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Tips of the week Perform dips on a straight bar

Tipps der Woche Führe Dips an einer geraden Stange aus

One of the more challenging dip variations - dips on a straight bar - is also the most specific preparation exercise for muscle ups ( Don't start working on muscle ups until you can do at least 10 straight bar dips in a row.

Dips on a straight bar

  1. This variation of dips is performed with both hands on a straight bar positioned across your body. You grip the bar with a slightly wider than hip-width grip, although you can also experiment with narrower hand positions. As with the bench press, performing dips on a straight bar with a narrower grip tends to be more difficult.
  2. When you perform dips on a straight bar, your body has to move around the bar. When you lower yourself down, you have to bend over the bar and extend your legs slightly forward to keep your balance. This activates the abdominal muscles even more, while at the same time demanding more from your shoulders and trapezius.
  3. Don't pull your shoulders up when you lower your body and make sure you don't put your arms out to the side. Your elbows should be pointing backwards at the lowest point of the movement.
  4. Just as with parallel bar dips, make sure you go all the way down. You should aim to touch the bar with your chest and achieve the same 90 degree angle of your elbows at the lowest point of each repetition.

Tip: Know yourself. Experiment with the program design

Find the best training strategy for you. Here are four methods every exerciser needs to try.

By Bret Contreras


Different training strategies maximize different variables. Here are four popular methods:

  1. High Volume Training (HVT) maximizes volume per body part and generally involves a training split by muscle group.
  2. High Frequency Training (HFT) maximizes training frequency per exercise or muscle group. This training is generally performed as a full body workout.
  3. High Intensity Training (HIT) maximizes effort and usually involves performing only one set to muscle failure. This training is also generally performed in the form of a full-body workout.
  4. Escalating Density Training (EDT) maximizes training density and generally involves upper body/lower body splits.

Try each of these training systems at some point. You will learn something from each system and incorporate aspects of each system into your training over the years.

The best progress is made when the different systems are mixed together during training. For example, if you have been doing HVT for several years, then a 3 month HIT sprint will bring many benefits. If you have never done an HFT training block, then there are still some gains to be made.

Programs you can experiment with

  • Training splits by muscle group involve a high volume with natural fluctuations in demands on the CNS throughout the week. For example, a leg day is brutal, but a shoulder day is a walk in the park by comparison.
  • A full body workout allows for more training per exercise and involves higher metabolic demands.
  • Push-pull and upper/lower body splits are beneficial for strength athletes. You will never find out which training style works best for you if you don't give each of these a real chance.

Tip: Fight the light and sleep better

No sleep, no gains. Here are a few tips for getting better sleep and maximizing recovery.

By Mike Sheridan


Light ruins your sleep and recovery

Light - and especially blue light from electronic devices - disrupts sleep. Anyone who has experienced jet lag knows that humans have an internal clock that determines everything from energy and hunger to glucose tolerance and muscle development. Even without light or darkness, our body knows when it should be awake and when it should be asleep.

The eyes are the master of this clock due to their ability to perceive light. When it is darker, special nerve cells tell our brain that it is time to get ready for bed. The brain then releases chemicals to help us wind down and the pineal gland releases a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is the yin for the yang that is released by the adrenal glands.

Since light determines whether we get the message to release melatonin, it's easy to understand that staring at a monitor or just being in a brightly lit house in the evening can be problematic. Your brain knows it's time for bed, but it's still waiting for darkness so it can signal the pineal gland to release melatonin and start driving stress down.

Blue light from electrical devices in particular disrupts melatonin production, which means we will continue to suffer from poor sleep and a disrupted day-night rhythm if smartphones, TVs and computers remain our primary source of entertainment in the evening. Unfortunately, white light from an incandescent lamp seems to be just as problematic as blue light. Scientific research has shown that even a short duration (1 to 2 hours) of minimal lighting (500 to 1000lux) can cause melatonin levels almost equivalent to those during the day.

How you can solve this problem

  1. Align your life with the sun. Expose yourself to plenty of light in the morning and during the day and turn off the light in the evening and at night. This includes blue light, which is not a problem when melatonin levels are supposed to be low (during the day) and may in fact improve alertness and performance.
  2. Fight the light. Consider using orange or amber colored glasses to block the blue light released from electronic devices to prevent melatonin suppression and the poor sleep quality that comes as a result. In addition, dimming the screen of your toys or installing the freely available APP f.lux can help reduce the blue light emitted by these devices in the evening.
  3. Don't forget about white light either. Blocking white light or using reddish light (fire, candles) can almost double melatonin levels.
  4. Use supplements to support sleep. In addition to melatonin, natural supplements containing ingredients such as L-theanine, 5-HTP and phenibut can also be useful.

Tip: Master the Romanian deadlift

Build all the muscles in your posterior chain with this exercise and strengthen your conventional deadlift.

By Nick Tumminello


The Romanian deadlift trains the muscles in the arch of the back, the gluteus and the hamstrings. The emphasis on the hamstrings is slightly reduced as the knees remain bent throughout the exercise.

The Romanian deadlift is an excellent strength and muscle building exercise in its own right, but is also a very good complementary exercise to the deadlift, snatch and clean pull. There are many ways to perform this exercise, but regardless of which variation you use, the hip joint is crucial for this exercise.

The standard version of the Romanian deadlift

  1. Grab a barbell with a shoulder-width overhand grip (palms facing down) and stand upright. The bar should touch your thighs.
  2. Inhale as you lower the bar by moving your hips back and your torso down. The knees are slightly bent, but the shins should remain vertical.
  3. Maintain a slight arch in the lower back. Keep the chest up and the shoulders back.
  4. When the bar reaches a position directly below the knees, exhale and reverse the movement using the hip joint.
  5. Bring the torso into a fully upright position and repeat the movement. Remember to keep your back arched and knees slightly bent throughout the exercise.

Option: To increase the range of motion, you can use dumbbells. The dumbbell version works best with higher repetitions (12 to 13).

Tip: Use your body weight to build your triceps

Surprisingly, you can build strong triceps without training machines and dumbbells

From Ben Bruno


Tricep presses performed with your own body weight will give your triceps a run for their money. As you'll see, you can use either a fixed barbell or a bench, but the best way to perform this exercise is to use suspension straps.

Tricep press performed with your own body weight

This exercise serves as an excellent anti-extension exercise for the core as well as a tricep exercise. If you don't have suspension straps available, you can achieve a similar training effect using a bar in a power rack or multi-press. However, the suspension straps add a nice dimension to this exercise.

When using a bar, the range of motion is limited because you are forced to move your forehead towards the bar - similar to a traditional lying tricep press (skull crusher). Suspension straps, however, allow you to extend your arms further away from the body, increasing the demands on the core while increasing the stretch in the long head of the triceps and taking the strain off the elbows. It also allows you to rotate your hands as you move through the repetition, which feels better for the elbows and increases the contraction in the triceps.

Make sure to keep your body straight. Even though this is ostensibly a tricep exercise, it should feel similar to an ab wheel rollout from a core perspective. This exercise is also very suitable for burnout sets at the end of the training session. Start with the straps further down and take a step forward when you start to fatigue.

Tip: Build up your glutes. Use one-legged hip thrusts

Take hip thrusts to the next level and strengthen your glutes with this exercise

From Ben Bruno


You may think that the gluteus gets more than enough work from squats, deadlifts and lunges, but if you're not performing specific gluteus exercises like bridges and hip thrusts, then you're missing out on a lot in terms of gluteus development. My personal favorite is single-leg hip thrusts performed with a barbell.

Single-leg hip thrusts

With this one-legged variation, you won't be able to use as much weight as with regular hip thrusts, but you will achieve an even stronger contraction in the gluteus and avoid strain on the lower back. In addition, this variation is more comfortable for the hips as you use less weight.

The bodyweight-only version is an excellent exercise with its own raison d'être. Start with this variation and slowly add weight as you improve in this exercise. To make it even more intense you can place your foot on an elevation and perform "1.5" repetitions / one and a half repetitions.

Hip thrusts with elevated foot, 1.5 repetitions

Perform one full repetition and move halfway down. Then move back up and return to the starting position. This is one repetition.

Tip: Add cinnamon to your meals

This is a simple trick to increase insulin sensitivity. Here's information on how it works and how much you should consume.

By Mike Roussell, PhD


Make your body more sensitive to the insulin it naturally releases when you eat. This will allow you to harness the muscle-building effects of insulin and avoid the fat-building effects of too much insulin production (due to insulin resistance). The following will help.

Consume more cinnamon

Apart from the fact that it tastes good with many sweet foods, you've probably never given cinnamon much thought. However, several studies have shown that simply adding cinnamon to your diet has the following effects:

  • A delay in gastric emptying
  • Lower blood sugar levels after a meal
  • Reduced insulin levels during fasting
  • Compensate for temporary insulin resistance due to lack of sleep

To benefit from the glucose-controlling benefits of cinnamon, you need to use 3 to 6 grams (about 2 to 3 teaspoons). Adding a few teaspoons of cinnamon to your breakfast is a no-brainer, so you have no excuse not to add cinnamon to your nutritional arsenal.


  1. Hlebowicz J, Darwiche G, Bjorgell O, Almer L-O. Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:1552-1556.
  2. Solomon T, Blannin A. Changes in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity following 2 weeks of daily cinnamon ingestion in healthy humans. European Journal of Applied Physiology 2009;105:969-976.
  3. Hlebowicz J, Hlebowicz A, Lindstedt S, et al. Effects of 1 and 3 g cinnamon on gastric emptying, satiety, and postprandial blood glucose, insulin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, glucagon-like peptide 1, and ghrelin concentrations in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:815-821.
  4. Jitomir J, Willoughby DS. Cassia Cinnamon for the Attenuation of Glucose Intolerance and Insulin Resistance Resulting from Sleep Loss. Journal of Medicinal Food 2009;12:467-472.


From Al Kavadlo

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