For every set of abdominal exercises you perform, do a set of lower-back exercises. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for category CORE
Don’t try to lose your gut by working your abs. Researchers at the University of Virginia found that Read the rest of this entry »
We have a lot of time on our hands, so the other day we looked up “fit” in the dictionary. We read about fit (as in flipping out) and fit (as in what your hat should do) before finally landing on definition number three: “Sound physically and mentally.”
Not exactly helpful. After all, it doesn’t say squat about how many pushups a man should be able to do. Or how much weight he should be able to lift. Or how fast he should be able to sprint. Which is why we’ve taken matters into our own hands.
On the following pages, you’ll find our definition of fit—10 simple (though by no means easy) things every man must be able to do before he stamps himself “in shape.” Says who? Says us.
The good news: If you don’t measure up to our admittedly high standards right away, we’ve given you the tips and training strategies you need to get there quickly. Then you won’t need to look in a dictionary for the definition of fit. You’ll just need to look in a mirror.
Upper-body strength is important for more than bench-press bragging rights. Literally being able to throw your weight around—plus half that of the guy standing next to you—is the ultimate sign that you’ll never have a problem hanging drywall, holding your ground in the post…or looking great in a tank top.
The Test: Use a bench-press machine and keep your feet flat on the floor during the entire lift. To get your score, divide the heaviest weight you can lift one time by your body weight. Read the rest of this entry »
In a hospital, using outdated information is considered malpractice; in a gym, it’s standard operating procedure. Don’t believe it? Take a look at today’s most sacred lifting guidelines, and you’ll find that some originated in the ’40s and ’50s, a time when castration was a cutting-edge treatment for prostate cancer, and endurance exercise was thought to be harmful to women. What’s worse, other, more-recent recommendations regarding exercise form have been negated by new research yet are still commonly prescribed by fitness professionals.
Chances are, these are the same rules you lift by right now. And that means your workout is long past due for a 21st-century overhaul. Keep in mind, I’m not suggesting that your current plan doesn’t work. After all, at its most basic level, building muscle is simple: Pick up a heavy weight, put it down, repeat. But improve the details and avoid mistakes, and you’ll build more muscle in less time, with less risk of injury. Put a check next to today’s date—it marks the official expiration of your old workout.
Do 8 to 12 Repetitions
The claim: It’s the optimal repetition range for building muscle.
The origin: In 1954, Ian MacQueen, M.D., an English surgeon and competitive bodybuilder, published a scientific paper in which he recommended a moderately high number of repetitions for muscle growth.
The truth: This approach places the muscles under a medium amount of tension for a medium amount of time, making it both effective for and detrimental to maximum muscle gains.
A quick science lesson: Higher tension—a.k.a. heavier weights—induces the type of muscle growth in which the muscle fibers grow larger, leading to the best gains in strength; longer tension time, on the other hand, boosts muscle size by increasing the energy-producing structures around the fibers, improving muscular endurance. The classic prescription of eight to 12 repetitions strikes a balance between the two. But by using that scheme all the time, you miss out on the greater tension levels that come with heavier weights and fewer repetitions, and the longer tension time achieved with lighter weights and higher repetitions.
The new standard: Vary your repetition range—adjusting the weights accordingly—so that you stimulate every type of muscle growth. Try this method for a month, performing three full-body sessions a week: Do five repetitions per set in your first workout, 10 reps per set in your second workout, and 15 per set in your third workout. Read the rest of this entry »
As personal trainer its my job to give great advice about food, Watch what you eat, sure—but don’t watch reruns. A boring diet is hard to stick with. There is no one set of foods you must always choose from in order to make your abs show.
If you like . . . Broccoli
Try: Bok choy
Why: Like broccoli, this leafy vegetable has a crunch—and less than half the calories and carbohydrates of its cruciferous cousin.
How to prepare it: Separate, wash, and dry the leaves of one head of baby bok choy. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium high. Saute the leaves with a thinly sliced garlic clove for about 5 minutes or until tender. Read the rest of this entry »