How To Get Stronger At Pull Ups

Pull ups are one of the strongest upper body movements. Everyone feels like a total bad ass when they can perform them, so let’s make sure that you’re progressing and strengthening your back as much as you can.

STEP 1: Start performing scapular pull ups. These will help strengthen the musculature and create a strong mind/muscle connection that you will need in order to get better at pull ups. You can perform these on the lat pull down, assisted machines, or a pull up bar. Do a set of 5-10 of these before performing any sort of pull up. Here is how to perform them.

That being said, there are many different types and ways you can modify and intensify pull ups. Let’s break down a few ways, easiest to hardest.

1) LAT PULL DOWNS
If the assisted pull up machine can’t get light enough, if your form is struggling, or if you are having a hard time activating your back, lat pull downs are a great option. Focus on stabilizing and strengthening your entire back. You will be targeting the same muscles as you would during pull ups. Remember to work your muscles in the full range of motion, and to intensify it, hold the flex (when the bar is against your chest) for 1 solid second, and take 4 seconds (slow negative) while releasing the flex in your back and stretching your lats. Check out this awesome video for an example of slow negative lat pull downs-

2) ASSISTED PULL UP MACHINE
Here you can adjust the amount of weight you pull up. This is a great machine, but it is important to be very aware of your form. It’s easy to rock back and forth and to use a lot of momentum from your hips to pull yourself up. This is going to call for more body awareness and stability when compared to lat pull downs. Again, to intensify this movement, hold the flex (when your chin is up to the bar) for 1 solid second, and take 4 seconds (slow negative) while releasing the flex in your back and stretching your lats. Here is a great video on how to perform slow negatives on the assisted pull up machine (your machine might look a little different, thats ok)

3) NEGATIVE PULL UPS
These are a great way to really strengthen your back and stabilizing muscles. Here you will only be performing the negative using a pull up bar, so you wont actually be pulling yourself up. Emphasizing he eccentric phase causes a ton of muscular stress, adaptation, and strengthening. Remember to use a box or bench to help yourself up (chin over bar) and to go as slow as possible on the way down. Make sure you watch this really great video explaining and showing you for to perform negative pull ups:

4) USING A SPOTTER ON A PULL UP BAR
Now that you are getting stronger and your form is perfect, you can advance to the pull up bar! Ask your gym buddy or a stranger, “Can you please spot me for a few sets?” Ask him/her to spot you from your rib cage. Again, to intensify this movement, hold the flex (when your chin is up to the bar) for 1 solid second, and take 4 seconds (slow negative) while releasing the flex in your back and stretching your lats. Here is a great video on how your spotter should spot you.

5) RESISTANCE BAND PULL UPS

If you don’t have a spotter or want more or even less assistance, using resistance bands is a great way to be spotted. The assistance will be more at the bottom (stretched position) where you want it to be, and less at the top (flexed position) where you are naturally the strongest. There are many different resistance levels that you can advance to. The thinner the band, the less the assistance. I love banded pull ups! Here is an awesome video on how to hang the band and perform banded pull ups:

6) BODY WEIGHT PULL UPS
Awesome! You’re able to do body weight pull ups! Remember to work the full range of motion and to keep your body straight (no swinging!). Go from a full dead hang to a strong, hard, compete flex. Make your muscles as short and tight as possible at the top. To make it more challenging, hold the flex at the top for a few seconds, before slowing releasing down (4 seconds). Here is a great example of the perfect pull up:

6) WEIGHTED PULL UPS
By now you have perfected the pull up and are able to do 10+ easily, with impeccable form, and slow negatives. Grab a belt and slap on some weight you beast! Here is a great video to use as an example of how to perform weighted pull ups:

Advertisements

5 Glute Building Tips, Exercises, and Videos

It’s ALL about the glutes when it comes to bikini competitors.

Currently, I am training glutes 3x a week. The breakdown looks like this:

Day 1: High Rep (15+ reps)

Day 2: Supersets and Plyos

Day 3: Medium Rep (8-10 reps)

TIPS WHEN TRAINING GLUTES:

  1. Always drive through your heel(s)
  2. Slow negatives and hard, explosive glute flexes on each rep
  3. Squeeze those cheeks as HARD as you can!
  4. Go deep on the eccentric part of the movement
  5. Your glutes can handle a ton of weight, so lift heavy!

My training is consistently changing and I never do the same workout twice. Here is a video of my third set of every exercise from last nights high rep glute day.

High Rep Glute Workout:

HIP THRUSTS- 3 x 15 full range slow negatives +5 pulses +10 second hold

SINGLE LEG LEG PRESS- 3×15

STIFF LEGGED DEADLIFTS- 3×15 + 5 pulses

HYPEREXTENSIONS- 3 x drop set 10 + 10 + 10

ABDUCTION- 1×50 drop set

 

Try this workout, your glutes will thank you 🙂

It’s Not What You Do In The Gym, But How You Do It

Why is it that almost everyone in the gym is doing similar exercises to one another, yet only a few progress?

After working at the same gym for over 3 years, I can’t help but wonder. Why do the majority of the people in here look EXACTLY the same?

Why is it that one girl doing squats achieves an amazing set of legs yet another girl is left with a really sore lower back and knee pain?

Ah ha! It’s not WHAT exercise people are doing, it’s HOW they are executing it.

Proper form, focus, and intensity is everything.

1) Squeeze the working muscle to move weight

Ex: When doing bicep curls, it’s easy to initiate the movement with the hand/wrist then the shoulder and back help to throw the weight up in hopes that somewhere along the way the bicep contracts. Instead, stand up straight with arms by your side, palm up, and ONLY squeeze your bicep. Contract the bicep slow and hard until the muscle can’t get any shorter.

2) Slow down the tempo

Take out momentum. Momentum isn’t going to make you stronger or your muscles any bigger. Challenge muscles by slowing down the negative.

3) Hold the contraction

Squeeze the crap out of the working muscle when they it is at the shortest length. Ex: The top of a bicep curl. If the muscle is unable to hold the contraction, weight needs to be reduced.

4) Work the muscle in the full range

The muscle is the weakest at the most lengthened and shortened position. WORK THESE AREAS! Plus, this is 100% proven to build more muscle.

5) Keep constant tension during the entire set

The muscle is either being lengthened to the max or shortened to the max. Tension is never taken off the working muscle the entire set. Focus on creating tension and maintaining control. Muscles respond to tension.

6) Master basic lifts before adding in fancy variations
Go back to the basic lifts and keep your mind on the working muscle.

7) If you are fiddling with your phone, watching tv, having a conversation, or paying attention to the hot chick walking by you during your set, you aren’t working the muscle. Mind-muscle connection is everything. Focus on building that when in the gym.

Follow me on Instagram (sksahni) and on Facebook for more advice, tips, and videos

Be You, Not Them

So you’ve decided to make healthier lifestyle choices, but you’ve come across lots of comments like this from family, friends, partners, coworkers, and/or total strangers:

“You need to live life more!”
“One bite/sip won’t hurt you.”
“Aren’t you allowed to cheat a little?”
“You have to workout again?”
“When is this dieting and exercising thing going to end?”
“Are you seriously bringing your Tupperware everywhere you go?”
“You’re eating the same food again?”
“You should treat yourself with (insert any non diet food).”
“How much bigger are you trying to get?”
“How much leaner are you planning on getting?”

unnamed-8

My personal favorites:
“Who is going to marry you with all these diet restrictions that you have?!”
“Why are you spending so much time on your body when it is going to turn into ashes the second you die?”

Yes, these are all comments and questions I have run across THOUSANDS of times and probably so have you. If not, brace yourself. It’s coming.

But how can we make others realize that…

-To us, dieting and exercising is actually ADDING to our life, not taking away from it.

unnamed-1

-Maybe measuring our food and taking our muscles to their extreme limits challenges us in a way that not many even dare to try.

-Maybe we chose to no longer drink alcohol in excess, because we know that alcohol affects our liver and fat burning turns off. Plus, how can we perform optimally on leg day after a crazy night out? Legs are our priority!

unnamed-2

-Maybe getting on stage and presenting our work of art (a.k.a. our body) give us a rush like nothing we’ve ever experienced before.

-Maybe while transforming our outer-self we tremendously transform our inner-self.

-Maybe we would rather spend more on more gym clothes than anything else.

unnamed-4

-Maybe we view our body as our masterpiece and love working on it by manipulating food and exercise.

-Maybe instead of going shot for shot we now go squat for squat with the guys.

-Maybe treating ourselves well doesn’t mean rewarding ourselves with food and drink.

unnamed-7

-Maybe our favorite sound went from being the uncorking of a wine bottle to now two 45-pound plates smacking each other as we load the barbell.

-Maybe the high that we get after a really hard workout lasts way longer than any sort of drug.

-Maybe our version of Sunday Funday is prepping all our meals for the upcoming week.

unnamed-3

-Maybe we go into a meditative state every time we feel the burn of lactic acid building in our muscles.

-Maybe our “different” lifestyle is all about discipline, self-love, motivation, and persistence.

Now, just because we eat clean and like working out, that doesn’t make us better than anyone else. This is really important to remember.

Maybe we are being misunderstood. So, what is necessary is to share with others how we feel about our new (or old) healthy lifestyle in order for them to properly support us. People cannot read our minds, and having different priorities requires open communication. But…

unnamed

I have found that the more I am myself, the more I share, and the more I educate, the more support I receive, because others know HOW to support.

“Be you, do you. Can’t nobody judge you, but you.” –Kevin Hart

unnamed-6

Breakfast Egg Muffins

I absolutely love breakfast food, but always hit snooze one too many times to actually put together an appetizing breakfast. I recently got some large muffin cups and explored 2 different muffin ideas.

This way I can make them the night before, store them in the refrigerator, quickly re-heat them in a microwave the next morning, and eat on the go.

I basically opened up my fridge and threw in whatever I had. Feel free to add and/or subtract any of the following ingredients. Make sure to share your recipes with me in the comments section. Enjoy!

Muffin 1

1) 1 slice uncured turkey bacon
2) 1 whole egg sunny side up
3) 1/4 cup egg whites
4) 1/4 tomato
5) Mixed greens
6) Salt and pepper to taste

muffin cup 1

Instructions
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2) Spray the inside of the muffin cup with Coconut oil (or any oil of choice)
3) Line the muffin cup with the turkey bacon
4) Add greens to the cup
5) Add 1/4 cup egg whites
6) Crack the egg in the middle
7) Dice and add the tomato (make sure you don’t crack the yolk)
8) Sprinkle salt and pepper on top
9) Bake for 25 mins and let it cool for 10 mins before serving or packing for later

20g protein, 4g carbs, 7 g fat

Muffin 2

1) 2 oz shredded chicken breast (on the outside of the muffin)
2) 1/4 cup egg whites
3) 1 scrambled egg
4) 1 large crimini mushroom
5) 1/2 cup broccoli
6) Salt and pepper to taste
muffin cup 2

Instructions
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2) Spray the inside of the muffin cup with Coconut oil (or any oil of choice)
3) Line the inside of the cup with shredded chicken
4) Whisk the 1/4 cup egg whites and 1 whole egg together
5) Add eggs in the center
6) Slice and add broccoli and crimini mushroom in the middle
7) Sprinkle salt and pepper on top
8) Bake for 30 mins and let it cool for 10 mins before serving or packing for later

27g protein, 5g carbs, 7g fat

muffin cup 3

47g protein, 9g carbs, 14g fat

How To Get and Stay Motivated To Exercise & Eat Healthy

How is it that in the past 3 years I’ve never taken more than 5 days off (due to injury) from being active?20140307-092406.jpg

3 years ago I remember waking up in South Korea at 2 pm with the worst hangover, an empty box of fried chicken to the right of my head, and almost nothing left in the Nutella jar to my left. This was a typical Sunday.

I felt disgusting, weak, and was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Then I realized that I had a choice. Did I want to continue feeling and acting like this? Only I had all the power to control the way I felt and looked. Ah ha! It dawned on me. The act of exercising and eating healthy was actually self respect, self love. I was clearly choosing to not respect and love myself!

20140307-092234.jpg

After this realization did exercising become easy? F*uck no. The hardest part about it was my mind. I had to make a commitment to myself that I’d stop listening to the voice inside my head that always had so many excuses why to not workout or choose healthier options. I made a commitment to say YES when my mind said no.

20140307-092312.jpg

I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but I had to commit to myself FOR myself.

I tried to make it so easy for that it was hard to fail. I no longer bought Nutella and fried chicken. I no longer turned to partying as a release of stress. I looked for a gym to join. I told myself that I only needed to do 15 minutes of activity a day. I made a commitment to transform myself inside and out.

Slowly, I committed more and more to myself. It’s become less about the physical and more about the mental and emotional. The process is easier if you look at it as self respect and recognize that your mind will try holding you back. The challenge is making the choice that will lead to bettering yourself.

I encourage and challenge you to commit to loving yourself. Side affects include: happiness, self love, self control, and bountiful health.

20140307-092043.jpg

5 Ways To Rev Up Your Dry Chicken

We’ve all done it. Overcooked the sh*t out of our chicken. After spending the time and money cooking chicken in bulk, what’s a guy/gal to do with all of it? Instead of throwing it all away or eating it plain and dry, I’ve put together a few ways to rev up the chicken.

1) Add Veggies

Vegetables contain a ton of water and added them with chicken will definitely make it easier to go down. Plus, you’ll get all the awesome health benefits of those veggies! My favorites are onions, mushrooms, broccoli, tomato, bell peppers, and lettuce.

l393216373

2) Veggies + Chicken Broth

Tada! Now you’ve got a chicken soup.

chicken vegetable soup with red potatoes 8

3) Make a greek yogurt dipping sauce

Being Indian, I love raita. It’s easy to make and delicious.
– 1 cup greek yogurt
– 1/2 grated cucumber
– 1/4 cup died red onion
– 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
– cilantro
– Salt to taste
– Chilli powder

Raita-above

4) Add Avocado

The rich, creamy texture of the avocado will help moisten up the chicken.
282-cayenne-rubbed-chicken-with-avocado-salsa

5) Add salsa and/or hot sauce

2011-07-25-grilled-chicken-pineapple-salsa-500

Never again will you have to force down or throw away plain, dry chicken!

The (almost) No Cooking Required Meal Plan

“I don’t know WHAT to buy when I go grocery shopping!”

“I always RUN OUT of food before I can get to the store again!”

“I don’t know how to COOK!”

“Planning, shopping, and cooking is too COMPLICATED!”

“I don’t even know WHERE to shop at!”

“I just don’t have TIME!”

Some of the many excuses I’ve heard one too many times. I wanted to share how easy and simple it can all be. I made a trip to Trader Joes (find one near you) this past weekend and put together a sample meal plan that requires, wait for it… minimal to NO COOKING!!! Yes, I’m dead serious. Down below you’ll find the meal plan plus a grocery shopping list for a week.

Step 1) Schedule your grocery shopping day and time ahead. I literally make clients open up their schedules and add it in. This works wonders.

Step 2) Buy the things on your list. Nothing more, nothing less. This should take you no more than 20 minutes.

Step 3) Eat according to your meal plan.

Step 4) Fight the urge to walk around naked because you look so damn good!!!

Disclaimer: I am not including serving sizes, because it’s going to vary drastically from person to person. There was such a huge variety of food at TJs, that I couldn’t even come close to including everything that I found. I’m not advocating to eat processed or frozen food, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

Meal 1: Whole Eggs + Egg Whites + Oatmeal

unnamed-1

Wow, already made and peeled whole eggs! For the egg whites, just throw away the yolk and eat the whites.

Sorry guys, some assembly required for this. Must add hot water to oats. Life is hard, deal with it.

Prep time: 2-4 minutes

Meal 2: Cottage Cheese

unnamed-2

Such a great snack while at work. It’s easy, filling, and packed with protein.

Prep time: 30 seconds.

Meal 3: Chicken Breast + Avocado + Brown Rice Tortilla

unnamed-4

In this one that I made, I added chipotle hot sauce and mustard to it. Both are great condiments to add without adding any additional macros!
a24ae9e890572caa14884fdae46b7503

Prep Time: 2-4 minutes

Meal 4: Tuna + Lentils

unnamed-1

These cans are so easy to transport! Plus you can stock up on them and not need to worry about them going bad. Make sure that you get the tuna in WATER.

Prep Time: 1 minute

Meal 5: Beef Sirloin + Roasted Potatoes + Green Veggies

unnamed-2

This is a great dinner. Hopefully you’ll be having this at home so you can bake the potatoes and cook the greens, but you can easily cook and pack this meal ahead of time. It’s delicious!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Meal 6: Greek Yogurt + Berries + Almonds + Splenda

unnamed-3

I love, love, LOVE this meal. It is such an amazing dessert. I’m not going to lie, I can put down a pint of ice cream in minutes (Häagen Dazs Caramel Cone if you must know!), but this little treat always kills my late night sweet tooth!

TIP: It’s easy to over eat nuts since they are so tasty. Get the almonds that are already portioned out into 1 serving.

TIP: Get the brand FAGE! It has way more protein than any other brand I found at Trader Joe’s. Yes, this matters. Also, get the pre-portioned out cups.

Prep time: 1 minute

I left out the berries last night. Check out the video!

Grocery Shopping List:
-Bag of Eggs
– Packets of Oatmeal
– Cottage Cheese
– Cooked and Sliced Chicken Breast
– Avocados
– Brown Rice Tortillas
– Cans of Tuna in Water
– Cooked Lentils
– Beef Sirloin
– Frozen Potatoes
– Frozen Greens (Kale, Spinach, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, etc)
– Fage Greek Yogurt
– Frozen Berries
– Packets of Almonds

Now that you know WHAT to buy, WHERE to buy it, don’t have to COOK, know it’s SIMPLE, and have scheduled WHEN to buy groceries, what’s your excuse?

Follow me on Instagram: SKSAHNI

Glute and Leg Strength Training Videos!

Since I’ve been working out my legs so frequently for the past 4 weeks, I thought I’d post a video of some different leg and glute exercises I’ve been incorporating into my workouts. Yes, I usually always include heavy barbell squats, legs press, hamstring curls, quad extensions, deadlifts, and other typical bodybuilder leg exercises weekly, but adding in a variety of exercises spices up your workout and hits the legs and booty and different angles!

1) Smith Machine Alternating Deficit Lunge

2) Step up into Curtsy Lunge

3) Super Deep Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift

4) Glute Kickback on the Lying Hamstring Curl

5) Cable Glute Kickback with Knee on Bench

6) Abduction- 2 variations (leaning forward and leaning back)

Follow me on Instagram for more photos and videos: SKSAHNI

photo

Things To Consider When Trying to Lose Fat and/or Gain Muscle

Fat loss and/or muscle gain requires quite a bit of organization and thought. Everything counts.

-What’re you eating and/or not eating?

-How often are you eating and what’re your portion sizes?

-How much alcohol are you in taking a week?

– Are you sticking to your diet Monday-Friday until 5pm then have no structure for the weekend?

-How many grams of protein, carbs, and fat are needed to get to your specific goal(s)?

– How much water are you drinking?

– How much are you sleeping?

– What’re you doing or not doing in the gym?

– How often are you lifting weights and how are your workouts organized? Are they even organized?

-Are you just throwing around weights or actually stretching, squeezing, and activating muscles?

– How much tension are you really creating within muscles?

– Are you doing cardio? What’s the frequency, intensity, and time?

– What’re your stress levels? And how do you manage stress?

-Are your fitness and health goals really a priority?

– Are you consistent, persistent, and patient?