by Mike Westerdal
The word ‘balance’ generally refers to an even distribution of weight or a state of equilibrium. Balance is something that most of us strive to achieve every day of our lives, in just about every aspect of our lives—especially when it comes to weight training and maintaining the health of our bodies. In contrast to balance, ‘imbalance’ is a state of being out of proportion or equilibrium. At the very least, being in a state of imbalance is frustrating and distracting.
In terms of strength training, the term imbalance is often used to refer to a muscle or body part that it is not functioning as well as it should be. When an injury occurs or a system is not working properly, it places the body into a state of imbalance because it is no longer in a state of equilibrium.
For example, a torn rotator cuff in the shoulder results in a state of imbalance because the injury inhibits you from performing many of the exercises and movements you would normally be performing.
For many of us, one of the biggest difficulties of being in a state of imbalance is identifying the cause or condition that placed us there in the first place. In other words, we know that we’re in a state of imbalance but we’re not entirely sure what happened to cause the condition of imbalance. And if you don’t know exactly what the problem is, there is no way you can figure out how to treat it.
This is precisely the reason Muscle Imbalances Revealed: Assessment and Exercise was developed. MIRA was developed by four well-known fitness pros—Nick Rosencutter, Anthony Mychal, John Izzo and Rick Kaselj—who say that the program offers a “complete guide of assessments and exercises to help pin point problems and fix dysfunction in order to bust through fitness plateaus and get faster results.”
Unlike most programs, MIRA takes a different approach in that it is almost entirely presented in a series of 12 video presentations that can either be streamed or downloaded for later viewing.
The overall MIRA program blends proper training and proper soft tissue work to enhance the speed at which people recover from injuries.
The first video is entitled Muscle Imbalances and the Performance Client: Assessments and Exercise Progressions to Improve Performance and Prevent Injury. This first one—as well as the next two—is narrated by Nick. The first part of the video is focused on helping you assess your body and uncover the root of the problem that you may be facing.
He does an excellent job of walking you through the assessment process, teaching you how to understand the difference between various symptoms, which allows you to then determine the correct underlying cause. Next, he gets into the actual assessments that he uses to pinpoint problems. The ‘Thomas Test’ is one assessment that he uses. He provides step-by-step instructions that show exactly what you need to do to perform the assessment. Afterwards, he moves on to the exercises you can do to address the problem.
Assessment and Exercise for Athleticism is the title of the next video set. This one is narrated by Anthony Mychal. In this video, Anthony focuses on identifying and eliminating muscular imbalances that inhibit overall athleticism. The following presentation is headed up by John Izzo and is entitled Assessment and Exercise for Personal Training. John’s presentation focuses on Assessments for Optimal Health. This presentation is primarily geared towards personal trainers. Its purpose is to help them to help their clients to achieve their personal fitness goals.
Rick takes the lead in the next video presentation, which is called Assessment and Exercise for Injury Rehabilitation. This one of course emphasizes assessments to identify injuries, followed by exercises and movements to alleviate the problems. One presentation is focused on knee injuries and another targets the back.
The rest of the videos are very similar with each of the guys narrating the presentations that cover his particular areas of expertise. All of the presentations follow the same basic format, beginning with an introduction before moving on to the assessments and then the exercises. Each video includes a handy PDF outline that covers major points of the presentation. These are great for taking notes and following along.
Be forewarned though—MIRA is not for everyone. The program is really designed for persons who already have a working knowledge of the body and muscular systems.
MIRA is not set-up for the casual workout enthusiast. Overall, I think MIRA would be a wise investment for someone who is looking to improve his skills. The all-video presentation style could be a little cumbersome for some people but the quality of the program makes it well worthwhile.
A few people asked if they could get a look into Assessment & Exercise, here are 6 clips from A&E, enjoy.
Before I get to the clips from Assessment & Exercise, John Izzo shares with you what he goes through in his presentation:
Component #1 – Assessment & Exercise for Performance with Nick Rosencutter / Length – 1:27:03
Component #2 – Assessment & Exercise for Athleticism with Anthony Mychal / Length – 1:35:01
Component #3 – Assessment and Exercise for Personal Training with John Izzo / Length – 1:10:14
Component #4 – Assessment and Exercise for Knee Injury Recovery with Rick Kaselj / Length – 40:29
Plus there is:
- The VIP coaching call which we will be setting up
- You can earn Continuing Education Credits (CECs or CEUs)
- Additional presentation that I am going to do on Assessment & Exercise for Back Injury Recovery
Discover the Secret Assessment and Exercises to Help Bust Through Fitness Plateaus, Get Faster Results, Rapidly Recover from Injuries and Improve Performance Without Ever Leaving the Comfort of Your Own Home!
Reviewed by Mike Westerdal
Preparation for a physique competition or a fitness photo session takes a special degree of commitment and effort that goes above and beyond the ordinary. Whether you’re up on a stage or in front of a lens your body needs to be as close to perfect as possible because even the slightest flaw will be magnified ten-fold and can mean the difference between success and failure.
Long-time fitness pro and natural bodybuilding expert Brian Cannone knows this fact well. Through his more than 20 years in the industry he’s developed a keen understanding of the subtle nuances in nutrition and training that shed fat, build lean muscle and result in a stage-perfect or photography-ready lean, muscular physique. Brian shares his secrets with us in his Stage Ready Nutrition and Training Guide. Let’s check it out see what Brian has to say.
For the majority of men, it can be an immense struggle just to get your body fat levels into the single digits. Most of us would be thrilled to achieve a body fat percentage of 8 or 9 percent. While that may be great for the average guy, if you’re considering getting in front of a camera or up on stage, that just won’t do. In fact, if you want to model or compete, you’ll need to target getting your body fat percentage down to between 2 to 6 percent.
If you’ve set your sights on this lofty goal, then Stage Ready Nutrition and Training might be just want you need. Brian has laid out a step-by-step plan that will guide you along the proper path to success. The 95-page book is divided into eight chapters, each of which covers a different aspect of the process.
Chapter one is focused on both mental preparation and planning. You might be tempted to skip this chapter but don’t, because it’s probably one of the most valuable parts of the book. Being in the proper frame of mind is absolutely critical to achieving success in any endeavor—even more so when you’re goals take you far above and beyond the ordinary. Second, without proper planning you’re most likely going to fail. After all, if you don’t know what your destination is, how can you get there?
In the next chapter Brian covers the scientific basics behind fat loss. He says that the purpose here is to provide you with a detailed and accurate assessment of where you are at any given moment a simple way to instantly measure your progress at any time. This feedback/guidance system uses body fat analysis, a strength assessment and a fat-burning zone assessment to help you track your progress.
Chapter three is focused on getting super lean and shredded in as little time as possible. The most important rule here is to maintain a negative calorie balance in order to push your metabolism to use stored fat for energy. Everything in this chapter is built on this core principle and is designed to ramp up the capability of your metabolism to burn stored fat. Individual sections cover daily caloric intake, increasing your activity levels and proper supplementation.
In the following chapter, Brian shares his no-fail way to get the best results from your nutrition program. This is an excellent chapter because it shows you how to take the guess work out of the nutrition component of the fat-burning equation. The information here is invaluable to say the least because miscalculating the proper negative calorie target for you could mean the loss of valuable muscle mass or it could add weeks, or even months, to your timeline.
Chapters five and six or also focused on nutrition and metabolism. There is good information about maintenance calories and Brian includes some handy tables so you can do your own calculations. Afterwards, he moves on to discussions regarding protein, carbohydrate and fat intake, along with information about macronutrients. The chapter also includes a food guide and a sample meal plan.
Next, the guide moves into the training aspect of preparing for the stage or camera. Brian’s approach is a four-phase plan that is designed to transform your physique so that it’s stage-ready. The first three phases last three weeks each, with the final phase being the recovery component. The final chapter of the book will tell you everything you need to know about supplements that can help you achieve your goals.
Although Stage Ready Nutrition and Training Guide is designed for those persons with the very specific goal of preparing for a competition or career in front of the camera, it can still appeal to anyone that wants the look like they compete whether or not they actually do. Just because you look like a high level bodybuilder or model does not mean that you have to compete. It’s cool to know that you could if you wanted to though.
As you might know by now, getting ripped abs is not all about working out like a mad person. Unless you truly keep an eye on your plate and eat a balanced diet that can work toward reaching your goal, you will be doing nothing more but to make things harder on you. Below you will discover a series of useful advice that should guide your way to a prosperous workout and reaching of your target: killer ripped abs.
Throw The Focus On the Whey
Insert more whey into your diet and you will get to build your muscle tissue more rapidly and at the same time manage to stimulate the oxidation of fatty acids. Thanks to the rich leucine content, whey will also help improve the synthesis of the protein in the muscles and it will decrease the breakdown rhythm of the same protein in the muscles. You will get rid of the unpleasant body fat at a lot faster rate while consuming a few grams of whey every day as compared to the results obtained while consuming the same amount of soy protein, according to a specialized study.
It is also important to keep an eye on the amount of food you will be ingesting every day. There is a special Penn State University study focusing on the importance of eating the proper volume of food during every meal to get a fit body. The sensation of being full after a meal combined with the exact number of calories we have ingested during that meal can help researchers determine the following: which is the energy density of the foods we have eaten during a mean an which foods should we consume more often – the ones featuring low energy densities; also the emphasis needs to be out on those foods that contain a smaller number of calories, but which can give us the desired satiety sensation a lot faster. Fruits expect dried ones, broth soups, vegetables that are not starchy are just a few fine examples of foods that contain small energy densities.
Eat More Often
Also, eating more often is another technique that should help you get the ripped abs you’ve been dreaming of. Use your smart device to set alarms or your meals so you don’t skip any just because you forgot it was time to eat, eating also implies burning calories due to the special thermogenic effect that takes place. This means you will get to enjoy more time feeling full and not needing to eat again. If you will skip your meals you will be doing nothing more but causing overeating during your next meals.
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Guest Post by Elliott Hulse, CSCS author of The Grow Stronger Method
Contrary to what most people believe, more muscle does NOT equal more strength. Of course muscle plays a huge role in your body’s ability to produce force, but the muscle itself is only capable of producing tension though the nervous system. If your nervous system can supply the muscle with enough “electricity” to overcome the resistance, you become stronger; regardless of muscle size.
In my living room at home we have a dial on the wall that allows us to adjust how much light the ceiling lamp produces. If we want the room to become brighter, we turn the dial up and the room becomes brighter. If we want the room to become dimmer, we turn the dial down and the room becomes dimmer. We do NOT go and buy a larger sized light bulb when we want the room to become brighter. Instead, we “turn up the dial” which provides more electricity though the wires and into the light bulb thereby increasing the intensity of light in the room.
This is exactly how your nervous system and muscles work together. Think of your Central Nervous System as the dial on the wall. When you need more electricity delivered to the muscle, you need to “turn up the dial”. When you turn up the dial, your Central Nervous System sends more “electricity” though your Peripheral Nervous System which acts like the electric wires in my living room walls.
When the increased electricity finally reaches your muscle, it “lights up” with powerful neurological electricity and produces force against a given resistance. In the same way that the light bulb lights up the room, your muscle “lights up” the resistance by overcoming it. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can become your strongest without the gain of some muscle mass, or that you can become “The Worlds Strongest Man” without adding some bulk to your frame. But what it does mean is that you can teach your nervous system to produce more force (Grow Stronger) without growing much larger.
You might ask, “Elliott, why don’t you want more muscle?”
First, after years of bulking up and cutting down I had become sick and tired of the fluctuations. Buying a new wardrobe every year is not my idea of money well spent–besides, one of my least favorite places on Earth is the shopping mall. Also, I’d like to continue competing in various strength sports. I still enjoy strongman training, power lifting and Olympic lifting. When I compete in one of the heavier weight classes, my height (5’9″) often becomes a limiting factor for me. It would be best to compete in a lighter, under 200 lbs weight class, and still be competitive. This requires that I don’t gain too much weight.
My final reason is you. I know there are several athletes and fitness enthusiasts who read my website and watch my videos who want to become stronger but don’t want to gain mass. Athletes such as boxers, fighters, skateboarders,gymnasts, Olympic lifters, power lifters, swimmers, jumpers, sprinters, etc.–all need to be strong, but either have to stay within a weight class, or the extra bulk hinder s their sports performance.
With my new Grow Stronger Method you will become stronger and build leaner, more dense and functional muscle; rather than large, fluid-filled, bulky muscles. We make this happen is by focusing on training the nervous system and creating what’s called Myofibrillar Hypertrophy.
According to the American Diabetes Association, over 13 million men are suffering from low testosterone levels, with 9 out of 10 never seeking medical help. High testosterone levels are often times connected to a boost in ones muscle mass, as well as better memory and focus, more energy and libido. Unfortunately, many men are having problems reaching this hormonal balance that could provide them with all of these positive effects on their well-being. After reaching the age of 30, testosterone levels start to decrease by one percent on a yearly basis. Various organ malfunctions could trigger the drop in the T levels, hence leading to the impossibility to stimulate the brain properly and causing tiredness, depression, and lower libidos.
Sports Or Wood Chopping?
A recent study published in the “Evolution and Human Behavior” journal claims that spending one hour chopping trees can increase T levels by up to 48% no matter what your age might be and indifferent of your current health state. If you were to watch a soccer game on TV or a site that specializes in live streaming sports, your testosterone levels would only be increased by little over 30%. Nevertheless, the spiking in the T levels obtained by watching sports is anything but negligible, so if you don’t own an axe just yet, you could very well stick to watching your favorite soccer or football championships, or whatever sport you are a big fan of and obtain similar results. I recommend the istreamsport.com site as a quick, free, and reliable source of live sport streaming from championships and competitions all over the globe. You can check out hundreds of live sports events (football, soccer, basketball, baseball, rugby, cricket, tennis etc) in HD quality, as well as details on the time and place of the event. You also have the possibility to reunite with fellow sports enthusiasts with the help of the comment section and discuss your favorite goals with them.
Keep in mind competition and aggression which normally characterize sports are not the only factors influencing the levels of testosterone in men. According to ABC Science, Bolivian men part of Tsimane are highly influenced by the environment when it comes to their hormone levels. They need to cultivate the land to provide food for their families, and the spikes in their T levels boost their muscle performance, improving their wood chopping skills and thus helping them protect and cater to their loved ones.
In all my years hanging around gyms around the world, I don’t think I have ever encountered a lifter who has not experienced a back injury at some point in his life. Fortunately, most back injuries amount to no more than a few days of stiff muscles requiring a few days of rest. But sometimes, back injuries can be extremely painful, cause long-term problems and difficulties, and even be downright debilitating.
Unfortunately, when faced with a back injury or back pain, most of us have no idea how to correctly manage the situation. The majority of us tend to try and ‘work through the pain’ hoping it will just go away on its own. But depending on the type of injury or scope of pain, this can absolutely be the wrong approach, even resulting in the worsening of the condition. Given the fact that the back plays a central role in nearly every move our body makes, this cannot just be ‘problematic’ but it has the potential to bring our physically active lives to a painful, screeching halt.
However, one man—Jesse Cannone—appears to have hit upon a simple solution to alleviate back pain once and for all. He shares that solution with us in his latest work, “The 7-Day Back Pain Cure.” And the best part is that Jesse says that his methods can eliminate back pain without doctors, dangerous drugs or costly surgeries. Let’s take a look and see what he has to say about back pain and what we can do about it.
First, I’ll start by saying that this is an extensive volume that includes a great deal of information, so don’t expect to casually flip through the book and be on your way. I will say that Jesse presents a well-written, nicely organized book that can most likely help just about anyone alleviate most types of back pain. The more than 280-page book is divided into three sections:
I) The Hidden Causes of Back Pain;
II) Solutions for a Pain-Free Life; and
III) Pain Relief Action Plan. The strategies presented here are designed to address: lower back pain; mid- or upper-back pain; neck pain; Fibromyalgia; herniated or bulging discs; or just about any other condition causing chronic back pain.
Jesse opens by explaining that his own experiences provided the motivation for developing the approach to avoiding and eliminating back pain he presents here. Through a serious of incidents and encounters he happened to come across a non-medical solution that finally eliminated his chronic back pain.
Afterwards, he launches into Part I, which is focused on the hidden causes of back pain. This section of the book is interesting because among other great topics, Jesse talks about how back pain is frequently a symptom caused by something else, seemingly unrelated. What this means is that more often than not, when most people attempt to eliminate back pain, they’re trying to treat the symptom, rather than the cause. And if you’re treating the symptom, not the root cause of the problem, the pain continues. Understanding what really causes back pain goes a long way in helping you eliminate it for good.
In Part II Jesse presents his non-medical solutions for avoiding and eliminating back pain. In these chapters he discusses the reason that many back pain treatments fail and then talks about things you can do keep your back pain-free. Some of the solutions he discusses include simple lifestyle changes, different non-medical therapies, and maintaining balance in all areas of your life. I particularly liked the information he provides about how simple nutritional changes can help you to avoid back pain.
The last section of the book–Part III–is where Jesse really gets into the meat of his program. Here he presents specific seven-day action plans that you can use to eliminate back pain from your life. This section is nicely organized with individual chapters devoted to action plans for specific back pain conditions. For example, there are chapters for lower- and upper-back pain, neck pain, herniated discs, scoliosis and more.
The action plans are not particularly difficult to follow. Each chapter includes handy tips and suggestions to help you along the way. He concludes this section by providing a nice list of recommended resources including books, therapies, supplies and more. I might ordinarily be skeptical of someone who claims to be able to help people to non-medically eliminate nearly any type of back pain, but Jesse really is an expert on the topic. He’s actually one of the leading back pain relief experts in the United States, so if your back is causing problems or you just want to learn how to avoid back pain entirely, then you should definitely check out Jesse’s book.
Jesse is Running A Special Where He Is Giving This Book Away For Free.
Visit This Link For Details: http://criticalbench.com/goto/7DayBackPainCure
Have you ever looked at an overweight person, maybe even yourself, and thought, “That person just needs discipline. If only they’d expend a little effort and self control they wouldn’t be fat anymore.”?
But why not? We all know what it takes to lose weight–eat less and move more. Why do so many of us find it so hard? Why do we start with the greatest enthusiasm and the best of intentions only weeks later to throw in the towel?
In a word, habit.
The things we do over and over again are our habits. Some are good and some are not. It’s their consistency that both makes them a habit and gives them their power.
For most of us the reason we fail at losing weight is that the habits of poor eating and not enough exercise are stronger and more established than the new habit of good eating and exercise we are trying to establish. And therein lies the first problem, we don’t acknowledge that it’s a habit we are trying to change or recognize the difficulty in doing so.
Which is by no means a suggestion that we shouldn’t try, just an acknowledgement that the issue is more involved than we might first assume. If we are to be successful in any endeavor we have to be able to assess the entirety of our situation and develop a competent strategy for change. Here is where THINK! and Lose Weight can help.
There are no new secrets to weight loss. There is no magic wand, elixir or pill that can change the process, make it faster or less arduous. Burning more calories than you consume on a consistent basis is the only way to lose weight. It is to the marketer’s and charlatan’s advantage that the issue is made more complicated than it needs to be.
However, within the rubric of “eat less do more” a surer path to effective weight loss can be found. This is the path of effective strategies, of understanding why you eat too much, of destructive habits and how to convert them into constructive ones. This is the path laid out in THINK! and Lose Weight: the 7 Habits of Effective Weight Loss.
Along the way you will learn the habit of success, a habit that can be applied to any endeavor and with great reward.
Each chapter focuses on one habit and how acquiring that habit is essential to successful weight loss. Beyond the habits are several appendices with real-life strategies for organizing your exercise and diet and bringing them into compliance with not only your weight loss needs but your lifestyle as well.
So, while the formula for weight loss is the same it’s always been–eat less and do more–THINK! and Lose Weight offers strategies designed to help you effectively change your life, to make weight loss a consistent part of your lifestyle and ensure your continued success.
Guest Post By IFBB Pro Ben Pakulski of www.HypertrophyMAX.com
1) Chicken, egg whites, rice, and rice cakes ONLY…..If you want to get shredded.
PLEASE DO NOT do this! Your body needs micro nutrients and vitamins. I know of so many aspiring bodybuilders and people that just want to better their physique that hire people who tell them to follow this diet. FIRE THEM!
2) Fats make you fat.
Fats are essential for countless essential body processes. All fats are good (trans fats excluded) in some proper ratio. Rotate your fat sources and watch your libido and test levels skyrocket. I’m just saying…
3) You’ve gotta lift heavy to grow
Cmon people! If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written you know this is not true. You’ve got to lift properly, and maximize tension to grow! Don’t worry, its easier than it sounds once you get it.
4) A calorie is a calorie (all calories are created equal)
Sounds like meathead math to me! Even when trying to get as big as possible, the WORST thing you can do is eat indiscriminately. This will set you up for insulin resistance and LESS muscle growth. I can’t believe all the kids brainwashed into thinking pop tarts are okay!
5) I’m trying to work my “tie ins”
I still laugh when I read this. J WTH is a “tie in” There is NO SUCH THING people. A muscle is a muscle, and its structure is what it is. Where two muscles tie together is simply where two muscles tie together. You CANT train that. You can certainly train a muscles ENTIRE length, but not the space between two muscles.
6) I’m training to stretch my fascia.
Ummm, FASCIA DOES NOT STRETCH! 100% proven fact that fascia has the tensile strength of STEEL. It may expand, much like muscle does when it gets warm, and become more pliable, but as soon as it cools its right back to where it started. Fascia grows in much the same way muscle does. You may break fascial adhesions which gives the illusion of expansion or greater range (this is a great thing!) but unfortunately its not stretching to allow for muscle growth peeps. Volumize your muscle via training and fascia will see a need to adapt and expand or grow.
7) Narrow grip T-Bar rows work my inner back
A-mazing! NO-IT-DOES-NOT! Narrow grip on back simply impedes ranges and forces you to use greater internal rotation of the shoulder joint (rotator muscles)
8) I don’t want to “overtrain”
Listen, an hour or two 5 days a week IS NOT overtraining…EVER…PERIOD. Unless you don’t eat, and don’t sleep…in which case overtraining is the least of your worries.
9) Low intensity cardio is best for fat burning
Hopefully, by now, most of you know that this is a big load of BS and that low intensity cardio does in fact burn a greater percentage of overall fat WHILE doing the exercise but does NOTHING for your BMR aka calorie burning for the rest of the day.
10) Fasted cardio burns more fat
NOPE! Never been proven. Ever. In fact, it has been showen that cardio(or any exercise for that matter) done after consuming calories has a greater thermogenic effect.
(more calories burned)
11) Preacher curls work my lower bicep
Oh boy! Weve ALL done this at some point. Myself included. But thankfully I know better now. As much as it would nice to work my lower bicep or lengthen my bicep, preacher curls do not do this, and either do any exercises. They may overload the lower portion of the strength curve, thereby making you stronger in that part of the range giving you the misconception that youre lengthening your bicep. In reality, youre just getting overall thickness to your bicep.
12) Close grip bench works my inner chest
Or ANY exercise for that matter…you CAN NOT work your “inner chest”. I actually had a fight with another pro about this. To improve development of your inner chest it is simply necessary to fully shorten your pec muscles. Much like a bicep curl “for peak” forces your muscle to be fully shortened and thereby grow upward, same idea for inner chest.
13) I must touch the floor on stiff leg deadlift for a full range and maximum stretch in my hammies.
Cool you can touch your toes. That doesn’t mean that youre getting a greater range in your hamstrings. It often means that youre achieving a greater range via putting your spine in a compromised position. Go only as far as your hamstrings flexibility will allow.
14) When you stop working out, does all that muscle turn to fat?
Clearly every bodybuilder that stops training will turn to a massive fat slob. All that muscle has to go somewhere right? Well, no. Fat and muscle are two completely different entities. Its like turning chicken breasts into donuts. Although it might be cool, I don’t see it being likely anytime soon unless you can track down Doc Brown and his flying Delorean.
15) Saturated fat is bad
Actually, saturated fat has never been shown to have any correlation with all the negative things the media might have you believe. Heart disease etc. When it does become bad is when its combined with sugars! Saturated fat on its own actually have many great positive benefits in the body. Hormone production etc.
16) Taking glutamine and Whey protein together is bad. They compete.
In fact they can help with increased protein synthesis when combined.In fact glutamine improves immune function and immune function is an indicator of strength. Weak immune system = weak muscles.
17) I’m going to diet and lose bodyfat before I start weight training
Ok, maybe not said by a lot of bodybuilders, but I still here this idiocy all the time. Listen people, Weight training is THE best way to lose body fat and change composition. Vinny and I can take ANY physique to 10% body fat with weights and diet alone!
18) Can I get a lift off?
If somebody says this before they start, walk away! If you cant lift it on your own, you have no business lifting that weight. The only exception is some crappy old shoulder and incline presses that make you reach 4 feet behind your head to grab the bar. In such cases I remove #18 😉
19) Creatine causes cramping and muscle tears.
Nothing even close to that has ever been shown, but the media loves to tell stories that sensationalize everything that they put out.
20) I just can’t build my triceps (insert YOUR lagging bodypart here).
YES you can. You just need to learn HOW to do things properly. They might never be the best in the world, but you can bring up any lagging bodypart to match the rest of your body with knowledge of proper execution.
Click the link above for Colossal Gains In Size & Strength
Andy Bolton is an English powerlifting and strongman legend. He was the first guy to deadlift one thousand pounds in a powerlifting competition. Andy won his first competition at the age of 21 and just kept going from there, never looking back. He is the current World Powerlifting Organization world record holder (2,806 pounds) and holds the WPO world records in squat (1,213 pounds) and deadlift (1,009 pounds). His best competition bench press is a whopping 755 pounds.
In his latest work, Super Size Your Strength, Andy teams up with fellow powerlifter Elliot Newman to share their insiders’ secrets for driving your squat, bench press and deadlift to new, amazingly powerful highs. Let’s take a look and see what they have to say.
Supersize Your Strength is a 16-week training program to build raw/unequipped strength. In other words, if you wear knee wraps on your squats this program is suitable for you but if you wear squat and deadlift suits and bench shirts, then you need to look elsewhere.
The book is broken up into eight easy-to-read chapters that cover everything you need to know to follow the program and build your squat, bench press and deadlift. The sharp focus on these ‘big three’ exercises is one aspect of this book that I really like. If you’re a powerlifter this sharp focus makes perfect sense. If you’re not a powerlifter but just a guy who wants to get strong, this approach still makes sense because by focusing on the big three lifts, you’re building absolute strength from head to toe. In other words, Supersize Your Strength helps you build the foundation you need to grow all over your body. All of this is covered in chapter one.
The next chapter provides an overview of the complete 16-week program. The program is designed for a four-day training schedule and is designed to be followed exactly as-is, without modification. The only modification allowed is a switch to a 3-day switch schedule.
Chapter three covers the all-important warm up. If you expect to be lifting the kinds of weight these guys do, it is absolutely critical that you properly warm up—no exceptions. Extensive photographs are provided for each warm up exercise.
Chapter four outlines the 16-week training program. The guys include handy charts that cover each four-week period of the program. The number of exercises performed each day ranges from a low of four to a high of seven. Rest periods between the sets should be between 60 and 180 seconds, depending on the type of exercise you’re performing. You’ll need to read chapter five though first, because this is where all of the exercise movements are laid out for you. Again, like in chapter three, pictures demonstrate proper form.
The very few modifications that are allowed in the Supersize Your Strength program are covered in chapter six. For example, if a four-day cycle doesn’t work for you, it is acceptable to switch to a three-day split routine by combing certain exercises. The program includes 20 minutes of cardio per week. However, you are allowed to add some additional cardio time to this schedule. Keep in mind though that the goal
of the program is to build super strength so it is important that you not spend too much time doing cardio.
Chapter seven is focused on things you can do to increase your strength gains. Specifically, this chapter highlights pre-, during- and post-workout nutrition, along with the all important recovery. I found the nutrition section of this chapter especially useful. The guys provide a lot of great information about carbs, protein, timing your nutritional intake and more. Remember that nutrition is the foundation of all gains in size and strength. You can lift until you can’t lift any more, but if you don’t have the proper nutritional foundation, the gains just won’t happen. The recovery section in chapter seven is also very well done.
The last chapter outlines your post-program strategy to maintain your gains.
Andy and Elliot also include four bonus books: Explode Your Squat; Explode Your Bench; Explode Your Deadlift; and Bigger Lifting Through Stronger Abs. Each of these volumes provide a nice range of tips and tricks to keep exploding your results beyond the 16-week Supersize Your Strength training program. All-in-all I’m happy to give the program a solid recommendation. Andy and Elliot obviously know what they are doing in terms of strength training and they do an excellent job of conveying their knowledge and wisdom to the reader.
Do THIS And You’ll Get Bigger, Stronger And Faster – Guaranteed.
By Andy Bolton author of Supersize your Strength
You may wonder what it is that I’m referring too. After-all, to guarantee that you’ll get BIGGER, STRONGER and FASTER is a pretty bold claim, right?
But it’s a claim I can back up with results.
My own results (multiple world records and titles).
My training partners results.
My clients results.
Now, what the hell am I talking about?
Here’s your answer…
I’m talking about Training Program Design.
You see, the right training program can accelerate your gains in the gym faster than virtually anything else, but the wrong program can leave you without any gains for months (or even years) and can lead you down a road of injury and frustration.
The trouble is, it sounds easy – all you have to do is write an effective training program and you’ll achieve all your muscle-building and strength goals.
BUT – it’s not easy!
Not by a long way.
I see many guys hurt themselves and make little or no progress in the gym because they are clueless when it comes to training program design.
Some Bench Press 6 times a week.
Others only train the ‘mirror muscles’.
Others only train their upper body’s.
The list of mistakes goes on and on.
The most important things you need to get right if you want to get big and strong are:
– Good sleep
– Proper nutrition and hydration
– Lifting technique
– Training program design
Without a good training program you are doomed to failure. With a good training program it can be like removing the brakes, adding the Supercharger and saying “HELLO” to a whole new world of gains.
When I was starting out in the world of strength I found the best lifters I could and I studied what they did. At first I copied their programs and made decent gains.
Over the years I added my own unique flavors to the mix and made even better gains. Now I share my knowledge and wisdom (20+ years worth) with other lifters and athletes and they very often experience the best gains of their lives.
They add muscle.
They get stronger.
They get faster and build explosiveness.
If you’d like me to help you to get bigger, stronger and faster, by providing you with a “kick-ass” training program, click the link below:
Compound Exercise Overload (CEO) – The “Boss” of Rapid Strength Gain
by Nick Nilsson author of Muscle Explosion
Add 30 pounds to your bench press in THREE days? Impossible?
What if I told you that with just one very-specifically performed training session, you can increase your strength levels 5 to 10% in a matter of three days. If you currently bench 300 lbs, that’s a 30-lb increase!
You’d most likely tell me I’m insane (or some other not-so-polite choice of words)…conventional wisdom says that real strength is built over long periods of time, not in short bursts like this.
Well, some training “rules” are meant to be broken. All you need is the right framework, a touch of insanity, and the guts to put it to work.
Compound Exercise Overload (CEO) is my “secret weapon” designed to strategically overload a single exercise with MASSIVE volume in one session. With CEO, you take a single compound exercise (like the squat, deadlift or bench press) and do ONLY that one exercise for the entire workout. You’ll work with relatively heavy weights, you’ll get 30 seconds of rest between sets and you’ll do this for 40 minutes straight.
This technique is literally like compressing a month’s worth of training into a single workout…with the results to match it.
Compound Exercise Overload works to increase strength in several ways:
1. CEO focuses your nervous system on a single specific exercise/movement pattern, i.e. “greasing the groove” (credit to Pavel Tsatsouline for this concept). There is no competing training stimuli here, just a very specific focus on one exercise. This maximizes the neuromuscular adaptation to that exercise, tuning your nervous system to that exercise. Your body becomes its function and the function is that exercise.
2. The massive volume of training with CEO creates an emergency situation in your body. This “emergency” demands rapid adaptation in muscle and connective tissue, as well as in the nervous system. And, in the human body, emergency equals priority. Your body, in preparation for another future onslaught of this nature, pushes muscle growth and strength increases to the top of the list.
3. The high volume and short rest periods in CEO force a tremendous amount of blood into the target muscle group, driving nutrients into those target muscles. This influx of blood also stretches the fascia (the tough connective tissue that encapsulates muscle tissue, limiting its growth), which theoretically, will give the muscles more room to grow. This high-volume training also increases capillarization of the target muscles, resulting in a more permanent increase in blood supply. The better the blood supply, the more efficiently that muscle receives nutrients for growth and performance and gets rid of waste products.
4. CEO systematically reveals and addresses the weak points in your lift. For example, let’s say you’re using this technique with deadlifts and the weak link is your lower back. As you go through the workout, it’s going to be your lower back getting continually worked at its near-peak performance levels…everything else will be relatively sub-maximal. This is good because massive overload on your weak link is going to result in fast increases in strength in that weak link, which will directly carry over to the rest of your lift. When you go back to that lift in a normal workout, your lower back will no longer be the weak link and the rest of your muscles can now function closer to their actual strength potential, resulting in an immediate jump in total strength.
Put these four factors together and you have a training protocol that will give you big results in a very short window of time.
How To Do Compound Exercise Overload Training…
With this technique, your body will become a machine at whatever exercise you’re focusing on, so choose wisely…I recommend either the squat, bench press or deadlift for maximum results.
The deadlift is a good choice because it’s a great mass exercise, and all you need is a barbell and floorspace. You won’t tie up a bench press station or rack for 40 minutes. If you train when your gym is quiet and it’s not an issue, then bench or squat is fine (note: if you do choose to bench, I recommend doing these in the rack, especially if you don’t have a spotter who enjoys hanging out behind your bench for 40 minutes while you train…this technique doesn’t lend itself well to training partners working in with you, unfortunately).
Keep in mind, you’re going to be doing a LOT of sets of your choice of exercise and any form errors will be amplified over the course of the workout. Your form should be spot-on on every rep of every set…no exceptions. We’re trying to teach your body how to perform the exercise correctly.
Perform your regular warm-up before getting started, then load the barbell with a weight which you could normally complete at least 6 good reps with.
Ideally, you’ll want to use a stopwatch, regular watch or other form of timer here, to keep tight on your rest periods and total workout time. Otherwise, you’re going to have to count to 30 in your head, which is not accurate (plus that 30 seconds tends to stretch into a LOT longer as you go through the workout). Use a timer to stay honest.
Set the timer for the TOTAL workout time…in this case, it will be 40 minutes. During the workout itself, just mentally note the time you finish the set and count the time from there. For example, if you finish a set and there is 16:45 left on the timer, you have until 16:15 on the timer for rest.
Start your timer then perform ONLY 3 REPS with your starting weight, even though you CAN do 6. DO NOT go anywhere near failure on this first set or ANY set for the entire workout. The key is massive training volume, not training to failure…and that’s one rule we can’t break here.
When you’ve done your 3 reps, rest 30 seconds. Now set up and do 3 more reps. Rest 30 seconds.
Repeat these three-rep sets with 30 seconds of rest until you are unable to get 3 reps with that weight anymore. This could take anywhere from two to ten minutes or more, depending on the exercise and the amount of weight you’re using.
Here’s the key…if you’re on the second rep and it feels like you would have to really push hard to get that third rep, STOP! That’s the end for this weight.
The idea here is NOT to push yourself to the max on each set…stop short of it and train the body with volume. ALWAYS keep the “do or die” rep in you. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL FOR THIS PROGRAM TO WORK.
If you’re doing squats or deadlifts, remove 10 lbs from each side of the bar – 20 lbs total (if you started with 315, you now have 295 on the bar). Start again doing 3 rep sets and continue with the 30 second rest period. Drop the weight by 20 lbs (total) whenever you can’t complete 3 reps during a set. If you’re doing bench press (which is generally the weakest of the big three lifts), you can choose to go with a 5 lb-per-side drop (10 lbs total), if you like.
Stick with 3 reps on each set – no more, no less. Your body hits a rep-range groove and acclimates to it very quickly. This keeps your nervous system efficient because it becomes tuned to those three-rep sets.
The reason we’re using three reps as the “magic” number is because it IS the magic number. Any more reps and your body starts to build up significant metabolic waste products, causing early fatigue, which necessitates faster weight reduction. Any fewer reps and either the training loads are too high or you don’t accumulate enough volume over the course of the workout to maximize the effectiveness of the training.
After much experimentation, I’ve found 3 reps to be that magic number for this type of training.
Use Compound Exercise Overload training no more than once a week, and only on ONE exercise at a time, to maximize adaptation to that exercise. I also recommend having at least one or two rest days directly after using it.
And while you CAN use this technique as a single workout and see a nice jump in strength, a good way to utilize this technique is 4 to 6 weeks in a row. Perform this workout as your Friday workout every week for those 4 to 6 weeks, taking the weekends completely off. Do not use that exercise at any other time during the week. After those 4 to 6 weeks, your max will be significantly higher on your target exercise.
Key Notes to Maximize the Effectiveness of CEO Training:
1. Keep track of your start and end weights and the length of time you were able to lift each amount of weight. Chart your progress, so next time you have a PR to aim for. If you were able to go more than five minutes at your start weight, then increase the weight next time.
2. Only stretch the target muscle group after the final set of the workout, not during the workout. We want to keep as much blood in the area as possible to maximize the capillarization effects of this training…stretching will flush the blood out.
3. When doing this training with a barbell exercise, use plenty of small plates to finish the loadout. For example, if you’re starting with 315 lbs on the squat, don’t use three 45 lb plates on either side. Pulling those 45’s off takes up valuable training time and energy. Instead, use two 45’s, then a 25, then two 10’s. It’s the same weight but when you can no longer hit 315 lbs for 3 reps, all you need to do is pull a small 10 lb plate off each side. This is much easier and less time-consuming than pulling 45’s off then loading 35’s back on.
4. Stay tight to the 30 second rest period. This naturally increases a bit during the times you’re making weight changes, but even then, try to keep it as close to 30 seconds as possible. Start getting into position for the exercise before your 30 seconds rest is fully up. Even though you have 30 seconds of rest, it takes a few seconds to get into position for the exercise. If you start getting into position right at 30, you’ll be taking 35 to 40 seconds of rest.
5. When you’re doing this technique with deadlifts and using a mixed grip (one hand over, one hand under), it’s a good idea to switch around your grip on alternating sets to help keep your body balanced, e.g. if you grip overhand with your left hand and underhand with the right on one set, grip overhand with your right hand and underhand with your left on the next set.
CEO Training is an extraordinarily effective way to produce fast gains in strength and muscle mass. By tuning your nervous system to a specific movement pattern, eliminating weak points, improving blood circulation and stretching the fascia, this single session of massive training volume overload will deliver gains far beyond what you can achieve with conventional training.
This style of training is an integral part of my mass-building program “Muscle Explosion – 28 Days to Maximum Mass“.
Over the course of 5 days, you’ll be using this technique to perform more than 300 sets of a single exercise of your choice.
It’s an INCREDIBLY challenging and powerful technique that, when used in conjunction with the full Muscle Explosion training system, can yield gains similar to what you would normally achieve in a 4 to 6 months of training (no exaggeration).
by the late Chuck Sipes
Many, many fellows over the past few years have asked me about developing arms. As I perform my posing or strength routines, the question most often asked by an appreciative audience is, “How did you get those arms?”
Even though many of my strength feats do not call for overwhelming arm development, this area of my anatomy gets the query every time.
I suppose this is an American symptom, for overseas bodybuilders accuse this country of being arm-happy. Of course, foreign arm development as a whole is well below ours, so this could have a bit to do with it too.
Actually, I think it goes a lot deeper than this, and the appreciation of big, powerful arms is an American folk custom. By this I mean that this country was developed by the labors of all the various pioneers and explorers over the past 300-400 years.
As they pushed into the wilderness and afterwards, wresting a living from the land, these men had to work hard, work with their hands and arms and whole body, to get along. The settler, the village blacksmith, the lumberjack, the carpenter and builder . . . all needed powerful arms to ply their trade well, and in time those with the greatest, most powerful arms grew to be respected for their contributions.
Bodybuilding today, with the glorification of the entire, well-developed physique, is still influenced by this great American heritage to the extent that big arms and powerful arms are the most respected part of the body. Sometimes this fact is lost sight of in the race for pecs, lats, delts, etc. but it is there nonetheless.
Arm Strength and Size Go Together
The strength factor in arm training and training as a whole is lost sight of by some bodybuilders today. But without strength you cannot have maximum development. The more powerful you can become, the better developed you will also become.
This is especially true in the arm area, and one of the basic tenets of my arm training. Bodybuilders are so conscious of the bigness of things. Many of them concentrate just on pumping and forget the strength part. As I’ve trained and developed power for my strength feats, I’ve found that my development of size has kept pace with strength increases. Simple, but true. If you want more size, then go for strength.
But it is not as simple as “lift more weight, get bigger.” My feats involving great arm strength, such as breaking chains, bending spikes and the like, need the application of continuous arm strength over a period of time. It is this continuous application of power over a long period of time, the long holding of a contracted position, that differentiates my approach to arm training from that of other bodybuilders. And, I think my method certainly has been successful.
Too many bodybuilders are used to doing a rep, resting, then doing another rep . . . they don’t have that continuous application of power in training. I design my training to take advantage of this long period of holding tension, and do many exercises that involve constant tensing of the arm muscles, especially the biceps.
I’ve found that applying this strength principle to my workouts has resulted in greater power for my strength exhibitions, and greater size through working the muscle harder.
Anatomy and Importance
Many bodybuilders say the triceps is first in arm importance, saying it is the largest muscle in the arm. I rank the triceps last on my list. Why? An unimpressive, large but droopy and poorly shaped arm is not what I want. Besides, the triceps are not as important in my strength feats.
With the triceps last, next up the list with me is forearms. This muscular area of the arms is vital both to appearance – nothing is so unsightly as a big upper arm and a pair of sticks for forearms – and for gripping strength well developed forearms are essential. Every bodybuilder should work the forearms regularly as part of their workouts. I worked in sawmills and lumberjacking when I was younger, and this helped my development and strength quite a bit.
But, at the top of the list is the biceps area. The better developed and stronger your biceps are, the better off you will be physically. They should be #1 on your arm training list. Therefore, this arm development article will concentrate on developing this area, the biceps.
Note I said biceps area, for another important muscle vital for strength and development is located under the biceps. That is the brachialis. You should also include some work for this muscle in your biceps training, to make it as effective as possible. It will be worth your while.
My Arm Size and Power Routine
As I mentioned earlier, I feel continuous contractions are both beneficial and essential for power and clean-cut musculature. Because of this I design many of the biceps exercises I use to be continuous tension movements.
Also, to make sure I get full muscular shape as well as power and cuts, I also do movements that are complete extensions and contractions, with a bit of rest in between the reps. For the best benefit I superset one of these full-movement exercises with a continuous tension/continuous motion movement.
Super Set I
1.) Cheat Curls – 5 sets of 6 to 8 reps. I make this a real power movement, starting the weight with a slight lean-back, and curling it to the top with biceps power. Once at the top, I immediately start to SLOWLY lower the weight, fighting it all the way down, making the descent last as long as possible. Once it hits the thighs I don’t relax, but swing the weight up again immediately. This way I handle the utmost in weight while keeping the motion continuous from the beginning of the set to the end, no rest for the biceps at any time.
2.) Concentration Curls – 5 sets of 10 to 12 reps. To counterbalance the cheat curls, I do concentration curls, going through a full and complete extension and contraction of the biceps. Whit my elbow braced on the thigh, I bring a moderate weight up, stopping for an instant at the peak; lower it, relax for a moment, then start the next rep, all the while concentrating on guiding the biceps through a perfect path.
Super Set II
3.) Alternate Dumbell
Curls– 5 sets of 6 to 8 reps. I use the heaviest dumbells possible, and swing the weight a bit. Also, to add to the momentum, I swing one dumbell up, then as I’m lowering it I swing the mate up, so that both bells are going continuously from the beginning of the exercise to the end. Remember, maximum weight, swing the dumbells a bit, keep curling continuously until the end of the set.
4.) Incline Curl – 5 sets of 8 reps. To finish off my second superset, I go to incline curls, a great favorite of Steve Reeves. I do them slow and concentrated, with a moderate weight, bringing the elbow up slightly at the end of each rep. I bring one bell up as the other is going down, alternating, but go through a full correct exercise motion each rep, resting and refocusing for a moment at the bottom point of each rep. Maintain good form.
5.) Reverse Barbell Curl – 6 sets of 6 to 8 reps. This exercise, done properly and with the maximum weight you can handle, will really add power to the arm. Naturally, the overgrip limits the amount of weight you can properly handle, but you should still go for the maximum, in good clean style, and really work up the weights constantly.
My final comment is against what seems to be a common practice among eager lifters and bodybuilders who want fast gains. That is, to train like a demon and then live in a state of suspended animation, doing as little as humanly possible outside of the gym. This is such a poor practice psychologically, and equally foolish when it comes to recuperation and development.
You need constant circulation for best results, so light work and/or games are good. Of course rest is important, but your strength and muscle will not shrink away if you engage them in a little useful enterprise, and as I previously mentioned, working in the sawmills when I was young helped my strength immensely. Don’t worry about working or playing outside of your lifting routines as long as your barbell training keeps flowing along properly. Train hard, but remain involved in all facets of life.
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Quit Fast If You Notice It’s Just Not Working!
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Follow Your Curiosity – It Could Take You Places!
Your vision might not be as clear as you would want it to be right now, but as long as you are curious about seeing what could happen should you embrace a full time gambling or bodybuilding career, you might be pleasantly surprised by the results. Just keep in mind not to treat your financial concerns primary, at least when starting out. It takes time to grow, and you have got all the time in the world as long as you have found what you were dreaming of.