Maintain Strength & Muscle Mass Gains ...

Hello everyone. It’s been a while since I was last on this website. I have been doing weightlifting for muscular hypertrophy for over 7 weeks now and I believe that I have actually made some progress in mass/strength gains. I want to improve my aerobic endurance as well. However, I understand that concurrently trying to develop both strength/mass and aerobic endurance will compromise strength/mass gains. This has currently been my full schedule:

Mondays and Wednesdays I do the following upper body exercises exercises within this order:

  1. Flat barbell bench press.
    4 sets of 12 reps @ 65 lbs.
  2. Incline bench with dumbbells:
    4 sets of 12 reps with 20 pound dumbbells on each arm
  3. Cable row machine:
    4 sets of 12 reps @ 65 lbs.
  4. Finally, Lat pulldown machine:
    4 sets of 12 reps @ 80 1bs.

I take 75 sec. of rest between each set for all these exercises.

Tues. and Thurs. I do the following upper body exercises exercises within this order:

  1. Deep barbell free-weight squats in a rack cage with support bar:
    4 sets of 12 reps @ 95 lbs.
  2. Leg extension cam lever machine and alternating between legs:
    4 sets of 12 reps @ 27.5 lbs on each leg.
  3. 4-5 sets of 12-15 reps on either lying leg curls and alternating between legs:
    4 sets of 12 reps @ 30 lbs. on each leg

Once we do all those lower body exercises, then we have a choice of either going home or continue to do any other exercises that we want. I do 4 sets of 12 reps on back 45 degree sloped back extension bench with a 25 pound weight plate held to my chest.

I take 75 sec. of rest between each set for all these exercises.

So, if I wanted to, for instance, change my program to having a strength/mass maintenance phase while training to increase aerobic endurance, then how would I be able to optimally do that?

First of all, get on a real program. The one you are doing now has some serious holes. Research this site for some good examples. I wouldn’t be too worried about aerobics work hoding you back at this point, at least if you keep it within reason. Worry more about your program, form, progression, diet, etc.

I know you’re stuck with that program because of your class. Honestly I would have expected you’d be lifting more than that from now.

Probably your biggest factor to maintain strength gains and also work on aerobics will be food. Make sure you’re getting enough calories and increase your complex carbs for the aerobic training (bread, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes). Keep your protein high

Oops! I actually forgot to type the changes made in a couple of exercises as well as the weight on all the exercises. This what I am currently lifting:

  1. Flat barbell bench press.
    4 sets of 12 reps @ 70 lbs.

  2. Incline bench with 45 lbs. barbell:
    4 sets of 12 reps

  3. Cable row machine:
    4 sets of 12 reps @ 70 lbs.

  4. Finally, Lat pulldown machine:
    4 sets of 12 reps @ 85 1bs.

  5. Deep barbell free-weight squats in a rack cage with support bar:
    4 sets of 14 reps @ 95 lbs.

  6. Leg extension cam lever machine and alternating between legs:
    4 sets of 12 reps @ 30 lbs on each leg.

  7. 45 back extension bench:
    4 sets of 12 reps @ 35 lbs.

  8. 2 sets of 50 crunches

  9. 1 set of static push-up plank for over 4 min.

I forgot to also mention that I do a 2 sec. concentric and 2 sec. eccentric on all the reps that I do on all exercises, except for crunches (1 sec. concentric, 1 sec. eccentric) and the push-up plank position (just holding it).

What kind of aerobic work are you looking at doing?

Just get on a 5x5 program like this:

The easiest way to do this is to do the 5/3/1 program, don’t go for max reps, keep assistance work to 2-3 exercises for 3 sets each, and prioritize conditioning.

FWIW, this is exactly what I do to get in shape for D1 college rugby.

As you are still very much a beginner and your weights will be realitively light it is very possible for you to increase both your strength and your endurance. Especially if your endurance levels are also untrained. Infact some kind of running training will help increase your strength levels.

Obviously i have no idea what you were planning to incoorporate into your endurance training, what your current levels are or your goals; but if you do the right training ie throw in some sprints or some fast hill work then you will probably get stronger. just not if you do 2 hour slogs and forget to eat… This may help strengthen your endurance/postural/stability muscles so that in the gym you can really work the phasic muscles.

This only applies because you are such a beginner and still have a lot of work to do. The rules change as you get stronger.

There is no way in hell you are strong enough to do those correctly with that much weight based on your stats. While, I’m glad you are prioritizing posterior chain work, you need to do it right.

Do these with body weight, and focus on keeping your spine neutral throughout the set. Check out these articles to see what I am talking about.

One of the best ques I have heard for this is to tuck you hips.

Go as far down as you can get while maintaining neutral spine, you should feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Then drive you heels into the back plate and focus on thrusting your hips into the pad. At the top, you should hold for a second and squeeze your glutes. If you feel this in your lower back before your glutes and hamstrings, you are doing it wrong and are most likely moving at the lumbar spine rather than the hip. There shouldnt be any spinal flexion and extension, only hip flexion and extension. The neutral spine concept is important.

I love this exercise as it allows me to smoke my glutes and hamstrings without the shear stress on my spine from deadlifts. If you do it right, it will take you far. So do it right.

In regards to your questions, what is your goal/purpose of increased endurance? The answer to this greatly affects the appropriate response.

If you have trouble with the above, work on your hamstring and hip flexor flexibility and check out this article for core work to maintain a neutral spine.

Cressey, Robertson, Boyle and others have all written core training articles with a focus on maintaining neutral spine.

[quote]LoRez wrote:
What kind of aerobic work are you looking at doing?[/quote]

As a martial artist, I want to do running in order to improve my overall endurance as well as balancing the strength of my lower body.

What if I decreased the number of exercises for each muscle group and combined all those exercises in one day for two days per week? For instance, I would take out leg extensions and incline barbell bench press. Also, what if I decreased the number of sets for each exercise down to three sets per exercise. Would all of this work to maintain virtually all of my muscle mass and strength gains that I have made? Otherwise, what would happen to my hypertrophy/strength gains if I switched to doing only high rep/low resistance for 4-8 weeks with no exercises consisting of 12 reps or lower per set?

[quote]Bellmar wrote:

There is no way in hell you are strong enough to do those correctly with that much weight based on your stats. While, I’m glad you are prioritizing posterior chain work, you need to do it right.

Do these with body weight, and focus on keeping your spine neutral throughout the set. Check out these articles to see what I am talking about.

One of the best ques I have heard for this is to tuck you hips.

Go as far down as you can get while maintaining neutral spine, you should feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Then drive you heels into the back plate and focus on thrusting your hips into the pad. At the top, you should hold for a second and squeeze your glutes. If you feel this in your lower back before your glutes and hamstrings, you are doing it wrong and are most likely moving at the lumbar spine rather than the hip. There shouldnt be any spinal flexion and extension, only hip flexion and extension. The neutral spine concept is important.

I love this exercise as it allows me to smoke my glutes and hamstrings without the shear stress on my spine from deadlifts. If you do it right, it will take you far. So do it right.

In regards to your questions, what is your goal/purpose of increased endurance? The answer to this greatly affects the appropriate response.[/quote]

Well, I think that I am doing the exercise correctly. I always have the top of my pubic bone on the edge of the bench and make sure that I don’t ever hyperextend my back at the top portion of the rep. Also, I do this exercise at a slow-to-moderate pace (2 sec. concentric, 2 sec. eccentric). Apparently, I have currently been able to do this exercise with 4 sets of 12 with a 35 lbs. weight plate held to my chest. Also, I am kinda lightweight given that I am 5’9" and 145 lbs as well as being trim. Also, I have always been pretty athletic and have doing martial arts practicing taekwondo-like kicks for over 5 years.

Futhermore, before I started doing back extensions on a bench machine, I did high reps/low resistance of back extensions on the floor for 3 sets of 50 reps in order to prepare my back for more intense back exercises. Plus I have been doing barbell back squats for over 6 weeks now.

Question, if the top of your pubic bone in on the pad, how can you move your hips during the movement?