Monday, 29 December 2008

New Year - A New You

So the new year is looming and 2009 looks to be an interesting one. With the bite of the economic meltdown it will be interesting to see how many people will follow their new years resolution and join a gym for a month or so before 90% of these people quit.

For those 10% of you who are looking to join the rank and file of us that frequent the gym regularly, WELCOME!!!

Now I am sure many of us have thoughts on what we want to achieve physically in the new year....mine is to bulk up more as I have shed a few pounds of muscle through my last 12 week cycle. Some of you may wish to lose fat, while others may wish to bulk up with muscle like myself.

Setting Goals

What you need to do to achieve your goal is set milestones to attain them. Say you wish to add 40 kilograms to your bench press then why not split this down in to manageable chunks. An example would be to set 4 stages where you congratulate yourself by adding 10kg, then 20, then 30 before hitting your goal of 40 kilograms. If you do this then it will keep you motivated as you are still hitting your smaller targets rather than trying forever to hit your main goal.

This process will work with any goal whether it be burning fat or packing on the muscle.

Now I hope you will all keep coming back as I post more about nutrition, workouts, exercises and much more in 2009. Hopefully some of the information I post is useful and will help you achieve your new years resolution to be trim and muscular!

Friday, 26 December 2008

Killer Home Leg Workout

Now we move to the killer home leg workout. This routine starts with no weight required at all and builds to the requirement of dumbbells, a step and a bench or chair will be required.

Legs are missed alot in training so when it comes to a home workout a killer home leg workout is very important.

We will complete three exercises at four sets each with twelve repetitions.

Exercise One

Bulgarian Split Squat

Find a bench or chair that is roughly knee height, Stand just short of your leg length in front of the bench and place the top of one foot on the bench. Keeping your body upright lower your body by bending at the knee of the leg that is not on the bench until it is at a ninety degree angle then using your leg muscles lift your body to return to your starting position then repeat.

Exercise Two


Keep your legs shoulder width apart. Bend your legs at the knee and hips so you lower your body towards the ground while keeping your torso relatively upright and your back straight, once you have lowered to a reasonable level reverse the movement you have made to return to a standing position keeping the back straight

Exercise Three

Calf Raises

Stand on the bottom step of your staircase or on a yellow pages book. Raise your heels as high as possible and you will feel your calf muscles tighten as they take the brunt of the weight then slowly move your feet back down as far as they can go, then repeat. Take one second to raise your heels but three seconds to lower your heels.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008


Calisthenics may be something that you have never heard of, well its actually a form of exercise used to increase strength and flexibility in the body. Originating in Ancient Greese the word Calisthenics is derived from the Greek words kalos, 'beautiful' and sthénos, 'strength'.

Carrying out calisthenics is very easy as all exercises are carried out without weights or equipment. Generally you will use your own body weight in many simple movements to increase strength and flexibility.

The primary exercises performed in calisthenics, most of which you will already be familiar with are: Situps, crunches, Pushups (pressups), pullups, squats, calf raises and dips. All of these exercises can be carried out without equipment or just simply using what is found around the home such as a chair for the dips or the bottom step of the staircase for calf raises.

Surprising to many but gymnastics is a form of calisthenics as all movements involve using your strength to hold your body in different positions.

If used correctly in a workout Calisthenics can really improve strength and flexibility, if you dont own any dumbbells or a barbell at home then using calisthenics is a great way to stay in shape and keep flexibility. It must be said that calisthenics will not see you grow huge in size as it is limited because of your weight.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Workout Supersets

Hitting a plateau in your muscle building? Then why not incoorporate super sets into your workout to shock your muscles into action!

Supersets - What are they

Supersets are two or more sets of different exercises completed one after the other without rest. Some only carry out supersets on opposing muscles such as the triceps and biceps while others use supersets as a way of really attacking one muscle group like the chest.

Benefits of Supersets

Supersets increase the intensity of your workout and reduce the time of your workout. You have to remember, more intensity in shorter time equals harder worked muscles that build in strength and size.

Types of supersets

There are three different types of supersets a person can carry out, these all perform two or more exercises in succession but are done so training different muscle groups in different ways.

Same muscle group

This type of superset is using two exercises that train the same muscle group such as dummbell bench press followed by dumbbell flys.

Antagonistic muscle groups

This type of superset is using two or more exercises that train opposing muscle groups such as the barbell curls (Biceps) and Triceps extensions (Triceps).

Staggered sets

This type of superset combines the use of a large muscle group such as the chest with a minor muscle group such as abs. This means you complete two exercises in succession such as bench press then crunches to speed up your workout.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Killer Home Chest Workout

Many people dont have the luxury of being able to afford a gym so I will be concentrating on the home workouts over the next few weeks ready for those who want to get in shape as their new years resolution.

This killer home chest workout will require a floor and a set of dumbbells, nothing more. Dumbbells can be picked up very cheap from local stores like Walmart in the US or Argos in the UK.

Okay so the idea behind this killer home chest workout is that you will not stop between sets, these are called supersets.

Exercise One


Keeping your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart and with strict form slowly bring yourself down to the floor and bring yourself back up again to your starting position for fifteen reps.

Video for form below

Exercise Two

Dumbbell Flies

Take your dumbbells and lie on your back flat on the floor with your arms out to your side and hand palm up holding the dummbells. Bring the dumbbells up in front of your body keeping your arms straight so they are directly above you and then return to your starting position. Complete 15 reps.

Video for form below

Exercise Three

Dumbell Press

Stay lying on your back and with dumbbells in hand move your arms in to the dumbbell press position and push them in front of you. Many people expect a bench to be required for the dumbbell press but the truth is that this can be done without any bench.

Video for form below


If you complete these three without rest for one set each, then rest for a minute and start again completing 4 sets of each in total. You will start to feel tired after the first set and wont need much weight on your dumbbells.

This is one killer home chest workout that will really improve your chest strength and size.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus Terrestris is a plant that is seen as herbal and helps increase performance when weight lifting.

For centuries Tribulus has been used as a herbal remedy by the Chinese and Indians, the reason for its use is because of its medicinal qualities in the production of the luteinizing hormaone (LH).

In the last fifteen years the weight lifters in Eastern Europe woke up to the amazing properties of Tribulus as it improved their performance for the Olympics.

So what does Tribulus Terrestris do exactly?

The active compounds in tribulus are called steroidal saponins, these lead to the production of the luteinizing hormaone (LH), with the increased levels of the luteinizing hormaone (LH) the body automatically starts increasing the production of testosterone.

Increased levels of testosterone improve energy levels both mentally and physically dramatically giving added strength and...increased labido in the bedroom!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Musclepowershop Disclaimer

With any form of exercise it is important to perform all exercises correctly to reduce the possibility of injury. Weight training has been proven to be one of the safest sports with fewer injuries sustained through weight lifting than through other sports such as football.

Taking this into account it is important to seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner before embarking on any exercise regime. I accept no liability for injury or illness sustained through the information held within this lens.

Your exercise program is entered into entirely at your own risk.

Power Clean Exercise

The power clean is a training exercise used by Olympic lifters to aid the improvement of their competing lifts the snatch and clean and jerk.

The power clean is a great strength increasing exercise that is a compound movement using many joints in the movement and working many muscles throughout the body.

Power Clean

Equipment - Barbell of desired weight

Preparation - Hold the barbell with an overhand (pronated) grip while its on the floor, ensure your back is straight and your looking forward while bending slightly holding on to the bar.

Movement - Push with your legs and lift the bar towards your chest, half way the movement will cause the emphasis to move from the legs to the lower back to complete the movement.

By the time the movement is finished the bar will be resting across the clavicles at the front of your body.

Note - Remember to start with an empty bar and build weight gradually to ensure you have correct form and do not try to lift heavier than you can.

Reps/Sets 8 to 12 reps for 4 sets

Power Clean

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Dont Be Scared Of Lifting Weights

Many women are scared of lifting weights because they think it will make their muscle grow so their physique will look more manly and too muscular, but this is not at all true.

If you ever saw my interview with Lisa Stokes then you will have seen a photo of Lisa that showed her not being a huge, musclebound female even though she lifts a very, very respectable amount of weight. The reason why Lisa has this strength but is not huge in stature is because of the way Lisa trains.

I believe women should not be worried about visiting the gym and lifting weights, truth be told lifting weights can actually support weight loss so should be an addition to any training regime!

Did you know that for every extra pound of muscle that you carry on your body you are burning an extra 60 calories a day without moving?

The best form of training for women who wish to lift weights is actually the powerlifting technique, this means lifting very heavy with low repetitions (upto 5 reps) building your strength without cumbersome, huge muscles.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Bench Press Partial Repetitions

Partial repetitions are an amazing way of increasing your bench press by working on the problem areas in your lift.

When lifting a heavy weight on the bench press you will feel through the lift that at a certain section you feel weak, but when you get passed that part of the lift you can power out the rest of the repetition without any problems. It is because of this we carry out partial repetitions.

Partial repetitions are where you will not carry out the full repetition from start to finish but only carry out a certain section of the lift for reps and sets.

The two main places where people fail on their bench press due to a weakness are either at the very bottom of the lift trying to power the weight off the chest or towards the top of the lift after getting the bar just over half way up.

Partial Repetitions - Lower half

To improve the lower half of your lift we do partial repetitions starting with the bar resting at chest height and having a stopper placed about 6 inches (15.5 cm) above your chest. A top tip is to use the power rack as your stopper.

Once your set up push the bar from your chest to the stopper, bring down slowly and repeat for your full repetitions and for how many sets you wish.

Partial Repetitions - Upper half

To improve the upper half of your lift we do partial repetitions with the bar starting in its normal position at the top of the lift and having a stopper placed about 6 inches (15.5 cm) below your full bench lockout (where your arms are extended at the top of the lift). A top tip is to use the smithy for this partial repetition exercise as it has safety stoppers that can be used.

Once your ready pick up the bar as you would in a normal bench press and lower the bar to the stoppers slowly before powering the bar back up to your starting position. Complete the amount of reps and sets your happy with.

You should find you can lift heavier than your normal bench press one rep max on the upper half partial reps.


You should incorporate both partial rep exercises into your workout as training the lower part of your bench press will build your starting strength while training the top half of the rep will build that important power needed to push the bar to the top of the lift.

Video of Andy Bolton training with partial reps

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Building Bigger Lats

Everyone knows the secret to building bigger lats is to carry out back exercises, but exactly what exercises will increase the size of your lats and how?

Well firstly the lats are a big muscle and building big lats will give you a good sized back you can be proud of, but you need an overall workout on the lats for this to work.

The size of a person back comes from the width of the upper part of the lats, this part of the lats is built with wide grip pulling movements. The best way to improve your back size is to include some wide grip exercises such as the barbell row, wide grip lat pull down and wide grip seated row in to your work out.

To gain a good overall V shape to your back you also need to work on the lower parts of the lats, to do this carry out the following exercises, close grip lat pulldown, close grip seated row and dumbbell bent over row.

As you can see it is important to have a mix of narrow grip and wide grip exercises in your back workout to gain a big, well proportioned, V shape back.

Back Muscles

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Top Tips - Stronger Bench Press

Everyone wants to build a strong bench press, whether its a powerlifter or just someone wishing to look good in the gym a strong bench press is a must.

Today I want to talk about top tips to increase your bench press and build strength. You may wonder what amazing secrets I am going to reveal...well there are none, wat I am about to say is common sense techniques that really work.

Build Stronger Triceps

When lifting in the bench press the triceps are the secondary muscle in the lift. If you improve the strength of your triceps this will dramatically improve the amount you can lift in the bench press.

The best method of increasing the triceps for this movement is to complete the bench press with a very narrow grip (slightly less than shoulder width apart). You will find it difficult to lift a heavy weight lifting in this manner as the triceps become the primary muscle and the pectorals the secondary thus giving your triceps a great workout.

Working the Negative

Perform the negative (lowering the bar) section of the lift in a slow and controlled manner ensuring the bar is bought down to the chest you are going to improve your strength greatly.

You may find lifting your maximum difficult at first carry out the lift in this manner but you will sure see the gains in time.

Partial Repetitions

Partial repetitions are a great way to build a stronger bench press as you can work on the section that needs the most improvement.

Top half of lift

You can use blocks on your chest (telephone directories are good) to only bring the bar down half way so you can work on the top portion of your lift, you will find you can lift heavier training this section of the lift.

Bottom half of lift

Use the power rack as a stopper so you can lift directly from your chest for a few inches and return to your starting position to improve the lower part of your lift. If you can build your strength in the lower part of your lift then you will find your bench press improve in strength greatly.


Sometimes we can get in to a rut when lifting, we find that we cannot improve on the maximum we are lifting. Using the above techniques will improve your bench press greatly in a short period of time.

Instead of just trying to ramp up the weight on the normal bench press, start working on your technique on the negative, improve the strength of your triceps and work on partial reps to build the strength where your bench press is lacking.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Bodybuilders - Big Shoulders

Many people work hard in the gym to gain big shoulders so they look broad. The problem is that many do not train their shoulders properly so look wide from the front yet look flat from the side.

There is two reasons why people fail in getting big, full rounded shoulders, these are

  • Overloading weight so they lose form
  • Forgetting to train the rear deltoids
Overloading weight so form is lost

The deltoid muscles are very sensitive to movement so when lifting weight that is too heavy form is lost and losing form means the slightest change in the angle of the lift moves the stress from one deltoid to another.

An example is the lateral raise, working the lateral deltoid. Many tend to lift heavier than needed and lose form putting the emphasis on the front deltoid instead. What happens is that the front deltoid grows in size while the lateral deltoid does not gain at all, this results in rounded shoulders that have size when looking from the front but lack any size when looking from the side.

Forgetting to train the rear deltoids

This is the most common of issues when training the shoulders, it is so surprising that most people do not train these little but very significant muscles. While the rest of the shoulder is getting a good workout these muscles are left lagging behind meaning the shoulders are not looking as thick from the side as they could do.


When training the shoulders always ensure you keep good form so the emphasis is on the correct deltoid and never forget to train the rear delts. This way you will build a bigger, thicker set of shoulders while actually lifting less.

New Gym Visit

Today saw me visiting a new gym. I have been thinking for a while to move from the gym I am at as it is quite a distance from my home and doesnt fully cater to my needs. I have a good friend who trains at another gym that is only a thirteen minute walk from my home so I went to visit today.

To be honest I was pleseantly surprised as this gym has everything I need to push my boundaries further and lift alot heavier. I will also have the added bonus of being able to train with a partner, my friend who trains at the gym.

My friend is really interested in training to build his bench press, but working together we think that we can both benefit from being able to push each other and spot each other when needed.

I think it will be another 4 weeks before I sign over to the new gym but it is something I am certainly looking forward to!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Protein Shakes

After eight months it is a shock to me that I have never written about the great support protein shakes can have on supplementing your diet to ensure you get your daily protein intake.

Generally people take protein shakes after training which is great. Truth be told taking protein shakes is a great way to supplement your diet and ensure you are getting your daily protein intake while also giving you an easy meal replacement for when you dont have time to make a mid meal snack.

There are two types of protein shake on the market, one has low carbohydrates so is nearly 100% protein and the other carries a 50/50 ratio on protein and carbs.

The protein shakes that are low in carbs are a great supplement to a main meal so you can increase your protein intake from your meal while not increasing the carbohydrate intake which you have already gained from the meal itself.

The protein shakes that are 50% protein and 50% carbohydrates are perfect for a snack between meals or for after training as they will give you a great protein injection while also giving your body the energy it needs.

I normally keep a tub of both at home so I can use them as I need, normally this means a protein shake that is low in carbs to supplement my breakfast so I know my protein intake has started well for the day. I then have a 50% protein and 50% carb protein shake straight after training to give my body the nutrients it needs.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Lisa Stokes Interview

Today we are very lucky to have an interview with Lisa Stokes, a female powerlifter from Australia. I say very lucky but this does not go far enough to give Lisa the respect she deserves as Lisa is a powerlifter in the Australian National Powerlifting team who has achieved so much in such a short period of time in the sport.

Lisa Stokes - Image courtesy of Dallas Olsen


What made you start out in Powerlifting and how old were you?

I had no plan to become a Powerlifter, and in fact I didn’t really know what Powerlifting was until I was sitting back stage after a figure competition and chatting to guy from my gym. I was obviously looking pretty unhappy and he asked what was up. I had said that I loved training, and had always been into sports but there was such an anti climax for me competing in figure competitions; there was no competition, no event that got the adrenalin pumping. He suggested that I give Powerlifting a go, and 4 weeks later I started training and had to learn how to do each lift. I was 38 years old.

How did you become professional?

In Australia Powerlifting is an amateur sport, but I first made the Australian team (IPF) in 2007.

What is your favourite exercise in the gym?

Hmm....I love to bench, well these days anyway. When I first started lifting bench was my weakest lift, and after getting my shoulders fixed and working on my technique I really started to love it. Now when I lie on the bench I feel like I am “home”.

What are your personal bests in

(At 60kgs in weight)

Squat 122.5kgs
Bench Press 75kgs
Deadlift 140kgs

What does your weekly training schedule consist of?

It depends on where I am in my training cycle of course, but I generally do 4 dedicated lifting sessions per week. If I am away off from comp I also do interval training which could be anything from hill sprints, stationery bike or rower intervals. When I first started lifting my coach had me do a lot of outside plyometric training, although these days it is more gym based speed work. Right now I am off season so I am taking the chance to do some circuit style training with sets of over 6 reps!

Well done for winning the Bronze at the IPF World Masters in October 2008, where do you see your future from here?

Thanks, it was certainly a buzz and quite unexpected. Right now I am having a break as I have been hitting it pretty hard since I started lifting 3 years ago. The first competition I have committed to for next year is the Australian Nationals in July 2009. I am still only a relatively new lifter and have been really happy with my progress to date and my coach and I are hoping to see continued progress over the next few years. I am keen to compete at the IPF Open World Titles in 2010 and to gain a top 3 ranking at home here in Australia the same year.

Do you have any words of motivation for our female readers?

I love Powerlifting for women because it builds a strong functional body which is really sexy. Sure it is great to be able to out lift the guys in the gym, but it is more about feeling amazing and strong when you walk down the street. I also love the fact that powerlifting is not at all about how we look (in fact the equipment pretty much assures the opposite J).

If I can start a sport at 38 years of age and make the national team, you can do anything you want to do.

I'm sure you will all agree this was a great interview! If you would like to find out more about Lisa please visit Lisa's website at

10 Week Lift Peaking Cycle

For those that want to improve their strength in particular lifts I have created a ten week lift peaking cycle.

This 10 week lift peaking cycle caculator is perfect for Powerlifters who want to work on their deadlift, benchpress or squat in the run up to a meet. Work on your lift using this peak cycle and you will hit your peak for week week.

Some of you may wonder how the peak cycle works. Well basically the cycle works by building you up to your one rep max by getting you to lift specific percentages of your one rep max over a period of time. You will find by the end of your peak cycle when you attempt your one rep max it will be easily achieved and you can put extra weight on to the bar.

To get your 10 week lift peaking cycle calculator click here

I hope you like this new addition to my free tools and any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

The Great Ivan Abadjiev

Many in the Olympic lifting and Powerlifting world have heard of the great Ivan Abadjiev (also spelt Ivan Abadzhiev), the man who broke all training boundaries to make Bulgaria THE weightlifting champions of the world. The thing is Ivan Abadjiev is an illusive man and there is not a huge wealth of information on him available.

Today Im going to try and pen as much information as possible for all those who have been salivating at finding as much information about this man as possible.

Ivan Abadjiev was born in 1932 in Bulgaria, at first he started out in gymnastics before moving to weightlifting. He got himself a name as a mad man in Bulgaria because he started weight training twice a day, but this paid off when he won the Silver medal in the Olympic lifting lightweight (67.5kg) category at the 1957 World Championships in Tehran.

After giving up weightlifting Abadjiev became a pen pusher for the Bulgarian sports committee grumbling all the time about the inferior training of the Bulgarian weightlifting team, this was until the weightlifting team produced poor results at the 1968 Olympics.

Although the sports committee in Bulgaria thought Abadjiev was crazy they gave him a chance to improve the Bulgarian weightlifting team, and this he did. In 1972 after training under Abadjiev utilising his twice a day training regime Bulgaria won three gold medals and three silver medals.

Up till the start of the year 2000 Bulgaria dominated the world of weightlifting with some lifters actually being able to lift three times their own bodyweight which opened everyones eyes across the globe given how small this country is (7.5 million people today).

Ivan Abadjiev is now an older man and not training people as he used to but this legendary coach still has many trying to replicate his training regimes for great success.

So what was Ivan Abadjievs secret training regime?

Abadjiev believed that training should be between 30 to 60 minutes with the average being 45 minutes, the reason for this is because this is when the testosterone in the body peaks and after this any training can reduce recovery time.

Here is a sample of the workouts he used to put his Olympic weightlifters you will see this is training multiple times in a day.

Session 1
(Mon, Wed, Fri)

  • 9:00-9:30 - Front Squat
  • 9:30-10:00 - Break
  • 10:00-11:00 - Snatch
  • 11:00-11:30 - Break
  • 11:30-12:30 - Clean and Jerk
  • 12:30-13:00 - Front Squat
Session 2
(Mon, Wed, Fri)
  • 16:30-17:30 - Clean and Jerk
  • 17:30-18:00 - Break
  • 18:00-19:00 - Snatch
  • 19:00-19:30 - Front Squat
  • 19:30-20:00 - Pulls
Session 3
(Tue, Thu, Sat)
  • 9:00-9:30 - Squat
  • 9:30-10:00 - Break
  • 10:00-10:45 - Power Snatch
  • 10:45-11:15 - Break
  • 11:15-12:00- Power Clean
  • 12:00-12:30 - Front Squat
  • 12:30-13:00 - Pulls

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Core Strength Training

Some of you may have never heard of the phrase "Core strength training". Well core strength training is training the core of the body, the muscles that make up the core are

  • Transverse abdominals (Stomach)
  • Obliques (Stomach)
  • Rectus Abdominus (Stomach)
  • Erector Spinae (Back)
  • Ilio Psoas (Hips)
  • Glutius Maximus (Bottom)
  • Glutius Medius and Minimus (Bottom)
Core training is often overlooked by many as they concentrate on the big lifts like the bench press, but what they dont know is that by putting a little core training in to their workout their other lifts will improve.

In nearly all compound lifts the core muscles will have some part to play. An example will be the next time you try the lat pulldown, you will feel your core muscles tense as you pull the bar down.

Now for core strength training you dont need to add an extra training session for this, the easiest way to complete you core training is adding it at the end of all your workout sessions.

Here is a sample of what you can add to your workouts to improve your core strength

Workout day 1 - Crunches 4 x 30
Workout day 2 - Reverse Crunches 4 x 30
Workout day 3 - Russian Twists - 4 x 30

By building your core strength you will see gains in your big lifts as you engage these muscles to support the primary muscles in the lifts.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

L-Carnitine Info

L-Carnitine is a non essential amino acid, the body uses L-Carnitine by synthesizing it into the amino acids Lysine and Methionine.

Function of L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine have many roles but the ones that you would wish to gain from promoting growth to supporting the metabolic process, providing muscle energy and cell growth. L-Carnitine does this through the transfer of long chain fatty acids to Mitochondria.

L-Carnitine has been scientifically proven to mobilise long chain fatty acids, these long chain fatty acids such as Triglycerides are then transfered in to Mitochondria.

Mitochondria is a cells power plant as it generates the cells power through Adenosine Triphosphate (know as ATP).

How does this help me?

This means that your muscle will not fatigue so quickly giving you an extra boost with your reps while also helping with you regulate your metabolism and increase energy.

L-Carnatine in your diet

L-Carnitine can be found in many day to day foods such as

  • Avacado
  • Lamb
  • Beef
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Milk

Monday, 3 November 2008

Arnie Press Exercise

The arnie press exercise is a variation of the seated dumbbell shoulder press and was created by the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The idea behind the arnie press is that rather than concentrating solely on the front deltoid the arnie press will give a more rounded workout on the deltoids without impacting on secondary muscle except for a slight use of the triceps.

Arnie Press

Equipment - Dumbbells of desired weight

Preparation - Hold the dumbbells with an overhand (pronated) grip sitting with the dumbbells at chest height and palms facing towards the body.

Movement - Push the dumbbells towards the ceiling while rotating your hands so the palms of your hands are the way you are facing by the time you arms are fully extended above your head (do not lock your elbows). Once you have your arms fully extended above your head take the reverse motion to return to your starting stance.

Reps/Sets 8 to 12 reps for 4 sets

Arnie Press

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Powerlifting Rules

Some of you have heard me talking of powerlifting alot over the past few months since the launch of Muscle Power Shop, but how many of you truly know what powerlifting is all about?

I decided to write a short post about powerlifting because many people ask me "What do you mean by you being a powerlifter?"

Powerlifting is a sport where you compete in three lifs, the Squat, Benchpress and Deadlift. The winner of the competition is the person who lifts the total amount of weight over the three lifts for their weight category.

Competitors get three attempts on each lift and the maximum weight lifted is the one used towards their final score.

The IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) are the governing body of the sport and they set out the rules of exactly how a competition is run and how the winner is chosen.

To find out more about the Powerlifting Rules you can click here for those who are heavy readers you can download the full IPF powerlifting rules at the bottom of this link.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Martin Gergov Interview

Today I am happy to say that we have an interview with Martin Gergov, four times Bulgarian powerlifting champion!

At only 29 years of age Martin has already achieved so much in the powerlifting world so this is a really exciting interview.

How old were you when you started out in fitness?

- Training in fitness started at 14 years ol. But at 12 years old I was doing raise lever and parallel bars at school. I started practicing because I was skinny, about 40 kg in weight.

What made you start out in Powerlifting?

- Powerlifting I started to train in by accident. In a Journal of fitness, which I buy regularly, they published results of the vidyah compete in powerlifting. I could not believe it - I had good results from the first category to 60 kg. So I decided to participate in my first competition.

How did you become a member of the Bulgarian national team?

- Before I attend my first competition I went to the federation in powerlifting in Sofia (I am from the city Ivailovgrad) and told them I wanted to hire a coach. Once they understood what my achievements were they introduced me to the coach of the National Sports Academy. So I started training under his leadership. Performing anything they said my results were incredible. So after a competition, despite being rated second - my federation announced that I was accepted into the National team of Bulgaria in powerlifting.

What years did you become national Bulgarian powerlifting champion?

- I was four times champion of Bulgaria, three silver medalist and bronze medalist five times. Other places I do not remember them. After that I stopped to compete because of funds in Bulgaria, which is devoted to sports are funny! (a Bulgarian saying that means because there are very little funds)

What is your favourite weightlifting exercise?

All basic exercises are my favorites. But I love and am motivated by Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift!

What is your personal best weight lifted?

Squat - 250kg (75 kg in weight) of drill
Bench Press - 180kg (75 kg in weight) of drill
Deadlift - 280kg (75 kg in weight) of drill

What is your training schedule?

- When I competed I practice twice a day and three sessions (a week). Each exercise with 8-10 working series (sets) with 1-2 repetitions 3-4 months before the competition and no longer than 4 repetitions in the base (off season) period. My recovery was a little difficult because I had to work at night so I can train during the day.

The Bulgarians are well known for their strength and being champions of different weightlifting sports, what is the Bulgarian secret to success?

- To really work hard. When I was in our national team coaches were Andon Nikolov, Olympic champion weightlifting coach and made the most of Bulgarian Ivan Abadjiev Rods!

I suppose in this issue you are trying to ask me about chemistry. To have a good recovery, to make enormous training of course is not achievable without chemistry. Otherwise, there is no tie physically and mentally, but with proper dosage (correct level of physical and mental strength - the dose makes the poison, remember that). But the greater truth is training.

I remember that Abadjiev wanted to practice at least three times. Abadjiev system really makes champions. The bad thing is that Bulgaria does not appreciate good!

Where do you see your future as you have already achieved so much?

- In Bulgaria, at least for now I do not see a future. I would not compete, I have declined and so have many of my friends. Why you ha ha per kilogram protein and creatine kilo for first place, not much.

Professional sport is sport for money-occupation, not a sport for health, the difference is very great. You strip yourself of clubs, favorite foods, family, all day, even at night and eventually work for one boy, yourself!

After finishing to compete I began work as an individual fitness instructor. Among my clients there has been very well known people in Bulgaria and VIP personalities. Currently I am working again as an individual fitness instructor, I write articles on fitness and nutrition for a male magazine, and worked as a consultant! It is a matter of some time, however, when I leave Bulgaria for ever. Because this country is stepmother to good people, never satisfied!

If you want to find out more about Martin Gergov visit his website at

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Bulgarian Training

So I have been in Bulgaria for just over a week....what have I found that I can give as a pointer from the training I have received?

Well firstly the Bulgarians train brutally, I mean this in a totally positive way, these guys know how to train HARD by pounding out compound exercises with huge free weights and little recovery time between sets.

While Im a person that trains early in the morning around 8am to 8:30am the Bulgarian boys tend to train around 4 to 5 pm. Training with little recovery time inbetween sets compared to what I am used to really has been a struggle but has also been rewarding as I can feel the impact on my muscles.

The thing about the training is that although they train very hard, they also know how to relax and recuperate after training.

After training its time to rest and enjoy the evening with food. The food doesnt comprise of one meal that you eat within 30 minutes to an hour, this meal is a full evening affair with a starter and main meal supported by lots of plates full of cold meats, eggs, cheeses and nuts.

The starter and main course are eaten slowly and everyone is taking little bits of meats etc from the other plates (these are called meze). Even when the starter and main course are finished the meze plates stay on the table for all to enjoy along with a glass of Rakia (Bulgarian spirit made form grapes).

So as you can see the Bulgarian guys train hard with compound exercises, heavy weights and low recovery times between sets. Most of all they have a great relaxing recovery time that they spend eating slowly over long hours. By eating over long hours their keeps metabolism at a high level and their body enjoys a steady good protein intake to support muscle recovery and gains.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Fat Burning Zone

I have talked previously of the fat burning zone when on the topic of muscle definition but thought I would go further into the explanation of how this works and what it is all about.

When training we tend to put the highest intensity into what we are doing as we believe this will burn the most amount of calories thus help us lose the most amount of weight through fat loss, this unfortunately is not the truth.

As the body is using energy it does so in three ways...firstly the body uses carbohydrate stores, then fat stores and finally protein stores. The higher the intensity of your workout the more likely it is that you are utilsing your protein stores rather than your fat stores.

The end story of this will mean that your cardiovascular system will get stronger due to the high instensity of your workout, GREAT!, but you will also be in a position where prolonged training at this intensity will see muscle reduce with little fat loss.

The optimum way to train is at a medium intensity within the fat burning zone, the fat burning zone will see your body use carbohydrates and fats for its energy needs. This fat burning zone will ensure that the optimum amount of fat is lost through training.

So how do you find your fat burning zone?

To gain your fat burning zone we use your heart rate. Take your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age) and multiply this by 60% to find what your fat burning zone base heart rate is.

To find your ceiling fat burning zone heart rate take your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age) and multiply this by 70%.


I'm 27 so...

220 - 27 = 193
193 x 60% = 116
193 x 70% = 135

This means when training in the fat burning zone my heart rate should always sit between 116 beats per minute and 135 beats per minute.

If you train four times a week for forty minutes in the fat burning zone along with a healthy diet you are sure to see great fat loss results within four to six weeks while retaining our bodies muscle mass.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Powerlifting 5x5 Workout

You may have seen the previous 5x5 workout that I posted, now this workout being posted today is a powerlifting 5x5 workout.

The difference between a standard 5x5 workout and a powerlifting 5x5 workout is the exercises completed in the workout. The exercises differ because a powerlifter is concentrating on building on the three lifts in powerlifting competitions

  • Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift

By completing the powerlifting 5x5 workout your strength will increase quite quickly but you wont gain the huge arms etc that many want for vanity.

The powerlifting 5x5 workout is carried out three times a week with at least a days rest between training sessions, below is the two workouts you need to carry out to complete this workout.

Day 1

Squat 5x5
Benchpress 5x5
Barbell Row 3x15
EZ Curls 3x15
Crunch (Abs) 3x25

Day 2

Squat 5x5
Deadlift 5x5
Shoulder Press 3x12
Skullcrushers 3x15
Reverse Crunches (Abs) 3x25

Once day 2 is complete go straight back to day one and keep alternating, after 12 weeks take a one week rest and start again!

For a full 12 month 5x5 workout click here

Disclaimer - With any workout please only lift what you physically can, its more important to lift lighter and correctly than lift heavy and damage yourself.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Kettlebell Beginner Workout

The kettlebell beginner workout will increase the strength in your body overall, it does not target specific muscle groups but rather uses compound exercises to give an overall workout.

If carried out correctly and used as part of a larger training regime the kettlebell beginner workout can really help you get on track with gaining that beach body and increasing strength.

As the kettlebell beginner workout is an overall body workout it is important to rest for forty eight hours after the workout before training again.

Power Cleans - 3 sets x 15-20 reps
Single Arm Rows - 3 sets x 15-20 reps
Alternating Floor Press - 3 sets x 15-20 reps
Front Squat - 3 sets x 15-20 reps
Single Arm Jerk - 3 sets x 15-20 rep
Kettlebell Swing - 3 sets x 15-20 reps

The illustrious kettlebell history has shown the kettlebells success with athletes and strongmen from the former Soviet Union (Russia) and it is for this reason that a kettlebell workout may support you in achieving your weight lifting goal.

Disclaimer - With any workout please only lift what you physically can, its more important to lift lighter and correctly than lift heavy and damage yourself.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Kettlebell History

Kettlebell training is a new craze to have hit some western nations but the truth is that the kettlebell history is unique and this centuries old training technique is one that Russia has been using religiously.

What is a Kettlebell?

A kettlebell is essentially a large cast iron ball with a handle. Kettlebells come in different weights (pounds and kilograms), the kettlebells in kilograms normally come in weights of even numbers while kettlebells in pounds can come in a variety of weights.

Kettlebell History

The kettlebell history is interesting.

The first documented mention of the kettlebell dates back to a Russian dictionary from 1704. It is believed that during this time the kettlebell was actually a counterweight used in the Russian markets to measure the weight of produce. Those in the villages and small towns started using the kettlebells as a way of keeping fit by throwing them around much like the shot put found in th present day Olympics.

Over time the kettlebell became very popular among strongmen who started incoorporating the kettlebell in to their strength training regime. This use of the kettlebell started with the Russian strongmen but was also used by strongmen across the countries of western Europe and America.

In fact if you look at old strongmen manuals from the early 1900's you will see that the kettlebell is a main part of all training regimes from the east or west.

As time progressed kettlebells disappeared from the west but carried on being used religiously in the Soviet Union (present day Russia).

It was not until the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991 that kettlebells were seen again in the west. Even at this time they were not really bothered with and it has only been the past 12 to 24 months that kettlebells have been advocated as a great training tool in the gym for both men and women.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Training Body Parts Equally

It is well known in the training world that many men will train specific parts of their body and neglect other parts. While this may not seem too bad at first glance, it is essentially very bad for the body.

We all know the men that visit the gym and work hard on their pecs, abs and guns (Biceps) yet never train their back or legs. These same people have the ideal in their head of having big arms and chest for the beach but dont understand the negative impact it can have on their body.

By training hard on one muscle group and not training others it produces an unnatural muscle imbalance which can affect the skeletal system causing problems with posture and joints.


An example of an unnatural imbalance causing probems to the skeletal system is overtraining the chest. By training the chest but not the back you can cause a muscle imbalance that affects your posture. When training the chest you will also train the front deltoid muscle of the shoulder, over time the chest and front deltoid grow in strength and size but the back remains the same.

Because of the muscle imbalance a person can expect to see their shoulders slump, neck bend forward and an unnatural curvature of the spine appear over time, this is because the muscles of the back and deltoid muscles cannot support the added weight from the training of the chest and front deltoids.


It is true that many people have one musle group that can be naturally stronger than other muscle groups comparitively speaking. I for one know that my back is extremely strong compared to all other muscle groups but for me this is a natural balance I was born with and has always been the case since before I started training.

In fact because I know of this slight imbalance I work harder on all other muscle groups than I do on my back so it gives me the opportunity to bring all my muscles in to line.

It is essential to train all body parts equally unless you know of a muscle group that has a weakness compared to others where you can train harder on this muscle group to bring it in to line with your stronger muscles.

If you do not train your muscles equally you can start to look awkward because of large muscles in one area and small muscles elsewhere, or even worse you can have a negative impact on your skeletal system.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Bodybuilder Diet

The bodybuilder diet differs greatly from that of a weight lifter or powerlifter. The idea behind the bodybuilder diet is to feed your muscle mass while being able to reduce body fat to gain that defined physique.

As I have mentioned previously you firstly need to establish you calorie intake to ensure you are eating enough, but not too much.

After this you need to understand how much macronutrients your body requires every day as part of your calorie intake.

  • Protein - 1 - 1.5 grams of protein for every pound you weigh (2.2 - 3.3 grams for every kilogram you weigh)
  • Carbohydrates - 2 grams of slow digesting carbohydrates, known as low GI foods, for every pound you weigh. (4.4 grams for every kilogram you weigh).
  • Fat - Consume 0.7 grams of essential fats for every pound you weigh (1.54 grams for every kilogram you weigh).
Next you need to change your meal times. For a bodybuilder diet you need to eat no less than six times a day spacing your meals out evenly to ensure a sustainable amount of energy and to keep your metabolic rate at its optimum level.

If you are into bodybuilding and want that huge mass that is cut to clear definition then you need to really up your game and change your diet to achieve your dreams. This bodybuilder diet is just what you need to kick start your bodybuilding goals.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Training with the Bulgarian Big Boys

A week today I travel back to Bulgaria to train with the big boys in Eastern Europe. To me this is going to be a bigger and more exciting opportunity than the last time I was training in Eastern Europe back in April.

I am going to use this time to learn new techniques and improve my deadlift and squat. My benchpress is coming along strong and even though the deadlift is the strongest of all my three lifts I feel it has not been improving as I want.

My weight has been waivering around 200lbs (90kg) and I think its time to push my body further to build on my strength/weight ratio.

When I am in Bulgaria I should have alot of time to post more often on here. I will use this time to talk about any interesting pointers I pick up.

For those who dont know Bulgaria is THE country for Olympic weight lifting champions. Bulgaria may only be a small country of around 7.5 million people but it has dominated the Olympic weight lifting circuit over all weight ranges for the past 30 years!

Although I am a powerlifter, not an Olympic lifter, I do see myself learning alot of training techniques that will cross over to the powerlifting world and will improve my training significantly.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Intermediate Leg Workout

Here we have the Intermediate leg and shoulder workout that will increase the size and strength of your legs and shoulders!

This workout is used along with a chest/triceps and back/biceps workout to give an overall body workout that will support your target of increasing size and muscle mass.

The reason why the workouts are broken down in this way is to give maximum opportunity for your body to grow through hard training and the correct rest and repair time muscles need.

This workout should be carried out once a week to see the biggest gains as any more will cause overtraining which could have a negative impact.

Upright Row - 5 sets of 5 reps
Arnie Press - 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Barbell Shrugs - 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Dumbbell Lateral Raise - 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Squat - 5 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Leg Press - 5 sets of 6 to 8 reps

Disclaimer - With any workout please only lift what you physically can, its more important to lift lighter and correctly than lift heavy and damage yourself.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Know Your Rep Range

When training there are many different repetition ranges that can be used when pounding out the sets during a workout, but what impact does the amount of reps do?

Contrary to common opinion the rep range has a huge impact not only on muscle growth and muscle strength but also on the cardiovascular system, nervous system and skeletal system. The repetition range you use in a workout has a huge impact over the whole body in different ways.

Previously I have mentioned how power lifters use low reps and high weight to increase strength without huge muscle growth while bodybuilders use less weight on higher reps to achieve hypertrophy (optimum muscle growth). To take this a step further I have created the table below so you can see exactly what your rep range is doing to your body.

As you can see low reps (1 to 3) with high weight that power lifters use really does increase strength and power while not having a huge impact on muscle growth, but at the same time this rep range also helps improve bone density and neural adaptations.

For bodybuilders the optimum rep range of 8 – 10 not only increases muscle growth through sarcoplasmic hypertrophy it also improves bone density, neural adaptations, strength and much more.

There are many different repetition ranges a person can use as the rep range chart shows. Using this chart should really support and push your workout forward.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Muscle Definition

One of my new female readers has posed the question of me debunking the myths on muscle definition and slimming so today I want to address these by giving the answers.

Muscle definition is an interesting one, I get quite a few people ask me how they can define a specific part of their anatomy and the truth is its not as easy as targeting a specific area...unfortunately.

Contrary to common belief it is not right that to gain muscle definition you need to train with light weight and very high reps (15 to 20 range). In fact at this level you are in the realms of sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (building larger muscle mass to you and me).

Muscle definition is gained through fat loss, by losing fat but retaining lean muscle you will notice muscle contours start to appear.

To gain muscle definition what is needed is a balanced diet and a good exercise program that utilises the fat burning zone.

Did you notice when talking about muscle definition I said fat loss not weight loss? This brings me neatly on to the diet!

Your diet should retain proteins, carbohydrates and essential fats as these supply the body with energy and aid the body in every day life. You will find for fat loss your diet will also have a slightly reduced calorific intake.

When training your body will use carbohydrates and fats to sustain your energy needs. If you do not have a good level of energy stores and you train to a high intensity your body will then start using your muscle store for energy sustenance.

The training regime should be of an intensity that sits in the fat burning zone rather than the cardiovascular zone. For those burning with desire to get in to the fat burning zone the simple way to gauge this is as follows.

To get in to the fat burning zone we lower the intensity of the training workout (treadmill, cross trainer etc). The fat burning zone is the level at which you are training and your heart rate sits between 60% and 70% of its maximum heart rate.

To gain your fat burning zone heart rate take your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age) and multiply this by 60% to find your fat burning zone base heart rate is. To find your ceiling fat burning zone heart rate take your maximum heart rate and multiply this by 70%.


I'm 27 so...

220 - 27 = 193
193 x 60% = 116
193 x 70% = 135

This means when training in the fat burning zone my heart rate should always sit between 116 beats per minute and 135 beats per minute.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Glycemic Index - Low GI Foods

Many seasoned bodybuilders and weight lifters are well versed with the terms glycemic index and low GI foods as they use these as an important part of their diet.

What is surprising is that unlike bodybuilders many people have never heard of the glycemic index or low GI foods so do not understand how they can help maintain weight control and support fat loss.

So what is the Glycemic Index?

Created by Dr. David Jenkins at the University of Toronto (Canada) in 1980 the glycemic index is a measure of blood glucose levels caused by the consumption of carbohydrates.

The idea behind the glycemic index is that the lower the number a food sits on the glycemic index the slower the glucose is released into the bloodstream.

This means that the lower the GI rating a food has the better it is for the body as it releases glucose slowly and steadily over a period over time.

Most bodybuilders try to keep their carbohydrate intake within the low GI foods as this will keep their metabolic rate steady throughout the day, in turn supporting their fat loss to keep their body lean.

GI Foods

Below is a list of foods and their GI range

Low GI (55 or less on the glycemic index)

Fruits, vegetables (not including potatoe), pasta, pulses, milk, fish, eggs, nuts, oil, meat, grainy breads.

Medium GI (56 - 69 on the glycemic index)

Whole wheat products, brown rice, basmati rice, sweet potatoe.

High GI (70 - 100 on the glycemic index)

cornflakes and other cereals high in sugar, potatoe, white rice, white bread, croissant, sweets, desserts and sugar (Sugar is the only product that is 100 on the index).


If you want to give yourself a steady flow of fuel throughout the day and also keep your metabolic rate high to support potential fat loss and a leaner body try to keep towards the low GI food range.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Ladies Only

I have had some positive feedback about Muscle power shop in recent times but one thing has become apparent, I am not catering to the ladies of this world!

To right this awful wrong I am creating the ladies only category on the blog. Here I will detail all that ladies need to know about building lean muscle for definition and using weight training as part of a fat loss regime.

Over the coming weeks and months the ladies only section will become a library of everything a woman needs to know to achieve her goals.

What I think will be important in the ladies section is explaining how weight training will support goals and why it will help along with the usual nutritional support.

Ladies I hope you will enjoy the ladies only section and hope you will coment on the information provided so I can make the ladies only section tailored to your needs.

Now to apologise for not having created the ladies only section sooner! ....SORRY!!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Gym Etiquette

Gym etiquette is an interesting and important part of training, you would be surprised at how many people do not know or take heed of the rules in a gym they frequent.

Those who do understand Gym etiquette will understand exactly what I am talking about, this is the small boy that picks up his weights and stands too close to you so you cannot complete the last few reps of your set or the gym rat who thinks he owns all the weight machines!

There are quite a few rules that need to be adhered to when visiting the gym, these rules make it enjoyable and safe for all who visit.

I write this post due to the poor etiquette I have seen of some who visit the gym I go to, now this is the gym I train in when in the UK, not the one in Bulgaria (I never have a problem with gym etiquette in the Bulgarian gym).

So what gym rules should you follow to keep your gym safe and enjoyable for all?

  • Do not use your mobile phone while in the training section of the gym
  • Do not carry out exercises right next to the weights as this stops others picking the weights they need
  • Keep a safe distance from the people to your left and right when carrying out exercises to ensure you and those around you have enough space
  • Always put weights back after use so they are not a hazard for others and so others can easily find what they need
  • Do not "Hog" the benches and weights, would you like it if you had to wait for someone who had 4 sets of dumbbells and a barbell in front of them!
  • Clean down machines after use, no one wants to sit in your sweat
  • The gym is for training, a little banter is good but having a meeting about your weekend in the middle of the gym with 3 friends is not fair on others
  • Keep the noise down, some people are trying to concentrate
Now I am not sounding off when advising of the above, these are clear guidelines on how you and others can help each other make a training session a real enjoyable experience.

When training I try to go when its quiet and there are not many people around this way I can fully concentrate on lifting those extra few kilograms without worrying about people affecting my workout.

Take Gym etiquette seriously as next time it could be you getting annoyed with someone not following simple rules.

Train hard, but above all train safe :D

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Intermediate Back Workout

Today Im showing you a standard intermediate back workout, also with a secondary bicep workout as the biceps are used as a secondary muscle group in any back exercise.

You will notice that this workout uses compound movements and also encompasses one 5x5 workout exercise. This back workout will add size and strength to your back and biceps, just what you need from a good stable workout!

This workout is for those who wish to build bulk and should be carried out once a week to see the biggest gains on your back.

Deadlift - 5 sets of 5 reps
Barbell Row - 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Dumbbell Bent Over Row - 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Lat Pulldown - 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Bicep Cable Curl - 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Bicep Dumbbell Curl - 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps

I used to use this workout before moving on to the 5x5 workout, by using this workout my strength did increase and I gained good size on my back.

Disclaimer - With any workout please only lift what you physically can, its more important to lift lighter and correctly than lift heavy and damage yourself.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Want a Guest Writer

Do you have a weight lifting/fitness related blog and want to have a guest writer?

Well I am now making myself available for guest writing on others blogs and websites. I am not charging anything for this although I would expect a bio box with a link back to here.

If you interested in taking up this opportunity please leave a message below or email me at

gfm _tr[at]

I will then Email you to talk further about your site and what type of post I can write for you :D

I look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008


L-Glutamine is an amino acid and is one of only a small number of amino acids that are encoded in the standard genetic code.

Function of L-Glutamine

L-Glutamine has been scientifically scrutinised for nearly two decades. It has been proven in this time that L-Glutamine helps speed up the recovery process in the treatment of injuries.

When weight lifting or bodybuilding we lift weights and make small tears in our muscle fibres so they grow back stronger. You have to think that in essence small tears in muscle fibres are classed as a minor injury to our body, because of this L-Glutamine is a powerful supplement as it aids the recovery and growth of muscle fibres.

Many amatuer and professional weight lifters and bodybuilders use L-Glutamine supplements to aid their muscle growth and repair.

L-Glutamine in your diet

L-Glutamine can be found in many day to day foods such as

  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Milk and dairy produce
  • Cabbage
  • Beetroot
  • Parsley
  • Spinach
  • Different varieties of beans

If your serious about your training regime then L-Glutamine could be the right supplement to assist in your diet.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Calf Muscles

The calf has the real name of gastroc-soleus and is named this because it is made up of two different muscles, the gastrocnemius and the soleus.

The calf muscle is found at the rear of the lower part of the leg, running from the back of the knee to the rear of the ankle where the achillies tendon is found.


The Gastrocnemius is very powerful yet a superficial msucle that has two heads, both running from the knee to the achillies tendon.

The Gastrocnemius is used for walking, running, standing, jumping and many other activities that require leg and foot movement.


The Soleus is very closely related to the Gastrocnemius and soem believe it to be one and the same muscle. The Soleus gets its name from its shape as it is the same shape as the solefish.

Like the Gastrocnemius, the Soleus is used for walking, standing, jumping and other activites. Without the Soleus a human could not stand as the Soleus manages the planterflexion of the foot (this means pushing the foot down away from the leg) without the Soleus we would fall forward flat on our face.

Calf Muscles

Both calf muscles are extremely strong and are different to most muscles in the body as they do not require low reps and heavy weight to increase in size. The calf muscles responds best to higher reps (15 - 20) and lower weight.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Rear Deltoid Raise

The rear deltoid raise is an exercise used to work the rear deltoid, this is an isolation exercise as it only works the rear deltoid and no other muscles.

The rear deltoids are not very strong so when carrying out this exercise with correct form only a low weight is required. It is important to carry out the rear deltoid raise with the correct form as using weights that are too heavy and/or the incorrect form with mean you utilise other muscles to lift the weight.

Reat Deltoid Raise

Equipment - Dumbbells of desired weight

Preparation - Hold the dumbbells with an overhand (pronated) grip lying face down on a bench.

Movement - Keeping your arms straight and elbows slightly bent lift your arms out towards your back (like they are a pair of wings), once there bring your arms back in front of you and repeat.

Reps/Sets 8 to 12 reps for 4 sets

Rear Deltoid Raise (Lying)

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Knowledge is Power

I have been asked many times why I do such a low amount of repetitions when training, it seems not many people understand the impact training has on the body. Many people think that more reps equals stronger muscles, they do not know that training is a lot more technical than this.

From early on in my training I found that understanding the body and how it works is such an important tool in building muscle. Knowing how the body performs means you can choose the specific training you want to achieve results without causing injury.

Those of you who have visited my blog since it was created will know I have spoke about this previously but this is something I feel passionate about.

I wont lie, I am still learning every day and this makes me happy as knowledge is power. I know that the more knowledge I have the better my training will become!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Home Workout

There are time when getting to the gym just is not possible and this is where a home workout can help. I know from my own experience that on rare occassions I find it hard to fit all four training sessions into my schedule.

It does have to be noted that a home workout will not give the same impact on your body that a real gym session would. Home workouts do support a proper gym workout if you are missing the odd session here or there, nothing more.

For those that are interested in what a home workout look like below are the exercises I carry out.

Press ups - minimum 20 x 8
Tricep dips - 10 x 5
Crunches - 4 x 30
Leg Raise - 3 x 25

As you can see this is just a small assistance workout where no weights are needed, it also has no heavy impact on the muscles. It is this reason why I say that a home workout is just a supplementary session for the weeks when you try as haerd as possible but cant fit all gym sessions in.

My Home workout - Press ups

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Good Morning Exercises

The good morning is called by its name due to the form used when carrying out the exercise. To explain the good morning the easiest way is to imagine a person bowing to greet another person.

The good morning predominantly works the lower back but also works the hamstrings.

It is important to only carry out the good morning exercise if you are intermediate to advanced at weight lifting and also to start with a low weight so your body can become accustomed to the movement. The good morning exercise is classed as controversial as it can cause serious back injuries if not carried out correctly, Bruce Lee famously damaged his back while carrying out good mornings.

Good Morning

Equipment - Barbell with desired weight

Preparation - Hold the barbell with an overhand grip resting behind your head on your upper back (make sure it does not rest on your neck). Stand with your legs shoulder width apart.

Movement - Keeping your upper body straight bend your hips and lower your upper torso forward until it is parallel with the floor. Keep your chin up throughout the movement to ensure your back does not become rounded as it has to be kept straight to avoid injury.

Some people find that they cannot lower their torso all the way down without their back rounding so do not bend down so far.

Reps/Sets 8 to 12 reps for 4 sets

Good morning

The video shows the knees bending slightly, this form is to reduce stress on the lower back.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Lifting Weight and Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is something we all need to watch as many people can suffer for years with hypertension (high blood pressure) without knowing about it until the damage to their kidneys and other organs has already occured.

What many people do not know is that there is evidence to show that weight lifting has an impact on blood pressure.

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force exerted by the circulation of the blood being pumped around the body. Blood pressure is actually reviewed through two pressure guages, these are Systolic (the highest pressure reached during the transit of blood and Diastolic which is the lowest pressure experienced during blood transit.

A healthy adult would expect to see their blood pressure at the typical resting value of 120/80 that is a reading of Systolic 120 mmHg and Diastolic 80 mmHg.

Lifting weight and blood pressure

When lifting weights in the gym a persons blood pressure can rise quite dramatically, the heavier the weight lifted the higher the blood pressure becomes. If you are lifting your one rep max in any exercise you can expect your blood pressure to rise to its highest level.

As you finish your weight lifting set your blood pressure will reduce back to normal extremely quickly.

Those who lift weights regularly will not only find their physical appearance change over time, they will also find their blood pressure becomes lower as the regular exercise helps maintain a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Weight Training Strength Comparisons

This may seem like comparing the strength of different weight training athletes but this is actually about comparing the weight training strength comparisons of different weight training sports.


Bodybuilding is a sport where the idea is to sculpt the body to make it as muscular and symmetrical as possible while keeping the body fat levels as low as possible.

Bodybuilding encompasses many isolation movements and does not exploit the true strength of an individual thus means that pound for pound a bodybuilder is generally not as strong as a powerlifter or Olympic lifter.

Olympic Lifter

Olympic lifters are very strong and use specific lifting movements/exercises called the "snatch" and "clean and jerk" both of these are compound exercises and involve lifting a weight in a specific movement from the floor to above the head. Once the weight is lifted the Olympic lifter will let the weight drop to the floor moving out of the way to ensure they are not hit by the falling weight.

Olympic lifters are clearly very strong, much stronger than their bodybuilding counterparts but are arguably not as strong as powerlifters.

Strong Man

Strong man encompasses many different rounds of competitive lifting from carrying a 170kg (374lb) shield as far as possible to lifting concrete balls up to 160 kg in weight and putting them on podiums at about shoulder height.

Strongman is a competition where brute strength is important, but more important it is a strength athletes sport where it is not just about lifting a heavy weight but also the amount of time involved with keeping the weight off the ground.


Powerlifters are arguably the strongest of all weight lifters, especially powerlifters that lift weights raw (without support). What sets powerlifters apart from Olympic lifts is that they don't just lift in one direction. What sets powerlifters apart from strongman competitors is the shear explosive power used in lifting a weight in a specific move.

Powerlifters lift in three different compound exercises, the bench press, deadlift and squat.

Powerlifters are generally seen as stronger than any of their other weight lifting counterparts for one reason only, this reason is that powerlifters not only have to lift the weight to a specific position the same as an Olympic lifter, they also have to use eccentric contraction to return the weight to its initial starting point adding extra stress and required strength to do so.


It may be an argument that many will contest but out of all weight lifting sports if we use weight training strength comparisons then powerlifters are the strongest of all the sports.

Strongmen are clearly the most athletic but there is no other weight lifting sport where a person can deadlift over 1000 lbs off the floor with a barbell (the strongman version lifting 1100 lbs does not count as its lifted over a shorter distance).

What are your thoughts, do you agree with my claims?

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Micronutrients and training

Micronutrients are just as important as macronutrients when it comes to training. Everyone knows about the macronutrients they need (fats, protein, carbohydrates etc) but how many know about what micronutrients their body needs on a daily basis?

Micronutrients are products that are needed to sustain life, unlike macronutrients which are needed in large quantities micronutrients are needed in very small quantities , so small in fact that most are only required in doses of 100mg or less every day.

Micronutrient deficiency

There is a belief that one third of the worlds population suffer with a lack of micronutrients in their diet, this is not just reserved for the third world this includes many in western society.

The most common deficiencies include Zinc, magnesium, vitamins A and E, iron and iodine.

The micronutrients, otherwise known as microminerals, that the body requires are

  • Iron
  • Cobalt
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Manganese
  • Selenium
  • Molybdenum
  • Zinc
Micronutrients and training

Those who train professionally will not only watch their macronutrient intake (protein, fats and carbohydrates) they will also watch their micronutrient intake as they understand that these small quantities of minerals have a huge impact to their training.

If you take in enough (not too much) macro and micronutrients then you really do have a great diet that will see your gains increase dramatically due to the body having everything it needs to repair and build your muscle mass.

I personally take zinc and copper supplements to support my diet, this ensures I am getting my micronutrient intake to support my training.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Workout Changes

I have been asked a few times why people carry out so many different exercises to train individual muscle groups, the reason for this is to stop themselves hitting a plateau.

When training it is important to change the exercises in a workout every six to twelve weeks. By changing the exercises used for workouts it will stop the body from becoming too used to specific movements. Imagine using the same exercises month in and month out, over time your body and mind will become accustomed to the movements and muscle gain from the exercise will become harder to attain.

What is noticed is that many people in the gym only complete the exercises that they are strongest on, this is proof alone that they need to concentrate on the exercises they find more difficult as this is where they will make the best gains.

I always keep a core set of exercises such as flat bench for chest, deadlift for legs and dumbbell or barbell row for back but regularly change the rest of the exercises in my workout to increase my potential muscle and strength gains.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Bulgarian squat Exercise

The Bulgarian squat, also known as the Bulgarian split squat, is a variation to the standard squat and as the name says, it was created by the Bulgarians. Many people have never heard or seen the Bulgarian squat being carried out but it is a great way to work the legs individually to ensure one leg does not carry the weight more than another.

The Bulgarian squat works the Quadriceps, Hamstrings and Glutes and is a great way to help improve the strength in your legs.

Bulgarian Squat

Equipment - Barbell with desired weight and a flat bench

Preparation - Hold the barbell with an overhand grip resting behind your head on your upper back (make sure it does not rest on your neck). Stand just short of your leg length in front of the bench and place the top of one foot on the bench.

Movement - Keeping your body upright lower your body by bending at the knee of the leg that is not on the bench until it is at a ninety degree angle then using your leg muscles lift your body to return to your starting position then repeat.

After completing the desired reps with one leg swap the leg placed on the bench for your other leg and repeat.

Reps/Sets 8 to 12 reps for 4 sets

Bulgarian Squat

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Metabolism and Lifting Weights

Many people use the word metabolism without fully understanding what the true meaning of a metabolism is and how it is affected by lifting weights.

What is metabolism?

First of all metabolism is not the speed of your digestion system as many believe, it is actually the combination of two processes called anabolism and catabolism.

Anabolism is all about protoplasm being created by the body cells for the growth and repair of the body cells.

Catabolism does the opposite of Anabolism, it breaks down different substances to a simpler form so the body can use them as energy.

Every person has a basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is the rate in which the body uses energy (calories burned) to perform its daily processes within the body if a person was not to move throughout a day.

There are two factors affecting a persons metabolism, these are any additional activity carried out during a day from walking to training hard and eating.

Lifting weights and metabolism

As you lift weights you will not only use more energy by burning fat you will also build more muscle mass and the more muscle your body carries the higher your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is. This is due to your body having to carry out more daily processes within the body due to the extra muscle tissue which means more energy is used.

Eating and metabolism

When you are sleeping your metabolism is at its slowest rate, this makes breakfast very important as it will give your metabolism a great kick start to the day. Also as many bodybuilders know eating frequently will keep your metabolism at a constant high rate throughout the day meaning more energy is used (more calories burned).

The best way to do this is to eat little and often. There is a saying eat little and often built like a race horse (low fat and lean muscle mass) eat alot and less often built like a bear (very muscular but also carrying alot of fat).

Metabolism summary

Training hard in the gym and eating healthy food regularly throughout the day should see your muscle mass increase and your fat stores reduce to produce a lean, mean physique.