Sodium is a great mineral that helps to regulate overall balance of vitamins and minerals present in your body. It is a very common misconception that sodium directly leads to bloating. Sodium should be controlled not cut out. Especially when you are low on carbs, as it is responsible for muscle fullness and strong muscle contractions. Being low on carbs stops your muscles drawing fluid into the muscles, and you need sodium to help you keep hydrated. Going too long without it eventually leads to dehydration. Sodium does make you hold water, but when you are training for a contest, doing cardio, tanning and posing, you are losing an enormous amount of sodium in your sweat and urine. This should be replaced through dietary sodium or you will experience cramping, weakness and low blood pressure. Sodium is only your enemy about 24-36 hours away from your show.
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.
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.
Excessive range of motion can contribute to lower-back soreness or injury.
Behind the Blunder
We have all made this blunder at some point or another, and many of you probably still do. When lifting the hips off the leg press pad, you are doing much more harm than good. First off, if you are stuck in this habit, you are probably not controlling the weight as well as you should. The key to any exercise is being able to completely control the negative portion of the repetition, since its during the eccentric path that much of the damage to the muscle fibres occurs. So you definitely don’t want to rush or waste this contraction in any way. In addition, if you use momentum or rush the weight on the downward phase by trying to bounce out of the bottom with your hips, you end up losing many of the benefits the exercise has to offer. Second (this might not resonate with younger athletes), if you allow your hips to rise, you could be putting too much stress on the disks in your lower back.
Instead of allowing your hips to lift off the seat in order to target your hamstrings and glutes to a greater extent, raise your feet a little higher and wider to make up the difference. Then, as you slowly lower the weight, do not try and force knees to your chest, but gradually stop the momentum before that point, so you will not lose the tension in the quads. Finally, try lowering the weight just a bit, not all the way. Anytime you compensate form to accomplish a heavier load, the strict adjustment could be a shock, so take a couple of plates off and get used to doing it right.
Sit squarely in the leg-press machine and place your feet on the sled, shoulder-width apart. Keeping your chest up and lower back pressed into the back support, carefully unlock the weight from the safeties.
Bend your knees to lower the weight, stopping before your glutes lift off the pad. Smoothly reverse direction and then extend your legs to press the weight back up, stopping just short of locking out your legs. Squeeze your legs hard at the top then repeat for reps.
Leg Remedy: Leg Press Corrected
One thing to remember before climbing into the leg press is that there is no better exercise for the quads then the leg press, specifically for the teardrop (medialis). But you don’t need to bring the platform so far down to accomplish the machine’s best task. Stay controlled, stopping the momentum just before your hips are forced to rise upward. In fact, you even lose tension the further you lower the weight. So don’t worry, when you stop the weight before your hips lift off the bench, you are not stopping short on progress.