Better defined biceps Exercise Guide

Better Biceps Workout Tips

Biceps, as you would guess from their name, are a two-headed muscle. The outer head is also known as the long head and the one that fills up the expanse of your outer arm when flexing. All body types are different, but there are a lot of guys that have an easy time getting definition and size of the inner muscle of the bicep but have difficulty getting these same results on the outer head.

This article will highlight exercises that target this outside area of the bicep so that you can really isolate this weak point and develop it properly.

Straight Barbell Curls

There are few exercises that are better for the biceps than the straight barbell curl. The barbell also gives the added advantage of allowing a variety of close and wide grips which can be very beneficial in targeting specific areas of the bicep. By gripping the barbell closer than shoulder width apart there will be extra intensity placed on the outer part of the bicep.

The grip only needs to be slightly inside of your shoulder width but you should try a few different positions and see which grip hits this outer bicep the best for you. I recommend performing hammer curls in a seated position. Hammer curls are a close cousin to dumbbell curls.  Grab a few dumbbells and turn the palm of your hands so they’re facing each other and keep this position throughout the entire range of motion.

The outer head of the bicep is isolated throughout the full rep.  You can move the elbow forward a bit as the muscle contracts at the top of the movement. You’ve probably seen guys at the gym performing this slight alternative to barbell curls. For reverse curls, you’ll change up how you are holding the bar with an overhand grip.

You’ll also want to make sure your hands are a bit wider than your shoulders.  This exercise is great for the top of your forearms as well as the outer head of your biceps. Also, you can switch up this exercise with an easy curl bar or with cables rather than the straight barbell. It’s good to change things up like this in small ways – it will keep your muscles guessing and offer much better results.

A Few Points On Form

  1. As with all bicep exercises make sure to not sway or rock back and forth. You want those biceps isolated and doing all of the work – not your shoulders or back.  Leaning against a wall for standing curls is a great way to isolate the bicep muscle.
  1. Keep an eye on your elbows! Make sure that your elbows do not go backward at the beginning of each rep. Imagine that your elbows are pushed up against a wall and they can’t move backward. Many times I will stand in front of a mirror and turn sideways so that I can keep an eye on my elbow position. It’s okay if they move slightly forward at the top of the range of motion, but definitely shouldn’t be moving backward from their starting position.
  1. Don’t finish at the top of the curl with a 90-degree angle that is perpendicular to the floor.  This is a position that allows the bicep to rest. It’s better to finish at 75 degrees at the top of the arch and then slowly lower the weight back down.
  1. Don’t finish the bottom of the curl with your elbows locked out, this is also a resting position. Finish at a 5 to 10-degree angle rather than a 0-degree angle that is perpendicular to the floor.
  1. By not going from an area of rest at the bottom or the top of each rep the bicep will get worked out faster and this will require less weight than you’re probably used to using for each set. Remember, the idea isn’t to lift as much weight as possible, the goal is to get the maximum workout for the muscle group with the least amount of injury possible. If you can get in a great workout with less weight through a more taxing technique or range of motion – you have a recipe for success.
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Bike commuting tips

Bike Commuting’s The Way To Go!

Seems like everywhere you look these days in major cities as well as those second stringers we have fresh paint hitting the pavement and carving out those glorious bike lanes. It makes good sense, because never in my lifetime have I heard more people talking about ‘quality of life’, ‘a balanced life’ and this growing number of folks are interested in an active, fun and ‘outdoorsy’ existence even if they are living or working in a metropolitan area.

When you’re behind the wheel, insulated in your car, in a noise-tight bubble, other cars become nothing more than an obstacle and tempers begins to flair up rather quickly. I’m not saying that it can’t get tense on a bike heading into the office, but when you’re riding along next to others in the open air some kind of miraculous change starts to happen and it really is just a lot less stressful.Sure, any of us that have commuted in the past have had those days where you can start

Sure, any of us that have commuted in the past have had those days where you can start to feel the cars closing in at a certain patch of your ride or have to deal with drivers that may not be sharing the road or paying full attention but this bit of tension is certainly outweighed by getting a little exercise and feeling the wind on our face.

The linked image cannot be displayed.  The file may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. Verify that the link points to the correct file and location. The argument I always here is, what about the weather?It’s true that more than 65% of the folks hopping on their bikes and heading into work are guys and part of this is definitely due to the weather as well as concerns for clothing, sweating and what that hair might look like by the time you punch in or set down at your desk. But just like all good things, the ladies are figuring it out quickly and finding ways of getting on their bikes and enjoying the commute as well.

It’s true that more than 65% of the folks hopping on their bikes and heading into work are guys and part of this is definitely due to the weather as well as concerns for clothing, sweating and what that hair might look like by the time you punch in or set down at your desk. But just like all good things, the ladies are figuring it out quickly and finding ways of getting on their bikes and enjoying the commute as well.

If you haven’t been to the west coast in a bit, you would really be taken back by all of the bikes rolling through Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and San Diego on any given weekday. But you might expect this out west where most of these cities experience cooler weather and patrons are used to donning rain jackets year round to deal with the constant precipitation.

What really blew us away is what’s happening in the town areas in cities like Baltimore, Chicago, Columbus, DC, Austin, and Atlanta. The cities realize that the younger generations are looking for well balanced and environmentally conscious cities to call home and the mayors are putting dollars into making this happen.I live in Atlanta and it is amazing to see just how many new bike lanes,

I live in Atlanta and it is amazing to see just how many new bike lanes, bike trails and bike tours that are now happening throughout the town areas. And it really is like Field of Dreams famous adage ‘build it and they will come’. Every day of the week, patrons are grabbing their bikes and skateboards and commuting in a way that avoids the stress and turmoil of the cars jockeying for lane position, blowing their horns and attempting to run each The linked image cannot be displayed.  The file may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. Verify that the link points to the correct file and location. other off of the road.

I hope that we see this trend continue and I can’t imagine that it would be slowing down anytime definitely soon. As for me and my friends, we’re all starting to hop on the bike to make a trip to a friends house or biking together to grab a bite to eat. It makes the city feel ma definitely, makes it feel like closer nit neighborhoods than when we’re just cruising by in an air-tight, soundproof car.

Stretching after workout good or bad.

Do I Really Need To Stretch?

What used to be a question that was so obvious that people would have laughed at you for asking it has now become a more complicated topic and requires some further discussion to decide if stretching before a workout or physical activity is helpful and whether or not it could possibly even be detrimental.

It’s probably best to start by separating this question out by what type of workout you’re preparing for… there are three main activities that come to mind: sports, running or weight lifting. Let’s take a look at each of these individually and see what if anything has changed in the current trends for each.

  1. Stretching For Sports

In most sports, as soon as the bell, whistle or starting gun sounds off your body is going immediately into a very tense state, so you want to make sure that muscles are properly warmed up and stretched out. We’ve all seen the running back on the football field or the outfielder in the baseball park start to take off and then hop and hit the ground and grab their hamstring.

The recommend pre-sports routine involves a warm-up period of jumping jacks, light jogging, hopping in place and then moving into more substantial workout exercises like squats and pushups to really get the muscles ready. From here some light stretching where you bounce rather than hold a stretch is the way to go.

This should get your muscles responsive, warmed-up and ready to perform! So whether, you’re warming up for a game of football, soccer, or even volleyball or softball, it’s best to play it smart and take the time to get properly warmed-up and prepared for your game.

Pay attention at your next professional sporting event at how much time you see the players stretching out before the game and even staying warmed up while they’re on the sidelines. If it works for them, it’s gonna work best for you too!

  1. Stretching For Running

Not sure about all of you, but way back when I was in middle school and joined the track and field team, the common ritual of stretching before our training included a lot of non-static stretches, for example: grabbing your toes and counting to ten and keeping constant pressure on those extended hamstrings and lower back muscles.

There have been a handful of recent studies that have shown this type of non-static stretching is great for post workouts but can actually cause injury if performed before running and other strenuous activities.

Part of this issue is that the muscles may be stretched too far before becoming malleable by properly warming them up before getting into some deep stretches. Today, it is recommended that you start off with dynamic, full-body stretches to get things rolling – these include a light job, slow time on a stationary bike, jumping jacks, windmilling your arms, twisting your torso slowly from side to side, etc.

  1. Stretching For Weight Lifting

Most gym-goers don’t realize just how important flexibility is to increasing strength as well as size and definition. You’d be surprised to see the range of flexibility that professional weightlifters are capable of and this is because they realize just how important it is to their overall health, performance and of course ‘building their bodies’.

There have been a number of studies that have come out stating that most types of deep stretching performed before intense weightlifting can do more harm than good. Currently, the recommendation is to perform some dynamic stretching to warm the muscles without putting them under too much strain.

It’s also recommended for your first set of each exercise to be about fifty percent of your target weight and to perform 12-15 repetitions slowly so that your muscles can get warmed-up and prepared for the more intense sets to follow. Most of the intense stretching that will help increase flexibility should be performed after weightlifting as well as on your rest days.

Get rid of from Neck Pain & Cricks

Within the first five minutes, I felt better and was then able to lay off of the aspirin and over time build back up the flexibility and strength in my neck and shoulder muscles.Here are the neck exercises that worked for me, and I hope they bring you some relief as well.

 

Simple ways to get rid of  Neck Pain & Cricks

  1. Chin To Shoulder Stretch
  2. Stand with your neck arrow straight and eyes looking straight ahead. Slowly turn your head to the left until feeling tension. Hold for 3 seconds (One thousand one, one thousand two, etc).
  3. Then rotate your head slowly back to the starting position. Repeat this to the left for 5 repetitions and then perform 5 more repetitions to the right. Note: Remember to keep your shoulders facing straight ahead throughout the motion.
  4. Chin Push Stretch
  5. Stand with your neck straight and good posture with eyes focused straight ahead. Slowly move your head back a few inches until feeling tension. Your head should not tilt backwards (i.e. you shouldn’t lower your forehead and raise your chin) Your forehead and chin should remain perpendicular to the floor and you should just move it back a few inches as if someone was taking a swing at you and you were moving just your head back to avoid the punch. Hold the position for 3 seconds and then return your head to the starting position. Complete 5 repetitions.
  6. 2. Side Pull Down Stretch
  7. Stand straight with your eyes facing straight ahead. Place your right hand on top of your head with your fingers touching the left side of your head and resting just above your ear. Gently apply pressure as you move your right ear down towards your right shoulder. Go down slowly until feeling the tension and then hold for one second and slowly return to starting position. Perform 5 repetitions on the right side and then 5 repetitions on the left side.

Note: Before trying any of these neck stretches, please keep in mind that if you are having severe issues, numbness or consistent and ongoing pain it is always best to check with a physician or specialist first. They will prescribe the best exercises for your condition and be able to monitor that you are performing the exercises properly.

Simple Ways to Save Your Neck In 5 Minutes

The complete guide to Save Your Neck In 5 Minutes

We are spending more and more time each year on our computers, tablets and cranking away behind our desks, sweating over deadlines and responding to emails. The problem is… have you ever looked around your office or caught your wife and kids at home working on the laptop or tablet? Did you look at their posture? These things weren’t designed with posture and neck position in mind if so the keyboard would have a big neck shooting off of it and the screen would be lifted up to be even with our eyes. We rest our forearms and elbows on the table while we’re typing and slouch as we’re looking at the screen. These devices are what chiropractors and physical therapists dream about or despise… depending on how they view the world. Mix our computer use with the fact that most of us are running around at a high velocity to keep the job in check and the family entertained which causes us to cut out time for exercise and here my friends, we have a recipe for disaster when it comes to neck, shoulder, and upper back pain. May sound bleak so far, but no worries – there is a five-minute solution that will get you feeling better soon.

Easy ways to rid of Neck Pain & Cricks

I had a severe neck injury five years ago and have since experienced more issues with pain and discomfort and began crunching aspirin but the pain didn’t go away entirely and to be quite honest I ended being a real pain in the rear to be around when the flairs ups would happen during or after a long day on the computer. I had a sports injury and found myself in physical therapy for a torn rotator cuff in my shoulder and when describing the neck pain and the amount of time I’m on the computer for work my therapist recommended these stretches.

 

The Best Low-Impact Cardio Workout Tips

Low-Impact Cardio Workout Tips

When it comes to saving those joints, protecting those tendons and trying to reduce the overall wear and tear on your body, going low impact in your exercise routine can make a lot of good sense. At this point, I think it’s just about unanimous that all personal trainers would agree to dedicate a certain amount of your workout time each week to cardio rather than just 100% weight training. Cardio is a spectacular way to burn fat, slim down and stress your body in a way that weights alone cannot.

The issue with cardio is that when most folks hear the word, they immediately pull out their running shoes and hit the pavement. Running can add a serious amount of shock to your joints as well as your back and may not be the best way to go for most folks that are just looking to burn some additional calories and step up their endurance. It’s usually the knees, the ankles and even the lower back that absorbs most of the jolt from running and can leave us with mild to severe pain that quickly gets us falling off from our workout routine.

Biking is a great way to get your heart rate up for sustained periods of time and will be much  easier than running on your body. With any kind of workout program, we all know the importance of mixing up our workouts and keeping our body from getting used to a set routine.

There’s generally one of two things that happen in a set routine.

1) once we reach a certain plateau with time, speed or the weight being lifted that we just maintain this level of endurance and strength and don’t put in the extra energy or effort to push through our current levels, or 2)

2) we continue to put in the same amount of intensity into workouts but since we’re not changing up the routine we set fewer and less results week in and week out. What I like about biking, is having the control over the gears to offer flexibility into the workout, I can go for endurance one day by riding in lower gears, taking fewer hills and going for a longer ride. Other days, I can go for strength by pushing into higher gears and taking on more hills. The same is true for an exercise bike, actually offering more flexibility than even a real bike – but I like to get outside, taken in the weather and the ever-changing landscape.

To often we start out a new workout regiment with a head of steam and a desire to see results very quickly and most times this doesn’t matter whether we’re eighteen or forty-five – we still have the same invincible mentality and expect our bodies to quickly respond with results while experiencing little to no injuries.

This sounds well and good but can be a recipe for disaster with high impact cardio exercises like running, not to mention the extra stress and strain of weight lifting mixed in with running. Some of the best leg exercises are full-body exercises like lunges and squats.

These are fantastic exercises that will also strengthen your core muscles, but if your form starts to waiver as you strain, you can be opening yourself up to injuries that will only be exasperated by throwing in a few runs each week. Many will turn to the treadmill and talk about how much less impact there is with the ‘give’ and ‘bounce’ of the platform, but I’m still a firm believer that biking is much safer and besides… I would rather struggle up a hill on a bike and then get to really enjoy a downhill as opposed to running where I dread both the uphill as well as the downhill. Long story short, get on your bike – work through different gearing, work up a sweat and have a blast!

5 Ways To Increasing Flexibility

Ways To Increasing Flexibility

Flexibility is one of the most important factors in a safe workout. Proper flexibility will give you the opportunity to push your body to its farthest limits throughout your workout while also decreasing your chances of injury.  As guys, we like to walk into the gym, throw down our bag and start hitting the weights, but it turns out my friends that the universe may just be feminine.

 

Take the time to listen to your body, be patient, get prepared physically and mentally for that workout. Here’re 5 very important things to keep in mind that will help you on your road to avoiding injuries and increasing flexibility.

  1. Warm-Up: No Static

Move over Bruce Jenner and Bruce Lee – the days of grabbing your toes and holding it for a ten count are coming to a scientific close. There has been much supporting evidence that shows this type of static stretching isn’t a bad idea at the end of a workout but can actually make your more prone to injury if performed before exercising.  So, go the route of dynamic stretching with full body movements like jumping jacks, squats, and push-ups. We recommend two sets with 15-20 reps of each.

  1. Massage Those Muscles

You’ve no doubt seen the foam rollers in the stretching rooms around your gym, and for good reason, this is a great way during pre-workout to get a good dose of weight on those troubling knots and tight tissue and get you nice and loosened up before heading into your workout.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Most guys know to keep the water flowing before, during and after a good session at the gym but did you also know how much hydration plays in flexibility?  When muscles are under constant stress and don’t have the proper hydration they won’t respond at their most efficient levels and can put you in a risky position for injury. Make sure to stay properly hydrated!

  1. Full Motion Range

Whether performing pull-ups, curls, dips, squats or butterflies – there is a lot of benefits to really stretching and contracting those muscles.  Focus on working through a full range of motion to bring the most flexibility to each muscle group.

We understand they are times when a short range of motion is beneficial for strength training or to isolate a particular muscle – no need to throw the short range exercises out the window – but just keep in mind the added benefits of full range exercises and incorporate into your routine where appropriate. Hey, it’s all about mixing it up and shocking the muscles in new ways.

  1. Post-Workout Stretching

Now that your workout is complete, this is a good time to do some of those traditional static stretches. Sit down, straighten those legs, grab those toes and count to ten. Rest for a few seconds and then repeat.

Work through a full range of stretching positions for your legs, back and arms and make sure to get a few in for your neck as well. We’ll plan on doing some future posts on recommended stretch routines.