REST DAYS

PROGRESS


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Truth be told

If you do not workout more than 4 times per week this post probably isn’t for you.

The goal for most avid gym dwellers, gym rats, serious lifters, and amateur physique competitor’s, (at least the majority that I know) is muscle growth and development.

It’s called hypertrophy.

  • hypertrophy  the growth and increase in size of skeletal muscle through a growth in size of it’s components cells. 

Sound like a lot? Meh, itjust means your muscle are getting bigger through doing activities like weightlifting. Without getting too scientific, there is something called progressive overload. Increasing weight means increasing strength. Increasing strength in turn, increases muscle mass.

Intensity

Starting out, many of us ferociously hit the weights with a determination like few. We hit it hard and for many, results come quickly.

Quite often, especially in our youth, we take for granted our youth, and our bodies ability to adapt. We can go longer and harder and with more intensity. Our bodies respond and handle these self-induced beastmodes well. But youthfulness aside, everyone hits a plateau, slows their roll, or simply gets fatigued .

Enter the “rest day”.

Lot’s of Rest = Superior Workouts

Break it down

While we are curling, benching, shrugging, and squating we are make tiny tears in our muscle fibers. “Micro tears”. Shredding them really, utilizing Type I and Type II fibers. The workout or activity dictates which ones are being activated. If you’ve ever had a really good workout, (I mean truly beastmode) with your trainer, workout partner, or on your own, and your sore 2 days later this would be a prime example of that shredding.

The body then instinctively rushes in to repair those muscles, with the help of us replenishing needed protein, vitamins, and minerals, and the muscles grow. How does taking time off from working out play a part? Well, in layman’s terms, if you are constantly tearing down the muscles but not giving them time to repair and grow, at some point you’ll reach a plataeu and you’ll stop seeing dem gainz kid.


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Central Nervous System

Forget about all that pre-workout and caffeine, overtime the exertion required to “go big” takes its toll on the brain. Let’s say you’ve got one of those jobs that you absolutely dread showing up to, and when you do all you think about is “lifting”:

a. props for making the gym a part of your life.

b. think about finding another work place environment.

The human body doesn’t compartmentalize between physical and mental stress. It all builds up and manifests itself with the tell-tale signs:

  • Moodiness/irritability
  • Constant soreness
  • Lagging performance levels
  • Injuries
  • Headaches

Quick Takeaway

How much rest a person needs is absolutely dependent on how intense, frequent, and what volume a person’s training schedule has. In weightlifting for example, conventional wisdom has dictated allowing 24 – 48 hours rest in between working the same muscle group. (Scratching head) Then next month someone promotes 72 hours minimum. The fitness is an ever changing industry and there are “new discoveries” all the time. I am a strong proponent of the “Push/Pull” method. A typically schedule may look something like this:

  • Monday – Chest/Triceps
  • Tuesday – Back/Biceps
  • Wednesday – Legs/Abs
  • Thursday – OFF 
  • Friday – OFF

This is one of many splits, however I chose this one because the two (2) rest days in a row are after three (3) consecutive days of heavy lifting. High volume and heavy weight.

If exercise is a mainstay in your life, seriously, you get double props from me. ✊If you are experiencing any symptoms mentioned above though, or lagging in the gains department, think about your rest days. When you place them. How many you take.

 

THE CITY DWELLER WORKOUT

WORKOUT IDEAS


Do you feel wiped out when you get home and just collapse on the sofa? Urban living certainly has its challenges. Hiking around the cityscape day to day requires endurance and stamina. Wether it’s that mad dash for the bus or the hike up the stairs with groceries because the elevator is stuck again, urban life can seem pressured and non stop.


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But we love it, that’s why we live here.

Below is not so much a full workout, but ideas to incorporate into your existing routines. Ways to up the ante a little. ✔

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Plyometrics


Also known as “jump training”, incorporating plyometric exercises is almost garanteed to help build the strength and speed needed to navigate the urban jungle. (Or a weekend hike).

Get ready to jump


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First, start by warming up with a few sets of body squats. 2 sets of 10

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Keeping your core tight push off and land squarely on both feet. 3 sets of 10.

Explosive power is what your building.


Get a Grip

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Often times getting creative with workouts simply involves changing the grip your using while performing an exercise. Some basic grips most oftenly used are:

  • Overhand
  • Underhand
  • Close grip
  • Wide grip

Baby got back

If you want an impressive set of “wings” switch your grips in the same workout to target the whole back.

Here are two (2) exercises to help strength the back and build the lean muscle needed to help propel you through this world.

  • The Lat Pull 
  • The V-Bar Pull

The Lat Pull is a standard, all-around, go-to exercise for building upper body strength. Above is the short grip. Position your arms shoulder width apart. 3 sets of 12 – 15

Muscle Group – Latissimus Dorsi

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A wide grip (above) works the inner lats, while a short grip helps to build the outer lats.

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⬆The V – Bar Pull is a mass building staple. Working the inner muscles of the back called the Rhomboids, as well as the lats, this move is also working your biceps.


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It isn’t a jungle in here. This is your sanctuary. This space is where you come to escape the grind.

Utilize it. Think outside the box.

While you have the V – Bar in hand, stand with feet shoulder width apart and switch to working your abdominals.


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The truth about abs is this: Everyone has them. It’s the layer of fat on top that keeps them hidden. Endlessly doing crunches is not the key. Watching what you eat and performing 3 sets of 15 repetitions 

slow and controlled is.

The science of grips applies to your #bicepblowout too. Using your Lat bar, alternate between a short grip and a wide grip:

Muscle Group – Biceps Inner/Outer

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Why? Stimulating the muscles from different angles helps promote hypertrophy, or muscle growth. 

Tip Using an overhand grip here (not shown) will target the forearms. Think Popeye the Sailor Man.

SUPER SET 


The concept of a superset is simple. Maximize your time and your efforts. Working opposing muscle groups,  (“push/pull”) is an effective method for building size as well. Utilizing a Machine Chest Press is a an excellent opportunity to build the back and the chest simultaneously. Rest periods should be little to none during a superset combo.

Muscle Groups – Pectorals/Rhomboids/Deltoids

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When using the Chest Press for the back adjusting it allows for either a full range of motion or partial. The debate about machines continues. Perhaps the critics haven’t learned to get creative. When it comes to sets and reps choose from any number:

  • 12, 10, 10, 8
  • 10, 10, 10
  • 10, 8, 8
  • 5 sets of 5
  • 10, 8, 8, 6

You get the picture? Switch things up. Muscle confusion, man!

Add 3 sets on the Chest Press next while your at it.

Variations on a theme

Dips are a mass building exercise that can be done just about anywhere. Home, gym, office.

Muscle Group – Triceps/Deltoids

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If you can’t fit on the railings, or don’t feel like moving the bench, or simple can’t get downstairs….

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…push two chairs together in the comfort of your home.

If you chose the railings, stay there and add stair step climbs to your routine. Start with 1 step intervals then graduate to two. Eventually, your quads and glutes will thank you for it.

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Muscle Group – Quadriceps/Gluteus Maximus ⬆

Time to stretch. Static stretches, or stretches held for an extended period of time are good at this point.

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Hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. Repeat 2 – 3 times while your iPod is stuck on replay-ay-ay.

Tip Focus on holding your core tight and on your breathing. Your stretching the Quads, Hamstrings, and Back here.


And of course don’t forget your core. But how do you take a basic plank and change it up?

 

Muscle Groups – Abdominals/Obliques

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Keep your core tight, twist each knee to the right and left, hold each pose for a 5 count. Perform as many as you can.

Again, these are variations to add into your existing routines. By simply changing the grip and the rep counts, you’ll continue to think outside the box and above all else…

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Email: jwilliamstrains@gmail.com 

“GO BIG……”

WORKOUT IDEAS

ROUTINES

Perhaps your apartment/condo fitness room has a little more than most to work with but still doesn’t give you the feeling of a huge box gym with a branded name full of copious amounts of equipment.

So what. You can still get your workout on.

This routine is designed on the “push/pull” theory, as well as to target as many muscle groups as possible. Push/Pull revolves around working with exercises involving one set of motions. For “Push” say, Chest & Triceps, and for “Pull” like those for Back & Biceps. Training can be divided throughout the week or incorporated into one workout to save on time.

Summary

WORKOUT: UPPER BODY

GOAL: BUILD MUSCLE

LEVEL: BEGINNER – INTERMEDIATE

DETAILS: 

  • 10 – 12 rep range
  • 3 working sets w/warmup sets
  • Allow at least 48 hours rest in between

ESSENTIALS:

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  • Commitment
  • Determination
  • Intensity

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STANDING DUMBBELL FRONT RAISES – ALTERNATING 

MUSCLE GROUP – DELTOIDS

1 – 2 Warmup Sets (lighter weight)

3 Sets of 10 – 12

Beginning with feet shoulder width apart, keep core tight and back straight. Dumbbells should be at sides and with controlled form raise them until parallel with floor. Option 2 Use the cable station. The debate rages on about cables. Why? Not sure. They provide constant tension, help with imbalances, and are great if your beginning.

1. a & b

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“You want me to do something….tell me I can’t do it” ~ Maya Angelou 

1. c

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Side Delt Raises 

MUSCLE GROUP – DELTOIDS 

1. d

OVERHEAD DUMBBELL PRESS 

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Here are two (2) starting positions. When you begin with dumbells in front and palms facing towards you rotate back then push up. This works the entire shoulder. (We’re aiming for Boulder Shoulders here)

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 PULL UPS – UNASSISTED

MUSCLE GROUP – BACK 

3 sets of as many as possible


Body weight exercises such as pull ups continue to be a never fail, go-to move for building pure strength and lean muscle. Incorporate them into any workout often and watch those lats pop.


DUMBBELL INCLINE PRESS

MUSCLE GROUP – CHEST

3 Sets of 10 – 12

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Tip:In the starting position rest the dumbbells on your quads. Push off with each knee. – And when finishing bring them to rest here again.  A. No one likes a weight dropper, so please do not toss them so you can hashtag beastmode. B. Proper form is right up there with nutrition.

It’s key.

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DUMBBELL BENT OVER ROWS 

MUSCLE GROUP – BACK

3 Sets of 10 – 12 


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INCLINE DUMBBELL BICEP CURLS 

MUSCLE GROUP – BICEP BRACHI

3 Sets of 10 – 12

Bi, meaning two (2), there are two heads to the biceps. The long and the short. Position the bench at a 45 to 60 degree angle. Adding an angle helps create more tension stimulating the long head of the bicep, as well as helps correct imbalances, such as hunching the shoulders forward common with barbell curls.

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HAMMER CURLS


ELEVATED DECLINE PUSHUPS

MUSCLE GROUP – CHEST

3 Sets of 10 – 12

A chiseled chest is always attainable with a “where there’s a will there’s a way” mind set.

Really.

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After a good #bicepblowout take the dumbbells and position them under you in the pushup position.


INCLINE CABLE FLIES

MUSCLE GROUP – PECTORALS

3 Sets of 10 – 12

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Muscles grow after we workout, tear them down, rest and allow them to repair. Here, towards the end of your workout on your third (3) set shoot for as many reps as you can. Some call it “until failire”. I do not. I call it “until exhaustion”. What ever you want to call it, push yourself.

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For questions, ideas, and more variations please feel free to contact me:  jwilliamstrains@gmail.com

SMALL SPACE, BIG RESULTS

WORKOUT IDEAS

Routines


Big things, small packages

Sometimes you don’t always have the benefit of a large facility with copious amounts of equipment. Thats when you get creative, take what you’ve got and make it work. You can still burn fat and build muscle. Really.

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Circuit Training

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While not as intense as H.I.I.T, this style of workout still aims at burning calories and inducing sweat. Studies continue to show that lean body mass increases with the use of circuit training. (less body fat.) With a set routine of moves done in the 12 – 15 rep range, and moderate rest in between, the body gets a good strength and aerobic workout in a shorter amount of time.

Levels – I /II

It depends on the individual and what their fitness level is. Not everyone will use the same amount of weight or go at the same speed.

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Sculpt

Exercises in this workout are chosen to target as many muscle groups as possible, both upper and lower body.

Warm up 5 – 7 minutes with cardio of choice. 

1. Unassisted Dips

Reps: 12 – 15

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Dips are a powerhouse, compound upper body exercise that targets the chest, shoulders and triceps. After warming up sufficiently, position yourself between two treadmills.

2. Weighted Body Squats 

Reps: 12 – 15

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Elevating helps to acheive a deeper squat, really targeting the quads and the glutes. Staying with the treadmills, reverse your stance holding a dumbbell. Keep the core tight and shoulders back. Tip: At the top of the exercise focus on squeezing the glutes.

3. One-arm Machine Back Rows

Reps: 12 – 15

Think outside the proverbial box. Utilize the Chest Press of the workout station to work the back and rear delts. Bend at the knee to adjust for your height while focusing on keeping the back upright.

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Reps: 12 – 15

Move to the

4. Standing Bicep Cable Curl

Reps: 12 – 15

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Everyone wants an impressive set of pythons. Utilizing the Straight Bar Cable Attachment, keep elblows tucked in and shoulders back, and focus on slow, steady repetitions.

5. Rope Extensions/Triceps

Reps: 12 -15 

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● Alternate – Reverse Grip Tricep Extension

If you do not have a rope extension use a Wide Lat-Pull Bar with either a regular or a reverse grip.

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6. Standing Weighted (w/dumbbells) Lunges – Focus on keeping the core tight.

Reps: 12 – 15


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7. Dumbbell Bench Press

Reps: 12 – 15 

8. Ab I/Crunches w/bench +  Ab II/Toe Raises Reps: 12 -15 

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A common misconception is that abs should be blasted with excessive reps. Not so. Perform 2 – 3 sets in excellent form and their good.

 

Chest Press Reps: 12 – 15

Cable Shrugs

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Reps: 12 -15 

Using the same bar as with the gun show, stand with feet shoulder width apart, and keep shoulders back.


Keep rest periods between exercises 30 seconds for advanced, 45 seconds to 1 minute for beginniners. Repeat entire circuit x 2.

Even better, do it a third time!

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ANATOMY OF A WORKOUT

GYM TIME


 

“Sweat plus sacrifice equals success”

With all the fads, trends, and broscience out there, it can be very confusing trying to design an effective workout regimine. On one hand, I always say routines are not a one-size-fits-all. On the other there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

None the less, you’ve made up your mind and your ready to sweat. You need a plan of action. This is meant as an overview for getting started. If you already rock it out in the gym….props to you.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started”

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I. WARM UP

All workouts need a short period of warming up. Look at this portion of your workout the way you do your treasured automobile. In the winter, you turn it on and let it run for a bit, all the while wiping any fingerprints from the dash.

Why?

Besides getting your metabolism going and circulating blood and oxygen, your helping the respitory system get ready for what is to come. Keep it somewhere between 5 – 10 minutes. A little dynamic stretching here is good. Those stretches that are quick, ideal for getting blood pumping, and geared toward the muscle groups being worked. Hamstrings & Quads on Leg Day, or even bodysquats.

II. BODY 

Depending on your routine allot a specific amount of time for the entire workout, including time for rests in between sets. Say, for example, your working the shoulders: Below is known as a pyramid, typically used in a mass building phase.

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

  • Warm up Set x 12 – 15
  • Set I (12 reps)
  • Set II (10 reps)
  • Set III (10 reps)
  • Set IV (8 reps) 

Leave 1 to 1-1/2 minutes in between sets for rest. Tip Watch out, scrolling through your newsfeed will seriously derail your concentration and turn that minute and a half into 10. With a quickness. Focus.

Workouts should be structured. You made it into the gym and thats awesome. Make it count. Aimlessly going from one thing to the next with no clear idea only hinders progress. Take a moment to plan out your weekly routines based on what your ultimate goal is. If strength building is your intention, decide how the week will should go ahead of time.

Week 1 

  • Monday – Chest
  • Tuesday – Legs/Abs
  • Wednesday – Back
  • Thursday -Shoulders/Abs
  • Friday – Biceps/Triceps
  • Saturday – Rest
  • Sunday – Abs/Light Cardio

This is known as your training split. Dividing your workouts by muscle group. Above is a basic “Push/Pull”.

III. COOL DOWN

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Benefits

The cooling down period is just as important as the warmup. Save static type stretches for afterwards. Stretches meant to elongate the muscles, they help prevent lactid acid buildup and stiffness. True, “leg day” wasn’t a killer if your not a little sore a day or two later. Stretch anyway. These are most effective if held for at least 30 seconds.

If your heavy on cardio and just performed H.I.I.T on the treadmill, don’t just stop. We aren’t 747’s that can just throw up spoilers. Gradually reduce your speed until the last, 1 – 1/2 minutes are a slow walk. Take sips from that water bottle you’ve brought along. Then do your stretching.

Spring will start officially in a few weeks. Summertime fun after that. Get a head start on all of it.

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H.I.I.T IT And get started

Fitness Training


CARDIO

The basic principle in fat-loss is to burn more calories than you are taking in, and Cardiovascular exercise is were it’s at. When it comes to some of the ultimate in fat burning, High Intensity Interval Training, H.I.I.T. is a powerful and proven effective method. Forcing you to dig down deep, prepare to sweat, groan, and feel the fat practically melt off in no time. Are you ready?

Get Set

H.I.I.T combines short, intense intervals of training with periods of moderate ones. It can be used in a variety of methods, but for cardio the eliptical remains my personal favorite. For starters it’s much easier on the ankles than say, a treadmill.

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COMPLETE NOT COMPETE

If your new to H.I.I.T start off small and work your way up. The goal is to finish, so go at your own pace.

 

  • Get familiar with your keyboard.

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Above is a BH Fitness Elliptical x8. By far my favorite to date, I’ve gotten to know this bad boy quite well. Once you start peddling the keyboard lights up and it will prompt you to enter your weight.

  • Select your workout – Practice perhaps with RANDOM, and move to HILL.
  • Choose your level.

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A typical H.I.I.T routine, after a sufficient warm up period of usually around 3 – 5 minutes, alternate between 30 second bursts and 1 – 1/2 minute lighter periods. Always allow for a “cool down” period of at least 3 minutes.

  • H.I.I.T workouts are highly efficient being no longer than 30 minutes. Excellent for the person on the go.
  • Shown to increase endurance
  • Serious fat burners

 

GO

For more on the benefits of cardio visit ACEfitness.org

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For complete randomness Tweet: @jwilltrain