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Balanced Training Recommendations


1) Perform an equal number of exercises with the same relative intensity between opposing muscle groups (eg, back and chest, hamstrings and quads, biceps and triceps). If you already have a deficit, try to do more sets on the weaker/disregarded bodyaprt until you have achieved better balance. Then train bodyparts equally.
2) To bring your training into balance, focus on isolation (single-joint) exercises while also modifying the compound movements that target the various muscle groups. For example some exercises, such as the squat and leg press, are generally regarded as quadriceps moves, even though they absolutely involve the hamstrings and glutes. However, by altering foot placement (wider, higher on platforms etc.) you can shift the emphasis to the less involved hamstrings.
3) If you have an existing deficit between opposing muscle groups, spend some extra time stretching the stronger muscle group and strengthening the weaker one.
4) If you find a specific bodypart to be particularly stubborn at responding to an adequate training stimulus, consider adding an extra day (or two) specifically dedicated to working the stubborn bodypart until it catches on.

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Knee Supports/Wraps – Does It Just Protect Your Knees or Does It Help You Get More Reps? What Are The Downsides?


Knee wraps done tightly enough can definitely offer some assistance in a heavy lift. The added stability makes it easier to squat weight. Some bodybuilders will put them on only a minute or two before their heavy lifts because the wraps are so tight they can limit circulation. However, they do offer some support that can be beneficial for people who have suffered an injury or have chronic knee pain. Therefore, it is okay to use them when doing heavy squats. Just do not start using them until you are moving serious weight.


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Quad Routine


Quadricep Anatomy

This is a legs routine, designed to build new size, strength and detail into your quads.

Leg Extension – 4 sets, 30, 25, 20, 15 reps superset with
Bodyweight Walking Lunges – 4 sets, 24 steps

Leg Press – 4 sets, 20, 12, 10, 8 reps superset with
Bodyweight Sissy Squat – 4 sets, 15 reps

Hack Squat – 4 sets, 15 reps superset with
Bodyweight Squat – 4 sets, 20 reps

Make sure when doing bodyweight squats take them to parallel then come to a point just short of full lockout to keep constant tension in the quads.

Rest 1-2 minutes after each superset grouping.


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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.