Peak training periods is when everything in your life is harmonized. Where, at the Gym, you can do no wrong. Dumbbells seem lighter, bars of plates seem easier and the pump is outrageous. You squeeze your hands and you can feel it, your forearms, triceps and the back instantly responds.
As you walk, you can feel your thighs move, and all this feels good. After a certain level of activity and intensity, the body has it's own anti-inflammatory that kicks in. Your nutrition is perfect, sleep is great, you family life is in order, and your emotions are not focused on any particular problem. You're in "The Zone", and your happy.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, your bio-rhythms take you into the doldrums, "The Valleys", where nothing feels good. Tired, out of breath, no sleep, emotionally stressed, and eating poorly. No harmony here. "The Valleys", where negative attitudes prevail and procrastination is the meal for the day.
Dragging your butt around with a long face. Nip this at the butt, I mean bud. And take your emotions to the Gym, using lightweights, high reps, preferably dumbbells. No matter what happens, you don't stop lifting. This is your sanctuary, peace, of mind and body. The body is your temple, treat it that way, and don't be lazy.
Remember, "the mind talks, but the body knows".
Plateaus, everyone gets them, and over the years it's the plateaus, that teaches you patience, determination, respect and integrity. Plateaus, is where your muscle memory has soared ahead of your biology. After all, in the beginning there is a spirit of growth, that reveals itself quickly.
A very exciting time, where every day muscles feel different, And growth is visible. As the body records every workout, all the training, and accumulation effect, the body begins to get comfortable in this repetitiousness and you drift out of the zone. You're, not in the "The Valleys", and you're definitely not peaking. This can last a while, and drives the "dabblers" away.
This is where disappointment and doubtfulness can set in, and sabotage your existing progress. "What am I doing here?", " been there, done that", "here we go again". This is the internal language of the plateau. No new territory, no new progress.
Far be it for me to drag you down a negative path, and then abandon you.
Solutions are personal. They're slightly different for everyone. Here is what works for me:
3 basic movements performed consecutively.
- Squats (full squats), for 10 repetitions.
- Bench press (flat or incline), also 10 repetitions.
- Deadlifts, (standard or sumo), 10 more repetitions
This is mostly for the hardcore lifters. These three basic movements performed consecutively, incorporate total body and mind. The devil's triangle, is also cardiovascular, gets your heart pumping and endurance. It is what you pray for.
Start off light, 135 lbs or so. I personally use 225 lbs, comfortable weight for me, 225 lbs, on all three movements. The entire process for me takes about one hour to do. However, it does leave me in another zone, breathless, pouring sweat, and very happy, that I was able to complete it.
Another method to Devil's triangle, is to add stalking to all three movements. Stalking, is where weight is added to each movement, after each set. Example, 20 lb jump, after each set, on all three movements, starting with 225 lbs plus 20 lbs, plus 20 lbs, plus 20 lbs, etc. You may want to start out with 5 repetitions per movement and work your way up to 10 repetitions.
At Holbox, doing some DB bench presses.
It takes a lot of hard work, and a little more than an hour. As you increase the weight on each movement, you find you need more oxygen and recovery time. From 365lbs to 425lbs, sets 8-9-10 are gruesome and you may need to rest for a full 3 to 4 minutes. Don't be shy, and use a reasonable weight.
Try to do "the Devil's triangle", on Days you have ample time, usually on days you don't have to work or drive long distances. Here is why:
All three movements, squats, bench, and dead lifts, have a residual effect on the body. Example, if you train at 6:00 am, you're exhausted after this routine, quickly hit the showers and run off to work. Then around 10:30am or 11:30am, you start to yawn, feeling sleepy, and your legs feel like rubber.
The overall sensation is that you "hit the wall", and " your plane is crashing" so to speak. Feel like a nap. Take one, even 30 minutes at the office. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing, and that process will help you recover faster by replacing the oxygen.
The Devils triangle leaves you lots of room to be creative, try only using dumbbells. Dumbbell squats, dumbbell bench and dumbbell stiff legged dead-lifts, create your own version to suits you; main thing: have fun, "fun and laughter, is what we're after".
The Written Code
- 10 reps x Squats
- 10 reps x Bench-press
- 10 reps x dead-lifts
- 30 reps x 10 sets = 300 reps.
Click here for a printable log of this workout!
The Devils triangle will pull you out of the "DOLDRUMS".