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  1. #11
    Administrator. Graeme

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    63. TRAINING DURING THE FLU
    Although some oeople swear that exercising will somehow "sweat out" the flu virus, our advice is to give training a pass when you're under the weather. the common cold, while not life threatening, is weakening your overall recovery system. One of the warning aigns of overtraining is an increased frequency of colds. Let the body deal witht he virus before subjecting it to another grueling workout.

    64. VISUALIZATION
    The great Arnold Schwarzenegger used to imagine this biceps were mountains when he trained them. Numerous studies have shown that those poeple who visualize where theyw ant to be down the road get there more quickly then those who don't visualize. Set small strength and size goals and then visualize obtaining these goals.

    65. PHOTO INSPIRATION
    Flip though a copy of Muscular Development and find a large picture of your favorite bodybuilder. Cut it out and paste it on the fridge, bathroom wall, or someother place you see every day. Use the photo for motivation and inspiration. Every time you look at the photo imagine what it would be like to look like that bodybuilder. The go into the gym and train your butt off.
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  • #12
    Administrator. Graeme

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    66. GLOVES
    Uunless you are used to manual labor, you'll notice after your first few training sessions that your hands will develope blisters. The way to prevent this is to wear gloves. You can use gloves specifically made for weightlifting or you can substitute gold gloves. Keep in mind that once you start wearing gloves you are committed to them. Your hands will never get a change to toughen up and calious over. Forget your gloves just once and it's back to the blisters. Unless you need soft hands for your job or hobby (i.e. musician or surgeon), our advice is to give the gloves a pass.

    67. SPONGES
    Sponges are a cheaper way to protect the hands during a workout. Go to the kitchen section of any store and for a buck or two pick up a package of sponges. They come in different shapes and sizes but the 4 X 6 X 1/2-inch variety will probably work best. Place a sponge in each hand and grab the bar, dumbbell, or machine handle. The sponge will protect the skin on your hands from blistering.

    68. WRAPS
    No matter how diligent you are with proper technique, your joints will be subjected to a tremendous amount of stress. The soft tissues at the joints will occasionally start letting you know that maybe you should take some sort of preventive measure. Many bodybuilders find that by wrapping the common trouble areas such as the knees, wrists, and elbows, they can reduce the chances of injury to the joint. Wraps come in many shapes and sizes. Some are elastic in nature and have a preset tension. Others are nothing more than simple first-aid elastic bandages that allow you to adjust the tension. While we don't recommend wrapping yourself up like an Egyptian mummy, you may want to experiment with wraps on such exercises as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.

    69. BELTS
    The most popular piece of weightlifting equipment is the lifting belt. However, wearing a belt at all times never allows the lower back muscles to strengthen. We suggest that you use one only if you really need it. Our advice is to only wear a belt for lower back protection on such exercises as squats, deadlifts, barbell rows and overhead standing presses, and only when using heavy weight.

    70. BENCH PRESS SHIRTS
    If you decide to test you ego on the bench press, you might want to invest in a bench press shirt. These specially made shirts are usually made of polyester and about two or three sizes too small! By compressing the arms, shoulders, and chest muscles, the upper body is put into a better leverage situation, enabling you to lift more. Some powerlifters will add 50 to 100 pounds to their bench press with the aid of a bench shirt.
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  • #13
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    71. STRAPS
    Straps are short (one and a half to two feet) pieces of woven cloth that you wrap around a barbell, handle on a machine, or horizontal bar to give you a better grip. You'll quickly discover that on such exercises as deadlifts, shrugs, rows, chins, and pulldowns, you forearm grip will be the weakest link. Straps allow you to handle more weight in these exercises. As with weight belts, don't get too dependant on straps, it's better to allow the forearms to strengthen than assisting them all the time with straps.

    72. WRIST PROTECTION
    If you decide to use straps, a word of caution. Many bodybuilders place the straps directly over the bony extrusion located between the lower forearm and hand. This bump is really the meeting place for the ends of the radius and ulna (two bones that make up the forearm). These small bones were not designed to have hundreds of pounds placed on them, and this is the weight you'll be using down the road on exercises such as shrugs. The solution is to place the wrist straps above this area. If the straps cover any part of the wrist or hand, they are too low.

    73. HI-TECH VS LOW-TECH STRAPS

    You can purchase a set of fancy wrist straps for $15 or $20, or you can make your own for mere pennies. If you decide to make your own, use a strong piece of material. Martial arts belts, car seat belts and woven nylon are three dependable choices for making wrist straps. There are two styles of wrist straps. Some are straight at both ends. Others have a loop at one end that you feed the other end through. Neither style is better than the other. It comes down to personal preference.

    74. HEAD STRAPS
    This is nothing more than a special harness that fits over the head, allowing you to attach a weight to the other end. By moving the head in various directions (forward and back, side to side) you can strengthen the neck muscles. Be careful, as the neck muscles are very easy to strain. You'll probably get enough indirect neck stimualtion form the other exercises you'll be performing, such as upright rows, shrugs, etc.. but if you participate in sports where a strong neck is vital (judo, wrestling, football), you may want to consider direct neck training.

    75. HEADBANDS

    Also called sweatbands, headbands are another simple piece of equipment that will make a big difference to your workouts. Nothing is as irritating as getting sweat in your eyes. The problem is compounded if you are wearing contacts. Even those who train in an air-conditioned gym are not immune to having beads of sweat rolling dwon their forehead. For a few dollars (or mere pennies if you want to make your won) invest in a headband to soak up the mositure before it starts giving you a severe case of redeye.
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    76. CHALK
    The body's primary cooling mechanism is to release water to the skin surface in the form of sweat. While sweat does wonders for for fooling the body, it plays havoc with gripping sports. The nect time you watch a gymnastics competition take a close look at the hands of he athletes. They are virtually white with chalk. Weightlifting is like gymnastics in that a firm grip is an absolute must on all the exercises. Chalk is cheap ($2 to $3 for a six-inch block) and makes an excellent training aid for drying sweat and giving you a better grip. Just check with you gym's policy on chalk before buying. Some gyms don't allow chalk as it messes the floor.

    77. BARBELLS
    It's probably safe to say that no weightlifting machine will ever replace the good old-fashioned barbell. Barbells come in an assortment of sizes and shapes. Olympic bars are the largest at seven feet long and 45 pounds. You'll use these on such exercises as bench presses, squats, deadlifts, and barbell rows. Shorter bars are more convenient for various biceps and triceps exercises. Finally, EZ-curl bars have a series of s-shaped curves that allow a more naural drip. Many people find straight bars hard on the wrist and elbow joints and opt for the curved EZ-curl bar. You should try to use all types of barbells in your training program.

    78. DUMBELLS
    Dumbells are the baby brothers of barbells. Instead of holding one long bar in tow hands, you hold a shorter one in each hand. Dumbells range in size from one pound up to over 150 pounds. You will use dumbells on such exercises as biceps curls, flyes, presses, and side raises.

    79. BENCHES
    To provide support and taget different areas of the body try using different bench angles in your workout. If you are training chest you can shift the stress from the lower chest to the upper by using a tilted or inclined bench. Likewise the lower and outer chest can be stressed by using a declined bench.

    80. ARM BLASTERS FOR STRICTNESS
    No matter how hard you try to prevent it, the body will always attempt to cheat when exercising. We are inherently lazy creatures. With standing barbell curls the lazy way out is to start rocking the body and lifting the elbows forward from the torso as the bar is lifted upwards. One way to reduce this is to use an Arm Blaster. This two-foot long, six-inch wide piece of curved metal fits around the waist and allows ou to place your elbows firmly against it. Locking the arms in this position makes it much more difficult to cheat. The cover photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger using the Arm Blaster back in the 1970s are nothing short of inspirational.
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    81. CABLES AND PULLEYS
    For added variety in your training nothing beats pulleys. As the name suggests, pulley exercises are those where the weight is attached to the handles by a long cable running through one or more pulleys. Although biceps curls (cable curls) cable crossovers (for the chest) and triceps pushdowns are the most popular pulley exercise, you can use pulleys to train just about every muscle.

    82. MACHINES
    It started with Universal back in the 1960s. Now there are dozens of strength-machine manufacturers. Strength machines are easier to learn than barbell or dumbells exercises, espeically when you begin resistance training.


    83. WARM UP
    Always warm up before training. Most injuries are the result of jumping to heavy poundages too quickly. A warm muscle is much more flexible and pliable than a cold one. A warm up takes only a few minutes but it can save you a lifetime of pain.

    84. THE STRONGER YOU ARE THE LONGER THE WARM-UP
    As you progress in your bodybuilding you'll find that you'l be hoisting some serious poundages in your workouts. What this means is that your muscles, tendons, and ligaments will be subjected to much more stress than when you started training. It's a fact that the stronger you get the more likely you are to incur an injury. To reduce the chances of this happening, increase your warm-up time proportionally. One or two light sets may be fine for a 100-pound bench press, but when you get up to 300+ pounds you'll need to do three or four light and medium warm-up sets to adequately prepare the muscles.

    85. USE A SPOTTER
    Whenever possible have someone stand behind you (called a spotter) to lend assistance on potentially dangerous exercises like squats and bench oresses. Besides safety, a spotter can help you complete a few extra forced reps.

    86. NEVER PERFORM POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS EXERCISES ALONE IN YOUR HOUSE OR APARTMENT
    A small number of bodybuilders have been found dead in their basements. In most cases they had tried that extra rep on a setof bench presses and failed. The results was a heavy barbell crashing down on their neck.

    87. USE A POWER CAGE
    If you must train at home, consider buying a power cage. A power cage allows you to set catch-bars at any height. By setting them an inch or two below you maximum depth, you have a backup if something goes wrong. Even on the bench press you could manage to wiggle out from under the bar if you can't return it to the supports.

    88. USE COLLARS ON ALL BARBELLS
    Even with the best of techniques the odds of lifting a barbell perfectly even are remote. If the plates are not locked on with a collar it's possible that they could slip off the lower side. This in turn causes the side with the plates left on to drop suddenly. This violent wrenching motion can tear muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Always use collars.

    89. WHEN NEVER TO USE COLLARS
    This is going to contradict a previous tip, but there is one occasion when you shouldn't lock the plates on with collars. Even though you should never perform barbell bench presses alone, some readers will still go ahead and do so. If you do ths and don't have access to a powercage or Smith machine, leave the collars off. this way if you get the bar stuck across your chest you have an out. Simply forceone side of the bar upwards to cause the plates to slip off the other side. Now the side with the plates still on is heavier and will drop, thus spillng those plates on the floor. You've not got an empty bar on your chest. Place it nack on the rack and promise yourself you'll never do it again! Needless to say, dropping heavy weights could ruin your floor.

    90. USE A WEIGHT-LIFTING BELT ON HEAVY EXERCISES SUCH AS SQUATS, DEADLIFTS & BARBELL ROWS
    The human spine is a marvel of engineering but it was not meant to have hundreds of pounds suddenly placed on it. Wearing a thick leather belt provides support by securing the ligaments and muscles of the lower back.

    91. PUT YOUR WEIGHTS AWAY WHEN FINISHED
    Although gym staff will enforce this rule, please take the initiative yourself. Weights left all over the floor are a saftety hazard. Sooner or later someone will trip and fall. Return your weights to the proper location when finished. this prevents injuries and makes it easier for the next person to find the weight they want.

    92. IF YOU ARE UNSURE OF EXERCISE TECHNIQUE - ASK!
    Most gym instructors are knowledgeable and only too willing to help out. Weightlifting exercises are probably not the nest activities for experimenting with when leaving.
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    93. ROTATIONS FOR PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE
    If you were to rank the body's joints interms of how prone they are to injury, the shoulders would probably place third behind the lower back abnd knees. In fact the shoulders may move up to the number one position in those who regularly lift weights. Years of heavy pressing movements (both for chest and shoulder training) can play havoc with the shoulder joints. In many cases the problem is not the large, outer deltoid mucle, but the smaller, underlying rotator muscles. These small muscles located on the scapula (shoulder blade) are prone to injury form repeated heavy pressing movements. Two way to reduce the risk of damaging the rotators is to train them from day one, and to warm them up before doing any heavy pressing exercises.

    94. TRY TO PERFORM ALL EXERCISES IN GOOD STYLE
    Unless you are employing the cheating principle, try to execute all exercise with good biomechanical technique. This means no bouncing, jerking, or heaving the weight up. Proper technique not only prevents injuries but also ensures that the muscles are getting maximum stimulation.

    95. 90 DEGREES IS BEST
    The goal on set of leg presses is to bend you knees low enough to stimulate your quads without going too low and damaging the knees. For most people this means having a 90-degree angle between your upper and lower legs when the knees are bent. If you have no knee problems and have good flexibility, then lowering to 75 or 80 degrees is fine, but don't make the mistake that some individuals do and try bouncing your knees off your chest.

    96. KEEP THEM TO THE FRONT
    Even though many bodybuilders swear by them, behind-the-neck pulldowns and should presses can destroy your small rotator muscles (the smal muscles and tendons located on the shoulder blades collectively called the rotator cuff). Unless you've been doing them for years and have experienced no problems, we sugeest that you not include them in your workouts. Front presss and pulldowns will work the same muscles without placing the same degree of stress on the rotators.

    97. NEVER LOCK OUT
    Although they are marvels of engineers, human joints can only take so much abuse. You should never lock out completely on any exercise (with the possiblity of triceps exercises). Locking out places tremendous stress on the joints, particualry the soft tissue that surround the joints. If locking out can de compared to making a 180 degree angel between two lines, then stop at about 170 to 175 degees.

    98. NEVER BOUNCE
    It's mazing that some people ever walk out of a gym. One of the most abused machines in any fitness facility is the leg extension. People load the thing up with more wieght than they can lift in a good style, and then bounce it up and down using body momentum. The amount of stress this places on the knees at the top of the exercise is enormus. It's bad enough if you stop just short of locking out, but many people actually hyperextend at the knee joint when they do leg extensions. Next to the lower back, the knee is the easiest joint to damage. Always trest knees with kindness.

    99. NEVER HYPEREXTEND
    They are commonly called hyperextensions but in reality you should never hyperextend. One of the best exercises for the lower back muscles is to lie face down on a ball or back extension machine and then gently raise the torso upwards. You should only rise up until your upper body is in line with your lower, or just slightly beyond. Do not try to arch as high as you can. This places tremendous stress on the ower back ligaments. You can still call the exercise hyperextensions, but please don't hyperextend.
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    100. WHEN STIFF SHOULD NEVER BE STIFF
    Although they are called stiff-leg deadlifts, you should not do them with the legs completely locked out straight. Always keep the knees slightly bent. The same holds true for every other exercise that calls for a "straight" leg (leg raises for example). Always keep the knees slightly bent to reduce the pressure on the lower back.

    101. PUTTING THE HOOK ON INJURIES WITH S-HOOKS
    As you've probably discovered by now, most cable machine attachemnts are hooked on to the end of the pulley with an S-shaped metal hook. While providing security and ease of use, S-hooks do have one big disadvantage; they don't lock the attachment in place. At least once a day at some gym, an attachment will pop off after being accidentally stuck or pulled on. For example on some cable machines as soon as you pull on the low pulley the top attachment is automatically pulled backwards (its the same cable). When this happens it's quite easy for an attachment to be bounced off. Always beware of overhead pulley attachments when working out. You may even want to suggest to the gym's owner to invest in climbing hooks, or carabiners. They are the same size and strength as S-hooks, but they lock the attachment in place so it can't pop off. And they are ultra strong.

    102. CORRECT HEIGHT ON THE STATIONARY BICYCLE
    If you decide to use the stationary bike, adjust the seat so you can't completely lock out you legs. If the chair is too high you run the risk of hyperextending the knee joint, when your legs are in the outstretched position.

    103. WHERE APPLICABLE, USE WEIGHT RACKS
    It will only be a matter of time before you ar eusing hundreds of pounds on your squat and pressing movements. Even a strong spotter will be hard pressed to prevent that amount of weight from landing on you. To stop the barbell before it crashes down on you, use a weight rack. Many squat racks have a set of pins that you can set just below you maximum squatting depth. If you fall on one of hte reps, simply let the weight drop of the safety pins and walk away.

    104. DRESS APPROPRIATELY
    If it's mid-summer, don't strut around in three layers of sweatshirts just so you'l look bigger. This will only lead to severe dehydration. Conversely, a T-shirt and shorts will probably not cut it in mid-winter; especially if you're the type who like to wear his gym-clothes to and from the gym.

    105. FOOTWEAR FOR SUPPORT
    With the possible exception of during calf raises and some yoga or stretching exercises on a mat, wear some sort of footwear at all times. Many leg exercises place tremendous stress on the supporting soft tissues of the foot region. A good sturdy sneaker (crosstrainers will offer more support than runners) wil offer a great deal of support to this region. Even on exercises such as bench presses you'll be using your feet for stability. The last thing you want is for your foot to slip along the floor during a set of flat barbell presses.
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    106. FOOTWEAR FOR PROTECTION
    A less obvious but equally important function of footwear is protection from wayward plates and dumbells. You'll be handling dozens if not hundreds of weight plates during a typical workout. Sooner or later you'll drop one. A 45-pound plate can do wonders to an unprotected foot. A sneaker will at least cushion the blow somewhat.

    107. HAVE A MEDICAL CHECK-UP BEFORE BEGINNING ANY INTENSE WEIGHT-LIFTING PROGRAM (OR ANY FORM OF INTENSE EXERCISE)

    Granted, if you are a healthy, athletic 18 year old, a medical check-up is probably no necessary. But for anyone who hasn't lifted anything heavier than a cold beer over the last 10 or 20 years, we strongly urge you to consult your physician before trying to relive your high-school days. Ask your doctor for a physical stress test to ascertain your ability to recover from strenuous exercise.

    108. KEEP LONG HAIR SECURE
    A modern gym is filled with hundreds of moving parts. The last thing you want is to become intimately acquainted with one of these moving structures. Although it's possible to get your hands or clothing stuck, more times than not, it's long hair that causs problems. If you sport long hair keep it in a ponytail or secure it in some other fashion. Even tucked up under a baseball hat will lessen the chance of its getting caughty by a pulley or cable.

    109. WATCH YOUR TIME
    The days of three and four hour workouts are over. Most bodybuilders nowadays try to get in and out of the gym in 60 to 90 minutes. After about 90 minutes the body's energy reserves are all but depleted. Not only are you coasting (and possibly overtraining) after this point, your thought processess are probably muddled from the high levels of endorphins circulating in you system. It's at this point that you are very susceptible to an injury. Try to split up your workouts so that they take no longer than 90 minutes.

    110. USE THE MIRROR
    While some people use them strictly for variity, and the owners use them to make the place look larger than it really is, mirrors do serve a useful purpose. On many exercises, particulary dumbells exercises, you'll discover that trying to coordinate both arms is difficult. Things will get easier with time, but duringthe learning phase you should use the mirrors as much as possible to ensure your technique is sound. In addition, during some exercises such as rows a mirror can be a helpful ally in keeping your back straight and not hunched over.
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    111. LET YOUR SHOULDERS BE YOUR GUIDE
    When in doubt, position your feet shoulder width apart, or lower the bar (dumbells or machine handles) to shoulder height. The natural and most stable stance for most people is with the feet about shoulder width apart. this tends to place the least amount of stress on the joints (ankles, knees, lower back). Likewise the finished position of many exercises is shoulder height. For example on dumbell presses for shoulders or incline presses for chest, the dumbells will be approximately in line with your shoulders at the bottem of the exercise. Although it doesn't apply to all exercises, there are numerous examples for which the shoulders are a useful guide.

    112. GOOD PAIN, BAD PAIN
    As you progress in your bodybuilding career, always pay close attention to your body's signals. You have to learn to differentiate between pain that is signaling an impending injury and pain that is nothing more than the normal soreness associated with an exercised muscle. If the pain seems to be localized to the muscle and disappears after a few days, odds are it's normal post-exercise muscle sorness. On the other hand if the pain is more severe, includes the joints, or lasts longer than a couple of days (or gets worse with each successive day). Then we urge you to stop training that area and seek medical advice from a knowledgeable sports doctor.

    113. REDUCING NECK PAIN
    Most of those home-exercise gizmos you see on TV are a waste of time and money. Surprisingly, some have their advantages. One example is the abdominal machine. They go by different names, and claim to take inches off you waist in "as little as five minutes per day." While these claims are outlandish, you may want to try one if you have neck problems. Many individuals find abdominal exercises stressful on the neck. Most of the ab machines have a headset to support the mistake pushing with the arms. this only reduces the amount of abdominal stimulation.

    114. WHAT YOU LIE ON
    Make sure that the mattress on your bed is firm enough to support your body weight. If not, it won't keep your body in proper alignment. One of the primary causes of sore or "bad" backs is a mattress that is too soft. Treat your bed mattress like your footwear-update is regulary.

    115. EXPERIMENT WITH GRIPS
    Although most exercises should be performed with a shoulder-width grip, this is not etched in stone. Many people find a shoulder-width grip places too much stress on the triceps and shoulders when doing barbell presses for the chest. Likewise a shoulder-width grip may bring too much of the biceps into play on chins and pulldowns. When performing the various exercises, start out getting joint problems or you don't seem to be hitting the targeted msucle, try widening or narrowing the grip. A few inches either way could be all it takes to reach success.

    116. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
    Learn everything you can about bodybuilding. Buying magazines and reading threads is a good start. Bodybuilding is (or shoud be) a lifelong pursuit. The more you learn and apply, the less chance of serous injury and the more success you'll get out of your training.
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    117. WHOLE-BODY WARM-UP
    Even though it may be chest day or leg day, keep in mind that your heart and lungs are going to play an integral part. Always perform five to ten minutes of general cardio to bring the heart and lungs up to speed. This ensures full circulation and oxygen delivery to the muscles when you hit the weights. Popular cardio macines for warm-ups include the treadmill, rowers, stationary cycle, and, in recent years, the elliptical or crosstrainer.

    118. TRAINING JOURNAL
    One of the best ways to know where you are going is to know where you've been! For just a few dollars, pick up a sprial-bound notebook to record all your training information to see if there are patterns. For example are there days when your eating or sleeping habits impacted your workouts? Write down any information relevant to your training and recovery. A perfect download for record keeping is Training log...Free download...

    119. WORKOUT INFORMATION
    The most basic information to include in your journal is which exercise you perfromed. Also write down the number of sets, reps and the weight you used on each exercise. Include the day, month and year - looking back at a journal after a peroid of years can be fun.

    120. TIME
    Write down the length of time it took to do your workout. You can use this information later to determine if there is a correlation between your workout intensity and workout duration.

    121. WHAT YOU ATE
    Keep a detailed log of everything you eat on a daily basis. For example, don't just write down cereal, write the kind of cereal. Also include what you put on it, i.e. milk (and what type), type of sweetner, fruit, etc. Also record when you had your meals. Every couple of weeks, check to see if there is a pattern between meal timing and workout intensity. Record you weight reguarly.

    122. WHICH SUPPLEMENTS
    As with food, keep detailed notes of your supplement consumption. What protein supplement did you use? How much? When? Any fat burners? Again, when and how much? Are you on the loading or maintenance phase of your creatine supplementation?

    123. SLEEP
    Sleep is one of the simplest things to record, but also one of the most important. Check to see if there is a correlation between your workouts and sleep patterns. Compare the data from both angles. Do your workouts influence your sleeping duration, and does the amount of sleep you receive each night impact your workouts?
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