Phano's Training Journal 8!

After taking three days off from training because of personal reasons, Dave and I had the job of hitting the quads today. I was feeling good and decided to start...

4/22/02 Quads-Monday

After taking three days off from training because of personal reasons, Dave and I had the job of hitting the quads today. I was feeling good and decided to start the week off on the right foot by keeping my diet in order starting today and sustain it until the end of the week. This week would prove to be a busy week in school as well because the end of the semester is approaching and things just have a way of sneaking up on you at the last minute. Or at least that's the case with me. Anyhow, I managed to get two meals in before training today with one of those meals coming within an hour before training quads. Not the best move but I didn't care at this point.

We met at the designated time and began our warm up. We started with 5 minutes on the bike and stretched a bit. Then it was time for fun err...not really. We started off with leg extensions just to get some blood in the quads. Starting with 60 lbs, I performed 20 easy reps followed by 15 reps using 100 lbs. Nothing yet but I wasn't surprised because my diet all weekend had been poor. Then it was 120 lbs for 15 reps. Still nothing.

We then headed to the power rack to perform the much dreaded squats. Oh how I love to hate these! Starting with 135, I banged out 20 easy reps and stretched some more. Then I banged out another 15 easy reps with 135. Then we slapped on 225 and banged out 2 sets of 10 reps. Still no pump. I was thinking to myself: "this is going to suck if I can't get a pump." I mean, what the hell are you doing if you can't pump up a muscle. I used to always get pumps in the gym but then again, I used to always train at 8:00 or 9:00 at night. It's totally different training at night but that's another story altogether. I then performed 2 more sets using 225 for 10 reps each making sure to go slow and ass to the grass. For my last set, I decided to go up to 315 for the first time in a few weeks just for the hell of it. Nothing extravagant, only 6 reps here. Let me tell you, the amount of weight you can squat doesn't necessarily dictate the size of your legs. I will squat no heavier than 315 and my quads are about quite large. Although it is debatable, I believe form as well as increased resistance plays an integral role in muscle growth.

We then headed back to the leg extension machine for some more torture. I performed 15 reps using 100, 120 and finally 150. Yes, my legs were pumped all to hell by this point but it just seemed that the more I did, the more pumped they get. Have you ever gotten such a good pump early in the workout and then you just continued to workout and lost the pump? I've done it and I'm pretty sure you have too. This was the opposite. Wow, what a feeling! I just felt as if I could go on forever despite all of the blood going to my legs.

Next came hack squats. More fun…err…torture. We loaded the machine with 225 and I performed 10 reps to positive failure. Then it was 315 for 8 reps. Yeah, I was blitzed but we still had one more exercise to go: walking lunges. As we made our way to the hall outside of the weight room, I proceeded straight to the trash can to puke. Yeah, I lost it. I could taste the vitamin C coming back up along with the stomach acids. Fortunately, my breakfast had digest. Phew…I dodged a bullet. We performed 2 sets of 60 alternating steps here and that was all she wrote. We both fell to the floor gasping for air and sat there for about 5 minutes before we could actually compose ourselves to mix our protein shake. Needless to say, I was ruined for the rest of the day. Can't wait to do it again.

4/23/02 Chest-Tuesday

My quads were sore as piss today and they just seemed to get sorer by the moment. I would sit down and everything would be fine. Then I'd get up to go somewhere and that's when it really hurt. It'd hurt like a bitch until I'd sit down again. This cycle seemed to repeat itself all damn day. At any rate, I think it's worth it. Today we had the job of hitting chest. I don't really like training chest as much as I enjoy training back. Most guys are the other way around but I think a big and defined back is harder to come by these days than big pecs. I could be wrong in saying this but to each his own.

We met at the gym after classes and I was feeling pretty good. We started off with the usual 5 minutes on the bike followed by some stretching. It felt so good to stretch. So good that I didn't want to get up but I got up any ways. We even did some abdominal training before the actual workout. We did decline crunches for 2 sets of 20 reps using no resistance and then 2 sets of 20 reps using 25 lbs as resistance. I have done this since I started training and will continue to do them for as long as I train. Why? They work so damn well if you do them right.

Next came seated knee ups for 3 sets of 20 reps using a back to back tempo. I'd go then Dave would go. After this, I was sweating a little bit so that was good. I like breaking a little sweat before actually working out because my body is warm and I can feel the muscles working better. It's different for everybody but this works for me. We started out with incline press, as usual. We slapped on 135 and I performed 15 easy reps. Then it was 135 again for 10 slower reps. Then I slapped on 185 and performed 8 easy reps. We were still warming up. Now it was time to work. I slapped on 225 and performed a set of 6 reps and a set of 5 reps. Yeah, it was heavy as piss but I still fought through the sets. We then went to the flat bench to perform flat dumbell press. Using 100s, I managed a set of 6 reps and then a set of 5 reps. I sure do run out of steam quickly. Maybe I'm just getting too old for this. Or better yet, maybe I'm just bitching and I need to shut up and do my thing. Yeah, that definitely is it. I need to do my thing!

Next was decline bench press using 185 for two sets of 6 reps. To finish off the workout, we performed incline dumbell flyes. On the first set, I used 50s for a set of 12 reps with the incline pin set at 4. For the second set, I used 65s for 8 reps with the incline set at 3. We were then going to perform some cable crossovers but all of the punks were using that machine as if it were the only machine in the gym. You use cables all of the time and yet you wonder why your body is so fragile. Hmm…doesn't make sense, or does it?

4/24/02 Back-Wednesday

Today was back day and I wasn't feeling too motivated to train. The stress of school is starting to get to me and this always affects my workouts somehow. I'm just ready for the semester to be over so I can concentrate solely on training. That will be a nice change. Until then, I'll just have to gut it out.

Dave and I did the usual warm up as we do every day. We headed over to do pull ups but some dork was doing barbell shrugs. What a joke! Do you know why guys love to do shrugs? If you don't know, I'll tell you. Most guys like to do shrugs because they can move a lot of weight even though they do it wrong. What's the point? If you're going to build muscle, might as well do it right. Better yet, keep doing it that way because it will only make me look that much better. Haha! We sat there for a few moments, looked at each other, and walked to the platform to perform barbell rows. Yeah baby! Real back training was about to begin. We slapped on 135 and I performed two sets of 15 easy reps making sure to contract my shoulders blades together.

Next it was 185 for 10 easy reps. I could tell it was getting difficult but I didn't let it distract me too much. Next came 225 for a set of 10 reps and then a set of 8 reps. I probably could have gotten 10 reps on the last set but I didn't want to lose my form. For this exercise, form is extremely important. If you don't perform this exercise correctly then you're only cheating yourself.

Afterwards, we went to the pull up bar to perform sternum pull ups. Performing this exercise 2nd is quite different because using your own bodyweight is extremely difficult. Using only my bodyweight, I performed a set of 10, 8 and then 7 reps. Next was seated cable rows using separate handles. Separate handles offer a little advantage over the conventional v-bar because it allows a greater contraction, in my experience any ways. You can give it a try and see how you like it. Using 120, I performed 2 sets of 10 reps. Although my back was pumped, it wasn't pumped like it usually is. This was kind of discouraging but knew I could make myself sore still. Nothing makes me feel better after a back session than feeling soreness the day of or the day after.

The next exercise was curl grip pulldowns. After a guy at the 2000 Mr. GA told me to perform these in order to thicken my lower lats, I have done them and with good success too. Others may think differently but I believe that my back is probably one of my best body parts. Using 100, I performed 12 reps and then using 120, I performed 10 reps.

Next came t-bar rows. By the time I get to this exercise, I can't feel my back anymore but yet I still pound out rep after rep. Using a pronated grip, I performed 12 reps using 90 lbs and then 8 reps using 135 lbs. I was definitely out of steam but we still had shrugs. First came dumbell shrugs using 100s for 3 sets of 10 reps all to positive failure. Let me emphasize that shrugs aren't as easy as everyone makes them to be, granted that you want to do them right and get the most out of them. In order to perform shrugs correctly, you have to shrug up and back. It's NOT up and forward. No, no, no, no, NO! So if you're doing them incorrectly, save yourself and change it now. Or you can just keep doing it the way you are and just look ridiculous for the rest of your life. It's your choice.

Next we did behind the back smith shrugs. This is an exercise similar to what Lee Haney used to do but using a smith machine. Why? Because all of the other bars were taken up. Damnit everyone! Using 135, I performed 15 reps. Not too bad. Then it was time to go up to 225. With 225, I performed 2 sets of 10 reps. Damn I was tired after all of this. Motivation was definitely lacking today but I still got through it somehow. Oh well I know ruts are common place in my training environment and I overcome them all of the time. So all I can do is be patient and keep on training.

4/25/02 REST-Thursday

4/26/02 Shoulders-Friday

This entire week has been stressful for me in terms of training and school work. More so the latter than the former. As I had planned, my diet was perfect up to today's training session. My motivation was starting to go back up today and I could tell. I actually enjoyed training today which is quite different than the other days. On the other days, I just seem to drag through training and do it just because I have to do it. I don't really have to but I guess it goes along with obsessive compulsive disorder that I have. If I'm not doing something that's normally routine in my life, then I feel incomplete. Ok, I'll shut up now because I'm sure you don't want to read about my problems and you'd rather hear about the training.

We started off with the usual warm up and didn't even stretch this time. We just went straight to do some pre-exhaustion standing dumbell side laterals. I started off with 12s for a set of 15 reps. Then it was 20s for a set of 12 reps. Finally, I used 25s for a set of 10 reps. My shoulders weren't that pumped yet but I just knew that with some more time, I'd be crying….literally.

Next was behind the neck military press. Using 135, I performed 2 sets of 10 reps. The trick here is to keep your shoulders down and back as if you were doing a rear double biceps pose. If you do this, you can really emphasize the stress on the delts. I mean, after all isn't that what you're training? For my final set, I used 185 for 6 reps.

Next we went back to seated dumbell side laterals. Using 20s, I banged out 15 solid reps. This was too easy so I went up to 30s which I managed 8 good reps. I was pumped but I wasn't burning that bad. We then did something which I haven't done in a LONG time. We went to perform standing dumbell side laterals using a drop set. We started off with 20s for 10 reps, then 15s for 10 reps, and finally 10s for 10 reps back to back to back. That burned like you wouldn't believe and my delts were pumped all to hell! We did a total of two drop sets here and I couldn't even pick my arms up to my side, much less write in my training log.

Next came t-bar rear delt laterals for 2 sets using 30s for 15 reps and 40s for 15 reps. Once again, an intense burn which just seemed to get worse as the shoulder workout progress. Next came seated rear delt laterials for two sets using 55s for a set of 12 and then a set of 10. For the finishing move, we performed standing alternating front raises using 20s for two sets of 20 alternating reps.

For some reason, I can't feel this exercise like I feel all of the other raises. So instead of pushing around a lot weight needlessly, I opted to use 20s to feel the muscle working. It is important to remember to leave your ego at the door when you want to train properly. I know it's tough when you can move around serious weight but what's the point if you aren't building anything?

4/27/02 Hamstrings-Sunday

Yesterday, I went to play some soccer and I haven't played in over a year. Even when I did play at the collegiate level, I was about 150 lbs. Now that I'm around 190 lbs, all of that cutting and turning isn't so easy anymore. So while I was playing, I twisted my right knee. I didn't think it was that bad because I have twisted it before in the past and it never was serious. I guess I didn't take into account my weighing much less than I do now because I didn't even bother to ice it or anything. Probably not the smartest thing I've ever done but I'm definitely paying for it now.

I can't even straighten my right leg out making walking a pain in the ass. So I decided to forego hamstring training today and allow Dave to do it on his own. I hate doing that to him but if I train, I won't be much good and I'll do more damage than good. Anyways, I'll be back tomorrow but for now, I'm going to rest my knee.