shoulder and back workout for females

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What exercise pulls your shoulders back?
Other exercises Planks work the core and lower back muscles.

Pull-ups or seated rows – People with access to gym equipment can benefit from doing pull-ups or seated rowing with moderate weights.

These exercises build strength in the shoulders and chest.

Back Shoulders Workout for Women Result Sexy Back | Top Fitness Home

What exercise is best for back fat?
The lat pulldown is a good exercise to strengthen the lats and create a toned, triangular shape. Waist exercises. If you want to whittle the back of your waist, try doing exercises that strengthen the oblique abdominal muscles and also the erector spinae, the muscles that run along the spine.

How do you lose back and arm fat?
Focus on Overall Weight Loss. Spot reduction is a technique that focuses on burning fat in a specific part of your body, such as the arms.

Start Lifting Weights. Increase Your Fiber Intake. Add Protein to Your Diet. Do More Cardio. Cut Down on Refined Carbs. Set a Sleep Schedule. Stay Hydrated.

How do you tighten your back muscles?
Lie on one side with the legs together. Keep the lower leg slightly bent. Draw the bellybutton into the spine to engage the core muscles.

Raise the top leg about 18 inches, keeping it straight and extended. Hold the position for 2 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

Sculpting Long, Lean and Lovely Shoulders - Women Fitness

How do I stop my shoulder from hunching?
A chest stretch. Stand with your hands clasped behind your back with your arms straight. An upper arm stretch.

Extend one arm straight out and place your other hand behind the elbow of your outstretched arm. Arm circles. Shoulder lifts.

How long does it take to correct rounded shoulders?
When done correctly, there will be a slight stretch in the back and shoulders. This position can be held for up to 10 minutes each day for the best results.

Does sleeping on your side cause rounded shoulders?
When you side sleep, your head tends to fall toward your shoulder and the bed, and if you don’t have a side sleeping pillow, your head will fall too far and bend your neck and upper spine out of alignment.

This can also cause neck, shoulder, and even jaw pain after sleeping on your side.

20 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds in a Month | Back exercises, Workout ...

Why do I have so much back fat?
A lack of cardio exercise or a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to back fat.

A diet that’s high in sodium or sugar can also contribute to inflammation in your body, making back fat and “bloat” appear to be significant.

What is back fat called?
Back fat or bra bulges as they are called happen to be one tough fat spot on your otherwise smart body.

Back fat is located at the upper part of your lower back. For this reason, it isn’t easily visible when you look at yourself in the mirror.

Does plank reduce back fat?
Plank is one of the best calorie burning and beneficial exercises.

A plank hold engages multiple muscles at once, thereby benefiting the core strength of your body.

Not just burning the fat around your abdomen area, they also work by giving you an improved posture, flexibility as well as a tighter tummy.

How to Develop an Effective Back Workout

what will crossfit do for me in 2020?

What is a CrossFit workout?

A form of high intensity interval training, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning workout that is made up of functional movement performed at a high intensity level. CrossFit is similar to Orange Theory in that there is a standard “workout of the day” (WOD) that all members complete on the same day.

CrossFit Fever Games | CrossFit Fever | Flickr

Can I Do CrossFit at Home? Every day, puts out the workout of the day (or WOD), which can be done at home, in a commercial gym, or in a CrossFit gym. Many times, you’ll run into situations where you can’t complete a particular workout because you don’t have the right equipment.

Is CrossFit hard on your joints?

When performed properly CrossFit is VERY good for your spine and joints. Repeated stress (from poor technique) to disc and ligaments of the spine, as well as cartilage and ligaments of any other joints of the body can take years to heal.

Is CrossFit better than gym?

Using a gym and custom fitness plan, you can design something around your desired outcome.” In summary, which is better really depends on the person. Weight training wins hands down for safety, but CrossFit wins for camaraderie and support. Both can build lean muscle, burn fat and have overall health benefits.

Crossfit Bootcamp Fitness Models - Must Link to https://th… | Flickr

Why is CrossFit bad?

CrossFit workouts several days in a row, let alone 5 days a week, doesn’t allow the body much time to heal from the workout. This not only slows your progress but it can cause stress fractures, strains, or even rhabdomyolysis from overtraining / under recovery.

Why are CrossFitters jacked?

Programming is another huge reason that CrossFitters are getting jacked. It’s definitely not as random as it once was especially with the strength portion of the WODs. They are staying more random in the met cons, but the energy system that they are working isn’t random at all.

Is CrossFit good for losing weight?

CrossFit Weight Loss Benefits “For weight loss,” says Zuffelato, “CrossFit can be an excellent program with some modifications.” Benefits of the program include: CrossFit burns calories: When performed properly, high-intensity workouts like CrossFit are extremely difficult.

File:Crossfit (120660109).jpeg - Wikimedia Commons

Why is CrossFit so expensive?

It’s too expensive. CrossFit gyms can run upwards of $200 a month for an unlimited membership, and many don’t even have the option for less (such as a punch card or limited access membership). For students or anyone on a budget, $200 a month just for a gym membership just isn’t realistic.

How do I start CrossFit alone?

The baseline starts with a 500-meter row or a 400-meter run. Immediately after your run, do 40 air squats, followed by 30 sit-ups. Then do 20 push-ups, followed by 10 burpees. Record your time so when you do this workout again you can aim for a faster time.

Shogun CrossFit fittest team in Asia > Kadena Air Base > Article ...

Is CrossFit hard on your knees?

“The few that exist found [CrossFit] to be about as safe as gymnastics or weightlifting and less likely to cause an injury than running,” said Alfonsi. Similarly, a study in Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that shoulder and low-back injuries were most common, followed by knee injuries.

How To Force Your Calves muscles To Grow

How To Force Your Calves muscles To Grow 1

Calves muscles have a special reputation in the bodybuilding community.

Although they are far from a priority to most lifters, if undersized, they can make an otherwise impressive physique look almost comical. In fact, the larger one’s upper body, the more top-heavy they appear when standing on twigs. This frustration is compounded by the fact that calves are one of the hardest muscle groups to grow – or at least they seem to be.

First, a little anatomy: the main muscles of the posterior calf are the gastrocnemius (two heads: lateralis and medialis) and the soleus. The soleus lies beneath the gastroc and is most mechanically powerful when the knees are bent. So for a rule of thumb, switch up standing and seated exercises to hit both the gastroc and soleus.

The two heads of the gastroc are also divided laterally. So pointing the toes inward during calf raises can help target the outer head of the gastroc and vica verca, but imbalances like these aren’t the most common problem.

The biggest problem is that the calves are treated as secondary by most bodybuilders. In reality, the small calve muscles are workhorses, supporting the entire body weight every step, every day. Three sets of ten tacked on at the end of a workout just isn’t going to force growth.

Different bodies respond to different stimuli, so whether or not your calves are shocked more by high weight or high rep will largely depend on considerations like whether or not you are a natural lifter and what physical activities you do outside the gym. But the biggest mistake lifter’s make is not volume vs weight, it’s work placement. Most people relegate calve work to THE END of their leg workouts. This is a mistake. On leg day, compound movements will fry your nervous system, and pour all the blood and nervous connection into the primary movers of the legs. This means calves get left with the lowest quality reps. Watch videos of Kai Greene training legs for example, he always STARTS with calves.

Do calves at the beginning of your workout, when you are most fresh, most focused, and your body is most responsive to targeting. Th pump and burn will be far better than what one can achieve at the end of a workout. Not only that, but emphasizing calves at the beginning makes them more likely to be engaged during the compound lifts.

Short story: calves don’t fail us – we fail them by not giving them the focus and attention they really need to grow.


12 Tips to Help You Build Muscle and Get an Impressive Physique

12 Tips to Help You Build Muscle and Get an Impressive Physique

For a few lucky people, building muscle is easy. All they need to do is simply walk into a gym, throw some weights around and by the time you see them next week they’re already big and shredded.

We call these people genetic freaks. Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re not one of them.bodybuilding workouts

However, for the majority of people, building muscle is hard and it may seem that no matter what they do, their body is not responding. Most of the time the reason is that they just don’t know how to combine all the training variables which trigger muscle growth.

Both men and women find it hard to achieve their goal bodies, because they get a ton of contradicting information from the millions of bodybuilding and fitness magazines, promising them a lean, muscular physique (with some sexy curves for the women), only to find themselves scratching their heads on where and how to start.

That’s what this article is for. It will tell you exactly what you need to do and how to to do it to build muscle and lose fat.

The tips provided apply equally to both men and women.

You should get lean before trying to build muscle

A mistake that a lot of people make is to think that they can just pack on some muscle mass first and then easily get rid of the added fat later.

In theory, this sounds like a good idea, because the more lean muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate is, however, it’s not that simple: one of the key factors which influences muscle growth is the level of sensitivity of our lean tissues to the hormone insulin.

The sad reality is that the vast majority of people especially in the Western world has some degree of resistance to insulin even if they have a low amount of body fat. Additionally, different body tissues have varying degrees of insulin sensitivity.

If this is you, you cannot expect fast results. You won’t be able to change your physique as quickly or as dramatically as someone who is already lean and has a high level of insulin sensitivity.

Insulin is a highly anabolic hormone and will quickly transport the necessary nutrients into your muscle cells, whereas if you’re in an insulin-resistant state it’s much more likely that the food you’ll eat will be stored as fat tissue.

The takeaway point here is that when you get your body to a lean condition, you will create an optimal hormonal environment that will be ready to work in your favor which in turn will make you more muscular in a shorter amount of time.

Multi-joint, compound movements should be the number one priority

One very big mistake that a lot of beginners make is thinking they should train each muscle separately, when in fact they should be doing the opposite. You will get much faster results when you train multiple muscle groups at the same time.

This can be achieved by doing multi-joint, compound movements that will allow you to use relatively heavier weights. The “big lifts” as they are popularly known are the deadlift, squat, bench press and the overhead press.

Using heavier weights will ensure that you stress the muscles to a higher degree, which means that you’ll be applying a greater stimulus to the muscle, forcing it to adapt to the added stress and grow.

When you do the “big lifts”, you create a greater amount of metabolic stress causing your body to release hormones which are involved in tissue repair.

The key hormones are growth hormone and testosterone (for men), as well as many others which are released in response to the training stimulus which recruits multiple muscle groups.

What’s more, most of the compound movements target the whole body in such a way that it’s applicable in real life, whether it be doing some heavy work, sports, or simply the ability to be flexible and move with speed.

The ideal training frequency when doing most training programs is four times a week using a training split, two days for the upper body muscles and two days for the lower body muscles, to maximize the recovery process.

However, if you’re not able to consistently train for one hour, four days a week, then doing a full-body workout is a good alternative to a body part split.

This will greatly optimize your time by training the greatest amount of muscle in the least amount of time, a concept known as “training economy”.build muscle

Assistance movements are priority number two

Assistance movements as the name itself implies are meant to assist the main compound movements by bringing balance and targeting your weak points throughout the body.

Most people deem them boring which is why they are mostly neglected. Some common examples include unilateral movements such as rotator cuff exercises, step-ups, then some posterior chain exercises such as hyper-extensions, back extensions, etc.

One simple method to identify what your weak points are is to look at the mobility and function of each joint.

Your shoulders, knees, and hips should be the first to be examined, proceeding with your elbows, ankles, and wrists as the smaller joints.

The best way to do it is by using strength tests, however since that is out of the scope of this article, the next best thing you can do is notice whether you experience pain, restricted range of motion or you have some weird movement patterns when moving the joint.

For example, when performing a single-leg squat, is your knee caving in towards the body? Are you leaning forward too much? Do you get out of balance?

If you want to achieve and then maintain a stunning physique, assistance movements are an absolute must, since they help you prevent injury and ultimately help you develop greater strength in the long term.

This will allow you to apply greater progressive overload to your muscles, which in turn will allow your continual muscle growth.

Continues on next page…

Arnold Classic 2020 Postmortem: Did Big Ramy Disappoint After a Long Layoff?

Big Ramy wasn’t his best self at the Arnold Classic 2020.

The Arnold Classic 2020 featured some of the best bodybuilders in the world vying for the top as champion. Unfortunately, it seemed like many of the competitors didn’t bring their A-game to what was meant to be a truly exciting show.

While we did get some pretty solid performances, particularly from champion William Bonac and Dexter Jackson, it seemed like the rest of the field of competitors gave in performances that left much to be desired.

Perhaps the most disappointing performance of them all was the one put in by none other than the most massive man on the Arnold Classic stage this past Saturday night, Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay.

Gifted with one of the most unreal physiques on the planet, Big Ramy hadn’t competed at the top level in over a year and it showed as he came into the show less than impressive. The biggest issue with Big Ramy has always been finding the sweet spot between the perfect conditioning and having the right size to showcase his primary attribute. While he still had the size to stand out among the crowded field, Big Ramy once showed his glaring weakness to be his conditioning.

Arnold Classic 2020 Postmortem: Did Big Ramy Disappoint After a Long Layoff? 2It appeared that Big Ramy still was holding a bit of water when he stepped on stage this past Saturday night. While his massive musculature is always a truly impressive sight to behold, the Egyptian bodybuilder simply didn’t have the lines and definition to out duel either William Bonac or Dexter Jackson.

This performance is definitely a shame especially when you consider the fact that Big Ramy took time off to retool and come back to the stage with an even more balanced and streamline physique. Unfortunately that’s not what happened at the Arnold Classic 2020. Instead what we got is a Big Ramy that looked pretty much exactly how he did back at the 2018 Olympia.

That said, Big Ramy was also the most massively muscled competitor at the show. But what people were expecting was a brand new Big Ramy, not the Big Ramy of old. There were moments when the Egyptian bodybuilder looked impressive and other times when it appeared that he was clearly lacking.

So what is Big Ramy to do in order to rectify his issues?

He’ll have to have better timing on his water cut in order to bring the right amount of definition to the stage. If he doesn’t get his timing under control and dehydrate to the right level.

On the other hand, Big Ramy was indeed the most muscular bodybuilder on stage which lends itself to a bit of confusion as to the judging. Do the judges want the most muscular bodybuilder or do they simply want conditioning.

What did you make of the Arnold Classic 2020 and the showing of Big Ramy?

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Opinion: Like It Or Not, Classic Physique Is More Exciting Than Open Weight Bodybuilding

Opinion: Like It Or Not, Classic Physique Is More Exciting Than Open Weight Bodybuilding 3

Classic Physique could take over.

Competition. It’s what makes sporting events so engaging and enjoyable. Competition is what drives everything in modern society from business to technological innovation. Without competition things become stagnant, predictable, pretty much a complete bore fest. The introduction of the Classic Physique division has injected some new life into bodybuilding competition because there are so many competitors are neck and neck. That level of competition makes things interesting. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the Open Weight division.

Go ahead and shout blasphemy. Say that it’s absolutely ludicrous. Yell that Generation Iron is crazy, dumb, ridiculous. You’re entitled to your opinion of course so we don’t begrudge you. But ask yourself this question. Did you all know that Phil Heath would win the Olympia each and every year he showed up? A great majority most likely are thinking yes. Even in light of his recent loss and the shake ups in Men’s Open, it has been very common for the Men’s Open champion to repeat victories many years in a row. That in itself proves one thing: Open Weight bodybuilding is becoming a bit boring.

“But it’s not Phil Heath’s fault that he’s was so much better than everybody!” We understand that Heath has been the best of the best, but that simply doesn’t make for an exciting showcase. That’s not to say seeing mass monsters get up on stage isn’t a true wonder of what the human body is capable of when put under extreme training and supplementation. But the idea of competition is that you’re supposed to be completely in the dark of what the final result will be. If you can guess the winners every single time, you should be placing bets. Really, you could make a great living if you have that kind of foresight.

Add on top of this that the past two years of the Men’s Open division has seen some shake ups. Many top competitors couldn’t compete in 2019 leaving for criticism of current Olympia champion Brandon Curry. The Classic Physique division itself was created due to an outcry of fans thinking that Men’s Open has lost its way. All this adds up to a new division that is both exciting due to it’s young age and perhaps promising in how big of a division it will be in the future.

The Classic Physique division seems to be far more interesting than the Open Weight division because the category is still wide open. Arash Rahbar and Danny Hester were at the top of the pack at the 2016 Olympia only to be bumped down several notches in 2017. Now Breon Ansley and Chris Bumstead are the talk of the town. But that doesn’t mean things will remain that way in 2020. Someone else could come around and completely destroy both Ansley and Bumstead to take the Olympia crown. And that’s what makes the division so exciting. We have no clue what will happen next and that makes things intriguing. It also means that you’ll be more likely to tune in and see who has prepared best. There’s no bias, there’s no front runners. Anyone can be a champion at any given event which makes things interesting.

While the Open Weight is still the marquee of most any event, if there’s to be continued interest in the division there needs to be a major shake up to build even more interest or the Classic Physique category could end up stealing the show.

Which division to you find more exciting, Open Weight or Classic Physique? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.

Hafthor Bjornsson Looks To Break World Record With 501kg Deadlift At WUS!

Hafthor Bjornsson Looks To Break World Record With 501kg Deadlift At WUS! 4

Hafthor Bjornsson is already considered to be among the best deadlifters in the world. However, he looks to solidify that claim, by breaking the world record deadlift.

Bjornsson is one of the most elite, and well known strongman athletes in the world. He has a ton of accolades under his belt, from winning the 2018 World’s Strongest Man, to multiple Arnold Classic titles. Not to mention, he had a big role in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

One big accolade which Bjornsson has been able to capture, is the world record for the heaviest deadlift. This record actually belongs to a fellow strongman in Eddie Hall, who hit 500kg, in 2016. Although he plans to go for this record at the Arnold Strongman Classic in a few weeks, this will be with an Elephant Bar Deadlift, which is a different variation.

However, in a recent post to Instagram, Hafthor Bjornsson revealed that he has plans to go for the full deadlift record that Hall holds. Moreover, he explains that he looks to hit 501kg, at the World’s Ultimate Strongman contest. This event happens on April 11th, in Bahrain.

This was his message:

“360kg deadlift with deadlift suit. 3 sets of 1 rep. This was always my planned weight as I’m tapering into the Arnold’s but this week I accepted another challenge. And that is to compete at the @wusdubai show on the 11th of April in Bahrain. There is a lot of talk about what it’s going to take to be considered the best deadlifter in the world and it’s time to compare apples with apples.

I will still be competing on the elephant bar at the Arnold’s, but if you’ve been following, you’ll know that the deadlift event will be on day 2 which means that the athletes will be attempting the deadlift in a fatigued state, which makes achieving 501kg much harder.

At WUS, the deadlift will be the first event on the first day, on a deadlift bar with a deadlift suit and figure 8 straps, and I will be ready to deadlift 501kg and break the world deadlift record.
I can’t wait 👊🏼”

A post shared by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (@thorbjornsson) on

This is a massive goal for Thor Bjornsson to set his eyes on. However, this is not beyond his grasp, as he regularly hits lifts of over 450kg in the gym. Here he is, crushing a 480kg pull for an unofficial record.

A post shared by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (@thorbjornsson) on

Do you think Hafthor Bjornsson will be able to hit the 501kg deadlift in April?

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Hafthor Bjornsson Looks To Break World Record With 501kg Deadlift At WUS! 5

Larry Wheels Does Crazy Workout With His Couch During Indoor Training

Larry Wheels Does Crazy Workout With His Couch During Indoor Training 6

Larry Wheels is not the type of man to let a simple virus keep him from getting gains. While he is unable to go to the gym, he has decided to improvise for his workouts.

Wheels is an incredibly physically imposing force, known for his ability to constantly improve. He is always in the gym, looking to break his own personal records. Not only that, but he is often successful, earning the moniker of the personal record wrecking machine.

Now that Wheels is unable to go to the gym, and is forced indoors, he decided to try breaking another personal record. Although this one involves less barbells, instead using a couch to do some overhead presses and bicep curls. It was quite the display of strength, especially considering it would likely take two average joes to move the couch normally.

Take a look:

A post shared by FitnessVolt (@fitnessvoltnetwork) on

It is safe to say that the boredom is real for Larry Wheels. Luckily for him, he was able to find this alternative way to exercise. It is quite tough to stay motivated during these times, but he was able to make the best of it.

Wheels is not the only one repurposing their furniture. Classic Physique Mr. Olympia Chris Bumstead was also seen recently, doing a similar workout. He used more than just his couch though, to get more of a full body workout.

A post shared by Chris Bumstead (@cbum) on

Chris Bumstead rivals Larry Wheels with his ability to use the couch effectively. However he took things up a notch, by putting stuff in a backpack, and using his broom to do curls. Not to mention, he was able to use his luggage to get some good work in too. All things considered, the two of them got in a solid workout even without the gym.

What kind of at-home exercises do you plan on doing during this trying time?

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Middle-aged women are turning to bodybuilding — and they’ve got the edge on their younger rivals

Middle-aged women are turning to bodybuilding — and they've got the edge on their younger rivals 7
Middle-aged women are turning to bodybuilding — and they've got the edge on their younger rivals 8


March 21, 2020 10:44:25

Slip backstage at a bodybuilding competition and you’ll find a mirrored metropolis behind the scenes. Each competitor will have staked out their own area and populated it with bejewelled bikini-shaped cases, high heels and snacks.

The snacks are body hacks. Coca-Cola or port wine dilates the veins and makes them pop pleasingly because of the high sugar content. Potato chips provide a burst of carbs, the intake of which will have been carefully rationed over the past months, and salt, which dehydrates. Similarly, black coffee, a diuretic, draws water away from the skin surface to make muscle more defined.

Women wearing silk robes and thongs flit between the hair and makeup stations for touch-ups, or take their place at a tanning tent. There’s a lot of “pumping up” going on — getting blood flowing to the muscle by using weights — and the last-minute run-through of posing routines.

Some women are as young as teenagers. Others are in their 40s, 50s, or 60s — though you’d be hard pressed to tell the age difference in the line-up onstage. The interest in the sport from older women only seems to be growing.

“We have a lot of women over 40,” says Angela Eriksen, director of International Natural Bodybuilding Association Australia. According to the federation’s 2019 data, 60 out of 150 women who competed across all states were over the age of 40 — a proportion that would be unheard of in most sports.

Transforming bodies

It seems that the transformative nature of bodybuilding is particularly appealing to those already going through a transition period. And in middle-age, women can potentially find their role changing, perhaps through their children gaining independence, or a long-strained relationships coming to an end, or retirement.

Eriksen herself competes at the age of 51, and has won the Australasian Natural Bodybuilding Association’s Over-40 Miss Queensland title. She owns a debt-collection agency in Brisbane and has three children aged between 12 and 24. She’s very much on top of her life, yet six years ago she felt like she’d lost herself, having disappeared into the role of wife and mother.

“If my husband and I were going to go out somewhere I’d change about 20 times and then say to him I wasn’t going out because I had nothing to wear,” she says, “but really it was because I hated myself.”

One day she tagged along with her husband to watch one of the many competitions held in Queensland. “I remember I looked at my husband and said, ‘You will never see me up on stage doing that.’ Lo and behold, 25 weeks later I was on stage doing it.”

‘I was shaking like a leaf’

When competing in the different divisions — such as bikini, figure, physique and fitness — women might enter under a “masters” category, which indicates an older competitor and is split into age brackets such as 40-plus, 50-plus and 60-plus. Or, they can perform “open”, against the younger competitors.

The judges are usually lined up at a table directly in front of the stage, with the competitor’s supporters at tables behind them. They are looking for qualities such as symmetry, presentation and visible muscle presentation, depending on the category. Competitors can be on stage for around 20 minutes, doing their quarter turns and freestyle poses, fighting off cramps from flexing in unnatural positions.

“I can’t remember my moment on stage because I was shaking like a leaf,” says Eriksen. “My mouth was wobbling, everything was wobbling, but there was this sense of euphoria. It was the best thing I’ve ever done

“What appealed to me most was how I looked and how I felt,” she says. “It was one of those moments in my life when I actually liked myself again. Now I love going out.”

If Eriksen is prepping for a comp she trains twice a day, six days a week. She’s lost 20 kilos since first starting out — not surprising, since a bodybuilder’s prep diet tends to revolve around protein powder, oats, banana, chicken and broccoli. But just as rewarding, her pursuit has become a family affair.

“My husband and I both compete so we like to take turns — when he’s doing his prep I help him with his prep and with the kids, and vice versa,” she says. “My daughter, who’s 12, won the Kids’ Fitness division in Las Vegas two years ago, so she’s inspired by it. My youngest son sells merchandise at the competitions.”

Eriksen’s next competition won’t be until 2021 in New York. She’s taking a break because she’s going through menopause. Giving herself permission to wind back her training and rebalance her body has been one of her biggest challenges so far. Her solution is to set herself a much longer prep-period than usual.

“My metabolism has slowed down quite a bit and I feel tired and get hot flashes,” she says. “It’s an emotional period for me so I’ve mentally had to get back on track again, too. It will just mean I’ve got to work a bit harder.”

Menopause takes a toll

Perth-based Stephen Arnold is a training and nutrition coach with a history of training clients competing for bodybuilding comps. He has a different view of menopause.

“Women always think that being menopausal or postmenopausal is a disadvantage to them in the physical context,” he says, “but in terms of bodybuilding it’s actually the opposite: your hormonal profile is more favourable for performance.

“Obviously with age we do slow down — our type-one muscle fibre turns into type two — but for a woman, her estrogen levels reduce in relation to testosterone as she goes through menopause, which means less fat retention in the lower extremities.”
That gives a post-menopausal woman the advantage over younger women, he says, in that she might get leaner legs from fat loss. And while ageing does increase sarcopenia — the loss of muscle tissue — he argues that if someone has been regularly working out throughout their life, they have a headstart on building muscle in the first place.

Sometimes bodybuilding is just the perfect sport for an older woman with an athletic background to move into. Brad Turnball is a strength and conditioning coach — and former bodybuilder — also based in Perth. He says that sometimes women who take up bodyboarding later in life have already been athletic in other fields.

“It often comes down to injuries,” he says. “Most track and field athletes will already have a certain amount of physical presence. They might bung a knee but at least they can now do physique competitions.”

Discipline comes with age

Turnball recently coached Karen Adigos, who won the Women’s Figure category at International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness WA in March. Adigos is turning 40 this year and thinks that older women have one definite advantage.

“It’s harder for younger women to have the same sense of discipline,” she says. “They might feel like they’re missing out on partying.”

As Adigos knows well, the life of a competing bodybuilder is mercilessly structured into hourly segments; calorie counted and spreadsheet-controlled: Getting up before it’s light. Cardio. Tiny Tupperware tubs of steamed chicken and broccoli. Leg days. Protein shakes. Wearing waist trainers. Water manipulation.

But the sport’s very emphasis on structure brings order to life’s chaos, and that can be its greatest appeal. Adigos woke up one morning eight years ago and made the snap decision that things needed to change. Her background of child sexual abuse had played havoc on her wellbeing in terms of her relationship choices, self-medication, and suicidal feelings.

“I realised I needed to do something to fight,” she says. “I needed to create some victory for myself. When I looked at bodybuilding and saw how hard it is I thought I would do that, because the only way to get through it would be to really change my mindset and habits.”

Now, if she’s prepping, she gets up at 3am to do cardio, then sees her own personal training clients through the day, slotting in time with her coaches when she can, and weight training for two hours — finally getting home at around 8.30pm. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’ve found peace in going to the gym,” she says. “It releases endorphins and it’s become my medicine.”

Rebuilding confidence, fibre by fibre

Kay Wiseman is also a personal trainer. She works from World Gym in Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast. She’s been competing as a bodybuilder since she was 47 — she’s now 61.

“It became personal growth for me,” she says. “I originally only started training to change my body; I never thought I would compete because I’m quite introverted.

“I was looking for something to focus on that would improve my confidence and self-esteem because I’d spent a lot of time in a couple of bad relationships that were very controlling — and you try to please everybody else rather than please yourself. It was my time to start doing things for me.”

One such relationship ended just after she started competing, which she puts down in part to her ex-partner feeling put out that he was no longer receiving all her attention. Her children were grown up and with that came the realisation that she needed something in her life that was her own.

“I had to rediscover myself because I had to transition to being independent and single,” she says.

Wiseman had a good base to work from, as she’d been weight-training since her 30s and had served in the Air Force for decades, which meant that she had to be fit — and so she found that she was barely affected by menopause.

“But being fit was nothing like that next step of competing,” she says. “For the first couple of years I was terrified. And you could tell, because the majority of people who do this sport are much more extroverted than me so they looked confident and they looked like they were up there having fun. I looked like I was thinking ‘What am I doing up here?'”

Wiseman’s friends and family were hugely supportive of her journey, and her oldest daughter now competes, so the two women often train together. For Wiseman, as with Eriksen and Adigos, bodybuilding is more than a sport, it’s a job and a lifestyle.

“I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it,” she says. “You really do have to be committed to be successful — you can’t do it half-hearted and expect to see the results — and I had never really committed to anything that wholeheartedly, or not for a long time. So I really dug deep to find that within myself.”

Middle-aged women are turning to bodybuilding — and they've got the edge on their younger rivals 9

Study Suggests Long Term Anabolic Use Will Generate New Muscle Fibers

Study Suggests Long Term Anabolic Use Will Generate New Muscle Fibers 10

In depth study of anabolic usage.

Andy Galpin is a PHD in Human Bioenergetics. In October, he took to Mark Bell’s Supertraining Youtube Channel to discuss many topics, one of which was the influence of testosterone on the body. Many of the claims he makes are quite controversial, like that exogenous testosterone will not significantly increase strength for those who already have natural levels, but another is worth closer examination – that long term anabolic use can lead to hyperplasia, or the generation of muscle fibers.

Galpin states that increase in muscle happens in two ways, hypertrophy, expansion of individual muscle fibers, or, theoretically, an increase in the number of muscle fibers –called hyperplasia.

Galpin says, “We’ve been told for decades hyperplasia doesn’t happen in humans- it’s impossible. Well some pretty awesome data and some papers came out of Europe where they took a bunch of powerlifters who acknowledged that they took anabolic steroids for decades at a time- extended use none the less- well when they actually looked at these people’s muscle what they found was that they have really small fibers and a lot of them. Now this doesn’t prove anything but it really suggests that long term testosterone use could actually induce hyperplasia.”

The study that he appears to be referring to comes out of Sweden and has been published with the NIH. It’s long, but worth the read. In a nutshell they tested 17 elite lifters, asked them to record all use of anabolic androgen steroids (AAS) and then tested and examined their muscle tissue in various ways. The athletes who claimed to be clean were only accepted if they were routinely tested by a competitive organization.

The results demonstrated that while the long-term users of AAS did have more lean muscle mass, they did not present larger fibers, suggesting the muscle mass is accounted for by a greater number of fibers. Again, this cannot be proven – that would require counting all the fibers in a muscle.

The study presents the result like this:

“In previous studies on subjects with long term AAS supplementation (9±3.3 years), we observed significant higher frequency of newly formed myofibers in AAS users than in the non-AAS users, indicating that steroid can induce both muscle hypertrophy and hyperplasia In the present study, long term AAS supplementation was only associated with higher lean leg mass, but not with larger fiber size, indicating that muscle fiber hyperplasia may play a role in the muscle mass enhancement. Coincidently, the number of myonuclei in type I fibers in the doped athletes was significantly higher than in the clean athletes, which may indicate satellite cell activation for muscle fiber hyperplasia.”

Very interesting result, as Galpin states, there is more work to be done, but this is an extremely provocative finding that could help lead us to a better understanding of anabolics.

“On basis of the results, we concluded that intake of anabolic steroids in combination with strength training induced both fiber hypertrophy and fiber hyperplasia (formation of new muscle fibres), in which the activation of satellite cells is a key process.”

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