How to do Barbell Push Sit-ups

To help build a strong core, barbell push sit-ups are designed to bring greater resistance for your abs. By working out on the inclined bench and at the same time using weights, these put added intensity to your workout, making it an effective abs training to tighten those abdominal muscles.

As you lift your torso while pushing the barbells upward, regularly doing barbell push sit-ups also serves to strengthen and broaden your upper body, mainly your shoulders, triceps and chest.

A key to targeting these muscles correctly is to perform this workout gradually and in correct form. Ensure that as you execute barbell push sit-ups, your lower back is secured in place lest you run the risk of injuring your back. This workout is more of an abs exercise more than anything else and should not involve your hips.

Another strategy to make full use of its benefits is to attempt to have your upper body move as high and then as low as possible in order to fully work out your muscle fiber. You may start with lighter weights to make this easier then gradually increase difficulty by adding weights as you go along.

Include barbell push sit-ups in your training routine and see those abs muscles grow while the belly fat goes away.

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Place your exercise bar or barbell next to the inclined bench.
  2. Lie flat on thebench and hook both your feet underneath the foot pad.
  3. Reach out for the barbell and hold it up directly above you with both arms, shoulder width apart or slightly wider. Use overhand grips and keep your arms straight at all times.

 

Execution

  1. Raise your torso off the inclined bench until your upper body is almost at a 90degree angle with the floor.
  2. Simultaneously push the barbell closer to the ceiling while keeping all the weight above your shoulders.
  3. Keep lower back and thighs stationary at all times.

Return

Slowly go back down to your original position.

Repeat

Do you have other strategies to make barbell push-up’s easier? Send them by leaving your comments below.

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What is the Ideal Body Fat to See Your Abs?

By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS
www.BurnFatFitness.com

Measuring your body fat percentage is a valuable tool to chart your progress on your quest to get six pack abs. Hopefully most people realize by now that abdominal exercises don’t burn fat off your stomach. Abs are made in the kitchen, not just in the gym. No matter how much you work out, if you don’t eat right and achieve a calorie deficit, your abs will remain covered in a layer of adipose.

When the realization hits you that you must reduce your body fat percentage to see your abs, one of the biggest questions that pops into your mind is, “how low do I have to get my body fat percentage to see my abs?”  It’s a tough question and the answer may be different for men than women.

Here’s what I’d recommend:

First, get familiar with some benchmarks for body fat levels.

My Burn The Fat System has a body fat rating scale, which includes averages and my suggested optimal body fat percentages. This is my own chart, which I created with a combination of research literature and my own personal experience.

Burn The Fat Body fat rating scale:

WOMEN:

Competition Shape (“ripped”): 8-12%
Very Lean (excellent): < 15%
Lean (good): 16-20%
Satisfactory (fair): 21-25%
Improvement needed (poor): 26-30%
Major improvement needed (Very poor): 31-40%+

MEN:

Competition Shape (“ripped”): 3-6%
Very Lean (excellent): < 9%
Lean (good): 10-14%
Satisfactory (fair): 15-19%
Improvement needed (poor): 20-25%
Major improvement needed (Very poor): 26-30%+

Just a quick note: You’re not destined to get fatter as you get older, but in the general population (not fitness and bodybuilding folks), the average older person has more body fat.

What I did to accommodate this was to include a body fat range instead of one number, so younger people can use the low end of the range and older people can use the higher number.

Also, just so the average reader can keep things in perspective, single digit body fat for women and low single digits for men is far beyond lean – it’s RIPPED – and that’s usually solely the domain of competitive physique athletes.

Competition body fat levels were not meant to be maintained all year round. It’s not realistic and it may not be healthy, particularly for women.

For most women, 12% body fat or thereabouts is ripped, and for many, that’s contest ready (figure or fitness competition).

Just for comparison, I’ve done over 7,000 body fat tests during my career, and the lowest I have ever measured on a female was 8.9% (4-site skinfold method). She was a national-level figure competitor and she was shredded – full six pack of abs… “onion skin!”

However, I do know some women who get down to 11-13% body fat – by all standards extremely lean, complete with six pack abs – but oddly, they still had a few stubborn fat spots – usually the hips and lower body.

What about guys? Well, I know a guy who looks absolutely chiseled in his abs at 11% body fat, but other guys don’t look really cut in the abs until they get down to 6-8% body fat. Bodybuilders usually aren’t ready for competition until they get below 6%.

That’s the trouble with trying to pin down one specific body fat number as THE body fat level for seeing 6-pack abs (or being ripped and contest-ready): Everyone distributes their body fat differently and two people may look different at the same percentage.

The average guy or gal should probably aim for the “lean” category as a realistic year round goal, or if you’re really ambitious and dedicated, the “very lean category.”

You’ll probably have to hit the “very lean” category for six pack abs. However, the bottom line is that there’s no “perfect” body fat percentage where you’re assured of seeing your abs.

Besides, body fat is one of those numbers that gets fudged and exaggerated all the time. I hear reports of women with body fat between 4% and 8% and I usually dismiss it as error in measurement (or there’s some “assistance” involved).

Body fat testing, especially with skinfolds, is not an exact science. All body fat tests are estimations and there is always room for human error.

The low numbers are nice for bragging rights, but the judges don’t measure your body fat on stage. What counts is how you look and whether you’re happy with that (or whether the judges are happy with it, if you’re competing).

You can use my chart to help you set some initial goals, but for the most part, I recommend using body fat testing as a way of charting your progress over time to see if you’re improving rather than pursuing some holy grail number.

In my Burn The fat, Feed The Muscle program, you can learn more about how to measure your body fat – professionally or even by yourself in the privacy of your own home.

Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle explains why body mass index and height and weight charts are virtually worthless, and shows you how to track your body composition over time and “tweak” your nutrition and training according to your weekly results.

Get more details at: www.BurnFatFitness.com

Tom Venuto, author of
Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle
www.BurnFatFitness.com

Founder & CEO of
Burn The Fat Inner Circle
www.BurnFatFitness.com/inner-circle

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is a fat loss expert, lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, freelance writer, and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle: Fat-Burning Secrets of The World’s Best Bodybuilders & Fitness Models (e-book) which teaches you how to get lean without drugs or supplements using secrets of the world’s best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and increase your metabolism by visiting: www.BurnFatFitness.com or http://www.BurnFatFitness.com/inner-circle

 

An Insanely Effective Type of Interval Training

By Tom Venuto
www.BurnFatFitness.com

High intensity interval training can be done in a variety of different ways. Here’s a wickedly-effective type of interval training: it requires no machines or fancy equipment, you can do it outside in the sunshine and fresh air, it develops killer conditioning, carves out legs like a sprinter, and burns calories at an accelerated rate…

In other articles about running/aerobics and high intensity interval training, as well as in my Fat loss books, I’ve written about how you can integrate both traditional steady state cardio as well as high intensity interval training into your training program for optimal body composition improvement, health and increased fitness – you don’t have to choose one form of cardio or the other. In fact, settling into dogmatic views about cardio will only limit you.

Traditional steady state cardio is pretty much self-explanatory and intuitive. But many people are still confused about the best way to do interval training.

An Insanely Effective Way To Do Interval Cardio

I’m not sure if there is a single best way to do intervals because there are so many choices and everyone is different in their goals, interests and personal preferences, so “best” is a relative thing. But let me give you one of my personal favorites that is breathtakingly effective:

Stair sprinting!

Your typical interval workout in the gym might be on a stationary cycle, treadmill or stairclimber with short 30-60 second bursts of high speed and/or resistance, followed by a 60-120 second period of low intensity recovery. That’s usually a 1:1 or 1:2 work to recovery interval. You then rinse and repeat for the desired number of intervals, usually between 6 and 12.

I sometimes have access to a great set of university stadium steps with a straight shot right up – 52 steps.

Sprinting it takes about 10 seconds or so, walking down about 30 seconds. Those are short intervals with a 1:3 work to recovery interval ratio. That wasn’t by design, it just happens to be how long it takes to run up and walk down that particular flight of stairs, but co-incidentally, that fits within common recommendations for short sprint-style intervals.

I make sure I’m warmed up first, I usually start with a couple flights up at a slow jog then a run, before sprinting, usually 10-12 rounds.

Even if you jog/run instead of sprint, (or pause briefly at the bottom of the stairs), when you do the math, you can figure that this usually doesn’t take more than 10-12 minutes.

Why do I like stadium step sprinting?

1. Stair sprinting is a time saver. Like other forms of interval training, it’s entirely possible to get as much if not more cardiovascular conditioning in 10-15 minutes than you’d get from a much longer session of slower cardio (depending on the intensity and effort levels).

2. Stair sprinting is engaging. Many people get bored doing long slow to medium intensity cardio sessions. This is a great way to break up the monotony of traditional cardio workouts. Even though it’s tough, it’s actually kind of fun.

3. Stair sprinting is incredible for leg development. As a bodybuilder, I like to look at all types of training not only in terms of conditioning, fat loss and health, but also whether they will add or detract from the physique. I find that brief but intense stair workouts are amazing for leg development – quads, hamstrings, glutes and even your calves. In fact, I started training on the stairs more than 20 years ago, and I always considered it as much if not more of a leg workout than anything else.

4. Stair sprinting can be done outside. If you have access to stadium steps, as opposed to just a stairwell, you can enjoy the sun and fresh air.

How to integrate stair running into your training program

If you’re an overachiever type, you might be tempted to do these sprint workouts in addition to your current strength training and cardio workload.

However, keep in mind that intensity and duration are inversely proportional. When you do high intensity cardio or all out sprints, you are condensing more work into less time. That means the best part is, you can do a brief but intense stair workout instead of one of your long cardio sessions rather than in addition to them.

Recommendation: Start with one session per week, then progress to two if you choose. You can do traditional cardio the other days of the week if you want or need additional calorie-burning. Lower intensity cardio in between weight training and interval workouts can also serve as active recovery.

Not everyone has access to a full flight of stadium steps, as you might find at a local University. Running flights of stairs in a high rise is another effective and no-cost way to train on stairs. Although you can’t truly sprint with twists and turns on each floor, you can jog/run.

No stairs? Hills will get the job done too and they may provide you with more flexibility in the length/duration of your intervals. I’ve found some big hills at just the right grade of incline that I can do 30-45 second runs up, with about 90-120 seconds walk down. Grassy hills are nice, when available, as they spare you some of the impact from running on the concrete.

Sprinting up stairs is not for everyone. If you have a history of health problems or orthopedic issues, check with your doctor before doing any kind of high intensity training and of course, don’t train through the pain of injury. If you are significantly overweight, it may be a challenge just to walk up stairs, let alone run up, not to mention it might create undue stress on your joints. But as you get lighter and fitter, it’s a challenge you might slowly work toward.

Be sure to build up gradually and adjust the workout based on your current health and fitness level. You could start with as few as 4-6 rounds and build up from there. You can also start with jogging up the stairs, then progress to running, then move to sprints. Be sure you are fully prepared and warmed up before attempting all out sprints as sprinting when unprepared is a notorious source of hamstring pulls.

Some coaches believe that running uphill is safer than sprinting flat surfaces. Writing for Staley Training.com, Coach Steven Morris says, “Another great reason to hill sprint: even an athlete with horrendous running form will be safe running hills. This is simply because the hill does NOT allow the athlete to over-stride nor does it allow them to reach top speed, both major factors in hamstring injuries.”

Stair sprinting is a perfect complement to the cardio portion in my Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle program. If you’re healthy and already fit, try this advanced interval workout and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!

Train hard and expect success!

Tom Venuto, author of
Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle
www.BurnFatFitness.com

Founder & CEO of
Burn The Fat Inner Circle
http://www.BurnFatFitness.com/inner-circle

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is the author of the #1 best seller, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle: Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom is a lifetime natural bodybuilder and fat loss expert who achieved an astonishing 3.7% body fat level without drugs or supplements. Discover how to increase your metabolism and burn stubborn body fat, find out which foods burn fat and which foods turn to fat, plus get a free fat loss report and mini course by visiting Tom’s site at: www.BurnFatFitness.com

How to do Single Legged Push Ups

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Lie flat on the floor, face down.
  2. Position hands on the floor, palms down, a few inches away from the sides of your chest so your elbows are sticking outward.
  3. Flex your feet so your toes are the only part of your feet that are touching the floor.
  4. Lift your left leg slightly higher than your right, bending at the knee a little.

Execution

Extend your arms and push against the floor to raise your body while keepingyour back and right legstraight.

Return

Lower your body down to your original position by bending at the elbows. Maintain a straight  back and right leg even while you descend back down to the floor.

Repeat

Repeat this process several times before doing the same thing with the other leg.

What other tips can you provide to performing single legged push ups? Share them by leaving a comment below.

How to do Wide Push Ups

 

In your daily activities, there are only very few tasks that exert pressure on the chest area, making it a largely ignored body part. Hence, when doing your six pack abs exercises, this is where you need to put your focus on. And performing wide push ups may just help you do the trick.

The push up still remains to be one of the most effective upper body exercises, even with the advancement of new and more sophisticated equipment. With wide push ups in particular, greater intensity is added to shoulders, abs and triceps apart from your chest, as you lift your upper body. The higher number of reps you are able to do, the more you strengthen your chest and force your abs muscles to contract. Unlike regular push ups, wide push ups engage your chest and abs more than just your arms and shoulders. This helps you improve your core strength and firms up your chest in ways that normal activities cannot simply do. Because of this, more calories are also burned in the process.

Check the video below as a way of helping you do your wide push ups in excellent form and achieve maximum benefits from it.

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Lie flat on the floor, face down.
  2. Position your palms on the floor directly under your bent elbows and flex your feet so your toes are touching the ground.

Execution

  1. Push against the palms of your hands and your toes while lifting your whole body off the ground. Stop when your elbows are straightened out.
  2. Maintain straight knees and back at all times.

Return

Carefully lower yourself back down to your original position.

Repeat
Add to or modify the steps mentioned above. Leave your comments below.