Push-ups: Correct Training Technique and Variations
Jan 17th, 2010 - written by Stephan in Strength Training
IntroductionWithout doubt push-ups are the most popular bodyweight exercise. They strengthen almost the entire body, especially chest, shoulders and arm muscles, they are available in many variations, you can do them without any equipment and the technique is quite easy to learn. Yet, it takes some basic knowledge to do push-ups correctly, because like with any other strength training exercise, also push-ups bear the potential of mistakes that may lead to injuries and pains. Therefore read this guide to a correct push-up training technique.
|Strength||Working with your own bodyweight requires great effort and makes push-ups the a perfect exercise for strengthening the muscles of the torso.|
|Muscle Growth||Anyone who does push-ups on a regular basis may soon be pleased to develop some muscles. Push-ups mainly build chest, front shoulders and triceps muscles.|
|Effectiveness||Besides the dynamically active muscles push-ups also put high demand on many stabilizing muscles, which an almost total body workout out of this exercise.|
|Simplicity||A great advantage is the simplicity of push-ups. You can do push-ups almost anywhere and anytime.|
- Place your hands slightly more than shoulder-wide apart on the floor.
- Then extend you body, place feet with toe tips on floor as well and hold your body above the floor while keeping your arms almost extended.
- Now bend your elbows and lower your body until the chest almost touches the floor and your elbows are bent about at right angles.
- Press your body up into the starting position, elbows remain slightly bent.
- Repeat as often as possible, provided a correct training technique.
|Hands||Place the hands slightly wider than shoulder-wide apart, not too far away. Let the fingertips point forward.|
|Wrists||Placing the palm flat on the floor can occasionally lead to pain within the strongly extended wrists. In this case, it is better to do the push-ups on the fists or with handles, which allows the wrists to stay straight.|
|Upper Arms||Hold your upper arms between almost perpendicular to the upper body or close to the upper body, depending on the type of push-up.|
|Waist||Keep the abdominal muscles tight. Shoulders, hips and ankles form a straight line. Do not allow the body to sag.|
|Glutes||Also keep the gluteal muscles tight. Along with the abdominal tension it prevents the body from sagging.|
|Head||Keep the head aligned to the spine in a neutral position and look down.|
Push-up VariationsThere are a variety of push-up variations that make this exercise either lighter or heavier or have that shift the demand on different muscles involved.
|Push-up||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Push-up|
|Push-up, Close Grip||Triceps Brachii||Push-up, Close|
|Push-up, incline||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Push-up, Incline|
|Push-up, decline||Pectoralis Major, Clavicular||Push-up, Decline|
|Push-up, Diamond||Triceps||Push-up, Diamond|
|Push-up, with Elastic Band||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Push-up|
|Push-up, on Knees||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Push-up, On Knees|
|Push-up, One Arm||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Push-up, One Arm|
|Overextended Wrists||As mentioned before, some people may experience pain from overextended wrists. In this case it is better to perform the push-ups on the fists or with special push-up grips.|
|Head Leading||During push-ups keep neck and head aligned to the body. Move your chest to the ground and let your head follow the motion.|
|Looking ahead||To avoid unfavorable strains or injuries in the neck, it is very important to look down in a neutral fashion while doing push-ups.|
|Upper Arm Abduction||For the shoulder joints secure the upper arm angles are between slightly below perpendicular to the body and near besides the body.|
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10 Nutrition Rules for Healthy Living, Muscle Building and Fat Loss
Jan 15th, 2010 - written by Stephan in Nutrition
„You Are What You Eat.“A sensible diet along with regular exercise is the key to a healthy life. The following 10 diet tips primarily aim at athletic or physically active people. But everyone else can also benefit from this. Maybe the increased level of energy, as result of a healthy diet, sooner or later leads to an interest in (strength)training.
Nutrition Rule 1: Eat RegularlyThe intake of several small meals throughout the day has the following advantages:
- Less Hunger: The stomach is elastic. Large meals stretch it, which ultimately leads to a delayed feeling of fullness. After switching to several small meals in regular intervals, they very soon saturate as effectively as the previous large portions.
- No Cravings: People who avoid to eat for a long period time over the day, increases the chance of binge-eating in the evening, which is in most cases satisfied with candy instead with healthy foods.
- Nutrient Supply: Regular meals give a steady supply of energy an nutrients to the body, which results in steady performance and good muscular development.
- Fat Loss: The body rather tends to cut excess fat, if it recognizes it as superfluous due to a regular energy supply .
Nutrition Rule 2: Eat ConsciouslyThis is a very important point, which is very often neglected in the course of a stressful day. Concentrate on what you eat. Make yourself aware of it and maybe write what you eat down in the beginning of a dietary change. Once you consciously deal with the issue, you´ll recognize bad habits, which makes it easier to control them.
Nutrition Rule 3: Eat Slowly"We don´t live by what we eat, but only by what we digest." (Hufeland). The prerequisite for an ideal digestion of the food taken in is an adequate preparation in the mouth. To do that, you have to chew long and calmly. Every single bite swallowed in a hurry is a challenge for your stomach, at the cost of your own life energy and health. Also, eating too fast is always a breach of Nutrition Rule 2.
Nutrition Rule 4: Have a BreakfastBreakfast is often declared as the most important meal of the day. That's true, but there a few things to be considered:
- Drink a Lot: Besides the often obligatory coffee, a large quantity of water or tea belongs to good breakfast. Why? During nighttime the body is quite busy regenerating and detoxifying the body. These processes need to be supported with lots of extra fluid in the morning.
- Don´t Fill up Completely: This advice may sound a little strange, but we all certainly made the following experience before. After a large, heavy and energy-rich breakfast, instead of a having a dynamic start to the day, a sudden tiredness and lethargy, caused by the enormous work of digestion the stomach has to do in this a case, makes us want to return to bed again. Eat a light breakfast, avoid the intake of large amounts of indigestible foods such as whole grains and cereals. Instead eat fruits and vegetables (bonus: they contain a lot of water), low-fat dairy products other light sources of protein and carbohydrates.
Nutrition Rule 5: The Right ProteinsPeople who follow a routine of strength training have an increased need for protein. The limited digestive capacity of the stomach makes it necessary to take in a little portion of protein with each meal to eat the recommended daily amount. Basically, it is recommended to take in 1.5 - 2 times the body weight in kilograms in grams of protein per day, e.g. people with a bodyweight of about 80 kg need a daily protein intake of 120-160 g, provided a regular strength training. There are publications speaking of much higher amounts, but these numbers can be classified as unhealthy, especially because with the consumption of animal protein many by-products such as bad fats, purines, and the accumulated toxins from the individual animal are also being taken in. A significant part of the daily amount of protein should be of plant origin.
Low-Fat Protein Sources (selected):
|Animal Origin||Protein per 100 g||Plant Origin||Protein per 100 g|
|Chicken breast||23 g||Noodles||12 g|
|Turkey breast||24 g||Potatoes||2 g|
|Beef||22 g||Soybeans||37 g|
|Alaska Pollock||19 g||Lentils||24 g|
|Tuna||25 g||Peas||20 g|
|Trout||20 g||Beans (white)||21 g|
|Mountain Cheese||29 g||Oat flakes||12 g|
|Cottage Cheese||29 g||Spelt||13 g|
|Low fat quark||14 g||Millet||11 g|
|Eggs||13 g||Buckwheat||12 g|
|Egg-white||11 g||Mushrooms (dried)||17 g|
Nutrition Rule 6: The Right CarbohydratesAs during the "low fat" hysteria of the past many foods were labeled correspondingly and to taste at all were fortified with carbohydrates, with the still growing fatty degeneration of the population we came to the realization that the increased carbohydrate intake must be responsible, leading to a "low carb" hysteria. A little education about the different types of carbohydrates and their purpose and effects takes away much of the fear of his excellent source of energy. Basically there are two types of carbohydrates:
- simple carbs, that are digested very quickly and rapidly release their energy, and
- complex carbs, are digested slowly and therefore their energy is provided uniformly over a longer period of time.
Examples of simple and complex carbs (selected):
|Simple Carbs||Complex Carbs|
|all simple sugars||all whole grain products|
|white flour products||rice (whole grain)|
|marmalade||noodles (whole grain)|
|honey||muesli & cereals|
Nutrition Rule 7: Healthy FatsThey are one major supplier of energy, they support fat loss, they are slowly digested and they are part of many vital functions of the body. A daily intake of 60-80 grams of fat is recommended. When doing a regular strength training, one can also take in a little more, people wanting to loose weight should take in less. More important than the quantity is the type of fat. An increased intake of animal fats should be avoided. But even in the league of vegetable fats, there are "good" and "bad", depending on the relation of fatty acids. Here´s a selected overview:
|Sources of "good" Fats of Plant Origin||Sources of "bad" Fats of Plant Origin|
|Linseed oil||Sunflower oil|
|Olive oil||Thistle oil|
|Salmon oil||Wheatgerm oil|
|Sources of "good" Fats of Animal Origin||Sources of "bad" Fats of Animal Origin|
|Fish||Meat and Sausage|
Nutrition Rule 8: Fruit and VegetablesThese two foods are one of the most fundamental basics for a healthy diet. They provide vitamins and minerals and can be eaten fresh and in large amounts. Fruits, due to the high content of fructose, should not or only in small doses be taken in the evening.
Nutrition Rule 9: Natural FoodProcessed foods should be avoided. Their ingredients are often difficult to understand and in most cases they contain an excessive amount of sugar, salt, flavor enhancers and preservatives. There is a very simple rule: the more colorful the packaging, the unhealthier the content. Foods should be eaten or form the basis of self-prepared foods the way nature provides them to us.
Nutrition Rule 10: Drink a LotTo supply the body with oxygen and nutrients and to ensure a proper detoxification, the blood needs to be as fluid as possible and to circulate freely. Therefore be aware to drink about 2-3 liters of fluid per day. The following table shows the kind of drinks to be considered or not.
|"Good" Drinks||"Bad" Drinks|
|Water (without gas)||Milk|
|Tea (non flavoured, unsweetened)||Coffee|
|Juice-water mixed drinks||Juices|
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Video: 500 Exercises Compilation
This post is for all those among you who ever wondered how it looks like to have 500 different fitness exercises summarized as a 10-minute video snippet :-)
Jan 10th, 2010 - written by Stephan Arndt in Strength Training
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Bench Press: A Comprehensive Exercise Guide
Jan 5th, 2010 - written by Stephan in Strength Training
IntroductionBench press is one of the most popular weight training exercises. It is a basic upper body exercise for the chest muscles.
Due to its compound mechanics, bench press enables you to lift relatively large weights and to develop great upper body strength.
A widespread prejudice is that bench press is a "dangerous" exercise, which is not true at all. Bench press, in all its variations, is as safe as any other free weight lifting exercise.
Occurring difficulties or even injuries in the shoulder joints can usually be traced back to a wrong training technique, inadequate preparation or the use of too much weight.
|Development of Strength||Bench Presses let you lift relatively large weights, which makes it one of the most effective upper body exercises to build strength.|
|Muscle Growth||Bench Presses can help building an impressive torso. It is a great exercise for developing chest, front deltoids and triceps.|
|Effective Training||Doing Bench Press and few Bench Press variations basically provides an adequate training for the muscles involved. There´s no urgent need to experiment with a lot of other exercises. Improve your Bench Press performance, and so will your physique.|
Bench Press Instructions
- Lie supine on the bench of a bench press rack.
- Grasp the bar with the desired fashion, dismount it from the rack and, with arms extended, hold it above your chest.
- Lower the weight in a straight line down to your chest while forearms travel perpendicular to torso, looking from the side.
- Then press the weight up until arms are extended. , that is a Bench Press.
Bench Press VariationsThere are several grip options and bench angles available to add versatility to your bench press training:
|Bench Press||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Bench Press|
|Close Grip Bench Press||Triceps Brachii||Bench Press, Close Grip|
|Incline Bench Press||Pectoralis Major, Clavicular||Bench Press, Incline|
|Decline Bench Press||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Bench Press, Decline|
|Floor Press||Triceps Brachii||Floor Press|
|Reverse Grip Bench Press||Triceps Brachii||Bench Press, Reverse Grip|
Bench Press Technique
|Grip_Distance||Gripping too close shifts workload to the triceps and weakens the pushing force. Gripping too wide compromises the range of motion. A good estimation is vertical forearms as bar touches chest.|
|Grip_Setup||Place the bar in the palm of your hands and secure it with your thumbs.|
|Torso_Posture||Always keep your chest up. Tense your back, bring your shoulder blades together and pull your shoulders back to create a safe and solid foundation to lie on and to press the bar up from. Don´t let your shoulders roll forward.|
|Feet_Position||Place your feet wide apart and put them flat on the floor. Keep your knees bent about right-angled and shift the weight on heels.|
|Head_Position||Keep your head in neutral position on bench. Don´t press it into the pad to prevent the neck from being overstressed.|
Range of Motion (ROM)The Bench Press range of motion is a controversial issue. Science has proved that a limited range of motion for the negative as well as for the positive part of the movement are the safer choice for the shoulder and elbow articulations and offer the same training effect as full range of motion. This insight leads to the following consequence for your Bench Press training: Avoid any extreme joint positions. Don´t lock your arms at top of motion and don´t let your elbows travel far below height of shoulders at bottom of motion.
|Bottom Position||Top Position|
|Full Range of Motion|
|Limited Range of Motion|
Bench Press Safety
|Warm_Up||Before doing Bench Presses with high resistance, have an initial overall warm up followed by a short local warm up of 15-20 repetitions with about 40-50% of the estimated maximum weight you Bench Press.|
|Weights||Learn the correct technique first and begin with light weight. Progressively add weight, always under the prerequisite of a proper training technique.|
|Posture||Keep your buttocks on the bench and prevent them from lifting off, because that will increase the risk of overextending your lower back.|
|Thumbs||Use your thumbs to hold the bar, otherwise it may slip out of your hand.|
|Spotter||It is recommended to Bench Press with a training partner or any other spotter. They will offer support if you´re unable to lift the bar off the chest.|
Bench Press Injuries and Pains
- Posture: If you have slouching shoulders caused by long-term seated or other one-sided positions, you should stretch your chest as well as your front shoulders. Also train your middle back and rear deltoids on a regular basis.
- Imbalances: Bench Press, besides almost any other chest exercise, also trains your front shoulders, which may lead to an imbalance between the strong front and weaker rear shoulders. Consequently and permanently your upper arm bone is slightly being pulled out of its natural position within the shoulder joint, causing pains and making it less resilient. Again, stretch the muscles of the anterior torso be stretched while the muscles of the rear torso have to be strengthened
Lower Back Problems
- Posture: Keep your Gluteus on the bench to dis-burden your lower back. To relieve the lower back from any pressure, raise your thighs up perpendicular to the floor and bend your knees. Consider that this position costs some stability.[/bold]
- Inefficient Dismounting: Dismount the barbell from the rack with straight arms, because that let´s you carry most weight. Lock your elbows and move barbell above your chest.
- Pressing to Shoulders: Move the barbell up and down above your chest, not towards or above your shoulders.
- Upper Arm Position: Keep your upper arms perpendicular to your torso or, when doing close grip bench press, close to your torso. Raising the upper arms above perpendicular to your torso forces your shoulder joints into a weak and vulnerable position.
- Bent wrists: Keep your wrists as straight as possible and hold the bar close to your wrists.
- Overextended back: Lifting your Gluteus will limit the range of motion. Worst of all, it moves your lumbar spine into an overextended position causing unusual high pressure that may lead to back pain.
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tags: bench press | bench | press | barbell | technique | guide | shoulder | pain | injuries | exercise | training |
New Year´s Resolutions and How to Achieve Them.
It's that time again, a new year begins and incredibly many people follow an ancient ritual: they make “New Year´s Resolutions”, which is a number of events or habits that in the current year are supposed to be made better than the in the previous one. That is a good thing, especially because it mostly involves bad habits that need to be banished from life. But man is a creature of habits and finds nothing harder to change than once deepened life strategies, no matter how counterproductive they are. Studies have shown that only about 12% of people are able to translate their good intentions into action. However, the other 88% can use a few simple methods to significantly increase their success rate.
Jan 4th, 2010 - written by Stephan in Psychology
- 1. Set achievable goals: This is one of the most obvious and most important strategies and yet, it the one that often goes wrong. Unrealistic goals will quickly lead to frustration and the feeling to have failed, causing, at worst, a negative programming of the own thoughts, which ultimately lets even easy goals appear as very difficult.
- 2. Take small steps: Divide large and long-term goals into as small portions as possible. Do it in relation of time or events. Celebrate each day as a small success and to look no further than a day in the future. The 24 hour waiver of a bad habit is a possible action even for the most weak-minded character. Voila, a partial success! After being so successful, a further 24 hours is certainly possible. And so on. This strategy is often more promising than the absolute (and psychologically difficult) decision to never go back to smoking, or to never again sneak to the refrigerator at night. Of course, don´t lose sight of the long-term goal, but following it this way makes you reaching it almost on its own.
- 3. Self-Motivation: It is always more motivating to do things for yourself and out of your own motivation than for others or because of external pressures. Do not stop smoking because your partner wants it so. Do not lose weight in order to please others. Do it all solely for your own wellbeing and for your own health. Be careful towards your mind and your body. Consider the respect and love of fellow human simply as being a beautiful by-product of self-love and self-esteem.
- 4. Visualizations: People´s behavior is rarely of rational nature, usually they act based on emotions. The decision to link positive or negative emotions to one particular goal is based on the prevailing thoughts you have on this very topic. Anyone who considers himself as being overweight and who cannot stand himself, keeping the picture of "I'm too fat" visualized every day, is guaranteed to stay right there. When you want to achieve a goal, you have to live and behave as if you already had it. Imagine how great it feels to wear many dress sizes less and how much happiness it means. Any occurring obstacles can easily be overcome if the goal is associated with a positive visualization.
- 5. Stay on the course: Setbacks are an important part of life. Consider each of them as a good teacher and never ever give up. Striving for perfection will make you unhappy. Persistence and the will to become a little better human being every day are the keys to immediate success.
Ultimately, good intentions should not need a New Year or birthdays with a zero at the end. Make such decisions independently of external circumstances and events. Work on yourself just because all you will ever really own over the complete span of lifetime is yourself.
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tags: new year | resolutions | advise |
Happy New Year!!!
A happy new year to all of you! Let 2010 be a great year. Live it with joy and passion, decide to be as healthy and fit as you can be and follow your bliss.
Jan 1st, 2010 - written by Stephan in General
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tags: advice |