Coming Soon, DSW Part 4: The Amazonian Warrior Workout

Greetings, true believers.

As voted by you, the next in the series of truly hardcore DSWs is in the works. Do you have what it takes to tackle the gruelling training that an Amazonian Warrior Princess endures?

That’s right, beloved readers, the next Designer Superhero Workout will be the Justice League’s total babe; Wonder Woman.

Who wouldn't want that. . . I mean want to be like that. Ahem.

Who wouldn’t want that. . . I mean want to be like that. Ahem.

As more often than not these brutal series of workouts, lead to that vile burrow of the jocks and meatheads known as the gym.

Thus our good chum and patriot, (for USA at least), Captain America will be dishing out advice on how to deal with the war zone that is the gym.

Hustle people. Get your ass to the post office, quick sharp.

Hustle people. Get your ass to the post office, quick sharp.

Stay tuned for more.

Until next time. Stay informed.

Suit Up

With Iron Man 3 out at the flicks, like a pandemic, Iron Man fever has hit the world, (Except china who seem miffed). If you haven’t seen it yet here’s a little teaser.

Your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor wanted to delight you all with a comprehensive rundown of the myriad of different armours at his disposal.

Just one problem; every blogger and their freakin’ dog seems to have already produced such an article. Therefore, instead I shall up the ante, and science you upside the head as I am wont to do from time to time.

Thus, Level Up will ‘buck the trend’ and instead detail how Tony creates these multi-alloy masterpieces of sciency sexiness.

That’s right, beloved reader, today we learn some of the seemingly infinite amount of tricks up Mr Stark’s sleeve and get an insight into his extensive metallic wardrobe’s creation process.

Sciencing you upside the head Starktech style

Stark Tower, soon to be the Avenger's tower in Marvel's phase 2, is actually the Bitexco Financial Tower in Saigon, Vietnam.

Stark Tower, soon to be the Avenger’s tower in Marvel’s phase 2, is actually the Bitexco Financial Tower in Saigon, Vietnam.

All of our genius playboy philanthropist billionaire hero’s armours are not only constructed from an array of incredibly strong, (and almost all of them being fictional), alloys, they are also bolstered by force fields.

Each different masterpiece of Starktech is a self-contained environment, all of them massively enhancing strength, and other attributes dependant on the model.

Every armour has pretty much every communications and navigations system you can think of, from radio to radar to sonar and of course, the sexiest parts, the assorted on-board weaponry.

They even have a filtration system if you need to take a whizz.

Genius that he is, Stark has multiple energy systems set up, and then some back up power systems such as solar energy, just in case he hasn’t kicked enough ass that day and wants to declare war on Latvia.

The first appearance of Iron Man, March 1963. The MK I armour was actually made of real iron.

“Is it the suit that makes the man, or the man that makes the suit?”

A bit of both. Stark’s armors are not as rigid or solid as they appear, Iron Man’s armour is actually pretty complicated. It is not made out of anything truly solid.

Despite appearances they aren’t thick, encumbering plates, like medieval armour. The structural integrity of the armour is actually a powerful force field permeating each of roughly two million individual, yet working in unison, individual cells.

Each is a tiny and almost sentient unit in its own right; contributing energy and computing power for itself and being a team player with all the other cells in the entire armor; this is why each suit can take substantial damage and still remain highly functional.

Instead, each of the individual cells shift and maneuver unseen to optimize the suits attributes, this also keeps each suit lightweight and flexible.

The armour’s unique composition, the two million aforementioned microscopic units, each has the approximate mass of a grain of sand and are manipulated during the manufacturing process, reshaping them and giving them as large a surface area as possible to optimize their effectiveness.

Iron Man Chill-axing

Our main man wouldn’t be able to relax like that in the armour if was as solid as it looks.
Each suit is as comfortable as wearing a bathrobe.

Whilst Stark designs every aspect of every suit, the production of each armour is must be entirely automated, individually cell by cell. A system created, developed and supervised by Stark every step of the process.

During creation a specialized ‘pre-programmed’ bacteria is utilised, they consume a specifically pre-determined amounts of selected metals.

When it has gobbled the precise portions of each, it then arranges itself on a ‘pre-tagged’ area, a solid template called a ‘chip-wafer’, (manually constructed by Stark himself), then the little fella expires, leaving a miniscule amount of the desired alloy for the tagged area, and always some gallium-arsenide.

The basic principle of the suit is holistic; each part contains the whole, as it were. When inactive, the entire suit can collapse on the microscopic level, the cells ‘folding’ in on themselves to take up a smaller volume, whilst of course having the same mass, like a three-dimensional accordion pleat.

The tome of manufacturing badassery.

All the details of the armor’s construction listed above are laid out in the Iron Manual. However, some armours which appeared after publication of the Iron Manual ignore the amazing ideas it contains, making the writers of those stories total dicks.

The consistent defining abilities of Stark’s armours are the jets installed in the boots and the flight stabilizers in the gauntlets. The repulsor blasters originated from the flight stabilizer and have proven time and time again to double up as an invaluable weapon. They essentially blast off a charged up and directionally manipulated array of magnetised particles, resulting in a force beam.

Another consistent trait are the chest-mounted array of tools / weaponry like the infamous uni-beam, other variations  include the vario beam and tri-beam. What was originally a spotlight has evolved into the proton beam, and  has progressed to develop various other weapons, primarily light and force-based.

Why Marvel? Why? Is it an 80's thing to put Iron Man on roller skates?

Why Marvel? Why? Is it an 80’s thing to put Iron Man on roller skates?

 Some unique armours

Okay, beloved reader, you’ve been suitably scienced up, your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor, though he would cool y’all down with a peek at some of the stranger, weirder and sometimes bamboozling parts of the starktech armoury.

Iron Man 2020

Always nice to know what year folk are from when they introduce themselves, eh?

Iron Man 2020 AD  

This isn’t actually Tony, it’s Arno Stark. Not the illegitimate love child of Stark and Arnold Schwarzenegger, although I wish he were, for that would be a powerful being indeed.

The Iron Man from seven years away, (it was much further in the  future when it was originally published), is in fact Tony’s evil nephew.

Arno Stark inherited Tony’s armoury but instead of righting wrongs and being in cool teams like the Avengers, he turned mercenary and did very bad things with it, including going back in time to cause trouble for the modern-day heroes. Leading one to assume that the heroes of the future just aren’t worth the effort of hassling.

MARK XXVIII – Asgardian Destroyer Armour

Sometimes referred to a the Asgardian buster armour. One would assume, given the name, it's purpose is to 'bust' Asgardians.

Sometimes referred to a the Asgardian buster armour.
One would assume, given the name, it’s purpose is to ‘bust’ Asgardians.

Stark created this armour after Thor went a bit mental in Slovakia, causing so much strife that it had the potential to start World War III. Being the good chum Tony is, he figured he’d slap some sense into him before things got out of hand.

The huge suit was powered by a reactor utilizing an enchanted, super-dense material, an unknown element of unknown origin that was given to Stark by Thor before he lost his cool. The demigod’s intentions were for Stark to turn into a form of sustainable energy source, to be used for the good of mankind.

It allowed the armour to tap into the same energy field that gives Thor’s hammer its strength and also absorbed the son of Odin’s thunderous strikes, it then channeled them through an integrated matrix and send them right back at him.

The movie version looks way cooler. Spikes make everything look cooler.

The movie version looks way cooler. Spikes make everything look cooler.

Stark was giving Thor a brutal kicking but the reactor malfunctioned. Stark hadn’t had time to perfect or test the design given the urgency of the situation.

The tables turned and Thor ripped the armour off of Iron Man, utterly destroying it, but it was merely an exoskeleton. Stark being a man to know when to quit, made a swift getaway in his standard armour that he was wearing underneath.

Anti-Transformer Armour

Anti Transformers Armour

Stark will take on pretty much anything based on just a rumour.
Even giant transforming alien robots.

That’s right beloved reader, Anti-Transformer armour. The giant transforming robots from Cybertron.  Marvel have the rights to Transformers when it comes to comics, so they thought they’d try and pull off a crazy crossover.

Stark had heard rumours of giant alien robots hiding on Earth. Just a rumour mind you, he hadn’t actually encountered any. But he figured he’d go ahead and create a giant suit of armour, specifically to fight giant transforming robots incase he did.

The armour hadn’t been perfected by the time it saw action, it was tough to power such a massive suit, thus it ran low on energy really quickly and if supplied from an external power source was prone to overload.

Iron Man still managed to kick some Decepticon butt until he was beheaded by the Megatron himself. Stark pulled the old escape-the-Asgardian-maneuver and exited the over-sized armour but continued combat in his Extremis Armour.

The Sorcerer Armour, Model I, Mark I

Sorcerer Armour

The armour allowed Stark to ‘cast’ spells faster than any other sorcerer by channelling the Eldritch Forces through its energy system.

For a while, Marvel published a series of comics set in a parallel universe simply titled ‘What If?‘. In issue 13 the hypothetical story line involves a drunken Tony Stark encountering renown surgeon Stephen Strange, (Dr. Strange. sorcerer supreme). Our intoxicated hero severely damaged Dr Strange’s hands, rendering his surgical career caput.

Ridden with guilt and an epic hangover, Stark spends years trying to find a way to correct his mistake and fix Stephen’s hands. His efforts lead him to Tibet where encounters a mystical chap who goes by the ominous name Ancient One.

The Ancient One explains to tony that the rights to his wrongs on the good doctor could only be discovered in mysticism. Thus Stark undergoes through months of sorcerers training, learning how to draw power with incantations from the Eldritch Forces that in the regular universe would have been Dr Stranges vocation, Tony becomes Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme Champion.

To make matters worse an immortal evil entity, Dormammu, also known as The Dread One; Lord of Chaos, The Great Enigma, and Master of the Mindless Ones is on his way to cause whatever havoc immortal entities with multiple scary names like to engage in.

With a new agenda Stark sets about what he does best, making bad-ass Starktech armour. The suit was constructed from materials from different dimensions; the perfect melding of magic and science, specifically designed to enter the Astral Plane and kick seven shades of s**t out of Dormammu.

Until next time. Stay informed.

 

Designer Superhero workouts Part 1: The Web-Slinger Physique

Remember that day in primary school, when the teacher would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  I bet some were predictable answers like; fireman, police man or astronaut.

Sure? But where are you going with this?

As you can see, the web-slinger's physique is sleek, yet with some emphasis on quadriceps and lats.

As you can see, the web-slinger’s physique is sleek, yet with some emphasis on quadriceps and lats.

But I bet you the majority of those kids answered either Spider man or Batman 

If you haven’t already read the ‘Designer Superhero Workout Basics’, I would strongly advise that you do before proceeding. Spidey’s workout plan is probably the hardest to follow due to the unique combination of strength, flexibility and muscular endurance, he pretty much has all of all the components of fitness in high levels at his disposal. During the plan we will also be covering advanced fitness tactics; split body part training, interval training and super sets. Phew. This 12 week program depends on its 28 day cycles, meaning 14 workouts per cycle for most of the DSWs. If you want this plan to work, he  you can’t miss a single one. Not one.

Thus, without further delay; your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor presents to you, the equally friendly neighbourhood Spider man fast-tracked periodized workout plan.

legospidey

Phase 1: Foundation Strength – 4 weeks

Alas, beloved reader, Level Up being the impoverished company that it is, lacks its own recording studios, (how many posts have I had to put that in now? Think of all the posts your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor will have to go back and edit when Level Up does have recording equipment and that’s after producing videos for every conceivable exercise, and then some), for now  just follow the handy links, along with some handy videos wisdom too.

Barbell front squats: Spidey has quite the robust quadriceps;  front squats will get them nice and powerful for all the mighty leaps an athletic Spidey fan will be doing. Go as heavy as possible, whilst maintaining perfect form, for 4 sets of 8 repetitions.

Incline cable bench press: Due to the web-slinging nature of our subject, we’ll be using as many cable based exercises as possible; cables are the closest thing we have to webbing to work with.  As with all the exercises in this phase go as heavy as possible, 3 sets of 8 reps for this.

Pull ups: Spidey needs a lot of strength for all the wall-crawling business, plus these will get those lats flaring like  Bruce Lee. You know, like the scene in ‘Way of the Dragon‘ when Bruce Lee is warming up ready to kick seven shades of s**t out of Chuck-not-as-hard-as-the-meme-says-Norris, and he does that flex where he looks like a freakin’ cobra flaring up to attack.

All apologies, beloved reader, but your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor can only teach you how to be strong enough to wall-crawl. Not how to stick to sheer surfaces.

All apologies, beloved reader, but your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor can only teach you how to be strong enough to wall-crawl. Not how to stick to sheer surfaces.

Once you’ve done as many reps as possible, take a minute’s, (no longer than one), ‘rest’ and repeat for a total of 4 sets. If you can’t do pull ups yet work up to them with inverted rows, then progress to inverted rows with the feet elevated, then do them on a progressively higher bar until your there. Try adding resistance to each stage to speed up progress. If you can already manage pull ups, then you are among the elite few, but should try to add resistance anyway. Don’t be embarrassed to use the  pull up assist machine or resistance bands to help either, that’s what their for..

How freakin' cool is that!

How freakin’ cool is that!

Cable alternating curl:  Keeping in theme with our web substitute exercises  we work the biceps on the cable machine. Spidey would be using those biceps over and over again during his web-slinging shenanigans, and alternately as he swings from one web-line to the next above the crime filled streets of Brooklyn. As with most of the movements in the strength phase exercises go for 3 sets of 8 reps.

Behind the neck barbell press: Whilst these work all three heads of the deltoids, they put more focus on the lateral and posterior heads. Aim for 3 sets of 8 reps. If performed incorrectly this exercise can cause great injury, if you already have a recurring neck or shoulder injury, then substitute seated dumbbell shoulder press instead, not as productive for the Spidey effect, but a fairly sufficient compromise.

Triceps Dip: A tough exercise but an essential one, aim for as many reps as possible, and if you can add resistance to your own bodyweight you’ll be totally bad-ass. Try for as many reps as possible for 4 sets.

Any decent gym will have at least one of these gruesome contraptions. Loop the chain through a weight disc and wear it round your waist whilst dipping. Or purchase one for your home gym.

Any decent gym will have at least one of these gruesome contraptions. Loop the chain through a weight disc and wear it round your waist whilst dipping. Or purchase one for your home gym.

Vertical leg-hip raise: This killer move will give you abs of doom. Spidey’s legs are all over the show when he’s web-slinging, but what most non-kinesiologists rarely realise is that the leg muscles aren’t putting much of the work in; the abs do the heavy lifting and the flexibility facilitates the movement. Same sets and reps with these bad boys as you did with the dips.

abs work and flexibility training will allow you to bust moves like this

Abdominal work and flexibility training will allow you to bust sweet moves like this.

One arm single leg calf raise: Kinesiologically speaking, calves must be the penultimate exercise. (forearm muscles are last for obvious reasons), as the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles support you during pretty much anything you do apart from sitting. This cheeky exercise replicates Spidey’s equally cheeky tactic of  springing off a wall whilst attached to a web-line. Nice. Go heavy on these for 8 reps, change legs, repeat for 3 sets.

Cable one arm wrist curl: I don’t think you’re ever likely to find more cable exercises in any other workout, but they suit our purpose. A Spidey physique requires a strong grip and this will work the forearm flexor group of muscles, that ultimately produce grip strength. Forearms are extremely durable, so you should be able to go fairly heavy for 8 reps, swap hands, and repeat for 4 sets. After doing these you will have temporary loss of dexterity. Be prepared.

Grip-strength essential. No matter how cute you are.

Grip-strength essential. No matter how cute you are.

After each workout it is essential that you stretch, not only will this give you improved flexibility and speed up recovery, but it will prevent unwanted injury and DOMS.

Perform all the exercises conscientiously. Take one minute ‘rest’ in between sets, but no longer; this will keep the ‘pump’, when that is happening more blood is flowing to the muscle in question and therefore more nutrients will reach it. Perform these workouts every other day, rest on the days in-between. Although, on some of your days off however, you’ll be doing some different training I’m afraid. But it will be so beneficial that I’m not even sorry.

Welcome to interval training

What gruelling skulduggery will you have us doing now? 

Fear not beloved reader, it’s not as bad as it sounds

Interval training is a type of discontinuous exercise that involves a series of low to high-intensity periods interspersed with ‘relief ‘periods. The high-intensity periods are typically at or close to anaerobic exercise, while the recovery periods may involve either complete rest or activity of lower intensity.

spiderman-reboot-set-2012-best-movies-ever-andrew-garfield-costume

See? This is how Spidey starts his day. Interval training. He off all people should take more care crossing the road though.

Thus, on your off days, go for a 30 minute walk, don’t bother doing this training on a treadmill, those blasted contraptions are the worst fitness equipment ever invented; you’re doing all that hard work and not even covering any ground, you should feel cheated by them. Plus there is only so much meat-headery, jock filled, sweaty gym visits that can be tolerated.

The weather is getting nicer so hit the park instead. Begin with 30 minute walks, then every 4th minute, sprint all-out as hard and fast as the Flash. A stopwatch will be helpful. Select 2 of your off days per week and gradually build up the length of the sprint time. For example, on the second session walk for 3.5 minutes, then sprint full-out for 90 seconds.

spider-man-2012-on-set-images-andrew-garfield-best-movies-ever-4

He then bursts into sprints at regular intervals. It all makes sense now.
Although anyone else would have been mugged in Brooklyn by now.

Add 5 minutes to the total workout time each week until you reach 45 minutes, that’s the maximum length of time you can reap the benefits from this training. Max-out the intervals to 2 minutes walking, 3 minutes sprinting.  Perform these training sessions first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and consume zero calories apart from water for 90 minutes after; this will produce the optimal fat burning effect for that sleek Spidey look. Keep these up for the entire 12 weeks. With all this hard work you must ensure that your rest days are complete rest days, and get the proper nutrition for optimum recovery. The faster you recover, the harder you can push yourself on the next workout.

If you choose to, you could easily replace regular interval training with Fartlek training.

Look at this cute Lego Spidey, and calm yourself. There is more work ahead.

Look at this cute Lego Spidey, and calm yourself. There is more work ahead.

Phase 2: Split body part routine – 4 weeks

Now you will be working different body-parts on each workout, this will add more focus om each muscle to reap the greatest rewards. The workouts still occur every other day without fail, and the interval training is still on 2 days per week. During this phase all sets and reps are 3 and 10 to 12 respectively, unless otherwise specified.

Day 1: quadriceps, latissimus dorsi, waist

Barbell front squats: Exactly the same as before. Leg and lat strength are the key essentials to the Spidey physique, so try to maintain the weight from before but push hard for the extra reps, adding one rep per week is impressive enough.

Dumbbell jump squats: Now we’re getting serious. Get the heaviest dumbbells you can manage with perfect form and leap as high as you can with them. Being sure it is a controlled and disciplined motion. As with all the exercises slowly and progressively increase the resistance. It’s simple science; the higher you can jump whilst encumbered, the even greater your leaps will be without the added baggage.

Want to jump to great heights? Dumbbell jumping squats are the king.

Want to jump to great heights? Dumbbell jumping squats are the king.

Pull ups: Same drill as before, but the following exercises will ensure you get veritable wings of muscle. If your progression has been meta-human then try these:

Cable kneeling row: Handy for saving falling innocents caught on a web-line. Also works mid-trapezius, teres minor, teres major, rhomboids, and infraspinatus. That enough muscles for you?

Cable twisting standing high row: The perfect movement to emulate ground to air take off web-slinging. Note how the reps are gradually increasing for muscular endurance, whilst the strength gained from the last 4 weeks is maintained. As an added bonus the obliques get a bit of a workout, warming up the waist for more brutality.

I rest my well-informed case.

I rest my well-informed case.

Vertical hip-leg raise: Same as above, but hopefully, by now you should be totally owning them with abdominal rippage to make Vin Diesel cry.

Hyper-extension: As strong as you are making the front of your waist, you should not neglect the back. Take great care with these and do not add any resistance. Unfortunately few gyms have these wonderful lumbar empowering devices, so you may have to settle for the terribly named Superman exercise. That’s the third DC reprobate to infiltrate a Marvel hero’s post! The audacity! Slightly different on the reps with this one, aim for 3 sets of 15 reps.

One arm single leg calf raise: This time aim for 3 sets of 10 to 12. As if you didn’t know that already.

Day 2: pectoralis major, deltoids, arms

Incline cable bench press: Same as before, just more reps

Cable standing incline fly: Yet another cable exercise; this one hitting the clavicular fibres of pectoralis major. Your pecs will burn, but it’s a kinda nice feeling. The feeling you get when you know you’ve done a good job.

Cable alternate curls: You know these well by now. Endure, beloved reader, endure. Tis worth the effort.

Behind the neck press: Same as before, attempting to maintaining the previous weight, whilst maintaining the same weight. Don’t worry if you can’t, adding reps is a cruel mistress.

Cable lateral raise: Your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor shouldn’t even need to explain the applications of such a cool looking exercise. This movement specifically targets the lateral head of the deltoids. I’m pretty sure you’ve sussed the sets and reps by now.

All that tough work on rear and lateral deltoids allows for web-slinging business like this. Yay.

All that tough work on rear and lateral deltoids allows for web-slinging business like this. Yay.

Triceps dips: Same drill as phase 1, but you should be far more competent with them and hopefully adding resistance to the exercise.

Cable bent-over triceps extension: These are handy for mid-web-slinging, when letting go of one web-line and shooting more webbing, more than likely with some groovy acrobatics thrown in for good measure. Sets and reps are well-known to you by now beloved reader.

Cable one arm wrist curl: Reps do not increase in this phase, Stick with 15 reps for 3 sets.

Super sets

No really. They are actually called that. Become informed, beloved reader, on some of the painstaking tactics that athletes use to improve their performance and / or muscular gain, including yours truly. They sound harsh, are harsh, but will make an elite athlete out of you, in epic proportions.

Types of Super sets

There are many options available when it comes to super-setting. These are just  few of them. Do not fear, beloved reader, we will not be utilising them all. Just most of them. EEK.

Pre-Exhaustion Supersets. This involves two exercises for the same muscle group. The first exercise is an isolation move, which targets one muscle group, and the second is a compound movement, which targets multiple muscles. Example: Leg extensions, which target the quads, followed by squats. The quads are tired, but the other muscles used in squats (glutes, hamstrings and inner thighs) are fresh, allowing greater exhaustion on the larger muscles.

Post-Exhaustion Supersets. This is the opposite of pre-exhaustion. You start with the compound movement and follow that with the isolation exercise.

Compound Superset: This is a tough way of training since you’re putting together two compound exercises, requiring more energy and strength. Remember, compound exercises are those that work several muscle groups at a time.

Isolation Supersets: In this type of training, combine two isolation exercises.

Opposing Muscle Groups: When you do two exercises that target opposing muscle groups, one muscle gets to rest while the opposite muscle works. You can pair back and chest, biceps and triceps, hamstrings and quadriceps, etc.

Staggered Supersets: In staggering, you do an exercise for a different muscle between sets. For example, during a straight set of chest presses, you could throw in a set of calf raises or crunches while you rest your chest muscles. This saves time, allowing you to work one muscle group while the other rests.

Tri-Sets: This is the same as a superset, except you’re doing three exercises rather than two.

Phase 3: Split body part routine with super sets – 4 weeks

The body part split is slightly different this phase, but due to the added intensity, and time-saving factor of moving directly from one exercise to the next, there will be a greater volume of work. This is the most challenging phase.

頑張って

Ganbatte

As always, that wonderful land of the rising sun takes Western shows and turns them into to something crazy. Also i has giant robots in it.

As always, that wonderful land of the rising sun takes Western shows and turns them into to something crazy.
Also it has giant robots in it.

The weight you will be using this phase will be lower than the last two, but fear not, beloved reader, strength gains stay with you for a very long time and the continued work you are doing will easily maintain your hard-gained attributes. If you are so bad-ass you are still using the same weight or even increasing the resistance; I tip my proverbial hat of awe to thee. Unless exceptions are given, perform 3 sets of 15 reps.

Day 1: pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi, deltoids

Incline cable bench press: / Pull ups: You should be very familiar and adapt at these exercises by now. But it gets harder.

Cable incline fly: / Cable kneeling row: The new chest exercise will make you feel the burn, during theses three super sets, you’ll be basically owning the cable machine. Screw the gym-rats, they’re more than likely using it wrong anyway.

Cable standing fly: / Cable twisting high row: By this point your pecs an lats are shattered, This is a good thing, for they will recovery to become stronger and more durable.

Behind the neck press: / Cable lateral raise: / Cable reverse fly: Here we have applied the deltoid shattering tactic of tri-sets. Enjoy.

Dumbbell shrugs: /One arm single leg calf raise: The first is detailed below in the handy vid, go light on these and aim for 25 reps, one of the few exceptions to the above rules emulating Spidey’s physique.

Day 2: quadriceps, arms, waist

Barbell front squats / Dumbbell jump squats: Here we use one of the harshest super set techniques; the compound super set. You should be very familiar with both these knackering exercises, now you must perform them one straight after the other. Aim for 3 sets of 15 reps each. That’s the hardest part out-of-the-way.

Dumbbell side lunge: /Cable bent-over leg curl: This is also exhausting, but helps to strengthen those cool Spidey poses. We take advantage of the opposing muscle group super set. All exercises in this phase will be 3 sets of 15 reps, per side if applicable. Note that only in the final phase hamstring exercises have been added, they are the most difficult muscle to increase flexibility. But you should have been working on that after every training session.

Triceps dips / Cable alternating curl: Again we use the opposing muscle group super set, it’s clearly the most useful to enhance Spidey’s movements. Unlike before, these will be relegated to the 3 sets of 15 reps.

Cable forward triceps extension: / Concentration curls across the body: Using opposing muscle group super sets yet again, (this tactic seems to be the most functional for Spidey’s movements). The first move is excellent or that initial web-shoot-and leap maneuver. The point of the second curling exercise isn’t just to facilitate the super set. The biceps have two separate ‘heads’, which both need work. This curling technique focuses on the outer head, which has only been synergistic in some exercises up to now.

Vertical leg hip raise: / Hyper extension or Superman /Cable twists: Here we take advantage of two super set tactics, tri-sets and opposing muscle group sets. With the hip raises nothing has changed, Just have at them furiously. The cable twists are for those awkward mid-air web-slinging hijinks when you need to make a quick U-turn. These work the obliques, adding to that sleek waist we want.

Cable reverse curls: / Cable one arm wrist curl: Using the tactic of training opposing muscle groups, we now totally annihilate your forearms.

This is why we work the wrist extensors, it's not easy doing the 'Hail Satan' to shoot webbing all day.

This is why we work the wrist extensors, it’s not easy doing the ‘Hail Satan’ to shoot webbing all day.

Diet

This is the section that most will despise in the series of customized workouts. During phase 1 try to get 40 g of quality protein and 60 g of quality carbs per meal. Phase 2 reduce protein to 35 g and maintain the 60 g of carbs. Phase 3, the toughest, keep the protein at 30 g but increase the carbs to 70 g. Simple. Aim for 4 to 5 meals per day, at least 3 hours apart from each other.

You have to really want it

This plan will only work if you stick with it. You really have to want it, but it is only 12 weeks out of your life to achieve heights of awesomeness that few have the drive to go for. It is very difficult and complex, in fact the most difficult and complex of all the designer Super hero workouts, that’s why I got it out-of-the-way first.

Dig deep for you discipline, it will be worth it. If it’s any consolation, the Spidey workout is very similar to your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor’s, except because I train at home I perform the free weight versions of the exercises and keep the protein in my diet as high as possible throughout for greater hypertrophy. Also sometimes I will extend phases if I am still getting significant results. It can be done.

Now it’s up to you what you want to continue doing with this. You can maintain the Spidey look by continuing phase 3 indefinitely. You could work through all three phases again to become even more powerful, even take gymnastics classes. Or maybe you’ve been barred from the gym for constantly hogging the cable stations.

You have now graduated the   Spider man school of bad-assery. Yay

You have now graduated the Spider man school of being a hero but never seeming to get the girl. See below.

So what’s next?

Simple. Repeat all the phases again,  you’ll notice a massive increase in attributes trained in each period. That’s the whole 12 weeks. By the end of it you will be strong, durable and flexible.

Alternatively, just continue with the last phase for as long as you likeand if you get bored with the exercises and the exercise order, you can substitute them for others that work a similar group of muscles, and even re-arrange the 2-way hypertrophy split.

Stay tuned for Thor

Until next time. Stay informed.

Designer Superhero Workout Basics

Greetings true believers

Reckon you know the names of all these Marvel characters?

Reckon you know the names of all these Marvel characters?

This pre-post to the series of Super hero specific workouts, will outline the basics that need to be adhered to. These ‘rules’ aren’t steadfast and unbreakable, they are adaptable to individual needs and also sometimes ‘tweaked’ for each specific character’s physique requirements.

Unlike most of the workouts thus far on Level Up, you will need equipment for this training, and also isn’t advisable for a total beginner. If however, you have been working out, or following the Batman zero to hero fitness guide, then your body will be primed and ready.

OK Dc fans, can you name all these chracters?

OK DC comic fans, can you name all these characters?

The Plan

Each customized workout plan will be a 12 week intensive fast-tracked journey to bad-assery, separated into 4 week blocks, this is known as periodized training, (see the Hulk link above for more information),and covering, dependant on the hero in question, one or more of the components of fitness.

1. Cardiovascular Fitness: Cardiovascular fitness is the ability of the heart, lungs and vascular system to deliver oxygen-rich blood to working muscles during sustained physical activity.

2. Muscular Strength: Muscular strength is the amount of force a muscle or muscle group can exert against resistance.

3. Muscular Endurance: Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to repeat a movement many times for an extended period of time.

4. Flexibility :Flexibility is the degree to which an individual muscle will lengthen, producing greater range of movement and thus, augmenting agility.

5. Body Composition: Body composition is the amount of fat in the body compared to the amount of lean mass, muscle, bones etc. this is the one we all want. Lean bodies with great attributes. Sweet.

Equipment

That is an impressive home multi-gym.  Dear Santa . . . . .

That is an impressive home multi-gym.
Dear Santa . . . . .

Unfortunately you will be needing either a gym membership or some comprehensive home training equipment for these workouts. Sorry, beloved reader, but some heroes are just so very mighty this will be essential.

The gym: Be warned , beloved reader, these overpopulated establishments are full of morons, degenerates and cretins. Then you once you’ve avoided the instructors and so-called personal trainers, you have to deal with the people who go there to work out, a  good percentage of which are meat-heads, roid-heads, jocks and gym-rats. They will attempt to impart their ‘wisdom’ upon you.

Heed not their ill-informed mewlings. The truth you require can be found right here at Level Up.

Hideeous freaks such as this are a fine example of roid-heads. Avoid, evade and don't feed them after midnight.

Hideous freaks such as this are a fine example of roid-heads. That is not the physique of a Super hero, that’s just to be avoided, evaded and never fed after midnight.

The home gym: Your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor prefers the home gym set up. It means you can have a nice paced workout and don’t have to wait for an equipment hog to get of the bench / cable / barbell etc. you need.

It’s also an investment, rather than paying extortionate gym fees indefinitely, you already have all the gear you need and it ill pay for itself in about a year.

Diet

All the training in the world wont get you anywhere if your stuffing your cake hole with, well, cake.

Try to eat every 3 hours, to keep the metabolism boosted and a steady stream of nutrients coming in to help you recover from the workouts. I know this is tricky to do, and for those of us on a limited finances difficult to afford, but with a little imagination and efficient budgeting it can be done, as our hero of ‘Don’t make me Ingrey, you wouldn’t like me when I’m Ingrey’ has demonstrated.

Get plenty of protein from high quality sources: eggs, milk, fish, beef, chicken, and for those of us, like yours truly, with those horrifying afflictions known as employment, protein shakes and protein bars.

That's the kind of tasty business you wanna be munching to get results

That’s the kind of tasty business you wanna be munching to get results

If you go for the protein supplement options, be sure to get the ones with plenty of carbs in, you’ll need the energy, (If I catch any of you, no matter how beloved that reader may be, doing the vile Atkins diet, I will be forced to have stern words, all I have to say is “Shazam” and things get ghetto), they are extremely handy to sneakily get a quick protein fix if you work in a crappy job like mine where you don’t really get breaks. Thus your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor’s pockets are generally full of protein bars, and I have mastered the art of stealth eating. A skill to be reckoned with.

Protopure Recovery are generally the best value for money, and taste fairly good. Go for the chocolate cookie or chocolate, caramel and peanut flavours. Yum.

Protopure Recovery are generally the best value for money, and taste fairly good. Go for the chocolate cookie or chocolate, caramel and peanut flavours. Yum.

You’ll also want good quality sources of carbs, wholemeal versions of baked products, oatmeal, pasta, (make sure it’s cooked Al dente), and nothing with processed sugar. But you knew that already. Right?

Get healthy fats in your diet too, from fish, nuts and seeds. Bingo. You already know the foods to avoid, so I hope I wont have to bore you with all that skullduggery.

The First Instalments

The first two workouts in the series will be Spider man, followed by Thor, this is due to the very different attributes they have, giving you, beloved reader, an insight into how unique each plan will be.

You don't want to get involve in that.

You don’t want to get involved in that.

For a little extra advice and inspiration before you begin your sojourn to a customized Super look, (just in time for the nice weather), check out ‘‘The Legend of You’.

Not many of my beloved readers bother hitting the handy links I work so hard to provide you with valuable information, however I implore you to check each one on this post as they have great relevance to the subject matter.

Until next time. Stay informed.

 

Taskmaster

As requested by the infamous, nefarious and downright decadent Zsa-Zsa-La-Trine; your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor presents one of Marvel comic’s gems. He looks cool and has a cool power.

There he is in all his finery. Powers Unknown.

There he is in all his finery.
Powers Unknown.

Taskmaster

To avoid any confusion, this is Taskmaster. Powers known.

To avoid any confusion, this is Taskmaster.
Powers known.

The Taskmaster, (created by David Michelinie and George Pérez), is more often than not primarily portrayed as a villain rather than the anti-hero he really is. Real name speculated to be Tony Masters, is a mysterious figure believed to have been born in Brooklyn, New York City, and once went by the  alias Contingency T.

He made his first appearance in Avengers vol.1 #195, (May 1980),before making his full début in Avengers vol.1 #196 in which he was introduced as an enemy, and gave them a pretty hard time. Although the Avenger’s line-up, with the exception of Iron man, was fairly lame at the time.

Because of his notoriety he usually finds employment within criminal organizations as a training instructor. However, in Taskmaster vol.2 #3 (2011), it was revealed he was a sleeper agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. planted by Nick Fury for the purpose of intelligence gathering. During this time though, Taskmaster had trained quite the contingent of super hero imposters meant to discredit the real thing; Blood Spider the criminal version of Spider-Man, Jagged Bow and Death-shield were trained to be replacing Hawkeye and Captain America.

So what’s this groovy power you mentioned?

Checking out all his bad-ass equipment may give you a clue.

Checking out all his bad-ass equipment may give you a clue.

Photographic reflexes

Photographic reflexes is the ability to essentially copy any skill, talent or ability you see. Anything that you see, even video footage will be sufficient. As long as he spends enough time observing another’s physical movements, no matter how complex, he can then go straight ahead and duplicate them without even needing to practice. Sweet. The drawback to this groovy power is that the new knowledge he gained from each observation will replace his previous non-skill related memories.

Due to these powers he can almost imitate super powers. For example he has discovered that watching Martial arts movies on fast-forward he is able to briefly duplicate the moves at a greatly increased velocity, effectively giving him a limited form of super-speed.

He was previously a naturally gifted athlete who trained himself to superb physical condition. He committed the fighting styles of:

Captain AmericaDaredevilElektraHawkeyePunisherTigraUSAgent, Spider-ManAnt-ManBatrocBoomerangBushwackerBlacklashGenis-VellCableDeadpoolFalconFataleFirestarIron FistJusticeMoon KnightPower Man, SilverclawSilver SamuraiShatterstar,  and Wolverine to memory, as well as many others.

As well as fully utilising his ability to copy the fighting techniques of others, he had mastered hundreds of forms of unarmed combat, both ancient and modern, and had created some of his own original techniques as well. As if that wasn’t enough he is skilled in the use of all conventional weaponry, an unerring marksman, master of swordsmanship, gymnastics with aerial acrobatic capabilities and adept at sleight of hand. This is not an individual you would ever want to get in a ruck with.

He has often shown the ability to actually predict an opponents next move before they make it if he has studied their fighting style enough. Opponents who are skilled at improvisational fighting styles, or who have a more random unpredictable style are less likely to have their moves predicted by Taskmaster. He is a master strategist and tactician, which he has used to great effect against Captain America and Iron Man during the siege of Asgard.

In addition to his already formidable abilities, he went about training his body to be in peak physical condition and engaged in intensive regular exercise. His strength, endurance, stamina, reflexes, and agility are on the level of an Olympic athlete. That means he can lift 440 lbs / 199.6 kg, that’s close to half a ton. Due to the intensity of his training he was nearly the physical equal of Captain America, and that’s without all the super soldier steroids.

He then went about recruiting a top team of scientists to recreate duplicate version of the weapons used by super-humans, which after having studied their skills, could utilise them with just as deadly efficiency as their respective original wielders.  Among such combat based finery was a copy of the Black Knight’s sword, Daredevil’s multi-purpose billy club, Hawkeye’s trick arrows and bow, a .45 calibre Colt automatic similar to the Punisher’s, and a shield designed like Captain America’s but it was not forged from Adamantium, therefore wasn’t indestructible; it was made from an Osmium alloy, the same alloy that the X-Men’s Colossus‘ flesh morphs into.

That's kick-ass guy with kick-ass gear. Take note y'all.

That’s kick-ass guy with kick-ass gear. Take note y’all.

Taskmaster has come to blows and also teamed up with Deadpool a number of times; the two became friends when Taskmaster started dating Sandi Brandenburg, Deadpool’s Personal Assistant when both were employed by Agency X at the same time.

Two of the badest mofos in one scene. Nice.

Two of the baddest mofos in one scene. Nice.

 

Taskmasters work with Deadpool, and thus observing and learning from him, led to a considerable change in appearance; he designed a costume that could efficiently accommodate all his spectacular new gear and was modelled on tactical battle armour. He ceased to encumber himself with the arsenal of duplicate weapons. His primary arms became a pair of semi-automatic handguns and a Katana, which he wielded with deadly grace after having observed the Silver Samurai’s fighting style. But by far his most efficient piece of gear is a prototype wrist-mounted device, stolen from S.H,E.I.L.D., that can spontaneously generate solid energy shapes. It can even be used to duplicate Captain America’s shield and Spider-Man’s webbing. Nice.

Deadpool should feel very flattered.

Deadpool should feel very flattered.

Weaknesses

  • The Taskmaster was not capable of duplicating a physical feat if the effort to do so requires a superhuman effort. For instance, he could never fly, have X-ray vision or any abilities outside the parameters that a human could attain.
  • His abilities were also limited in that they did not grant him an innate understanding of underlying disciplines. For example, as a child, he nearly drowned after imitating a dive because while he was able to mimic the dive, he did not know how to swim. Because of this, he has a fear of drowning.
  • Taskmaster was unable to copy the moves of Alex Hayden ,(Agent X), for unknown reasons
  • When Taskmaster copies something new, it pushes old memories out of his brain in a form of amnesia.

Until next time. Stay informed.

The Good the Bad and the Unforgivable

Sorry, beloved reader, the title of this post is somewhat misleading; there is little good involved, apart from maybe laughing your abs into a six-pack at what follows. Here at Level Up our geek glands rage 24/7, whether it be for fantasy, Sci-Fi, RPGs or comics. But whenever there is good, there must be bad. A sad and kind of Taoist truth. Nerdy entertainment does seem to be a metaphorical yin-yang rollercoaster of laughter and tears. Today it’s tears I’m afraid. Your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor has searched high and low for the most terrible, offensive and downright awful. For every Batman or Tony Stark, there’s a Kylun or a Typeface. Prepare to be impressed / unimpressed by characters that had to be created whilst drunk, high or threatened at gunpoint.

Kylun

A crappy Thundercat rip-off with crappy powers.

A crappy Thundercat rip-off with crappy powers.
Essentially he is a humanoid tape-recorder.
How very 80’s.

Once a member of the British mutant team Excalibur and looking like a humanoid lion pretty much explains this blasphemy in printed format. He basically, being rather cat-like, had slightly better strength and agility than most and better senses. His main power wa to be abl to mimic nay sound. That’s it. That’s his angle, that’s what got him in a superhero team that defends the entire UK against super-powered threats. He also had magic swords that could not cause harm to the pure of heart, these lame blades turned up in later comics when the writers realised that he was so very rubbish. Needless to say, even with the new swords, he didn’t last long.

Wraith

You'd think he'd be much groovier with a name like that.

You’d think he’d be much groovier with a name like that.

So, what can this Wraith character do? Can he become ethereal / incorporeal? Is he some sort of demonic other-worldly monster? Maybe even a soul-sucking, hell-born beast to be feared by all mortal men? Nope. Hector Rendoza’s ‘fearsome’ power is to have invisible skin. The X-Men took pity on him after he had been beaten s**tless by some normal, genetically average, humans. In a fight that he started. He nearly died from his wounds, but it was really easy to see if he had eaten that cheesecake you’d been saving in the fridge. He can transfer his transparent epidermisery to other people, making him the only mutant so terrible that his own body is trying to offload the X-gene. There were other characters in the Marvel universe called wraith too, all of them a damn sight more useful. There was John Wraith, he had military training, an extended lifespan and could teleport. There is also Brian DeWolff, known as Wraith, an ex-policeman with psionic powers and then we have Zak-Del Wraith who is immortal and has a gun that can transform into any kind of gun imaginable. Why Marvel? Why did you create Hector Rendoza the kid with invisible skin?

Jihad!

Un-freakin'-believable.

Un-freakin’-believable.

That’s right, beloved reader, freakin’ Jihad. Marvel comics presented us with is genie in a Fantastic Four storyline, where the bright green turbanless behemoth sent them on an item retrieving mystical quest. The character was a little controversial, his first appearance was eleven days before the September 11th attacks, and Jihad was a character bent on world conquest. For reasons I cannot fathom he hasn’t made an appearance since.

Typeface

Unemployment is hard to deal with in the USA apparently. It drives people to use giant lettering as weaponry.

Unemployment is hard to deal with in the USA apparently. It drives people to use giant lettering as weaponry.

The economy is the real villain in this tale. Ex-US Army soldier Gordon Thomas went home to become a sign smith. The American dream. But alas, poor Gordon’s dreams were shattered when he was laid off from his job at ‘Ace Signs’ when a man named George Finch takes over the company. Mr Thomas does what anyone else would do in that situation; he wrote a giant ‘R’ on his forehead, for ‘retribution’, called himself Typeface and went on a rampage with an arsenal of giant letters. The saddest part of this tale is that he actually kicked the crap out of Spiderman. He then changed the ‘R’ on his spam to an ‘A’ for ‘Annihilation’.

Squirrel Girl

She is kinda sexy. Anyone else developing a squirrel fetish?

She is kinda sexy. Anyone else developing a squirrel fetish?

Doreen Green is her name and she can communicate with squirrels. Yup, that’s right beloved reader, once again Marvel comics have subjected us to more lameness. For some reason though, she is extremely accomplished in the area of villain butt-kicking. Teamed up with her squirrel companion Tippy-Toe, she has defeated Doctor Doom, a task that the entire of the Fantastic Four have difficulty with and in another story line the bushy-tailed duo have even defeated Thanos. For those of you who don’t know who Thanos is, please follow the handy link to discover how incredibly powerful and god-like he is. But give credit where credit is due, the Marvel writers had to be pretty creative to pull off those stories.

Hemo-Goblin

hemo-goblin

What can I say about this guy? Really?

It’s DC comics turn to bow their collective heads with shame. This character covers the trendy topics of racism and AIDS in one horrifying package. He is basically a vampire, which generally are powerful enough critters to take on super powered folk. The skinny albino blood sucker was created, laboratory style, by a white supremacist group to rid the world of anyone who wasn’t a honky. This is accomplished by giving them AIDS, which he managed to infect some of the members of the New Guardians with. Thanks DC.

These characters are terrible. How can it possibly get any worse?

Behold!

Armless Tiger Man

Pfft. Ha. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Pfft. Ha. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Yes, beloved reader, we’ve saved the ‘best’ for last. Armless Tiger Man is a man – wait for it – with all the power of an armless tiger. Like our feline chum Kylun, Gustav Hertz has the augmented agility, strength, senses etc. of that great hunting cat, the tiger; but without the baggage of having arms. Who needs the encumbrance of four limbs? Especially prehensile ones. This extremely bipedal chap was a WWII villain who lost his arms whilst working as a machinist. Quite appropriately he then vowed vengeance upon all things industrial. He was eventually caught by the Gestapo who sent him to America to wreak his two limbed, anti-machine hatred.

Until next time. Stay informed.