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Falling For Traps

Shoulder pain is a common companion if you’ve been lifting for years. A recent study published in The Journal of Strength And Conditioning Research has found one way to reduce painful shoulder joints: Hit your lower traps more. In the experiment, a large group of trained men were assessed with shoulder impingement syndrome, a common cause of shoulder pain. (One common reason for shoulder impingement syndrome is an over-reliance on certain big lifts such as the bench press.)
Scientists found that a main factor in shoulder impingement syndrome is the presence of weak lower traps. The best exercises to hit your lower traps are one-arm rows, face pulls, and the prone trap raise, which is similar to a one-arm incline Y-raise, using a very light weight. If you love chest day, you need to start regularly incorporating these moves.

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Test Your Chest

If you’re looking for the rush you get from an amazing pump in your pecs, try this workout now.
By Redmann Wright
 
At different periods in our training, we all hit plateaus. It’s a fact of training life. With that in mind, we should all be looking for that something new, that boom that says “hi” to your muscles. Here is that workout you’ve been looking for to really dial in some highly focused stimulation to the muscle fibers in your pecs. This short but intense program is designed to spark an incredible pump while initiating gains in new muscle. Who doesn’t want that?
The idea is to progressively move up in weight on each set of the bench press, cable crossovers, and lying low-pulley chest flyes. This gradual increase in load will give the body a chance for adaption. For these three exercises, focus on slow reps, maximizing the time under tension on the negative position of the movement. Also don’t forget the lost art of peak contraction. Be sure to intensely squeeze your pecs at the top of each rep.
The bodyweight bounce push-ups are a different beast than the bench press and cable exercises. They will fill your pecs with so much blood and test your muscular endurance at the same time, you’ll barely be able to get your hands together for the flyes. Performed for high reps, they are a great addition to the loaded exercises that are done in the eight- to 10-rep range.
I call this “Hypertrophy-Specific Training.” It’s the ideal method to increase muscle mass and push through the winter into the summer months (aka “shirts-off season”) that are fast approaching.
 
Barbell Bench Press
 
Barbell Bench Press
Lie faceup squarely on a bench with your feet flat on the floor. Grasp the barbell with a wide overhand grip, well outside

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Arm Yourself

In the history of the world, no one has ever said, “I wish I had smaller arms.”
By Jay Ashman
 
There are two types of people who train at gyms: those who want arms that are big and jacked and those who are lying about it. You can argue this point by saying, “Stronger is better” or “Being fit is better,” but at the end of the day if your arms fill your sleeves out, you actually start to look like you lift weights. Of course this is debatable, but go ahead and tell me you can look at someone whose arms are muscular and defined and not immediately assume that they lift hard.
There is one issue with many trainees in gyms when it comes to wanting bigger arms: They simply don’t train them smart enough. Going too heavy, not training them enough, focusing too much on the biceps, or using bad form will all cause your arms to lag behind in development and size. It goes without saying that you can’t expect to have 19-inch arms if you want to stay 180 pounds and ripped. Arm size generally follows overall muscular size. A few sets a week will not be enough. If you want them to grow, you have to go after the arms like you go after international chest day.
There are several ways to train arms. You will often see triceps and chest paired on the same day, along with biceps and back on their own day. The following program is for a stand-alone arm day, meant to be the second training stimulus of the week. This workout is challenging and high volume. You can do this for four to six weeks, changing up sets and reps slightly each time, or keep them the same for the entire period. Your

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Back Attack

Unleash your inner beast with a smart and technical program that mixes hypertrophy with functionality.
By Mike Carlson
 
Everyone loves Back Day. When it comes to venting frustration in the gym and throwing around massive stacks of iron, nothing beats a good back workout.
There’s a ton of reasons to love Back Day. Unlike chest and shoulder workouts, pulling exercises don’t load any precarious ball-and-socket joints, so chance of injury in pulling exercises is nominal. And if you’re performing a machine-driven exercise such as a Hammer Strength row or lat pulldown, you can focus on the big prime movers since much of the stabilization requirements aren’t necessary. Best of all, you can hammer the muscles in your back and you won’t be wincing for a week every time you try to pick up your keys or shampoo your hair. That’s why so many bodybuilders and Physique athletes are able to hit their back twice a week.
“I don’t know if the lats are designed with any magic fiber that allows you to beat the hell out of them. I think muscle soreness is just easier to deal with in your back than legs,” says Brian Richardson, MS, CPL2, NASM-PES, the co-owner of Dynamic Fitness in Temecula, California. “There is not a lot of motion in the lats. It’s not like the quads where you are bending and moving all the time. We do more primal patterns in our lower body.”
The back is made up of both fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers. The lats are predominantly fast-twitch-driven, but they do have some slow-twitch aspects. Getting them to hypertrophy is fairly easy. Typically, the muscles that are closer to the spine—the paraspinals and the erectors, for instance—have a greater percentage of slow-twitch fibers and are tougher to get to coax into growing. That’s why this back workout,

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