Monday, September 04, 2006

The 5 Golden Rules of Staying Injury-Free In The Gym

Listen, if you want to get big, you have to train big. Entering to the gym and simply going through the motions without a sweat just isn’t going to get the job done. You have to overload those muscles with heavy weight and high intensity if you want to see real results. This is without a doubt the most effective means of stimulating muscular growth. Muscles grow due to a natural adaptive survival response, and if you don’t give them a damn good reason to grow, well, they won’t.

While training hard and heavy may be awesome for your muscles, it can be trouble for the health of your joints and connective tissue. This is simply the reality of intense weight training, and while there are no guarantees that you will be able to completely avoid getting injured, you can certainly take specific steps to lessen the chance. An injury is the absolute last thing you could ever hope for, as it will stop you dead in your muscle-building tracks. Most serious weightlifters will experience some form of injury at one time or another throughout their training careers.

Down below I’m going to outline my “5 golden rules” when it comes to minimizing the risk of injury. If you can honestly say that you implement all 5 of these into your training program, then your risk of getting hurt will be much lower than someone who does not.

1) Always perform a thorough warmup.

A proper warmup is the single best thing you can do to minimize your risk of injury. This simple 15-20 minute process will prepare your mind and body for the hard work to come by increasing blood flow into the surrounding connective tissue and by lubricating your joints. I would recommend that you perform 5 minutes of light cardiovascular exercise before each workout followed by 4-5 warmup sets for your first major exercise of the routine.

2) Always train with proper form.

This should go without saying. Every exercise that you perform in the gym should be done with proper form and technique in order to keep the stress off of your joints. If you start squatting or deadlifting with a rounded back, jerking the weights around in a ballistic manner or performing dangerous exercises you are almost guaranteed to hurt yourself at some point.

3) Always train within your own personal limits.

Weightlifting is a personal battle, and letting your ego take over is almost always a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t matter what the guy next to you is benching and it is completely irrelevant to your training program. You must always use weights that you can handle and control with proper form, and if you start piling on the plates to impress the people around you, you’ll be stretching your limits and putting yourself in a very vulnerable position.

4) Always know when to quit.

If you cannot complete another rep of an exercise using proper form, the set is over, plain and simple. Put the weight down and rest up for your next set. If you start using huge amounts of momentum and jerky body motions to crank out a couple of extra reps, you’ll be on the sidelines before you know it.

5) Never ignore your aches and pains.

This is a hugely important point and I think we can all admit that we’ve all been guilty of it at some point. I know I have. When you’re motoring along through a training program and are making progress from week to week, the idea of quitting just seems impossible. This can sometimes lead us to ignore those obvious injuries and pretend as if they aren’t really there as we often “work through” the pain and hope that it magically disappears. More often than not, it will only get worse. If you feel that something definitely isn’t right and can sense that you probably shouldn’t be training, listen to your gut and take some time off. Get the problem checked out by a professional and then take the proper measures to heal. While it may hurt your progress in the short term, the overall long-term effect will be a positive one.

So there you have it, 5 basic rules to follow in the gym to keep those joints healthy and to keep you training for years on end. Follow them closely, because I guarantee that if you end up with an injury due to your own bad judgment, you’ll be very, very sorry!

About The Author

Sean Nalewanyj is a bodybuilding expert and writer of top-selling Internet Bodybuilding E-Book: The Truth About Building Muscle. You can find more information by visiting his website: http://www.more-information-about.info/build-muscle-the-truth.html


Technorati Tags: gyms, injuries, mens fitness, muscles, bodybuilding

Mens Fitness

Friday, August 25, 2006

Massive Shoulders In A Matter Of Minutes

If you’re looking to develop an impressive, muscular physique, well-developed shoulders are an absolute must. Thick, round “cannon ball delts” will make your upper body appear wide and powerful and will help immensely in creating the v-tapered look that all bodybuilders strive for. Many serious lifters will argue that underneath clothes, muscular shoulders make the greatest contribution toward the overall appearance of the upper body.

The shoulder is a 3-headed muscle that performs the function of lifting and rotating the arm. It consists of the anterior region (the front), the medial region (the middle) and the posterior region (the rear). These heads can be stimulated in the gym using two different movements: an overhead press and a raise.

The overhead press is the meat and potatoes of effective shoulder training. There isn’t a single lift out there that can match the incredible shoulder-stimulating effect of a basic overhead pressing movement. Both a barbell and a dumbbell can be used for this exercise, but dumbbells are the best overall choice. Dumbbells allow you to move through a more natural range of motion and also don’t allow one arm to cheat for the other. They also place a greater amount of total stress on the shoulder region in comparison to the barbell, which shifts some of the stress to the upper chest. I would recommend using the seated overhead dumbbell press as your core shoulder movement. Grab a pair of dumbbells and sit on a bench with a vertical back support. Press the dumbbells overhead until your elbows are just short of locking out, and then lower them back to shoulder level.

The next exercise to look into is a basic side lateral raise, which can also be performed with a pair of dumbbells. Side laterals are an isolation exercise and will shift the majority of the stress to the medial head of the shoulder. This will build greater shoulder width and will contribute to that wide upper body look. Stand with your knees slightly bent and hold a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing inward. With a slight bend in your arms, raise the dumbbells up to shoulder level and then lower them back to the starting position.

When it comes to training your shoulders for maximum size and strength, a basic overhead press and a side lateral raise is all you need. It’s very important to realize that the shoulders are stimulated on virtually every single upper body exercise that you perform and therefore they do not require a lot of direct work. Most people perform far too much work on their shoulders and actually hinder their gains as a result. Because of this I typically do not recommend that you perform isolation exercises for the anterior and posterior heads. The anterior heads are heavily stressed during all chest pressing movements while the posterior heads are hit equally hard on all rowing movements for the back. A couple of extra sets won’t hurt, but you should try to minimize the volume as much as you can. The key to massive shoulders is quality, not quantity.

Here are a couple of sample shoulder routines that you can use:

1) Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press – 2 sets of 5-7 reps
Standing Dumbbell Side Laterals – 1-2 sets of 10-12 reps

If you insist on performing isolation exercises for the front and rear heads, you can use this routine:

2) Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press – 2 sets of 5-7 reps
Standing Dumbbell Side Laterals – 1-2 sets of 10-12 reps
Standing Front Dumbbell Raise – 1 set of 10-12 reps
Seated Rear Lateral Dumbbell Raise – 1 set of 10-12 reps

There you have it. All sets should be taken to complete muscular failure where no additional reps can be completed using proper form. Keep a detailed record of each workout and strive for continual improvement from week to week by either increasing the resistance or the number of reps performed.

Happy shoulder training!

About The Author

Sean Nalewanyj is a bodybuilding expert, fitness author and writer of top-selling Internet Bodybuilding E-Book: The Truth About Building Muscle. If you want to learn how to build the greatest amount of lean muscle mass and strength possible in the shortest period of time, visit his website: http://www.more-information-about.info/build-muscle-the-truth.html

Mens Fitness

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Why Your Muscle Pumps Have Nothing To Do With Your Muscle Gains

Your back is firmly planted on the bench as you wrap your chalked hands around the cold, steel bar. Your training partner helps you un-rack the weight as you power the bar up and down, squeezing your chest and triceps on each grueling rep. You complete your 6 repetitions, re-rack the bar and stand up. Your chest feels tight and engorged with blood. You take a look in the mirror, thrilled with how full and vascular your pecs appear. You feel strong, powerful, healthy and motivated to blast through the rest of your workout with your newly achieved “pump”.

Let’s face it, a pump feels incredible. For those of you who aren’t quite sure what I’m talking about, a pump is the feeling that you get as blood becomes trapped inside your muscle tissue as a result of resistance training. The muscles will swell up and increase in size, vascularity and tightness.

There is certainly nothing wrong with achieving a pump in the gym, and it is simply a natural result of intense weight training. However, contrary to what the majority of weightlifters may think, a pump is in no way indicative of a successful workout. Anyone who uses the intensity of their pump as a gauge for the effectiveness of their workout is making a costly error.

On countless occasions I've heard lifters raving about the massive pumps they get in the gym as they share methods for achieving the best pump possible. "Dude, this will give you a crazy pump!" If you have already been working out for a decent amount of time then you know exactly what I'm talking about. While a pump does feel extremely satisfying, just remember that it means very little in terms of muscle stimulation and growth.

A pump is simply the result of extra blood within the muscle tissue. Think of it this way: if I took a pair of 10 pound dumbbells and performed 300 reps of a bench press movement, I would achieve an incredible pump. If muscle pumps meant muscle growth, then super light weight, ultra high rep programs would be the most effective way to grow. Any serious lifter with half a brain knows that this simply is not the case.

Do you want to know how to truly gauge the success of a workout? Here it is…

Take your workout records (in terms of weight and reps) from the previous week and compare it to the current week. Did you improve? Were you able to either increase the resistance slightly on each exercise, or perform an extra rep or two? If so, you had a successful workout, regardless of how much blood you were able to pump into your muscle tissue.

Building muscle mass and strength is all about training with 100% intensity on every given set and then striving to improve from week to week. If you are able to consistently achieve this, your muscle size and strength will increase faster than you ever thought possible, with or without a pump.

About The Author

Sean Nalewanyj is a bodybuilding expert and writer of top-selling Internet Bodybuilding E-Book: The Truth About Building Muscle. You can find more information by visiting his website: http://www.more-information-about.info/build-muscle-the-truth.html

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