ForumsThe Tavern[REQUESTED] Health and fitness

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GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
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I've been contemplating making this thread for quite some time, because I'm not sure how many people here aside from myself actively go to the gym or workout.

Well, here's a topic where you can talk about a wide range of topics relating to health and fitness. What you do when you workout, your gym experiences, when you started working out, how much you can lift, what you did today while working out/at the gym, etc.

It's always good to be healthy and physically fit, so if you don't currently workout and are lazy, I'd recommend getting into a routine. It does wonders for your body and you'll feel amazing. If you're worried about time or money, don't be. A gym membership only costs around 20 dollars at a local gym and if you have time to be on the internet, you should have time to go to the gym.

As I talk about these topics, at the bottom of some of them I'll be posting some links to reading material on the subject.

Some starting topics:

What supplements are good to use?
I personally only use creatine monohydrate. Whey protein and some other types of protein supplements are good, but I only see those as necessary if you're not intaking enough protein from food.

What creatine monohydrate does is it improves performance and makes you heal more quickly by retaining water in the muscles. Creatine is naturally found in the body, this just enhances it. The only real con to using creatine is having problems with your kidneys, but that's only if you don't drink enough water. You're supposed to drink around a gallon of water a day while on it.

When using creatine, expect to gain 5-10 pounds in water weight and look more swole. Why? Because it retains water in your muscles.

There's been some discussion regarding if you should cycle creatine or not. What that means is if you take it for let's say three months, some people think you should stop taking it for a few weeks, around two weeks. It's not necessary. What you're basically doing is just taking all that creatine that improves performance and heals you more quickly out of your body.

No, creatine is not steroids. When I usually tell people who don't workout that I use creatine, they think it's steroids.

Creatine
Creatine monohydrate

What exercises are good to do at home/that don't involve weights?
Pushups, dips, pullups, squats, planks, crunches, and calve raises. Those are exercises that'll workout your whole body without weights.

Pushups for chest, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Dips specifically target triceps. It depends on how you do pullups, certain ways will target muscles more than others, but they usually work the back and biceps. By certain ways, I mean underhand and overhand grip. The underhand grip (palms facing you) and having your hands close together will work the biceps more, while overhand and having your hands around shoulder width or wider will do more back action.

Those are good if you don't currently have a gym membership, but most of them are only good for so long. Pullups and dips are the best because they measure your true strength; pulling your entire body up and with dips lowering yourself and pushing up. If you can't already do a reasonable amount (I'd say 10 reps each) of pullups and dips, there's something wrong.

A good schedule for home exercises:
Sunday - Rest
Monday - Pushups and dips
Tuesday - Squats and calve raises
Wednesday - Pullups
Thursday - Dips and pushups
Friday - Squats and calve raises
Saturday - Pullups

You'll see a slight difference from Monday and Thursday. On Monday pushups is the primary, as in you do it first, and dips the secondary. And on Thursday it's the other way around. You also get a few rest days for those muscles alone with that schedule. Once you do a great pushup and dip workout, you don't want to do them again the next day. Your muscles require time to rest and grow.

Again, this will only get you so far. After about a month of doing this stuff it'll seem easy, which is why investing in a gym membership is excellent. It's around twenty dollars a month at most local gyms.

How many days of the week and how long should I workout?
Six days a week with one rest day is what I usually do and recommend. Gives you enough time to target specific muscles and you have a day where you don't do anything.

I also weight train for about an hour and a half then do twenty-thirty minutes of cardio. I don't think I'll increase either of those times, but if you're a beginner at the gym you may want to start lower. I'd say around forty-five minutes of weight training then fifteen minutes of cardio, then work your way up.

Believe me, the first week is very difficult. Halfway through the workout you'll probably feel very tired and sore, and the next day will be even worse. Once you wake up you'll wish that you hadn't worked out, but it pays off. Just stick with a solid schedule and you'll see.

What's good to do at the gym?
It depends on what you're doing there, as in what muscle(s) you're working out that day.

My schedule:
Sunday - Rest
Monday - Chest and shoulders
Tuesday - Biceps and legs
Wednesday - Back and traps
Thursday - Triceps and shoulders
Friday - Legs and biceps
Saturday - Back and traps

I do around 30 sets in total by the time I'm done, depends on the day. It's usually more sets on the days I do legs and biceps. I usually try to do three-four sets on most of the machines that will target those muslces and other things.

Chest and shoulders - 7 sets of flat or incline bench press, 3 sets of flies, 3 sets of seated chest press, 3 sets of seated chest press on another machine, and 3 sets of dumbbell press.
4 sets of shoulder press, 4 sets of seated incline shoulder press, and 4 sets of lateral raises.
Do as many pushups as you can do when you're done.

Biceps and legs - 3 sets of seated preacher curls, 3 sets of standing wide grip curls, 3 sets of standing close grip curls, 3 sets of regular dumbbell curls, 3 sets of hammer curls, and 3 sets of concentration curls.
5 sets of leg press, 5 sets of squats, 5 sets of quad curls, 10 sets of hamstring curls, and 5 sets of calve raises.

Back and traps - 3 sets of regular cable rows, 3 sets of wide cable rows, 3 sets of wide lat pulldowns, 3 sets of regular lat pulldowns, 3 sets of lat rows on machine, 3 sets of dumbbell rows, and 5 sets of deadlifts.
5-10 sets of shrugs and 5 sets of upright rows.
Do as many pullups as you can do when you're done.

Triceps and shoulders - 6 sets of close grip flat bench press, 4 sets of skullcrushers, 4 sets of tricep extensions, and 4 sets of tricep pulldowns.
4 sets of shoulder press, 4 sets of seated incline shoulder press, and 4 sets of lateral raises.
Do as many dips as you can do when you're done.

Legs and biceps - Legs is first and biceps is second, same exercises, but in a different order.

Back and traps - Same exercises, but in a different order.

I may have to do deadlifts on leg day though. I tried to do them earlier and was very tired. It was probably because I did legs yesterday and when doing deadlifts they require leg muscles.
Also, sometimes on back day I'll do extensions. Some people consider it an exercise, but I just use it loosen up my lower back. More of a stretch for me.
Image of back extensions

I'd also like to talk about the subject of traps. They don't help you that much with lifting, it's more of an aesthetic thing. Most people probably don't want to be walking around with a box body. Doing trap exercises makes a big difference in how your body will look.
Just take a look at these two photos:

No traps.
Big traps.

Does the 1 rep max matter?
Well, only on these three exercises: Bench press, deadlift, and squat. Otherwise, no, it doesn't matter. And on those exercises, don't go for your 1 rep max often. It tears a lot of muscle fibers and if you do that weekly you're bound to get injured. I personally only do it once or twice a month.

Anyway, mine are:
Bench press - 290 pounds
Deadlift - 315 pounds
Squat - 250 pounds

Those were the numbers last time I did went for my 1 rep max, which was a week or two ago. I just got back into squats, which is the reason why it's so low. Your squat should be somewhere around your deadlift, never lower than your bench, because your legs are supposed to be stronger than your upper body. But I'll probably get it there in a few weeks.

They say you're not truly strong with weights unless you can lift your body weight on those three exercises. I somewhat agree with that. You should be able to lift up your body weight on those exercises. You're using many muscles with them. I'd also consider being able to do a good amount of pullups and dips a good measure of strength.

What is good form?
It's not using your other muscles when you are trying to work a certain one. For instance, bicep curls. For the love of Talos don't jerk them around; don't use your back, legs, and keep your elbows in the starting position. The only thing that should be moving up is your arm.

Another is bench press. You want to go down and up nice and slow. Control the weight. Don't bounce if off of your chest, don't have a huge arch in your back, don't use your legs, and don't lift your butt off the bench. You're not even working chest anymore if you do those, and the only thing that'll happen over time is that you'll injure yourself. It's okay to have a small arch and pin your shoulders back slightly, but that's it.

It doesn't matter how much people can lift unless they do it with good form. You're not getting proper gains unless it's with good form.

Demonstration video for bicep curls
After that video, look at the featured videos list with her in them and watch.

Demonstration video for bench press

Breathing:
It's important to breathe when working out. I know you guys already breathe, but I mean properly breathing. Such as with bench press. Before you take the weight off the rack, take a deep breath, as you go down keep it in, then release as you go up, repeat. Exhale on the hard parts and inhale on the easy parts. The bench press video above shows how to breathe properly.

How often should I run?
Not that often. Running often will cause muscle atrophy. If you have some excess fat and want to get rid of it, I'd say run for around fifteen minutes a day or every other day. Otherwise you should only walk at a good speed at an angle to keep the blood flowing after weight training or jogging. I personally set the treadmill at an angle so it's like I'm walking up stairs, and I do it for twenty minutes. I tried running last week, and it takes too much out of me. I'm also worried that it'll mess up my gains, because prolonged running will damage your muscles over time.

Marathon runner and sprinter

The importance of stretching, core training, and resting:
I've found that stretching once you wake up and before you sleep helps loosens up your muscles, and when you do this you'll be able to lift weights without pain. I also think that it'll reduce the chances of you injuring yourself. I just do some basic stretches when I wake up and before I sleep for around ten-fifteen minutes.

Core training. This doesn't mean that you need to work for washboard abs. Just stregnthening your core. A strong core will allow you to lift weights easier and reduce the chances of getting a hernia. I do some core training every other day when it's night. I like to do a few sets of crunches and planks. I aim for 100-200 crunches and a few sets of 1-3 minute planks.

It's imperative to have at least one rest day, where you don't work out any of your muscles. It'll repair them and such. It's also good to get at least 8 hours of sleep. That's mostly when they'll repair.
Some people like to have a deload week, and those are good, but I wouldn't do them often. It's a week where you don't workout or do less than what you currently are. It's a solid week of resting and letting your muscle fibers repair themselves. I usually do it after a month of working out, the beginning of next month I'll have a deload week.

The deload week and why you should use it

Bodybuilding or powerlifting?
Well, I like to do both. I mix them in a month together. Such as one week I'll do bodybuilding and one week powerlifting, or sometimes I'll even do a few sets for reps only and a few for power, etc. Bodybuilding is when you go for reps and try to build more muscle.

While with powerlifting you're simply aiming for power. It'll get you stronger, but you won't see as much muscle growth as with bodybuilding. However I like both, mixing in high reps for muscle growth and low reps for power works wonders. Though if you just do one you'll see more results with them. Such as if you just bodybuild you'll build more muscle, and if you'll just build strength.

Bodybuilding
Powerlifting

Intermittent fasting:
Intermittent fasting is when you tell your body when to eat. Such as you eat 2-8 and fast/only drink water for the rest of the time. It's good for getting rid of stubborn fat. I did it for around three weeks before stopping, because I started going to the gym and I workout around noon, so if I were to do what I am now on an empty stomach, I'd probably puke.

How it works:
When you workout on an empty stomach, your body isn't going to use the food as resources, instead it'll use the fat. Then on your fasting period and you drink water, your body will retain it and you won't feel as hungry.

For the first few days you'll probably feel a little sick in your stomach, but that's natural. Your body has to adjust. My first week it felt like I was gonna puke after I ate my first meal, but I didn't and my body soon adjusted.

Note:
Intermittent fasting isn't a diet. You're just telling your body when to eat. It's imperative that you intake all your calories and protein in that eating window.

Intermittent fasting

What should I eat?
I keep my diet high protein and low fat. I'd suggest the same for everyone.

What I normally eat:
Breakfast: Oatmeal or cereal with tuna sandwich, cashews, and orange juice
Lunch: Turkey burger or lean ham/turkey sandwich, tuna, beans, rice, and fruit shake/smoothie
Dinner: Rice, chicken or steak, beans, vegetables, and tea

What I put in the shake/smoothie:
A cup or two of skim milk, 1 frozen banana, 2 strawberries, 2-4 blackberries, and 2 spoons of chocolate nesquik

Excellent health and fitness YouTube channels:
TwinMuscleWorkout
FastingTwins
Scooby1961

There are some others if you look, but those are the only ones I keep track of.

So, today at the gym my dad (workout partner) accidentally broke the cable row machine. He usually does the whole stack on the machines, but it seems like this one couldn't handle it and/or the wire was worn out. It was hilarious, because as it broke he fell backwards. It was around the start of our workout.

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GhostOfMatrix
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Oh man, I've never had such an easy gym day. I barely broke a sweat and my heart rate stayed relatively low through the workout, though I did get some stimulation in the areas worked so that's good. I'm sure my muscles and CNS will appreciate this week of rest.

Flat bench press:
185 x 4 - 6

Flat dumbbell press:
50 x 4 - 8

Flat dumbbell flies:
30 x 4 - 8

Flat close grip bench press:
185 x 4 - 6

Skull crushers:
75 x 3 - 8
I usually do these seated with the ez-bar. Best way in my opinion.

Cable push downs:
100 x 3 - 10
Stayed at 10 reps with light weight because I usually use 40+ pounds more for 12-15 reps. Doing 8 on these wouldn't cut it.

Overall, very easy day, cut all the weight down by 20-40%. I focused a lot on my form because I've been getting loose with it, heavy weight tends to do that.

Oh, and as I said yesterday, I did fit in dips. At the end of the workout I did a set to get a feel for them. Nice slow reps and did them to failure, got 15 reps. At 250 pounds body weight, I think that's decent. Next week when I'm using heavier weight and stuff, if I'm able to get 10 at the end of the workout pretty easily, I'll put a decent sized dumbbell between my feet/legs.

This guy approached me and asked why I was using such light weight, I explained to him about the deload and he said he may start doing it as well every month or two. I showed him my notebook with my schedule and walked him through it.

And this other guy was complaining to his friend that he isn't getting any gains in his chest. Well, when you strictly use the smith machine for bench press and cables for everything else chest related, no **** you won't get gains. They may work a little, but it's not advised to strictly stick to cables. Your stabilizer muscles aren't being used and cables generally aren't as effective as free weights. Throwing them in here and there is fine when most of your workout is free weights.

Tomorrow is back/biceps and I'll do pullups in the beginning. May be 1 set to failure like dips, or 3-4 and staying between a range.

rayoflight3
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rayoflight3
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Peasant

What Exercises Should I Do?

If you have gym access, I've found a set of articles that may be of great use to you.

First, I'd like to tout the greatness of ExRx.net. It's an amazing resource with .gifs and descriptions of so many exercises. Personally, if you're trying to construct your own regimen, I think it's almost essential.

Anyway, I've stumbled upon some articles on T-Nation--one for back and biceps, one for chest and triceps, and one for shoulders and traps--that analyze a multitude of exercises for their respective muscle groups, ultimately determining which exercises are best for targeting which parts of the muscles.

GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
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I have no idea what these two old ladies were doing. One of them was using an ab machine and the other the lat rows, both with the lightest weight possible. I proceeded to do my workout.
Took about 20 minutes to complete the first two exercises, my next two were supposed to be on the lat pull/row machine, but she was still on it, so I did the bicep portion.
About 45 minutes to an hour has passed, they're still doing the same things. I never saw them take a break or anything. So what was the point in all that? You can't possibly gain much of anything doing the lightest weight on a machine for an hour straight. It would be like me bench pressing only the bar for a workout...

Bent over rows:
135 x 3 - 8
Usually 185+, but the deload is all powerful. I also tightened up my form, as with the others.

T-bar rows:
Around 135-150 x 3 - 8
Not sure how much weight in total, I used three 45 pound plates, and less than half of the bar is being used.

Ez-bar curls:
65 x 4 - 8

Barbell curls:
75 x 4 - 8

Lat pulldowns:
130 x 3 - 8

Lat rows:
115 x 3 - 8

As stated, I did a set of pullups to failure when I was done, got in 10. I struggled with the last 2-3, so I think I should use the assisted pullup machine to gain more strength for it, instead of grinding. I think they would be most effective if I'm able to do 12-15 clean reps.

GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
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Did nothing yesterday, felt a bit guilty, but I just got done with shoulders/traps. I changed the seated barbell press with standing, didn't feel much different, besides the fact that balance is more important.

Standing shoulder press:
115 x 4 - 8

Seated dumbbell shoulder press:
40 x 4 - 8

Lateral raise:
25 x 4 - 8

Rear delts:
60 x 4 - 8
Machine.

Upright rows:
95 x 4 - 8

Shrugs:
205 x 6 - 10

I can't wait to go back to heavier weight next week. I realise the deload is important and the purpose is rest, but this week is really boring.

GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
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Took three days off instead of doing the deload workouts, but today I start back up. Chest and triceps with my new schedule, I'll be heading to the gym in about an hour. Not sure how well I'll do, kept waking up every two or so hours last night because I took a nap in the middle of the day. Though I don't feel tired, so it shouldn't affect me much.

GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
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Oh yeah, back in business.

Flat bench press:
250 - 4
275 - 4
295 - 2
315 - 1
315 - 1
275 - 4

Flat dumbbell press:
70 - 10
80 - 10
90 - 8
90 - 6
Should've jumped right to 90 after the 70 set, but I wasn't sure if I could get it for at least 8 reps. The dumbbells at my gym only go up to 100, I should be there within two-three weeks.

Flat dumbbell flies:
35 - 10
40 - 10 (meant to grab the 45's)
50 - 8
50 - 8

Flat close grip bench press:
205 - 6
205 - 6
205 - 5
205 - 4
Triceps were pretty exhausted here, but that's higher than I expected. I expected to only get 3 reps on 205.

Skull crushers (seated):
95 - 8
95 - 6
95 - 6
75 - 10

Cable push downs:
V-bar:
120 - 15
120 - 15
Single handed:
50 - 8
40 - 12

On most of the exercises I stopped one-two reps before failure. I wanted to conserve some energy for the other exercises/sets.

This is by far my favourite workout day of the week.

rayoflight3
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rayoflight3
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Peasant

Took three days off instead of doing the deload workouts, but today I start back up. Chest and triceps with my new schedule, I'll be heading to the gym in about an hour. Not sure how well I'll do, kept waking up every two or so hours last night because I took a nap in the middle of the day. Though I don't feel tired, so it shouldn't affect me much.


wut da. Didn't you have skewl around this time?
GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
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Took three days off instead of doing the deload workouts

More like workout. Friday and Sunday were obligatory rest days, Saturday was supposed to be back/legs.
Didn't you have skewl around this time?

I have the option to go to the building or work from home.
GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
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Did my B routine for back/biceps because I woke up at 3am. I wasn't about to do bent over rows and t-bar rows with only 6 hours of rest, then being up that long.

Dumbbell rows:
70 - 10
80 - 10
90 - 8
100 - 6
Was mainly testing the weight since I haven't done these in a few weeks. Didn't use straps either.

Lat pulldowns (wide):
155 - 10
175 - 8
175 - 6
140 - 10
125 - 10
125 - 10
Odd weight scheme, I was testing to see where I stood on these.

Lat rows (close):
125 x 6 - 10
Could've went 20-30 pounds heavier here and done around 8 reps each set, but with these I like holding it for a few seconds at the end position and going slower than usual on the negatives.

Barbell curls:
85 x 3 - 8
75 - 10

Dumbbell curls (hammer):
35 - 10
40 - 8
40 - 10
40 - 8

Cable curls (wide):
85 x 4 - 10
Could've went around 20 pounds heavier and gotten the same amount of reps, but with these I focus a lot on the negatives. It'd be more difficult to do that with heavier weight, but I'll work my way up. Add 5-10 pounds every week, I try to do this with most exercises for progress.

GhostOfMatrix
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I got a lot of rest yesterday. Slept 4pm-10pm, then again 3am-8am.

Did legs, and I feel light headed and my stomach hurts, thanks to my grandpa's driving. He shouldn't be allowed to drive anymore.
- Doesn't care for speed limit
- Accelerates then randomly hits the brake, repeat
- Accelerates, lets go, repeat
- Very sharp turns
I'm surprised I didn't puke.

Squats:
225 - 6
250 - 4
275 - 4
300 - 2
300 - 1
300 - 1

Leg press:
450 - 10
540 - 10
590 - 10
610 - 10
630 - 10
700 - 10

Leg extensions:
140 - 10
160 - 10
180 - 10
Drop set:
200 - 5
180 - 5
160 - 5
140 - 5

Hamstring curls:
85 - 10
95 - 10
105 - 8
85 - 12

Calves:
Standing:
200 - 15
200 - 12
200 - 10
Seated:
70 - 15
105 - 12
105 - 12

GhostOfMatrix
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Shoulders/traps today.

Standing shoulder press:
115 - 10
115 - 10
115 - 8
115 - 6
100 - 8
100 - 6

Dumbbell shoulder press:
55 - 10
65 - 8
65 - 7
65 - 7

Lateral raise:
25 x 4 - 10

Rear delts (machine):
80 - 10
100 - 8
80 - 8
80 - 8

Upright rows:
100 - 10
115 - 8
115 - 8
115 - 6

Shrugs:
250 - 12
280 - 12
320 - 8
320 - 8
225 - 20
225 - 20

Sauron23
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Sauron23
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I try to work out as much as possible for basketball. I do push-ups, sit-ups, and I do squats to improve my vertical leap. Doing weights is very beneficial for basketball, because it makes it so much easier to shoot.

rayoflight3
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rayoflight3
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Peasant

I try to work out as much as possible for basketball. I do push-ups, sit-ups, and I do squats to improve my vertical leap. Doing weights is very beneficial for basketball, because it makes it so much easier to shoot.


You should also consider plyometrics for improvements in your vertical, especially if you can squat heavy (~1.5x bodyweight for your one rep max).
Salvidian
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Salvidian
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Blacksmith

I try to work out as much as possible for basketball. I do push-ups, sit-ups, and I do squats to improve my vertical leap. Doing weights is very beneficial for basketball, because it makes it so much easier to shoot.


Basketball is a sport that involves just about anything you can think of. You need to be quick, have fast speed, and have fantastic endurance (running for 15 minutes at a time on average o.O). You'll also need some arms muscles to get the ball where it needs to go. To top it all off, a strong core is needed. You really need to a bit of everything; you listed some little exercises. Squats are often called "The Ultimate Workout" because you work almost everything while doing them, but you'll need to individually target all of our muscles to fine-tune your body.
rayoflight3
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rayoflight3
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Peasant

Basketball is a sport that involves just about anything you can think of. You need to be quick, have fast speed, and have fantastic endurance (running for 15 minutes at a time on average o.O). You'll also need some arms muscles to get the ball where it needs to go. To top it all off, a strong core is needed. You really need to a bit of everything; you listed some little exercises. Squats are often called "The Ultimate Workout" because you work almost everything while doing them, but you'll need to individually target all of our muscles to fine-tune your body.


Well, if he's mainly training for basketball, he only needs to do the major compound movements for functional strength (i.e. bench press, squats, deadlifts, rows, and maybe overhead press). Somewhere around the 3-6 rep range for all of them. Plyometrics and power cleans/snatches are also nice for building explosive power in both the upper and lower bodies.
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