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8 Exercises to Create an Athletic Physique
More and more people are becoming tired of the "Bodybuilder" look. Let's cut to the chase. Most people want to look good to attract the opposite sex. It's really that simple. What kind of body does that? The answer is in multiple magazines, on tons of websites as well as in many playing arenas. The "Athletic Body" is the answer!
If you compare the bodies of today to that of the late 80's and 90's that are "attractive or desirable", you will see that men are Athletic/Natural Muscle and women are curvy with good muscle tone. Gone are the days of the no-neck, roid-raging, waddling bodybuilder and the stick figure no-ass having bleach blondes with crazy crimped bangs. We have entered the hot athletic body era.
How do you develop the Athletic Body that the opposite sex wants to see on you? There are of course many ways. Let me be clear and mention I do NOT want to discount the importance of Traditional Weight Training. There are many benefits to weight training. However, for now I want to focus strictly on the Athletic Look. An athlete can do what? They can perform! In order to perform they must be able to use their body as a vehicle to respond to their every whim. Would you agree?
So doesn't it make sense that in order to get your body to respond to your athletic desires (as is the necessity of the athlete), you should do workouts which incorporate body movements? Remember that "form follows function." In other words, if you force your body to perform a function the form that is necessary for that function will follow. You are probably asking, "What are these functions that will create the form we want?" The answer is bodyweight exercises, and derivations of them.
Yeah I know! I love the weights and talk a lot about them; but, we can't deny the results from good ol' pull-ups, push-ups, and lunges, et cetera. You must perform these types of exercises to tie all the weight training together to create the ultimate athletic physique. Do you perform these exercises already or are some too difficult or boring?
If you find them too difficult or boring I have a couple ideas to help you out with that. Finding a way to make the exercises easier or more exciting can help you get to where you are able to push past that plateau. A great way to accomplish this is to add assistance, thus reducing your effective bodyweight in a given bodyweight exercise. If you already do many of these exercises with full bodyweight and find them too easy, I have a couple ideas to take them to a completely different level. This is accomplished by performing variations that spice up these basic exercises and stimulate the kind of results your workouts may currently be lacking. A great way to add structure and variation simultaneously to your workout plan is my using the right equipment for your body movement exercise.
At this point you're probably wondering, "how is using this piece of equipment going to enhance body movement exercises?" The best way to describe this is to take the simple exercises, explain what they will do to help you reach your maximum athletic appearance development and give variations for each. Without any further ado the exercises for the ultimate athletic physique and their variations depending upon fitness level or fatigue.
Pull-Ups / Chin-Ups
Look at most athletes from behind and you will see an awesome V-taper. That is the result of a great set of Lats. What is one of the top ways to develop Lats? What else, but none other than Pull-ups and Chin-Ups! The problem is that many people can only do a few reps, if any. That is not enough to elicit the kind of changes needed to create the Athletic Physique. How do we overcome this? You can opt to use an assisted-pull up with the help of a plate-loading machine that will provide a counterbalance on your body weight, which allows you to work with less than our full bodyweight. The result is more reps and more results.
Now if you are already extremely strong, you can actually do 15 or more good reps! So now what? How about you try using ONE ARM! Most people can't do TRUE single arm pull-ups (not the grab the other wrist kind, but true single arm pull-ups). With the assisted pull-up you can add some weight to counterbalance your own body weight and do single arm work. This is the perfect twist to a basic exercise to push your body to the next level.
Oh and let's not forget that pull-ups and chin-ups are perfect for developing the biceps and rear delts, when done right!
What can I say about push-ups? They are a staple for chest and triceps development. By placing your hands at a higher level you decrease the difficulty. By planting the feet higher you increase the difficulty. You can try single arm push-ups as well. If you want to mix the two ideas, you can come up with some serious chest development. An example would be to plant the hands at an elevated level and use only one arm. This reduces the load on that arm via the angle you are at and allows more reps. The result is a variation sure to challenge your body to adapt.
Many would consider dips one of the best exercises for triceps, lower chest and front shoulder development. If you are having trouble knocking out 10 reps then assisted dips are the key to getting past that plateau and getting the results you are looking for. If you easing knock out 20 reps then a drop set is an idea to take it to the next level. "A drop set on a bodyweight exercise?" That's what I said! By adding weight to the counter-lever on the Dip-Assist on successive sets one after the other you are essentially doing a "drop-set." As you know, drop sets are highly effective.
Squats / Lunges
Developing the total Athletic Physique means getting those legs going too! Often neglected by many TALKERS, always done by DOERS! Do you talk or do you do? If you are a doer and looking to get the balanced physique, it's hard to beat squats and lunges. If you have difficulty performing squats or are coming off of an injury, assisted squats may be the perfect option. This allows you to work with less than your body weight to build up the necessary strength.
If you already do tons of squats this is a great way to work until failure and then hit additional reps with assistance to push to a new tier. Another way to use the machine to take this exercise to a new level is to be able to perform Single Leg Squat with the assistance. I don't care how good of shape you are in. Single leg squats are very challenging. This apparatus gives you the chance to do massive numbers of reps with single leg for the extreme athlete for incredible changes in the Athletic Physique.
Lunges are another good exercise for the legs. To enhance the lunge or build up to it you can do Single Leg Press Downs on the Assistance Pad. Whether you are trying to build strength to lunge or push to a new level all you have to do is adjust the amount of resistance you add.
Abs and Lower Back
Crunches and Hanging Leg Raises
It doesn't get much simpler than crunches to work the abs. Lie down on the floor and crunch away. Let's say you want to take it to a new level. On a pull-up bar or using a plate-assisted machine, you can perform knee raises. This is a simple exercise. Just grab on to the bar and lift your knees being sure to tilt the pelvis for maximum abdominal engagement. If you find this easy you can keep the legs straight throughout the movement and do traditional Leg Raises. Whichever you choose, you are sure to hit the abs and lower back.
Ian Lauer is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. His background in personal training made him an expert in providing countless of valuable advice and a proud member of Team Powertec. Powertec is the pioneer and leader in the area of strength equipment. Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, Powertec produces a full line of strength equipment for home and light commercial purposes. Our brand is highly sought after by the educated buyer looking for weight capacity maximization without sacrificing safety, customization of their Workbench home gyms through extensive accessory modularization, and commercial gym quality at home gym prices.
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