FALL IN LOVE WITH OVER HEAD SQUATS
Once you understand how to do a basic squat, you will find the variations in squats for body building purposes to be as dynamic as they are unique. One of the barbell squats that is a challenge in this respect is the OHS of the overhead squat. When you practice this squat, you will discover that the benefits of the overhead squat can take you far in your bodybuilding efforts. Five overhead squat benefits are listed below, all which will serve weightlifter or bodybuilder well in developing his or her form and building strength.
OVERHEAD SQUAT BENEFITS
#1 – The Overhead Squat Provides Accelerated Fuel Burning Benefits
While the traditional barbell squat burns plenty in the way of calories, the overhead squat, or the upgraded version, supplies optimum fat burning to the exerciser. Benefits of the overhead squat in terms of calorie burning are immense when compared to other fat-burning exercises.
#2 – The Squat Maximally Works Out the Lower Body
Practicing the overhead squat means that you are also optimally engaging the muscles in the lower body, namely the gluteus maximus and muscles in the back thigh (the hamstrings). These muscles, when well-defined and built up, make it possible for you to excel in sports and eases everyday movements as well.
#3 – The Squat Engages the Muscles of the Upper Back
You not only receive all the benefits that are provided by a regular squat exercise but also enjoy upper back overhead squat benefits too. The OHS keeps the shoulders from becoming rounded as the result of a weakened back. Exaggerated round shoulders in older people is known as kyphosis and is a byproduct of a lack of muscular development and exercise, including bone deterioration such as osteoporosis. The chance for a shoulder injury increases when you avoid practicing the OHS.
#4 – The Overhead Squat Helps Develop Core Strength While Simultaneously Working a Variety of Muscle Groups
By practicing the OHS, you will work your core along with the muscles in the shoulders, arms, legs and muscles in the upper back. This exercise is a full body exercise which can be optimally utilized in fat and calorie burning workout sessions.
#5 – The Exercise is an Ideal Beginning Exercise for Athletes and Weightlifters
Because the OHS works at keeping the chest up and the remaining part of the body fluid, it teaches coordination and balance and keeps the exerciser kinesthetically aware. The exercisers learns more about core control too over any other type of squat activity. Because you do not use as much weight with this type of barbell squat, it is an ideal exercise to learn when you are first engaging in squat workout activities. It is not necessary to own a squat rack for this exercise unless you are doing extremely heavy lifting, like a power lifter
The OHS is good for light training days and for muscular recovery. Use the exercise to assist you while you work on strength training exercises that offer more in the way of carryover and complexity.
By Garage Bodybuilder
Did you know that there is direct relationship between hormones and weight loss?
Your hormones control every aspect of weight loss including your metabolism, where you store your fat, your appetite and even your cravings. This means that any kind of hormonal imbalance may sabotage your weight loss efforts! Sure, skipping potato chips and hitting the treadmill is a trusted way to lose weight, but if your hormones are out of balance you may struggle to lose weight. However if you understand how they work and how to reset them you will be able to lose weight faster.
What is Hormone Resetting?
Hormones are biochemicals that every multicellular organism produces to orchestrate the way your mind and body behaves. They are an essential part of the way males and females get energized, collect fat, combat stress and maintain muscle. Balancing your hormones is a great way to ensure an energetic and happy life, but many people turn to expensive and potentially dangerous supplements to see results.
Dr. Natasha Turner broke ground and gave momentum to a natural wellness movement when she released her book “The Supercharged Hormone Diet”. Turner, a naturopathic expert, has long studied ways to naturally enhance life and weight loss with the right diet and lifestyle changes. In this article I will review some basics behind the complex process of hormone resetting and give a few recipe examples for melting body fat.
It All Starts With Detox
Did you know that there is direct relationship between hormones and weight loss? Your hormones control every aspect of weight loss including your metabolism, where you store your fat, your appetite and even your cravings. This means that any kind of hormonal imbalance may sabotage your weight loss efforts! Sure, skipping potato chips and hitting the treadmill is a trusted way to lose weight, but if your hormones are out of balance you may struggle to lose weight. However if you understand how they work and how to reset them you will be able to lose weight faster.
Food to Avoid
Dr. Turner recommends that if you are allergic to any type of food, even on a relatively harmless level, cut it from your diet. You should also keep away from foods that have a high glycemic index, as they will encourage the food cravings described above. These include foods that are rich in carbs and sugar like white bread, soda, baked goods, pasta and most processed foods.
Food to Eat
A rule of thumb, according to Dr. Turner, is to eat food with low glycemic index to keep hormones balanced. Foods that are high in fiber such as bananas, artichokes, raisins, oatmeal, beans and nuts will help keep your digestive tract from irritation. A rule of thumb when it comes to detox is getting enough water each day. Drinking approximately eight cups every day will help boost your metabolism and give your body a medium to flush out the unwanted toxins in the liver and body
Targeting Specific Fat Areas
Sometimes people have fat deposits that are more problematic than others. Stubborn areas might seem to always remain chubby because of biological misfortunes. There are certain types of supplements and food that you can use to target individual fat areas. And here is what Dr. Turner recommends:
We all have ab muscles, it’s the fat on the stomach that keeps them from showing. Studies have suggested that too much cortisol could be a major factor behind the accumulation of stomach fat. Holy basil is an Indian herb that helps maintain healthy cortisol levels and is commonly taken in capsule form. Foods for reducing cortisol include spinach, citrus, nuts, beans and barley.
Fat on the back and upper trunk is less common than stomach fat but equally as challenging to take on. It’s also a likely indication that you have high insulin levels. Foods containing conjugated linoleic acid such as milk, yogurt, cheese and beef will help. You should also lean toward whole-grain options and green vegetables.
Some people like big butts, but everyone has a limit. If you have excess body fat on your bottom, it could be due to high levels of estrogen. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are high in estrogen-blocking phytochemicals. Chia, flax and sesame seeds have polyphenols that get rid of estrogen in the bloodstream. Pomegranates and red grapes are good fruit choices for lower estrogen levels as well.
Eat Glyci-Med Style
This new type of diet is a twist on the classic Mediterranean diet, which WebMD called “one of the best prescriptions for a long, healthy life”, that focuses on the science behind glycemic index and carbs. The diet requires you to focus on the macronutrient (carbohydrates, fat, and protein) balance in your meals.
According to Dr. Turner, a basic approach to the diet is aiming to consume twice as much fat and protein as you do carbs. Doing this will help your stomach feel full and satisfied for longer periods, keeping you away from perilous craving binges. It will also help keep your cortisol, insulin and estrogen at healthy mediated levels. Eating more proteins is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.
- Protein powder is an essential tool for this diet. You can add it into water or milk, mix it into oatmeal, or bake it into recipes to make sure you aren’t overloading on carbs with each meal.
- Making the transition from sandwiches to salads might be tough, but you can easily take the filing of a sandwich and slice it over lettuce or spinach. Avoiding bread for at least one meal will make it much easier for you to balance macronutrients.
- Fruit is fine in moderation, but make sure you choose whole fruit over juices. Most juices have far less fiber and additional sugars.
- Keep your eye out for calories in your drinks, many sodas and juices have far more carbs than people realize. Look for calorie free options like flavored water or search for protein rich alternatives such as milk.
- Other dietary staples recommended for this diet are roasted nuts, dry red wine, buckwheat, pomegranates and almost any type of vegetable.
If your forearms are being overpowered by your biceps and triceps, it’s time to bring them to the forefront. Blow up those stubborn lower arms with this battery of exercises and techniques!
If you’re farmer, mechanic, baseball player, or any other laborer who completes a lot of physical work with his hands, you probably don’t need to read this. Just flex those monster forearms and click on another article. But if your job doesn’t involve extensive gripping, pulling, extending, or flexing your wrists, then your forearms probably need some attention.
Strengthening and building your forearms isn’t just about aesthetics, although we agree that few things look better than well-developed lower arms in a T-shirt. But strengthening your forearms can also help improve your gripping power on a number of full-body exercises and big movements like heavy back exercises and deadlifts. And who doesn’t want to bring up those lifts, too?
Building your forearms, however, is a little more complicated than prescribing three exercises for three sets of 8-10 reps. Like the lower legs, the lower arms require a kitchen-sink approach to training. Unless you have a genetic predisposition for big forearms, you’re going to have to throw everything at ’em.
YOUR FOREARMS UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Not unlike the calves, the muscle groups in your lower arms—the brachioradialis on the top of your forearm near your elbow, and the group of smaller muscles on the top of your arm near your wrist, collectively known as the wrist extensors; and the muscles on the underside, known as the wrist flexors—have a higher degree of slow-twitch muscle fibers than most of the larger skeletal muscle groups like the quads, hamstrings, and chest.
Besides the fact that these muscles are very small, and thus have a limited potential for growth, their higher composition of slow-twitch fibers makes them particularly stubborn to grow.
“The forearms and hand muscles can be rather resilient to fatigue, which suggests type I or type IIa muscle fibers, so they require more attention to cause them to adapt,” says Olympic weightlifter and powerlifter Vince Kreipke, MS, CSCS.
Some contend that the gripping involved in various exercises like rows, deadlifts, and shrugs provides enough lower-arm stimulation, but Kreipke argues that, with those exercises, you’re holding the bar isometrically—that is, your wrist maintains a near-neutral position throughout the movement—so there’s little actual movement taking place at the wrists.
“Remember, when training isometrically, the trained muscle experiences adaptations at only that joint angle, and roughly 20 degrees around that joint angle,” he says. “This is why training through a full range of motion is important in any movement. Thus, to get full-range forearm training and build greater size, it’s important to train the different movements outside of simple grip training.”
TRAINING YOUR FOREARMS
Forearm-specific training is the recommended way to fully fatigue the various muscles of the forearm and ensure they’re worked through the entire range of motion. After you complete whatever heavy upper-body work you’re doing for the day, you can do specific movements for the forearms.
If it’s not clear that you should never train your forearms immediately before back or biceps, try it just once and attempt to hold on to a heavy barbell. You probably can’t grip it for very long! For this reason, you should train forearms after back or biceps.
Only when you fully flex and fully extend at the wrist joint do the smaller forearm muscles get worked actively through their entire range of motion. That means doing wrist curls to target the flexors (on the palm side), and reverse wrist curls to target the extensors (on the opposite side).
Kreipke says there’s no need to do complicated movements for the flexors and extensors; simple wrist curls off the end of a bench have been effective since Arnold was training. “You just have to make sure that the wrist is flexing. I normally do this movement off a bench or some sort of support,” he says.
However, there’s another larger forearm muscle closer to the elbow, the brachioradialis, that wrist-curl movements don’t target. Though it isn’t engaged during standard biceps curls, it does get worked during neutral-grip movements like hammer curls and overhand-grip exercises like reverse curls.
GET A GRIP
Since we’re trying to build monster forearms here, we can turn things up a notch with even more techniques.
To build even stronger forearms, Kreipke adds an exaggerated motion to his wrist curls to add grip work to his flexor training. “I like to use a dumbbell and let it roll out into my fingers [on the extension phase]. This allows me to work on my grip as well as working my hand muscles.”
Another way to increase the demand on the forearm muscles and grip is to use a thicker bar, whether you’re using a barbell or dumbbells. Conventional bars and dumbbells have one-inch handles, but many lifters find that using thicker bars makes the forearms work harder, which provides a greater stimulus to grow stronger and larger.
Thicker handles stimulate more muscle activation in both the hands and arms.
However, you’ll find that when you start using a thicker bar, your grip quickly becomes a weak link because you have less mechanical advantage. This limits the overall amount of weight you can use, but over time, training with a fat bar will improve your grip strength on a regular bar considerably!
Thick bars and dumbbell handles aren’t available in every gym, but a product like Fat Gripz can be easily placed on top of a bar to more than double its thickness. Try Fat Gripz on regular and forearm-specific exercises like wrist curls, reverse wrist curls, and reverse curls.
THE GRITTY DETAILS
When it comes to training your forearms directly, Kreipke has three recommendations:
Perform higher reps: 10-20, with an average of 15 per set
Take less rest between sets: just enough time to allow the burn to subside, rather than a full minute
Train them long and hard: 60-plus reps a workout
“The isometric grip work from your other pulling work—assuming you didn’t use straps—should give you plenty of work in the higher-intensity range [using heavy weights for lower reps],” Kreipke says.
“I strongly suggest putting a lot of volume on your forearms if you’re going to focus on them as a muscle group,” he says. “I’d also suggest supersetting opposing movements—wrist curls and reverse wrist curls—to increase the pump. Either way, you’re going to need to blow them up to get size adaptations out of them.”
Like other muscle groups that have a greater percentage of slow-twitch muscle fibers, you can also train the forearms more frequently—up to three times per week, provided you don’t do them the day before a workout that requires a very strong grip.
Experiment with multiple combinations of sets and reps, as well as various intensity boosters, to see what really is most effective for you. As with calf training, you might have to explore multiple approaches to extract gains that come agonizingly slow. With repetition and time, those incremental gains finally become more substantive.
With this knowledge in your grip, try the simple workout below after you train back or biceps, to put some serious size on your lower arms.
I am not a nutritionist nor am I a medical professional or fitness knowall. Though after hours of research for my own personal postpartum weight loss journey I have compiled; short and tasty list of superfoods that will help
you (and I) blast away belly fat.
Belly fat seems to be a stubborn area for many woman especially moms. This comes from our hormones and the way a woman’s body delivers calories Belly fat is more than a cosmetic nuisance. It also includes visceral fat-which lies deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your internal organs.
Visceral fat is linked with far more dangerous health problems, including: Heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, High blood pressure, Abnormal cholesterol, Breathing problems. Research has also associated belly fat with an increased risk of premature death-regardless of overall weight.
So in the act of taking charge of our lives here is; list of superfoods to help blast belly fat.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in unsaturated fats, omega-3, fiber, & vitamin E. Unsaturated fats or “the good fats” are believed to lower bad cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acids are a healthy form of fatty acids that help your heart by, among other things, preventing dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks. All nuts contain fiber, which helps lower your cholesterol. Fiber makes you feel fuller longer, so you eat less. Resulting in weight loss. Fiber is also thought to play a role in preventing type 2 diabetes. Vitamin E helps stop the development of plaques in your arteries.
Milk and dairy are considered nutrient-rich because they serve as good sources of calcium and vitamin D as well as protein and other essential nutrients. They provide phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B12, and riboflavin.
Beans are super healthy, versatile and affordable. Beans are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Eating beans regularly may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer, and helps with weight management.
Oats are loaded with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds such as: Manganese, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Folate, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B5, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin B3. One half cup of oatmeal a day will give you all of these benefits plus 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of fiber, coming in at less than 300 calories.
Lean meats are a good source of protein and have fewer calories. Lean meats such as eggs, turkey and chicken are a good source of selenium, vitamins B3 and B6, and choline. Ground poultry is also a great lean substitute for ground beef.
Peanut & Nut Butters
A serving of peanut butter has 3 mg of the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, 49 mg of bone-building magnesium, 208 mg of muscle-friendly potassium, and 0.17 mg of immunity-boosting vitamin B6. Research shows that eating peanuts can decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions.
Whole grains are packed with nutrients including protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium). A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer.
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, called anthocyanins, that may help keep memory sharp as you age, and raspberries contain ellagic acid, a compound with anti-cancer properties. All berries are great sources of fiber, a nutrient important for a healthy digestive system.
Source: Emma Dawn
The complications of obesity vary from diabetes to various heart diseases. According to Center for Disease Control (CDC), any person with a BMI larger than 30 is obese. The good news is that losing weight significantly reduces the risk of obesity complications.
This poster demonstrates some of the dangers of obesity. For a better view click on the poster. If you want the largest view, after clicking on the poster, click on the “full size” on top of the poster that will show up.
Many arm exercises look simple, but looks can be deceiving. Sure, it seems like you just pick up a dumbbell and curl the damned thing, or do the same with a barbell or cables.
In reality, however, arm training is a bit more technical than that—if you want to get the most out of your time in the gym, that is.
Get ready to clang, bang, and get bigger—these easy hacks will make all the difference during your next arm workout!
1. STANDING ALTERNATING DUMBBELL CURL
ROTATE YOUR WRIST
Even your grandma has probably heard of dumbbell curls, but the secret sauce to making this timeless biceps exercise particularly appetizing is a little hand rotation. It seems like such a small thing, but if you concentrate on internally and externally rotating your hand during the curl, you’ll ensure that you’re really stretching and working the muscle.
Instead of pumping straight up and down, start this move with the dumbbells at your sides and your palms facing your body. As you begin a rep and raise the dumbbell, rotate your palm outward so that it faces the ceiling and the dumbbell ends up positioned horizontally. This simple rotation maximally recruits your biceps muscle fibers to give you a better contraction and a pump like you’ve never felt before.
After lowering the dumbbell in a controlled manner, rotate your palm back toward your body to the starting position and curl the dumbbell in the other arm in the same manner.
2. BARBELL CURL
KEEP YOUR SHOULDERS BACK
While the barbell curl is another classic arm exercise, most people don’t know this game-changing tip of simply keeping your shoulders back. In fact, when performing all bicep
s movements, you want your shoulder blades back and retracted, as if you were pulling them toward the ground.
Doing so helps isolate the biceps and keeps all of the motion at the elbow joint. This keeps your front delts, back, and chest from unintentionally assisting in the exercise. After all, the goal is to place the stress from the barbell curl primarily on the biceps, not the rest of your body.
3. SEATED INCLINE BICEPS CURL
PRESS AGAINST THE PAD
The adjustable incline bench introduces variation to the standard dumbbell biceps curl and changes the angle of attack on the biceps. Take the incline bench from a full 90-degree angle and drop it one or two notches down.
When you sit back down, the key here is to again keep your shoulders back and against the bench to isolate the biceps. As you fatigue, you may feel the body’s tendency to lean forward and utilize the chest and front delts, but this isn’t an exercise for those muscles, folks. Retract your shoulder blades and pin those elbows to your sides as you perform this exercise to work the intended muscle. Additionally, most people may do a hammer curl, but I like to do the standard biceps curl and get a better contraction from this angle on the bench.
DON’T FLARE YOUR ELBOWS
The skullcrusher is a tried-and-true triceps-targeted exercise you can perform with either a barbell or dumbbells. I see a lot of folks flare their elbows out as they perform each rep, which ends up placing a lot of stress on the elbow joint and connecting tendons—basically on areas other than the triceps.
Keep your elbows steady and pointed toward your legs. The only motion occurring from this exercise should stem from the elbow joint, allowing your triceps to contract and work. Avoid locking out at the elbow at the top of the rep in order to keep constant tension on the triceps.
5. DUMBBELL KICK-BACK
TURN AT THE PEAK
Kick-backs are designed to isolate your triceps, but the little-known detail of internally rotating your hands—or turning them inward—as you reach the peak of the rep makes all the difference in your pump. It helps emphasize the outer head of the triceps, an oft-neglected portion of the muscle.
Just like in the skullcrusher, freeze the shoulder joint and pin the elbow to the side to allow for as little motion as possible from the upper section of the arm (the humerus)—only the elbow joint serves as the pivot point while the triceps are extended to “kick back” the dumbbell. Keep the motion slow and controlled, and feel the triceps working.
6. TRICEPS PUSH-DOWN WITH ROPE
SPREAD THE ROPES
Fix the rope attachment to a pulley machine and get ready to apply a simple external rotation to maximize contraction quality on this triceps exercise. But first, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to keep your shoulders back and lock your elbows in position.
As you pull the rope down with a neutral grip, turn your palms toward the ground so that your hands externally rotate, as if you were spreading the two ropes further apart. This places more stress on the triceps and lets you fully reap the benefits of this exercise.
7. CLOSE-GRIP BENCH PRESS
CLOSE, BUT NOT TOO CLOSE
A close grip on the barbell bench press recruits more of your triceps than a wide grip, which is what we want. However, my main gripe when I see others doing this exercise is that they tend to grip the bar with their hands too closely together. This super-close distance only ends up placing undue stress on their wrists and shoulder joints, increasing their chance of injury. More importantly, they are no longer working out the triceps as they intended to!
From your standard bench-press grip, bring the hands in just slightly. I use the end of the knurling (the rough part of the barbell) as a guide for placement of my index fingers.
As for my final tip? You guessed it. Tuck those shoulders back and press them against the bench as you perform each rep!
Need some more help. Check out the HUNT FOR BIGGER Arms Blog next.
Apart from following a diet made up exclusively of pizza and beer, the worst mistake you can make when training for abs is clinging to the same old exercises for way too long. Crunches, situps, and planks are fine, but they’re not the only tools you need to sharpen your midsection.
The good news?
Adding new abs moves to your workouts won’t necessarily add time to them. In fact, we’ll show you how to get more variety in your training in even less time than you’re used to.
By now you know that a strong core (the muscles that surround and support your spine) is essential to mastering nearly every exercise. But did you also know that core strength holds the key to killer confidence too?
For proof, check out this quick 10-minute core workout.
All the exercises you need to hit each muscle group perfectly!
Everyone has that ONE body part that they dislike!
No matter what you do or how hard you train, you just cannot seem to get that booty bigger abs symmetrical…
Don’t loose hope, here are some simple exercises to help you reach your goals.
Try this fat blasting 30 day abs challenge! Work out hard and make sure you hit all of the days and you’ll have a sexy six pack in no time!
Feeding your body the vitamins and minerals it needs is essential to maintaining overall health.
We’ve created this handy chart to show you exactly where you can find the vitamins and minerals your body needs the most. Mix them up and make sure you’re getting a balance of all the good stuff.
Wanna cut your sugar cravings for good? Follow these 10 tips to help you cut your cravings!
Will keep you full and give you more energy without raising your blood sugar so there’s no [hangry] crash afterward. Choose fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
2) High-protein foods
Digest more slowly, keeping you feeling full for longer.
Doesn’t make your blood sugar spike the way sugars do. Pick proteins like nuts, or beans, or lean meats, yogurt or eggs.
4) Drink plenty of water
Sometimes sweets cravings, are actually a sign of dehydration. Before you go for the sweet snack, have a glass of water and wait a few minutes.
5) Fruit and sweet vegetables
(carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, turnips) are naturally sweet, have tons of nutrition, and are quite delicious. The more you eat, the less you crave sugar.
6) Spices can naturally sweeten your foods and reduce cravings
Coriander, cumin, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom will add flavor without calories.
7) Scout Out hidden sugar
Sugar can hide in foods where you least expect it. Although they don’t seem sweet, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and pasta sauce have loads of sugar. So do reduced-fat salad dressings, bread, baked beans, and some flavored coffees. Get in the habit of reading labels. Filter out high-sugar foods before they hit your shopping cart.
8) Get physically active
Being active helps balance blood sugar levels, boosts energy, and reduces tension which will eliminate the need to self-medicate with sugar! Exercise can help wipe out those sugar cravings and change the way you eat in general. You will start to feel better and want healthier foods. Do what you like whether it’s walking, riding your bike, swimming or hitting the gym. Start out slow, and work toward at least 30 minutes at a time, 5 days a week.
9) Get more sleep, rest, and relaxation
Simple carbs such as sugar are the most readily usable forms of energy for an exhausted body and mind. If you are in chronic state of stress and/or sleep deprivation, your body will crave the quickest form of energy there is – sugar.
10) Slow down and find sweetness in non-food ways
Every craving is NOT a signal that your body biologically requires sugar. Cravings often have a psychological component. By identifying the causes of food cravings and substituting lifestyle and relationship adjustments accordingly, you can begin to find balance and take charge of your health.
When it comes to building muscle, the most important thing is finding ways to reach failure in order to ensure muscle hypertrophy. Many know that this can be accomplished by increasing the amount of weight they lift or the number of reps they perform, but most people don’t realize that there are other ways to accomplish this as well.
Whenever possible, I like to find ways other than increasing the amount of weight I lift to reach failure because many of my injuries have come during times of lifting heavy weights.
I’ve toyed around with many techniques to get the most out of my time at the gym and in this article I’m going to describe one of my favorite and most effective ones.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with drop sets, a drop set is when you perform a set of an exercise until failure, then immediately reduce the weight and perform more reps until you reach failure at the reduced weight.
An example of how to implement this technique would be performing bicep curls using a barbell with a few weights on each side and continuously removing one weight from each side every time you reach failure, then immediately continuing with the lighter weight, until there is no longer any weight on the bar─I believe some people refer to these as pyramids. While this is effective, I’ve found an easier way to reap the benefits of drop sets that doesn’t require much of a change to my normal routine.
What I like to do to expedite muscle growth is to perform one drop set during the last set of every exercise I do. Let’s go through an example to illustrate this technique.
Let’s say it’s my chest day and I plan to perform incline dumbbell chest press, flat dumbbell bench press, dumbbell pullovers, and high cable chest flys. For simplicity, we’ll say that I’m going to perform three sets of each exercise. So what I would do is on my final (third) set of each exercise, I would lift to failure as usual─performing somewhere around 6-10 reps─then, without resting, grab a weight that is 50-60 percent as heavy as I used for the final set and perform the exercise until my muscle is completely fatigued (not at all concerned with how many reps I perform).
Not only is this going to more thoroughly fatigue your muscles─thus causing the cells to expand more─but you are also working both your fast and slow twitch muscle fibers; your fast twitch fibers are exhausted during the initial 6-10 reps, then your slow-twitch muscle fibers are brought to failure with the lighter, burn out reps.
Time is our most valuable asset, so make sure you’re getting the most out of the time you spend at the gym. If you make this slight modification to the last set of every exercise you do, I’m confident you will notice greater muscle gains with very little extra time spent.