4 Tips to Starting and Keeping Your Weight Loss Resolution

So here we are. We made it out of 2020, and you’ve made a new year resolution to get healthy and shed that extra weight. You’re extremely motivated and excited. You go sign up for a gym membership that you’ve now committed yourself to for the next year. You rush to your local sporting goods store and invest in half of a wardrobe worth of workout gear, and of course, don’t forget the new shoes. You’re getting ready to demolish your pantry, clear out your fridge, and head to the grocery store to get your new spread of healthy food options. This is where I want to stop you, and hopefully, you haven’t gotten to this point yet. Honestly, I would prefer it if I’ve got you before you even pick up that gym membership. 

Now, before I go into this any further I would like to tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Clark, and I have lost nearly 100lbs in the last three years, and I’m continuing to lose more. This will be the first article I have ever written, but about this 100th time I’ve given this advice. I must preface by saying I am not a medical professional, certified trainer, or registered dietician. I am not here to give you professional advice. I am just an everyday average guy, who let myself get insanely out of shape, who’s somehow managed to lose a lot of weight, keep it off and continue to lose, and learn a lot over the past 3 years. 

I am not here to offer a workout plan, debunk any “fad diets”, or sell you the magic supplement that’s going to do all of the work for you. (Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist… yet) I am going to give you my own personal do’s and don’ts of beginning a weight loss journey and more importantly, a healthier life in general. So here we go, here are my top 4 tips on starting, and more importantly, sticking to, a weight loss journey.

Tip 1: See it for what it is 

As corny as it may sound: Accept that this is a lifestyle change and not a diet that you’re going to start and one day end. If you are simply looking to lose that pesky 10lbs for your friend’s wedding, or drop a pant size, then of course a short term diet could be your ticket, but we are talking about serious weight loss here. You are going to want to have a serious mental intervention with yourself, and understand that your primary goal is not to lose weight, it’s to become healthier and feel better about yourself, and in order to do that, you must change the way you live, it’s all or nothing here.
 

Tip 2: Make it unique to you 

Find what works for you, and don’t be afraid to experiment: I am not here to push the way I diet on you, or tell you that any one is better than the other. Quite frankly I have tried multiple different diet’s and eating patterns over the last few years, and no one in particular worked best for me. I tend to bounce around a few different one’s depending on how they fit into my constantly changing day to day work schedule. So what do I recommend? Do some research! Read about different plans online, request an appointment with a dietitian, or even look into meal prep services that check into your goals, and ship the meals strait to you. The same goes for workout plans. Check around at your local gym’s, most gym’s offer one day passes, don’t be afraid to try out a few. At this point for me, I’ve worked out at nearly every gym in my hometown. You can also look into home gym/workout options, or even consult with a personal trainer near you. All of the things I have listed above require time, money, and sacrifice. So before doing any of these things, I recommend you read step 3 first.

Tip 3: Don’t be in a hurry

Run the Marathon, not the sprint: This is not a race, it never will be. In my years of doing this I’ve realized very quickly that overwhelming yourself with high expectations and harsh deadlines can put a dagger in your progress quicker than anything else. If you take away anything from this article I want it to be this: START SLOW. Doing anything cold turkey is one of the most difficult pressure’s you could put on yourself. Although it does happen in diet, quitting nicotine, alcohol, or other vices, typically those who succeed were presented with a fairly significant health scare in some way or another that put them in that position. Given that you’re reading this article right now I’m going to say it’s safe to assume you haven’t had devastating news from a doctor that has you ready to change everything right now, and that’s okay! For the rest of us a slow process of elimination will work just as good. Your goal is to make this as easy on yourself as you possibly can, because we are shooting for the long term here. This is a process that will hopefully last for the remainder of your life, there is no sense in rushing it. I did not lose all of my weight by only eating lean meats and veggies while weighing out all of my meals. It took me 3 years to get to that point. I lost my first 20lbs by deciding to walk every day and cook more of my food instead of living in the drive thru. For some, obtaining noticeable weight loss may not take that long, for some it may take longer, at the end of the day this is YOUR work, and nobody else’s. My most reliable piece of weight loss advice is to start by taking a 15 minute walk every day, that may not provide the instant gratification that 90 minute workouts coupled with a restrictive diet will, but you have to remember that you are setting yourself up for the long term. Creating a habit first, is much more important than 6 weeks of great results that ultimately end in a crash and burn scenario. There are no secrets here. We all know that eating less and exorcising more will help us lose weight, but if it was that easy we would all do it right now, wouldn’t we? Trust me on this, take your time. Start with a walk, and then when you’re walking every, day maybe go ahead and cut out something from your every day diet. For nearly every person I have met so far, that one thing they first cut out was soda. For me, having never been a big soda drinker, it was Arizona Tea and Sour Patch Kids. Regardless, of what it is, just pick one to start. Don’t feel the need to do everything at once. As time goes on, find more exorcises, build that routine, cut some more things out every week or two, no matter what you do, pace yourself. 

Tip 4: Consistency

Consistency; Through all of the articles, all of the videos, all of the books I have explored through all of the varying opinions and advice all across the fitness industry, the one constant is consistency. Now when I say consistency I’m not referring to sticking to a consistent routine and never shying away from it. That is a completely unreasonable ask. What I mean is that when you fall short of your plan. When you slip up on your diet, when you miss a workout, you forget to walk, or your friend’s decided on a place to eat and you didn’t want to be the only one sitting there without a plate, or failed to meet a short term weight goal: don’t get discouraged! I have yet to meet a single person out of the hundreds of people I’ve talked to throughout the industry who haven’t fallen short of their goals at least a few times. The difference between those who are, and aren’t successful is simple: those who succeed are those who get back to the process after failure. As a compulsive binge/emotional eater I still to this day will slip up and eat my way through an entire large pizza and an order of taco’s within an hour and then spend the rest of the night asking myself “what have I done?” but the most important part of making those occurrences fewer and fewer is getting right back to work the next day. I wake up, avoid the scale, head strait to the gym and give myself a workout to be proud of. Staying consistent is the key factor in making this a long term, enjoyable journey that has potential to bring you many friend’s and great memories along the way.  

In conclusion

When it come’s to diet and exorcise, there is a plethora of recourses out there, go find them! Your journey is unique to you and I am not here to push my ways onto anyone. My goal is to give you a few bits of my favorite advice, a bit of understanding, and hopefully relieve some of the stress that come’s with beginning this process. I also would like to add that this may not all apply to you, and that’s absolutely okay as well, there is an abundance of ways to go about this and this is just one of many that I wanted to throw out there.
I would like to thank you for reading this, and wish you the best of luck on your journey! Feel free to explore this awesome website for an abundance of information fitness and training.

-Clark Morgan-


This article was a piece created by a great friend of mine, Clark Morgan. He has had amazing success with his weight loss journey and is now contributing an exceptional piece of content to help you with yours!

Elevated Lunges for Strength, Speed & Size

This is an exercise that will really help with:

⭐️ Growing and strengthening the glutes 🍑

⭐️ Increasing squat & deadlift 🏋️‍♂️🏋️

⭐️ Jumping higher 🐰

⭐️ Increasing sprinting speed 🏃‍♀️🏃

⭐️ Getting more flexible in the hips 🧘‍♂️🧘


Elevated lunges have recently became one of my favorite leg exercises for creating more strength, size and explosive power for my athletes.

Here are a couple details to pay attention to when doing this exercise:

👉Set up an elevated surface of about 4-8 inches. I typically use a couple weight plates to start off.

👉I would start without weight to really get the flexibility down and then you can start adding in weight to increase the intensity.


I like to program these after the main movement on lower body day. Depending on the client and goal, I will program 3-5 sets of 4-10 reps each leg.

For a better physique I would do 4-5 x 10 🍑 .

For strength and most athletic goals I would typically prescribe 3-4 x 5 each leg with heavier weights (only after you get used to the movement, because of the excessive stretch). 🏋️🏋️‍♂️


Tag your gym amigos and get to work 💪

#ironstrengthandconditioning #gym #legday #legworkout #fitness #weightloss #bodybuilding #athlete #athletetraining #strengthtraining #glutetraining #gluteworkouts #increasevertical #increasespeed #lunges

Have a great day!

-Alex Costa-

5 Secrets To Unlock Bigger Arms

Me and my homeboy

There’s something about that feeling you get when you throw a shirt on and the sleeves fit snug around the arms. It’s a shot of confidence and really makes you wonder how that girl you like in class didn’t notice. On a real note, it can motivate you to want to stay in the gym which is a big key to any good looking phyisque. Today we are going over 5 secrets to unlock bigger arms!

Anytime I have noticed the biggest change in my body, especially the arms are when I am following these tips. This is just like anything else, if you don’t take it seriously and put the time and effort in then you won’t see results. Make a commitment to yourself today and start off by following these secrets I am sharing with you. If you follow these, you will be filling that shirt sleeve out in no time!

So whats the secret? Well I will start by listing them and then explaining. Stay around until the end of this article and you will get 2 workouts that will help take care of one big step.

  • Increase the frequency of arm training (Duhh, I know)
  • Increase weight
  • Increase calories
  • More triceps (it’s 2/3 the arm) 
  • Try taking creatine (check with a doctor 1st)

Increase the frequency of arm training

The first key thing to start off with is to train your arms more frequently each week. It may sound like a no brainer, but this is commonly overlooked and thought to be too much work for one area. A lot of people might only train their arms once a week compared to 2 to 3 or even 4 times a week. The thing about this is if you want bigger arms, you need to start training them more frequently. It WILL be a game changer, trust me.

Increase weight

Light weight curls is not going to get the job done, you have to start increasing weight and increasing weight overtime as well. One of my favorite movements is to do a cheat curl and really get the weight up but control it with a slow negative on the decent of the movement. This can really work on overloading the muscle and making it work at a higher level to force growth.

Increase calories

A key point in getting bigger muscles will always include consuming more calories. It is extremely hard to see a noticeable difference if you are maintaining the same caloric intake or even a lower caloric intake than your maintenance level would be. Find your maintenance calories and start adding 300 to 400 cal a day until you find an optimal range of calories to help increase weight at a steady pace.

More triceps (it’s 2/3 the arm) 

This is the part a lot of people forget about and neglect… Triceps. It’s not all about the biceps. They can’t be getting all the love. You have to spread some love to those triceps and make sure you’re working them just as much, if not even more in my opinion. The reason is because the triceps will take up 2/3 of the arm space compared to the biceps. So in turn, if you get bigger triceps, the arms will appear bigger!

Try taking creatine 

A good tool to use for getting bigger muscles and to increase strength is a supplement called creatine. Creatine works by creating extra ATP at the cellular level. This will increase the amount of reps that you can perform with a heavier weight, which will increase the strength and in turn increase muscle size. But another part that creatine helps with is holding water in the muscle to make the muscles appear slightly bigger. I recommend creatine monohydrate, but again please check with your doctor first to make sure this is a good option for you.


Don’t forget recovery!

With picking up the intensity, frequency and the soreness you’ll witness better looking arms. However if you want to get the very most out of the training and decrease the soreness to be able to continually increase and overload that muscle, you will need to take care of your recovery. Increased protein can help as well as adding in aminos and creatine into your supplement plan.

I have a subscription company called Iron Crate. We help take care of this problem by sending you some of the highest quality products on the market to help with recovery. It is also a great way to get a great deal on supplements and healthy protein packed snacks to try. I get one every month to act as a reward! It is like a monthly Christmas for the fitness lovers! You can check out my website for Iron Crate by clicking the button below. I appreciate any and all support!

Here are some of the previous Crates we have sent out recently. Oh and yea, we definitely added the cobwebs in the Iron Crates for Halloween we sent out to our customers and we sent stockings for Christmas. Wait till you see some of the new things coming! We like to keep it unique here to say the least.

Now that I got a shamless plug in, I really hope you can use this article to help get the arms you are looking for! If you use all 5 tips and keep up on your recovery, there’s no doubt you’ll be more than happy with the results you will receive.


As promised, I want to give you 2 solid workouts to help get you started. This uses some of the tips we just learned. Have fun! You can go to the Vault of Gainz page to see how to do all exercises listed!

Workout #1

A1) Barbell cheat curls – 5 x 8

A2) Tricep cable push downs – 5 x 15


B1) Close grip bench – 5 x 8

B2) Hammer curls – 5 x 15 


Triset – 6 x 15 each 

C1) bench dips 

C2) cable curls 

C3) band tricep pushdowns 


Workout #2

Barbell cheat curls 

12, 10, 8, 6 then drop weight and go back to 12 reps— dropset immediately after the 6 reps. That will be a set of 12. So as soon as you finish the last heavy set of 6 reps, take of about 30-50% of the weight and do that new weight for 12 reps.


Triset- 5 sets here 

-Close stance push ups – till failure 

-Over head dumbbell tricep extensions – 12-15

-Band tricep push downs – 20 reps 


Triset – 5 sets here (try to grab one set of dumbbells and go through all of these here without setting the weights down)

-Dumbbell twist curls – 10-15

-Dumbbell reverse curls – 10-15

-Dumbbell hammer curls – 10-15


Thank you again for checking out this article! It would mean the world if you could share this out to your friends! Sending you all love and positive vibes. Here’s to a happy, healthy and successful 2021!

-Alex Costa-

Iron Made Arm Workout


I know there’s a lot of stress right now with the election so what better way to simmer down and relieve stress than with a solid arm workout! Stop watching the news all day, take a break and get out of the house to enjoy the weather. Get some exercise, eat healthy food, practice some meditation and yoga. This is a simple way to relive a little stress that may be coming up.

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I put together a video you can watch while you workout so you can see form, sets and reps. I also included exercise tips on the video!

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Barbell curls 5×8

Tricep rope extensions 5×15

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Barbell skull crushers 4×12 

Hammer curls 4×8

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Bodyweight skull crushers 6×10-15

Seated curls 6×15

Band pushdowns 6×20

My Deadlift Warm up

The deadlift is one of the most taxing exercises. With tons of variations that can be down, it can make it easy to be injured if you don’t warm up properly. I have seen a lot of injuries due to not warming up, so lets break down the warm up for your deadlift in todays article.

Why warm up?

The warm up and cool down are crucial for your workout. Without an efficient warm up, you are opening up your chances to injury. Without cooling down, you are increasing your chances to what is called venous pooling of blood in the lower extremities. This can cause you to be light headed and also cause dizziness especially in higher intensity workouts.

What should your warm up look like?

When I discuss warm ups with someone, I take into account what kind of workout they are getting ready to perform. I also look at a few other factors such as the clients health, previous injuries, age, equipment around the gym and more. That is how important the warm up is and it should be thought of as so.

It would take a long time to go over how your warm up should look if I listed every possibility so that is why I will be talking about warming up for the deadlift.

Every good warm up should have you breaking a very light sweat or right on the edge to start sweating. Starting off on a cardio movement such as a bike, treadmill, elliptical, etc. would be good to start with. Again depending on the workout listed, would vary the warm up time but 3-10 minutes should do in most strength workouts for the cardio. I would like to also list that it should be down at a low intensity such as a 50-75% speed in most machines.

Next I look at performing a self myofascial release method such as foam rolling. 5-10 minutes could be spent here if needed. I like this because this followed up with some dynamics will allow an increase in blood flow in the areas worked. This will help increase mobility for the time being, warm up that muscle and allow a decrease in chances of injury.

Dynamics are next on the list. A dynamic movement is typically described as a movement allowing a full range of motion, in turn giving a light but efficient stretch to the muscle.

I do not typically perform static stretches because this tends to relax the muscle as where the dynamic stretches can ready the muscle to fire for our strength movements.

After dynamics, I work my weakness areas to wake the muscles up to fire properly. This is where the warm up can sometimes be very specific and specialized to the individuals needs. Lets say you have low back pain, or your back is a little tight on a day we are scheduled to deadlift. I would incorporate a couple exercises like the reverse hyper, walking lunges, and back extensions or band good mornings. This would allow more blood flow into the back and assisting muscles to increase the stability for the low back. This portion can be different for everyone most of the time.

Last we have what I call “pre activation work” which is very similar to the strength movement we will do. This may also look like the weak areas we hit depending on the individual. Since we are on the subject of the deadlift, I like to incorporate stiff leg deadlifts, goblet squats, and sometimes a couple sets of pile squats to wake up the adductors (inner thigh muscles) if we have a sumo deadlift day.

I also want to mention that when doing any strength movement, especially the deadlift, START LIGHT and do a couple warm up sets to check technique and get the right muscles firing.

My deadlift warm up routine

Bike

Foam roll

Leg swings

Hip circle walks – front, back, sides

Stiff leg deadlift w/ dumbbells

Iso Glute raise with band pullovers

Start with lighter weight to check technique

That sums up the majority of the things needed to be covered today but if you have any questions on warming up, please reach out to me and ask some questions! I hope you all have a great day and enjoy this article and video!

-Alex Costa-

5 Of My Favorite Arm Exercises (Workout Included!)

Summer is around the corner which means the t-shirts and tank tops will be making an appearance. Let’s start working on those arms to make sure you’re looking good by the pool!

I’m a meathead at heart so of course I always have some workouts ready for an extra arm day here and there. There are a couple main things I have learned about training my arms that have made a huge difference.

  1. Using a progressive overload method will almost always win in the long run.
  2. It’s not always about the pump, but the pump is nice to see and motivates you.
  3. There is a time to heave the weight up and arm training is about 90% the opposite. Make sure you work form strictly.
  4. Don’t be afraid to hit arms heavy here and there.
  5. Increase frequency to increase size and strength.
  6. Don’t forget the triceps!! The triceps take up about 2/3 of the arm.

I will write an article on arm training and include these but for now lets get to what you want… the exercises and workout!

Exercise #1 The cheat curl

This is a classic exercise used back in the golden era bodybuilding days to really create some mass. I have learned a couple twist and tweaks to make it even better!

Start with a straight barbell and load it to a desired weight. Take an underhand grip right outside shoulder width and unrack it. Curl it up, as the bar gets a little heavy, you can use your body to get a little momentum helping the bar go up. (Don’t over extend your lower back, that is how you can hurt yourself.) Once you get the rep to the top, squeeze your bicep and when you go to let the bar down, we are going to take it down nice and slow, preferably about 4 seconds on the way down. The muscle damage happens during the eccentric portion of the lift or in this case, when you lower the weight.

This is an exercise I usually try to work a little heavier in weight with. This will really help build some mass for your biceps.

Exercise #2 Close grip bench

This in my opinion is almost the same effect for your triceps as the cheat curl is for the biceps. This is another exercise I tend to work a little heavier in to overload the triceps.

Set up on a bench just like a standard bench press, except instead of taking your normal grip width, bring the grip into about shoulder width. (Picture of my setup shown below) Take the bar and wrap your hand around it, unrack weight and bring it down just like a bench press. The main difference is that your grip will be closer and your elbows will come down by your sides closer than a normal bench. You can do touch and go reps or pause reps if desired.

My close grip bench setup

This is a great exercise to add some size to your triceps and add strength to get a stronger bench press.

Exercise #3 Bench dips

This makes my list because I love loading up with weight to increase the difficulty. Standard dips can be a little stressful on my shoulders at times so this is another variation that you can use to hit your triceps.

Start by going to a flat bench and sit on the side. Bring your hands in to your sides so that your thumb is right underneath the butt when you are sitting down. That is the width I use to really target the triceps. From there, walk out your legs or put your legs on another bench a few feet away from you. This will leave you in a starting position with your body being held up by your arms. Your arms will start to bend and you will descend into a dip. Don’t go to far forward during your dip as this can stress the shoulders. Think about keeping your back sliding along the side of the bench as you go into your dip. When you get your arms to about 90 degrees (depending on your mobility) you will use your triceps to push yourself back up to complete the rep.

I have always noticed that when I include this exercise, my arms look more defined and my bench is stronger than usual.

Exercise #4 Overhead tricep extension

The tricep anatomy. Picture is from http://www.physio-pedia.com

The overhead tricep extension is a great exercise that has a solid purpose. Your tricep is composed of three muscles, hence “tri”. One of the muscles called the tricep brachii or the long head of the tricep connects to the scapula. (Shown here with a circle) That is important to remember when we use the tricep to function. We can really hit the long head when we lift the arms overhead for an exercise like this when we use an extension of the elbow.

I love using this exercise to hit the tricep and add some nice looking definition to my arm.

Exercise #5 The preacher curl

I couldn’t do this list and not add this exercise. This is one of the main exercises a lot of people do in the gym just because the machine is there and easy to use. I love this exercise because it can really help you isolate the bicep without cheating the rep. This adds a lot of stress to the biceps, in a positive way.

This exercise hits what is called the brachialis and the biceps brachii. This exercise can put immense tension on the biceps so be sure to warm up with lighter weight for 1-2 sets before adding anything heavier.

You can add this in for a finisher at your gym if it is a machine and switch weight a lot faster!

The Workout

Time for the workout… We learned what each exercise does and how to do it if you watched the videos. Now let me go over a few important side notes to ensure you have a solid arm workout.

Cheat curls and close grip bench should be a little heavier but still make sure you have good form. For the overhead extensions, I want you to do 1-2 warm up sets to get the joints ready for the movement. After that I want you to start with a heavy weight that you can control for about 10-15 reps. Do your reps TILL FAILURE then rack that weight. Immediately pick up 5-10 pounds less and go till failure again. Now do that same thing 2 more times so you end up with a total of 4 sets right back to back with each other. This is a great arm finisher just make sure you either have a spotter or have a spot to drop the weight safely if you are able to do so.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have enjoyed creating it! Please give me feedback and let me know how you liked this article and if you want to see more post like this!

Follow me on my social media links shown below for even more helpful tips including exercises, workouts, nutrition, increased athletic performance and so much more!

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Have a great day!!
-Alex Costa-

3 Killer Low Ab Exercises You Need To Try

One of the most common areas I get asked about around this time of the year is the lower abs. This can easily be the trickiest part of the body to work for so many because a lot of us especially males tend to hold fat around this spot so it can sometimes be one of the last areas to have noticeable results. My advice is simple, eat in a caloric deficit, train abs often especially the lower abs with the right exercises like what I am about to show you and stay consistent with this because it will take time but it will be worth it!

#1 – Hanging leg raises


I watch a lot of Jeff Nippard’s YouTube channel and I believe he had an science explained video on abs. He went over how the lower ab exercise that hit the highest on the EMG scale was the hanging leg raise variations.

I enjoy this (not really) because this exercise, when done correctly really works core strength and makes those low abs start to pop. It can be a more difficult exercise for beginners so just start with low reps such as 5 and do as many as 5-10 sets until you start getting better at these, then start doing 10 or more each set.

#2 – Scissor kicks to a leg hold


This is one I started doing when I was in the gym experimenting with core work. I then implemented it with clients and got feedback. Of course they hated it so I kept doing it. They don’t pay me to take it easy on them. They love the challenge though! I like to do these towards the end of the workout to burn out the core. I will typically do 2-5 sets of 20 seconds on scissor kicks then straight to 10 seconds of leg holds. We will do this a few times without rest and then try to push out a couple more sets.

#3 – Hanging scissor kicks

This is one I came up with a while back and it burns the abs like a mo-fo. I like to just hold on to the pull up bar when I do these but you can also use the arm slings if it is more comfortable for you. I like to do these for 50 total reps or for 30-60 seconds. I will do about 3-5 sets of these.

Bonus AB Training Tip

Abdominal muscles are a little different compared to the rest of the muscles in the body because they are constantly firing and being used. I mean think about it, you drop your pen on the ground and go to pick it up and the first thing that fires is your core. With that being said, you can handle more training frequency with your abs then some of your other muscles so you could technically train them everyday, which has been a great tool for me. I have done it before and I know plenty of other fitness experts that have done it.

I would recommend switching the exercises up each day. Have a list of 10 ab exercise you want to hit for a couple weeks straight and split them up evenly through the week. Do a total of 100 reps all together each night for the exercises you picked.

You could also use my Iron Core Challenge to go off of. It is a month of different ab exercises that you do 100 reps each night. They can all be done at home by the way! It has videos and the lay out plan on that page. I loved it, and so did a lot of others around the world that tried it!

Something you could do with these 3 low ab exercises is set it up like the following:

Monday:

-Hanging leg raises 5 x 10
-Hanging scissor kicks 5 x 15 seconds
-Scissor kicks to a leg hold (15 seconds – scissor kicks, 15 seconds leg raises) 5 sets

Wednesday:
4 sets of 30 seconds each – no rest at all, get through it and you’re done for the day.

Hanging leg raises
Scissor kicks to a leg hold (15 seconds each)
Hanging scissor kicks

Friday:
As many sets as possible in 12 minutes

Hanging leg raises — 10
Scissor kicks to a leg hold –(20 seconds each)
Hanging scissor kicks –40 total reps – 20 each leg

Thank you for reading todays article, I hope you found it helpful! If you have any questions, reach out to me and I would be happy to help you out!

Have a great Tuesday!!
-Alex Costa-

Workout Wednesday (Chest and Back Pump)

Welcome to another Workout Wednesday! Today we are hitting chest and back! We are going to use the “3 Bench Angles in 3 Minutes” technique that we saw in yesterdays post.

Start this workout with a good warm up. Here is an example warm up I would perform before this workout:

Bike – 5 minutes
Shoulder swings – 10 each way, 20 total
Band pull aparts – 2 x 15
Push ups – 2 x 10

Now that we have a warm up in, lets get started with 3 sets of pull ups till failure. If you can not do a pull up, do assisted pull ups if possible for at least 8-10 reps each set. If you have no access to assisted pull ups, do lat pull downs. Set the weight stack to your body weight and do as many as possible.

After that comes the dumbbell bench presses. If you haven’t read yesterday’s post on the 3 Bench Angles in 3 Minutes then check it out so it all makes sense for you. You will do 2-3 sets with 60 seconds of rest after a whole set is complete.

We are making our way to the cable machine after for some reverse cable flys to target our rear delts.

Picture was used from google images.

We will then hit seated cable rows with a close grip. We will start heavy and decrease the weight as the reps increase. The catch here is that after every set you complete, switch weight and get right back to work. This will pump the back up before you leave the gym.

All in all, this workout should be something you can complete in 30-40 minutes if you get to work and don’t get distracted. This will be a solid workout though, use your better judgment for the weights you pick. Do something challenging but nothing that will break down form.

Try this one out next time you go to the gym and let me know what you think! Have a good Wednesday!

-Alex Costa-

3 Bench Angles in 3 Minutes

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I was in the gym experimenting with a few exercises and training methods these past couple weeks and I feel like I have struck gold with some of these. I want to share one of them with you today! I have tried this with some clients and they have a love/hate feeling for this one haha. I call it “3 Bench Angles in 3 Minutes”. If you are tight on your schedule then this could be a great tool for you to use or if you’re looking to add in extra volume or just get a solid pump, this will most definitely get the job done!

I am a huge fan of hitting a muscle from different angles but it can take up quiet some time during training if you are doing a few sets of 10 reps. Nothing wrong with that approach at all but here’s a method that can take far less time and increase the total work volume put in during your workout which in turn can create more muscle damage (in a positive way).

As you can see, to the left I have a picture of the pectoralis major muscle. I wanted to show you this so you can see how the muscle fibers run. The muscle fibers run laterally and insert into the top of the humerus. As we do our incline angle it will target what I have marked in the blue. As we take the bench angle down to a flat bench it will target more of the red area. Then the decline angle we finish with will help target the green area.

As you can see, we can manipulate this exercise to target different areas of the chest. After 1 set your chest will be begging for a break. If you think you can handle a little bit of a challenge try it for 2-3 sets total. Take 1 minute of rest after one whole set is complete. Afterwards I would target a different muscle to ensure to you do not overwork that muscle for the session.

Another key note to take into thought is to properly warm up the body and chest/shoulders to make sure your body is ready for the workout. This is a little more intense so if you are a beginner and have never lifted weights before, I would start off by breaking this down into 2 x 10-15 reps at each bench angle for a few weeks then start with 1 set of the 3 bench angles in 3 minutes and gradually increase sets to 2-3 as you get the feel for it.

I hope you like this one! Try it out and give me your feedback. Have an awesome day!

-Alex Costa-

3 Exercises For A Stronger Squat

When it comes to adding pounds on the squat, it can get very aggravating. It takes time, practice and a lot of work to develop a stronger squat. One thing that can help speed up the process is picking out the correct auxiliary lifts that will help increase muscle strength in those muscles that we use for the squat. In todays post, I will be covering 3 of my top exercises I use for my clients and myself when we need to add some pounds to the bar.

As I said above, exercise selection is crucial when strength training to increase weight to the main lifts like the squat. When I first stated I would just do a couple sets on the quad extension and seated hamstring curl machine. Don’t get me wrong, those machines are good and have their purpose but I noticed I never really added much to my squat when I only did those exercises and a little bit of calves. As I furthered my knowledge and started experimenting with myself, I noticed a select number of exercises that I would do when my squat would increase. Then I learned how to hit weaknesses for the individual when I got into powerlifting which literally changed the game for me as a trainer. I will get into this in a different article, today I am showing some of the best exercises that will help you develop a stronger squat. So let’s get started.

My first one I have on my list is the GHD. Now not everyone has the luxury to have one in their gym, I didn’t when I was at my previous gyms in the past and I didn’t even have one at my private gym at first. When I researched how beneficial the GHD is and researched countless studies on strength, performance, speed, and injury prevention I knew I needed one in Iron Strength and Conditioning. I dropped the money and got one of the best on the market, the Rogue Abram GHD 2.0 for my private gym. This puppy is one of my favorite pieces of equipment not only for me but for a lot of my clients as well. With the GHD, you can perform glute ham raises, back extensions, side bends, crunches and a lot more when you start to get creative.

The GHD works so well because because it is essentially a bodyweight hamstring curl. It is a difficult move to get down at first if you’ve never done it but it’s worth the practice because this can be one of the best exercises to increase your squat and deadlift. As you get better at these, add more resistance by adding bands or holding a dumbbell.

My second exercise is another solid hamstring/glute exercise. I watched a video of Jeff Nippard’s YouTube channel that goes over a study with a different variation of this exercise being one of the top listed exercises for reaching the highest Electromyographic (EMG) level for the hamstrings. This is primarily due to being a movement that keeps the hips in an extended position which activates the glutes and hamstrings, then as you bring the ball in, it is a knee flexion motion which will active the hamstrings even more. A couple things to remember is to keep your glutes engaged and keep them extended so your butt doesn’t drop down, that will take tension off the glutes and lower back. I also think about digging my heels into the ball as I bring it in as if I were trying to pop the exercise ball. A way to increase difficulty is to do one leg or use ab slider for your feet.

My 3rd exercise I have for you is one of my favorite lower body exercises, walking lunges. I used to use these here and there in my leg training when I started, I would use a barbell variation and do them in the rack but the lunges changed when I learned more from Cory Gregory. I learned that you can use walking lunges as a form of General Physical Preparedness (GPP) which in theory is literally strength conditioning. It is a movement that will work the muscle and be used as a form of cardio when lengthening the distance. This will then lead to increased training volume and increasing weak areas and will have your squat going through the roof. These lunges aren’t just a 3 sets of 12 each leg type of deal, were talking some serious distance. 400-800 meters worth in one session. Yes like the 400 meters that make a lap around a track. Now if you are starting off with these, start with something like down and back a few times in your gym then try increasing to 100 meters, then 200, then 400 and more if desired. I have found that 100-400 multiple times a week worked best for me. I added about 90 pounds to my squat back when I did these just about everyday combined with a squat everyday program Cory came out with. It worked wonders for me, but find what works best for you and don’t be afraid to try new things. That is what has made me a better trainer and let me know my body better as far as what works for me and what doesn’t. I could add on to the lunges and write pages about how beneficial they are but I will save that for another post.

These 3 exercises are not the end all, be all theory that will save your squat but these 3 have been very beneficial for me and my clients I have trained. I have seen multiple clients add 30lb to their squat and even some that had 70-100lbs added in a couple months. That does not mean it will happen for you but this is a perfect example of trying new things because you never know when you will find the perfect list of exercises that will address weak points in your lifts.

I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me over the years, I appreciate you reading this post. Please try to share this with a friend, family member, teammate or coach to help others increase strength.

Have an awesome day!
-Alex Costa-