Monthly Archives: January 2010

German Volume Training

Nick, Mark and I have trained hard on our latest program for about four weeks now. Although our bodies are starting to feel the cumulative effects of hard training, we still show up every day with the intent to push new limits! This week was no different.

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Similar to my show training, we are on an undulating program. The difference this time is the frequency of undulation–rather than a daily undulation, we are rotating through a weekly cycle. For example, week 2 was Medium Rep range. Week 3 was Low Rep/Contrast Training and this week (week 4) was High Volume, High Rep training.

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In today’s training, we followed the German Volume Training idea. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it’s 10 sets of 10 reps. Respective to leg day today, the three of us cycled through barbell back squats. The big boys could handle a good bit of weight on the bar. Personally, I have to error on the side of caution when doing squats because I’ve had a few low back tweaks in the past. That said, I am happy to have completed 135lbs for ten sets, which is a bit more than my body weight. On the tenth set, I did a burn out of 25 reps…Not a bad effort and I know I made Nick a proud boyfriend and training partner 🙂

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If you haven’t done this before, give it a try for a new challenge. Basic notes again, 10 sets of 10 reps. Choose a weight that is challenging and relative to the cummulative volume of reps!

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Contrast Training – Lower Body Day Cont’d

Just a few days ago, I began posting about Contrast Training – a set of heavy lifts, five to 10 reps, followed immediately with an unloaded, explosive exercise using the same movement pattern and the same reps.

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I demonstrated the Trap Bar Deadlift/Box Jump sequence –This is a bi-lateral movement which can also be considered a more hip dominant. The following superset is a nice complementary pair because it’s unilateral and more quad-dominant. When I train lower body and it’s contrast training oriented, I do these together on the same day. They can also be done in different workouts and still carry out an overall balance of training and performance.  

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The following video demonstrates a walking single leg squat paired with a split jump.

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How to complete the walking single leg squat:

  • Take a large step forward.
  • Pick up your back foot, sit your hips back and drop your back knee to the ground. (Make sure to keep your torso posture as tall as possible — a forward lean is normal, just be sure to keep a flat back)
  • Perform all walking split squats on one side first (8-10 reps), follow immediately with split jumps (6-8 reps) on the same leg. Take up to 30 seconds rest (only if needed) and repeat other side.
  • For an added challenge, try carrying a dumbbell as shown or wear a weight vest 🙂

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I received a great question today requesting contrast training ideas for chest and back. This is something I am doing a lot with right now both in my personal training goals as well as with some of my clients. In my next few posts, I will offer more on contrast training for chest and back including some of my favorite exercise pairs to accomplish both strength and power.

Sprinting: 1 – Steady State Cardio: 0

I was just about to post another exercise superset for Lower Body Contrast Training, until I did my regular quick check on T-Nation. I came across the following article and enjoyed reading this so much, I thought I would rank it as a must-share over the next set of exercises. 

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If you have followed my blog, I have preached this before and I’ll say it again– If you’re goals include a chiseled physique (not to mention the athletic benefits that come from this) then you ought to be adding sprint and interval training into your program. Regardless of whether you’re a physique competitor, an athlete or a weekend warrior– this applies to you! Check out Erick Minor‘s article on T-Nation called “Sprinting Towards Single Digit Body Fat.”

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This is my first exposure to Erick’s work and I think he has great stuff here…it’s an easy read and easy to understand–not to mention, very helpful in providing great program design. Check it out

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P.S. Do not misinterpret my message, I too enjoy a little steady state cardio here and there, but it’s more for cardio health, a good sweat and mental therapy 🙂 Sprinting, I belive, is far more aggressive when it comes to conquering your physique goals. I even find that those who claim “I will only run if I’m being chased” can manage a few bursts of sprint work. More tomorrow on Contrast Training for the Lower Body 😉

Contrast Training – Lower Body Day

“With athletes, contrast training builds strength and power simultaneously. For non-athletes, it’s a great way to tap into high-threshold motor units for hypertrophy, or to boost the metabolism to improve body composition. And while you’re accomplishing those objectives, you’re also changing up your workout in a way that’s fun and challenging.” –Nick Tumminello

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As my new program unfolds, Nick, Mark and I have focused on Contrast Training for lower body workouts. The above quote is an excerpt from Nick’s article on Contrast Training which can be found on T-Nation. What I love about contrast training is feeling both strong and athletic in my training session.

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A word about contrast training:

  • “Start with a set of heavy lifts, five to 10 reps, and then follow it immediately with an unloaded, explosive exercise using the same movement pattern and the same reps.”
  • “The key to contrast training is post-activation potentiation, or PAP. That is, the explosive capability of a muscle is enhanced after it’s been forced to perform maximal or near-maximal contractions.”
  • “To keep it simple, your nervous system supercharges itself by throwing more motor units — muscle fibers and the nerves that activate them — into the job, and by taking off the brakes that would ordinarily inhibit an expression of all-out power.”

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If you’d like to read more about Contrast Training, check out Nick’s article here. He provides a thorough explanation of contrast training plus suggested paired exercises. Again, a great way to increase strength and athletic performance…also known as bigger, faster, stronger. 🙂

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The following is our first pair of exercises that we complete on our current lower body training days.

  • Trap Bar Deadlift (4 sets of 8 reps) immediately followed by explosive box jumps (4 sets of 6 reps)

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Check back soon as I will give you the next part of this contrast training workout 🙂

Happy New Year!

Although two weeks into January already (wow), HAPPY NEW YEAR! I must say 2009 was filled to the brim with both change and accomplishments. Nick and I capped off 2009 with a great trip to Las Vegas for NYE. I am now enjoying the “normalcy” that comes along with January. I’m also eager to live and see what will unfold, plus what I will manifest, in 2010!

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Now, for training! To be real with all of you readers, I am working diligently to get my mind transitioned out of the holidays and temptations back to the competition stage. I was hoping to come back to the stage as soon as possible. After heavily weighing the level of committment I am ready for at the moment, I have decided that I am not going to pick a show date just yet. I love it and I will, but I am not ready to marry the zero deviation policy yet. I feel if you’re not fully ready to embrace those choices, you’re NOT ready yet.

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On the contrary, nothing great comes easy and if it were easy, everyone would do it. What separates my healthy lifestyle from competition season are even greater sacrifices made, more planning, prep and complete dedication to the stage. I am gearing up for the HUNGER (no pun intended) that will come when I’m ready. When the passion for the goal and committment outweigh any other choices and temptations. So to all you Physique Competitors that hit the ground running January 1st (or before) for the early spring shows–more power to you and I wish you allllll the praise I can send. 🙂

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What can you expect from me over the next few months?? Well, I AM on a progressive 15 week training program. I just started this past Monday. I am still training “as if” and dieting clean. I am training Monday through Saturday with two of the best partners I could ask for–Nick and Mark. My goals are to continue to create my best physique through hard training and a good diet/lifestyle. That way, when I DO chose a show, I will be closer to having the best that I can bring to the stage. Stay tuned to the blog, I plan to deliver training highlights and education over the next 15 week training phase.

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I will leave you with this…Today was an upper body day with an emphasis on pulling. We superset our pulling exercises with push exercises. I am happy to report that I am still able to crank out 3 sets of 8 one arm push ups (4 per side)  😉  

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Happy 2010!