July 27, 2020

The Posture Cure and More…

In today’s digest we bring you articles on The Posture Cure, Target Your Inner Chest and Grow Your Pecs, Fighting Shape: How to Get A Fighter’s Fitness and Physique – Fitness and Power and Effective Interval Training Workout. Hope you enjoy them…

The Posture Cure

Everyone Needs Posture Work. When it comes to posture, lifters and athletes are no better than sedentary desk jockeys. Use the Right Pulling Exercises. Vertical pulling exercises, like pull-ups and lat pulldowns, can exacerbate the problem. Rows and other forms of horizontal pulling can help it. Directly Work the Upper Back and Rear Delts. Train…

  1. Everyone Needs Posture Work. When it comes to posture, lifters and athletes are no better than sedentary desk jockeys.
  2. Use the Right Pulling Exercises. Vertical pulling exercises, like pull-ups and lat pulldowns, can exacerbate the problem. Rows and other forms of horizontal pulling can help it.
  3. Directly Work the Upper Back and Rear Delts. Train the upper back and rear delts directly, using bodybuilding style, with high volume and increased time under tension – to improve your posture.
  4. Use a Variety of Lifting Strategies. When training these areas, use constant tension, isometric pauses, and slow eccentrics.

Straighten Up!

Posture is the biggest equalizer when it comes to orthopedic health and function. The trends we’re seeing in shoulder and spine injury and other dysfunction can be largely attributed to the sedentary nature of our society.

But even if you’re not sedentary, you need to take a closer look at your posture. I’ve evaluated the posture of world-class athletes and will go on the record saying that high-performing physical outliers have just as dysfunctional – if not more dysfunctional – posture and positional awareness as the average desk jockey.

And people hate to hear (and see) that their posture sucks. But you know what they hate even more? Hearing that bodybuilding-style training is the best cure for cranky shoulders, achy necks, and posture that halts gains and leaves you hurting on a daily basis.

The Cause of Poor Posture

Sitting exacerbates pre-existing dysfunctions that often lay dormant in even the most active of populations. Fit or not, the cell phone, tablet, laptop, etc. have all taken a toll on our posture.

Weakness, stiffness, and general immobile muscles in the posterior shoulder girdle secondary to sitting can be a recipe for disaster when athletes do not account for these postural disturbances in their daily maintenance and more importantly their training programming.

Think of the many muscles of the upper back as postural stabilizers for the most part. The larger muscles of this group, most notably the posterior deltoid, teres major, mid and lower trapezius, and rhomboid complex are often neglected in the average lifter’s program. And those who do make it a point to train the upper back often do so incorrectly.

Upper Back Muscles

Many programs revolve around mirror muscles like the pecs and biceps, but using bro-science logic, many turn to targeting the latissimus dorsi directly to rein in that push-to-pull focus into more generally acceptable ratios.

While the lats are located on the posterior aspect of the torso and connect into the humerus proximally, one big detail is often overlooked. The humeral insertion point of the lats is located on the medial aspect of the upper third of this upper arm bone, thus making it a shoulder internal rotator when actively contracted.

So when training the vertical (lat pulldown machine, chin-ups, pull-ups, or any other variation) you’re digging the postural hole deeper and deeper, and actually adding to dysfunction and poor positioning.

Sure, having a spread that resembles a stingray is awesome, but cranking your shoulders and reinforcing the malposition won’t give you the long term physical or functional benefits you’re seeking.

If your shoulders are losing more mobility than the strength you’re gaining, place a stronger emphasis on the row and its many variations. Keying in on the horizontal pull while maintaining a neutral or slightly externally rotated shoulder position will allow you to rearrange your posture while also going heavy.

Model Back

A Functional (and Good Looking) Upper Back

Targeting the rear delts, rhomboids, mid to lower traps, and teres minor are the best ways to improve your posture. Adding size to each muscle in this region also makes you look like a boss.

By training the area directly, even the deeper, more acute contractile tissues of the region will be positively affected from a strength, stability, and functional standpoint.

The external rotator cuff comprised of the infraspinatus and teres minor can create more effective joint positions and centration of the shoulder complex, leading to smoother, more coordinated movement and contractions.

The smoother the movement of a joint, the better the gross action will be. This is why it’s important to achieve and maintain proper shoulder spiraling and torque setups before going dynamic with your movements.

Traditional strength set and rep schemes won’t cut it for upper back-emphasized training. Matching a muscle’s primary action and function with the type of training it will respond more favorably to is the next step in achieving a posture that resembles more of a Greek god than Quasimodo.

More Volume = Better Posture

When designing a program for any region of the body, match your volume and scheme according to the actions and functions of the muscles themselves.

The upper back responds well to increased volume, high reps and time under tension. This should be no shock, as many of these muscles function to keep your shoulders in the sockets, and keeping your thoracic spine and neck somewhat erect when you’re interacting with your social environment.

Targeting these muscles with power or strength schemes is inappropriate for a majority of athletes and lifters. Putting a larger emphasis on metabolic stress and the pump will produce greater aesthetic results, in addition to more functional and transferable strength results.

Use The Pump

Tapping into the mind-muscle connection and using proper workloads and volumes can do amazing things for enhancing posture and unlocking the emergency brake you may have had on your lifting performance for years.

Here are two of the best upper-back specific movements and how to program them throughout a number of variations for a thicker backside, stronger pulls and presses, and overall less pitiful posture.

1 – The Face Pull

Dynamic Warm-Up

Sets:  3-5
Reps:  8-12
Rest:  10-25 seconds
Tempo:  10X1

  • Take 1 second to lower the weight.
  • Spend 0 seconds at the bottom of the movement.
  • Explode up to the top of the movement.
  • Pause for one second at the top (peak contraction) of the movement before lowering again.

Notes: Using the accommodating resistance out of the band, explode back, maintaining the elbows slightly higher than the shoulders. At peak contraction, your shoulders should be slightly externally rotated with loads of torque and tension through the upper back. Hold that position for a second and control your arms back straight and jump right into the next rep.

Strength Movement

Sets:  5-9
Reps:  12-20
Rest:  30-45 seconds
Tempo:  21X1

Notes: Time to load up with the rope and cable rack setup. Drive your elbows back, squeezing your shoulder blades together and hold for a second at peak contraction. As you load heavier, the slight external rotation of the shoulders on the backside along with the relative position of your elbows above the shoulders will both decrease. This is fine, just be sure to control the eccentric portion of the movement and pause with elbows extended to minimize the use of momentum.

Metabolic Shoulder Finisher

Sets:  2-4
Reps:  30-50
Rest:  30-45 seconds
Tempo:  Constant tension – no holds just smooth coordinated eccentric/concentric movements.

Notes: Using constant tension with no holds on the front or backside of the movement, crank out 50 controlled reps and fight the urge to quit. As the pain ensues, don’t let your form suffer. Keep those elbows above shoulders at all times.

2 – Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Dynamic Warm-Up

Sets:  3-5
Reps:  10-15
Rest:  10-25 seconds
Tempo:  10X1

Notes: Get a light band under your feet and grab onto the ends with your hands in a palms-down position. Slump over with your chest approximating your knees while keeping your neck in a neutral position. Drive your arms up and hold for a second at the top of the range before controlling your hands back down towards the ground. You’ll really feel these top isometric holds with the accommodating band resistance that will drive blood into the upper back quickly and efficiently.

Strength Movement

Sets:  5-7
Reps:  15-20
Rest:  20-30 seconds
Tempo:  20X1

Notes: Get a pair of dumbbells in your hands and don’t let your ego drive your working weights. From the same position as the dynamic warm-up variation, drive up the dumbbells with your palms down, hold for a second and accentuate the eccentric portion of the movement with a two second descent. A set of 20 will be excruciating towards the end, that’s why it’s imperative to choose working weights that you can maintain your range of motion into the top position for all prescribed reps.

Metabolic Shoulder Finisher

Sets:  2-4
Reps:  30-50 with partial reps
Rest:  30-45 seconds
Tempo:  Constant tension – no holds just smooth coordinated eccentric/concentric movements.

Notes: If you thought you had to go light in the strength variation of this movement, you’ll be humbled even more when programming for metabolic stress and finishing off a training day. Use constant tension, working smoothly up and down with great scapular retraction on every rep. Even at the lightest weights, 50 reps will catch up with you quickly. Instead of cheating the movement and losing tension, continue to knock back reps with constant tension with partial range reps. Focus on keeping the weights moving until you get to 50, then enjoy that 30 second rest period because you’ll have a few more rounds to go.

Final Tips

You’re not limited to these exercises. They simply show how you can manipulate any movement that targets the upper back with three different training mechanisms: iso-holds, constant tension, and straight loaded strength sets.

Bodybuilding-style execution and the mind-muscle connection are keys to reaching your postural and performance goals. As a movement becomes more compound, the need for clean and crisp movement with intention becomes that much more important.

Start slow with more isolated movements and work your way up to big rowing variations and other more metabolically demanding movements.

The options are endless, but don’t be the guy super-setting bench with lat pulldown three times per week and bitching when your shoulders hurt and your upper back is about to explode. You’ve been warned.

Related: 
Traps are the New Abs

Related: 
Heal The Hunchback



The Posture Cure was originally published at https://www.t-nation.com/training/posture-cure?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=article4045






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Target Your Inner Chest and Grow Your Pecs

Your pecs aren’t as full as you’d like them to be? Don’t stress too much about it – these muscles are one of the slowest to grow, so it’s probably not your fault entirely. Developing a thick, round chest is especially hard for beginners, who unfortunately want great results ASAP and often forget that chest…

Your pecs aren’t as full as you’d like them to be? Don’t stress too much about it – these muscles are one of the slowest to grow, so it’s probably not your fault entirely. Developing a thick, round chest is especially hard for beginners, who unfortunately want great results ASAP and often forget that chest chiseling demands smart exercise choices and plenty of patience. Even then, you may find it difficult to make your inner pecs grow, even though your outer pecs are doing great. What gives?

Many people are convinced that you can effectively isolate your inner pecs by performing specific exercises, but this is nonsense. By taking a closer look at the anatomy of the pectoral muscle and the way in which its clavicular and sternocostal fibers run, you’ll understand that it’s impossible to specifically isolate your inner chest without also training the middle and outer fibers. Is this bad news?

Not at all! It only means that the best way to make your inner pecs grow is by providing enough growth stimulation for the whole chest in the shape of a well-balanced workout that targets the muscles from all three angles. That being said, even though you can’t really isolate your inner pec fibers, you can modify the way you train so that you can focus more intensely on this area and add thickness to your pecs right where they run up against your sternum.

Want to replace the deflated appearance of your chest with a fully mature 3D look?

Here’s what to do:

#1. Use a Closer Grip on Barbell Presses

The close-grip bench press is a more challenging variation of the standard bench press which powerfully targets the triceps brachii, so it’s mainly considered a great triceps move. But the closer grip also provides a major benefit for chest training, as it allows for a greater activation of the inner fibers of the sternal and clavicular portion of the pectoralis major.

Using a decline bench will maximally stimulate the lower part of the inner pecs, while an incline bench will make sure that the upper part of the inner pecs gets thoroughly worked. You can also set an adjustable bench on a Smith machine to some intermediate angles you’ve never used to shift the focus on in-between areas of your chest that are poorly targeted from typical angles.

Don’t rush into it, though, as proper form and technique are vital to making the gains you want. Once you’re completely comfortable with the standard-grip bench press, you can add a few sets of close-grip presses to your routine to provide greater stimulation for your inner pecs. Simply position your hands slightly closer than shoulder-width apart on the bar and focus on achieving optimal contraction.

#2. Emphasize the Peak Contraction on Cable Flies

Unlike single-joint dumbbell variations, cable crossovers and flies, including those performed on the peck deck machine, allow you to flex your pecs in the top contracted position on every set, thereby working the chest hardest in the full contracted position and calling for a greater involvement of the inner pec fibers. Hold the peak contracted position for 1-2 seconds at every rep and flex your muscles hard. Keep in mind that when your hands are far apart, your outer pecs receive more stimulation, and the inner pecs get more work when your hands are positioned closer together.

Also, use the one-and-a-half method on cable crossovers and flies to speed up inner-pec development even further. This technique involves performing whole reps followed by half reps done at the top of the range of motion, each pair counting as one single rep. Alternate like this until the set is finished.

Insert these two techniques into your regular routine and you’re guaranteed to see substantial progress in your chest development. Pause for a moment and squeeze your chest at the top portion of the movement to fully engage the inner fibers during any chest exercise, and manipulate the hand position to increase the focus on the targeted area. Swimming will also help build your inner chest and it’s perhaps the best way to develop all layers of your chest muscles due to the amazing range of motion.



Target Your Inner Chest and Grow Your Pecs was originally published at https://www.fitnessandpower.com/fitness-and-health/target-your-inner-chest-and-grow-your-pecs?fbclid=IwAR20q7BzutlBXRf2TLPXaib6C0FJ37A-xmImlOGq-Hwbtgsw5tjB9OPX1Z4







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Fighting Shape: How to Get A Fighter’s Fitness and Physique – Fitness and Power

Most fighters are the epitome of a human body. Not only do they look incredible, with chiseled muscles, but they also perform on a world-class level. They have the strength and conditioning that some can only dream of, even for other athletes. When it comes to fighting, you can’t be all endurance or all strength,…

Most fighters are the epitome of a human body. Not only do they look incredible, with chiseled muscles, but they also perform on a world-class level. They have the strength and conditioning that some can only dream of, even for other athletes. When it comes to fighting, you can’t be all endurance or all strength, you have to be able to possess both strength and endurance in a perfect balancing act, or rather a dance, between the two. 

Eating Like a Fighter

The first thing you will have to do is change things up in the kitchen. In order for your muscles to show, you will have to lose the excess body fat and fighters go through the same regimen when cutting weight for a fight. It’s definitely much more involved in losing weight than just their training routine.

The only difference between fighters and the typical fitness junkie is that they treat it more simple rather than counting their macros and micros. For the most part, they eat about 5 fist-sized meals, or about 1,500-2,800 calories a day (depending on the weight class the fighter). As far as what they eat, its 70% whole foods, mostly vegetables  and lean proteins like fish and chicken. 

The Workout 

While boxers train about 6-8 hours a day, it doesn’t mean you have to. Instead, you want to focus on the exercises that are most efficient and borrow from their workout. 

 

Strength Training 

For strength, training boxers stick to calisthenics and very few lift weights. This is because bulky muscles will slow them down and require more oxygen. They have to have both lung and muscle endurance, so their strength training has to be endurance-focused, which means high reps calisthenics. 

Here is what you would do in a circuit. 

100-200 pushups 
50-100 Pullups 
100-200 squats 
100 Situps 
50 Leg Raises

Do this in a circuit with one-minute breaks, or one exercise to completion, followed by the next 

All these workouts have a strong focus on the core because fighters have to be strong in the body in order to have strong punches and to be able to take punches. For you, it will help you in all of your exercises by building explosiveness and giving you more muscle endurance. 

This workout will burn calories and build muscle. It’s a perfect mix of cardio and strength training.

Heavy Bag Workout

One of the most fun workouts that you will ever do is a heavy bag. This requires you to put on gloves and punching the bag for 3 minutes, 1-minute breaks, for 3 to 5 rounds depending on what you can take. This workout will help develop your core, your lats, your shoulders, and your endurance. You will most likely look like you went for a swim after four rounds because you will be drenched. 

Jumping Rope 

Many people scoff at jump roping as a kids exercise. When in reality it can burn way more calories than running per minute. It’s one of the most efficient fat burning exercises that you can partake in. Boxer’s do it because it’s an efficient way to cut weight, it works your shoulders and mostly calves like no other workout there is. Just ten minutes of rope jumping can burn well over 120 calories. 

Try it for a Month 

Nothing works if you don’t try it. Give this workout a shot for 30 days and see how you feel and watch your body change for the better. It will help you improve both in and out of the gym due to the extra endurance. Make sure to get your rest but go at least 5 days a week, in any format. Try it and let us know how your body has changed. 



Fighting Shape: How to Get A Fighter’s Fitness and Physique – Fitness and Power was originally published at https://www.fitnessandpower.com/training/workout-routines/get-a-fighter-physique







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Effective Interval Training Workout

Interval training workout can be done in a variety of different ways. Here’s a wickedly-effective type of interval training workout: it requires no machines or fancy equipment, you can do it outside in the sunshine and fresh air, it develops killer conditioning, carves out legs like a sprinter, and burns calories at an accelerated rate……

Interval training workout can be done in a variety of different ways. Here’s a wickedly-effective type of interval training workout: it requires no machines or fancy equipment, you can do it outside in the sunshine and fresh air, it develops killer conditioning, carves out legs like a sprinter, and burns calories at an accelerated rate…

In other articles about running/aerobics and high intensity interval training, as well as in my Fat loss books, I’ve written about how you can integrate both traditional steady state cardio as well as high intensity interval training into your training program for optimal body composition improvement, health and increased fitness – you don’t have to choose one form of cardio or the other. In fact, settling into dogmatic views about cardio will only limit you.

Traditional steady state cardio is pretty much self-explanatory and intuitive. But

interval training workout

many people are still confused about the best way to do interval training workout.

An Insanely Effective Way To Do an interval training workout

I’m not sure if there is a single best way to do intervals because there are so many choices and everyone is different in their goals, interests and personal preferences, so “best” is a relative thing. But let me give you one of my personal favorites that is breathtakingly effective:

Stair sprinting!

Your typical interval training workout in the gym might be on a stationary cycle, treadmill or stairclimber with short 30-60 second bursts of high speed and/or resistance, followed by a 60-120 second period of low intensity recovery. That’s usually a 1:1 or 1:2 work to recovery interval. You then rinse and repeat for the desired number of intervals, usually between 6 and 12.

I sometimes have access to a great set of university stadium steps with a straight shot right up – 52 steps.

Sprinting it takes about 10 seconds or so, walking down about 30 seconds. Those are short intervals with a 1:3 work to recovery interval ratio. That wasn’t by design, it just happens to be how long it takes to run up and walk down that particular flight of stairs, but co-incidentally, that fits within common recommendations for short sprint-style intervals.

I make sure I’m warmed up first, I usually start with a couple flights up at a slow jog then a run, before sprinting, usually 10-12 rounds.

Even if you jog/run instead of sprint, (or pause briefly at the bottom of the stairs), when you do the math, you can figure that this usually doesn’t take more than 10-12 minutes.

Why do I like stadium step sprinting for interval training workout?

  1. Stair sprinting is a time saver. Like other forms of interval training workout, it’s entirely possible to get as much if not more cardiovascular conditioning in 10-15 minutes than you’d get from a much longer session of slower cardio (depending on the intensity and effort levels).
  2. Stair sprinting is engaging. Many people get bored doing long slow to medium intensity cardio sessions. This is a great way to break up the monotony of traditional cardio workouts. Even though it’s tough, it’s actually kind of fun.
  3. Stair sprinting is incredible for leg development. As a bodybuilder, I like to look at all types of training not only in terms of conditioning, fat loss and health, but also whether they will add or detract from the physique. I find that brief but intense stair workouts are amazing for leg development – quads, hamstrings, glutes and even your calves. In fact, I started training on the stairs more than 20 years ago, and I always considered it as much if not more of a leg workout than anything else.
  4. Stair sprinting can be done outside. If you have access to stadium steps, as opposed to just a stairwell, you can enjoy the sun and fresh air.

How to integrate stair running into your interval training workout

If you’re an overachiever type, you might be tempted to do these sprint workouts in addition to your current strength training and cardio workload for a great interval training workout.

However, keep in mind that intensity and duration are inversely proportional. When you do high intensity cardio or all out sprints, you are condensing more work into less time. That means the best part is, you can do a brief but intense stair workout instead of one of your long cardio sessions rather than in addition to them. This is one of the reasons that a interval training workout is so effective.

Recommendation: Start with one session per week, then progress to two if you choose. You can do traditional cardio the other days of the week if you want or need additional calorie-burning. Lower intensity cardio in between training and interval training workout can also serve as active recovery.

Not everyone has access to a full flight of stadium steps, as you might find at a local University. Running flights of stairs in a high rise is another effective and no-cost way to train on stairs. Although you can’t truly sprint with twists and turns on each floor, you can jog/run.

No stairs? Hills will get the job done too and they may provide you with more flexibility in the length/duration of your interval training workout. I’ve found some big hills at just the right grade of incline that I can do 30-45 second runs up, with about 90-120 seconds walk down. Grassy hills are nice, when available, as they spare you some of the impact from running on the concrete.

Running Stairs is Tough but Effective Exercise

Sprinting up stairs is not for everyone doing an interval training workout. If you have a history of health problems or orthopedic issues, check with your doctor before doing any kind of high intensity training and of course, don’t train through the pain of injury. If you are significantly over, it may be a challenge just to walk up stairs, let alone run up, not to mention it might create undue stress on your joints. But as you get lighter and fitter, it’s a challenge you might slowly work toward.

Be sure to build up gradually and adjust the workout based on your current health and fitness level. You could start with as few as 4-6 rounds and build up from there. You can also start with jogging up the stairs, then progress to running, then move to sprints. Be sure you are fully prepared and warmed up before attempting all out sprints as sprinting when unprepared is a notorious source of hamstring pulls.

Stair Training Is Easier on your Body

Some coaches believe that running uphill is safer than sprinting flat surfaces. Writing for Staley Training.com, Coach Steven Morris says, “Another great reason to hill sprint: even an athlete with horrendous running form will be safe running hills. This is simply because the hill does NOT allow the athlete to over-stride nor does it allow them to reach top speed, both major factors in hamstring injuries.”

Stair sprinting is a perfect complement to the cardio portion in my Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle program. If you’re healthy and already fit, try this advanced interval training workout and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!

Train hard and expect success!

Tom Venuto, author of
Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle

Founder & CEO of
Burn The Fat Inner Circle

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is the author of the #1 best seller, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle: Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom is a lifetime natural bodybuilder and fat loss expert who achieved an astonishing 3.7% body fat level without drugs or supplements and he totally supports a interval training workout.



Effective Interval Training Workout was originally published at https://www.fitnesstipsforlife.com/effective-interval-training-workout.html