Phano's Training Journal!

Today I have decided to start a daily training journal once again. This journal is designed to help the readers get a feel for what my training is like and perhaps assist others...

2/14/02 Thursday-Hamstrings
Today I have decided to start a daily training journal once again. This journal is designed to help the readers get a feel for what my training is like and perhaps assist others in their own endeavors. Regardless, this is merely what I do and you can take it for what it's worth.

Today training began at the usual time, around 12:30 in the afternoon despite it being Valentine's Day. David and I both have girlfriends and they know that we take our training seriously. I knew today would be tough because every day we train is tough. I also am trying to regain my strength from last semester before I was plagued with a series of injuries. I'm not going to lie to you. If you train with heavy weights, relatively speaking, you are going to suffer aches and pains. Knowing this, why would I still train in this manner? Well, it is the most efficient way to make gains! End of story! Now on to the good stuff.

David and I began training with the usual 5 minutes on the bike to get our bodies warm. It gives us a few minutes to catch up with other things and to joke around a bit before things start to heat up. Afterwards, we always head to the mat to stretch out our sore body parts and usually to talk about how fricking sore we are. By now, David and I are either starting to sweat a bit or we're itching. I don't know what it is about this constant itch before each training session but I guess it's a response from our bodies which tells us we're about to endure some self-inflicted pain. Regardless, we proceed towards the incline bench press because our goal for this phase of our training is to increase upper chest size. We slap on 135 and bang out 15 easy reps. Then we perform another set using 135 for 10 slower reps. After some serious stretching, we slap on 185 and bang out 10 reps. Then I put on 205 and force out 6 reps. This is hard as piss because I'm weakest in the chest. David is a little stronger than I am so he uses a little heavier weight. Fortunately for me, I don't have to keep track of his poundages and reps, only his training and nutrition.

Then I perform one final set using 205 once again because I don't want to sacrifice form for 5 or 10 more pounds. I get a measly 5 reps for the final set. With a gruesome pump in our pecs, we trudge our way towards the dumbbell rack to perform incline dumbbell flyes. I grab the 70s and bang out 2 sets of 7 reps each. I don't know what it is about flyes but they stress my pecs so much it feels as if they are going to tear. Especially my right one. But oh well. I still train because I love the pain. Then it's 2 sets of incline dumbbell presses. I'm still weak in comparison to last semester so I'm only able to get 8 and 6 reps using 70s and 75s respectively. Then we try something new. Since all of this free weight stuff taxes the ancillary muscles, we decided to incorporate some machine work.

Next came machine bench press using 150 and 190 for 10 and 6 reps respectively. By this point, I can't feel anything but I know we always finish with a fly-type motion. Since all of the jokers in the gym love the cable crossover machines even though they perform all of these exercises wrong, David and I used the pec deck machine. The particular machine at our school isn't designed for people of my height but I managed fairly well. I managed 10 reps with 90 lbs and 8 reps with 100 lbs. Afterwards, David and I walk straight out of the gym, slam down our post-workout cocktails and head to the bathroom for our ritualistic posedowns to assess our condition. Right now, I feel like crap so I should be pretty damn sore tomorrow.

2/15/02 Friday-Back
Much to my delight, I am sore as piss today but that isn't going to stop me from having an out-of-this-world back workout. Back training is my favorite thing. Why? Well, once you learn how to properly work your back, you can get unbelievable pumps and develop muscles which you didn't know existed. I am sure glad I decided to concentrate on back training about 2 years ago. The results are phenomenal and I am still improving.

Today we began with the usual front wide grip pull ups. We always perform 3 sets. I managed 10 reps for the first set, 10 reps for the second set and 7 reps for the third set with 10 additional pounds strapped to my waist. By this point, I've already got a nasty pump. So the only logical thing to do now is to start doing some barbell rows. If you're not doing either barbell or dumbbell rows then you're not building a back. End of story! It's 135 for 12 easy reps using a supinated (underhand) grip. Then 185 for 12 reps and finally 205 for 8 reps.

I know what you're thinking: "I can do more weight than you." So what?!? These reps are perfect and I'm working the intended muscles. If I wanted to just move some weight from point A to B using a 4 inch range of motion, I could row 315+ pounds too, if not more. But I'm not in there to bolster my ego. I let my physique and intensity do the talking for me. Once you can train for the sole purpose of self satisfaction, then you can train in my realm. Until then, all you haters out there can kiss my ass. Sorry, I had to get that off of my chest. There are a lot of people at the UGA gym who do not like me and David on account of our success. But that's another story. Back to training now.

After barbell rows using a supinated grip, we flipped the grip for one set using a pronated (overhand) grip. I managed 10 good reps. Now my back is insanely tight and engorged with blood. Next on the agenda was medium grip front pulldowns for only 2 sets. The first set is merely a warm up to get accustomed to the motion. Using 110 lbs, I bang out 12 easy reps. Then it's one work set using 150 lbs for 8 grueling reps. Each one slow and controlled. Next came seated cable rows. I really like this exercise for thickening the middle back. It only works well if you do it right. Once again, training nuance is required. Using 140 lbs, I get 11 reps and then 7 reps with 150 lbs.

Next came curl grip pulldowns. Once again, form is crucial in this exercise. Keep a slight arch in the back, use a thumbless hook grip and pull the bar towards your upper chest with your elbows. That's right, with your elbows. Then squeeze the living hell out of your lats. That should set your back on fire! By this point, Dave and I just look at one another and just express our fatigue but we are not bitches and we know we have a job to do.

We reluctantly prepare ourselves for deadlifts. That's right baby! Deadlifts at the END of a workout will test anyone's mettle. We slap on 135 and perform 10 easy reps. Then it's 225 for 8 easy reps followed by 315 for a relatively easy 6 reps. Now fatigue is a major factor but we fight on. I load the bar with 365 and bang out 5 reps. Let me tell you something. That first rep is hard as piss! That and the last one, whichever that may be. We're beat but not finished. Now it's 2 sets of standing dumbbell shrugs using 105 lbs for 10 reps per set. I don't want our traps to be too steep which would throw our shoulder balance off and wreak havoc on our symmetry. Not exactly the best choice for any bodybuilder.

2/17/02 Sunday-Shoulders
Today was a special day because we were filming for Bodybuilding.com. Since we were filming and required training in solitude, we used the football training facility. Today would prove to be not only a fun experience, but also one of the best shoulder workouts I've had measured in terms of post workout soreness. We began with the usual standing dumbbell side laterals using 10s, 15s, 15s, and 20s for 15, 15, 8, and 10 reps respectively. These are all basically warm up sets to prepare us for the onslaught which has yet to come. Then come the 25s for 15 reps. Now it's getting difficult. We quickly follow this up with 30s for 10 reps and then finally 35s for 7 grueling reps.

Shoulders are now pumped and require intense stretching. Then comes seated dumbbell presses using 50s for 15 reps, 60s for 11 reps, 70s for7 reps and finally 75s for 7 reps. For some strange reason, the 75s seemed a little easier than the 70s. Perhaps I wasn't properly accustomed to the movement yet. It's strange how some heavier sets seem easier than some lighter sets. I believe this has to do with the type of pyramid system one uses. Then again, it could just be psychological.

Next came seated rear delt raises using 60s for 15 easy reps. The second set, we used 75s for 10 reps. This is one of those movements which are tricky to perform. Fortunately for me, I have developed the technique to really bring out my rear delts during my quarter turns. It's not just a reverse flyes as some would say but rather, a pulling motion with the elbows with combines a reverse flyes and a row but with a squeeze in the rear delts. It's worked well for me, so criticize all you want. The third and final set was with 80s for 8 reps. Next on the agenda was another exercise to target the medial deltoid. You know, the delt caps which give the illusion of having wider shoulders. This came in the form of 1arm dumbbell side laterals while leaning off of a pole at a slight angle. I performed 12 reps per side using 25 lbs and then 10 reps per side using 30 lbs. I'm not going to lie to you. By leaning, this exercise really hurts like hell!

Next came a curve ball in our training. We performed an exercise which I haven't done in quite some time: cable rear delt laterals. The first set was with 20 lbs for 12 reps and finally 30 lbs for 8 reps. This exercise is all about form. It is one of those true rear delt exercises that I strictly perform with a reverse flyes motion. We're both beat but we still have front delts to address and address them intensely we do. We always perform alternating dumbbell front raises. I perform as many reps as I can with 25s using strict form and then perform 20 alternating reps with 30s with the strictest form I could muster. Yes, I beat the living hell out of myself in this session. All in all, it took about an hour even with the job of filming and speaking to the camera.

2/18/02 Monday-Quads
Training quads on Monday is always mentally disturbing. Don't ask me why but it just is. I suppose it could be the thought of having your day completely ruined in a mere hour or so. Whatever the case, I always prepare for the worst. Quad training began with the usual 5 minutes on the bike followed by some light stretching. For some strange reason, I was itching worse than usual today.

After catching up with our daily lives, Dave and I made our way to the leg extension machine for a few warm up sets. We performed three sets using 50 lbs, 80 lbs and 110 lbs for 15 reps per set. We made sure to get some stretching in between each of the sets to ensure that our quads are ready for the squats which are to follow. By this point, our quads are nice and pumped and we are ready to move on. We then head to the squat rack which is completely vacant...surprise, surprise. We load the bar with 135 and bang out 15 reps. Then it's 225 for 12 reps followed by 275 for 6 reps. We are constantly stretching and discussing the details of today's training but we never lose focus. Then it's 315 for 6 more easy reps making sure to go ass to the grass.

This is where David and I split in terms in poundages. I think that I have entirely too large of quads so I stick with 365 while David will go up to 405. Two heavy sets with perfect form here and we're dizzily stumbling around trying to catch our breaths. We then proceed towards the hack squat machine. Once again, it is vacant. One big plus about training quads at the UGA Ramsey Center is that no one else is training them. Unfortunately, that is probably the only pro that comes to my head in terms of quad training. Just the sound of quad training summons an illicit pain through my mind and body which is inexplicable. Sorry about the tangent but this holds true where I am and possibly where you are too. Now back to hack squats.

We load the machine up with three 45s per side and perform our grueling reps. No frills, no bullshit, just two work sets here. I get 8 reps per set using the same weight concentrating on form and feel making sure I feel what I'm supposed to be feeling. Now everything seems distant and I feel as if my mind and body are becoming separate dichotomies but I cannot let this be for I am not finished yet. Dave and I continue the onslaught by heading back to the leg extension machine to perform three more sets. I stick with only using 100 lbs for each set while I push Dave to the max and beyond. Hell, I may not know much about life but I definitely know how to make muscles grow.

After the leg extension, it is time for the finishing move: walking lunges. If the rest of the training is done with the right intensity, you will feel like losing your lunch or whatever it is you've eaten at this point. We perform 2 sets of 40 alternating steps here making sure to keep our chest high and to concentrate on the quads and glutes. Nuance is especially important here because we're only using our bodyweight but with fatigue playing a major factor, we would be hard pressed to use any additional weight. We are completely destroyed and guess what? We get to do it all over again in about 8 days. Life goes on.

2/20/02 Wednesday-Arms
If there's nothing more than I hate, that would be training more than one body part in one day. Why? Well, with the intensity that I like to train with, training 2 body parts is unthinkable. However, I make an exception for biceps and triceps. The reason being is since the blood is already in one muscle group, I might as well take advantage of this and train its antagonistic muscle group. And seeing how my arms aren't near as big as my legs are, unfortunately, the blood rushing into my arms doesn't cause me to become too light headed. Today began with a different twist. Standing barbell curls would be the first exercise of today's bicep training. I guess the reason I haven't done this exercise in such a long time is because I know how difficult it is.

Today, I decided to face my fears. We performed a total of four sets of standing barbell curls. The first set with 45 lbs for 15 reps, the second set with 65 lbs for 10 reps, the third set with 95 lbs for 8 reps and the fourth set with 115 lbs for 6 reps. What an unbelievable pump! The more I stretch and flex my biceps, the more pumped they feel. Now it's off to 1 arm preacher curls at a 90 degree angle to the floor. I like this angle as opposed to the 45 degree angle most preacher benches allow you b/c it places more stress on the biceps. Sure, you can't use as much weight but you will be working the biceps harder. If you don't believe me, give it a try. You will not be disappointed. Two sets with 40 and 45 lbs per arm for 10 and 7 reps respectively here and it's off to the third exercise: seated incline alternating dumbbell curls. EMG readings indicate that this is the 2nd best exercise for stimulating muscle activity in the biceps. I like it for several reason: it hurts like hell, I can really feel the muscle working, and it is virtually impossible to cheat. Using 40s, I manage 16 reps and 12 reps for my two working sets.

Now it's off to alternating dumbbell hammer curls. Hammer curls, when done properly, can really pay dividends. But if done improperly, you're probably wasting your time. So get it right! Using 40s, I get two sets of 20 reps each. Now it's time to train the triceps. Ugh! We always start with two sets of dips using our bodyweight. I always perform 15 reps per set concentrating on pumping up my triceps and getting them nice and stretched. Afterwards, we make our way to the cable machine to perform triceps pushdowns. Two sets here using 150 and 200 lbs for 15 and 10 reps respectively and it's off to our next exercise: 1 arm reverse triceps extension on the cable machine. I make this very similar to a side triceps pose concentrating solely on the tris. Remember, motion without emotion is futile. Using 30 and 50 lbs, I manage 15 and 9 reps respectively.

Now it's time for an overhead movement: lying triceps extensions. This one particular exercise has been giving my left elbow problems since my series of injuries from last semester so I'm taking it light, so to speak. Using 120 lbs, I get two sets for 7 and 5 reps making sure each rep counts. While each rep does strain my elbow slightly, I am able to fight off this pain but for how long, I cannot say. I will just have to use my best judgment in determining when to back off.