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Old 03-05-2007, 01:38 AM
TxRedMan TxRedMan is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ty [censored] Cobb
Posts: 4,865
Default Q&A, three part post: Lifting, lifestyles, nutrition, etc. **LONG**

I wasn't kidding when I said I reccomend muscle milk, and i'm also going to really gear down and lose another 10 pounds in the next 6 weeks, i'm really close to having abs again:



here's a shot of what i'm taking:






This is the third time I've tried to do this thread. I cannot begin to tell you how frustrating it is to type out an hour long thread only to have the software not accept it when I hit submit, reaching a page that says 'form is no longer valid', presumably b/c these forums have some sort of time length in place for how long you can take to create a post. Please fix this, it's a terrible software error.

That aside, I'm going to give you guys a lot of information in this thread. A lot of you have PM'd me, and I copied and pasted your ?'s into the first thread but I'm too lazy to do it again, so anyone who wants to ask specific questions can feel free to do so in this thread. Please read the entire thread first. I'm not going to answer ?'s like 'how can i gain 15 lbs of muscle fast?' or 'i want to lose 20 LBS, what's best?'. If you have a mundane question read this thread or any of the other fitness threads that have been done in OOT, or make yourself familiar with google. However, if you have a ? that is specific to weight lifting, dieting, or the overall lifestyle, feel free to ask.

E.G.'s 'why pause reps for bench press?' or 'proteins before bed/during the middle of the night, why?' or 'how do i avoid burnout' etc.

The advice I will give in this thread comes from personal experience. I've had my knowledge on these subjects doubted and ridiculed by a few posters here because of one specific reccomendation I made regarding one specific lift, but I'm the only one who's shown myself and my abilities, and my advice is solid even when it differs from what an undocumented self proclaimed authority might otherwise like you to believe. The bottom line is that I'm going to share with you what I have seen work in my eight years of training, body building, powerlifting, dieting, and learning how the body works and responds.

I'd like to start by saying the following:

Steroids are for trained individuals who have tremendous self discipline and who wish to push their bodies past their natural genetic abilities in muscular development. I would estimate that 90% of the guys I know who have taken steroids do not look like they ever did, and ultimately wasted their time, money, and compromised their health because of non-education, lazy work ethics, and an attitude that the drugs would do the work for them. I first started using steroids when I was about to turn 18, 2 years into serious training, and although I was educated, I was nowhere near my natural genetic potential.

Now then.

Let's talk about lifting weights. Lifting weights has a lot of societal stigmas attached to it. Maybe there's some women that will read this thread (yo fluffpop), and say what I've heard 100's of women say in the past "i don't wanna get all big and bulky".

This is the second biggest myth about weight lifting. Getting big and bulky comes from eating. I challenge anyone here to attempt to gain weight while in a negative caloric state. The only way you can gain weight, whether it be muscle or fat, is to eat more calories than you burn. On top of that, you gain muscle by the ounce, not by the pound. I tell girls all the time that if they did the same routine that I do (assuming they're of a slim build) that within a years time they would be looking much more like a fitness model with toned legs and a firm stomach, and they wouldn't look a thing like a bodybuilder. It is very very hard to grow muscle tissue. I promise you this. I've spent 8 years lifting weights, half of which I used steroids, and I've added what I estimate to be 35 LBS of true muscle tissue. Please do not avoid lifting weights because you think you'll blow up into some sort of Hulk.

The second biggest myth in weight lifting:

"lift heavy to get big, do reps to get ripped"

When a noob would come into the gym and say this in our circle, we used to give him untold amounts of [censored] forever about this remark.

Folks- again, you cannot 'get big' simply by lifting heavy. The truth in that statement is that lifting heavy in most cases will build more muscle tissue than lifting lighter weights for more reps assuming you eat enough to let your body grow, i.e., you're in a positive caloric state.

Doing reps will not make you ripped unless you're in a negative caloric state, but I'm going to let you in on a little secret, a secret that is fact: your muscles already have shape. Your genetic code made your muscles what they are. You can add new muscle to the existing muscle, but you cannot change the shape of your muscles. Want biceps peaks like Arnolds? Tough [censored]. Want tear drop quads like Branch Warren? Sorry bro.

And furthermore, if you can't see the definition in your muscles, guess what? It's because there's a layer of fat on top of them that obscure and hide the definition that lies beneath.


If you're going to lift weights, you need to lift free weights. Machines have specific purposes, and should be incorporated into your workouts, but free weights should generally consist of 80% of your total sets. Why free weights? Because you get more bang for your buck. Learn perfect form and never stray from it, and you won't get hurt, and you'll develop strength in a lot of supporting muscle groups underneath and around the muscle groups you intend to work.

e.g.- when you're doing incline dumbell bench press with free weights, you have to pick the dumbells up off the rack, walk over to the bench, kick them up onto your knees and then hoist them up to your shoulders to perform the lift. This creates balance, agility, and develops smaller muscle groups as well as the deltoid/pectoral/tricep muscles that do the most of the work during the exercise.

Machines are good for people who have injuries, or people who just want to exercise their muscles while burning some calories, but aren't concerned about real muscle growth. There are some exceptions to this, however, as some machines imitate real movements very well and some allow you to isolate certain muscle groups. But the bulk of your routine needs to consist of bare knuckle lifts with dumbells and barbells.

If you wanted to become better at something, you need to look at everything involved. Let's take bench press for example. If I were to ask most of you what muscle group is responsible for a strong bench press, you'd likely tell me the pectorals. Truth is for most guys, the deltoids and the triceps are responsible for their big bench press, as opposed to just the pecs. The wider the grip you use on bench press, the more the chest becomes involved, and vice versa for the triceps and shoulders. Some people have such dominant shoulders that they take over their chest movements.

A guy who has a strong bench press will have strong shoulders and strong triceps.

I used to really be nuts about bench press. It was my lift. There was no one at the gym who could do more than me raw.

My bench routine used to go like this

135x10
135x10
225x10
315x10
385x5
405x5
455x3
485x1
500 negative
405x3 pause reps
385x3 pause reps
315x5 pause reps
315x5 pause reps
225x8 pause reps

Now, I wouldn't do that routine every time, but I did it often, increasing the poundages as I moved up or down in strength. I'd wait at least two minutes between sets and i'd routinely be on the bench for over an hour. The point is, I focused on bench a lot. You can't do 4 sets of bench press and expect to get real strong at it.

After I did that routine I'd do something like this

incline barbell

135x15
225x10
315x6
225x 5 pause reps
225x 5 pause reps

Dumbell flys

4x12

Then I'd go on to triceps

Narrow grip bench press

225x10 pause reps
315x5 pause reps
315x5 pause reps

Triceps pushdowns
1x12
3x8
1x6

That's how I achieved a 500 LB bench press.

Something to note here, and it applies to all lifters, is that once you acquire "feel", you'll instinctively know what to do in the gym. It takes a long time to learn "feel". By feel I mean how your body reacts, how it recovers, what it needs both nutritionally and physically. It's like being able to listen to your body talk to you. I never sit down and write out a weeks worth of workouts. I used to get workouts from the owner of the gym, but once I had tried just about every exercise I could, and I'd had success and made progress lifting, I just knew what I need to do. I knew what I did the last time, and I knew what changes I needed to make to change things up so that i wouldn't become adapted to a single routine or motion. I always changed something in my workouts, still do, so that I'm not becoming stagant. I knew what worked for me, btw it took me three years to find out that the above bench press workout really worked well for me- and it might not for you.

I know this is long and wordy, but this isn't a concise subject, and I feel that elaboration is neccessary.

I built my bench press using the above routines, but something that really got me over the hump was the incorporation of barbell military presses into my routine. I was always shy of them b/c of the possibility of injury, but when done in front as opposed to behind the neck your chance of injury while lifting heavy is much less. I would camp out on the military press and do 8 sets, almost always with a spotter- which- a good spotter is worth a lot in the gym, believe me, and i'd use a similar scale as i did for bench press.

135x12

205x10

225x8

275x3

295x2

315x3 with assistance

225x5 pause reps

135x12

If you want to get strong in pressing movements, you have to do lots of heavy pressing movements.

And let me say this about pause reps:

A pause rep is a rep where when you reach the bottom of the movement, you pause, not resting the weight, but holding the weight, then when you go up you explode and drive as hard as you can into the weight. This helps build explosiveness at the bottom of a rep and it's crucial for someone who does powerlifting b/c of the importance of explosion and the fact that you have to pause for some lifts, like bench press and military press in many power lifting federations.

I highly reccomend pause reps once you have achieved perfect form.

So I built my bench press by doing lots of flat bench, lots of military, lots of triceps, and going heavy.

The key to working out for me is motivation.

I can't really tell you how motivated I was at some points in my life. I was probably dangerously motivated to be honest. I could put myself in a spot mentally, in a situation, that would make my adrenal glands go nuts. I still can. I used to say to myself, "if you could change (x), x being a certain situation in my life) by lifting this weight, how hard would you push?" I didn't yell, i didn't scream, but I was so mentally engulfed by what I was doing that I at times probably had watery eyes thinking about it before a lift. That kind of mental determination accounts for more than you would imagine.

It's like Arnold said 'be here, now'.

Staying motivated means staying in the gym, i.e., w/o motivation you're just going to show up and go through the movements and get in, get out.

I was fortunate to have a gym near me that was truly hardcore, with guys my age and older who were seriously into it. I've trained with numerous bodybuilders and powerlifters, and I'm friends with one of Ronnie Colemans occasional training partner. So we shared info, we fed off of eachother, and it was a fraternity of guys who wanted to get big, strong, and in better shape.


Atmosphere is huge IMHO. If you're trying to lift heavy next to a 45 year old woman who's doing rubber band exercises on some inflatable ball, WTF?

If you can find a real GYM, you'll be better off. A place that has iron weights, a [censored] up floor, chalk on hand and rock and roll playing.


Okay guys. I'm going to take a break, but I'm going to update this, probably later tonight, with more advice on training back, legs, biceps, dieting, and the overall lifestyle and the effect it has.


BTW- down to a 34" waist, arms still at 19.25 pumped, weighing 218, bench is down a bit but that's expected.


TBC

-Tex


note: if anyone wants to see the link to my gym, they have a myspace page in case you're curious. also, i hope this isn't spam or whatever, but if you need supplements we pretty much have the best of the best, and only carry what the members want/use, so i'd be happy to give you guys the contact info.
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2007, 01:49 AM
kyleb kyleb is offline
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Default Re: Q&A, three part post: Lifting, lifestyles, nutrition, etc. **LONG*

tx,

Hey, great thread. A lot of great information in here, especially the part about the free weights. Can't be stressed enough.
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  #3  
Old 03-05-2007, 01:50 AM
Oranzith Oranzith is offline
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Default Re: Q&A, three part post: Lifting, lifestyles, nutrition, etc. **LONG*

truth
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  #4  
Old 03-05-2007, 01:52 AM
Thremp Thremp is offline
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Default Re: Q&A, three part post: Lifting, lifestyles, nutrition, etc. **LONG*

Tx,

A couple things I want to point out as really good:

1) If you ignore the warm-up sets, almost everything is high intensity, low reps and lotsa sets. Which is baller for the advanced lifter. You do some extra stuff for more volume after, which may or may not be a constant thing or when you were "enhanced" or not. Regardless its a great thing to mention.
2) Gym choice is very important. Eventually you'll want to find more than 100lbs dumbbells. Go ahead and rush into it. Do suitcase deadlifts with a wrap to make you feel manly with them.
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  #5  
Old 03-05-2007, 01:55 AM
TxRedMan TxRedMan is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ty [censored] Cobb
Posts: 4,865
Default Re: Q&A, three part post: Lifting, lifestyles, nutrition, etc. **LONG*

[ QUOTE ]
Tx,

A couple things I want to point out as really good:

1) If you ignore the warm-up sets, almost everything is high intensity, low reps and lotsa sets. Which is baller for the advanced lifter. You do some extra stuff for more volume after, which may or may not be a constant thing or when you were "enhanced" or not. Regardless its a great thing to mention.
2) Gym choice is very important. Eventually you'll want to find more than 100lbs dumbbells. Go ahead and rush into it. Do suitcase deadlifts with a wrap to make you feel manly with them.

[/ QUOTE ]


honestly, i've barely scratched the surface here, and i'm going to go into detail for beginner, intermediate, expert, juicers, etc.

thanks though.
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  #6  
Old 03-05-2007, 02:01 AM
nutsflopper nutsflopper is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Posts: 1,291
Default Re: Q&A, three part post: Lifting, lifestyles, nutrition, etc. **LONG*

gl w/ all that Muscle Milk
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  #7  
Old 03-05-2007, 02:03 AM
Warik Warik is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2003
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Posts: 2,840
Default Re: Q&A, three part post: Lifting, lifestyles, nutrition, etc. **LONG*

I suspect this thread is going to kick ass. I've bookmarked it.

Anyway, that's a massive bench and huge military press. How are your squat and DL?

p.s. holy crap that's a lot of Muscle Milk
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  #8  
Old 03-05-2007, 02:24 AM
theblackkeys theblackkeys is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Default Re: Q&A, three part post: Lifting, lifestyles, nutrition, etc. **LONG*

Have you ever been on a routine where you did 3 sets of 5 OR 5 sets of 5? (not counting warm-ups) What kind of results did you get?

Question about the squat: I think since I've just recently been doing FULL squats (2 months or so), that all my muscles aren't balanced. My knees tend to move a bit, they want to adduct (come together). I currently do squats 3 times a week @ 3 sets of 5. It's very hard to perform the sets btw. What should I do to correct my knee movement? Should I back off on the weight a little, do assistance exercises, change stance?

I also recently hurt my muscle or connective tissue where the pec muscle connects to the arm/shoulder, probably because I started too fast. I know I have to leave bench press alone for awhile, but was wondering if you have any guidelines I should follow. Also, I am able to do standing overhead press without a hint of pain, and if I replaced flat bench with OHP in my program, I would be doing OHP 3 times a week @ 3 sets of 5. Is this sustainable or should I do something else to compensate for my injury?

I would appreciate anybody else's input as well.
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Old 03-05-2007, 02:40 AM
Shadowrun Shadowrun is offline
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Default Re: Q&A, three part post: Lifting, lifestyles, nutrition, etc. **LONG*

share that myspace link i really want to see a "good gym" as you put it
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  #10  
Old 03-05-2007, 04:22 AM
TxRedMan TxRedMan is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ty [censored] Cobb
Posts: 4,865
Default Re: Q&A, three part post: Lifting, lifestyles, nutrition, etc. **LONG**

[ QUOTE ]
I wasn't kidding when I said I reccomend muscle milk, and i'm also going to really gear down and lose another 10 pounds in the next 6 weeks, i'm really close to having abs again:



here's a shot of what i'm taking:






This is the third time I've tried to do this thread. I cannot begin to tell you how frustrating it is to type out an hour long thread only to have the software not accept it when I hit submit, reaching a page that says 'form is no longer valid', presumably b/c these forums have some sort of time length in place for how long you can take to create a post. Please fix this, it's a terrible software error.

That aside, I'm going to give you guys a lot of information in this thread. A lot of you have PM'd me, and I copied and pasted your ?'s into the first thread but I'm too lazy to do it again, so anyone who wants to ask specific questions can feel free to do so in this thread. Please read the entire thread first. I'm not going to answer ?'s like 'how can i gain 15 lbs of muscle fast?' or 'i want to lose 20 LBS, what's best?'. If you have a mundane question read this thread or any of the other fitness threads that have been done in OOT, or make yourself familiar with google. However, if you have a ? that is specific to weight lifting, dieting, or the overall lifestyle, feel free to ask.

E.G.'s 'why pause reps for bench press?' or 'proteins before bed/during the middle of the night, why?' or 'how do i avoid burnout' etc.

The advice I will give in this thread comes from personal experience. I've had my knowledge on these subjects doubted and ridiculed by a few posters here because of one specific reccomendation I made regarding one specific lift, but I'm the only one who's shown myself and my abilities, and my advice is solid even when it differs from what an undocumented self proclaimed authority might otherwise like you to believe. The bottom line is that I'm going to share with you what I have seen work in my eight years of training, body building, powerlifting, dieting, and learning how the body works and responds.

I'd like to start by saying the following:

Steroids are for trained individuals who have tremendous self discipline and who wish to push their bodies past their natural genetic abilities in muscular development. I would estimate that 90% of the guys I know who have taken steroids do not look like they ever did, and ultimately wasted their time, money, and compromised their health because of non-education, lazy work ethics, and an attitude that the drugs would do the work for them. I first started using steroids when I was about to turn 18, 2 years into serious training, and although I was educated, I was nowhere near my natural genetic potential.

Now then.

Let's talk about lifting weights. Lifting weights has a lot of societal stigmas attached to it. Maybe there's some women that will read this thread (yo fluffpop), and say what I've heard 100's of women say in the past "i don't wanna get all big and bulky".

This is the second biggest myth about weight lifting. Getting big and bulky comes from eating. I challenge anyone here to attempt to gain weight while in a negative caloric state. The only way you can gain weight, whether it be muscle or fat, is to eat more calories than you burn. On top of that, you gain muscle by the ounce, not by the pound. I tell girls all the time that if they did the same routine that I do (assuming they're of a slim build) that within a years time they would be looking much more like a fitness model with toned legs and a firm stomach, and they wouldn't look a thing like a bodybuilder. It is very very hard to grow muscle tissue. I promise you this. I've spent 8 years lifting weights, half of which I used steroids, and I've added what I estimate to be 35 LBS of true muscle tissue. Please do not avoid lifting weights because you think you'll blow up into some sort of Hulk.

The second biggest myth in weight lifting:

"lift heavy to get big, do reps to get ripped"

When a noob would come into the gym and say this in our circle, we used to give him untold amounts of [censored] forever about this remark.

Folks- again, you cannot 'get big' simply by lifting heavy. The truth in that statement is that lifting heavy in most cases will build more muscle tissue than lifting lighter weights for more reps assuming you eat enough to let your body grow, i.e., you're in a positive caloric state.

Doing reps will not make you ripped unless you're in a negative caloric state, but I'm going to let you in on a little secret, a secret that is fact: your muscles already have shape. Your genetic code made your muscles what they are. You can add new muscle to the existing muscle, but you cannot change the shape of your muscles. Want biceps peaks like Arnolds? Tough [censored]. Want tear drop quads like Branch Warren? Sorry bro.

And furthermore, if you can't see the definition in your muscles, guess what? It's because there's a layer of fat on top of them that obscure and hide the definition that lies beneath.


If you're going to lift weights, you need to lift free weights. Machines have specific purposes, and should be incorporated into your workouts, but free weights should generally consist of 80% of your total sets. Why free weights? Because you get more bang for your buck. Learn perfect form and never stray from it, and you won't get hurt, and you'll develop strength in a lot of supporting muscle groups underneath and around the muscle groups you intend to work.

e.g.- when you're doing incline dumbell bench press with free weights, you have to pick the dumbells up off the rack, walk over to the bench, kick them up onto your knees and then hoist them up to your shoulders to perform the lift. This creates balance, agility, and develops smaller muscle groups as well as the deltoid/pectoral/tricep muscles that do the most of the work during the exercise.

Machines are good for people who have injuries, or people who just want to exercise their muscles while burning some calories, but aren't concerned about real muscle growth. There are some exceptions to this, however, as some machines imitate real movements very well and some allow you to isolate certain muscle groups. But the bulk of your routine needs to consist of bare knuckle lifts with dumbells and barbells.

If you wanted to become better at something, you need to look at everything involved. Let's take bench press for example. If I were to ask most of you what muscle group is responsible for a strong bench press, you'd likely tell me the pectorals. Truth is for most guys, the deltoids and the triceps are responsible for their big bench press, as opposed to just the pecs. The wider the grip you use on bench press, the more the chest becomes involved, and vice versa for the triceps and shoulders. Some people have such dominant shoulders that they take over their chest movements.

A guy who has a strong bench press will have strong shoulders and strong triceps.

I used to really be nuts about bench press. It was my lift. There was no one at the gym who could do more than me raw.

My bench routine used to go like this

135x10
135x10
225x10
315x10
385x5
405x5
455x3
485x1
500 negative
405x3 pause reps
385x3 pause reps
315x5 pause reps
315x5 pause reps
225x8 pause reps

Now, I wouldn't do that routine every time, but I did it often, increasing the poundages as I moved up or down in strength. I'd wait at least two minutes between sets and i'd routinely be on the bench for over an hour. The point is, I focused on bench a lot. You can't do 4 sets of bench press and expect to get real strong at it.

After I did that routine I'd do something like this

incline barbell

135x15
225x10
315x6
225x 5 pause reps
225x 5 pause reps

Dumbell flys

4x12

Then I'd go on to triceps

Narrow grip bench press

225x10 pause reps
315x5 pause reps
315x5 pause reps

Triceps pushdowns
1x12
3x8
1x6

That's how I achieved a 500 LB bench press.

Something to note here, and it applies to all lifters, is that once you acquire "feel", you'll instinctively know what to do in the gym. It takes a long time to learn "feel". By feel I mean how your body reacts, how it recovers, what it needs both nutritionally and physically. It's like being able to listen to your body talk to you. I never sit down and write out a weeks worth of workouts. I used to get workouts from the owner of the gym, but once I had tried just about every exercise I could, and I'd had success and made progress lifting, I just knew what I need to do. I knew what I did the last time, and I knew what changes I needed to make to change things up so that i wouldn't become adapted to a single routine or motion. I always changed something in my workouts, still do, so that I'm not becoming stagant. I knew what worked for me, btw it took me three years to find out that the above bench press workout really worked well for me- and it might not for you.

I know this is long and wordy, but this isn't a concise subject, and I feel that elaboration is neccessary.

I built my bench press using the above routines, but something that really got me over the hump was the incorporation of barbell military presses into my routine. I was always shy of them b/c of the possibility of injury, but when done in front as opposed to behind the neck your chance of injury while lifting heavy is much less. I would camp out on the military press and do 8 sets, almost always with a spotter- which- a good spotter is worth a lot in the gym, believe me, and i'd use a similar scale as i did for bench press.

135x12

205x10

225x8

275x3

295x2

315x3 with assistance

225x5 pause reps

135x12

If you want to get strong in pressing movements, you have to do lots of heavy pressing movements.

And let me say this about pause reps:

A pause rep is a rep where when you reach the bottom of the movement, you pause, not resting the weight, but holding the weight, then when you go up you explode and drive as hard as you can into the weight. This helps build explosiveness at the bottom of a rep and it's crucial for someone who does powerlifting b/c of the importance of explosion and the fact that you have to pause for some lifts, like bench press and military press in many power lifting federations.

I highly reccomend pause reps once you have achieved perfect form.

So I built my bench press by doing lots of flat bench, lots of military, lots of triceps, and going heavy.

The key to working out for me is motivation.

I can't really tell you how motivated I was at some points in my life. I was probably dangerously motivated to be honest. I could put myself in a spot mentally, in a situation, that would make my adrenal glands go nuts. I still can. I used to say to myself, "if you could change (x), x being a certain situation in my life) by lifting this weight, how hard would you push?" I didn't yell, i didn't scream, but I was so mentally engulfed by what I was doing that I at times probably had watery eyes thinking about it before a lift. That kind of mental determination accounts for more than you would imagine.

It's like Arnold said 'be here, now'.

Staying motivated means staying in the gym, i.e., w/o motivation you're just going to show up and go through the movements and get in, get out.

I was fortunate to have a gym near me that was truly hardcore, with guys my age and older who were seriously into it. I've trained with numerous bodybuilders and powerlifters, and I'm friends with one of Ronnie Colemans occasional training partner. So we shared info, we fed off of eachother, and it was a fraternity of guys who wanted to get big, strong, and in better shape.


Atmosphere is huge IMHO. If you're trying to lift heavy next to a 45 year old woman who's doing rubber band exercises on some inflatable ball, WTF?

If you can find a real GYM, you'll be better off. A place that has iron weights, a [censored] up floor, chalk on hand and rock and roll playing.


Okay guys. I'm going to take a break, but I'm going to update this, probably later tonight, with more advice on training back, legs, biceps, dieting, and the overall lifestyle and the effect it has.


BTW- down to a 34" waist, arms still at 19.25 pumped, weighing 218, bench is down a bit but that's expected.


TBC

-Tex


note: if anyone wants to see the link to my gym, they have a myspace page in case you're curious. also, i hope this isn't spam or whatever, but if you need supplements we pretty much have the best of the best, and only carry what the members want/use, so i'd be happy to give you guys the contact info.

[/ QUOTE ]

alright, caught a second wind.


let's talk about back and legs amongst other things.

i, like many other lifters, started out wanting to have big arms, a strong bench press, and hard abs. i really didnt 'care' about legs for two years. i would do squats, but nothing heavy, and some months i'd only do leg presses and extensions. then i got into powerlifting, and started to notice that besides the difference in strength, my body was growing disproportionate.

i reccomend very seriously that when you start a program, you do legs. dont' skip leg workouts. FTR- if you want to be a 'badass' you need legs. guys who have strong legs are going to have an edge in any physical confrontation. that aside, here's how i trained legs.

legs have a tremendous capacity for endurance! they aren't like any other muscle group you have b/c you are on them mostly all day. therefore they can naturally handle a large workload in comparison to other muscle groups, and, they're also a very large muscle group.

for many guys gaining muscle in their legs is easier than gaining muscle in most other parts of their body.

the squat is the cornerstone of any good leg workout. it's also the most grueling and exhausting movement you can do in the gym when done correctly.

i highly reccomend two things; first- get a belt. once you reach a certain weight you're going to need a belt, and for me it was anything over 225. it can prevent injury, it stabilizes your core, and these days i feel naked without one. secondly, i reccomend knee wraps for your very heavy sets. knee wraps increase hydrostatic tension within the knee itself which greatly reduces the risk of injury and also provides for resistance when going down, which, can actually increase the amount of weight you can lift.

squatting needs to be done with a spotter in a lot of instances. if you're squatting on a rack that doesn't have a rack below you to set the weight on in case of failure or fatigue, you MUST have a spotter. squatting can be very dangerous. guys have blown their bowels out squatting before, broken legs, and incurred all kinds of injuries- mostly due to lifting too heavy, but i can't emphasize enough how crucial a great spotter is in squatting and in the gym in general.


when squatting, you don't want to go all the way down to a catcher's stance, but you want to break parallel. i laugh as do many other guys when we see someone load up the bar and do 1/4 depth squats. do not do these! if you don't squat deep enough you won't develop strength in the bottom part of the motion and thus will never be able to squat heavy.

for a beginner i will reccomend this program for the first 6 weeks of squats, 2x/week:

10 minutes of low intensity stationary bicycling

2-3 minutes of back and leg stretching

(this assumes you are comfortable with squatting w/ weight, if you aren't, become comfortable with the movement first)

1x20
1x15
1x12
1x10
1x15
1x20

what the above structure does is develop muscle memory above all else. it solidifies good form, and it also will exhaust the muscles involved, but primarily i want you to use this high volume workout for the first six weeks so you can perfect your form in a very critical lift.

leg presses

1x10
1x8
3x5

on leg presses you can go as deep as you want on most machines. i.e., you can go deeper on leg press than you can on a squat. i prefer you use the same stance you use for squats when using leg press, or slightly narrower.

reverse hamstring curls

1x15
2x8
1x15

the keys you need to focus on while doing hamstring curls are a slow, controlled movement, a contraction at the top of the lift (flex) and a good stretch at the bottom of the movement. use your rep's wisely- don't blow through them- feel the stretch at the bottom and the contraction at the top of every set.

quadricep extensions

1x12
3x8
1x15

again, stretch at the bottom, contraction at the top.


For most of you, if you do this workout, you will want to die when it's over. The next day you will be cursing TxRedMan and his [censored] workout thread. But I dare you- I dare you to do this workout 2x/week for 6 weeks. And i promise you it will put you on the fast track to being in shape and having wheels of steel.

Intermediate workout

By intermediate I mean that you've either done the above workout 2x week for 6 weeks, or you're familiar to the gym and have done plenty of squats, leg presses, and the like, and have good form and some sort of muscular develoment in your legs.

same warmup as above; you have to do warmups before squatting! you do not want to pull a muscle in the middle of a squat! i've seen it happen! not cool!

Squats

1x20 w/ a light weight

1x10

1x8

1x5

1x3

1x6

1x10


Leg presses (pick either leg presses or squats, add/subtract the other from your next workout)

4x6

1x3

Hacksquats

3x8

2x5

Leg extensions (add or subtract leg extensions/hamstring curls from your next workout)

1x15

1x12

1x8

1x10

1x20

Hamstring curls

2x12

1x10

1x8



Here's what I did when i was juicing:


warmup as above;

squats

135x20

225x15

315x15

405x20 (yes, 20 reps)

475x8

495x6

315x15

225x20


Leg presses

1x12

3x8

Hacksquats

4x6

Leg extensions

3x15




I didn't do hamstring curls when I was juicing, aka for four years b/c i hate those [censored]. They kill my hamstrings.


BTW-

for intermediates and advanced lifters-

Every third workout, do leg presses w/ the same reps/sets that you would do for squats, but do leg presses first, then go to squats and do your leg press reps/sets on squats.

Also, every third workout or so i'd like to do what I called
hell on wheels

it went like this (i haven't done this in a long time, and i don't care to do it anytime soon)

1x8 on leg press (near failure)

immediately followed by

1x15 of leg extensions (the machines were right by eachother)

immediately followed by

1x20 of leg press

immediately followed by near feint, exhaustion, and twice throwing up-

i would do this three times to really shock my legs, and, it was sick cardio. if you want to become a beast, try it and see what happens.

For calves I reccomend standing calf raises primarily, with seated calf raises a close second. i never did get a good feel for donkey raises.

Here's what i have to say about calve training:

Do them slow. Most of us can load up the entire stack on the calf machine and do endless reps if we wanted to, so in order to lift for fewer reps i advocate doing slower reps. Flex at the top, pause near the bottom. Calves are hard to get big. Almost all bodybuilders struggle to get bigger calves, hence the implants. If your calves wont grow, tough luck. Some people have big calves naturally, others don't. There's not a lot you can do to grow bigger calves if you don't have the genetic makeup for it, and it's just that simple.

When training legs, alwasy remember that something is better than nothing. I've only met a few guys in my life who truly loved training legs, and most guys i've met never had proportionate legs in contrast to their upper body, so even when you don't want to hurl your lunch from squatting like i reccomended above, remember that something is better than nothing, so at least get in there and hit it for a littl while.

squatting is a full body movement though- i can promise you that if you took an untrained individual and tested his maximum bench press, deadlift, and squat, that, w/o ever training anything other than his legs, if his squat gets stronger so would his other lifts. bench press isn't going to get terribly stronger, but funny as it sounds, it will, and so would his deadlift. and i'm not kidding about legs in regards to a physical confrontation. i don't care how strong your arms and chest are, w/o a foundation they can't serve their purpose.

DONT BE A CANDY ASS [censored], TRAIN YOUR LEGS YOU [censored] NANCY BOY


alright. lets talk about back.

having a strong back is something that can actually come in handy in every day life. and like all muscle groups, it is critical that you stretch and warmup your back before you engage it in any sort of weight lifting activity.

your main exercises for back will be as follows

rows
pulldowns
pullups
deadlift

rows can be done on machine, with dumbells, or with barbells. from a powerlifting point of view, i prefer barbell rows over dumbell rows, however, from an aesthetic point of view i prefer dumbell rows.

dumbell rows are performed by putting one hand and one knee on a bench, the opposite leg behind you, and lifing the dumbell up towards your chest with your lat. any exercise that works a muscle group one at a time e.g., alternating them, is great b/c it doesn't allow one muscle to dominate the other. in dumbell rows be sure to stretch and contract, and make sure you do the exercise in a manner that makes your lat do the work, not your bicep, although you will feel your bicep working in the movement, hence why some guys do back with biceps, b/c of the preexhaustion that occurs when doing back.

barbell rows are done with a belt preferably.

load up a barbell, bend slightly at the knees and try and keep your back fairly straight, although i've found that for me and many others, we can have an arch in our back and not injure ourselves and get better tension in the movement via a longer motion and a better stretch at the bottom.

you will sometimes see barbell rows performed on a platform, extending the length of the movement.

it's rather simple, really, pull the weight up into your midsection, contract, let it down, stretch, repeat.

for barbell rows- an exercise that's geared for building a massive back and overall strength, i'm going to reccomend the following for beginners:

1x15
2x12
1x10
1x8


if you're familiar w/ the exercise then i'd use something close to this

1x12
1x8
2x6
1x3

I prefer to do my barbell rows on the same day i do deadlift, so i'll always do my deadlifts first BTW.

Deadlift is a sick lift, really. Your blood pressure does crazy things during a heavy deadlift. A lot of guys have passed out after a heavy deadlift before, so be careful, but don't be alarmed if a lot of blood goes rushing after you put the bar down.

Deadlifts strengthen the entire back, but mostly the lower back, as well as the quadriceps to some extent, the trapezius muscles, the biceps, the forearms, and of course your grip.

there are many ways to do deadlift. i prefer a standard stance, just about shoulder width apart. bend at the knees and grab the bar, pull it in close to your shins, and lift. i prefer an alternating grip, one hand over one hand under.

i never ever deadlift w/o a belt. NEVER.

you don't want a hernia [img]/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

deadlifts, IMO, should be done heavy.

for a beginner

1x15
1x12
1x10
1x8

for all else;

1x12
1x8
2x5
2x3

When deadlifting, don't lower the weight down slowly. This is the only time i wont advocate taking the weight down slowly. You run the risk of injury when you take the weight down too slow and you also burnout your supporting muscles. The weight should slam when it hits the ground. It will be loud, it might scare others, but that's deadlifting for you.


Lat pulldowns;

lat pulldowns are the best of the machine exercises IMO. lat pulldowns are very similar to pullups, however i prefer them over pullups b/c i've never been able to achieve the same feeling and isolation of the lats when doing pullups.

lat pulldowns will develop width in your lats.

i will usuall do a routine as follows:

1x15
1x12
1x10
1x8
2x6
1x10
1x12
1x15

And i've measured over 60" in the chest b/c of that.

Again, stretch at the top and contract at the bottom, although don't hold the contraction as long as other contractions for other muscle groups.


On a lat pulldown machine I've developed an exercise that I really love. I don't know if there's a name for it, but it's performed by standing up, a few feet back from the banch you sit on, and then with your arms fully extended, pulling the bar down to below your waist. Try it, you'll like it.


Those exercises are what i've primarily used for back, with variations through out. You can find rowing machines in your gym with all sorts of different angles and attachments. Since there's not a huge assortment of exercises for the back, i'll often make good use of the different kinds of bars and attachments I can use during my workouts. Something as slight as changine the angle of the bar or the position of the grip can have a profound effect on how the exercise works your muscles.


I will reccomend that you do biceps on your heavy back days, or to at least not do biceps the day before or after doing back. You can do back/shoulders, but I think for a lot of people the biceps will try to take over so much of a back workout that it makes sense to do biceps on back day for that very reason.




let's talk a little about nutrition:

first of all, i don't know about you, but trying to eat 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight is impossible for me. and some idiots will actually reccomend this to people who are trying to gain weight/muscle. IMHO, it's not so much how much protein you eat, but much more what kind of protein you eat, and when you eat it i.e., soy protein is < egg protein <whey protein > milk protein.

for me, at 220 LBS, if I can get 200 grams of protein in per day i'm doing just fine, especially since the following happens every day for me

35 grams of protein as soon as i wakeup

30 grams of protein during lunch

35 grams of protein mid afternoon

45 grams of protein immediately after workout consisting of one muscle milk and 10 amino acid tabs

30 grams of protein at dinner time

45 grams of protein at bed time

10 grams of protein when i wakeup to take a piss




This is something you need to remember and should serve you well: you grow when you sleep. You do not grow when you are awake. What you are doing in the gym is tearing down old muscle tissue, in the hopes that your body will grow new tissue over it- more tissue than was there before. Therefore, giving your body protein before bedtime gives you a better chance to ensure that protein will be used for receovery- not for energy/metabolism needs as it can be during the day time assuming your body doesn't have the carbs it needs.

Protein at bedtime= smart.


i'll talk a lot more about diet in the next update and will start to answer some ?'s.



-Tex
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