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The lats and middle back are hard muscles for some to focus on. With these 5 moves, you will make your training more effective and efficient! I’m sure they’ll work wonders for you!
Pull ups, or chin ups, are going to be the most effective training tool to train your back, and your core. Some people will have problems getting the right amount of reps per set of this movement. Doing even just one pull up can seem impossible for some people. You can do negative pull ups until you are strong enough to use body weight alone. At some point, you’ll have to use a weighted belt to add weight to counteract your strength.
Lat pulldown mimics pull ups, and people use it to try to build pull up strength. In reality, they don’t crossover well at all. With the lack of core stability needed on a machine movement, pull up strength is basically unaffected. Some people don’t feel pull ups great in their lats, in which case lat pulldown works great. They are much easier and the weight can be adjusted easier as well.
Bent Over Barbell Rows
Nothing is better for the back and lats than bent over barbell rows. Keeping your back straight is imperative to injury prevention, however. You can use dumbbell rows with one arm at a time to make this easier. That will allow your body to be braced by your hand that is placed on something sturdy, like the dumbbell rack.
Straight Arm Pulldown
If you want an isolation movement instead of a compound movement, this is the best choice. Don’t let your arms bend throughout any part of the movement. Bending your arms will take load off the lats and put it on the triceps.
These are done on a machine, which is probably one of the most popular machines used with trainees. You also have access to a lot of more grip variations with the cable attachments. In addition to the pulley system, you can find a fixed rowing machine that usually has a chest support to avoid your body rocking too much. You can use both to add more variation to your movement choices.
If you are looking to train your chest effectively, you need to make good exercise selections. Check out these 5 exercises that I recommend for chest training!
1. Bench Press
The bench press is the king of chest exercises. Dumbbells can be used just as effectively as a barbell too. There are machines, like the Smith Machine and the Chest Press machine that can replace free weights, but they can be less effective. Make sure to use full range of motion and don’t bounce the weight off of your chest.
Dips are a great exercise if you can handle your body weight. You can do it with less than your body weight too. Instead of neglecting this exercise, do assisted dips. Place your feet on a stable platform to take some of the weight off of your hands. Eventually you will get to a point where you can actually add additional weight to the movement.
3. Incline Bench Press
This is bar-none the best way to hit your upper chest. You could use a machine for this movement but, again, I recommend you stick to free weights. Make sure to come down to your collar bones, not your lower chest like you do with traditional bench press.
4. Chest Flies
Chest flies, whether on a machine or with dumbbells, are a great single joint movement for the chest. I actually recommend machines for about half of your fly training. Keep the weights away from your body as much as possible by keeping your arms as straight as you can. Don’t turn this movement into a dumbbell bench press by bending your arms too much.
If you are just starting training, mastering pushups is a great place to start. Having an
Choosing the right exercises for your muscle groups can be hard, and it’s no different for your hamstrings. The hamstrings aren’t a muscle you can see in the mirror, which usually means it is a little neglected. A lot of people have a hard time even flexing their hamstrings, unless they are touching them and/or looking directly at them. These movements are ideal for proper hamstring training, so make sure to try them out!
1 - Romanian Deadlift
The Romanian Deadlift, or RDL, is the king off all hamstring work. You can use barbells, dumbbells, resistance bands, and even the cable station. If you want to build a little more unilateral strength and stability, try doing these one leg at a time.
2 - Lying Leg Curls
Your gym might not have a lying leg curl machine for you to use. If they don’t, you can substitute it with dumbbell leg curls, although this usually requires a partner. The machine is a much better workout than with a dumbbell or bands, so I’d just skip this if the machine isn’t available.
3 - Good Mornings
Good mornings require proper form to ensure you don’t hurt yourself. While some people think this movement is a simple bend at the hips, you need to push your hips back throughout the ROM to maximize safety and effectiveness. Place the barbell on your upper back like a back squat if you are just starting out. It should feel like you are stretching your hamstrings during this exercise, which you actually are doing. Don’t let your ego win by going as heavy as possible. Instead, make use of lighter weights and perfect form.
4 - Seated Leg Curls
Seated leg curl machines are more common than lying machines. It does hit the hamstrings a bit differently than the lying leg curl, so you can do both if you have access to both. I like to do a 2 down, 1 up rep scheme to really overload the negative portion of the movement to fatigue the hamstrings.
5 - Stability Ball Leg Curls
This is the only body weight movement that is awesome for the hamstrings. Hip Bridge works great until you get too strong for this simple movement. Hip thrusts can be used for hamstrings, but I prefer to use them to focus on glutes. So, the ball leg curl is the best body weight option. Whether you use both legs, or just one, this movement is awesome for high rep training. It depends on how strong your hamstrings are.
Free weights, machines, and even just your body weight can be used to effectively train your quadriceps. Don’t leave these 5 movements out of your quad training program!
1 - Back Squats
Almost everybody will agree that squats are the most necessary movements to do for your quads. Make sure you have a narrow stance, as the wider you go, the more you will recruit your posterior chain. Having your feet at about shoulder width, or a little wider is the way to go. Also, make sure to go to parallel, meaning your hip crease is level with the top of your knee. Ass to grass squats are great, but deeper than parallel means more posterior chain recruitment.
2 - Lunges
Lunges are great for unilateral quadriceps development. You can also use split squats and step ups, which are great variations of a lunge. You can use barbells, dumbbells, weighted vests, or even just your own body weight.
3 - Leg Press
Leg Press machines are great for quad training. You can go really heavy without worrying about your stabilizing muscles throughout your body giving out before your legs. This means it is great to use after tiring out your stabilizers with squats at the beginning of a workout.
4 - Leg Extensions
The only isolation movement that is worth doing for your quadriceps is leg extensions on a machine. You can switch between doing these one leg at a time and both at a time for a different stimulus. The deeper you start, the more ROM and quad recruitment you will be able to achieve.
5 - Front Squats
Front squats might be too demanding for flexibility, in which case goblet squats can be used. Front squats are fantastic for quad training. Olympic racking or just racking on your shoulders while crossing your arms and keeping your elbows high are the options to hold the bar.
I've found that 3 types of supplements help my workouts. Here they are:
1 - Pre Workouts
Pre workout supplements really help your focus and your performance in the gym. I like stimulant based pre workouts, but there are plenty on non-stimulant products that work wonders as well!
2 - Ergogenic Aids
Ergogenic aids are daily supplements that can boost performance and improve body composition when taken properly. Things like Creatine fall into this category. Sometimes you can find pre workouts with ergogenic ingredients already included for ease of use.
3 - Recovery Supplements
These indirectly improve your workouts due to less soreness and better overall recovery from previous workouts. The better recovery means more energy and potential for future workouts!