Monday, January 27, 2014


"The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. 
It's your mind you have to convince"
- Vince Lombardi

This article came from Muscle & Strength magazine.  It stresses and maximizes
your workout time to the major muscle groups.  In addition, it details 5 exercises 
in each group and thereby allows for variation - good for your muscles
and your mind!

Maximize Your Gym Time: A Look At The Most Productive Muscle Building Exercises

A detailed look at the most potent muscle building exercises, as well as a bodypart by bodypart breakdown. Stop wasting time in the gym and start getting results!

Muscle Building Exercises

A workout is made up of only so many sets and exercises. Constructing a workout without a purpose, and without the use of the best available tools will only waste your time. If you want to gain muscle and strength at the fastest rate possible you will need to choose the best possible exercises.
The following exercises are the best of the best. You will notice that they generally fall into three categories:
  1. Barbell Exercises.
  1. Dumbbell Exercises.
  1. Bodyweight Exercises.
When you begin to explore the muscle building workouts on Muscle & Strength, you will notice that the bulk of these routines make use of barbells and dumbbells. These movements are often performed first for a bodypart, and are then followed by machine and cable exercises. While some machines and cables can be beneficial, they are rarely as good as their barbell or dumbbell counterparts.
A Smith machine bench press is not as good as a barbell or dumbbell bench press. A leg press is not as effective as deep squats. And lat pull downs are nowhere near as effective as pull ups.
The following exercises are considered the top seven. If you're goal is to build muscle, consider adding these to your workouts.
The Top 7 Muscle Building Exercises
SquatsSquats are the king of all muscle and strength building exercises. No workout should be without deep squats. They are performed with a barbell, generally in a squat rack. Squats not only build massive legs, but also stress most of the upper body. They are like a hormonal nuclear bomb – destroying the entire body, forcing it to get bigger and stronger with ever rep.
Deadlifts. Second only to squats in effectiveness (and a very close second at that), deadlifts are another man-maker that will pack on slabs of muscle mass while helping you become as strong as a bear. Like squats, deadlifts are a barbell only exercise.
DipsDips are often called the upper body squat, and for good reason. Dips work the shoulders, chest and triceps very hard, and are a great overall exercises for building a beefy upper body. Dips should be performed at a parallel bar dipping station.
Pull Ups. It seems that even the strongest and most fit lifters can barely squeak out more than a few pull ups. The pull up is an excellent exercise for building the back and biceps, and should be used instead of inferior exercises such as the lat pull down when possible.
Bench Press. The bench press is an upper body staple. There are several highly effective variations including the flat bench barbell press, flat bench dumbbell bench press, incline bench barbell press and incline dumbbell bench press.
Overhead Press. As with the bench press, there are numerous quality variations of the overhead press that can be used. Nearly all seated and standing dumbbell and barbell overhead presses are solid choices. You may also use the Arnold dumbbell press, and behind the neck overhead presses. Another popular press variation is the standing push press.
Rows. Both barbell and dumbbell rows are tremendous upper back exercises. Old school barbell T-bar rows are also a solid choice. While cable and machine lifts are generally sub-par, seated cable rows can be very challenging and effective.
The Best Exercises By Bodypart
Now that you know which tools are the most productive, let's take a look at the best exercises by bodypart. This list will include some of the top 7.
5 Most Effective Chest Building Exercises
  • Bench Press. The king of all upper body muscle building movements. The bench press is so popular that it is often seen as having it's own training day - bench press Monday.
  • Dips. Once considered the upper body squat, dips are a great compliment to any bench press movement.
  • Dumbbell Bench Press. You will really be able to feel the chest work with this pressing variation.
Decline variations didn't make the list because they shorten the pressing distance and tend to shift some of the focus to the triceps.
Pull Ups
5 Most Effective Back Building Exercises
  • Deadlifts. Nothing builds beefy backs like the deadlift. The sheer act of holding a barbell with heavy weight places the lats under an incredible amount of stress.
  • Pull Ups. A far superior choice to lat pull downs. If you can do one, try for two. If you can do two, try for three! If you can't do them at all use rack chins.
  • Barbell Row. No back building workout should be without a heavy row, and barbell rows are at the top of the list.
  • Dumbbell Row. An excellent second choice to barbell rows, especially if you have a weak lower back.
  • Power Clean. The explosiveness of the power clean effectively works the back from traps down.
5 Most Effective Shoulder Building Exercises
  • Military Press. This exercise has been a staple of great workouts for decades on end.
  • Push Press. Very similar to the military press, but utilizing more of an Olympic lifting-style explosiveness.
  • Bench Press. Yes, you read that correctly. The bench press is an amazing front delt builder. In fact, if your chest day involves several pressing movements there's a good chance you won't need any direct front delt work on shoulder day.
  • Seated Dumbbell Press. A little easier on the shoulders for many because the dumbbells can be placed in a more natural position.
5 Most Effective Leg Building Exercises
  • Squats. The king of all muscle building lifts. 'Nuff' said.
  • Front Squats. Another top choice of bodybuilding beef kings. Front squats can be tricky to learn, but you will be rewarded with big wheels.
  • Leg Press. If you don't have access to a squat rack this is your next best bet.
5 Most Effective Arm Building Exercises
  • Chin Ups. A shocker, but chin ups (performed with palms toward the face) are a beastly bicep builder, perhaps even better than straight bar curls.
  • Dips. Much better than most tricep isolation exercises.
Honorable Mention
  • Weighted Sit Ups. Why do volume when you can add weight and also build thickness.
  • Power Shrugs. Performed with an Olympic lift style explosiveness, power shrugs allow you to move a lot of weight and tax the traps into massive growth.
  • Cable Crunches. Forget floor crunches - add some weight and thicken your six pack!
  • Side Bends. Side bends not only help to build core stability, enhancing your performance on other compound exercises, but they also target the obliques, helping to build an impressive midsection.

Monday, January 20, 2014


"The drug of choice...........EXERCISE"

Sleep & Rest

There are three pillars to the health equation:  Diet, Exercise and Sleep.  All three are important and you can arrange them to suit your order.  So far we have been considering exercise as our main topic.  We started out with a description, followed it with some of the benefits (goals) and included topics for beginners to more advanced trainees of an exercising program.  We will come back to the subject of exercise on and off, again influenced by what our reader's desire to include in this blog.

Some of the better sources of sleep information can be found at the National Sleep Foundation (, ScienceDaily (, WebMD (, and Sleep, (

In a study reported in ScienceDaily dated 12/4/2012 an article labeled "Protected 'Power Naps' Prove Helpful for Doctors in Training to Fight Fatigue" was the result of study of two groups of medical residency doctors. This involved 106 interns from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.  The standard intern shift of 30 hours overnight was compared to the protracted sleep period shift - during a twelve 4-week blocks.  During the study, the participants in the protected sleep group increased the amount of time they slept while on call by 50% (from two to three hours on average).  They also decreased the overall amount of time they were awake, reducing periods of no sleep while on extended duty, and the study participants reported far less sleep disturbances, helping to improve overall sleep quality. The participants felt less fatigued after on-call nights in the protected sleep group.

By accepting sleep at strategically assigned times, the residents were also able to maintain consistent contact with their patients and stay with them during their first critical 24 hours in the hospital, while improving alertness.  It was also noted that decreasing the overall amount of time that participants were awake is particularly important, as continuous periods of wakefulness are a major predictor of work-related performance errors.

Boiled down, the need for sleep helps reduce fatigue, errors, while increasing and improving transition in patient care.  As a result of sleep studies, the July 2011 the medical residency programs across the country revamped physician-trainees' schedules to comply with new work-hour restrictions imposed the the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACMGE).  First-year residents are no longer permitted to work more than 16 hours at a time.


"Never give up on a dream just because of the time it
takes to accomplish it, the time will pass anyway".

The following article was published in Men's Fitness but affects
both men and women in a positive way!

7 Muscle-Building Mistakes to Avoid;dc_trk_aid=274935556;dc_trk_cid=55378900;ord=1045011652

By: Myatt Murphy

You've put in the time. The sweat. Maybe the tears when you don't see results. Quit blubbering. It'll be fine.

Entering the weight room is the first step toward building muscle, but it's not the last. What you do before, during, and after a workout can either negate your hard work or elevate your growth to a new level.

"Your personal habits, your social life, even which exercises you choose to do can take away from what you're trying to build," says Jeff Bell, C.S.C.S., an exercise physiologist and the owner of Spectrum Wellness in New York City. Bell and other experts helped us pinpoint seven factors that sabotage results. "Add them up and they could be why your muscles have nothing to show for all your time served," Bell says.

Eliminate these seven saboteurs, then watch your muscles grow—with nothing holding them back.

Skipping Basics

Plenty of lifters believe that doing isolation exercises like chest flies and leg extensions is the only way to make their muscles grow. But basic moves such as bench presses and squats force several muscle groups to work together, imposing more stress on your body for bigger gains.

"Your body reacts to all that stress by having the anterior pituitary gland issue more growth hormone to compensate for the extra effort," says Allen Hedrick, C.S.C.S., head strength-and-conditioning coach at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Of course you need variation, but don't abandon basic moves in favor of intermediate isolation exercises.

Fix it: Write down the exercises in your routine to see what percentage of them are compound moves. "If it's not in the range of at least 40 to 50 percent, then you're doing too many isolation exercises," says Bell.
Lunchtime Hoops
Playing sports too often can sidetrack your muscle-growth goals. Muscles typically need 48 hours of rest to adapt to the stresses placed on them during exercise. "Engaging in extra activity also makes your body more likely to use any excess calories it has for fuel, and not for rebuilding itself," says Bell.

Fix it: "Pull your cardiovascular activity back to the bare minimum—20 minutes, three times a week—to see what effect it has on your body," Bell says. If cardio is indeed stealing your muscle, you should begin to notice strength improvements—being able to lift more weight or complete more repetitions—within 2 to 3 weeks. If your primary goal is to increase muscle size and strength, and not necessarily to build your overall health, try pulling back further. Can't miss a game? During your workout, ease up on the muscles you use most in your extra activity so they have more time to recover.
Smoking and Drinking
You know smoking is stupid. You know you're gambling with cancer, stroke, and other health issues. But did you know you're also sabotaging your strength training?

"Smoking places carbon monoxide in your system, which prevents your muscles from getting as much oxygen to use for energy," says Scott Swartzwelder, Ph.D., a clinical professor of medical psychology at Duke University. "The less oxygen your muscles have to draw from, the less efficient they are at contracting, which can limit their capacity for work."

As for alcohol, it can cover your abs with a layer of lard and interfere with hormones that help build them. "Drinking alcohol on a regular basis can also keep your testosterone levels lower than usual and decrease muscle mass," says Swartzwelder.

Fix it: Quit smoking, and don't worry about becoming a cold-turkey butterball. "Getting in at least 30 minutes of exercise three or four times a week not only helps control body weight, but can also produce positive psychological effects that might diminish the need to smoke," says Swartzwelder. Drinking moderately (two drinks or less per day) won't harm testosterone levels and can actually improve your cardiovascular health, he says.
You need to eat after your workout. Right after a session, your body is hustling to convert glucose into glycogen so your muscles can repair themselves and grow. "If you don't eat after exercise, your body breaks down muscle into amino acids to convert into glucose," says John Ivy, Ph.D., chairman of kinesiology at the University of Texas.

Fix it: After you work out, eat a high-carbohydrate meal—and don't forget the protein. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a four-to-one carbohydrate-to-protein ratio can provide 128 percent greater muscle-glycogen storage than a high-carbohydrate drink alone. (They used Endurox R Recovery Drink in the study.) For even greater results, have a sports drink before and during exercise.
Craig Ferguson
If you don't get enough deep sleep, your muscles can't recover. Moreover, says Catherine Jackson, Ph.D., chairwoman of the department of kinesiology at California State University at Fresno, when you work out on insufficient sleep, you exercise at a lower intensity than you realize—but you feel as if it's high. So your muscles are less likely to receive enough stress to grow.

Fix it: Go to bed and wake up at set times every day, even on weekends, to keep your sleep cycles regular. Avoid caffeine—and perhaps exercise—for 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Elevating your heart rate before bed can interfere with sleep, Jackson says.
Sugary drinks like soda can fool your body with a blood-sugar spike, making you prone  to skip "other, nutrient-dense foods you could be eating," says Bell. If your sugar habit limits your intake of muscle-building amino acids, it will sap the fuel you need for your workouts, says New York City-based celebrity trainer Steve Lischin, M.S., C.P.T.

Fix it: Water and low-sugar sports drinks are your best bets. But sugar hides elsewhere. "Watch out for dried fruits, certain nutrition bars, and even ketchup," Lischin says.
For the active man, eating about a gram of protein for every 2.2 pounds of body weight helps build muscle—if the protein is processed correctly. "A high-protein meal has a slight diuretic effect," says Lischin. When the body uses protein for energy, it has to remove the nitrogen component of the molecule to turn it into glucose. "This requires plenty of water," he says.

Fix it: Drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day and divide your protein among five or six small meals throughout the day. "Eating an average of 25 to 30 grams each meal is ideal," says Lischin. "Not only will you put less stress on your kidneys, but you'll also utilize more of the protein you're ingesting by giving your body only as much as it can use each time."
© 2010 Rodale Inc. |

Monday, January 13, 2014

 "Your tongue is a small muscle but if you don't exercise it properly it can
get you in a whole lot of trouble".

Interval Training 

An excellent article by the Mayo Clinic staff on another great way to exercise
is to practice interval training.  Rather than walking for 45-60 minutes you'll accomplish
more health benefits in much less time of steady pace walking.

Rev up your workout with interval training

Rev up your workout with interval training
Interval training can help you get the most out of your workout.
Are you ready to shake up your workout? Do you wish you could burn more calories without spending more time at the gym? Consider aerobic interval training. Once the domain of elite athletes, interval training has become a powerful tool for the average exerciser, too.
What is interval training?
It's not as complicated as you might think. Interval training is simply alternating bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity.
Take walking. If you're in good shape, you might incorporate short bursts of jogging into your regular brisk walks. If you're less fit, you might alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. For example, if you're walking outdoors, you could walk faster between certain mailboxes, trees or other landmarks.
What can interval training do for me?
Whether you're a novice exerciser or you've been exercising for years, interval training can help you jazz up your workout routine. Consider the benefits:
·        You'll burn more calories. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you'll burn — even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
·        You'll improve your aerobic capacity. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you'll be able to exercise longer or with more intensity. Imagine finishing your 60-minute walk in 45 minutes — or the additional calories you'll burn by keeping up the pace for the full 60 minutes.
·        You'll keep boredom at bay. Turning up your intensity in short intervals can add variety to your exercise routine.
·        You don't need special equipment. You can simply modify your current routine.
How will my muscles respond to interval training?
During intense exercise, muscles produce waste products that can contribute to muscle soreness. Too many accumulated waste products can make exercise painful and exhausting. But by alternating bursts of intense exercise with easier intervals, you'll help reduce the buildup of waste products in your muscles. The result is more comfortable exercise.
Are the principles of interval training the same for everyone?
Yes — but you can take interval training to many levels. If you simply want to vary your exercise routine, you can determine the length and speed of each high-intensity interval based on how you feel that day.
After warming up, you might increase the intensity for 30 seconds and then resume your normal pace. The next burst of more intense activity may last two to three minutes. How much you pick up the pace, how often and for how long is up to you.
If you're working toward a specific fitness goal, you may want to take a more scientific approach. A personal trainer or other expert can help you time the intensity and duration of your intervals — which may include movement patterns similar to those you'll use during your sport or activity — based on your target heart rate, the ability of your heart and lungs to deliver oxygen to your muscles (peak oxygen intake), and other factors.
Does interval training have risks?
Interval training isn't appropriate for everyone. If you have a chronic health condition or haven't been exercising regularly, consult your doctor before trying any type of interval training. Recent studies suggest, however, that interval training can be used safely for short periods even in individuals with heart disease.
Also keep the risk of overuse injury in mind. If you rush into a strenuous workout before your body is ready, you may hurt your muscles, tendons or bones. Instead, start slowly. Try just one or two higher intensity intervals during each workout at first. If you think you're overdoing it, slow down. As your stamina improves, challenge yourself to vary the pace. You may be surprised by the results.
·        Tanisho K, et al. Training effects on endurance capacity in maximal intermittent exercise: Comparison between continuous and interval training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2009;23:2405.
·        Meyer P, et al. High-intensity aerobic interval training in a patient with stable angina pectoris. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 2010;89:83.
·        Wislff L, et al. High-intensity interval training to maximize cardiac benefits of exercise training? Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. 2009;37:139.
·        McKay BR, et al. Effect of short-term high-intensity interval training vs. continuous training on O2 uptake kinetics, muscle deoxygenation, and exercise performance. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2009;107:128.
·        Wilmore JH, et al. Physiology of Sport and Exercise. 4th ed. Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics; 2008:186.
·        Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 5, 2012.
·        Astorino TA, et al. Effect of high-intensity interval training on cardiovascular function, Vo2 max, and muscular force. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012;26:138.
·        Kessler H, et al. The potential for high-intensity interval training to reduce cardiometabolic disease risk. Sports Medicine. 2012;42:489.
SM00110June 7, 2012
© 1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "," "EmbodyHealth," "Enhance your life," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Monday, January 6, 2014


"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.  I've lost almost 300 games, 26 times. I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.  I've failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed."

- Michael Jordan 

Balance Exercises

The following article can be found on  
They offer photos and descriptions of many different balance exercises that can aid you in your physical training.  There are also other companies that can be found under Balance Exercises on your browser.  I would advise one to start with the most basic exercises for balance first, and progress on to some of the more advanced balance workouts as your experience permits.

Single Leg Balance
Single Leg Balance on Pillow
Walking Heel Toe

Ball Around Back
Ball Under Leg

Ball Around Back
Ball Under Leg

Basic Balance Exercises
Intermediate Balance Exercises

The following balance exercises are designed to improve your balance and proprioception (joint position awareness). This is important to improve your ability to regulate shifts in your body's centre of gravity while maintaining control. Balance exercises have been shown scientifically to prevent injury and are an important component of rehabilitation following lower limb injury. It is important to discuss the suitability of these exercises with your physiotherapist prior to commencing them.
Usually, balance exercises should be performed for 5 minutes per day initially and progressed to 10-15 minutes or longer provided they do not cause or increase symptoms. Generally you should select a range of exercises that challenge your balance without causing an increase in symptoms. Always set up your environment to ensure safety and prevent falls, in case you lose your balance (e.g. practice at a bench or with a spotter).
Standing on one leg, maintain your balance (figure 1). Try to hold for 1 minute. Once this exercise is too easy progress to eyes closed. 
Balance SLS
Figure 1 – Single Leg Balance (right side)
Begin standing on a pillow on one leg with your eyes open and maintain your balance (figure 2).  Try to hold for 1 minute. Once this exercise is too easy, progress the exercise by closing your eyes. Once this is too easy stand on 2 or more pillows eyes open and eventually eyes closed. 
Balance Single Leg on Pillow
Figure 2  – Single Leg Balance on Pillow (right side)
Walk very slowly in a straight line, carefully placing the foot in front so that the heel of the front foot touches the toes of the rear foot. Once this exercise is too easy progress to eyes closed (figure 3). 
Balance Walking Straight Line
Figure 3 – Walking Heel Toe
Standing on one leg, take a ball around your back whilst maintaining your balance (figure 4). Once this exercise is too easy, progress to eyes closed.
Balance Ball around back    
Figure 4 – Ball Around Back Balance Exercise
Standing on one leg, take a ball under your leg whilst maintaining your balance (figure 5). Once this exercise is too easy, progress to eyes closed.
Balance Ball under leg

Figure 5 – Ball Under Leg Balance Exercise