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Preview: Muscles 101

Muscles 101



Muscles 101 is a blog dedicated to educate young men and women how to build strong and spectacular muscles. It's like a bodybuilding introductory course.



Last Build Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2018 14:41:50 +0000

 



How to build calves

Thu, 04 Dec 2014 16:21:00 +0000

The calves are considered the hardest place in the body to add mass to. At the same time this is the muscle that carries your whole body in your walking, running, and standing. Basically it carries you as long as you are on your feet.

The skeletal function of the calf muscle is to extend your toes. This extension is the move you do on the machine to build your calves. But you have to be careful while doing this move not to bend your ankles and do the move on the outside of your feet. If you do you risk injury of the ankle and this is not something you want to do to yourself.

Practice first with light weights until you master the control over this move, then increase the weight as you grow.

The following youtube video Ben Pakulski, who's famous for his enormous calves, is showing us how to train calves properly.


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Ben has a degree in kinesiology and is a pro bodybuilder. He is also famous for his MI40 bodybuilding training that he sells on his website. He lives here in Toronto, if you want to train with him he's the best in my humble opinion.





Testosterone: Natural vs. Supplements

Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:27:00 +0000

p { margin-bottom: 0.25cm; line-height: 120%; } Steroids have been a main supplement in the live of pro body builders since they started showing up in the market back in the seventies. Many pro body builders, including some Mr. Olympia title holders, admit openly that they used them, and some admit "abusing" roids.If you are going to be in the game you'll need to make up your mind now on which side are you taking regarding steroids. And to help you decide I'll show you some facts about steroids that you will need to keep in mind while making your decision.The first fact is that your body manufactures these steroids. The main steroid needed for performance and growth is testosterone. It's a hormone that both men and women produce. Because men have testicles they produce more testosterone than women, and that's part of being a man.Taking testosterone supplements (testosterone itself or it's derivatives, not something that boosts your own body's production of the hormone) will signal your body to stop producing it. This means you'll need to keep supplementing your body with external testosterone if you want to stay in the "manhood".Naturally testosterone is in balance with other hormones that mainly make the man a man and the woman a woman. The lack of testosterone produced by your body will disturb this balance, giving the upper hand to oestrogen (produced by both men and women, but women produce more and that makes them women).You can expect the outcome of the decrease of your production of testosterone, like looking more feminine instead of the beast you wanted to build by taking the supplements in the first place. But this is not it.Shifting the balance towards oestrogen is a cause of osteoporosis, and cancer.This is what you are doing to your body when you decide to take steroids. The problem is that some body builders who admit abusing steroids are still their and living a happy life. What they are not admitting is that they need this supplement all the time to stay "men" and healthy.And here comes a bigger problem. The continuous consumption of external testosterone is linked to heart diseases, stroke, and death. There are many examples in the body building community of fatalities linked to the use of steroids, like the late Benaziza. Nasser El-Sonbaty is another example, although it is also said that he died with Malaria in Egypt.Late Nasser El-Sonbaty and Momo BenazizaSo here is the question you need to ask yourself before you decide on which side you want to be:Are you in the game to be, and stay, a strong healthy man (or woman)? Or you want to be a professional who earns living showing big masses of lean muscles on the stage?If you are the first one then by all means stay clear of any steroids or hormonal supplements. There are alternatives that enhance your own production of these hormones, including some life style and dietary changes. These changes should not be a problem for someone who decided to change his life style and become a body builder.Samir Bannout nowOn the other hand if you decide to compete then you need to know that there are competitions for drug-free body builders that you can consider instead of the mainstream ones. Also remember those champions from the past like Sergio Oliva who made it before steroids were known, Frank Zane, and Samir Bannout who chose not to go down this path.If after reading this article you still want to use steroids then please keep it under medical supervision. If you can not do it this way then don't. Sudden death is not really sudden, it's just they didn't know what was actually happening in their bodies.Frank Zane at 72[...]



Phil Heath does it again ... 4th-in-raw title.

Wed, 24 Sep 2014 17:43:00 +0000


The personal life of a champ, a business person, a leader, or any successful person should not stand in the way of achieving more and gaining more ground. This last weekend Phil Heath scored his fourth in raw Mr. Olympia title. Congratulations Mr. Heath. You deserve it.

The personal part of the story that makes his winning this year more valuable than the past 3 is what makes a difference between a champ and a weakling (like myself :-)).

Mr. Heath lost his father earlier this year. If you remember his words in the press conference prior to Mr. Olympia competition in 2013 he mentioned that he is determined to win and dedicated his title to his father who's fighting cancer. Well ... he did his part and fate had another say on this battle while Phil was preparing for this year's competition.

Grief is something that you can use as a fuel for more achievement, or you can let kill your dreams. It's up to you really. Whether you think you're strong enough to keep going or too weak to take another step, you're right in both cases.

By looking at Phil's achievement this year you can easily tell which one is he. How about you?

Congratulations again to Phil Heath, and I am sure your late father is really proud of you right now. I wish I could say the same about my late father.

One more thing on this issue. During the press conference before Mr. Olympia 2014, and on the stage you can tell how Phil heath was raised by the father he is dedicating his title to. This is how a champ should be. Strong, and modest.



More Important than Building Muscles

Fri, 11 Jul 2014 09:05:00 +0000

You now have some basic workout for every muscle group in your body, and you might have already built a mass of muscles since the last article published on this blog. I admit being distracted from it a lot in the past couple of years. I apologize and will try to make it up.

Body building and gaining muscles is important and is worth the effort, time, and dedication you put into it. The results are life changing.

One thing most people don't pay attention to though. And that thing is more important that building the muscles.

You know, muscles are part of your skeleton. That's why the muscles your train in the gym are called "skeletal muscles". Their job is to move your bones around your joints, like curling your arm for example.

So if your bones are not strong enough, your muscles are going to be uselss. Ask me. I know.

One of the reasons I can not train with the weights I used to warm up with in the past is that I have osteoporosis. And one of the reasons I had it early in my life is that I didn't pay attention to "building bones" as much as I was focused on building muscles.

Here are some facts you need to keep in mind while evaluating the issue.

1. You only have until you turn 30 (some sources say 25) to strenghten your bones with as much calcium as possible. Whatever extra calcium beyond what you need in your blood will be stored in your bones. After that age the flow of calcium is reversed and your bones start losing mass. The more bone mass you start with at that point the longer it will take you to reach osteoporosis or osteopenia.

2. You need 1200 mg of calcium every day to build healthy bones in your first 25-30 years. And since you are adding calcium to your bones in the form of calcium phosphate you'll need that too in your diet. Magnesium is a facilitating factor and the deposit of calcium in your bones can not be done without it.

3. All of the above is useless if you don't have enough vitamin D3 in your blood to move the calcium from the blood to the bones. It's actually harmful to your liver if you have that much calcium in your blood and there's no vitamin D3 to move it to your bones and teeth.

4. If you focus on bones nutrition while training with weights you are stimulating your bones to gain more mass by causing tiny stress fractures that will be calcified while healing (the same principle of building the muscles).

Calcium, vit. D3, magnesium, and phosphates are your best friends. Keep their company all the time.

After the age of 30 the need for calcium doesn't go down. You need to maintain a certain level of calcium in your blood. If you don't get it from your diet your body will get it from your bones. You don't want that to happen.

If you are concerned about your blood calcium level you should give your doctor a visit and have blood work. And it becomes urgent if you are having too many spasms/cramps, fractures, or your teeth are not in good shape.

Never neglect your bones. They're more important for moving your body and protecting your internal organs than the muscles. And you only have that small window of time to build them. So don't waste that opportunity or you'll regret it for the rest of your life like I do right now.

If it's too late for you give your doctor a visit and ask for a bone mass test. It's done by X-ray on your pelvic area. Based on that your doctor will tell you where you're standing and whether you can train with heavy weights or not. Whatever your doctor says it's your responsibility towards your body to follow it.

I hope this article will help someone avoid my destiny.



How to build legs?

Wed, 01 May 2013 18:12:00 +0000

The legs and the back are the two muscle groups that represent the foundation of your body. The stronger your legs and back the more stable you are while training the rest of your body. Any weakness here will reflect on the rest of your training sessions, the stability of your core, and the precision of your techniques.As mentioned in an earlier post the legs can be divided into 4 major groups: quads, hamstrings, gluts   and calves.The best exercise for the quads and the gluts is the squat. If done right, squats can be building your legs, stabilizing your body, and burning your body fat during your resting time. You start this exercise from the standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing outward (to slightly to the sides). In the bottom position the lumber area should be straight, the knees should be above the toes, shoulders and head should be as close to the standing position as possible and the thighs should be parallel to the ground.Variation of this technique are available and tailored for each case. Like if you have a comparatively weaker tear drop you can use a wider than shoulders feet position and change the weight accordingly. Also doing the squats with the weights on the front (on your arms and shoulders) helps for the same purpose. Also a deeper drop might be a source of knee injuries, so in cases of existing knee injuries you don't have to go really parallel to the ground.Leg press is another alternative if you can't support the weight with your back, like in case you have osteoporosis or degenerative desk disease (check with your doctor, I am not giving you any medical advise here, ok? :-)).Another exercise for the tear drop and the thighs in general is the leg extension. It is not recommended in case of knee injuries, but it helps shape the legs.The dead lifts also involve the thighs and with the proper resistance and feet positioning you can train the back, gluts, and the legs with the same move.The hamstrings are trained with leg curls, whether from the standing or laying down position there is no much difference except that you can recognize the weaker leg in the standing position (because you do one at a time) so that you give it more attention.Glutes can be trained separately with glutes extension machines or the cable. They are very important in balancing your body. If you ignore this group of muscles you not only get an imbalanced body with strong legs and tiny gluts (which will look weird), but also you risk back and knee injuries.The calves can be trained by different calves extension machines from all positions. Basically what you are trying to do is raising your body or the weight with your toes. In the following video Phil Heath trains his calves and hams in one session.How to program your workout?Now that you know the moves you need to fit them properly in your workout in a way that gives you the maximum results with the minimum injuries possible. It's hard though to give a training program without examining your body and training with you for a while, or if you get an specialist customize a workout for your body.==> It's highly recommended to get a customized workout. Click here to get one done for you.[...]



Bodybuilders Lifestyle

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 00:58:00 +0000

Before you start building muscles you need to know what it takes other than workout to build and maintain a healthy and strong body. I am trying to give you my experience so that you don't do the same mistakes I did as a young man. Bodybuilding is not a part time job, it's a full time 24/7 lifestyle.In order to build muscles you need to work out regularly. Make the workout time as sacred as going to school or eating your meals. If you train on a choppy schedule you'll get choppy results. There will be breaks but even during those breaks you'll be doing some light training to keep your muscles working and your heart pumping.The workout should include cardiovascular exercises to strengthen your heart and weight training to trigger your muscles to grow. The two can not be done on the same day, or at least not in the same set.Aside from the workout, the rest of your life is what defines you as a bodybuilder. You don't have to be a pro bodybuilder to live this lifestyle, if you are at all serious about building and maintaining a healthy and strong body you need to stick to the rules.Rule #1: Sleep a lot.The exercises keep your muscles working and trigger their growth by having the blood flow to them and by causing some micro-injuries in the fibers. When those micro-injuries heal the fiber gets thicker because it will compose of the old injured fiber and a few new ones that will grow around it to support it. This is how the muscles grow. This healing process and the formation of new fibers around the micro-injuries happens mainly when you sleep. So sleep a lot and in a dark place.The dark sleeping hours are essential for your recover as well, so you need to combine continuous sleeping hours with the dark. So the best thing to do is to sleep early so that you go to sleep and wake up while it is still dark if possible.Rule #2: Eat well.The bodybuilder diet is one of the most strict ever, but it pays. And not following it harms you, so you need to stick to it. Here is what you need to focus on while preparing your diet:Stay away from fat, red meat, salt, and alcohol. Contrary to what some might tell you, caffeine doesn't help you during the exercise, so stay away from it. Just to keep you in the know, caffeine causes blood vessel contraction, which is contrary to what you need. If you ever heard of the nitric oxide supplement that bodybuilders take, they work by relaxing the blood vessels and make them wider to accommodate for more nutritions and oxygen supply to the muscles during the work out and after. If you drink caffeine you are preventing your muscles from getting enough.Your body can digest and absorb maximum of 30 grams of protein at a time. So you need to split your protein share of the day on mini meals throughout the day for maximum benefit.Carbohydrates are essential for supplying your muscles with the energy it needs to keep working during the workout, and after the workout they transform into glycogen in the muscles to replace the amount depleted during the workout.Drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you are not urinating at least 7 times a day it means you need more water to keep flushing the toxins and wastes out of your body.Calcium and vitamin D are important for your bones. And don't under estimate the value of healthy bones. Without healthy bones your muscles are useless. How do you think I knew that?Eat plenty of fresh vegetables (salad) and fruits for vitamins instead of the supplement. In 2007 if my memory is still clear about it, a scientist published an article about the nutritional supplements and how they harm the body more than they benefit it. Of course the drug companies lobbied against the research and get themselves some more time to sell their stuff. Don't take any supplements, your body is better off the natural way. It's not going to be nice if you have a good looking body now and after 10 years this same body becomes a burden on you because of the su[...]



Main Muscle Groups from a Bodybuilding Perspective

Sat, 13 Nov 2010 15:39:00 +0000

Before I get to the muscle groups I want to make sure we are on the same page. I want you to know how to detect which muscle does what. Each muscle is connecting bones around a join to control the movement of these bones.Take your elbow as an example. There is a muscle that extends the elbow (the triceps) and there is another one to curls it (the biceps). In order to grow a strong triceps you need to extend your elbow joint against a resistance (weight), and in order to grow a strong biceps you need to curl your elbow against a resistance.So, here are the main muscle groups in the body (bottom to top):1. Calves: Calves are the most used muscles all day long. The whole time when you're on your feet you are using your calves to support your whole body weight. Because they are always working it's not easy to make them grow. To exercise your calves you need to lift your body on your toes while your knees are locked extended. A resistance of your body weight could be enough at the beginning, but soon you'll need to add some more resistance.2. The Thighs: There are two main muscles in the thighs that control the knee joint movement: the quads and the hamstrings. The quads work on extending the knee while the hamstrings work on curling it. The quads are composed to 4 muscle "heads" and it's important to know that because you need to balance the strength of your quads in order to keep your knees working properly. A stronger side over the other can easily cause terrible pain when you move your knee in the future (I know this first hand). Squats exercise the quads, while curling exercises the hamstrings.3. The Glutes: The glutes are the muscles around the bottom of your body (aka: butt). This group of muscles is not only for looking good, it's main function is to balance your body while standing (together with the lower back muscles) and to support your legs and hips while doing movements like walking, running, and climbing. Weak glutes might cause your legs to bend to the inside to make it up, stressing your knees probably to the point of injury. To exercise this muscle group you want to involve hip extension to the back and to the sides.4. The Back: It can be divided into three main zones; the lower back, the latts and the traps. The lower back  muscles are involved in erecting to back to the upright position. You can exercise this small group of muscles with the dead lift. Be extra careful with this exercise and this group of muscles. Any injury in this area might cause you a life-long suffering from the consequences. The lats are covering most of the back and they can be exercised by rowing (depth) and pull ups (width). The traps are on top of your shoulders and they extend to the first third of the back in a diamond shape. To exercise this group you simply curl your shoulders trying to touch your ears with them.5. The Abdominals: The abs can be divided into two groups: the front (six-pack) and the sides (the obliques). In addition to looking good, the abs protect most of your visceral organs (liver, stomach, pancreas, spleen, intestines, kidneys, and female reproductive organs). Strong abs also help balancing the body so that the back can stay erect without compromising the posture. To exercise the abs you need to bring your legs to your chest (leg lifts) or bring your head to your knees (set ups) while lying on your back.6. The Pectorals: Chest muscles attach to the chest and to the humerus bones. The involved join here is the shoulder. Pecs work on bringing your arms to the front. To feel it really well lay in your back and flap your arms like a flying bird. To exercise this group of muscles you can use the bench press and flapping with a resistance. This is for the sake of simplicity, as you'll see in future posts there are different angles for exercising each group of muscles and different movements as well.7. The Deltoids: The delts attach to your scapula[...]



How Muscles are Built?

Mon, 08 Nov 2010 03:29:00 +0000

One of the evolution theories that I studied in the school was Lamarck's, which stated that "function creates organs". In other expression of Lamarck's: Functional organs grow and get stronger, and the disused organs become weaker and smaller.

Despite the fact that the theory is no longer used in evolution, it explains a lot how muscles are built; used muscles grow bigger and stronger, and unused muscles diminish and become weak.

So, in order to grow your muscles you need to use them, and to use them you need to know what movements uses which muscle.

In the following few posts I'll try to show what muscle groups you have in your bodies and what movements you can use in order to grow them bigger.

I'll also give some exercises for each group of muscles explained by illustrated diagrams and/or videos. You can go ahead and try them but don't over do them.

As will come in future posts, there is a optimal level of exercise density, above which is over exhaustion and below which is under training.

Stay tuned my friend.



Hello World! Welcome to Muscles 101

Sun, 07 Nov 2010 01:53:00 +0000

I have been thinking about starting this blog for quite some time, and everything was ready only in my mind waiting for me to take a few minutes to set them free on a blog ...

And here we are ...

Muscles 101 as the name indicates is for beginners who want to grow bigger muscles, but at the same time have no idea what to do. A personal trainer is a good idea for such people, but I know not every body can afford it. Heck not every body can afford a gym membership in this economy.

On this blog you are going to find some educational material about muscle building. I am planning to cover everything a beginner needs to know about the science of body building, the muscle groups and how they work, the nutrition, and the muscle building life style.

There are tons of body building videos on youtube accessible to anybody. The problem though is that not everything there is accurate. And here comes my role, which is picking up the useful and at the same time easy to understand ones with the beginner in mind.

A little bit about me so that you know you can trust this blog: I started with body building in 1983, but I have never participated in a competition. I don't feel ok about showing off and the stuff, but I like the feeling of being strong and bulky. I added to that some martial arts skills (Karate) which added speed to my strength, which is awesome!

For health issues out of my control I stopped completely from exercising and I am only training my kids just to be as strong as their father used to be, but not for a competition level.

In addition to the gym experience I also have a degree in physiology. I only picked this field of academic studies because I wanted to know more about how my body works and complete the idea about muscle building and nutrient assimilation. It helped, no doubt, but it was too late I guess because by the time I finished my degree I wasn't able to fight or exercise anymore.

Enough depression, and let's cheer up and get started.