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
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
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Here’s my gift to you: The 12 Days of Fitness (Christmas Workout). I had several of my clients perform variations of this program yesterday… it’s a fun way to get in a decent circuit training workout for the holidays.
There’s 12 rounds of this circuit, each round adding another exercise with one more repetition (up to 12 repetitions for the final exercise, of course). It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete, depending on your rep speed and rest intervals. Here’s the video tutorial I created for it (you’ll be impressed by my angelic singing voice!):
The 12 Days of Fitness – A Christmas Workout
It’s pretty self-explanatory, but here’s how you do it: Continue reading
I wish all the women who are afraid that lifting weights will “bulk them up” would show me their muscle-building secrets! I’ve been busting my ass for years to gain a few more pounds of muscle mass! Where does this fear come from? Certainly not from personal experience.
Men and women need to approach their resistance training program with a similar intensity. Of course there will be small variations in each individual’s workout, but to get results both men and women need to participate in a challenging strength training program as part of their overall exercise plan.
For more than twenty years before I transitioned to the world of strength and conditioning; I was heavily involved with martial arts training. There was a very distinct progression of how we learned and trained. The priorities of function were adhered to and a very strong base of foundational techniques was established.
For instance, the front kick was learned and practiced long before a back kick. A back kick would practiced long before a spinning back kick was learned.
In strength and conditioning, the priorities of function are also extremely important. The main reasons for this are to invest your training hours wisely so the return on your investment is a solid base of strength and correct technique. If a person cannot do a full ROM bodyweight squat, he has no business trying to do a squat with a barbell. The human tendency is to be very impatient, and that can sabotage your progress and possibly lead to an injury.
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.
We’ve all heard the expression ” No Pain No Gain.” Unfortunately I’ve seen far too many people have more pain than gain as a result of this philosophy. Part of the problem with an overly aggressive approach to getting in shape is that once you are injured you will have set yourself back significantly.
As an example, let’s look at the popular yet somewhat controversial group fitness craze called Crossfit. Those who argue in favor of Crossfit insist it is a fun, effective, and intense approach to fitness that delivers fast results. Many believe it is also a terrific way to train for overall “athleticism”.
However, Crossfit has also gained a reputation for delivering more than it’s fair share of injuries as well. Part of the reason for this is the explosive nature of many of the exercises involved. Quite often, these fast movements are performed for very high repetitions with minimal rest between them. This can be a recipe for disaster. As one fatigues, exercise form tends to get sloppier, and when moving weights quickly in a fatigued state the risk of injury is much higher. Also, in my opinion many Crossfit athletes adopt a “don’t quit” attitude, which can lead them to push to the point of flirting with injury. This is when speed can kill.
It can be challenging to stay motivated to exercise regularly. In my experience people come up with all kinds of excuses, including: not having enough time, not having the money, or not having enough energy. I’m going to address the “lack of energy” issue by introducing 6 Quick Ways to Energize Your Workout.
Caffeine is one of the most common ways people use to boost their “energy”. Caffeine, a chemical present in coffee, tea, soda pop, “energy” drinks, and some sports supplements, is a stimulant that will increase your heart-rate and mental alertness. Athletes will often use caffeine before training to improve performance. Consuming 100 to 300 mg of caffeine before your workout is safe and effective for most people (a cup of coffee is about 100mg). Just practice moderation and if you drink coffee try to avoid adding excessive amounts of cream and sugar!
2) Feed with Fast Fuels:
Carbohydrates are the bodies go-to fuel source for intense exercise. Consuming high-carb food or drink (such as fruit or a sports drink) about an hour before exercise can provide a readily available source of energy for your workout. Research has also shown that sipping on a sports drink (such as Gatorade or Powerade) during physical activity can delay fatigue and improve performance. Again, moderation is the key… eating or drinking too much before exercise can cause problems.