Sets And Reps - The High And Low Weight Workout
Big weights! Wicked pump! I always get caught between two minds whenever I hit my workout at the gym. One side of me says to lift heavy to get big and the other says that form should matter more than my weight poundage. This is an issue that used to cause me to get quite twisted every time I would prep a workout training cycle. I know each technique has its merits, so I used to be swayed back and forth never staying with either method long enough to see the results. With the low weights I get to move some decent poundage's and my ego gets gratified but alas, there is no killer pump. When I stick to the perfect form method with lighter weights I get great pumps but I never feel like I am really working hard enough to get anywhere because my weights are so light. So in my search for the perfect weight workout, I decided to combine the two methods and get the best of both worlds.
Seems obvious when some one else says it doesn't it? I love the pump from drop sets and isolation exercises and I love the feeling of grunting under large loads, so why not do both in a workout?
What I do is put in two exercises of 5x5 with 1 minute to 2 minutes rest between sets and then move on to one or two more exercises for 3 or 4 sets a piece with the odd drop set or super set in order to finish the workout with a great pump. I stay with the same weight on the 5x5's until I get all 5 sets of 5, usually hitting 4 or 3 reps on the last two sets in the beginning. When I finally complete the full 5x5 I up the weight by 5 to 10 pounds and start over. This ensures that I don't get lazy and that I am always getting stronger, so that's the first rule of muscle mass realized.
Once I have trained the muscles with between 85-100% of my one rep max, I've stimulated strength gains through enhanced neural drive and hit my type IIB fibers hard. Now onto the second group of exercises. I squeeze and pump the muscle, trying to fill it with blood while keeping in my mind that weight is a secondary concern. Here is where I hit the type IIA fibers with a slightly higher time under tension developed from the intensity techniques. The weights for this type of training are usually within 70-80% of your one rep max. Whenever I reach the point that the lighter weights no longer fatigue the muscle at around 10-12 reps, I bump it up a notch. Chasing the pump I rest no longer than 30-45 seconds causing me to hit a totally different set of fibers and making sure that all life has been thrashed out of the muscle. The best of both worlds in one workout!
The 5x5 method can also be seen as a lazy mans periodization, as the intensity varies from week to week depending on if I am trying a new weight or if I am still trying to get my "5's" at an already accustomed to weight. The high intensity at the end allows me to get nutrients and blood into the muscle, gives me my time under tension and stretches the fascia while the body part is still stuffed full of the goods.
So in effect this routine develops the type IIB fibers through high tension multiple sets making me stronger by increasing relative strength though enhanced neural drive. Then moves on to hit the type IIA fibers through a slightly higher time under tension given to me by the extended sets. This makes me larger by increased hypertrophy, stimulating increased muscle glycogen, ATP and Krebs cycle activity. The only variable to fill in after this is your nutrition habits, but that's a topic for later discussion. Here is an example of this type of weight workout. None of the set totals include your warm ups:
DB Bench press 5x5
Incline flyes super set with incline smith presses for 3x failure on both. Anything past twelve reps and you should bump up the weight.
Barbell curls 5x5
Incline dumbbell curls 10/8/6
Rope pulley hammer curls drop set - 4 sets
Front squats pyramid up 12,10,8,6
Leg extensions 3-drop sets, each drop being 10 reps (10-10-10)
DB or barbell, stiff leg deadlifts 5x5
Lying Frankenstein curls (toes down on way up and toes out on way down) 4-drop sets, each drop being 8 reps (8-8-8)
Standing calf raises 3-drop sets of 10-10-10 per set.
Seated calf raises for 4 sets of 40-50 seconds each
Standing presses 5x5
High pulls from the hips 5x5
Face down incline laterals superseted with reverse cable crossovers for rear delts - 4 sets to failure
Close grip bench 5x5
Low pulley behind head extensions off bench (Vince Gironda style) 4x8
Superset of kick backs and close grip pushups with elbows wide 3x 10
Weighted chins 5x5
Drop set low cable rows with under grip for 4 sets
4 sets of crunches supersetted with hanging leg raises
Take the next two days off and then restart the cycle.
There are several ways to manipulate this schedule depending on your recovery ability and other stress factors in your life. Some of my clients respond best if they drop the second exercise of 5's or alternate it with a 10/8/6 rep scheme.
For maximum recovery I like to take a day off after every workout, especially if you're hitting the cardio hard. If this is something you may like to try than you can get away with another exercise per muscle group as you won't be hitting it again for a while, just watch for signs of over training.
The other popular way to split this workout, fits nicely into the workweek. Split your workout to fall on Mon-Tues-Thurs-Fri. Take the weekends off to recharge.
Don't worry about wilting away between workouts because as a natural bodybuilder the more rest the better. If you are going the assisted route, then you can add in a set or two extra here and there. It's far more productive to be slightly under trained than over trained. However if you give every workout your all on this routine, you will look forward to the rest!
Your Guide To Exercise
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The Degradation of Fitness Science
The world and our selves evolve and exist in a cyclic fashion; good times and bad? ups and downs? we experience changes that seem to repeat, including everyday cycles of sleep-wake and cell regeneration. History is a broad example of cycles, whereby we enter the "dark ages" followed by an "age of enlightenment." We now are in an irrational dark age of fitness. Irrational is an ideal term to describe a method of exercise considered dangerous, impractical, unproved (yet implemented when other proven methods exist) and irrelevant (i.e., claiming to do something that cannot be achieved). Below is such an example.
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Online Fitness Coaching
If I were to tell you that you could burn away as much fat as possible by sitting at your computer twiddling your fingers and toes, would you believe me? Well I sure hope you don't!
Integrating Core Stabilization into Your Workouts
Stabilization is a hot topic in the fitness industry over the past few years. But what is stabilization? Stabilization can be defined as the body's muscular systems ability to support (stabilize) the body during movement.
Exercise & Motivation, Part 2: Overcoming Inertia & Getting Started
In the first article in this series (http://tinyurl.com/8ztbo), we gave you an overview of the stages of change in Prochaska's Transtheoretical model. The first three of these stages are all about getting started. They apply to anyone who's not actually regularly exercising at the moment. If you were active in the past, but don't now (i.e. you're in the "Relapse" stage), then, motivationally speaking, you're in one of these stages. Just as a reminder, the stages are:
Movement That Matters: Exercise With a Greater Purpose
You've seen the commercials Ive fallen and I cant get up! While this has been a topic of many jokes and late-night comedy skits, the reality is falling is a very real danger for many people. Too often falls can lead to broken bones, hospitalization, and sometimes life-threatening illnesses due to being confined to a bed while recovering.
The Power Workout:
Scenario: I really want to get in shape, but I work all day and attend multimedia classes until 8:30. How do I find the time to exercise, and what are a few good exercises for beginners like me? Solution: Finding time to exercise is certainly a challenge. Even the most motivated among us suffer setbacks during our business's busy season or when a new project is on the horizon. The key to fitting fitness into your busy day is to recognize that finding time isn't the issue--it's making time.
Exercise - Anxiety & Panic
Yes, all I'm afraid this does play a part in reducing anxiety and depression. As much as you may not like doing it (I've never been a huge fan of it myself) but once you get into it, you certainly feel better for it afterwards.
Mom, How F.I.T.T. Is Your Workout?
Moms don't have the time or desire to mess around with complicated workouts that don't get results. If you want real Mommy Muscle you need a plan that's based on principles not infomercials and advertising.
Pilates: A Challenging and Motivating Exercise Regimen
Pilates is named after its creator Joseph Pilates. It is an exercise regimen that uses machines and special stretches. This exercise puts emphasis on flexibility and overall strength over body bulk. One of the principles of Pilates is concentration. Your mind wills body into action and you should pay attention to how the body responds to the actions. What's important in Pilates is technique and you should really use your mind to get the movement right. It focuses on training the mind and the body to work together in order to attain the desired goal to be fit and healthy. It also challenges the interior muscles of the body to develop inner strength. Just like yoga, Pilates can also be a physically active form of meditation. Breathing techniques can be done. With the deep breathing and the complete focus required to perform each exercise correctly, one can feel relaxed and fall into a Zen-like peace.
Debunking the Myth of Spot Reduction
Do you ever wonder how to shrink the fat on your thighs or reduce the flab on the back of your arms? Ever wake and up and dream about wearing your favorite pants from the glory days of college? Well, short of plastic surgery, there is no way to simply eliminate certain problem areas.
Bodybuilding Sins That Cause Back Pain and Missed Workouts: Part 4
Welcome to article number 4 in our series "Bodybuilding Sins That Cause Back Pain and Missed Workouts". In this article we are going to talk about how bodybuilders tend to create massive muscle imbalances and what you can do to not be one of them.If you missed the first article, you can read it by clicking on the link below.Here's a breakdown of the articles to look for:1. Article:1 - Choosing The WRONG Exercises 2. Article:2 - Training Variations for Pain Relief and Maximum Results 3. Article:3 - Targeted Stretching 4. Article:4 - Targeted Exercises 5. Article:5 - Rest, Recovery, and Injury PreventionArticle:4 - Targeted ExercisesWhat is a Targeted Exercise and Why You Need To Be Doing Them?While performing three different exercises for each area of the chest may sound "targeted" and it may work great for targeting the chest itself? this is NOT what we mean by targeted?What we are talking about is choosing exercises with more than just size increases in mind? remember, there is far more to muscle than just how it looks? You can be really big, but also weak, slow and inflexible.To drive this point home some more, remember the "Turtle Back Syndrome" we covered in article #1? So many body builders are plagued with this gruesome condition and they don't even know it! Are you?The Turtle Back condition is a direct result of too much focus on building up the pecs and lats and not enough focus on the upper back. Also, the lack of focus on flexibility in the chest and shoulders makes it even worse?Not only does this look stupid, but it sets you up for back, neck and shoulder problems like rotator cuff tears and the like? and I know you don't want any of those!So by targeted, we mean exercises that will not just develop muscle strength and size, but more importantly work towards correcting muscle imbalances which will mean less pain and missed workouts, better performance and function, and most of all better and balanced total body development!So How Do You Find Out Which Ones You NEED To be Doing?As we discussed in the previous article on "Targeted Stretching", it's very important to know before hand what stretches you actually NEED to be doing? the same applies to exercises?and the ONLY way to find out what specific areas you need to target is to perform physical evaluations so you can pin point the weak muscles that need strengthening and the tight muscles that need stretching.We have developed a series of simple assessments you can do yourself to identify the muscles imbalances you have?and while they are intended for people suffering from back pain or sciatica, as a bodybuilder you stand to benefit greatly because you train so hard, you are far more likely to experience injuries like bulging and herniated discs, rotator cuff tears, knee pain, etc?Plus, even if you don't have any pain or injuries now, it would be very wise to learn how to assess yourself so you can target your training now before you create an injury, which not only will slow down your training and progress, but it can also become a life-long struggle with pain and a serious loss of your strength, size and fitness.So be sure to check out our website to learn more about how you can quickly and easily identify and eliminate any muscle imbalances you have.
Lance Armstrong?s Training Tactics ? The Tortoise or the Hare?
I have been counseling people on weight loss, exercise efficiency and nutrition for over twenty years. Every time I go to the gym I observe people, their training tactics and their workout habits. Over the last few years I have noticed something about certain people in the gym that has been interesting. You would think more people would do this but they don't. What I have noticed is certain people have a habit or process they go through when they workout that most do not. What is interesting is, before I even realize that they do it, I can tell by the way their bodies look that they have this habit. They are leaner, healthier looking, and stronger than most.
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The abdominal muscles are essential for maintaining good posture and core stability, however many exercisers are unclear on the correct way to exercise them. Traditional exercises for the abdominals include crunches and sit-ups also known as trunk curls and curl-ups. The following are ten things to avoid when performing exercise for the abs.
How to Avoid Using Your Home Gym as a Clothes Rack
So here's the situation?
The Right Exercise Intensity
We've all heard the exercise guidelines that recommend we participate in 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity 3-5 times per week. That seems easy enough to implement. Or, does it? The duration and frequency guidelines are very straight-forward and easily defined. But, "moderate" intensity is often left to interpretation. So, how do we define "moderate"?
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