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Bodybuilding Techniques And Workouts!

Bodybuilding techniques were developed to compete against the plateau, the sticking point and/or the proverbial wall. Bodybuilding techniques are basic resistance training regimens designed to specifically increase muscle mass.

By: Dr. Warren Willey

Bodybuilding techniques were developed to compete against the plateau, the sticking point and/or the proverbial wall. Bodybuilding techniques are basic resistance training regimens designed to specifically increase muscle mass (hypertrophy) as compared to techniques utilized to increase sport specific requisites (speed, balance, coordination, agility, reactivity, flexibility, strength, etc).

Techniques described here involve hypertrophy of the muscle complex (i.e. muscle, tendon, ligament, joints, and bones). As you focus on long-term goals, you must prepare the supportive structures to adapt and change as our muscles are continually growing.

Currently, a prevalent theory in gyms today is that of progressive overload. This theory has its basis is the belief that you need to lift more to get bigger, or progressively overload the muscles to cause them to grow. This type of training is very hard to perform for long period of time. If this can be done during your entire bodybuilding career, you would see 400 lbs. guys in the gym bench-pressing 1500 lbs! Progressive overload training can be done for different periods of time but is not the only way to train.

Changing Your Routine's

You need to change your routine very often (about every 6 weeks) this include no only the type of exercises but also the type of technique. Continually changing the stress placed on the muscle groups prevents adaptation and forces the body to respond. Utilizing a variety of techniques not only breaks monotony in the gym but allows for periods of growth by alternating tissue breakdown (with overloading, heavy exercises, large resistance) and tissue repair (with rest, lighter activities, and various methods).

There are many different terms used to describe the same activity. This is not an all-inclusive list. There are obviously a number of other techniques and routines not mentioned in this article, including ones utilized by others individuals. Please email me with your ideas, I am always looking to learn new techniques or new ways to train. Ideally, you will take the ones mentioned and modify them to meet your needs and shock the heck out of your muscles.

Resistance level and Rest are only suggestions! Changing or individualizing the techniques allows you to create your own technique and therefore add diversity to your workouts and astonish the muscles!

Giant Sets

A giant set usually consists of a number of different exercises for one particular body part. Set one is preformed on one exercise followed by set one on the next exercise and so on. Weight is usually moderate and there is little to no rest between each exercise. After one set, rest about two to three minutes. Example: Close-Grip Bench Press, followed by Triceps Pushdowns, then Dumbbell Kickbacks. The total, composing one giant set.

Super Sets

A super set consists of a number of different exercises for two or more body parts one after the other. Body part number one is exercised, and then body part number two, etc. Weight is moderate to heavy with minimal rest between exercises. Rest between super sets is anywhere from two - five minutes. Example: Biceps and Triceps - Alternating Standing Curls with Triceps French Curls.

Forced Reps

Forced reps are a process that involves working the muscle group to failure. Forced reps take place with in a given set and can consist of maximal weight to failure (less reps) or light to moderate weight (high reps). Utilization of a lifting partner is essential to allow full contraction of the muscle to occur. Minimal time is needed between forced reps (as long as full muscle contraction occurs) and time between sets utilizing forced reps is longer to allow greater recovery.

Example: Bench Press at 90% of max for 6 - 8 reps (employing a partner to help you through the full phase of contraction).

Eccentric Contractions (Negatives)

Eccentric contractions are defined as muscle contractions in which the muscle lengthens as opposed to shortening (concentric contractions). This can be approached purposefully, with the aid of a partner, utilizing maximal weight (30-40% more than ones maximal lift) or be done with any regular exercise regimen where the lifter concentrates on the 'down' phase of the lift as well as the 'up' phase.

Timing during the lift is very slow, allowing for control, and minimum amount of time is needed between reps. Time between sets is usually greater, as one needs it for recovery.

Example: Bench Press with weight exceeding your maximal press, slowly lower the bar to your chest and with the help of a partner return the bar to the starting position. Repeat. Word of caution: Eccentric contractions are known to cause more muscle soreness than concentric contractions, and the risk of injury is much greater due to the large amount of weight utilized!

Twenty - Ones

Twenty-ones is a descriptive term based on the number of reps done in a given set. The unique aspect of this method is that the set is actually broken up into three different sets done consecutively, within the same movement. The three different aspects of the set involve partial range of motions within a full range of motion (see example). Each aspect or portion of the full range of motion is done for a total of seven, followed by the next portion of the full movement for seven, and then finally by the last portion of the full movement, again for seven. (7 + 7 + 7 = 21!).

The exercise is done using moderate weight. Each portion of the movement is done immediately after one another, with average rest between sets.

Example: Standing Biceps Curls - do seven partial reps from the start point to midway, followed by seven partial reps midway to the end of the movement, then do seven full range of motion standing curls to end it.

Timed Sets / Reps

Timed sets and reps involve doing the movement through a specific fixed time or count. Both the concentric (positive or up) and the eccentric (negative or down) phase of the movement are done over a specified time or count. The positive and negative movement times can be the same or different, as long as they are consistent through out the entire set. Time between reps is minimal (one following the other), and rest between sets is moderate (2- 3 minutes). Weight is usually moderate to light, as the set is difficult.

Example: Seated Quadriceps Extensions - Do the concentric or up movement over a 10 second count followed by the negative or down movement over a ten second count. Repeat.

Partial Reps

Partial reps or restricted range of motion (ROM) sets is similar to Twenty-ones except that the entire set is purposefully done through a partial range of motion. Focus can be either on the concentric or eccentric portion of the partial movement. This can be done anywhere within the normal full range of motion such as at the beginning, the middle, or the end. Weight is usually moderate to heavy and timing between sets is anywhere from 1 to two minutes.

Example: Lying Hamstring Curls - a set of 12 reps is done at the top of the normal range of motion, starting from the hamstrings being fully contracted and ending approximately midway through the normal range of motion and repeating. This is a good technique apply to Bench Press, is my favorite one.

Pre - Exhaustion

Pre-exhaustion is a method in which a muscle group is isolated, using an isolating movement prior to doing a compound movement (more than one muscle being utilized, or more than one joint involved in an exercise). This method fatigues the muscle being refurbished before it is subjected to "the real" workout. Weight is light to moderate and reps are usually in the higher range. Pre-exhaustion uses an isolation exercise (flyes) to fatigue the chest to failure, then use the relatively fresh shoulders and arms to force even more stress on the chest during the Bench Press.

Example: For your chest - Doing Dumbbell Flyes (isolating movement), three sets of 12-15 reps, before doing Bench Press (compound movement).

For More On Pre-Exhuast Click Here

Post - Exhaustion sets

Post-exhaustion sets involves performing low repetition, heavy weight sets, followed immediately by high repetition, light weight sets. This can be done with the same exercise (example #1) or with two different exercise (example #2). Weight is as described above, and there is minimal to no rest between the heavy and light phase of the set. Rest between sets is moderate to long, again, for recovery.

Example #1: Squats - Heavy set doing 4 to 6 reps followed immediately by Squats with a lighter weight, 12 - 15 reps.
Example #2: Squats - Heavy set doing 4 - 6 reps followed by Leg Extensions, moderate weight, 12 - 15 reps.

Pyramiding

Pyramiding is a general term used to describe a number of different options. There is load or weight pyramiding, repetition pyramiding, and rest or intermission pyramiding.

Load Pyramiding

Load pyramiding occurs when each progressive set is done with heavier weight and less repetitions. This can be done with minimal or moderate rest between sets.

Example: Bench Press with sets, reps, and weight as follows - Set 1- 100lbs 10 reps. Set 2- 120 lbs 8 reps, etc.

Load Sets

Load sets progressively add weight to a given set while the number of repetitions stays the same or decreases.

Example: One set - 100lbs 10 reps, followed immediately by 120lbs 8 reps, etc.

Break Downs

Break downs are a great way to increase the intensity and can be used on almost any exercise. They are generally best to use in conjunction with your normal work out. Take again the faithful example of the bench press. Warm up. After a few sets of your normal routine load about 90% of your max onto the bench, or about what you can do for 2 unassisted reps. Bench Press the weight for 4 reps, getting help as you need it from your spotter.

IMMEDIATELY after putting the weight on the rack, strip off about 60% of it and keep benching, getting at least 8 reps. You need to strip off a good chunk of weight to make this principle work. If you are benching 150 lbs, fail HARD, and then pull off 20 lbs, the weight isn't going to feel any lighter, and you won't be able to get the reps that you need. In the last stage of a breakdown, you should be able to bench at least 6 reps unassisted to make it work. Two break down sets per exercise are usually enough.

Few More Tips

Combining principles of Pre-Exhaustion with the Break-Downs is enough for even the most seasoned lifter. An example ? Let's go back to the Bench Press. Take those 40's that you were doing flyes with and also grab a pair of 25's. Load the bench with weight that you could normally do 12 reps with. Do flyes with the 40's until you fail HARD. Drop the 40's, grab the 25's and get at least 8 good reps.

Drop them, grab the barbell with 205 on it (MAKE SURE THE SPOTTER IS READY). Force out at least 4 reps, (Enough you say?? not hardly). Strip off half of the weight and lift 100 lbs until you fail completely. This usually happens at about the 5 rep mark. One or two sets like this is usually plenty per body part (NO MORE). Inspire your partners to new levels with your training intensity.

How Often ?

Three days per week of weights is enough. More will get you less. I've learned this the hard way. Lifting seven days a week like a crazy is too much stress for your body to handle. You will work yourself into a bad cycle of over-training where you actually see negative results. HARDER, NOT LONGER, is the goal of these workouts. Doing a lots sets of an exercise may make you better at that exercise, but not improve the body part as much as doing fewer and harder sets.

This training should be used in conjunction with sensible planning. Train like this for a week, and use your normal training routine for a week, or alternate both workouts. As always, LET YOUR BODY BE THE GUIDE. REST IS THE KEY. The body can't heal the massive amounts of stress you've placed upon it in a single day (Sometimes it will take 2 or 3 days to fully recover). Also the most beginner lifter can apply these techniques with a good result, always watch for any sign of overtraining. Below is a sample workout and ways to divide your body up to maximize this principles. These are general workouts and can be modified to suit your tastes. Remember, superior effort brings superior results. TRAIN HARD AND HAVE FUN.

Workout Plan 1:

Click Here To Print Workout Plan 1

Monday: Chest & Back:

Bench Press: 3 sets 4-8 reps, 60-80% of max. 2 of the previous sets should combined pre-exhaustion and Break Down. (As specified above).
Incline Bench Press: 3 sets incline bench press, 4-12 reps, 50-100% of max.
Lat Pull downs: 3 sets of 4-12 reps, 50-80% of max. 2 sets break downs.
Cable Rows: 3 sets of 4-12 reps, 50-80% of max. 2 sets of break downs, from 90% to 60% of max. 1 set double break downs (Fail, drop 60%, fail drop 60%).

Wednesday: Shoulders & Legs.

Squats: 3 sets of 15-6 reps, 50-80% of max. 1 set of 30+ with warm-up weight.
Leg Curls: 3 sets of 12-8 reps, 50-80% of max.
Leg extensions: 3 sets of 12-8 reps, 50-80% of max.
Military Press: 5 sets of 12-8 reps, 50-80% of max. 3 sets pre-exhaustion using Lateral Dumbbell Raises first.
Shoulder Shrugs : 2 sets 50-90% of max. 2 sets double-break-downs.
Calf Raises : 3 sets 20-10 reps, 50-90% of max break downs on all sets.

Friday: Arms

Preacher Bench curls : 3 sets 15-8 reps 80-50% of max.
Straight bar curls: 3 sets all break downs.
Concentration curls: 2 sets of double-break-downs.
Lying French presses: (Skullcrushers) 1 set normal 8-15 reps. 50-70% of max. 2 sets of break downs.
Triceps pushdowns: 2 sets normal 15-6 reps 50-80% of max.
Triceps kickbacks: 3 sets 10-12 reps WITH GOOD FORM.

Click Here To Print Workout Plan 1

Workout Plan 2:

Click Here To Print Workout Plan 2

Monday: Chest & Back:

Bench Press: 3 sets with pre-exhaustion and Break Down. (As specified above).
Incline Bench Press: 3 sets Break Down 4-12 reps, 50-100% of max.
Lat Pull downs: 2 sets of 4-12 reps and a break down, 50-80% of max
Dead Lifts: 2 sets 15-10 slow reps (2-4 seconds up and 2-4 seconds down). Be careful doing exercise using this tempo. Because is to slow is a tendency to get hurt.

Wednesday: Shoulders & Legs.

Squats: 3 sets of 15-30 reps, 50-80% of max.
Leg Curls: 2 sets of 12-8 reps, 50-80% of max.
Leg extensions: 2 sets of 12-8 reps, 50-80% of max.
Military Press: 3 sets of 12-8 reps, 50-80% of max. 2 sets pre-exhaustion using lateral dumbbell raises first.
Shoulder Shrugs : 2 sets 50-90% of max. 2 sets double-break-downs.
Calf Raises : 3 sets 20-10 reps, 50-90% of max. Toes in + out on at least two of the sets.

Friday: Arms

Chin-up: 1 set (30 sec up 30 sec down) followed by Straight Bar Curls (8-12 reps) do this cycle twice
Concentration curls: 2 sets of double-break-downs.
Dip: 1 set (30 sec up 30 sec down) followed by Lying French Presses (Skullcrushers) do this cycle twice
Triceps pushdowns: 2 sets normal 15-6 reps 50-80% of max.
Triceps kickbacks: 1 set 10-12 reps WITH GOOD FORM.

Click Here To Print Workout Plan 2

This kind of bodybuilding techniques breaks monotony and allows for periods of growth by alternating tissue breakdown and tissue repair. Utilize these techniques not only as they are stated above but in ways that fill to your needs. Change them up, add or decrease weight and/or reps. Use them with various body parts on different days, weeks, etc. Most importantly, go for your goals and TRAIN HARD!!!

Thanks,

Bodybuilding Techniques And Workouts!
docjww@yahoo.com

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