Becoming familiar with the muscles that make up your body has more benefits than simply allowing you to talk shop with your training partners. The more familiar you are with the muscles you're working, the better you'll be able to judge what's needed to make improvements. In this article we'll get to know the muscles that make up the shoulders and arms.Shoulders and arms work together but they require significantly different exercises to make them bigger and stronger. The main muscles found in these areas are as follows:1. Deltoid - this is comprised of three separate segments that cover the shoulder and run a few inches down the arm. The anterior deltoid raises the arm to the front. The middle deltoid raises the arm to the side. The posterior deltoid draws the arm backwards.2. Rotators - these are small muscles of the rotator cuff that control small movements of the upper arm. Consisting of an internal rotator, external rotator and supraspinatus they are used in lifting and throwing actions.3. Biceps brachii - the biceps covers the front part of the upper arm and consists of a long head and a short head. The long head crosses the shoulder joint and works with the front deltoid to raise the arm to the front.4. Triceps brachii - the triceps covers the the back of the upper arm and consists of three sections - the long, lateral and medial heads. The role of the triceps is to straighten the arm at the elbow.5. Brachialis - this muscle lies between the upper arm bone and biceps. It helps the biceps to bend the elbow when the palm is facing sideways.6. Forearm muscles - the forearms consist of many little muscles called flexors and extensors. The largest forearm muscle is the brachioradialis that lies close to the elbow.
In order for muscles to grow, three things are required:1. Stimulus - exercise is needed to make the muscles work, use energy and cause microscopic damage to the fibers.2. Nutrition - after intense exercise the muscles need to replenish their stores of fuel.3. Rest - it is during the rest or recovery phase that the muscles repair the microscopic damage and grow.Muscle size increases due to hypertrophic adaptation and an increase in the cross section area of individual muscle fibers. Intensive exercise impacts more on the strength influencing fast twitch type II fibers, therefore the increase in muscle size is accompanied by greater strength.This will deplete the muscle's energy stores and cause microscopic damage to the muscle tissue. During recovery, these stores of glycogen and phosphocreatine will replenish from carbohydrates and creatine ingested as food or supplements. Amino acids supplied in the diet will trigger the protein synthesis that repairs the damaged muscle and lead to the creation of bigger muscle fibers.To achieve continuous improvement you will need to keep reaching for higher levels of training intensity otherwise the improvement process will grind to a halt. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to plan for provided certain basic principles and rules are clearly followed. Subsequent articles in this series will examine these principles in detail.
Its no secret that every serious lifter out there desires an impressive pair of strong, muscular arms. Who wouldnt be happy with tall, peaking biceps sitting on top of rock-hard, horse-shoe-shaped triceps? Who wouldnt love to have a pair of ripped, well-developed guns forcefully bursting through the sleeves of their shirt? While developing muscular arms is usually at the top of many peoples agenda, the reality is that the majority of lifters out there have a very poor understanding of how to properly train their arms for maximum gains. In order to gain the proper insight into effectively stimulating arm growth, we must first recognize three basic truths: 1) Relatively speaking, the biceps and triceps are small muscle groups.2) The biceps receive heavy stimulation during all basic pulling movements for the back.3) The triceps receive heavy stimulation during all basic pressing movements for the chest and shoulders. What do these 3 points tell us about effective arm training? The most important thing for you to realize is this: For maximum gains in muscle size and strength, the biceps and triceps require only a very small amount of direct stimulation! So why is it that every time I enter the gym I see the same misinformed people, week in and week out, slaving away on endless sets of bicep curls and tricep extensions? Its very important to understand that the biceps and triceps receive a very large amount of stimulation from all of your chest and back training. In fact, a lot of the time when you reach muscular failure on a chest or back movement, it is actually your biceps or triceps that give out first! Couple this with the fact that your biceps and triceps are already small muscle groups to begin with and it becomes quite clear that direct arm training is of minor importance.Remember, your muscles do not grow in the gym. The work that you accomplish as you train with weights is merely the spark that sets the wheels of the muscle growth process into motion. The real magic takes place out of the gym while you are resting and eating, as this is the time when your body will actually be synthesizing new muscle tissue. Because of this, it is vital that you do not overtrain your muscles. You must always make sure to provide them with sufficient recovery time if you want to see impressive results. Overtraining can actually make your muscles smaller and weaker. If youre looking to achieve serious arm growth, you must stop placing so much emphasis on direct arm movements. Forget about performing endless sets of concentration curls and tricep pressdowns. Strong, muscular arms are mostly a product of heavy chest and back training. If you are able to accept this basic truth and place the majority of your focus on building up the muscle size and strength in your major muscle groups, you will prevent yourself from overtraining your arms and will therefore yield greater overall gains in bicep and tricep size. This is not to say that no direct arm training is necessary, just not very much. Here is a sample arm routine that you can use as a part of your program:Barbell Curls 2 sets of 5-7 repsStanding Dumbbell Curls 1 set of 5-7 repsClose-Grip Bench Press 2 sets of 5-7 repsStanding Cable Pushdowns 1 set of 5-7 reps Take all sets to complete muscular failure and focus on progressing each week by using slightly more weight or performing an extra rep or 2. If you can incorporate this way of thinking into your arm training, you will achieve arm size beyond anything you previously thought possible!
Ask any body builder and everyone will say they will feel light headed, nauseous and even sometimes even puke when they train big muscle groups with exercises such as squats and dead lifts. Some great bodybuilders even take pride that they puke after an intensive bout of weightlifting as an indication that they have had a fantastic workout. But to many, these symptoms are unpleasant, disruptive and could be even be dangerous and cause injuries. Perhaps, you may also have experienced these symptoms as well.What happened? Well, there could be several causes. First of all, you may have eaten or drunk too much before your gym workout. So you blood is channeled to your digestive organs for your digestive process. But when you begin to exercise intensively especially on "big muscle groups" , a lot of blood is channeled away from your digestive organs to the muscles. When that happens, food is now in your digestive system left unattended and therefore undigested and thus causing you to feel nauseous. Your blood sugar level may be low. This could happen when you are on a low carbohydrate caloric restriction diet or have not eaten for sometime and is now lifting heavy weights. You will feel giddy, tired and may even develop a headache and suffering muscular weakness. It simply boils down to a decreased of energy level for not having enough energy nutrients prior to your workout. The most common cause of nausea when weight lifting is low blood pressure. It could be inherent that you have low blood pressure and if not, it is caused by change of body position. Have you ever felt giddy when you are sitting stationary for sometime then suddenly gotten up and stretch? Well, if you have had that experience, then the same logic and science applies. The sudden fall of blood pressure happens when you are in a squatting position and then suddenly bursting upwards to a standing position with the blood pooled in your lower body and not sending the blood fast enough to your upper body and your brain.These are some of the reasons why many of us will experience giddiness, nausea and even puke when we do exercises like squats and "dead lifts" with heavy weights and when working on big muscle groups. Now that we know the reasons, we can avoid these unpleasant symptoms by taking necessary precautions during our "gym workout" on heavy weight days.
Creatine monohydrate can rightly lay claim to being the most popular and arguably most effective bodybuilding supplement currently available. The beauty of creatine is that it is 100% natural and occurs in many foods so it's unlikely to be banned from any sports or competitions.Let's first establish what creatine actually is. In brief, creatine is produced naturally in our bodies to help supply energy to the muscles. It is produced in the liver, pancreas and kidneys before being transported in the blood to our muscles. It is then converted into phosphocreatine which is a powerful metabolite used to regenerate the muscles' ATP source of energy.From a bodybuilder's perspective, creatine can significantly increase lean muscle mass quickly, improve performance in high intensity exercise, raise energy levels and speed up recovery rates. Creatine's ability to raise energy in muscles is due to its muscle protein synthesizing action whilst reducing the breakdown of protein. This happens because creatine has the effect of super-hydrating muscle cells with water. It also improves muscle growth adding size and strength to muscle fibers.Creatine is normally taken in two ways. The first involves loading the muscles with 20 to 30 grams of creatine per day for four to seven days. At the end of this phase maintenance involves a regular intake of 5 to 15 grams per day. The other method is more gradual in that it skips out the loading phase and simply involves supplementing with 5 to 15 grams per day for an extended period.Two questions remain to be answered - does it work and is it safe? Creatine has undoubtedly been proven effective in recent years - over twenty scientific studies have concluded that creatine can increase energy levels and result in enhanced strength, endurance levels and recovery rates. As a training aid it therefore has many merits. In terms of safety, no study to date has shown creatine to be anything other than safe, provided manufacturers' instructions are followed.