Category Archives: Muscle Building

1arm pull throughs to a press with 12kg using the TRX

1 arm pull throughs to a press with 12kg using the TRX

 

1 arm pull throughs to a press with 12kg using the trx
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1 arm pull throughs to a press with 12kg using the TRX

 

Using the TRX ropes is a great way to add functionality and real strength to any gym workout. Using your own bodyweight as a weight brilliant way to incorporate the abdominal muscles and stabilising muscles in most bodyweight movements. When I talk about real strength I mean not sitting down on a machine, resting your triceps on some lovely padded foam and curling your biceps with a weight you can’t lift properly!

Real strength is the ability to lift ones bodyweight effectively,efficiently and for reps. 

Performing one 1 arm pull throughs to a press using a 12kg kettle bell is an advanced move. You have to have good grip strength, pull up strength, core strength and even the hamstrings and bum will have to contract to allow you to perform the move correctly. You see how many muscles are involved here? There all big muscles too, meaning greater muscle building and fat loss and greater more effective workouts in a shorter amount of time.

A simple low lying bodyweight pull up using the TRX:

Thing is with bodyweight movements they are always working another muscle your probably not even aware of. So a simple low lying pull up with your feet on the floor of even in a bent position will greatly work the back muscles, lats, trapezius, rhomboids, biceps and abs. So in this one we are woking 5 different muscles but there is more, your pecs or chest have to contract and relax to allow you to perform this move, your triceps also. Your hamstrings and bum will also contact to allow you to perform the move. So in this one simple enough move we or you will be using 9 different muscles!!

Effective, fun and challenging: 

You can make bodyweight moves as easy or as hard as you want. You don’t need fancy equipment, you just need you a bar and some ropes. Simple press ups work the chest, shoulders, arms, abs and even the lower back. This exercise can be made easy with knees bent on the floor or harder by putting legs straight. Harder still is explosive push ups, or slowing the movement down so the muscle has to contract for  a longer period of time.

Functional: 

Lifting, pushing and balancing with your own weight will make you very strong, supple, agile and connected. When I say connected I mean traditional gym routines encourage you to isolate muscles, work any given muscle by itself. This encourages stiffness in movement, to be come dis connected from one muscle to another. You may have big biceps but can you do  pull up? Does your body know even how to move so that you could do one? Working with bodyweight movements teaches you to re connect, become strong and flexible. Working out should be about movement and not about working and isolating certain muscles.

Get on the TRX and give it a go. Not sure how just ask me.

 

Ring muscle up progress

Ring muscle up progress

 

Ring muscle up progress
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Ring muscle up progress

 

Hey, this is a video of me woking on my ring muscle ups. Im not perfect by any means as this video only shows me doing 3 muscle ups but its progress and its my progress. hopefully in the next few weeks I will post another of me doing 5 muscle ups, 7 and so on. My short term aim is to be able to do 10 muscle ups in a row. Muscle ups are a great muscle builder for the back, shoulders and chest. Its not just a pulling exercise or a chest exercise it is an overall upper body muscle builder that also involves the core.

Some simple tips on how to start and progress

To be able to perform a muscle up you need to have good pull up strength and endurance. As in can you do 10 sets of 10 with minimal rest and with good form? You also need good dip strength and endurance, can you do 10 sets of 10 with minimal rest? If yes great, if not try and work up to 50 overhand pull ups every day. Try varying the grip in terms of width, practice wide grips, medium and narrow overhand grips. Good core strength and endurance wouldn’t be a bad thing to have either so if you can perform an L sit in a pull up position with you arms either straight or bent  for 30 seconds or more at any one time then this would be beneficial. Grip is also crucial. Place your thumbs over the bar rather than under the bar when attempting the muscle up. Reason being is this will enable you to be able to rotate your shoulders more easily, thus making the transition from pull up to a dip position easier.

You may wish to place a step below the bar so you can do a little jump into the muscle ups. This will help you understand the movement and technique.

Practice explosive pull ups to work on explosive power, practice holding pull ups a key stages of the pull up. As in head over the bar, hold for 5 seconds, hold at 90 degrees at the elbow for 5 seconds and hold just above your arms being locked out for 5 seconds.

As always practice and practice.

 

 

 

 

 

Rich blasting the circuits, lunges,dips and pull ups style

Rich blasting the circuits, lunges,dips and pull ups style

Rich blasting the circuits, lunges,dips and pull ups style
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Rich blasting the circuits, lunges,dips and pull ups style

 

Check out my client Rich blasting the circuits, lunges, dips and pull ups style. Man is on fire here! Working hard on his 90 day challenge. so we are performing dips, lunges and pull ups back to back, no rest inbetween exercises. This way we maximise the fat burning and muscle gains. Lunges are great leg developer that focus more on the hamstrings or back of the thigh. They build strength, balance and are great for a sports specific gym movement. They also help develop the quads or front thigh and the booty or bum. Dips are great overall chest, shoulder and tricep builder that will help develop that upper body into a more finished product:). Pull ups are great for back development as well as working the biceps. Too many gym goers spend too much time on their chests or mirror muscles and not enough time on there backs. This can lead to a muscular in balance and cause bad posture. Did you know there are 56 back muscles and 2 chest muscles? Food for thought.

Mixing bodyweight training with weighted exercises adds a good variety to ay training session. The bigger the movements the better, as the more muscles will need to be recruited to perform the exercise. More muscle fibre recruitment, more results.

Other examples of a good circuit would be, press ups, pull ups, squats, dips. This would incorporate the large muscle I have been talking about which would lead to greater results.

My client Rich blasting his circuit training

My client Rich blasting his circuit training

Rich blasting the circuits bodyweight style
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My client Rich blasting his circuit training

 

Yep my client Rich blasting his circuit training again. Man has become a machine! Here we are performing back to back exercises to maximise fat loss and muscle gains. Rich is using the rope to perform a variation of 1 arm press ups. This is a great exercise to place a greater stress through the one side of the body, especially in the pectoral, shoulder and tricep region. Not an easy one but very effective at building strength and muscle/reducing fat. We are then combining this exercise with under hand pull ups. This way we maximise fat loss and muscle gains by having minimal rest between exercises and as we are working opposite muscle groups it enables Rich to continue to work hard without being to fatigued by the previous exercise. Under hand pull ups are great for lat and back development and bicep development. Circuit body weight training is an effective way to gain some serious strength and educate the body on how to move properly. Its all well and good lifting weights, they have there place, things like big moves. Snatch, clean and press, squats are all good examples. Bad examples are bicep curls, tricep extensions.. these are pointless movements that only use a tiny muscle at any one time. You want to maximise your time and your results. So you concentrate on big movements that use a lot of muscles. Pull ups, press ups, dips, squats…

Rich is working hard on his 90 day challenge goals and is well on his way to achieve them.

Like what you see, get in touch.

Rich doing 24kg weighted pull ups!

Rich doing 24kg weighted pull ups!

 

Rich 24kg weighted pull ups!
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Rich doing 24kg weighted pull ups!

 

Not bad eh? This is my client Rich doing 24kg weighted pull ups! Thats and extra 4 stone to his body weight of around 80kg (12 stone 6 pounds). So that makes him 104kg (16 stone 3 pounds)! 

Most people find it hard to do a pull up let alone adding additional weight. Rich had been training hard with me during his 90 day challenge which ends on the 24th of July. Results photos will be posted then. He has been sticking to his diet set by me, been training between 3-5 times a week with myself and has shown great dedication and desire to truly change his physique for the better. His weighted pull ups are a testimony to how hard he has been training and how hard he continues to train. Adding additional weight when performing a pull up will help force the body to continue to build muscle, increase in muscular strength, bone density and reduce body fat. Pull ups are a great way to build serious strength, they are an excellent bodyweight exercise that incorporate a whole lot of muscles at the same time. This will give you real world strength. So when it comes to moving and lifting in a real situation you will be able to lift the weight in question or even lift your own bodyweight. When you compare weighted pull up strength to say a lat pull down on a machine, there is no comparison. Lat pull downs are useless, you are wasting your time and energy on something that will make you less functional and provide you will false strength and a lack of understanding on how to effectively use your body. As much as possible use your body as a weight, train with it, understand it and use it, do not lose it :).

Great work Rich keep it up. 

 

 

 

What exercises to do for Muscle building or Fat loss?

What exercises to do for Muscle building or Fat loss?

 

 

Good question! What exercises to do for muscle building or fat loss? 

 

Building muscle and fat loss go hand in hand, the more muscle you have the less body fat you have. We all desire to look a little better, be fitter, healthier more confident but where do you start, what exercises should you do?

So many different guides saying this is the best way or no this is the best way. It used to be  a lot of people in gyms, training one or two body parts in any given session like biceps and triceps or chest and shoulders.

That’s great if you have maximum time and are a full time bodybuilder. Most of us are not. So the best thing to maximise muscle gain and fat loss are compound or big movements.

Why? You want to build muscle and burn fat yes? You do. Good.

Most likely you have an hour a day max to smash out a gym session? True? Most likely.

So the best exercises you can do are compound lifts, these are big movements that involve loads of muscles all at the same time. More muscles involved means greater energy expenditure during exercise and at rest. Meaning more calories burned, meaning greater fat loss and more muscle mass gain. The more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn at rest, so less chance of calories being stored as fat. The more muscular or toned you are the less body fat you have. Boom!

If you can perform various compound lifts back to back perfect! Though this would not be for a beginner. Performing lets say snatch, squats and deadlifts back to back would be an awesome muscle building fat shredding circuit. Though as I say an advanced way of training. 

If you were a beginner, performing snatch or clean and press for 10 reps then resting for 30seconds to a minute would be a good start. After a little rest go again, 10 more reps, rest and recover then go again. 5 sets of 10 reps would be good.

Intermediate wise, performing two compound moves back to back for 10 reps a time, then resting for up to a minute before going again would be a good challenge. If two moves back to back is too easy add a third compound lift before having a breather.

 

Big movement exercises examples:

Squats:Massive testosterone booster, meaning greater muscle building ability leading to greater fat loss, great for leg power, leg size, definition, athletic performance and of course having a great ass.

Snatch: Great multi muscle hitter building explosive power, leg power, abdominal strength, lower and upper back strength and shoulder power.

Clean and press: similar too snatch in terms of benefits and power benefits. Though you will  be able to lift more weight as you pause once you get the bar to the shoulder before powering up above the head with the aid of the legs.

Deadlifts: Great for lower back development, leg power, strength and size. I personally view this a a leg exercise rather than back exercise. Best to concentrate on the push rather than the pull phase of the movement.

Explosive squats: or Squat jumps, great for leg explosive power, involving the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and abdominal muscles.

lunge jumps: similar to explosive squats in terms of benefits though this requires more balance and co-ordination. Great for developing hamstring explosive power.

Dips: Great chest, shoulder and triceps builder. helps build functional strength.

Pull ups: The king of back building, want a stronger more muscular defined back? Get on the pull ups, mix up the grips to hit different parts of the back and arms.

By putting any of these moves into a circuit style session where you perform back to back exercises you are sure to build muscle and lose body fat.

Example circuit:

Snatch, pull ups wide grip, squat jumps followed by dips- Advanced, 1 minute rest then go again, repeat 5 -8 times.

Snatch, pull ups and press ups- intermediate, 1 minute rest, go again.

Clean and press 10 reps, rest 30 seconds to a minute, repeat 5 times. Beginner

All exercises 10 reps ideally, you will tire and less reps will be performed per exercise. don’t worry. When you get fitter you will be able to maintain a higher number of reps per exercise.

 

This blog remember is a guide , make sure you know how to perform each move safely. Want more help, then give me a shout 07961140174 or email james@jmfitness.co.uk

Peace

James

 

5 ways to maximize your HIT workouts

5 Ways to Supercharge Your HIIT Routine

All credit ERIC VELAZQUEZ

Know what’s fun? Anything but steady-state cardio, that’s what. No, this will not be another scathing indictment of treadmill running, but there is, with each new wave of research, little evidence to justify the use of low-intensity steady-state (LISS) cardio for anyone but the endurance-athlete crowd.

It used to be that this was the preferred method of slimming down or “tightening up” for many a physique-minded athlete. But over the last decade or so, the lab coats have systematically abandoned this approach in favor of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, which calls for several near-max-effort work segments interspersed with short periods of recovery.
The reasons for this seismic generational shift are legion, but chief among them is HIIT’s ability to burn fat at a faster rate while preserving or increasing muscle mass and with far less of a time investment than LISS cardio. The mechanisms behind these perks are many, but they can be boiled down to a single, fundamental truth: Harder training yields better results.
In fairness, low-intensity training is not without its merits. LISS holds a number of benefits over HIIT, including a greater per-session caloric impact and a greater positive effect on your body’s ability to use oxygen. Even for those whose main goals revolve around aesthetics, this type of training can hold great value — including as a recovery tool — and should be part of the weekly routine, just to a far lesser degree than once thought.
But if you’re going to push it to the redline multiple times in a single session — even if only for a few seconds — it’s important to give yourself every advantage possible. Here are a few ways to ensure that your HIIT stays hot:
1. Mind Your Ratios
High-intensity activity, such as a 100-meter sprint or an out-of-the-saddle interval in an indoor cycling class, places a high demand on working muscles as well as the central nervous system. You don’t want to rest too long, but you also don’t want to deprive your body of rest. Remembering that the focus is on max effort, there’s no need to rush recovery.
Many people favor work-to-rest ratios of 1:2 — 30 seconds of high-intensity work followed by 60 seconds of rest, for example. But what’s known about energy systems suggests that it may be more worth your while to aim for a ratio closer to 1:5, or 30 seconds of rest followed by 150 seconds of recovery. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario in Canada found that subjects who performed four to six 30-second sprints with four minutes of rest after each sprint lost twice the fat of a steady-state group — a ratio of 1:8.
HIIT+ Don’t be in a rush to dive into that next interval. Instead, focus on giving a max effort on every single sprint.
2. Upper-Body HIIT
Though the majority of the research has revolved around running or cycling, new research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has shown that a tussle with the battling ropes — 15-second work intervals followed by 45 seconds of rest — held benefits similar to the lower-body activities.
HIIT+ With upper-body HIIT, your arms and delts may feel the burn, but your lungs won’t be missed either. Battling ropes, boxing, hand cycling or even combo activities like the Airdyne bike will provide a metabolic boost akin to sprinting.
[Read More: 5 Quick Ways to Challenge Your Pull-Up]
3. HIIT-Specific Supplements
Short, explosive bouts of activity focus mainly on the phosphagen energy system, which relies on the chemical reactions of adenosine triphosphate and creatine phosphate. This produces energy at a very high rate for anywhere from six to 30 seconds. After that, other energy systems start to take over.
During your bouts of recovery, your phosphagen stores are recuperating. And if more creatine is available, this fuel is easier to synthesize, keeping you training faster and harder through each interval. As your intervals progress, your muscles also start to fatigue through other mechanisms, such as the accumulation of lactic acid. This can be buffered through the ingestion of beta-alanine. Caffeine has been shown to acutely increase strength, delay fatigue and blunt the pain associated with high-intensity exercise.
HIIT+ Make sure that you take in three to five grams of creatine and two to three grams of beta-alanine 30 minutes before your intervals. Adding a 200- to 300-milligram dose of caffeine anhydrous can help you push through your late intervals.
4. Be Exclusive
With low-intensity cardio, a familiar practice is to perform it following your weight work. This is ideal because your body will tap into fat faster in the absence of glycogen (which you left in the weight room). But HIIT, done right, is not the type of training that likes to share space with others. Because it places such a high demand on your body, joints and nervous system, HIIT is best done as an exclusive workout.
HIIT+ If you want to run faster or train harder on every one of your intervals, schedule your HIIT on a day when you are not training weights. Also, allow at least 48 to 72 hours before your next HIIT session.
5. Food Prep
LISS advocates who use it to shed weight like to do it — at least on occasion — on an empty stomach because, again, the glycogen-depleted state that your body is in upon waking makes for a more favorable fat-burning environment.
But this also can eat away at valuable, hard-earned muscle tissue because fat stores are not easily converted to fuel by the body. If you’re doing HIIT, however, you’re likely more concerned with preserving and/or building muscle, so going on empty is probably not advisable. Also, the absence of nutrients can result in you hitting the wall faster than you had planned, leaving your max-effort work looking sub-spectacular.
HIIT+ Don’t do HIIT on an empty stomach. Try to get at least one whole-food meal in ahead of your workout, or, if you must train early, take down about 10 grams of branched-chain amino acid for fuel and to aid in muscle preservation.

10 Muscle Building Tips

10 Muscle building tips

SO you want to pack on some muscle? Good because that’s what this article is about! Being toned, muscular, defined and healthy is a good thing. Whether you’re male or female.

 

More muscle means less body fat, more energy, greater performance physically and more confidence mentally.

 

 

 

1:Train using multi joint exercises like squats, dead lifts, Olympic lifts such as clean and jerk and snatch.

 

2:Avoid isolation exercises such as bicep curls unless you have unlimited training time!

 

3:Short rest periods trigger the greater muscle growth, so keep rest to 60 seconds max

 

4: vary the tempo at which you lift the weights, also vary your rest periods, you can move the weight slow or fast, both are great for building muscle when performed correctly.

 

5:Use the hypertrophy muscle building range to maximize muscle growth- 8-12 reps per set and a minimum of 3-5 sets per exercise for small muscles such as the biceps, 6 + for large muscles like the legs.

 

6:Control your exercises, what I mean is make sure the muscle lifts the weight and not momentum.

 

7:Train circuit style, minimal rest maximum effort! Fat burning heaven! Mix up the stations between lower body and upper body, weighted and none weighted exercises. Such as station 1 barbell squats, station 2 press ups bodyweight, station 3 pull ups bodyweight, station 4 lunges weighted. Try 2 stations for 30 seconds each, rest 1 minute, go again, repeat.

 

 

8: Push yourself! You can do it! Push out those last few reps, go heavier, perform drop sets at the end of every workout, meaning perform a set to failure on a given weight, immediately go lighter by bout 10-15% and go to failure again, keep going till you just can’t. This is fairly advanced way of training and not for a beginner just to add.

 

9: Train the anaerobic system over the aerobic system to burn the most fat! Simply lift weights, perform body weight exercises, high intensity workouts with minimal rest.

 

10: High intensity sprints to strip the fat, example jog then sprint x 10 then rest for 1 minute and go again. Hill sprints are perfect, sprint up the hill, walk or jog down to catch your breath, repeat and repeat.

How do I Lose fat, get lean whilst maintaining muscle?

How do I Lose fat, get lean whilst maintaining muscle?
A few Tips to help you get in great shape:

Planning

In order to lose body fat we have to have a reason as to why we want to achieve this goal, is it (a) Make you look good (b) Health benefits (reduce heart disease, lower cholesterol etc) (c) Holiday/Vacation (c) Competition (d) or just to see if you can.

There are many reasons why people choose to get to a low body fat percentage, but to achieve your goal in a half-hearted fashion will not work. Remember that the body likes to be at a set point of body fat and will try everything it can to maintain this set point, the main way that the body achieves this is by slowing the metabolism down, or by holding body fat and using muscle tissue, the body is clever and it has evolved over thousands of years, so were not going to trick it into change over night.

You have to plan your life around wanting to change, your aim must be clear and precise as to why you want to do it, you must set a date to start, tell your friends/family that you are going to do it, and that you are going to start on a certain date, you will need the support from the other people whilst you are embarking on this new regime. It is not easy to achieve a low body fat percentage and you must be 100% committed to your aim.

Setting Goals

Write down the reasons as to why you want to achieve this aim, i.e., “I want my body fat to be …X…” But be realistic, you wont achieve a 15% reduction in a few weeks.

By writing down your aims you have made a statement and setting yourself a goal, and get rid of any thoughts of “I wish I was…….etc. Your statement now is I will loose “X” amount of pounds in “Y” amount of time. Set goals that are ambitious yet achievable. You might not know how far you can go in losing fat, so find an example like in fitness magazines, you might of seen the before and after pictures of people who have been losing fat for a while, and pin it on your wall for inspiration.

Now you have written your goals down make copies and hang them everywhere you see them regularly, i.e. bathroom mirror, refrigerator door, inside the car, just to reinforce what you are about to achieve, Remember that there will be set backs, but you will be able to get back on track because remember “you are going to achieve this”.

Nutrition

Restricting calories does not work, your body has safety mechanisms which will work the other way and store fat, an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase is the enemy in trying to lose fat, it slows the metabolism and makes you store fat as a last resort for energy, and on top of that the body then gives up our muscle tissue for energy, you will lose weight but the wrong weight, Muscle is 70% water so on the scales you think you are doing well but it is muscle and water that has gone and considering that muscle burns calories this then further reduces your metabolism, when you come off the diet you will gain back every ounce of the fat you had and some more for “insurance” in case you do this again, so now you can eat less and still get fat.

Meal Frequency

You must eat regularly which means never go more than three hours without eating food, which means that you will be having six or seven meals a day. You won’t be eating any more calories than you need but all you have done is spread the calories evenly over the day, this in turn increases the metabolism, stops craving, and stops the highs and lows of blood sugar. You will have more energy and less hunger pangs, the food will be more easily digested and you will create a metabolic environment that supports healthy fat loss and muscle gains.

Meals

When trying to lose body fat we have to eat less then our body requires in the day to create a “negative balance”. Instead of counting every single calorie that you eat, we go about this differently we count portions, and a portion is the size of the palm of your hand, or the size of a clenched fist. This is a basic easy way to eat your food. Without the right foods you will not see results, food and training is the key.

What exercises burn FAT?

The best exercise for Fat Burning?

What is HIIT?

 

What is High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT for short)? HIIT is a variant of exercising that is the quickest way to burn fat and gain muscle simultaneously. How does HIIT work? HIIT optimizes your workout time by utilizing a series of short, high-intensity intervals, followed up by longer, low-intensity intervals. The reason HIIT is so successful is that HIIT’s repeated intervals constantly keeps your body. Your body is never given a chance to “plateau” or get used to one setting, something that is common with other forms of cardio. Due to the nature of HIIT, it is typical to have workouts that are only 20 minutes or less and still burn the same amount of calories as an hour of regular exercising. The best part of HIIT is that it boosts your metabolism and will continue to burn hundreds of calories hours after you are done exercising!

HIIT Training

One of the advantages to HIIT is that it can be applied to almost any form of cardio imaginable and can even be custom tailored to fit any exercising level, from beginners all the way to Olympic athletes! By simply creating your own combination of intervals or using common HIIT workouts such as the 30-90, 30-60, or the 30-30, you can easily integrate HIIT into your own cardio routine. When creating your own HIIT workout, use this simple guideline: typically, the low-intensity interval should be set at a pace where your heart rate is 40-50% of your maximum, and during high-intensity intervals, you should set your pace so that your heart rate is 80-90% of its maximum. The common HIIT workouts employ combinations of 30 seconds of high intensity, followed by either 90, 60, or 30 seconds of low-intensity intervals (depending on skill level). HIIT, although ideal for sprinting, can be adapted to work on treadmills and other gym equipment as well as other sports.

HIIT is a very effective way to get in shape quickly and stay in shape. The key to HIIT’s success is that it constantly keeps your body guessing. HIIT can be strenuous for the first time so make sure to go at your own pace and stay hydrated. HIIT is all about changing it up and fighting the ever looming “plateau effect”, and if used properly, HIIT is one of the best ways to reach your fitness goals.

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