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Lifitng Your Hips Off The Pad During Leg Presses

Leg Press

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.

The Fix
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.

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A Time-Efficient Training Method

When you are pressed for time, try concurrent training, combining cardio and strength training. This way you will optimise the effects of your workout. Researchers studied 10 physically active men who strength trained regularly. During the study they performed four different sessions: resistance only, run only, run-resistance and resistance-run. The resistance only and run-resistance sessions showed the largest effect on EPOC (post-exercise oxygen consumption, or “after burn”) within the first 10 minutes after the workout. Some of the processes that elevate EPOC immediately following strength training included resynthesis of the phosphagen energy system (ATP-PC), peripheral blood circulation, lactate removal and muscle temperature recovery. For best results using the run-resistance combination, run on the treadmill and then train your upper body with weights.

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Squat Tips

SquatsHere are some tips to ensure you have the correct technique when doing squats.

1) Find Your Footing:
Positioning your feet wide, like a sumo squat, will target the glutes and inner quads. A narrow stance will focus on the outer area of the legs and develop more quad sweep.
2) Head In The Game:
Never look down, because glancing downward will flex your cervical spine and put pressure on the disks in your neck.
3) Watch Your Weight:
Do not trade form for weight. A bunch of plates jammed onto the bar might boost your ego, but it will not improve your legs. Go lighter and perfect the mechanics until your form is perfect.
4) How Low Should You Go:
Descend until you upper legs are parallel to the ground. Stopping short of that position can detract from full upper-leg development.
5) Ramp up the Reps:
Consistency with reps could short-change growth. The majority should fall into the 8-12 rep range. The legs respond well to higher reps, but don’t hesitate to ramp it up to 15 reps if you feel inclined.
6) Rest Remix:
Two to three minutes rest between sets should be plenty of time to recover. Just as you do with reps, mix it up. Shorter rest periods of a minute or 30 seconds will exhaust the muscle, allow for a larger build up of lactic acid and cause the body to release more growth hormone.
7) Wrap It Up:
In the past, it was widely believed that knee wraps prohibited muscle activity, because of the reliance on the wraps’ elasticity. A Study conducted by a University in Georgia, shows that wraps do not interfere with muscle growth and may even allow you to go heavier.
8) Belt It Out:
Use a weight belt when squatting up to or exceeding 80% of your one-rep max. An added benefit of a belt is it can further increase pressure in the abdominal cavity for better stabilisation of the spine.
9) Knees and Toes:
You’ve heard it all before. Extending your knees over your toes will cause injury. Not necessarily. A new study shows that trying to prevent this actually placed more stress on the lower back, and that the knees experienced less stress when they did extend past the toes.
10) Partial Squats:
Develop bigger teardrop muscles by performing only the upper half of the movement with heavier weight, as this is when the muscle receives most of the stress. Do two or three sets of these before moving onto full squats.

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Best Aternatative Exercises to 45 Degree EZ-Bar Skullcrusher

Incline Cable Overhead Extension
There are a couple of reasons to place your arms at a 45 degree angle during the skullcrusher. One is to induce constant tension on the triceps from start to finish. When you draw your arms back slightly, your triceps are called upon throughout with no real chance of resting during the rep or set. The second reason is that the farther back your arms approach an overhead position, even when you’re lying down, the more you engage the meaty, long head of the triceps. The incline cable overhead extension puts your arms in an almost an identical position as the 45 degree skullcrusher.

Single-Arm 45 Degree Dumbbell Skullcrusher
If you don’t have an incline bench or an EZ-bar, you can still target the long head with a dumbbell by angling your arm back above your head slightly. In fact, even though you may be able to do both arms simultaneously, the benefit of using a dumbbell is that you can use your free arm to provide a spot if you want to train past failure. Help just enough to squeeze out a few more reps. At the end of the set you can sit up and rest for 30 seconds before hitting the opposite arm. It is advisable to start these exercises with a different arm from one workout to the next so that each has the benefit of beginning first when you’re freshest.

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45 Degree EZ-Bar Skullcrusher

45 Degree Ez-Bar-skullcrusherThe 45 degree EZ-bar skullcrusher targets all three triceps heads with emphasis on the long head.

– Lie face-up on a flat bench with your feet. Your body should be fully supported from your hips up to your entire head.
– Have a partner hand you an EZ-bar and grasp it with an overhand grip. Be sure to wrap your thumbs around the bar for safety.
– With your arms extended hold the bar at a 45 degree angle above your head, back towards your spotter. Lock your upper arms in this angled position for the duration of the set.
– Keeping your upper arms positioned at the 45 degree angle throughout the set, unlock your elbow as you slowly lower the bar towards the top of your head. The only movement should occur at your elbows. Control the descent of the bar so that it doesn’t hit you on the head.
– When you reach a 90 degree angle in your elbows or the bar is just an inch or so away from the top of your head, pause for a moment in this stretched position.
– Contract your triceps to forcefully extend your arms, pressing the bar back to the starting position. Be careful not to move your upper arms forward as you raise the weight.

You should perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions.

With the arms positioned at a 45 degree angle, you have to work harder to maintain your arm position than when they are directly perpendicular to your body.

The 45 degree EZ-bar skullcrusher can be done early in the workout with a heavy weight after a thorough warm-up. You can follow the skullcrusher with pressdowns, reverse-grip pressdowns, kickbacks and dips to fully exhaust your triceps.