Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day #MotivatedMonday and the #SelfieSaturday of Course


Well I took a couple of embarrassing selfies of myself so I could demonstrate what can become of a physique if you don't take symmetry into account. In my case it has been the neck injuries that have pinched my nerves over the years. Now the picture on the left is my left side and the underdeveloped right side is actually my dominant side. I am right handed but you can't tell by looking at my physique. This of course is the deflation of the last month and I can get it back again hopefully, but let this be a lesson to anyone that simply wants to work through an injury. It can obviously do more harm than good if this is what a month of "making due" is like imagine if you decided to work through it for a year?

Now as for this week's videos I want to concentrate on the shoulders since that was my greatest improvement in the last year because I took them really seriously. Here are the BIG FOUR that you need to do to really get your shoulders in shape. I usually do all four as a super-set, but that of course is up to you. Have a great week everybody!

Shoulder Press (PowerBlocks Front Seated)
Target Muscles: Medial deltoids, Triceps, Anterior deltoids
Starting Position:
1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, or sit on a bench.
2. Hold a PowerBlock (or Dumbbell) in each hand, arms straight at your sides and hands facing inwards.
The Movement:
1. Keep your elbows very slightly bent (at 10°) and raise the PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells) forward.
2. Raise them until your elbows and hands are level with your shoulders - i.e. parallel to the floor. Your palms should face the floor. Hold momentarily.
3. Slowly return to the starting position, resisting the weight on the way back down.
Tips:
• Your little finger should be higher than your thumb at the top of the movement, as if you were pouring water from a jug.
• Do not swing the PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells) out or lean back as you raise them. Keep your body very still.
• Lead with your elbows rather than your hands.
Variations:
Single arm: Front raises can be performed using one arm at a time. Hold on to an upright support with the other hand to help keep you steady. This allows you to concentrate fully on the movement and helps to prevent you swinging the PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells) upwards.
Cable front raise: The movement can be performed using a low pulley machine. You will need to use a lighter weight but this keeps more continuous tension on the deltoids.
Seated lateral raise: You can perform the movement sitting on the end of a bench. This reduces the tendency to generate momentum by swinging your body and is, therefore, a stricter movement. You may need to use lighter PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells) to complete the exercise in good form.


Lateral Raise (PowerBlocks Seated)
Target Muscles: Medial deltoids, Triceps, Anterior deltoids
Starting Position:
1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, or sit on a bench.
2. Hold a PowerBlock (or Dumbbell) in each hand, arms straight at your sides and hands facing inwards.
The Movement:
1. Keep your elbows very slightly bent (at 10°) and raise the PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells) out to the sides.
2. Raise them until your elbows and hands are level with your shoulders - i.e. parallel to the floor. Your palms should face the par. Hold momentarily.
3. Slowly return to the starting position, resisting the weight on the way back down.
Tips:
• Your little finger should be higher than your thumb at the top of the movement, as if you were pouring water from a jug.
• Do not swing the PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells) out or lean back as you raise them. Keep your body very still.
• Lead with your elbows rather than your hands.
Variations:
Single arm: Lateral raises can be performed using one arm at a time. Hold on to an upright support with the other hand to help keep you steady. This allows you to concentrate fully on the move­ment and helps to prevent you swinging the PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells) upwards.
Cable lateral raise: The movement can be performed using a low pulley machine. You will need to use a lighter weight but this keeps more continuous tension on the deltoids.
Seated lateral raise: You can perform the movement sitting on the end of a bench. This reduces the tendency to generate momentum by swinging your body and is, therefore, a stricter movement. You may need to use lighter PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells) to complete the exercise in good form.



Lateral Raise (PowerBlocks Bent Over Seated)
Target Muscles: Posterior deltoids, Trapezius, Upper back muscles
Starting Position:
1. Sit on the end of a bench with only half of your thighs supported.
2. Place your feet and knees together, bend forwards from the waist and hold a pair of PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells) underneath your thighs with your palms facing each other.
The Movement:
1. Draw the PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells) out to the sides, simultaneously turning your hands so that they face the floor.
2. Raise them until your elbows and hands are level with your shoulders. Hold momentarily.
3. Slowly return to the starting position, resisting the weight on the way down.
Tips:
• Your little finger should be higher than your thumb at the top of the movement, as if you are pouring water from a jug.
• Keep your torso still - do not raise your body as you raise the PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells).
• Lead with your elbows rather than your hands.
• Keep your elbows bent at about 10° throughout to avoid straining them.
Variation:
Standing bent-over lateral raise: The movement can be executed from a standing position. Stand with your feet hip­width apart, bend forwards from the waist and hold the PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells) directly below the shoulders (arms straight). Perform the movement as described above. As your back is in an unsupported position do not use a heavy weight or attempt this if you have a weak lower back as it may place undue stress on it.


Shoulder Press (PowerBlocks Seated)
Target Muscles: Anterior and medial deltoids, Upper Pectoralis major, Triceps, Shoulder girdle muscles (Trapezius, Supraspinatus)
Starting Position:
1. Sit on an upright bench, angled at 75-90° so that your lower back is firmly in contact with the bench.
2. Hold a pair of dumbbells, hands facing forwards, level with your shoulders.
The Movement:
1. Press the PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells) upwards and inwards until they almost touch over your head. Straighten your arms but do not lock out your elbows. Hold momentarily.
2. Lower the PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells) slowly back to the starting position.
Tips:
• Keep your torso upright - don't lean backwards or arch your spine as you press the bar upwards as this will strain your lower back.
• Hold your abdominal muscles taut to help stabilize your spine or, if you are using a very heavy weight, wear a weightlifting belt.
• Lower the PowerBlocks (or Dumbbells) until they touch your shoulders. Don't shorten the movement.