Friday, November 27, 2009

Train Core Muscles All Around

When we talk about core muscles, most people think about abdominal muscles only. That is a mistake. It's only a small part of the whole, and the "core" should be thought of in its entirety for proper strength and support.

The core muscles are called that because the are responsible for all motions through out our thoracic cavity:
  • bending forward (flexion), controlled mostly by our abs
  • bending backward (extension) controlled by the lower back
  • pivoting (spinal rotation) controlled by lower back, abs and obliques
  • bending to the side (lateral bend) controlled by the obliques

When any of these muscle groups are trained more than another it causes muscular imbalances.

For instance, too many crunches and too little lower back work can cause the torso to tilt forward. This is obviously not a prime body position for a healthy back — and terrible from a sports standpoint. These imbalances can lead to serious injury.

When you train arms, you work biceps and triceps. When you train on core day, remember all core muscle groups.

Your body functions as a unit. Truly, it must be trained as a unit.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

When All Else Fails, Listen To Your Body

When you bust your gut working out, you're eating right and still you're not getting results, it's time to listen to your body.

We need to understand that the diets we experiment with or the workout plans we read in books do not always work because we are not a one-size-fits-all people. We have different builds and different metabolisms, which means our bodies have different needs.

Here are a few tips on what your body could be telling you:
  • Are your muscles to tired to get through your workout? Try eating two hours before your workout. Be sure to include carbs and protein: the carbs are for your glycogen stores now and the protein in your system for later in the workout, especially if the workout is more than an hour long.
  • Are you lifting hard and taking your protein shakes, and wondering why your body fat is still 20 percent? Remember that protein is hard to digest. By taking in more protein than your body can digest in a 24-hour period, it can cause you to put on weight by storing as fat.
  • Are you lifting weights and getting stronger, but don't seem to gain muscle size? My guess is that your stuck in the 3-10 state of mind (three sets of 10 reps). It's time to break out of that mold and try some new lifting techniques.
  • Are you eating more because of your new workout routine? Don't make the mistake of eating a huge meal after your workout because you're hungry. Teach yourself how to eat smaller meals during the day. That way you aren't hungry during the day and you still maintain a daily suitable calorie intake.
  • Keep a journal of your workouts and your food intake. When you review it every week, compare your goals to your results. This will give you greater insight into your calorie expenditure vs. calorie intake. Compare this to any noticeable changes in your physique or scale weight, then make adjustments accordingly.
Learn to listen to your body, you will thank it later.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holiday tip from our friends at A.C.E. Fitness

We all look forward to some home cooking and baked goodies at Thanksgiving.

However, the holidays don't have to be full of sacrifice and guilt. Here are A.C.E.'s tips on
Enjoying the Holidays Guilt-Free.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lifting For Size: The Big Three

If you are one of those many people who are lifting for size and you are not doing one or all three of these exercises — deadlifts, bench press and/or squats — you are seriously missing the boat.

Adding muscle is the ability to train your body to lift more weight. Once we accomplish that goal, we can lift more weight in more varying exercises.

Take a look at how many muscle groups we use during:

  • Deadlift: hamstrings, glutes, quads, erector spinae group, forearms, shoulders, abs (when done correctly), traps, rhomboids, posterior deltoid
  • Bench Press: lats,bicep, tricep, pecs (major and minor) anterior deltoid, forearms, serratus anterior
  • Squats: quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, abs, tibialis anterior, soleus, calfs, quadratus lumborum (lower back)

Because of all of these different muscle groups at work, we can lift more weight during these exercises. Once we get proficient at these, then soon we can add weight to the rest of our routine.
This will lead to the muscle mass you are looking for....

....assuming you are eating right, but that's a whole other blog.