Thursday, 30 April 2009

Biceps 21s

I swear by Biceps 21s, it is the perfect exercise to finish off your biceps workout. If your after new growth in the biceps department then Biceps 21s are truly the exercise for you.

So what is Biceps 21s?

Biceps 21s is a spin off of the standard biceps curl. You still use the standard barbell or EZ bar (my preference is the EZ bar) but you carry out 21 repititions for each set you complete, hence the name 21s.

The idea is that you stand in the biceps curl position but carry out 7 lower half reps, only bringing the bar half way through the curl movement so your arms go from straight down to a 90 degree angle halfway up your torso.

Once these 7 reps are complete you then complete 7 upper half reps only bringing the bar down from your hands being up near your shoulders to your arms being at a 90 degree angle halfway up your torso.

On the final 7 reps you complete 7 biceps curls with the full range of motion.

When and how to complete Biceps 21s?

Carry biceps 21s out every other week at the end of your biceps workout. Start off with 2 sets and build up to 3 sets after 4 weeks. Once you have completed biceps 21s for 8 weeks you can see a huge explosion in the size of your biceps.

Always ensure you keep good form, with biceps 21s its more important to use lower weight and keep good form than to increase the weight and find your form goes out of the window. With good form comes good increases in size, with bad form you will not gain anything substantial.

Biceps 21s Video

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Hugh Jackman Wolverine Workout

Hugh Jackman beefed up big time for his role as Wolverine in Xmen: Origins the new Xmen film based on Wolverine.

For Hugh to get so big he had to train very hard and watch his diet over the space of 18 months. Now that really isnt a long time to get in such good shape, so what exactly did he have to do to get so ripped?

Firstly he trained very early in the morning for 60 to 90 minutes a time.

The workout consisted of a ten minute cardio warm up followed by a big weight session and finished off with 20 minutes of running or swimming.

The weight sessions are pretty much chest and triceps one session, back and biceps another and legs another with all sessions concentrating on the big compound lifts such as Squat, Deadlift and Bench.

To keep shocking his body all the exercises bar these compound moves were changed regularly either by different exercises or different angles in the exercise itself to keep his body guessing what he would do next.

These exercises were also carried out in supersets so Hugh would have to complete a big compound lift and go straight into an isolation exercise to really push his muscles to the limit.

To pack on the muscle, as well as training hard Hugh was also on a strict diet plan that saw him eat 6 times a day. This eating plan also included him getting up at 4am in the morning to eat!

One of Hughs tricks to keep the protein flowing in his body was to have protein supplements either side of training and eat cottage cheese before bed so the body got a slow release of protein while he slept.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Current Training

I have realised that I have not really been using my journal to its full potential so you do not get the full idea of what I am achieving and what my current training is all about.

Today I pledge that I will post once a month to advise on what I am doing, what my weight is and how things are going generally.

After completing a few seasons of the 5x5 workout I have moved on to pyramid training for a season. The idea is to give my body a chance to recover from the gruelling regime of the 5x5 workouts and also to ensure I dont hit a plateau and I can carry on my gains.

Currently my training regime is as follows

Monday - 3 to 5 kilometre jog (2 to 3 miles)
Tuesday - Biceps and Triceps assistance workout
Wednesday - Shoulders and Legs workout
Thursday - 3 to 5 kilometre jog (2 to 3 miles)
Friday - Back and Biceps workout
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - Chest and Triceps

Core training is incoorporated within these sessions.

I am currently weighing in at 91 kilograms but I have now set myself a stretching target of reaching 100 kilograms in weight by the end of 2009.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Increase Your Squat

Not everyone trains their legs, and for those that do not a huge percentage carries out the best leg exercise of them all....the Squat.

For those that do use the squat exercise in their workout it can be demoralising to hit a plateau and not see any improvement in the weight and repetitions you lift in the squat week in and week out, well today this is going to change.

Today I am posting about the different ways you can kick start your squat training to get past that plateau you have been stuck at for a while and really start improving your squat lifts.

max squat Pictures, Images and Photos
5x5 Squats

The first way to try and work past that squat lift plateau is to carry out a 5x5 workout technique on your squats. For this you need to lift as heavy as possible for 5 sets of 5 reps.

At first you will probably achieve 5 reps for three sets, 4 reps for one set and two to three reps for the last set. If this is the case stay on this weight until you can complete the full 5 sets of 5 repetitions then once you have achieved this add 2.5 kg to the bar and start again. Only add weight when you achieve the full 5x5 on the current weight you are lifting.

Explosive Squats

Use explosive squats to build power from the bottom of your squat. To do this go down slowly to the bottom of the lift then lift as fast as you can to the top like a jack in the box. This will build explosive power in your muscles.

Front Squats

Try building 3 sets of front squats into your workout to really work your quads and build more strength on the front of your legs. This will also improve your stability as front squats are harder on the stabilising muscles.

Hip Flexibility

Many people cannot squat properly and this impedes them improving their squat. Why not try out hip flexibility exercises to loosen the hips so you can squat deeper and with more comfort thus improving form and strength.

Squat More Often

Why not try the Texas technique and train your squat three times a week!

Using this method you have a heavy day, intermediate day and light day. These are broken up as follows
  • Heavy Day - 1 heavy single, double or triple (1×1, 1×2 or 1×3).
  • Intermediate day - 5 sets of 5 reps with the same weight.
  • Light day - 3 sets of 3 reps with the same weight.
Moving from once a week to three times a week will really kick start your squats and build more muscle from the feet upwards.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Ahmed Abukhater

Ahmed Abukhater is a powerlifter from Palestine who competed in his first major competition in 2006 when he competed in the (WABDL) World Powerlifting Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Before entering in this world championship Ahmed had competed in the regional competition of Central Illinois Championship in 2003 and also the national Heart of American Bench Press & Deadlift Championship in 2004.

In the Central Illinois Championship Ahmed gained first place in the Open Mens 165lb (75kg) category with a bench press of 300lbs (136 kg) which started his road to success.

Ahmed Abukhaters major success came in November 2007 when he entered he WABDL World Championship in Anaheim, California and won his division.

Throughout his powerlifting career Ahmed has broke many Palestinian national records in powerlifting.

As well as powerlifting Ahmed Abukhater is also a very intelligent man who has achieved many educational accolades such as

  • PhD candidate in Community and Regional Planning - University of Texas in Austin
  • Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning - University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign
  • Architectural Engineering - Islamic University of Gaza
From his humble beginnings Ahmed has really proven himself both physically and mentally. I am sure he will carry on pushing the boundaries in Powerlifting and the academic world.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Green Tea

Green tea has been used as a hot beverage for thousands of years, the reason for this is not just because of its taste but also because of its great medicinal properties.

These medicinal properties actually have many benefits for weight lifting also.

cup of tea Pictures, Images and Photos

When you drink a cup of green tea you are getting a good level of Catechins. Catechins are in the polyphenols family and are great antioxidants. In Catechins there are epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), these ingrediants provide a level of antioxidant activity that is nearly one hundred times more powerful than vitamin C or E.

Green Tea also has Theanine in it. Theanine is an amino acid that is known to give a calming and tranquilising affect on the brain!

Green Tea is also a great pre workout drink as it has some Caffeine in it yet also provides a relaxing affect on the mind without affecting the performance of the body. This is a great supplement to take instead of coffee or other caffeine products that can make you all anxious and jittery.

Finally it has been researched and confirmed that Green tea actually increases your metabolic rate by upto three percent if you drink two to three cup of green tea daily. Now this is perfect for those that want to lose fat and cut up for the summer!!!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Powerlifting For Strength

Strength is one of the great reasons for going to the gym along with weight loss....oh and the vanity of looking DAMN GOOD!

When it comes to strength there is no better way to train than powerlifting training. This means training to lift as much as you can in the three big lifts of Powerlifting, these lifts are

  • The Bench Press
  • The Deadlift
  • The Squat
I have spoke previously about the importance of powerlifting 5x5 workouts to build a really strong body through base compound exercises supported by other compound exercises and isolation exercises. The idea is that by building from the bottom up your body will see a huge increase in strength very quickly.

I myself am a powerlifter and I am not really interested in the vanity of looking good, although big, strong muscles are a great byproduct of powerlifting.

If your interested in finding out about powerlifting click here to see my article on the subject.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Kettlebell 5x5 Workout

The 5x5 workout is gruelling under normal circumstances when using a Barbell but imagnie carrying out a Russian Kettlebell 5x5 workout!

The 5x5 workout has been around for many years and is still probably the best workout to build strength and siz. I myself have used the 5x5 workout and nearly doubled the amount I could lift in the deadlift in a matter of three to four months.

The idea behind the 5x5 workout is to carry out exercises with 5 sets of 5 reps on a heavy weight that you can only just achieve the amount of reps, once the full 5 reps are achieve on the 5 sets you add more weight and start again.

Unlike the Barbell 5x5 workout where you can increase weight as things get harder the Kettlebell 5x5 workout has a slight variance where you decrease the speed of your negative to make it harder. You can also reduce the break time between sets to give your body less time to recover which also makes the sets harder.

Below is an idea of a Kettlebell 5x5 workout you could try.

Kettlebell 5x5 workout

Day 1

Military Press
Kettlebell Swing
Kettlebell Squat
Renegade Row
Kettlebell Windmill (3 sets of 8)

Day 2

Kettlebell Squat
Kettlebell Snatch
Kettlebell Bent Over Row
Kettlebell Bench Press
Kettlebell Turkish Get Up (3 sets of 8)

There is only two different training sessions here so you keep alternating between the two with 48 hours rest between. Every twelve week take a week off to recover.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Build A Bigger Chest in 10 Weeks

We all want to build a big, strong body that can be compared with the Adonis for its chiseled muscular stature but how many people know exactly how to achieve this?

A lot of men know that exercise will support them in their goal of achieving an awe inspiring body, the problem is they don't know how to achieve this and they train in the incorrect way.

Are you one of those men that go to the gym, have a little jog on the treadmill, then spend an hour doing bicep curls of various types (barbell, dumbbell and EZ bar)? If the answer is yes then you need to read on to find out how to build a bigger chest in 10 weeks.

Firstly you can train your chest once or twice a week, training your chest twice a week will give better results. Make sure you give at least a full 48 hours rest between separate chest training sessions. I would advise training your chest on a Wednesday and Saturday for example.

It is also important to mention that each training session should take no longer than 45 minutes and you will also be training your triceps as a secondary muscle in your chest training regime. If you have time left at the end of your chest workout session add some triceps exercises to take you up to the 45 minute workout.

I will show you a few different chest training regimes that will really build a bigger chest in 10 weeks. For optimum results use a mixture of these training regimes throughout the 10 weeks to achieve your bigger chest.

Training Regime 1

Bench Press

Sets/Reps - 4 x 8

Information - Go heavy on the bench press but ensure you keep good form. By going heavy on the bench press you will really punish your chest muscles and trigger the hormones in the body into natural muscle growth.

Incline Dumbbell Fly

Sets/Reps - 4 x 10 to 12

Information - This exercise removes the use of the Triceps but does add stress to the deltoids (shoulders) as well as the chest muscles. Use lighter weights with good form, you should be just able to complete the last few reps of the last set.

Close Grip Bench Press

Sets/Reps - 4 x 10 to 12

Information - By moving your hands closer together the emphasis is more on the Triceps than the chest. Use lighter weights as you get used to the movement as the bar can become unstable because of the close grip.

Training Regime 2

Incline Bench Press

Sets/Reps - 4 x 8

Information - Go heavy but keep good form. The incline bench press uses the shoulders and Triceps as secondary muscles and moves the angle at which you are hitting the chest muscles.

Cable Crossover

Sets/Reps - 4 x 10 to 12

Information - The cable crossover is a great exercise as it gives constant tension on the muscles throughout the whole movement. The cable crossover also incorporates the core muscles as well as the Triceps as secondary muscles.

Press Up Claps

Sets/Reps - 4 x 10 to 12

Information - Utilising the standard press up with your hands just wider than shoulder width apart push hard and clap your hands between each push up. This explosive power will really improve your chest size and strength. You may find that initially you can only carry out one or two of these but stay motivated and you will soon find you can complete full sets.

Training Regime 3

Dumbbell Bench Press

Sets/Reps - 4 x 8

Information - Go heavy on the dumbbell bench press but be aware that you will not be able to lift as much as if you were on the standard barbell bench press. The dumbbell bench press is a great exercise as it lets the arms work independently and engages stabilising muscles so promotes extra growth.

Decline Bench Press

Sets/Reps - 4 x 10 to 12

Information - Go heavy on the decline bench press and keep your hands shoulder width apart, form is important. The decline bench press shifts the angle your hitting the chest muscles and also works the shoulders and Triceps.

Dumbbell Pullover

Sets/Reps - 4 x 10 to 12

Information - The dumbbell pullover hits the chest at another different angle and also works the chest. This is a great supporting exercise to a chest workout.


Remember the rules!

Dont work the chest more than twice a week
Leave at least 48 hours between each chest workout
Dont spend longer than 45 minutes on each gym session
Add Triceps exercises at the end of your chest session if you complete within 45 minutes

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is one of the weightlifting power performance foods, yet is one that many people over look. This is strange given everyone knows about the great nutritional values of nuts, I suppose the issue is that they see the word butter in the name and worry about all the fat.

peanut butter Pictures, Images and Photos

For those lacking the ability to take in the calories they need, peanut butter is the food for them. For those who find it hard to take in their daily intake of good fats and proteins...peanut butter is the food for them.

Granted peanut butter shouldnt be eaten constantly, but for those who wish to make the most from their training a good spoonful of the nutty buttery goodness wont hurt.

For those who are unsure the nutritional facts speak for themselves.

100 grams of peanut butter roughly returns the following

Calories - 599
Protein - 28 grams
Fat - 53 grams (only 9 grams from saturates with a Cholesterol of zero)
Carbohydrates - 15 grams (4 grams of sugar and 9 grams of fibre)

Peanut butter also accounts for the following of a mans daily intake

Vitamin A - 6%
Vitamin C - 1%
Iron - 8%

Friday, 10 April 2009

Overhead Squat

The overhead squat is a training exercise that fits into the compound group of exercises as it uses two or more joint movements throughout the lift.

Unlike the standard squat the overhead squat is alot more punishing on the body and takes alot more time to master. Once the movement is mastered the overhead squat is an amazing tool to add to any training schedule and will really improve the strength and size of a persons legs.

The overhead squat utilises the following muscles

Primary Muscle Worked: Quadriceps
Secondary Muscles Worked: Lower Back, Hamstrings, Calves, Shoulders, Glutes

Overhead Squat

Equipment - Barbell of desired weight

Preparation - Move forward to a power rack with the barbell at shoulder height. Hold the barbell with an overhand (pronated) grip at shoulder height and use the snatch technique to lift the bar above your head. Place your legs in a wide stance and your toes pointing slightly outwards (this reduces the possibilities of damaging the knee).

Keep your feet (including the heel) flat on the ground for the whole movement.

Movement - Squat down by lowering your hips so they come between the heels of your feet. Keep your back straight and face forward throughout the whole movement.

Push through the floor with your feet and extend your legs and hips until your standing in the comlpete upright position you started in.

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. This is very important as stability can be difficult to obtain with the weight above your head.

Reps/Sets 8 to 15 reps for 4 sets

Overhead Squat

Monday, 6 April 2009

Eugene Sandow Father of Bodybuilding

Eugene Sandow may not be known to many but he is the pioneer who is crowned as the father of modern bodybuilding.

Eugene was born Friederich Wilhelm Muller in Prussia in 1867 (for those who don't know this is Kaliningrad in Russia).

Story has it that Friederich Wilhelm Muller left Prussia to avoid conscription to the military forces and found his way to London in the United Kingdom. He soon started appearances on the London stage where he was seen by Florenz Ziegfeld.

Ziegfeld signed a contract with Maurice Grau who was the boss of Muller. The contract stipulated that Grau would get 10% of all gross receipts Ziegfeld made from using Muller in his acts.

Muller created the stage name Eugene Sandow and Ziegfeld took Sandow to the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It was here that Ziegfeld noticed that while the people in the audience enjoyed Sandows show of strength lifting heavy weights it was his physique that interested them most. Because of this Ziegfeld got Sandow to work on movements that accentuated his physique, much like the bodybuilding poses of today.

Sandow was in a couple of short films in the 1880 and early 1890's before he actually came out of contract and built his own bodybuilding gym in 1897 called the the Institute of Physical Culture.

In 1901 Sandow held the very first Bodybuilding contest, this was on September 14, 1901 in the Royal Albert Hall.

After much success in life and gaining the friendship of some very distinguished people such as Thomas Edison and even King George V, Eugene Sandow passed away in 1925 aged 58 after having a stroke.