Saturday, August 31, 2013

10 Top Bicep Moves

By Matt Biss
They may not be the biggest or the strongest group on your body, but your biceps are arguably the best "show" muscles. Upon hearing the clarion cry, "sun's out, guns out," you don't want to flee into the shadows like a vampire with flabby arms.
Functionally, the biceps are pretty straightforward—they just flex the elbow—yet humankind has come a long way since the days of hoisting a club. Today, there is a dizzying array of movements to bring out every vein, bulge, and peak.
To see the full array, check out the Exercise Database, which hosts video demonstrations of hundreds of exercises with top models from the industry. Below are the top ten biceps exercises as rated by you—our users!
1. Incline Hammer Curls
While you rate this No. 1, we give it mixed reviews. The incline bench position increases the stretch on the long head of the biceps, while the neutral grip increases emphasis on the brachioradialis and brachialis. But the "hammer" takes some of the tension away from the long head, negating the benefit you gain from sitting at an incline.
Test this yourself by simply placing your right hand on your left biceps. Move your left hand from palm up to palm sideways and you can feel the tension change in your biceps.
2. Incline Inner-Biceps Curl
The biceps brachii actually consists of two portions or "heads," with differing attachment points. The "long" head actually attaches above the shoulder joint, which means that the position of the upper arm relative to the body can determine how much each head of the biceps helps during a curl.
This exercise gets your humerus behind your body, stretching the long head to the max. The more horizontal the bench, the more the long head will be stretched.
3. Standing Concentration Curl
In contrast, concentration curls place the arm in front of the body with a rotation in the shoulder. While this decreases recruitment of the long head, it potentially increases biceps thickness and peak by better short head and brachialis recruitment.
I recommend placing your free hand on your off leg to support your body weight. When you hit failure using a supinated grip, switch over to a hammer grip and burn out a few extra reps.
4. EZ Bar Curl
Many find the EZ bar significantly more comfortable than a straight bar. It shifts a little bit of the load from the biceps brachii to your other elbow flexors, so an argument could be made that the EZ bar curl is the best all-around biceps builder.
5. Wide-Grip Standing Barbell Curl
Taking a wider-than-normal grip will cause you to externally rotate at the shoulder, so your humerus changes its position. This prompts more involvement from the short head of the biceps. For this and all barbell curls, avoid cheating reps by leaning back. If you want to overload the top, use bands, chains, or a partner for forced reps.
6. Zottman Curl
Are you having trouble deciding which biceps exercise to do? Choose the Zottman. In this movement you have a palms-up (supinated) grip on the way up and a palms-down grip (pronated) as you lower the weight. All of your elbow flexors get hit in one swoop. The brachioradialis and the brachialis take heat on the negative, and during the curling motion itself, the biceps brachii bears the load.
My recommendation would be to rotate the wrist as you come up instead of just doing it at the bottom before the rep starts. Some of your elbow flexors act as supinators as well, and rotating the wrist during the curl instead of at the bottom will load up that function.
7. Barbell Curl
The classic! If you did only this movement for biceps, you would still come out ahead. Since the amount of wrist rotation helps determine how much work our biceps brachii work, it makes sense to maximize supination in a movement where we can load fairly heavy.
Play around with your grip width. It may reduce discomfort that some experience with a barbell, as well as emphasize a different part of the biceps. A narrower grip will emphasize the long head; a wider grip, the short head.
8. Dumbbell Biceps Curl
A dumbbell curl is a basic movement that seems to be the icon of fitness. Don't believe me? Just nose around our site; it seems like half of our banners have someone doing a dumbbell curl! Dumbbells allow the wrists to move freely.
Most people will adopt at least a little bit of wrist rotation as they curl—just try to keep as much supination as is comfortable.
9. Hammer Curl
The "hammer" or neutral wrist position will typically be our strongest curl. This is because all of our elbow flexors are actively involved; the brachialis is worked the hardest. I would recommend doing this movement like a concentration curl or on a preacher bench. This should minimize cheating and maximize recruitment.
10. Overhead Cable Curl
This movement is a great way to practice your front double biceps pose as you train. With our arms in this position, brachialis recruitment is maximized. The higher your elbow, the more isolated the brachialis is from the biceps brachii.
A good variation is to do one arm at a time, getting the arm straight up (against the head), curling behind your head.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Watermelon G-Fuel Available Now

5 Creative Oatmeal Recipes

Oatmeal is the real breakfast of champions. It is low in fat, high in fiber, contains essential vitamins and minerals, and packs enough complex carbs to fuel your body for hours!
Oats get a bad rap, though, because when you cut the butter, milk, and sugar, they can seem a little bland. But there are ways to spice it up! Here are 5 easy recipes that will bring the flavor and the macronutrient profile you need to start your morning right!

/ Mexican Mocha-Meal

Lasso a healthy helping of carbohydrates that will keep you satiated for hours. The protein powder and almond milk will keep your protein levels high to start the day.

  1. Combine ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Heat in microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
 Mexican Mocha-Meal PDF (45.9 KB)

Nutrition Facts
Recipe serves 1
Amount per serving
Calories 404
Total Fat11 g
Total Carb46.3 g
Protein35.3 g

/ Sweeter-Than-Apple-Pie Oatmeal

This recipe tastes like it's fresh out of the oven! The apples provide small amounts of many vitamins and minerals like Vitamins A and C, fiber and iron. The cinnamon may help curb a potential insulin spike and crash from the carbohydrates so you won't feel sleepy! Top your cinnamon apple pie oatmeal with a Quest bar for added protein.

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Add oats, chopped apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, Stevia and vanilla extract to the pan.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 4-5 minutes, stir occasionally.
  4. Pour the mixture in 2 separate bowls.
  5. Top each with 1/2 of the Quest bar pieces and let stand in the microwave for 10 seconds.

Nutrition Facts
Recipe serves 2
Amount per serving
Calories 222
Total Fat4.7 g
Total Carb50.6 g
Protein13.8 g

/ The Overnighter Oatmeal

Just because you are crunched for time, doesn't mean you can't enjoy delicious breakfasts! Instead of the banana and thermos full of coffee on your way out the door, put something together in the evening and you'll have a healthy and delicious morning. This chocolate-banana oatmeal combination is full of protein, potassium and fiber.

  1. Combine all ingredients in small jar.
  2. Place in refrigerator overnight.
 The Overnighter Oatmeal PDF (55 KB)

Nutrition Facts
Recipe serves 1
Amount per serving
Calories 306
Total Fat15.6 g
Total Carb32.1 g
Protein20.7 g

/ Raisin Cookie Oatmeal

Don't kick yourself for not putting this classic combination together earlier—just enjoy it now. Bake these in the morning or in the evening and heat them up for something quick as you head off to work. Along with protein, this recipe is full of antioxidants and vitamins A and C. The raisins provide boron, which may help maintain bone health. Pop the mixture in the oven, continue to get ready, and grab them as you head out the door.

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Pour into pre-sprayed Ramekins.
  4. Place the Ramekins in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the oats are slightly toasted.
 Raisin Cookie Oatmeal PDF (60.3 KB)

Nutrition Facts
Recipe serves 2
Amount per serving
Calories 185
Total Fat4 g
Total Carb38 g
Protein6.6 g

/ PB&J Oatmeal

Who says you have to part from mom's PB&J just because you're an adult? Add some fruit and natural peanut butter to your oats for a spin on the lunchtime classic. Mix the type of berries you throw in for a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. The peanut butter is a great source of protein and healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats.

  1. Place the berries in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.
  2. Remove and smash the berries with a fork.
  3. Add oats, water, protein powder, and powdered peanut butter.
  4. Microwave the mixture for 2 1/2 minutes.
  5. Stir and top with peanut butter. Add more berries for taste preference.
 PB&J Oatmeal PDF (65.6 KB)

Nutrition Facts
Recipe serves 1
Amount per serving
Calories 317
Total Fat12.7 g
Total Carb29.4 g
Protein23.6 g

Sunday, August 25, 2013

All About Avocado's

From Huffpost Healthy Living

You know they make a killer eggocado and are beloved among guacamole aficionados. You might also know you can feel good eating one, thanks to healthy fats and loads of nutrients. But the mighty powers of the avocado stretch farther than you probably realize.

An Avocado Is A Fruit, And More Specifically A Berry

You might be inclined to call it a vegetable, thanks to its green hue and savory taste, but the avocado is technically a fruit, and even more specifically, a single-seeded berry. A fruit is "the matured ovary of a flower," according to University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources. Fruits consist of a tough outer layer (the skin or rind), a middle layer we typically think of as the flesh of the fruit and a casing around a seed (or seeds). Avocado is further classified as a fleshy as opposed to a dry fruit, and a berry rather than a drupe, which has tough pits or stones, like peaches.

An Avocado Has More Potassium Than A Banana

A single avocado has 975 milligrams of potassium, while a banana, well-known for being loaded with potassium, delivers just half that, with 487 milligrams per large fruit.

They'll Ripen More Quickly With A Banana Or An Apple Around
Speaking of bananas! The yellow fruit -- as well as apples -- release ethylene gas, a naturally-occurring plant hormone. If you store your unripe avocados in a brown bag with an apple or a banana, the gases trapped in the bag will help those green guys ripen more speedily, according to The Haas Avocado Board.

Avocados Are One Of A Few High-Protein Fruits
One avocado packs four grams of protein, among the highest amount coming from a fruit.

And it's good-quality protein to boot. While they don't contain every single amino acid required in the body's protein-building process, they do have all 18 of the important ones, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Plus, all of that protein is available for the body to use, while some of the protein you might get from meat sources is not.

You Can Swap Them Into Baked Goods Recipes For Butter
The creamy texture and healthy fats make for a surprisingly-easy baking substitution. And no, you won't be making green muffins. In the right ratios, you can ditch some butter and replace with avocado for healthier chocolate chip cookies, banana bread and brownies, thanks to these tasty avocado recipes compiled by our friends at POPSUGAR Fitness.

You Don't Have To Eat Them To Reap Their Benefits
Nutritional perks aside, avocados can play a key role in your healthy hair and skin routine. The antioxidants, amino acids and essential oils inside an avocado can help repair damaged hair, moisturize dry skin, treat sunburns and maybe even minimize wrinkles, HuffPost Style reported.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Strength Training Raises HDL

From Ergo Log

Strength training boosts the concentration of the 'good' cholesterol HDL in the blood, and is therefore good for the heart and blood vessels. Researchers at the University of Granada in Spain made the discovery. But they also discovered that the use of nandrolone decanoate undoes the positive effect of strength training.

The researchers divided 157 male rats over a number of groups and subjected each group to a different regime for a period of three months.

The experiment lasted 18 months. For the first six months the women did nothing. This enabled the researchers to determine the effect of hormone therapy on inactive women.

Some groups did no training, others had to do strength training every other day, which involved running with an increasingly heavy weight attached to their tail.

Some groups were given injections of nandrolone decanoate [the active ingredient in Deca-Durabolin]; others were not. The human equivalent of the dose they used would be 600 mg per week.

The researchers examined a number of factors, including the concentration of 'good' cholesterol, HDL, in the rats' blood. The more HDL you have, the less quickly your arteries fur up and the less likely you are to develop cardiovascular disease in the long run.

Strength training increased the amount of HDL, the Spaniards discovered.

The anabolic steroid nandrolone-decanoate on the other hand had a negative effect on HDL levels. It almost halved it.

The figure below shows the interaction between strength training and nandrolone use. In the rats that were not given nandrolone-decanoate their HDL level rose steeply. In the rats in the nandrolone group the positive effect was nowhere to be seen. There was actually a small decrease in HDL levels.

The researchers also looked at the effect of a high-protein diet, and at the effects on other indicators of cardiovascular health. After analysing all the data, the Spanish researchers concluded that doping-free strength training probably improves cardiovascular health – but not if strength athletes use anabolic steroids.

Nutr Hosp. 2013 Enero-Febrero;28(1):127-136.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Foods Highest in L-Dopamine

L Dopamine is a neurotransmitter found in the brain that contributes to feelings of happiness and well-beingas well as motivation and concentration. If you are lacking in dopamine, you may become depressed. Although drugs can be taken to increase your levels of dopamine, there are natural methods as well, especially eating  certain foods.  

Complete protein increases the levels of dopamine in the brain. You can find high levels of complete protein in foods such as eggs and chicken. If you are a vegetarian, you can also find protein in sources such as cheese, beans and legumes. It is the amino acids in protein, namely tyrosine and phenylalanine, that assist your body in the creation of dopamine and other neurotransmitters, says the website Meat and dairy foods have the highest levels of tyrosine, according to "The Food Connection," by Sam Gracie

Another food that contributes to dopamine levels is fish, which contains Omega-3 fatty acids. Among other health benefits, Omega-3 fatty acids help to make dopamine. You will find high levels of these acids in mackerel, halibut, tuna and salmon.


When it comes to the vegetable group, beets are at the top of the list in contributing to dopamine levels. Amino acids found in beets contribute to dopamine levels by creating SAM-e in the body, which leads to the production of dopamine. The Franklin Institute says that vegetables also contain many antioxidants, which keep the neurons in the brain that use dopamine from becoming damaged.


Watermelon, apples and bananas are fruits that can increase levels of dopamine. The antioxidant quercetin in apples, the amino acid tyrosine in bananas and the vitamin B-6 in watermelon are the ingredients in these fruits that contribute to dopamine levels in the brain. Just as with vegetables, fruit also contain antioxidants that defend the neurons that use dopamine.

Nuts and Seeds

"The Insulin-Resistant Diet" by Cheryle Hart and ary Kay Grossman says nuts and seeds increase dopamine. This includes almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and peanuts, which contain high amounts of tyrosine, just as meats do.


If you are a chocolate lover, you will be happy to know that chocolate raises levels of tyrosine, which in turn creates dopamine. "The Food Connection" says that dark chocolate, with over 70 percent cocoa, is the best type of chocolate as a source of tyrosine.

Is the most researched amino acid in the world (Over 250,000 various worldwide studies have been conducted on L-dopa.)  For the past 45 years, L-dopa (also known as levodopa) has been the best known treatment and most widely prescribed medicine for Parkinson’s disease.  L-dopa is not a hormone and is not an artificial drug created by a chemist.  It is a natural amino acid derived from food sources.