Going Slower for More Gains? The Benefits of Time Under Tension Training

I get it. It’s fun to go to the gym and bang out some quick reps. I never used to listen to people saying that it was better to go slow. Why would I go slow when I can do more reps if I go fast? Well, science has made it clear that more is not always better. The importance of quality reps over the quantity of the reps cannot be overstated. A 2011 study by Burd et al. showed that time under tension (TUT)  training led to increased muscle protein synthesis (MPS). (1) The study used 2 groups. One group performed leg extensions with a slow lifting movement (6 seconds up and 6 seconds down) while the other performed them with a fast lifting movement (1 second up and 1 second down). This means that training with a slow tempo causes increased MPS, leading to more gains in muscle!

How does TUT work?

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What is your WHY?

Working out is hard. It’s tough, painful, time-consuming, and exhausting. Exercise is both physically and mentally demanding. So why even do it? That’s a question that you must ask yourself. As cliché as it is: when you want to give up, remember why you started. For many of us, we started working out to change our appearance and gain confidence. A lot of us (myself included) started working out to attract attention from the opposite sex. Some of us started working out simply to be healthier. Whatever your why is, remember it. Write it down. Look at it every day. With each decision you make, think about how it will affect your why. If it isn’t helping you to achieve your goals, why do it?

Do you know your why? Without a clearly defined reason to push yourself it is almost impossible to stay motivated. If you don’t have a clear why, take 10-15 minutes to define it. Everyone’s why can be reduced down to one thing: being successful. Picture your own personal image of success and compare it to where you are right now. That jump that you want to make from your current situation to your ultimate vision of success; that is your why. Remember the image of your why, write it down if possible. Every time you think about your why associate it with what you personally define as success. Picture reaching your goals so vividly and so frequently that when you finally reach them, it feels like déjà vu. This is a key to success. Without a clearly defined vision of success, you will never know what you’re reaching for. Know that your why may change over time, as mine certainly has, but never stop striving to reach your goals.

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Old School Arm Workout

Today we’re throwing it back to the Golden Era of Bodybuilding, the era of greats such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbo, Lou Ferrigno, and Frank Zane. The list of legends from this time period goes on forever and their impact is still felt today. Many of today’s gym-goers are still influenced by Arnold and other bodybuilders from this time. Well, if you want arms like Arnold, you have to train like Arnold. This workout is based on the training philosophies of these old school bodybuilders. They knew that the standard 3 sets of 10 wouldn’t give them the legendary status they sought. Golden Era bodybuilders focused heavily on volume, intensity, and contraction. We’ll be utilizing eccentrics (negatives), supersets, and multiple different angles to give you the old school arms you’ve always wanted.

 

Terms to know

-Superset: A superset is simply completing a set of two separate exercises back-to-back with no rest in between.

-Triset: A superset consisting of 3 movements

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The Benefits of Cheating

Cheating can be beneficial. I’m not talking about cheating on your significant other or cheating on a test. I’m not even talking about cheating on your diet (though we’ll discuss that in future articles). I’m talking about cheating on exercises in the gym. Though I have often been accused of being a “form Nazi,” even I see the benefits of strategically cheating and so should you!

I would first like to point out that I said strategically cheating! I’m not advocating half repping four plates on bench or ripping out a set of dumbbell curls that uses your lower back more than your arms. What I am advocating for is using a slight bit of momentum to assist you in the concentric portion of a movement (raising the weight), so that you can get more overload on the eccentric portion (lowering the weight). Let me explain:

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5 Training Tips for the Biggest Traps in the Gym

  1. Volume:

Far too often, people hinder the growth of their traps by not hitting them with enough volume! You wouldn’t hit a “chest day” by doing three sets of bench and leaving, would you? However, far too often people do just a few sets of shrugs once a week and that’s it! You don’t need to have a “traps day” as your trapezius muscle is involved in several back and shoulder movements, but you’re lying to yourself if you think that doing three sets of ten is going to get the job done.

2. Weight:

        It seems that there are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to trap training: heavy weight or high reps. This has progressed to the point where guys are either doing 5 reps with the worst form possible, or 100 reps with a weight that isn’t even challenging. Like any muscle group, the key to developing your traps is progressive overload. If the weight is so heavy that you’re having to recruit other muscle groups, less overload is placed on your actual traps. Similarly, if the weight is too light to cause any overload, you will not see any progress. Keep good form and use a weight that is challenging. In order to see the best results, vary between high and low rep exercises in order to keep your traps from adapting and shock them into growth.

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Biggest Mistakes on Leg Day

Stop wasting your leg days! Check out the tips below to make sure you’re not making these common mistakes, and take your leg gains to the next level!

  1. Only Using Machines:

Machines are great for isolating specific muscles within the leg, however, they remove all stress from stability muscles. Without strong stability musculature, your legs will not be very functional outside of the gym. Your likelihood of injury also skyrockets due to this lack of stability. On top of this, you will likely see far worse results as you will only be targeting specific muscles in your legs, rather than working the entirety of your legs as many free-weight movements allow. I know you can get a great workout on the leg press, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a better workout by doing squats.

2. Not Going HEAVY Enough

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Carbs Are Not The Enemy

We’ve heard it time and time again. “Eat a low-carb diet and you’ll lose weight!” The #WarOnCarbs has taken over social media and news cycles alike, but is it correct? Not necessarily. I’ll explain below.

Why did the #WarOnCarbs begin?

Weight loss is a serious issue in the world today, and people want something to blame for it. Carbs became an easy target as soon as people realized that a reduction in carbs led to a significant weight loss in the short term. In the long term however, the results are nearly identical (1). This means that there are no significant differences in weight loss between a low or high carb diet long term.

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Trash Your Triceps: Arm Day Triceps Workout

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the first part of our arm day workout here: http://wp.me/p8zCm0-2K . Combine these two workouts for a perfect arm day program and get ready for some serious arm gains.

*Note: Be sure to start the workout off with your weaker muscle group in order to maximize the energy you are able to put into your weak point.

Alright, by this point you should have seen the brutal biceps workout we posted earlier. Now we’ll dive into the tricep workout. It wouldn’t be fair to take it easy on your triceps after beating up your biceps so badly now would it? Nope, so we’re going to launch an all-out assault on your triceps as well! Not only will we be using a mix of weights, reps, and rest times in order to force your triceps to grow, we’ll also be hitting them several different angles in order to cause growth in every area! Check out the exercise breakdown below.

  1. Close Grip Bench Press

We’re starting off heavy once again, working on strength while your energy is highest. While you want to limit the involvement of your chest and shoulders as much as possible, they play an integral role in this exercise. The close grip bench press allows you to overload the triceps by placing them under greater weight than they can withstand alone. Though your chest and shoulders will come into play to some degree as you press, your triceps will bear almost all of the weight on the lowering (eccentric) portion of the movement. Perform 4 sets of 6-8 reps, taking 3-5 secs to lower the weight on each rep. Keep your hands just slightly in past shoulder-width as seen above. Placing your hands closer together will result in wrist pain, without causing any additional stress on the triceps.

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Blast Your Biceps: Arm Day Biceps Workout

 

It’s arm day, and you’re looking to add some serious size to your biceps. You enter the gym wanting not only to get stronger, but to get a crazy pump at the same time. Tired of the same old arm workout and lack of results, you scour the internet looking for a new routine hoping that it will give you the results you’re after. Well, look no further because this is it.

Below are each arm exercise explaining not only the technique of each movement, but what to focus on. We’ll utilize a variety of weights, rep ranges, and techniques in order to truly shock your biceps. Like you should with most workouts, we’ll start off heavy, increasing volume and decreasing weight as we go. Push yourself hard, stick to the given rest times, and get ready to see some crazy results.

 

Barbell Cheat Curls

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We’re going to start off with the heaviest exercise of the workout. I know I’m not the only one who has seen people cheating so hard on their curls that they’re using their hips more than their biceps, but that’s not what we’re doing here. Proper cheat curls involve using a weight that is just slightly higher than you would be able to do normally. With just a slight swing of your hips to get the barbell moving, use your biceps to curl the weight to the top. This is where things get challenging. Use your biceps to control the weight on the way down (also known as the “eccentric” portion of the movement), taking about 3-5 secs to lower the weight. Perform 4 sets of 6-8 reps HEAVY, but don’t be afraid to lower the weight if you’re having to use more than just a slight swing of your hips.

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Ditch the Treadmill and Drop Weight! 3 Untraditional Fat-burning Cardio Routines

  1. Tabata Training:

Tabata training is a very underused, yet effective way to burn fat. Beware! This is not easy! On the plus side, it’s only 4 minutes long. Tabata training involves going all out on an exercise for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle is repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. The original study performed on Tabata training showed it to be significantly more effective than 1 hour of moderate intensity cardio! While the moderate intensity group worked out 6 days a week for one hour a day, the Tabata group performed just 4 minutes of Tabata training and showed a significantly greater aerobic improvement along with a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity!1 On top of this, Tabata training has been shown to be more muscle sparing than regular steady state cardio, meaning you won’t lose those hard earned gains!2 Perhaps the best part of Tabata training is its versatility. Though the original study was performed on a bike, Tabata training can be performed with any cardiovascular activity. Try using ball slams, burpees, battle ropes, squats, push-ups, or any other exercise you can think of! If you’d rather kill your workout quick and be done, give Tabata training a try for your next cardio session.

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