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.
What Muscles Do Bent-Over Rows Work?
The bent-over row is one of the most versatile upper body exercises you can do. It involves scapular retraction and depression while also extending and compressing the spine through the thoracolumbar region. Bent-over rows, through anti-rotation and anti-flexion, are an excellent core stabilization exercise. Bent-over rows also work the latissimus, one of the only muscles to run over the vertebrae of the thoracic, lumbar and sacral spine. This makes the exercise critical for those who suffer from back pain. It is typically intended to work the following muscles while requiring stabilization of the rotator cuff:
Muscles Involved in Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows
When performed correctly, bent-over rows involve several muscles in various ways. When you lead with our elbow in the bent-over dumbbell row you maximize shoulder extension. This works the latissimus dorsi muscles on the sides of your back, also known as your lats, that are the primary muscles this exercise targets. Keeping your shoulders retracted and back works the middle trapezius and rhomboid muscles, located across and between your shoulder blades.
Pull your shoulders back to increase girdle stability and avoid shoulder injury while performing bent-over rows.
Although you may feel more fatigue in your biceps brachii, located on the front of your upper arm, when performing this exercise, the biceps are secondary to the lats when it comes to benefits of bent-over rows. Use your free arm as support and make sure to keep your lower back slightly arched with your chest high to avoid straining your erector spinae.
What are the Benefits of Bent-Over Rows?
In any weight training, muscles exert force to overcome the resistance of the weight, either with or without movement. This causes increased muscle mass and a higher rate of calorie burn. When you burn more calories than you consume, you reduce excess weight and fat. This improves body composition and improved muscle tone, giving you a leaner appearance. This can lead to decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses.
Bent-over rows can actually create cuts and grooves in your back, creating a deep channel down the center. Because you are using one arm, you can focus your attention on the targeted muscle group and there is research that indicates a mind-muscle connection can improve results.
Adding bent-over dumbbell rows in every back workout can give you a more defined back and help you build muscle more evenly. The benefits of strength training are well-known, but these tips can help you improve your workout and get better results. For more workout tips, subscribe to my YouTube channel.
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By RunThaCity — 2 years ago
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.
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!Post Views: 2,577
By RunThaCity — 2 years agoBurnout 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
WriterHere 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.Post Views: 2,937
By RunThaCity — 3 years ago
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.Post Views: 4,422