Huge Guide to Supplements That Help Increase Strength

As their name suggests, strength supplements boost your body’s energy levels, giving you the chance to train harder than before. In most cases, the supplements are used by strength trainers, athletes, body builders, and any other person who wants to reap maximum benefits from a workout.

Other Benefits of Using Supplements That Help Increase Strength

As noted above, energy supplements will not only boost your energy levels but also support your overall well-being. Some of the typical health benefits that you would accrue from using supplements that help increase strength include:

• Improved endurance
• Quick post- workout recovery time
• Improved athletic performance
• Minimal risk of injury and muscle soreness
• Improved blood circulation
• Healthy muscle growth

Factors to Consider Before Buying Supplements that Increase Strength

Factors to Consider Before Buying Supplements that Increase Strength

There are numerous energy supplements sold in the market, and all of them are marketed with the promise of increasing your strength. Because of the wide range of products in the market, most people find it hard to choose an energy supplement that works as advertised from that that does not work. Below are expert tips that you ought to consider if you want a quality strength supplement.

1. Check for seals and certifications of approval

Seals and certifications of approval indicate that a product has passed through a rigorous test and satisfied the quality checks of a third party or independent organizations.

Some of the seals that you should check for include those from Good Manufacturing Practice, Informed Choice, National Sports Foundation, US Pharmacopeia, and the US Food and Drug Administration. Nonetheless, lack of these seals and certifications is not definitive enough to justify that an energy supplement is of a substandard quality.

2. Be cautious of low-cost strength supplements

An article posted in Chicago Tribune, states that in the supplement market, you get what you pay for.

This is because most substandard energy supplements are known to compromise quality when going for a reduced price. On the other hand, reputable brands are expensive since they are formulated from safe ingredients and the supplements pass through costly quality and safety checks before they are released into the market.

3. Ingredients

Reading through the ingredient list is another way that can help you distinguish strength supplement that work from those that do not work. Health experts recommend that you should avoid energy supplements formulated from synthetic and filler ingredients like preservatives, colors, and flavors.

4. Research before you buy

Before settling for any supplement, we recommend that you go online to see the supplement’s ratings, the manufacturer’s reputation, if the product has ever been recalled, and any other information that will inform your buying decision. Avoid energy supplements with poor ratings and negative reviews from people who have used them before.

5. Brand

In the opinion of SITI health org, a brand name is another attribute that could guide you towards buying an energy supplement that works.

Quality brands have been in the market for an extended time. Subsequently, established brands are more likely to give stable outcomes compared to new
market entrants.

How to Take Supplements That Increase Strength

Like most health supplements, supplements that increase strength come in the form of capsules, powders, and tablets. Since most of them are formulated differently, we suggest that you stick to the manufacturer’s recommended dose or ask your physician to recommend an appropriate dosage.

It is important to note that exceeding the recommended dosage may expose you to serious side effects.

Top Strength Supplements That You Would Consider Buying

Top Strength Supplements That You Would Consider Buying

1. Creatine Supplements

Creatine energy supplements are derived from creatine, a natural compound found in animal proteins like beef and fish. While in the body, creatine is broken down into creatine phosphate, a compound that helps the body to produce ATP.

Besides helping your body to produce ATP, regular use of creatine also increases lean muscle mass, and it boosts muscle recovery. Some experts also argue that creatine supports protein synthesis, and it enhances muscle pump.

How do you take creatine? Ideally, most creatine supplements come in powder form. As such, you will have to mix the recommended dose in water or an energy drink to promote palatability.

Creatine energy supplements are safe to use, but in some rare cases, you might experience some side effects like bloating, stomach upset, anxiety, and dehydration.

2. Testosterone boosters

Testosterone boosters are formulated from natural herbs like maca, horny goat weed, fenugreek, and Malaysian ginseng. The boosters raise the production of testosterone, a hormone that is associated with increased energy levels, enhanced sex drive, and an increase in muscle mass.

Furthermore, the use of a testosterone booster supports post-workout recovery, increase motivation, and sleep quality. Like most supplements, testosterone boosters are sold as capsules or tablets.

Since most testosterone boosters are formulated from a mix of different ingredients, you might experience side effects like acne, sleep apnea, and enlarged breasts from using them. However, the symptoms are rare.

3. BCAA’s

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s) contain essential amino acids like Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. BCAAs are found in a variety of foods like beef, fish, whey, almonds, nuts, pumpkins, and eggs.

Strength wise, your body’s muscles burn the amino acids to produce energy and support muscle health. Reliable lab reports indicate that the regular use of BCAA supplements increases endurance, delay the onset of fatigue, promotes recovery, and boost muscle growth.

Moreover, the use of BCAA supplements supports protein synthesis and minimizes muscle soreness after a workout. BCAAs come in the form of capsules or tablets and you can take the recommended dose either after or before a workout. Ideally, branched chain amino acids are safe, but in some rare cases, they may cause unpleasant health effects like loss of coordination.

Protein powders

4. Protein powders

The common types of protein powders sold in the market include whey, casein, and soy. These protein supplements are formulated from milk and soybeans. Regardless of their source, protein powders help the body to produce energy to fuel your workouts, and they promote muscle growth.

Moreover, protein powders speed up recovery, they alleviate post-workout muscle soreness, and they serve as an alternative source of protein to vegetarians and any other person whose diet is protein deficient.

How do you take the protein powders? Since the supplements come in powder form, you can mix them into your shake, beverage, or add them to your favorite dish. The protein powders are best taken 30 minutes before a workout. Some of the side effects associated with the use of protein powders include stomach upset, weight gain, and bone loss.

Conclusion

As can be seen from the review above, the use of strength supplements is a great way to boost your energy levels, promote post workout recovery, support muscle growth, and improve endurance. However, if you want to gain their benefits, you have to purchase high quality, safe to use energy supplements. Top supplements are certified, and they are formulated from natural ingredients.

Tips on Cooking and Eating for Strength

Some people eat for comfort and pleasure. However, the real reason to eat is to develop strength. Learning how to transmute your ideas about food is important. Instead of thinking of eating as something that you do as a social activity, start to look at food for its intended purpose.

Set Your Goals

Saying that you want to grow stronger is a decent goal, but it’s one that is difficult to quantity. Perhaps you want to increase your muscle mass by a certain percentage, or maybe you want to lose a specific amount of pounds so that your body isn’t weighed down when you try to engage in exercise or physical activities.

When you are setting goals related to physical fitness, you should speak with your doctor. You want to make sure that the decisions you choose for your body are healthy ones.

Plan Your Meals

Plan Your Meals

When you want to eat meals for strength, you should start to plan out what you will consume. Body Building’s tips reminds you of the importance of meal planning. Having a set plan of what you are going to teach can help you to avoid temptation.

Part of the reason why people struggle with eating for strength is because they don’t know what to eat. Instead of having to figure out what to cook for dinner after a long day at work, they just pick up a fast meal on the way home. By having a plan, you can avoid the desire to eat unhealthy foods that make you weak.

Start with Breakfast

Eating breakfast is important, especially when you want strength, and Consumer Reports agrees. Grabbing donuts while you walk into the office doesn’t count. You might say that you don’t have the time to prepare breakfast with all that you have to do in the morning. Fortunately, you can make breakfasts in advance too.

For example, when you have some extra time on a Sunday afternoon, prepare an egg casserole. You can even cut it into individual pieces now so that you just have to pop it in the microwave for a short period of time while you’re brewing your coffee. Breakfast helps to provide you with energy for those early tasks, and it can help prevent you from overeating later on.

Purge Your Kitchen

You may also struggle with eating for strength because you have so many foods that make you tired and bring down your physical fitness goals. Instead of allowing these foods to continue living in your kitchen, take the time to clean them out. You may have avoided doing so in the past because you don’t like to waste food.

Fortunately, you don’t need to throw these products out. For example, you may have relatives and friends who are happy to take them, or you may discover that those cookies and cakes can have a pleasant home at the office. Furthermore, many shelters are in need of food, so you can look into donating some or all of your items.

Stock Your Kitchen

Stock Your Kitchen

One you have eliminated the unhealthy items from your kitchen, you can start to stock it with ingredients that will actually provide you with strength. Stronglifts provides examples of foods that you should eat when you want to build strength. Some of the items listed include proteins, fruits and vegetables. Making sure you are getting in the right amount of servings each day is crucial.

Make Protein a Staple

Stronglifts also emphasizes how important it is to integrate protein into your meals. When you are cooking, work to make protein play a large role in the meal as often as possible. For example, you should choose a protein as the main course for your dinner most times per week.

This suggestion does not mean you have to put on weight since many lean proteins, such as chicken and fish, are available. You may wonder how to incorporate protein at lunch, especially when you need to eat on the go. Instead of just having a salad, you can add some grilled chicken or shrimp in there to increase your strength.

Drink Water

Another suggestion from Stronglifts is to make sure you are drinking enough water each day. You might think that a certain amount of water exists that all people should drink. However, that is not quite the case. Instead, the amount of water you drink is dependent upon your own body.

Your weight plays a role in the number of glasses of water you should consume each day. Furthermore, you may have certain conditions that require you to drink a certain amount of water. As you can see, the best way to determine your necessary intake of water is to speak with your doctor.

Purchase Kitchen Tools

A lack of proper kitchen equipment might also be stopping you from eating enough foods that build your strength. You may need to stock up on basic items, such as pots and pans. You should also look into tools that make cooking more fun.

For example, if you were to purchase a slow cooker and a personal blender, then you could make a host of new recipes. These tools also help you to cut down on the amount of time that it takes to prepare food. If you are uncomfortable doing so, you can leave the slow cooker to prepare food while you are out of the house. You can use a personal blender to make a healthy shake in the morning in a matter of seconds.

Try Different Recipes

When you think of the foods that you’ll have to eat to increase your strength, you might feel as though your taste buds are turning against you. Instead of looking at this endeavor as a way to consume foods that you don’t like it, consider it as a method of finding new recipes that are pleasing to your palate.

When you are trying to encourage your entire family to increase their strength, you can turn cooking into a project that you tackle together. You may start a challenge to see who can find the best recipe for eating foods to increase strength each week.

Allow Yourself a Break

Allow Yourself a Break

If you want to increase your strength, you need to focus on cooking and eating in a manner that encourages the incorporation of these habits. Still though, being too rigid with rules can cause you to cheat on your diet and to give up on your goals. While the majority of the foods that you eat should work to increase your strength, make sure to give yourself a break sometimes to enjoy some other types of foods.

Final Say

Once you set a goal for yourself, you want to make sure you are committed to it. Preparing your kitchen and thinking about lifestyle changes now an help you to achieve a greater level of success in the near future when it comes to your strength.

Barbell vs Dumbbell Training: A Comparison

Free weights are an excellent training tool that have been used by bodybuilders and other athletes for over a century. There’s a reason they’ve stood the test of time, and despite all the features of many exercise machines, serious lifters swear by their free weights.

When it comes to free weights, you have two basic options with barbells and dumbbells. Although you can perform the same types of exercises with both pieces of equipment, the experience when you use them is much different. Here are the differences of barbell training and dumbbell training, although with the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Barbell Training Allows You to Lift More Weight

Barbell Training Allows You to Lift More Weight

On any exercise that you perform, you’re going to be able to lift more when you’re using a barbell than with dumbbells. How much of a difference is there? This varies depending on the exercise and the lifter, but it’s typically a difference of about 20 percent. If you can bench press two 100-pound dumbbells, you’ll probably be able to bench press 240 pounds with a barbell.

There are two reasons why you can lift more with a barbell

Because of the design of the barbell and the way the weight is spread out, it doesn’t tax your stabilizer muscles as much as two dumbbells would. It’s more difficult to keep dumbbells stable since the entire weight is in a smaller area.

Since both your hands are gripping the same barbell, it allows your dominant side to do more of the work. With dumbbells, your dominant side can’t pick up the slack for your weak side.

Dumbbell Training Prevents Asymmetry in Your Muscles

Being able to lift more with barbells has its pros and cons. One of the issues it can create is asymmetrical muscles because your dominant side is getting more of a workout than your weak side. This usually won’t be a significant difference, but it’s something to keep in mind, especially if you’re interested in bodybuilding.

Barbell Training Gives You More Options

The barbell is the more versatile tool than the dumbbell for a few key reasons.

With barbells, you can use as much or as little weight as you want, and weights are available in small increments. You’re only limited by what your gym has. That’s also true with dumbbells, but it’s rare to find gyms with very heavy dumbbells past the 100 to 150-pound mark. That means if you want to squat or deadlift 400 pounds, you’re probably going to need to use a barbell, because
finding a set of 200-pound dumbbells is unlikely.

Certain exercises are awkward to perform with dumbbells. This includes the aforementioned squat and deadlift. Even if you had dumbbells heavy enough for these exercises, they feel much more natural when you’re using a barbell.

It’s easier to progress in weight when you’re using a barbell because of the smaller weight plates. Barbell weight plates usually come as small as 2.5 pounds, and with one on each side, you’re adding just 5 pounds to your lift. Dumbbells tend to come in 10-pound increments. Those extra 5 pounds matter quite a bit when you’re trying to improve on your one-rep max.

Dumbbell Training Allows for Greater Range of Motion

Dumbbell Training Allows for Greater Range of Motion

The size and shape of a barbell results in a limited range of motion. This isn’t a problem for most exercises, but you can get a greater range of motion when you use dumbbells, and this will stimulate your muscles more. Bicep curls, the bench press and the shoulder press are three examples of exercises where you can get more range of motion by grabbing a pair of dumbbells instead of a barbell.

Both Types of Training Have Advantages in Terms of Safety

Your training habits have the most significant effect on how safe you are while you lift. By asking for a spot when necessary, warming up properly and learning the correct form for each exercise, you can prevent injuries.

But there are also safety advantages with both types of training.

With dumbbells, there’s little risk of getting trapped under a weight like there is with a barbell. If you get to the bottom of a rep when squatting or bench pressing using a barbell and you can’t press the weight up, you’re in a difficult position. Without a spotter, you’ll need to tilt the weight plates off one side at a time. You can guide a dumbbell down to the floor at any time if you feel like you can’t complete the rep.

Barbells allow you to start the lift in a natural position. The same isn’t true of dumbbells, as you may need to hoist the weights into the correct position, which is an unnatural movement that could easily cause injury.

Grab and Go with Dumbbell Training

Although there are adjustable dumbbells that use weight plates similarly to barbells, most are a set weight. You can just go up and grab the weights you want. With a barbell, you always need to load the weight plates you want, which means it will take a little bit longer.

Both Options Can Deliver Excellent Results

The good news is that you don’t need to choose between barbell and dumbbell training. Both have their benefits and you could see results no matter which type you choose.

Since barbells allow for smaller weight progressions and let you lift more overall weight, you’ll find that most serious lifters work with the barbell more. The dumbbell is a good choice for supplementary exercises, such as isolation work. It’s also helpful for beginners who are more focused on form than on lifting heavy.

Conclusion

If you can only do one, you’re better off with the barbell. But the best choice is to use both, see what kind of results you get and adjust your routine as necessary.

Tips on Increasing Your Grip Strength

When designing workout routines, most people invest the majority of their time and effort in studying new ways in which they can reap maximum gains from their chest, leg, back, and shoulder routines. What most people overlook, however, is how they can build their strength.

This is like shooting yourself in the leg because a string grip is the basis of the bulk of your lifts. Making your grip stronger will boost your overall strength and performance translating into increased gains. The major elements that comprise grip strength are mobility, strength, and endurance. Here is why you need to be training your grip strength.

1. Your grip determines your strength

Can you count the number of times that your grip gave out before the muscle you are training did? This is especially true for exercises such as the deadlift, bent-over barbell rows, shrugs, and bicep curls. Chances are your grip slipped and prevented you from executing another rep.

The phrase you’re only as strong as your grip is true because most of the muscles in your body were designed to assist you to pull yourself up and hang plus aiding you in lifting things off the ground. How would you execute these movements efficiently without a good grip? Your ‘push’ muscles are also affected by your grip. The idea is that the body always attempts to

Your ‘push’ muscles are also affected by your grip. The idea is that the body always attempts to have all your muscles in balance. This implies that the stronger your ‘pull’ muscles get, the stronger the pushing muscles will be. Your core strength is also dependent on the grip strength. Hanging leg raises are arguably the most effective core exercise out there.

This is because they place an unbelievable torque on the core and thus are very difficult to execute. To simply hang off the bar and focus on getting your technique together will require you to have a good grip. You can see how a good grip could translate to a chiseled six pack.

Firm handshake

2. Firm handshake

There’s no doubt that a firm handshake always leaves a strong impression. This will come in handy in your professional life. Strong handshakes are interpreted as a sign of trustworthiness.

3. Preventing injuries

You use your grip for the majority of your lifts. Athletes, on the other hand, depend on their arms to do the majority of their work. Just think about any sport that doesn’t use hands as the core of their art. It would be hard to find one. If you are looking to join any sport, a good rule of thumb would be to work on that grip. Not only will it enhance your performance, but will also protect you from getting injury prone.

4. Big forearms

Let’s be honest. Who hasn’t dreamt of having Arnold Schwarzenegger like arms? Grip strength training will have a tremendous impact on your arm development. That is the biceps, triceps, and forearms.

5. Breaking personal records

When you hit that dreaded plateau phase in your weight training, working your grip could help you break out of this plateau. Many professional power lifters have attributed their phenomenal lifts to grip strength.

Now that we have seen how a good grip could positively impact your performance and life, let us look at the ways in which we can build it.

How to increase grip strength

How to increase grip strength

1. Thick bar training

The thickness of the bar is a crucial factor when it comes to building grip strength, believe it or not. A thick bar is far more superior to a normal or narrow bar. This is because the wider surface area of the thick bar taxes your hands more in a bid to maintain stability while performing your exercises.

Your arms adjust to the thick bar by becoming stronger which is the principle of any muscle building routine. You don’t have to go looking for fancy equipment so as to achieve these results. If your gym has a thick bar, that’s well and good; if not, you could wrap a towel around the bar to make it thicker. Try this with all bar exercises; which is almost all of them.

2. Fingertip push-ups

Regular push-ups will place a lot of stress on your forearms. Fingertip push-ups will take this pressure to a whole new level. Remember, your fingers are the ones that do the actual gripping when performing your lifts. It only makes sense to make them stronger. Additionally, fingertip push-ups are quite tough to execute, mastering them will add you to your local gym’s hall of fame.

3. Bar hangs

This exercise is as basic as it sounds. Just look for a raised bar platform such as a pull-up bar and hang. Your entire body weight will be supported by just your grip.

It sounds easy but try hanging for over a minute and you will not only feel your grip slipping, but your entire upper body will be on fire. When you get better at it, alternate the two-arm bar hang with a one arm bar hang; nothing will build your grip faster than this movement.

4. Get a gripper

Grippers are a great, cost-friendly, and effective way of building grip strength . A set of grippers is cheap and highly mobile because you can fit them in your pocket. Carry them to the office with you and squeeze out a few sets every now and then. Not only will your grip strength increase because of the constant squeezing, it is also a great way of staying alert. When you outgrow your grippers, purchase others with a greater resistance.

Plate Pinch

5. Plate Pinch

This will involve stacking a couple of weight plates together and pick them off the floor using a pinch grip. You can play around with various combinations. The tougher they get, the more effective the exercise will be. Make sure that you maintain the pinch hold for not less than ten seconds at a time.

Conclusion

Grip strength is important not only for your activities in the gym, but for real world applications. You never know when you might have to hold on to or hang on to something very tightly; your life may depend on it.

The Complex Reality of Stretching

Weightlifting is the activity of working out by lifting weights. There are two standard movements involved with this type of training – the snatch and the clean-and- jerk. The snatch is a single- movement lift from the floor, as if snatching something up. The clean-and-jerk is a two-movement lift from the floor to the shoulders to above the head.

Weightlifting is used to build the skeletal muscles, using things such as weighted bars, weight stacks or dumbbells. Its exercises make gravity work to oppose the force generated by muscles through both concentric (meaning the muscle’s length shortens) and eccentric (meaning the muscle length lengthens) contraction.

In everyday movements, the muscles contract in a multifaceted way, producing changes in their length and tension in a time-varying manner. Sports that depend on weightlifting are bodybuilding, powerlifting, highland games, shot put, and

Sports that depend on weightlifting are bodybuilding, powerlifting, highland games, shot put, and many others. There are also sports were weightlifting is used as part of the athletes’ training regimen, such as soccer, football, and basketball. It’s become an increasingly popular activity because of its benefits. Weightlifting isn’t just proven to help with sports. It has also been used to help lose weight.

Weightlifting isn’t just proven to help with sports. It has also been used to help lose weight. Lean muscles burn calories at a faster rate than fat. They can also consume more energy at rest. Lifting weights can also help eliminate the visceral fat and fat that surrounds the organs. For women, it can even battle osteoporosis. Any athlete knows that stretching before any workout is mandatory.

There are three kinds of stretching: static, dynamic and ballistic stretches. Static stretches are held for anywhere from a few seconds to a minute. Dynamic stretches elongate the muscle in a body movement.

Any athlete knows that stretching before any workout is mandatory. There are three kinds of stretching: static, dynamic and ballistic stretches. Static stretches are held for anywhere from a few seconds to a minute. Dynamic stretches elongate the muscle in a body movement, such as torso twists and lunges. Ballistic stretches use a bouncing action, like toe touches.

Stretching has a few rules, too. Stretch slowly, making sure to create a controlled movement. No bouncing. Do not stretch until there is pain; there shouldn’t ever be ongoing pain. Relax and breathe slowly.

Pre-workout Stretching

Pre-workout Stretching

While it’s not necessary to do a pre-workout stretch, it can be beneficial. Pre-workout stretches shouldn’t be done with no warmup. It is recommended to do light cardio before stretching any muscles. This will decrease the risk of injury during the workout. Research has shown that static stretching before a workout can decrease your performance output

Research has shown that static stretching before a workout can decrease your performance output when it comes to power. Because of this, most people want to eliminate static stretching. However, static stretches help with flexibility. With this in mind, static stretches are actually beneficial.

Dynamic stretches are often the best pre-workout stretches.

Full body stretches offer the most benefits in a single stretch. These stretches engage multiplemuscle groups all at once.

First, start off in a pushup position, with back and hips relaxed while your core and abs are engaged. Then, put your left foot to your left hand in a lunging stretch. Do not raise your hips. This will stretch the groin area in particular. Let it stretch for a few seconds before proceeding to the next step.

Point your left arm to the sky to create a rotational movement that will open your body up. Then, it’s back to the original pushup position, followed by the downward dog pose.

Mid Workout Stretching

Ballistic stretching is best done during the workout routine. Ballistic stretches are more demanding than static stretches. It involves bouncing, rapid movements done in a repetitive motion. This stretches the joints and muscles beyond the normal range of motion.

Because ballistic stretching can be risky when not performed under proper supervision by a trained professional, it’s recommended to do these sparingly in the workout. Most people will confuse dynamic and ballistic stretching. However, ballistic stretching is supposed to be bouncy, jerky and erratic. Dynamic stretching is meant to be smooth and controlled. Ballistic stretching has benefits, such as helping basketball players jump higher.

An example of ballistic stretching during a workout routine is a simple hamstring stretch. While standing upright, put a leg on an elevated level to the front. Keeping your legs straight and your back straight, bend over. Repeatedly reach forward and relax.

Post Workout Stretching

Post Workout Stretching

When the workout is over, most people think it’s time to go home and begin to recover. However, it’s the most beneficial time to do static stretches. The reasoning behind this is that the workout is already over, and the muscles are flexible from the range of motion used in the regime.

Because of this, stretching to improve flexibility is best when don’t at the conclusion of the workout. They also serve as a great way to cool down and lower your heart rate. Post workout stretching is also a good way to prevent injuries. These stretches help relax and relieve the muscles worked during the exercise routine. They only take five to ten minutes, and the benefits far outweigh the consequences if not done.

An example of a post workout stretch is the glutes and IT-band stretch. For this one, lie on your back and bend the right leg while keeping the right foot on the ground. Cross your left leg over your right thigh and hold the back of your right thigh with both hands. Pull both legs towards your torso. Then you’ll repeat it for the other side.

The Stretching Life

No matter if it’s a workout day or not, stretching should be a vital part of anyone’s day. It can lead to being able to handle stress better and enables muscles to work better. Studies have produced mix results on the pros and cons of stretching for workouts. What is certain is that stretching can help prevent injuries, increase flexibility, improve posture, and decrease neck and back pain.

What to Eat and Do Before a Big Strength Training Workout

Many people who are still novices in strength training think that the only thing that really matters is what they do in the gym during their workout. As important as that is, it’s only part of intense strength training. What you do and the food you eat before your workout is just as crucial.

Not preparing your body for strenuous exercise could lead to a painful injury, and you won’t get the results you want if you don’t eat the right foods. Making time for the gym and sticking to a workout regimen is still the most important part of your strength training, but here are some tips on what you should do when you’re not lifting.

What You Should Eat

What You Should Eat

When you’re lifting weights and focus primarily on strength training, your body will be using carbohydrates as fuel, so any foods rich in low-glycemic carbs will be helpful as will foods that are high in protein.

Protein will help your body recover after a strength training workout while it facilitates the muscle-building process. Most experts recommend eating a small meal consisting of foods such as nuts, brown rice, sweet potatoes, vegetables, and all-bran grains before you work out. Ideally, you should have a carb-protein- fat breakdown of 40-40- 20 for a pre-workout meal. This means that your meal should consist of 40 percent carbohydrates, 40 percent protein, and 20
percent fat.

Digestibility is key as well; you don’t want to load up on too many high-protein foods that will make you want to vomit as you’re moving through your workout. Try to eat a small meal consisting of the foods we’ve discussed above about 90 to 120 minutes before your workout. That should provide your body with the fuel it needs to get you through your session without weighing you down and making you feel sick. If you need an extra energy boost when it gets closer to your
workout time, a small snack consisting of 200 to 250 calories about an hour before hitting the gym should tide you over.

If you’re not sure what to eat for your pre-workout meal, a good example would be a bowl of rolled oats, peanut butter, sliced banana, and milk. For a snack, consider fruits such as apples and bananas, protein bars, and nuts. Remember to keep your snack small so you don’t feel too full during your workout. It should be just enough to keep hunger pangs at bay.

What you eat after a workout can also make a difference in your strength-training efforts. While many trainers and bodybuilders like to think that you should be chugging protein shakes immediately after leaving the gym, that isn’t necessary. As long as you have a meal that is rich in carbohydrates and protein within three hours after finishing your workout, you won’t lose any gains that you’ve made.

A good post-workout meal should include foods such as oatmeal, fruit, eggs, turkey, and lean beef. As long as you have about 25 grams of protein and plenty of carbohydrates, you should be fine. The protein will help build and repair muscle, while the carbohydrates will help you regain the energy you spent during your workout.

What Not to Eat

What Not to Eat

If you’re just starting out with your strength training or you’re just lifting to stay in shape, you don’t have to think too hard about what you need to eat. As long as you stick to low-glycemic carbohydrates and include plenty of protein in your diet, you’ll be okay. However, there are still some foods that you should avoid.

Most of these are high-glycemic carbohydrates such as white bread, corn chips, flaky cereal, instant oatmeal, sugar, honey, and russet potatoes. Simply put,
they offer the wrong kind of carbohydrates that you need for a successful workout. They might give you a temporary energy boost, but you are more likely to crash once that energy is gone.

What to Do Before and During a Workout

What you eat before going to the gym is important, but you should still focus on what to do immediately before your workout. First of all, never start out “cold” when you’re lifting weights. You should spend five to ten minutes warming up with some stretching and light aerobic exercises before you even touch any weights. Go for a quick jog, spend time on an ellpitical machine, or engage in some step aerobics. This will get your blood flowing, your muscles limber, and prepare your body to start burning fat.

Once you do start lifting weights, it’s important to train to the point of failure. This means lifting as much weight as you can until you cannot lift anymore. You shouldn’t go so heavy that you end up hurting yourself, but it should never be too easy for you. If you have a personal trainer, talk to them about how to intensify your workout without hurting yourself.

When you do lift, never lock your elbows or your knees as this puts too much pressure on your joints and can lead to injury. Your joints should be loose, which means your elbows and knees should be slightly bent. Finally, remember to breathe when you lift. A lot of weight training novices make the mistake of holding their breath when they work out, which only makes lifting harder. Remember to exhale as you lift, and inhale as you relax your muscles.

When it comes to any kind of exercise regimen, the most important thing is to be consistent. Nobody achieves perfect results immediately even when they do everything they are supposed to do according to their trainer and their doctor. Keep working out and eating the right foods, and you will achieve results, even if you have to wait for them.

Everything You Need to Know About Barbell Rows

The barbell row is a classic back exercise that’s responsible for many of those sculpted backs seen in muscle magazines over the years. Since it’s a compound lift, it’s an excellent addition to any workout routine, and it can help you gain in muscle mass and overall strength. After reading this guide to the barbell row, you’ll know everything you need to about it.

How to Perform a Barbell Row

The barbell should be resting on the floor and loaded with the desired weight. Stand by the barbell with the bar right over the middle of your foot. Your shins shouldn’t touch the bar, and your feet should be about shoulder-width apart.

Bend down with a slight knee bend, being careful to keep your back flat the entire time. Grab the barbell using a pronated grip, which means overhand or palms down. Your grip can be a bit wider than shoulder width. It will likely be a little wider than the grip on a deadlift, but a little narrower than the grip on a bench press.

Lift the bar up until the weight plates are an inch or two off the ground, keeping your arms straight the entire time. Maintain a tight core and a flat back. Bring the bar straight up into your body until it touches around the upper ribs, right underneath your chest. Your shoulders should be pulling back, which will bring your elbows up for this movement. Once you’ve touched the bar to your chest, you can lower it back to the starting position, keeping full control the whole time.

Your core needs to stay tight and your back flat throughout this exercise. Perform as many reps as you’d like. Like any lift, it’s good to start with lighter weights and work your way up.

What Muscles Do Barbell Rows Work?

The muscles that get the most work from barbell rows are the ones in your back, including those in the upper and lower back. Barbell rows are also great for the muscles in your arms, especially your biceps, and they work your hips.

Common Mistakes to Avoid
Over the years, some have called the barbell row dangerous because of its potential to cause injury. This criticism doesn’t make much sense, as any exercise can cause injury if you perform it incorrectly. To make sure this doesn’t happen, watch out for these common barbell row mistakes.

Bouncing Up and Down

Many lifters bounce during barbell rows because they’re using too much weight and they need momentum to complete each rep. Now, with barbell rows, not all bouncing is bad.

Your biceps can keep you from lifting enough weight in this lift to really stimulate your back, and a very minor bounce can get you past that hurdle. The key is to keep your bounce small. To avoid going too heavy, gradually progress in weight with this lift.

Elbow FlaringElbow Flaring

When you flare your elbows out during a barbell row, it moves the barbell forward enough to cause extra pressure on your lower back. It’s obviously important to avoid unnecessary stress on your back, considering how frustrating back injuries are, and that’s why you should make sure the barbell is always traveling straight up and down and your elbows stay in a normal position.

Standing Tall

Your back should be close to parallel with the ground when you’re performing a barbell row, not at a 45-degree angle and definitely not upright. Being in the correct position makes the exercise more difficult, and if you’re having trouble with it, you likely need to take off some weight. You could also need to strengthen your core.

A Rounded BackA Rounded Back

This is by far the worst barbell row mistake, as it’s a one-way ticket to back pain. When you round your back, it puts more pressure on your spine, and this gets even worse when you start lifting a heavy barbell up and down. Stay cognizant of your back at all times during the exercise and make sure it stays flat. If you’re having trouble with this, reduce the weight you’re lifting.

Neck Issues

It’s nearly impossible to keep your back flat without having your neck aligned. If you look up or down too much, it will affect the rest of your body. Make sure your neck is aligned with your back – it’s often simplest to focus your gaze at the ground a couple feet ahead of your body.

Adding Barbell Rows to Your Workout

Barbell rows are a fixture in many popular workout routines, including Strong Lifts 5×5. If you’ve set up your own program, you can add barbell rows to any workout that requires a back exercise or simply substitute it for another back exercise.

Everything You Need to Know About Military Press

There aren’t too many trainers who can prescribe you workouts that fit the military standards. As it traces a long history, the physical fitness level of a soldier is something that is molded and taught.

While the military might take some unorthodox approaches to fitness, the results are astonishing. Soldier success stories featuring weight loss increased speed and agility, and other such accomplishments have taken the internet and the world by storm. One workout allows you to get a taste for this differing training format.

The military press was developed to train your upper body. The workout allows you to utilize many key muscle areas, such as the deltoids and triceps. Below is a comprehensive review of the workout and an informative guide for everything you need to know about this military training technique.

The Workout That Operates Under Differing FormatsThe Workout That Operates Under Differing Formats

The first area we want to get into is the different variations of the military press. The standard version involves a barbell and an individual placed in a standing position. The repetitions and weight hoisted are both important factors into building your deltoid and triceps muscles.

Start with a comfortable weight limit to get a feel for the form. Slowly increase the weight amount when you have mastered the proper form. The form of this exercise starts with the barbell being hosted slightly above your collar bone. Lift the bar straight up and extend your arms completely. Locking your arms can lead to tendinitis and other injuries over time, so be sure to keep a fluid movement.

Holding this lift for a second or two is welcomed and it often leads to proper form development. As you develop a form, begin to operate the routine in a fluid movement. The movement mimics that of pumping your arms straight up and down. Be sure to keep the bar just directly above the collar bone during repetitions.

This positioning will allow for a complete upper body workout. The second involves completing the exercise from the seated position. This is a good practice method for those who rely heavily on their legs to support a lift. This will limit the effort admitted from your lower extremities, relying entirely on your core and upper body to produce the repetitions.

The last involves the use of dumbbells instead of a barbell. This can be operated from the seated or standing position. It is important to note the free movement produced by dumbbells. A barbell is flat and is much easier to support and keep stable than dumbbells tend to be. This method should be utilized after one has tossed around the barbell option a few times.

With dumbbells, the form can be limited and often hard to keep steady and fluent throughout a set. Be sure to hoist a weight that allows you to keep the pressure on your elbows and other portions of your body. If you are experiencing fatigue in areas not central to the upper body, the exercise is not being performed correctly.

Breathing

Breathing is a very important element of this exercise. Improper breathing can lead to quicker fatigue and can disrupt your movements. As you breathe, your body follows along, allowing you to operate these movements with fluidity and in a concise nature. Before you prepare to extend your arms, take a big inhale.

Exhale once you fully extend your arms above your head. Repeat this process throughout the workout. To practice this strategic approach, start by performing the workout with the second or two holding technique presented earlier. This will make you aware of your breathing and present a case to whether or not it is something you need to work on.

Assisting Measures

Assisting Measures

One can also increase their explosion and hoisted weight amount through the use of a weight rack. The user can place the barbell on this rack and raise it to their collar bone level. This helps produce a movement that can create muscle memory tendencies. It will create a solid stopping mechanism that will train your arms as a personal notification measure.

Your body will recognize the location of where the weight should fall to before being hoisted again. This is also good practice for those attempting to reach personal records or maximize the weight they can lift above the head.

Reversing the Exercise

While this last piece is beneficial to the user, it can also present a greater injury risk. The barbell can be at rest directly above the top of your shoulder blades. The movement can then be completed behind your head, with the same full arm extension measures put in place.

This exercise format should be carried out with caution. Those who have experienced shoulder injuries and other upper body ailments should not commit to this format. It does present a more targeted burn towards areas of the deltoids, triceps, and the trapezius muscles.

Everything You Need to Know About the Bench Press

For many weight-lifters, or even guys hanging around in the gym, the bench press has become the go-to measure for checking overall masculinity. Squats, curls, treadmill all pale in comparison to the almighty bench press.

Unfortunately, this puts an inordinate amount of pressure on people to saddle up to the bench who have no idea how to press the weight properly. This does more than just waste time – it can also be deadly.

Why It’s Important to Master the Form

Without proper technique and a proper spotter, a lifter can become pinned to the bench by overestimating their ability level, or by something as simple as a small cramp. This student at Iowa State University died in 2016 due to losing the grip on the barbell he was lifting, sending all 315 pounds down onto his neck, killing him in a matter of hours.

The bench press doesn’t have to be fatal, however, nor does it have to be unsafe. By utilizing the proper technique and a few safety protocols, you can feel free to bench press anything you feel ready for, without worrying about getting pinned against anything. Here are eight things you need to know about bench pressing:

Why It's Important to Master the Form

1. Use a Spotter

Since you are literally lifting an incredibly high amount of weight above some of the most delicate parts of your body, a spotter is invaluable for an exercise like the bench press. A good spotter will not only provide you with the peace of knowing they’ll be there for you if something goes wrong, but will also push you (or stop you) when they know you need it.

Unfortunately, not everyone works out with a buddy at the gym. If that’s the case, make sure whatever person you ask to spot you at the gym knows exactly what you want to do and how far you want to push it, so they can help you. Remember, communication is key.

2. Learn How to Bail Out

Bailing out is as simple as it sounds. Learn to dump the weights off either side properly in case you get pinned to make sure that you can get out of an emergency situation, especially if there is nobody else around. Here’s a video that shows you exactly how to do it.

3. Get in the Right Position

Before you even lift, make sure that you have full range of motion in your shoulders, the bar is at the optimal height, your head is slightly away from the bar position (ideally, over the forehead to allow for unobstructed motion), your feet are planted firmly on the ground, and your grip is right.

If your wrist is bending backward, you know that it’s in the wrong position. Getting specialized wrist wraps can help make sure they’re in the proper position.

4. Don’t Worry About the Back Arch

If you’re looking to go into competitive powerlifting, then a back arch may be in the cards for you in the future, but for those just looking to get into it, it absolutely should not be a concern right now. Many arch their back when lifting large amounts of weight under the assumption you’ll gain more leverage; you may, but not everyone is comfortable doing so.

One of the main advantages is that it shortens the length from the bar to your chest, thus allowing you to pump out more weight with slightly less effort. In competitions, that matters a lot; in the average gym, not so much.

5. Follow the Right Path

If you notice professional weight lifters, their bars hardly ever go straight up and down. On the way up, it goes slightly towards the face and then straight up, and on the way down, it goes down and slightly arcs out. This not only allows for more weight to be pressed but puts less strain on the shoulders. If your lift does not follow this route, here’s an article to help correct your bench press path.

6. Protect Your Armpits

For newbie weightlifters, the temptation can be to flare the arms out, sometimes rapidly, in an effort to lift more weight. In reality, all this does is make the overall lift more stable and increase the chances for injury. You don’t want your elbows touching your body, but you want them to stay underneath the bar at all times.

Keep Your Shoulders Packed

7. Keep Your Shoulders “Packed”

Like the elbows, your shoulders have a tendency to move as well, usually in a shrugging motion. Make sure that you keep your shoulders on the bench at all times by pretending that you’re trying to squeeze a grape between them. Some people recommend keeping your shoulders down and back in order to provide the necessary tension for your body and your shoulders.

8. Dig In and Keep it Tight

One of the reason sit’s paramount that your feet are flat on the floor is because it allows you to use your legs to drive through the bench press. Pushing your body into the bench and keeping your body still and tight allows you to focus all of your energy on what matters most: pushing up the weight. Also, don’t forget to work on your breathing. The last thing you want to do is pass out with 200+ pounds above your neck.

Everything You Need to Know About Squats

Over the course of the 21st-century, the squat has become one of the most important exercises for both men and women to perform as both men and women have seen their exercise regimen can benefit from the use of these exercises.

What are Squats?

Squats have been around for a number of years and are now seen as an excellent way of working a range of muscles across the body to aid in developing a well-rounded option for creating a healthy body with prominent muscles given the chance to stand out on those completing these exercises; Men’s Fitness reports the squat can be used in a variety of different ways to help any person working out at home or in the gym to develop their body in a fast and efficient way.

The many different variations are seen in the use of squats as a popular way of making sure almost every muscle group in the body can be worked as a way of ensuring every individual has thechance to increase their fitness and strength in a positive way.

Variety of Squats

Bodybuilding explains there are seven separate squat exercises capable of increasing fitness when used on their own or combined with the lifting of weights and barbells.

The article reveals getting away from machines of many different types at a gym can have benefits when squats are undertaken by an individual looking for a higher level of fitness than already achieved. Among the different types of squat recommended by the publication are:

  • Back squats
  • Front squat
  • Overhead squat
  • Zercher squats
  • Anderson squat
  • Bulgarian split squat
  • One legged squat
  • Hack squat

This range of squats will work a number of different muscle groupings and can be used to make sure different areas of the body are exercised. The majority of these squats are completed while holding barbells while being completed which can result in a workout for the arms, as well as the abs, back, legs, and butt.

Who Can Benefit from Squats?

Despite the fact millions of people are following these squats the average person can also see benefits from completing a regular series of squats not including the holding of a barbell or any other form of weight. The squat is often used by personal trainers as a popular way of affecting many different muscle groups in a single exercise, the most common of which is the gluteus maximus, the largest muscle in the posterior.

Across the body there are many muscles being worked during the completion of a squat, the most famous of which are the muscles of the rear as the current trend for females to increase the size of their rear has seen a growing interest in the use of squats.

When completed correctly the squat can also work the abs in a positive way that can improve the overall appearance of the stomach area for any person looking to appear to have more prominent abs; when combined with a healthier lifestyle and better diet the chances of creating the six-pack most people long for is increased when squats are used by a person of any gender.

Benefits of Squats

Living the Bump reports the range of benefits available when completing squats are many and include an increased level of performance seen in the core muscles of the body, which are used to add both strength and balance to the individual.

The core muscles are often mistaken as being simply those across the abs but also include the back and other areas of the central portion of the abdomen; when the central core of the body is strengthened the body appears to perform better as the link between the upper and lower portions of the torso is strengthened.

How to do a Squat ProperlyExercise plays a key role in remaining as fit and healthy as possible with a high level of success seen in the development of hormones released by the body during exercise which has been linked to a higher level of virility and reduced fatigue. The release of testosterone when squats are completed by males is important in staving off the effects of aging and the lowered level of testosterone seen in many men as they grow older.

How to do a Squat Properly

In order to obtain the many benefits seen in the development of the body and mind when completing squats, the individual must make sure they are completing these exercises in the correct way.

Firstly, the feet should be placed shoulder width apart and the back kept as straight as possible to avoid any damage to this delicate part of the body; the aim of a squat is to assume a seated position similar to that of a duck, which is achieved by lowering the rear until the thighs are parallel with the ground.

The knees should not move forward to a position ahead of the toes as the position is repeated on a number of occasions to work the muscles in an effective way.