Things are getting bigger and better-- especially me. I have gained 7 lbs (mind you about only 4 lbs of that is actually muscle tissue-- the rest represents mass from fat and water) but still have maintained a good level of definition. I will continue training purely for size and strength for about 3 more weeks and then I will start to lean out a little. That process, which will involve a nutritional program based on getting ripped, will be discussed later.
My present training program is very similar with what was discussed in the previous article. I try to train with heavy weights to build strength and muscle mass-- that's pretty much a no-brainer for most bodybuilding devotees. But recently I have been more careful on my technique--even if it means easin' up on da weight--to insure that the targeted muscle does all the work. In addition to the heavy training, I have also inserted exercises here and there with moderate to higher reps to get more of a pump (when the muscle and surrounding capillaries become engorged with blood as a result of the muscle's intense contractions). The pump is nothing to scoff at-- when you train in a range of reps with heavy enough loads your growth hormone levels raise and your chances for getting bigger skyrocket.
Day 1 Back
Warm-up on a pulldown with 120lbs for 8-10 easy reps
Wide Grip Chins
I do this to work the lats and widen my back and completely. Plus the movement ends up working the shoulder girdle well. You will notice that at the inception I use very heavy weights and as the sets progress I will use lighter loads I then end with lighter weights and a superset to up the pump. I have found that this reverse-pyramid is ideal for chins since you end up expanding quite a bit of energy is stabilizing yourself. The First 2 sets are pyramided and I gradually reduce the weights while increasing the reps. The heavy weights have been an integral component to my new lat development. On some days I will do the deadlifting first in my workout ; you get such an amazing metabolic response from the movement since it uses so many different muscles. When I do deads' first I will do my chins without extra weight attached and I aim for about 30 total reps, spread over how many sets are needed.
8-10reps using a 25lb plate attached,4-5 reps with a 35lbs plate attached for 2 sets and then 1-2 sets with 20lbs attached and then a set with no weight superset with dumbbell pullovers.
I have really been stressing this exercise as of late since it brings in just about every muscle in the back and works the hams too. Deadlifts are truly a bodybuilding motion since every muscle in your body has something to do. I lower the bar to mid shin level since I feel that below that range the stress is removed from my back.
4 sets with 135, 205, 240lbs
Barbell Rows or T-Bar Rows
This helps thicken the lats-- these are for thickness what Chins are for width--essential but grueling. Sometimes I will do my rows on a smith machine since it allows me to focus on getting a better contraction via the counterbalancing but I only do so on occasion since barbells are typically better for overall growth.
3-4 sets using 140-160lbs for 5-12 reps
Close Grip Pulldowns superset with Cable Rows
I'll do these cuz they effectively get all the little details in the back from the lower lats to the traps. For the pulldowns I will use a v-shaped bar and I use a wide grip on a straight bar for the rows.
2 supersets using 180-190lbs on the pulldowns and 190lbs on the rows gettting 8-10 reps on the first superset and 15 reps with lighter weights on the second superset.
I have been working traps on back day as of late and I strongly suggest you do then as well. Your traps are involved tremendously especially on the top half of the deadlifts and on the rowing motions. I also using a higher reps range on these since the traps' fast twitch fibers have already gotten quite a bit of stress from the low reps on deadlifts and rows.
3 sets of 10-15 reps using 100lb dumbbells
Day 2- Chest and Biceps
These are probably one of the best overall since they hit the upper pecs and mid pecs really well. Pyramiding on these has been my best bet at hitting as many different muscle fibers in my chest. I go really low on the reps for size and strength and then lighten it up for some more endurance oriented muscle fibers.
4 sets: 1 set at 170lbs for 8 rep, 175 for 6 reps, 185 for 4-5 explosive but controlled reps and finally a make or break set with 190lbs for 3. After those three reps I strip the bar down to 155 and rep out until I can rep no mo'.
Hammer Strength Presses or Incline Dumbbell Presses
Dumbbells are my preference here because of the increased range of motion and different recruitment of the chest muscles. Remember one of the keyes to full development of the muscle lies in working from different angles and apparatuses (even machines). If I use dumbbells I will go light one workout and use 65 or 70lbs dumbbells and keep the reps around 12 . Other times if I am feeling stronger I will opt for a pair of 80s and squeeze out 6-10. The Hammer strength is one of the best machine motions I have ever used for chest and it helps eliminate some of the front delt involvement I typically get with a Smith Machine.
3-4 sets of 6-12
This movement which I alternate with Flyes motions is a very good movement to pump the hell out of my pecs. Technique is a bit tricky since it is easy to cheat-- don't do it until you near the end of the set. Stand as a slight angle and try to cross your hands--this really helps etch the detail around the sternum.
3 sets of 8-15reps
The warm-up has me stretching and then doing some light sets on the leg extension.
Many consider this movement to be not only the best movement for your quads but for the entire body as well. I place usually place these as the first exercise in my leg routine as of late. I feel that although leg pressing first is better since your legs are already toasted, nothing beats squattin' when you are fresh.
3 sets using 225, 275, 315, 405 (shallower depth), 455, 225 (again for a burnout set) getting 4-12 reps
I have been focusing on using better technique with this exercise. I try to lower the platform as deep as I can an explode it up to the top, feeling my quads fire from the hip to the knee. My reps are moderate here and I find that since the legs fired up from squats that I get the best results my starting out heavy and ending light.
950lbs for 10-12 reps, 900lbs, 860lbs, then finally 810lbs
I like the way the stress is isolated here. I get an intense contraction on every rep and keep the reps higher.
3-4 sets of 10-25 reps
Seated Leg Curls
This has become one of my favorite hamstring movements because I can use a fair amount of weight without having to lose sleep over technique. Plus with Lying Leg Curls I find it easier to cheat.
4 sets of 8-12 reps
Stiff Legged Deadlifts
These are great for bacon-burnin' (HAMstrings right) because of the stretch that works the upper portion of the hams near the glutes.
3 sets of 8-15
Last but definitely not least is my calf training. I have gotten the best results by picking one exercise either Standing Calf Raises, Leg Press Calf Raises or Seated Calf Raises. I will put in a good 6 sets or so using a wide range of poundages and reps configurations but typically my reps are 10-20.
Day 4-Shoulders and Triceps.
Standing Lateral Raises
3 or 4 sets of 6-15 reps. My reps vary on this exercise. Sometimes I will select a heavy weight for the first set and use the reverse pyramid thing or might progressively pyramid the weights. Either way I try to keep my form strict and only cheat on maybe the final rep. When I am raising the weights I try to keep them in a consistent arc (not varying to the front or rear as many people do) and I keep my wrist facing in (some people's face out as they near the completion of the reps which brings in the front delts). I go as light as 20lb dumbbells and as heavy as 40lb dumbbells for 5-6 reps and sometimes I will do drop sets.
Smith Machine Press
3-4sets of 6-10 reps. I find this movement to be a very good choice for hitting the entire delt complex because I can use heavy weights and not have to worry about balancing as much as I would if I were using a barbell or dumbbells (Although I will also use free weights on this movement) I am proud of my personal best military press of 160lbs for 4 reps (when I weighed 175). I like to pyramid the poundage on this exercise using 135lbs., 155lbs, 175lbs and finally 180lbs.
Bent Over Lateral Raises
This is the most common movement ya will see performed for rear delts. Be careful to only bend your arms slightly--when your arms get closer to a right angle other muscles of the upper back come into play and the rear delts don't work as much.
8-15 reps using 30to 45lb dumbbells.
Standing Barbell Curls
These are the classic exercise for biceps. I was doing dumbbell curls for a while but currently favor a barbell for a little change. My grip is about medium, slightly outside of my shoulders. I typically like to use a reverse pyramid.
75-110lbs for 5-15 reps
Preacher Curls or Cable Curls or Incline Dumbbell Curls
These movements are a bit stricter than the first exercise. The preacher curls are helpful in developing my peaks and lower biceps areas while the cable curls seem to give me a good peak contraction. I use 85-100lbs for 8-10 reps. If I am doing incline dumbbell curls I will start with 40lb dumbbells writhing in the pain of 7-10 reps.
2-3 sets of 8-10 plus one high reps set of about 15 reps
4 sets of 6-10reps plus a drop set using 65-80lbs Single Dumbbell extensions using 2 hands as always been pone of my favorite triceps exercises and with good reason. The long head gets a stretch since its position is by the scapula and because with a dumbbell your hands are closer to parallel, your wrists will not be in the uncomfortable position you would get with a bar. Using a heavy to light method works the best for me.
1 straight set then superset with reverse grip pressdowns using 140lbs for 8-12 reps then 90-110 lbs for the superset--N.B SOMETIMES I WILL OPT FOR 2-3 STARIGHT SETS
Regular Pressdowns using a straight, V-bar, or rope attachment is the classic triceps exercise and it works primarily the outer head of the three part muscle and the reverse grip hits the inner heads well. The burn here is tremendous so I only need 1 straight set of pressdowns and 2 supersets.
Now for the F word... Food!
Because of my present job I have been eating out a lot and have not been as stringent with my food intake. I more lean than the average person but there is also a little method to my madness. While diet is mostly an individual component, I think it is ok to have a little junk food here and there--- I just have more frequent here's and there's and can get away with it.
I hope this information helps. The main thing that really has furthered my progress is really bust my ass every single workout, no matter what muscle I am working. Adding an intensity technique, putting one more plate than you had last time and taking a chance with it really makes a difference.
Sometimes when I near the end of a set and I am not sure if I got anotha' rep left in me I imagine that someone walks in the gym with a 357 magnum and putz to my head and tells me that I can either do one more rep or die... little mental things like that can translate into bigger muscle girths over time--only if you are consistent. This is the often overlooked side of training that has been crucial in all of my schedules and one that I think will help you tremendously.
Good Luck, See you next time!