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Your New Year's Workout
By Michael Berg, NSCA-CPT
12/30/2013 3:26:00 PM  
The Hard & Fast Workout

Already in good shape? Don't let that stop you from resolving to get in even better shape in 2014! Here's a hardcore 7-day training plan that will jump-start your strength-gaining, muscle-building and fat-burning progress like never before! (For Intermediate-to Advanced-level Athletes)

Let's face it, anyone can make a resolution. Sometimes it's the post-party hangover talking, but people make themselves big promises: They'll start eating healthy. They'll lose pounds of fat. They'll build the strong, muscular body they always wanted.

Then mid-January arrives. Health clubs across the country, just two weeks before filled to capacity, start to empty out. By February, it's mostly back to the regulars, who never abandoned their posts — plus a few new faces whose steely determination has kept them from sliding backward into the abyss of broken resolutions.

But what about those who take training seriously, no matter what new digits we find atop the calendar? We want to kick things into high gear too, and since we have plenty of experience under our belts (though perhaps a couple extra holiday pounds), we can handle a training program that's more challenging than your typical Start-the-New-Year-Off-Right plan.

Enter the Inbox Fitness approach to meeting 2014 head-on. How about an intense week-long training plan that tests your mettle, jolts you past any workout rut you might currently find yourself in, and jams your progress into overdrive?

The following plan, as you've now been warned, is far from easy. It's a challenging concoction of high-impact power movements, CrossFit exercises and time-tested muscle-building fare. And they all come with a twist — variations in rep speed and a timing element that throws out the typical "sets and reps" approach.

Intrigued? Then try our workout plan. It's worthy of a New Year's Resolution made by all of you who embrace fitness ... not as merely a passing thought at the turn of every year, but a 24/7, 365-day commitment.

Instructions: Do the following three workouts on three consecutive days, then take one day of rest and repeat. On all three days, perform three sets of each exercise listed, or two sets if it's a "super-slow" series.

So, for instance, on the first day, you'll do three 45-second sets of bent-over rows, choosing a weight that will lead to failure by the end of that timeframe. (This will admittedly take some trial and error; if you fail sooner, drop the weight and continue). During the third 30-second rest period, you'll quickly move on to the next exercise, narrow-grip pulldowns.

In addition to the 30-minute workout time, you should also do a 5-10 minute warm-up before and 5-10 minute cool-down after, on the cardio machine of your choice. Just make sure to break a sweat — a warm-up is not a waiting-period, it is work.

The "speed" component tells you how fast to perform your reps. "Explosive" means a strong, fast move on the "up" phase, followed by a standard 2-to-4 second negative. "Standard" style is 2-3 seconds on the concentric (lifting) portion of the rep, and 2-4 on the eccentric (i.e., negative). And "super-slow" means you want to take 8-10 seconds on the concentric phase and 4-6 seconds on the descent. A note: While you'll watch the time, always finish the last rep you've started before terminating a set. Measure your progress by how much weight you can handle with perfect form.

As for cardio, add a long run (3 miles or more) on at least two days, and 30-45 minutes of interval training (all-out sprints interspersed with slower speeds) on three.

Because this week-long training protocol is physically and psychologically intensive, you won't want to do it week after week, or you may quickly find yourself in an overtrained state. Instead, depending on your fitness level, you may want to follow this with a lighter week of cardio workouts and toned-back weight training sessions before returning to your regular routine. But when you do return to your usual program, you will be tougher, stronger, leaner and, most certainly, resolved!

Day 1: Upper Body
Exercise Work / Rest (Seconds) Speed
Bent-Over Barbell Row 45/30 Standard
Narrow-Grip Pulldown to Front 30/30 Explosive
Hammer-Strength Row 60/30 Super-Slow
Smith-Machine Incline Press 30/30 Explosive
Standing Barbell Press 30/30 Explosive
EZ-Bar Upright Row 45/30 Standard
Cable Crossover 60/30 Super-Slow
Close-Grip Bench Press 30/30 Explosive
Standing Barbell Curl 45/30 Standard
Total Time: 29.25 minutes
Day 2: Lower Body
Exercise Work / Rest (Seconds) Speed
Walking Dumbbell Lunge 45/30 Standard
Barbell Squat 30/30 Explosive
Hack Squat 30/30 Explosive
Leg Extension 60/30 Super-Slow
Romanian Deadlift 45/30 Standard
Kettlebell Swing* 30/30 Explosive
Burpees* 45/30 Standard
Box Jumps* 30/30 Explosive
Standing Calf Raise 60/30 Super-Slow
Total Time: 29.25 minutes
Day 3: Power & Core
Exercise Work / Rest (Seconds) Speed
Hang Clean* 30/30 Explosive
Deadlift 45/30 Standard
Hang Power Snatch* 30/30 Explosive
Kipping Pull-Up* 30/30 Explosive
V-Up 45/30 Standard
Hanging Leg Raise 45/30 Standard
Decline Twisting Crunch with Medicine Ball 45/30 Standard
Ab Crunch Machine 60/30 Super-Slow
Back Extension 60/30 Super-Slow
Total Time: 30.00 minutes

* The starred exercises are meant to be Cross Fitness/WOD-style; for a primer on how to perform them, check out CrossFit.com.


Currently rated 4.7 by 12 people

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Professional Strength!
By Michael Berg, NSCA-CPT
9/18/2013 10:15:00 AM  
Professional Strength

A Hard-hitting Sports Performance Workout Even Pros Can Win With

Sports conditioning has come along way from the days when coaches and athletes actively avoided weight training for fear of becoming slow and less agile. Today's sports science completely embraces weight training as an absolutely essential component of every successful athlete's conditioning program. The only question that remains is: Which is the best sports performance workout? For most athletes at any level of play, I think the program below just might be the answer. It's not easy, but winning rarely is.

With the adoption of strength training by so many types of athletes, thousands of different workout regimens have been developed, ranging from highly-effective to practically useless (and sometimes even flat-out dangerous).

I have used the workout plan included here with great success, and I believe it is truly one of the best sports performance workout programs you will ever try — it is also one of the most challenging. This regimen emphasizes every possible area that is required to be trained in order to enhance overall performance. If you're unsure how to perform any of the movements, I have videos of most of them on YouTube so you can see proper exercise technique.

Performance can be defined differently for just about anyone. Some may see improving performance as being better at a particular sport, while some may see it as being better at simply walking up a flight stairs. In this particular case I am using the term performance to describe those who would like to be able to do just about any type of strenuous physical feat easily. If you want to improve your game, whether it's mud runs, jumping sports, field sports or anything that requires athleticism, then this is the workout plan for you.

This program is design to be done on five consecutive days followed by two days of rest. If your schedule or physical ability requires, you can insert a rest day after two or three workout days, and then resume with the workout plan for the remaining two or three days of the cycle, then take another day off. This workout plan is hardcore, but follow it for at least four weeks before making any changes, and you'll be on track to achieving world-class sport performance conditioning.

Day 1
Exercise Sets Reps Muscle
Machine Leg Press (both legs) 1 20 Legs
Adductor Side Steps 1 20 Legs
Standing Shoulder Press (both arms - with band) 1 30 Shoulders
SUPER-SET THE FOLLOWING 2 EXERCISES
Jump Squat 2 10 Legs
Box Jumps 2 12 Plyometrics
Barbell Deadlift 4 3 Legs
Power Clean 4 3 Olympic Lifts
Barbell Squat 5 8 Legs
Barbell Straight Legged Deadlift (with band) 3 8 Legs
SUPER-SET THE FOLLOWING 2 EXERCISES
Seated On Bench Barbell Military Press (with band) 4 8 Shoulders
Standing Dumbbell Side Raise (both arms) 4 6 Shoulders
Standing Barbell Upright Row 4 8 Shoulders
Laying on Ball Abdominal Crunches with a Twist (using band) 3 30 Abs
Russian Twists 3 15 Abs
Day 2
Exercise Sets Reps Muscle
Barbell Bench Press on Bench (with band)Super-Set With 2 25 Chest
SUPER-SET THE FOLLOWING 2 EXERCISES
One-arm Standing Chest Fly (with band) 1 20 Chest
Jump Rope 1 30 Cardio
SUPER-SET THE FOLLOWING 2 EXERCISES
Barbell Bench Press on Bench 4 8 Chest
Dumbbell Bench Press on Bench (both arms) 4 10 Chest
Jump Rope 1 30 Cardio
SUPER-SET THE FOLLOWING 2 EXERCISES
Standing Mid-cable Flyes (alternating arms) 3 12 Chest
Medicine Ball Push-Ups 3 15 Chest
Dips 3 15 Chest
Standing One-Arm High-Bicep Curls 3 12 Arms
Standing Kickbacks (both arms - with band) 3 12 Arms
Standing Cable Triceps Extension (both arms) 3 10 Arms
Standing Biceps Curl Dumbbell (alternating arms - with band) 3 15 Arms
V-Ups (with no equipment) 3 20 Abs
Prone Iso Abs (on ball) 3 30 Abs
Laying on Ball Abdominal Crunches (with hands by head - using band) 3 30 Abs
Day 3
Exercise Sets Reps Muscle
Adductor Side Steps 5 10 Legs
Step Ups Alternating Legs 1 20 Legs
Box Jumps 1 20 Plyometrics
Jump Rope 1 60 Cardio
Hang Clean 3 2 Olympic Lifts
Barbell Overhead Squat 3 5 Legs
Barbell Front Squat (with band) 3 10 Legs
Prone Machine Leg Curl (both legs) 2 20 Legs
Laying On Ground Dumbbell Prone Cobras 3 12 Back
Barbell Bent Over Wide Grip Rows (both arms) 3 6 Back
Seated On Bench Cable Lat Pulldowns (one arm) 3 8 Back
Jump Rope 1 60 Cardio
V-Ups (with wo equipment) 3 15 Abs
Laying on Ground Abdominal Crunches (feet up, hands straight up) 4 30 Abs
Prone Iso Abs (feet on ground, arms on ball) 3 30 Abs
Day 4
Exercise Sets Reps Muscle
Seated On Ball Dumbbell Military Press (seated on ball - both arms)Super-Set With 4 8 Shoulders
SUPER-SET THE FOLLOWING 2 EXERCISES
Standing Side Raise(alternating arms - with band) 4 12 Shoulders
Barrel Throws (with band) 4 10 Shoulders
SUPER-SET THE FOLLOWING 2 EXERCISES
Standing Cable Front Raise (both arms) 4 10 Shoulders
Standing Cable Upright Row (both arms) 4 12 Shoulders
Standing Dumbbell Full-Range Side Raise (alternating arms) 4 6 Shoulders
Machine Military Press (alternating arms) 3 10 Shoulders
Standing Bicep Curl Barbell (both arms) 4 12 Arms
Standing Triceps Extension (with both arms - using band) 4 15 Arms
Laying on Ball Bar Tricep Extension (with both arms - using band) 3 10 Arms
Standing Preacher Curls (one arm at a time) 3 25 Arms
Seated on Ball Bicep Curl (using band - with both arms behind) 3 15 Arms
Barbell Close Grip Bench Press (with bands) 1 20 Chest
Laying on Ground Abdominal Crunches Feet Up, Hands Straight Up (with band) 4 30 Abs
Day 5
Exercise Sets Reps Muscle
Jump Rope 3 30 Cardio
Adductor Side Steps 3 10 Legs
Standing Squat (with band) 4 12 Legs
Reverse Hamstring Curl (with band) 2 8 Legs
Barbell Squat (with ball) 3 8 Legs
SUPER-SET THE FOLLOWING 2 EXERCISES
Barbell Incline Bench Press on Bench (with band) 2 15 Chest
One-arm Standing Incline Chest Fly (with band) 2 15 Chest
SUPER-SET THE FOLLOWING 2 EXERCISES
Barbell Incline Bench Press (on bench) 3 4 Chest
Jump Rope 1 30 Cardio
SUPER-SET THE FOLLOWING 2 EXERCISES
Standard Grip Push-ups (feet on ball) 3 12 Chest
Wide Grip Push Ups (feet on ball) 3 12 Chest
Standing High Cable Chest Press (both arms) 3 8 Chest
Standing High Cable Flys (both arms) 3 10 Chest
SUPER-SET THE FOLLOWING 2 EXERCISES
V-Ups with No Equipment 3 15 Abs
Laying on Ball Abdominal Crunches - Hands Straight Up (with band) 3 20 Abs

Currently rated 4.6 by 7 people

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THE UPPER CHEST CURE
By Michael Berg, NSCA-CPT
9/11/2013 9:50:00 AM  
Upper Chest Cure

If you suffer from weak, shallow upper pectorals, this workout may be the perfect remedy.

Consider it the curse of the bench press: The popularity of benching through the ages has resulted in countless aspiring bodybuilders with large, meaty middle pecs, topped by a lagging upper chest.

If this describes you, not to worry. There is a fix, in the form of a training strategy aimed at adding size, thickness and definition to the upper chest area. It just requires a change of strategy, and a willingness to push yourself, lifting heavy and maximizing your intensity in every workout.

First, a quick review. The pectorals are fan-shaped muscles on each side of your upper torso. For training purposes, it's helpful to consider them as three different areas: the upper, middle and lower pecs, which all can be emphasized depending on your exercise selection. As you'd intuitively expect, incline movements hit the upper, flat-bench moves target the middle, and decline exercises emphasize the lower.

One common mistake is trying to do too much when training chest. This happens when you're only hitting pecs once per week, cramming in incline, flat and decline pressing moves into that one session. Do that, and you may be limiting your body's ability to develop.

That's where an upper-leaning program comes in handy. Try splitting your chest workouts into two sessions, starting the week with the following upper-chest workout, then coming back three or so days later for a session populated by flat and decline-based exercises.

The following upper-pec workout starts out with the incline bench, since the start of your session is when you're strongest and best able to recruit the "fast-twitch" muscle fibers — responsible for your short bursts of strength, those are the type that have the potential to grow the biggest and strongest.

Push as much weight as possible for the regular incline bench, pyramiding up the weight each set, down to three reps on the last set. The rest of the program includes supersets (two exercises done back to back with no rest in between), while the final movement is a reverse-grip incline bench press. Go to muscle failure with this exercise, which has been shown in research to hit up to 30 percent more of the upper-pec muscle fibers than any other barbell, dumbbell or machine incline option. It's a killer finisher that will ensure your upper chest has no choice but to step up and grow.

The Plan The Upper-Pec Focused Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Incline Press 8 25, 20, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 3
Dumbbell Incline Presssuperset with 3 6
Dumbbell Incline Flye 3 10
High Cable Crossoversuperset with 3 12
High Cable Chest Press 3 12
Reverse-Grip Incline Barbell Press 1 30

Currently rated 5 by 5 people

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Womens Upper Body Workout
By Michael Berg, NSCA-CPT
9/11/2013 8:25:00 AM  
Women's Upper Body Workout

An upper-body workout for women who want to sculpt an athletic body while burning serious fat.

What's the most powerful tool in the gym for stripping away body fat? The treadmill? Elliptical? Stair climber?

Actually, none of the above.

Surprisingly to some, the best, most efficient way to lose unwanted pounds is not through cardio workouts at all. The best weapon in the war on fat is resistance training, using plain old barbells, dumbbells and machines.

Of course, cardio exercise can burn calories, but only during the time you're training, plus a bit of a metabolic boost that continues afterward. Not bad. Now consider the muscles of your body, which — get this — burn fat and calories 24/7. Whether you're sleeping or awake, your own lean muscle tissue is working hard for you, like a metabolic engine that never takes a break.

That's where resistance training comes in. For every pound of muscle you build, you burn that many more calories, not to mention give shape and definition to your body in all the places you want it.

If you haven't put in enough time in the weight room lately, and far too many hours on your favorite cardio machine, it's time to flip the script. Save cardio for 15-30 minute bursts here and there throughout the week, but put your focus squarely on lifting, aiming for at least four workouts a week of 45 minutes to an hour in duration.

One oft-used strategy is to split the body into upper- and lower-body workouts. For instance, you can do the upper body workout here Mondays and Thursdays, and a lower-body workout on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In just a few months, you'll be well on your way to a leaner, stronger body ... with less need for that old trusty treadmill after all.

The Plan
Body Part Exercise Sets Reps
Back Pulldown to Front 4 10-15
Back Standing Rope Cable Row 3 10-15
Shoulders Standing Dumbbell Press 4 10-15
Shoulders Cable Lateral Raise 3 12-20
Chest Incline Dumbbell Press 3 10-15
Chest Pec-Deck Flye 2 12-20
Biceps Standing Curl (straight bar) 5 12-20
Triceps One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension 4 12-20
Core Back Extension 4 25
Core Double Crunch 4 20

Currently rated 4.6 by 5 people

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Triceps
By Michael Berg, NSCA-CPT
8/22/2013 7:53:00 AM  
Triceps Workout

Add serious power to push, and size to your arms with this balanced and brutal triceps workout.

Don't get us wrong, we have nothing against biceps. We want powerful bi's that rise from our arms like mountains when we train, just like you do.

The problem is, for pure upper arm power and mass, biceps are only one-third of the equation. The other more significant part is the meaty, horseshoe-shaped muscle on the back of your upper arm, the one that allows you to straighten your elbow.

A three-headed muscle, the triceps is best developed using a variety of exercises, employing different grip styles and upper arm positions to call upon each fiber and maximizing the inches you can add.

The following workout is a comprehensive plan of attack, meant to be done once or twice a week. For each set, select a challenging weight and push for 12 reps — using rest/pause (resting for a few seconds after failure in order to continue) and forced reps if you have a spotter to reach that target.

Triceps Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Close-Grip Bench Press 4 12
* Lying EZ-Bar Triceps Extension 4 12
One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension 3 12
Parallel Bar Dip (with body upright) 3 12
Cable Rope Pressdownsuperset with 2 12
Reverse-Grip Straight-Bar Pulldown 2 12

* Use an adjustable bench set to the lowest (slight) incline.


Currently rated 4.9 by 7 people

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Five Ways To Motivate Now
By Michael Berg, NSCA-CPT
7/24/2013 11:44:00 AM  

Shift your mindset from "want-to-do" to "can-do" with these motivational strategies.

Five Ways To Motivate Now
"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow."

That Mark Twain quote is pithy, a perfect representation of the topic of procrastination. It's also proof positive that I dawdled way too long in writing this article. After all, just do a quick Google search for procrastination quotes and it'll pop up right near the very top of the list. It's a cheap shortcut, an old writer's trick that no good editor would fall for.

And it's a perfect metaphor, showing why you need to quit delaying your fitness pursuits, before you end up in a very similar situation — scrambling last-minute to make up for all that time you wasted.

Truth be told, writing a few hundred words is a heck of a lot easier than sculpting an athletic, rock-hard physique. The former takes hours, while the latter takes months, often years of dedicated effort. In other words, waiting costs you, and unlike my writing conundrum, no quick search on the internet can instantly restore your lost opportunity.

What we can offer you, however, is help. So, without another second of delay, here are five key tips you can use to stop stalling and start accomplishing today.

  1. Check your diet

    Can your procrastination stem from low blood sugar? At least one study suggests it's possible. According to research out of Florida State University published in 2007, "self-control failures are more likely when (blood) glucose (levels are) low or cannot be mobilized effectively to the brain, i.e. when insulin is low or insensitive." The self-control behaviors include the ability to maintain attention, regulate emotions and cope with stress. Or, with just a slight extrapolation, your ability to avoid temptation in your diet and stay the course when it comes time to train.

    If your hunger is strong, blunt it with a quality snack, anything from egg whites to veggies to a piece of fruit. Also strive to have a small meal every two to three hours throughout the day, avoiding long stretches of starvation, which tends to prompt fat storage while wreaking havoc on your hormones.

  2. Spell out your goals and a specific plan to get there

    Of course, this advice is obvious — those who have a destination in mind are more apt to arrive in a timely manner with a specific roadmap in hand. Knowing what to eat, when to eat it, and what exactly you'll be doing in the gym every day is critical to success. (Keeping a log of your diet and training, and reviewing it often to note what's working and what doesn't, will also pay off, by the way.)

    But there's more to the idea of putting your program on autopilot. You see, research has shown that, when we're faced with lots of choices and decisions, our self-control takes a hit. So, if we're constantly deciding on what we need to do next as far as eating and exercise — instead of having a detailed plan in place — it "depletes the same resource used for self-control and active responding," according to a 2008 study out of the University of Minnesota published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

    Specifically, the study cited diminished physical stamina, reduced persistence in the face of failure, and more procrastination among those asked to make choices (in the study participant's case, among college courses and consumer goods). Sure, we can't avoid decision-making altogether, but we can certainly make it easier by plotting out our actions in advance.

  3. Avoid negative distractions

    Most missteps in fitness regimens are situational in nature — in other words, those who made a bad decision had put themselves in jeopardy. After all, you're the one who brought the cookies in the house (or didn't toss them when cleaning out the cupboards). You put off the trip to the club instead of carving out an adequate amount of time for training during the day. And you chose the friends who are heckling you to go out for a few drinks instead of heading home to your waiting chicken breast and broccoli dinner.

    Don't give temptation an invitation. Take evasive actions ahead of time. When it comes to your meals and your hour of dedicated gym time, schedule them on your calendar as if it was a work meeting or dentist appointment. You wouldn't consider simply skipping out on your dental cleaning or a face-to-face with your boss at the last minute — so why would you not give the same priority to something so important to you as your fitness aims?

  4. Start early

    By the end of the day, our energy flags. The stress compounds as our duties and obligations pile ever higher. At a certain point, you may just feel like shrugging off the gym and promising yourself to attack the weights "twice as hard" tomorrow.

    If that's a typical scenario, you may want to take a page out of a motivational expert's playbook, and tackle your most important tasks at sunrise. In other words, hit the gym first thing in the morning, before the stress of the day has a chance to derail you.

    By the way, this advice holds true for anything important you need to get done — by knocking off the hardest, most vital tasks first, you begin with a sense of accomplishment instead of letting your "to-do" list grow unwieldy and overwhelming. In other words, "Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small," in the words of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu.

  5. Small steps add up

    The Great Pyramid of Giza is composed of 2.3 million blocks of limestone and granite, each one set by hand, one by one (that is, unless you're into the "space alien" theory). The lesson resonates across the centuries — you can't build anything of value and substance in one fell swoop, but one brick at a time.

    When it comes to your physique, that means changing one part of your diet at a time if it's too intimidating to do a full turnaround immediately. Small steps could mean first cutting back on sugar, then making sure each day you begin with a high-protein low-fat breakfast. Next, you could start splitting your food into six or seven meals throughout the day. Introduce healthy foods to your diet one at a time. Make a pact to have a lean protein and veggie at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Same goes for your training. If you're not ready for full workouts, start each morning with sets of push-ups and crunches. Institute a slow-paced 10-minute jog, and up it by a minute each time out. Over the months, before you know it, you'll be well on your way to building an inspiring edifice of your own.

Sources
Gailliot MT, Baumeister RF. "The physiology of willpower: linking blood glucose to self-control." Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2007 Nov;11(4):303-27.
Vohs KD, Baumeister RF, Schmeichel BJ, Twenge JM, Nelson NM, Tice DM.
"Making choices impairs subsequent self-control: a limited-resource account of decision making, self-regulation, and active initiative. "J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 May;94(5):883-98.


Currently rated 5 by 3 people

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Hard Core
By Michael Berg, NSCA-CPT
7/3/2013 7:53:00 AM  
Hard Core

Crunch your way to a killer midsection, with the help of this underappreciated abdominal exercise.

No-crunch abs! Whether a headline on your favorite fitness magazine or an infomercial touting workouts free of crunching exercises, it seems this old standby move has fallen on hard times.

It makes us wonder, just what is so wrong with the crunch anyway? After all, it is one of the most efficient and effective bodyweight exercises in existence. With little in the way of wasted motion, each rep shortens the distance between your pelvis and rib cage, directly targeting your abs.

In our view, no ab routine is complete without at least some variations on this fundamental body-transforming move. In that spirit, we've created the following routine, which targets your entire ab region, including the upper and lower rectus abdominis and the obliques that flank it. Each move save one includes a crunching motion at its core.

Exercise
Target Exercise Sets Reps
Lower Abs Hanging Leg Raise 3 15
Lower Abs Reverse Crunch 2 20
Upper Abs Cable Crunch 3 15
Upper Abs Crunch 2 20
Obliques Decline Twisting Crunch 3 20
Core Plank 2 30-60 sec

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High-Impact Arm Workout
By Michael Berg, NSCA-CPT
3/11/2013 4:02:00 PM  

HIGH-IMPACT ARMS
Build an amazing biceps peak by hitting it from every angle in this muscle-bombing workout.

The typical biceps routine goes something like this. It starts with standing barbell curls, followed by seated or standing dumbbell curls, perhaps topped with a preacher curl. Sometimes, you may toss in a machine or low-cable curl for good measure. That should about cover it, right?

Actually, wrong. While every exercise mentioned is a solid choice, sticking to these favorites leaves out a critical angle needed for the complete, full biceps you're working so hard to forge.

"an oversight that can cost you inches in your peak."

That's because all of those moves keep the elbows in a similar position, either at your sides or just a bit forward if on the preacher bench. In none of them do you bring your upper arms all the way up so that they're parallel with the floor as you rep.

It's an oversight that can cost you inches in your peak. As with all muscle groups, the more angles you can hit it from, the more thoroughly you stimulate all the possible muscle fibers.

The following biceps workout corrects the omission, incorporating the high-cable curl. Known in bodybuilding circles as the "double-biceps" curl, since you're basically doing a front-double biceps pose against resistance, it may just be the missing piece you need for the ultimate peak.

Do it right: Stand in the center of a cable machine, feet staggered for balance, a D handle attached to the high pulleys on each side. Grasp a handle in each hand and raise your upper arms to a position parallel with the floor, elbows extended. From here, powerfully contract your biceps to bring the handles toward your ears, flexing hard and holding the peak position for one count before slowly re-extending your elbow. Repeat, not allowing the weight stacks to touch down between reps.

All-Angle Biceps Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Barbell Curl 5 15, 12, 10, 8, 6
Alternating Dumbbell Curl 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Cross Body Dumbbell Hammer Curl 3 12, 10, 8
High Cable Curl 3 15, 12, 10
Preacher Machine Curl 3 10, 10, 10

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Increase Your Strength and Sports Performance
By Michael Berg, NSCA-CPT
12/5/2012 2:45:00 PM  

BUILDING YOUR LEAN MACHINE
Want an athletic body? Train like an athlete! This performance-focused workout regimen is crafted to optimize your strength, agility and muscle mass.

Sometimes in life, we make things too complicated. It's even more pronounced a problem in fitness circles, where people tend to stumble through unfocused, kitchen-sink-style training sessions that aren't keyed into their actual goals.

Take the person who either (a) wants to improve their general athleticism or (b) wants to build the lean, muscular body worthy of an Olympian. To achieve that aim, it's key to attack it with an expertly-focused routine that improves your physicality on multiple levels. In other words, you'll jump higher, run faster, lift more and look more muscular than ever after just a month of this all-around program.

Whether getting ready for a marathon, mud run, softball season, or just your next sprint up the stairs, you'll be ready for the challenge.

Note: Do the following five workouts each week, inserting two days of rest as dictated by your recovery needs or personal schedule.

Workout No. 1
Exercise Muscle Sets Reps
Leg Press Legs 1 20
Adductor Side Steps Legs 1 20
Standing Barbell Press Shoulders 1 30
Jump Squatsuperset with Legs 2 10
Box Jumps Plyometrics/legs 2 12
Barbell Deadlift Legs 4 3
Barbell Power Clean Full Body 4 3
Barbell Squat Legs 5 8
Barbell Straight Legged Deadlift Legs 3 8
Seated Barbell Presssuperset with Shoulders 4 8
Dumbbell Lateral Raise Shoulders 4 6
Standing Barbell Upright Row Shoulders 4 8
Swiss Ball Twisting Crunch Abdominals 3 30
Russian Twists Abdominals 3 15
Workout No. 2
Exercise Muscle Sets Reps
Barbell Bench Presssuperset with Chest 2 25
Dumbbell Flye Chest 1 20
Jump Rope Cardio 1 30 sec.
Barbell Incline Presssuperset with Chest 4 8
Dumbbell Incline Flye Chest 4 10
Jump Rope Cardio 1 30 sec.
Cable Crossoversuperset with Chest 3 12
Medicine Ball Push-Ups Chest 3 15
Parallel Bar Dip Chest 3 15
High-Cable Biceps Curl Biceps 3 12
Dumbbell Kickback Triceps 3 12
Cable Pushdown Triceps 3 10
Alternating Dumbbell Curl Biceps 3 15
V-Up Abs 3 20
Plank Abs 3 30 sec.
Swiss-Ball Crunch Abs 3 30
Workout No. 3
Exercise Muscle Sets Reps
Adductor Side Step with Band on Feet Legs 5 10
Alternating Dumbbell Step-Up Legs 1 20
Box Jumps Plyometrics 1 20
Jump Rope Cardio 1 60 sec.
Barbell Hang Clean Olympic Lifts 3 2
Barbell Overhead Squat Legs 3 5
Barbell Front Squat Legs 3 10
Lying Leg Curl Legs 2 20
Wide-Grip Bent-Over Barbell Row Back 3 6
Seated One-Arm Lat Pulldown Back 3 8
Jump Rope Cardio 1 60
V-Up Abs 3 15
Feet-Up Crunch Abs 4 30
Swiss-Ball Plank Abs 3 30 sec.
Workout No. 4
Exercise Muscle Sets Reps
Swiss-Ball Dumbbell Presssuperset with Shoulders 4 8
Alternating Dumbbell Lateral Raise Shoulders 4 12
Explosive EZ-Bar Upright Rowsuperset with Shoulders 4 10
Cable Front Raise Shoulders 4 10
Standing Cable Upright Row Both Arms Shoulders 4 12
Dumbbell Overhead Lateral Raise Shoulders 4 6
Seated Machine Press (Alternating Arms) Shoulders 3 10
Standing Barbell Curl Biceps 4 12
Overhead Triceps Cable Extension Triceps 4 15
Lying EZ-Bar Extension on Swiss Ball Triceps 3 10
One-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl Biceps 3 25
Swiss-Ball Alternating Dumbbell Curl Biceps 3 15
Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press Triceps 1 20
Crunches (arms overhead) Abs 4 30
Workout No. 5
Exercise Muscle Sets Reps
Jump Rope Cardio 3 30
Adductor Side Step with Band on Feet Legs 3 10
Barbell Squat Legs 4 12
Seated Hamstring Curl Legs 2 8
Wall Squat Legs 3 8
Incline Barbell Presssuperset with Chest 2 15
Incline Dumbbell Flye Chest 2 15
Barbell Incline Bench Press On Bench Chest 3 4
Jump Rope Cardio 1 30
Push-up (feet on Swiss ball)superset with Chest 3 12
Wide-Grip Push-Ups (feet on ball) Chest 3 12
Machine Chest Press Chest 3 8
High-Angle Cable Crossover Chest 3 10
V-Up Abs 3 15
Swiss-Ball Crunch (hands overhead) Abs 3 20

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