Tag Archives: legs

Building Your Birthday Suit

Online_Retailer_of_Bespoke_Custom_Made_Suits_Shirts_Trousers_and_Skirts_for_Men_and_Women_67778_imageFirst impressions are big for you never get another chance. Whether it’s an interview for a new job or a hot date, making a good first impression is paramount. Before a word can even be spoken, the first impression weighs heavily on your physical presentation: how you carry yourself, how professional and well-kept you present yourself, and of course what you’re wearing. Now, far be it from me to offer advice on what one should wear to an interview or first date (I’ll leave that to the

The Center Piece – the “Suit”

For the analogy I want to draw here, let’s just imagine putting together a professional ensemble that begins with a great suit. The suit is what makes the biggest impression – its color, its shape and contours, how well-fitted it is, etc. It becomes the center piece of the outfit. When it comes to your physique, the “suit” is comprised of the major muscle groups: chest, back, legs, and core musculature. They are the most important because they make up over 85% of your body. Whether you want to improve, define, or strengthen your physique, it’s vital to train these muscle groups as the focus of your workouts. In terms of musculature, 2/3 of all the muscle mass in the body is below the waist. If you want to make overall changes to the body, you have to work the legs. The next largest muscle group is the back – big, powerful muscles that not only strengthen and support the spine, but are key in all pulling motions. Next are the chest muscles. Whether you’re a man or a woman, the “pecs” are also important to posture as they balance the forces of the back muscles and are involved in most if not all pressing motions. And finally, the core musculature is important for posture, balance, strength, and stability of the spine, and most important is the link between the larger muscle groups of the lower body and the muscles of the upper body. Just as with selecting the perfect suit, your workouts should focus first on the body’s center piece working the larger muscle groups of the body. Then you can focus on the finishing touches.

The Extras – the “Accessories”

Once a great suit is selected, then comes the accessories which will often take a great suit to an awesome suit. Shoes, belts, jewelry, ties, scarfs, etc. can certainly raise the level of the suit, but in and of themselves don’t’ make the suit. Same with your physique. The “accessories” of the body are the arms, shoulders, calfs, and even some of the core musculature, primarily the superficial muscles of the abdominals. Often times when someone says they want a stronger or leaner physique yet see diminishing returns, they focus too much time on developing the “accessories” and do not devote the time to fully develop and build the “suit”. Training the arms only or doing abdominal exercises until you’re blue in the face with little attention paid to the bigger picture will lead to frustration and diminished returns. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with a nice set of arms and good looking abs, but you’d be better served focusing your energy on the large muscle groups first (the suit) and then complimenting that training by hitting the extras (the accessories).

Fashion 101

Proper training has more to do with what you do than how much you do. Spending whole exercise sessions on just training the “accessories” will not produce the same yield as training the “suit”. When you train the “suit”, the “accessories” get worked as well and if you train them properly and intensely enough, they won’t need a special training session all their own. Focus your training on the “suit”, compliment with the “accessories”, and you’ll have one fine looking birthday suit!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

My Top 10 Most Useless Pieces of Exercise Equipment – #6 Leg Magic

(This is a 10 part series in which I am reviewing some of the products sold as exercise equipment, fitness solutions, etc. on infomercials, magazine ads, and cable shopping networks.  Unlike most of the ads for these products, this isn’t based on a double blind, major university backed study.  It is simply my professional opinion based on my fitness experience and knowledge in the hopes that it will save you some time, aggravation and money.)

318VlUApY7L._SX300_Leg Magic

The internet never ceases to amaze me.  When I began working on this post for #6 on my list, an old advertising campaign popped into my head. “Nothing beats a great pair of legs” was the catch phrase for L’Eggs pantyhose back in the 80’s.  Sure enough, the commercial can still be viewed today on YouTube.  But I’m not here to discuss my astonishment with the internet or why I can even care to remember those ads (that’s effective advertising I guess).  I want to discuss how legs are a critical part to our physique, whether you’re a leg model or not.  Those two limbs beneath are hips are a big part of what makes us human. They give us the means to walk, run, jump, hop, skip, climb, pedal, kick, swim, and so on. It is true then that nothing beats a great pair of legs, which is what the makers of Leg Magic are hoping you’ll believe their product can deliver.

A Huge Set of Muscles

Don’t take that the wrong way.  Some consider their legs to be the largest part of their body.  In fact, they’re right.  Two thirds of all the muscle mass in men and women is below the waist.  These muscles include most notably the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, as well as the adductor (inner thigh) muscles, abductor (outer thigh) muscles, and the muscles of the lower leg, the calves.  There’s a lot of muscle there and rightfully so.  Aside from providing all the movement described previously, the muscles of the lower body most notably support us upright.  But even more importantly, they are the conduit to producing movement.

The Great Conductor

Locomotion, or physical movement, is the result of forces created in the muscles and the reciprocating ground reaction forces produced from contact with the earth.  To understand this concept better, think of throwing a baseball as far as you could with both feet on the ground.  Now, think of throwing a baseball while suspended in a swing with no foot contact with the ground.  Which one goes further? The one where both feet are on the ground.  Why? The ground reaction forces produced by the legs in contact with the earth.  So the stronger the legs, the more force that can be produced, the greater the return forces from the earth.  Why is this relevant to this discussion? Because the legs are the link between what the brain commands and the motion the body is capable of performing.

Yet Another Piece of ****

You have to watch the video of Leg Magic if you get an opportunity (click the link here to see video). What I find the most amusing is that the woman in the video shows you how to do two of the best exercises for strengthening the legs, squats and lunges, while holding onto Leg Magic for balance, which is probably what it’s best for.  Performing squats and lunges puts both feet in touch with the ground, ensuring greater muscular, ground reaction force development which translates into stronger, more functional legs. The inner/outer thigh motion of this apparatus has little to no value to everyday life, unless of course you make a living downhill skiing.

Here’s a tip.  You don’t need Leg Magic to do squats and lunges, and if they’re done properly as part of an all around program, you’ll have amazing legs that cost you nothing more than your hard earned time. Yes, unfortunately, Leg Magic will not “tone your legs”, “make your abs fitter” (whatever that means), or “raise your butt” in one month as promised in the ad.  It will make a great shirt hanger though.

Stay tuned for future posts with my top 5.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

In case you’ve missed them, here are My Top 10 Most Useless Pieces of Exercise Equipment so far:

 

#10 The Jump Snap
#9 The Thigh Master
#8 The Ab Roller
#7 The Red Exerciser