Training Journal Page 3!

Sure, you could get huge, but you could also injure yourself within the first 5 minutes that could put you out for six weeks. Not fun huh... Here are some tips for training safe and smart.

Training Journal #3

9/19 Thursday - Chest and Biceps

Today was back to workout A for chest and biceps. I began with the bike and stretching to loosen up a bit. I began with flat bench press. My first set was with 135 for 15 reps. I then moved up to 155 for 12. After I stretched a bit I did my final two sets with 185. I was able to get 7 and 4 reps. My next exercise was incline bench press. For some reason I feel this a lot more in my chest than flat bench press.

I take a closer grip on the bar, which helps me feel it a lot more as I push the bar up. I also lower the bar to the bottom of my collar bone, rather than my nipple line. This is one of my favorite exercises because of the great contraction I get at the top of the press. I began with 95 for 8 reps. Next I did 135 for two sets of 8. After some stretching I did my last set with 155 for 7 reps.

I like to finish up my pressing movement with some dips to hit the lower portion of my pecs. I achieve this be performing the dips with my legs bent backwards, so my upper body leans forward a bit. I also make sure to lower my body deep into the dip, to get a great stretch in my muscles. I performed my first two sets with no weight, and got 15 reps each. I do them slowly to really feel the stretch at the bottom. I did my last 2 sets with a 45-pound plate around my waist. I was able to get 6 reps each time, again going slowly to feel the stretch. I finished off this chest workout with incline dumbbell fly. My first set was with a pair of 40's for 11 reps. I then did two sets of 50's for 7 and 5 reps with little rest in between.

My chest was very pumped after this. Now it was time to hit my biceps. I really like this workout because ez-bar curls and incline dumbbell curls really hit my biceps well. I started with 50 pounds plus the ez bar (about 17 pounds) for a set of 12 and 12. After some stretching I put on 70 and got 8 reps. My last set was with 80 for 5 very difficult reps. I moved over to the incline bench and began my first set of incline dumbbell curls with 40's for a set of 10. I then did a set with 45's for 7 and 50's for 5.

My biceps were really pumped after this. For my last exercise I performed two sets of slow dumbbell hammer curls on the preacher bench. This is a difficult exercise because you can't cheat on them at all. Starting with a 30-pound dumbbell, I did 11 reps per arm. Anytime you are working one arm at a time, I suggest starting with your weakest arm first. This way you will always be able to get the same number of reps per arm. I finished off my workout with a 40-pound dumbbell for 6 slow reps. I was fully exhausted after this, so I went home to eat, sleep, and grow.

9/20 Friday - Shoulders and Calves

Today's workout is back home at a gym I used this summer. The manager has allowed me to continue to use the gym when I am in the area. After a light warm-up on the stationary bike and some light stretching it was time to hit it. I started off with standing dumbbell laterals. I began with 12's for a light set of 15. After stretching a little more I did another set of 15's for 12. My last set was with 20's for 10 reps. I had a little pump going by now, and it was time to start my pressing movement.

I went over to the Hammer Strength barbell press. I really didn't't like this set up at all. The location of the rack for the bar was about a foot behind the seat, so you have to reach behind you to attempt to lift the weight off the rack before you can begin the press. I found this to be very awkward and a little dangerous concerning the position of your rotator cuff. Oh well, I began with a set of 95 for 12 easy reps. My next set was with 115 for only 4 reps.

As I was trying to get the bar off the rack my upper back bowed and I strained myself a bit. Nothing to cause serious injury, but the strain it put on my shoulder was enough to cause them to ache during my set. I tried 115 one more time but was only able to get 6. After that I decided to move on to my dumbbell side raises. I was more than frustrated with the poor design of the Hammer Strength equipment. I began with 25's for 15 reps. I always lean into the arm I'm working, and try to hold the dumbbell at ear level for a second to really get that burn in my side dolts.

My second set was with 30's for 12. Like I mentioned earlier, always start with your weak side first, in my case, my left side. For my third set I grabbed a pair of 35 s to get 10 grueling reps in.

For my rear delts I chose bent over rear delt laterals. I love this exercise because you can really isolate your rear delts while using sufficient enough weight to fully fatigue the muscle. I began with 30's for a set of 15 easy reps. I then moved on to two sets with 40's. I was able to get 15 both times. I finished up shoulders by hitting the front delts with front dumbbell raises. Starting with 30's I was able to get 10 slow reps. I next moved on to 35's for 8 reps. My last set was with 40's for 7 reps. My shoulders were aching and on fire by now.

After a quick flex and stretch of my shoulders, I headed over to the calf raise machine and loaded a 45-pound plate on each side. After some long stretching I banged out 20 easy reps. I added a plate to each side, totaling 180 pounds and hit another 20 easy reps. For my third set I raised the weight up to 270 pounds and did 15 slow reps. I held each rep at the top for a two-second count to really get a full peak contraction of my muscles. I also made sure to lower the weight as low as possible to get a good stretch. For my fourth and final set, I went up to 360 pounds. I was able to get 12 reps out of it. My calf muscles were cramping up a bit, so I stretched them and made my way to the bathroom to drink my shakes and head home for the day.

9/21 Saturday - Off

9/22 Sunday - Triceps

Tonight I worked out in a smaller gym than normal. UGA has a smaller gym that they open up if the main one gets too crowded. I enjoyed the new atmosphere, and the lack of people. People usually just get in my way while I'm working out, so I try and schedule my workout times based on when it is the least crowded. After my bike warm-up and some stretching I headed over to the dip bars to warm up my triceps. I like this exercise because it allows me to stretch and contract as deeply as possible. I did two warm-up sets of 15 using only my body weight. For my third set I strapped on a 45-pound plate and did 10 slow reps.

Now that my triceps were fully warmed and a little pumped, I headed over to do some close grip bench press. This is a great exercise, and one that I need to work on a lot. Phano has been helping me with my form, so I think I'm getting better each time I do this exercise. I began with 115 for 15 reps. On my second set I went up to 135 and was able to get 12 reps. I was getting a great pump and felt really strong, so I decided to add more weight. At 185 I was only able to manage 5 reps, so I guess I over estimated my strength a bit. I generally like to do at least 6 reps for building muscle. Any lower than 6 and I think you will gain more strength than muscle. For my fourth set I decided to go back down to 135. I was able to get 11 reps. I still felt really good about my strength level.

Skull crushers with the EZ-curl bar were my next exercise. This exercise really isolates your triceps, but can be painful on your elbow joint. Because of this, I decided to warm up with just the bar for about 20 reps. The EZ-curl bar in this gym weighs close to 30 pounds. I'm not really sure why it is so heavy because the large gym has 17-pound bars. Oh well, as long as its heavy it will work! I started with a 25 on each side, so about 80 pounds. I was able to get 10 reps. I decided to stay at this weight for all three sets. For my second set I was able to bang out another 10 reps, and for my last set I got 8 reps.

I made my way over to the cable machine to do some pronated and supponated cable pushdowns. Starting with pronated I put the pin at 100 pounds and got 15 easy reps. For my second set I did 130 for another 15 reps. For my third and final set, I got 150 for 13 reps. I started with 110 on the supponated pushdowns and banged out 11 reps. For my second, and final set, I did 110 for 9 reps. I was feeling pretty spent by now. I finished off with dips between two benches. I put a plate on my lap for added resistance. With one 45-pound plate, I was able to get 14 reps. I added two more 45-pound plates (135lb total) and got 11 reps to finish off my triceps workout.

9/23 Monday - Quads and Hams

Leg day - I love and hate this day. I either have an awesome workout, or a terrible workout. Today would prove to be a below average workout. After my 5 minutes on the bike and stretching I moved over to the leg extension. This is still additional warm-up for me. I began with 60 pounds for 15 reps. I then did 80 for 15 and 100 for 15 reps. By now I had a pretty good pump going, so I headed over to the squat rack. I started with 135 for 15 reps. I then went up to 185 and got 15 more reps. I put on 225 and got 12 hard reps. I was feeling a little weak, but I decided to go up to 275. I was only able to get 9 reps, so I decided to drop back down to 225 for my next set. With 225 back on, I did two more sets of 12 and 10.

I was feeling weak as I headed back to the leg extension machine. My mouth was pretty dry, so I knew that I had not drank enough water in the hours before my workout. I set the pin at 100 and got 15 easy reps. Next I did 130 for 15 and 150 for 10 final reps. This always makes the teardrop area of my quads ache. Now it was time for hack squats. I put 90 on and performed 12 reps. After some water I did another 12 reps with 180 pounds. For my last set, I loaded the bars with 270 and got 8 reps. I decided to skip hamstrings today and get home. It was obvious that I was feeling weak, and dehydrated. I drank my shakes and made my way back home to eat and rest.

9/24 Tuesday - Off

9/25 Wednesday - Back and Traps

I have been eating a lot of clean foods the past two days, and drinking a TON of water. I wanted to make sure that there were no excuses for a sub par workout. I went into the gym feeling very energetic and focused. After my 5-minute warm-up on the bike and some stretching, I made my way over to the pull-up bars. I always do at least 30 pull-ups no matter how many sets it takes me. Normally 4 sets are enough for me to get 30 with perfect form. For my first set I got 10 fairly easy reps. My second set was a little more difficult, but I was still able to get 10 without compromising my form. On my third set I had to stop after 7, but that is an improvement for me. On my fourth and final set I got 5 reps. So far so good, now its time for barbell rows.

Today I decided to perform Dorian Yates style rows. That is, body at a 70-degree angle, holding the bar with an underhand grip. This allows me to use much heavier weight than standard bent over barbell rows. For my first set I put on 135 and got 17 easy reps. For my second set I went up to 185 for another easy set of 13. Next I slapped on 225 and got 12 surprising reps. I am a lot stronger than last time! For my last set I stayed at 225 and got another 11 reps! I was definitely happy with my workout so far. I went over to the cable machine to do reverse grip cable pulldowns.

I really like this movement because you can move a good amount of weigh and really feel it in your lats. I started with the pin at 100 and stopped at 12 reps so I didn't waste energy on warm-up sets. For my next set I went up to 120 and got 10 reps. After stretching a bit I did my last 2 sets of 140 for 7 reps each time. I was focusing on really contracting my muscles hard during the movement and it was showing in the massive pump I had. My back felt huge and strong.

For my next exercise I decided to do some one arm dumbbell rows. Starting with 60's I performed 10 reps. I then moved up to 100's and did three more sets of 10 each. I wanted to go up in weight but the gym I was in only went up to 100's. You just have to make due with what you have. For my next exercise I used the Cybex lat pulldown machine. This machine is really weird because I can use the entire stack of weights which is supposed to be 300 pounds. Now there is absolutely no way I could even do one pull-up with 300 pounds of resistance. That would be like strapping 3 45-pound plates around my waist!! So anyway I did 2 sets with the entire stack of "300 pounds". I was able to get it 8 and 6 times. All I know is that it was heavy and difficult, so it will work. I think it was more around the 150 pound mark rather than 300.

My traps were begging for attention, so I decided to do some dumbbell shrugs to appease them. Starting with 80's, I got to sets of 18 reps. I do these kind of slow, holding them at the top and NEVER rolling my shoulders. I keep the dumbbells a little in front of my thighs, mainly because it is more comfortable on my wrists. I finished off with 2 sets of 15 and 12, using a pair of 100's. Well that's all for my back workout, until next time train safe.