Phano's Training Journal!

I tell you, the hardest part about this movement is having to get the weight started yourself. So I spend a lot more energy trying to get that first rep up than anywhere else in each set.
9/4/01 Hamstrings

Training today was very intense as usual. I wasn't feeling up to the challenge of training hamstrings but I knew I would get in an excellent workout regardless of my mentality. I had two small meals in me so I knew I was good to go. I trained at about 11:30 AM and I'm already sore after only the passing of 12 hours.

So that basically tells you the level of intensity I am able to produce at each of my training sessions. Training today began with the usual 5 minutes on the bike to get the blood going. Then it was some light stretching followed by lying leg curls with feet together on the pad. I feel the placement of the feet dictates which part of the hamstring you develop. In order to achieve balanced hamstrings, I do both feet together and feet apart on the pad.

I began with 3 warm-up sets using 50, 90, 130 for 15, 12, and 12 reps respectively. Then it was on to my work sets. I performed 180 lbs for 12 reps and still felt good. So instead of wasting my energy on countless reps, I moved up to 190 lbs and got 8 reps. Then it was 200 lbs for 7 reps. I make sure to control each rep with an explosive concentric phase while a slow eccentric phase with a full stretch at the bottom. Then it was off to dumbbell stiff leg deadlifts.

I really like this exercise because it seems to give my hamstrings the stretch they need and deserve. Only 2 work sets hear for my maximum weight. I was able to do 110's for 12 reps and then 115's for 10 reps. I came so close to losing my breakfast and lunch after the 2nd set so I opted not to perform the usual 3rd work set. Afterwards, I slowly made my way back to the lying leg curl machine once more.

This time doing lying leg curls with my feet together. By this time, my hamstrings are always fried and I really can't feel them anymore. So I basically try to go through the movements with as much weight and control as possible. I pyramided up in weight once again using 120, 130, and 140 lbs for 12, 12, and 10 reps respectively. Hamstrings were done in less than 40 min. No frills or BS, just intensity and laser like focus!

9/5/01 Cardio

9/6/01 Quads

I was a bit sore in the quads from participating in an hour of soccer. Regardless of this, I still was motivated enough to make a brief trip to the gym in order to hammer away at my quads. Today's workout, just like any of my other workouts, was brief and very effective. I was only in the gym for about 30 min. but I know how to make every rep and set count. I began with the usual 5 min. on the recumbent bike to get the blood going and my body temperature up. Then it was off to squats.

Yes, I'm one sick individual because I actually enjoy squatting. I did 2 warm-up sets with 135 and 225 lbs respectively and then it was off to my 2 work sets. I refuse to squat heavier than 315 for reps because I fear that my quads will get bigger than they already are. So I opt to stick with 315 for reps. Then it was off to walking lunges for 2 sets of 40 alternating steps. I make sure to control each step and feel the muscle working. No sense in just going through the motions. Then I went back in the gym to finish off with 2 sets of leg presses with my feet very high on the platform to better emphasize my glutes. Two sets of 15 reps each and I was done. Once again, no talk all work!

9/7/01 Chest

I normally take a day of rest after training quads but I was exceptionally motivated to train my chest. After taking care of the usual school routines, I was off to the gym to hammer away at my chest. This time, I knew I had my work cut out for me because I'm reaching poundages which I am unfamiliar with even when I was strongest over a year ago. I began with 5 minutes on the recumbent bike to warm up once again. Then it was off to the flat bench for 3 warm up sets for 15, 8, and 5 reps using 135, 185, 225 respectively.

All I was trying to do is get the blood there and not strain myself. I made sure to stretch between every set and took my time. Then I proceeded to flat dumbbell press for 1 warm up set using 85's for 8 easy reps. Then to everyone's amazement, I grabbed the 110's and performed 2 sets without a spotter for 8 and 6 reps. It just seemed to feel a whole lot easier than 105's did last week for some strange reason.

I'm not going to argue with the results though. Next it was 2 sets of incline dumbbell press using 90's for 6 and 5 reps. Then it was 2 sets of incline dumbbell flyes using 70's for 6 and 5 reps. I started making my way towards the exit when I found myself veering towards the dip station for 1 final set of dips for 10 reps. So all in all, I only did 7 sets for chest. You're probably thinking why only 7 sets? Well, why not?

9/8/01 Rest

9/9/01 Back

Training today was out of control! I spent all day helping my friend David at his very first bodybuilding contest in which he did extremely well. He surprised everyone including myself with the conditioning he was able to present. I was on what my friends and I call a "contest high" so training was on what seemed to be a different level. I started with the usual 5 minutes on the recumbent bike.

Then it was off to my first exercise: wide grip front pull-ups for 1 warm up set for 14 very easy reps. So I decided to strap on a 25 lb plate and perform 2 more sets for 8 and 6 reps respectively. By this time, my back was extremely pumped. Then it was off to barbell rows using a supinated grip for 3 sets for 10, 8, and 8 reps using 135, 225, and 265 respectively. Everything seemed to move easy for me this workout. I just felt good and well fed and extremely motivated. Next came v-bar pulldowns for 2 sets for 12 and 8 reps using 12 plates and 14 plates.

Once again, I improved from last week. Then it was off to 1 arm dumbbell rows using 120 lbs for 8 reps per side. Next I tried a movement which I haven't done in over a year: 1 arm standing cable rows. I get a better pump b/c I am better able to control the movement. Don't get me wrong b/c I can control 1 arm dumbbell rows quite well but I am able to get a better peak contraction with the cables. Once again, I am just trying to mix it up.

Next came curl grip pull-ups for 2 sets of 9 and 7 reps using just my bodyweight. By this time, my back is thrashed. I want more but the intensity level I train at dictates that I not do anymore sets. I have also started training my trapezius muscles once again. I only do one exercise at the moment utilizing 2 warm up sets and 1 actual work set.

The exercise I perform is upright rowing. I start off using the 45 lb bar for 12 easy reps. Then 115 for 8 easy reps. Finally, I slap on 145 lbs for 7 reps with text book form. What a feeling I had after this workout. Only 45 min. and I've probably done more for my back in that time frame than most people do in 2 weeks. The key is intensity and not letting anything distract your focus. If I can learn to motivate myself the way I was motivated today, I will be training at a whole new level. This is what I strive for: improvement on myself!

9/10/01 REST

9/11/01 Shoulders

I was psyched about today's workout because the ongoing trend for each workout has been that I've been able to get stronger with seemingly little effort. Shoulders is becoming more and more a focal point in my training because the bigger your delts the wider your appearance. So naturally, I began my workout with my usual 5 minutes on the bike followed by a few minutes of light stretching. Then it was off to standing dumbbell side laterals for 4 sets of 15, 10, 10, and 8 reps using 15 lbs, 27.5 lbs, 35 lbs, and 40 lbs respectively.

By this time, my shoulders were on fire but I knew I needed more punishment. I followed up with 2 sets of seated dumbbell presses using 90 lbs for 6 and 4 reps. Not bad seeing how I didn't have a spotter to help me get the first one up. I tell you, the hardest part about this movement is having to get the weight started yourself. So I spend a lot more energy trying to get that first rep up than anywhere else in each set. But hey, I'm in there to fight until I can't do anymore reps. Next came seated rear delt laterals for 3 sets of 15, 10, and 10 reps using 45, 55, and 55 lbs respectively.

I really like this exercise for the burn and control I am given. Then I decided to do one set of one arm standing dumbbell side laterals using 30 lbs for 10 reps per side. I was completely exhausted but I knew it was a job well done. All in all, it took no more than 35 minutes. People are always wondering how the heck I get in and out so fast but the truth is, less is more. Think about it!

9/12/01 REST

9/13/01 REST

9/14/01 Arms

Today wasn't exactly one of my better days as far as motivation is concerned. School is starting to bog me down a bit but hey, I still managed to drag myself to the gym to produce a quality workout despite my tiredness. I felt the urge to hit the weights regardless of my apparent lack of motivation b/c of the 2 days I allowed myself off. That's the beauty about this new training style: I really don't have to feel guilty if I miss a workout here or there just as long as I pick up where I left off.

Kind of neat, eh? Anyhow, I walked in the gym knowing that if I were to produce anything out of today's workout, I would have to turn on the motivation as soon as I started warming up. So I began with the usual 5 minutes on the bike and then it was straight to the standing e-z bar curl for 15 easy reps using 40 lbs. Then after some light stretching, it was 70 lbs for an easy 8 reps. I immediately went into my only work set with this exercise using 125 lbs for 6 slow reps.

Then it was off to standing alternating dumbbell curls using 55 lbs per arm for 10 reps. By this time, I could feel my arms engorging with so much blood it felt as if they were about to explode. Then I moved on to seated one arm concentration curls for 2 sets of 12 and 10 reps using 30 lbs per arm. I was striving for extremely strict form here so I sacrificed my poundages just a little. Next came an exercise which I normally don't do but for the sake of variety, I decided on doing some standing alternating hammer curls.

I performed 2 sets of 20 reps each using 30 and 35 lbs. Then came triceps. I almost always start my triceps work out with 2 warm up sets of dips using my own bodyweight. I performed 2 sets of 15 reps with ease. Then came the real work. I went immediately to perform 1 arm dumbbell overhead extensions using 45 lbs per arm for 7 reps. Only one set here and it was off to the cable machines for reverse grip triceps extensions. One set of 12 reps using 150 lbs and I was cooked. Once again, laser like focus and the ability to turn on the motivation in an instant enabled me to produce an outstanding workout despite the initial lack of drive. So the mind is a powerful weapon after all.

9/15/01 Hamstrings

Today was Saturday and I usually don't train on Saturdays just b/c I feel like lying around and doing a lot of nothing. So I decided at the last moment to veer from the norm and dive into an intense hamstring training session. Today, I was able to train with the intensity level which I wish I could train with every day. Today, I felt invincible.

Today, everything fell into place or so it seemed. I began my workout with the usual 5 minutes on the bike followed by some light leg stretches. Then I made my way into the gym with my headphones blasting and paced towards the lying leg curl machine.

I began with my feet together on the pad for 15 reps using 50 lbs. Easy enough. Then it was another 15 reps using 100 lbs. Once again, still easy. Then a third set for 12 reps using 150 lbs. Still easy. I figured that I was warm up and moved directly into my 2 work sets using 200 lbs. I was able to get 10 and 9 reps respectively. By this time, I couldn't even feel my hamstrings anymore. I slowly made my way over to the dumbbell rack and grabbed the 115 pounders in each hand for some dumbbell stiff leg deadlifts.

I banged out 12 reps using 115 lbs per arm and followed this up with 9 reps using 120 lbs. Textbook style, my friend! It doesn't get much better than this. I felt myself wanting to yack but I wouldn't allow myself. So I made my way back over to the lying leg curl machine for another go around but this time with my legs apart on the pad. I performed 3 sets of 15, 12, and 8 reps using 130, 140, and 150 lbs respectively.

This workout was out of control! It only lasted about 35 minutes but the pain I was about to inflict upon myself and the growth which I am sure to attain is far more than most people could accomplish in 2 weeks with their wimpy leg training. Pride yourself in how you train rather than how you look! Think about it!

9/16/01 REST

9/17/01 Quads

Well, today is Monday and we all know that everyone loves to train chest on Mondays. Funny how that works, eh? Anyhow, I decided to train today after a nice rest day which I feel as if I deserved and needed. I went in the gym around lunch time with every intention of destroying my quads with as few sets as possible. I felt good but not as good as I normally do. I trained regardless. I started with the usual 5 minutes on the bike followed by some stretching. I immediately made my way to the dreaded squat rack for some ass to the grass squats. I began with 135 lbs for 15 easy reps. Then came 225 lbs for another easy set. Then I slapped on 315 for my one and only work set.

You may think that this isn't much but it works for me. Why? Well, because I am able to concentrate solely on my quads when I squat. Very few people I know can do this because they are so worried with how much weight they push. With quads, I just neglect the weight and go solely for form. By this time, my quads were extremely pumped. I was quite surprised at the pump I was able to attain because I wasn't on top of my diet Sunday with only 3 meals. Next came 3 sets of leg extension for 15, 12, and 10 reps using 80, 150, and 180 lbs respectively.

Once again, I'm not trying to use more weight than necessary. I'm in the gym to train to better myself and not to impress everyone. Then I decided on 2 sets of walking lunges using just my own bodyweight for 40 alternating steps per set. I was done! In and out in less than 35 minutes. Now if you think this is too little, by all means, do your routine. Just don't whine because you can't get your legs to grow because all you do are the weak exercises for high reps.

9/18/01 REST

9/19/01 Chest

Today was quite different than all of my other days because I decided to go train later at night around 7:30. I usually get my training done at lunchtime but I just felt the need to take a little nap beforehand. I knew today would be tough b/c I'm reaching poundages which are dangerous and new to me. I knew that if I were to improve from last time, I would have to dig deep and call every ounce of strength and motivation to achieve what needed to be achieved. With the intentions of improving upon myself, I made my way towards the usual 5 minutes on the bike to get my body warm and my heart rate going.

Then I headed directly towards the bench press for my usual 3 warm up sets there with the usual weight. Three sets using 135, 185, and 225 for 15, 6, and 5 reps respectively. I felt sort of strange after the third set b/c I'm not getting my usual pump. Regardless of this feeling, I made my way towards the dumbbell rack and grabbed some 85 lb dumbbells for another warm up set for 8 reps. After a few minutes of resting and stretching, I reached for the 115 pounders.

With my mind solely on my next set, I fell back and kicked up the dumbbells for my first arduous set. The reps came easy at first but I immediately hit the dreaded wall in which I couldn't go any farther. After completion of the first set, I felt extremely strong. So I rested a few more minutes and hoisted the 115 pounders once again for another set. Once again, everything seemed to be in a groove. Reps came easier than the first set which is an indication that I wasn't properly warmed up. Then I moved on to incline dumbbell presses for 2 sets using 90 and 95 pounders for 8 and 6 reps respectively. Then came a curveball in my routine. I decided to give flat dumbbell flyes a try.

One set of 7 reps using 70 lbs. Not bad for not having done them in a long time. Then came incline dumbbell flyes for one set of 7 reps using the 70 pounders once again. I felt completely destroyed but decided to do one set of wide grip dips for 12 reps. This wasn't the best idea b/c I couldn't feel my chest anymore. I did them regardless, probably just to say I did them. All in all, the mission for tonight's workout was accomplished. Next time, I want to improve even more.