The important parts are CAPITALIZED, so feel free to skip to those parts
I just thought I would give some advice/tips based on what i’ve learned from others/persona experience throughout my training.
(This is for bodybuilding… AKA building big muscles, not lifting the most weight possible/ego gratification. It’s for looking good naked, as opposed to being super-duper strong)
I would appreciate it if those who continually cause T-Nation threads to fall into chaos and senseless, childish arguments will simply read, and refrain from voicing their thoughts.
all others, feel free to comment and give your perspective/what you have learned from your training. THIS IS DISCUSSION, NOT DEBATE
TRAINING SAFELY, AND FOR MAXIMUM GROWTH:
Training safely and avoiding injury is the most important thing (besides overall physical health), it should be your number one priority, as injury will slow your progress…maybe even causing you to have to give up certain lifts, or even training in general. Injuries can be costly and can stay with you for the rest of your life.
I believe that powerlifting/lifting for strength, are very foolish ideas. I believe that methods like 5/3/1 will result in more injuries than growth, and should be avoided… i know that will turn off many here, but this is the bodybuilding forum. T-Nation has a powerlifting forum… so if you disagree, consider relocating to here:
That being said, i’ve adjusted my training over the years to be based completely around lifts/methodology that are both joint-friendly, and lifts that stimulate the muscle in the way that directly involves the muscle’s function.
-CONTRACTION (if you don’t feel the muscle working, it’s not working optimally)
-STRETCH (essential for growth)
-FEEL (the muscle do the work)
-VARIETY (sets/reps/stances/tempo… not necessarily exercises or routine rotation)
STAPLES OF MY TRAINING:
CHEST: DB FLOOR PRESS (CHEST MUSCLES ARE STERNAL/MINOR/MAJOR… NO INNER/OUTER/CLEAVAGE/WHATEVER)
Execution: have elbows flared out to sides (not tucked, as this activates triceps), and press and lower in a controlled, continuous fashion. DO NOT lock out your elbows, and DO NOT allow your arms to rest on the floor. Continuous motion is key here.
I know you may be thinking, “how can this be a good chest builder? you don’t have full range of motion!”. This is true, however when your arms go beyond the degree of motion that the floor press allows, your shoulder muscles not only become activated, but your shoulder joint is stressed and placed in a precarious position. Also, full range of motion is not essential.
Using dummbells is of course, superior to using barbells. The barbell floor press puts a lot more focus on the triceps in my experience, which is not what we are wanting, as we are training chest. The dummbell floor press also allows you to perform a type of "guilltione-type press (which is an OUTSTANDING movement for developing the chest)…this is done by moving your elbows further up towards your head (the inverse of tucking them)… you obviously do not want the degree to be too exaggerated. Sadly, this movement in the traditional way is VERY dangerous, and must be done with VERY light weight as a result. With DB’s on the floor, this is not the case.
Additionally, you can elevate your trunk slightly to give the movement a very slight decline angle, as DECLINE PRESSING TARGETS YOUR CHEST IN THE MOST COMPLETE WAY (EVEN THE STERNAL). If you absolutely MUST do incline… which Idk why you would, do incline DB on a VERY SLIGHT incline (1-2 45lb plate under a flat bench). (Incline pressing is basically all shoulders…)
give it a shot, and let me know what you think. People with torn rotators will benefit the most from incorporating this movement.
I also do WEIGHTED DIPS (slow and controlled, elbows flared), last set is a drop set to failure)
Reading John Meadow’s articles and studying his training principles has absolutely changed the way i train my back. I used to begin every session with Deadlifts, which was silly and not conducive to bodybuilding. That being said:
STAPLES: (routine generally follows this order)
- Row variation
- mid/lower trap activation
- Shrug Variation
- Deadlift variation (from floor or rack pull from various heights)
- Pulldown variation
- Banded hyper
1 ARM BB ROW
EXECUTION - Be sure to elevate the foot of the lat you are training (by standing on a plate). Pull your elbow back (no bicep involvement) as far/hard as you can in a controlled motion, hold contraction, and lower/stretch completely and repeat. Meadows Handle is very helpful here, not to much on the meadows row ironically (as you have to lean away from the bar)
(Meadows row is also excellent, my second favorite row variation, FOOT PLACEMENT IS KEY, and be sure to LEAN AWAY FROM THE WEIGHT)
MID/LOWER TRAP ACTIVATION (this takes a lot of focus, but once you hit it, you will know… high reps, low weight, I use this to activate the muscle, not build it) at 41 seconds in
example with barbell (I like this very much, but it requires far more in terms of set up than the rope example and squat racks are not always available)
SHRUGS (NEVER MIXED GRIP, same with deadlifts/rack pulls)Ã???Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢?? Everyone knows what these are of course, but 90% of lifters do them Ã???Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??wrongÃ???Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢?? IMO. With either a barbell or DB’s, 3 second hold, 3 second stretch, 10-20 reps WEIGHT IS SECONDARY (as it is with any lift). IF YOU CAN’T FEEL IT, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. (seated or standing)
After the mid/lower and Upper trap fibers have been activated, it’s time to trash them. Go heavy and hard here but KEEP YOUR SPINE NEUTRAL, and NO ONE REP MAXES. My top set is never less than 3 reps
PULLDOWN VARIATION (always done chest out, facing away from the stack for better stretch) 2-3 second concentric, contraction, and eccentric EACH
This is my favorite attachment. I love it so much, that I bought my own… Mine is wider though, about 34 inches
I also like close grip supinated pull downs
HYPERS (always done with band 1 second hold at top, BEHIND NECK to failure) do NOT go beyond neutral with your spine
SHOULDERS (high reps, drop sets, many sets)
PRINCIPLES Ã???Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢?? (DEEPLY influenced by John Meadows)
-REAR DELTS FIRST (high reps/sets to failure, hold contraction) rear delts should NEVER be an afterthought… they should be your primary focus
-reverse pec deck
-bent over partials
-bent over wide-grip high rows (basically a bent over row to your clavicles, be sure to hold contraction… this one KILLS)
LATERAL DELTS SECOND (high reps)
-partial laterals (no surprise here)
-lateral raise machine (slow negatives/forced reps)
-this movement (hits rear delts, traps… a very solid lift)
-cage press (gives me the best contraction, it’s also the only press I can do after my rear/lateral delts are pumped beyond belief) IMO the BEST/SAFEST press there is. Lock out your delts, not your elbows… try it, and u will figure out what i mean.
ARMS (follow John meadow’s principles entirely, the man is a genius) strong contraction, Slow controlled reps/supersets etc… TRAIN YOUR MUSCLES NOT YOUR JOINTS
-Tricep rope extension with FISTS FACING EACH OTHER (hits the triceps in a unique way, excellent contraction) light lockout
-Close Grip Floor Press, slightly wider than shoulder width grip (my gym has a smith machine that goes down to the perfect height, I use a false grip push and up and towards my feet with the bar, otherwise just do with a free bar up and down. ELBOWS TUCKED-ish NO LOCKOUT)
-Skullcrushers on ground: yep, you read that right… impossible to cheat, and you can’t put your shoulders in a precarious position. GREAT isolation (ALWAYS DO AFTER TRICEPS ARE PUMPED, NEVER BEFORE) Slow and controlled, no lockout
-Hammer curls (performed in John Meadow’s fashion)
-DB curls (palms facing out)
LEGS (John meadow’s principles)
(how I train)
-HAM CURLS FIRST (I prefer lying, with partials at the end of the final work set A la John Meadows. Vary stances, tempo, reps etc)
-SQUAT SECOND (varying depths, stances, and rates of descent, sometimes ALL IN THE SAME SET) 5-widowmaker reps (never lower than 5) NO LOCKOUT (I do some ets to failure after adjusting the power rack accordingly for safety)
-LEG PRESS (I cant feel these, so I dont do them)
-SLDL Ã???Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢?? I do these with 45lb plates even though 25lb plates will give better stretch. IDK why, but I feel them better. (before I perform these, I contract my glutes and hamstrings VERY hard for a good 10-20 seconds between my warm up and work sets… this helps to feel the muscle VERY well)
that sums this up. Next installment is lifting equipment.