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Get Arnie strength, Kate Middleton posture and send fat packing with guru Grant Lofthouse's top secret training tips
1. TOP SECRET: LOSE MORE FAT WITH LESS GYM TIME
When you are in a caloric deficit, which is a must if you want to lose fat, you are at greater risk of burning muscle when training. The only way to hold onto your hard-earned, fat burning muscle is by keeping the reps low and focusing on strength training, regardless of whether you want to get stronger or not. Contrary to what most people believe, high rep training is actually the worst way to go about burning fat. For most people, the best rep range will be nothing higher than six reps. High rep training does have its place, but only for certain exercises and occasions.
2. TOP SECRET: SHAPE UP FASTER BY TAKING IT EASY
Don’t brag about that soreness in the couple of days after training. Sure, it feels like you’ve put in a good day’s work, but in reality, your DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) just keeps you away from the gym recovering, when you could be clocking up more body points. The worst offences are training to failure and going for too much volume, which equates to false economy.
3. TOP SECRET: GET WOW-EE PINS BY TWEAKING REPS
The secret to knockout pins is slightly higher rep ranges than you use for other parts – think eight to 15. Your legs respond better to slightly higher rep ranges because the lower body is predominantly comprised of slow twitch muscle fibres.
4. TOP SECRET: FIX YOUR POSTURE WITHOUT JUNE-DALLY WATKINS
Forget deportment classes – to improve your posture, perform a couple of extra sets of back work for every pushing exercise. For example, if you do four sets of bench presses, perform six sets of inverted rows.
5. TOP SECRET: BREATHE AND SQUEEZE YOUR WAY STRONGER
Never heard of performance-enhancing breath? Power breathing is one of the simplest ways to give you an instantly stronger lift while protecting your back. To do it, keep your abs tight, as though you are about to be punched in the stomach, but keep breathing through. You need to inhale on the concentric movement and exhale as you come out of the lift. Another biological magic trick is trying to crush an external load (bar, dumbbell, kettlebell) in your hand during the exercise – you’ll notice the load feels instantly lighter. And now for our next trick, when performing any lower body exercise, always stand up through the heel. The heel is connected to your glutes. If you can turn on your glutes better, you will notice you’ll have a much stronger and safer lift. To amplify the effect, try ‘hissing’ through pursed lips by saying the letter S as you lift explosively. Notice something? Abs contract harder? Lift was easier? Abracadabra.
6. TOP SECRET: BOOST HEART HEALTH IN A SWING
One of the best conditioning exercises for the heart is the two-hand kettlebell swing. Start with a shoulder-width stance and get into the bottom of the deadlift position with the kettlebell a foot in front of you. Grab the kettlebell with both hands and keep your arms straight. Next, hike the kettlebell between your legs, keeping your chest up and out. Snap your hips and think of propelling the kettlebell out in front of you until the bell is chest high. Let the kettlebell fall until it’s at about navel height and then actively pull the pull down towards your groin. Get out of the way at the last second by pushing the hips back. Let the kettlebell swing through your legs and repeat for multiple reps. If you are new to kettlebell training, always enlist an RKC-trained instructor to clue you up on safe technique.
7. TOP SECRET: SCORE A 10 WITH PERFECT SETS AND REPS
So what is the magic formula for the best training results? Try this 3 to 5 method from Beyond Bodybuilding author Pavel Tsatsouline:
» Train 3 to 5 times a week.
» Perform 3 to 5 exercises per session.
» Do 3 to 5 sets per exercise.
» Do 3 to 5 reps per set.
8. TOP SECRET: RECOVER QUICK WITH A 5-MINUTE SHOWER
To help your body recover faster, have a contrast shower immediately after training. Set the timer for 30 seconds on hot, and then 30 seconds with just the cold. Repeat for five minutes and finish on cold. It may make you squeal like a Justin Bieber groupie, but you’ll feel like a million bucks after.
9. TOP SECRET: TO STRIP FAT, WALK, DON’T RUN
If walking is good, you’d reckon running would be better. But there’s a reason one of the first things bodybuilders do to strip body fat is to walk for 30 to 60 minutes before breakfast. Walking in a fasted state prompts your body to tap into fat, not carbohydrate stores and, unlike running, it doesn’t promote the release of fat-storing, muscle-eating cortisol.
10. TOP SECRET: AMP UP YOUR ABS WITH LESS REPS
Forget everything you’ve seen in the infomercials – going like a mouse on a wheel won’t get you a chick pack any faster. Lay off the 100 sit-ups and instead do planks, with low reps and time. Doing 20 reps and three-minute planks won’t be as effective as lower reps. For an amazing midsection, you also need to do harder exercises such as hanging leg raises and L-sits.
11. TOP SECRET: AMAZING ARMS MINUS SHOULDER INJURY
Stay away from bench dips. Bench dips place your shoulders in a very unnatural and weak position and will eventually result in an injury.
12. TOP SECRET: TO GET RESULTS, WANT THEM
Train for results (benefit) and not a workout (feature). A workout for its own sake is hardly going to get you through the pain barrier, whereas a plan and purpose (e.g. reduce body fat by two per cent by Christmas) will. To make this work, map your training sessions out in a training diary before each session – stick to the plan without talking to the person next to you or watching tele.
Grant Lofthouse is a Melbourne PT and owner of Cardio Haters Gym specialising in building lean muscle and getting ripped without cardio.
Photo credit: Thinkstock