Here's yet another week of intense training. Right now, I am a little less than 4 months out from my next contest. Enjoy!
I think that starting out the week with a good hamstring workout should do me well. My arms were a little sore, but I knew that it wouldn't matter in a couple of minutes. Well, let's get to it!
After the warm-up, Phano and I started out doing lying leg curls. With this exercise, we always alternate our leg position with either feet together, or feet apart every week. This week, we started with feet together. I ended up doing 4 sets of 15 reps, kind of high, but we used lying leg curl basically as a warm-up for one-legged leg curl, or uni-leg curl. For my four sets, I did 60, 100, 140, and 160 lbs. This wasn't too bad, I definitely had a pump, but I wasn't fatigued at all. After this warm-up round, we ventured down to a smaller weight room to do the uni-leg curl. To me, this is the bread and butter of hamstring development. Our first 2 sets were light, starting with 70 lbs. for 15 reps. and then jumping to 140 lbs. for 15 more reps. Damn, already I've done 90 reps, but I feel good, so it's time to go up, and start working. The first work set was with 210 lbs. for 10 reps. Wow, this was definitely challenging, my hamstrings were screaming. For my last set, I dropped down to 190 for 10 more reps.
Now for some cruel and unusual punishment, straight-leg dead lifts. We always start out with 135 and pyramid up in weight. The first set was for 12 reps, and then we jumped up to 225 for 8 more light reps. From there, I went to 315 for one last warm-up set of 6 reps. I still had some juice left, so I went up again to 365 for 6 more punishing reps. God, I was hurting, I feel like I had gotten the shit beaten out of me. No time to bitch about it, onto more lying leg curls. Remember that I said we alternate with our leg position every week. Well what ever position we start out with in the beginning of the session, we do the opposite at the end. So now, we are doing lying leg curls again with our feet apart. The first set was a joke, I really could not feel my hamstrings at all, I was just grabbing the handles and pulling for all I was worth. My first round was with 120 lbs. for 15 reps. I don't know how I made it through my final set, just had to keep pulling until Phano was doing all the work spotting me. My final set was with 160 for 15 more reps.
This pain is excruciating in my hamstrings still. That delayed onset muscle soreness is really taking it out of me. Well, thankfully, it is not Monday, and all of the frat boys are doing legs (haha, yea right!) arms today instead of chest, which means that all the incline benches are open. So let's get to work!
After going through the workout routine, we hopped on an incline bench and started training. The first 5 sets were nice and easy warm-up sets. I did 135 for two sets of 15 and 10 reps. For my next two sets, I went up to 185 lbs. for 8 and then for 5 reps. My chest was already getting a pump, so I thought it would be best to keep my reps relatively low now so that I could handle the heavier weight. My next set was with 225 lbs. for 4 solid reps. Next was my first work set with 275 for 7 reps. It wasn't too bad, a little lighter than I had expected, so I went up again to 290 for 5 reps. Ok, now my chest was on fire, what a pump! Next on the agenda was incline flys. I looked back in my journal and my stomach started to churn when I saw that I had to start with 90's and then go up again. F*ck it, nothing to it. My first warm-up set was with a pair of 90's for 10 good reps. I jumped up to 100's for another set 8 tough reps. Wow, I was really getting a good workout at this point.
After all the incline work, we started in on some flat bench work. Our first exercise on the flat bench was flat dumbbell presses. These are excellent, especially if you've already got a pump. I started out with a pair of 100's for 10 reps, and then grabbed the 150's, had a reality check, put them back on the rack, and got the 110's. I did these badboys for a set of 6 reps. Now that I couldn't feel my chest, we moved onto flat flys. Here, we only did one set, which was plenty. My set was with 85 lb. dumbbells for a set of 6.
After partaking in some flys, we went over to the vertical seated bench press machine thing. This time, we lifted the seat a little higher than usual to really hit the mid, and lower pec region. I started out with 170 lbs. for 12 "easy" reps, and then jumped up to 200 lbs. for 9 more reps. My left arm was not cooperating, and I could barely extend it. Finally, it was time for some cables. My chest was ridiculously pumped at this point; I didn't know how I was going to make it through just the warm-up set. Well, I did, and I used 70 lbs. for 12 reps. Next, for my final set of the workout, I went up to 90 lbs. for 7 reps. This was a couple of reps short of what I was aiming for, but it doesn't matter, as long as I went to failure!
My pecs are really killing me this time; I mean I stretching was extremely difficult today. I'm not talking about for my chest; I'm talking about stretching for my back. I think I'm probably going to be sore for at least 5 days. Ok, ok, here's the rundown for back training today.
Of course, we warmed-up first, as always, and then went over to the rack to do some bent over rows with a pronated grip. This was a change, I think that this was the first time we started off back training with something other than pull-ups. This should be interesting. I did five warm-up sets before my work set. The first two were with 135 lbs. for 15 and 10 reps. Then it was 185 lbs. for 10 and then 6 reps. Finally, I ended the warm-up with 225 lbs. for 10 reps. This weight felt a little lighter than usual because we hadn't done pull-upsâ€¦yet. My work set was done using 265 lbs. for 10 more reps. My mid-back was definitely already tender; this was going to be a good workout!
Our next movement was seated row with the V-bar. Since this was a new kind of training, we weren't sure where to start, as far as weight was concerned, so we started kind of light, with 120 lbs. and did that for 10 reps. Next we made a twenty pound jump to 140 for 10 reps and then up to 170 for 9 punishing reps. My back felt like it was taking over my body, I couldn't get in a position that was comfortable. Now, it was time for pull-ups. I'll tell ya, my fat ass felt extra heavy today after knocking down two exercises first! I only ended up getting 12 reps for the first set and 10 reps for the second, but hey, at least my form was good.
After pull-ups, we jumped on the cable machine for some front pull downs. We started off light, with 100 lbs. and did 10 easy reps. Next, for my final set, I did 130 lbs. 12 times. This next exercise really gives me trouble, but I finally found a way to make them work for me. One-arm dumbbell rows is the exercise to which I am referring. I started getting my upper body more out in front of me instead of keeping my weight back on my knee; this really threw my lats into the equation. I stuck with the 100 lb. dumbbell for two sets, one for 15 reps, and the other for 12 reps.
Now, for one last rowing movement. All this rowing was really putting some major blood in my back, what a pump! Our last rowing exercise was T-Bar rows. We started off with just a 45 lb. plate for 10 easy reps, and then jumped to 90 lbs. for 10 more reps. At this point, it was all I could do to keep my lower back arched. For our last pull down movement, and our last exercise, we went back over to the pull down machine and used a V-Bar instead of the straight bar. These felt impossible at this point, I could barely feel anything, yes, anything. My first set was a light one, using 100 lbs. for 12 reps. Even though this weight felt light, I was running out of gas quickly. My final set of the workout was with 120 lbs. for 9 reps.
3/15: Shoulders, Abs, and Calves
Ok, let me start off saying that one, my chest is still hurting like a bitch, and two, this was probably the worst workout that I've had since the last contest.
We started off with abs after the warm-up because I was going to have to do calves after shoulders. We did the usual, three sets of sit-ups on the decline bench, pyramiding up to using a 45 lb. plate and doing 20 reps each set. Next we went over and did bench crunches, three sets of 20 reps, no rest between sets. Then it was onto some shoulder training.
Starting with some side lateral raises, I really felt pretty tired from studying so much, but I didn't feel any weaker. We did three light sets to get warm-up before shoulder press. First, I did two sets of 15 reps with 15 and then 20 lb dumbbells. For my final set, I did 25's for 10 easy reps. We walked over and claimed a bench to use for seated dumbbell shoulder press. The first set with 60's for 10 felt relatively light, and so did the next set of 75's for 8 reps. Phano was feeling strong today; he was definitely pushing up more weight than he has in the past. My third set was with 85's for a set of 8 reps. Here was where everything went downhill. The 85's felt heavier than normal, but no big deal, that's happened before and all went well. Not this time. I grabbed the 115's and sat down. The problem was when I tried to kick them up to my shoulders; I couldn't get them up there. I got one, but couldn't get the other. I walked around for a minute and tried it again, same thing. I was getting pissed off, I mean this was bullshit, this hasn't ever happened. Ok one more time, I sat down, finally got the damn things up to my shoulders, but by that time, I was so worn out for previous attempts that I didn't have enough strength left to push. Well this was definitely a blow to my confidence, but this kind of shit happens, and you can't let it ruin your workout. I racked the 115's and grabbed a pair of 100's and got 7 hard reps. What a joke, 100's have never felt that heavy.
I had to put that shit behind me and move on to the next exercise, side laterals (revisited). My shoulders were gassed and I was fatigued already. I grabbed some 30's and got 15 reps with them. For my last set, I did 35's for a sloppy set of 12. It wasn't that sloppy, but you could tell that towards the end, I was starting to slip a little. Phano was there to push me a little extra, and that helped a little bit. Next, we went over to the T-Bar and did rear-delt work. We had a couple of 35's and did 3 sets of 15 without rest. Man, my shoulders were blitzed from the beginning, what a pump. For our final exercise, we laid backwards on an incline bench and did some more side lateral raises. Good luck cheating on those, it's just about impossible, and what great emphasis on the mid-delts. We stayed with the same weight all the way through, 25's for three sets of 12 reps. My delts were toasted, and I welcomed calf training, anything to be done with this kick-in-the-crotch workout.
Of course, I warmed up by doing 2 sets of 20 calf raises, stretching between each set. We went over to the Smith Machine for some standing calf raises, which was a nice change. My first set was with 135 lbs. for 30 reps. Yep, my calves were in for a beating. Next, I went up to 225 for 30 more reps. Is there really any other burn that is as intense as the burn you get form calf training? After that, I jumped up another ninety pounds to 315, and I did that until failure. I wish I could tell you how many reps failure is, but it was all I could do to remember to stretch. I can tell you that it was around 25 reps. I stayed there for another set of failure and then dropped down to 225 for another set of failure (around 20 reps or so). For my last set of this exercise, I dropped down again to 135 for a grueling set of 30. The seated calf-raise was nowhere to be found so I had to go over to the leg press. Once again, I have no idea how many reps I did, but I did start out with three plates, went up to 4 plates, went back down to three plates, and ended up at two plates. All sets were until failure. Sorry about the lack of information, I'll be sure to start making a point to write down everything!
3/17: Quads (Ayyyyyyy!)
Well, here we are, faced with another quad day. Hell yeah, let's get to work! (By the way, my jugs are still sore as shit.)
We trained at my home gym today. To me, it is kind of sub par for what we are working for, it's more for families and shit like that. Following a quick warm-up, we got on it and went straight to the leg extension for some additional warming-up. The first light set was with 50 lbs. for 15 reps. After some stretching, we did another light set with 70 lbs. for 15 more reps. Time for some squats!
I did a total of six warm-up sets before I actually got to work. My first two warm-up sets were with 135 for 15 and 10 reps. The weight felt really light, but I wasn't fooled yet. We slapped on 225 and did two more warm-up sets for 10 and then 6 reps apiece. Still, the weight felt light, and my legs felt pretty strong even though we were in a different gym than what we were use to. One last warm-up set was still needed, so I increased to 315 and got 10 good reps with it. Thankfully, we hadn't done dead lifts for back training, so my squats weren't suffering at all. The next stop was 365, which I did 6 times. Yea, it wasn't too heavy, but my breathing was quite the opposite. For some reason, I was breathing really heavy, probably because of the different atmosphere. I jumped up again to 405 for my last work set and got it 6 reps, definitely an improvement from last week.
Now it was on to hack squats for more punishment. We chose to start with 225 for our first set. It wasn't too bad; I got it for 15 reps. We slapped on another plate to make it 315 lbs., and I got that for 12 more reps. I jumped up one more time to 405, and rapped it for a set of 9. My legs were really in pain, and I really was having trouble putting one foot in front of the other. We decided to skip leg extensions because the pump that we had was definitely out of control, so we went straight to lunges with a slight twist. This time, instead of walking in a straight line, we kind of made an angle, stepping out to the side just a bit. This really made a difference, and was an excellent finishing move for my legs. We did the normal, two sets of 40 steps total.
Well, there you have it, another week of intense training, stay tuned for more workouts coming your way.