Current Training Split:
- Day 1 = Chest, Calves
- Day 2 = Back
- Day 3 = Rest
- Day 4 =Quads, Hams, Claves
- Day 5 = Shoulders, Traps, some Ab work
- Day 6 = Arms
- Day 7 = Rest
Low-Incline Barbell Presses (2 warm up sets using 115, then 155 for 10 and 6 reps)
If you have read any of my articles, you know that I think highly of Chins (especially with weight attached, hehe) because they manhandle your lats and almost all the muscles of the back. My back used to be narrower than the political ideology of a staunch politician but it is a different story now. My continual gains in lat strength and size can be attributed to the fact that I work this exercise like a mad man. Make sure to keep your back slightly arched and take a grip slightly narrower than you would for a bench press.
I finish things with two sets of V-Bar Lat Pulldowns using 160 lbs for 15 reps to put the finishing touches on everything.
I take this day off since Day 4's workout is legs. REST Yep, recovery is an important and oft overlooked part of training. I basically try to sleep and not do anything too physical. Overtraining, which basically means performing too much work and not allowing your body to recover from it, is the one of the biggest roadblocks to attain a muscular body. In addition to keeping an eye on the total number of sets you complete and your nutrition, you should aim for a good 7-9 hours of sleep a night, or, if you cannot reach that number because of commitments, try to take a short snooze during the day. I know that as a busy student, and athlete, bodybuilding as to find time in my schedule but it is not all that difficult-- just be creative and you will do it.
I warm-up by stretching my quads, lower back and hams (in that order) and complete 2 light sets each of Leg Curls, Leg Extensions and an Ab exercise. A thorough warm-up is not only crucial for lessening the risk of energy, it also ensures that your muscles will be awake enough for the saga of the Quadfatha
I alternate these two movements since they are great mass builders and have distinct advantages. Squats, which are appropriately given the nod as the best bodybuilding exercise stress the quadriceps, lower back, hamstrings, hip muscles and many smaller supporting muscles. At the same time, the high degree of many muscles being involved can be a drawback, since when you fail on a set of squats, your quads actually still have some life left in them. In many cases it is your lower back and other supporting muscles which say they've had enough. For this reason I frequently used leg presses as my basic quad movement. Leg Presses are great movement since I can intensely stress my quads without having to worry about my lower back or glutes giving out. When I reach the final rep of leg presses it is my quads that are beggin' for mercy.
After this workout I am literally drenched in sweat, lungs sucking wind as I hobble out of the gym.
3 sets using 35 lb dumbbells for 10 reps and then 2 sets of 8-10 reps with 40 lb dumbbells. I am careful to keep my elbows aligned with my shoulder girdle so that my rear delts are working the hardest, rather than upper back muscles. After the final set I will pick up a pair of 50 lb dumbbells and get 15 slow reps. I find that you can really feel that your entire shoulder complex including the rear delts works during a pressing exercise.
I will also do some abdominal work on this day as well. The abs are the center piece of the physique and crucial to ever move you make since they are a stabilizer. Just remember that you won't see that six pack unless your diet is in check!
Barbell Curls warm-up with 65lbs, 120 for 4-6, 105 for 2 sets of 6-10, 100 for 6-8 reps, 95 for 6-8
These two exercises are the preeminent choices for building biceps mass. Both allow you to go heavy while still employing strict form. The Barbell allows you to power out the reps forcefully and add a slight cheat motion to extend the set past failure, while the dumbbells facilitate supination of the wrist which works another major function of the biceps. Just like Arnold, I will use a little body English on the heavy sets but the rest of the sets are with strict form. Sometimes when I work biceps I might not train as heavy and might concentrate on form while still using moderately heavy weights. I have achieved the best results by going heavy on my early sets and then lightening the load while increasing the reps as the sets progress.
The log range of motion a pre-stretch position spells a hellacious burn for the meaty, long head of the triceps. I have gotten much stronger on this exercise and as have my gains in arm size.
Ok that's it for the training portion. Whew ! If you get a chance YOU MIGHT COMPARE WHAT THE PREVIOUS ENTRIES WERE SO YOU CAN TRACE THE IMPORVEMENTS I'VE MADE. NOW THE IDEA IS TO TELL YOU HOW YOU CAN MAKE SIMILAR IMPROVEMENTS IN YOUR OWN ROUTINE.
Undoubtedly, Diet has an extremely profound effect on the results you strive for in the gym and in the competitive arena (for whatever you do). Besides, it is worthless to bust your ass in the weight room only to have a diet that would make even a sumo wrestler cringe.
DA BASICS DAT 'CHA PROBABLY HEARD BEFORE:
Carbs are essential for energy production. They help fuel muscle glycogen which contributes to the pump and vitality you get in the gym when you are having a good workout. You need carbs early in the morning to fuel your energy for the day and post workout to feed your muscles so they can recover. The complex carbs which take longer to break down a preferred since they foster better energy storage in your muscles and control of blood sugar levels. Faster releasing carbs are to be consumed post-workout since they will get into your muscles faster and speed hormonal response. Aim to consume 4-6 servings of veggies too since the vitamins, minerals and other trace elements work together with the macro-nutrients. They help keep the immune system running and are involved with a volley of metabolic activities. Complex Carb Choices: Many Fruits, Brown Rice, Broccoli, Legumes, Carrots, Spinach, Oatmeal, Brain Cereal, Baked Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, whole grain breads and pitas, Pasta, Granola
Simple Crabs: Fruit juices, sugar, white bread mashed potatoes, overcooked pasta, white rice
Protein which is probably the single most important nutrient for gaining muscle is the building block of almost all bodily tissues. The amino acids which are desiccated in your digestive system repair and build new tissues in your body. Frequency is of utmost importance since your body ( kidneys and liver in particular) can only assimilate so much protein at one time. I try to get some every 2 and a half to 3 hours which will help keep you a positive nitrogen balance. Good sources are Lean Read Meat, Whole Eggs and Egg whites, Fish, Chicken, Low Fat Cheese, Turkey, and most sea foods.
Fat, often mislabeled as the notional enemy is important as well. Consumed in moderate amounts it helps regulate hormonal levels especially testosterone which help you build muscle and burn fat. To elicit an optimal anabolic response you should be consuming 15-25 percent of your calories from fat. Anything lower and your hormone production will decrease an anything higher you could be losing o cuts. Aim to consume less of the saturated fats (like butter which is solid at room temperature) and use Olive and Canola oils as well as peanuts and nuts.
Supplements. I will not delve deep into the topic of bodybuilding supplements mostly because there is so much content on the site already that I think you should read. Basically, I believe that supplements can only do so much and that a solid diet is more important. I will discuss my thoughts on a few of them.
Protein powders can be very helpful. Whey protein and Casein have been shown to raise protein synthesis better than other protein sources and they are easily digested by most. Plus it can be more convenient and cost-effective to mix a protein shake rather than to throw a stake on the grill or chicken breasts in the oven. Designer Protein makes a very good product and there are several MRPs on the market such as those made by Muscle Tech and Metaform which make good tasting, nutritious products, many of which containing glutamine.
Creatine is another supplement I believe in since it has been shown to effectively boost strength and bodyweight (although mostly by water retention) gains. I have used Pro Lab's Creatine Products with success.
CRITICAL MASS: When you are trying to get BIG
1- Eat big to get big. Simple but effective. Try to aim for 2grams of Crabs per pound and 1.8-2g pf protein per lb of bodyweight. YOU SHOULD GETTING IN ABOUT 14-20 CALORIES PER POUND OF BODYWEIGHT. The exact amount will depend on your metabolic rate. Consume 4-7 meals daily to accommodate the best assimilation of all those nutrients. Don't be afraid of occasionally consuming some junk food either, just don't go overboard. Remember big doesn't mean fat! You should not lose sight of your abs. It is no good to put on 20 lbs if only 7 lbs of that is muscle tissue.
2- Train with Basic Exercises. Mass training relies on basic compound movements or those which call upon the largest muscle of the body (Quadriceps, Glutes, Lats, Traps, Pecs, Delts, lower and upper back) to perform exercises with a synergistic effort. Free weights should form the backbone of the routines with some machines. Here are some of the best basic movements:
Legs: Squats, Leg Presses, Stiff Legged Deadlifts as well has Machine Squats Back: Deadlifts, Chins, Barbell and Dumbbell Rows, Cable Rows, Lat Pulldowns and Cleans, and Shrugs
Chest: Bench Presses, Incline Presses, Decline Presses (all with either Barbells or Dumbbells) Dips and some Machine Movements Shoulders: Standing and Seated Presses with Barbell or Dumbbells, Upright Rows, Clean and Jerk and Push Presses
3- Use Moderate Volume. Although many bodybuilders consider the volume of a workout to be highly individual I be willing to bet you will get the best results by training with moderate volume.
Low volume training such as the Heavy Duty methods preached my Mike Mentzer call for only one set to positive failure. At the other extreme is high volume preached by some pro bodybuilders which calls for upwards of 20 sets to failure per body part. With Low volume training you might have better chances of recovery but you cannot overload as many muscle fibers. With the marathon like volume training you get into the range where you cannot recover fully so you end up wasting effort.
Studies have shown higher growth hormone secretions with higher sets, although the effect is lessened after about 70 minutes of training. 10-15 sets for the Large muscle groups and 6-10 fpr smaller muscles allows you to satisfy the need for overloading as many muscle fibers as possible while not over stimulating you into the range of overtraining.
4- Low Reps for High Reaching Results. As I have stated before Training for Maximal strength using heavy poundages and lower reps is a very expedient way to greater muscle size. Training like a powerlifter or competitive weight lifter gives you a volley of benefits if muscle size is what you desire. As a bodybuilder and athlete (if you compete in sports other than bodybuilding as I do) you are in search of larger, stronger muscle and low rep training offers you this.
Say, you got bird legs and want muscular thighs. If you go from squatting 185lbs. for 8 reps and progress to where you can squat 225lbs for 8 reps you will dramatically induce a muscle mass gain in your Quads, Hamstrings, and Lower Back.
When I talk about low rep training I am referring to reaching failure in a range of 3-9 reps. In order to train safely with such heavy weight there are some precautions you should take.
Adequately warm up your muscles and connective tissue by doing warm-up sets, stretching and pyramiding the weight. For a thorough explanation as to how to pyramid the weight read my article The Great Pyramid. Have a spotter on hand and or train in a power rack with safety catches. Also use low rep power training on the basic movements like Squats, Rows, Leg Presses, Benches, Chins and Deadlifts. Isolation exercises do not lend themselves as well to lower reps because of the increased stress on individual joints. For other articles on power training Check out the Brute, Jay Horowitz, Big Cat, Jason Bennett and many other writers on the website with expertise in this area on Bodybuilding.com
5- Monstrous Pump-- the cliché...Intensity for Immensity. Employ intensity boosting techniques such as drop sets, forced reps, supersets and cheat reps give your muscles more of a pump by extending muscle fatigue and promoting a burn. The elevated pH levels (the measure of acidity from byproducts of contractions) has been shown to elevate muscle building hormones. Use these techniques sparingly to avoid overtraining. These are also good to use when trying to get lean since, when your body fat is lower, they allow for more hardness and definition. Check out other great articles about intensity by Big Cat, Phano, John Giljum, and Big Dog Seth among others.
When you are trying to get lean...
1- Reduce Crab calories. Doing so makes your body rely more on fat for energy. Do not attempt to eliminate carbs since they are the most efficient energy source and are needed to keep training up to snuff. Vary carbs from 1 g- 1.5 g per pound when trying to get lean
2- Keep protein high to spare the muscles which are being deprived of carbs, Consume close to 2 g per lb when trying to get lean.
3- Perform Cardio. Cardio Vascular activities help burn more fat. Some people have varying tolerances to cardio because of metabolic rates. As a rower I am used to doing lots of cardio so I am used it. Find which activity works best for you. The range from walking, running. or using various machines just as exercise bikes, treadmills, rowing machines and Stairmaster.
4- This tip could have gone anywhere but since most people are more focused when they are getting cut I decided to put this tip right here. BE AMBITIOUS, NOT OBESSISIVE! CHANCES ARE YOU ARE NOT CUT FROM THE GENETIC GENE POOL TO BECOME MR. OLYMPIA OR EVEN A OLYMPIA COMPETITOR FOR THAT MATTER! There is, however, no reason why you cannot dramatically improve your body. Hell with enough hard work and tenacity you can win a bodybuilding competition. But remember there is more to life than bodybuilding. A good healthy, well rounded lifestyle (WHAT ARISTOTLE AND DA VINCI PREACHED FOR AGES) is what you should be striving for.
5- Stick with heavy training. Your poundages might decrease slightly since you will not be eating as many carbs but try to still train as hard as ever-- this will help maintain all the muscle you have worked hard to acquire.
MORE ARTICLES ARE ON THE WAY-- Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments or questions on this article or on bodybuilding and fitness in general