Archive for August 30, 2018

Quantum Quadriceps Training

Quantum Quadriceps Training

Key Exercises and Strategies for Building Upper Leg Mass, Separation

Nowadays advanced bodybuilders include more exercises that work many of the quadriceps muscles in relative isolation, thanks to machines which allow isolation training of areas such as the leg adductors and abductors. Still, a routine based on the core exercises that place maximum contraction and stress on the quadriceps remains one that can produce even better results.

Focusing on Upper Leg Supersizing

For top-ranked national amateur competitor Jeff Schwartzer, a core routine for legs that continued to respond well to a very consistent regimen produced unusual upper leg results for size and separation. “My quads seemed to respond well from the beginning, but I also trained them harder than any other body part,” he recalls. “I was kind of infatuated with training them–I loved the pain and feeling I got.” Jeff’s exercise routine has consisted of four key movements, all performed during one training day as follows:

1. The Leg Press

First, do a warm-up, such as walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike for five to ten minutes. When positioning yourself on the leg press, keep your feet about four inches apart and push from the middle of the foot. Keep the speed of movement moderate, especially as you get near the end of the set avoid increasing the rate of the repetitions. Perform four sets ranging downward from 50 to 35 repetitions, while also increasing the weight. Recommended increases are a 25-45 pound plate on each side of the machine.

2. The Barbell Lunge

Perform by alternating legs. Left leg, followed by right leg equals one repetition. Use a full range of motion, but pay close attention to form. Perform four sets ranging from 12 to 10 repetitions, increasing the weight with each set.

3. Smith Machine Squats

Keep your feet approximately six inches apart. Perform each repetition until the knee is at 90 degrees of flexion, or slightly beyond. Perform four sets of 15 repetitions and try to increase the weight with each set, depending on your prior experience.

4. Leg Extensions

Perform these at a moderate tempo, strictly controlling the weight in the eccentric portion of the exercise. Do four sets ranging downward from 30 to 15 repetitions, and as with all the other exercises, try to increase the weight with each set.

Jeff further points out about this routine: “I train all my body parts once a week, with the exception of calves which are trained twice, and I actually don’t do those on this legs training day. Instead, I put them on opposite days from quads and hamstrings. Time allowing, we’ll even separate hamstrings and quads in different sessions within that day.”

Better Form and Performance for Better Results

Schwartzer explains that being aware of how you are training the legs is somewhat different than how you react in training the upper body: “When the chest is good and pumped you know the workout is over. With quads, when you feel that good pump, you know that you are only halfway there.” Also, performing an effective range of motion in each of these exercises is critical: “The second main part is that with squats, for instance, I go to a minimum of parallel with most of the time below parallel on every rep. No half squats or almost parallel. I feel that is the only way to truly blow up the legs. You have to train them unlike any other body part.”

Including some variety within this routine, at this advanced stage and after many years of training, is something that Jeff does for himself but also recommends for other advanced athletes. For instance, instead of just performing squats on the Smith machine, he will also do free form squats at every other workout nowadays. The advantage to this is that free squats will require the stabilizing muscles to work as well, whereas with Smith machine squats “you don’t use your stabilizer muscles because you’re on those tracks so you don’t have to worry about falling forward or backwards. You really won’t know that unless you actually do a free weight squat -that’s why I still like to get back to them once in a while and do them!”

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Power Yoga for Muscle and Flexibility

Power Yoga

An Ancient Discipline Provides New Tools for Better Muscle

Power yoga consists of six progressively more difficult series of linked postures, and a typical class lasts 90 minutes to two hours and takes place in a well-heated studio. Posture (or asana) and breath control (or pranayama) are the building blocks of any power yoga session, but breathing is important above all. Synchronizing breath with movement is usually the most challenging initial aspect.

Developing Strength and Focus with Power Yoga

Mastering power yoga synergy begins with a cycle of movements known as the Salutation to the Sun, and the first cycle is also an excellent example of power yoga’s physical benefits. In a well-heated, quiet space, position yourself in an flat area using an exercise mat and familiarize yourself with the postures of the Sun Salutation:

Mountain Pose – With your hands at your side, focus on lengthening your spine into correct posture while breathing in and out deeply. Keep our head slightly tucked down into your chin.

Arm Flap – Begin by stretching the palms, thumbs away from fingers. Slowly inhale while extending your arms sideways up and over your head. Relax your neck by keeping your shoulders down and wide.

Forward Bend – Bring your hands towards your hips as you exhale. Bend your knees and rotate the torso from the hip area, and feel the lengthening along your spine and the stretching in your hamstrings.

Lunge Preparation – As you start to inhale, bend your knees further until your stomach is touching your thighs, and place your fingertips on either side of your feet, parallel with your toes.

Lunge – As you continue the same inhalation, bring your right foot back to a lunge position while keeping your left knee bent directly over the left heel. Now bring your left foot back next to your right to assume a “push-up” position. Hold the breath, and feel the stretching action in your hips, groin, or thigh areas.

Four-Limbed Stick Posture – Exhaling, and keeping your hands by your feet, extend your left foot back next to your right. Stretch through your elbows and keep your body aligned straight as you lower yourself down. Hands, chin, knees and toes should be touching the floor, while keeping the stomach raised above it.

Transition to Cobra – Continuing to exhale, slide your feet away from you, one at a time. Keep your toes extended.

Cobra – Inhaling slowly, with hands in place as you pull the floor towards you to activate your triceps, keeping the elbows bent and no more than shoulder width. Lift your chest and extend your arms, raising your head, shoulders and chest. The rest of the body is flat on the floor.

Downward Facing Dog – Move onto your hands and knees and lift your hips while exhaling. Adjust your foot position to within three to six inches, and isolate the stretch in your hamstrings by raising your lower body to form a high peak with your buttocks, while keeping your knees bent. With palms still flattened to the floor, stretch your elbows and lift your chest. Keep your head aligned with your arms.

Lunge – Assume the lunge position again but now in reverse, bringing your left foot forward between your arms while inhaling.

Preparation for Forward Bend – Begin to exhale, and bring the right foot forward aligned with your left. Keep knees bent, hands on floor, stomach touching thighs.

Forward Bend – On the same exhalation, repeat the forward bend of step number three.

Arm Flap – Inhale and repeat the arm extension of step number two.

Moountain Pose – Exhale and lower your arms to attention posture, completing the circle of the Salutation.

The Sun Salutation can also be used to warm up your body for your regular workout, or as a cool-down after that workout to keep your body from tightening up. You can master the poses either by putting them together within the flow of the sequence, or practicing each pose separately.

Building Muscle, Restoring Balance

It is the breath of yoga, or Ujayi breathing, working in coordination with your flow and posture, which creates the body heat achieved in power yoga. Exhale gently but completely from your diaphragm area, breathing only through your nostrils. Then inhale long and deeply. Additionally, narrow your throat as your airflow passes up and down, and whisper a light “ahh” sound with each inhale or exhale.

Power yoga offers a restorative balance and can also be a first-class workout—you build a great sweat and you build strength all over your body. For many fitness enthusiasts, especially men, going to the gym means training mainly just the biceps, lats and chest. Power yoga works the entire network of the body—the toes, the feet, the hands, the fingers as well as the shoulders, lats and biceps.

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Power Training for Natural Muscle and Definition

Power Training

A junior champion ‘s powerlifting techniques for mass and proportion

Junior level champion Yumon Eaton of Florida may be one of the most unusual young American natural competitive bodybuilders, thanks to his prior experience in “strongman” and powerlifting. His initial experience with power lifting while training for college football have become a building block which he believes was critical to his present-day natural bodybuilding success. Nowadays, his familiarity with powerlifting movements also gives him some perspective on how other athletes can utilize some of the main movements to maximize their own bodybuilding goals.

For instance, you really must include the deadlift: “I don’t think any other movement builds as much muscle as the deadlift, because every muscle in the entire body is recruited to perform that movement, and it’s just a very comprehensive movement. But correct performance is also just as key: “It should be just one fluid movement, and what I see the most is people making it two movements — they’ll lift the bar with their legs, lock their knees out and then continue to lift with their back. The deadlift should be one movement, and what I see is people making it two movements.”

As far as other core powerlifting movements, the squat and its variations should also be a staple — but again, be attentive to your form, otherwise you sabotage much of the potential benefit: “The problem with the squats is with people not going down sufficiently. You know, I call them “knee bends” — people grab a lot of weight that they can’t handle and shouldn’t be trying to handle. I come from a powerlifter’s point of view, so all lifts need to be butt below knees and below parallel. But even if you’re not interested in powerlifting or really developing power, I still think even for bodybuilding you should do the rep at least parallel — anything above parallel is just taking away from the movement.”

Having an experienced first-hand source in powerlifting technique who can advise on form and performance along with spotting you, is also an essential asset. Yumon Eaton found on such seasoned athlete early on at his local rec center who turned out to be an invaluable training partner and advisor: “I always lifted heavy, and I was in the gym one day, and there was a guy there who actually used to be a former powerlifter himself and was very good,” he recalls. “He noticed me and one day he gave me a tip — he said I needed to lower my butt and drive up my legs, instead of just pulling with my back when I deadlifted. And so one thing led to another, and I would see him on other days and he would critique my form, and so we began training together and he actually became sort of a mentor to me, and that’s how actually I became involved with powerlifting.”

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Performance Enhancing Drugs

Performance Enhancing Drugs

What are Performance Enhancing Drugs

While a number of substances have been viewed as “performance-enhancing”, generally, when people speak today of these substances they are talking about two different classes of compounds, anabolic androgenic steroids or human growth hormone (hGH). Anabolic steroids are synthetic compounds that are based chemically upon the structure and biologically on the effects of the male sex hormone testosterone. hGH is a synthetically produced version of the same growth hormone that is produced in all of our pituitary glands, the so-called “master gland”, that is located just at the base of our brains.

How do These Drugs Work

One of the major functions of naturally produced growth hormone is the stimulation of growth of cells and tissues. Growth hormone can do this directly or by acting through the effects of other hormones that it regulates. In normal physiological terms, growth hormone functions to regulate longitudinal growth or stature, i.e. you grow taller. GH also contributes to lean body mass, enhancing fat burning while increasing muscle. Testosterone controls the onset of puberty in boys and the development of male secondary sexual characteristics like deeper voices, facial hair growth, lean muscle mass, and other features.

Are These Drugs Ever Useful

Used appropriately in a supervised setting most of these compounds serve specific medical needs. Children and adults who have a condition where they have a deficiency of growth hormone production can benefit from the monitored use of growth hormone injections. Likewise, the controlled use of anabolic steroids can help in medical conditions where there is muscle wasting or an unusual delay in, or absence of, puberty.

Are These Drugs Really Harmful

If abused, these drugs are harmful. Studies have shown that the misuse of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) leads to, amongst other things, negative changes in the heart muscle and its function as well as liver toxicity. It also leads to a decrease in serum values of the good cholesterol (HDL) as well as negative changes in other blood chemistry values. The use of growth hormone in excess can lead to several serious conditions including an abnormal tissue growth pattern referred to as acromegaly. In this condition, in addition to other problems, the eyebrow ridge and the nose grow disproportionately, as do the hands and feet. Misuse of hGH has also been associated with the development of diabetes as well as other conditions.

If these drugs are the same as, or very similar to, compounds already in our bodies how can they be harmful? First, no one has performed a large, controlled study of the long term effectsand total number of side effects of steroid or hGH abuse. Of course, at the dosages used or the length of time of use that is typically expected by abusers who are “juicing”, it would probably be difficult to get enough volunteers to participate. Second, these compounds were developed, for the most part, for specific medical reasons as treatments for individual disorders. It is unlikely that they would remain beneficial with inappropriate overusage. Besides, it seems reasonable to assume that if you routinely inject something into your buttocks or thigh that someone else carried into the local gym in their duffel bag there is a likelihood that the downside will greatly outweigh the imagined upside.

Partner Training for Upper Body Gains

Partner Training

Techniques for Two — Targeting Chest, Back, Shoulders and Arms

With both compound and isolation exercises, partner training can provide a new level of expansion in weight range used or repetitions. Consider a few key exercises for chest, arms, shoulders and back that can be enhanced with some partner training:-

Bench Presses – Targeting both upper and lower pectorals, this upper body compound movement performed with a spotting partner provides an extra pair of eyes to watch for errors such as bouncing of the weight against the chest while lowering the barbell, or avoiding any arching of the back during upward extension, and an extra pair of hands for evenly held support as the trainer approaches exhaustion, or to provide support into a few repetitions past the point of exhaustion.

Incline Bench Dumbbell Flyes – In this seated isolation exercise for the upper pectorals, a bodybuilder can watch out for: his training partner keeping the elbows back during the entire range of the movement; making sure he maintains correct form with a slow semicircular arc movement extending outward to the sides as low as possible, avoiding bouncing the weights in the low position; giving some light support to the elbow near the completion of the set, or helping in pushing his partner toward the failure range. With a partner, there is less chance of swinging the weights too far backward or in an uncontrolled motion that could result in injury.

Seated Cable Rows – This exercise stressing all the muscle groups connected into the back requires focusing on grip and arms during the forward extension and then in the contraction backward with the cable handles. A training partner can make sure that during the contracting movement, his partner is not leaning too far backward as he pulls the cable towards himself; that he has fully arched his back so that the lat muscles are intensely contracted; that he pulls the handles to just touch the lower abdomen; also, that he extends to a fully straightened finish position with arms straightened, avoiding any bending of the knees toward the chest.

T-Bar Machine Rows – One of the best full back exercises, but also a difficult movement to perform both safely, with correct form and full movement. At the end of the movement, the spotting partner should be watching to see that his training partner is using a full range of motion by arching the spine sufficiently each time at the finish position. Also, by not allowing his torso to cheat by moving upward, and ensuring correct form: the arms should be slowly bent and pulling the T-Bar up until the plates are touching the chest, the the reverse movement performed to start position — all in a controlled motion.

Standing Alternate Dumbbell Curls – -This basic standing biceps and forearm flexor exercise can also improve with a spotting partner on hand. Points about posture and performance a spotter can watch for as his training partner gets into a set: keeping the upper arms against the sides of the torso and motionless in this position throughout the movement; maintaining a balanced and steady alternating flow of movement from one arm to the next; provide a very light support at the elbow toward the end of a set or to continue toward failure.

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Men’s Lower Body Travel Workout

Men's Lower Body Workout

Effective Training Routines Right in Your Hotel Room

A typical day’s travel from your starting point to destination, or just getting around once you’ve arrived, can result in extra stress and fatigue on lower body muscles. When you’ve been standing in lines, rushing for gates or cabs, or pulling suitcases, both your legs and lower torso can use some simple but effective exercise routines.

You can perform these workouts that include stretching, cardio and strength movements even in the limited dimensions of your hotel room. Make practical training use of some of the features around you–a chair, bed, and a door frame. Train for intensity and efficiency–so, if you’re traveling for a week or more and you usually train at least four days a week at home, then aim for a minimum of three days a week. Perform sufficient exercise to target all the major muscle groups over the course of your week, just as you would at your own gym.

Warming up:

Elevate heart rate first with some warm-ups – you could use anything from the inner stairwell of a hotel to a jump rope in your room or in-place running for at least 10-15 minutes.

Lower Body Movements:

  • Traveling Lunges – use the maximum floor area of your room to stretch the hips, gluteals, and front quadriceps.
  • Squats – even without weights, you can directly stress on the quads, hamstrings, buttocks and lower back by performing the squatting movement.
  • Standing Calf Raises – use a wall or chair to remain standing upright while elevating yourself onto the balls of your feet.
  • Extended Leg Raise – on all fours, extend one leg out and back to work gluteals and strengthen the lower spine.
  • Gluteal Raises – target the glutes, lower back and quads by lying on your back with knees raised, then raising and lowering the buttocks.
  • One-Leg Squat – standing with one foot on a phone directory, lower hips to a seated position to target the front quadriceps of the extended leg.
  • Lunges – take alternate steps forward to a kneeling position to target the glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves.
  • Hip Extensions – using a chair for stability, bend forward to target the glutes and hamstrings.
  • 90-Second Wall Sits – an excellent strengthener for the lower body and especially the entire quadriceps.

Stretching:

Groin Stretch:

Emphasis: enhance flexibility in the groin and inner thigh areas. Performance: sitting on the ground, position the soles of the feet together. Grasp the ankles and gently push the knees down using the elbows. Hold for at least 10 seconds.

Lunging Stretch:

Emphasis: stretch the muscles of the hips, gluteals and front quadriceps. Performance: step forward with either leg and descend into a fully bent position while keeping the other leg straight. Hold this position for a minimum of 5-10 seconds, then repeat with the other foot placed forward.

Hamstrings Stretch:

Emphasis: a stretch which has variations but is mainly focused on the large muscles at the back of the thighs, gluteals and lower back muscles. Performance: place the feet about 6″ – 8″ apart from the floor. Keep the legs locked apart, while extending the arms straight up from the shoulders and bend forward to touch the hands to the feet. With increased flexibility, you can perform this in seated variations with legs spread straight to grasp the legs individually with the arms.

Calf Stretch:

Emphasis: stretch and tone all of the muscles at the back of the lower legs. Performance: facing a wall or solid vertical surface, position hands flat on surface at shoulder height. Move the feet backward until the right leg, torso and arms form one straight line. Keep the left leg bent to avoid placing weight on it, and then slowly press the right heel down to the floor. Adjust this heel extension as needed to intensify the stretch. Perform equal amounts of stretching for both legs.

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