Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A Few Training Things

This is the late Larry Scott talking about his reasoning behind the training splits he uses.

Deltoids and upper arms (biceps and triceps) for me are extremely hard workouts, so I don't want to do them on the same night.  Yet I need something to warm up my arms, so they must be done second. A lat workout is excellent for up the elbows and lower biceps connectors, so I combine lats, upper arms and neck on the same night. That leaves delts, thighs, calves, forearms, and abs. 

Delts are hard and nothing will really warm up the shoulders except light shoulder work, so I do them first while I'm full of energy. I could combine calves with deltoids, but after I'm through with delts I'm a little tired from having fought the pain zone. So, for some, the battle with calves and the extra extreme pain associated with them may not go well with delts. 

I find myself withdrawing a little from the pain of high reps on calf raises if I have already drained a lot of my reserve of pain tolerance while doing dumbbell presses, heavy dumbbell laterals, and bentover dumbbell laterals. For me, the combination of delts and thighs works best. Thighs are hard but the reps are short and I like the exhaustion of heavy thigh work better than the long agony of calf work, so I combine delts, thighs, and forearms. 

That leaves pecs, calves, and abs, which act like members of the same family. Pecs are low pain, calves are high pain and the abs are not compromised with upper arms. That seems to be one of the best anti-stress groups I have come up with, but as always, it is constantly changing and a month from now I'm sure something will be different. 

Here's a training technique that uses percent of your max (unfatigued) single-effort, a.k.a. One Rep Training Max. Nothing new here for strength-based lifters, but it may be something not considered much by some bodybuilders. There's the opportunity to establish a strong mind/muscle link with any rep scheme, not just the higher ones. Take it or leave it. Take it and adapt it. Take it and expand on it. Or not.

It's a six-week setup that can be used to increase strength, which can then be used to handle heavier poundages in all your exercises. Exercise weights can feel a bit "lighter" after you've used bigger poundages on a basic lift. Hint, hint. Nothing is written in stone, so feel free to stretch this idea out if you like to experiment. Or follow it to the letter. 

Week 1:  

After a couple of light specific warmup sets of the exercise you're using this on, perform 5 sets of 10 very controlled and concentrated reps with 65% of max. If you're not familiar with that and have been pure bodybuilding up to now, it's like this: 
Your maximum unfatigued single rep can be done with 100 pounds. 65% of max would be 65 pounds. It's not hard to figure out, once you establish that maximum unfatigued single rep.  Work on your groove, technique, and feel during this week. Get a solid mind/muscle connection going. How many times a week? That's up to you and your own body. Two or three, in most cases. 

Week 2: 
5 sets of 8 with 72% of max.

Week 3: 
5 sets of 6 with 79% of max.

Week 4: 
5 sets of 4 with 86% of max.

Week 5: 
4 sets of 3 with 93% of max.

Week 6: 
1 set of 2 with 100% of max. 

You can see what happens here. As you progressively increase the poundage you're using in the chosen exercise, you progressively decrease the total number of reps performed. At the end of the six week period you will be doing two reps with your earlier one rep maximum. It's not a bad idea to have a look at some strength-based training techniques if you find you like this kind of lifting. But if you're into this weight lifting nonsense for physique purposes almost entirely, an occasional strength-building "cycle" can be of use. It's also an idea to strength train an individual muscle group while using bodybuilding training styles for the rest of your physique. Remember to use the bigger movements when selecting exercises for the bodypart you're strength training. 

Here's something to try with the "bigger" bodybuilding movements, like Oly squats, pec-centric benches, regular deads, bentover barbell rows, seated presses, barbell curls and the like. Don't overdo it by using it for too many exercises for too long. 

Begin by doing a warmup set or two of eight reps with around 60% of the weight you'll be using on your work sets. Rest for a couple minutes, until your head's ready to do some hard work. 

Go up to a poundage that you can get six (and absolutely no more) reps with. Rest one minute and then do another set with that weight, aiming to eke out another six reps. Rest another minute and give everything you've got to getting all the reps you possibly can with that same poundage. You might wind up only getting five . . . no matter . . . so long as you pushed it as hard as possible that day. 

If you get three reps or less, reduce the weight by 10 or so pounds (it depends on how big the weight on the bar is). Continue on like this . . . do a set, rest one minute, etc., until you've competed 10 sets. The 8th, 9th and 10th set should be killers, and make sure to take deep breaths between the real hard reps so you can keep on gutting it out. 


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