Calf bashing workout

CRANK UP THE INTENSITY WITH THIS POWER PACKED TRAINING ROUTINE TO GENERATE NEW GROWTH
There are many misconceptions about calf training. Some people believe you should train them at least 3 or 4 times each week in order to get good growth. Others advise you should do at least 15 sets each time in order to properly exhaust them. Other times you will hear that because of the nature of the muscle, you must train in a very high rep range in order to reach full muscle failure to stimulate significant muscular growth. Often times, the people making these recommendations have calves that are “normal” or otherwise unimpressive. I constantly get asked what the heck I do to get such large and freaky calves.

I usually just give the short answer, “heavy weight with high reps,” but that usually doesn’t satisfy the person who asked the question. I have been asked to break down the details in an article, so for the first time ever, here it is:

First, it’s important to realize that the calves are composed of two major muscles – the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The gastrocnemius is the larger of the two muscles and is composed of two heads (medial and lateral). It extends from the knee joint to the ankle joint and this muscle is what forms the well-known diamond shape you see in competitive bodybuilders with low body fat levels. The soleus is the smaller muscle, which lies under the gastrocnemius and contributes to the width of the lower leg. So, what is the importance of these two muscles? Well, if you want stellar calf development, you must focus on training both of these major muscles with equal intensity.

Okay, but what about the training details for maximum growth? How often should I train them? What exercises should I use? How heavy should I go? What rep range should I focus on? How many sets? Etc, etc, etc. Well, calm down because we’re going to get to all that.

It’s important to understand that there’s nothing special or magical about the muscles in your lower legs. Many people believe that because you use them walking everyday that they are somehow composed of special muscle fibers, which require extra special and extensive stimulation in order to grow. Hence the misconception about training calves 3 or 4 times per week or for 15 sets in a row in order to stimulate the “stubborn” muscles into growing. This could not be further from the truth. We also use our quadriceps and hamstrings to walk just as much as our calves, but we don’t train those 3 or 4 times per week. For those of us who do cardio daily, which muscle are you more likely to pull if you’re jogging on a treadmill

YOUR CALVES ARE ON FIRE AND STARTING TO CRAMP BAD. INTERESTINGLY, YOU THINK YOUR FEET MIGHT BE TINGLING AND TURNING NUMB. ALMOST THERE, SO KEEP GOING, DON’T QUIT!
– a calf or a hamstring? Well- you get the point. This is why I train calves like I train any other muscle group in the body (which may very well be the subject of another article, but I made my point).

Now let’s assume you’re like most other people who train each muscle group once every 4 to 7 days. That’s how often you should train calves. No more, no less. Okay, fantastic. Now, what exercises?

Let’s return back to the two major muscle groups, which comprise the calves – the gastrocnemius and the soleus. Since it’s important to train both of these muscles with equal intensity, it would be impossible to train them both on the same day. (The muscle going last will always be at a disadvantage in terms of weight, intensity, lactic acid buildup, fatigue, etc.) So, don’t do it. One day you should train your gastrocnemius and the next calf workout (4 to 7 days later) you should train the soleus muscle. You may be wondering, which exercise targets each of those muscles. Any calf exercise where your legs are straight will target the gastrocnemius (e.g. standing calf raises or donkey calf raises), and any calf exercise where your knees are bent will target the soleus (e.g. seated leg raises). Although there are multiple exercises to choose from, you will only choose one exercise per workout and you will blast that exercise HARD. Make sure your calves are properly warmed up before really cranking up the weight. Do a few light sets before working your way up to your heaviest sets. Add weight after each warm-up set until you reach the weight you have chosen for your working sets. One may ask, “how many sets, how heavy, and what rep range?” This is when things become a little more individualized, but basic human physiology principles apply. If you follow this protocol correctly, you’ll find that you won’t be able to do more than 3 or 4 hard sets (this does not refer to the warm-up sets where you are not going to failure but simply warming up the muscle). After your warm-up sets, use enough weight in order for you to hit failure at 10 reps with a controlled but deliberate movement. Get a good stretch at the bottom of each rep and then explode in a controlled fashion (no bouncing at all unless you desire to rip the muscle off the bone) to the top concentric portion of the movement. Give the calves a good strong squeeze then slowly lower the weight back to the stretched position and repeat. Strong mental focus is the KEY. Focus on feeling your calves contract as hard as possible on each and every rep! You’ll get to 10 reps and feel that you have reached muscle failure but don’t quit yet. Squeeze out another couple of reps continuing in the same fashion as above. Nice job, but you’re not done yet. Take a few deep breaths and continue with the exercise-13 reps, 14 reps, 15 reps… Your calves are on fire and starting to cramp bad. Interestingly, you think your feet might be tingling and turning numb. Almost there, so keep going, don’t quit! 16 reps, 17 reps… Take a deep breath, and yes, your calves have never hurt so bad before. 18 reps, 19 reps… The pain is unbearable. Last rep… 20! Rack the weight.

Your calves are cramping and they’re cramping bad. It’s very important to stretch them at this point one at a time and very carefully. If you go too deep on the stretch too quickly, you can actually tear and damage the muscle. So, gently drop into a stretched position and hold for a minimum of 30 seconds straight. Switch legs and repeat. Now immediately go back to the same calf exercise for the next set. This set will be identical to the first (get to 20 reps with that heavy weight that you wanted to quit with on 10 reps), and then you will stretch again. Despite the incredible pump and pain, you will repeat again for a third set of the exact same regimen of 20 heavy reps. Congratulations! You didn’t think you would get more than 8 reps on that last set, but you fought your way all the way up to 20. Even though your calves feel like they’ve never hurt so bad before, you can’t help but smile knowing you just made it through all that. You now have one final set which is optional. If you decide to continue, take about one third of the weight off of the calf machine. Get back in the machine and repeat what you did for all the previous sets, but you must hit 30 reps, not 29- but 30. You will have to fight hard to get a good stretch, a strong contraction in each and every of those 30 reps. When you are done with that, roll out of the machine and shake out your legs. You now need to slowly stretch each calf for a minimum of 60 seconds straight. This serves several purposes. It removes lactic acid build-up in the muscle, which will speed recovery and allow you to be able to still walk tomorrow. It also will stretch the fascia (the sheath of connective tissue surrounding the muscle) allowing the muscle to expand and grow from the intense stimulus you just provided it.

Your calf training session is over. Next time pick an exercise, which trains the other major muscle of your lower legs. If you trained gastrocnemius this session, then next time you will train the soleus muscle and vice versa. Feel free to alternate between different calf exercises and try to keep track of your weights over time. Your goal is to slowly get stronger on each of these exercises as you keep those reps high in order to continue to stimulate calf growth. Each time you train calves, you will train them in the same high rep and high weight manner as above.

If you strictly follow these protocols you should see some significant progress over the next few months. If no progress ensues, you may just be genetically challenged and can always take up golf.

After posting this I also realize that one set program does not necessarily  give everyone the best results. Following the above protocol may yield exceptional gains, modest gains or little gains depending on the individual. So lets explore some variations and in your training try them out if you are not satisfied with your results or if you want to just do something different.

1) Calve raises.. pick a weight you can do for 15 reps.. and do it for 100 in shortest time possible.

2) Do work on your front calves (tibial) on Monday, Do seated work on Wednesday, then standing work on Friday.

3) Try doing calf work on the days you DO NOT do your legs. Consider your squats and leg pressing as an indirect attack on your calves.

4) This may as well be another post on calf work but screw it, this will just be one really long post that is turning into a mish mash of different protocols…………

2 of my favorite ways to hit calves are……

5 second negatives + 5 second holds in the stretched position.

You can literally destroy your calves in one set of these.

Basically you just pick a weight you can usually get 15 reps with when performing them with a normal tempo.

Lower into the stretch position as slow as possible (5 seconds), hold the stretch at the bottom for a 5 second count, then squeeze/contract as hard as you can.   You should fail at around 8-10 reps.

It should take you a good amount of time to complete the entire set, but it’s excruciating.

After completing the set you can either drop set and immediately go again using the same method or rest pause to extend the set.  If your rest pause, aim to hit about half the amount of the reps you did on the first.  So if you got 10 reps, rest 30 seconds and go again…you’ll probably hit 5 or 6 if you’re lucky.

One all out set like this is enough.

Good thing about this method is it allows you to use a decent weight but also increases the time under tension significantly.

3×3 way circuit

Pick a weight you can do 10 reps with using a normal tempo.  Place a block or stack a couple of plates on top of each other next to the machine you’re using to create a platform.

After completing the 10 reps on the machine, immediately follow that up with 10 reps on the block with just body weight.  Do these using the same method as above (5 seconds on the way down, 5 second stretch, explode up)….then finish off the first “round” by performing standing raises without the block from the floor…as many reps as you can until you can’t physically lift your own body-weight anymore.  This usually equates to about 10-12 reps.

So…

10 reps on the machine

10 reps off the block with body weight (slow negatives/hold stretch)

10-12+ reps body weight off the floor (normal pace…just pump them)

That’s the first set done

Rest a minute or so, then go back to the machine.  Reduce the weight by about 25% and follow the same method – 10 reps machine, 10 reps off block, 10-12+ reps off the floor.

Second set done

Reduce the weight by a further 25% and repeat the above process.

3 “rounds” of this and your calves are guaranteed to be well and truly fucked up.

Both the above methods only take maybe 10 minutes.

Even more ideas;

The one tip that’s worked a treat for me when training calves, is before I start my set, tilt my ankles inwards. Then when I do my reps, keep this tilt angle and push up through the ball of the big toe, ensuring the foot doesn’t lean outwards…

I had to drop my weight considerably at first, but I stuck with it and made small progressive increases using this stricter technique, and I’ve seen good results in overall mass gain.

For me man its all high reps with low to no weight (bodyweight). I like to look at it this way and call it bro science or whatever you want but aside from bodybuilders who has the biggest calves? Cyclists….runners…..soccer players etc etc. And what are they doing? Working them over and over and over day in and day out with literally no weight other than their bodyweight. Of course these athletes weight train but Im sure you get what im tryin to say.

A bodybuilder named Ben Pakulski has a ridiculous calve workout that im my opinion is the most brutal thing I have ever done for calves. Pick a machine, prefferably one where you are seated. Pick a weight (it will most likely be fairly light) Do 10 reps rest 10 secs, do 20 reps rest 20 secs, 30 reps 30 secs, 40 reps. That is it. Do that 3 times the first week. The second week start at 20 reps and work your way up in the same fashion and the third week start at 30 reps and same thing again. That is some serious shit!

Muscle Factor Training A New Paradigm

Reblogged from http://www.trainingscience.net/?page_id=471

Muscle Factor Training

A New Paradigm

You may be familiar with the old adage – heavy weights / low reps build strength & size, light weights / high reps build endurance.  This belief about the effects that different numbers of repetition have on the body has been repeated for many, many years.  I started lifting weights in 1982 and it was accepted as truth at that time.  This belief is even accepted wisdom in the exercise physiology community.  The exercise physiology textbook in my library, published in 1996, states, “Performing an exercise between 3-RM (repetition maximum) and 12-RM provides the most effective number of repetitions for increasing muscular strength.”(1)  The bottom line is that there is little to no debate as to the effect different numbers of repetitions have on the body.  If you want to increase strength and size, heavy weights and low reps is the universally agreed upon prescription.

From a practical perspective this has resulted in most or all resistance training programs recommending heavy weights and low reps exclusively.  Basically every strength training or bodybuilding program recommends repetitions of 20 or less.  During 15 years of following popular strength training literature I can recall only 2 instances where reps higher than 20 have been discussed and in only one of those instances was it even seriously recommended as a viable training method.

In the first case, in the early 1980s or so a professional bodybuilder (Johnny Fuller, if my memory serves me correctly) revealed that he preferred to train using 32 repetitions for most or all of his exercises.  At the time this was used as an example of the recommendation that each trainee needs to find what works best for him/herself, but I don’t recall that the article recommended such high reps for anyone else.  Nor did any follow on articles I ever saw suggest that trainees might experiment with reps in that high range.

In the second case, Muscle and Fitness magazine ran a few articles in the late 1980s about 100 repetition training.  This series was run after one bodybuilder in particular revealed that he used 100 reps for brief training periods a few times a year.  After that series of articles, I don’t recall ever hearing about this type of training again.

So, while the adage says heavy weight/low reps build strength and light weights/high reps build endurance, I do not believe that high rep strength training is commonly used or seriously considered as a viable training method by most trainees or their coaches.  It isn’t commonly recommended to those who are most interested in increasing strength and/or size, nor does it seem to be a part of the serious endurance athletes training methods.

Since the adage says light weights / high reps building endurance, and increasing endurance is a goal of endurance athletes, I began wondering why high rep strength training was not commonly used by endurance athletes.  Even though the primary goal of endurance athletes is to improve endurance, heavy weight / low rep strength training is what is most often recommended to them.  The reason strength training is believed to be beneficial for endurance athletes is that it increases the amount of force produced during contraction, resulting in an increase in power output and, presumably, endurance performance.  What about the second part of the adage though?  The part that says light weights / high reps build endurance.  One of the muscle factors contributing to power output is fatigue resistance.  Increased resistance to fatigue is just another way of saying that the muscle’s endurance increased.  I reasoned that if high rep resistance training really did increase endurance then perhaps it might be a beneficial training method for endurance athletes.  With that thought in mind I started searching the available research to see what had been done on this topic.  I found some exciting and surprising research for us to review.  Let’s get to it.

Heavy weight/low rep vs. medium weight/medium rep vs. light weight/high rep

The first thing I wanted to know was whether research supported the belief that heavy weights / low reps build strength and that light weights / high reps build endurance.  After all it wouldn’t be the first time that someone discovered that conventional wisdom was not completely accurate.  I thought it best to be sure.

The classic research on this topic was conducted by Thomas DeLorme in 1945 (3).  DeLorme’s research indicated that heavy weights do indeed build strength while higher reps build endurance.  DeLorme is even credited with the axiom that heavy weights / low reps build strength and high reps / light weights build endurance.  Quite a few other research studies on this topic have supported DeLorme’s findings hence the reason it is now accepted as conventional wisdom.

This is not to say that DeLorme’s original axiom has gone unchallenged though.  Several research studies (4,5) that have found that the primary adaptation to either high or low reps is an increase in muscular strength.  So even though it is accepted today that heavy weights / low reps builds strength and light weights / high reps builds endurance the fact is that some research has challenged this belief, suggesting that high reps primarily build strength, not endurance and resulting in conflicting data on the topic.

In 1982 two researchers from the University of Kentucky set out to resolve this conflict (6).  Specifically, they wanted to determine the effects of three different resistance training protocols – heavy weights / low reps (6-8 reps), medium weight / medium reps (30-40 reps), and light weights / high reps (100-150 reps).

They recruited forty-three untrained, healthy subjects and trained them with the bench press exercise three times per week for nine weeks with one of three training protocols.  The low rep group performed 3 sets x 6-8 reps maximum, the medium rep group performed 2 sets x 30-40 reps maximum, and the high rep group performed 1 set x 100-150 rep maximum.  Resistance was adjusted as needed to ensure each subject stayed in the appropriate rep range through the training program.

Before training began each subject was tested for their individual 1 rep maximum (1-RM), relative endurance and absolute endurance.  Relative endurance was determined by the maximum number of bench press repetitions they could complete with 40% of their 1-RM and adjusted as 1-RM changed, while absolute endurance was measured by how many reps could be completed with 27.23 kilograms.

At the end of the study all subjects were tested again for maximum strength, relative endurance, and absolute endurance.  All three groups improved maximum strength and absolute endurance.  The heavy weight / low rep group decreased in relative endurance while the other two groups increased relative endurance significantly.  The results of this study are shown in table 1.

Table 1:  Percent changes in max strength, absolute endurance, and relative endurance following strength training at three distinct repetition ranges

Training Group

% Change in Max Strength

% Change in Absolute Endurance

% Change in Relative Endurance

Heavy weight /

low rep

20.22

23.58

-6.99

Medium weight / medium rep

8.22

39.23

22.45

Light weight /

high rep

4.92

41.30

28.45

As can be seen from the data in table 1, the results of this study support DeLorme’s axiom.   Heavy weight / low reps do build strength, while light weights / high reps build endurance.  However, in contrast to DeLorme’s axiom, note that all 3 rep ranges resulted in increases in maximum strength.  And all 3 rep ranges resulted in increases in endurance, with the exception of the relative endurance of the low rep group.  So while low reps increase maximum strength more than do high reps and high reps increase endurance more than low reps the point is that resistance training significantly increases both strength and endurance.  The researchers commented on this same point.

“The reader should note, however, that with the exception of the relative endurance task for the high resistance low repetition group, all training protocols demonstrated significant improvements on each of the three criterion tests.”

Anderson and Kearney’s research went a long way to resolving the conflicting data on DeLorme’s axiom – heavy weights increase strength the most, high reps influence endurance the most, but all resistance training results in improvements in both strength and endurance.

In 1994 Stone and Coulter modeled a study after Anderson and Kearney’s study with the exception of using a less extreme rep range for the high rep group (7).  Stone and Coulter had their subjects perform either 3 x 6-8 reps, 2 x 15-20 reps, or 1 x 30-40 reps.  The results of this program supported the findings of Anderson and Kearney.  Strength and absolute endurance increased for all three groups.  The low rep group improved strength more than the other 2 groups and the high rep group improved endurance more than the lower rep groups.

The bottom line is that while DeLorme’s basic axiom is generally supported by this research, the fact is that resistance training results in improvements in both strength and endurance but to varying degrees depending on how many repetitions are performed.

What about alternating rep ranges?

The studies cited above have compared one rep range to another, high reps vs. low reps for example.  In every study researchers had subjects perform just one rep range and in each case heavy weights / low reps increased strength the most.  What the researchers never examined was how a program of multiple rep ranges compared to a program consisting of a single rep range.

In 2004 a group of researchers tackled this very question in a fascinating study of varying combinations of high and low rep training (8).  This group speculated that a combination type program that included both low and high reps would be more effective than a periodized program consisting of single repetition scheme during each training period or phase.

To test their hypothesis they recruited 17 untrained subjects, divided them into two groups, and then trained each group twice per week for 10 weeks.  Subjects were tested for maximum strength and muscular endurance pre- and post-training.  The first 6 weeks of training was designated as phase 1 and both groups trained exactly the same during this phase. Workouts consisted of two exercises (leg extensions & leg presses) for 3 sets x 10-15 reps.  At the end of this first phase of training there was no difference between the groups; both had significantly and equally improved strength and endurance.  This is not surprising since both groups trained exactly the same during phase 1.

During the final 4 weeks of the study, both groups conducted 5 sets x 3-5 reps of each exercise.  One group, the combi-type group, added a single set of 25-35 reps following their final low rep set.  At the end of the training program the combi-type group had increased their strength 58% more than did the other training group (14.7% vs. 9.3% respectively).  The results are displayed in table 2.

Table 2:  Set and rep ranges for 2 training phases and percent change in strength following phase 2.

Training Group

Phase 1 training

Phase 2 training

% Change in strength after phase 2

Strength type group

9 sets x 10-15 reps

5 sets x 3-5 reps

9.3 %

Combo type group

9 sets x 10-15 reps

5 sets x 3-5 reps,

1 set x 25-35 reps

14.7%

In their discussion of these findings, the researchers wrote,

“This suggests that the combi-type regimen caused a larger increase in dynamic muscular strength than did the strength-type regimen when combined with the hypertrophy-type regimen in a periodized fashion… This effect appears to be inconsistent with the classical principle operating in resistance-exercise training, in which low-repetition protocols are used for muscular strength and low-intensity, high-repetition protocols are used for muscular endurance.  Sensible combinations of high- and low-intensity protocols may therefore be more important to optimize the strength adaptation to resistance training.”

There were also significant differences in endurance between the two groups.  During phase 1 both groups increased endurance with no significant difference in the percent change.  However, the combo type group’s endurance continued to increase during phase 2, while the strength type group’s endurance decreased 4.2%.  The results are displayed in table 3.

Table 3:  Percent change in endurance following each phase of training and total percent change in endurance.

Training Group

Change in endurance, phase 1

Change in endurance, phase 2

Total Change in Endurance

Strength type group

28.5 %

-4.7 %

24.3 %

Combo type group

20 %

18.8 %

38.2 %

In summary, this study found that a combination program consisting of heavy weights / low reps and light weight / high reps was more effective for improving both strength and endurance than a traditional periodized training program consisting of a single rep range during each training phase.  This is truly a fascinating finding.

What Does All This Mean?

What are we to make of all this data on low and high rep strength training?  Based on this data I suggest that the evidence supports that resistance training consisting of a combination of reps is superior to a more traditional lower-rep strength training program.  While I’d like to see more research on this topic this data is enticing enough that I strongly recommend giving a combination of low rep / high rep training serious consideration.

Personally, I adopted a combination high and low rep program in 2007.  At that time I had been strength training consistently for 25 years (I started in 1982) and had tried pretty much every training program that had come down the pipe.  Changing to a combination program was the single best change I’ve ever made in terms of increasing strength.  Despite being in my mid-40s and many years past my prime I was able to increase my strength to the level it had been at during my mid-20s.  Too bad I didn’t discover this 25 years earlier.

What explains the results of a combination program?  What physiologically is happening within the body that produces such large strength gains?  Why does the addition of high rep training – training that has been conventionally viewed as endurance training – to a traditional low rep program produce greater gains in strength than a low rep program only?  I pondered this question for about a year until I finally arrive at the muscle factor model as the physiological explanation.  I believe this new model for how muscles function during exercise and how they adapt to exercise explains why a combination program is superior to single rep range training.  Based on this I chose the term Muscle Factor Training to describe combination training.

If you would like to try muscle factor training I suggest starting with the following. In addition to the low rep training you are already doing, add:

  • one set of 20 reps (range of 17 – 23 reps)
  • one set of 40 reps (range of 35 – 45 reps)

For example, let’s say your current training program includes 4 x 8-10 reps in the bench press.  You would replace 2 of those low rep sets with 1 set of 20 reps and 1 set of 40 reps.  Your new bench press program would look like this:

  • 2 sets x 8-10 reps
  • 1 set x 20 reps
  • 1 set x 40 reps
 

Summary

The old adage is that heavy weights / low reps build strength while light weights / high reps build endurance and a review of the research shows that the adage is basically true.  However, while that adage is basically correct it does not reveal the complete picture.  Strength increases from reps as high as 150 but if you are only doing one rep range then lower reps increase strength the most.

A combination of both high and low reps – what I call Muscle Factor Training – has been shown to increase strength significantly more than a traditional low rep, periodized type training program.  For those who are most interested in maximizing muscular strength and size this finding is significant and should be seriously considered when designing a strength training program.

Reference:

1.  Katch, Katch, McArdle, Exercise Physiology, Energy, Nutrition, and Human Performance, 1996, Williams & Wilkins, pg. 427

2.  Muscle Limit Performance, Muscle Contractility

3.  DeLorme, Thomas L., Restoration of muscle power by heavy resistance exercise, Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 1945, 27:645-667.

4.  Stull G, Clarke D., High-resistance, low-repetition training as a determiner of strength and fatigability, Research Quarterly, 41(2), 189-193

5.  Clarke D, Stull G., Endurance training as a determinant of strength and fatigability, Research Quarterly, 41(1), 19-26

6.  Anderson T, Kearney J., Effects of Three Resistance Training Programs on Muscular Strength and Absolute and Relative Endurance, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 1982, 53:1, 1-7.

7.  Stone WJ, Coulter SP., Strength/endurance effects from three resistance training protocols with women, J Strength Cond Res 8:231-234.

8.  Goto K, Nagasawa M, Yanagisawa O, Kizuka T, Ishii N, Takamatsu K., Muscular Adaptations to Combinations of High- and Low-Intensity Resistance Exercises, J Strength Cond Res, 2004, 18(4), 730-737.

The Effect of High Rep Training on Strength and Size

Reblogged from http://www.trainingscience.net/?page_id=301

The Effect of High Rep Training on Strength and Size

In a recent research study(1) a group of researchers set out to explore the impact of lighter weight and higher rep training on muscle mass and function. They designed a study “to compare the adaptive changes in muscle size, contractile strength, and MHC (fiber type) composition evoked by resistance training performed at either low or high contraction intensity (i.e. low or high reps) while equalized for total loading volume”

Specifically, this study compared 10 sets x 36 reps using 15.5% 1RM to 10 sets x 8 reps using 70% 1RM.  The study ran 12 weeks, with 3 workouts each week.

How did the 10×8 program do? It produced a 7.6% increase in muscle size (hypertrophy) and a 35% increase in 1RM (one rep maximum).

Not bad. Not bad at all. And, candidly, not the least bit surprising. Heavy weights and low reps has long been the accepted way to maximize strength and size.

How about the 10×36 reps program? Many would predict that such a “high” rep range would build endurance and, if it didn’t cause an outright decline in strength and size, would surely not increase strength and/or size.  Remember, standard physiological and training wisdom is that more than 20 reps is “endurance” training and endurance training does not increase strength and size. This belief is reflected in the following quote I read on a bodybuilding forum.  “Anything beyond 20 reps is high, and not good for strength gains”.

Anyone who would predict that high reps are good for endurance only would be wrong.

The 10×36 program produced a 19% increase in 1RM and a 2.6% increase in muscle size. Pretty impressive for a program many would call “endurance training”.

There are a couple of things to be learned from this study.  First, this study clearly shows that a program consisting exclusively of heavy weight and low reps produces greater increases in strength and size than a program consisting exclusively of lighter weights and higher reps.  This isn’t any sort of surprise – research over the past 80 years has very consistently shown this same thing.

But there is more to the story than just heavy weights and low reps wins.  The most glaring point to consider is that “high” reps increased strength levels 19% and muscle size 2.6%.  This naturally brings up two questions.  Is this the only study that has shown “high” reps increase strength and size?  And from a physiological standpoint how do higher reps cause strength and size to increase?

There have been multiple studies comparing changes in strength and size from different rep ranges and, despite what conventional wisdom teaches, these studies have consistently shown that higher reps cause increases in both strength and size.  Yes, heavy weights and low reps increase strength and size the most.  But that doesn’t mean higher reps don’t also build strength and size.  Conventional wisdom has incorrectly interpreted the research as “heavy weights and low reps build strength; light weight and high reps build endurance”.  The first lesson from the research is that “light weights and high reps do increase strength, just not as much as lower rep schemes.”

It is important to note that the research has shown that the higher the rep range the smaller the increase in strength and size.  So while reps in range of 25- 35 can build strength an impressive amount, the higher above this that you go the smaller the increases in strength.

There is no getting around the fact that a program of only heavy weights and low reps builds significantly more strength and size than a program of only lighter weight and higher reps. So if you are trying to decide what reps you should exclusively be doing, pick reps less than 20.  But, this study also clearly shows that that conventional strength training thought is inaccurate to some degree. Higher reps do increase strength and size.

This brings us to the second question.  What logical explanation can we come up with to explain these results? By what physiological mechanism could high reps build strength?

The most logical answer is that what conventional physiological and training wisdom call “high” and “endurance” really aren’t particularly “high”, nor are they really “endurance”. It appears that “high” and “endurance” start somewhere far beyond 20 reps.  Exercise doesn’t suddenly transform from “strength” to “endurance” within a matter of a few reps.  Going from 12 reps to 24 reps in the same exercise doesn’t somehow turn the exercise into an “endurance” workout.  Instead, strength and endurance exist on a continuum, with both elements being trained at all reps.  Training at the strength end of the continuum, training between 1-15 reps, increases strength the most and endurance the least.  As you increase the number of reps strength is less affected and endurance is more affected, until at some point you are doing so many reps that changes in strength are no longer measurable.  That point happens somewhere above 150 reps, according to the research.

What the research hasn’t told us is how higher reps built strength and size. What physiological mechanism is at play that causes higher reps to build both strength and size?  If there are different physiological reasons for how low reps build strength and how higher reps build strength, then it raises a fascinating question.  What if you combined low reps with higher reps? What would the results be? If different physiological mechanisms are responsible for the increases in strength and size at different reps then would a combination program of different reps result in better results than single rep programs?  As we have seen higher reps do increase strength and size and if they build strength due to a different mechanism than lower reps there may be some advantage in combining lower rep training with higher rep training.

This study doesn’t answer the question but this one does.  In the meantime, the point is that light weight and high reps are not really “endurance” exercises; high reps are both strength and endurance training and the degree to which they affect strength or endurance depends on the number of reps being performed.

Reference:

Holm L, et al, Changes in muscle size and MHC composition in response to resistance exercise with heavy and light loading intensity, Journal of Applied Physiology, Nov 2008, 105:1454-1461

Wendler 5/3/1

A Hardcore Look At Wendler’s 5/3/1 Powerlifting Routine

Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 powerlifting system is popular because it works! Wendler’s has you training 3-4 days per week on a rotating wave system.

Workout Summary

Main Goal:
Increase Strength
Workout Type:
Split
Training Level:
Intermediate
Days Per Week:
3
Equipment Required:
Barbell, Bodyweight, Dumbbells
Target Gender:
Male & Female
Author:

Workout Description

Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 powerlifting system is rapidly growing into one of the most popular powerlifting and strength building training routines on the planet. Several years ago, most powerlifters I knew ran the Westside Barbell system. Westside was the gospel, and there was no other. But today, things have changed. A good portion of my friends are running Wendler’s 5/3/1, or a Westside/Wendler’s combination. Westside is still king, but Wendler’s 5/3/1 has proven itself very worthy of consideration.

In this guide to Wendler’s 5/3/1, you will find information on 2, 3, and 4 day splits. You will also find information on a Wendler’s 5/3/1 and Westside hybrid program. I have also included detailed assistance work information, including possible variations mentioned in the Wendler’s 5/3/1 e-book. Please support Jim Wendler and Wendler’s 5/3/1 by purchasing his e-book.

Wendler’s 5/3/1 Core Components

  • 4 to 5+ Week Mesocycle. A mesocycle of Wendler’s 5/3/1 lasts 4 weeks if you train 4 days per week, and 5+ weeks if you train 3 days per week. If you workout three times per week (Monday-Wednesday-Friday), you will rotate between 4 core workouts. If you workout 4 days per week, you will hit each workout once a week on the same training day.
  • 4 Core Workouts. Wendler’s 5/3/1 consists of 4 core workouts:

Workout ASquat and assistance work.

Workout BBench Press and assistance work.

Workout CDeadlift and assistance work.

Workout DOverhead Press and assistance work.

  • 3 Days Per Week. As stated, if you use Wendler’s 5/3/1 and workout 3 days per week, you will rotate between the 4 workouts. Over the course of a mesocycle, you will perform each of the 4 workouts four times, for a total of 16 workouts. A week week mesocycle looks like this:

Week 1. ABC (Monday – Workout A, Wednesday – Workout B, Friday – Workout C)

Week 2. DAB

Week 3. CDA

Week 4. BCD

Week 5. ABC

Week 6. D

  • 4 Days Per Week. If you use Wendler’s 5/3/1 and train 4 days per week, your mesocycle will last only 4 weeks. Your workout schedule should look something life this:

MondaySquat Day

WednesdayBench Press Day

FridayDeadlift Day

SaturdayOverhead Press Day

  • Workout Waves. Each workout is performed 4 times during the course of a Wendler’s 5/3/1 mesocycle. Simply stated, you will have 4 bench press workouts, 4 squat workouts, 4 deadlift workouts, and 4 overhead press workouts. Each specific workout (A-B-C-D) is comprised of 4 waves, or 4 different workouts. These waves are:

Wave A. Warmup, 75% x 5, 80% x 5, 85% x 5

Wave B. Warmup, 80% x 3, 85% x 3, 90% x 3

Wave C. Warmup, 75% x 5, 85% x 3, 95% x 1

Wave DDeload wave – 60% x 5, 65% x 5, 70% x 5

Wendler’s 5/3/1 Complete Mesocycle Breakdown

Now that we’ve looked at the nuts and bolts of the Wendler’s 5/3/1 powerlifting system, let’s put them together into a structured mesocycle. Please note that the following tables do not include assistance work. The letter (ABCD) following the core workout is the corresponding wave that you will be performing on that training day.

Wendler’s 5/3/1 Mesocycle
3 Days Per Week
Week Monday Wednesday Friday
1 Squat – A Bench Press – A Deadlift – A
2 OH Press – A Squat – B Bench Press – B
3 Deadlift – B OH Press – B Squat – C
4 Bench Press – C Deadlift – C OH Press – C
5 Squat – D Bench Press – D Deadlift – D
6 OH Press – D
Wendler’s 5/3/1 Mesocycle
4 Days Per Week
Week Monday Wednesday Friday Friday
1 Squat – A Bench Press – A Deadlift – A OH Press – A
2 Squat – B Bench Press – B Deadlift – B OH Press – B
3 Squat – C Bench Press – C Deadlift – C OH Press – C
4 Squat – D Bench Press – D Deadlift – D OH Press – D

Exercise Substitution

For each of the 4 workouts (ABCD), you may substitute the primary workout with an appropriate replacement at the start of a new mesocycle. The following are examples of acceptable substitutions:

Assistance Work

How much assistance work you do is up to you. Natural lifters should try to be in and out of the gym in 60 minutes. If you can’t “hit it” in that period of time, you need to take a long, hard look at the rest periods you are taking between assistance work sets. A quote from Jim Wendler on training duration:

“People laugh and call me lazy, while they twit around in their three-hour workout making zero progress. Sometimes, instead of what you do in the weight room, it’s what you don’t do that will lead to success.”

In the Wendler’s 5/3/1 book, the following assistance plans are presented:

  • Boring But Big. Main lift, the main lift again @ 5×10 (50% 1RM), and another accessory exercise for 5 sets.
  • The Triumvirate.  Main lift, and two assistance exercises – 5 sets each.
  • I’m Not Doing Jack Shit.  Main lift, and nothing else.
  • Periodization Bible by Dave Tate.  Main lift, and 3 exercises – 5 x 10-20 reps each.
  • Bodyweight.  Main lift, and 2 bodyweight exercises such as the pull upsit upsdips, etc.

Here are some sample assistance work plans based on your goals.

Strength Builder Assistance Work

From the Wendler 5/3/1 E-Book.

Squat Workout

Bench Press Workout

Deadlift Workout

  • Deadlift: 5 x 8 x 50%
  • Hanging Leg Raises: 5 x 12

Overhead Press Workout

Bodybuilder Assistance Work

From the Wendler 5/3/1 E-Book.

Squat Workout Day – Assistance Option A

Squat Workout Day – Assistance Option B

Bench Press Workout Day – Assistance option A

Bench Press Workout Day – Assistance option B

Deadlift Workout Day – Assistance Option A

  • Chin Up: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Bent Over Dumbbell Row: 4 sets of 15 reps/arm
  • Back Raises: 4 sets of 10 reps (with bar behind neck)
  • Hanging Leg Raises: 4 sets of 15 reps

Deadlift Workout Day – Assistance Option B

  • Lat Pull Down – 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Bent Over Row – 4 sets of 15 reps/arm
  • Reverse Hyperextensions – 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Hanging Leg Raises – 4 sets of 15 reps

Overhead Press Workout Day – Assistance Option A

Overhead Press Workout Day – Assistance Option B

Wendler’s 5/3/1 Notes

One rep max. When you first start Wendler’s 5/3/1, use a realistic one rep max (1RM). It’s better to start a little below your estimated max and work into Wendler’s 5/3/1, then it is to over-estimate your 1RM and waste a mesocycle. Powerlifting is not a sprint – it’s a marathon. Don’t kill yourself out of the gate. Jim Wendler recommends starting at 90% of your 1RM on your first mesocycle.

The last set. Jim Wendler recommends going all out on the last core set each workout. Remember, core work is either squats, bench press, deadlift or overhead press. On this last set, do as many reps as you can with the given weight. Do NOT use this approach for de-load workouts.

Adding weight. After completing each mesocycle, add 5 pounds to your 1RM total for bench press and overhead press, and 10 pounds to your squat and deadlift 1RM, and recalculate your percentages. If you run Wendler’s 5/3/1 for a year, this progression pattern will add 50 pounds to your bench and press, and 100 pounds to your squat and deadlift. Be patient, and stick with the plan!

2 Day Per Week Approach

For those who can hit the gym only twice a week, you can use the following template:

This is a 4 week cycle. Hit the primary, core exercises first, and add in appropriate assistance work. Remember to limit your total workout time to about 60 minutes.

Wendler’s 5/3/1 and Westside Hybrid

Wendler’s 5/3/1 is a very flexible training system. Because of this, the door is wide open to integrate Wendler’s with core/key components of the Westside system.

Some trainees may want to utilize dynamic effort (DE) days from Westside training. How you structure this integration is up to you. Some trainees may be able to do both heavy squats and deadlifts on a single day, and then use the second posterior chain day of that week for dynamic effort (DE) work. Some may choose to do heavy Wendler squats with DE deadlifts, and heavy Wendler deadlifts with DE squats.

Another possible integration between Westside and Wendler’s would be to drop the heavy overhead pressing day, and instead, insert overhead pressing movements on your bench days. This would free up one training day each week for DE bench work.

Sample Westside/Wendler’s 5/3/1 program structure.

  • Monday – Dynamic effort (DE) bench press. Heavier overhead pressing.
  • Tuesday – Wendler’s squat day. Dynamic effort (DE) deadlifts.
  • Thursday – Wendler’s bench press day.
  • Friday – Wendler’s deadlift day. Dynamic effort (DE) squats.

For assistance work, use exercises that address your weaknesses. Please remember that this sample hybrid program is only an example, presented to get you thinking about the possibilities. There are many ways to combine Westside and Wendler’s, and many reasons why someone would want to do so.

When jumping into a hybrid routine, always proceed with caution. Start slow, and work your way into it. Don’t set up the hybrid with too much work. It’s better to get the feel of a hybrid program, and then to add work, then it is to kill yourself and have to pull back on work.

Final Notes

Far too many younger trainees are looking for magic routines and training systems. Wendler’s 5/3/1 powerlifting system is not magic. It works if you work hard, and stick to it. Wendler’s generally needs to be run for multiple cycles, so don’t choose this routine if you’re not willing to stick with it. If you’re a younger lifter, and not sure if you’re ready for a powerlifting routine, consult more experienced lifters on the Muscle & Strength forum.

There are many heated debates about which training system is the best. Remember that the key to success on any program revolves around your drive to succeed.

Morer Push, pull , legs

Monday Legs(3-5 sets each 8-12 reps for all besides olympic lifts)
Squat
Lunges
Leg press
RDLs
Lying Leg curls
10sets 8-10 reps for calves

Tuesday Push 1(same scheme as before)
incline bbell bench
decline dbell bench
dbell or arnold press
incline fly
side lateral raise
tricep pushdown
overhead rope ext or decline skulls

Wednesday Pull 1
Snatches-4×5
weighted pull ups
barbell row
dbell row
bbell curl
preacher curl
rear delt exercise

Thursday rest

Friday Legs 2
power cleans-4×5
front squats
hack squats
dbell rdls
leg curls
10 set 8-10 reps calves

Saturday Push 2
overhead press
close grip bench
incline dbell or machine
flat bench dbell press or fly
tricep pushdown
overhead rope ext or decline skulls

Sunday Pull 2
Deadlift
T-bar rows
lat pulldowns
weighted chin ups
bbell curl
hammer curls
reverse delt exercise

rest a day then repeat

Push/Pull/Legs Split – Strength, Size and Athleticism

Reblogged from: 

BY · OCTOBER 13, 2013

One of the simplest yet rewarding routines out there is the “Push/Pull/Legs” split. It is an easy template mould which harnesses all the required criteria for a full-proof program – balanced time spent on each individual body part/movement and consistent overall training volume. It is also one of the best programs for optimal recovery, which puts it right up there.

The split is based on the idea that your body is essentially split into three parts, in terms of “movements”:

  • Push: Movements that push away from the body e.g. bench press
  • Pull: Movements that move resistance towards the centre of the body e.g. dumbbell rows
  • Legs: Any movement which targets the muscles of the legs.

screenshot20110414at121

As I have said in the past, if your goal is to be athletic, or athletic and aesthetic you should train movements not muscles (http://jt9797.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/movements-not-muscles-program-included/). I favour this split over any other mainstream program for that very reason. By splitting the program up this way it allows the individual to strengthen the basic human movements required for almost all athletic activities, while also delving into the muscle building side of things. It is perfect for athletes who are looking to gain mass, especially in the off season.

Sets and Repetitions

You cannot rely on the movements alone to develop performance and muscle mass simultaneously. To build both athleticism and muscle you must tamper with the sets and repetitions ranges, as well as the exercises (we’ll look into this later). As a general rule of thumb a single session should consist of 4-6 movements (exercises) and 16-24 sets. Here are the ideal sets and repetition ranges you should perform for each exercise:

  1. Primary Exercise: focus on strength/ athletic development = 3-5 Repetitions x 3-6 Sets
  2. Main Assistance: aimed towards improving the primary exercise, again, focused on strength and athletic development with a little muscle building = 5-8 Repetitions x 4-6 Sets.
  3. Compound Mass: aimed to improve upon strength and muscle weaknesses = 6-8 Repetitions x 3-5 Sets.
  4. Mass Assistance: directed towards gaining muscle mass and strength = 8-12 Repetitions x 3-5 Sets.
  5. Mass: solely focused on muscle development and conditioning = 10-15 Repetitions x 3 Sets.
  6. Mass: solely focused on muscle development and conditioning = 10-15 Repetitions x 3 Sets.

As you can see we begin with strength and athletic development exercises that focus on low repetitions and heavy weight which are used to develop strength. These require the most amount of energy and technique; therefore they must be performed at the start of the session. We slowly fade into mass building parameters, focusing on slightly higher repetitions.

Exercise Selection

Exercise selection is easy – on pull day you do pulling exercises, on push day you do pushing exercises, on leg day you do leg exercises. You begin with compound movements and slowly move onto isolation movements.  Here are some exercises you could use:

Days Primary Exercise Main Assistance and Compound Mass Mass Assistance Mass
Push Bench   PressOverhead   PressPush   Press Overhead   PressBench   Press (and any variation e.g. close grip)DipsDumbbell   Bench Press

Incline   Press

Push   ups

Dumbbell   Overhead press (single or double)

Push   Press

Floor   Press

Push   upsDipsCable   fly’sFly’s

Skull   crushers

Pec   Deck

Triceps   PushdownTriceps   ExtensionPush   upsCable   fly’s

Fly’s

Dips

Lateral   raises

Pull DeadliftOlympic LiftsRack-pulls Olympic LiftsRows (any type)Chin upsPull ups

Shrugs

Rack-pulls

Pulldowns

Chin upsPull upsShrugsRow variation   (lighter)

Pulldowns

Straight arm   pushdown

Face pulls

Band-pull aparts

ScarecrowsBand-pull apartsFace pullsCurls (any arm work)
Legs SquatOlympic   LiftsDeadlift Olympic   LiftsBulgarian   Split SquatsHip   TrustsGood   mornings

Stiff-legged   deadlifts

Lunges

Step   ups

Leg   Press

Hack   Squats

Glute-ham

Raise

Box   Squats

Glute-ham   raisesPull-throughSwiss   ball leg curlReverse   hyperextensions

Lunges

Step   ups

Hip   trusts

Leg   press

 

Sled   dragsLeg   extensionsLeg   curlsGlute-ham   raises

Swiss   ball leg curl

Abdominal   work

Pulling It All Together

Why didn’t I just hand you a readymade template for you to follow? I decided to lay out the structure for a reason. Too many trainers hand out generic programs that do not meet the needs of individuals. By giving you the opportunity to pick your own exercises, repetitions, sets and training days you have the chance to make an individually moulded program that will be focused towards your own goals, take responsibility. A personalized program will always out perform a generic one.

I will lay out a ready to go program, but this is only for beginners and people who want to see what the finished product looks like. If you know what your goal is and have a basic knowledge in training, channel your program towards attaining your goal. Pick exercises that strengthen your weak areas and train how you want to train! Here we go:

Push:

  1. Primary Exercises: Bench Press (3-5 Repetitions x 3-6 Sets)
  2. Main Assistance: Dumbbell Incline Bench Press (5-8 Repetitions x 4-6 Sets)
  3. Compound Mass: Dips (6-8 Repetitions x 3-5 Sets)
  4. Mass Assistance: Push-ups (8-12 Repetitions x 3-5 Sets)
  5. Mass: Triceps Extensions ( 10-15 Repetitions x 3 Sets)
  6. Mass: Triceps Pushdowns (10-15 Repetitions x 3 Sets)

Pull:

  1. Primary Exercise: Deadlift (3-5 Repetitions x 3-6 Sets)
  2. Main Assistance: Dumbbell Rows (5-8 Repetitions x 4-6 Sets)
  3. Compound Mass: Chin ups (6-8 Repetitions x 3-5 Sets)
  4. Mass Assistance: Face Pulls (8-12 Repetitions x 3-5 Sets)
  5. Mass: Barbell Curls (10-15 Repetitions x 3 Sets)
  6. Mass: Hammer Curls (10-15 Repetitions x 3 Sets)

Legs:

  1. Primary Exercise: Squat (3-5 Repetitions x 3-6 Sets)
  2. Main Assistance: Stiff-legged Deadlifts (5-8 Repetitions x 4-6 Sets)
  3. Compound Mass: Bulgarian Split Squats (6-8 Repetitions x 3-5 Sets)
  4. Mass Assistance: Leg Press (8-12 Repetitions x 3-5 Sets)
  5. Mass: Glute-ham Raises (10-15 Repetitions x 3 Sets)
  6. Mass: Weighted Abdominal Rollouts (10-15 Repetitions x 3 Sets)

Don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic program but it will never outdo a personalized program.

3 Day a Week vs 4 Days a Week

Push/Pull/Legs can be split into a three or four day a week program:

Day 3 Days a Week 4 Days a Week
Monday Legs Legs
Tuesday Off Push
Wednesday Pull Off
Thursday Off Pull
Friday Push Off
Saturday Off Legs
Sunday Off Off
Monday Legs Push
Tuesday Off Pull
Wednesday Pull Off
Thursday Off Legs
Friday Push Off
Saturday Off Push
Sunday Off Off

Both have their benefits, if your goal is purely strength and size based or you’re going through a bulking phase, you may find the four day a week to be beneficial. However, I personally prefer the 3 day a week program as it gives athletes plenty of time to work on skills needed in their sport, as well as sprinting and other conditioning sessions, while still gaining great amounts of strength and size.

In conclusion, this is a fantastic program for people looking to gain strength and mass. I regularly use this style of program with rugby players and other contact athletes who need to gain muscle mass, while still developing athleticism.

Get PHAT

When it comes to following a program the best thing is to stick with it. Commit for the long haul. Jumping around from program to program is never a good idea because they are designed to be followed to the end. When you jump around it is hard to measure your progress.

That being said , here is a program that some one I am friends with is doing and they tried to get me to do it. But I am taking my own advice. I am working a sweet little 4 day split designed for hypertrophy and I am doing well. When I get done with it I will see but until then I am stick with it. But this program looks fun and I think one day I will try it. So I am posting it here so I have it in my little internet scrap book of a blog for the future. If any readers decide to jump on this program then come back on here and keep us posted, I would be really interested as I am sure others would be too.

P.H.A.T. Training: A Look At Layne Norton’s Workout System

Author: Alex Borja B.S. SPT, HFS

The P.H.A.T. program or “Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training” program is unique in that it involves the combination of powerlifting and bodybuilding training. If you are new to the scene, powerlifters are often regarded as using lower reps and higher weight in their workouts to mostly gain strength whereas bodybuilders strive for mass using a higher rep and less weight approach in comparison to powerlifters.

So who is Layne Norton?

P.H.A.T. Training: Layne Norton's Workout System

Well if you haven’t heard of him by now I will explain. Layne Norton is a professional natural bodybuilder, powerlifter, and writer. Oh, and did I mention he has his Ph D? He is very experienced in the fitness industry and sought after highly for his articles and thoughts. So Layne Norton is highly qualified to introduce his newest training system: P.H.A.T. training.

Why P.H.A.T.?

Well you can pretty much use common sense when thinking of the possible outcomes from using both powerlifting and bodybuilding approaches to training – at the same time!

Typically when one is training for strength, he will inevitably need to gain mass once he hits a wall. That is just fact. He will someday reach a plateau where he can no longer get any stronger without adding some more muscle to help with the motion. The opposite holds true to: the bodybuilder will evenetually need more strength to add more mass to his body. P.H.A.T. hopes to aid with this…

So in conclusion: Strength and Mass are directly proportional. (To a degree)

So one can draw the conclusion that putting the two types of training together, for mass and for strength, the outcomes can be very impressive. Does P.H.A.T. really work? Can we really train for strength and mass within the same week to boost our overall results and accelerate to new heights we never thought possible? There’s only one way to find out.

Note:

This is a very intense, volume heavy program that is meant to push you to your limits. No person has achieved more than they were able to by not pushing themselves to places where they thought they couldn’t reach. Having said this, P.H.A.T. training can be highly demanding and as such you should always distinguish real pain to “training pain”. If you feel yourself taking it too far, back off for a day or two. An injury can set you back months to years while knowing your limits will set you back a few days. Train hard but train smart.

PHAT Training Overview:

Day 1: Upper Body Power
Day 2: Lower Body Power
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Back and Shoulders Hypertrophy
Day 5: Lower Body Hypertrophy
Day 6: Chest and Arms Hypertrophy
Day 7: Rest

Day 1: Upper Body Power Day

  • Pulling Power Movement: Bent over or Pendlay rows
    3 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Assistance Pulling movement: Weighted Pull ups
    2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Auxiliary Pulling movement: Rack chins
    2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Pressing Power Movement: Flat dumbbell presses
    3 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Assistance pressing movement: Weighted dips
    2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Assistance pressing movement: Seated dumbbell shoulder presses
    3 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Auxiliary curling movement: Cambered bar curls
    3 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Auxiliary extension movement: Skull crushers
    3 sets of 6-10 reps

Day 2: Lower Body Power Day

  • Pressing Power Movement: Squats
    3 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Assistance pressing movement: Hack Squats
    2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Assistance extension movement: Leg extensions
    2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Assistance pulling movement: Stiff legged deadlifts
    3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Assistance pulling/curling movement: Glute ham raises or lying leg curls
    2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Auxiliary calf movement: Standing calf raise
    3 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Auxiliary calf movement: Seated calf raise
    2 sets of 6-10 reps

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Back and Shoulders Hypertrophy Day

  • Pulling Power Exercise speed work: Bent over or Pendlay rows
    6 sets of 3 reps with 65-70% of normal 3-5 rep max
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Rack chins
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Seated cable row
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Dumbbell rows or shrugs bracing upper body against an incline bench
    2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Close grip pulldowns
    2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy shoulder movement: Seated dumbbell presses
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy shoulder movement: Upright rows
    2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy shoulder movement: Side lateral raises with dumbbells or cables
    3 sets of 12-20 reps

Day 5: Lower Body Hypertrophy Day

  • Lower Body Power Exercise speed work: Squats
    6 sets of 3 reps with 65-70% of normal 3-5 rep max
  • Hypertrophy pressing movement: Hack squats
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pressing movement: Leg presses
    2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy extension movement: Leg extensions
    3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Romanian deadlifts
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling movement: Lying leg curls
    2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling movement: Seated leg curls
    2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy calf movement: Donkey calf raises
    4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy calf movement: Seated calf raises
    3 sets of 15-20 reps

Day 6: Chest and Arms Hypertrophy Day

  • Pressing Power Exercise speed work:
  • Flat dumbbell presses
    6 sets of 3 reps with 65-70% of normal 3-5 rep max
  • Hypertrophy pressing movement: Incline dumbbell presses
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pressing movement: Hammer strength chest press
    3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy fly movement: Incline cable flyes
    2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling exercise: Cambered bar preacher curls
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling exercise: Dumbbell concentration curls
    2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling exercise: Spider curls bracing upper body against an incline bench
    2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy extension exercise: Seated tricep extension with cambered bar
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy extension exercise: Cable pressdowns with rope attachment
    2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy extension exercise: Cable kickbacks
    2 sets of 15-20 reps

Also: See Layne Norton’s Interview with Directlyfitness.com!

Author:

Alex Borja B.S. SPT, HFS

References:

http://forums.rxmuscle.com/

Consider this workout

A;
Squats (olympic style)
SLD
Flat BP
Rows
Military Press

B;
Squatting, while keeping the barbell locked out overhead
Deadlift (normal one)
Incline BP
Chin-ups
Dips

The squatting like in workout B, forces you to use much lighter weights, it’s heavy and hard. You need to stabilize your whole body, and shows you why you need a strong core!!!!
I use the heavy weights on the deadlifts in workout B, and in the olympic squats in workout A (lower weight when doing the SLD)…

You could add some core work (crunches + hypers), one bicep curl exercise for your girl and maybe calf raises if your calves are lacking…

Rotate the workouts;

Week 1; Monday A, Wednesday B, Friday A.
Week 2; Monday B, Wednesday A, Friday B.

Wave volume training.

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WAVED VOLUME
Many people do great on volume routines. Many have never been able to get volume to work for them in the least. By waving the volume you can get a volume responder to do MUCH better both in terms of size, and strength. And can very often get guys that have NEVER been able to make gains using volume do extremely well. This is only one of an endless number of possible variations, and one that is not the best wave for guys with poor recovery ability. For guys with less than good recovery more weeks should be spent on lower volume and the ramp up should be fairly steep, and only held a few weeks. If you are creative you can do a lot with this system and get size gains you were never able to get on lower volume in some cases. I could post 10 sub-styles. But you probably get the basic idea. The wave loading can be peaked, and dropped back down immediately, or waved back down slowly. Waving it back down slowly is best done with a shorter, steeper duration ramp.

Waved Volume
WEEK 1-2
Day one Sets Reps
Bench Press 2 sets 8 reps
Low Incline Dumbbell Press (15-30 degree) 2 sets 8 reps
Dips 2 sets 10 reps
Lateral Raises 2 sets 12 reps

Day Two
Overhand Grip Pull-Down/pull-up 2 sets 8 reps
Chest Supported Row, or Cable Row 2 sets 8 reps
Dumbbell Curl 2 sets 8 reps
Grip Work Your Choice 2 sets 10 reps

Day Three
Rack Deadlifts 2 sets 6-12 reps
Leg Press 2 sets 15 reps
Resistance Abs 2 sets 10 reps
Leg Press Calves 2 sets 10/15, 15/30 reps

WEEK 3-4
Day one Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 sets 8 reps
Low Incline Dumbbell Press (15-30 degree) 3 sets 8 reps
Dips 3 sets 8 reps
Lateral Raises 3 sets 8 reps

Day Two
Overhand Grip Pull-Down/pull-up 3 sets 8 reps
Chest Supported Row, or Cable Row 3 sets 8 reps
Dumbbell Curl 3 sets 8 reps
Grip Work Your Choice 3 sets 12 reps

Day Three
Rack Deadlifts 2 sets 6-12 reps
Leg Press 2 sets 15 reps
Resistance Abs 2 sets 10 reps
Leg Press Calves 2 sets 10/15, 15/30 reps

WEEK 5-6
Day one Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 sets 8 reps
Low Incline Dumbbell Press (15-30 degree) 3 sets 8 reps
Fly 3 sets 10 reps
Dumbell Overhead Press 3 sets 8 reps
Lateral Raises 4 sets 8 reps
Skull Crushers 3 sets 8 reps
Tricep Extensions 3 sets 8 reps

Day Two
Overhand Grip Pull-Down/pull-up 3 sets 8 reps
Supinated Grip Pull-Down/pull-up 3 sets 8 reps
Chest Supported Row, or Cable Row 3 sets 8 reps
Barbell Curl 2 sets 8 reps
Dumbbell Curl 2 sets 8 reps
Grip Work Your Choice 4 sets 12 reps

Day Three
Rack Deadlifts 2 sets 6-12 reps
Squats 2 sets 6-12 reps
Leg Press 2 sets 15 reps
Resistance Abs 2 sets 10 reps
Leg Press Calves 2 sets 10/15, 15/30 reps

WEEK 7-8
Day one Sets Reps
Bench Press 4 sets 8 reps
Low Incline Dumbbell Press (15-30 degree) 4 sets 8 reps
Fly 4 sets 10 reps
Dumbbell Overhead Press 4 sets 8 reps
Lateral Raises 4 sets 8 reps
Skull Crushers 4 sets 8 reps
Tricep Extensions 4 sets 8 reps

Day Two
Overhand Grip Pull-Down/pull-up 4 sets 8 reps
Supinated Grip Pull-Down/pull-up 4 sets 8 reps
Chest Supported Row, or Cable Row 4 sets 8 reps
Barbell Curl 4 sets 8 reps
Dumbbell Curl 3 sets 8 reps
Grip Work Your Choice 4 sets 12 reps

Day Three
Rack Deadlifts 2 sets 6-12 reps
Squats 3 sets 6-12 reps
Leg Press 2 sets 15 reps
Resistance Abs 2 sets 10 reps
Leg Press Calves 3 sets 10/15, 15/30

There are many variations on all these themes and one can truly most any trainee if modified for the individual.

Good luck and good training!

A look at Rippetoe’s program

Write up for Rippetoe’s program

 

 

Well ever since I’ve been running this blog I’ve enjoyed helping beginners out just like I was helped out when I began lifting. I have discussed a few starter programs such as Stronglifts 5 x 5 but never the program which is older and was actually the catalyst for all other programs like Stronglifts & Madcow. I decided to write up an extremely detailed layout of it. It’s called Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength Routine:

*note the dip/chin isnt in the original program

Here is a routine from Mark Rippetoe’s book called “Starting Strength”. You can buy the book at www.startingstrength.com. It includes endless useful info that all beginners should learn. But as for the program he suggests, his clients that he gives it to on AVERAGE gain 30-40 pounds in about 6 months or so which is amazing gains.

The program is as follows:

You alternate Workout A and Workout B every other day, 3 times a week. So you could either do Mon, Wed, Fri or Tues, Thurs. and Sat. Depending on what works best for you.

Example:

Week 1:

Monday – Workout A
Wednesday -Workout B
Friday – Workout A

Week 2:

Monday – Workout B
Wednesday – Workout A
Friday – Workout B

Etc.

For the actual workouts read below:

Note: This doesn’t include warm-up sets

**Means this is OPTIONAL**

Workout A (sets x reps)
3×5 Squat
3×5 Bench Press
1×5 Deadlift
**2×8 Dips (if you cant do these or no assist machine then do Decline Dumbbell Bench Press with your hands Facing each other)

Workout B
3×5 Squat
3×5 Standing military press
3×5 Pendlay or Bent Rows (or power cleans)
**2×8 Chin-ups (recommended mainly if doing the cleans)

Assistance work:

Most people cant get it through there head that compound lifts also work your arms plenty and always insist on direct arm work. As quoted by Madcow, “Don’t fuck with this. Every bodybuilder seems to have Attention Deficit Disorder and an overwhelming desire to customize everything.” If you are one of these people note that you have the option of doing the dips and chins which give PLENTY of arm work. Abdominal work is fine to do also if needed.

I recommend weighted decline sit-ups and/or Hanging Leg Raises at 2×8-10.

Weight:

As for the weight, make sure that you use the SAME weight throughout the sets. For example if I do the first set of Squats with 200lbs then I do the other 2 sets of squats with 200lbs.

Every week make it a goal to increase each of your lifts by 2.5%. Meaning if I lifted 100lbs for my Bench Week 1 then Week 2 I would try for 102.5lbs. If I did 200lb Squats Week 1 I would try for 205lbs in Week 2. Sometimes you will be able to do more but don’t mess with your form just to lift more.

Warm-up Sets:

Before all your working sets it is best to do a few warm-up sets. Specifically for your first lift. You don’t have to do the whole thing for the other lifts but definitely the first.

What you do is you ramp your weight up to your working sets.

For example:

2x5xbar (sets x reps x weight)
1x5x85
1x3x125
1x2x155

And the working set weight would be 175.

If you are lifting your working sets under 150 I would cut out the 3rd warmup set of 1×5 because it wont be needed.

The Lifts:

**Used some references and quotes from Madcow.**

Barbell Squat: These should be full range Olympic style squats. Use the full range of your body – that means as low as you can go which for almost everyone is past parallel. If the top of your thighs aren’t at least parallel it’s for sh!t. If you think this is bad for your knees going low, you and whoever told you that are relying on an old wives tale. Anyone who knows the human body will tell you that below parallel is MUCH safer on the knees whereas parallel and above put all the sheer right on them and doesn’t allow proper transfer of the load to the rest of your body (this is how your body was designed).

Rest a barbell on the upper portion of your back, not your neck. Firmly grip the bar with your hands almost twice your shoulder width apart. Position your feet about shoulder width apart and your toes should be pointing just a little outward with your knees in the same direction. Keep your back as straight as possible and your chin up, bend your knees and slowly lower your hips straight down until your THIGHS ARE AT LEAST PARALLEL TO THE FLOOR. Once you reach the bottom position, press the weight up back to the starting position.

Video: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/2003/barbellsquat.wvx

To be honest ATG (Ass to the Grass) squats work the best IMO. What you do is you go ALL the way down until your hamstrings touch your calves and keep the same Olympic squat form.

Barbell Deadlift: Each rep is deweighted fully on the floor. No touch and go. This is called the ‘dead’lift because the weight is ‘dead’ on the ground. You can touch and go warm ups but that’s it.

This is a very complicated exercise so here is bodybuilding.com’s detailed instructions on this lift.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer…rbell+Deadlift

Video: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/2003…ontofknees.wvx

Flat Barbell Bench Press: Lie on a flat bench and firmly position your feet flat on the floor a little more than shoulder width apart. Keep your back flat on the bench! Using a grip broader than shoulder width, hold the barbell above your body, then lower slowly to the middle of your chest. Without bouncing the weight off your chest, drive the barbell up over the middle of your chest until your arms are straight and your elbows are locked. Lower the bar down slowly.

Video: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/2003…essideview.wvx

Standing Barbell Military Press: Standing overhead presses. Supporting weight overhead is a fundamental exercise and stimulates the whole body.
Raise barbell to your chest with your hands shoulder width apart. Lock your legs and hips. Keep your elbows in, slightly under your bar. Press bar to arm’s length overhead. Lower to your upper chest or chin (depending on what is comfortable).

Bent Barbell Row: Raise barbell to your chest with your hands shoulder width apart. Lock your legs and hips. Keep your elbows in, slightly under your bar. Press bar to arm’s length overhead. Lower to your upper chest or chin (depending on what is comfortable).

Video: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/2003…barbellrow.wvx

You could also do Pendlay Rows which IMO are also better. This illustration below is a great demonstration for them.
http://www.forum.bodybuilding.com/at…7&d=1140759947

Power Clean: This is also a very complicated exercise so here is bodybuilding.com’s detailed instructions on this lift.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer…me=Power+Clean

Video: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/vide…powerclean.wvx

Chin-Up: Hold the chin-up bar with a supinated grip (palms facing you) with your hands about 6 to 8 inches apart. Pull yourself up and try to touch either your chin or upper chest to the bar. Return slowly to the starting position. Do NOT swing back and forth! Using this grip works more of your biceps than your back or lats.

Video: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/videos/2006/chinup.wvx

Dip: Using the parallel bars, grip the handles and push yourself up to your starting position. With elbows close to body and hips straight, lower body until shoulders are slightly stretched. Push body up in same posture and repeat. You can bend and cross your legs or keep them straight.

Video: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/vide…estversion.wvx

The Diet:

If you are bulking, which is what people usually do on this program, you need to be eating like there is no tomorrow. 3000-4000 calories a day. Make sure you get 1 to 2 x your bodyweight in protein (in grams) and more than that in carbs. Mark Rippetoe also suggests that you drink up to a gallon of milk a day and plenty of water.

Your bulk could be clean but its hard to do so. I suggest just going all out and getting any protein you can get your hands on. For example lean grilled chicken and egg whites is best but if you want to gain that muscle fast then ground beef, steaks, whole eggs, cheeses etc is great. Eat a lot of oats, pasta, wheat bread, yogurt, cottage cheese, tuna, etc.

Make sure you get a huge breakfast. Mark recommends 4 huge meals a day with breakfast being the largest. Make sure all your meals have plenty of both carbs and protein! Also look into getting a PWO shake for post workout to get some carbs DIRECTLY into your system when your done lifting. Then an hour later eat a meal. Its also good to eat a snack before bed. Just remember to get big you need to eat big because eating is 90% of your muscle gains.

Good luck and above all have FUN!