Intensity for immensity - Sickness for Thickness - sizeBIGGER!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Saturday morning quickies

On Saturday, I get to sleep a little longer than during the week, have my 2 cups of coffee, then into the shower for a TBS (total body shave); it takes about 20 minutes, including my head. I grab a Carbo Force with 2 scoops of whey for before the workout and a weight gainer drink with 1 scoop added whey to make it 50 grams of protein, for after, then out the door off to the gym. Today’s going to be deadlifts, hamstrings, calves and triceps.

Deadlifts were on my mind for a few days now, having torn my left hamstring last week doing waking lunges, I missed a deadlifting last Saturday, so I was really anxious to pull and pull big.

I started on the stairs to put blood in my legs; 4 minutes on level 15 did the trick. 5 plates was on my mind. I Started with 1 plate for 5 times, real slow and correct, as if it were heavy, then 2 plates for 5 reps, then 3 for 5 reps, then 4 for 1, 5 for 1, then ending back down with 4 plates for 5 reps. Man what a leg pump, especially my ass, hams and inner thighs, just where I need it. “Deadlifts where have you been all my life”

Pull 2 more plates off, leaving 2 on each side, then right into stiff legged deadlifts for 4 sets. These are so nice when done second to deadlifts. Then lying down legs curls, alternating from left to right as if I were doing one arm dumbbell curls. I like doing them this way on occasion because this really help isolate your hams making sure they get worked evenly. At this point my hams are so pumped, they are taking on a new life back there. End my leg damage with calves, starting on the standing calf machine, going from a full hang down stretch, to a full-on tippy toes contraction, you can’t go as heavy, but I like to do these once in a while, to really get that full range pump, finishing with 4 sets of seated raises

My buddy Chris Pappas was around and I don’t always have the opportunity to chat with him, so I worked my triceps around him, so we could talk in between sets; Pushdowns start the triceps damage for today with 5 sets. Then I like to grab a short straight bar holding it behind my head with one hand, so the bar is straight up and down hanging behind me. I’ll do over head triceps extensions, going from arm to arm for 3 sets in a row before resting, rep range goes from 10 to 8 to 6; I’ll do this 3 times, then off to the bench for skull crushers for 4 sets and the damage was done for today.

Ended on a bench chatting with my buddy, causing him to lose his pump (SMILE)

The breakdown;
6 sets Dead Lifts
4 sets Stiff legs
4 sets lying leg curls
5 sets standing calf raises
4 sets seated calves raises
5 sets triceps pushdowns
4 sets head over triceps extensions
4 sets skull crushers
20 minutes good conversation with buddy….priceless

Saturday morning quickies got to love them…

Time for a protein drink!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Salt Water Carbs

Muscular Development Magazine conclusion part 3 “The final week contest preparation”.

We previously discussed about water and how cutting your water out before a contest seems kind of ridiculous and counterproductive, because if you are carbing up the last few days, cutting back on your water doesn’t do any good since the carbs need the water to fill you out.

Also the fact, that you can’t reduce water on the muscle (under the skin) without reducing water in the muscle (giving you fullness). This is your water balance that maintains a 70/30 ratio of water held in and on the muscle that doesn’t accept variation and immediately adjusts to keep the balance, so if you reduce water on the muscle you will reduce water in the muscle, causing you to become flat.

We previously discussed about salt and how it helps the carbs absorb the water and going zero sodium can make you flat and hold water under the skin. Your kidneys regulate the water excretion: the more sodium you take in the more water gets excreted and the less sodium you take in, the less water excretion etc., so why bother zeroing sodium out!

The bottom line is… get SHREDDED! If two weeks out you look incredible, then don’t change a thing, but if you do not have cross striations in your ass muscles, there is no magic trick that’s going to make them come in on the day of the show.

I’m off to LA with my cousin February 4th to the 8th to visit a friend and of course we are going to Muscle Beach to train! When I come back, it will be 12 weeks out from the Jay Cutler classic on May 2nd and though I’m not too fat, I’m going to start preparing for the show.

For the first 4 weeks, the plan is just eat what I eating now, which is pretty clean, but stop over eating, drinking alcohol and add 30 minutes of the Stairmaster at the end of my workouts and I will see where I am come 8 weeks out and make adjustment to my diet then if need be…

Normally starting a diet, I would cut out my sugars and just run off of complex carbs such as rice, potatoes and pasta, but I think for the first 4 weeks, I’m going to keep taking in the Weight Gainer drink I take, which has sugar.

I want to see what happens by just stopping drinking and over eating and adding cardio. I bet just by adding cardio and cleaning up my eating habits I can get ripped.

That’s my plan for now…

Time for a protein drink

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ham and Leggs for breakfast

Saturday morning is my Favorite time to work out, my energy is high and if I was good to myself the night before (not too much alcohol) I will have an incredible workout.

As mentioned in earlier posts, I decide to do hamstrings twice a week, once on Tuesday, legs day and the second time on Saturday starting with dead-lifts.

Let me tell you about dead-lifts, if done correctly you whole body gets worked and boy does the movement really hit your legs, your hams and glutes really take on a nice pump.

The other day while training legs, while doing lunges, my training partner told me that he could notice my hamstrings have grown, he could see a difference in the back of my legs while I was lunging.

Of course that made my night, I knew my legs have grown especially in the hams section, but to hear someone else tell me, well… you know what I mean…

I’d have to contribute this growth to the dead-lifts I am doing and doing correctly, not involving so much lower back, but really driving my hips up and forward, rather than making a circle with the bars as I come up

After 5 or 6 sets of DL, I move on to stiff legged dead-lifts to really open up the back of my legs, this give my hams a nice stretch and helps pop them out, from there I’m onto a leg curl machine, one that I didn’t do on Tuesday, and ending off at the calf machine. I like to hit calves when I training my hams, this really polishes the back of your legs off.

The only muscles that weren't hit directly during the week that still need to be worked out are triceps, and I always mix them up, the most important thing to remember about triceps is hitting all three angles. What I mean by that is the position of your elbows.

Elbow or should I say your arm over your head, I believe they called this a French curl years ago, that’s what I refer to as a full stretch, then you have your elbow at mid range, where your elbow is half way between over your head and beside your torso, like doing lying down extensions or skull crushers as some call it and lastly is full contraction where your elbow is by your torso and you are able to fully squeeze your triceps, like on a cable push down, or a dip… again I like to mix these up and start with different angles, depending on how I feel.

That’s my Saturday morning breakfast: Hamstrings, Calves and Triceps

Time for a protein drink!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back to Shoulders

This is one of my favorite combinations. Through the 15 combined years of lifting weight I’ve done many routines, from one muscle a day, 7 days a week, to 3 on 1 off, hitting everything twice a week and to push-pull combinations. Back and Shoulders together was always one of my favorites, the combination really gives you a nice total body pump and helps shape you too.

Recently I’ve been hitting this workout as follows

I start with wide grip machine pull downs or pull ups/chin ups, followed by a mass builder, the bent-over row, or sometimes something equivalent to the bent over roll on a machine.

The 3rd exercise is always the close grip low row or one arm rows or close grip t-bar rows, something the really hits the lower lat, followed by a reverse pull down or a close grip pull down and sometimes I like to end it with pullovers, straight bar off the end of a bench, because this really opens up the rib cage and hits the front part of the lats up high near your armpit

After a few seconds rest, it time for front presses sitting down on the free weight shoulder press rack or sometimes standing or on a machine or dumbbells

Doing shoulders while having a back pump is really nice, because your lats are so filled with blood you get this cushion on the back of your arms when you lower the bar down and this gives you a kind of spring to push off of when you’re driving the bar back up, you can really pump out some reps and boy do your shoulders feel good and the blood rushing into them happens pretty fast.

If I’m to doing uprights, then they would be next, I like to get the compound movements out of the way first before doing isolation movements, if not, then side laterals either free weights or the machine, I like them both, followed by rear laterals either free or machine or even one arm cables.

It all depends on how I feel that day and sometimes I feel the need to do some front dumbbell raises to end it all, then it’s off to shrugs either real heavy with a straight bar or dumbbells a little lighter concentrating on the contractions, I usually switch off every other workout.

4 sets of stomach crunches on a bench, ends the fun

Time for a protein drink!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Just another leg’s day

As always I warm up my legs with some form of isometrics, holding a flex/pose and squeezing a muscle contraction, forcing a blood pump.

Since the leg damage is going to start with squats, I used the squat rack to warm up my hamstrings by holding my foot behind me, pressing on the side of the rack, as I would a wall, squeezing my hams and filling up my legs with blood. In between those, I’ll a squat stretch, where I’ll squat down pressing my arms in between my legs pushing them open and really stretching the groin, this helps get your legs prepare to squat. After about 10 minutes of this, I’m ready to start

135 for the first set and for me the first set, sets the bar for the rest. I need to get a nice blood pump going right away for the heavier sets do not kill me. Correct form is key, making sure my hip joint passes my knee joint when traveling down, making sure my shoulder blades are squeezed tight and my chest is up, making sure I’m sitting and push on my heels more than my toes, making sure that when I’m pushing, my knees move out instead of in and that they point in the direction of my feet and that I bring my hips up and forward when I’m driving the squat up, always keeping the tension on my qlutes.

185 for the second set, again not counting the reps and just doing them until my legs feel right, then onto 225 again not counting, then to 275, then to 315 and back down to 225 to end. I always like to do a lighter set at the end to try and get even more blood into my legs and I find doing a lighter set at the end does that for me.

I don’t ever really count my reps, I tend to go by feel, I look for a certain pump/burn and when I reach that end, I’ll push for more until I absolutely can’t do another, this has always worked best for me.

For me, when I used to shoot for a specific number of reps, I felt that was where I would stop and I didn’t want to stop until I couldn’t do anymore, not at some number I put in my head

From there I went to legs presses (I rotate between hacks and presses). I started with 5 plates on each side and did as many as I could. I worked my way up to 10 plates each side and I could have gone heavier but, I was adding one plate at a time and had already done 6 sets. Some days I’ll add 2 plates each side at a time and get to 12 or 13 a side and this also depends on what press machine I use, some only fit 10 plates a side.

At this point my quads were pretty trashed, so I moved onto leg extensions for 5 sets, to try as squeeze some more blood into them and also try to get some feeling back. They become so pumped I can’t feel them enough to contract them.

Next came lying down leg curls for 5 sets followed by that ass movement I like to do, off the same machine I’m doing the legs curls on, for 3 sets.

Standing calf raises today followed by seated 5 sets each and that’s all she wrote for today.

I only did 1 exercise of isolated hamstring curls, because I’ve added dead lifts on Saturday which I’ll turn into another ham workout, where I’ll do more isolated hamstring curls along with stiff legged dead lifts. So I’m hitting my hams twice a week

This was kind of a light day of training, in term of the amount of exercises, but I got the job done and as I’m writing 3 days later, my legs are trashed!

Time for a protein drink!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Flexing and holding poses

We all know the importance of stretching, but do not forget about flexing and holding poses.

Flexing and holding poses not only helps to shape your muscles, but they also help you develop muscle control and this is important in muscle development. As I’ve said before, the more muscle you can flex (control), the more muscle you will have.

Squeezing and flexing muscles help you get in touch with them. Helping your mind control the muscle better will make them grow faster

Do you ever notice the guy who always shows you his same arm every time he shows off his bicep? If you were to ask him why he always shows that same arm, he will most likely say “because it’s the bigger/better of the two”. Did you ever stop to think that the reason why it is the bigger/better of the two is because he is always flexing it?

Holding poses helps in muscle development. I’ve notice a big improvement in my leg development over the last 6 months from constantly flexing, squeezing and posing them. Holding compulsory poses most definitely shapes you and that shaping is muscle development or muscle growth.

I do most of my leg posing and flexing in the shower, when my muscles are warm, in between sets during workouts and in the sauna.

I run through the compulsory poses with my legs, holding each for a few seconds, then switching to another angle, going from front to side to back, while squeezing my abdominals, pressing my hands on my thighs while doing a most muscular pose with my upper body.

Another flex I like to do that has really developed my hamstrings is that I will stand with my back facing a wall, while holding a broom stick for balance, I’ll will have one foot on the wall so that my leg is bent at a 45 degree angle and I’ll press back flexing and squeezing my hams until they cramp up, I’ll then stretch out the cramp and repeat. Eventually the cramping will stop. This will help you get in touch with your hamstrings and they will grow

If you are serious about bodybuilding, competitive or not, learn the 8 compulsory poses and do them often. These poses will shape you and aid in muscle development, trust me

1. Quarter Turns

2. Front Double Biceps

3. Rear Double Biceps

4. Front Lat Spread

5. Rear Lat Spread

6. Side Triceps

7. Side Chest

8. Front Abdominals & Thigh

Time for a protein drink

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ended 2009 on vacation

I ended 2009 by not eating much food, what I mean by this is… for these past two holiday weekends, I stopped eating every 3 hours and only ate when I was hungry. I was definitely not taking in 350 grams of protein a day, whereas, since the Northern USA in NYC on November 8th, 2009, I had been eating every 3 hours anywhere from 700 to 1000 calories a meal. That’s a lot of food! I sit around all day long at work and I don’t burn many calories sitting around, so for the holidays I stopped eating every 3 hours and I pretty much eat when I am hungry. I don’t even know how much I weigh? Guessing around 220. One could say I am on vacation from my second job of eating!

Now we start a new year, time to think about preparing for the Jay Cutler classic the first weekend in May. Thinking about how long I plan on dieting? Should I go 8, 10 or 12 weeks out? I guess that all depends on how fat I get. I pretty much eat clean, but I also over-eat, which does make you fat, no matter how clean the food is.

Well let’s think about it, 12 weeks out puts me at February 13th, seems so close doesn’t it? 10 weeks is February 27th and 8 is March 13th. I guess I’ll have to see how excited I am come February 13th. I might want to slowly ease my way into it. Controlling what I eat by mainly stopping over eating

Another though I have, is do I want to do cardio this time around? One benefit cardio has besides burning more fat, it causes a nice sweat and helps pull water out of your skin and I can eat more, which if done right can make me bigger, but too much cardio and not enough food, I can become stringy, looking more like a swimmer.

I did do cardio for the Cutler in May 2009, but not the other two later in October/November, and I did see my legs get small from the cardio near the end, for the Cutler. I should have stopped sooner; maybe I just need to pay more attention to my body signs

Well, it’s been a nice couple of weekends being on vacation from my eating job (and this one’s not over), but because of the type of person I am, I’m starting to get excited about the Cutler in May already and come Monday, it’s time to start focusing again and getting back on track, back to my eating job, besides rumor has it, I might be getting a raise this year…

Happy New Year and I hope everyone’s 2010 goals are accomplished!

Time for a protein drink!