Tag Archives: workouts

Tornado Tuesday – Attack Back Workout Routine

As I enter the gym on Tuesday for my back workout routine, I can feel the excitement in my  trapezius, rhombus and latissimus dorsi (major muscles of the back) in anticipation of what is to follow.

I took a preworkout an hour ago followed by some roasted oats in curd.  The timing seems to be perfectly right for both to blend in and give me the perfect state of body and mind to exercise. My body feels well fueled and my mind focused.

As suggested in my article, finding your fitness plan,  I altered my workouts slightly to include Muscle straightening for the back and Muscle endurance for the bicep. I would also be doing some cardiovascular endurance and stretching at the end of my workout to ensure all angles are covered.

Back Workout Routine

As I am training for strength I perform 4 sets of each of the following exercises with a rep range varying from 8 to 6 to 4 to 2 repetitions. The weights I use is above 85% of my One Rep Max for the specific exercise.

dintip- One Rep Max is the maximum weight you can life for the specific exercise for one complete repetition without breaking form. 

I usually do three sets of weighted close grip pull ups to trigger the back muscles into action. After that these are the exercise that make up my back workout routine.

Wide Grip Lat Pull Down

dintip- Ensure that your back is arched and that upper body movement is minimal while pulling down. 

One Arm Dumbbell Row

dintip- Make sure that the back is arched and you lift your elbows above your waste while lifting, and go back slow while going down. 

Cable Pull Over

Bent Over Barbell Row 

dintip- You can use some sort of a hook or grip to take the stress off your hand.

Seated Cable Rows

dintip- extend your arms fully without bending your back too much. 

 

Bicep Endurance to supplement Back Workout Routine

Here I usually go for 2-3 sets of each exercise for 12-15 repetitions with weight in between 60-80 % of my one rep max for the specific exercise.

Dumbbell Bicep Curls

Hammer Curls 

Close Grip Standing Barbell Curls 

Standing Biceps Cable Curls 

 

Cardio Vascular Endurance

I follow this up with an incline walk or fartlek on the treadmill.  I am not that big a fan of the tread mill but it can work wonders if you use it for alternative intensity movements.

Fartlek

This means speed play in Swedish. It is nothing other than what it means. You have to get on the treadmill and alternate between incline walk and a normal run continuously for 15-20 mins. You can set the speeds and incline as per your specific body type but try to challenge yourself.

Stretching

My back stretches include the bridge pose, cobra pose and child pose. I also spend some time working on some calisthenics like handstands and somersaults after this.

I customize my workout as per my specific body type and requirements. I recommend not to merely copy these workouts but to use them in order to make your own back workout routine.

 

 

 

 

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Magic Mondays – Chest Workout

The perfect way to get rid of those Monday blues, is to go to the gym and bench a few.

Mondays are also called Chest Days as more than half the worlds gym going population has their chest workout to start the week. I am one of those thousands of people who alternates his bench press with 6 other people on Monday.

In my previous article Find your fitness plan , I had  discussed the importance of the Fitness Five, and how you should design your workout keeping all these segments in mind. The famous five include Cardiovascular Endurance(CVE), Muscular endurance (ME) , Muscular Strength (MS), Flexibility(F) and Rest(R). You can read about them in the article.

So on Mondays I do a Chest Workout for strength(MS), Triceps for endurance(ME)  and a combined cardio and abs(CVE) session followed by  some stretching(F).

I do the same in the following way:

Chest Workout for Strength  

Some push ups to warm up as I approach the heavy parts of my chest workout.

Barbell Bench Press– 4 heavy sets starting from 8 repetitions to 6 to 4 to 2. The weight should be above 85% of your one rep maximum.                                                                                                                                                            ONE REP MAX (ORM) – The maximum weight you can lift on the specific exercise for one time without breaking form.                                       dintip- Try to have a spotter and don’t lift to show others. Be true to yourself.

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press–  Similar to the barbell bench press four sets starting from 8 and ending at 2.  Again weight is to be above 85% of your one rep max.

dintip- Squeeze your upper chest as you pause at maximum contraction. (when your weight is highest) 

Machine Chest Press– 3 sets of 10, 8 and 6 reps respectively.  weights should be above 85% of your one rep max.

dintip- There are different machine for the same exercise, remember to move up fast and come down slow.

Pec Deck– 4 sets from 10 to 8 to 6 to 4 reps. The weight should be above 85% of our max.

dintip- Ensure that your elbows don’t bend and that you squeeze all the way through till the rods meet in front of you. 

Dumbbell Flyes— 3 sets of 8 to 6 to 4 reps with progressively increasing weight which is at least 85% of your one rep max.

dintip-Don’t bend your elbows and ensure that you squeeze the weight at the very top.  

Triceps Workout for Endurance

Since I am training triceps for endurance I usually limit myself to weigh which is 60 to 80% of my one rep max and do sets of each of the following exercise for 12-15 repetitions.

Triceps Pushdown

Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extension  

Dumbbell One-Arm Triceps Extension

Triceps Dumbbell Kickback 

Triceps Dips 

Cardio and ABS workout 

I do a simple up down on the stepper with each leg leading 10 times then move in to an abdominal exercise then back to the stepper and a different abdominal exercise. I do this for 5 different abdominal exercises. In total I go up and down on the stepper 100 times sets of 20 and do 5 ab exercise like leg raises, reverse crunches, lying knee to elbows, flutter kicks and plank.

dintip- This has to be done with no break in between the stepper and the exercise and you only have to stop once all ab exercise are finished. 

Stretching for Flexibility

I Stretch the core, chest and triceps for 2 mins each after I am done with the workout.

I have covered 4 aspects of the Fitness Five on my chest workout day, the fifth and the most important is rest, so as I get done with this post I set myself the task of accomplishing this fifth aspect by indulging in some passive rest, sleeping.

 

 

 

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FINDING YOUR FITNESS PLAN

Devising fitness plans are like building a Rolls Royce. Their significance lies in their customization. Just like each Rolls Royce is one of a kind so should be your fitness plan based on your specific lifestyle and individualistic nuances.

Fitness activities can be broadly classified into structured and non-structured activities. The latter include your day to day activities like travelling to work, waling to the nearest shop, paying with friends and family, taking part in sports while the former involves resistant training, structured cardiovascular training, yoga and other activities which are aimed at specific muscle groups with a specific intensity and time period. It need not involve going to the gym.

While its impossible to avoid non structured activities, many ignore the importance of a structured activity to supplement their lifestyles. The role of structured activities is to simply assist you in performing your daily activities, even the unforeseen ones, optimally. Many mistake fitness for bodybuilding, which actually is a sport to show case muscle groups.

Fitness plan

Structured fitness activities should be customized as per your specific needs. Only you know what your daily activities are and what muscle groups you use predominantly so you have to be mindful while establishing a structured workout plan.

 

The Fitness Five 

Here is a little insight into what you should be looking for from your workouts. Find your fitness plan keeping these aspects in mind. The body needs a portion of these 5 activities to sustain and work optimally:

  1. Cardio Vascular Endurance – Rhythmic usage of big muscle groups in the presence of oxygen for a long period of time. eg Swimming, Cycling, Running
  2. Muscle Endurance – Utilization of a muscle or group of muscles to produce muscular force against resistance for a prolonged duration of time without fatigue. eg- Weight training (High rep workouts at 60% of your one rep max), TRX
  3. Muscle Strengthening – Utilization of a muscle or a group of muscles to produce maximum force against resistance without fatigue. eg. Weight training (more than 85% of your one rep max)
  4. Flexibility– To ensure pain free range of motion across a joint. eg. Pilates, yoga, taichi
  5. Rest– Both active and passive ( sleep ).

Any fitness plan should combine all these parts in order to produce optimum results. I will further elaborate on these aspects individually.

You should mimic another persons enthusiasm for fitness not their fitness plan. Don’t take the easy way, utilize the knowledge around you to find out specific workouts for yourself or better still, hire someone who cares enough to make you knowledgeable.

The Helpless Fitness Trainer

The general trend at gyms is that underpaid trainers are willing to do anything to make their clients depend on them as they need the money to survive. This involves fulfilling all their whims and fancies without focusing on diagnosing and recommending personalized plans. They are too afraid that their client would run on hearing the truth.

The generic mentality gives impetus to aesthetics and hence you see a lot of young boys and girls over training muscles which are seldom put to use. This makes the task easy for Gyms and trainers who market the same workout plans for everyone.

Another misgiving in this area is the want to look like an actor or a wrestler without having any acting or wrestling ambitions. There has to be a mutual effort on the part of the trainer and the client to set realistic targets which would actually benefit both parties, one in building trust and credibility and the other in building a fully capable body.

The Age of Lifestyle Experts

The age of lifestyle experts is upon us, just like people have family doctors, who are like an extended family, who know your medical history and typical allergies etc, and prescribe medication based upon their knowledge. Similarly the time is right for people to consider hiring lifestyle experts who will know the likes, dislikes, injuries, body types etc of the entire family and can organize fitness  plans specifically for every member of your family.

 

 

 

 

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Flex Friday- Training Biceps and Triceps

People might confuse exercising with just training biceps and triceps, such is the aesthetic value of these muscle that people tend to over train them. . Though training arms is no sin but there has to be a method to the madness.

I usually keep Fridays for training arms, mostly because I can wear a nice T-shirt to the party  in the evening and partly because it fits my schedule well.

So training biceps and triceps and the forearms is why I go to the gym on Fridays, the routine is fairly simple and insane. Its very easy to get carried away while training arms but you should realize the purpose behind your training.

Its important to understand that you have to improve the functionality of the muscle so that it can work efficiently for you in your day to day activities rather than merely filling air in the balloons. We use our arms in most task and growing the muscles to be both resistant and enduring should be our main criteria.

I work on strength per inch as it helps me with calisthenics and promoting fitness. So be sure of your specific purpose of working out before you go all beast mode on those dumbbells. Here is a simple recipe which I follow to accomplish my mission:

Triceps

Tricep Dips – I usually warm with two sets of triceps dips ranging between 12-15 repetitions. At times I do weighted dips but for that you have to manage to perform the normal versions first.

Close Grip Barbell Bench Press  – I start off with a warm up set of 15 repetitions. I follow it up with 10, 8 and 6 reps of progressing weights with the last set being a drop set. Where I reduce the weight and hit the same number of repetitions(6) with the reduced weight.

dintip- Try to lift the wight close to your upper chest with the hands approx 20 cm apart.  

Cable Triceps Pushdown – I have always liked doing drop sets on this machine. I start off with 75% of my max and drop to around 25%. I do 5 reps 5 times while dropping the weight by 10% or two plates respectively. I repeat the drop set twice increasing the entire weight by 10% the second time.

dintip- Keep your back arched and dont lean over the weight too much. Keep your elbows stagnant and extend the muscle fully. 

Standing Dumbell Triceps Extension – Again two drop sets of this exercise will make your triceps burn. Start with 80 % of your max perform 5 repetitions and then drop to around 50% of your max and perform till you hit exhaustion.

dintip- Keeping the elbows close and ensuring proper range is the secret to the success of this exercise. Use some assistance in helping you lift the weight till you become self sufficient. 

Triceps Dumbbell Kickback – This exercise has to be performed in three sets of 12, 10 and 8 repetitions for each hand. Increase the weights only when you think your form is perfect.

dintip-A stagnant elbow, pausing when the arm is fully extended and not swinging the weights allow you to complete this exercise successfully. 

Biceps

Dumbbell Bicep curls – A warm up set of 12 repetitions followed by3 sets of 8, 6 and 4 repetitions does the trick for me. I try to start with 50% of my max and build up to 90% of the max.

dintip- if you can’t do both hands together try one hand at a time. Don’t swing the weights and be in control while going down,working against gravity.

Hammer Curls – I do a pyramid set with hammer curls wherein I start with a light weight and gradually build to a heavy one and then come back down to the heavy weight without any intervals in between. This non stop set has to be performed for at least 25 repetitions for each hand eg. 5 reps of 20 lbs, 5 reps of 30 lbs , 5 reps of 40 lbs ,5 reps of 30 lbs and 5 reps of 20 lbs.

dintip- you can actually perform 35 to 45 reps and end your workout right then and there. Its for one of those days where you dont have too much time. 

Preacher curls– 3 sets of 10, 8 and 6 repetitions, can be performed with dumbbells, one hand at a time, with an EZ barbell or with a normal barbell.

dintip- you can take support while coming up when lifting heavy but try to work against gravity yourself. Go down as slow as possible to maximise this exercise. 

Training biceps and triceps is important but is mostly overdone. At the end of the day you have to set a goal for your workout and not lift weights ideally.

 

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Thunder Thursdays- Boulder shoulder workout

I envision to electrify and energize everyone around me with some shoulder workout as I enter the gym on Thunder Thursday, just like Zeus himself had descended at Talwalkars wearing ASICS.

As I make my way to the changing room, with the pre-workout that I had, C4 ,making my heart race wild and Florida making my mind spin, I try to conceptualize the workout for the day. How to hit my deltoids and rotator cuff (major muscles of the shoulder) in the best way to trigger growth and withing seconds I get a clear picture:

(THE NAMES OF THE SPECIFIC SHOULDER WORKOUT ARE LINKS TO VIDEOS OF THE SAME)

Weighted pull ups – Start off with a quick warm up of two sets of pull ups. Try to master lifting yourself up before putting some weight.

dintip- While putting weight, hold it in between your feet. Do as many as you can and then do some without the weight. 

Machine Shoulder Press – First find out your one rep max, then do three sets. First of 12 reps with 50 % of your max, second of 9 reps with 70% of max, 3rd of 6 reps with 85% of your max.

dintip- If it gets heavy at the end, you can take help pushing the wwight up but try to come down by yourself, as slow as you can. 

Arnold Dumbbell Press – Two sets of the exercise named after one of the pioneers of bodybuilding. First set of 10 reps with each hand at 50% of your max capability, followed by 6 reps with each hand of 75% of your max capability.

Standing Side Lateral RaiseSeated Side Lateral Raise superset – This superset involves performing the two exercises without any gap. So at first 10 reps of standing lateral raises followed by 10 reps of seated raises. And then 6 reps of both with a 20% increase in weight.

dintip- Take two mins gap between each super set as you will be exerting your muscles a little extra. 

Front Dumbbell Raises – A simple three set routine with 12, 9 and 6 reps respectively. With weights increasing by 20% with every new set.

dintip- The aim is to raise your hand and hold it for one second parallel to your shoulder before going back down slowly.  

Seated Dumbbell Press  – Two sets of heavy seated dumbbell presses with less repetitions. This helps in crushing those muscles to bits so that you can go home with that winners smile of giving it your all. Do 6 and 4 repetitions respectively and pic a weight to make yourself proud.

dintip- Have someone spot you for this as with heavy weights you just cant risk it. 

So with the shoulder workout imagined I further dwell on doing some abs after this. Maybe a quick high intensity core workout which involves 3 sets of this :

 

The boulder for my shoulder

So with absolute clarity of thought, fire in my soul and a tingling sensation in my shoulder muscles I set off after wrapping my boxing hand bandages for support and picking up my intra workout drink, Scivation Xtend, for another kind of support.

That’s when I get a call from a friend inviting me to his birthday party. A boulder stands in between the workout for my shoulder. All the workout conceptualization, the energy drinks, the mental setup, the oat meal before workout, all of it going to waste in a matter of a one phone call. The moment of reckoning with uscular pain and fatigue on one side and the bliss of partying on another….

I hope he had a good party cause my shoulder workout was a party in itself………

shoulder workout

dintip- The pain of today is the pleasure of tomorrow and the apparent pleasure of today leads to a lot of pain tomorrow. 

 

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