Muscle Armor

A training program in the form of progressive resistance exercise builds muscular size and strength. In order for a training routine to be productive, however, it must first provide the correct stimulus to induce an adaptive response. Second, a workout that stimulates and adaptive response must provide for recovery. Third, in order for recovery and subsequent size and strength increases to occur, nutrients, which are of limited supply in our bodies, must be provided. It is clear that the most important nutrient for recovery is protein. In particular, essential amino acids contained in complete protein sources; dairy, meats, and fish. It is well documented that essential amino acids consumed before, during, and after resistance training boost strength and size gains.

HMB is a metabolite of the essential amino acid L-leucine. During many studies on protein effects, L-leucine seemed to be the single greatest contributor to muscle protein synthesis. A recent study examined the effects of an essential amino acid based product, Muscle Armor (MA); manufactured by Abbott Laboratories contains beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB).

Seventeen healthy men were randomly assigned to one of two groups and performed twelve weeks of periodized heavy resistance training while supplementing with either MA or an isocaloric, isonitrogenous placebo (Control group (CG)). Every two weeks the subject?s strength and power were measured and blood was drawn. More-over the blood draws taken were performed pre, mid and post-training. Researchers found the MA group affected training induced changes in muscular size and strength to a significantly greater extent than the CG. Also found, was reduced levels of circulating muscle damage markers creatine kinase and malondealdehyde compared with the CG. In addition, the MA group experienced increases in resting and exercise-induced testosterone and resting growth hormone levels with reduced pre-exercise cortisol levels.
(Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2009;41(5):1111-1121)

Achievement

“There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to achieve it.”

- Napoleon Hill

Soy and sex do not mix

The problem we Americans face is that most of the foods we eat are not only lacking any nutritional value, they are made with ingredients that have serious health consequences. The following is taken from “Everything in moderation, right?” where I discuss some of the worst foods and ingredients we need to stay away from. When it comes to the items in this article, there is no moderation.

Phytoestrogens ability to decrease testosterone has been shown in several studies. If fact, as long ago as 164 BC monks included tofu in their diet as an aid to spiritual enlightenment and abstinence. They found the more tofu they consumed the lower their libido.

Goal Setting

There are two things to aim at in life; first to get what you want, and after that to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind has achieved the second. — Logan Pearsall Smith

The Plank

For those interested in getting your abs to pop (and really, who isn?t?), you might want to try doing the plank exercise a couple times a week. It?s a fairly simply exercise to complete and you don?t have to go to the gym in order to knock it.

Men?s Fitness.com breaks down the details of the exercise:

Get into pushup position on the floor.

Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold the position for as long as you can. Your goal should be to hold it for two minutes.

“The plank helps develop strength in the core, shoulders, arms, and glutes,” says Scott, making it a great prerequisite for lifting heavy weights or playing intense sports. Even though you aren’t moving or lifting weight, you have to constantly squeeze your abs to hold the position?most people can’t last 30 seconds on their first attempt.

To read the entire article, click here.

I?ve personally done the plank for a month now and while it shouldn?t be the main exercise in your ab routine, it makes for a nice complement. Always remember that a clean diet and a good weight-training program are keys to finding your abs. But exercises like these can really help your abs ?pop?.

Want bigger stronger legs? Try single leg squats.

Is the barbell squat the end all be all when it comes to aquiring bigger, stronger legs, NO?? As a matter of fact, it’s not even neccesary.? And anyone who says it is, hasn’t a clue.? It is imperative, however, that you train with 100% intensity, which is true for developing any body part.?

If you’re looking for a great exercise to give barbell squats a break, or just looking to add a new dimension to your rutine, try single leg squats.

The Skinny Guy Workout

If you?re a hard gainer, you?ve likely tried all kinds of workouts trying to add size to your frame. But as Men?s Fitness.com points out, your problem probably lies somewhere in between working out too much and not eating enough.

MF.com highlights three exercises to do for all hard gainers, as well as some dieting tips to help pack on the muscle.

WORKOUT
Perform these exercises three days per week, resting at least a day between sessions. Vary the sets and reps, too. On Day 1, complete five sets of five reps for each lift, resting two minutes between sets. On Day 3, do four sets of 10, resting 90 seconds. On Day 5, do three sets of 15 reps with 60?90 seconds’ rest in between.

1.Squat
Set up a barbell on the supports of a squat rack. Step underneath the bar, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and let the bar touch your upper traps. Grab the bar with your hands as close together as is comfortable. Nudge the bar off the rack, take three steps backward, and stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart and toes turned slightly outward [1]. Take a deep breath and bend your hips back as far as you can, keeping the arch in your lower back. Then bend your knees and lower your body as far as you can (try to squat to where your thighs are at least parallel to the floor) [2]. Explode back upward to the starting position. That’s one rep.

2. Clean and Press
Set a barbell on the floor, crouch down, and grab it with hands shoulder-width apart. Your lower back should be in its natural arch [1]. Explosively stand up and shrug the bar, coming up onto the balls of your feet. As the bar rises to chest level, flip your wrists over so that your palms face the ceiling and your upper arms are in the bottom position of a shoulder press [2]. From here, press the bar straight overhead [3]. Reverse the motion to return the weight to the floor. That’s one rep. If you feel your back is rounding when you pull the weight off the floor, perform the exercise by starting with the bar at just above knee height, and “muscle” the weight up from there.

3. Pullup
Grab a pullup bar with an overhand grip, hands outside shoulder width. Allow your body to hang [1]. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar [2], and then lower yourself back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Depending on how many reps you need to do, you can add weight using a belt or holding a dumbbell between your feet (you may need to do this on the five sets of five day). You can also use an elastic exercise band to help you perform more reps (such as on the 10- and 15-rep workout days). You can get a jump stretch band that works great for this at elitefts.com.

Check out MF.com?s tips for eating for more muscle.

Good Morning for your butt

Here’s an article I wrote a while back on Bullz-Eye.

Bending over to pick something up can be a very dangerous move if done with a rounded back. Most people in their lifetime will have an injury to the lower back. One way to help prevent such injuries is to do the good morning.

Performing the good morning strengthens the posterior chain, which includes the lower back, glutes and hamstrings. The glutes (butt) and the hamstrings are responsible for hip extension while the muscles of the lower back (erector spinea) are contracted statically.

Because of the large degree of hip flexion, the gluteus maximus and the hamstrings are utilized throughout the movement. The glutes work in unison with the hamstring to extend the hips in the concentric (raising) part of the movement. The hamstrings, located on the back of the upper thigh, become more involved as you begin to decrease the degree of hip flexion while raising the weight. The erector spinea, which run the length of your spine on both sides, are statically contracted throughout most of the movement, keeping the normal curvature of the spine. A static contraction of the rhomboids and the trapezius muscles help maintain the shoulders.

Extension of the body occurs when the upper body, torso and pelvis rotate up and back. The biggest mistake I see with this movement is allowing the back to ?round? and magnifying the kyphotic (upper back) curvature while de-emphasizing the lordotic (lower back) curvature. I need to add that a slight curve of the upper back will present no danger and will happen to most while using heavy weight, but if you look like a big question mark (?) while performing the exercise, that?s a different story.

Learn how to perform the good morning HERE.

The Squat

Some say the squat is the king of all leg exercises. They even go as far as saying that if you don’t squat, your chances of building big, strong legs are next to impossible. And there are others who even take it one step further, claiming the squat is the best overall exercise there is period, and no routine should be without one.

Yes, I agree that the squat is unquestionably a very productive exercise in that it works a large number of major muscle groups. More so than any other exercise, however, it is not essential to do the barbell squat in order to get muscular and strong legs.

I do believe the squat is a very effective mass and strength builder, but for some the pain it causes due to injuries or anatomy makes this exercise very uncomfortable. An example of anatomy getting in the way are those who have very long legs and short torsos. These individuals have a very hard time being successful with this movement due to poor biomechanics. Some people need alternatives. But, if you want to learn how to perform the barbell squat properly and how to change what muscles are emphasized, go here.

Round glutes, strong back, bigger hams, The Deadlift

Like the squat, the deadlift involves the largest muscle groups in the body: the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps and erector spinea. And like the squat, it is a very hard, taxing exercise to perform. Consequently, for this reason alone many people don’t use the deadlift in their routines.

The gluteus maximus is utilized most in the beginning of the movement when there is a large degree of hip flexion. The glutes work in unison with the hamstring to extend the hips. The hamstrings, located on the back of the upper thigh, become more involved as you begin to decrease the degree of hip flexion as you raise the weight. The erector spinea, which run the length of your spine on both sides, are statically contracted throughout most of the movement keeping the normal curvature of the spine. A static contraction of the rhomboids and the trapezius muscles help maintain the shoulders. The quadriceps muscles are involved with knee extension.

Extension of the body occurs when the upper body, torso and pelvis rotate up and back. In a properly performed deadlift, this will happen simultaneously with the hips moving forward and the knees extending. Two of the biggest mistakes I see when this movement is performed are locking the knees out before the upper body is extended or allowing the back to “round” and magnifying the kyphotic (upper back) curvature while de-emphasizing the lordotic (lower back) curvature. I need to add that a slight curve of the upper back will present no danger and will happen to most while using heavy weight, but if you look like the hunch back of Notre Dame while performing the exercise that’s a different story.

The main reason your lower back would round, which could cause devastating trauma to the lumbar area, is weak erector muscles. There are various exercises you can use to strengthen your lower back like good mornings, arched back good mornings, arched back stiff legged deadlifts, and reverse hyperextensions, but good mornings and its variation in my opinion are probably the best exercise for this purpose.??????

The Dead lift

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