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How To Perfect The Trap Bar Deadlift

Trap Bar Deadlift

The Deadlift Variation for Maximizing Strength and Hypertrophy

Considering the number of muscles engaged, the deadlift has to be regarded as one of the most effective resistance exercises for developing full-body strength.

There are many functional deadlift variations that can be utilized to develop specific muscle groups and components of fitness.

One such variation is the trap bar deadlift which uses a hexagonal-shaped barbell rather than a straight bar that is used in the conventional or sumo deadlift.

This article will cover the muscles worked and the technique required to execute the trap bar deadlift before moving onto review the benefits of the exercise.

Trap Bar Deadlift Technique

While this exercise is a deadlift variation, be aware that the trap bar actually places the body in a slightly different position than the conventional deadlift which changes the mechanics of the movement (1).

To effectively perform the trap bar deadlift, use the following 4-step guide.

1) Setting Up

Start by standing in the trap bar, assume a hip-width stance and keep the toes pointed forward.

While a hip-width stance is recommended, physical attributes will dictate your stance. Some lifters with long limbs may find that a wider stance is required to allow them to take up the correct position.

Rather than simply reaching down to the bar, drop down by pushing the hips back while keeping the chest lifted as this will prevent any movement occurring through the spine.

If the correct position is assumed, the shins should be perpendicular to the floor, the back neutrally aligned and the shoulders directly over the bar.

2) Bracing

Before initiating the lift, with the bar still in contact with the floor, grip the bar hard, lift the chest, pull the shoulder blades together and actively squeeze the core muscles.

The purpose of this is to protect the body from injury and to facilitate an efficient lift. If appropriate bracing is not applied, it is possible that form will breakdown thus increasing the risk of injury.

3) The Drive

To lift the bar from the floor, avoiding thinking about picking the bar off the floor and instead focus on driving the feet through the floor.

Sometimes those who view the deadlift as simply picking the bar from the floor round their spine instead of maintaining a neutral position which can increase the risk of injury.

Therefore, concentrate on the feeling of the knees and hips extending as the feet are firmly driven into the floor.

4) Finish Strong

As you reach the top of the exercise, remember to squeeze the glutes tight and drive the hips forward. At the same time, maintain a core brace to prevent any spinal flexion or extension.

In the standing position, the body should be entirely vertical with the shoulders pulled back and down and the chest lifted high.

Upon reaching this position, reverse the movement in a controlled fashion ensuring that the back remains flat as the bar drops down to the floor.

deadlift

Trap Bar Deadlift Muscles Worked

The trap bar deadlift targets a multitude of muscles throughout the body and therefore can be considered a highly effective full-body developer.

This section will detail the major muscle groups that are targeted during the trap bar deadlift.

1) Glutes

The glutes are the most powerful muscle group in the human body and therefore play a crucial role in a number of strength and power exercises.

Due to the degree of hip flexion performed during the deadlift, the glutes are placed under great demand and play an influential role in bringing the bar up from the floor to the hips.

Therefore, the trap bar deadlift can be considered an effective exercise for developing glute function, strength, and size.

2) Hamstrings

While there are other deadlift variations that more specifically target the hamstrings, such as the Romanian and straight-leg deadlift, there is no doubt that the trap variation effectively works the hamstrings.

The hamstrings are responsible for bringing about hip extension and knee flexion and are heavily involved in the trap bar deadlift as a result.

However, it must be noted that because the trap bar typically places more demand on the quads (due to increased knee flexion), the stress placed on the hamstrings is slightly reduced.

3) Quadriceps

In a similar fashion to the sumo, the trap bar variation targets the quadriceps to a greater degree than a conventional deadlift.

As touched on, a greater amount of knee flexion is typically required for a trap bar deadlift which causes this increased quadriceps activation.

The increased flexion of the knee in the setup causes the trunk to be held in a more upright position which reduces the demand on the hamstrings and lower back.

4) Erector Spinae

The majority of deadlift variations will highly activate the erector spinae; this is because these muscles, which run the length of the back, contract in order to keep the back flat.

The mechanics of the trap bar deadlift does contribute to a decreased demand on these muscles in comparison to other deadlift exercises.

As a result, those who wish to limit the amount of stress placed on the lower back, while still regularly performing pulling exercises, may find it beneficial to use the trap bar variation.

5) Back Muscles

While the decreased back angle has a substantial impact on reducing the load placed on the erector spinae, having the torso in a more upright position may place more of a load on the traps, specifically the mid and upper traps.

The lats are another muscle group of the back that are recruited during the deadlift in order to stabilize the spine.

deadlift

Trap Bar Deadlift Benefits

The trap bar deadlift can easily be incorporated into a training problem and makes a great substitute for the conventional or sumo deadlift.

Powerlifters, weightlifters, strongman athletes, crossfitters, sports athletes and those looking to improve their general health can experience significant benefits by adding this exercise to their training.

This section will highlight five benefits to allow you to understand why the trap bar deadlift is such an effective exercise for strength, function, and hypertrophy.

1) Improved Pulling Strength

The trap bar deadlift is an excellent exercise choice for developing pulling capabilities or for adding in additional pulling volume.

It can be used as a primary or accessory lift and can contribute towards a better performance with the conventional deadlift, sumo deadlift, front squat and back squat.

In addition, a recent study suggests that the trap bar may be more beneficial than the straight bar for developing force, power, and velocity (2).

The trap bar deadlift is also a great place to start for the beginner and it requires less of a hip hinge – a movement that some beginners can find challenging to begin with.

2) Weightlifting Benefits

For Olympic lifters, the trap bar deadlift can prove to be an effective exercise for facilitating a better clean or snatch as it will effectively build total-body strength.

There are similarities between the first pulls of both the clean and snatch and the trap bar deadlift. The main similarity is in terms of trunk position as all of these exercises place the trunk in a more upright position.

While it should not be used as a replacement for the clean or snatch, adding it into your training as a supplemental lift can be highly beneficial.

3) Reduced Lumbar Stress

The conventional deadlift places a great demand on the spinal erectors, hips, and hamstrings due to the reduce flexion at the knee in the setup.

As reflected on, this makes the trap bar deadlift an effective choice for those who are looking to reduce the demand placed on these muscles.

Many individuals struggle with lower back issues and pain, therefore, there may be times where you need to use the trap bar deadlift in order to reduce the loading on the lower back.

4) Glute and Quad Development

For those who are looking to develop muscle size, the trap bar deadlift will apply a large amount of stress to the quadriceps and glutes.

With appropriate nutrition, these muscles will adapt to the training stimulus and significantly increase in strength and size.

Once again, the reason that the quadriceps and glutes are subject to the greatest amount of stress in the trap bar deadlift is due to the upright position of the trunk.

5) Supramaximal Lifting

For those who are at an advanced level of training, the trap bar deadlift can be loaded supra-maximally and research suggests that a greater load can typically be lifted with a trap bar deadlift (3).

There may be a number of reasons for incorporating supramaximal training. It may allow you to become more accustomed to dealing with heavier loads and overload the nervous system.

This can have a consequent positive impact on your strength capabilities and allow you to more safely and effectively lift heavy loads.

Final Word

While there are a number of useful deadlift variations, the trap bar deadlift is an excellent exercise for a variety of reasons.

Not only will it significantly develop strength and size, but it can also be a practical choice for those who need to reduce lower back loading.

References:

1 – Swinton, Paul A.; Stewart, Arthur; Agouris, Ioannis; Keogh, Justin W. L.; Lloyd, Ray (2011-07). “A biomechanical analysis of straight and hexagonal barbell deadlifts using submaximal loads”. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 25 (7): 2000–2009. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e73f87. ISSN 1533-4287. PMID 21659894.

2 – Camara, Kevin D.; Coburn, Jared W.; Dunnick, Dustin D.; Brown, Lee E.; Galpin, Andrew J.; Costa, Pablo B. (2016-05). “An Examination of Muscle Activation and Power Characteristics While Performing the Deadlift Exercise With Straight and Hexagonal Barbells”. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 30 (5): 1183–1188. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001352. ISSN 1533-4287. PMID 26840440.

3 – Lake, Jason; Duncan, Freddie; Jackson, Matt; Naworynsky, David (October 24, 2017). “Effect of a Hexagonal Barbell on the Mechanical Demand of Deadlift Performance”. Sports. 5 (4). doi:10.3390/sports5040082. ISSN 2075-4663. PMC 5969032. PMID 29910442.

Strength Wars Movie

How To Gain Muscle Mass Quickly – A Guide On What To Eat And How To Train

How To Gain Muscle Mass Quickly

Put On Muscle Mass Using This Technique

Many people quit the fit lifestyle when they join a gym to put on muscle mass but can’t see the weight scale budge in the right direction. Most people want to get results in the shortest time.

If you want to put on muscle on a timeline, you can’t afford to go wrong with the training, diet, and recovery. In this article, we’ll show you the way by telling you everything you need to know about gaining muscle on a deadline using a technique.

Setting The Right Target

Before you begin your transformation, you need to make sure you’re setting achievable goals. To keep your bulking phase sustainable, we suggest not wanting to put on more than 2lbs weight every week.

Whatever your diet is right now, add 500 calories to it if you want to put on 1lbs weight in one week. Adding 1,000 calories to your diet can speed up the bulking process and help you gain up to 2lbs a week.

How To Train To Put On Muscle Mass

Earlier, people used to overlook their diet when it came to building muscle but now a personalized training program has taken its place. Many people think that they will put on muscle mass irrespective of how they train unless their diet is right.

You can’t afford to put the training program on the back seat. If training routines were so inconsequential, the pros wouldn’t be spending thousands of dollars every month on their coaches trying to fine-tune their exercise routines, numbers of sets and reps they perform.

Designing The Right Training Program

If you’re a beginner or want to do a transformation, you should give your body at least 12 weeks to show major improvements. We would suggest you divide the 12 weeks into 3-week training routine splits.

3-weeks is the right amount of time for your body to get the most out of your workouts without letting it adjust to your routine. Change the intensity of your workouts week-on-week to push your muscles as you get closer to the 12-week mark.

For example – start your training program with a vanilla training program where you perform five exercises in a workout and do 3 sets of 10-12 reps. In the second week, switch to the German Volume Training (GVT) where you do 10 sets of 1 exercise before moving on to other exercises.

In the last week, you should increase the intensity of your workouts in a way that you’re only doing 3 exercises but are performing 5-7 sets and 15-30 reps on each lift. The increase in intensity will help in conditioning your muscles.

What And How Much To Eat To Put On Muscle Mass

If you’re planning to build muscle mass, your goal should be to eat around 3,000 calories a day. Of these 3,000 calories, 40% should come through carbs and the remaining 30% from proteins and fats each.

If your weight (muscle mass) isn’t increasing at the required pace, bump up your calories by 500 every time. We would suggest you wait for three weeks before modifying your diet. You need to give your body enough time to respond to your diet and training program.

You also need to make sure your recovery is on point. None of the diet and training improvements will do you any good until you’re recovery well. You should be sleeping between 7-8 hours every night.


How many calories a day do you eat currently? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Header image courtesy of Envato Elements

The Real Deal With Carbohydrates & Muscle

Carbohydrates

Everything You Need to Know About Carbohydrates in Your Bodybuilding Diet for Building Muscle.

In today’s world there are a million different diets and techniques that all tell you how to lose weight. But there is one simple fact that most people understand – low carb diets are an extremely effective way to burn body fat. While this is great for a majority of the world, it does pose a problem for bodybuilders.

Why? Because low carb diets deplete muscle glycogen (aka stored carbs). This, of course, is the primary source of fuel during weight training. If your body runs out of carbs, working muscles are forced to get needed energy from fatty acids. This does not build muscle mass!

Conversely, any carbs that are not used throughout your day (and your workouts) end up as fat cells. This is also no good.

Ultimately, to improve one’s physique a bodybuilder needs every gram of carbohydrates to be burned for energy, or stored as glycogen. This is the key to using carbohydrates effectively in your bodybuilding lifestyle.

This is easier said than done. So we are going to provide you with a basic guide on how to perfectly balance your carb intake so that nothing goes to waste (or fat).

A Few Key Facts

Carbohydrates are your body’s fuel. It provides the energy that you use throughout the day and especially when you are working out in the gym. If you lack carbs, not only will you feel more tired – you will also notice that your muscles develop more “flat” with less maximum gains.

Carbohydrates come in two forms: simple and complex. Simple carbs are broken down quickly by the body. These can be found in fruits, milk, and milk products – but can also be found in processed and refined sugars such as candy, syrup, cakes, etc. Complex carbohydrates are slow burning and can be found in brown rice, potatoes, and whole grain cereal.

Which leads us to…

Eat Complex Carbohydrates

Simple carbs are mostly unhealthy snack foods that most bodybuilders know to avoid. While fruit can be a great boost of quick acting carbs, it should only be eaten in moderation, if at all.

Complex carbs are the long lasting energy your body needs throughout the day in order train hard. As we said, complex carbs get stored as muscle glycogen which will be tapped once you push your muscles to the limit in the gym. Complex carbohydrates also promote the release of insulin. This is the body’s natural anabolic hormone and is essential for muscle development. Long story short, complex carbs are the way to go.

Eat Carbohydrates With High Fiber

As a companion to our last point, complex carbs usually are rich in fiber. This helps to build muscle by making tissue absorb amino acids faster. So make sure to check those sources of complex carbs for fiber as well. It will increase muscle gain..

Time Your Carb Loads

As we’ve stated previously, in general you should shoot for 50-80 grams of carbs per meal, depending on your poundage. This of course does not include post workout meals. After a workout your muscles need to rebuild. This requires energy. Carbohydrates are energy. Get it?

Also, don’t overload on carbohydrates on your rest days. Just how you need to eat extra carbs post workout – it only makes sense to eat less on the days when you aren’t pushing your body as hard. This will simply turn into fat.

Eat Protein and Carbs in the Same Meal

Carbohydrates help transport the nutrients from protein to the muscles cells. So eating both of these together in one meal helps maximize muscle growth. On top of that, mixing protein and carbohydrates together minimize the chance that carbs will be stored as fat. That’s the name of the game – minimize fat, maximize muscle gain.

How Many Carbs Should You Eat?

This may vary depending on some things. It is actually a very slippery slope, because there are so many factors that come into play. As with anything, not everyone can, nor should they, be eating the same amount of carbohydrates as someone else. The standard diet is 2,000 calories, and it is recommended that carbohydrates make up 900-1,300 calories. That would mean if you are sticking to an average 2,000 calorie diet, then 225-325 grams of carbs will suffice.

However, if you are cutting or bulking, what do you do? Surely, if you are bulking you need to be in a surplus, but if you are cutting, a deficit. So how do you go about that?

Carbs and Bulking

Carbohydrates when bulking are much different than the average 2,000 calorie diet. On a bulk, you are typically in a surplus with everything. This includes fats and proteins. It is often recommended that when trying to gain weight, carbohydrates should make up about 40% of your total caloric intake.

Carbs and Cutting

Again, when cutting, your intake is going to look different than the average 2,000 calorie diet. Carbohydrates are going to be cut down depending on your goals. Protein and fats are typically raised slightly to suppress hunger, while carbs are cut.

If you really want to drop weight quick, then there will be a sufficient drop in carbs. But, if you are trying to stay lean and healthy, you will cut your carbs, but not severely or all at once. This is different when competing in bodybuilding, and also carbohydrates need to be timed when in a deficit.

Timing Carbs for Cutting

When cutting weight, you will more than likely be cutting carbs. As stated before, the less carbs, the more tired and flat you will feel when training. So, you have to pay attention to timing. Typically, you should focus your heaviest carb meals to be pre and post workout. This is to fuel your workout, then replenish the muscles afterwards.

Carbohydrates and Competitive Bodybuilding

It is no secret that bodybuilding diets are tough, especially during a competition prep. As far as carbohydrates go, it is standard to eat a surplus in the off season. However, during prep, it is not nearly as much.

Standard bodybuilding preps involve cutting carbs throughout the prep up until peak week. During the last week, or two at most, carbs are dropped to bare minimum to completely flatten the muscle and shed any bit of excess fat. This is known as “peaking”, when the physique is the most depleted. Then, the night before and the day of the show, bodybuilders will “carb up”.

The carb up process entails eating a good bit of carbs the night before and the day of. This could be a burger and fries, muffin, whatever your body responds well to. The purpose is to inflate the muscles to appear larger, and believe it or not it gives off the illusion that the competitor is more shredded. When you deplete your body of carbs and flatten out, then get an influx of carbs, they will go straight to the muscles.

However, if you eat too many carbs and “spill over”, you will look bloated. So, just be wary of how much your body can handle. It may be a good idea to do a mock peak week about 3 weeks out from the show.

For a little more on carbohydrates and bodybuilding, check out our video on the topic.

Wrap Up

Carbohydrates are both simple, and complex, literally. There is a lot that is involved with carbs and cutting, bulking, maintaining, whatever. Different carbs affect you differently, and you need to take your goals into consideration when thinking about how many carbs you should eat.

So those are some of the basics about carbohydrates and bodybuilding. We know nutrition can get wordy and complicated – so look forward to more easy to read nutrition – all in one place. You can get the info first by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Eight Best Dumbbell Exercises For Your Forearms

Here are some of the top dumbbell exercises to pump your forearms.

Why are the forearms so underappreciated? They’re front and center, playing a role in every lift in the gym, to say nothing of everyday movements such as typing, texting, and opening doors.

With the possible exception of soccer, the forearms play a pivotal role in most sports, handling rackets, clubs, paddles, bats, and balls, providing both touch and force. Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 7-footer sometimes referred to as the Greek god of basketball, in part because of his physique, relies on his forearms to provide the soft touch on his free throws and power behind his thunderous dunks. 

Michael Phelps won 28 Olympic gold medals thanks in part to a freakish 6-foot-7 wingspan that’s three inches longer than his height. But it’s his forearms that allowed him to pull through the water, unlike any other swimmer. Studies suggest forearm training is especially effective for baseball players, which is no surprise given the importance of quick wrists when swinging a bat.

So, while you might be hitting the forearms in any gym workout, it’s worth spending a dedicated 30 minutes on occasion with a pair of dumbbells to target these unsung heroes which by the way also look damn good bulging from beneath rolled-up sleeves. Just ask Popeye.

In this 30-minute dumbbell workout to build your forearms, we’ll hammer through four sets of these eight moves in a circuit fashion, resting only briefly between sets, to produce maximum results.

Pete Williams is a NASM certified personal trainer and the author or co-author of several books on performance and training.

1. Seated Wrist Curl

What it does: This iconic wrist isolation exercise blasts the forearms.

How to do it: Hold a dumbbell in one hand and sit on a bench, allowing your elbow and forearm to rest on your thigh. Your hand dangles off your knee, palm up, the elbow bent at 90 degrees. With the dumbbell hanging down, curl your wrist so your palm faces your biceps. Lower slowly and repeat for a set of 10.

How many? 4 sets of 10 reps.

2. Bent-Over Row

What it does: Though the movement is initiated from the shoulder and also works the back, the forearms play a key stabilizing role.

How to do it: Stand slightly bent over at the waist holding a dumbbell in one hand, holding onto a bench with the other hand for support. Bring your shoulder blade back and then drive your elbow toward the ceiling, pulling the weight up. Lower to starting position and repeat.

How many: 4 sets of 10 per side.

3. Palms Down Wrist Curl

What it does: This is an everyday movement that’s not used nearly enough in the weight room, thus it’s tougher than you think it would be.

How to do it: Sit on the end of a bench, a dumbbell in each hand, wrists against your knees, and palms facing down. Raise the dumbbells by lifting only your hands, keeping your arms still. Lower after a one-second pause.

How many? 4 sets of 10.

4. Bicep Curls

What it does: It’s simple yet challenging and a mainstay of any bicep workout.

How to do it: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and biceps at your sides. Keeping your elbows still, lift the dumbbells to your shoulders as you rotate your palms to the ceiling. Keep your back still and stomach tight. Return to starting position.

How many? 4 sets of 10 reps.

5. Farmer’s Carry

What it does: Ever see a farmer with spindly arms? This lift helps the shoulders and overall core strength, but the forearms are on overload in this lift. 

How to do it: While carrying a dumbbell in each hand, walk 10 yards out and 10 yards back. Don’t hunch over. Keep your shoulder blades pulled back and down and fire your glutes as you walk. This can be a challenging move at first, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you’re able to walk further or increase the weight. 

How many? 4 sets.

6. Hammer Curls

What it does: The neutral grip places more emphasis on the forearms than the biceps.

How to do it: Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, hold a set of dumbbells with a neutral grip so your hands face each other. Curl the dumbbells to shoulder height, keeping hands facing each other. Pause at the top of the lift, squeezing the biceps, and then lower to starting position.

How many? 4 sets of 10 reps.

7. Wrist Rotations

What it does: This move blasts the forearms and is often done at the end of a workout to the point of exhaustion rather than a prescribed number of reps.

How to do it: Hold dumbbells to the side with an overhand grip. Raise the dumbbells in front of you so your elbows form 90-degree angles. While maintaining this position, slowly rotate the dumbbells away from the body so the palms face up. Slowly rotate back so the palms again face down.

How many? 4 sets to exhaustion.

8. Suitcase Carry

What it does:  A variation on the farmer’s carry, this involves picking up just one dumbbell as you might a heavy suitcase. Not only will you strengthen your forearms, but you’ll also improve your grip.

How to do it: Squat at the hips alongside the dumbbell, lift it like a suitcase and walk. Start with an easy distance – 10 to 20 yards – working up to longer distances. 

How many? 4 sets.

Phil Heath Says 2023 Is “About To Be F***ing Crazy,” Is The 7x Olympia Champ Returning To Bodybuilding?

Bodybuilding Return

Phil Heath teased a return to bodybuilding in a recent Instagram story.

Phil Heath has kept his physique in championship shape in retirement. There have been rumors of the seven-time Olympia champion returning to the stage but there has been no plan yet. Recently, Heath might have teased a return in a recent Instagram story.

Heath dominated the sport of bodybuilding from 2011-2017, winning seven consecutive Sandow Trophies. He was at the top of his game because of his insane size and shredded physique. Since retiring from competition following an appearance at the Olympia in 2020, Heath has remained in great shape.

This is not the first time that this topic has come up and Heath has shut down the idea. He even said that there was a “5% chance” that he would return to the stage. Has the tone changed for the all-time great?

Phil Heath

Phil Heath: “Totally Rebuilding My Physique”

The story has disappeared but it was captured by different YouTube pages. The one below says that Phil Heath has confirmed a return to competition but that is not the case. He does mention rebuilding his physique and that there are plans for 2023.

“I just got done doing legs. Now I’m in here doing some sled work. Working on my sprinter form. Yeah man. Totally rebuilding my physique. 2023 is about to be f***ing crazy,” Heath Said.

The Instagram story only confirmed what we already knew — that Phil Heath remains ripped up in retirement. He was going through an intense workout and by his comments, that is the plan moving forward.

Heath is already in championship shape so it will be interesting to see how he is going to rebuild his physique. For Heath, the goal is likely the Olympia and that could be why he is looking to improve further. With the calendar switching to November, fans will not have to wait long to see the transformation.

For more news and updates, follow Generation Iron on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

‘It’s Really Tempting to Come Back’: Is Hafthor Bjornsson Returning To Strongman?

Strongman

Hafthor Bjornsson teased a return to strongman after this past weekend’s event.

Hafthor Bjornsson is one of the best Strongman competitors in the history of the sport. After moving his focus to boxing over the last two years, he returned to Strongman attempting to break one of his own records. Could a full return to the sport be on the horizon for Thor?

Bjornsson appeared at the 2022 Rogue Invitational Record Breakers on Sunday in Austin, TX. He was attempting to break the Weight Over Bar record, which he previously set at the 2019 Arnold Strongman Classic. Over the weekend, Bjornsson was able to clear a bar of 20 feet, 3 inches with a 25.4kg (56lb) weight.

Hafthor Bjornsson shared a video to his YouTube channel showing the lead up to his world-record attempt. He also showed an interview where he hinted as a possible return to the sport.

Hafthor Bjornsson: “I Can Tell You This, I Might Come Back”

Hafthor Bjornsson recently made the decision to end his time as a boxer. Over the last two years, Bjornsson was able to go through an insane physique transformation. He lost a significant amount of weight and built a shredded physique. During this time, Thor did not lose much strength and showed it off with some crazy deadlifts on social media.

Now, he has set a new mark in a world record he already held. The deadlift world record could be next on his list if he decides to make a comeback.

“It’s really tempting to come back, especially to compete in a show like this. You never know. I haven’t made my decision today, but I can tell you this, I might come back.”

Hafthor Bjornsson won the 2018 World’s Strongest Man Competition and is a three-time Arnold Strongman Classic winner. He has logged 38 victories in his career. This includes the Europe’s Strongest Man title as well. Bjornsson has reached the pinnacle of Strongman on many occasions and could have some more to accomplish.

If Bjornsson returns to competition, he will bring plenty of eyeballs and expectations. This could be his next venture after accomplishing what he wanted to in the ring.

For more news and updates, follow Generation Iron on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

PNBA Massimiliano Sertori’s Physique Update a Week Out From Natural Olympia

Massimiliano Sertori physique update

PNBA Men’s Physique competitor Massimiliano Sertori showcases his back a week from Natural Olympia. 

With Natural Olympia one week out, athletes are deep in their contest prep, getting their physiques in peak condition for the Super Bowl of natural bodybuilding. Professional Natural Bodybuilding Association (PNBA) athlete Massimiliano Sertori shared a physique update of his back with Natural Olympia one week away. Natural Olympia takes place November 10-13, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV. 

Massimiliano Sertori is an Italian Men’s Physique competitor competing in his first Natural Olympia. In his pro debut at the 2022 INBA PNBA Battle Against Cancer in Corona, CA, on May 28, Sertori won the Men’s Physique division. 

Below is a picture of Sertori’s back heading into Natural Olympia a week out. 

Massimiliano Sertori physique update

Massimiliano Sertori’s Training and Diet

We asked Sertori what his training and diet look like to get his back to where it’s at. Sertori responded:

“I am training my back 3 times a week in various rep ranges for maximum detail and hardness. diet only egg, white rice, chicken, and beef. And as the race approaches, gradual refill of carbohydrates.” 

Sertori says he trains his back three times a week in various rep ranges. And he informed us that the back movements he does consist of pull-ups, rows, seal rows, conventional deadlift, sumo deadlift, and the lat pulldown machine. 

Massimiliano Sertori has high hopes for Natural Olympia and aims to place in the top 10 of the Men’s Physique division. Sertori stated:

“The goal is to get in the top 10. no Italian has ever succeeded in, and it’s my first Olympia. 6/7 day workout and fasted cardio every day. currently, I have reached the best condition ever. managing to beat the form that allowed me to win the Battle Against Cancer PNBA in May. thus becoming the first Italian to win in the USA.”

Natural Olympia 

Natural Olympia is the most significant natural bodybuilding show globally hosted by the International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA) PNBA. Competitors from over 60 countries fight to earn a spot to compete here. This event gives away the most considerable cash and prizes in natural bodybuilding. For example, last year, they gave out a Harley-Davidson, which 4x Natural Olympia Men’s Bodybuilding champ Philip Ricardo Jr. won. 

Besides the large payouts, another thing that separates the INBA PNBA from other natural bodybuilding leagues is that each athlete is vetted in-season and out-of-season by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) drug testing guidelines. Any athlete that fails a drug test will be banned from competing, stripped of their title and prize money, and uploaded to the Hall of Shame

The Men’s Bodybuilding division is stacked this year with 6x Natural Olympia champ Kiyoshi Moody coming out of retirement and 2020 Natural Olympia champ Meshack Ochieng returning. In addition, the category is filled with elite competitors such as the reigning Natural Olympia champ Paul Krueger, Chad Martin making his 19th Natural Olympia appearance, and Peter Cichonski– who got third place in the Men’s Bodybuilding Grand Masters division at the 2021 Natural Olympia. 

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to stay tuned for the 2022 Natural Olympia!

The Rock Goes Through “Killer Finisher” During Recent Leg Day Workout

Leg Day Finisher

The Rock has shared different leg day finishers on different occasions.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has put together some big-time workouts over the course of his career. He is one of the most successful actors in Hollywood and has tailored his physique for different roles on the big screen. That is continuing as The Rock put together a “killer” leg day finisher recently.

Johnson built one of the most impressive home gyms that you will see. His “Iron Paradise” has held many training sessions that The Rock has gone through and shared for his 345 million followers to see. After some massive workouts, Johnson has enjoyed plenty of cheat meals to take a break from his strict diet plan.

The Rock was preparing for quite some time for his role in Black Adamthe recently released film where he was portraying a superhero. Now, the workouts continue to be strenuous as Johnson keeps his physique in shape.

Image via Instagram @therock
Image via Instagram @therock

The Rock’s Newest Leg Day Finisher

The Rock shared this workout with some instructions for those who want to try. These include using just fingertips and keeping the dumbbell off the floor.

“Killer finisher.
5 monster sets.

100lb DB sumo squat with 3 second negative and 1 second pause at bottom.
* don’t let dumbbell touch the floor
* for grip strength hold dumbbell with just fingertips 🙌🏾
* slight lean forward”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Dwayne Johnson (@therock)

“Leg press
Hack squat
Chain lunges
DB sumo squat

It’s a bitch.
Give it a shot.
Have fun.”

The workout consists of four exercises performed back-to-back with no rest. Each workout must have five reps completed before moving on. In the end, The Rock provides a call to action for fans to try this workout and put their legs through the ringer.

This is one of many big-time workouts that The Rock has done. he was recently joined by the likes of Los Angeles Rams’ defensive tackle Aaron Donald for a back day. If there is one person to follow for workout tips, The Rock has to be near the top of the list.

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Big Ramy Looks Unstoppable in Most Recent Update

Big Ramy looks unbeatable six weeks out from the 2022 Olympia.

Six weeks out from the 2022 Olympia, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay is looking unstoppable. His latest physique update shows a champion ready to defend his title with some impressive improvements.

Well it seems as if the reigning Mr. Olympia just issued another notice to his competition. This man is just on an entirely different level. While he hadn’t shown much of his physique throughout the year, Big Ramy is making up for it big time in his physique updates as of late. It seems as if every update shows the Egyptian star looking bigger, more conditioned, and stage ready.

Other top contenders in the Men’s Open Bodybuilding division are showing some incredible improvements themselves. Nick Walker is looking massive yet fine tuned with a much more slimmed down midsection. William Bonac is also looking incredible as of late with some great conditioning. But it does seem futile when you compare them to Big Ramy.

Unstoppable Physique

And his most latest physique update big Ramy is showing impressive gains. While he has always been down for a size his conditioning seems to be reaching a whole new level. A big Ramy who is in great condition is a difficult man to defeat. But rather than heap praise and hyperbole, let’s allow the latest physique update images to speak for themselves.

The definition in his legs as well as the vascularity is otherworldly. Right now Big Ramy looks inhuman and a shoe-in to win the 2022 Olympia. The opposition will have to bring something different to the table if they hope to defeat him.

With just six weeks until the big show, can the rest of the division catch up in time? While Hunter Labrada, Nick Walker, Hadi Choopan, and Brandon Curry all have a fighting chance, it’s looking more and more likely that Big Ramy will defend his title.

What do you think of the latest Big Ramy update?

For more news and updates, follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


News and Editorial Writer at Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.

 

The Dumbbell Row Side Plank for Developing the Abdominals

dumbbell

Unconventional Core Training for Effective Strength Gains

When it comes to selecting core development exercises, there are a number of popular exercises that are often chosen – crunches, side bends, Russian twists & planks.

There is no denying that these exercises are highly effective when performed correctly. However, after some time it may become necessary to find alternative core exercises.

It may be necessary to change them as a method of progressive overload or because there is a need to freshen up your training to maintain motivation or adherence.

Whatever the reason for performing new abdominal exercises, the dumbbell row side plank can present a real challenge, not just for the abdominals, but for the entire body.

Dumbbell Row Side Plank Technique & Muscles Worked

In terms of the muscles recruited in the exercise, there are many muscles must engage either to cause movement or stabilize the body.

The muscles which are primarily involved in the dumbbell row side plank are the abdominals, obliques, lats, rhomboids, adductors, and glutes.

There are a number of secondary muscles that assist in the exercise including the quads, hamstrings, traps, deltoids, and triceps.

Judging by the number of muscles listed, it should be evident that the dumbbell row side plank is a full-body exercise.

1) The Side Plank Position

When setting up for the dumbbell row side plank, it is imperative that the body is set in the right position before the rowing phase of the exercise can take place.

When assuming the side plank position, start on your side. Place your hand flat on the floor, and extend the arm fully ensuring that the hand is directly under the shoulder.

Keeping the core muscles engaged, lift the hips off the floor while extending the legs fully so that the body is held in a straight line – ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders should be aligned.

2) Locking the Shoulder

Prior to picking up the dumbbell, it’s important to ensure that the shoulder of the rowing arm is “locked” in position. To effectively do this, retract the shoulder and pull it downwards.

Allowing the shoulder to rise upward or pull forward will not only negatively impact the movement mechanics but may also place excessive strain on the shoulder joint thus increasing the risk of injury.

In addition, look to keep the supporting arm straight throughout the duration of the exercise. Allowing the elbow to bend may compromise stability and affect the side plank position.

3) Rip the Dumbbell

To allow you to reach the dumbbell on the floor it will be necessary to rotate the trunk slightly. Keep the chest up and core tight while you rotate in order to maintain alignment and protect the spine.

Once you pick up the dumbbell, rotate the trunk and simultaneously row the dumbbell powerfully into the body and maximally squeeze between the shoulder blades.

In the row, ensure that the elbow is kept slightly down from the height of the shoulder as the dumbbell is pulled into the body. Allowing the elbow to rise up can place strain on the shoulder joint.

4) Control the Descent

As you begin to lower the dumbbell back down to the floor, avoid dropping the dumbbell too quickly as this will only increase the risk of pulling the body out of position.

Instead, squeeze the abdominals, reverse the rowing action in a controlled manner and slowly rotate through the trunk in order to bring the dumbbell back down.

Lowering the dumbbell in a controlled fashion while maintaining core engagement will effectively facilitate a solid side plank position thus reducing the risk of sustaining of injury.

Dumbbell Row Side Plank Benefits

The dumbbell row side plank can prove to be a highly effective exercise for a range of lifters and athletes. This section will expand on a select number of benefits associated with the dumbbell row side plank.

1) Enhanced Full-Body Stability

As mentioned, the dumbbell row side plank places a large demand on the core. Often the function of the core is misunderstood – the core works to stabilize the body as it moves (1).

The core maximally engages during the side plank in order to hold the body in the correct position. The addition of the dumbbell row places even more demand on the core to work and maintain stability.

Furthermore, proprioceptive abilities such as balance and coordination will also improve with regular practice thus enhancing full-body stability further.

2) Improved Ab Strength & Definition

The abdominals are often mistaken to be just one muscle; however, there are four individual muscles that make up the abdominal muscle group – the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal oblique & external oblique (2).

All four of these muscles must isometrically contract in the side plank to successfully hold the side plank. The obliques must also concentrically and eccentrically contract to cause the trunk to rotate in the row.

Regularly performing the dumbbell row side plank will place a large demand on the abdominal muscles and cause them to increase in both size and strength.

3) Improved Pulling Strength

The lats are wing-like muscles found in the back that are predominantly responsible for all upper body pulling exercises.

The row phase of the exercise will place great stress on the lats, as well as a number of other back muscles (3), consequently causing a significant adaptation in back strength and size.

Having bigger and stronger lats, rhomboids, traps, and rear delts will improve your pulling capacity and build your back. 

4) Performance Facilitation

Finally, a combination of the aforementioned benefits associated with the dumbbell row side plank can have a positive impact on athletic performance and injury risk.

Having a stronger and more stable core can notably impact compound lifts such as the squat, deadlift, presses, and Olympic lifts, and may facilitate a safer, more effective lift.

Increasing the strength of the back and your pulling capacity may also transfer into a greater performance with all upper body pulling exercises such as the lat pulldown and row.

Dumbbell Row Side Plank Variations & Alternatives

This section will highlight a number of variations that can be utilized to advance the dumbbell row side plank and add demand to maintain a steady rate of adaptation.

There are also three dumbbell row side plank alternatives listed that will allow you to regress the exercise if necessary.

Variations

Alternating Dumbbell Row Side Planks

The alternating version involves switching sides after each rep. On completion of a row on one side, immediately move into a side plank on the alternate side and complete a row.

Continuously switch from side to side until you have completed the prescribed number of reps.

Constantly switching arms will not only add a challenge in terms of stability and coordination, but it will also place an increased demand through the shoulders.

Eccentric Dumbbell Row Side Planks

For the eccentric variation, complete the movement as normal, however, look to slowly the dumbbell back down to the floor with each and every rep.

Using a descent of 3-5 seconds will add mechanical tension and increase the degree muscular damage sustained – both of which are principles of muscular growth (4).

As a result, eccentric exercises can be considered an effective method for bringing about calisthenics workout.

Archers Row Side Planks

The archers row variation starts in a full plank position rather than the side plank. Grip the dumbbell and as you begin to row, simultaneously rotate the body into a side plank.

From that position, keep the core tight and gradually reverse the movement by extending the arm and rotating the trunk until you assume the full plank position once again. Switch sides and repeat for the designated number of reps.

abs

Alternatives

Dumbbell Fly Side Planks

The dumbbell fly side plank is very similar to the original exercise and it works the body in a similar fashion.

The only difference between the two exercises is that a fly in performed rather than a row. For the fly, maintain a straight arm and drive the dumbbell up until it is directly over the shoulder joint.

The fly will place more of a stress on the rear delts (back of the shoulder) and typically a lighter weight will be used for this variation.

Renegade Rows

The renegade row is exactly the same as the dumbbell row side plank however, it places the body in a full plank rather than a side plank.

For the renegade row, start in a full plank position while holding onto two dumbbells. Row one dumbbell into the body while maintaining a full plank, control the descent and then swap sides and repeat.

Plank Pull Through

For the plank pull through, assume a full plank position and place a weight to the right side of the body.

Keeping the core tight, lift the left hand from the floor, reach under the body, grab the weight side and pull it through. Alternate hands and repeat.

Final Word

It is clear that the dumbbell row side plank is an effective developer of abdominal strength, core stability, and pulling power, all of which contribute towards improving athletic performance.

As a result, all lifters and athletes should seriously consider incorporating this exercise into their training regime.

References:

1 – Kibler, W. Ben; Press, Joel; Sciascia, Aaron (2006). “The role of core stability in athletic function”. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.). 36 (3): 189–198. doi:10.2165/00007256-200636030-00001. ISSN 0112-1642. PMID 16526831.

2 – Services, Department of Health & Human. “Abdominal muscles”. www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au.

3 – Fenwick, Chad M. J.; Brown, Stephen H. M.; McGill, Stuart M. (2009-03). “Comparison of different rowing exercises: trunk muscle activation and lumbar spine motion, load, and stiffness”. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 23 (2): 350–358. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181942019. ISSN 1533-4287. PMID 19197209.

4 – Franchi, Martino V.; Reeves, Neil D.; Narici, Marco V. (July 4, 2017). “Skeletal Muscle Remodeling in Response to Eccentric vs. Concentric Loading: Morphological, Molecular, and Metabolic Adaptations”. Frontiers in Physiology. 8. doi:10.3389/fphys.2017.00447. ISSN 1664-042X. PMC 5495834. PMID 28725197.

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