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A huge bench press, gigantic arms, and tree trunk legs – these are the kinds of goals most lifters chase, but hypertrophy and maximal strength aren’t the end-all, be-all for football players, track athletes and other sports-focused trainees. As important as weight room work is for improving strength and speed, athletes need a more performance-oriented, sport-specific approach than the average meathead.

Fortunately, there are plenty of training tips athletes can take from powerlifters, Crossfitters, and even bodybuilders! While none of their training systems is ideal for other sports, they each contain elements that athletes can use to improve their performance on the track, pitch, or field. Taken from my background as an athlete, fitness model, and personal trainer, here are some of the most important aspects of an effective “anti-bodybuilding” lifting routine.

Strength and Power

Make no mistake, strength and power output are crucial in football, rugby, throwing, and just about any other sport that involves short, explosive plays. Old-time coaches once thought heavy lifting was a surefire way to make their athletes “muscle-bound” and immobile, but good trainers have long since come around. If you need to heave an implement, knock skulls, or even just run fast, you should absolutely care about your maximal strength.

Now, how do you develop maximal strength? Through heavy-ass lifting! Truly, there are far more similarities than differences in the ways top powerlifters and elite football players and track and field athletes train for strength. Powerlifters may be a little less concerned with weight room injuries – since the lifting IS their bread and butter work – but the principles of strength training apply just the same.

Exercise Selection

Maximal strength is critical for most athletes, but shouldn’t they use different exercises from bodybuilders and powerlifters? Nope! At least not in most cases. The squat, bench press, and deadlift are three of the most basic, heavy movements you can perform, and they can all be done safely with proper form and good programming. They’ll allow you to use more weight and progress faster than anything else, as well – a crucial consideration for athletes who may only be able to focus heavily on weight room work during their short off seasons.

Now, there are some substitutions that certain athletes may need to make. For instance, players with shoulder injuries may want to stick to the incline press or decline press, since the flat bench tends to aggravate such issues, and they’ll probably want to avoid overhead pressing, as well.

You might make similar substitutions for the squat. While the back squat IS the most effective exercise for building lower body strength, it doesn’t work well for every body type. Take the average basketball player, for example, who’s probably dealing with long legs and maybe even a shaky lower back. For this kind of build, a parallel squat (as opposed to a full-depth squat), a box squat, or even a front squat might be better for avoiding injury. Make note, however, that these substitutions are all still different types of squats. Unless you’re working around severe injuries, there’s little reason to completely abandon such basic and useful movement patterns. You’re not going to build anywhere near the same level of strength with lunges, machines, or other, “safer” alternatives.

Unilateral Work

While a squat, press, and pull should form the cornerstone of any athlete’s weight room routine, it will probably be necessary to include some one-legged and one-armed work, as well. Few if any sports involve picture-perfect, two-sided motions, and athletes need to build strength independently on both sides of their bodies.

Still, I don’t think you need to get as fancy as some coaches would have you believe. For the lower body, lunges, split squats, and step-ups are perfect for building unilateral strength in the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. For the upper body, you can simply perform any dumbbell press or row one side at a time. In addition to the heavy barbell work, these basic one-sided movements are more than enough to keep athletes healthy and strong as they perform unilateral movements in practice.

The Blue Print To Building Athletic Muscle


So, exactly how should an athlete program his or her lifting to make maximal strength gains while avoiding injury? Covering that question in full would require another article – or 5 or 10 – but in general, a basic progressive overload program works best in the off season. Going into the off season, athletes are probably a bit down in strength, but they’re eating and recovering well and are ready to make some serious gains.

For heavier exercise – squats and pulls in particular – stronger athletes should be able to handle 5-10 pound increases from week to week while performing 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps: a perfect rep range for building strength and power. Weaker athletes may need to take smaller jumps, and just about everyone will have to make slower progress on pressing movements, but the principle remains the same. Use low reps – but not max singles – and slowly add weight so that you can still perform the prescribed sets and reps.

In addition to those low rep sets, athletes who need either extra muscle mass or better condition – almost everyone! – should also perform a few sets with higher reps afterward. 3 sets of 8-10 is a good for most, and athletes who really need to pack on some weight should add volume from week to week, until they’re hitting 4, 5, or even 6 extra sets after their heavier work. And no, these sets won’t make athletes slow or “muscle-bound.” Assuming proper exercise selection and form, a squat, press, and pull will pack on muscle in the legs, glutes, hips, back, and shoulder girdle – all of the critical areas for athletes concerned with strength and speed.


We’ve covered strength-building, but what about conditioning? What kind of “cardio” should athletes do in the weight room? In my opinion, very little! Resistance training is meant to make athletes strong, but endurance training is best accomplished on the track, on the field, and during hard, drawn-out practices.

That sad, the Crossfit craze has demonstrated that circuits of barbell work and calisthenics can be incredibly effective for conditioning. Unlike many Crossfitters, however, I do NOT like to involve the highly technical Olympic lifts in this type of training! Doing high reps on the snatch, clean and push-press is a great way to get injured, especially when you’re already fatigued from the last umpteen sets of whatever else you’re doing.

I think a better way to use weights for conditioning is to combine several basic compound movements, along with perhaps some pull-ups, push-ups, crunches and other body weight exercises, into a high-rep, low-rest, puke-inducing circuit! It could be as simple as something like 10 reps each of squats, overhead presses, bent rows, push-ups, and pull-ups, done for 8 circuits with as little rest as possible. It looks easy on paper, but even with light loads, this routine will have most athletes wishing they’d skipped practice!


Last but not least, we’ve got hypertrophy, or “muscle building” for those of you who rarely pick up a bodybuilding magazine. Are the old-time coaches right? Does muscle really make you slow on the field! No! When packed on in the right places, additional muscle mass will make an athlete stronger, faster, and more skilled at the specific movements he needs for his sport.

However, it’s probably pointless for most athletes to dedicate any significant amount of time to arm workouts, calf raises, pec flyes, and anything else that hypertophies the showier muscle groups. Many competitors are limited by specific weight classes, and assuming they’re already lean, they can’t really afford to ADD non-functional mass. And even for players who don’t have to stay at specific weights, any body mass that doesn’t contribute to enhanced performance, be it muscle or fat, is just going to be a hindrance while running, jumping, and tackling.

Still, those basic strength movements are going to build the vast majority of muscle any athlete needs. Done with sufficient volume – and assuming adequate nutrition, the heaviest exercises are also the ones that will produce the most growth. When an athlete does need extra mass in weak areas – typically the hamstrings, glutes, lats and upper back – the solution is simple: high volumes of the most basic movements for those muscles! For those lower body posterior chain muscles, glute-ham raises, Romanian deadlifts and back raises are king. For the upper back – a common weak spot for athletes who’ve benched too heavy and too often, my prescription is rows, rows, and more rows, followed by plenty of pull-ups.

Overall, there’s really no need to over complicate lifting for athletics – despite what many high-priced gurus would have you believe! Stick to the basics in the weight room, and keep your performance goals in mind as you select exercises, rep schemes, and progression goals. Leave the complex training methods for your actual skills practice, and let your coach be your guide!

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By: Justin Woltering
Title: The Blueprint To Building Athletic Muscle
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Published Date: Fri, 06 Nov 2020 15:21:31 +0000

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Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs



Powerful and thick thighs require gut-busting exercises like squats and leg presses. However, once you have acquired adequate thigh mass and strength, you should consider adding some balance and sharpness to the muscle bellies in your thighs. Although tough to accomplish, leg extensions provide a great way to carve the separations between the muscle bellies, and to accentuate the “teardrop” shape of the four quadriceps muscles of the anterior thigh.

Active Muscles in Leg Extensions

The three vasti muscles comprise most of the anterior thigh.1 The vastus medialis covers the medial (inner) part of the femur bone (thigh bone). When it is well developed, it forms a teardrop-like shape over the medial side of the knee joint. The vastus lateralis muscle attaches to the lateral (outer) part of the femur bone. The vastus intermedius connects to the femur bone between the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis muscles. The fibers of all three vasti muscles come together at the quadriceps tendon, which crosses the patella (kneecap) to attach to the tibia bone just below the knee.1

Together, the three vasti muscles extend the leg at the knee joint, although the vastus intermedius may be more fatigue resistant than the vastus lateralis.2 The vastus medialis oblique (VMO), which is a small part of the vastus medialis muscle, attaches to the medial part of the patella. It is thought to help the patella track properly during movement of the knee. Improper tracking can increase the likelihood for knee injury.

The vastus medialis and especially the VMO part of this muscle are primarily responsible for tibial rotation (rotation of the tibia bone of the lower leg on the femur) during knee extension. This rotation or “twist” has been shown to increase the activation of the VMO portion of the vastus lateralis even more than doing knee extensions with the hip adducted (thigh rotated so that the medial portion of the knee is facing mostly upwards).3 Dorsiflexion of the foot (moving the ankles so the toes are pointing towards your head) also increases the activation of the VMO by more than 20 percent.4 Likely this is because the dorsiflexor muscles stabilize the tibia during knee flexion and resist rotation of the tibia on the femur as the knee straightens.

The fourth muscle of the quadriceps group is the rectus femoris muscle. It attaches to the anterior part of the hip bone just above the hip joint.1 The largest bulk of the muscle fibers are located on the upper three-quarters of the thigh, whereas the largest belly of the vastus medialis and vastus lateralis are more inferior (i.e., closer to the knee). The distal end of the rectus femoris muscle becomes tendinous and it creates a deep valley between the lateral and medial vastus muscles as it approaches the knee.1 It assists the other quadriceps muscles by extending the leg at the knee joint, although it is less effective when the hip is flexed than if it is straight.

Leg Extensions

The three vastus muscles of the anterior thigh are strongly activated by single-leg knee extensions. The rectus femoris is not activated as strongly, but it does undergo some overload when the anterior thigh is under contractile effort, about halfway up to the top of each repetition.

1. You should always warm up your knees with some stationary cycling prior to getting into leg extensions. Furthermore, the resistance on your first set should be fairly light to allow the joint to fully warm up before you get to the heavier stuff.

2. Adjust the knee extension machine so that the pivot point of the lifting arm is directly adjacent to the center of the side of your knee joint.

3. Position the ankle roller/leg pad over the lower part of the leg (above the ankle joint).

4. Take about three seconds to slowly extend (straighten) both leg so that the weight is lifted upward from the stack.

5. Continue upwards until the tibia and the femur bones form a straight line and the knee angle is straight. Hold this for two seconds at the top.

6. Slowly lower the weight (about four seconds down) towards the starting position. Once the knee has reached 90 degrees, start the upwards extension phase again. Continue for 12-15 repetitions for the first set. Lower the number of repetitions but increase the resistance for subsequent sets.

7. On the next sets, lift the weight upwards until the knee joint becomes almost straight, but just slightly short of a total knee lockout. Be careful that you do not “jam” the knee joint into a fully locked out position, because this could cause knee cartilage damage5, especially with heavy weights. Hold the top position for a count of three before lowering the weight.

8. Lower the weight slowly (four to five seconds) towards the starting position where your knee is flexed to 90 degrees. Just before the weight stack contacts the remaining plates at the bottom, start lifting it upward for the next repetition.

The downward movement should be slower than the upward phase because you are resisting the pull of gravity. The slow lowering of the weight stretches the muscle under a resistance and this is a great stimulus to improve muscle shape and size.6

Make sure that you do not hold your breath during the lift upwards.7 Rather take a breath at the bottom (start) of the lift, and exhale as you extend the knees/legs. Take another breath at the top and slowly exhale as the weight is lowered. Take another breath at the bottom and repeat the sequence.

This is a mechanically simply exercise, but it really can be very challenging and blood depriving8,9, especially if you try to control the weight as it is moving up and down. However, if you are willing to work through some discomfort, you will be soon enjoying your new shape and slabs of carved thighs.

GettyImages 674163248 600


1. Moore K.L. Clinically Orientated Anatomy. Third Edition. Williams & Willkins, Baltimore, 1995; pp 373-500.

2. Watanabe K, Akima H. Neuromuscular activation of vastus intermedius muscle during fatiguing exercise. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2010;20:661-666.

3. Stoutenberg M, Pluchino AP, Ma F et al. The impact of foot position on electromyographical activity of the superficial quadriceps muscles during leg extension. J Strength Cond Res 2005;19:931-938.

4. Coburn JW, Housh TJ, Cramer JT et al. Mechanomyographic and electromyographic responses of the vastus medialis muscle during isometric and concentric muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res 2005; 19:412-420.

5. Senter C, Hame SL. Biomechanical analysis of tibial torque and knee flexion angle: implications for understanding knee injury. Sports Med 2006;36:635-641.

6. Alway SE, Winchester PK, Davis ME et al. Regionalized adaptations and muscle fiber proliferation in stretch- induced enlargement. J Appl Physiol 1989;66:771-781.

7. Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011;43:1334-1359.

8. Denis R, Bringard A, Perrey S. Vastus lateralis oxygenation dynamics during maximal fatiguing concentric and eccentric isokinetic muscle actions. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2011;21:276-282.

9. Ueda C, Kagaya A. Muscle reoxygenation difference between superficial and deep regions of the muscles during static knee extension. Adv Exp Med Biol 2010;662:329-334.

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By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
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Published Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2022 19:11:16 +0000

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PRIMAL Preworkout



Training hard and intensely is the only way to train – you can’t step into the gym in low gear or
asleep at the switch and expect results. To get the most out of every training session with no
compromises, you need a pre-workout that will power your performance and enable you to crush
it every time you train. Bottom line, you need to maximize your workouts by pushing yourself to
your limits and that’s what Animal’s PRIMAL Preworkout delivers.

A Better Pump

PRIMAL is Animal’s most comprehensive pre-workout supplement ever, and is scientifically
designed for the advanced, hard trainer. Animal worked tirelessly to find the right combination of
ingredients that could be worthy of the Animal name. First on the agenda was giving you a better
pump, which is why PRIMAL Preworkout is empowered with the breakthrough, patented
3DPump-Breakthrough ® . Not only does it increase nitric oxide for the valued “pump,” but it also
helps increase exercise capacity and endurance and helps optimize vascular endothelial function,
aka vascularity.†

Other key benefits of PRIMAL come from four scientifically formulated blends that work in tandem
to deliver the ultimate pre-workout:

• Endurance & Performance Complex so you can train longer and harder. Beta-alanine,
betaine and taurine are combined as a powerful endurance trio†. Beta-alanine is a vital ingredient
used to combat the urge to quit.

• Focus & Intensity Complex helps you keep your head in the iron game so you train hard and
maintain focus. Includes the amino acid tyrosine, which is involved in neurotransmitter production;
Huperzine A for brain health; and choline bitartrate, which supports energy metabolism and helps
the brain send messages for improved mental endurance and focus†.

This blend is completed with the patented Teacrine ® . Among its many benefits includes increases
in energy without the jittery feeling, increases in motivation to accomplish tasks, mental energy
and decreases in feeling of fatigue†.

• Quick and Sustained Energy Complex is the energy core of PRIMAL Preworkout . It is
powered by a combination of tried-and-true caffeine, along with an herbal complex of green tea,
coffee bean extract and guarana†.

• Electrolyte Complex to support muscle hydration and help get you through those intense
training sessions – because proper hydration is key for maximal performance. PRIMAL
Preworkout tops it off with a combination of AstraGin ® to support nutrient uptake and Senactiv,
which helps the production of citrate synthase, an important enzyme that is responsible for
producing more ATP†.

How to Use PRIMAL
30 minutes prior to training, consume 2 rounded scoops (20.3g) with 8-12 oz of water or your
favorite beverage. Users that are sensitive to stimulants should start off with 1 rounded scoop
(10.1g) to assess tolerance.

PRIMAL Preworkout

• Enhances energy and endurance†
• Supports muscle hydration†
• Supports intense focus†
• Contains AstraGin ® to support nutrient uptake†
• Contains Senactiv ® which helps the production of citrate synthase, an important enzyme that is
responsible for producing more ATP†
• Absorption and nutrient enhancers
• Great tasting, easy to mix

PRIMAL is a pre-workout that will power your performance and enable you to crush it every time you train.

For additional information, visit
†These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This product is not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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By: Team FitRx
Title: PRIMAL Preworkout
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Published Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2022 16:51:41 +0000

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