Ask The Hitman

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Hitman

Legend
We've reached 500 posts, it is has been incredible to see how we managed to make this thread so successful, and I am happy so many have benefited from all of my years of knowledge and experience as a professional in this field both as a competitive athlete myself and also as a certified fitness instructor and nutrition specialist. It wouldn't have been such a success without all of you imparting your trust in me to help you achieve your goals. (y) :)
 

Hitman

Legend
what is the best Leg fitness workout you can do with One 20 lbs dumbbell ? I actually have one 20 lbs dumbbell and 10 lbs dumbbell
The best exercises would be deep squats, whether feet are close together, or wide sumo stance whilst holding the dumbbell with both hands in front of you, close to your chest. You can also do standing split lunges holding the weight in that position also. One really good exercise I like my clients to do is hold the weight above your head, then either squat, or if you are ready for it, do walking lunges. It is a fantastic way to not only work the muscles, but work them through multiple planes, plus all of your stabilizer muscles and core will get a hit too. You can also do dumbbell stiff legged dead lifts, alternating each arm with each set.
 
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Hitman

Legend
My left arm is sore again (top of forearm and upper tricep/low shoulder). Its heavy to lift but str is there, has like a notch then fine.

I do like 130lb benchpress 12x a day (light weight for tennis). Should i try to be strengthening (sp) it like a work through or let it rest?

Its not torn, just really stiff
You are doing it every day? I would not recommend that at all, even if it is a moderate weight. You have a classic case of inflammation here, from repetitive strain using the same movement. It's in the tendons, but because you have higher synaptic nervous system connections into your muscle fibers, the pain will be felt quite often away from the actual source of the stress.

I would suggest that you stay away from the movement for a short while, and ice your arm twice a day on a daily basis. Once the pain begins to subside, then and only then start off with some push ups, keep the arms close to the body when doing them. As the strength comes back, and should come back really fast, if in fact you lose any at all, then go back to lifting first the bar and then steadily put the weight on. But please don't do this exercise more than three times a week, I would advise against it.
 

Hitman

Legend
Are these list of muscle groups critical to Tennis players accurate ? if so which ones do you think are the most important ?

This is basically a total body workout. And in a game like tennis, all muscles are important. Think of your body a like a chain, it is only as strong as your weakest link. People might say it is the shoulders or legs, but what about the stabilizer muscles, the muscles that are required for over spill when you over exert yourself and don't want to get injured. Functional training, working the entire body through multiple planes of motion is how I have trained many people who play tennis, combine that with some solid strength training that includes dead lifts, squats and bench press, and you will in fighting shape.
 

Hitman

Legend
I got a question. I have been doing that Sumo squats above for Leg workout since I have NO access to gym now with this corona going on. but I think it is Hurting my Lower Back even more. is it because I am using wrong technique or should I switch to some other leg excersises ?
Hold the weight close to your body instead of letting it hang out in front of you. Keep your back straight and your chin parallel to the ground, so there is no induced stress on your spinal column. The problem with doing the movement with weight in front is, you are are using too much of your back for the lifting, since your motor neurons are already recruiting lower back muscles to prevent you from fall face first forwards. If you are struggling to find alignment, do this movement with your back against the wall, you should be better able to understand just how much forward you are going. So in short, your technique is wrong.
 

Hitman

Legend
Hi again! @Hitman

I've gotten really slack during this quarantine, which had made my already skinny body look even less muscular and even more skinny.
I got a wake-up call after seeing myself in the mirror after the shower... I appear extremely scrawny (not anorexic but not far from it) and I'm wondering, instead of gaining strength as number one priority, what's the most efficient way is to put on size when lifting when aiming to build toward the "big" or "solid" look. I'm not sure if this makes sense but I think I'm trying to ask is what the quickest way is to increase the physical size of the muscles themselves other than steroids? Is it called hypertrophy because I'm not sure if I'm using the term right.

But for example...is it better to lift really heavy with less reps to muscle failure, as opposed to moderate or lighter weights with more reps to muscle failure with the aim to increase the size of the muscle as soon as possible?
OK, you are talking about sacroplasmic or hypertrophy training, which is in essence using bodybuilding principles to get bigger and more solid. For muscle growth like this, you need to being looking for the golden middle stop, not too heavy that you are not tearing up enough muscle fibers because you can only lift so much, and not too light that your body doesn't feel any tension.

I don't like to strictly work with numbers here, and the reason that is true is that you body cannot tell what something weigh by its number, it only understand stress. So you need to find weight that allow you to induce stress, but allows you to do in a controlled manner, where you are not cheating or recruiting other muscles to assist with the lift during muscle isolation movement. Now for a rep range perspective this normally feels between 6 and 12, anything less then that is more for strength training and anything about that is more about endurance training for the muscle....the key is time under controlled tension. Now of course you need to do compound movements, to work more muscle mass, but even with them, don't overload them too much, try to aim for that rep range.

All of this OK, but pointless if you don't have the nutrition as well as the correct rest. Training is not making your muscles grow in the truest sense, it is the diet and the rest that make them grow. Training is there to provide the stimulus, so make sure you are diet is in order and if you are looking to add on slabs of muscle, you will want to look at a caloric surplus, start off with anything between 300 to 500 extra calories per day. These calories should be nutrient dense, so quality sources of food. Good luck.
 
D

Deleted member 769694

Guest
You are doing it every day? I would not recommend that at all, even if it is a moderate weight. You have a classic case of inflammation here, from repetitive strain using the same movement. It's in the tendons, but because you have higher synaptic nervous system connections into your muscle fibers, the pain will be felt quite often away from the actual source of the stress.

I would suggest that you stay away from the movement for a short while, and ice your arm twice a day on a daily basis. Once the pain begins to subside, then and only then start off with some push ups, keep the arms close to the body when doing them. As the strength comes back, and should come back really fast, if in fact you lose any at all, then go back to lifting first the bar and then steadily put the weight on. But please don't do this exercise more than three times a week, I would advise against it.
It went away awhile ago. I rehurt the left tricep/deltoid lifting a 10ft countertop off the saw horses last month But its doing really good now.

Also hurt my neck serving too hard, but i can move my head today :) Getting ready to go play again

Ive done the benchpress everyday for like 12yrs now (bench is in garage). Squats and sit ups as well. Feel guilty if i dont do them now :)
 

Hitman

Legend
It went away awhile ago. I rehurt the left tricep/deltoid lifting a 10ft countertop off the saw horses last month But its doing really good now.

Also hurt my neck serving too hard, but i can move my head today :) Getting ready to go play again

Ive done the benchpress everyday for like 12yrs now (bench is in garage). Squats and sit ups as well. Feel guilty if i dont do them now :)
Good stuff. Stay safe. (y) :)
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@speedysteve
What is the BEST way to do the Biceps workout for tennis ?? I ask because I have been doing some biceps workout at home with dumbbell and it seems like it really does help with power on groundies. so far it is small power increase and racket also feel lighter on forward swing. I think there really is a good reason why guys like Murray and Nadal have huge biceps. They really do seem to help on groundstrokes.


Are you focusing on the biceps and ignoring the tripceps? Rest assured that Nadal & Murray did not. In fact, a fair amount of the bulk that you see in their upper arms is due to the triceps, not just the biceps.

Working the biceps w/o also developing the triceps can lead to an unhealthy muscle imbalance since these are complementary muscle groups. This unbalanced development could make your elbow & shoulder joint more vulnerable to injury.

As far as tennis goes, the triceps are, at the very least, as important as the biceps. Some even say that the triceps might be more important than the biceps. Perhaps from a strength aspect. Perhaps not.

However, the triceps might be used explosively, in tennis, more often than the biceps. Talking about power here rather than conventional strength. The triceps are very important for the overhead & serve (vigorous elbow extension), the Bh slice, 1-handed topspin BHs, and for volleys.

The biceps are most important for FHs and 2-handed BHs. But, you should keep in mind that the biceps & triceps typically work together. Even when one group appears to be 'the boss', the other group often, if not always, still plays an important role.
 
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onehandbh

Legend
@speedysteve
The biceps are most important for FHs and 2-handed BHs. But, you should keep in mind that the biceps & triceps typically work together. Even when one group appears to be 'the boss', the other group often, if not always, still plays an important role.
For my forehand and backhands, I feel like the biceps and triceps play a minor role are mostly passive. Even after playing for hours, they never get tired or feel fatigued. The parts that feel tired? Legs, glutes, torso/back, shoulders a bit from serving. The racquet I use is about 358 grams strung weight).
 

Username_

Hall of Fame
@Hitman
Hi again :D

Short question:
Assuming you work your muscles to failure with decent nutrition, when would you first notice an increase in size of the muscles? Is a few weeks being too optimistic?

I would think it would be noticeable very quickly for someone just starting out, as opposed to someone who has been at it for a few months or a few years already? (as well as whether you are an ecto, endo or meso which you have discussed at length)


Thank you as always
 
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Rosstour

Hall of Fame
@Hitman
Hi again :D

Short question:
Assuming you work your muscles to failure with decent nutrition, when would you first notice an increase in size of the muscles? Is a few weeks being too optimistic?

I would think it would be noticeable very quickly for someone just starting out, as opposed to someone who has been at it for a few months or a few years already?


Thank you as always
I'm not Hitman but this answer depends entirely on the person, some people will take long periods to show results, others can do it in just a few days.
 

ktx

New User
Hi Hitman, I really like this thread. I am a 40yo woman at a healthy weight, but struggle with energy levels. I have long-suspected that I have a cortisol issue but love my coffee and can't give it up. We just moved to another country and I have basically cut out my workouts except tennis 2-3x a week and maybe 30 minutes of biking or swimming 1-2x a week. I'm noticing that my belly fat has reduced, which then leads me to my question - if we want to workout in order to help our tennis game, how do we add in those workouts without overtraining/spiking cortisol? If I play 2-3x a week for 2.5hrs at a time, when and what kind of other workouts can I safely add? Thanks!
 

Turbo-87

Hall of Fame
@speedysteve

Are you focusing on the biceps and ignoring the tripceps? Rest assured that Nadal & Murray did not. In fact, a fair amount of the bulk that you see in their upper arms is due to the triceps, not just the biceps.

Working the biceps w/o also developing the triceps can lead to an unhealthy muscle imbalance since these are complementary muscle groups. This unbalanced development could make your elbow & shoulder joint more vulnerable to injury.

As far as tennis goes, the triceps are, at the very least, as important as the biceps. Some even say that the triceps might be more important than the biceps. Perhaps from a strength aspect. Perhaps not.

However, the triceps might be used explosively, in tennis, more often than the biceps. Talking about power here rather than conventional strength. The triceps are very important for the overhead & serve (vigorous elbow extension), the Bh slice, 1-handed topspin BHs, and for volleys.

The biceps are most important for FHs and 2-handed BHs. But, you should keep in mind that the biceps & triceps typically work together. Even when one group appears to be 'the boss', the other group often, if not always, still plays an important role.
Well said. I totally agree with the muscle imbalance comments that you made. You have to balance everything or you are asking for trouble and you'll end up looking weird from a bodybuilding standpoint. I see a lot of top heavy people at my gym, meaning that they focus on upper body and then have flamingo getaway sticks.
 

Hitman

Legend
@Hitman
Hi again :D

Short question:
Assuming you work your muscles to failure with decent nutrition, when would you first notice an increase in size of the muscles? Is a few weeks being too optimistic?

I would think it would be noticeable very quickly for someone just starting out, as opposed to someone who has been at it for a few months or a few years already? (as well as whether you are an ecto, endo or meso which you have discussed at length)


Thank you as always
Hi again also. ;)

OK, so we're talking about starting from basically zero...well in that case, you probably won't even need to work your muscles to failure or even have decent nutrition to notice some sort of perceptible visible increase in muscle size. The reason for this is very simple, your muscles would have experienced zero concentrated stress beyond day to day living, that a variation from that will cause an adaptive response in your body. Now, how much muscle increase you get is dependent on several things, the first being your genetics, the amount of fast twitch to slow twitch fibres you have, how much natural innervation of motor neurons of the sympathetic nervous system you are able to stimulate, then what type of exercises you incorporate - in that how much muscle recruitment is needed to complete that exercise and how much anabolic hormone in the form of testosterone or growth hormone do these exercises release...and then finally just how good is your nutrition during your recovery phase.

So, if you are starting from zero, then even a couple of bodyweight exercises at just a few reps would start to bring about changes in your body, since your body will use the adaptive principles to get ready to do the exercise again...over course, as your body adapts, then you need to continue to keep raising the bar. Lets say you are start doing 10 push ups every day for a week, then you increase that 10 to 20, then from 20 you double it to 2 x 20...as the effort increases, as your stamina increases, as your ability to do the work increases, you are able to continue to push harder for that same duration of time until you reach that ceiling where you need to mix it up. I started off exactly this way, just 10 pushups every night for a couple of days, that alone manged to make changes in my body, because I went from doing nothing to something.

I have always said that those that are starting off for the first time are in a magically golden phase of their training, where they will see gains a lot more rapidly than those who have been doing it for several years. Everyone has a natural genetic potential, the closer you get to it, the harder it becomes to get better, but at that point you will be in incredible shape, where slight changes will look insane...however for sheer quantity of development, beginner's gains, a phrase used many times, is very much a real thing, no matter your genetics...relative to yourself, you will make gains after a couple of weeks/months as long as you stay consistent and keep challenging yourself during this period.
 

Hitman

Legend
Hi Hitman, I really like this thread. I am a 40yo woman at a healthy weight, but struggle with energy levels. I have long-suspected that I have a cortisol issue but love my coffee and can't give it up. We just moved to another country and I have basically cut out my workouts except tennis 2-3x a week and maybe 30 minutes of biking or swimming 1-2x a week. I'm noticing that my belly fat has reduced, which then leads me to my question - if we want to workout in order to help our tennis game, how do we add in those workouts without overtraining/spiking cortisol? If I play 2-3x a week for 2.5hrs at a time, when and what kind of other workouts can I safely add? Thanks!
Hi @ktx I am glad you are enjoying this thread. :)

OK, the first thing we need to find out is what workouts were you doing before you moved to another country and the frequency, intensity and duration of those workouts. Were they weight training, strength training, circuit training, cardio training, HIIT, bodybuilding, a combination of two or more of those things? It is crucial to first find out what you were doing to then see if you were indeed negatively impacted by the training volume...it is possible that you were overtraining and hence elevated cortisol levels, we do need to look at what was there in the place first. Did you have an accelerated consistent heart beat also? That is a sign of adrenal fatigue and cortisol production too.

You are correct in that cortisol does indeed cause a build up of belly fat, especially in the build up of the dangerous visceral belly fat that is actually far from dangerous than the subcutaneous fat under the skin, as it grows around your organs and steadily impairs their function.

Having said that, I am now going to assume that you did indeed have excess cortisol from the excess training so that takes us to the present, the most important thing to stay healthy, fit and strong is always going to be maintaining a good hormonal balance. So ensure you are eating correctly to optimize your hormones as well as exercising. Again, I am making an assumption here that when you are mentioning working out again, you are referring to some sort of resistance training for your muscles...the first thing I would suggest you add is a few small sessions dedicated to stretching your muscles, by doing this you are helping to encourage blood flow into the muscle fibers, delivering oxygen, and other nutrients, as well as preventing acidois from happening in the area which can lead to lingering effects of lactic acid in muscles...finally exercise tends to shorten the muscle length due to continuous contractions and further recruitment of muscle fibers, when you are playing tennis, this will work against you, so opening those muscles out is crucial.

Now, I am big supporter of the fact that everyone should some sort of resistance training, even if it is for supplementation with another physical activity such a tennis being the top thing, this is because it helps you to preserve muscle and fight of the onset of sarcopenia which steadily starts to happen as you age. I would certainly say that at least one total body workout should be added a week, and without spending so much time on it, focus on compound exercises that will work a lot of muscle groups quicker, and also functionally compared to isolation movements, so relative to what you can lift, focus on such exercises, and you can get it done probably in an hour or slightly more.
 
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Hitman

Legend
This is all gratis.

Can we get this dude a tennis racquet or something? People?

Someone start a GoFundMe.

Thanks, @Hitman . Kickin' the kuh-nowledge.
It's OK, but I do appreciate the very kind gesture. :) I just love helping people and the best way I can help is by sharing all my years of knowledge and experience in the world of fitness. Knowledge should be shared, that is the greatest gift for me, that I can do that in a way here and if it helps anyone then I did what I set out to do with this thread. I making a living out of this anyway, I do this out of sheer love and passion for health and fitness and it's great that so many are enthusiastic about the same thing I am. Got to give back to the thing that gave me so much. Thanks again! (y)
 
It's OK, but I do appreciate the very kind gesture. :) I just love helping people and the best way I can help is by sharing all my years of knowledge and experience in the world of fitness. Knowledge should be shared, that is the greatest gift for me, that I can do that in a way here and if it helps anyone then I did what I set out to do with this thread. I making a living out of this anyway, I do this out of sheer love and passion for health and fitness and it's great that so many are enthusiastic about the same thing I am. Got to give back to the thing that gave me so much. Thanks again! (y)
Right on.

Well, it is appreciated nevertheless. Bar raised.

Anyone who saw my previous post... was only half joking. Let's do this.
 

Hitman

Legend
You know about the cycling and swimming, I think. But I'm into body weight exercises for toning, etc.

Constant pain here, but I find that getting the endorphins pumping mitigates it to some extent.

Plus, any time something's "busted," there's invariably an alternative.
I know about the cycling, but wasn't aware too much about the swimming.

It is good that you are combining a variety of exercises though, both isotonic exercises like cycling and swimming and isometic exercises like bodyweight training. The beautiful thing about bodyweight training is...you can do it anywhere. I remember once when I was doing pushups and lunges on a plane to Malaysia right in the small open spaces.

And yes, there is always an alternative to everything...
 

Hitman

Legend
???? how does body weight training not incorporate isotonics?
I didn't say that they didn't, I am saying that he is using bodyweight exercises that can qualify as isometric, to compliment the istonic exercises he is getting from cycling and swimming. I can see the wording comes out that bodyweight training is only isometric, which it isn't, exercises like burpees for instance.
 

Dags

Hall of Fame
Any favourite recipes or websites/books?

In the spirit of adding to this thread rather than just taking, one of my go-tos here in the UK is Mindful Chef. Their core business is selling meal boxes, but they also have a book and post recipes on their website:


Curious how their food is received across the pond!
 

Hitman

Legend
Any favourite recipes or websites/books?

In the spirit of adding to this thread rather than just taking, one of my go-tos here in the UK is Mindful Chef. Their core business is selling meal boxes, but they also have a book and post recipes on their website:


Curious how their food is received across the pond!

I like to make grilled chicken with different types of seasoning, sometimes just in lemon and a bit of yogurt, have some green vegetables with it and sweet potato. I also like to have whole eggs with avocado and bell peppers. I make salmon with a green salad and baby tomatoes a couple of times a week. Majority of the time it is quite simple. The Mrs likes to make more elaborate dishes since she likes to cook, but even then it is something like grilled fish with some new sauce she has made, or steak strips added into a salad that has various color vegetables.

I don't really read too many cookbooks, I am quite simple with what I put into my body, but many of my clients are a lot more diverse and enthusiastic about what they make, and often run their dishes by me, as I am a certified nutritionist, to see where, when and how much they should have during the week. :)

I am not too familiar with Mindful Chef, but thanks for that link, I see some really tasty looking dishes there!
 

Dags

Hall of Fame
Well, I'm glad you didn't just go with the chicken, rice and broccoli staple! I enjoy cooking, and whilst I will often stay simple, I do like variety of flavours to keep it interesting.

Are there any particular resources (free or paid) that you recommend to keep up with the latest nutritional research? I follow the general trends on mainstream media like Mens Health, but wondering where I might look if I wanted to take it a step further.
 

Hitman

Legend
Well, I'm glad you didn't just go with the chicken, rice and broccoli staple! I enjoy cooking, and whilst I will often stay simple, I do like variety of flavours to keep it interesting.
LOL - Well, I am Italian by blood, so even though the bodybuilder inside of me is very bland and boring, the Italian in me loves his food, though I do control it very well. Most of my cheat meals are basically all Italian.

Are there any particular resources (free or paid) that you recommend to keep up with the latest nutritional research? I follow the general trends on mainstream media like Mens Health, but wondering where I might look if I wanted to take it a step further.
Check out the nutritional watchdog. I have known him since 2007. Great insight and always provided great advise on nutrition. Also check out Tom Venuto, he has some incredible stuff on nutrition, he is also the guy who helped me get ready for my first bodybuilding event in Miami when I was first starting out, so I personally hold him to a high level.
 

ktx

New User
OK, the first thing we need to find out is what workouts were you doing before you moved to another country and the frequency, intensity and duration of those workouts.
I was doing about 1 day a week of jogging/HIIT/jump rope and 2+ days of full body strength training using low weights or body weight, plus tennis probably 5 days a week. My resting hr according to my fitbit is high 60s, no HR spikes during the day, but I did have a lot of middle of the night insomnia and racing HR. I will probably continue to take it a little easy, but definitely add 1 day a week of strength training now that I'm getting older. Thank you!
 

Hitman

Legend
I was doing about 1 day a week of jogging/HIIT/jump rope and 2+ days of full body strength training using low weights or body weight, plus tennis probably 5 days a week. My resting hr according to my fitbit is high 60s, no HR spikes during the day, but I did have a lot of middle of the night insomnia and racing HR. I will probably continue to take it a little easy, but definitely add 1 day a week of strength training now that I'm getting older. Thank you!
You're welcome. :) (y)
Seems like the right steps, good luck!
 
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