10 Best Pre Workout List

September 6, 2019 by  
Filed under Weight Lifting

Comments Off on 10 Best Pre Workout List

If you have ever worked out after a long day, you know how tired and fatigued your body can be by the time you reach the gym. This lack of energy can zap your motivation, severely bog you down, and prevent you from giving your best. Fortunately, there’s a way out of this. A good pre workout supplement can recharge your body and mind. In this article, you will learn more about these supplements, their advantages, and the best pre workout supplement among the tons of options available in the market.  

Product FAQ

What Is a Pre Workout Supplement? 

man carrying weights

Image by​ pixabay

Similar to whey protein, pre workout supplements come in a powdered form and can be dissolved in either water or other liquids and can be consumed orally. Designed to boost your workout performance, they need to be consumed an hour before your workout, so the supplements have enough time to act on your body.  

What Does a Pre Workout Supplement Do?        

man inside the gym

Image by pixabay

A good pre workout supplement provides your body with a rush of energy, increases muscular strength and endurance, decreases muscular fatigue, boosts focus and concentration, and promotes increased blood flow to the muscles by dilating the blood vessels. These effects translate to better and amplified levels of performance when working out.

What Are the Factors to Consider before Buying a Pre Workout Supplement?

man showing off his muscles

Image by pixabay

Some factors you need to consider before getting a pre workout supplement are the ingredients and their quality, transparency in disclosure, the presence of unnecessary additives or fillers, and user reviews.  

Where Can I Buy the Best Pre Workout Supplement?

man working out

Image by pixabay

You can get pre workout supplements online through various websites such as Amazon, Strong Supplement Shop, GNC, and Walmart, among others. You could even visit your local supplement store or your local supermarket to pick one up.        

How We Reviewed

Among the many pre workout supplements out on the market, we picked 10 of the most highly rated supplements and compared them to each other. We then reviewed them based on the following factors: ingredient list, pros and cons, and price. Our review team also went to great lengths to understand the ingredients used and the effects they have on the body to give you an unbiased review and talked with real users.

Overall Price Range of Pre Workout Supplements

You can get a good pre workout supplement for as low as $15 or as high as $50 for a 30-serving container. The price of the supplements primarily depends on factors such as the ingredients, the flavoring, and the brand value. Although low-priced supplements can give you a much-needed boost in energy and endurance, they’re typically loaded with highly stimulating ingredients that can cause damage to your body in the long run. Also, they usually hide information by not disclosing the full ingredient list and can cut corners by settling for low-quality ingredients.

What We Reviewed

Preview

Product Name

Price

Image by pixabay

Wild Thing by Assault Labs

$35 for a 25-serving container.

Image by pixabay

Seismic Surge by Hard Rock Supplements

$36 for a 30-serving container.

Image by Amazon

Edge of Insanity by Psycho Pharma

$37 to $40 for a 30-serving container.

Image by Amazon

Pre-Kaged by Kaged

$38 for a 20-serving container.

Image by Amazon

Jacked Nitrosurge

$25 for a 30-serving container

Image by Amazon

Pre-Jym by Jym

$40 to $50 depending on the serving size.

Image by Amazon

ENGN Shred by Evlution Nutrition

$35 for a 30-serving container.

Image by Amazon

C4 Original by Cellucor

$30 for a 30-serving container.

Image by Amazon

NeuroCore Pre-Workout by MuslceTech

$30 for a 33-serving container.

Image by Amazon

Pump Boost by RSP Nutrition

$18 for a 30-serving container.


Wild Thing by Assault Labs

powdered supplement

Image by pixabay

  • Help Increase Your Energy*
  • Help Increase Your Focus*
  • Help Increase Your Strength During Workouts*
  • Help Increase Your Muscle Pumps*
  • Help Increase Your Muscle Endurance*
  • Features

    This pre workout supplement contains 5 grams of citrulline malate in a 2 to 1 ratio, 2 grams of beta alanine, 2 grams of arginine, and 2 grams of GlycerPump as the primary ingredients. Citrulline malate and beta alanine work together to reduce muscle fatigue, increasing the amount of high-intensity activity that your muscles can endure. The arginine and GlycerPump matrix boost the nitric oxide content in your body, increasing the amount of blood that flows to the muscles. More blood flow equals more muscular pump.  

    Pros

    • Creatine hydrochloride increases the muscular strength, improves performance, and promotes muscle hydration
    • Mixes well with the water and does not clump together
    • Prevents muscle fatigue and improves muscular endurance

    Cons

    • Due to the presence of caffeine, consuming it close to your bedtime can interfere with your sleep
    • Flavor choices are  limited with just two on offer

    Price


    Seismic Surge by Hard Rock Supplements

    Image by pixabay

  • Helps Surge Energy*
  • Helps Increase Muscle Pumps*
  • Helps Enhance Muscle Endurance*
  • Promotes an Elevated Positive Mood*
  • Helps Increase Concentration & Focus*
  • Features 

    Elevate your training to the next level with Seismic Surge by Hard Rock supplements. This pre workout supplement contains beta alanine, arginine alphaketoglutarate, and agmatine sulfate as the primary ingredients. They help reduce muscular fatigue and increase the vascularity, delivering more blood to the muscles worked. Synephrine HCL and alpha yohimbine in the supplement promote thermogenesis in the body and supports the utilization of fat stores for energy.  

    Pros

    • Contains multiple ingredients that help promote focus and concentration
    • Muscles get a great pump
    • Provides clean energy with no jitters or shakes

    Cons

    • Does not contain citrulline malate, which helps delay muscular fatigue
    • Does not contain amounts per serving for individual ingredients

    Price


    Edge of Insanity by Psycho Pharma

    Features 

    Edge of Insanity by Psycho Pharma gives your muscles a great pump and increases the amount of blood that flows to your muscles. This is because the pre workout supplement contains arginine alphaketoglutarate (in a 2 to 1 ratio) and agmatine sulfate as the primary ingredients. The supplement is high on stimulating ingredients such as caffeine, phenibut, yohimbine extract, and green tea extract, which isn’t very healthy for your body in the long run.

    Pros

    • Perfect for people who prefer supplements with stimulants
    • Gives you a high dose of energy with a mild euphoric feeling

    Cons

    • Lacks the ingredient citrulline malate, which helps keep muscle fatigue at bay
    • Amounts per serving for individual ingredients are not listed

    Price

    Where to Buy


    Insert WordPress Content
    Insert WordPress Content

    Pre-Kaged by Kaged

    Features 

    Unlike other pre workout supplements, the Pre-Kaged by Kaged Muscle does not use any proprietary blends to hide supplement information. The supplement features 6.5 grams of citrulline malate, which is known to reduce muscle fatigue and lactic acid build-up and increase performance. Besides that, citrulline malate also improves your body's ability to use amino acids such as BCAAs as a fuel source.

    Pros

    • All the ingredients are listed along with their amounts per serving
    • Contains 6.5 grams of BCAAs that provide your muscles with energy and delay fatigue
    • Consists of creatine HCL, which increases muscle volume and strength

    Cons

    • Issues with mixability as it doesn’t seem to dissolve completely
    • Flavors not great

    Price

    Where to Buy


    Jacked Nitrosurge

    Features 

    Even with very few ingredients and a tiny serving size of just 9 grams, the Jacked Nitrosurge provides your body with the focus, strength, and energy to break through plateaus. The primary ingredients of this pre workout supplement are citrulline, beta alanine, and betaine anhydrous. Although the supplement contains caffeine, it is in a relatively low dosage, which is just enough to keep you alert and focused. L-Theanine in the supplement helps to counteract and manage the stimulating effects of caffeine, preventing crashes.  

    Pros

    • Features AstraGin, which helps support absorption of the ingredients by the body
    • Does not contain fillers, unnecessary ingredients, or proprietary blends
    • Is not overloaded with caffeine or other highly stimulating ingredients

    Cons

    • Has a slightly strong aftertaste which may not be appealing to everybody
    • Comes in only two flavors

    Price

    Where to Buy


    Pre-Jym by Jym

    Features 

    The Pre-Jym by Jym Supplement Science is arguably one of the cleanest pre workout supplements ever created. The supplement does not contain any proprietary blends, is fully transparent, and lists out all the ingredients used along with the amount per serving values. Backed by science, the ingredients in the supplement are in the right doses and come in the right combinations to provide maximum performance enhancement.  

    Pros

    • Comes in five refreshing flavors
    • Provides your body with smooth energy and does not jolt you
    • Contains creatine, beta-alanine, BCAAs, citrulline malate, and a host of other ingredients in a single scoop, eliminating the need to take separate supplements

    Cons

    • Very expensive when compared with other alternatives
    • 300 mg of caffeine can cause issues with sleep if consumed closer to bedtime

    Price

    Where to Buy


    ENGN Shred by Evlution Nutrition

    Features 

    Besides boosting your performance in the gym, the ENGN Shred also contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and niacin. Aside from providing you with a rush of energy and focus, ENGN Shred also helps increase your body’s potential to burn fat as it contains ingredients such as CLA, Capsimax, L-Carnitine, and Yohimbe extract.  

    Pros

    • Delays muscle fatigue and increases endurance
    • Promotes fat loss via thermogenesis and increases the body’s ability to tap into fat stores to use as fuel
    • Can suppress appetite

    Cons

    • Some ingredients do not have the amounts per serving listed out individually
    • Some users experience stomach issues and nausea after consumption

    Price

    Where to Buy


    C4 Original by Cellucor

    Features 

    Similar to ENGN Shred, the C4 Original by Cellucor also contains a blend of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, niacin, folic acid, and calcium. Except for 1.6 grams of beta alanine, 1 gram of creatine nitrate, and 1 gram of arginine alphaketoglutarate, there aren’t any other significant ingredients in the supplement.  

    Pros

    • Due to the low caffeine content, the supplement does not cause any issues with sleep
    • Flavors taste great and do not have a chemical or artificial taste 
    • Provides your body with a high dose of energy

    Cons

    • At just 6.5 grams, the serving size is too small with inadequate dosages of ingredients
    • Features very minimal ingredients and lacks several others

    Price

    Where to Buy


    NeuroCore Pre-Workout by MuslceTech

    Features 

    Neurocore is a tried and tested pre workout supplement from one of the most well-known manufacturers of supplements, MuscleTech. Featuring a healthy dose of beta alanine, citrulline, and creatine HCL, the supplement delivers exceptional energy, strength, and endurance, enabling you to perform better. NeuroCore is low on highly stimulating ingredients, providing you with clean, smooth energy with no jitters.

    Pros

    • Caffeine content is low and does not cause insomnia or caffeine crashes
    • Mixes well and dissolves completely in water, leaving you with no clumps or residues
    • Creatine HCL helps increase the muscular strength

    Cons

    • Requires you to take 2 scoops to feel the effects
    • Some users report nausea and other digestive issues with 2-scoop servings

    Price

    Where to Buy


    Pump Boost by RSP Nutrition

    Features

    The Pump Boost by RSP Nutrition is one of the rare pre workout supplements with absolutely no stimulating ingredients in the formulation. The primary ingredients of the supplement are 2.5 grams of L-Citrulline and 1.5 grams of Glycerol. Due to its stimulant-free nature, it can be consumed at any point in the day to get a slight boost in energy.

    Pros

    • Affordable when compared with other alternatives
    • Free from stimulating ingredients
    • Contains 250 mg of coconut water powder that supports hydration of the body

    Cons

    • Muscular pumps are not on the level of other pre workout supplements with stimulants
    • Slim ingredient profile might not appeal to most people

    Price

    Where to Buy

    The Verdict

    Based on our comprehensive review of the best pre workout supplements, the Pre-Jym by Jym Supplement Science scores high on the effectiveness scale. It is the perfect supplement for both first-timers and seasoned consumers alike. With Pre-Jym, your body does not develop any tolerance, allowing you to enjoy the effects consistently without having to take a break from it. The only drawback of an otherwise great product is the high pricing. But the pros far outweigh the cons. 

    Though high in stimulant ingredients, Wild Thing by Assault Labs is another great alternative. Wild Thing gives you a rush of crazy energy and intense focus with a massive skin ripping pump. If you’re not a huge fan of highly stimulating supplements, the Pump Boost by RSP Nutrition might interest you with its no-stimulant formulation.

    Overhead Press: Our Comprehensive Guide

    September 4, 2019 by  
    Filed under Weight Lifting

    Comments Off on Overhead Press: Our Comprehensive Guide

    Are you looking for a great exercise that will help you build your shoulders? Try the overhead press! It’s a staple of bodybuilding and weightlifting for one simple reason—it’s extremely effective when done safely. It can help sculpt those boulder shoulders and it even recruits other upper body muscles at the same time, such as the pecs and triceps. Next time you’re at the gym, consider adding it to your routine.

    Benefits of the Overhead Press

    Insert Video

    The overhead press targets all of the “heads” of the deltoids—posterior, anterior, and medial—as well as the pectoral muscles. It can also work your traps, especially if you squeeze at the top.


    Like any good compound exercise, the overhead press can target other muscles incidentally as well, like the triceps and forearm muscles. In other words, it’s a great all-around shoulder exercise that will hit several major muscles all at once.


    In fact, there are many benefits to doing the overhead press over trying to target each individual shoulder muscle with less efficient isolation exercises:

    • The movement is very basic and easy to learn
    • It targets almost all of the “pushing” muscles of the upper body
    • It is a great cross-training exercise if you’re looking to improve other pushing movements like bench press, dips, or handstand push-ups
    • It allows you to simplify your workout and cut out isolation movements such as lateral raises
    • It allows you to lift more total weight since you’re using more muscles; there is some evidence that lifting heavy can increase testosterone levels

    The overhead press is a standard weightlifting exercise, and chances are it will be part of any basic weightlifting routine that you adopt. There are also many different variations of the exercise, so you can mix things up if you’re not ready to do the standard barbell version of the movement.

    How Much Should I Lift?

    Insert Video
    man lifts barbell via overhead press

    image source: Pexels

    When you get started weightlifting and you’ve never done a movement before—or even if you’re just really rusty—it’s important to start slow and keep weight low. Don’t let your ego dictate how much you put on the bar, or you could injure yourself!

    Keep It Slow and Steady

    Since the overhead press is a harder exercise and recruits smaller muscles, don’t expect to lift a lot, especially at first. Your overhead press 1-rep max will probably be around 70% of your bench press 1-rep max, or maybe even less. Like any exercise, don’t lift your maximum every time. You should lift about 60 to 80% of your max, depending on how many total reps you’re doing.


    In most cases, don’t concern yourself with lifting to failure. You should be able to do all of the reps that are required in your routine without completely exhausting yourself. For example, if you’re doing a 5x5, you should be able to do all of those 5 sets of 5 reps with good form. If you can’t, then you’re lifting too much weight. Take some plates off the bar and work up to it some more. The weight should challenge you a little bit, but you shouldn’t be grunting and screaming during every rep.


    Of course, the very first time you do the movement, use an empty bar. Don’t load any weight at all until you have the correct form down. It’s much harder to fix bad form once you’ve created a habit out of it and started adding weight. You could also injure yourself if you lift lots of weight without the correct form. Err on the side of caution and get someone who knows about weightlifting to show you how to do an overhead press correctly. Also, remember to keep your core tight while doing the movement to prevent any awkward twisting of your lower back.

    Over-Training

    Man makes overhead press

    image source: Pexels

    Be mindful not to over-train when adding this exercise to your routine. You may be doing other exercises that recruit some of the same muscles—such as the bench press or the dip—so you’ll need to take this into consideration. If you’re feeling too sore, cut back a little on the weight, the number of reps, or the frequency.


    You could also cut out a few sets per week of a similar exercise and replace it with an overhead press. For example, one day of the week you could do an overhead press instead of a bench press and this may help your muscles get a more well-rounded workout.

    The Overhead Press: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Insert Video
    Insert Video

    How do you do an overhead press, though? It’s actually an extremely simple exercise, and you probably already perform this motion occasionally in your everyday life. It’s really just a matter of lifting weight safely over your head, using mostly force from your shoulders and pecs.

    Insert Video

    You can do an overhead press seated or standing, and there are several other variations. If you want to challenge the stabilizing muscles in your core, you’ll want to do a standing press.


    For some people, especially when they’re first starting, doing a standing press may be a bit too hard. If you find yourself wobbling from side to side, then you may not be ready yet. In that case, you can start by doing an overhead press with dumbbells in a seated or kneeling position. Work on your core muscles until you’re ready to attempt the traditional overhead press.


    Here’s how you do an overhead press:

    1

    Stand Holding the Barbell Against Your Upper Pecs

    You’ll want your hands positioned a bit wider than your shoulders. Make sure it feels comfortable and stable. “Pack” your shoulders as well for better form. This means pulling your shoulders back, sticking out your chest, and keeping your back straight. Tighten your core.

    It is also here during the starting position that some people like to take a deep breath so they can let it out explosively during the movement itself.


    This is a good breathing technique, but you can also breathe normally. The main thing to be mindful of, especially if you’re a beginner, is to keep breathing. Don’t hold your breath during any part of the movement! This can be hard if your natural urge is to hold your breath while exerting force. Holding your breath could lead to serious injury because it can raise your blood pressure to suddenly high levels and potentially burst a blood vessel.

    2

    Push Straight Up

    Keeping your arms moving in a straight line, push up towards the ceiling. The bar will end up in an end position that is hovering high over your head.

    Avoid swinging the weight around or otherwise using momentum to carry it up. You want to use your muscles to do the pushing. If you have to use momentum to get it over your head, then you’re using too much weight. Make the movement slow and steady, especially if it’s the first time that you’ve done it.

    3

    Squeeze At The Top (Optional)

    If you want to give your traps an extra workout, you can do an overhead shrug at the very top of the movement. It may look a little funny, but it works your traps just as well or even better than standard shrugs. You can even do this movement as an isolation exercise if you want to target the traps alone.

    4

    Bring It Back Down Safely

    Do the negative side of the movement in the exact opposite way that you performed the positive side. Bring the barbell down until it rests lightly on your upper pecs and then start the next rep after a brief pause. If you have trouble bringing the barbell down and there’s a lot of shaking and instability, reduce the amount of weight that you’re using or try an easier variation of the exercise.

    5

    Follow General Weightlifting Guidelines

    Just as with any resistance exercise, don’t forget to follow the usual safety standards:

    • Breathe throughout the movement and never, ever hold your breath during exertion
    • Don’t load too much weight on the bar
    • Use a spotter, especially if it’s your first time
    • Consider doing easier versions of the movement before you perform a standing overhead press
    • Stop short of total failure to avoid losing control of the bar

    If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to do an overhead press fairly easily with minimal risk of injury. It’s a simple movement, and chances are that you’re already lifting things over your head sometimes at home or at work, anyway. In fact, it’s exactly because of this that the overhead press is one of those basic, useful bodybuilding movements that can help reduce your chance of injury in everyday life as well.

    Conclusion

    person carrying black barbell overhead press

    image source: Pexels

    The overhead press is a great exercise to try. It’s right up there with other standard pushing movements such as the bench press, the push-up, and the dip. If you want to target the upper chest and shoulders, it’s one of the best exercises you can do.


    Since it’s a compound movement, it works the smaller muscles of the arms and the stabilizing muscles of the core as well. This means it’s a very efficient exercise to add to your routine that will save you time at the gym. It can also be done easily with both barbells and dumbbells, which gives weightlifters of all levels an opportunity for mastery.

    10 Best Back Exercises – Follow These Guide

    August 5, 2019 by  
    Filed under Weight Lifting

    Comments Off on 10 Best Back Exercises – Follow These Guide

    Women wearing a workout bra showing her back

    The muscles in your back play a major role in almost all of the functions of your body as they connect your hips, chest, butt, shoulders, and neck. Working out the muscles in your back not only makes them stronger and allows them to support your body better, but it also makes your body look more aesthetic. In this article, you will learn more about back exercises, the benefits they offer, and some of the best back exercises that you can do to get that coveted V-taper.

    Back Exercise FAQ

    Insert Video

    Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions on back exercises.

    1. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BACK EXERCISES?

    2. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BACK EXERCISES?

    3. HOW TO INCORPORATE BACK EXERCISES INTO YOUR ROUTINE?

    How We Reviewed

    Woman is lifting a weights to exercise her back

    Image by skeeze from Pixabay

    Our team of reviewers closely worked with fitness experts, bodybuilders, and physiologists to come up with the 10 best back exercises for stimulating growth and increasing strength. We then moved on to review these 10 exercises based on the movement required to execute them and their pros and cons to come up with an unbiased verdict.  

    Overall Difficulty Level of Back Exercises

    Man with chain at his shoulder while lifting himself up and do some back exercise

    Image by Pavel Jurča from Pixabay

    Many of the back exercises that involve barbells such as the barbell deadlift, standing T-bar row, and the bent-over barbell row are the most difficult to perform due to the necessity to maintain a stricter form throughout the movement. They’re highly risky as they can end up causing back issues if done incorrectly.

    Irrespective of that, they’re the best when it comes to building muscle and strength in the back. Beginners should exercise caution while trying to do these back exercises and should stick to low weights till they can get better at achieving the proper form. Some of the exercises such as the close-grip pull-down, single-arm dumbbell row, and cable row are beginner-friendly, easy to perform, and effective at stimulating the muscles in your back.

    What We Reviewed

    • Barbell Deadlift
    • Bent-Over Barbell Row
    • Wide-Grip Pull-Up
    • Standing T-Bar Row
    • Wide-Grip Seated Cable Row
    • Reverse-Grip Smith Machine Row
    • Close-Grip Pull-Down
    • Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
    • Decline Bench Dumbbell Pull-Over
    • Single-Arm Smith Machine Row

    Barbell Deadlift

    How To Perform

    Start off with a loaded barbell on the floor. Step up to the middle of the bar and position your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend down from your hip and grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip (it can either be a pronated grip or a mixed one). Take a deep breath and brace your core. This builds pressure inside your body and protects your spine.

    Now slowly lower your hips so that your shins touch the bar. Make sure to always look forward, as looking down can curve your back and can put tremendous pressure on the lower back. With your chest pushed outward and back straight, drive through the heels to lift the weight and stand upright. Lower the bar back down by bending from your hips.

    Pros

    • The deadlift is a total body workout and targets multiple muscle groups such as the upper and lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and traps
    • Significantly increases lower back strength and stability

    Cons

    • Highly risky as you can end up injuring yourself without proper form and practice
    • Not suitable for people with lower back issues

    Bent-Over Barbell Row

    How To Perform

    Start by gripping a loaded barbell at shoulder-width with a pronated grip. Bend down from the waist, keep your back straight, and your knees bent. Let the barbell hang down in front of you. Now, exhale and lift the barbell to your waist and hold the position for a second, while squeezing the muscles in your back. Slowly lower the barbell back while inhaling. Make sure to look forward during this entire movement as that would help you maintain a straight back. Also, remember to keep your elbows close to your body.  

    Pros

    • Perfect for building mass and strength
    • Improves lower back strength and stability

    Cons

    • Not advisable for people with back issues

    Wide-Grip Pull-Up

    How To Perform

    Stand in front of a pull-up bar and hold it with a wide pronated grip. Let yourself hang down freely with your arms fully extended. Slowly pull yourself up by bending your elbows and pause for a second once your chin goes above your hands. Contract the muscles in your back and slowly lower yourself down to the starting position.

    Make sure to do this exercise in one smooth movement. Do not jerk yourself around or use momentum to complete the exercise. Also, try using an open grip to engage your lat muscles better. This exercise can also be performed using a supinated grip, which will also let you work your biceps.

    Pros

    • List ElemHelps build a thicker and wider back  ent
    • Can help increase your grip strength

    Cons

    • Beginners might find it hard to do this exercise due to the lack of strength to pull themselves up

    Standing T-Bar Row

    How To Perform

    Start off by securely positioning a loaded bar in a corner to prevent it from moving around. Make sure that you take a wide stance with the bar in between your legs. Now, lift the bar up with a double D row handle positioned near the collar of the bar. Keep your chest up, your back straight, and your arms fully extended.

    Slowly pull the bar towards your abdomen by flexing your elbows. Once you reach the top of the movement, pause for a second and squeeze the muscles in your back. Then, slowly get back to the starting position.

    Pros

    • In addition to strengthening the back, it also helps develop a good posture
    • Works multiple muscle groups such as biceps, traps, lats, and even your core

    Cons

    • You might end up with muscle cramps if breathing is irregular during the movement

    Wide-Grip Seated Cable Row

    How To Perform

    Strap a long bar onto a low pulley row machine. Position yourself appropriately on the machine and hold the long bar with a wide pronated grip. Make sure to secure your feet on the given platform, and do not lock the knees. Pull the bar back by extending your arms fully till you create a 90-degree angle with your torso and your legs.

    Pull the bar towards your abdomen, while keeping your back straight. Exhale during this part of the movement. Hold this position for a second and squeeze the muscles in your back. Then, slowly get back to the starting position.  

    Pros

    • Places constant tension on the muscles
    • Perfect for beginners and people with lower back issues

    Cons

    • Unlike traditional barbell workouts, cable rows don’t work any of the stabilizer muscles

    Reverse-Grip Smith Machine Row

    How To Perform

    Set the smith machine to a height that is just below your knees. Bend over from the waist by flexing your knees and bring your torso over the bar. Keep your back straight and parallel to the floor. Using a supinated grip, hold the barbell at a width that’s slightly more than shoulder-width. Unlock the barbell and let it hand directly below.

    Slowly lift the barbell up to your upper abdomen and keep your elbows tucked in and close to your body. When you’re at the top, hold the position and squeeze the muscles in your back. Slowly lower the bar back down to the starting position.

    Pros

    • Works your biceps and forearms in addition to your back muscles
    • Ideal for beginners

    Cons

    • Not suitable for people suffering from back issues
    • The exercise isn’t ideal due to the fixed and very limited range of motion

    Close-Grip Pull-Down

    How To Perform

    Attach a long bar to the top pulley of the lat pull-down machine and begin by positioning yourself appropriately. Grab the bar with a grip that’s narrower than shoulder-width (you can use either a pronated or supinated grip).

    With your arms fully extended, lean back a little and stick your chest out. Exhale and slowly pull the bar down to your chest by bending your elbows. Once you reach the bottom position, hold for a second and squeeze the muscles in your back. Slowly let the bar rise up to the starting position.

    Pros

    • In addition to working the muscles in your back, the exercise also emphasizes the biceps
    • Simple and pretty safe, making it the perfect exercise for beginners and people with lower back issues

    Cons

    • None

    Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

    How To Perform

    You will need a flat bench and a dumbbell of appropriate weight for this exercise. Position your left arm and left knee on the flat bench and straighten your back so that it is parallel to the floor. With your right arm, pick up the dumbbell off the floor and let it hang with your arms fully extended. Slowly pull the dumbbell up to your chest.

    Once you’re at the top, hold the position and squeeze your back muscles. Make sure that you exhale during this part of the movement and ensure that your elbows are tucked in close. Slowly lower the weight down to the starting position. Once you’re done with a set, switch sides and perform the same movement.

    Pros

    • Very safe, easy to perform, and requires just a dumbbell
    • Helps strengthen multiple muscle groups such as shoulders, core, and biceps

    Cons

    • None

    Decline Bench Dumbbell Pull-Over

    How To Perform

    Position yourself properly on a decline bench with both of your legs securely locked. Grab a dumbbell with both of your arms, lift it up, and hold it right above your chest. Your arms should be fully extended and perpendicular to the floor. This is your starting position.

    Begin by slowly moving the dumbbell backwards over your head and stop once your arms are parallel to the floor. Pause for a second and slowly bring the dumbbell back to the starting position. Do not jerk the weight around or use momentum.

    Pros

    • Works out your entire upper body including your chest, shoulders, triceps, upper back, and the core
    • Works the stabilizer muscles and helps increase flexibility

    Cons

    • Exercise is slightly risky as there’s a chance of you dropping the weight on yourself
    • Puts more emphasis on the chest rather than the back

    Single-Arm Smith Machine Row

    How To Perform

    Load the smith machine with the appropriate weight and set it at the lowest position. Stand at a 90-degree angle on the right side of the bar. Bend at the waist by flexing your knee and grab the bar with your left hand. Keep your back straight and look forward. Slowly pull the bar up towards the side of your chest.

    Make sure to keep your elbows tucked in. Once you’re at the top, pause for a second and contract the muscles in your back. Slowly lower the bar back down to the starting position. Once you’re done with a set, switch the side and repeat the movement.        

    Pros

    • Works your biceps, lats, and shoulders
    • Perfect for beginners and people with lower back issues

    Cons

    • None

    The Verdict

    Man is doing some back exercise

    Image by Pavel Jurča from Pixabay

    Based on our review of the 10 best back exercises, the barbell deadlift and bent-over barbell rows offer the best overall development of the muscles in the back. Being compound exercises, they work multiple muscle groups simultaneously and help improve posture and stability. They also offer the maximum strength gains among all back exercises.

    The only disadvantage that these exercises have is the increased stress that it places on the lower back, making them unsuitable for people with back problems, as they can end up aggravating the issues. Cable rows, single-arm dumbbell rows, and single-arm smith machine rows are great alternatives. These back exercises hit the muscles hard and are good for the lower back.  


    Featured Image by Scott Webb from Pixabay

    Tags:

    Isopure Reviews

    August 4, 2019 by  
    Filed under Weight Lifting

    Comments Off on Isopure Reviews

    person holding clear drinking glass on table beside saucer

    Image via unsplash.com

    Protein powders are great for building muscle, muscle recovery, and staying satiated while on a low calorie/fat diet. With so many choices on the market today it’s easy to get confused. There are hundreds of types of protein, flavors, and claims by their manufacturers! We took a good look at reviews and research for four top protein powders, breaking them down by the quality of their ingredients, cost, usability, product guarantee and expected results. First up is Isopure, a whey isolate protein powder. Isopure is a good option for most fitness plans because it contains no carbs, sugar, cholesterol or fat and is moderate in calories. Many reviews reported muscle gains and weight loss after using Isopure, in addition to weight training, exercise and a healthy diet.

    What Is Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder? 

    woman with blue polish

    Image via pixabay.com

    Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder is a whey isolate protein powder, ideal for building muscle and aiding in fat loss. Whey isolates like Isopure typically contain very little carbs or sugar and the body can absorb 8–10 grams per hour, making it a viable choice before, during or after a workout. Whey isolate is one of the most common protein forms on the market, and though it’s from a dairy source, it is lactose-free; easily absorbed by the body. Many reviews we found reported Isopure did not cause uncomfortable gassiness or bloatedness experienced with other protein powders. Reviewers also liked the simplicity of Isopure's ingredients, no gluten or chemicals, though soy is added for creaminess. Here’s the breakdown for Isopure Zero Carb Protein powder, which comes in over 17 flavors.

    Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder Benefits

    • 25 grams protein per serving
    • Zero sugar
    • 100 calories per scoop
    • Whey protein isolate
    • Zero carbs (2 low carb varieties)
    • Gluten, lactose and aspartame free (contains sucralose, a natural sugar)
    • Zero sugar per serving

    Flavors of Isopure

    Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder is offered in a wide variety of flavors, including Banana Cream, Cookies and Cream, Mango Peach, Apple Melon and Creamy Vanilla. Isopure makes two low-carb versions, Dutch Chocolate and Toasted Coconut, containing just one gram of carb per 2-scoop serving and zero sugar. Isopure also makes a flavorless variety, which mixes well with other flavors like cocoa powder, peanut powder, or sweeteners like fruit, honey or stevia.

    Using Isopure 

    Isopure stands out for having no added fillers, made up of a pure whey protein isolate, which mixes easily with water or milk. Isopure recommends a mixture of 6 ounces of water per 2 scoops for a total of 50 grams of protein per serving, but many users say they adjusted the amount of scoops and liquid to their taste and preference. A popular suggestion to make Isopure shakes richer was to replace water with non-dairy milk like almond milk. For an extra bit of flavor, some users said they liked adding cocoa powder, peanut powder or fruits and berries (use a blender for adding fruits). When stored in a cool dry place Isopure protein powder can keep fresh up to a year.

    Pricing 

    Isopure protein powder comes in three bulk sizes and can be purchased directly at: theisopurecompany.com. Other recommended sellers are: GNC.com, Bodybuilding.com, Amazon.com, and Vitaminshoppe.com. Prices range from about $16 for a 1-pound container to $95 for a 7.5-pound container. Prices average about $1.50 per serving; fairly economical for a high-quality protein powder.

    Average Price of Isopure 

    • 1 pound packet (7 servings) - $15
    • 3 pound tub (22 servings) - $40
    • 4.5-pound tub (creamy vanilla only) - $50
    • 7.5 pound tub (55 servings) - $95

    How Isopure Compares

    We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare to Isopure.

    Woman jumping in seashore

    Image via pixabay.com

    • BioTrust Low Carb Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder
    • MusclePharm Combat 100% Whey Protein Powder
    • Perfect Keto Chocolate Protein Powder

    Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder


    At about $1.50 per serving, Isopure is a solid, economical choice for a high-quality protein powder.

    Ease of Use 

    We gave Isopure Zero Carb Protein powder 4 out of 5 stars. It mixes with easily with water or milk, (similar to or better than any other powder), digests quickly and comes in three different container sizes.

    Expected Results 

    4 out of 5 stars. Reviews report it doesn’t cause gas or bloating like other powders and helps with weight loss and muscle gain.

    Quality of Ingredients 

    3.5 out of 5 stars. Isopure contains high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals but the flavored versions added sucralose. (Xanthan Gum, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Sucralose). Also, those with soy allergies should note Isopure does contain soy for added for creaminess.

    Guarantee 

    Refer to the vendor for its return policy, but most sellers such as Amazon offer a 100% money-back guarantee within 30 days.

    Pros

    • Mixes easily with water
    • Economic
    • No carbs, high protein, no sugar, lactose-free
    • Helps with weight loss and muscle gain

    Cons

    • Smells a bit strong
    • Contains soy and sucralose
    • Taste could be better
    • Gassiness/bloating reported by some users

    BioTrust Low Carb Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder

    BioTrust Low Carb Grass Fed Whey Protein powder is made up of 4 types of dairy protein. The company states Biotrust Protein is from grass-fed cows, contains no artificial colors or additives, is non-GMO, soy free and gluten-free. In addition to whey protein isolate and whey concentrate, it also contains micellar casein, which digests slowly, making it an ideal choice for satiation and helping the body repair overnight. Low Carb Grass Fed Whey Protein stands apart for its trademark digestive enzyme blend, ProHydrolase, which enables the easy absorption of all that protein without unpleasant gastrointestinal effects. It is marketed as a weight-loss aid since it helps with satiation (staying fuller longer).

    Nutrients and Flavors

    A two-scoop serving of BioTrust contains 150 calories, 24 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbs (4 grams of fiber), and 2.5 grams of fat, (1 gram of saturated fat). It’s also high in calcium. BioTrust manufactures Low Carb in six different flavors: Milk Chocolate, Vanilla Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Café Mocha, Strawberry Banana, and Peach Mango.

    Price - $$$

    Very expensive. One tub (1.2 pounds of 14 servings) = $49 dollars on Amazon. About $3.50 per serving.

    Ease of Use 

    We gave 4 out of 5 stars for ease of use. Mixes easily with water or milk.

    Expected Results 

    We gave 4.5 out of 5 stars for its ability to digest easily, ward off hunger, and help with muscle building and recovery.

    Quality of Ingredients 

    We gave BioTrust 3.5 out of 5 stars for ingredient quality. Seems legit, but hard to know. The company states their protein is from “grass fed, hormone free, happy cows” but does not list the ingredients in their “new breakthrough” enzyme, ProHydrolase.

    Guarantee 

    BioTrust is listed as Amazon’s Choice product and free returns are guaranteed within 30 days. Refer to each vendor for individual return policies.

    Pros

    • Satiating, 4 grams of fiber per serving
    • Mixes easily with water or milk
    • Digests well, does not cause bloating or gas
    • Free-range, hormone-free dairy protein

    Cons


    • High in cholesterol and sodium, (180 sodium and 30 mg cholesterol per serving)
    • Expensive - about 3 times as expensive as similar products
    • Bland/chalky taste
    • Mysterious ingredients in its digestive enzyme blend ProHydrolase

    MusclePharm Combat 100% Whey Protein Powder


    The key feature of MusclePharm’s protein powder is its combination of whey isolate, casein, egg protein and whey concentrate protein which deliver a lot of protein and aid in quick digestion; great for before, during, or after a workout. The product has a lot of rave reviews about its amazing taste, though some said it was too sweet for their liking. The company states they test batches for banned substances and protein quality, and each serving delivers 25 grams of protein. Each one scoop serving has 130 calories, 25 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, (1 gram saturated fat), 5 grams of carbs and 2 grams of sugar. Though there are no artificial dyes or colors and it is gluten-free, it is not lactose-free, contains artificial ingredients and sugars, and makes no statement to be non-GMO.

    Ease of Use 

    We gave 4 out of 5 stars for ease of use. Reviewers said it mixes great in a blender with water, milk, almond milk, fruits, and vegetables. Like most protein powders, there were complaints it takes a while to mix completely and can leave clumps.

    Expected Results 

    We gave MusclePharm 4 out of 5 stars for being an easy way to ingest 25-50 grams of protein, especially for fitness buffs. Lactose intolerant users should keep in mind the product does contain lactose!

    Quality of Ingredients 

    2.5 out of 5 stars. MusclePharm uses artificial sweeteners which we don’t like, as well as cellulose gum, guar gum, xanthan gum, sucralose, acesulfame potassium and soy lecithin. Again, it is not lactose-free, and has no statement about being GMO-free.

    Guarantee 

    4 out of 5 stars. All MusclePharm sales via Amazon.com are backed by a 30-day, money-back guarantee, but make sure to check each individual vendor for their policy.

    Pros

    • Inexpensive
    • Tastes yummy (on the sweet side!)
    • Whey, casein and egg protein for ultimate absorption

    Cons

    • One gram saturated fat per serving
    • Artificial ingredients/sweeteners
    • High calorie/cholesterol (130 calories / 35 mg cholesterol per scoop)
    • Not vegan, contains lactose, no statement on GMO testing

    Perfect Keto Chocolate Protein Powder


    Keto Collagen is advertised as a keto-friendly protein powder derived from collagen, a necessary amino acid for muscle recovery which doesn’t affect blood sugar. The company states their collagen peptides are taken from U.S.A. grass-fed cows and their product contains no artificial sweeteners, coloring, chemicals, or binding agents. Collagen protein is a good source for is supporting connective tissues and improving joint pain after exercise. It is not a complete protein like whey protein and is lower in protein content. That makes it a good choice for those following a ketogenic diet or wanting to repair connective tissue and joints but not ideal for body-builders or those on low-fat diet. Each one-scoop serving has 4 grams saturated fat, 80 calories, and only 10 grams of protein. Current flavors are chocolate, caramel, vanilla or unflavored. Many keto-friendly reviews said they liked to mix the powder into their coffee for an energy boost in the morning.

    Ease of Use 

    We gave 3.5 out of 5 stars. There were quite a few reports of overstuffed packaging causing spills with each use. Several reviews reported the powder leaves an ugly “scum” when mixed into hot beverages like coffee.

    Expected Results 

    We gave 4 out of 5 stars. Keto protein powder is advertised to help with joints, connective tissue, hair, skin and nails and many users report positive results in these areas, including increased energy.

    Quality of Ingredients 

    4 out of 5 stars for quality ingredients. For those who don’t like the Stevia taste in the flavored options, there is an unflavored powder.

    Guarantee 

    3 out of 5 stars for product guarantee. Amazon states it will honor a Keto protein powder replacement only once and the PerfectKeto.com requires you to contact the company directly.

    Pros

    • Collagen-based protein to strengthen connective tissue
    • Tastes good
    • Keto-friendly
    • Paleo, gluten-free, no additives, chemicals or fake sugars

    Cons

    • Expensive
    • Messy
    • High fat
    • Stevia taste


    The Takeaway

    Woman holding red beverage

    Image via pixabay.com

    After reviewing these four products, we gave Isopure the highest rating, with 4.5 out of 5 stars. Isopure is keto friendly, lactose-free, non-GMO, great for building muscle, and aids in weight loss, satiation and muscle recovery. Complaints were few and had to do with taste and occasional gassiness. We feel Isopure is a solid choice for those wanting to gain muscle, lose weight or maintain a lean diet. We also like that it contains no additives or fake sugars and is a great price at $1.50 per serving.

    Tags:

    How to Do a Proper Hack Squat

    August 2, 2019 by  
    Filed under Workouts to Build Muscle

    Comments Off on How to Do a Proper Hack Squat

    Hack Squat

    Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

    The hack squat is one of the best quad-building exercises you can possibly do. It is a popular exercise that many weightlifters and athletes do for lower-body development. It is typically done on a sled that allows you to squat on a 45-degree angle, and it focuses strength training on three main muscle groups — your glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps.

    The hack squat machine is a staple in most gym and fitness centers. If you’ve seen a person doing it, then you must have noticed that they were lifting several plates — certainly more than they normally use when doing a barbell squat. Since most people use loads when performing a hack squat, it has become quite popular in gyms.

    People who are not fitness freaks and who do not go to the gym regularly may not be familiar with the hack squat exercise. As such, if you are one of those people, you might be interested in knowing how to do it properly so you have a stronger, lower body. This article highlights what hack squares are, how to do the exercise properly, as well as how you use a machine or barbells to do them.

    Insert Content Template or Symbol

    What Is a Hack Squat Exercise?

    Insert Video

    In strength training and general fitness training, squatting is a compound, full-body exercise used to strengthen the muscles of your hips, thighs, buttocks, quadriceps femoris muscle and hamstrings. Additionally, hack squats strengthen your ligaments, bones and the connectivity of the tendons in the entire lower body.

    Squatting is considered a vital exercise for increasing the size and strength of one's legs besides developing one's core strength. There are many variations of squat exercises. Squatting is one of the three lifts used in powerlifting, along with bench presses and dead lifts. In this article, we will highlight what hack squats are and how you can do them like a pro.

    Hack squats can be done using a barbell or on a machine. Typically, the barbell is held in your hands, just behind your legs. The exercise was first known as Hacke (heel) in Germany. It was a squat performed by Prussian soldiers and was popularized in the English-speaking countries by early 1900s by George Hackenschmidt, a wrestler. Other than a barbell, a hack squat can be done using a machine. The exercise is done by using the legs to lift while the weight rests on one's shoulders and the feet are kept stationary.

    Since the lower back is locked during the exercise, it can only be used by athletes during strength training in their general preparation phases. However, the exercise is very valuable to bodybuilders who do not care about the functional transfer of hack squats. Both types of hack squats — machine and barbell — respond best to hypertrophy or functional hypertrophy protocols

    BENEFITS OF THE HACK SQUAT


    woman working on leg press machine

    Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

    When done using the exercise using a machine, you will derive the following benefits:

    • Since the exercise takes the upper body out of the movement, it removes potential compensations or weaknesses that could otherwise affect your squat depth. You can focus on ensuring that your thighs are parallel
    • You can load up the weight, thanks to the additional control the machine affords you, and the fact that the upper body, including the core, is taken out of the movement
    • It is easy to train one leg at a time to reduce muscle imbalances
    • Since the machine provides a lot of stability, it can be a safer way to start building strength, particularly when you are coming back from an injury
    • The exercise allows you to change the focus on the muscles by adjusting your foot position. Note that a higher foot position will emphasize the glutes more, while a lower foot position gives emphasis to the quads
    Insert Content Template or Symbol

    DRAWBACKS OF THE HACK SQUAT EXERCISE


    Start lifting the barbel inside the gym

    Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

    There are downsides, however, when doing these types of squats. These includes:

    • Your knees typically sit far out in front, which results in knee problems, particularly when you use heavyweight loads
    • In traditional barbell squats, your core works overtime in helping you control and stabilize the weight, but with hack squats, you don't get the same benefit
    • It is easy to train one leg at a time to reduce muscle imbalances
    • When doing the exercise, you are locked into a machine, which means that the critical stabilizer muscles (useful to help keep the joints safe) are not engaged
    • When doing these type of squats, you will be forced to work in a fixed angle which is not how sports are played, and this means that the exercise doesn’t train your body specifically for how you move on the playing field
    Insert Content Template or Symbol

    Barbell Hack Squat Like a Pro

    The barbell hack squat is an old-school strength exercise that has been in use for decades by fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders to build strength in the hamstrings, glutes and quads. It also is more low-back friendly since the weight is under the center of mass instead of in front of it. It places ample tension on the entire lower body, including the hamstrings, glutes and quads, and allows the lifter to train both the dead lift and quad pattern at the same time.

    Here is how you do the barbell hack squat like a pro:

    1. 1
      Stand straight as you hold the barbell behind you at arm’s length and your feet at shoulder width. A shoulder width grip is best with the hand palms facing back but you can use the wrist wraps for a better grip.
    2. 2
      As you keep your head and eyes up and back straight, squat until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you advance to the floor slowly.
    3. 3
      Press the heel of the foot and squeeze the thighs and as you do so, going back up as you breathe out.
    4. 4
      Repeat the procedure for the recommended repetitions, as recommended by your trainer.

    There are several variations. It can be performed with the heels slightly elevated on a small block, which is a good option for beginners and, especially, if you lack flexibility.

    Machine Hack Squad Like a Pro

    Machine hack squats require a strong development of the vastus medialis muscles and good stability of the knee joints to be effective.

    Here is how to do them on a machine:

    1. 1
      Place your back against the back pad of the machine and hook your shoulders under the machine's shoulder pads
    2. 2
      Position your legs on the machine taking a shoulder-width, medium stance with the toes slightly pointed out. Ensure that you always keep your head up and maintain the back on the pad at all times
    3. 3
      Place your arms on the machine’s side handles and disengage the safety bars (done by moving the side handles from the facing front position to a diagonal position.)
    4. 4
      Straighten your legs without locking your knees. This is how you assume a starting position.
    5. 5
      Begin slowly by lowering the unit by bending the knees as you maintain a straight posture with your head up. Continue down until the angle between the calves and the upper legs becomes slightly less than 90 degrees. Inhale as you perform this movement. If you do it correctly, the front of the knees should make an imaginary straight line with the toes that are perpendicular to the front. If the knees are past that imaginary line, then you are placing undue stress on your knees.
    6. 6
      Begin raising the unit as you exhale by pushing the floor with the heel of your feet as you straighten your legs again and go back to the starting position.
    7. 7
      Repeat the process for the numbers of repetitions recommended by your certified personal trainer.

    You should emphasize the glutes instead of the quads by moving the feet forward on the platform, or hit your leg adductors using a wide stance and then turning your toes forward.

    Conclusion

    barbell black and white

    Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

    Squatting is a compound and full-body exercise that is used in training the muscles of the hips, thighs, buttocks, quadriceps femoris muscle, hamstrings, strengthening the ligaments, bones and insertion of the tendons in the entire lower body. The hack squat focuses on the lower body. However, the lower back is typically locked in the exercise. This means that it can only be used by athletes during their strength training in general preparation phases. the hack squat is a highly valuable exercise for bodybuilders.

    There are two versions of hack squats are the machine and the barbell. The barbell hack squat is an old-school strength exercise that trains the hamstrings, glutes and quads and allows the lifter to train both the dead lift and quad pattern at the same time. Machine hack squats require a strong development of the vastus medialis muscles and good stability of the knee joints to be effective. For the machine version of the squats, you can emphasize the glutes instead of the quads by moving the feet forward on the platform.

    We hope this article has thoroughly addressed what the hack squat exercise is, what it is best used for and how to do the exercise properly and safely in both its variations by using a machine or barbell.

    Tags:

    The Ultimate Guide to Female Bodybuilding

    August 1, 2019 by  
    Filed under Body Building Goals

    Comments Off on The Ultimate Guide to Female Bodybuilding

    Woman showing a female bodybuilding routine lifting a barbell

    ​Image Source: Unsplash

    Our bodies are amazing things. They circulate air through our blood, digest our food into energy, protect and encase the experience machine that is our brain, and they are even capable of reproducing themselves (well, with a little help from a friend that is). But not all bodies reach the same potential. Neglect the body and its vitality will fade, and then you will soon find yourself much more hindered by your mortal coil than enabled by it. But the opposite is also true—pay attention to the needs of the body, take advantage of the best ways to build the body, and you will soon find yourself sporting a form that makes the other ladies jealous. That’s right, we said “ladies.” Bodybuilding isn’t just a boy’s game anymore. Countless women are improving their bodies every day through the sculpting process that is female bodybuilding.  

    In fact, today the internet is full to bursting with articles proclaiming the benefits and methods of female bodybuilding. So many that it’s nigh impossible to know whose advice to trust. For that very reason, we have compiled this article of what we consider the most essential bits of bodybuilding advice for ladies. Your body is likely fairly different from those men whose pecs grace the covers of health magazines, and you need bodybuilding advice that takes that into consideration.

    Join us on this journey of body sculpting and self-discovery as we explore The Ultimate Guide to Female Bodybuilding, which begins by humbly asking...

    What Is Female BodyBuilding?

    a woman showing her strong biceps

    ​Image Source: Pixabay

    Getting shredded, building meat, maintaining mass, erecting a hominid, there are so many ways to express the sentiment, but female bodybuilding is simply about a bunch of women who want to get fit in a particular fashion.

    Why Get Fit with Female Bodybuilding?

    There are many ways to get fit and fulfill your body's destiny to look and feel great, but the best reason to build over other methods of fitness has to do with health. Most female bodybuilding experts know a fit body is a healthy body and building your ultimate form takes time and effort.

    Best Weight Training Program

    A woman in the gym showing a female bodybuilding workout

    ​Image Source: Unsplash

    The best weight training program for female bodybuilding is tailored for each individual trying their hand at sculpting their body. The reason for this is the wide diversity of bodies, histories, and futures. There are no two people who mirror one another, so there should be no two workouts with a perfect tandem.

    However, there are general rules you can follow. You need to be doing different workouts every time you head toward the gym. Alternating the type, duration, strength, and general inclination of each workout can help to aid your game. There should be diversity here.

    Keeping it simple is a great way to begin. Start every workout with a warm-up phase that includes stretching and lunging. Then, end every workout with a cooldown phase. Warmups and cooldowns are standard practice across disciplines.

    A Weekly Routine for Anyone

    The following is an award-winning routine for female bodybuilding that is recommended for those wishing to get into shape. As with any routine, you may need to start slower and work up to the full tilt of the routine.

    On the first day of the week, in the morning, the routine starts with a focus on cardio, chest exercises, and tricep exercises. Around 35 to 45 minutes of low-intensity cardio exercise is recommended.

    • Incline Dumbbell Press - 2 x 8-12 (SETS) x (REPS)
    • Flat Barbell Bench - 2 x 8-12
    • Dips - 2 x 8-12
    • Cable Crossovers - 2 x 8-12
    • Skull Crushers - 2 x 8-12

    ​On Tuesday anytime during the day, it is recommended that the bodybuilder workout focuses on the quads, hamstrings, and calves. Take a breather because there is no cardio on Tuesday!

    • Squats- 2 x 8-12
    • Seated Leg Curls- 2 x 8-12
    • Walking Lunges- 2 x 8-12 (Each Leg)
    • Straight Leg Dumbbell Deadlift- 2 x 8-12
    • Seated Leg Extensions- 2 x 8-12
    • Standing Calf Raises- 3 x 12-15

    On Wednesday in the morning, cardio and abs are the focus. Around 35 to 45 minutes of low-intensity cardio is one of the set goals. Other goals are listed below.

    • Exercise Ball Crunch- 2 x 20-25
    • Machine Crunches- 2 x 20-25
    • Hanging Leg Raise- 2 x 10-12
    • Bicycle Crunches- 2 x 20 (Each Leg)

    On Thursday in the morning, it is recommended that the individual commence in cardio, and exercises focusing on the back, biceps, and forearms. The cardio should be around 35 to 45 minutes with a tilt toward being low-intensity cardio. Additional exercises are listed below.

    • Lat Pull-downs- 2 x 8-12
    • Barbell Rows- 2 x 8-12
    • Good Mornings- 2 x 8-12
    • Preacher Curls- 2 x 8-12
    • Incline Dumbbell Curls- 2 x 8-12
    • Barbell Wrist Curls- 3 x 10-12

    For Friday morning, we suggest the routine targets cardio and a focus on the delts and traps. This will consist of 35 to 45 minutes of low-intensity cardio determined by the individual. Other recommended exercises are listed below.

    • Dumbbell Military Press- 2 x 8-12
    • Cable Front Lateral Raise- 2 x 8-12 (On Each Arm)
    • Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise- 2 x 8-12
    • Smith Machine Shrugs- 3 x 10-12

    On Saturday, in the morning it is advised to do some cardio. Around 35-45 minutes of low-intensity cardio would be best. This can take the form of jumping jacks, jogging, or anything your heart desires.

    On Sunday you can celebrate your achievement of a job well done and take the day off. Don’t mistake this for an excuse to eat your weight in donuts, but do make it a celebration. After this week of intense workouts, you will be grateful for the day off and the brief respite before the next one.

    Remember that this is an advanced workout and not absolutely necessary for all beginners. You can start slowly and work up to the full tilt of this intense routine.


    Nutrition and Tips for Female Bodybuilders​

    A glass of leafy vegetable smoothie

    ​Image Source: Pixabay

    Humans are calculators. Well, at least your gut bacteria are calculators. If you put in more calories than you spend in your daily routine, then you gain weight. The converse is true of eating too few calories—you will lose weight. Now, I am not telling you to go out and have a big old plate of celery. Quite the opposite, You should be eating calories if you want to gain muscle.

    If you are looking to get shredded and build up your body like a sand castle on a beach, then you need to know your nutrition. Vitamins, minerals, and the occasional massive sandwich are your friends. However, before beginning your journey to the gym, you might consider consulting a doctor about the general guidelines you should follow rather than use a guess and check method.

    Intermittent Fasting Is a Key 

    For those of us looking to appear in the world like long, lean goddesses, intermittent fasting can be a great addition to the tool belt of any female bodybuilding routine. This tiny trick can help boost your immune system, heal your muscles after a workout, and it requires no effort. Believe it or not this is not a gimmick. All you have to do is not eat, rather, all you have to do is eat a lot—but only when in the non-fasting phase of intermittent fasting.

    The only rule is to eat for an 8-hour period during the day and at no other time. For example, if you wake up at 7 and eat breakfast at 12, then you can eat as much of anything as you want until 8 PM. However, after 8 you cannot eat or drink any more calories. Yes, this includes beer; I am sorry to say.

    The reason this works has to do with the stages of our digestion. When you eat from sunup to sundown and sometimes afterward, then you leave no time for your body to turn its attention toward things other than digestion, namely healing your sore muscles. That is why intermittent fasting is the key to female bodybuilding. So make like the flash and get fasting.

    Vitamins You Need to Be Consuming

    Knowing what your body needs and when is a real hat trick of human evolution culminating in the 21st century. B vitamins, or a B complex, will make you feel great and give you the energy you need to hit the gym with the full force of your female bodybuilding furry and fervor. You can take them in a pill or in a drink. The drinkable version comes packaged with vitamin C, another essential nutrient.

    Vitamin C helps with almost everything. Most Americans are deficient in it, so even if you are not a fan of female bodybuilding you should be taking more of this. You can get it in pill form as well. It is not terribly expensive and well worth the few bucks it costs. Additionally, you can get it in some fruits, including oranges, lemons, and limes. This may be your only excuse for another tequila shot by the way.

    Mushrooms and How They Help

    Besides possibly curing cancer and helping to clear the cobwebs from your mind, mushrooms can help to heal your body and boost your energy. There are several companies that sell them. Paul Stamments and Joe Rogan both do a great job. We are also huge fans of the mushroom, tea, and coffee supplier, Four Sigmatic, whose products include anti-carcinogenic coffee and nervous system supporting elixirs. The list of mushrooms and their uses is much too long for a single article, so research about the benefits of each one yourself. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to steer clear of portobellos and eat all the others.

    Energize Me: How to Get That Extra Pep in Your Step

    By far and away the biggest bodybuilding complaint we receive is that it simply leaves the bodybuilders too tired either to complete their workout or to finish their regular chores afterward. Energy drink companies want you to believe that the only way to get that extra kick is to consume a 24-ounce can of sugar, “electrolytes,” and industrial sludge. This is obviously not the case. The caffeine these energy drinks provide has been shown to be beneficial for athletes undergoing intense or grueling workouts, but the sugar and other nastiness is literal poison for your body.

    If you need that extra caffeine kick why not reach for good old-fashioned coffee? The added stimulation will perk you up and the anti-hunger effect of a cup of joe will help prevent your tummy from rumbling when you’re pumping iron. Here’s a great tip for amping your coffee to the next level: combine it with L-theanine and a fat. Yes, that’s right, add butter to your coffee. It may sound counterproductive, but research shows that the fat helps the caffeine to better cross the blood-brain barrier as does the L-theanine. L-theanine is the active ingredient in green tea and can be found in pill form if you aren’t keen on drinking a coffee on the heels of a cup of tea.

    Caffeine is by no means the only healthful, legal “perk me up” available to aid your bodybuilding adventures. Guanine, a chemical cousin of caffeine and the active ingredient in Yerba Mate tea, is a great alternative for those for whom caffeine has just lost its kick. In fact, many people have found that guanine provides a “cleaner” buzz than caffeine and have never gone back.

    If you’re seeking a less jittery type of boost, we highly recommend apple cider vinegar. It may have a strong astringent taste by itself, but once watered down a bit and garnished with lemon, it becomes one of the tastiest tiny boosts you can drink. The vinegar will jump-start your metabolism, the acidity will aid your digestion, and the malic acid it contains provides a laundry list of healthful benefits.

    Adding More Calories

    One of the mistakes those new to female bodybuilding make is not increasing their calorie count. If you want to get ripped and gain muscle mass and you are really shredding on those weights at the gym, then you need to be increasing the amount of food you are eating. This makes intuitive sense after the first glance. Additionally, if you are not trying to build mass, then decreasing or even maintaining the amount of food you are eating is fine.

    Greens, Greens, the Magical Food

    The more you eat, the more you can do. Dark, leafy greens will be important for consumption as you move forward on this journey. They are jam-packed with essential nutrients and a great way of cleaning out your system. The name of the game here is fiber. The best way to look for these little guys is in the vegan section of the grocery store. Keep an eye out for the leaves with purple edges and extra-dark veins. Those are great signs of vitamins.

    Training outside Your Program and Why

    Often the best athletes train outside their area of expertise. Wonderful and accomplished football players practice yoga or ballet as often as they train in the gym with weights. Your muscles are like rubber bands and they need to be stretched in all directions to gain flexibility and strength. The better the complementary exercise the more disparate the activities.

    The recommended complement to female bodybuilding is yoga. Any practice, even at home will do, but the best combination will be the addition of hot yoga. This is yoga that is strength and flexibility focused. Fair warning, the room will be unbearably hot, but you will leave feeling great all over and the next time you hit the weights you will feel like a million bucks.

    As you begin to change your routine with female bodybuilding and working out, you will notice other changes in your life. You will apply the principles you learn at the gym to your practices of other activities, including work, school, play, and around the house.

    Mass vs. Lean

    The expectation is that bodybuilding will transform the female form into a Hulk-ette, but this is not the case for every body type. Spending hours doing the wrong workout can be a real problem for female athletes in general.

    In truth, most females don't have the hormonal tendencies like men do, helping them to gain muscle mass in a particularly masculine way. The hormone testosterone is the determinant of why men look the way they do. Women simply do not have as much of this muscle building chemical.

    So don’t worry about growing chest hair as you learn to bench press double your body weight. However, if looking like the hulk is your ultimate goal, then you are in for years of dedication, practice, and most certainly a gym membership.


    Conclusion

    Woman in the gym looking at the mirror while holding a dumbbell

    Image Source: Pixabay

    The best way to get results is to tailor the workout, diet, lifestyle, and goals to your individual needs. Through this individualization process, you can achieve whatever you set your mind and body to. The only gatekeeper is your own endurance, which luckily, you can increase over time with female bodybuilding.

    In the end, we are all just here to be happier and healthier, so do whatever method or routine that floats your boat.  It's all a journey, and it takes a whole village. Remember to eat your greens and keep your meats lean, but ultimately the best you can do is your best.

    Tags:

    Shoulder Workouts: Your Ultimate Guide

    July 24, 2019 by  
    Filed under Weight Lifting

    Comments Off on Shoulder Workouts: Your Ultimate Guide

    woman exercising

    Image by Pexels

    When deciding which shoulder workouts to perform, it depends on what athletic level you are, what goals you are aiming to achieve and what type of equipment you have. In this article, we have reviewed 10 popular shoulder workouts and discussed how they could benefit your workout routine. Remember to consult a professional trainer on more complex moves, especially if you are a beginner, so you avoid any potential injuries. Check out our discussion below to decide which shoulder workouts you should incorporate into your exercise regimen.

    Product FAQ

    Before we begin our discussion on various shoulder workouts, we will answer some frequently asked questions.

    Why Are Shoulder Workouts Important?

    group of women doing work out

    Image by Pexels

    The shoulder provides stability and has a large range of motion, but it is also one of the most susceptible joints to injury. It is important to ensure that your shoulders are strong and resistant to potential harm from daily use.

    2. What Level of Athleticism Should I Have to Perform Shoulder Workouts?

    man carrying exercise equipment

    Image by Pexels

    The level of athleticism, distinguished as beginner, intermediate, or expert in this article, determines which shoulder workouts are appropriate for you.

    Insert Image

    3. What Equipment Do I Need to Perform Shoulder Workouts?

    woman using cable and pulley machine

    Image by Pexels

    Typical shoulder workouts require dumbbells or barbells. You can choose to either buy the appropriate equipment or find the necessary items in a standard gym.

    4. How Can I Determine How Many Sets and Reps to Complete?

    shirtless man exercising on the gym

    Image by Pexels

    If you are training for strength, you should choose a higher weight and aim to perform one to six reps. While performing higher reps at a lower weight also builds muscle, it focuses on endurance building. You should aim for sets of 12 to 15 to increase your endurance over time.

    How We Reviewed

    We reviewed each of these 10 shoulder workouts by discussing their pros and cons, how to perform each exercise, what equipment you should use when performing the exercise and what level of athleticism you should be before performing the exercise.

    Overall Price Range Of This Product (And Similar Products)

    The price of the equipment for these shoulder workouts ranges between about $ and $$$ if you buy the equipment yourself. You can also find this equipment in a standard gym.

    What We Reviewed

    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press
    • Push Press
    • Upright Barbell Row
    • Standing Military Press
    • Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise
    • Dumbbell Incline Row
    • Side Lateral Raise
    • Barbell Shoulder Press
    • Standing Front Barbell Raise Over Head
    • Arnold Dumbbell Press

    Dumbbell Shoulder Press

    man exercising on the gym

    Image by Pexels

    Insert Image

    Type

    The dumbbell shoulder press is a strength exercise that works the shoulders. This is one of many shoulder workouts that utilizes dumbbells. You sit on a military press bench, hold a dumbbell in each hand, place them on the top of your thighs, then raise the dumbbells to shoulder height one at a time. From this starting position, push the dumbbells upward until they touch the top in a contracted position. Then, repeat this exercise for the amount of repetitions in your set.

    Pros

    • A multi-joint exercise that will work your shoulders and triceps
    • Allows for more range of motion than using a barbell
    • Greater range of motion increases time under tension, which utilizes the traps 

    Cons

    • Lifting too much weight will compromise your form
    • If you use bad form when performing the shoulder press, it can hurt your shoulders
    • Important to keep your elbows positioned correctly

    Equipment

    Level


    Push Press

    man lifting dumbbell at the gym

    Image by Pexels

    Type

    The barbell push press allows you to load up the most weight above all other overhead press moves. It is considered a whole-body movement due to its lack of isolation effect. You perform it by putting the barbell atop your upper chest, bend your knees slightly, and explode upward on the balls of your feet while pressing the bar overhead. This works your lower body, core, delts, triceps, and upper pecs.

    Pros

    • Utilizes the legs, chest, arms, shoulder, and lower back
    • Olympic weight training technique
    • Segue into more advanced overhead moves

    Cons

    • Need to have a high level of skill to perform
    • An explosive exercise, so more potential for injury
    • Detrimental if performed with incorrect form

    Equipment

    Level


    Upright Barbell Row

    shirtless man lifting dumbbell

    Image by Pexels

    Type

    You perform the upright barbell row by grasping a barbell with an overhand grip, with hands slightly less than shoulder width apart. The bar should start by resting on the top of your thighs with extended arms. Then, raise your elbows up and keep the bar close to your body as you move upwards. Continue to lift the barbell until it reaches your chin. Then, lower it back down and repeat for the intended number of repetitions.

    Pros

    • Targets the upper back and shoulders
    • Great exercise for athletes aiming to gain muscle and power in their deltoids
    • Appropriate for athletes of all experience levels

    Cons

    • Can irritate the anterior shoulder
    • Can hurt your neck if done incorrectly
    • You need to use strict form in order to work the shoulders versus the forearms and biceps

    Equipment

    Level


    Standing Military Press

    Type

    The standing military press is another example of shoulder workouts for beginners, and you can perform it sitting or standing. You begin with slightly bent knees and lift the barbell up over your head by locking your arms. You hold the barbell at about shoulder level, then lower the bar down to the collarbone slowly. Then, you lift the bar back up. You repeat this exercise for the number of repetitions within your set.

    Pros

    • Great option for developing shoulder muscles
    • Can perform either standing or seated
    • Can help to stabilize your spine

    Cons

    • Lifting too much weight can compromise your form and cause injury
    • Can put unnecessary strain on your lower back
    • Mainly focusses on your shoulders and not on other muscle groups

    Equipment

    Level


    Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise

    man holding dumbbells while sitting

    Image by Pexels

    Type

    Also known as the rear delt fly, you place a couple of dumbbells in front of a flat bench with the dumbbells behind your calves, then you bend at the waist with a straight back and lift the dumbbells straight to the side until both arms are parallel to the floor. Then, slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat for the intended number of repetitions.

    Pros

    • Great workout for the shoulders
    • Works the rear deltoid muscles 
    • Uses isolation to build strength and power

    Cons

    • Can harm your back if you do not maintain a straight position
    • Relatively strict movement that needs to be controlled
    • Can be dangerous for your neck if you do not have a safe spinal position 

    Equipment

    Level


    Dumbbell Incline Row

    woman doing exercise inside the gym

    Image by Pexels

    Type

    The dumbbell incline row is one of the shoulder workouts that works the delts, while also targeting the middle back. For this exercise, you need to lean into an incline bench. Then, you take a dumbbell in each hand and retract the shoulder blades to row the dumbbells to your side.

    Pros

    • Works the back and rear delts
    • A powerful, multi-joint rowing exercise
    • Great way to strengthen the back muscles

    Cons

    • Great if performed correctly, but harmful if performed with incorrect form
    • Can be detrimental to your neck if your spine is not straight
    • Can cause injury if you use too much weight

    Equipment

    Level


    Side Lateral Raise

    man exercising on the gym

    Image by Pexels

    Type

    The side lateral raise is a great single-joint movement for the middle delts, but it is important that you perform this exercise with the correct form. You pick a pair of dumbbells, maintain a stationary position, lift the dumbbells to your side, and lift up your arms to be parallel to the floor. Then, lower the dumbbells back down slowly. Repeat this exercise for the appropriate number of repetitions, according to your set.

    Pros

    • Great exercise for the middle delts
    • An appropriate exercise for beginners
    • Can be performed sitting down or standing up

    Cons

    • Should not lift very heavy weight with excessive momentum
    • Should ensure that you do not "swing" the weights
    • Should keep abdominals engaged, as it is common for people to relax their abdominal muscles during this exercise

    Equipment

    Level


    Barbell Shoulder Press

    woman lifting a barbell

    Image by Pexels

    Type

    With the barbell shoulder press, you sit on a bench with back support and position a barbell at a height above your head. Then, you pick up the barbell and lift the bar over your head by locking your arms. You then lower the bar down to the shoulders slowly, and you lift the bar back up to the starting position.

    Pros

    • A great and powerful shoulder workout
    • A multi-joint exercise that allows you to lift more weight
    • Builds muscle and strength in the traps, triceps, and upper chest

    Cons

    • Can be dangerous if practiced incorrectly
    • Should not over-do the weight to avoid potential injury
    • Upper and lower back pulls are possibilities if you perform this exercise in an extreme manner

    Equipment

    Level


    Standing Front Barbell Raise Over Head

    man lifting barbell

    Image by Pexels

    Type

    Begin this exercise by standing straight with a barbell in your hands, gripping the bar with palms facing down. Your elbows should be slightly bent, and you lift the barbell up until it is over your head. Then, lower the barbell back down to the starting position and repeat it for the appropriate number of repetitions.

    Pros

    • Isolation exercise, which requires movement around one joint and builds strength around it
    • Develops your anterior (frontal) shoulder muscles
    • Works the triceps in addition to the shoulders 

    Cons

    • Only targets a few muscles
    • Proper form should be used to avoid injury
    • Not appropriate for people with previous shoulder injuries

    Equipment

    Level


    Arnold Dumbbell Press

    man holding pair of dumbbells

    Image by Pexels

    Type

    With the Arnold Press, you start with the dumbbells in front of your shoulders with your palms facing you. Press the weights overhead while rotating your wrists so that your palms face forward. Then, rotate your wrists back to the starting position when lowering the weights. You should perform this sitting down, but you can also perform it standing up if you do so with the correct form.

    Pros

    • Allow for greater freedom of motion than using a barbell
    • A great move for your delts 
    • Forces your elbows to drop in front of your body, which activates the anterior delts

    Cons

    • Must warm up shoulders and rotator-cuffs before performing this exercise
    • If you are a beginner, you should start with lighter weights
    • Dumbbells require the most coordination, so you need to have a concentrated motion

    Equipment

    Level

    The Verdict

    While all of these shoulder workouts are great exercises, some will be appropriate for your skill level and goals, while others should be tested with a professional. If you are a beginner, we recommend that you try the side lateral raise to work your delts, the dumbbell incline row to strength your back muscles, the standing military press to stabilize your spine or the upright barbell row to target your upper back. If you are an expert, we recommend that you try the push press to utilize your full body. Regardless of which exercises you choose, make sure you research proper form to avoid injury.

    Tags:

    Leg Workouts: Your Ultimate guide

    Comments Off on Leg Workouts: Your Ultimate guide

    woman lifting barbel

    Image by pexels

    Your legs are one of the most vital parts in your body, and yet, they’re the most neglected when it comes to working them out. This is primarily because the legs are not showboat muscles, which means that it is hard to show off the muscles in your legs, unlike your arms. But there are several benefits that you only get to enjoy when you work them out. In this article, you will learn more about leg workouts and their importance and discover the 10 best exercises that you can perform to keep them in good shape.        

    Leg Workout FAQ

    Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about leg workouts.

    1. What Are the Different Types of Leg Workouts?

    man in the gym doing exercise

    Image by pixabay

    There are three primary types of leg workouts: bodyweight workouts, free-weight workouts, and machine workouts. Bodyweight workouts utilize the weight of your own body as a resistance, whereas free-weight workouts utilize the resistance provided by loaded dumbbells and barbells. Machine workouts utilize specialized machines such as the leg press, leg curl, and leg extension with selectable resistances.  

    2. What Are the Benefits of Leg Workouts?

    person in red short holding his leg

    Image by pixabay

    The primary benefits that leg workouts offer are an increase in strength and muscle mass, improvement in posture, stabilization of the core, and a decrease in the chances of injury.

    3. How Do You Incorporate Leg Workouts into Your Routine?

    two men running in the trail

    Image by pixabay

    You could incorporate leg workouts into your routine by performing 3-4 exercises every alternate day. Or, you could set aside 2 days per week and split your leg workouts between those two days.    

    How We Reviewed

    We spoke to several experts, fitness enthusiasts, and physiologists to identify the 10 best leg workouts that deliver the required results without putting undue strain on your body. We then proceeded to explain how to perform the chosen exercises and laid out their pros and cons.

    Overall Difficulty Level of Leg Workouts

    Many compound leg workouts such as the squats, lunges, and deadlifts are hard to master due to the strict form that’s required to be maintained throughout. It requires quite a bit of practice and training before you’re able to do them comfortably with proper form. This makes them unsuitable for most beginners. Most isolation leg workouts such as the ones that you do on specialized machines are beginner-friendly and relatively easier to perform and master. This is due to the fact that these exercises require you to go through a fixed range of motion, making it hard to get them wrong.    

    What We Reviewed

    • Leg Press
    • Step-​Up
    • Pistol Squat
    • Glute-Ham Raise
    • Walking Lunge
    • Bulgarian Split Squat
    • Hack Squat
    • Romanian Deadlift
    • Front Squat
    • Barbell Squat

    Leg Press

    woman doing training press leg workouts

    Image by pixabay

    How To Perform

    Sit on the leg press machine and place your feet around shoulder-width apart on the platform. Fully extend your legs without locking your knees by pushing on the platform. Release the safety bars and lower the platform in a slow and controlled manner until your knees are perpendicular to your toes. Then, push the platform back to the starting position with your legs. Make sure you exhale during this portion of the exercise. Repeat this movement for as many reps as you want. Once you’re done, make sure to lock the safety bars in place before you lower the weighted platform down.

    Pros

    • The leg press machine is versatile as it puts focus on different muscles in the leg depending on the foot stance
    • Leg press is safer than other forms of leg workouts as the machine has proper safety mechanisms in place

    Cons

    • Leg press requires a dedicated machine to perform
    • The exercise does not activate or engage any stabilizing muscles and can end up creating muscular imbalances when not performed correctly

    Step-Up

    woman in the gym doing exercise

    Image by Pexels

    How To Perform

    This exercise can be performed using a pair of dumbbells or by placing a barbell on your shoulders. Start by standing tall in front of an elevated platform, preferably a sturdy box or a bench, holding a pair of dumbbells. Place your left foot on the platform, and using the heel of the foot, lift your entire body up onto the bench. Make sure to breathe out as you perform this movement. Then, step down with the right foot and return to the starting position. Repeat this movement with the same leg till you complete a set (often 10, 12 or 15 repetitions), and then switch and perform the same with the other leg.  

    Pros

    • Perfect for people who are unable to do deadlifts due to lower back issues
    • Works your stabilizer muscles and helps improve balance

    Cons

    • The exercise can be hard on your knees if you don’t do it in a slow and controlled manner
    • Using the wrong height can put your joints under stress

    Pistol Squat

    man at the to of two wooden boxes

    Image by Pexels

    How To Perform

    Stand tall, look forward, and raise one leg off the floor. With your chest up and your back straight, slowly squat down. While descending, extend the raised leg forward so that it doesn’t touch the ground. When you reach the bottom of the squat, hold the position for a second and slowly return to the starting position. When ascending, make sure to exhale and drive off the heel of the foot. Repeat this movement till you finish one set, and then switch sides. While performing this exercise, you can have your arms outstretched in front of you to help balance your body.

    Pros

    • As it is a bodyweight exercise, there is no need for any equipment and it can be performed almost anywhere
    • Can help get rid of muscular imbalances

    Cons

    • This exercise is not suitable for beginners and for people who are out of shape as they can get hurt
    • Requires a lot of ankle and hip mobility and flexibility

    Glute-Ham Raise

    shirtless man with red cap in the gym

    ​Image by Pexels

    How To Perform

    Start off by adjusting the equipment according to your body. Once that is done, lock both your feet by placing them in between the rollers. Your feet should be firmly pressed against the footplate with your knees behind the pad. Lie face down on the machine with your back arched. Flex your knees while simultaneously pressing your toes into the foot plate. This should bring your body to an upright position. Hold it for a second and then slowly descend back into the starting position.

    Pros

    • Helps increase strength and muscle mass in the glutes and hamstrings
    • Improves sprinting speed and jumping capabilities

    Cons

    • This exercise requires a dedicated piece of equipment to perform
    • If done improperly, the user can end up with issues in their lower back

    Walking Lunge

    man lifting dumbbells

    Image by Pexels

    How To Perform

    You can perform this exercise with your own bodyweight, a pair of dumbbells, or with a barbell on your shoulder. Start by standing tall with a pair of dumbbells, and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. With your back straight, take a big step forward with your right leg and flex both your knees to get down. You should continue to get down until your left knee almost touches the ground. Make sure that the knee doesn’t go past the toes as that can put a lot of stress on the knees. Using the heel of the right foot, drive your body back up. Now perform the lunge with the other leg.  

    Pros

    • Can be performed almost anywhere and does not require any equipment
    • Helps improve balance and core stability

    Cons

    • Can put a lot of strain on the knees if they go past the toes
    • Exercise can cause back problems if performed incorrectly

    Bulgarian Split Squat

    two person in the gym lying in the floor with barbel

    Image by Pexels

    How To Perform

    You will need a bench and a pair of dumbbells to perform this exercise. Start off by standing in front of a bench with a pair of dumbbells. Position your left foot forward and your right foot on the bench. Slowly get down into a lunge by flexing your knees. Make sure to keep your body straight throughout the movement. Once your left thigh is parallel to the ground, stop descending, and hold this position for a second. Drive through the heel and return to the starting position. Once you’re done with a set, switch your legs up and repeat the movement.  

    Pros

    • Isolates and engages the quadriceps more than other leg workouts
    • Dramatically increases the stability, balance, and strength in the legs

    Cons

    • Shearing forces on the knee increases once it goes past the toes
    • Requires quite a bit of flexibility to perform

    Hack Squat

    shirtless man in the gym

    Image by Pexels

    How To Perform

    Start by positioning yourself on the machine by placing your shoulders under the shoulder pads and resting your back on the back pad. Keep your feet on the platform using a shoulder-width stance, with toes pointed slightly. Push yourself up by pressing down on the platform and disengage the safety bars. Extend your legs without locking your knees. Then, slowly lower the machine by bending the knees until you form a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for a second and push yourself back up by driving through the heels. Make sure to exhale during this movement. Once you’re done, lock the safety bars in place before getting yourself out.

    Pros

    • Very low risk of lower back strain as your body is well supported throughout the movement
    • Great for working out the quadriceps

    Cons

    • Can be uncomfortable and unnatural due to the fixed and rigid range of motion
    • Some hack squat machines can end up hurting you if you don’t engage the safety bars on time

    Romanian Deadlift

    person lifting barbel

    Image by Pexels

    How To Perform

    You’ll need a loaded barbell in order to perform this exercise. Start by holding the loaded bar at hip level with a pronated grip. Stand tall, with your shoulders back, chest pushed out front, back arched, and knees slightly bent. Slowly lower the bar down by pushing your butt out. Keep the bar close to your body. Do not look down as that can cause your back to curve. Instead, look forward. Once the bar is lowered to a point below your knee, stop and hold for a second. Drive your hips forward and get back to the starting position.

    Pros

    • Increases hip lower back strength, mobility, and flexibility
    • Helps build strength and muscle mass in the hamstrings and glutes  

    Cons

    • If done incorrectly, the exercise can cause lower back issues

    Front Squat

    woman lifting barbel

    Image by Pexels

    How To Perform

    Although this exercise can be performed without a squat rack, it is recommended that you do it inside one for added safety. Start off by setting a loaded barbell on a rack that’s appropriate for your height. Get under the bar and place it on your deltoids. Cross your arms and grasp the bar while keeping your elbows high. Lift the bar off the rack and slowly step away. Stand tall with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart and point your toes slightly outward. Lower the bar slowly by bending your knees till your thighs break parallel with the floor. Push yourself back up to the starting position by driving through the middle of your feet. Make sure to exhale as you perform this movement.    

    Pros

    • Minimizes the load on the spine
    • The exercise helps you maintain an upright torso and allows you to squat deep

    Cons

    • Not suitable for beginners and people with lower back issues
    • You’ll be forced to use less weight when compared with the barbell squat

    Barbell Squat

    man lifting barbel

    Image by Pexels

    How To Perform

    It is recommended that you perform this exercise inside a squat rack. Start by setting a loaded barbell on a rack that’s appropriate for your height. Get under the bar and place it on your traps while keeping your head up and your chest out. Lift the bar off the rack and slowly step away. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, with the toes pointing outward. Slowly lower the bar by bending your knees till your upper thighs touch your calves. At this point, push yourself back up by driving through the middle of your feet. Make sure to exhale as you perform this movement.

    Pros

    • Works a lot of muscles simultaneously such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and even the abs
    • Improves body stability and balance

    Cons

    • Barbell squat is risky and can cause injury if performed incorrectly
    • Not suitable for people with shoulder and lower back issues

    The Verdict

    The barbell squat is and will always be the king of leg workouts. Being a compound movement, it works a multitude of muscle groups and can help develop significant strength and muscle mass. The only downside to this wonderful exercise is that it requires you to maintain a strict form throughout. Without proper form, you can end up injuring yourself. Also, people with lower back issues might want to steer clear of this exercise. Instead, they can opt for leg presses and Bulgarian split squats as these two leg workouts do not stress the lower back. People wanting to solely focus on developing their hamstrings and glutes can opt for the Romanian deadlift, which is another one of the best leg workouts.  

    Tags:

    5×5 Workout: The Ultimate Guide

    June 30, 2019 by  
    Filed under Weight Lifting

    Comments Off on 5×5 Workout: The Ultimate Guide

    person holding dumbbell

    image source: Pexels

    The life of a bodybuilder means constantly searching for ways to improve workouts for better outcomes. If you've been strength training for more than a few months, you'll know there are dozens of programs out there, and articles galore on the web promoting the "best" way to train. But the program that works is often the one you'll use, the one that is adaptable, and the one that gets results over the long term without injuries or over-training. The 5x5 workout has been around and is no newcomer to the bodybuilding scene—but it's lasted for a reason: it's simple, it works, and it isn't time-consuming.

    Have you ever wondered about the 5x5 workout? Let's break it down.

    What Is A 5x5 Workout Program?

    5x5 workout

    image source: Pexels

    The origins of the 5x5 workout are shrouded in bodybuilding myth and mystery, but it has been used by the greats such Mark Perry, Reg Park, and Bill Starr—from the 1930s through the 1970s—and beyond. One reason the 5x5 workout has endured is its simplicity, but the other—and perhaps more important reason—is its effectiveness. Anyone can learn this workout, but it's most effective if you have already built a solid base of muscle, have been injury free, and are looking to bulk up as well as gain strength.

    The 5x5 workout can be done at the gym or using a pretty simple home gym, but it does require dumbbell and barbell equipment. This program is adaptable, and the specific program described below has been closely adapted from the 5x5 Advanced program.

    Basic Principles

    Bodybuilding has become so popularized in the last 25 years that many mainstream health magazines promote routines. Even in the 1970s when arguably the greatest bodybuilder of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was at his peak, few people knew about the sport. But the principles and foundation of bodybuilding are like any other sport: you have to push yourself to improve. The 5x5 workout requires upping your weight on a regular basis, and that is the secret to building muscle. A successful bodybuilder will lift more weight over time, as he (or she) develops in the sport.

    Techniques

    All bodybuilding techniques and proper form should be mastered before using the 5x5 workout. Because adding weight on a regular basis—at least weekly—is a cornerstone of this program, it is mandatory that the lifter knows how to properly perform a squat, a deadlift, or any other exercises for major muscle groups. If you are still learning the forms, which machines to use, and which exercises work specific muscles, the 5x5 workout isn't for you. But after just a few months of training, most bodybuilding enthusiasts have mastered proper form and technique.

    Why Now?

    This program, as noted above, has been around for almost a century. It is popular today because it implements basic bodybuilding techniques in a very simple format. Most people want muscle and strength without learning complicated routines. Lifters know there are techniques that improve their desired outcomes and are willing to learn new methods, but they prefer simplicity. Since the 5x5 workout gets results and it is so simple, it has remained popular. As new lifters learn about it, they realize it makes intuitive sense.

     Preparation 

    man doing 5x5 workout

    image source: Pexels

    The benefits of the 5x5 workout have been introduced, but in understanding why it works so well it is important to realize that a simple program has a lower barrier to completion. Even for people who are self-disciplined enough to stick with a six-day-a-week routine, at times, the workout can be dull or there are interruptions to the routine—sickness, travel—that make getting back to it very difficult. The more complex the routine is, the harder it is to maintain. The benefit of the 5x5 workout is that it is 3 days a week, includes all major muscle groups, and can be done at home.

    Prepare Your Gym

    To build muscle, lifting heavy things seems like the obvious activity. But heaving the couch overhead is not going to work, so if you have a home gym you are likely to own both barbells and dumbbells. The 5x5 program requires lifting heavy weights, so be sure you have dumbbells ranging to at least 100 lbs, to start. For barbells, 25 lbs is a sufficient place to start. For leg exercises such as squats and lunges, a Smith machine is recommended but not necessary. If you have a small space, using dumbbells and barbells with a chest press style weight bench is sufficient.

    Barbells, Dumbbells, and More

    Every home gym should have both barbells and dumbbells, because there are situations in which dumbbells are necessary, like deltoid exercises and some biceps exercises. But if you have to choose one due to cost, choose barbells. Ultimately, you can lift more weight and that is the goal of the 5x5 workout. The other two pieces of essential home gym equipment—worth paying top dollar for—are a weight belt and a bench. A belt is something you should own even if you are using a gym. It is personal, protects the back, and is useful for weighted-pull ups. The bench must also be sturdy, so don't skimp here.

    Joining a Gym

    If you already use a gym or don't want to buy more equipment, then opting for a gym membership is acceptable. A home gym has several advantages, but not everyone has the space, and some lifters like the company of others. We recommend you join a gym that takes lifting seriously and has plenty of free weights. Some of the more popular gyms are crowded with machines and have very little open space for activities like deadlifting.

    Learning the Program

    The 5x5 workout is a 3-day-a-week program in which you choose three strength exercises and do five sets of five reps each. On a mellow day, midweek or Wednesday, some exercises are performed at 3x5. The most important first step is to determine the right amount of weight to start. The aim should be to reach your PR in week three. Do not start too heavy because you need to build weight at a certain pace. For example, if your PR is 190 lbs for squats, do not start there but consider starting at 160 or 170. If you are able to reach a new PR in week 4, you are on the right track.

     Adding Weight Scientifically

    The 5x5 workout has two phases. During weeks 1 through 4, most exercises are done at 5x5 but some are done at 1x5. Each exercise is performed 3 times a week except squats, which are performed all 3 days (Monday-Wednesday-Friday, for example). The barbell row, the bench press, the deadlift, and the overhead press are the only exercises done during the first 4 weeks. When reaching weeks 5 through 9, only one new exercise is added: pull-ups. When adding weight, it is fine to add only 5 pounds each week. The amount is less important than consistently lifting more each time you do the 5x5 workout.

    The 5x5 Workout In Action

    weight lifting 5x5 workout

    image source: Pexels

    Weeks 1 to 4

    The routine is simple and you'll have it easily memorized by week 2. On day 1 (e.g. Monday), you do 5x5 squat, 1x5 bench press, and 1x5 barbell rows. Tuesday is a rest day, and on Wednesday you perform squat (5x5), overhead press (5x5), and deadlift (3x5). Friday—last day—is nearly a repeat of Day 1, except squats are done 5x5 and bench press and barbell rows are done 5x5. This means you have 4 days a week to recover. In our example, Tues, Thurs, and Sat-Sun are all recovery days. This is important because the lifting is heavy and weights increase each week.
     

    Week 5

    This week has the same exercises as weeks 1 through 4, but instead of 5x5 repetitions do 3x3. Instead of 1x5 reps, do 1x3. In other words, during this week you have a chance to semi-recover. Do not decrease weight, just the number of reps and sets. At this point, you should be building muscle and feeling the challenge of this style of workout.

    Week 6 to 9

    These weeks use the same exercises as weeks 1 through 4, but instead of a deadlift, you do pull-ups. Depending on your strength and experience, you can begin with simple pull-ups and graduate to weighted pull-ups, or just begin with weighted pull-ups. If you can use any weight, even a 5-pound weight will be useful as it is recommended to get comfortable with weighted pull-ups. The other difference in weeks 6 to 9 is doing 3x3 and 1x3 sets, similar to week 5.

    Recovery

    This program has plenty of recovery time and if you've been in the bodybuilding game for a while you've learned that recovery is where muscle is actually built. Recovery is essential to avoid overtraining. The reason websites and magazines market this program for experienced bodybuilders is because a base strength and fitness level is necessary in order to prevent form mistakes and overtraining, which can lead to poor recovery and therefore poor muscle and strength gains. If you want to do the 5x5 workout, it's better to be patient and spend a few months building up your endurance and strength before diving in.

    Consistency

    One of the principles employed and integrated into the 5x5 workout which has been used with great results is periodization. This concept simply means changing stimulus frequently enough—for example, in substituting pull-ups for deadlifts—that the body has to adapt. Building muscle and strength is the result of recovery and adaptation, so doing the same workout routine with the same amount of weight does not produce results. A workout routine that is too consistent will help you maintain some muscle mass, but it won't build you much muscle.

    If It Ain't Broke

    It's a natural human instinct to look for the new, the better, and the improved. The 5x5 workout may be new to you if lifting is a recent pastime, but it is a very old system. The routine championed by 5x5 has been used by many great bodybuilders. Other routines will build muscle, but this a proven system that works for anyone willing to put in the time. The 5x5 workout is a classic example of the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    Bad Choices

    5x5 workout

    image source: Pexels

    This section lists the common errors people make when implementing 5x5. Please do not skip this section, because the simplicity of this program can fool you into believing it's hard to make a mistake. There are plenty of ways to do this program the wrong way.

    Too Little, or Too Much Weight

    If you start out too heavy, you will peak too soon and fail to get the full benefit of the program. You may get frustrated early on or even as you are nearing the finish line and be unable to complete the entire program. There is a pacing element to this program, so too much weight will throw you off. On the other hand, too little weight means you won't push yourself enough to make the gains you are capable of. The exact starting weight isn't precise but give it some thought by considering your PR and working backward.

    Setbacks and Interruptions

    It is natural that life happens, and things can interrupt even the best intentions. Decide now how you will deal with having to miss two or three days. The best approach is to pick up where you've left off, and just extend your end day by two or three days. It is critical to get back into the program as soon as you can, and don't give yourself a hard time for whatever the interruption was (even if it was just a bad hangover). Get back on the horse, and continue forward.

    Bad Form

    If you lift the wrong way, you can get injured. Sometimes injuries aren't noticeable right away, but only begin to develop after weeks or months of lifting incorrectly. The worst potential error is lifting with a rounded spine, which can lead to back problems and make other exercises impossible. Discomfort and even pain are normal events in the life of a bodybuilder, but if you are having chronic pain unrelated to the workout, check your form.

    Improper Hydration

    Make sure to drink before, during, and after a workout. It doesn't have to be a lot, and it doesn't require a special sports drink. If you have issues related to blood sugar, however, a sports drink or orange juice with a little salt is recommended. It is not necessary to drink a lot, but a hydration routine should become integrated into your 5x5 workout.

    Rushing

    Take whatever time is necessary to complete these workouts. It is only 3 days a week, so put aside at least an hour to avoid pressuring yourself to finish. One hour is plenty of time. Doing the workout slowly also helps avoid sinking into bad form habits because you are not focused on what you are doing. It isn't a race, and doing these exercises too quickly or inattentively can open you up to an injury.

    Ignoring Your Diet

    This program is not the same as the work you might do for a bodybuilding competition, and it doesn't require a special extreme diet. However, do not underestimate the problems that can arise if you ignore protein requirements or limit sugars. Bodybuilding uses huge energy resources, and therefore a diet of four to five small meals a day (if not more) is recommended. If doing the 5x5 workout you should be educated about diet. If not, read up on a recommended diet that goes well with heavy lifting. As with all dietary advice, use natural foods and eat meals that are balanced in protein, sugar, and fat.

    Benefits

    man holding dumbbell for 5x5 workout

    image source: Pexels

    This program will build both strength and muscle mass if used correctly. In addition to the benefit of being simple and easy to learn, the muscle built is a guarantee. You will gain according to the natural progression of bodybuilding, so if you've started lifting only a month ago, we recommend you spend another two months, at a minimum, before doing 5x5. But it can benefit you now because the 5x5 workout is an appropriate goal to have in improving your strength. Bodybuilding is a sport that requires patience and repetition, but applying proven principles always pays off in the end.

    Conclusion

    Bodybuilding is hard work, but its popularity has continued to grow as athletes realize the benefits of strength and the enjoyment of reaching goals. The 5x5 workout is the next step for a lot of lifters, from beginning to intermediate. It uses two basic principles in combination to bring excellent results to those who do it right. The first principle is upping the weight at regular intervals, and the second is periodization. Upping weight is a basic bodybuilding principle that is used by all lifters, but the 5x5 program implements it is an elegant and effective way. 

    Tags:

    Testosterone Booster: 10 Best Brands

    June 14, 2019 by  
    Filed under Weight Lifting

    Comments Off on Testosterone Booster: 10 Best Brands

    testosterone booster

    Image from Pixabay

    Whether you’re scrolling on the internet, flipping through television channels, or turning the pages of a magazine, it is inevitable that you will encounter an advertisement for a testosterone booster. These ads inform you of all the ways that dwindling testosterone levels can affect you and promise to give you that extra boost in vitality you need.

    Typical claims are that a testosterone booster will rev up your sex life, increase your muscles mass, and make you feel like you’re in your 20s again. If you think that sounds great, you’re not alone. In 2013, testosterone booster sales reached $2.2 billion and were purchased by men of all ages.

    When most people are considering testosterone boosters, the first question they have is, “do testosterone boosters work?” They also want information on factors such as safety, cost, and side effects. If you’re unsure about the benefits a testosterone booster, then keep reading to learn more about testosterone boosters. We also discuss ten of the best natural testosterone boosters and provide you with information on choosing the right option.

    Testosterone Booster FAQs

    1. WHAT IS TESTOSTERONE?

    2. WHAT DO TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS DO?

    3. HOW DO TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS WORK?

    4. WHERE CAN YOU BUY TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS?

    5. ARE THERE OTHER WAYS TO INCREASE TESTOSTERONE?

    How We Reviewed

    bodybuilder that uses testosterone booster

    Image from Pixabay

    The following products were reviewed based on the following parameters: Features, Pros & Cons, Price, Where to Buy, and Other Uses. To provide you with a list of the highest quality testosterone boosters, we scoured the internet and pored over countless customer reviews to provide you with the ten best and most effective products at varying price points. You are sure to find the perfect testosterone booster to meet your needs in the following list.

    Overall Price Range of Testosterone Boosters

    The price range of the testosterone boosters featured on our list varies from $7.00 to $64.00. We can attribute the higher cost of some of these supplements to their mechanism of action in the body and typical purpose.

    For example, vitamin D3 is priced at $7.00 and has an indirect effect on testosterone levels as it works by increasing D levels in the body and improving the body’s overall functioning. Tongkat Ali, in comparison, has the primary function of increasing sexual vitality, therefore warranting its higher cost.

     Modern Man V3 Testosterone Booster

    Image from Amazon

    What We Reviewed

    • Zinc
    • D-Aspartic Acid
    • Vitamin D3
    • Vitamin D
    • Tongkat Ali
    • Tribulus Terrestris
    • Ashwagandha
    • Fenugreek
    • Ginger
    • List Element
    Pure Encapsulations - Zinc 30
    • IMMUNE SUPPORT: Zinc works to support the body's natural defense system which aids and improves immune system function.*
    • DIGESTION AND METABOLISM: Zinc supports the digestion and metabolism of important vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients.*
    • REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: This mineral also supports normal fetal and reproductive development as well as healthy prostatic function.*
    • PURE INGREDIENTS: Pure Encapsulations manufactures a line of hypoallergenic, research-based dietary supplements. Products are meticulously formulated using pure ingredients designed to deliver predictable results for the benefit of all patients, even the most sensitive.*
    • FREE FROM: Pure Encapsulations products are free from wheat, gluten, egg, peanuts, magnesium stearate, hydrogenated fat, artificial sweeteners and colors, and other unnecessary excipients. Any product containing ingredients derived from allergens, such as soy, dairy or shellfish is clearly labeled. *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.