I've always kept my workouts very intense and over the 16 plus years of lifting I've figured out a few tricks to get the most gains and maximize my efforts. I really want to emphasize the REST PAUSE technique on Set 3. This is an old technique that I don't think gets as much attention as the drop set when it comes to adding more intensity to your workouts. This technique has really helped me make some serious strength gains recently and if it's done right I'm sure will help you, too. Here we go.
The following program can take you from HIIT beginner to HIIT stud in eight short weeks. It starts with a work:rest ratio of 1:4 in Phase 1 for a total workout time of just under 15 minutes. Phase 2 bumps up the amount of time in the "work" phase, bringing the ratio up to 1:2 and the total workout time to 17 minutes. In Phase 3, the rest ratio is cut in half, bringing the ratio up to 1:1. The total workout time increases to 18.5 minutes. Finally, in Phase 4, the rest ratio is cut in half again, raising the ratio to 2:1 and the total time at 20 minutes. This will put you in the advanced ranks for HIIT.
This is the final article of this series demonstrating a complete training phase and the methodology behind it. The three workouts, Anatomy of a Workout Parts 1-3, work synergistically together. I typically will run a phase for 3-4 weeks before moving on to a new phase. This is typically enough time, especially for a well-trained individual, to yield benefits without hitting a plateau. This type of training program should only be implemented if one has a lot of training experience and is looking for new, effective ways to challenge their physique.
The title says it all. If you're looking for a workout to destroy your chest and give you an incredible pump this will do it. This is not for the novice lifter! You will never look at pushups the same after this workout. Focus on your form, squeeze and feel each rep. Don't just throw the weight around.
This is the second ‘anatomy of a workout’ article. This specific workout was developed as part of the same training phase as the first article, so it works synergistically with it (and the article/workout to follow). As with the first article it is based on techniques I’ve discussed previously here on Rx Muscle. This workout utilizes Straight Sets, Supersets, and Tri-circuits.
The workout: Like the first workout, please view this workout as a ‘template.’ Therefore feel free to substitute different exercises depending on what you want to prioritize (ex. Squats, Hack Squats, Split Squats etc. in place of the Leg Press, and a Standing or Seated Calf Raise in place of the Calf press). I have left the chart blank so you can print it out and write in your specific loading and repetitions.
People tend to place a great deal of importance on the aesthetics of a chiseled midsection, but don’t realize how much it impacts (or is impacted) by everything you do. Many movements in the gym, such as squats or overhead presses, provide a challenge for your core, and would be improved by strengthening it.
Much like any other group of muscles, you must work your abs (upper, lower, and obliques) from all angles to get results. As an additional challenge, many of the following exercises can be done with added weight in order to continue to challenge your core. However, I would be cautious when adding weight and truly focus on using proper form as opposed to moving heavy weight when it comes to abs.
This is the first of several ‘anatomy of a workout’ articles I will be presenting. It is based on techniques I’ve discussed previously here on Rx Muscle. I want to explain the ‘WHY’ of the program design because the structure and techniques are utilized for a specific purpose. The techniques incorporated are Straight Sets, Staggered Sets, and Supersets.
The workout: Please note that you can substitute different exercises depending on what you want to prioritize (ex. You may do Low Pulley Rows/Incline Chest Press for the Straight sets, or Reverse Grip Pulldown/ Incline Chest Press, etc.)...
Normally I prefer to work one body part per workout; however, I like to throw in some variety every now and then in order to continue to challenge myself. One of my favorite variations is to superset opposing muscle groups, particularly chest and back. Here is a typical chest/back routine that I like to do as I get closer to hitting the stage, or if I feel that I need to throw in a little variety...
If you are going hard in the gym, you will inevitably suffer from delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS. While you might not recognize the clinical name, you may recognize how this condition can affect your life. Consider the following examples:
· Do you struggle to sit or stand from a seated position, following a leg workout?
· Do you find it challenging to reach for a bowl in the upper cabinet after training arms?
· Is your toddler suddenly 30 pounds heavier after a tough back workout?
The IFBB and NPC contest seasons are spooling up for the 2014 season. Many of you are ready to hit the stage hard and are in full contest prep. I understand this completely and am fully aware of where your head is at the moment. What I want to caution you about, before it’s too late, is the post-contest letdown and consequential common contest rebound. Many people think that holidays are the culprit responsible for weight gain. The holiday season can be a part of the typical end of the competition season but keep your eyes open mid-season as well. We can suffer from rebound at any time of the year if we don’t keep our eating habits in check and adjust our training styles immediately post contest.
As you have probably been aware, the Men's Physique division is exploding. In the past if you were competing, chances are you were a competitive bodybuilder. Nowadays there are many more NPC competitors around, largely due to the addition of the Men's Physique category which allows for a more natural looking, seemingly more attainable body.
One of the best things to keep in mind in training for physique is to aim for that V-Taper look. A tiny waist and wide shoulders give this almost cartoonish illusion. Getting that waist to shrink is going to take some work in the kitchen, but I have designed a few workouts for building on other key areas.
For me, my goal is to bring up my upper chest, lats, and create the biggest shoulders possible. I'll share one workout with you guys now.
Every now and then I believe that you need to change up your workouts in order to prevent plateauing. Normally I stick to a rep range of 8-12 reps per set, but for this shoulder workout I lowered the weight so that I could do 20 reps for each set.
All exercises were done with five sets of 20 reps.
Side laterals (dumbbell) – This can be done seated or standing, but I prefer to stand. Start with a pair of dumbbells at your side. You will then raise your arms straight out to your side and hold for a count. Once I get to the top of the movement, I like to turn the dumbbells so that my elbows are facing up and my palms are to the rear. Return to the starting motion and repeat...
Elastic Resistance is an extremely versatile and effective training modality. My first introduction to elastic tubing was over 20 years ago and they’ve come a long way since then!
Resistance tubing is commonly used as a convenient means to pump up prior to competition as well as an excellent way to work the rotator cuff muscles via external and internal rotation exercises. However I have also found that they can be used as a legitimate modality to enhance one’s physique as well!
For many, the off-season is a time to relax a little on your diet and training, allow yourself foods you would not normally have during a prep, having them in unmeasured amounts and then stepping on the scales once a week just to make sure you are “getting bigger”. However, like with any sport, the progression of science, monetary rewards and the depth of competition has lead to top level bodybuilders and physique athletes leaving fewer and fewer stones unturned as they do everything possible to gain an edge on the competition. This has resulted in much more attention being paid to the progress that can be made during the off-season and coaches are no longer employed by elite athletes solely for those 12-16 weeks prior to a show, but also for the knowledge they can employ during the athlete’s off-season...
As most of us are in the off-season right now and taking in a few extra calories, I thought I would post a good superset routine to help keep that waistline in check. It’s time to grow but don’t get sluggish or slow. Remember to stay ready at all times!
Here is a Back, Shoulder and Ab workout to get you motivated to keep pushing when most are resting. Go ahead and enjoy a few cookies, just make sure you keep healthy meals coming too. This way overeating the bad stuff will be tougher since you’ll already be full.
Yoga may be a four-letter, foreign word for some Physique and Bodybuilding athletes but it shouldn't be. You may be ripped to the bone, have the best physique, but if you lack flexibility and mind control your training, and eventually your quality of life, will be compromised.
A little yoga can improve your workouts and maybe even extend your Physique or Bodybuilding career and you don’t have to ditch your current training to take advantage of it...
In "Intensity Techniques Part One" I gave some background as to why one might want to use the various intensity techniques that I covered. I recommend reading that article first:
In part two, I want to continue discussing some additional intensity techniques. Before proceeding, I want to clarify that I’m not suggesting that one train with these techniques as a sole method of training. I strongly believe in using more standard training techniques such as straight sets with heavier weights (among other more traditional workout structures such as Circuits, Antagonistic Supersets, etc.). Rather, these techniques are an excellent alternative that will allow you to maintain a high ‘intensity of effort’ while giving your joints a break from constant heavy loading. I have found they give me a serious pump as well!
When I first began lifting weights I would typically work biceps with back and triceps with chest. As I spent more time weight training and learning about my body, I found that I could get more growth out of my arms by dedicating a day solely to them. On occasion I do still use a traditional chest/triceps or back/biceps split, because I believe that you need to constantly challenge your muscles with different methods in order to continue to see improvement. However, when I am able to stick to my normal gym schedule, I prefer to give them their own day...
Whether you are a competitive physique athlete or simply a recreational gym user attempting to improve your physique, having the perfect midsection is frequently placed high on the list of priorities with respect to training goals. However, it is amazing how often you walk into a gym and see someone going through a heavy leg or arm routine and then finishing their workout with an abdominal routine that looks more like something taken straight from an early 90’s aerobics video!
The abdominals are like any other muscle group in the sense that if you want them to grow and to “pop” then they must be given sufficient stimulus to do so. You wouldn’t attempt to make your arms bigger by completing as many momentum-based reps of barbell curls as you can in 60 seconds, so why do the same for your abs? Sure, the cardio aspect may help burn some body fat, but there are better ways to do so and that is not the goal of the abdominal training itself...
There’s no doubt that progressive overload is the hallmark of resistance training. There comes a point however, where one can’t keep adding more and more weight as strength does not have an endless ceiling.
Additionally, if you listen to many older bodybuilders, including three-time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane, you often hear a common theme. That is upon reflection, they probably would have been better served in the long run had they not pounded their joints with so much constant heavy training in their younger years.
Frank specifically said that while that early heavy training did give him mass, that he would do things differently if given the chance to do it all over again. This is because of the ongoing price he has had to pay for past injuries!
When it comes to trying to build muscle as quickly and efficiently as possible, there are many things you can spend your money on. In fact, you've probably already tried a number of these things.
Most athletes will not hesitate to spend a great deal of money on the latest supplements, training programs, coaches and mentors. They may also spend a considerable amount on their gym memberships or exercise equipment. Unfortunately, they overlook one of the most useful products when it comes to fitness, training and building a world-class physique...