Archive for February, 2014

There are some people who works out to look good, to stay fit, and to live healthy. But there are others who want to conquer the athletic world, hoping to be the strongest, fastest, or the most durable (or all of the above) among the pack. And there are also a few who aspire to become professional athletes one day, and improving all aspects of physical fitness is their ticket to glory.

Everyone is aware that, to be the ultimate athlete, you must possess basic physical fitness qualities such as strength, speed and stamina. Speaking of which, there are two methods of training that stand out for both casual and hardcore home gym rats. These are strength training and endurance training. There are other ways to improve speed and quickness, but that deserves an article of its own. And like I said, both strength and endurance training are two of the most popular workouts in the world.

Strength training, resistance training, or weight training, are all modes of exercises with the use of resistance through weights to contract muscle and build strength and size. Strength training is a type of anaerobic exercise, a method that does not rely heavy on the cardiovascular aspect. Strength training and other forms of resistance training develop fast twitch muscles. Practitioners of strength training usually perform heavier lifts with lesser repetitions, with the objective of trying to surpass the previous weight on how much they can lift, in order for them to gain size. Common exercises for strength training are bench press, military press, squat, deadlift, bicep curl, dumbbell raises, and bodyweight exercises. For those who are into strength training, their motto is “the bigger, the better”.

On the other hand, endurance training is a form of exercise to increase and improve both stamina and endurance. To differentiate the two, stamina is working at a same pace for an extended period of time, while endurance is simply working as long as you can, regardless of pace. With that being said, endurance training focuses on developing slow twitch muscles. As you train longer, your muscles elongate to prepare for extended periods. Not only do your muscles become leaner, but you burn more body fat and calories in the process due to the grueling process of cardiovascular exercises. Usual training exercises to develop endurance are cardio exercises, such as running long distances, biking, swimming for laps, and even combat sport training like boxing and mixed martial arts. Advocates of endurance training live by the words, “the longer you go, the better you are.”

Your muscles get jacked with strength training, while you lose fat with endurance training. The former makes you strong and powerful, while the latter keeps you active longer. If you’re a serious athlete, it’s no secret you want to attain both, but it’s hard to decide which one you would like to do first.

Enter concurrent training. Wait… what?

Concurrent training is training for both strength and endurance, in an effort to achieve the ultimate physical fitness and optimum athletic performance on both aspects of training. Unlike CrossFit training, where you work your way with power by using technique and explosiveness, and endurance by transitioning thru exercise stations without rest, concurrent training retains the basic aspect of both strength and endurance. In short, you incorporate endurance exercises with your weight training program, or the other way around, by adding strength exercises to your usual endurance training.

By using other training methods, it would be more difficult to track down your progress since you could record the time of each exercise, or count the number of reps that you can handle, but not being able to mark down and improve the amount of weight that you could carry. While you gain endurance, your strength usually plateaus when you concentrate on methods like this.

With concurrent training, you don’t sacrifice your time by trying too much on doing both at the same time. By doing your usual weight training workout, you’ll still be able to measure your progress and lifts. Do your usual sets and reps, and record all the weight that you’ve lifted in your workout journal or an online exercise tracker, if you opt for the modern approach. After finishing your routine, you may proceed to training for stamina by running outdoors, and take note of how long and far you’ve ran for the day.

The only risk on concurrent training is that you might have the tendency to overtrain yourself. It’s like doing two different workout sessions in one day. To avoid overtraining, focus on larger muscles in strength training, like the lower pecs, traps, and lats, since the smaller functioning muscles will be developed as you proceed with endurance workouts. Also, instead of doing the usual 3 sets of 10 reps, try doing lesser reps with the same number of reps (or perhaps one more). Lifting lesser reps means heavier weight, and it gives you more energy for your cardio exercises that succeeds weight training.

To illustrate to you on what concurrent training is, we will be showing you a sample concurrent training routine for beginners. We’ll be providing you with a whole body program for both strength and endurance that you can perform every other day.

Here’s a closer look at a basic concurrent training program for beginners:

Strength Phase

(2 minute rest between sets):

* Deadlifts (3 x 5 reps)

* Squat (3 x 5 reps)

* Bench Press (3 x 5 reps)

* Clean and Press (3 x 5 reps)

* Dumbbell Row (2 x 10 reps)

* Side Lateral Raise (2 x 10 reps)

* Dumbbell Tricep Extension (2 x 10 reps)

* Bicep Curl (2 x 10 reps)

Endurance Phase

(1 giant set, done continuously with no rest between exercises):

* Push-ups (10-15 reps)

* Pull-ups (10-15 reps)

* Dips (10-15 reps)

* Chin-ups (10-15 reps)

* Sit-ups (20-25 reps)

* Leg Raise (20-25 reps)

* Burpees (failure reps)

* Outdoor run (try to run beyond your previous time)

After one set on the endurance phase, you can opt to rest for 3-5 minutes, if you choose to go for another round. You can also incorporate other sports like basketball, boxing or swimming instead of outdoor running for your cardio workout after your strength phase, to improve every aspect of your favorite sport.

So there you have it! Train for strength and stamina, and make it easier for you to improve on both. It works for me, and I bet it will work for all of you. As they say, only the strong, with tremendous cardio, are important keys to both sports and survival.

Ian Lauer is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. His background in personal training made him an expert in providing countless of valuable advice and a proud member of Team Powertec. Powertec is the pioneer and leader in the area of strength equipment. Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, Powertec produces a full line of strength equipment for home and light commercial purposes. Our brand is highly sought after by the educated buyer looking for weight capacity maximization without sacrificing safety, customization of their Workbench home gyms through extensive accessory modularization, and commercial gym quality at home gym prices. Visit our website at http://www.powertecfitness.com or our online magazine at http://www.mag.powertecfitness.com for more fitness advice.

The Butt Blasting Front Squat is officially labeled the Best BUTT Firming Exercise in the World

It has been debated for years as to which exercise is best for firming and reshaping your rear-end. Well after many examinations and trials the vote as been cast. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the Front Squat along with the Dead-Lift has been labeled THE BEST BUTT FIRMING EXERCISES in the world. That is whole lot to say about an exercise. So I bet you are wondering why exactly those two exercises were choosing out of the hundreds of other possible butt, hip and thigh exercises. In the next 5 minutes I am going to tell you exactly why squats will perk your cheeks up more than anything else!

As you may have already discovered, the squat is at the top of the heap (along with dead-lifts) as one of the most effective overall exercises for stimulating body composition changes (muscle gain and fat loss). This is because exercises like squats and dead-lifts use more muscle groups under a heavy load than almost any other weight bearing exercises known to man. For this reason and this reason alone are we able to classify the squat and dead-lift the most effective butt exercise because they stimulate more muscle activation and hormonal response (i.e. weight loss, fat loss, muscle definition and firming of the butt muscle)

Can Squats also make your upper body stronger?

Squats win again, recent university research studies have shown that adding squats into a training program increases upper body development, in addition to the great reshaping of your butty-butt, even though upper body specific joint movements are not performed during the squat. Whether your goal is gaining muscle mass, losing body fat, building a strong and functional body, or improving athletic performance, the basic squat and dead-lift (and their variations) are the ultimate solution. If you don’t believe me that squat and dead-lifts are THE basis for a lean and powerful body, then go ahead and join all of the other overweight people pumping away mindlessly for hours on boring cardio equipment. You won’t find long boring cardio in any of my programs!

Squats can be done with any free weighted objects such as barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, sandbags, or even just body weight. Squats should only be done with free weights – NEVER with a Smith machine or any other squat machines! Machines do not allow your body to follow natural, biomechanically-correct movement paths. You also perform less work because the machine stabilizes the weight for you. Therefore, you get weaker results!

All of this information is not to say that you should run to the gym and just start doing random squats, ABsolutley not. You see most people when they hear the word squat they think of the movement where you place the barbell behind your back and rest it towards the top of your back (your traps).The type of squat that people are most familiar with is the barbell back squat where the bar is resting on the traps muscles of the upper back. However most knowledgeable fitness trainers will tell you that those types of squats will place more stress on your lower back muscles. There are a few other types of squats, namely over head and front squats that are better than traditional squats.

How to correctly perform squats:

Since the front squat needs more stability to control the weight, your core (abs) is going to be engaged at higher levels than they would with the traditional squat. It is mostly a lower body exercise, but is great for functionally incorporating core strength and stability into the squatting movement. It can also be slightly difficult to learn how to properly rest the bar on your shoulders. There are two ways to rest the bar on the front of the shoulders. In the first method, you step under the bar and cross your forearms into an “X” position while resting the bar on the dimple that is created by the shoulder muscle near the bone, keeping your elbows up high so that your upper arms are parallel to the ground. You then hold the bar in place by pressing the thumb side of your fists against the bar for support.

Alternatively, you can hold the bar by placing your palms face up and the bar resting on your fingers against your shoulders. For both methods, your elbows must stay up high to prevent the weight from falling. Your upper arms should stay parallel to the ground throughout the squat. Find out which bar support method is more comfortable for you. Then, initiate the squat from your hips by sitting back and down, keeping the weight on your heels as opposed to the balls of your feet. Simply proceed to lower the weight until your thighs are just about parallel with the ground and then keeping your weight more towards your heels press back up to the starting position. This is the key factor in squatting to protect your knees from injury and develop strong injury-resistant knee joints. Keep in mind – squats done correctly actually strengthen the knees; squats done incorrectly can damage the knees.

I always recommend that when ever you attempt a new exercise you should practice the form with a very light weight until you are able to do 3 sets of 15 reps with perfect form. You are going to be shocked at how much your core is going to work during this new Worlds Best Butt Exercise

Discover how to do fast and furious workouts at home in only 4-minutes a day by using our innovative Home Bodyweight Workouts Get… (Bio)

Sculpt a Powerful Chest with this Routine

Incline Dumbbell Flye

Target: Upper chest

Start: Adjust a bench so the incline is set to 30-45 degrees. Lie face up on the bench with your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip and extend your arms above your chest. Bend your elbows slightly.

Execution: Slowly lower the weights out to your sides in a wide arc. Keep your elbows locked in the slightly bent position throughout the range of motion. Stop when your elbows reach shoulder level, then reverse.

Tip: Make sure you’re positioned properly on the bench, and start with a light weight to warm up the chest because you can hurt yourself if you try to go too heavy. Only use a weight you can handle comfortably.

Incline Dumbbell Press

Target: Upper chest

Start: Lie face up on an incline bench set at about a 45 degree angle. Your torso should be fully supported from your head to your hips, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms with your palms facing forwards.

Execution: Bend your elbows and slowly lower the weights towards the outsides of your chest. (In the barbell version, the bar should come to your upper chest.) When the dumbbells reach about chest level, forcefully extend your arms, pressing the weights back up to the starting position.

Tip: A lot of people get chest injuries, so you really need to warm up properly before moving into your working sets. Listen to your body and don’t lift too heavy if you don’t feel ready. Your main goal is to build muscle.

Dip

Target: Lower chest

Start: Stand between a set of parallel bars and press yourself into position: arms extended, chest up, head straight and ankles crossed.

Execution: Leaning forwards slightly to take the pressure off your triceps, lower your body by bending your elbows until your upper arms are slightly above parallel to the floor, then press yourself back up to the start position.

Tip: Make sure to lean forwards, really feeling it in the chest. If you stay upright, your triceps absorb the stress.

Wide Grip Bench Press

Target: Outer chest

Start: Lie face up on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor. Grasp a barbell with a wide grip (outside shoulder-width) overhand grip. Press the bar up slightly to unrack it, then steady it above your chest with your arms extended.

Execution: Lower the bar to your lower chest, but don’t bounce it off. Instead, when the bar approaches an inch or so away from your chest, pause and press it back up to the start position. Squeeze your chest at the top of the movement.

Tip: You must really focus on the chest and do the movement slowly. If you just go through the motions, you won’t squeeze all the benefits you can out of this exercise.

Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at http://bodybuild.rr.nu

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