + Finger / Hand Grip Strength (this will mean using Hand Grips and learning how to use them properly)
Abdominals (Belly)
Obliques (Sides)
Legs

Doing all the above means you will be doing a wide variety of exercises and you should try to spread your attention across all of them equally so that the muscles are building in an uniform manner. A common mistake people do is to focus on a single muscle, which will grow up to a limitation - in order to get it to grow further, you need to spread your focus across the whole muscle group so that they all grow as they work more effectively as an unit. To do this properly however means you need to be doing individual exercises which target the individual muscles, and then to do many different exercises so each muscle or muscle group gets its fair share of exercise.

eg. Chest Flyes are really good for the pectoral muscles, as demonstrated here by Arnold:


Tip #5. Pay Attention and Avoid Sports Injuries.

Practicing proper form while exercising isn't just a matter of maximizing your strength gain, it is a matter of avoiding sports injuries. When learning a new exercise, do it slowly, do it properly, and save yourself the trouble of developing a sports injury.

A common thing amongst archers is to improperly draw their bow and then adjust their bow shoulder and drawing elbow after they have drawn back. Ideally they should be pre-aiming, then draw back in one smooth motion. Constantly adjusting the bow shoulder and drawing elbow is bad for those muscles and can lead to sports injuries. In the case of the elbow it can lead to "Archer's Elbow, aka Tennis Elbow".

With weightlifting it is the same problem. Improper lifting and bad form leads to sports injuries. So pay attention and do it properly! Don't say I didn't warn you!

Tip #6. Do More Reps to Build More Endurance.

Remember how I mentioned above to do the exercises slowly? Well here is your next challenge. Do more repetitions - still slowly - and do more of them.

Week One start aiming to do 20 reps of each exercise.

Week Two up it a little by increasing it to 25 reps of each exercise.

Week Three increase it to 30 reps of each exercise.

Week Four increase it to 34 reps of each exercise.

Week Five increase it to 37 reps of each exercise.

Week Six increase it to 40 reps of each exercise.

Now did you notice what I did? At the beginning it started off with an increase of 5 reps per week, but after it hit 30 I reduced the increase to 4, and then 3, and then 3 again. Why did I do that? Because the constant equal amount increase in repetitions becomes unsustainable. Once you real a certain point when the number of reps seems like too much, decrease the incremental amount to a more sustainable level and gradually proceed from there.

Weeks Seven to Eleven increase the reps by 2 reps per week. Doing that allows for a nice slow incremental increase in endurance, allowing your body more time to play catch up with building new muscle.

Remember also that your goal is still to be doing the exercises slowly, you should not be racing to complete them. Also note that the above schedule is just a sample. It will not necessarily fit everyone's exercise routine, and they will want to customize their increase in repetitions to fit their own needs.

Tip #7. Eat Healthy to Build More Muscle.

Any true athlete also makes a solid effort to eat a healthy amount of vegetables and protein. Avoid the sweets. You will still need carbs for energy, but focus on eating healthy and you will see faster returns on muscle growth.

Also allow yourself a cheat day (aka, a High Carb Day) once in awhile that will boost your metabolism. A higher metabolism speeds up muscle growth and boosts energy levels. Having a High Carb Day once per week will keep your metabolism from crashing. The boosted energy levels once per week will keep your metabolism higher, while you are still building muscle and keeping your diet healthy and balanced.

Tip #8. Don't Weightlift Every Day when you are first starting out.

A common beginners mistake is to be weightlifting every day in an effort to build muscle faster. However the problem here is that you end up ripping muscle tissue (hence the term "ripped") and it takes 48 hours (sometimes more) to heals properly and build new muscle tissue.

Thus if you rip the muscle tissue, it repairs a bit and builds new tissue while you sleep, and then you rip it again 24 hours later when it is not fully healed and new tissue is not properly grown, what happens??? The answer is that any new muscle tissue rips again, and you've just wasted any growth you could have potentially had.

Instead here is what you should be doing. Weightlift every two days. eg. Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Give yourself 48 to 72 hours between weightlifting sessions so the muscles can heal and grow properly. A Monday, Wednesday Friday schedule for example allows you to be building muscle over 48 hour periods twice per week, and an extra long 72 hour period over the weekend.

Tip #9. Sleep!!!

Getting a good night's rest is extremely important for weightlifting and building muscle. Your body only builds new muscle tissue while it is at rest, and the most effective form of rest is sleep. If you are not sleeping properly, then you are not healing properly.

Tip #10. Motivate Yourself to Weightlift Regularly.

This is arguably the most important part of weightlifting regularly. If you only do it for two weeks and then stop doing it, then any gains you made will slowly disappear. Becoming an Avid Weightlifter is about making a lifestyle change so that weightlifting becomes part of your weekly schedule, so that eating healthy and getting a good night's sleep is also part of your routine.

Building strength and endurance will boost your archery accuracy with the higher poundage bows, and you will see benefits with your health, your emotional independence / confidence, and even perks for your sex life. (For both men and women.)

How you choose to motivate yourself to make archery part of your weekly schedule is really up to you. You could:
  • Hire a personal trainer who understands the value of weightlifting.
  • Hire an archery instructor who also teaches weightlifting techniques.
  • Listen to music while weightlifting.
  • Watch your favourite TV show while weightlifting. (My preference is Game of Thrones.)
  • Reward yourself emotionally after weightlifting. (Never reward yourself with unhealthy foods.)
  • Practice weightlifting with a friend or family member so you keep each other motivated.
Still need more ideas for how to Motivate Yourself? Good thing I have long list of posts on the topic for you to browse.

BONUS TIP

During the off season for archery (Winter) try to make an effort to do weightlifting to keep your body in good shape so that you are in excellent shape when Spring comes, and then once Spring does come make the effort to keep weightlifting so you can continue to improve your physical capabilities.

You don't need to do your weightlifting outdoors during the Winter like the fellow below, but hey, to each their own.

Bras Vs Bust Firming Exercises

According to a study that came out of France in 2013, bras don't actually alleviate back pain in women and don't do anything to prevent women's breasts from sagging. In fact, the study says that it actually makes back pain worse and the breasts to sag more.

Of course, anyone familiar with Bust Firming Exercises already know this. Marilyn Monroe knew this and she has been dead for almost 54 years.

While she was living however Marilyn Monroe did a number of daily exercises in order to stay in shape and keep her famous figure.

They included:

Push-ups - which act as bust firming exercise, increasing the strength of the pectoral muscles on the chest, which hold up the breasts and keep them from sagging.

Weightlifting, including Chest Flyes (below) which also work the pectoral muscles.


Jogging, for the legs and arms.

Archery, for the back muscles and arms.

Swimming, good as a full body workout.

Stretches (some of which look suspiciously like yoga).


And while she may have occasionally worn something that looked similar to a bra (due to society's convention against women appearing topless in public), she almost never is shown wearing a bra. Many of her iconic pieces of fashion went in quite the opposite direction. No bra at all.

And she certainly did not need to wear one either. Due to her regular exercises and specifically bust firming exercises, she had no need of wearing a bra which at the time conventional thinking was that women needed to wear bras in order to prevent back pain.

According to the 2013 French study, everything we've ever been told about supporting the upper back has it all wrong. Wearing a bra does nothing to decrease back pain, and the support offered by a brassiere actually encourages the breasts to sag. The study was a lengthy one too, starting in 1997 and ending in 2012, before being published in 2013. 15 years of women in the study group either wearing a bra or wearing no bra, and comparing which ones had back pain and which ones did not, and measuring how much sagging was really happening.

Led by Jean-Denis Rouillon, a sports scientist from the University of Besançon in eastern France, he found that "bras are a false necessity."

"Medically, physiologically, anatomically — breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity. On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra," says Rouillon.

Rouillon spent a decade and a half measuring the changes in breasts of hundreds of women using a slide rule and caliper at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Besançon. The participants were all between the ages of 18 and 35.

Of the braless women, the researchers concluded that "on average their nipples lifted on average seven millimeters in one year in relation to the shoulders." This meant that they effectively became "perkier" over time as their pectoral muscles became stronger from the added weight, as opposed to the extra strain going to the shoulders and back muscles instead.

According to one 28-year-old woman who took part in the study she hasn't worn a bra for two years now, and doesn’t expect to go back. "There are multiple benefits: I breathe more easily, I carry myself better, and I have less back pain," she says.

So less back pain, less shoulder pain, stronger pectoral muscles, better posture, stronger lungs. Lots of benefits. Learn more about Bust Firming Exercises.

Note, men who want larger pecs / chest muscles can also benefit from these exercises. eg. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a huge advocate of Chest Flyes, shown below, for its benefits of building huge pectorals on men.

Building Confidence / Weightlifting

This article is a two-parter. Part One is about how weightlifting is a good activity for building your self confidence. Part Two is about how to maintain self confidence through a variety of methods.

Part One - Building Self Confidence through Weightlifting

Honestly any kind of exercise helps to build self confidence, but two activities that are particularly good at building confidence are as follows:

1. Training for Marathons.

2. Weightlifting.

In theory you could do both, but lets explain why both of these activities are good for boosting confidence.

In the case of Marathon Training, running long distances does two things: 1. You see a noticeable increase in endurance, and that in turn boosts your confidence. 2. Long distance running releases a cocktail of endorphins and hormones into your bloodstream which act like drugs and produce what is known as "Runners High". The combination of progressively building endurance while being rewarded for your efforts with Runners High is a surprisingly effective way of building confidence. Actually running a marathon and then being able to say "I did it" is a bit like climbing a mountain, it is an incredible boost to your sense of self worth having accomplished what you set out to do. Doing multiple marathons, perhaps improving on your time as you progress means that you can see marked improvement as you get both faster and become a more efficient running machine. Unfortunately Runners High is also addictive, so be warned not to overdo it. (Anything over 100 km per week is considered to be an exercise addiction.)

In the case of Weightlifting the boosts to your confidence are multi-faceted.

  • You still get a release of Endorphins and Hormones while weightlifting, although not to the same degree as Runners High does. The result is that many people who get really into weightlifting will experience an Endorphin High. Note - It isn't a high like being drunk or stoned. It is more a rewarding feeling of euphoria.
  • After exercising many weightlifters will report feeling "unstoppable" for approx. 45 to 60 minutes after their workout because they are "so pumped up". This is a combination of both the endorphins and the feeling that they are physically bigger immediately after a workout.
  • As time goes by your strength and endurance increase, and mentally you feel more capable and more confident about your physical capabilities. Be careful you are not over-confident however, that leads to foolish accidents.
  • It is true that many weightlifters like to admire themselves in the mirror. Some perhaps a bit too much, but they are doing so because they are liking the results they are seeing. The confidence is there, building. Sometimes it might be over-confidence, so try to focus on staying humble.
  • Use your strength to help people during your daily life. Suddenly helping someone carry a baby carriage down a flight of stairs doesn't seem so difficult and you feel good about doing it. Feeling stronger in your daily life will boost your own sense of self worth.

Weightlifting Tips

Tip #1. Be careful not to over-train. Over-training causes you to lose muscle mass and become weaker over time, because you are overdoing it. If you feel worn out, exhausted, completely out of energy after a workout then you might be over-training. A good way to prevent this is to take regular breaks, hydrate and to focus on a moderate amount of repetitions with a moderate amount of weight. Trying to do lots of repetitions and lift ridiculous amounts at the same time is just going to exhaust you, causing more harm than good. You will know you are over-training if you feel exhausted each time, and actually feel weaker as time progresses.

Tip #2. Keep a journal of how many exercises/repetitions you do each workout and focus on leaving the gym feeling pumped up instead of leaving the gym feeling exhausted.

Tip #3. If you are feeling ill, tired due to lack of sleep or less-than optimal on a particular day, try reducing the weight between 5 to 20 pounds and focus on building endurance instead of strength today. It is okay to have an off day.

Tip #4. Once in awhile, like once per week or once every two weeks, you should try lifting a new personal record. Each time, even if it less than you were hoping, you should write down your new personal best in your journal.

Tip #5. Eat healthy! This is perhaps the most important thing you can do. You cannot build a weightlifting machine by feeding the engine doughnuts and coffee filled with sugar and cream.

#6. Maintain Proper Form and Posture. Form is more important than weight or number of repetitions. Bad form leads to sports injuries. Good form builds muscle faster.

Part Two - Maintaining Self Confidence while Weightlifting

To explain this next part I am going to turn you over to the lady in the video further below who has multiple tips on how to maintain your self confidence by asking yourself several questions after your workout is over:

What did you do well?

What would you like to change or improve?

These questions are really geared towards making you a better weightlifter over time, but they also have the benefit of allowing you to evolve as a weightlifter and become better at it - and as a result it helps to maintain both your confidence and your motivation to keep lifting.

There are other tips for staying focused and staying confident while exercising. These tips include things like: Giving yourself a sports day once/week where you can go enjoy a fun activity outside instead of staying cooped inside in the gym all the time; Give yourself something to think about while you are exercising, like a mental puzzle or a mystery - this keeps your brain active on a task while doing the physical activity. eg. I like working on ideas for future projects in my head (whether they be woodworking, writing, artistic or even poetry) while I am weightlifting; Lastly, listen to music. A few good songs that make you feel excited to exercise certainly help keep you focused and enjoying what you are doing. Need more help? Hire a personal trainer.

Happy Lifting!


Five Ways to do Weight Lifting Outdoors in the Winter

#1. Build your own outdoor gym equipment, including:

  • Bench Press
  • Bench with Free Weights 
  • Bulgarian Training Bag
  • Chin-Up Bar
  • Farmer's Walk Bars
  • Incline Bench
  • Kettlebells
  • Medicine Ball 
  • Obstacle Course (Strength Based) 
  • Parallel Bars (Gymnasts)
  • Rope Climbing / Rope Ladder
  • Rowing Machine
  • Stairs (for Leg exercises, or as an Incline)

eg. To build a rowing machine you will need: Rope, a wood or metal bar as a handle for pulling, a stationary metal bar that is elevated off the ground, a heavy weight attached to the far end of the rope, and something to brace your feet against.

#2. Shovel Snow out of the Driveway - and if you have extra energy, clear all the snow from the backyard and front yard too, so you have frozen grass to workout on.

#3. Fill sandbags with snow and build a wall of sandbags... Or a bench made out of sandbags, and use that bench as a bench press, an incline bench or for using free weights on.

#4. Build something out of the snow - snow man, snow fort, ice rink, hockey rink, ice sculpture. Does it really matter as long as you are exercising?

#5. Clean out the garage and turn your garage into a gym.

Examples:

That old broken air conditioner? Use it as a weight for a rowing machine.

Old furniture / chairs? Add some wood and make a bench for using in combination with free weights.

Old scrap metal you aren't sure what to do with? Check out the dumbbells further below.

Old broken bicycle? Make a training bicycle for building leg muscle.

Old patio umbrella with metal pole? Get rid of the umbrella part and use the metal pole to make yourself a nice chin-up bar.

Old junk that you really are not sure what to do with? Take it to the curb for garbage collection. Clearly if you can't use it for weight lifting, then it probably isn't good for much else.

Winter Chin-Up Bar
Homemade Dumbbell
Scrap Metal Dumbbells

Shocking the Muscle with Arnold Schwarzenegger

The following video was produced by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bodybuilder.com and deals mostly with how to shock the muscles in the upper body: Chest, arms, shoulders, abs, etc, but also touches on the lower body: Thighs, etc.




Arnold also talks about eating 5 meals per day and how this allowed this allowed him to pack on the muscle in a hurry due to the amount of protein he was eating while training. During his training Arnold was fond of drinking 2 protein drinks per day, plus meals, plus supplements in order to maintain peak muscle growth efficiency.

For those people seeking to build muscle it is important that you stick with it and KEEP TRAINING and follow a strict diet. Quitting, slacking off on the dietary requirements, slacking off on workouts will cause the body to either plateau or go back to its old condition. You need to keep shocking the body with new challenges regularly in order to maintain muscle growth.

Arnold also routinely tried out other sports and activities in order to give his body new challenges - archery was just one of them.


Using Exercises to Keep Warm

Winter is coming.

Which for Toronto means we are usually in for 3-4 months of miserable cold weather. But it doesn't have to be miserable if you don't want it to be.

Winter should not be an excuse to not exercise either. After all, exercising keeps you warm.

We have all seen the crazy joggers out there in the harshest of weather, apparently unaffected by the extreme cold.

HOWEVER, jogging is not the purpose of this post. The purpose of this post is actually on the topic of KEEPING WARM for survival purposes - or at very least comfort levels. It has been my experience that the simple act of "rubbing your hands together" really only works for your hands, and if you want to stay warm and comfortable sometimes it is necessary to do more full body exercises.

For example one of the things that I sometimes do is I miscalculate how cold it is outside and I don't wear enough clothing. Thus I end up freezing my proverbial behind off, but I do have a trick to prevent it...

I do 100 jumping jacks. Takes about 2 minutes to do, but 100 jumping jacks later and I am cozy warm because my blood is now pumping energy from my fat stores and invigorating my body. Burning the fat off in such an aggressive manner warms the muscles, warms the blood, and ultimately warms the whole body.

Jumping jacks are not the only exercise you can use to keep warm however...

Five Ways to Keep Warm using Exercises

#1. Weightlifting

You don't need the ghetto weightlifting set like the guy below, any weights will do. Backpack, suitcase, whatever you have handy.


#2. Body Weight Exercises or Calisthenics

Pushups, chin-ups, wall push-ups, situps, it doesn't matter. Any old school body weight exercise will do. Even the simple act of climbing something, such as stairs, can keep your body warm. If you are athletic enough you could even do hand-stand push-ups.

The trick with some of these exercises, eg. chin-ups, is that you need something stable that isn't going to break under your body weight. Pick something big and stable.

The young woman on the right for example chose the underside of a bridge to exercise on, but the basic concept is there. Something large, heavy, durable, won't tip over / rock back and forth. It also shouldn't have sharp edges, spikes or anything dangerous like that in the vicinity.

The video below shows a young woman demonstrating a number of different body weight exercises outdoors.



#3. Yoga

You don't even need a mat to do winter yoga, the snow is your nice soft mat. But in the event you are surrounding by cold harsh ice, a blanket would also do. Helps if you are already familiar with yoga, but if you are not please read my posts on the topic or check out the thousands of free videos on YouTube.


#4. Squats or Squat Jumps

Squats are not hard. You just squat down part way, keep your back aligned straight up and down, and then stand back up again. Do 20 of those and your legs will be warmed up significantly.

For extra challenge, do the squats while carrying a weight (perhaps a backpack full of books), or try squat jumps - wherein you squat down and then stand up so fast that you jump into the air.

#5. Stretching and Scratching

Sometimes the simple act of stretching, touching your toes, flexing various muscles, can also warm you up. It doesn't take much, and it is far less obvious what you are doing if you have a crowd of people staring at you. If you are standing on a cold train platform with lots of people around, they may get weirded out by someone who suddenly decides to do 100 jumping jacks - but someone who is just stretching won't get a second glance.

The second part is this last tip is that you can also warm your skin by scratching it. Scratch your back, your arms, your chest, your legs - it might look you have a rash to a passerby, or it might look like you just have an itchy arm and that is no big deal.

If it truly is a survival situation then embarrassment isn't a factor any more.

Have a great winter and stay warm!

Pumping Iron, 1977 Documentary

Lou Ferrigno and Arnold Schwarzenegger
"Pumping Iron" is a 1977 documentary about the 1975 IFBB Mr Olympia competition, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno.

In bodybuilding circles this film is a classic. Harking back to the days before steroids becoming commonplace at bodybuilding competitions and bodybuilding was considered to be more like sculpture - an art form similar to figure skating or ballet.

Indeed the very first scene of the documentary is a scene with Arnold Schwarzenegger practices poses with a ballet dancer.

You can watch the trailer below:



And you can watch the full film in HD on Netflix.

Admittedly it only has 2 stars out of 5 on Netflix, mostly because people who are not into bodybuilding / weightlifting would probably find the film boring, but I personally enjoyed it and gave it 5 stars. Proof that bodybuilding truly is a subjective art form.

A nice long quote from the film:

"Let's say before a contest, if I get emotionally involved with a girl... that can have a negative effect on my mind... and therefore destroy my workout. So I have to cut my emotions off... and be kind of cold, in a way, before a competition. That's what you do with the rest of the things. If somebody steals my car outside of my door right now... I don't care. l can't be bothered with that. I would only have my secretary call the insurance agency and laugh about it. Because I cannot be bothered with it. I trained myself for that. To be totally cold and not have things go into my mind." - Arnold Schwarzenegger
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

Subscribe by Email

Followers

Popular Posts