Back Exercises You Can Do at Home

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Come on, you know where the back machines are in your gym right? Well if you don’t, it’s the group of machines that rarely have anyone on them. That’s because people like to work muscle groups that get attention, like biceps and abs. However, those with strong backs will be the first to tell you it is one of the most important muscle groups on your body, not only for posture, but for any type of athletic movements.

 

Facts about your back muscles:

  • Your back muscles are the second strongest muscle group in your body; only your legs have more power.
  • A wide back creates the illusion of having a much smaller waist than you actually do. Therefore you look a lot trimmer than you really are.
  • Back training burns more calories than most exercises because they are the second biggest muscle group in the body.
  • For athletic movements, a strong back will enable you to throw further, climb and pull higher, or punch harder.
  • The lower back is used in nearly every exercise that you do for your entire body.

So, how do you exercise your back if you don’t have access to gym equipment? Easy, just follow the below workout I designed for you. Feel free to add or take away reps if the exercises are too easy or difficult for you.

Supermans – 1 set – 8 reps – video link

Lay face down with your arms out straight in front of you. Raise your arms and legs 6 inches off the ground. Hold for 3 seconds and return to the starting position.

I Pose Pump – 1 set – 18 reps – video link

Lay face down with your arms extended by your side. Raise your arms and legs 6 inches off the ground. Pump your arms up and down.

T Pose Pump – 1 set – 25 reps – video link

Lay face down with your arms extended outward. Raise your arms and legs 6 inches off the ground. Pump your arms up and down.

Bird dog – 1 set – 8 reps – video link

On your palms and knees with your eyes facing the ground, raise one arm and the alternate leg in line with your back. Hold for 3 seconds. Every two times you raise your leg is one rep.

Bridge– 1 set – 8 reps – video link

Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Put your arms at your side and lift your hips. Hold for 3 seconds and return to starting position.

There you have it, 5 back exercises you can do anywhere and anytime without any equipment. Of course, if you have a gym membership you could add many more back exercises to this workout, such as lat pull downs and pull ups. Always be sure to stretch your back after a workout to reduce soreness and stiffness.

 

This article was authored by Michael Volkin, inventor of Strength Stack 52 bodyweight exercise cards and the all new Weight Loss Stack 52, the most fun and unique way to lose weight. 

 

 

A Cool Trick to Redirect Calories to Muscles Instead of Fat

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Want a cool trick to help your body decide how to use those calories you just ate? Exercising right before and shortly after a big meal can help to activate a protein inside your muscle cells called Glut4. GLUT-4 is a protein that, when increased, tells your body to put calories into muscle tissue, instead of fat cells.

 

Here is how you activate your glut-4

Step 1: Do 60 -120 seconds of exercise right before eating (i.e. squats, lunges, push-ups, etc.)

Step 2: Eat a meal

Step 3: 90 minutes after your first bite, do another 60-120 seconds of exercise

 

Doing this will allow more calories to flow toward your muscle cells than fat cells.

 

This article was authored by Michael Volkin, inventor of the all new Weight Loss Stack 52, the most fun and unique way to lose weight. 

Busted! 5 Weight Loss Myths that Will Make You Cry

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weight loss tips

This guest post was written by Michael Volkin, inventor of Weight Loss Stack 52 (currently undergoing crowdfunding), the most unique and fun way to lose weight.

Busted! 5 Weight Loss Myths that will Make You Cry

Are you tangled in the web of weight loss fads and endless contradicting information on the web? Hopefully you haven’t fallen victim to one of these fads, wasting money and time with the hopes to lose a few pounds, only to gain more back in return. I know, it’s frustrating and millions of people share your pain.  Below I explain several myths that you might be doing right now to try and lose weight. If you are, then stop wasting your time and money.

MYTH # 1) LOSING WEIGHT REQUIRES HUNGER PAINS

The fact is, what you eat is more important than how much you eat. If you don’t eat enough, your metabolism will slow down, making your body want to store fat.  As a result, your initial weight loss will come from water and muscle, instead of fat.

You should try to consume healthy food choices and save those foods (and beverages) that are high in fat, sugar and calories for special occasions. Yes, you can have those unhealthy food choices from time to time, in fact, it’s encouraged. Without a cheat meal or snack every now and then, you will get frustrated and lose sight of your goal.  Please note, I said a cheat meal, not a cheat day. I see too many people doing cheat days, which is way too much for your body to overcome on a weight loss plan.

MYTH # 2) EAT NO FAT WHATSOEVER

This is a very old and popular myth. Your fat intake should be limited to around 15% of your overall daily calorie intake. Fat is needed in any diet to lubricate your joints, keeps your skin smooth and elastic, provide a source of energy, help your nervous system function properly and more. Olive, flaxseed and fish oils are good sources of fats. Fats to avoid include saturated fats and hydrogenated fats (also known as trans fats).

 

MYTH # 3) AVOID CARBS

You’ve certainly heard this before, “Carbohydrates are bad for you and should be avoided”. This myth has been trending lately as fad diets like Atkins and its copycats become more and more popular. The truth is carbohydrates have a moderate amount of calories (about half as many as fat). Simple carbohydrates (sugar) should be limited, but complex carbohydrates: whole grain and starches are high in nutrients. The problem with carbohydrates is portion control. Too many people eat at restaurants with huge portion sizes loaded with 5 times the amount of carbs needed for a given meal.  The best way to control your carb portions is to cook for yourself.

MYTH # 4) MEAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO GET ENOUGH PROTEIN

Meat is a great source of protein, but it certainly is not the only source. Meat can also be high in fat and sodium so many people look for alternative sources of protein. Egg whites are a prime source of protein and so are various vegetables and legumes like peas, spinach, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

MYTH #5: EXERCISE AT LEAST 30 CONSECUTIVE MINUTES TO GET AN EFFECTIVE CALORIE BURNING WORKOUT

Adults should engage in a workout regimen for at least 30 minutes a day at least 4 days a week. Research has shown that the activity does not need to be done all at once.  The 30 minute routine can be split into two 15 minute intervals and provide the same health benefits.

MYTH #6: VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS ARE HEALTHIER EATERS THAN CARNIVORES

Vegetarians on average eat fewer calories and less fat than carnivores (non-vegetarians). However, vegetarians can make eating choices that contribute to weight gain by eating large amounts of high-fat, high-calorie foods as well as food with little nutritional value. The term vegetarian is not synonymous with health.

 

 

The best way to be sure you are getting a well balanced, nutrient rich diet is to eat more whole foods and less processed, pre-packaged foods and to avoid eating out as much as possible. Make eating out an occasional treat, but try to prepare most of your meals yourself and you will be on your way to living a healthier, leaner lifestyle.

With your new found knowledge of weight loss, grab yourself a deck of my new invention, Weight Loss Stack 52, weight loss cards.

 

 

 

Use these Workout Tips to Get a Beach Body in Half the Time

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The warm weather is upon us and the skimpy clothes are coming out of the closet. If you always wanted to look great in skimpy clothes but didn’t want to spend an hour a day at the gym, then use the below time-saving workout tips to tone up and look great.

 

Ditch the treadmill warm up and do a bodyweight circuit instead – Instead of spending 10 minutes warming up on a treadmill before a workout, perform a 5 minute bodyweight exercise circuit instead. The bodyweight circuit is more fun and warms up your entire body in half the time. You can shuffle 7 Strength Stack 52 cards for a quick bodyweight circuit or make up one of your own.

 

Stop squatting with heavy weight – If you’ve ever seen power-lifters training their legs, you have almost certainly seen them performing barbell squats with a large amount of weight on the bar. Barbell squats are effective for large powerful legs, but getting nice toned legs doesn’t require heavy weights. Try Hindu squats instead of heavy barbell squats. Not only do Hindu squats save time by not having to load hundreds of pounds of weight on a bar, it’s safer and easier on your knees and back.

 

Stop performing one rep at a time. So many times I see people in the gym doing the standard 10 rep set. Try mixing it up a little and doing a 5 rep set but perform each rep 1 and a half times. Perform 1 entire rep of an exercise, then before returning to the starting position, go only half way and finish the rep again. You will finish the set quicker and you will activate more muscle fibers, especially if you are not use to doing reps this way.

 

Do “the superman” to build up your back – Many bodybuilders know that a strong back is the key to looking strong. A strong back puts your body in alignment and gives you great posture. The problem with getting a strong back is it usually requires a piece of gym equipment. However, there is an easy bodyweight exercise you can do at home called the superman. To perform this exercise:

  • Start by lying face down with your arms extended over your head.
  • Lift your arms and legs creating an elongated u shape with your body.
  • Your back should be arched and your legs should be several inches off the floor.
  • Hold for 3 seconds and return to the starting position.

All of these time saving workout tips will make you look great under one condition, you have to actually do them. Getting started is the hardest step, so be sure to schedule time for your workout and have nothing interrupt that time.

 

This article was authored by Sergeant Michael Volkin, inventor of Strength Stack 52 fitness cards and Quick Sweat Dice

 

30 Day ‘Little Black Dress’ Challenge!

Squat Challenge? Done!

Now it’s time for a new challenge, and we have the perfect one for those of you who have that LBD (little black dress) hanging in the wardrobe which you look at and think ‘oh I’m not ready for that just yet’. Try this out and let us know what you think!

Those of you who are brave enough, we would love to see some before and after pictures, the best results will get posted and praised!

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Check out www.30dayfitnesschallenges.com for more!

“300” Spartan Work Out

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Another one for the guys! If you want that six pack like Gerard Butler in the movie, see below for the work out thanks to menshealth.com!

Follow the plan below!

1. PULL UPS (25 reps)

Grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip that’s slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and hang at arm’s length. Pull your chest to the bar, pause, and then lower your body back to the starting position.

 2. DEADLIFTS WITH 135 LBS. (50 reps)

Load the barbell and roll it against your shins. Bend at your hips and knees and grab the bar with an overhand grip, your hands just beyond shoulder width. Without allowing your lower back to round, pull your torso back and up, thrust your hips forward, and stand up with the barbell. Squeeze your glutes as you perform the movement. Lower the bar to the floor, keeping it as close to your body as possible.

 3. PUSHUPS (50 reps)

Get down on all fours and place your hands on the floor so that they’re slightly wider than and in line with your shoulders. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause at the bottom, and then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as possible.

4. 24-INCH BOX JUMPS (50 reps)

Stand in front of a sturdy, secure box that’s high enough so that you have to jump with great effort in order to land on top of it. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Dip your knees. Jump up onto the box with a soft landing. Step down and reset your feet.

 5. FLOOR WIPERS (50 reps)

Holding a 135-pound loaded bar above your chest, bring your feet up together to the left plate, down to the middle, and up to the right plate before putting them down in the middle. That’s one repetition.

6. SINGLE-ARM CLEAN-AND-PRESS WITH 36-LBS. KETTLEBELL (50 reps)

Stand shoulder-width apart with a kettlebell between your feet. Bend at the knees and grab the kettlebell with an overhand grip. Drive your hips and legs through the floor to bring the kettlebell up to your chest (note: your arm should be tucked in close to your body with the kettlebell resting on the outside of your forearm.) Push overhead before lowering it to the ground in a controlled movement.

That’s one rep. Make sure it touches the ground before each rep. Perform 25 reps per arm.

 7. PULL UPS (25 reps)

Grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip that’s slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and hang at arm’s length. Pull your chest to the bar, pause, and then lower your body back to the starting position.

This is the ORIGINAL work out, there are beginner and intermediate alternatives for those just starting out!

Good Luck! We’d love to see results from people trying this out!

The Busy Dad and Busy Mom Workout!

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No matter what technological advances come out to make our lives more efficient and effective, we seem to have less and less free time in our daily lives. With the daily responsibilities of being a parent, it seems nearly impossible to consistently make time for the gym. But don’t worry; there are exercises you can fit into your existing day that can be surprisingly effective. If you want to lose weight and have more defined muscles, fit the below routine into your daily schedule for 4 weeks.

The Wake and Tuck

After your alarm clock goes off, tuck your knees to your chest and wrap your arms around your knees. Now, just rock slightly from side to side. This will wake up your spine and stretch your legs a bit. After doing this stretch for about 30 seconds, straighten your legs and move them from side to side (keeping your back on the mattress). This will further loosen your back and also engage your core. Depending on how you feel, you can choose to do 10 or 15 crunches in bed.

The Doorknob Squat

This might seem silly, but it works well. For your morning routine (the time you spend in the house before you leave for work), every time you touch a doorknob do 10 squats. Personally, I touch about 6-8 doorknobs on average during my morning routine. So before I even leave for work I have already done about 60 squats, which are a powerful bodyweight exercises and a great calorie burner.

The Ab Flex

During your drive to work do at least 5 sets of 15 ab flex’s. Squeeze your abdominal muscles as though you’re trying to touch your ribs to your stomach, hold for a couple seconds, then release. Of course, it goes without saying if this exercise takes away from your attention on the road, then stop doing them.

At this point, you are arriving at work and you have already stretched your legs and back and exercised your legs and abs. The first time you do this morning routine, you might find you feel more awake than you have in a long time and more focused and attentive at work. The human body is very adaptive and responds to change well. Your body will reward you with even these subtle changes to your daily routine.

The Three Card Monte

I realize once you get to work you’re busy, but no one is too busy to take a 30 second break here and there. Grab a deck of Strength Stack 52 bodyweight fitness cards and deal three cards (called the Three Card Monte). Each card will give you an exercise that requires only your bodyweight. Three cards are just enough to get your blood flowing, keep your metabolic rate high and thus keeping your energy level up. An average workday lasts 8 hours (not including an hour for lunch). If you can focus on playing Three Card Monte once an hour you will have completed 24 exercises just during your workday. Do you realize that most people who go to the gym for an hour every day don’t do 24 exercises? You completed 24 exercises taking only a 30 second break every hour, wow!

The 10 Minute Lunchtime Battle

You know how to play War with a deck of cards right? Simply grab a friend and a deck of cards, or use your Strength Stack 52, and play a game of War. With Strength Stack 52, playing War is easy, whoever deals the lowest card number has to do both exercises on the card. If you are using a regular deck of cards, you will need to determine what exercises should be given to the person who loses the hand. After playing War for just 10 minutes you will definitely notice a heart pumping workout.

The Evening Drop

This is a fun exercise to do with your family. Assign a “keyword of the day” and don’t tell anyone. Let’s assume the keyword is dog. Now, whenever anyone in your household says the word dog, you have to drop and do 10 push-ups. The next time that word is used, do 9 push-ups, then 8 and so on. The first time you do this your kids will laugh wondering what keyword made you drop. And if your kids are normal, if they find out what that keyword is, they will use it to their full advantage.

So now you are at the end of your day, you have worked your entire body, never needed to go the gym, never needed to carry any equipment with you and didn’t need to schedule any time for a workout, yet you burned a bazillion calories and firmed every muscle in your body. Great work!

This article was written by Sergeant Michael Volkin, inventor of Strength Stack 52 fitness cards, a unique way to transform bodyweight exercises into a fun and competitive workout.

One For The Guys: Man Of Steel Work Out!

Work Out & Meal Plan

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So for all you guys who want to get fit or just buff up a bit (or a bit more) we’ve got the Man of Steel work out and meal plan to help, thanks to http://www.strengthstack52.com !

(Girls… Thank us later!)

 

Ideally, you should be on a 2 day on-1 day off cycle.

Monday (Upper body, strength)

  • Incline dumbbell press – 4 sets x 5 reps
  • Flat dumbbell press – 3 sets x 5 reps
  • Weighted chin ups – 4 sets x 5 reps
  • Dumbbell/Barbell row – 3 sets x 5 reps

Tuesday (Lower body, strength)

  • Deadlift – 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Squat – 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Front lunges – 3 sets x 8 reps per leg
  • Calf raise – 5 sets x 12 reps

Wed (Rest)

Thurs (Chest and Back, hypertrophy)

  • Incline dumbbell press – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Cable crossover – 4 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Weighted chin ups – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Seated cable row – 4 sets x 10-12 reps

Friday (Shoulders and arms, hypertrophy)

  • Seated dumbbell press – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Side lateral raise – 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Front Lateral raises – 2 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Any bicep curl variation – 6 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Any tricep extension variation – 6 sets x 10-12 reps

Saturday and Sunday (Rest)

Note: You can do some soft tissue work (with foam roller or tennis ball), some stretching, and maybe even some walking but don’t do any high intensity activities.

 

The Tailpipe meal plan

Consume 5,000 calories a day with as much protein a possible. If you want specific recommendations on meals, check out Jim Stoppani’s meal plan at Bodybuilding.com .

Monday

Breakfast: Oatmeal with dried fruit and almond milk. 1 serving of fruit.
Snack: Natural protein bar. Sports recovery drink
Lunch: Salad of your choice but must include chicken breast, 30g avocado and 90g low-fat cheese. Low-fat dressing.
Snack: 60g nuts.
Dinner: 125ml vegetable soup. 180g salmon with lemon sauce, asparagus and wild rice.
Snack: 250ml fat-free cottage cheese. 30g nuts.

Tuesday

Breakfast: Protein shake (blend 1 banana, 50g berries, 1 scoop protein powder, 250ml almond milk).
Snack: Hummus with carrots
Lunch: 250ml vegetable soup. Salad with chopped turkey.
Snack: 1 green apple. 2tbsp almond butter.
Dinner: 180g chicken breast with 2tbsp honey chili sauce, quinoa and snap peas.
Snack: 20g casein protein.

Wednesday

Breakfast: Egg white omelet. Handful of strawberries.
Snack: 225g cottage cheese.
Lunch: Tuna salad with greens. 250ml soup.
Snack: 8 almonds. Carrot, apple, celery and ginger juice drink.
Dinner: 225g swordfish with mango and ginger sauce, wild rice and 1 medium artichoke.
Snack: Fresh pineapple with 225g cottage cheese.

Thursday

Breakfast: Muesli with almond milk. 1tbsp protein powder. Carrot, apple, celery and ginger juice drink.
Snack: 240ml low-sodium V8 juice. 2tbsp peanut butter.
Lunch: Stir-fry 170g scallops with 250g Chinese vegetables, garlic, onion and ginger in 2tbsp olive oil.
Snack: Protein shake (blend 1 banana, 250ml carrot juice, 1 scoop protein powder).
Dinner: 225g turkey burger with coleslaw (no bun). 250ml gazpacho.
Snack: 20g casein protein.

Friday

Breakfast: 250g fat-free plain Greek yoghurt. 1 banana.
Snack: 225g unsalted nuts. Carrot, apple, celery and ginger juice drink.
Lunch: Veggie burger with sautée vegetables and salad. 125ml vegetable soup.
Snack: 20 pistachio nuts.
Dinner: Tuna salad with plenty of greens. 250ml chilled cucumber soup.
Snack: 225g cottage cheese. 30g mixed nuts.

Saturday

Breakfast: Scrambled egg white or egg white omelette with mushrooms. Handful of strawberries. 170g cottage cheese.
Snack: 1 tomato. 50g fat-free cheese.
Lunch: Soup and salad of your choice (include 2tsp sesame seeds).
Snack: 50g turkey jerky. 280g almonds.
Dinner: 280g halibut with 4tbsp pesto, wild rice and courgette.
Snack: 20g casein protein.

Sunday

Breakfast: Egg white omelette with spinach. Handful of strawberries.
Snack: Fresh pineapple with 30g cottage cheese. 225g unsalted nuts.
Lunch: 280g steak with salad of your choice (include avocado).
Snack: 1 apple with 2tbsp almond butter.
Dinner: Beef and broccoli stir fry. 250ml miso soup. 1tbsp protein powder.
Snack: 225g cottage cheese. Handful of mixed nuts.