Archive for the ‘Muscle Building’ Category

A few weeks ago I had this crazy idea of how to train chest as seen in this video (2.33 min in):

So like I mentioned in the video, simply by playing around I speculated upon the best way to activate the pectorals… then a friend pointed me to this study: Electromyographical Activity of the Pectoralis Muscle During Incline and Decline Bench Presses from The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

The bottom line of this study being that the decline bench press (especially the negative part of the movement) recruits far more muscle than the incline press.

The two takeaways for me here are firstly to continue using the decline movement and others that utilize this range of motion, and secondly the benefits of consciously considering the desired range of motion and angle when determining movements for ALL body parts!

I’m not sure why, but this question came into my mind today and it’s a good one. But it’s also a tricky one to answer although I’m going to attempt to all the same.

When training for cardiovascular improvement we can gauge our intensity by measuring heart rate.

When doing high repetition weight training, we can judge successful training by cell swelling/ a massive pump.

When pure strength training working “hard” generally means (or should) increasing the load with consistent form.

But if your goals is “building muscle” it becomes a little less clear, especially since it takes a long time to make noticeable (natural) gains.

When it comes to adding size to muscles we have to force the body into a state where it thinks it has no other choice to survive than to build muscle, but despite what Mike Mentzer would have you there is more to it than just lifting heavy weights for one or two reps. There is a fascinating study called the “mechanisms of hypertrophy” that suggests that adding size comes down to maximizing mechanical tension (heavy weights – 6-8 reps), cell swelling (high, 8-15 reps), Metabolic stress (building up lactic acid).

One of the things that is often overlooked in all of this the rest between sets, which plays a key role in my latest attempt to maximize the mechanisms listed above. By gradually decreasing rest time between sets, while simultaneously adding the number of sets you are increasing overall volume or workload, as well as incrementally making it more difficult metabolically.

But what about weight, won’t it have to get lighter over time if the rest time is shorter? Aaaaah, well here’s where it gets fun… to accommodate this what I’ve implemented is the idea of jump-sets – going from one set with one body part to a set with a different body part. This essentially gives you double the amount of rest time for that body part so load does not suffer too much.

But if you are gradually increasing volume how can you increase load? Another great point… how I’ve decided to overcome this is by using a sort of zig-zag pattern, where I gradually decrease rest/increase volume for 3 weeks, then de-load by spending 1-3 weeks with low volume. Then I will start where I left off at week 2 but with increased load and decrease rest for another 3 weeks then de-load.

I must stress that this is theoretical at the moment, but I guess the idea I want to express that by setting up a program with built in progression in as many areas as possible, you are likely to find that working “hard enough” will fall into place even when you can’t rely on muscle soreness or other signs.

6 month recomp program

Posted: December 9, 2016 in Fat Burning, Muscle Building

After an up and down 2016, I’ve finally decided upon a direction to take my fitness/physique.

Here are the guiding principles…

First and foremost, I want to embrace change. I want to do what so many seem to have difficulty doing these days which is to try something outside of what we believe to be the “right” way to do things, as Stephen R. Covey said “Every significant breakthrough began with a break in old ways of thinking.”

Mental principles:
1. The primary goal is to slowly burn fat – about 3lbs per month
2. The secondary goal is to build muscle size – especially shoulders and back.

Dietary principles:
1. chicken and rice with steamed broccoli as a regular meal
2. majority of protein to be lean meat (fish & chicken)
3. post workout banana then protein/green powder
4. majority of carbs to be taken post training
5. Use portion sizes rather than calorie counting

Training Principles:
1. Form matters
2. train in all three primary rep ranges
3. value of metabolic stress/progression – utilize density training to increase progressively in metabolic expenditure & volume
4. De-load every fourth week
5. Increase load following de-load weeks

It’s all probably a little abstract at this point, but the fact of the matter is that I have no idea if this program will prove to be effective or not. If it is I will write it out in an easier to comprehend format.

For the time being here are a couple of the video blogs I’ve started for the program…

Video 1: overview

Video 2: day 1

When Man of Steel hit the screen I wrote some of my most popular blogs:

  • Man of Steel: Building a physique like Henry Cavill’s Superman
  • Man of Steel Cannon Ball Shoulders
  • Building a Man of Steel Chest with “SUPER DROPS”

    Now That Batman V Superman is on the way I’ve taken it one step further by making an interactive video-based program, starting with: Man of Steel training program Part 1

  • This is an awesome method I used to add massive strength over a 6 week period (50lbs to my squat and 25 lbs to my bench) while in a caloric deficit.

    WEEK 1:

    Begin with a 3-day/week split. Determine your starting weight by doing a simple pyramid, ie:

    Set 1 = 12 reps, set 2 = 10, set 3 = 6, set 4 = 4.

    Keep your form PERFECT!

    WEEKS 2-4:

    Use the following reverse pyramid rep scheme:

    Set 1 = 4-6 reps, set 2= 6-8 reps, set 3 = 8-10 reps

    Followed by one slow negative set which is heavier than your first set.

    The goal each week is to add either a rep (writhin the range) and/or weight.

    WEEK 5:

    De-load by doing a two-day split keeping around 8 reps.

    WEEK 6:

    Back to the 3-day split, you will likely find you are a lot stronger than in the first week.

    I’ve updated my original review of Hypertrophy Max with a video review: https://shawnthebuffer.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/my-non-biased-no-bs-review-of-hypertrophgy-max-by-vince-del-monte-and-ben-pakulski/

    All feedback is appreciated, either here, on the video or on the original article.

    Two little words when put together may be the things holding you back… I learned this because I saw it in myself first and then began observing it in others.

    Those two words are: I Know

    The problem with these words are that they take on an assumption of knowing things and therefore closing your mind to all other possibilities. Ironically some very bright people fall prey to this, and then limit what they are capable of learning.

    Of course there is a difference between being open-minded and being gullible, but that’s a whole other matter.