I like to use the stability ball for variations, I always find new ways to keep challenging my abdominals.
I also use lots of cable exercises, hanging exercises, floor exercises, bench, etc...
Rep range varies a lot, sometimes 10,12,15 reps sometimes 25 to 50 reps.
I can do a circuit of exercises with 3 to 4 different variations, 10 reps of each from 4 to 8 sets! Depends on how I feel. My goal during training is the quality of the movement followed with the mental connection between the muscle that is working. I am a big believer in quality rather than quantity.
An example workout is as follows:
So you have the sexy abs and the fitness model booty, but you want the shoulders to make your waist seem even smaller, to give you that desirable hourglass shape. In order to do that, you must build up your shoulders, capping your lateral delts, having a nice round curve, front to back.
There are many muscles that originate or insert into the shoulder joint, and for well balanced shoulders each must be developed to some degree, but the most important muscle to concentrate on as far as AESTHETICS is the DELTOID, the most superficial of the muscles encompassing the shoulder. To build beautiful shoulders, you have to target each “section” or “head” of the multipennate deltoid muscle:
1. Anterior Deltoid - the area of the deltoid seen from the front;
2. Lateral Deltoid - also known as the “middle” deltoid; and
3. Posterior Deltoid - the area of the deltoid seen from the rear.
Many exercises use all of the deltoid, although most often, focus on one area of it more specifically than the others.
Exercises for the posterior deltoid include, but are not limited to: Behind-the-neck barbell military press (seated or standing), bent over dumbbell or low-pulley lateral raises (seated or standing), high-pulley lateral raises, and pec dec rear delt laterals.
Exercises for the anterior deltoid include, but are not limited to: Military barbell press (seated or standing), barbell or dumbbell shoulder press (seated or standing), Arnold dumbbell press (seated or standing), front dumbbell press (seated or standing), barbell or one-dumbbell front raises, dumbbell or low-pulley front raises (single arm or both arms at once), and dumbbell or low-pulley hammer raises (alternating, single arm, or both arms at once).
Exercises for the lateral deltoid include, but are not limited to: Dumbbell or low-pulley lateral raises (seated or standing; alternating, single arm, or both arms at once), and side-lying lateral raises, nautilus lateral raises.
There are so many exercises that you can do for shoulders, so how do you go about selecting the best one and creating a programme that will target each muscle?
For a start, you do not have to be complicated or use a wide assortment of exercises - the “basic staples” are enough, but that is not to say you cannot do more.
The following session is very basic and what I started with a year ago when I began concentrating seriously on building up my shoulders. Doing this has worked extremely well for me in building up the muscle in my shoulders.
Shoulders (1 minute recovery between sets):
As with everything, you do not just stay with the same session forever, and after a while, over the months, I added to this basic session to increase intensity (i.e. increase weight or decrease recovery time between sets, including supersets, etc.) AND volume (i.e. adding more sets per exercise, etc.), adapting it re injuries (since there have been quite a few affecting my shoulders in the last few months) or as I progress and find what works better and better in developing and maintaining my shoulder mass.
You can see what my CURRENT shoulder sessions looks like in the “example week of training for me” section of my Interview with CutAndJacked.com - Workout Routine: Rosie Chee.
It takes time, but if you stick at it consistently, always improving and “building” on the session you did the week before, whether it be as small as increasing the weight lifted for only a single set on one exercises, then you WILL build up your shoulders to enhance your figure.
Delavier, F. (2006). Strength training anatomy (2nd ed.). France: Human Kinetics.
Marieb, E. N. (2004). Human anatomy and physiology (6th ed.). San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.
Photo Credit: Tony Mitchell, Dan Ray
Written by Rosie Chee, BExSpSc rosiesmusclerevolution.com
There is no “one size fits all” plan and whilst following a generic plan can help you get started, it is often a frustrating path. The best investment you can make is to get yourself a trainer. A trainer who will design and individualize a training and nutrition plan specifically for you, your goals and needs. You will start out doing things the RIGHT way, instead of just randomly going in and doing whatever you feel like when you feel like. The benefits of having a trainer also includes accountability (which is very important), having someone there to show you the correct technique for each exercise (also very important – poor form leads to injury, ineffective and inefficient training, and is detrimental overall), and teach you about what you are doing and why, so that you can understand everything, with the eventual goal of being able to know what to do for yourself.
Learn and understand the importance of resistance training, cardio should not be the focus (in all honesty, you do not even have to do cardio to get the figure you want, but as you get more experienced with training or want to improve your cardiovascular fitness, then it can be beneficial to include).
Anything from two to four days of training per week is ideal to start with, especially in the gym. Each body part should be trained once a week, giving it plenty of time to recover before the next training session for the same body part.
Resistance exercises you should be doing are multi-joint, compound exercises, as they use more than one muscle, and are the most effective for not only building muscle, but also in burning fat. Compound exercises require more body parts to perform than isolation exercises. The best compound exercises that you can do are the squat and the deadlift, as they use pretty much every muscle in your body. Other compound exercises that are good to include are the power clean, bench press, shoulder press, pull-ups, dips, and calf raises (the only isolation exercise that’s really good).
Complete at least two exercises for each muscle group, with four sets of 6-10 (even up to 12) reps per exercise, with 1-2 minutes recovery in between. Always lift as heavy as you can for the number of reps you are set; the weight should challenge you... if it is too easy, you are not doing yourself any favours.
Be sure that you always use good form for EVERY exercise; otherwise you are putting yourself at risk for injury. All reps should be controlled and with good form. It is not about how much you can lift, but how well you lift. You WILL get stronger as you keep at it.
An ideal training time is 40 - 45 minutes; otherwise you become too catabolic and can end up losing muscle, which is not desirable.
So that your body does not get used to your training and stop adapting, every 4 - 12 weeks make small adjustments to your weight sessions. Adjustments do not have to be drastic and simply increasing the weight for the same session from one week to the next is a change that can make a difference. Other adjustments can include changing the order of exercises in a session or the number of sets and/or reps that you do for an exercise (and it only needs to be one exercise changed at a time, small adjustments over the weeks, not a complete overhaul of everything!).
If you ARE going to do cardio, make it as efficient and effective as possible. If you do High Intensity Cardio or High Intensity Interval training, you can get the same, if not BETTER results with a brief 12 - 20 minute cardio session instead of spending two or more hours a day doing it! If you feel that you need to do more cardio, then you can add a couple of additional 20 - 30 minute moderate intensity sessions to your training week. Skipping, stair sprinting/running, or rowing, are the next highest calorie burners after sprinting.
Don’t forget about adding in some flexibility exercises, ideally 20 - 30 minutes a day on the days you train, preferably after you have done either cardio or weights, while your muscles are still warm, as this decreases the risk of injury. Stretching makes sure that you can move more freely and easily and helps elongate the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, for overall joint health and fitness.
Understand that CONSISTENCY is essential; nothing is achieved without it. If you miss days, don’t stress over it; there is no need to “make up” for them either by doing more on another day - just forget about them and get back on track the next day. Remember the 70/30 Rule: As long as you do everything right 70% of the time, the other 30% allows for when things don’t go as planned because life gets in the way or some other reason.
Never forget that when it comes to exercise more is not always best! You want maximal results for minimal time. You also need to remember that some of this is experimental, and about finding what works best for YOU, since everyone is different and responds differently to different exercise programmes.
Written by Rosie Chee, BExSpSc
Photo Credit: Tony Mitchell
Next to a sleek and sexy, toned midsection, high, tight glutes are the focus and desire of many women. They want the hard muscles of a fitness model combined with the round derriere of a pop star. Women like fitness supermodel Jamie Eason and actress/singer Jennifer Lopez have a booty that is the envy of many women, and their motivation to sculpt shapely glutes that they can be proud to show off in a bikini, lingerie, that ultra-clingy party dress, or even their favourite pair of tight jeans.
Where to start? What to do? How does one go about building up the muscle without it being too much? How do they get the round shape lifted high off the back of the legs? How do they create that sleek and sexy side silhouette?
To shape the perfect glutes, you have to target each muscle of the butt.
There are three muscles that make up the gluteals:
Many muscles - such as the Iliocostalis Lumborum, Multifidus and Quadratus Lumborum, Iliopsoa - also insert into and around the pelvis and play a role in how the glutes can appear, usually by contributing to the posture through effects on pelvis tilt, etc.
To shape the perfect glutes, you have to target your butt from many angles and there are a variety of exercises and activities that you can do to hit and develop each of the gluteal muscles for that desired perfection.
• Gluteus Maximus - worked through extension of the thigh;
• Gluteus Medius - worked through adduction and lateral rotation of the thigh; and
• Gluteus Minimus - worked the same as the gluteus medius.
If you want muscle, then you cannot neglect squats. The biggest exercise one can do, squats naturally release more Growth Hormone and Testosterone than any other resistance exercise. More anabolic hormones released means more potential for muscle growth, and the more muscle in the glutes, the better your butt will look.
Although deadlifts do not target the gluteals specifically, it is a multijoint, compound exercise and therefore works multiple muscles, including the gluteals. More importantly, the deadlift is one of the most important exercises that you can do to improve your posture. Improving your posture can have a dramatic effect on the appearance of your butt.
A unilateral exercise, one-legged deadlifts work the glutes in more planes than the deadlift does, as well as adding variety to a training session. Working the gluteals in more planes means that more muscles are targeted. The more muscles targeted and worked, the better the overall muscular development of the butt, and the better the muscular development, the better its aesthetic appeal.
Lunges can be performed multiple ways to hit each muscle in the glutes, as well as developing and shaping the rest of the lower body. Static lunges are the most common type of lunges done. Walking lunges are a progression from static lunges, incorporating a level of functionality that can be transferred into daily living. Using another plane, side lunges add more variety into a training programme, and not only can you focus more specifically on either the quadriceps or hamstrings - depending on the length of your stance - but it also hits the adductors.
Using only bodyweight or using additional weight, step-ups are an excellent exercise for developing the glutes, as well as working the legs - more quadriceps or hamstrings, depending on how high the step is.
The gluteus maximus is used when climbing stairs and running, and therefore these activities are excellent for developing the muscle. Climbing stairs, either at a steady pace or sprinting will help in attaining firm, round buttocks.
Have you ever seen a sprinter with a square, saggy butt? No, because their training makes for the complete opposite. Power and explosiveness, speed off the blocks, anaerobically exhausting the body with intervals, working the legs and gluteals. Sprinters are among the leanest individuals on the planet, a product of their training methods and mode, making sprints the perfect cardio for helping you get lean enough to show off your hard earned muscle, shaping your butt as you desire it.
Building and shaping your glutes so that they sit high off your legs, hard and muscular, yet round enough that they give that perfect silhouette to your figure is not impossible, and through incorporating a few different exercises into your training programme, you too can have the sexy, shapely butt of a fitness model.
Exercises that develop each of the gluteal muscles and target them from all angles are the best to use, and include squats, deadlifts, one-legged deadlifts, static lunges, walking lunges, side lunges, and step-ups. Stairs and sprinting can also be used as part of a cardio programme to shape the glutes into the butt you desire.
Written by Rosie Chee, BExSpSc
Delavier, F. (2006). Strength training anatomy (2nd ed.). France: Human Kinetics.
Marieb, E. N. (2004). Human anatomy and physiology (6th ed.). San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.
Photo Credit: Tony Mitchell
Gym time is not social hour, ladies. Saying hi to friends or fellow gym goers is fine; standing around (or worse, sitting on machines or benches but not using them) and chatting for 20 minutes about how your day went, how your weekend was or playing catch up on the latest reality shows is not. If you notice dirty looks directed at you while you're blabbing away, chances are it's because you standing around taking up space talking is getting everyone around you… you know, the people who are there to actually train and use the equipment you're sitting on… really, really annoyed. Pick a different time or place to talk one another's ears off, please.
It's one thing to have a training partner and chat with them in between sets. It's another thing entirely to follow your boyfriend/husband/gym crush around the whole time you're at the gym, never leaving their side and not actually training yourself while they're trying to do work. I've seen this happen plenty of times and always feel bad for the guy, having his training session constantly interrupted. I'm not saying you need to or should be completely ignoring your significant other or whatever cute guy you're interested in, but you should be aware that you're interrupting their training and, honestly, wasting your own time by just following them around and not actually training yourself.
This is a serious pet peeve of mine. I know women like to look good and a little primping here and there is necessary sometimes. But come on now, you're at the gym to train. Who the hell do you need to impress while you're there? I see ladies show up with their hair and makeup perfectly done and then proceed to walk up to the mirror in between EVERY single set to check and make sure everything's still intact. Or there's the girls who get right up close to the mirror while doing bicep curls with 5lb dumbbells, then proceed to turn to the side and stick their butt out as much as they can while curling the weight (using completely improper form, mind you) and using their free hand to adjust their hair. And of course, they're looking around to see if guys are noticing them. Stop this nonsense, please! No one is going to take you seriously if you keep preening like a peacock in front of the mirror. And guess what - no one really cares what you're doing! So stop strategically positioning your made up self in front of the mirror while a guy is doing an exercise in hopes he'll notice you and say something. It's not going to happen.
I cannot stress this this one enough. PLEASE don't come to the gym just to spend hours on the treadmill, elliptical, or any other piece of cardio equipment and consider that a legitimate workout. It's not. It's a waste of your time and energy and, more importantly, is NOT going to give you the results you want to see in your body. The more cardio you do, the more you're going to have to do over time to see the same benefits. Not to mention, hours of cardio every day is just plain boring. Learn to train smarter. Be bold - pick up the weights! I wish everyone would start adding weight training to their gym routine. I'm not saying you need to pick up massive weight, but just don't spend your time there every day on a walk to nowhere on the treadmill. If you want to do cardio, consider adding high intensity interval training (HIIT) to your routine. HIT gets your heart rate up and the fat burn going in half the time. And as for that idiotic misconception that women will get bulky and jacked like a dude if they lift weights...STOP using that as an excuse to just do cardio. I train my butt off and I'm a whopping 122lbs. Bulky? I think not. Lesson to be learned here? Just say NO to endless hours of cardio!
This is true for all women, from young girls to little old ladies. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for wearing cute gym clothes. My point, though, is that you should do yourself and everyone else at your gym a favor and dress appropriately. No one needs to see you prancing around half naked, especially if you've got some extra fat or things that really shouldn't be exposed or seen prancing anywhere. If things aren't covered up or you can tell they're oozing out, cover them up pronto. If you can tell something is too tight on you, don't wear it, or at least not in public. I've seen older women who look good for their age, but that's no reason to walk around in a tiny sports bra and short shorts with half your booty hanging out. It's definitely a distraction to the guys at your gym, but not for the reason you're thinking. They aren't looking at you thinking "Wow she looks GOOD." Trust me.
If you see someone doing an exercise you think looks interesting and want to attempt it yourself, I applaud you for having the motivation and desire to try something new to improve your training. Most women I see in the gym live on the cardio machines, so anytime I see someone venture away from the cardio equipment and try training on the machines or with free weights, it makes me happy. However, don't assume you're doing the exercise correctly and using the proper weight just because you've eyeballed someone else doing a few sets. Don't be afraid to ask someone exactly how you should be performing the exercise, what weight you should start at, etc. It's only to your benefit to start off doing things right from the get go. And drop the attitude, too. The other day there was a woman who had NO clue what she was doing, wandering around from machine to machine and carrying her workout sheet from one of the trainers. I was using the lying hamstring curl machine and halfway through my second set, I noticed her standing next to me. Instead of asking if she could work in, or saying anything to me all, she just stood there, glaring at me and tapping her foot impatiently. Really, lady? Don't act like just because someone showed you how to use certain machines, you're running the joint. Lose the 'tude.
Picture the typical first date: the man confidently orders a steak to appear masculine while the woman orders a salad to seem feminine. What’s wrong with this picture? Women need protein too, and if you’re a fit woman you need it even more to support that beautiful muscle! Here you’re going to learn the benefits of adequate protein, how different sources affect your health differently, how much you should be eating, and the best ways to add in protein to keep you lean and sexy!
A new study recently published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that the prior recommendation of 0.36 g protein per pound of body weight is grossly inaccurate for women who lift weights. This is because the body needs more protein to build and maintain muscle and also to produce enzymes in the body that are key to metabolism. And it packs a one-two punch for those who are trying to lose or maintain weight. Of all the macronutrients, protein takes the most work to digest and it, therefore, increases energy expenditure when you eat it in greater proportion to other macronutrients or to the amount you are right now. Also, because it is harder to digest, it stays in the stomach longer than carbohydrates helping you feel fuller faster and longer. So how much protein should you be eating? About 0.8 – 1 g per pound of body weight every day is a safe estimate for most women to maintain and build muscle and keep their metabolisms revved up. Get this through 5 – 6 servings/day, 20-30g/meal, so that the body can better metabolize and absorb it and you’re not flushing protein and money down the drain (pun intended).
But what kind of protein is best? We all know that chicken, egg whites, and canned tuna are great lean sources of protein, but it turns out that different protein sources offer different health benefits, so your best bet is to get protein from a variety of sources: red meat, pork, poultry, whey/casein/dairy (if it doesn’t give you a bad reaction), fish, nuts, beans, and soy. Here we’ll talk about the benefits of a few of these. Red meat helps your brain to better remember important phone numbers (remember when you were standing at the ATM the other week and couldn’t remember your PIN?). This is probably due to the creatine monohydrate content found in beef, the concentration of which increases in your brain when you consume it. Creatine also has benefits in your training regimen as it has been shown to increase power – can you say new PR? Also, red meat is high in zinc and iron, both of which are critical to proper metabolism function and training capacity as they are key for delivering oxygen to working muscles and immune health. Finally, if you buy grass fed beef you are giving yourself a dose of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a healthy fat that has been linked to decreased body fat by increasing insulin sensitivity (so it helps your body use carbohydrates for fuel instead of storing them as fat). Aim for 1 – 2 servings/week. Pork has comparable benefits for muscle building as beef, with the same lean meat to fat ratio of turkey. It’s also high in thiamin, a nutrient that is often lacking in the average woman’s diet and key to metabolism because it helps to efficiently convert carbohydrates to energy and it also helps with muscle fiber repair and recovery – so if you’re working out hard, this is an important nutrient! Other micronutrients in pork help regulate energy release, strengthen bones, prevent injury, and increase your immune system function.
Eat up, aim for 1 – 2 servings of pork/week as well! Fish is another great source of protein. Most fish is very low in fat and calories (such as cod, tilapia, and albacore tuna). But the ones that are higher in fat are also important too; they contain a healthy fat known as omega-3, which has been linked to better brain function and mental acuity, lower rates of depression and anxiety, and heart health. But on top of that, omega-3s are being linked to greater levels of physical fitness and lower body fat. One recent study published by Washington University has even found a correlation between omega-3 fatty acid consumption and your body’s ability to turn protein in the diet into precious muscle. Eat fish often, and eat sources high in omega-3s at least 3 times/week!
Finally, let’s talk about a non-animal source of protein. Beans are a great, economical source of protein and are often overlooked as a supplement in the diet. Beans are high in folic acid which helps with cognitive function and helps prevent depression. Also, if you’re a female in your reproductive years, the folic acid in beans is important to help prevent certain birth defects that develop in fetal spinal cords in the first 2 weeks of pregnancy – a time when most women do not even know they are pregnant yet. So including beans as a regular part of your diet can help. Beans also have high amounts of magnesium and some have high amounts of iron, both of which are important for nerve function and muscle building. Finally, beans not only have satiating protein but also satisfying fiber – keeping your belly full and flat. Aim to eat beans 3 times per week or more. As you can see each source of protein offers unique health and training benefits. Reap the most from your protein by getting it from a variety of sources.
Okay, so you know how much protein you should be eating and you know why you should be eating it…but how should you add it in? Here are some quick and simple ways to add some extra protein into your day without too much time and effort:
If you plan ahead and batch-cook your protein, it’ll be easy to pack for the week or day and have protein on hand for every meal. Next time you’re out with friends, your guy, or by yourself, do yourself a favor and eat some protein. Let’s change the stereotype and make eating a diet rich in protein a girl thing too. You can do it!
- Written by Anjelica Mucci
I don’t know how many times you have to see it before you believe it, but here it is ladies – you aren’t going to bulk up and become a she-hulk overnight if you start incorporating heavier weight training into your workouts. Sorry, but it just won’t happen. Push yourself in the gym, train hard and don’t be afraid to build some muscle. You’ll look and feel better, not to mention one of the nice benefits of having more muscle is that you’ll burn more calories throughout the day. So put down those silly 5 lb weights and do some serious work!
Good muscle building workouts incorporate a variety of exercises, muscle groups and set variations. We’re only human, and tend to fall into a pattern and stick with what we like/are comfortable doing, but a stagnant workout is not beneficial to anyone. When you reach the point where you’re just going through the motions and not pushing yourself, it’s time to switch things up and try something new to stimulate muscle growth.
Along the lines of switching things up – this girl loves her supersets and dropsets! ☺ try adding some to your workout today. They really get your muscles pumping and you’ll feel the burn in ways you never thought possible…and love every second of it!
News flash, people: when it comes to cardio, walking on the treadmill for an hour is not only extremely boring, but also terribly inefficient. You won’t see any results from doing that day after day, especially if your goal is to lose weight and lean out. Step your game up and start doing high intensity cardio – sprints, plyometrics, etc. Any form of high intensity interval training will push you harder, burn more calories and complete your workout quicker.
Nothing irks me more than when i see men and women lifting improperly. It doesn’t matter how much weight you can throw around; if you’re not using proper form you’re just asking for an injury. Not to mention you look like an idiot. Too many people have no idea what they’re doing yet don’t bother to ensure they’re lifting correctly, then complain when they aren’t reaching their goals or seeing results. Proper form is very important when hitting the weights, or any exercise for that matter.
Stop guessing if what you’re doing is right – ask someone who knows. If you see someone doing an exercise you’d like to try or aren’t sure you’re doing something correctly, ask about it. Approach them when they’re in between sets or exercises and ask what they’re doing or if they can show you how to do it. Chances are they’ll be more than likely to help; just because gym rats look like big, bad meatheads, doesn’t mean we’re scary! ☺
When creating a trim and toned physique your diet is just as important, if not more so, than the physical work you put in at the gym. Don’t forget to eat! Many people believe the common misconception that if they skip a meal or two, it will help them lose weight and get skinnier faster. Wrong! Think of it this way: if you have a shiny new 2012 shelby mustang, are you going to fuel it with regular gas? I don’t think so. So if you’re doing intense workouts, why would you fuel your body with only half the amount it needs to get the job done? Don’t skimp on eating, and make sure you’re consuming the right amount of healthy meals every day. Also, remember to stay hydrated.
You can’t maintain a super strict diet 24/7; your body will eventually adjust to what you’re eating and the results you’re seeing will slow. If you have cravings (and who doesn’t?) Once in awhile it’s okay to give in and enjoy a cheat meal. Trust me, it won’t hurt you. And it’s a great treat.
I’m all for cutting out magazine articles, pictures of your fitness idols, whatever you see that inspires you to work out. However, it’s important to be motivated for the right reasons – because you want to better yourself, not become someone else. I found this quote the other day that I love: today, I compare myself to one other person: me yesterday. Don’t look at images of fitness professionals and become depressed and distraught your body doesn’t look the way theirs do, even if you’ve been training for a long time. Weight training is a marathon, not a sprint. And everyone is built differently. Certain physiques are more easily attainable for some people, while others will never achieve those same results. So don’t freak out if you bust your butt, eat right and still don’t have the same rock hard abs as your favorite fitness model. Focus on your body. The changes you are making, the improvements in your physique. Set smaller goals that are obtainable to keep your motivation level high, and make it happen!
In the end, it comes down to simple common sense - if you aren’t doing something you genuinely enjoy, you most likely won’t stick with it. If you want to get fit but being in the gym every day is not for you, find something that is. Whether it’s kayaking, jogging, hiking, weight training, boxing, swimming or something else, find an activity that you truly enjoy. And have fun with it! Chances are you will do it for longer and be happy to do whatever it is that’s keeping you in shape.
Written By Laura Jeanne
Laura Jeanne on YouYube: youtube.com/ljfit.