Saturday, April 27, 2013

Getting those Gunns to GROW. By Vic Goyaram

Getting those Gunns to GROW
My personal training tips

 By Vic Goyaram Exclusive for Bodybuilding Mauritius
Using the techniques below my arms grew to 18.1" cold 
Every bodybuilder wants massive arms. There isn't anything like arms which are too big. In a recent post on our Facebook page we have all seen members' willingness to get bigger arms.  In this article I will share some of my best advice on how to get your arms to grow. These are personal tips that have worked for me and I am sure they can do a lot for your arms too. 
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Tip # 1: Do not neglect the triceps and brachialis
The triceps make up a big proportion of the upper arm and is a great contributor of overall arm mass. Therefore, in your quest for massive arms do not forget to tap on the growth potential of the triceps. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to see the biceps getting more work in training routines in gyms worldwide, much to the neglect of other muscles that constitute the arms. 
Do not waste your triceps' growth potential
Work the freaking triceps!
Blasting the brachialis
The brachialis is the muscle which sits in your outer arm between the triceps and the biceps. In addition to contributing a lot to your pulling strength, the brachialis does a lot to contribute to overall arm growth. They get a lot of indirect work in rowing and pulldown movements. Good exercises to work them directly are the hammer curls and the reverse barbell curls.  I prefer to do my hammer curls as in the picture below. This is called the cross-body or pinwheel hammer curl. I find it less stressful to my shoulder joint than conventional hammer curls and this allows me to move more weight. Secondly, make sure to not shrug in an attempt to move the weight up. The only movement must occur at the elbow joint. Pause slightly at the top. Perform in an alternate manner or one arm at a time for greater focus.
My favourite version of hammer curls: Cross-body hammer curls
Blasting the triceps
Besides contributing to overall arm mass, the triceps are very important for your pushing strength. A strong pair of triceps means better chest and shoulder pressing strength.  A list of the finest triceps exercises are given in the chart below. Good exercises for the triceps include triceps pushdowns, skull crushers and various overhead extensions. 
The Mauritius Muscle Power Series Triceps Chart
My selection of best triceps exercises and some tips

1. Triceps pushdowns
I like to open my triceps routine with triceps pushdowns as I feel that it warms up my elbow joints for the free weight movement to come next in the routine. When I train my triceps after a pushing body-part (chest or shoulders) I perform two triceps exercises and sometimes three. One of them is the cable pushdowns and the other are free weight movements. With this exercise I like to maintain a slight forward bend in the torso as this helps me get a good contraction at the bottom. Lately, I have been bending my torso even more as in the picture of Doug Brignole below. This allows for a much better contraction and my results have been amazing. 
Triceps cable pushdowns
My new favourite triceps pushdown position. This
allows for a solid contraction at the bottom of the movement
(Photo courtesy of Doug Brignole, Mr. Universe and exercise expert)\

Click to visit his webpage

2. Triceps Press-downs
This is called the Pressdown because it is more of a pressing movement in the upright position than a pushdown. The bar does not move in an arc as in the latter exercise. Personally, I find this movement less stressful on the elbows. I have a mild case of tendinitis in my left elbow and this movement does not bother my elbows at all. Flare the elbows out and bring the bar chest level. A straight bar is recommended. This requires some flexibility in the shoulder joint as well. Press straight down. Learn to feel the movement.  The pressdowns can be used in several ways: 

A.  As a stand-alone exercise 
B. At the end of a regular triceps pushdown set to grind additional reps after reaching failure

There is a full article on this exercise on our website.
The triceps pressdown
3. French Press
This is a major mass builder for me which can be performed either with one dumbbell or a barbell (EZ/ Cambered/ Hammer bars work fine).  This exercise usually comes in second in my routine when the elbows are properly warmed. 
The French press
The above exercises have helped me beef up my triceps
4. The JM Press
This exercise is a cross between a close grip bench press and a skull crusher. It is an awesome exercise from the old school. I devoted an entire article to this exercise on our website.

Tip #2: Do not neglect the forearms
Developed forearms are important for both aesthetic reasons and for grip strength for executing a variety of exercises for both the biceps and other body-parts.  Having a strong grip means you'll be able to handle the heavy weights to overload the biceps and triceps without your grip failing first. So make sure you train them. I like to train them after back and after biceps (twice a week) and improving my forearms has greatly improved both my arm and back training.  Contrary to what some people may believe or tell you, forearm work is not for sissies and a bodybuilder would do well to  incorporate forearm work into his routine. 

One of my favourites is the reverse barbell curl. I usually perform these for 5 sets twice a week at the end of my biceps and back days. 2 sets of 15 reps with lb barbells and 3 sets x 10 reps with 65lb barbells. This movement blasts the biceps, upper forearm (brachioradialis) and brachialis directly. Talk about arm growth in thickness. I guarantee this is a compound movement for the arm.  Talking of the brachioradialis muscle, I have devoted an article to this muscle already (Beefing the Upper forearm)
Don't forget to kill the forearms
Tip#3: Avoid over-training
Arms are the most commonly overtrained body-part  Some people train arms two or more times a week. Some of you have even spotted others doing arms everyday, I'm sure! This is too much work for the arms, considering that the biceps and triceps are also involved respectively in back and chest/ shoulder training. Keep your arm training short but intense. You may give arms a day on their own if you think they need special attention or need a shock therapy. Otherwise, you can also attain good growth by doing biceps after back and triceps after chest or shoulders. Always experiment to see what approach gives you better results. At the same time keep variety in your routine.

Tip#4: Try Positions of Flexion (POF) training
I have obtained the fantastic results using a system called the "Position of Flexion" (POF) system, developed by Steve Holman of Ironman magazine. I read it from his book sometime in the mid 2000s and this coincided with the first time my arms hit the 16.5 inch mark.  Positions of Flexion training deserves an article on its own but briefly it consists of working each muscle in the midrange, stretch and contracted position.

POF arm exercises

POF biceps exercises performed by Arnold. 
Tip #5: Listen to your body

Biceps still sore from back day
I am sure that many people have been confronted with this dilemma: you have trained back very hard and for the next couple of days not only your back but your biceps are also very sore. But then comes the time to work your biceps and your biceps are still sore. What to do? Train the biceps and allow them to recover? I would suggest to let them recover before attempting to blast them again. My biceps are always pumped during back workouts and sore the next day no matter how much I focus on pulling with my back and using my arms as hooks on back exercises. To remedy this problem I have resorted to training biceps after back several years ago and the results have been amazing.

Of course training biceps after back may mean that your biceps are already pre-exhausted and this you won't be able to lift as much as on an arms-only day. That's not a big problem because, as we just said, the biceps are pre-exhausted. You wouldn't need as many exercises to completely exterminate the biceps. When I train biceps after back I usually perform 4 sets of barbell curls followed by 3 sets of hammer curls. Then I am done for the day. I suggest that you always experiment what works for you. If you can space your back and biceps days then go ahead with it. 

Unproductive and productive exercises
We all have exercises which gives us the best results and I will suggest that's where your effort must be spent. Do not spend your time on exercises that are unproductive for you. If bench dips give you more pain in your elbows and shoulders than a good workout in spite of you having tried you best, then ditch them.  Do not insist on performing them just because your training partner is growing from them. Listen to your body and tailor your program accordingly. I do not like bench dips because they give me pain in my elbows and shoulders. Therefore, ditched them from my routine although I will perform them using bodyweight resistance from time to time. 

Tip #6: My Secret biceps exercises

Drag curls
One of the most productive biceps exercises for me are barbell drag curls. This is a Vince Gironda article and has been discussed on an article dedicated entirely to it (Click to read)
Barbell drag curls
Dreher dumbbell curls
This is amazing tip that I got from Mr. Universe and former IFBB Pro Dr. Lance Dreher in a chat conversation. Dr. Lance Dreher is one of my role models and the owner of the freakiest pair of arms in the pro ranks back in the day. In his honour will call this exercise the Lance Dreher dumbbell curls. These curls are performed by using "asymmetric grips" on the dumbbell curls as follows:

Grip A: Thumb side of your hands in contact with the inner side of the plates of the dumbbell.

Grip B: Pinkie finger in contact with the inner side of the dumbbells (pictured below)

You would need to perform these curls by starting in a hammer fashion and then supinate (more the palms upwards) as you complete the rest of the curl.  With the use of the asymmetric grip you are able to activate your outer biceps (long head) to a greater extent with grip (a) and inner biceps (short head) with grip (b). 
Dr. Lance Dreher performing his namesake curls
(Check his grip on the dumbbells)
Dr. Lance Dreher during his competitive heyday
Zottmann curls
Zottmanns are one of the best exercises to thicken the entire arms. It is not always comfortable to perform in the beginning and it takes a bit of practice to master the technique and build the mental connection on of this exercise.  You start the curl with palms facing up and once you reach the top of the movement pronate your wrist (turn downwards). On the negative portion of the rep you are in fact performing the eccentric portion of a reverse curl. It is best to keep the elbows close to the body rather than allow them to flare out. Lower the weight if necessary to achieve perfect form. Zottmanns can be performed standing or seated and two arms at the same time or in an alternate fashion.
You can read a full article on this exercise on this site.
The Zottmann curls: another forgotten old school exercise
Tip #7: Focusing on compounds
As mentioned earlier the biceps, triceps and forearms get plenty of work from being used as assisting muscles in a variety of lifts for other body-parts. Therefore it makes sense that you will get a lot of arm growth if you also focus on such compound movements like rows and presses. 

Tip #8: Build the entire body and be realistic
If you add mass to your overall frame it will be unlikely that you arms will resemble twigs. Therefore, to make improvements in your arm mass you have to add mass to your entire body. You cannot kill yourself on arm training, neglect the rest of the body and expect the arms to grow disproportionately. There is a certain degree of asymmetry that the body can take. In order to illustrate this point I will borrow a few paragraphs from renowned trainer Charles Poliquin:

Click to read full article

We all want to reach the mythical 20" arms. But in the process we have to be realistic. I quote Arthur Jones, the inventor of the Nautilus training machines and father of High Intensity training and refer you to his article on arm size (Click here)

"The largest muscular arm that I ever measured – or saw –was Sergio Oliva's, which, accurately measured, "cold" was 20 1/8 inches. Arnold Schwarzenegger's arm was 19 7/8, slightly pumped – probably 19 1/2 "cold". Bill Pearl's largest arm, his left arm, was 18 5/8 at a bodyweight of 222 in 1960 – at the 1971 NABBA Mr. Universe contest in London, his publicized arm size was listed as 20 1/4, but it was obvious to me that his arms were actually smaller than when I measured them in 1960, and it was obvious to anybody who saw the two men side by side that Sergio's arms literally dwarfed Bill's arms, and now you know how big Sergio's arms were at the time. Casey Viator's arms were 19 15/16 at their largest when he was training in DeLand – and were 18 1/16 when he first came to DeLand, immediately after the Mr. America contest in 1970" 

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My Bio: I am a Mauritian originally from Roche Bois, Port Louis and now based in Cape Town, South Africa where I am busy with my postgraduate studies in molecular biology of exercise. My research, supervised by Prof. Edward Ojuka and Dr. Tertius Kohn, looks at the influence of nutrition and exercise in gene expression in muscle, research which is relevant and applicable to exercising individuals, sports persons and diabetic individuals. The knowledge that I share with you stems from my 18 years of experience in bodybuilding and 8 years (and counting) of university education in the field. I have also published work in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism (2012, 2014), International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (2013) and co-authored two book chapters on exercise and diabetes. I also presented my research work at the 2012 International Sports and Exercise Nutrition Conference (UK). I am grateful to each and everyone at the UCT Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. "Knowledge without sharing is worth nothing"
©,2013, Veeraj Goyaram, Bodybuilding Mauritius. Any reprinting in any type of media is prohibited.
Disclaimer: The Content on this site is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. BODYBUILDING MAURITIUS is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties.  Correspondence:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Whey protein types: Manufacture and nutritional analysis. By Vic Goyaram

Whey Protein Types Explained
Researched and composed by Veeraj Goyaram
Exercise and Nutritional Scientist

It is not easy to make sense of the amazing diversity of whey protein types available on the market today when choosing for the protein that gives the best anabolic bang for your protein buck. Furthermore, labels that use excessive scientific jargon often add further confusion. When reading protein powder labels you will often see one or some of the following types of whey proteins on the ingredients panel:
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Ion Exchange Whey protein isolate
  • Cross Flow Microfiltered Whey protein isolate
  • Hydrolysed whey protein (hydrolysates)
This articles attempts to get you to understand the above so that you make an informed decision come purchasing time.  

Whey Protein Manufacturing 101
Whey protein as you probably know is derived from milk. The protein in cow milk is made up of about 20% whey and about 80% casein protein.
Fig. 1: The liquid is whey (containing whey protein) and the
curdled part contains casein
When milk coagulates you see a liquid which remains along with clots called curds. Curds contain casein protein (Fig. 1). The liquid is called whey and contains our famous whey protein.  Some time ago, whey used to be thrown away until some clever mind discovered some real good stuff in it. This one discovery revolutionised not only bodybuilding but human nutrition in general. Whey protein brought new life to the (then lacklustre, according to me) nutritional supplements industry. Today whey protein is a billion dollar industry and is used in anything from baby to clinical nutrition formulas.

One of the constituents of whey is whey protein. As shown in Fig.2 whey protein is in fact a collection of different proteins called "microfractions". For example beta-lactoglobulin, alpha lactalbumin, serum albumin and lactoferrin are the main proteins that make up whey protein.

Fig.1: The protein constituents of milk. Casein and whey
are collections of protein fractions
Fig. 3: Dairy proteins 
Whey Protein Concentrate 
Liquid whey contains water, lactose, fats and proteins. The protein from it is extracted and then dried to form Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC). A typical WPC product on the market has about 80% protein, 10% Carbohydrates (mainly lactose) and about 7% fat. Whey protein manufacturers offer WPC products that contain anything from 30 to 80% protein to supplement companies. 

WPC has a bit of cholesterol but unless you have been living under a rock you should know that dietary cholesterol is no reason for concern. Lactase enzymes are very often added finished WPC-based products to help lactose intolerant individuals from running to the toilet. It is worth mentioning that with the increasing prices of whey protein globally it won't be uncommon to see finished WPC products bordering the 60% protein level.
Fig. 4: Typical nutrition facts for a WPC product
*Bodybuilding Mauritius here is a fictitious company used for illustration purposes only
Whey protein Isolate
Whey protein isolate (WPI) has been further processed to remove fat and lactose, leaving behind a product which is generally +90% protein by weight. As it is low in lactose the consistency of the dissolved WPI is less milky than WPC and therefore WPI can be made in fruit juice-based formats. Please note that WPI is also low in cholesterol. However, not all WPIs are created equal. We take a closer look at the two types of WPI in the section below.
Fig. 5: WPI has much reduced carbohydrate (lactose), cholesterol
and fat content. Our WPI is made by CFM Technology

*Bodybuilding Mauritius here is a fictitious company used for illustration purposes only
Ion exchange v/s Micro-filtered isolates?
You will often will find on the labels of WPI products the terms Ion-exchange WPI and Microfiltered WPI. These terms refer to the manufacturing techniques used to produce WPI. I will not complicate your life and will summarise the difference below:
  • Ion-exchange WPI: Ion-exchange uses chemicals for separating proteins and this denatures some of the important protein microfractions. Remember that whey protein is a collection of several proteins called microfractions, some of which have biological activity (antioxidant, immune-boosting etc.). Ion exchange processing denatures some of these protein fractions. Ion-exchange WPI may have a higher protein percentage than CFM WPI but the overall quality is reduced. If you find a cheaper WPI on the market it will most likely be Ion-exchange. The good news is that Ion-exchange WPI products are very rare on the market nowadays. 
  • Microfiltered WPI: Microfiltration is a better manufacturing process because it uses high efficiency filters to filter proteins, leaving behind a high quality product with all its biological properties. There are several types of microfiltration techniques used, the most popular being the Cross-Flow Microfiltration (CFM®) and ultrafiltration. CFM is generally considered the "real deal" micro filtration method and products having been made using the CFM technology will usually "brag" about it on product leaflets and labels. 
Fig. 6: An example of "scientific" marketing for a protein
which uses CFM manufacturing
Fig. 7: If a company is using CFM Whey isolate in its product 
it will most likely display it prominently on the tub
Whey protein hydrolysates
Hydrolysates are whey proteins that have been treated with enzymes to break down (hydrolyse) the proteins by varying degrees into smaller fragments called peptides. Peptides, like proteins, are chains of amino acids but are of shorter length. Hydrolysed whey is also often called pre-digested whey and absorbs faster in the body because, being simple, it digests rapidly. Of course, hydrolysed whey is more expensive because enzymatic digestion of proteins is not an easy process on an industrial scale. Hydrolysed whey does have its benefits particularly in post-workout recovery as it results in a faster increase of amino acids and anabolic insulin response than intact proteins. This point will be extensively reviewed in a future article. It is also worth noting that hydrolysates dissolve rather well and have virtually no carbohydrate, fat or cholesterol content. The major downside is the price and the taste! Hydrolysates are also used in formulas for infants who are allergic to intact dairy proteins. 
Fig. 8: The manufacturing process of whey protein Hydrolysate.
Fig. 9: The Bodybuilding Mauritius Hydro Whey has no
carbohydrate, fat and cholesterol. The delicious "sirop canne"
flavour masks the taste pretty well

*Bodybuilding Mauritius here is a fictitious company used for illustration purposes only
Your user guide and additional tips

  • Concentrate or isolate?
Protein Quality: The difference between WPC and WPI is mainly in terms of lactose, fat and cholesterol content. If for some reason (medical or otherwise) you need more control over your intake of these nutrients then isolate is your best bet. The protein percentage of WPC is lower than that of WPI so that you get less protein per gram of product. However, the quality of the protein is the same. WPI doesn't absorb better or faster than WPC as some manufacturers would want you to believe in order to justify selling you a higher priced product. The same proteins fractions are present in both WPI and WPC and, as you have seen above, WPC may even have more protein fractions than a ion-exchange WPI. As a side note, there are many products on the market that are blends of WPC and WPI and although the ratio of WPC:WPI is not known we suspect that they are WPC dominant because the latter protein is often listed first on the label. From a functional (not economical or marketing) perspective it makes no sense to me to include an isolate along with a concentrate. 

Carb content, getting fat and lactose intolerance: The extra grams of carbs in WPC is unlikely to make you fat because a typical WPC product may bring you about 8-10g of carbs per serving at most. So with your 2-3 servings of whey per day this is unlikely to make you fat. If you are on a ketogenic (zero-carb) diet then a WPI may be used. If you are lactose intolerant then you can switch to a WPI otherwise you can get away with a WPC. Additionally, as mentioned, some WPC products add some lactase enzyme to their product to help with lactose digestion. 

Cholesterol: The cholesterol content of WPC may worry some of you but there is currently a lot of debate that the cholesterol coming from your diet has little influence of the cholesterol in your blood and that rather a high consumption of carbohydrates like fructose can drive the production of cholesterol to a far greater extent than consumption of cholesterol itself from food sources. But this is not the focus of the current article. If for some reason or the other your doctor advises you to go on a low cholesterol diet then talk to him about your use of whey protein.

Beating the boredom: if you are tired of dairy-based shakes all the time, typical of WPC products then you may give WPI a try. Remember that due to its low lactose content WPI can be manufactured in fruit-based flavours. This can be a good thing to bring a change. If you have the money then why not? Back to when I had a career I liked to use the 4ever fit fruit blast isolate after workouts with Creatine. I also used to get Isopure (Nature's best) bottles and powders from Reunion island. Again if you can afford it, then why not? One needs to adapt himself to changing times. When I went back to university even a basic whey concentrate was a luxury I could rarely afford. Adapt or perish, as we say. Now that I back for good in career mode I am able to sample the world's finest proteins. 
  • Are hydrolysates worth the extra expense?
The main reasons to use a WPH is that it induces rapid increases in blood amino acids which may maximise muscle protein synthesis and facilitate recovery. Moreover there are reports that WPH promotes greater releases of insulin after ingestion compared to carbohydrates, its amino acid constituents in the free form, and intact proteins. This would potentially lead to increased rates of protein synthesis due to the anabolic action of insulin and increased rates of muscle glycogen replenishment after glycogen depleting workouts.  While such findings show that WPH has a lot of promise the protein comes with a hefty price tag and those who cannot afford it may not necessarily be at a massive disadvantage. 


Hulmi et al. Effect of protein/essential amino acids and resistance training on skeletal muscle hypertrophy: A case for whey protein. Nutrition & Metabolism 2010, 7:51

Kanda A et al. Post-exercise whey protein hydrolysate supplementation induces a greater increase in muscle protein synthesis than its constituent amino acid content. Br J Nutr. 2013 Feb 7:1-7

Manninen AH. Protein hydrolysates in sports nutrition. Nutrition & Metabolism 2009, 6:38
About the author: I am currently a PhD student in Exercise Science at the University
of Cape Town in South Africa. My MSc research looked at the regulation of glucose
transporters in muscle by exercise and nutritional factors. If you enjoy my articles please feel free to recommend them to others. Your comments and suggestions are welcome. For correspondence email me on vicgoyaram
©,2013, Veeraj Goyaram, Bodybuilding Mauritius. Any reprinting in any type of media is prohibited.
The Content on this site is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. BODYBUILDING MAURITIUS is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties.  Qualifications of author of article: Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biology (Department of Biosciences, University of Mauritius) and Master of Science in Medicine in Exercise Molecular Biology , PhD candidate in Exercise and Molecular Nutrition/ Type 2 diabetes (Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, University of Cape Town). Correspondence:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bodybuilding "advices". By Bodybuilding Mauritius members

Bodybuilding "advices"

By Bodybuilding Mauritius members

There is a wealth of information inside us all. I believe everyone knows something that may be of great help to others. Only the right platform needs to be created in order to allow such exchanges of ideas. Bodybuilding Mauritius is a step towards this. Not always do we all agree on certain points as sometimes opinions may differ too. But that's how we learn. 

When asked to give an advice based on the picture above, Bodybuilding Mauritius members were too eager to reply. Therefore I got my first article on our website with 19 (and counting) authors!

Kailash Mungur "a body is not build overnight takes time and determination"

Kessen Valaydon "to build,you should have concrete!"

Julien Thuposy "don't forget leg day"

Bhavish Rock "patiance.hardworking.time.movitation"

Renghen Kow "ur body is a work of art"

Don Dbn "Don't just build mass perpetually without ever working on the conditioning. Do not try to get more defined muscle if you are very thin already and lack muscle mass."

Christophe Theodorine "You never stop building your's all about persistence and determination!"

Fabien Razaze "Find an objective when starting and a plan to continue !"

Luchan Comal "Your body is like a block of concrete and you must know how sculpt it into something amazing, your main tool being the 'heavy Iron' (not to forget proper nutrition)"

Priteviraj Dak "all what u gonna b comes direct from ur though"

Yash Doongur "you sculpt your own body"

Yog Roods "Diet is key in achieving such physique."

Djameel Meerun "Bulk but not over bulking n cut down !"

Ramtohul Yoganand "i will go with Djameel Meerun.. you cannot chisel bones.. you need muscle mass!!''

Omar Patel "You are born from dust and you should return to dust : what is between is up to you.!"

Pradip Singh "You are the sculptor of yourself in Bodybuilding, you have to work alone on yourself with your available materials and resources to sculpt a Body, and like a work of Art if displayed for public viewing, leave it to the audience for viewing and appreciation and critics."

Amar Gopul "do whatever you feel does work for u ( but with a proper research and advice if needed). do not follow someone else routine"

Vic Veeraj Goyaram "You cannot sculpt a pebble" (unknown author)


Here's another one
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Sunday, April 7, 2013

LEG PRESSING NOTES: Form, Foot placement and Stance. By Vic Goyaram

 Leg pressing notes: 
Form, Foot placement and Stance 
Researched and composed by Vic Goyaram

Leg press form
The leg press is a good exercise for the legs. It is a great adjunct to exercises like squats and lunges. There is less back involvement, allowing you to focus more on your legs.   The leg press lends itself well to intensity techniques like drop sets and rest pause. However, it is it more often than not made to be an ego exercise because one can really move some serious poundage on the leg press. You can easily impress yourself on the leg press because of the number of pounds you can pile on this machine. 

A. Leg press 500+kg but can squat only 60kg
Very often you will read or hear about somebody claiming a 500kg+ leg press. His legs may or may not match these poundages (more often it is the latter case). Secondly, you  may also see someone "leg press" 500kgs but can only half-squat 60kg (with an added 100kg of excuses, if he ever squats at all). I have put the leg press between inverted commas because their technique is not that of a leg press. 

B. Pressing only for a few millimetres, with assistance from two hands and two spotters
I am sure everyone has seen beginners and intermediates load up the leg press machine with heavy weights and move down only an inch. Sometimes you don't really see any movement in the legs but rather movement in their elbow joints. why? Because they are also pressing on their knees with their hands and two other persons helping. This is not called leg pressing. It is not even an exercise and we still have to come up with a name for this movement. 

C. Ass off the bench
Finally, you will also see people using an "overzealous" range of motion. Meaning, they will allow their butts to lift off the seat on the way down. This is potentially dangerous to the lower back. Do not do this. It does not equal more growth. 
Proper form: knees move to the chest, butts do not lift from the seat. 
Hands to the side and only on rare occasions can be used for assistance.
Photo courtesy: Dylan Ridley, South African elite bodybuilder
The Regular Leg pressing stance
The "normal"  stance for the leg press consists of the feet placed at a shoulder width and in the middle of the platform. The leg press appears to not be too versatile but this isn't true. As you will see below there are many variations, each with a different effect. You can create variations by placing your feet at different positions on the pressing platform.  Keep in mind that leg press machine designs differ a lot and some machine have large pressing platforms while others are quite small and does not allow for too many variations in foot placement.
As we will see later. Placing the feet at different heights on the leg press
platform impacts on the level of quadriceps and hamstring involvement
Feet high v/s feet low
Some machines with large platforms allow you to safely place the feet higher up. This recruits the glutes and hamstring muscles to a greater extent in addition to quadriceps. However, placing the feet lower down recruits more quadriceps. Experiment to see to which extent you can SAFELY use these two variations, depending on the size of your leg press machine platform.
Leg pressing with feet higher up on the platform (if the platform is wide enough to safely allow it) brings the hamstrings and glutes into play more.
Personally, I have a sciatic nerve impingement. The pain is very very mild but I use it as a training aid, in a "blessing in disguise fashion": it gives me hints about my form in several exercises and tells me to what extent my lower back skeletal system is starting to take stress through the pain signals that it sends me. Placing the feet relatively low on the leg press platform takes my lower back out of the equation. It can also tell you that putting the feet too high also puts a bit of stress on your lower back. From experience I have also seen that taller people prefer placing their feet high up the platform.
Proceed with caution. Women like this variation because it works the glutes
quite well. But safety is key here. You don't want you feet to slip.
Note that the knees are in line with the ankles in the bottom position
This variation works the quadriceps more than the hamstrings
Keep are kept fairly low on the platform.
Foot stances (Wide v/s Narrow)
Secondly, adopting a wider than shoulder width stance recruits the inner thigh muscles like the adductor and the glutes, giving more inner development to the legs, a great contributor to overall leg size. It is common belief that keeping feet together works the outer sweep (vastus lateralis) but there is no scientific proof that this is true.
Performing leg press with a rather wide stance stresses the
inner leg muscles as well.
Escamilla RF, Fleisig GS, Zheng N, et al. Effects of technique variations on knee biomechanics during the squat and leg press. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2001 Sep; 33(9) :1552-66.

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