For powerlifters, the acquisition of strength is of the utmost importance. We all realize this but how many power men train from day to day without making any long range plans? Even if you are not interested in competition you should plan and direct your efforts over a long range of period so that you may realize maximum progress from your efforts. In this way you can train from month to month with firmly established goals.
Think about goals that can be attained in relatively short periods of time, say 10 weeks. Determine what you would like to accomplish in this period of time . . . a 10-pound increase in your bench press or adding 30-40 pounds to your three lift total are not unreasonable. After you have reached your short term goal reevaluate your training, establish new goals and a new training program to help you reach these goals. Don't be discouraged if you miss your goals and don't be surprised if you surpass them. The human body is a very unusual and unique organism. It can't be programmed like a computer but if you don't plan to succeed in your training you shall surely fail.
Here is a general outline for increased strength in the three powerlifts.
During the first five weeks of your ten week schedule train six days a week. Devote three days to the bench press and any other upper body exercises which you feel will contribute to overall upper body strength. Dips, pressing, deltoid and triceps exercises are favorites of many powerlifters. Don't neglect lat and bicep exercises as they are synergistic muscle groups which help stabilize the arms during benching.
On the alternate three days work on your squat and deadlift. Of the three days on each routine, one should be light,another medium, and the third heavy. Benches and squats should always be performed in the same manner each workout, except for the poundages and reps used. You should always do strict squats to a legal depth perform official bench presses - no change in hand spacing, foot position or timing.
When benching, try to have someone hand you the bar. On your light and medium days use assistance exercises to enhance the strength of your arms and shoulders. After your regular benches do some wide grips, narrow grips without locking out and more benches with a cambered bar or on an incline.
Most men have found that it is not necessary to train deadlifts every training day. Vary your deadlifting from workout to workout. Do hyperextensions, cleans, and good mornings on your light day, shrugs and partial deadlifts in the power rack on your medium day, and save regular deadlifts for your heavy day. Along with your squats don't neglect leg extensions and leg curls. Some men use these as a preliminary warmup before squatting while others train these exercises after they have completed their heavy work. It doesn't really matter when you do them but make sure that you use them at least twice a week.
Vary the amount of work that you do from day to day, avoid stagnation and boredom by constantly adjusting your gross work. On light days use 5 sets of 5-6 reps after a warmup. A medium day might consist of of 5-6 sets of 3-4 reps. Your heavy day should be a limit session going up to your training max in 10 to 20 lb. jumps after a good warmup with light poundages and making a couple of big jumps to a reasonable starting point. You should emphasize a complete and thorough warmup on your second exercise as well as your first. On each day take plenty of rest between sets so you can make a maximum effort. There is no use rushing through your light and medium days, and leave them as optional work on your heavy days only if you feel strong and well rested. You should make reasonably good strength gains during this first five week period and be ready for the second half of this power program.
Reduce your workouts from six to three per week, performing the deadlift only once per week and benches and squats each day. On the first two days sets, reps and comparative weights similar to the former medium days should be employed. On your heavy day or limit day really go all out to make your best possible total. To enhance your deadlift you can use lifting straps on your heavier weights of on your rep work. It makes good sense to use these straps so that the power of your back is not determined by the amount of weight that your grip can handle.
After you have completed this ten week program you will be sold on the benefits of short term planning. If you are one of those who train from day to day, with no goals, no expectations and no definite perspective of what your body is capable of, try planning your training. It really works. ask a man who does.
For the past few years,each physique contest in our area could count on one entrant being there. Not only would he be there when the posing started, he has always given a good account of himself a every show. His sharp, hard development earned him many most muscular and first place trophies. Never a massive man, hew has worked deliberately in a manner that would keep his muscles sharp and defined to the extreme. While most bodybuilders place a premium on bulk, they must simply hope that they don't lose all semblance of "cuts" as they grow larger while ingesting steroids or lose muscular size while reducing their food intake prior to a contest. Since this man has been so successful in actually training for definition, it might be wise to review his methods and modify your program accordingly when appropriate.
Two words are the key to his system -- moderation and speed -- moderation in all poundages in all exercises must be the first step. In spite of the trend toward heavy duty training it is impossible to work the muscles adequately if you are struggling with heavy or limit loads. Speed is required both in the actual performance of each rep and in the pace you follow as you proceed through your training. For example, here is our friend's method of performing the dumbbell press.
He begins with a pair of 60's, performs about 6 reps, without stopping he now picks up a pair of 55's and does another set of 6 reps, then immediately does 6 more with the 50's continuing in this manner until he completes 6 reps with the 35's. These 6 sets are completed in about 4 minutes. After a 2 to 3 minute rest, he again repeats the same procedure using the same weights, sets and reps for a second and then a third time. The emphasis is on speed and more speed. So as not to waste any time he may sometimes perform the same number of sets and reps of rear laterals while lying face down on an incline bench while he is "resting" between each 6 sets of dumbbell presses. Not only does this type of training eliminate fat since it is carried on for the full length of time that he is in the gym, approximately one hour daily, but it develops greater cardiovascular efficiency and endurance.
In addition to a high number of sets and speedy performance, he feels that you can get best results using a wide variety of exercises so that you can work the muscles from every possible angle. Although endurance may limit you in doing it, he believes that you can increase your endurance if you stick with a program like this and will soon be able to do a great number of different exercises each training day which does much to maintain training enthusiasm. The basic idea is to burn away excess fat as you would do if you were doing long distance jogging.
Proper eating habits must also play a role in your search for definition. As he says, "They say you should eat big if you want to get big. You'll get big, all right, and plenty fat, too!" Cut down on your food consumption, reduce your intake of all types of foods, eliminate junk food entirely, and when you think that you are about to starve to death drink a big glass of cold water. His big meal usually consists of broiled fish or chicken and a large salad. Those razor sharp cuts can come only from hard work and a lean diet which is low in both animal and vegetable fats and all types of carbohydrates both simple and complex.
If you are a confirmed addict of the size at any cost craze, you will probably never change your aims. Common sense should indicate that must have cuts and striations no matter how big you are or hope to be. To reach the top in your chosen sport, or simply to look the best that you possibly can, it will be wise for you to adapt this system to your needs periodically. Try it seriously for a month and you may never return to your former method of training.
The arms are, by far, the muscular areas of the body that interest the greatest number of bodybuilders. Even with limited time and less training equipment both the novice and advanced trainer will somehow find the wherewithal to include some type of arm work in his schedule. As a result of this fascination with arms many new and innovative training layouts are constantly being brought to the attention of the arm-happy public.
A training system which allows a terrific pump, increases strength due to the use of heavy weights, and can be completed in a relatively short period of time is the "two and one" system. Here is how it works.
You perform 2 sets of 6 reps of an exercise, with one minute rest between them. Then immediately following the second set you do 1 set of another exercise for 10 to 12 reps. The first exercise should be of an isolated nature; the second one a compound exercise that uses both the muscle that you are training along with the assistance of other associated muscles.
This method is particularly effective on triceps that stubbornly refuse to pump up or grow. If you enjoy training heavy and light,then you will definitely like using the "two and one" method. Here is an arm workout that has proven effective in overcoming many a sticking point:
1. Lat machine pressdown - 2 sets of 6 reps (one minute rest between)
2. Dips - 1 set of 10-12 reps.
3. Same as number 1.
4. Same as number 2.
5. Lying triceps extension - 2 sets of 6 reps (one minute rest between)
6. Close grip bench press - 1 set of 10-12 reps.
7. Same as number 5.
8. Same as number 6.
1. EZ bar curl - 2 sets of 6 reps (one minute rest between)
2. Undergrip bentover barbell row - 1 set of 10-12 reps.
3. Same as number 1.
4. Same as number 2.
5. Preacher bench EZ curl - 2 sets of 6 reps (one minute rest between)
6. Shoulder width pullups - 1 set of 10-12 reps.
7. Same as number 5.
8. Same as number 6.
There are many variations of this type of training which can be used to increase the intensity of of the workout. To greatly intensify the workload you can finish off your last set of each exercise by doing about 10 single reps with about 30 seconds rest between each one. After your last possible single rep, start reducing the weight on the bar and do descending sets for 3 or more reps until you cannot possible move your arms.
A short, fast, productive training session like this will leave your arms flushed, bloated and you will have a sense of accomplishment as you look forward to your next training session.
The most obstinate, stubborn and growth resistant muscles in the human body have got to be the gastrocnemius and related muscles involved in pointing the toes. Many solutions have been offered for overcoming "no grow calves." Some advocate working them every day, or every other day, or every third day, or every fourth day. Some suggest high reps and high sets, some lean toward low reps and low sets. Some people like to mix them up using high sets and low reps or low sets and high reps. Super-sets are quite common using a number of different exercises and some like to perform only one exercise. Obviously no one has yet found the "secret" for developing large and well shaped calves . . . most would settle for large calves and to heck with their shape. Hard work, easy work, no matter how you train your calves you must always keep your eyes and ears open for a new approach to calf development, since most calves seem to thrive on a variety of training systems.
A short term blitz program followed by a complete rest of the calves has done wonders for many men who had all but given up any hope of adding any size to their calves.
The program begins with a three or four day rest of the legs, a complete cessation of any exercise involving the calves and legs. This is followed by three days of intensive calf work, followed by complete rest of the calves for a week. This method usually results in a measurable increase in calf girth, possibly only 1/8" but evidence that you are on the right track.
On the first day do one leg calf raises while standing on a high block. Do only one set with each leg but repeat the exercise at least 5 times during the course of the day and do as many reps as you can on each and every set. In the evening, when you are taking your regular workout, do calf raises on a calf machine, make them fast and concentrated and do as many reps as necessary to get a severe ache and burn so that you can not possibly do another rep, whether it takes twenty or one-hundred-and-twenty reps to get there! Immediately after your last rep jump high up into the air for about 20 reps. Make sure that you take off from your toes, jump as high as you can, and then land on your toes before immediately jumping again. After the jumping, go to a high board and stretch your heels as low as possible, alternating each foot in a prancing like motion for about 20 reps each. Walk around the training area for a few minutes concentrating on calves and trying to loosen them up. Repeat this procedure for 2 more sets of a total of 3 sets of this combination on the first day.
On the second and third days continue doing your one leg calf raises throughout the day and during your training session do 10 to 20 sets of the previously described calf raise-jumping-stretching combination. It is not necessary to do only the standing calf raise but you may substitute seated calf raises or calf raises on a leg press machine. The calves, being obstinate as they are, should be attacked with both heavy and slow, and light and fast reps. This can best be accomplished by doing 10 slow, heavy reps and then reducing the weight and immediately following with about 30 or more fast reps until you can no longer move your heels or the burn is past unbearable. If you can walk after your last rep you are not training hard enough, so add a few more reps before you begin jumping high into the air. To make the jumping part of the exercise more effective you can hold a pair of 25 or 30 pound dumbbells in your hands and sink down only about 6" before bounding high into the air.
After completing this three day blitz, take a seven day vacation from calf work and then begin again and watch your calves grow . . . Grow . . . GROW!
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