Phano's Training Journal 3!

Dave and I decided to train today at 4:00 PM. Training time on Sunday always varies because we base training on Dave's schedule during the weekend.

3/3/02 Sunday-hamstrings
Dave and I decided to train today at 4:00 PM. Training time on Sunday always varies because we base training on Dave's schedule during the weekend. His girlfriend goes to school in another town and he likes to see her on the weekends. With this in mind, I decided to give up a little slack his way. I was a few minutes late today because I took a nap and was dragging ass. I popped a Xenadrine NRG tab and threw down some glutamine as I ran out of the door. I got to the gym and it was on. Dave and I were both in good spirits. 8/10 training sessions, we're both in positive moods and everything just clicks. The other 2 times are just stressful because of girlfriends, school, or life in general. But I can say that we are both content individuals.

Regardless of this, we began training today with the usual 5 minutes on the bike and usual chatter. We were bitching about our quads hurting like never before. I am not going to lie, my quads were hurting a lot! Even those 5 minutes on the bike seemed like pure torture. Then we made our way to the mat to stretch our legs. Our first exercise was the lying leg curl with our feet positioned apart from each other. We performed only 3 sets here before realizing the Strength and Conditioning Room 2 was open. This is the location of the Cybex unilateral leg curl machine, my favorite for hamstring isolation training. Back to the lying leg curls. The first set was with 60 lbs for 15 reps, 100 lbs for 15 reps and finally 140 lbs for 12 reps. All of these reps were easy and I made sure to flex and stretch the hamstrings in between each set. Then we made our way towards the S & C II. Now came the real fun! We loaded 50 lbs on the machine and I went first. I banged out 12 ridiculously easy reps with 50 lbs per leg. Then it was 100 lbs for 15 easy reps.

Now it was time to work. With 150 lbs on there, I squeezed out 10 reps per leg. My left hamstring is weaker than my right one so common sense told me to work the weaker one first and then just match it for the sake of symmetry. This set was hard! I remember the last few reps on the left hamstring being never ending. One more set with 150 lbs and we were done with this machine, I thought to myself. I only managed 8 reps here per side but I will improve. Why? Because I won't let myself get worse! We headed back to the main gym to perform our Romanian deadlifts. We slapped on 135 and I banged out 12 easy reps using no straps. Then we slapped on 225 and I banged out 8 more easy reps without straps. Now we slapped on 315 and I banged out 4 slow reps with straps.

Now it was time to get nasty. We slapped on 335 and I slowly stepped on the platform. When you slap on this much weight on this platform, people assume you are going to do shrugs. Well, as I strapped myself on for one heavy as hell set, I knew all eyes would be shifted my way. Dave is talking trash to me while I heave the weight up. I take a step back and begin my set. One, two, three, four... it's getting hard but I can't quit, five... six! I rack it and I'm breathing harder than ever now. But I'm done so that's refreshing. Now it was on to lying leg curls with our feet positioned together. I can't feel my hamstrings at this point but that's what I want. With 100 lbs, I squeeze out 15 reps. Then it was 130 lbs for 10 reps and finally 130 lbs for 8 reps. I find it extremely difficult to even curl my legs without any extra resistance, much less trying to curl all of these plates. I know I'm going to be hurting for the next few days. But hey, it's all worth it.

3/4/02 Monday-chest
I arrived at the gym today on time. I had the stress of taking a midterm this morning so anything that wasn't school related was welcomed with open arms. So Dave and I prepared to train what we call "boobies." Along with a myriad of jokes that we have, Dave and I have a ritual when it comes to chest training. We always wear the same shirt and long pants, no, not because we have a complex where we must hide our physiques but because we've had out-of-this-world chest sessions ever since we started doing this. I'm not sure where my mind was before this session but I know it wasn't into today's workout. We got on the bike for 5 minutes and stretched out our sore as hell hamstrings. I'll be damned! My hamstrings were sore as piss but I'm not going to bitch because I brought it upon myself. If there's one thing I hate on Mondays, it would be training my chest. Why? Because it seems that everyone wants to train chest on this day. Bah! Damn chest warriors.

Anyhow, we started today's session with incline bench press. We slapped on 135 and banged out 15 easy reps. Then it was 135 again for 10 slower reps. It was taking longer than normal for me to get a pump today. Maybe this could be attributed to the extremely cold weather today or maybe it was because of my lack of calories the past few days. Whatever the case, I could feel that my chest wasn't even close to being warm. Now it was time for 185 for 8 more slow and easy reps. Ok….now I have a tightness in my pecs and my pump is getting better and better the more I stretch and flex. If there's another thing I can't stand while Dave and I are working out is when someone asks us for a spot. Get one of the "staff" people to spot you. Can't you idiots see that we're busy training. Now that I've gotten that off of my chest, no pun intended, I can get back to today's training session.

Next it was 215 for 6 reps. Ok, I'm finished warming up and it's time to work with 225. Since Dave is still warming up, I have to do two work sets with 225. I get 5 reps and then 4 reps, respectively, with 225. Now it's time to move on to our next movement, incline dumbbell press. For some reason, this exercise is more difficult than it was last week. I think it's because I use a lot of my triceps and delts when I'm performing any type of pressing motion, that they didn't have time to recover properly. We normally perform a fly movment but after our first pressing movement to "pre-exhaust" the pecs but it's always good to change things up from time to time. I grabbed the 80s and performed two sets of 7 and 6 reps. I can't feel my chest at this point but I'm still pushing. I'm having difficulty controlling the weight, too, but I still control to the best of my abilities. Dave makes me look like a total weakling when he heaves up the 110s on incline dumbbell presses. That bitch!

If I didn't know so much, he wouldn't progress so quickly. Oh well, he can carry on my mantle of supremacy. Our next exercise was incline dumbbell flyes. I'm sweating like crazy but I'm not going to quit. I grab the 70s and perform two sets of 5 reps each. I'm telling you right now, this was hard as shit! My pecs are so pumped that I'm having trouble walking normal. Dave and I then make our way to the machine bench press. Only one set here because our pecs are cooked to hell. Using 170 lbs, I slowly squeeze out 8 reps. I feel like such a pussy because I'm pushing but the weight stack is barely moving. Dave and I both agree that all pressing movements are out of the question from here on in and we're going to perform high cable crossovers. We start with 60 lbs per side and perform 15 concentrated reps. After stretching a bit, we moved the weight up to 80 lbs per side and performed 8 reps. It's amazing how only 20 lbs will make a big difference on this exercise. Oh well, it's all about progress, isn't it? Believe it or not, but it's only been about 6 hours since we trained chest and I'm already getting sore. Now THAT is what you call intense chest training!

3/5/02 Tuesday-back
I'm actually typing this 45 min. before scheduled training time and I'm dreading the deadlifts we have to do today. We only perform deadlifts every other back workout and I'm not going to lie, I hate them. They hurt like hell but I know I have to do them. I can't complain too much because I bring this on myself. I haven't eaten any solid foods yet, just a protein shake and some carb drink and a ton of water. I'm debating whether or not to take any thermogenics before this workout or not but I doubt I will need any. I'm shaking right now, don't know why, but I am.

Well, it's time to get ready for another glorious day in the office. It's been about 5 hours since we trained back and my back is already hurting like a bitch. I've been sticking to my diet the past couple of days and I really feel better about myself and my training. Now on to the workout. We started today's workout with the usual 5 minutes on the bike and 3 sets of front pull-ups. The first two sets were with my bodyweight for 10 reps each. Then came my only work set with a 25 lb plate strapped to my waist for 8 tough reps. By this point, I've got a crazy pump in my back. I was sure glad I had done my homework with regards to nutrition because I get nasty pumps when I eat right. Makes you wonder, eh? Then came barbell rows with an overhand grip for 3 pyramiding sets using 135, 185, and 225. I know this doesn't sound like much weight but if you do them right, you can really work the targeted muscle group.

I managed 12, 10, and 6 reps respectively. Next came a pulldown movement: curl grip pulldowns to be exact. I like to alternate a rowing motion with a pulldown motion because I feel you can get better back development since you don't overwork one particular motion. Using 100, 120 and 140, I squeezed out 12, 10, and 8 reps respectively. We only used straps on the last set of all back exercises so that grip isn't a factor when we're fatigued. It seems to work extremely well and we are better able to focus on the movement as opposed to gripping something and the movement. We then performed 2 sets of seated cable rows using 140 and 150 for 10 and 8 reps. I have to say, when you're performing these, you should really focus on pulling with you elbows, as you should in all back movements, and squeeze the shoulder blades together. Most people in the gym perform most back exercises incorrectly because they think that just because they move the weight, they are working the back. Wrong! Get it right and then add the weight progressively.

Next came one set of front pulldowns using 100 for 10 reps. I managed the set quite easily but I couldn't feel my back working anymore. I knew that it was time to call it quits and move on to the much dreaded deadlifts. Ugh! We slapped on 135 and banged out 10 reps. Then it was 225 for 8 reps and 315 for 4 reps. Now it was time to work. We slapped on 365 and I banged out 7 grueling reps! That was 2 better than last time so I was happy. I felt dizzy after the set but I wouldn't let myself quit. I was having an awesome back workout and I wanted to finish with traps because I've neglected them for so long. Since the traps are a kite shaped muscle group, it only makes sense to train them at an angle. If you perform standing shrugs all of the time, you are going to get those tall traps and if you don't have the shoulder width to balance that out, you will look narrower. I decided that t-bar shrugs would be perfect. We slapped on a 45 lb plate to test the exercise out. 15 reps here followed by 90 lbs for another 15 reps and my traps are pumped to their max. For my final set, I used 135 for 10 reps making sure to utilize my straps and to just shrug and squeeze. It hurt like hell but since it worked so well, I will incorporate it into my workout from this day on.

3/7/02 Thursday-shoulders
I was really pumped about today's training session. The reason being is I've been perfect with my diet all week. It makes the 4th day and I'm not even compelled to cheat in the slightest manner. When my diet goes well, everything else follows suit. Dave and I began training with the usual 5 minutes on the bike followed by some light stretching. Then it was off to hammer our shoulders. We usually start off with standing dumbbell side laterals for our first work exercise but I opted for a pre-exhaustion technique. We performed 3 sets of side laterals with 12s, 15s, and 20s for 15, 12, and 10 reps respectively. Just enough to get a slight pump in our shoulders. Now came the real work. We went straight into seated dumbbell presses. I started with 60s for 10 reps followed by 70s for 8 reps and then 80s for 7 reps. For my final set, I used 90s for 5 slow as hell reps. This hurt like a bitch! The toughest part of this exercise was fighting the negative. We made sure not to just drop the weight on our shoulders which could have been detrimental to our health.

Next came the standing dumbbell side laterals. You didn't' actually think I would leave this classic shoulder exercise out, now did you? Using 25s, I managed 15 difficult reps with perfect form. Next came 30s for 10 reps with good form and finally 30s again for another 10 reps with satisfactory form. If you will notice, as I begin to fatigue, my form will become less and less perfect. If I feel that my form has suffered too much, I will just stop the set. No sense in wearing myself out and not working the intended muscle group. Next came alternating dumbbell front raises. I hate this exercise so much! Why? It hurts! I remember doing these a lot about 2 or 3 years ago before I realized how much pain they caused. Then I decided not to do them again. Now I realize that they are required for total shoulder development and have brought them back into play. I began with the 30s for 10 reps per side. I made sure to keep a slight bend in my arm and as I raised the dumbbell up, I would angle my wrist down a bit. I also made sure to control the negative focused on the pain more than anything. Next came 35s. I thought to myself:

"What am I doing?" Then I just picked up the dumbbells and started banging out reps like there was no tomorrow. I remember reaching 10 and then straining so hard that I lost all concept of where I was and how many reps I had done. Fortunately for me, Dave kept counting my reps and telling not to quit. There is no quit in me even though I couldn't feel much of anything after I had lost count of my reps. I ended up completing 20 alternating reps. By this point, my delts were on fire but I knew we weren't finished yet.

Next came seated rear delt laterals on a bench. I like this exercise because it requires a short stroke and if you have the form down correctly, you can really bring out your rear delts. I attribute my rear delt size to this one exercise because I've always done them. Here, Dave and I would do them back to back with no rest. Sounds like fun, right? It's not! It hurts like hell but it's the price you have to pay to be number one. Using 60s, I managed 15 reps and then 12 reps on our back to back system. I made sure to stretch my rear delts while Dave was doing his set. Even while stretching, I still counted his reps and pushed him intensely.

Next came the ultimate in rear delt burn: t-bar rear delt laterals using a back to back tempo. Using 30s, I banged out two sets of 15 reps making sure to feel the rear delts working here. Talk about an unbelievable pump! Afterwards, Dave and I went to the bathroom for our usual post workout posedown and we looked even wider than before. My delts were so pumped that I couldn't even raise my arms to my side without problems. Now that's intensity!

3/8/02 Friday-quads
I was feeling extremely good about myself today. I think this could have been attributed to the fact that I have been sticking to my diet all week without any cheats and training has been out of this world. I knew today was going to be hard because my hamstrings were still a bit sore from a few days ago and they do play a vital role in quad training, believe it or not. I knew I'd be a bit weaker than I was last time but that is usually the case when we do deadlifts in the same training week as quads. It can't be avoided. Nonetheless, Dave and I met up at the usual time: 11:30 AM.

I am not going to lie to you. Quad training does intimidate me slightly because I know that my day is going to be completely ruined. There is no worse feeling in the gym than having to go through our quad workout with our intensity. We began with the usual 5 minutes on the bike and some light stretching. We're talking a bit of mess and just joking around about spring break. This is funny to us because we train hard and eat right to just do some more of the same over the break. We don't just do it to look good over spring break just to land some chick or whatever the case may be. It's more for us than anything else.

We began today with leg extensions. I like using this to get a little blood into the quads before moving on to bigger and more difficult things. On leg extensions, I used 50, 80, and 110 lbs for 15, 12, and 10 reps respectively. I made sure to stretch in between each set and utilized isometric tension. It felt strange after the 2nd set of leg extensions because I could still feel a burning sensation in my quads. Upon feeling this, I knew I was in for a hell of a workout today. I would not only have to endure the usual quad intensity, but I would also have to fight off pre-fatigued muscles. Ugh! The drama in my life goes on.

Now we moved directly to the squat rack. We slapped on 135 and banged out 15 easy reps. Then it was 185 for another 10 reps followed by 225 for 10 more reps. By this point, my quads are hella pumped! Next is 275 for 6 slow reps followed by 315 for 8 more reps. Now came the one and only work set using 365 for 6 reps. This was heavy as piss! For some reason, 365 felt like 455 but I somehow finished the set. I knew I was messed up because I was already breathing extremely hard and sweating profusely. I wasn't going to push my luck today because of fatigue and decided to drop poundages to 225 for one final set for 11 reps. Everything burned on this last set, including my lower back.

Next came hack squats using 225 for 12 reps, 315 for 8 reps and 225 again for 11 reps. Walking became difficult but we aren't about to give up. We then went to the hall for two sets of walking lunges for 60 alternating steps per set. This was a killer because we normally perform only 40 alternating steps. Then we came back in for some more leg extensions. Damnit! I was tired but I knew we only had a few more sets left and if I gave it my all, I wouldn't be disappointed with myself. Using 100 lbs for all three sets, I managed 12 reps per set for my finishing movement. I'm going to be sore as hell tomorrow!

3/9/02 Saturday-arms
Today was different because we don't ever train on Saturdays. I like to relax on Saturday and sleep in a little bit but Dave had something important to attend to on Sunday which made training today unavoidable. Regardless, I was extremely psyched about training today. So psyched that I even wore a tank top to the gym and if you didn't know, I usually don't like tank tops because it just draws more attention our way. We arrived at the gym and before I even started working out, I was getting second glances by strangers.

Dave and I talked for a moment and then began our workout with the usual 5 minutes on the bike. The five minutes here did not last long at all because I was extremely pumped about today. Don't know why but I was. Then we stretched a bit and proceeded to start our workout. Unfortunately, all the preacher benches were taken up by a bunch of candy asses. To overcome this, I opted to train abs a bit. We did 3 sets of 20 reps of decline crunch using no weight, 25 lbs, and 45 lbs. We then followed this up with back to back sets of seated knee ups. Talk about an ab pump. I believe that there is no sense in doing endless reps of abs because the abs are just like any other muscle group, train them hard and briefly and move on.

We began our workout with 1 arm preacher curls using a steep incline. We started off with a 30 lb dumbbell for 12 reps per arm and then went 40 for 10 reps and finally 50 for 8 reps each. I remember my arms being immensely pumped. So pumped I could not even touch my shoulders. I also recall other people just standing around and watching us workout. Now what is the point of that? If you're not in there to train yourself, then go home because you're just getting in the way. Perhaps Dave and I should train in a more serious atmosphere. Our next exercise was e-z preacher curls using a wide grip. With 70 lbs, I knocked out 10 tough reps and then with 90 lbs I got another 7 reps. Dave and I could not believe the pump that we had. It just seemed the more we trained, the more blood we got in there.

Next came alternating seated incline curls. I hate this exercise so much. Mainly because it hurts more than the others. Using 40s, I managed 16 alternating reps. For my final set, I used 45s for 12 alternating reps. My biceps were almost completely fried but we just kept going and going. Next came e-z cable curls using a narrow grip. I managed 12 reps with 100 lbs and then 10 reps with 120 lbs. These hurt like a bitch! The constant tension of the cables will really make you feel like you're going crazy. Our final exercise was alternating dumbbell hammer curls using 40s for one set of 20 alternating reps. That was all she wrote for biceps. Next came triceps. Ugh! The pain never ends. We started off with the usual 2 sets of 15 reps on dips using only our bodyweight. There were two other jokers using the dip machine and they would just talk and talk and talk. What is that about? If you're going to talk, get off the machine. Better yet, go home!

Then came reverse grip tricep extension using an e-z bar for three sets. Using 120, I banged out 15 easy reps. Then with 160, I banged out another 12 relatively easy reps. Then came the final work set using the entire stack, 200 lbs, for 9 reps. Next came lying triceps extensions for only 2 sets with 120 lbs. Using this weight, I managed a set of 7 and then a set of 6. These hurt more than any other triceps exercise that I have done. What a pump! Next came the final exercise: 1 arm dumbbell overhead extension. Using a 30 lb dumbbell, I managed 8 reps per arm. After Dave's first set, he said his elbow was bothering him. Not wanting to risk injury so soon, we decided to end our workout there.