Holiday Training Back Exercises and More
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Holiday Training Back Exercises and More

So it’s holiday time, your bags are packed, your flight and your hotel is booked and you are rearing to go, but what about your workout regime? You have committed your self to being in shape and living a healthy lifestyle, what happens to that commitment when you go on holiday?

Remember to relax: Working out does not just take its toll on your muscles, but your brain and your nervous system as well. Not to mention the stresses that come with daily life, your holiday is an escape, a time to get away from home and have fun. Therefore do not stress about your workout routine whilst on holiday, it will be much better off for you to have a relaxing time than to spend your entire holiday worrying about the gym. Do however stick to your healthy diet, just maybe not as rigidly as you would at home.

Holidays are a time to relax and unwind, don’t waste your time stressing.

I’m not saying you should be lazy: If you are reading this post at all I doubt you are the kind of person who want to spend their entire holiday roasting themselves on the beach. With that in mind here is a list of activities you can do to keep active and have fun whilst on holiday:

Surfing
Snowboarding
Skiing
Climbing
Hiking
Cycling
Exploring
Golf
Tennis
Diving
Swimming
Water-sports

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Not many sports will give you the pure visceral joy that surfing will.

If you are desperate to workout whilst on holiday then you can always head to the nearest town or city and see if you can work out at a local gym there, alternatively you could devise a body-weight workout instead.

Conclusion: I am a massive advocate of healthy living and working out, but life is short and holidays always seem to go too fast. The most important thing is to have fun, definitely try some of the activities mentioned above and don’t stress about the gym, you wont be doing your mind or your body any favours.

The best workout in the world cannot be effective if combined with poor nutrition, your diet is equally, if not more important than the work you do in the gym. One of the key benefits of a healthy diet is that your body will not be lacking in any essential vitamins or minerals. In this post we will be looking at one specific mineral: zinc. We will examine its benefits of zinc as well as the risks that come with not getting enough.

Sesame seeds are a great natural source of Zinc.

There are many consequences of not getting enough zinc (8mg per day) in your diet they include:

Lack of energy, a shortage of zinc could leave you feeling fatigued and lethargic, this will considerably hold you back in the gym, not to mention your life in general.
Weak immune system, like a lack of vitamin C a shortage of zinc can negatively effect your immune system making you more susceptible to illness.
Mental problems, a lack of zinc can lead to mental conditions such as increased anxiety or depression, this combined with the lack of energy could leave you dreading your next workout.
Lack of libido, impotence and reduction of sperm-count. Zinc is is involved in controlling the levels of testosterone in the body and is lost upon ejaculation.

If reading that has worried you about your intake then check out these zinc rich foods:

Oysters
Sesame seeds
Brazil nuts
Crab
Shrimps
Liver (Veal)
Pumpkin seeds
Beef
Cheese
Eggs
Dark chocolate

The king of zinc, Oysters are an excellent source of zinc.

Use these moves to build a muscular back.

Lateral pulldown: Sit facing a pulldown machine, take a wide overhand grip on the bar, pull the bar down to your chest and then slowly return to the start position and repeat.

Advantages:

This move is a good way of adding width to your back.
This exercise also recruits your biceps, meaning you are able to lift more weight which will build more muscle and add definition.
This move is quite variable, you can change your grip on the bar to target your back in different ways.

Disadvantages:

This move will not result in big strength gains.
This move is considerably less effective than the pull-up.

Use the pull-down machine to add width to your back.

T-bar row: Wedge one end of a barbell into a corner, or have a training partner stand on it and load the other end up with weights. Stand above the bar so that it is between your legs, bend your knees and grasp the bar with both hands, palms facing each other. Keeping a natural arch in your back, pull the bar towards your chest hold it for a count then lower it with control, repeat.

Advantages:

This is a great move for adding serious thickness to your upper back.
When you perform this move your palms should be facing each other, this is the strongest position they can be in, meaning you should be able to lift some heavy iron.

Disadvantages:

Like some of the other upper back exercises (e.g. bent over rows), you need to take care with your posture when you complete this move otherwise you could strain or injure your lower back.

Bent over dumbbell flyes: Start with a narrower than shoulder width stance with a bend in your knees, lean forward at your waist so you are in a similar position as you were for the t-bar rows. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other in front of your waist, keeping a slight bend in your elbows raise your arms up either side of your body, lower and repeat.

Advantages:

This move is an effective way to isolate your rear deltoids, helping to create that v-shaped torso.

Disadvantages:

Again this move is not a big muscle builder as it is an isolation lift.

Thanks again to all of you for reading, I hope you all get something out of this. I would just like to take a minute to pay my respects to the late Joe Weider who many people, myself included regard as one of the fathers of bodybuilding. Reading his publications was one of the things that developed my interest in fitness and bodybuilding and I know there are a great deal of other people out there who could say the same thing.

Dead-lift: Place a loaded barbell on the floor and stand behind it so that the barbell is just in front of your shins, bend your knees but keep a natural arch in your back and grip the bar with one overhand grip and one underhand grip (see first picture below). Keeping the arch in your back sit back and drive your self up through your heels until you are standing up right with the bar inline with your thighs (see second picture below), return to the first position and repeat.

Advantages:

This move is a big strength increaser, keep practicing it and you will find you are able to lift a massive amount of iron.
You will work nearly all of your posterior muscles with this lift.
Since it is a big compound lift it will release extra testosterone and natural growth hormone in your body.

Disadvantages:

It is crucial that you maintain good form throughout this move, if done incorrectly it can cause excess stress on your lower back.
Changing the weight plates on either side of the barbell can be time consuming because the bar is resting on the ground.

Pull-ups: Take an overhand grip on a pull up bar, make sure that your feet are off of the floor, without swinging pull your self up until your chest is as close to th bar as you can get it, then slowly lower back down without fully locking out your arms and repeat.

Advantages:

This move is an excellent bodyweight exercise that works a lot of muscles and builds strength.
This exercise is very versatile, you can make it harder by adding a weighted belt or make it easier by using a pull-up assistance machine, alongside this there are a variety of ways to vary the way you perform the exercise to target different muscles .
At the time of writing this I can think of no disadvantages of this move.

Pull-ups are an effective bodyweight muscle builder.

Bent over barbell row: Hold a loaded barbell in front of your thighs using a shoulder width, overhand grip, bend your knees slightly and bend forward at your waist whilst maintaining a natural arch in your back. With control pull the weight towards your chest, hold it for a count then lower it with control and without locking out your elbows at the bottom, repeat.

Advantages:

This is an effective lift for adding thickness to your back.
Grip the bar with an underhand grip instead of overhand to incorporate your biceps into the lift, this will allow you to lift more weight and work your arms at the same time.

Disadvantages:

You need to make sure that you have the correct posture when performing this lift, otherwise you can risk injuring your lower back.

Hopefully you all got something out of reading Chest #1, if so this post contains a few more exercises that I couldn’t fit into the last one. Enjoy.

Heavy chain bench-press: Set yourself up the same as you did for the bench-press (see Chest #1) only this time attach a heavy chain to each end of the bar. Grip the bar with an over hand grip, unrack it and lower it to your chest, press the bar back above your chest but do not lock out your elbows, lower and repeat.

Advantages:

The chains mean that the move gets harder towards the top of the lift, the gradually increasing difficulty will lead to strength and muscle mass gains.
If your gym doesn’t have heavy chains then you can substitute them for rubber resistance bands that attach to the bench. If you cannot find either of these then get a training partner to gently press down on the bar as you perform a regular bench-press.

Disadvantages:

Like the regular bench-press you should not carry out this move without a spotter.
If you are using either chains or resistance bands they could take a long time to set up and take down, therefore would not be suitable if you only have a small amount of time for your workout.

Attach heavy chains or resistance bands to the barbell to increase difficulty and aid in strength and muscle gains.

Cable Crossover: Stand in between two cable machines (see picture below), grasp each of the handles with an overhand grip and keep your arms out to your sides so your body makes a T-shape. Take a step forward and stick your chest out, perform the move by pulling your arms down so that your wrists crossover each other in front of your abdomen, tense your chest at this point then slowly raise your arms again, repeat.

Advantages:

This is a great way to add definition to an already well developed set of pecs.
This move is done standing which will make a needed change to your chest workout which mainly consists of lifts that are done lying down.

Disadvantages:

Similarly to the dumbbell flyes (see Chest #1) this move isn’t a big muscle builder, it is also aimed at guys who already have a big chest but want to sculpt it into a desirable shape.

Use cable crossovers at the end of your workout to increase your chest definition.

Chest machines: I have left these until last because there is a wide variety of chest machines and they differ according to the company that make them, in which case I will leave out any advice on how to use them as most of them are relatively self explanatory. I apologise if this is coming across as negative as there are many benefits of training using machines, especially for bodybuilders.

However I have found that some guys who are new to the gym tend to favour machines over free weights. In the long run this does not benefit them in the same way as training with free weights would, this is because some machines do not work the smaller stabilising muscles, the result of this is that even though you may develop big muscles, you will not have the same amount of strength as someone who trains with free weights.

Right, on that note I shall wrap things up before this turns into a bit of a rant, thanks again to all for reading, I hope you all get something out of this.