Are you tired of being just “one of many” when it comes to trainers in the gym, trudging away, from day to day? Are you ready to break out of your current strength levels, and really spike how much weight you are capable of moving? Such dramatic gains will require some radical changes to what you do inside and outside of the gym. Are you ready to embark upon that journey? Let’s analyze each area you’ll need to tackle!
Let’s all agree on one thing – warming up is never fun. It can hurt the ego to rep out with 135 pounds on the flat bench press when a cute girl walks by, right, fellahs? And there’s nothing worse than seeing the only open squat rack on a Monday at 5:30pm, grabbed by some 110-pound beast doing empty bar bicep curls, because you’re on the treadmill trying to warm up your legs for that exact squatting rack. But starting light, and absorbing the ego hit that goes with it, can mean the difference between a great workout and a catastrophic injury – particularly when you’re training with weights this heavy. Always warm up!
First you must realize that training using the CORE LIFTS is the key to finding success in all other areas of your training. Begin lightly. Progress slowly. Train carefully and intelligently. Use lifts such as deadlift, bench press, barbell rowing and squats as the basis for your training. If you are weak at these lifts, then you need to find ways to become more effective and efficient with them. Substitution and replacement is not an option, barring past surgeries. You’re either able to step up and use the heavy movements needed for maximum gains, or you are not.
Train three to four days each week. Center each of your training days around one of the key lifts mentioned above. Chest day should begin with 2 heavy pressing movements, followed with lighter compounds then isolation work. For back, you’d use deadlifts then barbell rows. Leg day would involve squats, followed with lunches, leg press, and hack squats. Shoulder day would start with a heavy pressing movement or two, followed up with isolation movements to target the individual deltoid heads.
Your primary style of training will be known as 5/3/1. This means you will be training for absolute core strength using three work sets per heavy movement. If you’re doing deadlift, for this example, you’ll begin with 2 warmup sets with lighter weight. Then you will pick up 300 pounds (or whatever number) to complete 5 repetitions. This is your 5 repetition max. Move to 350 pounds for your 3RM, or completion of three repetitions with maximum weight. Finally, your last set will be a 1RM, a single repetition with 90 to 100% of the maximum weight you are capable of moving.
The beauty of 5/3/1 training, and perhaps the reason it is so popular with trainers seeking pure strength gains, is that it takes all the variance and guess work out of your training. You know how much you’re going to lift. You move heaven and earth to move that weight for 5 reps, then 3 more reps, and then 1 final repetition. And then you are done, free to move on with your workout, content in the knowledge you have created new strength gains without all of the analysis and over-thinking which is often involved with longer and more instinctive training sessions.
Train using what is known as a specific percentage of your 1RM, or the amount of weight you are able to move for one repetition. Calculate how much weight you can move for one repetition, then multiply that by .9 to locate your useful 1 repetition maximum. Determine (from use of your journal) how much of this % you can use for sets of 5 and 3 repetitions. Keep in mind that training this heavy is for the development of muscle STRENGTH. New muscle mass is a secondary goal which is obtained by using more reps – and less weight.
Use your training journal to record your best lifts – but not just for the 1RM lifts. Rather, you should also be writing down your best poundage used for the 5RM and 3RM lifts as well. Gains in these area will come faster and will be made in a safer manner as well. Remember that the 1 pound plates are your best friends in your pursuit of moving more weight with each workout. Even if you only add 1-2 pounds a week, you’re making strength gains. Over the course of a year, that’d be 50 to 100 pounds on your deadlift, bench press or squat, an achievement that any lifter would be proud to proclaim.
Every fourth (4th) week, you should conduct what is known as a “deload” workout. During it, you will reduce your workload in order to give your muscles, tendons, and central nervous system a change to rekindle and rebuild. Don’t worry – you’ll come back the next day week thirstier than ever to make new muscle mass gains!
A class of exercises known as “assistance” work are those movements which should be used in conjunction with the heavy compound movements. Most of these are compound movements, but those which are a tad less brutal upon the body than the standard staples of bench press, deadlifts and squats. Movements such as pullups, chins, lunges, back extensions, and dips fall into this category. You’ll complete these movements using more weight and for a greater number of sets.
The use of Cardiovascular exercise can be a double edged sword when it comes to making strength gains. Sure, you want to maintain health and stamina – but not at a cost of your valuable muscle mass. Keep it to a minimum of 5 minutes and a maximum of 15 minutes, completed 3-5 times per week.
Eat big to grow stronger. A diet rich in steak, potatoes, chicken breast, pasta, beans, and eggs is the way to go when building new strength. Take your Mesobolin for mass and T-level assistance. Sleep 8 hours a night whether you want it or not, and enjoy 8.5 to 9 hours if your body truly asks for it. Repair your sore joints with rest, ice, and compression. Takes care of your body and it will take care of you!