Monday, November 5, 2007

1-Arm Dumbbell Row: Don't Twist

When these get too heavy, the tendency is to build velocity at the bottom of the movement, by letting the working side's shoulder droop down, and then twisting. This is cheating. This is a lat exercise, not an oblique exercise. For the sake of not only your lat development but your spine, don't get into this habit. You may not be strong enough to hurt yourself doing this now, but when your tossing around 200 pounders, an explosive twist like this just isn't safe.

Keep your shoulders flat and strong. Let your lat feel the stretch, but resist it in your torso. Bring the weight up tight to your side. Rock.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Get Your ZZZs

What you do in the gym is important. Using good form, lifting with intensity, working a proper split--these things are all going to affect your progress.

But the gym isn't where you build strength. It's where you demand from your body, under duress of torture with strange instruments (Power cage? Not the power cage!), that it build strength. The strength building takes place outside the gym. I've read from several bodybuilders that they'd rather miss a workout than a meal.

So in the morning you do the perfect workout. You eat a proper post-workout meal and follow up on it throughout the day with nutritious food. Then you go to bed late and only get five hours of sleep. You just lost a lot of the progress you worked so hard throughout the day to attain.

Your muscles need recovery time, and the time they can be assured that you're not going to move and mess them up is when you're asleep. Muscle is built at night. You can do everything else right and plateau hard because you aren't giving your body time to do what you're asking of it. And beyond the loss of future muscle (that's like future crime. Ask Tom Cruise about it), you're counteracting numerous other benefits:

*Exercise makes you smarter. Lack of sleep makes you dumber.

*Being fit regulates insulin sensitivity. Lack of sleep causes a resistance to insulin (think type 2 diabetes).

*Exercise reduces stress. Lack of sleep increases it, and therefor cortisol, which reduces your immune system, increases fat, eats muscle, causes heart disease, and messes with your mental health.

You've already made time for exercise. Now you have to make time for a solid night of sleep. Where are you going to get the extra three hours from? I don't know. I just point out problems; I don't give solutions. That's too hard.

How to sleep soundly tonight--and wake up slimmer, happier, and healthier

Friday, November 2, 2007

Weekly Web Fitness: Ab Myths? Really? Still?

5 Myths Behind Building Great Abs
"Ab Myth #1: You Have to do Hundreds of Crunches to Get a 'Six-Pack'"

I just don't think this is true anymore. Does anybody really think, after reading years of headlines to the contrary, that hundreds of crunches is the path to a six-pack? Does anybody really think they will have a visible six-pack, despite 30% body fat, if they do enough crunches? No. No one does.

Ab Myth #1: That people are so dumb they still think you can attain a six-pack solely through hundreds of crunches.

"What you want to avoid is heavy, weight crunches. Remember the abs are still muscles; train them with weights and they will get bigger."

This is untrue for women, but even for men, the only place where your abs will noticeably protrude is at the top just under the ribs, which make your chest look bigger, not your belly. Larger abs will hold your guts (and I do mean internal organs) in better, making your resting appearance thinner. Another myth propagated by the fitness world. Sigh.

Women and Weight. No, Not the Kind You Worry About, the Kind You Pick Up. Or Should.
"Should women lift weights as part of their fitness program?

Great article by Kelly Mills. If you're not lifting, start.

Dancing their way to a fitness revolution
In the gym, that isn’t always the case, “because you have a lot of kids that are overweight, not motivated and they don’t always want to do a lot.”
But with DDR, all the kids were totally focused.

Traditionalists will decry the trend, saying things about fresh air, whippersnappers, and the zombifyin' effect of televisualgames. And that's the way they likes it!

I say whatever gets 'em moving.

Core Exercises That Really Work

Straight to the Bar twice in one post, you say? I just found it and totally love it.

Watch the video. I've done a lot of these core moves before, and they work. The problem is often getting to the point where you're strong enough to do them. I never expect to be able to do head-stand twists.

Ever notice how the guys you usually see doing these freak-strength moves are about five and half feet tall? My legs are almost that long. The good news for women is that these moves are much easier for shorter people. Some will be easier with a lower center of gravity, and some harder.

Experts Sound Off on Workout Grunting

"But, for some people, there was actually a small percentage increase when they grunted, in terms of the force produced," O'Connell said. For that reason, "I wouldn't be trying to tell people not to grunt," he said.

I don't scream or pound my chest, but I will grunt during my heavy deadlift pulls. I think that like screaming or listening to loud music, grunting causes a small amount of adrenaline to be released. It also just feels natural. Have you ever seen a spotting powerlifter slap another in the face to get him worked up for a big lift? Dude, that's hardcore.

Your Guide to the Glycemic Index

This is a good resources, a list of foods organized by ascending GI. Notice that pasta has a very decent number.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fit Bloggers Aggregator

I stumbled across a neat page today, It's a cool way to find some fitness blogs that you otherwise might have missed. The owner, Kevin, has been so kind as to include Rice Home Fitness. It's a good fitness blog meta-resource, and as we all know--

Nothing on the 'netta
Is cooler than meta!