Monster Mass Building Part IV (The Finale): Wicked Wheels!

Well, here we are folks! This post marks the conclusion to The Dragon’s Monster Mass Building Training Series.  This final hardcore weightlifters’ segment is brought to you by the letter “W”. As in WICKED WHEELS. Today I will give you two workouts designed to turn those scrawny toothpicks you call legs into powerful pistons!

If you’ve been to any beach or gym you’ve noticed “That Guy”. “That Guy” is the one with a huge upper body and almost no muscle in his lower half. Sometimes he looks as if he’s going to tilt over due to the disproportions. Don’t be “That Guy”. How can you avoid this? Let’s find out after this brief message from Anatomy Professor Dragon:

The Legs

For our purposes, the legs can most easily be divided into three parts: Hamstrings, Quadriceps (Quads), and Calves. Since they function to carry the body around they are probably the most vital muscles for daily life (besides the HEART). They are also the easiest to injure because they require HEAVY weight to properly develop them. With that said, I urge complete caution when training the legs. I can’t stress this enough. Be Smart. Be Safe. Especially with Deadlifts and Squats.

  1. Hamstrings: The Hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles that are located on the upper backside of the leg. They work together to extend the hip (i.e. standing up), contract the leg (i.e. pulling the heel to the butt), help rotate the knee and propel you forward. Together they can be considered to be ½ of the thigh.
  2. Quadriceps: Quadriceps, or simply “Quads” are on the upper front and side of the leg. They are the largest muscle group of the body and consist of four heads. In actuality, the quads are a muscle group not just one muscle. They work together to extend the leg at the knee. Both the hamstrings and the quadriceps work together in unison in every physical activity, i.e. running, jumping, kicking and squatting.
  3. Calves: What we commonly call “calves” are really a group of muscles that make up the bottom half of the leg. There are many muscles that make up the calves with very long, funny sounding names including Gastrocnemius, Soleus, Tibialis and Digitorum. Let’s just stick with calves for this post. The calves help extend, contract and rotate the foot. They are also vital for propulsion, running, jumping and pivoting. Wanna jump higher, run faster and get some well deserved attention on the beach? Train your calves.
  4. Other Important Muscles: I won’t spend time describing the many other muscle groups that are worked while training the legs but you’ll also feel the burn in your Glutes (Butt) and lower back. Ok. Let’s train…

The main muscles involved in leg training are:
Hamstrings
Quadriceps
Calves (including the Gastrocnemius, Soleus and Tibialis)

The Dragon’s Wicked Wheels Leg Workout:

Before I give you the training program that will surely have you walking funny for days after, I will say again…BE CAREFUL and TAKE YOUR TIME. These are powerful exercises and can injure you permanently if not done properly.

Workout #1:

  • Smith Machine Squats: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 Reps. 4 Working Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Squats: 3 Sets x 10 reps
  • Seated Leg Curl: 4 Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • Seated Single Leg, Leg Extension: 4 Sets x 10 reps

Calves

  • Smith Machine Standing Calf Raises (with plank or step): 5 sets in the following order – 25, 20, 15, 10, 5 reps
  • Inverted Calf Raises (Leg Press Machine): 6 (3 each) Sets x 10 reps. Alternate between 3 sets of pointing your toes inward for 10 reps. Then follow on the next set by bringing your heels together to make a “V”
  • Seated Single Leg, Toe Press Machine: 3 Sets x 10 reps

Workout #2:

  • Deadlifts: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 4 Working Sets x 10 – 12 reps
  • Leg Press: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 4 Working Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Lunges: 3 Sets x 10 reps.

Calves

  • Inverted Calf Raises (Leg Press Machine): 4 Sets x 15 – 20 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise Machine: 3 Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • Seated Single Leg, Toe Press Machine:  6 sets x 10 reps

Now that we’ve come to the end of this series I’d like to remind you all about some basics to help you out in your training:

  1. Do every rep strictly and properly. Bad form leads to bad results.
  2. For anything in the 7 – 10 rep range, aim to lift 80% of your 1 rep max. This will really tear into those muscle fibers and stimulate growth.
  3. Eat Eat Eat! 1 to 1.5 G of protein is absolutely necessary to pack on lean muscle. Eat most of your carbs around workout time and make sure you get a good shake in right after you lift. Monsters don’t nibble. They devour!

Follow these guidelines closely and victory will be yours! As always, if you need more extensive help with your diet I will build a customized one for you for only 1 training hour. PayPal Accepted! Contact me here to get started…

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Killer calves come from hard work and dedication. Some prime exercises for developing them include Toe Presses and all varieties of Calf Raises. Use different rep ranges and try to hit them 2 times per week!

Monster Mass Building Part III: Beastly Back & Biceps!

The Dragon’s Monster Mass Building Training Series continues this week with what may be the most intense workout yet. Today, we focus on the back and the biceps. That’s right. Consider this week’s post to be a “twofer”! This is easily one of my favorite workouts because of the insane pump that I get after doing it. Minutes after you finish you will probably curse me. Weeks after, you will thank me. Let’s get started.

The Back

Besides all of the great health benefits of having a strong back, an added bonus is the much admired “V” shape you will have. Combined with a trim waist, a barn door back will make you look like you have wings. It is a real head turner. Back workouts are typically divided into upper and lower, with most of the focus being placed on the upper back. Let’s take a look at the muscles that encompass the back:

  1. Trapezius: This large diamond shaped muscle is mostly trained with the shoulders and has been already covered here in part II.
  2. Latissimus Dorsi: Translated as “broadest muscle of the back”, the Latissimus Dorsi (AKA “lats”) are the key to having a wide wingspan. They run parallel to and outside of the Trapezius muscle. They are large and mostly flat and are responsible for extending the arms outward and upward. The most effective exercises for these muscles are pull-ups, lat pull-downs and bent over rows.
  3. Teres Major & Teres Minor: This is an “unofficial” third part to the upper back.  These “synergists” (AKA helpers) are responsible for rotating and helping the lats to move the arms outward from the body.

The back consists of:
1. Latissimus Dorsi
2. Trapezius
3. Teres Major / Teres Minor

The Dragon’s Bicep Workout immediately follows the Back Workout. During your back workout your biceps will be getting a warm-up for the work that is to come. They will become a bit “pre-fatigued” by the pull-ups and close grip lat pull-downs. By the time you end the Bicep Workout you will definitely feel a deep full burn. Now let’s learn a bit about them:

  1. Biceps: Biceps are rated the number one muscle that people associate with strength. They are the epitome of “manliness”. When you ask someone to “make a muscle” what do they do? They show off their arms. The key to obtaining bowling balls for biceps is to hit them from multiple angles and focus on a wide variety of rep ranges. Let’s get right into it after this brief introduction to the Biceps muscle. The Biceps Brachii or simply, “Biceps” is a two headed muscle that stretches from the shoulder to the elbow on the front side of the arm. It’s primary function is to bring the lower arm toward the body (flexing). Take a look….

The Bicep Brachii (or simply “Bicep”) Muscle consists of 2 heads. A variety of exercises need to be performed to effectively train both heads.

Now, let’s leave the classroom and go to the gym so we can do today’s workout.

The Dragon’s Beastly Back & Biceps Workout:

Workout #1:

  • Pull-Ups: 3 Sets x 10 – 12 reps
  • Seated “Lat” Pull-downs: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 4 Working Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • Close-grip / underhand “Lat” Pull-downs: 3 Sets x 10 reps
  • Bent over Barbell Rows: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 4 Working Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • Bent over 1 arm Dumbbell Rows: 4 Sets x 10 reps

Biceps

  • Standing EZ-Bar Curls: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 4 Working Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • Concentration Curls: 3 Sets x 5 – 7 reps
  • Hammer Curls: 3 Sets x 10 reps
  • Chin-Ups: 2 Sets until failure

Workout #2:

  • Pull-Ups: 1 Set x 10 reps
  • Seated Cable Pull: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 4 Working Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • T-Bar Rows: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 4 Working Sets 5 – 7 reps
  • Lying Dumbbell Pullovers: 3 Sets x 10 reps
  • Bent Over Reverse Flys: 4 Sets x 10 reps

Biceps

  • Seated EZ-Bar Curls: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 4 Working Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • Standing Dumbbell Curls: 3 Sets x 10 reps
  • Seated Negative Rep Curls:  3 sets x 5 – 7 “negative” reps*
  • Chin-Ups: 3 sets 8 – 10 reps

*Negative Repetitions: Start at the contracted part of the rep (the end). Slowly lower your arm to the beginning position. Count very slowly as you lower your arm! Try to make it to a count of 50 for each rep.

Because this workout is lengthier and more intense than the previous ones it is important that you eat well so that you will have substantial fuel for both parts. Eat no more than an hour and a half and make sure you get plenty of complex carbohydrates. As always, be strict about your repetitions. Correct form far outweighs the amount of weight that you lift. No more time to waste. Go train hard and remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

The Dragon’s Monster Mass Building Training Series III: Beastly Back & Bicep Workout

Monster Mass Building Part II: Shoulders of Steel

This week we continue The Dragon’s Mega Mass Building Training Series with a post dedicated to the shoulders.The shoulder complex doesn’t just include the Deltoid muscles but the Trapezius muscles as well. They come together to give your frame a wide, strong and dominant look. Let’s take a quick look at what these muscles do:

  1. Deltoids: The Deltoids are divided into 3 parts (or heads) that essentially handle all the lifting and rotating of your arms. What’s important for you to know is that these 3 heads are divided into Anterior (front), Lateral (side) and Posterior (rear) fibers. It’s important to train all three heads equally to have nice round capped shoulders.
  2. Trapezius: The Trapezius is a large diamond shaped muscle that attaches to your mid back, fans out to the back of your shoulders and collarbone and extends all the way to the back of your head. The “Traps”, as they are called, give the impression of a thick neck and tall shoulders. They help with neck rotation, back and forth motion and raising of the shoulders (shrugging). *If you want great examples of extremely well defined (borderline scary) traps, Google actor Tom Hardy and MMA / WWE Athlete Brock Lesnar.

The “Shoulder Complex” consist of Deltoids and Trapezius Muscles

Some fortunate individuals were born with big broad boulders for deltoids and perfectly symmetrical diamonds for “Traps”. These guys have to do very little work to maintain them. The rest of us, however, have to adopt a complex training routine in order to get our shoulders to stand out.

Now, let’s get to work:

The Dragon’s Shoulders of Steel Training Program

Workout #1:

  • Shoulder Press / Military Press: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 5-7 reps.“Superset” with Lateral Dumbbell Raises: 4 Sets x 10 reps
  • Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raises: 4 Sets x 10-12 reps
  • Upright Rows (with curl-bar):  1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps.3 Working Sets x 5 – 7 reps
  • Dumbbell Shrugs: 4 Sets x 15 reps

Workout #2:

  • “Arnold” Dumbbell Presses: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 5-7 reps
  • Front Dumbbell Raises:        1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 10 reps
  • Reverse Cable Flys:              1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Shrugs:                 1 Warm-up Set x10 reps.  3 Working Sets x 5-7 reps
  • Machine Shoulder Press:     1 “Failure” set: Do as many as possible until failure!

As with your chest workout, you should aim to work out your shoulders every 5 days. You must work them hard at least once per week in order to make them grow. Warm-up sets get your muscles loose and prepared for the heavy workload. Don’t skip them! Each “Working” Set should be at least 5 – 7 reps, at about 80% of your 1 rep maximum. Make each repetition strict. Squeeze those muscles and go slow. If you are able to lift 7-10 reps during each set then it’s time to add on more weight. Be sure to push yourself by resting no more than 2 minutes between sets. Finally, remember, the only way you will get big is to eat big! That means lots of lean protein and proper complex carbohydrates. Need help? Go here and send me a message.

Now get to it!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Actor Tom Hardy has very well defined Trapezius and Deltoid Muscles. Great exercises to develop your shoulders and neck include Military Press, Shrugs, and Dumbbell Raises!

Monster Mass Building Part I: Creating a Colossal Chest!

This week’s post begins the first of The Dragon’s “Monster Mass Building” Training Series. For the next four weeks I will provide a workout program designed to add tons of lean muscle onto your frame. There will be one program per body part consisting of 2 different workouts that you will do for 6 weeks each. If you’ve been feeling like you’re stuck with your workouts and you want to get bigger and stronger, be sure to follow each program consistently for all 12 weeks.

My very first program is geared toward developing your Chest. Ah, the chest. Besides your arms, nothing oozes masculinity like a well-defined voluminous chest. It’s a universal symbol of strength and what separates the men from the boys!

The human chest is composed of the two Pectoral muscles:

  1. Pectoralis Major: This is the “upper”  portion of the chest and covers most of it’s surface area. It attaches at the sternum (the breast bone) and the clavicle (collar bone) and stretches from the center of your body to your shoulder.
  2. Pectoralis Minor: This is the “lower” portion of the chest and covers approximately the lower 1/3 of the surface area. It also attaches at the sternum and the upper ribs and also stretches to your shoulder.

The two muscles of the chest:
Pectoralis Major
Pectoralis Minor

Each of these muscles can be worked together with traditional exercises like the bench press and push-ups. But to get a well defined, full chest you will need to attack it from all angles. Let’s find out how to make this happen…

The Dragon’s Shirt Destroying Chest Program:

Workout #1:

  • Bench Press:  1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 5 – 7 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Press: 3 Working Sets x 5 – 7 reps
  • Flat Dumbbell Flys: 4 sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • Push-ups: 3 sets x 10 reps

Workout #2:

  • Incline Bench Press:  1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 5 – 7 reps
  • Decline Bench Press: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 5 – 7 reps
  • Flat Dumbbell Press: 4 Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • Dips: 3 Sets x 10 reps

You should aim to work your chest every 5 days. If that’s not possible you must train it at least once per week! The Warm-up set listed above is designed to get your muscles loose and prepared for the heavy workload. Each “Working” Set should be  5 -7 reps, at about 80% of your 1 rep maximum. If you are able to lift 7 reps during each set then it’s time to add on more weight. Be sure to push yourself by resting no more than 2 minutes between sets. Finally, be sure your diet reflects your new lifting habits. Remember, in order to get big, you gotta eat big!

Follow this program and chisel out the chest of A Greek God!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Girl Power! – Part Two: Your first month’s strength training program

Today’s post is a conclusion to last week’s: “Girl Power! Exposing the three biggest myths about women and strength training” article. This post is an introductory workout for women just getting started strength training. I will give you a circuit training routine to get you through your first month in the gym. Are you ready? Good! Let’s begin…

 

The Dragon’s “Girl Power! Beginners 4 Week Strength Training Circuit”

Directions: After your cardio warm-up , perform 8-10 repetitions of each exercise in a row. Choose a weight that is somewhat difficult but not impossible (i.e. 10 lbs. for lunges and squats and 5-10 lbs. for the curling & pressing movements).

Try to take rest no longer than 2 minutes between exercises. Perform the entire circuit 3 times.

  •  Warm-up: 3 to 5 Minutes of cardio on your favorite machine (treadmill, elliptical, or “jumping jacks (if at home)”
  •  Exercises (complete as a circuit) 3 rounds:
  1. Lunges: Each Leg x 10 reps
  2. Ballet Squat: 10 reps
  3. Dumbbell Chest Press: 10 reps
  4. Dumbbell Curl & Overhead Press: 10 reps
  5. Crunches: 20 reps
  6. “Plank” Position: Hold as long as possible.
  • Cool Down: 10 Minutes of moderately paced cardio on your favorite machine.

* Post Workout Stretch: The post workout stretch is extremely important to keep blood flowing to those muscles and to help you from getting too sore! Make sure you stretch after each workout. Refer to my recent post on stretching for instructions. It can be found here:

http://dragongatefitness.com/2012/07/23/stretc/ 

Stretches:

  1. Full body stretch
  2. Quad stretch
  3. Cross Arm Stretch
  4. Pec Stretch

Well there you have it. Do this workout 2-3 times per week, eat right and within 1 month you’ll notice a significant change in your body. Just look in the mirror and you’ll see everything get tighter and curvier! Stay motivated and remember...

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Girl Power! Exposing the three biggest myths about women and strength training.

It’s a common scene in any gym or fitness club. Most of the guys spend their entire workout time in the weight room. Most of the ladies spend their entire workouts on the treadmill, elliptical machine or exercise bike. But occasionally, there is an anomaly…The fit and very toned woman who confidently “crosses over” into the world of weights. Armed only with a bottle of water, workout gloves and a towel, she is almost always focused and seems to happily ignore the common myths of women and weight training.

During this post, I will uncover three of the most common myths about women and weight training. After it’s over, you will see why you too should ignore them and be that woman!

  1.  Strength training will make me bulky and look masculine.

This is the greatest, oldest and most inaccurate myth about women and strength training. The main factor in the size and level of muscle development is the amount of certain hormones (specifically Testosterone) that each person has. I will say this again in a different way just for emphasis. TESTOSTERONE is the main factor in determining the amount of muscle mass that each person can develop. So, as a woman, YOU CAN TRAIN WITH WEIGHTS AND NOT BECOME “BULKY”. What you can become is TONED! Strength training will help everything get “tighter” and leaner and help shape those curves.

 2.  I should stick to only very light weight and do only high repetitions to tone up.

I choose this as a common myth for women but can really be applied to men too. The only way to strengthen and tone those muscles is to challenge them! By challenge, I mean performing weight training exercises that become difficult after about 8 reps. You don’t need to attempt anything that feels impossible. You should to seek a nice burn at around 8 reps. Don’t stop there, though. GO FOR 10! And try to do this for at least 3 sets. Don’t worry if you can’t make it at first. The key is that you’re placing stress on your muscles that will make them grow stronger and look better.

  3.  If I do all this working out and stop, then my muscle will turn into fat.

This is another oldie but goodie and my favorite myth to debunk. Muscle tissue will not magically transform into fatty tissue after a person stops working out. They are two different types of body tissue. This myth is probably so popular because when a relatively fit person stops working out, their diet often changes as well. They will begin to appear softer as a result of bad eating habits and lost muscle. After all, you will either “use it or lose it”. So make sure you “use it”!

Ladies (and Gents) don’t be afraid of strength training. The weights won’t hurt you. In fact, they will help you tremendously with your transformation goals. Any well designed, comprehensive program should include strength training. If you would like a plan designed for you, contact me for help!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Weight training will increase your strength and tone your muscles. Not make you bulky!

“Welcome to the gym, Son…”

So you’re the “new guy” in the gym. You wanna get ripped but you really have no idea of how to do it. Maybe you’ve asked a few of the bigger guys what they did to “get swole” and they give you the typical answer: “I just lift heavy and eat everything not bolted down, bro!”. Or you went online and found an insanely hard program written by a bodybuilding champ. You try it and wind up feeling like a wimp for not finishing it.

Well, there’s hope! I’m going to set you up with a simple program that will take you through your first 6 weeks in the gym.

If you’re serious about building some muscle and ready to prepare yourself for serious growth then this is for you:

This program is designed to work all of your muscle groups and start you on the path to more complex routines. It is spread out over 3 different training sessions, ideally with at least 1 day rest between sessions.

 Day 1

Chest / Triceps:

  • Bench Press – 4 sets (warm-up set with bar, 12, 10, 8 reps). Increase weight each set
  • Incline Dumbbell Presses – 3 sets (8-10 reps). Same weight
  • Dumbbell Flys – 4 sets (8-10 reps). Same weight
  • Cable Triceps Push-down – 4 sets (12, 10, 8, 6 reps) Increase weight each set
  • Bent Over Triceps Kickback – 3 sets (10-12 reps). Use light weight and go slow
  • Triceps Dips1 set until your muscles fail!

                                                                 Day 2

Back / Biceps:

  • Pull-ups – 2 sets (5-10 reps)
  • Lat Pull-down – 4 sets (12,10,8,6) Increase weight each set
  • Bent over dumbbell rows – 4 sets (10,10,8,6) Increase weight each set
  • Seated EZ Bar Curls or Seated Curl Machine – 4 sets (warm-up set with bar, 12,10,8 reps). Increase weight each set
  • Seated Concentration Curls – 3 sets (8-10 reps). Light weight
  • Alternating Hammer Curls – 3 sets (8-10 reps each). Same weight

                                                                Day 3

Legs:

  • Barbell or “Smith” Machine Squat – 4 sets (warm-up set with bar, 12,10,10). Increase weight each set
  • Leg Extension – 3 sets (10 reps each). Increase weight each set
  • Lunges – 3 sets (10 reps each). Light weight
  • Standing Toe Raises – 5 sets (20 reps each). Same weight
  • Seated Toe Raises – 4 sets (10-12 reps). Same weight

Follow this program for six weeks and you’ll begin seeing weird bulges (muscles) where skin and bones used to be. Remember to squeeze on each rep.

Don’t cheat yourself!

Work hard each session and feed those muscles immediately after you lift. Now, no more talking. Go get to work and remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit.