What the heck is a Fat Burning Ladder workout?
A Ladder Workout is a training technique that I often use, especially with bodyweight / calisthenics workouts. It’s also one of the training methods I will be introducing in my upcoming ebook/ video program, Bodyweight MASS Builder. It’s a high-intensity, high-volume super-set workout that will build muscle, increase muscular endurance, and burn fat. It’s a simple but challenging form of antagonist supersetting that you can apply to almost any exercises, but which I find particularly well suited to body weight exercises.
Here’s how you perform this workout protocol: choose two exercises, typically one pushing movement and one pulling movement (antagonist muscle groups), OR a lower body exercise paired up with an upper body exercise, and you super-set these two exercises, moving back and forth between them with minimal rest. But here’s where the ‘ladder’ technique gets interesting: you begin with only ONE repetition on one exercise and gradually increase reps on every set, and you start with a high number of reps on the other exercise and gradually decrease reps on each set. One exercise moves up the ladder in reps and the other one moves down.
Here’s an example, starting with 1 to 10 repetitions, which should be suitable for most beginners: Continue reading
We’ve all seen it … the gym rat swinging heavy dumbbells and calling it “bicep curls”; or rocking back and forth with the full stack on the lat pulldown; or bouncing a heavy bar off their chest on a bench press, pounding out some fast reps. There’s also those people who treat weight training like “cardio” – firing off dozens of reps at lightning speed with very light weight.
What do they all have in common? Besides the fact that most of them are probably injured in some way, they are are all performing their resistance training at a fast tempo.
Now I admit that I’m generalizing when I describe everyone who performs fast reps as “ego-lifters” with crappy form… there are many experienced lifters who practice decent exercise technique but train with a faster tempo. However, the point of this article is to question whether that is the optimal way to train. Continue reading
One of my favorite advanced training techniques for hypertrophy (building muscle) is pre-exhaustion. This “old-school” method was used and recommended by some of the great golden-era bodybuilders from back in the day such as Casey Viator, Arthur Jones, and Mike Mentzer.
However, I don’t recommend using this training protocol until you have a good foundation getting stronger with the big basic compound movements (such as squats, presses, and pulls). For myself, I like to alternate between a program like my Barbarian Strength Training and Pre-Exhaust Training every few weeks. Continue reading
The key to making physical changes with your training program (ie: improving your physique, building muscle, etc) is PROGRESSION. Most people think that means lifting more weight than you did before, which certainly is the primary way to progressively introduce greater muscle tension. But if your goal is to gain muscle or improve your physique (rather than just to “get stronger” or improve performance) there are other forms of progression worth implementing.
If you’re new to lifting weights then it makes sense to focus on getting stronger first. But if you already have at least a year of lifting experience and a decent strength base, it’s time to look at ways to progress in addition to increasing load.
I used to be a strong advocate of consuming carbs and protein within an hour post-workout to take advantage of the supposed “Anabolic Window”, when insulin sensitivity is greatest, damaged muscles are starving for protein, and muscle glycogen stores are depleted and ready to suck all that nutrition in to support faster gains. However, I recently attended a lecture by Brad Schoenfeld in which he discussed nutrient timing, and questioned whether it was as important as many thought. Because of this lecture and the reading I did following it, I have changed my opinion… I no longer believe the post-workout “anabolic window” is as narrow nor as important as I once thought. Let’s look at why.
First of all, one argument in favor of consuming carbohydrates within 30 minutes post workout is that this would cause a spike in insulin which has an anti-catabolic effect and would increase nutrient uptake as well as replenish glycogen stores. However, consuming just whey protein also raises insulin levels significantly, so carbs really become a secondary concern. In fact, eating a regular meal with about 75g of carbohydrate, 37g protein, and 17g of fat will elevate your insulin for up to 3 hours. This means that you will benefit from the anti-catabolic effects of insulin for about 3 hours after each meal.
Despite being one of the most well-researched sports nutrition supplements around, there still seems to be a lot of misunderstanding surrounding Creatine. In this article I will attempt to clear up some of this confusion, explain exactly what creatine is, introduce Five Big Benefits of Creatine, and provide a few links to some of the relevant research.
What is Creatine?
First of all, let’s take a look at what exactly creatine is. Here is a simplified description: the basic currency of energy in your body is adenosine triphosphate (ATP). When your body uses it, it gives up a phosphate group becoming adenosine diphosphate (ADP).
Creatine is stored as creatine phosphate (CP) in your body. Before your body starts using glucose for energy, it first breaks down ATP as a quick energy source. So when your body needs energy quickly (ie: power for the first few reps), the creatine “donates” its phosphate to the ADP, which becomes ATP, providing your cells with some extra energy.
Creatine is a completely safe, natural food supplement. It is already present in our bodies and in many of the foods we eat (especially meat).
Research says that “there appears to be no strong scientific evidence to support any adverse effects…”
Here is a great interview with Examine.com that covers most of the basics about supplementing with creatine:
Every red-blooded man with hair on his balls wants bigger, more muscular arms. It’s in our DNA. This is now one of my big goals for 2014… I plan on adding at least one inch to each arm within THREE months!
How the heck do I plan on doing this? Well, the first step to growing bigger arms is to focus on gaining some quality muscle mass over your entire frame, by following a solid hypertrophy / muscle-building program, such as my Basic Anabolic Hypertrophy Training (BAHT) program and nutrition plan. I don’t recommend focusing on smaller muscle group too much until you have a decent base to build from. I don’t suggest trying to add inches to your arms during a “cutting phase”, or while following a caloric deficit. You need to be ready to gain some weight.
Check out my BAHT blog post HERE: Basic Anabolic Hypertrophy Training
Once you’ve gained a few pounds of overall muscle on your frame, then you can start focusing on specialized arm training. Let’s look at a few ways to emphasize arms and trigger greater growth:
After focusing on losing body fat for over a year, and successfully achieving a single digit body fat % as well as the coveted “six pack”, I’ve decided that I now look a little too “skinny” for my liking. So I’ve taken on a new goal, which is to gain a few pounds of muscle while minimizing fat gain. In preparation for this goal I’ve added to my knowledge of hypertrophy by doing a serious amount of reading, as well as speaking with other fitness experts who are well versed in the science of growing muscle.
From what I’ve learned, I’ve put together what I believe to be a solid hypertrophy program. I’m about to list all the principles for WHY I set it up this way, so this may be a long post (bear with me!):
I’m calling it BAHT (Basic Anabolic Hypertrophy Training). It follows some similar principles to a program called HST (Hypertrophy Specific Training) which you may have heard of, but is still unique in several ways as you’ll see.
First of all, here’s a link to an expert guest blog post on How to Induce Hypertrophy: http://top-form-fitness.com/fitness-…y-gain-muscle/
And another link to one of my other blog posts where I review a Hypertrophy Seminar I attended lead by Big Ben Pakulski: