Archive for the tag - exercises

Video: The Gymnast Workout!

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 10.35.25 AMThe only thing that I like more than gymnastics is filming videos with “The Lean Machines.” Today’s video combines both! And I hope it’ll rock your world.

Click on over to YouTube to watch the video – or check it out below.

Enjoy!

5 Most Important Exercises.

There are no shortage of exercises to add variety to you workout – and switching things up can prevent a stale workout and plateaued results. By incorporating kettlebells, changing the base of stability, taking a new class or trying new exercises, it’s easy to keep you workout fresh and challenging.

Having said that, there are five tried and true exercises that every workout regime should include. These exercises have passed the test of time and have been used by bodybuilders, powerlifters and workout enthusiasts for generations.

  1. Bench press. The godfather of strength training, any gym worth your time will have a handful of bench presses. Some are flat, some are inclined and some are declined – but all are a great way to build strong and powerful chest muscles. In fact, the bench press is one of the three lifts in the sport of powerlifting. Though this exercise primarily works your pectoralis major muscle (i.e., your pecs), supporting muscles like the anterior deltoids, serratus anterior, coracobrachialis, scapulae fixers, trapezii, and the triceps are also trained.
  2. Barbell bicep curl. Of all the bicep exercises that I’ve tried, none compare in their effectiveness to the barbell bicep curl. By adding a barbell, you’re able to increase the amount of resistance that your muscles work against – and the results speak for themselves. Though you’ll primarily work your biceps brachii muscles, your brachialis (lower biceps) and brachioradialis (forearm) are also trained.
  3. Squats. Want a bigger and stronger butt? No exercise compares to the squat in its effectiveness. Also performed in powerlifting, squats primarily work your gluteus maximus, quadriceps and hamstrings. Your erector spinae, transverse abdominus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, adductors, soleus and gastrocnemius will also get some love. Proper form is essential for a safe and effective squat, so it’s important to do your homework or consult with a trainer before you jump into your gym’s squat rack or power cage.
  4. Shoulder press. Sometimes called the overhead press, there are innumerable variations of this popular exercise. In terms of building size or strength, there are no shoulder exercises that can touch the effectiveness of a good barbell or dumbbell shoulder press. Specially, this exercise is great for your deltoids – but it also engages your triceps brachii and trapezius muscles.
  5. Deadlift. Also one of the three powerlifting exercises, the deadlift is a compound exercise that engages a large number of muscles including your latissimus dorsi, trapezius, erector spinae, gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps and hip flexors. In other words, your leg, butt and back muscles will all be screaming after a good set of deadlifts. Even your forearms, to a lesser degree, and obliques will be engaged. Though the deadlift is extremely effective, it’s not for everyone. For individuals with back injuries or certain joint issues, other exercises may be a better fit.

Of course, you don’t want to do each of these exercises in every workout. It’s best to break your gym sessions out so that each workout targets different muscle groups. Incorporate the bench press on a chest day, the barbell bicep curl on arm days and so on.

In my opinion, these are the top five exercises to include in any workout regime – but I’d love to hear what you think. Which five exercises top your list? Let me know in the comments below.

The Most Effective Bicep and Chest Exercises.

Dear Davey,

I want to get my chest/pecs to pop out more. Any suggestions on what exercises that may help with that? I work both my chest and biceps vigorously to get them bigger, but nothing seems to work. Can you help me out?

From,
Keith

Dear Keith,

This is actually a really common question – and it’s one that I get a lot.

Interestingly, the two most effective exercises for biceps and chest are barbell bicep curls and the bench press, respectively. While both of these exercises are definitely old school, they are tried, tested, true – and effective.

A barbell bicep curl, pictured to the right, is pretty straightforward. Simply load a barbell with weight plates. Stand in an upright position with an underhand grip. Contract your biceps to pull the barbell up toward your shoulders. Pause, lower and then repeat.

The bench press is also pretty simple – though it’s always a good idea to work with a spotter. Load the bench’s barbell with weight plates. Lie on the bench and hold the bar just beyond shoulder width apart. Lift the barbell off of the rack, and lower until it touches your chest lightly. Then, press the barbell away from the chest until arms are extended. Pause, then repeat.

Since you’re going for size, it’s important to use the right amount of weight. Use enough resistance so that you’re only able to do between 6 and 10 repetitions of each exercise before your muscles are fully fatigued. If you can do more than 10 repetitions, the weight it too light. Moreover, keep pushing yourself to heavier and heavier levels of resistance; your muscles won’t grow unless they are forced to do so.

If you don’t have access to a gym or equipment, push-ups are a great bench press alternative. To make push-ups more challenging, try some of my push-up variations. Or strap on a backpack loaded with extra weight. This will help force your muscles to grow.

The best at-home bicep exercise is a chin-up. You could buy a chin-up bar at a local exercise supply store. Most can be installed quickly in a doorway in your home. Or, you can take your workout outside – and perform chin-ups on playground equipment. To make it harder, you can even make use of ankle weights.

Hope that helps!

Love,
Davey