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Tips of the week 2 ways to achieve a skin bursting pump

Tipps der Woche 2 Wege um einen förmlich die Haut sprengenden Pump zu erreichen

A Mukelpump helps build muscle (and it looks great too, of course). Here are two ways to get the best pump of your life.

We call it a pump, scientists call it hyperanemia or cell swelling. Aside from feeling great, the pump also has significant muscle-building effects. A hydrated cell stimulates protein synthesis and inhibits protein breakdown. Chasing the pump also increases the activity of the satellite cells and the ability of the cells to expand further.

Simply using a muscle leads to increased local blood flow, but there are also specific training techniques that can create a pump that literally bursts through the skin.

Tension and speed

The formula for generating hyperanemia is simple yet effective. As part of your workout, use lighter weights, higher reps and tempos that increase time under tension.

Try the following

Load a SZ bar with your 12 to 15 RM weight for curls (your max weight for 12 to 15 reps). Perform 12 to 15 reps at this tempo: Lower the weight over a 3-second period and then take three seconds to lift again. Avoid lowering the weight to the fully extended position and tense your biceps hard for one second in the contracted position. Your biceps will be pumped up with blood.

Example for the lower body: On a leg curl machine, use a weight with which you can perform 15 repetitions. Perform 10 to 12 repetitions without lowering the weight completely to maintain tension in the leg flexors. Take 4 seconds to lower, pause briefly at the lowest position and move the weight up within 2 to 3 seconds.

Prepare for an almost obscene flow of blood to your hamstrings. Yes, you will do fewer reps than you normally could with this weight, but doing the exercise slowly and keeping the muscle under tension instead of breaking the tension at the highest and lowest point will make your muscles ache. Exercising in this way will not only increase blood flow to the muscles you are training, but will also generate a powerful occlusion effect.

The occlusion effect

Occlusion refers to the reduction in the availability of oxygen to the target muscles. If you've ever seen someone training with a bandage around their upper arm or thigh, that's exactly what they were trying to achieve.

However, you can also achieve this without bandaging your limbs, which is helpful if you're training a muscle that you can't bandage, such as pecs, shoulders or back. By manipulating the tempo and range of motion in a given exercise, you can achieve a similar effect.

Try the following

Start your chest workout with dumbbell incline bench presses with a slight incline. To achieve an occlusion effect in your chest and pump a lot of blood into this area, try using the following rules for tempo, form and range of motion.

Allow 3 to 4 seconds to lower the weight until your elbows are exactly parallel to the floor. Pause in this position for 1 to 2 seconds. Move the weight up in 3 seconds. Rotate your hands as you press so that your palms are facing each other at the highest point of the movement. Stop the movement about 5 centimetres before your arms are fully extended. This maintains tension in the chest muscles and creates an occlusion effect.

Tip: 3 squat and deadlift challenges

Build strength. Develop endurance. Show power. Does that sound good? See if you can survive these tough tests and workouts.

By Eric Bach


Barbell squats with your bodyweight x 50

The 50 repetition set is mental and physical warfare. Performed once or twice a month, this test will break through training plateaus and build serious muscle mass on your legs.

  • The execution: After warming up, load a barbell with approximately your body weight, put on some music and perform as many squats as you can. A good target would be 50. This test is brutal. Use a safety rack, get a training partner to help you and plan extra recovery afterwards.
  • How to get better: This test is easier for smaller exercisers. It's simple physics. But regardless of your height, the best way to increase your endurance and relative strength is to get brutally strong. Focus on increasing your max weight for one repetition and then add one or two descending sets of high reps with your bodyweight every other week to give your legs a workout.

Front squats with your 5RM weight for classic squats

Front squats are just as good as classic squats at building a steel hard body and amazing lower body strength. Front squats improve posture and build upper body mass as your elbows stay elevated and your thoracic extensors push double shifts to maintain position.

With classic squats, we've all seen what happens when someone rounds their back, yelps like a kicked puppy and ruins their back. There are no such problems with front squats. When you round your back, the bar falls forward and the exercise ends without any damage to your lower back.

The problem is that we are all naturally stronger in classic squats, but most exercisers are embarrassingly weak in front squats due to a lack of strength in the front core and thoracic extensors.

A good goal is to perform a single front squat with the same amount of weight that you can perform 5 classic squats with. Here's the simple math: take your max weight for classic squats and multiply it by 0.85. This equals - or at least comes close to - your 5RM weight.

For example, if your maximum weight for classic squats is 200 kilos and you multiply this value by 0.85, you will end up with 170 kilos. Your goal is then to perform a front squat with 170 kilos or to work towards this weight.

Sadiv sets for deadlifts

Sadiv sets are an advanced training method designed to increase your deadlift performance, test your mental willpower and build massive amounts of muscle mass in your posterior chain. Sadiv sets are a high-volume, high-intensity monster of a deadlift training session. Beginners or the timid need not even attempt this. (Don't try this until you're able to deadlift 1.5 to 2 times your bodyweight.

Here's what you should do:

  • Set a timer for 12 minutes and load the bar with 60% of your 1RM weight.
  • Perform as many reps as you can during the 12 minute time period, aiming for at least 20 reps. If you can't do 20 clean reps, reduce the weight.
  • Perform each repetition as a single repetition, putting the weight down after each repetition and pulling with perfect form. This means keeping your hips back, your back flat and your chin down, pressing your heels into the floor.
  • Perform each repetition with maximum speed from the floor - propulsion from the legs is key.

Once exhaustion sets in, it's important to treat each repetition as a max attempt and keep your core engaged. Can you hit 20 reps with good form?

Tip: Never do this with your bottled water

A common practice turns relatively safe plastic bottled water into a chemical time bomb. Here's what you need to know.

By TC Luoma


It's no secret that the plastic used to make water bottles is packed with chemicals, most of which stay trapped inside the bottle. However, when you expose these bottles to sunlight or heat, chemicals start to leach into the water. This is not good - which is especially true for those exercisers who keep their water bottles in the bottle cage of their car during scorching hot summer days.

The problem

Phthalates are chemicals that first attracted attention in Puerto Rico when scientists began observing strange sexual abnormalities in wildlife. It became even more concerning when a larger number of Puerto Rican girls under the age of 8 began to develop breasts and other signs of puberty.

As it turned out, these phthalates are compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen. They are found in garden hoses, children's toys, medical tubing and many other plastic items. They are also found in vinyl flooring, solvents, lubricating oils, raincoats, soaps, shampoos, hairspray, nail polish and possibly even water bottles.

In other words, they are everywhere.

Phthalates may not be too much of a problem in water bottles, as public agencies do not believe that bottles are made with phthalates. However, there is a concern that the chemical could enter the water through some route in bottling plants. When phthalates enter the human body, they are also converted into metabolites and excreted in the urine and bile. Regardless, you could look at what happened in Puerto Rico and decide to play it safe - especially since the plastic used in water bottles is also filled with other chemicals, many of which may have unknown effects.

A few sensible precautions

Most water bottles appear to be made of polyethylene terephthalate, which you can recognize by the PET or PETE label on the bottom of the bottle. (Although the chemical name has the word "phthalates" in it, this material does not contain phthalates.) These bottles are probably safe as long as they are not stored in warm or hot temperatures such as in your car's bottle cage on hot summer days.

In these circumstances, chemicals such as antimony could leach into the water, which is a potentially toxic material. No one is really sure what the effects of these chemicals could be in the long term. These unanswered questions call for a few precautions:

  • Transport water in glass or metal containers.
  • Store your water away from heat.
  • Consider tap water, which is probably safer and definitely much cleaner.

Tip: Don't neglect light weights for muscle building

There's a good chance you're not training light enough to build muscle at an optimal rate. Excuse me? Check out this hotly debated new study.

By Mitch Calvert


New study: Training with light weights leads to big gains

When it comes to building muscle mass, conventional wisdom suggests that you should train with heavy weights. However, a new Canadian study claims that you can achieve the same effects by moving lighter weights with more repetitions. Scientists at McMaster University say that your muscles will gain strength and mass as long as you train to the point of muscle failure.

"It's time to forget the section in your exercise physiology textbook that says moving light weights only leads to more endurance and that you need to move heavy weights to become more muscular," says Dr. Stuart Phillips, one of the study's co-authors, who says this study disproves both of those widely held beliefs.

"Even with a lighter weight, you can reach exhaustion...all your muscle knows is that it's hard to recruit all those muscle fibers to generate that force. Your muscle can't interpret the difference between fatigue induced by heavy vs. light weights differently," Phillips adds.

The study

In his previous work, Phillips came to the same conclusions but with untrained men, leading critics to argue that untrained subjects would build muscle regardless of their training program.

This time, Phillips and his co-author Robert Morton recruited 49 healthy, strong men. They had been training with weights for at least four years and had consistently attended the gym three times a week beforehand.

These subjects were divided into two groups. One group trained with 50% of their 1RM weight and sets of 20 to 25 repetitions. The second group used heavier weights in the range of 90% of their 1RM weight for sets of 8 to 12 repetitions. The result after 12 weeks? Both groups had achieved nearly identical gains in muscle mass and muscle fiber size, which are key markers of strength.

Don't get this wrong: sets of 25 reps to muscle failure are no joke. The study doesn't suggest that you can do as many reps as possible with the pink lady dumbbells and achieve similar results to heavy squats with sets of 8 reps. But training with low weights and high reps could be a balm for your aching joints - and your muscles won't melt away like you once thought.

And what about hormones?

West and Phillips previously concluded that endogenous increases in levels of anabolic hormones such as growth hormone, IGF-1 and testosterone have little or no correlation with hypertrophy and strength gains. The present study seems to support this conclusion, as no such correlation was found when comparing the hormonal responses of both groups.

What about motor unit activation?

As Brad Schoenfeld has previously written, Henneman's size principle, which states that motor units are recruited in a specific order based on their size - small motor units are recruited under conditions of low force demands and larger motor units come into play when force demands increase (heavy weights) - does not appear to be the factor here.

Like Schoenfeld, the argument for heavy weights does not account for the fact that fatigue could stimulate growth and that its onset can directly affect motor unit recruitment. If you move a relatively light weight, motor unit recruitment is lower at the beginning of the set than if you start with a heavier weight, but this evens out towards the end of the set.

In addition, Dr. Jim Potvin's model of motor unit recruitment provides evidence that fast contracting motor units are recruited even during low intensity efforts as you approach exhaustion.

What about strength gains?

The study suggests that if an increase in 1RM strength is the primary goal, training with a focus on heavier weights either consistently or periodically may be necessary for optimal strength gains, which is consistent with the general opinion of the strength sports community. So if you're trying to increase your max weight on the bench press, then you should definitely keep training heavy bench presses.

The truth lies in the middle

Training with high and low repetitions (and low and high weights respectively) provides a comparable stimulus for hypertrophy and strength when resistance training is performed to muscle failure.

The study suggests that training with heavier and lighter weights should not be mutually exclusive, but that both variations should be used during different training blocks.


By Alex Mullan

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