Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Superset That Upper Bod

My biceps and triceps are probably my most neglected muscles. Not that I don't train them, I just don't frequently isolate them. Usually they get good enough training with back and chest days. This week, due to some lower back pain (unrelated to training), I was limited with my workouts.

Instead of doing kettlebells with the rest of the group, I was given my own workout. My trainer handed me this sheet of paper:

After having a hearty chuckle over the title of the workout, I realized it was upper body day for me. I had a series of bi/tri supersets. Although the workouts required me to keep my core tight, it didn't put strain on my lower back as kettlebells would have. Supersets are great for keeping workouts at a high intensity (rather than resting after an exercise, you jump right into the second one). Throwing supersets into your workout every few weeks can also help break plateaus.

If you are up for a superset upper body workout, here it is:

Do 3 sets of each
  • EZ Bar curls (10 reps close grip, 10 reps wide grip) superset 15 reps of body weight dips
  • Barbell curls (10-12 reps) superset tricep rope push downs (15 reps)
  • Dumbbell hammer curls (12 reps) superset tricep kickbacks (15 reps)
  • 21's on seated curls 

Any other superset routines that you want to share?

Happy training,

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pre-Fatigue For a Better Workout

Pre-fatigue muscles for a better workout? Why would I do that? My arms so tired by the second exercise... Ok, that's just whining that sometimes comes out when I'm pre-fatiguing because I hate that initial weak feeling. Post-workout, the feeling of a thorough workout kicks butt. 

The basis behind pre-fatiguing muscles is to work the largest muscle in the group (delts in this case) in a single joint movement that isolates the major muscle before moving to multi-joint movements that include assisting muscle groups (triceps). 

Benefits of pre-fatiguing muscles include 
  • Working your muscle during the pre-fatigue or single joint workout and forcing the muscle to work twice as during the multi-joint workout
  • Strengthening joint stability
  • Breaking training plateaus
Dean and me doing our handstand push-ups.
For our delts workout, we did the following: 
  • Dumbbell lat raises (isolation movement)
  • Barbell shoulder presses/push-presses (compound movement)
  • Single-arm kettlebell one arm rows (compound movement)
  • Handstand push-ups (isolation movement)

  • Bodypart: Isolation Movement/Compound Movement
  • Legs: Leg extension/Squat
  • Legs: Lying Leg Curl/Leg Press
  • Back: Decline Pullover/Close-Grip Pulldown
  • Shoulders: Cable Lateral Raise/Overhead Press
  • Triceps: Pressdown/Bench Dip
  • Chest: Cable Crossover/Decline Bench Press
  • Biceps: Dumbbell Curl/ Chin-up (underhand grip)
Try it out and see if you feel any differences. 

Happy training, 
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Upright Row with Kettlebells

Kettlebells have been all the rage lately, especially with CrossFit gaining its well-deserved notoriety. Generally when we think of kettlbells, we think of swings - overhead, one-arm, halfway up, American or Russian.

Kettlebells can also be used to replace dumb bells during workouts. I find that kettlebells help with making compound movements more fluid. This week during our shoulder workout, we did single-arm kettlebell upright rows to work our delts. I don't know if this is what the movement is actually call; in essence, that's what it was.

Here's a breakdown of the movement:

1. Place the kettlebell in front of you. Stand in deadlift position (legs hip width apart, hips are bent, shoulders back and chest is up). Kettlebell should be close enough in front of you so that you just need to extend your arm down and not lean forward out of position to grasp it.

Start position.
2. As you open your hips and stand, bring the kettlebell up. Guide the kettlebell up with your elbow. Your elbow should at no point be at the same level or lower than the kettlebell. I tend to move the kettlebell along the inside of my hip/along the middle of my body.


3. Bring your elbow up until the kettlebell is about chest high. Once that is complete, of course, in a controlled manner, bring the kettlebell back down. Repeat the movement. For this set, we did 15 reps for 3 sets/each arm and rotated arms each set.

 Change up your workouts with kettlebells! If you have any tips or experiences to share with kb's, leave a comment!

Happy training,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tire Flipping Kind of Day

What would you do with your old tractor-sized tires? Use them in a workout of course! This week my trainer designed a workout around tires that incorporated cardio, upper body and some lower body. 

Before you rush out to do some flipping, I recommend
  • Learn good form. There's lots of common mistakes when it comes to flipping tires: coming straight up instead of at 45 degree angle as you lift or switching grip position too early. The video below has excellent coaching on how to get your technique right. 
  • Trying out a few tires before committing to one for an entire workout. Tires weights can range less than 200lbs to 700lbs+. Tread also varies from tire to tire and may affect your grip. You may have to lift with a buddy as you build up your strength. For our workout, I paired up with Alex for my flips; while Dean the CrossFit Machine, flipped them solo.
Bad form - see the distance between my body and the tire?

The Workout

For 3 rounds:

  • 10 tire flips
  • 40 push-ups (as pictured below or inverted with your feet on the tire and hands on the ground)
  • 40 box jumps on the tire
Keeping our backs straight as we get through the first 40.

Dean jumping over 36" for his box jumps

Happy training,