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Old 12-12-2011, 08:52 AM   #1
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Default Super-Position Training

Super-Position Training
by Yuri Verkhoshansky ((1992)

My work with top-level weightlifters and powerlifters, and more recently bodybuilders, has allowed me to develop new effective shock methods which can be applied to break through or evade a training plateau. These methods are invaluable to the advanced bodybuilder who demands consistent gains in muscle mass over a period of years.

There are two main reasons why a bodybuilder reaches a plateau:

1.) Overtraining due to lengthy and intensive training blocks.
If the plateau was caused by overtraining, the time for preparation before beginning a new heavy-load cycle should be long (three to five weeks), and utilize a large number of recovery means. The bodybuilder should change the place of workouts, decrease the volume of training, and introduce exercises which are fun and stimulating. Useful restoration such as hiking in the mountains or by the seashore, swimming, and biking as well as mechanical means such as sauna and massage, and sport pharmacology from natural products are most helpful. At the end of this period the bodybuilder should feel a great desire for intense training again.

2.) Monotonous training.
A lack of variety - such as changing the sequence of exercises, the gym, and the overall training plan - can lead to a mass barrier. If the plateau was caused by a monotonous training regime, before starting a new heavy-load cycle the bodybuilder should precede it for two or three weeks with a low (30-50% of normal) training load. During this two to three weeks the program should include a moderate volume of strength exercises with light weight, swimming, bicycling, walking in fresh air, and other exercises which offer variety and are fun.

In this article I would like to introduce two original methods which are scientifically proven to increase muscle mass.

Method One - The Super-Position Principle:
The application of two workouts in a row using the same exercises in each workout.

In a practical application the super-position principle is realized in such a way as is presented in Figure 1. On the first day basic exercises are performed at a high load (volume and intensity) on specific muscle groups. This leads to an increase in protein breakdown (catabolic process) in the muscles stressed.

One the second day the training load is again targeted on the same muscle groups (Figure 1, Day 2) as on day one. The training load on the second day is usually less because of fatigue from the first day, but the increase in the breakdown of muscle proteins is even more pronounced than that seen on the first day. The catabolic action can be observed though measurement of metabolic by-product levels such as histidine, CPK, lactic acid, ammonia, and others following training.

After the third day (a day of rest for the muscle groups worked on days 1 and 2), all biochemical processes begin to normalize. A greater synthesis (building) of muscle proteins is observed during this transition period. On day four, when a different muscle group is worked, and on day five, the building process of the muscles trained on days 1 and 2 begins to climb.

The traditional bodybuilding programs which utilize a split system of training, and a rest period of 48-72 hours for each bodypart, can be greatly fortified using super-position training. On the first day the bodybuilder will carry out basic exercises for a specific muscle group. On the second day he will perform more isolated exercises on the same muscle group. These muscles are then given 72 hours for optimal recovery. I believe this is not a contradiction of the classical ways of bodybuilding training, but rather a further advancement of this basic philosophy which should be used in addition to the programs already proposed by Kennedy, Weider and others for overcoming a plateau.

The super-position training program is very stressful and demands a balance between intense training and optimal recovery. A variety of recovery means is essential, for without them there can be no long-term gains. I recommend that you not perform super-position training all the time. I have observed that some writers from the USA recommend very intense programs for long periods, but do not back them up with proper planning, diet, sport pharmacology (supplements), sauna, massage, swimming, walks in fresh air, and other factors which are known to accelerate the recovery process.

I have given you a brief glimpse of the super-recovery program as it is applied in our studies with advanced bodybuilders. Previously it had proven itself in the training plans of Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters. I recommend it for any bodybuilder who is stagnated, has hit a plateau, or has reached a mass barrier. High-intensity, short-term super-position training, together with a sound recovery program, is scientifically proven to be a most effective means of evading and breaking a mass barrier and one which is sure to work for you if you are at a plateau.

Method Two:
The organization (set-up) of the training load within blocks (building micro-cycles with a developing character) oriented toward the development of muscle mass.

Such micro-cycles include two micro-periods (Figure 2). These cycles last nine days and are characterized by intensive training loads on a specific muscle group on days 1-2 and 6-7. Such training results in an increased breakdown of muscle proteins plus a buildup of excess metabolites. The stress of training and the great muscle burn due to the by-products of metabolism are absolutely necessary to achieve maximal growth in muscle mass.

On days 3 and 8 the body switches from the catabolic process to one of anabolic action (transition), increasing the synthesis of muscle proteins. This is a supercompenstaion of the energetic resources of the body which are necessary for the building of muscle on days 4-5 and 9.

Use of the super-position principle within a nine-day micro-cycle should be used only by advanced bodybuilders during special periods of training such as when a mass barrier needs to be evaded or broken.

The super-position method should not be used to a long period, and never by beginners. The entire program I have designed often consists of 20 micro-cyles each lasting about a week. It incorporates variative principles within the organization of the training load with a tendency toward a gradual stepwise improvement in loads from one cycle to the next. A main idea is to switch from one or two cycles which are strong (high load) to one which is moderate or low (restorative) to allow for good recovery and maximum anabolic action.

The strong stimuli on the body within a developing micro-cycle means the breakdown of muscle. A moderate-action micro-cycle is considered a restoration or recovery cycle which is designed mostly for the activation or synthesis of muscle proteins. It is this recovery cycle where the majority of gains in muscle mass occur. BELOW I HAVE LISTED ONE BLOCK PERIOD which contains four micro-cycles, two of which last nine days each and are developing cycles, and two that last seven days each and are restorative cycles. I have found this format to be ideal for breaking a plateau or mass barrier in the advanced programs of our weightlifters, powerlifters and bodybuilders.

Micro-Cycle 7: (Developing) Legs, Chest and Triceps:

Days 1 and 6 -
Squats - 4-5 sets of 6-10 reps
Bench Presses - 3-4 x 8-10 reps
Decline Presses - 2-3 x 6-10
Dips - 3-4 x 6-8
Combination bent-arm pullover and triceps extension - 3-4 x 6-8
Abdominals - light

Days 2 and 7 -
Leg Presses - 3-5 x 8-10
Leg Extensions - 2-3 x 8-12
Leg Curls - 2-3 x 6-10
Dumbbell Bench Press - 3-5 x 6-8
Incline Dumbbell Flyes - 3-4 x 6-8
Triceps Pushdowns - 3-5 x 6-8

Days 3 and 8 -

Days 4 and 9 -
Deadlifts - 1x10, 4-5 x 3-5
Wide Grip Bent Rows - 1x10, 2-3 x 3-5
Wide Grip Press Behind Neck - 1-2 x 8-10
Preacher Curls - 3-4x6-10
Abdominals - hard

Day 5-

Micro-Cycle 8 (Restorative)

Day 1 -

Days 2 and 5-
Squats - 3-4 x 6-10
Bench Presses - 3-4 x 4-6
Combination: bent arm pullovers and triceps extensions - 2-3 x 6-8
Dips - 2-3 x 6-8
Abdominals - hard

Days 3 and 6 -
Deadlifts - 4 x 6-8
Wide Grip Bentover Rows - 4 x 6-8
Barbell Curls - 4 x 6-8
Abdominals - light

Days 4 and 7 -

Micro-Cycle 9 (Developing) Back and Shoulders:

Days 1 and 6 -
Deadlifts - 1x10, 4 x 3-6
Wide Grip Bentover Rows - 1x10, 3-4 x 4-6
Chins - 3-4 x 8-10
Wide Grip Press Behind Neck - 4-5 x 6-10
Cheating Barbell Curls - 1-3 x 4-6 plus 1-2 cheat reps
Abdominals - hard

Days 2 and 7 -
Good Mornings - 4 x 6-8
Pulldowns - 3-4 x 8-10
Seated Cable Rows - 4-5 x 6-10
Upright Rows - 4-5 x 6-8
Bentover Laterals - 3-5 x 6-8
Preacher Curls - 4-5 x 6-10

Days 3 and 8 -

Days 4 and 9 -
Squats - 2-3 8-12
Bench Presses - 2-3 x 8-12
Dips - 3-4 x 6-8
Bent Arm Pullovers/Triceps Extensions - 3-4 x 6-8
Abdominals - light

Day 5 -

Micro-Cycle 10 (Restorative) -

Day 1 -

Days 2 and 5 -
Squats - 3-4 x 6-10
Bench Presses - 3-4 x 6-8
Bent Arm Pullovers/Triceps Extensions - 2-3 x 6-8
Dips - 2-3 x 6-8
Abdominals - hard

Days 3 and 6 -
Deadlifts - 4 x 6-8
Wide Grip Bentover Rows - 4 x 6-8
Press Behind Neck - 4 x 6-8
Barbell Curls - 4 x 6-10
Abdominals - light

Days 4 and 7 -

Destroy That Which Destroys You

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