The individual objectives of gym training can be many: from fat burning and weight reduction, through muscle mass growth, to enhanced performance, endurance and bigger strength. Nevertheless, whatever the goal, you need to be familiar with the basics and know how to start. With an inappropriate attitude right from the start you will quickly get disappointed and frustrated that you did not get to achieve your goals.

Training plan is a must

If you are chaotic in your workouts, or have overweening ambitions and choose to start with an advanced workout routine that is meant for bodybuilders, you will not come out unscathed. A reliable and effective training should be started by making a plan that will lead you to the results and figure of your dreams, keeping you at all times motivated and satisfied.

The pursuit of your goal will be a lengthy process, even if you are not planning to climb a podium. What you are going to need is patience, perseverance and consequence. But the results will be spectacular.

Full Body Workout (FBW) – a perfect workout for beginners

Each beginner training should involve full-body exercises. The FBW involves all muscle groups during a single session. The sessions are repeated three times a week. With a methodology like this, you will force your whole body to work and give your muscles the right stimuli to grow. And you will avoid overtraining whilst keeping your whole body fit.

Appropriate pauses between workouts are of paramount importance. The common mistake of increasing the intensity of trainings quickly leads to burnout and discouragement.


Warmed up muscles

Remember to warm up your muscles before doing the proper workout. About 10 minutes of an intense aerobic training with a stepper, running tract or an exercise bike, or jogging should be enough to improve your blood circulation. In stage two of the workout, do leg and arm swings, twisted bends and bends, to prepare your joints for the workout. Warm-up is an integral element of the training. Every single exercise needs warmed-up muscles, so you should do at least one warm-up series before each, increasing the number of repetitions. If you abandon warm-ups, you risk getting injured.

Appropriate series for each muscle

Remember to train all muscle groups during your training session. It is best if a training plan contains one or two exercises for each muscle part. Each exercise should be performed in 2 to 3 series, with 8-10 repetitions in each series. Increase the weight as the session progresses, finally leading to resistance and difficulty (muscle collapse).

If you do not feel fatigue after all reps, you should add more weight. But if you are unable to do at least 8 repetitions, this means that your weight is too big. Obviously, you need to adjust the parameters to your capabilities and fitness.

Remember to pause for c.a. 3 minutes between individual exercises. The recommendations above apply to the first 2-3 weeks of working out, in which the muscles adapt to the effort and the body gets prepared to further routine. It is important that you do not overtrain your body in this phase.

Technique is key!

Habits tend to quickly become man’s second nature, and gym exercises are no exception. Technical errors prevent progress, delay the results and make you prone to injuries. By nurturing the right habits, you will be able to easily use the proper technique in more advanced stages of your workout routine.

Increasing workout intensity can be harmful

The initial phase is the phase when your body gets adapted to the work and your muscles get shaped. Although tempting, do not increase the intensity of your training in this phase. Do not use the aid from a partner, do not unload weights during a pending series, do not perform combined series, giant series etc. In the initial phase, too strong stimuli quickly lead to overtraining and, in consequence, hinder muscle mass growth.

Pursue your goals wisely

By wisely sticking to your plan and supporting your trainings with a healthy diet, supplementation and rest periods, you will shortly achieve your goal and see the effects relatively soon. Then, your endorphins will boost your motivation, leading you towards success.



L-glutamine is needed by the body to function properly. It is a critical amino-acid and the most abundant in the circulatory system. If so, what is the point in taking supplements with L-glutamine in body sculpting and how does the substance influence muscles?


What is L-glutamine?

Glutamine is an organic compound belonging to α-amino-acids. It is one of the core 20 amino-acids coded by animal and human genes and is contained in a number of proteins. Additionally, the substance makes up 30-35 percent of the nitric oxide in your blood. L-glutamine represents exogenous amino-acids, meaning that it is conditionally essential for the body. It can be produced by the body or delivered from outside. L-glutamine should be supplied from outside sources when under stress or during a disease or physical effort, as then the body uses up bigger amounts of the substance than usual and is unable to produce enough of it to fully supplement the shortages. Additionally, L-glutamine fuels cells of the immune system. Products containing L-glutamine are used with the aim to reduce body mass, as they help burn fat. Plus, they are of aid when developing the muscle tissue.


Bryan Haycock

Glutamine plays an invaluable role in protein synthesis and functioning of the immune system. It is capable of regulating protein synthesis in muscles, and is crucial for maintaining the proper functions of rapidly multiplying cells such as lymphocytes and mucosal enterocytes. Cells of the immune system (e.g. lymphocytes) use glutamine as an anabolic fuel. Additionally, glutamine protects the body against too high ammonia levels, by attaching thereto and releasing it when needed for the production of other amino-acids.


Nonetheless, remember not to overestimate the significance of glutamine for the body, if taken orally as a supplement. Supplementation with glutamine has not been tested enough to clearly confirm its positive effect on muscle building or physical fitness. What is known for certain, however, is that it is of value to athletes who have realistic expectations. If you take glutamine to enhance the functioning of your immune system, during intense training cycles, you will not be disappointed. If you want to make your digestive tract function better, you should also be satisfied.


Will Brink

Manufacturers of sports supplements have started to add glutamine to a number of their products. Athletes include it in their diets. Why? The body needs glutamine for a number of processes. It regulates the functioning of the immune system and the liver and favours integrity of the gastrointestinal tract. Low serum glutamine means loss of muscle mass, with the reserves being used up during intense physical effort.

Due to its potential impact on the immune system, glutamine is believed to help prevent the overtraining syndrome in athletes who train too long and too hard. A number of tests have shown that the level of glutamine can be considered a marker of overtraining. The substance is also used for glycogen reserve restoration in muscles after intense physical effort. Yet, the exact mechanism of the process has not yet been fully explained. Glutamine probably enhances glucose uptake directly by the muscles, or is converted into glucose itself and stored as glycogen.

Another effect of glutamine supplementation can be increased level of the Growth Hormone (GH). In one of the experiments conducted, nine volunteers were given two grams (2,000 mg) of glutamine solved in a cola drink. The bodies of four of them responded to glutamine supplementation with a four-time increase in GH release.

Although no one has ever built impressive muscles only by including glutamine into their diets, the substance is assessed positively as generally beneficial to health. As such, it can be successfully used by athletes. 5 to 20 g daily added to a post-workout shake should be enough.


Zbyszko Tarczewski

Glutamine is considered to be conditionally essential, which means that in certain circumstances, our bodies are unable to produce sufficient amounts of the substance. This fact alone proves glutamine significance for humans.

The amino-acid is used in a number of ways. The major functions of glutamine include its impact on:

  • the immune system (glutamine is a fuel for macrophages and lymphocytes); considerable drop in blood glutamine was observed in overtrained subjects; if your immune system does not function properly, you will be unable to work out hard and frequently enough to produce the expected effect;
  • glycogen reserve restoration, for higher performance;
  • growth in muscle mass, among others, owing to the anti-catabolic effect of the substance or its capacity to increase the nitrogen balance;
  • maintaining acid–base homeostasis, by reducing acidification and the resultant storage of glutamine reserves in muscles;
  • increase of the GH amounts produced by the body, for enhanced fat reduction.

If dosed properly and combined with reasonable training, glutamine can support your physical activity, which is particularly visible in professional athletes. Regardless of the disciplines they represent, they do feel the effects of glutamine on their bodies.

My opinion is as follows: do not go and buy glutamine if you go to the gym twice a week. But if you are serious about working out, you may be really satisfied with itsefficiency over time.


SĹ‚awomir Ambroziak

Glutamine plays a major role in maintaining nitrogen balance. The substance controls protein accumulation and muscle development. As an agent with significant impact on energy metabolism during exercises, it is seen as a performance-enhancer. This effect of glutamine has been confirmed by studies on volunteer athletes, patients, convalescents and animals. The most recent tests, performed on intermediate-level athletes, seem to further confirm that glutamine does work, but the authors are still unable to confirm its effectiveness in this target group.

Opponents of the performance-enhancing effect of glutamine tend to say that: “Glutamine turned out to be a good supplement for the sick and for rats, and to be of no value to those who train recreationally and to athletes”. Is this true? All professional athletes that I know use L-glutamine supplements. “There is no working out without glutamine”, they say.

Let us now have a look at a study carried out by Candow, which is usually relied on by glutamine opponents. The result obtained after 6 weeks of observations in the glutamine group was only by 0.3% better than in the placebo group when it comes to lean mass increase. Referring to clinical trial standards, the authors had to consider the results statistically insignificant. Nonetheless, in practice, for a man weighing 100 kg, the result of 0.3% means c.a. 2.5 kg of pure meat per year!

It must be remembered that an extensive health promoting effect of glutamine has been proved in a number of studies. Not long ago, the substance also surprised the researchers with its ability to effectively burn fat, which was confirmed in tests conducted by several authors, including Prada and Hirabara.



Beautifully sculpted abdominal muscles are every athlete’s dream and an objective of bodybuilders and all those concerned with their figure. How to sculpt the belly to make it the envy of all and a provider of a perfect postural support? Here are a few important facts.

Beautifully sculpted abdominal muscles are every athlete’s dream and an objective of bodybuilders and all those concerned with their figure. How to sculpt the belly to make it the envy of all and a provider of a perfect postural support? Here are a few important facts.

Construction of the abdominal muscles

Abdominal muscles are the muscles between the chest and the upper pelvis. The anterolateral abdominal wall is made by the  rectus abdominis muscle, the external oblique muscle, the internal oblique muscle, the transverse abdominal muscle and the pyramidalis muscle. The posterior wall of the abdomen, in turn, is composed of the quadratus lumborum, the psoas major, the psoas minor and the iliacus. Those involved in professional sport work hard to have a “six pack”, i.e. a nicely outlined rectus abdominis, while beginners wrestle with ways to burn belly fat. The best solution is to concentrate on simple and safe exercises to reduce fat tissue.

Easy exercises for beginners

  1. Parallel Bar Bent Leg Raise: keep your forearms strongly supported against the padded bars when doing the exercise. Make sure that your torso, back and buttocks adhere closely to the back support. Slightly bend your legs and let them hang freely. Raise the legs in a smooth motion. The straighter the legs, the more difficult the exercise. Do 3-4 series, 15-20 repetitions in each. 
  2. Abdominal Crunches: in this exercise, you bring your lower chest to the upper pelvis. Keep your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. You can rest your feet on a barbell or the wall. Raise your torso rhythmically. Do not touch the mat with your shoulders as you perform the lowering movement and do not return to the lying position. 3-4 series, with 20-25 repetitions in each should be enough. 
  3. Bench Knee Ups: sit on the edge of a bench. Slightly pull your knees to the chest and tilt your body a bit backwards remembering to keep natural spine curvature. Remember about a 30-45 degree bend in your knees.

Next to the exercises proposed in this document, to help your belly look better, you need to exercise your deep muscles, i.e. the internal oblique muscle, the pyramidalis, the transverse abdominal muscle and the quadratus lumborum. By training these muscles, you will keep your belly flat and avoid the “turtle effect”.

How to sculpt the belly. Exercises for deep abdominal muscles

  1. Seated Torso Twists: do the exercise seated, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your body straight and your arms pulled sideways. Slowly twist from side to side and stop the motion for about 1 second. 3-4 series, with 15-20 repetitions in each should be enough. 
  2. Single Leg Raises: do this exercise in a lying position, with one leg straight and the other leg bent so foot is flat on the ground. Raise the straight leg upwards, simultaneously raising your torso. 3-4 series, with 15-20 repetitions in each should be enough. 

More than exercises

In order to have a perfect belly, apart from the exercises you need a good diet, so that when working out, you burn more calories than you deliver to your body during the day. Your diet should be rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.



Exercises are key in building up muscles. That is obvious. But still, many beginner gym-goers, who have only just begun their bodybuilding adventure, forget one important detail. Gym pumping alone will not give you the results you are waiting for. To build up a strong and healthy muscle mass you also need to pay attention to its building blocks. Only if you combine a well-balanced diet with physical activity, can you achieve satisfactory results. You can perform even better if you add supplements that will help you regularly supply your muscle mass with the appropriate nutrients. What supplements will be of aid in your fight for a dream body?

How to start

Regularity is key to muscle building, both when it comes to working out and eating. The process encompasses three training cycles: strength building, muscle building and fat reduction. The cycles differ in the type and intensity of exercises, diet and effect. When moving from one cycle to another, remember to pause for 1-2 weeks. The key elements in the whole process are muscle building and fat reduction.

Mass diet is nothing but the appropriate combination of nutrients to cause the growth of muscles. Start with increasing the calorific value of your meals and remember to increase the supply of proteins and properly hydrate your body.

Although you are going to eat high-calorie meals in all cycles, the number of calories will be different for different periods. The body needs the biggest amounts of calories in the muscle building phase and the lowest amounts of calories in the fat reduction period. It is similar with proteins, the supply of which should be tailored to the training objectives.

Next to regular and well thought-out meals, a mass diet should contain a number of different supplements that will give your body more nutrients and minerals than it needs. If your workout routine, daily meals and mass supplements harmonise well, you will see your muscles grow.

Muscle mass that is difficult to build up

It can take you several years to build up a dream body, which is why you should thoroughly prepare to the process. Start with setting a goal and defining your body type. Then, calculate your daily calorific needs. In this way you will be able to determine how much energy you need to achieve the pre-set goal. When selecting a diet you need to take into account your body type and physical capacities.

Working out is not enough. What you also need is time for recovery and rest. Only then will you be sure that the peri-workout damage to your muscles has time to heal.

What are protein supplements

Protein supplements are probably the most popular mass supplements that enhance muscle growth. They contain protein isolated from different high-protein products, such as milk, soy or whey. Why supplement a mass diet with proteins? Because protein is the core building block of the muscles, and together with the growing intensity of trainings grows the demand for proteins, while the foods eaten with diet will not always cover such demand. One of the most popular protein supplements is whey protein. Certain fractions of the protein show pharmacodynamic activity, including anabolic activity, while other significantly reduce the levels of cortisol, which has catabolic effects and destroys muscle proteins, thus making the work on your dream body even more difficult.

Whey proteins should constitute ca. 30% of the whole pool of proteins consumed every day. Fast-absorbable whey proteins work best if combined with slowly-absorbable proteins. The initial impulse for whey protein synthesis is generated very quickly and persists for 1 to 2 hours. Then, the level of the amino-acids drops fast. Not to lose access to their core building material, muscles need supplementation with proteins, the decomposition of which takes 8 to 10 hours.

Why are BCAAs so important in mass-building diet?

Branched-chain amino-acids (BCAAs) should be the base of a mass diet. These supplements are well-known and have been thoroughly tested and proved to reduce fatigue and prevent overtraining. They are particularly important in the stagnation period, when the results obtained are less spectacular than at the beginning. You start to see that the progress is slower, which can be due to the monotony of your exercises, overtraining or muscle overloading. Supplementation with the appropriate amounts of branched-chain amino-acids has a salutary effect on muscle building and growth and on fat reduction alike. Moreover, BCAAs prevent fatigue and show strong catabolic activity.

You can fully cover your protein demand with your diet. But still, high-protein supplementation can be a good idea. BCAAs are particularly helpful during strength trainings. Take a portion 30 minutes before working out and another one during the training.

BCAAs can be found in whey proteins, i.e. casein-free milk, carbohydrates and fats. The majority of research shows that whey increases protein synthesis and muscle growth much better than other additional sources of proteins (e.g. casein or soy). This is mainly caused by high content of branched-chain amino-acids, that is, BCAAs.


Creatine is a natural substance occurring in skeletal muscles. It stimulates protein synthesis and has anabolic and anti-catabolic effect. Last, but not least, creatine determines the pace of muscle growth and performance and improves recovery. Equally importantly, the substance is an inhibitor of myostatin, that is, the protein which is responsible for muscle gaining prevention. Creatine supports the activity of other anabolic steroids and testosterone, a hormone causing strength and muscle mass increase. Anabolic steroids, in turn, enhance the production of creatine, thus improving testosterone conversion. The most important task of creatine, however, is its participation in the synthesis of ATP, the compound that delivers energy during muscle fibre contraction.

Creatine is probably the most popular muscle gainer in the world. It is available in several different forms, including creatine monohydrate or creatine ethyl ester. Although new, “improved” forms keep appearing on the market every now and then, the position of the monohydrate remains unthreatened. Creatine is effective in improving endurance during intense trainings.


Research shows that caffeine is beneficial to those wanting to burn fat and build muscles, and should be included in a mass diet. The substance accelerates metabolism by 3-4% for ca. 2 hours. As a result, the amounts of fat burnt during and after the workout are also increased.

The effects of caffeine include the enhancement of strength, which can eventually cause increase of muscular power. Caffeine metabolites, in turn, increase the concentration of free calcium ions, causing muscles to contract with more strength. Caffeine should be taken 45-60 minutes before working out.

Other indispensable ingredients

A good mass diet should contain vitamins and minerals to ensure proper functioning of the body during and after workouts. Magnesium: rarely added to muscle gainers, the mineral should be supplemented separately. With magnesium, you will maintain proper functions of your nervous and muscular system. Additionally, it improves the quality of sleep and recovery at night. The daily dose of magnesium is 400-500 mg about 45-60 minutes before bedtime.

Another element to be included in your mass diet is Vitamin D. The few studies concerning the dependency between Vitamin D and physical performance that have been conducted show that it influences the quality of physical activity and muscle growth. The recommended daily dose equals 500 to 1000 mcg. Vitamin D works best if taken with meals that contain fats, to ensure its optimum absorption.


Every athlete’s and bodybuilder’s diet should be well-balanced, meaning that it needs to be well adjusted to individual needs of the person working out and contain all the necessary ingredients. The combination of mass diet with suitable muscle gainers and the right dose of rest makes a perfect recipe for a beautifully sculpted body. Remember to wisely choose your diet and workout routine.



If after a long time of regular training (at least 2 years), in which you went through beginner and intermediate training routines, you see that you are not making progress, even though adhering to the basic rules (proper nutrition and recovery), you probably should consider going to the next advancement level. Let us call it a beginner advanced routine.

 As representatives of intermediate level, you worked out 4 times a week, training each muscle group twice a week. After some time your muscles adapted to the stimulation and did not show traces of further growth. This means that the time has come to go to the next level,  that is, to increase the intensity of workouts by increasing the number of exercises for each group of muscles. What you need to do is add one exercise for each muscle group. In this way you will “attack” your muscles comprehensively, and stimulate them better.  Remember that as you increase the number of exercises for each muscle group and, consequently, the number of series, your workouts will take more time, which may lead to fatigue or overtraining. You surely want to avoid this!

In such case, you have no option but to increase the number of workouts. A three-day split will be the best solution here.

How to elaborate an effective 3-day system?

All workouts should be similar in terms of content, effort and time, meaning that the duration of all sessions should be similar and that you should feel equally exhausted after each. Remember not to train synergistic (ancillary) muscles during the same session or on the day preceding the workout for the main muscle group. For instance, what you should avoid is working on your biceps on Monday and on your back on Tuesday, as the majority of intense back exercises involve the biceps and if you tire it out the day before, it will probably not manage to recover until the day after, as a result of which you will have to cut down on the weights when training your back, preventing the optimum growth of your muscles.

When arranging a beginner split, pay attention to the order in which you exercise individual muscle groups during each session. Always start your workout with the biggest muscle parts of the upper body: the blood is pumped easier downwards than upwards.


Examples of workouts:

Workout A



  1. Front Lat Pull Down, 3×8-10
  2. Bent Over Dumbbell Raise, 3×8-10
  3. Seated Cable Row, 3×8-10
  4. Deadlift, 3×10-12

  1. Incline Bench Barbell Press, 3×8-10
  2. Incline Bench Dumbbell Press, 3×8-10
  3. Dumbbell Flys, 3×10-12

Workout B


  1. Seated Dumbbell Press 3×8-10
  2. Dumbbell Lateral Raise, Standing, 3×10-12
  3. Bent Over Dumbbell Raise, 3×12-15

  1. Alternating dumbbell front raise (standing), 4×15-12
  2. EZ Bar Preacher Curl, 3×15

  1. Lying EZ Bar French Press, 4×12-18
  2. Standing Cable Horizontal Triceps Extension, 3×12-10
  3. 45 Degree Leg Presses, 3×10-12
  4. Deep Squats, 3×10-12
  5. Walking Lunges, 3×12-15
  6. Leg Curl, 3×10-12
  7. Stiff Leg Deadlift, 3×10-12

Workout C


  1. Toe Stands (standing), 3×15-20
  2. Toe Stands (seated), 3×15-20
  1. Kneeling Cable Crunches, 3×20-25
  2. Parallel Bar Bent Leg Raise, 3×20-25

Depending on your recovery capability, you can perform the workout described above in one of the following systems: 2 training days with one day off, 3 days ON with one day OFF or 6 consecutive days of training and one day off.



Back exercises should be performed not only when pursuing a V-shaped body. With strong back muscles, you will not slouch and will be able to perform other exercises more effectively. But what if you suffer a back injury? Should you stop working out or find a safe physical activity to keep sculpting your back muscles and restore their functionality?

Back muscles. What can go wrong?

Analogically to other muscle groups, back muscles can be divided into deep muscles (with the most important representative of the group being the spinal erector) and superficial muscles (spinohumeral muscles and spinocostal muscles).

Back injuries are usually caused by improperly performed exercises, which can be as dangerous as lack of physical activity. This is why you should always make sure that you use the proper technique when exercising. Observations show that if you perform strength exercises with additional weights improperly, you risk developing lower back injuries. The majority of lower back injuries are caused by improper body position in exercises for big muscle groups (slouching), which is particularly dangerous when lifting heavy weights.

Exercises that are good for the spine

Most exercises should be performed with the back straight, with several exceptions. Failure to adhere to the rules governing individual exercises can be dangerous. Only when you learn the proper technique can you increase the intensity of working out. The majority of  back exercises also involve abdominal muscles.

If you feel lower back pain, do not do back exercises with weights in the vertical axis of the spine, such as, for instance, standing barbell shoulder press or barbell press behind neck. What is recommended is seating barbell press with back support. Remember to set the bench support at the right angle to safely rest your spine on. If done standing, the exercise will force an unstable body position, making it impossible for you to raise the barbell along the proper track without straining the spine.

Lower back pain

If you suffer from lower back pain, do not do intense or demanding back exercises, like deep squats. Instead, choose 45 degree leg presses. In this exercise, there will be no pressure on your spine.  Another option is the narrow hack squats, which will partially reduce pressure on your back muscles. You may also want to try kneel-downs or walking lunges with dumbbells or a barbell. These exercises involve the same muscles as squats, but as the pressure is on one leg only, the force acting on the spine is much weaker.

What is also not recommended for lower back pain is bent over exercises, like bent over row or bent over dumbbell lateral raise. You can replace these with incline bench dumbbell row or one-arm dumbbell row with hands and knees supported against the bench.

Preliminary muscle fatigue method

According to the preliminary muscle fatigue method, you should start with exercises that cause fatigue of the selected muscle part. This means that you can do a series of isolated (single-joint) exercises, followed by series of compound exercises. For instance: you can start your workout with a machine exercise, to cause preliminary fatigue of the quadriceps muscles of your thighs, and then switch to a series of squats, forcing the previously trained muscles to work hard, but with bigger submissiveness. The pressure that will be exerted on your thigh muscles during squats will have a smaller impact on the spine than if you start with a series of squats, and your lower back will ache less.

Seek medical advice

Even a high dose of caution when doing spine exercises may turn out to be not enough. If need be, seek medical advice. The doctor will diagnose the problem and recommend proper rehabilitation. Your rule number one for working out should be: “safety first”.



To prepare your muscles to carry increasing weights when working to develop your muscle mass, you need to build up your strength. For the best results, consider dividing your training year into cycles.


1. First steps in strength training

2. What to do for strength-building?


4. Strength workout routine


Beginners tend to make it their main goal to develop muscle mass, which is wrong.

At some point there comes stagnation, as muscles get used to being subjected to the same stimuli all the time. Consequently, they either lose strength or are unable to get any more of it. It is impossible to use still bigger weights to stimulate muscle growth.

Additionally, your muscles lose resistance, and even though the same weight is used, the number of reps you are able to do decreases,  making it difficult to increase training intensity.


1. First steps in strength training

In your strength training, you should not exaggerate with the number of repetitions. 2 to 8 is enough.

Focus on some basic exercises, in which you will be able to use several muscle groups. The best ones are deep knee bends, barbell presses and dead lift.

Use mainly free weights, as they will help you develop the stabilisation muscles which you are going to need later to lift bigger weights when working on your strength.

It is very common for people to use machines in this type of training, which do not develop stabilising muscles. If you skip this training cycle, you risk losing your strength!

2.  What to do for strength-building?

Strength training is not something you do until your muscles collapse. The goal is to adapt your muscles to growing weights. This is why it is good to leave at least one repetition in reserve in each series.

In this way, your muscle will recover quicker and you will be able to reduce the pause between the same trainings. If in a classic strength training you train one muscle group once a week, with a repetition in reserve you will be able to switch to twice a week.

You should try to increase the weights, if possible, from one workout to another. But remember about the repetitions in reserve in each series. Consider keeping a training log, in which you will precisely describe each workout and note down the weights and the reserve. This will help you choose the weight for the next training and, consequently, track your progress or adjust the workout if need be.

Pauses between individual series can last up to 4 minutes.

It is best if the whole cycle lasts 8 to 12 weeks.

3. Warm – up

Remember to make 2-3 warm-up series before each workout, according to the following rule:

If your target weight is 100 kg and you are supposed to make 6 reps, do the first warm-up series with 40 kg x 6 reps. In the second series, use 60 kg weights and make 6 reps. In the second series, use 80 kg (still 6 reps).

Then, pause for a while and start the main workout. With the warm-up, you will gradually prepare your muscles, joints, ligaments and fascia to carry increasing weights and minimise the risk of injury.

4. Strength workout routine

Below you can find a recommended division of your trainings and exercises that will improve your strength in a bodybuilding workout.



1. Bent Over Row: 3 series, 6 reps,

2. Bent Over Dumbbell Row: 3 series, 6 reps,

3. Pull up (or pull down, if you are unable to or cannot pull up):

3 series, 6 reps

4. Deadlift: 3 series, 2 reps.



1. Bench Barbell Press: 3 series, 2 reps,

2. Incline Bench Barbell Press: 3 series, 6 reps,

3. Chest Dip: 3 series, 6 reps.




1. Standing Barbell Shoulder Press 3 series, 6 reps,

2. Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 series, 6 reps,

3. Wide Grip Barbell Upright Row: 3 series, 6 reps,

4. Dumbbell Shrugs: 3 series, 6 reps.



1. standing barbell forearm curls, 3 series, 6 reps.


1. Close Grip Bench Press: 3 series, 6 reps.




1. Deep Squat: 4 series, 6 reps.

2. Hack Squat: 4 series, 6 reps.

3. Stiff Leg Deadlift: 4 series, 6 reps.

It is best to work out six days in a row.

If it is too much for you to recover properly, then work out for three days and have a day off.

Those who have difficulties recovering may want to try the scheme below: 2 days of working out, 1 day off.



Creatine Monohydrate Powder Creapure®: take for 6-8 weeks and then stop for another 6-8 weeks (monohydrate is enough);

BCAA Mega Caps®/ BCAA XPLODE Powder® – before and after working out. If your workout is long, you can also take the preparation during the training;

COLLAREGEN™. Working out with big weights can cause an extremely high pressure in the articular cartilage and tendons. This supplement will help your cartilage and tendons function properly.



Problems with joints can be caused by an injury, excess effort or degenerative changes. Such disorders of the musculoskeletal system affect the quality of life and make it difficult to complete everyday tasks. An effective way to get rid of joint pains is through supplementation with glycosaminoglycans (GAG) and collagen. GAGs are active substances that are usually added to products recommended for enhancing the proper functioning of joints. What are the mechanisms of action of GAGs and why are they so effective in the treatment and prevention of arthritis? The answer is presented below.


1. When your joints fail you

Articular cartilage is mainly composed of glycosaminoglycans (including, among others, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine sulfate and hyaluronic acid). The biomechanics of cartilage is determined by the physicochemical properties of these macro-molecules. For this reason, disturbed biosynthesis and homeostasis of the glycosaminoglycan environment weakens the structure of articular cartilage, which may lead to arthritis.

Arthritis is a popular ailment of developed countries, which involves joint inflammation with the accompanying pain, swelling and stiffness. There are two types of arthritis:

  • osteoarthritis, caused by degeneration of overly strained articular cartilage,
  • rheumatoid arthritis, the most common consequence of joint damage or fracture.

2. Arthritis. Treatment methods.

Currently, arthritis treatment focuses on alleviating the ailments through palliative procedures encompassing pharmacology and surgeries. The medicines used in the ailment have a pain-killing and anti-inflammatory effect (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs). In osteoarthritis, the treatment is supplemented by slow-acting medicines (SYSADOA). The active ingredients of this group of medications produce a delayed effect and relieve ailments caused by osteoarthritis after c.a. one month of use, with the effect persisting for up to several weeks after withdrawal. Such active ingredients include, among others, chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate, which proved to be highly effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis, additionally producing an anti-inflammatory effect. Let us now have a closer look at the efficiency of the most popular compounds recommended for problems with joints.

3. Chondroitin sulfate (CS)

Chondroitin Sulfate (Bovine) is one of the best clinically tested compounds when it comes to its bioavailability after oral administration. Research (Volpi, 2002 and 2003) shows that blood concentration of chondroitin sulfate grows significantly within 1 to 6 hours after administered, with peak concentration in the second hour after taking the supplement. Serum concentration of this macromolecular compound remains significantly high (over 200% of base concentration) for up to 4 hours, and drops afterwards. Supplementation with bovine and shark cartilage chondroitin sulfate has been confirmed to effectively raise the blood concentration of the compounds. Thus, it has been proved that macro-molecules with high-density loads can be transported by the mucosa of the small intestine.


The positive effects of oral administration of chondroitin sulfate in osteoarthritis treatment have been broadly confirmed in clinical trials. Chondroitin sulfate obtained from several different sources (bovine, shark, bird) and used in different doses (500 to 1,200 mg/day) and for different periods (3-24 months) was tested. The manner of administration differed, too (every day throughout the test period or twice, in 3-month cycles). Nevertheless, all tests showed that long-term oral administration of chondroitin sulfate is safe, well tolerated and highly effective in alleviating osteoarthritis-related pain and in enhancing the mobility of the affected knee joint.

4. Glucosamine sulfate (GS)

Glucosamine sulfate belongs to the most popular supplements used in osteoarthritis prevention and alleviation of symptoms of the disease. The effectiveness of glucosamine has stirred controversies for years, being the subject of numerous disputes and experiments. The negative opinions on the effects of glucosamine on the joints were based mainly on observations of a single chemical form of the substance (glucosamine hydrochloride), the absorbability of which is restricted to dozen or so percent only. Another problem was the lack of knowledge on the substance’s pharmacokinetics when administered orally or injected. The methods used were not sensitive enough to allow exact evaluation of the concentration of the ingredient in biological fluids. Plus, the quality of the glucosamine sulfate used left a lot to be desired, which significantly reduced its efficiency in the experiments. The situation is different now. Long-term clinical research on patients suffering from arthritis of the knee shows that glucosamine sulfate is effective in reducing the negative symptoms of the disease.


Glucosamine sulfate is characterised by a very high bioavailability. When administered orally, the substance is quickly absorbed from the alimentary tract and is available in the circulatory system. After 3 to 4 hours after administration, the blood concentration of glucosamine sulfate slowly drops, but remains above the average base level for the next 48 hours, irrespective of the dose. Another characteristic feature of glucosamine is that after a sudden growth of its blood level as a result of absorption of the substance from intestines, the concentration of the substance drops multi-exponentially. This shows that glucosamine is distributed in considerable amounts to non-vascular organs of the human body (joints and articular cartilages). It has also been observed that the maximum average concentration of glucosamine sulfate after its administration depends on the dose, with the half-life of c.a. 15 hours. The differences in pharmacokinetic distribution of the compound are sex-specific.

Dosage – the recommended daily dose is 1,500 mg per day. Higher doses disturb the absorption and distribution of glucosamine sulfate, while lower doses proportionally lower the glucosamine blood concentration and, thus, produce weaker physiological and therapeutic effect.

5. Hyaluronic acid (HA)

Hyaluronic acid is the main ingredient of the synovial fluid, which helps maintain its proper biomechanics. Hyaluronic acid is frequently added to supplements for problems with joints or to supplements aimed to keep the skin healthy. The most popular and the best source of hyaluronic acid is rooster combs and bacterial fermentation processes. However, some producers use powdered or hydrolysed cartilage, which is not a source of high-quality cartilage. Products like this should be avoided.

Hyaluronic acid is broadly used in medicine, to heal degenerative changes in joints (injections) and alleviate the symptoms of cartilage damage (oral administration). Both forms of supplementation have been proved effective.

How hyaluronic acid gets to the joints

How come a compound with such a high molecular weight is transported from the alimentary tract to the body’s connective tissues, all the more that it is effectively decomposed in the liver? The answer is that hyaluronic acid is transported through the lymphatic system and not by the blood. What is more, owing to its strong adhesive properties, the substance penetrates through the peritoneal mucosa to the blood (the same mechanism is used for its uptake from the alimentary tract). Nevertheless, high molecular weight and low fat solubility make the effectiveness of absorption of high molecular hyaluronic acid from the alimentary tract range from 5 to 20%. The effectiveness of hyaluronic acid absorption from the intestines can be increased (by more than 20%) by simultaneous administration of phospholipids, which naturally occur in cell membranes.

Dosage. The most effective molecular mass of hyaluronic acid used in joint ailment prevention equals c.a. 1 MDa.

6. Collagen

Next to glucosamine sulfate, collagen remains among the most popular and most frequently used supplements to treat ailments in the musculoskeletal system including, in particular, joint problems. Collagen is the main protein occurring in the connective tissue of mammals. It is used in dietary supplements as hydrolysate obtained through enzymatic digestion of animal-derived gelatine. A number of studies carried out have shown that collagen hydrolysates are absorbed by the body from the alimentary tract and transported with blood to the articular cartilage, where they stimulate the activity of chondrocytes (cells of the cartilage) and enhance the synthesis of new collagen molecules. All this makes the joints, and the entire musculoskeletal system, function better.



The most popular of all recreational substances consumed on a number of different occasions, with a vast variety of flavours to choose from. Drunk during meetings with friends and family and accompanying humans since time immemorial, but not without significance for the body and health. Alcohol. Does it also affect your performance?

Going back to the basics, it can be concluded that moderate drinking can be healthy (within reasonable limits and on condition that you choose the right alcohol), but excess alcohol consumption causes damage to internal organs, serious diseases and accumulation of unwanted fat.

Calorific value of alcohol

The front runner, when it comes to the number of calories, is whisky (250kcal in 100g), with clear vodka being the first runner-up (220 kcal). Subsequent positions in the list are taken by beer (67 kcal) and wines: white (66 kcal) and red (60 kcal). It is worth noting, however, that wine and beer contain vitamins and minerals.

The circumstances in which you drink alcohol are of paramount importance. These include the amount of alcohol consumed, the food eaten together with the alcohol (or lack thereof), the high-calorie drinks drunk, etc. Since alcohol is rarely drunk alone, as a solitary glass of vodka, the analysis should be comprehensive, encompassing the background and other calories consumed together with the alcohol.

How alcohol affects your training capacity

Detailed tests were performed on the effects of alcohol consumed after intense training and before working out. In the former case, the dose was high and equalled 1.5g per 1 kg of body mass, while in the latter, two variants were considered, i.e. training under the influence of alcohol and working out 13 hours after consumption (hangover).

The results showed bigger alcohol impact on testosterone in men than on production of the hormone in women.

Therefore, it can be concluded that when combined with training, the effects of alcohol differ depending on the sex. Men are definitely advised to separate these two pleasures in time. Nonetheless, it must be noted that occasional consumption of alcohol is not strictly contraindicated when in a workout routine.

Alcohol and muscle mass

Unfortunately, studies on protein synthesis after alcohol consumption are sparse. Still, however, experiments on rats clearly show that muscle protein anabolism is reduced when in contact with the alcohol consumed. Simply speaking, alcohol slows down the pace of muscle growth.

As the study was performed on rats, and not on humans, the scale of the phenomenon is difficult to assess and the results are difficult to differentiate based on weight, sex, age or the amounts consumed, and cannot be translated directly into the loss or hindered growth of muscles. Nevertheless, the existence of such a relationship is unquestionable.

Alcohol and testosterone

Having analysed the muscle mass, we can now move to the endocrine system, which has been proved to be alcohol-dependent as well. Studies performed on humans showed that alcohol did not significantly lower the levels of testosterone in women, with some of the subjects reporting growth of the hormone. The results concerning men, however, are quite different.

Men who consumed 40g of alcohol within 24h (which is not a high dose), had low testosterone concentration (ca. 6.8%). Increase of the dose to 1.5 g per 1 kg of the body mass (i.e. app. 128 g for a man weighing 85 kg) caused testosterone reduction by 23%. The scale, if large amounts of alcohol are drunk regularly, is huge.

The effects of alcohol on other hormones, such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol, have been tested, too. The studies encompassed post-workout levels of these hormones in physically active men.  Analyses showed lack of differences between men who consumed alcohol and those who worked out sober.

This shows that occasional consumption of insignificant amounts of alcohol does not produce any problems and does not change the level of hormones, including testosterone, while regular drinking reduces testosterone secretion.

Alcohol and electrolytes

This is yet another aspect to be considered. It is no secret that drinking alcohol produces a diuretic effect, leading to dehydration and a considerable loss of electrolytes. As the above is true for working out both “under the influence” and before the body returns to form, training right after partying is not recommended.

Alcohol and fat tissue

Once oxidised to acetic acid, alcohol gets into the blood. Excreted in trace amounts only in sweat, while breathing and in urine, it circulates in the body. This is how alcohol digestion begins, with the substance becoming the major food ingredient used by the body to produce energy. In the digestion process, other energy sources (proteins, fat)  are marginalised. Most of the product is metabolised, while the rest (5%) is stored as fat. As can be seen, although considered to be rich in calories, alcohol tends to be demonised.

Enough of the numbers. What you should remember is that when drinking alcohol, we tend to eat more, first, because we usually drink during parties, sitting at tables laden with food and, second, because alcohol does not really inhibit the appetite.

Here, again, the results proved to be sex-dependent. Small, occasional portions of alcohol protect women against obesity, while excess consumption produces an opposite effect. At the same time, women who overuse alcohol are at risk of myopathy, a degenerative muscle disease.

When it comes to men, it was noted that those who drank more than 1 beer a day were more prone to developing abdominal obesity.

What we eat together with alcohol is not insignificant for fat reserve increase. This tendency was observed in alcoholics, in whose menus alcohol supplanted a number of high-calorie products, leading to weight and fat loss. Obviously, given the benefits and costs associated with alcohol, it should by no means be treated as a diet.

Alcohol vs. diet in a training plan

According to logic, occasional consumption of insignificant amounts of alcohol has basically no impact on diet as a whole. Nonetheless, you should never combine it with improper nutrients: with alcohol, the supply of proteins, fat and carbohydrates is lower, and your body receives fewer building blocks to use.

Furthermore, as body weight stabilisation depends on the appetite, you should not disregard alcohol in this respect. The research conducted showed that those who drank alcohol before meals ate bigger portions than those who only drank soft drinks. Plus, the first group felt satiated much later than the other group.

This seems insignificant for occasional drinking, but if you drink alcohol frequently, you will probably not avoid additional kilograms and nutrient deficiency.

Know where to stop

Basically, alcohol should not be demonised or brought down to the role of number one enemy of workouts. But only if used moderately and reasonably. Putting aside the numbers and statistics, it must be remembered that even if you have slept well at night, your general state after carousing will not help you do a good workout.