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Stay Grounded For Building Strength


Exercising on stable ground builds core stability and increases lower and upper body strength. No study has been able to prove that exercising on unstable surfaces improves athletic performance or builds significant strength in major muscle groups better than training on firm ground. I study in the International Journal of Sports Physiology Performance reported that stable squatting was superior to unstable squatting for overloading the lower-body muscles. The best total-body strength exercises include kettlebell swings and snatches, squats, deadlifts, standing overhead presses any plyometrics. These exercises use heavier loads, shorter tension times, and higher speeds than exercises on unstable surfaces. Ground-based exercises have the same force, velocity and core-stabilising elements required in most sports and movements skills. The take-home message is to stay grounded for strong muscles.


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Bodyweight Exercises


I would be foolish to try and convince you that a bodyweight workout is somehow going to magically add pounds of muscle. But that is not to say there isn’t some value in bodyweight exercises, and if you learn how to employ some strategic tactics, you can actually take your training to a whole new level.

1)      Always take body weight moves to failure

As you are only using just your bodyweight, it does not make any sense to stop a set before you are fatigued. You need to get the most out of the particular move when bodyweight is the resistance. Since you can’t manipulate the resistance by adding or decreasing weight, and adding weights is the only way to go, you need to perform as many with good form as you can.

2)      Use bodyweight moves as a way of flushing the muscles or finishing a particular body-part routine.

Placing finishing moves at the end of a routine to flush the muscles with water, blood and nutrients is one of the best strategies a bodybuilder looking to squeeze every last bit of effort out of his muscle bellies can follow. Getting a pump by using your own bodyweight is ideal because once you reach failure you draw water inside your muscle cells, and as with a balloon, the more water the muscle cell can hold, the bigger the pump you will experience. The bodyweight pump essentially stretches the muscle cell, making the muscle itself temporarily bigger while initiating biochemical pathways that promote permanent growth.

3)      Incorporate techniques such as plyometrics and isometrics to help make bodyweight moves that much harder and more beneficial.

As you know plyometrics involve explosive, rather than the usual strong but controlled actions, which require a high proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibres. Fast-twitch muscle fibres are responsible for power, size and strength. With plyometric-type moves you can incorporate the bodyweight exercises between free-weight exercises. Exercises like the plyo push-up between sets of bench presses or plyo jump squats in between sets of leg presses can add intensity to an already brutal routine. That intensity will further break down your muscles causing long-lasting change in size and strength. You can also practice timed holds using your bodyweight. For example, wall squats in which you hold your body at 90 degrees as long as possible.

4)      Keep a log to monitor your progress on sets and reps for all bodyweight moves from week to week.

From one workout to the next you should journal all reps and holds on the different exercises, making sure that you beat your time or reps each week or month. That progressive overload is a sure-fire way of knowing whether you are getting stronger, bigger and better at each exercise.