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Creatine Monohydrate (CM)


Next to whey protein, no supplement has received as much scientific support as creatine monohydrate. In fact, there’s over 15 years of unquestionable support from peer-reviewed research and athletes. Studies demonstrate that creatine increases strength, power, lean body mass and muscularity. Its mass-promoting effects are achieved by several mechanisms that upregulate when creatine monohydrate ingestion is combined with resistance training. Most current research shows creatine ingestion and exercise significantly blunt myostatin levels better than exercise alone. Myostatin is a recently discovered catabolic regulator of muscle mass and consequently acts on skeletal muscle as a growth inhibitor. In addition, recent studies indicate that creatine augments highly anabolic IGF-1 levels in skeletal muscle, providing a potent signal for sustained muscular growth. Finally, creatine ingestion results in increased muscle cell volume by driving water into cells. Not only does this action make your muscles look bigger, but it also provides another stimulus for anabolism.

Before your workout mix 5-10 grams of creatine monohydrate with your pre-workout whey protein isolate drink.

After your workout, mix 5-10 grams of creatine monohydrate with your post-workout whey protein isolate shake.

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Pointing Your Toes Excessively Inward During The Hack Squat (Or Other Closed-Chain Movement)


Hack Squat

Save the rotation of your feet for open-chain moves like the leg extension, lying leg curl or single-joint calf exercises.

Behind the Blunder
Turing your toes in or out on exercises such as the leg extension, helps target the outer or inner quads, respectively. The same goes for the inner and outer part of the outer hamstrings, where you can shift the emphasis to different parts of the back of the leg when doing leg curls. However, those exercises are called open-chain movements, which means your feet are not pressed against a stable object. Never attempt to turn your feet inward of exercises where your feet are fixed, as in squats, leg presses or hack squats.

The Fix
The key is to find a comfortable, balanced position where you can easily allow your feet to remain flat on the platform at all times, while letting yourself press through the heels and the balls of your feet for maximal power and strength. For most athletes, the foot position most comfortable is a toes-slightly outward stance.

Start:
Step inside a hack squat machine and place your shoulders and back against the pads. Place your feet narrow and low on the platform with your toes pointed out slightly, keeping your feet flat throughout the exercise. Maintain good posture, with your chest up and abs pulled in tight.

Action:
Unhook the safety bars and slowly yourself into the bottom position, stopping when your thighs are just beyond parallel to the foot platform. Pause, and then forcefully press yourself up to the start position, keeping your knees unlocked in the top position. Squeeze your legs and go right into the next rep.

Leg Remedy: Hack Squat Corrected
Keep your feet about hip-to-shoulder-width apart on the platform. Lower them slightly on the platform to shift more focus to the quads, specifically the vastus lateralis (outer quads). When you point your toes out slightly, you keep your knees, hips and ankles in a comfortable, safe and strong position from which to push.

https://veefitness.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/leg-blunders/
https://veefitness.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/lifitng-your-hips-off-the-pad-during-leg-presses/


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Cocktail Anyone?


Enhance your workout performance by starting right with key pre-workout supplement combinations.

Pre-workout energy powders have lately been finding their way into the supplementation regimens of many bodybuilders. These products commonly contain a blend of stimulants and strength-promoting ingredients that are marketed as synergists (ie., when combined, the benefits of each ingredient are enhanced). Until recently, however, scientific research and studies to test the acute effectiveness of these increasingly popular supplements have been very limited.

In a study published in Nutritional Research, scientists from the University of Oklahoma tested a supposed synergistic cocktail of commonly prescribed pre-workout supplements to try and determine whether the effects on anaerobic performance and aerobic power were in fact augmented. The cocktail contained a mixture of C. sinensis, arginine AKG, Kre-Alkayn, citrulline AKG, Eleutherococcus senticosus, taurine, leucine, R. rosea, sodium chloride, valine, isoleucine, caffeine and whey protein concentrate. After familiarisation and baseline testing 10 subjects completed two test days that included running to exhaustion on a treadmill. On days one and two only, subjects drank either the pre-workout supplement mixture or an isocaloric placebo 30 minutes before the exercise session. The scientists reported participants who consumed the pre-workout energy supplement experienced substantially increased anaerobic running capacity and time to exhaustion, with no difference recorded in aerobic power s compared to the control group. The one shortcoming of this study is that the authors did not test each ingredient in the pre-workout cocktail separately, but they speculated caffeine was likely the main ingredient to play a key role in creasing anaerobic performance among the test group.

The ingredients in the test supplement from this particular study are very common to most pre-workout formulas you will see on the market today. Although this study was quite short and the design simple, the findings are important. Based on the outcome subjects experienced, pre-workout energy powders seem to boost workout intensity the day you start taking them. Thje fact that subjects underwent treadmill running during testing may put into question the applicability of the findings to bodybuilders focused primarily on weight training. However, because the supplement mixture caused better performance only under anaerobic conditions (and had no effect on aerobic power), the study lends much credence to the use of supplements before resistance training to enhance energy and strength.


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Recovery Returns


Improve recovery and increase muscle growth with these 7 post-workout supplements.

1) Whey Protein
A high-quality milk protein that contains all the amino acids the body requires for muscle protein synthesis.

Whey protein breaks down fast upon ingestion, shuttling its amino acids into the bloodstream to hit your muscles quickly. Research has shown that consuming whey protein after training promotes muscle protein synthesis and reduces protein degradation (breakdown), thus stimulating muscle tissue repair and growth.

Take 20-30 grams immediately after training. Choose a whey powder that contains whey protein hydrolysates (whey protein broken down into smaller fragments for even faster digestion) or whey protein isolate.

2) Casein Protein
Although it is not a fast-digesting protein, this other milk protein is a perfect complement to help boost recovery following your workouts.

Casein protein is a slow digesting because it forms a gel in the gut, which results in the amino acids being released slowly into the bloodstream. Since it enters the bloodstream slowly, it was originally believed to have very little immediate impact on protein synthesis. However, newer research shows that after workouts, casein does, in fact, boost protein synthesis and also has a powerful effect in suppressing protein breakdown, both key elements in muscle growth. Research suggests that to tip the balance in your favour, supplement with both whey and casein proteins after training.

Choose a casein protein that contains micellar casein (the slowest-digesting casein) and add 20-30 grams casein top your post-wrokout whey protein shake.

3) Branched-Chain Amino Acids
The term branched-chain amino acids refer to leucine, isoleucine and valine, the most important aminos for repairing and building muscle tissue. BCAAs make up approximately one-third of muscle protein.

BCCAs offer a multitude of benefits, including growing muscle, reducing delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) increasing energy and blunting cortisol (a catabolic hormone). Intense exercise causes a rise in cortisol, which can inhibit testosterone and lead to muscle protein breakdown. Research shows that supplementing with BCAAs, particularly at the time of muscle breakdown (such as during and after workouts), is the best insurance against catabolism.

Results from one study showed that subjects who supplemented with amino acids did not experience losses in muscle strength following a period of high-volume resistance training. The results were attributed to the anticatabolic effects that BCAAs promote in the body.

Because leucine is the key amino acid for turning on protein synthesis in muscle cells, look for BCAA products that provide leucine at a ratio of 2:1 per dose of isoleucine and valine. Take 5-10 grams of BCAA immediately after training with your post-work out shake.

4) Creatine
Creatine is made up of three amino acids, arginine, glycine and methionine. The kidneys and pancreas produce them naturally, and the liver combines them to make creatine. However, the body only produces about 1-1.5 grams, not nearly enough to support the muscle-building efforts of a hard trainer.

Creatine has been the subject of hundreds of research studies, primarily because of its direct impact on increasing muscle mass, strength and power. It has been shown to trigger protein synthesis and minimise protein breakdown, because it creates an osmotic gradient whereby water is pulled into muscle cells (which is a signal for anabolism). Some evidence also suggests creatine may act as a lactic acid buffer, which can improve recovery time. Creatine has also been found to increase levels of insulinlike growth factor-1 in muscles, which is critical for stimulating growth.

Take 2-3 grams in the form of creatine monohydrate, creatine malate, creatine hydrochloride ore creatine alpha-ketoglutarate with your protein shake immediately after training, a time when creatine will rapidly be taken up by muscle cells and the boost in IGF-1 will promote further growth.

5) Carb Powder
Choosing a carb powder used to be easy, you simply bought one brand or another of glucose. However, ongoing research has given light to a range of new products.
– Dextrose
Dextrose is a glucose, the simplest carb. It is in the exact form your body needs, your body doesn’t have to break it down to use it. It is a monosaccharide, which is about 70-80% as sweet as table sugar. It has a glycaemic index rating of 100 and is used for energy or refuelling after a workout. It is highly soluble in water and mixes easily.

– Maltodextin
Maltodextin is polysaccharide (a complex carbohydrate) usually produced form corn or potato starch. Although its a “complex” carb, the chemical structure is such that it can break down rapidly, thus digesting and absorbing very quickly to help you re-fuel post workout. In fact, its digested faster than regular table sugar, and has a GI rating of 105.

– Vitargo
Vitargo is a patented complex carb formula typically made form barley. Although the molecules that make up vitargo are a lot heavier and larger than those in other carbs, it has very low osmolality, which effectively means it can pass through the stomach faster, about 80% faster than dextrose. Vitargo is absorbed and assimilated faster after workouts, which minimises the risk of stomach discomfort (eg. bloating).

The fast absorption of certain carb powders makes them an ideal post-workout carb source that can rapidly elevate insulin levels and replace glycogen in trained muscle. Since insulin is highly anabolic, carb powders can promote muscle gain and recovery without fat accumulation when taken immediately after training.

A good post-workout shake contains about a 1:2 ratio of protein to a high-glycaemic (fast-digesting) carbs. Add 40-100 grams of carb powder to your post-workout shake.

6) Glutamine
This amino acid is central to both immune system regulation and muscle function, and is one of the most plentiful aminos found in the body.

During intense training, muscle glutamine levels drop sharply. Supplementing with glutamine not only stimulates immune function, but research has shown it decreases inflammation and protects muscle cells from the damage caused by hard training. It also aids muscle growth by by increasing levels of leucine in muscle fibres, helping suppress the production and circulation of cortisol, and maintain cell volume and hydration. By pushing water into muscle cells, glutamine helps to speed up recovery and encourage anabolism. In addition, research has demonstrated the ability of glutamine to drastically increase growth hormone levels. One study showed a meaningful increase from supplementing with as little as 2 grams of glutamine.

Add 5-10 grams of glutamine to your post-workout shake.

7) Alpha-Lipoic Acid
This antioxidant is made by the body and found in every cell, where it helps turn glucose into energy,

ALA mimics the effects of insulin, bolstering the uptake of amino acids and creatine into muscle cells. One study showed that subjects who consumed ALA with creatine and a high-glycaemic carb had greater increases in muscle creatine levels than those who took just creatine and a high-glycaemic carb, or creatine alone.

Take 300-500 milligrams along with your protein, creatine and high-glycaemic carbs post-workout.


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Longer Rest Intervals Between Sets Produce Greater Strength


Muscle tension is critical for building high levels of strength. Reps to failure with little rest between sets may burn, but it will not make you as strong as lifting heavy weights and resting long enough between sets to come back and do it again. A group of Brazilian scientists conducted a study in the Journal of Science Medicine Sport and reaffirmed this basic principle of strength athletics. They showed that rest intervals of at least 3-5 minutes between sets produce the greatest increases in upper and lower body strength. If strength and power are your goals, then rest long enough to recover between sets.