In this month’s issue of Men’s Health, Joe Kita writes a great article about the strength training approach of Coach Dos Remedios, or the College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita California and his take on getting bigger, stronger and leaner.
Coach Dos’s training consists of relatively short, high intensity compound resistance exercise, regularly changed up. By concentrating on this method of training, not only will one be able to sculpt the body they want, but they will also gain the benefits of functional fitness.
Hmm…. Where have I heard this ad nauseam before? Oh, that’s right – the tried and true crossfit. But this isn’t the first time that Men’s Health has featured an article about the benefits of athletic type strength training and how superior it is, compared to the isolation movements of the standard bodybuilding repertoire. Several months ago the Men’s Health “guy” was Jason Statham – the ripped action flic actor mixed martial arts practitioner who gets his physique (and uncanny strength) through high intensity functional movements. Again – crossfit-esque in every way.
So I wonder – is this the new norm? Are more and more gym rats suddenly going to be hitting the pull-up bar and working on their cleans and push jerks? Will lines begin forming for the power racks? Will squatting and deadlifts start getting the attention they deserve? Probably not. Unfortunately.
Curls – one of the seemingly preferred exercises at the gym. Pretty much at any given moment at your local gym, there’s likely at least one guy on the dumbbells, machines or barbells doing curls of one form or another. Probably preacher curls or hammer curls with obnoxiously large amounts of weight and form that’s fit for… well… is likely terrible.
The curl is so popular because it targets one of the most sought after muscles – the biceps, or more specifically, the biceps brachii – that bulbous muscle that sits in the front of the upper arm and assists in bending the arm at the ol’ elbow.
But while curls are definitely the way to go for building the biceps, those hammer curls you’ve been doing day in and day out perhaps aren’t as effective as you’d hope. While curling one way or another isa great exercise, what you really want to do is effectively target your biceps brachii 100%- with no other muscles helping out.
Here’s where concentration curls come in. Sitting at the edge of a bench, lean slightly forward and hold a dumbbell with one arm hanging down between your legs and your elbow against the inner thigh on the same side of your body. Curl the dumbbell and “concentrate” on the movement – taking things slow, perhaps, but focusing on exclusively targeting the biceps.
Unlike some other curling techniques, like hammer curls, concentration curls seriously target the biceps and can help turn them into the guns you’re going for.
All jokes aside about possibly even contemplating using a pumpkin as a piece of workout equipment, the Home Workout Guide has a unique take on how to get the most out of your pre-carved jack-o-lantern.
Seems obvious, but a recent study at Northwestern University which analyzed the BMI from over 2600 participants over the course of 20 whole years found that those who managed to get about 30 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise per day between the age of 20 and middle age were more likely to have a healthy BMI than those who didn’t.
Although diet plays a very important part in a healthy BMI, exercise is also incredibly important. Not only is it important in keeping off body fay, exercise is a key ingredient to staying healthy all around, from maintaining strong bones and muscles as well as keeping the ticker and other organs in tip top shape.
So the moral of the post is to keep on chuggin in your workouts and activity. Get some exercise in on a daily basis, even if just some jumping jacks and air squats. Work up the heart rate and get a little sweaty. It’ll do your body good.
While a barbell and some weights are all you really need to get in a good workout at home, there are other elements that can also be good for a home gym setup or to supplement your weight lifting. One great addition to your arsenal that is not only useful but is both inexpensive and extremely portable is the exercise band.
The exercise band can be purchased in a bunch of different resistances so is usable by people just getting into exercising as well as bodybuilders who have been at it for years.
For such a simple piece of equipment, the exercise band is extremely versatile. It can be used to add resistance for squats, presses and curls, just to name a few different exercises. The downside is that there is a limit to the amount of resistance available and you can’t really perform max weight lifts, nor are you really able to translate the amount of resistance from an exercise band to the amount of resistance in weights. However, for a circuit style low to high intensity workout, resistance bands can be incredibly useful.
One great resistance band exercise that I enjoy is a squat to shoulder press. Stand on the exercise band with your feet about a shoulder’s width apart, straddling the center of the band. Hold each handle in the respective hand. Go down into a deep squat and then stand, imediately going into a shoulder press with the band. That’s a single rep. Do several sets of 10 to 20 of these as part of a circuit of either weight lifting or body weight exercises.
About.com has some more information and sample resistance band exercises here.
This is great stuff. Mark Rippetoe, the author of several well known strength building books, is also a sort of beer connoisseur. A custom brew was made for a post-crossfit lifting seminar he led… Read on here.