Dumbbell Pullovers and why you should do them

Back in the classic era of bodybuilding, before steroids were a thing, the “squats and milk” routine was the number one method for getting ectomorphs jacked. What most people forget though is the third piece to this routine: pullovers. Squats for testosterone boost and whole-body muscle growth, and pullovers for the wide and thick barrel-chest,…

Dumbbell Pullovers and why you should do them was originally published on Self Evolve

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Back in the classic era of bodybuilding, before steroids were a thing, the “squats and milk” routine was the number one method for getting ectomorphs jacked. What most people forget though is the third piece to this routine: pullovers. Squats for testosterone boost and whole-body muscle growth, and pullovers for the wide and thick barrel-chest, and great back development. Bodybuilding greats swore that the dumbbell pullover played a huge role in their upper body development.

Arnold believed this exercise was responsible for expanding his rib cage. Though nobody knows for sure whether this is true, one thing is for certain: it’s an excellent exercise for the upper chest. For those of you out there wondering why you’d even want a thick upper chest, read on.

Benefits of a thick upper chest

pulloversNowadays, there’s too much focus on the flat bench press, which overdevelops the mid and lower pecs. As a result, you could end up looking like you have ‘man boobs’, even if you don’t. And for guys who have man boobs, this exercise can make them look worse by making them stick out more. A nice, thick upper-chest can really give your chest that stone-slab-like appearance. Also, if you have man boobs, a thick upper chest can help improve your appearance. The trouble is that isolating those upper chest fibers is no easy feat. Most people think the incline bench press is the only solution. However, the trouble with incline presses is the greater the incline, the more stress is placed on the anterior deltoid muscles of the shoulders.

Why pullovers?

To really grow a muscle to its maximum potential, you have to attack it from multiple different angles. Your chest muscles control the movement of your upper arm at the shoulder joint. Any movement where your upper arm is moving in toward the front of the body, will involve the pecs. Most people make the mistake that the only way to work the chest is to push something away from you or in a bear-hugging motion. This type of movement is called ‘horizontal adduction’ of the upper arms. But this is only one type of movement, which will limit your gains if you don’t change it up.

Dumbbell pullovers involve using upper arm extension. By doing this exercise, you work the upper chest from a whole different plane than if you were to do the incline dumbbell press. You stimulate different muscle fibers in a new way, leading to awesome gains.

How do you do pullovers?

Be sure to start out with a light weight and gradually increase over time. Lie on a bench with your head hanging over the end. Grasp the dumbbell from the side or from behind. Position the dumbbell over your chest with elbows slightly bent. Slowly lower the dumbbell over and beyond your head until your upper arms are in-line with your torso. Breathe in deeply while doing this. Slowly pull the dumbbell up and over the chest, back to the starting position. Breathe out while doing this. Repeat.

Do you incorporate pullovers in your chest routine?

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Dumbbell Pullovers and why you should do them was originally published on Self Evolve

Smiling can impact your running

Training your facial muscles can affect your results Last year, Eliud Kipchoge ran 26.2 miles in just two hours and 25 seconds in Monza, Italy, as part of Nike’s Breaking2 Project. His time, although not record-eligible, is the fastest marathon time ever recorded, and the effort required to clock it was undoubtedly grueling. Yet Kipchoge…

Smiling can impact your running was originally published on Self Evolve

Training your facial muscles can affect your results

Last year, Eliud Kipchoge ran 26.2 miles in just two hours and 25 seconds in Monza, Italy, as part of Nike’s Breaking2 Project. His time, although not record-eligible, is the fastest marathon time ever recorded, and the effort required to clock it was undoubtedly grueling. Yet Kipchoge never let it show on his face. In fact, it appeared as if he was actually grinning at times. He later told reporters that he was smiling in order to relax and work through the pain. While it may seem silly, science backs up the fact that smiling does have an effect on our performance.

Smile to run further

Studies have shown that when we enrich our workout with a smile, we feel that the effort we put out is far less than the effort we exert when we frown while exercising. But no research had seriously looked into the effects of manipulating our facial expressions by smiling or frowning on our running economy until now. Researchers at Ulster University in Northern Ireland and Swansea University in Wales asked a group of 24 runners to wear a breathing mask to measure oxygen consumption and then complete four six-minute running blocks on a treadmill while smiling and while frowning. The study found that runners who smiled used less oxygen, ran more economically, and had a lowered perceived rate of exertion than those who frowned and those in the control group.

“They were 2.8 percent more economical when smiling than when frowning,” says Noel Brick, Ph. D., lecturer in sport and exercise physiology at the University of Ulster and coauthor of the study. The reason has to do with facial feedback. This little trick becomes especially useful for runners who need to conserve energy over the course of a long-distance run. When talking marathon distance, you can easily shave 5 minutes off your finish time just by smiling. And that smile doesn’t even have to be genuine. Fake it till you make it!

Throw your brain an endorphins party

A smile instantly boosts positivity, relaxes the body, and in turn, makes you more self-aware. When it comes to running, mentality and self-awareness will take you a long way – literally. In the end, mustering up a smile even when you don’t feel like it is just a matter of training, like any other habit. Besides, there’s not much to lose by giving grinning a shot. If nothing else, at least you’ll end up with better race photos.

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Smiling can impact your running was originally published on Self Evolve

How to hone your hydration

Now that it’s getting hotter.. As a runner, it’s easy to think just drink more water to stay hydrated when it gets hot outside. But, it’s a little more complicated than just drinking more water. Even pro runners who have a team of experts dialing in their every need struggle with hydration. You have to…

How to hone your hydration was originally published on Self Evolve

Now that it’s getting hotter..

As a runner, it’s easy to think just drink more water to stay hydrated when it gets hot outside. But, it’s a little more complicated than just drinking more water. Even pro runners who have a team of experts dialing in their every need struggle with hydration. You have to factor in heat, humidity, acclimation, altitude, intensity level, and how much you drank before you ran, in addition to your individual sweat rate. Everyone’s needs are different.

Hydration status

Sweat reduces your blood volume, which means your heart is working harder. Becoming dehydrated by 2 to 3 percent will slow you down, and anything over 4 percent could land you in a medical tent. The easiest way to determine whether you’re dehydrated is with a pee test,. Pale yellow is where you want to be. This test should be done before you run. But if you’re training for a half marathon or longer, an additional step is required. You should calculate your sweat rate by doing the following: weigh yourself before and after an easy hour-long run in which you don’t drink any fluids. Every pound you lose is equivalent to 16 ounces of liquid you need to replace. So if you lose two pounds during an hour-long run, drink 32 to 48 ounces of liquids in the two to four hours after to replenish. 

Don’t rely on thirst

Thirst isn’t a good indication of your fluid loss because as soon as you drink, nerve endings in your tongue and throat send sensory signals to your brain to reduce your thirst before your body has absorbed enough water. It’s best to plan your hydration ahead of time.

  • Running up to 60 minutes: drink water. Aim to drink 3 to 6 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Running 60 to 90 minutes in hot and humid conditions: drink water and electrolytes. It’s recommended to start with 750 mg of sodium per one liter (32 ounces). 
  • Running 90 to 120+ minutes: drink water, electrolytes and eat carbs. For workouts up to 150 minutes (2.5 hours) it’s recommended to take up to 60 grams of carbs per hour. For long runs over 2.5 hours, up it to 90 grams of carbs.

Keep in mind electrolytes become even more important for performance in three to four hours of continuous exercise. Also, pay attention to the heat and humidity index as that will affect your hydration levels as well.

 

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How to hone your hydration was originally published on Self Evolve

Should you work out until you puke?

Have you ever worked out so hard you puked? After a recent extra-tough training session, the topic of vomit came up at the gym. Some people think it’s not the worse thing to push yourself until you puke, especially if you’re out of shape. These people see puking as a side effect to working out,…

Should you work out until you puke? was originally published on Self Evolve

Have you ever worked out so hard you puked?

After a recent extra-tough training session, the topic of vomit came up at the gym. Some people think it’s not the worse thing to push yourself until you puke, especially if you’re out of shape. These people see puking as a side effect to working out, similar to calluses and popped eye blood vessels after reaching your squat PR. But most people find it disturbing to puke during or after working out. And from a personal trainer who manages trainers and handles hundreds of clients, I’m here to share my opinion on the matter of puking before, during or after a workout.

To puke or not to puke?

First of all, if you’re eating the right foods and performing the right exercises for your fitness level, you shouldn’t be puking ever. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked out to the point of feeling nauseous but have never puked before during or after working out. I think there’s a fine line between puking and feeling nauseous. When I do feel nauseous, I tend to pull back a little bit while working out. Whether that means taking a short break or slowing down (cardio) for a minute, I allow my body just enough slack in order to not actually vomit. This is best both for me and those around me.

Ideally, instead of pushing yourself into nausea, monitor your heart rate and make sure it’s between 65 to 85% of your maximum during your workout. It’s good to sweat, but not good to vomit. Next time you’re at the gym, keep these pointers in mind: watch your heart rate, drink lots of water, and push yourself in relation to that heart rate and not until you’re dizzy.

How do you push yourself to workout hard?

 

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Bike the Drive: going the distance

This wasn’t my first bike ride.. But it was only the second time ever doing Bike the Drive. If you don’t know what Bike the Drive is, it’s an annual Chicago event where they shut down Lake Shore Drive and let people ride their bikes up and down it for a few hours every Memorial…

Bike the Drive: going the distance was originally published on Self Evolve

This wasn’t my first bike ride..

bike the driveBut it was only the second time ever doing Bike the Drive. If you don’t know what Bike the Drive is, it’s an annual Chicago event where they shut down Lake Shore Drive and let people ride their bikes up and down it for a few hours every Memorial Day weekend. Last year was the first time I ever participated, and I instantly fell in love with the event. I’m not an avid bike rider, but I found myself enjoying the scenery and found the distance to be the right level of challenging. Last year I rode about two thirds the full distance, right around 21 miles. This year, I rode the entire distance. And this is how I did it.

How to increase your cardio endurance

  • Lift weights: This may seem weird, but strength training will build your endurance. Even if you’re not lifting for endurance, having the extra muscle will help you process food (fuel) more efficiently. This in turn leads to higher endurance since you will be better able to use that banana, apple, electrolytes and water to bike further than you ever have before.
  • Change up your cardio routine: We are creatures of habit. I’m guilty of it, I’m a runner! So my go to cardio? Running! But if all I do is run for cardio, my cardio endurance isn’t going to improve. Instead, what happens is my body gets used to running and my cardio endurance may actually decrease unless I start changing up my routine. I change up my running, i.e. distance, speed, and incline. But I also throw in days of HIIT cardio and rowing. Add in a 30 mile bike ride and I feel well-rounded.
  • bike the driveEat well: Pretty straight forward, but you’d be surprised how many gym members I talk to who tell me they pig out on entire pizzas after working out. While this is not the worst thing once in awhile, it should be rarely happening. Instead, focus on eating foods that will fuel your cardio and strength endurance. Foods high in protein and healthy fats are the best to grab. Also, complex carbohydrates like brown rice and veggies are great too.
  • Drink water and lots of it: Hydration is often over-looked. Especially on a hot day like this past Sunday, I was downing as much water as I could while biking the drive. Nuun was out there serving up electrolytes so I jumped on that opportunity especially since I was biking for just about 3 and a half hours.

Did you participate in Bike the Drive this year?

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Functional training: my two weeks at F45 training

Have you heard of F45 training? Functional training is the newest trend straight out of Australia. Or maybe it’s been here all along, but now there’s a name for it. F45 training is the newest studio popping up all over the Chicagoland area. It’s 45 minute long classes (yes, you have time) that will literally…

Functional training: my two weeks at F45 training was originally published on Self Evolve

Have you heard of F45 training?

Functional training is the newest trend straight out of Australia. Or maybe it’s been here all along, but now there’s a name for it. F45 training is the newest studio popping up all over the Chicagoland area. It’s 45 minute long classes (yes, you have time) that will literally kick your butt. With over 4000 exercises in their database, no two workouts are the same.

Why functional training works

First of all, it’s functional. This type of training helps you improve everyday functions such as balance, walking, opening a jar, and lifting heavy objects. Ok, maybe you don’t normally lift heavy objects. But do you drive or sit in a chair? Did you know most people who sit most of the day end up having terrible posture? But functional strength training can help correct your posture!

Also, it’s great since every time you show up for a class it’s a different workout. This leaves your body guessing so that you avoid hitting a plateau! They also have weights that go relatively heavy so that over time you can increase the amount of weight you’re lifting. The only weird part about F45 is there’s no stretching at the end. But you can do your own stretches as long as there isn’t another class right after yours.

But is it circuit training?

Yes and yes. The classes are split up into strength classes, cardio classes, and a mix of both. But all of them target almost all of your muscles, so you will get a full body workout. While circuit training is great to burn fat in the beginning, in the long run it can actually decrease your muscle mass which leads to increased body fat. We definitely don’t want this, so not really sure how great the F45 training will be in the long run.

What are your thoughts on F45? Do you like functional training?

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Functional training: my two weeks at F45 training was originally published on Self Evolve

My week at Hit it! Fitness in Oak Park

Have you heard of Hit It! Fitness? If you’ve ever been upset or angry, you’re likely aware of how great it feels to hit stuff. I discovered this thrill through the years I spent practicing martial arts (both Tae Kwon Do and Kung Fu). When I was given the opportunity to try out a free…

My week at Hit it! Fitness in Oak Park was originally published on Self Evolve

Have you heard of Hit It! Fitness?

Hit It! FitnessIf you’ve ever been upset or angry, you’re likely aware of how great it feels to hit stuff. I discovered this thrill through the years I spent practicing martial arts (both Tae Kwon Do and Kung Fu). When I was given the opportunity to try out a free week of classes at Hit It! Fitness, I signed up right away. Because of my crazy work schedule, I only got to try out three early morning classes. But they kicked my butt! Here’s my review of the three classes I took and why I would go back for more.

Strength training

The first class I took was Monday morning and it was appropriately named Hit It! HardBODY. It consisted of stations of strength training that focused on doing sets of 12 reps (heavy) and sets of 24 reps (bodyweight movements). After the class, I felt every muscle in my body was attacked. While we didn’t hit anything, I still felt like I got some frustrations out.

Tabata training

Some of my favorite cardio sessions consist of HIIT or tabata training. Hit It! Fitness brought me to the next level with their tabata class on Wednesday. We made our way around the 14 station circuit twice. The first round was 60 seconds of work, 30 seconds rest and the second round was 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds rest. By the end of the 50 minute class, I could barely move. Definitely made me rethink my cardio routine.

Boxing Bootcamp

This class was hands-down my favorite. First of all, it took me right back to my years of Kung Fu training and made me miss it deeply. Secondly, I got to hit things and get all my frustrations out. The class consisted of six stations which we rotated through twice. The first round consisted of 3 minutes on with 30-45 seconds rest and the second round was 2 minutes on with 30 seconds rest between sets. Needless to say, I got my money’s worth in this class. And to be completely honest, this is the class I would pay money for.

Overall, I had a great experience at Hit It! Fitness in Oak Park. For anyone looking for fun and exciting workouts, I would recommend this place highly. Check out their website HERE.

 

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My week at Hit it! Fitness in Oak Park was originally published on Self Evolve