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The Ultimate Guide to Six Pack Ab Training

How do you build six pack abs?

 

Well, that really depends on your goal. See a lot of people are very focused on the look of a six pack and are only really interested in developing a washboard stomach so that they can impress members of the opposite sex. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that and everyone is entitled to work towards the goals that they are uniquely interested in.

 

The problem is, if you’re only training for looks, then you’ll end up missing out on the best results. Likewise, if you’re only training for strength – something that a lot of people end up doing accidentally – then you’ll be missing out too.

 

The key to success is to have a multi-faceted approach to your abs training – to train your strength, your definition and your resilience. Then there’s acceleration, anti-rotational strength…

Strength

So starting with strength, what is ab strength really all about?

 

Well, your rectus abdominis (the ‘six pack’ part of the abs) is really all about rolling your body up and bringing your head to your toes in that way. The best way to train the abs in strength is to perform this movement while pushing or pulling against resistance. One good option? Weighted leg raises, but only if you make sure to roll the abs as you perform them.

 

This will build strength and power in the abs which will help with other types of training. It won’t make your abs ‘bulkier’ but it may help with definition.

 

Resilience

Next up comes your resilience, or your anti-rotational strength. This is your ability to keep the abs working for a long period of time (via the slow twitch muscle fiber) and to keep you rigidly in place. ‘Anti-rotational’ strength refers to your ability to keep the body straight and rigid against pressure and this is an area where resilience is very important. Med ball throws are useful for training here.

 

Acceleration

Acceleration is the explosive power of the abs. This relates closely to ab strength but you can train it even more specifically with a plyometric type of training. This will build those super-fast twitch muscle fibers and it’s key for athletes because it’s what will allow you to spring off in different directions suddenly. This is about performing movements fast.

 

Stamina

Finally, your stamina – or your reactive capacity. This is like resilience but even further down the spectrum – this is the kind of resilience that allows your body to remain upright against the force of your posterior chain all day. This is the type that is crucial for general health and for pain reduction.

 

The Take Home Message

The take home message? Apply a ‘power builder’ type approach to your abs training. In other words, stop training your abs like a bodybuilder, like an athlete, or like a yoga instructor… and start doing all those things. This way your abs will both look better and perform better and you’ll be training all the twitch muscle fiber.

 

Throw in the right diet and some cardio to reveal them and you have the ultimate six pack training regime.


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The Top Five Tricep Exercises

If you could only ever train your triceps with five exercises… what would they be?

 

Don’t worry, you will still be able to do other tricep exercises. We’re not that cruel. This is a purely hypothetical question. But it still pays to know the answer. Because in theory, if you know your ‘desert island’ exercises, then you will have reliable staples that you can return to time and again. If you know the five exercises that you can use to get an amazing tricep workout in every time, then you can build the rest of your routines around those and you’ll never be at a loss for how to get the backs of your arms popping!

 

Not sure what your top five would be? Then how about taking it from Rob Riches, a guy who knows a thing or two about amazing triceps. These are the five exercises he thinks are the best for triceps.

 

 

 

Push Downs

The push downs are pretty basic but that’s no bad thing! The push downs really target the triceps well and they allow you to drop the weight down, move it up and generally increase intensity in all kinds of ways without risking injury.

 

A key tip to doing this well is to stand with your hips back as you perform the reps. This way you’ll be able to extend your arms much further and you should be getting them all the way straight. Make sure you aren’t using momentum or cheating by using your bodyweight.

 

The Narrow Grip Bench Press

The narrow grip is a bench press but with your hands close together. This removes the focus from the pecs and places it squarely on your triceps. It can be a little uncomfortable on your wrists though, so make sure not to go down further than you’re comfortable with.

 

Tricep Dips

Tricep dips are classics again which is only a testament to their versatility. Rob Riches prefers the ‘bench dip’ variation which means he has his feet on one bench and hands on another. This of course allows you to dip much lower and Rob also likes to pile up extra weight with weight plates on the lap. Note that this one isn’t great for the shoulders, so this isn’t a good one if you have bad shoulders.

 

Overhead Dumbbell Extension

Next up come the dumbbell extensions. Here you’re holding a dumbbell behind your upper back and then extending your arm by straightening it out right directly above you. This is another classic and it works the full length of the tricep for great ROM.

 

Cable Kickback

Finally, another classic move. Kickbacks are great for really isolating the dumbbell and it doesn’t take much weight here to get an amazing burn going. By using the cable pulley machine you can perform more inventive drop sets and other routines and you can also ensure perfect technique.

 

These aren’t the absolute best five of course – you may prefer others. And of course variation is always good. But if in doubt, you can always rely on these absolute classics to ensure you get a good tricep workout.


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The Secret to High Performance Forearms (And Strength Gains Across the Board)

What if I told you there was one thing you could do that would improve your strength in every single movement you perform at the gym?

 

Well, it’s true! And chances are that you’ve already guessed what I’m going to say by looking at the title…

 

But humor me…

 

Training your forearms is the quickest way to improve your strength and can help everything from your bench press to your pull up to your deadlift. Why? Because for many of us the forearms are a week link when it comes to our lifting. Strong forearms provide stability for the weight, which improves our control over it which in turn allows us to pump out more repetitions. If you take this away, then the weight starts wobbling all over the place and you end up with egg on your face. That, and weak forearms make lifting weights painful and make us prone to dropping them.

 

So if we want to get stronger, we need to focus on forearms. And we need to train our forearms in the right way in order to give them both explosive strength and long-term endurance. Your forearms are going to be involved in nearly every exercise during any workout so they need to be able to last.

Training Your Forearm Endurance

This forearm endurance is the thing that many of us will miss out even if we have the foresight to train our forearms. So how do you train for that?

 

The simple answer is to hold on. What you’re going to do here is simply hang from something in order to test your ability to maintain your grip and endurance for a long period of time.

 

The first and most straightforward of these is the ‘straight arm hang’ where you simply hang from a bar with your arms straight. The next is the ‘flexed arm hang’ where you use an overhand (pronated) grip, bring your arms in together slightly and bend at the elbows so your head is above the bar. This one is cool because it’s what the military use to train ability to hang! You can keep counting your time as long as the arm isn’t completely straight.

 

Next up is the ‘bicep chin hang’. This is the same – arms closer to the chest, in together and bent. The only difference is that you have an underhand ‘supinated’ grip.

 

Finally, we’re going to perform a dynamic challenge. This means that you’re going to keep moving by performing ‘over/unders’ – switching your grip from supinated to pronated one at a time and with no pause in between.

 

More Forearm Strength

All this above will give you forearms that actually perform. On top of this you can try using farmers’ carries which are another great exercise for forearm endurance.

 

And of course you shouldn’t forget your ‘regular’ forearm training – which means wrist curls, rock climbing and rope pull ups.

 

Start doing this kind of training and not only will it offer a fun change for your workouts but it will also offer huge rewards in terms of your physical performance.

 


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The Backpack Fat Burn Workout!

Those who have been working out for a long time, perhaps not always with the most funds or equipment, will know that in reality you can get a great workout with any kind of equipment. In fact, you can get a great workout with no equipment.

 

At the same time, by thinking outside the box and looking for some less obvious things to train with, you can find that you actually often end up getting a better burn on your muscles than you normally would.

 

This workout is the perfect example of that. Using nothing but a backpack with something a little heavy in it (from a jug of milk to a medicine ball – anything will do) you can turn a regular fat burning circuit into something absolutely brutal.

 

So go and get your backpack, make sure that the weight is distrusted across your back as evenly as possible and avoid anything sharp or uncomfortable that will dig in. Additionally, you should make sure that you don’t have anything too heavy in there to begin with. Try with 5-10kg and then increase the weight as you get more confident.

 

 

The Routine

The following routine is fairly simple but when you add the weighted backpack, things get a little more crazy.

The exercises should be performed in order with a thirty second break between each round. Go for 4 rounds total.

The circuit is:

Push-Ups

Pull-Ups

Dips

Lunges

Plank

Again, these are not unusual exercises in themselves but as you increase the weight you’ll find they get more and more difficult.

 

A Note on Using Weighted Vests and Backpacks

The weighted backpack has another trick up its sleeve. If you really want to get inventive with your training then you can perform a ‘drop-set circuit’. This basically means that each time you go around the circuit, you will make it a little easier so that you can do more repetitions.

 

So how might you do that? Simple: by lightening the load in the backpack on each round – by taking things out for instance.

 

This is a great trick because it lets you push past failure and really keep intensity high.

 

If you want to upgrade this workout, then of course you can try using a weighted vest which will more evenly and comfortable distribute the weight. What’s more, often individual weights will slot into pockets, allowing you to remove the weights as you go quickly and easily.

 

But there are a few caveats here too. The first is to bear in mind that weighted vests get very hot and sweaty while you train and this can also be quite uncomfortable if they rub. At the same time, the pressure is still going to be primarily on the shoulders and so it’s still not all that good for you over a long period.

 

Another thing to bear in mind is that when you train with a weighted vest, backpack or even wrist weights, you are changing your center of gravity and this can ultimately impact on your ability to balance. This isn’t a problem for a workout but if you thought you could spend all day with a weighted vest on… well think again.


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Should You be Bothering With Muscle Ups?

When it comes to ‘showy’ exercises that you can use to demonstrate your strength and power, there are few more exercises more impressive than the muscle up.

But is this exercise all show and no go?

 

 

 

What is a Muscle Up?

A muscle up is essentially a pull up combined with a dip… sort of.

Basically, you grab a bar overhead as though you’re about to do a pull up (with an overhand grip), you pull yourself all the way up and then you keep going so that you’re on top of the bar and so you can push yourself up above the bar.

This looks pretty awesome and it’s something that requires a lot of strength and technique to pull off. Most people simply can’t perform a muscle up and you probably shouldn’t even attempt one unless you can do 10+ strict pull ups first.

The movement is also a good one in that it works a lot of different muscle groups all at once. Of course it starts out by offering the benefits of both a pull up and a dip. That means it will work your lats, your biceps, your pecs, your triceps and your shoulders. Meanwhile, you need to keep your legs and lower body very straight to ensure you can generate the momentum and thus your core and abs come into play a great deal too.

But many physical therapists don’t like it so much… why?

Joints

When you do a muscle up, you’re required to quickly move your wrists over onto the top of the bar from underneath. This requires a lot of very rapid flexion of the forearm, places a lot of strain on the wrists and also places a lot of strain on the medial elbow – this is a big problem if you suffer from golfer’s elbow.

Then you have internal rotation of the shoulders which are also very important for quickly switching shape and also happens to once again be a bit of a recipe for injury.

Risk vs Benefit

What you need to look at then is the risk vs benefit. There’s a little risk with the muscle up sure but then there is with the deadlift as well. If it provides serious results, then does it really matter?

But the bad news for muscle up lovers is that this exercise doesn’t offer that much reward. Actually, the muscle up is mainly about generating momentum in order to get yourself over the bar and requires little actual strength.

Moreover, all the muscles worked by muscles ups can be worked more effectively in other ways. Case in point: explosive pulls ups and dips.

Explosive pulls ups are simply pull ups that involve bringing your chest above the bar. This is the part of the muscle up that requires real strength and you can practice that with no need to go over. If you follow this up with some dips, then you’ve worked all the same muscle groups but without getting fatigued early.

Also, muscle ups in the gym make you look like a bit of a prat…

 

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Four Moves to a Shredded Back

How can you tell a real bodybuilder or gym rat vs. a weekend warrior? Take a look at their back!

 

The back spends a lot of time under a shirt. The muscles there are not ‘mirror muscles’. And even when we’re naked we can’t actually see them ourselves!

 

But at the same time, a truly ripped back is what will tell people that you’re not just about looks – but performance. A wide back will make you look powerful and help you to take up more shape and what’s more, a strong back will prevent you from injuring yourself and it will help you to perform better in every exercise you do. Keep training the front and ignoring the back and eventually you’ll snap. Be smart and train that back!

 

In this article we’re going to look at four powerful moves that will help you really bring out definition in your back and to really build some strength and power. What’s more, they’ll target every one of the muscle groups.

 

The Moves

So what are the moves? Read on for the full breakdown. What you might notice is that none of these are ‘groundbreaking’. These are all moves that most bodybuilders will be familiar with but there’s a very good reason for that. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it! These are tried and true staples of back training but we’ll be providing a few tips for each move along the way to help you get even more from it.

 

Wide Grip Pull Ups

We’ll be starting with wide grip pull ups. Now of course, pull ups are overhand (pronated) and this is the best type of pull up for training the lats. Twist those hands over to a supinated, underhand grip and you’ll be hitting the biceps instead.

 

We’re mixing things up a little here though by widening the grip. By doing that, we’re going to open up the chest and at the same time we’ll increase the lats’ range of motion. You can bring your chest right up to the bar and this will get those scapula retractors involved.

 

Bent Over Rows

Next comes the bent over rows. Here you’ll be bending forward and pulling dumbbells up by your side. It’s another classic move for training the lats and it’s especially good because it throws in some added isometric training for the core and for the erector spinae keeping you in that position.

 

Single Arm Rows

Now you’ve exhausted the lats and tired out your lower back, hit the single arm rows. You can put one knee on a bench and this way you can really isolate the lats and make use of that pre-exhaust. Note that if you bring the arm up slightly higher, closer to the shoulder rather than your side, then you’ll also be able to involve the traps a little more.

 

Close Grip Pull Ups, Neutral Grip

Next up are neutral grip pull ups with your hands facing inward. This is the closest thing there is to a bodyweight row and it’s great for training the middle of the lats.

 


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A Fat Burning Workout From Hell

This is one of the hardest fat burning workouts that you’ll ever try. It’s something completely different from what you’re probably used to and it will absolutely kill your obliques.

 

Interested?

 

The workout comes from SixPackFactory.com, which is a great YouTube channel for those interested in burning fat and building muscle. It’s a circuit but it’s quite probably not like any circuit you’ve tried for burning fat before…

 

Read on…

 

The Workout

 

 

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the exercises involved in this super punishing workout. They are:

10 x thrust Spider-Man push-ups
Here you are going to begin in press up position but with your arms slightly back towards your feet so that your butt is up in the air. Now you’re going to thrust forward so that you dive forward onto your hands and as you do, you’re going to bring one knee up by your side. Then thrust back again and repeat.

 

10 x sprinters’ knee up
The sprinters’ knee up involves standing in a low lunge position, then bringing your back leg up, past your front leg and kicking forward/up with your knee. At this point you’ll be on one leg and you can do a little hop if you want.

 

10 x 1 arm dumbbell squat and push
Take a dumbbell that you can comfortable clean and press for ten reps. Now put it on the floor in front of you and stand in front of it with your legs at shoulders’ width apart. Now you’re going to pick it up off the floor, pull it in to rest against your shoulder and then press it upwards in the air over your shoulder. Then lower it and put it back down.

 

20 jumping jacks for 1 minute
Finally, you’re going to perform 20 jumping jacks for 1 minute. Go relatively lightly with these because this is your recovery period. Yep, this is ‘active recovery’ – we told you this one was hard!

 

The Key to the Workout

Now the key to getting this workout right is that you’re only going to do it on one side each time around. So in other words, you’re only bringing one of your knees up during the Spider-Man push-ups and you’re only using one knee in the sprinters’ knee up.

 

The point of this is that you’re really focusing on isolating one set of obliques. These give you excellent definition in your abs down the side and you should find it highly punishing. Instead of swapping sides and letting you recover on each side before going onto the next move, this keeps up the intensity on that one side all the way through. It’s like cruel and unusual torture.

 

What’s more, all these moves are ‘compound’. That means they’re big ‘full body’ movements that utilize multiple different muscle groups and really get your metabolism going. This is excellent for burning fat and for triggering muscle growth and all-day after-burn effects. Give it a try but make sure you book in some rest for afterwards!


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9 Minutes Chest and Cardio Workout – Excellent Results

When you think about cardio, you generally think about exercises that target the legs.

 

You know the score: jumping jacks, tuck jumps, squats… all performed to some dodgy music, wearing headbands and holding 2kg dumbbells.

 

But what if I told you you could train cardio during a chest workout? Sure it sounds odd but there’s no reason you can’t and if you’re looking to tone up that chest, this can be an excellent strategy to add to your routine.

 

Why Chest and Cardio Go Well Together

Despite them not seeming like obvious bedfellows, chest workouts and cardio can actually make a lot of sense together. Why? Because the press up is a fantastic exercise you can perform explosively and which also trains the abs. If you want to get ripped, doing lots of explosive press ups is actually a very good way to accomplish that.

 

But we’re going to get a little more advanced than just ‘lots of press ups’.

 

So what does a chest cardio workout look like?

 

 

 

 

Fat Burning While Working the Chest

Dive Bomber Push Ups


The dive bomber push up is a push up that starts off like a press up but with your arms straight out in front of you and your buttocks pointing up in the air behind you. Your body should be angled towards the floor diagonally

 

Jump Lunge Burpees


This is basically two exercises tied together. The jump lunge is a movement where you start in a lunge position, then jump up in the air, swap legs and land in the opposite lunge position. This is an excellent explosive move for your legs and will get your heart beating.

 

Following this though, you’re next going to drop down into press up position, perform a press up and then jump back up. Now you’re involving pretty much the whole body and getting the chest in there.

 

Up and Over Step Lunges


Okay so this one doesn’t involve the chest but it’s a great one to throw in to keep the heart rate up. Stand with one foot on a bench and the other on the floor, then quickly step up and offer the other side. Perform quickly and it will look like you’re quickly running left and right onto either side of the bench.

 

Knee to Elbow Planks


The plank is a great isometric hold for the abs and chest. Now you’re going to bring your knee up on one side to get the movement in there and to work the obliques as well. Repeat both sides.

 

Sliding Mountain Climbers


Mountain climbers are another isometric hold for the chest but with the arms a little straighter. Normally you jump your legs forward as with the jumping lunge but in this case you’re going to slide them forward and back. How? One way to do this is by standing on cloths and performing the movement on a shiny floor. This way you can get some real speed going to really up your BPM!

 


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Crazy 1 Minute Cardio Workout


Burning fat doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to take ages. In fact, you can very realistically burn a ton of fat with a workout consisting of a single minute – and at the same time you can do so using only your bodyweight, right in the comfort of your own home.

 

Okay, so a one minute workout might not really burn that much fat. But it can certainly help you to power through a few calories. And then if you repeat that workout over and over a few times… well then you’re talking.

 

The following is a 1 minute cardio routine from Mike Chang. This was one of this most famous YouTube videos and for good reason: it’s simple and it’s effective. You’ll find that after just one minute of this circuit you’re gasping for air and it’ll only take a few repetitions for you to really feel the difference.

 

The Circuit

So how does this amazing circuit go? Obviously you’ll perform each exercise once and not take any break in between each round, as is standard for any circuit. And as the name suggests, the whole circuit should take you just one minute. Seeing as there are four exercises that means that each ‘station’ should take you only 15 seconds. But trust me, that’s going to be long enough!

 

After your minute is up, rest for 20 seconds and then go again. See how many you can complete! Doing five rounds or ten rounds will still only take you a short amount of time but it’s more than enough to get some results.

 

The circuit goes like so:

Burpees
Burpees are a well-known exercise but in case you haven’t seen them, you basically start with a small jumping jack, then drop down to perform one press up. After the press up make sure that you really ‘pop’ back up so that you’re launching yourself into the air. The whole thing should look like one fluid movement.

 

Knee Tucks
Next up are knee tucks. Here you’re just jumping up in the air and tucking your knees up in front of you. This is an excellent movement because it requires a lot of ‘plyometric’ strength, meaning you really need to be able to explode yourself into the air.

 

Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers involve being in a press up position but with your buttocks slightly raised. Now you’re going to jump one leg forward with your knee bent and shoot the other one out straight behind you. Now swap with one jump. Basically it should look as though you’re climbing a ladder that’s lying flat along the floor.

 

Jumping Lunges
Finally, jumping lunges involve going from one deep lunge to jumping in the air and swapping your legs over and landing back into the next lunge.

 

All these exercises are great for the legs and for cardio. For the bodybuilders out there, it will make a fantastic ‘finisher’ to burn a few extra calories at the end of a workout.


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Is Growth Factor Plus a Scam? Can it Really Increase Height?

Unless you’re lucky enough to be 6’2” naturally, almost every guy on the planet wants to be taller. Being taller makes you more imposing, it makes you more attractive to women and it makes you much more confident. The psychological impact of looking down on people alone is enough to make you feel much more impressive and far less shy as a guy, while studies have shown that being just a few inches taller correlates with increases in salary, attractiveness and more.

 

And for those of us looking to build muscle, getting taller is hugely advantageous. Short bodybuilders might find it easier to look bulky (seeing as the muscle is more compacted) but they also have shorter levers and less space for total overall muscle. The result is that they’re generally not as strong and that they’re more powerful looking overall. Plus, they never get the accusation that it’s ‘easy to look strong when you’re short’.

 

But your height is something you have no control over… right? You can’t change how tall you are… can you?

 

Well, if the hype is to be believed there just might be a way. The supplement is called ‘Growth Factor Plus’ and word has it that it can help you to get taller while also providing a ton of other amazing benefits. But does it really do what it says it does? Let’s find out…

 

How We Grow Taller and Why We Stop

To start with, let’s look at bit at the science of growing taller. There are two factors you need here: one is human growth hormone and the other is for your growth plates to be open. When we’re younger, we produce more growth hormone and this allows our bones to get longer. Specifically they do this by extending at the ‘growth plates’ which are like softer areas that live at the end of your limbs. Once we pass a certain age, those growth plates ‘ossify’ and become real bone and our growth hormone production slows down.

 

How Growth Factor Plus Works

Growth Factor Plus is an entirely natural supplement from HGH.com, which providGrowth Factor Pluses the body with the raw materials it needs to create more HGH naturally. This isn’t like taking HGH directly (which is illegal in many states and countries) but instead you’re helping your body to make more itself – which results in much longer lasting and more pronounced benefits.

 

But what about the growth plates?

 

Well for starters, everyone’s growth plates close at different ages. While many people will tell you they close at 15, often they don’t fully ossify until the age of 28… or even older! This means that even if you think you’re fully grown, there’s still a good chance you can squeeze out a couple of extra inches.

 

What’s more, studies have found that HGH can increase growth even in adults. This is supported by the proprietary blend of ingredients (including l-ornithine, l-arginine, l-lsine, l-tyrosine and others) found in Growth Factor Plus that help to encourage bone health and even bone growth. The combination of these ingredients combined with growth hormone means that you can rebuild cartilage and more to increase the length of bones quite considerably.

 

The site contains honest reviews (which is a rarity for such products) and the company is happy to provide refunds for those who aren’t happy. There’s nothing to lose then and if you think you’d be happier with an extra 1-3” in height, it’s definitely worth checking out.