The goal of this program is to gain some muscle tone/mass in my legs, especially calfs. Also, gain some size in my posterior delts (which I train on push AND pull days). I have grouped my chest, shoulders, and triceps together because they need the least amount of work. And finally to add some thickness to my back.
M: Hams/Calfs/Forearms T: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps W: Off Th: Quads/Calfs F: Back/Biceps S: Core Sun: Off
In addition, I mountain bike 40-60 minutes 5-6 times per week (not including 15 minutes to the gym and 15 back.)
After competing in my first natural bodybuilding comp I track my workouts religiously, including detailed notes. I figure I'll track my progress for 8 weeks and assess my results at that point. I am also trying out a 40/40/20 diet:
Adding tone/mass to your legs simultaneously would be challenging at best. I'd focus on beefing them up for now. Besides, the 'tone' or 'definition' in a muscle is typically all diet anyway. So build some muscle and then let your diet give you the look you want.
There is something to be said for a well-conditioned muscle. I think the best way to achieve a really polished look in your legs, or any muscle for that matter, would be to build it up with primarily heavy weights. Then start to incorporate more rep ranges into your training. I've found this to work well. The trick is on your higher rep sets (12+) you still have be grinding at the end. If you take it easy you're really giving your muscles too much of an opportunity to waste away. I know this from experience.
I recently began doing one minute rest intervals and aiming to finish workouts in 45-60 minutes. Also, I am learning to incorporate different tempos. I generally go two warmups and two working sets because I feel I can push a lot harder and focus on going all out.
Here's a sample ham/calf day:
A) Romanian Deadlift 15/15/12/8/8 B) Walking Kettlebell Lunges 15/15/10/10 B1) Unilateral Leg Curl 15/15/10/10 Note: Preformed ten additional bilateral reps on last two sets of leg curls. C1) Smith Calf Raises (toes in) 25/25/12/12 C2) Seated Calf Raises 15/15/15/15
A) Front Squats 15/15/10/10 B) Wide Stance Leg Press 15/15/12/12 C) Leg Extensions (toes in) 15/15/12/10/10 D) Barbell Hacksquats 15/15/8/8 E) One leg db calf raises 30/30/30/30
Well done on your placing and having the guts to get up there. I did my first show about 8 years ago and it's something you never forget.
If you're looking to add mass to your legs, I think your rep range is too high. I would add some heavier work in the 4-7 rep range. Also, I've found my calves to respond best when I add some heavier work in the 8-10 rep range (even as low as 6 sometimes). I would keep your higher rep sets in there, but heavier work could help.
Timing your rest intervals is something that is highly overlooked by many. I've been an advocate of doing that for years now, and it makes a huge difference in terms of overall intensity and truly tracking progress. Not to mention it gives you yet another tool to diversify your training.
60s breaks are good...but try dropping as low as 30s on some of your movements. It'll be quite a shock to your system and could help with overall conditioning. If you do add some heavier work, I'd keep those breaks around 90s or so.
As for tempos, the one thing I've recently started incorporating into all of my training are peak contractions (anywhere from 1s-5s per rep). They have been so effective, I will NEVER train without them again. Something to consider...
Thanks for the reponse. I found competing to be an extremely rewarding experience, I feel I have developed a lot as an individual during the six months that I trained for the show. I can't wait to see what I can accomplish with nine or ten months of prep and a well planned 16-20 weeks of cutting!
I will certainly give 30s a try, on an off note the only time I take a preworkout is on leg day. I use NO Explode and generally will use slightly more than two scoops. It certainly makes taking shorter rest periods a lot more bearable compared to the rest of my workouts!
I've actually just started using peak contractions, not for 5s, but I'll focus on contracting the muscle and imagine the blood pumping through it. I've used this particularly for calves at the suggestion of a fellow trainer. I'll have to play around with it on a couple other exercises.
As far as variety, I have always switched things up. Recently another trainer recommended taking two workouts, my quad and ham workouts for example, and sticking strictly to those two for up to 6-8 weeks or until I stop seeing results. I'd like to hear your thoughts or experience with that, maybe it's a good idea for certain muscle groups?
Yeah, peaks on calves has been crucial for me as well. I've recently started really focusing on the bottom of the reps too...coming to a complete stop stretching my calves on the negative as much as possible before contracting them upwards. It's too early to tell how effective this is...but I'm holding out hope
Variety is a tricky bastard. I've tried both doing different workouts each session and sticking with something for at least 8 weeks or so. I think they both have their place in a well designed training split, but if I had to choose one over the other I think sticking with something for several weeks before switching might be better. For me, it is difficult to gauge progress if I keep switching my exercises, order of exercises, etc. By sticking to the same routine for some time, it is easy to see if I'm improving. Either more weight, more reps, or the same weight/reps with less rest is all progress...obviously.
The difference between my first and second shows may have been one of the most explosive periods of my life! It sounds like you're well on your way to experience the same. The motivation and drive you'll have in your training will take you to a whole new level. You sound very eager and I'd bet you're gonna see some really nice improvements across the board.