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Recent Bodybuilding Articles

Consider The Swallowing: Raw Eggs

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Eating eggs is like doing cardio: there are hundreds of ways to do it, none is good, yet some people seem to love it.

Eggs are packed with the most bio-available source of protein. According to research, egg yolks alone would resolve most common nutrient deficiencies.

They are easy to digest and are a great source of cholesterol, of which raw eggs are believed to contain the most. This is essential because cholesterol provides important building blocks for testosterone.

Thus eating raw eggs is one of the most direct ways of increasing testosterone and ultimately enhancing the libido. Start eating 2-3 eggs a day and your woman / man / ??? will thank you.

Testosterone is synthesized from cholesterol, and as such, food containing cholesterol is a good source of building blocks for testosterone”.

Diet Is A Minor Contributor

One recent study showed that the excess cholesterol in eggs isn’t as harmful as previously thought. Before you think you’re going to clog up your arteries, don’t get too concerned. You’ve probably been conditioned to believe that anything that raises LDL cholesterol (so-called “bad” cholesterol) should be avoided. But most people don’t realize that actually 80% to 90% of your cholesterol is made by your liver, and not from the foods you eat. The cholesterol in eggs is not as harmful, and is therefore safe for consumption for most people.

“A recent review of the scientific literature published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care clearly indicates that egg consumption has no discernible impact on blood cholesterol levels in 70% of the population. In the other 30% of the population (termed “hyperresponders”), eggs do increase both circulating LDL and HDL cholesterol.”

Do not believe what you have heard about cholesterol, it is a vital part of our diets and every cell in your body needs cholesterol; it is especially important in the creation of testosterone. Egg consumption may decrease LDL particle concentration, which is the most significant risk factor for heart disease. There’s no reason to limit your consumption of eggs to three to four per week, as recommended by “heart-healthy” nutritional guidelines.

What’s Inside

Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. One egg provides 13 essential nutrients, all in the yolk (the yolk is far higher in nutrients than the white; common sense). They are an excellent source of B vitamins, which are needed for vital functions in the body like fat breakdown and muscle contraction among others. Eggs also provide good quantities of vitamin A, essential for normal growth and development. In women, vitamin A keeps the tissues that line all of the internal and external surfaces of the body, specifically the vagina and uterus, healthy. They’re also packed with riboflavin, folate, vitamin D which promotes mineral absorption and good bone health, vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant, iron, phosphorus essential for healthy bones and teeth. Eggs are also rich in iodine which is important for thyroid hormones and they’re also loaded with plenty of the testosterone-boosting mineral zinc.

Pound 4 Pound Champion

rocky raw eggs

“Calorie for calorie, you need less protein from eggs than you do from other sources to achieve the same muscle-building benefits.”

The protein in eggs has the highest biological value—a measure of how well it supports your body’s protein needs—of any food, including beef.

Do I Have To Eat The Yolk?

Yes. The yolk is way more important than the white. Give the whites to your doggy or blast them through your face and come up with a face mask recipe if you want but the yolks are what will improve the quality of your testosterone. They contain the elements that you need to create powerful hormones and strong cell walls.

It’s important, however, to make sure that you buy organic, pasture-raised eggs. Studies show that commercially-raised eggs are up to 19 times higher in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, almost all eggs sold in supermarkets – even the organic eggs sold at chains such as Whole Foods and Wild Oats – are not truly pasture-raised.

Down With The Sickness

Eating raw eggs does carry a risk. Some people can experience salmonella poisoning from eating them, but getting salmonella from a raw egg is absolute bad luck. There is less than a 1 in 30,000 chance of contracting it. That means there are more chances of you dying in a car crash (1 in 5,000) on your way to the gym than contracting it and for most healthy adults salmonella wouldn’t be a big problem. It’s effects can be quite bad for certain populations such as people with compromised immune systems, the elderly and children. But not for you, you are strong.

The other day I was reading a post in some blog of a mom bragging about how she fed her newborn baby for the first time with raw eggs. You never go full retard.

There is like a whole egg conspiracy community online. And it’s not called science. They show that eggs contain high amounts of arachidonic acid which increases inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation is a cause of heart disease, cancer, erectile dysfunction, Alzheimers, arthritis and on and on. Their point is that while it’s true that egg yolks don’t raise cholesterol that much, the small boost in cholesterol coupled with the big boost in inflammation may be dangerous. Some will go as further as saying that eating egg yolks is as bad for you as smoking because inflammation increases carotid artery thickness, which is definitely associated with increased risk of plaque formation and heart disease.

What they don’t mention is that exercise can virtually reverse this process. So if you are a healthy individual this isn’t a problem (study). In addition you should make sure you get plenty of omega-3′s for further protection. Those dangers are more likely to affect people with previous medical conditions. For me, the benefits outweigh the downsides and I will keep eating eggs; even though I don’t like them, raw or not. As you may know, this isn’t something new in the bodybuilding scene, many top bodybuilders from the 70s swore by them. Vince Gironda was the biggest proponent of raw egg consumption, the bodybuilders he trained would eat up to 36 raw eggs a day and they had the aesthetics to back it up.

99 Problems But Cooking An Egg Ain’t One?

Verdict: Raw eggs seem to be the perfect crime. Fast, easy, and gross. The truth is eggs are like nature’s amino acid and multivitamin blend but eating them raw isn’t really necessary. Many people do it because they think they will reduce the protein’s quality by cooking them, but this is only partially true. According to this study (from 1998), cooking them actually increases protein quality and your ability to absorbe it up to an approx. of 91% biological value vs raw eggs’ 51% biological value.

“There is a study by some Belgian gastrointestinal physiologists on eggs. And what they discovered was that when you cook your eggs, then almost all of the protein is digested. So it’s digested to the point of about 94 percent, whereas if it is eaten raw, then only 55 to 64 percent of it is digested and the rest is lost.”

The truth is some nutrients are affected by heat while others are not. I consume mine both ways. Ideally, the yolks should be consumed raw as the heat will damage many of it’s nutrients and contribute to the negative effects mentioned earlier. You also can buy pasteurized eggs that are heated enough to kill the bacteria but not to cook the egg, greatly reducing the risk of salmonella contamination. If you want to take further safety measures, beware of “sick” eggs that have an abnormal greenish color once cracked open. The best eggs you can buy are directly from local farmers where healthy chickens are given the freedom to roam in open pastures or gardens where they can naturally eat all the grass, seeds, bugs, worms, grubs and veggies.

These eggs will have a better taste and higher vitamins & antioxidants levels. Factory-farmed chicken eggs are unhealthy, they’re fed only processed grain feed and don’t even get to see the sun’s light.

Look for firm, golden orange, rounded eggs. A bright orange yolk is a sign that the chicken has been naturally fed. Again, make sure they’re local free-range eggs, don’t trust the labels.

Eggs from hens raised on pasture, flax meal and insects are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are so important for brain development and overall health.

Legs, I mean eggs are somewhat overrated but they’re still a power food, a primal source of nutrients and protein to get thick, solid and tight. Just don’t expect any anabolic miracles from them.

It’s up to you. Eat them raw if you want. I’d drink 2 or 3 and then proceed to break PRs.

Besides, what’s the worst that can possibly happen? Two weeks of intense diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration?

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Final Note From The Internet: You’ve never tried Raw Eggs before? Don’t worry, you may be already familiar with them

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Plyometrics Improve Performance? The Truth (Guide To Plyometrics)

Athletes and coaches are always looking for ways to achieve athletic superiority. One of them is plyometric training, one of the most effective means of training for power but often misunderstood.

Plyometrics are similar to the dynamic moves that kids do like hopping, skipping and jumping around. They are exercises designed to increase speed, power, and explosiveness.

The more explosive you are, the better you will perform on your big lifts.

In this article, I’m going to explain the science behind plyometrics, how you can implement it to your training to develop explosive power and why simple jumps don’t work.

Intro – What Are Plyometrics?

Unlike typical strength training exercises that involve slow movements, plyometric exercises are quick, explosive movements designed to increase speed and power.

Plyometric exercises consist of three phases.

The first is the eccentric phase, a rapid muscle lengthening movement. Let’s think of it as the landing.

The second is the amortization phase. This is like an extremely short rest period.

Then there is the concentric phase, a muscle shortening movement a.k.a. exploding off the floor.

How quickly you leave the floor is dependent on your ability to store and release elastic energy.

You must do this cycle as fast as you can. The goal should be to decrease the amount of time between landing and exploding off. This is how you should do plyometrics to become faster and more powerful.

Brief History of Plyometrics

Plyometric training to improve sports performance was developed by Russian exercise scientist, Yuri Verkhoshansky, who specialized in the jumping events in track and field.

His first article about this training method was published in 1964 and his pioneering work eventually earned him the title of “Father of Plyometrics”.

Back in the day, Verkhoshansky was looking for new methods to take the jumping ability of his athletes to the next level and reasoned that since there seemed to be a correlation between short ground contact times and better performances in triple jumpers, this could imply that a greater stiffness could be the key to improved jumping ability.

Soon his athletes started doing depth jumps focusing on reducing ground contact times, switching from eccentric to concentric action more quickly.

Then he developed a system of exercises to increase the speed and explosiveness of Russian track and field athletes.

This power-boosting routines consisted of repetitive jumps, not only straight up but also in different directions, and included footwork (speed drills), stretching and weight training.

The term “plyometrics” has roots from the Greek word “pleythyein”, which means to increase or augment and from the latin word “metrics” which means to measure.

yuri verkhoshansky plyometrics
Yuri Verkhoshansky (left) with a Russian track & field coach and a t&f bronze medalist.

Although Verkhoshansky was deemed the “father of plyometrics”, he didn’t refer to it as such. He called it the ‘shock method’.

The term “plyometrics” was coined by American track and field coach Fred Wilt, who after watching the Soviets dominate the Olympics and other athletic competitions during the 60-70’s, decided to investigate how they were training.

He did, and what he saw was a bunch of guys jumping and skipping around like children.

After ‘spying’ on their methods, he started taking notes as he was convinced those happy jumps Soviet athletes were doing in preparation for their events were key to their success.

Back in America, he decided to implement this method with his athletes and came up with the term “plyometrics”.

In the process, he learned that Dr. Michael Yessis (who visited and worked with Verkhoshansky himself later in the early 80’s) was also doing work on the Russian training methods at the time and quickly started collaborating with him to spread information on plyometrics.

Since then, athletes around the world have used plyometrics to become faster and more explosive.

What makes this even more interesting is that these events took place during the Cold War era when sports rivalry was a serious thing.

How Plyometrics Work

Like I said before, typical strength training exercises consist of relatively slow movements of longer duration designed to increase muscular strength and mass while plyometric training consists of quick, explosive movements designed to increase speed and power.

Thus plyometrics are all about empowering the nervous system.

During muscle contraction, the brain communicates with the muscles through the neuromuscular system. The faster this communication happens, the faster your muscles will contract and the faster you will move.

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But plyometrics work inside the muscle as well. Your muscles have different types of muscle fibers, there are slow twitch and fast twitch fibers. We all have both, some people are fast twitch dominant while others are slow twitch dominant and some muscles naturally favor one type over the other by default. Your muscles’ fast-to-slow twitch balance can be altered by the nature of the activities you engage as far as human nature and your individual genetics allow.

The slow type are dominant in endurance athletes like long distance runners while sprinters are full of fast twitch fibers.

Plyometrics not only strengthen fast twitch muscle fibers but actually increase their quantities inside the muscles.

Going back to how plyometrics work: making the stretch-shortening cycle happen as quickly as possible is the basis of all plyometric exercises.

The stretch shortening cycle consists of the three phases we spoke earlier:

  1. When you jump, the landing creates an eccentric load and your muscles and tendons get a fast stretch.
  2. The second is the amortization phase, this is the time it takes you to land and takeoff again.
  3. Then comes the concentric phase where the stretch created by the impact of ground contact will power up your jump, making your muscles contract with more speed and force than a dead-start concentric action alone would do.

These three phases are repeated as quickly as possible to develop power. How quickly you switch from eccentric to concentric contraction determines the effectiveness of the exercise.

True Plyometrics – Not All Jump Exercises Are ‘Plyometric’

Therefore, a box jump is a power exercise, but not a plyometric exercise. Because there is no eccentric loading a.k.a. no bounce.

Power = Strength x Speed

To be ‘plyometric’, an exercise has to make use of the stretch-shortening cycle and for this ground contact has to be extremely short (0.1 – 0.2 secs).

That’s the original version of plyometrics by Verkhoshansky.

Not all jumps are plyometric and not all plyometrics are jumps.

yuri verkhoshansky
Dr. Verkhoshansky at the lab.

These days any jump is called plyometric regardless of execution time.

For the upper body, it’s now common to refer to ballistic exercises like medicine ball throws as plyometric exercises and some sports science coaches regard them as essential for converting strength into power.

And they can be effective, it’s hard to argue with the results that many athletes are getting from this type of ballistic work especially in combat sports, but they’re not true plyometrics.

If we take Verkhoshansky’s word that plyometrics improved jumping performance by increasing stiffness, then these type of ballistic exercises shouldn’t be regarded as truly plyometric, therefore, effectiveness of plyometrics shouldn’t be judged by the results of such training methods.

Beyond definitions, the best way to go is using both the original plyometrics and ballistic exercises, the modern ‘plyometrics’.

Methods for Explosiveness – Shock Method via Depth Jumps

It’s called the “shock method” because it is an impact that the body has to absorb followed by a rapid change of direction – when landing from a depth jump, your hips, knees, ankles and leg muscles experience a shock that forces an eccentric contraction (lengthening) which then propels the athlete to jump (shortening) as high as possible.

The neuromuscular system must be lightning fast to coordinate these actions.

It’s important to know that most of the stretch-shortening thing happens in the tendons that attach to the muscles involved rather than in the muscles.

The Depth Jump is performed by standing on a raised platform abut 20-30 inch / 50 cm high, then the athlete drops down, lands, absorbs the shock and instantly explodes (the landing period should take no more than 0.2 seconds). The bigger the drop, the higher it should enable you to jump afterwards.

It’s like going to a festival, the build up would be the eccentric loading and then when the drop comes people jump. They don’t wait a single second, that would be wasting energy. Pogo jumps all night.

Of course, beginners aren’t conditioned for depth jumps.

Starting height should be quite low in the early stages so your joints can adapt progressively to the impact, about 12 inches for starters.

Platform height should only be increased when your jump plateaus and you can’t make any more progress, never going above 45 inches. Elite athletes may drop from 50 inches, but in reality, above 40-45 inches it starts to get counterproductive and will surely end in injury because your muscles can’t take such force.

Execution: As you takeoff, you should prepare for impact by tensing the muscles. Remember, stiffness.

The landing surface should be easy on the joints. Slightly flex the knees as you land to better distribute and absorb force.

If you can’t stop going downward, maybe the takeoff platform is set too high for your capacity or you’re not contracting your muscles hard enough.

The strong eccentric contraction prepares the muscles to switch to the concentric contraction in an explosive manner for takeoff.

The Depth Jump is the king of plyometrics for developing reactive ability.

Jumping technique is very important, two athletes can produce the same power output but jumping height will be lower for the athlete with less technique. (Don’t try plyometrics if you can’t even jump properly, groove that pattern first).

Jump as high as possible every time and keep in mind the shock method is very taxing on the central nervous system (CNS), don’t overdo it. Do depth jumps no more than 2 times a week and never do them for high volume, 10 total reps per session should be enough for starters.

The effects of depth jumps are not only short term, they lead to greater strength gains and explosiveness in the long term.

When doing depth jumps, is mandatory that you leave the floor immediately, the longer you stay the less elastic boost your jump will have and the plyometric value will be lost. Ground contact time for elite sprinters is 0.08 seconds…

“If the transition phase is prolonged by more than about 0.15 seconds, the action may be considered ordinary jumping and not classical plyometrics.”

Here is a video of Dwayne Wade doing Depth Jumps:

Methods for Explosiveness – Regular Jumps

This is the reason why most exercises you see labeled as plyometrics are not actually so – because the switch between eccentric and concentric contraction is too long to induce the stretch reflex, causing the loss of all elastic energy.

There is nothing wrong with simple jumping exercises, though.

These jumps executed without focus on execution time train jump strength, acceleration and force absorption and are also effective for those who engage in activities that don’t require explosive movements.

A long distance runner would benefit from high rep jumping (20-30) and generally longer circuits (although they can benefit from doing plyometrics too).

These jumps are also useful as a warm-up / preparation for plyometrics, especially for beginners.

But they are not plyometrics.

You should be aware if the type of jump you’re doing develops jump-strength or power and explosiveness; if ground contact isn’t extremely minimal, it’s not a true plyometric.

It’s All About The Bounce

The approach is simple, think of a ball: when you throw a ball against a hard surface, it just bounces back.

If you’re not bouncing like a ball, you’re not using the stretch reflex and elastic energy.

Every rep should be bouncy. Think quality, not quantity.

This applies to all athletic skills and movements, if you move wrong when training you will program the wrong motor patterns into your nervous system.

With these principles, now you know how to distinguish between a simple jump and a true plyometric movement and that you’re doing it right if you feel bouncy.

The Studies On Plyometrics For Improving Power Output

The Science of Performance Enhancement

Some of the studies cited at the end of this article analyzed the effects of plyometric training on muscular power output during long term trials.

Some of the studies used plyometric training alone while others combined it with other training methods such as weightlifting.

The studies were done on both experienced and untrained males and females of different ages ranging from children and teenagers to college and professional athletes.

The majority of the results favored plyometric training as a power enhancing tool. Athletes experienced results like improved muscular power output, jumping ability and squat strength.

Some of the studies even showed improvements in muscle mass and muscle fiber size as a result of plyometric training. Suggesting plyometrics not only work on a neuromuscular level but can also make adaptations inside the muscles.

A few studies didn’t find any significant improvements on power output by doing plyometric training.

In summary, plyometrics are a legit tool for improving power and explosiveness according to science. It is not a miracle method, but I believe it’s essential for performance enhancement.

Still the literature on the subject is very limited and more research is needed to learn more about the effects of plyometrics and how to implement them more effectively.

General Tips & Considerations

  • Other than depth jumps, there isn’t a clear superiority between plyometric exercises in terms of effectiveness.
  • What is more clear is that higher frequency plyometric training usually leads to faster gains in muscular power output.
  • Pogo jumps are a good plyometric exercise for starters.
  • For experienced athletes who don’t want to stimulate hypertrophy, plyometrics are not a problem.
  • Jump exercises and low-mid intensity plyometrics prime the nervous system, that’s why track coaches begin their practices with jumps and bounds. Jump exercises prime the nervous system for subsequent activity such as speed drills. For us lifters, starting workouts with jumps and plyometrics before weightlifting will get the central nervous system primed so your muscles can fire at optimal levels, helping you get more out of the rest of the workout. However, Depth jumps (the king of plyometrics, and the most advanced one) are so taxing that they should be done at end of the workout or as a separate session.

Injury Risk

The ‘Please Stay Safe’ Considerations

Plyometrics put a lot of stress on your joints and tendons.

You can start doing plyometrics without a strength base, but your gains will not be optimal and you will get injured.

The proper strength and hypertrophy levels must be developed to support the stretch and the increased power output it produces.
Experts advice that you can squat at least 1.5 times your bodyweight before attempting depth jumps.
But you won’t be ready for intense plyometrics by just lifting weights.

If you never do cardio, go do some (conditioning joints for impact). Do single leg exercises for balance and stability. If you always do heavy squats and deadlifts, start doing quickness drills (conditioning for explosive movements). Do static stretching in your free time and dynamic stretching before training if you aren’t already (flexibility). Then start with general jump training and progress to advanced plyos.

All of this will prepare your tendons for plyometrics much better than weight lifting alone.

Rest enough between plyometric sessions (1-2 days) and always avoid jumping on hard surfaces.

Some of the studies (cited at the end of this article) showed that if done correctly, plyometrics can actually reduce the chance of lower body injuries.

Recap – Benefits of Plyometrics

I don’t like abusing the word ‘functional’, but plyometrics are just that. They improve the functions of the muscles, tendons and nerves which will boost your performance in sports and life.
  • Increase fast twitch muscle fibers – This empowers your muscles by allowing them to produce faster contractions, which leads to increases in power output.
  • Stronger Tendons – This means fewer injuries. A study had a group of male runners doing plyometrics for 6 weeks which resulted in improved running economy over 3 kilometers due to strengthening of the musculotendinous system. That means their bodies became more efficient in receiving, distributing and producing force while expending less energy and staying fresh. This makes plyometrics useful for endurance athletes.
  • Stimulate Neuromuscular System Efficiency – Plyometric training improves the efficiency of the neuromuscular system. During athletic performance, your brain sends signals to your muscles to contract, the more efficiently your nervous system can transmit this signal, the faster your muscles will contract, increasing your speed and power. Plyometrics offer improved explosive and reactive ability and a sharp CNS (central nervous system), which means performing better and with more ease.
  • Stronger lifts – Olympic weightlifting requires a huge amount of power from your muscles. Plyometrics can teach your body to fire quickly, which decreases the time it takes you to reach maximum force thus improving your power output. Studies have found that a combo of squats and plyos greatly increased hip and thigh power production.
  • Enhanced General Performance – It doesn’t matter if your main activity isn’t lifting weights, plyometrics can help you run faster, jump higher, and hit harder. Actually, they work even better for those type of athletes.
  • Almost No Equipment Needed – You can use objects that are lying around your house to do your plyometric routine.
  • For All Needs – Plyometrics can be adapted to any athlete’s needs and physical capacity.

I’m a firm believer that explosive training keeps you ‘young’ as you age.

Final Word

If you’re reading this blog chances are you’re a lifter or strength athlete and not a track and field athlete.

Many coaches claim that just because something doesn’t mimic the exact specific skills of a sport, it has no value.

For example, there are many coaches in olympic weightlifting that don’t even believe in any exercise variation other than the full classic lifts and squats.

They say partial pulls and lifts from blocks are useless for their lifters because technique isn’t the same, yet lifters from other teams who do them keep outperforming their athletes.

If you don’t compete and train on your own, like me, then you have no reason not to do something if you believe it can improve your performance just because X coach says it doesn’t.

You will obviously adapt the exercises to better fit your goals i.e. if you want to squat more, focus on vertical plyometrics. But even then don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort patterns every once in a while.

You have the evidence here, plyometrics will make you faster, more powerful, explosive and functional.

Try them, and if you come across any article or video spreading misconceptions on plyometrics, link them to this article.

Stay tuned for the next article on this series with 10 of the best plyometric exercises you can add to your routine.

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Bench Press: How To Get Stronger Unracking The Bar

bench press fail
Sometimes the small things can become very frustrating. This article is for those who have trouble unracking the weight in the bench press.

The muscles we want to strengthen here are the lats, delts and the long head of the triceps. Specially the lats, which are extremely important for stabilization in the bench press.

But we want to train these muscles in the fashion that you unrack bench presses, and those are pullovers.

This sometimes forgotten exercise can be a valuable tool for training your bench press weakness.

Barbell Pullover to Front Raise

You can do these with a straight barbell or Ez Bar. My advice is to use your regular bench press barbell.

This is the key exercise here as it is the one with the most carry over to racking and unracking the bench press.

Try to maintain the arms as straight as possible without straining the elbows, slightly bent and maintain that position throughout the movement.

Use a shoulder width grip or slightly closer.

Perform each rep with the correct ROM, don’t exaggerate but don’t half rep either.

Form > weight

major decline
Old-timers weren’t afraid of experimenting.

Dumbbell Pullovers

Your regular dumbbell pullovers.

Position dumbbell over chest with elbows slightly bent and keep them fixed throughtout exercise. Don’t turn it into tricep extensions.

Lower the dumbbell over and beyond head until the upper arms are parallel with the floor. Pull up over chest using your lats.

Machine Pullovers

If you have access to one, use it.

The main benefit is that while there is less resistance against the lats when you reach the starting point of the exercise above your face in the free weight version, machine pullovers help to maintain that tension throughtout the movement.

The machine provides constant tension over a greater ROM.

Serratus Barbell or Db Incline Shoulder Raise

serratus anterior muscles

Serratus anterior muscles A.K.A. “boxer’s muscle” originate on the upper eight ribs and get the name because of their mobility pattern.

When a boxer punches and reaches, his scapula is protracting and retracting and the serratus muscles come to work. They help us move our arms multi-dimensionally and fast. When the serratus anterior is flexed, it appears to lengthen the arm by moving the scapula forward toward the chest.

manny pacquiao
Basketball player Manny Pacquiao

The serratus anterior muscles also assist in breathing. They stabilize the shoulder blades and spread the ribs for an inhale. The greater the inhale, the greater the internal pressure. (link to intra abdominal preassure).

Serratus also supports arm balancing. You will notice that gymnasts have well developed serratus muscles.

So if you want to improve your handstands, start strengthening these muscles.

serratus muscles
Weak serratus muscles contribute to neck issues, rotator cuff issues and poor circulation.

The incline bench puts you in a good angle to train them, but you can use a flat bench too. Here is an illustration on how to perform this exercise.

incline bench press

If you have any doubts on how to perform the exercise, click here for more details.

Bench Press Isometric Holds

Take your 1RM weight and try to hold it for 15-30 seconds in this position:

Isometric strength is an often overlooked aspect of training.

Try to even ‘taste’ weights beyond your 1RM.

If you hold and stabilize heavier weights than you can press, you will get more confident with your regular loads because you already balanced more weight than that before.
bench press
Arnold living the aesthetic life before it was cool.

Bench Press, Racking & Unracking After Each Rep

This will groove the movement pattern so it becomes more natural and help you get the lat strength for unracking and stabilizing big benches while building your press and muscles as usual.

Just put the weight in the rack and unrack it after every bench press repetition. Pull the weight out of the rack instead of pressing it out of the rack; think doing a pullover followed by a bench press.

You will be definitely getting out of your comfort zone here.

Skullcrushers with Extra ROM

Target the triceps with extra range of motion.

Healthy elbows and strong triceps equal strong pressing.

Weighted Pull Ups

Healthy shoulders and strong lats equal strong pressing.

Ditch The Spotter

If you always rely on someone to unrack the bar for you, you’re missing valuable strength development.

Ditch The Smith Machine

Do I even need to state the obvious.

If you want to find some practical use for this machine, I suggest watching this video:

The Workouts

While the pecs help initiate the movement, these exercises fit better in a ‘back’ workout.

So if you are a bodybuilder you can do these exercises on your back day, or it would be even better to train chest and back together arnold style.

If you are a powerlifter add them accordingly either on bench press days or rows and lat work days.

‘Back Day’ Friendly Workout:
  • Weighted Pull Ups 3-5 x 5-10
  • Unracking your 1rm for reps isometric holds 3 x 15-30 secs
  • Serratus Barbell or Db Shrugs 2-3 x 8-12
  • Barbell Pullover to Front Raise 3-5 x 10

‘Chest Day’ Friendly Workout:
  • Bench Press Racking & Unracking after each rep 3-5 x 10
  • Dumbbell Pullovers 3 x 10
  • Ez Skullcrushers with extra ROM 3-4 x 10
  • Machine Pullovers 3 x 10

My Shoulders Hurt

If pullovers cause shoulder pain, maybe you shouldn’t be benching at all in the first place.

Not all exercises are for everybody, even if you correct muscle imbalances and fix your shoulders, our bodies are designed in different ways and are better fit for different type of movements.

Establish your strengths and work on them.

Stop pursuing a lift that can put you out of the gym.

tl;dr: pullovers

If you apply these methods, all your press exercises will improve and your handstands and overhead work (snatch, jerk) will also benefit from stronger and more stable shoulders and lats.

In case you were wondering about the article’s image video:

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Twana Barnett-Ferguson

Twana Barnett-Ferguson
Twana Barnett-Ferguson
Age: 37
Height: 5’6″
Weight: 155 lbs

How did you get into bodybuilding? Did you start by just ‘exercising’ or did you want to become a bodybuilder from the beginning?

I’ve always been pretty active and played sports. Although bodybuilding has been a recent adventure for me.

About 4 years ago I started lifting weights to stay in shape.

Two years ago I went to watch a friend compete and decide I wanted to try it out for myself.

I picked the next show on the calendar and eight weeks later I was competing in my first show, where I placed third out of 13-15 other competitors.

“After that I was hooked!”

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Body

What do you like the most about it, being a bodybuilder?

I like being able to sculpt and grow my body into any shape that I find beautiful.

It’s a constant challenge to keep my body proportionate, making sure one body part doesn’t overshadow another. I also love the challenge of out lifting myself, pushing past my personal best.

It makes me feel good knowing I’m giving my all and putting forth my best effort.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Bodybuilding
What are your biggest achievements in your career and what’s next?

I’ve only been competing for two years so my career is still pretty young. But my biggest achievement so far would be becoming an IFBB PRO at my last show.

I like to dream big, so my next goal is to qualify for the Olympia.

Not only is it the pinnacle of bodybuilding but I would also be sharing the stage with the amazing women I have idolized and followed throughout my own journey.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson IFBB

When it comes to training, what split has worked for you?

I’m actually very high energy (sort of like a hummingbird after drinking an energy drink and 2 pre-workouts) so I find that what worked best for me last week doesn’t always work the next week.

So I change my routine often.

What I do keep constant is my use of dropsets, supersets and rest pauses.

Currently my split looks like:
  • Day 1 – Chest 
  • Day 2 – Legs 
  • Day 3 - Arms 
  • Day 4 - Shoulders 
  • Day 5 – Back & Cardio 
  • Day 6 – Rest 
  • Day 7 – Cardio

You seem to like going heavy, what’s your best lift?

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Lifting

I’m very competitive! I try to keep up with my workout partners (who are all close to or over 200 pound men) so if my partners are curling 65lb dumbbells then I have to. I have to keep up with them which pushes me and seeing me trying so hard pushes them to not be out lifted by a girl! It works out great for all of us.

I love lifting heavy as long as I can do it safely. A great lift isn’t worth two weeks out of the gym with an injury. I’ve pushed over 1000 lbs on leg press, squatted 315lbs, and one arm rowed 120lbs. But the lift I’m proudest of is my bench of 225 pounds because I just started benching.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Bench Press

“A great lift isn’t worth two weeks out of the gym with an injury.”

You also seem to have figured out how to turn your calves into diamonds, wanna share some tips with our readers?

Train, Train, Train! My calves were a weak spot when I started competing. So I would train them 2–3 times a week, using slow controlled movements. After a lot of patience, hard work and ALOT of praying to the “Gods of Gains” I was finally blessed with calves that I’m pretty happy with.

If you could only do 3 exercises overall, what would they be and why?

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Pull-ups

Pull-ups: great for building width in your back while also using the biceps as a secondary muscle. I love exercises that utilize bodyweight and aren’t dependent on expensive machines or equipment.

Moderate weight deadlifts: It’s a great movement that hits multiple muscles at once. But I never go to heavy for fear that I’ll injure my back.

Walking lunges: walking lunges are not only good for your quads, but they do amazing things for your hamstring and glutes. And everyone can appreciate a great set of glutes!

Tell me about your diet, how do you manage anxiety and cravings?

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Diet
I actually like keeping my diet very strict when I’m contest prepping. I don’t eat artificial sugars and I keep my food pretty plain. For me when I eat this way I have less cravings for “junk”.

Also the amount of chemicals in processed food helps to deter me away from eating them.

But I am human, and if I do really have a bad craving I try to replace it with a healthier option.

I’ll eat healthy fats like almonds or avocados. Instead of sugary snacks I’ll have fruit.

It’s about making the right choices to get to my goals. Or just keeping so busy I don’t have time to worry about food.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Sexy

Let’s talk about a different kind of aesthetics: tattoos.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Husband
You and your husband have tattoos, and your job seems to be ink related too. Where does that love for ink came from? Is there a special meaning behind your tats or you just like imagery?

I’ve always been into tattoos, even got my first one when I was 14 years old. For me it’s just imagery.

Being an artist my husband and I hear lots of people’s sad stories and life experiences that we commit to their skin.

I’ve been fortunate to have gotten by pretty unscathed. So I keep my tattoos pretty light I go for beautiful images and things that make me laugh.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Tattoo
Your husband seems to be very supportive of your career. In which ways has he contributed to your bodybuilding success? You train together, right?

He’s the BEST! Not only do we train together but he’s my diet coach. And he preps me for shows. I’m sure there are a lot of couples that couldn’t handle their spouse allotting their food consumption and amount of exercise they have to do a day, but it’s great for us. We have the best relationship. We work together, we live together, we work out and train together. I don’t know anyone who likes to spend as much time with their spouse as me and my husband. We’re constantly pushing and motivating each other to be better.

Plus it’s pretty impossible to cheat on your diet if every time you go into the kitchen your coach is standing right there. Haha!

Because you weren’t badass enough already, according to your bio, you’re also a black belt in Krav Maga?

Yes, I was training in MMA (mixed martial arts) for a couple of years and decided I wanted to try something a little more practical for every day safety. I saw Krav Maga on TV and thought it was the perfect fit for me.

So after five years of training and an epic eight hour test, I earned my black belt. Which is still one of my proudest achievements.

I even went on to further my training to become a certified instructor.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Training
What music do you like to listen during training?

Im a huge fan of Classical, Oi, Dancehall, Soul, Hard Rock, Metal, Hard-Core and Hip-Hop.

Right now my gym playlist has Lamb of God, Ramallah, Sheer Terror, Hatebreed, and Blood for Blood. Very fast, angry and heavy. It helps me push past my limitations.

One final question about bodybuilding: What’s the best piece of advice you can give for a successful contest preparation phase?

Listen to your body. Rest when you’re too tired, eat when you’re too hungry.

Have a good friend to help get you through the rough patches. And have fun.

Contests shouldn’t be miserable, it’s a great time to watch your body make positive changes.

If you’re not having fun and enjoying yourself you need to reassess your prep and remember all the positive reasons why you started.

Twana Barnett-Ferguson Muscles

What are your long term goals & plans?

I love working with children (probably because we have the same energy and enthusiasm levels). I would love to work educating families and children on proper nutrition and exercise.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Who knows where I’ll be in 10 years I’m always changing, always growing, always reassessing.

Hopefully I’m in a place where I can educate others with some of the knowledge I’ve gained.

I don’t know where I’ll be in 10 years but I’ll consider it a success as long as I’m still learning and striving to be better than I was yesterday.

Any final words for your fans?

Go out and live life with no fear and no regrets. If you love it and it doesn’t harm you or anyone else jump in with both feet and don’t look back.

Set a goal and don’t stop until you’ve smashed it.

Refuse to fail.
Twana Barnett-Ferguson Brand
Follow her:


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Dwayne Johnson Hercules Workout

dwyane johnson
This is the workout Dwayne Johnson used to get thick, solid and tight for Hercules:


Incline Barbell Bench Press 4 x 12,10,8,6

Flat Dumbbell Press 4 x 12

Incline Hammer Strength Alternating Chest Press 4x 12

Flat Dumbbell Flyes 3 x 12

Cable Crossovers superset w/ Dips 3 x 15
dwyane johnson chest workout


Pull Ups 4 x Failure

One Arm Db Row 4 x 12,10,8,8

Hammer Strength Rows 4 x 10

Close Grip Pulldowns 3 x 12

Cable Rows 3 x 12 with double drop sets on every set

Rope Pullovers superset w/ Rope High Row 3 x 15

Db Shrugs 4 x 12 with 15 sec hold on last rep of each set
dwyane johnson workout


Hammer Strength Shoulder Press 4 x 12,10,10,8

Seated Db Shoulder Press 3 x 10

Standing Side Lateral Raises 4 x 12 with triple drop set on each set

One Arm Cable Side Lateral Raise 3 x 20

Reverse Fly Machine 4 x 12

Bent Over Lateral Raise 4 x 10
dwayne johnson hercules workout


Leg Extension 4 x 25

Leg Press superset w/ Weighted Walking Lunges 4 x 50 (Leg Press), 40 steps for Lunges

Hack Squat Machine 4 x 20

Romanian Deadlifts 4 x 12

Lying Leg Curls 4 x 12

Standing Calf Raise 5 x 75

Seated Calf Raise 5 x 50
dwayne johnson leg press

Biceps & Triceps:

Biceps Tri Set: 4 x 12 each
- Preacher Curls with Ez Bar
- Standing Barbell Curls with Ez Bar
- Db Curls
Triceps Tri Set: 4 x 12 each
- Rope Pushdowns
- Rope Overhead Tricep Extensions
- Tricep Dips to Failure
dwyane johnson biceps workout

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This Is My New Killer Leg Workout & You Have To Give It A Try

Guys I just killed this workout and I feel like I need to share it with the world, you know, like telling everybody you did Crossfit last night. jk
I’m in the middle of a war with my lower back and I refuse to stop working out so I made a routine to keep progressing while doing my rehab work.
I’ve never focused on the bench press and since I will not be deadlifting or back squating for a while I feel like this is a good time to focus on it.
The main goals of this routine are 1) improving my bench and 2) increasing leg mass and conditioning, which will eventually help me when I come back to back squats and deadlifts.

The Split:

Monday: Bench, Back
Tuesday: Legs, Biceps, Abs, Calves
Wednesday: Shoulders, Triceps (Isolation)
Thursday: Legs, Biceps, Abs, Calves
Friday: Chest (hypertrophy), Back
Saturday: Leg, Abs, Calves
Sunday: Rest

In Detail:

Monday: Bench, Back
I don’t wanna load my lower back so I will do Chest Supported Rows, Chin Ups, Pulldowns and some light Seated Cable Rows.
Tuesday: Legs, Biceps, Abs, Calves
Front Squats 8×8
Leg Extensions 8×8 (4 sets bilateral, 4 sets unilateral alternating)
Barbell Curls 8×8 (don’t go to failure)
Incline Db Curls 8×8 (4 sets bilateral, 4 sets unilateral alternating) (lower the weight if you need to)
Decline Bench Sit Ups 8×8 (going down in weight) (practice staying rigid, this will help when you are doing the power lifts)
Rope Cable Crunches 4×16 (now focus on contraction, think of the arms as just hooks)
“Rhythm” Calf Raises 4×32 (8 elastic, 16 raise, 8 elastic) (This is an idea that I got from a program to improve the vertical jump and applied it to calf training. Basically, you will bounce the first 8 reps, letting your heels go down fast and exploding onto your toes, then you will do 16 strict raises, and then finish with 8 bouncing reps again  to overload your calves. This will kill your them. And it will also help develop that elastic component required for jumping and similar explosive movements.
Seated Calf Raises 4×16 (No bounce, focus on moving the weight. Your calves are already exhausted, no need to cheat.)
Wednesday: Shoulders, Triceps (Mostly isolation)
Thursday: Legs, Biceps, Abs, Calves
I warm up with some Globet Squats with mini jumps and Single Leg Hip Thrusts on the Swiss Ball

When I said I would stop deadlifting I meant I’m going to switch from conventional to Sumo Deadlifts to give my lower back a break.
The other workout is quad dominant so this one will focus on using the hamstrings and my glutes on the sumo while getting some blood to the quads without taxing them hard again.

I will start with Lying Leg Curls to pre-activate my hams. Seated leg curls are superior but my gym doesn’t have one of those.

Leg Curls 2×8 (nothing too heavy, leave something in the tank)
Block Sumo Deadlifts 8×8 (glute contraction is my main focus here as they are a weakness that is causing some of my lower back problems)
Abductors 4×16 (Seriously, Sumo Deadlifts hit these muscles well and I never use these machines so why not train them a bit while I’m at it.)
Adductors 4×16
Single Leg Curls 2×16 (to finish with a good pump on the hamstrings and make sure both legs get hit equally)
Spider Ez Curls 8×8 (do the first 4 sets using a wide grip, the last 4 sets using a close grip, don’t go to failure, lower the weight if you need to)
Machine Preacher Curls 4×16
Swiss Ball Weighted Crunches 4×16 (focus on contracting your TVA)
Machine Standing Calf Raises 4×16
BW Donkey Calf Raises (light work, focus on the stretch and contraction)
Calf Stretches (finish with some static and dynamic stretches for the calves that also target your hamstrings)

The deadlifts are performed with the same weight every set. Adjust the weight accordingly for the other assistance exercises)
I will not go to failure on any of these exercises. I will use a weight that I can manage to rep 8 times and if I can’t I will get a partner to assist me on the concentric part. No cheating, strict form (” “).

I’m thinking of doing some light, long distance Prowler Pulls as a night workout to take the conditioning of my posterior chain further without taxing my CNS  too much and burn some fat before bed. Maybe some pushing too.

Friday: Chest (hypertrophy), Back

Saturday: Leg, Abs, Calves
Same as Tuesday.

Sunday: Rest

The 8×8 sets are working sets, do your warm up sets first.

I think it was Vince Gironda who made this 8×8 thing famous. He was strong on this scheme’s effectiveness and it worked for him and the other bodybuilders he was coaching. He was a pioneer focusing on aesthetics over size and he had Arnold and a few other famous bodybuilders doing these splits for a while back in the golden era (of bodybuilding).

This is a lot of volume but I won’t be doing this for long and I’m used to high volume.

I’m posting the split so you have an idea of how you can schedule the leg workouts but you can do them just twice per week if you want. The thing here is the leg workouts by themselves, not the split.

It will help if you have any mass or strength plateaus, spice things up a bit and also help you burn fat. It can also be a relief if you have been training heavy for a while thus preventing injuries in the future and preparing your lower body to go heavy again.

The 4 x 16, 32 is just a numbers thing to go with the 8×8, I want my numbers to look pretty. I may have OCD, I don’t know.

To continue working with even numbers, rest periods will be 2-4 minutes as needed.

I want to have giant quads, hams and glutes someday. Something like Dan Green’s.

Dan Green

Boom goes the dynamite

I want to have giant quads / hams / glutes someday. Something like Dan Green’s.

Okay, maybe a little less.
This is an experimental routine, I don’t always workout like this.
This is the first personal workout I post here, hope you like it.
Try it and let me know.

*Final Note: I wouldn’t recommend this routine for a girl unless you’re somewhat experienced. Stay tuned for new workouts that will be posted soon specially designed for you, meanwhile you can check.

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V: The Ultimate Guide To Get The Adonis Belt Aka V-cuts / Sex Lines

The adonis belt is the term given to the v-shaped lines between your hips and lower abs that run from the hip bone down to the pubis.

Other names for this muscle are v abs, v cuts, v lines, sex lines, sex v…the list goes on.

adonis belt

There is nothing extraordinary about this ‘V’ except that girls seem to love it. It’s like a trail / path for them.

Despite your genes, there are specific exercises you can implement into your routine that will improve your adonis belt.

Honestly, it is possibly as genetic as any other body part.

Some people are just more genetically gifted with this feature than others.

Just like some have lower bicep insertions that make their arms appear fuller, while others have higher insertions that make their biceps peak higher.

Just like you can target the sides of the biceps to make them fuller or train for a better peak, your adonis belt can also be improved.

Today I will give you specific exercises you can use to hack your genetics and get that V that women go crazy for.

This will not end your social anxiety issues and instantly make you win at life, but it will give you a reason to start wearing your pants lower than usual.
narcissus aesthetics
"Adonis, in Greek mythology, is the god of beauty and desire. His name is often applied in modern times to handsome youths, of whom he is the archetype. Also, the Golden Ratio of a tape measure of shoulder-to-waist ratio is called the Adonis Index. Adonis Complex refers to a body image obsession with improving one’s physique and youthful appearance."

*For obvious reasons you need a low body fat percentage for this to work, there is no way around this.

Adonis Belt’s Composition

The Adonis Belt’s is created by the Inguinal Ligament and the Transversus Abdominis (TVA). The transversus abdominis is a layer of muscle of the abdominal wall which is deep to the internal obliques. It’s responsible for creating intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) to keep the core stabilized and protect the spine.

You can consciously activate your TVA, but in extreme real life scenarios where core stabilization is vital such as a woman giving birth or…deadlifting, your TVA will automatically engage. This muscle is also activated when you cough and sneeze.

Naturally, the internal obliques are also essential to the adonis belt. These muscles are activated by rotating and side bending.

Trunk-twisting movements utilize both the obliques and transversus abdominis.

Putting it together, the inguinal ligament is what creates the line while the transversus abdominis and internal obliques are the muscles that make it stand out. You’ll not have a good adonis belt if your TVA and oblique muscles are underdeveloped. Therefore, the more mass your transversus abdominis and internal obliques have the more visible the adonis belt will become.

The transversus abdominis is also responsible for pulling the abdominal wall back. What means that even if you’re not tensing your abs or your belly is relaxed, a strong TVA will prevent it from protruding keeping your waist tight all the time.

While strenghtening your TVA may not directly improve your abs, it will definitely make your waist more aesthetic.

Beware that it’s difficult to develop hypertrophy in these muscles so you’ll have to put in some extra dedication, patience and consistency to see results.

How To Develop An Aesthetic Adonis Belt The Thick Solid Tight Way:

First, any heavy movement that requires serious core stabilization will help. That is squats, deadlifts, snatches, clean & jerks and any other major loading movements that require intra-abdominal pressure.

Now onto more specific exercises:
1) Planks
Plank workout
  • Time yourself
  • Keep your body aligned
  • Keep progressing by adding resistance / time to the holds and beating your last effort
  • Advance to other progressions like side planks
2) Swiss Ball Pikes
  • Add resistance
  • 10-20 reps
  • Keep the thoracic area from rounding
3) Decline Sit Ups With A Twist (elbow to opposite knee)
Decline Sit Ups
  • This exercise can be quite stressful on the lower back so don’t add too much weight
  • Don’t add any resistance at all
  • Or you can use alternative exercises with anti-rotational efforts if you don’t want to take the chance, but that’s for another post
4) Cable Woodchoppers
  • Twist with the hips, not the lumbar spine
  • High pulley works better for me
  • Make sure to twist and bend (correctly)
5) Stomach Vacuums
Stomach Vacuums
  • Think trying to pull your belly button through your lower spine
  • Suck in your stomach as far and as hard as you can
  • Squeeze & Contract real hard
  • Experiment which position works best for you, I do them standing straight
  • If you can hold it for too long, you’re doing something wrong
  • This exercise could be the most effective of the list, don’t underestimate it
  • Perform this at least once everyday
6) Swiss Ball Crunches
Swiss Ball Crunches
  • Add resistance
  • Use the TVA to balance yourself
7) Side to Side Knee Ups
Side to Side Knee Ups
  • Add resistance
  • Use ab straps if you want
8) Loaded Carries: Farmer’s Walks, Stone Loading, Sandbag Carries
  • Loaded carries work your transversus abdominis by forcing you to create intra-abdominal pressure
  • Do them heavy and for distance
9) Leg Lifts (Lying leg raises, Hanging leg raises)
  • This is ideal because the wall prevents him from swinging and gaining momentum and the straps support his grip so it doesn’t break before his abs do. This way you can focus 100% on the abs.
  • Add Resistance & Avoid Swinging
10) Russian Twists – Landmines
  • This one is a safer alternative to the decline sit ups with twist because the hips can move more freely
  • Feel the burn, go all Muhammad Ali on this one; “only start counting when it starts hurting”
  • When you’ve built some conditioning progress to the landmines:
11) Single Arm, Kneeling, Cable, Twisting, Rope Pulldown Crunches to opposite side
  • It’s like a standard cable crunch with the rope attachment except you hold it single-armed and twist to the opposite site
  • For lack of a better name
  • Focus on bending and twisting
  • Keep your arm fixed at all times
12) V Holds – L Sits – V Sits
  • Isometric nature
  • Keep progressing
  • The last 2 aren’t easy on the wrist and elbows

Other Helpful Exercises:

1) Dumbbell / Barbell / Kettlebell Bent Press
  • Careful
2) Turkish Get Ups
  • Try using barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells
3) Reverse Crunches
  • I like to do these hanging on an incline / decline – bench / board
  • Knees Bent (crunches not leg raises)
  • This is also one of those you start counting when it starts hurting
  • Add resistance, you can use cable attachments on the ankles or a dumbbell
5) Side Crunches
  • Well these aren’t side crunches but those are some aesthetic tights she’s wearing
  • On side crunches you are lying on your sides
  • Start side crunching, make sure to raise the legs off the floor too
  • Semi-bent knees work best
  • High reps, go for the burn
6) Push Up Position Alternating Knees to Chest or opposite side
  • Focus on contraction and squeezing your TVA
  • Add resistance by putting plates on your back, a weighted vest or get your woman to mount you
7) Scissor Kicks
  • Oldschool drill
  • Put your hands under your lower back
  • Superset with flutter kicks
8) Side Bends
  • Dumbbell / Barbell / Cable Side Bends
  • Focus on contraction
  • In the video Lu Xiaojun makes fun of your mobility
  • *These can add size to your waist if you do them heavy and frequently enough
Seems like this turned into a complete core training repertoire
Final Points:
  • Don’t lose focus, you may find some of these exercises boring
  • Always add resistance when possible, increase reps or progress to a more complex variation
  • Always contract your abdominal wall during these exercises and during any heavy movement
  • Train your abs 3 times a week with high volume and “heavy” weight, this is the perfect spot between too little and too much
  • These exercises will improve your six pack too
  • To maximize results do stomach vacuums everyday first thing in the morning
  • If you’re a woman feel free to start doing these, but I’d focus on those that strengthen the TVA to keep your waist tight and develop a strong core. I’d say you avoid the ones that focus on adding size since I don’t see the Adonis Belt adding much to a woman’s physique.
  • Bad nutrition = no results
  • No rest = no results

The Adonis Belt is part of the Thick Solid Tight look

There you have the best exercises to get the Adonis Belt / V Cuts.

You can get there with some work and dedication.

Nothing says dedication like consistent, detailed, tedious and monotonous ab training. It requires true will power to commit yourself to that.

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Jacked: Traps Of Peace

Here are the best movements to build aesthetically pleasing towering traps that cover your ears.

But before we get into specific activation exercises, let’s first understand the role and anatomy of the trapezius muscle. Just kidding. Who cares?

1. Snatch-Grip Hang High Pulls

  • Go for 4-6 heavy reps
  • Focus on full Range of Motion
  • Best movement for traps, no discussion
  • Do this if you want to look powerful and aesthetic

I like to perform them this way:

You can also check Panda Pulls

2. Hang Cleans

  • Go heavy, 3-4 reps.
  • Don’t curl the bar.

3. Power Shrugs

  • 5-6 heavy reps

4. Upright Rows

  • Controlled, strict reps. Don’t use momentum.
  • Don’t swing or front-raise the bar; row.
  • Take the bar to nipple level then lower it and repeat.
  • Perform 8-12 Reps

5. Db Upright Rows

  • Don’t curl
  • Focus on feeling the traps
  • 12 reps

6. Armpit Db Rows

  • Do 8-10 heavy reps
  • You can use a little bit of momentum if you want.
  • Be prepared to look like a retard and a range of motion of 1.5 inches.
regular shrugs
I like regular shrugs because they give you a good pump.

7. Db Shrugs

  • They give you a nice neck / trap stretch which is good and allow freedom of movement while giving you a good juicy pump.
  • Go for 10-20 reps.

8. Bb Shrugs

  • Good to target the upper mirror traps.
  • Do 10-12 reps.

9. Behind-The-Back Smith Machine Shrugs

  • Use a mixed grip if you feel more comfortable.
  • Finally you can make the smith machine feel useful.
  • Go for 12-20 reps.

10. Farmer Carries / Walks

  • Finisher! Grab the heaviest dumbbells in your gym and go for a walk.

Big Plus: All these exercises will make your grip stronger.


  • Facepulls, good prehab/rehab/conditioning/mass exercise that will also help fixing your posture.
  • Db Shrugs lying on an incline bench are also similarly good.
  • Freeweight Shoulder Presses & Raises.

I’mma let you shrug but I think these are the best trap exercises of all time.

Of course, Deadlifts build great traps but I’m sure you’re already doing them, regardless of your trap development.

*Pro Tip: If you’re training for aesthetics, don’t even bother working your neck directly. There is a difference between having big traps and looking like you have no neck.

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