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Being a power athlete could be all in the genes

Being a power athlete could be all in the genes

Struggling to beat your PB’s for squats yet running your friends into the ground on the treadmill? Well, it might be less to do with being weak and more to do with your genes, according to analysts from the University of Szczecin, Poland.The...
Beginners Luck

Beginners Luck

Finding the time to squeeze in enough exercise sessions each week can be tough, especially if you’re new to the exercise game. Luckily, you don’t need to stress if you miss a workout. A study  in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness...
Take It Slow in 2015

Take It Slow in 2015

Getting fitter shouldn’t be a race to the finish. Ben Coomber says careful consideration of your options will help you make more productive decisions and changes that last Did you set a New Year’s resolution last year? Chances are you did. For a...
Making A Fresh Start

Making A Fresh Start

Kyle Clarke tells you why breaking your goals into manageable and achievable steps is the secret for long term success  The first week of a new program can leave you feeling great and hunting for a dozen new goals. However, after less than a week...
Cushion Your Steps

Cushion Your Steps

With the shorter days it’s tough to get motivated to run outside. The treadmill is a safe bet to keep your fitness up. Before you dive into any old model try Sproing treadmills  (sproingfitness.com), which have a cushioned surface that reduces the...
Hit or Myth: Blood Type Diet

Hit or Myth: Blood Type Diet

Anything that makes you pay more attention to your diet is a good thing, but some ideas don’t have much grounding in science. Research at the University of Toronto found the theory behind the popular blood type diet – which claims nutritional needs...
Why You Can't Stop

Why You Can't Stop

Some foods are difficult to put down, but this might not be entirely your fault. There are subtle factors that can cause you to overeat. These are the warning signs to look out for BLUE LIGHT Blue light is everywhere in a world of smartphones and...
Henry Cavill: Super Human Effort

Henry Cavill: Super Human Effort

It’s hard to believe that an actor who has played Superman and the statuesque son of the Greek god Poseidon was once mercilessly teased for being overweight. But when British movie star Henry Cavill was a schoolboy on the tiny island of Jersey,...
Breathe Easy Foods

Breathe Easy Foods

Power up your airways using these foods that’ll keep your lungs strong and endurance exercise powerful Trout, mushrooms, tofu Secret weapon: Vitamin D  The sunlight vitamin is proving very useful. Research in the journal Allergy found it was...
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Edge

Edge
November 19th 2013

Being a power athlete could be all in the genes

Struggling to beat your PB’s for squats yet running your friends into the ground on the treadmill? Well, it might be less to do with being weak and more to do with your genes, according to analysts...
Article

Struggling to beat your PB’s for squats yet running your friends into the ground on the treadmill? Well, it might be less to do with being weak and more to do with your genes, according to analysts from the University of Szczecin, Poland.

The authors of a study, published in the <Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research>, looked at DNA extracts from 100 power-specific athletes (i.e. power lifters) and 123 endurance athletes, all of whom competed at international level in their respective sports. Boffins also studied 344 non-athletes for comparison.

The tests, which looked at the genotype of the M235T polymorphism of the AGT gene, showed that 40% of power athletes had the 'CC' allele, compared to the 13% of endurance athletes and 18% of non-athletes.

“Identifying genetic characteristics related to athletic excellence or individual predisposition to types of sports with different demands (power or endurance oriented) or even sport specialty may be decisive in recognising athletic talent and probably will allow for greater specificity in steering of sports training programmes," says author of the study, Dr Pawel Cięszczyk.

December 12th 2013

Phones spark fitness fears

As the number of fitness apps available for smartphones continues to grow, researchers from Kent State University, Ohio, claim smartphones may actually be preventing their owners from getting...
Article

As the number of fitness apps available for smartphones continues to grow, researchers from Kent State University, Ohio, claim smartphones may actually be preventing their owners from getting fit.

The team analysed over 300 students from the Midwest regarding their mobile phone use, with 49 students having their fitness levels and body make-up assessed. Results showed those who spent up to 14 hours per day on their phones were less fit compared to those who only used their phone for 90 minutes per day.

Students who used their phones constantly were less likely to take part in physical activities, instead preferring to spend their time on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram; plus, they were often distracted by their phone when exercising.

Inject a smartphone into a group of people, and they become less physically active; that little screen has become irresistible for some people,” Andrew Lepp, co-author of the study explains. 


For all the latest fitness news, check out TRAIN magazine, in stores now!

December 12th 2013

Are oranges the world's most nutritious fruit?

Something many healthy eaters have pondered over the years is which is the most nutritional fruit, and now scientists from Yale University in New Haven may have finally found the answer. Dr David...
Article

Something many healthy eaters have pondered over the years is which is the most nutritional fruit, and now scientists from Yale University in New Haven may have finally found the answer.

Dr David Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Center, and his team of researchers have created the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System. They award points to fruits for their nutritional strengths, and take them away for any weaknesses. Eventually the fruits are left with a score out of 100.

When Katz and his team ran an orange through the mill it scored 100 out of 100, while apples and bananas scored 96 and 91 respectively. Oranges had a much higher score due to having significant amounts of fibre, folate, calcium, vitamin C, bioflavanoids and carotenoids.

If you consider the concentration of a wide array of nutrients relative to calories, the orange is the most nutritious, followed by the apple, followed by bananas,” Dr Katz explains.


TRAIN Fact: Grown in Taiwan by Huang Ah-hsien, ‘The King’ orange is believed to be the largest of its kind in the world, weighing 1.3lb and measuring 10.5cm in diameter. 

December 12th 2013

Peppermint boosts athleticism

Researchers from Iran have proven the usefulness of peppermint for athletes. The labcoats told 12 healthy male students to drink a 500ml bottle of water with 0.05ml of peppermint in it every day for...
Article

Researchers from Iran have proven the usefulness of peppermint for athletes. The labcoats told 12 healthy male students to drink a 500ml bottle of water with 0.05ml of peppermint in it every day for 10 days. They were then tested using a treadmill-based exercise. The results showed that the peppermint increased exercise performance, respiratory rate and aided blood pressure.

Not only is peppermint great for improving endurance in athletes, the aroma of peppermint oil can have a positive effect on fatigue and also depression.
 
 
Get your peppermint oil from Bodybuilding.com
December 12th 2013

Dieters need double the protein

A new study from the US Army suggests eating twice the recommended daily amount (RDA) of protein while dieting will help reduce muscle wastage.  Researchers reduced volunteers’ energy levels over a...
Article

A new study from the US Army suggests eating twice the recommended daily amount (RDA) of protein while dieting will help reduce muscle wastage. 

Researchers reduced volunteers’ energy levels over a 31-day period, while giving one group the RDA of protein, the second group double it and the third group triple it. Group two performed best in keeping muscle and losing fat.   

 

TRAIN tip: The protein RDA for males over 19 is 56g. As per the above, you’d need the equivalent of about 4½ scoops of Reflex Instant Whey each day.  

Check out Bodybuilding.com's online store for all your protein needs.

December 12th 2013

BCAAs: Get big and beat cancer

Boffins have discovered another benefit to all the BCAA (branched chain amino acids) powder you’re using for all of its fantastic muscle-building benefits.   Japanese researchers found that...
Article

Boffins have discovered another benefit to all the BCAA (branched chain amino acids) powder you’re using for all of its fantastic muscle-building benefits.  

Japanese researchers found that supplementing a diet with everyone’s favourite muscle mass booster could also help fight off liver cancer.

A study published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found taking a daily dose of between 5.5–12g of BCAAs over a two-year period provided the aforementioned health benefit. 

Starting in 2009, the scientists gave 299 participants with cirrhosis at several hospitals in Japan between 5.5g and 12g of BCAAs to consume per day or gave them none at all.  

The observers revisited with 267 of them in 2011 and discovered 23% of those who didn’t supplement had developed liver cancer, compared to only 11% of patients who consumed the BCAAs daily. The survival rate in the latter group was also increased as well. 

 

Go to Bodybuilding.com's online store for a massive range of BCAA supplements.

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Transform

Transform
December 17th 2013

Edwin Velez - Body fat fried

Name: Edwin Velez Location: Albertville, Alabama Before: Age: 26 Weight: 310lb Body Fat: 48% After: Age: 27 Weight: 160lb Body Fat: 9.4% Why I decided to transform: "After going...
Article

Name: Edwin Velez

Location: Albertville, Alabama

Before:

  • Age: 26
  • Weight: 310lb
  • Body Fat: 48%

After:

  • Age: 27
  • Weight: 160lb
  • Body Fat: 9.4%

Why I decided to transform:

"After going on a cruise with friends and looking at pictures, I noticed my weight was out of control and something needed to be done. I challenged myself to lose weight and began my journey in December 2011. I know firsthand what being overweight does to you physically, mentally, and emotionally. I know how it feels to be unable to tie your shoes without holding your breath or being told you have to sit in a special seat on a roller coaster.My life is much different now, but I'm still adapting to the new me. I still catch myself looking for the wrong sizes when I shop and still do double takes in the mirror."

How I accomplished my goals:

"Single at age 26, I set a goal to drop 100 pounds between my return from the Bahamas in November 2011 and the next trip in March 2012. I had four months to reach my goal. I started walking 45 minutes per day until I could jog for the entire time.

"I started a high-protein, low-carb diet. Fish and chicken combined with fruits and vegetables became my best friends during the process. Coming from a Latin household, the food changes were extremely difficult to maintain, but I was determined. Going from eating rice and beans with fried chicken and fried plantains on a daily basis to grilled chicken and broccoli was extremely hard. I put away all sweets and soft drinks, which were my two favorites. I recall eating 10 mini chocolate bars during a work day.

"I didn't completely eliminate carbs because they're a major source of energy. I used the "little rule." If it was originally white in color, I removed it from my diet. These foods consisted of rice, pastas, breads, crackers, and tortillas. For carbs, I ate vegetables, fruit, and whole grain cereal. When I ate out, I ordered a salad completely dry. I stayed away from ketchup and mayonnaise. I completely removed sodas, juices, and anything that wasn't water.

"I permitted one cheat meal per week. When I went out to dinner with friends, I ate whatever I wanted, but stuck to water as my beverage."

 

For Edwin's full workout and diet, check out his full feature at Bodybuilding.com.

May 22nd 2014

SUPERTRAINER: Mark Twight

THE PEDIGREE He might not be a household name (yet) or grace the front cover of magazines, but Mark Twight might just be the most important man in health and fitness. US military special operations...
Article

THE PEDIGREE

He might not be a household name (yet) or grace the front cover of magazines, but Mark Twight might just be the most important man in health and fitness. US military special operations have used his expertise to train troops, making him a valuable asset to national security, but this is often overshadowed by his crafting of the superhero Hollywood physiques such as Antje Traue, Eva Green, Russell Crowe, Henry Cavill and the cast of the 300 movies.

With the client-list to end all client-lists you’d imagine he gives some pupils special treatment: wrong. Regardless of your pay check everyone has to put in the hard yards. This is especially true when you’re training an entire cast, like he did most recently for 300: Rise of an Empire.

“The training was customized to the extent possible with such a large group (40 trainees total), but the guidelines for all of them were similar,” explains Twight. “We set a target for each actor and said, ‘OK, this is where we need to arrive – what do we need to do get to that point?’ We adapted to the individuals and adjusted the training along the way while always keeping in mind the ultimate objective.”

That’s an example of excellent forward planning that everyone should apply to their training.

 

THE WINNING ATTITUDE

Mark is no nonsense about what needs to be done to get fit, so actors and athletes are told they better come prepared to commit.

“Our training philosophy is simple,” says Twight. “It all comes down to: find the problem, fix the problem. We train a bunch of endurance athletes, and we’ve got several NFL players who work with us in the off-season. And those are two different problems.”

It seems nobody is immune to his fiercely results-based training mantra because clients need to be committed to see results. “I need someone to pay attention 24/7,” he says. “I need them to be honest with us so we can fine tune on a daily basis what needs to be done according to the stress from work and what’s going on: the fact they live in a hotel and that once shooting starts they work 12–16 hour days.

“We have to fit the training into that while also dealing with the guy who needs to blow off steam and says, ‘Hey, I’m going to go drink a bottle of vodka.’ To that I say, ‘OK, well we’ll train tomorrow at two.’”

It’s that kind of adaptive response from Twight that solidifies his reputation for being the best at what he does: motivating, inspiring and delivering physical results. So you can expect to see more big things from him because the real hero is the man behind the muscle.

June 9th 2014

Take Your Training To New Heights

If you can’t get to the mountain then bring the mountain to you, and that’s how hypoxic training works – altitude training done at sea level. The higher you train above sea level, the less oxygen...
Article

If you can’t get to the mountain then bring the mountain to you, and that’s how hypoxic training works – altitude training done at sea level.

The higher you train above sea level, the less oxygen there is. It works because when your kidneys sense there isn’t enough oxygen in the blood to fuel your exercise they release a hormone that prompts the body to make more red blood cells. They begin to carry the small amounts of oxygen that you’re getting from your lungs into your muscles.

After a few sessions this does lead to performance improvements, especially when you train at sea level because you’ll have more red blood cells floating in your blood. And they carry additional energy-yielding oxygen to your muscles.

But is this the exclusive pursuit of endurance aficionados or can everyone benefit? 

Read on to find out everything you need to get a chokehold on improving your performance. 

 

How long does it last? 

Training with your head in the clouds doesn’t give never-ending endurance because the advantage only lasts for 10 to 15 days, found research in Journal of Applied Physiology. That’s because your body will eventually have to return to normal. This is why endurance athletes often live in high altitudes and compete at sea level. 

The difference between hypoxic and altitude training

Hypoxic is altitude training at sea level, but living at high altitudes means there is no escape to normal levels of O2. Which is better?

Well, research in High Altitude Medicine and Biology compared altitude and hypoxic training and found that living in high altitudes rather than training at low altitudes improves VO2max by 13% (a benchmark for aerobic fitness) and can boost long to medium distance running times (events lasting more than 20 minutes).

Not everyone has a mountain-top gym so just make the best of what you have available. 

 

Will it improve strength athletes? 

This type of training is a well-known plaything of endurance athletes but it can also improve the size of your guns.

Research in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance found that it actually boosts anaerobic performance and might help you build more muscle and strength than training in normal environments.

There is some controversy to this because each person is likely to respond differently, so trial and error might be the best approach to see if it works for you. 

 

Burn more calories

Doing your fat burning in a hypoxic chamber might deliver a leaner stomach. 

Construction workers who worked at high altitudes reduced their body fat by 10.2% within one month of moving from a sea level site, found a study at the Research Center for High Altitude Medicine.

It’s thought this happens because high altitudes reduce your appetite while your body begins to rely more on stored carbs and fats for energy rather than just the food you eat.

June 1st 2014

Rise and Shine

Perhaps more than any other meal, breakfast is at the mercy of our daily routine — or lack thereof. Even those of us (which is probably all of us) who have heard that it’s ‘the most important meal...
Article

Perhaps more than any other meal, breakfast is at the mercy of our daily routine — or lack thereof. Even those of us (which is probably all of us) who have heard that it’s ‘the most important meal of the day’ can sometimes be found skipping it while we we’re rushing to get out the door.

Or we’ll dip donuts into coffee and assume it’s better than nothing. Or we’ll pack in large servings of whole-grains in the hope they’ll give us ‘long-lasting energy throughout the day.’

 

BREAKFAST CAN STRATEGICALLY ASSIST YOUR GOALS

Well, I’m here to tell you that the aura surrounding breakfast is well deserved, and that skipping it is bad news. Studies have found that people who don’t eat breakfast tend to overeat during the rest of the day and have more body fat overall.

In addition, research has shown that what you eat at breakfast determines how well your metabolism functions for the remainder of the day – for better and worse.

As you might expect, then, breakfast can also be geared strategically to your goals. Since your goals include losing fat, building muscle and achieving a healthy body composition, let’s dig into the perfect macros for the morning.

 

PROTEIN: GET ENOUGH!

As you might expect, anabolism (protein synthesis) is at its lowest and catabolism (muscle breakdown) is greatest after an overnight fast. This is significant, because Americans typically consume most of their protein at lunch and dinner, with only insignificant amounts at breakfast.

Research has found a threshold amount of protein, 30–40g, that must be consumed to trigger muscle protein synthesis. This amount is far above what you’ll get from a typical Western breakfast of a bagel, cream cheese and orange juice. Eat like that and you set yourself up to remain in a catabolic state.

Aside from the anabolic benefits of protein, research has shown that consuming higher-protein breakfasts makes individuals feel fuller throughout the day, all while burning more fat than with lower amounts of protein. Accordingly, I recommend 30–40g of high-quality protein at the first meal of the day.

 

CARBOHYDRATES: SPEED KILLS

The quality of the carbs you eat at breakfast seems to matter as much, or perhaps more than the quantity, within reason. Your choices? Fast-digesting carbs in the form of sugars, starches and flours, or slow-digesting fibrous carbs like oatmeal.

In a study conducted by a Dr EJ Stevenson, subjects who ate a slow-digesting breakfast three hours before performing exercise appeared to burn fat two to three times faster than those who were given a fast-digesting morning meal.

In addition, high-fiber, low-glycemic breakfasts can contribute to satiety over the course of the day. Fast-digesting carbs, as their name implies, tend to leave you hankering for more of the same junk food far too soon.

 

DON’T FORGET THE FAT

Do you think cutting back on trashy carbs in the morning means you skimp on fat too? Well, let me tell you now, it doesn’t.

Researchers from the University of Alabama in Birmingham performed a series of experiments where subjects were fed either a high-fat breakfast (45:35:20 fat, carbs and protein), or a high-carb, low-fat breakfast (10:70:20). The high-fat breakfast was followed by eight hours of high-carb eating (10:70:20) while the high-carb breakfast was followed by eight hours of high-fat eating (45:35:20). This continued for 12 weeks.

Astoundingly, even though the total macros were similar between groups, subjects who ate a high-fat breakfast burned more fat throughout the day, and they were leaner than the high-carb breakfast eaters!

The takeaway is that breakfast programs your metabolism for the rest of the day. A high-carb breakfast will cause you to rely primarily on carbohydrates for energy the rest of the day, whereas a higher-fat, lower-carbohydrate breakfast will program your metabolism to run on fat.

June 25th 2014

Murph the Mighty

On June 28, 2005, Michael Murphy was deployed in Afghanistan to look for the commander of insurgents known as the Mountain Tigers. But it was in the remote mountains of Kunar provinve that he and...
Article

On June 28, 2005, Michael Murphy was deployed in Afghanistan to look for the commander of insurgents known as the Mountain Tigers. But it was in the remote mountains of Kunar provinve that he and three of his fellow SEALs became drastically outnumbered by the Taliban.

After several hours of battle and with his radio out of commission, he left his position of cover to make his way with a satellite phone to a clearing so he could get a reception and call for reinforcements while bullets rained down around him.

Sadly, he took a fatal hit, but showed immense bravery and courage by still making the call for reinforcements and continuing to fight for his team.

He put his life directly in harm’s way to save his comrades and protect his country with pride. It’s for this reason that his legend resonates so powerfully and spawned a Hollywood recreation in his honor.

 

A HERO FROM EARLY ON

This wasn’t an isolated heroic incident because he earned his nickname ‘The Protector’ after getting suspended in school for fighting bullies who were picking on a special needs child, and then for intervening when people were picking on a homeless man.

He also wasn’t someone without options because he graduated from Pennsylvania State University with honors and dual degrees in political science and psychology, but wanted to serve his country and so enlisted with the Navy.

After his death he was awarded the Medal of Honor, America’s highest military decoration, for his actions on that day and became the first member of the Navy to receive that award since the Vietnam War.

The workout below was named as a homage to ‘Murph’ in recognition of the courage and grit he showed during battle and throughout his life. Do this session with pride and you’ll pay Murphy and your physique a fitting tribute. 

 

Complete this WOD named in honor of Navy SEAL lieutenant Michael Murphy as fast as you can

 

Step 1: One-mile run

 

Step 2: Pull-up

Muscles: Back, biceps, abs, forearms 

A) Grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip that’s shoulder width apart. If you’re advanced then attach a lifting belt around your waist and hang weights off it, or use a weighted vest. 

Hang at arm’s length so your elbows are completely extended. 

B) Bend your elbows to pull yourself up until your chin crosses the plane of the bar. Pause then slowly lower yourself to the starting position without allowing your body to sway.

 

Step 3: Push-up

Muscles: Shoulders, chest, triceps, abs

A) Lie face-down on the ground. Support your body with the balls of your feet and place your hands shoulder width apart. Keep your arms straight but not locked. 

B) Bend your elbows, keeping them tucked to your sides, to lower yourself to the floor. When your chest touches the floor straighten your elbows to push back up the start.

 

Step 4: Bodyweight squat

Muscles: Glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, abs

A) Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. 

B) Bend your hips and knees simultaneously to lower yourself toward the ground. Stop when the bottoms of your thighs become parallel to the floor but go deeper if this feels comfortable. Keep your back straight and knees in line with your feet. Rise to the start position along the same path by straightening your knees. 

 

Step 5: One-mile run

June 27th 2014

A Novice's Guide to Training

If you’re a gym newbie, choosing the right exercises can be a minefield, so here are TRAIN’s top weight-room tips to achieve the perfect physique.   If you read lots of strength training articles...
Article

If you’re a gym newbie, choosing the right exercises can be a minefield, so here are TRAIN’s top weight-room tips to achieve the perfect physique.

 

If you read lots of strength training articles intended for intermediate and advanced guys – and you’re still a beginner – you might find yourself disappointed with the lack of basic information. There may be tons of talk on sets, reps, progression schemes and the like, but the authors often assume you already have a basic idea of the exercises you’re going to use.

That assumption is fine for lifters who’ve already put in a few years in the weight-room, but what about you?

While exercise selection isn’t as complicated – or even as critical – as some gurus make it out to be, any beginner needs to understand the basic movements that work for his or her body.

Plus, you’ve got to understand how you should go about substituting some exercises for others when you’re hurt, you’re fatigued or a given movement just doesn’t feel right for your body type.

Here are a few basic considerations that will help you plan out your routine.

 

Building Muscle & Maximal Strength

Whether you’re an aspiring bodybuilder, a soon-to-be powerlifter or even just a newbie gym rat who wants to look better, your goals are basically the same – build muscle and strength. To that end, you’ll need to choose a few bread-and-butter movements to form the cornerstone of your workouts. Unless you’re permanently injured or missing body parts, these are going to be the squat, press and pull.

When it comes to squatting, nothing beats the barbell back squat, but even then there are different variations to choose from. You can place the bar high or low on your back, you can vary your foot placement from ultra-wide to ultra-narrow, and while I always want to see lifters squatting at least to parallel, your flexibility may allow you to nearly touch your ass to the floor.

Rather than focusing on working specific muscle groups, though, just pick the form which allows you to use the most weight and progress the fastest. For most guys, a moderately wide foot placement, a low bar position and just-below-parallel depth are going to be ideal – but don’t be afraid to play around with it!

For pressing, I like the flat barbell bench press for anyone with healthy shoulders. If you’re beginning your training with pre-existing shoulder issues, however, or if the flat bench just doesn’t feel right, feel free to swap it for incline presses or decline presses at a slight angle.

Stick with the barbell, though! Advanced guys may need to worry about the extra ‘stretch’ and pec recruitment they get from dumbbell presses, but when you’re first starting out, you don’t want to rely on exercises that limit the weight you can use.

In addition to some form of benching, you should try your hardest to find some form of overhead pressing that doesn’t aggravate your shoulders. Again, I like the most basic move, the standing, strict military press, but not everyone can do it without shoulder pain. If that’s you, the seated dumbbell overhead press is a fine substitution.

Whatever you do, though, don’t substitute the seated barbell press for the military press just because you don’t want to stand up and sacrifice some weight on the bar. Lift heavy, but don’t let your ego get in the way of proper program design!

Finally, just about everyone’s mainstay pulling exercise should be the conventional deadlift. Guys with football backgrounds may favor the clean, but I find that it’s far too technical to allow for constant progression, and you’ll never even approach the kinds of weights you’ll be able to lift on the deadlift.

If you can’t do the conventional deadlift without aggravating your spring – even with a neutral back and great form – swap it for the wider-stance sumo deadlift. Sumo isn’t as great for building overall strength and mass, but it’s far better than not deadlifting at all!

 

Accessory Movements

Those four movements – the squat, flat press, overhead press, and pull – will pack on more mass and develop more overall strength than anything else, and just about every beginner should spend half of their gym time or more on just those exercises.

However, there are still plenty of other exercises that can help fill in the gaps and produce a well-rounded physique.

First and foremost you’ll need to pick a few movements for your lats, traps and upper back. These muscle groups will make you look wide, thick and powerful, and they’re crucial for stabilizing your entire body when performing any heavy upper-body or lower-body lift.

In general, you’ll want to pick some sort of row, some kind of pull-up, and if you’ve got some energy left over, some kind of shrug.

Opt for free weights over machines – at least until you’ve put in some time with the basics – and make sure you’re progressing in weight and reps just as you should be with your main exercises.

Next you’ll want to pick some accessory pressing movements. While you won’t need a ton of extra pressing volume on top of your benching and military pressing, you will want a little extra work for your chest, shoulders and triceps.

I really love dips myself, and I think anyone with healthy shoulders should do them religiously. As far as other free-weight movements are concerned, I’d go with a couple of different dumbbell presses. You can pick between flat, decline, incline, overhead and all angles in between – just make sure you’re consistent with your setup, and as always, strive for more weight or reps every session.

Finally, you’ll probably want to include some extra work for the ‘show’ muscles – the biceps, triceps, calves and abs. For biceps and triceps, there is no need to take the advanced bodybuilder route and try out 100 different variations of curls and extensions.

Most guys have success with basic dumbbell or barbell curls, as well as some hammer curls and reverse curls for forearms.

For triceps, stick mainly to cable extensions with various attachments. They’ll allow you to go decently heavy without trashing your elbows.

For calves, the choice is obvious – calf raises! One seated and one standing variation are more than enough, and there’s no need to fuss over different machines, angles and the like.

I’ve found that every guy with great calves fits into one of two categories: he was blessed with genetically huge calves and never even has to train them, or he brought them up from nothing with some of the most intensely painful, calf-burning workouts imaginable. When it comes to these stubborn muscles, your intensity and pain tolerance matter far more than your exercise selection!

Finally, you should train your abs the way you train any other muscle – with heavy weight! Unless you just really enjoy the satisfaction of a stomach-torching ab workout, stick to heavy sit-ups and side-bends. Other than losing body fat, that’s the only thing that’s going to make your abs ‘pop’ a little bit more, and the heavy work will actually make your core stronger for squats, deadlifts and other heavy movements that require full-body stabilization.

 

Bringing Up Your Weak Points

Now you know all the basic exercises you need to start building mass and strength – but what about your weak points? To put it bluntly, if you’re enough of a beginner to need this article, you don’t have weak points – everything on you is weak!

You shouldn’t feel down about that since you’re just starting out, but it’s the straight truth.

Even if you begin with disproportionate strength levels between your upper and lower body, between your squat and deadlift, etc., you can’t really tell what’s weak until you’ve trained for a period of time.

Only once you get to the intermediate level will you start to see real weak areas in your lifts and in your physique. But you can’t possibly develop or recognize these kinds of weak points until you’ve spent a couple of years squatting, pressing, pulling and building a base of muscle mass. So for now, treat everything like it’s weak, and leave no stone unturned in your quest for the perfect physique!

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Power

Power
December 17th 2013

Slapshot your cardio

If you were asked to name the top 10 sports in which athletes need killer cardio levels, you probably wouldn't have placed ice hockey near the top. But you'd be mistaken! Just think about it: ice...
Article

If you were asked to name the top 10 sports in which athletes need killer cardio levels, you probably wouldn't have placed ice hockey near the top. But you'd be mistaken!

Just think about it: ice hockey stars, like the Boston Bruins' captain Zdeno Chara, are constantly involved in high-intensity plays that last on average between 45 and 90 seconds! That doesn't sound like much, until you compare it to the NFL where plays last on average just eight seconds.

And if you're still not convinced, think about this: Chara regularly takes his bicycle on vacation so he can complete some of the toughest mountain stages of  the 3,000-mile Tour de France course – just for kicks!

 

Bodbuilding.com athlete Preston Noble's four cardio-centric warm-up exercises

If you've got your heart, body and mind set on completing a killer cardio session then you have to warm up properly beforehand.

And the reason is: 75 to 80% of your body is water, and it's the water in your bloodstream that delivers all those vital nutrients to your muscles, so not getting the heart pumped up can lead to strains. Plus, you'll avoid those niggling knee and shoulder injuries because completing a good warm-up will lubricate your joints.

So just try out this simple program, which includes four simple movements that will target your hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors. All four are done on the treadmill. But don't put it on an incline and don't take the speed above 2mph.

  1. ALTERNATING ONE-LEGGED HURDLE

Simply walk on the treadmill and lift one leg at a time as though you were stepping over a hurdle. This is to warm up the hip flexors.

  1. ALTERNATING ONE-LEGGED BUTT KICK BACKS

This motion has lots of names you can generally see women doing it on the stair stepper. Basically, all you are doing is kicking your leg back and curling it, which squeezes the glutes.

  1. ALTERNATING LUNGES

This is a really simple one. Just do a lunge as you would on the ground, but this time, of course, the floor is moving under you. Make sure you have the treadmill on a very slow speed.

  1. ALTERNATING KNEE-UPS

Simply walk along on the treadmill, as with the three other exercises, and give your abs a good squeeze while lifting up your knee to your chest. This is a great warm-up exercise for your core.

Do one warm-up exercise for 30 seconds and then walk for another 30 seconds before moving on to the next movement. Generally, between five and 10 minutes should be sufficient to get the blood pumping enough.

December 17th 2013

Finding your edge

Whether you’re sports performance-minded, or simply interested in improving your physique, you surely wouldn’t turn your nose up at bigger, stronger legs that last. And certainly not if getting...
Article

Whether you’re sports performance-minded, or simply interested in improving your physique, you surely wouldn’t turn your nose up at bigger, stronger legs that last. And certainly not if getting there meant leg days were more about a blaze of glory rather than tedious repetition, right?

Then take a tip from cross-country skiers. By balancing their ski training with either explosive speed-based movements or heavy-weight-based power work, they build leg strength to make most gym flies jealous.

How? When ski training intensity is high, they focus on speed in the weights room; and when it’s low, they focus on heavy lifting. Since adding the power training to her schedule, cross-country ski Olympian Caitlin Gregg has set multiple PBs and has now set her sights on qualifying for February’s 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

The strength training focuses on the major movements, as there’s no need to wear her out with volume. Squats, clean and jerk, snatches, deadlifts and body-weight exercises make up the majority of the drills.

And we broke the training down into two lifting days per week. Day one was lower-body strength, and day two was explosion. We never work above five reps and keep sets for each lift between three and five.

The speed training focuses around jumping and short-burst sprinting. It’s about building power and moving as fast as possible. We work different box jump and long jump variations in addition to our short-burst sprinting – the majority of the sprints are between 10 and 30 yards (the longest sprints in the program are 80 yards).

We incorporated that speed training in with the strength workouts, hitting both twice a week. 


Bodybuilding.com athlete Kizzito Ejam's three tips to break your PB

  1. INCREASE YOUR SETS

Adding more sets per exercise will increase the load capacity of your muscles. So, if you normally do three sets at 6-8 reps, start doing five sets at 6-8 reps. You're training your muscle to endure a heavy load of weight for a longer period of time. Doing this for a few weeks will increase your muscle endurance capacity. When you return to your regular three sets of 6-8 reps, the amount of weight you can lift will increase.

  1. ADD NEGATIVES

There are two parts to any lift: cocentric (lifting) and eccentric (lowering). The cocentric is considered the weakest part of a lift. The eccentric contraction is the strongest stage. With that in mind, a great way to break past a plateau is by killing the strongest part of your lift with negative, meaning lift the weight and count five seconds as you slowly bring it down. Doing this will increase the strength in your overall lift.

  1. ONE-REP MAX IMMEDIATELY TO 80%

 

My favorite ways to push past my plateaus, but you may need a spotter. After you’ve finished warming-up for your workout, put on an amount of weight you’ve never done before – over your one–rep max. Do one rep out then rest for two minutes. Repeat. Once completed, unload to the weight you’ve always maxed out at. You’ll see how much easier it will be to lift, since you’ve fooled/trained you body into feeling a heavier weight.

December 17th 2013

Train like Chris Hemsworth

The inaugural issue of TRAIN, the health and fitness magazine the industry had been crying out for, came out of the gates flying with a world exclusive interview with muscle-bound movie star Chris...
Article

The inaugural issue of TRAIN, the health and fitness magazine the industry had been crying out for, came out of the gates flying with a world exclusive interview with muscle-bound movie star Chris Hemsworth in its very first issue.

In the article, Hemsworth reveals how he managed to cut 30lb of pure beef after playing larger-than-life superhero Thor in the 2012 summer blockbuster, The Avengers, to star as the womanizing and drug-abusing Formula 1 racing legend James Hunt in Ron Howard’s Rush and then stack the brawn back on again to once more wield the mighty hammer of his superhero alter-ego for the 2013 box-office smash Thor: The Dark World – all in just 12 months.

During the interview, Hemsworth details the incredible struggle he endured cutting the weight and the strict high-protein diet that helped him pack the muscle back on, saying: “It was pretty brutal, man.

“The first thing Ron Howard said to me when I got the Rush job was, ‘I don’t know if Thor is going to fit into a race car.’

“I was filming The Avengers when I got his call, so I went from 215lb, which is how much I weigh when I’m playing Thor, down to about 185lb, and that was all in about four months.

“I immediately went from weightlifting into cardio training to shed that extra 30lb, which was a pretty nasty thing to do. I’d rather put on weight any time. I was basically under fed and over trained for a number of months.

“I had to mainly get rid of the muscle because I didn’t really have much body fat on me after The Avengers either.”

But once filming for Rush had finished, Hemsworth had to bulk straight back up to play the Norse god once more.

He says: “I bulked up for about eight weeks and then slowly cut down for maybe a month or so. I had to be pretty strategic with food: eat for value.

“I spent a lot of time in the gym. I had to work out for an hour or two every day and eat ridiculous amounts of protein. And closer to the shoot I was pretty much carb-free.

“I did do a lot of functional training. I would do circuits and bodyweight exercises for more functional strength: stuff like chin-ups and pull-ups and box jumps, and even some CrossFit stuff. I also worked with kettlebells. Man, that’s intense.”

But if Hemsworth thought that was intense, he was in for a real shock because things were about to get a lot tougher as the first day of filming for The Avengers approached.

 

Thor's upper-body hammer workout

Using the weight of his hammer, Mjolnir, here’s a workout that even a Norse god could use to stay in shape…

PROGRAM: Perform six to eight reps for as many sets as you can on each drill for up to six minutes. Rest for one minute and then repeat for another two rounds.

TRAIN Tip: Perfect your techniques before increasing weight as there’s a lot of rotational movement involved in the workout.

1. OVERHEAD TWO-HANDED SLAMS

Hit a big tire while holding a heavy hammer in both hands. Great for all-over conditioning, it will also improve the rotational strength in your shoulders and arms. Alternate sides.

2. SINGLE-ARM CHOP

This will develop your hand, wrist and shoulder stability, as well as your strength. Use a lighter hammer than previously and alternate arms.

3. SINGLE-ARM TRICEP LIFT AND SLAM

Gripping the lighter hammer with one hand, twist it behind your back before lifting it vertically using just your triceps muscle and slamming it down on a tire. Alternate arms.

4. SIDEWAYS CHOP

Swing the hammer at a big tire as though playing the ninth hole on a golf course. This will hit the hips and core while strengthening your mid section. Alternate from side to side.

5. SINGLE-HAND ROUND-THE-WORLD

Hold hammer in one hand, then cast it around your opposite shoulder and behind your head. Taking it back to the upright position. Alternate.

6. OVERHEAD STRIKE SQUAT

Grab the hammer with both hands and bring it back over your head before chopping down on a tire while bending at the knees. Perform this drill with a heavy hammer.

7. DOUBLE-HANDED SHOVEL

Bring the hammer from over your shoulder while dipping and perform a front lever with it. Bring it back vertically behind your head. Repeat without pausing and alternate.

 

Bulk up like Hemsworth

Do you want to become a Norse god? Here’s an example of Chris Hemsworth’s daily diet plan that helped him gain 30lb of muscle to become Thor.

Breakfast:

  • 1 cup of oatmeal
  • 1 sliced banana
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • Full-fat milk
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 50g cheese
  • Protein shake
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice

Dinner:

  • 3 salmon fillets
  • 100g quinoa
  • 100g asparagus
  • Yogurt
  • 1 glass full-fat milk

Supper:

  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 2 slices brown bread
  • Protein shake

 

Got to Bodybuilding.com to watch an exclusive interview with Hemsworth's Thor: The Dark World co-star Jaimie Alexander.

December 17th 2013

'Boulder Shoulders' workout

One of the coolest pieces of kit to help bring shoulder workouts back to life are stone locks. They are an old school training device, used by Shaolin monks. In China thousands of years ago iron...
Article

One of the coolest pieces of kit to help bring shoulder workouts back to life are stone locks. They are an old school training device, used by Shaolin monks. In China thousands of years ago iron wasn’t plentiful so the monks would either carve them by hand or mold cast them with whatever was available.

The angle is designed in such as way that not only does it strengthen your shoulders, but the entire arm as well. The monks would incorporate these into their daily exercises.

 

Shaolin Boulder Shoulders

  1. ONE-LEGGED FRONT RAISE

Stand on one leg, to activate the core, and raise the pad lock to shoulder height. 20 reps each side.

  1. ONE-LEGGED SIDE RAISE

Stand on one leg and raise the pad lock to the side. Do not raise the arms above your shoulder line. 20 reps each side.

  1. HORSE STANCE PUNCH

Stand square on with your knees bent with the padlocks raised in a boxing-style guard position. Now punch forward, alternating arms. Do 30-second bursts.

  1. FULL UPPERCUT

Stand in a fight or parallel stance. Keep the locks at shoulder level. Now lower one lock down to your waist and then turn your hip and punch the lock up to the opposite shoulder then repeat on the other side. Do 20 reps.

  1. FRONT-TO-SIDE RAISE

Stand with your knees bent. Raise the lock in front of your body to shoulder level and then bring your shoulder blades together as your move the locks out to the side. Lower to your hips then raise them again to restart the movement. Do 20 reps.

  1. RENEGADE ROW

Place the locks under your shoulder and get into a push-up position. Next push down on one lock as you pull up the other. Do 10 reps.

TRAIN tip: Try to keep your hips level the whole time you are alternating arms.

  1. LUNGE-TO-SIDE RAISE

Standing upright, step forward into the lunge and raise the locks to your sides at shoulder height. When you press back from a lunge return the locks to your sides. Do 20 reps.

  1. BURPEE TO PUNCH-OUT

Start with the locks on the ground either side of your feet. As you shoot your legs back, drop down into a push-up holding the locks, then explode your feet back to your hands and stand-up and punch the locks forward. Do 10 reps.

December 18th 2013

5 tips for serious muscle growth

We all know there are two things that have to happen for you to build muscle: firstly, you need to be training hard and heavy; and secondly, you need to eat your face off. Have you even seen someone...
Article

We all know there are two things that have to happen for you to build muscle: firstly, you need to be training hard and heavy; and secondly, you need to eat your face off. Have you even seen someone try and go on a diet, or lean out, during the holiday season? It’s almost painful to watch, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone succeed.

Instead, why not make the most of this special time of year, where you tend to have more time off (and copious amounts of food at your disposal), to get serious about adding some size to that frame? After all, if you put on a few extra pounds of muscle now, when you do lean out in the spring and summer, you'll have an even more impressive physique next year.

If I'm speaking your language, I've got five muscle-building tips that are guaranteed to fast track your progress. Use them for rapid muscle growth, and I guarantee you'll be impressed with the results!

1. Go Big or Go Home

When it comes to leg training, I love exercises like single-leg RDL's, step-ups and the like. And almost everyone enjoys blasting their guns with some isolation work, or chasing a searing pump on shoulder raise variations. But this month, as the saying goes, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" This month, it's all about big, compound lifts.

Even your 'assistance' exercises for the month should be of the compound variety. Think RDL's, dips, close-grip benches and similar exercises that really allow you to push weight, getting bigger and stronger in the process.

Last but not least, you need to push the weights to make maximum progress. Using sets of five for your main exercises will allow us to use heavy weights, tax the fast-twitch muscle fibers, and works hand-in-hand with the other training tips that are coming up.

2. Drop Sets for Big Gains

What's better than using big lifts to start your workout? Using them to take your gains to the next level! Let's say you've just polished off a heavy set of fives on the squat. Instead of simply moving on to the next exercise, drop the load 5-10% and continue hitting fives for another one to three sets based on how you’re feeling during the workout.

If you’re feeling great, perform up to three extra sets. If you’re feeling a bit rundown, only perform one drop set. This is a great way to accrue more volume, and make sure you're spending more time on the exercises that will provide maximum return on investment.

3. Use the Strength-Aerobic Method

The strength-aerobic method is a protocol that allows you to develop both slow and fast-twitch muscle fibers in one awesome session. By changing the performance of an exercise slightly, you can focus more specifically on either the fast- or slow-twitch fibers.

To use the strength-aerobic method, pick out a big lift like squats or bench presses. You're going to push the weight on heavy sets of five (or something similar), until you become fatigued. From there, you're going to drop the weight substantially and focus on what's called tempo training. This is an awesome tool in your toolbox, because it's going to preferentially develop slow-twitch muscle fibers.

4. Work Fast

A common issue for trainees who want to get bigger is they don't work fast enough in their training sessions. Strength coach Ian King often refers to his "Neural-Metabolic" continuum.

On one side of the continuum you have a more nervous-system-based program (i.e. more sets, fewer reps, longer rest periods, etc.). On the other side you have a more metabolic-focused program (i.e. fewer sets, more reps, and shorter rest periods).

If your goal is to get strong like a powerlifter, you want three, five and even as long as 10 minutes between sets so that you have time for full recovery of the nervous system. However, if your goal is to get huge, you need to shorten those rest periods considerably and get after it!

5. Include Low-Intensity Cardio

Have you ever wondered why some of the biggest bodybuilders do some form of low-intensity cardio year round? While it definitely keeps excess body fat at bay, it does something else that's important, too – it builds your peripheral vascular network.

Huh? Think about it like this: We all know we need to eat protein to build our muscles, right? But how do you actually get stuff like protein, or oxygen, to your muscles? The answer is: blood.

And how do you get more blood to your muscles? Easy. You create a vascular system designed to get blood there more effectively.

Low-intensity cardio is great for cardiac development, but it's also quite powerful for developing your vascular system. After all, what's the point of building all this new muscle if you don't have the means to support it?

Summary

As a newbie, putting on size is relatively easy. If you’ve never pushed yourself in the gym, it feels as though just thinking about lifting and eating enough food allows you to pack on muscle at an appreciable rate.

But for someone that trains, you're not quite as lucky. You've exhausted your newbie gains, and it's time to pull out the big guns in your programming.

Use the tips above, and you'll be guaranteed to put on some bulk this holiday season.

 

For a full workout guide to accompany this article, get issue 1 of TRAIN magazine

December 19th 2013

Heavy rope workout

The program starts off with 20-second sessions and 20-second rest intervals. Then build up to 40 seconds with 20 seconds' rest. It will be very surprising how fast this will kick your butt. 1. PALM...
Article

The program starts off with 20-second sessions and 20-second rest intervals. Then build up to 40 seconds with 20 seconds' rest. It will be very surprising how fast this will kick your butt.

1. PALM DOWN SLAMS - Grab the rope with some slack in it and alternate right arm and left arm. Make sure you use your whole body when performing the action.

2. PALM UP PUMMELS  - Grab the rope with the palm up and alternate arms while you create a wave pattern with the ropes. 

3. DOUBLE ROTATIONAL SLAMS - Grab the rope with a palm-down grip and, as in judo, rotate your hips as though you are throwing someone from side to side. 

4. ROPE JACKS - Grab the ropes and perform a set of jumping jacks.


Heavy rope training benefits:

  • Extreme grip strength
  • Full-body explosiveness 
  • Ease of use
  • Great for interval training
  • Fun as hell
  • Carry over in to many sports
Read all news

Overhaul

Overhaul
November 20th 2013

Knee-jerk reaction

KNEE-JERK REACTIONAlthough most fighters will fit in several cardio based sessions per week as well as their gruelling training regime, injuries, thankfully, are a rarity. That aside, the yearly...
Article

KNEE-JERK REACTION

Although most fighters will fit in several cardio based sessions per week as well as their gruelling training regime, injuries, thankfully, are a rarity. That aside, the yearly incidence rate for injuries suffered by recreational runners while pounding the pavements or treadmill is between 37 and 56%.

The highest percentage of those occurs at the knee, a joint that’s prone to damage due to its relative instability, either by misalignment or muscular imbalance. Too much, too fast, too quick, poor exercise selection or execution makes the joint vulnerable to overtraining.

The knee gives support to the body and allows propulsion during the gait cycle. Propulsion can be either moving the body in walking/running or acceleration of the movement of the foot rapidly as in kicking.

The stability of the knee joint is due to an array of ligaments connecting the tibia (lower limb) and femur (upper limb). The strong muscles surrounding the joint are activated in response to tensions within the muscles. The two main ligaments are the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) which stops unwanted twisting between the two adjoining bones and prevents a forward glide of the tibia on the femur. The other ligament is the PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) which sits behind the knee and also prevents twisting motion and any backwards glide of the tibia upon the femur.

ANTERIOR CRUCIATE LIGAMENT AND MENISCUS TEAR

The two menisci in the knee rest between the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) both medially and laterally. The main function of the meniscus is to distribute weight evenly in the leg to prevent damage to the knee joint.

Most common traumatic meniscus tears occur when the knee joint is bent (flexed position) and the knee is then twisted. It is not uncommon for the meniscus tear to coincide with anterior and medial cruciate ligament damage.

Signs to look for include pain along the joint line, locking sensation, generalised ache in the knee or feeling of weakness and insecurity around the knee (a feeling like it will give way). You can expect minimal swelling and a full range of movement with pain only at the end of range.
The ACL can be injured by twisting the knee or because of an impact to the side of the knee, often the outside.

Amazingly a recent study showed 76% of ACL injuries are missed by a primary physician, so it’s important you keep a careful history of any problems you have. Any twisting,  cracking, popping, immediate pain, swelling within four hours (usually immediate) and a situation in which you have to stop the initial activity would suggest a cruciate tear until proven otherwise -- and recognising the injury can save a career. The extent of the injury is determined by the degree of damage to the ligament.  If the ligament has been stretched and not torn there will be a minimal amount of swelling. In order to diagnose correctly there are questions that need to be addressed:

1. What was the activity? Has activity changed or increased?
2. What was the force? Was it due to a fall or a takedown?
3. What happened to the knee? If it was twisted then either of the cruciate ligaments or the meniscus will most likely have been affected.
4. Was the knee hyperextended or flexed? If it was then it’s more often a muscular issue, although occasionally it could have affected the ACL.
5. Did it swell? When? A watershed of four hours divides cruciate injury from meniscus and ligament injury which normally takes four hours or more.
6. Did you have to stop immediately? If so, this could be the result of a cruciate Injury or occasionally a fracture of the tibia.
7. Did you hear anything such as the pops and cracks that are common in cruciate injury?
8. Was there pain? When? Within four hours divides cruciate injury from meniscus and ligament injury which normally takes four hours or more.

PATELLOFEMORAL PAIN – RUNNER’S KNEE

Damage to the knee accounts for more than half of all sports injuries and is often the result of individual quadricep muscle weakness, tightness of other related muscle groups, imbalances around the knee and quite often poor footwear choices.

Other causes include a weakness in the VMO (vastus medialis obliquus), a muscle that plays a key role in stabilising the patella, and allows the quads to work effectively. Weakness in this muscle can lead to maltracking which can cause anterior knee pain and tension in the iliotibial band as a result of an imbalance, and this can go as high as the gluteus medius/minimus.

Exercise, excessive bending, pain when contracting the quadriceps and pain during weight bearing are all signs of patellofemoral pain.

Knee injuries can be split into acute or overuse injuries. Acute can be caused by trauma and normally involves an improper balance between strength and mobility of muscles’ components, ligament strength and the forces put through them.

Overuse injuries are caused by repetitive movements and triggered biomechanical factors tend to be the underlying problem. Acute injuries, in which the foot is fixed during a fall or when excessive force is applied during a twist, can cause structures of the knee to become severely damaged.
Immediate treatment for all of the above injuries is recommended by initially following the procedure below, which is aptly labelled P.R.I.C.E.

P - Protect
Protect yourself from any further damage to the area by stopping the activity. If the injury isn't too severe, it may only require taping.

R - Rest
The first 48 hours following an occurrence is when severe swelling and bleeding around the Injury is at its maximum. Seek alternative activities and/or take complete rest to reduce any further pain. Depending on the severity of the injury immobilisation is not usually necessary, and can be potentially harmful to the repair process and outcome.

I - Ice                                                                                                 
The application of ice cools the damaged tissue by contracting the blood vessels. This will prevent any further swelling and bleeding, allowing the healing process to start. The applications should be frequent, but each application should be for no more than 15 minutes at a time.
Once any swelling has subsided – usually 48-72 hours after the initial occurrence - heat is then generally applied to chronic injuries that have no inflammation as it increases circulation and raises skin temperature. Sore, stiff, nagging muscle or joint pain is ideal for the use of heat therapy.

C- Compression
Apply compression to the affected area, no matter how gentle, as it will prevent and control the extent of swelling.

E- Elevation

By elevating the affected area above heart level, swelling should drain away. This is crucial within the initial 48 hours.

December 18th 2013

The death of the treadmill

Variety. It’s what you want in life. From what you eat, and how you work out, to what you do in the bedroom, variety is key to keeping you interested and enthused. Importantly, it’s also what gets...
Article

Variety. It’s what you want in life. From what you eat, and how you work out, to what you do in the bedroom, variety is key to keeping you interested and enthused. Importantly, it’s also what gets you better results sooner. It’s not so surprising, then, that the treadmill has become one of the most vilified pieces of gym equipment – gym-goers are ditching the human hamster wheel in favor of other, more engaging forms of cardio exercise. And for good reason too.

The treadmill is ineffective. Running 100 meters on one uses 36% less oxygen than cantering at the same speed on nature’s treadmill, terra firma, according to a study in Medicine and Science and Sports and Exercise. So the going is far easier on a treadmill compared to good old-fashioned grass.

We’ve all seen that guy or girl in the gym, slogging it out on the treadmill day-in day-out and making absolutely no progress – and that’s because it’s all too easy to go light on yourself on the gym staple. Run on rough terrain and your muscles are pushed in new ways with every step. The same just isn’t true of the treadmill.

“Jumping, climbing, swinging and rolling are activities that almost everyone has done as a child and it was simply called ‘playing,’” says Michael Conley, gym manager at Tempest Freerunning Academy in Los Angeles, USA (tempestacademy.com). “These elementary movements have been standardized and expanded upon thus creating the arts known as ‘parkour’ and ‘free running.’ People come to our facility because it’s different and actually looks fun.”

It’s not only new types of cardio workouts that are appealing to those seeking treadmill alternatives. Martial arts and martial-arts-based activities, for example, have grown in popularity, too. “We find that more and more people are coming to us as a change from ‘normal’ gyms saying that they are ‘bored,’” says Stuart Grant, of Westside Martial Arts in Melbourne, Australia (westsidemartialarts.com.au). “We have treadmills at our gym but they are used for people to warm up for their training or for the purpose of cutting weight for competition.”

And by far the most effective alternative to treadmill work is circuit training. “The popularity of circuit training workouts that incorporate more functional pieces of equipment like stability balls, sand weights, weighted vests and battle ropes has exploded in recent years,” says Ponn. “This type of fitness delivers maximum results, as you’re not only burning calories but also sculpting lean muscle that will in turn increase your metabolism and help your body burn more fat.”

So in 10 years time, will we look back at treadmills in the way we now view manual typewriters and video tapes? Get issue 1 of TRAIN magazine to find out, and for more of this feature.

December 18th 2013

Why do athletes lose confidence?

The biggest mistake we can make in life is worrying too much about making a mistake. In many ways our blunders define us. They teach us important life lessons, show us how to forgive, how to live...
Article

The biggest mistake we can make in life is worrying too much about making a mistake. In many ways our blunders define us. They teach us important life lessons, show us how to forgive, how to live without regrets, help us to grow as people, and teach us to let go of our fears.

And nowhere is that last point more important than in a sporting arena, because competing while consumed by fear is the ultimate inhibitor. By putting too much pressure on attaining the perfect performance we restrict ourselves from true success.

Performing cautiously has its time and place, but to push on and achieve sporting greatness, we must throw caution to the wind and get rid of what sports psychologists call the ‘fear-driven mindset.’ If a golfer thinks too much about his swing because he's afraid of driving into a water hazard, if a baseball player refuses to let loose with his bat for fear of striking out, if a skater avoids a difficult jump fearing she may fall, or if a tennis player holds back on a serve in case he double-faults, then all is already lost.

Highly committed athletes, including perfectionists, hurt their confidence with a harsh attitude about the way they performed. When reviewing their performance, perfectionists:

  • Focus only on their mistakes.
  • Are self-critical of their overall performance.
  • Can't remember the good plays or shots.
  • Disqualify any positives about their performance.

They can't feel satisfied with a good performance because they:

  • Never feel as if they performed up to their own expectations.
  • Make false assumptions that others are disappointed with their performance.
  • Want to perform perfectly and view less than perfect as a failure.

Reversing these negative actions will help to reverse your sporting fortunes.

 

For more information on this and how you can conquer the fear of failure, check out issue 1 of TRAIN magazine.

December 19th 2013

5 tips for sporting success

Sam Kotadia is a sports psychologist who has worked with elite athletes including professional soccer players. Here are his top five tips for getting in the right frame of mind to improve your...
Article

Sam Kotadia is a sports psychologist who has worked with elite athletes including professional soccer players. Here are his top five tips for getting in the right frame of mind to improve your chances of achieving success in competition:

1. GREAT GROUNDING - Grounding is a powerful exercise to strengthen your sense of the physical space you occupy and to bring your mind and body into balance. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths to relax your mind and body. Direct your focus to the contact points of your external environment. For example, this could be the sensation of your feet on the touching the cage floor. Keep your focus there when you open your eyes to encourage a composed mindset that can create effortless performances.

2. BACK TO BASICS - Directly after making a mistake, try something simpler. You're more likely to succeed at a basic task, and this small success will prevent the initial mistake from damaging your confidence. Once this simple task is completed, push beyond your comfort zone and try something more challenging. When you are in the cage and retaliate uncontrollably it is unlikely that you will regain your composure. Take small steps to regain your momentum.

3. SUPER STATES - One of the biggest predictors of confident behaviour stems from your ability to generate a resourceful state. Get yourself feeling good by creating positive internal visions, maintaining an encouraging internal voice and adopting positive body language. Thinking about loved ones, special memories, and some of your best performances are some ideas. Feeling good is the source of all inspired performances, especially in intimidating environments.

4. TIMELY TRIGGERS - The brain often learns through association, by paring two experiences together. Close your eyes and recreate in your mind the last time you performed at your best in the cage. Generate the images, feelings and sounds that you experienced and pair that image with a physical action such as squeezing your thumb and finger together. Open your eyes and repeat this process several times. Your brain will learn to feel inspired whenever you repeat the action. Use this whenever you are finding it hard to perform at your best in the sporting arena.

5. GET A GRIP - One cause of failing to find your best performances is believing that everything is out of control. This is common in high-performance settings where there is constant pressure to achieve desirable outcomes. To overcome this, focus on the controllable elements of your environment. Ignore events beyond your own influence and direct your attention towards actions and processes that you have control over. Positive results will follow.

December 19th 2013

It's cool to be hip

A hip joint may be a cool place to hang out on a Saturday night, but what isn't so cool is that research in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery suggests hip replacement procedures are set to...
Article

A hip joint may be a cool place to hang out on a Saturday night, but what isn't so cool is that research in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery suggests hip replacement procedures are set to soar in the US by 174% to 572,000 within the next 17 years.

And when you compare that figure to a forecasted population increase of just 16% within the same time frame, it's a real cause for concern.

As the pace of life becomes ever more frenetic in a 24-hour society, and our bodies become more and more susceptible to wear and tear, it is vital to maintain our joint mobility at an optimum level.

Hip mobility and stability movements:

1. CLAMSHELL – Lie on your side, with your hips and knees bent approximately 45 degrees. Keep your feet together and raise your top knee as high as you can without moving your pelvis. Return to the starting position and repeat 10-15 times. Repeat with other leg. You can increase the resistance by placing an exercise band around your leg while you open the clam.

2. LYING PIRIFORMIS STRETCH – While lying on your back, cross your left leg over the right, with the left ankle resting on the right knee. Slowly move your right thigh up toward your chest and gently apply pressure to the inside of the left knee. This stretch should be felt in your glutes (buttock) and hip. Hold for 15-30 and repeat with the other leg. You can also perform this stretch while seated.

3. COSSACK SQUAT – Take a wide stance like a sumo wrestler and point your toes out slightly. Start to squat down and shift your weight to one side. Keep your knee over your toes and make sure the foot on the side doing a squat stays flat on the floor. The opposite leg should be straight out. Lift your toes off the floor and point them toward the ceiling while the heel remains in contact with the floor. Repeat this stretch 2-3 times per side and hold a few seconds.

 

For more expert tips on how to improve your mobility and prevent injuries, check out TRAIN magazine, in stores now!

December 19th 2013

5 tips for mastering mental toughness

Being fit for competition is one thing, but being mentally capable of performing when it matters is a chain of sports psychology that’s red hot in the sphere of professional sports. Everyone who’s...
Article

Being fit for competition is one thing, but being mentally capable of performing when it matters is a chain of sports psychology that’s red hot in the sphere of professional sports. Everyone who’s ever been a member of a club has known an athlete who excels in training, yet blows it when it truly matters. Some people are able to deal with the pressure of competition, while others should stick to staying fit and perhaps coaching.

According to Dr Jim Loehr, author of The New Toughness Training for Sports and chairman of the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Florida, mental toughness is, "the ability to consistently perform towards the upper range of your talent and skill regardless of competitive circumstances."

Here are TRAIN's top five tips for helping you face and conquer the mental challenges posed by tough competition, thus allowing you to compete at your very best:

1. FLEXIBILITY - So, things are not going your way. You lost a player from a tackle or your opponent got switched at the last minute. One of the keys to staying mentally strong is the ability to adapt and remain relaxed, without going all defensive. Also, stay open to growth and development: remember, every champion is also a student.

2. STRENGTH - Even when the chips are down finding the inner strength to come through adversity and fight to the end is essential in professional sports. As NFL Hall of Famer Vince Lombardi once said: "Winners never quit, and quitters never win."

3. PREPARATION - Cutting corners is nothing but a fast track to failure. Hours in the gym and honesty in competition are the key to a healthy mind, body and spirit. When you prepare right then you can compete with a clear conscious and 100% confidence.

4. RESILIENCE - Winners lose. It’s how athletes bounce back from any setback that truly makes them a champion. Being able to learn from mistakes, and push forward from a defeat is what separates the good from the great. Likewise, it’s human nature to make a mistake once in a while. Developing thick skin is the prerequisite of any pro athlete.

5. SPORTSMANSHIP - Becoming a cheerleader for your team, or simply masking a heavy blow from an opponent are all forms of sportsmanship that must be mastered to succeed. Never let an opponent know they have you down, it will only lift their performance. Instead smile at any challenge and always support your team.


For more expert tips and full-length articles on how to physically and psychologically strengthen yourself, check out TRAIN magazine, in stores now!

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Fuel
November 20th 2013

Drinking diet sodas may trigger sugar cravings

Think you’re saving yourself extra calories by going the artificial sweetener route? New research published in The Journal of Physiology suggests you might be barking up the wrong tree.Researchers...
Article

Think you’re saving yourself extra calories by going the artificial sweetener route? New research published in The Journal of Physiology suggests you might be barking up the wrong tree.

Researchers at Yale University's School of Medicine found that drinking fizzy diet sodas that are filled with artificial sweeteners may actually sabotage efforts to reduce calorie intake, by leading people to reach for higher calorie alternatives later on – because the brain can't be fooled.

That’s because in their animal research, scientists observed that a specific physiological signal that regulates dopamine levels — the feel-good chemical that works with the reward centre in the brain — only arose when sugar was broken down into a form that could be used as fuel and energy for the body.

“According to the data, when we apply substances that interfere with a critical step of the ‘sugar-to-energy pathway’, the interest of the animals in consuming artificial sweetener decreases significantly, along with important reductions in brain dopamine levels,” explained lead author Ivan de Araujo.

“The consumption of high-calorie beverages is a major contributor to weight gain and obesity, even after the introduction of artificial sweeteners to the market. We believe that the discovery is important because it shows how physiological states may impact on our choices between sugars and sweeteners.”

December 13th 2013

Have a beer on us

If you’re a dedicated gym rat you’ll probably be planning to fit in a two-hour workout on Christmas Day morning before meeting up with the family and tucking into a turkey dinner. And as much as...
Article

If you’re a dedicated gym rat you’ll probably be planning to fit in a two-hour workout on Christmas Day morning before meeting up with the family and tucking into a turkey dinner.

And as much as you might enjoy filling your face with cakes and mince pies, as soon as you’re offered that first glass of mulled wine you’ll be making a beeline for the exit. That’s because a lot of fitness buffs believe alcohol can have only a detrimental effect on their regimens – most obviously a beer gut. But are things really that black and white?

During one recent study, a group of volunteers who substituted 10% of their calorie-intake with alcohol, versus a group who had grape juice instead, experienced greater weight loss (2.2lb) after 12 weeks.

Alcohol actually contains a slightly higher amount of DIT (diet induced thermogenesis) than protein, which means when you drink booze your body expends a lot of calories getting rid of it.

OK, while it’s true that alcohol causes the expenditure of more calories than it contains, booze suppresses fat burning when ingested. So as with most things in life, the secret is moderation.

But if you’re still not sure about indulging in that festive tipple, here’s something else to bear in mind: alcohol has been shown to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and heart attacks by increasing the production of HDLs (high-density lipoproteins). HDLs shuttle cholesterol to the liver, moving it away from the arteries, reducing blood clots and blocking the oxidation of LDLs (low-density lipoproteins).

Another benefit of alcohol discovered recently is its ability to strengthen the immune system by boosting the activity of natural killer cells via impairment of white blood cells. One study, conducted over a three-year period, found that out of 417 volunteers given the rhino virus (common cold) via nasal drops, those that consumed alcohol were most resistant to catching a cold.

Basically, what we’re saying is this: if you do feel like having a drink over the festive season, then as long as you’re sensible and plan ahead, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t.

If you have a big night out planned, just eat sensibly during the day and take in your carbs earlier on. But that doesn’t mean drink on an empty stomach, because when it contains a sizeable meal, you have a release valve called the pyloric sphincter that closes. So when you drink with food in your stomach, alcohol is trapped because the valve is closed, allowing your body time to process the booze so it doesn’t enter your system so quickly.

And when, or if, you do finally allow yourself a drink, you should stick to liquor, light beers and wine - particularly red, because it has a much higher polyphenol content than white wine, as well as a higher level of antioxidant activity.

Plus, you should always try and steer clear of putting mixers in with my shots, because once you start adding sodas and syrups you are going to go over what your daily calorie intake should be.

December 18th 2013

Top 5 immune system-boosting foods

There's nothing more frustrating than being in full-swing with your training and nutrition - you're eating well and training regularly, you can see your body improving physically and you're feeling...
Article

There's nothing more frustrating than being in full-swing with your training and nutrition - you're eating well and training regularly, you can see your body improving physically and you're feeling better and stronger than ever - when you're suddenly stopped in your tracks by a bout of illness. 

To give your body the best possible chance of resisting harmful infections, try adding these five foods selected by TRAIN to seriously strengthen your immune system:

1. YOGURT - Not only are yogurts incredibly tasty they're also filled with probiotics, the healthy bacteria which battles germs inside your gut. Perfect for battling off any illnesses you may have.

2. GARLIC - Your breath may smell horrific after you've eaten it but garlic actually has an ingredient called allicin which can stop infection in its tracks.

3. FISH - Add a little salmon to your diet and your immune system will get a boost because fish is packed with selenium, which can help fight flu viruses.

4. CHICKEN SOUP - Chicken soup may be good for the soul, but did you know it also stops inflammatory white cells from moving to bronchial tubes? Well, now you do.

5. SWEET POTATOES - They may be best known for helping people lose weight, but sweet potatoes also provide our skin with vitamin A, which is our first line of defense against nasty germs and bacteria.

TRAIN TipThe health benefits that come with eating salmon are well known among most people, however, it can be quite pricey and some people may not be able to afford it. If this fish is out of your price range then try tinned tuna, which admittedly isn't quite as flashy as salmon, but its health benefits are almost identical.

 

For loads more tips on healthy eating and nutritional science, check out TRAIN magazine, in stores now!

December 18th 2013

Supp of the Month - MHP Power Pak Pudding

Let's be honest, how many people stick to their diet during the festive season? It’s difficult to do, especially when everyone around you is indulging without a care in the world. However, if you...
Article

Let's be honest, how many people stick to their diet during the festive season? It’s difficult to do, especially when everyone around you is indulging without a care in the world. However, if you want to enjoy your holidays with something tasty that is also going to help you in the long run in terms of your diet then why not turn the MHP Power Pak Pudding into your protein-filled Christmas dessert?

1. PROTEIN POWER - Remember it’s bulking season so it’s important to get a significant amount of protein in your diet. And that’s why the Power Pak Pudding is so great. Not only is it scrumptious and filling, it also has 30g of protein per serving. So while your family and friends are getting fat off the normal Christmas pudding, you can enjoy your own and bulk all at the same time.

2. CARB CUTTER - Christmas puddings may not be stacked with carbohydrates, however when you add in everything else you’ll consume over the holidays it just adds to the carbohydrate conundrum. MHP have solved it with their pudding as it contains a minuscule 9g of carbs.

3. CALORIE FRIENDLY - While watching everyone else rack up the calorie counter while consuming every single morsel of food on display during the holidays, feel happy in the fact that your Christmas pudding is only 190 calories, allowing you to eat a little bit more without feeling guilty afterwards.

4. REDUCED FAT - Fat, food and Christmas go together like Santa Claus and his little helpers, but you can crush the chub with your MHP pudding as it has absolutely no trans fat and has only 4.50g worth of the saturated stuff. Perfect for those who want to keep their abs looking sharp.

5. COMPLETELY CALCIUMMY - With 500mg worth of calcium stocked inside of the Power Pak pudding, there will be no need to worry about whether or not your bones will be able to handle the weight when you get back to the gym as they’ll be as strong as ever.


To get our Supp of the Month plus loads more fitness and nutrition goods, go to Bodybuilding.com's online store.

December 18th 2013

Power-up program

As well as knowing which supplements you should be taking to help pump up your muscles, it's also important you know when you should take them. To save you the trouble, TRAIN has put together a...
Article

As well as knowing which supplements you should be taking to help pump up your muscles, it's also important you know when you should take them. To save you the trouble, TRAIN has put together a program that'll have you packing on the brawn quicker than it takes Usain Bolt to get out the starting blocks.

Here’s a muscle-stacking supplement plan that you can use this month to ensure your December pump reaches it full potential.

7am: Breakfast

  • 2-3 x 1000mg fish oil tablets
  • 2-3g creatine

11.30am: Mid-morning

  • Protein and carbs shake
  • 5g creatine
  • 100mg caffeine tablet
  • Testosterone booster (if you’re over 35 years old)

12.30pm: Gym routine

  • Weight training for 45-55 minutes is the ideal time to train for because research in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that short yet intense weight sessions gave lifters some of the biggest surges of testosterone – your chief muscle-building hormone.

1.30pm: Post workout refuel

  • Protein and carb shake
  • 5g creatine
  • 2 x 1000mg fish oil tablets

2pm: 

  • High-protein lunch

4pm:

  • Protein shake (if you don’t have time for a high protein real food snack)

6pm: Dinner

8pm: Pre-sleep routine

  • Growth hormone supplement
  • 1 x 1000mg fish oil tablet
  • Testosterone booster
  • Protein shake
 
For all your supplement needs, check out Bodybuilding.com's online store.
December 18th 2013

Don't do the crime...

Don't do the crime... Cheat day. A day healthy-eating, gym-going individuals look forward to - anything you want to eat at any time without any restrictions. As tasty as a cheat meal can be, it...
Article

Don't do the crime...

Cheat day. A day healthy-eating, gym-going individuals look forward to - anything you want to eat at any time without any restrictions. As tasty as a cheat meal can be, it always comes at a price, and if a 14-inch large Dominos pepperoni pizza is your poison, then that price equals 3,520 calories!

... if you can't do the time

For the average western male, weighing 180lb, a large Domino's Pepperoni Lover pizza will take such a long time to burn off, you might want to book a couple of days off from work to do it. You would need to run at over 9kph for four and a half hours before you even came close to burning off all of that pizza. Doesn't sound quite as tasty now, does it?

 

Find out how much training time you'd have to put in to burn off various other cheat meals every month inside TRAIN magazine.