Science and Practice Of Strength Training

After reading much of William Kreamer’s new book The Science and Practice of Strength Training, I realize just how much of training is an art.  So often I discuss training options with young trainees and they all are searching for that magic workout.  That one workout that will produce results for the rest of their training career.  That one workout that can be applied to everyone.  I am here to tell you that no one will be able to give you that type of workout.  There is no one perfect training program.  So much of training is application.  I can write a workout and one individual interpret it completely different than another person.

I go back to a main theme as of late.  The single biggest factor that determines if a training program will produce is training intensity.  How hard is that trainee really working?  I can write a workout for someone and witness their training enough to see that they simply aren’t applying maximum effort.  That workout on paper may be perfect for them as far as work, rest ratios but without high levels of effort we are just spinning our wheels.  In contrast, I believe we could have a workout that is subpar in format but if that trainee works with tenacity I can guarantee he or she will get twice the benefit of the first example.

Bottom Line.  Train progressively, train with great mechanics, train in a way that you have NO DOUBT you have given your best effort.  Followed by just enough recovery to be able to exceed that performance.

Have A Great Day and Stay Strong,
Michael

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Fat Loss Made Easy

I got your attention there didn’t I?  Well I am not sure that it is easy but it is just a matter of taking daily action.  Let me give you 3 strategies to get you going.

1) Strength train at least 3 days per week.  Study Routine 3 or Routine 2 in the categories section.  Be progressive and choose those basic exercises listed on those routines.

2) Perform cardio at least 3 days per week for 20-30 minutes.  Use the treadmill, elliptical, stairmaster, etc.  Get your heart rate up at least to 60% of you maximum heart rate.  Don’t get too hung up on heart rate just try to improve intensity of work each time you perform cardio.

3) Start writing down everything that goes into your mouth.  Cut back on your portions and drink at least 100 ounces of water per day.

There you have it.  Three basic strategies that I promise if you combine all three will move you to losing bodyfat and building back some of that lost muscle.

I highly recommend you hiring a coach.  I’ll plug myself here.  My online coaching program is awesome.  We will develop a plan together that will work for you.

Check out our new forum at www.buildmusclelosefat.org/forum

Truly,

Michael

Limits

We have all set limits on what we believe we can accomplish.   I have found many times folks just don’t believe they can lose body fat and get fit.  Many times folks have been very overweight a large percentage of their adult life and have grown to accept it.  The key is changing the way you think about yourself.  You must believe that you can accomplish your goals.  You have all the knowledge you need right now to take action and get the ball moving.

Believe in your abilities, RIGHT NOW!!  You can achieve your goals and dreams.  Its not the smartest or most gifted that get there.  Its usually those that are willing to take action and believe they will eventually achieve.

Have A Great Day and Stay Strong,

Michael

Discuss this on my Forum

Mr. USA’s Routine 3

Last week I gave you a preview of Routine 3.  For those of you following along on this journey I thought I would post this routine.  Routine 2 was extremely productive and I cannot at this point evaluate Routine3.  In all honesty I think it will work well.  We will have to vary training variables as the weeks progress to make certain we are fully recovered each training day.

Here is what the set up will look like:

Monday

Upper body High volume, High Intensity work.  Pick 6-8 exercises and perform at least 4-5 sets of various rep ranges.  An all out attack on upper body this day.

Tuesday

Lower Body High volume, High Intensity work.  Pick 6 exercise and also perform 4-5 sets of various rep ranges.  Whatever it takes to make certain we are training at super high levels of intensity.

Thursday

Total Body Training.  Choosing 7-8 exercises that cover the entire body.  3-4 sets per exercise of various rep ranges.  High Intensity but certainly not the volume per muscle group as earlier in the week.

Saturday

Total Body Training.  Choosing 7-8 exercise again that cover entire body.  Perform at leas 4 sets per exercise.  This workout at times will be higher volume and as high intensity as can tolerate.  On Saturday’s I don’t usually work so I can spend some time after the workout relaxing and recovering.

So the journey begins with this new plan.

FYI: I have an MRI Scheduled next Thursday to examine my back.  I have had back problems for years due to the knee throwing off my posture.  Once I get through that and if I get clearance I will be making a run at the Worlds this year.  We shall see I do have another appointment to check my knee but if things look pretty good with the knee and back I will be making a run at it.

Stop Blaming and Take Responsibility

Take Responsibility today for what you have or have not accomplished.  If you aren’t where you want to be don’t blame others.  The next step is to take action  that will move you toward your goals.   Blaming your situation on others is going to get you no where.  If you aren’t happy with your job, body image, or any other area in your life stop whining and get after it.  Decide what you want and go for it.

I have some projects I have been mentioning to my friends that have to get done.  I made a commitment today to get some coaching.    Often  we don’t have the necessary expertise in an area and hiring an expert that has gotten success can shorten our learning curve by 1000 %.   Modeling a successful person is a key strategy.   I decided today to take action.  I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by getting some help from a proven coach.   Take responsibility  and then take powerful action.

Have A Great Day and Stay Strong,

Michael

Steroid Use Does Have Consequences

I am often amazed at the choices people make.  Despite the evidence that the use of performance enhancing drugs can cause serious health problems and it is illegal.  Too often we are too easy on these guys.  Oh, yes it is a free country and they should be free to make their own choices.  But I disagree with the attitude of its OK and we all should forgive and forget and not enforce the law.

Look, some decisions you make do have lasting effects.  Some decisions do affect those around you.  We all  make mistakes and when we make those mistakes we often suffer the consequences.  If you get caught speeding you will probably get a speeding ticket.  Which will result in a fine.

Athletes and the local muscle head should be no exception.   The steroid using athlete does have an effect on those youngsters that look up to them.  The local muscle head that has chosen to use anabolics does effect others.  That local muscle head is looked upon as an “expert” and many will listen to their advice.  That local muscle head is probably the last person in the world to listen to, but that is exactly what happens.  Go to any large gym and you will see.  A muscled up juice monkey consulting a young, easily influenced trainee.   In my opinion, we must enforce the law.  If you are found to be dealing performance enhancing drugs or taking them, there must be consequences. Lets stop being soft on these situations and start standing up for whats right.

On a positive note.  YOU CAN ACHIEVE GREATNESS WITHOUT CHEATING.  But it won’t be easy.

Just my perspective,

Michael

Mr. USA’s Projected Workout

This week I decided to make some changes to my current total body routine.  If you aren’t familiar with what my training looked like I highly recommend you checking our Routine 2 in the category section on the right.   Change is an important component to any long term exercise plan.  Experimentation is key to propelling our bodies to higher levels.  Sometimes we make mistakes when we change things and sometimes its a good change.  The key is making intelligent, calculated changes.

Summary Of New Routine:

Monday’s workout will go from a total body routine to training just the lower body.  By doing this I will be able to train with much more volume on legs and applying maximum intensity.

Projected Workout: Leg Presses 5-6 sets of 30-50 reps, Calf Presses 5 sets of 30-50 reps, Seated Calf Raises 3 sets of 30 reps, Seated leg Curls (don’t tell anyone 🙂 )  3 sets of 10-15 ish

Tuesday’s workout will consist of training only the upper body.  This will allow me to train the upper body with high levels of intensity and volume.

Projected Workout: Incline Presses 5 sets of 10-20, Pulldowns 5 sets, Incline Close Grip presses 5 sets, Rows 5 sets, Lateral Raises 3 sets, Curls 5 sets4-14-08rehabweek4 002

Thursday and Saturday’s workout will consist of the usual total body training.  Probably big exercises very similar to Routine 2, which you have studied, right 😉

This new routine is sortof a Hybrid of total body, high frequency training and an AB, upper, lower split routine.  We shall  see how it works.  We should never stop experimenting.

Peace,

Michael

Strength Training Seminar Notes

Here is my notes from a seminar we did at The River in November.  These are just notes, not an organized written work meant to be published.  I am putting it up here due to many members wanting to see the notes because they weren’t at the seminar.

Benefits of Strength Training

1) Potential to build back lost muscle tissue.

**Research shows that adult men and women lose more than 5 lbs of lean body tissue mostly muscle every decade of life due to disuse. (Forbes 1976; Evans and Rosenberg 1992). See Attached Table.

Average American Woman’s Change in Body Composition During Midlife Years

Age 20 30 40 50

Bodyweight (lbs) 126 136 146 156

Muscle Weight (lbs) 45 40 35 30

Fat Weight (lbs) 29 44 59 74

Percent Fat (%) 23 32 40 47

**Regular aerobic activity is good for overall health it does little to prevent deterioration of skeletal muscle.

**A Study of elite middle-aged runners the subjects lost about five pounds of muscle over a 10 year period in spite of their extensive aerobic routine. (Pollock et al.1987).

**Muscles are the engines of our bodies. Muscle loss has profound impact on our bodies. Loss of muscle is like going from an 8 cylinder engine to a four cylinder.

Engine size is closely associated with fuel utilization. Less muscle tissue is largely responsible for a slower metabolic rate.

**Progressive reduction in muscle is largely responsible for a decline in metabolism by 2-5% per decade (Keyes, Taylor, and Grande 1973; Evans and Rosenberg 1992).

**When metabolism slows, calories that were previously used as fuel by muscle tissue are now being stored as bodyfat. Many times weight gain we call CREEPING OBESITY is typically due to fewer calories being expended rather than more being consumed.

**Dieting alone will not solve the problem. Dieting will exacerbate the problem. Extreme dieting will cause more muscle wasting.

**If losing muscle is a basic problem, then adding back should be the logical solution. Is it possible to build back lost muscle tissue? ABSOLUTELY!!

Many studies have shown that both strength and muscle tissue can be rebuilt at ANY AGE. (Frontera et al. 1988; Fiatarone et al. 1990; Campbell et al. 1994; Wescott and Guy 1996).

2) Build back lost muscle tissue

3) Losing bodyfat

4) Raising Resting metabolic rate.

5) Increasing daily energy expenditure

**Tufts University Study

Campbell and colleagues (1994)

After 12 weeks of strength training 30 minutes 3 days per week. 12 senior men and women added about 3 pounds of lean muscle tissue, lost about 4 pounds of fat, raised their resting met rate by 7 percent and increased their daily expenditure by 15 %. That’s 3 months of relatively brief training sessions that allowed them burn 350 more calories per day and lose bodyfat and gain back muscle.

6) Men and Women of all ages can increase their bone mineral density through strength training. Studies with senior men (Menkes et al. 1993) and senior women (Nelson et al. 1994) shown significant gains in bone mineral density. Indicating a reduce risk of osteoporosis.

7) Enhanced Glucose metabolism that may reduce the risk of adult onset diabetes. Research at the University of Maryland (Hurley 1994) showed a 23 percent improvement in glucose metabolism after 4 months of strength training.

8) 56% increase in gastrointestinal transit speed following 3 months of strength training. Which may reduce risk of colon cancer. University of Maryland (Koffler et al. 1993)

9) Significantly reduced low back pain with properly performed strength exercise. University of Florida (Risch et al. 1993)

10) Alleviate Arthritic Discomfort. Despite common belief proper exercise can relieve joint pain. Tufts University (1994).

11) In addition to physiological benefits strength exercise has many psychological benefits. Harvard University showed significant physchological improvements from s. exercise (Singh, Clements, and Fiatarone 1997) After 12 weeks of strength training 14 of 16 no longer met criteria of clinical depression.

Large Scale Study Conducted By (Westcott and Guy 1996)

1,132 participants in this study. Ages 21-80 years old.

8 week program 2-3 strength training session per week at 30 minutes.

Young adults lost 4.9 lbs of fat weight and added 2.3 pounds of lean tissue

Middle Aged adults lost 4.4 lbs of fat, added 2.3 lbs of lean tissue

Older Adults lost 4.1 lbs of fat weight and added 2.4 lbs of lean tissue.

**During this study participants showed a significant reduction in resting blood pressure.

** Basic finding that older strength trainees replaced muscle tissue at the same rate as the younger participants.

**Bottom Line Strength Training is Good For All ages and Vital to preserving the body through aging.

Myths Associated With Strength Training

1) Women Can’t Get Strong. Not True. Women can improve muscular strength at the same rate men can. Women must train for muscular strength.

2) Strength Training Definizes Women. Not True. Proper strength training has way to many health benefits to ignore it.

3) Lifting weights causes Bulky Muscles. Not True. The introduction of steroids into our society has caused this myth. The overwhelming majority of women simply don’t have the genetic potential to do this. Women don’t have significant amounts of testosterone which is a hormone largely responsible.

4) Strength training will make you Muscle Bound. Not True. Strength Training will if anything improve flexibility by strengthening muscles surrounding all joints.

5) More is Better. Not True. Better is Better and we have shown that small amounts of strength exercise can have a dramatic impact on body composition.

6) No Pain, No Gain. Not true. You may have some soreness after a training session. However, strength training should never cause pain in a joint. Change is necessary.

7) Muscles can turn to fat. Muscle and bodyfat are 2 different substances. You can either lose muscle or gain muscle or lose fat or gain fat. Explain the 4 processes

8) Strength training must be complex.

9) Strength Training is for young people. Already addressed.

11 Most Productive Movements

Upper Body

Pushing

1) Flat Dumbbell Press or Machine Press or Slight Incline Press Less than 45 %

2) Overhead Press- Dumbbell Overhead Press / Shoulder Press

Pulling

3) Overhead Pulling/ Pulldown/Pullup

4) Horizontal Pulling/ Rows Dumbbell/ Chest Supported Rows

Arm Flexion

5) Curls/ Seated Dumbbell Curls/ Bench Curls etc

Arm Extension

6) Tricep Pushdowns/ Tricep Extension Variations

Lower Body

7) Squating/ Leg Presses and Variations

8) Lunges / Walking and Stationary Dumbbells Preferred

9) Standing Calf Raises Variations

Abdominals

10) Basic Floor Crunch or Crunch Machine and Variations

Posterior Chain (Spinal Erectors, Hamstrings, Glutes)

10) Back Extension, (Dead lift Variation if safe for you)

Advanced Additions

Lateral Raises for Lateral Deltoids

Seated Calf Raises for Soleus Muscles of the lower leg

Warm Up Protocol.

Biggest mistakes I see is folks wasting potential energy with their warm-ups.

Example Upper Body Flat Dumbbell Press

Working Resistance 80 lb dumbbells for 3 sets of 8 reps.

Start Warmup with 40 lbs for 8-10 reps, then move to 50 lbs for 5-6 reps, then move to 60 lbs for 4-5 reps, then 70 lbs for 2 reps or so. At this point you should be ready to go.

Example Lower Body Warm up

Leg Press working resistance with 5 plates per side for 3 sets of 20 reps.

Warmup with 1 plate for 10-15 reps, then 2 plates for 8-10 reps 3 plates for 6-8 reps and 4 plates for 4-6 reps, Then go.

Total Working Sets For Upper Body

Per Exercise I think for body composition purposes at least 3-5 sets per movement. If you are training at or close to failure per set.

Total Working Sets For Lower body

Per Exercise again I think 3-5 sets per movement. If you are training at or close to failure per set.

Injury Free

Rep ranges, Exercises, Ranges of motion that will allow you to not damage joints or the body in any way. Some folks can’t squat or dlift due to lever lengths mechanics etc. Give example of rep ranges with my rehab.

Control Repetitions

One of the biggest mistakes controlling reps but not to slow. Balanced approach to rep speed. Balanced approach to training.

Repetitions For Upper Body

Generally speaking lower rep ranges are of value. Definitely below 10 has extreme value. Due to upper body tends to have a higher percentage of FT muscle fibers not always.

Repetitions For Lower Body

Generally Speaking slightly higher rep ranges may be more valuable. Above 10 reps. Our lower bodies have a lot more total muscle tissue and more of the IM muscle fibers and ST muscle fibers.

Frequency of Training

2-3 days per week on non consecutive days.

Muscle Group Recovery

Measure recovery with progress.

Volume and Intensity would determine Frequency. You have 2 choices. 1) Train Muscle Groups more frequently with limited volume and intensity 2) Train with high volume/ intensity and train at a lower frequency.

Limit Training time to under 1 hour. Preferable under 45 minutes. To much exercise can cause adrenal fatigue and a cascade of destructive hormones. Namely cortisol and a decrease in testosterone in men.

Progression

You can’t expect your body to change if you aren’t pushing yourself to either lift a heavier resistance or increase the number of reps with the same resistance. Basic progression.

Another way to progress may be through increasing the amount of work in a given time. Which would be to increase workout density. An Example would be how many pushups or pull-ups can you do in 5 minutes. Record and try to beat next time.

Injuries Prevention

You must learn to listen to your body. Learn which exercises are good for you and which exercises do not harm joints.

Sample Routine

Routine 1

Upper Body 1

Flat Dumbbell Press 3-4 sets of 10 – 15 reps

Pulldowns 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps

Shoulder Press 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps

Dumbbell Rows 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps

Seated Dumbbell Curls 3-4 sets of 10 -15 reps

Rope Tricep Pushdowns 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps

Lower Body 1

Leg Presses 3-4 sets of 20-25 reps

Walking Lunges 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps per leg

Back Extensions 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps

Standing Calf Raises 4 sets of 20 per leg

Floor Crunches 4 sets of 20 reps

Upper Body 2

Incline Dumbbell Presses 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps

Pulldowns 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps

Lateral Raises 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps

Chest Supported Rows 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps

Alternating Dumbbell Curls 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps

Tricep Extensions 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps

Lower Body 2

Dumbbell Squats 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps

Stationary Lunges 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps per leg

Back Extensions 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Standing Calf Raises 4 sets of 15-20 per leg

Seated Calf Raises 2 sets of 20 reps

Crunches 2 sets of 20 reps

Perform this workout on M W and F or T R and Sa

Upper 1 Monday

Lower 1 Wednesday

Upper 2 Friday

Lower 2 Monday

Upper 1 Wednesday

Upper 2 Friday

Etc, Etc,

Routine 2

Day 1 Monday

Chest

Flat Dumbbell Presses 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Incline Dumbbell Presses 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Shoulders

Dumbbell Shoulder Presses 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Lateral Raises 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Triceps

Rope Pushdowns 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Dumbbell Extensions 1 arm 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Day 2 Wednesday

Legs

Quads

Leg presses 4-5 sets of 20-25 reps

Walking Lunges 3 sets of 10 reps per leg

Hamstrings, low back

Back Extensions 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Calves

Standing Calf Raises 3 sets of 20 reps per leg

Seated Calf Raises 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Abdominals

Crunches 3 sets of 20 reps

Day 3 Friday

Back

Pulldowns or pull-ups 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps

Chest Supported Rows 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Posterior Deltoids

Posterior Deltoid Raises 2 sets of 10 reps

Traps

Dumbbell Shrugs 2 sets of 20 reps

Biceps

Seated Dumbbell Curls 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Bench Curls 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Changing Routines

I do believe changing routines can be very valuable. However, I think your training should be consistent for at least 8-12 weeks then possible changing to another routine. I like to think I have milked my training dry of all the benefits before moving to something else. Very often folks change too soon not realizing that the change was done in the midst of their best results.

Taking time off

Taking time off from training is quite valuable. I have found taking5-7 days off training every 8-10 weeks to be very beneficial.

Fat Loss Responsibility

Take responsibility for where you are today.  If you aren’t as lean as you want to be, take responsibility.  It is no one else’s fault but your own.  Stop blaming others and take radical action today.  I know, I know, I have heard it all before.  You are so busy, you just don’t have time to eat healthy meals.  Or life is so stressful, that you  just have to eat that unhealthy food to soothe your stress.  I don’t know what to say other than, if you want to achieve your weight loss goals you better stop blaming others and situations that life has put you in.  You had better start gaining control over your life, your emotions, and you had better start taking action.  That is, if you want to get it done.  Decide right now, are you ready?

Now get to it,

Yours Truly,

Michael

Mr. USA doing curls