There is arguably no more punishing postseason than the NHL playoffs. It’s two months of brutal, high-intensity war, where muscular, hairy, angry athletes hurtle toward each other at whipsaw speed, brandishing sticks while chasing a puck across a hard, cold expanse of ice. Broken bones, torn muscles clenbuterol online and plenty of lost teeth litter the road to Lord Stanley’s Cup, first awarded in 1893 and revered like no other trophy in sports.Preparing for that grind requires a game plan that begins in the weight room. It takes a multifaceted approach that includes general cardio fitness and overall strength. It also requires specialized adaptations to boost skating speed and improve short-burst energy and power for all-out efforts during each 40- to 60-second shift on the ice.”A lot of casual sports fans may not realize it, but hockey players might possibly be some of the best-conditioned athletes in the world,” says active-duty U.S. Army Special Forces soldier Dustin Kirchofner, a certified strength-and-conditioning coach and owner of Modern Warfare Fitness in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has been working with a few NHLers this offseason on their off-ice regimens.”When you play hockey, you move in all three planes of the body: the sagittal [median], coronal [frontal] and transverse [horizontal] planes,” Kirchofner explains. “Not only do you move in all three planes, but you may be moving in multiple planes at the same time. Those multiple movement patterns use many muscles, particularly in your core and lower body.”Hockey players are always balanced on a 3-millimeter blade on a sheet of ice, Kirchofner points out. “In order to move the way they do, they need an extremely strong core and lower body – that means glutes, quads, hamstrings and erector spinae, as well as the key stabilizer muscles surrounding the ankles, knees and hips.” Those key areas are Kirchofner’s focus in this workout, a valuable training protocol for a hockey player at any level of the game and a plateau-busting change of pace for anyone who wants to develop a powerful, more muscular foundation. “Focus on keeping your rest periods on the shorter side, about 30 to 90 seconds depending on your fitness levels, and handling as much weight as you can while still being able to control it. You’ll want to employ controlled negatives and fairly explosive contractions on each rep,” he says.
Find us a man with a more impressive r sum than Tim Kennedy. We dare you. No, not a more impressive military r sum – a more impressive r sum , period. Here’s the abbreviated version of Kennedy’s:A 2003 enlistee in the U.S. Army as a Special Forces candidate. Awarded a Green Beret in 2005 and, shortly thereafter, an honor graduate from Ranger School. Deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom multiple times, in addition to many other locations worldwide. A high-level sniper in both combat and formal military competitions. Awarded the Army’s heroic Bronze Star Medal with V Device (for valor). Currently serving in the Army National Guard, based in Austin, Texas, as a Special Forces weapons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testosterone) sergeant first class. A professional mixed-martial arts fighter on and off since 2001 with a combined record of 18 wins and five losses in the UFC and Strikeforce. A successful television career, appearing in such reality-based shows and documentaries as Hunting Hitler on the History channel and Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior, spawned from his fame as a professional athlete, his standing as a decorated military soldier and an outspoken, articulate personality that plays well on camera. A business owner, with a stake in the military-based clothing company Ranger Up, among other ventures. Age: 36. Height: 5 feet 11 inches. Weight: 225 pounds, give or take, and a leaner and meaner 200 for his photo shoot with M&P. Can you find a more alpha r sum than that? Good luck. You’ll also be hard-pressed to find anyone who trains harder or is https://www.drugs.com/article/anabolic-steroids.html better physically prepared to take on anything – a UFC title-holder, a war zone, you name it than Tim Kennedy. If you’re going to come and be like, ‘Oh, I’m going to go kill Tim Kennedy,’ yeah, you might be able to. But it’s going to be the nastiest, most evil, disgusting, violent affair that you could ever imagine occurring.”Training 24/7Is it fair to say Tim Kennedy trains like a professional athlete? No, not really. His training is much more involved, and rigorous, than that of the typical elite ballplayer or fighter. Kennedy’s training is ongoing throughout the day, every day. Most athletes would consider training twice daily the most grueling phase of their programs. Kennedy calls two-a-days “a minimum.”His training program is fluid. Meaning, all the different components of his daily grind blend into one another: gym workouts and MMA sessions- Special Forces combat and weaponry training- self-defense and military tactics courses he teaches to law enforcement and civilians through his business Sheepdog Response (sheepdogresponse.com)- a television gig that may find him running through the mountains of Argentina with 20 pounds of camera equipment on his back. “There’s a symbiotic relationship with everything I do,” Kennedy says. “Whether it’s television, the companies I own, military commitments or fighting, all of them complement each other. The things I do for TV and the places I go are all places I go for the military and are sometimes through connections for the military that benefit my unit. So I just work my ass off all the time. Some weeks I work, like, 90 hours. This isn’t a 9-to-5 job. This isn’t go to PT in the morning, hang out, go get chow, put on my uniform and hang out with my boss. This is wake up at dawn, work all the way until the sun goes down and then we can start our real training. It’s 24/7, and it’s what I chose to do until the day I die.”This is not to say that Kennedy’s training lacks structure. He adheres to a periodized strength-and-conditioning program in which Mondays and Wednesdays are powerlifting focused- Tuesdays and Fridays emphasize mobility, speed, endurance and metabolic conditioning- and Thursdays are active recovery day along the lines of swimming or hot yoga.That’s the structured part, at least, which leaves open the weekends and many hours Monday through Friday for other “wild card” activities and training modalities: basically, anything and everything Kennedy can get his hands on. He may incorporate parachute sprints or rock climbing during the week. And he typically reserves weekends for off-land workouts such as paddleboarding and long-distance swims, if not something slightly more primitive. “Maybe I’ll go do a walking hunt where my gun, ammo and all my food is in my backpack,” Kennedy says. “I walk in 3 or 4 miles, try to find an animal, shoot the animal, and then walk out carrying 50 pounds of meat along with my gun and other stuff. So it can end up being a negative-5,000-calorie-type day.” Tim Kennedy, who made news in 2016 after being threatened by ISIS on social media, was preparing to ship out on yet another deployment at the time of our shoot. To call his training diverse is an understatement. He’s ever resourceful when it comes to finding a new way to train or fitting in a workout with steroids for sale in the absence of modern gym equipment. When he was deployed in Afghanistan in the mid-2000s, he would use anything he could find to lift or throw to stay in shape, whether it was a heavy rock or an engine from a broken-down Humvee. These days, he’s just as creative when deployed in North Africa (his current Special Forces assignment) or even on set shooting a documentary. Production studios usually don’t want to cough up money to provide cast members a proper workout facility, and that’s fine with Kennedy. When need be, he travels with TRX bands and empty kettlebell bags he can fill with sand. Or he’ll bring a length of rope on location in the jungle and drag it or sprint with it or drape it over a tree branch for pull-ups.Such workout variety is part necessity, part staving off boredom. More than that, Kennedy sees it as the best means of developing full military combat preparedness. “While I love training, I hate training in a vacuum,” he says. “I think the gym is a vacuum. I consider a gym rat to be a guy who exclusively does movements at the gym that don’t translate into any form of athleticism outside the gym (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK6_iGC6_qs). And I hate that guy. I want to be the antithesis of that guy. Everything I do in the gym is because I have to be in the gym, because it’s going to be the place that facilitates the movement or the strength building we’re doing. But the ultimate goal is for me to be bigger, stronger, faster and harder to kill. “My entire life revolves around the concept that I want to be the hardest person someone ever tries to kill. If you’re going to come and be like, ‘Oh, I’m going to go kill Tim Kennedy,’ yeah, you might be able to. But it’s going to be the nastiest, most evil, disgusting, violent affair that you could ever imagine occurring.”Keeping ’em HonestTim Kennedy probably doesn’t expect every member of the U.S. military to be as strong, fit and highly conditioned as him. But he doesn’t tolerate a lazy, out-of-shape soldier, either. When asked whether he thinks military men and women should train like athletes, Kennedy is blunt in his response. Absolutely,” he says. “If I see a soldier who’s fat wearing a uniform, I pretty much go from being the super nice, fun-loving guy you can drink a beer with to a jerk, lickety-split. I think there’s a certain amount of responsibility that goes along with wearing this uniform. I don’t care what your job is. I don’t care if you’re in the JAG office doing wills for guys deploying or power of attorneys for their wives. You wear a uniform- do not be a fat piece of s—.”If that sounds harsh, perhaps it’s because the world can be a harsh place when you’re serving overseas in enemy territory, and you best be prepared physically and mentally to deal with it. But Kennedy would receive the same blowback from other members of the Special Forces community if he were to ever slip up, particularly since he’s a public figure representing Green Berets, Army Rangers and snipers.”Fortunately, I’ve never let those guys down because this is what I’ve dedicated my life to,” Kennedy says. “And they’ll say to me, ‘Thank you for representing us, for being outspoken and for being a great example.’ But sure as s—, if I messed up, said something stupid, did something stupid or was ever over 10 percent body fat, I would get abused by the community. This [Special Forces] world is one of brutal honesty.”As if you had any doubt about that by this point in the story.And to young people out there thinking you’d like to be the next military hero – the next Tim Kennedy – he’s got some valuable advice for you: If Tim Kennedy has you in his crosshairs, it’s not a great day. He’s an ace combat and competition sniper who also runs his own self-defense company.”Keep your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open,” Kennedy says. “When I got to the Special Forces, I was a top-10 fighter on the planet, I had been a competitive shooter my entire life, and I had done a lot of hunting growing up in rural California. You can’t get a guy who’s more prepared for the Special Forces than I was. But when I got there, I was the slowest guy, the weakest guy and the worst shot. My first two years, I was just trying to catch up to the rest of my team. You’ve got to take the good with the bad. The best times I’ve had in the military are when I’ve been deployed in Afghanistan, getting blown up, getting shot at, having gun fights that lasted days. While that’s all amazing and heroic, it sucks. And then you get home and you get that first kiss from your wife when you get off the plane, and you get that smell from her perfume. It’s that contrast. It’s what you live for.”3 “HARD TO KILL” COMMANDMENTSWant to be a hard-charging, unabashed badass, too? Then you need to be preparedto dig deep on a daily basis.1. Diversify Your Trainingake sure you’re not training in a vacuum. Get out of the gym, get on a rope, get on an obstacle course. I train at four different gyms in a week just for strength and conditioning. That’s by design. I’m not getting comfortable with any one environment or with a certain kind of equipment. Everything always ends up being consistently inconsistent. For example, I went to a CrossFit gym recently and I competed with all their top athletes and beat them all. No, I’m not saying I’m going to beat Rich Froning in a CrossFit competition, but I’m going to be able to walk into a very high-level gym and do whatever they’re doing at their highest level.”2. Eat Real Food”Going to the grocery store and grabbing the closest thing on the shelf is the easiest, most convenient thing to do. But by no means is it the best thing. By eat real food, I mean do the research and figure out the source of your food. Do you even know where your food came from, what hormones are in it, what antibiotics are in it, what steroids were pumped into the animal? If you look into my refrigerator or freezer, almost every single thing in there is either fresh from the ground or fresh caught. People are so disconnected from their food that they don’t even understand what food is anymore.” 3. Understand What Recovery Is for You”Sitting on the couch playing video games is not recovery. Going for a run is recovery. Last night I had two really bad workouts earlier in the day and I have a 13-year-old daughter. So she and I went for a 3-mile run at around a nine- to 10-minute-mile pace – super slow, relaxed, we could have a conversation at that pace. But it got the blood going back into my legs, and this morning, I woke up and had an amazing training session. So figure out, for you, what recovery really looks like. That includes sleep. If you have to take power naps, or real naps, do it. Figure out if you’re the six-hour, eight-hour or 10-hour sleep guy or gal. Every person needs something different.”-Sgt. 1st Class Tim Kennedy, U.S. Army
The crunch is world famous, and probably the first exercise you think of when it comes to abs. It’s loved by some and loathed by others, known for generating an ever-increasing burn over the course of long sets as lactic acid builds up in the abdominal wall.Truth be told, it’s very effective, delivering a direct hit on the muscles that make up the so-called six-pack, especially the upper abs. It’s also a move you won’t find anywhere on this list of top 10 ab exercises. That’s because we believe there are more interesting and productive options to be considered first. Some take aim at the harder-to-develop lower ab area – or, in some cases, hit the entire abdominal region – while others amp up the degree of difficulty to the extreme. One thing is sure: Not everyone will agree with our rankings. We didn’t meticulously measure the abdominal activation of each with electromyo-graphy equipment, a popular approach for testing all manner of exercises. We instead weighed attributes such as an exercise’s degree of difficulty, its offer of a unique challenge that helps break the monotony of a typical ab routine and anecdotal reports from the training trenches. With that said, here’s our list, ready to be disseminated, debated and, most important, adopted into your own routine as you strive for a stronger, more defined core.10. Medicine-Ball Walkover.
In the case of the ever-popular plank, your core engages to keep your hips from dropping toward the floor. While we have nothing particularly against the plank, we think the walkover does it one better, introducing activity that adds a layer of difficulty and causes your core to contract and release multiple times as you move up and over the medicine ball from side to side.Main Areas Targeted: Upper and lower abStrengths: The walkover combines the isometric contraction of the plank with action. To keep your body straight from head to heels as you “walk” your hands over the ball, you must engage not only your rectus abdominis but also your obliques and lower back.How-To: Start in the “up” position of a push-up with a medicine ball on the floor just outside your right arm. Pick up your right hand and place it on the ball, then lift your left hand from the floor and bring it atop the ball so that you balance your upper body on it. Next, place your right hand on the floor on the opposite side of the ball, then your left hand. Continue “walking” with your hands back and forth, onto and over the ball, for a predetermined amount of time like one minute (if your pecs and delts can keep up, that is).9. Cable Woodchopper “We live our gym lives in single planes of motion, but real life and sports are multiplanar,” says Dan Roberts, CSCS, creator of the exercise program X Combat (danrobertsgroup.com) and one of Europe’s top strength and conditioning coaches. “I love gym exercises that get you twisting. Your legs, abs and obliques do the work, but they work together in one fluid movement, improving your coordination.” Main Areas Targeted: Obliques and deep transverse abdominisStrengths: Using a cable introduces resistance all the way through the range of motion without losing any of the benefits of a strong, explosive contraction. “This exercise is functional to tennis, boxing, baseball pitching and batting, football … in fact, any sport with a rotational element will benefit,” Roberts says. “In addition, you condition your body to twist under a load, which will reduce chances of strains or injuries in your back when you’re not on the sports field.” It’s also versatile, as you can start from any pulley position to elicit a different stimulus: low to high (as described below), high to low, directly through the middle or any stop in between if you have a pulley system that allows for other heights.How-To: For this version of the woodchopper, you’ll go up and across your body. Using a rope attachment to a cable pulley set to the lowest position, stand sideways to the machine in a staggered stance, keeping your elbows almost straight but not locked out. Holding the rope in both hands, initiate the movement at the ankles, knees and hips, forcefully pulling the rope across your body and toward head level on the opposite side. Complete your reps for one side, then switch sides and repeat.8. One-Arm Dumbbell Sit-Up<img alt=”” src=”file:///C:/Users/Lenovo/Desktop/whatsteroids/images/one-arm-dumbbell-sit-up-muscle-and-performance.png” />This move is borrowed from the realm of mixed martial arts conditioning, aimed at fighters who need to generate core power when escaping from ground-and-pound attacks or submission attempts. When performed at a deliberate cadence, it helps improve core and body control- putting the resistance overhead (versus at the chest) decreases any leverage advantage, meaning the muscles do more work.Main Area Targeted: Upper absStrengths: So many abdominal exercises are bodyweight-centric. People fear adding resistance, thinking it will thicken the midsection. But what adding weight really accomplishes is efficiency, pushing the muscles to failure in less time, meaning you need fewer reps to achieve a deep, meaningful burn in your belly, not to mention a measure of strength that’s invaluable in so many other movements. And while we’re touting the one-arm dumbbell version here because of the balance aspects – making each side of your body react differently to complete each rep – the two-handed barbell version is also sufficiently vicious and worth a try.How-To: Lie faceup on the floor holding a dumbbell in one hand extended above your chest. From here, sit up, holding the weight in that same plane until your body forms an “L” with the dumbbell extended overhead, then lower yourself back to the floor. Complete your reps for one side, then switch the dumbbell to the other hand and repeat.7. Medicine-Ball Toss Sit-Up. When the old-school sit-up hit a rough patch – universally blasted as an outdated, outmoded movement, relying too much on ancillary muscles like the hip flexors to power you through a complete rep – the era of crunches was born, limiting the move to the most critical and beneficial few inches of the motion. These days the traditional sit-up is making a comeback, and with good reason: Sure, it may involve more than the target muscles, but why is that such a bad thing? Prodding a range of muscles to fire in concert with one another so that the body works more efficiently and powerfully as a whole is the concept of functional training in a nutshell. All without compromising the primary goal of targeting the abs.Main Area Targeted: Lower absStrengths: This exercise kicks the sit-up up a notch, introducing ever-changing resistance and an explosive catch-and-toss element that puts your core under all sorts of beneficial duress. The downside? It’s best done with a partner, although if you train alone you could also rep against a concrete wall with a medicine ball designed to provide some bounce.How-To: Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor and a medicine ball held overhead with both hands. Engage your core to bring your torso toward an upright sit-up position and simultaneously toss the medicine ball forward to a waiting partner. Once you reach the top of the move, your partner should immediately toss the ball back to you. Catch it in front of you at head level or slightly above, then bring the ball overhead in one smooth motion as you return to the start position on the floor.6. Bicycle Crunch. In 2001, the American Council on Exercise sponsored a study that gained a lot of traction in fitness circles. In it, researchers at the San Diego State University Biomechanics Lab tested 13 ab moves, using electromyography equipment to measure muscular activation in the rectus abdominis, obliques and hip flexors (via the rectus femoris). The winner – beating out common moves such as Swiss-ball crunches and vertical-bench knee raises as well as infomercial gadgets such as the Torso Track, Ab Roller and Ab Rocker – was the unassuming, no-equipment-required bicycle crunch. Main Areas Targeted: Obliques and deep transverse abdominisStrengths: The bicycle crunch involves constant motion, meaning your abdominal wall is engaged from numerous angles. The twisting back and forth as you bring each elbow to the opposite knee calls on the obliques, too, making this an all-in-one alternative for ab training.How-To: Lie faceup with your lower back pressed into the floor. Place your hands lightly behind your head, elbows pointed out. Elevate your legs with your knees bent 90 degrees. Now pump your legs, straightening one knee as you bend the other, while twisting your upper body so that you bring your right elbow to your left knee and vice versa. You can count reps (once to each side equals one rep) or do these for a certain period of time. Full extension of the legs on each rep and an aggressive cross-body, elbow-to-knee crunch are crucial- don’t get caught in the trap of simply pedaling yourself silly.5. Standing Pallof Press. Boston-area physical therapist John Pallof showed this move to strength coach Tony Gentilcore, CSCS, back in 2006 and Gentilcore (tonygentilcore.com) has been a fierce proponent ever since. “It’s a very user-friendly exercise that doesn’t require any fancy equipment,” he says. “Whether you’re a professional athlete or Bob from accounting, it’s very easy to learn and assimilate into your training toolbox immediately. It’s simple looking and many might scoff at it. But these ‘simple’ moves are often the most effective.”Main Areas Targeted: Rectus abdomi-nis, obliques, deep transverse abdominisStrengths: As you extend your arms away from your body, the pull on your core gets stronger and stronger, engaging the rectus and oblique muscles in the process. “The Pallof press trains the core musculature in a more functional manner, in that it forces one to resist motion and to stabilize,” Gentilcore explains. “In turn, this helps to improve force transfer from the lower body through the core to the upper body, which is the true function of the core.”How-To: Set a cable pulley or Free-Motion machine to its midpoint so the line of pull is directly level with your sternum. Hold the attached D-handle at your sternum with your right hand on the handle and your left hand overlapping your right, upper arms along your torso. Stand sideways to and far enough away from the machine so the weight stack is lifted (providing resistance). Keep your knees bent and shoulders and hips square, feet a little wider than shoulder width. Deliberately press your arms straight out in front of you, resisting the pull of the weight- don’t let your upper body twist toward the machine. Stop at full elbow extension, pause for a one-count, then slowly bring the handle back toward you. Complete eight to 10 reps per side. (Note that you can also use a band, or do the exercise kneeling or from a lunge stance.)4. TRX Knee Tuck. The TRX Suspension Trainer, created by former Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick a couple of decades ago, is a devious piece of equipment that allows you to use leverage, gravity and your own bodyweight as resistance to do a wide array of movements. Nearly every TRX exercise engages the core to some degree for stability, but the knee tuck takes aim directly at the rectus abdominis.Main Area Targeted: Lower absStrengths: “This is an advanced version of the plank, so you’re working your core, but because your feet are elevated you also work your back and shoulders,” explains U.K.-based trainer Dan Roberts. “Then, as you move your knees in and out, your abs and glutes will work hard to make the movement happen. In addition, your pelvic stabilizer muscles will kick in. Remember, the slower and more controlled you perform your reps, the better.”How-To: Start in a push-up position, both hands just outside shoulder width on the floor and both feet in the TRX cradles. Keeping your torso stable and abs tight, pull your knees as far into your chest as you can as you curl your lower back, then extend your back and legs out to the start.3. Toes-to-Bar Want to try one of the toughest abdominal exercises you can imagine? CrossFit has you covered with the simple yet devastating “toes-to-bar.” The name is apt because that’s exactly what you do: Hang from a pull-up bar and raise your legs until your toes touch the bar, folding yourself in half in the process.Main Areas Targeted: Obliques and deep transverse abdominisStrengths: Toes-to-bar is essentially a hanging leg raise with a radically extended range of motion, calling upon all sorts of core and upper-body muscles to contract and stabilize while you drive your legs upward. You likely won’t be able to do many reps, but no matter- 100 standard crunches wouldn’t equal the stimulus that 10 of these can deliver. (If you’re a novice, we highly recommend that you begin with hanging knee raises, using a bar or a vertical bench, before graduating to leg raises. When you’re ready at least a few months down the line, try the toes-to-bar.)How-To: Get in a dead hang position from a pull-up bar, using an overhand grip just outside shoulder width. Powerfully “fold” your body in two at the hips by lifting your legs in an arc to a point where your toes reach the bar, then return to the dead hang. Keep your knees straight (but not locked) throughout. Be careful not to let momentum take over during your reps- some swing is okay, but too much will reduce the workload on your abs. While CrossFitters tend to do these against the clock, you can extend the burn – and increase the benefit for the lower abs – by focusing on a powerful contraction and a more controlled negative.2. Dragon Flag Not that looks matter, but the dragon flag is arguably one of the most impressive-looking exercises ever created when performed to perfection, requiring an incredible amount of muscular control. Purportedly invented by legendary martial artist Bruce Lee, it was introduced to a new generation of fitness fanatics as part of Rocky IV’s unforgettable training montage. It’s not all about showing off, though- it’s a powerhouse that pushes the main movers and stabilizers of your core to their limits.Main Areas Targeted: Obliques and deep transverse abdominisStrengths: This is an isometric-based exercise for the abdominals, in that you hold your core steady as you raise your torso against gravity rather than curling your midsection to close the distance between your pelvis and ribcage. Some would argue that should knock it down the list. To them, we respond, “Have you tried the dragon flag yet?” We’d also strongly argue that stabilization is the most important performance metric for abs, as that’s their main function all day long.How-To: Lie faceup on a flat bench, holding the sides of the bench next to your head with both hands for support. Extend your legs and, maintaining full body control, begin to slowly lift your body upward: Your legs, glutes and lower back should all be aligned as you rise, with only your shoulders, upper traps and head in contact with the bench at the very top of the movement. Try to come up as high as you can, stopping just before your legs and mid-body come perpendicular to the floor, then lower yourself back down, controlling the descent the whole way. Halt just before your body touches the bench and begin the next rep. (Note: If you feel like filming your own montage, you can also perform these lying reversed on a decline bench, grasping the ankle pads behind your head for support.)1. Double Crunch This simple exercise combines two of the most essential ab moves into one, giving you the best of both. You basically do a crunch that engages the upper abdominals plus a reverse crunch that targets the lower abdominals.Main Areas Targeted: Upper and lower absStrengths: The advantage here is the dual action: By bringing your upper body and lower body together simultaneously instead of moving just one end while the other end remains stationary, you activate the rectus abdominis from both ends.
Many movements (including some on this list, admittedly) tend to focus on either the upper or lower abs but not both to an equal degree. It’s important to note that the rectus abdominis muscle does contract as a whole when you train abs- you can’t isolate one end or the other. But bringing your hips toward your shoulders generally activates the lower ab region more so than the upper, while bringing your shoulders toward your hips demands just a bit more of the upper ab region.How-To: Lie faceup on the floor with your hands cupped gently behind your head and your legs almost completely straight and raised a few inches off the floor. Bring your knees to your torso while simultaneously crunching your upper body toward your legs. Squeeze for a one-count when you’ve closed the distance as far as you can, then return to the start (with legs still elevated) and repeat. For a more advanced version, consider the V-up: Lie faceup on the floor with your arms stretched overhead, knees straight and legs together, then simultaneously lift your arms and legs toward each other, forming a “V” shape with your body at the top as you balance on your glutes.
Looking at your schedule and wondering how you’re going to fit in work, family obligations, quality time with your partner, and a challenging workout? We can’t do much about dentist appointments and the sales report that’s due on Monday, but we do have a plan for a spicy partner workout that checks off both the “fitness” and “bonding” boxes on your to-do list. This high-intensity, full-body workout requires enough space for running (a track or 200-meter stretch of sidewalk will do) and a medicine ball that both of you can carry and lift for multiple reps. Each move requires teamwork and communication, so you’ll need to stay present and work with your partner to execute each exercise successfully. But remember: It’s still a date! Feel free to laugh, show off, act a little silly, and even sneak in a kiss or two. Medicine Ball Sit-Ups
Face each other in a seated position with the soles of your feet pressed together. (Each partner should be creating a diamond shape with their legs.) Holding the medicine ball with both hands, bring it up and over your head as you lower your back to the ground, then sit up. Your partner should also perform a sit-up at the same time, sans medicine ball. As you both sit up, pass the medicine ball to your partner. Repeat the synchronized movement, this time with your partner performing the weighted sit up. Continue for a predetermined number of reps or time (e.g. 20 reps or 60 seconds), passing the ball back and forth as you sit up. Plank High Fives.
Begin facing each other in a plank position. (Start with a couple feet of space between you and adjust as necessary.) Balance your weight on your hands and toes, engaging your core and maintaining a flat back. In unison with your partner, lift your right hand up and across your body to slap your partner’s hand. Return to the plank position and repeat on the left side. Don’t allow your hips to sag, pike, or swish side-to-side. Challenge yourself and your partner by seeing how many high fives you can get in one minute without sacrificing form. Synchronized BurpeesThe goal is to execute every part of each burpee in synch with your partner, so you may need to take turns giving each other verbal cues. Start by standing next to each other with your feet shoulder-width apart. Drop to the floor, touching your chest to the ground, and lift up into a push-up position. Jump or step both feet forward to meet your hands, and spring upward, clapping your hands overhead. Repeat for reps or time. Want to increase the level of difficulty?
Try jumping up onto a barbell plate. Medicine Ball Partner RunPick a distance that both you and your partner can run at 75-95% of your maximum capacity – 400 meters is a good option for most people. Have one partner begin the run with medicine ball in tow, handing it off to the other partner at an agreed upon marker (e.g. every 100 meters) or when they get tired. Continue to pass the medicine ball back and forth for the duration of the run. Once you finish, rest for two minutes and go again. Try to beat your previous time. MirroringThis one is old-school calisthenics meets Simon Says. Set the clock for five minutes (or as along you want) and face your partner. Taking turns as “the leader,” randomly cycle through bodyweight movements like air squats, lunges, push-ups, knee raises, and jumping jacks. It’s “the follower’s” job to mimic the leader’s movements and pace. Test your partner’s quickness by adding a single burpee to a string of jumping jacks, or challenge their balance with one-legged hops. Are you a fit couple? Sign up for Muscle & Performance magazine’s America’s Fittest Couple Challenge and train alongside Chris and Heidi Powell from ABC’s hit show Extreme Weight Loss. Not only will you and your partner get in the best shape of your lives, but you can earn a shot at winning a romantic getaway and celebrate your success with the world on the cover of Muscle & Performance! For more info to go to muscleandperformance.com/fitcouples.
Dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells are great, but when it comes to increasing muscle gains (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjDqjJdi0Co) and exercise performance, there’s a big difference between picking up a weight and wearing it around your torso.Weighted vests, which move your workout load from your extremities or shoulders to your very core, enhance your ability to hammer your stabilizer muscles, increase bone strength, burn calories and rev fat loss. Plus, by allowing lifters to progressively overload bodyweight exercises like pull-ups, inverted rows and push-ups (without simply performing more and more reps), vests turn muscular endurance exercises into feats of max strength. All strength training aside, weight vests are a mainstay of sprint and speed-work drills. And for good reason. The extra weight (as well as the acceleration stance that wearing it puts you in) hones your ability to quickly generate ground reaction forces, improves acceleration mechanics, and enhances on-the-field speed, power and agility. Research published in a 2015 issue of the Journal of Science & Medicine in Sport (https://www.drugs.com/article/anabolic-steroids.html) even found that performing vest-loaded intervals increases peak running speed and running economy in endurance athletes.So how much should you put on? It depends on your training status, bodyweight, workout and training goals. For instance, to max out your sprint or endurance speed, vests shouldn’t slow your regular running times by more than 10 percent. Meanwhile, if you’re training to block or scrimmage, you can gradually increase loads so that you’re sprinting while wearing up to 30 percent of your bodyweight. When performing otherwise weighted (dumbbell, etc.), bodyweight or plyometric exercises, start with a vest that weighs about 5 to 10 percent of your bodyweight and progressively overload from there. For instance, the Harbinger HumanX Weighted Vest (vitaminshoppe.com) adjusts by one-pound increments up to 20 pounds so that your loads can be specific to any given exercise, set and rep scheme, and can increase as your strength increases.Now that you’re suited up, get the most from your weight vest with this strength and plyometric workout. It increases strength, recruitment patterns and force production in the body’s largest muscle groups – including the glutes, hamstrings, lats, pecs and abs – to improve total-body gains and performance. And you don’t even have to pick up a weight.The Weight-to-Go WorkoutTo start with steroid supplier , perform box jumps, landing each time in a half-squat position. Step down off of the box and take a few-seconds breather between reps. The goal here is strength, not cardio. Start with a low weight and box height, especially if you are new to plyos, and increase both as you progress.Then, do traditional pull-ups, wearing a weight that allows you to barely eke out six reps with proper form. Switch to your lower body with pistol squats.
Keeping one leg and both hands extended in front of your body, squat down as far as possible (ideally until your calf touches your hamstrings) and then push back up to start. Next up: burpees. Focus on bending at the hips and knees to squat down, rather than bending at the waist to start every rep. Depending on your fitness level, integrate both a push-up and a jump into the movement- doing so will take your EPOC (excess postexercise oxygen consumption, aka afterburn) to another level.Now it’s time for some lateral work, courtesy of speedskaters. To perform, hop to the side on one foot (the other foot crossing behind), then switch sides, making sure that the working (front) leg lands with a bent knee. During each hop, reach one arm across your body in the direction of travel and extend your opposite arm up and behind your body.Round things out with resisted sprints, performed either on a treadmill or, if possible, on a track. Then cool down, recover and repeat on nonconsecutive days.
The barbell squat has been called the king of exercises, and unlike British royalty it has actually earned its crown. An absolute must for building thick, powerful quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, the squat also promotes a growth response throughout the body as it calls on intensive stabilization from upper-body and core muscles during each rep. Here’s the problem, though: It’s effective, but it’s far from easy. The squat requires plenty of energy, strength and practice to master the technique, not to mention a bit of bravery as you drop into a below-parallel position with a challenging amount of weight draped across your upper back.To improve your performance, we’ve recruited an expert who knows the squat inside and out. Heather Farmer, a Tier 3 personal trainer at Equinox Fitness in midtown Manhattan, has competed in national-level Olympic lifting for the past four years while instructing clients in the intricacies of complex lifts such as the snatch, clean and jerk, deadlift, overhead press and squat. She recommends two squat-focused sessions a week, presented here- one is a squat-only workout and the other is an array of variations and assistance exercises that help improve the muscles most responsible for leg power and explosiveness. They should be done at least one or two days apart for adequate recovery.And how do you know your efforts are bearing fruit? Well, by doing a max test, of course. “Do this program for five weeks, then test your max squat at the end of the sixth week, allowing at least four to five days of recovery before the test,” Farmer says. “A max could be tested as often as every three weeks or as infrequently as 12 weeks, but six weeks is pretty common.”Maxes can vary: You can test a three-rep max, five-rep max or traditional one-rep max,” she adds. “Testing different sets can be helpful, but I’d recommend doing the one-rep more often than the others. Otherwise, if you do a one-rep max to start and then in six-week increments do a five-rep max, three-rep max and then circle back to a one-rep, it’ll have been 18 weeks since you did it last.”Warm-Up For Both WorkoutsThese are both bodyweight-only moves that are meant to loosen the legs and hips, “gradually getting the hips to sit under the shoulders with an upright torso and tight, upright lower back,” as Farmer explains. Start with lateral squats for two sets of 10 reps per side. For these, take a wide stance and sit down into a deep squat on alternating legs. Follow that with pole squats for two sets of 10 reps: Grasp a pole or stationary object (like a power rack) and descend into a deep squat, keeping your heels down, lower back tight and chest upright, allowing the hips to sit in toward the ankles.
It’s easy to adapt to different methods of training, especially when it comes to fat loss. A general rule of thumb I like to apply to my own training and to that of my clients is to include exercises that will cause difficulty due to inefficiency. In other words, it means incorporating movements you’re bad at. Doing so will burn more calories and help you drop more fat because your body isn’t trained to be efficient at the lift just yet. Needless to say, the big lifts still deserve their place at the top of the food chain (at the very least, variations of those lifts). Even the most minor of tweaks can make a major change to your training effect and results. That’s where the use of complexes comes in handy. With them, you get the best of both worlds to address your goals: being exposed to exercises you might be unfamiliar with and including large, compound movements into your program. What Is a Complex? A complex is a set of exercises performed one after the other without putting the weight down in between. Typically a complex consists of anywhere from three to six movements. Lifters should use a weight that allows them to maintain form while also challenging them in each of the chosen exercises, but it shouldn’t be so heavy that it frustrates the athlete’s ability to get through the prescribed set. In order to make this process easier, it’s fair play to adjust rep ranges depending on the exercise. Also, choosing exercises that “flow” together and complement each other in a way is a smart move. Doing so will enable a lifter to make a smooth transition rather than fumble for positioning and risk an injury due to the change. The name of the game with complexes is time under tension. Not being allowed to put the weight down between exercises turns a number of different movements and sets, in a way, into one giant set that lasts upward of three minutes straight. This will burn more calories and keep the heart rate up for much longer. Because of the anaerobic component of part of the set, it can also contribute to EPOC (excess postexercise oxygen consumption, or afterburn). A complex can be performed with either a barbell or dumbbells. The chart shows examples of both. And they both include an exercise that many trainers might not be all that familiar with – the hang power clean or the renegade row, for example.
It’s easy to adapt to different methods of training, especially when it comes to fat loss. A general rule of thumb I like to apply to my own training and to that of my clients is to include exercises that will cause difficulty due to inefficiency. In other words, it means incorporating movements you’re bad at. Doing so will burn more calories and help you drop more fat because your body isn’t trained to be efficient at the lift just yet. Needless to say, the big lifts still deserve their place at the top of the food chain (at the very least, variations of those lifts). Even the most minor of tweaks can make a major change with steroid cycles to your training effect and results. That’s where the use of complexes comes in handy. With them, you get the best of both worlds to address your goals: being exposed to exercises you might be unfamiliar with and including large, compound movements into your program. What Is a Complex? A complex is a set of exercises performed one after the other without putting the weight down in between. Typically a complex consists of anywhere from three to six movements.
Lifters should use a weight that allows them to maintain form while also challenging them in each of the chosen exercises, but it shouldn’t be so heavy that it frustrates the athlete’s ability to get through the prescribed set. In order to make this process easier, it’s fair play to adjust rep ranges depending on the exercise. Also, choosing exercises that “flow” together and complement each other in a way is a smart move. Doing so will enable a lifter to make a smooth transition rather than fumble for positioning and risk an injury due to the change. The name of the game with complexes is time under tension. Not being allowed to put the weight down between exercises turns a number of different movements and sets, in a way, into one giant set that lasts upward of three minutes straight. This will burn more calories and keep the heart rate up for much longer. Because of the anaerobic component of part of the set, it can also contribute to EPOC (excess postexercise oxygen consumption, or afterburn). A complex can be performed with either a barbell or dumbbells. The chart shows examples of both. And they both include an exercise that many trainers might not be all that familiar with – the hang power clean or the renegade row, for example
For many a first-time gym-goer, the journey to a stronger, fitter body began at some rudimentary circuit – some neatly sequestered, dated set of machines that provided a safe, controlled introduction to the wide world of resistance training. And after training a few movement patterns, it was time to take that newfound strength to the free-weight area. From this point, most people never look back – circuit training is forever associated with newbie status and is therefore mothballed. But circuits still hold as much utility as they ever did. You just have to be willing to think beyond the innocuous confines of that initial bank of machines. With a little creativity, you can rekindle your relationship with circuits, adding heaps of new muscle and stripping your body of unwanted fat in less time. Why Circuits?Your initial foray into circuit training wasn’t just some willy-nilly, haphazard way to get you training, even if it was recommended to you by some pushy salesman in a red polo. There’s a method to the madness. Although circuit newbs are welcome to take the exercises at their own pace, the near-universal recommendation is to complete a certain amount of reps – generally 10 – then move as quickly as possible to the next station. This process is repeated until the entire circuit is completed. A circuit usually comprises eight to 10 exercises, one for each muscle group. By keeping your resistance and rep counts in known hypertrophy ranges and pairing that with relatively short rest periods (about 30 seconds), you could see improvements in strength, muscle size and stamina. The best of most worlds. It is worth noting that although dedicated circuit trainers will never win a deadlift competition or the CrossFit Games, they will experience appreciable improvements across multiple domains of fitness. One of the greatest benefits? A welcome departure from the usual lift-things-up-and-put-them-down approach that can be so painfully repetitive.Circuits 2.0While circuits are great, machine training has plenty of limitations, chief among them being that machines work in a preset range of motion – one that neglects your body’s natural movement. With free weights, movement usually occurs in subtle arcs- very few movements occur in straight lines. This means that with machines you’re missing out biomechanically, leaving you vulnerable to strength gaps and imbalances, and impeding your ability to move athletically in multiple dimensions. Another big drawback? Doing the same 10 exercises three times a week is the lifter’s equivalent to filling out those TPS reports for Bill Lumbergh – just agonizingly boring. In order to progress, you have to incrementally introduce new challenges to your body. That means new movements, shorter rest periods, advanced techniques, new exercise pairings, different equipment and other variables that can rejuvenate an ailing gym life and stoke new and exciting changes in the mirror. Revisiting circuit training can help you do that. But as a more experienced lifter, you are likely proficient with multiple forms of exercise and equipment and your own bodyweight. This opens up a whole new world in the training variety department. However, when trying to circuit train away from your gym’s “machine row” – especially during the facility’s rush hour – you have to be wary of equipment usage (yours and others’). You don’t want to hog the 30-pound dumbbells for a half-hour while you’re whizzing through your eighth or ninth round. That’s why it pays to break up your circuit work into several smaller-but-strategic circuits that take equipment use into account, keeping you in the good graces of those you share the floor with. Rewiring Your CircuitryThese four short circuits can be done individually as add-ons at the end of a workout or they can be strung together – as many or as few as you’d like – to create a supercircuit of epic, sweat-soaked magnitude. Perform each circuit three or four times through. Rest no longer than 30 seconds between circuits. The venerable kettlebell is one of the most valuable (and fun) workout tools to come into wide use in recent memory. In this circuit, you’ll start out with a simple two-hand kettlebell swing. The explosive nature of this hip hinge calls for a high degree of energy, which is why it comes first. This exercise targets your glute-ham tie-in while strengthening the whole of your posterior chain musculature. The upright positioning of the body during the goblet squat emphasizes your quads while also taxing the deep stabilizing muscles of your core, which is what makes it a good second move. The half Turkish get-up we’re recommending isn’t textbook – this variation is essentially a single-sided, weighted crunch, calling for you to flex your midsection to lift your shoulder blades off the ground as high as possible. This imbalance places a high (and unfamiliar) demand on your obliques.In the interest of furthering the global arms race, we’re offering up this circuit-based arm routine for an out-of-this-world shock to lagging biceps. The supine dumbbell curl places you in a position similar to the preacher curl but without the stabilizing comfort of the bench. With your elbows hanging freely below the level of the bench, you are forced to stabilize your arms in place, thereby necessitating more deliberate, controlled reps. This move, which is akin to a Scott curl, places greater emphasis on the inner head of the biceps. The familiar seated dumbbell curl, which is the strongest move for many avid curlers, is a bit more of a challenge as the second move in this circuit. Finally, the two-arm row – which is obviously targeting your back – requires additional elbow flexion, only now in concert with other pulling muscles. It’s the perfect finish for a small-but-mighty biceps circuit.ExerciseSupine Dumbbell Curl 10 Seated Dumbbell Curl 10 Two-Arm Dumbbell Row 10The barbell is the undisputed king of strength and size development when it comes to gym equipment. Here, we’ll call for the judicious use of three key exercises that hit your body from head to toe. Leading off, of course, is the barbell squat. This staple mass builder requires a great deal of energy because of how much musculature is involved. With an emphasis on the large muscles of the hips, quads and low back, the squat should be done with a weight that you can handle for 15 to 20 total reps. This should put you within range of a good overhead pressing weight – if it doesn’t, make a quick adjustment down or have another fixed barbell at the ready. Standing overhead presses aren’t just about bigger delts – the standing position requires laser-like focus and a rock-solid core in order to complete your reps cleanly and without catastrophic injury, even at moderate weight loads. The good morning finishes off your now-tender lower back and reinforces the hinging movement that you’ve been practicing with kettlebell swings. Bodyweight is your best friend. After rolling through your weight work, you can confidently abandon all equipment (not including a pull-up bar) for this circuit. The pull-up, which should be worked on year-round regardless of goals, comes first. Perform 10 clean pull-ups using any grip that you’d like, then move immediately into 10 plyo push-ups. On each push-up, it is vital to transfer as much force as possible through the floor in order to maximize height and fast-twitch muscle recruitment. You’ll finish with 10 big jump squats before resting 30 seconds and repeating the circuit.The venerable kettlebell is one of the most valuable (and fun) workout tools to come into wide use in recent memory. In this circuit, you’ll start with a simple two-hand kettlebell swing. The explosive nature of this hip hinge calls for a high degree of energy, which is why it comes first. This exercise targets your glute-ham tie-in while strengthening the whole of your posterior chain musculature. The upright positioning of the body during the goblet squat emphasizes your quads while also taxing the deep stabilizing muscles of your core, which is what makes it a good second move. The half Turkish get-up we’re recommending isn’t textbook – this variation is essentially a single-sided, weighted crunch, calling for you to flex your midsection to lift your shoulder blades off the ground as high as possible. This imbalance places a high (and unfamiliar) demand on your obliques.ExerciseKettlebell Swing 10Goblet Squat 10 Half Turkish Get-Up 10 (each side)
While they might not seem as impressive as a set of heavy bench presses, push-ups still test your ability to produce upper-body force while maintaining a rigid core. A compound exercise to its core, the push-up provides developmental stimulus to your pecs, triceps, delts, lats and even your fingerlike serratus anterior. But if you can do 50 or more in a single go, you may consider increasing their level of difficulty by one or more of the following methods in order anabolic steroids to continue enjoying the many benefits that push-ups offer.1. ON A DECLINEThis is an easy first step up – figuratively and literally – for those looking to improve their push-up game. Simply elevate your feet on a stable surface (such as a bench or box) behind you and perform push-ups as you normally would. This angle mimics that of an incline press, moving the emphasis to your upper pecs and requiring greater contribution from your delts. The higher your feet are elevated, the more difficult the set becomes. Want greater core engagement? Remove one foot from the box.2. AS A FINISHEROh, you can do 100 push-ups? Cool. How many can you do at the end of your 16 sets of heavy chest work? Try using push-ups as your finishing exercise on chest day instead of more isolation work. By further engaging your delts and triceps with this compound exercise, you’ll achieve greater muscle breakdown in these areas and you’ll burn more calories overall. Try finishing your chest day with 100-150 push-ups, done in as little time as possible, taking breaks when necessary.3. IN CONJUNCTION WITH CARDIOPush-ups can be pretty pedestrian … until you hit a set of them after a long run, between rounds on a heavy bag or while doing anything else besides push-ups. Consider this approach a distant (strange) cousin to pre-fatigue, in which you exhaust your entire body with another cardio-based activity before tackling push-ups. Try setting a goal – start with 100 reps – and run half a mile every time you hit failure. If you have to run three times or less, increase your rep goal in increments of 25. For variety, you can also pair your push-ups with other unrelated moves such as kettlebell swings, farmer’s carry or bodyweight squats. 4. WITH RESISTANCE AND EXPLOSIONIf your only reluctance with push-ups can be traced to your love of iron, then just add weight to your push-ups. This is most easily achieved through the use of a weighted vest such as the HumanX by Harbinger ($90, vitaminshoppe.com). But a trusted training partner can carefully place weight plates on your back and “spot” the weight as you perform each set. No vest or training partner? Do plyometric push-ups instead. Try five sets of five, with a full minute of rest between sets. You can increase the difficulty by doing box-jump push-ups: “Jump” your hands through a push-up onto two low boxes set just beyond shoulder width, then “jump” your hands back down to the floor between them. 5. WITH ONE ARMIf you still don’t think they’re tough enough, try mastering the one-arm push-up. Less about strength and more about balance and body awareness, the one-arm push-up is the true expression of push-up superiority. Many schools of thought exist on progressions for this move, but one good place to start is by leaning into a wall and pressing away with one arm at your side. As you become more proficient, move your feet away from the wall. When the wall is easy, try it on the edge of a couch that’s braced against a wall. Then a bench. Finally, if you can perform clean reps with each of the aforementioned variations, hit the floor.