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Know Your Muscle Building Exercises - The Back
By: Rick Mitchell

Every bodybuilder and weight trainer will have his or her favorite exercises for each body part. That's how it should be - as you progress through the various stages of learning you'll understand what works best for you. It is useful, however, to take stock of your progress every so often and carry out an analysis of where you are and what changes, if any, are needed to move onwards and upwards.

Part of this analysis should include an assessment of the core exercises that make up your bodybuilding training program. In this article we'll look at the back exercises that have proven their worth to serious bodybuilders for many years. Where appropriate a series of exercises suitable for achieving pre-exhaustion will be presented. All exercises should be performed to failure with one set of six to eight reps.

1. Lat machine pulldowns - this exercise has been chosen because it allows you to isolate the lats and rest the biceps for the compound exercise to follow.

- Take a shoulder width grip.

- Pull arms towards the thighs keeping the arms straight.

- Pause.

- Return the bar slowly to the starting position.

2. Pulldowns - you can move straight on to this exercise if you are sufficiently experienced. Using the same machine, take an under hand grip because this will make better use of biceps strength thus maximizing the effects of the workout.

- Take a shoulder width grip.

- Pull bar to the chest area.

- Pause.

- Return the bar slowly to the starting position.

About the Author

Richard Mitchell is the creator of the website that provides guidance and information to athletes at all levels of bodybuilding experience. Go to Bodybuilding Advice to learn more about the issues covered in this article.

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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