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I regularly receive questions regarding training and I do the best I can to answer them. This is something I recently received from a friend of mine regarding training for health and fitness. I will analyze what is going on and give my opinion on the training and provide possible options for improvement.
What can I do to improve my current fitness program? Let me know if this makes sense
Upper Arm-Biceps Drag Curl (barbell)- 40 lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Forearm-reverse wrist curl (dumbbell)- 20 lbs 10 reps each arm 3 sets
Shoulder-Front Raise- Incline (dumbbell)- 25 lbs 10 reps each arm 3 sets
Shoulder-Internal Rotation (cable)- not sure of the weight, but use 3 plates 10 reps 3 sets
Shoulder-Rear Dealt Row (barbell)- 60 lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Upper Arm-Biceps Curl sitting incline- (dumbbell)- 25 lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Upper Arm-Triceps Pushdown (cable)- again not sure of weight 6 plates 10 reps 3 sets
Back-Shrug (barbell)-180 lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Shoulder-Upright Row (barbell)- 50 lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Every workout I do:
Waist-Kneeling Crunch (cable)-160 lbs 30 reps 3 sets
Waist-Overhead Ball Crunch
Chest Dip- have been weaning off of assisted, started with 42 lbs of assistance 3 weeks ago, down to 24 lbs
Chest-Decline Push up
Chest-Incline Bench Press (barbell)- 90 lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Back-Supine Row (body weight)-
Back-Bent Over Row (dumbbell)- 90 lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Back-Seated Row (cable)- 10 plates 10 reps 3 sets
Chest-bench Press (barbell)- 90 lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Waist-Kneeling Crunch (cable) 160 lbs 30 reps 3 sets
Waist-Overhead Ball Crunch 8 lbs ball 15 reps 3 sets
Hip Squat (dumbbell)- 55 lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Thigh-Leg Extension (lever)- 100 lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Thigh-Seated leg Curl (lever)- 130 lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Thigh-(Hack Squat (barbell)- 70 lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Hip-Single Leg Split Squat- body weight
Thigh-Straight Leg Deadlift (bumbell)- 55 lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Calves-Seated Calf Press (lever)- 260 30 reps 3 sets
Calves-Seated Raise (barbell)- 130 30 reps 3 sets
Waist-Kneeling Crunch (cable)- 160 lbs 30 reps 3 sets
Waist-Overhead Ball Crunch-8 lbs ball 15 reps 3 sets
3 day cycle and I rarely miss more than one day a week. I try to increase the weight ever week, i do 10 reps of most barbell or dumbbell lifts, for the body weight and push ups I do 15. For the waist kneeling crunch i do 3 sets of 30, for the ball crunch I do 3 sets of 15. Keep in mind I am not trying to bulk up, just trying to tone up.
I just started this workout about 6 weeks ago, but we spent a week in Disney and I sprained my ankle during a lacrosse game, so two of those weeks I did not do much.
Start every workout with about a mile run I told you about earlier. I feel great, lost some weight and fit into my clothes better than ever, but I feel like I am starting to stall out. Like I said, I just want to be fit and healthy and athletic, not big and bulky.
Everything you do will work for a short time period of about 6 weeks or so, but then the effects start to diminish due to your body acclimating to the process. Looking at the sample weekly training provided, it is a simple bodypart split of shoulders and arms on day 1, chest and back on day 2, and legs on day 3 with added gut work daily.
You said your goal was not hypertrophy (bigger size), but increased fitness. Yet, you are training like a bodybuilder would to add size to individual bodyparts by training them separately only one day a week. Therefore, your behavior is contradictory to your goals. Instead of bodypart splits, I recommend a period of full body training. Think of your body working as a complete system as opposed to isolating individual parts separately.
In day 1, you start with a biceps curl, then do wrist curls, then shoulder front raises, and so on. Each exercise is a single joint movement, essentially something you would rarely do in real life if you were not doing these particular exercises. There is some validity to these exercises, but they are much less important than some other more compound movements, so I would do them last in a workout, not first, if you even have the time and energy after performing more compound movements like deadlifts, squats, snatches, cleans, swings, pushups and pull ups. These exercises require more full body movement, more stability and flexibility. And to quantify mathematically what is going in particular exercises, I made the following videos to demonstrate why certain exercises are superior to others in a fitness program. Keep in mind, when you work the body as one single unit, it does not get bulky, but on the contrary gets leaner, tighter and more athletic by teaching different bodyparts to move together. Form always follows function and when you train your body as one piece instead of a collection of individual parts, you will get better results, faster.
Exercise Selection - Why are certain exercises superior to others?
We want our body to work together as a single unit, as I stated, so we will incorporate many different movement patterns in a single training session to facilitate athleticism. You just do not see many top level athletes who are also fat and uncoordinated. Form follows function. When you increase your ability to do real work with superior exercises, you increase your muscularity, sexuality, vascularity and testicularity. Also, what I see in the above program is training the same muscles, like biceps or calves from several different angles, such as seated or standing. This isn't very necessary for the smaller muscles, especially for a beginners fitness program. Compare the size of your biceps, calves, deltoids and forearms to the size of your traps, lats, glutes, thighs and chesticles. They do not even come close. Focus most of your energy training your biggest muscles hard and the smaller muscles will get plenty of work in the process, without any additional direct work. Direct work can be added in if necessary for particular issues but are not beneficial in most novice to intermediate programs. For optimal results, we would build each individual part, and learn to integrate as a whole unit. Doing too much isolation work, or too much full body integrated work will yield less than optimal results as well. Finding a happy balance between integration and isolation is key to developing the balanced, athletically fit body.
Notice not only the size, but the proportion of the different muscles, particularly the average person in the middle photo. The calves are tiny in comparison to the thighs and glutes, so they require a small fraction of the work as the larger muscles. Also, like I said, the smaller muscles, in most cases are secondary muscles, will get sufficient work by focusing your training on the larger primary muscles. For example, one of the largest muscles in your body is your latissimus dorsi, and a few great exercises to train that muscle are pull ups, rows and even deadlifts. When you do a few sets of pullups, rows, and deadlifts, your biceps and forearms get much much more work done than they ever will with a few sets of biceps and wrist curls. Many fit women can deadlift well over 200 pounds, but show me one guy that can do a proper wrist curl with that weight.
Here is a sample training session with very basic equipment and full body exercises.
Sample Training Session:
1a. 2 db muscle snatch - 2x10
- superset with short rest
1b. pullups - 2x submax effort (stop before you fail)
- rest 60-90 seconds and repeat for required sets before moving to group 2.
2a. 2 db clean & press - 2x10
- superset with short rest
2b. any pushup variation - 2x submax effort (stop before it gets ugly)
- rest 90 seconds and repeat
3a. Squat variation - 2x10
- superset with little or no rest
3b. swing variation - 2x10
- rest as much as Jesus tells you to and repeat
4. Gut and Grip work of choice - x5-10 minutes of various carries and holds, abs and low back stuff
5. Finisher (optional) - 5 minutes of low skill, high intensity training like car pushing, burpees, sled work, hill sprints, nunchucking, finger banging, cockadoodling, banana hammocking or any combination of them all
Different people will require different needs. No program fits everybody perfectly. Also, athletes have different needs than general fitness enthusiasts. Those issues need to be addressed accordingly. While this option is not the best for maximal strength gain, it is a great option for general fitness and athleticism. By opting to train full body sessions regularly as opposed to splitting body parts, you can train each muscle group more frequently, almost daily, as opposed to only once per week like in a typical bodybuilding split. A gorilla would never say, "I can't do back today because I did pull ups yesterday when I climbed that canopy all day long." Nor would a horse say, "Sorry dude, no can do legs today, did some sprints in that field yesterday." I know we are not animals, we are not nearly as smart as them. We are stupid fuckin people. I also know that not everybody should train full body everyday, we need to recover our bits and pieces. But with proper training and progression, you will build your work capacity over time to handle more intensity and more frequency and yield better results. This comes from gradual build up periods, consistency, and losing your ego before you begin training. Be smart, do no harm.
Start light, build up slowly, eat healthy, train smart and focus your energy on training the largest muscles with multiple joints moving together, preferably while standing on your feet, and not just one joint moving while the rest of your body sits in a chair all chilled out and relaxed.
I did not cover everything, but this hopefully gives a good start to beginning an amazingly effective training program. Any questions or comments, please post up.
As always, if you find any of the information here beneficial to you, please consider supporting us by investing in one or more of our products and services.
I have a few strength and conditioning workshops coming up in the next few months and would love to meet some of you personally to train and share information. Most notably is our Integrated Power Workshop at the Jersey Shore on Feb 25th with Uncle Mike and the Milkman. Click HERE for details and registration. Hope to see you there.
We have some pretty sweet TEES and HOODIES available HERE.
If you can not make it to a workshop, you can bring one home to you, my downloadable Kettlebell and Bodyweight video is available here.
And finally, you can get a free week of our Members only private strength and conditioning website, THE CONSUMMATE ATHLETE, here. You have a week for free to look around, ask questions and see if it is right for you. No pressure, no worries.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. And for your time, I give you a gift, always remember to train your glutes, a solid bum is essential for maximal peepee swoleness.
I was lucky enough to have another conversation with my friend Chris Dillon, owner of Nu-Health Strategies, and he very graciously shared some intriguing information regarding health, nutrition and supplementation. Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts look for the best options to give them an advantage to help them reach their goals. In many cases, you might not be getting what you bargained for. Check out Chris's website here and see for yourself if his service can benefit your lifestyle. He is available for nutritional sports couseling and much more. I respect Chris's information because he is knowledgeable, passionate, and he does not shove is beliefs down your throat and try and sell you on anything. He simply shares his information and lets you make a decision. If you decide you would like to take further action to advance your health and well being, he will help you the best he can. Enjoy the discussion, and as always, feel free to ask questions and post comments. This is a 4 part series. I highly urge you to click the file below and read some of the information regarding this topic.
Chris Dillon - part 1
Chris Dillon - part 2
Chris Dillon - part 3
Chris Dillon - part 4
Isaac, uncut & unscripted. You can learn more about him at his website, HERE. Isaac and I met a while ago at a fitness gathering and have stayed in touch since. We run in similar social groups and share similar philosophies. We got on Skype to catch up and see what was going on in the world lately. Listen in...
Yesterday I had a long talk with my buddy from New Jersey, Chris Dillon, a holistic nutritional and lifestyle coach and C.H.E.K. practitioner, and he always gives me great information to make me think about whats going on with my training and life. Here is part of our conversation, expect much more to come. I accidentally deleted the first part of our conversation when my camera ran out of storage space and I hastily tried to delete older footage on my camera and stupidly deleted the first part of our conversation. Well, I will have to get back on the horn with him soon and repeat the some of the stuff that you missed, as well as more shit to make you think. Feel free to post questions. Here's parts 1 and 2...
Barbell press variations for increased strength and athleticism
Maybe you train in an environment like a home gym with minimal equipment, or you just do not have access to things like dumbbells or kettlebells. Below is a brief video giving you some idea to use your barbell to get in some unilateral training. This type of training is great for added volume, increased balance, more assistance work and gut work as well. Give it a shot and share your favorite non-traditional BB training exercises.
We have announced our next workshop in Jersey on Feb 25th at the Training Room with Uncle Mike and the Milkman. This is going to be an amazing day you won't want to miss. CHECK IT OUT HERE.