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One-Sided Gains


Here are four exercises which will help you to reap the benefits of unilateral training.

Chest: One-Arm Dumbbell Press
You have to balance yourself, so the press becomes more challenging. It requires a lot of concentration and may be slower, depending on the weight you are using.

Back: Single-Arm Lat Pulldown
Grasp the handle with an underhand grip and bring it straight down in front of your face. The movement is effective because you get a great stretch on the lats at the top. It is better than a two-handed pulldown.

Shoulders: Single-Arm Machine Press
You are going over your head in what is usually an unstable movement, so you will lift significantly more weight with the added control the machine offers. Doing this exercise with one hand will give you a really good burn.

Legs: Smith-Machine Bulgarian Squat
With one foot on a flat bench behind you, squat on one leg. This technique gives a deep stretch to the glutes of the working leg and grows your legs in a way dual-leg training can’t.


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Back Routine


Here is a workout focusing on the back.

Pull-up 3 sets 12 reps
One-arm dumbbell row 4 sets 12 reps
Wide-grip lat pulldown 4 sets 12 reps
Straight arm pulldown 4 sets 12 reps


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Straight Arm Pulldown


Straight Arm PulldownThe straight arm pulldown works on the lats. The pectorals, posterior deltoids and rhomboids assist in this exercise.

– Stand erect facing the weight stack at a lat-pulldown station with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees unlocked.
– Grasp a long lat bar or straight bar with an overhand grip.
– Your hands should be shoulder-width apart, with your arms nearly straight.
– Start with the bar at shoulder level, with your arms extended and just above parallel to the floor.
– Keeping your arms straight, pull the bar down towards your thighs in a wide, sweeping arc, focusing on using your lats as you pull.
– Exhale towards the bottom of the move, squeezing your lats hard once the bar reaches your thighs.
– Return to the start position in a smooth, controlled motion, stopping when your arms are again parallel to the floor.


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How To Do a Lat Pull-Down


Lat Pull DownA lat pull-down machine consists of a long bar suspended by a cord that is attached to a stack weights and a chair positioned directly under the bar.

The lat pull-down targets the back. The lat pull-down focuses on the latissimus dorsi muscle in your upper back. The secondary muscles used when completing the lat pull-down are trapezius, rhomboids, deltoids, biceps, and the flexors of the forearm, the serratus anterior and the brachiallis.

– Adjust the kneepads to comfortably support your legs and to help stabilise weight.
– Stand up and grip the bar, palms facing outwards, with your hands shoulder-width apart before pulling the bar back down and taking your place under the knee support.
– Stay seated and extend your arms up and above your position.
– Pull the bar down to your upper chest, keeping your back straight. Do not lean back.
– Don’t let the bar touch your chest when it comes down, because this means you are leaning back.
– Make sure your shoulders are down and your elbows pulled back and hold for a second before returning to the start position.
– Slowly extend your arms back up, stretching fully and keeping your ‘tall’ posture.

The upward motion should be as slow and smooth as the downward motion.


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Best Grip For Lat Pulls


The lat pull down is one the the best exercises for building the latissimus dorsi muscles that can give you a ‘V-back’ look. Many athletes do wide grip, behind-the-neck lat pulls to maximise the load on the muscles. Most experts discourage athletes from doing this exercise because it increases the risk of neck and shoulder rotator-cuff injuries. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a pronated-grip (palms away) lat pulls, in front of the chest, overloaded the lats best. Grip width (space between the hands) had no effect on activation of the lat muscles. The pronated grip was superior to the supinated (palms toward the body) grip for activating the lats.