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Old 01-04-2014, 10:23 AM   #1
TobesLCFC
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Default Reverse Pyramid Training by Martin Berkhan

There are four key exercises: Squats, Deadlifts, Benchpress, and Chins. If you think you can’t get big with these four, have a look at the guy above.

The Press and Weighted Dips are great exercises also, and can be substituted in a program for the Benchpress, however for simplicity I will outline the method used to create the incredible physique you see above.

The principles of Reverse Pyramid Training are:

Do warm-up sets gradually working up to around 80% of your ‘top set’ load.
Put the heaviest working set first.
Drop the weight, rest and do the second working set.
Drop the weight, rest and do the third working set.
Rest and move onto the next exercise.
Tips:

Go to failure on your ‘top-set’. For the ‘back-off’ sets, go one rep short of failure, but still push yourself REALLY HARD.
Drop the weights by 10-15% each time.
When you can reach the top of your decided rep range for a given exercise, move the weight up the next week.
Time your rest intervals and keep it strict.
Don’t train to failure on chin/pull-ups*.
*This is the biggest problem I see with pull ups. Everyone goes to failure on every set… …The form gets worse and worse and worse, and they keep going and going and going, climbing up the invisible ladder, swinging and kipping. When you do this you get no stronger. And most of the time you get weaker. The negative effect of training to failure is seen more on chin ups than any other exercise. No one knows why this is, but trust me, that’s how it is.
Advice of veteran strength coach Jason Ferruggia. Full article on improving pull-ups here.

When on a cut, hitting it hard but keeping it simple is key so as not to overtax the already stressed CNS. So we’re going to keep it to four key exercises.

With reference to those that complicate training matters with a very large number of exercises, or hit the same muscle group from four different angles in a session, I think Martin Berkhan said it best in a recent tweet,


“Consistent use of the squat, deadlift, bench-press & chins are the only cure for fuckarounditis. Just look at these for shits & giggles.”
.
He doesn’t do abdominal or bicep work, built his with squats and chin-ups.

A 3-day-split can work particularly well and may look something like this:

Monday
1. Deadlift

Warm-up sets
Top Set 4-6reps
3mins rest
Set 2 (-10-15%) 6-8
2mins rest
Set 3 (-10-15%) 8-10
3mins rest
2. Weighted Chin-Ups*

Warm-up sets
Top Set 6-8reps
3mins rest
Set 2 (-10-15%) 8-10
2mins rest
Set 3 (-10-15%)10-12
3mins rest
Cooldown 5-10mins cardio, stretch.

Wednesday
1. Bench

Warm-up sets
Top Set 6-8reps
3mins rest
Set 2 (-10-15%) 8-10
2mins rest
Set 3 (-10-15%)10-12
3mins rest
2. Push-ups (2 sets, 3 mins rest. Raise feet off floor when too easy. 15-20reps)

Cooldown 5-10mins cardio, stretch.

Friday
1. Squat

Warm-up sets
Top Set 6-8reps
3mins rest
Set 2 (-10-15%) 8-10
2mins rest
Set 3 (-10-15%)10-12
3mins rest
Cooldown 5-10mins cardio, stretch.
*Always keep a full range, keep it slow and smooth. Chin-ups may be very tough at first, that’s fine. If chinning is tough at the start, jump up and hold in the top position for as long as you can and fight gravity all the way down to the bottom. Do this several times. You will still get a training effect and combined with the weight loss you will gradually work towards full sets of chins. Palms facing, shoulder width please. Band-assisted chin-ups are another good option until you have built up the strength to do full-reps.

Pull-downs are not as effective as chin-ups so do not use them if you have a chinning-bar available. In my experience people work a lot harder when then have to do chin-ups rather than pull-downs, probably because they don’t want to be seen to fail.

So how do I adjust the weight the next time then?

Let’s say that this week 7 reps with 100kg an your target rep range was 6-8. The next week you’re going to stay with 100kg and try and hit 8 reps. If you do that then increase the weight slightly (102.5kg) and try and get 6 reps or more.

How what about the back-off sets? Do I always do 15% less than the top set?

No absolutely not. I shudder to think of you walking round with a calculator in the gym. The “-15% guide” is just for your first workout. From that point onward you want to adjust your back-off sets independently as you would for that top set.

An example of a squat progression with target rep ranges 6-8, 8-10, 10-12:

Week 1: 150 x 6, 135 x 9, 120 x 12
Week 2: 150 x 8, 135 x 10, 125 x 10
Week 3: 155 x 6, 140 x 8, 125 x 11
Week 4: 155 x 6, 140 x 10, 125 x 11
Week 5: 155 x 8, 145 x 8, 125 x 12
Week 6: 160 x 6, 145 x 9, 130 x 10

Note that some weeks the person went up in weight in the back-off sets but not in the “top-set” and vice versa. This is normal.

The Warm-Up is an often neglected yet critical part of your training. Get on a treadmill until you’re in a slight sweat, do a joint warm-up (0′:25″-2′:30″), then do an exercise specific warm-up*.

*Always start with the bar. Perform the warm-up reps as you would your heaviest set. Take it very seriously, you’re preparing your nervous system and motor function for the big set. I usually do 3-4 warm-up sets, but do as many as it takes to feel comfortable. Do 5-6 reps, working up to about 80% of your top-set weight. Then have 3 minutes rest before the top-set.

For squats I usually do:

(Bar x5) x5 sets, 25% x5, 40% x5, 60% x5, (70% x 3), 80% x2, (80% x1) if I feel the need to remind myself how light that bastard is.) 3 minutes rest then do the top set. Warmed-up but not tired.

Final words of advice

Don’t forget the importance of form.
Work yourself gradually into it. Think of training like a suntan, you don’t take all the sun at once, and you must not grind yourself into the ground on your first session either.
Get 8 hours sleep.
An extra day of rest is more valuable than an extra day of training.
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:44 PM   #2
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