Fitness, nutrition information and motivation.
(Aspiring personal trainer, currently studying International Relations and Diplomacy. All men and women from all walks of life are welcome - The main purpose of this blog is to help Transmen with their muscular growth as well as the maintenance of great health, from my personal experience and growing knowledge). Enjoy
Feeling like you’ve hit plateau in your biceps? Or just not seeing progress? No problem. These curls have been working well for me, they should do your biceps good. The anterior deltoids and traps work as stabilisers while the biceps are worked and the forearms being prime movers. So you won’t really be building bigger biceps and still having tiny forearms.
1. Pronated Dumbbell Curls
How to: Grasp a pair of dumbbells with a pronated (palms down) grip. Set the feet at roughly shoulder width, with a slight bend in the knees. Brace through the core and establish a neutral spine posture. Curl the weights up to your chest, keeping your elbows at your side and eyes straight ahead. Do not let your upper back round over - consciously pull your shoulder blades together to provide a stable base for your arms to pull from.
How to: Grasp a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip - so that the palms of each hand are facing each other. Set the feet at roughly shoulder width, with a slight bend in the knees. Brace through the core and establish a neutral spine posture. Curl the weights up to your chest, keeping your elbows at your side and eyes straight ahead. Do not let your upper back round over - consciously pull your shoulder blades together to provide a stable base for your arms to pull from.
How to: Grasp a pair of dumbbells with an underhand grip. Set the feet at roughly shoulder width, with a slight bend in the knees. Brace through the core and establish a neutral spine posture. Curl the weights up to your chest maintaining the underhand grip, keeping your elbows at your side and eyes straight ahead. At the top of the movement turn the wrists until the hands are in an overhand, palms-down, position, and lower the weight back to the starting position.
How to: Find a preacher curl apparatus with an EZ bar. Grasp the bar using a narrow underhand grip. Keeping the elbows at your sides and your eyes forward, curl the bar up to your chest. Lower the bar under control. Do not let your upper back round over - consciously pull your shoulder blades together to provide a stable base for your arms to pull from.
Just as important as pre-workout snacks/meals, here are post-workout meal ideas, very important to replenish your system:
1. One or two poached eggs on whole-wheat bread
2. A bowl of stir-fried chicken and vegetables (try pepper, zucchini and carrot) over brown rice
3. Whole-wheat pasta tossed with chicken, broccoli and egg plant
4. Whole-grain cereal or oatmeal, with milk and fruit (such as a sliced banana/berries)
Of course its also good to have your whey and casein shakes pre and post workout, respectively.
Oats - Packed with fibre (slow release of carbs). Contain B vitamins, which help convert carbs into energy. You can have a bowl pre-workout. The best carbs and protein combo in a bowl, you need them more together than just protein alone.
Bananas - Packed with carbs that’ll be quick fuel and Potassium; Which aids in maintaining nerve and muscle function. For instance, having some banana with half a cup of Greek yoghurt 30 mins prior to heading to the gym; will give you the carbs and protein you need respectively.
Fruit Smoothies - High in carbs and protein. Easy to make, quick into your system. Try blending half a cup of plain, low-fat yoghurt, half a cup of fruit and 1 cup fruit juice. You don’t have to skip fruits that are high in carbs, really. Protein doesn’t break down fast enough to become fuel for a workout. The carbs from fruit break down quickly and the protein is used later to prevent muscle damage.
You can also have:
1. Half of a chicken, turkey or lean roast beef sandwich on whole-wheat bread
2. Low-fat string cheese and 6 whole-grain crackers
Burn fat fast and build muscle, all in the outdoors and inside your home with these body-weight exercises. The crème de la crème:
Side Plank - Works the entire core, its a static exercise for strengthening the abdominals, back and even shoulders.
Dips - Primarily a triceps move, also
hits the chest and shoulders just as much (variations).
Burpee - Motion that uses the entire body better, not only does it torch fat but it improves co-ordination as it requires it.
Glute Bridge - If you strengthen your glutes, you strengthen (also increase) your back gains. Good for a healthy back.
Plank - Get a strong core. According to some fitness experts holding a plank for a minute+ is considered to be an impressive measure of fitness. The more time under tension = more muscle. This demands good shoulder stability, muscle endurance of the abdominals, lower back, shoulders, neck and legs.
Push Up - With different variations comes a big chest, deltoids and triceps.
Pull Ups - Is a major back and biceps builder, overall strength achieved.
Prone Back Extension - Huge, deep contraction, leading to a strong, healthy lower back. Again, the higher amount of tension a muscle is put under, the stronger it will respond. (Harder contractions means more muscle).
Having been to a lot of gyms I noticed, well what occurred to me was that each facility had a circuit area with machines lined up or set up in circumference.
These circuit areas varied from gym to gym of course, short 1 or 2 machines or having a couple more. I used to stick to the circuit floor because free-weights intimidated me. If you’re just starting out and feel the same here’s a list of the best (I really think) machines in the gym. Don’t be discouraged, machines are just as good as free-weights, they’re the best teachers of technique/form pre-free-weights. You’ll still benefit, the circuit is the best place for a total body workout in short amount of time you have to spare.
1. Seated Cable Row (its not always in the circuit area but its really good nonetheless, my favourite)
Biceps, Lats, Shoulders
2. Seated Chest Press
Close-grip (palms facing down) - Chest and Triceps
Neutral-grip (palms facing each other) - Shoulders become secondary muscles
3. Lat Pull-down
Middle Back, Biceps and Shoulders
4. Seated Shoulder Press
5. Pec Deck
(Perform them well and you won’t hurt your shoulders)
6. Bicep Curl Machine
7. Tricep Pushdown
8. Leg Press
Glutes, Calves, Hamstrings
9. Leg Extensions
10. Hamstring Curls / Leg Curls
13. Seated Calf Raise
14. Standing Calf Raise
15. Abdominal Crunches
The gluteal muscles (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus) are forgotten, almost as much as our forearms. We take them for granted, leaving it to compound exercises to do the job. Truth is, they also need their isolation time. The gluteus maximus is a hip extensor and plays an important role in pelvic and spinal stabilisation.
Strong glutes enable speed, acceleration and swift conversion of energy from horizontal to vertical in the case of running jumps. Especially in sprinting, strong glutes will help you as an athlete do a lot of things better. Like? Being more powerful out of the bottom of a squat.
Hip thrusts and glute bridges will provide a glute training stimulus that goes far above any other type of exercise, including squat variations.
Squats and deadlifts are great but they won’t work glute like hip thrusts and glute bridges will.
Our glutes stabilise the hip. They counteract gravity’s hip adduction torque and maintain proper leg alignment by eccentrically controlling adduction and internal rotation of the thigh. Tough job, wouldn’t it make sense to make it a tough muscle group too?
A trainer over at Bodybuilding.com has compiled an excellent way to work on the glutes regularly, using these supersets:
For each of these supersets, you’ll perform the isolation exercise first. The rep range for the first movement should be around 20-25 reps, followed immediately by 6-10 reps of the compound movement. After
both exercises, you’ll rest and repeat for a total of 2-4 supersets.
1. Glute Bridge with Deadlift
When performing the glute bridge, squeeze up through the glutes and try to keep your quads and hamstrings
relaxed. Pause ever-so-slightly at the top before lowering again to complete the rep. Once you feel the glutes burning, stand up and immediately move into a stiff-leg deadlift. As you do the deadlift, make sure you are squeezing through the glutes and not pulling from the back.
2. Glute Kickback with Step-Up
The glute kickback targets the gluteus medius; you will feel it when you move into the step-ups. You can do
kickbacks with your body weight, with an ankle weight, or using a cable pulley system. To create maximum glute activation during the step-ups, use the highest bench or step you have available.
3. Hip Abduction with Weighted Lunge
When doing hip abductors, pull the weighted leg back in a slightly diagonal pattern. This will better activate the
glute medius. Lift your leg as high as you comfortably can. After doing hip abduction on both legs, move directly
into lunges. Your balance may, that’s okay.
These supersets aren’t meant to be done one after the other. Add one of these superset to the end of your normal lower-body training session.
If you do too much extra work on your glutes, you may find you’ve over-trained.
Are you finding it just a bit too hard to pack on muscle? Then you’re probably an Ectomorph… It may be genetic, it may be some other reason but many guys especially pre-T are ectomorphs (Low T being the reason). That’s why this is a good article to read and good program to try for every guy that’s struggling:
Ectomorphs are usually [hard gainers] when it comes to gaining muscle mass…