Building Muscle For Bulk Is Un-sexy/ Build ‘Ripped’ Muscles Instead

May 24, 2010 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Building Muscle…

That is the name of the game, regardless of what your overall goal is. But the fact of the matter is this,

You want to be noticed!

If you deny that fact then you are lying to yourself.

I can admit that I build muscle for my own personal agenda, which is

  1. To look and feel great
  2. To look great in the clothes that I’d like to wear
  3. To be strong (Nothing better than a powerful hand shake)

But I also like a bit of attention too. I’m not going to sit here and state the opposite, as that would be far from the truth.

So how do you get noticed?

By focusing on getting ripped, instead of building muscle for bulk.

How To Stand Out And Why Ripped Muscles Stand Out More

Any one can build decent sized muscle (With a bit of dedication – And some assistance with steroids) and anyone can throw on a wife beater vest to give the impression of a ‘muscle man’.

I say…

Cliché, cliché, cliché!!!!

Since that is the case, you will want to stand out from the crowd with your muscles. Most people can build bulky muscles. But once you get to a certain size, it can just pass for fat.

”I thought this game was about building muscle”

So did I. Hence the first line introduction of this post!

And the folks who build a body like that are just blending in with the masses. Don’t let that be you this summer!

That is why you need to be focusing on getting ‘ripped’. If you are a hardgainer, getting ripped won’t be a problem, as you are already building muscle from bone. That is already conquered territory. Your pain point is,

How do I build bulkier muscle? (And no… you are not contradicting yourself here!)

However, that does not mean you can stop focusing on getting cut!

This site does cater for the hardgainer, first and foremost. But I also know that some of you are trying to build muscle for bulk, even though you may not be a hardgainer yourself. (The many different body types of the human race) If so… focus on getting ripped!

”But Shaun, If I focus on ‘just getting ripped’ I will have less muscle mass and people may still perceive me as a skinny guy!”

Depending on how you dress!

Remember my tailor made wardrobe post? If not go read it.

Why Hardgainer Bodybuilders Need Tailor-made Wardrobes

But for the sake of you new readers, the point I made in that post is that you need to start wearing clothes that compliment your body. When you do, you won’t have to worry about people perceiving you as a skinny guy. Now… here’s the point I’m trying to make.

HAVING RIPPED (SMALLER MUSCLES) WILL ACTUALLY MAKE YOU ‘LOOK’ BIGGER WHEN YOUR MUSCLES ARE ON DISPLAY.

Your chiseled body will look more like a work of art

than just some 1980’s pumped up beastly figure…. those guys just look cliché. I see them everywhere and my reaction is the same everytime ”Ahhh… ANOTHER one of those”

Now I may have stated ‘smaller’ muscles, but that does not have to be the case. Remember the 8 famous body types post?

If not, go and read that too.

8 Great Famous Bodybuilding Bodies From 8 of Your Favorite Sports (Unisex)

If you take a look at all of those body types, you’ll notice that you can have both.

Bulk and Cut.

The secret to having both is by cutting out excessive fats in your diet. Yes, you will need to eat fat, in order to burn it. But you will want to keep it under control. For some great food combos check out these posts.

Killer Foods for Fitness (part 1)

The Ultimate ‘Done For You’ Bodybuilding Regime (INDIAN)

The Ultimate ‘Done For You’ Bodybuilding Regime (THAI)

 

If you really want to put the icing on the cake (without the cake) then get yourself some great looking skin. Dry, flakey or dull skin is another thing that will make your body look ‘just average’.

Tip 1


Lay off the alcohol. Yes… I know a whopping 50% of you like to drink… my self included. But alcohol will dehydrate your skin, which overtime, will leave it looking dull. It will age you too. So drink with moderation (Don’t stop drinking! It is a part of bodybuilding lifestyle fun – which you know I like to encourage)

Tip 2

Just look after your skin with great products.

Read this post to learn how Bugmeister Shaun keeps his skin funky fresh!

How to Develop Great Bodybuilder Skin

I’m going to reveal my lady magnet secret fragrance, for those of you who want to smell good too.

Tom Ford Black Orchid Hydrating Emulsion – 150ml/5oz

Yes… it is a body lotion.

Ever since receiving this as a birthday present last April, I’ve attracted ladies of ALL ages. And man, do I love it! But I also like to share 😛

If you want in on some of the lady attention this summer, then pick up this undercover gem of a body lotion (Which has a more powerful scent than many of the top expensive fragrances out there)

Why Is It Undercover?

Because the smell isn’t too pleasant when you first crack it open. But once you ‘wear it’, the game changes.

I’m onto my 2nd tub in less than a year and the attention is not letting up!

The formula for a great bodybuilding summer

  • Ripped muscles
  • great looking skin
  • great smelling skin

Women Like A Ripped Body Too

As you can see from above, women like a man that looks good. 6 pac abs and all. But mega sized muscles may intimidate some ladies… so, your ripped muscles will cater to more of the masses, which in turn might make you more approachable. Most importantly, you’ll be the first to catch these ladies attention over your fat muscled counterparts.

If you are a woman reading this article, the same applies to you, but with a little twist. I’m talking about becoming a sexy lady bodybuilder.

Why You Should Get Your Girl To Be A ‘Sexy’ Bodybuilder

  • Fitness model
  • Figure competitor
  • Female Bodybuilder

Taking up any one of these will make you stand out from the crowd amongst the many sexy women on this planet we call Earth. If it is attention that you seek AND you manage to build a body like those mentioned in the above article, just be ready to fight off men . Because they’ll come at you in HORDES!

To Conclude

This post may seem like advice on how to get attention. But it is not.

The goal here is to help you build a body that you will be overly happy with. A body that beats even your own expectations of what you may perceive as great. Once you do that, you will get attention, yes. But it will be for the right reasons.

  1. Modelling agents will take notice
  2. Career opportunities will arise

To keep it brief.

And of course, attention from women/ men

Now do yourself a favour and get ripped!

What body type do you have?

Are your muscles ripped, like the way I have described above?

See you in the comments.

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How To Build Muscle Mass With A High Metabolism?

September 14, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

gain muscle on skinny man

It’s been a ride so far here at stayfitbug.com and I have covered many topics, many of which have been suggested by readers like yourselves and those in other online communities. One of the biggest topics has been ‘how to build muscle mass with a high metabolism’. I have covered this topic through out various posts in the last few weeks, but the information is scattered across the site, so I intend to make this a bible post for all of you skinny men out there. I will help you get that muscle and I will make it my duty that you achieve from the information you pick up from stayfitbug.com!

You are what you eat

This we all know, but when you suffer, or should I say, when you are ‘blessed’ with a high metabolism, you just have to eat more. And these are the foods you will want to include in your diet.

  • Spinach – This is muscle fuel and will help repair muscles after working out (but you have to eat loads of it)
  • Pineapple and papaya – Will help speed up muscle recovery and will help breakdown and digest protein.
  • Salmon – Or any other type of fish will help you (Especially for cardio training).
  • Pasta and meat sauce – Is good for building and repairing muscle.
  • Pork tenderloin – Will help reduce fat around your waist.
  • Cold water – Will help with endurance.
  • Chocolate milk – Helps with hydration. Chocolate milk gives the perfect balance of carbs, protein, and fat for a speedy muscle recovery.
  • Coffee – Good for pain relief after workouts.
  • Green tea – Good for muscle recovery.

Other great additions

  • Peanuts
  • Turkey
  • Porridge
  • Brown bread
  • Brown rice
  • Black beans
  • Potatoes
  • Eggs

If you are lost for what meals to include, have a read of killer foods for fitness (one and two).  That is still in it’s early stages and you will see more of killer foods for fitness, but in the mean time see my verdict on this book ‘Gourmet Nutrition’.

The high metabolism meal plan
Good male nutrition

In one of my very early posts I described how to eat in the early days of building muscle for mass, and this is how you should structure your daily meals.

  • Meal 1. A GOOD breakfast like porridge with bread mixed in.
  • Meal 2. Drink a gainer meal
  • Meal 3. Lunch with a lot of carbs 2/3 and 1/3 proteins
  • Meal 4. Drink a Gainer meal
  • Meal 5. Dinner with 1/3 protein and 2/3 carbs
  • Meal 6. Drink a gainer meal
  • Meal 7. Eat a dish with 2/3 proteins and 1/3 carbs

Realistically this can be hard to keep up, as I have tried doing this on a number of occasions to fit around my daily schedule. But if you keep it to at least 5 meals on the busy days and 7 meals on your free days, you will put on weight for sure. If you really do struggle, like most people do nowadays, then you can always take a supplement and add that to your diet. Whey protein is my personal favourite as of now, but take a look at my personal view on how to use these supplements.

Note: Also make sure you have a healthy bank account; all this food can be costly, depending on how and where you eat. Again give the Gourmet nutrition book a read for some tips.

Resistance Training

Resistance traing

How much and how often?

I have frequently talked about the importance of setting goals when training for results, and you will have to do this here too. But because we are talking about training to build muscle on a high metabolism/ ectomorph body type, the goal (no matter who you are) will be mostly the same.

1) Resistance training 3-4 times a week (1 hour a day)

2) One cardio training session a week. Depending on how skinny you are it could be a case of doing no cardio training at all in the early stages.

To see how to set your own personal goal, see my guest post on Dieselcrew.com

Lift Weights at Moderate Speed

Now, there has always been this myth that,

Lifting weights slowly = Bigger muscles

You can agree to disagree with me here, but I no longer believe this to be the case. For years I use to perform slow movement weightlifting and I would usually always achieve slow results… compared with now. With 2 years of power lifting and ‘explosive movements’ I would see results every 3-6 weeks!

The reason why lifting slow is bad is because,

1) It puts stress on the muscle from taking to long.

2) Allows pressure to build up in the joints… from taking to long.

3) Oxygen and energy run out before the muscle is even worked.

In general, changes will occur in your muscles when the muscles contract ‘intensely’. And this is why your weight lifting should not focus on slow movement. Yes… it may possibly give you an increase in strength, but you may lose muscle mass and you will only then be a strong, but still… skinny man!

The Ultimate Solution

There will be arguments on which is better,

Lift fast, or lift slowly? Why and for which type of goals?

But the key thing to remember is that weight training whether fast or slow is better than no weight training at all. But for you high metabolism types, the best thing to do is,

1) Start with lightweights – This will allow you to understand how to lift the weights properly regardless of the exercise.

2) Do the exercise properly – Once you have mastered how to do it, focus on control and execution.

3) Lift at moderate speed – Explosive yes! But not fast and not slow.

4) Increase the weight – Do the above 3, but always aim to increase the weight.

Structuring your weight lifting techniques like this will allow for the blood in your body to flow properly when lifting, and will give you the ‘pump’ that your muscles need. Do this and your muscles will grow!

build muscle from skinny to gain muscle

You and the previous You!

See you in the comments.

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How To Build Lats (Wings) Like These

September 9, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Strong Lats muscles

Other than the shoulder muscles, I would say that the Latimuss dorsi (Wings) muscles are the biggest contributors in promoting a large muscle bound appearance. These are the muscles that will give you a V-shaped upper back and make you look like these guys,

captain_america musclessuperman muscles

By having well developed lats, you can get away with wearing certain types of clothes that you can only usually wear confidentially if you have a well-rounded body (Even if you have slightly less developed arms). However, if you do have well-developed arms but have slightly less developed lats, you will just look like an ‘average Joe’ or even worse… adopt an unnatural and imbalanced appearance.

There are many exercises out there that can help you develop this muscle group, but we’ll list my favourite exercises that will help you develop a monstrous pair of lats.

Pull ups (Gironda Sternum)

chin ups
I have talked about ways to build ‘real’ strength quite a lot in recent weeks, and this exercise is a really good way to do it.

Instruction

  • Grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip, approximately shoulder width apart.
  • Now hang with your arms fully extended.
  • As you pull yourself to the bar, have your head lean back as far away from the bar as possible and arch your spine throughout the movement.
  • At the upper end of the movement, your hips and legs will be at about a 45-degree angle to the floor. You should keep pulling until your collarbone passes the bar and your lower chest or sternum area touches it.

Warning! The first time you do this exercise you will struggle!

Most people will initially struggle when lifting their own bodyweight, and doing any bodyweight exercises will be a real test of your strength. Although you will probably fail miserably and end up doing,

3 Sets

Reps

  1. 8
  2. 4
  3. 2

Your strength will gradually increase. But in the beginning stages you can always get a spotter to help you out. However, you don’t want to rely on that help too often, as too much help will hinder your strength gaining efforts.

You are talking nonsense… this is easy!

If you are reading this and thinking that, then you would have mastered lifting your own body weight. Unless you are some sort of transformer or mutant, there is no way to dramatically increase your weight. But you can do by using a dipping belt.

dipping belt to build muscle

This accessory will be essential when developing real muscle mass on your lats. What this belt will allow you to do is add extra weight around your waist, making it heavier and harder to lift yourself up. Once you get to this level, then I would say ‘you truly are the best’.

Straight-arm pull downs

straight_arm_pulldown
This exercise has to be good! Every time I am in the gym there is a queue for this machine. 😐

Putting the sarcasm aside, this is for sure one of my favourite exercises, and the pain that it inflicts never seems to ease up overtime either. This exercise is also lat specific, so you can easily gauge your efforts.

Instructions

  • Stand in front of a lat pull down bar with your arms outstretched towards the bar.
  • Place your palms flat on the bar and pull it down to shoulder level.
  • Keeping your elbows slightly bent and your wrists locked, pull the bar down towards your body in an arcing motion.
  • Once you contracted the lats fully and the bar has touched or come close to your thighs, slowly allow the bar to come back up to the starting position.
  • Keep your torso erect!

Dumbbell bent over rows

bentoverdumbbellrolls
Back when I first started to workout, this was one of the first exercises I would include in my routine, and it still is a key exercise that I do today. This won’t just build your lats though. It will help build up your entire upper back and even your biceps.

Instruction

  • Kneel over the side of a bench by placing your knee and hand (of the supporting arm) on the bench.
  • Position your foot of the opposite leg slightly back to the side.
  • Grab the dumbbell from floor.
  • Pull the dumbbell to side until it makes contact with your ribs or until your upper arm is just beyond horizontal.
  • Return until your arm is extended and shoulder is stretched forward.
  • Repeat and continue with opposite arm.

These are the 3 exercises that I KNOW have helped in building the main bulk of my lats, and they are the exercises I have used when I am trying to get back into the groove. The good thing about doing these is that they tend to give the quickest result, which is great for boosting your confidence levels, as that can tend to drop quite frequently. Include these exercises into your routines and YOU WILL build a great pair of super hero lats in no time.

Which exercises do you use to build your lats?

See you in the comments.

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Build Your Scrawny Ankles – Don’t Forget To! (Muscles around them)

September 8, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

It’s that time again! It’s only been a few days since posting about ‘ building those neglected body parts‘, but I guess I am passionate about getting you to look your best and to look that little bit better than your peers. Anyhow, today is all about how to build stronger and better-looking ankles. I wouldn’t necessarily put scrawny ankles in the same category as chicken legs, as the exercises involved to build both do differ.

On most people (mainly guys), the ankles simply are not seen as a glamorous body part. You don’t hear people saying,

‘Ooh, flex those hot ankles for me’

Or

‘Take off those socks and let me see those lovely ankles’

It just doesn’t happen. However, I think this is not the case when women are concerned. Women ankles are naturally more feminine than a man’s set of ankles, and because of this, I find that ankles are one of the sexiest body parts there are (on a woman). This is why there is a market for ankle bracelets.

Why build a stronger and sexier set of ankles?

This is mainly targeted at guys, but if you are a lady and you have bony, unsightly and weak ankles, then this is for you too. So lets begin our journey to building strong and sexier looking ankles.

Strong ankles prevent injury

Injury is the number one reason why people take timeout from exercise and training, whether for sport or fitness training, but by having strong ankles you can prevent this. I have personally faced the benefits of this in previous sporting activities, especially in sprint training. There was many a time where I would literally not realize how fast I was running. I would suddenly stop running, yet my body would keep moving. When ever this happened early on in training it would lead to a sure injury, but as I began to build my ankle strength, my ankles would take the pressure and I would carry on as normal.

Improves balance

Having strong ankles will definitely improve your balance and not just for training, exercise or sporting activities either.

If you are,

  • On the beach having a fight in the sand.
  • On a very unstable train ride.
  • Take long walks regularly.
  • Take a serious blow to the body in a ‘real’ fight.

Stronger ankles will help you in all of these types of situations.

Building for a stronger and sexier set of ankles

Standing and balancing on one foot

Balance on one foot
Yes, I all know we done this in the playground as kids, but this is actually a very effective way to train your ankles to be stronger. What we didn’t realize as kids doing this, is that all that struggling and shifting around to keep balance is actually working the key muscles in our ankles. You can do this exercise anywhere, but only do it in a public place if you don’t mind that people might think that you are a bit loopy!

If you are already a highly balanced ballerina type, then try it with your eyes closed. Taking away one of your senses will make for harder work on your muscles.

Standing and balancing on one foot (with weights)

balance on one fit with dumbbells

This is basically weight training for ankles. This is where you will really begin to build up muscle and strength. What you do is grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them in each hand. All of the rocking from side to side will be the movements that will work the ankle muscles. If you wish, you can also use a barbell and place it behind your neck and balance with that.

Standing and balancing on one foot with weights (on an unstable surface)

build your scrawny ankles

Warning! Only do this once you have mastered the above methods.

This is a real challenge and definitely a step up from the two previous methods, but will again… strengthen and grow your ankle muscles. My favourite for this is to grab a set of towels and role them up together, stand on and balance.

Balance and coordination

Build your scrawny ankles

  • Put the weights down
  • Balance on one foot (or on an uneven surface)
  • Get some one to throw a ball at you
  • Or throw a ball at the wall (if you are alone)

This one is actually funny, as I used to do this all the time as a kid. But doing this will improve your balance and coordination while working your ankle muscles.

All of these techniques will do wonders for your chicken stick meatless ankles.  Especially when wearing the best shoes for insanity and T25. The great thing about them is that they are simple to do and promote functional movements (and are unique, which most exercises like this are – forearms, neck). Start doing these today and in a few months time it would be great if you could post some before and after shots of your ankles for everyone to see 🙂

How do you work your ankle muscles? Have you tried any of the above?

See you in the comments.

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Help Me Bulk Up My Long Giraffe Neck!

September 5, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

longneck

As it stands, I am still on my quest to solve the problem of building those muscle groups that simply get neglected (forearms, Legs), yet are very important in regards to developing a well rounded muscle bound body.

In a previous article I talked about those individuals who have plenty of muscle, but don’t appear to have any when fully clothed. A big contributor to this issue is having a long neck, or just a very un-muscular one. But today we will discuss how to overcome this.

Talking from experience, having a long neck is a bad thing, because when you,

  • Wear a shirt (and trousers)
  • Wear a suit and tie
  • Wear a collarless jumper

People simply cannot tell that you are finely chiseled underneath the clothed armour. So for appearance sake (and we all know you build muscle to impress others), building a strong and powerful neck is crucial, and when you do build it, you will,

  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Give the impression of power and strength

But looks aren’t everything! By developing strong neck muscles you will,

  • Prevent injury (From performing many everyday tasks and during fitness and sporting activities)
  • Protect your spine and spinal chord

What are the neck muscles?

strong_neck_musclesstrong trapezius muscles

The 3 main neck muscles are,

  • Splenius
  • Sternocleidomastoid
  • Trapezius

These muscles are responsible for flexion, extension and rotation of the neck.

How do you build the neck muscles?

Now that I’ve gone over the textbook stuff, lets talk about how to build muscle onto your giraffe neck. When people think of muscles around the neck, they would probably have these exercises in mind.

  • Front dumbbell raises
  • Lateral raises
  • Wide grip pull ups

These will all be great contributors to forming a great set of upper body muscles, namely your,

  • Deltoids (Shoulders)
  • Upper back muscles (Traps)
  • Triceps
  • Wings (The latissimus dorsi)

But one must put a real focus on developing the neck and ONLY the neck, here’s how.

Implement safety first!

1. Dedicate a ‘neck only’ day for exercising. This is to make sure that your neck doesn’t suffer from fatigue from doing other exercises. It also allows for more concentration, I guess you could this as one big isolation exercise.

2. Make sure you stretch before, after and in-between every neck exercise. The classic rotate left, rotate right neck exercise will be good enough. Either sitting or standing, turn your head to the side, as though you are looking over your shoulder, and make sure that you don’t raise or lower your head. You can use your hand to press against the side of your head to create more resistance (Hold for 10-20 seconds and do it 3 times for each side). By doing this you will stretch out the three main muscles – the splenius and levator scapulae on one side and the opposing sternocleidomastoid.

3. Ensure that you have the correct form… Always!

4. Use full range of motion

The exercises

The best thing about ‘these’ exercises is that you can perform them at anytime, regardless of where you are. In fact, perform each of these exercises as you read them. That should make for some truly interactive reading 🙂 . Now it’s time to say good-bye to the long neck!

Make sure you are comfortable and relaxed in all of the exercises described, whether sitting or standing.

Neck Flexion

Target muscles: Upper trapezius and the splenius

This one is simple but very effective.

  1. Begin the exercise by bending your head forward, allowing your chin to drop towards your chest.
  2. Stretch until it feels tight.
  3. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then gently raise your head back up.
  4. Do this ten times and several times throughout the day.

Neck Extension

Target muscles: Sternocleidomastoid

I call this one ‘Mr Noddy’.

  1. Place your hands on your forehead
  2. Apply tension
  3. Tilt and push your head down to your chest
  4. Keep the tension and raise it back up
  5. Do this ten times and several times throughout the day

Upper Trapezius Stretch

Target muscles: Trapezius

This is the triangular shaped muscle that connects your 2 shoulders and head together in the upper back area. This exercise is an important one as it will keep your neck flexible and help prevent injury.

  1. Put your right arm behind your back.
  2. Hold the right side of your head with your left hand.
  3. Use your left hand to gently tilt your head toward the left.
  4. You should feel a gentle pull on your right side, from the side of the neck down to the shoulder.
  5. Hold for this position for 10 to 20 seconds.
  6. Relax and repeat three times for each side.

The Chin Tuck

I call this one the ‘double chin’.

  1. Using either hand, put your fingertips against your chin and gently push your head straight back.
  2. Keep looking forward as your head moves back.
  3. Hold the position for five seconds, and then relax.
  4. Repeat this movement 5 times.

Neck Side Bend

Target muscle: Sternocleidomastoid

This exercise is similar to talking on a mobile phone while your hands are busy doing other things.

  1. Begin by tilting your head so that your right ear moves toward your right shoulder.
  2. Take it to the point of tightness or discomfort, but not to the point of sharp pain.
  3. Relax and return to the starting position then tilt your head so your left ear moves toward your left shoulder.
  4. Be sure not to rotate your head, or to raise your shoulder toward your head.
  5. Do this 10 times each side.

There you have it folks! Your official guide to eliminating your giraffe neck once and for all. Keep doing these exercises regularly and sooner or later you will develop a strong and powerful neck that will make you stand out from the crowd. Now here is the goal i am setting you,

strong neck

😉

Do you have a long neck?

How do you build your neck muscles?

See you in the comments.

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Killer Compound Exercises

September 2, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

This is a guest post from Jedd Johnson, strength coach, strongman competitor and performer and Grip competitor.  Check out his site at http://www.dieselcrew.com.

Killer Compound Exercises

Let me ask you a question.  Do you go to the gym to get serious results, or do you go to pass time, hang out, catch up on gossip, and hang out in the air conditioning?

If you go to the gym and train so that you can have a good time, chat, and just listen to the radio in the cool air, then this article isn’t for you.  Feel free to check out the next headline.

However, if you go to the gym to put in an hour or more of solid, hard work, work up a serious sweat, and put yourself through a routine with the goal of improving your physical conditioning, then you’ve come to the right place.  You’re my kind of guy and I want to help you out.

I know that you are hitting it hard in the gym, never missing the workout, and I want to give you a handful of gold nuggets that are going to help you be more productive.

The fact is, many of the hardest workers in the gym make the mistake of incorporating an over-abundance of isolation movements.

Now, I’ll admit, I love hitting dumbbell curls as much as anyone, but the problem with dumbbell curls, tricep push-downs, leg curls, and leg extensions is that they are isolation movements, meaning they isolate one muscle group and have activity at one joint.

THE KEY TO BUILDING SERIOUS MUSCLE IS COMPOUND MOVEMENTS.

Compound movements are just the opposite of isolation movements in that they involve multiple muscle groups all at the same time.  These movements are effective at producing natural testosterone in your body, which means you are going to be out-growing your tee shirts in no time.

How do you know you’re working a Compound Movement?  The detail that sets compound movements apart from other lifts is movement over multiple joints.  This movement over multiple joints is what begins to involve more musculature into the lift, making you work harder, causing a spike in your testosterone production, and resulting in more muscle growth on your body.

Check out this illustration for an easy way to tell isolation movements apart from compound movements.

Side Lateral Raise

Side lateral raises
Side lateral raises

The Side Lateral Raise is a common exercise for generating a monstrous set of shoulders.  With the Side Lateral Raise, there is movement at one joint, the shoulder.  The muscles involved in the movement are the deltoids, but aside from them, not much musculature is taxed in the movement.

Standing Military Press

standing military press
The Standing Military Press is another common shoulder exercise, but in this case, there is movement involved at the shoulder, and at the elbow.  Throw in the fact that you are standing, and this requires even more coordination and muscular involvement, but even if you perform this lift seated, you will still involve more muscle than Side Laterals alone.

Now that you understand the concept of compound exercises, it’s time to know which ones to put into your routine.  The following three exercises are what I call the Killer Compound Exercises.  These lifts NEED to be in your weekly routine starting now.  You need to look at where you can start implementing them starting this week.

Back Squats

back squats
The Back Squat should be one pillar of your compound movement training.  It is used mainly as a lower body movement, but when done properly, there is tension created throughout the entire body.

When you do these, make sure you remember to get down to parallel or below.  Quarter squats are not going to do anything for you except make you lose cool points.

The Workout:  Form is very important with Back Squats and since they involve so much musculature, your form can break down easily, especially if you are not used to doing them.  You don’t want to bring about an injury from poor form, so stick with singles, doubles and triples with the Back Squat.  Because I keep the reps lower, I usually hit several warm-up sets with sub-maximal weights and then do 5 work sets.  I hit Back Squats every week, usually on Sunday or Monday, or whenever my training cycle starts over.

Dead lift

Dead lifts

Also considered a lower body movement, the Deadlift hit the legs and lower back well, as well as the lats, rhomboids, erectors, and traps.  This movement is great for targeting huge masses of muscle, even causing tension to be produced in the shoulders and arms.  Your hand strength will be taxed with this one as well, so make sure to get your grip on!

The Workout:  Again, Deadlift form is important to get the most out of this exercise.  You should feel every bit of muscle in your body tensing up as you pull the bar off the floor to the lockout position.  When performing the deadlift, I like to get warmed up really well and then work singles.  I also like to work triples for speed, but I don’t usually go up much higher than 3 reps per set.  I like 5 work sets for the Deadlift as well.  After that, my form usually begins to go.

Clean and Press
clean and press

Pulling an object from the floor and pushing overhead is plain and simple a brute strength movement.  It also involves a ton of musculature to perform and should be included in your program if you are truly serious about getting big and strong.

For the Clean and Press, you can use the bar that is in your gym, or an odd object, like keg or sandbag.

As always with compound movements, you must pay attention to your form so that you can do more reps and generate more testosterone and make more muscle.

The three lifts above are what I consider staples of my routine.  I have done them for years and I plan on doing them for years to come.  These full body movements will make a huge difference in your training.  Start taking your before photos now, because in 16 weeks you are going to look like a completely different person.

In addition to these three core lifts, for every muscle group, there is a good example of a compound movement to fit the need.  For as hard as you work in the gym, you should make sure these lifts are in your cycle as well to get the most out of the time you are putting in the gym.  Here they are:

  • Quads – Lunges
  • Hamstrings – Romanian Deadlifts
  • Biceps – Power Curls
  • Triceps – Close Grip Bench Press
  • Upper Back – Pull-ups
  • Lower Back – Deadlifts
  • Chest – Bench Press
  • Shoulders – Military Press

I want to know what you think about these movements once you try them out, so please leave a comment here, or come check out my website, http://www.DieselCrew.com.  We train for and compete in Powerlifting, Strongman and Grip competitions.  We have tons of articles and videos up as well as free give-aways and newsletter, so please feel free to come check us out.

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Working Out Affect My Tattoos? (Will it? To stretch or not)

August 23, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

The answer to that question is yes! See you in the comments… Working Out Affect My Tattoos

Ok, now that would have been pretty boring. Let’s look deeper into it.

I have always thought that tattoos look great when done well, and when it is on the body of a toned or muscular person. I am yet to get a tattoo as of now, although I had always planned to get one. It could be that I just love my natural skin too much? Well… probably not.

The main reason I haven’t yet got one is because of this ridiculous fear that I’ll one day get loads of free time, eat tones of great food, get a dedicated personal trainer and start to develop monster size muscles! 😐

All of which will affect my tattoo if i get it before that happens.

In some way I do plan and hope that will actually happen (To an extent), but it probably won’t, as I’m more of a ‘maintain muscle’ type of guy.

Either way, If you decide to get a tattoo and you are certain that most of your life will evolve around fitness and exercise, then it would be a good idea to plan before hand what it is you want to do with your body in the long run. Yes, life can be unpredictable and plans will probably change due to issues regarding,

  • Change in metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetics

But you still need to have an initial plan. One good thing to do would be to analyze the last 5-10 years of your life and note any natural changes your body had faced. That will give you a rough idea of what to plan for and when to get a tattoo.

Will my tattoo stretch?

Working Out Affect My Tattoos

A general rule of tattooing is that if the underlying muscle gets bigger, the skin has to stretch to cover it. The tattoo is in the skin, therefore, it has to stretch as well. So yes, it will stretch. But lets look at some body types and the way it affects both.

Low metabolism types

If you have a tattoo and you are one those who come into this category, then overtime your tattoo is more likely to stretch as it is very likely that your body weight will fluctuate over the next 5-10 years. Realistically you cannot state a 5-10 year plan when you first get your tattoo, life just doesn’t work that way. But if you do notice it starting to look bad, all you need to do is get a ‘touch-up’ and it will be fine.

High metabolism types

If you decide that you are going to develop a body builder body within 1-2 years and know that you will follow through with that, then it’s a good idea to wait and see how your body develops. If you get impatient and get your tattoo before you do, your tattoo will stretch.  If so, again you can just get a ‘touch-up’. But that’s not too cool after a while.

Where not to get a tattoo?

stretch marks on shoulders

Area’s to avoid would be,

  • Lower back (for ladies)
  • Stretch mark areas

The reason why ladies should avoid getting a tattoo here is because of issues to do with pregnancy. The weight around this area is likely to change and when it does, so will your tattoo, so it’s a no go tattoo area.

If you’ve ever seen those guys that get tattoos early on in life, around the front shoulder areas and then start to workout, you will know that those lovely tattoos they once had don’t look so lovely any more!

Get a tattoo in a low affected area

If you are like me, have a ridiculous fear of getting a tattoo before becoming magically muscular, but want to get one, get one in a good tattoo area that is less likely to be affected by body weight changes. Key areas would be,

  • Upper back
  • Hands
  • Feet

If you do get one in these places, be warned, once you have one tattoo you will become an addict and want more. And if you have a plan outlined like I stated that you should, then you’ll probably change your plan and build your tattoo filled body regardless.

Consult with the artist

tattoo_artist drawing on muscle

Consult with a professional tattoo artist on the design and placement.

(There will be expectations of the ink spreading with age and changes in body size that will have to be accounted for to keep the tattoo distinguishable for life).

Design and placement is actually a big part of getting a good tattoo… something that flows with your muscles. Avoid designs that require white or yellow colours, as they are quick to fade and could require touch ups every five years or so.

To sum it up, if you want to get a tattoo, get one! Unless you have a drastic change in body weight and size, most of you won’t get big enough or loose enough weight for it to affect a tattoo. And of course, more tattoos designs for men are always welcome, if you want to show them.

Have your body weight changes affected your tattoos?

See you in the comments.

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Introducing Bugs Weekly Workout Routine

August 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Bugs Workout Routines, The Fitness Bug

Bugs workout routineIt’s Friday folks! The weekend starts today. Well… for most it should, if not then enjoy the time until it comes. By now, I hope most of you have enjoyed the posts and topics I have covered so far on stayfitbug.com. That will not stop! But today it is time to introduce workout routines, those of which I have personally experienced. This is to be known as:

BUGS WEEKLY WORKOUT ROUTINES

Every week I will post a workout schedule, some cardio based, some weights based or a variation of both, and the results that you can aim to achieve from doing them. By outlaying the results you can expect to achieve, it will be easy to identify if the post will be related to you or not. They will be based on what I’ve learned from being an athlete and from since being into fitness, and how effective I found them to be.

Today’s workout routine: Beginner weight training (building for muscle mass)

Ideal for: Beginners and those with busy schedules

I find that it is always best to try and start your workout week on a Monday. This allows you to fully utilize the weekdays and keep your weekends for rest days. Remember this (Balance)

Make sure you perform 1 – 2 sets of Warm-up exercises. Stretch before every first set.

Bugs Workout  Week # 1

KEY

Flat bench press

Flat bench press

Incline bench press

Incline bench press

Dumbbell Flys

Dumbbell Flys

barbell shoulder press

Shoulder press

Lateral raises

Lateral raises

Abdominal crunches

Abdominal crunches

Wrist curls

Wrist curls

Chin ups

Chin ups

Lat pulldowns

Lat pulldowns

bent over rows

bent over rows

Dead lifts

Dead lifts

Bench dips

Bench dips

Squats

Squats

Leg curls

Leg curls

Calf raises

Calf raises

Standing barbell curl

Standing barbell curl

Seated barbell curl

Seated barbell curl

Wrist curls

Wrist curls

Read more

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How To Build Killer Shoulders?

August 18, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Build strong shouldersIf there is one muscle group which I truly love over all others (ok, may be not the abs) it would have to be the shoulders. The reason why, is because once you have built great shoulders, you will look good regardless of your frame or the clothes that you wear. This is great for guys who suffer from (I really do have muscles), and as I have stated before, most of you really do workout so that you are noticed by others.

Many of you probably are familiar with shoulder exercises to do at home or at the gym.  But I’ll describe the exercises that have worked for myself over the years, without the use of any supplements, which gave me KILLER SHOULDERS!

Shoulder muscles ‘Deltoids’

Anterior (Front)
Medial (Middle)
Posterior (Rear)

Strong shoulder muscles

Dips Exercise

Dips exercise
Target Muscles: All shoulder muscles, triceps and chest

When I hit the gym I usually try to start with this exercise. It’s a killer shoulders exercise because you have to use your own body weight, but once you master it, you will prove to yourself that you really have increased your strength.

  1. Raise yourself up to an initial position with your arms extended and supporting the entire weight of your body.
  2. Next, lower yourself to a final position where your elbows are bent and your shoulders are mildly stretched.
  3. Then use your arms to push yourself upwards to the initial position.

Wide Grip Pull-ups (with a dipping belt)

Wide_Grip_Chin up

Target muscles: Posterior (rear), Latissimus Dorsi (lower back)

This is another strength testing exercise, but once mastered, add a dipping belt for a more challenging exercise. It primarily targets your lower back, but does also work the shoulders.

  1. Allow your body to hang from the bar with your arms straightened.
  2. Then pull yourself upward so that your chest nearly touches the bar and your chin is over the bar.

Barbell Upright Row

Target Muscles: All, but mainly Anterior (Front), Back

I never used to include this in my workouts in the beginning, but then I realised that if you want great looking shoulders then you must work them on all dimensions. This primarily targets the front shoulders.

  1. Place your hands no more than six inches apart on the bar.
  2. Pull the bar to just underneath your chin, allowing the elbows to flare out as wide as possible.

Dumbbell Side Raise

Dumbbell lateral side raise
Target Muscles: Anterior (Front)

This is my all time favourite weights assisted shoulder exercise. No matter how many times I perform, or how good I get at this exercise, it is always a challenge. But stick at it and this will give you a fine set of shoulders!

  1. In correct posture, stand with your legs spaced shoulder width apart.
  2. Keep your abdominal muscles tight, knees bent and chest relaxed.
  3. Slightly in front of your sides lift the weight directly up, while focusing on your shoulders.
  4. Stop when your elbow joints are in a straight line with your shoulders and reverse the motion down.
  5. Under control, lower the weight, stop when your arms slightly touch your sides and reverse the motion.

Dumbbell Front Raise
alternate_front_dumbbell_raise

Muscles worked: Anterior (Front)

This is similar to the side raise exercise, but instead you place the dumbbells horizontally, one on each thigh. I actually find this one more of a challenge than side raise exercise, but keep this up and the results will come.

(With both raises it is highly advisable that you start off with lightweights)

There are other exercises you can use to build your shoulders, but these ones work quite well. Try to alternate these exercises on different days of your weekly workout schedule. Keep that up and I can almost guarantee that you will achieve some serious results along with KILLER SHOULDERS!

What exercises have worked for you?

See you in the comments

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How to build equal size Biceps and Triceps

August 11, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

How to build big musclesWhenever the summer months begin to approach and the clothes on peoples back become less and less, you will inevitably see people flaunt their muscle sculpted and toned bodies that they have been working on during the winter months, and so they should. But one thing I do see every now and again is guys with huge arms…but not the whole circumference! What they would tend to have is large tricep muscles but small bicep muscles. So their arms would appear large in size only from a side or back viewpoint.

This is not the result you want!

Whenever you see someone with arms as I have described above, then they have been focusing to hard on one muscle group too much, in this case, the triceps. In general the tricep muscles are bigger than bicep muscles, and they will be the main muscles of the arm that stand out as your muscles grow. To prevent this one must work the biceps with exercises such as chin ups or any exercise that requires a pulling movement. After this it is then good to get into a habit of leaving bicep curls exercises till the end of your workout. This will ensure that your biceps are evenly worked compared to your triceps.

Even more important

The above is how you ensure a good balance and workout of both arm muscles. But what one must first acknowledge is that the arm muscles are still only facilitators of moving the larger muscle groups. Because of this, the arm muscles have no choice but to get stronger when the bigger muscle groups gets worked. Bigger muscle groups that the arms assist with would be with exercises such as:

  • Bench-press (Chest, Shoulders muscles)
  • Various row exercises (Back muscles)
  • Military press (Shoulder muscles)
  • Chin ups/ pull-ups (Several muscles)

If you focus on working on the above major muscle groups with the said exercises, your biceps and triceps will improve in strength and size naturally.

The key thing here is to:

  1. Keep your main focus on a full body workout
  2. Keep specific exercises for your triceps and biceps (or when weaknesses occur)

The reason why one may get carried away and focus on the arms only, is because they are the stand out muscles that every one will see with most of the clothes you wear. And this mindset is wrong. However, I believe there are exceptions.
Take someone like myself for example. Being 6’1 with longer legs and arms than most individuals, I have a much harder time building my biceps and tricep muscles to a reasonable size, compared to someone who maybe shorter than myself. So while the bigger muscle groups like shoulders back and chest develop naturally, my arms (and legs) tend to get left behind, even though I began my workouts with a ‘fully body workout’ mind set.

Keep working hard, be consistent and natural results will come!

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