Thursday, May 29, 2008

Different Types of Bodyweight Only Exercises

Bodyweight-only training is strength training performed using your own bodyweight to provide resistance rather than barbells, dumbbells or exercise machines.Bodyweight-only training is strength-training performed using your own bodyweight to provide resistance rather than barbells, dumbbells or exercise machines. This training can be categorized and described as follows:

calisthenics, dynamic self-resistance (DSR) exercises, dynamic visualized resistance (DVR) exercises, and isometric (isos) exercises 



Calisthenics - These are bodyweight exercises that allow you to develop your body from many angles and directions. The name calisthenics is Greek in origin, a combination of the words kalos (beauty) and sthénos (strength). Callisthenic exercises consist of simple movements usually performed without weights or other equipment that are intended to increase body strength and flexibility using your own bodyweight resistance. Pushups, pull-ups, bar dips and bodyweight (“air”) squats are examples of calisthenics.


Dynamic self-resistance - Dynamic self resistance (DSR) exercises are performed where one muscle group acts as resistance for another muscle group. The secret is deep concentration as one limb acts as resistance for another while allowing a full range of motion to occur. This way of training was the mainstay of legendary fitness greats Charles Atlas and Earl Liederman. Bodyweight-only fitness expert John Peterson has stimulated modern day interest in this exercise method.
You can control the intensity of DSR exercises by the amount of self-resistance you apply, just like the intensity of a weight-lifting exercise can be controlled by the weight you use. The greater the self-resistance you provide, the fewer reps you will be able to perform.
An example of a DSR exercise that works the pectoral muscles is the Liederman direct pectoral exercise, described in the book titled "Muscle Building by Earl Liederman” as follows:
"If the student is desirous of putting direct application on the pectoral muscles, this can be done by clasping the hands in front of the chest and while resisting, pushing one hand as far as possible to the right, then pushing the other hand upon the return count as far as possible to the left, continuing until both pectorals begin to ache."


Dynamic visualized resistance - In the bodyweight-only training world, these are known as DVR exercises. DVR exercises use your self-created visualized resistance against an imaginary heavy resistance. The key is to maintain laser-like focused mind control and to think into the muscles as you work them. This was the strength training strategy of martial arts legend John McSweeney. He taught a system of 7 DVR exercises he called "Tiger Moves".
According to McSweeney, the "Tiger Moves" are based on ancient kung fu tension exercises. The ancient moves had a limited range of movement, but McSweeney altered these moves to cover a fuller range of motion. This alteration allowed complete expansion and contraction of opposing muscle structures. The key to these exercises is the tension used in the stretching. Vary the amount of tension until it feels comfortable.
Just like DSR exercises, the intensity of DVR exercises can be controlled by the amount of visualized-resistance you imagine. The greater the visualized-resistance you create with your imagination, the fewer reps you will be able to perform.
An example of a DVR exercise that works the pectoral muscles is the barrel squeeze pectoral contraction, one of the tiger move exercises McSweeney developed. Modern day bodyweight-only fitness expert John Peterson names this exercise the “full-range pectoral contraction” and describes it as follows:
"Hold hands in front, palms facing each other. Bring your hands back slowly with great tension until you feel your back muscles fully flexed. Hold for a count of one thousand one. Then move the hands slowly back to the original position while using great tension in your arms, shoulders, and pectoral muscles. Yes, the muscles will quiver."



Isometrics - The exercises discussed thus far are collectively referred to as isotonic exercises. An isotonic exercise is any exercise where actual movement is required. Contrast that with an isometric exercise, one that strengthens a particular muscle by tightening it, holding it, and then relaxing, all without moving the joint.
Examples of isometric exercises include:
1) Holding a weight in a motionless state or maintaining a static position. For example, holding dumbbells out to the side in the crucifix position. A bodyweight example would be to hold a static position hanging from a pull-up bar.
2) The act of pushing or pulling against a stationary object. For example, pushing against a wall involves an isometric contraction. No movement takes place as the wall is immovable.
In his classic book “Isometric Power Revolution”, author and modern-day isometric exercise expert John Peterson defines 3 types of isometric exercises: (1) classic isometric contractions; (2) static isometric postures; and (3) peak contraction isometric power flex.
While isometric exercises utilize various levels of tension, this article will only discuss classic isometric contractions that Peterson describes as “the willful contraction of a specific muscle or muscle group against an immovable force, object, or another muscle group at ultra-high intensity”. In other words, no movement is possible.
Peterson provides the following description of a pectoral classic isometric contraction:
"Stand erect with your feet about 12” apart. Clasp your hands . . . with the fingers of your right hand in the top position between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand. Extend your elbows outward and slightly away from your chest. Press your hands firmly against each other wile slowly building tension as you inhale for 3 to 4 seconds until you reach maximum contraction. At that point, slowly begin a controlled exhale for 7 to 12 seconds while maintaining a maximum muscular contraction. Then slowly release the tension as you inhale deeply for 3 to 4 seconds. Relax. Take 7 to 10 deep power breaths . . . . “


Conclusion
Bodyweight-only training is a form of strength training performed using your own bodyweight to provide resistance rather than barbells, dumbbells or exercise machines. This article categorized and described 4 different bodyweight-only training methods. Give bodyweight-only training a try and see how it compliments and enhances your current training. It is not easy training. You will never know until you give it a try. And forget about going to the gym spending hours of sweaty exercise and gaining nothing. Also never mind the expensive and fancy equipments that cause you hundreds of dollars.

Thanks for Perini for some of the excerpts used in this article from DiscussFitness.com.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Isometric Training Explained

Isometrics Build Strength Anytime, Anywhere




Do you sometimes find yourself skipping the strength training you know you should be doing, just because it’s hard to squeeze it into your hectic schedule? Sure, it’s possible to do a very effective strength training routine at home with minimal equipment, but even that can take time and energy that, on some days, is pretty hard to find.

Well, there is a way to work your muscles effectively with no equipment at all, even while you’re busy taking care of other business at the same time. If you’ve got 10 seconds you can spare, you can squeeze in one exercise. And over the course of a day, you can get in a full body workout without interrupting your busy schedule.

This muscle training method is called isometrics, or isometric exercise. As you’ll soon find out, it’s not a complete substitute for more traditional forms of strength training, and for some people with specific medical concerns it may not be appropriate at all. But it could be just what you need when you can’t do your regular routine, or when you want to give your training a little boost by adding an additional element.

There are three ways a muscle can contract to produce force (and eventually build strength):
A concentric contraction occurs when a muscle is contracting while getting shorter. This is the contraction your biceps do, for example, when lifting a dumbbell up during a bicep curl.
An eccentric contraction occurs when a muscle is contracting while getting longer. This is the contraction your biceps do, for example, when lowering a dumbbell back down during a bicep curl.
An isometric contraction occurs when a muscle contracts without changing its length or causing any movement of the bones to which it is attached. The best example of this is pushing against a wall, or pulling up on a window that is stuck. This is the contraction your biceps do, for example, if you were to pause anywhere along the lifting or lowering phase of a bicep curl—your muscles are working without shortening or lengthening.




Why Include Isometrics?
There are several very good reasons to include isometric contractions in your strength training program. For one thing, real life situations often require the ability to hold yourself in a certain position—carrying several bags of groceries, squatting down to scrub a floor, holding a baby in your arms—and isometrics is a good way to train your muscles to get better at handling those specific positions. For another, isometric training usually involves exerting maximum force, which will activate and train all of the available muscle fibers and lead to more significant improvements in strength in less time.

But perhaps the most significant benefit for many people is that isometric training can literally be done anywhere, without any special equipment at all. All you need is about 10 seconds to do a single, effective isometric exercise, and you can probably do it without anyone noticing you’re actually exercising.

Let’s say, for example, that your day is just too busy for you to break out the dumbbells and do several sets of bicep curls. If you can find 10 seconds, a couple of times during the day, to press your palms together as hard as you can, you can still exercise your arm muscles effectively. If you can sit in a chair with your abs engaged (tightened) and your feet held just slightly off the floor, you’re giving those core muscles a good workout. If that’s too easy for you, just push down on your knees with your hands while trying not to let your feet touch the floor. To work those upper back and neck muscles, clasp your hands behind your neck, elbows wide, and push your head back while trying to push it forward with your hands. With a little creativity, you can think of ways to use one muscle or limb to oppose the opposite one (or find some immovable object in your environment to push or pull against), so that you can give most of your muscles a good isometric workout. As long you exert as much force as you can for at least 10 seconds for each exercise, you’ll get the training benefit.


For everyone, it is very important to remember to breathe properly during any intense muscular contraction, especially the maximum contractions of isometric exercise. Never hold your breath during the contraction, and try to maintain a normal breathing rhythm. And avoid extending the time of maximum muscle contraction much beyond 10 seconds.

Adding Isometrics to Your Program
Supplementing your concentric and eccentric strength training exercises with some isometric exercises is ideal. In addition to using isometrics when you don't have time to do anything else, as described earlier, you can also add them into your regular routine, to make sure you’re really working your muscles to the point of maximum overload.

There are many ways to do this. For example, you can easily turn a regular exercise into an isometric one by simply pausing and holding, somewhere along the range of movement, for a few seconds. In general, it will be harder and result in greater benefit when you hold closer to the very top of the lifting phase or the very bottom of the lowering phase (without actually getting there).


It's also good to vary the holding point from workout to workout in order to maintain strength through the whole range of motion.

You can also use isometrics to involve additional muscles in some regular exercises too. For example, if you’re doing a plank exercise to strengthen your core muscles, try adding a few isometrics to engage your upper body. Instead of keeping your elbows straight and locked, bend them just slightly and try to hold that position. That will give your arm and shoulder muscles something to do, along with your core muscles.





Now that you know all about isometrics, get out there and do your best to NOT move a muscle!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Main Advantage of Non-Weight Training Over Weight Training.



I admit that I trained with weights for more than three years! I have good muscular gains though. I packed on
around 30 pounds of solid muscle. But all this gains were wasted when I meet a terrible injury lifting weights.

The injury is rather traumatic and it develops me certain phobia on weights...hahaha. Till these day I didn't lift any weights! Weights are good means of exercise equipments but not for everybody. Some men and also woman can train on weights excessively but it depends on the bone structure that a certain individual have.
Some bones are softer than the other; Some ligaments are far stronger than the other. It's a genetic kind of
thing. I tell you these, weight training are rather destructive sometimes rather than beneficial!




Some of the disadvantages of weight training:




1. Weight training puts extreme pressure on the joints, causing some cartilage problems on the later part of life when doing a continuous training due to the repetitive reps that a trainee is instructed to do.


2. Weight training causes severe injuries on elbows, Knees, chest and even some internal organs when doing
Squats or Bench Press and some other similar exercise that involves compound muscle movements exerting too much pressure on the abdominal organs.


3. In some times that a spotter is not around and the trainee puts more weights on the bar. Accidents can happen due to lack of muscular control or fatigue. When you lose grip on the bar, and your doing a bench press, the weight will crush your chest and other internal organs. Some reported incidents have ended up injuring themselves and resulted in death. The late Bruce Lee was on of the victims of weights related accident, while training he accidentally injured himself in doing a heavy DEAD-LIFT and suffered from intense pain during his whole lifetime. This resulted in the abuse of painkilling drugs for healing himself and resulted his early death in the 70's! That's a fact!




4. Weight training puts to much pressure on the skin resulting to small blood spots that's very visible to the eye. Some develops more than a stubborn veins and stretch marks on the armpit, abdominal area, and on the leg parts.


5. Weights cause you Bursitis a severe small arteries sickness in which the arteries bursts inside you muscle causing extreme pains in the region where it bursts. These may cause a week long healing process until it finally settles down to the muscle.


6. Weight training elevates the level of lactic acid deposits causing the first time weight users have experience sore muscle for a week long or two. However with proper practice of bodyweight training these problems can be easily corrected.




These are some problems that you might encounter when you insists on using weights as part of your training that haphazardly programmed and not customized for your needs. Some of trainees brought a book and copy all the exercise training regimen that listed in the books that they have very little or no gain of at all. These because they are not suitable for these kind of training. Some trainees also a marathon and volume training copying the work out training from Arnold. These are haphazardly done and not scientific. Research shows these year that quick and efficient training leads to a more productive work-out. You can read about this later on my later posts.

Isometrics And Isometric Training: Alexander Zass The Father Of Isometrics

Alexander Zass-The Amazing Samson 1888 - 1962

Zass was born in Vilna, Poland in 1888, but lived most of his early years in Russia and after 1924 in Britain. He lifted a 500 pound girder with his teeth, carried a small horse, caught a woman fired from a cannon and allowed professional boxers to hit him in the stomach, but his greatest talents were in bending steel bars and breaking chains which were the center piece of his music hall exhibitions.

Tree Climber


At first he developed himself by climbing trees, running and with home made dumbells and barbells. Later he trained under some of the great Russian professional strongmen including Krelov, Anokhin, and Demetrioff who taught their systems in person and through correspondence. Anokhin taught his system to George Lurich who eventually became famous as a world champion strongman and wrestler.

Isometrics And Maximum Tension

Zass was very innovative and started bending green branches and twigs to develop his grip strength. Perhaps this was the start of his great belief in the application of isometrics and "maximum tension" (a concept that is present in Russian training methods to this day) for the development of strength. He believed such an approach superior to the use of weights in developing strength.

Walls Do Not A Prison Make

Whilst a prisoner of war he continued to develop his strength with the use of isometrics by pulling on the bars and chains. This episode and the knowledge that he obtained from it later became the basis of his mail order course which featured isometrics in the form of pulling on chains of various lengths.

Zass lived a very full and exciting life on many fronts. In addition to being a strongman he was also an accomplished animal trainer. At one time he worked for military intelligence in Russia and later as cover for his manager, Captain Howard, who was a British secret agent.

Unfortunately at the age of 74, Zass died, murdered in 1962.

The amazing thing is the fact that most old time strong lived very long lives. this is in sharp contrast to today’s steroid crazed professional bodybuilders.

Isometric Training part 2

Isometric Training - Fact Or Muscle Building Hoax? Part 2

Soviet Isometric Training

Soviet literature concludes "…there is not a statistically significant difference between the maximum strength, as measured in a static regime, and the maximum weight that can be lifted in the same movement." (1) According to the A.S. Medvedyev 1986. report Isometric training plays a big role in the soviet strength training programs. Top Bulgarian strength training coaches have incorporated isometrics to their training regimen which plays a big part on their weight lifting success in the Athens Olympics in Greece.

Benefits of Isometric Training In Everyday Life

I know that's all good you're saying "but I'm not an astronaut, I don't have an injury and I'm not a soviet powerlifter, how can Isometric training help me?"

I'm Glad You Asked...

Some of the General Benefits are as follows;

* Increased Lean Muscle Mass – Regular training stimulates the growth of new lean muscle tissue. This is vital, not only for looking good, but staying healthy as it burns fat, strengthen your bones and keeps you young.
* Increased Metabolism – The more lean tissue you have the faster you burn calories and the faster your metabolism becomes. Lean Muscle tissue is metabolically active – it requires more calories to sustain it than fat.
* Increased Fat Loss – This is tied into the faster metabolism. Lean Muscle tissue requires 75 kcals to sustain it, whereas fat only requires three. This means that if you only add 5lbs of muscle you can burn an additional 20-25 lbs of fat a year doing nothing!
* Decreased Risk of Osteoporosis – Regular training increases the density and hardness of the bones and thus strengthening you against osteoporosis.
* Lowered Bad Cholesterol – Exercie produces more HDL (good cholesterol while reducing the bad LDL cholesterol. This reduces among other things your chance of heart disease.

The Benefits of Isometrics provide all of those while also providing:

Increased strength faster than any other form of training – this is because it works the muscles more intensity and in a shorter space of time over conventional methods. In fact you can finish a workout in as little as 7 minutes.

Increased Neurological Strength – Isometric Training teaches you body to recruit more muscle fibre for each movement, thus your increased strength comes not just form more muscle, but form more efficient muscle.

Can be done anywhere – it requires no special equipment or a large commitment of time. You can do Isometric Training in your car while stuck in traffic, in the shower, even while reading this website.

Safer than conventional training – Because it doesn’t involve movement or weights, so they are far safer than any other form of exercise and often used in rehabilitation.

Dramatically improve conventional training – are you getting stuck in a lift or would like to lift more? Isometric training has been proven to increase the strength in lifts such as the bench press by as much as 40% and in the Nautilus North Study with an average increase of over 84%. These are just some of the many benefits that Isometric training can offer you.

But, wait there's more...

What if I told you that there was an Isometric training protocol that would increase the results by over 300% from normal Isometric Training?

In a future article I will reveal this almost "magically" muscle building secret.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Visualized Resistance Training

Visualized resistance training-is an Exercise that utilizes the mind to produce the resistance that the body uses.

The exercise will utilize visualization to produce the desired effects of the exercise. This kind of exercise can be done in front of a mirror so you can check how each every muscle in the body will going to react on every exercise that you perform. 


One of the masters and originators of the exercise is Greg Mangan. I have using this training regimen and it produces some adrenaline injected to the blood stream effect. This is one of the safest forms of exercise so far. 




An Isotonic and Isometric Exercise Samples

This is one of the examples that I will post on this site. This is one of a hell good exercise that anyone can do anywhere and everywhere.




Thursday, May 1, 2008

Isometric Training

Isometric Training- Fact Or Muscle Building Hoax? Part 1

I get tired of reading in body building forums about Isometric training and how they, these "internet experts" believe it doesn't work. They never offer up any facts or proof, just their opinion. Which they proudly pronounce it as if it were GOD's word!

Well folks, here are the facts read em and weep OR get excited!

I would like you to take a moment to read this entire article; this is not some rehash of the same subject. In this article I will break it down for you and give you all the facts.

Isometric Training In Space

Here's a short snip from an article published by NASA-

"Strength training, says Fitts, involves two different types of resistance exercises: high-intensity isotonics, which shortens and lengthens muscles (for example, lifting and lowering a dumbbell), and isometrics, which fully contracts muscles without movement (for example, pushing against a doorway). Both types of exercise could potentially reduce muscle atrophy in microgravity. Fitts' experiments with rats, however, suggest that isometrics may protect slow fibers better than isotonics because slow fibers develop very little force during relatively fast isotonic motions."

Hmm, sounds to me as the boys in space are using what works to build strength.

Isometric Training On Earth

Oh wait here's another one for the ladies, just in case you thought Isometric training was just for men. This a small part of an interview with Jane Seymour the actress regarding how she stays in incredible shape.

"Lifetime: What is your exercise of choice these days?

Seymour: Isometrics. I used to throw my back out often. A couple of years ago, it got so bad that I couldn't move. It turned out I had a herniated disc. That's the kind of injury you expect to see in a linebacker in the Super Bowl, not in a woman who weighs 115 pounds. I had to have surgery. My doctor recommended isometrics to help my recovery, so I've been doing it for two years." With isometrics, you have to focus on your body's alignment and engaging the muscles. I get more out of isometrics than crunches. It has given me really strong stomach muscles, and I have a longer, leaner look than before.

I really wasn't concentrating on looking good with isometrics — that was just a by-product.

The main thing is that it has helped with my back pain. I don't need a chiropractor or a masseuse."

I guess Isometric training is being used for rehabilitation. But, then what do doctors know!

In Part 2 I will reveal what Olympic Teams thru out the world think about Isometric Training