“As many others, Vivian came to me for help with weight loss. She wanted to get in shape for her wedding which was only a couple of months away. I told her that it was an ambitious goal but it could be achieved if she put enough effort into it. Together we set a realistic plan of action which included exercising most days of the week plus a major dietary adjustment. In order to keep her accountable, we had weekly check ups during which we’d not only taken measurements but also talked about her progress and struggles. Vivian took all my advice to heart and had the most amazing results: she lost 10 kg in two months, just in time for her big day.”
Most people limit their leg workout to squats and lunges and while those are quite effective exercises, they only target the muscles in a single plane of action (sagittal). However, in order to get a fuller development of the muscle fibres, it is fundamental to work all muscle groups in different angles.
The following workout focus mostly on hip dominant exercises, putting more challenge at the posterior chain (gluteal group and hamstrings). The goal is to engage these muscle groups in different planes of action, recruiting more muscle fibres throughout the workout. The challenge comes from pairing moderate to heavy loaded exercises with more cardiovascular demanding ones. The result is a kick-ass workout which will get you the best of both worlds. Enjoy!
Superset 1 (5 sets):
- Stiff deadlift: 12 reps moderate to heavy load. Keep knees slightly bent and perform the full contraction of the buttocks at the end of the movement.
- Side lunges: 20 reps per side light load. The goal is to feel the burn.
Superset 2 ( 4 sets):
- Static barbell lunge: 12 reps preside moderate to heavy load. Keep front knee slightly bent and press from the back leg to engage the gluteal group.
- Frog jumps: 20 reps unloaded.
Superset 3 (3 sets):
- Cross lunge deadlift: 12 reps per side moderate to heavy load. Keep back straight and perform the full contraction of the buttocks at the end of the movement.
- Skater lunges: as many reps as possible in 30 seconds.
Finisher (single set):
- Lying leg curl: 3 drop sets of 7 reps each. Go from heavy to light and aim for temporary failure.
Are you bored with your regular workouts and looking for a challenge? Then give this one a try.
- First superset – Cable chest press for 12 reps (choose a load heavy enough to allow you to perform 12 reps (and 12 only) + alternating ball push ups for as many as possible (go to fatigue, only stop when you can’t perform any more reps). No rest between the two exercises and minimum rest between sets (up to 2 minutes). Perform 5 sets.
- Second superset – Bar dips for as many reps as possible (you may use an assisted dip machine or bands if you can’t perform body weight ones) + cable push down for 15 to 20 reps.
- Third superset – Overhead triceps extension with dumbbell for 12 reps + TRX hugs (adjust the intensity level by stepping closer to/away from the anchor point) for 20 reps.
I created this simple upper-body routine for a very dear friend who asked me some tips for exercising from home. As many of you, she is time-poor and needed a quick and easy routine to keep her active when she couldn’t make it to the gym. I used resistance bands because they are fairly cheap and easy to store. Also resistance bands are great because they make you work on both phases of the movement (concentric and eccentric). Keep in mind that you must control the band on the way back (which requires a good core engagement) otherwise it will pull you out of balance.
- Tie a resistance band to a poll/handrail (anywhere higher than your height) to perform the first four exercises. Move away from the anchor point to increase the challenge.
- For the last two exercises, all you need to do is to step on the bottom part of the band to create the necessary resistance.
- Straight lat pulldown – perform 12 reps. Keep your arms straight.
- Half-squat row – perform 12 reps. For more challenge go lower on the squat.
- Single arm chest press – perform 10 reps per side. Keep elbows at shoulder level.
- Overhead tricep extension – perform 15 reps. Keep elbows close to your head.
- Bicep curl – perform 12 reps. Keep elbows close to your body.
- Shoulder press – perform 10 reps. You may do a mini squat to help you extend the arms completely.
Work in a circuit and repeat it from 3 to 5 times:)
Here goes my new Glutes and Hamstring program. This routine focus on the posterior chain. In order to increase the challenge I chose to set up exercises in trisets and supersets. I also used a body weight exercise going to muscle failure as a finisher.
Triset (no rest between exercises, repeat 3 times):
- Slow squats on smith machine – the goal here is to focus on the eccentric part of the movement. So work the descend in four to five counts, then come up in one count, thrusting the hip forward at the end of the movement to engage the glutes. Also chose a weight that is heavy enough to enable you to perform a maximum of 5 repetitions. (working on strength)
- Deadlift with the Hex bar – this is a regular deadlift using full range (from the floor). 10 reps max (working on muscle growth)
- Jumping lunges – body weight, 20 reps. Enjoy the burn (working on endurance).
Superset (no rest between exercises, repeat 4 times):
- Leg extension – I know this is a quad exercise and you must be thinking why this exercise is here. Well, the goal her is to exhaust the quadriceps prior to targeting hamstrings in order to improve hammy muscle recruitment. Perform 12 reps.
- Lying leg curl – Perform 12 to 16 reps (try going to temporary failure)
Finisher (single set to failure)
- Sliding leg curl with
I know you might be thinking this is just another leg workout but it is not. Yes, this is a leg routine. However, the main goal of this training session is to target the muscles of the back part of the leg. Hence the posterior chain. You see, most leg workout over work the quads (front part of the leg) and overlook the glutes and hamstrings. The problem is that most people are already quad dominant meaning that they probably don’t need more quadriceps exercises. When glutes and hamstrings are neglected, they become weaker than the quads and hip flexors which creates a muscle imbalance. This imbalance pulls the pelvic bone out of alignment and may lead to back pain.
So what’s is the difference between this workout and a regular one? Well, most of the exercises selected here are hip dominant which recruits mainly the gluteous muscles and the hamstring group. In those exercises the movement comes from the hip extension rather than the knee extension (such as squats and leg presses). The only knee dominant exercise selected was the seated leg curl which is isolates the hamstrings (knee flexion) and therefore does not recruit the quads.
Here is the workout:
- Single leg deadlift (step down) – 8 reps x 5 sets
- Stiff deadlift – 10 reps x 4 sets
- Hip thrusts – 12 reps x 3 sets
- Seated leg curls – 16 reps x 2 sets; tempo 1:4 (focus on eccentric)
WARNING: Notice the strong squeeze of the glutes during the hip dominant exercises. You should aim to feel the muscle contraction in each one of the repetitions, otherwise you will be loading your lower back instead!!!
Usually, chest day is a guy’s favourite workout but it is also important for the ladies. A good chest development not only creates a balanced look (you cannot train legs only!) but also will enable you to perform perfect push ups at BodyPump class! Besides, you will have killer arms if you train triceps regularly. Most compound chest exercises also recruit triceps, so you don’t need many exercises to target just the triceps. This program starts with low reps/heavy load to develop strength and moves on to higher reps/moderate load to work on muscle development and endurance.
Well, I enjoy training chest and triceps, and I like a challenge, thus this week’s workout;)
- Chest press on Smith machine – 4 reps x 5 sets, tempo 4:1 (focus on the eccentric)
- Dumbbell incline chest press – 8 reps x 4 sets, tempo 2:2
- Dumbbell chest flies on flat bench – 12 reps x 3 sets, tempo 2:2
- Skull crushers – 16 reps x 2 sets, tempo 2:2
Developing the back muscles is as important for ladies as it is for guys. Strong back muscles protect your body from injuries, promote good posture, creates a ‘V” shape which makes your waist look smaller, among others. However most people don’t train back to its full potential. The truth is that many people under-exercise important back muscles such as latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and lower/middle trapezius while over taxing others such as upper traps. The result is muscle imbalances and a recurrent sore neck. In order to target the right areas, you must focus on good form and learn to activate the correct muscle groups.
Today, I’m sharing my new back/bicep program. It mixes strength, growth and definition, and endurance, by changing the rep range and number of sets. Here it goes:
- Wide grip pull ups – 4 reps x 5 sets; tempo 1:4 (slowing on the eccentric part)
- Torsonator bent over rows – 8 reps x 4 sets; tempo 2:2
- Medium grip seated cable rows – 12 reps x 3 sets; tempo 2:2
- Incline seated bicep curls with dumbbells – 16 reps x 2 sets; tempo 2:2