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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

John Cho Wants All the Bumps, Bruises, and Blood - Speakeasy

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

One Program at a Time

Q: After completing the post-exhaust workout for about 4 weeks, I decided to try something on my own.  Tell me what you think:

Day 1

DB chest press 10,8,6,15 superset with
DB flyes 10,8,6,15

Stiff arm pulldowns-10,8,6 15

Drag curl-10,8,6,15
Zottman curl-10,8,6,15
Overhead extension-10,8,6,15

Day 2

Shoulder press-10,8,6,15
Leg press-10,8,6,15
Sissy squat-10,8,6,15
Leg curl-10,8,6,15
Calf raises-10,8,6,15

Day 3

Decline DB press-10,8,6,15
Decline flyes-10,6,15
Stiff arm pulldown-10,8,6,15
Close grip pulldown-10,8,6,15
Incline DB curl-10,8,6,15
Lying cable curl-10,8,6,15
Skull crusher-10,8,6,15

Day 4

Arnold press-10,8,6,15
Front squat-10,8,6,15
Leg extension-10,8,6,15
Stiff legged deadlift-10,8,6,15
Calf raises-10,8,6,15

My Answer:  It just looks like you mish-mashed the 10-8-6-15 program with the post-exhaust program.  You just finished up the post-exhaust routine, so you're not going to gain by doing the same program in a different form.

I am very explicit in my books: modulate your volume.  High volume program for a few weeks followed by a low volume program for a few weeks.  What you're doing is following up a high volume program with an even higher volume program.  You should create or find a different program that has a lower volume.

I know a lot of people like to mish-mash programs or alter a program's parameters.  For example, when the 10x10 method became popular again, people started to do 10x10 on every exercise, doing 3-4 exercises per body part.  Or they did 10 sets of two or three exercises per body part.

But the 10x10 method explicitly states 10 sets of one exercise per muscle group, period.  Not multiple exercises.

To test out the efficacy of a program, you have to follow the program as is.  Not combine it with other programs.  People think, "Let's throw 5/3/1 and 5x5 and 8x8 altogether and see what sticks."

Doesn't work that way unfortunately.  Your body just gets confused and says, "I give up.  What do you want me to do?"

Focus on one method or program at a time.  You'll get much better results this way.

“This book is terrific. It distills years of experience and research into short sections laying out specific, creative programs for the major body parts, using the best science and advanced training techniques. Some of them created by the great 'masters' of bodybuilding like Larry Scott. Almost every section has a 'eureka' idea that I'm craving to try, like the back trifecta! The book is much more useful than subscriptions to all the muscle mags. I only wish I had it when I was a kid."

- Bob Vastine, world record holder in powerlifting

"Your arm blast routine from Volume One that you pointed me to is phenomenal. Maybe it's just the pump, but I'm measuring 16 inches compared to 15 inches before - after just 2 trainings!"

- Steve Murphy, Australia

"Sticking to your principles to the letter has helped me improve immensely. When I started lifting over two years ago I was 125 pounds and now I'm over 170.

"What I'm trying to say is that reading your books helped me understand what I needed to do to gain [muscle]. My dedication plus your expertise really worked out well for me."

- Mike Crothers

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Power of 4

Here is a quick, but very useful tip. I call it "the Power of 4." What I've noticed over the years is that 4 sets is a nexus within the set continuum. If you're wondering what set total works best, then 4 is not necessarily the best choice, but a solid choice. Four sets works well no matter if you're using high reps, low reps or a combination of both.

For example, 4 sets of 8-12 reps is a solid approach for higher reps. But at the same time 4 sets of 4-6 reps provides the minimum amount of repeated effort to hypertrophy the fast-twitch muscle fibers.

All things being equal, however, a varying set total from workout to workout is far superior to a fixed number of sets. But if you suffer from OCD and you need a crutch, then tap into the Power of 4.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Strength training for women

I get asked if I train women. I certainly do train women, and in fact, my very best client happens to be a woman who gets asked all sorts of things at the gym:

"How long did it take for you to get that rockin' bod?"

"What exercise does that work?"

"How'd you learn to do pull-ups?"

Strength training for women involves the same training parameters for fat loss, but with slightly different exercises. In other words, if they're looking to lose fat and get toned, then they will follow the same set, rep and exercise sequencing a guy would follow on a fat loss program. The only difference would be the exercise selection, since women are looking to develop and/or minimize body parts different from men.

For example, men generally are looking to develop one of these body types: V-taper (classical bodybuilder), a T-shape (fitness model), an X-type (modern bodybuilder) or an A-type (athletic). Women, on the other hand, generally look to keep an hour glass figure. A lot of women have a pear shape, which is characterized by a disproportionate amount of fat around the thighs, hips and butt. This is a sign of excess estrogen. In fact where your fat is distributed tells a lot about your hormonal profile.

There are other female body types aside from the pear shape, but this is usually the client I have worked with most often over the years. For most women, I do not recommend back squats or lunges, as this tends to build their asses and thicken their thighs even further. I usually avoid exercises that develop their traps and focus instead on exercises that develop their delts. Widening the shoulders a bit helps to counterbalance the excessively wide hips of a pear shaped woman.