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Sled Training Benefits

Slay the Sled – the Benefits of Sled Training

Sled training is a prime example of functional fitness. The use of weighted sleds is nothing new, athletes have been pushing and pulling sleds for quite some time now – even Rocky was pulling a sled through the snow back in the 80s. Sled training can be used for a number of purposes from power development, muscular endurance, aerobic training or any combination of those. Short bursts of sled training has the effect of testing your aerobic fitness! Here are some reasons why you need to start training with a sled.

If it Works For a Horse

There’s a reason why Clydesdale horses have been bred as draught horses, because you have to be big and strong to effectively drag a sled, and push one for that matter. Sled drags are most commonly associated with sprinters – strapping a lightweight sled around their waist and doing sets of sprints to increase force output. Sled drags can also be a great strength building exercise by piling on the plates and struggling against the drag of the sled. It will work your entire legs, glutes, back, core and shoulders and give you a great aerobic workout by placing stress on your entire frame and muscular system. Keep a straight back and drive through your legs

The Push

When you look at the exercise of pushing a weighted sled, it’s quite simple to see its benefits. Each push has a lot of the benefits that both barbell squats and deadlifts bring.…


Workout For Traps

Tremendous Traps – the Key to Building Thick Trapezius Muscles

Working your traps might not feel like a lot of fun, and if you’re time poor in the gym then it’s one of those areas you tend to just hope will be affected by compound movements like deadlifts. But if you want a symmetrically sculpted upper torso and an imposing muscular look, you need to build impressive traps. Strong arms need to be connected to boulder shoulders and thick traps to really get that strong, athletic look. Tom Hardy is about 3 inches shorter than Christian Bale, but somehow he looked huge when he played Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, and before that when he was in Warrior – his apparent size was mainly due to his impressive traps. The thing with training traps is that it takes some real effort and often isn’t pleasant – but you might grow to love it just like with other challenging areas of the body.

Farmers Walks

To build up your traps need time under tension. For this reason doing heavy farmers walks are a great exercise for your upper body, including your traps. We’ve all experienced the pain from carrying heavy shopping bags home – same basic exercise at play here. If you’re not doing farmers walks with kettlebells or dumbbells, then add them to your workout regime.

Shrugs

Going back to the idea of keeping your traps under tension – shrugs that resemble some sort of jig aren’t going to be as productive as doing shrugs with a 5 second hold at the top of the exercise.…


Chalk Hands Hardgainers Weightlifting Muscles

Chalk It Up: The Benefits of Using Gym Chalk

It can be frustrating and potentially dangerous to feel your hand slipping in the middle of a heavy lift. Gym chalk will improve your grip and help to protect your hands against skin tears. Chalk is especially useful when doing heavy lifts like deadlifts or chin ups. Some gyms are even supplying chalk these days for their members as the popularity of powerlifting exercises grows. It can be a great tool to help you push to that next level.

What and When to Chalk

Gym chalk is magnesium carbonate and helps to secure a proper grip by soaking up the moisture on your palms and fingers. While some people like to use weight lifting gloves, the best way to a firm grip is by using chalk which is the reason why gymnasts and power lifters use chalk. Gloves also have a negative effect on the sensory feedback you get from the nerves in your hands and fingertips. Chalk is mostly used for power and Olympic lifting exercises, heavy barbell pulling exercises, chins and dips, or dynamic kettlebell exercises. Basically anything that requires a firm grip to maximise your lift.

Dries Up Sweaty Grip

The last thing you want when you’re working hard to get those last few sets out is to be worried about your sweaty hands holding you back from lifting a PB. Spreading a thin dusting of chalk over your palms and fingers will give you drier hands to grip the barbell and lift safely.…


Solid Six Packs

Solid Six Packs – Ways to Strengthen Your Core and Build Abs

A lot of people start working out and go to the gym to get 6-pack abs, and why not? A tight, muscular core looks fantastic and has become a clear signifier of fitness, strength and a healthy lifestyle. One reason why a rock-hard midsection is so sought after is because it’s generally difficult to achieve. Developing a good looking 6-pack takes time, discipline, dedication and a lot of hard work. As with anything, start with clear structured goals and take each step at a time.

Crunch Time

All is not what it seems. Sit-ups are synonymous with abs, but crunches and sit-ups actually place a fair deal of stress and unnecessary strain on your spine and can also strain your hip flexors. For some reason crunches have become the pin-up exercise for a strong core, perhaps due to their use in the military, but there are plenty of other great ab exercises you can do that will target your core better without straining your spine.

Planks

One such exercise is the simple plank. A lot of the time it’s the simple exercises that are the most effective, and this is the case with the plank. Planks are isometric holds that really focus on building core strength and stability, and one of their best benefits is that they are easy to manipulate in difficulty. You can start with knees on the ground and progress all the way to holding a leg and arm straight out, while also holding the pose for longer and longer.…


Tips For Thicker Forearms

Fostering Forearms – Tips for Thicker Forearms

It only seems natural to begin with a Popeye reference, he really set the bar for thick strong forearms as a sign of strength. Regular weight training and a steady diet of tins of spinach might be enough for some to build thick forearms if it’s in their genetic disposition, but for many others it’s going to take a bit of work. So roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, cause building impressive forearms will take a months of training, but you will start to look great wearing rolled up business shirts.

High Volume Training

Like your calves, forearms are hard to grow. The lower sections of our limbs are composed of muscles with a higher volume of slow-twitch muscles fibres, making them particularly stubborn to grow. The forearms muscles are resilient, and need to be to be able to grip, pull and lift all day long. The last thing you want after a long day is to not be able to hold a fork while you eat dinner. Being resilient, they are hard to fatigue and require close, focussed attention. It’s true, that for some people doing exercises like deadlifts, rows and chin ups will grow thick forearms, but it really comes down to genetics whether or not that will happen. So if yours are lacking a bit of size, then start ending arm day with a few focussed forearm exercises to burn them out at the end of the session.…


Bottom Squat Hold

Boost Your Squat With Improved Ankle Mobility

Ankles are often overlooked as sources or hinderers of strength and power in your squat. However poor ankle mobility caused by injuries or poor movement habits and posture can cause errors in lifting form and increase your risk of injury and muscle strain. The ankle is a biomechanically complex joint. It is a synovial (which most of the body’s joints are and allow for movement but are susceptible to arthritis and related inflammatory conditions), hinge joint formed by the bones of the leg and foot, that permits dorsiflexion and plantarflexion. The ankles and feet are also your base, your foundations, and having issues there are obviously going to affect the rest of your body. You need a solid base to push up heavy weights and to get low into your squats. Problems with your ankles are going to affect the whole movement chain all the way up your body.

Screening

Screening will help identify signs that your ankle mobility is holding you back. Once you have determined the origin of a problem – then you can begin working towards fixing it. A basic screen you can do on your own at home will give you an idea of potential problems. Screen one ankle at a time by getting into a kneeling lunge position as you would do for a kneeling hip flexor stretch. To screen the front leg, keep your front foot flat on the ground, being sure not to lift your heel, and drive your front knee forward over your toes.…


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