Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Not everybody works on a farm or has access to strongman equipment, so here are 5 gym exercises that have great carryover into the real world and the athletic field. I've chosen these exercises because of their simplicity:
1) the Incline Press or Standing Military Press - Forget the bench press! The standing military press has far more relevance to the playing field and the real world, because you have to press the weight up using your body (not a bench) as support. If you're shoulders are wrecked and you can't do the MP, then do some rotator cuff exercises and do the incline press instead, sissy boy!
2) the Front Squat - When you push and press weight (i.e. an opponent) in the athletic field or in a street fight, then the front squat develops far more real world strength than the back squat.
3) the Deadlift - Develop your posterior chain (lower back and hamstrings), and you develop whole body power and strength. Enough said! Here's reader Bob Vastine doing a 420 deadlift:
4) the Kettlebell Swing - Although the kettlebell snatch provides better gains in hypertrophy and explosive power, the kettlebell swing provides about 90% of those gains with minimal coordination needed. As far as cost-benefit ratio, the swing is a better choice, because the learning curve is short and you won't be bruising your forearms.
5) Pull-ups - Want to grapple? The pull-up is KING when it comes to developing grappling strength. It will help in your military presses as well. Clapping is optional:
The great thing about these exercises is that not only will you develop overall strength relevant to moving around in the real world, these exercises will develop a physique that is both admired by the ladies and feared or respected by men for its look of power.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
- Train each body part every 48 hours, or basically three times per week.
- Increase the weight each and every workout.
- Decrease the reps every two weeks.
- Decondition the muscle before you do it all over again.
There's more to it than that, but those are the basics. For instance, HST prescribes 2 sets per exercise. Here's my take on HST:
1) The high frequency of training is good for size. For gaining, retaining and building on what you've gained in size, it is always better to train more frequently (3-4 times per week). For high frequency training, then HST fits the bill.
2) Two sets per exercise really doesn't incur as much growth as higher set totals. This is one drawback to HST. Two sets per exercise works well for beginners and old people, but not so much for the intermediate to advanced lifter. High frequency/low set training is great for strength, but crappy for size and hypertrophy. Unless you're doing other physical activities (MMA, strongman competition, shotput, etc.), then it's better to vary your set totals from workout to workout: i.e. 3 sets-6 sets-2 sets.
3) The periodization of reps should be compressed into a week's span. I know, I keep pounding this point in, but it needs to be said: your body responds better to compressed cycles of reps rather than longer cycles. Whereas HST has you doing 15 reps in Week One, 10 reps in Week Two and 5 reps in Week Three, you will get better results by doing it all in one week: Monday (15 reps), Wednesday (10 reps), Friday (5 reps).
Cycling your reps within the week is much better, because you will gain size and strength at a faster rate. Overall, HST is not a bad program. But if you vary the sets and use weekly cycles of reps, then HST will be a great program.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Bulking means that you gain weight at all costs in the hopes that some of what you gain will be muscle. When you bulk, high caloric intake is what you want. Bulking is only recommend for skinny bastards under the age of 25. Don't bulk if you're fat (duh!) or even if you're skinny but have fat deposits in certain areas (i.e. love handles). I generally don't recommend bulking for those over 25. Only skinny teens and skinny college kids who have the metabolisms of hummingbirds on crack.
Now if you're a rich, skinny bastard, then:
1) I hate you.
2) Your goal is to eat a high calorie diet of high quality foods and high quality protein (meats).
But if you're on a budget and don't mind gaining some fat, then here are some staples of the poor man's bulking diet:
1) peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
3) milk (but not if you're lactose intolerant)
5) bagels with cream cheese (and salmon lox if you can spend the extra cash)
Eggs are cheap high quality protein that you should eat whether or not you're bulking or on a budget. Everything else on this list will bulk you up, because of:
1) the calories
2) the carbs
3) the fat
4) the high insulin response
The muscle that you gain on this diet will not be of the highest quality, and you will gain some fat. But if you're a poor skinny bastard, then bulking with these foods (along with a powerlifter's training regimen) will help you blast through any plateaus in your size gains. JUST DON'T GO OVERBOARD.
Monday, December 3, 2007
1) powerlifting (heavy weights, long rest periods)
2) trisets involving multiple rep ranges (a la Fred "Dr. Squat" Hatfield)
3) set extension techniques
You spend a week utilizing each approach. PRRS is a great way to hit every muscle fiber for maximal size, but there are 2 problems:
1) Although you cycle through 3 phases, the full cycle is approximately 3 weeks. To get better results from this program, it is better to cycle through all three phases in one to one and half weeks. Your body responds better to shorter cycles, and this is especially true of advanced bodybuilders who have been lifting for quite a while.
2) To facilitate the compressed cycles, it's best to utilize active recovery sets (see previous post). The 3 phases of PRRS are traumatic to both the muscles and the nervous system. Rather than wait till next week to recover from each traumatic phase, the addition of active recovery sets speed up your recovery from such trauma, and allow you train again in a shorter preiod of time.
Adding these 2 tips to PRRS will supercharge an already great bodybuilding program.