Exercises and Fitness
In years past, coaches often discouraged athletes from lifting weights. They feared that large muscles would make the athletes bulky and slow instead of nimble and quick.
Many of today’s best hitters have physiques that rival those of many bodybuilders. Decades ago, by contrast, the best players often had thin, unimpressive builds.
We usually associate splits with tiny, preteen gymnasts blessed with incredible flexibility. Wheeler, by contrast, stands over six feet tall and weighs about 250 pounds in contest shape. His flexibility matches up with anybody’s. So, to those who say “I don’t want to start lifting weights because I might get too big,” we say “Find another excuse.”
Women who lift weights are taken seriously today and are no longer viewed as oddities. Like men, they compete in prestigious bodybuilding contests around the world. Many famous actresses have trained with weights to prepare for demanding roles, thereby increasing the acceptance of female bodybuilding.
Time in the gym doesn’t necessarily equal results. Yes, some elite bodybuilders
are known for spending four or five hours at a time working out, but that’s generally not necessary. There are more great bodybuilders who spend only an hour or two at a time in the gym, but they know how to maximize every minute. They don’t waste time with nonsense.
>Burn: the slightly painful, but also exhilarating, sensation that you get in a muscle at
the end of a strenuous exercise.
>Muscle failure: condition in which your muscles become so exhausted that you
can’t perform another repetition.
>Pump: the dramatic muscle expansion after an intense exercise, before the
muscles return to their normal size.
>Set: a group of repetitions. For instance, if you do eight reps of an exercise, that’s
Stand upright, with your feet together. Bend forward gradually and grab the backs of your calves. Slowly try to reach down farther. See if you can touch the backs of your ankles, but don’t strain. Lower your head toward your shins to let you reach farther down. When you’re at the lowest point you can comfortably maintain, hold the position for 30 seconds.
Sit on the floor with your knees locked and legs extended in a wide V. Bend forward and extend your arms in front of you as far as possible. With your fingers touching
the floor, hold the position for 10 seconds. Then gradually turn to your
right and grab your right ankle. Hold for 10 seconds. Return to the starting
position. Then turn and grab your left ankle, holding for 10 seconds.
Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Raise your left arm and bend it at the elbow. Place your left hand behind your head on your right shoulder blade. Your left forearm should be against your head. With your right hand, gently press
down on your left elbow. Your left hand should move down slightly. At the lowest point you can comfortably maintain, hold for 15 seconds. Repeat with your right arm behind your head, pressing down with your left hand.
Some people have more energy in the morning and like to work out then. Others are more alert later in the day or at night. It’s not the time of day that matters. Intensity matters. If you can work out harder at 7 A.M., that’s the time to do it. If you can train harder at 7 P.M., that’s the time to do it. Either way, establish a routine. Don’t work out at 6 A.M. one day, at 10 P.M. the next, and at noon the following day. Your body needs a regular schedule.
Lie on a flat bench with no supports for a barbell. Grab a dumbbell
in each hand, with your arms extended and even with the top of the bench. Bend your elbows slightly. Then raise the dumbbells in front of you, in line with your chest, until they touch. Make sure you have a secure grip, then exhale and lower the dumbbells to your sides (along the same path) until they are even with the top
of the bench. Hold for a second, then exhale and lift the dumbbells again
until they touch.
Begin with a barbell resting on a rack at about shoulder height. Stand with your back to the bar, bend your knees slightly, and let the bar touch the back of your shoulders. Grab it with an overhand grip and your hands placed slightly more than
shoulder-width apart. Carefully lift the bar off the rack. Make sure you have a good grip and stable footing. Place the bar against the back of your shoulders, then inhale and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold, then exhale and slowly rise, straightening your legs until you reach the starting position.
This exercise is done on a machine with a flat or inverted-V bench. Lie face down on the bench, and place your ankles under two cylinder-shaped pads. Bend your knees, then exhale and lift your lower legs until your feet almost touch your buttocks.
This exercise starts out like Squats, described above. Stand with your back to a barbell that’s resting on a shoulder-height rack. Grab the bar with an overhand grip and your hands placed slightly more than shoulderwidth apart.
Lie on your back on the floor in front of a flat bench. Bend your knees and place the backs of your calves on top of the bench. Clasp your hands behind your head. Exhale and raise your head and shoulders toward your knees, keeping your back on the floor.
If you eat junk food, all the weight lifting in the world won’t produce a top-notch body. In recent years, we’ve learned a great deal about the importance of nutrition. Sure, we all slip up and eat things we shouldn’t, and bodybuilders are no exception.
Bodybuilders normally eat their largest meals during the day, when they’re more active, rather than at night. They often prepare food in advance and take it with them so they can stick to their eating plan. You should do the same. By preparing meals in advance, you ensure that you have plenty of nutritious food on hand, and you won’t be tempted to eat junk food.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Although protein and fat supply some energy, about 50% of a bodybuilder’s calories should come from carbohydrates.
A low-carb diet may sound appealing, but it can have serious drawbacks. First, lowering your carbohydrate intake can reduce your energy level and lead to dehydration.
Fat is a secondary source of energy, but it has twice as many calories per gram as protein or carbohydrates. It’s easy to understand why people gain weight by eating too much fat.
Vitamins are organic substances that contribute to many important bodily functions. We all need specific vitamins in certain amounts for optimum health.
Water is also one of the basic nutrients, and people often overlook its importance.
Water offers many benefits. It’s essential for proper digestion, removes waste from the body, and regulates body temperature.