The Basics: Compound Sets

Compound sets, also known as push/pull, are a great tool to achieve balance in your physique because they work opposing muscle groups. To complete a compound set, choose a push movement–the bench press, for example–and a pull movement, such as a seated row. Perform one set of bench presses, immediately followed by a set of seated rows without resting in-between. Working opposing muscle groups back-to-back improves balance, strength and coordination!

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Cardio or Weights First?

When’s the best time to do get your cardio in: before or after your strength training session? This debate has been brewing for some time, and there has never been a clear consensus. But Dr. William Kraemer revisited the issue and gave some interesting new insight into the cardio vs. weights debate. “What’s been coming out in the literature now is that the imprint that’s left by the last exercise form that you choose–whether it be strength training, endurance running […]

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Quad Dominance and Neck Pain in Women

hamstring stretch

Most of us know that women have about 40 to 60 percent the upper body strength of men, while pound per pound, their lower body strength is much closer. But when it comes to the lower body, did you know most women are quad dominant? That means women tend to recruit their quadriceps before their hamstrings. To correct the strength imbalance in the lower body, female athletic training and strength coach John Paul Catanzaro suggests including hip extension with pulls, […]

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Tinkering with Kettlebells

Tinkering with Kettlebells

You’ve probably spotted someone training with kettlebells at your gym recently. Kettlebells aren’t novel–they first appeared in a Russian dictionary in 1704–but they are new as a gym phenomenon, being touted by some trainers as the top tool for overall fitness. A kettlebell, or girya, is a traditional Russian cast iron weight that looks like an iron bowling ball with a suitcase handle. They come in 8lbs, 12lbs, 18lbs, 26lbs, 35lbs, 44lbs, 53lbs, 70lbs, 80lbs, 88lbs, 97lbs, and 105lbs increments. […]

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Got Back? Learn to Love Chin-Ups and Pull-Ups

Got Back? Learn to Love Chin-Ups and Pull-Ups

It’s sad that no one loves them, because chin-ups and pull-ups should be the backbone of your back training routine. These exercises help build and strengthen your back, which improves posture and reduces back aches. And both chin-ups and pull-ups should be included in your workouts because they are different exercises. The grip is what sets them apart. A chin-up is done with a pronated grip (palms facing away from you) and chin-up are done with either a semi-supinated (palms […]

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5 Reasons to Invest in a Medicine Ball

5 Reasons to Invest in a Medicine Ball

Medicine balls, once primarily used for boxing and football training, have gained mainstream appeal in recent years. A medicine ball is a versatile piece of exercise equipment that I recommend to everyone. If you’re not convinced, here are 5 reasons why you should invest in a medicine ball today: 1. A real bang for your buck! Medicine balls are not expensive. While you could spend up to $40 on a leather medicine ball, you can get a durable rubber one […]

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Should You Exercise During Pregnancy?

Should You Exercise During Pregnancy

Yes! Doctors use to restrict the amount and type of exercise pregnant women could do, but that’s all changed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advocates exercise for pregnant women. In fact, the ACOG recommends pregnant women become active and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. That’s because exercising during your pregnancy improves posture, strength and endurance, helps reduce backaches, and improves your mood and energy. Exercise may also help prevent or treat gestational diabetes. But how […]

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Are You Neglecting Your Posterior?

Are You Neglecting Your Posterior

You’re dutifully hitting the gym four times a week, but how do you train your posterior chain? The posterior chain muscles include the lower back, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Developing and strengthening this area will not only improve your strength and speed, but help balance out the generally overly dominant quadriceps muscle. When your quads are too strong, the muscles on the front of your body tighten, stretching the opposite muscles–your glutes and hamstrings–making them longer and relatively weaker (Quad […]

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Lose Fat, Not Weight

If you’re “skinny fat,” chances are you don’t want to drop weight, just fat. Don’t confuse fat loss with weight loss! The two aren’t necessarily interchangeable, and here’s why. Your total weight in kilos–or pounds–is a number that doesn’t discern between fat and lean body mass. Fat mass includes essential body fat (the fat in cell membranes and surrounding internal organs) and storage body fat, which your body uses as insulation and a source of fuel. Lean body mass, meanwhile, […]

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Why Rep Speed Matters for Size and Strength

Why Rep Speed Matters for Size and Strength

If you’re an avid weight lifter, you probably periodize your training with different rep schemes and splits. But do you always train every exercise at the same rep speed? If so, you might be selling yourself short. That’s because the more time a muscle is under tension, the better the stimulation. Let’s break it down by looking at the anatomy of a rep. A rep involves two moves: The negative, or eccentric part of the move, and the positive, or […]

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