Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Suggestion grab-bag #1

Today's post is just a random collection of fitness-related ideas, suggestions and goodies. :)

1) Try one-arm bent-over dumbbell rows instead of bent-over barbell rows. I think you’ll find that it’s easier to maintain correct form as you increase the weight you're using with a dumbbell instead of a barbell. You’ll also put less strain on your lower back, and if you're deadlifting like you should be, your lower back is getting plenty of work as it is. Not an original idea of mine (I forget who suggested it to me, honestly), but I really like it.

2) Try doing weighted sit-ups. Hook your feet under something, take a dumbbell in each hand or hold a plate against your chest, and do sit-ups. I did these on a lark, and now I love them. I swear that 2x20 weighted sit ups have done more for my ab strength and appearance in 1 month than a YEAR of doing 3x100 un-weighted ab exercises ever did. I kid you not. Of course, you have to get your body fat low enough to see your abs in the first place for this to affect how your belly looks.

3) If you are taking omega-3 fish oil capsules, and you should, take them with food and wash them down with a glass of water to prevent those gross fish burps. I used to have terrible fish burps when I took them on an empty stomach.

4) I like to keep 6-packs of the 5.5oz cans of low sodium V-8 juice around, and drink one if I’m short a serving of vegetables that day. It doesn’t taste that good, but that makes me want to get my veggies properly instead, so it’s a win/win.

5) It is hard to overstate how great pull-ups and their variants are for your upper back and arms. They’ve probably been my #1 source of upper back, bicep & forearm improvement. I know because I added them to my otherwise good program about 1 month late, and my back and arms immediately started to improve over and above what all my other working out was doing.

6) If you are interested in any of Chad Waterbury’s training programs, “sterno” from the Testosterone Nation forums has compiled all of them in one big spreadsheet with CW’s approval. He has also included all the links to the original articles, so you can read up on all the programs and choose the one that best suits your goals. It includes the popular “Big Boy Basics” weight program. It can be downloaded in Excel and Acrobat formats here.