Fitness

Fitness Tips, Extreme Workouts, Exercise Ideas. & Nutrition Tips.

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. 

To learn more about hamstring exercises and other difficult group targeting routines, subscribe to my YouTube channel today. I have so many awesome things to show you!

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. 

Enjoyed this article? For more tips and tricks and information on how to train effectively, check out my YouTube channel and hit that subscribe button.

A 7-Step Process for Practicing Self-Care

Burnout is a real thing. It happens when you fill your cup too much and it overflows. It means you’ve worked too much, invested too much, given too much, been used too much and cared too much. The one thing you didn’t do enough of was take care of yourself. Self-care can save you from the turmoil of life if you take the time to do it. Practice self-care by trying the following tips.
  1. Stress Management – Stress looks different on everyone, and calming techniques are different for everyone. What calms one might actually stress another. However, some stress-reduction techniques apply to everyone. When you find yourself flustered and overwhelmed, take the time to slow down and focus on taking deep breaths. Deep breathing centers you when everything feels like it’s moving too fast.
  2. Practice Mindfulness – Mindfulness is being present to what’s occurring, what you’re experiencing and what you’re feeling. When you become present to your experience, you’re more equipped to focus on solutions to negative feelings. It allows you to embrace your feelings instead of repressing them, which can lead to the unhealthy practice of bottling up negative energy. The practice of meditation and self-affirmations can help you become more mindful.
  3. Physical Self-Care – Taking care of your body is one of the best ways to take care of your mental health. To care for yourself physically, you should turn your focus to the three tenets of physical health: eating clean and healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep. When you take care of your health, positive mental health follows.
  4. Personal Retreat – Take the time to step away from everything. More than just a vacation, a retreat gives you a break from the life that you normally know. It’s the time to relax, unplug, be unreachable and do absolutely nothing except exist and perhaps indulge. You might feel guilty for taking time away for yourself, but once you return to life refreshed and recharged, you’ll be an even better employee/boss/parent/friend/spouse/partner than you were before.
  5. Just Say No – The D.A.R.E. program in the 80s was onto something with this phrase, but this phrase can apply to so much more. Saying “no” to others does not mean you’re letting them down. It simply means that you’re choosing to not wear yourself thin by agreeing to everything that’s asked of you. It means you’re choosing not to let your cup run over.
  6. Mental Breaks – A break doesn’t have to entail physically stepping away from something that’s bringing you stress. You can shut off your brain by compartmentalizing your stressful thoughts into a place that you only visit at certain times. Take small breaks every two hours when you’re working on a long project and make it a point to not think about or discuss the project during that time. Your productivity will even improve. Go on a date with your spouse and make it a point to not discuss anything related to finances, family or other topics that create stress and tension in the home. Instead, discuss your dreams, favorite books or vacations that you want to take.
  7. Walk Away From Unhealthy Situations – If you have a relationship or a work situation that doesn’t serve you well, it’s OK to break it off. If it’s an argument or toxic debate that you don’t want to be in, you can stop participating. Don’t get riled about things that you don’t need to be angry about just because your ego wants to have the last word. It doesn’t make you a bad person for ignoring the conversation, and you haven’t lost the argument just because you went silent.
When you neglect self-care, your mental health suffers. This could lead you to becoming more easily agitated, worried, anxious, depressed, sad, angry and frustrated. Taking care of yourself is a way to provide the tools you need to get through life with ease. It’s a way to reward yourself for a job well-done. It’s telling yourself that you deserve a break. It keeps your star from burning out.

Brad Krause

Writer
Here are some self-care practices you can start adding to your daily routine. Try to do as many as you can, even if you don’t start doing them all at once. The more you implement into your lifestyle and the more frequently you practice them, the better you’ll feel.

Over 100 Motivational Fitness Quotes With Images

Are you looking for the perfect motivation quote, meme, or image? Click to find the perfect one for your day! Feel free to download, share, etc!!

How To Get Bigger Arms | Edge Fitness Arm Workout

Hey everyone! In this video it was arm day. For this workout video we decided to meet over at Edge Fitness in Deptford, NJ. As many of you know, we love to superset our workouts, especially our arm workouts. This means every time we complete a set of bicep exercises, we perform a complementary triceps exercise. It’s the best way to get the blood flowing! You can perform this workout by yourself, but it’s a tougher workout when you have partners. Pushing to the limit, less time between sets.

Don’t get hung up on the amount of weight. Feel free to reduce the weight and keep the reps high.

How To Get Bigger Arms Workout

  • Easy curl bar (20 Reps) Superset with 4 sets of Skull crushers (20 Reps)4 Sets

    Try to perform these with as little rest as possible between sets.
  • Incline curls4 Sets

    10 to 15 Reps
  • Overhead triceps extensions4 Sets

    15 to 20 Reps
  • Dumbbell curls high reps (30 Reps)4 Sets

    10 Regular Curls, 10 Hammer Curls, 10 Cross Curls
  • Triceps press-downs high reps4 Sets

    20 Reps Minimum
  • Triceps rope pulls4 Sets

    20 Rep minimum
  • Dumbbell preacher curls4 Sets

    10 to 15 Reps

Have you tried this workout? I’d like to hear from you. Make sure you like, comment, and most importantly Subscibe! Click the button below. 

The Beginner’s Guide To Gaining Weight

There is only one magic formula to gaining weight and it requires that you eat more calories than your body burns. If you are finding it difficult to gain weight despite the fact you think you eat a lot, it is possible you are not creating a calorie surplus. If you are struggling to gain weight, these tips can help you understand what may be happening.

Why You’re Not Gaining Weight

If you are naturally skinny, you may think you can eat anything you want without gaining. You may claim you have a fast metabolism or that you simply don’t digest food the way heavier people do. You may believe you are constantly stressed which can lead to weight loss or that there is some medical condition that leads you to stay thin. However, there is truly only one explanation for staying thin and that is that you aren’t eating as much as you think you are. Track your calories for one week using an app like MyFitnessPal or something similar. It is highly likely you will find that you are not gaining weight because you are eating fewer calories than you are burning.

Somatotypes: Is Your Body Type Important

Your body type does play a part in how easily you gain or lose weight. People with high metabolisms do exist and it is possible you are not gaining because you are very active. Many people who have difficulty gaining fidget more than those who do not, research indicates. If you have a small frame, you may still have difficulty gaining because your body is not built to be big. Even if you have a small frame, have difficulty gaining due to activity or your metabolism is higher than others, if you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. The key is to eat more calories than you burn consistently in order to see results.

How to Gain Weight

There are several ways to increase your calorie intake in order to gain weight. You can add more calories to each meal or add additional meals. Add calorie-dense food to your diet such as dried fruits, nuts or pasta. Blended food digests easier than food you have to chew, so add smoothies to your diet. One of the best smoothies includes oats, milk, banana, peanut butter and whey protein. Just as overweight people underestimate what they eat, skinny people overestimate what they eat. Track your calories each day to see what you are consuming. Consider a fitness tracker, such as a FitBit or Garmin, to track both calories and activity each day. Add squats and deadlifts with free weights to your workout to help you gain.

  • Eat More
  • Eat More Meals
  • Eat Calorie Dense Foods
  • Eat More Protein
  • Drink Shakes
  • Track Your Calories
  • Lift Heavy (But Safely)
  • Be Consistent

The Importance of Nutrition

Eating more calories than you burn will help you gain weight, but not just any calories. You want to be sure to choose healthy options, like whole grains as well as lean meats and dairy. Start by adding 500 calories per day than you are burning. If you are not gaining as you’d like, add more calories, but do so slowly to avoid building belly fat. You need to be consistent as it is the daily average calorie intake that determines true weight gain.

You Need to Eat More Protein

Increase the amount of protein you eat each day, such as chicken, fish and eggs. Add 1 gram of protein per pound of body-weight per day to build muscle and for recovery. Some of the best protein options include steaks, ground round, chicken breasts and thighs as well as tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines. Eggs are good source of protein as are dairy products like milk, cottage cheese and yogurt.

Top Protein Sources:

  • Steaks, Ground Beef
  • Chicken Breast
  • Turkey Breast
  • Ground Turkey
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Eggs or Egg Whites

Eat More Meals Throughout the Day

Small meals are easier to manage than large meals, so aim for six to seven small meals per day rather than three. Start by waking up earlier and eating breakfast. Too often, skinny people eat nothing for breakfast which means they are getting no calories before noon. You need at least eight hours sleep, so that leaves you only 16 hours to eat each day. Start with breakfast around 7 AM, adding a snack 10 AM. Lunch should be around 1 PM, another snack around 4 PM and then dinner around 7 PM. Keep in mind these are not large, more than 1,000 calorie meals, but smaller meals that are between 500 and 700 calories.

What You Should Eat

Choose foods that are high in calories and nutrition. Although vegetables are healthy, they do not have many calories. Keep vegetables in your diet for their nutritional value and fat-burning properties, but if you want to gain weight, you also need to add foods like nuts, dried fruit, dairy, grains, potatoes, fats and meat. Try to avoid junk food even though it is high in calories. McDonald’s food is calorie-dense, but also contains significant amounts of fat, sugar and sodium. Although eating chips, cookies, fries and ice cream may add calories, it can lead to extra fat around your belly. That does not mean you can never eat at McDonald’s or enjoy a cold beer every now and then. The best rule of thumb is 90 percent quality food and 10 percent junk food.

Train Consistently

Lifting helps trigger muscle mass building in your body so you want to include lifting weights in your workout. Lifting also increases your appetite helping you to eat more. If you eat more than you burn, lifting keeps food from being stored as fat. Use free weights which are more effective and safer than machines. Include compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench press and rows. Always try to lift more than you did in your last workout and be sure your form is correct. Your body needs rest, so don’t do more than three full body workouts each week.

A post shared by RunThaCity (@run_tha_city) on

A post shared by RunThaCity (@run_tha_city) on

Supplements for the Skinny Guy

Blending food in liquid form helps you digest it more quickly. You can make your own weight gainer shakes by combining:

  • 100g Oats
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 300ml Whole Milk
  • 2 scoops Whey Protein

Mix everything in a blender for 1048 calories, 120g carbs, 80g protein and 28g fat. Avoid processed weight gainer shakes as they are often full of sugars. If you aren’t a fan of smoothies, simply drink whole milk.

These tips and suggestions are designed for people who have difficulty gaining weight when working out. For more tips on workouts, nutrition and weight, subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

RunThaCity’s 300 Pullup Challenge: Ultimate Pullup Training

There is nothing that says you need to be big to be strong. Even if your build is thin, you can build muscle that gives you more strength. Your size is no indication of how strong you actually are. One way to build better muscle is by mastering the pullup. Some trainers say that the pullup puts smaller-framed body builders on a level playing field with those with large frames. You may be able to deadlift hundreds of pounds, but if you cannot meet the 300 Pullup Challenge, you’re not really as strong as you think.

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Why You Should Include Bent over Dumbell Rows In Your Back Workout

Bent over dumbbell rows should not be something you just toss into your back workout every now and then. This type of lift offers significant benefits, something you know if you are doing one-arm dumbbell rows already. If you are not, the following will explain why they are one of the best things you can do when working out your back.

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How To Improve Your Squat With Box Squats

Squats are an important part of any workout, not only building leg muscles but also quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. They also provide an anabolic aspect to your workout, improving overall muscle building.

If you have realized how important squats are in your workout, you may be surprised to learn that adding box squats can not only bring added benefits to your workout routine but it could also improve your squatting technique overall.

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What are The Benefits Of Deadlifts?

Although squats are one of the best size-building exercises, the deadlift can actually build more major muscle groups and create a stronger physique. One of the main reasons the deadlift is so beneficial is the core strength it builds as your core is a critical health component.

In almost every movement, the core supports the body and deadlifting is the best way to build your core.

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