Ok, first off I'd like to say that my back is sore as piss. It hurt so much that I had trouble sleeping on it Sunday night. Talk about painful but you know what? I know it's good because I did something right yesterday. I think those deadlifts did a number on me but I know I'm going in the right direction. Today, however, was another day. I had to ignore the pain in my back and had to concentrate on my shoulders, which I am trying to increase the width of. The gym was quite packed being that it was a Monday and all the college kids love training on the first day of the week. I guess they think they have to undo all of the damage they did during the weekend. Oh yeah, I'm laughing as I type this right now. Dave and I met at the usual time. We refer to this as the "same bad channel." With the MCAT nearing, Dave is even more stressed but he is handling it fairly well or at least it would seem. We started with 5 minutes on the bike and then stretched our back muscles some. Man, were they sore! We started our actual training with some abdominal work.
To warm up, we did two sets of 20 reps of decline crunches. Then we performed two more sets of 20 reps with a 25 lb plate as added resistance. My abs were tight and felt a little sore but I still attained a good pump. I believe that if you aren't getting a pump in the abs, you aren't working them right. So instead of doing endless reps, just concentrate on doing a few sets and concentrating on the working muscle. Next came seated knee ups on a bench. We performed two sets of 30 reps and that was it for abs. As you can clearly see, Dave and I don't do countless reps for abs yet we still have good abs. So it's quality and not quantity. Now it was time to get down to business.
We started off with standing dumbbell side laterals. I believe that by performing a movement which primarily requires the delts, they will have to work harder and fatigue first during the mass building movements. Using an increasing system of poundages, I performed a set of 15 reps with 12s, a set of 15 reps with 15s, a set of 12 with 20s, a set of 12 with 25s. Now that my delts were nice and pumped, it was time to do some work sets. Using only 30s, I performed a set of 12 and then a set of 10 reps. This may not sound like much weight but if you know how to do the exercise right, you can get more out of 30s than someone else could get out of 50s doing them incorrectly. My delts were pumped after this first exercise but I knew a better pump could be attained.
Next came an exercise which we haven't performed in a long while: behind neck press. This time, however, there would be a slight variation. Whenever you perform a real double bicep pose, the delts will flex and tighten. With this in mind, I knew that if I could perform this exercise while keeping my delts up and back, I could stress and flex the delts. We started out with 135 lbs in which I performed 10 difficult reps. This new way of performing this exercise made even 135 seem impossible but I was trying to build muscle and not my ego. I then increased the weight to 155 lbs and performed a set of 8 reps and then a set of 7 reps. My shoulders were feeling really pumped after this exercise but I knew we weren't finished as of yet.
Next came one arm dumbbell side laterals while leaning slightly over. Using a 30 lb dumbbell, I performed a set of 12 reps per side starting with my weaker left side first of course. I then went up to a 35 lb dumbbell and performed a set of 10 reps per side. I was beginning to fatigue but we still had rear delts to do. To train the rear delts, we did t-bar rear delt laterals using an increasing poundage system. Starting with 30s, I performed a set of 15 reps. We then increased weight to 35s and performed another 15 reps. Finally, we increased to 40s and performed another set of 15 reps. The strange thing about this exercise is that my delts feel a pump AFTER the set. I guess it hurts too bad to feel my delts pumping up during the set. Whatever the case, I knew I was going to be sore the next day.
Much to my delight, my delts were quite sore today and they seemed to get more sore as the day progressed. I guess I did something right yesterday because this is the most sore my delts have been in awhile and soreness, to me, means a step in the right direction. Now on to today's workout. Today was hamstring day and I was feeling uneasy because I missed the first two meals of the day. I don't know what it is about Tuesdays but I just can't get up at 7:00 AM and eat my meals. So I just woke up, went to class, and went straight to the gym. We started with the usual 5 minutes on the bike and followed this up with some stretching. We talked about how sore we were and how things were going to be after the MCAT. We even discussed the possibility of doing quads and hams on the same day but breaking them up into two sessions. But this is all talk and we'll see in a couple of weeks.
Today, I decided to give our training a slight twist. We started with Romanian deadlifts. This is the first time we have done this exercise before lying leg curls. Starting with 135, I performed a set of 15 reps and then a set of 12 reps in order to get some blood in my hamstrings. Next came a set of 10 reps with 225. Now it was time to work. We put on 315 there and I performed 8 reps. I could definitely feel the deadlifts from our back workout a couple of days ago. We have decided that there is no need to perform reps with Romanian deadlifts with anything higher than 315 lbs. This would only increase the risk of injury and I believe we can build good mass with 315 and reps. Next came lying leg curls with our feet positioned together on the padding. Starting at 80 lbs, I performed 15 reps followed by another 15 reps with 120 lbs. I then increased to 140 lbs and managed only 8 reps. So instead of performing another set with the same weight, I decreased the weight to 120 lbs and managed 10 exhausting reps. It didn't matter how much I pulled and flexed my hamstrings, I just couldn't feel them anymore. I knew I was done and Dave said the same thing.
We then performed some calf exercises. Dave's calves have improved considerably since I've been working with him. Since it is precontest phase, I decided to perform the exercises with him or at least some of the sets. We started off with standing calf raises as a warm up. Two set of 20 reps here and some light stretching was all that was needed. Then came leg press calf raises using 225 lbs for two sets of 15 reps. Finally, I performed two sets of 15 reps on the seated calf raise machine using 135 lbs. Dave did more sets than I but I'm just trying to shape and maintain my calves at this point. But by no means am I a slacker. I put in my calf training time years ago and it's been off today. So this should be a lesson to everyone, if you want good calves you have to put in the time at some point.
Today was scheduled arm day and I don't like arm training very much. I don't know what it is about it but training more than one body part really taxes me. Maybe it's because I exert myself beyond what is normal or maybe it's just because I'm lazy. I have yet to figure it out and when I do, I will let you know. I had to have some blood drawn from me this morning so I wasn't too happy about that. So I missed my first two meals of the day to sit at a health clinic. Not fun! They even took a little more blood than I thought they would so that kind of worried me. Uh oh, will this affect my ability to get a pump in any way? So I had to hurry to class just to make it on time. As I ran out of the door, I grabbed two nutri-grain bars and ate them on the way to school. I washed it down with a ton of water and just sat through class wondering about my workout. Will it be good? Will it be bad? Oh man, this is going to suck! The professors kept us about 10 minutes after class because of presentations so I was late in getting to the gym.
Dave and I joked that I forgot that we had to train today. We just laughed it off and started training with five minutes on the bike. Afterwards, we went straight to the weights. We almost always stretch but today, I just wanted to get it done. We started with 1 arm preacher curls using the opposite end of the bench. This exercise will pump massive amounts of blood in your biceps and there is virtually no way to cheat on it. I grabbed a 30 lb dumbbell and banged out 15 reps per arm. I didn't get a pump yet and I was starting to worry a bit. Usually after the first set, I always get a pump. Then I banged out another 15 reps per side with the 30 lb dumbbell. No pump still! Dammit, I thought I was in for a ball-breaker today. Then I grabbed a 40 lb dumbbell and banged out 10 reps per side. Ok, now my biceps were pumped. What a relief! Then I went up to 45 lbs and banged out 8 reps per arm. Wow! Things were starting to feel good, much to my surprise.
We then performed e-z preacher curls on the opposite side of the bench. If you haven't noticed, I really like using the opposite side of the bench. If you have never tried it, I would highly recommend it. It will give your biceps the extra work they need without performing endless sets. Using ONLY 70 lbs and a narrow grip on the bar, I performed two sets of 10 and 9 reps. This is much more difficult than conventional preacher curls that you are used to. Sure, your ego will be hurt because you won't be able to use as much weight but who cares about ego if your arms are 19 inches.
Next came incline dumbbell curls, the exercise I hate the most! I just fucking hate these and there really is no good explanation for this hate. Each time we come to this exercise, I just cringe on the inside. This is perhaps the only exercise which makes me shudder. I mean, 400 lb squats and deadlifts won't make me worry but a set of these will shake my mentality. But you know what? I do them any ways! Starting off with 30s, I performed 20 alternating reps. This translates into 10 reps per arm. Then for my second set, I upped the weight to 35s and performed 16 alternating reps. Yeah, it hurt a lot but I was going to live. Thankfully!
Next came alternating dumbbell hammer curls. If you perform this exercise correctly, you can really feel it. The trick is to squeeze your forearms at the top of the motion and to control the path of the weight and not the other way around. Too many people just swing the weight upwards which does very little for muscle growth. Using 30s, I performed 20 alternating reps to positive failure. Then for my second set using 35s, I performed another 20 alternating reps to positive failure. My biceps and forearms were pumped to hell and I was feeling good. Next came triceps. We started off with two sets of 15 reps using only our bodyweight on dips as a warm up exercise.
Afterwards, we headed to the cable machine to perform reverse triceps extensions using an e-z bar. Starting off with 120 lbs, I performed 15 easy reps followed by another 15 reps using 160 lbs. Now that we were nice and warm, it was time to work. I increased the weight to 200 lbs and banged out 8 reps to positive failure. I could have gone two more but I didn't. I don't know why I just quit but I think it's because I don't want to overexert myself too much too soon. Injuries come when you train heavy all of the time and that is something I have had to learn the hard way.
Next, Dave and I performed an exercise which I haven't done in a long, long time. Dave suggested that we do close grip bench press and I agreed. So we put on 135 and I performed 12 easy reps. Next it was 185 for 7 slow and tough reps. I could definitely feel my triceps working. My arms were so pumped, I couldn't even touch my shoulders. I know you're laughing because I am too. When I used to train on my own, I had trouble getting my headphones off because my arms would be so pumped. That is definitely a sign of a good workout. For our final exercise, we performed one arm dumbbell overhead extensions. Ever since I perfected this exercise, I have always used it in my workouts. Why? Because they work! Starting with a 30 lb dumbbell, I performed 12 easy reps per side. My triceps are very close in strength so I just randomly pick which one goes first on any given day. For my next set, I performed 10 reps per side using 35 lbs. After Dave's set, I just grabbed my stuff and headed out of the door for our post workout posedown. The work was done and now we could admire what we've accomplished.
Dave is scheduled to take the MCAT on Saturday so I decided to take today off to allow him to fully concentrate on the test on Saturday. The last thing he wants while taking the MCAT is to have his quads blasting with pain.
We were supposed to train quads today but a school project took a lot longer than I had anticipated. So we are going to train quads on Monday which might not be so bad. Everyone will be benching which will leave all of the leg equipment open. I can't wait!