Saturday, August 15, 2009

Exercise Basics

Chest

Back

Shoulders

Arms

Legs

Abdominals


These are the basic muscle groups that you need to exercise in the GYM. Each group functions differently and each involves a different set of exercises. NEWBS have to remember than not one muscle group is more important than the other thus all groups should be exercised. Also, all PRT programs include abdominal exercises. Without strong abdominals, you do not have a strong base for lifting heavy weights above your head and may cause injuries in the future.


All gym enthusiasts must have accessories to help them in their programs or prevent injuries. Gym equipments include gloves (unless you want rough hands), a face towel and water canteen. For the serious weightlifters, you should at least have lift straps (to help PULL weights when your forearms are shot) and a Weight Belt (to increase abdominal pressure and thereby providing a strong base or trunk. NOTE: When putting on the belt, inhale and tuck in your stomach/belly then strap your belt until a tight fit is noted. CLUE: Try and insert your hand between the belt and your back. If you can insert your hand then it is not tight enough. Make sure that when your stomach pushes forward the belt pulls your back). Personal hygeine materials like towels are advised while deodorants are REQUIRED.


I will start this blog with my favorite muscle group (CHEST / PECTORALS) and will individually discuss each muscle group in the next blog.


CHEST / PECTORALS / PECS



-These are divided into fibers and each fiber provides a different action thus are exercised individually.
-These are very strong muscles and are mainly responsible for pushing exercises.
-These muscles need the help of the TRICEPS and DELTOIDS/ SHOULDERS to act efficiently.


Upper Chest
LOCATION: just below the clavicles
EXERCISES:
1. Inclined press (barbell/BB or dumbbell/DB)
2. Inclined Fly (DB). Bend your elbow around 5-10 degrees during the entire execution of this exercise. DO NOT "FLY" with straight elbows.
--Note: Fly exercises are more difficult than press exercises and therefore are not appropriate for newbs. FLY exercises develops the "RIPPED" form of any muscle thus if your muscles are still underdeveloped, DO NOT USE FLY EXERCISES.
3. Head-Down Push-Ups. Plant your foot higher than your head prior to start of push-up.


Middle Chest
LOCATION: Forms the bulk of the chest and provides power the chest muscles
EXERCISES:
1. Bench Press (BB or DB)
2. Bench Fly (DB). All fly exercises should feel the stretch the muscle exercised. Never stretch your muscles more that normal limits to prevent injury to shoulders.
3. Regular Push-ups. NOTE: During the exercise, the back and legs should maintain a straight line to maximize exercise. Never bend at the hips during execution of this exercise.


Lower Chest
LOCATION: cause the bulge of the lower part of the chest
EXERCISES: (All done head down position with angle ~30-45 degrees from floor
1. Declined Press (BB or DB)
2. Declined Fly
3. Cable Crossover. Use Machine for cable crossover. Exercise in different angles to improve underdeveloped muscles.
4. Dips (Free/F or machine/M). Lean forward around 20-30 degrees to HIT Pec muscles. Dips with body perpendicular to floor will HIT triceps muscles predominantly.
5. Pullovers. Feel the stretch of the PECs to properly hit the muscle. This muscles can be used for shoulders, Pecs and back muscles depending on the execution.


GENERAL RULES TO CHEST EXERCISES
1. Never press more the what you can push UNLESS in the presence of a SPOTTER.
2. FORM is the key. Heavy load with poor form are wasted sets.
3. Do a warm-up set prior to 1st HEAVY set to warm muscle and familiarize movement. Use load which you can do 12-15 reps with moderate difficulty.
4. If unable to complete 6 reps in a set due to high load, drop ~50% of current weight without rest and press to failure. FEEL THE WARMTH OF THE MUSCLES WHEN THEY FAIL.
5. Allow at least 2 DAYS for your PECS to recover before exercising them again.
6. Never combine Shoulders and Pecs in one program day. This will reduce your PEC load since DELTOIDS/DELTS are needed to stabilize the shoulder joint. If combined, Load will not be as heavy and joints are prone to injury.
7. PECs and DELTs are synergistic muscles thus do not develop without development of the other.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Are you a GYM newbie?

I start where?
What is this for?
Is this the right way of doing it?
How many times do I do this?
Is this really this exhausting?
Do you think I can do this in a month?
What do I eat after my workout?
Do I have to do this everyday?

These are COMMON questions newbies ask in the gym. The gym staff first tell you to step into the weighing scale and see how many pounds you should lose. Then they measure your stats so you can measure your progress. Then they tell you to follow a certain program and ask an instructor to show you how to do it. After the first session, you are on your own. WTF!!! No wonder you're not seeing progress. You can't remember the name of the exercise, you have no idea what it is for, you have no clue how much to lift or push and worst of all, you do not know anybody in the gym. Then you quit.

The KEY to staying healthy is understanding the routine or program you are following. First, a FITNESS PROGRAM does not end outside the gym doors. You follow the program until you sleep and start the moment you wake up. It is composed of a series of routine things committed to staying healthy. Exercising is only a small part of this program. It will also include Eating habits, Regular Healthy Balanced diet, Rest and Lifestyle changes. All are equally important in accomplishing your goal. To have a fitness program, you must first start with a GOAL. Achieving your goals need hard work, patience, determination and persistence. Thus, MOTIVATION is a very important part of training. Keep yourself motivated to follow your program and formulate FEASIBLE GOALS.


GOALS (PROGRESSIVE RESISTANCE TRAINING)
*Options: TONING / BODYBUILDING / MAINTENANCE
*Other options are SPORTS SPECIFIC: Running / basketball / martial arts

GENERAL RULES
1. REST is more important than EXERCISE. Exercise is equally important as FOOD. Rest for at least 2 days/week or do cardiovascular exercises in between Heavy days)
2. NO PAIN, NO GAIN. The heavier you lift/push/carry, the greater the effort and thus the greater the muscle activity.
3. PROPER FORM is always advised. The best way to gain muscle is to do the exercises correctly at the right weight. Lifting too much weight at the expense of proper form is a waste of time.
4. WARM-UP and COOL-DOWN. Stretching before and after a work-out will prevent injuries, increase power and flexibility and helps you focus during a work-out. Stretching after a work-out will help increase circulation to the exercised muscle thus improving recovery.

Each GOAL comes with a different set of exercises

I. BODYBUILDING/ GAINING

DIET: Eat more with a target of 1-2 grams protein/kilo body weight (roughly 50-150 grams of PROTEIN in diet)
EXERCISES: Heavy with less repetitions (10-8-6) x 3-4 Exercises per body part. The more you subject the muscle to stress, the more it grows. You may experiment with Supersets and drop sets.


II. TONING / CONDITIONING
DIET: Eat enough protein and carbohydrates to promote recovery. Eat more and you will start to gain weight. CONTROL is the Key. Eat small frequent meals and never binge. More Protein than Carbs mean more lean meat than rice/pasta. White Meat (Chicken breast / fish) supplies better protein than Red Meat.
EXERCISE: More repetitions with enough weight to lift 8-12 reps. Start with a weight you can lift at least 10 reps then maintain. Do not increase load as this will reduce your number of repetitions. Include a cardiovascular workout (run / bike/ swim) at least 2x a week to increase fat burning and increase your stamina.

III. MAINTENANCE
DIET: Regular Balanced Healthy diet
EXERCISE: Enough load to lift or carry at least 10 reps X 3 sets per exercise. You may experiment with Circuit training or Cross training to avoid boredom.

These GOALS will help you decide what program to follow and what exercises to perform.


REMEMBER:
1. Feasible GOALS
2. Stay Motivated
3. Follow the General Rules
4. ENJOY your time at the Gym.


Next Blog: Supplementation. Sports Specific Exercises. Exercise Basics.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nike and Me


I have always been a Nike Fan...

Nike shirts, nike caps, nike shorts, nike jacket, nike bags.... everything NIKE... ALL Except their shoes!!! I have not worn Nike shoes for almost 4 years now. I hated their shoes!!! I used to buy almost every Nike ACG sandal and buy a pair of nike shoes every now and then. It was when I started working when I had no time to exercise or use any of them. After a year of physical and mental punishment, I was promoted to second year level resident and immediately enrolled in a gym to get me back on track. WTF!!! All my nike shoes had deteriorated soles!!! INCLUDING my Nike "ALL CONDITIONS GEAR" sandals. I had not noticed it yet so I wore one to the gym and found out I brought with me a pair of alligator shoes... hehehe... So I changed loyalty to ADIDAS... I was wearing Nike from CAP to SOCKS with Adidas shoes. Although Adidas was not known for having trendy or attractive designs, at least they were more durable (I think). Since then, SHOES=Adidas.... EVERYTHING ELSE=NIKE.

Then came the NIKE+ LUNARGLIDE. What a sight!!! If these shoes had boobs... these would be a MEGAN FOX. Hahaha... The colors and the design are flawless. I had to remind myself that I was not to buy another NIKE shoe again. And so I resisted. Then came the return of the NIKE SPORTBAND. It provides you with visual feedback regarding your runs like distance, pace, speed and on top of that, it tells TIME. It then uploads your data to Nikerunning.com to compete in the thousands of runners who log their runs in the website. The first batch of sportbands were flawed in that it was not completely waterproof and the display was awful. This time around, they had perfected it. They are out in the U.S. however are still subject to Runner Nike fans dreams in the Philippines. Sportbands are not shoes (of course). So I hurried to my favorite Nike shop and asked my favorite Nike attendant to please reserve one for me so I can try them out. Nike sensors are no longer exclusive to nike shoes and so I bought ahead a Nike Sensor pouch for my adidas and mizuno running shoes. I was set right?

Then I saw my friend wearing a pair of Lunarglides. Again, I reminded myself that I was not to buy Nike shoes. I thought of ways to discourage myself and then figured NIKE+ LUNARGLIDE is a cushioning shoe for neutral runners. I need stability shoes for moderate overpronators. I'd be wasting money buying them because they were not designed for my foot. Or so I thought!!! I checked them out in Runningworld.com and found out they were classified under Stability shoes for overpronators. I hesitated.... FOR A SECOND and called my friend to reserve another pair of NIke Lunarglides.
Got them at 10% discount and cost P4,945.00. I then used them during an Interval run and felt a different bounce than my usual trainer. Also, I immediately noticed that the forefoot space was very roomy. Because of its unique construction, your foot feels snug inside and there is not much lateral movement. They are as light as my adidas response although not as much cushioning. Also tried running uphill with them and felt really good. Unlike my heavy Mizuno Frontier, these trainers are as light as racers but have moderate cushioning.

I hope Nike makes more shoes like the LUNARGLIDE... Maybe then my loyalty will change back to NIKE Shoes. (In the Picture: Nike cap, Nike Pro Compression Shirt, Nike Running Shorts, Nike Elite Structured Socks and MIZUNO shoes.)

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