A bit pressed for time last few days to get to the gym, so in a bastardised frequency method style I did 10 sets of 5 reps of each of the following yesterday;
Bench 100kg and underhand pulldowns 90kg – every 30 minutes to total 50 reps of each.
Feeling a bit beat up in the shoulders today, probably due to lack of warming up enough for each set, but it was kind of fun to do! Press day at the gym tomorrow so I’ll wait and see if my shoulders are up to it 😉
You don’t keep a training log.
Keeping a detailed log of your progress is one of the most important things you can do to make sure you are constantly progressing and acheiving optimal results from your training. Without this, your training is just guesswork. If you keep a log you can look back and set yourself a goal/PR to beat every session, or look back and make adjustments/changes when you hit a plateau. On top of this, how will you know you’ve improved over time? Wouldn’t you like to be able to look back and say ‘I’ve added 20kg to my Bench Press in the last 6 months!’ or ‘My 1 mile run time has dropped by over 30 seconds in the last 8 weeks’?
To build muscle you should always be striving to beat PR’s (personal records) in your training. Without your training log you will be hard pressed to remember all of your PR’s so you won’t know if your progressing or just spinning wheels, and without it, everything you do is just like driving without a map and your progress will be much slower than it could be.
This basic rule should form the basis of your entire workout plan, especially if strength is your goal. To structure your training approach, this is the most important factor. Nowadays everyone is so obsessed with all of the specific principles in the gym (such as rep ranges, grip variations, speed of reps, how many sets to perform, whioch days to train, exercise selection .. the list goes on ..) they fail to see the big picture.
Whatever your goal is, the underlying principle will always be progression.
Our bodies build muscle as an adaptive response to the environment they are exposed to. When you go to the gym, you break down your muscle fibers by lifting weights. Your body senses this as a potential threat to its survival and will react by rebuilding the damaged fibers larger and stronger in order to better enable them to cope with the threat next time. So in order to make continual gains in muscle size and strength, you must focus on progressing workout to workout in order to consistently increase that stress level and so growth.
Progression is in one of two forms – An increase in weight or an increase in reps. As long as you increase one of these every session you will give your body the incentive to grow stronger. If you ignore this and train without a logbook or a planned out session you will be ignoring the principle of growth and your gains will come to a grinding halt.
Your aim is to improve on a session by session basis, how can you do this without documenting it somehow? You need to record the lift, weight used and reps acheived so that the next time you enter the gym you can sit down, review the previous session/lifts performed and aim to smash the weight or reps you’ve recorded previously. Buy yourself a cheap diary and start writing it down!
Bench 86kg x3, 98.5kg x3, 111kg x10+3+2 RP
Machine Lever Row 53.5kg x5, 75kg x17+6+5 RP
Close-Grip Bench 63.5kg x5, 90kg x14+4+3 RP
Machine Reverse-Grip Preacher Curls 10kg x5, 15kg x10+5+3 RP
Squat 116kg x3, 132.5kg x3, 150kg x11
Weighted Dips 30kg x13+5+2 RP
‘V’ Grip Pulldown To Chest (14) x10+4+2 RP
So decided to go ahead with the burpee challenge after all. Started with 3 sets of 20 in 1 minute with 30 secs rest between sets.
Set 1 – 44secs, Set 2 – 53secs, Set 3 – 1:03 (dammit!)
Started too quick and by the end of set 2, I was blowing! Going to progress as I did last year and add a rep at a time to build up to 3×30 in 90secs a set. To keep the stress on the elbow/shoulder joints I’m going to layer it into my training maybe 3-4 days a week and see how it goes ..
Been sticking to the frequency method for last few weeks. This week now up to 9 chins and 19 press-ups for 6 sets throughout the day. Now I’m back full time in a gym I have access to the bar so don’t need to use the ladder method.
Also decided to bring some conditioning work back as I’m not teaching spin or anything else at present. I’m keeping it short and sharp and literally when I’ve got free time as opposed to a strict regime. I’m toying with the idea of hitting the Villain Challenge #1 (100 burpees within 5 mins) a few mornings a week as well, I was making good progress on it last year and felt good for it, but the overall volume alongside the classes etc was too much and had to stop in the end.
Today’s lunch break session – 100 kettlebell swings @ 24kg – time 5:30, followed by 50 ab sling knees-to-elbows (not for time) .. Not great, I was hoping to get under 5 minutes but it was good for a quick blast and now have a time to beat!
This an article written for www.muscleandbrawn.com – However I couldn’t write it any better so have posted it here!
4 WAYS TO GET FREAKING HUGE – Rock Rannick
Time To Get Swole
Man, do I have some magical, mystical, mass building advice for you today. But I know – you’re extremely skeptical. You’re waiting for the bullcrap; to be let down by some cool sounding training system with overly complicated mumbo jumbo, and exercises that suck.
Sorry, no fail for you today.
I don’t hand out fail. I’m not pushing an agenda. You want to get big fast, then do the following.
1 – Stay with a Simple Routine
Listen, you have been searching for the ultimate routine for years. In fact, you spend more time reading about routines then performing routines. And each week you switch routines. I’ve found it, this week I’m making the change to blah, blah, blah and will grow!
Enough with this foolishness. I’m about to carpet bomb your fantasies, so you have been warned. Brace yourself. Here goes…it doesn’t matter what routine you use. Yes, you heard me right. Doggcrapp, Max Stim, Dogg Stim, Max Crapp…whatever. Just pick something and stick with it. And make sure the routine isn’t complicated. You don’t need complicated.
A simple routine focuses on progression of weight using basic heavy compound lifts including:
- Bench Press
- A form of the Overhead Press
E. T. C.
If you find that your routine has you doing giant sets, drop sets, or focusing on the dreaded mind-muscle connection, run like the wind. And worse yet, if it contains too many isolation movements…well…FAIL. You don’t need training techniques or isolation movements, you need to:
2 – Lift Heavy Ass Weights
Lift heavy ass weight. Heavy ass weight makes muscles grow. Heavy ass weight can be in any rep range, because it is heavy ass weight and is kicking your balls seven ways to Sunday.
What rep range should I use? FAIL! It doesn’t matter – Lift heavy ass weights!
What should my rep speed be? FAIL! It doesn’t matter – Lift heavy ass weights!
Should I do cable crossovers before or after flyes, and should incline bench be performed with a 22 degree angle, or a 24 degree angle? FAIL! It doesn’t matter – Lift heavy ass weights!
What split is the most effective for mass? FAIL! FAIL! FAIL!
GO LIFT HEAVY ASS WEIGHTS!
But I don’t want to lift heavy! So and so says that squats are bad for your knees, and my mom is afraid and wants me to take up knitting.
Both so and so, and your mom (no offense to moms) can barely lift a roll of toilet paper to wipe their own asses. If you want to look like your mom, listen to the training advice of your mom. If you want to pack on muscle, lift heavy ass weight!
3 – Stop Bitching and Get Your Ass to the Gym!
My toe hurts.
My right nut seems small today, maybe I shouldn’t train.
Want to know how to fail? I mean epic fail? Continue to make excuses, and avoid going to the gym. Want to know how to succeed? Gird up your balls, shut the hell up, and get your ass to the gym, 52 weeks a year. The end.
This isn’t complicated.
Of course your left nut hurts! You’re lifting weights. Lifting heavy ass weights will hurt from time to time. Pain is part of the equation. We aren’t collecting bottle caps here, Charles.
4 – Forget Your Damned Abs and Eat!
I want a six pack!
Bud, if you think you can pack on muscle and carve out a six pack in the same month, you need to lay off the crack pipe.
This just in…if you want muscle, you need to eat big. If you want to be a 220 mass monster, but only weigh 120, you need to start eating like you weigh 220 pounds.
How long should I bulk before I cut? FAIL! Eat until people at the gym start asking you where you get your steroids from. Then, and only then can you start cutting.
Should my bulk be dirty or clean? FAIL! Grab a shovel and get to gettin’.
Whole milk has fat! Almonds have fat! I can’t eat fat! FAIL! Listen, drinking whole milk and lifting heavy ass weights equals muscle mass.
- Lift heavy ass weight using heavy ass compound lifts.
- Eat big.
- Never miss a workout.
- Stick with a basic routine.
Follow these 4 rules for two years and you will dramatically change your body. The end.
Seated Press 51kg x3, 60kg x3, 66kg x9+2+1 RP – (No Wraps) Lost Grip on rep 10, but going to persevere without the wraps for now to improve wrist strength.
Weighted Chins 22.5kg x8+2+1 RP
Bicep Curls 26kg x5, 36kg x10+5+3 RP
Stiff-Legged Deadlift 53.5kg x5, 75kg x15
Deadlift 120kg x3, 136kg x3, 153.5kg x8 – Felt a bit better than last weeks lifts, but still got technique issues when I watch it back. Weight too far forward – I’m going to do more warm-up sets to work on it.
Weighted Dips 30kg x13+4+3 RP
‘V’ Grip Pulldown to Chest (14) x9+3+2 RP
Bench 80kg x5, 92.5kg x5, 105kg x13+4+2 RP
‘T’ Row 65kg x12, 50kg x15
Close-Grip Bench 63.5kg x76kg x20
Reverse Grip Curls (Preacher bench) 15kg x5, 20kg x10+4+3 RP
Squat 107.5kg x5, 125kg x5, 141kg x15
Weighted Dips 30kg x11+4+2 RP
‘V’ Grip Pulldown to Chest (13) x12+4+2 RP
Paid for the back session yesterday! Really struggled on the deadlifts todayas back tired, oops! Press was fine though so not all bad 🙂
Seated Press 48.5kg x5, 55kg x5, 62.5kg x10+3+2 RP
Weighted Pull-ups 20kg x6+2+1 RP
Bicep Curls 26kg x5, 31kg x12+5+5 RP
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts 53.5kg x5, 65kg x25
Deadlift 111kg x5, 128.5kg x5, 145kg x7
Another cheeky Lunch-break back session:
DB Pullover 38kg x12x12
‘V’ Grip Pulldown 90kg x8, 80kg x10
DB Row to Hip 30kg x15x12
Rack Pull (Smith) 150kg x5 tried these again as no barbells, felt a bit better but doing deadlift tomorrow anyway so kept it shy of failure
Bench 91kg x5, 103.5kg x3, 115kg x8, 91kg x14+3+3 RP
Cable Row 80kg x9, 60kg x15
Close-Grip Bench 81kg x5, 100kg x10+2+1 RP
Reverse-Grip Curls 30kg x5, 36kg x7+4+2 RP
Squat 121kg x5, 137.5kg x3, 153.5kg x8
Weighted Dips 27.5kg x12+4+3 RP
The use of weightlifting belts used to be limited to Olympic lifters and Powerlifting, however in recent years they have become much more widespread and now even people completely new to lifting are using them. Are they really necessary? And if so, what are the correct uses and are there any dangers?
Belts serve two main purposes. They reduce stress on the lower back when lifting in an upright position and help to prevent hyperextension when pressing overhead. A lot of people assume that the belt supports their back, however the actual point of the belt is to increase intra-abdominal pressure which help stabilise the abdomen. For this purpose the best one is a powerlifting type belt which is the same width all the way round. If you are using a belt with a thinner front section, my advice would be to wear it backwards so you can use it as intended.
How to wear it – The correct placing of the belt varies from person to person depending on their own body structure, but as a guide it should be worn around the small of your back and lower abdomen. You want it fairly low, but not so it pushes into your hips/pelvis at the bottom of a squat or deadlift. You want it fairly tight, but as your aiming to push your abs into it, my recommendation is to go for one notch looser than full tightness. This will also make it easier to remove after your set!
How to use it – In order to increase the intra-abdominal pressure, it is important to use the Valsava maneuver. Take a big breath into your belly (not diaphragm/chest), and push your stomach as hard as possible into the belt. Imagine your trying to blow out as hard as possible but with a closed mouth/throat. This pressure against the belt will then provide support around the whole midsection and feel nice and stable. If your belt is done up too tight (see previous point), you will struggle to get a big enough gulp of air into your belly as it’s already being restricted.
When to use it – I personally don’t advise using a belt for every exercise or even for every set of the big lifts. In order to increase your own core stability, you need your lower back and abs to function normally. Try and save the use of the belt for max effort sets only. Correctly performed squats, deadlifts, etc .. work your abdomen and lower back harder than any specific core-type training, especially under heavy load so do yourself a favour, skip the sit-ups and practice your main lifts. I’m not saying you shouldn’t train your abs, but remember the main purpose of your core is to stabilise the spine. When under load this is an absolute necessity, if you use a belt every set, you won’t increase your own strength & stability around the middle and may be more at risk of injury due to muscular imbalances. On top of that, when you do decide to lift without one, you will feel very weak and unstable.
Pro’s of belt use:
- Increased intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) to support spine
- Prevent hyper-extension of the lumbar spine
- Increased stability during main lifts
- Allows heavier weights to be used
- Reduced spinal shrinkage (lower back compression) due to increased IAP
Con’s of belt use:
- Inhibited motor recruitment patterns
- Increased blood pressure
- Injuries can be more severe – due in part to heavier loads being used
- Will not make up for bad technique
- Weaker core (if used excessively)
These are just some pro’s and con’s, if you are interested in a more in-depth study have a read of Stuart McGill’s review here.
In summary, belts are not necessary for most types of weight training in which the spinal erectors don’t work against heavy resistance – i.e. machine work or isolation exercises like bicep curls or lat raises. They can be used for heavy compound lifts, but I recommend only on max effort sets. Anyone with blood pressure problems or heart conditions should use them sparingly, if at all.
Most importantly – Do some research! don’t just throw on a belt because your mate/training partner tells you to, or you’ve read it in some forum somewhere. Read up on what they’re for and why to use them!
A bit of DOM’s from yesterday’s session – not done DB pullovers for a while, Lats & Triceps suffering for it!
Seated Press 53.5kg x5, 61kg x3, 68.5kg x6, 53.5kg x12+3+2 RP
Weighted Chins (palms facing) 22.5kg x6+2+1 RP
Curls 32.5kg x5, 42.5kg x5+2+1 RP
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts 68.5kg x5, 90kg x15
Deadlift 125kg x5, 141kg x3, 157.5kg x3
Weighted Dips 25kg x13+5+3
Short on time today so used my lunch break for a cheeky back session, limited equipment so did:
DB Pullover 38kg x10x10
‘V’ Grip Pulldown 90kg x6, 80kg x11
DB Row To Hip 30kg x12x12
Rack Pull 140kg x8 – Only a Smith Machine available, did 8 reps then canned it as it was just too awkward to use and the bar was too smooth to grip!
Not been posting much lately, started my new job Monday so been a bit hectic. Also trying to sort out a new workout schedule due to shifts, hence the big gaps in training over the last week or so. Anyway, back on it today! I’ll be posting regularly again from now.
Bench 85kg x3, 97.5kg x3, 108.5kg x10+3+2 RP
Machine Lever Row 52.5kg x5, 73.5kg x18+6+4 RP
Close-Grip Bench 62.5kg x5, 87.5kg x14+4+2 RP
Reverse-Grip Curls 22.5kg x5, 31kg x10+5+5 RP
Squat 112.5kg x3, 130kg x3, 145kg x12
Weighted Dips 25kg x12+4+3 RP
‘V’ Grip Pulldown To Chest (13) x11+4+3 RP
Had a bit of a cold last few days so haven’t trained, gave it a go today anyway as feeling a bit better – Not too bad a session (weight/reps-wise), but it was a bit of a tough slog!
Seated Press 50kg x3, 57.5kg x3, 65kg x9+2+2 RP
Weighted Chins 20kg x8+3+2 RP
Bicep Curls 25kg x5, 35kg x9+4+3 RP
Stiff-Legged Deadlift 52.5kg x5, 73.5kg x20
Deadlift 116kg x3, 132.5kg x3, 150kg x6 – feeling these more than anything else! probably had more than 6, but too knackered.
Weighted Dips 22.5kg x12+5+4 RP
‘V’ Grip Pulldown to Chest (13) x10+4+3 RP
Happy New Year!
Another hangover session, oops! It wasn’t too bad in the end, although I think there would be a few more reps when not hanging!!
Bench 78.5kg x5, 91kg x5, 102.5kg x12+3+2 RP
T-Row 62.5kg x10, 45kg x20
Close-Grip Bench 62.5kg x5, 75kg x20+6+4 RP
Reverse-Grip Curls 22.5kg x5, 27.5kg x10+8+5 RP
Squat 105kg x5, 121kg x5, 137.5kg x12
‘V’ Grip Pulldowns (13) x9+3+2 RP
Lying Hamstring Curls (6) x13+4+2 RP