RunThaCity

What to Expect at a Beginner Rider Course

If you want to gain valuable experience, then you go to school. The same applies to motorcycle riding. When you sign up for the Beginner or Basic Rider courses that are available from multiple organizations throughout the U.S., you are taking a giant step forward. Here is what to expect: 

Pre-Course Assignment

The assignment that you receive is dependent on the organization that you sign up with. Make sure you do this work, because you will be better prepared for what is to come in the class. You are welcome to take notes, write down questions to ask the instructor, and familiarize yourself with the terminology. 

Necessary Items

When you have class, you should bring your student handbook, a notepad, pen, and some food items for snacks and lunch. These classes will last for most of the day, so be prepared for a full day of learning and moving. 

You should wear jeans with ankle boots, a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, full fingered gloves, and a DOT-legal helmet. Some schools will have helmets to borrow if you don’t have one. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to attend the class if you don’t have the appropriate gear. 

Also, regardless of the weather, the class will go on. Be prepared for cold mornings. Lightweight layers are best, because you can peel them off as you get hot. You should also wear a waterproof jacket, boots, and gloves, just in case it rains. 

What Happens In The Class

The class structure depends on statewide regulations and the course provider. However, most programs cover the same points. The courses are completed within two days, although you can sign up for more advanced courses later on. 

First Day

On the first day of the Basic Rider Course, you don’t want to be late. Anyone who arrives late has a direct impact on how much information you receive—and you don’t want to miss anything. Before you turn on the engine, you need to sign some liability papers and other paperwork. You might be asked to introduce yourself and talk about what experience you have on a motorcycle. It’s fine if you have zero experience, because the class is designed for beginners. Relax and enjoy the chance to make new riding buddies. 

The first half of the day talks about basic riding mechanics. This should be considered review if you did the pre-course assignment. If you jotted down any questions in your notes, this is the time you ask. 

The first riding exercise doesn’t send you off down the road with no assistance. You review the handlebar controls once again. You mount, dismount, and turn the vehicle on and off. You then get a feel of the manually-operated clutch. Gradually, you get familiarized with the motion of the bike 

The exercises thereafter include riding in a straight line, shifting gears, turning and cornering. The class is paced to allow for you to absorb this information is quickly or slowly as you need. 

Second Day

The second day builds off the operations you picked up on the first day. Now, you can get more technical and polish those skills. The session begins with practice of slow speed maneuvering, emergency braking, swerving, and more cornering. 

Once these drills are complete, you are assessed on your competency. The riding test will be the most stressful part of the day, because you need to successfully complete the exercises. If you don’t pass, you can retest for free; but if you fail twice, consider that riding a motorcycle might not be for you. 

Other Things To Expect

There’s a reason you sign a liability form. You could tip over or crash during the hands-on section of the course. Don’t worry, though. This, too, is practice. Once you have fallen a few times, you get the hang of controlling the bike. You will receive advice for staying upright from a professional instead of having to figure it out yourself. 

All in all, a Basic Rider Course is an excellent choice for all new riders who want to gain valuable experience before hitting the road. Though the course only lasts for two whole days, you learn much more than you probably expect. Go in with an open mind and leave riding your motorcycle. After that, the road is yours to master. 

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How To Start A Yamaha R6

Starting a motorcycle is easier than it used to be, thanks to technology. While there are various kinds of bikes, starting a Yamaha R6 or other fuel-injected motorcycles is more or less then same across the board. 

Here is how you start a fuel-injected motorcycle, like the Yamaha R6: 

How To Start A Yamaha R6

Starting The Engine of a Yamaha R6

You can find this information in the owner’s manual of your bike, too. Before starting the bike, make sure you have done the following: 

  1. The transmission is in neutral. 
  2. The transmission is in gear, the clutch is pulled, and the kickstand/sidestand is stowed. Some modern models, Yamaha included, have a safety feature that will prevent the bike from starting if the sidestand hasn’t been raised. 

Next, follow these steps precisely: 

  1. Insert the key into the ignition. 
  2. Turn the key to the ON position. Make sure the engine stop switch is set to the correct position. 
  3. Warning lights and indicator lights should illuminate momentarily then disappear if conditions are satisfactory. These lights include:
    1. Oil level 
    2. Coolant temperature
    3. Fuel level 
    4. Shift timing 
    5. Engine problems
    6. Immobilizer system 
    7. Shift the transmission into neutral. The light should come on. If not, you might have an electrical circuit problem. 
    8. Start the engine with the start switch. 
    9. In the event of failure, wait a few seconds and try another start. Don’t draw out the time trying to start the engine to preserve battery power. Do not extend for more than 10 seconds. 

General Instructions for a Fuel-Injected Motorcycle

Here’s some instructions to follow if you don’t have the make/model mentioned above: 

How To Start A Motorcycle

  1. Put the motorcycle in neutral. Neutral is always located between 1st and 2nd gear. 
  2. Put the key in the ignition if necessary.
    * Note: Fuel-injected motorcycles have an engine management system. This means you don’t have to worry about using the choke lever. Only a small amount of throttle will be needed, regardless of engine temperature. 
  3. Start pulling the clutch near the left handlebar. Some riders choose to pull the clutch and front brake simultaneously, but the choice is yours. 
  4. Press and hold the start button. You will find this on the right handlebar. Maintain your hold on the clutch. 
  5. The motorcycle should automatically catch and start. 
  6. If the engine doesn’t turn over and start immediately, you can try using the throttle while pressing the start button. Make sure you are holding the clutch. 
  7. Remember to never crank the engine for more than 10 seconds clips at a time. Otherwise, you’re wasting battery power. 
  8. You can slowly start to release the clutch.

    Now, you’re ready to ride!

How To Start A Yamaha R6

Final Thoughts

Unlike carburetor motors, fuel injection systems rarely fail. To prevent the pump from failing, do some routine maintenance. Get into the habit of listening to the bike and know what a healthy running engine sounds like. That way, if something unusual happens, you will be able to tell whether or not something is wrong with the pump fuse by sound alone. 

Modern fuel-injected motorcycles are easy to start. Follow the instructions in this article, and you will have no problem. 

For more information about how to start, ride, and care for your motorcycle, check out my YouTube channel. Hit the subscribe button for notifications whenever there’s an update.

Born Tough Gym Wear and Fitness Attire

There are scores of workout and fitness attire merchants out there. You could probably name a number of them right off the top of your head. Some of these manufacturers and designers make workout clothing that is, frankly, not making the cut. Or its too expensive and restrictive to really make purchasing it worthwhile. 

But if you’re looking for a new style for the gym that looks sharp without weighing you down or getting in the way of your movement, then you should check out Born Tough. 

About Born Tough

Born Tough (BT) is a new brand. A new style. These are people who are making clothing for the modern day warrior, from the recreational runners to the elite athletes. As long as you want functional clothing for your functional fitness, then you are ready to make a switch to clothing that accelerates your training instead of holding you back. 

This brand is going to be direct competition for other brands like GymShark and VQFit.

Born Tough makes minimalist exercise gear that tackles the old-age concept that sportswear should be baggy, disproportional or, on the other hand, clingy and uncomfortable. The clothing is designed for all body types and fits like a second skin. This allows both men and women to bend, twist, dance, jump, and run without needing to think about how they look. Born Tough clothing is stylish yet subdued, so you look ready for the gym, coffee, lounging, or travel all the time. 

What makes Born Tough clothing a clear competitor in today’s market, however, is not just the look and feel. The designers have paid extreme attention to the details, including the need for technology. A lot of exercise clothing continues to ignore pockets deep enough for cell phones and mp3 players, headphone wires, and the like. Born Tough clothing integrates these features into their designs, so you can keep your important tech close without getting literally wrapped up in it.

A Look At Born Tough Products

Born Tough is just getting started, but they have already accumulated an array of merchandise for men and women that can fill your wardrobe. 

I checked out the Born Tough Core Fit Short Sleeve, made with BT’s signature “Swift fabric,” which makes it lightweight and breathable for intense workouts in the gym. I tried it on and the fit is perfect. There’s nothing I would change about the construction, styling, or sizing. The shirt has an overlay, so it looks seamless. Additionally, the extended scallop hem prevents any embarrassing bunches or riding up from happening as you do your squats and other lower body exercises. Twists and turns couldn’t make this shirt ride up either. 

Here’s a glimpse at the features of the Core Fit t-shirt: 

  • True to size 
  • 93% cotton and 7% modal spandex
  • Flatlock seams 
  • Extended scallop hem
  • 3M reflective logo on the back
  • Ideal for a base layer 
  • Stretchable, breathable, and lightweight
  • Minimalist design
  • 30-day money back guarantee on all products

Presently, there’s more for men than for women. Men can look at a number of tops, bottoms, sleepwear, hoodies, and sweatshirts. Women have hoodies and sweatpants that come as a track set or separately. The inventory is growing, though, so there is bound to be more options for women in the future. 

You can also get free shipping and free returns, too.

Final Thoughts

New brands who try to reshape the face of the fitness apparel industry always bring some excitement to the table, but Born Tough is already making a statement. The quality of the gear, the decent price, and the attention to detail are three things that make these products a smart purchase. 

You don’t want miss what this company has in store. 

Looking for more info and tips on fitness apparel? Then head over to my YouTube channel and hit the subscribe button. There’s plenty of videos for you to get and stay informed about what’s new in fitness.

Viking Cycle Bloodaxe Leather Motorcycle Jacket Review

When it comes to motorcycle jackets, you want something that balances the need to look like you own the road and enough protection to keep you from becoming part of the road. Viking Cycle, a brand based out of California, has been turning heads with their attention to detail and security in their full range of motorcycle clothing for men and women. The best part is the price tag.

Viking Cycle Bloodaxe Leather Motorcycle Jacket Review

Overview of the Bloodaxe Motorcycle Jacket

Out of the box, the Bloodaxe looks awesome and feels awesome. When the jacket first goes on, you’ll notice it’s a bit stiff—but it does loosen up with some wear, as good leather should. The zippers have solid construction, open and close smoothly, and lay well when you’re riding.

The biggest advantage of the Viking Cycle Bloodaxe isn’t the awesome name but the amount of storage. You won’t believe the amount of storage space you have with this jacket. There’s so much, it’s almost ridiculous.

There is a headphone wire system that you can feed into the collar of the jacket, earphone pockets, a media player pocket, cellphone pocket with 3 second access, 2 knife and pen pockets, an eyeglass pocket, a pocket designed to find a 10-inch tablet, extendable keyholder, and another pocket that can fit travel documents and your wallet. The pockets have a unique “no bulge” design, so even if you somehow managed to stuff every single compartment this jacket has, it will still look flat and sleek and not like a bubble jacket. Overall, it sits nice on the body and doesn’t feel stifling.

The sizing does run a little small. Someone around 5 foot, 10 inches, 180 pounds will fall into the M-L range, depending on how much you want to bundle up. If you take out the thermal lining or don’t want to wear a lot of clothing underneath, you might want to size down to prevent the jacket from floating on you.

Specifications

(listed adapted from vikingcycle.com)

  • Construction – Drum-dyed soft genuine cowhide leather (milled buffalo), padded shoulders, and Viking cycle level 1 removable “armor” on elbows and spine; two intake vents on the top of the shoulders and exhaust vents in the back
  • External Storage – 2 zippered chest pockets, 2 zippered side pockets, and a single sleeve pocket
  • Internal Storage – 2 secured zippered pockets and a secret compartment
  • Adjustability – waist snaps and sleeve zippers
  • Visibility – High viz stripes located on the back and shoulders

Pros

  • Sag and wrinkle resistant
  • Wind and water resistant
  • Abrasion resistant
  • A ton of hidden pockets on the internal side of the jacket
  • CE marked armor in the back and shoulders – comfortable and stays in place while riding around
  • Budget-friendly cost without a lack of quality and safety
  • Stylish design

Cons

  • Can be hot – the jacket has a thermal lining and is heavy, so it can be oppressive in the summertime even with the vents open. For that reason, it might not be ideal for moving in slower paced traffic;
  • CE armor level could be higher.

Warranty Info

Viking Cycle offers a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty on all of their products. This means that any defects or imperfections that you find are covered. The warranty does not cover wear and tear or damages caused from improper care.

This might raise some questions about durability, since some production errors or faults can take a few days or weeks to appear.

If you start to notice something odd going on with the jacket that you didn’t cause, you can contact Viking Cycle at info@vikingcycle.com with the order number and a photo of the defect to get an exchange or refund.

Conclusion

Honestly, for the quality of the jacket, you would expect to pay more for it than you do. The name might be a bit for metal than what this motorcycle jacket offers, but the sleekness of the design, paired with the sound construction and unheard of amount of storage makes it a clear winner. If you’re looking for a balance of style and safety without breaking your bank, I recommend the Viking Bloodaxe motorcycle jacket for your wardrobe. 

Looking for more details about choosing motorcycle jackets and other riding gear? Then check out and subscribe to my YouTube channel today!

What Every Rider Should Know About Road Rash

Road rash isn’t a punchline to a joke about bad motorcycle handling or old video game. Road rash, also called “friction burn,” is a serious injury. The severity of the wound is measured by degrees, the same as you would a chemical or fire burn. Since the skin is the largest organ of our bodies, getting road rash opens you up to other vulnerabilities, such as infection. But there is more to understand about road rash than these points.

Let’s look at this serious injury that can happen to anyone and learn how to classify and treat various types of road rash.

The Different Types of Road Rash

Not every bout of road rash is created equal. There are three main types of road rash:

  1. Avulsion – the skin is scraped away. Sometimes fat, muscle, and even bone will be exposed.
  2. Compression – where the body is caught between two objects, such as the motorcycle and the road. This results in bruising, broken bones, and damaged muscle.
  3. Open wound – usually require stitches. Open wound road rash might even require skin grafting.

Aside from the 3 different types, there are 3 degrees of damage:

  1. First degree – the first layer of the skin is red. Does not require medical treatment and will heal well enough on its own.
  2. Second degree – the first layer of skin, known as the epidermis, is broken. There can be bleeding and debris stuck in the wound. Usually requires little medical treatment and can heal with no scarring or lasting damage.
  3. Third degree – skin has been peeled away, leaving tissue, fat and sometimes bone exposed. Victims often need skin grafting.

The degrees of the crash depends on factors such as the force of the impact with the ground, the type of surface where the crash takes place, and whether safety gear was equipped.

Road rash will often occur in places that come in contact with the abrasive surface, either when attempting to catch oneself or when rolling or getting dragged. The outside of the legs, knees, palms, thighs, shoulders, and face are usually where road rash occurs.

Complications of Road Rash

Seek medical treatment immediately if you experience any of the following with road rash:

  • Severe pain
  • Inability to move affected region
  • Cuts on the face that are larger than a ¼ inch
  • Cuts on the body that are larger than a ½ inch
  • Bleeding doesn’t stop
  • Gaping wound remains opened with you relax the body
  • Fat is visible in the exposed tissues
  • Road rash is paired with other injuries, including possible concussion or broken bones.

Any open wound should be treated with antibiotics within six hours. Otherwise, you are at risk of infection.

Treatment and Recovery From Road Rash

Depending on the severity of the road rash, you can oftentimes treat it yourself. In that event, do the following:

  • Stop any bleeding.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Rinse the wound thoroughly.
  • Wash the wound with soap, water, and then use some witch hazel.
  • Apply a topical antibiotic.
  • Bandage the wound.
  • Change the dressing.

Note: During the recovery, the skin will undergo healing from the deepest layers to the top. It might get scabs. Do not pick the scabs. Instead, continue changing the bandages and applying topical antibiotics. Once the oozing stops, you can use petroleum jelly to keep the skin supple and lessen the scarring.

If you end up going to the doctor because of a deep wound, the medical professional might recommend using ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), acetaminophen, or naproxen to deal with the pain.

Remember that because the skin has been opened by abrasion, you could be at risk for infection. Consider getting a tetanus shot. Tetanus boosters last 10 years, so if you had an injury where the epidermis or dermis of the skin has been injured, tetanus bacteria can enter the wound. At any time symptoms of infection begin, such as redness, swelling, warm or hot skin around the injury, tenderness, pain, or bloody ooze or yellowish pus, you could have an infection. Make sure to get to a doctor immediately.

Hopefully, you should now have an understanding of road rash and how serious it can be. Don’t ignore severe injuries after a fall. Drive safe and stay safe, so you can keep riding!

How To Use A Battery Tender®

One of the most heartbreaking situations any car or motorcycle lover will experience is when you have beautiful riding or driving weather, are excited to hit the road, and the engine doesn’t turnover. The reason? Low battery power.

If you have a nifty gadget called a Battery Tender®, you can recharge the battery and bring it back to life in no time. A Battery Tender® is a friendlier alternative to traditional battery charges because of the technology housed within the device that is designed to prolong battery life.

Before you decide to buy a Battery Tender®/Maintainer, though, let’s talk about what they are, what battery maintainters do, and why you should have a maintenance charger for your motorcycle.

What Is A Battery Tender®?

Also known as “float chargers” or “maintenance chargers,” Battery Tender® were first created by the U.S. company Deltran in 1965. What separates battery tenders from plain ol’ chargers is that these devices provide a constant voltage supply but also are controlled by processors. In other words, they are able to refrain from charging faulty batteries, use spark-free technology, and have green and red indicators that help you understand what’s happening in just a glimpse.

A Battery Tender® is the opposite of a trickle charger, an unsophisticated, less expensive option. Though the purpose is similar, a trickle charger doesn’t have microprocessor technology that prevents it from damaging the battery if you leave it charging for an extended period of time. Furthermore, you can use a battery tender when you plan on storing your motorcycle for several weeks on end, like over winter.

Keep in mind that a Battery Tender® is not able to jump-start a long-dead battery. When this happens, you need a trickle charger.

For this reason, you can think of a Battery Tender® as a trickle charge with a brain—the exact words of the original manufacturer, Deltran. Of course, there is more than one brand of Battery Tender® available on the market.

For example, the DieHard Battery Charger/Maintainer is similar to a Battery Tender that employs things like Float Mode Monitoring to charge more than just motorcycles. Whichever model you choose, just make sure they have features like auto-adjust amperage to help maintain the charge, easy-to-read indicator lights, and float mode monitoring.

Using A Battery Tender

Using A Battery Tender®

Operating a Battery Tender® is easy. To use a one of these devices, you just plug it into any standard AC outlet and use it to transfer power to the 12-volt battery in your motorcycle.

When preparing to use the battery tender, keep the AC and DC cords away from the vehicle. Keep the charger off until you have everything plugged in.

Depending on the motorcycle, the connections might differ, so refer to your owner manual. Once you have the battery tender connected to the correct posts on the battery, you can switch it on.

You should see indicator lights turn on, such as:

• Flashing red light – AC power and microprocessor is functioning properly. However, if the flashing continues, the voltage might be too low. Take a look to make sure the alligator clips are attached properly.
• Steady red light – The clamps are properly place and power is being transferred to your battery. The light will remain red until the battery is fully charged.
• Flashing green light – A flashing green light is often paired with a red light. This means the battery is about 80% charged and can be used.
• Steady green light – The charge is complete. You can keep the battery tender attached to the battery to help maintain the life of the battery if it will be sitting for an extended period of time.

Quick note: If your battery has less than 3 volts, the battery tender won’t start. The battery should produce at least 3 volts. On the same note, if you have a standard 12 volt battery that is defunct and is producing less than 9 volts, the battery tender won’t work properly.

Takeaway

Trickle chargers bring dead batteries back to life while battery tenders prevent batteries from losing power during periods of inactivity. Whether you use your bike every other day or less frequently, a battery tender will preserve the life of the battery to ensure your motorcycle is ready to ride whenever you need to hit the road. The straightforward usage makes it a wonderful investment for every motorcycle enthusiast.

Now that you’ve done you’re reading, it’s time to check out the motorcycle videos on my YouTube channel. Don’t forget to subscribe and receive notifications so you never miss an update!

How to Create a Bodybuilding Diet

So, you want to look like a Herculean champion. To get that kind of body, you need to do more than train. You need to eat like a champ, too. Timing, macronutrients, and supplementation are all key components to a bodybuilding diet. Don’t worry, it’s not as regimented as it sounds. Here’s the breakdown for everything you need to know about creating a bodybuilding diet. 

Understanding Macronutrients

In order to build a bodybuilding diet, you must first understand the concept of macronutrients and how they can either make or break your nutrition. 

Understanding Macronutrients

Carbohydrates

Carbs are fuel that break down into sugars when digested. If you don’t eat the required amount of carbohydrates to fuel activity, your body will feel sluggish. If you eat too many carbs, that sugar gets converted to fat. It’s important to find balance. 

Carbs are 4 calories per gram. 

Protein

Protein is the most valuable macronutrient for bodybuilders, because it does more than build muscles. Protein helps repair muscles after a workout, and it can prevent catabolism, or the breakdown of muscles overtime. For bodybuilders, you should aim to eat a gram of protein for every pound that you weigh. If you weigh 180 pounds, then you need 180 grams of protein. Some people who are hard gainers will need a little more protein to help their muscles grow. 

Protein is 4 calories per gram. 

Fat

The body needs fat to survive. In fact, you can’t burn fat without eating it. Though you don’t need as much fat in your bodybuilding diet as you do protein and carbohydrates, fat does deserve a place in your meals. Fat is 9 calories per gram. 

Knowing the above information, you figure out your ideal macronutrient ratio. For those trying to build muscle, you should aim for 30% protein, 10-20% fat, and 60-65% carbohydrates. If you’re trying to cut fat and gain muscle, cut the carb intake to 35% and up your fat and protein intake. 

Determine Caloric Needs

Before you can even start plotting out meals and when to eat, you need to know your daily caloric needs. There is your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the calories you burn just breathing and functioning throughout the day. BMR is generally affected by your activity level, height, weight, and age. A 20 year old lean male is going to burn more calories than a 50 year old moderately active male even if they sit on the couch all day. 

Then, we have your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which looks again at age, weight, and activity level as well as body fat. 

There’s a number of TDEE and BMR calculators online that are very accurate and can help you; but you are going to need to do a body fat measurement first to gain the most correct results from the calculators. You can either do a skin caliper test, or you can use a handheld bio-electrical impedance tool. 

Using the calculation of your TDEE and BMR, you can then figure out the amount of macronutrients you need for your bodybuilding goal. 

Let’s say you get 2600 calories for. You then take the macro ratios from above (30% protein, 50% carbs, and 20% fat) to see how many grams you need of each. 

For example, protein = 0.30 x 2600 = 780 calories / 4 cal = 195 grams 

Figure Out Your Eating Schedule

Figure Out Your Eating Schedule

The best bodies in the world are not built from haphazard nutrition and poorly-timed meals. The standard three-meal plan won’t serve you either. 

If you want to gain muscle, you go eat maintenance level calories. Everyone’s metabolism is different, based on activity level, body fat and lean body mass. Because of this, two people of the same height and weight can be completely different metabolically and well need different diets. 

Based on your needs, here’s a sample meal plan that you can customize: 

Meal 1: Oatmeal, sprouted grain toast, egg whites, 1 egg yolk, 1 banana 
Meal 2: 1 orange, 1 whey protein shake mixed with milk 
Meal 3: 1 serving of broccoli, 3-4oz of chicken breast, baked potato or sweet potato or brown rice 
Meal 4: 1 whey protein shake mixed with water or milk 
Meal 5: 7oz of lean beef, mixed vegetables (carrots, cabbage, green beans, etc), brown rice 
Meal 6: Oatmeal, egg whites and 1 yolk 

Ideally, you want each meal to be around 30-40g of protein, 50-60g of carbohydrates, and no more than 12g of fat. Meal 5 alone would pack in more than 40 grams of protein and about 60 grams of carbohydrates. 

Meals 1, 3, and 5 are generally your bigger meals (larger portions). You can eat smaller meals or drink protein shakes for means 2, 4 and 6. 

The important thing to take away from this sample meal plan is that you are going to want meals that digest quickly before a workout. You will want to eat carbohydrate-rich foods that are low in fat, because fat can slow digestion. After a workout, you can eat a meal or drink a protein shake to shuttle nutrients directly to the muscles that will need repair. 

If you don’t have time to eat meals before a workout, or you have a schedule that doesn’t allow you to eat a meal beforehand, you can use creatine shakes, granola bars, and other options to give yourself some fuel. 

Conclusion

All in all, getting the perfect body is not rocket science, but it does come close! You need to be diligent, especially when it comes to your diet. Training and dieting go hand-in-hand when it comes to bodybuilding. Remember to first calculate your daily caloric needs then figure out how much more you need to put on muscle. From there, it’s all about the timing and the planning! 

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more information about bodybuilding, nutrition, and fitness.

The Best Hamstring Strengthening Exercises

The joke of skipping leg day is an old mainstay within fitness communities, and this is largely the result of leg exercises being harder to adhere to in the past. With less motility than arms, finding the right regime of easily-performed exercises for various leg muscles, especially the hamstring, can be something of a nuisance. 

Today, we’re going to look at the best exercise routine for strengthening your hamstrings. Before we begin, it goes without saying that you want to balance these evenly, and never be excessive with speed, routine length, or the like. Injuring your hamstring can be excruciatingly painful, and can temporarily (or in rare cases, permanently) reduce or take away your ability to stand or walk. 

How do I Know My Hamstring is Underfit? 

If you already have a decent regime of general leg exercises, you may be unsure if you need to alter any of your routines to provide a better workout for your hamstrings. There are symptoms that can easily be picked up on, though. 

  • Cramping, Spasms, Charlie Horses – Charlie horses are very painful, uncontrolled contractions of muscles that are essentially a form of acute cramp. The most common Charlie horse that happens within the leg is in the calf muscle, or along the sole of the foot, but they can also occur in the hamstring and other upper leg muscles, if they’re not properly fit. It’s worth noting that this can also be a symptom of potassium or vitamin deficiencies as well, though if that’s the case, such problems will occur in other parts of the body as well. 
  • Gluteal and Upper Leg Fatigue – If walking, standing, squatting and other leg-related activities result in significant fatigue across the back of the upper leg, or the base of the gluteal area, this can be a sign that your current routines aren’t sufficiently exercising your hamstring, causing it to fatigue much more quickly than other muscle groups. 
  • Restless Legs – True restless leg syndrome is not what we’re talking about – that’s something that a physician should address immediately due to it being a symptom of much more severe problems than your workout routine. However, mild restlessness, which leg workouts should usually help to abate, can indicate some muscles not being properly worked, and your hamstring is a prime candidate for this. 

Dangers 

Let’s take a moment to talk about how important leg exercises are as a whole. On a cosmetic level, if you focus only on your upper body, you will look patently ridiculous. We’ve all seen those guys who spend all day lifting and bench pressing, but neglect their legs entirely. They look like cartoon characters! 

But, on top of this, you also greatly increase your risk of knee and hamstring injuries, and these can have lasting or permanent ramifications, leaving you permanently walking with a limp, or experiencing significant pain. 
It also makes squats much harder to do, as well as any practical lifting to carry or move heavier things. 

Gender Doesn’t Matter 

Something else we need to point out right now, is that this is just as important for women as it is for men. The same danger of leg injuries can happen if a woman’s hamstrings aren’t properly trained and well-exercised. 

Equally, let’s all be honest. What kind of legs do most men prefer on a woman? Scrawny, neglected beanpoles? Or, is a woman with shapely, toned legs usually preferred? And, ladies, which would you prefer? Healthy, toned legs, or skinny, weak ones? It really matters for both sexes, equally. 

You Don’t Need Crazy Equipment! 

One last thing to point out, before we look at the six most effective exercises is, while having some decent equipment at your disposal does help, but you don’t need ridiculous, expensive and overwrought equipment to get a solid hamstring workout. 
We live in a time that’s unrivaled historically in both fitness and nutrition sciences, as well as the elaborate equipment we can produce. This equipment is all well and good, but you really only need a few simple things, to get a full workout, including hamstring-targeting routines. 
There are two routines we’ll look at that need some fitness equipment usually, but you can makeshift these if need be. 

#1 – Romanian Deaflift 

The Romanian deadlift is one of the simplest routines you can do. Simply hold a weighted barbell at shin level, arms straight, bending horizontally at the waist, and partially at the knee. Lift upward until your legs, waist, and arms are straight, the barbell at just below your pelvis. Hold, tightening your legs slightly, and lower back down in a controlled descent. 

#2 – Barbell Back Squat 

This is another simple exercise. Hold the barbell across the back of your shoulders, just at the base of the neck, elbows bent, palms outward. Have your legs apart so your feet are just past your shoulders. 
Bend at the knees, outward, producing a spread-legged squat. Hold, and lift back up slowly. Remember proper squat form with this one. 

#3 – Bulgarian Split Squat 

This one should not be attempted by people with hip or knee trouble. Start with one leg bent at the knee, behind you on a bench. Hold weighted dumbbells at either side of your body. Bend your other leg at the knee and hip until it’s at a near sitting position, your leg on the bench at a J-like bend as a result. 
Use some tension in the benched leg when returning to a standing position. Alternate between legs, evenly. 

#4 – Glute-Ham Raise 

This one is best served with leg press equipment. Lie face down, legs braced, cushion under your upper legs. Cross your arms across your chest, and lift yourself to a vertical position at the knees. Hold, and lower yourself back after a couple seconds. This is one of the most powerful (and fatiguing) hamstring exercises. 

#5 – Leg Curl 

This is the other exercise best suited with a weighted leg press. Lie face down, bracing the weighted lift just above your heels. Bend at the knee, as far as your leg and the weight will permit. Hold for about one second, and lower it back under muscle control. 

#6 – Kettlebell Swing 

This exercise is usually a “cooling down” or “finishing” routine, and is one of the higher kinetic impact exercises. This also works as a partial cardio exercise, so if your doctor has warned against excessive cardio, be wary of this one. Using ball weights, start bent horizontal at the waste (similar to the Romanain deadlift), the weights held back, between your legs. Bend up at the waist and the knee, swinging the weights in a parabola until your arms are almost level in front of you. 

Swing back into the start position under control (don’t let inertia do it for you). Be extra careful on resuming the start position, that you don’t allow inertia to bring your arms at high speed into your groin – it doesn’t matter what your gender, that will hurt. 

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The Best Leg Exercises For Growth

What’s a winning physique? It’s surely not a dude with bulging shoulders and pecs strutting around on chicken legs. Look, a lot of guys avoid leg day, but you’re doing yourself a disservice. Stop running away. Smash your goals. 

Here’s exercises that are proven to help you get massive gains that are also safe and smart. Let’s check them out. 

How To Work The Legs

Before we get into the exercises, though, let’s get a general understanding of working the lower body. You need proper form. Work on proper form first, and you will have better results from the beginning. Lastly, don’t focus too much on higher repetitions. Work within the 80-85% 1RM range for the most growth. 

Recommended Leg Exercises For Growth

With some basic information out of the way, it’s time to introduce the exercises. 

Barbell Back Squat

Note: Best performed inside a rack for safety. 
3-4 sets x 8-10 reps 
Rest: 3 minutes 
How to do: 
Start with your feet under the bar, hands in position. Get under the bar. Adjust your grip if you need to. Keep the chest up and the elbows down. Squat up to unrack the bar and keep your core engaged, back long. As you continue to perform a rep, keep your heels under your shoulders with the toes out on a slight diagonal. Get your backside as low to the ground as comfortable for your joints. To get up from the squat, drive through glute and hamstring muscles, squeezing and pressing. 

Barbell Front Squat

3-4 sets x 8-10 reps 
Rest: 3 minutes 
How to do: Bring your arms up under the bar. Keep the elbows high, upper arms parallel to the floor. The bar should rest atop the deltoids when your arms are crossed. From there, lift the bar from the rack by pushing with your legs up and keeping the torso straight. 

Step away from the rack and take a squat position—feet under shoulders, toes pointed outward. This is the starting position. 

Lower down slowly. Maintain a straight posture as the knees bend. Eventually, the thighs should be below parallel with the floor. As you start to lift from the bottom position, exhale and push the floor through the middle of the foot while engaging the quads. 

Repeat. 

Barbell Lunge

3-4 sets x 8-10 reps on both sides 
Rest: 3 minutes 
How to do: Once you have unracked the bar, step forward with either your right or left leg. Maintain balance and squat down. Think about lowering the hips, not bending the knees in order to keep your form. The torso remains straight. Knees bend to 90-degrees. Don’t allow the front knee to go beyond the toes. Once you reach the lowest point, power back up through the feet. Repeat this movement 9 more times on one leg then switch. 

Leg Press Machine

3-4 sets x 8-10 reps 
Rest: 3 minutes 
How to do: Start by sitting at the machine with your back firm against the seat. Your feet are flat on the foot plate, slightly wider than hip-width apart. Grab the handles on either side of the seat. From there, push the plate away by extending through the knees and hips. Turn the locking safety handle so you can move freely. Then, keep pushing through the feet until you’re extended. Bring the plate back slowly. Never fully lock the knees as your work. Repeat the motion. 

Leg Curl Machine

3-4 sets x 8-10 reps 
Rest: 3 minutes 
How to do: Once you’ve readied the machine for use, place the back of the lower leg on the padded lever. Second the lap pad against your quads, above the knees. Grasp the side handles. Make sure you start with the legs fully straight out behind you. Now, exhale, pulling the machine lever back as you bend the knees and lift your heels towards your back. Hold the contraction for a second. Slowly lower back to starting position. Repeat. 

Standing Calf Raise

3 sets x 8-10 reps 
Rest: 3 minutes 
How to do: [Use dumbbells or the machine] On a workout step or platform, stand with your feet under your shoulders. The balls of your feet are on the top half of the platform/step, and the heels are hanging off. Push up, extend the knees, and keep the torso erect. Never lock the knees as you rise. Continue raising the heels as you breathe then lower slowly to starting position, feeling the calf release and stretch. Repeat. 

Romanian Deadlift

3-4 sets x 8-10 reps 
Rest: 3 minutes 
How to do: Hold a bar at hip level with palms facing down. Shoulders are back, the back is arched, and the knees are slightly bent. This is where you start. From there, lower the bar down by moving the butt back. Keep the bar close to the body as you move. When done correctly, the maximum range is just below the knee. At the bottom position, squeeze through the back body and drive the hips forward to return to standing. Repeat. 

That’s it! You don’t need anything else—just consistency and determination. 

You can’t spell legendary without “leg day.” With these exercises, you can grow your legs and get that bodybuilding physique and strength you’ve been working hard to achieve. 

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Everything You Need to Know About SARMs

Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, also known as SARMs, might sound like something fresh out of a science fiction novel, but that’s not the case. SARMs are real, effective, and an alternative to steroids. For bodybuilders, SARMs could be the key to unlocking true muscle building potential without any of the serious side effects connected to steroid usage.

Here is everything you need to know about Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, including what they are and why they work.

What Are SARMs?

SARMs is an acronym for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators. A SARM is a drug that is a chemical twin to anabolic steroids. Though SARMs are thought to be new in the bodybuilding world, these drugs have been around since the 1940s. Currently, there are a few SARMs available legally on the market, such as: 

  • Ostarine (MK-2866 or GTx-024) 
  • Ligandol or Anabolicum (LGD-4033) 
  • LGD-3303 
  • Andarine (GSX-007 or S-4) 
  • Cardarine (GW-501516) 
  • Nutrobal (MK-677) 
  • Testolone (RAD-140) 

What are those weird code names, you ask? The truth is that, while SARMs can be bought, they haven’t been approved for medical application, so no generic names have been affixed to them yet. This doesn’t mean SARMs are dangerous. More on that in the next section. 

Also, some of the SARMs in the list are not literal SARMs. Cardarine is a PPAR receptor agonist; and Nutrobal is a growth hormone secretagogue, which helps with the release of growth hormones. 

How Do SARMs Work?

To understand how SARMs work, we need to briefly look at how hormones, namely androgens, function. Androgens are the hormones responsible for masculine qualities, like facial hair, muscles, and lower body fat levels). The best known androgen is testosterone. 

The body regulates the production of androgens, because imbalances are a double-edged sword. On the positive side, the more androgens you have, the faster muscles grow. On the downside, you can suffer from acne, oily hair, cysts, elevated blood pressure, testicular atrophy, and so on. This is why steroid usage is so dangerous. 

SARMs, on the other hand, only focus on muscular growth by: 

  • Focusing on muscle and bone, not the prostate, brain, and liver like steroids 
  • Avoiding the breakdown of molecules, like DHT and estrogen 
  • Avoiding conversion into 5-A reductase, which also converts into DHT, the cause of unwanted side effects 

This means at SARMs work like growth hormones without impacting the body like an over-saturation of androgen hormones would. 

What Are The Benefits of SARMs?

What Are The Benefits of SARMs?

Whether you are a bodybuilder trying to get over a plateau, a recreational gym-goer, a fitness enthusiast, or an elite athlete, SARMs have a number of benefits that greatly outweigh more controversial methods, like steroids. 

SARMs can: 

  • Increase lean body mass 
  • Prevent muscle loss (catabolism) during cutting 
  • Accelerate rehabilitation after injuries 
  • Decrease recovery time 
  • Increase fat loss 
  • Increase muscular endurance 
  • Decrease overall fatigue 
  • Regulate your libido 
  • Be used safely by females 

SARMs are better than steroids for the following reasons: 

  • Orally taken, not injected 
  • No liver toxicity from methylated compounds 
  • Doesn’t change to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) 
  • Doesn’t change to estrogen 
  • Doesn’t inhibit HPTA or cause a reduction in LH or FSH (hormones) 
  • Completely legal 
  • Virtually undetectable 

Another benefit to SARMs is that the side effects are minimal. You rarely have to worry about negative effects. However, you should always do your research on the brand of SARM you want to use to make sure no negative side effects, like suppressed testosterone, have been reported. Don’t use SARM S-23 for this very reason.

How To Use SARMs

SARMs can be used several ways, depending on your goals. Bulking, cutting, and weight loss cycles can all benefit. Most SARM formulas come in triple stacks, since many of the compounds are multi-faceted and have a synergistic relationship with one another. 

For example, if you want to bulk with SARMs, you might use andarine, ostabolic (ostarine) and testolone for 12 weeks. The typical dose is 10-25 mgs a day of each SARM. You should never go above 25 milligrams per dose. 

For cutting, use andarine (S-4), which has fat burning effects. 

To gain strength, andarine (S-4), anabolicum (LGD), and cardarine (GW) are a triple stack that works well for recomposition. Again, the usual dosage is 12 weeks. Then, you taper off. 

In short, SARMs are growing in popularity with the bodybuilding community, because this supplement has shown an ability to accelerate anabolism in muscles, prevent catabolism, accelerate recovery, and are much safer than steroids. If you’re looking for a change or want to unleash the potential of your muscles, SARMs are worth a try. 

Have thoughts on SARMs? Share your thoughts! 

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