by STEVEN MILNER IIST

SECRETS TO A BIG CHEST  15 Minute Chest Workout

Do you sometimes find yourself a bit short on time and on CHEST DAY of all days? No worries, I’ve got a 15-minute workout for every body part, and this one is for chest.

The first two exercises and the last two are super sets, which are two exercises for the same body part done back to back with no rest in between. For instance, on your first set you might do the smith machine flat bench press for 12 reps, then immediately pick up two dumbbells for 8 reps of the neutral grip flat bench press.

Rest 60-90 seconds between compound sets (by the way, this general guideline applies to most compound sets).

NEUTRAL GRIP FLAT BENCH DUMBBELL PRESS
Start: Take two dumbbells, lie on a flat bench and turn your wrists so they face each other, hands at each side of your torso.
Move: Press the dumbbells upward, allowing them to naturally move toward each other at the top (without touching or under control at the very least). Then reverse the move back to the start, getting a good pectoral stretch at the bottom.

SMITH MACHINE FLAT BENCH PRESS
Start: Position yourself on a bench so the bar lines up with the middle of your chest. Now get up and load some plates on, lie back on the bench and grasp the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip.
Move: Keep your elbows pointing outward as you press the bar straight up. Pause at the top, then lower the bar until it’s slightly above your chest. If you reach failure without a spotter, simply rack the bar on the nearest hook rest.

SEATED CHEST PRESS MACHINE
Start: Position the handles of the machine so they line up with your mid to upper chest, sit back in the seat and grasp the handles with an overhand grip.

Move: Press the handles straight out in front of you until your arms are fully extended but not locked, then slowly bring your hands back toward your chest without letting the weights touch the stack.

EXERCISE BALL DUMBBELL FLYE
Start: This exercise is similar in execution to the flat bench flye, except that here your body works harder to keep you stabilised (personal note here; destabilising you’re core is only effective if you can still handle weight that takes your muscles to failure safely. Grab two dumbbells and lie back on a ball so that you face the ceiling with the ball supporting your chest girdle. Extend the dumbbells out above your body, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows throughout to protect them from hyperextension and to keep the tension on the pecs.
Move: Without altering the angle in your elbows, bring the dumbbells up in an arc toward each other, stopping just short of touching over your chest. Lower them back along the same path to the start. To get more upper-chest emphasis, lower your hips toward the floor and perform 
in the same manner.

EXERCISE-BALL PUSH-UP
Start: This one will really work your shoulder stabilisers and improve your strength, balance and muscular coordination. Make sure the ball is fairly secure (place it in a ring rest if you can find one), and with your hands on the ball and feet on the ground, get into push-up position.
Move: Keeping your body straight as a plank, lower your chest to the ball by bending your elbows (let them point outward as you descend). Once you reach the bottom, press yourself back up to the start, don’t play bouncy bouncy it’s not big and it’s not clever.

Advertisements

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

HOW TO BUILD MORE MUSCLE?

by STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

Steven Milner IIST VTCT

There are two ways in which muscle can increase in humans…HYPERTROPHY & HYPERPLASIA…the former relates to an increase in the size of existing muscle cells and the latter relates to cell splitting and division through which there is an increase in the number of muscle cells. Hypertrophy is well proven but there is still speculation about whether hyperplasia through exercise takes place or not. Hyperplasia is generally seen during the growth phase of human beings due to the action of anabolic hormones like Insulin like Growth factor -1 (IGF-1). As a fitness professional you should not concern yourself too much with hyperplasia, however keep an open mind, many bodybuilders have a different view.

The tried and tested methods we use during resistance training to increase muscle tissue in the body deal with muscle hypertrophy.

So we need to understand the process of Hypertrophy in order to be successful in our endeavour to increase in muscle in the body.

The 3-pronged attack…

Firstly we need to stress or overload our muscles using resistance training (preferably weight training), in other words we lift weights which challenge the muscles beyond their usual limits. We accomplish this using exercise techniques, reps and sets for various body parts usually until we cannot do even one more repetition…try to lift weights that don’t allow more than 6 to 10 reps before hitting failure. This causes micro trauma at a cellular level. This micro trauma is not acceptable to the body, consequently the body needs to strengthen itself as a protective measure against further damage in the face of a similar challenge. In other words the muscle strengthens itself to adapt to the level of stress caused by exercise. Now the same amount of weights & reps that caused damage at the cellular level giving the body a need to get stronger are no longer challenging enough after hypertrophy has taken place…thus if further progress is desired then the overload has to progressively increase to initiate hypertrophy again. This is called progressive overload. Suffice it to say that without this micro trauma given to the body through progressive overload (PO), the human body would have no need to strengthen itself.

After the onslaught of training the body initiates the process of repair work…this repair work doesn’t just end at bringing the muscle cell back to its original self but over compensates to make it bigger and stronger than it was, in this way muscular hypertrophy takes place.

Nutrition is the second part of the 3-pronged attack, unless the muscle building nutrients such as protein are present in sufficient quantities exercise will remain a stimulus for hypertrophy, but will not lead to more muscle growth.

The third part is rest & recovery. After inflicting the growth producing damage through intense weight training and allowing for sufficient muscle building material through correct nutrition, if you don’t rest sufficiently you will end up working out again sooner than you should. The rate at which the body can rebuild and over compensate is governed by the amount of rest it gets.

So to sum up, in order to achieve muscle hypertrophy you should train the muscles with sufficient intensity using progressive overload (PO) to break the muscles down. This will initiate in the body a process of repair and regrowth.
This can only happen when the bo dy is given the right nutrition – adequate protein (N) and sufficient time to rest in between workouts (R). This will result in super compensation yielding a bigger muscle cell than before, so as an equation then it reads like this,

PO + N + R = HYPERTROPHY

If you want to know what type of exercises, nutrition and rest best suit your muscles genetics check out some of my other articles

Secrets to growing a muscle

Secrets about body fat and reduction

Secrets about hydration

or visit my fitness site for a more health based perspective www.onformfitness.com

Bodybuilding Secrets, the drop set

By STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

You wanna start at this end?

Drop sets (also known as strip sets and staged sets) are a great tool to incorporate into your strength training routine. For one it is a great way to change up an existing exercise routine that has hit a plateau. But mainly it is a great way to work on muscle endurance and strength. The idea here is to start with a heavy working  weight for a low rep count (4, 6 or 8 for instance) then immediately lighten the weight and continue with reps and so on, this could mean three drops of 6 reps making a drop set of 18 reps, these are the basics of a drop set. Drop sets place extra demands on the cardiovascular system so aerobic fitness is a factor. In a small way you are getting an interval cardiovascular workout while strength training. In order to get the most benefit from drop sets in your workout you should have a personal trainer or even better two training partners to take off the weight, normally while you’re in an extended position, for you as quickly as possible so that you don’t have time to rest between reps. You should not rest until the set is done, there should be nothing left to give.

Example of a drop set
Bent over barbell rows
25lb plate, 10lb plate and 5lb plate on each side (5lb plate on inside)
6 reps with all weight on both sides; no rest
take off the 25lb plates on both sides
8 reps with 10lb and 5lb plate; no rest
take off the 10lb plate on both sides
10 reps or to failure; end of set, then rest, then repeat

You can do this with nearly all exercises, both with free weights and even easier, with machine based exercises. The idea is that you will build muscle using weight of around 80% of your max, muscle endurance is improved due to the high rep count (the example set laid out above accounts for 33 reps in one set). Make sure you rest 1-2 minutes between sets to insure maximum strength gains. Also you are burning fat by cycling your heart rate throughout the set.

Your muscle doesn’t know what weight’s written on the dumb bell

Don’t do drop sets every single day for weeks at a time, you will overtrain. You would typically take  one week out of the month do drop sets for every body part then go back to regular sets for 3 weeks and so on. The rationale behind all this only works if you allow adequate time for recovery, remember recovery is different for everyone and influenced by many different factors. I know one doorman who used to claim that steroids allowed him to recover the same day, whatever. That said, if you break down your muscles with intense exercises techniques and do it right, with correct recovery and diet you WILL see results and fairly safely too!

MY TIP? If you are ready for your third set of an exercise and the previous two were shit,  finish things properly with a heavy drop set, you will know what I mean.

By STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

 

BODYBUILDING SECRETS REVEALED #7  Six secrets of  the champions

 Edited by STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT


Six Muscle Building Secrets From The World’s Best Bodybuilders!
By: Daniel Przyojski Oct 11, 2006

The difference between having a well developed physique or looking like a guy that ‘works out once in a while’ is in your applied training knowledge. Here are 6 training secrets from the best. Apply these and see if they work for you!

In my earliest days of being an aspiring bodybuilder, I trained too often and too hard. Believe you me; I trained harder than most top bodybuilding stars. I’m not saying this to brag about myself; in fact it’s quite the opposite. I’m saying this to point out how ignorant I was when it came to applying real life training methods that actually build muscle and not just tear it down. The difference between having a muscular, well developed physique or looking like a guy that “works out once in a while” is in your applied training knowledge. At first I reasoned that going to the gym 5 or 6 times a week was a sure path to building an outstanding physique. After a few fruitless years of weight training at the University of Futile Methods, I discovered 6 powerful muscle building secrets from the WORLD’S BEST BODYBUILDERS. Once I applied this scientifically sound training knowledge to my bodybuilding lifestyle, in 12 month’s time I built more muscle size and strength than in the previous 3 years.

Check and see how many of these 6 secrets you’re applying to your bodybuilding lifestyle!

Secret #1: Stimulate The Muscle Don’t Annihilate It!
This has to be the granddaddy secret of them all. If I had just a dime for every person who gave up weight training because of over training, I would quite possibly be the richest man in the world. I learned this secret from Mr Olympia Ronnie Coleman. Here was one of the best bodybuilders that ever lived, and I was doing more sets and reps in my weight training than he was. Ronnie Coleman believes that you should strive to, “Stimulate the muscle, don’t annihilate it.” Once a muscle has been thoroughly stimulated, more sets and reps will just retard growth. Great bodybuilders like Ronnie Coleman limit the number of sets and reps per workout, this makes it easier to target your specified muscle and enhance its overall potential. Too many bodybuilders are guilty of “over training.” Most weight lifters just go into the gym and do countless exercises per muscle group and never give a thought to the whatifs or whyfors of the training regime they’ve adopted. It’s that type of approach to training that leads to insignificant gains in muscle mass and overall fitness. To stimulate muscle growth pick 1 or 2 basic exercises per muscle group and perform 4 to 6 all out hard work sets for each exercise. Rep range should be between 6 to 20 reps with all the weight you can safely handle.

Secret #2: Heavy Basic Exercises Build Big Muscles!
Countless sets of concentrated dumbbell curls, preacher curls, cable curls and incline dumbbell curls will not produce half the results that a 6 set weight pyramid of all-out 6 to 20 reps Olympic barbell standing curls will.  My training partner and I were guilty of this crime. The same can be said for the Squat. All out barbell back squats for 6 to 20 reps will produce more muscular size and strength than 50 sets of leg extensions, leg curls, and even leg presses. I learned this important secret from Lee Priest; a man whose training methods of using heavy squats will put slabs of muscle on the most hopelessly skinny guys you have ever seen. Champion bodybuilder Jay Cutler is also a big advocate of big weights with basic exercises. The biggest, strongest, and best-built champions of both past and present always incorporate the squat, deadlift, bench press, shoulder press and bent over rows into their training. You cannot build mighty muscles lifting mini mouse weights. End of story!

Secret #3: Eat Like A Bodybuilder To Look Like A Bodybuilder.
This sounds simple and actually is simple, yet most trainees screw it up

1. Protein. The most important element to the bodybuilder. Protein is for growth, maintenance and repair of muscle tissue. One to one and a half grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is recommended. The highest quality proteins are from animal sources i.e. eggs, fish, poultry, and meat and dairy products.
2. Carbohydrates. Raise the blood sugar level and supply the muscles with energy. Best sources of carbohydrates are potatoes, oatmeal, stone ground whole wheat bread and cereals. You should also consume several servings of vegetables every day.
3. Fats. Fats are essential to a good diet as they heat the body and lubricate body parts. They also provide a necessary base for carrying vitamins A, D and E. You can get ample amounts of good fats through your daily diet of fish, eggs, and if needed a tablespoon of olive oil. If you’re trying to build new muscle and keep your body fat at 10 percent or less, you’ll wind up looking like a well defined scarecrow. As Gunter Schlierkamp says, “Eat big and grow big!”

Secret #4: 7 To 9 Hours Of Sleep At Night.
You cannot and will not grow bigger and stronger if you ignore this rule. 7 to 9 hours of sleep is required for the total recuperation and growth of the entire body. Muscular bodybuilders like Chris Cormier and Markus Ruhl are big believers in proper rest. Rest time is when the combination of proper training and eating come together and morph into making bigger, stronger muscles. When you’re at the gym heaving the weights around, you’re actually tearing down the muscle tissue not building it up. When you’re eating the proper amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and water, you’re feeding the muscles for growth. But when you’re sleeping the actual growth is taking place. Get your rhythm down, improve your sleeping habits! The average, healthy individual needs to live on a 25 hour cycle, but of course our planet is on a 24 hour cycle. So instead of switching planets, let’s look at what you can do to better understand this.    The body is at rest and can do what it’s meant to do at sleep time, GROW. Power naps throughout the day (15 to 45 minutes of sleep) are also a great way to build up extra energy and give the muscles time to repair and grow. Just remember this, cut your sleep short and you’re cutting your progress short! You have to decide what you want most, late nights out partying with friends or a bodybuilder’s physique that turns heads wherever you go!

Secret #5: Have A Master Plan.
This secret could arguably be the number one ingredient needed to be successful. I learned this secret from the all time bodybuilding great Arnold Schwarzenegger and have never forgotten it. What are our goals and why are we training? Without a master plan you’ll be like a ship at sea with no defined destination and without a rudder to steer yourself. Here is what a master plan consists of. First off, what’s your goal?

1. End Goal. What do you want to be or accomplish? Do you want to win a state or national bodybuilding championship? If so then that is your end goal.
2. Goal Map. This is where you plan out the ways and means of accomplishing your goal and how long it will take you to achieve it. How will you cycle your training, how will you cycle your diet, what supplements will you take, what will you have to give up in order to realize your dream?
3. Take Action. Now this is really the hardest part, taking action and sticking to your plan. You must stay the course until you reach your desired outcome. Neither Arnold nor any other champion bodybuilder would have been successful if they abandoned their master plan after their first setback or failure.

Secret #6: A Winner Never Quits And A Quitter Never Wins!
Remember this very simple phrase and make it a part of your life. When Gunter Schlierkamp defeated Ronnie Coleman some people said he just got lucky. A lucky break or successful event in life is nothing more than being physically and mentally prepared to take advantage of an opportunity when it comes your way. Think and act like a champion and you’ll be one!

Power Health Always,
Dan Przyojski
Email: dan@powerhealthproducts.com

BODYBUILDING SECRETS REVEALED #7  Six secrets of  the champions Edited by STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

THE SCHWARZENEGGER SECRETS Part 1

Why Was Arnold’s Physique So Far Ahead Of Its Time?

By STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT

Arnold was able to get huge back in the day because of the tactics he used while training, learn how he used cheat curls and other techniques to get huge arms.

Reading about the workouts Arnold did back in the ’60s and ’70s is inspiring, but did you know there are loads of hidden secrets in those past routines that most bodybuilders just don’t get? The specific muscle training tactics he used, either by instinct or by design, are the very reasons Arnold was the biggest bodybuilder of his era and why his physique in its prime is still outlandish even by today’s freaky standards. For the most part he was instinctively doing a lot of little things precisely right, and though they may seem small those details paid off big. (Some say he was even splitting muscle fibres, which is entirely possible, but tremendously rare.) For example, he knew how to overload the muscle at the exact spot where maximum force* can occur, the point along the stroke where muscle fibres are perfectly aligned for extreme fibre activation. It’s one of the reasons his arms were spectacularly big, full and peaked, and you should follow his lead to make your arms and other muscles more massive. No other bodybuilder in the history of the sport has made the same impact. Indeed, Arnold Schwarzenegger remains the greatest, and most influential, bodybuilder of all time in the eyes of many.

Cheat Curls
If you’ve read anything about his biceps training, you know that cheat curls were one of his favorite size builders. No, he didn’t invent them, but he sure made them popular. He used to start his biceps program with them, heaving up massive poundage’s.
Arnold made cheat curls popular but a lot of people criticised him, saying he wasn’t training biceps, only his lower back, but his biceps had high peaks that made his arms look unbelievably big. Now, you could contend that those who dismissed his cheat curls as non-productive had a point. After all, Arnold did a lot of other biceps exercises too, so cheat curls may really have been training more of his lower back than his arms but I don’t think so. I’ve an idea those cheat curls may be one of the key reasons his biceps got so incredibly full and peaked. Why?

Max-Force Generation Point
The max-force* generation point I mentioned earlier is the place on an exercise’s stroke at which the target muscle can generate the most force, and more force equals more mass. That point, say many scientists, is the spot where the most muscle fibres are stressed to the max because they are perfectly aligned for action. So if you overload that max-force point correctly, max growth stimulation can occur.

Where is that sweet spot on the curl’s stroke?
Right below the point at which your elbows are bent at 90 degrees, between the bottom and the midpoint. There has to be some stretch in the muscle for ideal fibre alignment and therefore max-force production; in fact the closer you get to full contraction, the less force you can produce because of fibre crowding and bunching. Remember what I said in an earlier post about sarcomeres being similar to six man rowing boats all rowing into and over each other.

Now imagine Arnold doing a cheat curl. He would lean forward, bend his arms slightly and heave the heavy barbell to his shoulders. Almost the entire overload occurred right at the max-force point-between the arms-straight-position and the midpoint. One of Arnold’s favourite bicep exercises was cheat curls. It overloads the biceps right at the max-force point, just below where the elbows are bent at 90 degrees.In fact, there was hardly any resistance on his biceps any place else along the stroke. Interesting. Semi-stretched position overload. Perhaps that’s why Arnold’s biceps were so high and he swore by cheat curls as his biceps mass exercise.

Isn’t cheating dangerous?
Absolutely, more people probably get injured doing cheats than those that go on to develop big biceps from them, but remember “where theres a will, and there is a fcking will, theres a way, and there is a fcking way” (Sexy Beast). Soz, couldn’t help myself.  Instead of doing barbell cheat curls, try cable curls. Maintain strict form throughout the set. Begin by first doing as many strict reps as you can, aim for 10 reps. When you can’t do another full rep, pull the bar up to the max-force spot, right below the midpoint, and do short partials till you can’t stand the burn. Those partial cheat reps will overload the muscle through this short range of motion without risking your lower back, well, within reason anyway.

Why use a cable instead of a barbell?
Because cables produce more uniform resistance, without the heaving at the bottom starting point of the exercise you get with a barbell. Try partial reps at the end of a set of barbell curls and you’ll see what I mean.

Main Muscle Worked: Biceps.   Equipment: Cable.   Mechanics. Type: Isolation.

What about Stretch Position Overload?
The max-force overload “cheats” weren’t all there was to putting the peaks on Arnold’s arms. While cheat curls attacked the semi-stretched point, he also favoured stretch-position overload. For biceps that meant incline curls. By reclining on a 45-degree incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand hanging down on either side of him, at the start of the curl his biceps were in an extreme stretch range. He would fire out piston-like reps, keeping tension on his biceps throughout the stroke and blasting out of the fully stretched position-but without heaving or jerking.

Fibre Splitting
It’s interesting to note that recent studies have linked stretch overload to hyperplasia, or fibre splitting. One animal study triggered a 300 percent increase in one muscle that was subjected to stretch overload in only 30 days. Yes, that’s tripling the size of the muscle, and the researchers suggest that a lot of the massive increase was caused by fibre splitting, as evidenced by muscle biopsies.

Arnold’s Secret Workouts?
Could stretched-position overload along with max-force-point “cheats” be Arnold’s secret weapons for incredible biceps mass? Well it worked for him, but it wasn’t only his biceps that got freaky from stretch overload.

Arnolds Chest Workouts.
Another example of Arnold using stretch overload is his chest workout. One of his favourite pec movements was dumbbell flyes, but he had a certain way of doing them-only moving through the bottom third of the stroke. He lowered to the bottom stretched position, but on the upward stroke he stopped the dumbbells when they were about three feet apart, immediately lowering back to the stretch. Why?

Dumbbell Flyes.
He said the short stroke kept tension on his pecs, which is true and important, but it also placed the most overload on his pecs when they were elongated, or stretched. Those partial flyes were really just rapid-fire cheat reps in a stretch-position pec exercise-and no doubt one of the big reasons Arnold’s pecs were so full and striated.

Calves.
Arnold was a master at getting the most growth activation from every set, and calves are another example. When he moved to the America, his calves were underdeveloped compared to most of his other muscle groups, this was before he met and talked to Reg Park, a former Mr. Universe winner and a man who was a big believer in overload.  Arnold was using a few hundred pounds on his various calf raises, but when he trained with Reg, he was amazed to see his mentor pile 1,000 pounds on the calf machine and keep grinding out movement until he could barely budge the gigantic load. Arnold soaked up that experience and information and immediately began applying it. Soon he was using 1,000 pounds on his calf raises, and two or three guys on his back for donkey calf raises, a better stretch-position calf exercise than standing calf raises. But don’t think for a minute that he stopped a set when he couldn’t get all the way to the very top.

Never Waste A Set.
When he couldn’t do anymore full reps, he would drive the weight up as high as he could, usually just barely above the bottom stretch point, and do partials till the muscle couldn’t even twitch. It burned like crazy, but it worked. Soon his calves were one of his best body parts, in fact they were so good that he was accused of having calf implants. I think he instinctively knew how to train in semi-stretched and stretched positions. If you’re neglecting stretch overload in the gym, it may be one of the biggest reasons you’re not building more muscle faster. Arnold achieved semi-stretched and stretched position overload at almost every workout, and you might want to follow his lead.

I’ve found that overloading a muscle in its semi-stretched point with cheat reps and power partials similar to what Arnold used at the end of his calf raises and other exercises can make each set two to four times more effective at building mass. Cheat reps work so well because after you hit failure, you keep firing the muscle at its max-force-generation point, which according to scientists is the key mass building position.  Arnold also instinctively knew to train every muscle in the fully stretched position for the fullest, most complete development possible. Was he triggering hyperplasia, or fibre splitting? It’s quite possible. Whichever way you look at it, Arnold knew what he was doing and achieved freaky mass, even by today’s standards.

Edited from an article originally featured on Muscle and Fitness http://www.muscleandfitness.com/training/arms

Is Functional Strength Training Rubbish?

MODERN TRENDS IN PERSONAL TRAINING

By STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT Qualified

Is functional training a viable addition to traditional strength training?

Over recent years functional training has been touted as the gold standard for developing strength and athleticism. Unfortunately, a lot of this is due to some misguided theories and assumptions rather than actual results. Some would have you believe that in order to be a disciple of functional training you must:

1. Exclude most single-joint exercises
2. Avoid split routines
3. Avoid the use of machines
4. Have a strong dislike for bodybuilding!

Functional” coaches promote the delusion that progressive resistance methods are only useful for aesthetic purposes. However, this stance is not supported by research or empirical evidence. The word “functional” in the strength training arena is vague and causes much confusion for trainers and clients alike. We can define the word functional as:
*Of or serving a function
*Designed or intended to be practical rather than attractive
Resistance Training manuals generally define “functional” exercise as:
*Exercise that improves one’s tolerance or performance of work, daily life or sport.

Eliminating single-joint exercises has become commonplace with functional trainers due to an incorrect assumption that they and or machine exercises will ruin performance. It is programme design and loading parameters of training that determines the benefit of an exercise.

“A client who participates in rowing requires great pulling strength. Top strength coaches agree that the limiting factor in a primary movement like pulling, is a weak link; a weak muscle. If the biceps are weak in comparison to the lats, then incorporating arm flexion (single-joint) exercises into the programme will improve pulling strength and thus performance in the sport. Select exercises based on the client’s goals and needs, not on the genre of training you support.”

Below, Erik Minor challenges the arguments created by the functional training establishment.
Argument 1:
Functional exercises are natural and single-joint (isolation) exercises are unnatural.
An exercise is natural if it obeys the laws of joint mechanics, neurophysiology, and the limits of soft tissue. All exercises have risks and benefits, it is imprecise to label any exercise as “good” or “bad”. The risk is determined by how far you stray from optimal joint mechanics, how much load is used, and how often. An exercise is valuable if it contributes to the overall improvement of a desired motor pattern. For example, let’s say you’ve recovered from a hamstring injury and now you want to strengthen the weak leg. The most efficient way to recover the lost strength and muscle mass on the injured leg is to perform unilateral single joint exercises. You will achieve more motor unit activation by isolating the movement pattern. Once the hamstring is at a desired strength level, bilateral exercises can be added. There really is no such thing as isolation exercise because single joint exercise requires isometric stabilization of the support muscles. So, single joint exercise could be called iso-metric or iso-kinetic exercise. During a standing biceps curl, the shoulder girdle and core musculature must contract iso-metrically to maintain body position.

Argument 2: Functional exercises are better than single joint exercise for injury prevention.
Other than acute trauma caused by impact, muscle imbalances and faulty movement patterns are major causes for muscle and joint injury. When an individual has weak muscles within a movement pattern, the body will compensate by avoiding the weakness, especially during complex movements such as running, jumping, squats, Olympic lifts, chin-ups and shoulder presses. Repeated exposure to faulty movement patterns can result in pain and joint dysfunction. It has been said, and I agree that you are only as healthy as your joints. The best way to address faulty movement patterns (not caused by a medical condition) is to pinpoint the weak muscles, strengthen with single-joint exercises, and then re-educate the muscular chain with compound exercise. Greg Roskopf, founder of the soft-tissue therapy called Muscle Activation Technique, states, “Functional Training will only reinforce the bad compensatory patterns if the weak links are not first identified and eliminated.” Functional training can be especially problematic for athletes since most have experienced injury during their careers. Correcting muscular imbalances and weakness should be the first priority when training anyone.

Argument 3: Functional exercise is more sports-specific than single-joint exercise.
Unless you are a weightlifter, power lifter, or strongman, there are no sports-specific exercises. The only sports-specific training is the actual sport movement, also known as practice. The sports-specific move for shot-putters is shot putting, for a rower it’s rowing and so on. The real question is whether the strength acquired will transfer to the prime movement of the sport. Transfer of strength is a better indicator of an exercises value. All strength training performed in a gym is “artificial,” but even “artificial” exercise can contribute to improved performance. Wayne Westcott, Ph.D. performed several studies on the effects of machine based strength training on golf driving performance. All 77 participants improved their driving power (average 3.4 mph increase). This reinforces the fact that even machine-based strength can improve performance. Take two individuals with equal skill, body structure, size, and experience; make one athlete 25% stronger in the prime movers of their sport. The stronger individual is now the superior athlete.

Conclusion
A trainer must utilize the best tools available to achieve the goal. Don’t eliminate exercises because they don’t fit into a particular genre. Evaluate every exercise, piece of equipment, and gadget for its efficacy at achieving the desired result. Be practical in your approach and recognize the complexity involved in manipulating the human body.

Adapted from The “Functional” Training Delusion By Erick Minor
Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 | Dynamic Barbell Club

It’s not called personal training simply because it’s one on one. It’s supposed to be personalized to suit the individual, and personalized training has to be so much more than exercise selection and program design.