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How To Choose Exercises To Create A Weight Lifting Program

If you want to transform your skinny body into a huge mass of muscle then you need to learn how to make your workout more effective so you get quick results. Here are seven body building tips that will help you meet your goal.

Best exercises. When you are striving to build huge muscles, stay away from weight machines. You will get better results with free weights or using your own body weight as resistance. The reason for that is those types of exercise give you full range of motion which helps you build strong joints and muscles. Another important body building tip is to use the heaviest weight you can manage so you can stress your muscles and spur growth.

Sets per workout. Less is more when it comes to building muscle. You should aim to do a max of 12 to 16 sets each workout session. This will allow you to build muscle faster while having a better recovery time. This means less soreness and no overtraining that slows down muscle growth.

How many sets to do per exercise: Although most exercisers especially those working out for a long time are prescribed just 1 - 3 sets per exercise, raw beginners need to perform 3 - 5 sets as their muscles need that stimulation to grow.

How many reps to perform per set: Most muscle building programs promote the 8-12 rep range but it is a much generalized range that doesn't help skinny people grow any muscle at all. Use much heavier weights and get into the 5-8 rep range to stimulate muscle growth. Hypertrophy happens only with heavy stress that is not very repetitive.

How fast should the rep speed be: Reps need to be fast for the skinny guys - a second at most for lifting and two seconds at most for lowering. As long as you don't jerk you can do it speedily. Slow, deliberate motion that is advised in many programs does no good to the skinny lifter.

Rest between sets. When you first start out, you can get by with short rests between sets like 45 to 90 seconds depending upon the type of exercise you are doing. However, once you pack on muscle and gain endurance and strength, you should allow at least 2 to 4 minutes between sets for the best recovery time.

Training session time. The ideal training time is 30 to 45 minutes. That is all that is required for testosterone to build to peak levels. If you exercise longer than that, cortisol will work against you and tear down muscle tissue.


How To Choose Men's Workout Apparel And Training Gear

We are all after the effects that workouts give us such as being more fit and lean but we shouldn't only be concerned about looking good from working out but we should also want to look good while we are exercising. It pays off to know what we wear when training is both stylish as well as practical for the workouts we are doing. If you arm yourself with this knowledge you will find exercise clothing that will make the workouts that much more comfortable.

In any exercise program the first concern with the apparel you choose should be that of comfort while you are working out. This is why one needs to be practical when choosing exercise apparel and not go for looks and style alone. You want to be sure that the clothing you choose doesn't bind you when you are playing basketball, doing aerobics, or lifting weights. I have had severe skin irritation from wearing t-shirts that bound and chafed when they became wet while I was weight training.

Staring at the bottom, your choice of shoes is absolutely crucial to the success and comfort of your workouts. You will want to be sure that in addition to being comfortable and fitting well that the footwear you choose also have good support and stability. If you choose the proper high quality footwear they should come with some kind of cushion inside that will make your exercise routine more comfortable. An improper choice of shoes can result in injuries in many cases.

Moving on up, you will also want to choose a good pair of pants that will not bind while you are training. One style that is in is that of the baggy workout pants, but regardless of whether you choose baggy pants or more conservative workout shorts you want to be sure that they do not interfere with any movements or so loose that they may be caught in machines. If you choose training pants constructed of a good micro fiber this will help keep you cool and remove moisture while you are training.

For your choice of exercise shirt you will want to choose one that is also as comfortable as everything else you have chosen. Regular t-shirts are a very popular choice, just be careful with them if you are doing upper body weight lifting. Tank tops and sleeveless shirts may be a better choice since they don't bind in the shoulder area.


Weider Home Gym Review - What to Know Before You Buy?

Weider home gyms are some of the most affordable gyms on the market.

Weider makes both weight stack gyms and crossbow gyms (similar to the Bowflex Power Rod gyms). Weider also makes kettlebells, free weights and weight benches.

The Weider name has been around for years and is well known for their strength training equipment. Weider is actually subsidiary of ICON Health and Fitness, one of the largest producers of exercise equipment in the world. They also own brands like Proform, Nordic Track, Epic, Image and Weslo.

While Weider makes different strength training equipment, what they were most known for a few years ago were the Weider Crossbow home gyms. Similar to the Bowflex power rod gyms, they used bendable bars (crossbow or crossbars) to create resistance.

The crossbow gyms like the Max and the Platinum Plus were compact and lighter than traditional stack machines, more affordable plus they still gave you a wide variety of exercises.

Unfortunately, Weider seems to have discontinued these models (although you can still find some kicking around second-hand).

They've recently introduced the X-Factor Door gym which is similar to the Crossbow gyms. It attaches to a door and gives you over 210 pounds of resistance through cables. Like the Crossbow home gyms, it also uses progressive resistance (which basically means the harder you pull, the more resistance you get).

It's also more affordable than many gyms coming in around $100. However since it's fairly new, the jury's still out on what kind of results it delivers.

Weider also puts out a gym called the Total Body Works 5000. This is very similar in design to the Total Gym. You lie on an angled movable bench and use a pulley system to lift your own weight up and down the bench.

Resistance is provided in the form of gravity and your own body weight. Inclines are adjustable so the steeper the incline, the harder you work. The gym also folds up to save space.

Weider kettle bells offer a different twist on standard kettle bells. They combine 7 kettlebells into one. You can adjust from 10 to 40 pounds so you get a great variety of options for your workout.

Weider also offers a couple of different power cages and a weight stack home gym. But you don't get a lot of options with these systems and it might be better to look at a more experienced name in weight stack gyms like Bodysolid or Body Craft.

So depending on what you're looking for, a Weider home gym might be a good fit for you. Unfortunately (as of this writing at least) you don't have as many options to choose from as you used to.

However you can often find older Weider home gyms kicking around your classified ads or on ebay. Just be aware that the warranty won't cover you as you're the second buyer of the product (manufacturers do not honor warranties on second owners.)

So is Weider a good name? They certainly have the experience you want. And they have a lot of good reviews - especially on their older crossbow machines.

However the options are a lot more limited than they used to be. Other brands to check out besides Weider include Bodysolid, Bowflex, Powertec and Body craft.


Competitive Bodybuilding: Historical Landmarks

"Strong Man Acts" moved to North America in the 1800's and are credited with inspiring what is known today as bodybuilding. Usually a circus performer who displayed his strengths was known as a strongman. Strongmen displaying their strength by bench presses, steel bending, breaking heavy iron chains and such were watch by audiences attending the circus. Although bodybuilding did not yet exist, many 19th century strongmen had well-built bodies and even sold photographs of themselves flexing and posing. In present days, when we use the term 'strongman', it mostly refers to participants competing in varied strength competitions. (besides making your muscles big enough to entertain the thought of lifting rocks, trucks or rolling massive tires around).

Using a combination of different exercises to develop physique and muscle fiber is what is referred to as bodybuilding. (mainly weight training) and diet. However, not every bodybuilder is in it for the competition. This sport involves displaying pronounced muscle tone, exaggerated muscle mass and muscle definition before a panel of judges, who assign points to competing bodybuilders based on their aesthetic appearance.

The major benchmarks in the evolution of the comparatively young sport of competitive bodybuilding are described beneath.

* Although two weightlifting events were included in the first modern Olympics of 1896, contemporary bodybuilding really began with a Prussian by the name of Eugene Sandow who invented many present day bodybuilding techniques as well as many of the first exercise equipment for the masses (tension bands, machined dumbbells etc).

* Sandow put together the very first bodybuilding contest called the Great Competition in September of 1901, staged at London's Royal Albert Hall. The Great Ziegfeld, tells some of the story of the beginning of modern bodybuilding and the 1936 Oscar winning film, Sandow's manager was Florenz Ziegfeld.

The Grecian Ideal was a term used to describe the perfect physique as represented in the classical proportions of ancient Greek and Roman statues, during Sandow's time. Competitors were scored based on how closely they matched these proportions during the early days of competitive bodybuilding. Sandow used these standards to develop his own physique.

* Sandow's counterpart in North America was a man named Bernarr Macfadden. Macfadden put forth a great deal of effort to increase his strength (he was not healthy during childhood), and began by offering fitness apparatus for sale. He also advocated women's physical fitness (this was considered a great new idea at the time). The first publication of his "Women's Physical Development" magazine arrived in 1900. It was renamed Beauty and Health shortly thereafter. Macfadden set up several healthatoriums (institutes that offered courses in physical fitness) throughout the eastern as well as midwestern parts of America.

* The first bodybuilding competition of this kind was put on by Macfadden on January 16, 1904 in the U.S at Madison Square Garden, New York City. Two of the terms used to describe it were Physique Contest and Physique competition (other than weight competitions, strength exhibitions or athletic feats) this was the main focus point of the show. Al Treloar, who was announced The Most Perfectly Developed Man in the World, won. The notable Charles Adams in 1921 and 1922 acquired fame as did other several participants in later Macfadden bodybuilding competitions.

* The first major international bodybuilding competition was the Mr. Universe contest, founded in 1947, followed by the Mr. Olympia contest in 1965.

The period between 1940 and 1970 is known as the Golden Age of bodybuilding because this is when the criterion of more muscle mass was added to the ideal bodybuilder aesthetic, along with the existing criteria of muscular symmetry and definition. World War II is often sited as the chief reason towards the growth of larger, powerful, boldly assertive attitudes. The 1977 film, Pumping Iron, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger also gave bodybuilding added publicity.

* Women's bodybuilding competition began in the 1970s (although a few women had participated in earlier contests organized by Macfadden in the U.S.)

* The International Olympic Committee granted provisional status to the sport of competitive bodybuilding in 1998 but has not yet approved it.

* With advancements in technology, bodybuilders are more massive today than they have ever been. Many competitors in today's bodybuilding competitions weigh over 250 pounds and have less than 5% body fat.


The Father of Modern Body Building

The father of modern body building, Eugen Sandow, has changed the course of athletic strongman competitions everywhere. He is the first first pioneer in the modern body building era. Sandow was born in Prussia by the name of Muller, but changed the name to Eugen Sandow as his stage name.

Sandow was always lucky to have a natural athletic physique. He left his home while still young to join the circus. He worked as an acrobat and was well known for his physique.

The circus went bankrupt and Sandow was scouted by a professional strongman named Louis Attila. Attila immediately saw Sandow's potential and took him under his wing to become his pupil. The two later parted, but kept in touch via letter.

One day Atilla wrote Sandow about a strength challenge. He had noticed an obvious prank a pair of men were pulling about strength competition. Every night the pair of men challenged the audience of the show 500 British pounds if anyone could best them at the feats of strengths. Atilla noted that their act was done by tricks, and knew that Sandow could easily best them.

Sandow easily bested the athletes and got the attention from the audience. This made him go on to start a career as an athlete competitor. People began to book him all around Britain for shows because the audience loved him.

Sandow was very happy being in different shows across Britain for four years. At that time he would show off his body, his lifting, posing, and other feats of strength. The audience loved watching his strength and athletic skills.

In 1893 Sandow journeyed to America. He did not get a good reception in America, however. Thankfully a man named Florenz Ziegfeld saw Sandow's act and decided to become his agent.

Ziegfeld was the man who brought Sandow to the Trocadero theater. The audience was used to performers who performed questionable acts of strength. They were dumbfounded when Sandow was able to perform his feats of strength because they could actually see his muscles and body while he performed. After that he went on to become a famous body builder in America.


Maximal Effort Training--Once More, With Feeling!

If you want to get stronger and faster you might want to fit maximal effort (ME) style training into your strength building program. This is when you try to regularly increase the maximum amount of weight you can do for one repetition in lifts such as the Deadlift, the Squat and the Bench press. If you have never done ME training before, it would be best that you work on getting real strong with conventional weight training and/or high intensity training (H.I.T.). ME training makes great demands on your muscular and nervous system. The main power lifts put an extreme stress on your body so you have to be well conditioned and somewhat familiar with basic knowledge of the lifts, concepts such as the differences between an advanced lifters and beginners, using equipment such as chains and bands and of course the proper way to attempt maximal lifts.

The Basic Lifts Used in Maximal Effort Training

The bench press has you lying supine on a flat bench. If you think you are using only the deltoids, pectorals and triceps, you would be wrong. If done correctly, this is a full body exercise in which your whole body is coiled up in dynamic tension with legs hooked back, balls of your feet under you and your back is arched. Ask a veteran lifter to show you. The deadlift and back squat use similar muscles but the main difference is that with the squat, the barbell rests on the back of your shoulders whereas with deadlifts, you pull from the floor. A few of the best max effort exercises for developing a strong Squat and Deadlift are Deadlifts themselves, Low Box Squats, and Good Mornings.

The Difference between an Advanced Lifter and a Beginner

Advanced lifter has a nervous system that has mastered the basic movements whereas the nervous system of the novice has no such learned motor skills. The advanced strength athlete has trained his motor units to recruit faster twitch muscle fibers than the weaker, beginning lifter. As for recovery after a heavy workout, you would think that the advanced man would recover faster than the beginner but this is not so: The novice lifter uses about 55% of muscle whereas the more advanced lifter can use up to 85%. Because the advanced lifter uses faster twitch muscle fibers, he places a greater demand on his central nervous system.

Another critical point of difference between advanced and novice is the stress adaptation factor. The advanced lifter's body has learned to handle more stress. You would be wrong if, when seeing an elite lifter perform a 700 lbs. deadlift, you assume that after years of training, 700 lbs. feels the same to him now as when he started lifting years earlier with 300 lbs. No, seven hundred pounds actually feels like seven hundred pounds! His body feels the extra (insane) stress of 400 more pounds--it's just that his body has been conditioned to handle it.

Using Chains and Bands

Chains are many times used in maximal effort training. Sometimes, to train in the deadlift, a bar is loaded with weight and suspended in a power rack below chest level. The lifter gets under the bar with it at the back of his shoulders and hoists it up with a movement called a "good morning." The reason why the good morning is done this way (instead of taking the bar off the top of the rack like a squat) is to replicate the same movement using the same muscle systems as the deadlift. Another way chains are used in maximal training is to attach long lengths of heavy chains so that they hang down on both sides of a bar when doing either squats or benches. The chains on each side are bunched together on their own in such a way that the bulk of the chain weight is on the floor at the bottom of the lift but is off the floor at the top of the lift. The effect is to help in the lockout because the bar weight will be less at the bottom than at the top. Sometimes, instead of using chains, the bar is suspended from the top of a power rack with strong elastic bands on each side. This achieves the same result as the hanging chains: the bar is lighter at the bottom of a lift than at the top.

Strongman Training

Strongman training is very much similar to maximal training in powerlifting. Strongman lifts require the strength athlete to lift all sorts of things such as stones or logs overhead so Strongman contenders train in the squat, deadlift and overhead (not bench) press. Another difference is that Strongman training emphasizes training more in lifts pulling from the floor such as variations of deadlifts than squatting.

Doing a Maximal Lift

There is obviously less safety in lifting maximal loads which start at around 90% of your one rep maximum. The possibility of injury is a risk one takes in ME style training.

"No guts, no glory," as they say.

To perform a maximal lift of one rep max and minimize the possibility of injury, you should warm up properly. Start with a lighter weight and do some reps. Rest a few minutes and add some weight. The weight to be added depends on if it is an upper body lift or a lower-body lift: For an upper body lift add 10 to 20 pounds; for a lower body lift add 20 to 40 pounds. This process of should not be repeated more than three or four times before you are "there" at or around your one rep maximum. You should be able to perform between only 1 and 3 repetitions. It is okay to do rest-paused singles but if one repetition is too easy then you need to add some more weight to the bar. If performing even one rep is difficult or impossible, then you need to drop some weight.


Because of the nature of lifting heavy, there will be more of a neurological improvement of strength than of muscle size, so don't expect to get huge with this type of training. Also, the same maximal lifts can't be done all the time because they wear out your central nervous system. Different lifts have to be substituted now and then: Maximum Close grip bench, incline and decline bench and floor press for the max bench, Max Good Mornings and different heights of max box squats for the max squat--that sort of thing.

There is a type of training called dynamic or speed training which works in conjunction with maximal training but first you should work on those ME lifts and prepare your body by getting into hard shape doing a lot of conventional weight training. And then go to it and give maximal effort training a try!


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