Back to Bodybuilding
For the last 3 months, I was in the midst of what I would consider one of the most fun and very productive workout phases. For those that haven't been following along, the training consisted of a hybrid of bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, and functional movements and techniques. To say that the popularity of Crossfit has influenced a lot of movements that are now being used in the fitness world would be an understatement. But now that I finished that phase of training (as well as getting back from the first week long vacation I have taken in over 8 years), my body is crying out to get back to its roots.
Those roots are BODYBUILDING!
I'm talking about the type of training that was responsible for building the physique you see in the pictures above. And the previous 3 months of training has allowed me to accumulate momentum to handle the intensity that I'm about to instill on myself.
What you got in the past three workout posts was a look back at what I did. Now you are getting it real time. Throughout July, August, and September, the focus will be almost on a pure bodybuilding phase. And you are going to get every bit of it (training, cardio, nutrition, supplements) while I am doing it. With this very first post of the series, let's tackle the training.
The Workout Template
There are some big changes in this phase of training compared to the last one.
- More focus on the pure muscle building and body sculpting exercises
- More over all workout days within a week, but hitting each muscle group less
- Greater volume of sets per muscle group per workout
- Greater number of exercises per muscle group used, ensuring stimulus through a full range of leverages/positions of flexion
- Training to failure on a greater number of sets per workout
- Greater use of intensity techniques such as forced reps, drop-sets, etc.
- Less use of explosive movements like hang cleans, power cleans, snatches, etc.
That's just a short list of some of the differences. I will also use a raw version of an "Instinctive Training" principle. I will have a general outline of what I am hitting on each day, but there will be some option in exercise selection. And that option will greatly rely on what I feel I can give 100% intensity that particular day, what I really feel like doing, and what may be available in a crowded commercial gym.
Let's take a look at the template:
Monday: Shoulders and Triceps
A) Shoulder Press (any version): After a complete warm-up, 3 sets of 4-6 reps
B1) Upright Row (barbell, EZ bar, or cable attachment with rope): 3 x 6-8
B2) Side Lateral Raise (dumbbell or machine): 3 x 8-12
C) 1-Arm Cable Side Lateral, 1-Arm Inclined Side Lateral, or DB or BB Front Raise: 2 double drop-sets of 8-10/4-5/4-5
Update: After presses, I am now super-setting Side Laterals with Bent Laterals for 3 sets of 8-12 reps each. Then I do one or two drop sets of Upright Rows.
A) Closegrip Bench Press, Squeeze Press, or Dips: 3 sets of 4-8 reps
B1) Overhead Cable Extension (rope or cambered bar): 3 x 8-12
B2) Pushdowns (same attachment used in B1): 3 x 8-10
C) Lying Extensions (EZ bar or DB): 2 double drop-sets of 6-8/3-4/3-4
Tuesday: Quads and Calves
A) Box Squat or Trap-Bar Deadlift: After a complete warm-up, 3 sets of 4-6 reps
B1) Hack Squats or Leg Press: 3 x 6-8
B2) Walking Lunges or Step-ups: 3 x 8 per leg
C) Leg Extensions: 2 double drop-sets of 8-12/4-6/4-6
Update: After Squats, TB Deadlifts or (now) Leg Presses done for the heavy straight sets, I am super-setting Leg Extensions with either Walking Lunges or DB Squats, both for 3 sets of 8-12 reps. Then I do one drop set of Leg Extensions.
For calves, I stagger between sets of Standing Calf Raise (2-3 sets x 6-8 reps) and Seated Calf Raise (2-3 sets x 8-12 reps)
A) Barbell Curl: After a complete warm-up, 2-3 sets of 4-6 reps
B1) Dumbbell Curl (regular or hammer style): 3 x 6-8
B2) Incline DB Curl: 3 x 8-10
C) Preacher Curl, Spider Curl, or Cable Curl: 2 double drop-sets of 8-10/4-5/4-5
A) Barbell Press (Incline or Flat): After a complete warm-up, 3 sets of 4-6 reps
B1) Dumbbell Press (opposite choice of exercise "A"): 3 x 4-6
B2) Dumbbell Flye (same angle as "B1"): 3 x 8-10
C) Machine or Cable Flye/Crossover: 2 double drop-sets of 8-10/4-5/4-5
Update: I'm now doing the super-set in pre-exhaust style where flyes are performed first and presses second.
Friday: Hamstrings/Low Back and Calves
A) Seated Leg Curls: After a complete warm-up, 2 sets of 6-8 reps
B1) Lying Leg Curls: 3 x 6-8
B2) Romanian/Stiffleg Deadlift (BB or DB): 3 x 8-10
C) Low Back Extensions: 1 double drop-set of 8-12/4-6/4-6
Update: I'm now doing Stiffleg Deadlifts for the heavy straight sets. Then I super-set Leg Curls with Low Back Extensions, both for 3 sets of 8-12 reps each. I then finish off with one drop-set of Leg Curls.
Calf work is the same as Tuesday.
Saturday: Back/Traps/Rear Delts (alternate these 2 workouts week to week)
Back Workout #1
A) Pull-up: After a complete warm-up on Pulldowns, 3 sets of 4-6 reps
B1) Row (barbell, T-bar, or low row): 3 x 4-6
B2) Bent Laterals or Shrugs: 3 x 8-10
C) Pulldown (any version): 2 double drop-sets of 8-10/4-5/4-5
Back Workout #2
A) Bent Row or T-bar Row: After a complete warm-up, 3 sets of 4-6 reps
B1) Pulldowns or Pull-ups (any grip): 3 x 4-6
B2) Stiff-arm Pulldowns or DB Pullovers: 3 x 8-10
C) Low Cable Row (I use a variety of grips): 2 double drop-sets of 8-10/4-5/4-5
That's it. Some things worth noting:
- Most "A" exercises are done Max-OT style with failure reached within the 4-6 rep range
- Warm-ups preceding exercise "A" consist of 2 sets of 10-12 at 50% work-set weight, 1 warm-up set of 6 at 75%, and 1 warm-up of 1-3 reps around 90%
- B1 and B2 exercises are to be supersetted. No rest going from B1 to B2. Rest 1-2 minutes after B2. Repeat for suggested sets.
- "C" exercises are all done for a drop-set. Pick a starting weight where failure is reached in the suggested rep range (mostly 8-10), drop weight by 20% and continue to failure (usually getting half the reps I did in the first part), drop the weight by another 20% and continue one more time to failure.
- Optional extra work: at the back end of each workout, I will either do 10 minute of ab work or 20 minutes of cardio. I alternate these two on a day to day basis. I will cover this fully in the next post.
It feels good getting back to my roots after months and months of other styles of training. Who knows? I may get the bug to compete again. After all, I probably should do at least 1 Master's competition before I retire my posing suit for ever :-)
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