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

Advertisements

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?

amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit0”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar = “true”;
amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “tanoshii6603-20”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar_position = “bottom”;
amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “search”;
amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”;
amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”;
amzn_assoc_region = “US”;
amzn_assoc_title = “Shop Related Products”;
amzn_assoc_default_search_phrase = “upper chest workouts”;
amzn_assoc_default_category = “All”;
amzn_assoc_linkid = “6a8c0d8ad97e7db9ea81fb22d32295fd”;

//z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/onejs?MarketPlace=US

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

The FitExpo Chicago 2018

My first FitExpo experience was a blast! This wasn’t my first fitness expo ever, but it was the first time I attended this specific event in Chicago. Actually, it was in Rosemont at the Donald E. Stephen’s Convention center. With the help of Groupon, I got in on the low for a few hours Saturday…

The FitExpo Chicago 2018 was originally published on Self Evolve

My first FitExpo experience was a blast!

This wasn’t my first fitness expo ever, but it was the first time I attended this specific event in Chicago. Actually, it was in Rosemont at the Donald E. Stephen’s Convention center. With the help of Groupon, I got in on the low for a few hours Saturday afternoon. I had so much fun walking around getting lots of free stuff and watching the various types of fitness shows/competitions. To anyone considering attending the FitExpo in the future, this is why you should go.

Swag

Not only did I get two t-shirts, I also got tons of samples including a tub of protein. Like a legit 1 pound tub. I also got other samples of BCAA’s, pre-workout, and post-workout supplements. There was a heavy protein focus all through the expo, and my friends and I would joke with every vendor if their product didn’t have protein then why bother? 🙂 I mean, we were there for gains weren’t we?

Competitions

FitExpoThere were several bodybuilding competitions going on, and I kept getting distracted by the amazing guys and their abs on display. I literally stood staring as my friend was trying to meet up with me. Whoops. Other than bodybuilding, there were powerlifting, crossfit, max reps, and other cool fitness competitions going on.

Workout classes

We got to get a good workout in, mostly by walking around for many hours. But my friends did take on the Spartan obstacle course which was a condensed version of the Spartan race. While this was an additional cost (unless you do it right before they close), there were other fitness classes offered for no fee. Unfortunately, they looked cardio based and I had already gotten in my cardio workout for the day.

Deals

There were many deals going on at the expo. Nearly every product there was at least 50% off the regular price. I bought some great-tasting BCAA’s at half the cost. I left with more muscles than I entered with. 😉

Two thumbs up

All in all, I would highly recommend The FitExpo Chicago. It’s an annual event that occurs either in May or June of every year. I had a great time and I look forward to attending next year!

 

amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit0”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar = “true”;
amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “tanoshii6603-20”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar_position = “bottom”;
amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “search”;
amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”;
amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”;
amzn_assoc_region = “US”;
amzn_assoc_title = “Shop Related Products”;
amzn_assoc_default_search_phrase = “crush bcaa’s”;
amzn_assoc_default_category = “All”;
amzn_assoc_linkid = “6a8c0d8ad97e7db9ea81fb22d32295fd”;

//z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/onejs?MarketPlace=US

The FitExpo Chicago 2018 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?

 

amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit0”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar = “true”;
amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “tanoshii6603-20”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar_position = “bottom”;
amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “search”;
amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”;
amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”;
amzn_assoc_region = “US”;
amzn_assoc_title = “Shop Related Products”;
amzn_assoc_default_search_phrase = “working out hard”;
amzn_assoc_default_category = “All”;
amzn_assoc_linkid = “6a8c0d8ad97e7db9ea81fb22d32295fd”;

//z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/onejs?MarketPlace=US

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

Health supplements to take to unleash your fitness

Do you take supplements? If so, which ones? Fitness isn’t just about hitting the gym, it goes beyond those intense workouts. Your diet plays a huge role in your fitness and health. Some say even more so than lifting or running all day. Supplements are trending more and more, even making their way to India.…

Health supplements to take to unleash your fitness was originally published on Self Evolve

Do you take supplements?

If so, which ones? Fitness isn’t just about hitting the gym, it goes beyond those intense workouts. Your diet plays a huge role in your fitness and health. Some say even more so than lifting or running all day. Supplements are trending more and more, even making their way to India. The main driving factor? Social media. But with all the images and information out there, it can be difficult to navigate through which supplements are actually beneficial to you. 

The supplements I take

  • Multivitamin: I take a women’s multivitamin daily. My favorite brand is Vimerson Health, I order it from Amazon and a bottle lasts me a month. This vitamin helps fuel me, so I take them every morning.
  • BCAA’s: I can’t say enough good things about Xtend BCAA’s. They have helped me achieve my fitness goals and continue to help fuel me during and after my workouts. I like to take these right after working out, or right before depending on my mood. Sometimes both.
  • Protein: While I prefer to get my protein naturally, sometimes it is necessary to drink a protein shake. My favorite, hands down, is Vega protein. It’s vegan and delicious. I get the chocolate flavor, but I’m sure the other flavors are great too. I’m just a choco-holic.

Things I don’t take

For the most part, I don’t take pre-workout. Sometimes I do take it when I’m feeling extra-tired, but I don’t find it necessary at all times. I also don’t take creatine. For some reason, I just don’t find the need to add in extra supplements into my daily routine. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? What do you think?

What supplements do you take to reach your fitness goals?

amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit0”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar = “true”;
amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “tanoshii6603-20”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar_position = “bottom”;
amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “search”;
amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”;
amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”;
amzn_assoc_region = “US”;
amzn_assoc_title = “Shop Related Products”;
amzn_assoc_default_search_phrase = “supplements”;
amzn_assoc_default_category = “All”;
amzn_assoc_linkid = “5717135fa8463818355cdea45245d180”;

//z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/onejs?MarketPlace=US

Health supplements to take to unleash your fitness was originally published on Self Evolve

Find your power: get explosive by adding plyometrics

Get plyometric! Jumping isn’t only for basketball players. The right explosive exercises can help make your next run feel lighter and faster than ever. Most runners think about speed work, hills, and strength training to improve their run times, but often overlook adding power. Adding plyometrics- explosive, energy-honing exercises- to your training can make your…

Find your power: get explosive by adding plyometrics was originally published on Self Evolve

Get plyometric!

Jumping isn’t only for basketball players. The right explosive exercises can help make your next run feel lighter and faster than ever. Most runners think about speed work, hills, and strength training to improve their run times, but often overlook adding power. Adding plyometrics- explosive, energy-honing exercises- to your training can make your usual miles feel like you’ve switched to warp-speed mode. Plyometrics help convert strength into speed and explosive power.

What is it?

“Plyometrics involve a fast, high-intensity, involuntary eccentric contraction of the muscles and tendons, followed by an immediate, powerful concentric contraction,” Adam Rosante, strength and performance coach and founder of the Montauk Barbell Club. There are a lot of exercises that may look plyometric (i.e. box jumps, squat jumps, jumping lunges) but don’t fit the true definition. In order for it to be considered plyo, it has to be executed in less than two-tenths of a second. This is the amount of time in which your body can experience the shock that elicits the involuntary stretch, and use the accumulated energy for the returned action. The key to doing this well is a small number of good reps.

Slash seconds off your time

Studies show that just a month of performing traditional, resistance, or assisted plyo programs two to three times a week cuts seconds off sprint and agility times. They also show an increase in running economy and performance. But the right exercises are needed in order for this to be effective. When incorporating plyometrics into your workout routine, be sure to do them at the beginning of a strength-training day, before a run, or on it’s own for a quick power session. Then give yourself a 2 to 3 days break from plyos. Try this routine (do 3 sets of each exercise):

  • Depth jumps. Stand on a raised platform, such as a box or bench, toes on the edge. Step out and drop straight down (don’t jump). When you land, immediately jump straight up. Land softly. Do 6 to 8 reps.
  • Hurdle hops. Set up four to six 10 to 12 inch hurdles in a straight line, one in front of the other. Leave about 3 feet of space between each. Lower into a quarter-squat and explosively jump over each hurdle, making minimal contact with the ground and moving as fast as possible. Do 4 to 6 reps. To increase difficulty, move the hurdles either closer together or further apart. Change is up by not putting them in a straight line and incorporating lateral hops as well.
  • Depth jump into med-ball throw. Stand at the edge of a raised platform, holding a medicine ball with an underhand grip. Step off the platform and drop straight down. As soon as your feet hit the floor, jump up and throw the ball as high and far behind you as possible. Do 6 to 8 reps. Try not to throw the ball at anyone nearby.
  • Ankle jumps. Stand tall with both feet together. Bend knees slightly and jump straight up. While in the air, pull your toes toward your shins, emphasizing flexion at the ankle joint. You won’t jump very high, due to limited knee involvement. Do 6 to 8 reps.
  • Running leaps. From standing, take a few approach steps, keeping your body as low as possible, then leap off your left leg. Land on right leg and immediately push off again as quickly as possible (it should look like an exaggerated running form). That’s 1 rep. Do 6 to 8 reps.

Do you incorporate plyometrics in your workouts?

amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit0”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar = “true”;
amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “tanoshii6603-20”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar_position = “bottom”;
amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “search”;
amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”;
amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”;
amzn_assoc_region = “US”;
amzn_assoc_title = “Shop Related Products”;
amzn_assoc_default_search_phrase = “plyometrics”;
amzn_assoc_default_category = “All”;
amzn_assoc_linkid = “5717135fa8463818355cdea45245d180”;

//z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/onejs?MarketPlace=US

Find your power: get explosive by adding plyometrics was originally published on Self Evolve

Taking extra rest days to achieve the next level

Rest to rise above Sometimes it’s necessary to take a few days, a week, or longer off from your workout routine. Things happen, like a vacation where you can’t get your normal workout routine done. Or perhaps an injury that forces you to take it easy. But sometimes you’re just tired, sore, or unmotivated and…

Taking extra rest days to achieve the next level was originally published on Self Evolve

Rest to rise above

Sometimes it’s necessary to take a few days, a week, or longer off from your workout routine. Things happen, like a vacation where you can’t get your normal workout routine done. Or perhaps an injury that forces you to take it easy. But sometimes you’re just tired, sore, or unmotivated and therefore a break is needed. To avoid over-training, many athletes regularly schedule a week off every 8-12 weeks. And while you may think this would set you back, it could actually help you in the long run. Before you skip those rest days, consider these benefits.

Rest day benefits

  • Recover those sore muscles
  • Decrease fatigue
  • Avoid over-training
  • Reset your mindset

Rest days don’t mean stop moving

Just because you’re taking some days off your training doesn’t mean you just sit on the couch. Try to change it up with some of these activities:

  • Take a long walk
  • Try a yoga or pilates class
  • Stretch
  • A long, easy bike ride
  • Tossing a football or frisbee
  • Leisurely working in the yard

Don’t worry about losing your gains

Here are some facts about how a break can affect your fitness:

  • Aerobic power can decline about 5-10% in three weeks.
  • It takes about 2 months of inactivity to completely lose the gains you’ve made.
  • Extremely fit exercisers will experience a rapid drop in fitness during the first three weeks of inactivity before it tapers off.
  • Muscular strength and endurance last longer than aerobic fitness. Muscles retain a memory of exercises for weeks or even months.

Do you ever take a few days off?

Whenever I take a week off, I find myself gaining extra super-powers once I start my exercise routine again. My problem is I rarely take that much time off. I decided to force myself to take this past week off, and I’m looking forward to hitting it hard next week to make up for it.

amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit0”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar = “true”;
amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “tanoshii6603-20”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar_position = “bottom”;
amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “search”;
amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”;
amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”;
amzn_assoc_region = “US”;
amzn_assoc_title = “Shop Related Products”;
amzn_assoc_default_search_phrase = “rest days”;
amzn_assoc_default_category = “All”;
amzn_assoc_linkid = “5717135fa8463818355cdea45245d180”;

//z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/onejs?MarketPlace=US

Taking extra rest days to achieve the next level was originally published on Self Evolve

Top rowing mistakes and how to fix them

Rowing is great cardio If you haven’t tried rowing yet, you should. It’s a great form of cardio that hits all the major muscle groups, including your legs, back, and abs. But if not done properly, you can easily injure yourself. Ain’t nobody got time for injuries! These are the top rowing mistakes I see…

Top rowing mistakes and how to fix them was originally published on Self Evolve

Rowing is great cardio

rowingIf you haven’t tried rowing yet, you should. It’s a great form of cardio that hits all the major muscle groups, including your legs, back, and abs. But if not done properly, you can easily injure yourself. Ain’t nobody got time for injuries! These are the top rowing mistakes I see on a daily basis and simple ways to fix them.

Avoid these rowing mistakes

  1. Not checking the damper setting. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t even know what I’m talking about when I mention the damper setting. Many new rowers just start rowing without checking the lever on the side of the air-resistant flywheel. Also, some people will set this too high. It’s ideal to set it between three and five since this is most similar to being on water.
  2.  Rowing with only your arms. Rowers have amazing built upper bodies, so you’re ready to pull the handle with all your might, right? Wrong! Putting too much pressure on your arms, shoulders and back can cause serious injury. About 60 percent of your power should come from pushing with your legs, 20 percent from engaging your core, and 20 percent from pulling with your arms. 
  3. Mixing up the order. Firing the arms and legs at the same time may feel right, but this will put unnecessary strain on your upper body. There’s a three-step process to the rowing stroke. Focus on pushing with the legs first, next pivoting backward at the hips so your shoulders pass your pelvis (you should be in a slight lay back) and then pulling the arms into your chest. A good target for your hands is the place on your chest where you would bench press below your ribs. Once your hands are pulled into your chest, reverse the order to go back to starting position, and repeat.
  4. Hunchback. If you normally round your back when sitting at your desk at work, you’ll likely do the same thing when you sit down at a rower. Focus on turning on your abdominal muscles and relaxing your shoulders so they are pulled down and back. Keep your spine aligned.
  5. Rushing. You’re in the zone, taking strokes as fast as possible towards that imaginary finish line. Problem is, your seat keeps slamming into the front of the rower and your body is jerking forward uncontrollably. To regain control, pay attention to the timing of your strokes. The stroke’s ratio should be a 1:2 count, meaning that the body should expend lots of energy quickly at the drive, while the second half of the stroke should be more relaxed and controlled. Having a calm and collected recovery will prevent your seat from smashing frantically into the front of the rower.

Do you row?

ROW, or Recovery on Water, is a Chicago-based rowing team that gives survivors of breast cancer a unique opportunity to interact, become active in their recovery, and gain support from fellow survivors. Check out these local ROW classes in Bridgeport to up your row game. John A. teaches these classes; who’s a training client and a workout friend of mine.

amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit0”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar = “true”;
amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “tanoshii6603-20”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar_position = “bottom”;
amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “search”;
amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”;
amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”;
amzn_assoc_region = “US”;
amzn_assoc_title = “Shop Related Products”;
amzn_assoc_default_search_phrase = “rowing”;
amzn_assoc_default_category = “All”;
amzn_assoc_linkid = “5717135fa8463818355cdea45245d180”;

//z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/onejs?MarketPlace=US

Top rowing mistakes and how to fix them was originally published on Self Evolve