January 31, 2017

Muscle Weight Gain

The Top Ten Low-Budget, Muscle-Building Foods For Muscle Weight Gain

muscle building foods
If you have been trying to gain muscle for any length of time, you have probably figured out that training is only half of the equation. For quality muscle weight gain, you must take in more calories than you burn, with a significant portion of them coming from protein. This large food intake can be a huge drain on your wallet, especially when you already have monthly gym dues on your list of bodybuilding expenses. Here are ten, nutrient-dense, muscle-building foods that will help you get the protein and calories you need for muscle weight gain without breaking the bank.

1. Eggs 
With 5-6 grams of both protein and fat in each little egg, and with prices as low as a dollar per dozen in some grocery stores, this is a muscle weight gain food that cannot be beat. If you're in serious need of calories to grow, you would do well to eat the whole egg. The yolk contains healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, half of the egg's protein, and several essential amino acids and vitamins that you will not find in the white.

2. Ground Beef (and a tip to make it leaner) 
It's not as pretty as a nice steak, but ground beef certainly gets the job done when it comes to building muscle on the cheap. It has 6-7 grams of protein per raw ounce, fat content that varies depending on the leanness, and a price that is sometimes lower than two dollars per pound.

For those worried about the saturated fat content, here is a trick to make fatty beef much leaner. Brown the meat and dump it into a colander in the sink. You can eliminate some of the grease in this first step by pouring it out elsewhere. After you have done this, turn on the faucet and run water over the beef for a few minutes. Toss and turn the beef within the colander while the water runs over it to cause the fat to strain out. Finally, if you want to eliminate a little bit more fat, lay out paper towels on your counter and pour the beef onto them. The towels will soak up what little grease is left from the straining process, giving you much leaner beef than what you started with.

3. Whole Milk 
Dairy products often get a bad rap in muscle-building discussions, but whole milk has long been a standby weight-gaining food for bodybuilders focused purely on muscle weight gain. It has 8-9 grams each of protein and fat per cup, and the price is usually around three dollars per gallon (16 cups). This is an especially good food for skinny guys that have trouble bulking up.

4. Peanut Butter 
With 6 grams of protein and 16 grams of monounsaturated fats per 2-tablespoon serving, peanut butter is one of the cheapest, easiest, and tastiest ways to up your caloric intake. You can eat it by itself, add it to a protein shake, or even put it in your oatmeal.

5. Potatoes 
When aiming for muscle weight gain on a budget, you will do well to ignore the low-carb dieting fad and at least consume a significant amount of carbs at breakfast and around training time. One of the best, cheapest foods for this purpose is potatoes. One medium-sized red potato has 25-30 grams of carbs.

6. Oats 
Oats are another excellent source of quality carbohydrates. One cup contains nearly 50 grams of carbs and 6 grams of fiber. In addition to their low cost, they are extremely versatile and convenient. Unlike potatoes, rice, or other good bodybuilding carbs, you can easily take dry, ready-to-eat oats with you anywhere you go.

7. Whey Protein 
While you should not focus your budget on supplements, whey protein is one of the best investments you can make in your physique. Most whey powders have about 25 grams of protein per serving, and with prices as low as five dollars per pound (15 servings), they provide the cheapest cost per gram of protein around. Nearly everyone who is serious about muscle weight gain keeps protein powder in their nutritional arsenal.

8. Bananas 
Potatoes and Oats can more than cover your carbohydrate needs, but bananas provide a cheap, tasty variation. A single banana provides around 30 grams of carbs, and prices are almost always well under a dollar per pound. You can also combine a banana with a whey protein shake after a workout for a quickly digesting blend of carbs and protein.

9. Olive Oil 
Though it is more expensive than other oils, olive oil is still a very cheap source of extremely nutritious mono- and polyunsaturated fats. You can cook your eggs, meat, and potatoes in olive oil, and skinny guys can even add it to a shake to easily up their caloric intake.

10. Tuna 
Last but certainly not least on this list of muscle-building foods is canned tuna. Even with rising food costs, a can of tuna still costs well under a dollar and provides 25 grams of very lean protein. You can also buy tuna packed in oil to get twice as many calories for no extra cost!

A Word on Supplements 
If you are trying for muscle weight gain on a tight budget, you should make food, not supplements, your priority. No amount of quality supplementation will help you build muscle if your diet isn't even in order. The one exception to this rule is whey protein, which is essentially just a powdered food product.

If you concentrate on these cheap, effective, muscle-building foods, you should be on the right track to gaining heaps of muscle. Don't let your financial situation get in the way of your bodybuilding success!

January 31, 2017

The Best Lat Workout

Lat Workout
Though many bodybuilders and other weight lifters love to train their chest, biceps, and other "mirror" muscles, nothing makes a physique more impressive than a huge back. Wide, thick lats and traps give the body that powerful look that lets people know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are truly strong. Here is the best lat workout for building this monstrous back.

1. Barbell Rows

Most people like to start their lat workout with pull-ups or some other vertical pulling movement, but I prefer to do a heavy movement like the barbell row when I'm fresh. The barbell row, next to the deadlift, is the best builder of thickness and width in the middle and upper back.

After warm-ups, do two main work sets. One of these should be very heavy, about 6-8 reps, and with some slightly "sloppy" form. The second should be a little lighter, with the reps in the 12-15 range, and with a little bit stricter form. Use a belt and wrist straps if you need them.

2. Parallel Grip Pull-ups

While many people advise bodybuilders to focus on wide-grip pull-ups in their lat workout to build a wide back, I have found the close, parallel grip to work well for this purpose. It's counterintuitive that a close-grip movement would build width, but I have found this to be the case with my back workouts.

Your back should already be warmed up from the rows, so just do a couple of warm-up stes of 3-5 reps to stretch your lats a little more. When you're ready for your work sets, you can either add weight to yourself with a pull-up belt or use your own bodyweight.

Your degree of fatigue and strength on pull-ups will determine how much weight, if any, you can add to your body. If your lats are already very fatigued from the barbell rows, and you can't do very many pull-ups with even body weight, do the pull-down with a close-grip DD handle.

3. Chest-Supported Row

Chest supported rows offer many of the same muscle-building benefits to your lat workout as barbell rows do, but they keep your form strict and your lower back out of the movement. For this reason, it is one of the best all-around back exercises, though not quite as beneficial as free weight rows.

There are many varieties of chest-supported rows. There are some that are simply a long t-bar handle for holding plates and a chest pad, while some are more complex plate-loaded or cable-stack machines. My favorite is the Hammer Strength variety, but you can use whatever is available to you.

You can also do this exercise one arm at a time, depending on the machine you are using. Whether you do one-armed or two-armed rows, work up to 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps. Make sure you keep your form tight and range of motion relatively long.

4. Machine Pull-down

At this point in the lat workout, your upper back will be pretty fatigued. However, truck through the next exercise to really give your lat width a boost. There are many different machines that take you through the pull-down movement, so again, pick the one you like best. Personally, I like to use the one that puts your hands at an angled under-hand position.

You have already done three exercises at this point, so your lats will be very fatigued. However, they can take a lot of punishment and keep going strong, so work up to 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps, just like you did with the chest-supported row. Pull through the pain, and reap the benefits of your hard workout.

5. Seated Close-Grip Cable Row

This last exercise in your lat workout is optional, but I think it can give your back, as well as your grip and forearms, a good boost in muscle mass. Use the rowing station at the cable stack, and attach a close-grip DD handle. The movement is pretty self-explanatory, just like the other rows you have done. Use your own judgment and feel for your lats to determine how much body English you should use in the movement.

Though you should use straps as much as you need for the previous four back exercises, you should try to avoid them here. Put some chalk on your hands, and grip the DD handle as hard as possible while rowing. Your grip will probably fatigue before your back does, so do 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps to hit your forearms and lats as hard as possible.

January 31, 2017

Bodybuilding Protein

3 Cheap, Easy Ways to Get More Bodybuilding Protein Into Your Diet

Bodybuilding Protein
If you have spent much time trying to put on muscle mass, you have probably figured out that you need a very large quantity of bodybuilding protein to make significant muscular gains. Bodybuilders and their nutritionists tend to recommend an intake of anywhere from one to two grams per pound of bodyweight PER DAY. Unfortunately, most protein-packed foods tend to be dense, filling, inconvenient, and relatively expensive. It can be hard on your wallet, stomach, and schedule to get in all that you need to build muscle as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here are four cheap, easy ways for you to add more bodybuilding protein to your diet.

Drinking Egg Whites 

This may sound disgusting, but unlike the yolks, plain egg whites have a very neutral flavor. Also, if you buy them pre-separated in a carton, they are usually pasteurized. I have found that the best, easiest way to consume raw egg whites is to just blend them with some ice, fruit, and some kind of sweetener. The shake goes down very easy, and depending on how many whites / cartons you use, this is a quick way to consume 50-100 grams of good bodybuilding protein.

Whey Protein Shakes 

The most common type of bodybuilding protein that people consume as a shake is whey, a dairy byproduct of cheese production. While not as quality a muscle-building food as chicken, steak, or other meats, whey is the easiest food for adding protein to your bodybuilding nutritional regimen. If you can find a good deal online or in a bulk or wholesale store, it also will give you the cheapest cost per gram of this nutrient.

Canned Tuna (and how to eat it) 

While certainly not pretty or particularly appetizing, canned tuna is your best bet for cheap, solid-food bodybuilding protein. Go for the "chunk light" type to get the cheaper and easier-to-eat option. One can usually has about 25 grams of protein for less than one dollar. I have found that the easiest way to consume a significant quantity of tuna is to just take very large bites, chew them a few times, and wash them down with a big gulp of water. It has too strong an odor for polite company anyway :)

As you probably noticed, I have placed a greater emphasis on convenience and cost than on taste. Though it is important for your sanity to indulge in some tastier meals and treats every once in a while, you are going to have to prioritize if you are serious about building muscle on a budget. Emphasizing these foods in your diet will keep the muscular gains coming without tapping too far into your hard-earned money and your spare time.

January 26, 2017

The Top 6 Quad Exercises

Quad Exercises
Though everyone loves to train their upper bodies, especially "mirror" muscles like the chest, biceps, and shoulders, many people are afraid to put in some honest work in a grueling leg workout. This is unfortunate because a well-developed set of quads brings an immense amount of power and development to a physique. Here are the top 6 quad exercises for developing an impressive set of legs.

1. Squats

If you're seriously weight training, you should already be doing squats religiously. It is one of the best quad exercises, as well as the best overall muscle mass developer. Gaining strength on heavy squats is the only thing that can take your leg development to its maximum potential.

Though you should already be doing squats for heavy sets of 4-6 reps, try doing them for much higher reps to build your quads. If you're really ready for a challenge, try 20-rep squats. To do these, use a weight with which you can get a smooth set of about 10-12 reps.

After about 10 reps, start pausing at the top for 3-4 breaths and grinding out rep after rep until you get to 20. This is one of the most brutally hard things you can do in the weight room, but it will pay enormous dividends towards your muscularity.

2. Hack Squats

If your knees can handle them, hack squats are possibly the best heavy exercise you can do to specifically target your quads. Though it takes you through a full squat range of motion, while hitting your quads preferentially over the hamstrings or glutes.

The best way to perform these is to work up to a heavy set of 6-8 reps, and follow it with a higher rep set. You can use the same protocol for the high rep set as you do for 20-rep squats.

3. Leg Presses

The leg press is one of the best leg builders and overall quad exercises. Unlike the hack squat, it allows you to use your hamstrings and glutes to a large degree, as well. Though it as not as targeted for your quads, this provides the potential for using very heavy weights.

Again, you can use the same protocol with the leg press as you can with the squat and hack squat. You can also simply work up to a few hard sets of 10-12 reps. Either way will build your quads very well. Also, you place your feet high and wide on the platform, with your toes hanging off, to preferentially target the hamstrings.

4. Dumbbell Split Squats

To perform the split squat, you simply place one foot on a bench behind you and use the other leg to squat. You can change the angle and position of your foot to target quads more than hamstrings.

To do this movement with dumbbell, simply set the dumbbells at your sides before you put your foot on the bench. Squat down and pick up the dumbbells to initiate the movement. Your grip may give out, so use straps if you need to.

5. Barbell Lunges

The barbell lunge is one of the best overall quad exercises, hamstrings, and glutes. Using a barbell on your back, simply lunge forward. You can do "walking" lunges, where you continue to lunge one foot after the other, or you can simply step forward and back inside the squat rack.

6. Smith Machine Squats

Though many free weight purists decry the smith machine for squats, it can be a great tool to specifically target your quads. Use much the same form as you would with the squat, but focus on simply pushing with your quads as you do the movement. I personally don't do this movement much, but you may findit to be one of your best quad exercises.

January 25, 2017

3 Ways to Use Barbell Movements in Your Muscle-Building Chest Workouts

The Best Chest Workouts - 3 Ways to Use Barbell Movements in Your Muscle-Building Chest Workouts

Chest Workouts
When most people first get into weight training and bodybuilding, the first things on their mind are getting a huge chest and a strong bench press. Pressing strength and chest size have long been seen as hallmarks of a strong, muscular, and fit body. Though you may often read about the myriad of fancy chest workouts you can perform in the gym, the barbell basics are always going to give you your best results. Read on to find out how you can use these simple movements to build massive pecs in your own chest workouts.

Bench Press

In the past few years, there has been an increasingly prominent trend for trainers, gurus, and other "experts" to tell weight lifters NOT to use the bench press as a primary muscle builder in their chest workouts. They say that it's more of a triceps and front delts movement, and that trying to use the flat bench to build your chest will surely lead to damaged shoulders and torn pecs. Frankly, you should completely disregard this advice. If you ask any top bodybuilder what exercises he used to build the majority of his chest mass, the bench press will almost certainly top the list. Likewise, if you take a look at any of the top bench pressers in the powerlifting world, they will have some of the largest chests you have ever seen.

The best way to perform the bench press, both for chest building and for shoulder safety, is to keep a moderate arch in your lower back, a tightly retracted scapula and upper back, and a solid, flat foot placement on the floor. Have a spotter hand off heavy weights to you, so you can save your rotator cuffs and your energy. Keeping a tight grip on the bar, bring it to your lower pecs or upper abdominal area and press back up and slightly back towards your face. Rather than flaring your arms out like you might often see, keep them in at about a 45 degree angle. Do not be afraid to use a little bit of leg drive to keep the weight moving; the emphasis of the movement will still be heavily on your chest.

If you are putting the bench press first in your chest workouts (and you should), work up to a heavy set to failure of about 4-6 reps. If you like, follow this with a "down" set of 8-10 reps with a little bit lighter weight. Make sure you strive to increase the weights for both of these sets every time you bench press.

Incline Bench Press

After the flat bench press, the incline bench is probably the best exercise for building mass in the chest. Whereas flat and decline movements often bring the shoulders and triceps heavily into play, most people find that this exercise places the majority of the stress directly on the pecs. The incline bench also heavily stimulates the upper chest, an often hard-to-target area that can give your upper body a very thick, dense look when developed properly.

The best way to perform the incline bench press is to set the bench at a moderate angle of about 30 degrees. Rather than trying to bring the bar to your lower chest or abdomen, you should lower it in a straight path towards your clavicle. If you are putting this exercise first in your chest workouts, you should follow the previous protocol of one set of 4-6 reps followed by one set of 8-10 reps. If this exercise comes later in the routine, work up to one or two sets of 8-10 reps to failure.

Floor Press

If you have read much about power lifting training, you may have come across descriptions of this movement. It is essentially a bench press performed lying on the floor. You lower the bar in roughly the same path as on a flat bench, stop and slightly pause when your triceps touch the floor, and press the weight back up to lockout. Though many people use this as more of a triceps exercise, you can take a moderately wide grip on the bar and stimulate your chest very well.

Some people find that they can handle more weight on the floor press than on the regular bench press. In many cases, this is due to a lack of proper technique on the actual bench, but the floor press does have the advantage of a decreased range of motion. Unless your arms are very short, you will reach the bottom of the movement when the bar is still several inches above your chest. For this reason, the floor press should be one of your go-to movements for stimulating your chest with extra weight. As far as sets and reps go, follow one of the two protocols previous outlined for chest workouts using the flat and incline bench press.

January 23, 2017

Pack On Instant Muscle And Get A Six Pack In One Month Guaranteed

How much money have you spent on nutritional supplements that claim to add ten pounds of muscle seemingly overnight? If you are a fitness nut like me, I have wasted about $400 - $500 a month buying all this junk, striving to achieve the magnificent body of a cover model and NOT gain the promised results of the compelling advertisement.

Six Pack

I used to think I could get a quick fix, an instant six pack, and bulging biceps by doing a lot less lifting and lot less dieting. Unfortunately for me and you, we fail to recognize that it is the basics that yield the most results in your quest to build that sexy body. The two most important basics are diet and exercise.

It was not until about a year ago that I discovered I was falsely led to believe that pills contributed to 90% of what my body will look like. Once I got my senses knocked into me, I quit swallowing those pills and potions and my body got even better.

You see, the fastest way to build your sexy body is to eat right and exercise right! It has been said that you are what you eat and that diet alone contributes 75 percent up to 99% to how your body will look. Whatever the actual percentage is, a healthy diet is still where the majority of your results will com from.

You can exercise and still eat like a fat pig, and get mediocre results. Or you can start exercise combined with diet and you will get you more lustful stares walking down the streets because of your spectacular results!

So, you want to lose that excess fat around your butt, thighs, and belly huh? The best way to do this is to do the things that will get you there the fastest and healthiest way possible.

And if 75 percent of your results will come from diet, you would have to agree that it is only logical to spend 75 percent of your efforts on the foods you put into your mouth! Now do not ignore exercise completely, I am sorry to say but you still HAVE TO DO IT! To build a sexy body, you will still have to constantly challenge your body with weights and cardiovascular exercise. That goes for both males and females.

Get the basics of consistent diet and exercise down first and once you see the results, you would not want to touch one of those wonder pills again. So if you are still tempted to buy one of those body transforming supplements made by smart marketers, it is best if you saved your money because you will be sorely disappointed at the results.

January 21, 2017

A Good Diet for Building Muscle

Diet for Building Muscle

When you want to build muscle, you must eat a proper diet. A complete, balanced diet will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to grow and accommodate the expansion of muscles so that you can achieve that Michelangelo-sculpted body you've always dreamed about.

A proper diet will consist of a balance of the recommended servings of each of the food groups, with an emphasis on protein-based foods. Building muscle requires a massive amount of protein, as protein is the main cornerstone for developing muscle.

Protein can be obtained from several different foods, so you don't have to eat something you don't like! It can be found in numerous vegetables, meats, fish, and also can be obtained in drinks such as milk, and other dairy products such as yogurt and cheese. There is also a product called whey protein, which comes in powder form and can be mixed into any of your favorite drinks (healthy ones though!), water, fruit smoothies, or just about anything else.

For meats, lean meats are the best way to go. Poultry such as chicken and turkey are among the best. One of my favorites is turkey pepperoni, it is much lower in fat and is overall healthier than pork pepperoni. It also is higher in protein, so it will benefit your muscle building much more.

Fish is also a great source of nutrients. Tuna is a favorite among many bodybuilders. Salmon and walleye are a couple others. Be sure, however, that you do not eat them deep-fried, as that will be detrimental to your body, and will affect your gaining of muscle mass.

Protein can also be found in many vegetables, so you do not have to eat meat constantly. I personally think that it is not healthy to eat meat constantly, and a good amount of vegetables is necessary to build muscle properly. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and romaine lettuce are great for building a healthy body. Have you ever seen the show Popeye? There is some truth to his having massive muscles from eating spinach.

And, as I said earlier, there also are protein-concentrated products that can be mixed into a milkshake-like drink, or into any food. One of my favorites is chocolate-flavored. It is easy to mix and can be drunk just after or right before a work out.

January 18, 2017

3 of the Best Pectoral Exercises That Will Help You Build a Massive Chest

Building a huge chest is one of the biggest goals for many weight lifters and aspiring bodybuilders. Unfortunately, the best, most basic pectoral exercises, such as barbell bench presses, incline presses, and decline presses do not work for some trainees. Some lifters find that these exercises don't do a good enough job of specifically working their chests, while others have problems with their shoulders and rotator cuffs that prevent them from using a barbell for pressing movements. If you are one of these trainees, you don't need to worry; here are 3 unconventional pectoral exercises that can effectively work your chest while keeping your joints safe.

Pectoral Exercises

Chest Dips

Though people most often use dips as a triceps-building exercise, I have found them to be one of the best pectoral exercises out there. Many dip stations have angled bars that allow you to grip narrow, wide, or anywhere in between. If you are looking to work mainly chest with this movement, take a moderately wide grip that doesn't hurt your shoulders. You should also try to dip down to a point at least a little bit lower than where your upper arms are parallel to the floor. You will have to experiment to find the best range of motion for yourself.

You can perform dips with just your bodyweight, but you should focus on gradually adding external resistance. Most gyms have dip / pull-up belts that you can use at no extra cost. Aim to increase your strength on a heavy set to failure of 4-8 reps each time you do this movement. You can also follow this heavy set with one of bodyweight reps to failure.

Dumbbell Floor Press

You may have heard the merits of using different types of dumbbell presses as your mainstay pectoral exercises. While they certainly can work wonders for people struggling with chest development from barbell movements, they do not allow you to use nearly as much weight. One way to solve this problem is to do floor presses with dumbbells instead of the normal flat press. Unless your arms are very short, pressing from the floor will shorten the range of motion of the press by several inches, while still providing great stimulation for your chest.

The difficult thing about this exercise is getting the dumbbells into position. The best way is to stand them upright on the floor next to where your thighs will be. Sit on the floor, and hoist the one on your non-dominant side up onto your thigh. Either get a spotter to hand you the other dumbbell, or find the best way for your body type to get it up onto your thigh. Once both dumbbells are resting on your legs, simply lay back and press. You may need to situate your upper back properly once you get the first rep up. Work your way up to two top sets of 8-10 reps.

Suspended Push-Ups

There are many devices you can use for this movement, but the basic idea is to do push-ups from an unstable set of handles. Many people use two loops of chains suspended a few inches from the ground. There are also special handles made for this exercise that you can hang from a power rack or smith machine. Suspended Push-Ups are not only one of the best "hidden" pectoral exercises, but they will improve your coordination and stability by challenging you to remain in the correct path while pressing from an unstable "surface."

You can have someone add external resistance by placing weights on your back, but I have always preferred to do this movement with just my bodyweight at the end of a training session. If you do the same, perform 2-3 sets of as many reps as you can get. When this becomes too easy, start having a spotter add a 25 or 45 pound plate to your back.

January 16, 2017

A 6-Day Weight Training Plan That Will Teach You How to Get Muscles

While it is true that you can achieve amazing muscle-building results on abbreviated training programs, most top bodybuilders, strength athletes, and many other people who have found out how to get muscles find it necessary to dedicate a good portion of their time to the gym to see the best results possible. Making progress in weight and reps on your exercises is still the most important aspect to any weight lifting routine, but you may very well find it necessary to train more often than just 4 or 5 days per week to see the biggest improvements in your physique. If you are trying to find out how to get muscles and are willing to put in a maximal amount of energy into your lifting, try this 6-day variation on the extremely effective push-legs-pull setup.

how to get lean muscle

This is basically the plan that I myself currently use. It is composed of a twice-per-week rotation of a pressing day, leg day, and pulling day. To be clear, this means that you will be training six days in a row with one off-day.

1. Push Day 
Floor Press or Bench Press - Alternate them from week to week. 
Machine overhead press - Pick your favorite and stick with it for this day. 
Machine close grip press - Use a bench press machine and take as close a grip as possible to stress your triceps. 
Cable crossovers - Do these to get a pump in your chest, and follow them with aggressive stretching. 
Dumbbell side raises - Use as heavy a weight you can handle for 12-15 reps. 
Triceps pressdowns - Use a V-bar attachment and do 2-3 hard sets of 15-20 reps.

-Tip- How to Get Muscles with the Bench Press: The best way to gain muscle with an exercise is to do it in a way that allows you to use the most weight. For the bench, this means arching your lower back, keeping your shoulder blades pulled tightly together, and getting a good leg drive through your heals.

2. Leg Day 
Squat or Deadlift - Alternate them from week to week. 
Leg curls - Pick any machine; my favorite is the lying variety. 
Cable Abs - Use a rope attachment and crunch while either standing or kneeling in front of the cable stack. 
Seated Calf Raises - Any seated calf raise machine will do.

3. Pull Day 
Weighted Pull-ups - Pick any variation. Avoid straps to work your grip. 
Hammer Strength or other Machine Row - Pick your favorite plate-loaded rowing machine. 
Reverse Pec-Dec - Face the pad and "raise" the weight to your sides to work your rear delts. 
Rope Hammer Curl - Do these with a rope attachment on a cable stack to work your forearms. 
Cable Curl - Use the same setup as the hammer curls, but with a V-shaped curl attachment.

4. Push Day 
Dumbbell Overhead press or Smith Machine Overhead press - Alternate from week to week. 
Chest Dips - Take a wide enough grip to work your chest. 
Decline EZ bar extensions - Use a moderate decline and lower the bar to your eyes. 
Cable crossovers, dumbbell side raises, and pressdowns - Follow the same protocol as Push Day 1.

5. Leg Day 
Leg Press - Place your feet high and wide to work your hamstrings as much as your quads. 
Leg Press Calves - Do your calf raises on the same leg press as before for convenience. 
Weighted Sit-ups - Keep the weight behind your head.

-Tip- How to Get Muscles in your hamstrings with the leg press: Place your feet high and wide on the leg press platform, even letting your toes hang off. Press through your heels to really get your hamstrings in on the movement.

6. Pull Day 
Barbell Row - Use a medium-width grip and straps. 
Cable pull-downs - Use your favorite attachment and a full range of motion. 
Rear Dumbbell raises - Use a heavy weight and a little bit of a swaying motion. 
Dumbbell hammer curl - Use very heavy weights and a moderately "cheating" form. 
Machine preacher curl - Get a good squeeze on this movement. 
Cable Rows - Do one high-rep set to "finish" your back and biceps.

Sets and Reps 
One of the most important aspects of figuring out how to get muscles is to find the best set and rep guidelines for your own body. This plan does not have a prescribed number of sets and reps for each exercise, but there are some general guidelines. For most of the primary (first) movements of each day, you should do one heavy set of about 5 reps and a lighter set of about 10. For machine exercises, you can use intensity techniques such as drop-sets or rest-pause sets. For everything else, figure out what rep range (done to failure) works best for you, but follow a general protocol of one or two very hard sets per exercise.

Nutrition and Recovery 
Many bodybuilding and strength training "gurus" would be quick to proclaim "overtraining" if they saw this plan. Most of these so-called experts don't even know how to get muscles themselves! Overtraining is much less of a concern than UNDEReating. As long as you are eating enough to gain weight, you should be able to come to the gym recovered and ready to break your personal records. Make sure you get enough sleep, as well. Your muscles grow outside of the gym.

January 13, 2017

The Top 6 Weight Lifting Exercises For Packing on Muscle Mass

When you look at all you can do with the free weights, benches, racks, pulley systems, and machines in even an average gym, you will find an almost endless number of weight lifting exercises to perform. However, not all movements are created equal. While some of the fancy exercises with strange equipment and setups have their place, the heavy, basic exercises will always yield the best results when it comes to building muscle mass. Here are the top six weight lifting exercises that you can use to build maximum muscle mass:

1. Squat 
As trainers, coaches, competitive lifters, and just about anyone with significant weight training experience has said for years, the squat is the king of all weight lifting exercises. Religiously performing heavy, deep squats will build massive quads and hamstrings, strengthen the glutes and lower back, and dramatically improve athletic performance. In addition, squats, especially when performed in a higher rep range, will promote an anabolic hormonal response that will lead to greater increases in muscle mass over your entire body. Simply put, if you are not squatting, you are severely limiting your strength and size potential.

2. Deadlift 
Second only to the squat in muscle building importance, the deadlift is one of the weight lifting exercises that can make or break a physique. It engages nearly every muscle in the body and allows most weight lifters to handle more weight than with any other movement. The hamstrings and quads are engaged during the initial pull from the floor, the lower back is recruited to keep the body in an upright position, and the lats, traps, and rhomboids are heavily stressed to keep the bar moving in the correct path. The deadlift will not only build an enormous upper and lower back, but it will give a physique that "thick" look that only the strongest lifters have.

3. Bench Press 
A favorite among both new and veteran weight lifters, the bench press is the standby movement for building upper body strength and muscle mass. Though most lifters treat the bench press as a "chest" exercise and perform it with other horizontal pressing movements, it heavily taxes several other muscle groups, as well. Overall, the exercise will build a massive chest, wide shoulders, and thick triceps. Though many trainers and coaches have been switching to dumbbell and machine substitutes in the last few years, any weight lifter still attempting to gain a large amount of muscle mass should be performing the basic, barbell bench press. It is one of the best weight lifting exercises for overall upper body development.

4. Barbell Row 
One of the most standout body parts for a weight lifter to have is a big, thick upper back. After the deadlift, none of the other weight lifting exercises produce this result better than the basic barbell row. When done properly, with a 45-degree tilt in the torso, an arched lower back, and retracted shoulder blades, this movement heavily stresses the lats, traps, rhomboids, rear delts, biceps, and forearms. Though personal trainers and bodybuilding gurus are often quick to rant about perfect, slow form, a little bit of cheating is recommended for this exercise. Progressive strength increases on the barbell row will allow a trainee to build a bigger back than he ever thought possible.

5. Dips 
Known to be one of the most important weight lifting exercises for the upper body, the dip is often called "the upper body squat." Like the bench press, this movement primarily works the chest, triceps, and shoulders. However, the dip is different from the bench in that it is a closed-chain movement. This means that the hands remain still while the rest of the body moves through space. Closed-chain exercises, which also include the squat and deadlift, often recruit more muscle fibers and lead to greater gains in muscle mass than their open-chain counterparts.

6. Pull-ups 
While the deadlift and barbell row are indispensable for building a big, thick back, pull-ups are the most important weight lifting exercise for widening the lats. Like dips, pull-ups are a closed-chain upper body movement and require a great deal of muscle recruitment to perform. Depending on the grip variation, they will also heavily tax your biceps and forearms. The bodybuilders and other strength athletes who have the biggest backs are often the ones who stick with this exercise, despite the difficulty brought on my muscular weight gain. Overall, a successful trainee will combine regular pull-ups with deadlifts and barbell rows to build the thickest, widest back possible.

In conclusion, the basic weight lifting exercises are almost always your best bet for building strength and packing on muscle mass. The best of these old standby movements are the squat, deadlift, bench press, barbell row, dip, and pull-up. However, there are always more exercises, tips, tricks, and techniques to be learned for building the best body possible.

January 06, 2017

An Effective, 4-Exercise Biceps Workout to Blast Your Arms Into New Size Gains

If you have been weight training and building muscle for very long, you have probably figured out that the most important movements to do in the gym are the heavy, compound exercises such as squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. You probably also know that working the big muscle groups such as legs, back, and chest is of primary importance. That being said, most bodybuilders and other weight lifters still love a good biceps workout and are always looking for new ways to get bigger arms. Here is a great 4-exercise biceps workout that you can use to blast your arms into new muscle growth and strength gains.

Biceps Workout

EZ bar Curl

The first movement in your biceps workout should be the one that allows you to use the most weight. While a straight bar might allow you to go a little heavier than EZ bar, I have always found it to be far too painful for my wrists to use it long-term. Using about a shoulder-width grip on the bar, curl all the way from top to bottom, using a full range of motion on each rep. It is definitely okay to use a little bit of a swinging motion here. Do 4 pyramiding sets of 8-10 reps. Your last set should be an all-out effort.

Rope Hammer Curl

Hammer curls are one of the best exercises for working your forearms and building your grip. Most people use dumbbells for this movement, but I have always preferred to use a cable stack and the rope attachment. It is okay to use a very slight swaying motion to curl the weight to the top, but make sure you stay strict and slow as you lower the weight. The last few reps of a hard set of this movement are usually very slow, painful, and taxing, but push through them to get some huge growth in your arms. This can be one of the most effective movements in your biceps workout. Do 3 progressively harder sets of 12-15 reps.

Incline Dumbbell Curl

This is one of the most challenging biceps movements. Set an incline bench at about 45 degrees, sit back, and curl all the way from the stretched position to full contraction. The laid back position will keep you from putting any body English into the movement and will force a maximum amount of stress onto your biceps. Since your biceps are already warmed up at this point in the workout, go straight into 2 hard working sets of 10-12 reps. Fight the urge to stand up or lean forward when the reps start to get hard.

Machine Curl

For the last exercise of your biceps workout, pick your favorite curl machine. Your biceps will probably be too taxed to use free weights at this point, and you just want to force some more blood into the muscles. Do 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps. You might want to follow this movement with some aggressive stretching, as this can facilitate muscle growth when you do it with a pumped muscle.

Progressively Heavier Weights

You can do endless sets of reps of curls, but your biceps will never grow if you don't gradually increase the weights you are using for your curling exercises. Keep a log of your exercises, weights, sets, and reps, and aim to beat your previous records every time you train. An extra rep or an extra five pounds every session leads to huge increases in muscle mass over time.

Working Your Whole Body for Big Arms

Though you need to train your biceps hard and directly in their own biceps workout, they will never grow to their full potential if you do not train the rest of your body with the same intensity. Back exercises such as rows and pull-ups will indirectly work your biceps, forearms and grip to give you somewhat of an extra day of stimulation. You also need to be doing heavy lower body movements like squats and deadlifts, for they cause a huge increase of anabolic hormone levels in your body. There is a reason you don't often see a guy with huge biceps that doesn't also have a monstrous back and thick legs. To add muscle optimally, your body must add it everywhere.