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Recent Bodybuilding Articles
Showing posts with label bench press. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bench press. Show all posts

Get Your Chains

An effective training method to use is the addition of chain links to a bar. The chains hang from the bar, and as the bar is lowered, the chains gradually pile up on the ground effectively unloading the bar of the additional weight. For example, if you use 50lbs of chains per side on the bench press and that half the chains are on the floor in the bottom position and none of it are on the floor at the top you have an overload of 50lbs at the top of the range of motion. This allows you to increase resistance at the strongest portion of a lift, making you work hard through all the range of motion to complete the lift.

Chains are often associated with jumpstretch bands because they are used to increase the load during the concentric portion of the movement, as you reach stronger joint angles.

However the chains and bands differ in one very important way: the bands are actually trying to throw down the bar toward you (bench press) or throw you down (squat). So basically the bands provide an eccentric acceleration component that must be countered via muscle action.

The bands on the other hand are only added weight. The more chains are resting on the floor, the less weight is added to the bar and vice versa. However, contrary to the bands, chains don’t have that eccentric acceleration component. They simply allow you to increase the resistance during the movement.

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Most Effective Chest Exercises

The chest is the trophy piece of every person who tries to gain muscle mass. As much as we can tell you not to neglect the other areas of your workout, you, like everyone else, will put a little more into your chest. This isn't just vanity, it's smart too. The chest is the largest muscle group in the upper body. The following exercises are some of the best ways to build chest muscle.

Bench Press

bench press
Positioning - Proper Bench technique begins with your location. As you lie on the bench, the bar should be at its resting position directly above your eyes. From your shoulders to your buttocks should be flat on the bench. Your feet should be at a comfortable width, flat on the floor.

Down Phase - After raising the bar from the resting position, lower it to just below the nipples. This lowering should happen at a controlled pace, do not drop the bar on your chest. This is dangerous for you, and reduces the impact of your workout. You should be inhaling through this portion of the lift.

The Press - Press the weight back to the starting position; arms fully extended, elbows locked. This press should take pace with the same amount of control and force throughout the motion. This will ensure muscle gains throughout the muscle.

Cable Crossovers

cable crossovers
Positioning - This exercise is done between two cable machines. You stand centered in between the two machines with one cable in each hand. With one foot forward for balance hold the handles near your shoulders with your elbows completely bent.

The Crossover - Push forwards and down towards your waist until you hands meet. Exhale as you push, and do not slam your hands together at the end.

The Return - Maintain resistance on the handles as the cables pull back to the start position. Don't let the weights jerk your arms back this can cause injury.

Incline Press

incline press
Positioning - This style of press has you sitting in a chair that is reclined. Chairs are either fixed or adjustable. Your back should be flat against the seat back. Your feet should be at a comfortable width, flat on the floor.

Down Phase - After raising the bar from the resting position, lower it to the top portion of your pectoral muscle. This lowering should happen at a controlled pace, do not drop the bar on your chest. This is dangerous for you, and reduces the impact of your workout.

The Press - Press the weight back to the starting position; arms fully extended, elbows locked. This press should take pace with the same amount of control and force throughout the motion. This is good for working the upper portion of your chest.

Decline Press

decline press
Positioning - This style of press has you lying on a bench with your feet hooked in to pads. Your head will be lower than the rest of your body. These benches are either fixed or adjustable. Your back should be flat against the bench and your feet should be secure in the pads.

Down Phase - After raising the bar from the resting position, lower it to just below the nipples. This lowering should happen at a controlled pace, do not drop the bar on your chest. This exercise works the lower as well as the inner portions of your chest.

The Press - Press the weight back to the starting position; arms fully extended, elbows locked. Make sure that the bar is moving perpendicular to the ground. Because you are inverted and at an angle, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain an exact vertical line. That will be the most beneficial to your muscle mass gains.

Butterfly Press

butterfly press
Positioning - This can be done with free weights or a machine. For the machine you will simply sit in a chair and place your arms against the padded bars. With free weights you will be lying on your back on a bench. Make sure your feet are shoulder width apart. You will have a dumbell in each hand, with your arms bent so that the dumbells are about ear level.

The Lift - On the machine you will push the pads in their pre-set arc, with the palm side of your forearms. For free weights, without changing the bend at your elbow, bring the dumbells together in front of your face.

The Return - For the machine provide resistance at the weights pull the padded arms back to their starting position. For free weights maintain the same arc the weights traveled up slowly lower them down. Use this resistance to help get bigger muscle mass gains.

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Bigger Triceps Mean Bigger Arms

bigger triceps

Many people underestimate the importance of well developed triceps in the physique of a bodybuilder. When in fact the tricep makes up just more than 3/4’s of the upper arm. There’s nothing more effective for making the upper arm seem massive and powerful than well developed tricep brachii.

As the name implies, there are three major muscle bundles in the tricep; the tricep brachii lateral head, long head and medial head, and while all three bundles of muscle fiber do pretty much the same thing (extend the lower arm), the all do it in a slightly different way. This means that while you look awesome doing set after set of cable pushdowns, if you’re doing nothing to stimulate the two other brachii heads directly, you’re selling your upper arms short.

There are numerous exercises which either directly or indirectly stimulate the tricep. Among those exercises there are two distinct categories, isolating movements and compound or core movements. It’s always best to populate your training plan with a good mix of both types of movements, and your tricep routine is no different. Below we will examine three of the most effective tricep movements there are; Seated Overhead Tricep Extensions, Close Grip Bench Press, and Dips.

1) Seated Overhead Tricep Extension (a.k.a. Overhead Raises)


You may have read or heard others talking about the benefits of stretching the muscle during the movement, and no tricep exercise stretches all three heads as well as Overhead Tricep Extensions.

This exercise can be done while standing or seated, though it is would recommended to performing it while seated for greater stability throughout the movement. Overhead Tricep Extensions can be done with a dumbbell(s), a barbell or with a cable raise machine. Possibly the most effective method is with a single heavy dumbbell.

While seated on a chair bench that will support your upper back, grip the plates on one side of a single dumbbell in both hands so that the handle of the dumbbell is vertical. Carefully raise the dumbbell above your head so that your arms are straight and the weight is directly above the top of your head. Be sure to hold the upper section of your arm straight and vertical.

Once you are set to begin, slowly lower the weight behind your head by bending your arm at the elbow. Be sure to keep your elbows tucked in close to your ears on both the positive and negative parts of the movement. The bottom of this movement is the point at which your elbow is bent as far as it can while maintaining your upper arms in a straight and vertical position. Doing so will ensure a deep stretch of the muscle and in turn pull more blood into the muscle group, allowing for more energy and faster repair of the tissues following your workout.

The benefits of performing this movement with a dumbbell rather than a barbell are in simplifying set up. It is easier to select a single dumbbell and begin the exercise, than to load a bar and maneuver it into position above your head. It could also be said that the position of your hands while using a dumbbell, rather than a barbell, will provide a better stretch through out the movement. In any event, the basics of this movement are simple and the rewards are vast. Performing this exercise properly and with the supervision of a competent spotter, you will effectively stimulate your tricep brachii, long and medial heads; and you’ll be surprised how quickly you experience strength gains.

2) Close Grip Bench Press (a.k.a. Close Bench)


There may not be another exercise so effective for focusing so much weight in such a perfect movement. Close Bench offers heavy stimulation to all three brachii heads as well as incidental stimulation to your pectorals…what more could you ask for?

Before discussing this exercise, it’s important to note that there is serious risk of injury to yourself and to others if it is performed incorrectly or without a competent spotter. The narrow grip, combined with the nature of the apparatus and the potential weight involved, make this a potentially dangerous movement. Take caution before adding it to your routine and do not attempt it if you are not comfortable with your spotter.

Close Bench can be performed on an Olympic bench with a full length bar or on a stand-alone bench with a bent or preacher curl bar. The preacher curl bar may provide a better angle for the wrist joint, though more weight can be used with an Olympic bench and bar. It boils down to personal preference as both methods will provide very similar results.

As the name implies, Close Bench is a variation of Standard Bench Press or Flat Bench Press but employing a much closer grip on the bar. Your hands should be placed within six inches of each other, near the center of the bar and no wider than the vertical plane of the bench width. As with Standard Bench Press, raise and lower the weight from your chest at a point that is even with the bottom of your pectorals, to a point above your face that is even with your eyes. Do not bounce the weight off of your chest and do not lock your elbows at the top of the movement.

With the indirect assistance of your much stronger pectorals, it is important to pyramid this exercise in your sets. Increase the amount of weight you are lifting for this exercise with each set, beginning with a weight that is easily manageable, and ending with a weight which brings you close to failure on your final set.

Close Grip Bench Press is one of the few exercises available that will stimulate not only the long and medial brachii of the tricep, but will also effectively stimulate the lateral head as well, which is very important for developing thickness or width in your upper arm.

3) Dips


Perhaps one of the simplest exercises there are; dips are highly effective for providing direct stimulation to all three tricep brachii heads, as well as good indirect stimulation to the pectorals, allowing good development of the outer pectoral fibers (closest to the armpit) and anterior deltoids.

Your gym may have a dip apparatus, in which case, dips are simple enough to perform. Simply stand between the bars, elevated on the foot pads, grasping the bars at your hips and lift your weight. Then bend your arms at the elbow and shoulder to lower yourself between the bars until your arm is bent at 90 degrees. Then raise yourself back to the top position using your triceps to push your bodyweight.

Should your gym not have one of these apparatus, you can use two benches to suspend your weight by placing your feet on one bench and supporting your weight on your hands at the edge of the other bench, so that you are in a seated position with all of your weight supported by your arms and feet. Once set, lower your body by bending your triceps and extending your bent arms behind you. Then rise by pushing down on the bench with your hands.

Both of these exercises are effective for a time with your own bodyweight, but after a period of training you may find that your bodyweight is no longer sufficient to stimulate your triceps appropriately. In this event, you can add weight to yourself through the use of a specialized a belt, to which you can attach standard Olympic plates, or by placing plates on your lap for bench dips. This can be exceedingly difficult to do without a spotter or training partner.

Whichever movements you ultimately choose to aid in developing your triceps, always remember to stretch the muscle as far as possible without injury and to squeeze the entire muscle group at the top of the movement each time. Your triceps have the potential to get your arms noticed, go heavy, go hard and eat well; and in no time you’ll be the envy of the gym.

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Differences Between a Powerlifter and Bodybuilder

powerlifter and bodybuilder

Powerlifting and bodybuilding are two different sides of the same coin. They both require a dedication to intense workouts. Both sports require competitors to get on a stage and show the effects of their hard work. There are also many differences between the two sports.

Powerlifting is a sport that involves lifting the most amount of weight you can for one repetition. The lifts contested are the squat, bench press, and the deadlift. Some competitions involve only one lift (traditionally the bench press.) Lifters are given three attempts at each lift to lift the heaviest weight possible. Then the weights in each lift are added together to get a total amount. Powerlifters compete in various weight classes and age groupings. Strongman (or woman) competitions and Olympic weightlifting are similar to powerlifting but have different lifts.

Powerlifters train using heavy weights and low repetitions. They often focus on the core lifts and do not spend a lot of time doing cardiovascular training. Their diet is not as strict as that of a bodybuilder. They still require lots of protein to feed the muscles and complex carbohydrates for glycogen . They generally do not have to watch the calories as closely, unless dropping weight to make a weight class.

Powerlifters usually have large, powerful shoulders, chest, back, arm, and thigh muscles. Powerlifters do not usually focus on definition. Some may have a natural degree of definition but most are generally thick and powerful in appearance. They often look like bodybuilders during their bulking cycle.

Bodybuilders don’t have to demonstrate their strength on stage, instead they show the results of lifting all those heavy weights; the muscular development. They must flex and pose to show off the muscles that were developed through training. They are judged on the size, shape, and definition of the muscles. It includes a series of predetermined poses and an individual free routine.

Bodybuilders also train with heavy weights to gain size and strength, but they also spend a fair amount of time lifting lighter weights for higher repetitions. They spend time doing cardiovascular work to reduce body fat levels. Diet is a main focus for bodybuilders, whether trying to add mass or cut body fat. They spend a lot of time manipulating nutrients and calories to achieve a goal.

Bodybuilders have large muscles, but their focus is on developing symmetry and balance with all of the muscles of the body. Definitions is a large piece of the puzzle, as well. For true bodybuilding success large, full, well-defined muscles are the goal. During the off-season, between competitions, bodybuilders may look like power lifters, but in competition shape they usually appear very vascular and have low body fat percentages.

Bodybuilders and powerlifters train side by side in gyms and to an observer it would be hard to differentiate between the two. The goals of each are slightly different. The power lifter wanting to gain as much strength as possible, while the bodybuilder wants to create the largest, most balanced muscles possible. Diet is another area where the two sports diverge. Bodybuilders have to spend a lot of time focusing on their diet, while powerlifters do not need to watch it as closely. Even with the differences, the two sports are still very similar, and many lifters crossover and compete in both sports. Whether a powerlifter or bodybuilder, the name of the game is intensity.

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The Importance of Spotting in Your Training


Spotting means help from one or more assistants and can come from a training partner or from anyone who is in the gym at the time and who is willing and able to spot you. While trainees working out solo at home are not going to have a spotter, everyone training at a public gym can usually get a spotter when needed. Good spotting helps your training in three important ways:

-To assist you with lifting the weight when you can lift it no further, e.g., when the bar stalls during a bench press ascent.
-To provide the minimum assistance to ensure that the last rep of a set is done in good form. In this case, you probably could get the rep out under your own power but your form would break down. Consider the last rep of a set of bench presses when one hand gets slightly above the other, and you feel like increasing the arch in your back in order to get that rep out. This is a dangerous situation. A spotter can make the difference between safety and injury.
-During a set you may forget a key point of form. A spotter can alert you to key form pointers while ensuring that you put forth maximum effort. You need excellent exercise form and intensity of effort.
Spotting


The spotter must have an alert eye and be ready at all times of a set. He should spot with an arched lower back, not a rounded back—the spotter must be safety conscious and use good lifting form himself. He should be particularly alert when the lifter begins to struggle and good form starts to break down. An alert, serious and strong spotter should especially be present for squatting, bench pressing, and pressing, including all dumbbell pressing.

For effective spotting, the help must be applied with two hands in a balanced way. For example, spotting the bench press by putting one hand under the center of the bar will lead to the bar tipping, as will using two hands but not applying them to the bar symmetrically.

After an assisted rep, the trainee is going to be very fatigued. The spotter must help the lifter to return the bar to the weight saddles at the end of a set. If two spotters are involved, there must be excellent communication. Take the squat as an example. If there is not excellent communication, one spotter could take one end before the other spotter grabs his end of the bar. If one spotter shouts “Take it!” then the other must respond even if he thinks the assistance could have been delayed a little.

Basic Exercises - Bench Press

Basic Exercises
This is the number-one exercise for increasing the mass of the upper body, especially the pectoral muscles. Lie down on the exercise bench with your feet approximately 18 inches apart for support. Using a fairly wide grip (as in photo) lower the barbell until it touches your chest about nipple level and then ram it back up overhead. Lock your elbows at the top. Inhale deeply on the way down, exhale going up. Use the add weight system (add a small amount of weight at the beginning of each set) for five sets (8, 8, 6, 6, 6 reps respectively).
 
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