Category Archives: Training

Blogs about Our Training Programs and Exercises

“Ladies-Build Your Bones”

<NOTE>You can also find this article Here at the global leader in online fitness tracking Gym Technik.

There is nothing more important for independent living and a vigorous life than strong bones.  They provide structure, protect your organs and anchor your muscles.   Because women lose calcium and minerals regularly thru Menstruation, they are fighting a constant and lifelong battle in preventing Osteoporosis.

There is nothing worse for an aging woman than weak bones and a frail body.  How will you get in and out of your car, carry groceries or even lift and carry your grandchildren?  The best way to combat this is by smart-focused and consistent resistance training. 

Bones get stronger when they are continuously forced to adapt and especially when subject to weight bearing loads.  The more forceful the stress, the stronger your bones become.  Over time with more weight and more intense training, your body will respond in tune by becoming stronger and with harder denser bones.

The best activities for strong and healthy bones are full body compound movements such as Squats, Lunges, Standing Overhead Lifts and Lower body pulls and plyometrics-(specifically bounding, leaping, stepping  and other ballistic movements that force your body to grow stronger from the stress.)  Plyometrics should only be used by advanced trainees and are not for elderly people or beginners.

It’s also incredibly important to take a High Quality Calcium Supplement.  The Muscle Couple uses Bone Up from Jarrow Formulas.     

Our Favorite Calcium Supplement

Our Favorite Calcium Supplement

It’s also imperative Commandment #6 from The 10 Commandments of Physique Improvement for Men”  .85gms of Protein per pound of lean body weight is followed religiously to allow for adequate bone regeneration thru protein replenishment and turnover.

The Muscle Couple believes it should be a woman’s focal motivation as she ages to strengthen her spine and bones to prevent the horrible prone position evidenced frequently by older folks in society with severe osteoporosis.

MIHWCS

 

Advertisements

Best of the Muscle Couple from the Last 3 Months

The Muscle Couple wants to thank our loyal fans and followers.  

Thanks to Keith at KCDesignz for Our Sick New Logos

Thanks to Keith at KCDesignz for Our Sick New Logos

Our site’s traffic and readership is starting to explode!  We thought we’d call out a couple of our favorite articles from the last 3 months as a quick summary for our new readers.

Remember you can follow our articles on your Blackberry thru Viigo:  <Interests & Lifestyle> – <Health & Fitness>- <Gym Technik-Mobile Fitness>-

You can also find our articles on the fastest growing  mobile fitness tracking website Gym Technik.  

If you use a PDA and aren’t using Gym Technik to record and track your workouts, you should be.  Check into it right away.  It has no peer.

Feel free to check em out in your spare time.

We encourage you to leave comments-suggestions or questions whenever possible.  Please sign up for our RSS feed to be notified in real time when articles post and the blog is updated.

We could not grow and improve our site without your help and feedback. 

We hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.   

Keith Continues to Impress with Our Border Logo!

Keith Continues to Impress with Our Border Logo!

MIHWCS

The Muscle Couple’s “Build a Better Body Experiment”

starring Michael Finn!

Michael is 28 years old, 6-2 and 165 pounds.  He is an avid 15 year surfer but a novice with hard core consistent resistance training.  He wants to add 15-25 pounds of muscle to his very thin  frame.  

The goal of this experiment is to document his training-eating and development thru pictures and updates on the blog.  We have developed a solid program he’ll use over the next 6-12 months.  He is motivated and determined to reach his goals.  

*We hope he will continue to make this a “LIFESTYLE CHOICE” and not just an experiment to gain muscle and then not maintain what he built.*

Here are his “Before Pictures”!

finn-relaxed-back3
finn-relaxed-front2              

finn-db

He will practice a very basic FULL BODY ROUTINE hitting each Muscle Group 3x over every 7 days.  It will be gradually tweaked every 6 weeks.  

Because he is such a novice weight trainer, his body should respond as long as he practices the “10 Commandments of Physique Improvement” and shows up to train.  

*It is very important for everyone who reads this blog to understand we are not training Michael and any results or improvements he makes will be purely dependant on his own focusdesire and achievement.*

Full Body Workout 1

  • Incline Presses(DB or Machine)x3 Sets (15 Reps-10 Reps-5 Reps)
  • Machine Rows x3 Sets(15 Reps-10 Reps-5 Reps)
  • Lateral Raises x3 Sets(15 Reps for all 3 Sets)
  • Shrugs(DB or Barbell)x3 Sets(of 10 Reps each)
  • Tricep Cable Pushdown x3 Sets (12 Reps-10 Reps-8 Reps)
  • DB Biceps Curls(2 Arm Together)x3 Sets (10 Reps Each)
  • Leg Press Machine x3 Sets 15 Reps per Set
  • Ab Crunches on a Decline Board x3 Sets to Failure Each set

Full Body Workout 2

  • DB Shoulder Press x2 sets (10 Reps each set)
  • Assisted Pull Up Machine-Wide Grip to Front x2 sets (10 Reps each set)
  • Pec Dec or Cable Flyes-x3 Sets (10 Reps each set)
  • Rear Delt Machine x2 Sets (10 Reps each set)
  • Tricep Skull Crushers x3 Sets(10 Reps each set)
  • DB Hammer Curls x3 sets (10 Reps each set)
  • Lying Hamstring Curls x3 sets(12 Reps each set)
  • Hanging Leg Raises x3 sets (Til Failure each set)

Full Body Workout 3

  • Flat Bench DB Presses x3 sets (15-10-5 Reps)
  • Close Grip Cable Pulldowns x3 sets(10 Reps Each Set)
  • DB Front Delt Raises(Seated or Standing)x3 sets (12 reps per set)
  • DB Rear Delt Raises(Bent Over)x2 sets (15 Reps per set)
  • BB or DB Shrugs x3 sets ((15 Reps per set)
  • Preacher Curl Machine x3 sets (10 Reps per set)
  • DB Tricep 2 Arm Behind Head Extensions x3 sets(10 reps per set)
  • Squats (DB or Barbell) x3 sets (8-10 Reps per set)

His diet is going to be kept very simple:

He weighes 160 pounds and has naturally low bodyfat.  His goal is to gain 25 pounds of muscle.  

He will be eating about 15-18 kcals per pound of bodyweight on a daily basis.  He also will consume 1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.  His EFA intake will also be very high coming from Udo’s Oil-Flax Oil, Fish Oil Capsules, Avocado-Nuts etc.

Figure a normal day of meeting these nutritional requirements:  200grams of Protein __ 275gms of Carbs___80gms of Fat(mostly from EFA’s)

A sample Day’s Diet:

Meal 1: Protein Shake (2 Scoops Muscle Milk Powder and 1 Scoop of Whey Protein) and a Bowl of Oatmeal

Meal 2: Muscle Milk (RTD)while at work.

Meal 3: Lunch consisting of 2 Chicken Sandwiches or Can and a Half of Tuna on Wheat Bread with Mayo

Meal 4: Muscle Milk(RTD)while at work

Meal 5: Dinner consisting of Lean Protein(Chicken-Steak-Fish-Brown Rice and Vegetables)

Meal 6: Right Before Bed (Another Protein Shake with Peanut Butter Mixed in)

He can add in “SNACKS” of

  • Protein Bars
  • Apples/Pears,
  • Nuts 
  • Peanut Butter.   

He needs excess calories to gain weight and we aren’t too worried about fat gain for now.

Good luck Mr. Finn!  

Nobody is more motivated to see you succeed then us.

AIN’T NUTTIN TO IT____BUT TO DO IT!!!

MIHWCS

5 Additional Commandments of Physique Improvement for Women

The Female half of The Muscle Couple has read about and experimented for 6 years on improving her physique.  Although her experience is not as great as her husbands, she does know what women want and most importantly what they battle in regards to their daily struggle at remaining strong-lean-sexy and beautiful.

Anh has come up with 5 additional principles to the original 10 commandments for men. We will briefly discuss and expound upon them as well.  Same goal as before.  Stimulate more discussion around each one and make it apply to a woman’s experience and lifestyle.

In no particular order, here are the additional five commandments:

5 Additional Tenets for Women

5 Additional Tenets for Women

  1. RESISTANCE TRAINING IS WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN CARDIO. Nothing drives me crazier than seeing women peddaling away on cardio machines in gyms.  I cringe at the thought of women going to gyms for years and never once touching a weight or doing  a resistance training workout.  Let me make it simple.  Women are not hormonally built to build big muscles.  You can’t get “big and bulky’ by lifting.  No matter how much weight you lift, your body will stay feminine.  It might get harder and sexier, but isn’t that the goal?
  2. Avoid the “BATWING” or flabby upper back arms by developing your triceps!  This is probably the number #1 physique problem for most women as they age.  The best way to combat it is by developing strong-toned and firm triceps.  A clean diet high in protein, complex carbs and EFA’s can’t hurt.  There are also topical fat burning solutions you can apply to the area over time to combat the stubborn receptor sites in the area very resistant to fat burning.
  3. Fat Burners or Thermogenics are “Goal Specific” adjuncts to a healthy diet and exercise protocol. Way too many women take these supplements permanently and screw up their metabolisms and natural thyroid production.  They also will not work if you don’t take them on an empty stomach.  A program using them at specific times in the day before cardio and around training is best.  Feel free to ask questions about how to use these to optimum efficiency.
  4. Skipping Meals, Fasting or Not Eating Small Frequent Protein based meals will destroy your efforts at having a lean-toned and sexy physique.  Let’s just say it right now.  Women are brain washed at a young age to avoid eating to fit into a dress or a bathing suit or another outfit etc.  There is nothing worse for a women than skipping meals and causing their insulin levels to yo-you throughout the day.  You can’t control your weight, if you can’t control your bodies insulin response.  You will not get fatter by eating more quality protein based meals in smaller portions throughout the day.  You won’t.  Trust me.   This tenet should be a blog soon.  <Hint-Hint>
  5. Plyometric Training works amazingly well for Fat Loss.  Because of woman’s hormonal profiles being very different from men’s, it’s harder for women to be and stay lean over time compared to men.  A great way to combat this is by doing a lot of Plyometric workouts.  These workouts will offer you the benefits of taxing your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.  Think of it as Cardio and Resistance Training all in one workout/program.  Jumping, Squatting, Lunging, Bounding, Power skipping, and other Dynamic-Ballistic Plyo exercises are great options to maintain low bodyfat and a lean toned physique.

 

We hope our women readers find this useful.  We encourage you to share it with your friends and family and to ask questions about it.  

We understand how tough it is for women to be mothers-wives- sisters and friends in the 21st Century and hope we can offer advice and support whenever possible.

MIHWCS

The 10 Commandments of Physique Improvement for Men

The Male half of The Muscle Couple has read about and experimented for 19 years on improving his and others physiques.  He has tried a lot of supplements, training programs and belief systems.  After 19 years it’s safe to say he’s compiled a list that if followed consistently will help any guy attain the body they have always dreamed of.

These 10 principles will be briefly discussed and expounded on.  The end game goal is to stimulate more discussion around each one to try and make it apply to the individual users experience and lifestyle.

In no particular order, here they are:

Follow these Tenets and You Will be Good to Go!

Follow these Tenets and You Will be Good to Go!

  1. Post Workout Fast Digesting Protein and Carb Mixture within one hour after your training. See my recent articles to understand the importance of this.  Nothing will build a quality physique faster than making sure you do this after each and every resistance training session.
  2. Consistency of effort.  It really doesn’t matter what program or diet you employ.  What matters is that it becomes a lifestyle or permanent habit.  You will go nowhere fast if you can’t commit to making training and clean eating regular part of your life.
  3. If you Fail to Plan, you Plan to Fail. In all honesty, this is The Muscle Couple creedo.  If you want a new body, you have to visualize it first and then methodically detail the steps you will take to attain it.  There are no shortcuts only maps.  You must map out your plan and be as meticulous and detailed as possible to achieve greatness.
  4. The Best Workout is the one you’re not currently doing.  Let that resonate for a second.  The Human Body is an amazing and dynamic organism.  It continually adapts to it’s environment and training stimuli.  The only way you can continue to hone-sculpt and improve it, is by forcing it to adapt to new training programs.  Exercises, sets, reps-grips, rest intervals etc.  Regularly changing your program will continually force your body to progress over its lifetime of training.
  5. HIT (High Intensity)Low Impact Cardio is best for fat loss.   This has been debated and debunked for decades.  But after two decades myself of doing it, I know for a fact its easier to be lean by doing “Short-Frequent and Intense Cardio Sessions” versus long moderate or low intensity ones.  Plus it’s not as boring and most importantly, not tough on the joints or tendons over time.  Talk to anybody who is a hard surface runner in their 60’s and above to find out what kind of damage High Impact Cardio does to your legs over time.
  6. .85 or more Gms of Protein Per pound of lean body weight per day for life. Nothing is more important that giving your body enough protein on a daily basis.  It’s the key to strong bones, a fast working metabolism, a healthy endocrine system and an active mind.  Amino Acids are the building blocks of life and without constantly replenishing your bodies protein stores, your life will suck.
  7. For visible Abs, you have to understand how to Eat Clean-Diet with Thermogens and Contract your rectus abdominus. These are three very difficult things.  You can learn to diet and eat clean by reading this blog or any of the many knowledgeable authors on fitness.  Learning how to contract your rectus isn’t quite so easy.  80% of people fail to isolate the muscle when doing a common situp or crunch.  Soon we will offer a blog with video commentary and pictures showing how to perform the movement and isolate the muscle to minimize hip and adductor involvement.
  8. Vitamins-Minerals and Supplements are ABSOLUTEY NECESSARY to build a Champion Physique! Dismiss out of hand any Doctor or other person who tells you otherwise.  Normal food and exercise is not enough with rare exception to get to single digit bodyfat levels.(Pro or Elite Level)  There is no way either of us would look the way we do, if we didn’t take Vitamins-Thermogens, Protein Supplements and EFA’s.  PERIOD!  It costs money in our society to look great.  There are some genetic mutants with “OPTI GENES” who can drink Mountain Dew and eat Doritos all day long and be shredded with a fully visible six pack.  These people are genetically aberrant and the anomaly.
  9. The Mind-Muscle Connection is more powerful than any supplement, or resistance training program.  Reading about lifting, observing professionals train and practicing the techniques religiously will give you keen insight into visualizing and achieving the lifts before you do them.  I’m serious when I say I visualize performing a lift in my head and contracting the targeted muscles right before performing the lift.  It wasn’t always this way.  Once you understand the technique involved and have the confidence to perform it correctly, your continual progression will start and become permanent with consistency of effort.
  10. Balance in your Training-Nutrition and Rest is crucial to attaining lifelong success.  Many people have a tendency to think “More is Better”.  Trust me when I tell you it’s not.  To build a quality physique, you need to make sure your life is in balance.  You need consistent sleep(5-7 hours a night), consistent nutrition(4-6 Meals a day with Lean Protein-Complex Carbs and EFA’s)and 3-4 Weight Training sessions(30-60 Mins per session) and 3-5 Cardio sessions(HIT-Low Impact and No more than 20 Mins Per Session) per week.

We hope you find this useful.  We encourage you to share it with your friends and family and to ask questions about it.  We can’t continue to grow the blogs influence without your help.

Within the next couple of days, we’ll add 5 More Commandments “specific” for Women.  Both of these posts will be featured articles on Gym Technik and on Viigo for Blackberry. 

MIHWCS

Training for Busy Professionals

A lot of people complain to me they don’t have the time nor the inclination of planning their workout programs due to their job commitments. 

“I’m just too busy or too tired with the minimal time I have in the day”.   

I’ve heard this many times thru the years and figured it was time for The Muscle Couple to develop a program that anyone of any age could use that would only require 20-30 minutes a day 3x a week. 

 

A Workout for the Time Crunched!

A Workout for the Time Crunched!

 

This program is designed to tax the entire body as a system 3 days a week incorporating the training methodologies of periodization and improving muscular endurance.  You will notice the sequence of exercises alternates between opposing muscle groups and lower and upper body movements.  This program minimizes rest periods, saves time and significantly elevates heart rate for improved fat burning.   You get all the benefits of aerobic and anaerobic training with one program.  What could be better for the time crunched?

You should perform this workout as a circuit but can also choose to do it by performing both sets of each exercise in succession and then resting as you move between exercises.  Depending on the availability of machines and exercise stations, it should take no longer than 20-30 minutes to complete.   And it should significantly fatigue all of your energy systems.  

You should try and vary your resistance/weights to hit the target rep ranges.  Ie on Leg Press you are going to choose a lighter weight to hit the target goal of 20 repetitions and a heavier weight for 10.   As you progress thru this workout over a couple of months, your body will become more neurally efficient at choosing the requisite weights and resistance to meet the desired rep ranges. 

You can also choose to practice a bunch of different intensity increasing techniques such as:

  1. Breathing Reps
  2. Rest Pause
  3. Giant-Super and Drop Settin

Over time your goal would be to change the exercises performed for each body part continuing to incorporate the same rep ranges and circuit principles.

Feel free to email us musclecouple@gmail.com or leave a message on the blog with any specific questions relating to utilizing intensity techniques to improve the program even more.

Without further adieu:

Exercise

Set 1

Set 2

Leg Press(Legs)

20 Reps

8-10 Reps

Machine Incline Press(Chest)

20 Reps

8-10 Reps

Assisted Pull Up Machine(Back)

20 Reps(Wide Grip)

8-10 Reps(Under Hand Grip

Standing Overhead Press(DB or Barbell)(Delts)

20 Reps

8-10 Reps

Leg Curl(Hamstrings)

20 Reps

8-10 Reps

Machine Preacher Curl(Biceps)

20 Reps

8-10 Reps

Seated Overhead Tri Extension(Machine or Cable)(Triceps)

20 Reps

8-10 Reps

Handing Leg Raises(Abs)

20 Reps

8-10 Reps

 

Have a great weekend!     

MIHWCS

Rope Pulls-An Awesome Finishing Movement

Hey Everybody!

Long workday for The Muscle Couple.  Anh’s mother returned home to Houston today after being with us for the last 18 days.  We’ll miss her tremendously and so will the Muscle B.  She is such a great Grandma and an even better chef.  We’ll be eating authentic Vietnamese food for months as she saturated our freezer with “bomb dishes”.  Many thanks to her and safe travels back.

I wanted to quickly point out a new exercise we encountered over the weekend at Gold’s Venice.  I’ve attached a video and and a pic of Anh performing the exercise.  I don’t think many commercial gyms in the world have access to this machine, but if yours does, I would recommend it highly as a great “finishing exercise” for any workout.

You can set the timer and perform reps until the time runs out or you can start with long full ROM(Range of Motion)pulls with each arm raised as high as possible and then pulled down “elbow to the thigh” emphasizing your lats at the prime mover in executing the movement.  As you get towards the last 20 seconds of your set time, shorten the pull ROM and grab and pull more frequently, keeping your arms and shoulders closer together as I demonstrate in the video.

Doing it this way dramatically increases the resistance of the machine and offers more of a lactic acid burn and cardio workout(as evidenced by my facial expressions toward the end of the lift).  🙂

This is a real bear and I can only imagine the benefit this movement will provide to your upper torso and cardio endurance over time.

Notice her technique of fully extended arm to pull down elbow to thigh

Notice her technique of fully extended arm to pull down elbow to thigh

Perform three sets of this exercise at the end of your workout a couple of times a month and you will get a tremendous final kcal burn to end your session.

MIHWCS