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5 Benefits of Pyramid Sets

5 Benefits of Pyramid Sets

Pyramid sets are considered to be one of the best methods for gaining both size and strength.

They’ve stood the test of time, much like their counterparts in the Egyptian desert.

But when it comes to actually talk about the benefits, we don’t always focus on more than this.

In this article, we’ll be discussing just a handful of those other benefits that you should know about before going back to doing straight sets.

This is a Guest Post by Robert Grayson of GGPhysique.com


#1 – Pyramid Sets Warm You Up

Starting off your pyramid sets with lower weights is a great way to get warmed up. 

Many people perform 3 or more sets just to get warmed up. And this can prevent injuries and also get your muscles primed for heavier lifting.

Performing pyramid training is all about gradually increasing the weight each set, while simultaneously decreasing the reps.

So, for this reason, warm-ups are built into your training from the outset!

#2  – Helps Activate CNS

Activating your CNS (Central Nervous System) is one of the key ways to maximize your strength. And it’s no secret that pyramid sets are great at doing this.

Many people go into the gym and try to lift a weight from the beginning and can’t. But when using pyramid sets to build their way up by activating their CNS and warming up, they often can.

#3 – Pyramid Sets Keep You Motivated

One way to make sure you’re not motivated is to always be doing the same workouts, lifting the same weights. 

If those weights are especially heavy you might start to dread your sessions. And that’s the worst thing possible for any lifter.

Consistency is the ladder to success. And without motivation, you can’t be consistent.

#4 – Allows You To ‘Feel It Out’

Going back to our second point, sometimes people will go into the gym and try to lift a weight and fail.

However, with pyramid training, you’re going to be able to know before you attempt a lift whether it’s going to be too heavy for you or not.

If you’re struggling with your warmup sets, it’s going to be unsafe for you to try your heaviest working set. 

It’s usually a good sign that you’re tired, not fully recovered, or haven’t eaten enough.

It’s incredibly useful feedback that can save you injuries and a lot of frustration.

#5 – Keeps Energy In The Tank

Usually, most people are going to be performing more than a single heavy compound lift during a workout.

So pacing yourself is really important. And pyramid training does that for you. Each set increases the workload but decreases the reps. 

So your total volume is moderate rather than insanely high. This then allows you to repeat the same process on other lifts and exercises.

Conclusion on Pyramid Sets in Training

Pyramid sets have many benefits, including psychological ones, not just strength and muscular based ones. Implementing them into your training from time to time is a great idea and shouldn’t be overlooked.


Get a Workout Program >>

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The Ketogenic Diet for Athletes: Main Pros & Cons

The Ketogenic Diet for Athletes: Main Pros & Cons

Many people are sure that active sports and a keto diet are not compatible. They believe sports records can be set only by absorbing a lot of protein and carbohydrates. So, let’s see how a keto diet training differs from the usual training methods of others.

What is a Ketogenic Diet?

Technically, all types of regular physical activity can be attributed to two types:

  • Aerobic Exercise: Low-intensity and high-duration exercises, such as long-distance running, low-intensity aerobics, walking, and cycling.
  • Anaerobic Exercise: High-intensity and short-duration exercises, such as strength training, Crossfit, and short-distance races.

In a state of ketosis, our body is predisposed to an aerobic type of physical activity. Glycogen, which is stored in the muscles, can be spent in one marathon. But there are great fat reserves in the body of even a very slender person. So there will be enough ketones for a very long period of physical activity.

Team Athletes

Keto Diet and Strength Training

First of all, let’s determine for what purpose you are using a combination of a keto diet plan for athletes and strength training.

Option A: You are already on a ketogenic diet and would like to increase muscle mass and strength. In this case, it is worth keeping a positive balance of daily calorie intake; taking into account regular training, and maintaining the perfect keto ratio of 20/75/5. Sometimes, a slight shift towards protein is precisely recommended in cases where the goal is to increase muscle mass. Read some reviews on the best keto protein powder to learn more. Also, your proportions may change slightly to 25% of calories from protein, 70% of calories from fat, and 5% of calories from carbohydrates.

Option B: While in ketosis, you are trying to reduce body weight, in particular, get rid of excess body fat. Here, of course, the calorie balance should be negative while maintaining the same classic keto ratio of 20/75/5.

How to Build Mass >>

How to get Lean >>

Keto Training Details

However, no matter which option you choose, the pros and cons of the keto diet during strength training remain the same and comply with the following parameters:

  • Training frequency: No more than 2-3 times per week. After several weeks from the beginning of strength training, it is advisable to break the trainable muscle groups by days – training each muscle group once a week.
  • Selection of Exercises: Without a doubt, preference should be given to compound exercises. Ideally, these should be free-weight exercises. But if you replace them with exercise machines due to poor technique or old injuries, this would be a worthy alternative.
  • Repetition Mode: It is optimal to adhere to a range of 5-8 repetitions in working sets. You should select your working weight within two sets into the exercise.
  • Training Duration: Workouts should not exceed one hour, provided that you exercise at a calm pace. Thus, you will get 5-6 exercises for 3-4 sets.

Compliance with the above principles is due to the essence of the impact of strength training on a keto diet for athletes.

Understand that the main task of this type of load on the musculoskeletal system is to stimulate the production of hormones – testosterone and growth hormone. This production begins after the training is complete, and the rest and recovery phase begins. That is why strength training should not be frequent.

Intermittent fasting, with the right approach, in combination with a keto diet, will help in the production of growth hormone.

Get a Workout Plan >>

Conclusion

Our advice is to treat regular strength training as a daily routine. This is precisely the place it should occupy in your life. And most importantly, remember: the main influence on metabolic processes is not in what to eat before your workout on a keto diet, but after – in the recovery period. And special attention must be given to the quality of recovery. First of all, use stress-reduction techniques and take care of healthy sleep.

Do you practice keto diet and strength training? Do not hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section!

About the Author: My name is Adam Reeve and I have been a professional personal trainer and fitness instructor for over 10 years. Also, I’m a life coach, wellness writer, and low carb diets, enthusiast.

How to Lose Weight >>

Fat Loss Forever >>

Utilizing a Proper Warm-Up System for Strength Training

Utilizing a Proper Warm-Up System for Strength Training

Resistance bands offer a better way to warm up dynamically alongside various non-resistance band movements. A mixture of both is the best way to activate your muscles prior to lifting and increase your joint range of motion (ROM) temporarily to perform better. There are a variety of ways to warm-up prior to training, such as foam rolling, and adding resistance bands could make several beneficial changes.

This is a Guest Article by Sarah Peterson of ProPRTeam.com

Get our in-depth How To Warm-Up Guide >>


What’s the Purpose for a Warm-Up?

A proper warm-up is recommended to improve your performance regardless of what your training focus is. The intent behind a warm-up is to physically and mentally preparing your body for the workout through increased heart rate, range of motion, and muscle activation.

Muscle stiffness and soreness often reduce flexibility, which can affect the way you execute exercises, especially when the resistance is higher. For example, tight hamstrings and glutes can make it difficult to execute squats efficiently.

Foam rolling and dynamic stretches help relieve this tightness and improve overall flexibility. Then light muscle activation for stabilizer muscles to be used that day may help drastically.

This is accomplished through mobility work and a dynamic warm-up. Injury prevention may be a factor for the warm-up with some, but the overall purpose is doing better during your training. Studies are very mixed when it comes to preventing any injuries.

Learn more with our complete How To Warm-Up Guide >>


Different Phases of the Warm-Up

Your warm-up prior to training doesn’t need to take a long duration. The point is to choose areas for foam rolling purposes to improve mobility for the focus of the day. Then dynamic stretches for flexibility and priming muscles through activation exercises.

Increasing Heart Rate

This is a quick 5-minute portion for your warm-up to increase your body temperature and blood circulation. Flexibility occurs better chances to improve and relieve muscle tightness after they have been warmed up.

During this phase, you can do a brisk jog, cycle, rowing, and other various cardio activities. This is an important phase for your warm-up and is often overlooked. But it is not an intense set of sprints or anything. Simply brief cardio to increase your heart rate and get the blood pumping.

Mobility Support

Sustained pressure from foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and other various myofascial release tools help with mobility. This is not to be confused with actual mobility work, which is taking a limb through its entire range of motion.

Instead, you are working on the tight muscles to relieve this stiffness in order to allow joints the ability to move freely in their ROM. The main ones for lifts are shoulders, knees, hips, elbows, and ankles.

If mobility is still difficult after muscle release techniques, then you may want to consider adding some actual mobility exercises that are necessary for the areas that need focus.

How To Foam Roll Properly >>

Dynamic Stretching

This type of stretching is active movement instead of static holds. You will be able to get your muscles warmed up and activated better through this method. Static stretching is okay to do at the start within short holds but holds over 10-15 seconds may possibly signal your muscles to relax as opposed to activating.

Effective bodyweight dynamic stretches can be single-leg raises, pendulum swings, arm circles, and even the cat-cow warm up. Exercises such as these assist with the muscle warm-up phase and offer activation also, but better activation for stabilizer muscles occur when resistance bands are used.

Muscle Activation

The muscle activation phase is often executed wrong when the resistance bands come out. Due to their elasticity, many often do quick movements and allow the band to slingshot back into position. Short, quick movements with little control would be more dynamic stretch opposed to muscle activation.

Controlling your movements with resistance bands and fighting against the pull help the stabilizer muscles to activate. You can understand this need for activation by understanding how prime movers work.

Prime movers are essentially your larger muscle groups working to move the weight during an exercise such as the quads and glutes for back squats. The muscles supporting these prime movers with proper movement patterns and control are the stabilizer muscles. These muscle groups supporting the prime for squats would be hamstrings and calves, amongst others.

Together they create the force necessary to move weight effectively. However, during warm-up some smaller stabilizers may not be activated, such as the gluteus medius, which affects external hip rotation.

This could be one reason for knee caving since the knees cannot be kept in alignment during the squat. The following resistance band exercises help activate the gluteus medius and strengthen it as well.

Resistance Band Exercises for Muscle Activation:

  • Clamshells
    • Lay on your side and loop a hip circle or resistance band around your legs, near your knees. Keep both knees bent about 90 degrees, then simply raise and lower your top leg, while keeping your lower leg pressed into the floor. Make sure to work both sides equally.
  • Side-Lying Hip Abduction
    • Lay on your side and loop a hip circle or resistance band around your legs, anywhere between your ankles and knees. Then simply raise and lower your top leg. Make sure to work both sides equally.
  • Monster Walks
    • Stand with both feet inside a hip circle or resistance band, and pull it up anywhere between knee and mid-thigh height. Then walk around both forwards and backward, taking big steps and maintaining constant tension on the band.
  • Lateral Walks
    • Stand with both feet inside a hip circle or resistance band, to where there is light tension. Squat down and walk laterally (side to side) while maintaining constant tension on the band.

The hip circle bands work best for these exercises since they maintain their circular shape and easily slid up and down where needed. Victorem Gear has some quality products in sets to choose from. You can go here to check them out.

Learn more with our complete How To Warm-Up Guide >>


Warming Up is Simple and Effective

Warm-up phases seem like they would take an hour. But in reality, they should only take 20 minutes if you are moving through the phases and not allowing distractions to occur, i.e. conversations, phone use, etc.

Each phase has its own purpose and importance to the workout that follows. And some do choose to skip them after figuring out what works best for them. You should do the same and develop your own style of warming up after you get into the rhythm of using this concept.

The biggest thing is to not rush the movements while muscles are still “cold” leading to injury. Going straight into the activation phase with expectations to lift immediately may result in muscle strain or other injuries. Have patience and do everything correctly.

Learn more with our complete How To Warm-Up Guide >>

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Keto Diet – 7 Unexpected Health Benefits

7 Unexpected Health Benefits of the Keto Diet

People have been flocking to the Keto Diet in recent years because of its reputation for enhanced weight loss. And a survey of dieticians in the United States in 2020 showed that the Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet will continue to be the most popular fat loss diet this year. But there are tons of other health benefits of Keto apart from total weight loss.

You might already know that ketogenic diets were actually developed to reduce symptoms in epilepsy patients. Or that Keto can help to boost your immune system function. However, there are lots of other unexpected health benefits that are contributing to the Keto diet reigning supreme.

So, here are seven other unexpected health benefits of the Keto diet…


1 – Lowered Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

On a ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are cut to just 5% of your daily food intake. High-fat and low-carb intake is part of the keto basics. Your body usually breaks down carbs to produce glycogen which fuels your body. On Keto, the high fat intake and reduced carb intake trains your body to start burning fat into chemical compounds called ketones for energy instead.

Type 2 diabetes usually develops as a response to overconsuming sugary and starchy foods. Eating too much of these foods causes your pancreas to make high levels of insulin in an attempt to regulate blood sugar levels. When your insulin levels are consistent that high, your body becomes resistant to insulin which is a key marker of Type 2 diabetes.

But on the Keto diet, your body is not relying on carbs and sugar for energy. The drop glucose helps to regulate blood sugar levels, and therefore lower insulin levels. Doctors often recommend lower carbohydrate intake for patients with Type 2 diabetes, and studies have shown that the Keto diet helps to improve weight loss and reduce insulin levels.


2 – Alleviation of Depression & Anxiety Symptoms

Depression and anxiety are closely linked to the brain. And early research has begun to establish a link between ketogenic diets and the alleviation of typical symptoms of these common conditions.

A study conducted on rats showed promising results. Low physical activity is a common symptom of depression in people. In this study, one group of rats were put on a ketogenic diet. Those rats showed similar results to other groups of rats that had been treated with antidepressants. The scientists concluded that the Keto group were less likely to show “behavioral despair.”

In another study, one group of pregnant mice were fed ketogenic diets while another group was fed a standard diet. The mice born to the Keto group were more active physically than their standard diet counterparts.

The exact link between Keto and depression and anxiety has not been established. But anecdotal feedback among people who suffer from depression and anxiety has been very positive so far.


Improved Sleep Quality

3 – Improved Sleep Quality

In the short term, Keto can actually have a negative impact on your sleep. This is most likely due to lower levels of serotonin and melanin. But these symptoms are short-lived. And research suggests that in the long term Keto can lead to better quality, deeper sleep.

Once you transition into ketosis (when your body is primarily burning fat into ketones for energy), your body settles down into better sleep patterns. Not only does Keto result in a deeper sleep and increased time in the all-important REM cycle, but a study by the International League Against Epilepsy found that people on Keto diets also needed less sleep time.

Learn more about proper sleep >>


4 – Healthier Liver Function

Fatty liver is a chronic condition that can lead to very serious health implications including cirrhosis of the liver, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It’s also a condition that affects around 25% of adults in the Western world.

Two significant research studies have shown that low-carb diets, such as the Keto Diet, can quickly and dramatically reduce liver fat and the risk of these conditions. The first was a small study but produced highly compelling results. Participants experienced a massive loss of liver fat when following a low carbohydrate diet.

In another study, patients following a ketogenic diet showed significant improvement in the risk for non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD), liver scarring, and a 60% reduction in liver fat.


5 – Increased Brain Function

In the early twentieth century, ketogenic diets were developed to help relieve symptoms in epilepsy patients with groundbreaking results. More recently, studies suggest a link between the Keto diet and reduced risk for other neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease amongst others.

Some followers of Keto experience alleviation of chronic ailments like headaches and sleep disorders. It also has the potential to decrease the risk of certain brain cancers.

The science behind Keto and improved brain function is complex and not conclusively established. But scientist’s early research suggests the production of certain chemicals and ketones interact differently with the brain as a more efficient energy source.


Cardiovascular Health

6 – Healthier Cardiovascular System

Following the Keto diet has also been shown to improve cardiovascular health and may help prevent heart disease. However, this health benefit is closely linked to the nutrition sources used by Keto diet followers. It’s vital that your high fat intake is achieved from healthy sources and the “right” type of fat.

For example, a study in 2010 found that, between two low-carb diet groups, those that sourced their fats from vegetables and rich Omega-3 fatty acid foods decreased the risk of heart disease by 23% more than those who sourced fats mostly from meats.

To derive cardiovascular health benefits from Keto, it’s essential to source fats from unprocessed options like avocado, salmon, and nuts.

Learn more about proper Diet >>


7 – Improves Acne

Much of the evidence that says ketogenic diets improve acne is largely anecdotal. However, when you examine what we know about how acne flare-ups are triggered, combined with conclusive biological changes due to ketogenic diets, the effect of Keto on acne makes sense.

Acne is caused by a build-up of excess oil on the skin through sebaceous glands. This causes blockages in the pores which result in acne breakouts.

In one small study, it was found that diets low on the glycemic index reduced insulin levels and androgens (male hormones) which contributed to a reduction in acne. Keto is also proven to reduce inflammation in the body. And since inflammation can drive acne flare-ups, it’s logical that this may be a contributing factor in how ketogenic diets alleviate acne symptoms.

It’s pretty clear that the benefits of ketogenic diets go far beyond weight loss. So, if you’ve been thinking of trying Keto to eat clean and improve your general health and wellness, give it a try!


Keto Diet Starter Guide

Get started on your Ketogenic Journey today with this awesome infographic from TotalShape.com.

The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet Starter Guide - Infographic

More Readings:

Don’t forget to get a Workout Program >>

How To Build A Home Gym for Less Than $1,000!

How To Build A Home Gym for Less Than $1,000!

Gym Closed Because of Coronavirus? Here’s How To Build A Home Gym for Less Than The Price of a Gym Membership!

A Guest Article by Brian of HomeGymStrength.com

We are all stuck at home these days and can’t even go to the gym because of social distancing. So, this is the perfect time to build a home gym for less than the price of a gym membership!

“YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS”, you might yell.

Let me assure you, I am very serious about fitness and a home gym is one of the best ways to maintain your physique. 

And yes, a home gym can not only cost less than a typical gym membership but also save you money in the long run.

A normal gym membership costs around $100 a month. This is for a gym that gives you good equipment and facilities. You can count the time and transport expenses on to that and it quickly balloons to a $1200 per year ordeal. 

While this may not seem like a lot, especially if you are getting some quality equipment, that membership can’t be used in the lockdown.


Building a Home Gym

A home gym is not only convenient but it can help you stay fit even during Coronavirus. The best part is, it doesn’t even need to cost a lot.

You wake up, go to your home gym, do some quality exercises and that’s it. No need to wear masks and gloves to drive to the gym that is probably closed or only allowing a few people inside.

How to Build a Home Gym

Building a home gym for Coronavirus is not that hard. You just have to look for good equipment online and have it delivered at your place.

Get Used Equipment

Finding used equipment is going to save you a lot of money when building your home gym.

Sure, if you can afford new stuff, then it is all good. But usually used equipment is not only cheaper but also just about the same quality. Gym equipment is made with durability and reliability in mind. So if someone used the equipment responsibly, it should still be in top condition.

You can find used equipment on Facebook Marketplace, Let Go, and even Craigslist. This guide about the best apps to find used home gym equipment will help. 

Just make sure the items are delivered to your home and wear protective gear when you receive them.

Get a Squat Rack

A squat rack is a good starting point. There are two types of squat racks; the full rack and the half rack. If you have a small space, get the best half racks. If you have ample area, get one of the best full squat racks.

Get a Bar

No, not the one that serves drinks. Get an Olympic barbell. Most are made out of incredibly strong materials and a used one won’t have any problems.

Get Weights

If you are new to lifting get bumper plates. If you already have a padded floor, you can get the best Olympic weights.

Get Adjustable Dumbbells

Some good quality adjustable dumbbells would complement the rest of the equipment nicely.

Get A Program

Check out our best Workout Programs >>


Here’s Some Rough Math

For a total of $1000! And this is how you can build a home gym for less than the price of a gym membership!

And don’t forget to get a quality Workout Program >>

Now go forth and build some Quarantine Gains!