Monday, June 27, 2011

How To Do Barbell Bent Over Rows

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Rows are among the best compound exercises you'll ever do. In a previous post, I showed you how to do dumbbell bent over rows. Now I'm going to show you to do the exercise with a barbell. The barbell bent over row is very important because it:

  • strengthens and develops your back muscles
  • tones and strengthens your core
  • tones and strengthens your shoulders
  • tones and strengthens your arms
  • strengthens and develops your chest
The bent over row with barbells is the big cousin of the exercise with dumbbells and is essential to the continued progression of any strength training workout. So now, let's get started.

How To Do Barbell Bent Over Rows

You'll need a barbell for this exercise, you can choose from either the fixed or Olympic barbells, but the exercise becomes more challenging (and thus better) if you use the Olympic bar, so we're going to focus on the Olympic bar for this very reason. It's always important to start out with a warm up set, this helps loosen up your muscles and prime them for the exercise. Add some weight to the bar - just enough for a warm up set (e.g. sixty pounds). Now, pick of the bar using a pronated grip (palms facing you); you can use either shoulder width (for more core development) or wide grip (greater emphasis on shoulders, chest and upper back).

The next thing that you must do is bend your knees. Now lean forward until you're at a 45 degree angle. Do not arch your back, this could do severe damage to your spine. Make sure that your head and back are correctly aligned. Using a rowing motion to pull the bar toward your stomach. Now lower the bar to your starting position. That's one repetition. Do nine more then add more weight. You'll want to add enough to provide resistance but not to the point that you won't be able to perform the exercise. In other words, the weight amount should allow for four to six repetitions per set; after five sets of this exercise you can do something else. Each week add twenty pounds while keeping the number of reps and sets consistent.

The barbell row takes a little time to learn, but once you've mastered it, you'll experience fantastic strength gains.

Some of you are taking classes this summer. Have you found the right balance between studying and exercise? Increased mental awareness is correlated with physical exercise. Make time for both of them.

"Great Chest and Whole Body Workouts: How To Do The Barbell Bent Over Row" copyright 2011 Great Chest and Whole Body Workouts. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 20, 2011

How To Do Side Step Push Ups

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The more you challenge yourself the stronger you become. Today I'm going to show you the most intensely challenging push ups exercise to date in my push ups series. This exercise is very important to strength training because it combines horizontal and vertical motion. Once you've done one set of this type of push up, you'll know that you've had a great chest and whole body workout.

How To Do Side Step Push Ups

Push ups are body weight exercises so the only thing you'll need is a flat horizontal surface with enough area to move around in. Extend your legs behind you, you'll support part of your weight on the balls of your feet (keep your feet close together). Place both palms face down on the floor, making sure that they are shoulder width apart. Tighten your abs and keep your back straight, you must not arch your back at anytime during this exercise. Now, lower your chest to within one inch of the floor then press yourself back up to your starting position. Now comes the challenging part of the exercise: while holding in this position (upper body supporting most of your weight), move your left palm arm until it is directly next to the right palm. Now move your right palm one space to the right. Next move your right leg one space to the right. Then move your left leg one space to the right until there is little space between both feet. That completes one full repetition of the push up side step exercise.

Depending on how much space is available, do five step push ups moving to the right and then five step push ups toward the left. This push ups variation is harder than others because you have to learn to coordinate your movements in three dimensions (up, down and to either side). It's a very useful exercise with many strength training and conditioning benefits including:

  • strong biceps
  • strong shoulders
  • strong triceps
  • strong chest
  • strong abdominals
  • strong upper back
  • teaches coordination between arms and legs   
Side step push ups will take a little time to master. If you have underdeveloped upper body strength or tire easily, limit yourself to one set. Each week add another set while keeping the number of reps the same. Once you're in good physical condition you should be doing at least five sets (or 50 reps) of side step push ups.

Summer's here now. Are you going to spend it moping around with downcast eyes and feeling sorry for yourself because you're out of shape? Don't hide out in your room all day sitting around playing video games on your computer, get out into the sun! So what if you don't have a gym membership or equipment! You don't have any excuses now. Push ups are an excellent body weight exercise because you don't have to go out and buy any equipment, and they can be done just about anywhere. Turn off the computer or the TV and workout! Now is the time, guys.

"Great Chest and Whole Body Workouts: How To Do Step Push Ups" copyright 2011 Great Chest and Whole Body Workouts. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 13, 2011

How To Do The Machine Lateral Side Raise

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Today I'm going to show you the machine lateral raise which is an alternative to the dumbbell lateral raise exercise.

How To Do The Machine Lateral Side Raise

You'll need access to a lateral raise machine. Some machines are equipped with pads, others don't have pads but the principle is the same. You'll need to do a warm up set, this loosens up your muscles and gives you a feel for the exercise. Stand facing the machine with your feet shoulder width apart. Grasp the hand grips. Now, take a deep breath and use your shoulder muscles to lift the weight until your arms are at shoulder height. Now, breathe out as you lower your arms to your sides. That's one rep. Complete nine more reps and then add more weight.

You need to add enough weight to create a challenge for your muscles. Strength building range is four to six reps, if your plan is to tone your muscles then perform eight or ten repetitions. Go for five sets up the machine lateral raise, then do other shoulder exercises e.g. pull ups, dips, etc.

The machine lateral raise is very useful because it:
  • trains the lateral deltoid muscles
  • trains the muscles in your upper back
  • gives you another option for training your lateral delts
Although free weights are the strength trainer/weight lifter's best choice, you should discount machine weights. Put another way, if you get to the gym only to find that all of the free weights are taken, are you just gonna go home? If you really want to become stronger, you'll use everything that's available to you including machines, body weight exercises, etc.

Summer's almost here. Are you ready for it?

"Great Chest and Whole Body Workouts - How To Do The Machine Side Lateral Raise" copyright 2011 Great Chest and Whole Body Workouts. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 6, 2011

How To Do The Dumbbell Wrist Curl Exercise

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We all need strong wrists. You can't carry heavy objects or lift weights when you have weak wrist muscles. Imagine carrying a heavy suitcase or bag of groceries if your muscles are weak. Your weight lifting progress would also suffer - the deadlift, farmer's walk and bench press are three exercises that depend on strong wrists. So, to get those muscles into shape I'm going to show you how to do the dumbbell wrist curl. It's a must do exercise for anyone who wants strong wrists.

How to do the Dumbbell Wrist Curl Exercise

Before we get started I want to point of some of the benefits of the wrist curl with dumbbells. This exercise is important because it:
  • strengthens the forearm flexor muscles 
  • strengthens the forearm extensor muscles
  • improves wrist flexibility
You're going to start off with a warm up set, so grab a light weight dumbbell. Sit down and rest your forearm on your knee. Hold the dumbbell so that closed fist is pointing toward the ceiling (also referred to as the supinated position). Next, use your forearm muscles to flex your wrist. Curl your wrist as far upward as you can. Now use your wrist muscles to lower the weight to the starting position. That's one rep. Do this again until you have completed ten reps. Repeat the warm up set with the other wrist. After your warm up, it's now time to select a heavier weight. The objective of the dumbbell wrist curl (or dumbbell wrist flex) exercise is to develop strong wrists, you'll need a weight that is heavy enough for four to eight reps. Perform five sets of the exercise and then stop. Your wrists might feel a bit sore by the time you're finished with this exercise but it will be worth it. Each week increase the weight amount by five pounds while keeping the number of reps and sets consistent.

There are other ways to do the wrist curl exercise including pronated dumbbell wrist flex (palms facing down), and the barbell wrist curl. The barbell wrist flex has the advantage of training both wrists at the same time. The disadvantage of that particular exercise is that if one wrist is weaker than the other, the stronger arm will have to compensate. So if you want to look at the advantage of the wrist curl with dumbbells, each wrist must carry its own weight. In other words, they can develop at their own pace. The weaker wrist can be trained using more reps e.g. six reps on the less developed forearm as opposed to four reps for the stronger wrist. Once strength is equal on both sides, you can adjust the reps accordingly.

The dumbbell wrist curl exercise is a great way to develop forearm strength and flexibility. If you practice the exercise regularly, you should see results in a few weeks. Just keep at it and don't give up.

Summer is less than three weeks away. Are you getting ready for it? Get into the best shape you can be by reading Great Chest and Whole Body Workouts.

"How To Do The Dumbbell Wrist Curl Exercise" copyright 2011 Great Chest and Whole Body Workouts. All Rights Reserved.