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Is it acceptable to take an expired supplement?
In general, the answer to the question is a resounding no. The primary reason for the unequivocal nay is that once a supplement has gone several years past its date of manufacture, the potency of the ingredients decreases. Thanks to a process called oxidation–think of an apple turning brown once it’s peeled and exposed to oxygen-the ingredients may start to break down into unwanted metabolites. (For example, if L-glutamine has expired and is stored in a humid environment, it may start breaking down into glutamic acid and ammonia–not good.) Additionally, some ingredients–like liquids, oils and liquid capsules–break down faster than tablets.
Another key factor to consider about supplement breakdown is how the supplement has been stored and whether or not the product contains any preservatives. If a product is stored in a cool, dry place and left completely sealed, it may still be potent and effective. But again, degradation is dependent on the product: Sealed products like tablets (excluding essential fatty acids and fish oil tablets) might be OK after their expiration dates. Pure protein powders may also fit into this category. But if you want maximum potency, try to consume supplements as far away from their expiration date as possible-fresher is better.
Looking for more information on supplements? Check out our next posts.
This trio of new fitness products will max out your cardiovascular output and get you in the best shape of your life
We’re always on the lookout for workout gear that’ll help our readers get to the next level. This means investigating a lot of products — some good, some hilariously bad. After weeding out the pretenders, we’ve come up with three new machines worth checking out.
EVO Fitness Bike
Product Weight: 135 lbs.
Colors: Gray, pearl, black
Price: $1,150–$1,300, depending on model
For those of you who live in a colder climate, committing to year-round outdoor cycling could mean slapping snow tires on your bike and pedaling around in a snowsuit like some lunatic yeti. You’re better off checking out the EVO Fitness Bike.
We know what you’re saying: “What makes this exercise bike any different from the one at my gym, or for that matter, the bulky monstrosity my dad used to pedal in his tube socks back in the ’80s?” While it’s true that exercise bikes haven’t undergone any mammoth changes since then — you still sit on them, grab the handlebars and pump your legs — the EVO incorporates two crucial advancements:
First, there’s no chain. No belt. No flywheel. The EVO works off a planetary gear system. Instead of a chain connecting two gears, a planetary system consists of one or more outer or “planet” gears meshing with a central or “sun” gear. Upshot: a smoother, more problem-free ride.
Second, the EVO’s frame isn’t fixed in position. Instead, it sways side to side, which mimics how a bike moves when you muscle up an incline. This persistent sway forces you to maintain your balance and activate your core muscles, providing a total-body workout.
Product Weight: 260 lbs.
Does the idea of pulling yourself up an endless ladder sound like a thrill? Or does it sound like a Sisyphean chore that fills you with existential dread? Either way, you’ve got to try it.
Jacobs Ladder is the equivalent of a stair-stepper or StepMill, but with a ladder instead of stairs. The ladder is set at a 40-degree angle, offering the most natural and comfortable climbing motion. This angle also takes stress off the lower back, hips and knees. Unlike a lot of other stationary cardio machines, Jacobs Ladder provides a greater range of motion by engaging both your upper and lower body in addition to your core, thus maximizing your efforts.
“As a rule, the more muscle mass you utilize during any activity, the greater the oxygen consumed, which is directly correlated to the calories you burn,” says Neal Pire, an exercise physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine. “Unlike stair climbers, with Jacobs Ladder you can’t hold on to the sides.”
ElliptiGo Bike (11R Model)
Product Weight: 39.4 lbs.
Do you hate recumbent bicycles and all they stand for? Does the specter of a dumpy fellow in spandex astride a recumbent bike drive you to madness? Does the smile on that man’s face — a supercilious grin that says: My bicycle is more efficient than yours! — make you want to wrap his flapping ponytail around his pencil-neck and choke him purple? Rest assured: These are perfectly natural feelings. Embrace them.
Better yet, try the ElliptiGo bike — the anti-recumbent. Instead of sitting down, you stand up. Rather than pumping your legs forward and back, you pedal in a cool elliptical pattern. The ElliptiGo works on the same ergonomic principles as the elliptical machines found in most gyms. The smooth motion of the machine and emulated by the ElliptiGo makes it a perfect choice for those who’ve suffered or are susceptible to impact injuries caused by excessive pressure on the joints.
The ElliptiGo varies slightly from an elliptical machine in that it doesn’t have moving armatures to grasp; it has handlebars just like a bike. An 11-speed gearing system allows the machine to reach 25 mph, and by gearing down, you can climb the same steep hills that you could tackle on a standard bicycle. A stride-length adjustment ensures that the ElliptiGo can be used by riders of all heights.
Muscle rev xtreme review demonstrate us that the youths of current age want to have their perfect body build up at any cost and therefore the demand for the body building products has shot up. However, most of the products have failed to deliver the required results as these were never based on any refined and intricate mechanisms pertaining to the human body metabolism. Most of the health and bodybuilding supplements offer to provide intensive proteins in a concentrated manner.
These products, therefore, relied upon soy protein, whey protein and others that were meant to get directly assimilated to aid in the development of the muscles. However, this approach worked for only those who had the best of the metabolisms in their body so that every amount of protein is taken care of in a positive manner. Muscle Rev Xtreme review by the experts on the other hand has pointed out a much superior phenomenon that is attempted by this body building supplement.
Working to optimize the human metabolisms
Muscle Rev Xtreme is among the few products that have been designed as much more that a health supplement. It offers to act as a catalyst to optimize the metabolism in a swift yet safe manner. For this, it relies on the rare ingredients of the nature which work to bring the metabolic processes out of the state of dormancy and this in turn results into more of the energy production down at the cellular level. The cells start to burn more of the fuel to offer increased production of energy. As for Muscle Rev Xtreme review, mens health benefits have been noted on twin counts.
The increased cellular energy production process uses the excess fats deposited in the body as its fuel and this makes the muscle mass to get more structured and shaped up. Secondly, the greater energy now available through ramped up energy production increases the stamina of the user who can now engage in more strenuous exercises. Now an all conducive ambience is created in the body which is capable of utilizing the available protein in the best possible manner. The result is that the development of the muscles gathers momentum and more of the muscle mass is evident in a short time span. The defining feature of Muscle Rev Xtreme review is therefore its ability to condition the body in a safe and effective manner so that the natural processes which are otherwise dormant get revved up!
Raising the testosterone levels the safe way!
Another area where the Muscle Rev Extreme works is the freeing up of the testosterone, which in spite of being produced in ample quantities in most of the males gets clogged up due to the distortions in the body’s chemistries. The testosterone, while it is recognized notoriously only as a sex hormone, has other many vital functions in the body too! Testosterone works specifically to increase the protein synthesis so that the muscle development becomes catalyzed. The optimized T profile also helps develop more of the libido and thus makes the sexual life more engaging and full.
While both muscle rev xtreme and maxx test 300 offers to boost the testosterone levels, the effects of the former have been comparatively found more sustainable and safe for the users. The Muscle Rex Xtreme review is relies on the time tested and effective natural ingredients which, while free the bound testosterone in the males, otherwise never boosts the level beyond the required limits. Remember that none of the hormone is safe after the permissible limits, after which it begins to distort the balances of the body and generate side effects.
Also another muscle rev xtreme review shows that too much testosterone has been linked to excess of aggression, which is bad.
Incinerate your fat stores with this plan based on the real workouts of America’s fittest firefighters. You’re only 8 weeks away from your leanest look ever!
It’s December 25, just after 2 a.m. and I’m sound asleep. The breaker hits, the room lights turn on and a booming voice on the loudspeaker repeats, “Structure fire!” My crew and I jump in the rig and boot it out of the hall in what feels like 10 seconds. As we approach the fire, I can see that it’s huge.
Smoke is billowing out of the already broken windows. We strap on our packs. I grab an axe and my captain orders me to pull a line off the rig, so I grab a length of 1.5-inch hose and set it up in front of the broken shop windows. I strap on my mask and join the crew as we rush into the storefront, hurdling over fallen shelves and merchandise. I can barely see anything as we advance the weighted hose into the dark, aiming the jet of water at the glow of the fire ahead.
Just as we think we’ve put it out, we’re radioed to exit the building, as the fire has traveled to the second floor. Outside, as I’m gasping to catch my breath, the captain asks me and another firefighter to climb to the top of the 100-foot aerial ladder to control the fire stream. My lower body burns under the weight of 100 pounds of gear I’m hauling up the ladder. Any extra fat on my body is dead weight that I’ll be forced to drag up that ladder along with the rest of my gear. Is it any wonder firefighters are so ripped?
The fire is upgraded to a third alarm and we work well into the morning to extinguish the “enemy.”
That was one experience I had working with the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service in British Columbia, Canada, before I moved eastward to pursue a master’s degree in exercise physiology. I discovered first-hand the physical intensity of firefighting and how the job requires an intense fat-burning cardio and circuit-training program to match.
Studies have shown that during on-the-job tasks such as carrying heavy equipment and climbing ladders, firefighters use up to 12 times more oxygen than they do at rest. So not only do these guys need to be strong, but they also can’t afford to carry extra weight around their guts.
This eight-week training program based on the workouts of top firefighters will set your metabolism ablaze, torch calories, burn fat and build lean muscle mass. But let me reiterate: Above all else it’ll incinerate fat! The program works so well because it alternates between fat-fighting cardio intervals and high-intensity circuits (more fat fighting) that incorporate significant strength moves. If you already have some good muscle built up from traditional strength workouts, this program will help you chisel out the fat and jack up your power output.
“All the different little arm machines and leg machines don’t really have good carryover to the job,” says career firefighter Tom Corrigan from the Everett Fire Department in Washington, D.C. Sure, they may bring out the assorted muscle sections of various muscle groups, but, notes Corrigan, “You need power that endures, which means having both strong muscles and a strong heart.”
Two recent studies in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that the best type of training regime for firefighters is non-linear periodization, which means focusing on power, strength and endurance in the same workout. This exclusive Reps! program — ideal for guys who want to blast away fat without compromising their hard-earned muscle — uses linear periodization strategies.
Try Sprinting Three Flights in This Gear
- Helmet: 5 lbs.
- Turnout gear (Jacket, pants, boots): 18 lbs.
- SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus): 33 lbs.
- Small tools in pockets: 1 lb.
- Axe: 7.5 lbs.
Other items a firefighter may haul, include an apartment pack (typically 100 feet of 1.5–1.75-inch diameter hose with an adjustable fog nozzle bundled so that it can rest evenly over the SCBA bottle), 34 pounds; a utility belt with bucking strap and wrench, 6 pounds; gloves and balaclava (protective hood worn under the helmet).
The Firefighter Fat-Burner Training Week
The 8-Week Weight Workout Plan
Weight Workout 1: Part A
High Clean Pull from Hang
PRIMARY MUSCLE TARGETS: Calves, Hamstrings, Glutes, Paraspinals, Delts, Traps.
SET UP: Using an overhand grip slightly beyond shoulder width, hold a barbell in front of your thighs. Soften your knees and stick out your chest.
MOVEMENT: Brace your abs while you simultaneously push your hips rearward (without rounding your back in the process). The motion allows the bar to move downward: Keep your weight on your mid-foot and lower the bar to mid-thigh.
Then, explode up onto your toes while you pull the bar upward toward your shoulders at the same time (not unlike a barbell upright row). Pull with your arms as you apply as much force as possible into the ground while you push up onto your toes.
Absorb the weight of the bar on its way down and guide it back to the hanging, start position in front of your thighs. When you’ve completed the required number of reps and sets, immediately start Part B: Full-Body Circuit.
Part B: Full-Body Circuit
EXERCISE 1: Dumbbell Front Squat to Overhead Press
PRIMARY MUSCLE TARGETS: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Trunk Stabilizers, Deltoids.
SET UP: Hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip in front of your shoulders. Your feet should be shoulder width apart.
MOVEMENT: Squat down keeping your chest up and knees out until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Don’t fold at the waist. Stay tight. Then drive upward through your thighs and glutes, and as you return to the starting position, press the dumbbells overhead, just short of elbow lockout. Lower the weights back to shoulder height and repeat the entire sequence.
EXERCISE 2: 1.5-Rep Dumbbell Push-Ups
PRIMARY MUSCLE TARGETS: Pecs, Outer Delts, Triceps.
SET UP: Place two dumbbells shoulder-width apart on the ground. Get into the push-up position with your palms facing each other.
MOVEMENT: While maintaining a straight line with your entire torso, lower yourself all the way down. Then, return but only halfway to the starting position; lower your torso from this position all the way down. Now, push back up to full extension. That’s 1.5 reps. Now repeat.
EXERCISE 3: Wide-Grip Seated Cable Rows
(or Wide-Grip Machine Rows or Wide-Grip Chins)
SET UP: Attach a lat bar to the pulley cable of a cable row apparatus, and then grasp the bar with a wide overhand grip, as you sit on the pad in an upright position. Your lower back should be in a natural arch position and your arms extended.
MOVEMENT: Pull the lat bar toward the base of your sternum, stopping just short of the chest area. Retract the scapulae briefly to engage additional muscle fibers, and then slowly control the bar back to the starting position. Avoid leaning rearward or excessively forward.
EXERCISE 4: Bent-Over Dumbbell Piston Row
(this is essentially an alternating bent-over dumbbell row)
PRIMARY MUSCLE TARGETS: Lats, Rhomboids, Traps, Biceps, Trunk Stabilizers.
SET UP: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet hip width apart. Bend forward at your hips keeping an arch in your lower back. Stop when you achieve a 45-degree angle. The dumbbells should hang straight down, palms facing inward.
MOVEMENT: Stick out your chest and pull one of the dumbbells up toward your ribs to get into the starting position. Then, as you raise the other dumbbell to the lower rib cage, lower the opposite dumbbell into a hanging position. When you’ve alternated raising and lowering each dumbbell one time, that’s one rep. Continue. Your goal is to move as quickly as possible without breaking form or using upper torso momentum to get the dumbbells moving.
A new twist on cables will give you a complete shoulder workout in just 16 minutes.
In a fitness world where everything seems to be over-hyped and under-delivered—sure, you can have a six-pack overnight!—it’s a welcome relief to find a 20-minute shoulder workout that can actually be done in just 16. Not that those four minutes are going to mean much to you, unless you’re late for work because you missed your subway train or your sirloin steak is just a bit overdone. But for those who don’t like to spend hours in the gym training like a competitive bodybuilder, it’s good to know you can get a complete delt workout that hits all three heads in about the same time it takes those guys who live in the gym to put down a protein shake.
While you’ve probably done a few delt exercises using cables before, you’ve probably never done your entire routine using them. But with the advent of dual cable machines, like the one made by FreeMotion Fitness, you can set up shop in front of one for your entire workout because you can do just about every conceivable type of shoulder exercise here—even shoulder presses. (Okay, I said the workout was fast; I never promised that the other members wouldn’t give you menacing looks for hogging the equipment.)
If you’re used to free weights, cables offer a number of advantages. When doing a move like a standing press with cables, your core muscles are highly active in helping to stabilize your torso, meaning you’re engaging more muscle groups and burning more calories. In addition, whereas the target muscle is simply resting between reps at the bottom position of single-joint dumbbell shoulder moves (like front raises), this isn’t the case with cables; the angle of pull (coming from the machine) keeps continuous tension on the front delt (or target muscle, depending on the exercise) from the top of the move to the bottom.
The workout here starts with a multi-joint pressing move for a couple of challenging heavy sets, then two lighter sets, before doing a single-joint move for the front and rear delt heads, so in total you work all three delt heads. To boost intensity, on your last set of each exercise quickly drop the weight by about 25 percent when you reach muscle failure and keep the set going until you reach muscle failure again.
Dual cables won’t replace free weights, but they make for a nice change of pace to work your shoulders in a different way from what they’re likely accustomed to—and at 16 minutes, just think of what you can do with those extra four minutes added to your life.
Standing Overhead Cable Press
The instability with cables is a bit similar to doing dumbbell presses: You sacrifice some ability to use heavy weights, but your core gets a more thorough workout. This movement can also be done seated with a low-back bench placed in front of the dual cables.
Target Muscles: Middle and front delts, and triceps
Set-up: Rotate the cables to the bottom position and attach D-handles. Grasp the handles and face away from the machine. Stand erect with your chest out and back slightly arched, knees unlocked and palms facing forward.
Action: With a strong motion, press into a full arm extension overhead without locking out your elbows. You may have difficulty bringing the handles together as you do with dumbbells because the cables may not clear your body. Lower to the point where the handles are just outside your shoulders, with your elbows pointing out to your sides; the weight stack shouldn’t be touching down between reps.
Alternating Front Cable Raise
With a regular cable, you can’t alternate reps; you can do that only with dumbbells. But with the FreeMotion, you get the benefit of continuous tension—meaning there’s a pull on the front delts, even when your arms are in the down position—while being able to alternate sides, as with dumbbells.
Target Muscles: Front delts
Set-up: Stand erect a step forward from the machine to ensure that there’s tension in the cables when your arms are by your sides. Use a split stance for better balance, keeping your knees soft. With straight arms, grasp the D-handles with a palms-down grip and hold them by your sides.
Action: With a smooth motion, raise one arm directly in front of your body to about shoulder height, keeping your arm as straight as possible without locking out your elbow. Lower with control and repeat on the opposite side.
Intensity Booster: Start out with both arms simultaneously, then alternate sides. Going back and forth between sides affords each side a short break while the other side is working to help you continue the set past failure.
Reverse Cable Flye
This move mimics the reverse pec-deck flye, but that machine locks your elbows in the slightly bent position. Here, you need to consciously do that—otherwise, this becomes a triceps move.
Target Muscles: Rear delts
Set-up: Adjust the machine’s arms so that the pulleys are above shoulder height. Attach D-handles (alternatively, you can use no handle and grasp the rubber ball between your thumb and index finger). Stand erect, a few feet in front of the unit, facing the machine. With your right hand, grasp the left handle; with your left hand, grasp the right handle. Extend your arms well out in front of you, keeping your elbows locked and slightly bent.
Action: In a wide, sweeping motion, bring the handles out to your sides as far back as possible while retracting your shoulder blades, ensuring that you’re not extending your elbows (straightening your arms). As your hands come in line with your torso, your chest should swell out. Let the pull of the weights reverse your direction, controlling the movement until your hands meet in the middle. You can physically cross your hands at the start to slightly extend the range of motion, but alternate which side goes on top from one set to the next
20-Minute Superspeed Delt Training
Duration: 6 weeks
Add the following to your weekly routine
Overhead Cable Press
Alternating Cable Raise
Reverse Cable Flye
10, 10, 10***
10, 10, 10***
*Doesn’t include warm-up sets. Do 1-2 with light weights but never take warm-ups to muscle failure
**Choose a weight in which you reach muscle failure by the target rep.
***On your last set of each exercise, once you reach muscle failure quickly reduce the poundage by about 25 percent and continue with the set to the second point of muscle failure.
Cowboys use them to capture cattle or win a steer-roping event. Climbers rely on their strength as they scale rock faces. Camp counselors know their worth, dispensing teams of children to tug and pull at each end. Even corporate upper-management types use ropes in this fashion to build team spirit. Who’d have thought that a measly rope could have so many purposes? But that’s not all. To that list, you can add “total-body trainer.” If you’re looking for a novel way to amp up your workouts — and your physique — here’s what you should know about a growing fitness trend called battle ropes.
Sometimes referred to as “power ropes” or “combat ropes,” battle ropes can be anywhere from about 20 to 100 feet in length, made of natural or artificial fiber, and weigh from 20 to 75 pounds, depending on the rope length and diameter (on average 1.5 to 2 inches). “The longer and thicker the rope, the more of a challenge it poses,” explains Antonio Reyes, an NASM-certified trainer at UFC Gym in Torrance, California.
Because of their size, these aren’t ropes you can pick up at any local Home Depot, but many fitness centers now stock their own, and numerous equipment manufacturers offer more affordable versions for personal use.
While a spectator or dyed-in-the-wool “I use nothin’ but free weights” type might scoff at its potency, rope training is far from a walk in the park. “When using battle ropes, you train multiple muscle groups in all three planes of motion — sagittal, transverse and frontal,” says Reyes. “This not only gives you a great conditioning effect but it also improves strength, coordination and endurance.” Simple point: Your game — no matter what it is — improves significantly.
Battle ropes jack up your heart rate in minimal time, making rope training an unparalleled fat-burning activity. “The ropes give you a great interval-training workout, which every ounce of research indicates is the best way to optimize calorie burn, fat burn and heart health,” states Jim Karas, celebrity trainer to Hugh Jackman and others, and author of The Petite Advantage Diet (HarperOne, 2011). Due to their weight and the instability caused when you swing ropes — which forces you to engage your muscles in response — rope training also increases lean muscle mass, which in turn contributes to an increase in metabolism and fat loss.
We provide three level-appropriate workouts, or you can freestyle your session by choosing 4–5 moves and arranging them in a circuit. Battle the ropes up to three days per week and you’ll be combat-ready in no time!
Do each move in order, then repeat once or twice.
Set Up Your Ropes
- Choose a space that provides plenty of room on all sides to perform the movements.
- Secure the center of the rope around a strong fixed point, such as the base of a Smith machine or through a heavy kettlebell, or around a tree trunk or fencepost.
- Make sure the rope is of equal length on each side before starting the exercises.
- Face the ropes, hold an end in each hand, and walk backward until the ropes are straight.
- Stand with your feet hip width apart or slightly wider, with your weight distributed evenly between your feet.
- Descend into a quarter squat and lean slightly forward with your chest up.
- Keep your back flat, your head up and your abs tight as you perform the moves.
- Use a full range of motion with each rep, making sure the wave goes all the way from your hand to the other end of the rope.
Using both hands, move the ropes up and down simultaneously from head to hip height, keeping your core tight and your back straight.
Advanced Move: Double/Alternating Waves, Moving Side to Side
Shuffle to the right and then to the left as you continue your rope waves. This move is great for hand-eye coordination and balance.
Advanced Move: Squat Double Waves
Instead of remaining stationary during your waves, perform squats to further challenge your legs and arms.
Just like double waves, except you wave the ropes in an alternating pattern.
Advanced Move: Double/Alternating Waves, Walking Forward & Back
Take 4–5 large steps forward while doing either a double or alternating wave. The ropes will feel heavier as you move forward, so use larger arm motions to keep them moving.
Advanced Move: Reverse-Lunge Alternating Waves
Alternate lunging to the rear as you perform alternating waves.
Move your hands apart and together quickly to make the ropes slide in and out in horizontal waves along the floor.
Advanced Move: Rope Jacks
Hold a rope end in each hand and do jumping jacks to challenge your shoulders and cardiovascular system.
Double In-and-Out Loops
Move the ropes in opposite directions like a double-dutch jump rope, looping them outward for a number of reps, then changing direction and looping them inward.
Double Rope Slams
Using both hands, simultaneously lift the ropes high as you come all the way up onto your toes, then slam the ropes as hard as you can onto the floor, using your whole body to whip them downward.
Hold the rope ends together and trace a horizontal figure eight in the air in front of you. The larger the figure eight, the more challenging it is.
Bring both hands close together and keep your elbows tight to your sides. Quickly swish the ropes from side to side along the floor like a snake, keeping your core tight and using your abs to move the ropes, not your arms.
Your Workout, Your Way
To make a move easier: Decrease your range of motion and slow your tempo.
To make a move harder: Increase your tempo and/or range of motion.
All football players have to endure intense training in order to improve their games.
What’s needed physique-wise, you ask? You need a strong core and hips, not to mention strength and endurance. Here are three moves that achieve all of those criteria—courtesy of Michael Seril, the founder of the Excellence Through Exercise Foundation. Now’s the time to get ready for flag or touch football. Do three sets, 12-15 reps, of each movement.
Medicine Ball Wood Chop
Benefit: Seril says this is “one of the best exercise[s]” for developing powerful hips and a strong core, both of which are “key” to football fitness.
Set-up: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Begin with the ball held outside and above your right shoulder. The movement is initiated by your right hip—not your arms.
Action: Lower the ball diagonally across your body, bend your legs while in motion, and pause when it is just below and beside your knee. Reverse direction to the starting position, completing your desired number of reps. Repeat movements on the other side.
Ab Twist with a Bar
Benefit: In addition to building strength and endurance, Seril says this movement will improve flexibility, all of which are “very important for athletic power and injury prevention.”
Set-Up: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, with the bar on your shoulders.
Action: “Initiate the movement with your hips,” advises Seril, not your waist or lower back. Look straight ahead. Rotate your torso not quite 90 degrees in one direction, pause for a second, and return to the center position. Then rotate in the other direction. Keep the movement under control—don’t use momentum from the bar (the pause at each side and in the center position helps prevent this).
Hanging Knee Raise
Benefit: Seril says this exercise “improves abdominal, lower-back and hip flexor muscles.” The movement is triggered by the abs and core, not the legs.
Set-up: Grip a high bar, palms facing forward, and ensure your body is hanging freely (your feet shouldn’t be touching the floor). Before you initiate the exercise, make sure your arms are fully extended and you have a slight arch in your lower back.
Action: Raise your knees toward your chest, rounding your back and pause when your knees are slightly above your belly button. Your thighs should be slightly above parallel to the ground. Then slowly lower your legs back to the start position. Control your movement with your core by moving at a slow pace. Don’t use momentum to swing your knees up. When you’re ready for a new challenge, keep your legs straight instead of bent.
It’s time to get out of the gym and put those muscles to use. This Reps beginners’ guide will get you race-ready for the popular 5K distance in just five weeks.
Forget dreary cardio workouts that take you on the road to nowhere. Running your first 5K — or improving your time if you’ve already done one — will give you a mental and physical boost like no other cardio program. And it’s a much more unique way to drop those last few pounds if you’ve started feeling like a gym gerbil in a wheel.
The 5K race distance is quick and fun, and doesn’t require the high volume of training that goes along with longer distances like the marathon, half-marathon, or even the 10K. In fact, if you’re already in good shape and have decent cardiovascular fitness, you can whip yourself into 5K race form in a mere five weeks, with only three days a week of running. If you want to be even better prepared, you simply repeat the program again for 10 weeks total.
You’re likely already hitting the gym on a regular basis and have a reasonable fitness base, which is why we’ve crafted this unique plan with you in mind. It’s not your ordinary beginner 5K routine that simply piles on a series of slow jogs and walk breaks. Instead, we’ve crafted a plan that’s going to ratchet up your running speed with a combination of hill intervals, HIIT sessions and steady-but-brisk runs that’ll get your heart pumping and your legs burning (in a good way, of course). Much like lifting weights, a properly focused running program can do more for you in less time.
Before You Begin
Get a good pair of running shoes (see “5 Pairs of Running Kicks to Get You Race-Ready” below). Try on several different pairs before your purchase, selecting ones that conform well to the shape of your foot.
Tip: To test for proper sizing, reach down from a standing position and press in front of the tip of your big toe. You should have at least half an inch of space between the tip of the toe and the end of the shoe.
Invest in some comfortable running apparel, including technical-fiber shorts, a T-shirt, and good running socks. If you follow this program properly, you’ll be sweating a lot during each session — the microfiber fabric and strategically vented designs (think mesh webbing at the armpits and lower back) can mean the difference between an exhilarating run and a miserable slog.
Plot a good route. Use an online map program such as gmap-pedometer.com to chart a loop route or an out-and-back. Pick an area with good footing, preferably in an area with minimal traffic, like a bike path in a park or a well-groomed trail. Measure out the distance of your route so that you can keep track of your mileage.
Find a hill. Yes, the program has a hill repeat workout component, so look for a hill that’s about 150–200 yards long, with a moderate incline. What’s that? You live in Kansas? No problem — you can do the hill work on a treadmill.
Don’t worry about missing a workout. The program isn’t built like a deck of cards. If you miss one or two of the runs, the whole thing won’t collapse. If you’re struggling with the workouts or feel an injury coming on, substitute some of the Tuesday or Thursday speedwork days for easy runs of 3–4 miles. Running 5K or longer in training a few days a week will still set you up for a good 5K race, even if your training is done at an easy pace. It’s better to err on the side of being conservative and arrive at the start line on race day motivated and healthy than to get burned out or injured beforehand. Be as consistent as possible over the five weeks and you’ll establish a strong foundation of running strength and speed for your 5K-goal race.
Build a base. This is designed as a beginner program, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. If you’re not comfortable jogging for 20–30 minutes, start off with three or four weeks of slow running with walk breaks as needed, until you can run continuously for at least 25 minutes.
Countdown to Race Time
2 Hours: Eat a light, high-carb meal, like a small bowl of oatmeal and strawberries, and drink a big glass of water.
1 Hour: Pick up your race kit and pin on your number. At some races, you’ll also get a timing chip to wrap around your ankle.
45 Minutes: Have a few gulps of energy drink or some water and a piece of banana.
30 Minutes: Line up for the Porta-Potty to empty your bladder before the start. Nothing worse than having to take a leak during the race.
20 Minutes: Do a 5-minute warm-up jog, including a few “pickups” — 5 or 10-second mini-sprints at a brisk pace, but not a full-on sprint.
15 Minutes: Line up at the start. Try to find a spot near others who are running your pace. Ask a few other runners what time their shooting for and consider pacing off them during the race. Don’t line up right at the front unless you think you’ll be in the top 10, and don’t go too far back or you’ll spend half the race dodging and weaving through packs of slower runners.
5 Minutes: Run or hop on the spot a bit and take a few deep breaths to stay relaxed.
Race Time: And you’re off! Start your stopwatch when the gun goes off. Stay relaxed at the beginning and give yourself a couple of minutes to settle nicely into your goal pace. Check your pace at the 1K marker to make sure you’re on target and adjust accordingly. Think about all the good training runs you put in and focus on staying strong and maintaining smooth running form. Take it 1K at a time and before you know it; the finish will be in sight. Kick it in hard to the line and savor the moment.
5 Pairs of Running Kicks to Get You Race-Ready
The summer’s top running shoes deliver on the performance front, but there’s another big trend this season: bold color schemes. These sleek designs allow for an easy transition into the gym or even as a fashion statement for a casual look with jeans.
Adidas adizero Boston 3
This shoe gets its name from the Boston Marathon, but don’t worry, it’s a great choice for 5K races and shorter runs as well. A new Continental rubber outsole improves grip, while strategically placed cushioning in the heel and toe provide efficient propulsion.
The decoupled heel helps channel impact forces down the center of the shoe.
Asics Gel-DS Trainer 17
A versatile shoe that offers a foot-hugging fit, breathable mesh upper, a responsive midsole and some support for those with lower arches. A great training shoe that’s also nimble enough to race in.
The Clutch Collar System holds the heel in place to reduce friction.
Lightweight and flexible, the second generation 890 brings runners a bit closer to the ground but still provides excellent cushioning for its weight class. A low profile and glove-like fit make these a great option for 5K training as well as gym workouts.
Welded overlays save weight and reduce the risk of chafing.
Saucony Kinvara 3
This very popular minimalist offering from Saucony gets a makeover, with a more durable sole, a redesigned heel with added flex grooves and a more streamlined upper. It maintains the same very low heel-to-toe drop of 4 millimeters.
A new beveled heel creates a smoother transition for runners who tend to heelstrike.
Mizuno Wave Rider 15
Pulling together the best attributes from the previous 14 generations, this moderate neutral shoe features improved midsole engineering, including larger flex grooves and new flex controllers, mimicking the natural movements of the foot.
Deep grooves on the outsole enhance natural foot flex.
Overhead presses are the best way to start your shoulder workouts as they target all three heads (emphasis on the front and middle). The superset is a one-station dandy that targets the middle delt (upright row) and then the rear delt (though it’s done one arm at a time), requiring only a change in handles.
Cable Upright Row
Cable Lateral Raise
Tip: Don’t cheat on upright rows or single-arm bent-over cable raises.
The wide grip hits the upper lats and middle back muscles especially well. Both major types of back exercises are included here: rows and pulldowns. The superset is done on the same cable station: the first exercise targets the upper lats; the latter the lower lats.
Standing T-Bar Row
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
Straight-Arm Cable Pulldown
Tip: For maximum contraction, retract your scapulae on each rep of back exercises.
Because there are so many muscle groups that make up the leg, this is the only workout that consists of two supersets. Go heavy on the leg press and then rep to failure with bodyweight squats (great for quads emphasis). After three sets grab a pair of dumbbells and alternate romanian deadlifts with lunges (more emphasis on glutes and hams).
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Tip: The multijoint-based supersets will fully exhaust your lower body in minutes.
Though not a multijoint move, the barbell curl is considered the top mass builder as you can move the most weight. With your elbows tight to your sides — don’t allow your elbows to pull forward so there’s no contribution from the shoulders — you can work both biceps heads. You’ll get a slightly different angle of pull with the first cable curl and the benefit of working each side independent of the other. Move the cable quickly to the top and you shift the focus to the biceps’ short head.
Standing One-Arm Cable Curl
Standing One-Arm High-Pulley Cable Curl
Tip: To engage additional muscle fibers, hold and squeeze at the peak contraction.
Again, starting off with a multijoint move allows you to go really heavy and overload the arms. The superset pairing requires an EZ-bar and a flat bench; when you hit failure with the skullcrushers, go right into the pressdown. With your arms angled toward your head (as opposed to by your sides) on the skull, you get more long head activation, which is important as it’s the bulkiest of the three triceps heads.
EZ-Bar Cable Skullcrusher
Tip: Overload with heavy weights early in your workout.