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Old 28-09-2011, 02:40 PM   #16
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NO Nitric Oxide

1. What is it and where does it come from?

Nitric Oxide is a free form gas that is produced in the body and is used by the body to communicate with other cells in the body. To produce this gas, enzymes in the body break down the amino acid Arginine.

Nitric Oxide is a molecule consisting of one atom of nitrogen and one atom of oxygen. The production of Nitric Oxide occurs when the amino acid L-arginine is converted into L-citruline through an enzyme group known as Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS). The chemical process of conversion is shown in figure 1.


2. What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?

Despite the claims of some in the supplement industry, there exists ample scientific literature to substantiate the efficacy of Nitric Oxide products. The following was written in May 1996 in a document prepared for the Royal Society and Association of British Science Writers: Summary research papers continue to flood the scientific journals and insights into the biological activity and potential clinical uses of nitric oxide (NO): a gas controlling a seemingly limitless range of functions in the body. Each revelation adds to nitric oxide's already lengthy resume in controlling the circulation of the blood, regulating activities of the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, stomach and other organs."

Since the above was written in 1996, Nitric Oxide containing products have continued to be touted by those in the medical profession, as well as by athletes looking to add muscle to their frames.

The above quotation states that Nitric Oxide controls the circulation of blood, transmits messages between nerve cells, and is a mediator of inflammation and is associated with the process of feeling pain. The popular erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil citrate (Viagra) contains nitric oxide and is responsible for maintaining healthy blood flow to the penis.

The fact that nitric oxide increases blood flow should make it of interest to bodybuilders, as increased blood flow will serve to deliver more nutrients to muscles, thus helping muscles become larger when subject to stress. The fact that Nitric Oxide acts to reduce inflammation should also make it of interest to bodybuilders as it has the potential to reduce the pain associated with subjecting muscles to extreme stress.

Nitric oxide also affects the endocrine system. It affects the release of gonadotroptin releasing hormone, as well as the release of adrenaline from the adrenal medulla.


3. Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?

Everyone REQUIRES nitric oxide to carry out key physiological processes within the body. From a bodybuilder's perspective, nitric oxide supplementation may prove useful in increasing growth due to increases in blood flow to certain areas of the body.
Signs of deficiency include the inability to achieve and sustain normal erections, physical weakness and extreme fatigue. Most "nitric oxide" supplements contain the amino acid Arginine-alpha-keto-glutarate.


4. How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?

With any amino acid containing product, overdose is a possibility. Dosing with too much arginine can lead to diarrhea, weakness and nausea. Clear dosing guidelines have not been established, so it is best to do what is known as "tolerance mapping". Take a small dosage for one week, note the benefits and the side effects, and increase the dosage until the benefits are maximized and the side effects minimized. Over time the two will converge and you will hit the optimal dose. This process is similar to "receptor mapping" for bodybuilders who use insulin.
Many protein powders are fortified with amino acids, including arginine. With this in mind, pay particular attention to how much arginine you are ingesting from all supplements taken.


5. Where can I get it?

At the time of this writing, Pinnacle Brands makes NOx2. This product is very similar to the NO2 product made by MRI. IDS also make a similar product, NP2. With IDS's product, tribulus terrestris is also included. Tribulus is proven to increase testosterone levels. The combination of tribulus and NO may prove incredibly effective.
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Old 28-09-2011, 02:42 PM   #17
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Beginners' Guide to Fat Loss / Q&A / FAQ

This is a hack job of rockstarz's original thread and Galapogos' thread from Flowerpod. rockstarz had quite an exhaustive Q&A, some of which I've left out because I feel Galapogos' information supplants them or are unnecessary IMO.

But if you're really interested to lose those fats, it will do you well to read both links as well.

Where's the Fat?
Fat, or adipose tissue, is found in several places in your body. Generally, fat is found underneath your skin (subcutaneous fat). There's also some on top of each of your kidneys. Other locations depend upon whether you are a man or woman:

*An adult man tends to carry body fat in his chest, abdomen and buttocks, producing an "apple" shape.

*An adult woman tends to carry fat in her breasts, hips, waist and buttocks, creating a "pear" shape.

*The difference in fat location comes from the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone.


Your body contains two types of fat tissue:

White fat - important in energy metabolism, heat insulation and mechanical cushioning.
Brown fat - found mostly in newborn babies, between the shoulders; important for thermogenesis (making heat).

Fat tissue is made up of fat cells. Fat cells are a unique type of cell. You can think of a fat cell as a tiny plastic bag that holds a drop of fat:

White fat cells are large cells that have very little cytoplasm, only 15 percent cell volume, a small nucleus and one large fat droplet that makes up 85 percent of cell volume.

Brown fat cells are somewhat smaller, are loaded with mitochondria and are composed of several smaller fat droplets. The mitochondria are able to generate heat. Fat cells are formed in the developing fetus during the third trimester of pregnancy, and later at the onset of puberty, when the sex hormones "kick in." It is during puberty that the differences in fat distribution between men and women begin to take form. One amazing fact is that fat cells do not multiply after puberty -- as your body stores more fat, the number of fat cells remains the same. Each fat cell simply gets bigger! In addition to fat tissue, some fat is stored in the liver, and an even smaller amount in muscle.

How fat enters your body
When you eat food that contains fat, mostly triglycerides, it goes through your stomach and intestines. In the intestines, the following happens:

1. Large fat droplets get mixed with bile salts from the gall bladder in a process called emulsification. The mixture breaks up the large droplets into several smaller droplets called micelles, increasing the fat's surface area.

2. The pancreas secretes enzymes called lipases that attack the surface of each micelle and break the fats down into their parts, glycerol and fatty acids.

3.These parts get absorbed into the cells lining the intestine.

4. In the intestinal cell, the parts are reassembled into packages of fat molecules (triglycerides) with a protein coating called chylomicrons. The protein coating makes the fat dissolve more easily in water.

5. The chylomicrons are released into the lymphatic system -- they do not go directly into the bloodstream because they are too big to pass through the wall of the capillary.

6. The lymphatic system eventually merges with the veins, at which point the chylomicrons pass into the bloodstream.


You might be wondering why fat molecules get broken down into glycerol and fatty acids if they're just going to be rebuilt. This is because fat molecules are too big to easily cross cell membranes. So when passing from the intestine through the intestinal cells into the lymph, or when crossing any cell barrier, the fats must be broken down. But, when fats are being transported in the lymph or blood, it is better to have a few, large fat molecules than many smaller fatty acids, because the larger fats do not "attract" as many excess water molecules by osmosis as many smaller molecules would.

How fat is stored in your body
Chylomicrons do not last long in the bloodstream -- only about eight minutes -- because enzymes called lipoprotein lipases break the fats into fatty acids. Lipoprotein lipases are found in the walls of blood vessels in fat tissue, muscle tissue and heart muscle. The activity of lipoprotein lipases depends upon the levels of insulin in the body. If insulin is high, then the lipases are highly active; if insulin is low, the lipases are inactive.

The fatty acids are then absorbed from the blood into fat cells, muscle cells and liver cells. In these cells, under stimulation by insulin, fatty acids are made into fat molecules and stored as fat droplets.

It is also possible for fat cells to take up glucose and amino acids, which have been absorbed into the bloodstream after a meal, and convert those into fat molecules. The conversion of carbohydrates or protein into fat is 10 times less efficient than simply storing fat in a fat cell, but the body can do it. If you have 100 extra calories in fat (about 11 grams) floating in your bloodstream, fat cells can store it using only 2.5 calories of energy. On the other hand, if you have 100 extra calories in glucose (about 25 grams) floating in your bloodstream, it takes 23 calories of energy to convert the glucose into fat and then store it. Given a choice, a fat cell will grab the fat and store it rather than the carbohydrates because fat is so much easier to store.

It is important to note that as your body stores more fat, the number of fat cells remains the same; each fat cell simply gets bigger.

Hormones That Act Opposite to Insulin
When you are not eating, your body is not absorbing food. If your body is not absorbing food, there is little insulin in the blood. However, your body is always using energy; and if you're not absorbing food, this energy must come from internal stores of complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Under these conditions, various organs in your body secrete hormones:

pancreas - glucagon
pituitary gland - growth hormone
pituitary gland - ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone)
adrenal gland - epinephrine (adrenaline)
thyroid gland - thyroid hormone

These hormones act on cells of the liver, muscle and fat tissue, and have the opposite effects of insulin.

How your body breaks down fat
When you are not eating, or you are exercising, your body must draw on its internal energy stores of complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Your body's prime source of energy is glucose. In fact, some cells in your body, such as brain cells, can get energy only from glucose.

The first line of defense in maintaining energy is to break down carbohydrates, or glycogen, into simple glucose molecules -- this process is called glycogenolysis. Next, your body breaks down fats into glycerol and fatty acids in the process of lipolysis. The fatty acids can then be broken down directly to get energy, or can be used to make glucose through a multi-step process called gluconeogenesis. In gluconeogenesis, amino acids can also be used to make glucose.

In the fat cell, other types of lipases work to break down fats into fatty acids and glycerol. These lipases are activated by various hormones, such as glucagon, epinephrine and growth hormone. The resulting glycerol and fatty acids are released into the blood, and travel to the liver through the bloodstream. Once in the liver, the glycerol and fatty acids can be either further broken down or used to make glucose.
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Old 28-09-2011, 02:42 PM   #18
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Q. I have been eating 1500-1800 calories a day, I now understand this is wrong. How much should I eat and what results should I expect?

A. One of the simpler algorithms to find your cutting calories is to multiply your bodyweight by 15 to get an approximation of your maintenance calories, then subtract 500 to get your cutting calories. So a 200 lb man would have a maintenance calorie level of 3,000 calories, and can lose weight on 2400-2600 calories a day. If you've been under eating (starving) for a prolonged amount of time, you may gain weight when you begin to eat more. Don't get discouraged and keep eating. Treat your body good, give it fuel to run off of. The only time this formula does not work is when you are extremely overweight, in which case I would not recommend ever trying to cut on more than 3,000 calories (and never less than 1800).

Q. So what am I supposed to be eating?

A. Wholesome unprocessed foods. Now that you're ready to start losing fat the "right way", you are going to make a new dedication to learning about nutrition. YOU (not me, nor this post, nor anyone on this message board) are going to spend time searching the forums and the internet for information on how to eat properly. In general you will be eating things like chicken, tuna, brown rice, yams, walnuts, and other tasty treats, but the topic of nutrition and food choices is much too large to answer in this FAQ.

Q. Is it true that I only want to lose 2 pounds a week?

A. Absolutely, anything more than that is unhealthy. The only time this rule does not apply is when you are very over weight (280+lbs), in which case, losing 1% of your total bodyweight per week is completely acceptable.

Q) What's the best way to lose fat and get an ideal physique?
A) The best way to accomplish this is through a proper nutrition and training plan. Nutrition won't be covered in this thread(maybe in another thread), but training would include the following:
- Weight lifting compound free weights with short rest intervals
- High intensity interval training(HIIT)
Both these methods will be elaborated on later.

Q) But what about jogging for cardio? Isn't that the best way of losing weight?
A) No. In fact, it can be counter productive. You see, jogging is a form of steady state cardio exercise. What this means is that you keep a rather low speed that you're able to sustain for long periods of time. The premise of this exercise for weight loss is that you are able to run longer, hence burning more calories. However, there are problems with this.
- The more you run, the more efficient you become at running. As you get more efficient, your body will burn less calories. Imagine a car driving on a highway at 60km/h. It will achieve its highest fuel efficiency, meaning it will burn less fuel. The body acts the same way. This is great if your mission is to run a marathon, but bad if your mission is to burn calories and fat!
- The more you run, the more you waste your muscles. Muscle mass cannot be built or even maintained by running. In fact, running for long durations will actually bring your body into a catabolic state, meaning your muscles will start burning away. If your goal is to reduce your body fat percentage, then it would be in your best interest to keep as much muscle mass as you can, or even increase it. Running, or any other steady state aerobic exercise doesn't achieve this.

Q) OK, so if I don't run, what do I do for cardio?
A) High intensity interval training(HIIT), mentioned above. HIIT is a method of cardio work where you work at full intensity for a short burst, followed by resting for a slightly longer period of time. An example would be sprinting full speed for 30s on the track, then resting for 60s. Typically HIIT sessions are completed within 10mins. In unconditioned beginners, 1-2min might be all they can sustain.

Q) 10 mins? But I heard that you only start burning fat after 20mins
A) That is a myth that has been spread for years, and one that needs to be eliminated. At best, it is a half truth. You see, your body initially uses your glycogen stores to fuel the activity, and gradually shifts towards using fat stores as fuel. The ratio shifts more towards fats as you run more than 20mins. It doesn't mean that you're burning no fat before 20mins and all fat after. In any case, this ratio is not as important as people would like you to believe, because the overall calories and fat loss due to HIIT is more than what you would get if you just jogged more than 20min. Do you know when your body is burning the highest percentage of fats? When you're sleeping! That's right, but you don't expect anyone to tell you to sleep to lose fat anytime soon. Also, steady state cardio burns calories mostly during the activity itself. However, HIIT burns calories during the activity itself, as well as hours after the activity. Simply put, after an intense HIIT bout, you'd be burning more calories even while you're sleeping!

Q) Huh? HIIT burns calories after the session? How is this possible?
A) It is possible due to 2 factors - EPOC and hormonal response
EPOC - stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, aka the oxygen debt, or afterburn. What this means is that because of the added stress and trauma you've put your body through in an intense HIIT session, your body needs fuel to repair cells, decrease your body temperature, etc. All this takes energy...a lot of energy if your training was intensive.
Hormonal response - An intensive training session, including HIIT, triggers the release of many anabolic(muscle building) hormones, as well as others involved in fat loss. The hormonal response is perhaps the biggest contributor to fat loss.

Q) So HIIT is better than jogging/swimming/other steady state aerobic exercise?
A) For fat loss and conditioning, yes. Contrary to popular belief, the human species was never made to run long distances. Our early ancestors didn't chase their prey over long distances to catch them for food...they sprinted short distances and killed them with tools. A recent study actually found excessive aerobic exercise to be detrimental to cardiovascular health, effects of which include the downsizing of the heart. This could be the reason why we've seen so many triathletes and runners pass away before their time recently. In addition to cardiovascular health concerns, jogging is also notorious for being bad for the joints. I'm sure you've read or heard that every step you take while jogging puts many times your weight on the joints of your legs. Besides this, joggers are also known to have severe muscular imbalances due to the repetitive and concentrated nature of the activity. What this means is that some of their muscles are much weaker, or much less flexible than others. This can lead to compensation in movement patterns, leading to injury. Another point more pertaining to women - women in general are less suitable for jogging than their male counterparts, because of something called the "Q-angle". Simply put, the Q-angle is the angle of the thigh bone from the hip. Because women have wider hips and narrow knees, they also have larger Q-angles, making you more prone to knee and other joint injuries. In fact if you look at the elite runners, they all pretty much look like men as far as their Q-angle is concerned - they have narrow hips and smaller breasts. They are better suited for running. Most women aren't.

Q) Wow! That sounds like scary stuff! I guess I shouldn't jog at all!
A) Not necessarily. There's no need to avoid jogging/swimming/steady state aerobic exercise if you truly enjoy it. However, don't make it the core of your exercise regime. As long as you also train your body with HIIT, you can counter the negative cardiovascular effects that steady state exercise brings.

Q) OK, so how exactly do I perform this "HIIT"?
A) There are several protocols. You can do it sprinting on a track, on a stationary bike, sprinting up stairs or up a slope, with bodyweight exercises such as burpees, squats, lunges, etc. However, stay away from the treadmill and elliptical because the former can cause joint problems and the latter's arc is unnatural and awkward. For beginners, you generally want to start with a 1:4 work:rest ratio. What this means is that if you sprint for 30s, you rest for 2min. Depending on the difficulty of the activity(sprinting up stairs is harder than sprinting on a track for example), you should be working for about 15-40s, and then resting for 4x that. Experiment with the timings to suit your own physical fitness levels. Generally you want to time it such that you are feeling ok for 1-2 sets, even when you are doing it the fastest and hardest you can. The numbers of sets you do this again depends on your physical fitness level. A general guide is to do as many sets as you can before puking (IMG:style_emoticons/default/sick.gif) If this idea makes you cringe, another idea would be to perform as many sets as you can before performance drops considerably. For example if you managed to do about 15 burpees for each workset, stop the exercise once your performance drops to considerably to 10 burpees. This is just a rough guide...you have to work these figures out by experimenting.

Here's how you do a burpee in case you forgot or skipped all your primary school PE classes.



Q) How often should I do HIIT?
A) Depends on what else you are doing, your sleep, your nutrition, and a host of other factors. If HIIT is all you are doing for exercise, you can do it everyday assuming you have good nutrition and rest. You see, HIIT is metabolically and neurally intensive. You need to provide your body with the necessary rest and nutrition in order for it to repair itself in time for the next bout. If not, you will feel lethargic, depressed, tired and generally unmotivated. For a beginner I would keep it to about 3X max a week, and less if you're involved in other physical activity.

Q) How long do I have to do HIIT before I lose xxx kg?
A) I can't tell you that because I don't know how much you weight, what's your body fat percentage, and what your goals are. I can however say this much - if you keep working at it, coupled with proper nutrition and rest, the fat will come melting off, and this will keep you motivated. Ideally you should be doing this for the rest of your life! It is not something you do for a few weeks, lose the kilos, then stop...it is a lifestyle change.

Q) I must keep doing it? But I have no time...
A) HIIT takes just 10minutes of your time AT MOST. It can take as short as 4-5mins if you adjust the parameters right. If you have time to read through this post, you have time to do HIIT. No excuses.

Q) I've been doing HIIT for 2min each time for a couple of weeks and I've lose a few inches here and there, and now HIIT seems easy. Is this normal?
A) Yes, because you're getting fitter! You need some form of progression. For HIIT there are many parameters you can tweak to progress
- increase number of sets: if you're doing 2 sets, increase this to 3.
- increase work:rest ratio: 1:4 is for beginners. You can keep working your way up until one day you might be fit enough to do 2:1 for several sets! One of the HIIT methods using this ratio is called the "Tabata method" that calls for work sets of 20s with a 10s rest, done 8X over 4minutes. Japanese researchers who discovered this method found it to improve both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, which is a very rare occurence. You can be assured that it's great for fat loss too!
- change the difficulty of the exercise: if you were sprinting on a track, try sprinting up a slope. If you were doing a normal burpee, try doing a burpee with a pushup and then a jump at the end. There are many ways to make the exercise more difficult. Use your imagination.
As you can see, there are several ways to progress, but none of these ways involve increasing the amount of time HIITing more than 10min. This saves time while giving superior results!

Q) When should I perform HIIT?
A) If you're doing only HIIT, any time. However, if you're also doing weight lifting(described later on), preferably at the end of the lifting session, because of 2 reasons
- Doing HIIT at the beginning would decrease your strength training's performance
- Doing HIIT at the end brings about a stronger hormonal response.
If you're doing HIIT at the end, make sure to keep the entire session(lifting included) within about 50min though. This will be explained later in the strength training section.

Q) What if I experience pain when doing HIIT?
A) If it's a joint pain, STOP immediately and identify where the pain is coming from, and is it an old injury, etc. This FAQ assumes you are a healthy individual with no injuries, so if you have an existing condition, please seek medical advice.
If it's a muscular pain, then no problem. Stretching will help. Be careful not to get cramps though as they are painful.
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Old 28-09-2011, 02:43 PM   #19
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Q) So what should I do at the gym for fat loss
A) Basically, you should concentrate on exercises that fit these 2 criteria
- Free weights: this means barbells, dumbbells, bodyweight, and cable machines. This excludes all other machines as well as treadmills, ellipticals and most other cardio machines
- Compound movements/lifts: this means exercises that use more than 1 muscle group and involve more than one joint movement. It's the opposite of isolations. For example, a bicep curl is an isolation exercise, since it only involves elbow flexion and mostly the bicep muscle. A squat on the other hand is a compound movement because it involves both knee and hip extension(2 joints) and several muscle groups such as the quads(thigh muscles), hamstrings(back of your thigh), glutes(buttocks), core(abs), and even lats(back).

Q) No machines? But I thought machines were safer?
A) Contrary to popular belief, machines are not safer, even though they are marketed that way. I am talking about fixed range of motion machines here, such as your typical leg extension, leg curl, pec fly, etc where there's a camber and pulley system that you resist against a fixed arc. Cable machines are not in this category. Now let's take a look at what's wrong with machines. There are many studies that confirm this
- Machines have a fixed line/arc of motion. This is bad because it forces your body to adapt to the machine, and not vice versa. Simply put, this is bad for your joints over time.
- Machines often only isolate the "prime mover" muscles and neglect the development of the "stabilizing" muscles. For example, if you do a dumbbell bench press, your chest(pectorals) is the prime mover. It does the bulk of the moving. However, your delts and triceps and a bunch of other smaller muscles help to stabilize your hand while you're moving the weight. Together a whole group of muscles work in synergy to move and balance the weight. Now compare this with a machine chest press. The motion looks the same, but now you don't need to stabilize the weight because the machine has done that for you. This is bad because over time you develop muscular imbalances, which can lead to injury. Besides, you're at the gym to workout. Why let the machine do half the work for you? It doesn't make sense...
- Adeptness at operating the machines doesn't translate to real life strength and fitness, because of the above point. That means, even if you're very good at various machines, this ability doesn't carryover to real life strength and abilities. Machines are hence not very functional.
- Machines are easier to do, and because of this they do not cause as much of a metabolic and hormonal response as free weights, and these are critical elements in fat loss. Simply put, you are shortchanging yourself if you're doing the machines for fat loss.

Q) OK, so if I don't do the machines, what should I do?
A) Compound lifts with free/body weights, done with short rest intervals, examples of which include the following
- Barbell/dumbbell Squat
- Barbell/dumbbell deadlift
- Barbell/dumbbell bench press
- Barbell/dumbbell row
- Barbell/dumbbell standing overhead press(aka military press)
- Pullup
- Reverse leg curls
- Barbell/dumbbell lunges
The way to perform them is explained in the exercise guide below

Q)Free weights? That sounds hard and heavy. But I don't want to get bulky, I just want to get toned and sculpted
A) Don't worry, you won't get bulky. It is not that easy for even a guy to get bulky without a supporting diet, rest, and training plan. It is even harder for women to do so, because you have a much lower testosterone level, and testosterone is crucial to get "bulky". However, side effects of free weights include fat loss and muscle building, 2 things that you might be interested in if you're reading this.

Q) OK, so what exactly should I do? I don't understand the 8 exercises above...
A) No problem. I'll explain it to you. Basically these 8 exercises fit into the 8 natural human movements. They can be broken down into 2 body portions - upper body and lower body, 2 movements - pushing and pulling, and 2 planes - horizontal and vertical. I can see the confused look on your faces now. Stay with me...! I'll explain each movement
Upper body
Horizontal push - a movement where you push away from your torso. Examples include bench press, incline bench press, pushup.
Horizontal pull - a movement where you pull towards your torso. Examples include barbell row, seated cable row, bent-over dumbbell row.
Vertical push - a movement where you push something away from you overhead. Examples include military press, seated shoulder press
Vertical pull - a movement where you pull something towards you overhead. Examples include lat pulldown, pullup.
Lower body
Hip dominant - a movement where the main movement is centered around your hip joint. This is a pulling movement. Examples include various deadlift variations. Basically a deadlift is where you lift something from the ground up. For example in a barbell deadlift, you bend down with a straight back(very important!), grab the barbell, and then stand up again with the barbell hanging from your hands.
Quad dominant - a movement where the main movement is caused by your quads. This is a pushing movement. Examples include various squat and lunge variations.
Knee dominant flexion - a movement where you bend your knees. Examples include reverse leg curl, swiss ball leg curl. This is an accessory exercise, which means it's not as important as the ones above.
Knee dominant extension - a movement where you straighten your knees. Examples include split squats and lunges. This is an accessory exercise, which means it's not as important as the ones above.
The way to perform them is explained in the exercise guide below

Q) Fine, now I know what exercises to do. But how do I do them? All in 1 day?
A) Basically, for beginners, it is always best to start with full body workouts. What this means is that you work your entire body in 1 workout, and repeat it the next time, and the next time, and every time after that...to make things easy, I will give a sample workout here:
A1 Hip dominant(eg Romanian deadlift)
A2 Horizontal push(eg flat bench press)
B1 Quad dominant(eg squat)
B2 Vertical push(eg overhead press)
C1 Knee flexion(eg reverse leg curl)
C2 Vertical pull(eg band assisted pullup)
D1 Knee extension(eg split squats)
D2 Horizontal pull(eg 1 arm dumbbell rows)
The way to perform them is explained in the exercise guide below

Q) What do the numbers and letters mean?
A) This is a form of workout program notation for what is known as "alternating sets". What this means is that you do ALL your A lifts first, then ALL your B lifts, followed by ALL your C lifts, then your D lifts. So, for example, if you do 3 sets for each lifts, your workout would be something like - A1, A2, A1, A2, A1, A2, B1, B2, B1, B2, B1, B2, C1, C2, C1, C2, C1, C2, D1, D2, D1, D2, D1, D2, finish!

Q) How many sets and reps do I perform? I want details!
A) Woah, slow down there...I know you're eager to hit the gym and burn off that excess fat. For fat loss there are 2 schools of thought with regards to sets and reps. One school says lift very heavy weights for very few reps but many sets. Another says lift quite heavy weights for quite a few reps but few sets. Either way, reps won't reach too much into the 2 digit range. I would say 12 reps is probably the max you need to do, and you can go down all the way to 1 rep. For beginners, I would choose the latter - around 8-12 reps of moderately heavy weights, i.e. weights that you can perform maybe 10-14 reps with before you cannot lift it anymore. The reason why you choose this weight is so you have some buffer, since your performance in subsequent sets will be lower due to fatigue. This weight is also called your 10-14RM, or "repetition max". It's the max weight you can lift for x number of reps. i.e. 1RM would be the max weight you can lift for 1 rep. Any heavier and you won't be able to do even 1 rep.
Do this for about 3-4 sets, including a warmup set with lighter weights. So in essence, a warmup set followed by 2 sets of 10 would be an acceptable scheme. You have 8 exercises, so that would be 24 sets in total(including warmup). If you workout a few times a week(and you should!) you can vary the number of reps. For example, if you workout on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, on monday you might do 12 reps, wednesday 9 reps, friday 6 reps. Of course, you must also vary your load/resistance. As your reps decrease, your load should increase. How do you know what's your x RM? You'll have to experiment for the first week or 2.

Q) That seems like a lot! How can I finish it in time?
A) Good question. Time spent at the gym is one important factor you should consider because the longer you workout, the more you're breaking down your muscles. You see, when you start exerting your muscles and stressing them with physical work, you induce some hormone release in your body. These include anabolic(muscle building) and catabolic(muscle breaking) ones. Initially the anabolic ones are higher, but if you stress your body long enough the catabolic ones will win. Afterall, you can't expect to train 12 hours intensively and not lose muscle. How long is long enough? The limit is about 45-50mins, so keep your workouts within that time. Note that this duration is from your first work set to the last work set, including any HIIT you have at the end. This doesn't include any warmup or stretching, since you're not exerting yourself that hard.
Now, in order to finish all that 8 lifts within 45min, you're gonna have to move around fast! This means short rest intervals. This is in line with fat loss because the shorter you rest, the more metabolic demands you place on your body, since you're not giving your body sufficient time to recover completely before your next set. For fat loss, keep rest intervals between sets to about 30-60s
Now, assuming you take 30s to complete the set and 30s to rest before the next set. That's about 1 minute in total for each set. You have 24 sets to do, so that only takes 24mins. Doesn't seem that long now does it? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

So all in all, the training parameters are as follows, assuming you tain 3x a week:
Sets: 2-3 work sets, 1 warmup set
Reps: 10-12 on Monday, 7-9 on Wednesday, 4-7 on Friday
Load: 12-14RM on Monday, 9-11RM on Wednesday, 6-8RM on Friday
Rest interval: 30s

Q) Why and how does this work?
A) This works because of several reasons. In case you want to know...
- Compound movements cause the most stress to your body because many joints and muscle groups are involved, and heavier weights are carried. They are metabolically and neurally more intensive, hence burns more calories and induces more EPOC and hormonal response, all of which are conducive for fat loss and muscle building.
- Alternating sets allow one part of your body to rest while another part works. It also increases the work density while not compromising too much the actual rest a muscle group has. For example if you look at A1/A2. While rest intervals between the deadlift and bench press is only 30s, if you think about it, rest intervals between each deadlift is actually twice that or more, and because the deadlift uses different muscle groups from the bench press, they are more or less independent, so you get more rest while still doing work. That's multitasking at the gym!
- Low number of sets allow more exercises to do be done. We have 8 to get through in 1 workout, so you can only afford to spend 3-4 sets in total for each exercise. This balances out the various movement and muscle groups so you don't have any imbalances.
- Moderately high reps takes some duration of time to complete them while still allowing you to use heavy enough weights. When done fast, they are also lactate inducing(this is what causes the "burn" in your muscles right after you complete the set). This again causes a hormonal response, as well as triggers your body to get rid of the lactate from your muscles. This is metabolically expensive and hence more calories are burnt
- Heavy loads are more intensive than 1kg pink dumbbells. Loads that challenge your body to lift them cause several responses from your body that include fat loss and lean muscle growth. Light weights have no chance of eliciting these responses because they are too easy.
- Short rest intervals makes perceived intensity higher, because you're not giving your body enough time to rest. In 30s your body cannot remove the lactate, or lower your pulse rate, or lower your body temperature, etc, however you would have enough rest to be able to perform the next set

Q) I've been doing this for a 2 weeks and the workout now seems easier. I'm not so out of breath anymore, and the weights don't seem that heavy
A) That's good news! It's because your body has adapted to the program and is now fitter and stronger. However, that's bad news for fat loss and muscle growth, because you're no longer presenting your body with as much stress as when you first started...so how do you fix this? Easy, by increasing the resistance! Ideally for beginners, every workout you should aim to add some weight. For example if you start out with a 20kg barbell squat(20kg is the weight of the empty long barbell), the next workout, put a pair of 1.25kg or 2.5kg on it(1 on each side), and so on...you will need to constantly evaluate your new 10-14RM by listening to your body.

Q) What about abs or "core" exercises? I don't see any listed there?
A) Good question. Core exercises are a different class altogether, but most people train them wrongly. Without going into too much detail, avoid traditional crunches and situps because they don't train the core the way it should be trained. The core should first be trained to prevent motion, not to create it. Exercises that train this include side planks/bridges and the ab-wheel. Do these after you warmup, but before the strength training. 5-10min of this should be sufficient. Core work doesn't fall within the 45min window since it's not very intensive.

Q) Speaking of warmup, how should I do this? Should I run on the treadmill for 5min before doing some stretching?
A) It may seem weird, but a warmup need not consist of actually warming your body up. It certainly need not include any kind of cardio beforehand. It doesn't hurt too much if you're only cycling for 5min, except for the fact that 5min is wasted. So what should you do? Several things:
- self massage or "self myofascial release"(SMFR): this releases the "knots" in your muscle fibers and increases your muscle tissue quality. Picture your muscle fibers as a big rubber band with several knots. If you just stretch it, the knots are still there, and will even get tighter. Now if you release those knots, you're able to stretch the rubber band more. SMFR can be performed with a tennis ball, golf ball, or ideally a foam roller. Basically you roll these around various muscles while putting your bodyweight on it, and then when you find a "tender spot" which illicits pain, stay in that position for about half a minute, and the pain will subside. It can be pretty painful the first time you do it, but you'll be amazed at how this can give relief to some nagging aches all around your body!
- static stretching: Now that the knots are released, you're ready to stretch! Stretch only what is tight/inflexible. Girls are usually more flexible than guys so it shouldn't be that time consuming. A few stretches include hamstring, glutes, hip flexors and quads for the lower body, and pecs and lats for the upper body. Do a google search for how to stretch these parts.
- muscle activation: this "activates" your muscles so that they're not sleeping. Believe it or not, many of us have muscles that are sleeping, or deactivated. Due to modern lifestyle and a 9-5 deskbound jobs, we have lost the ability to recruit those muscles. Hence when we perform certain lifts that are usually performed by those muscles, other muscles come in and try to lift it instead. This causes faulty movement patterns and can lead to over-stressing of the wrong muscles, which can ultimately lead to injury. This is one of the reasons why you hear of people getting back injuries from just bending down and picking up a pencil.
The glutes are a muscle group that are usually dormant and deactivated. A good way to activate it is to do a "clamshell", where you lay on your side, wrap a resistance band/tubing around your knees, and open/close your legs like a clamshell. If you're doing it right, you should feel it on your butt. Another good one is the side-step, where you hold a resistance band/tubing with your hands, step on it with both legs, then step to the side several times 1 direction, and several times back. The band/tubing provides some form of resistance.
- specific movement preparation: this prepares your body for the actual lifting/movement that it's about to perform. This is what the warmup set with a lighter weight does.

After you do all this, your body temperature will probably be raised already, so like I said earlier, there's no point in doing any actual "warming up" to warm your body up.
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Old 28-09-2011, 02:44 PM   #20
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Exercise Guide
Some of you may not know how to perform the 8 different lifts correctly...and it's very important that you perform it correctly. Done correctly, you will be able to lift the heaviest, get the strongest muscles/joints, prevent injury & just be fitter & look better overall. If your form/technique is bad though, you'll get the opposite of all those effects. So please take a moment to digest these information, and be conscious about your form for the first few weeks. Form a good habit, and it will be 2nd nature to you. Form a bad habit, and it will be hard to correct...

So here they are, step by step for the benefit of the newbies!

Note that this is not meant to replace coaching by a qualified, good personal trainer. However, it's about the best I can do online. I hope it helps!

First of all, here's a list of equipment that you'll need

Olympic barbell - The long metal bar that's about 7' long & has ends that rotate & are thicker than the center portion. This weighs 20kg by itself so be careful when using it for upper body work. It may be too heavy. If so, you can used the fixed type barbells or dumbbells.
OR
Fixed barbell - these are lighter than 20kg and are usually arranged in a rack in California Fitness/Planet Fitness.
OR
Dumbbell

Power rack - most gyms such as SSC Clubfitt, CF/FF will have this. The 2 black bars you see at the side are called the rack pins, & the 2 black hooks on top of them are called the rack hooks, where you place the barbell on. Avoid the "smith machine" which has an attached fixed barbell to the rack.
OR
Squat rack - Suntec PF has this instead of the power rack. It'll work too.

Bench press station - includes the bench & the rack to put the barbell on.
OR
Bench - you can just use the bench with a power rack if your gym doesn't have a bench press station.

Strength band - comes in a variety of widths for varying resistances. These are more durable and of higher resistance than the resistance tubes that are found at some gyms. The tubes cannot be used as a substitute as they may break and offer too little resistance.
OR
Assisted pullup machine(left) OR Lat pulldown machine(right)

1) Squat
Setup
- Set the barbell on a rack hook that is slightly below your shoulder level
- Load the barbell with desired weight plates.
- Set the rack pins to a height that is slightly lower than the lowest point the barbell goes. Start at about mid-thigh level and adjust as needed. The purpose of the rack pins is so that in the event the barbell is too heavy for you and you can't get up from the bottom position, you can just let go of the bar and it will rest of the pins.
- Grip the bar with both hands in a fairly wide position.
- With your hands gripped onto the bar, get your head under and in front the bar so that the bar is now behind you.
- Rest the barbell on the top of your back, just below the bone that sticks out on your spine at the back of your neck. Find a position that is comfortable, as well as tight, i.e. the bar shouldn't have much wiggle space.
- Adjust your grip as close to you as you can, this helps "lock" the bar in place, making it tighter.
- Adjust your feet stance to a comfortable width. Normally this is slightly wider than shoulder width, with your feet pointing outwards slightly.
- At this point your body should be slightly bent down, i.e. your legs are not locked and your torso is slightly leaning forward. If your body is totally straight. You have set the bar up too high. Set it down 1 notch.
- Brace your abs as though someone is about to punch you. Push up and stand up with the bar by straightening your knees and hips.
- Take 1-2 steps back, adjust your feet stance again.

You are now ready to squat
- Take a deep breath, hold it in and brace your abs again. Hold your breath throughout the rep
- Start squatting down by pushing your hips back, NOT by bending your knees.
- Squat down as far as you can before your lower back becomes rounded. Ideally you should go below the point where your thighs are parallel to the floor, and your hamstrings and calves are touching. This is called a "full squat".
- At the bottom point, pause for a split second, then push back up again.
- That's 1 rep. Take another deep breath, brace your core, and perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- If you're doing this with dumbbells, just hold the dumbbells to the side of your body. The rest of the instructions are the same.
- Try not to lean forward too much. A little lean is ok, but you shouldn't be folding forwards.
- Keep your head looking straight ahead and your elbows pointing to your ankles
- Make sure your knees are pointing in the same direction as your feet. Don't let your knees buckle in. It's VERY bad for your knee joint.

Now here's what it looks like when done right(ignore the bands)



And now a totally unbulky lady doing it with heavy weights and perfect form



2a) Romanian deadlift
I will describe the romanian deadlift first, since a conventional deadlift requires a bit more technique and flexibility. Beginners should start with a romanian deadlift first for a few weeks.

Setup
- Set the bar so that it rests slightly above knee level.
- Load the barbell with desired weight plates.
- Bend your knees and hips slightly with a straight back, and grip the barbell tightly with a pronated/overhand grip(pinkies on the outsides) with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip.
- Take a deep breath, brace your core, stand up with the barbell, and take 1-2 steps back.
- Adjust your feet stance to about the same as the squat stance.

You are now ready to romanian deadlift
- Take a deep breath, hold it in and brace your abs again. Hold your breath throughout the rep
- Start by pushing your hip back and bending your body forward, while keeping your back straight. Your knees should only bend slightly. Keep the barbell in contact with your thighs, and look wherever your chest is pointing(i.e. your head should gradually be looking downwards, following your chest). You should feel a stretch on your hamstrings.
- Continue bending forward, and go down as far as you can before your lower back rounds, keeping the weight of your body on your heels. The lowest point usually is when the barbell is about knee level, depending on your flexibility. If you're flexible, go to about mid shin, if you're not, mid thigh.
- Now pause for a split second, and push back up quickly by straightening your knees and hips.
- That's 1 rep. Take another deep breath, brace your core, and perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- If you're doing this with dumbbells, just hold the dumbbells to the side or front of your body. The rest of the instructions are the same. You will have to pick them up from the floor though, or from a bench.
- Remember to ALWAYS keep your back straight. NEVER round your back. This is very important. Taking a deep breath and holding it helps you do this due to the pressure formed.

Now here's what it kinda looks like when done right...except she doesn't have a rack, and you probably won't be able to nor need to go down that low. Also, don't keep your head up!



2b) Conventional deadlift
Once you have perfected the romanian deadlift, you are ready to progress to a conventional deadlift.

Setup
- Set the barbell on the floor
- Load the barbell with desired weight plates. This can be a little bit harder when the barbell is on the floor, but we don't have much of a choice
- Stand just behind the loaded barbell with a slightly wider than shoulder width stance.
- Bend forward and down to grab the bar with a a pronated/overhand grip(pinkies on the outside). The grip width should be just outside your legs, and your forearm should be touching the outsides of your knees.
- Make sure that your shoulders are slightly in front of the barbell, your shins are touching the barbell, and your lower back has a slight arch to it(again, NOT rounded!)
- Your knee/hip/torso angles will differ according to your body type, so there's not hard and fast rule. However, you should not be sitting all the way down(knees bent all the way), or all the way up(knees extended all the way and hips jutting in the air). Somewhere in between is fine. Find something that you feel comfortable with.

You are now ready to deadlift
- Take a deep breath, hold it in and brace your abs again. Hold your breath throughout the rep
- Initiate the pull by bending your knees, while trying to keep your torso angle constant. Again your head/eyes should point in the same direction as your chest, so initially you should be still looking slightly down
- Once the barbell reaches your knees, start extending your hips together with your knees. Straighten your torso and knees together to complete the pull. Your eyes should gradually look up and straight forward.
- The lift is completed when your entire body is straight. The barbell should stay in contact with your thighs.
- Now start the descent in the opposite order, i.e. bend at your hips and knees to get the barbell to knee level. Once the barbell reaches the knee level, stop bending at the hips but continue bending at the knees until the barbell is completely resting on the floor.
- That's 1 rep. Take another deep breath, brace your core, and perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- If you're doing this with dumbbells, just hold the dumbbells to the side of your body. The rest of the instructions are the same.
- If you're using lighter weights plates, they will be smaller and hence the barbell will be closer to the ground and you'll have to reach lower. This might affect your lifts. To remedy this, you may stack up some plates and put the barbell ends on the plates as a platform to make it higher.
- Remember to ALWAYS keep your back straight. NEVER round your back. This is very important. Taking a deep breath and holding it helps you do this due to the pressure formed.
- Be careful of the bar scraping your shins or thighs(mostly the shins) because they are in contact with them. Most barbells have "smooth" areas that coincide with your feet stance, so those are easier on the skin. It takes a bit of practice before you get the groove right so that it doesn't scrape your skin. Meanwhile, you can wear track pants when performing the lift.
- You may be tempted to keep a distance from the barbell because of fear. A little bit of distance is ok(1-2cm), but the further the barbell is from your body, the more torque it presents to your back, and the more prone to back injuries you are. When starting, take a little time to get the groove right by using a really light barbell so you can minimize the chance of it scraping you. Believe me, it's worth it! :good:

Now here's what it looks like when done right



3) Bench press
Setup
- Set the barbell on a hook that is appropriately high enough for you to grip while lying down on the bench.
- Load the barbell with desired weight plates.
- Lie on the bench and adjust your body so that the barbell is about slightly above your eye level.
- Keep your foot flat and planted on the floor, and keep a slight arch on your lower back. Your butt and upper back should be in contact with the bench
- Grip the barbell so that your arms make a 'V' shape. The exact width depends on your physical dimensions. A general guideline is when the barbell is at the bottom position, your forearms are about vertical. Your elbows should be slightly bent. If they are not, either the bar is too high, or your grip is too wide.
- Now, imagine you have a ping pong ball between your shoulder blades. Pull your shoulders blades back and together and imagine pinching the ball. This helps keep your shoulder joint tight to prevent unnecessary movement that can cause injuries. This also provides you a stable platform so you can lift more efficiently. Your shoulders should be pulled back throughout the entire set.
- Take a deep breath, brace your abs, and lift up the barbell and away from the hooks until it is directly over your chest.
- Take a look at the ceiling where it meets the bar. Remember this point on the ceiling. You will be pushing the bar towards this point in subsequent reps.

You are now ready to bench press
- Take another deep breath, brace your abs, and slowly let the barbell descend straight down towards your chest by bending your elbows. Don't flare your elbows out or inwards, your upper arm should make about a 45deg angle with your torso as they reach the bottom point.
- Let the bar descent as low as you can let it. For most people this will be when it touches your chest. For some inflexible people, this may not be. Don't force the bar too low if you cannot do it.
- At the lowest point, pause a split second so that you eliminate any "bouncing".
- Now as you prepare to push the bar up, make sure your abs are still braced, and now squeeze your glutes(as if you're trying to crack a peanut between your butt!), and drive your feet into the ground. This transfers some energy so that you can lift the bar up. Make sure your butt and upper back are still firmly on the bench, and maintain the slight arch on your lower back.
- Push the barbell towards that point in the ceiling from just now as fast as possible. It should go up in as straight vertical a path as possible. Avoid any zigzag/curvy paths as this wastes energy and can cause injuries due to poor leverages.
- That's 1 rep. Take another deep breath, brace your core, and perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- If you're doing this with dumbbells, the starting position as at the bottom, not the top. You have to find a way to get into the starting position. The most common way is to sit on the bench first, put both dumbbells onyour thighs, then lie down and at the same time move the dumbbells to the starting position.
- ALWAYS get someone to spot you when benching heavy, because you do not have the luxury of rack pins to rest the barbell on should you fail a rep. You don't want to be stuck underneath a heavy barbell.
- Make sure the spotter understands that he/she must NOT touch the barbell except during unracking and reracking, and when you're stuck. YOU should be doing ALL the lifting, not the spotter
- Remember to keep your shoulders pulled back throughout the entire set.

Now here's what it looks like when done right



4) Dumbbell Row
Setup
- Find a bench and desired dumbbell weight. Place dumbbell at side of bench
- Bend down onto the bench and put left hand and left knee on it. Keep your back straight. Keep the right foot on the ground, knees slightly bent.
- Reach down and grip the dumbbell with right hand with a [spam] grip(palms facing in). Make sure the dumbbell is directly below your shoulder. Your right hand should be vertical

You are now ready to dumbbell row!
- Take a deep breath, brace your abs, and slowly lift the dumbbell towards your upper abs. Start the pull by moving your shoulders up, not by bending your elbows.
- Keep your elbows near your body at all times, do not flare it out.
- At the top, squeeze your shoulderblades to complete the rep, then slowly descend.
- That's 1 rep. Take another deep breath, brace your core, and perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- Don't let the leg on the bench fold over/bend completely. Keep your lower back tight and straight, don't round it.

Now here's what it looks like when done right



5) Overhead press/Military press
Setup
- Set the barbell on a rack hook that is slightly below your shoulder level. Move the hook if needed
- Load the barbell with desired weight plates.
- Set the rack pins 1 notch lower than the rack hooks.
- Grip the bar with both hands with a similar grip width to the bench press. As a general guide, bring the bar towards your chest while gripping it, Your forearms should be perpendicular to the bar.
- Adjust your feet stance to a comfortable width similar to the squat
- Brace your abs and lift the barbell up and bring it to your clavicle(the shoulder bone)
- Take 1-2 steps back, adjust your feet stance again.

You are now ready to overhead press!
- Take a deep breath, hold it in and brace your abs again. Hold your breath throughout the rep
- Start pushing the bar upwards over your head while keeping the rest of your body straight.
- Once your hands are fully extended, bring the bar down again until it is below your chin level.
- That's 1 rep. Take another deep breath, brace your core, and perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- If you're doing this with dumbbells, you will have to find a way to bring it to the starting position. Usually this is done by "cleaning" the dumbbells up by using your hips to generate the power up, not your arms.
- Resist the tendency to lean back. A little lean is ok, but keep your body as straight as possible.
- It is very important to brace your core/abs in the overhead press because your core is what is keeping your spine straight.

Now here's what it looks like when done right



6) Assisted pullups/chinups
I will explain the band assisted pullup since this is the best method. Besides most of you should know how to use the assisted pullup machine or the lat pulldown machine, which are inferior to the band assisted pullup, but if you have no choice, they are better than nothing.

Setup
- Hang the strength band over the top of the pullup bar and make a simple loop with it. The band should now be hanging down.
- Place a step-up box at the bottom of the pullup bar if the bar is too high for you to reach. You don't want to jump up to grip the bar.
- Grip the pullup bar slightly wider than shoulder width if using a pronated/overhand. If using a supinated/underhand grip, use a much narrower grip. Both are acceptable, but they train slightly different muscle groups, so keep that in mind.
- Place 1 knee inside the band loop, and get someone to help place your other knee in as well
- Hang comfortably down with the band partially supporting your weight

You are now ready to do the band assisted pullup
- This is probably the only exercise that doesn't involve that much core bracing, but it doesn't hurt to brace either
- Pull yourself up towards the top of the pullup bar, until your chin is above it. If you're doing a pronated grip, pull your elbows down and back, not down and forward like a praying mantis. If you're doing a supinated grip, then bring your elbows forward.
- Now slowly descend down.
- That's 1 rep. Perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- You can substitute this with an assisted pullup machine(the one with a bar for you to stand on) or a lat pulldown machine, but these are inferior. As far as possible try to get a strength band and use it. It has many other uses as well!
- Don't cross your legs when doing the pullup

Now here's what it looks like when done right(except try to get both knees in the band)




Yes that's a girl doing a weighted chinup, which means she's being weighed down by 20+kg! That's how strong you can be, and she's not big and bulky at all! In fact, she's in great shape! You boyfriend will definitely be jealous when you can do this though

7) Reverse leg curl
Setup
- Go to an available lat pulldown machine and set the support height down.
- Place a bench about 50cm away from the seat of the machine
- Put both your knees together and kneel on the seat
- Hook your ankles onto the roller supports

You are now ready to Reverse leg curl
- Take a breath, brace your abs and start extending your knees so that you fall towards the bench. Try to resist the descent. Keep your thighs and back straight, do NOT jut your butt out.
- Once you're near the bench, push off the bench with both your hands
- "Catch" yourself midway and pull yourself back up with your hamstrings, i.e. don't rely too much on your hand power to get up.
- That's 1 rep. Perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- This exercise will be very challenging the first time you do it, so you will not be able to resist the descent too much, and you will need quite a strong pushoff as well. Don't be discouraged, even big muscleheads will suffer the same fate the first time they do this.
- Make sure your thighs and back are in a straight line and your butt doesn't stick out, otherwise, you will work your glutes more than your hamstrings.

Now here's what it looks like when done right



7a) Split squat
I will explain the split squat first because the lunge is a harder movement. You should perform the split squat for the first few weeks and the progress on to the lunge when you become proficient in it. The movement are similar, but lunges are harder and require more coordination & balance.

Setup
- Exactly like a squat(but with lighter weights), with the following additions at the end...
- From a standing squat position, take 1 big step so that 1 foot is in front and the other is behind. Make your both your feet are pointing straight ahead. The heels of your back foot can be off the floor but the entire front foot should be planted on the floor.

You are now ready to split squat
- Take a deep breath, brace your abs and bending both knees so that you descend down. At the bottom position, both your knees should be almost 90deg angles. Keep your back vertical.
- Once your knees touch the ground, start pushing up again with mainly the front leg until your knees are fully extended. Make sure your knees are pointing forward.
- That's 1 rep. Perform all the desired number of reps on 1 leg before moving on to the other.

Notes:
- This can be a challenging exercise for beginners due to balance issues. Beginners should try to do this without any weights, with hands akimbo. If even this is hard, then they should find a pole and hold on to it while performing the exercise.
- Keep your torso vertical
- If you're doing this with dumbbells, simply grab onto the dumbbells by the side of your body.

Now here's what it looks like when done right(imagine him with a barbell)



7b) Lunge
Only after you are proficient with the split squat should you move to the lunge. This can take a few weeks.

Setup
- Exactly like a squat(but with lighter weights)

You are now ready to lunge
- Take a deep breath, brace your abs and take a step forward and then perform a split squat.
- Once you're up from the split squat, move the front foot back again.
- That's 1 rep. Perform the desired number of reps. You may alternate between legs, or perform all reps on 1 leg before moving on to the other.

Notes:
- As you can see, this is nothing more than a split squat where every rep involves stepping forward and then back again. This component makes it a lot more challenging since you have to balance and coordinate the movement. You should try this unweighted first.
- Keep your torso vertical
- If you're doing this with dumbbells, simply grab onto the dumbbells by the side of your body.
- Once you're good at this, you can try the reverse lunge, which involves taking a step back at the beginning of the rep instead of forwards.

Now here's what it looks like when done right

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