In terms of physique goals, many men are looking to lean out everywhere while adding bulk to their arms to fill out their sleeves. It’s what a lot of us like to call, “having tickets to the gun show.” Many of us balk at doing cable exercises instead of lifting weights, but it’s not either or.
The biceps are composed of two muscles: the long and short heads. To bulk them up fully, you’ll also need to include some work on the triceps as well. This vital muscle group is made up of the lateral, medial, and long heads.
Now, we all know that using dumbbells is a great way to add size your arms, but your body will adjust to those same exercises after a time, and you’ll notice your results start to plateau. So, many gym professional move over to the cable machines to mix things up and continue to grow those massive arms.
If you’re ready to bulk up those biceps and triceps, here’re a few cable exercises you should try.
While facing the cable machine’s pulley system, grip the straight bar with your palms facing down. Next, take a step backward while keeping your back straight. Your elbows should remain close to your body throughout the movement.
Once you’re ready, use your triceps to push the bar downward until your arms are fully extended, but don’t lock your elbows. Hold at the peak of the rep and feel the tension in your triceps for a brief moment before slowly raising the bar back up.
While facing the cable machine, pick up and grip the EZ-curl bar with your palms facing up. Keeping your elbows down by your side, lift against the resistance in a curling motion, pulling the bar toward your chest while squeezing your biceps. At the peak of the movement, hold that squeeze for a second before slowly lowering the bar.
While facing away from the cable machine, hold the ends of the rope in your hands above your head and keep your elbows pointed upward. As you begin the rep, move the rope ends outward as you extend your triceps. Stop the rep just locking out your elbows, hold weight in place for a moment, and then return the rope to its starting point.
These are similar to dumbbells hammer curls. Grab onto the ends of the extension rope, stand up straight, and take a small step backward. Next, do a controlled hammer curl up and, as always, squeeze those biceps at the peak of the rep before slowly lowering the rope back to the original position.
This is a slightly unconventional arm-strengthening exercise. Unlike the others, you lay flat on your back with your feet positioned on the floor for extra stability. So, grab on to the straight or EZ-curl bar with your palms facing up and carefully move into a lying position.
Keeping your elbows down by your side, lift the resistance in a curling motion toward your chest, making sure to squeeze your biceps for maximum effect. As always, you’ll want to pause for brief moment at the peak of the movement before slowly lowering the EZ-curl bar back to the starting position.
Typically, when people start working out, they start to notice the results of their hard work within a few short weeks. Muscle and bone density become more apparent and, as a result, personal morale surges.
Fast forward a few months and you’ll notice a dramatic change in your energy and strength levels. This typically motivates exercisers to push through some grueling reps. After all, like they say, “no pain, no gain.”
Fast forward a few more months and you might stop seeing dramatic gains. Improvements aren’t coming in as fast or as noticeably as they once did. Since humans are amazing at adapting, our bodies become accustomed to the hard work and we hit a wall, experiencing what’s known as a “plateau effect.” It’s during these plateaus that most people quit — without results to motivate, it’s easier to stop.
To combat those sh*tty plateaus, trainers introduce new, varied training methods to keep the body unprepared — unable to acclimate — which causes muscles to grow once again. If you’re looking to change up your routine, consider the following methods.
Most gym goers take a break after completing one set — usually to check their social media. Instead, consider introducing a second exercise that focuses on a different muscle group before resting. For example, if you’re doing 12 reps on an EZ-curl bar, knock out 12 triceps extensions prior to your social-media checkup.
Also known as “high-intensity interval training,” this killer method is a popular way of burning fat and increasing physical endurance. The idea is to maintain a high work-to-rest ratio — between 1:1 and 2:1. For example, to achieve a 1:1 ratio, you’ll exercise hard for a short burst and then rest just as long immediately afterward. A 2:1 ratio means that you’re resting half as long as you’re exercising.
Trainers usually put their clients through dozens of rounds of HIIT training before calling it a day.
Despite the name, this has nothing to do with going to the beach — although you’ll probably want to be seen with your shirt off after a few weeks of this training. Surfing the rack simply means walking up to the free weights and repping with the heaviest load you can manage. Then, after you’ve exhausted yourself, step down in weight and continue to get reps in.
Most trainers recommend you reduce the load by about 20 percent per step.
Most people never want to fail — which is a good thing. However, “going to failure” in the gym is an epic way to tear your muscles in a controlled environment. Be careful, though — going until failure is tough on your body and can make you nauseous from time to time.
When working out, many people select a manageable weight, complete 8-to-12 reps, re-rack the weight, and take a break. This is a solid way to build muscle, sure, but it’ll also set you on your way to that progress plateau we talked about earlier.
In a drop set, a person selects a manageable weight, and does reps until failure. Next, they opt for a lower weight and continue on. It’s very similar to surfing the rack, minus the rack itself.
Now, get out there and keep those muscles guessing.
Have you ever wondered why there’s so much hype surrounding CrossFit? Well, it seems veterans are benefiting from the intense workouts in more ways than one.
Take Air Force Veteran Rachel Escolas for example. She tried out CrossFit for the first time while on deployment in Kandahar in October of 2012. After deployment, she had a burning passion for the sport and eventually became certified as a trainer in 2014 while founding her own CrossFit gym, CBUS Lifting Co.
CrossFit benefits the veteran community in several ways.
Air Force veteran Rachel Escolas powers through the workout of the day at her gym, CBUS Lifting Co.
It’s no secret that as soon as military personnel are shipped off to boot camp or basic training, fitness becomes heavily incorporated into their lifestyle. Physical activity becomes second nature, and is essential to keeping in the best shape for performing day-to-day duties.
With its dynamic arrangements of barbell work, Olympic lifts, strength training, and more, CrossFit can kick anyone’s a** into shape. CrossFit requires discipline and dedication, qualities that already run deep among every branch of the military. The trainers are like drill sergeants that don’t cuss. They don’t let anyone slack and they keep an eye on proper form, correcting when necessary.
There’s nothing like sharing the pain of a workout with others.
Do you remember waking up at 3:00 or 4:00 am to run in formation, in the cold, heat, sleet, or snow? Who would have thought that veterans would grow to miss that nonsense? Behind any grueling physical fitness routine is camaraderie that stems from accomplishing goals collectively, as a team.
When veterans get out of the military, there’s often a gravitation toward working out in a team environment, like the one CrossFit provides. There’s a sense of community that’s built into a CrossFit gym that’s unlike any other. Regular gyms are fine places for lifting and letting off steam, but fostering more than surface-level acquaintances there is a rarity.
Navy veteran and CrossFit trainer Isabel Beutick states, “Crossfit, for me, has kept me in tight circles. I loved the camaraderie I had in the Navy, and that’s the same feeling I get when doing CrossFit. That tight-knit community.”
Certified CrossFit Trainer and Navy veteran Isabel Beutick, demonstrates how to achieve proper form in an overhead squat.
Although there have been major medical advancements throughout the years, an increasing number of veterans come back with combat-related injuries, both physical and mental. It has become evident that, for many, pills are not the solution. Alternative means of healing are helping mend bodies and minds.
CrossFit is not just an outlet for mental stress, there are many attentive trainers out there invested in providing workable modifications to compensate for physical injuries. With the right trainer, there’s nothing stopping a veteran from completing a CrossFit workout, no matter the ailment.
Above, Army Veteran Juan Puentes says, “CrossFit is hard sh*t. It reminds me of all the challenging sh*t I did in the military.”
Although CrossFit promotes a team mentality, there’s also an element of competition. To put it lightly, veterans are extremely competitive. Daily workouts are timed and everyone knows who comes in first and last. Now, we’re not saying we should focus on this entirely, but it kindles the fire in veterans to keep pushing.
Throughout your CrossFit experience, trainers keep track of daily goals on a whiteboard or online. This data helps the competitive veteran see their progress and the progress of others and gets them ready to compete in national tournaments.
The ‘Murph,’ dedicated to Navy Seal Michael P. Murphy, is only one of many WOD’s created to honor fallen warriors.
Hero WODs (workouts of the day) honor fallen service members and provide a way to bridge the civilian-military divide. Most veterans find it complicated to connect with civilian friends, family, and co-workers because they’ve experienced things that are, frankly, hard to explain.
What’s unique about CrossFit’s Hero WODs is that everyone is aware that the workout honors a fallen service member. People truly give it their all on these particular workout days. These workouts create a bond between civilians and veterans that’s truly fascinating to witness.
This time of year, the subject of dieting is very popular with the promise of quick weight loss, but it’s important to carefully choose your weight-loss strategy. Doing so can help you can drop unwanted pounds safely and successfully — and boost your performance. The below info was provided by Ms. Carolyn Zisman, a nutritionist working at the Human Performance Resource Center.
Diets that are typically very low in carbs (less than five percent of calories or 50 grams daily) and high in fat (70–80 percent) can put you into ketosis. This means your body is producing ketones, which uses stored fat (instead of carbs) for energy. Aside from glucose from carbs, ketones from fat are the only fuel your brain can use. You might lose more weight on a moderate-protein, high-fat diet than a typical low-fat one.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Todd A. Schaffer)
Additionally, you can lower some risks for heart disease and type two diabetes. These diets also eliminate sugars and sweeteners, and they help you increase your intake of vegetables, omega three-rich seafood, nuts, and seeds. However, keto-type diets eliminate all grains, pastas, breads, beans, starchy vegetables, and nearly all fruit, which are critical sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Carb restriction also might lead to underfueling, hunger, fatigue, depression, irritability, constipation, headaches, and “brain fog,” which can affect your performance. Ketosis might make it harder to meet the extreme physical and mental challenges of your duties, too.
Keto-type diets are also tough to maintain because there are carbs in nearly all foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans, lentils, and peanuts), dairy products, and grains. Since your body needs to sustain ketosis for weight loss, it might be especially hard in environments with limited food options.
High-protein, moderate-fat diets focus on foods that your hunter-gatherer ancestors ate, including fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, nuts and seeds. They’re also high in fiber and low in sodium and refined sugars. In addition, they’re generally healthy and not too hard to follow — whether you’re at home, the mess hall, or eating out.
Since these diets rely heavily on fresh food, it sometimes can take longer to plan meals. Fish and grass-fed meat can be expensive, too. Caveman-type diets also exclude entire food groups—such as whole grains, dairy, and legumes—and increase your risk for nutrient deficiencies. Also, there’s no difference in a high-protein, low-carb diet vs. a reduced-calorie diet for weight loss.
Vietnamese chefs teach Sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) how to prepare local dishes.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tom Tonthat)
Carbs are your body’s preferred fuel source, and limiting them can lower your performance. While a low-carb diet is easier to do because you can eat carb-rich, starchy vegetables such as potatoes or squash, there might be times when this isn’t practical, especially if you’re on a mission with MREs or limited produce.
Intermittent fasting (IF) essentially involves skipping meals for partial or full days (12–24 hours), severely restricting calories for several days in a row, or eating under 500 calories on two non-consecutive days.
While some research from animal studies shows that restricted eating might benefit longevity, there’s no evidence that it affects longevity in humans. However, those diagnosed with type two diabetes might be able to manage their blood sugar with IF. Fasting also can be effective with an average weight loss of 7–11 pounds over 10 weeks.
Still, IF can be hard for someone who needs to eat every few hours to sustain energy for physical and mental performance. Some will overeat on non-fasting days, so IF isn’t recommended for those with disordered eating or type one diabetes — or if you take medications that require food.
Weight loss comes down to energy balance: Eat less or move more to burn extra calories. In terms of performance, you need to eat more often to ensure you’re always sufficiently fueled, so fasting can be a challenge.
Cleansing or detoxification
“Detox” diets — also called “cleanses” or “flushes” — claim to help remove toxins from your body, leading to weight loss. Cleanses includes diets, supplements, drinks, laxatives, enemas, or a combination of these strategies.
Non-laxative cleanses or juice fasts can jump-start quick weight loss, but you still need to follow up with a proper approach that is realistic and sustainable. Since your calorie intake is very low on these particular days, it also can affect your physical performance.
Fort Monroe’s Staff Sgt. Joshua Spiess prepares a head of garlic while competing for the Armed Forces Chef of the Year.
(U.S. Army photo)
Detox-related weight loss is often only temporary and likely results from water loss. You also might gain weight when you resume normal eating. Extreme low-calorie diets can lower your body’s basal metabolic rate (the number of calories needed to perform basic, life-sustaining functions) as it struggles to preserve energy. Detox diets, which often require some fasting and severely limit protein, also can cause fatigue. They can result in vitamin, mineral, and other essential nutrient deficiencies in the long term, too. And the jury’s still out on whether detox diets actually remove toxins from your body. Depending on the ingredients used, detox diets also can cause cramping, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration, so they aren’t recommended for healthy and safe weight loss.
What’s the best way to lose weight and keep it off?
Quick weight loss (more than two pounds per week) can backfire in terms of health and weight maintenance. If you eat too little, your body might use muscle for fuel, instead of carbs (primary fuel) or fat (secondary fuel). Muscle burns more calories than stored fat, so losing muscle can actually slow your metabolism and ultimately make it harder to lose weight and keep it off.
The best approach is one that provides enough fuel — fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and healthy fats — to perform your duties and preserve muscle. Read HPRC’s “Warfighter Nutrition Guide” for tips to maintain your overall health and body weight.
For safe weight loss, make sure you are not causing harm and still have enough physical and mental strength to perform well. Work with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to create a healthy eating plan. You also want to make lifestyle changes that include exercise, so you can stay in warrior-athlete shape.
“You’re getting the body prepared for a number of motions,” Saladino told Men’s Journal. “These are more expansive than your typical lifting movements.”
He allows for flexibility in his workout routine.
Saladino noted that, while he and Reynolds tried to stick to a weekly strength plan that included two days off, it was constantly adjusted to fit the needs of his body and schedule.
“The biggest mistake that people make when making an exercise plan is not to listen to their body every day,” Saladino told Men’s Journal. “Ryan was a recent father and traveling a lot [when “Deadpool” was being filmed], so if he had been up all night with the baby, or just gotten off a plane from Singapore, you can best believe we were changing up the program.”
He took it upon himself to work out in his downtime.
“Don [Saladino] gave me a plan so I could train whenever I needed to,” Reynolds told Men’s Health in 2016. “It made things more manageable. And if I wanted to spend a little extra time with my daughter in the morning, I could do that.”
Reynolds has said that he has a “functional” approach to training rather than a “fashionable” one, so he usually prefers to work out alone and on his own time.
Saladino admitted that he is never concerned about Reynolds’ commitment to the workout regimen.
“Ryan’s such a hard worker,” Saladino told Men’s Health. “If anything, I had to scale him down. One day he came up to see me having been working out on his own and I was like, ‘Holy sh-t!’ He looked like a different person.”
“I like using these traditional movements with little twists,” Saladino explained. “This move, in particular, is not only maintaining the strength that he built up to play Deadpool but also encourages stabilization and balance. We have done exercises similar to this over the course of the past few years, but sometimes with a kettlebell and without the vest during our warm-ups.”
However, the father of two did admit that he can battle this aversion with outdoor exercises and activities.
“I love being outdoors,” he said. “There are forests all around [where I live] and I get to hike, mountain bike … just move. I’ll even bring the baby with me, put her in a little baby carrier thing and off we go. In a weird way, it’s a great workout because you’re adding 20 pounds to your bodyweight.”
It’s certainly admirable that Reynolds juggles his responsibilities as an action star with his growing family of four— but his DIY style when it comes to fitness can work for just about anyone.
World Championship Wrestling star Diamond Dallas Page was badly injured at the height of his career. To get back to the top of his game he created a unique mix of yoga and rehabilitative motion — what he calls DDP Yoga.
“I’m the guy who wouldn’t be caught dead doing yoga the first 42 years of my life,” says Page, now 59. “Especially when I started wrestling at 35, and my career literally took off at 40.”
Page was on top of the world in 1998, when he was one of the top four wrestlers in the world. Soon after, however, he blew out his back, rupturing his L4-L5 spinal segment.
“Three specialists I went to and they all said the same thing,” he continues “‘You’re done. You had a great run, but you’re done.’ On that Sunday, I just signed a multimillion dollar three-year deal.”
They guy who wouldn’t be caught dead doing yoga was suddenly willing to try anything.
“All the reasons I didn’t ever do yoga, the whole spiritual mumbo jumbo, it wasn’t my thing,” he says. “But I started doing yoga and learning the moves on VHS tapes. I would mix those moves with rehabilitation techniques because I had to rehab both shoulder surgeries, both knee surgeries, and my back.”
This combination of forces worked like a charm. He was back in the ring in three months. At age 43, he was the oldest champion ever to wear a belt. His wrestling career continued well into 2005 and he still makes sporadic appearances to this day.
“At 42, they tell me my wrestling career is over, and at 43 I’m the world champ. Yeah, I’m going to keep doing that,” he says.
While DDP Yoga is for anyone who wants to be stronger, recover from an injury, or just generally look and feel better, Page created it for workers and athletes who, by the nature of what they do, end their careers having put a great deal of physical stress on their bodies.
“I developed DDP Yoga for cops, firefighters, the military, the worker, the roofer on his knees, tile layers, the athlete that’s beat up,” he says. “If you played high school football or soccer, there’s a good chance that by the time you got to your forties, you’re pretty beat up.”
One day, a disabled Gulf War veteran named Arthur Boorman bought the DDP Yoga program. Page sent Boorman a questionnaire and was moved by the vet’s responses.
“He wrote, ‘I’m a disabled vet that’s morbidly obese and so beat up I’ve relegated to thinking of myself as a piece of furniture,'” Page says. “I told him to send me some pictures so I can see what I’m looking at. I saw knee braces that took him twenty minutes every morning to put on. They attached into his back braces. His wife had to do that for him every morning. Then he grabbed these canes, he called them wrap around cups. I saw those cups and was like, how am I going to help that guy?”
Page and a dietician developed a meal plan for Boorman while Boorman started DDP Yoga. In ten months, Boorman lost 140 lbs, as well as his knee and back braces, his canes, and was not only able to walk, he started running.
“If he would’ve wrote back to me, ‘I think I can do this’ or ‘I’ll give it a try,’ I would’ve typed back, awesome, keep me posted,” Page says. “But he didn’t do that. He wrote, ‘I can do this.'”
These days, Boorman appears in DDP Yoga workouts.
“When you see him on the energy workout which is twenty-five minutes, you’re like, ‘Oh my God, that’s that guy! Wait a minute, that’s ten years later!'” Page says with a smile. “Then when you get to the hour-long workouts, there’s Arthur again. Doing the most extreme levels.”
As he developed DDP Yoga, he found two of his fellow wrestlers in despair. Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Scott Hall (aka Razor Ramon) suffered from drug and alcohol abuse. In 2012, Roberts was obese, addicted, and contemplating suicide. Hall faced much the same situation. World Wrestling Entertainment wouldn’t even let the legendary wrestlers into the Wrestling Hall of Fame. They both turned to DDP Yoga and made remarkable changes. Roberts’ turnaround is the subject of Page’s new film, The Resurrection of Jake the Snake.
“All I did was guide my two buddies who guided me in other times in my wrestling career,” Page says. “It was great to help my buddies get their lives back in order.”
DDP Yoga has expanded exponentially. Page has a live-streaming studio in Atlanta, as well as DDP Yoga apps for Android and iPhone formats, which include cooking and nutrition. His Twitter account is full of people like Arthur who thank him for developing the program. The company tries to respond to every tweet.
“I’m not a doctor,” Page says. “And I have enough lawyers to know that I don’t claim to do anything. What I am is a guide. I don’t put the work in for you and I won’t. I will help guide you from what I’ve learned.”
In a recent, article discussing the Three Phases of Tactical Fitness, many recruits find themselves stuck in phase 1 of tactical fitness (Testing Phase) for far too long. To achieve exceptional PT scores, it may take a recruit 6-12 months or more depending upon your athletic background and training history. Typically, if you join the military unprepared for this test, this period of time has the added pressure of Spec Ops Mentors and Recruiters with the time crunch of the Delayed Entry Program (DEP).
Here are two scenarios the recruit can choose to be a part of:
1. Turned 18 – time to enlist
If your goal is to turn 18 and enlist, great! Thanks for considering military service for a future career – we need more Americans like you. However, are you “really ready” to go from high school kid to special ops recruit / candidate? If you have not taken the physical screen test (PST) yet (on your own) and are crushing the events, then NO you are not ready to start this process. If you continue on this journey you will likely either not ever pass the PST prior to your ship date or just barely pass the competitive standards, get selected for Special Ops (SO rating in the Navy), and soon ship to boot camp. Great right? Well, you prepared well enough to get TO BUD/S but have you prepared at all to get THROUGH BUD/S? Have you turned 1.5 mile runs into fast 4 mile timed runs? Have you turned 500yd swims without fins into 2 mile swims with fins? Have you continued your PT but added strength workouts to prepare for log PT, boat carries,rucking, and other load bearing events? If you have not spent a significant amount of your time in this THROUGH cycle (Phase 2 Tactical Fitness), then you will likely successfully make it into BUD/S for about two weeks on average. Quitting and injury typically follow – statistically speaking.
2. Crushed PST many times — ready to enlist
If you have taken the PST countless amount of times, have worked on a strategy for optimal performance and are hitting the advanced competitive scores, it is time. Take the PST and crush it the first time. Now you have a standard of above average passing standard that you can maintain while you focus more on getting THROUGH BUD/S with faster / longer runs, longer swims, rucking, strength training for the load bearing activities at BUDS. You may even have time to practice some land navigation, knot tying, water confidence, or even take a SCUBA course. The goal of the time you have in DEP now is to focus on your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. And when you start to enjoy your prior weaknesses, you are ready. You will still have to ace the PST regularly so make your warmups be calisthenics / testing focused and the added longer runs / swims / rucks and lifts to follow. See Tactical Fitness or Tactical Strength for ideas.
To ALL recruits: exercise patience
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by George Melendez)
If a recruit would take 6-12 months before talking to a recruiter and joining the DEP, the recruit could be fully prepared to crush the PST on day one. Because if you do not get competitive PST scores to be put into the system, you will be in test taking mode until you pass. When you pass the first time, you can start preparing for phase 2 of tactical fitness (getting THROUGH the training). However, making sure you can crush the PST even on a bad day is a requirement as you will be taking the test at both boot camp and Pre-BUD/S, and BUD/S Orientation. If you fail the PST at Boot camp, Pre-BUDS, or BUD/S Orientation, you go home.
Tactical Fitness Phase 2 requires you to focus on the specifics of your future spec ops selection. This is what you need to be spending most of your time prior to boot camp doing. Longer runs, rucks, longer swims with fins, and high rep PT, weight training to prepare for the load bearing of boat carries and log PT and grinder PT.
When you think about tactical fitness you cannot confuse the three phases of the journey (To, Through, and Active Duty Operator).
Phase 1: recruit
Focus your training on testing to get into the training program you seek but also worked on any weaknesses you may have (strength, endurance, stamina, run, swim, ruck, etc…). This may take 6-12 months at least, make sure you place this phase in front of your recruiter visit.Tactical Fitness Phase 2 requires you to focus on the specifics of your future spec ops selection. This is what you need to be spending most of your time prior to boot camp doing. Longer runs, rucks, longer swims with fins, and high rep PT, weight training to prepare for the load bearing of boat carries and log PT and grinder PT.
When you think about tactical fitness you cannot confuse the three phases of the journey (To, Through, and Active Duty Operator).
Phase 2: student
Preparing to become a student in a challenging selection, Boot Camp, academy type program requires specific training for those challenges. Focus on weaknesses as a week within your selection training will expose them.
Phase 3: operator
You will not even get here if you are not adequately prepared for Phases 1 and 2. Do not rush it – get ready first THEN charge forward fully prepared.
This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @military.com on Twitter.
If working out from home is bumming you out, it’s time to suck it up and work hard anyway. This time in quarantine will separate the winners from the losers and the wheat from the dang chaff.
I get it, working out where you sleep and watch Netflix sucks. But no one knows how long this will last and if you want to have some level of fitness at the end, you’ll have to make the most of the situation.
If you’re finding it difficult to establish a workout routine at home, here are a few ideas to get back on track.
Even though this is the simplest and most obvious idea on this list, you need to make a plan.
The main problem when you’re locked in your home is that it’s way too easy to convince yourself to sleep an extra hour or watch that next episode. If you’re alive and sentient at all, you know how easy it is to rationalize getting that workout in tomorrow instead of now.
If you want to come out of this pandemic in decent shape, make a plan to train daily and stick to it. Even 10 minutes of dedication each day will eventually lead to more.
As you would with gym workouts, make a plan that establishes the type of workout you’ll do, the body parts you’ll hit, and the end goals of each workout. With a plan, you’ll be less likely to skip out.
Or better yet get out of the house and go to an open and spacious space that you can train at.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Margaret Gale
Set up a workout area
Almost everyone knows that stepping into a gym means go time. You’ve invested time, money, and effort to be there. These factors make getting into the groove much easier.
But training where you live and sleep can be challenging.
If this describes your situation, set up a specific area for your training, and keep your equipment there.
By dedicating specific space to your workouts, you’ll no-doubt be able to create a different mindset once you step into that “gym” area. This mindset can help you challenge yourself and get the most out of your workouts.
Not to mention, walking past that gym area can help remind you of the importance of your fitness goals. This reminder will help motivate you and make it less likely that you’ll skip a workout.
1000 squats… not my favorite challenge but definitely not the worst thing I’ve ever heard of.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Margaret Gale
Decide on new goals to pursue
If you had specific fitness goals before this mandatory lockdown, you probably feel a bit defeated, especially if you were making some serious progress.
No one knows how long you’ll be without your standard equipment. Instead of sulking about your lost gains, pick something new and incredibly challenging to achieve.
Maybe you’ve been slacking on your runs. Fortunately, exercise is considered “essential,” during this quarantine as long as you keep your distance from others. What if you decided on specific running and endurance goals?
What if instead, you set crazy goals like lunging a full mile or performing 1,000 bodyweight squats in less than an hour? Do you think you could?
Even though these goals might not have been what you envisioned, stuff happens, and times change. Suck it up and figure out a new way to be your best self.
There’s no wrong way to get your family involved as long as you aren’t a dick. There’s no reason to make family life harder than it already is.
Photo by Graham Snodgrass
Get your family on board
Last but not least, if you have roommates or live with your family, try to get them on board with your workouts.
On top of promoting a healthy lifestyle and promoting quality family time, exercising with others can make the process much easier.
While not a guarantee, implementing an exercise routine that includes everyone is an excellent way to establish a workout routine. Plus, it can be fun if you’re not in drill instructor mode.
With any luck, you’ll come out of this quarantine with a new vision, strengthened family bonds, and new achievements on your belt. That’s a win-win-win.
It’s almost beach season! That means it’s time put on those colorful tank tops and get your feet sandy. However, before we sizzle in the sun, many of us want to get our arms jacked so that we can give out free tickets to the gun show.
So, how can you get your arms pumped up before summer? Well, at this point in the year, it’d take a miracle — but now is always the best time to start.
The biceps are composed of two muscles: the long and short head. To bulk them up, you’ll also need to include some work on the triceps — which is made up of the lateral, medial, and long head.
If you’re ready to get that daily muscle pump going, then let’s go.
Straight barbell curls
Note: Don’t get these confused with EZ-curls, that’s something different.
This exercise requires a tight grip on the bar, keeping your hands about shoulder-width apart with your elbows placed in front of your hips. With your wrists straight, lift the bar up and feel the squeeze in those biceps.
Then, lower the bar slowly, focusing on the negative motion. This movement should take approximately three seconds to complete. Go any faster and you’re probably not getting the full rep.
While using an adjustable cable machine, take a solid step backward, set your feet, keep a slight bend in your knees, then push down and breathe out. After you push down, slowly raise the bar until your elbows return to a 90-degree bend.
Seated incline bench dumbbell curls
Similar to a straight bar curl, seated incline bench dumbbell curls are a great way to shoot blood into your biceps and achieve that epic pump. While in a seated 45-degree position, have workable weights in both hands — which should be hanging down by your sides.
As you start the rep, bring the dumbbells up and squeeze the bicep at the peak of the rep, then, lower that sucker back down slowly. The key to this exercise is to keep your back firmly on the bench. Lifting off the inclined bench could result in crappy form, and we don’t want that.
Laying flat and using an EZ-curl bar with a proper amount of weight, start the rep by lowering the bar toward your forehead. Keep your elbows pointed inward and you slowly bring the bar to touch your forehead.
If you mismanage the rep, you can smack yourself right in the forehead. We don’t want that, but that’s why they call it a skullcrusher.
This exercise focuses on expanding the width of your bicep and forearm. Once you’ve grabbed a manageable set of weights from the rack, hold them down by your side until you are ready to begin.
Now, raise the weights up by bending elbows at a 90-degree angle and squeeze that sucker at the peak. There are many ways to complete this exercise correctly. You can alternate hands and which direction you decide to move the weight: toward your chest or out in front of you.
Overhead tricep extension
This one is the opposite of the tricep push down. Once you’ve chosen a legit dumbbell weight that you can handle, bring it over your head with two hands and stretch it back behind you. Make sure you don’t hit yourself with the weight as you begin the rep, extending your arms straight overhead.
Once you slowly lower the weight down, remember to breathe and halt the weight when your elbow reaches a 90-degree angle. Then, bring the weight back up. Easy day, right?
Note: These exercises should be done with a spotter or a fitness professional. Have fun getting buffed out, but don’t get hurt out there.
If December is the season for consumerist gluttony, and full-fat eggnog, then January is the time for carrot sticks, running on the treadmill, and staring blankly at a scale that says you’ve only lost two pounds since the new year. If you, like me, found yourself in that happy place between despondency and full-on despair, you may need a smart scale to ever so gently nudge you along.
We’ve all felt that intense, cloying sense of dread when stepping on the scale. They’re generally the square, bulky things you willfully sidestep when you walk in to take a leak. Enter the Qardio’s QardioBase2. It makes getting into shape … intriguing. It’s a WiFi- or Bluetooth-connected circular scale that hooks up with the corresponding app and works on any surface, and it’s designed to be your kinder and gentler weight loss and fitness coach.
Fitness resolutions may center on pounds and ounces, but Qardio’s QardioBase2 smart scale focuses its feedback on direction rather than specific, hard-core goals. If you’re looking for something that offers its readout in more general, encouraging terms rather than the bark of a drill instructor, this is the bathroom scale for you.
Rather than spitting out a single weight, the QardioBase2 provides feedback on your body mass index, tracking it over time and rewarding you with one of three faces: smiling for weight loss, a neutral face for negligible results, and a frown when you’ve indulged a little too much.
Granted, for some its smiley-centric feedback is a bit too twee, and for those who need black-and-white reports, it also reads weight, along with muscle mass, fat percentage, bone, and water composition, allowing you to drill down as far as you want. All stats are recorded via its app to you can track progress over time. It weights just under seven pounds, is 13 inches in diameter, and works with iOS 10.0 or later, Kindle, Android 5 or later, and the Apple Watch.
Beyond the emoji feedback, which may be a tad precious, there’s a lot more to love. Its sleek design and tempered glass top in either black or white is less than an inch thick and adds class to even the most humble bathroom.
For those who want options for the whole family, it automatically detects individual users, recording data separately as such. It also has a pregnancy mode to track weight gain and progress as your partner gets further and further along in her pregnancy. Plus, she can add pictures to her numbers, so she can look back and remember what she looked like when the baby was the size of a walnut.
With the QardioBase2, I had a healthy alternative to the dreaded decimal point. Its feedback is less judgy that others in its class, but the various functions and multi-user ease makes this a scale I’m happy to use all year. Instead of dreading weighing myself, I was actually … well, excited is too strong a word. But heavily invested.
Pectoralis major (chest), gastrocnemius (calf), and the rectus abdominis (abs) are just a few of the popular areas that both men and women work to strengthen and tone. But how do we get them to grow without overdoing it and hurting ourselves in the gym?
The Answer? Science.
There are approximately 600 muscles found in the human body. This dense, complex fibrous tissue makes up between one-third and one-half of our total body weight. Even if your goal isn’t to win a bodybuilding competition, working out determines whether your body will grow or wither.
So, how can science help us grow muscle? Well, you need to learn how a muscle works before you can push it to its limit.
Let’s say you want to lift a small amount of weight that your body can efficiently manage. First, your brain sends a signal to the motor neurons in your arm. Once the neurons receive the message, they fire up, contracting and relaxing your muscles. The muscles pull on the bones in your arm to create the movement needed to lift the weight.
It’s pretty simple, right?
Now, if the load we need to carry is on the heavier side, that signal from your brain gets magnified, enabling you to generate the required force.
In lifting this heavy object, you’ve exposed your muscle to stress and, as a result, you’ve completed a controlled tear in the muscle fibers. Nice work! In response to the damage, your body releases inflammatory cells called “cytokines.” These cells activate your immune system, repairing the controlled injury and making the muscle fibers stronger.
And we like that.
Since our bodies are great at adapting, continuing with the same routine, day-in and day-out, will cause your body to plateau — meaning you won’t build any additional muscle. By introducing different types of resistance to your body, you can avoid this plateau. Instead, your body will enter into a state called “hypertrophy.”
(Photo by Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Christian J. Robertson)
Now, lifting the heavy weights isn’t the only critical aspect to getting your body ready for beach season. Your tissue won’t be able to repair damaged muscle fibers without the help of proper nutrition, rest, and, of course, the right amount of hormones. Science has proven that gender and age affect the healing process, which is why young men with high testosterone levels find it easiest to bulk up.
Check out Ted-Ed‘s animated video below to get an entertaining and educational look at how humans get buffed out using science as their weapon.
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens finally ended the New England Patriots’ defensive reign of terror. Caesar has fallen. Lamar Jackson was cool as a cucumber, affirmed in the belief of his team, unwavering in his pursuit to topple the empire, “That unassailable holds on his rank, unshaked of motion. And that I am he, let me a little show it even in this: That I was constant Cimber should be banished, and constant do remain to keep him so.”
Hope y’all won this week. Let’s dig in.
Lamar Jackson this morning after bringing balance back to the NFL last night:pic.twitter.com/0u2KKjLW64
Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens- Up until this week, nobody had truly tested the Patriots defense and come out a viable fantasy option. Lamar Jackson might’ve just opened up the floodgates for other fantasy figurehead relevancy against the stout Belichick defense. He ended the night with 28 fantasy points— the 3rd highest QB numbers of the week.
Christian McCaffery, RB, Panthers- There’s simply no stopping McCaffery. He has far outshined the other top three running backs taken this year in Kamara and Barkley. He’s on pace towards a record-breaking season, is completely matchup proof, and puts up numbers regardless of who takes snaps under center.
Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles- The Eagles might be getting cooking. Wentz is utilizing his weapons more and more—and made Ertz the #1 tight end of week 9. Desean Jackson’s season is over, which can only mean more lion share for the trusty tight end moving forward.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks- Russel Wilson, arguably the NFL’s leading MVP candidate, has a clear favorite target in Lockett. Lockett put up a staggering 40 fantasy points en route to two trips to paydirt. This duo is showing no signs of slowing.
Tevin Coleman? Are you playing tonight bud?pic.twitter.com/zTsxHom6mG
DJ Chark Jr, WR, Jaguars- Chark had fantasy owners salivating at his wide-open matchup against a depleted Texans secondary, however, he ended the game with very little to show for it: only 4 catches for 32 yards. Minshew Mania is officially over as Foles has been named the starter for week 10, so if fantasy owners want Chark to keep his 10+ targets a game, they better hope that he can catch the rock from someone without a handlebar mustache.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers- “Free Aaron Jones” was the fantasy slogan of many beleaguered fans in 2018. They may have to dust off their old poster boards again, because Jones only touched the ball nine times for a total of 30 rushing yards and a whopping -1 receiving yards. Green Bay’s offense looked very stale against the Chargers; if he doesn’t bounce back next week, he could have a major fall-off come playoff time.
Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers- Well, it’s official, the Steelers do not have a fantasy WR1 anymore. A year after having 2, a Big Ben injury and some offensive shifting have left their aerial attack impotent. With no other air targets to threaten the defense, Juju is constantly doubled. To make matters worse, his QB can’t seem to get him the ball in open space. His insane talent gives him upside, but that’s like sprinkling Tapatio on a bad burrito. Not enough.
Tevin Coleman, RB, 49ers- A week after his monster 40+ point fantasy week, Coleman put up five fantasy points. Matt Breida seemed the clear go-to guy in an exciting game against the Cardinals. Barring injury, it seems that Coleman’s performance will serve as a lone monolith in a sea of single-digit performances.
Kenyan Drake and Emmanuel Sanders tonight after having a really good game. #SFvsAZpic.twitter.com/BjBKj8tcLf
In the most underrated game of the week, the Raiders and the Lions faced off in a nail biter that went into the final seconds. Stafford and company were absolutely torching the Raiders young, inexperienced, secondary until Worley pulled off the single most athletic catch we have seen in the NFL this year. Didn’t even see it on ESPN? The Raiders and Lions have been shoved out of the media spotlight since the Carter administration. Shame, it’s a beautiful play to watch.
John Brown, WR, Bills- Introducing your top fantasy scorer of week 11— John Brown. Brown is the best-kept secret in fantasy football, and an absolute stalwart of consistency. He is the only player in the NFL with at least 50 receiving yards in every game (putting him at 9.5+ in every single game). The only problem with Brown? His schedule includes ball-hawking secondaries down the stretch, including Pittsburgh and New England.
Mark Ingram, RB, Ravens- Ingram took the stand in his post-game press conference Sunday and basically said he’d toe-up with anybody who doesn’t think Lamar Jackson is an MVP. Very few people would take up that fight (maybe Russel Wilson would… or Ciara). However, Jackson should say the same about Ingram being a pro bowl RB. Ingram is the 12th highest scorer in running backs and a staple of the most dangerous offense in the NFL.
Michael Thomas, WR, Saints- Michael Thomas just quietly broke the record for most receptions through 10 games in NFL history. He’s on pace to beat the single-season reception record, and is obviously a PPR wet dream. Just listen to his last four fantasy outings: 25.4, 28.2, 27.3, and 22.1…. Need to take a cold shower after that.
Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys- Well that annoying dude you went to basic with is finally right, the Cowboys have a quarterback who could throw for 400 yards. Dak threw for 444 and put up 31.6 fantasy points this last week en route to a stellar stretch of fantasy games. He has weapons, an offensive line, and a dynamite running back—sky is the limit for Dak come fantasy playoffs.
Mitch Trubisky and Jared Goff when they realize someone has to win the gamepic.twitter.com/u1SBcVfYqZ
Jared Goff, QB, Rams- The Rams are broken. Much like a femme fatale in an old noir flick, Goff secured his bag (4 years for 4 million) and immediately went missing. He looks confused, lethargic, and does not have the lethal running attack of yesteryear to float his poor play. He’s still owned in ~70% of ESPN leagues, while plenty of more viable options float around unclaimed.
Latavius Murray, RB, Saints- Murray’s streak of dominance in Kamara’s absence is over, and it is time for Murray to retreat back to the loamy fringes of deep 14 team league lineups. Murray is a talented downfield running back, but simply doesn’t have the opportunities moving forward to put up any kind of viable numbers, save for a vulture goalline TD here and there.
Devin Singletary, RB, Bills- Singletary has become a roster staple across the league, if only because of the shallow RB pool this year. It seems like he’s a consistent presence for starting rosters across ESPN, but after posting back to back single-digit performances against the Browns and the Dolphins (dis-respectfully), there are more promising backs floating around.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins- Well, the “Scary Terry” reign has ended as abruptly and disappointingly as his NBA counterpart “Scary” Terry Rozier’s did. He’s put up nothing but single-digit efforts since week 6. Barring injury, Haskins is going to be under center moving forward, which does not help his case.
Crazy circus catch by Deebo Samuel.
Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers- Samuel may be the most potent weapon in Jimmy G’s arsenal. Don’t buy it? Peep Deebo’s absolutely insane catch above. Outside of his catch-of-the-year caliber grab, he’s got back to back 19+ point games against fierce secondaries in Seattle and Arizona. He’s available in about 70% of leagues, and is worth a waiver while pickings are slim.
Ryan Griffin, TE, Jets- Griffin made use of a massive opportunity in Herndon’s injury. He had five catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. He had multiple red zone targets from Darnold and, in a time when tight ends are at an insane premium, could be a viable option down the stretch.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons- Calvin Ridley is giving fellow ex-Alabama receiver Julio Jones some serious relief. When Jones draws double coverage and key safety attention, Ridley is punishing secondaries for not spreading the attention. It makes for a teeter-totter of production between the two receivers— but Atlanta’s offense is too much of a playground to ignore.
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys- Gallup is trending upwards in fantasy production. Gallup is benefitting from lining up on the opposite side of Amari Cooper in the same way that Ridley benefits from playing alongside Julio Jones— he is able to torch the weaker coverage defensive backs. Gallup has put up three double-digit fantasy performances in a row and could be on a major upswing.
Nick Bosa, meet Larry Fitzgeraldpic.twitter.com/Q4NXIG2AnL
A really fun NFL fun fact: Fitzgerald has more career tackles than drops. Another fun NFL fun fact: that old man will still lay you out. Fitzgerald crack blocked the young phenom Nick Bosa in a poetic stroke of old school’s undying grip on all things tough. “Ok Boomer…”