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.

 

Coming Soon, DSW Part 3: The Fastest Man Alive

Greetings beloved readers, at the end of the Asgardian Powerhouse workout, the mighty Thor asked you to vote for the next DSW.

He speaks truthfully. Vote, beloved reader, for the next designer Superhero workout.

He speaks truthfully. Vote, beloved reader, for the next designer Superhero workout.

Most of the votes of course were for Batman, but as previously mentioned is off the agenda; the point of the Bat’s training article series is a zero to hero guide for those beloved readers whom have never engaged in athletic pursuits, and ease them into things.

As I’m sure you’re aware, a Batman DSW would be a truly brutal routine that would make Bruce Lee’s training look like a stroll in the park. Thus I cannot post the Dark Knight’s ultimate regime yet, however as the series progresses it will become more and more comprehensive. Due this summer, your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor will take great pleasure in presenting the Batman DSW. Yay.

Hopefully around the same time Level Up gets its own studio.

But fear not, beloved reader, the Asgardian ballot has been counted and the favourite surprised yet pleased my larcenous heart.

The Flash

He actually is the fastest man alive, not even the all powerful Kal-El can catch him.

He actually is the fastest man alive, not even the all-powerful Kal-El can catch him.
The Flash should let him win today though, after all it is Superman’s birthday.
Mean old Flash.

Stay tuned for the Flash DSW.

Until next time. Stay informed.

Designer Superhero workouts Part 2: Asgardian Power-House

After the last instalment of designer superhero workouts, this one seems like a walk in the park. Just minus the walking. And maybe even the park. There will be no cardio in this one. Just iron. Lots of gorgeous iron.

Many have tried to bring a definitive Thor based workout to the masses when the first Thor movie was released, but failed miserably, because they are those same harbingers of falsehoods and fitness myths that I find myself battling in literary format 24/7. That is unless I can actually get my mitts on ’em. Then its red to the elbow o’clock.

I rest my well-informed case. That is just begging for an injury.

I rest my well-informed case. That is just begging for an injury.
Worse yet, the ‘personal trainer’ will have some bull-s**t justification for this ‘Final Destination’ style death waiting to happen. You’d be safer eating a bowl of corn flakes filled with claymore mines.

It has been attempted by bodybuilding.com, behindtheworkout com, muscleandbrawn.com, and even Men’s ‘Health’ magazine. Only on the extremely rare occasion these sites / publications have some decent information; these particular articles in question was farcical.

None of the above clearly have any understanding of the biology, kinesiology or any of the myriad concepts that influence the complex machine that is the human being to stimulate attribute improvement.

I can, without doubt beloved reader, having spoken to no one that has tried these so-called workout plans, be sure that they didn’t get the results they were looking for. They may have got some results, but nowhere near as constructive as a truly well-informed, anatomically and plan adhering to the fine science of kinesiology.

The biggest problem we face with these articles, is that the majority of the writers of them are merely familiar with exercise equipment and seemingly completely lacking any  understanding of anatomy, apart from a vague awareness of humanoid form. Taking advice from these ill-informed cretins is akin to asking a bus driver how to perform brain surgery.

Now that I’ve just made a bunch of enemies within the fitness and fitness magazine industries; (imagine thunder and lightning whilst reading this please), your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor presents:

The Asgardian Power-House Workout

Majestic, powerful a freakin' deity for crying out loud. Who wouldn't want such power.

Majestic, powerful and a freakin’ demigod for crying out loud.
Who wouldn’t want such power?

This periodized program like the other designer Superhero workout plans will be a 12 week  fast-track, hard-core plan. But will have an extra week post-main plan, as a kind of ‘warm-up’ week. The power work involved is extremely intense business and if strict form and perfect technique is not adhered to may lead to injury. Therefore, this ‘warm-up’ week is to ensure that you, beloved reader, do not get injured.

Remember, beloved reader, this series of workouts are for the truly hard-core among us, those who will let nothing stand between them and god-like power.

No chance Super-ham, it's an Excalibur situation.

No chance Super-ham, it’s an Excalibur situation.

Unlike the extremely complex Spiderman workout, which would have required either a gym, (EEK), membership or very comprehensive and expensive set of home workout equipment. The Thor workout is can be done at home away from all those sweaty-know-it-all-gym-rats. This is all free weights, as primal as it gets; picking up huge items made of cast iron and showing them who’s the boss. Like a boss. An Asgardian boss.

If you haven’t done so already, please read ‘Designer Superhero Workout Basics‘. Without further delay, let’s get you, beloved reader, uncompromisingly strong.

As these exercises require perfect technique; your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor has used his valuable and very limited online storage space to provide you with the best instructional videos I could find, as well as some handy links. Be sure to absorb the videos safety and exercise technique information only; the rest is superfluous.

That is until Level Up has its own studio. Then yours truly will be providing you with bullet proof instructional videos. Yay.

Week 1: Foundation techniques

This week takes the full workout plan of phase 1 of this periodized program, and breaks it down into only one of the exercises per day. Start mega-light, just the barbell with no added resistance to begin with.

When you become comfortable with the technique itself; slowly, gradually bring the resistance up. I would suggest at no more than 2.5 kg  increases per set, if not even smaller increments.

Do as many sets as possible to get the muscles used to contracting in that manner. It’s a strange kinesiological fact, but muscles seem to have the need to ‘learn’. You have the whole workout to master one single exercise each day of this week. This also adds the advantage of having a pretty good idea how much weight you’ll be lifting before you begin the routine proper.

Perform 5 repetitions each time, rest about a minute before the next set. This is a cheeky tactic invented by the legendary Reg Park .

Legendary body-builder Reg Park ha the ideal Superhero physique.

Legendary body-builder Reg Park had the ideal Superhero physique.

Squats

The following is some of the best squatting technique advice I’ve had the pleasure to encounter. It is also your first opponent on the path to Asgardian might. Also known as Monday. That’s it. The first day of ‘warm-up’ week is squats, squats, squats and then more squats. Enjoy.

Dead-lifts

This will be Tuesday’s workout, dead-lifting. Called by some the ‘king of lifts’ because they work almost every muscle in your body.

I could happily watch her dead-lift all day. Also she is a shining example that women doing weights, does not produce this:

Please don't kill me, please don't kill me, please don't kill me, please don't kill me.

Please don’t kill me, please don’t kill me, please don’t kill me, please don’t kill me.

Bent-over barbell rows

A tricky exercise to maintain proper form on, but if perfected, one of the most effective techniques to get the latissimus dorsi pumped up. I’m pretty sure you’ve figured out by now that this is the only move on the agenda for Thursday.

By now, if you are going to the gym for these training sessions you may find the meat-head, jocks and gym-rats are probably gonna give you weird looks, ignore them, they should be concentrating on their own workouts.

If they are staring because they don’t understand what you’re doing, then that just demonstrates their lack of fitness knowledge. Even worse; these malefic perpetrators of misinformation may try to give you ‘advice’. Politely decline, preferably with a wry smirk upon your face that tells them “I know something you don’t know.” Ignore them.

This movement will produce that Superhero ‘V’ shape so desired by many.

Military press

Friday is here. Yay. Half day at work for most of you Londoners, so extra fuel in the tank for the splendid exercise known as the military press. Bet you can’t guess how it got named,eh?

This will blast the deltoids extremely hard, so just as with all the exercises before begin with just the barbell, to get used to the technique, perform 5 repetitions, rest one minute, add a little resistance and have at it again.

Now that's what you call a military press y'all. Soon, beloved reader, soon you shall know the strength of Asgard.

Now that’s what you call a military press y’all. Soon, beloved reader, soon you shall know the strength of Asgard.

Phase 1: Power – 3 weeks

This phase will only last 3 weeks, because it’s so very intense. However, you will be doing all 5 of the above power moves in one gruelling session.

All exercises should be as heavy as possible but with perfect form, 5 sets of 5 repetitions on each of them. We want limit your ‘rest’ periods between sets to no more than a minute, this will be difficult at first, so begin with two minutes, then take 15 seconds less ‘rest’ between sets with each new training session. It’s gonna be tough. But it’s gonna be worth it.

Do the things that others wont today, so that you can do the things others can’t tomorrow.

Chris Hemsworth, proves my well-informed point. Just look at those luscious pecs.

Chris Hemsworth, proves my well-informed point.
Just look at those luscious pecs.

The workout: 5 sets of 5 reps

Squats

Dead-lifts

Bench press

Bent-over barbell rows

Military press

Perform the workouts 3 times a week, preferably Monday, Wednesday and Friday, giving you 2 days to recover, plus you have the weekend off. After such brutal training week 2 days of rest will be required, get plenty of extra sleep.

Or if you can’t schedule it like that, then arrange the training pattern so that you can get 2 full days rest, but never perform the workouts on consecutive days, you will be overworking the muscles causing atrophy, ,also inviting injury and that is detrimental to our quest to god-like Asgardian strength.

"Come at me bro."

“Come at me bro.”

Phase 2: Hypertrophy – 3 weeks

This section of the periodized program will be a 3-way body-part split, utilising only compound movements, (exercises where multiple joints move, therefore more muscle fibres recruited, and more hypertrophy), wherever possible. Once again try to schedule these workouts for Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and plan for a 2 day rest period during the week.

If possible always workout in the morning when testosterone levels are at their highest, it makes you primal. 4 set of 8 reps for all exercises involved. No exceptions. This is the perfect rep range due to the different muscle fibre types within skeletal muscle. Allow you friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor to blow your Asgardian brain with Earth science.

By Odin’s beard! What is this Earth ‘science’ you speak of?

There it is, the mighty Odin's beard.  Envy it.

There it is, the mighty Odin’s beard.
Envy it.

Type I Fibres: Also called slow twitch fibres or oxidative fibres. They have the largest capillary count, many mitochondria, and heaps of myoglobin giving them a red colouration. These muscle fibres are geared toward endurance, very resistant to fatigue and able to contract continuously over an extended period of time and generating adenosine triphosphate by oxidative, (aerobic), metabolism. Therefore they are stimulated by high rep ranges, around 10 to 15 reps, even more reps, 15 to 25 for advanced endurance athletes.

Type II Fibres: They can be split into a further 2 categories.

Type IIb Fibres: We’ll cover IIb first, because type IIa are a relatively recent discovery. Also known as fast twitch or glycolytic fibres,   type IIb have a lower myoglobin and capillary count giving them a white, (looks like chicken meat), colouration. This allows for high contraction velocity, gearing them toward anaerobic metabolism, making them effective for short yet more intense workouts. They are generally stimulated by a rep range of 1 – 6.

Type IIa Fibres: These are adaptive muscle fibres, strange as it sounds. They adapt to whichever type of work the other fibre types are doing. So when the fast twitch fibres are doing their thing, they start going glycolytic and when the slow twitch are doing their thing, they start going oxidative. They look pink due to the combination of oxidative and glycolytic capabilities. Most people don’t have many of these fibres; a shame given their properties.

Thus, 8 reps per set hits a nice mid-range, stimulating all fibre types, and any type IIa will adapt to both kinds of input.

Temporary X-ray vision for y'all.

Temporary X-ray vision for y’all.

Adenosine Triphosphate? Speak sense foolish mortal.

Adenosine triphosphate: (ATP from now on), is considered by biologists to be the ‘currency of life’. ATP, a nucleotide, powers cellular metabolism, and is present in the cytoplasm and nucleoplasm of every cell. The structure of ATP is an ordered compound of three phosphates, connected to each other by oxygens and sandwiched on either side by more oxygens.

These oxygens each have a negative charge, so their just itching to get away from each other. Because of this ATP is just bursting with energy, about 7.3 calories per mole, (30.6 kj/mol), and is a lot happier as a molecule when it has only two phosphate bonds.

Whenever we make any physical movement, an appropriate amount of these little guys, all little ticking time bombs of energy, are more than happy to shoot of one of the phosphate bonds and power up cellular metabolism. Sweet. However, once it has shot one of the bonds it becomes a redundant compound, adenosine diphosphate, (ADP), and goes into a little mood having no desire to create any more energy. Each gram of skeletal muscle has around 7 – 8 mol of ATP stored ready to go, then once it’s fired its load creatine phosphate comes to the rescue. Yay.

That's what our dear ATP looks like.

That’s what our dear ATP looks like.

Now you have been suitably scienced

Day 1: Pectoralis major, triceps, calves

Incline dumbbell bench press:Now we are fully hitting every muscle at every angle  rather than building all-round power, thus adding slabs of mighty beef-cakery all over the show, this fine exercise targets the clavicular fibres of the pecs.

Bench press: You should be very familiar with this one by now. Level up your strength beloved reader.

Skull crushers: A wondrous name for a wondrous technique that suits our hammer wielding subject perfectly. These will not only hit the triceps nicely, but are a ‘sports specific‘ movement for carrying out devastating hammer attacks upon those foolish enough to mess with Asgard.

It was difficult to find a decent instructional for this one, but fear not, beloved reader, after searching the strange realm you mortals call the internet, we have a marvel of your ‘Earth science’ to show you the ways of augmenting hammer based attacks. Preferably aimed at the skull. Then crushing said skull.

Close-grip bench press: You have to be careful with hand positioning on this exercise, otherwise you’ll just be repeating unnecessarily the normal bench press again.

The focus of close-grip bench press is to blast the triceps into a hypertrophic frenzy, adding solid combat ready muscle with which to wield a hammer, or any bludgeon of your own choosing for that matter.


Standing calf raises: This will act as a kind of ‘cool down ‘after all that extremely heavy iron shifting. But if done properly you will have trouble walking temporarily.

Day 2: Latissimus dorsi, biceps, Abs

Bent-over barbell rows: You’ve done tons of theses bad-boys. Nuff said.

Bent-over dumbbell rows: This initially seems like a move that will produce similar results to the above, but whilst it still works the latissimus dorsi, it also works: lower and mid-trapezius, rhomboids, teres major, teres minor, and infraspinatus. The supination, pronation or neutral grip positioning will change the targeted muscles quite dramatically.


Preacher hammer curls: Yes! That is the actual name of the excise, how cool is that, and it’s relevant to our program. Get hammering my Asgardian chums.

Barbell curls: Finishing off the biceps in a brutal way, by the end of this hypertrophic phase you will be able to display a fine ‘gun show’.

Vertical bench leg raise: These will produce abs that you could be seen through a skiing jacket. As an added bonus the instructor is hot. Yay.

Day 3: Legs, shoulders, forearms

Squats: Monday on ‘warm-up’ week made you very aware of these quadricep builders of doom.

Walking Dumbbell Lunges: To truly promote hypertrophy in such a massive muscle group as quadriceps, we need at least 2 compound movements to make them powerful. This is another ‘sport specific’ exercise that will have you charging at alarming speeds toward your enemy upon the battlefield.

Stiff legged dead-lifts: This variation on the deadlift, (kinda like ‘diet dead-lifts’), will not only keep your body prepared for another power phase, (Yup, there’ll be another), but work the hamstrings in an isometric manner, not only causing muscular strength gains, but building a formidable lower body stability. Ice hockey players utilise this exercise to make their stance solid and steadfast upon the ice.

Arnold press: A great exercise for the anterior and lateral heads of the deltoids. They also add punching power for when you’ve thrown your hammer and are waiting for it to return to your hand to punish the enemies of Asgard.

Behind the neck press: The sibling exercise to military press, now you have these training techniques under your belt, you’ll have no problem lifting opponents over-head and hurling them to land in a crumpled and defeated heap of broken flesh and bone, whilst waiting for that pesky hammer you’re still waiting to return.

Dumbbell shrugs: These slight and mild mannered in appearance dumbbell shrugs are vital at this point, a lot of the exercises in this routine have only worked them synergistically, or worked only 1 or 2 parts of the 3 sectioned muscle. Shrugs target the meaty part at the top of the shoulders. Kinesiologically, they are working whenever you are bearing weight in your hands in order to support the shoulder girdle.

Forearm curls: All Asgardian warriors need a firm grip on their weapon of choice, (preferably hammer of course), and this exercise will round off your physique nicely. If you’ve got massive biceps and triceps but skinny forearms, a warrior you will not look like. There are 2 variations of this technique demonstrated below, pick whichever feels right to you.

I think that's Thor's way of saying "Don't quit". Or he just wants to go ballistic bludgeon style.

I think that’s Thor’s way of saying “Don’t quit”.
Or maybe he just wants to go ballistic bludgeon style.

So what’s next?

Simple. Repeat the power phase again, (but obviously without the extra ‘warmup’ week), you’ll notice a massive increase in strength. Then repeat the hypertrophy phase.

That’s the whole 12 weeks. By the end of it you will be buff and strong, and with the nice weather here in good old blighty, plenty of opportunity to get your top off and make others feel ashamed of their laziness.

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 3-way hypertrophy split. For example, you could substitute seated cable rows for one arm dumbbell rows, preacher barbell curls instead of barbell curls, or even body-weight dips in place of skull crushers.

You could rearrange the body-part split per workout thus:

Day 1: Legs, triceps, abs, Day 2: Lats, shoulders,  forearms, Day 3:Pecs, biceps, calves.

Unfortunately, due to our strict mistress kinesiology, the power phase is unchangeable. Sorry, beloved reader.

Diet

This is the complicated part. But without decent nutrition, the workouts will not be as effectual and you won’t recover properly from all your hard work. Diet is 80% of the battle.

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. It’s possible to get away with eating every 5 hours, but 3 hours between protein ‘fixes’ will give you optimum protein synthesis, thus yielding the fastest results.

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; your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor also suffers these conditions, but it is still attainable.

Get your 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. There are some very reasonably priced protein supplements around for the convenience of maintaining good nitrogen balance. GNC and Holland and Barrett are constantly having guerilla warfare style sales wars, so keep checking them out.

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?

This is the only diet plan on Level Up thus far that has fat restrictions in the diet. Get your sources of dietary fat from quality foods such a fish, nuts and seeds. No saturated fats. Also the little things help, use cooking spray when you fry food, use low fat spreads, fat-free milk etc.

Count the Macro-nutrients

It seems like a major hassle to begin with, but check the nutritional stats of every meal you eat. Eventually you’ll get so used to it, you’ll be able to approximate and / or guesstimate how much is in what food.

Protein: This is the chief nutrient for building strength and power. Protein’s crucial role in the body includes building, maintaining and repairing body tissue. It is especially important to physically active individuals whose muscle tissue is constantly in need of repair.

Protein has other roles in the body; all enzymes and hormones, which perform vital functions, are proteins. In addition, proteins are used to aid in the immune process. But the liver can only handle so much in one sitting. It is widely debated what the actual number of grams of protein it can effectively deal with; speculations range from 32 to 48 grams. For the purposes of maximizing muscle gains but limiting gluconeogenesis, (there will be plenty of glucose knocking around already), You should aim for hitting 40 grams of quality per meal and hopefully managing that at least five to six meals each day with a minimum of three hours between each  protein fix.

Protein is made of amino acids. Ain't it pretty.

Protein is made of amino acids. Ain’t it pretty.

Carbohydrates: Our main source of energy. They are chains of small, simple sugars that are broken down and enter the body as glucose. Glucose is essential for the body, as it is the preferred source of energy in our brain, heart and central nervous system. For this reason, we won’t be doing anything silly to maintain rippage like Atkins’ diet. Atkins’ had a reasonable idea, but neglected to mention that without glucose from carbs in  your diet to metabolize fat, muscle tissue would be broken down and converted into sugar for that very purpose, defeating the object entirely. Aim for roughly the same amount of carbs as you do with protein. With the exception of doubling the carbs 1 hour before and one hour after a training session. The trick with carbs and getting buff is to keep the Glycemic Index low.

Fat: The misconception about fat is that it is always bad for you. In fact, fat is essential for maintaining a healthy body and is a vital metabolic precursor to various steroid hormones. The trick is to eat a moderate amount of the good fats and none of the bad fats. Saturated and trans fats must be avoided while increases levels essential fatty acids, such as omega 3 and omega 6.

Going out of the realms of macro-nutrients and into micro-nutrients briefly; fat plays a vital role in the digestion of vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are fat soluble, meaning they need fat in order to be absorbed into the body. So don’t completely remove all fats from your diet.

Supplements

Not essential, and also another budget concern. Your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor wouldn’t normal suggest spending your hard-earned / hard-embezzled cash on such things, but the following 2 supplements truly are the real deal, and will add great gains on the path to Asgardian glory.

Creatine phosphate: imaginatively named, eh? Remember ATP? Creatine phosphate, (CP), turns up and ‘lends’ ADP its one and only phosphate, restarting the whole cycle again. There is roughly 3.5 and 4 grams of CP stored per kilogram of skeletal muscle, but this is used up in a matter of seconds during intense physical exertion. By supplementing CP, you can get an extra few seconds of oomph when pounding the iron. It doesn’t sound like much on paper but it makes a massive difference to anaerobic metabolism. Supplemented CP must be cycled, however, as with everything the body produces itself, if it is coming in artificially it will cease its own production. EEK.

The optimum cycle of CP supplementation is 9 weeks on and 3 weeks off. Powdered form is the best absorbed into the skeletal muscles. Remember to look out for the health food store sales.

Glutamine: Basically, whenever your body needs to make a repair, glutamine is the prime amino acid it goes to for most chores. When any part of your body needs healing, say from a cut, recovery from a hangover, sleep deprivation, and especially hard training regimes; its glutamine that gets taken straight from the muscles, reducing strength, unless there is some spare via supplementation. Glutamine is almost essential, it will have you regenerating like Wolverine. Sweet.

He speaks truthfully. Vote, beloved reader, for the next designer Superhero workout.

He speaks truthfully. Vote, beloved reader, for the next designer Superhero workout.

That’s right, beloved reader, I want you to leave a comment on this post, email me or post on Level Up’s Facebook page, which designer Superhero workout you want to see next. Bring it on, y’all.

Stay tuned for more.

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.

 

Coming soon! Designer Superhero workouts

Want to be closer to having the physique and attributes of your favourite fictional characters? Soon, beloved reader will be a new series of awesome training articles for the truly hard-core among you. Be warned, your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor has given you an easy time thus far.

But requests have been flooding in for tougher regimes, that’s not too say that there will be an end to the other articles though. We’re already well underway to creating a Hulk, and there is already a Batman zero to hero workout plan that is gradually becoming more advanced post by post. We’ve even touched on the flexibility of Spiderman, whom will be the first of our new range of truly brutal training regimes.

Pick the superhero physique of your choice, Wolverine’s battle hardened sinewy body, Captain America’s all round super soldier combat ready form or even the mighty Thor.

Thor? More like Phwoar!

Thor? More like Phwoar!

For these extremely harsh workouts, (it takes a lot to emulate a superhero), you will unfortunately require a membership to a well equipped gym, or have your own comprehensive home gym set up for most of the exercises.

Be sure to post, comment or e-mail the superhero physique you would like to attain, and your friendly neighbourhood rogue Advisor will send you on the right path.

Stay tuned for more

Until next time. Stay Motivated.

 

The Dark Side of Comics

It looks like our chums at DC comics are actually going to go ahead with the Justice League movie, even imdb has an entry for them stating the release date as June 2015.  Christian Bale may even be returning as Batman as DC try to strike back at Marvel and all their recent hyperbolic skullduggery. But it seems DC have an ace up their sleeve.

Justice-League-Dark-Game-Faces

Justice League Dark

In a recent interview with Total Film about his new movie Mama, Guillermo del Toro discussed characters he wanted to bring to the screen from comics.

“I am going to be presenting my storyline to DC and Warners of where I want to take this universe. We do have a writer, but until that is firmed up, I have to keep it a secret. I hope it happens,” he said.

“It’s going really well. It’s like meeting old friends. I grew up with Demon Etrigan, with Swamp Thing, with Deadman, so these are characters that are near and dear to my heart.”

“I’d love to use the origins that are proper to each character. I love the idea of Jason Blood as a paladin and a knight…. I love the entire Constantine mythology, the Dead Man mythology, the Alex Holland Swamp Thing mythology. These are really rich things to well, and to dig.”

The rumours flying around give the still unconfirmed project the working names of Heaven Sent, Dark Universe and of course Justice League Dark. The anti-hero super group features the likes of John Constantine, who already had his own movie in 2005 staring Keanu, (fight off the woodpeckers), Reeves, Swamp Thing, the protagonist of Wes Craven’s 1982 film of the same name and also The Demon, Phantom Stranger, The Spectre, father / daughter magicians Zatara and Zatanna, and Deadman, a title del Toro was rumoured to be bringing to the silver screen until it was stalled in development.

With these tasty tidbits of rumour and / or information, it seems that DC, if all goes well, will have the perfect counterattack against all the gems that Marvel have turned up and have future plans to continue. That is unless the hybrid freak known as Disney-Marvel-Lucas Film retaliate with . .

darkavengers

Dark Avengers

That’s right, beloved reader, whenever one or the other, DC or Marvel, has a version of something, you can bet your flux capacitor the other will have their own counterpart.

Just who are these clearly nefarious characters?

Iron Patriot: Norman Osborn, (Green goblin), managed to take Tony Stark’s place as director of H.A.M.M.E.R. which is S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s successor after the Invasion of Skrulls storyline. Osborn went about creating a new avengers team, but lacking the actual Ironman and Captain America. Without these heroic figures he came up with the Iron Patriot, StarkTech armour improvised from items confiscated from Stark’s armoury together with Cap’s colouration to goad the public with iconic imagery.

A shot of the Iron Patriot from upcoming Ironman 3. Other shots show James Rupert "Rhodey" Rhodes inside the armour. Surely he should be War Machine.

A shot of the Iron Patriot from upcoming Ironman 3. Other shots show James Rupert “Rhodey” Rhodes inside the armour. Surely he should be War Machine.

Osborn’s technical expertise, however, was lacking and he couldn’t get the armour’s repulsor generators to work, (let’s be realistic about things, he’s no Tony Stark, eh?), he ended up replacing it with the weaker Uni-Beam, that had a star-shaped output.

Venom: Not the original Venom; Eddie Brock. Not the second incarnation; crime Don Angelo Fortunato, but the third to take up the symbiotic suit; Mac Gargan. Formerly known as the Scorpion. Whilst wearing the suit and capering alongside the Iron Patriot, he poses as your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman. Nasty business.

Bullseye: He dresses like Hawkeye but this isn’t Clint Barton. This is Lester, the psychopathic assassin that has an uncanny aim, only on a few rare occasions has he missed moving targets. He uses the opportunities afforded by his profession to satisfy his homicidal tendencies and to keep his mind off the grudge he holds against Daredevil.

Lovelly chap really. Apart from his personal vendetta against a blind lawyer.

Lovely chap really. Apart from his personal vendetta against a blind lawyer.

Daken: Real name Akihiro, he is the mutant son of Wolverine and his deceased Japanese wife Itsu. He poses as his father without difficulty, having similar powers; accelerated, (to extreme regenerative craziness), healing factor, heightened sense of smell and retractable Muramasa steel coated claws, (created from the original Muramasa blade), 2 of which originate from the back of his hands, whilst the third comes from inside his wrists. He obviously doesn’t have the adamantium skeleton  like his dad, but makes up for that disadvantage by having telepathic immunity and a crazy pheromone ability. He can use this pheromone manipulation ability to disguise his own smell, making him ‘invisible’ to Wolverine’s scent tracking and also to change the emotional and sensory state in other beings, instilling sensation such as fear, psychotic rage and even sexual attraction. Definitely one of the nastier characters in both Avengers and X-men. EEK.

Duking it out with pops.

Duking it out with pops.

Moonstone: Real name Karla Sofen, born the daughter of a butler to a movie producer, she managed to become somewhat of a success with her own psychological practice. She used her psychiatric credentials to access the prison cell of Byron Becton – the original Moonstone. Then using hypnosis, she warped his mind into believing he was a disgusting, hideous monster. She was so convincing  that the psychological trauma caused his body to reject the moonstone and it became hers. In the Dark Avengers she poses in the place of Ms.Marvel.

Why are the evil ones always so sexy?

Why are the evil ones always so sexy?

Ares: The son of Zeus and Hera. Quite the credentials. It was never really confirmed who he was supposed to be posing as; one would assume he was meant to take Thor’s place but he always brought his customary sword and / or axe to the party. No matter though, he didn’t last long. He was killed in Siege #2 by the next chap.

Ares taking a kicking from The Sentry. Embarrasing really.

Ares taking a kicking from The Sentry. Embarrassing really.

The Sentry: Yep. As you can see from the picture above he’s one of those, run-of-the-mill-not-really-thought-out-caped-twats-with-vague-powers. His abilities ostensibly come from a serum, similar yet more powerful than the one used on Captain America, that moves his molecules an instant ahead of current time. Whatever that means. Doesn’t really matter, because he went rogue in Siege #3 just before being killed by Thor in Siege #4. Thanks Thor.

Noh-Varr: A prize-winningly cheesy name for a character. Noh-Varr is a member of the Kree race, from the alternate reality of Earth-200080, (we are on Earth-616 by the way). So we’ve got alien and another dimension story in one. He was also enhanced with insect DNA, ahem, giving him enhanced reflexes, speed, strength, and endurance as well as being triple jointed, allowing him to negotiate even the trickiest close environments. Probably his greatest power is the ability to re-route neurological impulses and suppress any stimulus that is unwanted. In Civil War: Young Avengers /Runaways he uses this ability to perform a ‘White run’, defeating Hulkling, Karolina Dean, Wiccan and Xavin in under 5 seconds. His constitution allows him to digest any organic compound without harmful effects, this also increases recovery from wounds or extreme stress.

nohvarr

Mr. Varr. Try saying that with a straight face.

In addition to all that whacky business, Noh-Varr’s spit has infectious biological properties that cause hallucinations and gives him a small degree of mind control. Each of his fingernails can grow into a crystalline spike, which can then be inserted into an opponent and left to explode! He also has access to a wide-range of Kree technology and has the know how to create the means for interdimensional travel. As much as an asset as he was to the team, pretending to be Marvel Boy, he left Dark Avengers #6 and joined the actual Avengers.

I hope that got your geek glands juicy.

Until next time. Stay informed.