5 Exercises for Defining the Sides of Your Stomach

If you ever looked at a nicely cut bodybuilder, your eye would likely be drawn to the sides of his rib cage. There you would see what look like fingers wrapped around his stomach. These are the often-overlooked serratus anterior and intercostal muscles.

Why are these muscles important? Well first and foremost, they accentuate the physique and put the final touches on your body, which can come in handy if you’re competing or doing a photo shoot.

Secondly, these muscles are important for downward arcing movements of the arms and actions that require rotation of the upper body. Both of these movements can prove pivotal in sport and daily activity.

The only thing left to do now is to show you some exercises to dial in your finger-like projections. Here is a quick list to add to your repertoire. Try not to get too ripped or the ladies won’t be able to contain themselves when you’re at the gym.

1: STRAIGHT ARM PUSHDOWN

You will need a cable machine to execute this drill. Use either a straight revolving bar or a rope.

Adjust the height of the bar so it’s at its highest position and stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip and place your thumbs on top. Push down on the bar until your arms are parallel to the floor. You should already have some resistance at this point.

Push the bar all the way down to your thighs in one smooth, fluid motion. Hold for a second and slowly let the bar come back up until your arms are once again parallel to the floor. That’s your midpoint. Repeat the whole exercise for a series of reps.

For a variation, do this exercise on your knees. That way you‘ll have less chance of using momentum.

2: DUMBBELL PULLOVER

A dumbbell pullover is a fun little exercise that works your chest, back and serratus muscles in one fell swoop. Here, you have the option of using a flat bench or stability ball. For the sake of this article, I’m going to describe it using the ball – you’ll end up recruiting more core and lower body muscle fibers as an added benefit.

Sit on the ball while holding the dumbbell on your thighs. Carefully roll back on the ball by walking your feet forward and stop when your shoulders and the back of your head are resting comfortably on top. Make sure you have a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.

Overlap your hands on the underside of one weighted end of the dumbbell and push it straight above your chest. Keep a loose grip on the weight so the dumbbell is vertical. Lower it back behind your head and toward the floor in an arcing motion.

Stop when you feel a good stretch on the sides of your rib cage. Push the weight back up to its starting position and repeat. Remember to keep the dumbbell vertical at all times and maintain a slight bend in your elbows to take the stress off your joints.

3: DUMBBELLS AROUND THE WORLDS

I suggest using the stability ball for this exercise as well since the more muscle recruitment you get, the more ripped you’ll be. You will also need a pair of lighter dumbbells to do around the worlds.

Lie face up on the ball in the same position you would be in to do pullovers. Hold light dumbbells at your sides then move them straight back behind your head with your arms fully extended and palms up. Keep your arms roughly parallel to the floor.

Move the weights around in a big circle with your palms up, and stop when they’re directly above your thighs. Hold for a second, then slowly move them back to the starting point and repeat.

For a variation, alternate turning your palms up and down above your thighs with each rep.

4: AB WHEEL ROLLOUTS

The ab wheel is a sinister tool that pulverizes your midsection. But the fun doesn’t stop there; it also does a number on your serratus and intercostal muscles.

To start ab wheel rollouts, go onto your knees and place the wheel right in front of you with your hands on the handles. Form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders and lock your elbows so your arms are fully extended. Curl your pelvis slightly underneath you and tighten your abs which will protect your back.

Roll the wheel forward as you drop your hips toward the floor. Extend your arms out as far as you can manage comfortably, then roll back up to your starting position. Repeat for a set of reps.

A couple of variations: roll the wheel in the shape of a “W” on the floor, or even harder, perform rollouts from a standing position with your legs straight and feet together. Just be very careful not to fall flat on your face and smunch your nose in!

5: SPRINTS

Did you ever play a sports game that involved a lot of sprinting and ended up with really sore sides the next day? The main reason for this is that when you exhale violently, you work the heck out of your intercostals. Why not do some organized sprints to get those muscles completely rock hard? I like that idea too!

Start with a light warm-up jog for about 10 minutes and then sprint as hard as you can for 20 to 30 seconds. Take a quick, passive rest break or jog lightly until you catch your breath and hit it hard again. Repeat 12 to 15 times and finish with a light cool-down jog.

To really put some hot sauce on your sprints, do them going up a hill.

Closing Comments

The serratus anterior and intercostals are only small muscles. Since they’re recruited as stabilizers for performing exercises with big movements like bench presses and back rows, you don’t want to tire them out early. So reserve the exercises I’ve suggested above for the end of your workout. Of course, you’ll want to do sprints on separate days to your weightlifting or at the very end of your workout for a final burnout.

Back And Biceps Workout

Here’s a quick anatomy lesson for you. Every time you flex, or bend your elbow inward, you activate your biceps. Every time you pull a weight towards your body, you activate your biceps but you also recruit your back muscles. Boom! You just got more bang for your buck.

The bottom line is that pairing your back and biceps together in a workout is smart practice. Try this routine for size and you just might gain some bulk and newfound adoration.

Renegade rows

Renegade rows are multi-beneficial exercises that work your back and biceps, and also hammer your abs pretty hard as well. There’s nothing wrong with getting a ripped stomach, too! Here’s how.

Place two dumbbells flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Grip the handles and assume a plank position with your body perfectly straight. Keep your abs tight as you lift the dumbbell on your right side straight up.

Keep your arm tight to your side as you do this and stop when the dumbbell is right by your hip. Slowly lower it down, repeat on the other side and continue to alternate sides.

For more stability, place your feet about shoulder-width apart.

Chin-ups

Off-the-ground training includes anything done from a position where you’re hanging from a bar. Chin-ups fall into this category and they work your biceps and back equally.

Reach up and grab a pull-up bar with an underhand shoulder-width grip. Tighten your abs and pull your pelvis forward slightly while drawing your shoulder blades down and inward. Keep the tension in your abs as you pull yourself up in a smooth, steady motion.

Stop when your chin clears the bar and slowly lower yourself down. Stop when your arms are fully extended and repeat. Do not sway, swing or flail like a baby walrus when doing this exercise! That’s for amateurs.

Sea turtles

Let’s stick with the bodyweight drills and do one more for good measure. Sea turtles primarily work the erector spinae, a strip of muscles that run parallel to your spinal column, ending in your lower back.

Lie flat on the floor on your stomach and extend your arms straight out in front of your head with your palms facing . In a steady circular motion, move your arms backwards as you lift your chest as high as you can and arch your back.

While doing this, raise your legs as high as possible. Move your arms down by your sides, ideally above your butt. Hold for a second, then move slowly back to the starting position and repeat.

Wide-grip barbell curls

Why wide-grip curls? Because they place more focus on the inside of your biceps, which can do wonders for your definition.

Add some weight to a bar and place it on a rack. Grasp it with a wider-than-shoulder-width underhand grip and lift it up. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and let the bar rest against your thighs.

Keep your abs and glutes tight as you bend your elbows and lift the bar upwards. Move it as close to your chest as possible and squeeze your biceps for a full second. Slowly lower it back down and repeat.

Don’t let your elbows move forwards as you lift the bar. This will take emphasis away from your biceps. And never use momentum by swinging your hips forwards either!

Incline dumbbell hammer curls

Not only do incline dumbbell hammer curls target the biceps brachii, which is the main part of the biceps, but they also target the brachioradialis, which runs down the top of your forearm.

To perform these, grab a pair of dumbbells and lie back on an incline bench. Let your arms hang straight down at your sides with your palms facing in. Keep your upper arms still and close to your sides as you bend your elbows and move the weights upwards.

Stop when they are as high as possible and squeeze your biceps for a second. Slowly lower the weights all the way down and repeat.

Putting it all together

Now you need to know what reps and sets to do. We’re going to keep this as simple as possible.

  • Renegade rows − 5 sets of 10. Once you’ve done both sides, count that as one.
  • Chin-ups − 5 sets of 5−8 reps, and be honest with yourself!
  • Sea turtles − 5 sets of 10.
  • Wide-grip barbell curls − 5 sets with the heaviest weights you can do with good form.
  • Incline dumbbell hammer curls − this will be your finale, so you’re going out with a bang. Do 5 sets with moderate weights until failure.

Perform this workout every three days so that your muscles have enough time to recuperate.

Make sure to get enough sleep, eat clean, and always execute proper form. Follow these rules and you’ll be jacked in no time.

5 Testosterone-Boosting Exercises You Should Try

Let’s just put it out there. Testosterone is the most important hormone when it comes to building muscle. But you probably already knew that. Something you might not have known is that there’s a way to boost testosterone levels through strategic weight training.

You see, when you exert a lot of effort during lifting, your nervous system sends a signal to your adrenal glands to punch out a high amount of testosterone. Doesn’t it stand to reason that you’d want to turn your workouts up a notch to get this effect? Well, it should, if you want to maintain what you have and go even further.

Add these five exercises into your program to ensure the lean slabs of muscle you’ve built stay right where they are so that you can continue to add to them. Your goal is to perform drills that involve multiple muscles and joints at the same time. These are called compound exercises and they allow you to hoist more weight.

The more neural feedback you can muster, the more testosterone you’ll pump out.

1: Deadlifts

The deadlift is a classic go-to exercise for strength, power, and mass-building. Since it uses so many joints, it in turn incorporates a lot of large muscles. The end result is a table set for a sizeable testosterone dump and big gains. You can do deadlifts with dumbbells, a barbell or a hex bar. I’m going to describe doing this exercise using a barbell.

Load the bar and stand right behind it with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Keep your shins close to the bar but don’t touch it with them. Push your hips back and bend your thighs so they are at about 45 degrees to the floor. Your shins should roughly be perpendicular to the floor at this point.

Grasp the bar with an over/under or overhand grip and pull your shoulder blades inward to engage your lats. Look up at an angle in front of you and keep your lats tight as you pull the bar off the floor and stand up. Fully extend your knees and hips and rest the bar against your thighs for a full second. Slowly lower it back to the floor and repeat.

2: Squats

Much like deadlifts, squats fire up a lot of lower body muscle while giving your testosterone levels a nice shove. You can use dumbbells, barbells or kettlebells for squats; I’m going to describe doing them with a barbell.

Place the bar in a rack and stand under it with the top of your traps pressed against it. Don’t let the bar crush your vertebrae! Use your manly traps to their advantage.

Pinch your shoulder blades together and grasp the bar with a wide overhand grip. Lift the bar off the pegs and step backwards a few feet. Look up at an angle, tighten your core to “brace” yourself and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider.

Bend your knees to lower yourself down and push your butt back. Keep your feet flat on the floor and stop when your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor. Stand back up in a smooth motion until your legs are fully extended and repeat.

It’s in your best interests to wear flat-soled shoes or go barefoot when you do squats and deadlifts. This will help your force production and allow you to stay more balanced.

3: Barbell clean and press

A barbell clean and press is a combination drill that incorporates multiple exercises. It’s a great combo to boost testosterone levels. Start out as if you were doing a deadlift. Pull the bar off the ground quickly, then turn it over and rest it in the front of your shoulders with your palms facing forwards.

Only hold this position for a split second—then drive the bar straight above your head until your arms are fully locked out. Slowly lower the bar down to the front of your shoulders, then turn it around and lower it back to the floor.

When you do the drive to lift the bar above your head, bend your knees slightly if you need to.

4: Kettlebell snatches

The kettlebell is one of the greatest testosterone-boosting tools out there. Pretty much every exercise performed with it uses a large amount of muscle fiber and multiple joints.

The snatch is a signature move that also has the advantage of raising your heart rate through the roof. Begin this exercise with the kettlebell on the floor an arm’s length in front of you. Push your hips back and get your shins vertical to the floor as if you were going to do a deadlift.

Grasp the kettlebell handle and lean it back towards your body. Rip the bell forcefully back behind your legs and keep your arm close to your body. Explosively extend your knees and hips as you pull the bell up in the air in a slightly arcing motion. Let the ball of the bell turn over on your hand and land softly on your forearm as you spear your hand through the handle.

Tighten your abs, quads, glutes and lats at the top for a split second, then pull the bell downward. Let it turn over again as you push it back between your legs. Repeat for a set of reps and then switch sides.

5: Sprints

Never underestimate the power of sprints. Not only do they burn a metric ton of calories, but they also boost testosterone levels into the stratosphere. This is due to the high-intensity nature of the exercise.

Start out with a light jog to warm up, then run as hard as you can for 20, 30 or more seconds—as long as you’re happy with depending on your fitness level. Come back down to a slow pace for twice as long as your sprint time, then hit it hard again. Alternate back and forth for 20 to 30 minutes and then call it good.

If you don’t like running, choose another type of high-intensity interval exercise. The type of cardio is less important than how hard you do it.

Summary

As you can see, boosting your testosterone levels through exercise is hard work. But nothing in life that’s worth going after is easy. Practice on a regular basis and you’ll get your test levels up to par and it’ll all be worth it!

5 Hacks To Get Bigger Arms

Scrawny arms won’t get you much attention when you’re trying to look good on stage or in a social setting. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Just like bulking up your chest and legs, there are some secrets that can make a world of difference to your arms. Pay attention to the 5 hacks below and you can build the bigger arms you’ve always wanted.

1. Shake it!

Shake out the lactic acid between sets. Do you know that burn you feel when you’re cranking out reps? It’s called lactic acid build-up. Acid has the potential to burn through the paint on a car. Why would you want to build up an abundance of it in your arms? The more your arms burn, the longer it’ll take to recover between sets and the harder it will be to lift heavy weights.

A trick of the trade is to “shake out the tension” between sets. This will expedite your recoveries, reduce lactic acid build-up, allow you to lift more weight, and reduce the chance of ongoing muscle soreness. Simply shake your arms up and down and side to side really fast for 10 to 15 seconds in between sets.

2. Work your triceps

Don’t neglect your triceps. Weight bangers often spend too much time working their biceps. They do need to be worked, but they only consist of two muscle parts, whereas the triceps have three. It is actually this meaty area of the arm that gives it most of its size. Why on earth would you want to neglect it?

Every time you extend or straighten your arm, you’re working your triceps. That being said, if you want bigger arms, be sure to include exercises like dips, close-grip bench presses, triceps extensions, and dumbbell kickbacks in your program.   

3. Increase the intensity

Guess what? There’s more to building bigger arms than doing specific arm exercises. Here’s where the fun begins. When you do high-intensity exercise your heart rate goes through the roof and your body naturally pumps out a ton of growth hormone and testosterone. You are then left with a solid, ripped body that is the envy of many a man.

All parts of the body benefit from this effect, including your arms. That means that doing sprint intervals can actually help your arms get bigger. The problem is, some people lack the mental strength to go this hard. If you want bigger arms, don’t be a sissy — train hard!

You can also get this effect by doing compound exercises like bench presses, deadlifts, pull-ups, and squats. The high amount of muscle fiber recruitment that these exercises require causes a boost in growth hormone and testosterone. Include these exercises and some sprints in your program to help win the battle against puny arms.

4. Rest your pipes

You should know by now that overtraining is a great way to get you nowhere fast. If you like the idea of never gaining size and possibly walking around with your arms hanging down at your sides due to permanent pain, then go for it. Otherwise, pay attention.

Although you want results and you want to look good, this doesn’t mean you should pulverize your arms with endless sets and reps on a daily basis. Always remember, it is during rest that your muscles actually grow. They may look all pumped up and pretty when you’re training, but that’s short term.

With this in mind, take a couple days off in between working your arms, and make sure you get adequate sleep. The best approach is to take 2 full days off in between workouts and aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.

5. Eat your way to bigger arms

If you don’t give your body the proper nutrients, don’t expect any miraculous changes to your arms. Muscles need fuel and raw materials to grow and recover. Follow a balanced diet that includes quality sources of protein, carbs, and fat, and drink plenty of water. Don’t be shy with the calories either. Eating like a chicken will yield chicken-like arms.

With a little bit more effort and discipline, you can have world class arms before you know it. The take-home message is that it’s an all-encompassing task. You need to pay attention to your workouts, your diet, and your lifestyle. Use the 5 hacks above, put the work in, and you will get bigger arms!

Incline Dumbbell Press vs Flat Dumbbell Press – What’s The Difference?

A big, burly chest is the prize for work well done in the gym. The path to building chesticles is no more complicated than for any other body part. You just need to know a bit about anatomy and what exercises to infuse into your program.

Enter incline dumbbell presses and flat dumbbell presses. If you need some schooling, read on to learn what the difference is and how you can use these exercises to your advantage.

Body position

As the name implies, incline presses are performed with your body in an inclined position. Depending on what type of bench you use, your body can be placed anywhere from 45 to 60 degrees. The steeper the incline, the more emphasis will shift to your shoulders. Just be aware of that.

In a gym, you won’t have to look hard to find an adjustable bench, so you can pick and choose your angle. Occasionally you’ll find a fixed bench, but they’re not as popular as the adjustable ones.

Flat dumbbell presses are performed lying face-up on your back with your body parallel to the floor.

Target area

Aside from the position of your body, the biggest difference between incline and flat dumbbell presses is the area of your chest that they target. Both hit the pectorals, but they have a different emphasis.

Incline presses target the upper part of the pecs while flat presses place more emphasis on the center portion. And, just for the record, decline presses target the lower part of your chest.

Game plan

Since you want to have a big, robust chest, you are best advised to do both these exercises in your workouts.

By incorporating both, you’ll build a bigger, fuller, broader chest and gain the attention of all onlookers.

Order of importance

Here’s a fact that you need to take into consideration. Due to the angle of your body, incline presses are considerably harder to do then flat presses. This means you’ll likely not be able to lift as much weight in an inclined position.

Therefore, I suggest you go with the incline dumbbell press first in your workout. If you do flat presses first, you might gas out and not have enough energy to maximize your weights and lift with good form.

One last thing

You can perform flies from both an incline and a flat position. Unlike presses, in flies your arms stay in a fixed position without bending your elbows. You can keep your elbows slightly bent throughout, but should not be bending repetitively.

Incline flies will work the upper, inner part of your chest and flat bench flies will work the middle, inner part. Doing flies will give your chest that sharp, serrated look. Always reserve these for the last part of your chest training.

Conclusion

As you can see, there is value in both incline and flat dumbbell presses. If you want symmetry and adequate gains in size and strength, you’re best served by factoring them both into your program. Until later – go hit the weights and make sure to use proper form!

Dumbbells vs Cables – Which Is Better For Faster Gains?

When you first start a workout program, there are questions that need to be answered. What type of split are you going to do? What days and times are you going to go to the gym? Are you going to work out solo or with a partner? And what type of equipment are you going to use?

With regard to the last question, dumbbells and cables are popular centerpieces in training protocols around the globe. This begs the question, which one is better for faster gains? The answer lies below.

Differences

Muscles grow when they have to work hard and move a load. They have no idea where that load is coming from or what it is. If you look at it that way, anything from your body weight to dumbbells to cables will help you to build muscle.

This means that both media can yield fast results provided your muscles endure a high enough stimulus to promote hypertrophy. Oh – if you’re brand new to the fitness arena, hypertrophy is a fancy word that describes building muscle.

Resistance

Focus your eyeballs on the word “load.” This is also known as resistance. In order to make fast and sizeable gains, you must use a heavy enough resistance. That being said, dumbbells tend to have a wider and heavier range of weight. They start as light as 1 lb and go all the way up to the 150-lb plus category.

With a selection like this, you’ll be sure to make progress when you dig deep and hoist some iron.

Cables are similar in that they have a plenitude of resistance levels to choose from. Weight plates are stacked on top of each other and you choose what you want by way of a pin inserted at various points in the stack.

You may be asking, what does this have to do with getting faster gains? Well, it shows that you can get fast gains by both means because there is ample weight to go around.

Variability

Dumbbells are free weights, so they tend to recruit more muscle fibers. A free weight is something that is “free” to move in any direction without being bound by a cable, cord, rope, or band. This gives you the ability to do multiple exercises in a single set by simply changing direction.

The same can’t be said about cables. Sure, you have a little wiggle room, but you’re still married to a fixed range of motion. That means that dumbbells might be your best bet. Not to mention that they cause you to recruit more stabilizing muscles.

Take chest presses, for example. When you’re pushing and lowering dumbbells, your chest is the focus muscle, but you’re also recruiting your triceps and shoulders to keep the weights steady. If you were to do a standing chest press with cables, the degree of this recruitment wouldn’t be as high.

Form

Whether you use dumbbells or cables, you still run the risk of having shoddy form. Sloppy form with dumbbells and good form with cables will get you faster gains with cables, and vice versa.

However, it’s harder to maintain good form doing heavy cable exercises then it is doing heavy dumbbell drills. If you take the chest press example into consideration, you need to compensate for the resistance by leaning down more. This can cause you to round your back and it can also pull your shoulders too far backwards and open you up for injury. 

Final verdict

When all’s said and done, you can get fast gains with cables anddumbbells. But the way you use either one is more important than the actual tool. In the overall picture, because of their ease of use and mobility, dumbbells do have a slight edge. In either case, always make sure to use proper form and don’t lift more than you’re capable of.

Killer Kettlebell Lower Body Workout

A very wise man once said, “You are only as strong as your weakest link.” What if that link was the area below your belt? There’s a better than average chance that is the case because a lot of people suffer from this ill fate. What’s with all this fear? Fear is overrated. Fear is for the weak. Be strong, think strong, and you’ll get strong.

Maybe a little direction is all you need. The good news is, by doing a killer kettlebell workout on the reg, you can achieve greatness! Follow this routine like a baby duckling follows its momma and you’ll be groovin’ in no time.

Be warned: these exercises lean towards advanced and will require you to use kettlebells. If you’re new to them, it’s highly advisable to meet up with a certified professional who has a proven track record in training people. It’s always safety first!

Double swings

Swings work great as a warm-up, and they also pulverize your posterior chain, which includes your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.

Place two kettlebells on the floor, an arm’s reach in front of you. Stand with your feet parallel and toes facing forwards. Make sure your stance is wide enough that you can fit both kettlebells between your legs.

Grasp the handles and tip the bells backward as you “sit in a chair,” so to speak. Make sure your shoulders are higher than your hips, your hips are higher than your knees, and your shins are about perpendicular to the floor. Tighten your lats and pull your shoulders inward, which is called packing your shoulders.

Rip the kettlebells off the floor and pass them back between your legs. Fire your hips forward as hard as you can to move the kettlebells up. Let them come to a stop with your arms about parallel to the floor.

Keep your arms straight and let the kettlebells fall back down in an arcing motion. Collapse your arms against the sides of your stomach as you hinge your hips and push the weights back. You should have no space between the bells and your crotch when you do the back part of the swing. Just don’t hit yourself in the genital area! Repeat the motion by firing your hips forward.

Every time you do a swing and your arms are parallel to the floor, forcefully contract your abs, glutes, quads, and lats.

Perform sets of 10, 12, 15, 20, 20, 15, 12, and 10 reps. This is a pyramid scheme and, unlike other pyramid schemes, this one won’t leave you penniless and disgruntled.

Double front squats

If you’re worried about crushing your cervical spine to a pulp with barbell squats, a pair of kettlebells can save your day.

Place the bells on the floor and get in the same starting position as you would for swings. Grasp the handles, lean back, and rip them between your legs. Now do a forceful hip snap and keep your elbows tight to your sides as you twist the weights and move them gently to the back of your forearms.

Try to time this right so you don’t crush your arms. Let the kettlebells rest outside your chest with your wrists perfectly straight. Just for the record, this is called the “rack position.” Space your feet shoulder-width or slightly wider apart and slowly descend by bending your knees.

Fix your gaze up at a 45-degree angle and keep your back as straight as possible. Do not hinge forward at the hips. Act like your back is sliding down a wall. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor and your elbows are just inside your knees, stand back up to a fully extended position and repeat.

Aim for 5 sets of 8 to 10 reps. If you decide to go really heavy, crank out 5 sets of 5 with solid form.

Drop lunge/reverse lunge combo

You’ll only need one kettlebell for this drill. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and the bell between your legs on the floor. Go into a squat to grasp the handle with your hands side by side and stand up as you hoist the bell to chest level.

Wrap your fingers around the inside and place your index fingers over the curvature of the handle on the top. Press the weight tight into your chest and pin your elbows tightly to your sides. Keep the kettlebell locked in this position as you step back at an angle behind your body with your right foot.

Keep your shoulders in line with your hips as you do this and drop into a lunge with your legs in a crossed position. Stop when your front thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee is just above the floor. Stand back up in a steady motion, step back to your starting position, and perform the same motion again, leading with your left foot.

Come back to your starting position and now step straight back with your right foot into a reverse lunge. Follow the same rules with your leg positions. Keep your front thigh parallel to the floor and your back knee directly above.

Step back to your starting position, repeat with your left leg, then perform the entire drill over again, starting with a drop lunge.

Perform 5 sets of 5 reps and remember, one rep is done when you’ve completed a drop lunge and reverse lunge with both sides.

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift (SLRDL)

This drill will also require one kettlebell. Not only will the SLRDL devastate your glutes and hamstrings, but it will also exponentially improve your balance.

Grab a moderately heavy kettlebell with your right hand and stand up straight with it at your side. Lift your left foot off the floor, bend your right knee slightly and keep that bend throughout the movement.

Hinge forwards at the hips and let the kettlebell lower towards the floor in front of your foot. Keep both arms straight and parallel to each other as you do this and also keep your shoulders square to the floor.

As you bend down, kick your left leg up in the air behind you and make sure to keep a straight line from your heel to the back of your head. Once you feel a good stretch on your right hamstring, slowly rise back up and bring your left foot close to the floor by your right. Repeat the whole sequence, then switch sides.

Ideally your hovering foot stays off the floor at all times, but if you need to place it down to re-establish your balance, go for it. Do 5 sets of 8 to 10 reps with each leg.

Summing it up

The fun thing about this workout is that you’re working your lower body while also hitting your abs and getting a substantial calorie burn. If you want to turn the caloric expenditure up another notch, feel free to integrate sets of swings into your practice between exercises. Do this workout every three days so that you don’t demolish your muscles.

5 Things You Should Avoid If You Don’t Want Man Boobs

Man boobs, also known as moobs, chesticles, or bitch tits, are no laughing matter. Guys who have them will literally walk around beaches and pools with their shirt on all day rather than expose themselves to the public eye.

That’s no life! If you don’t want this to happen, there are some things you can avoid to prevent man boobs from taking over your life. Pay attention and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

1. Excessive alcohol

A little bit of alcohol here and there is socially acceptable and actually good for you. Red wine, minus the sulfites, is high in antioxidants and can boost your immunity. But unfortunately the fun stops there.

Excessive alcohol intake does a number on your entire system. First of all, it causes weight gain because the liquid calories from it add up really fast. And you usually consume those calories at night when your metabolism naturally slows down.

Secondly, it causes your testosterone levels to plummet. As you know, testosterone is the key hormone for building and preserving muscle. If your levels tank, your fat storage will go up and you’ll risk developing man boobs.

Lastly, when you drink a large amount of alcohol, your inhibitions go down and you get a false sense of hunger. You then eat everything in sight and pack on weight faster than the speed of light. Any time you put on weight, you increase your chances of getting man boobs.

2. An unhealthy diet

It should be a no-brainer that an unhealthy diet, just like excessive alcohol intake, can contribute to man boobs. When you consume mega-doses of low-nutrient foods like cakes, cookies, cheese fries, and pizza, your body can’t keep up with all the calories.

You only need so many calories to function and survive, so the excess is stored as fat. If you’re lucky, the fat will be contained to your abdominal area, but that’s highly unlikely. And it’s not exactly a good plan B. You’ll still gain fat any way you look at it.

A better option is to eat clean and drink plenty of water, as it has no calories and flushes toxins from your system.

3. High intake of soy

Have you ever heard of estrogen? Let me educate you if not. It’s the dominant female hormone. Do you know what happens when you eat a lot of soy products? You guessed it. Estrogen starts to build up in your body, which screws up your entire system.

More importantly, it alters your hormones in a way that is conducive to getting man boobs. That’s no bueno! Steer clear of the soy. Not only can it make your chest flabby, but it also tends to be genetically modified, which is never good for the body.

If you’re vegan and eat soy, keep your intake as low as possible and always go organic.

4. Being lazy

Here’s another epiphany for you. Sitting around all day like a slug on a wall isn’t going to do your chest any favors. In fact, it’ll work against you. You’ll eventually get fat and weak and develop man boobs. Also, your shoulders will get rounded and make your boobs look even more pronounced.

The solution here is obvious. Sit up straight at all times, exercise daily, and be as active as possible in your downtime.

Doing chest exercises like bench presses, incline presses, push-ups and pullovers will help your cause and can even reverse the development of man boobs.

5. Staying up late

You might be surprised to find that sleep deprivation is one of the worst things you can do to your body. Not only does it hinder your brain function, but it also adds pounds to your body. Added pounds can show up in your chest area just as much as anywhere else. Here’s the deal …

When you deprive yourself of sleep, your hormones get thrown way off. And it’s mainly your hunger-stimulating and -suppressing hormones, known as ghrelin and leptin, that suffer. This makes you hungry during the day, causing you to overeat.

Plus, when you don’t get adequate amounts of sleep, your metabolism slows down. A slow metabolism contributes to weight gain, which can add to your man boobs. Prevent this from happening by getting a good 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

Conclusion

If prevention is your game, then the tips above will help you out. Just remember that it all comes down to discipline in the end. Put the work in and you’ll succeed. It’s really that simple!

11 Forgotten Benefits Of Hanging

It may be true that you can’t walk on water or turn water into wine. But you can make your body better by using new health and fitness techniques. Hanging is actually a very old practice, but because so many have no knowledge of it, it can appear to be new.

It’s one of those game-changing things that you should start doing immediately due to its rich benefits. Learn what these are below and also learn how to do it properly. If you pay attention, you’re going to open up a whole new world that you didn’t know existed!

The how before the why

Probably the best place for you to start is by learning how hanging is done. Simply put, any time you grab a hold of a stationary object above your head and your body is suspended off the ground, you’re hanging. That’s pretty self-explanatory, right?

If you want to get technical, this is often referred to as brachiation. But true brachiation means moving your body through space while hanging from various pieces of apparatus. Using monkey bars where you swing from one rung to another is a good example of this.

But hanging is done in one place on a stationary object. Here’s where it gets interesting. It doesn’t matter if you’re rightside up or upside down. If you’re fixed to an object and off the ground, you’re hanging. This means that wearing inversion boots and hanging upside down on a pull-up is considered hanging. This practice is better known as inversion.

That just opened the floodgates for the benefits to appear. But before we look at these, just be aware that any form of exercise while gripping or being held upside down on a bar or apparatus is hanging.

1. Increased upper body strength

Pull-ups are commonly done on pull-up bars and other similar pieces of apparatus. When you do a pull-up, you’re hanging, but you’re also pulling against gravity. This causes you to work really hard and it fires up a ton of muscle fibers in your upper body.

The end result is that you get stronger, you get more defined, and you also burn a decent amount of calories. Your lats, biceps, triceps, shoulders, and chest all work at the same time. By wearing a dipping belt with added resistance, you can increase the workload and get even more benefit.

2. Stronger abs

The “abs” are just one section of the core of your body. Simply hanging from a bar causes you to tighten your abs. But when you do exercises like pull-ups, pikes, wipers, skin-the-cats and corkscrews, you fire up a ton of abdominal muscle.

This will make your abs stronger and more defined. As an added benefit, it will also give your confidence a big boost.

3. Improved grip strength

When you hang from a bar, your grip gets challenged. The longer you hold, the more intense it is. This automatically improves your grip strength and makes it easier to do tasks where grip is important.

4. Improved posture

If you sit for long periods of time during the day, you run the risk of getting bad posture. The reason is that your shoulders are rounded, which causes tight pecs and weak rhomboids − the muscles between the shoulder blades.

By simply reaching up and hanging from a bar for 30-plus seconds, you stretch all the tight muscles in your upper body that cause bad posture. Doing this regularly will stretch you out and make you sit and stand up straighter.

5. Better range of motion and flexibility

I put these two benefits together because they go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. When you progress from just hanging to doing other exercises like pull-ups and pikes, you start to improve the range of motion in your joints.

A better range of motion will translate to improved flexibility. With both of these parameters improved, you’ll be better able to perform activities outside the gym, like playing sports, swimming, and riding a bike.

6. Better circulation

When you invert, your blood rushes in the opposite direction. This gives your veins and arteries a well-deserved rest, which makes them work more efficiently when you come back to an upright position again. The end result is better circulation.

7. Organ function

Once you go into inversion, the connective tissue holding your organs in place doesn’t have to do as much labor. In fact, it doesn’t have to work at all. This allows your organs to work more easily and not be as taxed as usual. The end result is that they will work more effectively and they’ll be stronger as you age.

8. Boosted immunity

Your lymph system carries impurities out of your bloodstream. When you hang upside down, the lymph system goes into overdrive, which helps cleanse your blood faster and gives your immunity a boost.

9. Better brain function

The brain relies on oxygenated blood to function properly. When you go into inversion, you get a massive rush of oxygenated blood. When you come back to an upright position, you immediately feel more mental clarity and are better able to concentrate and think. Your memory also gets boosted.

10. Back pain relief

A lot of people resort to inversion to relieve their back pain, and here’s why. When you go upside down, space is created between the joints in your body, especially your spinal column. Back pain is often caused by jammed joints, which causes neighboring muscles to tighten up as a protective mechanism.

The space that’s created allows nutrient-rich blood to flow to affected areas. This eases pain, relaxes muscles, and expedites the healing process.

11. Skin health

The skin is the largest organ in the body. When you go into inversion, your skin benefits as a side effect of the lymph drainage. When toxins are flushed out of the system, your skin receives more nourishment. This, in turn, makes it healthier and less prone to wrinkles.

Conclusion

If you haven’t been sold on hanging before, hopefully you are now. As you can see, there are many benefits to this practice in both an upright and an inverted position. As with anything else, ease your way in and don’t do too much too soon.

The 5 Principles Of Cutting Fat Without Losing Muscle

Fat is very sneaky. It tends to build up in your body gradually when you’re least expecting it. This holds especially true when you’re trying to pack on mass. In fact, you are almost guaranteed to put on some fat if you’re not careful.

But just as you accumulated it, you can also get rid of it. Follow these five principles and you’ll be able to cut fat while keeping your hard-earned muscle and maintaining your high level of self-confidence.

1. Perform sprint intervals

I can only hope you’re not a sissy. If you’re serious about cutting fat without losing muscle, then you need to man up and do sprint intervals. Why? Because sprint intervals do magical things to your body that nothing else does.

First, you burn an immense number of calories, which melts fat right before your eyes. Second, you boost your metabolism through the roof, which has a massive carryover effect hours after you’re done working out.

Lastly, you get a sweet little release of growth hormone and testosterone. Hormone optimization through training is one of the biggest secrets you should tap into any chance you get. Use sprints as the conduit!

2. Lift heavy and do compound exercises

By lifting heavy weights, you maximize your muscle recruitment and get your heart rate revving. More calories burned plus hoisting heavy weights leads to gains in size while burning fat.

Compound exercises are your best hookups to maximize this principle because they require the use of multiple joints and muscles working in unison. This gives you the ability to raise more metal off the floor. Again, you’ll get a nice kick in the hormonal pants by doing these exercises.

3. Get plenty of sleep

Overtraining and depriving yourself of much-needed sleep is the stupidest thing you can ever do. Let’s look at what happens when you sleep.

Once you become comatose for the night, your body releases growth hormone and testosterone, which aids your recoveries. This is actually when you build muscle. That’s all fine and well, but there’s more to the story.

Another phenomenon occurs while you sleep. There are two famous hormones that your body uses for appetite suppression and stimulation. They are called leptin and ghrelin, respectively.

If you think you can get by on four hours of sleep and still function the next day, you’re sadly mistaken. Not only will this interrupt your muscle recoveries, but it’ll also disturb your body’s balance of leptin and ghrelin.

This means you run the risk of overeating the next day and not feeling satisfied when you should call it quits. If leptin and ghrelin are out of whack, you just added one more reason for your body to hold on to stored fat – or, worse, gain more!

Aim for a good seven hours of sleep a night to prevent any of this nonsense from occurring.

4. Stay off the sauce

No, I’m not talking about the hot sauce on your omelette. In fact, that would actually be beneficial because it gives you a slight boost in metabolism! I’m talking about alcohol. Nothing will add layers of fat to your body faster than imbibing too many adult beverages.

If cutting fat while maintaining muscle really is your goal, then either give up drinking or cut way back. Excessive alcohol intake leads to a lowered metabolism, weight gain from empty calories, and blunted testosterone levels. In fact, I’m not sure if there’s anything worse than this for fat gain and muscle loss.

Stick with water instead. Not only will it keep your muscles hydrated and looking plump, but it’ll also flush toxins from your system. For best results, drink water as your sole beverage.

5. Practise fasting

You probably weren’t expecting this, but it’s another one of those secrets that you need to know. Do you know what happens when you work out in a completely fasted state? Your body goes through a hormone dump because it’s being fooled into thinking it’s starving.

In reality, you’re not starving. You’re simply in a fasted state. You won’t die and you won’t “burn through” your stored muscle. That’s complete nonsense. You’d actually have to fast for several days, if not weeks, before your muscles started to evaporate.

The opposite is actually true. When you fast and then work out, your body releases a ton of growth hormone and testosterone. Depending on how intense your workout is, you’ll likely be burning a blend of stored carbs and fat for energy.

The result is more muscle gained, more fat burned, and more ripples on your body. This might be a little challenging at first, but you’ll get the hang of it after a while.

Conclusion

If you’re willing to try some new things and go the extra mile, then you’ll achieve great success burning fat without losing muscle. Just remember to be patient and never get discouraged. If you have a bad day, get over it and move forward with no regrets. Until next time – good luck and try to stay positive at all times!