Designer Superhero workouts Part 4: The Amazonian Warrior Workout

Diana Prince is like some of her other comrades in the Justice League, she is an outlander.

Superman and Martian Manhunter both come from other planets, which is more extreme, but doesn’t detract from the fact she spent many years isolated on a paradise island with nothing to do but train, train and train some more.

This workout should have a larger target audience to be fair, not just our beloved comic fan’s admiration of the title heroine, but also for RPG warrior players and fans of Link.

For in this gruelling regime we will be getting you ready to fight sword and shield style, like an Amazonian princess is trained, and like an adventurer is trained.

The Amazonian Warrior Workout

To really hit all the components of fitness required to be a mighty warrior, we'll be using some new tactics. CrossFit.

To really hit all the components of fitness required to be a mighty warrior, we’ll be using some new tactics. CrossFit.

What in Gaia’s name is this CrossFit business? It sounds like a fitness fad, aren’t we supposed to avoid those?

It’s fairly new on the fitness industry scene but it has been around for quite a while and has proven it’s worth. It will turn you into a true warrior.

CrossFit’s origin comes from it being used as the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies, tactical operations teams and military special operations units. I feel that should endorse the value of this workout.

Designed specifically for training people who will see real combat scenarios upon a real battle field. So effective is CrossFit that soon it’s regime was adopted by champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.

As you can see, CrossFit does what it sounds like it does.

As you can see, CrossFit does what it sounds like it does.
Everything.
At once.

Unlike the other DSWs, the periodization will only be reflected by increased reps, increased weight or time reductions. CrossFit is a different animal altogether, that doesn’t care for hypertrophy nor focusing on one component of fitness at a time.

Be sure to carb up an hour before each session, at least 90 grams of complex slow releasing carbs. I strongly suggest doing this with a high carb protein shake, they will absorb quickly and leave nothing in your digestive tract to puke up.

The workouts are so intense, hurling from the exertion does happen. Been there, done that, but to my credit carried on, my resulting time was abysmal, however, I persevered, and if a guy who isn’t genetically geared for fitness and spent most of his teenage life as a porker that ain’t too shabby.

After completing the 12 week slog that is the Amazonian Warrior Workout, you'll have no trouble handling armed and armoured foes.

After completing the 12 week slog that is the Amazonian Warrior Workout, you’ll have no trouble handling armed and armoured foes.

Phase 1: The 5 workouts – 4 weeks

That’s right, beloved reader, you’ve got 5 workout sessions, one for each of the 5 ‘working’ days of the week.

As always; when your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor plans these sojourns to levelling you up in a considerate manner that gives you the weekend off.

Ain’t I a darlin’.

Each session is a race against the clock; that doesn’t mean sacrificing good exercise form just to teach a stop watch who’s boss though.

As soon as you’ve finished one exercise you move straight on to the next, no fancy sets with ‘rest’ periods in this brutal regime.

Unfortunately, Level Up being the impoverished little organization it is at the moment doesn’t have the means for your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor to instruct you in the exercise techniques himself.

Level Up  will have a studio soon. Just gotta get the funding.

Until then, beloved reader, you’ll have to make do with the ‘best’ instructional videos the internet has to offer.

Do not heed the falsehoods of the instructors unless otherwise stated, just copy the exercise technique.

If you can deal with this DSW, you also will be able to give Kryptonians a kicking.

If you can deal with this DSW, you also will be able to give Kryptonians an ass kicking.

Monday

You don’t need to go to that vile nest of hormonally manipulated meatheads the gym for the during first workout at least.

You could do this workout in the park, all you will need is a decent tree branch to use as a pull up bar.

Run a mile: These exhausting workouts will tax you to your body to its limits. Aim for a 10 minute mile, that’s the rough average for most people. Attempt to decrease the time with each session.

Pull ups: Find your tree branch, or if you’re in the gym the chinning bar, and do as many as possible. Some advice to work up to ‘full-bodied’ pull ups.

Decline press ups: Immediately after finishing the pull ups, find something to raise your feet onto, a park bench will suffice, and get pressing, do as many as you can.

Bodyweight squats: Back up on your feet instantly and perform as many as possible.

Run another mile: That’s right, beloved reader, we begin and finish the first workout with cardio. Even though you should be tired by now, still try to beat your original time.

Challenge time: The goal is to complete the circuit in 40 minutes, but an hour is a perfectly respectable time.

By the end of this phase you should be hitting at least 25 pull ups, 50 press ups and 100 squats, but of course aim for more. It will be important for later workouts.

With the help of the following workout, this feat of power will be common place for you.

With the help of the following workout, this feat of power will be common place for you.

Tuesday

A short yet exhausting workout for Tuesday, only two exercises but vital ones for warrior skills. Complete this circuit 3 times. 21 reps on the first, 15 on the second and a mere 9 on the third.

Jumping pull ups: A lower impact version, with different applications to the regular pull up, designed with producing killing machines in mind.

If you can’t perform all the reps required in one sitting then have a short ‘rest’ and carry on the same exercise until they are all done. Imagine combat scenarios when performing all these exercises and what their application would be.

Despite the video’s instructor’s ‘advice’, only use overhand grip.

Thrusters: Unless you have a decent barbell set at home, you’ll need to be in the gym for this one.

Challenge time: 10 minutes. Harsh isn’t it. But that’s the kind of terrifying training Diana would have done.

Wednesday

Wednesday's workout will bestow you with uncanny speed.

Wednesday’s workout will bestow you with uncanny speed.

This workout we shall dub ”The Seven’. As the name implies, perform seven reps of each exercise, for seven devastating circuits.

Handstand push ups: The ultimate deltoid bodyweight exercise, (did I not warn you that these DSWs were hard-core?), handy tips in the following video on how to work up to these.

Thrusters: Yup, again. Seven reps then straight onto the next exercise

Knees to elbows: Kinesiology being the sly temptress that she is, ensures that when we move a limb through a great range of motion,  barely any of the muscles in that limb are being utilised.

In this example, lady kinesiology teaches us that the abdominals raise the thighs via the hip-joint, with the quadriceps doing nothing more that a little fundamental stability work.

Powerful abs + flexibility = high kicks, a nice surprise maneuver against any opponent, and a good tactic for creating distance between oneself and short blade wielders. With the added bonus of being able to shout “This is Sparta”, if one is so inclined to do so.

Deadlifts: If you’ve perused ‘The Asgardian Power-House’ workout you would have already encountered these wonderful whole body power building bad boys.

Burpees: Researched as I have I cannot fathom how this exercise got its name. However, it is very versatile, training you to dodge under and over attacks in one tidy package.

Kettle bell swings: These are very handy for the RPG warrior enthusiasts who like to play it two-handed weapon style, this will add plenty of power to those Claymore uppercuts we all adore.

Also with the power generated in the shoulders will make bringing up a  shield or sword to block or parry with the greatest of ease.

Pull ups: Yup, these again. By the time you’re done with this DSW, you should have levelled up your pull ups to an insane amount.

I must point out, that doing all these pull ups on consecutive days, (as well as some of the other exercises), seem not to follow the rules of kinesiology, it does though, just not if you want hypertrophy; you’ll get some, that’s inevitable.

The point of overworking the muscles in such a brutal manner is to force your body to adapt to the movement, ‘tricking’ your muscles into thinking it’s a common occurrence during its daily doings. Just like a Martial artist ‘tricks’ his body into attacking with great speed by spending endless hours drilling the same punch, kick, block or throw.

Now you just have to repeat that six more circuits. Enjoy the burn.

Challenge time: The best that can be humanly, (or rather inhumanly), managed on this is around 20 minutes, but for now aim to complete in 30 to 40 minutes.

The combination of handstand press ups, burpees and kettlebell swings, you'll have the meanest uppercut punch in the Galaxy. Bonus.

The combination of handstand press ups, burpees and kettlebell swings, you’ll have the meanest uppercut punch in the Galaxy. Bonus.

Thursday

Another workout with only two exercises, it last 5 rounds of the following exercises:

Muscle-ups: If you’ve ever watched the awesome show ‘Ninja Warrior’, you may have seen some of the contestants warming up for the event doing these. Perform 7 reps of these per round. The following video actually has good advice.

BurpeesAgain, but imagine now, beloved reader, the agility you will have developed that is combat situation orientated by combining these two exercises, perform a harsh set of 21 reps per round of these.

Now simply repeat 4 more times.

Challenge time: 15 minutes, harsh I know, but as that amazing biological machine that is the human body adapts, you’ll look back on how hard all this seemed and have a wee chuckle to yourself.

With the training from the previous four workouts, you'll have the skills to take on multiple opponents.

With the training from the previous four workouts, you’ll have the skills to take on multiple opponents.

Friday

This will seem like taking it easy, it’s the same workout as Monday’s, but remember to keep tabs on improving running the mile at the beginning and end of the session and improving the reps on the other exercises. There are target reps and times to get the best results from this workout.

If it’s any consolation, your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor, has ditched the Spiderman DSW, (I did complete it to ensure it worked before publishing), and is currently using this regime. Although I do not own kettlebells, thus substitute weight discs with a chain securing them together.

Phase 2: Almost the same 5 workouts – 4 weeks

Monday

The same as last phase, however; by the end of this phase you should have shaved a minute off both the one mile runs. You should be performing 30 pull ups, 75 press ups and 200 squats. Feel the burn baby.

Challenge time: You should be getting closer to 40 minutes by now, but 45 to 50 is still very respectable.

Tuesday

On Tuesdays, keep increasing the weight on the thrusters, but reverse the exercise order.

Challenge time: Still a mere 10 minutes, but you will eventually get there. 15 to 20 minutes should roughly be your current time by now.

Wednesday

This is where it gets a little nastier. By now you’ve realised this mid-week workout is the most brutal.

Now it’s something that I like to call ”The Eight’. That’s right, beloved reader, it’s the same as ‘The Seven’ but eight reps on all exercises and eight circuits.

Challenge time: Is now 22 minutes, to account for the added resp, but you should be close to 30 minutes by now.

Thursday

This workout is for warriors of all kinds. Even those well versed in playing the ocarina.

This workout is for warriors of all kinds.
Even those well versed in playing the ocarina.

Nothing changes on the Thursday, that workout is set in stone as a stand alone steadfast bad boy already.

Challenge time: 15 minutes, in all likelihood, you’re probably doing it in 20 by now.

Friday

Wonder Woman going for a run.  Picture taken from the 2011 unaired pilot.

Wonder Woman going for a run.
Picture taken from the 2011 unaired pilot.

You already know the drill, I’m sure. Just keep aiming for more reps and less time.

Phase 3: Almost the same 5 workouts – 4 weeks

Monday

You guessed it, the same as last phase and the phase before, however; by the end of this phase you hopefully should be running a very respectable eight minute mile and be performing 40 pull ups, 100 press ups and 250 squats.

Challenge time: You should be getting closer to 40 minutes by now, but 45 is still very respectable.

Tuesday

Change the exercise order back to Phase 1’s, you will then notice an awesome increase in both resistance and reduction in time.

Challenge time: 10 minutes still, you should have  hit it after the cheeky technique swap. But if not don’t worry, this is an extremely hard workout.

Wednesday

This is the point in the plan that you will really hate me. Now you are to perform nine reps and nine circuits. I call it  ‘The Bloody Nine’. Enjoy

Challenge time: Due to added reps, 25 minutes. You should be close to that already. Keep at it.

'The 'Bloody Nine' workout wil hone your warrior reflexes to the extent of being capable of defeating multiple minotaurs. Mythical creatures ain't got s**t on Diana.

‘The ‘Bloody Nine’ workout will hone your warrior reflexes to the extent of being capable of defeating multiple minotaurs.
Mythical creatures ain’t got s**t on Diana.

Thursday

Don’t mess with Thursday. It’s perfect as it is.

Challenge time: 15 minutes, as this has remain unchanged, you should have at least breached the 20 minute mark.

Friday

Just keep going as you were. Hopefully by now your mile runs are so fast that all yo need is a Flux Capacitor to enjoy some time in 85.

Challenge time: Still 40 minutes, but whilst you’ve been shaving time off the runs, the extra reps on the resistance training could have counteracted that.

As always remember to stretch straight after the workout, it will aid in recovery.

Diet

You know exactly what i'm thinking. I am not abashed nor ashamed of this.

You know exactly what i’m thinking.
I am not abashed nor ashamed of this.

Not much to say here, with the brutal intensity of the workouts you’ll be able to eat pretty much what you want. That doesn’t mean pigging out on crappy foods though.

You already know the foods to avoid, confectionery, fizzy drinks, kebabs and the such. Make sure you get plenty of quality carbs from wholemeal sources, fruit, veg and lean meats for protein, never exceed 32 grams per meal, nor 90 grams of carbs.

Make sure each meal is at least three hours apart, otherwise the liver cannot process all the nutrients and store them as subcutaneous fat. If it’s in your budget splash out on a Glutamine supplement, that stuff gets you healing like Wolverine.

So what’s next?

You could, keep going with the last phase indefinitely, becoming more badass on a regular basis. Or you could take Monday and Friday’s workouts, remove the time limit and have a fairly comprehensive general fitness routine that you could do 3 to 4 times a week.

Alternatively, you could try your friendly neighbourhood Rogue’s tactics, when finished with one DSW, move on to the next. Give it a go, it keeps it interesting.

Wonder Woman over the years.

Wonder Woman over the years.

Stay tuned for BAMF!

Until next time. Stay informed.

The X-Factor; Designer Superhero Workout Training Tips and Advice

Greetings true believers

With the new series of articles on Designer Superhero Workouts just beginning; I thought it only wise to give you some handy tips and advice to help you get the most from your workouts.

That’s right, beloved reader, today we learn from that diverse gang of Super Heroes, the X-Men. Thus, Your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor will be sciencing you upside the head mutant style.

So what can we learn from these genetically mutated folk?

We can learn a lot of handy training tips and tactics from these diverse and over-the-top politically correct chaps.

Periodization

What’s this periodization business? 

Periodization can be defined as a system for program design that plans appropriate cycles and training phases. The system used in the Designer Superhero Workouts.

The human machine, being what it, is an incredibly adaptive organism; quickly responding to its input. You lift heavy you get strong. You stretch you’ll get flexible. You run for hours upon hours per day, you will have improved cardiovascular endurance.

But because it adapts to the input, it will become complacent, thus reducing the results. When this happens things need to be switched around a bit, to ‘shock’ the body into having to adapt again, producing new results. Do you think the X-Men do the same training day in day out in the danger room? Nope.

It has been time and time again proven for success in achieving training goals and has a track record of over 50 years of development. Research has confirmed that periodization has the ability to produce significantly better results than straight set training or normal progression type training. Michael JordanMuhammad AliUsain Bolt, Babe Ruth, Tiger woods, and Bruce Lee have all used this wonderful training tactic. It also provides the ultimate training log. Looking back on a year’s periodized training will really give clarity on how much you have accomplished over that time.

Program Design

This represents a periodized table of progression, working up to a competition.

Any good training programme should be considered as ongoing and therefore broken down into calendar based blocks of time based periods that usually termed as ‘cycles’.

During each cycle prioritize working on the attributes which will benefit the athlete. Within these cycles we have Macrocycles, planning the overall outline of the program and commonly lasting for three-month periods, give or take, depending on the individual athlete’s goals.

Macrocycles are then, in turn, broken down again into smaller more manageable segments called Mesocycles.

Training Phases

These are the Mesocycles, which enable the athlete to efficiently track their progress, maybe reassess their goals if necessary and tailor the routine to suit and desired changes; such as training tactics, nutrition, intensity etc. The cycles run from 3 to 12 weeks, but great yields can result from longer or shorter periods, dependant upon genetics, muscle fibre composition and already established attribute levels. A 3 to 8 week Mesocycle suits most people.

Hypertrophy phase: During this is the phase for the athlete will be most effective hitting a rep range between strength training and endurance training; that will stimulate all the different fibre types, thus, the greatest overall hypertrophy.

Hugh Jackman preparing to do some heavy squats for a hypertrophy phase.

Strength / power phases: Characterised by extremely high levels of intensity, all-out short distance sprints, lifting extremely heavy but for very low reps or a three-minute round in the boxing ring.

The easiest transition between phases is from strength to power; gradually decrease the reps from the usual 8 down to a range of 1 to 6, whilst also removing some exercises to really focus on the core movements for power: such as barbell squats, deadlifts,  bench press, bent-over barbell rows, military press etc.

Endurance phase: This phases consists of lower intensity but higher-volume workouts. Muscular and cardiovascular endurance will be the primary focus. It also functions as an experimental phase of sorts.

If there are new exercise techniques that need to be introduced, this is the phase for it. Given the low intensity, (weight usually), gives the athlete the opportunity to master them, the added repetitions required for the high-volume element.

Transitional phase: This is the transitional phase, to morph one phase into another. For example:gradually bringing the reps up when moving from a strength phase to an endurance phase, and visa versa.

Swimming is a fine example of ‘active rest’. I’m sure there are rules about adamantium claws in the swimming pool though.

Active rest: On ‘rest’ days it can sometimes be a good idea to get  what is known as ‘active rest’, keeping you geared up athletically but recreationally.

Body-weight Exercises

Hank McCoy demonstrates the value of bodyweight exercises.

If you wish to attain Beast-like agility, then add body-weight exercises as often as possible, like chin ups, pull-ups and bodyweight dips. When you can add extra resistance to those, you’ll be able to perform great feats of agility.

It’s common sense; let’s say you perform jumping squats whilst holding 2 dumbbells; when you get rid of the extra weight of the dumbbells, your jump height will be significantly higher.

You can also add a flexibility routine. A greater range of movement will facilitate greater dexterity.  

Break it down and rebuild it

BAMF!

When Nightcrawler teleports, all of the atoms in his body disassemble, pass through another plane of existence, then reassemble at another point in space and time.

A similar process is occurring in your skeletal muscle when you are working out, the exertion of the training breaks the muscle down, actually damaging the tissue. The body then reacts to this by re-growth geared toward the new input.

This anabolic process occurs when you are resting and eating, that’s when the cells get reassembled. Once the skeletal muscle has been nicely broken down, even they haven’t travelled through another plane of existence, we still need to put them back together.

Thus we need . . .

SNIKT!

“Recovery bub”

The sooner one can recover from a training session, the sooner one can train again, speeding up the results. That’s simple for Wolverine; he regenerates. It doesn’t matter how much he gets cut, smashed, pummelled, drinks or smokes; he never takes any lasting or permanent damage or even gains a scar.

So, bereft of mutant powers how can we get recovering at such a rate?

Protein: Already covered this in ‘The Asgardian Power-House‘, but a little more detail couldn’t hurt. Get plenty of it, from high quality sources. The reason for this is that the building blocks of protein are called amino acids, and they all have a different and vital function.

Human protein is formed from 20 amino acids that are found within proteins.  Alanine, Arginine, Asparagine, Aspartic acid, Cysteine,  Glutamic acid, Glutamine, Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Serine Threonine,  Tryptophan, Tyrosine and Valine.

Humans can produce 10 of the 20 amino acids. The others must be supplied in the food. Failure to obtain enough of even 1 of the 10 essential amino acids, those that we cannot make, results in degradation of the body’s proteins—muscle and so forth—to obtain the one amino acid that is needed. Unlike fat and starch, the human body does not store excess amino acids for later use—the amino acids must be in the food every day.

Non-Essential amino acids: The 10 amino acids that are essential, those that can be converted by the liver from other nutrients are; alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine. Tyrosine is produced from phenylalanine, so if the diet is deficient in phenylalanine, tyrosine will be required as well.

Essential amino acids: Are arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. This means we must consume them and / or supplement them in our diets. Supplementation may be the only option for some of these if you’re vegetarian and the only option if you happen to be vegan.

Glutamine

This is the stuff I’m talking about, the very brand that yours truly uses. It’ll have you recovering like Wolverine.

We’re going to focus on one really important one for regeneration. Glutamine plays a role in a variety of biochemical functions, including: Protein bio-synthesis, as any other of the proteinogenic amino acids, regulation of acid-base balance in the kidney by producing ammonium, nitrogen donation for many anabolic processes including the synthesis of purines, carbon donation, as a source, refilling the citric acid cycle, nontoxic transporter of ammonia in the blood circulation.

Basically, whenever your body needs to make a repair, glutamine is the primary amino acid it goes to for most reparation chores. When any part of your body needs healing, say from a cut, recovery from a hangover or even sleep deprivation, it’s glutamine that gets used, and a great majority is extracted straight from the skeletal muscles. Unless there is some spare via supplementation. There aren’t many supplements worth spending your hard-earned or hard-stolen cash on but glutamine is without doubt one of them, get it in powdered form, for ease of absorption.

Sleep

Most of us don’t get anywhere near enough sleep, the regeneration magic happens then But when we are so busy in our daily lives with those vile afflictions known as day jobs, those wondrous affairs called social lives and those horrors we address as responsibilities; sleep is the first thing Sleep deprivation can have a big impact on our metabolism; slowing it down and hoarding fat and not getting enough sleep slows glucose metabolism by as much as 30 to 40 percent, causing even more fat gain. EEK

Eve Van Cauter, PhD , from the University of Chicago Medical School, studied the effects of three different durations of sleep in eleven men aged 18 to 27.

For the first three nights of the study, the men slept eight hours per night; for the next six nights, they slept four hours per night; for the last seven nights, they slept 12 hours per night. Results showed that after four hours of sleep per night, they metabolized glucose least efficiently. Levels of cortisol were also higher, which has been linked to memory impairment, age-related insulin resistance, and impaired recovery in athletes.

Van Cauter said that after only one week of sleep restriction, young, healthy males had glucose levels that were no longer normal and showed a rapid deterioration of the body’s functions. This reduced ability of the body to manage glucose is similar to those found in the elderly. This study shows that sleep deprivation can negatively impact physiology that is critical for athletic performance — glucose metabolism and cortisol status.

While no one completely understands the complexities of sleep, this does indicates that sleep deprivation can lead to decreased activity of human growth hormone (which is active during tissue repair), and decreased glycogen synthesis.

Psylocke demonstrates sleeping. Never mind showing off all the psychic abilities and martial skills, eh?

So how much sleep is required?

It going to differ from person to person, but the general consensus is 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, more for is required for athletes due to greater physical exertion. A minimum of 6, preferably 7, and if you’re raining hard 8 to 9 hours.

Some of our genes act as internal clocks and release hormones according to cycles called circadian rhythms, which are triggered by darkness and light and alternate over 24-hour periods. When we mess with these rhythms by not getting enough sleep, our metabolism of glucose declines, and our level of cortisol increases. Further, sleeping for long stretches is naturally anabolic.

During deep sleep, our bodies release growth hormone, which stimulates the healing and growth of muscle and bone. So while it’s possible to push through a lack of sleep during any one day, proper sleep helps athletes by boosting areas of performance that require cognitive function, reaction time, hand-eye coordination and of course it aids recovery from grueling workouts.

Anything else? It is a pretty big team to learn from

Use your mind.

The mind-muscle-connection

Great things can be accomplished with strong focus, concentration and visualisation. A technique utilised by many athletic pros to maximize muscle and performance. By developing a strong ‘mind-muscle connection’ ,this connection is made by visualizing the muscle being trained and focusing on the feeling of it working through its complete range of motion during each rep.

When applying the technique don’t think about where you feel the muscular stimulus, think about where you’re supposed to feel the stimulus. For example; during press ups the muscle that should be shifting all the weight are the pectoralis major, but a lot of people end up focusing too much on the arms, triceps specifically, which are only assisting the movement. Instead you must focus on contacting the pectorals thereby bringing the arms together and forward, the triceps assisting only to extend the elbow joint. Continue with this thought process during the negative phase of the movement, focusing on the feeling of the pectorals stretching.

Keeping your mental focus channeled in this manner will direct the majority of stress to the target muscles of your chest, maximizing muscular stimulation. It sounds daft, far-fetched even a little sci-fi but believe in your Rogue Advisor, beloved reader, the mind-muscle connection is the real deal.

Visualization

Some athletes routinely use visualization techniques in both training and competition. Those who’ve used these techniques have cultivated not only a competitive edge, but also found renewed mental awareness, and a heightened sense of focus.

Visualization is also referred to as guided imagery, mental rehearsal, mediation, etc. Regardless of the term applied, the techniques and concepts are the same. Visualization is the mental process of creating an image or intention of what you desire.

Colossus. Clearly.

“Throughout my bodybuilding career, I was constantly playing tricks on my mind. This is why I began to think of my biceps as mountains, instead of flesh and blood. Thinking of my biceps as mountains made my arms grow faster and bigger than if I’d seen them only as muscles.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

This technique can be used to increase the ‘intent’ of the result of a competition or training session. By visualizing the desired scene, complete with reverie of a previous best performance or a future target, the athlete is then ‘steps into’ that feeling. While imagining these scenarios, the athlete will imagine in perfect detail, all the myriad sensations of the way it feels to perform in the desired way, or the results wanted from that training session.

And finally

Keep it cool.

No really. It does wonders for you. Every time you get stressed out, start vexing or get your raging bellyache on, you get a massive surge of nasty old cortisol, which breaks down muscle tissue. So when you have to skip a meal or a workout, don’t be miffed but don’t use cortisol as an excuse to slack off either. Temperature also affects testosterone levels. Everyone knows that guys who sleep in the cold have a higher sperm count right? That’s because testosterone is boosted when the testicles are at just the right chilly temperature. Yay.

Until next time. Stay informed.

 

OCDB: Lou

Does he look like he gives a flying f**k? Because there are zero f**ks given here.

Does he look like he gives a flying f**k? Because there are zero f**ks given here.

Powers / Abilities: Vince has only one power, he can steal knowledge from others brains by taking some of their grey matter and implanting it in his own barnet. This can  work out for the worst; he can sometimes take on characteristics of his victims for a limited period, sending him a wee bit loopy . But that doesn’t bother him one bit, he’s fairly deranged anyway.

His armour is tougher than Captain America’s shield and Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton combined, and is full of useful gadgets like adrenaline boosters. His right hand is a force field generator that works kinda like the Green Lantern’s ring, but the colour yellow is not his nemesis.

Skills: Brawling, he loves it. It’s his favourite hobby and he is really good at it. I mean really good at it. Also he has a lot of big freakin’ guns. Nuff said.

Statistics: Strength-88, Agility-18, Speed -44, Endurance – 99, Intelligence – 99, Charisma – 29

Origin: Born to the Fisk criminal family, it was obvious to his father that he was a deformity. Born with his brain completely exposed, no nose and no right hand.

The crime lord set about finding all treatments possible in an attempt to make him ‘normal’. Little did Don Fisk realise that Lou had already started using his powers from the age of 11, and was secretly augmenting himself cybernetically.

Until next time. Keep Creating

“There can be only one”

On April 1oth your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor set the task to create an awesome character to win a rather humble prize. Using Hero Machine 2.5 you, beloved reader, had the challenge to create a new and awesome character.

The response overwhelming, thus even though the deadline for entries was the 21st, the colossal task of selecting the best from so many awesome characters has taken yours truly until now to decide who will become the proud new owner of a plush Boba Fett.

With HeroMachine 2.5, you can create groovy characters such as this perfectly accurate depiction of yours truly.

With HeroMachine 2.5, you can create groovy characters such as this perfectly accurate depiction of yours truly. Protector of London.

It was tough choosing, and believe me beloved reader,I have tried to be as fair as possible in my selection from the 167 entries. Yup. 167. Not bad for a blog that’s been  running for a few months.

Bizarrely only one of my Facebook chums bothered to enter, yet I had 23 entries from beloved readers in the realm known as Canada and 34 from people I have never met in Poland!

Shame be upon thee and thine Facebook ‘chums’

With mild disappointment in the aforementioned, yet overwhelmed by the coolness brought to you today. I present to you in this post of creative glory from around the globe, the best 5 original characters.

But first

The one Facebook chum that bothered to enter, who is more than just some bloke I chat with online, is presented here as a bonus. I’m sorry Double-G, but your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor cannot in good conscience allow favouritism to get the better of me.

Besides which, my cowl increases my moralistic logic, thus you have not won the prize my friend. But I will show your creation to the world!

Daichi

How sweet, innocent and virginal she looks. That cat looks dodgy though.

How sweet, innocent and virginal she looks.
That cat looks dodgy though.

Double G, being  as awkward as ever, has 2 pictures, thus we will have to rearrange the layout just for him, and cough up the background story first.

Origin: Daichi Me’anor was an innocent Japanese schoolgirl. Her father really wanted a son and was really mean to Daichi, giving her a boy’s name and constantly demeaning her as well as renting her out to her dads evil corporate friends including the head of the Japanese World Police (JWP). She was abused so much that a demon came to her and offered to help free her from her father, in return for her soul. Daichi was so desperate she agreed.

The demon did as he had agreed and freed Daichi, by killing her father and framing her. The JWP arrested, tried and executed her, sending her soul to hell. In hell she was tortured and broken for what felt like an eternity to her. Eventually she grew to like it. (Always time for a little S&M)

Reforming her broken body with scavenged limbs from other broken souls she grew strong. Eventually her evil demeanour and damn craziness drew the eye of a powerful prince of hell; he saw a lot of potential in her and wanted to raise her from her sorry state. He tutored her in demonic powers and dark sorceries and let her gobble down on his evil gargantuan engorged power (or other p word).

Eventually the prince of hell felt that she needed to progress to the next stage in her training. Casting her out from hell with only the few powers that had been taught her the prince demanded that she defeat her own demons from her past before he could bless her with her own proper demonhood; he ordered her to hunt down and get vengeance on the friends of her father, for the abuses they had inflicted on her flesh and for putting her to death and sending her to hell.

But standing outside the gates of hell Daichi is torn. She can see the dark path laid out before her but dare she tread it? Is there another path she can walk? Will she hunt down and brutally murder all those who had raped her as she was supposed to? Perhaps she should go and try to find the one friend she had when she was alive, then she could ask for advice…..

Miss Daemon Meaner

By George Douglas Gregory, London, UK.

By: George Douglas Gregory, London, UK.

Powers / Abilities:  When first let loose from hell she does not have a full grasp of her powers, but is able to summon demonfire and befuddle minds, especially of men (Succubus style). She can also conceal her demonic appearance, at least for a short time (but if she gets excited she loses her camouflage).

Skills: She loves Sadomasochism and is obsessed with blades, needles, whips or anything that she can use to inflict or receive pain.

Statistics: Strength-33, Agility-89, Speed – 75, Endurance – 28, Intelligence – 55, Charisma – 87

What can I say? I know you were trying hard to appeal to my nature to win, knowing that I would appreciate the similarities with the Spawn storyline, my affection for Japanese school girls, and you even did a little research  (or maybe a really unlikely fluke), naming her Daichi which roughly translates as first blood. Nothing to do with Rambo though. But now, on with the show.

"There can be only one"

“There can be only one”

As I laboured affectionately through the 167, (I’m still impressed with that number), entries, I had certain criteria to be adhered to, mostly originality and sustainability. The character had to fresh and new, unlike what has gone before but also able to keep readers and /or viewers interested if the character ever got a comic and / or TV show for a long period of time.

As for the 161 characters that didn’t make it to this post; fear not beloved reader, as your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor will be adding a databank of these creative gems to Level Up, thus they will not go unseen by the world. It may take a while, Google translate is pretty good, but I have had to use it on most of the entries. Some things may have been lost in translation.

Boom Daddy

By: Alan Myers, Southend-On-Sea, UK

By: Alan Myers, Southend-On-Sea, UK

Powers and abilities: Ex-Marines turned nightclub DJ, Danny Greenway, has no powers that could be described as ‘super’. He trains physically to almost Olympic level fitness, and is a peerless marksman.

Skills: He was a bully at school, but also got bullied himself for being so vertically challenged. He is only 5′ 3″, (Rogue Advisor’s note; that’s the same height as Wolverine. Really. Hugh Jackman is way too tall for the role; should have been played by Peter Dinklage), and all the beatings he took and gave made him a well ‘ard brawler.

When he left school he joined the Royal Marines; according to the revised height requirements he only just managed to join. He served for 6 years, becoming a Paratrooper and familiarizing himself with every combat technique and weapon possible. He spent some time as a sniper, now he has the patience of a chopping block.

Statistics: Strength-76, Agility-68, Speed – 64, Endurance – 98, Intelligence – 46, Charisma – 13

Origin: He left the marines in 2012, during the recession and couldn’t find a job, so he ended up sleeping on his mate’s couch. Paul Kenny, his accommodating friend, was a successful DJ at many clubs in the Essex area, (That’s South-East England for our non-British readers info), and in his spare time taught Danny the fine art of being a DJ. Soon enough, Danny was part-time DJ-ing and had another part-time job training Territorial Army recruits.

Unknown to Danny, while he had been gone, a drug war had started in his home town of sunny Southend-On-Sea. Paul had become part of this, allowing the Wickers gang sneaky entry into the clubs he DJ-ed at in return for a cheeky profit. But this backfired when the Cheung triad gang from York Road Chinatown killed most of the Wickers gang in a club called T.O.T.S, (Talk of the South), in a massive bloodbath shootout. Paul, the Cheung gang thinking him one of the Wickers gang, was kidnapped, tortured and mutilated beyond recognition before dying from his severe wounds.

The police couldn’t identify his corpse, because he was discovered naked, with no I.D, all his teeth had been pulled out and all his fingers cut off. The rest of Paul was so horribly burned and mutilated, they actually had trouble figuring out what gender he was.

He found this out from one of the few surviving member of the wickers gang, a 15-year-old burglar called Jamie Witt. Danny swore revenge. He took Paul’s identity, gaining him a lot of money to work on his plan of vengeance. Then he bided his time a little, drank a lot, which gives him his jaundiced appearance caused by liver damage, until the police investigation was over and the building the club was in was back on the market. By this time he was a full-blown alcoholic.

He purchased the nightclub formerly known as T.O.T.S, and refurbished it under the guise of a steel mill. He accomplished this by calling i some favours from his old Marine buddies, and bringing in an unholy amount of weaponry at the same time.

He took Jamie the young burglar under his wing, for scouting purposes, along with the most promising selection of his students at the Territorial Army Base. He wears no disguise, when he kills his enemies, he wants them to know who done it. The war rages still, the Cheungs are many and Boom Daddy’s crew are few, But he will never stop.

The Iron Valkyrie 

By: Addi Lund, Denmark.

By: Addi Lund, Denmark.

Powers / Abilities: She has all the battle prowess and fighting skills you would expect from a Valkyrie, one of the greatest warrior maidens of Valhalla. Her real name is Helga Grímnismál; her strength and equestrian abilities are second to none. She is ambidextrous, choosing to dual wield war axes with unerring accuracy. She can communicate with horses and ravens, and these creatures will fearlessly do her bidding,  no matter the task.

Skills: She has been a passionate smith since she was 8-years-old, working the forge everyday. Such dedication to the craft of smithing granted her great strength, endurance and of course remarkable skill.

Any weapon she makes seems to never need to be sharpened, the armour she has forged have saved countless lives. Her dual war axes are virtually indestructible as is her armour. She also carries a selection of differently weighted throwing axes, meant for different ranges of attack and for penetrating different kinds of armour.

Statistics: Strength-98, Agility-88, Speed – 74, Endurance – 89, Intelligence – 62, Charisma – 48

Origin: Helga is a true native of Valhalla, for 33 years her life was nothing more than combat, combat practice and working the forge. One day though she was exiled, given no explanations as to what her crimes were.

She found herself in Romania, minus all her equipment but not her combat skills and stoic resolve. A woman of her abilities found it easy to get things done in such a place, she forged new equipment, disapproving of the weak steel found on Earth.

Now she strives to clear her name and return to Valhalla. Little did she know that it was her jealous ex-lover Zane Jensen, who knew he could never be the warrior nor smith she was, who had set her up. He had ensured that she brought a cowards soul to Valhalla.

Merpyro

By: Albert Slusarczyk, from: Plock, Poland.

By: Albert Slusarczyk, from: Plock, Poland.

Rogue Advisor’s note: Google translate is particularly poor with Polish language, so I have had to assume and / or guess what Merpyro is all about.

Powers /Abilities: At 2.6 metres tall, Merpyro is hard to miss, and with his size comes strength comparable to the Fantastic Four’s Thing. He dubbed himself the King of all the Swamps, as he can teleport from swamp to swamp all over the planet.

His scaly flesh acts similar to scale mail armour, and once again is on par with the Things toughness. He is immune to fire and all related fire-based attacks. If attacked with fire, he will absorb it, store it in his bloodstream and then may later produce an equal amount to that absorbed to be used as he pleases. Also he can control the absorbed fire, as seen in the picture in his left hand, he can convert it to light rays. The absorbed fire can be directed and controlled into columns, pillars, walls, shields, balls and cone-shaped forms of attack; a great method for crowd control. Sometimes he even wears it as a hat.

Of course he is an amphibian, making him capable of breathing both air and water, his gills also function as a filter, making him immune to any airborne toxins. If, somehow he finds himself trapped in a place with the only breathable source being a finite amount of oxygen, he can slow his metabolism to crawl; slowing his breathing to use what is available as efficiently as possible.

No reptilian creature will ever attack Merpyro, and even though he is mute, he can communicate with them emphatically. Reptiles no matter how small will always come to his aid.

Being somewhat reptilian himself he has perfect camouflage abilities, but only if he hasn’t absorbed any fire, it will make him appear as a ghostly outline. He regularly cuts off his own tail, just to let a new one grow back and choose a new colour for it.

Being a lumbering giant of a creature, you’d expect him to make a lot of noise and be clumsy; this is not so when in swamp land. He moves through swampland in complete silence, leaves absolutely no trace of where he has been and can make his presence undetectable even by those with mind reading powers, and is odourless when in that environment.

However, his powers, strength and even cognitive abilities will slowly degrade if he is not in a swamp environment.

Skills: He is master of an unarmed  Martial art as yet unknown to most of the world. The movements are heavy-duty grappling techniques combined with massive strikes, somewhere between wrestling and kick boxing. He can without peer track anyone or anything on swamp territory, even the invisible and silent can be found by him. Below the statistics shown in brackets are when he is away from swamp territory.

Statistics: Strength-100, (57) , Agility-76,(23), Speed – 68, (13), Endurance – 100, (40),, Intelligence – 33, (12), Charisma – 48, (11), always counts as 100 when dealing with reptiles.

Origin: Little is known about Merpyro, because he is mute he is unable to communicate with anyone who is not reptilian. He has never attacked anyone without provocation, unless they are hunting in his swamp. There is a rumour, because of his teleportation ability that  there are more than one of  Merpyro. There have been reports of his sightings for centuries, giving speculation to how old he really is and has been publicised in some media as ‘big foot’.

The Chaplain

By:Carter Wilson, New Brunswick. Canada.

By: Carter Wilson, New Brunswick. Canada.

Powers /Abilities: Incredible strength, which increases with his ‘Holy rage’. In this state of clearly not normal sanity, he feels no pain, and will attack with his knuckle duster / battle axe combo weapon anyone and everyone, friend or foe.

He is the guy you send in to clear a room full of bad-mofos. Possibly torturing the last survivor for fun. The pages of the strange ‘Holy book’ he carries give him divination powers, such as clairaudience and clairvoyance.

Even without consulting the tome, he can predict events several seconds into the future. it also increases his charisma, so that he may ‘convert’ others to his warped religion. The book is an actual living entity that is symbiotic. It has merged with his mind sending him into the depths of true irreversible madness.

Skills: Real name Javier Ramirez is an expert in Mexican wrestling, and thanks to the book he holds onto so dearly, he can communicate in every dialect of every language. The intelligence in brackets below is his natural score; the book increases his IQ.

Statistics: Strength-78 , Agility-43, Speed – 39, Endurance – 99, Intelligence – 96, (12), Charisma – 75, (9 without the book, he ain’t pretty and has a very bad attitude as is)

Origin: Ever since he was a young boy, he wanted to dominate the Mexican wrestling scene, which he accomplished, undefeated in over 123 bouts. But his family were poor and his mother dying, she needed treatment he could not afford, and the wrestling prize money just wasn’t enough. He turned to crime and began a racketeering business. until one day, whilst holding aloft a scrawny bookshop proprietor, he was offered the ‘Holy book’ as collateral for the protection money owed.

The book instantly began to take a grip on his weak mind. He snapped the neck of the shop keeper, (the shadowy figure behind The Chaplain in the picture), who had actually planned the whole thing, Thinking nothing more of it The Chaplain went on to his next illicit collection point.

The old shop keeper is the voice of the book, and the targets selected to be killed are all non-Catholics. The Chaplains mind has been warped into that of a religious genocidal maniac.

The Victor!

Larcen Yart

By: Hunter Tremblay, from Manitoba, Canada.

By: Hunter Tremblay, from Manitoba, Canada.

Powers and abilities: Larcen was born with ability to absorb and integrate any DNA, picking and choosing what he would like to add, sometimes using DNA coding to remove flaws in himself. This has allowed him to acquire a varied range of strange and unique powers.

This is accomplished by simply touching the living creature with the DNA he desires, but there is a drawback; sometimes he will take on physical characteristics of the creature from the new DNA, changing his appearance on a regular basis. Very useful in his trade as an intergalactic smuggler.

All his attributes have been improved through DNA remodelling, he has heightened senses of smell, vision, (he can now see in all spectrums of vision), and hearing, he changed his sense of touch to make his pain receptors less sensitive and his pleasure receptors more powerful. He increased his bone density to that of steel, and increased the range of his ligaments and tendons to be able to contort into very small spaces. He has boosted his metabolism to an astonishing rate, because of this he heals and recovers from diseases and viruses, (from which he can also utilise the DNA of), but must compensate by taking in a vast amount of calories. He has camouflage abilities, but they’re imperfect, he shimmers as he does. His DNA remodelling is not perfect. He does however have a perfect ‘Spidey sense’, that warns him of imminent danger. DNA remodelling has allowed him to breath in various environments, including underwater. He cannot absorb any knowledge with this power though.

Skills: He is a tech genius, but not with weaponry. He wears on his left hand a force field generator, it has 2 projection point to be able to project 2 different kinds of field at the same time if required. The force fields produced can take the form of shields that protect from physical, energy, nuclear, gaseous and explosive attacks.

Attached to his right wrist is a scanning device, that can detect any life form and analyse it from a distance of up to 12 kilometers. The collar he wears acts as a translating device and also allows him to survive in environments he hasn’t absorbed the DNA for.

Statistics: Strength-65, Agility-92, Speed – 92, Endurance – 72, Intelligence – 88, Charisma – 79

Origin: He was raised as an only child by his father who was the man that taught him all his tech knowledge. As  a child though, when running a simple errand he was kidnapped by slavers, to be sold for sordid tasks.

Being unaware of his power, each of the 7 men who took him had manhandled him at various points, unknowingly giving him their DNA. The DNA remodelling takes days, sometimes even weeks, so he was trapped on the slavers ship for some time with other slaves, whose DNA he made sure to absorb also. After the remodelling was complete, he was the fastest, strongest and toughest on the ship.

He freed the other slaves and took the vessel as his own. However after travelling so long and far, he had no idea where he was. Some of the slaves remained with him to crew the vessel, even though none of them knew how to navigate through the stars, but some were pilots. They now spend their days smuggling, Larcen is now notorious with the intergalactic authorities, but extremely hard to identify due to all the DNA remodelling.

Conclusion: A group of original and sustainable characters from the four corners of the Earth, all have their merits. But Larcen Yart, the name alone, get it? Larceny art. Roguish genius.

So if Mr Tremblay will send me via e-mail the postal address he wishes his prize to be sent to, he will soon be the proud new owner of he-who-survived-the-Sarlacc. Yay

Please feel free, beloved reader to submit characters any time you please to augment the database. They will be eligible for future competitions.

Until next time. Keep Creating.

 

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.

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.

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.