Saturday, December 27, 2014

Jacked and Ripped Men of Hollywood

Hollywood has always displayed great heroic characters on screen and some of the actors have gone to great length to match the role. Rambo, Rocky, Commando, Terminator, Hercules, 300 and Thor, the list goes on and on. Few Hollywood actors have put in great effort and dedication to make the role memorable and some do sport that physique throughout their life.

Few of the Hollywood actors who personified the movie role and do have great physiques off-screen too are as follows:

1.Arnold Schwarzenegger.

2.Sylvester Stallone.

3. Jean Claude Van damme.

4.Dolph Lundgren.

5.Dwayne Johnson.

6. Jason Statham.

7. Vin Diesel.

8.Ryan Reynolds.

9.Chris Hemsworth.

10.Matthew Mcconaughey.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Training Frequency

Whether you are a beginner or a Pro bodybuilder, most frequently debated and sort after topic is training frequency. Your gains and progress in the iron game depends on figuring out what exactly works out for you when it terms of training frequency.

We always have had debate as to which is the best way train, is it volume training or very low volume routines. Volume training was popularized by Arnold Schwarzenegger and H.I.T by Arthur Jones and Mike Mentzer. Even from top level athlete of 90’s stand point Dorian Yates did advocate low volume training and did say that’s what helped him win six Olympia titles. Well the fact I am writing about this is not to replicate an Olympia winning physique, but just to make sure what suits better for the general public. People, who don’t want to compete, but want to get in shape, people who are athletes and want to cross train to get in shape and better their performance in their respective sport.

Now let’s face it, we all know most pro bodybuilders are on steroids of one form or another. So when a pro is on steroids he can train twice a day and still recover faster from the rigorous workouts and keep training 6 days a week. But that’s not the case with a layman who trains naturally just to get in shape, him training even 5 days a week once per day can be end up being over training. Over training not only deprives him of making muscle gains but also de-motivates him and can end up with injury. I strongly recommend beginners and natural athletes to train low volume and high intensity. Train should be brief and relatively in frequent in case of mass cycle. I would say train anywhere from 3 days to 4 days a week to get good results naturally.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Nutrition For 6 Pack Abs

Let me set the record straight, there is no thing called spot reduction. If you want the 6 pack abs it has to be a combination of hard work with weight training and strict diet. Remember great bodies are made in kitchen not in the gym. I have already explained the tricks and trade of getting ripped in my previous article ABC of Getting Ripped. Workout and dieting is important, but most importantly what you put in your body and how often is also quite essential to getting the six packs.

Here is my strategy to get the six pack abs:

1.       Load up on Dairy.
2.       Add whey protein in contrast to soya.
3.       Eat huge amount of food but in small meals, say 6 to 7 meals a day.
4.       Drink green Tea.
5.       Eat lean protein like fatty fish and sea food rich calcium.
6.       Cut down on sweet.
7.       Use Rum in your protein.

Incorporate these into your diet and work your way up to achieve the six pack abs. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Barn Door Shoulders

Thick, wide and powerful shoulders not only make heads turn but also provide great strength in becoming a strongman. Shoulders are the most widely used muscle group in upper body. Wash board abs are sure aesthetic and might be please in women’s eyes but when it comes to raw power and brute strength one has to have powerful and thick shoulders.

I think shoulders in combination with powerful back define one’s power and prowess in lifting heavy loads of weights. Most people lack great shoulder development and sometimes if they do they do lack or the shoulder power isn’t really up to the mark in terms of functional strength.

I personally have always had decent shoulder development along with functional strength. Single most impressive exercise to develop shoulder power would be overhead press in my opinion. Of course there is clean and jerk and snatch. Other bodybuilding exercises like lateral raises, front raises and dumbbell or barbell press attacking the different shoulder heads.

My top picks for the shoulder exercises are as follows:

Overhead Press

Clean and Jerk

Dumbbell /Barbell Press

Lateral and front raises.

Do these exercises and progressively increase the poundage and trust me you will make the heads turn.

Monday, October 13, 2014

1980 Mr. Olympia: Fair or fixed?

Was 1980 Mr. Olympia fixed? Did Arnold Schwarzenegger really win the Olympia that night? Were Frank Zane and Tom Platz better than Arnold that night? The 1980 Olympia raised so many questions and eye brows that night, which is still the most controversial Olympia till date. We take a look back at the history and what happened that Olympia night.

Arnold who had told everyone that he will be at the Mr. Olympia to do the commentary at the  show, decided to compete in the event. All the while people speculated that he was in competition shape and might compete, but no one was sure as Arnold brushed it off saying that he was getting in shape for the movie “Conan the Barbarian” .The contest was being held in Sydney, Australia, it was produced by Arnold’s good friend Paul Graham. The contest had some real tough competitors like Zane who was already the reigning Mr. Olympia from last year, there was Mike Mentzer, Tom Platz, and Chris Dickinson. Zane despite injury decided to compete in the show based on Arnold’s advice. Mentzer was in a great shape and hope to win the title; Tom Platz was looking to make an upset at that year Mr. Olympia by defeating last year’s winner Frank Zane.

All of these Top competitors had their own agenda based on previous years Mr. Olympia and had no clue Arnold would compete and that too at a stage where he had retired from the competitive bodybuilding after being the undisputed king of the sport for many years. I think what upset the most of the competitors, was that Arnold had it all 7 times Mr. Olympia, 5 times Mr. Universe and he had moved on to achieve bigger and better things like to make it in Hollywood. Why would Arnold; who had everything would come and take way what they wanted so badly. That created lot of resentment and to some degree it was fear that he would take way the title, this mixed feeling lit the light for the controversy which was in the making.

Some of the things which contributed to the 1980 Olympia controversy were:

Competitors felt Arnold should have register to compete a month before like the other bodybuilder rather than making a last minute entry to compete.

Mike Mentzer and Arnold had a fight which almost got physical and which left a bitter taste in mike’s life, resulting in his retirement from bodybuilding.

Most of the judges were friends or somehow associated with Arnold thus influenced the outcome of the contest.

IFBB bent the rules because it was Arnold.

Yes, the competition was controversial, Arnold didn't look nor had the great physique he had 5 or 6 years ago. Hey but still he is “Arnold” the Austrian Oak, he was cut and still big had the charisma and most importantly experience. Some of the people competing in that show idolized him so they never believed that they can beat him. I would say it was close between Arnold, Tom Platz and Zane, But Zane Looked lighter compared to the other two. Arnold was the tallest in the competition had a great chest, ripped abs and the show stealing arms. I do believe Arnold did win the competition and he did win it fair and square. Why he competed and took away what the other competitors wanted so badly, only Arnold could answer that question.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dwayne Johnson’s Hercules workout

Do you know what the Rock is cooking? The man, who is famous for this line, is also famous for his incredible body. I must say he built one of the best looking physiques for the Hercules movie role. Dwayne Johnson has always been in great shape and always been a great athlete.  But the way he transformed his body from WWE days to till date is truly remarkable. He had short time to prepare for this role and boy; he did put in lot of hard work to shape that herculean physique.

Rock is known for his awesome work ethic and is truly dedicated to his art be it football, wrestling or bodybuilding, movies are no exception. If one thing which drives him and has taken him places, it’s because of his passion and hard hard work. From rookie footballer to a wrestling super star and now an action hero in Hollywood he’s done it all. His four movies made $1.3 billion at box office in the year 2013 which made him the highest grossing movie star for the year 2013.

Here is how he achieved the herculean physique to do the 12 labors on screen. Rock dieted 22 weeks in preparation for this role, he worked out early morning 4 Am and always made sure he did his cardio and weight training before he went to sets. He worked out 45 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes ranging from lifting weights to cardio. He had to carefully monitor his diet and had to bulk up for the role while shedding fat. His diet was mostly Filet steak, two cups of rice, egg whites, mushrooms, baked potato and chicken in large quantity as he was bulking up.

The following was rock’s workout:

Preacher curls with EZ bar curls 4 x 12 reps
Standing barbell curl with EZ bar curls 4 x 12 reps
Dumbbell curls 4 x 12 reps
Rope pushdown 4 x 12 reps
Rope overhead triceps 4 x 12 reps
Extensions 4 x 12 reps

Inclined barbell bench press 4 x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
Flat bench dumbbell press 4 x 12 reps
Inclined hammer strength press 4 x 12 reps
Flat bench dumbbell fly’s 3 x 12 reps
Cable crossover super-set with dips 3 x 15 reps

Pull ups 4 set to failure
One arm dumbbell row 4 x 12, 10, 8, 8 reps
Hammer strength two arm row 4 x 10 reps
Close grip pull downs 3 x 12 reps
Cable row 3 x 12 reps
Dumbbell shrugs 4 x 12 reps

Monday, October 6, 2014

Steroids or No Steroids is the Question!

I firstly would like to emphasize that I don’t promote steroid use or I am of an opinion that steroid use is absolutely OK in sports. Well whether we like it or not steroids were always involved in sports and always will be involved in the future too. Testosterone was first discovered and used during 1935 in World War II, to quicken the healing process in wounded soldiers. Steroid use in sports dates back to 1940s and testosterone was all over the place in sports. In 1952 Olympics the Russian weightlifting and wrestling team were dominant in the entire event which is supposedly due to testosterone use. By 1960s US started developing the higher end of steroids, which were anabolic steroids.

Steroids have always been there whether you like it or not, steroid use was taking off to new levels by 1970s. Most of the athletes were supposedly juicing as everyone wanted to have the edge and had to do what has to be done.  Now remember, at that point of time use of testosterone wasn’t illegal. Steroids gave a competitive edge for the athletes to win at the highest level as it aids one to over train and speeds up recuperation process. It allowed you to gain lot of strength in short period of time and perform and peak whenever required.

But the most important point I want to emphasize is that "steroids doesn't make you a champion, but champions take steroids”. What I mean by that statement is that anyone taking steroids doesn't become a champion. One needs to be very good at the sport he or she is into. It can be genetics for power lifting, bodybuilding and the techniques needed to excel in their individual sport. People who are already very good at their sport take steroids and get the little extra edge and become champion. Any tom, dick and harry doesn't get a Mr. Olympia physique by taking steroids or become Lee Haney, Kai Greene, tiger woods’ or a Barry bonds. So people on steroids have to have the goods to compete at the highest level and work there butt off to achieve things. Yes steroids do provide them with abilities like quick recuperation from over training and gives great strength to perform and over train. But how sure are we that who is using steroids and who is not? Who is playing it by the rule and who is not?  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The True Viking Warrior

If I were to choose one man who could out muscle and outdo Arnold Schwarzenegger in terms of strength and charisma it was Jon Pall sigmarsson. He had it all, the good looks and the colossal strength; he was 4 times world strongest man, 2 times European strongest man. Jon Pall died at a very young age, merely 32 years old at the time of death. But his achievement in his short lived life is truly remarkable and was a true gentleman. He was not only into power lifting but also competed and won Icelandic     bodybuilding title in 90+ kg weight class.

Jon pall first participated in world strongest man in 1983 and made his presence felt by taking second place next to the title winner Geoff capes. Then The 24 year old Jon pall was all set to take the world strongest man title from capes in 1984 and so he did. The rivalry between the two to take the crown gave us some of the best events in world strongest man History. In 1985 Jon pall lost the title to capes but again won it back from him in 1986. Some of the best one liner came from Jon pall during these years of competing for title with capes, like once when the audience called him Eskimo, he shouted back at them declaring “I am not an Eskimo, I am a Viking” and dead lifted a cart weighing 495 kg. When he defeated capes in 1984 he shouted “The King has lost his crown”.

1987 was the year the world strongest man event was at its peak as Jon pall’s biggest rival the great Bill Kazmaier entered the event. He was a 3 times world strongest man and had held numerous world records in bench press and dead lift and squat. He had the reputation as the “strongest man ever lived on earth” and had won world strongest man title from 1980, 81 and 1982 making it 3 times in a row. They had great rivalry and thus fueled their competitive spirit to outdo one another. When it came to static events Kazmaier was better than Jon pall but Jon Pall dominated Kazmaier in dynamic events and Jon pall was the better of the two as an overall athlete. After winning the 1988 world strongest man title from the great Kazmaier he declared “I may be the fastest strongman in the world, but I think Kazmaier is the strongest on his feet”. They eventually became good friends.

Jon pall’s records and milestones are as follows:
Squat – 365 kg Raw.
Bench Press – 235 kg.
Dead lift - 400 kg Raw.
He entered Guinness book of world record for lifting world’s largest whiskey Bottle.
He was the First man to load the 150 kg Mcglashen stone.

Some of the best quotes of Jon Pall were “I am in seventh Heaven”, “No problem for Jon Paul”. He was very charismatic on and off the field. He had great genetics which helped him to master all forms of weight lifting, power lifting and also become a bodybuilder competing at 105 to 110 kg where as his body weight for world strongest man events was 130 kg. He will always be remembered as the true Viking warrior! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

The other side of Bodybuilding

Bodybuilding is one of the best things one can get into to build strength and get in shape.  It can be a great stress reliever and a great hobby to build strength for the respective sport you are into. But when we look into bodybuilding as a sport it is all about the size game and hell lot of size comes from steroids and supplements. Bodybuilding naturally without steroids and supplements is beautiful and helps to achieve aesthetic physique. Even without steroids, size can be achieved but not the same kind of size and conditioning can be attained without the aid of steroids.

The darker side of bodybuilding or strength sports is well know  and its steroids,  growth hormone and lot of other stuff which has put many in body bags. I have always loved the sport of bodybuilding and it gives me immense pleasure in training everyday and enjoying life by training naturally and staying healthy. I happen to stumble on one of this mini documentary about a bodybuilder Justin Rys who is a former Mr.Australasia,Mr Oceania,Mr New Zealand and how his life changed by the choices he made. This is a interesting and eye opening documentary on steroids and ironically  some bodybuilder’ s build their bodies by putting heart and sweat in the gym and also destroy it by putting chemicals into their body.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Muscle Memory

Muscle memory is one of the best assets very top athlete possesses. Please don’t mistake this to be some form of memory stored in your muscles but rather is something which is stored in your brain. The muscle memory is developed through constant repetitive activity be it like endless amount of time spent in the gym training each part of your body or practicing the perfect swing of the club for golf it all contributes to muscle memory.

 Muscle memory more like a procedural memory developed due to repetitive moment, but the down side of this if one practices an incorrect move repetitively be it an incorrect form in exercising a specific muscle group the mind registers it and cannot differentiate between a correct form and an incorrect one. Muscle memory forms an integral part in one’s life as we need this right from riding bicycle to weight training to typing on key board. Have you ever wondered how these elite level athletes are able to get in shape compared to that of the general public? That’s because they spent years training and perfecting their body and skill, when they begin training again from a long break they retain the muscles or are able to stimulate muscle growth quickly compared to others. It’s all because of muscle memory, that’s why I say one should not only quantity but also “quality of the quantity”.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

High Intensity Training (HIT) Explained

High intensity training is one of the best method’s to put on quality muscle mass and definition, if not the best. It was found by Arthur Jones who experimented with this form of training with top bodybuilders of the era. He was the inventor of the Nautilus; many well know bodybuilders trained under his guidance like Casey Viator, mike mentzer and Ray Mentzer. It was Mike Mentzer who popularized this form of training and added his own observation to the HIT theory and perfected it.  Mike advocated and trained his clients no more than 7-9 sets per workout and further reduced the training by reducing the number days trained per week; 3 days per week sometimes even less depending on the gains. Mike advocated HIT training a lot and held many seminars’s and shot training videos. The man who took the HIT method to the top and revolutionized the sport of bodybuilding was Dorian Yates. 6 consecutive times Mr. Olympia and a big follower of HIT method.

The principle of this training method was that one should train brief, infrequent and with all intensity. It was believed that training with high intensity and to a point where it would create muscular failure momentarily yielded great gains and results. Since its intensity which is the key in this form of training, the training volume and duration of training is very brief compared to traditional volume training where one performs numerous sets and repetitions with low intensity. We all know that training stimulates muscle growth by recruiting new muscle fibers but rest and nutrition is what makes them grow. Adequate rest has to be provided for the body to heal and grow and endure the taxing from next intense workout. Hence a great emphasis is placed on rest and recuperation.

A typical HIT Workout can be like focusing one single muscle group to may be a minor muscle group in addition, like Back with Biceps. Again a great emphasis is placed on form and technique as it’s just not moving weights but lifting with perfect form and in slow and controlled fashion rather than jerking the weight. I strongly believe one should be training no more than 45 minutes, if they are aiming to build quality muscle mass naturally. We all more or less have access to same nutritional information but what separate us are the training methods to some degree and most importantly the intensity. Try High Intensity Training for good 4-6 months and see the results.