Take a moment to consider just how much of your time is spent sitting. We sit down to eat our breakfast, then we sit in our cars or public transportation to get to work, then we sit at our desks during the workday. When we come home, we sit on the couch and watch TV. Excessive sitting doesn’t mean we’re lazy, it’s just a part of modern life.
With all that sitting, it’s no surprise that our health is starting to take a toll. Only 20% of American adults are getting the recommended amount of physical activity to begin with . Add to that a sitting epidemic, and you have a very real health risk.
It’s important to note that it’s not just sitting that’s the problem. It’s inactivity. Even standing still for long periods of time, such as on assembly lines, will take a toll .
The overall issue is immobility for long stretches of time.
Fortunately, this is a problem that’s easy to solve. It’s as simple as setting a reminder on your phone or computer and getting up to stretch and walk around for a few minutes throughout the day.
Here’s why you need to get off your butt, and a few ways to save yourself:
Between 1965 and 2009, the number of hours the average American adult spent sitting down each week increased by 12 hours. In 1965, adults spent 26 hours per week sitting. Fast forward to 2009, and adults spend 38 hours per week sitting.
This increase in chair time has been attributed to many things, including the fact that more and more modern jobs are done sitting at a computer.
This may sound like a lot, but it’s really not that surprising if you think about it. Walk yourself through the past week and tally up your hours doing the following:
A report published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation found that no amount of exercise can counteract the negative effects of sitting all day. That means that you can spend three hours at the gym each night, but if you’ve been sitting motionless for an eight-hour workday the damage is done. The key is to take frequent breaks from sitting throughout the day–and also go to the gym (and supplement properly)!
When you are sitting for 30 minutes, an hour, or more, here’s what happens in your body that causes harm:
A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sitting for eight hours or more each day increased the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes by as much as 90 percent.
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that women who sit for 10+ hours per day are more at risk for developing heart disease, the leading cause of death among women .
A study published by the National Cancer Institute reported that sitting is associated with an increased risk of developing multiple types of cancer, including: Lung cancer (risk increased by as much as 54%) Colon cancer (risk increased by as much as 30%) Uterine cancer (risk increased by as much as 66%)
Being mostly sedentary increases mortality, making you 24% more likely to die from any health issue.
Use an app or alarm clock to set a timer to go off every 30 minutes. When you hear the alarm stand up and move around–stretch, walk, do a jig, whatever you feel like. As little as 60-90 seconds of physical activity for every 30 minutes of sitting can offset its negative effects.
Sit-stand desks are adjustable so that you can easily switch back and forth between standing and sitting throughout the day. A study found that sit-stand workstations reduced the time employees spent in a sedentary position by 3.2 hours per week. While standing still for long periods of time isn’t good either, the change-up can help you move more throughout the day.
Your coworker’s annoying leg bouncing and thumb twiddling may actually be saving their life! A study of 13,000 women published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the women who sat still without fidgeting for seven or more hours per day increased their mortality risk from all causes by 30%. In contrast, the women who sat the same amount of time but fidgeted actually lowered their overall mortality risks.
 Park, Alice. “Exercise Benefits Your Health, But Only If You Sit Less.” Time, Time, 19 Jan. 2015, time.com/3672428/exercise-sitting/.
 Hutchinson, Alex. “Standing All Day Is Twice as Bad as Sitting for Your Heart.” Runner’s World, Runner’s World, 13 Sept. 2017, www.runnersworld.com/sweat-science/standing-all-day-is-twice-as-bad-as-sitting-for-your-heart.
 Walton, Alice G. “More Evidence That Sitting Is Bad For Us — And Exercise Alone Won’t Save Us.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 18 Aug. 2016, www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2016/08/17/more-evidence-that-sitting-is-bad-for-us-and-exercise-alone-wont-save-us/#24900eda35e2.
 Geggel, Laura. “Too Much Sitting Is Killing You (Even If You Exercise).” LiveScience, Purch, 21 Jan. 2015, www.livescience.com/49518-sitting-cancer-heart-risk.html.
   Strutner, Suzy. “Sitting All Day Is Even More Dangerous Than We Thought.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 13 Sept. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sitting-health-effects_us_57b4b4e3e4b095b2f5421a58.
  Biswas, Aviroop, et al. “Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults.” Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 162, no. 2, 20 Jan. 2015, pp. 123–132., DOI:10.7326/m14-1651.
 Chomistek, Andrea, et al. “Relationship of Sedentary Behavior and Physical Activity to Incident Cardiovascular Disease.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology, vol. 61, no. 23, Jun. 2013, DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2013.03.031.
 World Health Organization. International statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Geneva: World Health Organization, 1992. Available at http://www.who.int/classifications/icd/en/. Accessed April 15, 2010.
 Heath, Rory. “Sitting Ducks – Sedentary Behaviour and Its Health Risks: Part One of a Two Part Series.” British Journal of Sports Medicine Blogs, 21 Jan. 2015, blogs.bmj.com/bjsm/2015/01/21/sitting-ducks-sedentary-behaviour-and-its-health-risks-part-one-of-a-two-part-series/.
 Park, Alice. “Sedentary Behavior Increases Cancer Risk by Up to 66%.” Time, Time, 16 June 2014, time.com/2884953/sitting-can-increase-your-risk-of-cancer-by-up-to-66/?iid=time_speed.
 Dr. Mercola. “New Study Debunks Dangers of Prolonged Sitting.” Mercola.com, Peak Fitness, 30 Oct. 2015, fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2015/10/30/prolonged-sitting-health-risks.aspx.
 Greenhouse, Pat. “Yes Sitting at Work Is Bad, but Is Standing Actually Better? – The Boston Globe.” BostonGlobe.com, Boston Globe, 3 Nov. 2014, www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2014/11/03/yes-sitting-work-bad-but-standing-actually-better/7ceei6fb0B7QjgAH3FlOrK/story.html.
 Hagger-Johnson, G, et al. “Sitting Time, Fidgeting, and All-Cause Mortality in the UK Women’s Cohort Study.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26416340.
There’s a bodybuilding mantra that was made popular in the 1960s that focused on the importance of the arms.
“Arms and chest are always the best!”
This mantra highlights the truism that when it comes to aesthetics, the arms and upper body are always the first to get noticed. Many men instinctively know this is true, but they overthink their plans for building arm muscles.
There is no argument against diet, rest, nutrition, and supplementation being important when focusing on building a great set of arms.
However, when it comes to training arms for massive gains, it’s important to consider the function and construction of arm muscles. These are some of the most versatile, yet mostly simply constructed muscles in the body. Take a few cues from some bodybuilders who were known for their incredible arms.
“… remember that once you get going, you must handle as much weight as possible, but always in good form.”
– Larry Scott, Mr. Olympia 1965-1966
“I don’t know; I never count sets.”
– Sergio Oliva, Mr. Olympia 1967-1969
“The cheating barbell curl stands alone for building mass.”
– Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. Olympia 1970-75, and 1980
Each of these champions were known for their incredibly well-developed arms and they approached arm training with a simple philosophy: lift heavy weights, aim for a maximum pump, and always train to – and even past – the point of failure.
This seems obvious to any man who has spent time in a gym. The most basic principle of muscle growth is breaking plateaus.
So why do so many men fail to grow massive arms?
It helps to first understand your arms’ general anatomy.
The versatility of the biceps and triceps allows a man to perform nearly endless types of upper body motions. This versatility is also what allows the biceps and triceps to be worked easily in bodybuilding situations. The simple act of closing and opening the elbow joint fully engages all of the muscles in each group. Adding resistance recruits muscle fibers fully and efficiently.
Understanding this is the key element to developing arm size.
Men fail to add mass to their arms because they spend too much time on exercise variations, rather than simple weighted lifts.
With extremely light weights, fewer total muscle fibers are activated. With heavy weights, more total fibers are activated. As multiple lift sets are performed, some fibers become filled with waste materials like lactic acid and ammonia. When this happens, other fibers are recruited to complete the lifts. Heavy weights recruit the greatest number of total fibers in each muscle group.
And as these muscle fibers are stressed under heavy loads, they develop micro-tears. Blood is pumped into the muscle fibers to compensate for these injuries, and the fascia is stretched. When this stretching happens, minerals and nutrients are released to begin work on repairing the torn muscle fibers. As these micro-tears are repaired, the results are ultimately larger and stronger muscle fibers, meaning muscle growth.
In other words, you need to stress your biceps and triceps in order for them to grow.
To put this into practical terms, heavy pushing and pulling from the elbow joint provides maximum stimulus for bicep and tricep growth.
Think about it.
20 minutes of heavy barbell curling will certainly stress arm muscle fibers to the point of micro-tearing far better than an hour of performing sign language.
In short, if a man wants his arm muscles to grow, he must subject both the triceps and biceps to weight loads that provide the necessary muscular challenge and stress.
When a man flexes his arms, he holds his arms outstretched and flexes from the elbow. This causes a contraction in both the biceps and the triceps. The bicep contraction is greater because the elbow joint is activated and shortens the bicep head. Magically, a bicep peak is seen.
Psychologically, humans perceive the bicep as the more prominent and aesthetically appealing part of the arm. Overall mass is certainly important to developing an impressive peak.
Despite the attractiveness of a peaked bicep, it is the triceps that provide the majority of the arm’s bulk.
Even in men with underdeveloped arms, the triceps account for two thirds of the upper arm’s total mass.
This underscores another reason why many men fail to grow impressive arm mass. They concentrate almost exclusively on building a bicep peak.
Instead, they should focus the greatest amount of work on the muscle group with the most potential to become huge, the triceps complex. Adding mass to the triceps will increase arm size quicker than through the biceps, adding a more definitive visual dimension. Keep this old-school Venice Beach mantra in mind when building arms.
“Biceps are for the eyes, but triceps are for size!”
Every arm workout should begin with a short series of acclimatization movements. Warm the arm muscles with a couple of sets of 15-30 repetitions of movements like:
Biceps and triceps are also intertwined with muscle groups like the deltoids in the shoulder and the pecs. Loosen the shoulder girdle and upper chest with several minutes of circumductive band stretching and bodyweight hangs from a bar using overhand and underhand grips. Since an effective arm mass workout involves lifting heavy weights, lower back, glute, and hamstring stretching is also advised.
Then begin the workout. Remember, keep it simple and challenging.
Straight Bar, or EZ Bar Curls
Barbell Curl 100 Rep Strip Set
That’s it! With three minutes between each failure set, and a concentration on maximum pump, the biceps will be fully stimulated for gaining mass. The trick is to experiment with load amounts over the course of several workouts to achieve true muscle failure. This will ensure complete muscle fiber activation.
Pressdown/Pushdown (cable, machine, platform, other variations)
Overhead Rope Pull
This exercise involves full stretching and flexing of the triceps. Allow the arms to stretch behind the head, and rotate the wrists outward when the arms are fully extended.
Bodyweight Bench Dips
* Special note: Some men increase the intensity and power in their heavy arm workouts by wearing a cinched weight belt. Wearing a belt increases valsalvic blood and air pressure, which encourages pumps in the upper body. It also provides support when attempting certain “cheat” exercises.
Another mass secret that most men neglect is post-workout nutrition. After a body part is put under extreme stress, there exists a window to introduce nutrients that are essential in the fiber-healing, size-building process.
Drink plenty of water and eat a calorie-dense meal. Or, if you’re like most guys and want to get this over with quick, down your favorite protein shake after your workout to get a blast of protein.
Part of adding mass is prompting the body to constantly repair itself, and good post-workout nutrition is vital.
Size and mass are interchangeable terms when applied to muscles. Arm muscles are no exception. In order to increase in size, arm muscles must be stimulated according to their most basic movement ranges. This is achieved with heavy weights, under the force of gravity, being shifted with contraction and extension from the elbow joint.
The vast majority of men who achieve incredible arm mass rely on one workout indicator to measure progress: creating a pump that leads to muscle failure. Most men never experience an arm workout that includes muscle failure. They always frame their workouts around a strict set and rep combination. While this promotes strength gain, it doesn’t always promote size increase.
The problem with muscle failure is that it’s more mental than physical. Left alone, the body as a machine can perform lifts until it literally shuts down, or stops because of injury. It’s the mind that convinces a lifter to stop before reaching failure.
When performing a set, a good indication of failure is when the force of gravity completely overpowers the force of a muscle. This means lifting until reps have almost no positive/concentric phases, and only powerful negative/eccentric phases. Experienced mass monsters know that even after failure, with a breath of air, at least one more rep can be squeezed out. That extra effort beyond what seems to be a limit is where growth happens. That push beyond the perceived norm is where muscle fibers are commanded to become more massive.
When performing an arm muscle set, pick an ideal number of reps at which to fail. Once that number is met, go past it with abandon. True failure, and the coinciding growth, will come as a shock. Increase weight loads over time to achieve true failure with less reps. This is the formula that allows arm muscles to reach their size potentials.
To many men, yoga is largely viewed as a feminine activity. However, with time more men have come to appreciate the numerous benefits practicing yoga has on their health and general wellbeing.
From improving flexibility and muscle strength to helping them gain an all-around level fitness, more men continue to find a reason to try out yoga.
You should too, especially if you want to even out certain aspects of your life or are fighting such disorders as sleep or depression…or maybe you simply want to improve your cognitive functions.
Here are 15 awesome yoga benefits for men that should get you rolling the mat.
You are probably mainly building muscles through strength training in the gym. So how can yoga and the fact that it doesn’t involve lifting heavy stuff contribute to muscle mass and strength buildup?
The minor point here is that while strength training relies on lifting heavy shit, yoga takes advantage of your body’s natural resistance abilities as well as your own weight to strengthen its own muscles. You become the heavy shit. However, only a few studies have been done, and the main one focuses on women 35-50 years old. You’re probably not a woman.
The major point here in relation to increasing strength with yoga is that it can help you lift heavier stuff in the gym. This study shows that regular yoga classes increased the amount of weight participants could deadlift. They didn’t measure any other strength metric, but from personal anecdotal experience, I’d suggest the muscle relief and flexibility gained from yoga help in almost all lifts.
Just remember that like gym sessions, you have to commit to these poses regularly and for specific amounts of time if you want to achieve results.
If you are like most people, you often find touching your toes or bending backward hard enough if not utterly impossible. Inability to perform these two simple tasks is an indication of underlying health concerns.
However, yoga can help you with this.
But don’t quit if you can’t master this flexibility test after a few sessions. Remember that unlike fat-reducing chemicals or supplements that promise immediate results, yoga is wholly natural and, therefore, requires time and effort to get you flexible.
If you stick with the practice and perform progressively more difficult routines, you will notice gradual loosening of the muscles and joints in your body. All of a sudden some seemingly impossible poses become possible, and that’s not only good for your physical health, but your mental health and motivation, too.
Did you know that yoga is often referred to as passive cardio in reference to the numerous cardiovascular benefits it offers?
Over time, yoga specialists have come up with several poses meant to trigger different heart actions including low blood pressure, increased heart rate or even improved circulation.
Additionally, yoga poses allow for deep breathing, thus allowing for the intake of more oxygen into the bloodstream that when transported to some vital body organs such as the skin and brain has limitless rejuvenation effects.
The increased circulation and oxygenation stimulates red blood cells growth that in effect helps avert numerous blood-related illnesses such as strokes while the increased heart rate helps you avoid such conditions as heart attacks.
Unless critically injured, you don’t get to stick to a single pose for an entire yoga position, especially if you seek to enjoy all the benefits that yoga brings along.
You have to keep adjusting our poses and alternating between several to relax various parts of your body.
With this change of posture comes bodily contractions and muscle stretching that in turn moves the body organs around. This allows for the increased production and drainage of lymph within the body.
Remember that this viscous body fluid is rich in immune cells that help the body fight infections including the destruction of cancerous cells. Additionally, the improved cell oxidation and blood flow help with the removal of toxic waste from the body thus promoting optimal cell function and helping avoid such infections as inflammation.
If left to accumulate within the body, stress has disastrous effects on your emotional, physical, and social life. But do you always have to turn to pharmaceutical medications to relieve stress and depression?
Yoga for men presents a wholly natural, side-effect-free method of coping with stress and depression in your life.
Rather than relying on some pill to make you right, why don’t you put some work in and do what needs to be done to get your mental health under control as much as your physical health?
A healthy body is important, but a healthy mind is equally important in order to prevent diseases that can lower your quality of life.
Yoga helps relieve anxiety, allowing you to concentrate on your tasks and remain focused on your goals at hand.
It also slows down mental loops that often stimulate stress signals such as anger or frustration.
When you stand up straight, it takes less effort for the neck and other muscles to support it.
Tilting your neck forward or backward disrupts this posture, and if you stay in this position for extended periods of time, it can cause injuries either now or later, haunting you in your older years.
Yoga also helps stabilize muscles and improves balance, minimizing the number of falls in your old age (many of which lead to things like broken hips, which at that age might never mend fully).
And if you’re still young, the proper posture that yoga helps you achieve will only benefit you in your daily activities, including sports, because your muscles will be less strained and far more flexible.
Can’t sleep? Maybe you’re stress and tossing and turning with a pages-long to-do list in your head. When faced with such a situation, consider turning to such yoga practices as meditation or savasana that involve slowing down your brain activity, providing much needed downtime for the nervous system and in effect allow the sneaking in of deep sleep.
All of us experience low self-esteem at some point in our lives. It can be hard to break out of those cycles of self-doubt.
Through yoga, you learn how to appreciate your worth and discover certain aspects of your personality that you never realized existed that help elevate your sense of worth and that of others.
What is concentration to you?
Does it mean holding on to the telephone or the steering wheel while driving with a death grip and no side glances or does it mean adopting a statue pose when reading?
In most cases, these actions turn out to be unconscious behaviors that, if not addressed in time, might lead to chronic muscle fatigue and stress that prove hard to correct later in life.
Yoga sessions teach you to identify all the parts of the body where you hold tension, as well as the cause of the tension. Working with an expert, you can come up with comfortable practices that help you reduce tension around these areas.
Often, men aren’t societally encouraged to retrieve stress in natural ways such as crying. To cope, some turn to addictive behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse.
Others simply avoid the problem until it builds up to the point where the stress turns inward and makes them sick. Yoga is great for stress and depression elimination.
As mentioned before, yoga can be quite physically exerting and can definitely provide a physical workout.
Additionally, the physical and mental yoga exercises help shield you from most lifestyle diseases like diabetes and blood pressure. If you already suffer any of these, yoga can help you deal with some of their effects.
Are you familiar with the “happy” hormones, dopamine and serotonin? Production of these hormones helps flood your mind with a sense of happiness–a natural high.
Practicing yoga poses and meditation helps stimulate the production of these hormones.
Recent studies have also shown significant increase of brain mass associated with contentment among long-term yoga practitioners.
Typically, a single yoga session a day is enough to improve your moods by altering your brain cell activity.
Whoever thought you could turn to yoga and meditation to boost your testosterone hormone levels and boost your sex drive?
During instances of stress, your body and the brain concentrate on the production of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone ends up consuming most of the cholesterol necessary for the production of the male sex hormone testosterone. However, yoga helps fight stress.
Thus most of the brain attention turns from cortisol to testosterone. These hormones in turn help build up muscle mass and boost erectile potency.
Yoga helps you keep stress, depression, and all their associated ailments at bay as well as improve other aspects of life such as better cardiovascular functions and optimal brain activity, all of which contribute to an increased lifespan.
Are you guy who’s wary of joining a “girly” yoga class because of peer pressure? Consider all the benefits outlined above, from weight loss and a mood boost to mental clarity, better brain function, and a stronger sex drive.
Now there’s no reason not to give it a try.