Friday, September 28, 2007

Weekly Web Fitness: It's Hard Being So Right

That's not actually true. It's totally awesome.

Exercise on par with drugs for aiding depression

I've been saying for awhile now that one of the biggest and most overlooked benefits of exercise is mental health. I've used morning workouts to regulate my anxiety for years now, because I don't want to deal with the side-effects of medication, while the side-effects of exercise are looking great and being fit. I'm not saying ditch your medication (I can see you all searching for your lawyer's phone numbers), but if you're feeling stressed or blue, it doesn't hurt to get out and exercise. The worst that can happen is that you're still depressed, but have a killer bod.

Sportline ThinQ Pedometer nestles by your credit card
The 10,000 steps a day way to fitness is great, but I hate carrying thick items in my pockets. My wallet is about 1/4” thick, my phone less than 1/2”. Pedometers have gotten small, but they're still always thick enough to be annoying in the pocket. This card is 3mm thick and the shape of a credit card. Keep it in your wallet for an accurate count of how much you move every day.

Motivational Weight Loss Game Where Everyday Moves May Inspire A New Addiction To Aid Fitness

I love the concept of tricking yourself into getting exercise. It just works better than guilting yourself. With the Wii and Dance Dance Revolution, everyone is excited about the possibility of melding the addiction of videogames to the benefits of exercise. I'm not sure these games sound fun, but I like where this is going. If someone could link a person's real world movement to how far their avatar gets to move in World of Warcraft, we'd see a significant improvement in nerd health.

I'm a nerd too, chill.

On The Surface of Things: Where to Run

Some crazy article was making the blog rounds recently, starting at MSN Men's Health, written by people who've obviously never run, that running on any surface causes the same amount of joint damage. Really? Then are special, shock absorbing running shoes part of a dis-information conspiracy? How about boxing gloves? Try getting jacked in the jaw with a 4 ounce MMA glove vs. an 18 ounce sparring glove. A 120lb woman hooked me in the jaw with a UFC style glove and spun my head, though I would have barely felt it through sparring gloves.

This article has it right. It does matter what surface you run on, and if you've got knees like mine, you're concerned about it.

Have a great weekend. With the weather getting cooler, think about getting outside and playing some tennis or walking the dog.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

On Goals

“I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”
-Helen Keller

The wisdom of this quote can be applied to how you exercise. Yes, the ultimate goal is a ripped bod, a deadlift of twice your bodyweight, and a long, healthy life. That's the long view.

But set humble goals every time you exercise that you can push yourself towards and achieve. What motivates me is the thrill of increasing an exercise by 5lbs or a couple of reps. It's the aggregate of reaching these small goals that will take you to your large one. Know the big picture, the dream, the end goal, and then decide the actions and commit the actions to meet the small goals to keep you motivated on the way.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Want Big Arms? Squat.

There are still some people out there who don't work their legs. For a long time, I thought this was a mythical breed, being to sketch comedy what the unicorn, dragon, and wildebeest are to fairy tales. But it's true, and they're very stubborn. They say they're not interested in the real world strength that only comes with leg and lower-back work. They say they don't wear shorts anyway. They say they're little wimps who can't handle the vomit-inducing beauty of a twenty-rep set of rock-bottom squats. However, there's always one thing that gets them: leg day makes the rest of you bigger.

“How can this be?”
“Are you serious?”
“Why do regardless and irregardless mean the same thing?”

It's true, squats, deadlifts, and leg press will make the rest of you grow, too. Tests have been done in which people only did squats, and their arms grew. The squat is a great exercise, but unlike in deadlifts, the upper arm is totally uninvolved. So how does it happen?

1. Heavy lifts release hormones
Hormones that make muscles grow. Your legs can move so much weight, it basically makes your body freak out. Your body doesn't want to let itself be crushed under hundreds of pounds, so it releases hormones to let you build the muscle that will assure that doesn't happen. You will never do a heavy enough lateral to get this effect.


2. CNS power
The large muscles of the glutes, hams and quads require a lot of nerve signal to fully activate. When your body gets used to activating a huge amount of muscle at once, it builds up your central nervous system. This will benefit every exercise, even your laterals (why do you like laterals so much?).

Anything you lift in the real world you need to be able to support with your legs and lower back, but even if you aspire to a martini glass figure, know that not going through the sickening, brutal pain of leg day is going to limit your growth.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lift With a Friend

Last Wednesday I pulled a new personal record for an unbelted deadlift. It was set to happen, but it had been set to happen 2 weeks ago when I tried and stalled out. So what was different about this time? I worked out with a friend.

I usually go to the gym alone, unfortunately. The time that I go isn't good for most people. I like it because the gym is pretty empty at that time of the morning, but I do wish I had some company. What are the benefits of having a friend to work out with?

1. Accountability
Someone else is counting on you to show up. You'll know that being too tired, while being a good enough excuse on your own, doesn't cut it when someone's waiting for you to spot them. In other words: if will power doesn't work, shame might.

2. Fun
Unless you are really into working out, it can be kind of boring. Especially if you're slogging through a 45 minute cardio session. Having a friend to talk to can be the difference between being bored and having fun, and if you're like me, boredom is the first and last sign I'm going to stop doing something. I've got a zero-tolerance boredom threshold.

3. Competition / Vanity
When you're competing against someone of similar strength, you'll dig down deeper and move weight you didn't know you could. You can be cheering each other on and still be desperately trying to beat each other.

And even if your strength levels are different, so that you're not directly competing, you will still want to look as strong as possible, because you are vain and shallow.

4. Safety
You'll be able to confidently and safely do exercises you wouldn't be able to alone. You'll be able to push through an extra rep on your bench with someone spotting you, and you'll find that you are actually stronger than you thought, because your fear was keeping you from going all out. That means faster gains. Getting heavy dumbbells into place is difficult, and with some help you can take the energy you would have spent awkwardly hoisting them and use it for an extra rep or two.

Boy, after writing this article, it makes me really wish more people liked me so that I didn't have to work out alone. Ah well, what ya gonna do about it, be pleasant to be around?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Weekly Web Fitness: Bruce Buffer Buff?

Celebrity Fitzness Report: UFC Octagon Announcer Bruce Buffer

If you are a fight fan, then you know the voices of the legendary Buffer Bros, Bruce and Michael. Bruce Buffer is the big voice of the UFC. Apparently, along with the big voice comes a big ego, cause boy does he seem vain. Still, this is a cool interview.

”I rolled with Randy Couture years ago in which was an eye opener.”

“Both Tank Abbot and Sakura, each on different occasions tried to take my microphone away from me while I was doing my thing. They were upset about something. Neither one did though, because I wouldn't let them. I have my job and they have theirs, so let' not interfere with each other.”

I think most people let Tank take what Tank wants. Yikes!!!

Study: Soccer beats jogging for fitness
This story is tearing up the webs. Hey, I said it in Make Cardio Fun, you gotta do something to make cardio seem less like torture. Besides making it more likely that you'll stick with exercise, it makes your workout more effective. It's hidden interval training.

”Each period of exercise lasted about one hour and took place three times a week. After 12 weeks, researchers found that the body fat percentage in the soccer players dropped by 3.7 percent, compared to about 2 percent for the joggers.

The soccer players also increased their muscle mass by almost 4.5 pounds, whereas the joggers didn't have any significant change. Those who did no exercise registered little change in body fat and muscle mass.”

Stretch for More Strength
Tight muscles can limit your strength. I am unable to do a heavy squat because my rear-chain leg muscles are so tight that at the bottom of the movement I can't help but rise onto my toes. That's scary when you've got hundreds of pounds on your shoulders. I stretch constantly, but I'm willing to give this routine a shot, though it doesn't look that different from anything I already do.

I got so angry once at the tightness of my glutes, hams and calves that I yanked on my ankle to try to force my body closer to my legs. Of course, my very tough leg muscles didn't move, but I did strain my lower back, which took months to get over. I guess the lesson here is: don't do that, cause it's dumb.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What You Like Least, You Need Most

For five weeks I was on an unprecedented roll. Every week for five weeks I added five pounds to my shoulder press. I was going low rep, so it was for 4 rep sets. I've always been disappointed by my shoulder strength, so I was ecstatic. My growth was unstoppable, but I felt a twinge in my shoulder.

I am a lanky person. I don't have a large structure, and I think it contributes to the slow growth of my tendons and support muscles. In the middle of a fantastic run, I had to call it quits, because I really really don't want to tear a rotator cuff. So, even though I hadn't plateaued, I switched to a bodybuilding range of 8 to 10 reps to let my muscle size catch up with my strength. I also worked in a lot of rotator cuff specific exercises, so that when I went back to low rep, I'd be ready for more gains.

I hate higher rep. Most people can move about 75% of what they can do for 1 rep for 10. I can do, at most, 60%. It's very frustrating. But that's the hypertrophy range, so if I want to get big, sometimes I have to suck up my pride, ignore my desire for strength progress and just push through. And I did for 2 months. My strength in the hypertrophy range barely increased on any exercise. I just sat where I had started on almost everything, but I stuck it out.

The day I stepped into the gym ready to go low-rep again, I was excited. But I was also realistic. My body wasn't used to pushing the weight it had been before, and even though I'd gained some muscle, there would be a bit of a catch up period.

But there wasn't.

I jumped in and moved more weight than ever on almost every exercise, and the next week they went up more.

I hate lifting in the 10 rep range, but it's what I needed. So I did it. When you can just do what needs to be done, you'll start to achieve your fitness goals, too. Because most of the time, the exercise you like doing least is the one you need to be doing.

I hated deadlifts when I started them. I'm 6'6” and extremely leggy. Deadlifts were uncomfortable and difficult. But I stuck with them, I've progressed incredibly, and I'm better off for it, having developed real strength. The same goes for chin ups. We usually like the things we're good at, but if you're good at bench and stick to it while avoiding chin ups, you're heading for a shoulder injury. Your lat and posterior delt strength should roughly match your pectoral and anterior delt strength.

Listen to your body and figure out why you don't like something, and ask yourself if you should be doing it anyway. I don't like running because I have arthritic knees and I just can't run for more than 2 weeks. I shouldn't run. I didn't like chin ups because they are as exhausting as a leg exercise and I was bad at them, but now I love them and do them with added weight instead of on an assistance machine.

You probably don't like eating vegetables or going to bed at a decent time either, but we're all adults, and we do what we need to.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Make Cardio Fun

Some people like cardio. Some people eat bugs and enjoy it.

Maybe you can guess I'm not among those who like cardio for cardio's sake. I like being able to jog a little farther than before (not regularly, because of my knees), but not enough that I would do it for fun. So I have to trick myself.

1. Read a book
This is most easily done if you are using a recumbent exercise bike, the kind that you sit in like a chair. Unless, that is, you get an audiobook. Your library probably has an online component that will let you check out audiobooks as mp3s. Get a plot-driven would-be-page-turner-if-it-had-pages, and time will fly by.

2. Take up a community center sport
Volleyball, basketball, or curlingwill push you to new calorie burning heights (well, I'm not sure about curling), and you will barely notice . I kickbox, one of the most intense workouts you can get, and I don't notice that I'm dead tired until class is over and I can't raise my gloves.

3. Take up a martial art
The great thing about a martial art is that they happen regularly, week in and week out, all year long. You can choose one with the level of aggression and physical intensity that suites you. If you're like me, sparring is what drives you, but maybe you don't want physical contact and something slower paced, like Aikido. Tae Kwon Do will increase your flexibility and explosiveness, and you can choose to point spar or not..

4. Sport specific training
Maybe it's because you already like the mechanics, or maybe it's because you have a goal other than calorie burning or heart health that brings more satisfaction, but training for a sport can make cardio more endurable. I like punching and kicking, so a heavy bag workout is not only intense, but enjoyable.

5. Get outside
Enjoy the weather while it's nice. Exercising in an active environment will keep your brain off of the fact that you desperately want to stop running.

6. Switch it up
Okay, but you're stuck inside during the bitter winter. What can you do to make the elliptical machine, the treadmill, the stair stepper, and the exercise bike more fun? Instead of counting down 30 minutes on one, spend 7 on each. Or switch session by session. It will alleviate some of the tedium.

7. Get an exercise partner
In a perfect world, right? No one you know seems to exercise, or they live to far away, or they go to a different gym. Well, maybe you can't find someone to go to the gym with you, but you can find someone who'll go on regular walks with you, like a family member. Your dog would be happy to, and although he's not a great conversationalist, he'll be enthusiastic. Having someone to work out with makes any exercise session better, cardio, weights, or sport.

8. Watch TV
I can't believe I'm advising you to watch the idiot box. My wife and I don't have cable anymore. Since mixed martial arts has caught on, there's fighting on some channel almost every night of the week. I found myself watching way more TV than I liked. So now, when we are good and use our aerobic steps together (no choreography, just step up, step down), we watch an episode of a television series on DVD. Right now we're watching the first season of 24, which neither of us saw the first time around. You'll find that hour long dramas that once had commercials are a perfect cardio length. 30-35 minutes of cardio followed up by 10-15 minutes of stretching. Since we don't have cable, it seems like a treat. And time disappears when you're really into a plot.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Web Fitness: Exercise Makes You Smarter

Now, I was a genius to begin with, but this could be useful for others. Serious though, there have been a couple of studies recently that show that portions of the brain especially useful to higher-function thinking can actually grow as we age. This is big, since for a long time we've all thought we were doomed to never recover the brain cells we lose daily.

It also turns out that exercise makes you smarter.
”Gage’s discovery hit the world of neurological research like a thunderclap. Since then, scientists have been finding more evidence that the human brain is not only capable of renewing itself but that exercise speeds the process.”

Exercise doubles blood-flow to the hippocampus, and the theory is that this increased blood-flow allows increased neurogenesis.

Every day it seems like they're discovering a new benefit of exercise. I love it.

A new study shows that there's no link between self-weighing and depression.
”Frequent self-weighing was independently associated with both the absence of depressive symptoms and lower BMI levels.
'The findings of the study suggest that recommendations for regular self-weighing appear to be equally beneficial for adults regardless of their depression status,' said Linde.”

The study even says that women who weigh themselves daily as opposed to weekly or monthly see even more progress. My guess would be that this is due to natural upward fluctuation in weight that can happen on a day to day basis being taken as weight gain, and then overcompensated for. I think if the scale is going to be a guide, one should weigh weekly. I prefer that people be positively motivated by their progress rather than negatively motivated by imagined setbacks, but apparently I may be wrong about this. One thing I will point out: you should be trying to put on muscle at the same time you're losing fat, which can make the scale deceptive.

It's painful going to the gas pump anymore. It's one of the few times I'm really happy that I drive my large self around in a tiny little clown car (I call it my car-suit. If I ever can't find a parking place, I can just stick my arms and legs out the side windows and wear my car around). There may be an upside, though, and a big upside, because high gas prices could make you skinnier.
”Entitled 'A Silver Lining? The Connection between Gas Prices and Obesity,' the study found that an additional $1 per gallon in real gasoline prices would reduce U.S. obesity by 15 percent after five years. “
Living in a sprawling suburb, I can tell you that the weight loss of people in pedestrian-friendly areas are going to be averaged against those of us who don't want to walk two hours to the bookstore. People in side-walk-less, winding, spread-out, SUV-drivers-will-drive-over-you-for-looking-at-them-cross-eyed sorta places are going to have to motivate themselves through other, possibly less wallet-centric means.

I'm an anxious person, and I've been using exercise to regulate this for years. But I can tell you, getting out of the rat race, doing what I'm interested in, and becoming my own boss has really reduced my stress levels. So, maybe you should quit your job too. How to Lose Weight By Quitting Your Job
”Research has shown that there is a very strong link between job strain (heavy demands, little decision-making power, and little social support) and risk of obesity.
What's interesting is the link to central obesity”

Weight carried around the middle is the worst kind for your heart, and it's the kind that stress puts on. If you can't find a way to reduce your work stress, you should be regulating with exercise, just to nullify some of the bad effects. Next week I'm going to post my September column for Kansas City Wellness Magazine in which I go on and on as I tend to do about the stress-relieving benefits of exercise.

And to throw a little fuel on our burning celebrity obsession (Not that we're obsessed with burning celebrities. You know what I mean!), Jessica Biel's trainer reveals some of her workout routine.
It appears to me that a lot of it is needlessly
1. Complicated and
2. Time consuming.
He says he emphasizes the old school lifts, but I see little evidence in the routine. For the average person, who can't exercise 4 hours a day, the big lifts are where you're going to make your progress. And progress is the best motivator.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Liven Up Your Protein Shake

I drink a chocolate protein shake made with whey protein and skim milk after every workout. I drink chocolate protein shakes because it's the only flavor I've ever found palatable, but drinking them day in and day out gets old. I've found ways to liven them up without adding a bunch of extra sugar.

1. Coffee - I make extra strong coffee with my French press, almost like espresso, and add it to my shake sometimes. It adds flavor, and lots of antioxidants, without adding calories. Because it's so strong, I can add just a little and it doesn't water my shake down. With chocolate whey, it tastes like a mocha latte (I'm somewhat ashamed to know that).

2. Cinnamon - Cinnamon is one of the latest superfoods due to its apparent ability to reduce insulin response. It also makes my normal morning protein shake taste totally different, almost like chai, while adding only three calories.

3. Baking cocoa - 100% baking cocoa is loaded with antioxidants and flavonoids, and a half a teaspoon will only add 7 calories. The whey protein I recently purchased is very sweet, but not very chocolaty, so this pure chocolate flavor is great.

Monday, September 10, 2007

7 Tips to Maximize Your Workout

I'm sure you're busy. I'm sure that even if you like going to the gym, you don't want to waste any possible gains. That means you need to go into the gym with a strategy to see maximum results from your efforts.

1. Eat before your workout
Get energy available in your blood and muscles. Anaerobic work won't use fat for energy, so you need glycogen in your muscles and in your blood. You won't store it as fat if you use it to lift. Eat 1 to 2 hours before your work out so you have time to digest.

2.Warm up
Your blood is stored in your torso. Warming up moves it out to your limbs, where you need it. It causes a gradual increase in muscle temperature which will prevent injury, and increases the elasticity of connective tissue. If you don't take 5 minutes to warm up, you're asking for an injury.

3. Lift before cardio
I've said it before. This is canon. Warm up, then lift, then do your cardio. You lift while you have glycogen available. If you do cardio first, your lifting session will be exhausting and difficult, but you won't have moved the same weight or made the progress you could have. You need to overload your muscles to make them grow, so you need the energy to push yourself. Doing cardio after lifting is fat-burning heaven, as you've already drained your body of alternate energy sources.

4. Primarily use compound exercises
Some bodybuilding routines prescribe massive volume with lots of isolation exercises. They are probably also using lots of steroids. Cortisol starts to overcome your testosterone levels the longer you workout. If you go longer than 45 minutes, depending on your body chemistry, you could be burning up as much muscle as your building. Cortisol is a steroid, but a catabolic steroid that is triggered by inflammation. It destroys muscle and makes fat. If you know someone who gained a lot of fat weight from being on steroids due to illness, they were on an anti-inflammatory steroid like cortisol.

Use compound exercises to get as much working out done with one exercise as possible. Deadlift will work your quads, hams, glutes, and lower back primarily, and nearly every other muscle in your body secondarily. Compound exercises build strength, because while muscles just know resistance, your body knows overall weight. When you move a lot of weight at once, it causes the hormones to flow that will allow you to synthesize protein into muscle. Then, if you want, do a set or two of isolation exercises at the end of a workout to overload a disproportionately strong muscle. For me, it's my triceps.

5. Choose a split
Don't walk into the gym and do a grab bag of whatever exercises you feel like. You need to systematically select your exercises by muscle group to make progress. If you need help, check my series “What's Your Split?” Parts 1, 2, and 3.

6. Lift with intensity
Make sure that the last few reps of your set are very difficult, and don't use more than 12 reps in a set. Don't just go through the motions. If you can do a thirty rep bench, you need to increase the weight. At that rep range, all you're doing is conditioning your muscles to process the lactic acid produced by anaerobic work. You're not making them stronger.

Eventually, you'll have the mind muscle connection to be able to really feel your muscles contract. When you do, you'll be able to pull out an extra rep by digging deep into the muscle and consciously contracting it. You'll feel an entirely different level of intensity once you can do this.

7. Have a post workout meal
If you eat within an hour of working out, your muscle will absorb twice as many nutrients. That means that less turns into fat, and there will be more there for the next workout. With carbs, that equals more energy for more intensity and overload. With protein, that equals more muscle building blocks for your recovery.
I've heard people say, “Well, I'm not in here to get huge, so I don't need to think that much about it.” Even if you're not working out to get huge, you're purpose isn't to waste time. Planning ahead means both shorter workouts and better results. Most people don't go to the gym for fun, so get the most out of the precious time you do put in.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Web Fitness: Staying Motivated

This was a good week for fitness on the web, and I've got some really interesting and informative links for you.

Biggest Diet and Exercise Mistake You Can Make
I'm going to ruin the surprise for you and tell you what that mistake is: demanding perfection to the point you can't accept setbacks.
”You can have a "perfect" record for months, but if you're not learning how to cope with the imperfect days, the first few that come along can derail you completely.”

The most difficult times I've ever had in the gym were coming back after being gone for a few months. Once I was sick for two months straight. Another time I moved and couldn't afford a new gym membership for awhile. Both times, the first week back in the gym was horrible. I thrive on and preach progress. I was struggling to move weight I had long surpassed and I felt ashamed. But I stuck with it, and the next week was much better, as regaining muscle is quicker than getting it the first time.

This blog is funny and smart, and I've subscribed to it. The author has a voice very similar to the late blog of the great Ms. Snark, NYC Literary agent, especially in the humorous way she refers to herself in the third person.

20 Ways to Stick to Your Workout
”A recent study by the National Center for Health Statistics found that only 19 percent of the population regularly engages in "high levels of physical activity." (That's defined as three intense 20-minute workouts per week.)
Another 63 percent—about the same percentage as that of Americans who are overweight—believe that exercising would make them healthier, leaner, and less stressed, but they don't do it. At the root of this problem is motivation, or the lack thereof. “

The single most important part of fitness is consistency. Like Woody Allen said, “Seventy percent of success in life is showing up.” But sometimes you have to trick yourself into it. Usually, my compulsive nature leaves me feeling so guilty and anxious if I don't work out that there's no benefit to not doing so. I can't enjoy sleeping in or sitting on the couch. (I also have an immaculate filing system, another OCD benefit.) But when I don't feel like exercising, I'll tell myself I'm just going to do half a workout. By the time I get to that point, I remember that I actually enjoy exercise and am pumped enough to continue. This article provides some inventive strategies to motivate yourself in those lazy moments.

Stronger Where It Matters Most
This is a good core workout routine, and with the exception of cable activities which can be easily replaced, can be done at home on the day you just don't feel like dragging yourself to the gym (ahhh, another motivational strategy: floating core day for your lazy morning).

These are all exercises I work in and out of my core routine. Don't do hundreds of crunches. If you wanted big strong legs, you wouldn't run a marathon, you'd do 10 or fewer reps of squats or step-ups. If you want a core strong enough to support you during those times when you need it, work intensely.

I can't say if this is fitness related, as I don't know if the woman was intentionally losing weight or was losing weight from illness. A son kills his mother for losing weight too fast.
"I was not going to watch my mother starve to death. ... I thought that murdering her was the right thing to do. I feel terrible about it, but I knew my mom was suffering," he wrote.

Be sure to check back next week. I have some great articles written for Monday and Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Proper Range of Motion Part 5: Upright Row

In my years of going to the gym, I have seen far more people do this exercise wrong than right. Sometimes it's by using too much weight, in which case the bar only moves a few inches, or the lower back is used to cheat the bar up, causing incredible compression. But the most common mistake is committed by people who are just trying to work through a complete range of motion.

Try this now: raise your arms laterally from down at your sides to over your head. You'll notice that they naturally rotate after they get just above horizontal.

When doing an upright row (also known as a shoulder row), the movement should stop when your upper arms are parallel with the ground. This will place the bar at approximately your nipple line. If you are lifting higher than this, notice that Your upper arms aren't going up, only your forearms. The bar is going higher not because your delts and traps are lifting it higher, but because you are rotating the bar up. This is bad because:

1. With this exercise, you are trying to build your delts and traps, and any movement beyond horizontal is doing nothing for these muscles

2. Your upright row is probably going to be 2.5 times what you use for your external rotator exercise, making this a prime way to rip your shoulders apart.

The next time you do your upright row, feel when your upper arms stop moving up and stop there. You will be able to use a weight that is appropriate for your shoulders, and you'll reduce your risk of shoulder injury.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Proper Range of Motion Part 4: Seated Cable Row

Whether in an innocent attempt to get full range of motion, or in an attempt to cheat the exercise using glutes and lower back, this exercise is often done incorrectly.

In strict form, the body shouldn't sway at all during a seated cable row. With feet braced against the platform, the only part of you that should move are your arms.

Experienced lifters will occasionally do a cheat set in which they bend at the waist, getting an accelerated start that allows them to use higher weight.

1. This is used only occasionally with the knowledge that it is a cheat

2. This should only be done by experienced lifters who can handle the weight without tearing a bicep or letting their back bow

Your lower back should never bow. It should be flat, or curved slightly back depending on your personal anatomy, and it should stay that way throughout.

Final: Upright Row