Chapter 5 : THE WORKOUTS

 After you have done the warm ups, you probably feel like you’ve worked out a bit already. Sweat may be starting to appear on your forehead. Now you are set for the main workouts. Again, we have to start slowly. Do not hurry up. Taking it slowly can help prevent injuries.

After a workout, you may feel some pain the next day. This is just normal. When you can still get up, move, and do things without much difficulty, the minimum pain you have is the pain that gains. When you wake up and find yourself in so much pain that mere being up becomes too difficult for you, it means you overdid and abused your body with your workout. Rest until you feel okay.

Just relax and enjoy your workout. Listen to your body. Work out in a gradual pace. Endure added strains in your workout. But when your body says enough, stop and rest. Proceed when your body has recovered — and this sometimes means a day or two of rest.

It is best to workout every other day. This provides rest for the body and enough time to recover from injuries and pains. Remember, when an injury seems more than is normal, always consult your doctor.


There are several ways to workout your muscles. One way is through weight training. Weight training involves lifting heavy and light weights to beef up and define the muscles. It uses sets and repetitions.

Sets are composed of repetitive motions. Repetitions are the number of times you repeat a motion. One set may be composed of ten or more repetitions. For example, one set of push-ups may consist of one to thirty repetitions.

A weightlifting program usually consists of four sets, with ten repetitions each. A beginner may begin with light weights, doing 4 sets with ten repetitions for every lifting technique. As he advances, he may work out for bulk, and then definition.

Lifting for Bulk

Bulk is the muscle mass in you. When you have a slender or trim body figure, your trainer may want to beef up the muscles in you. So gradually, he will make you workout for bulk. He will show you how to carry heavy plates and how to increase the weight gradually. An ideal program would consist of four sets of each technique, with 10 repetitions each set.

When you have the bulky muscles, then your trainer may tell you to increase the repetitions with lighter weights for definition.

Lifting for Definition

When you are flabby or obese, you need to trim down first. Fats must be burned first before muscles can be worked out. Aside from aerobics, your trainer may have you do four sets of more than ten repetitions using very light weights. This is for you to work out a great sweat. When you have trimmed down, your trainer may have you train for bulk. After you have produced the muscle mass, that’s the time you focus on muscle definition.

Definition is the act of further sculpting muscles to your desired curvatures and details. They would no longer appear as mere lumps; but their stripped form would outline or define their appearance. When you have both bulk and definition, that’s when your biceps, triceps, abdominals, chest, and other muscle parts become readily seen and identified.

So, gear up. After you have put on your weightlifting accessories — shirt, shorts, gloves, supporter (if applicable), and leather belt — you are ready for workout.


Lifting barbells is the popular method of fully developing the muscles in bulk and in definition. The earliest and crudest form of weightlifting involves carrying small boulders that a trainee could hold or embrace in his arms. Later, a bar with concrete bells on both ends was conceived. Steel barbells and dumbbells were used much later, but they came as a whole piece. The plates were not yet removable.

Today, modern barbells come in stainless bars with removable steel plates and clamps. The steel plates are also applicable in modern machine pulleys that make weight lifting more comfortable and more effective.

Loading weights on a bar

Load a weight plate by placing one on the right end of the bar, and then one on the left end. This is to maintain balance. Never finish loading an end before you load the other end. This will tilt the bar and release the weight plates from the loaded end. This is dangerous. Also, make sure the clamps securing the ends are always locked after the weight plates have been completely loaded.

Loading weight plates when the bar is on the floor is safer. Load it any way you want. Just make sure that the clamps or clips are locked after loading. However, never load on the floor when you intend to mount the barbell on your shoulders. Use the two upright rods for this.

Distribute the weights evenly on each of the bar’s ends. Say you want to use 20 pounds of weights. This means on one end of the bar you load up one 10-pound plate, and another 10-pound plate on the other end. If you want to use 40 pounds of weights, you load one 20-pound plate on one end of the bar, and another 20-pound plate on the other end. You may also choose to use two 10-pound plates on one end, and another pair of 10-pound plates on the other. Thus, you have a total 40 pounds.


The safest way to put a loaded bar (barbell) on your shoulders is through supporting rods. Place the unloaded bar on two upright supporting rods. These rods should be as high as the level of your neck. Modern weightlifting benches sold today usually come with fixed upright supporting rods. These are often placed (welded) at the head of the bench.

As the unloaded bar rests on the two rods, put weights (weight bells) one by one on both ends of the bar. Be careful to balance both ends with weights. Never put weights on just one end of the bar. This will out balance your bar and give way to the weights.

When both ends are loaded with the desired weights, be sure to close the clamps on each end. Steel clamps secure bells (or plates) on bars so they do not fall off as they are being lifted.

When the clamps are closed tightly, then you can slide your head under the bar (while it rests on the standing rods) so that the bar is over your nape and shoulders. Bend your legs to give way to your straight and upright body. Keep your buttocks protruding at your back. Then hold the bar with both hands, one to your right and another to your left. Carefully check your posture and position. Make sure your body weight is evenly distributed to your legs. See “CORRECT SHOULDER MOUNTING” illustration, page 66.

Have your spotter check your position as well. Remember to have him around throughout the workout - to assist you and check your posture and position. 

When everything is checked, then you are ready to lift the barbell with your shoulders, your hands holding them tightly. Lift the barbell slowly and stand, carrying it above your shoulders. Stand up straight, chest out, stomach in, and buttocks protruding. Carefully move some steps away from the two upright rods. Then you are ready for executing a technique.

After one set of weightlifting technique, dismount your barbell by placing it carefully back on the two standing rods. As you do, maintain an erect body and a protruding buttock. Bend the legs slowly to settle the bar on the rods. The rods are equipped with “Y” stoppers to keep the bar from rolling and falling off.

This is the correct and safe way of mounting and dismounting. Do not carry a barbell straight from the floor to your shoulders. Professional weightlifters do this, but beginners should not.

Remember, have a spotter around when training. Always consult your trainer before you do anything, especially when you try to add weights to lift.



Many enthusiasts start with squats. There is no rule about what muscle group should be worked out first or what technique to do first. The only thing important is that warm ups should precede the main workout, not the other way around. After the warm up, then you may do the workout any way you want. Squats work out the legs and calves.                  To do squats:

  1. Mount the barbell on your shoulders (at the back of your nape).
  2. Keep back a little from the supporting rods.
  3. Keep your body erect. Protrude your buttocks. Protruding the buttocks keeps the arch of your back in proper form and position.
  4. Bend your knees slowly as far down as possible. If possible, sit on your forelegs and ankles. Inhale as you do this.
  5. Then slowly stand up straight. Keep proper posture as you do this. Exhale as you do. See “SQUATS” illustration, page 67.
  6. Do four sets of ten repetitions. As you progress, you may increase the repetitions to 15, or add one more set. Provide a minute of rest after each set.
  7. It is good to start squats by carrying at least 50 or 75 pounds. Or else, start with weights one-fourth to one-half your body weight. As you progress, you can carry heavier weights equal to your body weight.


Ankle lifts work out the forelegs and calves. To do the ankle lifts:

  1. Mount the barbell on your shoulders as in squats.
  2. Slowly lift the heels of your feet so that you stand on the balls of your feet. In other words, tiptoe slowly as you carry the barbell on your shoulders.
  3. Better yet, with your spotter assisting you, climb on the first step of a low stairs or any similarly raised step. With only the balls of your feet touching the tip of the step, raise and lower your heels as you carry the barbells on your shoulders. See “CALVES BUILDER” illustration, page 68.
  4. Do four sets of ten repetitions. Take a minute of rest between sets.
  5. Carry the same weights as in squats. Add weights the same way you did with squats.


The military press (nape based) is for your shoulders and back muscles. To do this:

  1. Mount the barbell on your shoulders, behind your lower nape. Keep your body erect while standing up or sitting down. Raise your barbells above your head but not directly over it, straight with your back. Exhale as you do this.
  2. Then lower it back to your shoulders. Inhale as you do. See “MILITARY PRESS” illustration, page 67.
  3. Do four sets of ten repetitions. Rest a minute between sets.
  4. Use 20 to 40 pounds of weights.


The military press (chest based) is for your shoulders and chest. To do this:

  1. Mount the barbell on your shoulders, this time on your upper chest just below your chin.  Your hands should fully support the barbell, not just the shoulders.
  2. Raise the barbell above your head but not directly over it. Make sure the barbell is in line with your chest. Exhale as you do this.
  3. Lower it slowly to your chest. Inhale as you do this.
  4. Do four sets of ten repetitions. Rest a minute between sets.
  5. Use 20 to 40 pounds of weights.


This is one of the most popular of lifting techniques. Bench presses develop your chest, shoulders, arms and forearms. To do this:

  1. Lie down on the weightlifting bench. Your head should be below the standing rods supporting the barbell. It is recommended to have a spotter for this technique.
  2. Hold the bars firmly with both hands.
  3. Slowly lift the barbell from the supporting rods and raise them with stretched arms in front of you, in line with your chest.
  4. Inhale as you carefully lower the barbell to your chest, directly in front your nipples.
  5. Exhale as you carefully lift the barbell again until your arms are fully stretched to your front. See “BENCH PRESS” illustration, page 69.
  6. Do four sets of ten repetitions. Rest a minute between sets.
  7. Use weights one-half of your body weight. As you progress, you may lift weights equal to your body weight.


This is an advanced bench press technique especially designed for added muscle bulk in the chest. To do this:

  1. Do exact procedures as in Bench Press above, except that you must adjust the bench where you lie on by raising the tip where your head rests to a certain angle. As you progress, adjust the angle higher. There are adjustable benches available in the market made for this technique. See “BENCH PRESS (Inclined)” illustration, page 69.


Dead lifts develop your lower back muscles, the sides of the abdomen, and your shoulders. To do this:

  1. Stand with your feet apart by one and a half feet. Put the barbell on the floor in front of your feet.
  2. Bend your body to hold the barbell with both hands. Slightly bend your knees as well.
  3. Slowly lift the barbell with your shoulders, not your arms, until the barbell reaches halfway your legs. The shoulders should do the lifting action, with a little pendulum effect by the abdomen. The abdomen swings out a bit as your shoulders pull the barbell up.
  4. Gently lower the barbell by letting it sink a little — about half foot down. Make sure that your arms do no work throughout this technique. As you lower the barbell, the abdomen also sinks in.
  5. Then gently pull the barbell again as in step 3.  This time, pull the barbell to your upper legs, just below your groin. See “DEAD LIFT” illustration, page 68.
  6. Do four sets of ten repetitions. Rest a minute between sets.
  7. Use 40 to 50 pounds of weights.

H. ARM CURL - Standing

Arm curls develop your arms (biceps or upper muscles on your arms), forearms, shoulders, wings, and chest. Arm curls can be done while standing or sitting. This technique is more for definition than bulk. Some beginners use this for bulk. For advanced students, they use this for definition. You cannot use very heavy weights for this technique due to the limited hold and limb support you have. Professional bodybuilders practice extreme precaution when they use heavy weights with this technique. A focused spotter should also be by his side. To do this:

  1. Stand erect with a barbell in your hands. Let your hands drop in front of you so that the barbell is halfway your legs.
  2. Raise the barbell to your shoulders, using only your forearms. Exhale as you do this.
  3. Then lower the barbell back to your legs. Inhale. Maintain good posture. See “STANDING ARM CURLS” illustration, page 70.
  4. Do four sets of ten repetitions. Rest a minute between sets.
  5. You may hold the bar with your hands facing outward (the palms facing you) or inward (the back of your hands facing you). You may do four sets for each (inward and outward hands).
  6. Use 20 to 40 pounds of weights. As you progress, you may use 40 to 60 pounds.

I. ARM CURL – Supported

Supported arm curls are safer, especially when you use heavier weights. Use a cushioned pad where you rest your arms. There are benches in the market that come with this pad. Some call it a curl pad. To do this:

  1. Attach the curl pad to the spot of the bench designated for this.
  2. Sit down on the bench facing the pad. The pad is inclined. The higher tip of the pad should touch your chest.
  3. Rest your arms on the pad. The lower tip of the pad should be near your hands and forearms.
  4. Have your spotter place the barbell in your hands.
  5. Lift the barbell to your shoulders while exhaling. Note that with this technique, your lower body is relaxed. Only your arms, forearms, chest, shoulders, and wings do the work. Hence, you can focus more energy to your arms.
  6. Slowly lower the barbell until your forearms touch the lower tip of the pad. Do not lower abruptly. You might release the barbell unintentionally. See “SUPPORTED ARM CURLS” and “INSET OF PAD” illustrations, page 70.
  7. Do same sets and repetitions, and use same weights, as in arm curls while standing.

J. ARM CURL – Dumbbells

Arm curls can also be done with dumbbells. They will give you powerful biceps, among other things. You may choose to stand or sit. The same muscle parts are affected. Some people feel that doing arm curls with a barbell is better because the chest is more involved. Some say they prefer arm curls with dumbbells because each arm really carries the exact weight. Arm curls with a barbell tend to put more weight on the arm you are used to using. To play safe, use all arm curl techniques alternately on different days of session.

  1. Stand or sit erect, with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Carefully lift one dumbbell with your right forearm to your right shoulder. Exhale as you do this.
  3. Carefully lower the dumbbell to your right leg, or to its original position. Inhale as you do this.
  4. Carefully lift the other dumbbell with your left forearm to your left shoulder. Exhale as you do this.
  5. Carefully lower the dumbbell with your left forearm to your left leg, or to its original position. Inhale as you do this.
  6. You may lift both dumbbells simultaneously and lower them in the same manner. See “STANDING ARM CURLS (Dumbbells)” illustration, page 70.
  7. You may also sit on a stool while doing arm curls using a dumbbell. If you start with your right hand, hold the dumbbell with it and support your right elbow with your right knee as you lift and lower the dumbbell. Put your left hand on your left leg as a lever. You may also use your left hand as added support for your right elbow. After doing four sets of ten repetitions, do the same with your left hand. See “SITTING ARM CURLS (Dumbbells)” illustration, page 70. Do four sets of ten repetitions for each hand. Rest a minute between sets.
  8. Use 20 to 40 pounds for each dumbbell.


To do this:

  1. Hold the dumbbell with your right hand.
  2. Lift your hands over your head. Keep your right hand and right shoulder in a straight line.
  3. Lower the dumbbell by bending your right elbow. Your right elbow must remain beside your right eye. Use your left hand to keep your elbow near your right eye.
  4. Lift the dumbbell carefully over your head until your right arm is stretched upward. Keep your right hand and right shoulder in a straight line. See “OVERHEAD CURLS” illustration, page 68.
  5. Do four sets of ten repetitions. Rest a minute between sets.
  6. Use 25 to 40 pounds of weights.
  7. After doing the four sets using your right hand, do the same steps with your left hand.
  8. You can do this using a barbell and holding it with both hands. Bend and straighten both elbows as you lower and lift the barbell. Ask a spotter to help you mount the barbell to position.


There are two types of forearm curls. These techniques develop your grip and forearms. To do this:

  1. Rest your right forearm on a strong table or on the longitudinal edge of a bench.
  2. Your right hand must be free from any support. It must hang loose, a bit off the edge of the table or bench. Your right palm must be facing up.
  3. Have a spotter place the dumbbell on your right hand. As the dumbbell is placed, let your right hand give way.
  4. Then carefully lift the dumbbell by the wrist using only your forearm muscles. Exhale as you lift. The rest of your arm and body must relax.
  5. Carefully bring down the dumbbell and then lift it again. Inhale as you lower the dumbbell.
  6. Do four sets of ten repetitions. Rest a minute between sets. Then do the same using your left hand.
  7. After the four sets with your left hand, rest a minute and then do this again with your right hand. This time, your right palm must be facing down. After the four sets with the right palm, rest a minute and then proceed with your left hand. The left palm must also be facing down. See “FOREARM CURLS” illustration, page 67.


Butterflies develop your wing muscles for that V-shaped body, as well as the arms, shoulders, and upper chest.  To do this:

  1. Stand erect with a dumbbell in each hand. Put your hands to your sides.
  2. Lift the dumb bells side ways up to shoulder level. Exhale as you do this.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells to your sides again. Inhale as you do this. See “BUTTERFLY (Standing)” illustration, page 68.
  4. Do four sets of ten repetitions. Rest a minute between sets.
  5. Use 20 to 30 pounds for each dumbbell.


Many bodybuilders claim that this technique works out the chest perfectly. The wing muscles, arms, and shoulders come in second only. The back muscles and abdomen are also affected. Many enthusiasts consider this as their favorite. To do this:

  1. Lie down on the bench as in doing a bench press. Hold a dumbbell in each hand as you lie down.
  2. While lying down, keep the dumbbells close to your chest. Ensure that your elbows are on the lateral sides of your stomach.
  3. Put out your hands to the sides and lower them as far down as you can. Make sure your elbows are bent. Don’t stretch out your arms. Inhale.
  4. Carefully bring both hands to the chest again. Make a gently clinging sound with the dumbbells as they meet in front your chest. Don’t slam them against each other. When you lift the dumbbells, keep your elbows bent. Don’t stretch out your arms. Exhale as you do this. See “BUTTERFLY (Lying)” illustration, page 68.
  5. Do four sets of ten repetitions. Rest a minute between sets. When you rest, bring both hands (still holding the dumbbells) to your chest. Then, pull yourself forward with a slight kick from your legs until you are in a sitting position. Gently lower the dumbbells on the floor. It is recommended to have a spotter assist you in this.


A sitting butterfly is very much like the standing butterfly. Do the same repetitions and sets, and use the same weights. The difference between a standing and a sitting butterfly (aside from the position) is that in the latter, you do extra workout for the shoulders, arms, and wing muscles while sitting down. For maximum efficiency, use both techniques by alternating them on different days of session.

P. THE LEG CURL – For the front and back muscles of the legs and forelegs

Leg curls are also important. Depending on the heaviness or lightness of the weights used, they provide bulk and definition to your legs and forelegs. Bodybuilding benches in the market can be fitted with leg curl devices that are attached at the end of the bench, opposite to where you put your head in a bench press. Weight plates are placed on the device. This removable device has two levers - one on top and one at the bottom. These levers are where you put your ankles. To do the leg curls:

  1. Sit on the bench, with the bench in-between your legs.
  2. Hook your ankle on the bottom lever of the leg curl device. The top of your ankle should be under the bottom lever.
  3. Carefully lift the lever by stretching out your legs to your front. This is for the front muscles of your legs and forelegs.
  4. For the back muscles of your legs and your calves, lie flat on your stomach on the bench.
  5. Hook the back of your ankles on the top lever of the leg curl device. The lever should be over the back of your ankles. Your legs are stretched out facing the floor.
  6. Lift the weights by carefully bending your knees inward. In other words, bend the knees by sending your heels to the back of your legs.
  7. Lower the weights by returning to the original position, as in step 5. See “LEG CURLS” and “LEG CURL DEVICE INSET” illustrations, page 71.
  8. Do four sets of ten repetitions. Rest a minute between sets.
  9. Use 50 pounds of weights. You can add weights gradually.


Other types of weightlifting techniques include the device-less and machine-less methods. Some bodybuilding benches are fitted with two supporting rods that are adjustable. The two rods are not only for mounting a barbell on your shoulders. They are fitted with handles and can be adjusted in height so that they also serve as a device for vertical push-ups.

Vertical Push-Ups
  1. Grab the handles of the support rods with both hands. Leap a bit to perch yourself up on your hands while holding the handles.
  2. Now, you are dangling by the handles, your arms stretched straight downward on your sides. Ensure that your hands, which are holding tightly to the handles, support your arms. Let your feet hang in the air.
  3. Carefully lower your body by bending your elbows until your hands are at your lateral rib cages. Inhale as you do this.
  4. Lift your body slowly by stretching your arms to your sides. Exhale as you do this. This motion is like lifting your body up and down a hole, with your hands holding the opening. See “BODY LIFTS” illustration, page 65.
  5. Do four sets of ten repetitions. Rest a minute between sets.
  6. If you want, you can carry a backpack with weight plates in it as you do this technique.
  7. This technique develops your shoulders, chest, arms, forearms, and wing muscles.
  1. Here, you need a sturdy horizontal steel bar hanging on ends by two poles. The height of the poles must measure 6 to 7 feet. The poles must be at least 4 to 5 feet apart.
  2. Hold the bar with both ends. Your feet must be off the floor by 3 to 5 inches. Inhale.
  3. Lift yourself by pulling the bar with your hands, until the bar is at the same level as your chin. Exhale as you do this.
  4. Lower yourself to the original position as in step 2. See “PULL-UPS” illustration, page 71.
  5. Do four sets of ten repetitions. Rest a minute between sets.
  6. You may also choose to carry a backpack with weights inside it as you do this technique.


Some modern weightlifting machines enable anyone to do all lifting techniques using them alone. This equates to space-saving practicality and convenience for a solo trainee. With these machines, spotters are irrelevant. Moreover, weightlifting becomes safer.

Machine pulleys are also incorporated with weightlifting machines that use levers. Together, they make weightlifting easier and more practical. However, they also make the discipline more expensive.

There are a variety of techniques that a machine pulley can make possible — like arm swings, forward pushes, and backward pulls.

Then again, you can build your muscles with barbells just as much as machine pulleys can. What’s more, you save a lot with steel barbells and dumbbells.


 The abdominal muscles are the hardest to develop. Yet they are the most beautiful to possess.  Muscular shoulders, chest, and biceps are easy to have; but if you still have a potbelly, the purpose is still defeated.

Most sit-ups are done wrong. Inaccurate sit-ups will only give you a terrible backache. Even if you do hundreds of wrong sit-ups daily, your abdominal muscles will not achieve the shape and form that you desire to have. Sit-ups must be done correctly in order for you to see results.

Yes, there is a secret to effective sit-ups.

The Secret to Effective Sit-Ups

How do you know if your sit-ups are effective? When you feel muscle strain only in your abdomen, that’s one good sign that your sit-ups are effective. To have this effect, make sure your movements while doing sit-ups involve mostly your abdominal muscles.

How do you make sure that 85 to 90 percent of your muscle movements involve your abdominal muscles?

Sit-ups make you lie down on your back for a moment before you pull yourself up. Your movement when you pull yourself up to a sitting position spells the difference between success and failure of your sit-ups. You must slowly pull yourself up and make sure your abdominal muscles get most of the action. As you pull yourself up slowly, slightly arch your back to avoid strain on your back and sides. Hence, don’t straighten your body as you lift yourself to a sitting position. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t succeed the first try. Practice makes perfect.


  1. Sit on the floor with a cushion or a padded bench under your buttocks.
  2. Bend your legs in front of you.
  3. Then lie on your back flat on the floor. Keep legs bent.
  4. Use your hands to support your neck and head.
  5. Lift your upper body slowly to a sitting position. As you rise, make sure your abdominal muscles do most of the action. Relax your back and side muscles as much as possible.
  6. As you rise slowly, arch your back a bit.
  7. As you rise to a sitting position, also try to tell or command your body that only the abdominal muscles must do the work. Then imagine the abdominal muscles to be doing so. Then believe them to be actually doing so. Exhale as you rise up.
  8. When in a sitting position, touch your knees with your elbows. Then inhale.
  9. Slowly, lie flat on your back, arching your back a bit as you do so. Likewise, make sure that your abdominal muscles are mostly doing the work. Relax your back and side muscles. Hold your breath.
  10.  As you lie on your back, don’t let your head touch the floor or bench. Lift your head some 5 inches. Hold your breath.
  11.  Pull yourself again to a sitting position as in steps 5 to 8. Exhale as you do so. See “PLAIN SIT-UPS” illustration, page 72.
  12.  Do two to three sets of thirty repetitions, depending on your strength. Rest a minute between sets. Don’t carry any weight plate while doing sit-ups if you’re not yet ready to do so. Consult your trainer or physical therapist. If you’re not careful, carrying weights while doing sit-ups may only cause backaches or injure your spinal column. It is an effective start to building your six-pack abs muscles, but it must be under expert supervision.

When you have mastered the plain sit-ups, you may use an inclined bench.


  1. Many sit-up benches are adjustable. When using one, the bench you lie on must be adjustable to form low and steep angles. Adjust the bench to the first angle. When you lie flat on your back, your head will be slightly lower than your legs. Hook your legs at the other end of the bench that is highest.  Then perform the same steps 1 to 10, as in the plain sit-ups above.
  2. Next, as you progress in your sit-ups, adjust the inclination of your bench an angle higher. Do not skip one angle. Make sure you do this angle by angle. When you feel that doing the sit-ups on an angle doesn’t cause positive pain anymore on your abs, then that’s the time to adjust your bench one angle higher.
  3. Soon, you will have reached the highest angle available in your bench. When this happens, your six-pack abs may begin to look visible without effort.  See “INCLINED SIT-UPS” illustration, page 72.
  4. Do two to three sets of thirty repetitions, depending on your strength. Rest a minute between sets.


Vertical sit-ups are more advanced than the plain and inclined sit-ups.

  1. You need a horizontal steel bar suspended three to four feet above the floor, depending on the size of your upper body.
  2. Hook your legs to this bar. Your upper body rests on the floor. Better yet, place a cushion on the floor where your upper body rests on.
  3. Arch your back a bit, and then lift your upper body as high as you can by bending your torso forward, or until your face is directly in front your legs.
  4. Then slowly lower your body by laying your back again on the floor. Keep your back slightly arched. Make sure your abdominal muscles are mostly doing the work.
  5. You can also do away with the horizontal bar. Just outstretch your legs upward and have someone hold your legs. Let your upper body rest on the floor. Your whole body now forms an L shape — your straight legs being the upright part of the L, and your upper body resting on the floor being the lying part of the L.  See “VERTICAL SIT-UPS” illustrations, page 69.
  6. Then do the sit-ups in steps 3 to 4 above.
  7. Do two to three sets of thirty repetitions, depending on your strength. Rest a minute between sets.


For additional abs definition (and to burn your abdominal fats), do crunches. You can do crunches while watching TV or talking on the phone, but it takes many repetitions.

  1. Lie flat on the floor or bed.
  2. Bend your knees and slightly lift your feet off the floor or bed.
  3. Put your hands at the back of your neck, with only the tips of the left fingers touching the right fingertips.
  4. Lift your head slightly (but not your body or chest) so that the chin goes slightly inside towards the neck. The neck slightly bends in. The eyes are looking at your legs.
  5. Then, slightly straighten your neck so that your head also straightens and your eyes look at the ceiling. See “THE CRUNCH” illustration, page 72.
  6. Repeat steps 4 to 5 above, with an interval of one second in between. Do 100 to 200 crunches, depending on your capacity. Make sure the abs gets most of the action. Relax other body parts. When you feel strain in your abs muscles, you are getting the crunches right. The muscle strain should start at around the count of 70. You can do more counts as you progress.


The principle of Isometrics involves going against horizontal pressures or forces.

Weightlifting and sit-ups also go against a type of force, and this is mainly gravitational force. The gravitational pull of the planet keeps the steel weights and your own weight down. You must pull up these weights away from the planet. Thus, you cannot build any muscle if you lift weights on the moon. Up there, your problem is how to keep things from going up.

Isometrics is not going against gravitation. It is going against horizontal forces that act either away from each other or towards each other. You react by countering the forces. These forces are built-in. They are not caused by gravitation.

Isometrics define the muscles by stretching and expanding them with great pressure. Thus, it also tends to give you muscular bulkiness, but not as much as weightlifting can. In contrast, lifting weights mostly works by contracting your muscles. Combining weights and isometrics is a good idea.

There are several kinds of isometric devices. Here are some examples:


Power springs can be bent, compressed, squeezed, or stretched. The trick is to go against the force as much as you can, and hold the position as long as you can. The tremendous force required countering the flow of another force works out the muscle fibers so much in terms of extreme tensioning and stretching. The tensile stress makes the muscles expand and harden into shape explosively. The longer you hold the compression or expansion, the better your muscles are worked out. Remember, the secret in power spring Isometrics is prolonging your hold as you exert a maximum pull or squeeze on the springs. This expands and defines your muscles, not the pulling or squeezing itself. If you just keep pulling or squeezing the springs without the prolonged hold, you will just be wearing the springs out without much effect on your muscles. Here are examples of spring devices:

  1. The Hand Grip – This device uses a single or double-coiled spring or zigzag spring that your fingers must squeeze to submission. The goal is to be able to close your hand into a fist (or a near fist) as you squeeze it. This defines your forearm muscles well, and part of your chest and wing muscles. Squeeze it as hard as you can and hold that position as long as you can. Then repeat.
  2. The Chest Expander – This is a five-spring device. The springs are attached to handles on both ends. The springs may be lesser in number, depending on your strength. The springs are detachable. The trick is to hold the handles, one on the left and the other on the right, and stretch the springs sideways as far as you can. When you have stretched them with your maximum effort, hold that position as long as you can. Exhale as you do so. Release the springs and inhale. Repeat as much as you can. You can also step on one handle and hold the other handle with one hand. Then slowly pull the springs upward repeatedly. Chest expanders work out your chest, arms (biceps and triceps), shoulders, and back muscles. They are ideal in developing your wing muscles for a V-shaped body. See “CHEST EXPANDER” illustration, page 72.
  3. Bending Bar – A bending bar is actually a heavy duty single spring coiled several times in the middle and attached with rubber handles on both ends. The aim is to hold the handles with both hands and try to bend the bar as hard as you can. The goal is to bring the handles together in front of you as you bend the bar. Maintain that position as long as you can. Exhale as you hold, and inhale as you release. After you release, repeat the bending as much as you can. Bending bars are excellent in defining your biceps and triceps, chest, wing muscles, and part of your upper back muscles. They are also excellent in giving you a V-shaped body. For advanced sessions, try to keep the bar as far as possible from your chest as you bend it. If you can fully stretch your arms in front while bending the bar, so much the better. See “ISOMETRIC BENDING BAR” illustration, page 71.


Instead of powerful springs, you can also opt for powerful pistons. However, pistons can be very stubborn devices to push and pull. They won’t easily budge in, except through strong force. Below are examples of pistons.

  1. The Shock Absorber – If you have a spare shock absorber from your car, you can use this as an effective chest expander and bending bar all rolled into one. The more unyielding the shocks you use, the more effective they are. Place makeshift handles on both ends of the shock device. Push the shocks in, and then pull it out. Do this repeatedly. This time, there’s no need to prolong your hold as you apply maximum pull or squeeze. Prolonged holds are good only for springs. You may choose to use several shocks at a time to add power to resistance. See “SHOCK ABSORBER” illustration, page 69.
  2. The Manual Water Pump – In rural parts of certain countries, manual water pumps are still in use. If you happen to have a water pump available, you may use this as an isometric power piston device to develop and define your arms, chest, and back muscles. Pump the lever using your hands one at a time.


Many machine pulleys are a combination of weights, levers, and Isometrics. Hence, if you find these machines too expensive, you can have weights and isometrics as your more affordable alternative.


If you are on a tight budget, you can use a bike tire tube as your chest expander. Hold it on opposite sides of the round tube with each hand, then stretch sideways. Prolong your hold as you apply your best stretch. Then release. Repeat the process.

You can also fasten one side to a fixed iron hook on a wall and hold the other side with your hand. Then, with the wall at your back, push the tube forward without moving your feet. You may also choose to pull the tube as you are facing the wall. You can use two tubes for both your hands. For advanced sessions, double or triple the tubes for stronger resistance.


Big or small rubber balls inflated with air are also effective Isometric tools. To produce the effect of a handgrip, you can use your fingers to squeeze small ones like tennis balls. To imitate the effect of a bending bar, you can compress bigger balls like basketballs.

Utilizing any isometric method and device coupled with weightlifting is a powerful bulk and definition muscle builder.


Opting for a device-less weight-training program is good for beginners. This is often advisable for those who would like to try the discipline for trial periods. This method is also effective for bulk building and definitions. However, more effort and strength are needed, and the scenarios may not be as glamorous as when you have stainless barbells and equipment.


Do regular push-ups. This time, let someone lie flat on your back. Do ten repetitions of four sets. As you progress, add to the load. See “DEVICE-LESS PUSH-UPS” illustration, page 73.

For definition, stand on your hands with your feet leaning against a wall. Do push-ups, lifting your body up and down. Never do this without expert supervision. See “VERTICAL PUSH-UPS” illustration, page 73. Do four sets of ten repetitions.


Do squats without a barbell on you shoulders. This time, have somebody ride you by sitting on your shoulders. Do four sets of ten repetitions.  See “DEVICE-LESS SQUATS” illustration, page 73.


Lie on the bench the way you would when doing a regular bench press. Only this time, instead of pushing a barbell up and down, you carry somebody on top of you, with his back on your hands and his feet on your lap. Hold him by his shoulders (or at the center of his back), then push him up and down as you would a barbell. If as you progress he becomes too light for you, push him alternately with your right arm, and then with your left arm. If that still is too light for you, look for a heavier person to push. See “DEVICE-LESS BENCH PRESS” illustration, page 73.

With enough patience, will power, and a good diet, these three methods will take you places in bodybuilding. Wonderful muscle bulk and definition can be attained, not to mention tremendous stamina and muscle power.

These methods affect the body very differently from lifting steel weights. In the former, the weight is distributed more evenly over the body. Whereas when you lift weight plates, the concentration is only on a few target areas in the body.

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