Supersets for Superhuman Strength

If you’re looking to bulk up in record time, try supersets.

Supersets for superhuman strengthIn weightlifting, when you combine two exercises back-to-back without any rest in between, it is called a superset. Each combination must include an exercise that works the opposite muscle or group of muscles. For example, if your first set is a biceps exercise, then the second set will work the triceps, and so on.

Why use supersets?

Supersets are ideal when that dreaded plateau sets in and nothing else is working. You’re putting all you’ve got into your workout, but your muscles are bored and not responding. Supersets are very demanding and just what you need to wake up those despondent muscles. These muscle-blasters should never replace your regular workout routine, and should be used periodically to avoid burnout and injury. When it’s a slow day at the gym and you have all the weights to yourself, blast your way through a few supersets and your muscles will be barking all the way home.

The Rush

Our muscles work in groups – when one muscle is working, another muscle is providing support and stability. In other words, when you’re working those quads, your hamstrings also come into play, so your muscles never really get a proper rest in between sets. What this means is when you move onto the second set of your superset, the stabilizing muscle group is already warmed up and ready to perform. With this comes a super rush of blood to the muscles and a spike in testosterone: you’ll be walking with a wider gait when you leave the gym, all puffed up like a rooster! What a rush!

Lengthen and Strengthen

Performing supersets will enhance your overall workout performance. Working opposite muscle groups lengthens one muscle group while strengthening the opposing muscle group. It’s a give-and-take kind of thing. And your muscles will pay you back in spades. Supersets also increase your flexibility by incorporating full range-of-motion exercises and will train the muscles to recover quicker without excessive muscle tightening.

To get you started, try these supersets:

Upper Arms:  Superset 1

  • Cable hammer curls – 4 sets/8-10 reps
  • Triceps pull down – 4 sets/8-10 reps
  • Rest for 1 full minute

Chest and Back:  Superset 2

  • Overhand grip chin-up – 4 sets/failure
  • Bench press – 4 sets/8-10 reps
  • Rest for 1 full minute

Core Strength:  Superset 3

  • Kneeling cable crunch – 4 sets/failure
  • Hyperextensions with weight plate – 4 sets/12 reps
  • Rest for 1 full minute

(Sets of 4 include one warm-up set and 3 working sets.)

If you yearn for the burn, then set yourself the goal of reducing the rest time between supersets as much as you can.

 

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T-Boosting Power Circuit for Men

It’s Men’s Health Month and for all you guys out there, it’s time to get your physiques in shape.

T-Boosting Power Circuit for MenIf you want to maintain muscle tone and build firm muscles, you need to work out in a way that stimulates testosterone. With high intensity training or HIT, testosterone is stimulated, lean muscle mass is increased and fat is burned, leaving you with the physique of your dreams. This is also a very efficient way to train and helps you burn the most calories in the shortest period of time.

This power circuit below is designed to target all of your muscles and burn the most calories. It should be performed three days per week. For the other three days, focus on cardio and core strength exercises.

There are three things you can expect from this workout routine:

  • Boost free testosterone levels
  • Boost your resting metabolic rate for hours afterwards
  • Boost bone density and growth hormone levels

After warming up for 5 to 10 minutes, run through the entire circuit with little to no rest in between each exercise. It should take you less than 15 seconds to jump from one exercise to the next. When you complete one full circuit, rest for 30 to 45 seconds only to help boost GH levels. Each exercise is to be performed for 12 reps and this circuit should be repeated twice.

Ass-Kicking Power Circuit

  • Jumping Jacks – holding 5-8 lb dumbbells (stay humble when choosing your weight)
  • Skater Lunges – with dumbbell row (keep elbow high on row)
  • Traditional Dumbbell Deadlift – with upright row
  • Reverse Lunge with Torso Twists – hold 1 dumbbell at your chest with both hands
  • Single Leg Dumbbell Calf Extensions to 30 seconds of Jump Rope*
  • Full Plank – with alternating straight leg lifts
  • Plyo Push-Up with Hand Clap – keep knees on the floor
  • Swiss Ball Crunch with Tricep Press Combo (keep elbows in) to Lying Dumbbell Overhead Lat Pulls*
  • Swiss Ball Knee to Chest Roll In – hands on the floor and shins on ball
  • Arnold Presses (curl to military press) to Pause Technique Shrugs*
  • Swiss Ball Seated Bent Over Row to Hammer Curls*
  • Swiss Ball Corner Push-Ups – one foot elevated
  • Dumbbell Olympic Snatch – one-handed

Supersets are marked with an asterisk (*).

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM

Combat Muscular Fatigue with Beta-Alanine

Don’t sacrifice your training to muscle fatigue. By supplementing with beta-alanine, you can significantly increase your lifting time for prolonged strength and longer workouts without the debilitating burn of acid build-up.

Beta-Alanine Combats Muscle BurnoutWhen you exercise, acidity levels increase in your muscles causing a build-up of lactic acid and this leads to cramping and muscular fatigue. While the muscles are equipped to deal with exercise-induced stress with built-in chemical and physico-buffers, under intense short-burst training like HIIT, these buffers are insufficient and the muscles call upon intramuscular stores of phosphates and peptides to buffer lactic acid build-up.

One of those peptides is carnosine, which is a highly effective physico-buffer that blocks lactic acid and prevents muscular fatigue. While you can train your muscles to produce more carnosine to prevent fatigue, the amounts vary from athlete to athlete and from training method to training method. Studies show that the only truly effective way to bust through muscular fatigue and promote the production of carnosine is with beta-alanine supplementation.1 Studies show that supplementing your training with beta-alanine (4 to 6.4 grams) results in significant increases of carnosine by 40-60%.2

The success of carnosine’s buffering effect relies heavily on the availability of beta-alanine and so, supplementing with beta-alanine becomes even more crucial to muscular growth and reaching your personal best. A four-week study testing the effect of beta-alanine on total work done showed a 13% increase in performance and after 10 weeks, this percentage went up by an additional 3.2%.3

This effect is carried over to endurance athletes who also benefit from beta-alanine supplementation. In one 28-day study, a sample of regular guys showed a significant increase in their ventilatory threshold (VT).4 Further studies back up these findings. Another group, this time of elite male cyclists who supplemented their training with beta-alanine over a 12-week period showed increases in their VT and time to exhaustion, and a reduction in their neuromuscular fatigue.5, 6, 7

The results are in! For busting through those training plateaus and to combat muscular fatigue, there is no better supplement than beta-alanine.

In just one week, you should start to notice a difference in your training endurance, with greater results occurring around the three to four week mark. With muscle Carnosine increases of 40-60% after four weeks, theoretically you could increase your bench press max by as much as 30 lb with training – now that’s serious muscle!

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM

Sources:

1. Harris RC, Edge J, Kendrick IP, Bishop D, Goodman C, Wise JA: The Effect of Very High Interval Training on the Carnosine Content and Buffereing Capacity of V Lateralis from Humans.

FASEB J 2007 , 21:769. Publisher Full Text

2. Harris RC, Tallon MJ, Dunnett M, Boobis L, Coakley J, Kim HJ, Fallowfield JL, Hill CA, Sale C, Wise JA: The absorption of orally supplied beta-alanine and its effect on muscle carnosine synthesis in human vastus lateralis.

Amino acids 2006 , 30(3):279-289. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text

3. Hill CA, Harris RC, Kim HJ, Harris BD, Sale C, Boobis LH, Kim CK, Wise JA: Influence of beta-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity.

Amino acids 2007 , 32(2):225-233. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text

4. Zoeller RF, Stout JR, O’Kroy JA, Torok DJ, Mielke M: Effects of 28 days of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on aerobic power, ventilatory and lactate thresholds, and time to exhaustion.

Amino acids 2007 , 33(3):505-510. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text

5. Kim HJ, Kim CK, Lee YW, Harris RC, Sale C, Harris BD, Wise JA: The effect of a supplement containing B-alanine on muscle carnosine synthesis and exercise capacity, during 12 week combined endurance and weight training.

J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2006 , 3:S9.

6. Stout JR, Cramer JT, Mielke M, O’Kroy J, Torok DJ, Zoeller RF: Effects of twenty-eight days of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on the physical working capacity at neuromuscular fatigue threshold.

Journal of strength and conditioning research/National Strength & Conditioning Association 2006 , 20(4):928-931. PubMed Abstract

7. Stout JR, Cramer JT, Zoeller RF, Torok D, Costa P, Hoffman JR, Harris RC, O’Kroy J: Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on the onset of neuromuscular fatigue and ventilatory threshold in women.

Amino acids 2007 , 32(3):381-386. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text

Superset Your Way to a Killer Chest

Getting to know your body will take you further in your training by leaps and bounds.

Superset your way to a killer chestFor example, if you know that you have less energy in the morning than the afternoon, plan your workouts accordingly and save your heavy training days to the afternoon or evening when you have more energy.

The same is true with anatomy. If you know how your muscles work, then this will help you train more efficiently, as you can visualize the muscular movement when perform your exercises.

So, let’s get to know the muscles in the chest a little better. Every muscle has an origin and insertion point. The origin is a fixed point, usually a bone, that anchors the muscle. The insertion point attaches to the movable bone. So when you contract a muscle, it moves from the insertion to the origin. The chest is made up of the pectoralis major and minor – affectionately known as the pecs. The major pec originates at the breast bone or sternum and fans out across the chest to insert at the humerus (upper arm) close to the shoulder joint. Its primary function is to move the arm across the body in various directions.

The minor pec lies under the major pec and originates at the middle ribs, inserting at the coracoids process of the scapula (shoulder blade) – what I like to call your angel wing nubs. Its primary function is to move the shoulder forward like you would if you were shrugging your shoulders forward.

Alright, so that’s that for the anatomy lesson. Let’s move onto the fun stuff. How to build a killer chest with supersets. Supersets are when you stack exercises right after the other with no rest in between and usually occur in pairs. Supersets are super-demanding and should be done at the beginning of your workout when you have the most energy. They should also be used sparingly so that you avoid overtraining.

Killer Chest Supersets

Superset #1

  • Incline Dumbbell Press
  • Dumbbell Flys (palms up)

Superset #2

  • Dumbbell Press (from the hip)
  • Dumbbell Flys (thumbs up)

Superset #3

  • Incline Flys
  • Knuckle Push-Ups (arms wide)

Superset #4

  • Knuckle Push-Ups (arms wide)
  • Dumbbell Flys (bring dumbbells parallel to meet in the center)
  • Dumbbell Press

Perform about 10 reps for each exercise (or to failure) and repeat each circuit 3 times and watch that chest grow and deepen.

Three Key Factors to Bodybuilding Success

There’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours and hours lifting weights only to find your muscles are not getting as big as you’d like.

Three Key Factors to Bodybuilding SuccessWell, there’s more to muscular growth than just training.

While everyone is unique and what works for one person will not work for another, there are some basic guidelines you can follow to ensure you’re getting the most out of your workouts.

For bodybuilding success, you need to follow these three  key factors:

  1. Training
  2. Nutrition
  3. Supplements

When you train, you set in motion the building blocks for muscular gains. But your training efforts will amount to nothing without the proper nutrition. So, once you’ve decided on a workout program, the next thing you need to do is reinvent your menu plan. Make sure you’re getting enough protein and the appropriate supplements to help with muscular growth and repair.

The demand that your muscles undergo through training should be enough to stimulate muscular growth, but the keyword here is “stimulate.” Training is just the first step. Changing up your routine and surprising your body will cause it to work harder, putting more stress on the muscles, resulting in increased muscle tear. Increasing your lifting weight is another way to increase the demand on your muscles. But is it enough? Maybe in the beginning, but without proper nutrition and supplementing, you will plateau out pretty quickly. When the body is properly fuelled with the right amount of nutrition to meet the demands of your workout, then your muscles will get bigger as they repair and build themselves .

In order to put on a pound of muscle, you need about 700 calories and the best way to get these extra calories is through a readily available supply of nutrition and supplements. This is why meal timing is so important. By eating several small meals throughout the day at 2-3 hourly intervals, blood sugar levels remain constant. Your muscles will use this excess energy to build and repair, rather than instinctually going to its stores of energy like fat and muscle. The trick is finding out how many calories you need for maintenance and how many more you need for muscular growth.

While some people experiment with different food options and amounts of protein and calories, trying to find the right balance, most of it boils down to your genetic make-up. Assessing your body type is a good place to start. For instance, if you’re a hard gainer and have a high metabolism, you’re going to have to consume way more calories than someone who is a mesomorph. Once you start gaining muscle, your energy demands will go up and you will need even more calories to maintain.

Once you’ve determined your training program and nutritional needs, you can use supplements to signal growth hormones and reduce stress levels. Supplements that boost testosterone and insulin levels are recommended for successful muscular gains and some of the more reputable brands include anti-stress, anti-cortisol compounds in their formulations.

Taking your supplements at the right time is also crucial to your bodybuilding success. Pre-workout supplements often provide the boost of energy you need to power through your workout, while post-workout nutrition (within 45 minutes) helps stimulate the growth hormone and prevents your body from going into a catabolic state where it starts to feed off itself to get the energy it needs to repair and build the muscles. This is also true at night when you’re sleeping. Your body goes through various metabolic processes during the the night and it will turn to your muscles and catabolise them for energy to fuel these biological functions. Make sure you eat a slow-absorbing carb like waxy maize before bed to keep your body fuelled and packing on the muscle, even while you’re sleeping.

Remember these three key factors – training, nutrition, supplements – and you’ll reach your goals faster and with more success.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM