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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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Staying Young With Strength Training

It’s no secret that more people expect to stay healthy and youthful for as long as possible. Baby Boomers are aging but they don’t want to get “old” – they are smart, well-informed and still leading the pack in terms of making thing happen the way they want them to.

Maintaining muscle mass is critical to maintaining a youthful body and the only way to maintain or even build muscle mass is to place load on your muscles – in other words, do strength training.

What exactly is strength training?

Strength training is any activity that builds strength in the muscles – using weights, your own body weight, bands, kettle bells, old tires, sand bags… anything that adds load to the muscles and makes them grow. Other names for it are weight training or resistance training.

The old-school and most popular method is free and machine weights.

Training and eating like a bodybuilder is probably the most effective way to build muscle. It’s very effective although it’s not for everyone. Luckily there are many shades of grey and people can reap the benefits of strength training – strong bones, a strong heart, a youthful-looking body, a fast metabolism, joie de vivre – with as little as two or three one-hour sessions per week.

Sherryl, age 59 with Rudi, age 53

Sherryl and Rudi

Stay as natural as possible

In the quest for youth, it’s very tempting to opt for artificial enhancement (plastic surgery) or hormonal help (the big trend in men getting testosterone treatment). The truth is, you don’t have to go down that potentially dangerous path, you can stay young naturally and cleanly – you just have to be willing to do some work.

Nothing beats knowing you are in control of your own destiny, your own body and the way you look and feel. The good news… it’s never too late to start.

What are you waiting for?

Contact us if you want to know how to beat the aging cycle.

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Over 50′s Natural Bodybuilding – Grand Masters

September 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles, Fitness Articles, Strength Training Articles

Rudi is 53 years old. One and a half years ago he decided to put his body to the test to find out whether he could get it into competition-ready shape without the help of testosterone, growth hormone or anabolic steroids. Added to the challenge – no artificial sweeteners, colors or additives were allowed in his diet and there would be no beef, chicken or turkey products (staples in most bodybuilding diets).

The last time Rudi trained and dieted as a bodybuilder was in his thirties. So, with a 20-year break, he began his adventure.

Here is a pictorial summary of his journey so far.

1993, Rudi was 34 years old and ready for the NSW Natural Bodybuilding competition.

Rudi, age 34, with his daughter Tia

June 2011 and with nearly 20 years off from any serious training, the experiment begins. Will Rudi be able to whip himself back into the kind of shape needed to compete as a natural bodybuilder?

Rudi in June 2011, aged 52

Rudi in Aruba, October 2011

By October, 1 month away from his first bodybuilding competition, Rudi is looking leaner and stronger. Hardest fat to move? Abdominal fat – decidedly stubborn, especially in the 50′s. Hardest area to build? Legs.

Move forward to 2012, nearly a year later. Daily training, strict dieting and supplementation. The abdominal fat is gone. Rudi is looking pretty good. Keep in mind, he’s 100% natural and has been all his life.

Natural bodybuilding supplements - no additives

Bodybuilding posing practice. August 2012

Carb depletion meal - 1 week out from competition

Fat testing. 1 week out from competition

Carb loading breakfast right before the show. Pancakes!

Pumping up. Pre-show.

San Diego Naturals Grand Masters, 2012. Rudi is center.

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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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Resistance Training – The Fountain of Youth?

Aging is inevitable – the years go by and you get older. There’s no stopping time but it is possible to redefine aging. For most of us it’s understood that aging means the body starts to decay, the hard and soft tissues gradually deteriorate and physical activity becomes more difficult to accomplish. We’ve all seen elderly people using walking frames or stooped over a walking stick moving slowly.

Sarcopenia is a word used to mean wasting of muscle that occurs naturally with age. Most people’s bodies lose about 10% of muscle mass each decade once they reach their thirties. This accelerates dramatically once the age of sixty is reached. This muscle wastage has many undesirable effects, among them:

  • Trouble with balance and, as a result, a higher chance of falling (a major problem for the elderly)
  • Poor recovery from disease or surgery. Muscle provides a storehouse of protein to aid efficient recovery and when it’s absent, recovery is slow or non-existent
  • Lack of strength and power resulting in dependence on others to get in and out of the bath or even into and out of bed in some cases
  • Osteoporisis – a disease whereby bones become porous and fragile
  • Increased fat deposits (as muscle mass decreases, metabolism slows down so fewer daily calories are burned, resulting in greater fat storage)

There are no drugs to stop sarcopenia, the only weapon against it is to maintain muscle mass and the only way to do this is with some form of resistance training, whether it be using your own body weight (as with push-ups, chin-ups, dips or body-weight squats), using free weight and machine weights or doing physical work like digging ditches or loading bricks.

Forever Youthful Sherryl

In our personal training business we are seeing more people over fifty who have realized they need to maintain their muscle mass and who are doing so very successfully with carefully programmed, fun exercises that include good doses of resistance training. There’s no better time than the present to get started and, the good news is, it’s never too late to get started.

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Strength Out-Muscles Diabetes

As you may already know, strength training is one of the greatest ways to get in shape and have a healthy and fit body. Something you might not know is that strength training has been proven to help prevent type 2 diabetes. Studies have been done to show that strength training helps prevent type 2 diabetes by triggering metabolic changes in the body.

For a long time scientists thought that only aerobic exercises, like running, had    any prominent effect on the body’s metabolism, but recently, studies were done that  showed that strength training influences the body’s metabolism in a large way.  This is because strength training helps reduce blood glucose very specifically.

First of all, when doing any kind of exercise, the body uses excess glucose as  necessary fuel. When doing strength training, the body uses excess glucose as well  as building muscle. Building extra muscle provides the body with a larger storage  area for glucose and both factors of using the excess glucose and building more muscle improve the body’s glucose processing, which is very important in preventing type 2 diabetes.

The most popular form of strength training is weight training. Weight training is done by using weights stacks, dumbbells, bands, body weight and so on to oppose muscle contraction. Some examples of this are bent over-rows, dumbbell presses, pull-ups, dumbbell lunges, triceps dips, and free-weight squats. You can learn how to do these through video tutorials and also by getting a competent personal fitness trainer.

According the the American College of Sports Medicine’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2012, strength training is currently number 2 on the list with Pilates  and balance ball training dropping off the list completely. “It is common for cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, or metabolic disease management programs to include some form of weight training in the exercise prescription.”

Remember, having a healthy diet is also a very important way to help prevent type 2 diabetes. Make sure you aren’t eating too many sugary and junk foods. Also make sure you are eating the right amount of vegetables and just in general have your diet balanced. Doing strength training along with having a good diet is a sure way to prevent diabetes.

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Exercise Your Neck

Have you ever heard of exercising your neck? Sure, we work out our biceps, triceps, abdominal muscles, gluteus muscles, quads and hamstrings but when was the last time you did a neck exercises? Probably never, but it’s an area of the body that should not be neglected. A strong neck has many advantages.

The neck, technically called the cervical spine, has four main muscles and it is more vulnerable to injury that the rest of the spine. Instead of being enclosed by the torso (or core), it is encased by a relatively small number of muscles and ligaments in relation to the amount of movement it does.

Think about the vital structures that are part of the neck – the airway, spinal cord and major blood vessels that supply the brain. If any one of these gets damaged, loss of life can occur quickly. Sorry about the dramatics, but you need to get the importance here – it’s not merely an aesthetic choice to do neck exercises.

Here are some very simple neck exercises:

Forward Neck Press – You can do this sitting or standing. Place your hands on your forehead and look straight ahead. Then press your hands against your head while at the same time lowering it towards your chest. Do this slowly. Repeat 10 times.

Forward Neck Press

Side Neck Press – Now place your right hand on the right side of your head and push your head and hand together gently. Hold the tension for about 10 seconds before releasing. Repeat 10 times then do the same on your left.

Side Neck Press

Rear Neck Press – Place both hands behind your head. Apply resistance through them and try to move your head back. Hold the tension for about 10 seconds before releasing. Repeat 10 times.

Rear Neck Press

Make sure you use your hands to brace against the pressure you apply as they will not only help increase the tension to build strength, but also support the head to ensure your neck remains fully supported.

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