Tom Daley - Olympic Training


A great body can be yours - young or old - girl or boy.
Fitness and wellness is everybody's right - and can be yours if you simply follow some simple advice

3 Exercise regularly and correctly

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Before embarking on any course of fitness training it is essential to have a thorough medical check - particularly if you have any ongoing medical problems.
Blood pressure must be checked, along with blood sugar levels.
Before starting any exercise regime it is also nessercary to ensure that a suitable diet and 'life-style' is being followed.
Any issues with recreational drug use must be dealt with, along with the adoption of a health diet and a good, regular sleep pattern.
For information regarding drug use, diet and sleep see the post relating to 'Food and Nutrition'. - THIS LINK IS IMPORTANT

Once a regular pattern of healthy eating and good sleeping has been established it will then be time to consider finding a suitable venue for training.
To produce the lithe, lean, well-muscled and toned body that you desire you must undertake both aerobic and resistance training.

Aerobic Exercise - the Key to Wellness

Aerobic exercise is physical exercise of relatively low intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process.
Aerobic literally means "living in air", and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism.
Generally, light-to-moderate intensity activities that are sufficiently supported by aerobic metabolism can be performed for extended periods of time.
Aerobic exercise and fitness can be contrasted with anaerobic exercise, of which strength training and short-distance running are the most salient examples.
The two types of exercise differ by the duration and intensity of muscular contractions involved, as well as by how energy is generated within the muscle.
In most conditions, anaerobic exercise occurs simultaneously with aerobic exercises because the less efficient anaerobic metabolism must supplement the aerobic system due to energy demands that exceed the aerobic system's capacity.
What is generally called aerobic exercise might be better termed "solely aerobic", because it is designed to be low-intensity enough not to generate lactate via pyruvate fermentation, so that all carbohydrate is aerobically turned into energy.
Among the recognized benefits of doing regular aerobic exercise are:

Strengthening the muscles involved in respiration, to facilitate the flow of air in and out of the lungs
Strengthening and enlarging the heart muscle, to improve its pumping efficiency and reduce the resting heart rate, known as aerobic conditioning
Strengthening muscles throughout the body
Improving circulation efficiency and reducing blood pressure
Increasing the total number of red blood cells in the body, facilitating transport of oxygen
Improved mental health, including reducing stress and lowering the incidence of depression
Reducing the risk for diabetes.
Burns body fat, while building leaner muscle.
DO NOT be tempted to start jogging or running mini-marathons.
Human beings are not designed for prolonged periods of running, which inevitably result in damage to various joints, - usually hip, knee and ankle, - and spinal problems.
The best possible form of aerobic exercise is swimming, which is very sparing on the joints, and if you are unable to swim, then this would be a good time to learn.

Resistance Training

Resistance training is a form of strength training in which each effort is performed against a specific opposing force generated by resistance (i.e. resistance to being pushed, squeezed, stretched or bent).
Exercises are isotonic if a body part is moving against the force.
Exercises are isometric if a body part is holding still against the force.
Resistance exercise is used to develop the strength and size of skeletal muscles.
Properly performed, resistance training can provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being.
The goal of resistance training is to gradually and progressively overload the musculature system so it gets stronger.
Research shows that regular resistance training will strengthen and tone muscles and increase bone mass. Full range of motion is important in resistance training because muscle overload occurs only at the specific joint angles where the muscle is worked.

Your Aims

Perfection is not absolute - at least in terms of fitness.
You can undoubtedly achieve your perfect physique, but it will be unique to you, and related to your genetic endowment, age and current state of health - and in this you must be realistic.
However, increased health and fitness, plus a concomitant dramatic improvement in appearance can be achieved by anyone, regardless of age or disability if the basic advice regarding diet, nutrition and exercise is followed with care and dedication.

Yes - you too can look like this when you are sixty-five


Muscle (from Latin musculus, diminutive of mus "mouse") is a contractile tissue of animals and is derived from the mesodermal layer of embryonic germ cells.
Muscle cells contain contractile filaments that move past each other and change the size of the cell.
They are classified as skeletal, cardiac, or smooth muscles.
Their function is to produce force and cause motion.
Muscles can cause either locomotion of the organism itself or movement of internal organs.
Cardiac and smooth muscle contraction occurs without conscious thought and is necessary for survival. Examples are the contraction of the heart and peristalsis which pushes food through the digestive system. Voluntary contraction of the skeletal muscles is used to move the body and can be finely controlled. Examples are movements of the eye, or gross movements like the quadriceps muscle of the thigh.
There are two broad types of voluntary muscle fibers: slow twitch and fast twitch.
Slow twitch fibers contract for long periods of time but with little force while fast twitch fibers contract quickly and powerfully but fatigue very rapidly.
Muscles are predominantly powered by the oxidation of fats and carbohydrates, but anaerobic chemical reactions are also used, particularly by fast twitch fibers.
These chemical reactions produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules which are used to power the movement of the myosin heads.

In training we are mainly interested in skeletal muscle.
Skeletal muscle or "voluntary muscle" is anchored by tendons (or by aponeuroses at a few places) to bone and is used to effect skeletal movement such as locomotion and in maintaining posture.
Though this postural control is generally maintained as an unconscious reflex, the muscles responsible react to conscious control like non-postural muscles.
An average adult male is made up of 42% of skeletal muscle, and an average adult female is made up of 36% (as a percentage of body mass).

Skeletal muscle is further divided into several subtypes:

Type I, slow oxidative, slow twitch, or "red" muscle is dense with capillaries and is rich in mitochondria and myoglobin, giving the muscle tissue its characteristic red color. It can carry more oxygen and sustain aerobic activity.

Type I muscle fiber are sometimes broken down into Type I and Type Ic categories, as a result of recent research.[4]

Type II, fast twitch muscle, has three major kinds that are, in order of increasing contractile speed:

Type IIa, which, like slow muscle, is aerobic, rich in mitochondria and capillaries and appears red.

Type IIx (also known as type IId), which is less dense in mitochondria and myoglobin.
This is the fastest muscle type in humans. It can contract more quickly and with a greater amount of force than oxidative muscle, but can sustain only short, anaerobic bursts of activity before muscle contraction becomes painful (often incorrectly attributed to a build-up of lactic acid).

Type IIb, which is anaerobic, glycolytic, "white" muscle that is even less dense in mitochondria and myoglobin.

The gross anatomy of a muscle is the most important indicator of its role in the body.
The action a muscle generates is determined by the origin and insertion locations.
The cross-sectional area of a muscle (rather than volume or length) determines the amount of force it can generate by defining the number of sarcomeres which can operate in parallel.
The amount of force applied to the external environment is determined by lever mechanics, specifically the ratio of in-lever to out-lever. For example, moving the insertion point of the biceps more distally on the radius (farther from the joint of rotation) would increase the force generated during flexion (and, as a result, the maximum weight lifted in this movement), but decrease the maximum speed of flexion.
Moving the insertion point proximally (closer to the joint of rotation) would result in decreased force but increased velocity.
This can be most easily seen by comparing the limb of a mole to a horse - in the former, the insertion point is positioned to maximize force (for digging), while in the latter, the insertion point is positioned to maximize speed (for running).
One particularly important aspect of gross anatomy of muscles is pennation or lack thereof.
In most muscles, all the fibers are oriented in the same direction, running in a line from the origin to the insertion.
In pennate muscles, the individual fibers are oriented at an angle relative to the line of action, attaching to the origin and insertion tendons at each end.
Because the contracting fibers are pulling at an angle to the overall action of the muscle, the change in length is smaller, but this same orientation allows for more fibers (thus more force) in a muscle of a given size. Pennate muscles are usually found where their length change is less important than maximum force, such as the rectus femoris.
There are approximately 639 skeletal muscles in the human body, however, the exact number is difficult to define because different sources group muscles differently and some muscles, such as palmaris longus, are variably present in humans.

Muscular Activity and Energy Consumption.

All muscle cells produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules which are used to power the movement of the myosin heads.
Muscles conserve energy in the form of creatine phosphate which is generated from ATP and can regenerate ATP when needed with creatine kinase.
Muscles also keep a storage form of glucose in the form of glycogen.
Glycogen can be rapidly converted to glucose when energy is required for sustained, powerful contractions. Within the voluntary skeletal muscles, the glucose molecule can be metabolized anaerobically in a process called glycolysis which produces two ATP and two lactic acid molecules in the process (note that in aerobic conditions, lactate is not formed; instead pyruvate is formed and transmitted through the citric acid cycle). Muscle cells also contain globules of fat, which are used for energy during aerobic exercise.
The aerobic energy systems take longer to produce the ATP and reach peak efficiency, and requires many more biochemical steps, but produces significantly more ATP than anaerobic glycolysis.
Cardiac muscle on the other hand, can readily consume any of the three macronutrients (protein, glucose and fat) aerobically without a 'warm up' period and always extracts the maximum ATP yield from any molecule involved.
The heart, liver and red blood cells will also consume lactic acid produced and excreted by skeletal muscles during exercise.


Gymnasia, health clubs and swimming pools are full of fat or flabby people desperately trying to lose weight.
Unfortunately Gym Organisations such as GLL Better actually encourage the deception that exercise makes you slim, (there is obviously a great financial incentive for them in propagating this blatant deception).

The Fallacy of Losing Weight By Aerobic Exercising

In a review of several hundred weight loss studies, Dr. Wayne Miller and colleagues at The George Washington University Medical Center set out to determine if adding aerobic exercise to a low-calorie diet accelerates weight loss.
What they found was that diet and aerobic exercise provides only a very marginal benefit (in terms of weight loss) when compared to diet alone.
A 2011 review that looked at 14 studies on aerobic exercise and weight loss also shows less than stellar results, concluding that the value of aerobic exercise as an “independent weight loss intervention for overweight and obese populations is limited.”
As part of the HERITAGE Family Study, one of the largest well-controlled training studies of its kind, researchers followed a large group of 557 men and women as they embarked on a 20-week exercise program.
Each subject was required to exercise three times per week for an average of 42 minutes. Researchers even went to the trouble of having each bout of exercise monitored by an exercise technician and a computer.
Following a grand total of 60 exercise sessions over a period of almost six months, the average amount of fat lost was slightly less than two pounds, prompting scientists to admit that aerobic exercise “is not a major factor” in weight loss.

What About Your Metabolic Rate?

One popular claim is that aerobic exercise leads to an increase in your metabolic rate, however, researchers conducting the HERITAGE Family Study found that almost six months of aerobic exercise had no effect on resting metabolic rate.
Some studies do show that athletes have a higher metabolic rate than weight-matched controls.
Recent research has concluded that this is a result of regular sessions of resistance training, like Tom does - that is training with low repetitions, no more that three sets for each exercise with relatively heavy weights - the opposite of aerobic training.
Furthermore, when an increase in physical activity results in a calorie deficit (which it’ll need to if you want to lose weight) there is research to show that the metabolic rate does not rise at all.
Another popular misconception is the idea that aerobic exercise increases caloric expenditure for several hours after a bout of exercise, thus making a further contribution to fat loss. Unfortunately this is not always the case.
Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which is the name given to the increase in calorie expenditure following a workout, is more likely to occur after high-intensity exercise.
As an example, an Appalachian State University research team found a large increase in EPOC after subjects cycled for 45 minutes at 85% maximum heart rate.
Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (such as walking or jogging) has very little effect.

Why Does Aerobic Exercise Not Reduce Weight ?

The most fundamental aspect of any fat loss program is to create a calorie deficit — to burn more calories than you eat, - unfortunately, you just don’t burn that many calories with a typical aerobic exercise program.
One pound of fat contains the equivalent of roughly 3,500 calories so, assuming your calorie intake remained static and your weight was stable, you’d need to burn an extra 500 calories per day to drop just one pound of fat over the course of a week.
To lose fat at a decent rate (around two pounds per week) you’d need to burn 1000 extra calories per day, and the type of workout that burns 1000 calories, in terms of both time and effort, is not a realistic goal for most people.
For aerobic exercise to be effective, you need to do a lot of it.
And that brings us to another problem.
Most modern exercise machines have digital readouts telling you how many calories you’ve burned. Unfortunately, these digital calorie readouts can’t be trusted.
The most reliable way to assess energy expenditure during exercise is to measure oxygen consumption.
Each liter of oxygen that you consume generates approximately five calories of energy.
For example, if you exercise for 30 minutes and consume 30 liters of oxygen, you’ll have burned 150 calories, but without directly measuring oxygen consumption, it’s difficult to get an accurate estimate of how many calories you’ve really burned.
Another factor that affects the reliability of calorie counters is the difference between net and gross calorie expenditure.
Gross energy expenditure refers to the number of calories you burn during exercise plus your metabolic rate.
Net energy expenditure refers to just the number of calories you burn during exercise.
Because calorie counters on some exercise machines display gross energy expenditure, the figures they give are misleading.
In one study, the gross number of calories burned during each workout was estimated to be 255 calories, but the net figure (remember, the net figure represents the “real” number of extra calories you’ve burned) was just 187 calories.
In other words, if you rely on the numbers given by the calorie counters, it might appear that you’ve burned more calories than you really have.

The Bottom Line

Although it comes as a surprise to many, the majority of research shows that aerobic exercise in the so-called “fat burning zone” is not a very effective way to lose fat.
That’s not to say that cardio is a waste of time, because it isn’t, but in most cases, 30 to 40 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio three or four times a week by itself isn’t going to deliver the results you want with regard to weight loss.
The main purpose of cardio-vascular (aerobic) exercise is, as the name implies, and improvement in the function of the heart, lungs and circulatory system.
And of course the right kind of exercise may even mean that your weight increases !
How ? Well, muscle weighs more than fat so - you may (you should) lose fat while at the same time you gain muscle, and therefore weight.
But you will look slimmer - in fact you will look great.
Throw away the scales and invest in a good quality, full length mirror. The mirror will 'tell' you if you are making the progress you long for - and your friends will tell you as well - if they are honest.
So - if you really want to lose weight you must reduce the quantity of calories you consume in the form of sugars and fats - see the section on Nutrition and Supplements.
In addition you can increase your metabolic rate by performing moderate to heavy resistance exercise.


Which is what you will be doing if you follow the advice in this blog.
Exercise is often recommended as a means of improving motor skills, fitness, muscle and bone strength, and joint function. Exercise has several effects upon muscles, connective tissue, bone, and the nerves that stimulate the muscles. One such effect is muscle hypertrophy, an increase in size.
Various exercises require a predominance of certain muscle fiber utilization over another.
Aerobic exercise involves long, low levels of exertion in which the muscles are used at well below their maximal contraction strength for long periods of time (the most classic example being the marathon). Aerobic events, which rely primarily on the aerobic (with oxygen) system, use a higher percentage of Type I (or slow-twitch) muscle fibers, consume a mixture of fat, protein and carbohydrates for energy, consume large amounts of oxygen and produce little lactic acid.
Anaerobic exercise involves short bursts of higher intensity contractions at a much greater percentage of their maximum contraction strength
Examples of anaerobic exercise include sprinting and weight lifting.
The anaerobic energy delivery system uses predominantly Type II or fast-twitch muscle fibers, relies mainly on ATP or glucose for fuel, consumes relatively little oxygen, protein and fat, produces large amounts of lactic acid and can not be sustained for as long a period as aerobic exercise.
The presence of lactic acid has an inhibitory effect on ATP generation within the muscle; though not producing fatigue, it can inhibit or even stop performance if the intracellular concentration becomes too high. However, long-term training causes neovascularization within the muscle, increasing the ability to move waste products out of the muscles and maintain contraction.
Once moved out of muscles with high concentrations within the sarcomere, lactic acid can be used by other muscles or body tissues as a source of energy, or transported to the liver where it is converted back to pyruvate.
In addition to increasing the level of lactic acid, strenuous exercise causes the loss of potassium ions in muscle and causing an increase in potassium ion concentrations close to the muscle fibres, in the interstitium. Acidification by lactic acid may allow recovery of force so that acidosis may protect against fatigue rather than being a cause of fatigue.
Humans are genetically predisposed with a larger percentage of one type of muscle group over another.
An individual born with a greater percentage of Type I muscle fibers would theoretically be more suited to endurance events, such as triathlons, distance running, and long cycling events, whereas a human born with a greater percentage of Type II muscle fibers would be more likely to excel at anaerobic events such as a 200 meter dash, or weightlifting.
Delayed onset muscle soreness is pain or discomfort that may be felt one to three days after exercising and subsides generally within two to three days later.
Once thought to be caused by lactic acid buildup, a more recent theory is that it is caused by tiny tears in the muscle fibers caused by eccentric contraction, or unaccustomed training levels.

Density of Muscle Tissue

The density of mammalian skeletal muscle tissue is about 1.06 kg/liter.
This can be contrasted with the density of adipose tissue (fat), which is 0.9196 kg/liter.
This makes muscle tissue approximately 15% denser than fat tissue.


The level of fitness that you can achieve, and the general appearance of your physique after training and following a healthy nutritional regime will depend very much on your genetic make-up.
Most important will be your overall proportions - what is often referred to a bone structure.
Heavy boned individuals will find it easier to develop muscle, but may also find it easier to lay down fat.
Light boned individuals may have problems, especially initially with building muscle, but will find it much easier to maintain a healthy weight and develop 'definition'.

Definition is when the individual muscle groups become clearly defined, and this occurs because their is little adipose fat to 'blur' the separation between the various layers of muscle.
Body-builders seek definition, which they call being 'ripped', however they achieve this by severely cutting back the amount of liquid that they consume, and this results in them becoming severely dehydrated.
Dehydration is very unhealthy, and should be avoided at all cost.
Good levels of 'definition', however, can be achieved by a judicious balance between resistance and aerobic training, and by the intelligent use of supplements such as L-Carnitine, L -Argenine and Tribulus Terrestris.
Definition is an essential element of the perfect physique, and is referred to as 'toning'. 'Toned' muscles are by definition 'defined' !

Regardless of whether one is heavy or light boned, the most important aspect of the skeletal system is its overall proportions.
The most compelling definition of the perfection of proportions is the image known a 'Vitruvian Man'.

The Vitruvian Man was created by Leonardo da Vinci circa 1487.
It is accompanied by notes based on the work of the famed architect, Vitruvius. The image depicts a male figure in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and simultaneously inscribed in a circle and square. This image is usually  reffered to as 'the Canon of Proportions'.
The image is based on the correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius in Book III of his treatise 'De Architectura'.
Vitruvius described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the Classical orders of architecture.
The proprtions are as follows:

a palm is four fingers
a foot is four palms
a cubit is six palms
four cubits make a man
a pace is four cubits
a man is 24 palms
the length of the outspread arms is equal to the height of a man
from the hairline to the bottom of the chin is one-tenth of the height of a man
from below the chin to the top of the head is one-eighth of the height of a man
from above the chest to the top of the head is one-sixth of the height of a man
from above the chest to the hairline is one-seventh of the height of a man
the maximum width of the shoulders is a quarter of the height of a man
from the breasts to the top of the head is a quarter of the height of a man
the distance from the elbow to the tip of the hand is a quarter of the height of a man
the distance from the elbow to the armpit is one-eighth of the height of a man
the length of the hand is one-tenth of the height of a man
the root of the penis is at half the height of a man
the foot is one-seventh of the height of a man
from below the foot to below the knee is a quarter of the height of a man
from below the knee to the root of the penis is a quarter of the height of a man
the distances from the below the chin to the nose and the eyebrows and the hairline are equal to the ears and to one-third of the face

Why not get yourself photographed in the appropriate pose (two photos will be required) and check yourself out.
If you confirm to these proportions, and follow the correct training regime, you will, of course, find it much easier to achieve the 'body beautiful'. If you do not conform to these proportions don't worry too much - judicious training methods can make up for any little imperfections.

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To produce the lithe, lean, well-muscled and toned body that you desire you must undertake both aerobic and resistance training.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is physical exercise of relatively low intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process.
Aerobic literally means "living in air", and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism.
Generally, light-to-moderate intensity activities that are sufficiently supported by aerobic metabolism can be performed for extended periods of time.
Aerobic exercise and fitness can be contrasted with anaerobic exercise, of which strength training and short-distance running are the most salient examples.
The two types of exercise differ by the duration and intensity of muscular contractions involved, as well as by how energy is generated within the muscle.
In most conditions, anaerobic exercise occurs simultaneously with aerobic exercises because the less efficient anaerobic metabolism must supplement the aerobic system due to energy demands that exceed the aerobic system's capacity.
What is generally called aerobic exercise might be better termed "solely aerobic", because it is designed to be low-intensity enough not to generate lactate via pyruvate fermentation, so that all carbohydrate is aerobically turned into energy.
Among the recognized benefits of doing regular aerobic exercise are:
Strengthening the muscles involved in respiration, to facilitate the flow of air in and out of the lungs
Strengthening and enlarging the heart muscle, to improve its pumping efficiency and reduce the resting heart rate, known as aerobic conditioning
Strengthening muscles throughout the body
Improving circulation efficiency and reducing blood pressure
Increasing the total number of red blood cells in the body, facilitating transport of oxygen
Improved mental health, including reducing stress and lowering the incidence of depression
Reducing the risk for diabetes.
Burns body fat, while building leaner muscle.
The best possible form of aerobic exercise is swimming, which is very sparing on the joints, and if you are unable to swim, then this would be a good time to learn.


Resistance training is a form of strength training in which each effort is performed against a specific opposing force generated by resistance (i.e. resistance to being pushed, squeezed, stretched or bent).
Exercises are isotonic if a body part is moving against the force.
Exercises are isometric if a body part is holding still against the force.
Resistance exercise is used to develop the strength and size of skeletal muscles.
Properly performed, resistance training can provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being.
The goal of resistance training is to gradually and progressively overload the musculature system so it gets stronger.
Research shows that regular resistance training will strengthen and tone muscles and increase bone mass. Full range of motion is important in resistance training because muscle overload occurs only at the specific joint angles where the muscle is worked.

Choosing a Good Gym

You can only train as well as your gym facilities and equipment will allow.
This Blog is produced in London, and will therefore make particular reference to gym facilities to be found in London.

Unfortunately, London has, in recent years, been dominated by the company GLL (the initials originally stood for Greenwich Leisure Limited but the charitable leisure and fitness group has expanded its influence well beyond the confines of the Royal Borough of Greenwich - and now includes Barnet, Bexley Heath, Camden, Crystal Palace, Ealing, Greenwich,Hackney, Hammersmith and Harrow, Hillingdon, Kensington and Chelsea, Fulham, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forrest, Westminster,Epsom and Yewell, Reigate and Banstead,).
GLL, undoubtedly because of its bad reputation, has now changed it's name to 'Better' (better than what or who, one may ask), with the slogan 'the feel good place' (the appalling design of their newly designed web page is a good indicator of their general 'lack-lustre' performance).

The group uses inferior exercise equipment, in poorly maintained premises, with under-qualified and badly motivated staff, and under-trained, incompetent managers, and your are advised to avoid these establishments if the wish to successfully achieve your aim to develop a perfect physique.
There are, fortunately, many other Local Authority related, and private gym facilities in the London area that provide excellent facilities and high quality equipment, and employ well-qualified and enthusiastic staff.

in a GLL/Better gym

Many GL/Better Gyms (such as Eltham in London) do not have Barbells (see right). (no - we are not joking !)
Possibly it is a 'health and safety issue' - (which jostles with 'political correctness' as obsessions with GLL/Better.)

(Woolich Waterfront does have barbells in a poorly ventilated, smelly gym in the windowless basement - called the 'Steel Gym' - a euphemism for a basement full of old, dirty, outmoded equipment).

Smith Machines, essential for safe, heavy resistance training are rarely seen (see top left).

Many GLL.Better gyms (including Eltham) do not have Assisted Pull-up Machine (see left) - which are absolutely essential for efficient upper body development.

Some GLL/Gyms do not even have proper exercise benches, (just little plastic benches - like kiddy's toys) - a good gym will have deluxe, multi-position benches (see right).

Another item rarely seen in GLL/Better gyms is the Seated Calf Machine.
The Calves are notoriously difficult muscles to develop, and this machine is one of the few ways to develop these muscles.

Another item of equipment that is rarely found in GLL Better gyms is the Preacher Curl Bench.
This is a relatively simple item of equipment that is essential for adequate bicep developmemnt.
The equipment does, however, require a barbell or an EZ curling bar, and if the gym has no barbells then there will be little point in having a Preacher Curl Bench.


The Good Gym

In a good gym you should find pleasant, well-qualified and helpful staff, - and not just on the day they show you round - ask other gym members who have used the gym for a long period about the level of staff competence.
More important is the gym equipment - you can only train as well as the equipment will allow - so it must be of the highest standard and best design.
If you are in a good gym (NOT a GLL/Better Gym) you will see some of the equipment shown here.

This is top of the range equipment which will enable you to achieve maximum results.

You should also see a wide variety of 'free weights'.
'Free weight' are basically barbells and dumbbells, as opposed to plate-stacked machines (illustrated above).
'Free weights', however, require some considerable skill if they are to be used safely and correctly, and there is a far greater possibility of injury, (particularly to the spinal vertebrae) when used by novices.
A weight machine is an exercise machine used for weight training that uses gravity as the primary source of resistance and a combination of simple machines to convey that resistance to the person using the machine. Each of the simple machines (pulley, lever, wheel, incline) changes the mechanical advantage of the overall machine relative to the weight.

Exercise Machines

Stack Machines

A stack machine—also called a stack or rack—has a set of massive rectangular plates that are pierced by a vertical bar which has holes drilled in it to accept a pin.
Each of the plates has a channel on its underside that aligns with one of the holes.
When the pin is inserted through the channel into the hole, all of the plates above the pin rest upon it, and are lifted when the bar rises.
The plates below do not rise. This allows the same machine to provide several levels of resistance over the same range of motion with an adjustment that requires very little force to accomplish in itself.
The means of lifting the bar varies.
Some machines have a roller at the top of the bar that sits on a lever.
When the lever is raised the bar can go up and the roller moves along the lever, allowing the bar to stay vertical.
On some machines the bar is attached to a hinge on the lever, which causes swaying in the bar and the plates as the lever goes up and down.
On other machines the bar is attached to a cable or belt, which runs through pulleys or over a wheel.
The other end of the cable will either be a handle or strap that the user holds or wraps around some body part, or will be attached to a lever, adding further simple machines to the mechanical chain.
Usually, each plate is marked with a number.
On some machines these numbers give the actual weight of the plate and those above it.
On some, the number gives the force at the user's actuation point with the machine.
And on some machines the number is simply an index counting the number of plates being lifted.
The early Nautilus machines were a combination of lever and cable machines. They also had optional, fixed elements such as a chinning bar.

Plate-loaded Machines

Plate-loaded machines (such as the Smith machine) use standard barbell plates instead of captive stacks of plates.
They combine a bar-end on which to hang the plates with a number of simple machines to convey the force to the user.
The plate-loaded machines will often have a very high mechanical advantage, due to the need to make room for large plates over a large range of motion following a path that causes them to converge at one end or the other. Also, the motion will generally not be vertical, and the net resistance is equal to the cosine of the angle at which it is moving relative to vertical.
For example, consider an incline press machine that is a single-lever machine that has the plates halfway up the lever from the handles to the fulcrum, and begins moving the plates at a 45-degree angle from vertical.
The lever will provide a leverage advantage of 2:1, and the incline will have an advantage of 1:√2/2, for a net mechanical advantage of (4/√2):1 ≈ 2.8:1. Thus 50 kg (~491 N) of plates will apply to the user only an equaling weight of 18 kg or a force of ~174 N at the beginning of the motion.
On the other end of the spectrum may be a bent-over-row machine that is designed with the user's grip between the plates and the fulcrum.
This amplifies the force needed by the user relative to the weight of the plates.

Cable Machine

A cable machine is an item of equipment used in weight training or functional training.
It consists of a rectangular, vertically-oriented steel frame about 3 metres wide and 2 metres high, with a weight stack at each end.
The cables that connect the handles to the weight stacks run through adjustable pulleys that can be fixed at any height. This allows a variety of exercises to be performed on the apparatus.
One end of the cable is attached to a perforated steel bar that runs down the centre of the weight stack.
To select the desired amount of resistance, move the metal pin into the labelled hole in the weight stack.
The other end of the cable forms a loop, which allows the user to attach the appropriate handle for the exercise.
Most cable machines have a minimum of 20 pounds (~9 kilograms) of resistance in order to counter-balance the weight of the typical attachment.

Leg Press Machine

The leg press is a weight training exercise in which the individual pushes a weight or resistance away from them using their legs. The term leg press also refers to the apparatus used to perform this exercise.
The leg press can be used to evaluate an athlete's overall lower body strength (from knee joint to hip and partially ankle extensors as well).
Using the diagonal sled-type leg press machine.
There are two main types of leg press:
The diagonal or vertical 'sled' type leg press.
Weight disks (plates) are attached directly to the sled, which is mounted on rails.
The user sits below the sled and pushes it upward with their feet.
These machines normally include adjustable safety brackets that prevent the user from being trapped under the weight.
The 'cable' type leg press, or 'seated leg press'.
The user sits upright and pushes forward with their feet onto a plate that is attached to the weight stack by means of a long steel cable.

The Smith Machine

The Smith machine is a piece of equipment used in weight training - and is highly recommended as it allows heavy weights to be used in complete safety.
It consists of a barbell that is fixed within steel rails, allowing only vertical movement.
New variations allow a small amount of forward and backward movement.
A Smith machine often includes a weight rack in the base to help stabilise it.
Some Smith machines have the barbell counterbalanced.
The machine can be used for a wide variety of exercises.
When selecting a gym you should ensure that a Smith machine is included in the equipment provided - if not, choose another gym - (this item of equipment is NOT usually found in GLL/Better gyms which indicates their apparent lack of concern for the safety of their customers).

Benefits of the Smith Machine

Behind each vertical post (runner) is a series of slots on which the barbell can be hooked.
This means that unlike an ordinary barbell, the Smith machine need not be re-racked after a set of repetitions: it can be secured at any point.
This makes it safer for those who weight train without a spotter, as one only needs to twist his/her wrist in order to lock the barbell in place in the event that the weight becomes too great.
Most models also incorporate blocks, pegs, or other devices which can be adjusted to automatically stop the barbell at a predetermined minimum height. This further increases the safety factor.
Because it cannot fall forwards, backwards or sideways, a Smith machine is considered safer to use than an ordinary barbell.
Since the weight does not need to be stabilized, this can allow unstable lifters to lift more weight.


There are numerous other machines, which are shown in the sections on Upper and Lower Body Exercises.
While some traditional body-builders wrongly belittle the use of weight-training machines, they are to be highly recommended, mainly because they 'spare' the joints and are generally very safe to use.
They also build muscle very quickly and effectively because they are specifically designed to exert maximum resistance over a full range of movement.

How to Begin

Any good Gym will give you a induction session with a gym instructor, (this should be free of charge).
Basically you will simply be shown how to set up the machines, and how to use them - and perhaps, if you are lucky, how to perform some basic 'free weights' exercises.

What to Wear in the Gym

What you wear when you exercise is extremely important.
It is part of your mental preparation for your workout.
You can feel good by looking good and feeling good will undoubtedly improve your overall performance while you train.

DO NOT wear your gardening shorts, or 'short shorts' - it's just not cool !

Track suit bottoms (not fleecy) are good, or alternatively three-quarter length shorts (very fashionable).

For the top, a matching vest - preferably without sleeves - in other words a 'gym vest'. (see left and top right)

Gym work, especially using 'free weights' is very hard on the hands.
It is advisable, therefore, to wear fingerless, leather padded gloves to protect the hands, and also ensure a good grip.
Gloves especially designed for weigh-training are essential (available from

In addition wrist supports will prevent any possible strain to the tendons of the wrists.
The best wrist supports are made of leather, with two or three leather buckled straps in order to ensure a good, comfortable fit.

Although much cheaper, Neoprene or fabric supports are NOT recommended.

And, of course, you will need a good pair of trainers - Nike are recomended.

Body Feedback

To gain the most benefit from your training you need to be in tune with the signals that your body sends you.
Most sports injuries result from people not 'listening' to their body.
Your body 'knows' what's best for it- and you must learn to 'listen' to what it tells you.
There is a very unwise saying amongst body-builders and exercise enthusiasts - 'No gain without pain.'
More correctly this saying should be 'No injury without pain'.
Pain is the body's way of telling you that something is wrong - that the body is being damaged.
Now it is true that heavy exercise will often cause a burning sensation in the muscles, and that after exercise there will often be aching the following day or days - but this is not the same as pain, and any pain should be taken as a warning to stop exercising a particular muscle or muscle group.

Resistance Training and Muscle Building

A range of stimuli can increase the volume of muscle cells.
These changes occur as an adaptive response that serves to increase the ability to generate force or resist fatigue in anaerobic conditions
8 – 12 repetitions (known as a set), repeated two or three times (two or three sets), against a sub-maximal load facilitates sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
REMEMBER: More is NOT better.
The first measurable effect is an increase in the neural drive stimulating muscle contraction.
Within just a few days, an untrained individual can achieve measurable strength gains resulting from "learning" to use the muscle.
As the muscle continues to receive increased demands, the synthetic machinery is up-regulated.
Although all the steps are not yet clear, this up-regulation appears to begin with the ubiquitous second messenger system (including phospholipases, protein kinase C, tyrosine kinase, and others).
These, in turn, activate the family of immediate-early genes, including c-fos, c-jun and myc.
These genes appear to dictate the contractile protein gene response.
Progressive overload is considered the most important principle behind hypertrophy, so increasing the weight, repetitions (reps), and sets will all have a positive impact on growth.
Some experts create complicated plans that manipulate weight, reps, and sets, increasing one while decreasing the others to keep the schedule varied and less repetitive (more about this later).
If more than 15 repetitions per set is possible, the weight is too light to stimulate maximal growth.
Several biological factors, such as age and nutrition, can affect muscle hypertrophy.
During puberty in males, hypertrophy occurs at an increased rate.
Natural hypertrophy normally stops at full growth, in the late teens.
Muscular hypertrophy can be increased through strength training and other short duration, high intensity anaerobic exercises.
Lower intensity, longer duration aerobic exercise generally does not result in very effective tissue hypertrophy; instead, endurance athletes enhance storage of fats and carbohydrates within the muscles, as well as neo-vascularization* .and definition.

(*neo-vascularization is the formation of functional microvascular networks with red blood cell perfusion. Neovascularization differs from angiogenesis in that angiogenesis is mainly characterized by the protrusion and outgrowth of capillary buds and sprouts from pre-existing blood vessels)

THIS IS IMPORTANT: An adequate supply of amino acids is essential to produce muscle hypertrophy
see 'Food and Nutrition'



Well - this is the official account of Tom Daley's training regime, however, looking at Daley's physique, it is obvious that the heavy, compound exercises are not the whole story.
For example, there is no mention of abdominal exercises ( offset by the dead-lifts -  not recommended because of the danger of spinal injury) and  the pec flyes and bench press, which are evident in the well-formed pecs (press-ups are not sufficient for this fineness of muscle shape and definition).
For the 'normal' individual (who is not intent on Olympic Gold) squats and dead-lifts are not recommended - there are equally effective exercises which can be performed with almost no possibility of injury.

Resistance training in the gym for two hours. 
Compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, press-ups, and pull-ups.

Perform 4 sets of 5 reps for each exercise to build raw strength.
Gradually increase the weight for each set, building up to a final set of 125kg for squats.

Do loaded press-ups with someone piling weights on your back up to 85kg, and weighted pull-ups with a 20kg plate.

Training tip Squats don't just build muscle. A 2012 study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found following 8 weeks of dedicated squat training, nineteen professional rugby players all recorded considerably faster sprint performances over 5m (7.5% faster), 10m (7.5% faster), and 20m (6% faster).

Train Like Tom Daley


What to Do in the Gym

When you have found a good gym develop a routine which will enable you to obtain the best results and waste as little time as possible.
DON'T join the group that hang around the Smith Machine or cables etc., preventing others from training by endlessly chatting and gossiping.
These guys are skinny (never train enough), fat (can't control their eating and alcohol), or very muscular, but not defined (again can't control their eating and alcohol - but are naturally muscular).
You will see these guys, (and very occasionally girls) month after month, and they will never show any real signs of improvement - they use the gym as a social event rather than as a way the get healthy, muscular and trim. So - steer clear of them.

Should you train alone - or with a partner ?
Well, if you are really serious about getting that perfect physique then it is probably better to train alone.
No two bodies are the same, and so your needs will NEVER be exactly the same as those of your partner.
Training with a partner will always involve you in making compromises.
The exercises that you need your partner might not need - the weights that your partner uses will not be identical to the weight that you need to use.
And also you will begin to chat, and in the end you will become like the guys we mentioned earlier.
Your body is SPECIAL, and needs a SPECIAL workout - tailored exactly to your need so, GO IT ALONE and be a real success !

For information about specific muscle groups and exercises see below:


Trunk or torso is an anatomical term for the central part of the body from which extend the neck and limbs.
The trunk includes the thorax and abdomen.

Major Muscle Groups

The trunk also harbours many of the main groups of muscles in the body, including the:

Pectoral muscles
Abdominal muscles
Lateral Muscle (latissimus dorsi)
Arm Bicep
Arm Tricep
Shoulder Muscle (deltoid)

Pectoralis Major 

The pectoralis major is a thick, fan-shaped muscle, situated at the chest (anterior) of the human body. It makes up the bulk of the chest muscles in the male and lies under the breast in the female. Underneath the pectoralis major is the pectoralis minor, a thin, triangular muscle.
It arises from the anterior surface of the sternal half of the clavicle; from breadth of the half of the anterior surface of the sternum, as low down as the attachment of the cartilage of the sixth or seventh rib; from the cartilages of all the true ribs, with the exception, frequently, of the first or seventh and from the aponeurosis of the abdominal external oblique muscle.
From this extensive origin the fibers converge toward their insertion; those arising from the clavicle pass obliquely downward and outwards (laterally), and are usually separated from the rest by a slight interval; those from the lower part of the sternum, and the cartilages of the lower true ribs, run upward and laterally, while the middle fibers pass horizontally.
They all end in a flat tendon, about 5 cm in breadth, which is inserted into the lateral lip of the bicipital groove of the humerus.
Electromyography suggests that it consists of at least six groups of muscle fibres that can be independently coordinated by the central nervous system.
The pectoralis major has four actions which are primarily responsible for movement of the shoulder joint.
The first action is flexion of the humerus, as in throwing a ball side-arm, and in lifting.
Secondly, it adducts the humerus, as when flapping the arms.
Thirdly, it rotates the humerus medially, as occurs when arm-wrestling.
Finally it aids in deep inspiration, as in taking a deep breath.
The pectoralis major is also responsible for keeping the arm attached to the trunk of the body.
It has two different parts which are responsible for different actions.
The clavicular part is close to the deltoid muscle and contributes to flexion, horizontal adduction, and inward rotation of the humerus.
When at an approximately 110 degree angle, it contributes to abduction of the humerus.
The sternocostal part is antagonistic to the clavicular part contributing to downward and forward movement of the arm and inward rotation when accompanied by adduction.
The sternal fibers can also contribute to extension, but not beyond anatomical position.

Exercises for the Pectoralis Major

A variety of resistance exercises can be used to train the pectoralis major, including bench pressing (using dumbbells, barbells or machines at various angles such as decline, incline and flat where the hips are above, below and level with the head respectively), push ups, flyes (using dumbbells or machines at either flat or inclined angles), cable crossovers or dips.

Cable Flyes on an Incline Bench

Dumbbell Flyes on an Incline Bench

Multi-joint press exercises are better for building muscle mass, while fly and crossovers are more suited for shaping and increasing striations.

This muscle is often said to consist of four portions (upper, lower, inner and outer) but the pectoralis actually contracts evenly across all heads during most exercises and as such no portion can be 'targeted'.
The pectoralis can also be trained through breaststroke and front crawl.
The anaerobic work capacity of the pectoralis is a major determinant of swimming speed, whereas swimming endurance is more influenced by the aerobic capacity of the deltoid muscle (apart from overall cardiopulmonary aerobic capacity).

Sexual Appeal

The pectoral muscles are commonly alleged via anecdotal evidence to be a major source of sexual appeal in male humans, demonstrating strength.
Some male humans claim their development to be an asset in attracting a sexual partner.

Abdominal Muscles

The abdomen constitutes the part of the body between the thorax (chest) and pelvis.
The region enclosed by the abdomen is termed the abdominal cavity.
Anatomically, the abdomen stretches from the thorax at the thoracic diaphragm to the pelvis at the pelvic brim. The pelvic brim stretches from the lumbosacral angle (the intervertebral disk between L5 and S1) to the pubic symphysis and is the edge of the pelvic inlet.
The space above this inlet and under the thoracic diaphragm is termed the abdominal cavity.
The boundary of the abdominal cavity is the abdominal wall in the front and the peritoneal surface at the rear.
The transversus abdominis muscle is flat and triangular, with its fibers running horizontally. It lies between the inner oblique and the underlying transversalis fascia. It originates from Poupart's ligament, the inner lip of the ilium, the lumbar fascia and the inner surface of the cartilages of the six lower ribs. It inserts into the linea alba behind the rectus abdominis.
The rectus abdominis muscles are long and flat. The muscle is crossed by three tendinous intersections called the linae transversae. The rectus abdominis is enclosed in a thick sheath formed, as described above, by fibers from each of the three muscles of the lateral abdominal wall. They originate at the pubis bone, run up the abdomen on either side of the linea alba, and insert into the cartilages of the fifth, sixth, and seventh ribs.
The pyramidalis muscle is small and triangular. It is located in the lower abdomen in front of the rectus abdominis. It originates at the pubic bone and is inserted into the linea alba half way up to the umbilicus.


The abdominal muscles have different important functions. They provide movement and support to the trunk and assist in the breathing process. Moreover, these muscles serve as protection for the inner organs. Furthermore, together with the back muscles they provide postural support and are important in defining the form.
The transverse abdominus muscle is the deepest muscle, therefore, it cannot be touched from the outside. It can greatly affect the body posture. The internal obliques are also deep and also affect body posture. Both of them are involved in rotation and lateral flexion of the spine and are used to bend and support the spine from the front. The external obliques are more superficial and they are also involved in rotation and lateral flexion of the spine. Also they stabilize the spine when upright. The rectus abdominus muscle is not the most superficial abdominal muscle. The tendonous sheath extending from the external obliques cover the rectus abdominus. The Rectus abdominus is the muscle that very fit people develop into the 6-pack ab look. Although, it should really be an 8 pack as there are 4 vertical sections on each side. The 2 bottom sections are just above the pubic bone and usually not visible, hence, the 6 pack abs. The rectus abdominals' function is to bend one's back forward (flexion). The main work of the abdominal muscles is to bend the spine forward when contracting coencentrically.

Abdominal Exercises

Being a key element to support the spine and contribute to a good posture, it is important to properly exercise the abdominal muscles together with the back muscles as when weak or overly tight they can suffer painful spasms as well as injuries.
When properly exercised, these muscles contribute to improve posture and balance, reduce the likelihood of back pain episodes, reduce the severity of back pain, protect against injury by responding efficiently to stresses, help avoid some back surgeries, and help healing from a back problem or after spine surgery.
Also, when strengthened, the abdominal muscles provide flexibility as well.
Hanging straight leg raise
Crunch with feet anchored - (abdominal crunch machine)
Crunch with feet free
Straight-leg sit-up
Bent-leg sit-up

Latissimus Dorsi 

The latissimus dorsi (plural: latissimi dorsi), meaning 'broadest muscle of the back' (Latin latus meaning 'broad', latissimus meaning 'broadest' and dorsum meaning the back), is the larger, flat, dorso-lateral muscle on the trunk, posterior to the arm, and partly covered by the trapezius on its median dorsal region.

The latissimus dorsi is responsible for extension, adduction, transverse extension also known as horizontal abduction, flexion from an extended position, and (medial) internal rotation of the shoulder joint. It also has a synergistic role in extension and lateral flexion of the lumbar spine.

Due to bypassing the scapulothoracic joint and attaching directly to the spine, the actions the lat has on moving the arm can also influence the movement of the scapula, such as their downward rotation during a pull up.

The power/size/strength of this muscle can be trained with a variety of different exercises.
Some of these include:
Vertical pulling movements such as pull-downs and pull-ups (including chin-ups)
Horizontal pulling movements using the bent-over rowing stack machine
Dead-lift is NOT recommended

Most latissimus dorsi exercises concurrently recruit the teres major, posterior fibers of the deltoid, long head of the triceps brachii, among numerous other stabilizing muscles.
Compound exercises for the 'lats' typically involve elbow flexion and tend to recruit the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis for this function.
Depending on the line of pull, the trapezius muscles can be recruited as well; horizontal pulling motions such as rows recruit both latissimus dorsi and trapezius heavily.

Tight latissimus dorsi has been shown to be one cause of chronic shoulder pain and chronic back pain. Because the latissimus dorsi connects the spine to the humerus, tightness in this muscle can manifest as either sub-optimal glenohumeral joint (shoulder) function which leads to chronic pain or tendinitis in the tendinous fasciae connecting the latissimus dorsi to the thoracic and lumbar spine.
The muscle may be loosened by stretching exercises and gentle pull-ups without resistance.

Arm Bicep

In human anatomy, the biceps brachii, or simply biceps in common parlance, is, as the name implies, a two-headed muscle.
The biceps lie on the upper arm between the shoulder and the elbow.
Both heads arise on the scapula and join to form a single muscle belly which is attached to the upper forearm. While the biceps crosses both the shoulder and elbow joints, its main function is at the latter where it flexes the elbow and supinates the forearm.
Both these movements are used when opening a bottle with a corkscrew: first biceps unscrews the cork (supination), then it pulls the cork out (flexion).
The term biceps brachii is a Latin phrase meaning "two-headed [muscle] of the arm", in reference to the fact that the muscle consists of two bundles of muscle, each with its own origin, sharing a common insertion point near the elbow joint.
The proper plural form of the Latin adjective biceps is bicipites, a form not in general English use. Instead, biceps is used in both singular and plural (i.e., when referring to both arms).

Origin and Insertion

Proximally (towards the body), the short head of the biceps originates from the coracoid process at the top of the scapula.
The long head originates from the supraglenoid tubercle just above the shoulder joint from where its tendon passes down along the intertubercular groove of the humerus into the joint capsule of the shoulder joint.
When the humerus is in motion, the tendon of the long head is held firmly in place in the intertubercular groove by the greater and lesser tubercles and the overlying transverse humeral ligament.
During the motion from external to internal rotation, the tendon is forced medially against the lesser tubercle and superiorly against the transverse ligament.
Both heads join on the middle of the humerus, usually near the insertion of the deltoid, to form a common muscle belly.
Distally (towards the fingers), biceps ends in two tendons: the stronger attaches to (inserts into) the radial tuberosity on the radius, while the other, the bicipital aponeurosis, radiates into the ulnar part of the antebrachial fascia.
Two additional muscles lie underneath the biceps brachii.
These are the coracobrachialis muscle, which like the biceps attaches to the coracoid process of the scapula, and the brachialis muscle which connects to the ulna and along the mid-shaft of the humerus.
Besides those, the brachioradialis muscle is adjacent to the biceps and also inserts on the radius bone, though more distally.


Flexed arm in the pronated position (left); with the biceps partially contracted and in a supinated position with the biceps more fully contracted, approaching minimum length (right.)
The biceps is tri-articulate, meaning that it works across three joints.
The most important of these functions is to supinate the forearm and flex the elbow.
These joints and the associated actions are listed as follows in order of importance:
Proximal radioulnar joint (upper forearm) – Contrary to popular belief, the biceps brachii is not the most powerful flexor of the forearm, a role which actually belongs to the deeper brachialis muscle.
The biceps brachii functions primarily as a powerful supinator of the forearm (turns the palm upwards).
This action, which is aided by the supinator muscle, requires the elbow to be at least partially flexed. If the elbow, or humeroulnar joint, is fully extended, supination is then primarily carried out by the supinator muscle.
Humeroulnar joint (elbow) – The biceps brachii also functions as an important flexor of the forearm, particularly when the forearm is supinated. Functionally, this action is performed when lifting an object, such as a bag of groceries or when performing a biceps curl.[pronation]] (the palm faces the ground), the brachialis, brachioradialis, and supinator function to flex the forearm, with minimal contribution from the biceps brachii.
Glenohumeral joint (shoulder) – Several weaker functions occur at the glenohumeral, or shoulder, joint.
The biceps brachii weakly assists in forward flexion of the shoulder joint (bringing the arm forward and upwards). It may also contribute to abduction (bringing the arm out to the side) when the arm is externally (or laterally) rotated.
The short head of the biceps brachii also assists with horizontal adduction (bringing the arm across the body) when the arm is internally (or medially) rotated.
Finally, the long head of the biceps brachii, due to its attachment to the scapula (or shoulder blade), assists with stabilization of the shoulder joint when a heavy weight is carried in the arm.

Bicep Exercises

Although the exercises differ, a common factor of each is a 'curling' motion, where a weight is moved through an arc, primarily using the strength of the biceps.
The fullest range of motion is when the elbows begin in full extension, in a supine grip.
The biceps contract to lift the weight upward through an arc, to a point where further movement is not possible.
Some think it important that the elbow remain next to the body during this motion to keep stress on the biceps. Others will either bring the elbows forward (to fully shorten the biceps) or bring the elbows back (a "drag curl", to avoid over-active insufficiency and keep parallel forearms) to vary the tensions placed on the biceps and other elbow flexors
The second part of the motion has the elbow joint extending, this is called the 'eccentric' portion.
The weight is lowered back to the start position.
This contraction and extension together constitute a single repetition.
As with most weight training exercises, results from biceps exercises can be maximized with a proper understanding of flexion.

Recommended exercises include:

concentration curl where the elbow is braced against the inside of the knee
preacher curl where the elbows rest upon a sloped bench
dumbbell curl

Triceps Brachii

The triceps brachii muscle (Latin for "three-headed arm muscle") is the large muscle on the back of the upper limb of many vertebrates. It is the muscle principally responsible for extension of the elbow joint (straightening of the arm).
It is sometimes called a three-headed muscle because there are three bundles of muscles, each of different origins, joining together at the elbow. Though a similarly named muscle, the triceps surae, is found on the lower leg, the triceps brachii is commonly called the triceps.
The long head arises from the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula. It extends distally anterior to the teres minor and posterior to the teres major.
The medial head arises distally from the groove of the radial nerve; from the dorsal (back) surface of the humerus; from the medial intermuscular septum; and its distal part also arises from the lateral intermuscular septum. The medial head is mostly covered by the lateral and long heads, and is only visible distally on the humerus.
The lateral head arises from the dorsal surface of the humerus, lateral and proximal to the groove of the radial nerve, from the greater tubercle down to the region of the lateral intermuscular septum.
Each of the three fascicles has its own motorneuron subnucleus in the motor column in the spinal cord. The medial head is formed predominantly by small type I fibers and motor units, the lateral head of large type IIb fibers and motor units and the long head of a mixture of fiber types and motor units.
The fibers converge to a single tendon to insert onto the olecranon process of the ulna (though some research indicates that there may be more than one tendon) and to the posterior wall of the capsule of the elbow joint where bursae (cushion sacks) are often found. Parts of the common tendon radiates into the fascia of the forearm and can almost cover the anconeus.


The triceps is an extensor muscle of the elbow joint and an antagonist of the biceps and brachialis muscles. It can also fixate the elbow joint when the forearm and hand are used for fine movements, e.g., when writing. It has been suggested that the long head fascicle is employed when sustained force generation is demanded, or when there is a need for a synergistic control of the shoulder and elbow or both. The lateral head is used for movements requiring occasional high-intensity force, while the medial fascicle enables more precise, low-force movements.
With its origin on the scapula, the long head also acts on the shoulder joint and is also involved in retroversion and adduction of the arm.

Triceps Exercises

The triceps can be worked through either isolation or compound elbow extension movements and can contract statically to keep the arm straightened against resistance.
Isolation movements include cable push-downs, lying triceps extensions and arm extensions behind the back. Examples of compound elbow extension include pressing movements like the push up, bench press, close grip bench press (flat, incline or decline), military press and dips.
A closer grip targets the triceps more than wider grip movements.
Static contraction movements include pullovers, straight-arm pulldowns and bent-over lateral raises, which are also used to build the deltoids and latissimus dorsi.
It is important to maintain a balance between the biceps and triceps for postural and effective movement purposes.

Shoulder Muscle (Deltoid)

There are a number of small muacles which operate the shoulder joint, but the most significant shoulder muscle is the deltoid muscle.
It is called so because it is in the shape of the Greek letter Delta (triangle).
The deltoid muscle is the muscle forming the rounded contour of the shoulder.
Anatomically, it appears to be made up of three distinct sets of fibers though electromyography suggests that it consists of at least seven groups that can be independently coordinated by the central nervous system.
Deltoid is also further shortened in slang as "delt". The plural forms of all three incarnations are deltoidei, deltoids and delts.
The deltoid originates in three distinct sets of fibers, often referred to as "heads":
The anterior or clavicular fibers arises from most of the anterior border and upper surface of the lateral third of the clavicle.
The anterior origin lies adjacent to the lateral fibers of the pectoralis major muscle as do the end tendons of both muscles.
These muscle fibers are closely related and only a small chiasmatic space, through which the cephalic vein passes, prevents the two muscles from forming a continuous muscle mass.
The anterior deltoid are commonly called front delts for short.
Lateral or acromial fibers arise from the superior surface of the acromion process.
They are commonly called lateral deltoid
This muscle is also called middle delts, outer delts, or side delts for short.
Posterior or spinal fibers arise from the lower lip of the posterior border of the spine of the scapula.
They are commonly called posterior deltoid or rear deltoid (rear delts for short ).
From this extensive origin the fibers converge toward their insertion on the deltoid tuberosity on the middle of the lateral aspect of the shaft of the humerus; the middle fibers passing vertically, the anterior obliquely backward and laterally, and the posterior obliquely forward and laterally.
Though traditionally described as a single insertion, the deltoid insertion is divided into two or three discernible areas corresponding to the muscle's three areas of origin.
The insertion is an arch-like structure with strong anterior and posterior fascial connections flanking an intervening tissue bridge.
It additionally give off extensions to the deep brachial fascia. Furthermore, the deltoid fascia contributes to the brachial fascia and is connected to the medial and lateral intermuscular septa.

Action of the Deltoid Muscle

When all its fibers contract simultaneously, the deltoid is the prime mover of arm abduction along the frontal plane.
The arm must be medially rotated for the deltoid to have maximum effect.
This makes the deltoid an antagonist muscle of the pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi during arm adduction.
The anterior fibers are involved in shoulder abduction when the shoulder is externally rotated.
The anterior deltoid is weak in strict transverse flexion but assists the pectoralis major during shoulder transverse flexion / shoulder flexion (elbow slightly inferior to shoulders).
The anterior deltoid also works in tandem with the subscapularis, pecs and lats to internally (medially) rotate the humerus.
The posterior fibers are strongly involved in transverse extension particularly as the latissimus dorsi is very weak in strict transverse extension. Other transverse extensors, the infraspinatus and teres minor, also work in tandem with the posterior deltoid as external (lateral) rotators, antagonists to strong internal rotators like the pecs and lats. The posterior deltoid is also the primary shoulder hyperextensor, moreso than the long head of the triceps which also assists in this function.
The lateral fibers perform basic shoulder abduction when the shoulder is internally rotated, and perform shoulder transverse abduction when the shoulder is externally rotated. They are not utilized significantly during strict transverse extension (shoulder internally rotated) such as in rowing movements, which use the posterior fibers.
An important function of the deltoid in humans is stopping: preventing the dislocation of the humeral head when a person carries heavy loads.
The function of abduction also means that it would help keep carried objects a safer distance away from the thighs to avoid hitting them, such as during a farmer's walk. It also ensures a precise and rapid movement of the glenohumeral joint needed for hand and arm manipulation.
The lateral fibers are in the most efficient position to perform this role, though like basic abduction movements (such as lateral raise) it is assisted by simultaneous co-contraction of anterior/posterior fibers.
In both the carrying of heavy loads and in lateral raises, the deltoid often contracts in tandem with scapular elevators such as the levator scapulae, upper trapezius or serratus anterior.
By pulling the clavicle and scapulae up, it reduces compression and possibly impingement on the inferior borders so it doesn't press as much against the uppermost ribs.
The deltoid is responsible for elevating the arm in the scapular plane and its contraction in doing this also elevates the humeral head.
To stop this compressing against the undersurface of the acromion the humeral head and injuring the supraspinatus tendon, there is a simultaneous contraction of some of the muscles of the rotator cuff: the infraspinatus and subscapularis primarily perform this role.
In spite of this there may be still a 1–3 mm upward movement of the head of the humerus during the first 30° to 60° of arm elevation.

Deltoid Exercises

The lateral raise works the deltoid muscle of the shoulder.

The movement starts with the arms straight, and the hands holding weights at the sides or in front of the body. Arms are kept straight or slightly bent, and raised through an arc of movement in the coronal plane that terminates when the hands are at approximately shoulder height.
Weights are lowered to the starting position, completing one "rep".

When using a cable machine the individual stands with the coronal plane in line with the pulley, which is at or near the ground.
The exercise can be completed one shoulder at a time (with the other hand used to stabilize the body against the weight moved), or with both hands simultaneously if two parallel pulleys are available.
This movement, when the shoulder is kept in neutral rotation, primarily targets the middle head of the deltoid. The anterior (front) and posterior (back) heads of the deltoid will also co-contract to aid in the abduction function.
If the shoulder is laterally (externally, outwardly) rotated, the anterior deltoid becomes the prime mover of the glenohumeral joint, the posterior deltoid de-activates, and the middle head assists.

A similar exercise is upright rowing.

The upright row is a weight training exercise performed by holding a grips with the overhand grip and lifting it straight up to the collarbone.
This is a compound exercise that involves the trapezius, the deltoids and the biceps.

Upright Rowing with a Cable Machine

The narrower the grip the more the trapezius muscles are exercised, as opposed to the deltoids.
Barbells, Dumbbells, an EZ Curl bar, or a cable machine can be used.

Upright Rowing with Smith Machine

The Trapezius Muscle

The trapezius is a large superficial muscle that extends longitudinally from the occipital bone to the lower thoracic vertebrae and laterally to the spine of the scapula (shoulder blade). Its functions are to move the scapulae and support the arm.
The trapezius has three functional regions: the superior region (descending part), which supports the weight of the arm; the intermediate region (transverse part), which retracts the scapulae; and the inferior region (ascending part), which medially rotates and depresses the scapulae.
The superior or upper fibers of the trapezius arise from the external occipital protuberance, the medial third of the superior nuchal line of the occipital bone (both in the back of the head), and the ligamentum nuchae.
From this origin they proceed downward and laterally to be inserted into the posterior border of the lateral third of the clavicle.
The middle fibers of the trapezius arise from the spinous process of the seventh cervical (both in the back of the neck), and the spinous processes of the first, second and third thoracic vertebrae.
They are inserted into the medial margin of the acromion, and into the superior lip of the posterior border of the spine of the scapula.
The inferior or lower fibers of the trapezius arise from the spinous processes of the remaining thoracic vertebrae (T4-T12).
From this origin they proceed upward and laterally to converge near the scapula and end in an aponeurosis, which glides over the smooth triangular surface on the medial end of the spine, to be inserted into a tubercle at the apex of this smooth triangular surface.
At its occipital origin, the trapezius is connected to the bone by a thin fibrous lamina, firmly adherent to the skin. The superficial and deep epimysia are continuous with an investing deep fascia that encircles the neck and also contains both sternocleidomastoid muscles.
At the middle, the muscle is connected to the spinous processes by a broad semi-elliptical aponeurosis, which reaches from the sixth cervical to the third thoracic vertebræ and forms, with that of the opposite muscle, a tendinous ellipse. The rest of the muscle arises by numerous short tendinous fibers.

Actions and Exercises

Contraction of the trapezius muscle can have two effects: movement of the scapulae when the spinal origins are stable, and movement of the spine when the scapulae are stable.
The upper portion of the trapezius can be developed by elevating the shoulders.
Common exercises for this movement are shoulder shrugs and upright rowing (using cables or a Smith Machine - see above).

Middle fibers are developed by pulling shoulder blades together.
This adduction also uses the upper/lower fibers too.
The lower part can be developed by drawing the shoulder blades downward while keeping the arms almost straight and stiff.
It is mainly used in throwing, with the deltoid muscles.
The upper and lower trapezius fibers also work in tandem with the serratus anterior to upwardly rotate the scapulae, such as during an Shoulder press (use a shoulder press machine or a Smith Machine).
When activating together, the upper and lower fibers also assist the middle fibers (along with other muscles such as the rhomboids) with scapular retraction/adduction.



The lower body is often neglected.
Lower body exercises are energy intensive and difficult, but they are essential because of their anabolic effects (see below).
With the development of a new generation of exercise machines, lower body exercises can now be undertake in complete safety, and such machines enable the lower body to be exercised with unparalleled efficiency.

Quadriceps (quadriceps femoris) (front of thigh)

Leg press
Leg extension

DO NOT perform 'Squats' in order to exercise the quads.
Squats put an unnacceptable strain on the verterbrae of the back.
Once you have a compressed vertebrae you have it for life.
Modern machines such as the stack leg press machine and the plate leg press machine are more effecient at exercising the quads and, in addition, are much safer.

The quadriceps femoris (Latin for "four-headed muscle of the femur"), also called simply the quadriceps, quadriceps extensor, quads, (see diagram above) is a large muscle group that includes the four prevailing muscles on the front of the thigh.
It is the great extensor muscle of the knee, forming a large fleshy mass which covers the front and sides of the femur.
It is subdivided into four separate portions or 'heads', which have received distinctive names:
Rectus femoris occupies the middle of the thigh, covering most of the other three quadriceps muscles. It originates on the ilium. It is named from its straight course.
The other three lie deep to rectus femoris and originate from the body of the femur, which they cover from the trochanters to the condyles:
Vastus lateralis is on the lateral side of the femur (i.e. on the outer side of the thigh).
Vastus medialis is on the medial side of the femur (i.e. on the inner part thigh).
Vastus intermedius lies between vastus lateralis and vastus medialis on the front of the femur (i.e. on the top or front of the thigh), but deep to the rectus femoris. Typically, it cannot be seen without dissection of the rectus femoris.
All four parts of the quadriceps muscle ultimately insert into the tibial tuberosity of the tibia. This is via the patella, where the quadriceps tendon becomes the patellar ligament, which then attaches to the tibia.
The best exercise for the quadriceps is the leg press (see Life Fitness stack leg press machine and plate leg press machine - left).
This exercise also develops the gluteus maximus, and is an essential exercise as it has an anabolic effect * on the whole body.

*Anabolic processes tend toward "building up" organs and tissues.

These processes produce growth and differentiation of cells and increase in body size, a process that involves synthesis of complex molecules. Examples of anabolic processes include the growth and mineralization of bone and increases in muscle mass.

Endocrinologists have traditionally classified hormones as anabolic or catabolic, depending on which part of metabolism they stimulate.
The classic anabolic hormones are the anabolic steroids, which stimulate protein synthesis and muscle growth.
The balance between anabolism and catabolism is also regulated by circadian rhythms, with processes such as glucose metabolism fluctuating to match an animal's normal periods of activity throughout the day.

The isolation movement (i.e. targets solely the quadriceps) is the leg extension exercise (see Life Fitness stack leg extension machine - right).

The Glutes and Quadriceps can be developed by using the combined glute and quadriceps machine (see Life Fitness  glute and quadriceps machine  - right)

Leg Bicep (biceps femoris) (rear of thigh)

Leg curl

The biceps femoris is a muscle of the posterior (the back) thigh.
As its name implies, it has two parts, one of which (the long head) forms part of the hamstrings muscle group.
It has two heads of origin;
one, the long head, arises from the lower and inner impression on the back part of the tuberosity of the ischium, by a tendon common to it and the semitendinosus, and from the lower part of the sacrotuberous ligament;
the other, the short head, arises from the lateral lip of the linea aspera, between the adductor magnus and vastus lateralis, extending up almost as high as the insertion of the gluteus maximus; from the lateral prolongation of the linea aspera to within 5 cm. of the lateral condyle; and from the lateral intermuscular septum.

The fibers of the long head form a fusiform belly, which passes obliquely downward and lateralward across the sciatic nerve to end in an aponeurosis which covers the posterior surface of the muscle, and receives the fibers of the short head; this aponeurosis becomes gradually contracted into a tendon, which is inserted into the lateral side of the head of the fibula, and by a small slip into the lateral condyle of the tibia.

At its insertion the tendon divides into two portions, which embrace the fibular collateral ligament of the knee-joint.

From the posterior border of the tendon a thin expansion is given off to the fascia of the leg. The tendon of insertion of this muscle forms the lateral hamstring; the common fibular (peroneal) nerve descends along its medial border.
Both heads of the biceps femoris perform knee flexion.
Since the long head originates in the pelvis it is also involved in hip extension.
The long head of the biceps femoris is a weaker knee flexor when the hip is extended (because of active insufficiency). For the same reason the long head is a weaker hip extender when the knee is flexed.
When the knee is semi-flexed, the biceps femoris in consequence of its oblique direction rotates the leg slightly outward.

The biceps femoris is exercised by using the leg curl machine (see Life Fitness stack leg curl machine - right).

Calf Muscle (soleus)

Calf Raises

The soleus is a powerful muscle in the back part of the lower leg (the calf).
It runs from just below the knee to the heel, and is involved in standing and walking.
It is closely connected to the gastrocnemius muscle and some anatomists consider them to be a single muscle, the triceps surae.
The soleus is located in the superficial posterior compartment of the leg.
The short head of the biceps femoris develops in the flexor compartment of the thigh and is thus innervated by common peroneal branch of the sciatic nerve (L5, S2), while the long head is innervated by the tibial branch of the sciatic nerve (L5, S2).

The soleus is exercised by using the calf-raise machine (see Life Fitness plate calf raise - right).

Adductor Muscles of the Hip

In human anatomy, the adductor muscles of the hip is a group of muscles of the thigh.
The adductors originate on the pubis and ischium bones. and insert on the medial, posterior surface of the femur.
The Adductor Muscles of the Hip are exercised by using the hip machines (see Life Fitness plate hip machines - left)


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