So you have been working out hard, hitting the gym consistently for months. On top of that, you have been cleaner than a bodybuilder with the resolve of a Tibetan monk. Good for you, but there is something else you are probably forgetting: stretching/mobility work. It’s not sexy, its not fun, it won’t keep you in shape or make you dramatically stronger, but it can do something just as important. Preventing injury ensures that you can keep up your consistent workouts, and the stronger and fitter you get, the more you will need to actively work to prevent injury. Good old fashioned stretching will be one of your most important methods for increasing mobility, but there is another tool that every lifter should have in their arsenal: a good foam roller. Read on to learn more about foam rollers and how they can help you feel and move better, assisting in both injury treatment and prevention. read more…
If you want to gain mass, one of the most simple and effective programs you will see out there is the so called “squats and milk” program. It goes exactly how it sounds: you do heavy, high rep (usually 20 rep) squatting and drink lots of milk, preferably whole milk. Tons of people have followed this exact program and put on muscle ridiculously fast, but what few people realize is that this program is incomplete. In fact, this program started as the squats, pullovers and milk program. Old school bodybuilders made pullovers a staple of their mass gaining phases. Heavy bent-arm pullovers might just be the single best upper body exercise you aren’t doing! Read on!
For many people, weightlifting can seem like a complex thing. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, an effective program can be brutally simple. In my search for a simple and effective solution for gaining strength and mass through consistent progress, I have come to love 5/3/1. 5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training System to Increase Raw Strength is the masterpiece of Jim Wendler, one of the baddest dudes on the planet. At the peak of his powerlifting career, he had a 1,000-pound squat, 675-pound bench press, 700-pound deadlift, and a 2,375 total in the 275-pound weight class. Those numbers are insane. Want to understand the method behind one of the powerlifting greats? For your best gains ever, keep reading.
In the world of bodybuilding, it is a well known “fact” that after working out you absolutely need fast-acting proteins ingested immediately and a huge dose of simple carbohydrates to spike insulin levels. This is supposed to be the proper recipe for massive gains. This prescribed post-workout (PWO) nutrition plan has led to the explosion of whey protein supplements. And in truth, research does show that whey protein supplementation after resistance exercise does lead to increased muscle gain. But should this be the “gold standard” of PWO nutrition? What does the science say? As it turns out, perhaps the speed of digestion isn’t the only factor…
On April 3, I started an ambitious diet and exercise plan to lean out while maintaining my current muscle mass and strength. I had 10 weeks to drop approximately 5% body fat from an already lean 12% to hit 7% body fat. I am happy to report, the program has been a complete success: my body weight has dropped and, more importantly, I can see the results in the mirror. In spite of the lowered calories, I was able to actually increase strength on all of my core lifts. Want to know how I did it? In the end, my results came down to a plan based on 3 key concepts: the push/pull workout program, carb cycling, and Chad Waterbury’s PLP program. In an effort to best explain, in detail, how I was able to get these spectacular results, I have decided to devote a separate article to each component of my Strong and Shredded in 10 Weeks Program. In addition, part 4 details a few extra tips and tricks, the supplements I was taking, and my commentary on the changes I would make the next time for even better results.
Part 3 to my Shredded and Strong program involves adding in Chad Waterbury’s PLP program on top of carb cycling and the push/pull training split. The PLP program is simple, and it starts out very easy: do 10 pull-ups, 10 lunges, and 10 push-ups in a day, spread out however you like. The caveat? On day 1 you do 10 of each of the core exercises (pullup, lunges and pushup), but then on each subsequent day you do one more (day 2 = 11, day 3 = 12, etc.). Do not underestimate this program; the volume really adds up. As Waterbury points out, from day 31-60, “you’ll perform an additional 1,635 reps!” And that is on top of the 4-5x per week push/pull program! So what can the PLP program do for you? How about more muscle mass (especially in the back and biceps), increased fat loss, and enhanced recovery? Read on for the full details on the PLP program.
Want to lose fat while maintaining or even gaining muscle? Say hello to carb cycling, a diet strategy that has you adjust your eating to meet your daily needs, allowing for maximal results. By doing this, you can select several days of the week to be your “gain muscle” days while still having several days a week designated as fat loss days. A diet like this will be a little more complicated and require more planning than your typical eat the same every day diet, but the results will speak for themselves. We are talking about the potential for losing fat while actually gaining muscle. Read on to learn how to master carbs for the best of fat loss and muscle retention!
In my 10 week plan to get lean while gaining or maintaining strength, I had one key training system on my side: the push/pull method. The push/pull workout is a brilliant training system because it allows for the training of each muscle twice a week without overtraining. While it is commonly said that pro bodybuilders only train each body part once per week, what significance does that have for the natural trainee? These professionals load up on not only anabolic steroids but also clenbuteral, T3, insulin, and other potent yet dangerous prescription drugs. These allow for unattainable results for the natural weight lifter. For those without assistance, it is often better to increase the frequency of training rather than try to destroy each body part only once a week. This is where the push/pull program comes in: half of the training days focus on the pushing muscles (chest, triceps, shoulders) while the other half focus on the pulling muscles (back and biceps). Intrigued?
For those of you who follow my blog, I am sincerely sorry it has been so long since my last post. It has been far too long, and I owe you guys something special. Fortunately, I have something special in the works: a comprehensive 10-week weight-loss plan designed to strip off stubborn fat while retaining or perhaps even adding muscle mass. I am extremely excited about this article, and hopefully you guys are as well. This is a massive project, however, and I cannot guarantee an article until I am fully done with the program myself! So far, however, my results have been extremely promising, as I, an already lean person, have been able to visibly decrease my body fat by several percent while maintaining or gaining strength in all of my lifts. Right now I am about 2/3 of the way done with the plan so I would say expect the article early June. In the mean time, here is a video demonstrating pretty solid form in one of my new favorite exercises, the Pendlay row (look it up, I promise you will love it not only for the lat stimulation but also for its gentleness on the lower back):
While many guys have well-built chest and arm muscles, a sculpted back can take a physique from good to excellent. Unfortunately, many trainees tend to neglect their back, limiting their lifting potential and destroying the symmetry of their build. In the simplest terms, it can be said that a great back is built with rows and deadlifts. If you haven’t checked out my article on deadlifting (perhaps the single most important exercise for your entire body), you can do so here. In this article, however, I hope to be more specific and highlight the top 5 most effective back exercises. With these exercises in your arsenal, you can then take fill out your physique in no time at all!