Welcome back to another quick look at fitness and nutrition.
Whether you are a returning visitor or a first-time reader, I am glad you are here. After focusing on our lower body in recent weeks, we are going to look at some quick ways to build your upper body, starting with the chest. Then, we will have some follow-up information on a long-speculated supplement, creatine.
Whenever I enter a gym, I usually see the same picture, especially at the large commercial gyms. Most of the time people are crowded in front of the dumbbell rack doing curls or some sort of arm-pull movement.
I mean, having huge arms is what sells, right? But before you reach for the dumbbells, having a strong center is a great place to start. The center I am referring to is your chest.
Looking to build strength or muscle, it is easier than you would think to start training your chest without any type of weights or equipment. A simple workout that most everyone has heard about is the push-up, but it is important to make sure you are doing it correctly.
To begin, find a flat surface in your home. Get onto all fours and position your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart and align them evenly with your shoulders.
Next, extend your legs out so you either rest on your toes or, if that is too difficult, modify and stay on your knees. Make sure your back and neck are straight and your butt is tucked in and not jutting out.
To achieve the best posture, try to imagine there is a bar going from the base of your skull to your tailbone. Next, lower yourself slowly by bending at your elbows, making sure that your elbows stay at about a 45 degree angle.
As you’re about to touch your chest to the floor, exhale and push the floor away from you, making sure your elbows do not fan out. This exercise will allow you to build strength in your chest and shoulders.
Benefits of creatine
Building strength is a process and results can take weeks and even months to make progress. Recovery is just as important as training itself because it is the process of taking the damaged muscle and refining and repairing it to be stronger.
One of the few supplements I encourage for anyone who strength trains is creatine. I have referenced creatine previously, and as stated before, it is a supplement that the body uses to aid in repair of muscle tissue.
Its history has been highly debated, but through rigorous study and trial, it has been deemed by many to be a viable part of strength training. One common misconception is that creatine will cause you to gain water weight.
While creatine does encourage your muscles to absorb water, this will not result in excessive amounts of water weight. The increased water retention will result in better muscle recovery as well.
Another common misconception is that it can damage your kidneys, but many studies have shown that if water intake is adequate, the kidneys are more than capable of filtering out a daily dose of creatine.
Creatine can be a great addition to any training regimen, but like all supplements, it is not necessary.
That wraps up this week’s tips. I hope you feel like you’ve learned something new to help make your life and your health better. Next week, we will continue to look at building our upper body. I will also be sharing a family favorite meal at my house that is packed with protein.
Never give up, guys!