Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Muscles Neglected

There are quite a few areas of the body where people neglect the muscles when weight training, the interesting thing about this is that these are muscles that can really support other muscles in growth and strength.

I regularly see that people seem to neglect their legs, forearms, wrists, grip, core muscles and lower back. Looking at this list there are quite a few muscles that are forgotten about, some of which don’t require much attention for improvement.


Ah the legs, that one group of muscles neglected by most; it seems that while people have the intention of working on their leg muscles when it comes to it they are very often forgotten about. The legs are important as they carry your weight and help you move from A to B, not rocket science…the reason why they get neglected is that they don’t really fit most peoples idea of vanity (chest, biceps and the like).

Forearms, Wrists and Grip

From the forearms down people don’t realise or don’t think to train these smaller muscles but they are very important for one reason more than any other. By working on these muscles you will improve the strength for holding onto a free weight bar, especially when it comes to deadlifts and similar exercises that require lifting extremely heavy weight.

Have you ever tried lifting a free weight bar on exercises like the deadlift or shrugs only to find you cannot complete so many reps because you start losing the strength of your grip?

Core Muscles

The core muscles are those of the trunk of the body, to many this is the abdominals only but there are a number of other muscles that are just as important yet never get trained such as the Obliques.

The trunk of the body, or should I say the core muscles, are extremely important and support your body in everything you do. With nearly every weight lifting exercise requiring you to engage your core muscles it is important to train them.

Lower Back

The lower back, also known as the Spinae erector is the muscles located at the bottom of the back above the gluteus maximus (bum to you and me). This muscle is important for big lifts such as the deadlift as well as supporting the weight of the body and your spine.

Many people work the muscles of the upper back but neglect this muscle.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Training Update

So as mentioned yesterday I went to the gym today after around six weeks off and still with my back injury in tow, so whats the verdict.

Mixed emotions really, it was great to get in and see the lads....quite a few came up to see how I am. It was also great to lift some weights BUT...as always there is a but...I couldnt complete a normal workout so there were no huge weights and hardly any free weights used.

I started off with the seated bench press resistance machine and did ten sets before moving on to the shoulders carrying out three isolation exercises. Not much of a workout really but its a start, as long as my back holds up and doesnt hurt tomorrow Ill go back in Tuesday night to lift more sets and a little heavier weight.

On a side note my mother in law thinks Im crazy to train with the injury I have, Id rather call it dedication.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Injury Update

Well its been around six weeks since I last trained because of the prolapsed disc in my back and this has been dragging me down a little. I thought that without training I would pile on the pounds but I have actually found that I dont eat as much, well my stomach wont let me so I cant!

What I am seeing is that my shoulders, chest and triceps seem to be getting smaller from the lack of training, I know it wont take much to get it back but its a nightmare....every night I look in the mirror at my withering Mr. Burns body and cry (its not that bad but you get the picture).

Tomorrow I am going to the gym for the first time, Im not going to do any heavy freeweight stuff because although the pain in my back has subsided I can still feel the problem and dont want to make it worse. My idea tomorrow is to just carry out seated resistance machine weights on my chest, triceps and shoulders to make myself feel better mentally and to try and get a little size back.

Ill post tomorrow about what I did and how I feel, hopefully this might be a way of doing some light weight training until I see the consultant and find out the next steps to recovery.

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Importance of Stretching

All too often people visit a gym, go hell for leather on the weights, then leave without the slightest form of stretching pre or post workout. There are so many reasons to train that it is surprising many people don’t bother, especially when they should know the importance of stretching.

Stretching prior to your workout

Stretching prior to your workout will warm up your muscles and joints, making them loose and warm so they are ready to undertake the extreme stress of lifting weights you are about to put them through.

By stretching before you workout you are preparing your body for the challenges ahead, this means that when you start that first set on the first exercise your muscles and joints won’t feel tight and you will be able to lift more comfortably.

It is a long held subject that stretching prior to workout will actually reduce the chance of injury but interestingly some medical authorities say that there is no evidence that this is correct. This does not mean that it’s fine to miss your pre workout stretch though as its not been medically confirmed either wat.

Stretching post workout

Stretching post workout is just as important as before your workout as it ensures your muscles don’t contract and become too tight, it also serves as a way of reducing DOM (delayed onset muscle soreness) you are likely to receive.

Other forms of stretching

It is most commonly thought that to get the most out of stretching to improve flexibility and overall performance in sports (including weightlifting) a person should carry out stretching exercises daily. By stretching daily you will maintain and improve the flexibility of your muscles and tendons giving you more support in your training regime.

Whether you like stretching or not there is a great importance of stretching before and after your workout so why not start supporting your body through stretching as well as weight lifting.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Common Sense of a Safe Workout

There is one important aspect of weight training that is often overlooked; this is mainly because this aspect does not build muscle or burn fat, this aspect is safety.

This week USC tailback Stafon Johnson had a near tragic accident in the gym where a barbell he was lifting slipped from his grasp and landed on his throat. Although the injury was found not to be life threatening it did require seven hours of surgery (it would have involved multiple surgeries for people less fit) and caused the reconstruction of Johnsons voice box. From what new sites are saying Johnson is likely to be out of action for the whole of this season at least.

This story backs up the importance of a safe workout, one where you have all bases covered so you don’t end up injuring yourself.

There are three main points when weight lifting that all should take heed of as they can really ensure you have a safe workout.


Concentration is the key to lifting correctly and safely while also giving you the best possible opportunity of lifting the heaviest weight for the most reps you can.

This is because as you concentrate solely on what you are lifting your body can ensure the correct form, your mind can prepare itself for the amount you are going to lift and finally you are less likely to make any mistakes.

Knowing your limits

Sounds silly I know but it is very common for people to try harder than they physically are able and find they cannot lift the weight. This poses the problem that they could pull a muscle or worse find the weight fall because they cannot hold on to it.

Training Partner

There are just some exercises you should never carry out without a training partner; an example is that I would never ever try to lift close to my max weight on the bench press without a spotter. Imagine I load up the bar with more than I weight and without a spotter come under difficulty with this huge weight above me, it’s a recipe for disaster.

A spotter ensures that should a lifter get into difficulty there is someone there to support the bar and help get it back to its resting position.

Some people may feel that this article is all about common sense but you would be surprised to find many people do not heed these warnings.

Compilation of gym accidents

Friday, 2 October 2009

The Core Muscles

When you hear someone saying they are about to train their abdominals, it always conjures up the feeling that the person who said it does not understand training quite as much as they think. If you ask any ardent gym goer they will say they are training their core muscles, but just what are the core muscles and why are they called this?

The muscles of the core are situated between the Pelvis and Thorax and are made up of the following:

The Obliques

The Obliques are made up of two muscles, these are the obliques externus and obliques internus (external and internal obliques).

The Obliques are found on the lower eight ribs, they look like fingers that curve down and forward towards the top of what is known today as the “Six Pack”.

The Transversus Abdominis

The Transversus Abdominis is a muscle with horizontal muscle fibres that is flat and triangular in shape. The muscle can be found under the oblique on the lateral side of the body and runs down to the bottom of the Rectus Abdominis, this means that it is the muscles on the outside of your “Six pack muscles” that forms the outside of your core muscles.

The Rectus Abdominis
The main reason people wish to train their core; these muscles are what are colloquially referred to as the “Six pack”. These muscles are paired muscles that run vertically from just under the rib cage down to the pelvic area. The muscles are situated in the centre of the front of the human body.

As you can see when training the core you are training more than simple the six pack abs that everyone dreams of. The core muscles are very important as they are the trunk of the body and near enough support all exercises you carry out whilst also protecting your core area. The core muscles also play an important role in posture and other functions.