Tag Archives: bench press

Complement Your Bench Press with the Inverted Row

6 Aug

Everybody loves the bench press.  It’s a great exercise for building upper-body strength, engages multiple joints and muscles, and can be performed with several different variations.

But many athletes neglect the equally important opposing muscle groups engaged by upper-body pulling exercises, like those that employ the rowing motion.  This “push-pull” strategy — also known as agonist-antagonist paired sets — is beneficial because it improves strength development, joint stability, musculoskeletal balance, and injury prevention.

The inverted row is a multi-joint, upper-body exercise that can improve and increase shoulder and back stability, upper-body muscular pulling strength, and relative upper-body strength.

The inverted row is a versatile exercise that can be modified in intensity to accommodate athletes of varying training experience and proficiency.  It can be performed with a straight bar or with suspension-type exercise equipment (TRX), and can be regressed or progressed by changing feet position, elevating the feet and/or adding weight via weight belts, vests, etc.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Complement Your Bench Press with the Inverted Row

6 Aug

20140805_09281420140805_092855Everybody loves the bench press.  It’s a great exercise for building upper-body strength, engages multiple joints and muscles, and can be performed with several different variations.

But many athletes neglect the equally important opposing muscle groups engaged by upper-body pulling exercises, like those that employ the rowing motion.  This “push-pull” strategy — also known as agonist-antagonist paired sets — is beneficial because it improves strength development, joint stability, musculoskeletal balance, and injury prevention.

The inverted row is a multi-joint, upper-body exercise that can improve and increase shoulder and back stability, upper-body muscular pulling strength, and relative upper-body strength.

The inverted row is a versatile exercise that can be modified in intensity to accommodate athletes of varying training experience and proficiency.  It can be performed with a straight bar or with suspension-type exercise equipment (TRX), and can be regressed or progressed by changing feet position, elevating the feet and/or adding weight via weight belts, vests, etc.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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3 Exercises to Strengthen Your Upper-Body

11 Jan

qa-what-are-the-best-upper-body-exercises[2]The classic barbell flat bench press is a “gold-standard” exercise for building upper-body strength, and should be a component of virtually everyone’s strength and conditioning regimen.  This versatile exercise is a great way to build strength in your chest, arms, and shoulders.  But, as beneficial as this exercise is, it shouldn’t be the only upper-body “push” exercise in your regimen.  Try adding these three exercises to your routine to improve strength, power, and keep your training fresh:

  • Single-Arm Bench Press

Using one dumbbell, assume standard bench press position.  Keep “off” arm suspended, just above your chest.  Start with dumbbell in “up” position.  Lower and raise dumbbell for specified number of repetitions, then switch arms.  This exercise is great for building strength and core stability.

  • Alternating Medicine Ball Pushup (pictured)

Assume standard pushup position with one hand resting on medicine ball.  Perform pushups for specified number of reps, then switch sides (other hand on medicine ball).  This exercise helps build explosive power in your chest and arms.

  • Stability Ball Pushup

Assume pushup position with both hands on stability (Swiss) ball.  Perform pushups for specified number of repetitions.  Keep the eccentric (downward) phase slow.  This exercise is higher-intensity than the classic pushup and requires a lot of core stability.

Depending on how often you train, you could choose one of the above exercises for each workout or do a couple on the same training day. Remember, for every upper-body “push” exercise you do (for example, bench press or pushup), you should also perform an upper-body “pull” exercise, such as a row or pullup, to balance your training.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Building Muscle and Strength for the Female Athlete

7 Dec

DSCN0057Strength training can benefit everyone, male or female. And, while there are certainly some gender differences, women have the potential to build muscle and gain strength through a well-designed strength training program. Here are some tips for how to build muscle for women.

Be realistic. Think about (and write down) what you want to accomplish. Understand that progress won’t occur overnight. Set short- and long-term goals, then develop a plan that is aligned with your goals.

Be consistent. Avoid peaks and valleys that can occur as a result of over- or under-training. Commit yourself to a set schedule that fits with your lifestyle, and stick to it.

Push yourself. If you want to build muscle, you have to challenge yourself. That means using weight/resistance that challenges you through a certain number of reps and sets. Heavy weights force your body to recruit more muscle fibers, which leads to muscle growth. It’s not supposed to be easy.

Perform compound exercises — those which engage multiple joints and muscle groups — like the deadlift, squat, and bench press. These exercises are terrific for improving conditioning, building muscle, and increasing strength.

Workout at least three times a week. If you’re a novice, start with at least two times a week. Allow for a day of rest between training days.

Eat well. That means quality and quantity. Ensure that you’re getting adequate calories. Aim for 5-6 evenly-spaced, small meals throughout the day. Your diet should include lean protein, clean carbs, and healthy fats.

Fuel your workout. You need a combination of carbs and protein both before (30-90 minutes) and after (within 30 minutes) a workout. Carbs provide energy and replenish depleted glycogen stores. Protein is essential to rebuild and repair muscle.

Try a creatine supplement. Creatine monohydrate may have the ability to enhance your training — helping you workout harder and for a longer period of time. This could lead to increased muscle growth.

Track your progress. Keep a chart of every workout, including exercises, weights, reps, and sets. A nutrition journal is not a bad idea either.

Get help. Consider enlisting the services of a strength and conditioning professional, at least to get started. He or she can help you to be more effective and efficient.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Develop Your Core to Improve Athletic Performance

29 Oct

It’s important to incorporate core (multi-joint) exercises into your Strength and Conditioning plan.  When some people hear core, they think abs.  Your core actually includes shoulders, chest, back, hips, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings.  These are your body’s largest and strongest muscles; the muscles that initiate and generate strength and power for virtually every sport.  It won’t matter how strong muscles like your biceps, triceps, and calves are if you don’t have a strong core.

Train Movements, Not Muscles

All athletic movements incorporate the core in some way.   Very few muscle groups are isolated; the whole body works as a unit.  Core strength training should reflect the movement patterns of the athlete’s sport(s).  Benefits of core strength training include:

  • Greater efficiency of (functional) movement
  • Improved balance and stability
  • Increased strength and power output from both the core musculature and peripheral muscles such as the shoulders, arms, and legs
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Improved athletic performance

Resistance Training Exercises

There are lots of exercises athletes can do to strengthen the muscles of the core.  Some of the most effective are exercises like the Deadlift, Romanian Deadlift (RDL), Squat, Bench Press, and Row.  Unilateral variations of these exercises (single-arm, single-leg) are also beneficial because of the way they incorporate balance and stability, making them very functional.

Do It Right

Proper technique can make every exercise more effective and reduce the risk of injury.  If you’re just starting, it’s wise to enlist the help of an experienced, qualified Strength and Conditioning professional.  Even if you’re not a strength training novice, working with a professional can focus your efforts and help you be more efficient and productive en route to reaching and exceeding your athletic performance goals.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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