Basic strength exercises you need to do

Basic strength exercises or also called multi-joint exercises will help you to get more results in less training time and get a number of other benefits.

A basic exercise is, in fact, any exercise that involves more than one muscle or muscle group.

To understand better, let’s use an examples. Flexing the arms on the biceps is an isolating exercise. With this movement of the arm, only the bicep is needed (if you do it correctly). On the other hand, squats require a lot of muscles. Almost every muscle in the lower body comes into play at some point to help you move, and that’s why you are able to lift such a large weight.

Here are some of the basic strength exercises: squats, deadlift, pull-ups, push-ups, bench press, lunges.

Basic exercises offer something that other types of exercises cannot do, and this puts them in a separate league. In this article, we will look at the main advantages of basic strength exercises.

They use more muscles

The most important thing to pay attention to is the number of muscles that you use in each exercise. Using more muscle groups in one movement will definitely have its advantages, while isolating exercises are simply not capable of this.

Greater working weight

A direct result of the number of muscles involved in basic strength exercises is that you can lift more weight than in other exercises.  The more muscles you engage, the more areas work together to move the weight, and as a result, you will be able to lift more. This means that all the muscles involved get some load, and this is great in terms of reducing the training time, more frequent loading on more muscles and simply improving the quality of training in general.

Functional strength

All this together gives one of the most significant advantages — functional strength. You engage all the muscles together to perform the movement, and it’s similar to what you usually do in the real world. The reason why our body can perform all these amazing exercises is that it is designed for this, and it really helps in everyday life. You can carry more, lift more, push more, or pull more. It’s really impressive, and it’s great for your health.

Train the stabilizer muscles

Let’s look at squats and leg presses. You need to keep your balance and monitor your technique during the squat, which means that you use your muscles even at the level of the core to prevent fluctuations, shaking or deterioration of your technique. This helps to strengthen smaller muscles, the existence of which you did not even know.

Burn more calories

Basic strength exercises have another important advantage, which people actually do not even think about. Working a large number of muscles involved means that you need more energy. Using more energy means burning calories more actively. If you want to increase their consumption, then basic exercises are exactly what you need to achieve maximum results.

Hip thrust exercise

Hip thrust is an amazing exercise for the posterior muscle chain, which will work out your glutes.

Among “iron lovers”, jokes about athletes who prefer to train their arms and chest several times a week and score on leg day are very popular. I hope that you are still systematically working on your body and you know, that you can get a beautiful and healthy body only through regular training aimed at all muscle groups. Including the quadriceps, biceps of the thigh and calf.

To make your leg training even more productive, I suggest you include one exercise in the training program.

I often come across the opinion that only girls need to work out the gluteal muscles. But let’s not forget that the gluteal muscles are part of a large muscular system that is responsible for your posture, for the health of the knee joints, and also directly affects the effectiveness and power of squats, running and jumping.

The name of this exercise is: hip thrust with a barbell, or a glute bridge from a bench. 

How the hip trust is performed:

    1. Find a heavy bench in the gym.
    2. Sit on the floor, pressing your shoulder blades to the bench, and put your feet on the floor, slightly wider than your shoulders, knees bent.
    3. Direct your gaze at the object in front of you at an angle of approximately 45 degrees upwards and do not take your eyes off this point throughout the entire movement.
    4. Squeeze your glutes to push your hips up, forming a bridge.
    5. You should feel how your heels rest on the floor, and your shins are perpendicular to the ground. In this upper position of the hip joint, squeeze the glutes as much as possible, while maintaining the position of the head.

Now that you have worked out the technique, you can add a load to the exercise.

If possible, find a shorter bar, for example, with an EZ-neck, so that you do not have to spend a lot of effort to keep your balance at the top point of the movement. The barbell should be placed across the body, slightly above the pelvis. So that the neck does not put too much pressure on the pelvic bones, put a soft roller under it. Hold the neck with a straight grip.

One of the key points in performing hip thrust, which should not be forgotten, is that your head or shoulders should not lie on the bench (in a neutral position) at the lower and upper points of the movement. The movement should be carried out at the expense of the gluteal muscles.

Another key point is to keep your knees apart to the sides. They should not wrap inside when you push up or down. If you keep them wider, this will contribute to the removal of the hips and even more elaboration of the glutes.

Finally, don’t worry about how high you lift your hips. Most likely, in the upper position, they will be slightly lower than the shoulders and knees.

But if it is difficult for you to perform this exercise with additional weight, doing the hip thrust without a barbell can still be very effective.

To begin with, I recommend doing 3 sets of 5 repetitions with a five-second compression of the glutes at the top point. 

Pull-ups. Beginner’s guide

Pull-ups – one of the simplest, but most effective exercises. With their help, even in adulthood, you can get a beautiful figure, developed muscles of the arms, back, abdominal muscles and even chest muscles.

This article will help you to start doing pull-ups even if you have never done it before.

Warm-up

The warm-up should include about 2 minutes of running on the spot or walking at a fast pace. Then we proceed with warming exercises “from top to bottom”, i.e. from rotation of the head, through rotation of the shoulders, forearms, hands, pelvis, knees to rotation of the foot.

Workout

Begin with doing the maximum possible number of pull-ups with the correct technique. We avoid jerks, swinging, kicking with our feet, distortions in our hands. We pull ourselves up at a calm pace: exhale on the upward movement, inhale on the downward movement.

It may happen that you are not able to do a pull-up yet. And it happens quite often. But this is not a tragedy. Let’s do the exercises that will help you to strengthen your muscles first.

1. Australian pull-ups.

This exercise will strengthen our back muscles.

By changing the angle between the trunk and the surface on which you perform this exercise, you can change the load on the working muscles and at the beginning choose a position that will allow you to perform 8-10 repetitions.

By changing the position of the legs, we can adjust the load on the muscles of the back and the muscles of the arms.

2. Pull-ups from the box.

Here we are already performing almost a classic pull-up, but when lifting, we help ourselves with our legs, thereby developing proper motor skills, and continuing to train the muscles of the arms and back.

Moving the box closer and further relative to the crossbar, we change the load on the working muscles.

3. Pull-ups with a resistance band.

We fix the band on the crossbar. We insert the foot into the lower loop, and using the compression force of the band, we lift our bodyup. Make sure that the band does not slip off your foot. Otherwise, the compression force of the rubber can strike you.

4. Negative pull-ups.

This is the exercises when you, using a box do a pull-up and then, as slowly as possible, lower yourself to the starting position, lingering due to the strength of your arms and back.

We perform the exercise as slowly as possible.

Using these 4 exercises in your workouts, you will form a muscle frame that will allow you to perform classic pull-ups without using additional devices. Every two weeks, you need to do a test for the maximum number of classic pull-ups. When the number of correctly performed repetitions reaches 5, the main part of the training can be filled with classic pull-ups, and the exercises given in this article can be left to “finish off” the muscles, forming muscle endurance and increasing the number of repetitions from time to time.

Body fat. 6 most popular ways how to measure

Body fat percentage is an important indicator for evaluating the effectiveness of your weight loss strategy.

When it comes to body weight control, it is very important not only to observe the decrease in indicators on the scales, but also to understand why your weight is reduced.

After all, unfortunately, we can lose weight not only because of the loss of fat, but also due to a decrease in muscle mass. Therefore, recently, various methods for determining the percentage of body fat are in increasing demand.

In this article, we have collected 6 ways to measure body fat.

1. Caliperometry (measurement of the thickness of the skin folds)

Body fat measurement

The measurement of skin folds is used to assess fat deposits for more than 50 years. With the help of a caliper, the thickness of subcutaneous fat in certain parts of the body is measured. Measurements are carried out in several different parts of the body. Then, using special tables, the percentage of body fat is determined based on the data obtained.

Advantages: calipers are very affordable and measurements can be carried out quickly.

Disadvantages: the method requires practice and basic knowledge of anatomy. In addition, the measurement procedure itself may be unpleasant for some people.

Accuracy: The skills of a person measuring the thickness of skin folds may vary, which affects the accuracy. Measurement errors can be 3.5 – 5 percent fat.

2. Measurements of body circumferences
The body shape varies from person to person, and your physique gives information about the amount of fat in the body. Measuring the circumference of certain parts of the body is a simple method for assessing the body fat content. For men, the neck and waist circumferences are used in this equation.

Advantages: This method is simple and accessible. All you need is a centimeter tape and a calculator.

Disadvantages: Body circumference equations cannot be accurate for all people due to differences in physique and fat distribution.

Accuracy: Accuracy can vary widely depending on your similarity to the people used to develop the equations. The margin of error is only 2.5-4.5 percent of body fat, but it can be much higher.

3. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA)
As the name suggests, DEXA uses X-rays of two different energies to estimate the percentage of fat in your body. During the DEXA scan, you lie on your back for about 10 minutes while the X-ray machine scans you. The amount of radiation from the DEXA scan is very low. DEXA is also used to assess bone density and provides detailed information about bones, fat-free mass and adipose tissue in individual parts of the body (arms, legs and torso).

Advantages: This method provides accurate and detailed information, including a breakdown by different areas of the body and bone density readings.

Disadvantages: DEXA are often inaccessible to the majority of the population, expensive and associated with additional radiation.

Accuracy: DEXA gives more stable results than some other methods. The error can be 2.5-3.5% fat.

4. Hydrostatic weighing

This method, also known as underwater weighing or hydrostatic densitometry, estimates the composition of your body based on its density. In this method, you are weighed when you are submerged under water after exhaling the maximum possible amount of air from your lungs. Then you are also weighed when you are on land, and the amount of air remaining in your lungs after exhaling is estimated or measured. All this information is entered into the equations to determine the density of your body. Your body density is then used to predict the percentage of body fat.

Advantages: this is accurate and relatively fast.

Disadvantages: it is difficult or impossible for some people to completely immerse themselves under water. The method requires you to exhale as much air as possible, and then hold your breath under water. Hydrostatic weighing is usually only available at universities, medical institutions, or certain fitness centers.

Accuracy: If the testing is done perfectly, the error of this device may be as little as 2 percent fat.

5. Bioelectric Impedance Analysis (BIA)
BIA devices determine how your body reacts to small electrical currents. This is done by applying electrodes to the skin. Some electrodes send a current through your body, while others receive a signal after it has passed through the tissues of your body. Due to the higher water content in the muscles, electric currents pass through them more easily than through fat. The BIA device automatically enters your body’s response to electric currents into an equation that calculates your body composition. There are many different BIA devices that vary greatly in cost, complexity, and accuracy.

Advantages: BIA is fast and easy, and many devices can be purchased by users themselves.

Disadvantages: the accuracy varies widely and can strongly depend on the intake of food and liquid. Although many devices are available to consumers, they are often less accurate than expensive devices used in medical or research institutions.

Accuracy: The accuracy varies, the error is 3.8-5 percent of body fat, but it can be higher or lower depending on the device used.

6. Bioimpedance Spectroscopy (BIS)
BIS is similar to BIA in that both methods measure the body’s response to small electric currents. But these devices use different technologies. BIS uses a much larger number of electrical currents than BIA to mathematically predict the amount of fluid in the body. BIS also analyzes information differently, and some researchers believe that BIS is more accurate than BIA. The accuracy of both of these methods depends on how similar you are to the people for whom these equations were developed.

Advantages: BIS is fast and simple.

Disadvantages: Unlike BIA, consumer-level BIS devices are currently unavailable. BIS is usually only available at universities, medical institutions, or certain fitness centers.

Accuracy: BIS is more accurate than consumer-level BIA devices, but has the same error as more advanced BIA models (3-5 percent fat content).

Which method is best for you?

It depends on your goals, the required accuracy, frequency of use, availability and price.

Whatever method you use, it is important to consistently use the same one. If you evaluate yourself in one way each time, this will reduce the number of errors and make it easier to determine progress.

It is almost always better to take measurements in the morning on an empty stomach after going to the toilet. At the same time, it is necessary to interpret the results with caution: even the most convenient methods are not ideal and give only an approximate estimate.

Do you need to avoid alcohol if you want to build up your muscles

How muscles grow

In order for your muscles to grow, you need to exercise and consume enough protein. Heavy training will start the process of building muscle, and protein will serve as a building material. These factors do not depend on alcohol — you can easily go to the gym, eat protein foods and at the same time drink alcohol every night.

However, protein and exercise are only basic requirements.

Muscle building is also affected by:

    • the ability of amino acids, the building blocks of muscle, to penetrate cells;
    • the rate of protein creation and destruction in tissues;
    • the amount of hormones that help or hinder weight gain.

Alcohol affects all these factors, and below we will analyze how exactly.

How alcohol affects protein synthesis

Both high and low doses of alcohol inhibit the creation of protein in muscle cells — protein synthesis.

An hour after drinking alcohol, protein synthesis decreases by 23%, and after 24 hours-by 63%. Especially strongly alcohol inhibits this process in the muscle fibers of type II, which quickly increase in size. That is, it is in those tissues that all bodybuilders pray for.

However, most of the studies on the effects of alcohol on muscle were conducted on mice that were given huge doses of ethanol. A large amount of alcohol has a bad effect on people. Alcoholics who consume more than 100 g (2 liters of beer, 250 g of vodka) a day often suffer from myopathy – the destruction of muscle tissue. One to two-thirds of drinkers have muscle atrophy, which leads to frequent falls and difficulties even when walking.

As for moderate doses of alcohol, it is not known whether they affect protein synthesis in humans.

Conclusions

    • Ethanol reduces protein synthesis, but it needs to be constantly consumed in large doses.
    • Alcoholism can cause myopathy — the destruction of muscle tissue.
    • Small doses of alcohol in the future can slow down the formation of protein, but the effect is not proven.

How alcohol affects the level of hormones

Effect on testosterone

Testosterone is one of the most important hormones for maintaining good physical shape, building muscle and reducing fat.

Alcohol reduces the level of testosterone, but for significant changes, you need to drink alcohol often and in large quantities. If you drink one and a half to two bottles of beer every day for three weeks, testosterone in men will decrease by only 6.8%, and in women it will remain unchanged.

More large-scale drinking is reflected in the level of hormones much faster: after 16 hours after taking 120 g of ethanol (this is more than five cans of beer, 300 g of vodka or almost a whole bottle of wine), testosterone in men decreases by 23%.

Smaller doses of alcohol have almost no effect on hormones. A single drink of one and a half cans of beer or 150 g of vodka after training does not affect the level of testosterone, luteinizing hormone and corticotropin.

Another thing is really heavy training for strength or endurance and large doses of alcohol. 200-300 g of strong drink after such loads will significantly reduce recovery and weaken the muscles.

Effect on insulin

Insulin is simply necessary for building weight. This hormone triggers protein synthesis in ribosomes and prevents catabolism – the breakdown of protein. In addition, it helps glucose and amino acids to enter from the blood into the muscle tissue.

The higher the sensitivity of the cells to insulin, the better it supplies them with glucose for glycogen storage and amino acids for muscle building.

Moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. But to increase it, you need to drink alcohol in small quantities and periodically. A single intake of small doses of alcohol does not change the level of insulin.

Conclusions

    • Small doses of alcohol slightly reduce the level of testosterone.
    • Testosterone drops significantly only after heavy training and taking a large amount of alcohol.
    • Moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages increases the sensitivity to insulin.

How to drink, so as not to harm the figure

The only requirement is moderation. 30-40 g of ethanol per day does not harm the build-up of muscle mass and does not lead to the accumulation of fat. In terms of drinks, it will be 700-900 g of beer with a strength of 4.5%, 300-400 g of wine with a strength of 10%, 75-100 g of vodka.

Ethanol combined with exercise reduces lipid peroxidation, which causes oxidative stress and increases the risk of atherosclerosis. So, if you can not give up alcohol and worry about your heart — go in for sports.

Moderate alcohol consumption — no more than 30-40 g of ethanol per day-does not harm your physical fitness.

Keep drinking your glass of beer or wine after your workout if it relaxes you. But do not forget that alcohol should not replace you with full meals with a lot of protein. Without dietary protein, your results will be more than modest.

Read more: TESTOSTERONE: EVERYTHING ABOUT THE MAIN MALE HORMONE

How to gain muscles if you have a skinny complexion

Why it is difficult for you to gain muscle mass

Scientists have noticed that the ability to build muscle mass is different for everyone. So, some people in 12 weeks of training can gain 1.6 kg of muscle, and others in the same time will not add at all.

And it’s not just about eating habits and the amount of exercise. You’re just out of luck.

The role of muscle struction

    • You have fewer type II muscle fibers — those that work without oxygen, get tired quickly, and add a lot of volume.
    • Your muscles have fewer receptors that respond to testosterone-the hormone without which they will not grow.
    • You don’t have new ribosomes created so quickly. These are the organelles of the cell that take amino acids and, according to the instructions of the mRNA, make a protein out of them. The ribosome factory is located in the nucleolus of the cell, and your company is slightly behind in terms of production volumes.

But this does not mean that you will not be able to build muscle mass. The mechanism of muscle growth is the same in all people. You just have to spend more time and money on food and a sports pit than those who won the genetic lottery and go all so athletic.

How to train to gain muscle mass

When the muscles contract, their fibers experience mechanical stress, the receptors feel it, and a chain of molecular reactions is triggered, which ends with protein synthesis. He completes the muscles, increasing their volume.

Of course, the muscles contract in any work — for example, when you get up from a chair or run a marathon. But in the first case, the tension is too small for growth, and in the second, mainly type I muscle fibers are involved, which are reluctant to increase in volume. For noticeable muscle growth, you need to work fast type II fibers (which you already have a little). And to make them do it, you need to pull iron.

How many times a week to train

Post-workout protein production increases from 24 to 48 hours. If you re-load the muscle before the synthesis drops to its previous values, some of your effort will be lost.

So exercise two or three times a week and don’t do two days of training in a row.

By exercising more often, you will not only not get the benefits for muscle growth, but you can also overwork the central nervous system. This will reduce your performance, and therefore the incentives for muscle growth.

How many and what exercises to perform

At each workout, perform 4 to 8 strength exercises on different muscle groups. Be sure to include multi-joint movements, that is, those that involve several joints and muscle groups: squats, lunges, deadlift, bench lifts, and others. They train the whole body, improve coordination, allow you to work with large weights and give the right incentive for muscle growth.

However, it is not necessary to build a training session only on such activity. So you risk to tire the central nervous system and reduce the indicators. Dilute the mentioned exercises with single-jointed ones: flexing the arms on the biceps, extending the arms on the triceps, bringing the arms together in the “butterfly” simulator (chest), and others.

In addition, at each training session, perform one exercise to strengthen the abs and back extensors. These muscles help you keep your balance and perform all the movements without harming your spine.

How many sets and reps to do

Perform the exercises in 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps. Choose the weight so that the last repetitions in the approach are given with difficulty. The final approach can be performed before the muscles fail: when you can no longer do a single time.

Check-list

    • Exercise 2-3 times a week.
    • Perform 4-8 strength exercises on different muscle groups.
    • Include both multi-joint and single-joint movements in one workout.
    • Do 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps.
    • Choose the weight so that the last repetitions in the approach are given with difficulty. Do the last approach until the muscles fail.

How to eat to gain weight

To gain weight in general, you need to eat more, and to grow exactly the muscles — to monitor the amount of protein.

How many calories to consume

First, calculate your daily calorie intake using the Mifflin-Geor formula:

For men: (5 + (10 × weight [kg]) + (6.25 × height [cm]) − (5 × age [years])) × 1.55 (adjusted for training 3 times a week).

For women: ((10 × weight [kg]) + (6.25 × height [cm]) − (5 × age [years]) – 161) × 1.55 (adjusted for training 3 times a week).

Increase your calorie intake by 15%. This is how much you will need to consume every day.

That an increase of 15% will not necessarily help you gain weight. It all depends on your metabolism. Eat this way from two weeks to a month and, if there is no progress, increase the calorie content by another 15% (from the original norm). During the first month, you will get used to eating more, so it will not be so difficult to add the next portion of calories.

How many calories should come from protein, fat, and carbohydrates

To gain muscle mass, you need everything. The protein will be used as a building material and a signal for muscle growth.
Carbohydrates will help to produce the hormone insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1, without which the muscles will not grow. And they will also give you the strength to train. Fats are needed for the production of hormones, including testosterone.

Your daily diet should consist of 25% protein, 20% fat, and 55% carbohydrates. In this case, the protein should not exceed 2 g per kilogram of body weight. If you get more protein as a result of the calculations, add the remaining calories in the form of carbohydrates.

Let’s say your daily calorie intake is 2,500 kcal (a 30-year-old man weighing 70 kg). You add up 15% (2 500 × 0,15 + 2 500 = 2 875 kcal). To calculate, you need to remember that 1 g of protein or carbohydrates contains 4.1 kcal, and 1 g of fat-9 kcal.

Thus, a man from the example should eat 140 g of protein (70 kg × 2) per day. At the same time, 25% of its daily caloric content will be 718 kcal. In order not to exceed the protein norm, we calculate this way: 718-574 kcal (140 g x 4.1 kcal = 574 kcal) = 144 kcal. Add this amount to the carbohydrates. Now we consider the norm of fat and carbohydrates: 64 g of fat (2,875 kcal x 0.2 = 575 kcal-9 kcal in 1 gram of fat) and 420 g of carbohydrates (2,875 kcal x 0.55 = 1,581 kcal + 144 kcal, remaining from protein-4.1 kcal).

How many times a day to eat and when to do it

Divide your daily meals into an equal amount — for example, six meals. Each of them should contain at least 0.25 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight.

It is not necessary to consume a dose of protein immediately after training. You can do this for 1.5-2 hours before it, calmly work out for 1-2 hours, drive home and eat again. In this case, the anabolic response will be no less than when taking supplements directly in the gym.

Check-list

    • Calculate your calorie allowance and add 15% to it. Eat like this for 2-4 weeks. If there is no progress, add another 15%.
    • Determine the calories you need to get from macronutrients: 25% protein, 20% fat, 55% carbohydrates.
    • Count the grams of macronutrients (1 g of protein or carbohydrates — 4.1 kcal, 1 g of fat-9 kcal).
    • Protein should not exceed 2 g per kilogram of body weight. If you get more, add the rest of the calories to the carbs.
    • Divide all the grams by the number of meals. Each time, eat at least 0.25 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight.

Read more:6 THINGS THAT KILL YOUR MUSCLES

The important function of muscle memory

Physical activities or exercises are always more difficult to perform the first time than after even a long break. This feature is due to muscle memory.

Muscle memory is associated with the nervous system and changes in muscle fibers. It appears as a result of constant physical actions for a long time. Its main task is to promote recovery after a break, for example, related to a health condition.

To understand how muscle memory works, you can use a simple example – if a person has not driven a car for a long time, but previously often did it, sitting back behind the wheel, his muscles will remember how and with what intensity to press the pedals and how to change gears.

Muscles remember everything

For a long time, you went to your goal-the abs and biceps became prominent, the body became the way you wanted it to be. However, it is important not only to make muscle mass, but also to maintain it. Otherwise, the result of training will disappear over time.

According to research, 14 days after extreme exercise, a person loses about 12 percent of their muscle mass.

Often there is a situation when a person wants muscles, but does not go to the gym, due to the fact that the effect is only from constant training. But you can’t go to the gym regularly all your life. Moreover, after a few weeks, the effect will begin to weaken significantly.

Scientific view on muscle memory

Scientists from Norway concluded that systematic physical activity promotes the formation of new nuclei in muscle cells, and the number of genes that regulate protein for the growth of muscle tissue increases. When there are a lot of nuclei, the muscles build up.

But the most important factor of the study is that the number of nuclei does not decrease after 14 days or 3 months. They go into the waiting phase. How long the maximum can last waiting, until the end is unknown, the study continues. However, there is an assumption that the new cores do not die off at all. When a person resumes physical activity, the cores “wake up” and the former form returns faster compared to people who have just started going to the gym.

The accelerated process of returning to good physical shape is due to the fact that the body does not need to form new nuclei, wasting time on this.

Where is muscle memory located and what are its features?

There is no memory directly in the muscles. It is located in the brain, which is good at remembering information about frequently repeated physical activity. If the same action is done many times, the person begins to perform it automatically with minimal involvement of the brain. He has stored the information in his memory and will use it when appropriate.

This type of memory always works, thanks to it, people do not hesitate to walk, run, swim. Today, there is no clear answer to how many times you need to perform an action for the brain to remember it. Some scientists say that the action should be repeated 10 thousand hours, others-300-500 times.

Despite such differences in research results, experts agree that muscle memory exists. Even if a person was engaged in sports as a child, then in adulthood he will be able to quickly return to the familiar exercises once. However, it is important that the motor skill is correct. It will be difficult to retrain.

Experienced coaches know that it is better to teach an athlete from scratch than to retrain. They believe that the skill is formed in memory in about three weeks.

Why do you need to train your muscle memory?

Training such a memory reduces the risk of injury during exercise, and it also promotes rapid recovery, for example, after health problems. As practice shows, athletes recover faster after a stroke or heart attack compared to other people.

Returning to the sport after a break should be gradual. It is important to make sure that the brain does not replace the necessary muscle memory with false memories. This also happens. If there is no substitution, you can increase the load.

The importance and benefits of muscle memory are obvious. It helps not only in sports, but also while driving a car, riding a bicycle, when performing simple and complex actions.

Read more: HOW CERTAIN AMINO ACIDS AFFECT THE BODY

6 things that kill your muscles

When you start going to the gym, you wait for the moment when the muscles will appear and the body will look like a picture from the magazine “Men’s Health”. But it takes half a year or a year, and the muscles have not increased much. Visually, of course, you can see the changes, the dropped pounds and the overall tightness. But the shoulders have not increased, and the muscles on the legs are also far from ideal. Most likely, mistakes were made during training.

What kills muscle growth and how to fix it

1. Cardio loads at the wrong time
Running before strength exercises reduces the effectiveness of strength exercises by 10%. It is better to separate strength and cardio training. In one day, do aerobic exercises: walking, running, ellipse. The next day-by force. This will give the body extra time to recover and speed up the process of building muscle mass.

2. Intense cardio
In the process of cardio exercise, energy is actively consumed. If there is no reserve of fat tissue, then the body takes energy from the muscles. The muscles begin to break down and you will not see the cherished biceps. If you like cardio, but at the same time build muscle, increase the daily diet. To build muscle, it is better to get calories with protein, after a workout, protein shakes or bars are suitable.

3. Calorie deficit
It is impossible to lose weight and build muscle at the same time. You need to do one thing. Don’t forget that muscles don’t grow out of thin air. To build muscle, you can not eat with a calorie deficit.

4. Small weights
In order for the muscles to start growing, the body must feel an overload. Working with the same weight constantly, the muscles adapt and no longer increase. Make a training plan and enter into it a gradual increase in the load. You can enhance the result by either adding weight or the number of repetitions.

5. Lack of sleep
If you think that the muscles grow during a workout in the gym — it is not so. In the gym, the muscles receive a signal that it’s time to build muscle mass. Muscles grow during rest and especially intensively during sleep. So it’s time to forget about the lack of sleep and start getting enough sleep. The norm is 8 hours of night sleep.

6. Stress
Delayed muscle growth is sometimes associated with great psychological overload of the body. Constant stress increases the production of the hormone cortisol. The hormone increases the breakdown of muscle fibers to amino acids and compensates for the lack of energy.

If you are constantly nervous and under stressful conditions, your muscles will simply not be able to grow.

To build muscle mass, you need to eat properly and in a balanced way, get enough sleep, increase the load and stop with stress. Only an integrated approach will help you get the right terrain and volumes.

Read more: WHY YOU TRAIN AND NOT MUSCLES GROW BUT FAT

How certain amino acids affect the body

The importance of amino acids

The topic of the importance of amino acids for muscle recovery (and muscle mass growth) after exercise is well studied. And we usually consume different amino acids together when we eat protein-rich foods — meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, nuts, beans, and so on.

But modern technologies allow the production of isolated amino acids.

Key neurotransmitters are synthesized from amino acids — for example, serotonin (its low level is considered one of the main factors in the development of depression) is formed from tryptophan.

Therefore, the use of individual amino acids can affect the brain and hormonal balance in a way that the use of a mixture of different amino acids will not affect. In the latter case, they will compete to overcome the blood-brain barrier, which will not significantly increase the level of a particular amino acid.

Can some amino acids in isolated form affect performance in sports, changing the ” brain chemistry” and hormonal balance? And what research is there on this topic?

Amino acids and affection on performance

Tyrosine

It is a precursor of dopamine and norepinephrine, and in theory, its consumption should have a positive effect on functioning under stress. But the results of studies with athletes are mixed.

In one case, cyclists in very hot conditions took 150 mg of tyrosine per kilogram of body weight 60 minutes before the test, and this improved the time “to failure”. The study’s authors concluded that tyrosine helped cyclists cope with the physical stress of heat and exercise; and reduced levels of tyrosine in the brain impair performance in sports in hot conditions.

And another study did not show an improvement in athletic performance, but there was an improvement in memory and information processing, so the author concludes: for those who are important for cognitive functions in difficult conditions, tyrosine can help. These are, for example, ultramarathoners, participants of adventure races, etc.

Another study in military personnel found no positive effects from the use of tyrosine before exercise.

Phenylalanine

Not so actively researched in the light of exercise. But there was something: it showed a significant effect on fat burning during exercises with submaximal intensity when taking 3 g of phenylalanine before them.

Although it can be useful at the beginning of the season for fat burning, this approach is not recommended when participating in competitions, when you need maximum results and the intensity is also maximum, and the availability of carbohydrates plays an important role.

Taurine

It is added to many drinks and is claimed to have an effect on focus and performance. But there is no convincing evidence. 6 grams of taurine did not help runners in one study improve their performance in high-intensity exercise, just as 1.7 grams did not help cyclists in another study.

A relatively recent review of seven studies showed little effect on performance in endurance sports. And there is no evidence about the effect of taurine on mood, cognitive function, or performance in sprints or high-intensity exercise.

Theanine

It is found in small amounts in tea. It has a positive effect on cognitive function, especially when combined with caffeine. It has been proven that 100-200 mg of theanine, coupled with 50-150 mg of caffeine:

– improve mood and cognitive function;

– promote the concentration of attention on external stimuli and reduce distraction;

– contribute to increased vigilance during the execution of task on attention.

Although further research is needed, there is already evidence that theanine with caffeine before exercise can be beneficial for athletes who need skills, attention, and concentration combined with physical effort.

General recommendations

Those who compete in challenging environments and who value cognitive function may benefit from taking tyrosine supplements. Phenylalanine may promote better fat burning during submaximal-intensity endurance exercises, but it definitely won’t help and can hurt during high-intensity exercise. Athletes in endurance sports may get small benefits from consuming taurine, but the evidence for its effectiveness is weak. Theanine in combination with caffeine can be useful for athletes who need concentration, visual processing, and motor skills — for example, during training, learning new movements and skills.

Read more: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CREATINE

How to make training with your own weight more effective

In this article, we will look at four ways to change training with your own weight to increase its effectiveness for gaining strength and improving your body structure. In addition, we will give you some nutrition tips to support your workouts.

Are self-weight training effective?

Before we dive into the subtleties of increasing the intensity of training with your own weight, we will dispel one popular misconception — that such training is suitable only for “beginners” and can not provide serious results. This is a completely baseless claim.

It is based on the assumption that training with your own weight is less effective than strength training, since you do not exert yourself as much. Obviously, the last statement is true. However, this omits the fact that training involves more than just gaining strength.

There are different types of power. And if training with your own weight is really not the best option for increasing the result by one repetition, then they can be incredibly effective in improving muscle endurance and metabolism. In addition, they can significantly increase the time of muscle tension, ensuring muscle hypertrophy and improving such indicators as stability, balance and coordination.

Don’t underestimate training with your own weight. If you “lack” them, then you just need to increase their intensity. You need to change the exercises so as to increase their complexity. In the long run, simply increasing the number of repetitions will not be effective in training with your own weight.

Four ways to Optimize your Own Weight Training for Muscle Strength and Volume

There are a few simple changes that you can make to your own weight training to gain strength and increase muscle hypertrophy.

Change the pace
A certain pace of exercise is a great way to increase the time of tension of the desired muscle groups. You should set a target time for performing the exercises and stick to it to increase the time in tension. By increasing this time, we load the muscles more and strain the muscle fibers, which can increase hypertrophy.

To set the tempo, use the following four-number diagram to set the target levels for performing the movements. For example:

Temp: 4110

4 seconds-eccentric force/downward movement
1 second-pause at the bottom
1 second-concentric force/upward movement
0 seconds-pause at the top

For more hypertrophy, increase the time for eccentric and concentric effort. To gain strength, extend the pauses.

Do one and a half reps
Another great way to increase strength and tension time is to do one and a half repetitions. The implication is that you do a full repeat, then another half-repeat, and count it all as one repeat.

For example, doing push-ups you go down in the normal way, then do not rise to the top just to the middle,and then go down again , and then a rise. And it all counts as one” one-and-a-half ” repeat. An incomplete repeat can also be done at the beginning of a general repeat. For example, when squatting, you can go down to the middle, stand up, then perform a full squat, and count it all as one repeat.

Training with your own weight on power
Training with your own weight is very effective for increasing power. The necessary exercises are safe and involve almost no risk of injury, as they can be easily changed as necessary. For example, you can change the height of the jump when squatting with a jump so that you jump to a convenient height for you to avoid injury.

To increase the power when training with your own weight, simply add an element of increased body distance from the point of contact (ground). When doing push-ups, push off from the floor so that your hands leave the ground. When squatting and lunging, jump up until your feet are off the ground.

To increase the difficulty and power of your own weight exercises, slow down the eccentric phase until it comes to a complete stop, then quickly perform the concentric phase. For example, when squatting with jumps, go down slowly and stop, keeping control of the body, then push off the ground sharply and powerfully.

Endurance training with your own weight
In addition to increasing repetitions, how else can you increase muscle endurance when training with your own weight? Here are two great ways to achieve this.

First, do the combined movements. To do this, simply combine two or more exercises. It’s like doing a circular workout, where you do one exercise after another in a deliberate and purposeful way, but there are some small differences. With a combined movement, one complete repetition consists of repetitions of individual exercises.

For example, one squat, one push-up, and one lunge count as one total rep. This approach is convenient because the total number of repetitions is reduced.

Secondly, limit yourself in time. This is a relatively simple change. Focus not on the number of repetitions, but on the time. To increase endurance, you need to do more in the same period of time.

Let’s say we want to increase the endurance of the lower body and for this we decided to do squats and lunges. Usually we will set a goal for repetitions with the allocation of time to rest. When you focus on the time we will just keep doing the exercises, occasionally pausing to rest. For example, with a goal of 15 minutes, you need to do a squat and lunge constantly, resting only when you have no strength left at all.

Four Nutrition Tips for Training with Your Own Weight

Since training with your own weight is effective for developing strength, improving physical fitness and body structure in the vast majority of trainees, they deserve the same attention to nutrition as regular training.

We will not discuss the subtleties of nutrition before and after training. Let’s just take as a basis the fact that we need sufficient recovery and energy to make progress. Many fall into the trap of delusions about training with their own weight: “They are so simple, they can be done more often and do not think about nutrition after training.”

This logic can lead to some problems, so it is definitely worth eating well and maintaining the body. If you regularly do thoughtful workouts with your own weight, then use these three tips.

1. Maintain consistency
At first, this advice may seem strange, but try to keep the same meal schedule and diet as with normal strength training.

The simpler, the better. Eat natural and high-quality foods, try to make your meals rich in nutrients.

2. Remember about protein
Supplements can help with intense training with your own weight. As with traditional strength training, protein is important for muscle recovery and growth. If you don’t feel like you’re eating enough protein every day, try a protein shake that gives you the right amount of calories and essential nutrients.

3. Try Creatine
Creatine is an excellent supplement for increasing strength, endurance and power. Although weight training may not seem as heavy as traditional strength training, creatine can still be useful if you want to improve your overall fitness.

Creatine is easily absorbed. In addition, it is one of the few supplements on the market, the benefits of which are described in many studies.

‌‌‌‌4. Consider taking BCAAs
If you want to enrich your diet with amino acids and are looking for a delicious drink that will provide the body with essential amino acids and help in the fight against hunger, then you should definitely consider BCAAs, or branched chain amino acids. They can help increase your intake of leucine, an amino acid thought to play a role in muscle protein synthesis.

Note: Before you start a new type of training, change your diet, or start taking new supplements, you should always consult your doctor!

General recomendations

Training with your own weight is an effective way to increase your strength, power, endurance, and overall tone. Do not think that they are suitable only for beginners. Be creative and increase their complexity — and they will be effective for you, too. Treat them like regular workouts and don’t forget about proper nutrition and adequate recovery.

Read more: 3 MAIN RULES TO GAIN MUSCLES