The Holiday Workout Express: Your Essential Video Guide!

How would you like to have triceps similar to Dexter Jackson or abs like Peter Putnam? Well here it is baby, exercises & video included.

This Christmas, I am going to give all my friends of a special gift for the holidays. We are going to fix some of the wrong doings of the fitness world. What do you really want for Christmas? I am pulling out my Santa Claus bag and provide a little Christmas Magic for you.

How would you like to have something that can't be bought at the store, like triceps similar to Dexter Jackson or how about a back as wide as Dennis Wolfe's, or may be abs like Peter Putnam? Well here it is baby, now you can get a first hand look at the tips that the pros get and learn how to make your physique that first call out on that line-up.


The triceps muscle has 3 heads, the lateral, medial, and long head. The meat of the triceps is primarily the long head. The lateral and medial make up the horseshoe shape that it is commonly known for. The primary function of the triceps is to extend the elbow.

The secondary functions of the triceps is associated with the arm stabilization and also with adduction. Another secondary function of the triceps is to stabilize the forearm during movements of the wrist.

Understanding this kinesiology, we are going to design the simple triceps pushdown to incorporate the actions of both the primary and the secondary functions.

EXERCISE 1 triceps pushdown

When attempting a triceps pushdown, begin the first 10 reps in a fashion that you normally use. For the next 10 reps, finish the movement by pressing to full extension and then rolling your wrist over the bar. This will act like you are flexing your forearm at the end of the movement. Finish by driving your elbows together at the bottom of the movement.

A variation of this exercise is to grab the easy-curl bar in a reversed grip and extend the arm down, at the end of the movement, extend the wrist backwards, driving your knuckles backwards toward your elbow. This type of movement stimulates maximum contraction and provides the peak effort of muscle stimulation. Remember to flex the arm in both directions: Up and down.

Exercise Guides: Triceps Pushdown
Watch The Video - 00:24

The simple trick of the triceps is to begin by training the long head, which incorporates pushing motions and is usually done with heavier weights. The second part of your exercise program should be geared towards providing shaping exercises that stimulate the medial and lateral heads of the triceps.

As with any type of exercise, it is always important to feel the pump. You may not feel the pump at the beginning of the exercise, but it is very important that you feel it before you end your training of that body part.


The primary function of the muscles is to extend the lower leg. The rectus femoris is a two joint muscle, and crosses both the hip joint and the knee joint. Its actions are to flex the leg at the hip and also extend the knee. The secondary functions of these muscles are associated with lower leg rotation and stabilization.

Again we will use this secondary function to change the contractibility of the various muscle groups.

EXERCISE 2 leg extensions

When performing a leg extension, begin with the toes pointed inward. This affects the vastus lateralis muscle in a more definitive manner. As you continue the leg extension move your toes to point outward, this motion of affects the vastus medius. Finally, bring the toes to a straight forward position and you will now feel the effects on the rectus femoris and the vastus intermedius.

Exercise Guides: Leg Extensions
Watch The Video - 00:24

To stimulate the rectus femoris at its maximal contraction requires the use of only one leg at a time. Begin by extending the leg completely and then attempting to raise your entire thigh off the bench. It will only move a few inches, but you will feel the contraction in the upper part of the thigh.


The hamstrings are found in the back of the upper thigh. They actually consists of 3 separate muscles; the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. These muscles have the diversity of originating points and attachment points.

The primary function of the hamstring is knee flexion. The secondary function is related to upper leg stability during hip extension and control of the lower leg rotation.

The biceps femoris is made up of two heads and attaches to the lateral posterior part of the knee. Semimembranosus and semitendinosus attached to the medial portion of the knee. Since these two have different attachment points, we will diversify the leg curl to promote maximum contraction of these muscle groups.

EXERCISE 3 Lying Leg Curls

When performing a leg curl, begin with your toes pointed inward. This will effect the muscles attaching to the medial portion of the knee. Now rotate your toes to the outward position. This stimulates the biceps femoris and to obtain maximum contraction, after flexing the knee completely, attempt to raise the thigh off the bench. You will feel the contraction in the upper part of the hamstring.

Exercise Guides Lying Leg Curls
Watch The Video - 00:23

The previous videos do not show the maximal contraction, due to the logistics and limitations of the video picture. It's a technical thing!


There are a lot of back muscles. The smaller back muscles that you do not see are the intraspinous, multifidi, and the intraspinous groups. These are primarily interested with motion control of each individual spinal segment. Over 90% of most bodybuilder's have never experience a maximum back contraction.

Most people work their back exercises and only moves their arms. It is important to consider that the back has many functions and features and is the most complicated portion of the skeletal system.

I won't bore you with the details of all the muscles of the back. There are plenty of anatomy charts to show you the major muscle groups. It is my intention to help you to understand all the movements of the back that are involved when performing back exercises.

EXERCISE 4 Wide-grip lat pulldown

When beginning with any particular back exercise, begin by shrugging the shoulders posteriorly. This will activate the rhomboids in the trapezius muscles. Keep your arm straight, and begin by shrugging the motion as much as possible. The next portion of the this movement involves the hunching forward and dropping he head, followed by the arching of the back and the head. The third and final portion of the movement involves the pulling back of the arms.

Exercise Guides: Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
Watch The Video - 00:23

This exercise can be used on bent over rows, pulldown's, T-bar rows, cable rows and just about any other back exercise that involves posterior arm movement. Please note: THIS IS A VERY COMPLICATED EXERCISE AND REQUIRES A GREAT DEAL OF COORDINATION AND PRACTICE. I would begin by using 50 to 60 repetitions for 3 to 4 sets. Attempt to feel the contraction and work on flexing the muscle during the negative (eccentric) portion of the movement.

(Merry Christmas, it is likely the best gift you'll get for the holidays)


The abdominal muscles are composed of several muscle groups. The rectus abdominus is the most common and the ones that we all associate as the total fitness standard. Lying underneath is the transverse abdominis and it acts as your body's natural weight belt.

Finally, the lateral edges of the rectus abdominis are framed by the external and internal obliques. The obliques are usually only visible in the top conditioned physique athlete's a few weeks prior to competition. The rectus abdominis originates and begins on the xiphoid process or bottom of the breastbone centrally, it also connects to the bottom of the rib cage anteriorly. This muscle group terminates or inserts into the pubis symphysis.

Now while you are reading this, poke on the lower portion of your abdomen and move towards your groin area. Not to close, or people will talk. As you push inward on your abdomen and move your fingers towards your groin, you will likely hit a bony ridge. That is your pubis symphysis or the anterior portion of your pelvic bone.

Try to contract your abdomen and if you are truly on the pubic symphysis, your fingers will not move when you contract. Now take your other hand and press on your abdomen and work your fingers upward towards your breastbone. Again, contract your abs and your fingers will not move during the contraction.

Simulating abdominal work is simple and involves arching your back and then crunching forward. Repeat this movement several times and you will feel the contraction of your abdomen. For maximal contraction, you must learn to suck in your stomach while you are contracting your abdomen. This is necessary to do on all exercises for the abs to provide maximum stimulation.

Now I am going to introduce a new exercise to you call Ryan Rippers. Growing up I was lucky enough to have a set of abs, but some folks don't have them visible even after they are pretty lean. Great bodybuilder's like Boyer Coe, struggled with this deficit their entire career. This exercise stimulates the abdominal shot that most bodybuilder's provide during mandatory posing.

EXERCISE 5 Cable Crunch

Begin by using a pulldown bar or in some cases an easy-curl bar or a slightly slanted lat bar. Load approximately 30 to 60 pounds on the weight stack. Currently, I used about 150 pounds of resistance for this exercise, approximately 15 to 20 reps. During heavy powerlifting, my resistance has climbed as high as 400 pounds.

Place your arms over the bar, allowing your elbow joint to rest on the bar. Cross your arms and either hold the bar or allow your hands to wrap around the cable connection. While holding the bar, sit down, making sure that only your knees are under the T-Stop pad provided on most machines. In some cases, you will be able to hold the bar down, without any mechanized support as demonstrated on our video. The key point here, don't just cram yourself into a LAT pulldown machine, since we are going to try to move the pelvis a little during the exercise.

Exercise Guides: Cable Crunch
Watch The Video - 00:23

Once you are in position, make sure that your upper arms and your shoulders do not move independently with the weight. Lock them into position. Begin by sucking in your abdomen, and arching your back, then slowly crunch your abdomen down. Remember to visualize the extension and contraction between the xiphoid process and the pubic symphysis. I would suggest 3 sets of 30 reps to begin with to allow for coordination and training of this area.

Full Workout

Dr. David Ryan On Holiday Health Tips
Watch The Video - 04:48


There you have it. Some of best holiday cheer you can find. Try these exercises today and if they make you sore and painful, congratulations and happy holidays.

If you have any questions about any particular exercise or if you have any new particular exercise, fill free to write me and it will likely be featured in future training episodes. Of course we offer full credit to you for your ideas. Merry Christmas and may you have a happy new year, filled with lots of muscle tone and personal victories.