Category Archives: in the gym

Why You Should Always Keep an E-Z Bar Handy

For anyone who is looking for the next thing to add to their home gym setup, I have got to tell you about an E-Z bar. This shorter version of a normal sized barbell, is great for doing those lifts that are a bit awkward to carry out. My current home setup is a little bit cramped, so anything that can save some space for me is always a welcome addition. Sometimes also known as a curl bar, this bar makes doing any kind of curls much easier. By looking at a picture of the curl bar, the first thing that might stick out is just how different it looks from what you are probably used to. This bar is one that you won’t want to load up with the biggest plates that you can find, most of these bars can only fit about 100lbs max. Don’t let this be something that leaves you with a sour taste, you won’t be doing as much heavy lifting with these bars. Mainly for working the triceps and biceps, an E-Z bar will save your wrists a ton of unnecessary pain.

person curling weights

The number one muscle group that you will be targeting with a curl bar will be the biceps. If you have ever attempted a set of bicep curls with the giant barbell you had laying around, you know that this is a difficult thing to accomplish. Oftentimes, the barbell will be so long, you will have trouble just moving it without knocking out a wall! Once you get the gigantic bar where you need it, you have to start moving that for reps, it isn’t as easy as you think it might be. It feels so awkward trying to do bicep work with such an over-sized barbell. You will spend more time just trying to keep your balance, as opposed to concentrating on the task at hand. Even though I have mentioned just one group of muscles, the triceps will grow immensely from picking up an E-Z bar. I usually do an oddly named exercise called skullcrushers. This lift is when you lay back and bring the curl bar behind your head repeatedly. Also going by the name of the French press, doing this lift can bulk up any set of triceps.

Providing more support and taking additional strain off of your wrists, a curl bar can really give you a ton of value. Considering that most of the larger barbells look similar, this is an area where a curl bar differs from the pack. What threw me off, when I started lifting with the smaller barbell, was where to put my hands. The curl bar will have a spot for your wrists, that is diagonal. From what I have found, you can lift with either the straightened or curved part of the bar. Something that I like to remember is to put on a lower amount of weight, if I am going to be gripping the bar closer to the weight ends. If needing to lift something heavier, for my wrists, I would position my hands closer to the inside of the barbell. I remember seeing the other E-Z bars that would have that closed off look, where your hands are completely surrounded by metal. Having my hands kind of stuck in a metal encasing just did not seem like what I wanted to have going through my head during every lift day.

New Plan to Get the Most from My Workouts

Recently, I came up with a lifting schedule that has been great for adding on some muscle. I figured that I should share this with anyone that is interested. Feel free to change this to your liking, as I know you might not be able to do some of these exercises. Primarily, I have noticed that I have added the most muscle to my back and arms. I will be continuing to change this up, based on where I see areas that need work. When we are talking about the bigger muscles in our body, this is where you have the freedom to add more weight. I tried to make these workouts balanced between strength and conditioning. I have never been a big fan of focusing too much on one goal over the other. I try to find (or make) something that will be able to let my muscles grow bigger, while also being able to gain strength. I think that by gaining both strength and size, this will make your next workout that much easier. This plan will not be the easiest one to follow, but I can say that it is one of the best for pure advancements.

Let’s take it from the top, for shoulders, you want to keep the reps higher and not use an insane amount of weight. The reason being is that your shoulders are, as you might be able to tell, not the best showing of how strong you are. For my upper back, I always use heavy weights and a medium amount of reps. I am someone who has a back that will continue to grow, if this doesn’t sound like you, feel free to replace this with higher reps, at a low weight.

You may see that some parts that you lift with are not in this plan. If so, substitute some exercises that don’t fly with you and replace a couple with what does! With lifting in this style, you want to make sure that you eat well during your time using this routine. I am never someone who stays super strict on their dieting, so just do the best that you can. Needless to say, if you are better at watching what you eat than I am, expect to get even more from these workouts than I did. For example, I usually don’t do anything with my abdominals, although I have seen it in a lot of other plans. This is not due to an injury, or anything like that, I just find that I don’t have the time to give my abs the attention that I need.

Some of the days that you will be lifting will be longer than others. I did this, to help me still be able to complete the workouts that I needed to during the week. I am someone that just has too much going to spend an hour and a half throughout the week treading through long amounts of time lifting. Best of all, this is something of a myth in the fitness community, the longer time you spend working out DOES NOT mean that you are going to get that much more muscle. Usually, the body only really needs thirty minutes to an hour of physical activity. Sometimes, anything over an hour of working out can actually be detrimental for you. Keep these tips in mind when you start this plan and you will have a great time, as long as you do not have a problem with getting sweaty! Also, pictured below is a great way to find some reasonable substitutes, if the exercises I mentioned are not doable.

do-these-exercises

The Importance of Rep Ranges and Results

When lifting weights, you have so many different options that it can be astounding. To the person who has never been a weightlifter, it sounds pretty simple. If you lift something that is heavy, you will grow muscle, which sounds simple, right? Sadly, this can be true, to a certain extent, but it gets much deeper. If you are someone who wants to get the body you want as fast as possible, you might want to keep reading. The question of how many reps I should be doing for the goals that I have was something that didn’t really click to me until much later on.
There are a couple of main rep ranges that people will use and I will go into more detail on them to help you figure out what you need to be doing.

  • Hypertrophy – This is something that can only be achieved by lifting higher reps with lower weights. If you have attained hypertrophy, you will start seeing that your muscles will be getting bigger. Now, there is a downside to this, as you will see your strength not increase the same way. Usually, hypertrophy exercises are those that are best performed by using dumbbells over the big full body lifts. If you are tired of looking at how small your muscles might appear, you will really want to consider adding in some hypertrophy lifts into your workouts. hypertrophy lifting method
  • Lifting for Pure Strength Alone – Have you ever noticed that strongmen and bodybuilders look so different from each other, when compared? This is because those strongmen (think strongman competitions on television) are people who opt for a training program that focuses more on strength than the previously mentioned hypertrophy routines. If you want to show off how strong you are and don’t really care how big you look, I would say that you would be someone who is going to keep your rep ranges lower. When training solely for strength, you are going to want to lift a weight that you could do only about 5 reps of.
  • A Mixture of Strength and Hypertrophy
    If you are serious about wanting to train and can’t decide which option is most important to you, the third and final option might just be the best. By mixing both strength and muscle growth training, you will be able to watch yourself get stronger while also looking bulkier. This will not be the easiest option but it is one that you might want to try if you want the best progress that you can possibly have. You will need to combine full body lifts with those that are used to just target one muscle group. Pair this kind of routine with a full-body split and get ready to grow! For your full body lifts, keep the rep range nice and low and increase the reps when you are targeting a specific set of muscles.

Finally, be sure that you are switching up what kinds of lifts that you are doing. By doing this, you are always keeping your muscles guessing as to what is going to happen next. When muscles are confused, they resort to using different parts of the muscle itself, in order to better help you out while lifting! The more confused your muscles are, the less confused you will be about why you aren’t looking the way that you want to!

Why Being Fit Can Be Contagious (In A Good Way)

This may sound a little strange, but I have found, that getting into shape can be a good thing. When I first started lifting weights, I was not sure how people that I knew would react. I didn’t expect anything bad to happen as a result of it, I just didn’t know what to expect from people. There was actually some good news here because I found that the work that I was putting in was getting other people motivated. One of my really good friends at the time was struggling with some weight issues. After he noticed the leap of faith that I made to start changing the way I look, he was on board with doing it for himself. It wasn’t before too long that I found that I had a new friend to go and workout with. Long gone were the days that I would end up going by myself and working out around a bunch of strangers. It would seem that my good luck was increasing because having a buddy with me in the gym really helped my results. I was able to cheer on my friend and he would be able to do the same. From there, we were even able to start our own little group.

I was amazed at how much better my friend had felt to really make this change in his life. He actually confided to me that he would have never have taken these steps to change everything for the better, if he hadn’t saw the way that I looked! I was taken aback at this compliment and it really put things into perspective for me because I would have never known about the way that I had positively impacted my friend’s life! As I really began to get into really good shape, even some family members were starting to follow suit, I could not believe it. My father, who had always been a little bit on the bigger side had now gotten a home gym setup for himself. Although, my dad is someone that keeps things to himself, I had a pretty good idea as to why he had gotten started losing weight. So, from there, I had already gotten two different people in my life to take control of their lives.

Seeing all of these positive things happening right before my very eyes taught me an important lesson: your actions that you choose to make can have some really impacting consequences. I don’t mean this in a bad way because seeing how people around me were getting fit really brought things home for me. By doing nothing but what I had already planned on doing, I was now seeing two very important people in my life taking actions that would keep them around for much longer, how awesome is that? I wanted to take a second and let you all know what was going on so that, if you are not sure about it, this could be the thing that makes you take action. You never know the lives that you are changing by doing the things that you do every single day. Appreciate every single opportunity that you have to hit the gym, you might not ever know how much of a role model you are for someone in your life.

 

Battling Those Internal Struggles That You Aren’t Strong Enough

Some people might laugh when they hear the term manorexia, but they shouldn’t. This is something that was thought to have been hard to understand, at first, but there has been more and more people suffering from this, as times goes by. I, myself, definitely feel like I have had this problem almost every other day. Please allow me to go ahead and discuss this in a little bit more detail, so you can understand more about this condition. What this term is, is something that is used to describe a man who does not feel that they are not big and muscular enough the term may should familiar because it is a play on words about anorexia, another serious condition which give people the opposite thought, that they are not small enough.

This has been something that has been going on and can affect anyone that workouts, from new lifters to the most experienced bodybuilders. My own personal experiences started when I first hit the gym. I, of course, started weightlifting because I felt that I was too seal and I wanted to grow those big muscles and get huge. I had thought that maybe after the first couple months of weightlifting, that this feeling would go away, but it never really has. Sure, I am aware that I am bigger now, after many years of weightlifting, then when I first started. However, it doesn’t mean that I feel satisfied fully with the progress that I have made. From time to time, I will still think that I am still skinny, almost to the point of how I looked before I had touched a weight. Luckily, I do have people around me that reassure me that I do look much bigger than when I first started going to workout. This kind of positive reinforcement is good to have around you and it helps to make those bad days much easier. Something else that I started doing and recommend that you do would be to take progress picture. This may sound a little weird, but it is one of the most definite ways to have proof of something, is it not? By having these pictures around and reading about my press over time, it was easy to watch myself get bigger and have proof that I was not getting skinnier or smaller. Maybe it is a mind trick, or something to that extent, but I also find that taking measurements of my muscles and keeping some sort of log or journal can really help erase those bad feelings which we all get.

Remember, if you are currently suffering from this, I am with you. Although there could be a lot worse things that we can suffer from, this is something that is still very serious to the people who suffer from it. It is just tough for others to be on the outside looking in and understand the issue, which is a common misconception that can happen with anything. I wanted to speak to whomever is dealing with this right now. Be sure to keep positive people around you, track your progress with pictures, as well as documenting your results in some sort of journal or log. These positive steps can really help you when you feel that this condition is starting to set in. Do not let false feelings control your life, take the power back for yourself.

Has Anyone Else Tried Fat Gripz?

So, recently, I decided to try out something new for my workouts. Now, I am a bit of an old school guy myself, so I was skeptical of what this product would really do. After, I opened the box that these things came in, I decided to read up on them a bit first. I probably should have done that before I got them, but what can you do? Anyways, these products are called Fat Gripz and are designed to fit over your barbells or dumbbells.

These products force you into a wider grip when you perform your exercises. To most of you, this still might not make sense as to why this is so important. Believe me, I felt the exact same way that you did, until I read up a little more about this product. Apparently, most of us really suffer from some strength imbalances that we are most likely not aware of. These strength imbalances lie below your biceps, yes, I am talking about your forearms. As we lift weights, we usually aim to work out and grow the more important parts of our physique.
grips
It is sad that so many people will exclude their forearms from any specified exercises. Even though, it is usually seen as an afterthought in the gym, neglecting your forearms has probably already had its bad effects on you. The Fat Gripz come in and will aim to fix these strength imbalances by putting a more balanced weight load over the entire arms, including the forearms. One thing that I heard before trying this product was to be prepared to check my ego at the door.

A good rule of thumb with this product is, the lower you set your weights to use this, the more this product will work for you. I had to take my weights down to a noticeably lower amount and knew that my forearms were probably pretty weak, I assume. It really is a completely different kind of workout when you are using these things. I felt an intense burn throughout my entire forearm area while performing my normal weightlifting routine.

The people who mentioned checking your ego at the door, they were certainly right. I was shocked to see just how much more intense my workouts were getting. As for progressing with this product, you will probably increase weight at the rate that you would normally. Some people have mentioned being able to use them in a sort of one workout on and one off schedule. I have yet to try this because I would think that there might be some hidden risks associated with weightlifting this way.

I really do have to say that the results that I got with these grips were really good. I began to notice that my forearms were growing at a really good rate.  I even managed to get a few compliments here and there on how much bigger I was getting. These products are fairly inexpensive and durable, even thought they are made of rubber. One thing that I was worried about was how well they would hold up after repeated use, I am happy to report that after months of use, these bad boys are still going quite strong. Although they are a bit dirtier now, they have lost no strength or hold at all!

The Amazing to Watch IWF Championships – Records Set Everywhere!

If you were able to check out this amazing event recently, you probably know where this is going. It truly was a spectacle to be able to watch. If you had not gotten the chance to see it, I am happy to fill you in on what all has happened. This is an international tournament with hundreds of weightlifters arriving to compete, from countries all over the world. Although every participant put their all into this competition, most of the news concerning this tournament is coming from the women athletes.

The women weightlifters were truly at the top of their respective game, as was shown by the majority of the broken records occurring here. There was even an amazing story that was told about a lifter from North Korea who had tragically gotten injured during the tournament. However, after that had happened, she still went on to place second. This is really a standout achievement alone, when considering her injury, it really astonishing to think about.

weightlifting tournaments

I am someone who will slightly have some muscle soreness and miss a workout. When you look at the toughness and grit of this particular athlete, I really begin to feel much more motivated to push through those tough times. I think that we all can take this as a lesson, I am not saying that people should keep going after an injury. However, I am saying that you should always try to be better than you think you are. This way of thinking and living can truly begin to change the way that your live happens.

Although Asia stood out as the mostly dominant continent, America still looked good at the competition and placed very well. If you did not get the chance to see this competition, be sure to try and watch it. I am not sure where or if any replays will be happening, so I have no further information about that. We even saw some other athletes perform exceptionally well, Om Yun Choi was able to set a 171kg weightlifting record, beating his own previously set record by 1kg. Needless to say, everyone was ready to shine and I really feel that they did throughout this amazing tournament.

Although there were some favorites that could not appear due to not being able to compete, due to injuries, there were countless others who were at one hundred percent. All of the amazing performance that I saw make me wonder where this tournament will begin to head. All of the records that were broken at this year’s event really help to paint an interesting picture of how much the athletes will have to do in order to have a shot at breaking some records.

I always try to catch this tournament when I can, and was so glad that I was able to see it this year. What a year it has been for professional weightlifters out there. With all of these records being broken, I curiously await to see what records we can expect to see broken at upcoming tournaments. I wanted to also quickly talk about Russia’s performance in this event. The Russian athletes actually placed first for men’s overall, and with the amazing level of talent that they had it is easy to see why this happened. I am already getting excited for the next IWF tournament.

Bigger Muscles or More Definition: The Struggle is Real!

This is a common struggle with that many men, if not all, will have while they are lifting weights. Do they want to be more bulky or overall and have more mass? Or do they want to not be as bulky but have extremely defined muscles and more definition overall? It is something that you’ll have to figure out as you begin to start your weightlifting journey. For some people they are genetics play a part in how their body looks and they will go with what feels easier.

For example, I am someone who puts mass on easier than others, but at the same time, I look less defined I just look bigger over all while still muscular. I have other friends that will not be as big but his muscles are more defined. It is just something that each category in this discussion has its own pros and cons over. However, that is all to say that it is completely up to genetics. There are actually certain workouts we can do that will give us the body that we want, or at very least help in the process of doing.

For Those Wanting More Definition: Lift Lighter but Longer!

sculpted

Let’s start out with if you’re someone who is wanting to put on more mass an hour and is less concerned about definition. For these people, be ready for high repetitions of lower weight. Now this isn’t to say that your muscles will still not fatigue, the stuff that we will not be easy to do. You will be able to lift with lower weights be also be doing higher reps which is it which is putting your muscle in a state of growth over strength. This is crazy to think because you could be the bigger person but someone smaller than you could easily be much stronger, which isn’t always great for the ego. Something else that you want me to be doing is to be eating a large amount of calories preferably protein as you will need to really pack on the muscle and eat more. If you were not eating enough calories throughout the day you’re simply not going to be able to pack anything on. The workouts that burn the calories will have brand what you eat and are out today giving your body literally nothing left to add onto.

For Those Wanting More Mass: Lift Heavier but for Less Time!

strongman

If you are someone who is looking to be stronger and R and would rather just pack on pure mass as a post any definition, this would be the thing that you need to do. You will be needing to lift heavier amounts of weight but the good news is is that you don’t have to lift as much as the people in the first group. By doing this you may not be the biggest guy in the gym but you’ll probably be able to pick him up and throw them through a window, if you wanted to.

Why I Recommend Using Starting Strength

Starting Strength: An Introduction

To some, this may sound like something you may have read around various fitness and bodybuilding forms and to others this might seem like a foreign language. Starting strength is a weightlifting program designed to boost strength and something that is perfect for beginners. However, even if you aren’t a beginner it is something that is very valuable, I personally used it midway through out the time I’ve spent my life lifting weights. I don’t regret doing it but I do regret how late I started as the strength gains were permanent I felt and really helped me to get bigger and stronger.

What to Expect with this Program

starting strength
Think of this program as a sort of crash course and figuring out how strong you are and something that I feel is one of the best ways to get stronger. What you will begin doing will, for some seem very very strange. The workouts are designed around five reps and five sets but this isn’t something like dumbbell curls or anything like that. Most of these workouts are the big compound body lives. Yes, that means you will be doing squats and deadlifts but there are some great benefits to doing these exercises.

Combine the benefits of these exercises with the way this program is designed and watch your strength go up like crazy. Something that led me to be hesitant at first was wondering if I would get physically bigger, or just be stronger. However, I was so happy to find out that as I got stronger, yes I was able to pack on more muscle mass. This was done through my nutrition as well because as we all know, a lot of your muscle mass games depend on you eating enough calories and eating enough good food. Another thing that is very important to remember is to leave your ego at the door. You need to stick with weights that you can do five reps of because you will be increasing weight faster than you probably have before.

My Results with Starting Strength

You will really get some strength gains throughout this program that are going to freak you out. However, do not get cocky and think because you have got stronger that you automatically need to step up your weight by 20 pounds. Trust me, even if you are adding wait at the rate of 5 pounds a week your strength and muscle mass games are going to be very impressive. So, to say that again, do not come into using this program with an ego or if you were someone who only gauges their progress by sheer numbers on paper.

Stop Working Out the Same Body Part so Much!

If you are new to weightlifting or had maybe listened to some of the wrong people, you’re one of those people that are working out the same body part constantly. This might seem like a great thing to do at first but soon as you will notice along with the major muscle pain you’ll probably always have, that you will not see results as fast as if you do a split. Split training is what you do to make sure that you are properly training all parts of your body.

For example, some splits are set up to where they have chest and back one day, triceps and biceps the next day, and then shoulders and legs. However, this is just one example of the many different splits that you can use. Some people find that doing an entire day devoted to arms were you split up your bicep and tricep workouts can be too much. However, I personally use it as I feel that doing chest and triceps on the same day does not work well for me.

The main problem I have with this is that my triceps become too sore after doing big chest lifts like the bench press. Usually after that, I began to notice that my tricep lift numbers were going down rapidly.  I could see some people having success with this method of lifting weights but I felt that it just was not for me.

I usually do shoulders and legs on one day because that way it is sort of an easier day for me overall. You might see some people train one body part relentlessly and see results, which can happen. But they could be growing their muscles at a much faster rate if they were not so stubborn and used a split routine throughout the week.

The most common split is usually chest and biceps one day, triceps and back the next day, and then shoulders and legs the third day.  If you are trying to cut weight or lose body fat you want to remember that some cardio may be thrown into these days as well.

Another thing that is great about a split routine as you’re not always left having one body part sore all the time instead you kind of split up the work load between all areas of muscles of your body. Trust me, your body will thank you for it.