Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ben Pakulski Chest Workout

Here's an article from Ben Pakulski: professional bodybuilder, celebrity trainer, and creator of the Mass Intentions (MI40) Workout Program. He describes one of the workouts he does in order to make his chest grow:

We sit smack in the middle of my offseason and things are going great! I have been giving extra attention to bringing up my chest and back over the last two months. My ability to contract the muscles is way better than what it had been in the past. My pumps are painful and the roundness and fullness has improved as much as I could have ever imagined. One of my favorite parts of being a bodybuilder is trying to pack on as much muscle as possible in the offseason, so that when you get shredded for your next contest, its almost like unwrapping a gift. You get to see the result of all that hard work and meticulous attention to perfect form.

Now that I boast about how awesome my training has been and how much my chest is growing, how about I share my secrets to why my chest is growing almost at will, it seems. You all know me as a stickler for form. I am constantly trying to learn the absolute best way to train every muscle, and be able to explain and prove why that way is the best.

The basic idea behind “perfect” form, of course, also depends on your specific goals. In my case, the goal is maximum muscle growth. The factors to consider when assessing an exercise are simple: does it create maximum and continuous tension, and does it take a muscle through a full range of motion. As you’ve all heard before: Muscles don’t know how much weight you’re lifting, they only know TENSION. A question I’m always asking myself is: How do I create greater tension?

By now, many of you have heard of the technique that I use, called “intention”. This is the simple idea of generating greater muscular tension by exerting force in certain directions. For chest, simply try shoving your hands toward each other on barbell exercises. Its hard to do as the weight gets heavy, but give it a shot on your warm up sets, the tension on the muscle will blow your mind. Try to keep the squeeze through the entire range of motion.

Here is a sample of what my workouts have looked like lately:
Incline barbell press (heavy) 5x6**,
Incline dumbbell fly 4x8**(plus one warm up set)
Flat Machine press 4x8**
Incline dumbbell press 4x12**
Dips 3 sets to failure.

**last set of every exercise is Neurological Overload Set “NOS” set ending with forced negatives to complete muscular failure

Please do NOT try this without a very competent spotter. This is a VERY advanced workout designed to take my muscle to complete failure to ensure maximum growth. Always ensure you are in complete control of the weight, especially at the extremes of the range of motion.

Good luck and happy growing!

UPDATE (JUNE 2014):  Ben's latest program is called MI40X.  You can CLICK HERE to read my

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Diet Rule Experiment: Which Diet is Right for You?

Here's an article from Brad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat.  This is the most simple weight loss plan I've ever seen and it works.  

It's important to remember that compliance--whether or not you'll do the diet, is one of the most important factors you should consider before trying a plan or program. You can read this article for more helpful information on discovering which diet plan is right for you. 

If you and I went to the local magazine stand and scanned the covers of the fitness magazines we would find dozens of ‘weight loss’ rules.

In fact we could spend the rest of the week reading magazines about the latest greatest weight loss tricks many of which may actually work for someone. But realistically there’s just no way you could actually follow ALL of them. So how do you know which ones are right for you?

The easy answer is you have to decide which rules fit best for YOUR life and then try to stick to just one or two that will make the most sense for you and have the most benefit.

This may be the first time in your life you become a scientist, and your experiment is you. Here’s what you do…

Browse any of the popular magazines, blogs, websites or anywhere you like to get fitness information. Read up on the diet and weight loss tips and tricks, these could be simple changes like not drinking calories, or a bigger philosophy like limiting the amount of carbs that you eat.

Make a top 10 list of diet strategies you’d like to try, and that sound doable to you. At this point add one new diet strategy to your life for two weeks. Record your bodyweight at the beginning of the two weeks and again at the end. If you haven’t lost any weight this strategy doesn’t work (for you). Discard it and move on to the next one.

This is the simplest way to tell if something will work for YOU. If the strategy you picked sounds like a good idea but seems too difficult for you to manage then it’s simply not a good fit for you in this stage of your life. If it worked for your friend but not for you that’s ok, there will be one that works just for you, this is why you make a top 10 list and try each of them, one at a time.

Let’s suppose you find one that works over a two week period and you don’t want to stop. That’s fine, just add the next one in the list, if you can handle more than one strategy at once more power to you and you’ll probably lose fat even faster. My guess is that sticking to more than one or two rules will be almost impossible, so it will be pretty easy to tell which strategy is really working.

For me the simpler the diet is the better, (which is the main premise behind Eat Stop Eat).

Even when you are following the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle you can still use the top 10-diet rule as a way to guide how you eat on your ‘eat days’.

The top 10 diet rule experiment is the fastest way to find dietary habits that work for you - after all you’ll never know until you try.

Brad Pilon is a nutrition professional with over eight years experience working in the nutritional supplement industry specializing in clinical research management and new product development. Brad has completed graduate studies in nutritional sciences specializing in the use of short term fasting for weight loss.

His trademarked book Eat Stop Eat has been featured on national television and helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat without sacrificing the foods they love. 

NOTE:  You may want to check out my review of Eat Stop Eat.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Complexes for Fat Loss

Here's an article from Nick Nilson discussing an effective way to lose fat in your workouts called complexes. 

If you've never heard of "Complexes" for fat loss before, you're in for a treat...a very tough, very challenging (and I think very fun) treat!

Complexes are basically a series of exercises done without releasing your grip on the bar or dumbells, going from one exercise straight into the next with no break. It's a form of circuit training that actually gives you even LESS of a break than normal circuit training because you're using the same equipment for each exercise and you're transitioning instantly into the next exercise.

I've put together 4 good complexes that target all the major muscle groups in your body to maximize the metabolic effects of the training.

These complexes are bodyweight exercises combined with barbell exercises to really cover more bases. They're really powerful for kicking up the metabolism for fat-loss purposes. You're not going to build much strength or muscle with them but the sheer amount of muscle mass used in these complexes makes them ideal for fat burning and boosting the metabolism.

Just an fyi, if you can't do straight bar dips, sub in push-ups on the bar instead. And if you can't do pull-up rows with your feet off the ground, set your feet on the ground. You'll see what I mean with these adjustments when you see the complexes.

They're an incredibly effective way to get a FAST fat-loss workout done.

Complex #1

Set the bar in the power rack at about stomach level. Load it with a light to moderate weight (you'll be able to judge your weight better when you see the exercises being used for it).

Straight Bar Dips - this is a bodyweight dip done with your hands set on the barbell.

Now swing yourself down UNDER the bar (preferably without letting your feet touch the ground) and do Pull-Up Rows.

Set your feet down on the floor and change your grip to set up Front Squats.

Duck your head under the bar to get it on your back for back squats. Set your feet out WAY wide so that the forefoot area is actually up on the side rails of the rack and only your heels are on the ground. This is a GREAT glute and hamstring version of the squat (you could call it a sumo squat, like the sumo stance deadlift). The front squat hits the quads more so this aims to focus on glutes and hams.
Bring your feet in and do standing calf raises (half range from flat on the floor to up on your toes and hold).

That's it! The video will show you the transitions between exercises best.

Complex #2

The first two exercises of this complex are the same as first. Set a lighter weight on the bar, though, because you'll be doing shoulder presses after the pull-up rows.

So start with the straight bar dips then swing down under the bar for pull-up rows. Next, swing your legs around and kneel down for barbell shoulder press. Get your feet back under you and do squats with the bar in the bottom position of the shoulder press .

That's it!

Complex #3

Start with the straight bar dip again then to feet on the ground pull-up rows.

Next, got to kneeling barbell shoulder press then to front squats then back squats.
That's it for #3! This one is a bit easier to perform, especially with the leg exercises - the lighter weight used in the shoulder press means you'll need to do more reps for the leg part.

Complex #4

The first exercise is On-barbell push-ups. I have my legs hooked on another bar, but it's not necessary. I just wanted to see if it would work any differently. It does work well, but regular push-ups will be just fine here, too.

Set your feet down then go to barbell rows. Next it's stiff-legged deadlifts.
That's it for #4! Definitely use your imagination and use these as a jumping-off point to come up with your own complexes.

RECOMMENDED: to best understand how to perform and get the most out of these complexes, I HIGHLY recommend checking out the pictures and video of them in here (or the image) to see them now!

And if fast fat loss is your goal, I would definitely recommend checking out my program "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss". It's a targeted "done-for-you" 36-day rapid fat loss program that helps you KEEP and even BUILD muscle at the same time, reshaping your body quickly and efficiently.  Just CLICK HERE to check it out.

Nick Nilsson has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been innovating new training techniques for more than 20 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding books including "Gluteus to the Maximus - Build a Bigger Butt NOW!", "Muscle Explosion! 28 Days To Maximum Mass", "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss," "The Best Exercises You've Never Heard Of," and "The Best Abdominal Exercises You've Never Heard Of", all designed to maximize the results you get for the hard work you put into your training. Be sure to grab your FREE copy of Nick's 30-day "Dirty Little Secret Program for Building Muscle and Burning Fat FAST," available at Fitness Ebooks.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Alpha Male Fat Loss Tips

Here are five fat loss tips from  the creators of the Alpha Male Advanced Workouts program.   Remember--there's not much point in building muscle if all of it is going to stay covered in a layer of fat.  Follow this advice and you'll be on your way to a leaner physique.    

Even if you’re hitting the weights hard, you may be packing some extra pounds of fat you’d like to leave behind. There’s no better time to get that butt in even better shape than right NOW! Here are some tips for you guys out there from Eric Broser, James Villepigue and Rick Collins, the creators of the Alpha Male Advanced Workouts program that has even the most experienced hardcore bodybuilders talking!

1. GET OFF THE SCALE Americans are notoriously obsessed with their body weight, and even many gym rats start their training session with a jump on the scale. Forget it! Weigh yourself only once a month. Scales can be inaccurate, misleading, and a psychological deterrent to your success. If you add some muscle to your frame while you’re dropping fat (like you would with our program, for instance), the scale may fool you!

2. DO IT FOR THE HEALTH BENEFITS Everybody wants to look great in the mirror. But don’t forget to pay attention to your overall health, not just your appearance. Sure, you want a program that’s going to make you look awesome, but you can add years to your life and reduce major health risks by following a sound nutrition and exercise program. And you’ll look better and feel better too!

3. CAN THE SODA AND SAVE Soda adds useless (and expensive) calories to your diet. Just drinking water rather than sugar-rich soda can put an extra $2-$3 in your wallet each day. Over one year, that adds up to over $1,000 saved. And 100,000 fewer calories consumed! Considering that 1 pound of fat is the equivalent of 3,500 calories, that can be a weight savings of 28 pounds!

Eric Broser
4. BE ACTIVE… BUT BE SMART Proper diet and exercise go hand in hand. One without the other is a recipe for failure. Just because you walked for 30 minutes doesn’t mean you can reward yourself with a pint of your favorite ice cream! Find smarter ways to reward yourself for a week of hard training!

5. REDUCE THE CALORIES Americans take in way too many calories, Period! From super-sized meals at fast food chains to enormous servings at our favorite steakhouse, we are on the receiving end of an abundance of calories. Weight reduction is a caloric formula. Calories in (through eating) versus calories out (through activity) – it’s that simple. Stick with smaller portions, and keep your protein high, especially if you’re engaged in intense training! Combine these tips with a top-notch training program like the amazing Alpha Male Advanced Workouts and you’ll see some dramatic changes in the way you look … AND FEEL!