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  1. #1
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    WEEK THIRTY-TWO :: How Important Is Warming Up?

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    TOPIC: How Important Is Warming Up?

    For the week of: July 8th - July 13th.

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Much of the time you will see people stretching out their legs before a run, or stretching out any body part before they train it. It's also very popular for people to begin warm-up sets before they really get into the workout.

    How important is warming up before a workout?

    Does stretching help prevent injury and soreness? Could it make someone more prone to injury through over-training?

    What types of stretches do you perform before a workout? Do you stretch you whole body or just the body parts you are working that day?

    What stretching routine do you follow?

    How important is the cool down? Does it affect muscle recovery? Soreness?

    BONUS QUESTION: What are the best recovery supplements out right now? What is the most effective pre-workout supplement? Post-workout?

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    Normally, everybody could see people stretch their muscle before workout. But you may notice that not everybody do that.

    However, I'm just one person who do not see any important from stretching for a very long time until I injure. I try to find out the reason that why I feel pain at my shoulder joint, my tendons are tear, and many other injury. (many time.) and I have to off work out for months.

    I think that it's happen because I never perform warm up set before work out. I skip the warm up set and life the weight that I should do. (Especially, on Bench Press day.) Now, I do warm up 1 set with 40 - 60% of the normal weight that I expect that I want to lift that day. I do tell everybody to see the necessary of warm up, too. If you never feel pain, you never know how it could be. You have to stop work out for a long time and this not worth.

    Anyway, I think in my country do not have much people lift over-weight much. There are only a few people try to lift over-weight and I do not heard that those guy have seriously injure or not. However, maybe those guy injure but I do not heard.

    In my opinion, stretching only the body part you want to workout is just fine and once you finish working. Stretching again for whole body part if you have time is great. I heard from trainer in my fitness claim that stretching after workout maybe reduce the recovery time of your muscle. If you can, try to attend the Yoga class, it's helpful.!

    For the supplement that help recovery, I think Glutamine is the best. But if you want to increase your power, Any Carbo (i.e. Dextose) and Creatine is the Best supplement that you should try. It's worth for you money.
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    Thumbs up

    You see it in every sport, athletes stretching their muscles to properly execute the movements their sport demands of them, soccer players gently kicking into warm air, the star quarter back throwing passes starting with lighter softer passes and gradually reaching his or her full potential after a few warm up throws. And wouldnt you know it, us bodybuilders do it too, putting our egos to rest by grabbing a lighter pair of dumbbells or sliding less weight onto the bar to do whats right. A proper warm up.

    But what exactly are these athletes hoping to accomplish with such movement and strategy? The main objective and reason behind stretching is to avoid bringing the activity levels of the muscles about to be used exsessivly up at too steep of a pace. Working out requires the muscles to recruit more and more blood and oxygen to support the level of activity they are being used at and stretching helps accomplish this at a quicker pace by starting up blood flow. In other words, the higher the intensity of the workout the more valuable stretching becomes, but thats not to say if you are doing a very light workout that stretching is less important.

    Stretching also loosens and lengthens muscles that have become tight due to stress, or lack of use and changes them from being injury prone to being ready for the most intense of workouts. Always be sure to stretch before any workout form, be it light jogging on the treadmill, or eye-poppingly heavy bench presses.

    Another form of warming in bodybuilding is to use lighter weights for a set or two, a higher repetition range is generally preffered in order to give the muscles a proper sneak peak of the heavier weights to come. Proper form and tempo of the lifts are of the highest importance here, preforming the lifts too quickly could shock the muscle into tightening up once again and in some cases it could cause serious injury.

    Many bodybuilders have made the mistake of neglecting their warmup routines in the past, now that you have read this, i hope you will think twice before you skip your next warmup and jump straight into the big weights.

    Bonus! - After all is said and done, your muscles can (and should be) seriously drained of the much needed glycogen, the best way to send glycogen levels sky-rocketing to to immediantly toss back somthing loaded with simple carbs, a muffin, cookies, banannas or even just a gatorade will help. Glutamine will aid the body in raising protein metabolism while reducing muscle tissue breakdown.
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    The Science of the Warm-Up

    A warm-up period is important before any athletic performance; it helps protect against injury by improving flexibility of the muscles. To avoid injury, athletes should raise the body's internal temperature through light activity before engaging in stretching exercises. I see a lot of athletes stretching before lifting (most just are going through the motions without much thought). This is pretty much useless and potentially dangerous without the warm-up.
    A general warm-up period should consist of 5 to 10 minutes of aerobic activity (jogging, biking, etc.) to increase heart rate, blood flow, viscosity of fluids, and perspiration. The increase in muscle temperature allows a greater amount of flexibility which readies an athlete for the movement required by his or her sport (ie weight training).
    A specific warm-up incorporates movements similar to the movements of the athlete's sport. It involves 8 to 12 minutes of activity or sport-specific stretches, such as shoulder stretches for volleyball players. Additionally, a specific warm-up is sometimes based on the dynamic movements of a given sport or activity. In weight training this would most likely be the "warm-up set" during which a lifted lifts a substantially lighter load.

    Remember, the more power necessary for the sport or activity, the more important the warm-up!*

    It is easy to get in a hurry and skip this part of your workout, but it is definitely necessary!

    As far as supplements, phosphagens and glycogen are the most frequently depleted. Therefore, repletion is important following a workout.

    Melissa
    M.S., CPT

    *Referenced from: Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning by Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle
    Last edited by mel_stepp01; 07-10-2005 at 07:41 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Post *Warming Up and its Importance*

    The Importance of Warming Up Before a Workout

    Warming up before you workout is as important as the actual workout in my opinion. Everyone knows when you workout you need to give 110% effort and have beast-like intensity to go along with it. Now how are you going to give maximum effort if your muscles are tight and sore? The answer is you aren't. If your muscles arent warmed up properly then you most likely won't be able to lift to your potential. If you aren't lifting to your full potential then you certainly are not giving 110% effort now are you? This is why warming up is so important before you perform any physical activity. Warming up not only helps with flexibility it can also have a positive psychological effect on you. Many times when you go to the gym to work out you are coming from a place that has nothing to do with bodybuiliding such as work. Now if you are tired and your mind is shot from sitting at a desk all day you probably won't be too focused as you sit down and try to pump out 6 reps. Warming up can not only get the blood flowing but it can give you some time to focus and think about what you want to accomplish in the gym that day. If you aren't warming up you are only cheating yourself.

    Stretching and its Ability to Prevent Injury

    Stretching greatly helps in the prevention of injury and soreness. Stretching helps bring a stronger bloodflow to the muscle being stretched which helps the muscle cells recieve more oxygen and nutrients. With more nutrients the muscle cells can recover that much faster and soreness with be limited. Muscles should still be stretched on non workout days to bring extra nutrients to deprived muscle cells. I do not believe stretching can make someone more prone to injury through overtraining. I do not believe there is a stretching routine that could be so intense it would lead to an injury in the first place.

    My Stretching Routine

    I stretch my whole body at once using stretches that target more than one muscle group. This helps save time but still gives me all the benefits of stretching. Even if you are only working two muscle groups on a certain day it is still important to stretch your whole body to promote better overall flexibility and to keep you muscles stretched from previous workouts.



    Here is my stretching routine I [b]ALWAYS[b] follow before I step on the field or hit the weights. It consists of basic stretches anyone can perform by themselves. Every stretch is done twice on a ten count (start,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,stop,repeat,stop).

    Arm circles- Delts, Pectorals and Lats.

    R/L arm accross body - Tricep and Delt

    R/L arm behind head - Tricep and Lat

    Feet together and down - Hamstrings and Calves

    R/L leg up and hold with hand - Quads

    Buttlerfly Stretch - Groin

    R/L Hurdler Stretch - Quads, hamstrings

    One Leg infront of the other calf stretch - Calves

    Stand and grab the back of your ankles with your legs apart - Glute,
    Hamstrings

    Biceps - My favorite bicep stretch is to set my hand on a wall and twist my
    body away from my hand

    Cooldown and its Importance to Muscle Recovery

    Cool down is very important in the matter of preventing injuries and having better muscle recovery. Depending on your situation cooldown should be performed differently. If you just get done running a mile then your cooldown should be a 5 minute walk to slowly ease your body back to homeostasis. If you just get with a set you should be hydrating yourself and stretching. DO NOT just sit down and rest. You will tighten up and will be more prone to injury. Any activity during this time will keep the blood flowing and keep you at the level you want to be. The cooldown after a whole workout should involve light stretching and hydration to go along with a post-workout shake.

    [b]BONUS QUESTION[b]: What are the best recovery supplements out right now? What is the most effective pre-workout supplement? Post-workout?

    One misconception people have about recovery is they believe glycogen levels need to be restored during physical activity so the best thing to have Gatorade or some sort of sports drink. This is NOT true. Your body naturally has enough glycogen stored to give you energy during physical activity for 90 minutes so glycogen levels generally do not need to be replenished unitl post-workout for most people. So save the sports drinks until after you workout because Gatorade is a decent way to help spike your insulin levels to increase protein or creatine function post-workout, but there are much better ways to do this such as using dextrose. For pre-workout supplements I would say whey protein and BCAA's are the best. For post-workout I believe whey protein, creatine, and BCAA's are the best supplements. These are the only supplements other than EFA's and a multivitamin I find are a neccesity if you are bodybuilding. One other supplement worth mentioning is Arginine/Ornithine using a 2:1 ratio to be taken pre-workout.
    Last edited by SULLYSIZED; 07-11-2005 at 07:00 AM.
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  6. #6
    Registered User muscleboy333's Avatar
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    How Important Is Warming Up?

    Many people are very misinformed about warming up and its importance before a workout. Some people don't warmup at all, others will spend half an hour wasting time and energy before their workout!

    Popular belief is that simple stretching before your workout will make you more flexible, loose, and injury free. This is a myth! Conventional stretching before your workout can actually make you more prone to injury, and your lifts will be stronger if you stick to the following warm-up! You should start by getting some blood flowing all over your body and getting your heartrate and temperature to rise a little. This can be accomplished by a few minutes of light jogging.

    Next, you'll need to directly warm-up the muscle you're about to work. How many sets you'll need to do this depends on how much weight you're using in the exercise. If you only deadlift 150 pounds, you could probably get by with just two warmup sets, 75 X 6-8 and then 100 X 4-6. However, if you've worked up to very heavy weights, say 500 pounds in the deadlift, you will need to pyramid up in your warm-ups more. Ex: 145 X 10, 245 X 6, 300 X 4, and then you could do 400 X 1, or even 450 X 1 so that the weight jump isn't such a shock. The reason I say this is because if you were to do your last warmup set with 300 pounds for a 500 pound work set, even though you've warmed up the muscles properly, it's quite a big jump and makes the work set seem heavier than it really is. Warming up properly will allow you to use as much weight as possible for your working sets, even up to 25% more than if you hadn't warmed up! How's that for a few minutes of easy work?

    Now that the muscles you're going to be working are directly warmed up, you can give the exercise everything you've got and stimulate growth safely. After you're done all sets of the exercise, you can do a very effective form of stretching, called extreme stretching for that muscle. This will not only stretch the fascia of the muscle, but it will greatly improve your recovery time and make you even less prone to injury.

    I stretch the muscle I just finished working. So if I just did my heavy incline and decline bench press, I would do an extreme chest stretch. (Lie down flat on a bench with two dumbbells, and drop them into a deep flye. Try to force your elbows down as far as you can for 60 seconds.)

    For triceps, sit on a chair with a heavy dumbbell in one hand, in the bottom position of a overhead dumbbell extension. Use your head to push back on your elbow. Hold for 60 seconds, then repeat for the other arm.

    For biceps, face away from a power rack with a high barbell in it, about neck height, and reach back gripping it with your hands over the bar. Now squat down as deep as you can go. Hold for 60 seconds.

    For back, you can do one of two things. The first is to hang from a chinup bar with a wide grip and straps, and hang on as long as you can with a heavy dumbbell between your legs. The second is to pull on a doornob with a rounded back, and really stretch your lats.

    For shoulders, face away from a power rack with a barbell that's shoulder high, then grab it with your palms under the bar. Now walk out infront, still holding the bar, until it gets painful. Now roll your shoulders down and hold for 60 seconds.

    For quads, basically do a sissy squat under a hip high barbell, while leaning back as far as you can. Believe me, this is excruciating. Hold for 60 seconds.

    Finally, for hamstrings put one leg up on a high barbell, and use try to force your leg straight the whole time. Switch to the other leg after 60 seconds and repeat.

    These will be painful, but in the end they will be worth it. Remember, don't stop before your 60 seconds is up!

    I think extreme stretching for the bodypart you just finished training is an alright cooldown, but after you're done your workout you can just bring your temperature and heartrate down safely with another very light walk or jog. No need for more stretching, extreme stretching has already taken care of this, and that will definitely speed up your recovery and you won't get as sore the next day. This is for a workout with weights, if you just finished a run you would do things a little differently. Before the run you should slowly bring your temperature and heart rate up by jogging slowly, and increasing speed as needed until you're at the desired intensity for your cardio workout. After your run, you should do another light jog, only slowing down this time instead of speeding up.

    BONUS QUESTION: What are the best recovery supplements out right now? What is the most effective pre-workout supplement? Post-workout?

    Right now, the best recovery supplements are protein powder and glutamine. Both are made up of proteins and protein precursors (amino acids) and will make you recover quicker. Shy away from most of fancy new things, you'll be wasting your money. Other than glutamine and whey/casein/egg protein, stick to something tried and true like creatine. For pre-workout, you'll want some simple and complex carbs, as well as a good amount of protein. Most supplements don't contain enough carbs and protein for your post or pre-workout meal, so you're better off eating real food. A good weight gainer can make a nice post or even pre-workout meal however. Pre and post-workout meal requirements are quite similar, for post-workout you'll need about half and half carbs (simple and complex), and a hefty dose of protein. If you really want to use supplements for your post or pre workout meal, stick with a good weight gainer that could meet these requirements (so this means nothing loaded up on useless sugar). Here's a good sample post-workout meal, you can change it to meet your size and liking:

    -1-2 cups of milk or water, mixed with 1-2 scoops of whey and 25-75 grams of dextrose
    -1/2 cup of oatmeal with yogurt on top (you can eat this cooked or blend it with your shake)
    -1 big steak, or other good meat
    -2 potatoes, however you like them
    -A few glasses of milk if you like

    This may seem like alot, but again, this is just an example. You don't need to eat exactly those foods, but shoot for similar protein and carb amounts depending on your size. If you feel like skimping out on your post workout meal, don't, and remember, it's by far the most important meal of the day!

    Conclusion:
    To wrap things up, warming up and extreme stretching is key to not only keeping injury free and flexible, but also to faster recovery and greater strength! Don't waste your time doing too many warm-up sets, or dive straight into a heavy set of squats, instead do things right by following a plan like the one outlined above and enjoy the benefits!
    Last edited by muscleboy333; 07-11-2005 at 07:13 PM.
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  7. #7
    there are no shortcuts sword chucks's Avatar
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    nice job muscleboy, great article

    btw- I guess they do teach RAFT paragraphs in 6th grade
    Last edited by sword chucks; 07-11-2005 at 07:32 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Importance of Warming up


    “Hey you! Go warm up!”


    Echoes throughout my mind as my weight training coach screams at random kids in the weight room.

    Often you hear the phrase “warming up” and you automatically associate it with weight lifting, but it also expands to other sports and has many benefits. You hear it often, but do you even know what warming up actually is? The dictionary defines it as:
    warm-up
    n : exercising in preparation for strenuous activity [syn: tune-up, prolusion]
    This is exactly what warming up is! This is a popular belief that lay in the minds of many lifters, and as usual popular beliefs accompany themselves with many myths. But I am here to tell you the facts about warming up.

    The key benefits of warming-up are:

    -Increase in muscle temperature through whole body temperature
    Muscles that are warmed up are naturally more lubricated with fluid which is more suitable for explosive movements like squating, benching, or whatever you are planning to do. A cold muscle is more likely to tear than a warm muscle.

    -Increase in efficiency of neural pathways used in physical activities which leads to enhancement in muscle coordination
    A neural pathway is a neural tract connecting one part of the nervous system with another, usually consisting of bundles of elongated, myelin insultated neurons, known collectively as white matter. Neural pathways serve to connect relatively distant areas of the brain or nervous system, compared to the local communication of grey matter. Basically efficiency in neural pathways is a good thing, which will help your coordination- and help keep you focused throughout your workout.

    -Metabolic activity of the muscles
    When the muscles are stimulated through warming up, they go through a metabolic phase. Cells undergo chemical changes by which energy is provided for vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated. New cells are created, your body gets to work, providing you with the energy to work out.

    -Increase in blood flow to the muscles, therefore increase in O2 uptake
    As blood flows to the muscles, the muscles receive nutrients that are essential to growth. Increase in oxygen will also help keep your body endure the grueling task of repairing/strengthening your muscles.

    -Improve range of movement, which in turn increases flexibility and improve muscles ability to react swiftly and efficiently
    Simply by warming up, again your muscles are lubricated. It gets rid of stiffness throughout your whole body, which makes you more flexible.

    -Reduce risk of injury
    The single most important benefit, all these changes are going through your body while you warm up. So basically your shielding yourself from injury by taking a good precaution, and warming up.


    Basic Ballistic Stretching

    With ALL the benefits of warming up, why shouldn’t you do it?! Now that you have been introduced to warming up, meet its cousins “Stretching” and “Cooling down”. Though, the sequences of Stretching, Cooling down, and Warming up are highly debated among fitness enthuses… in my opinion Warming up should always be first, which is then followed by Cooling down, and then stretching. I will go into further detail why stretching isn’t as essential to US in the BEGINNING, as it is in other sports.

    Ballistic stretching uses the momentum of a moving body or a limb in an attempt to force it beyond its normal range of motion. Stretching isn’t just bending over to touch your feet for 5 seconds, but it also is a process which adapts your body to what it has just undergone. I truly believe that stretching after a work out will help you with its long-term and shor-term benefits.

    Short-term
    -The day after a work out you will be GLAD that you took the time to stretching because stretching has been proven to get rid of stiffness post work-out.
    - Reduce muscle tension in make the body feel more relaxed
    - Increase range of motion
    - Improve coordination by allowing for freer any easier movement

    Long-term
    -Though, stretching wont make you Mr. Fantastic overnight, it has been proven in studies that in long-term studies, the average human being will adapt to stretching and increase their flexibility! Imagine 5 years from now being able to do back flips all you want, and being able to do the splits! Even though a man like Ronnie Coleman is admired for his size, he isn’t exactly the stiff macho-man he is made out to be. Ronnie Coleman can actually do the splits, which is a sight to see. You maybe his size in a matter of years, so it’s probably best to stay flexible.

    Stretching routines are fairly simple to follow, don’t think of it as another workout. Make your stretches fun, I maybe come off as sounding like a Yoga instructor but trust me, I am far from that. Instead of only stretching muscles that you recently used, start by stretching as many muscles as you can. This will help promote better growth in the long run.

    Here are some solid rules to follow when stretching:

    Begin each movement by getting into the right starting position
    Relax your state of mind and your muscles
    Slowly move into the stretch
    The muscles should continue to relax throughout the stretch
    As they relax, slowly increase and hold a developmental stretch
    Hold the stretch 20 to 30 seconds or longer
    Slowly release the limb you are stretching

    -Stretches for the arms would be by holding your elbow of your right/left arm behind your head and by gently pulling on it until you have surpassed your point of comfort.

    -Crossing your legs and placing the bottoms of your feet together and pressing lightly will stretch your legs out.

    -Doing some quick lunges will stretch your glutes and hamstrings.

    -Stand in an upright position and cross one leg over the other, bend over and try to touch your palms to the floor. This will also stretch out your legs.

    You can stretch accordingly to make sure all your muscles are all stretched out.

    My stretching routine is usually what my body tells me. I do all the stretches above daily, and incorporate some new stretches every so often to keep things new and fresh. Always listen to your body, and make sure it tells you what it needs.

    Last edited by CsNUT; 07-12-2005 at 02:15 PM.
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    Importance of Cool Down



    Cooling Down

    Cooling down is almost as important as warming up, but in some cases more important. Cooling Down usually refers to cardio but it can also apply itself to other strenuous activities. Let me start off by telling you a story.


    *Slowly fades into memory mode*
    I remember back in my Junior year of high school. I just signed up for weight training class and the first day our teacher Coach White told us what we needed to do to get an A in the class. He wanted us to bench our own weight three times, be able to do 25 push ups with a 3 second interval between each one, and be able to run 5 miles in under one hour. The first two tasks were easy because I could easily work myself up to it, but RUN FIVE MILES?! I was an ectomorph weighing in at about 137 lbs and I got pretty winded after a single mile. My best time was 7:37 so I was terrified of the Five miles. The time came at the end of the semester when I had to run it, and I started the first mile by jogging lightly until I was covered in a light sweat, the second to third mile I was jogging on, still going at a decent speed. The fourth mile hit me like a brick wall, but I persevered and I walked a bit until I was at 4 and a half miles. I sprinted the last half and I was done. I collapsed and went STRAIGHT INTO THE WEIGHT ROOM! I lifted for about half an hour and I went home and took a cool shower and fell asleep. The next morning…you knew what happened. My whole body shutdown, every inch of my body was aching. I felt like I was Rocky Balboa and I just fought Clubber Lang, Apollo Creed and the big Russian the night before. It took me about a week or two to fully recover, that is how I know the importance of cooling down.

    Now that you have been formally known about my painful mistake first-hand, I can tell you why I felt like I did.
    Cooling down will do all these wonderful things and more:

    -Lengthen muscles.
    When you stretching your muscles, they have to adapt to what you are doing to them. They do this by lengthening themselves. This will in turn, beat the muscles up fairly good- but this is what working out is about. Destroying your muscles and then letting them heal to grow bigger and stronger. Muscles will protect themselves by contracting and bunching up once you have stopped destroying them, this will shorten the muscle. Eventually it will stretch back to a good length once it is repaired, but this will still leave it shorter than it was before. In order to keep your muscle length, you must stretch!

    -Reduces muscle stiffness
    When you work the muscles they use up Oxygen and produce Carbon Dioxide and Lactic acid. These waste products are all taken away by your blood, but when you stop exercising, any waste left in the muscle will not be removed as fast. As your time goes on, the waste products will make your muscles stiff when they eventually cool down. If you can remove all possibly waste products that you physically can before the muscles cool down, then they will be less stiff afterwards. All you can do is to get rid of the waste the best you can, by cooling down. You will never remove all the waste, but you can help remove a large portion by doing this.

    -Increases your flexibility
    By exercising joints they will disperse waste products and improve mobility. Ligaments and joints do not have a good access to a blood supply so any waste products that enter, will stay for an elongated amount of time. But they do not collect as much waste so its ok.


    BONUS QUESTION: What are the best recovery supplements out right now? What is the most effective pre-workout supplement? Post-workout?

    TO BE CONTINUED…TOMMOROW


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    Recovery and Pre/Post Workout Supplements


    BONUS QUESTION: What are the best recovery supplements out right now? What is the most effective pre-workout supplement? Post-workout?

    Recovery Supplements


    There are so many supplements in the world today that its very easy to become confused on what to buy, and you may even buy into the ad campaign of the product rather than the actual product itself. Well I am here to list the recovery products that I use, in order of in importance.

    -1 Whey
    Whey is always a must in recovery, before you even touch any other canister, bottle, or jar you should always turn to your best friend- protein. Protein will never turn its back on you, it will always give itself fully, to help you build your muscle promote great growth. I use Optimum Nutrition Whey simply for the fact that it is cheap, great tasting, and it’s given me great results. I have tried numerous whey products but they never lasted the test of time, because a frothy chocolate shake is always welcome anytime of the day, but you can easily grow tired of lemonade, berry, all that other fruity stuff. My secret is to add a tablespoon of…Nesquik! It will make it very airy, sweet and add tons of flavor.

    -2 Multivitamin
    Added Soon.

    -3 Glutamine
    Glutamine is basically a product which will reduce muscle atrophy when cutting, or help grow muscle when bulking. It is a great product which many bodybuilders and other athletes swear by, it helps in protein metabolism and also is stored deep within our muscle cells, so be sure to refill on your glutamine.

    Pre-Workout Supplements

    -1 Green Tea
    I truly believe Green Tea is underrated in the world of athleticism. Green Tea is high in anti oxidants, so it will flush all the toxins out of your body. It will relieve oxidative stress, protects skin from ultraviolet light, and it has a very high caffeine content. The high caffeine content will keep you energized and ready to blast through your workout. I always drink at least 10 oz of it pre-workout because it always seems to help me.

    -2 No-Xplode
    No-Xplode is always a great Nitric Oxide product. The caffeine that it contains will keep you mentally focused and make you feel confident. It has been known to give Vascular pumps immediately after consumption and give better performance, strength and endurance. I usually take No-Xplode as a pick-me-up on those days when your not quite feeling it.

    Post-Workout Supplements

    -1 Whey
    Whey will always be my number one and only Post-Workout supplement. I do not like to put a lot of foreign substances in my body unless I know how they are going to react, but Whey is always useful. Protein post-workout will go straight into the blood stream and provide your muscles with the material it needs to grow. There is a 30-45 minute time span in which you MUST supply your muscles with sufficient protein, which will further increase your potential for growth.


    References:

    http://www.ultimatehandbook.com/Webp...retchwarm.html
    http://www.westrock.net/warming_up_and_stretching.htm
    http://www.answers.com/topic/neural-pathway

    Last edited by CsNUT; 07-12-2005 at 04:03 PM.
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    Whew, I mustive spent a good 5-6 hours on that. I am still not done too damnit! I even hand wrote most of it so hopefully I can place in this contest. This is my first article!
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    Stretching and Warming Up.

    The Importance of Warming up, Prior to a Workout

    It's not a matter of how "important" warming up is before a workout. It's a matter of how beneficial a [b]proper[b] warm up is before you work out. Anyone can warm up, but if you're doing it wrong, you're only cheating yourself. If you aren't warming up at all you need to seriously pay attention to this article and learn about the many benefits of proper warm up Warming up has many benefits, but what are they exactly? Well here is a list of benefits warming up has to it that you may or may not have known:

    *Increased Muscle Temperature - Increased Muscle Temperature - During a warm up the temperature in the targeted muscle cells rises significantly. This Literally warmed up muscle will now contract with more force and relax quicker.

    *Further Range of Motion - Joints are loosened and can now provide a better range of motion.

    *Improved Self-cooling - Your body can start to sweat causing you to cool down. Overheating is now less likely earlier in an event.

    *Lower Stress on Heart - Blood vessels dialate reducing the resistance of blood flow to and from the heart.

    *Mental Preparation - Many of you do not know that a proper warm up can play a great psychological role to further benefit you. Warming up is a good time to focus, think up strategies or even set goals as to what you want to get accomplished that day.

    *Improved Muscle Elasticity - Body temperature increases improving muscle elasticity and reducing the risk of pulls and strains.

    *These are the basic benefits a proper warm up has to offer. All of the benefits stated above will essentially lead to increased muscle growth for an individual.

    Stretching and its Ability to Prevent Injury and Soreness

    The sole purpose of stretching is to reduce the risk of injury and to aid in muscle recovery. Stretching is a very simple activity and anyone can do it, without fancy machines or a partner. There are many benefits a good stretch has in store for a person who's willing to do it right. Some of the benefits of a proper stretch include:

    *Reduced muscle tension

    *Improved circulation

    *Reduced risk of injury

    *Gives time to mentally focus yourself

    *Reduce stress and fatigue

    *Putting all the previous benefits into account, stretching will make your activity easier!

    Now you see why stretching, like warming up should not just be something you do before you work out. It should be part of your workout. Stretching and warming up should be taken to the same level of effort that is used for the actual activity. I believe stretching can make someone more prone to injury if you actually overstretch your muscles. If you have not been active for weeks and your first stretch is far too intense you can actually pull that muscle just by stretching. I do not believe however, that stretching can lead to overtraining. No stretching routine should be that intense that it would actually lead to overtraining. Stretching and warming up should be intense but not to the point where you acually overtrain or injure yourself.

    My Stretching Routine

    Before I participate in any sort of physical activity, whether it be a football game, lifting weights, or running a mile, I like to perform a full-body stretch routine. The reason I choose to stretch my whole body as opposed to just the muscles that will be affected for that day is to keep a constant blood flow to the muscles that were affected days before. Stretching my whole body regularly also keep my muscles from tightening up and improves my flexibility. I am not a believer in only stretching the areas that will be affected for that specific day because you use a lot more muscles in some exercises than many people know. It shouldn't be a guessing game trying to think if you are going to use a muscle group that day , you should just stretch your whole body. The stretches I chose to perform are based on the type of activity I will be performing. I will use lifting weights as my example. Before I hit the weights I like to give my whole body a good stretch using this routine:

    All stretches are done using 3 sets on a 5 count.

    5 Minutes on the exercise bike (moderate speed) - This gets the blood flowing

    Calf Wall Stretch - calves

    Feet Together and Touch Your Toes - hamstrings

    Standing Quad Stretch - Quadriceps

    Butterfly Stretch - Groin

    Squatting Glute Stretch - Glutes

    Shoulder Stretch (Arm across torso) - Delts

    Hand Down Spine - Triceps

    Bicep-Wall Stretch - Biceps

    Try and Touch Your Elbows Together Behind Your Back - Pectorals

    Stretching before you engage in activity is important but remember to
    stretch between sets to keep your muscles from tightening up. You do not need to do a full body stretch between sets. You can just stretch the affected muscles at this time.

    Cooldown and its Muscle Recovering Ability

    Cooldown is a very important factor when it comes to muscle recovery and preventing injuries. Cooldown after a long grueling activity such as distance running, soccer or football game should be performed differently than getting done with a day of weight training. Upon completion of a long strenuous activity, you need to slowly ease your muscles back to homeostasis, or regularity. For example if you just get out of a football game, DON'T just sit down in the locker room for 30 minutes and then later go home and sleep. Your muscles will tighten up and days later when its time for practice you are going to be wishing you followed this advice I am about to give you. Instead of just resting after the game you need to keep somewhat active and slowly bring your body back to the level it was at before. During this time light stretching should be performed to keep a steady supply of nutrients flowing to the deprived muscles. After you are done with a hard day at the gym always remember lightly stretch, this will not only help recovery, but it will help prevent injury.

    BONUS QUESTION: What are the best recovery supplements out right now?

    What is the most effective pre-workout supplement? Post-workout?
    I believe the best recovery supplements out right now are Whey Protein, Creatine and BCAA's. These supplements are great for aiding in muscle growth and helping you recover from previous workouts. I believe anyone who is even remotely serious about bodybuilding should be taking whey protein, creatine, BCAA's, efa's and a good multivitamin. The single most effective pre and post-workout supplement is whey protein, but only taking whey protein pre and post-workout won't give you the gains you are looking for. To get the gains I want out of bodybuilding I take the following 15 minutes prior to working out:

    1.5 scoops Optimum Nutrition's Whey Protein

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/opt/whey.html

    2 scoops Xtend by SciVation

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/sv/xtend.html

    Directly following my workout I take:

    2 scoops Optimum Nutrition's Whey Protein

    2 scoops Xtend by SciVation

    10g Phosphagen by EAS

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/eas/phosnew.html

    As far as multivitamin's and efa's go, I would recommend AST's Multi Pro 32x

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/ast/multi-pro.html

    and NOW Super Omega 3-6-9

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/now/supero.html
    Last edited by STUD; 07-12-2005 at 10:18 AM.
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    Talking

    Wow! Nice article STUD. That helped me a ton. I wasn't really sure what supps to take until now. Thanks.
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    thank you csnut that was some good advice on warming up i needed that thank u
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    Awesome article CsNUT. I have trouble beleiving that was your first article You are probably the one to beat
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    Originally Posted by sword chucks
    Awesome article CsNUT. I have trouble beleiving that was your first article You are probably the one to beat
    Hey thanks that means alot. Ive written lots of articles before but nothing on bb.com. Good luck to everyone, and hopefully I can finish it up by tommorow.
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    WEEK THIRTY-TWO :: How Important Is Warming Up?

    By Ravadongon

    Everyone wants to make progress, but sometimes injury can haunt us and not allow us to make progress and instead send us backwards. The good news is the majority of injuries can be prevented from occurring. How may you ask? By preparing properly for all your workouts carefully and correctly. This means warming up and cooling down before putting your joints and muscles under the stresses of heavy resistance. Unfortunately these two processes are very often done incorrectly, unsubstantially and sometimes not done at all.

    How important is warming up before a workout?

    Warming up is very important before any workout, whether it be before a 100m sprint or before maxing out on bench press. But the question you may be asking is why is it important? The answer is because it prepares muscles and joints for greater levels of activity, and also primes CNS to fire. It also has numerous other benefits such as:

    - Reducing muscle stiffness (which is directly related to muscle injury)
    - Increases speed of contraction/relaxation of the muscles that have been warmed up
    - Removes lactic acid accumulated during previous workouts
    - Increases blood circulation to muscles
    - Increases efficiency of oxygen usage by warmed up muscles (hemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at higher muscle temperatures)
    - Neuromuscular coordination is improved by warming up before performing a movement

    Does stretching help prevent injury and soreness? Could it make someone more prone to injury through over-training?

    Stretching, when done correctly and properly, can assist in the prevention of both injury and soreness, as well as increasing flexibility. There are many types of stretching, such as static, dynamic, ballistic, passive, active and assisted. All serve their different purposes, but the two you should be most concerned with, in terms of your warm up and cool down for weight training and other similar activities are dynamic and static stretching, which I will talk about later.

    Overstretching however is not a good idea. This will make you more prone to injury by overtraining and will consequently take you longer to improve your flexibility. Overstretching will produce miscroscopic tears (microtraumas) causing your musclar soreness, which will occur during or immediately after the stretch if severe, or a day or two later if minor. This can hinder your ability to recover quickly from a workout, so don’t over do it.

    What types of stretches do you perform before a workout? Do you stretch you whole body or just the body parts you are working that day?

    When stretching prior to working out, the best type of stretches to perform are dynamic stretches. These stretches reduce muscle stiffness, which is related to muscle injury. Dynamic stretches consist of controlled leg and arm swings.

    Stretching during your workout is not necessary, just perform your warm up sets prior to each exercise. If you are going to stretch during your workout, don’t stretch the muscle you are directly using in the movement(s), stretch the antagonistic muscles e.g. when squatting, stretch the hip flexors, or when benching, stretch the lats. This has been shown to be of great assistance and can help improve your performance in the movement(s).

    You are only required to stretch the body parts you are working on the day. However keep in mind you must know what muscles and joints you are working in the particular exercise(s), a lot of the time there are a lot more muscles involved than you think.

    What stretching routine do you follow?

    After a light jog, to increase body temperature (break a sweat) I will perform some of the following stretches, depending on what muscle and joints groups I am targeting on that day.

    Pre Workout – Dynamic Stretching (10 swings per side)

    - Basic Joint movement (flexion/extension/rotation)
    - Shoulder Circling
    - Arm Swings (Overhead/Down and back and Side/Front Crossover)
    - Hip Circles/Twist
    - Side Bends
    - Leg Swings (Flexion/Extension and Cross-Body flexion/Abduction)
    - Lunges
    - Double Leg Ankle Bounce

    Once I have finished my workout, I normally go for a light 5 minute walk to cool down, then perform the following stretches, again depending on the muscle groups that have been worked during my workout.

    Post Workout – Static Stretching (10 seconds hold per side)

    - Chest Stretch
    - Bicep Stretch
    - Upper Back Stretch
    - Shoulder and Tricep Stretch
    - Side Bends
    - Abdominal and Lower Back Stretch
    - Quadriceps Stretch
    - Hamstring Stretch
    - Calf Stretch

    How important is the cool down? Does it affect muscle recovery? Soreness?

    Cooling down decreases body temperature and will remove any waste products, such as lactic acid, from the muscles that are being used. The other benefits of cooling down include:

    - reduction in the potential of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) occurring
    - reduction of adrenaline levels in the blood
    - reduction in the potential of dizziness or fainting occurring

    If you cool down correctly then you will experience greater recovery and you will find you will not be as sore the day after your workout. The best way to cool down is to, first, go for a light walk for around 5-10 minutes after your workout. This helps reduce your body temperature and remove waste products such as lactic acid, from the muscles being used.

    When stretching after training, the best types of stretches to perform are static stretches. These stretches help the muscles to relax and will increase their range of movement. Static stretching involves gradually easing into the stretch position and holding that position for a certain period of time. These are best performed after you have cooled down.

    All in all, the cooldown process will assist your recovery greatly. You’ll find that you won’t be as sore the day after your workout and your muscles will be able to recover faster reducing your chances of overtraining and instead allowing you to make important progress.

    Important Additional Note I: Warm-Up Sets!

    Before you perform a heavily weighted movement, PLEASE do warm-up sets for your nervous system’s sake. Warm up sets will provide you with all of the above listed benefits and will be of great assistance in your preparation for working sets. But as with all things you have to do it right and with warm sets there are a lot of common misconceptions made by even the most experienced lifters.

    A lot of people believe high reps will warm you up. This is wrong. Working at high repetition ranges will instigate your body to produce lactic acid into the blood. This significantly impairs the nervous system to operate high threshold motor units which are recruited during heavy resistance training. If you are operating in strength rep ranges (1-6 reps) or hypertrophy rep ranges (6-12 reps), then you should go over 6 reps in your warm ups.

    Another common myth with warm up sets is that doing low set warm ups e.g. ten reps with the bar then jumping straight into the sets, is sufficient. This again is wrong. It is important you let your nervous system know what is coming and jumping from the bar to a triple figure weight is unreasonable and will not allow you to perform at your ‘true’ maximum, because your CNS is not prepared for this. So it is important to include at least 3-5 warm sets, sometimes more depending on how close you are working to your 1RM.

    e.g. 1 You are aiming to do 4 work sets with 250lbs for 2-4 reps

    Warm up set 1: Bar Only: 1 x 45lbs x 5 reps
    Warm up set 2: 50% 4RM = 1 x 125lbs x 4 reps
    Warm up set 3: 75% 4RM = 1 x 185lbs x 3 reps
    Warm up set 4: 90% 4RM = 1 x 225lbs x 2 reps
    Warm up set 5: 95% 4RM = 1 x 240lbs x 1 rep
    Work sets: 100% 4RM = 4 x 250lbs x 2-4 reps

    e.g. 2 You are aiming to do 3 work sets with 160lbs for 8-10 reps

    Warm up set 1: Bar Only: 1 x 45lbs x 6 reps
    Warm up set 2: 50% 10RM = 1 x 80lbs x 6 reps
    Warm up set 3: 80% 10RM = 1 x 130lbs x 4 reps
    Work sets: 100% 10RM = 3 x 160 x 8-10 reps


    Important Additional Note II: Pain When Stretching…

    If you are stretching properly you should only feel a mild discomfort in the antagonist muscle at the most. If you feel any significant pain or discomfort before, during or after stretching or athletic activity then it is important to identify the origin of the problem. Severe pain will normally point towards an injury of some sort, so if this occurs do not continue with stretching or exercising until you have fully recovered. Muscular pain can most likely be linked to:

    - torn tissue (microscopic tears of muscle fibres/connective tissue - microtrauma)
    - muscle spasms (decreased flow of blood to the active muscles causing protective reflex contractions)
    - metabolic accumulation (overexertion causing waste products such as lactic acid to accumulate in muscles)
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    continued...

    BONUS QUESTION: What are the best recovery supplements out right now? What is the most effective pre-workout supplement? Post-workout?

    There are many supplements on the market that will help shorten the amount of time needed for you to recover from a workout. A few of these supplements may be ones you are most likely already taking:

    Protein

    Protein is known as the building blocks of muscle. Protein is plays a very important role in the recovery process as it constructs and repairs our damaged muscle fibres (a result of resistance training). Supplementing protein, is an easy way to get enough protein into your diet. Recommended times for taking whey protein (fast digesting protein) supplements are before and after workouts. Recommended times for taking casein and protein blends (medium to slow digesting proteins) are prior to sleeping.

    Amino Acids

    Protein is the building blocks of muscle, amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Amino acid supplements are composed of a useful blend of amino acids for the human body. Amino acid supplements are best taken in doses pre and post workout. Popular amino acid supplements are BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acids) products and glutamine products.

    Creatine

    Creatine is known to increase the amount of ATP stored in muscles, providing us with more energy. It also has other benefits one which includes, improved recovery abilities. Creatine is generally taken pre workout, but is sometimes also taken post workout.

    Vitamin C

    Vitamin C is generally renowned for boosting the immune system, and that alone is a good enough reason to take it, however it does have numerous other benefits useful to athletes. It strengthens bones and connective tissue as well as reducing the secretion of cortisol in the body, allowing muscles to recover better and hence grow. The recommended dosage of vitamin c per day is 1000mg, and should be spread out over the day into 2 servings.

    Bibliography and Helpful Links

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/berardi51.htm - great article on how to warm up for different types of activites (weight training and athletic performances)

    http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/warmup.htm - article on warming up and cooling down

    http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/dynamic.htm - how to do dynamic stretches (pre workout)

    http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/stretch.htm - how to do static stretches (post workout)

    http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/injury.htm - article on injury prevention

    http://www.cmcrossroads.com/bradapp/...g_4.html#SEC29 - different types of stretching explained

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/recovery.htm - popular recovery supplements
    Attached Files
    Last edited by ravadongon; 07-12-2005 at 09:50 PM.
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    How Important Is Warming Up?







    Go across gyms and schools in the the world and you will see people stretching and warming up. Might it be the local elementary school, the college athletes or even the professionals, everyone is stretching and warming up before their event or activity. As we were young, going to school and gym class, we were educated about the importance of stretching before gym class so you don't get an 'owwie'. These rules still apply now as we are older. Some might think not, but as you get older and you activities get more vigorous it's even more important to stretch. Don't take for granted that 10 minutes you have before your workout session and waste it on checking out the hot girl in front of you. Grab a mat, and even join that girl in stretching before lifting weights. Always remember that stretching will help your muslces loosen up and get ready for the load ahead. Remember that stretching is not something little kids do and that you should always stretch and warm up before your workout or activity. I've seen people pull muscles in the 100 dash, which is a short amount of time that can cost you months or even years to rehibilitate. Warming up is something that should be taken seriously, it's almost like a workout away from the workout. It doesn't take that long, and you are taking a big risk of injury if you don't warm/sterch before you do something. Stretching out and warming up can actually accelerate your gains and results. That way your muscles are fully stretched and ready to go. By stretching you make blood flow faster, and that's how muscles are fed. So if you start stretching you just might overcome that platueau you have been stuck at. It's fun and not hard. Think of all the problems you can prevent by warming up.




    - Up to 75% of gym go-ers don't warm/stretch
    - Most people think it takes too much time
    - In almost every gym there is a place to stretch out and warm up
    - Takes about 10 minute of your time
    - Can save you from injuries and problems
    - Can benefit and help you out on your goals
    - Should be done before and after (cool down stretch)
    - Prevents you from pulling a muscle
    - It's beneficial and fun






    BEFORE WORKOUT




    Warming up and stretching before your workout is beneficial. It will help you loosen up and that way you will prevent tons of injuries. Also it will help you get the best of your ability since you muscle will be stretched, and it will be filled with blood flow which will garantee higher strenght and full capability. If you always stuggle with that extra rep and can't get that bar up, don't worry. If you warm up and stretch you will be fine and you will get the benefits. Think about it, it will take only 10 minutes of your time, why not do it and see what happens. Chances are you will notice a positive change. None of my clients have ever said that they feel worse and their performance has gone down. Sure there have been some non-responders but as a whole, it is positive. Higher reps, higher strenght and endurance can be observed as trainees warm up and stretch before their workout.




    STRETCHING



    Stretching before your workout is crucially important. It will give extra blood flow to your muscles which you need and happens anyways but you also need it as fast as you can. Also it will warm up the tendons and joints. Tendons and joints are important. Think of them as the 'managers' of the muscles. Sure the muscle does all the work, but it need a join and tendon to end it, and close the motion. Otherwise you would be curling and benching at the same time ( just kidding). By warming up the joints and tendons you will decrease the chance of injury. I've once seen a guy try and military press 225 without warming up. Big, strong guy, looked like he can handle it. He did one, then two, then on the third rep I heard a loud cracking sound and his left shoulder leveled down. Ouch. Can you imagine the kind of pain he was in. Oh boy, and to think that he could have prevented that by spending 10 minutes of his time warming up his shoulders and rotator cuffs. What a mistake. Not stretching can cause your whole career to end, and that can be devastating for young guys that are starting out, on the verge of glory and then it all ends, in a split seconds you injure youself and commit 'bodybuilding suicide'. Anyways, remember to stretch after your workout and always play it smart!



    - Helps prevent injuries
    - Helps ease work of joints and tendons
    - Warms up the joints and tendons for heavy lifting
    - Not hard to do
    - Takes little time
    - It's smart and all the pros do it




    WARMING UP


    Warming up can be confused with stretching. By warming up we mean increasing your temperature and your blood flow to muscles. To warm up I would wear a warm up suit. These can be found at www.bodybuilding.com/store. They are very beneficial and will help you keep your muscles warm throughout your workout. Remember that warming up and stretching should not take more than 10-15 minutes, so don't make it a workout and later complain that it is too much. Perform a job for about 2-4 minutes. While wearing the warm up suit which will increase your temperature, and get your 'juices going'. That way blood flow will reach the muscle before you start working it out adn that will help you avoid injury, and increase your performance. After getting a small sweat goin, stretch for the remainer of the period with the warm up suit on. After that remove you suit and hit the weights! See how simple it is? I have actually seen Jay Cutler at trainign and he swears by warming up. Even when working out arms, you can see that kid with his suit on always. He removes it for a set, then puts it back on. Why you ask, well it will help to keep his temperature high, which will help him with his training and progress.



    - Prevents injury
    - More blood flow to muscles
    - Higher muscle performance
    - Takes little time
    - Not hard to do
    - The pros do it





    AFTER WORKOUT




    STRETCHING




    Yes, even after your workout stretching will help. By stretching you will get that lactic acid out of threre and will be able to recover faster. Lactic acid causes soreness, and that doesn't always feel good. Stretch after your workout and you will minimize the effect and recover at a faster rate. Make sure to drink lots of water which will help. Stretching will lengthen muscles and we all can use that. Also you are treating your joints to extra flexibility and they get stronger as you stretch. This can be beneficial for people that lift heavy and are in danger of tearing up their joints and tendons. Also stretching after a workout feels good. Atleast to me. You get that nice stretch and you muscle is tired it's almost like a massage. Always stretch after your workout. Sure it might be as long but make sure to get those muscles stretched and relaxed before you hit the showers. Although some people like stretching as water pours on them, nothing wrong with that. I prefer doing it before my shower so I can completely relax and not do anything but to each his own. Do whatever feels good to your body and whatever makes you recover and grow faster.



    - Feels good
    - Gets rid of lactic acid
    - Reduces soreness
    - Longers muscles
    - Relaxes you
    - Not hard to do




    How important is the cool down? Does it affect muscle recovery? Soreness?

    Coold down is pretty important. It will help with both soreness and recovery. See, with all the lactic acid, by stretching and cooling down you will be able to get rid of it. Now don't expect to never be sore, but it will go down. You will notice how stronger and painless you feel after your cool down. It will decrease, not eliminate, soreness and help you recover faster. With increased blood flow, you will recover way faster since you muscle is getting fed with more nutrients at a faster rate. If you consume your PWO right after you stretch, you will have increased blood flow that will help you. Also consider the effect of the cool down. Insead of lowering its temperature and other facotrs dramatically, your body lowers them gradually which lets it take it easy, and get out of the shock you just put on it during the intense workout. Always remember that nutrition and training is important, but faster muscle recovery and less soreness is always beneficiall and a part of the 'game'. By cooling down gradually you body is in a smaller chance of getting in a injury after your workout. Sure you are done lifting, but you ain't down breathing. Make sure that cooling down becomes a part of your daily workout routine. It doesn't have to take hours, just a brisk 10 minute cool down will greatly help your body.







    CONTINUED...
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    CONTINUED







    BONUS QUESTION: What are the best recovery supplements out right now? What is the most effective pre-workout supplement? Post-workout?



    Now remember that supplements only help aid your progress. They don't make your physiqu but rather help you shape it and boost it up. Never rely on supplements, but always be smart and use them to boost your progress. Use them as a tool. During todays market, you can see tons and tons of supplements on the market. Stores and the internet are filled with them. Some help you loose this, some help you gain that. Always rely on trainig, nutrition and recovery for succeeding in what you do. But never forget supplements because they can help you overcome and give you a slight boost in times of need. Always use them smartly and follow all directions on labels and never abuse them. Here are some of the best supplements that will help you recover and meet your goals. Remember that bodybuilding.com/store offers all of them at affordable prices and best quality. No matter what, i strongly suggest supplements, and the best place to get them for an affordable price and excellent quality is Bodybuilding.com's store. There you will find everything you need, filled with tons of articles and places that can give you a very close look in the world of supplements. Although famous, these few supplements are very effective and not that expensive.




    Whey Protein
    No matter how hard you try, nothing replaces good old whey. It has a fast digestion rate, and comes in very pure form. By taking whey, you can increase your protein uptake by 50-150 grams per day which is very time saving and efficient. Whey is a must for after a workout since your muscles are tired and need to be replenished. Also when you wake yup, whey is the best choice for protein in my opinion.



    Creatine
    Creatine is used by tons of people world wide. It is safe, 100% natural and effective. From Olympians to gym rats, people use creatine. It gives an extra boost when working out. It can also help you gain more muscle and better your lifts. It boosts up the ATP energy which is responsible for short, drastic muscle movements. Perfect for weightlifters all around, creatine is a must for bulking up.



    L-Glutamine
    L-Glutamine is an amino acid. It is a 100% natural and safe supplement. It is used mainly for recovery. It can help you recover faster from the hard leg or back workout that you had. That way intensity and recovery for your workouts is at an all time high. L-Glutamine also helps maintain a positive Nitrogen balance which is very healthy for your body.



    Multi-Vitamins
    These days everyone takes Multi-Vitamins. That is a very smart choice. Since we all need vitamins, and we can't always eat every fruit out there, so Multi-Vitamins are a very wise choice for any diet. Since you are bulking, you need vitamins to maintain your body healthy. From all the workouts and stress that you put on it, it's a must that you have vitamins to replenish and rebuild. Always a must for every bodybuilder.



    Good Luck!
    Last edited by bigcalves; 07-12-2005 at 11:00 PM.
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    I was in the middle of pasting my edited version but it wouldnt work. Now the edit button is gone, does anyone know what happened?
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    Importance of Warming-up

    [Sorry for taking up so much room, but I couldnt edit my other post]


    “Hey you! Go warm up!”


    Echoes in my head, as I remember Coach White screaming at us in the weight room.

    Often you hear the phrase “warming up” and you automatically associate it with weight lifting, but it also expands to other sports and has many benefits. You hear it often, but do you even know what warming up actually is? The dictionary defines it as:
    warm-up
    n : exercising in preparation for strenuous activity [syn: tune-up, prolusion]

    This is exactly what warming up is! This is a solid belief that lay in the minds of many lifters, and as usual... popular beliefs accompany themselves with many myths. But I am here to tell you the facts about warming up.

    Warming up, in a bodybuilder/weight lifter's sense means properly building yourself up to a weight you are trying to lift. Warm ups usually consist of a brisk 5-10 minute jog on the treadmill, 5-6 minutes jumping rope(personal favorite because it makes me feel like Rocky), and then by pyramiding weight up for your exercise you are about to do. Deadlifting, Squatting, and Bench-pressing are all huge compound movements which always require a good amount of warming up, due to the fact they they involve many muscles. More muscles, more room for error and injury. Bicep tears, shin splints, pulled hamstrings, I have experienced them all but I have YET to be faced with a torn Pectoral/Quadricep/Lat. I take many precautions when I deal with big compound movements, because when I lift heavy there is no room for error.

    Pyramiding your weight:

    As the weight of your Deadlift, Squat, and Bench go up, you must adjust accordingly to warming up. Pyramid your weight starting low.
    Lets say your 1RM(One Rep Max) is 200. And you want to test your 1RM.

    Start out at about 50%, load up 100 lbs. Do it 8 times.
    Then go up to 75%, load up 150 lbs. Do it 6 times.
    Afterwards go up to 90%, load up 180 lbs. Do it twice.
    Take a bit of a break and then finally load up 200 lb and do it.

    This situation is for maxing out, but it can also be used in normal work-outs. But instead shorten the reps and go deeper, faster. Go at about 60%, 80%, and then 100% of the weight that you are semi-comfortable at (6-8 reps). It is important to warm up, but its just as important not to fatigue yourself with it. I see people doing 7 sets for warm up, what the heck is that?! If your warm up for bench is 7 sets, I do not even want to see your actual work-out. That is overkill. Use logic when you lift! If you know in your gut what your doing is stupid, don’t do it. You rep 150 and you never tried past 160? Don’t GO benching 200, you will just tear a muscle and it will set you out of commission for a while. Common sense and logic is your best friend.




    The key benefits of warming-up are:

    -Increase in muscle temperature through whole body temperature
    Muscles that are warmed up are naturally more lubricated with fluid which is more suitable for explosive movements like squating, benching, or whatever you are planning to do. A cold muscle is more likely to tear than a warm muscle.

    -Increase in efficiency of neural pathways used in physical activities which leads to enhancement in muscle coordination
    A neural pathway is a neural tract connecting one part of the nervous system with another, usually consisting of bundles of elongated, myelin insultated neurons, known collectively as white matter. Neural pathways serve to connect relatively distant areas of the brain or nervous system, compared to the local communication of grey matter. Basically efficiency in neural pathways is a good thing, which will help your coordination- and help keep you focused throughout your workout.

    -Metabolic activity of the muscles
    When the muscles are stimulated through warming up, they go through a metabolic phase. Cells undergo chemical changes by which energy is provided for vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated. New cells are created, your body gets to work, providing you with the energy to work out.

    -Increase in blood flow to the muscles, therefore increase in O2 uptake
    As blood flows to the muscles, the muscles receive nutrients that are essential to growth. Increase in oxygen will also help keep your body endure the grueling task of repairing/strengthening your muscles.

    -Improve range of movement, which in turn increases flexibility and improve muscles ability to react swiftly and efficiently
    Simply by warming up, again your muscles are lubricated. It gets rid of stiffness throughout your whole body, which makes you more flexible.

    -Reduce risk of injury
    The single most important benefit, all these changes are going through your body while you warm up. So basically your shielding yourself from injury by taking a good precaution, and warming up.


    Basic Ballistic Stretching

    With ALL the benefits of warming up, why shouldn’t you do it?! Now that you have been introduced to warming up, meet its cousins “Stretching” and “Cooling down”. Though, the sequences of Stretching, Cooling down, and Warming up are highly debated among fitness enthuses… in my opinion Warming up should always be first, which is then followed by Cooling down, and then stretching. I will go into further detail why stretching isn’t as essential to US in the BEGINNING, as it is in other sports.

    Ballistic stretching uses the momentum of a moving body or a limb in an attempt to force it beyond its normal range of motion. Stretching isn’t just bending over to touch your feet for 5 seconds, but it also is a process which adapts your body to what it has just undergone. I truly believe that stretching after a work out will help you with its long-term and shor-term benefits.

    Short-term
    -The day after a work out you will be GLAD that you took the time to stretching because stretching has been proven to get rid of stiffness post work-out.
    - Reduce muscle tension in make the body feel more relaxed
    - Increase range of motion
    - Improve coordination by allowing for freer any easier movement

    Long-term
    -Though, stretching wont make you Mr. Fantastic overnight, it has been proven in studies that in long-term studies, the average human being will adapt to stretching and increase their flexibility! Imagine 5 years from now being able to do back flips all you want, and being able to do the splits! Even though a man like Ronnie Coleman is admired for his size, he isn’t exactly the stiff macho-man he is made out to be. Ronnie Coleman can actually do the splits, which is a sight to see. You maybe his size in a matter of years, so it’s probably best to stay flexible.

    Stretching routines are fairly simple to follow, don’t think of it as another workout. Make your stretches fun, I maybe come off as sounding like a Yoga instructor but trust me, I am far from that. Instead of only stretching muscles that you recently used, start by stretching as many muscles as you can. This will help promote better growth in the long run. You should also know that stretching was believed to be better Pre work-out but recent studies prove that if you DO stretch BEFORE a work-out, it can drastically reduce your strength. If your strength is reduced, you cant lift as much, which will lower your potential of growth.

    Here are some solid rules to follow when stretching:

    -Begin each movement by getting into the right starting position
    -Relax your state of mind and your muscles
    -Slowly move into the stretch
    -The muscles should continue to relax throughout the stretch
    -As they relax, slowly increase and hold a developmental stretch
    -Hold the stretch 20 to 30 seconds or longer
    -Slowly release the limb you are stretching


    Last edited by CsNUT; 07-13-2005 at 02:52 PM.
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    Stretching Continued/Importance of Cooling-down


    Stretches


    Hamstring Stretch
    -Lay on on the floor, and cross your legs, and placing the bottoms of your feet together and pressing lightly will stretch your legs out. You can push down lightly on both of your knee caps, trying to get a nice range of motion.
    Glutes and Hamstrings
    -Lunges are an excellent way to stretch the glutes and the hamstrings. With one good full motion, place your right/left foot 3-4 feet in front of you. Keep your back leg stiff and horizontal. As you get more advanced, you can incorporate weights, by holding a dumbbell in each arm. (When you do whole football fields of these, youll feel it the next day. Trust me.)
    Hamstrings
    -Stand in an upright position and cross one leg over the other, bend over and try to touch your palms to the floor. This will also stretch out your legs.
    Biceps and Triceps
    -Place your palm flat against a wall, hold your deltoid area with your other hand. Press and twist, this will stretch your biceps.
    Deltoid Stretch
    -Start out by holding your elbow of your right/left arm behind your head and by gently pulling on it until you have surpassed your point of comfort.
    Abdominal Stretch
    -Hyperextentions are a great way to stretch your abs, you can even add weights after you are comfortable with your body weight.
    Pectoral Stretch
    -I like doing push ups for stretching my pecs. It also gets them warmed up nicely.
    Calves
    -Just doing some body weight calf raises will stretch out your calves. Stand up straight and lift your body off the ground by bringing your heels off the ground.

    Flex
    -Posing! Posing after a work-out may seem vain, but many bodybuilders do it. It stretches the muscle a bit, it inflates your ego, and its always nice to show off those muscles you worked so hard for. I always like to hit random people with my double bi. :-)

    You can stretch accordingly to make sure all your muscles are all stretched out.

    My stretching routine is usually what my body tells me. I do all the stretches above daily, and incorporate some new stretches every so often to keep things new and fresh. Always listen to your body, and make sure it tells you what it needs. As time goes on, you can delve deeper into stretching, as far as technique and routines. Dynamic Stretching is a bit too advanced for a beginner, as it requires a lot of patience and it delivers an immense amount of pain. This will likely turn you away from stretching, so just stick with the basics for now. As you get more advanced, you can get into Dynamic Stretching. This will stimulate Hyperplasia (Splitting of the Muscle Fibers), which will result in fuller looking muscles.

    Here is a link to a good discussion on the benefits of Dynamic Stretching:
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=523175





    Cooling Down
    Cooling down is almost as important as warming up, but in some cases more important. Cooling Down usually refers to cardio but it can also apply itself to other strenuous activities. Let me start off by telling you a story.


    *Slowly fades into memory mode*
    I remember back in my Junior year of high school. I just signed up for weight training class and the first day our teacher Coach White told us what we needed to do to get an A in the class. He wanted us to bench our own weight three times, be able to do 25 push ups with a 3 second interval between each one, and be able to run 5 miles in under one hour. The first two tasks were easy because I could easily work myself up to it, but RUN FIVE MILES?! I was an ectomorph weighing in at about 137 lbs and I got pretty winded after a single mile. My best time was 7:37 so I was terrified of the Five miles. The time came at the end of the semester when I had to run it, and I started the first mile by jogging lightly until I was covered in a light sweat, the second to third mile I was jogging on, still going at a decent speed. The fourth mile hit me like a brick wall, but I persevered and I walked a bit until I was at 4 and a half miles. I sprinted the last half and I was done. I collapsed and went STRAIGHT INTO THE WEIGHT ROOM! I lifted for about half an hour and I went home and took a cool shower and fell asleep. The next morning…you knew what happened. My whole body shutdown, every inch of my body was aching. I felt like I was Rocky Balboa and I just fought Clubber Lang, Apollo Creed and the big Russian the night before. It took me about a week or two to fully recover, that is how I know the importance of cooling down.

    Now that you have been formally known about my painful mistake first-hand, I can tell you why I felt like I did.
    Cooling down will do all these wonderful things and more:

    -Lengthen muscles.
    When you stretching your muscles, they have to adapt to what you are doing to them. They do this by lengthening themselves. This will in turn, beat the muscles up fairly good- but this is what working out is about. Destroying your muscles and then letting them heal to grow bigger and stronger. Muscles will protect themselves by contracting and bunching up once you have stopped destroying them, this will shorten the muscle. Eventually it will stretch back to a good length once it is repaired, but this will still leave it shorter than it was before. In order to keep your muscle length, you must stretch!

    -Reduces muscle stiffness
    When you work the muscles they use up Oxygen and produce Carbon Dioxide and Lactic acid. These waste products are all taken away by your blood, but when you stop exercising, any waste left in the muscle will not be removed as fast. As your time goes on, the waste products will make your muscles stiff when they eventually cool down. If you can remove all possibly waste products that you physically can before the muscles cool down, then they will be less stiff afterwards. All you can do is to get rid of the waste the best you can, by cooling down. You will never remove all the waste, but you can help remove a large portion by doing this.

    -Increases your flexibility
    By exercising joints they will disperse waste products and improve mobility. Ligaments and joints do not have a good access to a blood supply so any waste products that enter, will stay for an elongated amount of time. But they do not collect as much waste so its ok.

    Last edited by CsNUT; 07-13-2005 at 02:48 PM.
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    Recovery and Pre/Post Workout Supplements

    BONUS QUESTION: What are the best recovery supplements out right now? What is the most effective pre-workout supplement? Post-workout?

    Recovery Supplements

    There are so many supplements in the world today that its very easy to become confused on what to buy, and you may even buy into the ad campaign of the product rather than the actual product itself. Well I am here to list the recovery products that I use, in order of in importance.

    -1 Whey
    Whey is always a must in recovery, before you even touch any other canister, bottle, or jar you should always turn to your best friend- protein. Protein will never turn its back on you, it will always give itself fully, to help you build your muscle promote great growth. I use Optimum Nutrition Whey simply for the fact that it is cheap, great tasting, and it’s given me great results. I have tried numerous whey products but they never lasted the test of time, because a frothy chocolate shake is always welcome anytime of the day, but you can easily grow tired of lemonade, berry, all that other fruity stuff. My secret is to add a tablespoon of…Nesquik! It will make it very airy, sweet and add tons of flavor.

    -2 Multivitamin
    Lets face it people. Due to poor agricultural farming, over production, pesticide infestation, and many other horrible things- we can never all get the vitamins we need from our food nowadays. Eating all our wheaties, vegetables, and milk just wont cut it anymore. We need a reliable source of vitamins and multivitamins are our answers. It is hard for me to put it in a simpler way than this, so I will quote it straight out of bodybuilding.com‘s great book “Get the Pump: The Last Word in Bodybuilding”. “A good vitamin/mineral supplement is like a cop for your muscles. You don’t always need cops. But when you do need them, boy, are you glad they’re here. Same with vitamins and minerals. If you eat well, you might not always need a vitamin/mineral supplement. But there will be times when you do.”

    -3 Glutamine
    Glutamine is basically a product which will reduce muscle atrophy when cutting, or help grow muscle when bulking. It is a great product which many bodybuilders and other athletes swear by, it helps in protein metabolism and also is stored deep within our muscle cells, so be sure to refill on your glutamine.

    Pre-Workout Supplements

    -1 Green Tea
    I truly believe Green Tea is underrated in the world of athleticism. Green Tea is high in anti oxidants, so it will flush all the toxins out of your body. It will relieve oxidative stress, protects skin from ultraviolet light, and it has a very high caffeine content. The high caffeine content will keep you energized and ready to blast through your workout. I always drink at least 10 oz of it pre-workout because it always seems to help me.

    -2 No-Xplode
    No-Xplode is always a great Nitric Oxide product. The caffeine that it contains will keep you mentally focused and make you feel confident. It has been known to give Vascular pumps immediately after consumption and give better performance, strength and endurance. I usually take No-Xplode as a pick-me-up on those days when your not quite feeling it.

    Post-Workout Supplements

    -1 Whey
    Whey will always be my number one and only Post-Workout supplement. I do not like to put a lot of foreign substances in my body unless I know how they are going to react, but Whey is always useful. Protein post-workout will go straight into the blood stream and provide your muscles with the material it needs to grow. There is a 30-45 minute time span in which you MUST supply your muscles with sufficient protein, which will further increase your potential for growth.


    References:

    http://www.ultimatehandbook.com/Web...tretchwarm.html
    Basics of Warming up and Cooling Down

    http://www.westrock.net/warming_up_and_stretching.htm
    Stretching and Warming up

    http://www.answers.com/topic/neural-pathway
    Information for Nervous System and Brain

    http://www.abcbodybuilding.com/jhr.php
    Dynamic Stretches

    “Get the PUMP: The Last Word in Bodybuilding” By: Scott Abel, Chris Cormier, Jonathan Coyne, Jay Cutler, Mat Duval, Nick Evans, Charles Glass, King Kamali.
    Last edited by CsNUT; 07-13-2005 at 12:15 PM.
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    The forgotten elements of training: Warming Up, Stretching, and Cooling Down

    Introduction

    Warming up, stretching and cooling down correctly are fundamental, yet often overlooked parts of any training program. While these components to training are very basic, many people tend to skip over a proper warm up, stretch and cool down program and wonder why they do not feel ready to work out. I call these aspects of training the forgotten elements of training because they are techniques that you never see much of in gyms compared to the amount of work done on heavy sets you see.

    Warming up has many benefits. The main benefit to warming up is injury prevention because the blood will be pumping to an area, lowering the chance of a muscle pull or joint injury. Warming up isn’t just a safety precaution though- it also has positive effects on a bodybuilder because after a warmup strength and focus should be peaked. Warming up has many physical and mental benefits.

    Stretching and cooling down go hand-in-hand mostly because they come after a workout, whereas a warm up usually precedes a workout. Their main benefit is increasing recovery, and these activities also add to the overall health of the muscles.

    This article will not only discuss the many ways in which a warm-up, stretch and cool down program is important, but it will also provide some methods to warming up, stretching and cooling down and some useful tips on how to do a proper but time-efficient warmup! While it will focus on warming up for a hardcore hypertrophy-inducing workout with weights, this article will also give methods of warming up for other activities such as athletic activities, a strength workout, or an endurance workout, and methods for a cool down and stretch that will maximize recovery and progress!

    An Injured Bodybuilder Can’t Gain Mass!

    An injury is the last thing any bodybuilder wants. You can miss a meal here and there if you absolutely must, you can skip the last 5 minutes of your cardio session if you need to be somewhere, but if you skip your warmup and end up with a muscle pull, you’re not gaining optimally for the next month or so.

    Warming up is injury-preventative in many ways. It increases flexibility and blood flow which limits the chance of a muscle pull and joint pain. A proper warmup also gets the lifter in a groove for their exercise.

    Increasing flexibility

    Warming up is a great way to increase flexibility before a heavy set. Training the muscles through an identical range of motion to the lift that is to be done stretches the muscle properly and prevents a pull of any muscle about to be trained.

    Let’s say a lifter is getting their legs ready for a set of full barbell squats, 355 pounds for 5 reps. They get into the gym and their legs are a bit tight. They head over to the squat rack and get under the bar. They squat down and can hardly get to parallel. Luckily, they can push a light weight back up. If they had skipped a warmup and jumped right into 355 pounds, it would have pushed their legs past the maximum stretch point and chances are a muscle pull would result.

    Lubricating the joints

    So the same lifter decides to hit the treadmill for 3 minutes to get the blood and oxygen pumping into their legs. When he gets back to the squat rack with his warmup weight, he finds himself much more flexible. After twelve warmup reps his knees are completely lubricated as well, and there is no cracking or popping to be heard.

    ”Getting into the groove”

    Getting into the groove for an exercise is also important. Take as many sets as you need until the form for an exercise feels natural. Once all the kinks are worked out, a proper warm up has been completed- get started!

    Warming Up for Optimal Results

    A lot of times a lifter will get to the gym and get right into their heavy sets with no warmup. Then they come on bodybuilding.com and read this article. “Okay, I’ll do one warmup with the bar, that will help a lot I guess”. Maybe it helped a little bit but a proper warm-up can do you a lot better.

    Step one of the warmup

    The first focus of a warmup should be to give the muscles a light pump. This is best accomplished by completing 1-2 sets of 8-12 reps with a very easy weight. This step will make the muscles ready for heavy warm up sets and eventually the working sets. It will also get you in the groove and in the mood to lift. So for our lifter squatting 355X5, his first two sets could look like this:

    135X12
    225X8

    Step two of the warmup

    The next step in the warmup is to get your muscles ready for heavy weights to failure! The next two sets should come pretty close to the weight that will be used for the first working set, but will only be 1 or 2 reps- this is so that you don’t fatigue your muscles and so you don’t induce any micro trauma too early. These two sets can look like this (for our 355X5 squatter):

    275X3
    325X1-2

    Step three of the warmup

    What could come next? I know what you’re saying. “Don’t say the next step in the warmup is the working set!” No, that is not it! The next step is to make sure you get a FULL 2-3 MINUTES REST after your last heavy warm-up. This will let the minimal amount of fatigue that did occur clear out but is also a short enough time so that the muscles maintain elevated blood flow,

    The total warmup- how you should feel as it goes on

    135X12 this should feel a little uncomfortable and a lot of times a lifter will feel weak here
    225X8 this is work but you should start feeling stronger
    275X3 wow! This feels very heavy for you! But it’s just a mental block that will be eliminated. That is why a heavy warmup is beneficial!
    325X1 this set should feel a little heavy but solid.
    355X5 after you are prepared from all of those warm ups this set should feel solid.

    After this, YOU DO NOT REPEAT THE WARMUP PROCESS! Simply continue doing heavy sets (most lifters do 2-4 sets of one exercise).

    After you have done a warm-up for one muscle group you do not need to do an in-depth warmup for each following exercise. For example, if the next exercise is stiff leg deadlifts, a light set of 60% of the working weight for 8 reps is an adequate warmup.

    Another point to note is that it is best to warm-up each muscle using the first exercise that is to be done. For example, if it is your leg day and you are doing squats first, don’t use the leg extension to warm up- get in that squat rack and do a few sets! This will increase flexibility to the specific exercise and will also increase body awareness for that exercise.

    At times a weight will feel oddly heavy or oddly light due to various reasons. If this ever happens just perform another warm-up set with the weight and the heavy feeling should go away. The best way to enter a working set is with a sense of confidence and strength without fatigue and that is what this warm-up method accomplishes.

    Getting Your Nerve Through a Warmup Routine

    Have you ever felt nervous or edgy before a big set of squats on leg day, or in the hour before you go for the new deadlift record? This always happens to me personally. It is natural. Why does it happen? Who knows? Maybe thousands of years ago, underdeveloped primates were crushed as they carried heavy items back to their caves in a squat position. These days we have squat racks which prevents this from occurring, but whatever the reason, we must overcome this.

    During my warm-up sets I like to take that time to get my nerve together. For squats, deadlifts or bench presses my warm-ups sometimes take around 10 minutes, and this is a good time to get your head on straight and realize that the set is coming.

    If you follow the warm-up as described above, you should find that you feel much more confident with the heavy weight because you were acclimated to it already.

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    Warming Up for Other Activities

    This article is mainly focused on warming up for a bodybuilding workout. However, as a bodybuilder, in our quest to fitness we want to perform optimally in anything we do and more importantly finish it injury free.

    Warming Up for Sports

    To warm up for sports, a sport specific warm-up is usually best. Just like squatting is not a good warm-up on chest day, playing kickball is not a good warm-up on a day of tennis practice.

    Instead of going into a bunch of different sports specific warm-ups which has no meaning to all of us bodybuilders (unless the warm-up is for a posing routine) I will just say that a general total body warm-up benefits any athlete. This total body warmup can consist of light exercises with dumbbells, but most of the time the warmup is things like 20 jumping jacks, 20 push-ups, 20 sit-ups, and 3 laps around the field. This gets blood flowing all over since all areas of the body are used in a sport.

    Warming Up for Maximal Strength Performance

    The thought that bodybuilders should focus on strength gains over all other things is spreading. We want to do whatever we can to use the most weight we can and cause micro trauma in every single workout! So a strength-training warm up is a lot like the bodybuilding warm-up outlined above.

    Some things differ though. For strength training, more warm-up sets should be completed, but each one should only be of a very low rep count. This prevents fatigue. Stretching should not be done because it will put the muscle in an un-contracted position, weakening it. It may be of some benefit to stretch opposite muscle groups to the ones about to be trained (such as hanging from a pullup bar before your set of military presses). If a muscle is very tight, lightly stretch it. Finally, do not spend unnecessary energy on the treadmill or the elliptical bike- just get right to the lift. Maxing out on an exercise requires maximum energy and specific focus on one area.

    Warming Up for Endurance Performance

    This one is kind of funny. How do you warm up for a jog? In most cases, a jog IS a warm up! You might do a little walking to start but really, most people just jump right into a jog. It is the same way with a very high rep weighted exercise or any other endurance activity.

    Most of the time, before performing an endurance set it is alright to jump right in, but one set prior to performing the exercise will help you get focused and make sure your form is perfect.

    Benefits to Stretching

    Just like people underestimate the importance of a proper warm-up, many underestimate the importance of stretching. Seems like all most lifters want to do is jump right into working sets and then leave! Taking some time after a workout to stretch can be just as beneficial as taking time before a workout to warm up and acclimate to an exercise.

    Stretching can prevent a lot of problems such as muscle tightness, muscle soreness, and the common problem to bodybuilders known as becoming “muscle bound”.

    Preventing muscle tightness and soreness

    There is a sort of scale that the muscles have that pertains to how stretched they are or how contracted they are. On one end is an extremely stretched muscle. On the other is an extremely contracted muscle. A healthy muscle lies somewhere in-between. While working out a muscle becomes extremely tight. A proper stretch routine can limit this tightness, thus preventing injuries.

    It is a proven fact that stretching decreases the amount of muscle soreness after a workout. Not only is it proven scientifically but many lifters have experienced it. To effectively limit muscle soreness, the price might be a very painful stretch, but this is what we call “temporary pain, long term gain”. What is worse, gritting your teeth and doing a 60 second stretch after training each muscle group, or having to grit your teeth because it hurts to do simple activities because of muscle soreness all day?

    Muscle-bound what?

    It is a common idea that from all of our working out, us bodybuilders become completely inflexible and “muscle bound”. But this is no myth! If you do not stretch, you will fall victim to this trap! It might not be as bad as it sounds but why lose flexibility? It will only affect you negatively.

    Look at bodybuilders like Tom Platz and Arnold Schwarzenegger. These are two bodybuilders that relied heavily on stretching. Arnold always said that to get a fully developed muscle you need to stretch. Both bodybuilders based their stretching routines on the fact that the more a muscle stretches, the stronger it can contract. Arnold states that “Bodybuilders like Ed Corney, known as perhaps the best poser in modern bodybuilding, could never move with such beauty if their muscles, tendons, and ligaments were tight and constricted.” (150, Schwarzenegger)

    It is also proven that as a bodybuilder develops, the muscle separation suffers due to gravity and other reasons. Stretching is the cure for this problem! Over time, stretching can greatly aid a bodybuilder’s muscle separation. It might not show right away but when you hit the stage you will be glad you took time to stretch out.

    Stretching routine

    What? We need a warmup routine, a weight lifting routine, AND a routine for stretching? Yeah. Getting a routine for your stretches will help any bodybuilder to be more consistent with it because it isn’t just something you do on occasion any more, you are now integrating it into your schedule.

    Stretching before a workout

    There is a lot of controversy these days about pre-workout stretching. The truth is that it will not make a huge difference if a bodybuilder does some light stretches before a workout. But do you remember that scale of stretchedness that I mentioned before? Before a workout, to achieve an optimal muscle building environment for a bodybuilder or optimum strength for an athlete or strength-focused lifter, healthy muscles that fall close to the middle of that scale is what we want.

    If you stretch too much you put the muscles in a non-contracted position, which will hurt performance. However, at times a stretch can be very beneficial. If a muscle is too tight a stretch can loosen it up enough so it is in a healthy state.

    Finally, before a workout there is not as much blood pumping to and from the muscles as after a workout, which is why it could cause pain or injury.

    Stretching after a workout

    Directly after a workout is the best time to stretch. You will not have to worry about possibly hurting performance. Also, after a workout the muscles are very tight. Finally, the muscles are pumped up with blood and oxygen, giving them a better range of motion. After a workout stretching will greatly benefit you while any negative effects would be prevented.

    Stretches for each muscle group

    Stretching of a muscle is cause by the pull of an antagonist muscle. After the negative phase of an exercise, or the lengthening phase, the muscles are fully stretched. Therefore, a good stretch for any muscle is simply relaxing at the end of an exercise. For example, after your set of pullups, just hang there, and this will stretch out your back and biceps nicely. Some exercises do not lend themselves so much to stretching though. Would you want to let yourself get squashed by a barbell in a squat position for 60 seconds? I know I would be more worried about balance than the actual quality of the stretch. I will give some simple stretches for each muscle that are safe.

    -Quadriceps stretch
    Kneel on a mat or on another flat surface. Sit between your feet and let your hands fall behind you for support. The more flexible you are, the further back you will be able to lean. I usually just drop all the way down and try to make my lower back hit the ground and stay that way for 60 seconds minimum. Make sure to hit the legs hard before this or you will not even be able to imagine this stretch!

    -Hamstring stretch
    Put one foot up on a high bar and lock your leg out. Then try to touch your head to your knee. This stretched the hamstring at both joints, making it very effective.

    -Calf stretch
    Get on the edge of a machine at your gym where you can let your heel go as far down as possible. Then stretch to the limit and lean forward. You will really feel this!

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    -Lat stretch
    Hang from a pullup bar with straps for a 60 seconds. Pretty simple and safe. Try varying up the grip for full development!
    Another thing I like to do is grab onto a doorknob or the edge of a machine and extend to a full lat stretch and then twist my body. This really hits my lower lats as well.

    -Biceps stretch
    What I do to stretch biceps is get on an incline bench with my straps and turn my palms away from each other so that the biceps are sticking out directly at my side. What I mean is, with your palms facing behind you, turn your hands 270 degrees, not the short way. Then let your arms hang down.

    -Chest stretch
    I like to use dumbbells for this (well actually I don’t particularly like any stretch but you get the idea). I get on the flat bench and face my palms towards myself and then arch my back really hard and push my shoulders back as far as possible. After 40 seconds, I take 20 seconds to lower the weights with my biceps so it has an effect like a dumbbell flye.

    -Shoulder stretch
    This is a more traditional stretch. I put an elbow behind my head and push it back while holding onto the same limb with my other hand. Pretty simple, you have probably seen a lot of people doing this already.

    -Tricep stretch
    Put your elbow on a flat surface in front of you and put your hand in a bicep curl position. Push down on the forearm of this arm with the opposite hand. It is like you are contracting your biceps really hard actually.

    My stretching routine

    Something that is more useful for us bodybuilders to know is that stretching will increase the muscle size greatly by expanding connective tissue, giving it more room to grow. Arnold and many others believed in this technique and called it “fascia stretching”. My experiences with this have been great. I saw a huge difference in my muscle development after I added in these stretches- in fact, once I incorporated these, my weight gain began to skyrocket again after I had been stuck at the weight for 1 month! Coincidence? No such thing as a coincidence!

    I use all of the stretches above but only those stretches. That can target every muscle effectively, there is no need to take time to stretch out the forearm extensors and flexors and other small muscles such as those.

    After the last set for each muscle group in a given workout, I immediately go to my stretching station and perform a stretch for about 60 seconds. For the first 15-30 seconds I am easing into it and in the last 45 or so I am really feeling the pain but I push (not the best word choice mind you) through. Make sure you can look at a clock during these or you will cheat yourself!

    Before training a muscle I feel that simply completing a few warm-up sets through a full range of motion is enough to adequately stretch the muscles. If you want to stretch before training make sure to warm up first. My coaches always said “you don’t stretch to warm up you warm up to stretch.” Remember, don’t stretch the muscle too much or you will not allow maximum training results!

    My stretching routine has caused explosive growth all over my body. I am still more or less a scrawny punk compared to the bodybuilding greats, but I was amazed when I saw the results from just incorporating one minute of stretching into my workout!

    Benefits to the Cool-Down

    Like I said before, stretching and cooling-down go hand-in-hand. They allow the muscles to get back to a normal state after training.

    Think of a sport practice. After a hard workout loaded with sprinting, hitting, and focusing, an athlete is usually jittery with a highly elevated heart rate. It is beneficial after this to take some time to “unwind”. It is the same for a bodybuilder after any workout.

    How important the cool down is

    I am going to be honest here. The cool down is NOT the most important part in any training program. However, myself and many others encourage it just because it is worth the one or two minutes that it takes to do a proper cool-down. A cool-down can simply be one light, high rep set for each muscle group to further prevent the muscles from being over-tightened.

    Cooling down and recovery

    As stated before, a proper cool-down can allow the muscles to lengthen and return to a normal state faster than they would if you had not cooled down. If you stretch properly, that will limit muscle soreness greatly. If you then take the time to cool the system down you can pretty much kiss soreness the day after a workout good-bye (unless you have not trained for the past month or more- but it will still help a great deal!)

    As bodybuilders or athletes, we want to do all we can to maximize recovery and maximize the amount of growth we can get in during a short time frame, so we should take every action to maximize recovery!

    Conclusion

    I hope that after reading this article, you understand the many ways in which warming-up, cooling down and stretching are important. I also am confident that you learned a few tricks to build your own warm-up, cool down, and stretch routine, or if you already have some you can now add some new techniques to them. The methods explained in this article can be useful for people with any type of goal!

    Overall, warming up does prevent injuries and maximize lifting performance. Warming up isn’t just a safety precaution though- it also has positive effects on a bodybuilder because after a warmup strength and focus should be peaked. Cooling down and stretching follow a workout and increase recovery greatly while also adding to overall health of the muscles.

    Warming up, stretching and cooling down properly are often overlooked yet integral parts of any training program. They are very basic and traditional aspects of any athletic activity, but are often overlooked in the gym where they can be even more beneficial than in the field. These elements of training should become more commonly used in the future by those wishing to maximize performance and recovery! If you have time to exercise, you have time to warm up and cool-down/stretch!

    Bonus

    Recovery supplements

    Before I go into actual supplements, I will take the old-fashioned route and say that NOTHING will aid in recovery like a calorie surplus and a lot of carbohydrates, especially around workouts. Basic food is what makes the difference, supplements just add tiny bits here and there for the most part.

    Taking an EFA supplement will naturally boost testosterone levels. Taking Omega 3, 6, and 9’s come in pill form and will help recovery in many ways. Another thing I noticed is that ever since I began consuming 2-4 whole eggs per day, I have felt a lot stronger. Feels like more testosterone to me!

    A simple creatine supplement is known to maximize ATP production so that the muscles readily become prepared for the next workout.

    Citrulline Malate is called the “new kid on the block” as far as performance enhancers go. This product has effects ranging from limiting waste product build-up to increasing Nitric Oxide production. Both of these things help the body in the recovery cycle.

    Pre workout

    Pre workout energy and focus boosters have been getting great feedback recently. Sciviation, a great company with a lot of kind people behind it, has produced Neurostim. This product increases alertness and focus in a workout. You can imagine how much this will benefit and if you are having one of those days where you are dogging it in the gym you will wish you had bought neurostim! MRM’s Driven has similar effects while also packing some body composition-helping effects.

    Taking a shake with amino acids and glucose is proven to greatly increase availability of both before a workout. This will really improve performance in any activity. The glucose provides a “carbed-up” feeling while the amino acids, which means things like glutamine and Taurine, will further aid energy and strength!

    Post workout

    There are two things to think of post workout. You should look to replenish muscle glycogen. This will increase the muscles’ energy for the next workout (not to mention post workout carbohydrates get sapped up into the muscles like water into a sponge). Also, think of reversing the catabolic processes that take place after a workout. NOW Dextrose does both things. Dextrose is the one carbohydrate that has the biggest effect on muscle glycogen stores and is the fastest absorbing.

    What I recommend is to sip on a glucose and amino acid solution through your workout. Nothing too major, just 20-30 grams of glucose and 10 grams or so of amino acids. You can also put in any other supplements you use such as your creatine or citrulline malate and create a great recovery-aiding cocktail.

    The main thing to think about post workout is not how many milligrams of Super Placebo RX you get in but getting in a good amount of carbs and protein so you feel re-fueled and simple supplementation can accomplish this just fine.


    (THE END)
    Last edited by sword chucks; 07-13-2005 at 08:45 AM.
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