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Strength – An Essential Component of Optimal Health



Strength or resistance training is one of the most essential components of achieving optimal health and fitness. Strength training exercises can help prevent bone loss, even in people already suffering from osteoporosis, by slowing the rate of bone loss. Strength training exercises also conserves remaining bone tissue, reducing the risk of fractures. Besides preventing bone density loss, strength training exercises also builds the muscles surrounding the bones in the body and increases flexibility in the joints.

Maintaining strength as you age is very important, as well. Strength is lost at a rapid pace as you get older and must be maintained and/or increased to stay independent in the elder years. Implement strength training exercises into your exercise regimen to stay strong and independent throughout your life!
Strength & Resistance Equipment

Basic Strength-Building Exercises

1. Total Body

  • Squat, Bicep Curl to Shoulder Press
  • Lunge, Bicep Curl to Shoulder Press

2. Chest

  • Push up
  • Dumbbell Press
  • Barbell Press
  • Medicine Ball Chest Pass
3. Back
  • Dumbbell Row
  • Barbell Row
  • Seated/Standing Cable Row
  • Seated/Standing Lat Pull-Down
4. Shoulders
  • Seated/Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  • Seated/Standing Barbell Shoulder Press
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  • Dumbbell Frontal Raise
5. Biceps
  • Seated/Standing Dumbbell Curl
  • Seated/Standing Barbell Curl
  • Seated/Standing Hammer Curl
6. Triceps
  • Dips
  • Cable Press-Down
  • Over-Head Cable Extensions
  • Dumbbell Kickbacks
7. Legs
  • Leg Press
  • Squat
  • Lunges
  • Hamstring Curls
  • Good-Mornings

Reps, Sets & Tempos

Goal Who    Reps      Sets      *Tempo(sec)    Exercises per    Rest Period
Balance & Stabilization Beginners or When recovering    12-25 1-3 4- Down2- Hold

1- Push

   1-2   0 – 90 sec
Strength Intermediate/Experienced    1-12 2-6 2- Down0- Hold

2- Push

   2-3   45sec – 5 min
Power Advanced or Sports Specific Training    1-10 3-6 N/AFast as Possible    3-4   3-5 min

*Down- the lowering motion during the lift; Hold- Isometric hold at top of lift; Push- Upward motion during the lift.


  • Increasing and or maintaining  your strength level is a great idea for everyone, no matter what age you are
  • Strength training is the best way to prevent or slow the effects of Osteoporosis, by increasing bone density
  • Maintain your independence and quality of life by exercising and taking care of your body
  • Like the old saying goes, “Use it or Lose it”




Clark, M.A., Corn, R.J., & Lucett, S.C. (2008). NASM essentials of personal training. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Clark, M.A., & Lucett, S.C. (2010). NASM essentials of sports performance training. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Ilen & Lauren Bell are the husband and wife team behind Black Fitness Today, born, in 2011, out of their motivation to change culture, build a platform and lead the charge. Their purpose is to help change the culture towards health and fitness in the African-American community, showcase those who are making an impact, and promote healthier living. They also aim to serve as a platform for African-American fitness and health professionals and enthusiasts who are otherwise overlooked in traditional fitness media.

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What is Irradiation and How Can It Maximize Your Lifts?

Ilen Bell, MS, CSCS, Co-Founder of Black Fitness Today



A couple weeks ago I attended the Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) seminar, which focuses on training mobility. The course was a solid reminder and in some cases a perception-altering experience about human anatomy, physiology and functional movement. I’ll break down some of the components, theories and principles of FRC at a later time but for now, I want to focus on tension, a key principle in the FRC system. However, for the purpose of this post, I’ll focus on how tension can increase general strength and performance.

How can tension take your lifts next level?

Tension – not to be confused with the general bodybuilding idea of “time under tension,” which usually is referring to keep a prime mover under tension, such as the pectoral during bench press. Irradiation is rather the isometric contraction of the non-prime movers and the prime mover along with the necessary contraction to produce movement or not; it depends on the situation.

Tension is a common word for “irradiation,” is often overlooked during training. Irradiation comes from Sherrington’s Law of Irradiation which states:

A muscle working hard recruits the neighboring muscles, and if they are already part of the action, it amplifies their strength. The neural impulses emitted by the contracting muscle reach other muscles and ‘turn them on’ just as an electric current starts a motor.”

Simply put, the more motor units recruited to produce movement or reduce movement, the better neural activation to help you control the weight or load.

Example: Think about a time when you had to push a car or lift a heavy object.

How did you prepare for the push or pull of the car or whatever that heavy object was?

Did you only concentrate on using your legs (prime mover)?

Or did you create tension throughout multiple muscle groups, possibly every muscle group (irradiation)?

More than likely you used irradiation. Why? Because your primal instinct kicked in and you realized to move that car or heavy object, it would take a lot of effort (neural drive) and you called on your central nervous system to recruit all the potential strength you possessed to apply maximal force.

Incorporate irradiation in your training

If done properly, irradiation can yield some quick gains to your lifts and increase strength simply by increasing neural muscular efficiency – the ability for the central nervous system to recruit the muscle required for your desired movement when called upon. The greater efficiency you have in recruiting motor units to produce movement or resist movement, the greater your force production or strength/power application will be.

How to perform irradiation

It seems easy but easy is not simple and simple is not easy. With that said, create tension throughout the entire body. For example, if you’re performing standing biceps curls, you create an isometric contraction throughout your entire body; feet (ground contact), quads, glutes, abdominal complex, forearms, scapulae retracted and of course tension and controlled movement in/with the biceps.

Although the primary focus in the above example is to perform a biceps curl, the irradiation effort thorough out the body is also training the nervous system to produce activation in all muscle groups more efficiently.


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How To Do The Barbell Hip Thrust…



Are you struggling to build bigger glutes?

Check out my video to learn about the 4 cues you must use with the barbell hip thrust in order to perform them with excellent form and maximize your gains.

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Michael B. Jordan Gained 15 Pounds of Muscle for Killmonger Role

Wallace Has Come A Mighty Long Way!



Killmonger, Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan

Erik Killmonger is a very powerful character in Marvel’s Black Panther. The supervillain, played by Michael B. Jordan, along with his dominating spirit and his pain, was just as important to the story line as the evolution of T’Challa. While there’s generally an antagonist in films (spoiler alert coming if you haven’t seen the film) – we didn’t find Killmonger to be so much of a villain after all.

Corey Calliet is the man behind Michael B. Jordan’s gains, and arguably another person who contributed the overwhelming success of the movie. The celebrity trainer, seen now on Revenge Body on E! helped Jordan bulk up, as well as help other stars like Angela Bassett, be at peak physical condition for Black Panther. Calliet has worked with Jordan in the past, most notably for Creed and the Fantastic Four reboot.

Michael B. Jordan, Killmonger, Black Panther

Photo: Men’s Fitness

“When you see him, you need to be scared, you need to be intimidated. We don’t want the nice, young-looking Michael,” Calliet said in an interview with Men’s Health Mag. He also describes his training style to that of an artist taking a chisel to a block of marble. “I’m talking about sculpting a body, not just conditioning it to be fast…I wanted to make his shoulders look better. I needed his upper chest to pop. I needed his back to tell a story. I wanted his back to look like a globe, like a map.”

So how did Jordan get his gains?

Jordan’s Black Panther Workout

To make Calliet’s vision come to life, Jordan was doing two to three workouts and eating six meals a day. To sculpt his chest and back, Calliet had the actor going back to basics — with a lot of weight.

“[We did] a lot of old-school bench presses, lat pulldowns, deadlifts — nothing fancy, just really contracting the muscle,” Calliet says. “We lift heavy — a lot, a lot of times.”

Get more details on Calliet’s training with details with Jordan here .



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