Long time member, first time poster (sad, I know)…so allow me to introduce myself first…
I created an account several years back while in high school, a typical skinny kid looking to pack on some muscle, and boy was I lucky to find T-Nation! Though I created an account right away, I felt entirely unworthy to make any posts, so I just did a ton of research instead. I know its long overdue, but I give many thanks and appreciation to all you guys…I learned so much so quickly from all the incredible resources available here! Especially CT…you are my hero man!
From 2004-2007 (late high school to early college years) I focused on the big lifts (squats, deads, cleans, presses & pulls) at high intensity and was basically on the “see-food” diet (with zero supplements, except protein powder). While I ate less-than-clean the vast majority of the time (protein was still a high priority at every meal though), I packed on quite a bit of muscle while staying fairly lean. In my first 3 years of lifting and at a height of 5’8 I went from 135 to 190 pounds and I felt great! For being totally natural, I had nice definition, 16 inch arms cold (respectable for my stature I believe), I could see all my abs, I was stronger (and looked better!) than most of the guys at my university’s gym…and I even had more than just one of the college ladies refer to me as “a greek god” (haha…talk about an ego-boost!). When I was asked for training advice, I referred countless buddies and gym goers to T-Nation…it was a good time.
Then something awful happened, and I have only myself to blame. In my second year of college, I allowed myself to fall victim to marijuana. It started with friends just recreationally, but quickly became a habitual crutch and it literally took over my life. Slowly but surely I started missing more and more of my workouts until they stopped altogether. I got incredibly lazy…I started playing online poker and eventually dropped out of school (engineering major). Although I was making a decent living playing online poker, I was letting my life fall apart.
That was 2007. Fast forward to April 15, 2011. The U.S. government shut down the major online poker sites in the U.S. and my income was immediately cut off. But it would literally be the best thing that could have happened to me! Luckily I had some savings, but I needed to strongly re-evaluate my life and where I was headed. In the coming months I would fall in love with the woman of my dreams (and her name wasn’t Mary Jane lol) and I finally stopped smoking weed (I literally flushed the supply I had down the toilet, trashed my bong, and finally said good riddance!). I’m back in school now finishing out my engineering degree…aaaaannnnnddd…dun-dun-dun-dun!!!—I FINALLY STARTED TRAINING AGAIN!
During my 4 year hiatus (from life, as we’ll call it), I atrophied down to 148 lbs and I couldn’t even see my abs (very sad…I erased virtually ALL my gains and went from “greek god” to skinny-chubby loser!). But after 6 months of being back in the training game and eating mostly clean and natural, I’m so far up to a fairly solid 162 lbs and much leaner (yay abs lol). My strength has started returning, which feels amazing, but I definitely want back more of what I used to have. I’m still only 5’8 and while my girlfriend says I look great, I have a goal! Inevitably I found my way back to T-Nation, and I came across John Romaniello’s article “How to Look Freakin’ Awesome.” Ironically, my measurements pre-catastrophe were almost exactly what they needed to be to “look freakin’ awesome!” Thank God I have muscle memory working for me, but it will take roughly another 1.75 inch increase in arms, 2.5 in legs, and 1 for calves, while leaning out just a bit more to reach all my goals. Strength gains are obviously a welcome and fortunate bonus throughout this quest, but symmetry, proportion, and leanness are all top priorities for me right now.
Sooooooo…trying to catch up on the latest research and discoveries here at the center of all that is holy in bodybuilding, I became very intrigued by CT’s new pump methods. When I first started training I NEVER went after the pump (though I sometimes got it anyway from heavy lifting, and it did feel awesome–so if it is truly beneficial, I’d like to start incorporating it now!). From what I’ve gathered so far though, it looks like the steps are:
- proper peri-workout nutrition (duh! lol)
- pre-pump (without fatiguing) the working muscle/group
- high threshold work with antagonistic maximal pump in between sets (e.g. biceps if doing triceps/chest work)
- (possibly alternating steps 2 & 3 for a time until high threshold work suffers)
- maximum pump for the working muscle/group
I know the pump can be achieved a number of different ways (static holds, partials, super-slow eccentric, high reps, etc.), and I know CT is still experimenting, but I was wondering if there has been a development in the general consensus for what methods (perhaps dependent on muscle/exercise) which might seem to work best for PRE-pumping without fatiguing, as the maximal pump at the end is relatively easy once you’re not afraid of fatiguing after the high threshold work. Perhaps I’ll just need to experiment myself, as I’m sure many of you currently are, but any direction/light on the subject is more than welcome!
Thanks again guys! I’m glad to be back in the community and hopefully I’ll have something to contribute this go around