Second round of legs, all in the back side

tom-platz-hamstringsThis week, I’m testing six new routines as part of my upcoming cutting program. The plan is to use a 3-day split run 6-on, 1-off, with Sunday as my rest day.

Last night was the second and final leg workout for the week, and unlike Tuesday’s leg session, this one was all hamstrings and glutes.

Truth be told, my legs, and especially my glutes, were still pretty sore from Tuesday… that workout was off-the-charts hard. Still, after a little light stretching and a couple of warmup sets, it didn’t seem to interfere with my ability to move through this workout.

I followed the program as written. Here’s how it breaks down:

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First of the back, trap and biceps sessions

IMG_20150410_163026Worked through the first of two back, trap and biceps workouts last night. This session was largely oriented in the vertical plane, so lots of pulling work.

With all of the workouts in this cutting phase, I am focused on density; getting more work done in less time with just enough stimulus to maintain lean mass. That means all rest intervals are kept to sixty seconds or less. As a result, the routine looks a little light on pure lat work, with only one pull-up movement programmed.

Here’s the routine as written:

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Chest, shoulders and tris, oh my

arnold-schwarzenegger-square-pecsContinuing on from yesterday’s post about my new cutting program, I ran through the first of the two chest, shoulder and triceps routines last night.

As with each of the other splits, this routine has a different emphasis and focuses largely on pushing, with a little ancillary shoulder work.

All in all, the programming was pretty close, needing just a few tweaks and a little improvisation to feel right.

Here’s the breakdown:

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The journey to 190lb is over… for now

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.51.46 AMAs most of you are are now painfully aware, I’ve been pushing hard on this latest bulk to reach 190lb. Alas, my window closed this morning with 187.75lb showing on the morning scale.

Still, I’m not disappointed.

I’ve learned a lot about my body this last six months and managed to add quite a bit of size to my frame. Said differently, I’ve created a really solid foundation for the upcoming cut, and ultimately for another run at size in the new year.

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First leg workout was spot on

kettlebells-with-towel-on-gym-floorI’ve been working on my cutting plan for the last week or so and eventually settled on a three day split, run six on, one off. Aggressive, yes, but as my good friend and top-drawer bro Bryan Krahn pointed out, it will work!

My first cut of the programming had me working the same split twice in the week, but after chatting it through with Bryan, I settled on two separate workouts for the splits, each with different characteristics.

This week, I am running through the programming to test the setup, intensity and timings, and last night was the first of the two leg workouts.

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Full body workout

dumbbells-on-floorWith travel and work schedule this week, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to maintain my normal three day split and six training-day setup, so I committed early to change in plans. With just three days carved out for training, I hit a lower body session, upper body session, and today, I hit an all-body workout.

Given I’ve been concerned recently with how much is enough, I thought I’d share the [improvised] program along with some narrative as to how it went. I am not going to list the weights used, as that is relevant to me only. Suffice to say the weights were at a level where I was leaving a two-to-three reps in the tank, give or take — so 80-90% of max loads for the given rep-range. Lots of supersets designated with “ss/”.

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How much is enough?

IMG_20150517_101515There are many aspects of bodybuilding that still confuse me greatly. However, there’s one question in particular that perplexes me more than any other: How much is enough?

The question of how hard to train, and how often, still has me beat on the best of days. It’s also likely the single biggest driver of program changes for me, and probably many others. Why? Because the question of splits, rep-ranges and protocols can not easily be untangled from the questions of load, volume, frequency and intensity.

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Tenets of my upcoming cutting program

Helmut Strebl
There are few leaner than Helmut Strebl!

Just three weeks or so now until the next weigh-in, and unless something changes between now and then, the plan is to up the density of my workouts and start a cut. Hence, my attention is slowly shifting to what that workout and diet will look like and how I’ll approach the overall process.

Based on what I’ve learned over the last year or so of training, here’s what I’m envisioning as the key tenets of my cutting regimen:

  • Build an enjoyable program
  • Focus on density
  • Eat as much as possible while still making progress
  • Minimize cardio

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Finally able to eat more

picZLz4xFIt’s taken weeks, perhaps even three months or more, but I finally seem to have increased my capacity to eat. Sure, I still can’t sit and eat a single, blow-out meal, but I can at least now eat at a decent clip every two hours and not feel like I am dying.

When I first started this latest bulking cycle, increasing my intake to the point where I could hold and make gains was brutally hard. Gut was permanently distended and I was not remotely hungry from the point I finished breakfast right up until I’d hit the sack. It was really pretty depressing and I wanted to bail on the bulking process more than once.

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It’s a volume play

arnold-concentration-curlJust started a new program in the gym this week; a twelve-week, high-volume hypertrophy workout. High is always relative of course, but this program is definitely high volume for me, working all muscle groups two-times per week over six days.

It’s been a long time since I worked out more than five days a week consistently, and truth be told, I am pretty stoked. Not least of which is because training days means carbs! And who doesn’t love carbs?

The challenge for me with this workout will be moderation.

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