What's better than a bench program? Well, I don't want to sound cocky, but it would be my new strength system ... the Hybrid Strength System. For months, everyone has been wondering what this system is all about. This system is unlike any bodybuilding or powerlifting program that's out there and it grants every lifter's wish ... the constant change in workout.
I came about this system from my old training partner, Tom Sullivan. He is a motivated individual and he is in incredible shape. You would of never guessed that he was a powerlifter. He looked more like a bodybuilder by appearance, but when I started working out with him, I saw that he was a power-bodybuilder. Anyway, to make a long story short, he motivated me to do two things with my workout:
Well, Tom's workouts were excellent and that's exactly where I wanted my powerlifting training to be ... right in next to a bodybuilders. The rough draft of the system started out with me changing up my workout week to week. This worked excellently, but the constant change would be hard to keep up. So I decided to get it systemized to where I would be changing the exercise every 2-4 weeks.
- Change the way I was doing the exercise as far as reps and sets were concerned
- Change the exercise and keep the reps and sets the same
The concept of this system is to keep your muscles guessing and your motivation up. A lot of the high-intensity techniques I used in this system are going to make your testosterone go SKY HIGH! This is good because, the helps to increase your strength ... which in turn helps to burn fat because your building muscle. When I started his system two years ago, my body took to the workouts quickly. Decreases in bodyfat and increases in strength weren't unnatural. I eventually went from 240 pounds down to as low as 218 pounds at some point, but I didn't lose any strength at all. As I slowly bulked back up to 230 pounds, I was putting on muscle. In the workouts, you use fat to energize you. Doing this, you will increase your chances of burning fat quicker.
The reason I call it "hybrid" because this system is a hybrid between bodybuilding and powerlifting. You can call it a "power-bodybuilder's" program if you want. I use a lot of bodybuilding
techniques, like the "50-Reps" mentioned in my past articles, and I use certain aspects of powerlifting like
the traditional powerlifting cycle mentioned in my "Beginning Powerlifting." Between the two, this
program is guarantee results. And this is not like any other program, the constant change keeps you
motivated and wanting to come back to the gym. The workouts are tough, but are they supposed to
be easy, though. This system is for everyone simply because I've set it up that way. Anyone from a
dedicated bodybuilder or powerlifter to a busy 9-5 lifter who's time is limited. I even used the principles
from the book, "Brawn" to assist lifters in this making this system truly a "hybrid" program.
The philosophy of this system is one thing ... to build muscle, you must get stronger ... to get leaner,
you must get stronger. Take at look at some of today's powerlifters, especially guys around the 165-220
range. You'll see that they are more leaner and that type of physique makes you look bigger. Kirk
Karswaski and George Halbert are a few that are examples of this. They not only use high reps, but they
use traditional low reps as well. Everyone that has tried this system, has increased their numbers on a
majority of exercises. Go to my website below and check out more information on this system.
This month, I'll give you a few excerpts from my strength program. This will give you a chance at what I have to offer. I hope someday that his program will be as big as Westside Barbell Club's program, but I can only try.
What's Different With This One?
Looks like I'm back again. After I introduced my hybrid system which is composed of
powerlifting methods and bodybuilding methods. Many have tried it and got great success with it. Lots of people have gained size and strength and have even gotten leaner because of it. After that, I decided that the system should have another side of it. For those gaining size and strength only and for those wanting to compete in powerlifting. So that the reason for this third version of this system. It will feature a lot of new techniques as well as new exercises, rack training and band training. When I embarked on it, it was exactly what I wanted. The workouts were shorter and you were able to pour in the effort with the exercise you had. Also, you still are switching exercises every week and possibly changing out hybrid techniques. This version will aid you in gaining strength and mass and this version is longer than the previous versions. This one is twelve weeks long and the cycle on this one is unique, unlike anything you've seen. The nutrition, as with any size program, you should be consuming more than your bodyweight. This was mentioned in my "Hybrid Workout and Diet Report." I will go over it again in the nutrition section. This version has helped me gained strength and size as well as improve my technique on the squat, bench, and deadlift. My partner has definitely gained size and strength on this version. He went from a 300-pound bench to now a 345-pound bench and I went from 320-to-365 pounds while doing this version. Also later, I will tell you a video that you can buy that can help you with your benching technique. It's guaranteed to worth the money you put into it. Whether your bodybuilding or powerlifting, this version will work for you.
OK, so what's makes this one stand out from the others? Well, this system can implement the
rubber band training, which helps to increase your bench. The rubber bands are looped at the ends of
bench bars and under the bench. Its purpose is to make the positive phase of your bench stronger than your negative phase. You can use the band on the squats and deadlifts as well. You can use these in this version of the system. More will be mentioned in later reports.
Also, I've invented a new exercise called Barbell Rack Deadlift Shrugs. This exercise starts
within the racks as you would start a rack deadlift. Start the movement with a deadlift and then at the
top do a shrug and return to starting position. You can't do heavy weight, but you can work up to it. This is also good substitute for the deadlifts. This is actually two exercises in one. Also, there is a new exercise for the triceps called the Barbell Rack Close-Grip Bench Press. It's similar to the regular Close-Grip bench except it's done within the racks. You focus on the upper half of the bench press, but your starting point would be different. You start at the pins then press upwards. This helps out your bench a lot and you can't do a lot of weight on this. Believe me, 205-or-225 pounds would be more than anyone can handle. Be sure to have your elbows tucked in the whole time. Another exercise to train the back is something called "rope rows." with using the rope(used for push-owns). Pulling down on the rope, get to a squatting position and use your lats to pull and only the lats. This is a great exercise for the lats.
Rack training has been something that's worked for years. Rack training works on the negative
phase of any movement. This is where band training can help, where it works on the positive phase. By working both phases of any movement, you can surely increase you bench maximum easily. This will also make your lifts much easier to handle. In this version of this system, the rack training is modified. Your weight starts moderate and progressively go up in weight. I think this is the best way to do this. Rack squats, rack deadlifts(or the substitute exercise mentioned above), and Rack Bench can be done.
Lastly, a new cycle is being introduced which what I call the "Blitz Cycle." I looked at the 3x3
program by Korte. The program had promise to it and I think it can increase your strength greatly but it
had one problem that most of the lifters modified it to ... it had no other exercises but the big three. So I thought about taking one week where the bench, squat, and deadlift would be done in what I call "Blitz" fashion. On bench day, instead of doing your regular cycle, you would be doing 3 sets of 15 reps and supersetting it with another chest exercise. The squat and deadlift would follow suit. I believe that by doing this, you can increase your explosive strength greatly. This is why this version is longer. One
week you'll be doing your cycle and the next week you'll be doing the "blitz" and then back to the cycle the cycle the next week and so on. Believe me, these "blitz" weeks will give you explosive power and help you to master your techniques better.
Progress, Progression, Performance and Persistance
Monitoring progress is the key to a good program. This means either keeping track of what you do in the gym or checking your physique. Just as long as you find a way to check your progression, then motivation won't be a problem. Take measurements and pictures. This help to see your progression and will strengthen your motivation even better.
Poundage progression is also a good indicator of strength increase. Even doing one more rep is a sign of progression. Anything that you do more of, in terms of weights and/or reps, is a sign of progression. In the MSS, progression is apart of the program. Adding more weight and/or adding one more rep is part of the game. But don't do it in terms of form. Your form should be the main goal next to strength. I would go up five pounds every week or until you achieve the number of sets and reps without too much fatigue in the muscle and in the form.
The volume of work will be the same as in "BRAWN", but using a little of the MSS to make it even more high-intense. The less exercises, the more you can pour in on the ones you have. This is not to say that the original MSS is to high on exercise, that's just the way it was made. But with MSS, plus the approach of "BRAWN," this makes it accessible to those who want a high-intense system, but with the time factors included.
The choice of exercises are the basic ones used from day one and the primary one that build muscle mass. The squat, leg press, bench press, lat pull-down, cable rows, behind-the-neck press, standing barbell press, barbell and dumbbell curls, standing calf raises, triceps extensions, close-grip bench press, deadlift, shrugs, dumbbell flat and incline bench press. They are different from the ones that "BRAWN" used but with the incorporation with the MSS that works every muscle.
The best way to develop a good physique is to get big muscles. The focus of this modified system is size and strength naturally. Doing this will make you appear more defined with the body fat percentage still being the same. On the abbreviated workouts with MSS and "BRAWN" mixed, you can achieve this.
Performance is based on how you utilize your form. Every rep or every set should be performed with the utmost strictness. Then you can do extra with some assistance or you can "loosen" up your form. With the MSS, everything should start out strict but should end up getting some forced reps and your form should be relaxed.
Being persistent is incorporated in both "BRAWN" and in the MSS. They maybe times where you can go up on anything, but the thing is to keep at it and don't stop. This is why you keep a log of everything so that you can look back and see what went wrong or what needs to be done. Remember to keep the increments small (5 pounds at the most). See everything as a challenge, even those "bad" days.
Check out my web site @ http://www.angelfire.com/al3/optimummuscle/system.html
Back To Curtis Dennis Jr.'s Main Page
Back To The Articles Main Page.
Blast Your Back And Biceps! James Grage And Whitney Reid Video Workout
Captain America's Training Plan
The Ultimate Beginner's Full-Body Workout