Despite its name, Skull Crushers are not exercise techniques that will send you to the Emergency Room; unless, of course, you fail to execute it the correct way. This particular technique is primarily intended to strengthen and really workout those triceps so you get a well-formed, beautifully chiseled upper arms. Skull crushers are generally regarded as one of the best resistance exercises for hitting your triceps really hard. Unfortunately, it can be quite risky, too, hence, the name. Here’s what you need to know about this exercise so you’ll feel a lot safer executing it.
Understanding the Basics of Skull Crushers
In its simplest form, Skull Crushers is simply a technique of lifting weights over your head while you are lying squarely on a bench. Because the barbell is directly above your head, you skull, one wrong move or a slip of your grip can send the entire barbell right across your head.
Officially, it is called the lying triceps extensions and can be a very important tool for strengthening the muscles of the upper arms primarily the triceps with some emphasis on the muscle groups of the shoulders and traps.
Executing the Skull Crushers is relatively easy. You just lie down squarely on an exercise bench and grip the barbell over your head. Extend your arms straight up with the barbell positioned right over the shoulders. This is your starting position. Alone, it can already be risky as lifting weights that are substantially greater than what you are accustomed to can increase the risk of losing grip. From the starting position, slowly lower the barbell towards your forehead. You can do this by slowly bending your elbows until the bar of the barbell almost, but never touches your forehead. Extend those arms again to return to the starting position.
There are several variations in the move. You can allow your elbows to travel slightly back as you extend your arms to the original position. Doing so will move the barbell in a rather straight line just over your forehead. This can help put stress on the triceps more significantly than the standard way of performing the skull crushers.
Variations of Skull Crushers
The lying triceps extension can be performed using a standard barbell or even a dumbbell as well as virtually any other exercise machine. The important thing to remember is to work your triceps against resistance. Because of this, the technique can have variations. Here are some of the more common ones.
Flat bench – This is one type of skull crusher that is commonly performed. It is very straightforward and doesn’t put any emphasis on any particular triceps head. As long as you’re able to accomplish the basic move you should do just fine.
Incline – The incline skull crusher is especially useful for individuals who would like to work the long head of their triceps or even those individuals who may have insufficient strength in this muscle group. The key is to never have an incline that is too steep, otherwise, you lose the value of the resistance upon which your triceps will be working against. Instead, the focus will be shifted towards the shoulders. It should be good if you want to work the muscles of the shoulders. But, if you’re targeting the triceps, don’t make your incline too steep.
Decline – If it is the triceps that you really want to work out, especially the lateral sections of the triceps head, then doing the skull crushers on a decline bench can bring you amazing results. Because the bench is slanted at a particular angle, the triceps will have to exert more force to lift the weights. This can lead to substantially greater results.
45-degree – This version of the skull crusher is a bit different since the arms are not fully extended. Instead, the arms are at a 45-degree angle to the back, allowing you to clear the weights a lot easier over your head. This also helps prevent the tendency to rest at the top.
Cable pulleys or straight bar – Experts believe that if you want the best results for your triceps subjecting it to constant tension is the way to go. Pulling on a cable pulley helps you accomplish such a feat by increasing the amount of time under which the triceps is subjected to constant tension. Be careful though, as sudden release of the tension can have disastrous consequences.
There are other variants of skull crushers. Regardless of the equipment you use or the position you assume, it is critical to understand its safety implications. They don’t call it skull crushers for nothing.
Sumo wrestlers are some of the strongest and most powerful athletes you can ever come face to face with in a competitive arena. That is why if you consider including the name “Sumo” in one of the most common techniques of strength training, you can be sure that the effects will be particularly awesome. The Sumo Deadlift is a slightly modified version of the standard or original deadlift technique with the minor modification primarily found in the stance of the lifter. Here’s what you need to know about the Sumo Deadlift.
If you have ever seen a Sumo wrestler enter the ring and face an opponent, then you are already well familiar with the classic Sumo stance. It provides you with a wider base of support plus a lower center of gravity primarily because your center is much closer to the ground. This combination of wide and stable stance and lower and more balanced center of gravity allows you to put power in each lift, enabling you to lift greater amounts of weights more efficiently. This is because the travel time or the distance between the floor and the maximum height of the weights has been shortened significantly by the Sumo stance.
There’s another reason why this particular weightlifting stance is a lot better than the conventional technique. Experts say that, when executed correctly, the Sumo deadlift can actually reduce the amount of torque on your back, significantly reducing the risk of lower back injuries and other musculoskeletal injuries or issues of mobility. The reason is quite simple. Because the body is located closer or lower to the ground, you no longer have to bend as far as you possibly can to reach and lift for the bar. It is a great workout for the muscles in your hips, glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, too. So, if you’re into working these muscles, then the Sumo deadlift is for you. But, if you’re looking to increase the strength and resilience of other muscle groups, a conventional deadlift works better.
How to Execute the Sumo Deadlift the Correct Way
While the Sumo deadlift is a great alternative to conventional deadlifts, one wrong move can also have its disastrous consequences. That is why it is imperative that you take your time into learning the basics of the technique and work your way from there. Here’s how.
Always approach the bar, fully loaded, on a flat, even, and stable surface. Make sure that the middle of your feet is intersected by the bar. Set your feet as wide apart as you possibly can, preferably near the collars of the weight.
Slowly bend your hips at the knees and grip the bar, making sure your arms are directly below your shoulders and positioned inside the legs. As much as possible, you need to relax your shoulders and let your arms do the gripping. It doesn’t matter how you hold the bar as long as you get a firm and secure grip. It can be a hook grip, a pronated grip, or even a mixed grip.
Take a deep breath and slowly lower yourself at the hips. Look straight forward and keep your chest up. Slowly drive through the surface of the floor while making sure your feet are spread wide apart. Make sure to put your weight on the posterior half of your feet. Now carefully extend the muscles through your knees and your hips.
Start leaning back as you see the bar starting to pass through your knees. Once this has been achieved, drive your hips towards the bar while also pulling your shoulders together. Keep it in this position for as long as you possibly can before initiating the return to the starting position.
Slowly bend at the hips to return the weight to the floor’s surface. Make sure to exert some form of control on the weight as you glide it towards the floor.
Maximizing the Effectiveness of the Sumo Deadlift
Executing the Sumo deadlift can be easy. As long as you are mindful of these three essential considerations, you could very well be on your way to stronger and more defined muscles.
Never round your lower back at any point in the maneuver, especially throughout the pull.
Always keep the bar close to your body; don’t ever let it sway away.
Always squeeze your glutes to activate a full lockout once you’ve obtained a standing position.
The Sumo deadlift is not for everyone. But for those that may benefit from a wider and more stable stance plus the chance to lift greater resistances, the Sumo deadlift is just perfect.
If you’re having issues with that flabby out-pouching on your sides despite doing numerous side bends with a dumbbell or even performing sit-ups and cardio, then you definitely have to change your routine. Known as love handles, these belly fat that somehow manage to find their way towards the sides can be a cause of concern for men and aspiring bodybuilders who simply want a better-sculpted body. More importantly, experts now say that love handles are now one of the key indicators of poor health. If you really want to shed those unsightly bulges on your sides, then you’d better get in shape with these 10 exercises to get rid of love handles.
Battle rope waves
Always start by placing your feet spaced the same width as your hips. Slightly bend your hips and your knees. Make sure to ‘lock in’ your core muscles. Grab one end of a long and heavy rope using both hands. Make sure to keep your arms right in the center of your body. Get into a half squat position. From this position, spring upwards and swing your arms all the way over your head. This will create the wave-like motion on the rope. Do this for 30 seconds followed by a 30-second rest. Do 4 sets.
For this to work you will need an elevated platform, ideally a sturdy box which you can easily stand on. The point is to have a platform that will not tip over when you do manage to land on it by jumping onto it. Stand with your feet spaced in the same width as your shoulder. Make sure to observe some distance between your feet and the edge of the box. When you’re ready, quickly assume a quarter squat position and jump onto the box by extending your hips, pushing your feet, and swinging your arms. Do 20 repetitions and 4 sets of this exercise.
Almost everyone knows how to perform the deadlift. Always stand with your feet distanced a bit narrower than the width of your shoulders. Grab the barbell and slowly bend your knees. You’d want your shins to somehow touch the bar. Your shoulder blades should also be in line with the bar. With all your might, pull on the bar and roll it over your thighs and knees. The cycle terminates with your knees and hips locked. Repeat at least 10 times and do 4 sets.
Hanging leg raises
This is quite easy. You only need to hang on a bar then slowly flex your lateral muscles as well as your abdominals. This will help you prepare to raise your feet towards your front and upwards. Make sure to keep those legs in perfect alignment at all times. Repeat 20 times and do 4 sets.
This requires you to start on a standing position with both feet close to each other. Bend at the waist and knees. Now plant your palms on the ground and kick your feet towards the back to assume a plank position. Stand back up by kicking both of your feet back in. Immediately jump as high as you possibly can and land with both feet on the ground. Perform this manoeuvre for about 15 times, rest, and start with a new set. Perform 4 sets.
Start in a standing position, making sure that your feet are distanced wider than the width of your hips. Hold the kettlebell with both hands and position it in front of your body. Bend your knees slightly and try to move your hips toward the back while lowering your body only slightly. In one fluid motion, swing the kettlebell while pushing your hips forward. Make sure to keep your core muscles and your glutes engaged all the time. Perform 20 repetitions and 4 sets of this exercise.
To perform this exercise, you need to kneel and lower your butt so that it sits on your heels. Now place both of your hands on the corresponding side of each leg. Move your shoulders backwards and suck in your abdominal muscles so that they are drawn inwards. Hold this position for at least 20 seconds. Release the tension for about 2 seconds before contracting it again. Do this for a total of 60 seconds.
Assume the plank position and keep your feet close together. Raise or elevate your hips while supporting your bodyweight with your toes and forearms. Make sure to tighten those core muscles as you maintain this position for at least 30 seconds. Keep your back straight. Perform 4 sets.
Start by sitting on the floor, bending both of your knees, and planting both of your feet on the floor. Hold a medicine ball or even a weight right in front of you by extending your arms straight out. Now slowly assume a reclining position with your back forming a 45-degree angle relative to the floor. Make sure to keep your knees bent and your feet planted on the floor. Twist your upper body by rotating your arms sideways. Repeat this 15 times for 4 sets.
Sledgehammer overhead strikes
Be careful with this exercise as a sledgehammer is no ordinary tool. The position you would like to assume is that of chopping firewood. One hand holds the handle of the sledgehammer near the end while the other hand holds the handle near the hammer itself. Raise the sledgehammer over the shoulder on the side holding the handle near the hammer. So if it’s the right hand holding the part near the hammer, then the sledgehammer should be raised over the right shoulder. Raise it over your head and prepare to slam it downwards and try to hit a tire’s center. Repeat the process with your other hand holding the area near the hammer. Do 20 repetitions and 3 sets for this routine.
With these exercises, you can easily get rid of love handles. Just make sure to observe the correct technique for ensuring the best results. Be sure to also check out our range of legal steroids to maximize your training.
One of the most uncomfortable effects of vigorous training, especially those who engage in resistance training, is delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS. It’s that intense feeling of extreme muscle soreness coupled with exhaustion and sometimes nausea. It’s called delayed-onset because these symptoms are typically felt a day after intense training. It is now believed to be an inflammatory response to damage to the muscle and connective tissues brought about by exercise. The good news is that there are ways to avoid such an excruciating experience. Here are 10 of them.
Always Warm Up before Going Full Blast
The whole point about warming up before any workout session is to prepare the muscles, joints, ligaments, and other components of the musculoskeletal system. Before hitting the workout floor, it is best to perform a lot of warmup exercises for a good 10 to 15 minutes. This helps extend the joints to their maximum range of motion and minimize injury to these tissues.
Consider Foam Rolling Before and After Training
Followers of myofascial relief will be glad to learn that their favorite device – the foam roller – can also be used to prevent delayed-onset muscle soreness. Just like warming up, foam rollers can help loosen up tight muscles and joints so they become more efficient during workouts. Similarly, foam rolling can also relieve muscle knots which typically develop after training.
Take Branched Chain Amino Acids before Training
Amino acids are essential for building tissues, especially muscles. When muscle tissues get damaged because of training, your body will need readily available amino acids to help start the rebuilding process. This helps minimize the occurrence of delayed-onset muscle soreness while also helping ensure more resilient muscle tissues for succeeding training.
Load Up on Caffeine
While there is no conclusive evidence that shows caffeine can mitigate delayed-onset muscle soreness, it is a general observation that those who do drink a cup or two of their favorite caffeinated beverages like coffee or tea can improve their muscle strength as well as endurance. When combined with warm-ups and foam rolling, this can be a great way to prevent DOMS.
Avoid Abrupt Stops
There are individuals who stop their training sessions in a rather abrupt manner. This ‘shocks’ the muscle tissues and can lead to significant tear in the musculature. As such, abruptly stopping one’s training sessions should be avoided at all cost. Instead, a gradual easing of the intensity of the exercises should be observed.
All cells including muscles require a liquid environment to help prevent overheating and ensure optimum metabolic functions of the cells. When cells overheat, they are more prone to damage. Drinking water every 10 to 15 minutes should do the trick.
Replenish Lost Electrolytes during Workout
One of the reasons why delayed-onset muscle soreness occurs is because of electrolytes lost through sweating and deep breathing. Just like drinking water, you should also replenish your electrolytes by drinking an appropriate sports drink. Eating slices of avocados and whole bananas can also help as these are rich in electrolytes.
Get a Cold and Hot Shower Right After Training
Known as contrast hydrotherapy, taking a hot shower expands your blood vessels allowing them to be filled with blood. Following it up with a really cold shower constricts the blood vessels and forces the blood to move to the tissues. What this essentially means is that by taking an alternating hot and cold shower, you are pushing nutrients in the blood to the muscles so they can start the repair process.
Snack on Carb-Rich Before and After Workout
Before you go on a workout, make sure to consume a snack that is rich in carbohydrates, moderate in proteins, and low in fat. This will help give your body the energy that it needs to push itself through the training without necessarily using up the proteins that your muscles need. The same is true after working out. You should always go for a post-workout snack that’s rich in carbs following a carb-to-protein ratio of 4:1.
Consider Wearing Compression Clothing
People wearing compression clothing have a much lower chance of getting delayed-onset muscle soreness. These types of garments can help increase the flow of blood to the muscles which, in turn, can reduce the risk of creatine kinase buildup. This substance is one of the culprits for muscle soreness. So, if you can prevent such a buildup, then you won’t have DOMS.
Delayed-onset muscle soreness can affect anyone, even seasoned bodybuilders and weightlifters. The good news is that there are always ways by which you can prevent this from happening or at least minimize its intensity.
The image of bodybuilding goes far beyond muscle mass and hardcore gym routines. It demands and it takes whatever method is readily available just to achieve the look of a worthy bodybuilder. But for some, achieving a perfectly sculpted body could mean playing the dirty game. Today, there are drugs that promise you faster muscle growth like steroids, which are obtained illegally. Through chemical assistance, bodybuilders are able to add growth hormones and improve body fat reduction, which develops bigger muscles in a drastic way. Nonetheless, the result of this drug can be revolting while it brands bodybuilding as “unnatural” and “enhanced.”
Although some have already accepted this norm of bodybuilding, other bodybuilders turn to a natural regimen in inducing muscle growth. They rely on the combination of weight training, supplements, exercise and proper diet in getting the right toned body. Although the results are gradual, it is safer and contributes to a healthier picture of bodybuilding.
Though only a few bodybuilders are dedicated to natural bodybuilding, the benefits of this method could take years of improvement in one’s health and discipline. For the future natural bodybuilders, here is the list of shifting to a steroid-free bodybuilding method.
It saves money
At the very least, one basic need in bodybuilding is putting money in gym membership. Great amount of time exercising and lifting can be done in gyms, and that could come with a big price. So if you will add steroid drugs to the list, it could double your expenses together with gears, equipment, dietician, and supplements, which are other added costs in achieving a great body.
There are no legality issues
Steroids are illegal in some countries while others have intake limits; hence, people are transacting through the black market to buy these drugs. And because of the high demand on this drug, they can be conveniently bought from personal sellers. Bodybuilders spent unreal amounts of money on this drug during the golden days of bodybuilding. But gambling on steroids could one day put you in prison, like the well-known bench press record holder Ryan Kennelly. Of course, the worst-case scenario is organ failure or death.
Another risk on these steroids drugs is its genuine label. Because of the rampant selling and buying in the black market, anabolic steroids could turn out fake or underdosed. The play on packaging and deliberate fraud could happen easily.
The gains last longer
Relying on the steroid-free way of bodybuilding results to muscle mass sticking around longer on the body. With the enhancing drugs, the body depends on the chemical hormones that hamper the natural production of testosterone. So once a bodybuilder cuts his steroid-dependence, the body loses the effect of the drugs. Contrary to this, the natural bodybuilder gains muscle growth in a longer period of time. But its effects are more long-lasting and sustainable.
No steroid addiction
High intake of steroid drugs could lead to substance addiction. Because of the promise of impressive gains, bodybuilders take steroids in irregular dosages. But unknown to these people, the substance could produce an imbalance on our hormones, which could lead to shutting down the normal testosterone production.
On the other side, steroid addiction could lead to emotional aggressiveness. Because bodybuilders see themselves as the altar of a perfect body, they tend to be narcissistic. So to meet their wants, they could turn up their substance use. And the cycle goes on until they could not turn their backs on steroids.
Better overall health
The side effects of steroids use can be dangerous to the overall health of a bodybuilder. Among the results of using this drug are hair loss, kidney and liver failure, testicular dysfunction, and heart attack. To some extent, steroids could also cause acne breakout and frequent mood swings. Together with other drugs like insulin, steroids could even become unhealthier.
Go the natural way
Truth be told, the most effective way of building muscle growth is going the natural method. Picking up the enhancing power of steroids could give dangerous health risks, which could become difficult in the years to come. Rather than counting on dangerous steroids, go to the gym and put up your best effort in gaining muscles every day. Consuming a good diet and plenty of rest can in fact help in faster metabolism.
The truth is, bodybuilding naturally is not the first choice for new bodybuilders. The convenience and reliability of steroids still keep users engaging in this addiction because of obvious reasons. Who does not want a leaner and muscular body? But can these bodybuilders risk their lives on these enhancers? The natural experience of bodybuilding can be a harder route, but the effects can be more fulfilling and longer lasting. Try using a legal steroid from Flexx Labs as a safe and alternative way of building lean muscle.
In the continuing search for the elusive substance from the “fountain of youth”, man has turned to HGH in hopes of reversing the hands of time. Some use it to enhance their athletic performance by building stronger and more toned muscles while others use it to treat a variety of health conditions especially among children. Unfortunately, its use – both medical and non-medical – has led to a rift in the healthcare community. This underscores the need for a much deeper understanding on what HGH really is, what its uses are, and what its potential side effects are, if any.
An Overview of HGH
HGH stands for Human Growth Hormone and is an endocrine substance that is produced by the pituitary gland. It is involved in a number of physiologic processes related to growth and maturation or development of tissues in organs of the body that contain mitogenic cells. Specifically, HGH helps stimulate cell reproduction, growth, and regeneration.
Human Growth Hormone also works to increase the levels of glucose as well as free fatty acids in an effort to provide fuel for the cells needed for reproduction, growth, repair, and regeneration.
It is also helpful in stimulating the synthesis of Insulin-like Growth Factor or IGF-1. This growth factor also has growth-promoting capabilities especially on cells of the skeletal muscles, blood cells, cartilage, bone, lungs, nerves, liver, kidneys, and the skin. It is also important in the synthesis of cellular DNA.
It is because of its tremendous impact on tissue growth and regeneration that Human Growth Hormone has been largely considered as one of the human body’s true miracle substances.
What are the Uses of HGH?
The uses of Human Growth Hormone are essentially tied to its physiologic properties.
One of the FDA-approved uses of Human Growth Hormone is in the treatment or management of growth hormone deficiency states as replacement therapy. Adults who are diagnosed with acquired pituitary tumors are given shots of HGH in an effort to increase lean body mass, reduce fat mass, increase bone density, reduced the risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases, improve overall lipid profile, and improve overall psychosocial well-being.
Human Growth Hormone therapy is also approved in the treatment of health conditions that lead to dwarfism which may not be related at all to a deficiency in growth hormones. The FDA also approves the use of Human Growth Hormone in people with Turner syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, severe idiopathic short stature, chronic renal failure, and intrauterine growth restriction. It has also been approved for use in individuals suffering from AIDS to help improve and maintain their muscle mass secondary to wasting and provide them with a better quality of life in terms of improved mobility.
There are many off-label uses of HGH and these are what are causing a split in the healthcare community. There are those who say that off-label uses of HGH are not approved by the FDA and, hence are illegal. However, there are also those that say these uses are only illegal insofar as the FDA has not reviewed and approved their clinical effectiveness. The principal line of thinking is that if HGH can do a lot of wonderful things for the human body, why limit its use to only a few?
It is for this reason that HGH has been used to achieve the following goals.
Increase muscle strength
Human Growth Hormone stimulates the production of collagen both in the muscles and tendons to help improve overall exercise performance. With an increase in exercise capacity the individual is able to push himself more, allowing him to increase the strength of his muscles. Another effect of HGH that can play a role in increasing muscle strength is improved thermoregulation, leading to a more efficient management of heat generated by contracting muscles. This helps prevent rapid overheating in muscles, allowing for extended exercises to further strengthen muscles.
Promote bone repair and healing after fracture
The bone is essentially composed of minerals deposited in a collagenous matrix. One of the most crucial factors involved in the regulation of mineral deposition and, hence bone metabolism is IGF-1. Since HGH naturally increases the production of IGF-1, it has been shown that the administration of HGH can significantly hasten the speed of bone tissue repair and healing after fractures. Human Growth Hormone enhances the deposition of collagen and allows IGF-1 to help in mineral deposition, allowing for the building of a stronger matrix upon which the reparative processes of bone repair can take place. This aids in the regeneration of the damaged tissue. The same physiology also applies to wounds, making HGH an excellent adjunct to wound management and healing.
Enhance weight loss efforts
HGH has been characterized to accelerate the process of breaking down lipids by increasing the hydrolysis of triglycerides to produce free fatty acids and glycerol. However, it should be noted that HGH as a weight loss adjunct will only work in the presence of calorie-restricted diet. The reason is simple. Restricting calories limits the amount of calories that are available for cellular metabolism. When HGH is added to the regimen, it speeds up the process of lipolysis in an effort to produce free fatty acids that will serve as fuel for the cells. This can have enormous implications on obese individuals who may want to lose weight.
Just as HGH can help with bone tissue repair and regeneration, it too can help in the strengthening of bones by increasing bone density through the action of IGF-1 on both bone-resorbing and bone-forming cells.
Reduce risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease
Two of the most common risk factors for cardiovascular diseases are abnormal lipids and increased body fat mass. Since HGH helps improve triglyceride levels by increasing lipolysis, this can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Take note that HGH does not treat cardiovascular diseases. It only addresses two of the risk factors associated with CVDs.
Improve sexual functioning
Human Growth Hormone is also used for improving sexual functioning especially sex drive and the management of erectile dysfunction in men. Its effects on sex drive is related to the ability of HGH to improve overall cellular health and functioning. An improvement in blood flow to the cavernous sinuses of the male penis can also help with erectile dysfunction.
While HGH can increase lipolytic processes, it can also help increase insulin sensitivity. In several clinical studies among obese individuals who are naturally deficient in human growth hormone, it has been shown that HGH can reduce visceral obesity and insulin resistance, leading to more favorable body weight and the consequent reduction of cardiovascular risk.
Improve cognitive functioning and mood
The administration of HGH has also been shown to improve cognitive functioning and overall mood. These changes are related to an improvement in overall cellular functioning in the nervous system particularly the brain. The improvement of blood flow to the brain and its related structures is also believed to help play a role in cognitive improvements. This can help improve memory, problem-solving, and other cognitive processes that usually decline with advancing age.
Promote better sleep
The human body naturally produces HGH at night just after going to sleep and peaks within hours. The nocturnal nature of HGH production can be severely affected by jobs that require people to stay awake all night. Elderly individuals who suffer from various forms of sleep disorders have also their HGH levels reduced. The administration of Human Growth Hormone has been shown to improve sleep. This allows individuals to feel more energized the following day.
Are there Any Side Effects to Using HGH?
There is a reason why naturally-occurring Human Growth Hormone declines with age. As such, when HGH is reintroduced into the body that is already primed for a reduced amount of HGH, there are potential side effects that can be observed. It is also because of these side effects that HGH should always be given under the strict guidance and supervision of a medical professional. Here are some of the possible side effects of Human Growth Hormone.
Joint and muscle pain
Stiffness of the muscles and joints
Painful growth deformities
In very rare instances, the following adverse reactions may occur.
Increased bleeding tendencies
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Gynecomastia or man-boobs
Changes in the structure of bones
Increased pressure within the skull
Inflamed or enlarged organs, most especially the pancreas
Increased appearance of moles and other skin discolorations
Increased speed of cancer growth in persons already with cancer
Abnormal growth of internal organs especially those in the abdominal cavity
Human Growth Hormone is a very important hormone in the body needed for tissue growth and regeneration. Without it human growth and development will simply never occur. It has its many uses, both medical and off-label, and comes with many potential side effects, too, especially if not used judiciously. While the market may be flooded with many HGH products, it is best to seek the advice of your doctor first before taking any of these Human Growth Hormone preparations.
For a great alternative to HGH, our powerful range of muscle building legal steroids is the perfect solution to help support strength and fitness goals.
Steroids are a big no-no in many athletic competitions because these substances give unfair advantage to those who use them compared to those who do not use any form of steroids at all. However, it is very important to understand that steroids actually are a big class of substances that can have medical benefits. So answering the question “are steroids illegal in the USA” requires a much deeper understanding of what steroids really are.
What are Steroids?
Steroids are a group of compounds that can be classified into a variety of ways. Steroids are organic compounds that always contain 4 rings arranged in various molecular configurations depending on the type of the steroid. Naturally-occurring steroids are important cell membrane components that serve to allow or prevent the net movement of fluids and substances across the membrane. Steroids also play a role in cell signaling, often related to the activation of steroid hormone receptors.
Steroids can be classified into two very important groups according to function. These include the corticosteroids and the sex steroids. Almost everyone is familiar with corticosteroids especially cortisol which is involved in the suppression of the immune system. Cortisol is also a stress hormone and is primarily implicated in many physiologic processes. The other corticosteroid, aldosterone, is important in the regulation of blood pressure.
The sex steroids include progesterone, testosterone, and estradiol. The former is involved in the regulation of menstruation as well as the maintenance of pregnancy. The latter two – testosterone and estradiol – are largely regarded for the development and maintenance of the male and female secondary sex characteristics, respectively.
Are All Steroids Illegal in the USA?
Given that there are a variety of steroids, labeling all of them as illegal will be grossly unjust. One should understand that there are steroids that are specifically indicated in the management of certain conditions such as severe allergies, hypersensitivities, and autoimmune disorders whereby suppression of the immune system is a desired effect. The same is true for individuals who are undergoing organ transplant procedures. They will also need steroids to help them prevent organ transplant rejection. Individuals suffering from a variety of inflammatory conditions can also benefit from steroids since these substances have excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
It is thus, important to recognize that not all steroids are illegal. Steroids that are primarily intended for the management of certain types of conditions are considered legal insofar as there is a medical need for them and this is supported by a valid prescription from a licensed medical practitioner.
Now, even prescription steroids can be deemed illegal if they are used not according to how they are initially intended to work. As such any use of steroids beyond what the doctor has prescribed it for is considered illegal.
Why are Certain Steroids Considered Illegal in the USA?
We now know that steroids that are indicated for the treatment of a medical condition are considered legal. We also know that these should come with a prescription and that its use should only be limited to the use indicated in the prescription. If the steroids are to be used in any other way aside from what it is prescribed for, then it is considered illegal.
This brings us to the question of anabolic steroids, known in the medical community as anabolic-androgenic steroids. These substances are designed to stimulate tremendous muscle growth with concomitant increase in muscle strength especially when combined with high-intensity exercises as well as proper diet.
In the medical community, AAS are used in the management of chronic wasting conditions such as those found in patients with AIDS and cancer. If anabolic steroids are used in such conditions, then these substances are not considered illegal. If used in other ways, then it is considered illegal.
The illegal status of anabolic steroids in the USA is not only related to the unfair advantage that it gives to athletes who use them solely to improve overall athletic performance. Anabolic steroids are considered illegal because of the many serious adverse effects that they pose to individuals who use these substances. It should be understood that non-medical use of anabolic steroids is mostly without the supervision of a medical professional.
Anabolic steroids mimic the action of testosterone in the body. One of its effects is more aggressive behavior. When anabolic steroids are abused, there is a loss of control of aggressive tendencies, making the individual more prone to violence or rage. This can be dangerous not only to the steroid user but also to the individuals around him.
Aside from the psychosocial implications of anabolic steroid abuse, there are also physical side effects that the user has to contend with. These can include gynecomastia or the development of man-boobs, baldness, the appearance of severe acne that can lead to serious scarring, and shrinking of the testicles which can ultimately lead to problems in the ability to procreate.
More serious side effects have also been noted with steroid abuse. They include abnormally high blood pressure, the development of tumors in the liver, and jaundice. High blood pressure can lead to a host of cardiovascular problems as the delivery of blood to the cells can be significantly reduced.
Women who abuse anabolic steroids usually experience masculinization including the deepening of the voice, the development of more facial and body hair, and even the loss of menstruation as well as infertility.
These are the reasons why the US government put anabolic steroids under strict control in 1991. It is also for this reason that the use of anabolic steroids for purposes other than medical are deemed illegal. And even in its medical use, anabolic steroids are strictly controlled, often subject to very tight regulations. Its administration to patients can only be allowed with the strict supervision and guidance of a medical professional holding a valid license.
While it is true that anabolic steroids give unfair advantage to those who use them in competitive environments, this is not the only reason why steroids are illegal in the USA. The harm they bring to the otherwise healthy human body far outweighs any improvements in athletic performance. This is the main reason why steroids are illegal in many countries and not only in the US.
Just as many women feel insecure about being flat-chested, two out of three men all around the world also suffer some form of insecurity for having man boobs. Known colloquially as ‘moobs’ or medically as ‘pseudo-gynecomastia’, man boobs affect about 67% of all males. This should be differentiated from true gynecomastia wherein the problem lies in the abnormal deposition of breast glandular tissues, pretty much like the breasts of women. Man boobs or moobs, on the other hand, are brought about by the abnormal deposition of fatty tissues in the chest area. This is a lot easier to treat and manage than true gynecomastia. As such we’re here to share with you how you can get rid of man boobs in 30 days.
Reduce Your Calorie-Intake
Since man boobs is brought about by the unusual deposition of fat under the skin in the chest region, reducing your calorie intake can help move you towards your goal of getting rid of moobs in a month. For this to work, you need to cut down anywhere from 500 to 1000 calories from your daily intake to help you lose weight by as much as 2 pounds in a week. By the time you reach the 4th week, you should already be losing 4 to 5 pounds per week.
Energy is needed by every cell in the body. Normally, this is a function of glucose. However, in cases where there is excess glucose in the blood, these are transformed into fatty acids and glycogen for storage so that when your body needs energy again there will be a readily-available supply of energy.
Of course, proteins and fats, too have calories. But since proteins are primarily directed at building tissues, hormones, and enzymes, then the calories found in fats add to the calories found in carbs. That is why it is easy to get excess calories in the absence of any physiologic need for such calories. As such these will have to be converted into storable forms. Fat is one of the most efficient ways to store energy.
When you cut down on your calories, you are actually letting your body use up the stored fats first. If you continue reducing your calories for about a month, then your body will have to burn those calories found in stored fat especially those that are stored in adipose tissues in the breast. This is how you can help get rid of man boobs.
So you should steer clear of starchy and oily foods as these have the most calories. In their stead, take fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, beans, and lean meats.
Strength-training does not only build your muscles. It also helps boost your testosterone levels which can help further build muscles while also strengthening them. Muscles are more efficient at utilizing energy. Well-toned muscle groups are always contracting even when the rest of the body is resting. What this essentially means is that even if you are lying down in bed, the partially contracted state of your muscles is still using energy. Where will your body get the energy? From stored fat, of course. And since majority of the fat in individuals with man boobs are found in the breast, then these will be mobilized first for energy utilization.
It is important to complete 3 to 4 strength training workouts every week. This will help increase your metabolic rate which in turn increases the rate of energy utilization. This also helps burn excess calories while also increasing your testosterone levels.
Weightlifting, doing push-ups, deadlifts, squats, and even pulls can help you build and strengthen your muscles. Dumbbell fly, bench press, cable crossovers, and decline presses are also excellent.
For maximum effects, you may want to perform 3 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions of any or a combination of these workouts.
Hit the Man Boobs with HIIT
Cardio exercises are excellent for improving your stamina, but they don’t really do well in burning fat. Furthermore, there are now studies that show that the average couch potato actually has higher levels of testosterone than endurance athletes. That being said, not only do cardio exercises not give you the benefit of fat burning, it also has a detrimental effect on your testosterone levels.
However, this is not to say that cardio is utterly useless. The key is to use non-oxygen fuel systems in the exercise. And since cardio is all about delivering optimum amounts of oxygen to the muscles, High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT changes that by requiring the muscles work even harder to the point that it will not be confined to just using oxygen for the generation of ATP anymore. In fact, what HIIT does is that it boosts the accumulation of lactate to help boost the production of testosterone.
This is different from strength training where the boost in testosterone levels is accomplished by inducing microtrauma on muscle tissues. In HIIT, what you want to achieve is an accumulation of lactate.
As such you can still enjoy cardio exercises such as running, cycling, and swimming while at the same time boost your testosterone levels to help improve fat burning processes in the body.
The key is to use a cardio exercise that you really love and push yourself to the hilt for about 30 to 60 seconds. For instance, if on a normal running pace you can reach your top speed in 30 seconds, HIIT will require you to reach your top speed in 15 or even 10 seconds.
Now, try to rest or slow down for the next 2 to 4 minutes. Too short a rest period will make the subsequent sprints become aerobic in nature so you won’t get the necessary testosterone boost. Too long a rest will rob you of adequate lactate accumulation. As such it is important to restart your HIIT just before you begin to feel like being normal again.
You only need 3 sets of HIIT to ensure optimum lactate buildup. You can push yourself further but you should not go beyond 7 sets as you’ll be risking overtraining which can reduce testosterone levels.
Since man boobs are the abnormal accumulation of fat in the male breast, reducing calorie intake, combing a cycle from our legal steroid range and strength training can help mobilize these fat deposits and reduce the appearance of man boobs. Finishing it with HIIT can boost testosterone levels and further aid in the reduction of man boobs. Do these religiously for the next 30 days and you’re on your way to a man boobs-free life.
One of the most important substances that folks in the fitness world especially those in bodybuilding circles is steroids. In many instances, you may have even heard of individuals using prohormones. In some cases, the two are used to mean the same thing. However, steroids are vastly different from prohormones, although they work to help individuals attain stronger and better-formed muscles as well as other desirable effects. In this article we shall take a closer look into what differentiates steroids from prohormones so you will be better-informed on which of these you would want to use for your bodybuilding journey.
Steroids are a group of hormones that are important in a variety of physiologic processes in the body. The kind of steroids that bodybuilders and athletes use to build and strengthen muscles as well as improve overall performance is just one type of the many kinds of steroids in the human body. There are also steroids that are responsible for regulating the immune system as well as the blood pressure mechanism of the body. Of course the steroid that we are all familiar with are the anabolic steroids, or more appropriately, anabolic-androgenic steroids or AAS. This is the steroids that we are going to talk about here.
Anabolic steroids increase the level of proteins with cells particularly in skeletal muscles to help build and grow the muscle cell. This is the principal mechanism of anabolic processes. These are synthetic hormones that resemble the action of testosterone as well as other androgenic substances in the body. They are primarily used in the stimulation of muscle growth as well as in the treatment or management of chronic wasting such as what typically happens in patients diagnosed with AIDS or cancer. They are also indicated in the management of hypoplastic anemias in an effort to help stimulate the bone marrow to produce blood cell precursors.
When used outside these medical conditions and without the written prescription of a licensed medical professional, steroids are considered illegal in the US as these are classified as Schedule III drugs. Unfortunately, even with such illegal status and the high risk of abuse with its accompanying harmful effects on the body, many individuals especially those in competitive sports as well as bodybuilding circles use steroids because of its strength-building and performance-enhancing capabilities.
Anabolic steroids, while they may improve performance and build muscles, can also produce many side effects such as severe acnes, changes in sexual functioning, infertility, irritability, aggression, cognitive impairment, muscle atrophy, hypertension, stroke, liver problems, kidney problems, immune dysfunction, and a whole lot more. If you are looking for a great alternative to steroids, our high strength range of legal steroids are a great solution to help with strength and fitness.
The World Health Organization, through the International Agency for Research on Cancer, has classified anabolic steroids as potentially carcinogenic perhaps because of its ability to stimulate cellular and tissue growth. One of the most critical side effects of anabolic steroids is the thickening and enlargement of the left ventricle. This can severely impair its ability to pump blood throughout the rest of the body, leading to a reduction in oxygen delivery to body tissues. Sadly, there is a much more serious threat to left ventricular hypertrophy. Death can ensue following cardiac arrhythmias and heart attacks.
Prohormones, as the name suggests, are an entirely different kind of molecule that is processed by the liver and converted into a hormone. Whereas anabolic steroids are readily used by the body upon administration, prohormones will have to undergo biosynthesis first to turn it into an active hormone. It’s like giving your body the building blocks it needs to produce the kind of hormone that you need. This is unlike the steroid preparation that already comes in hormone form.
There are several unique advantages to having prohormones instead of the actual steroids. Since these are building blocks, you can actually choose which prohormone to take for a specific kind of result. For instance, if you need something that will help you increase your body’s fat-burning abilities, then you have to choose a prohormone that will convert into a substance that is especially designed for increased lipolysis. If, however, your objective is to build more lean muscles, then you have to pick a prohormone that is designed specifically for such a result.
The second advantage of prohormones is that they are generally safer than anabolic steroids. This doesn’t mean they don’t have side effects, of course, since they will still be converted into any of the different types of anabolic androgenic steroids. Nevertheless, since prohormones will be initially processed by the liver, the side effects should be less severe than those seen in anabolic steroids.
Some of the more common side effects that have been associated with prohormones include increased hair loss, mood swings, the development of gynecomastia or man boobs, and pain localized in the prostate glands. Some prohormones are also known to cause impotence. The good thing is that there is fewer incidence of cardiovascular effects as well as growth-related abnormalities.
The third advantage of prohormones is that they are considered as steroidal supplements. Since supplements do not undergo rigorous and strict control measures by the FDA, they are perfectly legal and are readily available. The implication is such that you can actually travel anywhere without having to worry about being accosted for possession of an illegal substance. If you were carrying steroids and cannot show a medical need for it such as a valid prescription, then you can be charged for possession of a controlled substance. On the other hand, since prohormones are supplements and are perfectly legal, you won’t run into problems with the law.
To summarize the differences between steroids and prohormones, steroids are pre-packaged hormones that are primarily intended for building and strengthening muscles as well as many other effects. Prohormones, on the other hand, are building blocks that need to be converted by the body into targeted hormones to produce the effects of these hormones. Steroids produce a host of serious side effects while those produced by prohormones are usually less severe. Steroids are illegal in the US without a valid prescription, but prohormones are perfectly legal and are readily available owing to their status as supplements. The full range of legal steroids from Flexx Labs are a great way to support muscle building.
Not everyone may entirely agree with his acting abilities or his otherwise funny accent and such iconic lines as “I’ll be back” and “Hasta la vista, Baby!”, but everyone can agree that Arnold Schwarzenegger happens to have one of the best and well-sculpted bodies in the universe. Known as the Austrian Oak, this professional builder turned model and actor before venturing into film production and direction and finally business and politics, happens to hold 7 Mr. Olympia titles, a feat that remains unbeaten to this very day. Already 70 years old, his physique remains one of most admired in the world of professional bodybuilding. For his young acolytes, following in the footsteps of having an enviable frame worthy of the roles of Conan, the Terminator, and the Kindergarten Cop remains an elusive dream. Here’s a look at what makes the bodybuilding program of Arnold Schwarzenegger so uniquely different yet effective.
Understanding the Basics of the Arnold Workout
In a word, the Arnold workout is old-school. It doesn’t require any fancy equipment or very complicated exercise regimen. In fact, the principles at play in the workout are very plain and simple – one must simply have to push himself beyond his limits. It also requires the observance of a high protein diet to help in the rejuvenation and continuous buildup of muscle tissues in the body. Let us take a closer look at the fundamental elements of Arnie’s incredible bodybuilding workout.
Basic Strength Training Exercises
It is no secret that the Austrian Oak is a huge proponent of going back to the basics of strength training. In fact, in all of the literature he has ever written as well as the workout and bodybuilding media he has ever created, Arnold would lament at the tendency of many modern bodybuilders to neglect traditional training regimen including the snatch, the deadlift, the clean and press, and even basic squats. What many bodybuilding gyms today emphasize is the use of machines that essentially take the fight out of aspiring bodybuilders by making it a lot easier for them to “sculpt” their bodies. Unfortunately, such gains are also easily lost. Arnie, as everyone knows, is a huge fan and a living example of the no pain, no gain philosophy.
An exercise program that is based on fundamental exercise movements is crucial to building muscle. However, a more important element is the level of intensity of such exercises. You may be performing hundred repetitions day in and day out but if the level of resistance upon which your muscle groups have to work against is sufficiently small, you really couldn’t expect any improvements in your muscle mass, could you?
The whole point in the Arnold workout is to increase both the number and intensity of basic strength training exercises to push muscle tissues to work even harder. It is the application of tension or stress on the muscles that individual tissues undergo a process of hypertrophy whereby individual cells increase both in size and in functional capacity to accommodate ever-increasing stresses. With each change in the physiological and morphological characteristics of the muscle cells, they grow stronger and become more efficient at contracting. That is why even while the muscles are in a resting state they are still in a state of partial contraction.
If you’re interested in keeping a leaner body, this is the way to go as the partially contracted state of the muscles mean you are burning more energy. And everyone knows where most of the body’s energy is stored – in fat cells. However, don’t expect a loss of body fat will translate to a loss in body weight. On the contrary, you might even gain more weight. The good news is that the weight is a reflection of muscle mass and not body fat.
The Importance of a Sound Diet
Arnold Schwarzenegger is not a believer of zero- or low- calorie dieting. In fact, he espouses for the right amounts of calories needed to help him sustain his high intensity strength training.
If you want to lose weight, people will tell you to minimize your consumption of calorie-rich foods or even reduce your frequency of feeding. On the other hand, Arnie’s diet plan calls for more frequent feedings, typically ranging between 5 and 6 times per day complete with protein and amino acid supplementation in between meals as well as whenever necessary.
In addition to increased frequency of meals and snacking with supplements, the Arnold workout calls for a high calorie and high protein intake. We are always told to limit our calorie consumption to less than 2,000 calories per day if we want to lose weight. But the Arnold workout is all about building muscle tissues and not about losing weight. As such, Arnie consumes at least 4,000 calories per day, 25 percent of which must be supplied by high quality protein sources or roughly equivalent to 250 grams of protein. In addition to high protein diet, Conan also requires hefty servings of protein shakes in situations where the daily protein intake needs to be increased.
Most of us are also averse to eating a lot of carbs for our diet. The Arnold workout specifically calls for plenty of complex carbohydrates as the main provider of energy. While it is true that protein can be an excellent source of energy as well, these macronutrients have a more useful purpose – the building of tissues. That is why increasing the consumption of energy-giving carbs can help save proteins for bodybuilding purposes and not be burned as fuel for the body. Typically, Arnie consumes carbs within 30 minutes of an intense bodybuilding workout.
To give you an idea of how Arnie integrates sound diet to his workout program, he will typically consume 3 to 4 eggs, quarter cup of oats, 2 strips of bacon, and 1 to 2 pieces of bread complete with almond butter. About 30 minutes prior to his workout, he will be downing a creatine-free supplement. Within 30 minutes of working out, Arnie will be downing creatine powder, weight gain powder that contains branched chain amino acids, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Creatine powder is essential for improving muscle recovery while increasing strength. Just before bed, Arnie also downs a nighttime support powder that is especially formulated with 5-HTTP to help maximize muscle growth and improve overall sleep cycle.
Overcoming Body Acclimatization
One of the most amazing things about the human body is that it is very efficient when it comes to adapting. Doing the same things over and over acclimatizes it, making it all too familiar with the routine. That is why if you keep on doing the same bodybuilding routine, performing the same exercises with the same number of repetitions day in and day out, there will always come a time when your body has fully adjusted to such changes that it instantly knows how to manage the changes the moment you hit the exercise floor.
Arnold knows this. That is why an integral part of the Arnold workout is shock therapy. This essentially entails doing your exercises in a manner which will keep the body guessing what type of resistance or physical activity you will perform next. Because you are essentially keeping the body in a suspenseful mode, unable to anticipate what you are going to do next, it doesn’t have the time to build up defenses that will make it ready for the task. This helps increase its work all the time, every time.
Conan employs a variety of techniques to help his body stay always on the edge. He doesn’t allow his body to become complacent simply because ‘it’ already knows what Arnie is going to do next. At times he would start with 135 and moving up from there. Then, he will modify his approach by starting from 315 and moving progressively less resistant. At other times, he will employ variations in intensity as well as the different techniques employed for a particular targeted muscle.
The trick is to never allow your body to become all too familiar with what you’re doing so it is kept at a particular level of alertness and vigilance all the time. This is one of the essential elements to the Arnold workout.
Putting Everything Together
The Arnold workout can be rightfully considered as a very old-school approach to bodybuilding. Modern bodybuilders may profess an entirely new approach to building and strengthening muscles, but one cannot simply shrug off the effectiveness of the Arnold workout. While it is true that Arnold Schwarzenegger no longer has the same physique that he once had during his Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia days, his physique as a septuagenarian is still a lot better and more well-sculpted than those who are still in their 40s or even 30s. By working every bit of muscle, pushing them well beyond their limits, one can achieve the physique that he or she deserves. Couple this with high protein and high calorie diet plus sensible use of shock therapy and you’ve got a fool-proof way of following in the footsteps of the Governator.