Where Strength and Size are the only goals

Archive for November, 2012

Friday 30th November 2012

Tired spin legs as usual! Still a good session nonetheless, felt good to do some flat bench again.

Bench 76kg x5, 87.5kg x5, 100kg x13+3+3RP

Squat 100kg x5, 115kg x5, 130kg x13 followed up with 100kg x12

Close-Grip Bench 60kg x5, 72.5kg x19+6+4RP

‘T’ Bar Rows 60kg x10, 70kg x5, then 40kg x10

Reverse Grip Curls 20kg x5, 25kg x10+6+4RP

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Reasons You’re Not Building Muscle #4

You’re not drinking enough water

Sounds daft I know, but it is probably the biggest reason most people are failing to gain weight. Water makes up around 60% of our bodies and lean muscle itself is around 70%. We can survive for weeks without food, but only days without water – It is second only to oxygen as being essential for life.

Research has shown that even a small decrease in hydration can lead to a significant drop in strength. If your hydration drops by 3-4% it can lead to a decrease in strength of 10-20%!! Not only that but it also plays a significant part in injury prevention – Lifting weights or resistance training at high intensity for long periods of time puts enormous strain on the joints and connective tissues. Being well hydrated helps to lubricate these joints and provides a protective layer or cushion around them, reducing the chance of injury. Dehydration can also lead to muscle catabolism (wastage), which is definitely worth avoiding!

Drinking a lot of water will also make you healthier and help to flush waste products from your body. When you are healthy you recover and grow faster, not to mention reducing sickness which will only impede your training.

Finally, drinking plenty of water helps to speed digestion and move nutrients around the body more efficiently. It helps you to store carbohydrates as muscle glycogen giving you more energy in your workouts. Building muscle also requires a high protein diet, however protein cannot straightaway be absorbed by the bodies cells, it needs to be broken down into its component amino acids, to do this you need guess what? Water.

How much water should you drink? I personally aim for a gallon a day! I don’t often get there but even if I don’t, I at least end up with the same or more than the ‘recommended guide’ as follows:

Take your body weight in pounds and multiply by the following – If you’re training 3 times a week use 0.6, 4 times a week 0.7, 5 times or more 0.8 – this will tell you how many fluid ounces to consume a day. For example 190lb multiplied by 0.6 = 114 fluid ounces or around 3.5 litres.

Avoid drinking large amounts in one go, this is the only time that excessive water drinking can be bad for you – See water intoxication – Instead aim to drink 1-2 glasses with every meal, sip throughout the day and especially when training or when you’re perspiring.

 

 


Tuesday 27th November 2012

Slight alteration to yesterdays layout – I’m going to do Seated Press and Sumo Deadlifts for now and return to the conventional lifts once I’ve lessened my Hyperlordosis (hopefully!).

Seated Press 43.5kg x5, 50kg x5, 57.5kg x9+2+1

Sumo Deadlift 107.5kg x5, 125kg x5, 140kg x7 – followed up with 107.5kg x10. Form a bit ugly on the heavier sets so going to drop the weight and focus on technique.

Pull-ups x10+3+2

Bicep Curls 22.5kg x5, 27.5kg x12+5+5

Stiff-Legged Deadlifts 75kg x5, 90kg x12


DC training and 5/3/1 – A change of plans

Well after two full cycles,  my shoulders have taken a battering already and rotator cuff is sore as hell (probably from the chest/shoulder/tricep combo every other session). It is also moving away from my goal, which is strength based. Although I’m a stickler for not changing your program unnecessarily, if it hurts, stop doing it!

Is it worth continuing through the pain (and probably making it worse!) when I’m not feeling fully comitted? Nope! As I’ve stressed before, a program is as effective as your commitment to it. If you are not motivated by it, you won’t put in the effort, nor reap the benefits. I have enjoyed the rest-pause training and the variation of lifts, but there are definite things that aren’t for me! I think this program is better suited for ‘enhanced lifters’ if you know what I mean!

I have decided to change to Wendlers 5/3/1 with the rest-pause training as detailed in his second edition of 5/3/1. This way I can still progress with my strength training on my main lifts and continue with the rest-pause training.

Wendler looking ‘Hench’

 

 

 

 

 

I will be doing the following:

Press 5 – RP last set

Deadlift 5s, then 65% max reps

Pull-ups warm-up set, RP set

Straight curls 50% x5, 60% RP

SLDL 50% x5, 60% RP

B1

Bench 5 – RP last set

Squat 5, then 65% max reps

CG Bench 50%x5, 60% RP

‘T’ Rows 6-9, 9-12

RG bar curls 50%x5, 60% RP

A2

Press 3 – RP last set

Deadlift 3s, then 70% max

Chin-ups

Straight curls 50%x5, 70% RP

SLDL 50%x5, 70% max

B2

Bench 3 – RP

Squat 3, then 70% max

CG Bench 50% x5, 70% max

Lever Row 50%, 70% RP

RG Bar Curls 50×5, 70 max

A3

Press 5/3/1 as normal, then 75% RP

Deadlift 5/3/1, then 75% max

Chins (palms facing)

Straight curls 65%x5, 80% max

SLDL 65%x5, 80% max

B3

Bench 5/3/1 as normal, then 75% RP

Squat 5/3/1, then 75% max

CG Bench 65%x5, 80% max

Cable Row 6-9, 9-12

RG Bar Curls 65%x5, 80% max

I’ll also be doing pass-throughs every day to help shoulder mobility and still working on loosening up my hip flexors!

 


Sunday 25th November 2012

Cable Curls (level 6) x 14+6+5

Reverse Cable Curls (5) x12

Seated Calf Raise 110kg x10 – Was supposed to do these on the Smith machine today, but the step is too rounded and my feet were slipping too much.

Stiff-Legged-Deadlift 60kg x13+6+6 – Still having postural issues with my deadlifts

Leg Press 200kg x7, 160kg x20 – Really focused on trying to keep good form. Any heavier and my bum would come off the seat and I tended to bounce out of the bottom position.

Ab-sling knee raises – 10 knees to right, 10 to left, 10 straight knees-to-elbows

Again, felt like I needed to do something with upper body so did some ‘V’ pulldown to chest (10) x12+5+4


Friday 23rd November 2012

Shoulders feeling a bit battered lately, but I’ve been a bit lapse with mobility work lately so probably to blame!

DB Bench Press 37.5kg x10+3+2RP

Press 55kg x9+3+2RP

Weighted Dips 15kg x15+5+3RP

‘V’ Grip Pulldown to Chest (10) x10+5+3

Rack Pull 120kg x12 – Not too happy with form here, definitely got some lean-back at the top, so didn’t take the weight any higher.

Lever Deadlift 300kg x1 – Felt like just seeing how heavy I could go on this, Going to try 320kg next time!


Reasons You’re Not Building Muscle #3

Your not training your legs as hard as the rest of your body

Our ability to increase muscle is a direct result of our ability to increase our natural anabolic hormone levels. You’ve heard of these before – Growth Hormone, Testosterone, IGF-1 to name a few – You’ve heard of these probably because you’ve heard of steroids. Steroids are just natural chemicals our bodies produce, the reason bodybuilders get so freakishly huge is they take far more of these hormones than their bodies can develop for themselves. You however, can increase your bodies natural levels of these hormones by the right training and nutrition. As our bodies operate on a ‘supply and demand’ basis, to boost these hormones you must train as intensely as possible and recruit as many muscle fibers as you can during training.

Now some basic anatomy! Our legs make up almost two thirds of our entire muscle mass! (Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gluteals and Calves) So by training your legs as intensely as your upper body (or more), you target far more muscle fibers and so force your endocrine (hormone release) system to release all these anabolic goodies into your system. As these hormones are not just isolated to build muscle in your lower body, they also help increase size on your chest, back, shoulders, arms .. in fact, your whole body!

The Squat (In particular the Barbell Back Squat) has long been proven to be the ultimate in mass gaining exercises. It’s estimated to involve hundreds of muscles, acting as prime movers or stabilisers in the upper and lower body. The squat recruits so many muscle fibers, it releases more GH (Growth Hormone) than any other exercise – period. More GH, more muscle.

The Deadlift is number two as far as I’m concerned in the mass building arsenal. It is the ultimate strength exercise – What is more satisfying that bending down and picking up some seriously heavy weight off the ground? Again, as the squat, to deadlift requires your whole body to work ,so encourages the hormones to be released as mentioned previously.

The reason we don’t see everyone doing these exercises? (Squat & Deadlift) Mainly because they’re so hard – Most people would rather push 250kg on a leg press for 10 reps, than do 100kg back squat for 10 reps. Somehow they think this is a more impressive feat as more weight is being used. Anyone who has done a nice heavy rock bottom squat knows damn well that it is far harder (thus requires more strength) to drive up out of the bottom of a squat, than to slide a sledge a few inches along it’s track, whatever the weight involved. Either that or they don’t know how to squat or deadlift correctly so choose not to do them instead of finding out or being shown.

It’s a no brainer – Increase your strength on Squats and Deadlifts and you will grow. Stop taking the easy option and start working your legs!


Tuesday 20th November 2012

EZ Curl 30kg x15+4+3RP

DB Hammers 12.5kg x10

Leg Press Toe Press 110kg x10

Good Mornings 35kg x20+9+7RP

Hack Squat 120kg x6, 103.5kg x20

Had some time to waste so threw in:

‘V’ pulldown to chest (level 10) x10+4+3RP

Dips (unweighted) x20x13 (60s rest)


DC Training and thoughts so far ..

The DC workout split is as follows:

Day 1 – Chect, Shoulders, Triceps, Back Width, Back thickness

Day 2 – Biceps, Forearms, Calves, Hamstrings, Quadriceps

I will be doing this split in a A/B fashion, training 3 times a week so every 2 weeks, I’ll do 3 of each session.

The idea is to pick your top 3 (or most effective) exercise for each bodypart and rotate through them over the sessions, thus giving 6 different workouts, but still adhering to the split above. Once you can no longer increase the weight/reps on a given exercise – change it out for a new one, then return to it again at the next plateau.

Rep numbers vary by exercise and their speed is generally a controlled eccentric or negative (lowering) followed by an explosive concentric (or 2-0-0). Most exercises are rest-paused with the exception of back thickness and quads (Calves are done as a 10 second negative, 20 second hold at full stretch and then explosive concentric or 10-20-0). After 3 rest pause sets, the exercise is followed up with a static hold of up to a minute, then extreme stretching of the worked muscle.

I took my intial measurements at the start which are:

Chest – 43″, Bicep (flexed) – 15″, Quad – 23.5″, Calf – 15″, Abdomen – 35″, and Hips 41″

After the 3 month period I’ll measure again to see what difference, if any, DC training has made.

So far after a week, I’m enjoying the change of workout and different exercises this type of split has bought. The rest-pause sets are harder than traditional strength training, but I like the change in intensity. I’m struggling with the static holds at the moment – after a rest pause set, I’m only managing to hold for maybe 20 seconds or more – The same goes for the extreme stretching! I’m hoping I’ll be able to improve on this as the sessions go on.

 


Sunday 18th November 2012

Incline Bench 90kg x8+2+2RP

Smith Behind-Neck Press 30kg x10+5+4RP

Reverse-Grip Bench 90kg x8+4+3RP

Wide-Grip Pulldowns (level 9) x12+5+4RP

Deadlift 140kg x6, 120kg x9