Last time I outlined the basic principles of Specific Progressive Overload Training in Part 1. It was nothing new to anyone experienced in the iron game but I feel this series will put together routines that utilize know-how and proven methods to gain strength and muscle mass in the natural athlete.
It is hard to discern sometimes what works regarding natural versus enhanced athletes. As a natural bodybuilder I know first hand that I must have a different mindset when it comes to proper training, nutrition, and supplementation. With these routines I hope to help those looking to build an impressive physique without the use of drugs.
Training For Strength & Mass
Training to gain strength and mass is both a simple concept and confusing one. It is simple in the fact that in order for a muscle to improve strength and cross sectional area (mass) you must impose a demand for it to react. Once you apply resistance it is not accustomed to it will react and grow stronger and larger.
On the other hand, so many other factors and influences from other resources and individuals begin to cloud that reasoning - some legitimate and some absolutely unnecessary.
Strength Training Articles:
- The 80/20 Rule For Incredible Strength Gains. - By Mike Mahler
- Hybrid Strength And Hypertrophy Training! - By Nathan J. Polencheck
- Forgotten Methods Of Building Strength And Size! - By Josh Henkin
- Other Strength Articles...
As a natural trainer it is your mission to find sound, proven methods of training, nutrition and supplementation to satisfy your needs. Building a proportionate, strong, massive physique should be the goal and finding a system that fits these needs is definitely a journey.
Well Known Principles:
This system is by no means the end-all-be-all of systems - far from it. But, I hope to at least shed some light on methods and routines that I have used and have trained others on for years with great results.
These routines are not state of the art, extreme training methods that you will burn out on in a month. They are a collection of principles we all know and have used strategically placed in carefully designed programs for efficiency of your efforts and substantial results.
The Routine From Part 1:
The last time I presented a great all-around routine to get started on the road to results. The routine included ways to keep the muscle confused and the strength climbing. The low volume and high frequency should lead to faster results. It was designed to get your body adapted to the frequency so you can move on to more phases of training without ending up overtrained.
By keeping the volume low you are able to work the muscle groups more often while still training them at different angles in a week's time. For example, many trainers work each body part about once per week. A sample chest workout may consist of four angles of movements including combinations of:
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At a higher frequency you are training at a limited volume each day but training more often. So, in the long run you are still covering all of the angles but not atrophying the muscle by waiting an entire seven days to train the same muscle groups again.
Adapting To Heavy Loads
Now, with that said let us change gears slightly and steer into what this installment is about. In Part 2 I will delve into a strength and mass routine that is based off of the same principles as Part 1 but this time our priority will be centered on bigger movements and overall strength. If Part 1 is working then by all means keep going.
Part 2 is a plan to try once you feel you are getting stagnate and need a simple change. This routine is designed to adapt the body to heavy loads for overall body strength. This overall strength will transfer into other movements and in turn will result in greater gains in all muscle groups.
It is no mystery that if you squat heavy it will help in other lifts as well. If you barbell row a lot of weight and are truly strong in that movement then you will undoubtedly have strong and massive biceps. The same is true for heavy bench presses, shoulder presses and deadlifts.
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If You Are Strong In The Barbell Row
You Will Have Strong and Massive Biceps.
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Part 2 is great for "hardgainers," those individuals who find it difficult to add muscle mass and strength. They are usually the types that are skinny with little muscle and have extremely high metabolisms.
A Word About "Hardgainers":
I see hardgainers in a different light than most. The common concept behind a hardgainer program is to be careful not to overtrain, workout only a few times per week working everything only once per week, and limit the amount of sets.
My view? If someone is a hardgainer that means they have a superior metabolism, and their bodies are resilient. They are able to eat massive amounts of food without getting too fat and are able to work muscle groups frequently. Their metabolisms enable protein synthesis to occur more rapidly and recover faster.
I myself used to label myself a hardgainer, but once I learned to use this to my advantage it opened me up to a whole new outlook on training and eating. Embrace your "hardgainer" status and take full advantage of it.
A Word About Phases Of Training:
I am not a huge fan of different phases of training for bodybuilding. It works great for the sports athletes such as football, basketball, baseball, etc. But bodybuilding is a different animal. The only phases I recommend are ones of high intensity, less intensity and short breaks.
Usually a program of high intensity can last about 4-to-6 weeks before burn-out sets in. After that time you can either perform a week of low intensity (stopping every set a few reps short of failure and lower volume) or take 3-or-4 days completely off.
If you were to continue training while you are burnt out you risk over extending yourself and gains will either cease or regress. You need phases of this "down time" to recharge your muscles, nervous system, and motivation. It will keep you on the right track to progress.
| The Central Nervous System.
The human central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. These lie in the midline of the body and are protected by the skull and vertebrae respectively.
This collection of billions of neurons is arguably the most complex object known.
The central nervous system along with the peripheral nervous system comprise a primary division of controls that command all physical activities of a human.
Neurons of the central nervous system affect consciousness and mental activity while spinal extensions of central nervous system neuron pathways affect skeletal muscles and organs in the body.
How To Increase Your Intensity:
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As said before, this program utilizes the same principles as before but will alter a few things to compensate for less movements and more volume per movement. For example: for the last program there were four sets for biceps at two angles (movements). For this program you will do four sets of one movement.
The volume is the same but the number of movements is different. This will allow for a pyramid system of training to enable you to gain strength. Increase the weight while decreasing the reps and continue to work to failure on all movements. It is simple, but remember K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid).
- Incline barbell press*
- Flat barbell or dumbbell press*
- Dumbbell pull-overs**
- Wide-grip pull-ups*
- Bent-over barbell rows*
- Floor or partial deadlifts***
- Weighted rope crunches**
* 4 sets of 6-12 reps
** 3 sets of 10-15 reps
*** 3 sets of 4-8 reps
- Dumbbell side laterals*
- Bent-over dumbbell laterals**
- Smith or barbell presses**
- Barbell shrugs*
- Barbell curls*
- Lying triceps extensions*
- Lying or hanging leg raises***
* 4 sets of 6-12 reps
** 2 sets of 8-12 reps
*** 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Standing calf raises*
- Seated calf raises*
- Squats or Smith squats**
- Leg extensions*
- Stiff-legged deadlifts**
- Lying or Seated leg curls* (optional movement)
*4 sets of 10-15 reps
**4 sets of 6-12 reps
Day 4: Repeat Day 1
Day 5: Repeat Day 2
Day 6: Repeat Day 3
Day 7: Off
Note: Do one warm-up set of 15 reps before each movement. Each workout should take no longer than one hour. Stay progressive. Stay on this program for four weeks and then take some "down time" as mentioned earlier. Good luck!
BodySpace members, have you tried the SPOT Workouts yet? If you try one of the workouts presented in this series for 12 weeks and write a review about your results, you could receive $50 in supplements!
Next: S.P.O.T. Part 3: Body Part Specific Training