T Nation

Mighty's Contest Updates & Q&A Thread

Since this is my third thread (in as many years) detailing a contest prep, I figured (for newer readers) that I would throw up links to my previous postings.

The first one was my 2010 run, ultimately leading to my winning a Pro Card by winning not only my weight class, but the Overall Title:

This next one (from 2009) originally started out with me just trying to get some questions answers (I was very unsure of what I was doing), and eventually it morphed into a blog, detailing a my very first contest, where I won the Overall Novice Title, the Master 35+ Title, and took a very respectable 3rd in the Open Middleweights (to two very large, and conditioned, not to mention experienced competitors):

It is very entertaining for me to reread that 2009 one now. :slight_smile:

S

Stu: what’s your peri workout nutrition looking like as you diet down? And does it change at all from your high to low carb days?

Best of luck to you, and I hope you get enough rest.

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
I’ve been starting my shoulder day with the lateral machine (it bothered my left forearm less than if I was using heavy DB’s). I would work up to the stack, and hit that for about 6-8 sets, and then follow it immediately with several sets of leaning away, one arm laterals. Really burned like hell. I’d usually follow this up with rear laterals (facing down on an incline bench), and then lastly, some pressing movement[/quote]
Do you work your rear delts on your back day also?

Stu,
just for curiosity how are your working loads?
not 1rm but loads which you train usually…
thanx /AS USUAL/

Mikael

[quote]coolusername wrote:
Stu: what’s your peri workout nutrition looking like as you diet down? And does it change at all from your high to low carb days?[/quote]

I still follow what was Thibs’ original Anaconda Protocol: 2 caps of Alpha GPC, 3 FINiBARs (I prefer the solid carb source before training to the SWF, I just naturally like to eat, so it works for me), a few scoops of 'Conda mixed in with a couple scoops of MAG-10, and I’m good to go. The amount of water though is somewhat reduced, simply because even though I feel this approach worked very well for me last year, having to piss every 20 mins while at the gym just became a bit inconvenient.

As far as my low carb days go, I still keep the FINiBARs. My approach is to target my carbs peri-workout and breakfast, so 3 finis peri and some oatmeal in the morning, and the rest of the day is pretty much P+F. I do double up on the Mag10 and skip the 'Conda on Low days because those are the days I really just do abs and Interval work. While some people might argue that the beta alanine could be helpful with those days as well, I just don’t see the need for a lactate buffer for such a short, mostly cardio session.

S

[quote]tolismann wrote:
Do you work your rear delts on your back day also?[/quote]

No, never have. I honestly never even worked my rear delts directly until my first contest prep two years back. My posterior heads always seemed pretty good, most likely due to the amount of barbell rowing I would do.

S

[quote]buzza wrote:
Stu,
just for curiosity how are your working loads?
not 1rm but loads which you train usually…
thanx /AS USUAL/

Mikael

[/quote]

While I make to claims to being a powerlifter, I do realize that for a middlewight bodybuilder, I’m probably on the stronger end of the spectrum. I don’t have my journals with me at the moment (lunch break at work), but I can give a few figures of what I typically work with.

For chest, I always start with inclines, and will usually work with between 275 and 295 for a few sets of 6-10 depending on how my joints are feeling. I don’t go for forced reps or anything like that, and once I feel my form loosen, will usually end the set. Lately I’ve been using a ‘Nebula’ Incline Plate loading machine to avoid some stress on my left elbow, and I’ll use 4 plates per side, avoiding lockouts, for sets of 8-10 reps.

Shoulders are always pre-exhausted, after racking the seated lateral machine, then a few one arm leaning away laterals, usually just with a 35, or 40 pounder tops (I really try to get a good pause at the top before lowering the DB), and then seated DB presses with the 100’s, which I get pretty easily for 12+, so I really milk the negatives, avoid the lckouts,… all the typical ‘make it harder on yourself’ tricks people do.

Back has also been a good amount of pre-exhaust lately, starting with scapular retractions - about 150-170 per side for slow, hard squeezed, sets of 10-12, straight arm pressdowns (rope attachment) with 170-190 nice and slow, V-Grip pulldowns (elbows together, just pulling until hands in front of face, pause, and slow negative) with 240-260, usually sets of 6-8, and then some type of rowing movement, either bent rows with two DBs at once (usually work up to 100’s very strict - bad lower back remember!), or put a cambered bar atatchment on as bottom cable, pin two 45 lb plates to the stack (one in front, one in the back), and do reverse rows with that.

Arm work, and Leg work really is more a matter of going by feel. I have to be very cautious of my lower back lately, and with the left elbow/forearm area being a recurring issue for me, I never know what fun any particular day’s training session will have in store.

Hope what I did provide gives some idea of what I’m throwing around :slight_smile:

S

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:

[quote]coolusername wrote:
Stu: what’s your peri workout nutrition looking like as you diet down? And does it change at all from your high to low carb days?[/quote]

I still follow what was Thibs’ original Anaconda Protocol: 2 caps of Alpha GPC, 3 FINiBARs (I prefer the solid carb source before training to the SWF, I just naturally like to eat, so it works for me), a few scoops of 'Conda mixed in with a couple scoops of MAG-10, and I’m good to go. The amount of water though is somewhat reduced, simply because even though I feel this approach worked very well for me last year, having to piss every 20 mins while at the gym just became a bit inconvenient.

As far as my low carb days go, I still keep the FINiBARs. My approach is to target my carbs peri-workout and breakfast, so 3 finis peri and some oatmeal in the morning, and the rest of the day is pretty much P+F. I do double up on the Mag10 and skip the 'Conda on Low days because those are the days I really just do abs and Interval work. While some people might argue that the beta alanine could be helpful with those days as well, I just don’t see the need for a lactate buffer for such a short, mostly cardio session.

S[/quote]

Thanks for the info. Is your training split going to be the same for this prep as previous ones?

postin so i get updates, keep up the inspirational and great work Stu

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:

[quote]buzza wrote:
Stu,
just for curiosity how are your working loads?
not 1rm but loads which you train usually…
thanx /AS USUAL/

Mikael

[/quote]

While I make to claims to being a powerlifter, I do realize that for a middlewight bodybuilder, I’m probably on the stronger end of the spectrum. I don’t have my journals with me at the moment (lunch break at work), but I can give a few figures of what I typically work with.

For chest, I always start with inclines, and will usually work with between 275 and 295 for a few sets of 6-10 depending on how my joints are feeling. I don’t go for forced reps or anything like that, and once I feel my form loosen, will usually end the set. Lately I’ve been using a ‘Nebula’ Incline Plate loading machine to avoid some stress on my left elbow, and I’ll use 4 plates per side, avoiding lockouts, for sets of 8-10 reps.

Shoulders are always pre-exhausted, after racking the seated lateral machine, then a few one arm leaning away laterals, usually just with a 35, or 40 pounder tops (I really try to get a good pause at the top before lowering the DB), and then seated DB presses with the 100’s, which I get pretty easily for 12+, so I really milk the negatives, avoid the lckouts,… all the typical ‘make it harder on yourself’ tricks people do.

Back has also been a good amount of pre-exhaust lately, starting with scapular retractions - about 150-170 per side for slow, hard squeezed, sets of 10-12, straight arm pressdowns (rope attachment) with 170-190 nice and slow, V-Grip pulldowns (elbows together, just pulling until hands in front of face, pause, and slow negative) with 240-260, usually sets of 6-8, and then some type of rowing movement, either bent rows with two DBs at once (usually work up to 100’s very strict - bad lower back remember!), or put a cambered bar atatchment on as bottom cable, pin two 45 lb plates to the stack (one in front, one in the back), and do reverse rows with that.

Arm work, and Leg work really is more a matter of going by feel. I have to be very cautious of my lower back lately, and with the left elbow/forearm area being a recurring issue for me, I never know what fun any particular day’s training session will have in store.

Hope what I did provide gives some idea of what I’m throwing around :slight_smile:

S[/quote]

thanx Stu, exhaustive as usual, yep I agree 110% , strong side :slight_smile:

good stuff. i have always enjoyed these threads. best of luck.

Just another person checkin in to let you know that you’re goddamn awesome and that way more people learn from these threads than just the people who post in it.

What types of workouts do you do for arms to train around the left forearm when its giving you problems?

good thread/read

good luck

[quote]coolusername wrote:
Thanks for the info. Is your training split going to be the same for this prep as previous ones?
[/quote]

Yeah, 6 day rotation. I figure that this worked well the last time. Just enough time between bodyparts to maintain, if not improve muscle mass, while still allowing me to keep my cardio (intervals) on separate days from the weights. It has crossed my mind that I could probably put the cardio on weight days if I were to opt for steady state work, but I’ve always found that a High Intensity approach not only works better as far as sparing LBM, but in terms of time management (who has time to do an hour of cardio every day in addition to their weight work,… and a real job?! -lol).

So to recap, my split currently looks like this:
1-Chest and Gastrocs
2-Back and Biceps
3-Core (abs n lower back), forearms, and Intervals
4-Delts, Traps, and Triceps
5-Legs (and solei)
6-Core, Forearms, and Intervals

S

[quote]Maiden3.16 wrote:
What types of workouts do you do for arms to train around the left forearm when its giving you problems?

good thread/read

good luck

[/quote]

I’ve had forearm ‘issues’ for several years now but it’s only this past year that I’ve had problems by my left elbow/tricep area. Sometimes chronic injuries/situations are a bad thing, but sometimes you can actually learn from them.

It was my first time dealing with an inflamed right forearm that I discovered the effects of using Flameout on a daily basis. In my training around it, I realized that I could no longer do traditional overhand chins (one of my favorite exercises) without suffering severe pain. This is what eventually led to my reliance on Scapular Retractions, which have not only certainly contributed to my back detail (something I always seem to get compliments on), but has earned me the honor of people in my gym refering to it as my exercise. Additionally, I started doing V-Grip chins, and later pulldowns (when I wanted to focus on remaining upright and specifically targeting my lats), to avoid the forearm perdicament, and found that my overall back development also improved considerably.

Presently, I’m trying to be very careful with not only my LEFT forearm, but the left ELBOW as well. Obviously warmups take a little longer, and I find myself massaging the area as much as I can between sets. Wearing a neoprene brace during training (a little extra compression and warmth) as well as ice afterward have also become daily rituals. A few things I find myself doing/using or not doing would be:

1- I haven’t been doing BB incline presses, instead using a Nebula Plate Loading machine. This has allowed me to still hit the upper chest (although it doesn’t feel quite as intense, but I’m trying to be smart in the long run here), but not worry about fully extending my arm to unrack, and then rerack the weight (which is what caused the jolt of pain in the elbow each time).

2- I’m using the seated lateral machine instead of dumbells. As a fan of pre-exhaust work for my delts, starting with laterals always led to me using pretty heavy dumbells. Obviously the forearm took quite a hit when holding the weights with arms fully extended during each rep. Using the machine allows me to not worry about added stress anywhere else by my side delts. Sure I may do a few light sets with dumbells after, but by that point, I’m pretty damn toasted, so my ability to hurt myself goes down considerably.

3- Although I have a day where I hit my Triceps (after delts and traps) directly, I’m also throwing in a little extra work for the left arm after I hit my chest. Depending on the pose, my glycogen levels, and whether I have a pump or not, the left tricep has certainly lost a bit of size over the last half year. While the volume is nothing I would consider an full workout, I try to mimic the movements I would normally do for both of my triceps. I’ll usually do a few sets of rope pressdowns (one arm), overhead rope extensions (one arm), and then utilizing the assisted dip machine, I face away, and while setting the pin for the full (200 lbs?), I essentially try to duplicate the movement of what a one armed dip would look like (waiting for funny joke/comments -lol)

4- Aside from those, I just try to avoid any lock-out portions of movements, as well as being very careful when getting a deep triep stretch (I like to do Skull crushers hanging off of an incline bench with dumbells).

S

In regards to your forearms, especially in regards to chin ups, have you thought about hanging a towel off the bar and gripping the towel? That would give your shoulders the freedom to rotate through the pull

So, one week in the books, and unlike past years, where there was a pretty big drop in weight from the get go, I’m only down one pound. What I attribute this to is twofold: firstly, I definitely wasn’t eating as many calories on a typical day before starting my prep this year, so the sudden shock, and downshift wasn’t as dramatic. I looked pretty tight for ‘offseason’, so I have to remind myself that a pound of fat loss per week is a good thing. Secondly, even on my ‘low’ days, I didn’t really drop my carb intake to what most people would consider low-carbing it (150g or so, breakfast and pre-workout). Because of this, I probably never really ran my glycogen stores completely down, nor did I experience the large drop in WATER weight that many people who drop their carb intake chalk up to actual weight loss.

Today is my first actual High-Day (I don’t give myself one the first week because usually that’s how I eat before starting a diet), so I’ll be pounding in carbs all day, enjoying a lovely leg workout later, and as soon as I finish typing this (and eating a giant bowl of oatmeal with banana Met Drive and Cinnamon), running out to BJ’s and Trader Joes to buy my weekly staples (Chicken Breasts, Tilapia, Liquid Egg Whites, Veggies, etc…)

S

Hey, better safe then sorry at the start a your prep right? Like you said, that pound is likely purely from lost body fat. Enjoy your high carb day. Oats and cinnamon are the best!

Today, my first ‘high’ day came out to about 3000 cals, 300g carbs, and about 250g or protein. I was hoping to get more in as far as cals and carbs, but the day just sort of slipped away from me (lot of errands), and I found myself using Cheez-Its as a carb source quite a bit today. I know usually I’m the ‘oatmeal’ or ‘poptart’ guy, but my younger brother is getting ready for his first show, and his particular food selections are quite a bit different than mine, and they’ve found their way onto my shopping list now. I was at his place last night, and knowing I’d be able to stick to my diet, I didn’t bother bringing my own food with me (which I normally would do). So instead of my typical meals of chicken breasts and oatmeal, I found myself snacking on entire packages of cold cuts, and cheez-its while we watched ‘Don’t Mess with the Zohan’, great brotherly evening by the way :slight_smile:

I’m counting on today’s ‘bump’ to give my body a nice shock when tomorrow’s numbers come out to 150g carbs and only about 2200-2300 calories.

Oh, and I’m planning on getting this week’s update pics on Tuesday. Today was Leg day, which always messes up the pics (get all pumped and you can’t see anything), and tomorrow is interval work, which when combined with low carbs, has a very visible effect on my muscles (very flat looking).

S

Awesome posts as always Stu, I’ll have to follow this up through the contest.

I’ve heard of people having success with elbow/tricep tendon problems by putting a tennis elbow band around the forearm, it’s supposed to switch where the pressure on the tendon is or something along those lines.

Have you ever tried something like that for your problems? Might be something to look into if it has a chance of even slightly alleviating your symptoms of your left arm problems.