Monthly Archive May 30, 2020

BySteve Howard

11 strength training exercises for legs without equipment

It is not a given … Finding weight training exercises without equipment that are effective for the legs is a hassle. The legs are constantly solicited, while walking, during a run or even standing, they are very powerful muscles. Therefore, without additional load, it will be difficult to progress.

Fortunately, part of this can be remedied. You will not only find exercises to work all of your legs (glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves), but also some methods to intensify your sessions and make them productive.

If you’re lacking inspiration, three leg strength programs are waiting for you at the end of the article!

exercices musculation jambes sans matériel

Summary:

  1. Polyarticular movements for the legs
  2. Quadriceps exercises
  3. Hamstring exercise
  4. Buttocks exercises
  5. Calf exercises
  6. Bodybuilding program for legs without equipment

Polyarticular exercises to build your legs at home

Before talking about isolation exercises, it is necessary to take stock of some polyarticular exercises that are easy to do without equipment. They allow you to work all of your leg muscles .

The basic exercises, without load, will be insufficient if your goal is to develop harmonious and firm legs. I encourage you to use intensification methods if the exercise is too easy. Indeed, the goal is not to play on the tension of stretching or contraction, but rather on muscle burn and congestion .

Let’s see what you can do.

1. The bodyweight squat

Impossible to talk about leg day without a squat. Although it is one of the most popular exercises, it needs to be talked about.

The squat is a very complete exercise, it allows you to work:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Buttocks
  • Calves
  • Lumbar
  • Abs

The advantage of doing squats without equipment rather than with weight is that the exercise will be much less dangerous. A person who does not have the morphology to squat in normal times can do it at bodyweight without the risk of exposing themselves to pathologies.

exercice musculation jambes squat sans matériel

Even without a load, care must be taken not to round the back and to push with the heels.

The downside, however, is that without the additional load, the exercise is far from intense enough. It’s easy to do a 50ene one before you feel the first signs of fatigue. It all depends on your level.

If you’re way over 50, I recommend using intensification methods like pre-fatigue. That is, do a isolation exercise with the squat, without taking any time to rest. You are free to choose a gluteal, quadriceps or hamstring exercise. Personally, I like to start with the Sissy squat and finish with the Squat.

2. Lunges, an intense exercise

This is already more interesting! Slots are more suitable for me if you don’t have any material.

This is again a very complete exercise, the muscles used the most are:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Buttocks

In fact, lunges are like a squat, except you perform one leg at a time and that’s the advantage! Working one leg after the other allows you to put 2x more stress on it, you gain intensity.

The downside is that it also takes 2x longer to do a set, it would be way too time consuming to use an escalation method. In this case, it is better to be content to do a series of sets with limited rest times, the opposite leg recovers while the other works.

There are many variations, including slipped lunges which allow for a movement much more suited to the way the body moves. In addition to that, you gain in amplitude, so do not hesitate to do it if the ground is smooth. A fabric under the support foot is enough to slide.

3. The Bulgarian squat, an alternative to work on your thighs

It’s a bit of an improved version of the slots. You gain amplitude as the back foot is raised.

The amplitude gain will allow you to put more stress on the glutes and hamstring .

Of course, the Bulgarian squat uses the same muscle groups as the lunges. I personally find the exercise with a dumbbell unstable. Without hardware, it is mostly a matter of taste. The main thing is to do the exercise you prefer and which does not hurt your joints.

Exercises for the front of the legs, the Quadriceps

I remember two isolation exercises for the quadriceps to do without equipment. The two complement each other, they allow you to work the different muscles of the quadriceps .

anatomie muscle jambe quadriceps musculation

4. The Sissy Squat for firm quadriceps

An exercise that has deserted the gyms and yet is so interesting, this is my favorite.

You should know that in a classic squat, the more the knees will be thrown forward, the more the quads will be used . With a Sissy Squat we are just in this condition.

The burn is very intense. The more the bust is tilted back, the more difficult it will be. The idea is therefore to start with a large amplitude, the bust leaning very back and then bring it back according to the level of fatigue.

Unfortunately, this is not an exercise that can be done by everyone. I advise you not to do this if you have knee problems . The rule is still the same anyway. If you’re in pain, don’t force it, you have to stop and change.

5. Curve the thigh with Leg raises

The exercise that perfectly targets the right thigh (the top). It is an interesting exercise especially for warming up the legs before an effort.

A developed straight thigh gives a curvy profile, so it is important to linger there to have harmonious legs. Moreover, this is a portion too often overlooked by bodybuilders.

If you have so-called carrot-shaped legs (much larger at the top than at the bottom), this exercise is unnecessary. In this case, it is better to go after the sissy squat.

The more straight the leg, the more difficult the exercise. It may be beneficial to start with your leg straight and bend it when fatigue arrives to continue. As with lunges, it is best to do a series without rest, especially when the intensity of the effort is low.

Exercise for the back of the legs, the hamstrings

The hamstrings are often neglected in favor of the quadriceps. Yet the hamstring is an important muscle, it:

As with the back, these are muscles that you can’t see. Because of this, it is more difficult to feel them if no motor training has been done. This lack of feeling makes the first sessions frustrating, you have to allow time to do things.

6. Strengthen your hamstrings with the Glute Ham Raise

The Glute Ham Raise is a great exercise for learning to recruit and feel the hamstrings .

Without equipment, it is possible to perform the exercise by locking the ankles. The goal is to hold the descent as long as possible (known as SuperLent) before going back up using the arms.

In addition to feeling better, doing Glute Ham Raise in SuperLent is much less traumatic on the nervous, joint and tendon levels.

Be careful though with the working range. Depending on the length of your muscles, you will have to go up before, so as not to over-stretch them. With experience, you will be able to know your range of work.

A number of variations exist to facilitate the exercise, I planned to film this!

Firm your buttocks for a harmonious physique

Regarding the glutes, we will focus on three exercises that allow you to work all the muscles of the buttocks.

The gluteal muscles are used in a lot of exercises. Dwelling on it too much to have a big butt doesn’t have to be helpful. It is especially the length of the muscles and the deportation of the iliac bone that gives a “bulging buttocks” effect.

anatomie jambes muscles fessiers petit moyen grand glutéal

7. The pelvis survey

Arguably the most famous glute exercise. The Hip Thrust is not a specific exercise strictly speaking, but it is relatively favorable for the work of the gluteus maximus.

The buttocks muscles being powerful, it will be difficult to tire them with the body weight. Therefore, you can put your feet up to gain amplitude. On top of that, I recommend hold the contraction as long as possible.

Note that a Hip Thrust / Squat SuperSet is interesting.

8. Hip extensions

The donkey kicks is a hip extension . This is an exercise that isolates the gluteus maximus particularly well.

You can start straight leg at the start of your series before finishing knee bent to gain repetitions. Moreover, it is especially the end of the movement that is difficult, working on a small amplitude is effective in achieving muscle burn more quickly.

9. Side elevations of the leg

Now let’s talk about a specific exercise for the middle and the lesser gluteus . The gluteus medius, in addition to its stabilizing role for the pelvis, is a muscle which, once developed, gives curve to the buttocks .

There are three ways to perform lateral leg raises without equipment:

  • lying on your side
  • Stand up
  • Knees on the ground

It is best to choose the position where you feel most comfortable. Namely that on your knees and standing, it is especially at the end of the movement that the tension will be maximum. On the other hand, the tension will be maximum from the start of the lying down movement. It is just a matter of gravity.

Note that lying down and standing, it is possible to cross your legs , in front or behind, for:

  • Gain amplitude
  • Recruit different areas of the gluteus medius

For morphological reasons, care must be taken not to lift the leg beyond its limits. The lack of hip mobility is not due to a lack of flexibility, but rather a bone-to-bone stopper. Forcing on it can lead to long-term pathologies.

Exercises for the lower legs, calves

As with the forearms, the length of the calf muscles is a very important factor.

Short calves (with large tendons) are useful for running, they are less energy intensive and more powerful. On the other hand, for aesthetic reasons, they will be much less impressive than large calves. Unfortunately, it is not possible to lengthen your muscle.

If you have small calves, you will have to spend a lot of time on them to be able to develop them.

We will focus on exercises primarily recruiting the two gastrocnemius , the soleus will be in all cases requested.

anatomie muscle jambe mollet soléaire gastrocnémien médial latéral

10. Standing calf extensions

Doing standing calf extensions is great for working your calves as a whole.

Without equipment, it is best to do the exercise unilaterally, that is, one leg at a time.

During exercise, the calf is in continuous tension. It is therefore interesting to take one or two breaks during your series, to recover and gain repetitions.

You can gain amplitude by placing a wedge under your foot, before ending up on the ground to have more power in the calf . Likewise, you can also play with the orientation of the feet to recruit different areas of the calf.

11. Muscle gastrocnemius with the bust bent

The objective here is to give more slack to the soleus to concentrate more on the gastrocmenians, those who give shape to the calves. This version is best if you have trouble feeling them, which is probably the case if you have small calves.

Performing the exercise is the same as standing. One leg at a time for more tension.

Likewise, you can gain amplitude with a wedge while adjusting the orientation of the feet to vary the sensations.

Weight training program for legs without equipment

I now suggest that you practice. For this, I have planned 3 examples of home strength training program , without equipment, to work all the muscles in your legs. I focused on one muscle group for each program.

Of course, the number of series, repetitions and the rest times are to be adapted to the level of each one.

The rest pause means that you need to take 1 to 2 mini-breaks, in order to release the burn to complete your streak. When it comes to pre-fatigue, the goal is to do the two exercises without taking a rest.

Filled quads for shapely legs

 

Exercise Series Repetitions Rest time
Pre-fatigue: Sissy squat + Squat 5 25 + FAIL 1min to 1min30
Slotted slot 5 FAILED 30s
Donkey Kicks (REST PAUSE) 4 50 0s
Calf extension (REST PAUSE) 5 50 0s

 

Muscle strengthening of the hamstrings

Exercise Series Repetitions Rest time
Glute Ham Raise ( REST PAUSE) 5 20 to 25 1min at 1min30
Bulgarian squat 5 FAILED 30s
Sissy Squatt (REST PAUSE) 3 50 1min
Calf extension (REST PAUSE) 5 50 0s

Glute training

Exercise Series Repetitions Rest time
Pre-fatigue: Hip Thrust + Squat 5 25 + FAIL 1min to 1min30
Lateral leg elevation (REST PAUSE) 4 50 0s
Glute Ham Raise 3 FAILED 1min
Calf extension (REST PAUSE) 5 50 0s

 

BySteve Howard

Breathing in Bodybuilding to Gain Strength

Breathing greatly influences bodybuilding performance and safety. The way of breathing must be adapted, depending on the sport and the type of effort. In view of its importance, it is imperative that you learn to manage your breath as soon as possible, to eventually make it a habit.

Let’s see what it will do for you first, before looking at the different ways of breathing to improve your workouts. We will end with exercises to strengthen the respiratory muscles , not only for the sake of efficiency, but also aesthetics.

The importance of oxygenation and respiration in bodybuilding

Contrary to what one might think, breathing is not automatic , but rather semi-automatic. We can act on the way of breathing, its rhythm, its blocking, to benefit from it. This is why it is necessary to briefly go over the fundamentals, in order to understand why breathing is so important in weight training. The respiratory cycle has two phases:

  • The inspiration : we inflate the lungs with air, loaded with oxygen . The blood is then responsible for redistributing oxygen in the body, especially in muscle tissue. This oxygen is essential for the krebs cycle to produce energy.
  • The exhalation : you empty the lungs and release carbon dioxide (waste).

air oxygène poumon respiration

Starting from this fact, it is legitimate to say to yourself that it is enough just to inhale on the negative and to exhale on the positive phase not to disturb the cycle, but haven’t you noticed something? during your workouts?

Should you block your breathing in weight training during exercise?

We often hear it said that you should never block your breathing in weight training. Personally, I have never seen an athlete do 100kg squats, breathing without blocking.

In reality, when the effort is short and intense, a respiratory blockage for a few seconds will not interfere with energy production. In this case, we use another energy route: the anaerobic route. This sector uses ATP (energy source), stored in our muscles.

If you are new to bodybuilding, you probably have the reflex to block your breathing throughout a series and from a mechanical point of view, this is normal. In fact, your body is trying its best to make it easier for you.

By blocking breathing, several muscles contract , including:

  • The abdominal strap
  • The intercostals
  • Serrated
  • Paravertebrals
  • Prevertebral muscles (neck muscles)
muscles respiratoires anatomie

Thanks to the contraction of these muscles, in addition to the intra-abdominal pressure, the trunk becomes rigid and powerful. Therefore, in addition to being stronger, it protects your spine.

Of course, needless to say that you should not do freediving either. The goal is therefore to play on inspiration, expiration and blocking to have breathing adapted to the effort.

In summary, knowing how to manage your breathing on a weight training exercise provides:

  • A gain in strength
  • Safety (stabilizing the spine and pelvis)
  • Sufficient ventilation for the body

How to manage your breathing during your weight training?

It would be far too easy to give a universal rule! For example, the way of breathing on a heavy squat is going to be different compared to crunches for your abs. Let’s take a closer look at the different phases:

  • Inspiration: This is when you are weakest, most vulnerable, but essential for oxygenation and energy production .
  • The exhale: you are stronger than the inspiration. Likewise, essential to reject waste (CO2) before renewing the respiratory cycle.
  • The blockage: you are in a position of strength, your bust is rigid and (partly) stabilizes your spine.

In short, we can retain 2 types of bodybuilding effort: short, intense work with heavy loads (6 to 15 repetitions), generally this concerns polyarticular exercises. Or, long sets with a light load, for isolation exercises.

Breathe well during exercises with heavy loads

Losing 1 in 10 reps is 10% less work. In other words, you have to put all the chances on your side to be stronger on your series in order to gain repetitions to progress in bodybuilding.

In addition to that, the heavier you put on, the more dangerous the exercise becomes, especially for your spine (compression …), especially during leg exercises.

For all these reasons, you must take care to control your breath .

Method 1: Partially block your breathing

The goal here is to hold your breath for 1-2 seconds where it is most difficult. This makes explosive work possible while maintaining sufficient force. It’s easy to follow up without resting at each repetition. However, stabilization of the spine is not ensured throughout the movement.

Therefore, this method is more suitable for upper body exercises.

In practice:

  1. Negative phase (eccentric): At this time, the muscles are powerful, you have to breathe in .
  2. End of the negative phase, start of the positive: block your breathing for 1 to 2 seconds to gain strength when starting the positive (difficult moment).
  3. Positive phase: End the movement by exhaling .

For example, with the bench press, you inhale when you lower the bar, you block to start the push and you end the push by exhaling.

On pulling movements, like pull-ups, it’s a little different because you start on the concentric phase. It is best to start by blocking your breathing , finish the movement by exhaling before coming down again while inhaling.

Method 2: Respiratory blockade, aka, the Valsalva maneuver

Known in medicine and in scuba diving, the Valsalva maneuver is also used in strength sports such as powerlifting. Besides, you do this naturally when you sneeze or cough. The goal here is therefore to exhale with the airways closed.

Note that this method should be avoided for people with heart problems or hypertension (increased blood pressure).

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take a deep breath before starting your rehearsal.
  2. Negative and positive phase, blocked breathing .
  3. End of repetition: breathe out and inhale to repeat the cycle.

blocage respiratoire soulevé de terre sport

For example, in the squat: you breathe in before you start, the descent and ascent is done by exhaling with the glottis closed to finally expel the air at the end of the movement.

This allows you to be fully in a position of strength in addition to stabilizing the spine throughout the movement. On the other hand, it is not possible to go through the repetitions without taking a few seconds of pause, to catch your breath. Working with explosives and / or continuous tension is therefore difficult.

This method is preferred for sets with heavy loads and where the spine is vulnerable, such as squats or deadlifts.

Breathing on light weight training exercises with lots of repetitions

What limits performance in long sets is not so much strength, but rather fatigue and muscle burn . To limit this, you must constantly bring oxygen to the body in order to be more enduring. As a result, respiratory blockage may or may not be useful.

As a general rule, you should:

  1. Inspire on the eccentric phase
  2. Exhale on the concentric

As an example, let’s take the curl for the biceps: you inhale on the way down and you exhale on the way up.

Be careful with hyperventilation on low amplitude weight training exercises, especially those for the abdominals. Common sense is required to have a normal respiratory rate .

Improve your breathing by strengthening your respiratory muscles

Given the importance of the respiratory muscles, strengthening them can be beneficial in order to be more efficient.

When you inhale, the diaphragm contracts (it goes down), the lungs fill with air thanks to the phenomenon of decompression and the ribs open ( stretching of the intercostals). Conversely, when you breathe out, the diaphragm rises and the ribs return to their original position to expel the air.

muscle diaphragme

Although other muscles are involved in pulmonary ventilation , we will focus on the diaphragm, separating the abdomen from the thorax and the intercostals.

Deep breathing exercise to strengthen the diaphragm, the Vacuum

Much less popular today, this strength training exercise mainly works the diaphragm and transverse . There is a twofold advantage of integrating this exercise into your program, not only for practical purposes, but also aesthetics, it allows you to:

  • Strengthen the diaphragm for respiratory strength and endurance .
  • Have a flat stomach (and therefore a slimmer waist) thanks to the transverse.

Moreover, the Vacuum was very famous in the golden age of bodybuilding, in the 70s / 80s, in order to slim the waist and accentuate the V.

franck zane arnold schwarzenegger musculation vacuum respiration

If you find it difficult to have a homogeneous and traced abdominal strap, you will have to work more on your Vacuum. Note that it is people with a large rib cage who will benefit from a more marked result.

The advantage of this exercise is that it can be done anywhere without any equipment, whether standing, sitting or lying down. For convenience, it is best to do the exercise lying down.

Nothing could be simpler for that. You just have to empty the air from your lungs , then inhale , glottis closed, in order to retract the belly as much as possible (the principle is the same as inhaled in an empty bottle). The position should be maintained for a few seconds before repeating the movement. If the goal is to be more enduring during your workouts, do not hesitate to do a lot of repetitions (over 30).

The diaphragm being a muscle like any other, it may be interesting to do some series as a warm-up at the start of the session, to be even more efficient.

Soften the rib cage to leave more room for the lungs

Originally, the goal of the pullover is to soften the rib cage (stretching the intercostals) and not to work the pecs or backs (although these muscles are also requested). Simply put, this is work to improve the expansion of the cage during inhalation, when the lungs are inflating.

muscles intercostaux cage thoracique

With regard to the execution of the movement, it is necessary: ​​

  • Take a deep breath on the descent
  • Blow while going up

Especially when it comes to stretching work, the amplitude should be large, performing a lot of repetitions with a light load. No need to put on heavy even if you are able to lift more, otherwise you will tear the long head of your triceps. Let’s also add that by bringing the dumbbell far in front of you, you also recruit the previous serrations.

Some weight rooms are equipped with a pull-over machine. For having tested a hammer, I find the machine rather well designed. Sitting is more comfortable than lying down, the stretch is sufficient and the tension is constant unlike dumbbells. Ultimately, if you are lucky enough to have this machine available, don’t hesitate to use it if your goal is to soften your cage.

Specific work of the respiratory muscles participating in inspiration and expiration

The accessory muscles involved in inspiration can be worked in specific ways. Strengthening these muscles is especially helpful in delaying shortness of breath .

The exercise is simple to perform and requires little equipment. To do this, you just need to restrict the expansion of your rib cage, during swelling of the lungs on inspiration.

So you can do it very well lying down, placing a load on your chest or standing using a rubber band.

Personally, I prefer to do it standing. To do this, I hang a rubber band (resistance 25kg) on ​​a pole, at chest height. Once inside the elastic, I stretch it so that I have enough resistance to constrain my breathing .

Regarding the number of repetitions, do not hesitate to go beyond 30, 40 repetitions.

BySteve Howard

Are BCAAs in Days of Rest useful?

BCAA powder is one of the food supplements most consumed by athletes, especially in bodybuilding , because of its many benefits. In fact, a question often comes up on this subject. Can taking BCAAs on off days help?

We will see that BCAAs are probably not the preferred dietary supplement and that there are other alternatives on the market, including one that is more effective in achieving the results you are looking for.

complément alimentaire bcaa jour de repos musculation

At the end of this article, you will be able to know if you have any interest in consuming it during your days off, which is the most appropriate food supplement , to what dosage and at what time of day is best to take.

Here is the summary:

What are BCAAs?

Before getting to the heart of the matter, it is essential that I briefly tell you about amino acids in general.

Amino acids are molecules which, when assembled, form a protein . Finally … It is only when the chain of amino acids is long, that is to say greater than 10. Below 10, we are talking about peptides . There are a very large number of amino acids, but only 20 of them are essential for the body because they are involved in metabolic processes, including the transport and storage of food.

acides aminés protéine

Some can be made by the body and other amino acids, known as “essential” , can only be provided by food. 8 in number, we find in particular the branched amino acids :

  • Leucine .
  • Isoleucine .
  • Valine .

These are the famous BCAAs ( Branched Chained Amino Acid ).

bcaa acides aminés ramifiés molécules leucine isoleucine valine

Finally, isolating the BCAAs is a bit like breaking down a house to collect only the bricks.

Why are they interesting?

In any case, all amino acids are interesting (we will see it later), but we mainly retain BCAAs for several reasons:

  • They constitute 1/3 of muscle proteins .
  • These are the first amino acids broken down during exercise.
  • Leucine is the most potent amino acid for anabolism .
  • Leucine oxidizes in the muscles, so it is a source of energy .

As a reminder, anabolism corresponds to the phase of (re) construction, in particular muscle mass. In contrast, catabolism breaks down muscle tissue to provide energy. Hence the importance of nutrition, you need to provide your body with enough nutrients to avoid draining the reserves, namely, muscle.

Where can we find branched amino acids?

First, you should know that BCAA on their own is not enough. Therefore, it is necessary to provide all the amino acids that your body needs.

All foods have a higher or lower content of branched chain amino acids . To know the values, just consult the aminogram of the food in question. By the way, if you eat protein powder, you may have seen that the aminogram is written on the jar.

In the diet in general, it is therefore foods rich in protein that provide the most:

  • Meats: beef, chicken…
  • Fish.
  • Eggs.
  • Milk …

lait protéine

Namely that the holy grail is whey protein. Its biological value is 96%, that is to say, it is extremely well assimilated, in addition to that, 1/4 of these proteins are from BCAAs.

What are the benefits of BCAAs?

Consequently, this explains why this food supplement is popular among athletes. You can always reap benefits, both for strength sports and endurance .

Let’s do a checklist of all the benefits of BCAAs :

  • Delays fatigue (therefore more endurance).
  • Promotes muscle gain : more powerful anabolic response (higher protein synthesis).
  • Fight against catabolism (muscle wasting).
  • Accelerates the speed of muscle recovery .
  • Promotes fat loss .
  • Strengthens the immune system and reduces muscle stiffness (to a lesser extent).

poudre bcaa

The BCAA requirements are even higher for athletes. The effort consumes it, sweating increases the losses and the maintenance of a consequent muscle mass requires to have more of it.

Which ratio to choose?

You can find everything on the market from 2: 1: 1, 4: 1: 1 to 20: 1: 1! But ultimately, what does this ratio mean? Take as an example 2: 1: 1:

  • The first number (2) represents the content of leucine
  • The second number (1) corresponds to isoleucine
  • The last (1) is valine

This means that for 4 grams of powder, you will have 2gr of leucine, 1gr of isoleucine and 1gr of valine.

As said before, amino acids must work in synergy to be effective. Therefore, limit yourself to the 2: 1: 1 ratio , the rest is completely unnecessary and is just a commercial argument based solely on the benefits of leucine.

What are the limits for BCAAs?

In view of all the benefits, this seems to be the ideal dietary supplement for building muscle quickly and effectively. Unfortunately, there is a but.

The problem is, BCAAs need the other amino acids to produce complete proteins , and thus build muscle mass . And yes ! remember, amino acids work in synergy! The body will then try somehow to restore balance by going to seek the missing materials directly in your muscles . Finally, it can even be a brake on the process of muscle growth .

In addition, amino acids alone are absorbed much less quickly than di or tri-peptides (chain of 2 or 3 amino acids), Julien Venesson has also devoted an article on the effectiveness of peptides compared to acids amino alone.

Alternatives to BCAAs

Alternatives exist on the market:

  • EAAs (includes all essential amino acids ).
  • Peptopro (or hydrolyzed casein) which, despite its price, remains a safe value (includes 20 amino acids).

Peptopro is a predigested protein rich in di and tri-peptides. As a result, assimilation is extremely fast (compared to a conventional protein powder), which is why this supplement can cause diarrhea in some people. It is therefore advisable to take it during training , to replenish the stock of amino acids.

Therefore, the consumption of BCAA is especially preferred for its anti-fatigue effect during your bodybuilding session, and not for its action on anabolism or catabolism.

Do you need to take BCAAs on your days off?

A priori, given its limitations, there is no point in supplementing with BCAAs during your days off .

On the other hand, some people need to take in more amino acids:

  • The elderly: the turnover (degradation / reconstruction) of proteins is negative, unlike the young.
  • During a diet (calorie restriction): Consumption of amino acids is not sufficient, which results in muscle wasting .

The alternatives to BCAAs are not the most interesting to overcome this problem. Let’s see together which are the most suitable food supplements.

Which food supplements to favor during your days off?

A priori, peptopro, BCAAs or EAAs are rather supplements intended to be consumed during training. The goal is simple, you need to get enough amino acids in your body on your days off to limit catabolism and promote anabolism .

The most suitable food supplements to fulfill these functions during your days off are still whey and casein .

Whey is absorbed faster and is rich in BCAAs, the level of amino acids quickly rise in the blood before falling again a few hours later (promotes anabolism). There is a lot of whey on the market, from concentrate to hydrolysates, I personally have a preference for whey isolate dairy (native or bioactive) with few additives.

Casein is absorbed more slowly, the level of amino acids in the blood remains stable over time (fights against catabolism). As with whey, Casein is sold in different forms. I recommend micellar casein , much easier to assimilate with a longer duration of action than sodium caseinate (which probably should not have existed).

When to take these food supplements?

First, it’s best to have these two supplements if you have the budget. Thanks to this, you will be able to adapt your snack, according to the time of day. It is always good to remember that if your diet is already rich in protein and you respect the fundamentals of sports nutrition , the investment is unnecessary.

To keep it simple, here’s how you can do it:

  • In the morning when you wake up: after a long night without eating, it is better to consume a whey shaker to provide the missing amino acids more quickly.
  • Between two meals: in this case, it is interesting to make a 50/50 mixture of whey and casein to take advantage of the anabolic and anti-catabolic action .
  • At bedtime: To fight against nocturnal catabolism it is more appropriate to consume only casein.

Regarding the dosages, they will be specific to each. The main thing is to get closer to your daily protein needs, which is around 2gr / kg of body weight for a bodybuilding practitioner . It is still better to bring 25 to 30 grams of protein per snack, not to mention a source of carbohydrate and fat if you are not on a diet, a homemade gainer can do the trick.

To summarize, yes BCAAs can be interesting only during your workouts for its anti-fatigue effect or to reduce muscle stiffness, in this case, 5 to 10 grams to consume throughout the session are enough. For its equivalent, your best bet is still opt for peptopro if your wallet allows it. On your days off, it’s best to consume whey or casein, depending on the time of day.

Food supplements don’t work a miracle anyway. As the name suggests, it complements your diet, and that’s it.