If you have been following this mess I call a blog at all for the last 5 months you may have heard me whine and whine about my knee. If not, you’re in luck because here I go again. 5 months ago I was getting ready for my first ever MMA tournament. I know,… shut it! But anywho, I was gonna try. Here’s a shocker: my 42-year-old butt got tore up by a 19-year-old monster. I tore my medial meniscus and sustained a 90% tear to my MCL. I was devastated, but now I’m back and I want to not only return to competing, I want my quads bigger and stronger than ever. The area I want to focus on for this workout is the Vastus Lateralis, the largest and most outer portion of the thigh.
How to Improve Your Sweep
How do we isolate out the vastus lateralis muscle, or as we call it in the physique world, “the sweep”? Vastus externus or vastus lateralis, depending on your A&P professor, is the largest of all the quadricep muscles. The action of this muscle is to extend the tibia or shin bone at the knee, but I’m here to help you learn how to perform knee extension to isolate out the other muscles that synergistically aid in this action. In sculpting, it is very important that we learn isolation. Whether we are a bodybuilder, a bikini competitor or a stay-at-home mom that wants to scult their body, we can all use these principles to learn to sculpt nicer legs.
Fat burn or spot reducing fat can not be limited to specific areas of the body, no matter what “bogus science” and pills tell you. However, sculpting most assuredly can be reduced to a single area, action, and in some cases, specific fibers of a specific muscle – all based on how we execute the exercise. You don’t need a degree in kinesiology to learn these principals, just a little common sense is all.
So, how do we excite and fatigue the fibers of our outer quad to hypertrophy our SWEEP?
Ok, so here is one exercise you should be narrow-minded about. Narrow is better when we talk about our stance to accentuate or facilitate the contractile tissue of the outer quad. So lets think narrow when doing squats and leg extensions. Whatever exercises you do, stand with a more narrow stance (feet together). You may stop and ask, does that mean if I stand wide, I will work my inner thigh and medial quads? Yeppers! Now you are getting it. (another blog perhaps) Moving on…
With leg extensions, it’s all about being self-centered – literally. If you point your toes outward, you are working the vastus medialis, the tear drop shaped muscle on the medial side (inside) of the legs close to the knee. Since we want to work the opposite side of the legs, then (yes, you guessed it) we want to point our toes in the opposite direction, pointing toes together. Note: this doesn’t work by just pointing the feet from the ankle down, the whole leg must internally rotate to the center to excite the appropriate muscles.
Here is an example of my own leg workout where I use these same principles to improve my sweep.
Yesterday’s Leg Workout
Warm up: 4 sets / 20 reps
Deep weighted walking lunges (35-50 pound dumbbells) 45 seconds rest btw sets
Couplet: Leg Press & Leg Extension Super Set
(zero rest between super set, 1 minute between sets)
#1 Heavy leg press
5-8 plates each side, narrow stance (4″ apart) and push only on your heels
10 sets / 15 reps
#2 Moderately heavy leg extension
Moderately heavy leg extension (130lbs-160lbs) internally rotate your femur’s in (toes are pigeon-toed), and squeeze your outer quad in terminal extension.
10 sets / 12-15 reps
Repeat Super Set 10 Times
Puke and repeat for 10 rounds(sets) with 1 minute rest between (rounds) sets
Here are some pics from my last show, the Daytona Classic, just 10 days after getting hurt.
I love fundamentals. Fundamentals are the foundation from which more complex and effective derivatives are built upon. So many pro athletes achieve stardom and fame only to eventually fall into a slump and return to the basics. Many coaches and athletes alike will tell you, if you perfect the fundamentals, there may be no need for much else.
My Striking, and grappling skills are continuing to get better. As I get more advanced, I’ve noticed that every class starts with repeating basic drills that I learned from the very first day; and so it is with abdominal work.
You can do V-ups, X-ups, sit ups, roll ups, knee ups, or just about any abdominal exercise you want, and without using basic fundamentals, you will never effectively work the target area. Most ineffective abdominal work is caused from poor set up. If you can accomplish a good starting position and maintain good positioning during the range, your abs will cry sweaty tears of bliss. So, how do we set up to get all the “goody” out of our abdominal training? glad you asked!
1. Lay down on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor
2. Roll your belt line (low back) into the mat or ground (a slight posterior pelvic tilt)
3. Use the hamstrings to lock your pelvis into position. Do this by digging your heels into the ground and pull them toward your buttocks to tighten your hamstrings holding your pelvis in a posterior tilt
4. Place your hands behind your neck holding the base of your noggin (nuchal line) and keep your elbows open and wide.
5. Look straight up keeping your chin off your chest.
6. Pull your naval into your spine AS YOU EXHALE.
7. As you exhale, PULL YOUR TRANSVERSE ABDOMINALS IN, LIFT YOUR SHOULDER BLADES OFF THE FLOOR UNTIL ONLY THE MID BACK (THORACIC REGION) IS TOUCHING
(NOTE: LIFT STRAIGHT UP AS IF YOU HAVE A GLASS OF WATER ON YOUR CHEST… TRY NOT TO ROLL UP IN AN ARC)
Congratulations, you just executed a perfect crunch!
Continue to use these same principals for all abdominal work. These fundamentals will help facilitate and recruit more abdominal musculature durring your workout giving you “perfect abs”.
NOTE: Don’t forget – no matter how great your ab exercises are, you’ll never see them if you don’t diet. Diet is 80% of getting the abs of your dreams!
Tractor Tire Abs
Here is an entire ab & core workout I put together for GNC utilizing a tractor tire. Since many MMA camps and boot camps us tractor tires, I decided to come up with a few exercises to help you make the most of your tractor tire. Don’t have one? You can get a used on free at your local tractor repair store or dealer – or you can use a stability ball or bench.
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.
I live, work, and sleep fitness. I have since I was 13 years old. But being fit doesn’t exempt any of us from that dreaded 3:00 feeling. What 3:00 feeling? Go park your car outside a Starbuck’s or any local “Cafeinatorium” at 3pm. Never fails, at about 3:00 the drive through will be wrapped around the building with “zombified” patrons willing to spend six dollars for a cup of lightning that can reignite their heart beat for at least two more hours… 5:00. Caution my fellow caffeine addicted drones… what goes up must come down. The high that espresso will give you is also going to leave you bottomed out, lower than where you started. The combination of caffeine and sugar will cause your blood sugar to spike followed by a crash. In this quest for any substance, short of Meth’, that will help us to maintain energy, focus, and performance with no crash, I’ve come across a brand new product released by GNC that provoked my interest. There are a lot of products available that boast of boosting your energy, yet very few are able to keep their promises!
In the fitness industry, I need energy reserves that I can call on instantly, but that don’t give such a huge rush of adrenaline that I get agitated, or so jacked that I can’t focus. On the other hand, I definitely can’t take anything that is gonna leave me “zombified” when I have to teach a kick boxing class late in my day. So, if not coffee, if not crack… what?
The rap artist 50 Cent just launched an energy drink distributed by GNC called Street King. It delivers 6 hours of steady energy without leaving you lethargic or tired. I took Street King immediately before a work out and was pleasantly surprised that it pushed me the entire workout without fading. I had no upset stomach, no shaky feeling, no spacey moments that I’ve gotten with many other energy drinks. I also enjoyed the recovery after my workout. Not only was there no crash, but I was able to recoup faster, finish working and take Bonnie out for a great evening that lasted way past the 6 hour mark. Upon retiring for the evening I had no restlessness, no jitters, no regrets. Street King was the total package, and I can honestly recommend it to anyone needing that push to the edge. To top off the performance of this product, for every shot of Street King purchased, 50 Cent will provide a meal for a starving child through the United Nations World Food Program. Now that is “positive energy”
Pfiesterism “Cafeinatorium” any establishment that legally distributes lethal doses of stimulants injested by humans resulting in a state of “Javariousness”
Pfiesterism “Javariousness” A Zen state of being, brought about by the first sip of coffee. When the temperature and taste of the coffee are complimented by the weather and blissful calm that surrounds you, and the planets are aligned in your astrological favor. That is a state of “Javariousness”
The starvation… the deprevation… the deteriation. For a trophy? Of course not! This blog is for anyone who has ever thought about competing in figure, fitness, or bodybuilding. This past-time seems to have no functional ends. We dont play in a tournament, we dont test the strength of our muscle. We dont test the agility of a motor skill, we dont even have to get out of breath. Yet compared to any other sport in the world, who deprives themselves more, who trains harder, who else is stripped of there clothing in front of hundereds of strangers?
A Contest of Will
Unlike other contests of skill, this sport is a contest of WILL – especially for those of us who dont have great genetics or perfectly symetriical bodies to start with. But we train through what we dont have. Not that it is ever overlooked, but maybe for our weakness’s to someday become our strengths. If we cant be the biggest, we will be the most shredded. If we cant be the most symetrical, we will train to overwhelm the judges with Read the rest of this entry