Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Making the Most of What You Have Available... no excuses

My gym is small compared to the more-visited Johnson center on UK's campus. Don't get me wrong, you can squat, bench, deadlift (we even have some bumpers!), get your cardio in on a machine or we have a sled, a full line of pin-select machines, core room, group fitness room, etc.


Our dumbbells only go up to 95lbs... which for a seasoned lifter, could make you train elsewhere. I have adapted my training to only use barbell lifts first and use 1-arm dumbbell or higher rep sets with the 95lbs. Today that just didn't cut it. I did the following on flat bench as my first exercise:
315 5,4,3,3

then 225 for 16 reps for fun
you can check out my full workout at straighttothebar.com or on my tmuscle training log

My next exercise was DB incline.... but I am left with doing higher rep sets with the 95lbs.... so I ended up stealing this blurted out idea from Andrew Lewis (current training partner/make huge project) and threw one 5lb mini chain on each dumbbell, to make them both 100lbs, shown below.

Which I had to hold like a fat bar and produced hands looking like the following:I got them for two sets of six after hitting just the 95's for two sets of six... so next week I will just train with these for my second exercise.

My point being... make the most of what you have, add something crazy to the DB's if they aren't heavy enough, get stronger, and beat your hands up.

If we can't get new, heavier dumbbells due to university budget issues, at least I can borrow my buddy Seth's ipod...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Training partners... is there a magic number?

I have trained solo and been in training packs groups up to four meatheads. I have some thoughts to bounce around in your head when you start training and people want to piggy-back on to your routine.

If you have that one guy that helps you stay motivated and focused on the task at hand, can spot correctly, and has a rough guesstimate of what weight you use on everything... get him to marry your sister and keep him around. Those are incredibly hard to find. If you have said fellow, adding too many others can water down your workouts. You get talkitive tim going on about the weekend and how bad his life sucks. You glance up at the clock and just your three-man rotation has been in the gym for 2 1/2 hours and you are only half done.

You have to keep the pace moving. If you have a newb that needs more one-on-one instruction about just learning the lifts, point him out to a good source like Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore or the latest NSCA Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning book. If you have time to invest in him/her, then pull them aside at a non-training time so you can focus on perfecting their form.

Training solo can blow on any pressing and/or leg day. If you need a spotter, you need a training partner. Trying for the lottery on spotters usually gives you the guy who touches the bar through your entire range of motion or the guy who lets you die and just screams,"YOU GOT IT! YOU GOT IT! PUSH!!!!" while you die under the weight. Both of these can be extremely frustrating and leave your record of reps completely inaccurate. You also wonder, well, how much did GUY help me? Can I really bench 315 for 10 reps with him and only 205 by myself?

Read as much info as you can from knowledgeable people and focus on perfecting your own form. Your strength will increase over time and you will have gym rat experience. Sometimes you will come across times to share your knowledge and people will probably want to jump in on your training days. Figure out how much time you can spend in the gym and how many people you like having in your training posse.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Split = better me

Being stronger makes you a better person. You can help more friends move, spot more people, help carry some one out of a burning building... you get the picture.

I have tweaked my split several times, as any one should. At the end of last summer, I had my best 1RM bench PR (370lbs), yet I was noticing some pressure building in my shoulder on any press day. With that in mind I went to 1 chest and shoulder day (alternated emphasized movement), 1 leg day, and two back days for my four day split.

I assumed building some more back strength and stretching my chest and shoulder muscles more regularly would help balance the pull forward on my shoulders.

After five weeks of doing back twice a week, I took out a back day and added in a separate shoulder day with some more legs. I am pressure and pain free in my shoulder and am benching 10 more pounds than I was working out with last summer.

A couple people have asked me what my current split looks like. After some more tweaking, this is my NEW split that just started last Monday:

Monday: deadlift, back, and bicep

Tuesday: Olympic lifts focusing on explosion, sled pushes and pull, and later in the day Chest, tricep, and some straight arm shoulders

Wednesday: LEGS

Thursday: Back and biceps- steady-state cardio

Friday: Shoulders, traps, triceps, and a fly movement + steady state cardio

I am always seeking improvement.

Stay focused on goals, change up your workout

Already people are dropping off the New Year's resolution and spring break workout bandwagon. People's enthusiasm is starting to get drained by "life" excuses.

"It's too cold to walk to the gym"
"Spring break isn't until march 15"
"I have classes and tests"

I understand you are busy, I was just in graduate school last year. But people front these excuses yet forget to mention that they watched three hours of tv that day or messed around on facebook, youtube, or message boards for that amount of time.

Where do your priorities lie? Maybe you think of working out as a chore instead of an opportunity to get yourself in better shape, both asthetically and for health reasons. People don't see it as an investment in the only thing you will own your entire life... your body.

Maybe your workouts are getting dull with monotonous machine work and boring treadmill/elliptical/stairmaster minutes.

Try this barbell complex for something different, do each exercise ten times and repeat the complex four times with one minute rest in between sets:
Bent over row
Hang clean
Push press
Lockout of the jerk- alternating which leg is snapped back
Good mornings

Start with a light weight until you are sure you are a beast.
Chisel your masterpiece.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Deadlift and back- 2.8.10

A day late... no big deal. Keep moving up in deadlift, hoping to be in 500's by summer.

135 1x10
225 1x6
315 1x6
405 1x3

455 4x3

1x5 + 1 chinup- I can still do chinups after my pullups die so I finished the last set with 1

DB Row
95lbs DB + 40lbs in chains 2x6
left arm started lagging so dropped a chain
95lbs DB + 20lbs in chains 2x6


Underhand Pulldowns
220 1x7
215 1x7

Low cable rope curl
100 1x15
110 1x15

Alternating Supinated DB curl
30's 2x15

Hercules (high cable) curls 1x15

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lift heavy stuff and surround yourself with knowledge

Getting ahead in this field is a lot about who you know, who you talk to, and, most importantly, who you listen to... In any given day I will have looked at videos and articles from Elite FTS, read about the happenings at Cressey performance with Eric Cressey and Tony Gentilcore, see what crazy conditioning chase karnes is doing in Paducah, talked with Luke Beggs at the Underground (PhD candidate in exercise physiology), text Chance Cianciola about a specific exercise succession, read up on Testosterone Muscle about some of the latest vomit-inducing exercise combinations, and seen what life tips Nate Green has for guys everywhere.

I know that my knowledge base has to constantly be growing so I can know how to train myself and clients to get another step along in the progression. I have been experimenting with my deadlift form and hitting it on a weekly basis and have seen it pay huge dividends already, jumping 30 pounds in three weeks. I also have been doing a more concetrated dynamic warm-up pre-leg days.

I am constantly pulling from a multitude of sources to get ahead of where I was yesterday. I have a pretty solid idea of how full of crap somebody is about three sentences into the description of their program and why it looks like it does. This trait is absolutely necessary in fitness, health and wellness, and recreation. Anybody can look the part to an extent, but do they put their muscles where their mouths are and go lift with you? Or do they complain about hitting their genetic cieling at 145lbs at 25% body fat???

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2-a-days??? YOU CRAZY?!

Morning Workout- completed with Nic Norwood

5 minute jog on treadmill (no incline, 6.5mph)

snatch - using 25lbs as "big plate" so I have to explode from lower to the ground. This should help with my hip mobility and assist on deadlift days in getting into the starting position

85 x3

135 3x5

Clean- really focusing on a good catch

135 3x5

after the last set of 5 reps I did 5 reps of hang clean. The weight isn't difficult, but I don't want to increase the weight too soon and just go back to "muscle-ing" up the weight. I am currently focusing on form.

Treadmill interval

Speed Incline Time
3.0 15% 3 min
6.5 8% 1 1/2 min
9.0 3% 45 seconds

After that round, I changed the middle section time interval to 45 secs and the last section to 9.5mph and 0% for the second and third rounds.

*Wait 2 hours- I made sure to get 64oz of water, two apples, a multi-vitamin, a can of green beans, and some protein in before my resistance training*
RT done with Andrew Lewis

Barbell Flat Bench
235x 6
285x 3
315 5,4,3,3 ---> move'n along, got a couple more reps than last week. the last was going well until my left hammy cramped


DB Incline bench
95's 8,8,8, then 8 & rested for 20 seconds and got 0, haha . so i knocked out 9 wide pushups

Superset: Seated DB lateral raises and tricep rope pushdowns

DB lateral raises
30's x10
35's 8,8,8

Tricep rope p/d
150 2x15
140 2x15

Seated upward cable flies
80's x12
85's 1x10,12

Close grip bench
185 x12
225 x 7, 5
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