Archive for the ‘Machines, cables’ Category

SECRETS TO A BIG CHEST #1: CHEST – Beginners

By STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

For most guys, ‘chest day’ is the best day of the week, well as far as training goes.

Here I’ll set you on the right path in your chest quest with a machine heavy routine that primes your pectorals for more specialised training down the road.

To begin with, err on the light side when choosing a weight, if you can’t finish the set with good form it’s too heavy.

Where you see a decreasing rep scheme, pyramid up the weight each set; if the reps are the same set to set, choose one challenging weight and use it for all the listed sets of that exercise.

DECLINE BARBELL PRESS


Start: Lie back on a bench set to about a 30–40 degree decline. Grasp the barbell with an overhand, slightly wider than shoulder-width grip. Lift the bar from the supports and hold it over your lower chest, arms extended.
Move: Lower the barbell to your chest, touching down to your lower pecs lightly before pushing the bar back up to full extension.

SMITH-MACHINE INCLINE PRESS


Start: Position yourself on an incline bench (about 45 degrees) so that the bar touches the top of your chest just below your collarbone. Once your position is set, get up and load the bar, then lie back onto the bench and grasp the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip.
Move: Press the bar straight up, stopping just short of elbow lockout. (Feel your pecs contract to bring your arms up above your torso.) Pause at the top and lower the bar under control to your upper chest.

MACHINE PULLOVER


Start: Sit in a pullover machine, grasping the handles with both hands while placing your elbows against the elbow pads.
Move: Bring the handles down in front of your torso, pause for a moment, then return back to the start under full control. To keep your pecs active, put more emphasis on pushing the bar down with your hands, rather than leading with your elbows pressing against the pads. In addition, actively flex your entire chest as you pull the bar down; using this “flexing” technique on all your chest exercises will help you develop the mind/muscle link that in time gives you pinpoint control over your muscles and their actions.

PEC-DECK FLYE
Start: Sit in a pec-deck station, placing your elbows and forearms on the pads. For best results, position your arms so that your elbows fall just below your shoulders, and limit the stretch to just behind your chest.
Move: Squeeze your pecs to bring the pads together in front of your chest. Flex your chest hard at the moment in the exercise when your elbows are together and always lower the weight under strict control. Don’t bounce.

PUSH-UP


Start: The traditional “drop-and-give-me-50” push-up is done with a flat back and hands just outside your shoulders (on steps or the floor).
Move: Press to full extension, keeping your elbows pointing out, and lower under control. Don’t sag in the middle.

PARALLEL-BAR DIP


Start: Grasp the bars with your arms extended and locked. Lean forward, bend your knees and cross your legs.
Move: Keep your elbows out to your sides as you lower yourself down, dropping until your upper arms are about parallel to the floor. Squeezing your palms toward each other in an isometric fashion, begin pressing back up until your arms are again fully extended. Be sure to keep leaning forward or the exercise focus will shift more to your triceps.

Look out for the next post in the same vein or read one of my other articles;

SIX WEEKS TO A BIGGER CHEST

BODYBUILDING SECRETS REVEALED SECRET #4 Hydration cont.

BODYBUILDING SECRETS REVEALED #7  Six secrets of  the champions

Or for a more health consciouns perspective why not have a look at my fitness site;

www.onformfitness.com

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SIX WEEKS TO A BIGGER CHEST

(I would recommend waiting till you’re an intermediate or veteran before using pyramid sets because the stress to your system can be challenging and overtraining can become a real issue. STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT Qualified)

Grow your chest in six weeks with little more than heavy weight and basic tools
By Jim Ryno

When your goal is to build bigger pecs as soon as possible, getting creative with exercise selection is not only unnecessary, but in most cases counterproductive. Machines certainly have their place in a hypertrophy routine, but anyone who tells you he got a big chest by doing only the pec deck is either lying or selling a pec deck. Adding size requires focusing on the most basic lifting equipment in the gym: barbells, dumbbells and benches.

The following six-week chest-building routine has you training the pecs twice a week and hitting the muscles from top to bottom with incline, flat-bench and decline exercises – four of them free weight pressing moves and one cable flye thrown in as a burnout finisher. The reps top out at 10 to encourage heavier weights and promote hypertrophy, and volume bumps up to 16 sets per workout in weeks 4-6 to maximize mass. Nothing fancy, nothing cute. Just simple and effective.

CHEST BUILDING ROUTINE
Perform twice a week with 2-3 days between chest workouts.

Weeks 1-3
EXERCISE

Bench Press; 3 sets, 10, 8, 6 reps.
Incline Barbell Press; 3 sets, 10, 8, 6 reps.
Dumbbell Decline Press; 3 sets, 10, 8, 6 reps.
Decline Barbell Press; 3 sets, 10, 8, 6 reps.

Weeks 4-6
EXERCISE

Dumbbell Decline Press; 3 sets, 10, 8, 6 reps.
Bench Press; 4 sets, 10, 8, 6, 6 reps.
Incline Barbell Press; 3 sets, 10, 8, 6 reps.
Decline Barbell Press; 3 sets, 10, 8, 6 reps.
Incline Cable Flye; 3 sets, 10, 10, 10 reps.

Power of the Pyramid
Perform all pressing exercises with a pyramiding rep scheme. On your first working set, choose a weight that allows you to reach 10 reps, then increase weight on each successive set so that you can only do eight reps on your second set and six reps on your third (and fourth, where applicable).

This article appears on the Muscle and Fitness site

arnie shouldersTHE SPECIFICS OF SHOULDER TRAINING

By Steven Milner

All progressive resistance exercises for the shoulders involve lifting the arm. But although the result is a lifting of the arm, the actual action involved is rotation of the shoulder joint. With few exceptions, all movements are the result of the rotary movements of one or more joints. When you know which joints are involved and what they are doing, you will be able to understand the mechanics of individual exercises and how to do them correctly. The shoulder joint is the most mobile and most vulnerable joint in the body, being able to rotate the arm through a full 360 degrees. The movement of the shoulder is controlled by the deltoids, of which there are three, the front or anterior, side or lateral and rear or posterior deltoids or delts. These muscles, working individually and in combination, have one basic function: they abduct the arm away from the body.

There are two basic types of shoulder exercises; presses, where the arms are lifted using a combination of the shoulder and elbow joint, and raises where the arms are raised up and away from the body in front, behind or sides using only the motion of the shoulder joint itself.
Presses are compound exercises, since they use more than one joint and muscle. You can move more weight with presses because you have a leverage advantage and more muscle is involved, so presses have the edge when it comes to building maximum mass and strength.
Raises, or laterals, are isolation exercises as they involve only the shoulder joint and no other muscles than the deltoids. Laterals are excellent for working and shaping the individual heads of the deltoids and can be done, more or less to the front, side and rear to stress specific areas of the shoulder muscles.

I’ll talk you through some of the different shoulder exercises and offer some suggestions as to how to get the best from them. Of course this article only covers the basics, there are many variations. Remember though, no matter what the movement, focus on what the shoulder joint is doing, feel the muscles working and keep the exercises strict to encourage growth and limit the risk of injury. It takes time and skill to isolate the deltoids as a group and special attention to target individual deltoid heads.

PRESSES
Presses can be done using a barbell, dumbbells or with various types of machines and cables. In all cases, you begin by holding the weight at about shoulder height, palms facing forward, elbows underneath for support. The exercise is performed by lifting straight up overhead, pausing at the top, then lowering the weight back, under control, to the starting position.

Doing presses with a barbell or machine, your hands are locked into place. This tends to somewhat limit the amount of rotation of the shoulder joint compared to pressing with dumbbells. Depending on the equipment involved, you can position your hands further apart or closer together to hit the shoulders from a variety of angles. In general, the closer together your hands are placed the more involvement there is from the triceps; the further apart your hands, the less triceps are involved.

Another way of looking at this is by thinking in terms of the elbow joint. The longer the range of motion of the elbow the more it bends and straightens the more the triceps become part of the exercise. When the elbows are less involved, so are the triceps less involved. As above, so below.

BARBELL PRESSES
Barbell presses can be done to the front, as in the military press or with the bar behind the neck for presses behind the neck, oddly enough.

Military Press: From a standing position, clean the weight (lifting it with a reverse curl movement) or take the bar off a rack holding it with a palms forward grip and hold it across the upper chest. Press the bar upward, locking out the elbows on top, and then lower the weight, under control, back to the starting position, watch your face!

Press Behind the Neck: Position the bar across the back of the neck, holding it palms forward. Press the bar upward, locking out the elbows on top, and then lower the weight under control back to the starting position. This can be performed either seated or standing Don’t rest or drop the weight on your neck it’s just stupid.

DUMBBELL PRESSES
Dumbbell presses can be done standing, seated on a flat bench or on a bench that gives you back support.

Clean the dumbbells, or have a training partner pass them to you, and hold them at shoulder height about level with your ears just outside of your shoulders on each side, palms facing forward. The most common way to do this exercise is to press the weights straight up overhead without locking out the elbows, and then lower the dumbbells under control back to the starting position.

There is a twist on this movement, bear in mind that the action of the shoulders is rotation. Hold a pair of dumbbells level with your ears just outside your shoulders and then press them up in an arc over your head, before the dumbbells come together at the top rotate your wrists so that your palms are facing, then bring them down in a similar arc to the starting position. Using dumbbells rather than a barbell means your hands are not locked into position, and lifting them in an arc, similar to dumbbell flyes for chest, allows for extending the range of motion of the exercise.

Shoulder press bottomshoulder mid pressshoulder press top

MACHINE PRESSES
It doesn’t matter what type of machine you use, the basic action of pressing against resistance overhead recruits the delts and extends the triceps during the range of movement. Concentrating on how much rotation you’re getting from the shoulder joint during the movement and how much the elbow is involved will give you a good idea of exactly what kind of movement the machine is allowing you to do. Remember, in most cases machines don’t allow for building as much mass and strength but often allow you to do a stricter movement and in some cases work through a longer range of motion. One negative aspect of machine presses is that they don’t allow for strengthening all the support tissue around the joint to the degree that is possible with free weights.

LATERALS
Laterals involve lifting the arms up and out to the side with the arms kept more-or-less straight so that there is no involvement als can be performed using dumbbells, cables and various kinds of machines.

side lateral shoulder raisesSide Laterals: Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand hanging down by your side, palms facing inward. Lift your arms out to each side, elboof the elbow joint or the triceps. You can do laterals to the front, side or rear although each of the techniques involved varies with the delt head being targeted. Laterws slightly bent, until the weights are level with the top of your head. Pause at the top, and then lower the weights under control back to the starting position.

You’ll see bodybuilders starting with the weights held together in front of them, using fairly heavy dumbbells and then swinging the weights up to either side so that momentum helps with the lift. This kind of cheating can be useful for advanced bodybuilders, but it can easily get out of hand and diminish rather than increase intensity. So be wary of using this technique.

Front Laterals: Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, hanging down at arm’s length in front of you, palms facing your thighs. Lift one arm forward and up and bring it toward the middle, palm remaining downward, bringing the weight up toward the middle helps isolate the front deltoid, but opinions vary. Raise the dumbbell so that its directly in front of you and slightly higher than the top of your head, pause for a moment at the top, then lower it under control back to the starting position. Repeat using the other dumbbell. This movement is usually done by alternating arms but can also be done lifting both dumbbells or a bar at the same time.

Rear Laterals: Bend over at the waist with a dumbbell in each hand at arms length below you, palms facing inward. Keeping your body steady, lift the dumbbells out and up to both sides and slightly forward so that the weights end up beside your ears rather than back even with your shoulders. This keeps the focus on the rear delts and away from the side delts. Pronate the weights by rotating your thumbs down slightly. Lift as high as you can, pause at the top, then lower the weights under control back to the starting position.

Cable Laterals: The three basic types of laterals can be done using a cable and handle attached to a low pulley and in some cases two such cables and handles.

Cable Side Lateral Raises: This can be done to the side with the pulley beside you and the lift going straight up or with the cable on the other side with the cable crossing over in front of your body as you do the lift.
Cable Front Laterals Raises: Perform the lateral raises to the front with the pulley located behind you. You can use individual handles for this movement or both hands together holding a short bar.
Cable Rear Lateral Raises: Lean down and grasp a “D” handle with the pulley  on the opposite side of the arm you’re using and pull away and up from the low pulley station, much as you would with dumbbells or you can use two pulleys, one on either side in a crossover fashion doing both arms at once.

UPRIGHT ROWS
Upright rows involve lifting a barbell or handle attached to a low pulley cable up in front of you to hit the front deltoids. Stand holding the bar with an overhand grip arms length down in front of you, hands about shoulder width apart. Lift the bar up leading with your elbows, pass the bar close to your body, pause the bar for a moment at a position just below your chin, then lower the bar under control to the starting position.

MACHINE LATERALS
There are a variety of machines that allow you to do side lateral exercises and a few with which you can target the rear delts. The basic movements have to be the same, no matter the equipment used, if the target muscles are going to be trained. Read the instructions posted on individual machines for more information or ask a gym employee. Have you heard me say that a personal trainer is worth his or her weight in gold and a committed training partner is a diamond? Well they come in really handy when you’re doing shoulders believe you me.