Form and isolation are important when it comes to strengthening the targeted muscles.
To build leaner muscles with less damage (because muscle fibres don’t stretch), some exercises require holding positions for several seconds; this is called isometrics.
1. Push-Up Holds (Suggested By: AJ Wideman) Reps: 1 Sets: 3 with no more than one minute of rest in between Equipment: None Starting Position: Regular push-up position Posture/Technique: Keep back as straight as possible. Feet are shoulder-width part. Remember to inhale and exhale.
1) Slightly bend elbows. Hold for 10-15 seconds. 2) Drop elbows to 90 degrees. Hold for 10-15 seconds. 3) Drop below 90 degrees with your stomach almost touching the ground. Hold for 10-15 seconds. 4) Rest. Repeat 2 more times. 5) Perform 2 sets of maximum push-ups.
2. Chin-Up Holds (Suggested By: Wojtek Wolski) Reps: 1 Sets: 2-3 Equipment: Bar that can securely hold your weight Starting Position: Hanging on Bar with palms facing you. Posture/Technique: Keep knees bent to waist high while crossing ankles to keep back straight. Doing so also strengthens the core. Progress the holds (isometrics) as you see fit.
1) Chin-up with chin above the bar, elbows above 90 degrees. Hold for 10-15 seconds. 2) 15 second rest. 3) Chin-up to just elbows below 90 degrees. Hold for 10-15 seconds. 4) 15 second rest. 5) Perform 2 sets of maximum chin-ups.
3. Bent Over Row (Suggested By: AJ Wideman) Reps: 6-8 Sets: 3 Equipment: Bench, dumbbells with your choice of weight. Starting Position: Left leg on the ground, right knee on a bench, right arm is straight and positioned on the bench, left arm is hanging with dumbbells (choose weights that can be rowed 6-8 times with a bit of resistance). Posture/Technique: Maintain a slow steady rhythm to avoid swinging of the arms and torso. Be sure to have your back straight and head looking straight forward.
1) Use shoulder muscles to raise dumbbell to 90 degree position with elbows. 2) Drop in a controlled speed, don’t let the dumbbell hang. 3) After 6-8 reps, switch to other arm.
4. Back Squats (Suggested By: Wojtek Wolski) Reps: 8-12 Sets: 3 Equipment: Barbell with weights sufficient to do 8-12 reps. Starting Position: Bar behind neck and on shoulders, back straight, knees slightly bent. Posture/Technique: Be sure to keep the back straight and knees bent. When doing the reps, be sure knees don’t lock when standing. Do reps at slow and controlled speeds. Inhale and exhale accordingly.
1) Bend knees but not buckle or rest all the way. Try to keep shins 90 degrees from the ground. 2) Stand up in controlled speed, but keep knees slightly bent. 3) Rest for no more than one minute after a set. 4) Repeat 2 more times.
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