Calum von Moger's Shoulder Finisher

Three-time Mr. Universe Calum von Moger has the kind of massive, perfectly sculpted delts that bring to mind all-time greats like Columbu, Draper, and of course, Schwarzenegger. And he’s already given hundreds of thousands of Bodybuilding.com readers a window into how he grew them, via his Delt Demolition Workout.

But, if you’re one of the millions who follow Calum’s every rep, set, and koala joke on his prolific YouTube, Snapchat, or Instagram accounts, you know nothing he does stays the same for long.

Recently, he took to Instagram while training at Gold’s Gym in Venice to show his latest upper-body innovation, a superset that looks simple and easy…until you try it.

Calum von Moger’s Shoulder Finisher

Superset: 3 sets

Shoulder Finisher

Reverse Machine Flyes

3 sets, 12-15 reps


Front Plate Raise

Note: Using a weight plate with a neutral grip

3 sets, 12-15 reps


Back and forth, with no rest, until you burn your sleeves off—that’s all there is to it. This is a perfect finisher to your next shoulder workout, and could be plugged right into the end of Calum’s Delt Demolition routine, or any of the shoulder workouts in Bodybuilding.com’s popular Building von Moger: 6-Week Mass Program. Along with training and nutrition overview videos, the program includes five episodes that show him shopping, eating, nursing a camel with a bottle of milk and, yes, lifting.

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Bill Phillips Back To Fit: Training Overview

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Over the years I’ve seen many, many training programs go in and out of style. Each of them offered an advantage, if it helped a sedentary person get up and move. Despite the popularity of some “flash in the pan” fitness fads, I have a recommendation that will never go out of style. It worked 50 years ago, it works today, and it will work 50 years from now. It’s called strength training. It worked for me as a young man, and it’s worked for me at 50 years old. I guarantee it will work for you.

Effective strength training is not complicated. It’s not easy, but it’s not complicated. It’s exactly what you need to transform from an achy, tired person into one that radiates health and vitality.

That’s why the Back to Fit program is based on basic exercises and a proven methodology that will make your muscles stronger, help you burn fat faster, improve your cardiovascular health, and increase your natural energy levels.

It’s important to remember that you won’t ever return to the body you had in your 20s. Even if you achieve astounding results, you’ll build a body that’s unique to your current age. No matter that age, you can increase your health, strength, and aesthetics—whether you’re in your 40s, 50s, or 60s. I want you to be as good as you can be right now.

BACK TO Training
WATCH THE OVERVIEW – 15:01

Back To Results

To reap these positive benefits, you only need to put in 25 minutes of intense effort six days per week. That’s it. You don’t need fancy machines or hours of time to get a good, effective workout. What matters is quality, not quantity or complexity.

Working for such a short amount of time, however, means that you’ll have to train with intensity. Muscles grow when they adapt to a new stimulus. In order to create that stimulus, you need to overload your muscles beyond their usual capacity. If you’re in the habit of working out in your comfort zone, you won’t create any new stimulus. So, for the next 12 weeks, you’ll need to dedicate yourself to working hard and pushing yourself past your usual intensity level.

Even if you achieve astounding results, you’ll build a body that’s unique to your current age. No matter that age, you can increase your health, strength, and aesthetics—whether you’re in your 40s, 50s, or 60s.

Remember, though, that it’s impossible to make consistent, forward progress if you try to get all of your results in the gym. That’s just not how it works. Fitness is achieved through the combination of nutrition, exercise, and the right mindset. You need all three aspects working in unison to build a better you, so don’t forget to watch all the overview videos before you get started!

Back To Fit Split

The Back to Fit training program is very simple. You’ll be doing upper-body, lower-body, and cardio workouts throughout the week.

  • Monday: Upper-body workout
  • Tuesday: Cardio
  • Wednesday: Lower-body workout
  • Thursday: Upper-body workout
  • Friday: Cardio
  • Saturday: Lower-body workout
  • Sunday: Rest

You’ll notice that there is no “ab” day or workout. Doing free-weight exercises provides a lot of core work because the abs and lower back are under tension throughout every training session. Doing extra sit-ups or crunches isn’t necessary. If you do the workouts and follow the nutrition plan, you’ll see a reduction in your waist measurement without any specific abdominal work.

Back To Fit Training Basics

In this program, you’ll be lifting weights at intense intervals. Intervals are periods of work followed by periods of rest. In general, you’ll be working for about 3-5 minutes and resting for 2 minutes. Intense interval training has been suggested to double, or even triple, the amount of fat the body burns compared to an hour or more of moderate-intensity exercise.

Incline Chest Press

Incline Chest Press

Another powerful benefit of intense interval training is that it increases endorphin and serotonin levels, boosts energy, and elevates mood.

Throughout this program, you’ll do 5 exercises for 10 reps in a circuit for every workout, although the exercises will change throughout the program. In other words, you’ll do every exercise consecutively, taking a short break only when you’re moving from one exercise to the other. When you’ve completed the 10th rep of the fifth exercise, you’ll rest for 2 minutes.

Here’s an example:

Day 1: Upper-Body Workout

Stick to the same weight for all five sets. By the fifth set, you’ll definitely feel it.

Don’t grab dumbbells that are so heavy you can’t complete the reps, but select a weight that’s challenging enough that the last 2-3 reps are pretty tough. By the last circuit, the last few reps should be really tough.

As you get stronger, the weight will start to feel lighter. That’s when you should increase the weight on all of your lifts. Remember what I said about creating new stimuli for your muscles? If you don’t increase the weight, then you’re just sticking to that comfort zone I warned you about.

Lift and lower the weight slowly and with control. Spend 1-2 seconds on both the lifting and lowering portions of the lifts. Breathe out through your mouth during exertion.

Building A Workout

Your workouts for the next 12 weeks have already been programmed for you. However, if you’d like to create your own workouts, you can. You can choose any five exercises you’d like for each circuit.

Goblet Squat

Goblet Squat

However, in order to maintain balance and ensure that you’re hitting all of your muscle groups evenly, follow these programming suggestions:

Upper-body workouts

  • 1 chest exercise
  • 1 back exercise
  • 1 shoulder exercise
  • 1 biceps exercise
  • 1 triceps exercise

Lower-body workouts

  • 2 hamstring/glute exercises
  • 2 quadriceps exercises
  • 1 calf exercise

Back To Fit Cardio

Back to Fit aerobic training works in almost exactly the same way the strength-training workouts do. You’ll do 5 circuits of 3 exercises for a total of 5 rounds. In all, you’ll work for 25 minutes.

You can do the cardio workouts using a spin bike, elliptical trainer, stair climber, or treadmill, or you can even go outdoors.

You can do the cardio workouts using a spin bike, elliptical trainer, stair climber, or treadmill, or you can even go outdoors. The choices are endless, but the key is to follow this interval pattern:

Day 2: Cardio

So, after you’ve completed your one minute of intense effort, you’ll return to mild intensity work for two minutes, then go through the cycle again. There is no complete “resting” period during this workout. The time you spend working at a mild intensity should provide you with enough recovery time to do the next three minutes at the proper pace.

If you have a lot of weight to lose, it might be tempting to do more cardio than I’ve prescribed. Trust me when I say that it’s unnecessary. The combination of interval strength with interval cardio workouts will be enough to stimulate your metabolism and build muscle so you can effectively burn fat throughout the day.

Before You Go Back

Before you dive into your workouts and start Day 1, check out the other overview videos, browse some of the healthy recipes, set up a free BodySpace account to track your workouts and progress, and get mentally ready to embrace the new you!

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Y3T: Neil Hill's 9-Week Hardcore Video Trainer Nutrition

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Hard training can only get you so far. Without the right nutrition, your muscles won’t grow — and you can kiss your dreams of hitting that 500-pound squat goodbye.

Neil Hill explains that to maximize your muscle recovery and growth, you need to get the right amounts of the proper nutrients in your bloodstream at the right times. It’s science, son.

Neil Hill’s Y3T Trainer nutrition
Watch The Video – 8:13

Forget counting calories! Instead, Hill explains the function of the three macronutrients and how much you need of each:

Protein is made from amino acids chained together with peptide bonds. They have a very active role in your immune system, your hormone balance, and water regulation. They also make muscles — so you need to make sure you get a balanced amount throughout the day.

Hill suggests getting your protein from different sources: chicken, beef, fish, eggs, whey and time-released protein powder. He also recommends consuming 1.5-to-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight to help increase your muscle mass.

Protein plays an active role in your immune stystem, your hormone balance, and water regulation.
2

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are your body’s primary energy source. Carbs are broken down into glycogen and then transported throughout the body by the bloodstream.

Hill suggests eating 2 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight. He advises getting the majority of your carbs from complex sources like oatmeal, wholemeal rice, sweet potato and whole grain bread. Complex carbs, which can take up to 120 minutes to break down, provide your body with stable energy throughout the day.

Avoid insulin spikes — which can promote fat storage — by sticking mainly to complex carbs. If you use simple carbs, Hill says to eat them in small amounts early in the morning or directly after a training session. Good sources include pineapple, strawberries and other berries.

Fats are important because they aid the release of muscle-building hormones, support the central nervous system, and break down bad fats. Fatty acids also help improve your immune system and control your heart rate.

Get your essential fatty acids from salmon, nuts, seeds, avocados, eggs and red meat. Hill suggests getting 50-to-60 grams of fat per day.

Pro Tips

On your training days, increase your carb and protein levels.

Make sure you get into a meal-cooking routine. If you have a 9-to-5 job, cook your meals in advance and pack them for the day. You need to feed your body at the proper times. Always carry a meal replacement of some kind. That way, if you are caught without a way to get nutrients, you have a back-up plan.

Weigh your food so you always know you’re getting the proper amount. There’s no need to change your diet after you finish with the trainer. The dynamic nutrition plan should get you through the year.

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Sample Meal Plan

Wake-Up Supplements
Meal 1: 10-15 Minutes After Waking
Supplements: 10-15 Minutes After Meal 1
Supplements: 10 Minutes Before Meal 2
Meal 2
Meal 4
Pre-Training: 45 Minutes Before
Pre-Training: 10 Minutes Before
During training
Post-Workout
Supplements: 10 Minutes Before Meal 5
Meal 5

Steak: 200 g


Baked Potato: 3 g


Mixed Salad: 150 g


Meal 6
Supplements: 10 Minutes After Meal 6
Meal 7: Middle Of Sleep

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Charlie Mike: Day 36 – Rest

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Although you’re not training today, I want you to think about what you’ve done over the past five weeks. Have you accomplished the things you set out to do? Did you prove it to yourself? Because that’s the only person you’re in this for.

Charlie Mike Week 6 Prove It
Watch the video – 1:20

This week is your chance to prove just how far you’ve come. You’ve been lifting heavy, running hard, and moving fast. All of this work will translate into a stronger body and mind. Now it’s time to show what you can do!

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Charlie Mike: Day 29 – Front Squat, Metabolic Conditioning

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This week, ask yourself what else you can do. Are you slacking when you know you can go harder? Are you taking weight off the bar when you know you should be putting it on? Your body isn’t going to change unless you continually challenge yourself. Make every day harder than the last.

Charlie Mike Week 5 Earn It
Watch the video – 1:09

Your big lifts are getting heavier, but that heavy weight just means you’re getting stronger. Think back to what you lifted four weeks ago. Look at the bar now! Although you aren’t doing many reps, they’re heavy, so make sure you take that three-minute rest between every set. Trust me, you’re going to need it.

The conditioning is tough today, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. First, you’ll run a mile. Try to run it at about 70-80 percent of your maximum effort. You don’t have to kill yourself, but don’t go easy either.

Once you’re done, hit four rounds of burpees, overhead walking lunges, and back extensions. Move through the circuits as quickly as possible, but don’t go so quickly that your back extensions get sloppy. Do the movements properly. When you’re done with the circuit, run another mile.

Day 29: Front squat/metabolic conditioning

Don’t forget to write down your front squat weight, your circuit times and what weights you used, and how you felt after finishing the workout.

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Get Thicker And Wider: The Hardcore Chest-And-Back Workout

My trip to the 2017 FIBO Expo in Cologne, Germany, was full of firsts. It was my first time in Europe and it was my first international expo. It was also my first time training with Animal‘s Roman Fritz. Thinking back, that training session was probably the part of my trip I was most nervous about, and with good reason.

Let me tell you, training with a respected IFBB pro bodybuilder is a world of difference from training with your local gym buddy. But even other IFBB pros have told me Roman is one of the most intense guys they’ve ever met. And best (or worst) of all, I’d be training on Roman’s home turf in Germany.

Since the first workout wasn’t legs, I wasn’t going to worry—too much. With the exception of a few “filler sets” of calves—Roman’s choice, since he was trying to bring them up—this was a full-on upper-body assault, and I knew from the opening reps that this was the real deal. But, there was no way I was backing out.

Chasing The Pain with Roman Fritz and Vincenzo Masone
Watch the video: 16:13

Simply Brutal at Simply Fit

Roman and I took the local bus to Simply Fit Gym in Cologne. I was anticipating that we’d train shoulders and some chest, but Roman had different plans. Upon arriving at the gym, Roman told me we’d train chest, after warming up with a little back—since it’s the antagonist to chest—and calves. Then, we’d crush chest…and finish off with shoulders later that same night.

Because I was still jet-lagged and because I knew I would need to dig extra-deep today, a pre-workout was a must. I alternate between Animal Fury with Animal Rage for three months at a time, then go without a pre-workout for a month to ensure my tolerance isn’t shot. Aside from that, my stack was the norm for a long, heavy workout: a scoop of aminos and 30-50 grams of Universal Carbo Plus. I knew I was going to be tested to my limit, so fueling up strategically was a no-brainer.

Roman’s philosophy is to train two or three body parts per workout, twice daily. That may sound like a crazy amount of work to cram into a single day, and he’s heard that response plenty of times, but he doesn’t care.

“People will say, ‘That’s a lot of volume. You’re starting out with calves, then you go into back, then the third exercise is chest.’ What I say to that is if you’re eating enough, and you’re sleeping enough, trust me, there is nothing that will break you down or overtax you in a way that you can’t build muscle,” he says. “Fuck overtraining. Bring the pain. Go for it.”

Roman Fritz’s “Chase the Pain” Chest Workout

Chase the Pain, Find the Pain, Befriend the Pain

I live for training sessions like this. When Roman screamed at me, it felt like he could wake the dead. But even with that voice in my ear, throughout the workout I had to work to mentally push past the pain I was experiencing. 10 sets of dumbbell bench, then 5 supersets of high-rep flyes and bench press—that’s more than most people do in a week. At that point, I remember thinking—hoping—the workout was nearly over. I was wrong.

No Muscle Fiber Can Hide From This Upper-Body Massacre

Roman had saved the best for last. He took me through one of his favorite chest exercises: the dumbbell pull-over. Not only does it effectively work out your chest and back, it also improves your flexibility in the upper spine and shoulders. The important things to keep in mind with the dumbbell pull-over are: have your head and waist below the bench, take deep breaths with the stretch, and keep focused. Of course, it also helps to have a pro push you through that last rep—or those last 5, as it ended up being. Not wanting the dumbbell to knock out my teeth was also motivating.

So, what does it take to improve? I traveled halfway around the world for the answer: you have to chase the pain. And when you catch it, you have to push past it. Improvement happens in the extra reps, the extra set you didn’t think you could make. I know this will not be the last time I train with the kind of intensity I experienced in Cologne. Hopefully, I’ll be able to return the favor one day and train Roman here in Long Island.

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Kris Gethin's DTP: Week 1, Day 7

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Thick traps and cannonball shoulders make a good physique great. DTP will make you great. Get ready to torch every fiber in your delts and traps with a variety of reps and weights. You’ll be hitting this exact shoulder workout for the next four weeks, so you’d better get acquainted.

KRIS GETHIN’S DTP DELTS & UPPER TRAPS WORKOUT
Watch The Video – 15:24

Day 7: Shoulders and Upper Traps
superset

Standing Barbell Press Behind Neck

5 sets of 40,30,20,15,10 reps

Standing Barbell Press Behind Neck Standing Barbell Press Behind Neck

Upright Barbell Row

5 sets of 40,30,20,15,10 reps

Upright Barbell Row Upright Barbell Row

superset

Arnold Dumbbell Press

5 sets of 10,15,20,30,40 reps

Arnold Dumbbell Press Arnold Dumbbell Press

Dumbbell Shrug

5 sets of 10,15,20,30,40 reps

Dumbbell Shrug Dumbbell Shrug

Exercise Tips

Shoulder Press

We go behind the head with the press. If you have tight rotator cuffs or if you’ve had an injury there, I suggest you start off by stretching and warming the area. Stretch different angles: overhead, behind-the-back, trigger point and arm circles.

If you want to attain a physique that others deem as unnatural, you gotta do things in the gym that are unnatural.

“If you want to attain a physique that others deem as unnatural, you gotta do things in the gym that are unnatural.”

Upright Row

On the upright rows, I take a wide grip. This is to specifically target the rear delts of the shoulders. I use a little bit of a swing, which I call “controlled cheating,” just to make sure I have a little bit of give within my spine. If I go too strict on this movement, I’ll feel more pressure within the joints instead of the muscles.

Upright Row

Arnold Press

I don’t completely lock out my elbows, so it may look like I’m doing just a partial movement. I find I get a lot more stress on the delt by coming all the way down, really low, and just coming 3/4 of the way up. If I just go to parallel, then go all the way up, I find that I’m relaxing and using a lot of triceps. I find it harder doing more of a partial rep, like you see in the video.

Shrug

I lean forward slightly, especially on the bottom portion of the rep, just to take pressure off the spine and put it a little bit on the erectors (the muscles around the spine). I find it a little bit safer and I may be able to get a slightly fuller range of motion, as well. Your grip might start to weaken during shrugs, even if you’re wearing wraps. That’s normal. Keep punching through this; dig deep and it all just comes down to how bad you want it.

I use gloves and straps, instead of wrist wraps. I find that shrugs, on the barbell or dumbbell, just totally rip my hands apart. It hurts my hands more than it hurts my traps. Must be getting soft in my old age!

Dumbbell Shrug

Dumbbell Shrug

Dynamic Transformation Tips

Stretch

I don’t always stretch between shoulder press sets. Sometimes I do, if I’m feeling a little tight. I stretch to make sure I’m improving the elasticity of the muscle, the muscle fibers and the muscle fascia. If you have tight shoulders, I recommend you stretch between every set.

Trigger Point Therapy

If you’ve got really tight shoulders, a Trigger Point kit can help. I use the ball and the block for front delts. Lie face-down with the ball directly atop the block and under the front of the delt, where it meets the pecs. The pressure of your bodyweight breaks down the tissue, and opens up that tight area. Roll back and forth slightly, rotating your arm. Roll both sides.

Mental Stretch

While stretching, I focus on the physical aspect of what I am about to go through. I use this time to mentally focus on the workout and get rid of anything that might block my mind: work issues, relationship issues, whatever it may be.

You will experience mental fatigue, but will also incur a lot of physical and cardiovascular fatigue. You are not used to high reps with such high intensity. You’re going to gasp on some oxygen. I recommend you hit a lot of cardio with DTP to prepare your whole body.

Adjustments

If you don’t reach failure in 40 repetitions on the first set, you didn’t use a heavy enough weight. If you haven’t done an exercise recently, or ever, or with DTP, it may be hard to gauge. Wherever you start, count it as a set. Adjust the weight for the second set so you always reach failure.

Make sure that you lift smart! If you choose a weight that’s too heavy, don’t hesitate to rest/pause. Rack the weight, rest for about 5 seconds, and continue lifting. Make sure you’ve recovered enough energy to continue the set. Always hit the target number of reps, even if you have to rest/pause.

Never Break

Around sets 8, 9 and 10, fatigue starts to sneak in. It is easy to take a longer rest period or pick a lighter weight, but you have to dig deep. Remember, if you want to attain a physique that others deem unnatural, you gotta do things in the gym that are unnatural. Select a heavier weight, keep the rest times down and dig deep and get it done. You’ll feel better for it in the end because you’ll achieve something that no one else does.

Take your post-workout shake, rest, recover and get ready for cardio tomorrow.

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Questions for Kris?

Find Kris on BodySpace and Twitter, or on his Facebook fan page. Does Kris inspire you? Add him as your inspirational BodySpace member!

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Cory Gregory's Squat Every Day: Day 22

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After three weeks on the Squat Every Day trainer, you may be tempted to cut corners here and there, but don’t do it! Completing the pause in today’s squat variation is just as important now as it was during the first week. Incorporating these pause squats into your routine will help your body develop explosive strength.

Your shoulders and triceps will get a workout today as well, helping you to create that sculpted upper body you crave. Use the warm-up sets to prep your muscles to do a maximal amount of work!

Don’t forget about your nutrition and supplementation. By now, you should be noticing some great changes in your physique. Keep it up!

Squat Variation Front squat with pause
Watch the video – 1:04

Day 22: Squat And Chest
Warm-Up

Bike

3 minutes

Bike Bike

Walking lunge

1 set of 100-200 feet

Bodyweight Walking Lunge Bodyweight Walking Lunge

Front squat with 10-second pause

8-10 sets of 10, 10, 5, 5, 3, 3, 3, 1, 1, 1 reps

Front squat with 10-second pause Front squat with 10-second pause

Superset

Glute-ham raise

3 sets of 10-15 reps

Glute Ham Raise Glute Ham Raise

Walking lunge

3 sets of 200 feet

Bodyweight Walking Lunge Bodyweight Walking Lunge

Flat barbell bench press

Warm-up set: 1 set of 30 reps
Working sets: 5 sets of 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 reps

Bench press Bench press

Triset

Incline dumbbell press

3 sets of 12 reps

Incline dumbbell press Incline dumbbell press

Push-up

3 sets of 20 reps

Push-up Push-up

Dumbbell fly

3 sets of 20 reps

Dumbbell Flyes Dumbbell Flyes

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Built By Science: Abdominals

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When people talk about abdominals, the conversation usually doesn’t go far beyond the six-pack, but the core actually goes much deeper than any of the visible ab muscles. It’s time to learn how and why these muscles matter to the healthy movement and function of your body.

I’m going to teach you which muscles make up your core, what they do, and how they collectively work to stabilize your trunk so you can move heavy weight. Your abdominal training is about to get a serious pick-me-up. Here’s how science can help you achieve stronger, healthier abs.

Built By Science Abdominals
Watch the video: 15:56

Muscular Anatomy

Despite popular belief, your abdominals are much deeper and more complicated than that superficial six-pack you check out in the mirror. Let’s get to the core of the issue.

Anterior Core

These are the abdominal muscles you’ll find on the front of your body. They’re comprised of three layers: the deep layer, the intermediate layer, and the superficial layer.

Deep Layer

These three muscles work together to help pressurize your inner-core musculature. Without this pressure, your core couldn’t stabilize and allow you to do those heavy deadlifts, squats, or overhead presses.

muscle anatomy
Thoracic Diaphragm

A lot of people don’t talk about the diaphragm in terms of exercise, but it’s critical to respiration. The diaphragm starts on the front inside of ribcage, comes up and around, and connects to the lower back.

Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is made of muscles positioned below your pelvis. When you take a deep breath, your diaphragm comes down, and your pelvic floor catches the breath. The thoracic diaphragm and the pelvic floor pressurize and stabilize your spine.

Transverse Abdominus (TVA)

Your transverse abdominus is layered below your internal obliques and is another significant part of stabilizing your pelvis. It starts on the linea alba—the connective tissue that runs down the center of your torso—and attaches to the lower back.

Intermediate Layer

The internal layer of your core lies between the deep and the superficial layer. It’s made up of a few muscles, but the most important is the internal oblique.

Internal Oblique

This muscle runs from linea alba—a vertical line down the middle of your anterior trunk—and attaches to the hip bone. It runs low to high, perpendicular to the external obliques. The internal oblique is an important muscle in respiration and torso rotation.

Superficial Layer

These are the muscles everybody wants to talk about. If you’re lean enough, the superficial layer of abdominal muscles forms a visible six-pack.

External Oblique

The external oblique runs from the ribcage down to your hips. Most people think of the external oblique as a trunk flexor or rotator, but it’s also a crucial muscle for stability through the core and midsection.

The external oblique helps posteriorly tilt the pelvis. A lot of people have the tendency to fall into anterior pelvic tilt, in which the lower back is arched and the hips are back, which creates a lot of pressure in the lower back. The external oblique is important for pulling the pelvis back to a neutral position.

Rectus Abdominus

The rectus abdominus originates on the pubis and inserts on the fifth, sixth, and seventh ribs, as well as the bottom portion of the sternum. It’s separated vertically by the linea alba and horizontally by three or four bands of connective tissue. These separations create six or eight muscle bellies that are collectively called the six-pack.

Your abdominals are much deeper and more complicated than the six-pack in the mirror.

Your abdominals are much deeper and more complicated than the six-pack in the mirror.

Posterior Core

Your core consists of more than just the muscles on the front of your body. It’s important to know what’s happening on the back. We’re going to focus on three specific muscle groups in this section: the multifidus, quadratus lumborum, and erector spinae.

Multifidus

The multifidi are small muscles that span 2-4 segments of the spine. You’ll never see them, but they’re important because they give your brain feedback about where your body is in space. These muscles also help control little movements throughout your spine.

Quadratus Lumborum (QL)

This big muscle runs from the top of the hip all the way up to your lower back. It’s important for side-to-side movements, but it’s even more important for preventing side movement. Your QL is necessary for controlling or resisting motion.

Erector Spinae

This muscle group starts at the sacrum and the top of the hip and connects to the ribcage, the top of your neck, and even as high as the base of your skull. These muscles are important for controlling motion during squats and deadlifts. If you need to maintain a little extension, that’s where erector spinae come into play.

The erector spinae are important for controlling motion during squats and deadlifts.

The erector spinae are important for controlling motion during squats and deadlifts.

Skeletal Anatomy

We many not think about them as often, but the bones and joints of your abdominal region are just as crucial to your training and development as your muscles.

muscle anatomy

Pelvis

The pelvis has two major motions: anterior tilt, which is rolling the hips forward and popping the hips back, and posterior tilt, which is rolling the pelvis underneath.

Lumbar Spine

Your lumbar spine is comprised of the five vertebrae between your rib cage and your pelvis. It moves in lumbar flexion, or bending over forward; lumbar extension, which is arching backward; lateral flexion, or bending to the side; and rotation, which is rotating your torso to one side or another.

As important as these movements are when it comes to training, resisting motion is just as important. The lumbar spine doesn’t move much, other than front to back, so the more you can control or resist motion, the healthier your lumbar will be. A healthy lumbar means bigger, heavier lifts for a longer period of time.

Muscular Function

The following are the exact movements your core is designed to do. A lot of people like talking about big-bang exercise like crunches, sit-ups, and side bends. In reality, your abs do a lot more than just flex. Here are the five motions you should know:

Intrathoracic Pressure

Take a deep breath in and hold it. That’s your diaphragm pressing down into your pelvic floor and out into your transverse abdominus. This pressure gives you a strong, stable spine to squat, deadlift, and overhead press.

Anti-Extension

Most people think your abdominals are only made to flex your trunk. They also control extension through the spine and lower back. Many people struggle to control arching backward. Your rectus abdominus and your internal and external obliques connect to the front of your pelvis and help control your lower back.

Lateral Flexion and Anti-Lateral Flexion.

Lateral Flexion and Anti-Lateral Flexion

Lateral Flexion and Anti-Lateral Flexion

Internal and external obliques help you bend toward one side. This is called lateral flexion. The obliques and the quadratus lumborum are also important for keeping your spine neutral, which is called anti-lateral flexion. Imagine carrying a heavy bag of groceries. You need one side of your body to stay strong to control the motion so the other side doesn’t just drop to the side.

Anti-Rotation

The rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, and internal and external obliques are responsible for keeping your body from rotating too far. Like anti-lateral flexion, anti-rotation helps keep the torso neutral against pressure. To do any push or pull with one side of the body, you need anti-rotation.

Medicine Ball Twist

Medicine Ball Twist

Anti-flexion

Crunches and sit-ups are examples of flexion. Your ability to bend forward is important, but if you’re squatting or deadlifting, you better hope you don’t fall over forward. Your core’s ability to keep your torso from rounding over is going to keep your spine healthy and allow you to move more weight.

Key Exercises

Now that you understand the anatomy and biomechanics of your abdominals, it’s time to put that knowledge in action. It’s time to move past endless crunches; here are some key movements that will help you get the most out of your core training.

EXERCISE 1 TRX Fallout

The TRX fallout is a great exercise because it will help you sculpt that six-pack and create balance. Many of my clients have a tight, stiff lower back. They need some core strength to help offset the tension and build better anterior and posterior balance.

Set up on your toes with your hands under your shoulders, holding onto the TRX straps. Exhale to keep your core tight and hold that position. From here, allow your hands to fall in front of your body. Keep your core tight and your back straight and pull yourself back up.

In the bottom position, you use your rectus abdominus and internal and external obliques to control the motion and force a neutral spine, neck, upper back, and butt.

TRX Fallout

TRX Fallout

EXERCISE 2 Dead Bugs

A lot like the TRX fallout, this movement will help you control and resist extension through your lower back.

Lie on your back and reach your hands toward the ceiling. Bring your feet, knees, and hips up to 90 degrees. Exhale hard to bring your ribcage down and flatten your back to the floor. Hold this position through the set.

From your starting position, extend and push through one heel and then bring it back up to 90 degrees. Your back is going to want to arch. Resist that tendency. Stay tight and reach long through the heel.

EXERCISE 3 Pallof Press

This is a fantastic exercise for teaching your body how to resist and control rotation from side to side.

Grab a D-handle cable attachment and pull it to your chest. Stand up and extend the handle so that your arms are straight. The weight will try to pull you back, but you can resist with your internal and external obliques, transverse abdominus, and QL. These muscles will keep you from rotating toward the weight. Hold the resisting position for 20-30 seconds, and then switch sides.

EXERCISE 4 Suitcase Deadlift

The suitcase deadlift will teach you how to control side-to-side motions through your core and the spine. Pick up a dumbbell from a bench and stand straight up. From this position, shift your weight back through your hips into a single-handed deadlift, and then pop back up. Keep your hips down and your chin down. Progressively work through a greater range of motion.

Because that weight is on one side, you’re going to work hard to keep the opposite side stable. So not only is this exercise great for strength, it’s also going to train those stability muscles like your obliques and your QL.

Better Abs, Built By Science

At the end of the day, your abdominal muscles are everything to your core. They literally tie your upper and lower body together. Whether you’re doing this trainer for a better physique or you want to lift more weight, you need a strong, stable midsection for optimal results.

Ab training is not about moving through your lumbar spine, but it’s about being able to resist motion. Understanding this aspect of your core can help you train it more effectively. All in all, this knowledge will help you look and perform better.

Follow the Built By Science Program

Look for the exercises and techniques discussed above in the weekly abs workouts of the six-week Built by Science program. Watch all the overview videos before attacking the gym. Remember, you need to combine mind and muscle to build your best possible body.

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Living Large: Jay Cutler's 8-Week Mass-Building Trainer – Legacy

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Jay Cutler has devoted his entire adult life to bodybuilding. He’s found success as a pro competitor, a businessman, and an ambassador for the sport. His hard work has made the Cutler name synonymous with “champion.” Undoubtedly, Jay’s legacy will include the words “one of the greatest of all time.”

You’ll leave a legacy, too, even if it’s not forged from a superhuman physique. What’s it going to be? No matter how you choose to dedicate your life, you can learn from Jay’s legacy. As long as there is a stage for flexing, Jay Cutler will have a powerful impact.

Living Large Legacy
Watch The Video – 13:47

Jay began bodybuilding with an all-or-nothing attitude. “I thought, if I’m going to be a bodybuilder, I’m going to see how far I can take it,” he says.

Jay “took it” far. He was immensely successful, even from the beginning. “Early in my career, I was successful at almost every show I did; I turned pro at my third or fourth show.”

Because of his early achievements, there was a lot of pressure for Jay to do well at his first Mr. Olympia contest in 1999. “I finished 15th out of 16. That was the only time I’ve ever questioned myself,” he confesses.

Cutler was a runner-up behind Ronnie Coleman four times before he finally won his first Sandow in 2006. Winning an Olympia made Jay a legend, but he was just getting started.

He won the Night of Champions in 2000. “After that show, I knew I could be very good. That’s when I knew I could be the best, and soon.” Alas, Jay’s first Olympia title was delayed for half a decade. He finished behind Ronnie Coleman four years in a row.

It wasn’t until 2006 that he finally became Mr. Olympia. He went on to win it again in 2007, 2009, and 2010. Now, he’s training for his chance to win another Sandow.

Blueprint for Success

Jay’s success was earned with his incredible will to win. “I have something [other competitors] don’t have, and I don’t even have to know them to know that they don’t have it. It’s very rare. It’s the drive and determination to be your absolute best,” Jay explains.

Jay’s ability to match mind with muscle has helped him climb Olympus, but not without sacrifice. “I pulled myself away and became very secluded. I missed time with my family. I missed birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings. But that’s what makes me so good. When training starts, I don’t answer telephones; I don’t have time to talk. It’s just the nature of an athlete.”

But Jay’s attitude toward bodybuilding has been changing. “Life goes by quickly. That’s when you realize there could have been a lot of opportunities to spend more time with the family,” he explains.

“I’m still competitive, but that’s slowing down. I want to win one more Mr. Olympia, but I also want to keep moving forward and find success off the stage.” Jay is a bodybuilder, and will always be a bodybuilder, but when the time comes for him to transfer his focus to business, the groundwork will have been laid.

Jay won four Olympias from 2006-2010. He took back the crown from Dexter Jackson in 2009 to become the only man to reclaim a title taken from him. He aims to do it again in 2013.

For now, Jay takes a lot of pleasure in life. “I just enjoy taking every day at a time at this point,” he says. He may or may not be the 2013 Mr. Olympia, but no matter how he competes in September, you know he’ll leave it all on stage. That’s what champions do.

5 Tips to Secure Your Legacy

1 Invest In Yourself

There’s no such thing as a “bad investment” when you are the venture. “The money I made and kept was the money I invested in myself,” says Jay. Your investment doesn’t have to be money. Putting time and energy into who you are and who you want to become will change your future in positive ways.

2 Learn From Your Mistakes

“You have to make mistakes before you learn,” Jay says. “That’s why I’ve become successful; I’ve already made all the mistakes.” Everyone makes errors, but not everyone learns from them. If you do, you’ll be prepared for whatever lies ahead.

3 Move Forward

Work hard for your dreams, but don’t stagnate. “Yeah, I’d like to win Mr. Olympia one more time,” Jay says, “but I realize that I need to keep a level base and keep moving forward to have success off the stage.” Your success doesn’t have to come from one place. Your happiness should come from multiple outlets.

4 Stay True To Yourself

There may be times when you’re asked to sacrifice your beliefs. True commitment to who you are and what you stand for is a key to creating a personal legacy. “I think the dedication to being who I was and staying who I was shows that if you work hard and long enough, good things will happen,” says Jay.

5 It’s How You Win

“It’s not about how many times you win, it’s about the fashion you win it in,” Jay Cutler declares. You can be rich, but so are art thieves and trust-funders. What matters is how you got there. Be unique in your accomplishments and you’ll find your legacy will shine much stronger.

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