If you have a “show piece” muscle it’s likely to be the biceps. That’s the muscle everyone flexes when someone challenges them to “make a muscle.” The shape of this muscle can really contribute to the impressiveness of your arms even more than sheer size. Nothing makes your arms look better than a biceps peak.
Like any other muscle, it takes the right exercises to develop a biceps peak. These movements will focus more on a peak contraction as opposed to just moving lots of weight. Add one of these peaking exercises at the end of your biceps workout and watch that peak grow!
Concentration Curls – This is the premier movement for developing a biceps peak. You can perform it standing or seated. If you choose standing, bend over at the waist with your free arm supported on your leg. Hold a dumbbell in your other hand with the palm facing in so the wrist is supinated. Keeping your elbow stable and your upper arm perpendicular to the floor, slowly curl the dumbbell up to your shoulder, flexing your biceps at the top. Use an amount of weight that lets you focus on the muscle while still maintaining perfect form.
You can also do concentration curls while seated. Placing your elbow firmly against your inner thigh, bend over at the waist and slowly curl the dumbbell up. With this version, your arm is stabilized with the elbow of your curling arm against your thigh. The standing version requires more concentration.
Preacher Curls – Although the preacher curl exercise is known for developing the lower area of the biceps, it can be modified to focus more on a peak. Using the steep end of the preacher curl bench, drape your upper arms over top and curl the dumbbell or barbell slowly up, feeling the peak contraction in your biceps at the top of the movement. As with the concentration curl, use a moderate resistance that allows you to really feel the muscle peak contract.
Lying Cable Curls – Position a flat exercise bench under a cable apparatus with a straight bar attached. Grab the bar with a moderately close grip and lie on your back atop the bench. With the elbows of both arms facing the ceiling, slowly curl the bar down to your forehead. Maintain elbow position throughout the exercise to better feel the biceps peak contract at the completion of each rep.
Fish oil has become one of the most popular dietary supplements sold in the U.S., and a study published in the Nutrition Journal provides a pretty good indication why so many adults supplement their diets with the omega-3 fatty acids known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Researchers had 40 healthy middle age and elderly subjects supplement daily with either 3 grams of fish oils or a placebo. After 5 weeks, they were given cognitive performance tests that included working memory and selective attention drills. Subjects who supplemented with omega-3s performed better on these metal tests than those given a placebo.
True Strength Moment: DHA and EPA are considered essential fatty acids, meaning your body cannot produce them. They can only be taken in through diet. If you’re not a fan of seafood, or can’t get fresh fish year round, consider supplementing your diet with fish oil. This study suggests it may be a smart move.
A single session of weight lifting can help you plan more effectively and improve memory according to a study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. To test the theory, researchers had 30 middle aged subjects perform 7 different weight training exercises, each for 2 sets of 10 reps, with the resistance set at 70% of one rep max. A control group curled up on the couch with a good book.
Before and after training or reading, all subjects took a well-known test used to determine mental abilities. Resistance training did a better job of enhancing brain power compared to reading. The iron pumping subjects took fewer moves to achieve a higher correct score than the book worms. Pick up the weights and pump up more than just muscle.
It’s reasonable to assume that training your abdominal muscles can help you jump higher. Many team sports athletes can benefit from enhanced jumping ability, and a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research takes a novel approach to training deep abdominal muscles.
A group of 14 elite college soccer players was separated into two types of abdominal training. Some subjects concentrated on ‘hollowing’ or drawing in the stomach area to train the transversus abdominis muscles, while the rest performed ‘bracing’ moves which mimic the tensing up reaction you’d have right before being punched in the stomach. After 8 weeks, the bracing group increased jump height by 8.8% and the hollowing group jumped an average of 16.9% higher.
True Strength Moment: In addition to sit ups, leg raises and bridges, try working some of these simple hollowing and bracing movements into your abdominal training routine. It could help you get a jump on competitors in team sports while building up an impressive six pack look.
Jump performance, including how well you can absorb energy from a landing, plays a critical role in just about any team sports competition. A study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise suggests there are interesting physiological differences between male and female athletes.
Researchers measured lower body muscle mass along with the quad and hamstring strength of 70 active male and female subjects. They discovered that, from amount of amount of lean mass, you can predict how effectively the female knee joint will absorb energy on jump landings. Those lacking muscle mass can gain a performance advantage by developing maximal eccentric quad strength. Unfortunately, neither of these observations applies to men. For an interesting perspective on how men and women sweat during exercise, ready today’s Breaking News post atoptimumnutrition.com