Category Archives: exercises

Exercises You’ve Never Tried: Beach Body Edition

I have a confession to make: I love lifting weights, but I don’t enjoy training the beach muscles.
It’s not that I hate bodybuilding or training arms – I love all training – but if given the choice, I’d pick legs ten times out of ten.
My hierarchy would probably look something like this:

  1. Legs
  2. More Legs
  3. Back
  4. Wander aimlessly around the gym
  5. Chest/Shoulders
  6. More Back
  7. Read a magazine
  8. Core
  9. Clip my toenails
  10. Arms

Most typical upper body exercises bore me to tears. I just can’t get hyped up for bench presses, pushdowns, and curls like I can for squats, lunges, and pull-ups.
Call me crazy.
One thing that helps make upper body days more fun, and consequently keeps me pushing hard, is experimenting with different exercise variations. Here are some upper body exercises that even I like.

1. Rotational One-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press

When I first saw the one-arm dumbbell bench press, I didn’t give it the respect it deserves. It didn’t look particularly hard, so I unassumingly grabbed the same weight I’d use for a regular dumbbell bench press.
Bad move. Anyone that’s tried the exercise before knows where this is going.
On the first rep, I literally tipped to the side and fell off the bench, dropping the dumbbell like a total jackass and causing a scene. I knew immediately I was going to like this one.
While it’s essentially an upper-body pushing exercise to work the chest, shoulders, and triceps, you’ll learn fast that it’s really a full body exercise. To be successful, you must create massive tension throughout your legs, core, and even the opposite arm.
You’ll want to start out light to avoid my embarrassing fate, but interestingly, after a few tries to get the hang of it, you’ll find you’re able to use more weight unilaterally than you could bilaterally.
I like to start with a neutral grip at the bottom and pronate my wrist as I press. This feels great on the shoulders, and the rotation allows for a better contraction in my chest.

2. Ring Flies

Exercises You've Never Tried: Beach Body Edition

These are brutal, but if you can pull them off, they’ll fry your chest like no other. I first tried them after seeing a picture of Larry Scott doing them on some badass old-school chain rings.
This is an extremely advanced exercise, so don’t just jump right into trying it if you don’t have any experience on the rings. Doing so will inevitably lead to either a shoulder injury or a face plant, neither of which you want.
Make sure you can first knock out at least 25 ring push-ups to get acquainted with the inherent instability. From there, progress to flies with your arms bent at approximately a 90-degree angle. You may even want to do these on your knees at first.
Once you’re comfortable with those, it’s time to progress to full flies. Be sure to maintain a slight bend in your elbows to protect your shoulders and keep the tension on your chest.

If you get comfortable with full flies (and by comfortable I mean proficient – I can assure your pecs won’t be comfortable), give ring “fly-aways” a shot. I got the idea for these from a recent Livespill from TC where he talked about a similar concept using dumbbells.
You’re basically going to do a drop set going in the reverse order of the progression I laid out to work up to full flies: five full flies, five bent-arm flies, and five pushups, all in succession with no rest. Superset that with five minutes of lying on the floor, hating life.

3. Ring Push-up/Fly Combo

Like the name suggests, one arm does a push-up while the other arm does a fly. You’ll want to place more weight on the arm doing the push-up and de-load the arm doing the fly as much as possible. It may help to think of it as a modified one-arm pushup where you reach the other arm straight out to the side. Alternate between arms each rep.
Confused? I don’t blame you. Check out the video below.

The unilateral nature of the exercise may lead you to believe it’s significantly more difficult than bilateral ring flies, but from a pressing standpoint, it’s actually slightly easier since the arm doing the push-up is supporting the majority of the load where the lever arm is shorter. The “fly” arm simply provides some assistance to counter the rotational demands of the one-arm push up, and gets a decent stretch and bit of activation in the process.
From a core standpoint, however, it’s much harder. The unilateral nature of the exercise introduces a big anti-rotational stability component since you have to brace extremely hard to avoid twisting toward the arm doing the fly.

4. Supinated Ring Chins

Exercises You've Never Tried: Beach Body Edition

Some bodybuilding coaches spout that chin-ups are the best biceps exercise going and no direct biceps work is required. Others say to build mammoth bone-crushing pythons, you need to devote an entire day (or two or three) per week to arms and do every type of curl imaginable.
I’m somewhere in the middle.
I love chin-ups as much as anybody, while curls are the absolute bane of my training existence.
I dropped curls all-together about two years ago, and have just been doing a heavy diet of chin-ups and rows. In that time, my arms have stayed about the same size while the rest of my body has grown, leading me to believe that chin-ups obviously work the biceps to a large degree and are sufficient if your goals are more performance-based, but probably aren’t enough if you hope to start selling tickets to the gun show.
Here’s the thing: it depends largely on how you do the chin-ups.
For instance, I usually use a shoulder-width grip (often wider) and think of my arms as being hooks while my back does all the work. I also come to full extension at the bottom of every rep and do them explosively while maintaining control of my body (i.e. no swinging).
Interestingly, the better I’ve become at chin-ups, the less I feel them in my biceps. Fact is, when I do feel my biceps working a lot, I take it as a sign I’m not retracting my scapulae as I should be.
However, you can easily tweak them to hone in on the biceps. The best way I’ve found is with close-grip supinated ring chin-ups.
Place the rings as close together as possible and take a supinated grip. Perform the reps slower than normal on both the concentric and eccentric and stop just short of full extension at the bottom to keep constant tension on the biceps. It’s important to be strict with these.

If you don’t have rings, you can do them with just a bar, although the rings definitely add something to it from a biceps standpoint. You’ll find that towards the bottom of the rep, the rings will start to twist and your biceps will be forced to kick into overdrive to keep that supinated wrist position.
These are a lot tougher than they look, so if it’s too much at first, you can also try a similar concept using inverted rows instead.

Doing reps like this will invariably shortchange your back to some degree, so do them after your regular chin-up or inverted row workout to finish off your arms.

5. Super Slow Chin-ups

The explanation for these is simple, but they’re far from easy. Do a close-grip chin-up as slowly as you can. That’s it.
Shoot for 20-30 seconds on the concentric and 30-40 seconds on the eccentric to start. If you can do that, add some weight. If that’s too much, then just go as slowly as you can.
I also like to do a static hold at the top.

Use a supinated grip for more biceps emphasis or a neutral grip to target the brachialis. Either way, it’ll also blast your forearms and help build tremendous grip strength.
Save this for the tail end of your workout and just do one painstaking rep. Trust me, if you’re doing it right, that’s all you’ll be able to muster.

6. Bodyweight Triceps Extensions

This is an awesome triceps exercise that, when done correctly, also smokes the core.
TC wrote about doing these in a Smith machine in a Livespill and while I like that exercise too, I prefer doing them using suspension straps for two reasons.
First, you can get a bigger range of motion. When you use a fixed bar, you’re forced to do the exercise like a traditional skullcrusher where you bring your forehead to the bar. With straps, you can extend your arms forward slightly as you drop down so that at the bottom, your hands are actually behind your head. This enhances the stretch on the long head of the triceps and takes stress off the elbows.
Second, the straps allow you to rotate your hands freely as you move through the rep, making it more shoulder-friendly and increasing the contraction in your triceps.

To get the full benefit for your core, it’s imperative that you keep a straight line from your feet to your head. There will be a tendency to want to pike at the hips, so you’ll need to squeeze your glutes and brace your abs to prevent that from happening. It should feel similar to the sensation you get from an ab wheel rollout. If it doesn’t, you’re probably not doing it right.
This is a lot tougher than it looks, so start with the straps fairly high at first (approximately chest level) and work your way down.

7. Reverse Grip Dumbbell Floor Press

Perform this exercise just as you would a regular dumbbell floor press, only supinate your hands as you press. At the bottom your palms will face each other, while at the top they’ll point back behind you.

Where you feel this exercise will depend on your set up. If you use a wider grip, you’ll feel it more in your chest, whereas a closer-grip will put more emphasis on the triceps. I prefer a close grip because I find a wide grip puts undue stress on my shoulders, elbows, and wrists.
You can also try holding a supinated position throughout the rep, but I prefer to rotate to allow for a neutral, shoulder-friendly position closer to the chest.
Think about pressing the dumbbell down towards your feet rather than up over your face like you might in a typical barbell bench press. You obviously won’t be able to, but having that cue in your mind makes the exercise go more smoothly.
Start with about 50% of the weight you can use for a regular dumbbell press and go from there.

8. The “Anti” Press

In response to Dr. Stuart McGill’s research regarding spinal health, much of the new-age core training focuses on “anti” movement stability training: anti-rotation, anti-extension, and anti-lateral flexion. I called this exercise the “anti press” because it addresses all those categories simultaneously.
Grab the handle of a suspension strap and face sideways. Lean out so that your body is at about a 60% angle to the floor. Now brace your core to keep from twisting and press straight out until your arms are fully extended. This part of the motion is similar to a Pallof press you might do with bands or cables and works anti-rotation.
From there, bring your arms straight overhead and pause for a brief second. At this point, you’re focusing on anti-extension and anti-lateral flexion. Rinse and repeat for the desired reps.

Along with building tremendous core stability, this also assists with shoulder strength and mobility. I’m always looking for ways to kill as many birds as I can with one stone and this exercise fits the bill nicely.
It’s easy to progress or regress simply by adjusting your foot position and/or the length of the strap. The further out your feet are from the anchor point and the shorter the strap is, the easier it will be. Move your feet more underneath the anchor point and increase the length of the strap as you get better.
This is a very advanced exercise, so you may want to start with just the overhead portion and see how that goes first.

Conclusion

If you’re one of those people that when asked how you’re doing always responds with “same shit, different day,” some of these exercises may be just what you need to spice up your gym life and get growing again. Don’t go throwing all the basics out the window, but use these as supplements to reignite your training vigor or to help break through a rut or plateau.
Have fun, and be sure to save me a seat at the gun show.
Actually, don’t bother. I’m pretty sure I’ll be training legs that day.

Wikio

>Can Exercise Keep You Young? – NYTimes.com

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We all know that physical activity is beneficial in countless ways, but even so, Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, was startled to discover that exercise kept a strain of mice from becoming gray prematurely.

In the experiment, Dr. Tarnopolsky and his colleagues used lab rodents that carry a genetic mutation affecting how well their bodies repair malfunctioning mitochondria, which are tiny organelles within cells. Mitochondria combine oxygen and nutrients to create fuel for the cells — they are microscopic power generators.But shiny fur was the least of its benefits. Indeed, in heartening new research published last week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, exercise reduced or eliminated almost every detrimental effect of aging in mice that had been genetically programmed to grow old at an accelerated pace.
Mitochrondria have their own DNA, distinct from the cell’s own genetic material, and they multiply on their own. But in the process, mitochondria can accumulate small genetic mutations, which under normal circumstances are corrected by specialized repair systems within the cell. Over time, as we age, the number of mutations begins to outstrip the system’s ability to make repairs, and mitochondria start malfunctioning and dying.
Many scientists consider the loss of healthy mitochondria to be an important underlying cause of aging in mammals. As resident mitochondria falter, the cells they fuel wither or die. Muscles shrink, brain volume drops, hair falls out or loses its pigmentation, and soon enough we are, in appearance and beneath the surface, old.
The mice that Dr. Tarnopolsky and his colleagues used lacked the primary mitochondrial repair mechanism, so they developed malfunctioning mitochondria early in their lives, as early as 3 months of age, the human equivalent of age 20. By the time they reached 8 months, or their early 60s in human terms, the animals were extremely frail and decrepit, with spindly muscles, shrunken brains, enlarged hearts, shriveled gonads and patchy, graying fur. Listless, they barely moved around their cages. All were dead before reaching a year of age.
Except the mice that exercised.
Half of the mice were allowed to run on a wheel for 45 minutes three times a week, beginning at 3 months. These rodent runners were required to maintain a fairly brisk pace, Dr. Tarnopolsky said: “It was about like a person running a 50- or 55-minute 10K.” (A 10K race is 6.2 miles.) The mice continued this regimen for five months.
At 8 months, when their sedentary lab mates were bald, frail and dying, the running rats remained youthful. They had full pelts of dark fur, no salt-and-pepper shadings. They also had maintained almost all of their muscle mass and brain volume. Their gonads were normal, as were their hearts. They could balance on narrow rods, the showoffs.
But perhaps most remarkable, although they still harbored the mutation that should have affected mitochondrial repair, they had more mitochondria over all and far fewer with mutations than the sedentary mice had. At 1 year, none of the exercising mice had died of natural causes. (Some were sacrificed to compare their cellular health to that of the unexercised mice, all of whom were, by that age, dead.)
The researchers were surprised by the magnitude of the impact that exercise had on the animals’ aging process, Dr. Tarnopolsky said. He and his colleagues had expected to find that exercise would affect mitochondrial health in muscles, including the heart, since past research had shown a connection. They had not expected that it would affect every tissue and bodily system studied.
Other studies, including a number from Dr. Tarnopolsky’s own lab, have also found that exercise affects the course of aging, but none has shown such a comprehensive effect. And precisely how exercise alters the aging process remains unknown. In this experiment, running resulted in an upsurge in the rodents’ production of a protein known as PGC-1alpha, which regulates genes involved in metabolism and energy creation, including mitochondrial function. Exercise also sparked the repair of malfunctioning mitochondria through a mechanism outside the known repair pathway; in these mutant mice, that pathway didn’t exist, but their mitochondria were nonetheless being repaired.
Dr. Tarnopolsky is currently overseeing a number of experiments that he expects will help to elucidate the specific physiological mechanisms. But for now, he said, the lesson of his experiment and dozens like it is unambiguous. “Exercise alters the course of aging,” he said.
Although in this experiment, the activity was aerobic and strenuous, Dr. Tarnopolsky is not convinced that either is absolutely necessary for benefits. Studies of older humans have shown that weightlifting can improve mitochondrial health, he said, as can moderate endurance exercise. Although there is probably a threshold amount of exercise that is necessary to affect physiological aging, Dr. Tarnopolsky said, “anything is better than nothing.” If you haven’t been active in the past, he continued, start walking five minutes a day, then begin to increase your activity level.
The potential benefits have attractions even for the young. While Dr. Tarnopolsky, a lifelong athlete, noted with satisfaction that active, aged mice kept their hair, his younger graduate students were far more interested in the animals’ robust gonads. Their testicles and ovaries hadn’t shrunk, unlike those of sedentary elderly mice.
Dr. Tarnopolsky’s students were impressed. “I think they all exercise now,” he said.

6 EXERCISE MACHINES YOU MUST AVOID

6 Exercise Machines You Should Do Without
While machines might seem like the foolproof way to exercise, they aren’t always the safest. In fact, sometimes they actually contribute to the injuries you were trying to avoid in the first place. Here are 6 machines you should lift without.

Extra tip: Download our on-the-go fitness app: No machine necessary.
The Seated Leg Extension
The myth: It’s the safest way to work your quadriceps, or thigh muscles.

The truth: Physiologists at the Mayo Clinic determined that leg extensions place significantly more stress on your knees than squats. Why? Because the resistance is placed near your ankles, which leads to high amounts of torque being applied to your knee joint every time you lower the weight. What’s more, Auburn University scientists found that people who squat long-term have tighter, stronger knee ligaments than those who don’t squat at all.

The alternatives: Free weight squats, split squats, and lunges—performed with perfect form—are all better choices for working your quads and protecting your knees.

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The Behind-the-Neck Lat Pull-Down
The myth: The best way to perform the lat pulldown is to pull the bar behind your head, down to your upper back

The truth: Unless you have very flexible shoulders, this exercise is difficult to do correctly, and can increase your risk for shoulder impingement syndrome—a painful condition in which the muscles or tendons of your rotator cuff become entrapped in your shoulder joint.

The alternative: Simple—just pull the bar in front of your head, down to your collarbone. You’ll work your back just as hard, but with less risk for injury.

The Pec Deck
The myth: It’s a super safe and very effective way to work your chest muscles.

The truth: This apparatus, also called the chest fly machine, can overstretch the front of your shoulder and cause the muscles around the rear of your shoulder to stiffen. The result: Doing this movement frequently can lead to shoulder impingement syndrome.

The alternatives: Forget the machine, and stick with exercises such as the pushup, dumbbell bench press and dumbbell incline press; they’re easier on your shoulders and the best way to build your chest overall. In fact, Truman State University researchers found that pectoral muscles are activated for 23 percent less time during the chest fly, compared with the bench press.

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The Seated Hip Abductor Machine
The myth: This machine is the best way to work your out thighs, including your glutes.

The truth: Because you’re seated, it trains a movement that has no functional use. And if done with excessive weight and jerky technique, it can put undue pressure on your spine.

The alternative: Work the same muscles, but while standing. Simply loop a resistance band around both legs, and position the band just below your knees.  Now take small steps to your left for 20 feet. Then side-step back to your right for 20 feet. That’s one set. This is much harder than it sounds, but you can do it anywhere, and it’s also a great warmup for any sport.

The Seated Rotation Machine
The myth: Twisting on this machine helps melt your love handles.

The truth: It works the muscles under your love handles, but will do little to reduce the fat that covers them. What’s more, because your pelvis doesn’t move as you rotate your upper body, this exercise can put excessive twisting forces on the spine.

The alternative: As long as you don’t expect to shrink your love handles, you can use rotational exercises to work your obliques. But here’s the secret to safety: Before you do any rotational exercises, brace your abs forcefully—as if you’re about to be punched in the gut—and hold them that way as you do the movement. This limits your range of motion and helps to keep you from rotating excessively at your lower spine.

The Smith Machine
The myth: This machine—which looks like a squat rack with a built-in bar that runs on guides—gives you all the benefits of squats, but none of the risk that comes from holding a heavy barbell across your back. That’s because the bar can easily be secured at any point during the movement.

The truth: Because the bar runs on guides, you can only move straight up and down as you squat—instead of down and back, as you would in a free-weight squat. The result: An unnatural movement that puts extra stress on your knees and lower back. Need another reason to skip the Smith? Canadian researchers found that traditional squats produced almost 50 percent more muscle activity in the quadriceps than squats done on a Smith machine.

The alternative: If you’re not comfortable with barbell squats, simply do the exercise while holding dumbbells at arm’s length next to your sides. You won’t need a spotter, and your body will be free to move through the natural motion of the squat.

Wikio

The Best New Exercises for Every Part of a Man’s Body

The Best New Exercises for Every Part of a Man’s BodyBy: Adam Campbell, M.S., C.S.C.S.
bestexercises-1_1.jpg
There’s a popular saying among fitness experts: “The best exercise is the one you’re not doing.” The take-home message? You need to consistently challenge your body in new ways in order to achieve the best results. So while classic movements like the pushup, row, and squat are the staples of any good workout plan, varying the way you perform these exercises every 4 weeks can help you avoid plateaus, beat boredom, and even speed fat loss.

And that’s why I wrote The Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises. From start to finish, this muscle manual bulges with full-color photos of more than 600 exercises, along with scores of useful tips, the latest findings in exercise science, and cutting-edge workouts from the world’s top trainers. All to give you thousands of ways to upgrade your old workout—and add new muscle, strip away fat, and sculpt the body you’ve always wanted. The really good news: You can start today, with this list of the best new exercises for every part of a man’s body.

Pushup PlusThe benefit: Besides working your chest as effectively as any exercise, the “plus” part of this movement hits your serratus anterior—a small but important muscle that helps move your shoulder blades. Strengthen your serratus, and you’ll improve your posture and reduce your risk of shoulder injuries—as you build your chest.

How to do it: Assume a pushup position with your arms straight and your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause, and then push back up. As you straighten your arms, push your upper back toward the ceiling. This extra movement is very slight; you’ll rise up only another couple of inches. Pause for a one count, then repeat. For another great pushup variation, check out this great exercise for working your chest.

Barbell Push PressThe benefit: This exercise engages the quadriceps muscles of your thighs to help you generate more force. The upshot: You’ll be able to use heavier weights, while activating a greater number of total muscles.

How to do it: Grab a barbell with an overhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder-width, and hold it at shoulder level in front of your body. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart [A]. Now dip your knees [B], and then in one movement, straighten your legs as you explosively press the barbell over your head until your arms are straight. Lower and repeat.

Want more ways to broaden your torso? Click here to see the secret shoulder shaper you should start doing today.

Incline EZ-Bar Lying Triceps ExtensionThe benefit: Lying on an incline bench as you do this move allows you to hit your triceps from a slightly different angle than the classic version of the exercise. So it stresses your muscles in a new way, which can spark new growth.

How to do it: Grab an EZ-curl bar with an overhand grip, your hands a little less than shoulder-width apart. Then lie on your back on an incline bench that’s set to a 30-degree angle. Hold the bar above your forehead, keeping your arms straight. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows to lower the bar until your forearms are just past parallel to the floor. Pause, then lift the weight back to the starting position by straightening your arms.

Don’t forget: The leaner your arms, the more defined your triceps. Your secret weapon? The new fat-fighting cookbook, Cook This, Not That!

Incline Offset-Thumb Dumbbell CurlThe benefit: Lying on an incline causes your arms to hang behind your body, which emphasizes the long head of your biceps brachii to a greater degree than a standard curl. What’s more, using an “offset-thumb” grip also hits your biceps brachii harder. That’s because the muscle has to work overtime to keep your palms facing up as you curl the weight.

How to do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells so that your thumbs are touching the outside head of each dumbbell. Then lie on your back on a bench set to a 45-degree angle, and let the dumbbells hang straight down from your shoulders. Turn your arms so that your palms face forward. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Pause, then lower the weights.

Bonus biceps-builder: The Telle Curl.
Bar HoldThe benefit: Improves your grip strength for exercises like chinups and deadlifts. This helps make sure your forearms don’t give out too early, so you won’t shortchange the rest of your working muscles.

How to do it: Set a barbell on a rack at the level of your waist, and load the bar with a heavy weight. Grab the bar with an overhand grip that’s beyond shoulder-width apart. Dip your knees, lift the bar off the rack, and hold it for the appropriate amount of time for your goal. For maximum grip strength, choose the heaviest weight you can hold for about 20 seconds. To build more muscle, choose the heaviest that you can hold for about 60 seconds.

Plus, you can use a similar method to add inches to your arms.

Cable Face Pull with External RotationThe benefit: Works your upper back’s scapular muscles and the rotator cuff muscles of your shoulders. Collectively, these muscles, which tend to be weak in most guys, are the key to stable, healthy shoulders and a strong upper body.

How to do it: Attach a rope to the high pulley of a cable station (or a lat pulldown station) and grab an end with each hand. Back a few steps away from the weight stack until your arms are straight in front of you. In one movement, pull the middle of the rope toward your eyes as you flare your elbows out, bend your arms, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. (Your hands should end up in line with your ears.) Pause, then reverse the movement back to the start.

No weights? You can still build your upper back, with a body-weight exercise called the Floor Y Raise.Mixed Grip ChinupThe benefit: To prevent your torso from rotating as you perform this exercise, your back, shoulder, and core muscles have to work harder than in a conventional chinup or pullup.

How to do it: Grasp a chinup bar with your hands shoulder-width apart on a chinup bar. Use an underhand-grip with one hand, and an overhand-grip with the other. Hang at arm’s length, and cross your ankles behind you. Now pull your chest to the bar by bending your elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades down and back. Once the top of your chest touches the bar, pause, then slowly lower your body back to the start.

Can’t perform even one rep? Use this little-known training trick to start doing chinups instantly.

Single-Leg Side PlankThe benefit: The side plank is one of the best exercises for improving the endurance of your lower back. And that’s key, since researchers in Finland found that people with poor muscular endurance in their lower backs are 3.4 times more likely to develop lower-back problems than those who have good endurance. This single-leg version of a side plank provides an even greater challenge because it activates your glutes as well.

How to do it: Lie on your left side with your knees straight. Prop your upper body on your left elbow and forearm, and place your right hand on your right hip. Tighten your core, and then raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Next raise your top leg as high as you can. Hold the position for 30 seconds.

Another great exercise for your lower back: The McGill Curlup.
Lateral RollThe benefit: This is one of the most challenging exercises for your entire core—from your shoulders to your hips. If you think your abs are strong, test them on this exercise to find out if they’re really strong.

How to do it: Lie on your back on a Swiss ball so that your upper back is firmly on the ball. Raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold your arms straight out from your sides. (It helps to hold a pole or broomstick across your body.) Without allowing your hips or arms to sag, roll across the ball to the left as far as you can. Reverse directions and roll as far as you can to the right. Continue back and forth for 30 seconds.

For a complete cutting-edge core routine check out the Best Abs Workout You’ve Never Done.Single-Leg SquatThe benefit: Allows you to train your lower body without weights. And in fact, it’s one of the best exercises you can do. Master this movement and you’ll improve your strength, speed, and balance.

How to do it: Stand on a bench or box that’s about knee height. Hold your arms straight out in front of you and flex your right ankle so that your toes are higher than your heel. Balancing on your left foot, bend your left knee and slowly lower your body until your right heel lightly touches the floor. Pause, then push yourself up. If that’s too hard, note where you start to “collapse” (you can’t control how fast you descend), and pause just above that point for 2 seconds. Then push yourself back up and repeat.

Click here for even more tips on how to master the single-leg squat.

Single-Leg Barbell Straight-Leg DeadliftThe benefit: Besides targeting your hamstrings, this exercise works your glutes and core. It also helps eliminate muscle imbalances between your legs, reducing your risk of injury. And as a bonus, it can improve the flexibility of your hamstrings, since it stretches these muscles every time you lower the weight.

How to do it: Grab a barbell with an overhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder width, and hold it at arm’s length in front of your hips. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Now raise one leg off the floor. Without changing the bend in your knee, bend at your hips (keep your back naturally arched), and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Pause, then squeeze your glutes, thrust your hips forward, and raise your torso back to the start.
  
Bonus tip: Follow Men’s Health editors Dave Zinczenko and Adam Campbell on Twitter.

Cable Pull ThroughThe benefit: This exercise targets your glutes, which are not only your body’s largest and most powerful muscle group, but typically the most ignored. However, training these muscles will make you stronger in nearly every lower-body exercise, help you jump higher, and reduce your risk of knee, hip, and lower-back injuries.

How to do it: Attach a rope handle to the low pulley of a cable machine. Grab an end of the rope in each hand and stand with your back to the weight stack. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and your knees slightly bent. Without changing the bend in your knees, bend at your hips (don’t round your back), and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Pause, then thrust your hips forward and raise your torso back to the start.

Another glute exercise you must do: The hip raise.

Wikio

7 Skin care rules dermatologists swear by


Want smooth, pretty, age-defying skin? We thought so. Who better to learn from than the pros who think about dermal health all day long? From what you eat to when you wash your face, here are 7 small changes that can make a big difference in tone, texture, and overall glow.
5 skincare rules you should forget
1. Suds up at night
“The most important time to wash your face is before you hit the sack,” says Doris Day, MD, a New York City–based dermatologist. Dirt, bacteria, and makeup left on overnight can irritate skin, clog pores, and trigger breakouts. Remove this top layer of grime with a gentle face wash (skin should feel pleasantly tight for 10 to 15 minutes post-cleansing), which also allows anti-agers to penetrate deeper for better results. Because oil production dips with hormonal changes in your 40s, cleansing twice daily can dry out your complexion and make wrinkles look more pronounced. To refresh skin in the morning, splash with lukewarm water.
Best night creams for your skin
2. Be UV obsessed
Nothing is more important than wearing sunscreen (ideally, SPF 30) every day if you want younger-looking skin. Even 10 minutes of daily exposure to UVA “aging” rays can cause changes that lead to wrinkles and sunspots in as few as 12 weeks. If your moisturizer isn’t formulated with a built-in broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen, be sure to apply one daily to block both UVA and UVB rays.
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3. Manage stress
Emotional upheavals can make your skin look 5 years older than your chronological age, says New York City dermatologist and psychiatrist Amy Wechsler, MD, author of The Mind-Beauty Connection. Constant anxiety increases the stress hormone cortisol, which causes inflammation that breaks down collagen. It also triggers a chain of responses that can lead to facial redness and acne flare-ups. To quell inflammation, eat antioxidant-rich foods such as berries, oranges, and asparagus. When you’re feeling tense, Wechsler recommends a few minutes of deep breathing (inhale through your nose, hold for 3 counts, and release through your mouth).
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4. Use a retinoid
Research shows that these vitamin-A derivatives speed cell turnover and collagen growth to smooth fine lines and wrinkles and fade brown spots. Prescription-strength retinoids such as Renova provide the fastest results–you’ll start to see changes in about a month. To help skin acclimate to any redness and peeling, apply just a pea-size drop to your face every third night, building up to nightly usage. Milder OTC versions (look for retinol) are gentler, although it can take up to 3 months to see noticeable results.
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5. Update your routine
Altering even one thing in your regimen every 6 to 12 months jump-starts more impressive improvements in tone and texture. “When you apply products consistently, your skin slides into maintenance mode after about a year,” says New Orleans dermatologist Mary P. Lupo, MD. To keep your skin primed for rejuvenation, substitute a cream that contains alpha hydroxy acids for your prescription retinoid twice a week to boost the benefits. Or bump up your OTC retinoid to an Rx formula.
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6. Eat omega-3s
These “good fats” in foods such as salmon, flaxseed, and almonds boost hydration, which keeps skin supple and firm. The same isn’t true of the saturated fat in dairy products and meats, which increase free-radical damage that makes skin more susceptible to aging. Limit saturated fat intake to about 17 g daily.
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7. Exercise regularly
Studies find that women who work out regularly have firmer skin than similar nonexercisers. The reason: Exercise infuses skin with oxygen and nutrients needed for collagen production. To keep your skin toned, make time for at least three 30-minute heart-pumping workouts per week.

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