Lifting Straps are the Key to Increasing Your Back Definition Safely
Do you want a quick, simple and instant way to increase the amount of weight you can lift on virtually every back exercise that you perform? Sound too good to be true? Well, the reality is that if you aren’t utilizing this one simple piece of gym equipment then you’re missing out on some serious muscle size and strength gains. What tool am I talking about?
A pair of lifting straps!
This is such a basic yet highly effective piece of bodybuilding equipment I’m amazed that so few people use them. For those of you who are still unaware, these are basically a set of thick straps made of extremely strong material which are placed around your wrists and then wrapped around the barbell, dumbbell or cable attachment. The purpose of lifting straps is to “eliminate” the limitations of your grip strength from the weight-lifting equation by forming a solid connection between your wrist and the weight. If you use these straps properly you can basically hold onto the bar and perform your exercises while expending almost no energy from your forearms.
Why is this so valuable?
You’re performing a set of deadlifts (arguably the most powerful muscle-building exercise known to man) with the goal of performing 8 reps. You psych yourself up, grip the weight and clear the bar from the ground. The set is going well, but by the time you reach rep number 5, the strain on your grip is so great that you can no longer hold onto the bar. You’re forced to stop the set because your forearms reached muscular failure. What exactly happened here?
Well, you gave yourself an amazing forearm workout… congratulations! Unfortunately, you also severely limited the amount of muscle stimulation you could have achieved on your back, shoulders, legs, and just about every other muscle in your body which the deadlift attempts to target. Not good! Lifting straps completely eliminate this problem by making sure that you reach muscular failure in the major muscle groups that you are intending to target, rather than being limited by failure in your forearms and grip.
The main argument against using lifting straps is the idea that they are a “crutch” and will negatively affect the development of grip strength and forearm size. Let’s get real here… what would you prefer, greater muscle mass and strength in your lats and upper back (and just about every other muscle group on your body) or greater ability to crack open a jar of pickles?
The positive effect that lifting straps will have on your overall muscle mass and strength gains will far outweigh any negative effect they may have on your forearms and grip. They can be used effectively for every type of back exercise or any other lift where the limits of grip strength is a concern. Besides, you can easily incorporate specific forearm exercises into your routine to develop your grip strength and forearm size. If you aren’t using lifting straps already, get on it. You can find them at almost any store that sells sports or fitness equipment or you can order them online. They sell for about 10 or 15 bucks and are well worth the small investment when you consider the tremendous improvement they can have on your back exercises and other strength training goals.
To learn more insider techniques for building a powerful, muscular body, check out Sean Nalewanyj’s The Muscle Gain Truth No-Fail System. Also be sure to grab a FREE copy of Sean’s terrific new Training e-book: “8 Things You MUST Do To Build MAXIMUM Muscle” available in the ‘Free Bodybuilding Program Books’ section on the right side of this page.
Sexy tall ripped blonde Zuzana speaks English with a heavy euro accent and does a kickboxing-style floor routine… Wow!
This chick may not be meaty enough for some of your liking, but I think she’s just incredible. Almost superhuman looking, and with amazing stamina. Sort of like the bioengineered Replicants from the classic film Blade Runner. She would make a great villain in a Batman movie.
…I can now lift a piano with my eyeballs!
Ladies, read Mike Geary’s article on lean foods if you’re looking for a diet that can help you achieve a body like hers…
Maximum Fat Loss Workouts Must Include these 3 Principles
Most people involved in fitness and weight training should by now realize that adding lean muscle mass to your body does wonders for your metabolism and really is the key to experiencing significant fat loss.
Fat is stored as fuel reserves for the body — since muscle tissue makes a demand for fuel proportional to how hard it is worked your goal is to cut into this ‘fat warehouse’ as much as you can.
Whatever big secret there is to weight training for maximum fat loss requires the application of these
Three essential elements:
1) Intensity2) Volume & Frequency3) Progression
Intensity is a measure of how hard it is to perform any particular exercise, given your current condition. The volume and frequency are how much and how often you perform these exercises. Progression is a measure of how much the load demands increase from workout to workout…
Maximizing the Fat Loss Potential in Your Training Program is a Work of Art in Itself
Getting the perfect blend and balance of elements going for you which synergistically work together to maximize the body shaping that you will actually be getting from your workouts is something of a fine art that requires a bit of trial and error to get just right. There are a few common things that everyone can keep in mind. For one thing, workouts and weight training sessions last too long and are performed far too frequently by many people, especially those just starting out who may be a bit too enthusiastic for their own good. Over training will only fatigue you and work against your body’s metabolic properties instead of being in concert with it.
In addition, resistive weight training is treated much the same way as aerobic exercise, yet the two are vastly different. In fact, they’re complete opposites!… Aerobic exercise is characterized by moderate intensity, high volume and usually little progression. People keep doing the exact same fat loss routine forever, in other words. Anaerobic exercise, or weight training on the other hand, must be performed at a higher intensity, lower volume and frequency — and with progression constantly becoming more difficult to be as effective at fat loss as possible.
No amount of weight training performed at a low to moderate intensity will provide sufficient muscle or strength building benefit beyond the very first few weeks. You will hit a plateau within a few months. However, mounting intensity coupled with increases in either the number of repetitions or the amount of weight being used during each and every workout will keep your body evolving towards becoming that ultimate fat loss machine!
Other details must be considered to maximize your weight training workouts and minimize time spent in the gym. One aspect of training that’s as important as the workout itself is the rest period that follows. You’re not going to get stronger or more muscular if you don’t rest properly. If you weight train properly you are creating tiny injuries to your muscles, which then have to repair themselves. Your body will over-compensate by building new muscle tissue upon the existing muscle mass that it just repaired, and this is the mass-building we seek to maximize fat loss by becoming a larger and larger engine that guzzles more fuel! If you don’t get enough rest and workout too soon before that cycle is completed however, you’ll experience very little IF ANY muscle building or fat burning results.
Therefore make sure to always get proper rest between workouts. This typically means a minimum of 1 to 3 full DAYS of rest between properly executed high-resistance workouts.
Now, upon hearing that you’ve got ADD muscle to your body in order to ensure maximum fat loss, some of you women reading this might be thinking, “…but I don’t want to get all muscly, I just want to lose some weight and keep it off!” Becoming muscle-bound is unlikely to happen to the majority of women however simply because most of you lack the necessary genetic factors (hormonal environment mostly) needed to produce the sort of extreme muscle gains that would cause you to look manly or over-developed. You will get a nice tone and cut instead as you trade fat for muscle — still very feminine!
Also, lean muscle is more compact that fat — so you will actually be getting smaller by replacing the fat on your body with lean muscle even if your actual weight doesn’t change all that much. It’s all about how you look in the mirror, after all!
So put yourself in the best position to succeed with all YOUR fat loss and fitness goals by performing your intense resistance training the correct way, and then by getting the proper rest between workouts in order to give your body a chance to adapt.
But always make sure to apply the three critical principles I discussed above – Intensity, Volume and Progression — otherwise you’I’ll be unhappy with your ultimate weight training results as well as your inability to burn away excess body fat and realize that lean, strong, and healthy body that you deserve.
And… a great way to fit any exercise program into your busy day is to use quick 3 minute body weight exercises like these by pro trainer Mike Geary — similar to the ones that I always recommend to all my new training students…
Just because You’re a Hardgainer Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Gain Muscle!
In the fitness and bodybuilding field a “hardgainer” is what we call a person who has a hard time putting on muscle no matter how diligently he visits the gym. Six weeks of working out can produce no significant changes in muscle size other than some minor improvements in muscle tone.
To some extent (as adults anyway) most of us are “hardgainers” — which means that for the most part putting on muscle is not an easy endeavor for us. The easiest period in your life to put on muscle is right after puberty. Later in your life, gaining muscle becomes progressively harder for you due because hormonal production begins to decline between the ages of 25 and 30…
The hardgainer is an Ectomorphic Somatype
My definition of a hardgainer is the sort of naturally skinny person, who no matter what he or she eats always seem to remain right around the same body weight all their life. This is what Dr. William Sheldon referred to as being an “ectomorph” somatotype when he came up with his theory of genetic body-types in the 1940’s. Sheldon’s theory placed human bodies into three main somatotypes: the ectomorph, the endomorph and the mesomorph.
As mentioned, the ectomorphic body style is a naturally thin person who has trouble gaining weight — either in the form of muscle or fat. The endomorph on the other hand has just the opposite problem, it’s too EASY for this person to gain weight because they tend to store a lot of fat. And while endomorphs are potentially easy muscle gainers, provided they diet and train correctly, they are cursed with a slow metabolism which makes it imperative for them remain on a strict diet year round — especially if they desire to have any abdominal definition.
Now the mesomorph is the naturally muscular person, one who also has a higher metabolism than the endomorph. Mesomorphs make excellent bodybuilders as you would expect. For them, gains in muscle and reduction in body fat come rather easily provided they maintain a reasonable training and nutrition program. Life is certainly not fair.
Now having said this, is the hardgainer doomed to look the same way forever? Not at all. Basically, all the hardgainer has to do is modify the training and nutrition program to suit his/her unique metabolism. For instance, while most people will do best on a diet consisting of 40% carbohydrates, 40% proteins and 20% fats, the hardgainer will benefit most from a diet consisting of 50% carbs, 25 % proteins and 25% good fats.
While the meso-endomorph will do best on a caloric intake that equals their lean body mass times 12, the hardgainer is better served by taking in as much as 24 calories per pound of total bodyweight (as opposed to lean body mass). For example, if you are a hardgainer and weigh 150 lbs, your daily caloric intake should be around 3600 calories (150 x 24). Your total limit of carbohydrates per day will be on the order of 450 grams of carbs, your protein will be 225 grams and your fats will be 100 grams of GOOD fats per day.
You can take all of this in 6, 7 or even 8 meals. The key thing for a hardgainer to be successful is to minimize their caloric expenditures and maximize their caloric intake. This is necessary because the hardgainer’s metabolism is a furnace that burns calories at all times, and if not enough are supplied at one time or the other then muscle will be consumed by the body for energy purposes. This metabolic issue is what makes the person a hardgainer in the first place.
Recommended Hardgainer Training Program
Three to four sessions per week of periodized weight training, lasting for 60 minutes at the most, is all a hardgainer can get away with. Cardiovascular exercise should be limited to a couple of light walks on the days off lasting no more than 20 minutes. Remember that the hardgainer needs to limit caloric expenditure. Because of this, he or she needs to get in the gym, stimulate the muscles, and get out!
If you are a hardgainer it isn’t the end of your bodybuilding dreams. Determined hardgainers can attain their fitness goals through determination and by sticking with the type of balanced hard work that suits them. One of the benefits of being a hardgainer is that, because it’s so difficult for this person to acquire body fat, whatever muscle gains they DO make are highly visible because there is so little fat beneath the skin to ruin their definition!
If you are a hardgainer, plan your meals ahead of time, pack them in a cooler and ensure that you never run out of food. When in the gym, get in, and get out. If you follow this type of routine day in and day out… then get ready to grow!
Another important aspect of any guy’s training regimen has to do with maintaining his testosterone levels. Testosterone is the muscle building juice that your body needs to pack on the mass, hardgainer or not. Watch this short video about raising your testosterone by Sean as he explains how to improve your own supply of this important hormone without the need for any supplements. You’ll learn how to improve your testosterone levels using only natural food sources and by paying attention to a few other significant elements of your life.
Hugo Rivera, CFT – SPN – BSCE, is an internationally known best selling fitness author with a successful franchise of books called The Body Sculpting Bibles, which collectively have sold over a million copies. Hugo is author of the very popular Body Re-Engineering e-book: Lose fat and Gain Muscle Fast!, which teaches you how to steadily grow lean muscle mass without drugs or expensive supplements. Especially if you’re a hardgainer, you need to take a look at Bodybuilding Champion Hugo Rivera’s Body Re-Engeneering right here