VeeFitness

Bringing you the latest in health and fitness


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Beach Bummed


Competitive bodybuilders usually train for symmetry and proportion in an effort to build an aesthetically pleasing physique. There are many individuals who go to the gym to build up their beach muscles, disregarding symmetry and proportion in designing their training programs. Instead of training opposing muscle groups equally, they sometimes ignore the muscles they cannot see (back, hamstrings, calves, quads) and focus on the muscles they admire in the mirror everyday (chest, biceps, shoulders and abs). Although training specific muscle groups more than others can create an unbalanced-looking physique, disregarding a muscle group over time can potentially lead to other problems that may subject the body to injury.

One common mistake with regard to balanced training is performing an unbalanced training program between the chest and back muscles. The amount of time, energy, effort, volume and frequency between the agonist chest muscles and the antagonists back muscles may not be equal, or even close. A simple example would be an athlete who performs 4 sets os four exercises for the chest (for a total number of 16 sets) and does only 3 sets of three exercises for the back (for a total number of 9 working sets). Following this unbalanced training regime over time will result in back muscles much weaker than the chest muscles. This imbalance may lead to a slightly kyphotic posture (forward/rounded shoulders) that can potentially cause shoulder problems because of the faulty posture. In addition to the stronger chest muscles (compared to the back muscles) pullong the shoulders forward, inadequate stretching of the chest musculature can further contribute to this problem.

For some people, training legs consists of quads and that is it. The disregard their hamstrings while training only the quadriceps. Exercises such as the leg extensions, hack squats and front squats place a large amount of emphasis on the quads. Although these exercises are great you need to do an equal amount of hamstring work with leg curls and romanian deadlifts to stress both muscle groups. Distributing attention evenly to both muscle groups can give you healthier knees and lower back, as well as fewer hamstring strains because of an unbalanced hamstring-to-quad strength ration.

A less obvious training error woth regard to balanced training concerns the shoulders. Overhead shoulder press, incline bench press, flat bench press and other chest and shoulder pressing movements are critical for maximal muscle development. However, these exercises focus on the major muscle groups such as the deltoids, pectoralis major, pectoralis minor and other muscles known as prime movers. Often ignored in a training regime is the training or isolation of the smaller muscle groups in the shoulder known as the rotator cuff (the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) that are critical in keeping the upper arm in the socket of the shoulder. Failure to train these smaller muscles groups, two of which are not even visible can create an imbalance between the large prime movers and small stabilisers. This lack of imbalance in strength may result in bursts of bursitis, tendinitis or even rotator cuff tears in the shoulder joint.

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Squats – King Of All Lower-Body Lifts?


Everyone says that the squat is the king of all lower-body lifts. Even people who do not squat say that. Do you agree?

I believe that if you squat correctly, yes you can build some good size. That being said, I think leg pressing is the key to greater leg size. With that exercise, you can lock yourself into a machine, not worry about balancing the weight and just focus on pressing the weight up and down. When you squat, you are using your hips, quads and lower back, and you have to concentrate so much because it is a tough exercise. In leg pressing, if you keep your back flat and your butt close to the machine you can train as heavy as you like without the worry of balancing the weight. So for me, the leg press is the big daddy of all lower-body exercises.


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Standing One-Arm Overhead Press


Standing One-arm Overhead Press

Targets:
All delt heads, with emphasis on front and middle heads.

Best In Workout:
Great as one of your first exercises, not only as it is a compound movement move for delts, but it also brings your stabilisers into play, and you want those fresh. You can also precede this move with front and lateral raises if you want to pre-exhaust the detls. However, if you do so, your weight selection will be drastically reduced.

Sets & Reps:
Perform 3-4 sets with 8-12 reps.

Dumbbell:
Stand holding a dumbbell at shoulder level. Do not worry about holding a dumbbell at a 90 degree angle at the start, just ensure your elbow is pointing down at the start, with the dumbbell just above your shoulder.

Opposite Hand:
Your non-working hand should be on the same-side hip. By not holding on to a stable post with your opposite hand, you automatically call upon your core musculature to a higher degree and this will cause you to be stronger in every aspect of your training. As you fatigue,, holding onto a stable post like a power rack or Smith machine is fine and can allow you to bust out a few more reps.

Stance:
With your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your abs tight, press the dumbbell straight over-head to full-arm extension. You can vary how far apart your feet are, but having a wide, solid base will help you during the move and also alleviate lower-back stress. Be sure to keep your knees unlocked and your legs fixed. Many athletes think they are stronger on the seated version, but actually if your lower back and core are fit, you are capable of lifting more weight overhead from a standing position.

You do not have to be “perfect” throughout each rep. In other words, your upper body does not have to remain perfectly straight. Go ahead and allow a bit of a dip in your shoulder as you lower and press the dumbbell overhead. This will happen naturally, especially since you are using a heavy weight.


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Static King


One of the best ways to improve your strength is by moving nothing at all.

If your goal is strength, putting a zero-movement strategy into your repertoire could be exactly what you need.

By way a review, a static contraction, also known as an isometric, is one which the muscular force equals the external resistance, producing no movement whatsoever. For example, you loaded up the barbell on the bench press with much more than your 1RM (one rep max) and began pressing against it with all your might, you would have a static contraction. Even if the bar didn’t budge, despite the lack of movement a ton of muscular activity would be going on inside the muscle.

Research confirms you can produce more force and strength statically than you can during positive contractions. How can this benefit you in terms of strength? You need to look no further than your nearest sticking point. A static-training plan can help you blast past those sticking points that usually act as roadblocks. The good news is that you can apply the technique to just about any exercise from the squats to overhead press even to bicep curls. Be warned, though: it is more difficult than it looks. Applying continual maximal effort without movement is brutal and effective.

Be Specific
One key factor to keep in mind is that, although strength increases are associated with static training, they are angle specific. When you train statically at a particular angle, you gain strength and size only at that angle. Take for instance the overhead press. If you worked statically at one particular point along the path of the ROM, you would gain strength there and nowhere else. The gain in strength is not necessarily distributed along the entire range of motion. For this reason, you need to apply static training at various places.

The Weak Link
So where do you start? Go straight to the weakest point of your range of motion, which is near the bottom of most exercises. If you are working on the bench press, set the safety bars to the sticking point and load up the bar. Forget about it being your “weakest point” and be sure to load more weight than you could normally move so that you are certain to have absolutely no movement. If you are working out at peak gym hours or you do not feel comfortable putting that much weight on the bar, you can work with and empty bar, but from underneath the safeties. Simply press the bar up into the safeties as hard as possible.

A couple of items to note: On your pressing movements be very careful not al allow your hands to slip. Using chalk during static training is a good idea, because if your hands slip, your wrists can sustain severe injury, second, for the pulling movements throw on some pulling straps to make sure your pulls are not hindered by your grip strength. If you do not wear straps, use chalk instead.

Adding a static day a couple of times a month into your routine across all bodyparts will help trigger serious strength gains. The better able you are to blast through sticking points, the more weight you will ultimately move during standard weight training sessions.


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Feel Sick After Leg Day?


I don’t consider myself a crazy lifter but even with my basic leg routine – squats, romanians, curls and extensions, I leave the gym feeling sick on leg day. What gives?

Legs are the biggest muscle group we have. In order to fill them up with blood, that blood has to come from somewhere else and that means up top. It takes a lot of blood to fill up the leg area, it takes so much that it can literally make your nauseous. I usually feel nauseous after every leg workout. Do not be afraid of it, you will get past it. It usually takes about a month of two for you to become accustomed to it, but it will never fully go away. It is also a matter of food. With hard leg training, you are burning through your energy stores (glycogen) faster, so your blood sugar can get low rather fast. I get lightheaded no matter what I am eating, so I always try to make sureI have enough fuel in the tank to make it a bit easier. You might try eating a bit more complex carbohydrates the day before training legs to see if that helps.