Making An Effective Training Program
The intention of this article will be to educate some and maybe put some new light on what I consider a proper and effective way of training program. I have been working out for as long as I can remember and in my early days of training I was like most young guys, wanted to put up the most amount of weight with no regard for proper form and tempo of my set and reps. As I got older I researched and read about a lot of different training techniques. I learned and learned every day, but I still did not apply all I have learned to my own personal training.
I could give people advice and design exercise programs for them, but could not use and apply the acquired knowledge myself. Then about two and a half years ago I decided I wanted to give bodybuilding competitions a try, which meant it was time to buckle down and make sure I get everything right as I needed to get growing and get growing fast.
This is a program that I have used in the past 2 years making slight adjustments and changes every 4 weeks, but the bare back bone of the program and the principles listed always remains the same. I will out line what I feel is a very effective way to stimulate and attain new muscle growth, for that matter one of my personal training clients has been following this kind of routine and has gained 6 lbs in 5 weeks without increasing his body fat percentage. Well, let's get to it enough about me and time to get to the program itself and the bases for its existence.
In & Out In A Hour
I am a true believer that you need to get in and get out of the gym in under an hour, anything above that mark and you are creating more catabolism then anabolism which will only add to your over training and luck of progress. So to combat the problem of over training I train 2 days on and 1 day off, I never train beyond 1-hour mark, at which point I feel diminishing returns set in and you do more harm then good to your body.
I will do 9-10 sets for big body parts like quads, hams, back, chest, about 7-8 for shoulders and calf's and 5-6 for biceps and triceps, it might not seem like a lot to you but if you put 110% intensity into each and every set.
I do each set as if it's the last set I will ever do, ALL OUT EFFORT. As I mentioned earlier, I see a lot of people spend hours in the gym and get very little results if any at all, most of the time the cause is they are over training, under eating and not resting enough, and that is a very bad combination. So basically I get in and get out, it's my work, I do not come there to chat, there is time for that after your workout at the protein shake bar. All body parts are done with basic/compound exercises like squat, dead lifts, benches, chin-ups, dead lifts from the knees, bent over rows, shoulder presses, barbell curls and dips.
Stretching & Concentration Type Exercises
At the end I will incorporate a stretching and concentration type exercise, like flies, crossovers, incline curls, concentration curls, leg extensions, leg curls, side laterals, pull downs etc. All though every set is completed with heavy weights, they are also done in good and strict form never sacrificing good form over heavy weight. Heavy is a very relative term, what's heavy to me might not be to you or might be too heavy, so choose your weights wisely and remember you can't train if you are injured. I also pay close attention to my tempos, generally 3 seconds on the negative and about 1-2 seconds on the positive, I alter the tempos as I see fit about every 4 weeks, to keep the body guessing and shocked.
Most of the time I will change my routine every 4-6 weeks, I might just change the tempo or total sets or exercises or just the exercise order. I am always trying to shock the body and make it adapt to the stimulus by growing. I always increase my weight on the core compound exercises even if it's by Â½ pound, I made these little weight from big washers I purchased at a local hardware store, they weigh Â¼, Â½ and 1 pound so it allows me to always increase the weights, even if by just a little bit. I have been able to increase my weight for over a year now, it might not seem like a significant amount at first but in the end it all adds up and stimulates new muscle growth.
My contest preparation training philosophy is almost the same, most of the above rule still apply except I reduce my total sets by about 20-25% basically about 2 sets on everything and might through in some drop sets for last set or two. Once I reduce the calories and start cardio I know I can't sustain the same intensity in the gym without sacrificing the hard earned muscle mass. So the volume goes down, but for the most part everything else stays the same.
I still rely on compound movements and throw in some cardio first thing in the morning. I am attaching a sample routine to give you a better idea of the things I do and how I apply the rules to my training. I feel that the single most important piece of advice I can give is to slow down your reps. It is a proven fact that muscle growth is caused by time under tension. What that means is that the time spend completing a single set must be between 40-60 seconds long to properly stimulate muscle growth.
If you do 10 reps at a tempo rate of 3-0-1 (3 sec. negative, no pause at he bottom and 1 second explosive positive) that would be 4 seconds per rep, making your set last 40 seconds. It might not seem like a very long time, but until you start using a stopwatch to measure the time, you will never know how long it really is. And please remember that no exercise in the world will make you grow unless you are eating right and resting (sleeping) at least 8 hours a day.
I also do about 4-5 min of stretching after my workout sessions. It is done to stretch the fascia around the muscle tissue, as I feel it is one of the limiting factors of muscle growth. By stretching the fascia, you are essentially creating more room for your muscle to grow. Think of this as a puzzle, if there are any pieces missing, you will not receive the results that you are looking for and are capable of achieving.
Next time I will focus on nutritional aspect of lean muscle gains and different techniques that can help you achieve all your goals. I hope that this helps some of you out and I would love to hear via e-Mail from people that apply these simple rules to this exercise program and all about their progress.
Day 1 - Legs & calves
|Legs||Squat - 4 Sets + 2 Warm-up
Sissy Squat - 1 Set
Leg Press - 2 Sets
Leg Extensions - 2 Sets
|Calves||Seated calf - 2 Sets
Leg press / donkey - 2 Sets
Standing calfs - 2 Sets
Day 2 - Chest & biceps
|Chest||Flat bench - 3 Sets + 2 Warm-up
Decline flies - 1 Sets
Incline bench - 2 Sets
Incline cable flies - 1 Set
Crossovers - 2 Sets
|Biceps||Staight bar - 3 Sets + 2 Warm-up
Incline dumbell curls - 2 Sets
Concentration curls - 1 Set
Day 3 - Off/rest
Day 4 - Hams & Shoulders
|Hams||Stiff legged dead lift - 3 Sets + 2 Warm-up
Leg curls - 2 Sets
|Shoulders||Shoulder press Behind the neck - 3 Sets + 2 Warm-up
Incline one arm laterals - 2 Sets
Lateral raises - 1 Set
Day 5 - Back & Tris
|Back||Deadlift from The knees - 3 Sets + 2 Warm-up
Behind back pulldowns - 2 Sets
One arm dumbell rows - 1 Set
Bent over bent arm laterals - 1 Set
Front pulldowns - 2 Sets
Dumbell pullover - 1 Set
Under grip bent over - 1 Set
Rows - 1 Set
|Tris||Lying tri extensions - 2 Sets + 2 Warm-up
Overhead extensions - 2 Sets
Kickbacks - 1 Set
Day 6 - Off/rest
Day 7 - Start with day 1 routine
Thank you for your time & take care,