Monday, May 22, 2017

Top 9 Factors Of Perfect Bodybuilding Genetics | Straight Facts With Jerry Brainum


It's no secret that genetics play a big role in bodybuilding. But what does that mean exactly? It's easy to look at someone like Phil Heath, Ronnie Coleman, or Flex Wheeler and say - "They have perfect bodybuilding genetics." But what is actually going on with in the genetic make up that favors a bodybuilding physique?

 It turns out there is a lot more to it all than just "looking good" - and Jerry Brainum has the top 9 factors that help determine good genetics. Hard work is unavoidable... but watch this detailed list to find out if maybe you actually have some good genetics already. Learn how it can help you max your gains and physique in the episode above.


©,2017 Jerry Brainum. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited


Have you been ripped off  by supplement makers whose products don’t work as advertised? Want to know the truth about them? Check out Jerry Brainum's book Natural Anabolics, available at JerryBrainum.com.

 

The Applied Ergogenics blog is a collection of articles written and published by Jerry Brainum over the past 20 years. These articles have appeared in Muscle and Fitness, Ironman, and other magazines. Many of the posts on the blog are original articles, having appeared here for the first time. For Jerry’s most recent articles, which are far more in depth than anything that appears on this blog site, please subscribe to his Applied Metabolics Newsletter, at www.appliedmetabolics.com. This newsletter, which is more correctly referred to as a monthly e-book, since its average length is 35 to 40 pages, contains the latest findings about nutrition, exercise science, fat-loss, anti-aging, ergogenic aids, food supplements, and other topics. For 33 cents a day you get the benefit of Jerry’s 53 years of writing and intense study of all matters pertaining to fitness,health, bodybuilding, and disease prevention.

 

See Jerry's book at  http://www.jerrybrainum.com

 

Want more evidence-based information on exercise science, nutrition and food supplements, ergogenic aids, and anti-aging research? Check out Applied Metabolics Newsletter at www.appliedmetabolics.com

 

                            Please share this article on facebook

Monday, April 10, 2017

OSCAR DE LA HOYA SOLID GOLD : TRAINING & NUTRITION PROGRAM BY JERRY BRAINUM



De La Hoya didn't pull the nickname " Golden Boy" out of the thin air. It was given to him, along with his gold medal, after the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. So when the 26-year-old Mexican wunderkind stepped into the ring to battle Ike Quartey at the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas on the eve of Valentine's Day 1999, he came prepared to prove the sobriquet given him years earlier wasn't just hype.



Boxing pundits agreed Quartey was De La Hoya's greatest ring challenge to date. Quartey, a 29-year-old former World Boxing Association welterweight champion, was undefeated in 33 prior bouts, and the stoic-looking pro from Ghana was also reputed to have, pound-for-pound, the most
powerful jab in boxing. In pre-fight interviews, Quartey threatened to mangle Oscar's handsome facial features while " breaking his bones." But De La Hoya was confident. After all, he was undefeated in his pro career. and he had lineage on his side. His grandfather, Vicente, fought as an amateur in Mexico; his father, Joel Sr., boxed as a professional lightweight in the '60's. ( His family remains very involved in his career).Oscar, who'd begun boxing at age six, won his first amateur championship at 15, becoming the Junior Olympic Champion in the 119-pound weight class. He captured a national Golden Gloves title the following year, this time in the 125-pound category. Fighting the same weight in 1990, De La Hoya won the U.S. amateur title and the gold medal at the Goodwill games that year. He continued to score victories as an amateur, amassing a record of 223 wins and five losses, with 153 knockouts, "A startling KO percentage in the world of headgear and 10-ounce gloves," as one observer noted.

De La Hoya suffered a notable defeat in November, 1991, losing the World Amateur title in Sydney, Australia, to German boxer, Marco Rudolph. He avenged this loss in his celebrated victory over Rudolph at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Since turning pro in November 1992, with a first-round knockout of Lamar Williams, De La Hoya maintained a perfect record of 29 victories with no defeats going into his match with Quartey.





Along the way, De La Hoya had defeated several would title holders, including Jon-Jon Molina ( 1995); Rafael Ruelas (1995); Genaro Hernandez (1995); Jesse James Leija (1995); Julio Cesar Chavez ( 1996,1998); Miguel angel Gonzalez (1997). Despite this impressive string of victories, some critics frequently said De La Hoya had yet to meet a fighter with his own level of ability who was still in his prime. Ike Quartey clearly met that description. But De La Hoya was up for the challenge. He had unparalleled hand and foot speed and remarkable boxing skills.He wound up going 12 rounds wit Quartey. Both men were knocked down in the sixth round; De La Hoya won the split decision with a dramatic comeback in the last three rounds.

Team De La Hoya

 

 Boxing, in fact, is second nature to De La Hoya. But besides great genetics and his considerable ring talents, he has what might be called " secret weapons:" a behind-the-scenes conditioning team that enhanced and refined his pre-existing physical skills. The combined knowledge of this team, coupled with De La Hoya's fierce determination to be mentioned in the same breath as such great champions as Leonard, Hearns and Hagler, served notice that he was far more than just another "pretty face."

The conditioning team behind De La Hoya includes team leader Jon-Jon Park, a top-level personal trainer and former Olympic swimmer.  Park designs and supervises the weight-training part of De La Hoya's program. Jon Jon can be reached at jonjonpark21@gmail.com . Jon-Jon has a background in resistance and strength training few can boast.

 The son of one of the world's most famous Mr. Universe title-holders, bodybuilding's own grand patriarch, Reg Park, mentor to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Jon-Jon knows well the benefits of strength training and conditioning. While growing up in South Africa, the younger Park was himself a world-class athlete representing Great Britain at the Montreal Olympic Games where he was a contender for several swimming medals. He later Instituted the first strength training program for South African swimmers


During Park's swimming days, his father designed a special machine to simulate swimming strokes so
he could become stronger by adding weights to the type of motion used in the pool. Remembering how effective that had been, Jon-Jon Park designed a machine for De La Hoya that would simulate uppercuts. This preserved his shoulders and kept them stable, while improving the strength in the outlying areas of his torso. Improving condition and building strength within the areas of the obliques, serratus and intercostals, the machine has been a large part of his training for protection in those areas.  "I create specific stress, and allow him to gradually, subtly, adapt to that over a period of minutes within a workout, a period of days within a week or month, and so on, " Park explains.





Mak Takano the in-house team representative at De La Hoya's training camp in Big Bear, California has trained numerous celebrities, including Brad Pitt, Robert
Redford and Lesley-Ann Warren. He facilitates
the day to day operations at the camp. "I make sure Oscar is eating on schedule, taking his supplements and getting his workouts in on specified days," says Takano. Otherwise , the whole system breaks down and we don't accomplish the goals we're trying to achieve."













Jerry Brainum, a nutrition expert who has worked with athletes for thirty years, handles De La Hoya's nutrition program including helping him make the 147-pound welterweight limit, then adding to his energy reserves in the hours preceding the bout. "Once he's weighed in, Oscar will tell me how much he wants to weigh for the fight," says Brainum. "I very nearly always hit that weight exactly. I've been doing it for so long, I just know how much food it will take to get to a particular weight." Although increasing De La Hoya's overall exercise recovery, and increasing his strength and his muscle endurance through the use of supplements and food is Brainum's immediate goal, he says "I do this so he can stay on top. However over the long haul, what I'm essentially doing is protecting Oscar from any of the damage he may incur in the ring."



Reservations

 

Brainum in his own words:
"The teams introduction to Oscar came in 1996, shortly before he began preparations for his biggest fight to date, against Julio Cesar Chavez, a Mexican boxing icon, and Oscar's boyhood idol. We were approached earlier in the year by representatives of Oscar's promoter, Bob Arum, of top rank boxing. Arum had been impressed by the prior work we did with another boxer, David Kamau. With an undefeated record, Kamau, faced the biggest fight of his career against Chavez, a fight considered a warm-up against a future showdown between Chavez and De La Hoya. Kamau had plenty of heart, in the ring, but his managers contacted us because his energy seemed to fizzle after about three rounds. An analysis of his training and diet clearly showed why: David, born and raised in Kenya, ate only one meal a day, a type of porridge popular in his homeland, and ran over 10 miles a day! Jon-Jon Park designed a strength program for kamau, while I revamped is diet, increasing his protein intake while providing an extensive program of food supplements with the goal of increasing his energy, endurance, and strength. That the program was successful was evident as Kamau went the distance with Chavez. And although he didn't win the fight, many to this day think he should have. Immediately after the fight when I asked him about his energy level, Kamau replied, " I could have boxed another 20 rounds!" Our success with Kamau showed what a good program can do for even a world-class athlete, and led to a meeting with Oscar and his trainer, Robert Alcazar, at Oscar's camp."

Also on the team is Jorgen Persson, an exercise physiologist and masseur, who has aided Oscar's recovery after bouts through intensive sports massage.

When Park's team first met with De La Hoya an Alcazar, the fighter was on a strict program of chopping lumber, doing lots of push ups, pull ups and ab work, sparring and jumping rope. His trainer Jesus Rivera, had him logging 250 to 300 rounds of sparring in the two months prior to a fight and
engaging in brutal levels if interval training with some weight training mixed in. He did this all on a diet of cheeseburgers. (Now his favorite food is sushi). In short, De La Hoya was overtrained, exhausted, beginning to develop a shoulder injury and losing muscle mass.

The boxing community has always feared weight training will hinder a contender's performance. Most of the so-called elite athletes, who make upwards of $20 million dollars per fight, are still heading into the trees, axe in hand. Even boxing legend and infomercial grillmaster, George Foremen, still chops wood prior to a fight! Though outmoded ideas die hard, Alcazar knew even blue chip athletes can improve. He and De La Hoya listened to what Park had to say, but there were concerns.

Brainum tells it this way:

"When Jon Park and I first met with Oscar and his trainer at Big Bear, their biggest concern related to Oscar's losing one of his primary weapons through weight-training: speed. 'We don't want Oscar to turn into a bodybuilder', Alcazar said. I explained the various myths about boxing and resistance training. For example, Alcazar was worried that lifting weights would make Oscar 'slow and stiff ', I explained that flexibility wasn't adversely affected by muscle size gains, particularly if accompanied by a judicious use of stretching movements and a complete range of motion in is weight exercises. Besides, the program we envisioned for Oscar would not emphasize muscle hypertrophy, but would focus on increasing his local muscle strength and endurance, building up his weaker areas, while serving to protect him from possible injuries.

Alcazar then expressed concern that Oscar may add too much muscle, hampering his ability to make the weight cutoff. I explained that the program planned for Oscar would emphasize the development of sports skills, rather than muscle hypertrophy which is of more concern to a bodybuilder. Any initial strength gains made by a person new to resistance training are more the result of increased neuromuscular efficiency, rather than actual muscle gains. As a result, Oscar was in no danger of putting on too much muscle; it would be a tightly controlled situation. In addition, the nutritional program I planned for De La Hoya would also help him maintain his weight in the desired category.

A concern about losing vital hand speed also came up. To assuage these fears, I provided scientific studies showing that boxers who added weight training to their regimes displayed augmented punch velocity and increased punching endurance. Few people realize that punching power is derived mainly from the lower body, and increasing strength in that area makes even a power-puncher such as Oscar that much better. One Russian study that examined the biomechanics of the straight right jab punch found that 76 percent of the power behind the punch came from the torso and lower body, with only 24 percent derived from the arms. Another Russian study found that most boxing punches begin with a nerve impulse in the big toe of the supporting leg as the fighter shifts his weight before throwing the punch. I believe one of the primary advantages of weight training for boxers lies in injury prevention. The rapid, powerful, repetitive movements typical in boxing take a toll on the fighter's connective tissues, such as tendons and ligaments. For example , a 10-year study of injuries sustained during sparring, training, and competition at the U.S. Olympic Training center showed that upper body injuries involving the hand, wrists, shoulders, and elbows were most common among boxers, followed by  lower extremity injuries. Oscar, who had never previously lifted weights, was already showing signs of strain in areas such as his lower back and shoulders. Without a preventive and strengthening program, these injuries were bound to get worse. Oscar was particularly prone to such injuries, since he has a light bone structure for his 5'10" frame. Resistance exercise is is know to increase bone density.

The program designed for Oscar was highly sports-specific. several exercises were designed to mimic actual punching movements, with varying speeds of movement to increase punching power. Certain muscles were emphasized over others because of their utility in the ring. Such muscle groups included neck, forearms, abdominals and shoulders. Strengthening exercises were also included to bolster Oscar's previous muscle weaknesses in the lower back an legs. Increased neck strength is especially important for boxers.The thick neck girths of fighters like Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield provide testimony that these men have not neglected neck training. A strong neck helps to absorb the impact of head punches, and serves to decrease the rapid acceleration, deceleration, and turning forces that often result in a knockout. Training the abdominal muscles serves to cushion body blows to the cluster of nerves located in the solar plexus area. A strong punch to this section of the torso can render a fighter powerless quite rapidly."



Results!

 


De La Hoya's supplement regimen includes about 60 pills a day. as a fight gets closer, Brainum tries to making it as efficient as possible, and minimizing lactic acid burn. "I've developed a theory after studying some of the medical aspects of boxing," says Brainum. "Even champion boxers are prone to damage in a part of the brain that produces dopamine, in an area called substantia nigra. Ali  is an example, but he's a different kind of case. There are a lot of boxers who just don't seem clear." De La Hoya's supplementation supports that area of the brain. Brainum includes a large volume of antioxidants because much of what happens over time is oxidative damage. He also suggests that increasing concentrations of vitamin C and E in the tissues will, theoretically, help preserve neurons if any oxidative damage has occurred as a result of blows to the head. " I want to make sure Oscar keeps his marbles when his boxing career ends, " he says.
build up a buffer system so De La Hoya gets an increase in anaerobic threshold. That way, if he's throwing a lot of punches, he doesn't get as tired. the intent is to maximize the anaerobic energy cycle (Kreb's Cycle)

Shortly after beginning the program designed for him, De La Hoya told reporters he felt his behind-the-scenes team was responsible for a 20 percent increase in speed. By then he was convinced of the advantages of a sensible resistance, nutrition and cardiovascular program. "They're all experts in their fields, and I'm the expert in boxing." De La Hoya says of working with the team, " Of course, Robert Alcazar is my coach, but he pretty much allows Jon and his team to take care of the conditioning and nutrition outside of the boxing training I do with him. He's a believer in it at this point."

Park tells a story about De La Hoya's current level of conditioning. "About two weeks prior to his fight with Quartey, we were running intervals. We did 200's in succession with about thirty seconds' rest in between. Oscar's heart rate only reached 116 beats per minute! That's unbelievable! What's more, his recovery back down to 62 beats per minute occurred within minutes. It's almost unheard of. That is all about genetics." According to Park, "fast-twitch fiber people are explosive and fast, while slow-twitches fiber people are more endurance-based. Oscar is probably in the 70% fast twitch area, because he's very quick an strong. But a person who has this ability shouldn't have endurance, yet Oscar has incredible endurance. So, in my opinion, the slow twitch fibers he does have are incredibly oxidative. This means that he has a huge oxygen capacity within a limited amount of fiber. Had he not been a boxer, I think he would have been a middle distance runner."

Takano is impressed by De La Hoya's ability to focus. "He likes to joke around a lot, and at one moment, you'll see him do this between rounds of sparring," he says. " but when the bell rings, Oscar is right back in there and focused and has his mind only on what is at hand. It's rare for anyone to be able to have that kind of focus an discipline to always snap back and forth between being casual and being serious. He's isn't the type of person who has to sit down and think about what he's going to do."




What's ahead for the Golden boy "My plan is to win seven world titles in seven different weight classes." De La Hoya has said. "It would be impossible to do it without weights and the proper nutrition. I've gotten faster as I've moved up in weight." But he still believes he has work to do. "I
don't think I'm the perfect fighter at this point, no matter what my record is. A lot of people in the boxing world call me 'the best fighter, pound for pound', but personally, I don't think I'm there yet." He sees himself comfortable as a junior middleweight, a level he'll move up to in September. "I think that's the weight I should be naturally, where I'll feel strong and healthy. At that weight, I'll call myself the "pound-for-pound champion". 

De La Hoya might meet Felix Trinidad, winner of the undercard fight at the De La Hoya/ Quartey match. Some say he'll fight both Quartey and Trinidad, but the De La Hoya camp has not released any concrete commitments. One thing's certain though: he'll keep supporting the foundation he set up in East L.A. to keep kids off the street through boxing and other activities. He likes giving something back.



Jon Jon Park, son of Legendary body builder Reg Park, mentor to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Jon Jon is a former Olympic swimmer and besides growing up in the fitness industry, he has been a  coach in swimming and soccer and a trainer for over forty two years. He has worked with many world class and top level amateur and professional athletes designing programs and weekly schedules in preparation for competitive events or specific goals to be achieved. Jon Jon believes in total balance with regards to a health and fitness program which he calls the wheel of and fitness. The wheel has seven components with all of them being of equal importance (see attached), He has all clients answer a questionnaire before starting on a program and based on how they answer the questions he then graphs them in each segment with one being the lowest score and 10 being the highest and then he connects the dots. The object is to achieve a perfect circle as a wheel can only work efficiently, if it is a perfect sphere. If there are weak segments Jon Jon has his clients place more emphasis on these segments.

Today Jon Jon places a huge emphasis on postural training whether it be doing resistance training or specific spinal stretching and corrective exercise for those who have structural imbalances. His programs also include physical therapy using his own techniques for those who have had injuries with great success. He believes that most people over train and he emphasizes more quality training than quantity especially considering peoples busy lifestyles today. 

Jon Jon can be reached at jonjonpark21@gmail.com  

 

  ©,2017 Jerry Brainum. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited

Have you been ripped off  by supplement makers whose products don’t work as advertised? Want to know the truth about them? Check out Jerry Brainum's book Natural Anabolics, available at JerryBrainum.com.

 

The Applied Ergogenics blog is a collection of articles written and published by Jerry Brainum over the past 20 years. These articles have appeared in Muscle and Fitness, Ironman, and other magazines. Many of the posts on the blog are original articles, having appeared here for the first time. For Jerry’s most recent articles, which are far more in depth than anything that appears on this blog site, please subscribe to his Applied Metabolics Newsletter, at www.appliedmetabolics.com. This newsletter, which is more correctly referred to as a monthly e-book, since its average length is 35 to 40 pages, contains the latest findings about nutrition, exercise science, fat-loss, anti-aging, ergogenic aids, food supplements, and other topics. For 33 cents a day you get the benefit of Jerry’s 53 years of writing and intense study of all matters pertaining to fitness,health, bodybuilding, and disease prevention.

 

See Jerry's book at  http://www.jerrybrainum.com

 

Want more evidence-based information on exercise science, nutrition and food supplements, ergogenic aids, and anti-aging research? Check out Applied Metabolics Newsletter at www.appliedmetabolics.com

 

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

A DIFFERENT TWIST TO SOME AGE-OLD BACK EXERCISES by Jerry Brainum 1989


A jaded ex-bodybuilding writer once paraphrased Gertrude Stein by noting "a curl is a curl is a curl." He believed that every exercise is basically the same with minor variations. But it's the minor variations that play a major role in boosting consistent bodybuilding gains.

For beginners the basic exercise are essential. This is the time to familiarize both the mind and body to exercise. Trying to do more advanced, complicated exercises  using unusual angles only confuses the neophyte bodybuilder. The resulting poor form abruptly halts muscle gains, with an often fatal effect on mental enthusiasm. 

Basic exercises, such as barbell curls, barbell rows, chins, bench presses and others, are known for their simplicity. They serve to train a beginner's neuromuscular response, which sets the stage for fast progress. This accounts for the quick gains of beginning bodybuilders. Most of the progress is the result of this neuromuscular education.

As the bodybuilder advances, a certain amount of adaptation sets in. Once the body fully accommodates to an exercise, there's no need of facilitative changes, such as muscular growth, to continue. Now is the time for change.

This change can take one or more routes. You can add weight, thus applying new levels of stress to the muscle. If your strength level doesn't permit additional poundages, you can increase reps in the exercises. Again, the neuromuscular system senses the newly perceived stress and accommodates by muscular hypertrophy (growth).

A third option is changing exercises. No matter how advanced you become in bodybuilding, switching around exercises never fails to breathe new life into a stale routine. Some champions, such as former multi-Mr. Universe winner Bill Pearl, change around their entire training programs every six weeks. Pearl's mammoth tome "Keys to the Inner Universe," is literal evidence of Pearl's belief in exercise variety.

Bill Pearl and other champions change around their routines for two reasons:

1) Using a new angle or exercise works the muscle differently. The brain recruits only as many muscle fibers as necessary to complete any movement. By using varying angles and exercises, different fibers will be activated in a muscle, and more complete development will result.


2) Using a different exercise injects enthusiasm into training, thus promoting continued progress. Now that we understand why changing around exercises is important for continued gains, let's look at a few unusual back exercises. There exercises aren't often done by most bodybuilders, but this doesn't reflect on their value. Give them a try if you've reached a training rut. Before we get to the actual movements, let's hear from a few of the champs



Back Training: Maintain Control



Tom Platz once remarked that he couldn't make real progress in his back training until he developed a "full sensory awareness" of each exercise . To do this requires a full range of exercise motion. Most of the failures in back training are due to poor form. It's all too easy to let the powerful arm or shoulder muscles take over when the back should be doing the work.

Those guilty of poor exercise form believe that because the back is such a large muscle group (second only to thighs in total mass), heavy weights must always be used. While heavy weights are essential to acquire large muscles, form must never be sacrificed for sheer weight.

Just after winning the 1987 Mr. Olympia contest, Lee Haney commented on the stark difference between his back development when compared to some of the other Olympia competitors. Haney's superb, full back development is one of the major reasons the awesome one holds five Mr. Olympia titles. Yet, Lee only uses 70 lbs in one-arm dumbbell rows. "It's the form that makes a difference," said Lee. "I use full reps and make sure the back muscles do the work -- not my arms or delts."

Phil Williams has muscle on every square inch of his back. Looking at Phil's back would make you think he did lots of 400-plus pound bentover rows to get that way. Think again. Phil uses weights that belie his massive muscularity. The trick is in his form. He uses almost painfully slow exercise motion, and he doesn't stop an exercise until every muscle fiber burns in agony. Training this way doesn't permit using heavy weights.

In contrast, another top bodybuilder, often criticized for his weak back development, still insists on using heavy weights and short, incomplete movements. Apparently, this fellow hasn't deduced that the secret to a great back lies in exercise control. Control allows you to feel the muscle throughout its full range of motion. Heaving heavy weights with poor form eliminates exercise control and doesn't fully work the targeted muscles.

So, when training back, control and feel are essential to progress and full development. Yes, increase weight as you get stronger, but never sacrifice form for weight. An added bonus here is the prevention of serious back injuries. Most injuries result from poor form secondary to lack of exercise control.

Back Training Variety

Since the back muscles function by bringing the arms down in line with the torso, or out to the side away from the torso, various forms of rows, chins, and pulldowns are best. But many bodybuilders don't take advantage of the huge variety offered through variations of these three basic exercises. There's no need to lock yourself into a dull, humdrum routine lacking both progress and enthusiasm.

Here, then, are a few of the more esoteric -- but efficient -- back exercises in no particular order:



1) Reverse Barbell Shrugs - 


 A favorite exercise of Mr. Olympia, Lee Haney, the movement is done by holding a barbell behind the back rather than in the usual frontal position. Haney favors this technique because he says it more strongly works the area where the upper trapezius ties in with the rear delts.

While performing this exercise, imagine your arms as being frozen, or stiff, and let the traps do all the work, up till the peak contraction at the top, when you can hold and squeeze strongly by bending at the elbows slightly.



2) Reverse-Grip Bentover Barbell Rows -

This exercise works the middle back area strongly. Usually it's the area most deficient in those with poor back development. This exercise is the cure. It's best to get a full stretch at the bottom. In the arms-extended stretch position, you start with the bar in line with your head (standing on a block or bench helps). As you bring the bar up, you arc it toward your waist. In the top contracted position try to squeeze the shoulder blades together. Hold the contracted position for three seconds then lower slowly to the start position.




3) Lying High-Bench Barbell Rows -

For those with lower back injuries, this exercise can provide a useful alternative for working the mid-back area. It's done by lying prone (face down) on a high bench. Place a barbell under the bench, and row, bringing the bar as high as possible (a cambered bar works well here). Hold the contracted position for three seconds, then lower slowly. For upper back emphasis, bring the bar to the neck. for mid-back, raise the bar to the chest.



 John Meadows 



4) One-Arm T-Bar Rows - 

The best way to do this is in the usual rowing position. You can, however, stand to the side of the weight and row at a wide side angle. Try both variations to see which suits you best. This exercise effectively works the outside upper back and lat areas. It will help make your lat-spread pose look more impressive. As will this:







5) High-Pulley One-Arm Rows -

Bill Pearl showed me this one about 20 years ago. It's a refreshing variation to the usual plain vanilla seated pulley rows. It feels a bit awkward at first, but once you get into the proper groove, this exercise produces a great pump. Concentrate on doing a full exercise motion, and stretch fully in the start position. Higher reps are more effective, between 12 and 15 per arm. Try doing consecutive sets, alternating arms non-stop for three to four sets. Act like your hands are hooks, and let the lats pull the weight.



The dumbbells can be raised higher.

6) Two-Dumbbell Bentover Rows -

Duplicate the usual bentover row using two dumbbells instead of a barbell. The advantage here is the increase range of motion possible by using dumbbells. You can go past where the torso (which is where the standard barbell row ends) and get a stronger muscle contraction. The increased range also brings more upper back muscle into play. This exercise is admittedly awkward compared to barbell rows, but it's good as a variation, offering some advantages over barbell rows.

Keep your hands supinated (palms facing torso) to maximize the range of movement. Keep the elbows in, close to the torso for maximum lat involvement. It's possible to do this exercise with elbows out to the sides, but this often degenerates into a sloppy bentover lateral raise movement.


7) Standing Bentover Low-Pulley Rows -

This exercise looks like you're water skiing on dry land. Use a low pulley with either a rope attachment or towel through the pulley handle. Pull the weight into the lower abdominal area. Stretch in the start position, hold in the contracted position for a count of three. Standing low-pulley rows can also be done one arm at a time.
 Here, you stand to the side of the pulley and row across your body rather than directly in front as in the two-hand version. Both variations are excellent, and higher reps, 12-15 work well.



8) Straight-Arm Lat Pulldowns -

Stand in front of a high pulley and use a medium grip on the bar. With elbows slightly bent, bring the bar down in and arc to the frontal thighs. This is a very good movement for working the upper lats and serratus. It's best to use this exercise as a finishing pump movement, but it can also be used to pre-exhaust the lats first. Use reps between 12 and 20.






9) A Good Upper Back Superset - 

This superset consists of light bentover barbell rows using a wide, collar-to-collar grip, alternated non-stop with dumbbell bentover laterals. It's important to keep the bells in line with the head for maximum upper back involvement. The weight used in this combination is secondary to using good form. You must use a weight that you can feel throughout the complete range of movement. Doing the exercises slowly, and utilizing a strong, three-second contraction in each works very well.

There you have it. A complete arsenal for back-training variety. Give these exercises a try if you've reached a rut in your back training. By using good form, including full range of motion, concentration, full extensions and strongly held contractions, you'll find your way out of any rut and into the light.


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©,2017 Jerry Brainum. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law including being charged fees everyday. All photos and articles are double watermarked. Do not reproduce without express permission only.

Have you been ripped off  by supplement makers whose products don’t work as advertised? Want to know the truth about them? Check out Jerry Brainum's book Natural Anabolics, available at JerryBrainum.com.

 

The Applied Ergogenics blog is a collection of articles written and published by Jerry Brainum over the past 40 years. These articles have appeared in Muscle and Fitness, Ironman, and other magazines. Many of the posts on the blog are original articles, having appeared here for the first time. For Jerry’s most recent articles, which are far more in depth than anything that appears on this blog site, please subscribe to his Applied Metabolics 

 

 Applied Metabolics, which is more correctly referred to as a monthly e-book, since its average length is 35 to 40 pages, contains the latest findings about nutrition, exercise science, fat-loss, anti-aging, ergogenic aids, food supplements, and other topics. For 33 cents a day you get the benefit of Jerry’s 53 years of writing and intense study of all matters pertaining to fitness,health, bodybuilding, and disease prevention.

Newsletter, at www.appliedmetabolics.com

 


See Jerry's book at  http://www.jerrybrainum.com

 

Want more evidence-based information on exercise science, nutrition and food supplements, ergogenic aids, and anti-aging research? Check out Applied Metabolics Newsletter at www.appliedmetabolics.com

 

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Artifically Speaking, How Sweet it Isn't by Jerry Brainum Archived From Iron Man March 2012


Many people are concerned about the widespread use of artificial sweeteners, including aspartame and the sucralose, and the possibility that they may cause serious health problems, ranging from brain tumors to various neurological issues, like chronic headaches. Even so, the majority of studies that have carefully examined the alleged side effects of commercial sweeteners have not confirmed the anecdotal reports o health problems. Yet many people remain convinced that artificial sweeteners pose a risk to long-term health.

If you look at what some of the most popular sweeteners are made of, it's difficult to understand how they could be toxic, unless they were used in massive amounts. In animal studies any toxicity symptoms appeared only after the animals were given quantities of sweeteners that far exceeded what any rational person would be able to use.

Aspartame is composed ot two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, both of which occur in every protein food and drink available. Critics argue that the problem is a third ingredient methanol, commonly known as " wood alchohol." Methanol is indeed toxic but not in the quantities found in aspartame. There is considerably more methanol naturally occurring in a glass of fruit juice than in the recommended maximum dose of asparatame.


Despite evidence to the contrary , many bodybuilders refuse to use any type of artificial sweetener. That seems ironic when you consider how many of them wouldn't think twice about using anabolic drugs that do pose definite health threats but balk at putting aspartame in their coffee. Because of the ludicrous articles published on the internet that "document " the dangers of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, more natural sweeteners are now in vogue.

Perhaps the most popular natural alternative sweetener is stevia, a member of the sunflower family. More than 240 species of Stevia are known to exist. The type used for sweetening purposes is Stevia Rebaudiana. In high doses it produces an aftertaste that some describe as being similar to licorice, which may be significant.

Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar and has been used in Japan since 1970. Its sweetening power is derived from two glycosides, meaning that they contains glucose. Several health attributes have been associated with stevia, including lower blood pressure and a rejuvenating effect on the beta cells of the pancreas, which produce insulin. That suggests that stevia unlike sugar, may provide an antidiabetic effect.

According to a newly published case study, however, stevia may have a previously unrecognized property that may make it even worse than the reviled artificial sweeteners.1 The case involved a 32-year-old woman who had suffered from symptoms of generalized edema for more than six months, including a swelling of her feet, hands and face. She also displayed early signs of high blood pressure, along with low blood potassium. Lab tests revealed low levels of aldosterone, an adrenal steroid hormone linked to sodium retention, and renin, a kiney hormone that adjusts blood pressure. she did show an increase in the ratio of cortisol to its inactive metabolite, cortisone.

It turns out that the woman had been liberally using stevia for nine months before she turned up at the hospital. she did not have any risk factors that would account for her elevated cortisol--for example, she didn't eat licorice, which is known to produce an aldosterone-like effect, causing high blood pressure and low blood potassium--nor did she use chewing tobacco, which also contains compounds that can boost cortisol. The examining doctors suspected that her intake of stevia might be the root of the problem, so they asked her to stop using it.

Within two weeks her edema symptoms completely subsided. to prove that it was indeed the stevia that caused her symptoms, the doctors requested that she take another dose of stevia, an action that the woman vehemently refused. So the question is, what is it about stevia that would cause the woman's symptoms, which appeared to be linked to her elevated cortisol?

It has to do with an enzyme called 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type-2, or 11B2. It's found in tissues that express mineralocorticoid receptors, such as the kidneys, colon and salivary glands, and it works by converting cortisol into the inactive cortisone. The other form of the enzyme , type-1 , works in reverse; it converts inactive cortisone into active cortisol. Anything that interferes with the actions of 11B2 can lead to elevated cortisol in the body, along with various related symptoms, such as edema, loss of potassium and high blood pressure. Licorice can inhibit 11B2, which explains the side effects that can occur when someone eats excessive amounts of black licorice.

When the woman in the study used those generous amounts of stevia, it blocked the 112B , leading to her symptoms. What's curious is that most studies have found that stevia appears to lower blood pressure, which wouldn't happen if the enzyme was blocked. so why did it happen to this woman?

It could be that her predisposition to problems with the enzyme that were activated by her stevia intake. It could also relate to the large amounts that she used. Smaller amounts might not have been sufficient to produce symptoms or affect the enzyme. It could have been the length of time over which she used the stevia in large quantities, more than nine months. she might have been drinking a lot of water and taking in a lot of sodium in her diet, which would have made her symptoms apparent. Similar to what happens with other substances, it seems that only the dose determines the poison. Since this particular side effect of stevia hasn't shown up previously, despite more than our decades of use worldwide. I suspect that she did have a genetic susceptibility.



Water Retention and Bodybuiling



One of the common side effects of using large doses of anabolic steroids is a form of edema, more popularly know as " water retention." It's often attributed to sodium and water retention in the body caused by the high-dose steroid use. the effect subsides when the user gets off all steroids. Interestingly, anabolic drugs not often linked to water retention, such as growth hormone, may be even more potent in that regard than are steroids because growth hormone triggers the release of aldosterone, which, as noted, causes potassium excretion and sodium retention, along with water retention.

Many of the possible adverse cardiovascular effects of steroids are related to that water retention, including high blood pressure an damage to arteries that could result in atherosclerosis. what is it about steroids that causes the edema?

One of the known effects of steroids that they compete with cortisol for binding to mineralocorticoid cell receptors. In short, steroids block the effects of cortisol in the body. In fact, that is considered a primary anabolic effect of steroids, since cortisol is the body's primary catabolic hormone, linked to excessive muscle loss. Some scientists even speculate that the muscle-protein-synthesis effect produced by steroids is short-lived, and that any anabolic effects that occur with extended steroid use are likely due to cortisol inhibition.

On the other hand, you still see those common signs of water retention in high-dose steroid users. How can that be if steroids oppose cortisol actions in cells? For some it could be the result of excess estrogen, produced as a result of aromatization, which is the conversion of androgens into estrogen by way of the enzyme aromatase. Since most steroid users also use other drugs that block excess estrogen activity, the probability of that being the case is low. There are, however other hormones that can produce estrogenlike side effects, including DHT, a metabolite of testosterone linked to various side effects, including acne and hair loss, and as noted , growth hormone can also produce a significant amount of water retention.

All that said, the most probable cause of edema in bodybuilders on high-dose-steroid regimens is a blocking of the enzyme 11B2. Several steroids are known to do that, including anadrol ( trade name for oxymetholone ), Oranabol ( oxymesterone) and testosterone, but they all have a rather weak effect on the enzyme, which is the reason that everyone who uses them suffers the bloat effect. A recent report, however fond that one particular steroid, Halotestin ( fluoxymesterone ), is a potent blocker of 11B2, meaning that it significantly boosts cortisol in the body by preventing the 112 from inactivating it. 2

Halotestin was briefly popular among pro bodybuilders in the '70s. It had the reputation of producing a harder-looking physique, and since it wasn't subject to conversion to estrogen, it avoided the problems related to high estrogen levels. It was, however, subject to conversion to DHT. The drug was not very anabolic but was highly androgenic, likely because of its tendency to be converted into DHT. That produces a lot of aggression, which aided intense training but also triggered adverse personality changes. Still, the main reason that it fell out of favor was that it proved highly toxic to liver function.

Halotestin is structurally similar to cortisol, which may explain its effect in blocking the type 2 enzyme, but if it produces a lot of cortisol in the body, how did it get the reputation of being a " hardening drug "? while it may have blocked cortisol cell receptors in muscle, thereby exerting an anticatabolic action conductive to building muscle, in the kidneys it has a reverse effect of activating mineralocorticoid receptors, producing aldosterone-like effects, such as high blood pressure, potassium excretion and sodium retention. That also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, since mineralocorticoid receptors are also activated in the heart, opening the door to the development of atherosclerosis.

Small wonder that Halotestin rarely, if ever, shows up in current athletic anabolic drug stacks. While no anabolic steroid is completely safe, some are far worse than others, and Halotestin is at the top of that list. Interestingly, President John F. Kennedy used Halotestin as part of his daily drug regimen. He used it to offset the cortisol drugs that he had to take because of his Addison's disease, in which the body doesn't produce enough cortisol.

1 Esmail,S., et al. (2012). Edema, enigma: 11-B-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type-2 inhibition by sweetener "stevia." Open J Endocrine Metab Dis. 2:49-52

2 Furstenberger, C., et al. (2012). the anabolic-anrogenic steroid fluoxymesterone inhibits 11-B-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-2 dependent glucocorticoid inactivation.
Toxicol Sci. 126:353-61


http://www.jerrybrainum.com


©,2017 Jerry Brainum. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law including being charged fees everyday. All photos and articles are double watermarked. Do not reproduce without express permission only.

Have you been ripped off  by supplement makers whose products don’t work as advertised? Want to know the truth about them? Check out Jerry Brainum's book Natural Anabolics, available at JerryBrainum.com.

 

The Applied Ergogenics blog is a collection of articles written and published by Jerry Brainum over the past 20 years. These articles have appeared in Muscle and Fitness, Ironman, and other magazines. Many of the posts on the blog are original articles, having appeared here for the first time. For Jerry’s most recent articles, which are far more in depth than anything that appears on this blog site, please subscribe to his Applied Metabolics Newsletter, at www.appliedmetabolics.com. This newsletter, which is more correctly referred to as a monthly e-book, since its average length is 35 to 40 pages, contains the latest findings about nutrition, exercise science, fat-loss, anti-aging, ergogenic aids, food supplements, and other topics. For 33 cents a day you get the benefit of Jerry’s 53 years of writing and intense study of all matters pertaining to fitness,health, bodybuilding, and disease prevention.

 

See Jerry's book at  http://www.jerrybrainum.com

 

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

THINK YOU'RE TOUGH? TAKE A LOOK AT RICK STEPHENSON BY JERRY BRAINUM Archived from MUSCLE & FITNESS AUGUST 1989



The Rangers, a special combat unit of the US Army, are about as tough as they come. If you're selected for Ranger training school at Fort Benning, Georgia, you can look forward to 20 hour days in which the word " rest " is not part of the language.

Daily activities include hand-to-hand combat, climbing steep hills with minimal equipment, and wading through jungle swamps where the least of your worries is that slippery creature coiling around your leg in the murky water.

No wonder the course has a 60% washout rate. Hey, pal, if you can get through this glute-busting stuff, the rest of life really is a bowl of cherries. Just ask Rick Stephenson.

Stephenson, a 32 year old San Diego resident, is a graduate of that school. He's also the 1988 NPC California State Bodybuilding champion. At 5'8" and a contest weight of 210, Rick has a rugged look honed from years of military discipline combined with hours of intense training in the gym. Rick considers his experience in the Ranger training camp one of the most rewarding times of his life. "The Rangers," he says, " have a saying: 'Your body can stand 10 times more than you think it can.' When you've gone through that kind of punishment, you almost look forward to intense sessions in the gym."

Rick was born in Yuba City, California. He participated in sports ranging from wrestling to pole vaulting. "I started fooling around with weights at 14," he says, "I really enjoyed the feeling that I got from lifting weights. Before long I decided that weights were the best route to big muscles and strength.

He didn't get serious about training, however, until after he joined the Air Force.He enlisted right out of high school and was promptly sent to West Germany. There the bodybuilding hug bit him. He and two friends trained regularly at a well-equipped base gym. rick remembers leafing through MUSCLE BUILDER ( now MUSCLE & FITNESS ) and admiring photos of Danny Padilla, Ken Waller, Arnold and other champions of that era. What really impressed him was the mass of these men, and he vowed to emulate their example.

When he got out of the service in 1979, Rick entered Mesa College in Dan Diego, majoring in aviation occupations. He planned to get his college degree, then re-entered the Air force for pilot training.

He obtained an associate's degree after two years, but the wild blue yonder beckoned. He re-enlisted in the Air force. During this second tour of duty he became one of the select few members of the Air Force chosen for Army Ranger training. He arrived at the ranger school weighing 225; the rigorous training brought his weight down to 170.

He kept up his weight training through the years, and in 1981, while he was training at a local gym in San Diego, someone noticed his impressive muscularity and urged him to compete. Rick acquired a sponsor and competed in the Gold's Classic in Los Angeles as a light-heavyweight, placing second. " "At that time in my life," he says " I was just interested in training and getting big. Competition really hadn't interested me. But once I got a taste of competing, I was hooked."

After the Gold's Classic, he jumped into the Nationals in Las Vegas. That proved a sobering experience as the ill-prepared  Stephenson bombed out, placing 11th in his class.

The pressures of travel from his Air Force job kept him from competing again until 1985. That year he moved up to fourth in the light-heavyweight class at the USA Championships.

Right after the USA,Rick got out of the service. The next year, he and tow partners officially took over Gold's gym of San Diego ( Pacific Beach ).

Rick enjoys the gym business and gets along well with his clientele. since he and his business partners are competing bodybuilders, they knew how to upgrade the gym with the latest high-tech equipment. Under their management, the gym membership grew. but Rick still had competition on his mind and took aim at the 1987 NPC California Championship.

In a hard-fought battle, Rick placed second in the light-heavies losing to Shawn Ray ( who also won the overall title). One year later, Rick returned as a heavyweight and easily won both his class and the overall title.

With the California Championship now his, Rick's current goal is to win the USA Championships in Raleigh North Carolina in July. Here's how he's planning to do it.


TARGET: RALEIGH

 

In assessing his physique, Stephenson says, "There aren't any dominant points about my body, expect for my butt in the off-season."

One mistake he made in the past was training too often, " I think taking more rest days during the off-season allows more complete recuperation and gives the body the break it needs before you begin precontest training," he says now.

His off-season split involves training two days, taking the third day off, training the fourth day, followed by two more days off. He the repeats the cycle.

For pre-contest, he trains on the Weider double-split routine, using the three-days-on, one-day-off split, like this: 

  DAY ONE

    a.m. - chest , shoulders

    p.m. - triceps


   DAY TWO

    a.m. - quads, calves

    p.m. - hamstrings


  DAY THREE

   a.m. - back

   p.m. - biceps


Before the evening workout, he rides a stationary bike for 30 minutes. During the first three workouts of the week, he uses heavy weights and slower movements, with more rest between sets. The repetitions range from 8-10. On the second three days of the training cycle, he uses the Weider Quality Training Principle, resting only 30 seconds between sets and increasing his reps to 15 per set. " Fast training stimulates muscle density," he says.

For smaller muscle groups, such as biceps, triceps and shoulders, he prefers to do three exercises per muscle, 3-4 sets each exercise .For example , here's a typical precontest triceps routine:

 1) Pulley Pressdowns - 3 sets

 2) Dips ( machine ) - 3 sets

 3) Incline Barbell Triceps Extension - 3-4 sets


Some days, he may do more sets depending on the muscle response. This is, of course, the Weider Instinctive Training Principle.




For larger muscle groups, Rick uses the Weider Pre-Exhaustion Principle, doing an isolation exercise followed by a compound movement. For instance in training chest, he'll do a flye-type exercise first ( isolation) then a press movement ( compound ). He uses various angles ( incline, flat, decline ) and several varieties of equipment ( pulleys, free weights, machines ) to fully congest the muscle. For the larger muscle areas, he'll do more sets ( 4-5 per exercise ), using the same heavy/light rep pattern as the smaller muscles.

Rick says you need to understand the feel of a muscle in order to work it properly. In training chest, for example, you must bring the arms slightly inward as you approach the contracted position in both flyes and presses. In training back, you must isolate the lats and not let the biceps do too much of the work.


Rick's precontest diet consists of five meals a day with proper supplementation. His lovely Swedish-born wife Agnetha prepares these meals, carefully weighing and measuring ingredients to ensure exact proportions. a top personal trainer herself, Agnetha is aware of the importance of proper nutrition for bodybuilding success.Rick eats breakfast at home. Agnetha packs his other four meals in Tupperware containers, and Rick eats the contents of one of these prepared containers every 2 1/2 - 3 hours. He sets an alarm on his watch to go off at these exact intervals. Remember - he's an ex-military man!

Breakfast consists of  cream of rice or oatmeal with an added 30 grams of 100% of egg-white powder. The next four meals each contain two cups of rice or pasta, 6 ounces of chicken or white fish, and one cup of steamed vegetables.

His precontest diet averages 2,100 - 2,500 calories daily. He eats the same kind of foods off-season, only more up to 3,500 calories a day. If he's dropping weight too quickly before a contest , Agnetha will add more carbs : protein and fat remain the same. Rick gets about 60-65% of his calories from carbs, less than 5% from fat, and 35% from protein.

For supplements, he uses the egg-white powder in the morning along with a multivitamin-mineral pack. He also takes 10-15 amino acid tablets a day.

Some might consider the weighing and measuring of all his food to be a bit obsessive, but Rick thrives on this strictly regimented diet. "I don't have any desire to binge, and I experience no food cravings," he says.

Unlike some competitive bodybuilders, Rick realizes the importance of a good posing routine. He recently purchased a video camera to videotape his posing practice. He practices posing one hour a day for the last six weeks before a contest, particularly the mandatory poses. He holds each pose 20-30 seconds , and does this three times. Not only does this technique improve his posing, but it's an application of the Weider ISO-Tension Principle, imparting extra harness to his body.


Many bodybuilders grouse about the stress and strain of contest preparation, but not Rick. When the stress of contest training begins to get to him, he remembers a saying popular with the rangers: "If you're comfortable, you're wrong."





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©,2017 Jerry Brainum. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited

Have you been ripped off  by supplement makers whose products don’t work as advertised? Want to know the truth about them? Check out Jerry Brainum's book Natural Anabolics, available at JerryBrainum.com.

 

The Applied Ergogenics blog is a collection of articles written and published by Jerry Brainum over the past 20 years. These articles have appeared in Muscle and Fitness, Ironman, and other magazines. Many of the posts on the blog are original articles, having appeared here for the first time. For Jerry’s most recent articles, which are far more in depth than anything that appears on this blog site, please subscribe to his Applied Metabolics Newsletter, at www.appliedmetabolics.com. This newsletter, which is more correctly referred to as a monthly e-book, since its average length is 35 to 40 pages, contains the latest findings about nutrition, exercise science, fat-loss, anti-aging, ergogenic aids, food supplements, and other topics. For 33 cents a day you get the benefit of Jerry’s 53 years of writing and intense study of all matters pertaining to fitness,health, bodybuilding, and disease prevention.

 

See Jerry's book at  http://www.jerrybrainum.com

 

Want more evidence-based information on exercise science, nutrition and food supplements, ergogenic aids, and anti-aging research? Check out Applied Metabolics Newsletter at www.appliedmetabolics.com

 

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