Bikini season is just around the corner. Time to tighten up before you go out strutting your stuff. Check out these exercises you may not have seen before to really target your upper thighs and butt.
The maturation of Tiger Woods is as much a tale of physical growth as it is of enduring life’s emotional twists. A talented high school athlete — he ran track (400 meters) and cross country — Woods decided long ago to “treat golf as a sport.” “I let other people treat it like a hobby,” he says. “It would be asinine for someone not to work out and go play football. It doesn’t make sense for golf, either
Now, through a mixture of a unique weight-training regimen, distance running, and late-blooming genes, Woods is about as fit as any athlete alive, and he’s as physically different today from his early pro years as a sumo wrestler is from Chuck Liddell. When he joined the tour out of Stanford in 1996, Woods carried only 158 pounds on his 6 foot, 2-inch frame. Today, he weighs between 182 and 185 — a gain of nearly 30 pounds. In 1996, his waist measured 29 inches; today, it’s 31.
The gains are evenly distributed. His upper body is clearly larger. “And my legs,” he says. “Definitely not my calves, though. They have never grown — at all. It’s just funny.”
Not surprisingly, Woods is as passionate about his fitness as he is about his swing. Ken Kleven calls Woods’ training sessions “two to three hours of focus.” “He loves to work out,” Kleven says. “A lot of athletes don’t like to train; he thrives on it.”
Woods gave Men’s Fitness unique insights into his regimen and exclusive access to Kleven, his Las Vegas-based trainer, who has a master’s degree in physical therapy and is certified as an athletic trainer. Almost everything about Woods’ training defies convention. For one, he works out as many as six days each week, including when he’s playing in a tournament. “Sometimes, he’ll take two days off,” says Kleven. “But we alternate between different [routines], which allows him to be active all the time. Where the philosophy that you can only work out hard two or three times a week came from I don’t know. I know we produce better athletes by working five or six days a week.”
Kleven’s philosophy begins and ends with posture and physical symmetry. “Posture is my number one concern,” Kleven says. “I’ve always tried to maintain a perfect state of posture for both his upper and lower quarters. Power with speed, combined with making sure both sides of his body are balanced and symmetrical.”
The regimen Kleven developed for Woods uses different “systems” (free weights, machines, balls, and rollers), and it has two specific components:
• Manual Therapy: A system of extensive stretching (34 to 40 minutes before each workout) and manipulation/mobilization of Woods’ muscles and joints. “This involves everything from his cervical spine to his toes,” says Kleven, adding that this element is essential for allowing Woods to maintain the kind of flexibility throughout his body that allows him to release his trademark power. “We make sure to release the joints and at the same time strengthen the tissue and produce balance and freedom of movement.”
• High-Rep Weight Training: This program features higher reps (often 25 to 50) and submaximal weights, rather than the sets of 6-12 reps with heavier weights favored by bodybuilders and others trying to add size. “We’re working for balance, control, endurance, and speed,” says Kleven.
Woods lifts to enhance his entire body, with a specific emphasis on the back and shoulders (“Because we’re always hunched over and we need our back muscles to support our posture and our swing,” he says); legs (“That’s the platform for everything”); and chest (“Yes [I bench-press], but I don’t like it. I do it to change it up, to shock the muscles. I just do it to get that muscle group stronger. I’ll hit ‘em from different angles with different types of machines or free weights. I do different things so the muscles don’t get accustomed to doing the same thing all the time.”)
Right now, Kleven says, Woods’ lifting level is “off the charts.” He wouldn’t talk specific weights but said Woods recently reached new highs. “His endurance and strength allows us to do more reps at high levels [of weight] than normally seen in a golfer. His resistance for high reps is extremely high.”
Spiderman pushups are a great way to work your upper body and core. Unlike traditional pushups they work much more than just your pecs and shoulder muscles. By bringing the legs into the body as you lower yourself you are stimulating the muscles in the abdominals, hips, and upper legs. Add a few sets of these to your workout to shock your body and create a soreness you will be feeling for days.
The first variation is the standard. Try to begin with these. If these are too much for you to handle, try the easier version below.
This is a modified spiderman pushup. If balancing is too difficult at first, give this variation a try. Within a couple weeks you should be able to move up to the standard spiderman pushup.
If you are a well-trained athlete you should be trying to use an advanced variation of the spiderman pushup. By sliding the hands forward you are putting more stress on the pectoral and abdominal muscles. Key stabilizer muscles will really get a workout with this variation.
5×5 training is a method that has been around for several years. It happens to be a fantastic way to increase lean muscle mass and strength as it allows for the lifting of heavier weights. There are various ways to experiment with 5×5 training, so give them all a try. You can do 5×5, then increase the weight and do 5×5 again, then repeat the process yet again. You could try doing 2 seconds on the way up, 4 seconds on the way down. When that becomes easy for you, increase the time to 5 seconds up, 5 seconds down. Take 90 second breaks between sets, then slash it to sixty seconds when that becomes easy. Always keep the intensity high. As you can see, the possibilities are endless.
Regardless of how you choose to utilize 5×5 training, you will be impacting your muscle from different angles which is key to muscle growth. When you can generally compete 5×5 with no more than 60 second breaks and slow tempos up and down, you will know you are ready to move on to heavier kettlebells.
There are always ways to adjust exercises to make them harder as your skill level increases. Instead of a standing military press, try doing a seated press. When double swings become easy with the kettlebells try doing some double snatches instead. If lateral raises become too easy, try doing a lateral raise into a press. Always keep challenging yourself.
Sample 5×5 Kettlebell workout
- Double Military Press
- Alternating Bent Over Row
- Curl and Press
- Double Snatch
- Front Squat
- Double Windmill
- Overhead tricep extensions
- Double Floor Press
Make sure to do all of these exercises 5×5 with the heaviest weight you can possibly handle. These workouts can be performed 2-3 times a week depending upon your recovery ability and intensity. They should be combined with a cardio routine and/or additional weight training to target specific muscle groups.
Q: How many exercises should I do per body part? – Victor Simien from Rockville, MD
A: Good question. A lot of people out there think more is better. As we’ve previously discussed on this blog, more is not necessarily better. When you are lifting weights with the intent of adding lean muscle mass, your goal should be to stimulate the muscle as much as possible before it becomes a detriment. Obviously, there is a fine line that must be walked to achieve this.
First off, keep in mind that no single workout will achieve the same results in different individuals. Every body is different, and consequently, so must the workout routines be different. This is a key problem that so many personal trainers don’t understand, but that’s a topic for another day.
Secondly, don’t think about exercises per body part. Think about SETS per body part. For the larger muscles in your body, i.e. back, legs, chest, aim to do 15-18 sets for each. Vary these sets so you are making sure to hit all angles of the muscle. This is vital to maximize your gains. For the smaller muscles, i.e. biceps, triceps, delts, aim for 10-12 sets for each. Be sure to include some concentration exercises for these smaller body parts and perform them in a very controlled manner to maximize stimulation.
Something to remember is that muscles don’t grow when you work out. They fill with blood and you may notice “the pump” but don’t mistake this for growth. Muscles will only grow well after the workout when they are given proper rest and nutrients. Rest is just as important to adding lean muscle mass as the physical act of lifting weights.
Lastly, keep in mind what I said previously. If the guideline above isn’t producing the results you want, feel free to tinker with it. Exercise is often nothing more than trial and error, and finding what works for you and your body type.
Think of the sprawl as an advanced burpee. Try adding these to your circuit training or cardio routine. Feel free to replace the burpee with this move once you are comfortable. The explosive nature of the sprawl is great for developing lower body muscles as well as serving to exhaust you. Practice doing these on a padded mat, as not to hurt your knees when you come down. Aim to do 25 reps as fast as you can. Repeat this for a total of 5 times with a 30 second rest in between sets.
Abdominal muscles are probably the number one most sought after body part. They are also the most highly subjected to various opinions and ideas. Once and for all, let’s clean things up for you and give you something easy to live with. Despite what you may have heard, abs are like any other muscle in your body. You wouldn’t work your chest 5 days in a row would you? Why would you overtrain your abs?
There are going to be people who say, “my buddy does 500 sit ups a day, 7 days a week…and his abs are awesome!” To that I reply, that’s nice, but how awesome would his abs be if he was actually training them properly and giving them rest time? Like all muscles, when you work out you are actually breaking the muscle down. Those hundreds of crunches are breaking the abdominal muscles down. It is when you allow them to rest and provide them proper nutrients that they grow and become more defined.
Something else to keep in mind; if you are able to knock out 200 situps in a row you probably aren’t doing them right. 25-50 reps with great form is much better than 200. You should feel that dull burn slowly build in your midsection. If you aren’t feeling that until you’ve hit about 100….something is wrong with what you’re doing.
Great abs are part building up the abdominal muscle and part stripping away the fat covering them. A healthy dose of cardio combined with 3, 15-minute sessions of core work is all you need to have a well-defined 6 pack. It really is as simple as that.
There are countless ways to mix up a weight training routine. From the overweight 60-year old woman to the professional body builder, the goal is to continually confuse the muscles. When muscles are trained with the same or similar stimulus for an extended period of time, they adapt and gains become non-existant. By mixing things up you throw the muscle for a loop and make it work much harder against the stimulus.
Any personal trainer worth his salt should have a huge variety of ways for you to mix up your training. If you are training on your own, you should expect to change a routine every 4-6 weeks to maximize muscle growth and all the benefits that come with it, i.e. fat loss.
The key to continual muscle confusion is hitting the muscle from a different angle, at varying weights, with varying repetitions and sets. It’s all about keeping your routine as fresh as possible. In my own gym, I see the same people doing the exact same lifts, the exact same way they have been doing them since last yaer. This is simply a waste of time.
Understandably, not everyone is well-versed in exercise science as others. Wondering how to change up a routine is often one of the biggest guesses a person may have. No longer do you have to play guessing games in the gym. Share It Fitness has you covered; try this workout strategy when it’s time for you to change up your current routine.
The 12-12-10-8 method works really well. This works especially well if your muscles are used to doing 3 sets per exercise. In the first two sets you are performing 12 repetitions apiece. Keep the weight about 70% of your 1 rep max, i.e. if your bench press max is 225, you should be performing 12 sets with roughly 160lbs. Bump the weight up to 80% of your max on the next set of 10 repetitions. Follow this by a set at 90% of your max for 8 reps.
You want to follow the 12-12-10-8 method for each and every exercise. This is guarenteed to get you over a plateau and keep your muscles growing. Just keep in mind, while the gains are going to be significant at first, they will slowly taper off as they will with any program. After 4-6 weeks is up, come back to Share It Fitness for another way to keep those muscles guessing.
The goal of many bodybuilders is to gain muscle/lose fat whilst doing so simultaneously. Unfortunately, for most who’ve been training for any amount of time, training with this goal in mind is typically just a surefire way to stand in one place spinning your wheels for months, if not years on end. It’s often noted that bodybuilders tend to be extremists. Whether this is just a natural personality tendency among us, or it is a result of the habits with which it takes to induce noticeable and lasting physical changes in our physique, it does ring true for a large majority. Even when taking training out of the equation, what other group of people, or athletes, puts themselves through the dietary rigors of a bodybuilder? Eating enough to feed a small country while on a bulking phase yet turning around and barely subsisting on enough calories to feed a bird while on a cutting phase.
Anyone who’s ever truly been on a real bulking phase or a cutting phase will know exactly what extremes I’m talking about. In order to gain muscle the body needs food and lots of it coupled with a reduction of all extraneous activities. In order to shed fat after building this muscle the body needs much few calories and lots more tedious cardiovascular type exercise. To try and embark on a mutual compromise between bulking and cutting typically brings compromising results in either direction.
However, with science, information, and understanding on how the various systems of the body function, we can better understand and apply correct exercise and nutritional timing to better enable us to achieve the goal of increasing muscle mass and losing fat simultaneously. The plan I am about to unfold here is, as only a bodybuilder would have it, a bit extreme. However, if dedicated to and followed, it will enable you to achieve these 2 mutually exclusive goals simultaneously by taking advantage of nutrient and exercise timing.
What we are going to do is take advantage of the body’s hormonal state as it pertains to day to day circadian rhythms, exercise, and nutrient timing. The plan involves periods of both rather extreme underfeeding for fat loss, and rather extreme overfeeding for muscle gain coupled with both training for fat loss (cardio, HIT) and training for muscle gain (heavy weights). Basically what will be happening is you’ll be in a fat burning mode the majority of the time eating lower carbs and calories and performing fat burning activities like regular cardio and HIT cardio to help in this aspect.
The rest of the time you’ll either be sleeping, hitting the iron heavy and hard, or eating like a madman to drive protein synthesis, build muscle, and take advantage of the anabolic hormones induced by the weight training and feeding schedule. So let’s take a look at the nuts and bolts of the program.
Some form of cardio should be done 3-6 days per and alternated between longer, slow duration cardio, and HIT cardio. Walking on a slightly inclined treadmill for 45 minutes is an ideal form of the longer duration cardio which should be performed on weight training days (up to 3x per week) and sprinting outdoors, on a treadmill and/or cycling is an ideal form of HIT cardio which should be done on weight training off days (2-3x per week). For the HIT portion there are many different methods of implementing this.
I like to keep the work:rest intervals a little longer than most at 1:2. As an example, after a 4 minute slow jog/cycle warm up perform 20 seconds of all out sprints followed by 40 seconds of jogging repeated for 8-12 sets with a 4 minute cooldown of slow jogging at the end. If there is one key to HIT cardio it is to keep it creative. Basically, the more you struggle with fat gain and/or loss, the more cardio and HIT sessions you’ll need to perform with 3 cardio and 3 HIT cardio sessions being the max. Those somewhere in the middle of the metabolic continuum should perform 3 HIT sessions and ditch the regular cardio sessions. Those with excellent metabolisms might find they need only 1 or 2 HIT sessions per week.
The actual content of your weight training sessions is not nearly as important as the timing. It is important for this program that your weight training sessions be done sometime in the late afternoon/early evening to allow you to burn fat throughout the day as this is the time when you’ll be eating a lower calorie/low carb diet. Also make sure you schedule the weight training early enough in the evening so that you are allowed a minimum of 6 hours between your weight training session and bedtime as this is the time you will be overfeeding to drive protein synthesis and replenish glycogen stores. Doing so too early in the day would halt fat burning for the rest of the day and put a damper on our training and fat burning economy.
The weight training should be done 3x per week on alternate days, M/W/F or Tu/Thu/Sat being ideal. The training sessions should consist of heavy, basic compound movements with some overlap. In other words, don’t make any sessions arms only as you want workouts that stimulate a lot of anabolic hormones and muscle mass. As an example here is how I currently have my 3x per week routine set-up. My training is usually done with mixed goals of performance and vanity so it tends to be a bit unconventional for many but it’s just an example.
Monday (chest and back focus) – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Power snatch – View Exercise
Dumbell Bench Press / incline bench press – View DB Bench – View Inclined Bench
Bent over row – View Exercise
Weighted dip – View Exercise
Weighted chin – View Exercise
Wednesday (legs focus) – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Power clean – View Exercise
Barbell squat – View Exercise
Glute ham raise – View Exercise
Split squat – View Exercise
Romanian deadlift – View Exercise
Friday (shoulders, traps, and arms focus) – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Push press or Jerk – View Exercise
Partial deadlifts in power rack + shrug – View Deadlift- View Shrug
Laterals – View Exercise
Scott curls – View Exercise
Paul dix press – View Exercise
Incline curls – View Exercise
Tricep dips – View Exercise
I normally like to keep sets per exercise around 4-6 and reps between 4-8 and use antagonistic supersets when possible.
In my case, I do smaller muscle groups such as forearms, abs, calves, and rotator cuff on my weight training off days, however, this is definitely not something that needs to be done. Do abs and calves whenever you want, just make sure your workouts are hard, heavy, intense, and cover your entire body.
Now for the really interesting part, the diet! The diet is divided up into 2 separate phases, the low calorie low/carbohydrate portion and the high calorie/high carb portion. Here are the guidelines:
Low calorie/low carb portion
- Duration - All day on weight training off days and ½ day on weight training days.
Caloric intake – 10-12 x bodyweight
Macronutrient ratio – 50% protein 30% fat and 20% carbohydrate
High calorie/high carb portion
- Duration - on weight training days only. From the beginning of the weight training session until bedtime.
Caloric intake – The same amount as you would take in during a normal low calorie day but these calories are to be consumed in a time span of 6-8 hours. ( 10-12 x bw or 1600-1900 calories for a 160 lb individual)
Macronutrient ratio – 20% protein 5% fat and 75% carbohydrate
Maintenance calorie/carb portion
- Duration – weekends
Caloric intake – 15 x bodyweight
Macronutrient ratio – 50% protein 30% fat and 20% carbohydrate
- Monday – AM cardio PM weight training*
Tuesday – HIT cardio performed anytime
Wednesday – AM cardio PM weight training*
Thursday – HIT cardio performed anytime
Friday – AM cardio PM weight training *
Saturday – HIT Cardio done anytime maintenance calories
Sunday - no training/maintenance calories
* (AM cardio optional depending on individual)
So lets take a trial run through the program. At a bodyweight of 160 lbs our hypothetical trainee needs 1600-1920 calories on the low carb/low calorie day. At a 50p/30f/20c ratio this will mean 200 grams of protein/80 grams of carbs and 53 grams of fat. Lets first use and illustrate a weight training off day, Tuesday as an example.
Preferably sometime in the late afternoon or early evening perform HIT cardio or sprinting. The timing for the HIT on weight training off days is not terribly important but keep in mind the evening is usually a time when the metabolism begins to slow. By performing intense exercise at this time we stimulate the metabolism so the metabolic rate over the course of 24 hours is greater. After this have a protein drink along with some liquid carbs which would be equivalent to about ½ of the total 80 gram allotment of carbs for the day. Since the body is most responsive to carbohydrate consumption following activity try to get more carbs in postworkout, regardless of when you perform it. Throughout the rest of the day the body would be in a hard-core fat burning state. Diet would consist of mostly lean meats, fibrous veggies, and quality fats about every 3 hours throughout the day.
Again our hypothetical trainee gets up and this time does the optional slower/longer duration cardio for 40 minutes such as walking on a slightly inclined treadmill at a pace not so fast that it leaves him out of breath, but just fast enough so that it would be a little difficult to carry on a conversation. After this have a protein/carb drink. The amount of carbs would be less than the preceding days HIT cardio post-workout consumption, maybe 20 grams since the longer duration slower cardio is less taxing on the glycogen system.
Another important thing to remember is, since this is a weight training day and this training session is around 3 pm, he’ll only be eating the low cal/low carb portion for approximately ½ day so the macronutrient total needs to be adjusted since those #’s are based on a full days total. Instead of 1600 calories 200 grams of protein/80 grams of carbs and 53 grams of fat we need to cut those in half and eat about 800 calories/ 100 grams of protein/40 grams of carbs and 26 grams of fat from breakfast until 3pm.
Once 3pm hits is when the anabolism (and the fun) begins! Just prior to the workout we’d have a serving of some type of stimulant and begin sipping on a carb/protein drink. (dextrose/maltodextrin/whey) or (BCAAs, dextrose, malto). After the workout we would have another high carb/protein drink of dextrose/maltodextrin and whey and head home for more great FOOD and CARBS! The macronutrient total from 3 pm until bedtime will total approximately 1600 calories /300 grams of carbs/80 grams protein/and 9 grams fat for a 160 pounder, so this pretty much means any low-fat carbohydrate sources are fair game.
Although complex carbs such as white potatoes, rice, oatmeal etc. are ideal due to their effects on replenishing muscle glycogen, it’s ok to have some cereal, low fat pastries, etc. during this time as well. Keep fruit and fructose consumption to a minimum and definitely make sure you stay away from fat. Having high insulin levels coupled with fat intake will drive that fat directly into storage. Continue to pig out on carbs until bedtime and then wake up the next morning for another 1.5 days of dieting before hitting the workout and overfeed all over again.
Why It Works?
The weight training and preceding dieting phase not only burns fat but also puts the body into a glycogen depleted state which heightens insulin sensitivity so the body is ready to suck up on all the nutrients delivered during the short-term carbohydrate overfeed. In addition to increasing cellular hydration, which is important for protein synthesis, the body responds to this overfeeding by increasing levels of the anabolic hormone insulin.
Having high insulin levels ALL the time could be a bad thing and lead to fat gain, but for such a short period of time after an intense workout we’re able to maximize the anabolic power of insulin for anabolism and muscle building with little danger of spillover into fat storage. Studies have shown that carbohydrates consumed during massive short-term carbohydrate overfeeding have a very small effect on de novo lipogenesis, or conversion to fat from carbohydate.
Also, during this time and after, the body will respond to this short-term overfeed with larger amounts of the hormones testosterone, thyroid, and leptin. Leptin is the hormone which normally drops during a diet and causes our fat loss efforts to reach a stand-still and causes our body to begin cannibalizing muscle tissue. By boosting leptin through over-feeding, we also ensure that our fat loss efforts continue unhindered throughout the plan while all the other hormones are optimized for muscle gain. Regular cardio is done earlier in the day not only to burn more calories and fat but, more importantly, to give a big metabolic stimulus throughout the day. Diet is optimized to allow fat burning during these times.
Likewise, the timing of the weight training sessions coincides with the time when the body would normally begin to go from an anabolic to a catabolic state. By doing our weight training and HIT in the afternoon/early evening we are able to boost anabolic hormones and sensitivity to these hormones at a time when they naturally begin to decline while also stimulating the metabolism at a time when it begins to slow down. Following the weight-training workout with a high carbohydrate overfeed gives solid, round the clock hormonal and dietary management of both muscle gain and fat loss.
Article Via Bodybuilding.com
The benefits of adding muscle to your body are tremendous. You develop a lean, shapely appearance, your metabolism rises, and your body burns more calories than an untrained body. These are all fantastic ways to lose body fat, and build a healthy, happy body. Seems simple in theory, but the process of actually building muscle isn’t always so straight forward. You need an efficient and effective training plan that will help you reach your goals and make the progress you deserve. Today we look at one such plan that combines two different forms of strength training into one, amazing workout.
A sure-fire way to add muscle to any frame is to do a split weight training/plyometric routine. By combining both, you are activating muscle motor units in a way they have never seen. This new activation technique will do wonders for your body, as well as your ability to pack on muscle quickly. Often times, the gains in the first several weeks alone are dramatic.
Plyometrics are not strictly for the well-trained athlete, rather, they MAKE a well-trained athlete. Men, women, teenagers, and the elderly can all benefit from plyometric exercise. The exercises can be tailored for the beginner to the advanced, and require little more than your body weight in many instances, making this a perfect at home supplement.
By itself, plyometrics will not add the level of lean body mass you are seeking. Weight training is a key component to several areas that plyometrics misses. The same is true for plyometrics. By combining both you are making sure you receive all possible benefits that strength training allows. Further, when you combine the two, muscle fibers adapt to the stimulus and produce more of the “hybrid” fiber types that are great for strength as well as endurance.
Take a look at these results if you are still skeptical of the benefits of plyometrics:
|Effect Of Squats & Plyometrics On Vertical Jump|
| Exercise Type Vertical JumpIncrease
Only Squats 3.30 cm
Only Plyometrics 3.81cm
Squats + Plyo 10.67cm
The result of combination training is clearly beneficial to your goals of adding muscle. Below is a combination training routine consisting of standard weight training movements and plyometric exercises. Treat this workout as a total body routine, using it 2-3 days a week. Supplement this workout with a couple of days of HIIT cardio and maybe a little yoga to keep your body in balance.
- Bench Press – 3 x 10
- Power Drop – 3 x 15
- Squats – 3 x 10
- Box Jumps – 3 x 15
- Lunges – 3 x 10
- Double Leg Tuck Jump - 3 x 15
- Wide-grip Pullups – 3 x 10
- Plyometric Pushups – 3 x 12
- Military Press – 3 x 10
- Single Arm Overhead Throws – 3 x 12