Since my last installment I have had an extended period off from competing due to personal reasons (such as getting married and having another child with my new wife). However, during this period I have been working hard on bringing up my weak points and getting myself in a position where I will definitely be competitive when stepping on the stage for this year's British.
In part one of this article series I will highlight my training and in part two I will outline my diet.
Personality & Action
Speak to a hundred bodybuilders about training and nutrition and you'll get a hundred different approaches and opinions of how to go about building your physique. I am about to present my training and nutrition paradigms that I will be implementing for the coming competitive year and whilst this is obviously my training and nutrition routine I feel the basic tenants will aid most in their training endeavors.
I feel a person's action reflect the individuals personality and in that respect my approach to bodybuilding is reflective of myself. My line manager at work is hot on personality testing for optimizing work performance and selecting candidates, as such I have been tested numerous times with the same result each time.
According to one test (the DISC system) I show strong tendencies both as a blue and a red individual meaning I like things done yesterday (red characteristic) but like things to be organized (blue characteristic). Considering this, my training and nutrition approach are the same - I want results ASAP but I want things organized and I want to know the reasons why I'm doing something. As such let's delve into my plan of action.
| What Is The DISC System?
DISC is a group of psychometric tests based on the 1928 work of psychologist William Moulton Marston. The tests classify four aspects of personality by testing a person's preferences in word associations. DISC is an acronym for:
People talk about getting bigger or hypertrophy as if it's a single change or adaptation in the muscle. Its not, a muscle is a complex structure composed of a variety of substructures which aid in the muscles function. This means for full development of both size (structural adaptation) and strength (functional adaptation) a range of means are required.
When talking size we usually either mean sarcomere (myofibril) hypertrophy, sarcoplasmic (non contractile) hypertrophy or hypertrophy of the blood vessels (capilarization). For a muscle to be bigger it needs to be stronger as such in addition strength can be broken down into maximal strength, strength endurance and power/speed strength.
Considering this I use three methods of developing size and strength in my programs:
- Repetition effort method
- Max effort method
- Dynamic effort method
In that order of preference. Each method aims to develop maximal tension in the muscle through three differing ways.
1. Repetition Effort Method:
The repetition effort aims to create maximal tension through fatigue, as you perform many repetitions muscle fibers exhaust and more are needed to be called into play to complete a rep until all available are aiding at the point of fatigue.
2. Max Effort Method:
The max effort method requires the use of near maximal weights and the muscle must recruit as many fibers as possible to lift weights which are above 90% of a person's maximum.
3. Max Effort Method:
The dynamic effort method requires the muscle fibers to be recruited maximally to accelerate a sub maximal weight.
Off Season Training
In terms of building muscle the repetition effort method is the most effective and the max effort and dynamic effort should be used to facilitate the weights used in this method. As such my off season training looked like this:
- Squat: 4-6 sets, building up to a 1-5RM (max effort)
- Romanian deadlifts: 3sets, 6-10 (repetition effort)
- Single leg squats: 3 sets, 8-12 reps each leg (repetition effort method)
- Incline press: 4-6 sets, building up to a 1-5RM (max effort)
- Bent over rows: 3 sets, 6-10 (repetition effort)
- Flat dumbbell press: 3 sets, 8-12 reps (repetition effort method)
- High pulls: 4-6 sets, of 2-3 reps performed explosively (dynamic effort method) or good mornings 3 sets 15-20 reps (repetition effort)
- Leg press: 3 sets, 15-20 reps (repetition effort)
- Hamstring curls: 3 sets, 15-20 reps (repetition effort)
- Calf raises: 2-3 sets, 15-20 reps (repetition effort)
- Plyometric push ups: 4-6 sets of 2-3 reps performed explosively (dynamic effort method) or high rep incline dumbbell press 3 sets 15-20 reps (repetition effort)
- Pullups: 3 sets, 15-20 reps (repetition effort)
- Lateral raises: 3 sets, 15-20 reps (repetition effort)
- External rotations: 2 sets, 15-20 reps (repetition effort)
The dynamic effort exercises were only performed every fourth workout as the repetition effort work is more conducive to muscle building and the dynamic effort work is there to facilitate the repetition effort work. This is obviously my program and the exercises were selected as they suit my build and my needs.
|1-5 RM CALCULATOR|
Enter the amount of weight you can lift (in pounds) and the number of reps you can lift it for.
Currently my weight training has changed as I am now training with a workout partner who is going to be competing with me in the same class - adds spice to our workouts anyway!
- Monday - back and posterior delts (repetition effort method)
- Tuesday - legs and calves (repetition effort method)
- Wednesday - chest and shoulders (repetition effort method)
- Friday - three movements; whole body (max effort method)
We are currently performing a routine that looks like this:
The exercises for these change regularly, as we work in three week cycles for the repetition effort method which has a higher overall volume than before, we don't cycle the Friday exercises as we always perform squats, incline bench and t-bar rows but we add a fourth movement and cycle that so each week an area will get two exercises (i.e. squats and leg press one week, the next incline and flat bench etc).
I tend to try to progress my weight training by either increasing the intensity (weight on the bar), volume (sets and reps), density (how much work done in a specific time) or by changing the exercises or increasing the frequency of training for a short period.
I perform two different types of cardio sessions. Either High Intensity Interval sessions (HIIT) or slow comfortable pace sessions.
The high intensity training is quick, hard and burns lots of calories both during the session and after. The downside is: it's draining especially with weights and low calories on top. As such I perform up to three sessions a week, usually on days when not weight training.
The sessions last about thirty minutes and involve either sprints of differing durations and distance or explosive work performed in circuit fashion with a twenty kilogram kettlebell. With the kettlebell I am for a set number of reps on several exercise (say 100-150) and perform the exercise back to back until I have done all the reps.
Slow Comfortable Pace Cardio:
Whilst this isn't as time efficient as intervals, it isn't as stressful either and I can perform several sessions daily if need be without running the risk of sympathetic overtraining. I start my dieting with around 2-3 sessions of cardio a week and linearly increase the number and time spent doing the sessions as the weight loss slows.
In 2004 I eventually was doing two forty five minute sessions daily on top of weight training the week before the competition. I usually aim for a heart rate of 60-75% of my maximum (220-age) but have found the talk test to be a good indicator, if I'm sweating but can hold a mild conversation then its fine.
|MAX HEART RATE CALCULATOR|
Enter your age, then press "Calculate".
In part two, I will outline my diet as well as give you a glimpse of the changes since dieting.