Tips and News
 
Winter Bulking Up
 
Winter is around the corner! Time to put the stringers away and the low carb diets on the back burner. Increase your calories (not so much so that you gain fat) and hit the basic compound exercises such as squats, presses, rows and deadlifts.
 
This is the time of year to get stronger, and the result will be more muscle when you come to diet down next summer for your string vests!
Training Frequency
 
I have noticed quite a number of people in the gym are not looking or planning their programmes around recovery time and are not resting enough. Remember, when you are in the gym training you are breaking down muscle, so you are actually getting smaller! You only grow when you rest and eat!
 
So with that in mind, you can plan your rest days. I always rest after leg day (quads) and back. I also never do pushing or pulling movements on two consecutive days.
 
For example - 
 
Day One - Biceps
 
Day Two - Back or Chest
 
Day Three - Shoulders
 
If you don't set your routine up like this, in time you will develop injuries like tennis elbow and your muscles will not recover, grow or get stronger.
Chest & Shoulder Preparation Warm Ups – Clint Jones
 
Injury to your rotators is very common amongst weight trainers. If you have been unfortunate enough to experience this like I have, you will understand how uncomfortable it is to train your chest, shoulders and biceps. I didn’t injure mine in the gym but on a ski trip, which required surgery and long rehabilitation programme.
 
I see a lot of people benching without warming up, which is asking for trouble. This causes an imbalance in the development of their shoulders, creating an overdeveloped anterior deltoid (front delt) which will make them round shouldered. It is this imbalance that will weaken the whole shoulder area and leave your rotators vulnerable to injury.
 
How to avoid
 
-          Train your rotators.
-          Work your rear delts.
-          Do not do specific exercises for your front delts i.e front raises, as your front delts get a lot of stimulation from all              pressing movements.
-          Do not bench more than once a week.
-          Use dumbbells or cables, as they are kinder to your joints than bars of machines.
-          Increase your flexibility to help you avoid injury, but make sure you do this every day.
Bicep Blitz
 
Preacher curl with a straight bar, super set with standing barbell curls.
 
3 sets of:
Preacher Curl 6 – 8 reps
Standing Barbell Curls 6 – 8 reps
 
Then
 
3 sets of:
Hammer Curls 12 – 15 reps
 
Then
 
3 sets of:
Seated Dumbbell Curls 8 – 10 reps
 
Notes: For the first exercise try not to put the bar down when going to standing curls. If you have a fat bar, use it!
Do your hammer curls seated until you fail, then stand. Apply the same method to the dumbbell curls.
Deadlifting
 
A great but potentially dangerous exercise! With this in mind, you need to concentrate at all times to avoiding injury when deadlifting.
 
Step 1 - Only ever deadlift every 10 - 14 days
2 - Keep your back flat. Do not round over!
3 - Do not go for singles!
4 - Ask a member of staff or pay for a good personal trainer to help show you correct form.
5 - Reps - between 4 and 20, mix it up!
 
Performing deadlifts correctly, you will notice that your upper, middle and lower back will visually thicken up. You may want to experiment with the following sets and reps, ensuring you maintain correct form and follow the tips above.
 
5 Sets of 5 Reps
 
5 Sets of gradually reducing Reps i.e. 12 reps, 10 reps, 8 reps, etc.
 
3 Sets of 20 Reps. Make sure you are completely confident with deadlifting before attempting this, it's really tough!
Diet
 
I know most people are trying to get leaner this time of year, but for those of you who still want to pack on some size and calorie restriction is not an issue, the following 4 week cycle has always proved successful for me.
 
The first stretch of the cycle is focused on bulking – eating around 500-750 extra calories per day for the first 3 weeks, which will lead to around a 3-4 pound body weight increase. On week 4, I opt for a 500-750 calorie reduction below my metabolic rate, which usually results in a 1-2 pound loss.
 
Over a period of 12 months, this cycle should help to keep you in good shape and help your holiday or competition preparation easier.
Triceps
 
Overhead single arm dumbbell extensions - great finishing movement for after you’ve finished lying extensions, pushdowns etc.
 
I personally like doing these seated. Start with the dumbbell raised overhead with a straight arm, with your bicep against the side of your head. Slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head keeping your bicep close to your head, being careful not to let your elbow drift away!
 
Do around 8-10 reps first, then 4 reps of slow negatives, pressing the dumbbell straight up and lowering slowly.
Hamstring Improvement
 
Hamstrings are not the easiest of muscles to train, and most people just carry out a variety of leg curls - lying, seated and standing. They might also throw in some stiff leg deadlifts as well. You need to put as much effort into hamstring training as quads and plan in advance what you are going to do – sets & reps etc.
 
Hamstrings are made up of mainly fast twitch fibres and can respond to a lower rep range of 5-8, though that is not to say your whole workout should be exclusively low reps – be sure to do one exercise in the 8-15 range .
 
To make your leg curls even more intense, use both legs to curl the weight up to your glutes and lower with only one leg for 4 seconds. Alternate this negative rep between legs. If you have a training partner they can, at the top of the rep, pull down on the pads as you resist them, making sure it takes around 4 seconds to finish the rep. Aim for 5-8 reps.
 
Try finishing your hamstring session with Nordic lifts. To do these you will need a partner. Kneel on a soft surface and have your partner hold your ankles. Lean forward with the palms of your hands parallel to the floor to stop you face planting! Lower yourself using your hamstrings then push yourself back up to the start point and repeat.
 
Mix things up and keep the intensity going - you should see improved hamstrings in no time! 
Hamstrings
 
An often overlooked body part that if neglected can cause biomechanical problems. An imbalance between the quads and hamstrings will cause issues in the knee, lower back and you will also find that you can not realise your optimum power and strength.
 
Bear in mind that for every set of Quads you do, make sure you do at least the same amount of sets for your Hams. The three main exercises for hamstrings are standing leg curls, lying leg curls and stiff leg dead lifts. Aim for around 8-10 sets in total for your hamstring workout, keeping a rep range of 6-10 for leg curls and 10-15 for stiff legs, and use forced negatives for the lying leg curls.
 
Forced Negatives - Make sure you are fully warmed up! Curl the bar on the machine up to your bottom and get your training partner to pull down while you resist them. If you do not have a training partner, just lower your left leg out of the way and do the negative with your right leg. Repeat until you have done 6 reps on each leg. On completion of your hamstring work out, try to spend 5 minutes stretching them to keep flexible.
Squats
 
A complex but incredible exercise with massive benefits. If performed wrong they can cause lots of injuries to the knees, back etc.
 
Place the bar across your upper back, keeping your head up, feet shoulder width apart with toes pointing slightly outwards. Slowly lower yourself while keeping your head up! If your heels lift off the floor, try going an inch or so wider. If they still come off the floor try putting two 1.5kg plates under each foot. Keep your rep tempo to 4 second negatives as this will ensure that you do not damage your knees.
 
If you need to be shown how to correctly perform squats, please ask a member of staff.
Rear Delts
 
A commonly neglected area of the body that can cause serious imbalance to your physique and can create problems in your shoulders, upper back and neck. We have all seen the guys who bench 3 times a week and complain about shoulder pain and are pronate positive (shoulders pushing forward and flat across their upper back).
 
If you have aspirations of competing as a bodybuilder or male physique competitor, you have to make sure you look good from all angles! Here's how to hit those rear delts (prioritise them by starting your workout with them) -
 
- Bent Over Dumbbell Lateral Super Sets
- Wide Grip Barbell Rows to the neck
 
Do 3 supersets of 12-15 reps on each of the following exercises.
 
Execute bent over laterals with legs bent, back flat and arms out straight in front of you, but be careful not to use too much weight.
 
Same position for wide barbell rows, knees bent, back flat and with a wide grip, pull to the neck. Lower to halfway down, then pull back up - this will keep the tension on!
 
Finish with peck pulls or face pulls off a high pulley with a rope.
 
All these exercises must be performed with the correct weight in order to isolate the rear delts otherwise you will not benefit from this routine. You will know you are doing it right as the pump you feel will be uncomfortable but very rewarding!
Shoulder to Waist Ratio Improvement
 
Try out this workout to increase your shoulder to waist ratio and achieve the Big X frame!
 
First - Back Workout
 
Start with chins, doing as many reps per set as possible until you hit 50 reps.
 
For example - Set 1 - 15 reps, Set 2 - 12, Set 3 - 10, Set 4 - 8, Set 5 - 5.
 
Plus do your regular back training session.
 
Second - Side Deltoids - Triple Drop Sets
 
Set 1 - 10 reps x 10 reps x 10 reps
Set 2 - 8 reps x 8 reps x 8 reps
 
Do 3 triple drop sets, but not too heavy, and concentrate focusing on your side deltoids without leaning backwards, as this will use your front delts (the stronger of the two muscles) rather than the sides.
Mixing Things Up!
 
Don't let your enthusiasm wane! After working hard for the first 2 weeks of the New Year, it's easy to lose motivation so it's important to regularly look at your programme and see where new and different excerises can be incorporated (ideally new lifts and different cardio machinery). If you are doing say 3 sessions a week, why not try making one of them a cross-training session?
 
Here are some examples for you - 
 
  • 1000 metre Row
  • 2 sets of 15-25 reps Leg Press
  • 5km Cycle
  • 3 sets of 10-12 reps Clean and Press
  • 2km Run
  • 3 sets of pull up super sets with press ups
  • Then finish off with an Abs circuit. That should be you done!
For the Body Builders, try the following workout.
 
E.g. Lying Extentions
 
  • 1st Rep - 4 second negative, 4 second positive
  • 3 quick reps
  • Repeat 1st rep
  • 3 quick reps
  • Repeat 1st rep
  • 3 quick reps
You can do this with any exercise, so give it a try and I guarantee you will feel the results on both the day and the day after! You must however remember to drop your weight by 25%!
Happy New Year!
 
Happy New Year to all our members, past, present and new! New Year resolution time is here, but already so many people have broken the promises they have made to themselves. The reason why we are so keen to make these resolutions is down to the overindulgence over the festive period.
 
If you are a beginner or have had alot of time off, try not to make it too difficult to meet your expectations.
 
Weight Loss
 
Initially during the first week you will lose more weight due to water retention. After the first week try not to lose more than 1kg/2lbs per week. Your training programme should consist of 45-50 mins of weights followed by 15-20 mins of cardio, 3-4 times a week.
 
Diet
 
After going to the gym you will need to call upon all your willpower to stick to a healthy food plan. Having indulged and acquired a taste for sugary, fatty foods plus alcohol over the holidays you will find it quite difficult adjusting to a clean food diet, so keep it simple and eat 5-6 small meals a day. It will require alot of discipline but after 7-10 days you should find your cravings will diminish. 
Cold Weather Training
 
No one enjoys training in the bitter cold, but here are a few tips to keep you going strong.
 
Injury prevention is key. It's imperitive to do extra warm ups before training in order to get that blood pumping. It never hurts to warm up your legs with a quick blast on the bike either!
 
Try a light weight circuit of chest, back, shoulders, thighs and triceps on the human sport cables before moving on to heavy lifting. This will allow you to move on to your session with peaked strength and focus, and will prevent you from damaging yourself. An injured bodybuilder can't build mass - it's as simple as that!
Fat Bars
 
Try our new fat dumbbell bars on your next session. A whole inch thicker (from 1" to 2"), these bars work forearms harder and can help to relieve conditions such as tennis elbow or tendonitis.
Muscle Fibre
 
Looking to recruit more muscle fibre in your shoulders? Then try seated dumbbell presses without back support. You will probably find that you will lift around 30% less weight, but you will also activate your core thus strengthening it.
Autumn Size & Strength
 
After the long summer of 2013 (the best for decades!), lots of you have been watching your carb and fat intake to look good for the beach and for some of you, to compete in shows. Now the winter is bearing down on us all, a few more carbs, a little less cardio and some heavy mass building training is in order. Here are a few easy to follow diet and training tips - it’s time to grow!
 
Carbs
 
When adding carbs to your diet after a long time restricting them, you must introduce them slowly and use low glycemic carbs – not fast sugars! Add 30g at breakfast and 50g post workout (totalling 320 calories). See how this affects your weight and slowly add 10g of carbs to your other meals. Remember not to go gung ho and put fat on for the sake of it, be careful to stay in control.
 
Training
 
As for training, to grow you must overload your muscles. Using 85% of your one rep max on compound movements (e.g squat or leg press, bench press, deadlift, military press, T-Bar rows etc), do 5 sets of 5 reps and keep a record of your lifts. Then do 2 sets of 12 reps on isolation exercises (e.g leg extension, peck flys, delt raises, chins, lat pulls etc). Then switch back to a different compound and do 2 sets of 10-12 reps. Job done!
 
If you do Cardio after weights, keep it to 15 mins max and use the interval programmes. For this programme to work you must train progressively and eat enough food to grow! Good Luck!
 
Also special congratulations to everyone who has competed this year. Future Fitness has had a great year so far on stage, with 7 members competing in the UKBFF British Championships! Keep doing yourselves and the gym proud!
Fat Loss
 
Quick fat loss is not a long term fix, and it is worth considering trying some fat burners to make it a more manageable task - e.g SciTec Revex-16
 
These will help speed up your metabolism whilst suppressing your appetite!
Biceps
 
Everyone's show muscle, we all want to have a good t-shirt arm!
When doing curls, make sure your palms are facing up and you elbows stay next to your torso.
Ramadan
 
For all the muslim lads who love to train, fasting will make this an especially difficult time to hit the gym.
 
What to eat?
 
When the sun goes down, don't rush to the cupboard and grab whatever junk you can get hold of. Make sure you're still having a balanced meal of meat and carbs, with some (good) fats thrown in too (Almonds, Walnuts etc).
Graze through the night on a mixture of foods, avoiding refined sugars and empty fats. If you are taking protein shakes, try adding 10g of L/Glutamine AND Udo Oil/Extra Virgin Oil. 
The last meal before sunrise should contain some protein and low GI Carbs, like porridge oats or brown rice and then some peanut butter on toast. That should be enough to boost your energy levels and get you through the day with a good training session!
Hot Weather Training
 
In this hot weather we've been having recently, it's worth trying to hit the gym early in the morning or later on in the evening as to avoid the midday heat. If your schedule does not allow for the flexibility to do so, make sure you stay hydrated and drink plenty during your session.
Shaping up for Holidays
 
Booked a late holiday? Only have 2-3 weeks till you fly off and you’re not in shape?! Diet hard, train hard! Follow these simple tips and prepare to see the difference.
 
Diet
 
-          Low carbs for 3 days – approximately 50g after training only!
-          On day 4, allow 150g of carbs spread over the course of the day.
-          Low carbs for 3 days…
-          Repeat and watch your body change!
 
Note:  Add CLA & Omega’s to your meals at around 10-15g per day.
 
Train
 
Training wise stick to what you would regularly do, just add in some cardio. Be careful not to overdo it however, on a low carb diet you’ll struggle to hack it!
Leg Training
 
This again!
 
I keep on seeing people trying to lift mega-heavy on leg extensions – this is not a good idea! The leg extension is a single joint exercise and will not help you build muscle the same way squats or leg presses will.
 
So, save your knees and stop holding on to the handles, just fold your arms and squeeze the top of the movement, trying to hit 20 reps per set. It is important to protect your knees!
Combatting Sticking Points
 
If you’ve been using a particular exercise for a while, you may find you reach a ‘sticking point’, the inability to increase the weight or number of reps for the exercise. You can drop the exercise, although there are alternatives.
Try different variations of the exercise –
 
1.       4 second negatives
           2 second pause at the bottom of a rep
 
2.       Do 21 sets
       -          7 reps bottom of the movement
       -          7 reps top of the movement
       -          7 full reps
 
It is a good idea to do one week on one method and the following on the other, and then repeat. After a few weeks, try your original exercise and see if you can increase your reps or weight!
Carbs
 
It’s important to make sure you’re taking in enough carbohydrates when training.
After training, it’s key to eat a minimum of 30g, even when dieting, or you’ll find that you won’t recover in time for your next workout. I suggest either a banana (30g carbs) or a 200g baked potato (50g carbs).
You should also be aiming to have a 50g – 100g bowl of oats for breakfast, depending on your calorie intake for your diet plan.
 
Clint’s Recommended Stack
 
  • Breakfast – Oats, SciTec Nutrition 100% Whey Protein
  • Before Training – 1 scoop SciTec Hot Blood, SciTec G-BCAA x 6
  • After Training – G-BCAA x6
  • Evening – 2 scoops USN Hardcore Whey or Muscle Fuel
  • Before Bed – Night Pro or Casein

Don’t Neglect Your Hamstrings!

It is crucial to perform a variety of different exercises when training your legs, not just leg curls after quads. I suggest doing your hamstrings on a different day to quads. I’ve found that after training your back is the best day to tie in your lower back and hamstrings, with stiff legs doing 3 sets of 8 – 15 reps. Move onto lying leg curls with force negatives!
 

What Are Force Negatives?

Curl the weight up, then have your training partner resist you coming back down on the negative part of the movement for 3-4 seconds, for 2-3 sets of 4-6 reps. Then, move on to standing single leg curls of 8-10 reps. At the end do some hyper extensions in sets of 20 for the stretch in your hamstrings and lower back.

Muscle Shock – Compound Exercise

Try a super set with a compound exercise for the same muscle! For example
 
Squats x 10 reps – Legpress x 10 reps
 
Dumbbell Press x 10 reps – Dips x max reps
 
Chins x 10 reps – Rows x 10 reps
 
Repeat for 3 to 5 sets. Finish off your chosen body part with an isolation exercise, with sets of 10 reps.

Revamp Your Regime!

To get the best out of your training, make sure you change your workout regime regularly.

By revamping your workout session at the beginning of each month, you can change your reps, sets and exercises which will allow you to make the most out of training. Be sure to keep your basic exercises though!

Bicep Burner – 40 degree incline curl

Start Point – both arms fully contracted at the top of the movement

Lower left arm keeping right arm in contracted position

Return left arm back up to contracted position

Alternate to lowering right arm leaving left arm in contracted position

Continue for between 6 – 12 reps for each arm

 

The reason this exercise is so effective, as opposed to standard dumbbell curls, is that the arm that is normally in the relaxed position is in a peak contracted position.  You can use this method in a variety of exercises, for example side raises, lying dumbbell tricep extensions

Single Leg Training

Combining single leg work into your general training routine will allow you to improve your weaker leg, for example the left leg for right footed people.

The best exercises for single leg training are the leg press and leg extension, however for the more experienced I recommend trying Split Squats. Just ask at reception for advice on how to perform them if you’re unsure. 

Post Christmas Workout

Try the following work out to combat the effects of all the festive over eating and drinking, and to get you back into the swing of training!

All Over Body Blitz

Warm up with 3 x 500m Rows (1 minute intervals)
Leg Press S/Set Leg Curls
Bench Press S/Set Rows 3 x 10-15
Shoulder Press S/Set Pull Downs
Dips S/Set Undergrip Pull Downs
Pushdowns S/Set Dumbell Curls
Ab's Crunch S/Set Leg Raise
Cross Trainer 5-10 minutes  
Run 5-10 minutes  

Shoulders

Injured, Sore joints or just avoiding injury? Try this -

1 minute on the Rope Dumbbell

Seated side raises 1 - 15-20 reps

                                     2 - 12-15 reps

                                     3 -  8-10 drop set 8-10

                                     e.g 12.5kg ---------7.5kg

 

Arnold Press         1 -  15-20 reps

                                 2 -  8-12 reps

                                 3 -  6-8 drop set 6-8 reps

 

Rear Delts            1 -  15-20 reps

                                2 -  12-15 reps

                                3 -  8-10 drop set 8-10 reps

Add and extra set if you do not feel that this is enough, however, be careful not to over train your shoulders.

“Shoulder Burn”

Try side laterals seated with a 10-15kg dumbbell for 12-15 reps. Then pick up a 20-30kg dumbbell and do standing straight arm raises only moving your arms up by 2 inches for 20 reps, repeating 3 times. Then try the dumbbell overhead press – Good luck!“Shoulder Burn”

Try side laterals seated with a 10-15kg dumbbell for 12-15 reps. Then pick up a 20-30kg dumbbell and do standing straight arm raises only moving your arms up by 2 inches for 20 reps, repeating 3 times. Then try the dumbbell overhead press – Good luck!

CHEST BLITZ

Triple Set

  • 1 x Incline Press - 6 - 8 reps
  • 1 x Flat Flies - 12 - 15 reps
  • 1 x Dip Maximum Reps

Do 4 Circuits

GGER BICEPS

Trys 21’s on Preacher Curl.

Start at the bottom of the movement curling the bar or dumbell up to MID POINT  for 7 reps.

Then do 7 reps to the top point DOWN to the MID point.

Finishing off with 7 FULL reps.

REPEAT for 2 – 3 sets

Then do 3 sets of 45 degree dumbell curls

When doing dumbbell rows place your feet 2 feet apart and brace yourself with one hand against a solid object (dumbbell rack or bench for example).

When you fail move your leg forward, same side as braced arm and crank out for a few more reps.

STUBBORN CALVES?

Try doing triple drops of 10 reps - 10 reps - 10 reps so a total of 30 reps -

  • Start with a heavy weight and low reps of 10
  • Then followed by decreasing the weight to attain 10 reps again
  • And then repeat again

By doing high reps along with heavy weights this will break down the stubborn muscle tissue in the calf.
 

BICEPS

When doing dumbell curls make sure your little finger is pressed against the dumbell plate - this will throw the weight (emphasis) on to the bicep.

Do you have a shoulder injury? – Things to try!

  • Warm up – do rotator exercises
  • ROPE for 1 minute
  • Stick to free weights
  • Keep your reps above 10
  • Make sure you train all 3 heads of the deltoid equally
  • Here is an example workout after warm up:-

Clean and Press 3 x 10 - 15

Or Dumbell Press

Side Raises 3 x 12 - 20

Rear Delt Fly 3 x 12 – 20

Train by feel.....

Listen to your body - If you have got a cold, aren't sleeping very well or are stressed or are all three!! - reduce your training accordingly, because recovery is key to progress in training.

If you over train you will "regress" not "progress"

Feeling tired, do you have sore joints

Switch to a 3 Day Programme

  • Day 1 - Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
  • Day 2 - Legs, Abs
  • Day 3 – Backs, Biceps

The above routine is called a "push pull" and will give your muscles and joints a rest in between sessions.  Your central nervous system will be grateful for the extra rest!

Struggling to sleep??

Try taking 4 x ZMA -  10 minutes before going to bed.

Try this chest workout to beef up your pec's.

  • 30% incline press 3 x 6 - 8 reps
  • 30% incline flys 3 x 10 - 12 reps
  • Flat bench press 2 x 8 - 12 reps
  • Dips 2 x max

Quad Blitz - Giant Set

  • Leg Extension x 10
  • Leg Press x 10
  • Leg Extension x 10
  • Walking Lunges x 10
  • Squat (if you can) 3 x 15 REPS

If you struggle to get to the gym or do not have enought time after your weight session do 20 minutes running up and down your stairs!!!

Week 2 - Triceps

  • ·         Keep your elbows 30cm apart when doing any type of extension movement.

 

SHOCK WORKOUT – GIANT SET - this is when you move from each exercise detailed below WITHOUT resting

1 – Pushdown 12 reps

2 – Lying Extension 8-10 reps

3 – Close Grip Press to failure

Repeat 3 times - with 1-2 minutes rest inbetween sets

Week 1 – Big Arm Tips

  • Use a straight bar to curl - this will engage biceps, and as a spin-off it will help beef up your forearms.
  • Whilst doing dumbbell curls place your little finger against the dumbbell- this will throw the weight of the dumbbell onto your bicep and increase the effectiveness of the exercise.
  • Make sure you do not lift your elbows as this will engage your front deltoid as well your bicep and will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.
  • Vary your rep range (6-15) - this will hit the slow and fast twitch fibres, and keep your sets between 6 and 8 and limit to 2-3 exercises for your biceps.
  • Don’t waste your time on cable exercises, i.e. crucifix curls, as gravity isn’t working against you.
  • Suggested routine
    • 45 degree dumbbell curls – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
    • Straight bar curls – 2 sets of 6-8 reps
    • Straight bar preacher curls – 2 sets of 10-15

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