Training methods...



Now and then, old training methods seem to appear out of nowhere. You know that old saying,"what goes around comes around." It's all a quest to discover the ultimate workout when the one you're using isn't working anymore. If you go back and look at some of the routines from long ago, say in the 60's when the legends ruled, you'll find various specialty routines that actually worked well without the aid of something you stick in your butt. Let me acquaint you with a few...

Supersets...I remember when this term was first introduced when bodybuilders were trying to find ways to keep their muscles from going stale. It involves a principal where you train two bodyparts alternately. Let's say you want to work arms, that means biceps and triceps. Start with a set of close grip curls then without resting go to tricep pushdowns, then you can rest, say for a minute. Don't rest between the supersets. One important thing to remember, keep you're reps low in the 6 to 8 range. The reason being, if you're working to larger muscle groups such as chest and back, you may get so winded that you end up cheating one bodypart of growth stimulation. You will find that the muscles will be gorged with blood and the pump is fantastic. But remember to make sure you push yourself as far as the poundages used. If you don't force the muscle areas to grow, they won't. Here's a down side, sometimes it's difficult at the gym to set up the weights for both exercises when alot of people are training. Somebody always wants to walk away with your dumbells or take over your machine. Begin with a light warmup set just to get the blood flowing, then do 2 sets and make sure their intense. As usual, give this system a chance. Do it 5 to 6 weeks and watch the results.

One Set...I've used the term "Overtraining" quite alot and there's a good reason. It's very easy to workout more than you need. You'll always wonder if you should do one more set or rep. There will always be times on your day off, that you want to go back to the gym. But it's the amount of rest you get that makes your muscles grow. There was a bodybuilder back in my younger days by the name of Mike Mentzer. He introduced a principle where you worked 2 bodyparts per workout and 1 set per exercise. It is way to shorten your training sessions by 50% and increase your intensity by 100%. His belief was that you can train long or you can train hard,but you can't do both successfully. Here's the meat of the workout. You'll start out with a light set as usual and do about 20 reps, rest 10 seconds then do another set. After a short rest, another 10 seconds, load up the bar and do as many as you can, short rest then do it again. Then you can start strip sets,negatives or forced reps. In essence, since you're only resting a few seconds, it appears as though it's one set done until the muscle area is totally fatigued. Right away you'll notice how short your workout was and soon discover that you will need to rest those muscles. Actually, when Mike was training competitively, he would only work the muscle groups twice a week. Needless to say, this program is not for everyone. You have to keep an open mind and bump up your intesity level a notch or two. Let me also mention that he did 2 movements for the larger bodyparts, but only one set for the smaller ones, like the biceps and triceps. Although the shoulder area got a total of 3 sets. One for each head.

Negatives...this method of training is another way to jumpstart your muscle strength and size. There are two phases to each rep performed. Positives and Negatives. Obviously the positive aspect is the concentric phase which you raise or push the weight and the eccentric which you lower the weight or return it back to it's original position. Most people believe that the muscle only contracts during the concentric movement, but the muscles continues to contract when you slow the weights movement back to it's starting position. The next time your working out, look around and find the guy who only concentrates on half of the exercise. There's been recent studies that show improved muscle strength when programs concentrate on the negative phase. There are a couple of disadvantages when you incorporate negatives in your workout. First you'll discover a great deal of muscle soreness. Mainly due to the fact the body is not accustomed to this type of training. The other downside is that you'll need a training partner especially when it comes to benching and squats. Again, this is not the type of training you would do on a long term basis. However it is another way to shock the muscle and force it to grow. For anyone who's never experienced the idea of defying gravity, be prepared and keep your spotter close.