Use this stretch to protect your shoulders from injury and help you bench bigger in weeks.
If your shoulders hurt when you bench, your pec minor muscle may be tight. This is the chest muscle that lies under the larger pec major. Even if you stretch your pecs regularly, the classic door-frame stretch— elbow bent 90 degrees, forearm vertical against the frame, and leaning forward—won’t hit the pec minor. Try the stretch described below before you bench. By loosening the pec minor, you increase its range of motion, which takes pressure off the shoulder joint.
Raise your arm overhead 30–40 degrees above parallel. Place your palm against a wall and turn your body away. Hold for 10 seconds. Perform two sets (each side).
1. Roll out the pec minor using a lacrosse ball or baseball. Dig the ball right into the junction between your shoulder and pec. Do this before you bench press to enhance the effect.
2. Perform external rotations. Take a cable, bend your elbow 90 degrees, and raise your arm out to the side—then rotate your forearm backward. This strengthens the rotator cuff, which stabilizes pressing.
3. Take breaks. Don’t bench press for more than three to four weeks in a row. Swap in other presses that work the pecs from different angles, and use different equipment, like dumbbells.
Sample Bench-Press Warmup
Pec Minor Rollout: Make small circles with the ball for 30 seconds straight.
Pec Minor Stretch: Stretch each side for 10 seconds; repeat.
External Rotation: Perform a set of 6 reps on each side, then a set of 3 reps.
Plyo Pushup: Perform a set of 6 reps, then a set of 3. Rest 30 seconds between sets.
Whenever you open a men’s or women’s lifestyle magazine, buff and chiseled men and women stare back at you from the pages, looking toned, tanned and happy. Although many of those images are probably highly PhotoShopped and air-brushed, it’s clear those people have put in their time at the gym. But are their happy smiles and healthy glow all real? Perhaps. Weightlifting can help you burn fat, reduce your risk of diabetes, prevent back pain and even help you fight depression. Research findings show that not only can weightlifting improve your body composition and give you a toned appearance, but it can also improve your overall health and make you a happier person.
1. Muscle Fights Fat
Want to be able to have that extra piece of pizza without feeling guilty? Lift weights. In an animal study published in the Feb. 6, 2008 issue of Cell Metabolism, Boston University researchers demonstrated that type II muscle fibers, the kind you build when you lift weights, improve whole-body metabolism. The researchers genetically engineered mice with a type II muscle growth-regulating gene that could be turned on and off. After eight weeks on a high-fat, high-sugar diet, they activated the gene, but did not change the mice’s diet. Without any change in activity level, the mice lost total body fat. The researchers concluded that an increase in type II muscle fibers can reduce body fat without changes to diet and might be effective in the fight against obesity.
2. Reduce Depression Symptoms
When it comes to the effects of exercise on depression, aerobic exercise, such as running and swimming, has been much more extensively researched than anaerobic exercise, such as weightlifting. But as one study reports, there’s little difference between the two in terms of how well they relieve symptoms of depression. Continue reading →
Improve a little everyday, even if it’s baby steps, and you’ll achieve personal greatness. There’s no tragedy like a waste of talent. Imagine how many lives would’ve been worse off if Newton, Einstein, or Edison quit after first failing. Starting today, push a little harder, dig a little deeper, persevere a little longer and help everyone around you shine a little brighter.
Carrrrrrdio. Lets goooooo??? I get a lot of questions about how much or the types of cardio I do. Let me start by saying my goal is to be in peak shape for life and I’m aiming to live to 100. So train for optimal results with minimal wear and tear. The truth is, I don’t regularly run as it puts a lot of impact on the skeletal system and over time can lead to serious joint and cartilage degeneration. I get most of my cardio from fast paced resistance training, with minimal rest and elevated heart rate. I lift heavy enough to breakdown the muscle, but not so much that it causes permenant damage. If I do need to put in some extra miles, I’ll walk on the tread at 4.4 mph & 14% incline while throwing punch combinations. Very low impact and will def get your heart cranking. Most people immediately go to cardio when they’re trying to shed lbs. Truth is, running doesn’t compare to weight training when it comes to transforming bodies. So think twice before you spin yourself into oblivion, because resistence training can actually get you there faster.
I started training at the age of 12 to overcome adversity. It soon became my release, my ground zero. No matter what adversity life threw at me, I knew I would always feel better and think about things in a positive light after an exhausting workout. At the time I wasn’t sure if it was because I felt more empowered or that I was so drained I didn’t have the energy to worry anymore. Either way, working out became my therapy and I have used it ever since to cope, reset, and focus on changing my life for the better. So if you’re ever feeling in a funk, try channeling that passion into a workout. Call it self empowerment or a good old fashion endorphin rush. Either way, it beats the hell out of laying around feeling sorry for yourself.
Hey friends. Pick up the August issue of Muscle and Fitness w/ Hugh Jackman on the cover, now on stands for my article on Body Symmetry. It reveals the importance of resetting and strengthening muscular imbalances to avoid injury. If you have knee, back or joint pain, you may have imbalances causing some muscles to over compensate adding unnatural pressure on your skeletal system.