Bodybuilding.com Information Motivation Supplementation
in:

Muscle Separation Training.

Bodybuilders can set their watches by it. 12 weeks before the contest, around the time they decide to cut calories, insecurities emerge like a fat chick at Dairy Queen.

By: Don Alessi

Bodybuilders can set their watches by it. 12 weeks before the contest, around the time they decide to cut calories, insecurities emerge like a fat chick at Dairy Queen. Otherwise self-assured muscle monsters start behaving like paranoid neurotics. They babble... Am I too small? Am I losing strength too fast? Are body-for-lifers making fun of me?

This is the time that preparedness pays off. This means shifting your mindset and having a plan. Why not use this restricted calorie period to your advantage? How? You ask. By forcing your body to use its huge reserve of energy and internal pharmacy to build lean, chiseled muscle. It's simply a matter of knowing the right strategy.

Get keyed up. Now is the time to strip off the fat and separate that hard fought bulk into individually cleaved, muscle bundles.


Peanut Butter Pumped Or Sizzled Lean?

Most of us are familiar with over eating binges leading to unexpected strength and muscle gains. I remember when a couple buddies of mine were conned into believing that some plant fungus was a "legal steroid" and proceeded to force-feed peanut butter by the tub chased with a two liter of full-sugar cola. The funny thing is they actually got bigger and stronger - for about 2 weeks.

What gives? The bottom line is that forcing calories leads to quick gains. This works due to excessive insulin release causing maximum osmotic pressure within the muscle cell. This pressure is actually water, amino acids and energy substrates (fuel) all super-sized into muscle cells. This causes three noticeably cool effects; the first is that the extra stored energy can be used to boost muscular strength and strength-endurance.

The second is cosmetic. Water fills the muscle creating a kind of a "perma-pump" effect. When you then combined the vaso-dilation (expanding) of the blood vessels to transport these extra nutrients into the cells, the result is veins and arteries that jump out like trunk lines.

The third effect is the body laying down more muscle tissue to support and stabilize these bursting muscle cells.

The second lesser known and perhaps more effective time for muscle separation to occur is during the first weeks of a cutting phase, when training includes high reps (10-20 or more), low rest (1 minute or less) and high volume. The sudden restricting of calories below normal shocks the pituitary into releasing anabolic hormones for survival.

Insulin secretion however is at a low point due to the diminished carbohydrate intake. This means growth hormone is the more abundant hormone in circulation. What you may not know about growth hormone is it's unique ability to pull the other ½ of amino acids into the muscle that insulin leaves behind. As you may have guessed this is another perfect growth period due to the muscle building effects of growth hormone and it's downstream cousin IGF-I (insulin like growth factor).

Right about now a light bulb should blow in your pointy little head. Yes! You can combine the two phases for an added effect. Start you diet 16 weeks out and "ratchet" your carbohydrate and fat calories up and down in two week intervals such that the average of each four week unit (1 cutting & 1 bulking phase) brings you down 500 calories. For example, if your average caloric intake is 3500 calories before the diet then;

    Week 1 & 2 - 2750 calories
    Week 3 & 4 - 3250 calories
    Week 5 & 6 - 2250 calories
    Week 7 & 8 - 2750 calories
    And So On...


Separation Workout

Unique to the following routine is a "burnout" set performed immediately after a series of strength sets. This is termed a "combi" set by researcher Goto et al., or combination strength / hypertrophy sets. They concluded "muscular protein synthesis can be facilitated by performing a single set of low intensity, high rep training immediately after a high intensity low repetition exercise". They speculate that "the increase in blood GH concentration plays at least one part".

The Holistic Hypertrophy Program.
Most common methods of training usually fail to exhaust one or another group of muscle fibres. Learn what the holistic hypertrophy program is and how it can help you!

Just when the dust settles from your "combi-set" training the session includes a series of moderate load, no rest, supersets that use specific angles and "tricks" to isolate individual heads of the muscle. See along with GH, the other part of the equation may be due to forced ischemic conditions (lack of oxygen).

It was first discovered in patients with chronic obstructive lung disease, which limits the amount of oxygen and subsequently raises systemic blood metabolite levels (like lactic acid). "Both the increase in the numerical proportion of fast-twitch fibers and muscular hypertrophy was demonstrated to occur in the leg muscles during ischemia." (Takarada et al.)

This is the reason that bodybuiders can still develop type II fibers using light to moderate loads, less than 65% of maximum. Moderate loads in concert with short rest intervals and high volume mirror this unique condition.


Uncoupling Separation Training!
(Sounds like a form of marriage counseling!)

Although I have not seen a formal study, logic would dictate that "fat burners" including; thyroid hormone, clenbuterol, ephedrine or DNP that increase uncoupling of the oxidative process used along with a "separation" type workout would add to the effects. The reason is they share a common mechanism of action. This would mean greater lean muscle retention and greater fat loss during a "cutting phase".

The following is a 30 day muscle separation routine. The entire body is trained in 5 day period including one rest day. On day 6 repeat the cycle.


Day 1 - Quads & Hamstrings

A: Front Squat (not shown) - Vastus Intermedius, Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis

  • Stance is close, feet 10" apart, feet pointed straight
  • Sets: 6
  • Reps: 5,4,3,2,1, 25*@ 50% maximum - perform to failure within 30 seconds of last set of 5 reps)
  • Rest interval (seconds): 180
  • Giant set B1-B3 - One set of three exercises comprise 1 giant set. Move briskly, without rest from B1 to B2 & B3. Then rest 2 minutes before starting your 2nd giant set.

B1: Barbell Hack Squat, Heels Elevated (not shown) - Vastus Medialis, Vastus Lateralis

  • Rest the barbell on the floor. Place two 25 lb. plates shoulder width apart. Position yourself in front of the bar, heels elevated on the plates, using a shoulder-width stance and angle the toes out slightly. Grasp the bar under your glutes with an overhand, (pronated) grip.

    Using an arched back flex the knees and hips to get into position. Next, lift the bar by extending the knees, hips and spine. Pause momentarily before lowering the load back down to its original position.

  • Tip: after completion of 10 controlled reps stagger to the leg press machine for part two of this giant set.
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 10
  • Rest interval: 10

B2: Vertical or 45º Leg Press (see below) - Vastus Medialis, Gracilis, Hip Adductors

  • Position the feet wide and slightly toed out.
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 10
  • Rest interval: 10

B3: Single Leg Extensions (one leg) - Vastus Medialis

  • Perform one side at a time. MRI studies confirm that performing an exercise unilaterally increases the peak contraction force that gives you a better burn, better results and less strain on the knee joint!

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 15
  • Rest interval: 120

D1: Single Leg Back Bridges (one leg) - Semi-Membranosus Semi-Tendinosus, Biceps Femoris

    Lie down flat on your back. Place the right heel centrally on the bench, foot neutral. Bend the left knee 90º and rest the left ankle on the right knee. Concentrically, elevate and extend the right knee & hip with a contraction of the right hamstrings and glutes.

    Additionally, as you elevate the core, slowly rotate the right foot from neutral to medial (toward the middle of the body). Lower by reversing this motion. Switch feet after the completion of the set.

D2: Semi-Stiff Legged Deadlifts (see below) - Semi-Membranosus, Semi-Tendinosus

  • This exercise is designed to develop the medial hamstring muscles along with teaching the proper initiation of the posterior chain into compound movements. The barbell is grasped with a shoulder width grip pronated grip. Hip width stance, elbows extended, knees slightly bent. Start the eccentric movement with the bar against the body. The load is descended to just below the knees with the backwards push of the hips and buttocks.

  • Note: This eccentric phase should take up to 4 seconds and the center of mass should be "rocked back" on the heels in the bottom position. Raise the weight with a pull of the hamstrings, glutes and lower back.

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 8
  • Rest interval: 10

D3: Seated Single Leg Curls (one leg) - Biceps Femoris

  • The seated leg curl loads the strength curve at the end range of motion. (Closer to the glutes than that of its lying curl cousin, thereby creating a Roman column like effect that offsets the glutes)

    Using a seated leg curl machine align the joints of the machine with your knee and ankle joints. Using one leg point the toes forward and keep the foot centered and neutral at all times. Flex the knee joint toward the glutes before extending it back to its original position.

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 8
  • Rest interval: 10
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 15
  • Rest interval: 120

Click here for a printable version.


Day 2 - Chest & Shoulders

A: Incline Barbell Press (not shown) - Pectoralis Minor, Anterior Deltoid, Pectoralis Major

  • Sets: 6
  • Reps: 5,4,3,2,1, 25*@ 50% maximum - perform to failure within 30 seconds of last set of 5 reps
  • Rest: 180

B: Multi-Angle Flat To Incline Flyes (see below)- Pectoralis Minor, Pectoralis Major

  • This exercise is really 3 chest fly exercises wrapped into one giant set. Start the set at angle one; this is the incline bench position; angle 120º. After completing a set of 10 reps, quickly lower the bench by a couple positions to angle two; 30º lower (150º). After another 10 reps, quickly lower the bench by 30º, once more - a flat 180º position and perform the final reps to failure.

  • Tip: use a pronated grip, as you would on a chest press. This isolates the pectoralis muscles by inhibiting the external rotators of the rear delts.
  • Tip: start with a lighter than normal weight, for example, use a weight that you can maximally do 12 times for the first set of 10 reps.
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 10
  • Rest interval: 60

C1: Rear Lateral Raise (see below) - Rear Deltoid

  

  • Tip: externally rotate the wrists (turn the knuckles out) during the concentric (raising) portion of the lift.
  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 10
  • Rest interval: 10

C2: Lean-Away Lateral Raise (not shown) - Medial Deltoid

  • Place the single handle on the low cable and grasp with your right hand. Place your left hand on the left hand, cable crossover support pole and then lean your torso away from the support until the left arm is extended. Concentrically, laterally elevate the right arm away from the body (abduction) until it is shoulder level. Lower under control to the start position.

  • Tip: internally rotate the wrists (turn the knuckles in) during the concentric (raising) portion of the lift.
  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 10
  • Rest interval: 120

Click here for a printable version.


Day 3 - Recovery Day. Eat, Pose & Rest!

    Tip: posing not only increases muscle separation with non-contractile muscle growth, it also teaches your brain how to "fire" and isolate new muscle tissue.


Day 4 - Back & Abs

A: T-bar Row (not shown) - Latissimus Dorsi, Lower Trapezius

  • Tip: grasp the 45º angle handles and keep the elbows low to the hips during the concentric portion of the lift.
  • Sets: 6
  • Reps: 5,4 ,3,2,1,25*@ 50% maximum - perform to failure within 30 seconds of last set of 5 reps
  • Rest: 180

B1: Close Parallel Grip Chin-Up (see below) - Latissimus Dorsi, Serratus Anterior

  • Use the V-bar handle attachment (after completion move quickly to the leg curl while swearing bloody revenge on the day you heard the Alessi name)
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 6
  • Rest interval: 10

B2: Wide Parallel Grip Pulldown To The Clavicles (not shown) - Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids

  • Use the double "D"-bar handle attachment
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 15
  • Rest interval: 10

B3: Shoulder Dumbbell Extensions (see below) - Teres Major

  • Sometimes referred to as a "straight arm kickback". Either way, this primarily develops the insertion of the lats and the teres major at their widest point, just behind the armpit. Grasp two dumbbell using an overhand, (pronated) grip.

    Begin this exercise in a bent over, arched back position, with the knees slightly bent. Concentrically, extend the shoulders back and raise the dumbbells from your hips to above your buttocks being careful to maintain semi-locked elbows. After a brief pause, lower the dumbbells by flexing the shoulder joint.

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 15
  • Rest interval: 120

C: Dumbbell Shrugs

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 10
  • Rest interval: 60

D1: Hanging Straight Leg Raises (not shown) - Rectus Abdominis, Lower Portion

  • Begin by hanging from a chin-up bar, hands spaced wider than shoulder width. First, contract the inner muscle unit of the abdominals by sucking in the belly plus a reverse pelvic tilt. Next, while maintaining abdominal tension, flex the hips, (knees straight) and pull it into the abdomen. Lower by extending the hips.
  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 10
  • Rest interval: 10

D2: Russian Twist (see below) - External & Internal Obliques, Rectus Abdominis

  • Roll a towel to be placed on your lower back. Anchor your feet under a pair of heavy dumbbells. Holding a small weight 2.5-5 lb. over your nose with elbows extended lift your mid and upper back a couple inches off the floor with the contraction of your abs. Twist all the way to one side and then the other while maintaining the contraction.
  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 10
  • Rest interval: 120

Click here for a printable version.


Day 5 - Biceps & Triceps

A: Decline Close Grip Bench Press (on decline bench) - Triceps All Three Heads

  • Bench is set at 10º decline, this is simply achieved by placing a 35lb. plate securely at the foot of the bench. Grip is 10" apart.
  • Sets: 6
  • Reps: 5,4,3,2,1,25*@ 50% maximum - perform to failure within 30 seconds of last set of 5 reps
  • Rest interval: 180

B1: Dumbbell Overhead Extensions (not shown) - Triceps Long Head

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 10
  • Rest interval: 10

B2: Single-Arm Triceps Pushdown (one arm) - Triceps Lateral Head

  • Using the single handle attachment. Using your right hand begin by grasping the handle with an underhand, (supinated) grip. Start by extending the elbow from a position just above the right nipple to full extension at the level of the left upper thigh (across the body). After a pause in the soft-lock out position return to the starting position under control.
  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 10
  • Rest interval: 90

C: EZ-Bar Curls (not shown) - Biceps Brachii, Brachialis

  • Tip: alternate close and wide grips every other set
  • Sets: 6
  • Reps: 5,4,3,2,1,25*@ 50% maximum - perform to failure within 30 seconds of last set of 5 reps
  • Rest: 180

D1: Incline Dumbbell Curls, Inside Grip (not shown) - Biceps Brachii, Emphasis On Short Head

  • Position the incline bench to 100º. Grasp dumbbells and lie on your back. The grip is odd. Using an underhand, supinated grip, grasp the dumbbell by the inside dumbbell head only. Next with the elbows firmly planted into your ribs, extend the elbows fully. Concentrically, flex the dumbbells up to around nipple level (30º of elbow flexion) pause momentarily, then slowly lower the dumbbells to their original 180º postion.
  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 10
  • Rest interval: 10

D2: Low Cable Reverse Curls (not shown) - Brachioradialis, Brachalis

  • Use the rope attachment.
  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 10
  • Rest interval: 90

Click here for a printable version.


Day 6 - Repeat Day 1

At this point you will start at the beginning of this workout.


Muscle Heads Getting Muscle Heads

In conclusion, to develop the finger like separation in all heads of the delts, tri's hams etc...the answer is obvious. The most savvy of muscle heads will utilize a synergistic approach of training, nutrition and chemistry. Then, the next time you cut calories and start to freak you will remember you are just one step closer to your peak physique.

About The Author

Don Alessi is the founder of Alessi Personal Fitness Inc. and co-author of the books The Promise & Lose Fat Forever. His clients include various professional athletes, bodybuilders and a number of fortune 500 executives. His specialties are size / strength development and body transformation. For information on custom program design or to purchase a book or audio CD please visit AlessiFit.com.

Don Alessi
ThePromise@alessifit.com

Visitor Reviews Of This Article!
Read Visitor Reviews - Write Your Own Review

Back To CORE Training's Main Page

Back To The Articles Main Page.

Related Articles
Fat Loss: Greg Plitt's 12 Laws Of Lean
8 Ways To Maximize Your Muscle Pump
Slay The Dragon: 3 Strength Training Myths Exposed!



RATE THIS ARTICLE
POOR
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
EXCELLENT
OVERALL RATING
N/A

Out of 10

0 Ratings

0

Comments

Showing 0 - 0 of 0 Comments

(5 characters minimum)

      • notify me when users reply to my comment
Showing 0 - 0 of 0 Comments

Featured Product

Give Us Feedback:
Report A Problem
Site Feedback
Follow Us:
Twitter
Facebook
RSS Feeds
Bodybuilding.com Newsletter

Receive exciting features,
news & special offers from Bodybuilding.com