August 25, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 25, 2011

Quote of the day.

Take a moment to reflect on this one for a bit.

“Exercise and application produce order in our affairs, health of body, cheerfulness of mind, and these make us precious to our friends.” By Thomas Jefferson

One week from today I will be on the plane heading to Orlando for the Bench Press Nationals. I am getting pretty excited. Woke up this morning to 162.4. I was hoping for a solid 163 this week and it looks like I am there. I will keep my water intake up and make sure my protein levels stay where they are so I do not lose any muscle for the event. The other key is to make sure I keep my fats up and do not fall into the trap of low carb and low fat. You body needs the fats for fuel. I will increase my fat intake with healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil and MCT oil. I like CapTri. I get it from John Parrillo. He has his own line of protein powders and protein bars. They are the best products you have never heard of. LOL Again no, he does not endorse me in any way. I even asked if I could offer his products here and they responded politely by saying they do not do that at this time.

Yesterday was the first day in a while I was able to work the shoulders with out the bicep tendonitis flaring up. I was even able to start doing my pull-ups again. I used 4 different grips. Close with my palms facing each other, shoulder width apart with palms facing out, a very wide grip and a finger tip grip on a rock wall type attachment. It was and felt great. I will add weight to my pull-ups the week I get back from Orlando. Pull-ups are a great exercise and hit many muscles in the upper body. I use the different grips to hit the body differently. The exercise targets the latissimus dorsi muscle in the back along with many other assisting muscles. Other muscles that are engaged are the posterior deltoid muscles and teres major muscles; these muscles are extensor/adductor muscles and are attached to the shoulder blade. The lower trapezius and pectoralis minor are involved as scapular depressors. If you lean back during a pull up, which is how I do them, the rhomboids also work with the lower traps to pull back the shoulder blade. The biceps muscle is involved for stabilization; it shortens as the elbow flexes yet lengthens as the shoulder extends. The bicep is used the most with a supine grip, palms facing you. I have not started doing a chin up yet for this reason, as I know the bicep is more involved with the chin-up. Lastly and this I recently read on wikipedia, which is where I got a lot of this information, the rectus abdominis, erector spinae and internal obliques/external obliques are used to hold the hips and rib cage together and support the spinal ligaments in resisting the traction of gravity. I like to do my pull-ups with a full extenstion in the shoulders and back. I let my body come to a complete rest at the bottom so there is no swing or “kipping” motion, (using your legs to kip up into the pull-up). This takes strength and you may not be able to do this as you first start this exercise. You can check my >Exercise Video page if you want to see how to do them assisted. The other option is to do an inverted row. You can read how to do them >here.

Have a great workout!

Pull-ups are not an easy exercise for many people. I credit my father for my upper body strength. When I was very young he would play with my brothers and I. One thing he would do is lift me up and let me hang by my fingertips on the door jam. Then he would pretend to walk away, leaving me there, pulling myself up to look to see where he was. As a child your upper body strength get developed even before you legs. Watch any 1 yr old, they are always pulling themselves up to get to something. Once we start walking we tend to lose some of that. I did not do to the way we played and worked as kids. As I got older it was hauling wood to heat the house and carrying bales of hay that kept me strong. You are wondering where the tip here is aren’t you, the tip is, it takes time to develop this strength if you do not have it. You need to spend the time to work on it. Do the assisted pull-ups and the inverted row. Work at it twice a week and you will get there. Oh and one more thing, it will be easier when you lose the first 20 pounds of fat.

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