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20 ways to get ripped quick

Every GQ type magazine seems to pump out lists like this every week, but many of these lists are riddled with myths, quick fixes, and supplements (that their magazine also conveniently sells). Instead of blowing smoke and trying to sell products, here is a rundown of what athletes are using in order to ‘get ripped’ so they can play their sport in peak physical condition. The list will be broken into 3 parts: the basics to get started, some sledge hockey specific tips, and a few advanced moves for those who are well on their way but need that little extra boost. Whether the goal is to shed some pounds or to add some size, here are some tips that will actually work. Unfortunately most of them are not exactly ‘quick’, but they WILL work; so if you save yourself from marketing ploys and broscience which may or may not work, you will save yourself a ton of time. The long and short of it is: getting ripped quick is impossible, but here are the best ways to do it, which saves you from wasting your time and makes it as fast as possible.

One more small caveat: do we even want to be ripped for our sport? At a certain point, gaining more muscle won’t get you better at your sport. Classic law of diminishing returns. Eating one doughnut is awesome. Two is pretty sweet too. Eating 12 doughnuts sucks. It’s very important to keep in mind that if your ultimate goal is to get better at your sport ‐ weight training is just one tool in the toolbox that helps you do so. What it boils down to is: train hard, have goals, but don’t lose sight of the big picture.

A. Big Rocks These first few tips are usually overlooked by people because they are not flashy. But let me assure you, if you don’t have the basics down and you are spending money on expensive supplements or other products, you are putting your cart before your horse.

1. Rest ‐ If not the most important, then at least the most underrated aspect. The culture of

lifting for size is dominated by the idea that ‘no pain, no gain!’ or ‘go till failure every set!’ Unfortunately rest is where the actual gains take place. Adequate rest is what allows for the biggest volume of high quality training. We will get into more specifics as we go. 2. Reps ‐ Most people go by the idea that the 6‐12 rep range is ideal for hypertrophy. I would say that the research on this has much more area grey than you would think. Not to say it’s a bad idea to lift in that range for size, but if you are really drinking the kool aid on this idea you can miss out, as muscles growth happens in several ways in the body. So add some high (above 12) and low (below 6) rep ranges to your training if looking for muscle size increase. 3. Sets ‐ Changing the reps in a workout changes the goal of the exercise (size, endurance,

power, etc) but changing the sets changes the volume of the workout. If you are training for your sport, you don’t want to just train to failure and do a bunch of sloppy, ugly reps. Instead, change how many sets you do based on how your body feels that day. If you just got back from an away tournament, but monday is the only day you can train, then hit 3 sets and go home. If you are fresh as a daisy and ready to work, then up your volume to as high as you can sustain (and keep the quality).

4. Time Under Tension ‐ changes in reps is actually changing how long of a timeframe the

muscle is under tension. Other ways to manipulate this variable is to change how long each rep takes. This can be a deep rabbit hole, but to start ‐ try making some exercises harder by doing them slower (rather than just adding weight). Doing 10 bodyweight chin ups is one thing, doing 10 chin ups with a 4 second count on the way down is a whole different story. Or 8 seconds. Or 10. PS ‐ don’t plan on being able to reach over your own head the next day if you do sets of 10 rep chin ups with a 10 count on the lowering portion. 5. Volume ‐ The amount of total reps you do (reps per set times total sets completed) in a

session is part of a bigger picture: training volume in a week, month, or year. This is a very complex idea which has textbooks and textbooks dedicated to it. The whole idea is training as much as possible, but not so much that you shoot yourself in the foot and become overtired, injured, or just generally drained. Varying your sets each session can help with this, but another great way to keep the quality as high as possible is to take a full rest week every 4‐6 weeks. If you need to take the whole week off, then do so. If you just need to go lighter for a week, so be it. I’ve also had lots of success with just taking out the big lifts for a week and doing some supplementary lifts (no meat, no potatoes, just eat your damn broccoli!). 6. Protein ‐ I don’t want to over complicate this issue with a bunch of calculations and math

when most people are not doing the basics (nutritionally speaking) to gain size or slim down. With protein, just think of it this way: how many meals a day are you getting over 20‐25 grams of protein? Let's just start here: it should be several. 7. Calories ‐ If you do not eat more than you burn, you will not gain size. If you do not burn more than you eat, you will not lose fat. Simple as that. The first thing you should do nutritionally is calculate to make sure this is happening. If this is not happening then it doesn’t matter what supplements you take, or what you cut out of your diet, or how many ‘superfoods’ you eat. 8. Sleep ‐ Related to rest, volume, and getting as much quality training in as possible ‐ you

should get adequate amounts of sleep. There are so so so many benefits to sleep, but one that is often overlooked is that during sleep, you get a huge spike of many chemicals that, when synthesized, are illegal performance enhancers.

B. Sledge Hockey Specific Here are a couple ideas that mostly apply to all athletes, but need special attention for para‐athletes.

9. Focus on full body, compound lifts ‐ Unfortunately we cannot convert fat into muscle. The

six pack abs underneath will not show themselves just by working only that part of the body. Therefore the bigger the better (think squats, deadlifts, chin ups, push ups, bench press, This idea is especially important when athletes have limitations in their training, it can take some creativity or special equipment in order to do some compound lifts. 10. Metabolism ‐ Depending on the athlete’s injury, it can be hard to expend calories

throughout the day (your metabolic rate is lowered). The more you can move around in a

day, the higher your metabolic rate, therefore the less amount of calories you need to burn to lose fat. Try adding some physical activity outside of your workouts (go for a stroll with the family, use your car a little less, etc). 11. Don’t Get Injured ‐ Whatever your goals are, you can’t take steps towards them in the

weight room if you are injured. This is especially important for athletes who use need to use their arms much more than average joe. Two ways to accomplish this is to A) Watch the volume of arm exercises (take a rest week every 4 weeks is a good way to start), and B) Improve your technique on each exercise to minimise stress on the tissues. One great example is for bench press: imagine you are ‘splitting the bar in two’ away from your body when doing the movement. Like snapping a wishbone. This will keep torque in the shoulder joint so the shoulders stay back and down in a safe spot, rather than round forward and shrug as the weight gets heavy. 12. Variation ‐ This is a fine balance, as you can see above, there are many variables to

manipulate to make a good program. The problem is, if you calculate everything out so the program is perfectly suited to gain muscle and you just do that same program forever, you will plateau. If this was not true, then there would be no such thing as a fat construction worker. But ultimately the body adapts to whatever stress you put on it so subtle variation is key. *note the word subtle* ‐ we want enough saturation that you get benefit, but too much will cause stagnation. 13. Training Partners ‐ A huge X factor for any athlete is having someone to train with. This is

a boost which will get you more out of each workout than any pre supplement will. Any legal one that is. Ideally you train in groups of three, so odds are someone is having a good enough day to pick up the rest.

C. The Extra 10% Finally, here are some bells and whistles to add if all the above are already in place.

14. Don’t Cut Cardio ‐ It seems very fashionable these days to demonize cardio. I’ve heard

many claims that you will lose your ‘gains’ if you do too much aerobic work. Here is a little proof on the other side of this argument: there is an ultramarathoner who runs a 4:32 min mile, who can squat over 700 lbs, deadlifts 700lbs, and bench presses 465 lbs. The point I’m getting at here is don’t get caught up in fads. Use some of these tips to train smart and you will be fine. 15. Escalating Density Training ‐ This is a very cool advanced technique that is a sure fire way

to build muscle when you’ve hit a plateau with the basics. You can look up more detail on the method, but simply put ‐ you pick two exercises (for example chin ups and back squat or left leg lunges and right leg lunges) then you test to see how heavy you can go on the exercise for 10 reps. Once you have your weights, you set your timer for 15 minutes and do as many sets of 5 reps with your 10 rep max weight as you can. Instead of changing the weight each workout, you just try to get more sets in each time. Although the weight does not change, by the end of the program your program has much more volume (that is to say density). Proceed with caution, this is a very advanced technique.

16. Eccentric Training ‐ This is related to the Time Under Tension tip from the A section. One

way to build up big muscle is to focus on the lowering part of the exercise. The example given in section A was doing 10 second lowering for chin ups. With this technique you can also go above your max: imagine you can bicep curl 40 lb dumbbells once. If you grab 45 lb dumbbells, have a spotter help you bring the weight to the top, then slowly lower for 8 seconds, then get assistance every time you go up ‐ this will cause huge increase in muscle size. 17. Blood Flow Restriction Training ‐ this advanced technique came about because it was

realized that the veins take much less pressure to restrict than the arteries, so by using bands to restrict blood flow slightly, the cells will swell and reconstruct in a larger form (aka bigger muscle cells). This is a little oversimplified but the detailed explanation is beyond the scope of this article. Wrap yourself about 7 out of 10 tightness (and be careful ‐ stop if there is numbness or tingling). Focus on high reps (15‐30) with light weights (half or less of the weight you would normally use). Sounds weird I know, lift light weight and get big muscle growth? Sign me up! 18. Try Wide Grip Variation ‐ Thick grip variations of some exercises (especially pulls) can be a game changer. Wide grip pullups (wide as in bar`s thickness, not how far apart your hands are), rows, or deadlifts (if you dare) are a great variation to throw in for some forearm brutality. 19. Sport Specific ‐ I am not a big fan of the term sport specific because general training is

VERY important in the big picture of athletic training. I think true ‘sport specific’ moves should be reserved for right before the season or during (if at all ‐ some high speed moves like a golf swing or baseball swing can be hampered by doing training that is too similar to it, because you can mess with your timing). But the point is, if you are trying to add muscle to improve at your sport, train movement rather than muscles. If you just want to gain size then definitely isolate each specific muscle, but for sport development focus on movement. Instead of thinking biceps, triceps, pecs, etc; just make sure you get horizontal pushes and pulls, vertical pushes and pulls, etc. This way you will focus on compound moves that will translate well to on ice performance. 20. Last, and Least: Supplements ‐ I say this because most people jump to the supplement train as a first means of getting more muscle. With all the previous (and almost all are FREE) tips ‐ how can you justify starting with the most expensive way of gaining more muscle? The most important supplement out there is protein powder. Creatine or BCAA’s would also be up there on my list. If you are curious about the efficacy of a supplement ‐ search it on examine.com and take a look at the studies on it yourself!

Hope this was helpful and gave you some new ideas for training!

Alexander Bell‐Moratto