This article is being reprinted with permission of author, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, RKC Russian Kettlebell Certified Instructor and website owner, Adrienne Harvey, of giryagirl.com.
Google Webmaster Tools told me your collective dark secret: you want to know what you’ll look like if you train with kettlebells diligently over a long period of time.You may have heard enough about functional strength, athletic ability, optimum health, stamina, and fat loss, your search terms have given you all away… you want to know…
WHAT WILL YOU LOOK LIKE if you train with these barbaric looking (I like that about them) arguably heavy solid iron kettlebells?
Short Answer: kettlebell use will cause your forearms to be visibly stronger, upper arms and shoulders toned and more defined as fat is lost, legs and rear tighter and more shapely, posture will improve. You will appear (and be) balanced, stronger and more graceful with a general air of healthy athleticism. Hopefully you will also make peace with and come to LIKE your own body as I have!
Author: Lori Braun, FemaleMuscle.com
Women and men both need calcium to build bone mass during the early years of life. Low calcium intake appears to be one of the contributing factors in developing osteoporosis, which afflicts women far more than men. During early adulthood and adolescence women should definitely heighten their calcium intake. Although a higher intake of calcium is recommended for young people a good dietary source of calcium is necessary throughout one’s life.
The foods topping the calcium chart are milk and cheese. In addition, other forms of dairy such as yogurt and cottage cheese, as well as salmon, tofu and certain vegetables such as broccoli, peas and beans, calcium enriched grains, lime processed tortillas, seeds and nuts are other good sources of calcium.
The recommended daily allowance of iron is 15 milligrams per day for women. This is about 5 milligrams more than the RDA for men. Women need more iron due to the fact that they lose an average of 15 to 20 milligrams of iron each month while menstruating.
Heme iron is derived from animal products – meat, fish and poultry – are good and important sources of iron. In addition, the type of iron, known as heme iron, in these foods is well absorbed in the human intestine.
Non-heme iron is dietary iron from plant sources – in beans and peas, broccoli and other green leafy vegetables; potatoes, whole grain and iron fortified cereals. Not as well absorbed as heme iron, the amount of non-heme iron absorbed by the body is influenced by other aspects of a person’s diet. Adding even relatively small amounts of meat or foods containing vitamin C to one’s diet will substantially increase the total amount of iron absorbed by one’s body.
One very common complaint – among males in particular, is that no matter how hard you’re working in the gym, you just cannot seem to build muscle mass. You hit your workouts every day on schedule, you’re giving 110% during each lift, your pre and post workout nutrition is 100% on the dot every single day, so what’s the problem? Is your body just out to get you? Or is there something you’re doing critical wrong? Continue Reading…
Developing powerful pecs through chest workouts is one of the most sought-after appearances by body builders and/or general fitness gurus. As a matter of fact, most men tend to overtrain their pecs. In contrast, most women are afraid of working their chest in fear of feeling or looking “manly”. Why would this be?
Well, having a large chest gives a “strong-like-bull” appearance – seemingly invincible and immovable, a warrior in training if you will. In most cases, people see bigger as being better from an aesthetic standpoint. In fact, many men seek pectoral implants more often than “other” enlargements. If you want a big chest so badly, why don’t you just get to the gym and do some chest workouts?
Don’t run away yet, ladies! A strong chest is as important for you as it is for men! Doing a set of bench press doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll bulk up like Schwarzenegger. It’s the method and not the simple act of working out your chest that’ll steer you towards the goal you want whether you want to bulk up or tone up!
(Please be forewarned of an impending rant!)
As someone who has spent 15 years of her life working as personal trainer, the phrase I detest the most is “I don’t want to get too big“. It never fails new clients, mostly females, think that obtaining a bodybuilder or even fitness model physique is easy. Total beginners that can barely bench press an empty bar for 3 reps express concern they don’t want to get “too big”. Sure, thinking that at first is fine, but months and months of insisting to me they will “get big” while I try and explain and they completely ignore me (a trained professional) frustrated me to no end. They would insist on using nothing over 5lb dumbells since they “didnt want to get big”
To me – this is on the same wavelength as someone going to a swimming lesson learning how to doggy paddle then informing the swim instructor they don’t want to be an Olympic swimmer. Seriously. People don’t think going for a swim will turn them into Michael Phelps, why do people think lifting a weight will turn them into Iris Kyle?
And, yes, this is not polite to say – but in my years of experience the irony is most the women that say this – are huge anyway! It never failed some 250lb overweight lady would inform me “she didn’t want to get big like those female bodybuilders from lifting weights“. For many years I shut up in the interest of keeping my job and paying my mortgage, but in later years once I was self employed I lost control and would point out with an insipid fake smile that “actually no female bodybuilder in history has ever competed at the weight you are now. You are 100lbs heavier then the average female bodybuilder“. This was a surefire way to get them to stop.
It even extended to fitness model physiques, and I have always wondered why people feel it is acceptable? If fitness models and bodybuilders were to start telling people they found them fat, sloppy and digusting it would be an uproar – but somehow the general public seems to feel it’s polite to tell physique competitors this. Thinking what you want is fine, why verbalize this and insult others unasked?
Now granted, there are cases of females looking bad from steroid abuse – but even someone like Monica Brant can be scorned at times.
I am inflicting this rant on femalemuscle.com readers due to an event this morning. A sometime training partner of mine is my new wallpaper. She is an IFBB pro and just sent me some new pics of her and I thought she looked great so I made her my desktop for motivation. Someone had occasion to see my screen and said “eww, she looks horrible all huge“. I pointed out she was a close friend of mine and figured that would shut them up.
No – it didn’t. They continued to insult, so finally I pointed out – “actually she weighs 125lbs, I can see you weigh nothing under 220lbs so actually you are huge not her“. Then of course the person became butt hurt by me insulting their weight – after freely insulting my friend.
Is it just me? Any other personal trainers out there hate this phrase?
These are chest exercises and I describe each one so you’ll have a better understanding of them. I hope you find it informative and inspiring.
The bench press is one of the most common exercises performed in weightlifting. It involves a flat bench and uprights. Your grip should create 90-degree angles at your elbows when they are at chest height. When beginning the press, lift the bar off the uprights. Once accomplished, lower the bar to your chest at a slow rate and lift with a faster speed. Continue this procedure minus the original lift-off for the expected number of reps. (a fast lift enables the lift of heavier weights and increases the capacity of red muscle fibers, while a slower lift will require less weight while developing the white muscle fibers. Each should be performed with a specified number of reps).
Inclined Bench Press
Similar to the bench press, an adjustable flat bench and uprights are needed. As suggested in its name, the inclined bench press requires an incline of the bench. Different inclined angles will focus on different parts of the upper chest however the bench should not reach an upright position because this would be using the shoulders instead of the upper chest. Your grip should mirror that of the bench press in this exercise. Lower the bar to your chest and repeat the suggested number of repetitions.
Carrie A(left) from SML: “Personally, I should be holding the guy, since I am usually stronger.”
Well, you can have a chance to discuss this proposition with Carrie over on SML WebCams. Carrie is an enthusiastic web cam performer who has opinions on all things muscle and the body to back it up. Register (no credit card needed) for free chat and meet Carrie and over 200 female bodybuilders and athletes from around the world.
photo credit Brian Moss
To make continued progress in the gym, you need to know when and how to change up variables in the gym such as the exercises utilized, the amount of weight used, the number of reps performed per set, the number of sets completed for each exercise and for each muscle group, and the amount of rest allowed between sets. Exercise scientists call these acute training variables and they are what make one workout different from another. Frequently changing these variables is critical for making continued progress in the gym.
But before you need to even be concerned with these training variables you need to have a good grasp on how you split up your training for the week. Bodybuilders call this a training split. Your training split determines how frequently you train each week, how frequently you train each muscle group in a week and what muscle groups get trained together. Your training split can also determine how many sets you can perform per exercise and per muscle group and even how intense you can train.
While there is an endless possibility of training splits that can be employed there are several common ones that fit a variety of experience levels and schedules, and have been proven to be effective after decades of use by bodybuilders. Your current training split may be something you just adopted due to a training partner or a popular fitness competitor’s training split. While it may be a good split, it may not be the best split for you. Even if it is a great split for you, like reps and sets and exercises, you should also change up your training split from time to time to. This is beneficial for several reasons. For one, just like if you kept the acute training variables the same every single workout, if you keep your training split the same month after month, your muscles would adapt and would get stale, limiting your progress. Another reason to change your split is that if you train the same muscle groups together in the same order, the muscle groups that are trained later in the workout can not be trained with the same intensity as the first muscle group that is trained, which limits your results. Changing your split up allows you to train different muscle groups first in your workout.
The Just Split It program will teach you the four most common training splits bodybuilders use and have you trying each split to determine which one works best for you.
Split #1) Whole-Body Training Split (3 days per week): The whole-body training spilt simply trains the entire body each time you go to the gym. Because you normally train about 9 or 10 major muscle groups each workout, the number of exercises and sets you can do per muscle group is minimal. Typically, most Whole Body Training workouts use only one to two exercises per muscle group with total sets per muscle group rarely exceeding six. This allows you to train each muscle group more frequently because they receive a limited amount of stress each workout. The less stress a muscle receives the faster it can recover and be trained again.
Although it is typically considered a beginners type of training split, a whole-body training split can work well for advanced lifters. That’s because this type of training is great for building a lean muscular physique. This type of training enhances both fat burning and muscle development. Because you train such a large amount of muscle groups in each workout, it boosts growth hormone levels higher than workouts that train fewer muscle groups. Growth hormone helps to encourage muscle growth, as well as fat burning. Whole-body training also activates a greater amount of enzymes in muscles that turn on fat-burning processes. In addition,research from St. Francis Xavier University (Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada) shows that female and male subjects who trained each muscle group three times per week had upper body strength gains that were 8% greater and muscle mass gains that were 300% greater than those who trained twice per week. This was despite the fact that each group completed the same number of sets per muscle group. In other words, the 3 times per week trainers did less sets per workout. So, if you currently train each muscle group once per week and do about 12 sets for each muscle group, training each muscle group three times per week with a whole body training split, but only doing 4 sets per workout will allow you to do the same amount of sets per week, but may enhance your results.
The simplest way to train using a whole-body training split is to train on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You want to allow at least one full day of rest between workouts. One negative about using a whole-body training split is that if you do the same workout each of the three days you will lack variety in your exercises. To avoid this you should do a different exercise for each muscle group on each of the three workouts. Another negative is that if you train your muscle groups in the same order every workout, certain muscle groups that are trained later in the workout will lag because you won’t be able to train them with the same intensity as the muscle groups trained earlier in the workout. To avoid this, alternate the order of the muscle groups you train, being sure to allow weak muscle groups a chance to be trained earlier in the workout on some days. This sample whole-body training program avoids both these problems to optimize your results.
Split #2) Upper Body/Lower Body Training Split (4 days per week): This is a training split that simply breaks the body down into upper body (chest, back, shoulders, traps, biceps, triceps,) and lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and often abdominals to limit the volume of work done in upper body workouts) muscles. This type of split allows you to train each muscle group twice per week (two upper body workouts and two lower body workouts). Because you split the entire body up into two workouts it allows you to do more sets for each muscle group than the whole-body training split. It also allows you to train with a little more intensity, as you have fewer muscle groups to train each workout. However, because this type of training split allows for more sets and higher intensity, it means our muscles will require more rest. Most females who follow an Upper Body/Lower Body Training split follow a Monday (lower body workout 1), Tuesday (upper body workout 1), Thursday (lower body workout 2), Friday (upper body workout 2) training schedule as shown below. This allows three days of rest for each muscle group between workouts.
While males tend to dislike this training split because they have to train all the upper body muscles in one workout, females tend to prefer it because it allows them to focus an entire workout on their lower body. If you find this to be the case you can modify the Upper Body/Lower Body Training Split by training some upper body muscle groups with your lower body. This type of a training split is commonly referred to as a Two-Day Training Split. Just like with the whole-body training split you should alter exercise performed on each of the two workouts for same muscle groups and alter the order you train muscle groups, just like the example below.
Split #3) Push/Pull/Legs Training Split (3 days per week): The Push/Pull/Legs Training Split is a modified version of the Push/Pull Training Split that many powerlifters use. Both are based on the concept that the body’s muscles are mainly divided into pushing muscles and pulling muscles. Pushing muscles include the muscles of the chest, shoulders and triceps, as these muscles tend to perform exercises in which the muscles are pushing the weight away from the body, such as the bench press, the shoulder press, or the triceps extension. Pulling muscles include the muscles of the back and biceps, as these muscles mainly perform exercises in which the muscles are pulling the weight toward the body, such as barbell rows and barbell curls. Abs are commonly considered pulling muscles as they pull the torso towards the legs and/or the legs toward the torso. The problem arrives when you consider legs. The squat is a pushing exercise, as is the leg extension, but exercises like leg curls and Romanian deadlifts are pulling exercises. Powerlifters that follow the Push/Pull Training split often put legs on push day due to the squat. However, many bodybuilders started doing a Push/Pull/Leg Training Split, where just the upper body muscles are divided into Pushing and Pulling days and the Legs are trained separately.
Because there are three separate workouts to train the entire body most females who follow this split train on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, hitting each muscle group once per week. However, some have been known to do it six days per week to hit each muscle group twice per week. The benefit of doing this is that because the entire body is split into three different workouts you can do far more exercises and sets per muscle group than when you follow a Whole-Body Training Split or an Upper Body/Lower Body Training Split. This allows you to train with greater intensity, but because of this you should train each muscle group with less frequency, which is why we recommend training just three days per week with this split.
Split #4) Four-Day Training Split (4 days per week): This training split simply divides all the major muscle groups of the body into four separate training days. This allows you to train fewer muscle groups each workout, than the three prior splits. Of course, this allows you to increase the intensity of your workouts and the number of exercises and sets you perform per muscle group. Most Four Day Training Splits are done on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday schedule, where rest days are taken on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. However, you can train any four days of the week you prefer. There are an endless number of ways you can divide up muscle groups with a four-day training split. However, a great way to divide body parts on a four day training split is to pair muscles that perform opposite actions. For example, on Monday train chest and back, Tuesday shoulders and abdominals, Thursday quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, and Friday train biceps, triceps and abdominals as seen in the sample Four-Day Split workout. The Monday and Friday workouts best exemplify this training strategy. Training chest and back allows you to train to muscle groups that don’t fatigue one another. The same can be said for training biceps and triceps together. Each muscle group performs an opposite motion of its training pair, a push versus a pull. For example, the biceps flex the elbow while the triceps extend it.
Try following the program schedule in Split Trial below. You follow each training split for three weeks. This will give you just enough time to get a feel for each split and to determine how well your body responds to each one, as well as how well it works with your schedule. These are all important considerations to determining which split works. Read Split Grades for tips on how to decide which split works best for you. Regardless of which split you find works best for you, you will still want to consider alternating your split every once in a while. For example, if you find that the four-day split works best for you stick with that as your major split, but every 3 or 4 months switch to a different split for at least a month or two and then go back to the four-day split. This will help you avoid falling into a training rut where progress becomes stagnant.
Follow this 12-week program that allows you to put each split through a trial run. Use the workouts listed under each split.
Weeks Training Split
1-3 Whole-Body Training Split
4-6 Upper Body/Lower Body Training Split
7-9 Push/Pull/Legs Training Split
10-12 Four-Day Training Split
To determine the best split for you, consider the following points about your training while using each of the different splits:
- Which split allowed you to train with more overall intensity and/or provided you the best overall results? If you have a well-balanced physique without any weak areas you need to bring up this is probably the best split for you.
- Which split allowed you to train lagging body parts the hardest and/or helped best to bring up lagging body parts? If you have a weak body part of two that you are trying to bring up with the rest of your muscle groups, this split is likely your best option.
- Which split allowed you the best recovery between workouts? If you tend to be the type that is frequently sore for days after workouts and recover slowly, this is likely the split for you.
- Which split was most convenient for your schedule? If you’re a busy-body with a tight schedule and tend to miss workouts due to your schedule than this will probably be the best split for you.
Phenomenal Abdominals In 8 Weeks or Less!
By Rob Wilkins
Professional Member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
How many infomercials have you seen where an “expert” says, “For the low-low price of $49.99 our product will help you get rid of your gut and develop the best set of abs on the planet!” In the ads, fitness models show off their six-packs attained by using Product X. However, these same ads fail to mention the importance of the four primary ingredients for developing great-looking abs: cardiovascular exercise 3-4 times per week, effective ab exercises, eating foods low in fats, and the right set of genes. To have great abs, body fat levels must be reduced, so don’t rely on the AB-roller, AB-maker, or AB-shaper to give you the chiseled look you desire. In order to change your body you must first understand how it is designed.
The central function of the abdominal region is to provide a strong foundation on which both the upper and lower body moves. Let’s briefly look at ab anatomy.
There are four muscle groups that make up the abdominal area:
1. The Rectus Abdominis (RA) – The “RA” runs the length of the ab area from the pubic bone to the chest and pulls the torso toward the hips and the hips toward the torso. It’s responsible for tilting the pelvis, which may affect the curvature of the lower back. Strengthening the “RA” will enhance performance in sports requiring jumping, running, and lifting objects. The “RA” when fully developed will provide you with the “six pack.”
2. The External Oblique (EO) – The “EO” runs diagonally to the rectus abdominis and aids in the twisting of the trunk. The left external oblique is activated when twisting to the right, and the right “EO” is activated when twisting to the left. Strengthening this area will improve performance in sports where trunk rotation is important such as golf, tennis, and baseball.
3. The Internal Oblique (IO) – The “IO” lies underneath the external oblique and runs in a diagonally opposite direction. The “IO” muscle aids the trunk in twisting in the same direction as the side they are on. Strengthening this muscle will improve your performance in sports where you rotate the trunk, such as skiing, canoeing, and soccer.
4. The Transverse Abdominis (TA) – The “TA” runs horizontally across the abdominal wall and along the midsection underneath the external and internal obliques. The “TA” pulls the abdominal wall inward, forcing expiration. Strengthening the “TA” will enhance performance in sports with short-term power activities such as karate, shot put, and football.
EFFECTIVE AB EXERCISES:
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recently sponsored a study (2) to find the most effective and least effective ab exercises. The study conducted by Dr. Peter Francis from the Biomechanics Lab at San Diego State University compared 13 of the most common abdominal exercises and ranked them from most to least effective. The study consisted of 30 healthy women and men, ages 20-45, ranging from occasional to daily exercisers. They were put through a series of exercises, including the traditional crunch, modified crunches, partial body-weight exercises, and exercises using both home and gym exercise equipment. Muscle activity was monitored during each exercise using electromyography equipment.
Each of the 13 exercises was ranked for muscle stimulation in the rectus abdominus (long, flat muscle extending the length of the front of the abdomen) and the obliques (long, flat muscles extending along the sides of the abdomen at an angle). Overall, the top three abdominal exercises were the bicycle maneuver, captain’s chair and crunch on the exercise ball.
For best results, Dr. Francis recommends choosing several of the top-rated exercises and doing a five-minute exercise session daily. If one exercise is uncomfortable try others until you come up with a variety that meet your needs. This will help maintain muscle balance and prevent boredom (2).
According to the San Diego State University/Ace Abdominal (2) study the following are some of the most effective ab exercises:
1. Bicycle maneuver- Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Put your hands beside your head. Bring knees up to about a 45-degree angle and slowly go through a bicycle pedal motion. Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. Keep even relaxed breathing throughout.
2. Captain’s chair – Stabilize your upper body by gripping the handholds and lightly pressing your lower back against the back pad. The starting position begins with you holding your body up and legs dangling below (are legs bent or straight?). Now slowly lift your knees in toward your chest. The motion should be controlled and deliberate as you bring the knees up and return them back to the starting position.
3. Crunches on exercise ball –Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. Let the ball roll back slowly. Now lie back on the ball until your thighs and torso are parallel with the floor. Place hands behind your head (or cross your arms over your chest) and slightly tuck your chin in toward your chest. Contract your abdominals raising your torso to no more than 45 degrees. For better balance spread your feet wider apart.
4. Vertical leg crunch – Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Put your hands behind your head for support. Extend your legs straight up in the air, crossed at the ankles with a slight bend in the knee. Contract your abdominal muscles by lifting your torso toward your knees. Make sure to keep your chin off your chest with each contraction. Exhale as you contract upward; inhale as you return to the starting position.
5. Traditional crunch – Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor in front of you. Lie on an exercise mat rather than hard floor to prevent back strain. Position your feet hip distance apart. Place your hands behind your head so that your thumbs are tucked behind your ears. Hold elbows slightly out to the sides and keep chin pointing upward. Curl up and forward lifting your head neck and shoulder blades off the floor. Make sure you’re not pulling your head forward with your hands. Keep a fists distance between your chin and chest to be sure to target your abs and not strain your neck. Pause at the top of the movement and tighten your abs. Slowly lower your head, neck, and shoulder blades as you inhale and return to starting position. Remember to keep knees bent and back straight throughout entire exercise.
These exercises will provide a good starting point for any workout newcomer or seasoned veteran looking for a shapelier waistline. However, in gyms all around the world, millions of people are spending hours upon hours working on their abs. and may not realize that genetics can make it much more difficult to develop the sleek and shapely ab muscles so many desire..
See more abs: http://femalemuscle.com/arnold07_1_2/pic567.shtml
The Primary Factor is to first Lean Your Legs
Losing fat on the legs is primarily in the nutrition and added cardio. Diet is most important, as it will lay the path for weight training and cardio.
-Eat a balanced meal every three hours
-Take in optimal protein for your body
-Choose fresh and natural food over processed
-Don’t go hungry or skip meals
-Limit and/or omit junk food
-Limit and/or omit alcohol
Bad Information about
Leaning Your Legs
There is a lot of bad information out there and many times you waste your time sifting through the junk to find something quality. Should you include cardio or not? Should you incorporate heavy or light weight training? Should you engage in low or high repetitions?
These are some of the factors I will cover to help make your leg transformation possible.
Heavy Training vs. Light Training for Leaning Your Legs
To build muscle you need to do heavy resistance training in the 4 to 6 repetition range to failure. Lighter weight and repetitions in the 15 to 20 range will build more endurance and strengthen the joints. Both of these tactics can be used to their advantage.
Being that you already have thicker thighs, you will be better off alternating heavy, moderate, and light training with a variety of repetitions to target all the muscle fibers, from strength to endurance. This also serves as constant shock to keep the legs responding.