Best Natural Bodybuilding Exercises

Inside Natural Bodybuilding Part 3

This is part 3 in a series of 5 interviews with bodybuilder Tomas de la Milera.   He is a 51 year old bodybuilder with a classic physique like Frank Zane.  Peek into his world as he prepares for competition and he shares what it takes to be a natural bodybuilder.

Cardio

Tracey: How much cardio is needed to burn fat?

Tomas: You know that all depends on the individual.  I think it depends on the person’s metabolism.  I think that people can actually, that for me has been a journey.  I’ve found that sometimes less cardio helps and sometimes more cardio helps when it comes to bodybuilding.  That is a very metabolic question.  I think every individual, like in any other form of training, I think through hit and miss a person finds out for themselves how much cardio is needed.  But cardio, in the bodybuilding world, in relationship to fat, lean mass, we look more at heart rate.  Keeping your heart rate lower because we want to burn more of the calories through resistance training and more of the fat burning, so you’re looking at there being a little bit more of walking, not so much sprinting or running.

Stretching

Tracey: Do you stretch at all?

Tomas: You know I should stretch more.  It’s so important.  I’ve been blessed by not stretching enough, by not having any injuries.   I did have surgery about 7 months ago, but that was more of my experience with football in the ‘70s when I was a kid.  I should!  I would focus more, if I was to address it to an individual, I would say, “Please put your time in,” because it does help in preventing injuries. But I don’t do it enough, no.

Legs

Tracey: Give me your number one best exercise for building each of these: Legs?

Tomas: Legs?  For building legs, it’s so interesting because I just came across this, for building strength in the legs, can’t beat squats.

But when it comes to squatting, your back needs to strengthen before your legs get stronger.  So that’s a pretty much overall exercise.  When it comes to just legs in general, in the bodybuilding world, I love the hack squat. You can’t beat the hack squat.  You can work with the leg placement, it really isolates the legs.  It takes away the pressure, if it’s done correctly, from your lower back.  So leg building, in a bodybuilding sense, I love the hack squat.

Back

Tracey: Ok cool! What about back?

Tomas: Back?  You know it’s funny because when I started lifting when I was very young, I developed a very big back.  That was one of my main muscles that I worked on.  Rows!  I love rows, standing rows.  Bringing it up and down.  That’s all I would do and I developed an incredible thickness in the back and width simply by rowing.

Tracey: So in the lats?

Tomas: Yeah in the latissimus, yeah, because what I did is I would just come lower and the body coming lower isolated a little more of the lats. You know, as you come up at like a 45° angle, you’re getting more of the trapezius and the rhomboid area.  But just by placing my body and row, row, row I just, because you know that’s all I knew.  You know what; it was a benefit because I really benefited from it.

Chest

Tracey: Cool! Chest?

Tomas: Chest?  You know it’s interesting because times are changing, of course we know that we have three types of chest.  We’ve got the upper, middle and lower.  But you can’t beat a bench press, incline and decline press and the combination of them so you can isolate the individual parts of the chest.  And also free weights!  Free weights.  Because then you get the stabilizing muscles.

Shoulders

Tracey: Good! Shoulders?

Tomas: Shoulders?  Shoulder press.   I get on shoulder press, shoulder press, I hit the shoulder press and I work it. Of course we can get into isolations like lateral raises or frontal raises.  But the shoulder press, especially if you’re just starting the body building, that’s the way to go.  Go with compound movements in the shoulder press, it’s definitely a compound movement.

Abs

Tracey: Good! Abs?

Tomas: Abs?  Sit-ups!   I’ve been so traditional.  Sit-ups, leg raises, there you go! But not to ignore the obliques, the external and internal obliques and also not to ignore the lower back.  Which, you know, dead lifts are great for lower back.  So you can do some back arches.  When I hear abdominal, I think of the whole mid-section instead of just the rectus abdominis.

Biceps

Tracey: Okay good! Biceps?

Tomas: Biceps?  Curls!  Curls! And change up your free weight, change it wider, you can go in more and just curls!  You know, because it also incorporates a little bit of other parts of your body, like your back and the stabilization in your legs.  You can do them standing, if you were to just start off because we want to get the body to work as a whole as much as possible.  In bodybuilding, you eventually start isolating, but if you’re just starting in bodybuilding, its best to get some other parts of your body in conjunction with that.

Triceps

Tracey: Okay and last one! Triceps?

Tomas: Triceps!  I like, for triceps, I like a close-grip bench press! I really do.  Because I believe, especially starting triceps, you want to build that thickness, defining a tricep later on with maybe triceps extensions or scull crushers.  But I think a good start would basically be a close-grip bench press.

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Squats – How to Do Them Correctly

Squats – The Big Guns

Squats are a fundamental movement. They involve three sets of joints (the ankles, knees and hips) and because of this, also involve a lot of muscles making them one of the big guns in anyone’s workout routine. A good squat will not only strengthen legs and glutes, it will also strengthen the core (front and back).

We think it is very important to make sure people know how to do squats correctly to not only get the most out of them, but also to avoid potential injury from doing them the wrong way.

Squats Video

Here is a short video to show you some of the do’s and don’t's of squatting…

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Easy Seniors’ Strength Workout

Here is an easy seniors’ strength workout

Always do a warm-up

To begin you are going to do a nice simple warm-up. You don’t have to go outdoors or use equipment. You can run in place, step side-to-side, etc., for about 2-3 minutes.

After warming up, make sure to stretch.

Simple, Safe Squats

Once this is all done, you will begin the workout. The first exercise is going to be a squat. You are going to use a wall, put your back against it and make sure your legs are knee to shoulder width apart and do your squats. To make this exercise tougher, bring your arms straight out in front of your while you do the squats.

For the next level up you will need to get a chair and place it against the wall. Do your squat with your arms straight out and bring yourself down so you are almost to the chair. To make this even more of a challenge you can bring your hands behind your ears while doing the squats.

Chest Strength

The next exercise is going to workout the chest. You are going to place your hands against the wall and do push-ups against the wall.

To make this a little harder you can bring yourself further out from the wall and to make it quite a bit more difficult you can do these on a table or something of that sort (because it is lower).

Focus on the Lower Back

The next exercise is going to focus on the lower back. You are going to lie flat on your stomach and raise one leg off the ground, alternating from one to the other. If that is too easy you can do flutter kicks, which is where both legs are lifted off the ground and you are lifting one and then the other quite quickly.

To change this into an upper body workout you are going to have your hands under your chin and you are going to lift your arms/upper body up and down.

Very Easy Plank (Good for the Core)

Another exercise you can do for the upper body is the plank. Lie with your forearms and knees on the ground and hold for about 30-60 seconds (or whatever you are able to do).

Bridges for a Better Bottom

Finally, you are going to do an exercise that will work on your bottom. You will lie back down on the mat with your arms by your side, knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip width apart and lift your bottom up and down off of the floor.

Cool Down and Stretch

Once you are done with your workout, make sure to cool off and stretch.

Stay Healthy, Stay Strong

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Strength and Tone Workout

Here is a great bodyweight strength and tone workout

Warm Up

Before you begin the workout, do a warm-up. For this you can walk, jog, and skip. Also make sure to stretch.

For these exercises you are going to want to have a gym mat or something similar.

You are going to want to have a set number of each exercise you want to do per set. 12 would be a good number to start off with, but if you can’t do 12 then start at a number that you know you can reach.

Push Ups

The first exercise is push-ups. If these are hard for you, you can start with your knees on the ground and eventually get to the point when you are in normal push-up position.

Squats

After you have done your push-ups you are going to move onto squats. Do these with your arms straight up at either side of your head.

Superman for the Lower Back and Butt

Once you have completed the squats you are going to lay stomach down on your mat to do opposite arm/leg raises. This is going to really work out your lower back. You are going to raise the opposite arm with the opposite leg at the same time and switch back and forth.

Planks – Unreal for Great Abs

The forth exercise you are going to do will include different variations of the plank. You will begin with the basic plank, which is in push-up position with your forearms on the ground. Hold this for an allotted amount of time. Next you will do obliques in which you will hold yourself up on the side with one arm for an allotted amount of time and then do the same on the other side.

Bridges for Your Best Butt

Finally, you will lie on the mat with out back down. Have your knees bent, feet on the floor and hip-width apart and your arms by your side and lift your butt up.

Cool Down and Stretch

Once you are done with the workout make sure you cool down and stretch.

Strong, fit and toned

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Squats – Variations For Core, Legs and Butt

November 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles, Exercises, Fitness Articles

How to vary your squats with only a couple of dumbbells.

Simple Basic Squat (with dumbbells)

First make sure you are in correct squat from with your dumbbells in your hands by your sides. While holding them at your sides, do a regular squat. You will find that with the weight it is more difficult than by just doing a squat on its own.

Squats – Dumbbell to Shoulder

The next variation would be to bring the dumbbells up to shoulder height while you do your squat.

Squats – Engaging the Core

To make it even harder you can bring the dumbbells in front of you while you do your squat.

Squats – Total Body Conditioning

Another way you could do it to challenge yourself would be to bring your dumbbells up above your head with your arms straight and in line with your ears.

Try Them All

Trying out all of these types of squats and putting them in your workout routine will be sure to get those thighs burning!

Squat for Results

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Burn the Fat Workout

September 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles, Exercises, Fitness Articles

Here’s a fast, effective Burn the Fat Workout for you to try.

Warm-up

Before you begin working out, warm up by jogging, skipping, hopping, doing bear-crawls, etc. You do not need to use any equipment for this.

Burpees – Calorie- Burning Powerhouse Movements

Your first exercise is going to be a set of burpees. There are two ways you can do them:

The first is the walk-out burpee, for this burpee you are going to walk out one leg after another instead of just hopping out.

The harder burpee is the explosive burpee, which is where you push out your legs at the same time instead of walking them out one after the other. For these you can do a specified number of burpees, or try to do as many as you can in a set time (say, 60 seconds).

Squatting with Dumbbells – Upper and Lower Body Burn

The second exercise is squatting with dumbbells.

Level One of this exercise is squatting while holding the dumbbells on either side of you and then pushing them straight up above your head as you stand up.

If you are a little more fit you can do the harder levels.

For Level Two you do the same thing as level one, except you don’t let the arms rest, so they are by your shoulders while you are squatting and then up when you stand up, and so forth.

Level Three is a bit harder, you are going to do the exact same thing as Level Two, except when you are squatting, you are going to do a little hop.

Mountain Climbers – Fire Up Your Furnace

The third and final exercise is mountainclimbers. These are great for getting the heart rate going. For this one you are going to place your hands and feet on the floor, almost like push-up position, but your back will be higher up. You are going to alternate bring your feet in toward you quickly.

Cool Down

Once done with your workout, you should cool your body down with slower movements and some stretching.

Turn your body into a fat-burning furnace

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Squats – To Perfection

August 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles, Exercises, Fitness Articles

Here’s how to do the perfect squat

Starting With the Feet

We are going to start with the feet. You want your feet to be hip-shoulder width apart.

Find the front part of your hips, run an imaginary line straight down to the ground, and make sure your feet are in that line. Doing this is the most efficient way to position your feet.

Incorrect ways would be to position your feet too wide or to have your feet turn out instead of being straight

Some people have done ballet or dance for a number of years, so that now their feet naturally turn out and it will be hard for them to straighten them. In that case, you need to slowly start working on bringing them in so they point straight ahead.

Now For the Knees

Alright, the next thing we’re going to look at is the knees. The knees need to be in line with the hips. Sometimes they will begin falling inward as you do the squats. In order to stop this you need to squeeze the muscles in your bottom as you squat.

How’s Your Back For Squats?

Now we are going to look at the lower back. We want the natural curve in the spine. We don’t want your back to be over arched or under arched.

Make sure your shoulders are neutral and are not too far up toward your face and make sure they are not hunched or are in any other unnatural position. Also keep your chin neutral, not pointing up toward the ceiling and not pointing really far to the ground.

Let’s Make Those Squats More Challenging…

Now that you know the correct form for a squat we are going to talk about ways that you can make them more difficult.

Firstly you can lift your hands straight out in front of you while you are squatting. Make sure they’re shoulder width and that your thumbs are pointing up.

The next level of difficulty is called the “prisoner grip”. You are going to put both hands behind your head with your elbows pointing out while you squat.

For the more advanced level of difficulty you are going to straighten your arms up pointing toward the ceiling while you do your squats. For this one you must make sure they are on both sides of your head next to your ears.

So… What Are You Waiting For?

Make squats a regular part of your workout routine – they are one of the best, most efficient exercises for the lower body and, with variations, can even bring in parts of the upper body and core as well.

Do them properly for best results.

Neutral back position for squats

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Core Workout With Stability Ball

August 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Exercises, Fitness Articles, General Articles

Here is a simple core workout using a ball and body weight.

You can do these exercises as repetitions (like 5-30 movements per exercise) or you can time the exercise, but make sure you do the exercises slowly.

Body Weight Warm-up

Before you start the workout, you are going to warm up. Your warm up should be 5-10 minutes long and if you have no equipment then just use your body weight by doing things such as skipping, walking, and jogging on the spot. You can also do things like burpees.

Ball Squats

Once you are done warming up, you are going to get your ball and place it against the wall. Press your back against the ball and you are going to squat.

To make this harder you can lift your hands straight up while doing it. If you want to challenge yourself even more, you are going to hold the ball above your head and do the squats. Draw in the abs and make sure your back is in neutral.

Ball Crunches

Next you are going to lay back on the ball and do crunches. To make this difficult you are going to do the crunch and while you are up you are going to twist to the side.

Ball Pikes

Now you are going to have the ball on the floor, and you are going to roll the front of your body on it so that your hands are on the floor and your legs are on the ball. You are going to pull the ball towards your hands, bringing your back all the way up, as far as you can into a pike position, and then roll it back out and down. This is a great one for abs!

Ball Bridges

These next exercises are for the back. First you are going to lay on your back on the floor with the ball under your feet. You are going to bring your hips up and then back to the floor. To make this more difficult, take one foot off the ball and straighten your leg so it is upward while you do the exercise.

Ball Back Extensions

For the last exercise you are going to lay with your abdomen of the ball, feel on the ground and legs straight so you are slanted on the ball. You will have your hands holding on the back of your head and you are going to lift your torso up. To make it harder and to vary it you are going to twist to one side after you have lifted your torso up.

Ball crunches are effective

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Spartacus To The Max!

Want to get lean, ripped, strong and fit?

This one’s “Insane”!

Sexy Abs

Gofitnow’s pumped-up version of the “Spartacus Workout” featured in Men’s Health.

This is a tough workout and one that will bump up your cardiovascular fitness, strip fat and increase strength all in one hit.

Be warned, it’s very intense and not for beginners. You should always see your doctor before starting an exercise program. Always maintain good form during the exercises.

Spartacus is an intense circuit – meaning you do one exercise then move immediately onto the next one until you reach the end of that set of exercises.

You’ll need a timer and will do each exercise for 60 seconds then change to the next exercise. At its most intense you won’t be resting between exercises, although to begin with you could start with a 30 second rest.

So you’ve got 60 seconds work: 30 seconds rest.

EXERCISE 1: Goblet squats. Advanced Variations = hold the dumbbell out from your body or add a hop.

EXERCISE 2: One-armed dumbbell swing (you can also use a kettle bell). Advanced Variations = add a small hop on the down-swing.

EXERCISE 3: Split-jump. Advanced Variations = stay on one leg for 30 seconds then switch to the other leg. Make it tougher by alternating legs. make it even tougher; add a hand weight and travel forwards or backwards during the movement.

EXERCISE 4: Side squat. Advanced Variations = Increase the weight of dumbbells.

EXERCISE 5: Ultimate lunge with rotation. Advanced Variations = push the weight out and/or go heavier with the weight.

EXERCISE 6: Mountain climbers. Advanced Variations = walk your hands and feet forward or backwards as you “mountain climb”

EXERCISE 7: T.Push-up. Advanced variations = Add push-ups and burps and increase the weight.

EXERCISE 8: Dumbbell bent-over row. Advanced variations = Add weight or a hop to the action

EXERCISE 9: Push-up row. Advanced variations = Add weight, add burpees

EXERCISE 10: Squat dumbbell push-press. Advanced variations = get lower on the squats, add a little jump to the squat. Even tougher? Add movement to the hops.

You’re looking at 15 to 20 minutes max to get through one set of this workout. Make no mistake, it WILL work you hard!

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Core Workout – No Equipment Needed

December 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Articles, Exercises, Fitness Articles

Here’s a core workout – no equipment needed.

  • Before starting your workout, you should warm up for at least 10 minutes.
  • There are two ways to do the exercises that are coming up: you can time them and hold or you can do repetitions.
  • First we’ll do a series of planks.
  • The easiest plank to start off with is on the knees. You can hold and time it or do it in repetitions, whatever you decided to go with. Keep your torso in line, knees on the floor and you’ll be holding your upper body off the ground with your hands.

Plank

  • The next plank is the normal plank. It looks like a push-up, but you hold up your upper body with your forearms. You are going to lift up and hold and to make it even tougher you can get into the normal push-up position (on hands, not forearms). Again, you can hold the position and time how long you can stay up or do repetitions.
  • For the next exercise you are going to get onto your side with your knees slightly bent and you are going to push your torso up with the arm closest to the floor. Up and down (repetitions). To make this harder you can put your legs out straight. You can bring your other arm down to the floor to assist you if your supporting arm gets too tired. To make it even harder than that, keep both legs out straight and don’t use your arm to help you.
  • For the next exercise you are going to lay on the ground on your back with your knees bent and your arms will push your torso up. You are going to lift your back up and hold. Then bring it down, lift it back up, and hold again. A reverse plank.

Reverse plank

  • Once you have completed the sets that you choose for each of these exercises, you are going to cool down and stretch.
  • That’s a good, fast and simple core workout and all you need is your own body to get great results.

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