Advanced Giant Set for Abdominal Muscles

I was going through some old papers today and I ran across this advanced giant set for abs.  I printed it out from some website back in the 90′s (not sure if the before-mentioned website even exists anymore).

Here it is:

Hanging Leg Raises

Hanging Leg Raises

Hanging leg raises–15 reps, 2 second intervals

Hanging bent-knee raises–5 reps, 1 second intervals

Lying 6″ leg raises–30 reps, 1 second intervals

Rest for 15 seconds, then

Lying 6″ leg raises–20 reps, 1 second intervals

Reverse crunches–20 reps, 1 second intervals

1/4 twisting sit-ups–35 reps, 2 second intervals

Rest for 10 seconds, then

1/4 sit-ups–35 reps, 2 second intervals

Crunches–20 reps, 0.5 second intervals

Unless specified, no rest between sets.  Make sure to breath out during the contracting phase of the motion.

What I like about this is you progress from difficult to easier movements as your abs get fatigued.

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Muscle Explosion 2.0 Review

Nick Nilsson has updated Muscle Explosion, a program I reviewed a while back (you can muscle-explosion-20check out my original review if you are interested). This program is based on the same principles as the original but he has tweaked it to make it even more effective.  What’s new with the version 2.0?  I’ll explain.

1. A day of fasting.

One of the strategies in Muscle explosion is to get your muscle glycogen levels low through certain dietary strategies.  In the this revised version you’ll have the option of fasting for 24 hours (kind of like what is proposed in Eat Stop Eat).   The idea is to prime your body/muscles to “bounce back” once you refill them why glycogen (by eating carbohydrates again).

2. Reverse Carb Tapering

You will be advised to try eating most of your carbs at dinner (your last meal) during the third and fourth week of the program.  The idea is to minimize fat or even promote fat loss (similar concept as the Renegade Diet).  Nilsson calls this “reverse carb tapering,” and it is explained in more detail in the program.

3. Supplements

Some new supplement brand recommendations have been added.  But I would recommend you just stick to reputable brands and take a minimalist approach to supplements (protein, creatine, fish oil, and a multivitamin).

4. Fat Loss Circuit Training

Nilsson has tweaked the fat loss aspect of the training.  You’ll be doing movements that involve the whole body instead of bodypart split training.  You should find this workout more interesting (and challenging) than what was in the original version.

5. Lactic Acid Training

The original Muscle Explosion utilized partial training methods (stretched and contracted positions) in the lactic acid training phase.  But the new version uses more conventional methods for this–high repetitions and rest-pause training.  You’ll find this to be a simpler way to get the lactic acid going.

6. Positions of Flexion 1 and 1/4 Rep Training

Nilsson found has replaced stretch-pause training with this method.  This is better to maximize the tension on the muscle you are trying to train.  It also allows for a better stretch and contraction.

7. Weak Point Training

The new program has a day dedicated to target the weak points of major lifts.  You will do a lot of volume on weak points without frying your central nervous system.  The result should be stronger overall lifts.

8. Single-Rep Cluster Training

The original Muscle Explosion was more for hypertrophy and didn’t really include strength training.  You’ll be dedicating a full day to strength in the the new program through a method called single-rep cluster training.

Review:

I think Nilsson has taken a great program and made it even better with Muscle Explosion 2.0.  This would be good for intermediate to advanced trainees who are looking to break through plateaus in building strength and size.  Please click here if you’d like to order this program or learn more.

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Farmer’s Walk

farmerswalkI first remember seeing the Farmer’s Walk while watching the World’s Strongest Man contest.  It’s a test of overall body strength as well as endurance.

Today I tried it for the first time.  I really like the idea of doing exercises like this as “finishers”–movements to burn extra calories and work on conditioning after you’ve lifted weights.

My gym doesn’t really have any special bars or equipment for this, so I just grabbed some heavy dumbbells. It worked pretty well but it would have been difficult to do in a gym that is small and/or crowded.

I really like the way this exercises taxes your whole body.  You can also step in such a way that you’ll add some calf training (tiptoe at the end of each step). I’m going to try it again next week now that I’m starting to get the hang of it.

One other tip: grip tends to give out before anything else, so you may want to use lifting straps at some point.

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Body Transformation: Sara Gentry

I came across another remarkable transformation a few days ago.  The before/after picture below belongs to Sara Gentry, a personal trainer from Arizona.  She has graciously agreed to share her story with us, so here goes:

Sara Gentry (Before/After)

Sara Gentry (Before/After)

Kevin: Sara thanks you for taking the time to do this interview. Why don’t you tell my readers a little bit about yourself (education, work, etc.).

Sara: I currently work for Anytime Fitness as one of their Certified Personal Trainers, something I had wanted to become since about 6 months into my journey.

Kevin: Let’s talk about the “before” version of you. Did you always have weight issues (since childhood) or did you gain weight after you became an adult?

Sara: I had always been a bigger girl–I gained and lost here and there throughout my adult life.  It wasn’t until my last child that I became heavier than ever.   It lasted about two years before I finally said, “enough is enough.”

Kevin: What was the breaking point for you? What made you decide it was time to change your lifestyle and body?

Sara: The breaking point for me was the day I got married.  That day that was supposed to be the happiest day of my life, but instead I was miserable. I hated myself; I hated how I looked and couldn’t believe that I had let myself go so far. I didn’t like my wedding photos and told my husband, “just wait, one day we are going to have good pictures.” It’s been nearly three years since we were married and I’m hoping we can take some new pictures on our three-year anniversary.

Kevin: How much weight have you lost overall (you can also include measurements such as body composition if you want)?

Sara: I have lost a total of 103 lbs. I went from a size 28 jeans to a size 4/5. I never really went by other measurements during this journey, but plan to start using them for other purposes such as upcoming physique competitions.

Kevin: I noticed the before/after picture shows about a three-year span. How long did your transformation take? Where you tempted to give up?

Sara: It took 16 months for me to lose 103 lbs.  I maintained that loss for a year, then decided to study to be a Certified Personal Trainer. I received my certification this year in January.  Back in August (2013) I also decided that I wanted to try competing in a physique competition.   I started preparing and took the stage in March 15, 2014, where I won 4th place. What an awesome experience that was for me!

Kevin: Was there a particular dietary method you found to be most helpful (or the easiest to follow)?

Sara: I never followed a “diet”, I counted calories in the beginning for an entire year, then kind of knew how much I could eat and went off on my own. Once I started training for the competition, I had to start counting macro-nutrients.  This was much harder to learn than just regular calories. There is so much more to learn, every day learning something new about nutrition.

Kevin: What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a transformation like yours?

Sara: I would tell them to not give up!  I have found that the key to staying motivated is just doing it, over and over. Make yourself do it until it becomes habit. People around you can inspire you, but motivation has to come from within–you have to want this. You have to want it bad!  It’s going to suck at times and you will hate it, but do not let that stop you.

Kevin: I see you are a personal trainer. Would you ever have imagined this before your transformation years ago?

Sara: The thought never crossed my mind. I actually wanted to be a chiropractor for a very long time. I absolutely LOVE helping people achieve their fitness goals and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else in this life.

Kevin: Do you plan to continue competing (fitness competitions)?

Sara: Yes, I did the NPC Natural Outlaw in Arizona on March 15, 2014. It was the most amazing experience to date and I plan on doing another in about a year.

Kevin: Please tell my readers about your diet and exercise regimen (in very general terms).

Sara: Currently I eat around 1800 calories a day, still counting macros:  protein, carbs and fats are the main things I count.   I also eat a ton of veggies and fruit. I weight train 6 days a week and do some type of cardio 6 days a week as well (kickboxing, HIITS, biking, hiking, walking, running, or the elliptical).

Kevin: What’s next for you?

Sara: My next goal is to do another competition in a year. I want to learn more about nutrition in the next year and step it up at the next competition. I would also like to get certified in cardio kickboxing and take a few nutrition classes.  Other than that, I will keep training at Anytime Fitness and keep moving forward.

Kevin: Is there anything else you’d like to say/share?

Sara: There are going to be many people who will belittle you and tell you that you can’t do this, that this is impossible. Do not listen to them. It is possible. It is very possible. There will be plenty of haters along the way, let them hate while you rise above!

Kevin: Thanks again for your time!

SaraGentryBodyTransformationNote: You can visit Sara’s Facebook Page: Gentry Reality Fitness if you’d like to follow her or inquire about personal training.

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70-Year-Old Bodybuilder Sam Bryant Jr.

This is another inspirational story/video that I’ve run across: 70-year-old bodybuilder Sam “Sonny” Bryant Jr. It’s inspiration for a couple of reasons: 1. His physique is absolutely phenomenal. 2.  He didn’t even start training until he was 44.

This is one of the most motivational things I’ve seen in a long time.  It’s proof that dedication to the gym can pay off even in the later years of life.

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Riviera Fitness Center Review (Centerpoint, AL)

RivieraCenterPointIt’s time for me to give another shout-out to a great gym: Riviera Fitness of Centerpoint, AL.

My Buddy Shannon

My Buddy Shannon

I learned about this gym a few years ago when I was still living overseas.  A pastor friend recommended I check it out because I was looking for a place to train while visiting here in the States.  He told me to talk to Shannon (one of the staff/trainers–pictured here with the blue sweatshirt).

I was really impressed with everything: the trainers, the equipment, the atmosphere, etc.  I’ve worked out in quite a few gyms around here and this place has been my favorite.

My wife and I have moved back to the States and are now living in Pinson.  We joined Riviera Fitness Center soon after we moved here.  Here are a few pictures of the facilities and equipment (with my description underneath):

RivieraFitnessMachinesResistance machines.

RivieraFitnessCardioCardio and abdominal training equipment.

RivieraFitnessFreeWeightsThe squat racks and free weights (squat racks, benches, dumbbells, etc.)–this is where I spend most of my time when I’m here.

RivieraFitnessLadiesThe ladies training area.  This room allows a little privacy for women while they work out.  My wife does some of here training in this (very large) room.

I haven’t taken a picture of everything–there’s another cardiovascular room and group training room I haven’t included in these photos.  This gym is located in what used to be a department store.  It’s really spacious and you can work out without feeling crowded.

I recommend this Riviera Fitness Center without hesitation.  Check it out if you live near the northeastern section of Birmingham (Centerpoint, Pinson, etc.) and are looking for a great gym.  Tell them Kevin sent you.

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Adonis Golden Ratio Review (John Barban)

I’ve had the opportunity to review John Barban’s Adonis Golden Ratio program.  I’ve been meaning to post this for quite some time because some of my readers have asked me about it.

John Barban

John Barban

First I’ll explain the whole golden ratio concept.  The idea is pretty simple:  achieving certain body measurements/proportions will give you a more aesthetically appealing physique.  Some studies suggest, for example, that women are very attracted to men whose shoulders measurements are 1.6 times the size of their waist.  A man with these measurements would have broad shoulders, a v-taper back, and a narrow waist.  The goal of this program is to get as close to these ideal measurements/ratios as possible.

Now let’s talk about what you get when you order this program:

Program Components

Program Components

1. Adonis Golden Ratio Training Program:  Once you order you’ll have access to the members area of the website.  Here you can type in your height and weight in order to get the program that will help you with your specific goals.  This 12-week program will guide you through your training.

2. Adonis Golden Ratio Nutrition Guide:  As the name implies, this material will show you how to eat properly so you can lose fat and build muscle.  Please don’t overlook this component–especially if you are trying to lose fat and get leaner.

3. AGR Nutrition Software:  This is another tool to help you make sure you are doing things correctly as far as diet goes.

4. AGR Video Series:  Over 70 instructional videos so you can see demonstrations and learn how to do the exercises properly.

Demonstration Videos

Demonstration Videos

5.  AGR Supplement Guide:  The authors’ take on supplements–which ones help and which are worthless.

6: AGR Specialization Programs:  You can download workout programs designed to target specific body parts (arm & abs, back, calves, lesg, and shoulders).

REVIEW:

One thing I really like about the AGR program is the customized design of the workout/diet.  Not all trainees walk into the gym with the same body type, so why should they all train in the exact same way?  I put my height and weight into the website (see image below) just to see what it came up with.  The program and diet it gave me matched my goals/needs very well (fat loss).

AGR Customized Program

AGR Customized Program

The specialization programs give you even more options for customization since you can target muscle groups that may be lagging.

The only area of disagreement I have is with the supplement guide.  His advice is OK, but he endorses a specific brand of supplements.  I’d advise you to simply shop around, buy reputable brands, and stick with the basics.  Do that and I’m sure you’ll be satisfied with your results, regardless of the supplement brand you use.

*Men who are primarily interested in building an aesthetically pleasing physique.

*Trainees who want a targeted, systematic approach for their goals.

*Beginner or novice trainees who want to spend 12 weeks on a focused transformation program.

The Adonis Golden Ratio program would be a good investment for you if any of these describe you.  Just click here if you are interested in ordering this program.

You can also look at my list of recommended programs if you think something else may better match your goals/needs.  And feel free to contact me with any questions.

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Hypertrophy Max Review Phase 4

Phase 4 of Hypertrophy Max is called Max Volume.  These workouts are designed to maximize (you guessed it) training volume.   You’ll hear them talk about the concept of over-reaching–doing more volume than you would normally do.  This can be very effective if you can do it without over-training.

Hypertrophy Max Phase 4: arm training

Hypertrophy Max Phase 4: arm training

Here are a few benefits to this kind of training:

*You’ll break through size and strength plateaus as you push your body to new limits.

*Like the previous phase, volume training tends to result in increased growth hormone production.

Keep something in mind with volume training:  this only works if done as prescribed by Vince and Ben.  You have to give yourself adequate time to rest/recover, use the appropriate level of intensity, etc.

Just CLICK HERE if you are interested in ordering Hypertrophy Max. 

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Bikini Body Workouts Review Jen Ferruggia

Bikini Body Workouts

Bikini Body Workouts

I’ve been looking forward to the release of Bikini Body Workouts for quite a while.  I’ve been a big fan of Jason Ferruggia’s workout and diet plans for years so I was glad to see his wife create a product specifically for women.  Let me start the review by explaining what you get when you order this program:

Bikini Body Workouts Guide:This document explains how you can safely and effectively build a strong, feminine physique through resistance training.  The workouts utilize non-competing, antagonistic, alternating supersets.   This means you’ll do a exercise, rest for about sixty seconds, then exercise a different muscle group.  This type of training is ideal for burning fat and is a great strategy for female trainees.

This manual also explains how to incorporate cardiovascular training (both high and low intensity) into your schedule.

BikiniBodyWorkoutReviewVideo

Workout Videos

Another feature I should note is the video library.  Users can access video demonstrations of all the exercises.  The video library is also an easy reference point to see what you’ll be doing on a given workout–the videos are grouped together by training day.

Bikini Body Nutrition Guide:As I’ve said many times, no fat loss or muscle building program is complete unless you are eating properly.  This guide explains how to set up a nutrition plan from scratch: what type of foods to eat, what to avoid, the best way to time your meals, etc.  I think this would be especially helpful for a beginner who needs to know the basics of fat loss.

Note: Specific brands of supplements are recommended in this manual.  I’m sure the brands they recommend are fine, but I would advise you to shop around and see if their are more cost-effective alternatives (I’ve always been a minimalist when it comes to supplements).

21-Day Booty Blast Manual:This is a specialization program for women who want to focus on training their glutes.  The exercises are designed to be done 10 minutes a day, every day, for twenty one days.  You could, of course, do the program longer if you have not yet achieved the desired result.

REVIEW:

This program is what I’ve come to expect from Ferruggia–simple, straightforward, and effective.  I like the way they have set up weight training, cardiovascular training, and nutrition so women will be able to completely transform their bodies.  Let me tell you who I think this program is best suited for:

*Women who are interested in losing fat.

*Women with access to basic gym equipment (fancy equipment is not required, but a gym membership would be ideal).

*Women who are willing to make lifestyle changes (diet, etc.) in order to transform their bodies.

If this describes you then I think Bikini Body Workouts would be a worthwhile investment.  Just click here if you are interested in ordering this program.  Please use my links if this review was helpful.

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