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Category Archives : Muscle Science

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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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Size Rules

Ironclad laws you need to learn if you want to add serious muscle
By Jay Ashman
 
PQ: “Progressive overload is the number-one rule for gaining strength and size. As you increase workload, you will increase muscle.”
 
Since man began lifting weights, we have sought to gain muscular size and strength. That pursuit is a huge reason why you read this magazine and step foot into the gym. In the 1940s there was a popular comic-book advertisement from Charles Atlas that promised skinny kids the secrets to gaining size and confidence, and all you had to do was send back the little cutout piece of paper with your address for his free book. I never read that book. I was born in 1974, so I can’t vouch for its contents, but I have studied the iron game, and lifted long enough, to understand that the universal truths I’m about to write down for you will apply now and through the next several hundred years.
 
FOOD
The first set of rules pertains to food and how to eat to gain size. The commonly asked question is usually about protein intake. Ideally you want to eat approximately one gram of protein per pound of lean body mass (LBM). I don’t mean your bodyweight, I mean fat-free mass. If you’re 250 pounds with 25 percent body fat, then you’ll eat about 188 grams of protein per day. Protein can be increased up to 1.5 grams per pound if you wish, but that just takes away from other macronutrients that have a critical role in building muscle. Start with one gram per pound of LBM and adjust from there.
To find your carbohydrate intake, you just double your lean mass. If you have 188 pounds of lean mass, this means you’ll be eating 376 grams of carbohydrates a day. Finalize

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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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A Balanced Workout

A recent study published in The Journal Of Sports Medicine And Physical Fitness compared the back squat and the leg press, not only for strength development and body composition improvement, but also for several functional measures as well. Scientists examined three groups of subjects. The first group performed the squat twice a week for 10 weeks, while another group did the leg press, and a third group did both exercises.
While most people tend to think of the squat as the superior exercise, the results were quite equitable. The group who squatted did see more relative strength gains. However, improvements in body composition, while modest, were nearly equal across all subjects. Both groups improved functional metrics, such as balance and vertical jump.
Overall, the combination group performed slightly better on the functional attributes. This is just another reason to include both barbell and machine exercises in your workout.

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Sprint For Your Life

If you love the weights but hate cardio, we have good news for you. A study published in the online journal PLOS One found that three 10-minute sessions of cardio a week can make you healthier, fitter, and yes, even leaner. The simple catch is that you have to perform at least three 20-second intervals of maximum effort. That seems like a small price to pay for getting out of a 45-inute slog on the treadmill. And that is exactly what the study suggests.
In the experiment, this 10-minute protocol produced similar improvements in insulin sensitivity, cardiorespiratory fitness, mitochondrial content, and fat loss as those who did a slower 45-minute cardio session. That means the same results but with nearly five-fold less of a time commitment. Yes, going shorter and faster is a bit more painful, but at least you won’t be bored.

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