Properly Executing Strength Training Exercises Part 2

In this section we will cover how to determine the proper number of sets and repetitions to meet your individual goals. For those who want a better understanding of the program you currently follow, or want to design your own workout schedule, these are important variables that can greatly influence the results you see.

First off, let's be clear on what these two terms mean. A set is defined as an entire strength training exercise reflecting from when you begin the move to when you complete it. Using the simple bench press as an example, the set begins when you take the weight off the rack, continues through all the times you lower and raise the bar, and primarily ends when you place the weight back on the rack. Most workout schedules will have you perform exercises for more than one set.

A repetition takes place within each set. They are the individual efforts that you usually repeat more than once before resting again. Using the bench press, one repetition is completed when you completely lower the bar, and then raise it back to the top. Rarely, if ever, you will complete just one repetition in a set.

Varying the number of sets and repetitions can produce drastically different physical changes over time. If you know what you want to accomplish, then you need to know the right amount of sets and reps to match your needs.

Choosing the number of repetitions

As we mentioned in Part 1, it is important that you know how to choose the right weights, regardless of the number of repetitions you perform. We will not get into that again here, but anything we mention here is dependent on picking weights that are not too heavy or too light. Our goal in this section is to give you guidelines on what you can expect to achieve for each repetition range. Strength training can help you build muscle, get a great cardiovascular workout, and of course, make you stronger.

Very high repetitions, like 15 or more per set, works very well as a cardio workout to help burn calories and strengthen your heart. You will need to take very little rest between sets, and should be careful here not to go too heavy, but for this specific goal a 15+ repetition range is very effective. Do not expect to get significantly stronger or muscular, though. If you are really hardcore and do 50-100 + repetitions on each set, though, you will help to strengthen the tendons and ligaments that hold your joints together.

Choosing a 10-15 repetition range starts to work toward gaining some strength and muscle, but not too much. Personally I think it is a good range for beginner athletes to work with, because the weights will not be overwhelming and they get a lot of practice perfecting their technique. This is also about the range anyone under the age of 15 should use when they are dealing with free weights, although they should not be spending a lot of time with them at that age.

The 6-10 repetition range is a good transition zone for 15-16 year olds, and for those who want a little more strength and / or muscle development than they'd get from the 10+ range. Most athletic-based programs use repetitions in this range, but I would suggest that it is not the best choice. It is a certain safe choice in that you will not go too heavy, but you will see some strength gains. In my opinion, there is a better choice.

I believe that anyone really interested in building strength, power, or muscle mass should be primarily working in the 4-5 repetition zone. If you are over 16, follow the guidelines given in Part 1, and have good technique, training this heavy is as safe as anything else you'll do in a workout program. It allows you to consistently train with heavier weights, which in turn will build your strength and maximize your power potential. And, depending on the number of sets you elect to perform, it can quickly build muscle, as well.

Anything done for 3 repetitions or less works pretty close to your limits, and should be done sparingly. It will build strength and power, but will not do much for gaining muscle unless you do a very high number of sets. Elite power lifters may work in this range fairly regularly, but for 99% of us you can make great progress with the 4-5 rep plan.

No matter which range you feel is best for you, proper technique is always your first priority. And for those choosing weights of 10 repetitions or less, it is always a good idea to have a spotter watching you in case you misjudged what weight you should have used.

Choosing the number of sets

Regardless of the number of repetitions you perform per set, you can choose to do one, two, or any number of sets for a particular exercise. The amount of sets you complete has to do with one critical variable: volume. Volume involves the total amount of weight you lift within a workout. If you multiply the weight used times the number of repetitions per set, and multiply that by the number of sets, it will give you the total volume of weight you lifted.

Why is this so critical? Because the higher your volume, the greater your chance of building muscle. The lower the volume, the less chance you have of adding bulk.

Some athletes need extra mass to perform better for their sport, but others would have been adversely affected. Luckily, this critical factor can easily be controlled.

If you want to gain muscle, do more sets of each exercise. Three to five sets is usually about right, but occasionally you can go even higher. Anything more than 6 sets of a heavy weight exercise (using the 4-5 rep range we recommend) and you may not be able to sustain that volume for long without getting hurt. Tendonitis is the most likely problem you will face.

Unfortunately, there is a definite downside to performing more sets, especially when using heavier weights. The added volume can be incredibly taxing on your body over the long term, and will make it difficult to work on other aspects of your training. I would recommend setting aside a specific time of year to focus almost solely on mass training, if it is even necessary for you, and save other goals for another time.

If you need to get stronger and more powerful, but want to avoid getting bigger or need your energy for other goals, then go with one or two sets per exercise. Two schedules that work well here are to do one set per exercise five days per week, or two sets per exercise three days a week. Both keep the volume relatively low, but the heavy weights will help you adapt to what you need. Keeping the number of sets down will allow you to put more of your energy towards other goals, allowing you to build two or more skills at the same time.

That is our general guide for how to determine the correct number of sets and repetitions you need to meet your goals. This is obviously a more detailed topic than we covered here, but hopefully it is a good starting point for you. In our final article in this series we will cover how to determine the right rest times in between sets, and give you some important reasons why you should always use proper technique in your training.

How To Start Investing For Financial Independence, Part 1

Today, I am going to start a multi-part series about how to go from being a beginning investor to being "financially independent" in a steady and predictable way. At our website, we get tons of e-mails about how do I start, how do I start with little $ 's, etc., etc., etc. If you are asking this question, congratulations because you are ahead of most. All of us have been there at some point.

I must warn you …. What I am about to share here for free is what "gurus" across the nation charge thousands of dollars for in weekend seminars. The "secrets" disclosed are going to seem pretty simple because quite frankly, there are no secrets. The methods used here have been done for centuries and there is no real reason to complicate them. Let's apply these principles to see how fast someone might become financially independent without betting the farm.

Realize that everyone has wildly different starting points and different financial goals. For this series of articles, we assume that an individual has access to at least $ 15,000 liquid capital (or home equity) to start, is at least breaking even with their current income income expenses, and has decent credit to obtain financing. Note there yet? …. See the footnote below.

To start, what you need is to make your money grow while keeping your current income stream, and current expense level in place. I can not say this more plainly ….. To change your current financial path, you have to us your money and your time to grow additional income streams that increase wealth. There is many ways to do this but we are going to use investing in real estate as an example.

Now for beginners, here is the really bad news …… As an investor, you reap rewards by putting your money in HARMS WAY. You do everything in your power to minimize your risk but bottom line is that real investors make money by taking CONTROLLED risks. As investors get better, they learn how to make fantastic investment returns doing things that all their friends and relatives thing is crazy ….. However, they know exactly what risks are small in comparison to the potential Rewards.

One reason people really like real estate investing is leaseage; Ie, you can purchase an expensive property using 0-20% of your own money while financing the rest. So if you put 10% down for example, and then the property goes up by 20%, you have made a 200% return (ignoring expenses, taxes, etc. for simplicity). Of course this works in reverse … If the property drops by 20%, you have lost not only your original investment but have to come up with another 10% as well ….. Ouch!

For someone beginning, here is what I would suggest:
1) Look for an opportunity that will return at least 150% in 2 yrs or less;

2) Be mentally and financially prepared if the investment does not work out;

3) Have VERY good reasons why you do not think you will lose money …… You may not make as much as expected but you would rather not lose money at this stage.

4) Be patient. This single result should not either make or break you but it is crucial to a longer term plan.

In our Mastermind Group, we are bringing out a land project (see related article Land Investing that appears to meet these criteria (each investor has to decide for themselves.) So let's say the purchase price is $ 150,000, with 10% down and another $ 3,500 In closing costs. With good credit, then the financing obtained would make the land payments for 2 years while waiting for growth.

Now let's say after you did your analysis, looked at what had happened in the past, looked at why you thought more and more people would want this property, etc., you decide that you think this property will average 20% / Yr escalation over The next 2 years. MORE IMPORTANTLY, you decide that barring a major meltdown in the market, you think there is little chance that you can not at least break even after 2 years.

So if you end up being right about the growth, then you might net a tidy $ 43,000 (before taxes) or so after everything is considered. After long term capital gains at 15% let's say, then you just picked up about $ 36,000 of the "market's money". That is money that if you take a loss on the next investment will not be nearly as painful as if you lost your original money. When you combine this with your original investment amount, you now have around $ 55,000 of operating capital for step 2.

Realistically, you can not predict how much you will make from the investment. When I invest, I try to establish in my mind what is reasonable. Frequently, I have been surprised to the positive and made much more than expected. Sometimes I have made less. The key being put to yourself in a low risk situation where you have a strong reason to believe the market will go in your favor.

To accomplish this first step, let's look at what you really had to do:

1) Had to be willing to put $$ in harm's way;

2) Had to educate yourself enough to evaluate the risk and the opportunity;

3) Had to find the opportunity or be in a position to have the opportunity presented to them;

4) Had to act.

I would like to comment on the education side. As a former professor, I have seen very smart people spend 1,000's of hours and 10,000's of thousands of dollars educating themselves to "earn a living"; This is a great move in many cases. On the other side, I have seen very smart people who want investing to be a major source of income but will not spend any time or any money educating themselves.

To me, this is a recipe for disaster. By the time we finish this series, you will see that with a few simple steps, implemented over time, many people can easily produce more money than their regular job. Tomorrowmore, many people will put 100's of thousands of dollars at risk but know almost nothing about what they are doing. If you chose the path of making your investment dollars grow steadily with time, I hope this does not end up describing you.

** Footnote: If you are not yet at that level, here is what I suggest. First, read Michael Masterson's book called "Automatic Wealth". This is an excellent book on how to quickly change your financial position while staying employed. Next, I would read Van Tharp's new book called "Safe Paths To Financial Freedom". Van uses a very different thought process from many and so adds a great deal of rounding. Like anything else, you will not agree with everything written in these books but they provide some great thought processes. When you have some capital and are cash flow positive, they come back and revisit this article.

6 Key Elements of a Contract

1. Offer. An offer can be oral or written as long as it is not required to be written by law. It is the definite expression or an overt action which begins the contract. It is simply what is offered to another for the return of that person's promise to act. It can not be ambiguous or unclear. It must be spelled out in terms that are specific and certain, such as the identity and nature of the object which is being offered and under what conditions and / or terms it is offered.

2. Acceptance. As a general proposition of law, the acceptance of the offer made by one party by the other party is what creates the contract. This acceptance, as a general rule, can not be withdrawn, nor can it exceed the terms of the offer, or alter it, or modify it. To do so makes the acceptance a counter-offer. Although this proposal may vary from state to state, the general rule is that there are no conditional acceptances by law. In fact, by making a conditional acceptance, the offeree is rejecting the offer. However the offerer, at his choosing, by act or word which shows acceptance of the counter-offer, can be bound by the conditions tendered by the offeree.

3. Consideration. Consideration for a contract may be money or may be another right, interest, or benefit, or it may be a reduction, loss or responsibility given up to someone else. Consideration is an absolutely necessary element of a contract. As a word of caution, it should be noted that consideration has to be expressed agreed upon by both parties to the contract or it must be expressly accepted by the terms of the contract. A potential or accidental benefit or detriment alone would not be construed as valid consideration. The consideration must be explicit and sufficient to support the promise to do or not to do, whatever is applicable. However, it should not be of any particular monetary value. Mutual promises are adequate and valid consideration as to each party as long as they are binding. This rule applies to conditional promises as well. As additional clarification, the general rule is that a promise to act which you are already legally bound to do is not a sufficient consideration for a contract. The courts determine the application.

4. Capacity of the Parties to Contract. The general presumption of the law is that all people have a capacity to contract. A person who is trying to avoid a contract would have to plead his or her lack of capacity to contract against the party who is trying to enforce the contract. For example, he would have to prove that he was a minor, adjudged incompetent or drunk or drugged, and so forth. Often this is the most difficult burdens of proof to overcome due to the presumption of one's ability to contract.

5. Intent of the Parties to Contract. It is a basic requirement to the formation of any contract, be it oral or written, that there has to be a mutual assent or a "meeting of the minds" of the parties on all proposed terms and essential elements of the contract. It has been held by the courts that there can be no contract without all the parties involved intended to enter into one. This intent is determined by the outward actions or actual words of the parties and not just their secret intentions or desires. Therefore, mere negotiations to arrive at a mutual agreement or assent to a contract would not have considered an offer and acceptance even thought the parties agree on some of the terms which are being negotiated. Both parties must have intended to enter into the contract and one can not have been misled by the other. That is why fraud or certain mistakes can make a contract voidable.

6. Object of the Contract. A contract is not enforceable if its object is considered to be illegal or against public policy. In many jurisdictions contracts predicated upon lotteries, dog races, horse races, or other forms of gambling would have considered illegal contracts. Yet in some states these types of contracts are valid. Federal and some state laws make contracts in restraint of trade, price-fixing and monopolies illegal. Therefore, a contract which violates those statutes would be illegal and unenforceable. This is true for drugs and prostitution or any other activity if considered criminal.

Digital Options Trading Strategy

Successful binary trading and binary options strategies go hand in hand. A trading strategy is a plan on why, when and for how long a trader will take and keep a position. These trading strategies should use derivatives to accomplish initiating risk and are more commonly found in the binary options market. The options market allows a trader to take multiple asset classes to initiate risk for a particular view. The most commonly used binary options strategies are collar, covered call, market conditions, money management, defensive put and straddle.Try them out for yourself and choose the best binary options strategy for your needs, also are you not limited to use just one of These strategies, feel free to combine them for even better trading results!

Collar A collar or a risk reversal is when an investor buys a call and sells a put or vice versa. The main goal of this binary options strategy is to offset the cost of premium for the option that you purchasing by selling another option. If the investor completely offsets the premium from the option purchased, the collar is referred to as a costless collar. A collar is a profitable strategy and benefits the investor in that he does not have to pay out a lot of money on premium and also the risk on implied liability is greatly reduced.

Covered Call A covered call strategy or a call writing binary options strategy is when an investor or trader sells a call option with a view to enhance his portfolio earnings or to mitigate the portfolios risk profile. It is also defined as a call sold on an instrument that is currently owned by the investor. This binary options strategy is used for three main reasons

( 1 ) the investor will benefit by receiving income from the premium of a sold option

( 2 ) a portfolio will be protected from a market falling, and

( 3 ) to mitigate the downside risk of the market. This option also gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy the undering instrument at a specific price on or before a specific date.

Market Conditions The markets can be trending, range-bound or volatile and evaluating the particular market condition can be the difference between a successful trade and a losing trade. A trending market moves in a one direction over a period of time and the trends are classified as secular ( for long term time frames ), primary ( for mid-term periods ) and secondary trends ( for short-term periods ).

If the financial instrument is trending higher, the market is called a bull market trend and if trending lower, a bear market trend. A range bound market on the other hand is when a financial instruments moves up and down in a narrow range. The range bound market occurs when supply and demand for a financial instrument is equal. A volatile market occurs when a financial market moves quickly in one direction.

Traders look at the VIX (volatility index) to measure if the market is volatile or is going to be volatile. Bull trending markets have low volatility while bear trend markets have high volatility levels. A trader should examine the type of market a financial instrument is currently experiencing to determine the type of position to take.

Money Management The ability to manage risk appropriately is one of the most important tools of successful trading. Money management is a defensive concept that keeps you trading daily. It uses two concepts trade size and stop placement. A stop placement does not address the question of how much capital should be allocated to a position. This strategy allows merchants to form an alternative method to protect their investments.

Protective Put Protective Put allows the investor a full hedging coverage. The investor is protected from a breakeven point down to zero. The buyer has privileges of owning several stock holdings. He can also sell his stock on strike value before its expiration date. In this strategy, the investor is the option buyer.

Straddle This is an investment where the trader buys both a put and a call at the same strike level, with the hopes that the straddle will make up for the premium invested. Overall, investors who are interested to learn about the binary options strategies find it very easy to trade because they can predict if you are right or wrong, when you will have a bull or a bear market and if you can trade multiple times with the same Asset.