Achieve greater muscle growth with this proven lifting approach.
Drop sets are a great way to increase muscle mass as they are a quick and easy way to increase blood flow into the muscles, get the heart pumping and most importantly of all fatiguing the muscles to ensure muscle hypertrophy.
WHAT ARE DROP SETS?
Drop sets are essentially a technique where you perform an exercise and then drop (reduce) the weight and continue for more reps until you reach failure. Called the ‘multi-poundage system’ this method was discovered in 1947 by Henry Atkins, who was the editor of Body Culture magazine.
The reason why drop sets work is that in any given set you are only recruiting a certain amount of muscle fibres. By then stripping the weight down and going lighter you recruit different muscle fibres, which should help the muscles achieve growth that couldn’t be achieved by sticking with the same weight.
There are numerous variations of drop sets. Two of the more popular variations include:
RUNNING THE RACK
This technique is performed when using dumbbells. Once you reach failure with a certain dumbbell weight, pick up a lighter weight off the rack and perform as many reps as possible. Continue down the rack until failure.
Sample routine using Running the Rack: Alternating Dumbbell Curl
Set 1: – chose a weight you’d fail at 4-6 reps.
Set 2: – reduce weight by 5lbs. 8-10 reps
Set 3: – reduce weight by 5lbs. 10-12 reps
Set 4: – reduce weight by 5lbs. 12-15 reps
Set 5: – reduce weight by 5/10lbs. 15-20 reps
Rules: 1st set should be heaviest. No rest in between drops sets. “Walk down the rack” selecting weights.
When using a barbell, plates are stripped from each side until you can no longer perform reps with the given weight. Ideally, you want to have a training partner who can strip the weights for you, so you can maintain your position.
Your training partner can quickly pull a plate off each side of the bar when you can no longer do reps with a given weight. He/she can continue to strip away plates, up to two or three times, until you reach a point very close to total muscular exhaustion.
Sample routine using Stripping: Flat Bench Press
Set 1: – chose a weight you’d fail at 4-6 reps.
Set 2: – strip weight by 10lbs: 8-10 reps
Set 3: – strip weight by 10lbs 10-12 reps
Set 4: – strip weight by 10lbs 12-15 reps
Set 5: – strip weight by 20lbs 15-20 reps
Rules: 1st set should be heaviest. No rest in between drops. Ensure training partner strips weights for you.
Small goals make a big difference
When it comes to type 2 diabetes, you need diet and exercise goals that encourage you to succeed—not ones that set you up to fail, says Ann Goebel-Fabbri, PhD, a psychologist and investigator at the Joslin Diabetes Center, in Boston.
“I think goals have to be small and well spelled out for people. Everyone has the experience of going to a health practitioner and being told something vague: ‘You know, you really ought to lose weight.’ What does that mean? Goals need to be broken down into small nuts and bolts,” she says.
1. See where you stand now
Margaret Savoca, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, suggests that you stop and look at your eating and exercise habits, and figure out what will be the easiest changes to make, rather than making huge changes that are tough to sustain.
“Diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint,” says Elizabeth Hardy, 47, a Dallas resident who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2005. For Hardy it was easiest to make changes in her life one step at a time.
2. Keep a record of your physical activity
Most people overestimate how much exercise they get. If you write it down, you’ll have an honest appraisal of where you’re starting.
3. Change your daily routine
Instead of stopping for a fat-filled latte on the way to work, have a cup of coffee with low-fat milk and a low-fat granola bar.
4. Use a pedometer
These handy devices—available for less than $20 at sporting goods stores—clip on to your waistband and record the number of steps you take. Use one to estimate how many steps you take on an average day. Then set a goal to slowly increase that number. Maybe you want to take 100 extra steps every day this week, and add another hundred each day next week. Although many experts recommend going 10,000 steps a day for good health, feel free to set goals that work for you, Goebel-Fabbri says.
Burns 374 calories in 30 minutes
The typical runner’s shape is sleek and lean, and there’s a reason for that: The major running muscles—legs, butt, core—happen to be the biggest calorie-and-fat-burning muscles in your body. To get the most out of each stride, swing your arms close to your body, don’t lean forward, and keep your feet low to the ground. To lessen impact, land on the middle of your foot, then roll through to your toes.
Boost the burn: Alternate fast and slow intervals, or take to the hills.
Burns 425 calories in 30 minutes
Skating is numerous uno on our list when it comes to blasting fat and calories. The big burn stems from the side-to-side movement of your thigh and butt muscles.
And your core gets involved in a big way to keep you balanced. What’s more, you get all these benefits without putting too much stress on your knees and other joints. Skate at a strong, steady pace. (Don’t forget your helmet, wrist guards, and knee and elbow pads.)
Boost the burn: Alternate one minute of hard skating with one minute of medium-paced strokes.
More : Fat Blasters
What you eat is only one part of the weight-loss equation. Diet alone might help you drop pounds, but you’ll have trouble keeping them off if you don’t exercise. And that’s not to mention the added benefits you’ll miss out on, from improved mood, to better sleep, to disease prevention. “The exercise has to be there,” says Jim White, a registered dietitian and personal trainer certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Most experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, most or all days of the week. Typically, 30 minutes a day offers disease-prevention benefits, while 60 minutes helps with weight maintenance. Working out for 90 minutes a day helps on both fronts – and melts additional pounds. Regular exercise also cuts the risk of heart disease and diabetes, improves blood pressure and cholesterol levels, promotes better sleep, and builds healthy bones, muscles and joints.
Consider these highlights of exercise research published in 2013:
• Among stroke patients, exercise was a more effective treatment than drugs, according to a study published in BMJ in October 2013. And for those who had suffered a heart attack, exercise after the incident was as effective as drugs in preventing early deaths.
• Pregnant women who exercise as little as 20 minutes three times a week can boost their babies’ brain activity. So say researchers at the University of Montreal, who presented their findings in November at the Neuroscience 2013 conference. Researchers tracked two groups of women: those who were given an exercise regimen, and those who were not. They recorded the newborns’ brain activity levels at 8 to 12 days of life and found that the babies of moms who exercised had more fully developed brains compared to babies whose moms didn’t work out.
• Only one in five adults in the U.S., or 20 percent, meet the government’s recommendations for the amount of weekly aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise. That’s according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report in May 2013. Researchers found that, nationwide, about 50 percent of adults get the recommended amounts of aerobic activity – 150 minutes a week, if you’re working out at a moderate-intensity – and about 30 percent engage in the recommended muscle-strengthening activity.
Some diets offer specific exercise routines. For example, Jenny Craig members get programs tailored to their individual fitness level. The Spark Solution diet, mapped out in a book by the same name, provides daily workouts for the first two weeks, along with roughly 40 pages devoted to fitness, including photos to show how certain exercises should be performed, a workout “menu” with the number of calories various workouts burn and other practical fitness guidance. And while the Flat Belly diet doesn’t require exercise, the book does outline an optional plan, including workout descriptions, intensity and duration. It recommends cardio exercise to burn calories and shed fat; strength training to build muscle and boost metabolism; and core-focused exercises to tone and tighten the midsection.
Still, other diets provide less guidance, doing no more than suggesting, yes, you should exercise. If that’s the case, remember that physical activity need not be drudgery. Take a Zumba dance class, go hiking, jump rope or bounce on a trampoline. Try kayaking, Pilates or swimming; vigorous household chores and yard work count, too. (Washing your car for an hour will burn 204 calories, according to caloriecount.com; vacuuming burns 238 in the same amount of time.) For the best conditioning, switch up your routine every 12 weeks, including frequency, intensity and type. And avoid an all-or-nothing mentality: It’s better to take a 30-minute walk five times a week than to run half a marathon on just one day.
There are a variety of three-day diets that circulate from person to person and on the Internet. They tend to promise weight loss of 10 lb (4.5 kg) or more in just three days.
The origins of the three-day diet are unclear. Some people believe that they go back to the 1980s when these kinds of diets were faxed from person to person. Three-day diets go by many different names, including the fax diet, Army diet, Navy diet, Cleveland Clinic diet, and many others. Often they are just referred to as three-day diets. Although many versions of this diet claim to have been created by one medical institution or another, no medical institutions have ever been known to come forward to claim responsibility for, or even to recommend, one of these diets. Many institutions that have these diets named after them, such as the British Heart Foundation or the Cleveland Clinic, go out of their way to inform dieters that the diet did not originate where its title claims.
The most common form of three-day diet on the Internet involves eating a large quantity of tuna and various vegetables during the day, with ice cream each evening. It is unclear, however, if they are the developer of the diet, as they do not claim specifically to be.
There are many versions of three-day diets circulating, all with the promise of bringing dieters significant weight loss in just three days. There are many variations in what dieters may and may not eat during these three days. One diet even calls for dieters to drink only water for the first day. On the second day dieters may eat fruit, and drink only fruit juice, and on the third day dieters may eat only vegetables, and drink only vegetable juice.
The most common three-day diet, and the one that seems to be the most popular, is a three-day diet with a meal plan that instructs dieters what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The specifics of the plan vary, as do what dieters are allowed to drink while on the plan. Some versions allow anything, others specify just water and diet soda in addition to the coffee and tea called for in the meal plan. Many require that dieters drink at least four glasses of water daily. Some allow diet soda to be substituted for the water. A common version of the three-day diet meal plan is:
Breakfast: black tea or coffee, 1/2 a grapefruit, 1 piece of toast with 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter. Some version specify 1/3 of a grapefruit, some call for artificial sweetener to be added to the coffee, some allow grapefruit juice to be substituted for the grapefruit.
Lunch: 1/2 cup tuna, 1 piece dry toast, black coffee or tea. Some versions call for tuna in water, some call for artificial sweetener with the coffee or tea.
Dinner: 3 ounces lean meat, 1 cup green beans, 1 cup carrots, 1 apple, 1 cup vanilla ice cream. Some versions specify a low fat ice cream, other do not. Some versions call for 1 cup of beets instead of carrots.
Breakfast: 1 egg, 1 slice dry toast, 1/2 banana, black coffee or tea. Some versions require artificial sweetened in the coffee or tea. It is not generally specified how the dieter should prepare the egg. Some versions call for a whole banana.
Lunch: 1 cup cottage cheese and six crackers. Some versions allow dieters to choose between 1 cup of cottage cheese and 1 cup of tuna. Some require six crackers, some allow eight. Most versions call for Saltine brand crackers.
Dinner: two hot dogs, 1 cup broccoli, 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream. Some versions specify beef franks. Some call for 1 cup of cabbage instead of 1 cup of broccoli. Some versions require low fat ice cream.
Breakfast: one apple, 1 ounce cheddar cheese, five Saltine brand crackers, black tea or coffee. Some versions allow or require artificial sweetener.
Lunch: one hard-boiled egg, one slice dry toast. Some versions allow black coffee or tea (with or without artificial sweetener) with this meal, others do not.
Dinner: 1 cup tuna, 1 cup carrots, 1 cup cauliflower, 1 cup melon, and 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream. Some versions call for 1/2 a cantaloupe instead of 1 cup of melon. Some versions require low fat ice cream.
There are other versions of the above three-day diet, with some specifying even more alternatives for the dieter, including an orange instead of grapefruit, cottage cheese instead of tuna, and various vegetable substitutions. Most versions tell dieters to use lemon, salt and pepper, mustard, vinegar, herbs, soy sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and other seasonings to add flavoring to food during the diet, but nothing containing fat, such as butter. Most versions of the diet are very specific in saying that dieters have to follow the rules exactly to see the promised weight loss.
The three-day diet usually promises that dieters will be able to lose 10 pounds in three days if the diet is followed exactly. Often the diet claims that this will result because the combination of foods called for by the diet causes some kind of increased metabolism that will burn pounds of fat. It is never made clear exactly what kind of reaction this is supposed to be, or how it is supposed to work. Often the diet says the dieter can repeat the diet after a few days of regular eating. Some version of three-day diets allow for as few as two days of normal eating, others require up to four or five. The three-day diets are intended to provide a dieter with extreme weight loss in a very short time and are not intended to change the dieters lifestyle or overall eating habits. Usually the diets go so far as to tell a dieter to eat whatever he or she was eating before the diet once the diet is over. The diets only caution is not to overeat. No exercise recommendations are made with three-day diets. Weight loss is supposed to come from increased metabolism and lowered calorie intake alone.
There are many benefits to weight loss if it achieved at a moderate pace through healthy eating and exercise. Three-day diets, however, are not considered moderately paced and do not include exercise, or a well-balanced diet. Although the diets claim that a dieter can lose 10 pounds in three days, weight loss is likely to come mainly from lost water weight. There may be some psychological benefit to quick weight loss, but this is likely to be undone if the weight is gained back quickly after the diet is over.
Anyone thinking of beginning a new diet should consult a physician or other medical professional. Daily requirements of calories, fat, and nutrients can differ significantly from person to person depending on age, weight, sex, and other factors. Talking to a doctor can help a dieter determine which diet is safe for that dieter’s individual needs, and a doctor can help a dieter choose a diet that fits in well with his or her long-term weight loss goals. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should be especially cautious when thinking of beginning a new diet because when a baby is receiving nutrients from its mother, what the mother eats can have a significant impact on the growth and development of the baby.
There are some risks associated with any diet, but diets that severely limit calories or the variety of foods that dieters may eat tend to be more risky than well balanced, moderately calorie-reduced diets. The most common three-day diet requires dieters to eat only about 1,000 calories a day, with some versions that have been analyzed consisting of at as few as 700 calories per day. This is too few for most people to maintain good health. A diet that contains fewer than 800 calories per day is considered a very low calorie diet. Very low calorie diets carry high risks of side effects, such as gallstones and cardiovascular problems. Very low calorie diets are only intended for the extremely obese who are experiencing significant medical problems due to obesity. These diets are carried out under the close supervision of physicians. They are not intended, or safe for, dieters to follow on their own.
Curious about what’s going to be hot in the wellness sphere next year? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We put our sneakers to the ground to find out what fitness trends could be making their way into your gym in 2015. Happy sweating.
BODY WEIGHT TRAINING
According to an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) survey of more than 3,000 fitness professionals worldwide, body weight training is predicted to be the next big thing. “Expect to see it continue to expand in all movement experiences including both group and personal training,” says Carol Espel, Senior Director, Group Fitness and Pilates at Equinox. “Look for the comprehensive incorporation of gymnastics, adult jungle gyms, workout spaces that are uncluttered with weight machines and open for training, greater suspension training options, primal movements, and more programming that is less focused on standard weight lifting protocols.” In other words, those tried and true exercises that don’t require equipment—like lunges, squats, push-ups, and bur-pees—are here to stay, so embrace them.
HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT)
OK, HIIT (think P90X) did take a hit over the past year dropping from the number one spot on the 2013 ACSM survey to number two this year. But we assure you that this technique, which alternates intense bursts of exercise with short, sometimes active, recovery periods, isn’t going anywhere. The reason: It’s super effective. “People are exercising in shorter bursts and they are still seeing results,” notes Donna Cyrus, Senior Vice President of Programming at Crunch. This should be no surprise, though. After all, who wants to slave away at the gym for hours each day when you can blast fat in as little as 20 minutes? Exactly.
Boutique studios that specialize in one specific fitness genre—be it underwater cycling or trampoline workouts—will continue to rise in popularity. However, within this group fitness sector, indoor group running has been steadily gaining momentum. From big gym chains like Equinox and Crunch to smaller studios like Mile High Run Club, treadmill-based training is poised to become the new “it” workout. Yes, many view this piece of machinery as a torture device (I know I’ve called it a dreadmill on more than one occasion), but these classes are truly beneficial, helping to improve your running through speed, incline, and interval-based drills.
“There is a trend in fitness to return to simplicity, and running is the oldest form of exercise,” explains Andia Winslow, a fitness expert and coach at Mile High Running Club. “With indoor treadmill training, participants are in a controlled and yet challenging environment where they can, regardless of fitness level, keep up with class while running on industry elite commercial equipment. With less strain on bones, joints and tendons, runners can focus instead on form, specialized and programmed intensity and being wholly engaged with their runs.” Even better: You will never have to worry about it being too cold or raining too hard to log those miles.
Don’t you just love a super intense workout? The way it pushes you to your limits, leaving behind a reminder (read: sore muscles) of all the hard work you put in. Here’s the deal, though, too much intense training can throw your body out of whack, leaving it open for potential injuries, which is why recovery is essential. “A balanced body is key, which means all of your muscles are working correctly, not just some of them,” says David Reavy, PT, owner of React Physical Therapy and creator of the Reavy Method. “Weak muscles will fatigue quickly, and you over train muscles that are already strong. The compensation and overuse of muscles and not the work brings the need for recovery.” This is why “we will continue to see the rapid expansion of group formats that include self-care protocols for self myofascial release (SMR), such as foam rolling and therapy balls, core strengthening and dynamic stretching, full recovery days and clear focus on sleep as an integral part of one’s fitness regimen,” says Espel. “And of course restorative yoga formats will continue to become a much more prevalent part of programming.”