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Tips of the week training programs

Tipps der Woche Trainingsprogramme
  1. There is no perfect training program. In fact, very intelligent and very successful trainers often have conflicting opinions. This means that you have to learn a lot, think for yourself and experiment. If you don't like that, then maybe you should start jogging instead.
  2. The effectiveness of any exercise program is directly related to the effort you put into it. If a program isn't working, it's probably because you're only doing it half-heartedly. Effort trumps everything.
  3. Three words: Ass. In. Gym. Stop using "science" as a method of procrastination. Yes, read articles and learn as much as you can, but most of what you learn will come from dedicated time in the gym.
  4. Ask yourself: am I getting stronger, leaner or better at highly technical exercises? You should always be able to answer "yes" to at least one of these questions. Otherwise, it's time to change your program.
  5. Beware of gimmicks. Training that drastically changes your body will not require balance balls or wobble boards. You're not in rehab. You want to build muscle and strength.
  6. People get strong and build impressive bodies with many different training philosophies. But they all have one thing in common: they work their asses off. Working hard works. Period. Never forget this part
  7. Effective workouts can be a mix of aggressive, powerful movements and controlled steady movements. Multi-joint exercises and isolation exercises, full body training programs and split programs, 1RM training programs and high repetition burnout programs...there's a time and a place for everything and you'll probably end up doing all of it if you stick with the sport long enough.

Be inefficient to lose fat

The more efficient you are at an exercise, the less fat you will burn. Here's why, plus a better way

By Dan John

For fat loss exercises, find things you're bad at and do them. Once you get better technically, find something new. This is the complete opposite of getting good at a sport or technical skill, but the latter is also a reason why consistent fat loss is so hard to achieve for most people.

Fat loss exercises are all about being completely inefficient. Most forms of cardio work for a few weeks. Then you start to get good at it and progress comes to a halt. Sure, jogging a mile will work at first if you're not used to it and are inefficient at it, but soon you'll need two miles then three miles, etc. to get the same effect. You'll become efficient and soon you'll be adding mile after mile to your training program. And then you'll get injured - and fat.

A better way: kettlebell swings and push-ups

This is the reason kettlebell swings are so great for fat loss. It's a massive body movement that uses a ton of energy. As you get better, you attack the exercise or use heavier weights. Kettlebell swings will always work. It's very hard to get "too efficient" at this exercise.

Try a combination of kettlebell swings and push-ups. The secret to fat loss. Don't worry about sets, reps and load. Do a few reps of kettlebell swings, do a few push-ups, do a few reps of kettlebell swings and repeat. You won't last long.

Don't like kettlebell swings? Then use goblet squats and push-ups.

Use isometric holds to master pull-ups

You should be able to use as much weight (including your body weight) as you can bench press during pull-ups. If not, the following can help

By Ben Bruno


1:1 ratio of pull-ups to bench presses

Exercisers should be able to move as much weight - including bodyweight - on pull-ups as they can bench press, meaning that a 90 kilo exerciser bench pressing 140 kilos should be able to perform pull-ups with 50 kilos of additional weight.

A 1:1 ratio of pull-ups to bench presses should be the minimum. Let's assume that most men can perform at least 7 to 8 pull-ups with their own body weight and their preferred grip. If you can't do this and have been training for several years, then this should be a wake-up call for you, telling you to seriously rethink your training, your diet or both.

Once you've built a solid strength base, it's time to step it up a gear with isometric holds.

Pull-ups with isometric holds

Pull yourself up until your chest is level with the bar. Keep your chest stretched forward, elbows pulled down and back and focus on pulling your shoulder blades together hard. Hold this position. Are the muscles in your upper back burning? These are the muscles you should be using with every pull-up repetition. For now, however, you should just contract these muscles harder.

Isometric holding forces you to recruit the right muscles. If you don't contract your shoulder blades and try to rely on your arms to do the work, you won't last long. Isometric holds can also help to strengthen the lower trapezius and rhomboid muscles, which can support posture and prevent shoulder problems.

Perform this isometric hold with an overhand grip where the thumbs are on the same side as the back of the hands. Scientific research shows much stronger EMG activation in the lower trapezius with this type of exercise, which emphasizes the biceps. And using the overhand grip described above also helps take the elbow flexors out of the equation, so the back does most of the work. Try to hold the top position of pull-ups for 30 to 45 seconds at the end of your pull-up workout. Once you can do 45 seconds, it's time to increase the weight.

Perform ab wheel rollouts for your abs

This old-school exercise works your abs in a way that other exercises can't


By Bret Contreras


You'll be hard-pressed to find an exercise that works the front core as intensely as ab wheel rollouts. If you can do 20 rollouts with your pelvis tilted forward, you're really hardcore.

This exercise really activates the lower rectus abdominis and obliques. In fact, it is so effective that it can be dangerous to start this exercise straight away without the right progression. Start with a few sessions of RKC Planks( before starting Ab Wheel Rollouts and don't overdo it with the volume.

Rollouts from the kneeling position are very challenging and will work the core muscles even more intensely if you tighten your gluteus, which will cause a slight tilt of the pelvis and prevent the abdominal wall from being stretched during the exercise. This is important because Ab Wheel Rollouts are a core stabilization exercise that strengthens the spine's ability to resist hyperextension.

Some advanced exercisers will even perform this exercise from a standing position. Try it if you dare. Don't have an ab wheel roller? Just use a barbell instead.

Train your weak points first

Do you have a muscle group that is lagging behind in its development? Train them first for better results. Here's the science to back it up

By Bret Contreras, Brad Schoenfeld, PhD


Joe Weider popularized the Weider Principles - a set of guidelines designed to help bodybuilders reach their maximum potential. Although these guidelines are often dismissed as pseudoscience, it turns out that many of these principles are backed by solid science. The Muscle Priority Principle is one of them.

The Muscle Priority Principle

This principle states that you should train your weak points first during your training sessions. Since your energy levels and mental focus are highest at this time, prioritization training allows you to use the highest intensity for the muscles that need it most.

Although this principle contradicts the popular notion that large muscle groups should be trained before smaller muscle groups, recent research seems to support this hypothesis. Studies consistently show that strength gains are significantly greater for exercises performed earlier in a training session than for exercises performed at the end of a training session. (Simao et al., 2010; Dias et al., 2010).

A recent study review on this topic concluded that, taking into account the degree of decline in strength over the course of a training session, it is beneficial to structure the exercise sequence based on which muscles need the most improvement, regardless of whether this includes exercises for larger or smaller muscle groups. (Simao et al. 2012).


If your biceps are lagging behind your triceps, then don't hesitate to start your training session with some form of curls. If your legs look like inverted cones, then definitely perform calf raises at the beginning of your workout.

Don't blindly stick to the "heaviest multi-joint exercise first" mantra if you have an obvious imbalance in your muscle development. If you have a clear strength or muscle discrepancy, prioritize that weak link in the chain by tackling it first in your training session.

Train pull-ups like a powerlifter

Speed training and resistance bands are used by top powerlifters for the big three exercises. But you can also use these techniques to improve your pull-ups.

By: Ben Bruno


Pull-ups with added weight are the first step on the road to getting stronger, but most exercisers will quickly reach a plateau. This is where speed training comes into play. Powerlifters have long used speed training to improve their bench press, squat and deadlift performance. The goal is to improve the rate of strength development, so instead of using heavy weights, they use a lighter weight and move it quickly. If we transfer this concept to pull-ups, we arrive at pull-ups with bands as resistance.

Speed pull-ups, adjusting the resistance

Attach one end of the band to a heavy dumbbell placed on the floor directly below the pull-up bar. Attach the other end to a belt around your waist. The belt should be taut but not too tight at the lower end of the range of motion.

Perform pull-ups as normal, trying to perform each repetition explosively - speed is key here

Bands provide matched resistance, meaning that tension is lower at the bottom of the movement and tension increases as the band tightens. This forces you to perform each repetition explosively to avoid being pulled down by the band as the tension increases.

How to incorporate this type of training into your program

Perform 6 sets of 3 reps once a week instead of your normal pull-up workout. Perform two sets with an underhand grip, two sets with a neutral grip and two sets with an overhand grip and do not go anywhere near muscle failure on any of the sets. Add more tension if needed, but when in doubt, use a little less tension rather than too much.

Use band pull-aparts(

Here are three ways to perform this exercise that can build your back, improve your shoulder health and even boost your bench press performance.

By Christian Thibaudeau


My most successful bench press phase involved working with bands between sets. I had been experimenting with different types of exercises with bands for the back, finding weak or sore spots and contracting the muscles in those spots against the bands.

I started incorporating this band training between my bench press sets. After each set, I did different holds with bands that totaled about a minute of tension. I then took 15 to 20 seconds to prepare for my next set of bench presses. During this time, I made very rapid progress on the bench press, but more importantly, my shoulders felt better than ever.

I recently used this approach with a client who was suffering from shoulder problems. He was able to go from bench pressing 100 kilos with shoulder pain to 5 pain-free reps at 130 kilos, which shows that this approach definitely works.

3 ways to use pull-aparts

There are many ways to perform pull-aparts. When I use them as extra training between sets, I don't count reps or time - the goal is simply to put the muscles under tension.

Therapeutic pull-aparts

Once tension is built up, slow down the movement until you reach a sore or weak point. Once you have found such a point, keep this point under tension until the pain subsides.

Muscle control pull-aparts

The second approach is to perform isometric holds in different positions. This is great for improving muscle control and also carries over to the bench press, where the back muscles need to work isometrically to build a strong base from which you can press.

Slow pull-aparts on reps

The last method is to perform regular repetitions, but slower repetitions than usual. This is more for muscle building purposes than to compensate for weaknesses or to improve the role of the back in the bench press.

Depending on your goal, you can use varying approaches. It's practically impossible to overdo it with pull-aparts - so use them often.


By Chris Shugart, Dani Shugart

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