Archive for the ‘Muscle’ Category

You’ve heard the term, but what exactly does the word “superset” mean? Traditionally, a superset is two or more exercises performed consecutively to work opposing muscle groups. “These days, the term has been used a lot more loosely,” says Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute trainer Adam Friedman. “I tend to follow the traditional approach myself.” Supersets increase intensity level, heart rate and calories burned because you are doing two exercises consecutively. Plus, they amp up your mental toughness with more challenging gym time, and you have to push yourself to do continuous sets with less rest.

“I enjoy doing them because it’s more challenging from a conditioning standpoint, it’s time efficient, and it’s an excellent way to work opposing muscle groups to keep balance,” says Friedman. In a healthy body, the muscles that move and stabilize the bones have a natural reflex to relax when their opposite muscles are working. Doing supersets can help guarantee that you’re working all your muscle groups.

Here are five supersets you can use to supersize your routine. Beginners should start with three sets of 5 to 8 reps, while more experienced gymgoers can try three sets of 10 to 12 reps. Count to three on the way down, and go back up on two. “At the beginner level, the weight lifted during a superset should be a little lighter than what you would normally use during an exercise,” Friedman says. “This is just for safety reasons until you become better mentally and physically.” Intermediate to advanced should use the same weights you typically do with an exercise to maintain their strength levels, which may mean that they go down in repetition to start, but then increase as conditioning improves.

Dumbbell flat chest press
Begin by lying on a flat bench, feet flat, knees bent at 90 degrees, arms extended upward at shoulder width with dumbbells in hand. Squeeze your shoulder blades against the bench and lower the dumbbells level to your chest.

Dumbbell back row
Stand in a split stance, bend over until your back is parallel with the ground. Keep back in a neutral alignment, arms fully extended with dumbbells in hand. Pull dumbbells up to waist.

Dumbbell incline chest press
Begin by lying on an inclined bench, feet flat, knees bent at 90 degrees, arms extended upward at shoulder width with dumbbells in hand. Squeeze your shoulder blades against the bench and lower the dumbbells level to your chest.

Lat pull-down
Sit on a pull-down machine with a wide bar attached to the top pulley, legs at 90 degrees. Grab the bar just outside shoulder width. Pull bar down to the top of your chest, bringing your shoulders down and back.

Shoulder press
Stand with feet hip distance apart, knees soft, dumbbells in hand. With elbows straight, extend arms above head. Lower dumbbells to earlobes.

Pull-ups
Mount the assisted pull-up machine. Grab bar, lower body down, extend your arms, and pull up, aiming your chest toward the sky.

Chest fly
Begin by lying on a flat bench, feet flat, knees bent at 90 degrees, arms fully extended above shoulders with dumbbells in hand. Bring arms down to your side, with a slight bend in your elbow. Straighten elbows and squeeze your chest muscles on the way back up.

Reverse Fly
Begin by lying chest down on an incline bench, feet flat, knees bent at 90 degrees, arms fully extended with dumbbells in hand, thumbs facing down. Bring arms out to your shoulder.

Biceps Curl
Stand with knees soft, feet shoulder-width apart, with dumbbells in hand. Press your elbows into your sides. Bring the dumbbells ¾ of the way up to your shoulders.

Triceps Extension Machine
Stand with knees soft, feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your elbows stationary for the full move. Grab the bar and extend you arms downward to fully contract your triceps. Pause for one second at the bottom of the movement before bringing arms back up to the starting position.

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With so much to choose from when it comes to fitness, we decided to zero in on five moves that cannot be missed. So we asked three Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute trainers to weigh in. Here are their picks.

For each move below, we suggest trying three sets of 10 reps.

Why: ”Your glutes are the most important part of your core,” Robert Reames, Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute member and author of Make Over Your Metabolism, explains. “And if your glutes are strong, that helps your lower back and knees.”
How: Lie on your back, with arms comfortably at your sides and knees bent. Press your heels into the floor and raise your hips, shifting pressure to the upper shoulder. No pressure should be felt in the neck or back. For advanced-level positions, try touching your fingertips to the back of your shoes or clasping your hands behind your back and drawing your shoulder blades together. For added difficulty, place a Pilates ring between your knees and squeeze your legs to hold it in place.
Helps: Zeroes in on your butt.

Why: ”This move really helps to establish that power needs to come from the glutes and abdominals,” says Adam Friedman, celebrity trainer and Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute member. “Engaging the midsection in the movement first will help you to be more stable, strong and powerful when and where it’s needed.”
How: Place a kettlebell between your feet. Bend down as if you were sitting and pick it up. Snap your hips and swing it up to chest level.
Helps: Strengthens your core muscles.

Why: ”We constantly ignore the muscles we don’t see in the mirror—a big mistake,” Tracey Mallet, Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute trainer and author of Super Fit Mama, explains. “It’s important to counteract what most of us do every day, which is sit in front of a computer at a desk.” To do that we need a strong back and core for better posture, and this move works all the extensors and the mid-upper back, glutes and hamstrings.
How: Lie on your front on the floor with your neck parallel to the ground. Lift your right hand and left leg off the floor simultaneously. Repeat with the left hand and right leg, then continue switching back and forth.
Helps: Makes sure you are working your back and butt muscles.

Why: ”Works your whole body in one move, especially your arms and core,” Mallet says “A strong core is really important—if your center is weak then the rest of the body will be weak.”
How: Lie facedown with your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart and your feet together. Keeping your body straight, push up. For less effort, lower your knees onto the ground. For more difficulty, try it with a BOSU, an inflated rubber hemisphere attached to a rigid platform. (It resembles a stability ball cut in half.) Place the BOSU soft side down and hold on to the edges while you perform the push-up.
Helps: An all-over body exercise

Why: ”The most important thing is doing a correct squat,” Reames says. “Then I add in the upper body rotation with a medicine ball to emphasize everyday-life movement.”
How: Place your feet hip-width apart. Hold the medicine ball at chest level. Keep your chest high, draw in your abdominals and slowly squat down until your butt is parallel with the floor (and never further). Have a firm foot plant, and put emphasis on your heels. Make sure to keep your knees directly over your ankles, and never in front. As you stand up, hold the medicine ball out in front of you, shoulder-high, and slowly twist to the right, then back to center, then to the left.
Helps: Guarantees that you’re building your lower core muscles.

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