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Nano 4.0 Product Review & Workout

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Reebok.

REEBOK Anyone who knows me realizes that I have a long term relationship with fitness and a love for clothes. People close to me also know I have a huge addiction to anything “food”. I’m often asked if I “jones” salty or sweet. My reply is always…. YES!

Because of my complete love affair with deliciousness, it is a complete blessing that I love fitness and apparel so much to offset my weakness for food.

REEBOK NANO 4.0

One of the huge perks of working in the fitness industry is the opportunity to try cutting edge fitness programs and products. Lucky me, because both clothes and food both fit into this category of bliss. So, now, imagine my delight as I drove into my drive way and discovered a package from rebok begging to be ripped open.

Secretly, I was hoping for a package from Cheese Cake Factory, but Reebok is definitely a close second. As I tore into the package, it became evident I was about to discover a new pair of shoes.

reebok clothing

What jumped out was a sick pair of black and red Reebok Nano 4.0’s. Woo Hoo!

This was over the top because of all the black and red gear I have to accessorize with these new shoes. (See, I am comfy enough with my “mextroality” that I enjoy accessorizing my dibbs – and even my wife.) As I slid the first shoe on my foot I felt like Cinderfella. It fit like a glove. Now, all I had to decide is what kind of carnage do I want to impose them to?

Reebok Nano 4.0 Nanos And…?

Since the Nano 4.0 are pretty flat and a super stable shoe, this makes them great for leg day. The Nanos were made for squats, box jumps, dead lifts, double unders, burpees and lower body conditioning workouts – so legs & conditioning it is!!

The rest is history, and it went like this: (spoiler alert: the Nano 4.0 rocked the test)

Lower Body Conditioning Circuit

reebok nano 4.0Do the follow circuit for 5 rounds, following this time table: 

Round 1: 50 seconds on, 10 off
Round 2: 45 seconds on, 10 off
Round 3: 40 seconds on, 10 off
Round 4: 35 seconds on, 10 off

Round 5: 30 seconds on, 10 off

(Click on the exercise to view video instruction)

Overhead Squats

Plyo Box Jump

Alternating Overhead Walking Lunges

Burpees

Wall-sits

Once you’re done, don’t forget to stretch out, have a protein shake and post your workout on facebook! You know what they say, “if you don’t post your workout, it’s like it never happened”. lol

reebok nano 4.0

 

Here’s a matching graphic for this workout:

Legs and Cardio Workout Nano 4

 

 

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Just a “Regular” Guy Trying Probiotics

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Florastor.

health nut

I am definitely one of those people who wouldn’t be caught dead worrying about gluten free potato chips or even msg.  I know, that’s awful but true.  I do care about my health and feeling good but I am a “big picture” kind of guy.  I laugh at people that obsess about only eating organic food but continue to be 30 pounds overweight and have a resting heart rate of 80 bpms. What’s the point in eating perfectly healthy, but suffering from being obese and out of shape? I call that majoring in the minors – when you focus on the small stuff and miss the big stuff. However, I do believe the small stuff matters, if you are adding to an already healthy lifestyle.

florastor

I’ve always been curious about probiotics.  I’ve shied away from the topic because I just wasn’t aware of the benefits, nor my need for them.  Now, after a little research, along with a great opportunity and education from a leading probiotic company (Florastor), I find myself in a position where I think I could benefit greatly from probiotics.

steve pfiesterJust recently I had a traumatic injury at work, and was forced to take heavy doses of antibiotics.  I was shot with a 40 caliber hollow point round that took a big chunk of leg with it as it passed through both legs. This is a picture of me, with my bandages on my legs and my dog, Marley. The medication took a toll on my body in a lot of ways.  I know it was healthy for my wounds, but what about the negative affects antibiotics play on the rest of the body?

Hard core antibiotics kill all bacteria – good and bad.  I am aware of the “good flora (bacteria)” that exists in our bodies to maintain proper digestion, but I had no clue how this balance also affects our immune system, water balance, mood, and even energy levels.  To make things worse, I decided right away not to let the gun shot injury keep me down.  I am a fighter and I am gonna fight regardless of anything (I thought).

florastor

allergic reaction to AleveI started training for a bodybuilding show 3 days after getting out of the hospital.  I could barely walk, let alone do squats or lunges, but I continued to try my best.  Between aforementioned antibiotics, and now the increase in protein supplements and meal replacements, my body was in complete shock.  My immune system was reacting to everything, especially a near death reaction (out of the blue) to Advil and Aleve.

I have never been allergic to anything in my life, and now I cant take the one medication that actually gets me through intense training – not to mention my legs were still hurting like crazy, especially after trying to work lower body in the gym.  But here I am, completely reacting to Advil (photo of my crazy hives. Have you seen Hitch. Yep, that was me!).

I was learning that stress, diet, trauma, medications, and just plain ole life, can play a huge part in altering our bodies digestive health, and the biggest player in regulating immune function, nutrient absorption, and toxin excretion is our digestive tract.  My digestive tract was struggling, and I could feel the evidence of this in my mental, physical and emotional health.  What a perfect time to try out this “foreign idea” of probiotics.

FlorastorI’ve been taking Florastor for about 3 weeks.  The first thing I noticed was more regularity (but not anything crazy – meaning this is in no way a laxative or anything). Soon after, more energy.  I was unaware how probiotics affect water regulation, but it definitely does.  My mood and energy are restored to how I felt before I started training for the bodybuilding show.

I also noticed other small perks that I wasn’t even looking for.  My skin was better, my cravings were controlled, and all and all I just felt better.  Placebo? Perhaps when it comes to mood, but the other changes were very definite.  I still haven’t had the guts to try Aleve again, but that will be a blog for another time.

Does It Work? My Answer…

So, all in all, I’m pretty convinced that Florastor Probiotics are effective and making me feel healthier!

Here are some cool tidbits of info…

florastor

 

 

Need To Workout, But Short On Time?

20130727_065902_resized copyHere I am, Saturday night, feeling pretty good and relaxed.

I started the day off with an amazing run (thanks to my new Polar RC3 Heart Rate monitor) with “Team Max“, washed my truck, did some laundry, spent some quality time with Bonnie and Marley at the beach – but, between the hellacious run this morning and the relaxing sun at the beach, I am just ready to crash.

Bonnie PfiesterSitting here thinking about my day, beautiful sunset and totally relaxed… HOLY CRAP, I FORGOT TO DO ARMS THIS MORNING.  What do I do?  Skip it?  Hit it harder next week?  Ughhh, I just got settled and I’ve had such a great day – and just the thought of another hour in the gym is killing me.

Still, I know I must go.  I have invested to much this last month to backslide now, and this whole week I have felt, and seen, great gains.  I hate this conundrum!  I’VE GOT A GREAT IDEA…

 “I am 100% sure I will not regret going…and I am also 100% positive I will regret not going.”

now is the timeI am going in, regardless of how I feel.  I am 100% sure I will not regret going to finish the last of my training this week, but I am also 100% positive I will regret not going. So, off I go.  I don’t want to compromise hitting arms, but I need to get this done and get home to finish enjoying my saturday night with no regrets.

My Story (the readers digest version)

steve pfiesterI’ve had epic workouts all week.  It’s now saturday, and I am short on time and very tired – BUT I really want to finish my regiment to keep up the pace and be ready for a bodybuilding show in 4 weeks. I’ve made up my mind that I will leave this instant before my stupid brain justifies staying home any longer.  When I get to the gym I will crush my arms relentlessly for 15 minutes, super-setting  between biceps and triceps.  Ten rounds on each muscle group.  30 seconds on and only 10 seconds rest to switch to the apposing muscle group.  Back and forth for ten rounds.  By the time I’m finished, 11 minutes and 40 seconds will have elapsed, I should have a pump that makes Arnold look like an Olson twin.  Just kidding big guy.  🙂

My Routine

max fitness clubPick two exercises that you can execute or be ready to perform about 15 repetitions in 30 seconds with only ten seconds to set up and start each round going back and forth from biceps to triceps.  At my gym “MAX FITNESS“, we have a “preacher curl Hammer Strength machine” right next to a “Hammer Strength dip machine“.  I set my interval timer for 30/10 at 20 sets.  1 round of preacher followed by 1 round of dips with only 10 seconds of rest and repeat that superset for 10 total rounds of both exercises.  I keep track of rounds by throwing a close by 5 pound plate on the ground after every round.  If I don’t,  I will lose count and do too many sets, or worse, too few.

steve pfiesterI made up my mind that I would set the weight where I could get close to 15 reps the first few sets and I wouldn’t decrease resistance as long as I stayed above 8 reps.  I was able to continue with 15 repetitions of dips for the entire 10 rounds but my biceps fatigued quickly.  By the 4th set of biceps I dropped the preacher curl resistance by 10 pounds just to get 8 reps.  Again at round 6 I had to decrease the biceps resistance even more, and again after the 8th round. Finally I see 10 five pound plates (my markers) on the ground and I know I have finished this lightning fast, crazy intense routine.

As I am walking out to my truck, I realize that was more burn, more intense and created more of a pump than other  great workouts I’ve had that lasted an hour.

Moral of the Story?

Don’t lose your momentum just because you are short on time.  Every rep is an investment into the next workout.  Don’t throw your hard work away!

Arms On Fire WORKOUT

 

Shoes News

Reebok Sub Lite Running ShoeI was so excited about this mornings run in my Reebok Sublite Duo Run‘s that I had to mention them.  A brutal 5 and 1/2 mile run up two steep causeways in the crazy heat.  I thought for sure my body would give out, but I was surprised how well my knees and low back held out for such a long and intense run.  I really believe it was my shoes. I’ve run in different shoes before and had aches and pains on much shorter runs. Thanks Reebok!

#LiveWithFire
#TeamPolar

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Is It Time to Ramp Up Your Workout?

IMG_5140You are finally motivated to take your training to the next level.  You are no longer satisfied with these mundane mediocre workouts that leave your body fatigued but no different looking, or performing, than before you started.  Your goals are literally “running on a treadmill”, taking you nowhere.  Maybe you are satisfied with your physique, but you know you have more – and you want to know what that “more” is!  It all starts with increasing the intensity of your training.

How do you intelligently increase the intensity of your training so that it provides the biggest benefit?  That is where this blog comes in.  How you change your training regimen is going to largely depend on what your goals are.  If you are training to sprint faster, your training will change to the polar opposite of a long distance runner.  937If you are a fighter that needs stamina for 12 rounds you will train completely different than a power lifter who needs enormous energy for 1 bout of a 3 second lift.  What will be considered is duration, frequency, intensity, rest, and nutrition.

If you are looking for this blog to spell out each individual sport specific training protocol, you are looking in the wrong place.  There are tons of great research online to help individual athletes develop programs specific to their sport.  What I hope to accomplish here is to provide you with what questions you should be trying to ask so you can develop a program that will take your training to the next level.

Knowing the Right Questions

fitness-goalsBefore we start, determine your main focus: Do you need to develop strength (increase the load of a 1 rep max ), hypertrophy (increase in muscle size  ), or stamina (increase the ability to repeat a movement continuously with little fatigue over a longer duration).  Without a doubt, genetics play the biggest factor in our performance, our aesthetics, and our health.  Hard work takes off where genetics leaves off.  Nothing worth having comes easy.  But you have to work hard… and smart!

These are the questions you should be asking to take your body to the next level.

Question 1: Intensity

IntensityIntensity can have a plethora of different meanings.  Let’s define it to mean the % of load, and the speed of each individual repetition.  When we discuss speed, we begin to blur together other principals that we will look at later, such as duration.  As a matter of fact, all of the following definitions and principals will affect intensity.   In other words, how heavy should I lift and how fast should each repetition be performed to elicit the biggest change for my goal?

Question 2: Frequency

workout-too-muchFrequency controls the variables of how often to lift or exercise.  How many reps, sets, and training sessions should I have in a given week?  This is easiest described by looking at a marathon runners training schedule.  How often should they run to get the desired affect of being able to run further faster?  If they train to often (long runs every day), their muscles don’t have ample time to repair – and that, my friends, is what this is all about!

Frequency is a huge variable when it comes to our goals because it works in conjunction with recovery, or controlling how much our muscle can recover/repair before the next repetition, set, or training session.

Question 3:  Duration

durationDuration, as we are using the term, will be the time variable.  The time it takes to lift in one rep, one set, and one training period.  Duration for a boxer could be, how long each round goes, how many rounds in that specific match, and how many matches that day.

Duration is used in some other pertinent principals of exercise as well.  Such as the “TUT” principal.  This is described as time under tension.  The object of TUT is trying to gain a training affect by varying the time your body is under load during resistance exercise.  When talking about duration and TUT, we have to consider the phases of contraction.  Mostly the eccentric phase (negative).  Many theories have supporting data that a slow negative movement will increase mass, strength, and tone of a muscle during resistance exercise.  How long a training session lasts to be optimal for a training effect is also hugely important.  If you train longer than your body can maintain intensity for, may be your downfall in the long run. How long or short, slow or fast,  should my reps, sets, rest time, and workouts be?

Question 4: Recovery (rest and nutrition)

Sleep-and-RecoveryThis question could be its own blog.  Please consider doing a lot of homework on your own looking at the questions I will pose.  Recovery includes so many variables that will get us off track, so let’s just focus on rest and nutrition.  I believe, and it is supported by solid research, that nutrition and rest are the most important factors limiting growth and performance second only to genetics and androgenic drugs.

Rest and nutrition are powerful variables that can give an athlete the advantage even when competing against a stronger more gifted rival.

1. How long should I rest between sets
2. How long should I rest between workouts
3. How long should I rest between specific body parts (how often should I hit legs)
4. What do I eat before or after training
5. How much should I eat to maximize results
6. What do I eat to maximize results
7. What do I NOT eat (does alcohol or sugars affect a training response)

Cheat Sheet – The Beginning…

There are no easy answers for any of these questions.  The answers are all specific to your sport and your methodology of training.  But I promise you, if you are training hard, its worth it for you to find the specific answers you need for your specific goals.  If you are a football player, and you train like a football player but eat a ballerina’s diet, you will look and perform like a ballerina.  (That is not a jab at ballerina’s) – just sayin’.

I came across a helpful table on Wikipedia based on sound theory and solid research, and I agree with much of it.  I hope this table is a useful tool to help get you started on answering the questions we have developed to master your craft!

Variable

Training Goal

Strength

Power

Hypertrophy

Endurance

Speed

Load (% of 1RM)

80-90

45-60

60-80

40-60

30

Reps per set

1-5

1-5

6-12

13-60

1-5

Sets per exercise

4-7

3-5

4-8

2-4

3-5

Rest between sets (mins)

2-6

2-6

2-5

1-2

2-5

Duration (seconds per set)

5-10

4-8

20-60

80-150

20-40

Speed per rep (% of max)

60-100

90-100

60-90

60-80

100

Training sessions per week

3-6

3-6

5-7

8-14

3-6

Table reproduced from Siff, 2003[9]

How to Live With Fire

Recently I’ve given much thought to Reebok’s campaign to #LIVEWITHFIRE.  From time to time I get philosophical and sort of lost in abstract thought of the weirdest things.  So this blog is me inviting you for a road trip with me and my brain.  Turn the music up and take a look around my cerebral cortex as I ponder what it is to “Live With Fire“.

Living With Fire is NOT Complacent

ComplacencyFirst, I think about what it isn’t.  Living with fire is not complacency. I think its important to be fulfilled, and even satisfied, about where you are going – but maybe not be overly satisfied with where you are.  Content with your present, but pressing on to be all who you were called to be.

Living with fire is not living with rage, or resentment.  That state of mind can drive us to overcome and accomplish a lot of things, but to what cost?  In that frame of mind, we are rarely satisfied in accomplishing anything except vengeance, and still are never satisfied.  No, friends, that is NOT living with fire.

tenaciousTenacity, perseverance, consistency, courage, willpower – THESE are a few defining characteristics of what it means to me to  #LIVEWITHFIRE.

1. Living With Fire is: Tenacity

Tenacity is defined as the quality of being determined to do or achieve something.  And I love the following definition: firmness of purpose.

2. Living With Fire is: Perseverance

Perseverance is next on my list of defining this Reebok Mantra.  Perseverance is definitely a synonym for tenaciousness, but lets further define living with fire by defining perseverance with a definition from Webster: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.  To me, living with fire comes alive in the second part of this definition; to continue DESPITE difficulty!  I think I should end the blog now – but I wont.

3. Living With Fire is: Consistency 

consitstencyConsistency brings the “ing” to the phrase. See, to live with fire could be mistaken as a moment in time, but livING with fire gives the idea of continuing to strive for that “pressing forward” . To be consistent in our quest to live with joy and zeal for more in life. Consistency could have a couple of different meanings. Both of which I believe are applicable.

The first, is degree of firmness, density, viscosity, or resistance to movement or separation.  Our ideals and level of effort should have a routine firmness. Not hot and cold, not soft and hard, but consistent effort in every attempt. Then, the more traditional thought for the way we describe consistency is the ability to be asserted together without contradiction. This would also be the idea to live beyond contradiction, above reproach. (We all fall short here, but when we get it right what victory we have.)

courage-john-wayne4. Living With Fire is: Courage 

This brings us to courage on my synonym list of living with fire. Webster says courage is: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.  Interesting that courage is not the absence of fear, but for someone to withstand fear or difficulty.

In other words, to persevere even in the face of fear. OK, I hear! WHOA!

will power5. Living With Fire Requires: Will Power

Lets finish our thoughts of Living With Fire by defining “WILL POWER”: The strength or will to carry out one’s decisions, wishes, or plans.  This definition left no discussion for feeling or emotion.  The idea is to DECIDE on what you want and SEE IT THROUGH – not allowing circumstance or excuses to compromise your decision!

What if we all “lived with fire”, in learning more, loving more, living more?  I believe the key is in the desire.  Decide what it is you really want.  Dig deep to find a burning desire to accomplish or acquire it with a relentless, stubbornness that knows no quit.  Never never never give up!

I believe this so much, I tattooed it on my body:
SEMPER PERSEVERA – Meaning, Never Give Up.

Never Give Up

Here are some pictures of some amazing athletes who clearly Live With Fire and never gave up – even when they had some pretty awesome excuses. If this doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will. 

amputee

Bethany-Hamilton


141100_-_Athletics_track_female_arm_amputee_close_up_-_3b_-_2000_Sydney_race_photo

bp1

ronniedicksonclimb-222x300

Victor_Konovalov_Interview_-_www.Wheelchair-Bodybuilding.com

19a08ca895 

scouttrain-300x199

images-12

oscar-pistorius-double-amputee-sprinter

171944762

live with fire

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

re·bound verb \ˈrē-ˌbau̇nd, ri-ˈ\

Rebound: Return, bounce back, setback, backfire, move backward. 

Stev Pfiester, Light Heav WeightI recently took 18 competitors from my gym, Max Fitness, to compete in the NPC Southeast Classic. The goal was hitting the stage. Not winning a trophy, but using the stage to make us push harder and be our best.

The goal was made, and the goal was met!  What we do now defines what we learned on our journey to accomplish our goal.  In the “realm” of goal acquisition, focusing solely on the goal can be a tragedy.  What I mean is, the goal is just that: “a goal” – a means to an end.  How we develop, the wisdom we gain, and the way we develop along the way is the real reward for meeting our goal.  Goals are not the real rewards.

Team max

Josh GayLets think backwards for a second.  By creating a goal to shoot for, you are inviting some level of adversity into your life.  How much adversity we will endure is measured by how grandiose the goal.  The “Goal” only gives reason to validate and hold accountable our hard work, our long suffering, our perilous effort to make our bodies fitter, our will stronger, our bellies hungrier.  I have never seen anyone train harder than when they were stretching themselves to reach a new goal. These guys did just that. Josh Gay‘s 60-day before & after picture shows just how hard they worked. Then, they hit the stage, and celebrated, and then they went home…

Score! Now What?

CruiseWhat happens after we reach our goal?  It is good after hard training to back down, enjoy the “win” and celebrate the goal acquisition. For me, it was going on a vacation (cruise). We hit the keys, then Mexico and then headed to Disney shortly after we got home. Yes, there was a lot of food involved. But, at some point, we must get back in the game.

We don’t pay off credit cards just to go on some huge spending spree waisting our money, discipline and hard work. It is ok to go charge a dinner, but then we pay it off immediately to avoid getting in the bad position we were once in. Whether the goal was physical or financial, it’s important to remember what you learned along the way and how you felt while you were working so hard.

Sloppy Joes Key West

The best way to prevent rebound is to give yourself a marked amount of time to enjoy your hard work. But after that time is finished, it’s time get back to work. It’s time to make new goals – both long and short term.

bench pressBefore you even reached this goal, you should already dream about what is next. Don’t take your eye off of the immediate prize.  Don’t focus on your future goals until you accomplished the one set right before you.  However; you should already be thinking about what is next.  This will prevent your downtime from turning into a complete train wreck and a complete rebound.

Doesn’t matter if we are talking about finance or weight loss, enjoy your success but don’t throw away your investment.  Remember what you learned along the way.  This is what makes you better, stronger, and more patient.  Make some goals, so you can push your limits!

Geared Up & Ready

Even something like a new pair of shoes can get you motivated to get back in the gym and hit it hard again.  I got these new Reebok ZigCarbons and love them. It was just what I needed to want to do cardio again.

Reebok ZigCarbon

My next new gym toy is Reebok’s Bose Headphone set. They help get my mind focused, shut out distractions and make the most of my time at the gym. Totally what I needed to tune back into my routine.

Reebok Bose Headphone Set

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Ball Pass Ab Workout

Have a ball with your ab workout! Instead of doing boring crunches, use a medicine ball to increase the intensity and fun. Here are a few exercises you can try with a small med ball.

med ball pass ab exerciseBall Pass Ab Workout

12 Single Under Leg Pass

12 Single Scissor Leg Pass

12 Double Under Leg Pass

12 Double Scissor (Figure 8) Leg Pass

12 Triple Under Leg Pass

 

For more fun workouts, check out www.DualFit.com 

 

 

Formula for Success

goal“If you take your eyes off the goal, for even a second, doubt will rush your mind like a band of brutal thieves.”

Doubt intends to kill your dreams, destroy your desire, and beat you down with fear.  Evidence of this is obvious in the most trying times.  When we are hungry, when we are tired, when we are angry, when we are in despair…

arnold Be Hungry

When you are hungry, let that hunger be your purpose.  It is a burning reminder in your gut of what you want to accomplish. When you are tired and your eyes grow heavy, don’t be the martyr the world excuses you to be, no one owes you anything. If there is something you want, you stay up one more hour and you go out and get it!

Be Productive

train like you want itAnger?, rage? Make it productive, and focus the intensity of this moment into success instead of resentment.  No one can control your emotions but you.  And when you are in complete despair — Stop. Shhhhh. Be still, and listen.  You are more than “just being”. You have the potential to be even more than your desires. You have the ability to accomplish things you havent even dreamed of …yet.

One of my favorite quotes of all time comes by way of the late Henry Ford.  He reminds us that we can decide what happens next… he said “he who thinks he can, and he who thinks he can’t, are usually both right“.

Go Beyond 

“Attaining the goal isn’t success.  Success is found in the pursuit, attaining your goals is the icing on this cake we call life.”

Work harderLastly, it isn’t enough to just dream. I love visualization. Wondering what if, thinking just maybe…  Hoping, even praying, for that desire of your heart.  Instead of praying for “the goal”, pray for the opportunity to make a way for your goal. The satisfaction of accomplishment comes in the effort – the blood, the sweat, the tears, the years, in pursuit of the “goal”.  Attaining the goal isn’t success.  Success is found in the pursuit, attaining your goals is the icing on this cake we call life.

“Vision without execution is just hallucination” Henry Ford

Equation for Success

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #LiveWithFire

Sculpting Better Legs: Simple Leg Workout to Improve Your “Sweep”

vastus lateralisIf 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

Bikini competitors legsHow 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.

Target Training

target fatFat 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?

Narrow-minded

Leg press sweepOk, 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…

Self-Centered

building better legsWith 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.

daytona classic

I WILL FAIL!

Next time you gain ground and next time you find yourself making any headway, no matter how insignificant, FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT to keep it!

i will fail

BUT, I WILL NOT FAIL MYSELF!!!

#RESPECTYOURSELF 

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