Archive for the ‘Set-Reps! Tips’ Category

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Alejandro Lopez, CSCS

If you have exhausted every possible option for biceps training, traveling to and fro the usual barbell biceps curl and the preacher curl; it may be time to enlist the Zottman curl. This little gem will elicit greater gains throughout the entire bicep/forearm complex producing noticeable gains in your biceps, your brachialis muscle (a synergist which runs betweenyour biceps and triceps on the outer portion of your arm), and your brachioradialis(which runs along your outer forearm, lying just below the brachialis). The Zottman curl works not only by stressing these muscles due to the grip change at the top of the movement but but also by producing a hold during the top portion as well to facilitate the aforementioned grip change. Here is how to do it:

  1. Hold the dumbbells in each hand at arm’s length close to your sides with the usual supinated grip (palm facing up)
  2. Perform a normal curl by utilizing your elbow flexors to pull the wait to your shoulders in a steady, controlled fashion.
  3. At the topmost point in the movement, flex your biceps forcefully for a count of one and slowly pronate your grip by turning your wrist 180 degrees so your palms are facing downward
  4. With palms facing downward, lower the weight through the eccentric, falling motion, in a controlled manner.
  5. When the weight is at its lowest postion with arms fully extended at your sides, reverse your grip to a normal, palms up grip and begin again for reps.

Happy Lifting!

This exercise can also be performed by beginning with palms facing downward wtih a switch at the top to palms facing upward.


Studies have shown that engaging in aerobic or endurance exercise prior to anaerobic or resistance training can result in diminished strength when engaging in the anaerobic portion. Though I am not advocating dropping steady-state cardio from your routine, I am recommending that you split the resistance and cardio, electing to weight train on one day and do cardio another. This allows for greater recovery between the two portions and helps prevent overtraining.

P.S. As an added bonus, adopt HIIT training instead of steady -state cardio for maximum strength and muscle gain.


Go Green! No, I am not advocating being carbon- neutral, I am requesting, nay, urging that you give green tea extract a whirl if you want to lose an extra pound or two of unsightly fat. Though drinking the actual tea has its many benefits, you would have to consume dozens of cups a day to reach the fat burning dosage you could easily find in a few pills a day. Just make sure that when choosing the perfect pill,they contain a proven amount of EGCG, a polyphenol that is the prime mover of those stubborn fat cells in your body.

Also, caffeine and EGCG work very well synergistically to combat fat throughout the day, so take both throughout the day with meals for a killer combo.

Note: It is vital that you take the appropriate dosage of each for your given bodyweight, no more and no less, to achieve the perfect combination of safety and results.


When a certain bodypart is lacking in your physique, be it your calf muscles or back muscles, and you wish to see them grow and become stronger, you must prioritize that specific bodypart. This means that before anything else, before working on your absolute favorite, strongest , most responsive muscle, you should stimulate that stubborn muscle. So if you need bigger calves, throw in a few sets of seated calf raises  either before you begin your leg workout or before any workout at all. (working any muscle for a few sets before every workout of the week sends a signal to your body that you will be using it often so it must grow!) So priotize this!

Simply because you are sore from your last workout does not mean that you cannot workout that same body part today. In other words, being sore or experiencing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) does not always imply that the body part is still recovering. So if you feel up to it, try hitting each body part twice per week for greater gains!

Always eat your breakfast and never falter. You have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for good reason. Breaking that night-long fast allows your body to kick catabolism (eating up muscle-bad) out the door and initiate an anabolic state (muscle creation-good) which allows for greater fat burn. Aim to consume a solid protein source such as whole eggs to supply much need amino acids and a wholesome carb source such as whole wheat toast or oatmeal to kickstart your new day! Happy Break-Fasting!

Go Uni! Training unilaterally (using one arm or one leg for an exercise as opposed to both) is a fantastic abdominal stimulator, as your body must maintain fixed to counter-balance the weight, a great change-up in your routine, and vital way to make sure that both halves of your body are symmetrical. So try doing dumbbell curls, tricep extensions, and chest flys with one arm instead of two and reap the benefits.

P.S. Also try doing squats and lunges with one leg instead of two for a great, new workout. But start off with the bodyweight versions of the two to gauge balance and single-limb strength.  Happy Lifting!

Eat your eggs! On top of being versatile and delicious, the egg is packed with a great protein profile meaning it has a fantastic assortment and abundance of amino acids to feed your starved, morning muscles. But what you may not know is that most of the egg’s valuable nutrients are located in the yolk, so eat the whole darn thing and never look back. Happy Egging!

P.S. Just don’t go crazy on them, they do contain a moderate amount of saturated fat (Not always the bad guy). Two or three in the morning is just fine.

Instead of steady-state, regular ol’ cardio try HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. It is basically a cycle session composed of a sprint for about thirty seconds to a minute followed by 30 seconds of very low intensity cardio for a total of 10-20min. This can be accomplished by running, cycling, or any other  form of cardiovascular exercise. Studies have shown that, as a whole, HIIT burns more calories and tends to build muscle faster than normal cardio. So HIIT it up!


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Ya Snooze, Ya win! Sleep is your best friend for any occasion, be it fat loss, muscle-gain, or sports training, So get your rest in every night, at least 7 hours, and, if you can, separate resistance training sessions by a day. Also, if you have been on a steady exercise plan for over two months it may be time to take a week off and let those hard-working muscles take a breather. You will likely come back harder and stronger and your muscles will be glad you did.