Health and fitness

Adrian

Civis Illustris
These guys are from another planet:D


 

R. Seltza

Magnus Oculus
Hey Godmy, what's your view on doing pyramid sets & reverse pyramid sets?
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
Hey Godmy, what's your view on doing pyramid sets & reverse pyramid sets?
Hey, I'm terribly sorry I haven't reacted yet on the upper body half... I'm thinking of it constantly :-/


well... a reverse pyramid I call a "warmup" : D

And a pyramid set... that's a kind of "drop set": hmmm.. why not, but I prefer to do all my working sets with the same resistence/weight, since that allows me to better track the progress. (=I either add a set or end a set short, depending on my current abilities/strength) and there is no confusion about how I stand since all the working sets are done with the same weight.
 

R. Seltza

Magnus Oculus
Hey, I'm terribly sorry I haven't reacted yet on the upper body half... I'm thinking of it constantly :-/
It's understandable. It is a lot to go through. After all, what I've posted for the upper day is probably slightly different now that I've incorporated some changes (most notably, incorporation of supersets). Oh, & speaking of supersets, they allow me to do all of the exercises in a shorter time. I'm still experimenting with what the best layout would be for my regimen. I'll post the adjustments in a future post.

well... a reverse pyramid I call a "warmup" : D
Wait... so your warm-ups start heavy & you work your way down with incrementally higher reps? Did you mean to say that your warm-ups are a standard pyramid?

And a pyramid set... that's a kind of "drop set": hmmm.. why not, but I prefer to do all my working sets with the same resistence/weight, since that allows me to better track the progress. (=I either add a set or end a set short, depending on my current abilities/strength) and there is no confusion about how I stand since all the working sets are done with the same weight.
My gym offers a complementary coaching session for all members when they first join. Their advice actually seemed to already coincide with what I was doing (after all, most newbies to the gym usually don't show up with the kind of elaborate, thought-out plan that I showed them). They did give me some interesting ideas though, which is how I learned about supersets to begin with. They also suggested that the first two days of the week be more strength-focused while the last two days of the week be more focused on muscular endurance & especially emphasizing focus on proper form. As far as the strength-endurance continuum goes, strength involves lower reps (1-4) while endurance involves higher reps (15+). Though hypertrophy can occur anywhere on the spectrum, 6-12 is usually acknowledged to be the practical "Goldilocks" zone for that.

I was thinking that reverse pyramids could essentially combine the best of all 3. Though I already do 2 pyramid sets for warm ups (and no longer 4), the working sets could also have reverse pyramids. With my notation tricks, I doubt I'd have issues keeping track of progress.

For example:
BB Flat Bench Press
Warm-Up Sets:
2x8 - 45,55 lbs (Today)
2x8 - 55,65 lbs (Next Week)
etc.

Working Sets:
3x4,10,15 - 100,,85,65 lbs (Today)
3x4,10,15 - 110,,95,75 lbs (Next Week)
etc.


Also, I've been discussing mostly reverse pyramids instead of regular pyramids because having to lift the heaviest weight at the very end when you're the most fatigued seems very brutal...
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
I see, mine and some body builders' understanding of a reverse pyramid was not set-wise but weight-wise: the pyramid is biggest at the bottom, hence the weight is biggest at the bottom. So when I'm starting from the top of the pyramid, I'm going lowest to highest weight. But having it googled now, I see it's rather understood per sets. Then yes, we're talking 'in reverse'....

When it comes to supersets,
I often have only 2 exercises per a body part these days, where both exericses hit the muscle at a different angle, putting the tension at the muscle slightly at different phases of the lift, by positioning my body slightly different in respect to the gravity* (with some exceptions: shoulder can rotate in such a way, that with the front delt it's enough to pair the shoulder/military/strict press with a front raise and you can stay standing in a the same position) and I often supersets these exercises with the first one being heavy and the second one considerable lighter than I would have been able were I to do it in isolation. The purpose of the second exercise (besides changing up the tension) is also to get a pump to the muscle through higher reps: 12+ at the end of each superset so that's pretty much combining both the stimuli one more for the sarcomeric and one more for the sacroplasmic hypertrophy (=one directly causes 'stronger' fibers to grow, the other enlarges the muscle storage for glycogen, blood etc. [that shows in the endurance] - both creating an increase in the visible volume). But the thing is, that the superset will never allow me to go too heavy and too focused on the second exercise, because that's just how supersets work: the heart is already running, the ATPs in the muscle are semi-exhausted.... supersets are fun and indeed they incredibly save the time especially when your workout sessions intend need to hit multiple parts in a doable time, but they always come for a price. Therefore, when I usually do 4 [super]sets for an exercise (minimum 3, when there's a new weight, maximum 5 when I'm preparing for an increase next time) and that takes me almost exactly 30minutes! (So, when I want to exercise one hour, I don't do more than 2 body parts)....
So, my "drop" set consists of dropping the weight during each superset but not on the same exercise, but by switching to another, since in a superset I'm required to drop the weight almost by design. But on the next set, I'm returning where I was... As I say, I think I need to be able to track and plan my progress with more facility and doing these reverse pyramid sets leads often to a confusion of "did I get really better when I was able to do a low rep weight increase, but then I still had to drop a lot to be able to continue for more reps?" - I did that once upon a time, I don't like that style of training anymore, so I don't do it. You will see if you like it, if you're able to make progress on it. I also prefer in general that I make progress on the main exercise with "high reps" already (high reps mean for me 8-16). That is, I never go for high weight just for the strength benefits with low reps. Especially I stopped doing that on the deadlift and squat, it decreases some discomfort I may have felt on those low reps extra-heavy weight sets and decreases the risk of an injury. But yeah, it's no powerlifting :)

Having said that, from my perspective, the amount of work You need to do is indeed crazy, but you will see how it goes.

*so, except a few exercises (usually the fundamental ones), I have a pair of exercises for each body part to change up the tension with the free weight, I can elaborate, if you want
 
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Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
@R. Seltza, so I thought I would write at least a few words or thoughts to the upper body routine even though you said it has changed somewhat from the last time. But this may still get the discussion going or share light on my views... But I will write only where I think I may have something to add. Otherwise I either agree or have no strong opinion where I don't write anything.

I wrote already something regarding stretching or the length of warmups.

I'm wondering if I should do Free BB Rows, Standing CB Rows, Dedicated Row Machine, or Smith Machine BB Rows, but I'm leaning towards the first two.
If I had an access to the Smith Machine/multipress, I think I would consider a Smith Machine bb rows, because I'm not a huge friend of free barbell rows in the first place, since I think that in order to execute the exercise with any effiency, you have to have a perfect form, which means quite an awkward position for the body: you must make as small angle between your torso and the ground as possible, which, in my view, is hardly sustainable once you start with some heavier weights: that is, the body tries as hard as possible to get out of the position and you often end up invaluntarily increasing the angle, getting more perpendicular to the ground/be more upright and I see this even on training of professional body builders that it happens. But you see, I don't blame them or anybody for that, I just think the exercise with a free barbell is poorly designed for this. The situation is of course fundamentally different with a dumbbell and some form of support (be it your other hand or an incline bench). But the Smith machine may solve this problem altogether, since you don't need to try hard to stay in the position, you can just work/focus on isolating the lats. I had this thought when I saw the strongman Brian Shaw train like this (can't find the video at the moment, but you can imagine how it goes).

. Standing BB/DB Shoulder Press (OHP) 3x10-15 I Alternate B/t BB & DB OHP
I'm sometimes quite lost with the abbreviations, I presume OHP is "overhreadd press", what is B/t?

I suppose some smart alternation of the barbell and dumbbell over head press is a good thing, but in my experience, it may probably be easier to make progress when you put a bigger emphasis on one over the other (typically the barbell, that somehow is more friendly to a faster progress). That is, I would probably do, let's say 4 sessions with BB, 1 session with DB or so. But, maybe, this works for you already and you see progress as it stands (with your logs and hypercaloric diet) - so that was just my view, but there's no need to follow it...

Incline dumbbell curl: that's with the hands "behind" the body, right? Well, I know there should be given emphasis to a different biceps head and so, I personally alternate a standing db curl with a bend over dumbbell curl (or some variation of the concentration curl), because I'm not really after putting an emphasis to this or that head of the biceps, I'm more for recruiting all the muscle units depending on the phase of the lift. With the standing curl, the motor units at the end of the lift are not recruited much, since the moment arm is almost zero (it is perpendicular to the ground) but with a bent-over/concentration curl those motor units get hit too, so I usually superset the normal curl with one of these and that, in my view, is a good strategy to develop the biceps in general...

When it comes to cables: I know I said last time (or the time before) that there is a great advantage of the cables giving you the tension in all phases of the lift (initial, middle and the end), which cannot be said about free weights and therefore one must alternate the exercises with free weights to achieve the same effect (like I've just described a while ago), but more I thought about it (and after trying some home made cable machine), I think it's not as beautiful as it seems, because you can always only use the weight as the weakest phase of your muscle is which can sometimes be insufficient. That is, imagine that your biceps is weakest at the beginning, strongest in the middle (or at the end), you cannot use the weight that would recruit the middle and the end sufficiently, since you will never be able to get over the beginning (unless you cheat it somehow & use multiple weight configurations, which defeats the purpose of cables), while when you alternate dumbbell exercises, you will choose the weight for the standing dumbbell curl appropriate to this weakest phase of the biceps and then (or before) you can complement it with a bent over curl which by design is easiest at the beginning and hardest towards the end. (that is, the aim is to put the arm as parallel to the ground as possible or decrease the angle between them).

(I may want to write later which exercises with free weights I pair together to create that effect, if you want).

So, having considered this, I'm not as enthusiastic about cables in general as I were in some of the previous posts... And I know it was me who recommended, from my past reasoning, the cable chest flies: on the other hand, it is an easy way for you, as you write, to you give you that relatively strong tension in the peak contraction, since there are only two ways how that can be achieved with free weights, incidentally, I made videos on both:

<- I don't know of any other way with free weights (barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, bodyweight*) how to put the chest under tension in the final phase of the exercise, since all pushes and presses create zero tension once you lock up (=correction, with a dumbbell chest press, the chest still needs to stabilize the dumbbell so it doesn't fall the other way, but most lifters manage to put the arms perpendicular to the ground, so the stabilization factor cannot be really compared to a real "tension"). That is, besides other variations of a pull up/chin up. Closer the grip is, more the chest gets engaged. Why is usually Chin up easier than a pull up? Most people think it's because of the biceps, but I don't think that's the main factor while it is significant. The main reason is that a pull up is usually (and it should) be done with a wider than shoulder width grip, while a typically chin up goes the best with a shoulder width grip: and closer the arm is to the chest, more the pecs gets activated, you will notice in fact, quite a pronounced activation of the chest on chin up when compared to pull up and that, of course, takes some load away from the lats. And a commando pull up is a kind of extreme version of that. (I felt the chest for several following days still! :) ).

*it can be achieved, on any exercise, with an expander

How to know whether some muscle gets activated or not? See where the insertion point of the muscle is and where its origin is and analyze if they get relatively closer to each other during the motion or not. The pectoralis major is inserted in your arm, and originates inside the chest. In a wide grip pull up they almost don't get closer to each other at all. During a shoulder width grip chin up, they do get closer noticeably, during most dumbbell pullovers or a commando pull up, there is a pronounced chest "up-to-down" adduction :) The insertion point gets very close to its point of origin.

So from that point alone, the cables for the chest are probably still really good, if you don't want to neither of the free weight exercises I just showed, despite the downside I have mentioned when it comes to the cables.

Triceps CB extension: mmm... maybe this is a good idea, because, on one hand, you will be limited by what you can lift in the initial phase of the movement, but, otherwise (with free weights), one needs to do complement the extension with a triceps kickback to put the tension at the final phase and sitll requires smaller weight, while with cables you'll probably get a sufficient tension at the end no matter the limitation.

Lat Pulldown:
looks interesting and I suppose this is a great way how to give the lats some headstart in order to be able to pull your own body weight, on the other hand, I see as stagnation? From 9 workouts, all of them are at 70 pounds... You see, consider that most of us, who never went to gym, just attempted a pull up one day, we may have been able to do like 1.5 imperfect reps and experience quite a severe soreness for the next week. But next week? 3-4 reps nicely! ANd next week? 5-7 reps! So... on one hand, okay, I see what you're doing, it's not unwise... on the other hand, this COULD go faster without any higher (if any) health risks if you took a more direct approach as some of us did while being equipped just with our body and pull up bars :)

I suppose this post is long enough :)

_____________________

My today's deadlifts ;)
 
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R. Seltza

Magnus Oculus
Having said that, from my perspective, the amount of work You need to do is indeed crazy, but you will see how it goes.
Yeah, well see how this progresses for me. So far, the supersets that I've already incorporated have already paid off time-wise.

I wrote already something regarding stretching or the length of warmups.
Ever since you've shown me that painscience article about the ineffectiveness of stretching, the only warm ups I do on lower days are 5 minutes on the stair stepper, Banded side steps, banded box squats, banded hip thrusts, banded glute bridges, & banded clam shells (things that will literally give my legs & glutes a good pump, some good blood flow, & a burning sensation for good measure). Afterwards, I do the weight acclimation warm-up sets for the main heavy compound lift for the day: BB Back Squats (now featuring only the high bar variety, since the other two variations I used to do don't really make that much of a difference for muscle growth; though the low bar version is easier for me to go down further, it's a bitch for the shoulders to endure).

For upper days, I go straight to the main heavy compound lift of the day (BB Flat Bench Press) & start doing weight acclimation warm-ups sets, which is my only warm-up for these days.

If I had an access to the Smith Machine/multipress, I think I would consider a Smith Machine bb rows, because I'm not a huge friend of free barbell rows in the first place, since I think that in order to execute the exercise with any effiency, you have to have a perfect form, which means quite an awkward position for the body: you must make as small angle between your torso and the ground as possible, which, in my view, is hardly sustainable once you start with some heavier weights: that is, the body tries as hard as possible to get out of the position and you often end up invaluntarily increasing the angle, getting more perpendicular to the ground/be more upright and I see this even on training of professional body builders that it happens. But you see, I don't blame them or anybody for that, I just think the exercise with a free barbell is poorly designed for this. The situation is of course fundamentally different with a dumbbell and some form of support (be it your other hand or an incline bench). But the Smith machine may solve this problem altogether, since you don't need to try hard to stay in the position, you can just work/focus on isolating the lats. I had this thought when I saw the strongman Brian Shaw train like this (can't find the video at the moment, but you can imagine how it goes).
I started off with chest supported BB rows to prevent my lower back from being activated. It turned out to be a bitch of a task as the metal part of the bench that extends upwards to create the incline kept blocking the motion of the BB. So instead of going up & slightly back like I needed it to, it just went straight upwards, which effectively turns it into a deltoid workout.

I've experimented with different types of rows (BB Bent Over Rows, Chest Supported BB Rows, DB Bent Over Rows, CB Rows, Seated Row Machine, Plate Loaded Isolateral Row Machine, CB Isolateral Row Machine. Lately, I've been doing the CB Rows, but after trying of all of them, the one I like most is the CB Isolateral Row Machine. This is the exact model in my gym:
1599593931708.png

I love how I don't have to focus as much on keeping form & can focus more on the mind muscle connection.

I'm sometimes quite lost with the abbreviations, I presume OHP is "overhreadd press", what is B/t?
Yes, OHP means Overhead Press.

"B/t" (or "b/t") simply means "between".

I will also mention that I wonder how I can incorporate the reverse pyramids into the calf exercises.
I also found a nice machine that can replace the standing calf raises that doesn't give me pain in my soles, the Free Motion Calf Machine. It allows me to target the gastrocnemeus since I can keep my legs extended. It looks like this:
1599597209587.png


As I was reading, I left off at the part about cable's downsides. I'll have to address the rest later. Life calls & I'm out of time for now.
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
Thanks for the shorter answer so far! I'll be looking forward if you still want to write something on the rest I wrote (but the main thing is, if you read it... ; ) ... and you'll see whether you have some thoughts to add")



I'm glad the painscience article was of use: I found it quite illuminating (and mainly I don't think it is just one article, the number of citations they used there is phenomenal).

When it comes to warmups: as I understand it and for me personally, the only warmup that really somehow counts is what you call the acclimation. The other things that you do: well, it gets the blood running there to some degree, it warms the joints up so the sinuvial fluid (the joint "lubricant") starts working there are as it should and it certainly doesn't do any harm either, but for example, from the point of kinesiology / movement patterns etc. even a box squat is an exercise non-specific warmup for the squat (=it's not a warmup for the squat), since, while similar, the pattern of motion is still slightly different there. The only thing that can really warm you up for squats are squats. Etc. On the other hand, as I said, it does no harm, if you think it is a good time investment for You personally, you should probably continue doing it :)

- an interesting experience with the barbell rows: yeah, it's always going to be slightly awkward with a free barbell. (and yeah, it's difficult sometimes not make it a back delt workout). When it comes to the rows and the free weight, than save the TRX rows (which can be quite "badass too" -> I recommend both TRX rows and TRX pushups/presses - very VERY challenging!) the one-arm second-hand-supported unilateral db row wins for me the cake, but I understand you want to do exercises bilaterally if possible, since you've got lots of things to do for the whole session. But if you found some machine that achieves to isolate it the way you think it should, then great! My experience, of course, will always come short, whenever we talk about some exercise specific modified machines etc. But otherwise, if you wanted to try something else, I certainly would recommend trying the Smith Machine bb row... but you will see.

Thanks for the abbreviations explanation! Didn't know "B/t"... that may be useful :)

<- Glad you found the way for the calf raises. As I always repeat, a general recommendation from me for calves: don't go heavy, go long!

Anyway, yeah, you particularry don't need a personal trainer of any sort, or at least not those that the gym would like to sell you (I mean, I think there will be a difference between that and some, e.g. professional body builder who would be preparing you for a Men's Physique or a Classical Body Building competition.... that would be a whole another level of coaching :) ).
 
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R. Seltza

Magnus Oculus
Hey @Godmy, here's the updated workout routine. I've removed extra information such as form cues, plate math (so I don't have to figure out how much weight goes on each side of the BB when I'm at the gym), & other supplementary info. I've also excluded the logs for all of the sets & reps I did on days before I started doing reverse pyramid sets (otherwise this post would be quite a bit longer).

[Notes will look like this]:


- - - - - 4X A WEEK - - - - -
*Order of Active Days May Vary
SUN: REST
MON: REST
TUE: LOWER/LEG DAY
WED: UPPER
THU: REST
FRI: LOWER/LEG DAY
SAT: UPPER

All Active Days:
Reverse Pyramid Sets (Combining Strength, Hypertrophy, & Endurance)

⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇
LOWER/LEG DAY

WARM UP:
LISS Stair Stepper (or Elliptical (With Stationary Upper Body)) - 5 Mins

Glute Activation Stretches: [Besides the Body Weight Hip Thrusts, I know you're not a big fan, but it gets the blood flowing & helps my mind-muscle connection]
Banded Side Steps (15 Reps Each Direction)
Banded Body Weight Box Squats (10-15 Reps)
Banded Body Weight Hip Thrusts (10-15 Reps)
Banded Glute Bridges (10-15 Reps)
Banded Clam Shells (10-15 Reps) (Per Side)

Weight Acclimation:
1x10 - 65 lbs
1x10 - 75 lbs
___________________________________
WORKING SETS:
1. BB (High Bar Back) Squat 3x4,10,15
(3 Mins. Rest)
3x4,10,15 - 130,100,70 lbs (HBSq/Free BB)
3x4,10,15 - 150,115,80 lbs (HBSq/Free BB)
3x4,10,15 - 155,120,85 lbs (HBSq/Free BB)
3x4,10,15 - 155,120,85 lbs (HBSq/Free BB)
()x4,10,15 - 160,125,90 lbs (HBSq/Free BB) [What I plan to do next time, I like to figure all of this out before the next time I go to the gym]
[(HBSq/Free BB) - This just means I did "High Bar Back Squats" (essentially the standard BB Squat)]

To avoid confusion, look at this this notation (3x4,10,15 - 155,120,85 lbs). This means I did 3 sets:
1st set was 4 reps @155 lbs (Strength focused)
2nd set was 10 reps @120 lbs (Hypertrophy focused)
3rd set was 15 reps @85 lbs (Endurance focused)

The log for the rest of this post will be like this, so bear that in mind as you're reading.



2. BB Conventional Deadlift 3x4,10,15
(2-3 Mins Rest)
3x4,10,15 - 130,100,70 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 150,135,100 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 135,115,100 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 135,115,100 lbs
()x4,10,15 - 140,120,105 lbs [What I plan to do next time]
[I wonder if I should somehow add in the Sumo variation]


3. BB Banded Hip Thrusts 3x6,12,16,18
(2-3 Mins Rest)
3x4,10,15 - 130,100,70 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 150,135,100 lbs
4x4,10,12,15 - 160,140,140,120 lbs
4x6,12,16,18 - 170,150,150,135 lbs
()x6,12,16,18 - 175,150,150,135 lbs [What I plan to do next time]

4. CB Kickbacks 2x6,12
(1.5 - 2 Mins. Rest)
2 (Per Side)x5,13 - 30,20 lbs
2 (Per Side)x5,13 - 32.5,22.5 lbs
2 (Per Side)x6,12 - 30,20 lbs
2 (Per Side)x6,12 - 27.5,17.5 lbs
() (Per Side)x6,12 - 30,20 lbs [What I plan to do next time]

~~~~~~~~
~~~
5. SUPERSET #1:
LEG EXTENSION & HAMMIE CURLS 3x4,10,15
(1.5 Minutes Rest or 30 Sec Staggered Rest) [30 secs rest if both machines are available for a superset; if not, then I do them separately & get 1.5 mins. rest between sets].

5.1 Leg Extensions 3x4,10,15
3x4,10,15 - 65,50,40 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 90,70,50 lbs
()x4,10,15 - 90,70,50 lbs

5.2 Hammie Curls 3x4,10,15
3x4,10,15 - 90,70,60 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 90,70,50 lbs
()x4,10,15 - 90,70,50 lbs

~ ALTERNATE WEEKLY WITH ~ [Yes, I alternate between Leg Press & Leg Extension/Hammie Curls on a weekly basis. This past week, I did the leg press, so now I'll do the Leg Extensions/Hammie Curls.]

5. SUPERSET #1:
LEG PRESS VARIATIONS (Quad & Hammie Emphasis) 3x6,12,16
(30 Seconds Staggered Rest)
Q 3x4,10,15 / H 3x4,10,15 - 130,115,100 lbs
Q 3x4,10,15 / H 3x4,10,15 - 140,125,110 lbs
Q ()x6,12,16 / H ()x6,12,16 - 145,125,110 lbs
["Q" means the quad emphasis variation; "H" means the hammie emphasis variation]
~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~

6. SUPERSET #2:
HIP ABDUCTIONS & FREE MOTION CALF MACHINE
(1.5 Minutes Rest or 30 Seconds Staggered Rest) [30 secs rest if both machines are available for a superset; if not, then I do them separately & get 1.5 mins. rest between sets].

6.1 Hip Abductions 3x6,10,15
3x4,10,15 - 200,185,155 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 205,190,160 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 210,195,165 lbs
3x6,10,15 - 215,180,170 lbs
()x6,10,15 - 215,180,170 lbs

6.2 Free Motion Calf Machine 3x20,30,40
3x40 - 100 lbs
2x20,30,❌40- 160,130,❌100 lbs
2x20,30,❌40- 160,120,❌100 lbs
3x20,30,40- 160,120,100 lbs
3x20,30,40- 160,120,100 lbs
()x20,30,40- 160,120,100 lbs
[The ❌ indicates that I didn't manage to do that set on that day (due to time constraints on those days)]
~~~~~~~~~~~


❌7. Seated Calf Raise Machine 3x20,30,40
()x20,30,40- 50,40,30 lbs (Machine) [What I would do if I did this exercise]
[I'm considering dropping this exercise in favor of a bent leg version of the free motion calf machine (with chair set all the way forward with my legs bent). I just love how that machine lets me work my calves without giving me pain in the bottom of my soles]

[I'm considering an overhaul of the old ab exercises I once had in favor of core exercises & maybe some calisthenics-style workouts for core strength & building blocky ab muscles.

This is what I've come up with so far:
Abdominal Bracing 1-3x60 Secs (Core Activation Warm Up)
Dragon Flags 2-3x10-15 (Anterior Core Stability) (Replaces Reverse Crunches)
-Decline Crunches & Abdominal Chair Machine are other upper ab options
-Captain's Chair Leg Raises are another lower ab option
-Hanging leg raise
Bird Dog 2-3x5 Each Side (Posterior Core Stability)
Suitcase Carry/DB Windmills 2-3x30 Secs/2-3x8-12 (Lateral Core Stability)
Palloff Press 2-3x5-10 (Rotary Core Stability)]




⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇
UPPER

WARM UP:

Weight Acclimation:
1x10 - 55 lbs
1x10 - 65 lbs
___________________________________

WORKING SETS:

1. Flat BB Bench Press 3x4,10,15
(2-3 Mins. Rest)
3x4,10,15 - 85,70,65 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 90,80,70 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 95,85,75 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 105,90,80 lbs
()x4,10,15 - 110,95,85 lbs [What I plan to do next time]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
2. SUPERSET #1:
(Standing BB/DB OHP & Pronated-To-Supinated DB Bicep Curl Variations)
(30 Seconds Staggered Rest)

2.1 Standing BB/DB Shoulder Press (OHP) 3x4,10,15
3x4,10,15 - 70,60,50 (BB OHP)
3x4,10,15 - 65,55,50 (BB OHP)
4x4,10,10,15 - 30,22.5,25,20 (DB OHP)
3x6,10,15 - 30,25,22.5 (DB OHP)
()x6,10,15 - 30,25,22.5 (DB OHP) [What I plan to do next time]

2.2 Pronated-To-Supinated Chest Supported/Standing/Incline DB Curls 3x4,10,15
(CS) 1x4 / (S) 1x10 / (I) 1x15 - 25,20,15 lbs (DB)
(CS) 1x4 / (S) 1x10 / (S) 1x8 / (I) 1x15 - 30,22.5,25,20 lbs (DB)
(CS) 1x6 / (S) 1x10 / (I) 1x15 - 30,25,22.5 lbs (DB)
(CS) ()x6 / (S) ()x10 / (I) ()x15 - 30,25,22.5 lbs (DB) [What I plan to do next time]
[Try not to panic when you see this notation. (CS) means "Chest-Supported", (S) means "Standing", & (I) means "Incline"].
[This is what it looks like when the notation accounts for workout variations & reverse pyramid sets at the same time.
It basically means I did 1 set of 6 reps of Chest Supported Bicep Curls, 1 set of 10 reps of Standing Bicep Curls, & 1 set of 15 reps of Incline Curls.]


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
3. SUPERSET #2
(CB Rope Hammer Curls, CB Rope Face Pulls, & CB Rope Tricep Pushdowns (Mike Chang Style)
[See this video to see what I mean by "Mike Chang Style"]
(30 Secs. Staggered Rest)

3.1 CB Rope Hammer Curls 3x4,10,15
3x4,10,15 - 52.5,32.5,22.5 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 42.5,35,30 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 42.5,35,30 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 42.5,35,30 lbs
()x4,10,15 - 42.5,35,30 lbs [What I plan to do next time]


3.2 CB Rope Kneeling Face Pulls 3x4,10,15
3x4,10,15 - 47.5,32.5,27.5 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 42.5,35,30 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 42.5,35,30 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 42.5,35,30 lbs
()x4,10,15 - 42.5,35,30 lbs [What I plan to do next time]

3.3 Tricep CB Rope Pushdowns (Mike Chang Style) 3x4,10,15
3x4,10,15 - 47.5,42.5,32.5 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 50,35,30 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 50,35,30 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 50,35,30 lbs
()x4,10,15 - 50,35,30 lbs [What I plan to do next time]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
4. SUPERSET #3
(CB Chest Fly Variations & Lat Pulldowns)
(30 Secs. Staggered Rest)
~ ~ ~

4.1 CB Chest Flys 3x4,10,15
(M) 1x6 / (U) 1x6 / (L) 1x6 - 20 lbs
(U) 1x4 / (M) 1x10 / (L) 1x15 - 20,17,13 lbs
(U) 1x4 / (M) 1x10 / (L) 1x15 - 20,17,13 lbs
(U) 1x4 / (M) 1x10 / (L) 1x15 - 20,17,13 lbs
(U) 1x4 / (M) 1x10 / (L) 1x15 - 20,17,13 lbs
(U) ()x4 / (M) ()x10 / (L) ()x15 - 20,17,13 lbs [What I plan to do next time]
["U" Means Upper Pecs Variation, "M" Means Middle Pecs Variation, "L" Means Lower Pecs Variation]
[Like the notation from the DB Bicep Curls from earlier, this essentially means 1 set for each variation, 4 sets for upper pecs @20 lbs, 10 sets for middle pecs @17 lbs, 15 reps for lower pecs @13 lbs]


4.2 Lat Pulldowns 3x4,10,15
2x10 - 70 lbs
2x10 - 70 lbs
2x10 - 70 lbs
2x10 - 70 lbs
2x10 - 70 lbs
2x10 - 70 lbs
2x10 - 70 lbs
2x10 - 70 lbs
2x10 - 70 lbs
2x10 - 70 lbs
2x6 - 85 lbs
2x12 - 55 lbs
2x6 - 100/85 lbs
2x12 - 75 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 100,85,70 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 100,85,70 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 100,85,70 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 100,85,70 lbs
()x4,10,15 - 100,85,70 lbs [What I plan to do next time]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

5. Isolateral Row Machine 3x4,10,15
(2-3 Mins. Rest)
3x12 - 50 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 100,85,70 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 105,90,75 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 105,90,75 lbs
3x4,10,15 - 100,60,75 lbs (Isolateral Cable Row)
()x4,10,15 - 105,90,75 lbs
[I tried another type of isolateral rowing machine, the CB isolateral row isn't as good as I thought it would be. I'll stick to the other machine I've been using.]

MISS (Moderate Intensity Steady State) Cardio:
Elliptical - 15-20 Minutes
(The Maximum Pace You Can Sustain For The Entire Workout)
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
I'll post a reply, but in the mean time, I'd like to show an exmample of


HOW THE SPORT OF POWERLIFTING BASTARDIZES GOOD EXERCISES!


Who doesn't know: powerlifting is a sport where you officially compete in three lifts (squat, deadlift and bench press) for one repetition, to lift the maximum weight possible (at the end your maxima from all three lifts add up together and who's got the highest number, wins). Sometimes there are competitions dedicated just to one of these three lifts.

Are you asking how they bastardize the exercises?

For the bench press the lifters are allowed to arch insanely and have the widest grip possible (see the video) that the bar ends up traveling like 5 centimeters (wider the grip, less work you need to do + the insane arch). What kind of strength does that show? What kind of power? I'm not sure.

For the squat, there isn't that much to do wrong, but they allow the low-bar squat (that means putting the bar not on your upper back, but holding it somehow almost at your mid-back in a quite unnatural position), which, if nothing else, minimizes the range of motion of the hip (you end up squatting more than you are strong for). But from these 3 lifts, this gimmick is probably least offensive to me.

For the deadlift, they allow the sumo deadlift which is just kind of plain silly. You lift the weight, but instead of standing upright, you end up with your legs stretched wide to left and right, so the bar ends up travelling like 15 centimeters less (or more) (for body builders it means that a good hip-hinge exercise with a decent quad involvement turns 'almost' into a pure quad-adductors dominant exercise, a semi-squat). In my view, one should exhibit the power in the deadlift by lifting a heavy object off the ground and stand upright/stand tall with it! And while that can be debated, could we really say that standing with your legs outstretched as widely as possible is natural [neutral] upright stance? Could we say that you really end up standing tall? How impressive is that?

For example the girl in this video is incredibly fit and strong (stronger than me) and has my utmost respect, on the other hand, I don't even think we do the same exercise while deadlifting :) She's probably not too tall, therefore her deadlift begins somewhere in the middle of her shins... if I were here, I would stand on something to move the bar relatively lower. But ok. That's one decrease of the distance the bar has to travel. And then she stretches her legs out and wide - because it's the sumo deadlift.... and well, while 170 KG is hell impressive, the distance this bar travels here is just silly :-/ Too bad!

http://instagr.am/p/CFp2cBzgptT/


And all of these gimmick are done more or less to reduce the distance the weight needs to travel (& hence lift more). But that fact alone certainly exhibits no "power" as one would expect from "powerlifting". If one really needs to lift as much as possible, you can use a fork or a crane - electricity and gasoline... on the other hand, if you see some intrinsic value (as me) to do it manually at certain occasions, then don't half ass it by these tricks!

From the strength sports, only strongman makes sense here, because, if by chance, some of these lifts are done there (most usually the deadlift), the gimmicks like these are banned.
 
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Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
After quite a long time of not watching anything of his, I watched some Greg Doucette's videos on Youtube again, particularly I saw the beginning of this video that criticizes another video on bulking. I had to turn it off right at the beginning where's he's contradicting the guy, saying "you don't have to feel stuffed while you're bulking", because it's just irritating what he's saying.

Frankly, while I mostly respect him, Greg bullshits his audience with his repeated hate on bulking and by tacitly dissuading future lifters from doing it. The fact stays that gaining muscle while eating in an energy balance gives you almost no perceivable results per year (or even more years). Then sometimes he kind of "corrects himself" by saying that "yes, you should eat in a surplus, but you don't need to feel stuffed"... but that's missing the point. Generally, eating in surplus means being almost always in the post-prandial state (=fed state) except when you're sleeping/when you wake up, so you eliminate empty stomach as much as possible, then you will be in a net anabolic state. When doing that (with a clean diet, mostly unprocessed food, mind you!), you cannot avoid eating sometimes while the stomach is not yet empty and therefore you will feel mostly stuffed. If you don't, it's less likely that you're just in a "mild energy surplus", it is way way more likely that you're stuck in your maintenance calories (= you're wrong about the number, in case you count) and you won't see any result, the net anabolic state will be equal to the net catabolic state, gains near to 0. Yes, you will always gain fat by bulking, but that's just how the nature works, you can always cut the fat later and still you will end up much better off than if you avoided these stages. If you bulk clean and eat with surplus not too big, but detectable and train hard & smart, you end up with around 60% muscle, 40% fat. That's good. And you don't need to gain 10 kilos of fat in extra! You can gain just e.g. 3-4 during a 6 months bulk - 4 kilos you will easily cut, you won't become "fat"!

Then, if you don't eat clean, you can be in a surplus and not be stuffed, have an empty stomach most of the time, but that does indeed lead to more fat gains than muscle gains, it's SUBOPTIMAL. (then of course, he's saying just "don't eat half a kilo of salad.." that's not the same as "eat an energy bar"... and yet, you still will feel stuffed even without salad, but with clean food, in a surplus).

Repeatedly, both natural and enhanced body builders all always agree on the same fact: the biggest friend to a natural (or any) lifter to gain muscle mass is a hypercaloric diet (which is called bulking, aka feeling mostly stuffed around the day, being perpetually in the post-prandial/fed state: something that Greg in his stubborness just doesn't openly acknowledge in the video while covertly he's still behind the idea...).

His experience aside, naturally or on PEDs (and I think he indeed bulked when he was younger, he might have mentioned it) he bullshits the novice lifters who don't know any better. Do a clean bulk for a few months, with the correct diet and then do a mild cut: you will get most music for your money.

I haven't watched all of it, but, frankly, the original video he's reacting to seems to be 10 times more useful and more truthful than any Greg's video on that topic including this one!



... this and other things is one of the reasons I would rather never pay for fitness in any shape or form (=and this guy is superactive commercially) - except for food or the equipment.
 
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Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
So, I feel I need to correct my previous view expressed here on the supplement called, BCAAs, since I was saying that the data hints they may be practically useless or even counter-beneficial.


I think I was looking at it wrong, I will copy paste a comment I wrote recently to one fitness Youtuber who shared my previous opinion. They may be quite useful when taken during training (during, not after or before!) after all:

Thanks for the video Sean! Regarding the BCAAs: just for the record, I never used them, not using them and currently have no plans to start doing so. I've been getting this argument a lot (the one that you say) that BCAAs is, in fact, a mistake, since the only thing it can provide is very suboptimal muscle-proteosynthesis that would in result be rather net-catabolic than net-anabolic. But recently I've been forced to change my mind at least a little bit on their utility after I watched an interview with one Czech professor of kinesiology on an university, I could link the video with the timestamp where he's talking about it, but it's Czech (I am Czech), so it may be probably of no use to you at all (although I know you have partially slavic roots yourself, haha) . Anyway, I'll try to paraphrase what he's saying. First he says that

1) it is an indubitable fact that you need all essential amianoacids to start the MPS while BCAAs provide only 3, there is no controversy here

2) he thinks that this is not a good measure of their utility or inutility at all

3) he says "of course, after training I will rather consume a quality source of protein (like whey)" + eating quality sources of protein throughout the day.

4) the studies focused on BCAA yield that there is a real effect on lowering the muscle damage during training. That means, if we consume them during the training, the markers of muscle damage are lowered, by the markers he means the enzymes ALT, AST, but also the enzyme LD or CK. He says this effect is provable/real.

5) There is a measurable performance boost (when taken during training), mainly when we train in a caloric deficit: the BCAAs serve as a source of energy for the muscles themselves, so during the training the BCAAs can be used as a source of energy (not for MPS! But as a fuel) IF, for example, there's not enough of glycogen in the muscles as there would be if we weren't in a caloric deficit.

5a) he says he sees this utility mainly during a diet (caloric deficit) where the muscle is more prone to degrade and the BCAAs can protect the muscle by providing themselves as a fuel, instead of the muscle using its own muscle proteins as a fuel. Elsewhere in the video they mention, that unlike EAAs or whey (whole protein source), BCAAs are 'extra-hepatal' which should mean that they do not need to be processed by the liver, they get to the muscle directly and therefore faster, when it is to be used as a source of energy during training (if the glycogen is low, since one may be in a caloric deficit ...etc. etc.). From this reason alone, they don't see any utility in EAAs, because it cannot do that during training (=it goes through liver, that slows it down) or the whole protein (during training). They do not question anywhere the consumption of whole (non-BCAA) protein OUTSIDE of training.

6) further on there should be other effects like "lowering the fatigue during resistance or endurance training" for athletes. He says it's because they lower the production of serotonin and serotonin induces fatigue during a physical exertion; when you intake BCAAs, the production of the serotonin lowers and therefore the [less fatigued] athlete can have a more quality/more intense training, since his brain feels less tired / mentally speaking.

6) the BCAAs, even though they themselves cannot build the muscle, since we need all EAAs, they give another benefits the athlete can expect.


So, to summarize this: they say that it is a trend of today to hate on BCAAs, because everybody from some reasons focuses just on the MPS/muscle-proteosynthesis alone, while that is not why the BCAAs should be taken. They say that looking at MPS as the chief BCAAs utility is thoroughly misleading and more or less wrong.

What do you think of this? I'm sorry that my source was a Czech speaking professor on a video, I know that is a weak argument for you, but then, I don't doubt that if you start looking at it from this side of coin, you may yourself find perhaps the data that may support/prove what he's talking about?

I mean, I have no horse in this game, I was never considering using BCAAs (or ever used them), but you know, I always want to believe that I am able to change my mind when a better evidence or better argument comes in :)

Thanks for reading this, if you did!
 
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R. Seltza

Magnus Oculus
Hey Godmius, is there a certain criteria that should be adhered to concerning the length of a bulking diet? I've been on the bulking diet for a while now & have gained 20 lbs. Is this something that should only be dictated by time, target weight, etc.?
 

Godmy

Sīmia Illustris
Hey Godmius, is there a certain criteria that should be adhered to concerning the length of a bulking diet? I've been on the bulking diet for a while now & have gained 20 lbs. Is this something that should only be dictated by time, target weight, etc.?
Hey, sorry for not posting more on your training regime, I read it, but then I didn't get to answering and now it seems a bit late... also it's always harder to react to really long posts, maybe you can post something shorter instead of the whole training log : D - like some summary or so, haha.
(Although, I talked about sumo in one of the following posts... or at least gave my subjective opinion)

So, I'm finishing my bulk actually today after 4 months. ( +15.5pounds of bodyweight) I'm finishing it from a number of personal reasons and also in the last 3-4 weeks I've started to gain weekly more fat than muscle [with my own personal consistent method of measuring] which happens (it's different for each person) when you get over a certain body fat percentage, the insuline resistance may get slightly suboptimal then. + there are other reasons why I want to do that.

It depends: if you feel that your diet is OK, you don't mind to be stuffed for a few more weeks, you don't feel especially fatter, then keep going :) But bear in mind you want to cut some day and you don't want to have a too radical cut, but, ideally, a really mild caloric deficit (high in protein etc.) and you don't want it to be longer than 2-3 months, which may not be doable all at once, depending on what you're cutting from and what you're cutting to :)

But if you feel everything's ok, don't stress yourself. I'm looking forward to the change atm. (from many reasons)

...I posted here and there some videos from my training on http://youtube.com/GodmyX
 
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R. Seltza

Magnus Oculus
I read it, but then I didn't get it and now it seems a bit late...
What part did you not get? I can easily clarify anything about it.

Also, another thing that I've been wondering about is how big we can grow our muscles (naturally, of course). I've noticed that when I bring this up with many people, they seem to kinda dodge around the issue or address it apprehensively (which seems like a sign of something). I've heard that there's technically no limit but this always seemed strange to me. I doubt it's possible to grow biceps to be the size of a truck or something. After doing a good bit of research, the closest thing to a solid answer that I could find was that we could grow as much muscle as our frame can support. The main thing that I'm wondering now is how we can tell what that limit is (especially since it seems like something that would vary from person to person). What are your thoughts on the matter, Godmius?
 
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