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  • Quadruple bypass at the take out window

    By Travis Steffen on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 No comments

    enhanced-buzz-32081-1277152354-24Creative marketing geniuses in the restaurant industry have outdone themselves once again. The good people at Friendly’s have now put KFC’s “Double Down” burger to shame with their new “Ultimate Grilled Cheese Burger Melt”. There’s nothing really special about the burger itself, it’s just your typical huge patty with lettuce, tomato and some sort of sauce. The magic ingredient here is all in the bun. The top is a full grilled cheese sandwich and the bottom….yep, same thing! Copious amounts of saturated fat sandwiched between simple carbs and even more saturated fat!¬†

  • The Romanian deadlift…butt lift with a barbell!

    By Travis Steffen on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 No comments

    luteMost of us (men included) spend a lot of time and money on some, if not all of the following…hair products, cosmetics, colognes, spa treatments, plastic surgery, botox injections, salon services and moisturizers. The goal is to appear fresh faced, youthful, polished and put together from the front. But how much time do you spend thinking about what you look like to people as you walk away?

    I’m going to give you one way to dramatically improve that posterior view and best of all, it won’t cost you a cent! Oh, it may hurt, in fact if you do it right it will be a bit uncomfortable, but in that ‘hurts so good’ way.

  • Slow and steady for greater gains

    By Travis Steffen on Monday, June 7, 2010 No comments

    wl2Time under tension. It’s a training method used to increase muscle mass, strength or endurance by simply timing the concentric (lifting) and eccentric (returning) portion of a repetition. By measuring the time that the muscle is held under tension while incorporating adequate resistance and proper form, growth and/or strength can be stimulated.

    Generally we are taught that in order to gain strength we should lift very heavy weights, using a rep scheme of roughly 2 to 6 for only 2 to 4 sets and take long rests in between. For hypertrophy the ‘golden’ rule is to lift moderately heavy weight for a rep scheme of 8 to 12 and anywhere from 3 to 5 sets, taking half the time to rest compared to the strength training guidelines. Although sound advice and albeit effective, it only works for so long. At some point you will need to add a different stimulus in order to continue to progress. This would be a good time to try time under tension specific workouts. By switching to this format for one week out of every 6 or so, your muscles will get that much needed ‘shock’ and the stimulus will prompt more growth and/or greater strength gains.

    Here’s how it’s done. First of all you’ll need a clock. You may also need to abandon that whole cookie cutter rigid rep scheme too. Let’s go with the formula for strength first. Sticking with 2 to 4 sets and a rest period of 2 to 4 minutes in between, instead of counting reps you’re going to count the seconds it takes to complete those reps. The total time under tension should be in the range of 5 to 30 seconds per set. Let’s say you’re performing Barbell Curls for 2 reps. The lifting phase of each rep could be 4 seconds with a 1 second pause and 3 seconds to lower the weight, for a total of 8 seconds. Simple math says 2 to 3 reps per set will keep those biceps under tension for a total of 16 to 24 seconds. Perfect.

    Now for  hypertrophy, the time under tension should range between 30 and 60 seconds per set, with 3 to 5 sets and a rest period of 1 to 2 minutes in between. If you use the same time under tension formula as above you would perform a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 7 reps per set.

    You can manipulate the time per reps as much as you’d like, for example you could use a 4-1-4, 2-2-2, 3-0-3, etc. The only thing that matters is the total time under tension per set. Of course you will have to adjust the weight you lift to accommodate the amount of time you use for both the concentric and eccentric phases. If you choose a 2-1-2 formula, you will be able to lift a heavier weight than if you use a 4-1-4. Another bonus of slow lifting…if done properly it completely eliminates the use of momentum. If you are lifting a heavy weight very slowly you simply will not be able to use momentum and therefore will place additional stress on the specific muscle you are working.

    Once in a while slow it down a bit and add a week of time under tension training to your workout routines to really see some progress!