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The Exercise Vault from Smart Physical Workout is now available.

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What to Eat Before You Work Out
Eating Before Exercise for Maximum Results


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Effective Bodyweight Workouts for Every Busy Schedule

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The Lean Physique

There is an undeniable movement towards ultimate definition today, when you reduce body fat percentage to less than 7 percent, your body takes on a whole new appearance, as veins show up in minute detail, but cross striations of the muscle become apparent. The lean advantage, where it is preferred to have the "ripped" look, being cut or shredded, with every muscle popping, where you make a statement every time your top is taken off, and who wouldn't like a look like that, but is it healthy?, does it really matter?

The average fat percentages of various groups of athletes has been analysed, sixteen track and field athletes were found to have 11.88 percent body fat. Gymnasts, the body average were 10.36 percent, and for Olympic swimmers, the average was 10.60 percent. All the groups tested had a median height of 69 inches (1.725 meters) at a weight of 160 pounds, and their average body fat content was just under 11 percent.

There is a train of thought where very low body fat is "downright" repellent and creates a disfiguring appearance, which in its extreme emaciation is as unsightly as extreme corpulence. The average man has a body fat percentage of 12.56. There are champion athletes who are 195 pounds body weight has a body fat ratio of between 10 to 11.26 percent. Among Olympic and power lifters the percentages are somewhat higher. Today's champions, unlike those of yesteryear, the body fat percentage often fluctuates according to the stage of training. It is not uncommon for a competitive bodybuilder to cut their body fat by two thirds before a contest.

Years ago, an athlete or bodybuilder was praised and honoured for possessing a body of harmonious, smooth muscular development. Today the word smooth is used solely to deride a bodybuilder for being totally out of shape. Incidentally, some of the ancient Grecian statues that presumably represent the Greek ideal of male perfection have also been scrutinized with regard to their body fat. Kratos or not, that is normally the question, as seen in the Smart Physical Workout page (Kratos or Not), such as the famous Farnese Hercules is estimated to have 11.96 percent, the Apollo Belvedere, 11.76, and Myron's Discobolus 12.06. If these statues were real men they would probably not do well in the Olympic contest, where the top six men averaged a body fat count of fewer than 5 percent.

Why does current fashion seem to be pushing the bodybuilding ideal towards being almost fat free? One reason is that it enables us to see muscles that we never knew we had. Few physiques champions of the distant past could show shapely, delineated serratus muscles. Today you cannot win a competition unless all your muscles of the upper thigh and lower back, two areas from which it is difficult to eliminate all fat. Today, fat free bodies are a must. Maybe styles will once again return to the 11 percent ideal. Who knows? For the moment, however, low fat and cross striations are the order of the day.


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Triceps Extension in Sports use.

The Triceps extension, it’s not just for show, it has useful sports uses as well. If your sport involves hit, bounce, punch, swim, lift, toss, run, swing, catch or throw and you will be incorporating the movement of triceps extension in your sports performance. When it comes to triceps, there are literally hundreds of movements for this area.

Two factors are vital, how much force you can apply to generate power, speed or distance and how much control you can produce for touch, feel and judgement of distance. The latter of the two functions is vital when catching. You must allow the elbow to bend as the impact of the ball is absorbed. If too much resistance is applied as the triceps contracts eccentrically, the ball may bounce out. If there is too little eccentric force applied then the ball can go ‘right through’ the catcher who has produced insufficient stopping power to hold the catch.

Choose the one triceps exercise which puts stress throughout the movement, and no appreciable balance is needed to perform a set. Although this isolation exercise is popular and gets you god pump, it is not a size builder in the sense of a combination or “natural” exercise such as the close-grip bench press or the parallel bar dip.

When it comes to propulsion, recruitment of muscle fibres is vital. In the swim leg, triathletes must fully extend the elbow in the forward arm stroke before starting the arm pull. Similarly, a rower starts each stroke in a bent arm position and finishes in a straight arm position.

The opposite can apply. The tennis server stores energy in a bent elbow position and then extends through the ball. A net baller preparing for a long, flat pass uses the same technique, as do cricket and baseball fielders and golfers.

Always remember to especially avoid any exercise that gives you pain or discomfort in the elbow region. There are several triceps movements which can contribute to tendinitis in the elbow. You must immediately stop using such an exercise or else cut down drastically on the weight you were using. Let’s assume you have worked up to using 6 reps with 120 pounds in the lat-machine press downs exercise, but the pain is unbearable. Either stop the exercise entirely or push it to the end of your arm routine and merely perform a few pumping sets of 20 reps with a far lighter weight.


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Time to Pull Up

Nature has arranged the human body in such a way that two biggest muscles of the back, the lats and the traps can actually be seen, not only from the back, which one would expect, but also from the front. Beautifully sculpted backs are a sight to behold. Many people worry that the development of the trapezius will detract from the visual width of the physique. This is not so, what detracts from the visual width of the body is under developed shoulders and wide of the body is under developed shoulder and wide waist and hips.

No weights are needed, the simple (or not so simple) pull up / chin up is the main source of achieving your goal of a wide back, that classic V. Pulling your own body weight is a major step in the right direction. If you want to impress in a tank top, give the dumbbells a rest and start doing pull ups. This simple old school exercise promises more than some decent lats. Other areas the pull up will build are lats, mid-back, rear delts, biceps, forearms, and core.

The muscle groups that you use will depend on different hand grips and positions, such as palms away from your, palms facing you, wide grip – you can really target a lot by tweaking this one simple move, and as a compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups at the same time, you could say that pull-ups are to the upper body what squats are to your lower half.
So how the perfect pull is up achieved? Grasp an overhead bar using an over grip (palms down) at least a foot wider than your shoulders on either side, and follow the steps below,
• Set your hands at either shoulder width or slightly wider, palms facing forward.
• Keep your legs straight, your ankles, knees and inner thighs and bottom squeezed together.
• Engage your core and draw your sternum inward to create a ‘hollow’ or ‘dish’ shape.
• As you start to pull your body up toward the bar, keep your body in this same position. Think about pulling the bar to your chest and keeping your elbows tucked in.
• Descend in a controlled manner, and repeat maintaining tension and only letting your feet touch the ground when you’ve reached fail.

If you want to tweak this and target more of your back, then arch through your back so your feet are behind you in the start position, which puts more of the strength and control through your back muscles instead of your core. If you want to target your biceps, use a closer grip with your palms facing inward using the original technique, maintaining tension in your core. And if you think pull-ups are just a strength exercise, think again. Pull-ups may not offer the same cardio or fat-burning workout as something like running, but they still get the heart pumping and are great to use as part of a super-set with push-ups or even burpees.

But aside from aesthetics, the sense of achievement that comes with the pull-up’s basic strength is a reward in itself. Make pull-ups a regular part of your workout.

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Training the Metabolism

Your metabolic rate is the speed at which your body burns up fuel. Your body too has a tick over speed, just like a car. When it is running fast, it will burn up a great deal of fuel. At a more moderate pace, it uses less fuel. People have great misconceptions about the metabolism and its relationship to bodybuilding. What is important to understand is that the successful bodybuilder does not try, or should not be trying, to speed up metabolism to a super accelerated rate, nor do they try to slow down metabolism to subnormal level.
Although metabolism does have a genetic component, you can change your metabolic rate in two ways, the first by increasing your metabolic rate is exercise, and the second is food. Nobody is capable of losing weight if they put themselves in an environment that includes the right food and exercise. In nature, we can observe two high metabolism creatures which, due to their genetic makeup, are always in need of food and spend about 95 percent of their waking hours either eating or looking for food. The shrew is in endless pursuit of food, and when you look at this minute creature, you can see its system pumping away and shaking its tiny body like a battery driven toy. The tiny hummingbird, one of nature's marvels whose super-fast wing beats enable it to hover in mid-air while stealing its vital nourishment from various plants, is the other insatiable creature. From a study of such high metabolism creatures we can conclude that a fast metabolism is of little use to the bodybuilder.
Weight training can increase your muscle mass and raise your resting metabolism, and a cardio workout can burn more calories, which will in turn help to increase your metabolism. So you can speed up the infuriatingly slow metabolism, by just doing more exercise. Remember that this metabolism training is not necessary as long as your current bodybuilding routine is developing your muscles at a satisfactory pace. This mode of training is designed specifically for the hard gainer. Virtually all hard gainers who have applied this principle seriously over a period of 3 - 9 weeks made significant progress, and what is more important, they made this progress when every other form of training had failed.


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Neglecting Aerobic Exercise

Combining cardio and strength training is the best way to burn fat. Many bodybuilders feel that aerobic exercise (prolonged exercise that works the heart and lungs steadily and increases cardiovascular fitness) is a waste of time. However lifting weights turns you into a fat burning machine. The more muscle you have, the more calories you'll burn when you do cardio.

During a specific bulk or weight gain period you may choose not to perform any type of exercise other than your heavy gym training, but aerobic exercise does have the following advantages;
1. It helps to keep your fat levels down.
2. It improves your wind during tough exercises like squats and so prevents your lungs from going out before your legs.
3. It aids recuperation and inspires regularity of appetite and bowels.
4. It hypes the metabolism.

Right after you have completed a good strength training session, it is a god idea to do 10 to 15 minutes of cardio. Because you'll have used up all your glycogen reserves (carbs stored in the muscles) for your strength training, you'll be fuelling primarily on fat during your cardio session and you'll get a really solid effort of fat burring in a short period of time.

In short, it is best to combine cardio and strength training, however if you are pressed for time, a cardio workout is the best use of your time, because you'll burn more energy overall.

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The benefits of Strength Circuit Training

Any workout that doesn't involve a certain minimum of danger or responsibility doesn't improve the body. Doing a quick sharp strength and conditioning circuit workout will shock your muscles into shape.
Because of its unique construction, the circuit workout especially one that focuses on reverse switchback super circuit for the upper body and because of its shock value to the muscles it pushes your body right to the edge. Circuits of this nature, it forces you to handle reps and weights in a unique fashion; it expedites muscle growth and improvements in strength.

As you become accustomed, you will have shorter rest periods, increase the intensity, hyping up your metabolism to help your body incinerate extra fat then, as science has shown with such plans, keep burning it for hours after wards. As well, because the workout hews to a circuit format, your cardio respiratory capacity improves significantly. Done regularly, three times a week non-consecutive days for up to six weeks at a time, this simple but demanding approach to strength circuit training will not wear out your body so much as improve it in ways you won't believe.

For this to be effective, you only have to concentrate on five basic exercises for four complete circuits. With each circuit change, you increase the number of reps while decreasing the weight. As well, you shorten the rest period between exercises each time you start a fresh circuit. This approach will thoroughly exhaust your target muscles fully, the increasing reps pattern, along with decreasing rest periods, is designed to engage deeper layers of muscle fibres, allowing for muscle hypertrophy and endurance improvements within the context of a single workout.

The circuit should be as specified below;

Circuit 1; Start heavy, 4 to 6 reps per exercise; rest one minute between each set Circuit 2; Decrease weight if necessary, 8 to 10 reps per exercise, rest 45 seconds between each exercise.
Circuit 3; Decrease weight, 10 to 12 reps per exercises, rest 45 seconds between each exercises.
Circuit 4; Decrease weight if necessary, 12 to 15 reps per exercise, rest 15 seconds between each set.

Here are three tips to maximise your muscle during the circuit training, you don't want to be strong only through a portion of a rep, and you want to be strong throughout the entire range of motion, fully through the concentric and eccentric phases. That's how you engage the greatest number of muscle fibres. Before moving into the eccentric phase of a rep, get a full contraction at the top of the rep by squeezing the muscle tightly. This helps you spend more time with the dumbbell in your hand, which means you'll recruit more muscle fibres.
Make sure to keep tension on the working muscle on the negative phase of each rep. This prolongs the time under tension and generates better results.

Circuit workouts of this nature can either be performed at home or in the gym, and it should take you more than 20 minutes to perform all four circuits. As for the exercises, choose those that you know how to perform well, such as dumbbell bench press, bent over rowing etc.
There is no hard and fast rule on which exercises to perform, but make sure you use proper technique to get the most out of the routine.
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